At the same time, HarperCollins has added another No. 1 best-seller to its pile this year with Veronica Roth’s Divergent taking the spot again for the third week in a row. And Penguin Random House again has 10 or more ebook best-sellers, a feat the large publisher has achieved a majority of weeks since it was formed last summer.
Meanwhile, the average price of a best-selling ebook continues to tick up, now sitting at $6.48, up from $6.24 last week.
CNBC Digital is seeking an experienced financial journalist with a strong background in copy editing for a role on the team that produces the content for CNBC.com. The successful candidate will have deep experience in both writing and editing all aspects of business news, including both short-form breaking news and longer-form enterprise reporting. Apply
March 9, 2014
Company: Epoch Times
Position: Seeking Breaking News Web Writers
Location: New York, New York
Job Status: Freelance
Ad Expires: April 8, 2014
Epoch Times is looking for dynamic, experienced beat writers who can consistently break news online. Successful candidates will be able to work independently and are experts at social media promotion. We are currently looking at writers for the various beats…(contact)
News/EditorialNewspersonMaryland-BaltimoreFull-time – The Associated Press is seeking a Newsperson for its Baltimore, Maryland, bureau. The reporter must be able to develop a beat and build sources in a busy news environment, and be able to work across departments and formats. He/she will work with news managers to set the beat’s agenda and develop aggressive spot and hard-edged enterprise reporting for the AP’s global newspaper, online and broadcast audience.
• work with the news editor and the South regional desk to develop a beat of statewide, national and international interest.
• aggressively pursue breaking news and high-impact enterprise.
• identify and develop stories that break news and have impact.
• write and report compelling enterprise for local, national and global audiences.
• report and write on deadline in competitive situations.
The successful candidate should have demonstrated superior news judgment, with experience reporting and writing news for global audiences on multiple platforms. Exceptional skills as a writer and as a beat reporter are essential. The candidate must have a proven understanding of the growing importance of multimedia news and be able to coordinate with AP staffers from other formats, and be a creative problem-solver who can work as a member of a team. Qualifications for the successful candidate include:
• Bachelor’s degree or equivalent experience.
• Proficiency in reporting in multiple platforms, especially video, is a plus.
• A proven ability to recognize and develop newsworthy stories of global interest and work accurately under deadline pressure.
• Strong organizational skills with the ability to juggle multiple projects across formats and meet deadlines.
• At least three years of full-time reporting experience at a daily newspaper, broadcast station or AP bureau.
• Candidate must balance quality, accuracy and timeliness.
• Must be able to think of new and innovative ways to tell a story and work with staff and editors throughout the AP.
Advanced-level professional competency in written and spoken English language is required. Authorization to work in the US for any employer is mandatory. Apply here.
Sauvage Studio Inc. is looking for an Offsite Blogger to help with marketing and fashion blog topics. The candidate must be passionate about fashion, e-commerce and marketing. You will be responsible for writing 1 blog post per week. The ideal candidate is able to research and write about given topic – these happen to be in the fashion/marketing space. A master communicator and perfect command of the english language is a must.The project will be organized via Google Docs, and deadlines must be adhered to. If you are a freelance writer with experience in the fashion/lifestyle space and are interested in this freelance position, contact them. They are only interested in candidates with experience. This is a virtual position. Date Posted 14, Friday 2014
About.com – Freelance writer
About.com, a top U.S. web property, is looking for experienced online freelance writers who are credible authorities in their fields and capable of conveying information to users in a friendly, enthusiastic, and compelling way. Those freelancers who are most successful writing for About.com are highly skilled, self-motivated, and experienced web content creators with a deep passion for their topic area and impeccable journalistic integrity. They create original and easy-to-consume articles to meet the diverse needs that arise in readers’ everyday lives; are able to produce content on a regular basis on their own time; and have the entrepreneurial spirit and conviction necessary to build independently upon their expertise and authority. Apply here.
The Penn State Altoona English Program is taking applications for a one-semester teaching residency in poetry and drama/screenwriting. The residency is designed to offer an emerging writer substantial time to write and offers a salary of $10,000 in return for teaching one general education level introduction to creative writing workshop. A Master’s degree in Creative Writing or English is required; an M.F.A. or Ph.D. in Creative Writing is preferred. Teaching experience is also preferred.
Poets & Writers, Inc.
The position offers a fastidious, knowledgeable, and web-savvy person an opportunity to contribute to the ongoing development of Poets & Writers’ website, pw.org. The online editorial assistant is an integral part of the online editorial team. Responsibilities include maintaining a variety of databases.
TOEFL Rater – Online Scoring – Speaking and Writing Educational Testing Service – ETS
Hiring Test Raters to evaluate and score written essays and digital speaking responses from non-English speaking persons. Bachelor’s degree is preferred, plus previous ESL teaching exp. at high school, collegiate or adult learning level. Remote.
Copy Editor - Work from Anywhere in the World PolicyMic
Part-Time Telecommuting Job New York, NY. A Copy Editor will edit, fact check, and properly source editorial content; offer feedback on content; and implement style rules. Work 4- to 6-hour shifts at least 2 days/week between 8am & 4pm M-F. Work remotely.
IN Mikhail Bulgakov’s novel “The Master and Margarita,” the protagonist, a writer, burns a manuscript in a moment of despair, only to find out later from the Devil that “manuscripts don’t burn.”
While you might appreciate this romantic sentiment, there is of course no reason to think that it is true. Nikolai Gogol apparently burned the second volume of “Dead Souls,” and it has been lost forever. Likewise, if Bulgakov had burned his manuscript, we would have never known “Master and Margarita.” No other author would have written the same novel.
But there is one area of human endeavor that comes close to exemplifying the maxim “manuscripts don’t burn.” That area is mathematics. If Pythagoras had not lived, or if his work had been destroyed, someone else eventually would have discovered the same Pythagorean theorem. Moreover, this theorem means the same thing to everyone today as it meant 2,500 years ago, and will mean the same thing to everyone a thousand years from now — no matter what advances occur in technology or what new evidence emerges. Mathematical knowledge is unlike any other knowledge. Its truths are objective, necessary and timeless. (more…)
According to new figures from the self-publishing champion Hugh Howey, ebooks may account for as much as 90% of current sales in bestselling genre fiction and signing with Amazon unleashes the shopping site’s “incredible ability to market their own works”. Amazon Publishing puts out only 4% of bestselling genre ebooks, but those titles manage to snag 15% of daily sales. As for the big five, they’re converting 28% of these titles into just 34% of daily unit sales.
Readers to voted on their top 10 favorite books of the year, and the results are filled with literary hotshots and household names. From Donna Tartt to Khaled Hosseini to Dan Brown, the titles that turn up on our list of readers’ 10 favorite books of the year are going to be familiar whether you consider yourself a big reader or not.
Yet not all the spaces were taken up by the well-known greats: at least one book, “Reconstructing Amelia,” was threatened to be overshadowed by the fall’s onslaught of heavy-hitters, but CNN readers hadn’t forgotten its suspenseful tale.
Another surprise entry was John Green’s “The Fault in Our Stars” which, being a 2012 release, we didn’t expect to see on a list of 2013 picks. But thanks to the numerous readers who wrote in votes for the tough but engrossing novel, Green’s work shines for another year…[more via CNN]
Renowned Harvard Law Professor Stephen Ripley discovers his brightest assistant brutally murdered after he exposes a conspiracy that leads all the way to the Pope. Working closely with Sigourney “Ziggy” Penance, a beautiful Boston Globe journalist and his contacts within the FBI & CIA, Professor Ripley is thrust into a very sordid world with immense international intrigue.
As the shocking revelations of his assistant’s research explode across the front page of the Boston Globe, plots of retribution are set in motion and Ripley rushes to Rome to identify a mysterious Vatican contact and uncover murderous plots against the Pope, a former Archbishop of Boston, and himself. This labyrinth of intrigue draws in the Pope’s personal army of Swiss Guards and the passionate sect of Opus Dei, who join forces to defend the Church against a stream of vengeance. Discover who prevails as these fast paced multi layered events over six days comes to a cataclysmic end.
The Papal Enclave by James O’Brien is a thoroughly researched mix of historical facts, recent events, and intriguing characters intertwined with an absorbing finale. The Papal Enclave is the first in a series of thrillers that weaves a tapestry of suspense utilizing fictional characters through actual current events while mingling them among authentic personalities of the famous and infamous.
What the Professionals say about The Papal Enclave…
“A well-crafted tale where reality is woven tightly in the warp and woof of its words. I thoroughly enjoyed reading the book and hope it has great success.” – Stephen Boehrer, Author of The Purple Culture
Paula Sunsong’s Twilight of the Star Vampires just hit #1 in the Kindle Store in Humor: Parodies. Book 2 goes free on December 13th.
What happens when Twilight Saga vampire Edward Cullen meets Darth Vader meets Vulcan Spock? That question is answered in this parody of the Twilight Saga, Star Wars and Star Trek. The book contains space fights, vampire bites and romantic nights with a Jetti Knight, Werewolf, Vulcan and Vampire love triangle (quadrangle?).
Paula Sunsong’s novel asks the age old questions: Can a Jetti knight find love with a Klingon vampire? What if Chewbaca was a werewolf? Will Edward defy his vampire instincts and satisfy his desire in a different way with Padma, Princess Leia’s and Luke Skywalker’s mother?
Paula Sunsong has been a private investigator, journalist and film production crew member (“High Crimes” with Ashley Judd and Morgan Freeman, Sundance Film Festival picks: “Tecknolust” with Tilda Swinton, and comedy “Haiku Tunnel”). She is the author of the Twilight of the Star Vampires Trilogy: A parody of the Twilight Saga, Star Wars and Star Trek. Book 3 will be free December 19-23/13.
A memoir about growing up before, during, and after the height of the disability-rights movement, Ben Mattlin’s Miracle Boy Grows Up: How The Disability Rights Revolution Saved My Sanity (Skyhorse Publishing) has received impressive blurbs from the likes of Jay McInerney, the National Council on Disability, and our own Antje Clasen.
“I simply could not stop reading [it],” she wrote in her Amazon review. ”‘Miracle Boy Grows Up’ is an extraordinary book. It is a literary voice telling a story worth listening to. Ben Mattlin was born with spinal muscular atrophy, a genetic disease that confines him to a life in a wheelchair. In this memoir, he describes his life in which he beats the odds: becoming a pioneer in his elementary school and his high school in New York and then Harvard. Ben Mattlin is among the firsts to attempt and accomplish a life in a competitive world created for able bodied people. One cannot but admire his extraordinary courage, persistence and ability to overcome obstacles. Ben Mattlin describes how he learns to navigate uncharted territory – although he sometimes feels ‘unmoored, lost at sea’ – he succeeds at graduating cum laude, moving to California, marrying and finding his career as a journalist. He also becomes an advocate for disabled rights. Words are certainly his friends – he is an intelligent and perceptive wordsmith. Ben Mattlin has become a fine writer.”
According to a recent poll, almost half the U.S. population knows someone with a disability, but only a third is comfortable around the disabled. Too often people treat those with disabilities as if they’re doing something heroic or extraordinary for living a normal life. Miracle Boy Grows Up demystifies disability and educates, as much as it entertains, about the realities of living with a severe, debilitating, even life-threatening disability. With wit and humor, it skewers stereotypes and misconceptions, showing how in some ways disability is much harder than most people imagine yet in others is very much easier. It is also a coming-of-age story about one Harvard grad’s learning to cope.
Sometimes good things do happen to us writers. In September an editor from Amazon Publishing got in touch. She wanted to buy rights to A Fine and Dangerous Season, the Cuban Missile Crisis thriller I’d published as an ebook on my own last year.
Amazingly, six weeks later — today! — the book is out in a re-edited version with a new cover in both ebook and trade paper editions.
Here in Palo Alto, it’s bright and sunny and in the high 60s.
An original sheet from Charles Darwin’s manuscript ‘On the Origin of Species’, which has been covered in a drawing by one of his children, is to go on display for the first time.
Darwin created “a mound” of papers whilst he drafted his seminal work but less than 35 have survived.
Archivists believe the majority of the remaining sheets have only survived because he gave them to his children as drawing paper and kept the pictures.
Next week one of these sheets is to go on display for the first time with specimens from his Beagle voyage as part of a new exhibition at Cambridge University Library.
The charming children’s drawing, named the “Battle of the Vegetables” by Cambridge University Library staff, shows two mounted figures facing each other in battle.
One figure wearing a turban is riding what archivists think could be a stale potato and the other is on what appears to be a giant carrot, crossed with a dog.
It is not known which of Darwin’s 10 children drew the picture but it is thought the child would have been between eight and 10 years old.
The picture sheds light on the life of the Darwin and shows him as a man who put a high value on family life and did not work in isolation.
John Wells, exhibitions officer at the Library, said the story of they survived is remarkable.
He said: “There are just thirty or so of these original sheets in existence and the vast majority have a child’s drawing on the back.
“It’s quite amazing to think these priceless historical exhibits have only survived because of a child’s drawings on the back.
“It demonstrates the importance of his family and brings it home that he surrounded himself with family, and friends, as he worked.
“The picture is absolutely brilliant. It’s glorious and shows great imagination.”
A spokesman at Cambridge University said it was believed that this is the very first time the drawing had been put on display to the public.
Another 23 sheets from the original manuscript are held at the Library and it is thought there are approximately 10 more in existence.
The new exhibition is to be opened on Monday July 6 by William Huxley Darwin the naturalist’s great-great grandson.
It brings together items from the Darwin archive, preserved at the Library, and a wealth of Darwin collections held around the University.
Included in the exhibition will be Darwin’s books and correspondence and a letter offering the 22-year-old Cambridge graduate a place on board the Beagle.
Curator Alison Pearn (cor) of the Darwin Correspondence Project, said: “This is a wonderful and unique opportunity to share the University’s remarkable collections.
“Individually, the manuscripts and specimens are invaluable to scholars; together they bring Darwin and his ideas powerfully to life in a way that everyone can enjoy for the rest of this Bicentenary year.”
Gio Messale is president and CEO of GiMe Productions
by Mary Yuhas
Gio Messale is president and CEO of GiMe Productions. Most recently, he was part of the producing team for AT&T’s Love, Making History films: Jenny and Tale of Two Dads. His first two feature films, Love or Whatever starring Tyler Poelle, Kate Flannery and Jennifer Elise Cox and Real Heroes will be released in 2014.
Before taking the leap into the independent producing world, he worked at Paramount Pictures on such films as J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek, Indiana Jones 4, MI:3, and Shutter Island directed by Martin Scorsese. Currently, he is attached to produce: No Baby directed by Matthew Mishory, an Australian film named Skool Night and Kate Danley’s Maggie MacKay Magical Tracker book series.
LitVote: What elements in a book make it desirable to turn it into a film.
Gio: I always look for something that tells a great story and moves and elevates me, as well as one that takes me out of my current reality. If it works for me, it might work for millions of other people. Also I look for what is the next big thing. In the fantasy world, there were magicians, then vampires, and now zombies and witches. Who knows what will be big two years from now.
I also consider the author’s fan base. Is the book on the bestsellers list and how many books have been sold? Does that translate into making a profitable film? Is the book a series and does it have franchise capability. The author’s presence in the social media world is very important because the fans will be first in line to buy tickets when the film is released.
But above all, if I am passionate about the book and can see it as a film, I will find a way to make it. For me, It’s about the story. (more…)
Say you are getting ready for a blind date or a job interview. What should you do? Besides shower and shave, of course, it turns out you should read — but not just anything. Something by Chekhov or Alice Munro will help you navigate new social territory better than a potboiler by Danielle Steel.
That is the conclusion of a study published Thursday in the journal Science. It found that after reading literary fiction, as opposed to popular fiction or serious nonfiction, people performed better on tests measuring empathy, social perception and emotional intelligence — skills that come in especially handy when you are trying to read someone’s body language or gauge what they might be thinking.
Photo: Casey Kelbaugh Emanuele Castano, left, and David Comer Kidd, researchers in the New School for Social Research’s psychology department.
“This is why I love science,” Louise Erdrich, whose novel “The Round House” was used in one of the experiments, wrote in an e-mail. The researchers, she said, “found a way to prove true the intangible benefits of literary fiction.”
“Thank God the research didn’t find that novels increased tooth decay or blocked up your arteries,” she added.
The researchers say the reason is that literary fiction often leaves more to the imagination, encouraging readers to make inferences about characters and be sensitive to emotional nuance and complexity.
The researchers, social psychologists at the New School for Social Research in New York City, recruited their subjects through that über-purveyor of reading material, Amazon.com. To find a broader pool of participants than the usual college students, they used Amazon’s Mechanical Turk service, where people sign up to earn money for completing small jobs.
People ranging in age from 18 to 75 were recruited for each of five experiments. They were paid $2 or $3 each to read for a few minutes. Some were given excerpts from award-winning literary fiction (Don DeLillo, Wendell Berry). Others were given best sellers like Gillian Flynn’s “Gone Girl,” a Rosamunde Pilcher romance or a Robert Heinlein science fiction tale…[more]
Having written a book, any book, the hardest thing for most authors is working with an editor. An editor’s job is to critically review the writing, perhaps tearing it apart and putting it back together in a form that will appeal to a wider audience.
Crowd editing The Butterfly Effect
White Seahorse is looking for more people to read and comment on the book. Buy the book (here), be one of the first to review it and we will reimburse 100% of your costs. Sales have already commenced, and it is a fast read.
Here is the deal:
They will reimburse the full purchase price of the printed or digital book to the first 100 respondents.
They will reimburse the full purchase price of the printed or digital book to every 100th respondent after that through to December 31, 2013.
All respondents will be eligible for special offers on future White Seahorse Publications…[more]
This article by Mark Memmott first appeared in NPR.
Seamus Heaney, “acclaimed by many as the best Irish poet since Yeats,” has died, the BBC and other news outlets are reporting.
Heaney was 74 and had recently been in ill health. According to The Irish Times, he died Friday morning at the Blackrock Clinic in Dublin. Sky TV has a short statement from Heaney’s family announcing his death. The Associated Press adds that Heaney’s publisher, Faber & Faber, has also confirmed the news.
Heaney was awarded the 1995 Nobel Prize in Literature. Writer and literary critic Ola Larsmo said then that Heaney’s poetry reveals “a profound experience … that a gap exists between the totality of what can be said and the totality of all that can be witnessed, between the limits of languages and the margins of the actual world in which we live. For Heaney ‘poetry’ is a means of measuring this gap – if not bridging it.”
In 2008, Heaney told All Thing Considered that “I have always thought of poems as stepping stones in one’s own sense of oneself…[more]
In 1992, Francis Fukuyama published his book, The End of History in which he argued that, with the cold war over and liberal democracy triumphant, the major historical narrative dialectic of history was over.
However, it’s hard to escape the conclusion that something has fundamentally changed, albeit the shift is technological rather than cultural (a fact which Fukuyama himself alluded to in a later book). History, as we know it, is over not because we’ve figured it all out, but on the contrary because we’ve unleashed forces that render the future inscrutable.
1. From Linear Advancement to Accelerating Returns
For most of history, stasis was the rule. There were different people, various empires, power struggles and perhaps the occasional discovery, yet life went on pretty much as it always had. The events we read about in the history books had little impact on most who lived at the time. A thousand years could go by and daily life would be much the same.
That’s changed in a resounding way. Life is substantially different…[more]
It’s easy to see why one reviewer called Shelagh Watkins A Thousand Words of Poetry “beautiful words, beautifully written.”
The small collection of ten poems had a total word count of one thousand words. This seemed like a good title for a small collection of poetry. Shelagh added ten photographs to the collection of poems and put together the poetry book, A Thousand Words of Poetry.
The book includes poems that were well received by the literary community. In 2005, Shelagh Watkins’ poem, Hope for a Safer Place, was accepted for inclusion in the anthology, Stories of Strength. In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, the anthology of short stories and poems helped to raise funds for disaster relief charities.
The poem was re-published in Soul Feathers in 2010. The anthology of poetry helped to aid the work of Macmillan Cancer Support in the UK. Other poems that have appeared online were equally well received.
Although Shelagh considers herself to be a writer of fiction, she has written several poems that have been included in the Forever series of anthologies: Forever Friends, Forever Travels and Forever Families. One of the poems received the following comment from a reader of the anthology, Forever Friends:
“May I say that your poem “Forever Friends” is BEAUTIFUL! Infinite forgiveness… the test of true-blue friendship… Thank you for writing this poem!” reviewer Sharon Fulham said.
I step onto a wide stone platform surrounded by water and lie on my stomach to peer down over the edge. At my approach, tiny fish scatter like drops of colored light; crabs pause, wary, then scuttle along the sides of the basin, stuffing their mouths as fast as they can with alternate pincers. After a while, a kind of brown finger wriggles out from the shadows. Another one emerges, then two more, and finally the bulbous body of an octopus comes into view. It skims along until the water is too shallow then starts to walk, using its tentacles as legs. When the water gets deeper it pushes off against the sandy bottom to glide, once more, just beneath the surface. It circles round and round my platform.
My back begins to prickle, and I realize I’ll be burnt to a crisp if I don’t find shelter pretty soon — the ocean breeze masks the sun’s virulence.
Standing up makes me momentarily dizzy. The tide has gone out, uncovering rocks studded with barnacles or slick with thick green hair. I head back toward the flat sand and continue walking, looking for a place to rest. I’ve just about resigned myself to the idea of a plastic chair, when I spot a barraca that’s not open for business. The beach in front of it is empty, the small structure shuttered; its thatched roof casts a nice, wide stripe of shade onto the sand. Gratefully, I set up camp, taking out the water and crackers I brought, spreading out my towel to sit on, and leaning against the barraca wall with the empty backpack in between for cushioning. A sigh of relief.
The ocean is now more white than blue. At the horizon, a wavering smudge might be a cruise ship or an oil rig. The great mass of water is barely disturbed by shifting waves, fretful and sluggish like a dog settling down to sleep. There’s an occasional bloom of white spray when a wave breaks against rock; wisps of cloud trail across the sky. I yawn, lie down on the towel, and close my eyes.
Now the landscape is reduced to the rustle of wind in the palm thatch, the faint piping of a distant bird, and the dull roar of the ocean. I stretch my arms and let them flop back down. Rolling my head slowly from side to side to loosen the tension in my neck, I notice that this movement causes the pitch of the ocean to vary ever so slightly. Intrigued, I try it a few more times, just to make sure.
There’s a lesson in that, I reflect: reality changes according to your viewpoint. I roll my head once more from side to side then lie still again, listening to the tiny, ceaseless fluctuations within the monotone.
An insect lands on my foot — without opening my eyes I flex my toe to chase it away, and realize that the gesture produced an infinitesimal shift in the ocean sound. Bizarre! I can understand the position of my head influencing what I hear, but the position of my toe? (more…)
Mirror Talk has been described as “A wonderful reflection on the life of an artist and poet” (IndieReader) and a “sharp, witty writing style…reminiscent of a wisecracking reporter Hildy Johnson in the Ben Hecht comedy His Girl Friday or even the ultimate wit – Miss Dorothy Parker herself.” (Silver Birch Press).
Poet Barbara Alfaro is a recipient of the IndieReader Discovery Award for Best Memoir for Mirror Talk. Memories of her early New York theatre experiences include being a young actress so shy her “thoughts trembled” and cast in an off-Broadway experimental play where she was told by the director, “I am casting you against type, the character you play represents man’s inhumanity to man.”
As a middle-aged student completing her bachelor’s degree at Goddard College, she chooses classic fairytales as her senior study. “Surely, every prospective employer would like to chitchat with me about The Psychological Meaning of Redemption Motifs in Fairytales by M. L. von Franz.”
There is a higher probability of doing time in the ‘land of the free’ than in any other country.
On its way to becoming a prison state with the highest incarceration rate in the world, the U.S. seized the center stage again when it provoked the hunger strike at Guantanamo Bay.
Wall Street Journal reporter and author Jess Bravin (HC ’87) highlights some of the differences between U.S. prisons and Guantanamo and discusses where to try suspected terrorists in this exclusive author interview.
Jess: There’s one tremendous difference. In U.S. prisons, people are there because they have been convicted of a crime and sentenced to a term of years or life. At Guantanamo, as we know, almost no one there has actually been convicted of anything. They’re being held preventatively. (more…)
SEATTLE – A popular local church – steeped in controversy – is once again under the microscope, following allegations the head pastor may have used church funds to promote his own book.
Pastor Mark Driscoll, leader of Mars Hill Church, reportedly used more than $200,000 to land his book on the New York Times bestseller list. The book, “Real Marriage: The Truth About Sex, Friendship, and Life Together,” appeared on the list for one week in January 2012 and then fell off the list, but Driscoll paid the six-figure sum to a California-based company to climb the charts, according to documents obtained by WORLD Magazine, a publication that covers religion.
“The idea was to make it look like all of these books were spontaneously bought by individuals,” WORLD reporter Warren Cole Smith told KOMO News. “All the major bestseller lists discourage the practice and they put safeguards in place to prevent people buying their way onto the New York Times bestseller list.”
Smith says it appears the money – paid to Carlsbad-based ResultSource – may have totaled close to a quarter-million dollars and may have come directly from church funds. As part of the contract between the church and ResultSource, 11,000 books were purchased from across the country, under the appearance that the sales were made by individuals or small groups.
“The contract called for the ‘author’ to ‘provide a minimum of 6,000 names and addresses for the individual orders and at least 90 names and address [sic] for the remaining 5,000 bulk orders. Please note that it is important that the make up of the 6,000 individual orders include at least 1,000 different addresses with no more than 350 per state,’” the WORLD article states.
“It’s hard to look at this and imagine that it is anything other than a deliberate attempt to subvert the safeguards organizations (like the New York Times) put in place,” Smith said.
ResultSource did not return calls for comment. The church said in a statement late Friday that outside counsel advised the church’s marketing team to use the California company for Driscoll’s book.
“While not uncommon or illegal, this unwise strategy is not one we had used before or since, and not one we will use again,” the statement reads. “The true cost of this endeavor was much less than what has been reported, and to be clear, all of the books purchased through this campaign have been given away or sold through normal channels. All monies from the sale of Pastor Mark’s books at Mars Hill bookstores have always gone to the church and Pastor Mark did not profit from the Real Marriage books sold.”
Placement on a bestseller list can have a huge boost to an author’s reputation, said Andrea Dunlop, who works for Seattle-based Girl Friday Productions, a boutique editing, writing, and marketing company that specializes in books and book productions. Dunlop, who used to work for a large New York-based publishing house, said services where an author “buys” placement onto a best-seller list are “a pretty big and well-guarded mystery.”
“These bestseller lists are supposed to be a stamp of quality,” Dunlop said. “They should be a mark that this book is really being read and accepted and loved by readers and I think that to game that system is a breach of trust.”
“It’s certainly not something that I think sits well with most people who hear about it,” Dunlop added.
Mars Hill Church boasts more than 19,000 members in 15 locations across five states. In 2012, the church made headlines after encouraging members to shun a former churchgoer who refused to sign a contract outlining his sexual history.
Conference proceedings removed from subscription databases after scientist reveals that they were computer-generated.
Richard Van Noorden
25 February 2014
The publishers Springer and IEEE are removing more than 120 papers from their subscription services after a French researcher discovered that the works were computer-generated nonsense.
Over the past two years, computer scientist Cyril Labbé of Joseph Fourier University in Grenoble, France, has catalogued computer-generated papers that made it into more than 30 published conference proceedings between 2008 and 2013. Sixteen appeared in publications by Springer, which is headquartered in Heidelberg, Germany, and more than 100 were published by the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE), based in New York. Both publishers, which were privately informed by Labbé, say that they are now removing the papers. (more…)
From software engineer to award winning crime, horror and mystery writer
By Mary Yuhas
David Zeltserman lives in the Boston area with his wife, Judy, and is an award winning crime, horror and mystery writer. His crime novels have been named by both The Washington Post and NPR as best books of the year, and his mystery short fiction has won the Shamus, Derringer and Ellery Queen’s Readers Choice award (twice). Zeltserman’s first published horror novel, The Caretaker of Lorne Field, was a Black Quill nominee for Best Dark Genre Novel of the Year, was short listed by the American Library Association for Best Horror Novel of 2010, and was recently named by Library Journal as one of their horror gems. His most recent horror novel, Monster, was named on Booklist Magazine’s 2013 list of top ten horror novels. Zeltserman has an upcoming horror novel, The Boy Who Killed Demons, out later this year, and his novel, Outsourced, is currently in development with Impact Pictures and Constantin Film. It is scheduled for production later this year.
LitVote:You are a prolific writer and have won numerous awards for crime, horror and mystery novels and short stories. Howdid you choose this genre?
Dave: I always read a lot as a kid, and I went through different phases with my reading. At one point I was reading a lot of pulp fantasy and horror fiction from Robert E. Howard and H. P. Lovecraft, and then later I moved onto science fiction with Ray Bradbury and Harlan Ellison being my favorites in the genre. But it was when I picked up a dog-eared copy of Mickey Spillane’s ‘I, the Jury’ at my uncle’s house one summer in Maine that I became forever hooked on crime fiction. From there I discovered Dashiell Hammett, James M. Cain, Ross Macdonald, Rex Stout, Jim Thompson, Charles Willeford, and many other great mystery and crime writers. There’s a power and intimacy in great crime fiction that I didn’t find in the other genres I was reading. Morality is often shown in shades of gray and the world is a dangerous place. And there’s nothing quite as thrilling as reading a great noir novel, like James M. Cain’s Double Indemnity or Jim Thompson’s Savage Night, where you’re fooled into thinking that redemption and hope is possible for the protagonist only to discover over the course of the book how broken the guy is as you watch him being dragged into the abyss. Since these are the types of books I love reading, these are the types of books I was initially drawn to write. (more…)
Charles Dodgson in 1885: ‘We are not all made on the same pattern.’ Photograph: SSPL/Getty Images
Charles Dodgson is known to have been a shy man, but the author of Alice in Wonderland so hated the fame his fiction brought him that he sometimes wished he “had never written any books at all”, a letter being auctioned next month shows.
The handwritten letter, which is not believed to have been published before, was sent by Dodgson to his friend Mrs Symonds in 1891. By this time, he had been known as the creator of the Alice books – which he wrote under his pseudonym Lewis Carroll – for almost 30 years; even Queen Victoria was said to be a fan. But Dodgson hated the celebrity his writing had brought him.
“All that sort of publicity leads to strangers hearing of my real name in connection with the books, and to my being pointed out to, and stared at by, strangers, and treated as a ‘lion’. And I hate all that so intensely that sometimes I almost wish I had never written any books at all,” Dodgson told his friend.
The author loathed giving out his autograph; the year before he wrote to Mrs Symonds, he had The Stranger Circular printed, a letter he would send to fans seeking his autograph in which he refused to have anything to do with works he had published as Lewis Carroll. “Mr Dodgson … neither claims nor acknowledges any connection with any pseudonym, or with any book that is not published under his own name,” it ran. “Having therefore no claim to retain, or even to read the enclosed [letter], he returns it for the convenience of the writer who has thus misaddressed it.”
In his 9 November 1891 letter to Mrs Symonds, Dodgson does admit there are plenty of people “who like being looked at as a notoriety”, and many who do not understand his aversion to being stared at. But “we are not all made on the same pattern: & our likes & dislikes are very different,” he writes.
The letter is due to be auctioned at Bonhams next month, and is expected to fetch up to £4,000. The auction house said there was “no indication” that the missive had previously been published; it does not appear in Dodgson’s collected letters.
Paul Levine is the author of 18 novels, won the John D. MacDonald fiction award and was nominated for the Edgar, Macavity, International Thriller, and James Thurber prizes. A former trial lawyer, he also wrote more than 20 episodes of the CBS military drama “JAG” and co-created the Supreme Court drama “First Monday” starring James Garner and Joe Mantegna. The critically acclaimed international bestseller To Speak for the Deadfeaturing Jake Lassiter was his first novel. Levine is also the author of the Solomon vs. Lord series and the thrillers Illegal, Ballistic, Impact, and Paydirt. His most recent novel is State vs. Lassiter. He is a graduate of Penn State University and the University of Miami Law School. Levine lives in Miami, More at paul-levine.com
Lit Vote:How did you begin your writing career?
Paul: I blame windsurfing.
I was on vacation in Maui and got injured windsurfing off the North Shore. It was hard to walk so for two weeks, I had nothing to do but lie on the beach. I had a pen and a yellow legal pad, which was useful because at the time, I was a lawyer. I was thinking about a case of mine in which an old man’s busty secretary set up the theft of $2 million in negotiable bonds from his home office. In real life, the story was fairly boring. I got the bonds back; no one went to jail, but I saw possibilities for fiction…involving windsurfing. So I scribbled one sentence on the legal pad: “The old man loved money, gadgets, and large-breasted women, and at the moment, he had all three.” (more…)
Sarah Wendell is the author of the book, Everything I Know about Love I Learned from Romance Novels. She is also the cofounder of the romance-reviewing website, smartbitchestrashybooks.com.
With French President Francois Hollande the focus of international headlines for cheating on his partner, Valerie Trierweiler — who is in the hospital due to the shock — a happy resolution to their problems seems unlikely.
It’s hard not to sympathize with a woman who has been betrayed and must deal with the fallout while her relationship drama is part of the news cycle around the world. Whether the gossip is local or international, personal problems always seem even worse when everyone knows about them.
Which is why the most satisfying literary accompaniment to this story is one of the very best and most rigorous revenge stories in print:The First Wives Club by the late Olivia Goldsmith. Three women, each abandoned in humiliating fashion after their husbands become successful and trade them in for younger, slimmer women, come together after the suicide of Cynthia, another friend in their same predicament. They realize that they’d been hiding their pain from one another. As one of the women wonders, “Why was it that the deepest pain, the despair, was so shameful even good friends kept it secret?”
But for these ladies, it’s impossible to keep their scandals or their pain a secret, which is why it’s satisfying to see the First Wives decide to exact revenge so very publicly. If you’ve seen the movie version, which starred Goldie Hawn, Bette Midler, and Diane Keaton, expect a slightly different story in the book. It’s sharper and more biting than the film, with bleak honesty sharpened into a knife-point deadly sense of humor.
Their revenge is not just served cold. It’s Costco-sized. One ex is arrested in front of a billion dollar’s worth of clients in his own gallery while his new wife cries loud and fickle tears. Another sees his priceless art collection sold by his ex-wife for $1 when he tells her to just take care of it and send him the profits. There are little scores and big destruction, depending on the crimes of the exes in question. The worst is reserved for Cynthia’s former husband, as her suicide brought them together so they could bring him down. It’s a fantastic scene of outsized retribution involving a Jaguar, and all of New York’s high society.
This story doesn’t exactly end with a kiss or a ring. But the happily ever after for the ladies in The First Wives Club is a real one: They get mad, they get even, and then they move on.
In the six issues published in 2013, Poets & Writers Magazine’s Grants & Awards section, the editorial feature announcing both contest deadlines and recent winners, listed 862 winning poets, writers, and translators—a modest increase over the 844 who were listed in 2012.
Together, the 2013 winners received a total of $8,231,160—a decrease of more than a million dollars compared with the previous year’s total. The number of winning poets and translators increased, however, with poets comprising nearly half of all prizewinners, and the number of translators more than doubling. The charts above take a closer look at the numbers behind Grants & Awards.
Ghostwriter Andrew Crofts is used to lurking in the literary shadows. If they are very lucky, ghostwriters may be acknowledged on the cover as a co-author. More often they are invisible to the reader. By the standards of most of his peers, Mr Crofts has enjoyed rare celebrity. His guide for aspiring ghostwriters was quoted in the Robert Harris thriller The Ghost, later turned into a film by Roman Polanski.
But it is low-profile work on the whole. “You know the deal of ghostwriting from day one,” he says. “You know your name won’t be on the cover. If you were a speech writer and your speech was delivered by Barack Obama and it got him into the White House, you wouldn’t [be upset].”
As Christmas approaches and booksellers prominently display this year’s batch of celebrity memoirs, the chances are that it is a ghostwriter who has turned hazy memories into eloquent sentences. Celebrity sells. In the UK, for example, the bestseller lists have been dominated by memoirs of the famous, such as the ghostwritten autobiography of Sir Alex Ferguson, the former Manchester United manager, and the life story of The Smiths’ frontman Morrissey, although the latter was written by the singer himself.
Ghostwriters such as Mr Crofts are hired by publishers to write on behalf of actors, sports personalities, politicians, chefs, pop stars, entrepreneurs or Z-list celebrities, whose memoirs are pushed on to the market before the public forgets who they are.
Why do it? One reason is money – the work can prove lucrative. Ghostwriters can make up to $300,000 a year, according to Madeleine Morel, a New York-based literary agent who specialises in representing ghostwriters. Ms Morel has match-made writers with celebrities ranging from “British royalty to Hollywood royalty”. Typically, she says, an author will make $40,000 to $70,000 a book, although a fair few will earn $100,000. (more…)
The literary world mourns on hearing that Doris Lessing, the Nobel-prize winning author of The Golden Notebook and The Grass is Singing, among more than 50 novels covering subjects from politics to science fiction, died peacefully on November 17th at her London home aged 94.
“They said, you will never get the Nobel Prize because we don’t like you, and they sent a special official to tell me so,” Lessing said in 2007 when she won the prize. “I mean the whole thing is so graceless and stupid. And bad-mannered. That’s what they are.
Doris Lessing reacts to winning the Nobel Prize
Her younger son, Peter, whom she cared for through years of illness, died three weeks ago.
The biographer Michael Holroyd, her friend and executor, said her contribution to literature was “outstandingly rich and innovative”. He called her themes “universal and international … They ranged from the problems of post-colonial Africa to the politics of nuclear power, the emergence of a new woman’s voice and the spiritual dimensions of 20th-century civilisation. Few writers have as broad a range of subject and sympathy…[more from the Guardian]
Anthony Caplan is an independent writer, teacher and homesteader in northern New England has just launched his crowdfunding campaign for his novel on Indiegogo.
Litvote: Tell us a little about yourself and your writing.
Anthony: I’ve been writing fiction for longer than I like to admit. I have three self-published titles and SAVIOR is my first published novel. When I’m not writing I’m teaching high school Spanish, raising three kids and trying to manage a small self-sufficient homestead in central New Hampshire.
Litvote: You are crowd-funding your next book. What’s that all about?
Anthony: It’s an attempt to raise some funds for publicity and marketing of Savior because it deserves to find an audience and that doesn’t happen by accident. I don’t mind wearing a hat other than author in order to see the book have some success. The cool thing about crowd funding as it’s currently configured is that you don’t have to be commercially savvy in terms of marketing know-how. It sometimes pays to be genuinely an amateur.
Authors use lawyers instead of literary agents; publishers act as agents; and writers become “brands” — these are only a few of the huge changes that are already impacting how literary agents work with their authors, says Andrew Lownie, the top selling agent in the world according to publishersmarketplace.com rankings. Andrew has had by far the most book deals (62) in the last 12 months. The second and third ranking agents had 56 and 55 deals in the past year.
Lownie founded the Andrew Lownie Literary Agency Ltd, in 1988. Today it is one of the UK’s leading boutique literary agencies with some two hundred non-fiction and fiction authors and is actively building its fiction list through new agent David Haviland. It prides itself on its personal attention to its clients and specializes both in launching new writers and taking established writers to a new level of recognition.
LitVote: How is the book market changing?
Andrew: There are growing opportunities provided by digital publishing, social media and online. In the UK publishers are increasingly commissioning not for the bookshops, where pre-orders are low, but to the supermarkets, and they (the publishers) are looking to obtain as many rights—especially foreign rights—as possible in order to defer their risk. In effect, the publishers are becoming agents. My list has changed substantially in the last few years from heavyweight history and biography to celebrity or inspirational memoir and a high percentage of sales are books, which are ghosted. (more…)
Hear the inside scoop on author Keith Raffel’s Kickstarter campaign for his fifth novel, currently in progress, Temple Mount. The practice of raising small amounts of capital from a large number of people to finance new business ventures started with the British rock band Marillion raising $60,000 on the Internet to finance a concert tour of the United States 15 years ago. Kickstarter, a leading crowd-funding platform, has launched 45,000 projects, involving 4.5 million investors and has raised more than $700 million. In the past year, crowd-funding platforms such as Indiegogo, Crowdfunder, and Pozible have mushroomed in the US, the United Kingdom and Australia.
LitVote: How did your Kickstarter campaign go?
Keith: Absolutely no complaints. The way Kickstarter works is you set a goal. If you make or exceed it, you get the money. If not, you get none. I set a goal of $18,000 and raised $18,746. Perfect.
LitVote: What are the pros and cons of cloud campaigning — any do’s and don’ts or grains of wisdom?
Keith: Only 2% of the money raised came through people who found the project through Kickstarter. 98% came from fans, friends, and family who heard from me or who heard from one of those fans, friends, or family members. Others may be able to tell a story on Kickstarter that will pull at the heartstrings of strangers. If you cannot, you need to have a solid base of people who are fans of your books or of you or of both to be successful… (more…)
By Author Mary Yuhas, who has over 60,000 reads on Scribd of the first three chapters of her memoir, Quit and Be Quiet,about growing up with a severely mentally ill mother.
Literary agent and CEO of Fine Print Literary Management, Peter Rubie, says he isn’t literary snob, but after some consideration, adds, “Maybe I am.” A former professional jazz musician and member of the NYU faculty for 10 years, Peter taught the only university-level course in the country on how to become a literary agent.
Peter enjoys helping writers with technique—see the video!
LitVote: What is your advice to writers wanting to break into the industry?
Peter: This is one of those questions that appears simple and yet engenders within it a world of topics and conflicting advice. So, I’ll hesitantly, and I’m afraid very superficially, lend my voice to the Babel of voices already out there. I think the tyro writer who aspires to be a professional needs to think about two things: first of all, really learn your craft, understand that words are tools, and don’t use phrases like “fiction novel,” for example, so I have confidence that you know how to use (more…)
This article first appeared in Book Marketing BuzzBlog
I was at the dog run with Daisy, my nearly four-year old English Bulldog. She loves it there and I love watching her get her ya-yas out on the field of grass that’s been touched by the paws and hearts of so many jumping, running, and tail-wagging dogs. It dawned on me that dogs can do a great job of marketing themselves.
Perhaps authors and book publishers can learn a few things from our canine companions. For instance:
1. Dogs are strangers to one another but they instantly meet and greet those around them. They fearlessly know how to work a room. You should be just as open and free-spirited as them and just say hi to others and introduce yourself to anyone who will listen.
2. Dogs are excellent at using body language to convey a point. We rely so often on our words to communicate with others, but give thought to your body movements, your eye contact, your appearance, and your vibe…[more]
The novel Margot by Jillian Cantor. Riverhead: Penguin Group. September, 2013. 352p. ISBN 9781594486432. $16.
YA author Cantor’s second adult novel (after The Transformation of Things), which explores what might have happened if Anne Frank’s older sister had survived World War II, exerts its grip on the reader from the start and doesn’t let go.In postwar Philadelpha Margot works incognito (as Margie Franklin) in a law firm passing as a Gentile, wearing long-sleeve sweaters in the summer heat to cover her concentration camp tattoo while combing the telephone book for Peter, whose family had been in hiding with Franks in Amsterdam. Peter had promised to meet Margot in the city of brotherly love after the war. Margie’s yearning for Peter threatens to produce results just as she’s falling in love with her boss, who plans to fight discrimination against Jewish workers in America through group litigation. Readers will keep turning pages to find out whether the story of the “‘ghost” of Margot is magical realism or whether Cantor’s Margot didn’t really die at the age of 19, two days before her sister Anne in 1945, but instead escaped the Nazis to start over in Philadelphia. VERDICT Cantor’s deft juxtaposition of the specter of Nazi Germany on the American psyche in the days of Marilyn Monroe reveals itself with unexpected force, although her disregard for Margot’s actual history throws into question the novel’s dramatization of the Nazi war camps.—J.L. Morin, Boston Univ.
Truth was, she used to be able to organize her thoughts, until Floyd retired. Now he was always hanging around talking to her, asking what she was doing. Every time he went out, which wasn’t often enough for her taste, he would ask her if she needed anything and then look angry if she did. Sometimes he’d look angry if she didn’t. Now she looked for errands for him, just to get a moment’s peace. When she sent him off for milk this morning she could have lived without it. But she couldn’t have stood listening to him complain about the bus ride to Atlantic City before it happened, not non-stop for the next two hours.
“You’re creating your future,” she told him. “Whatever you’re thinking and feeling, that becomes your reality.”
“Don’t give me that shit,” he’d said, putting on his coat and hat. He had been wearing that same damned hat with the stingy brim so long it had come back in style.
“It’s the law of attraction,” she’d continued. “You can deny it all you want but that don’t mean it’s not true. “Everything coming into your life you are attracting into your life. You’re like a magnet.”
“Well, this magnet’s going to attract some milk,” he’d said before going out the door.
He had made fun of her ever since she first heard Oprah talking about The Secret but deep down she thought that maybe he believed her. Or would, if he would just give it a try. He would come home so angry about something that happened out there – the security guy asleep in the chair, or someone who wouldn’t give his seat up on the subway – and she would tell him, “Every bad thing that comes into your life, you make happen.”
Sometimes that really made Floyd angry. “Is that right? Every bad thing? I made happen every bad thing that came into my life, Marcy?” He would tower over her, breathing heavily, staring at the top of her lacquered hair until she was silent.
She looked closely at the big digits on the clock by the bed. It was almost 8:30 and she still had not done her makeup. From the drawer in the nightstand on her side of the bed she looked for her own pill organizer and then realized she had already taken it out. She put it under the light, right beside that picture of her two boys, smiling in the lap of a black Santa, and looked at Wednesday. There were still pills in the morning box but the evening box was empty. Maybe she took the evening pills by mistake. Not that it mattered ‘cause they were basically the same. Or maybe she hadn’t filled the PM part.
Looking at the rainbow colored compartments (Wednesday was green, Thursday red) she thought of Wilson, who had the hardest time with his R’s when he was little – “Weeding Wainbow,” he would say about his favorite show, and his brother would laugh at him. She felt overcome for a moment and then heard her husband’s keys in the door.
She took the morning pills, four altogether, as Floyd shouted at her from the kitchen.
“Do you know how much they wanted for a half-gallon of milk?” She imagined his face as he said the price and the way he would look at her afterwards. He might be looking that way right now, even though she wasn’t there.
“Cost of everything is going up,” she yelled back. Then she stood and headed for the bathroom. “I got to get a move on.”
“Ain’t you even going to drink your milk?” She heard him swear as she closed the bathroom door.
The bus driver turned out to be some white guy who’d been sleeping in the back while people waited outside. The whole bus was talking about it, even after they got out of the Holland Tunnel and were getting on the turnpike, people tisking and hmm-hmming until Floyd wanted to yell, “Who told you to stand out there in the first place? It’s not even cold.” But he kept quiet and sat by a window, alone thank you very much, though Tommy insisted on sitting right in front of him, while Marcy huddled on the other side with a bunch of ladies. They outnumbered the men five to one anyway; he let Tommy represent, going back and forth across the aisle like some congressman making a deal. Each time he went over to the ladies he would say something so low that Floyd couldn’t hear and they would all laugh and holler.
“I think it’s about time for some music,” Tommy said after one of his sorties. He had a gym bag with him that also said Mets on it, and from it he pulled a boom box that he tried to balance on the seatback in front of him. He pushed play and Johnnie Taylor started in on “Who’s Making Love” and the ladies all laughed, even though the sound was kind of wobbly. From the front of the bus the driver said something, they could see him looking at them in the rear view mirror, but no one tried to hear him. In fact Tommy stood up, with the boom box on his shoulder, and started to shake it in the aisle, which made the driver get on the mike.
“Sir, I’m going to have to ask you to sit down.” He had some kind of accent, Russian or something, but no one really paid him any mind.
The hits kept coming; it must have been some kind of collection since Floyd never heard a deejay. Tommy jammed the boom box between the headrest and the window so it wouldn’t fall down and turned around to look at Floyd, but not before looking at the driver, who had his eyes on the road again. (more…)
Chris Hedges holds a Master of Divinity from Harvard Divinity School. His recent book is Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt. He is the author of the bestsellers American Fascists: The Christian Rightand theWar on America, and Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacyand the Triumph of Spectacle and was a National Book Critics Circle finalist for his book War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning.
Debbie Bourne, 45, was at her apartment in the Liberty Village housing projects in Plainfield, N.J., on the afternoon of April 30 when police banged on the door and pushed their way inside.
The officers ordered her, her daughter, 14, and her son, 22, who suffers from autism, to sit down and not move and then began ransacking the home. Bourne’s husband, from whom she was estranged and who was in the process of moving out, was the target of the police, who suspected him of dealing cocaine. As it turned out, the raid would cast a deep shadow over the lives of three innocents—Bourne and her children.
* * *
The murder of a teenage boy by an armed vigilante, George Zimmerman, is only one crime set within a legal and penal system that has criminalized poverty. Poor people, especially those of color, are worth nothing to corporations and private contractors if they are on the street. In jails and prisons, however, they each can generate corporate revenues of $30,000 to $40,000 a year. This use of the bodies of the poor to make money for corporations fuels the system of neoslavery that defines our prison system…[more]
As counsel to the Senate Intelligence Committee, Keith Raffel held a top secret clearance to watch over CIA activities. He also founded a Silicon Valley software company, taught writing to Harvard freshmen, ran for Congress, supported himself at the racetrack, and worked for a DNA sequencing company. These days he stays busy writing novels in Palo Alto, his hometown.
Litvote: You are crowd-publishing your next book. What’s that all about?
Keith: Readers can sign-up on Kickstarter to pre-order Temple Mount for as little as ten dollars. For a few dollars more, they can name characters or even take out their red pencils and help edit manuscript. The money raised will pay for getting the book ready for publication and for marketing the book after launch. Most of all I hope that those who join the team will feel they have a stake in the venture and will help spread the word about Temple Mount.
Litvote: You did okay as a traditionally published writer. Your first two books showed up on bestseller lists and one was even optioned for film. And yet you e-published your next two books yourself. You’ve been a top 10 bestseller there, too. Why change publishing models again?
Keith: A top 10 bestseller? Maybe for a few hours. Anyway, I’ve just left my day job to give full-time writing another go. Both traditional publishing and e-publishing have worked fine, but I want to try something new and different to expand my readership. As the saying goes, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.”
Litvote: What’s Temple Mount about?
Keith: As it opens, Alex Kalman has left his Silicon Valley start-up and is sitting at home in an armchair bored and purposeless.
Litvote: Sounds familiar.
Keith: But we know what happened to me when I left my day job at a start-up. I began writing thrillers. For Alex, the phone rings, and he learns a grandfather he never knew is dying. He rushes to the old man’s bedside and finds himself promising to find the Ark of the Covenant, missing for over 2,500 years. In Israel Alex picks up a partner in his quest – archeologist Rivka Golan. Within days they are targeted by a sniper, chased through the streets of Jersualem by a bulldozer, interrogated by Israeli intelligence, and trapped in a tunnel under the world’s most sacred site – the Temple Mount.
Litvote: Isn’t the Ark of the Covenant in some government warehouse where the army left it at the end of “Raiders of the Lost Ark?
Keith: Don’t believe what you see on the screen. That was just a far-fetched movie, not a maybe-it-really-happened thriller!
Litvote: By going this way with Temple Mount, won’t you miss the work of a professional editor?
Keith: I don’t think so. I’ve done the best I can with Temple Mount, and I’m looking forward to turning the manuscript over to some pretty bright people who have signed up as editors on Kickstarter. I’m going to let them have at it. Instead of relying on one editor, we’re going to crowd-edit Temple Mount.
Litvote: Have others tried crowd-publishing? How have they fared?
Keith: Most of the crowd-publishing projects I’ve seen are for graphic novels or collections of photos. I know a fair number of mystery and thriller novelists, and they are watching what I’m up to pretty carefully. And I haven’t seen anyone else try crowd-editing as I am.
Litvote: Where should people go if they want to participate in crowd-publishing Temple Mount? And what about writers who just want to see an example of how crowd-publishing can be done?
Library Journal review by J.L. Morin of Caroline Leavitt’s new novel
Ava Lark, a divorced Jewish woman, and her 12-year-old son, Lewis, move into a WASPy 1950s Boston suburb only to be ostracized by their neighbors and sucked into a heart-wrenching ordeal. When Lewis’s friend Jimmy goes missing, his disappearance has lifelong consequences for Ava, Lewis, and Rose, Jimmy’s sister. By the time Lewis is in his twenties, he is estranged from his mother, while Rose has moved away and become a teacher.
The truth of what happens to Jimmy comes out unexpectedly, forcing the three of them to confront truths they’ve long suppressed. Leavitt (Pictures of You) sets out to portray a repressive society and the way it stifles a sympathetic heroine who is oblivious to the social ramifications of her string of former boyfriends. This tale of domestic suspense builds to a shocking climax and will appeal to anyone immersed in suburban lore.
NO ONE DOUBTS that Leo Tolstoy was a singular genius. His novel, War and Peace, is considered one of history’s great works and another, Anna Karenina, was recently adapted for a major motion picture, nearly 150 years after it was written.
Famous lines such as “Happy families are all alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way,” the opening of Anna Karenina, show not only uncommon insight into the human condition, but a superlative talent for communication that spans barriers of time and language.
Yet if you would put an infinite amount of monkeys sitting at an infinite amount of keyboards, the problem of producing masterworks like Tolstoy’s would be one of curation, not creation.
Up till now, the concept of infinite monkeys has been an interesting notion and nothing more, but amazing advances in artificial intelligence are making it a reality. (more…)
Now that the boys are grown up and Rob is dead, Lois has moved to a condominium apartment in one of Toronto’s newer waterfront developments. She is relieved not to have to worry about the lawn, or about the ivy pushing its muscular little suckers into the brickwork, or the squirrels gnawing their way into the attic and eating the insulation off the wiring, or about strange noises. This building has a security system, and the only plant life is in pots in the solarium.
Lois is glad she’s been able to find an apartment big enough for her pictures. They are more crowded together than they were in the house, but this arrangement gives the walls a European look: blocks of pictures, above and beside one another, rather than one over the chesterfield, one over the fireplace, one in the front hall, in the old acceptable manner of sprinkling art around so it does not get too intrusive. This way has more of an impact. You know it’s not supposed to be furniture.
None of the pictures is very large, which doesn’t mean they aren’t valuable. They are paintings, or sketches and drawings, by artists who were not nearly as well known when Lois began to buy them as they are now. Their work later turned up on stamps, or as sillvscreen reproductions hung in the principals’ offices of high schools, or as jigsaw puzzles, or on beautifully printed calendars sent out by corporations as Christmas gifts to their less important clients. These artists painted after the first war, and in the Thirties and Forties; they painted landscapes. Lois has two Tom Thompsons, three A. Y. Lacksons, a Lawren Harris. She has an Arthur Lismer, she has a J.E.H. MacDonald. She has a David Milne. They are pictures of convoluted tree trunks on an island of pink wave-smoothed stone, with more islands behind; of a lake with rough, bright, sparsely wooded cliffs; of a vivid river shore with a tangle of bush and two beached canoes, one red, one gray; of a yellow autumn woods with the ice blue gleam of a pond half-seen through the interlaced branches. (more…)
It’s obvious how this should end. You’ve got the richest industry on earth, fossil fuel, up against some college kids, some professors, a few environmentalists, a few brave scientists.
And it’s worse than that. The college students want their universities to divest from fossil fuel – to sell off their stock in Exxon and Shell and the rest in an effort to combat global warming. But those universities, and their boards, have deep ties to the one percent: combined, their endowments are worth $400 billion, and at Harvard, say, the five folks who run the portfolio make as much money as the entire faculty combined.
The Other Side of Dark by Harvard alum Sarah Smithwon a Massachusetts Book Award.
The Massachusetts Book Awards recognize important works of Massachusetts fiction, nonfiction, poetry & children’s literature published in the previous year. Panels of judges create a short list of “Recommended Reads” — 10 to 12 of the best books submitted in the category. Sarah’s “Must Read’ novel was one of the books promoted through a reading/discussion program to libraries and booksellers throughout the commonwealth.
Virtual Writers Workshop at the Etopia Island drum circle
The Virtual Writers Workshop brings published authors together with writers for synergy and exchange one Sunday a month at 12 p.m. Eastern time, 9 a.m. Pacific time. Get writing for the next meeting on Sunday, April 6th!
The group offers useful feedback on original fiction, poetry, and lyrics. Writers read their work in the magical ambiance of the Etopia Island in Second Life to the beat of conga drums. After each reading, participants type their real-time reactions in the chat box and discuss each work.
On February 16th we heard an amazing animal poem from northern Michigan created and read by Tom Dolembo, and a scintillating who-done-it scene from award-winning author Charles Degelman’s up coming book, A Bowl Full of Nails. (more…)
LinkedIn just became more like Facebook. Now everyone can write and post articles on LinkedIn, not just well-known business names. The new strategy follows LinkedIn’s disclosure that page views slipped for the second consecutive quarter.
Now that LinkedIn ‘Influencers’ includes all willing and able writers, the company will use algorithms to distribute the most popular articles.
Selena, a beautiful young woman, lives with a wealthy family in Washington, D.C.
The family falls in love with this soulful, brilliant girl.
Suddenly — without warning — Selena disappears. Why did she leave? Is she alive or dead?Selena — A play about sexuality, identity and choosing to follow your contract with creation.Written by Susan Rubin, Directed by Mark Bringelson
Most American adults read a print book in the past year, even as e-reading continues to grow
The proportion of Americans who read e-books is growing, but few have completely replaced print books for electronic versions.
The percentage of adults who read an e-book in the past year has risen to 28%, up from 23% at the end of 2012. At the same time, about seven in ten Americans reported reading a book in print, up four percentage points after a slight dip in 2012, and 14% of adults listened to an audiobook.
Though e-books are rising in popularity, print remains the foundation of Americans’ reading habits. Most people who read e-books also read print books, and just 4% of readers are “e-book only.” Audiobook listeners have the most diverse reading habits overall, while fewer print readers consume books in other formats.
Overall, 76% of adults read a book in some format over the previous 12 months. The typical American adult read or listened to 5 books in the past year, and the average for all adults was 12 books.1 Neither the mean nor median number of books read has changed significantly over the past few years.
More also own dedicated e-reading devices
The January 2014 survey, conducted just after the 2013 holiday gift-giving season, produced evidence that e-book reading devices are spreading through the population. Some 42% of adults now own tablet computers, up from 34% in September. And the number of adults who own an e-book reading device like a Kindle or Nook reader jumped from 24% in September to 32% after the holidays.
Overall, 50% of Americans now have a dedicated handheld device–either a tablet computer like an iPad, or an e-reader such as a Kindle or Nook–for reading e-content. That figure has grown from 43% of adults who had either of those devices in September.
In addition, the survey found that 92% of adults have a cell phone (including the 55% of adults who have a smartphone), and 75% have a laptop or desktop computer – figures that have not changed in significantly from our pre-holiday surveys.
People read e-books on other devices, too
E-book readers who own tablets or e-readers are very likely to read e-books on those devices—but those who own computers or cellphones sometimes turn to those platforms, too. And as tablet and e-reader ownership levels have risen over the past few years, these devices have become more prominent in the e-reading landscape:
About the survey
These findings come from a survey conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International between January 2-5, 2014. The survey was conducted among a nationally representative sample of 1,005 adults ages 18 and older living in the continental United States. Interviews were conducted by landline (500) and cell phone (505, including 268 without a landline phone), and were done in English and Spanish. Statistical results are weighted to correct known demographic discrepancies. The margin of error for the full sample is plus or minus 3.4 percentage points.
THE LIST OF REASONS for not acting on climate change is long and ever-shifting. First it was “there’s no problem”; then it was “the problem’s so large there’s no hope.” There’s “China burns stuff too,” and “it would hurt the economy,” and, of course, “it would hurt the economy.” The excuses are getting tired, though. Post Sandy (which hurt the economy to the tune of $100 billion) and the drought ($150 billion), 74 percent of Americans have decided they’re very concerned about climate change and want something to happen… (more)
We call on the City of Cambridge Retirement System to immediately freeze any new investment in fossil fuelcompanies, and to divest from direct ownership and any commingled funds that include fossil fuel public equities and corporate bonds within 5 years (more)
A Cambridge couple has purchased Porter Square Books, a nine-year old bookstore that has become a hub for book lovers as other indie shops go out of business.
Dina Mardell and David Sandberg completed the purchase of the store on Aug. 18. Co-founder Jane Dawson announced in March that it was up for sale. Dawson is planning to retire in the next few months, although two other former co-owners will stay involved for longer. No other changes are expected to the 23-person staff.
Sandberg, an attorney, recently left his job with Google, said Mardell in a phone interview. Mardell has a background in education with a focus on early literacy.
The purchase was at least partially an emotional one…[more]
The Miraculous in the Mundane: Richard Feynman Explains How Rubber Bands Work "The world is a dynamic mess of jiggling things, if you look at it right." Brain Pickings takes 450+ hours a month to curate and edit across the different platforms, and remains banner-free. If it brings you any joy and inspiration, please consider a modest donation – it lets me know I'm doing something right.
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by Ben Mattlin (HC ’84)
TAKE YOUR SEATS... The realization came in the course of searching for a new cushion for my wheelchair. I use a wheelchair every day, all day long, and have my whole life. Born with spinal muscular atrophy, a degenerative neuromuscular delight, I've never stood or even tied my own shoes--but I know a thing or two about wheelchairs and have bought cushions before. This time turned out to be a fiasco. To be sure, I could easily have purc [...]
Understanding Your Writer Friend I'm trying to explain to my Taiwanese grandparents what I do for a living. "I'm a writer," I keep saying, as I vigorously pantomime typing, since all intergenerational conversations must include charades. My grandparents look confused.