Tag Archives: books

Above and Beyond (Bookstore Spotlight by J.A. Campbell)

Calico Books is a new and used bookstore in Broomfield, Colorado. It is owned by the same people who own Booklovers in Fort Collins, Colorado and their daughter, Becky, runs the store. I first met Becky through a mutual friend. As soon as Becky found out I was a soon to be published Author, she started talking about trying to help promote my writing. We hit it off right away and chat regularly. 

Calico Books’ services include accepting used books in trade for store credit, new and used books, and promoting local authors. They also order hard to find, out of print and new books for customers, have a watch and reserve list and provide free coffee. They are dog friendly, and even have treats on hand. Becky also tries to have events regularly for customers and authors, so watch the store calendar. 

One of the things that we put together and are still experimenting with is our Remote Author events.  “The Remote Author Event was conceived when I was discussing with a couple friends, via twitter, how I’d love to be able to support them and their writing. The catch was, that their books were either in eBook format… or they didn’t live in Colorado,” says Becky. 

So we chatted via twitter and gtalk and came up with a way to have local authors and remote authors visit the store. 

“In this way, Calico Books can host eBook authors as “Host Authors” and sponsor their novels (although we cannot sell them, ourselves) while also being able to sell a not-so-local author’s books and have them visit the shop without airfare, hotels, or food bills to worry about. Granted, I’ve focused on Local Authors for my new-book section in the shop, but with the digital age… I’m more than happy to help support others who are further away along with getting to support our locals whose books are in digital format.” 

It’s a great opportunity to find ways to keep independent bookstores in the loop during the push towards eBooks. 

“Why bother with this Remote Author Event over a traditional signing? Because the traditional methods are very quickly going to become out-dated. Digital books are being published far more readily than print-books. This isn’t to say that print-books are going by the wayside, but there has been a huge surge in the sheer amount of published books through the availability of eBooks. A publisher can far more easily “take a chance” on an eBook than a print-book and the initial release of the eBook may very well lead to a print-contract.” 

So stop on by for some free coffee and good reads. Becky’s vast knowledge of books will be sure to assist you in finding just the right book, even if it happens to be digital.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/CalicoBooks

Twitter: @CalicoBooks

Web site/Blog: http://blog.calicobooks.com/

J.A. Campbell (Julie) writes fantasy novels. When she’s not out riding her horse, she can usually be found sitting in front of her computer with a cat on her lap and her dog at her side. Her first young adult novel, Senior Year Bites, is now available at a number of retailers, including Kindle.

Following the Dream (Bookstore Spotlight by Ellis Vidler)

“In the days of the eReader, author events are the saving grace of the bricks and mortar bookstore. They provide opportunities for authors and readers to meet, and readers can ask questions and gain insights into the author’s thinking or reasons for a particular scene or character.” So says Jill Hendrix, owner of Fiction Addiction, an independent bookstore in Greenville, South Carolina. Ten years ago Jill, an avid reader and book lover, followed her dream and opened her own bookstore. She must be doing something right, because Fiction Addiction is still going strong. She features authors in the store, cooperates with a local restaurant in offering luncheons and talk or readings with visiting authors, and maintains a charming bookstore.

 Fiction Addictioncarries more fiction than non-fiction and has all genres, from mainstream to erotica to children’s books. Jill says they do the most business in mystery, then regional fiction. After that it’s science fiction, with children’s books their fourth largest-selling product. Series are quite popular—readers get to know the characters and want to see more.

While open to small presses that offer standard discounts and returns, Fiction Addiction works primarily with the three major distributors. It’s much easier for a bookstore to work through a big distributor and not have to go through setting up an individual account with an individual publisher for one book signing, when that may be the only involvement with that publisher.

Independent bookstores offer a number of services not always found in larger or big-box stores or online. They bring many authors to the store who wouldn’t normally be in the area, have a selection of used books, are happy to make recommendations, and will gladly order specially for a customer. One of the disappointments, however, is to have a customer take advantage of the extra services Fiction Addiction works hard to provide and then have that customer order online to save a little money.

She’s finding hardback sales are slowing in favor of eBooks, but mass market and trade paperback are still fairly strong. EBooks are certainly having an impact, and Jill would like to sell them but can’t at present. She says it requires an ABA website, which Fiction Addiction doesn’t have. Maybe there’s an opportunity for an individual publisher to set up something.

Jill definitely sees a new generation of readers coming along. One of the benefits of the Harry Potter series, aside from interesting children in reading, was convincing them they could read longer books and making them proud of holding up a 700-page book and saying, “I read this!”

Children are becoming more sophisticated in their reading now, looking for more involved plots. The Olympian series by Rick Riorden sparked much interest, and now young readers are clamoring for his new series. Another thing is that since the Twilight books came out, more adults are reading Young Adult (YA) novels.

 Fiction Addictionis located on Woodruff Road across from Costco in Greenville. The website is http://www.fiction-addiction.com Stop by and look around. Jill and her staff will be glad to recommend something to your taste or place an order for that special book.

Find Fiction Addiction:

Twitter: @FictnAddictn

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/FictionAddictionBookstore

A Handshake:
1020 Woodruff Road
Greenville, SC 29607
(864) 675-0540

 

Ellis Vidler is a writer and editor. She won the South Carolina Writers Conference prize for short fiction and was a finalist in or won a few contests. Her first novel, Haunting Refrain, was published by Silver Dagger Mysteries. She is currently a member of Sisters in Crime and Romance Writers of America and lives with her husband and dogs in the South Carolina piedmont.

Her new book, The Peeper, is co-authored with Jim Christopher.

This is the short version. If you really want to know more about her writing history, click here.

All Depends on How You Look At It (Marc Vun Kannon)

This is my last blog tour stop before my latest novel, St. Martin’s Moon, becomes officially available, and I will be in South Carolina at their Book Festival in Columbia (May 14 – 15, 2011) on that happy day (Sunday, if you must know). And I hope you must, since I’d really like for you guys to be there to help me celebrate the official release of the world’s first Gothic SF novel. I invented the category, so I oughtta know. There are other SF novels written in the Gothic style, but they go the usual route of assimilating all the Gothic stuff into the SF trope of the day (it’s amazing what you can blame on biotech and some nanobots in a low-gravity environment). St. Martin’s Moon isn’t one of them.

I’ve spent literally years trying to figure out how to describe this book. I could do one-liners, what they call taglines. I could do two-liners, the sort of short description you’d find in a TV guide, what they call a logline, but don’t ask me why ‘cause I don’t know. I even came up with a good back-cover description. But anytime I get closer to the plot than that I get tangled in all the strings.

The reason for the confusion, I decided, was in the genre I was using to categorize the damn thing. Why would a mere genre category do that, you ask? How could it? Well, genres are a sort of shorthand, a kind of box we put stories into so that someone looking for a story of a particular type can find one easily. The problem comes when a story doesn’t really fit into any particular type. Then the shorthand becomes something of a straitjacket. One would think a novel with werewolves and ghosts in it would fit neatly into the heading of a paranormal. Since it took place on a lunar colony it clearly was futuristic, right?

Yeah, me too.

While the story does have werewolves in it the story really isn’t about them, it’s about the people who become them. How do they live with the curse? Where does the curse even come from? Why does the Moon matter, and a full Moon, at that? These are all questions that the main character, Joseph Marquand, Earth’s greatest werewolf hunter, would like to know the answers to, because he hates his job. Killing the wolf means killing the man, usually an innocent man. When his latest case involves a werewolf attack on the Moon itself, it drives these questions from his mind in favor of something more immediate, but not far, not far at all.

In short, the story is more futuristic than paranormal, and more SF than merely futuristic. SF looks for answers, takes for granted that there are answers, which gives it something in common with the mystery novel St. Martin’s Moon was originally conceived as. Except that SF doesn’t allow for ghosts. It could handle werewolves, I think, since they have a trigger and are stoppable. Ghosts somehow don’t seem to fit into the same bucket. There’s a reason for this, I think, and I don’t think science will ultimately be able to account for ghosts any more than they’ll make a truly AI computer. So SF is fair game, in my opinion, to have a few genuine ghosts appear in its otherwise unhaunted halls. If I could have worked in a dark and stormy night I would have, but hey, it’s a lunar colony we’re talking about here. A haunted one.

Like many writers, I started when a story came along and decided that I should write it. Don’t ask me why. Others followed, until now I’m afraid to go out of the house with a recorder or notebook in my hand. But I show them, I refuse to write the same story twice!

You can also check out his really cool Blog

Other things to read by Marc Vun Kannon:

Unbinding the Stone
A Warrior Made
Ex Libris
Steampunk Santa
Bite Deep
Chasing his own Tale

What I Didn’t Know Before Selling a Book (Kaye George)

1) How much time–and energy–the initial promotion would take. And how much brain drain. Honestly, some days I feel like I did when I was pregnant: searching for words, dropping things, driving badly. It’s becoming clear that I’ll have to devote more than one day a week to promotion.

2) That you have to give away books in order to sell them. And this is without any promotional give-aways (except for a couple so far). This is for reviewers who don’t want to read the digital copy I have that’s meant for reviewers. I can’t say I blame them. I can’t read a book on a computer either. If I didn’t have an e-reader I would have to request a hard copy, too. I’m thinking there might be a better way to get a hard copy out, though, than to give away my precious books. This requires more thought, and with that drained brain, too.

3) That perfect strangers will somehow find my book and want it autographed. This has actually happened at the two conferences I’ve been to recently! And it’s VERY fun!

4) How much I’d be itching to work on my current work-in-progress, almost to the point of resenting the marketing efforts and the conventions I’ve attended for promotion of the published book. Writers are strange people.

5) How much fun it is to attend a convention as a published author, even while longing to be working. CHOKE: An Imogene Duckworthy Mystery was released May 1st by Mainly Murder Press and is available at the publisher, from Amazon and Barnes and Noble, as well as through Ingram Book Company.

By Choke at: Amazon.com or BN.com

Kaye George, an Agatha nominated short story writer, is the author of CHOKE, published by Mainly Murder Press, as well as A PATCHWORK OF STORIES, a collection of her previously published stories. FISH TALES: THE GUPPY ANTHOLOGY (eBook) contains her story, “The Truck Contest.” She reviews for “Suspense Magazine,” and writes for several newsletters and blogs. She, her husband, and a cat named Agamemnon live together in Texas, near Austin.

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The Wrong Guy (Guest Blog: Claudia Whitsitt)

On a sunny afternoon about four years ago, I plopped myself on a sandy beach in La Jolla, California and played what if. What if I wrote a book about a turning point? What if I added mystery and suspense? What if I connected it to an event in my own life that I could access in the blink of an eye?

Many years ago, I attended Eastern Michigan University on the heels of the arrest of John Norman Collins, the chief suspect of The Michigan Murders. He was accused of murdering seven college co-eds at my university. Life was scary enough for a college freshman then—the Detroit Riots had shocked my neighborhood two years previous, the Vietnam War loomed in the background, and I was a frightened, naïve Catholic girl. Though the memories of these events, and the creative joy of fiction, The Wrong Guy was born.

The main character, Katie Hayes, is a lot like me, except prettier, and taller. She heads off to school armed with her rosary and her Nancy Drew mysteries. Her best friend, Janie, is the carbon copy of my college roommate—wild and crazy. Enter crisis and mystery. One girl is assaulted, another kidnapped. Even though the cops have the likely suspect behind bars, no one can help but wonder if they haven’t apprehended The Wrong Guy.

I had a ton of fun writing this coming of age mystery. I hope you have a ton of fun reading it.

$2.99 [OmniLit][Kindle][KindleUK][KindleGE][Nook][Smashwords] $2.99

Claudia Whitsitt, a seasoned special education teacher and the mother of five grown children, is a Michigan native and lover of both reading and writing. As a young girl, she was inspired by Nancy Drew mysteries. Her passion for mystery spurred the penning of her own mystery, The Wrong Guy, loosely based on her college years and the Michigan Murders. Claudia began her writing career five years ago. During that time, she has written two additional novels, Identity Issues, and Two of Me. Claudia was honored to have won the 2010 Hummingbird Review/Southern California Writer’s Conference contest with her essay, One Last Pearl. The essay appeared in the Summer/Fall edition of the Hummingbird Review. Claudia can be reached through her website, www.claudiawhitsitt.com.

How to Write Realistic Dialogue (Guest Blogger)

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Well written, realistic dialogue is one of the most useful tools at an author’s disposable. Nothing else can pull a reader from a story than unbelievable dialogue. Imagine a character like Mandy Moore’s in A Walk to Remember. Now picture that character cursing. A bum on the streets won’t use large, obscure words. Neither would a small child. Here are some tips for including authentic dialogue in your novels:

1. Go to the mall or other places where lots of people go. Sit on a bench and eavesdrop.

2. Create a character sketch. In order for your character’s dialogue to be true to the character, it must reflect the character’s flaws, weaknesses, strengths, and personality. A smoker character will not rant about the evils of the big bad tobacco companies.

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3. Large blocks of dialogue, similar to large blocks of description, are boring. Pepper some action throughout dialogue scenes. People often talk with hand gestures. Include movements and other actions.

4. Use swear words sparingly unless the character demands it. Some people hide behind them or use them for release. Other characters may only use them under highly stressful situations. And if you are writing a historical piece, look up the curse words of that time period. In Woman of Honor, my high fantasy romance novel, my characters sometimes yell, “God’s Teeth!” or “God’s Wounds!”

5. While using words appropriate to locale (some regions say soda, others pop), try to avoid dating your piece with slang.

6. If you are going to use accents, make certain that they are constant throughout the novel but not overbearing.

7. Once you write a dialogue scene, read it aloud. Does it flow? Does it make sense? Does it further the story and add details to the plot?

Links:
Website: http://www.NicoleZoltack.com
Blog: http://NicoleZoltack.blogspot.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/Nicole.Zoltack
Facebook Fan Page: http://tinyurl.com/Zoltack-FB-Fanpage
Myspace: http://www.myspace.com/scarlett9284
Twitter: http://twitter.com/NicoleZoltack
Email: Nicole.Zoltack@gmail.com



My Thoughts on Promotion Today (Guest Blogger)

We are experiencing a time of great changes in the publishing industry. Having been e-pubbed since before there was anything but a computer to read an e-book on, and then being the proud of owner of a Rocket eBook with a couple of other readers after that and now a Kindle, it’s exciting to see the way e-books have gained popularity—finally.

The publishers I’m with do both e-books and print and in the past I’ve done better with the print books but I’m seeing the e-books gaining.

My marketing strategy has always been a combination of online promotion and in-person events. I’ve attended as many as four mystery or writing conventions or conferences in a year with all the expense that entails—airfare, hotel room, meals. In the past, I did some bookstore signings in places where I didn’t have to travel too far. Over the years those have become less and less successful. I like to do craft and book festivals and with these you never know, but for me they are always more successful than a straight book signing. Library events are usually good if I have a topic that will interest a lot of readers.

For online promotion, of course I do Facebook and Twitter, both fun and a good way to promote other online things you’re doing like blog tours and special sales—and you can promote the in-person events as well. I’m on a number of lists as well. For each new book I do a blog tour.

Now, that brings me to what my future plans will be.

For this year, I was signed up for a mystery conference that was cancelled; costing me a lot as far as my non-returnable airline tickets was concerned. I’ve spoken at the annual meeting of a local historical society (fun and sold books), I gave a presentation at two different chapters of the California Writers Club, and I have a book launch planned at a nearby used bookstore. (I’ve done four at this bookstore and they’ve been quite successful.)

My schedule from now on is full.

I’m a guest speaker for a Reading Club, on a Sisters in Crime panel being held in a city about 3 hours away, I’m speaking at a college about 4 hours away, heading to a Las Vegas Sisters in Crime meeting as the guest speaker, where I’ll be staying with my sister, appearing with two other authors at another library.

This summer I’m combining a vacation with my daughter and husband to go to Sedona where I’ve arranged for a library talk with another author as well as a bookstore presentation. I also am giving a talk at a bookstore in a mountain community where I take my own books for sale with a better discount than most bookstores give. This is a great independent and I’ve made friends with many of the locals who have also become fans of my books.

A big event for me is the Public Safety Writers Conference in Las Vegas http://www.policewriter.com because not only am I the program chair, but I’ve made friends with lots of folks in law enforcement who are a great resource. This conference is open to anyone.

I am going to Killer Nashville this year mainly so I don’t lose all of the money from the airline ticket I bought for the cancelled conference. I do have friends who are going to that one too.

Click for More Photos of Marilyn

In September I’m going to be a presenter for the Central Coast Writers Conference. I no longer go to a writer’s conference unless I can be a speaker. I enjoy helping new writers. On Sunday after the conference is the annual Central Coast Book Festival and I’ve had a booth there for several years and of course I’ll be doing it again this year.

In October I’ll have a booth for two days at the Springville Apple Festival which is in the town I live in. This is a great event where I always sell lot of book. At the end of the month I’ll be starting on the Mystery Cruise to Mexico. This is also a writers’ conference. First time, so I have no idea how it will turn out—but cruises are great.

In December, I’ll have a table with my books in an Art Gallery along with the artist’s Christmas boutique. I’ve done this every year and each year it gets better.

As the year progresses, I’ve made some decisions about what I will do next year. Of course I’ll continue on with all the online promotion. I’ll read all my lists closely, especially Murder Must Advertise for new ideas. But I’ve decided that from now I’ll only go to conventions that are easy to get to which means Left Coast Crime in Sacramento will be my choice for 2012. Oh, I’ll still go to the PSWA conference because it’s in a place I can drive to—and being able to drive somewhere easily will be a decision maker as to where I’ll go.

I’d like to know what your plans include—and I hope that something I’ve mentioned may have give you some ideas for promotion you haven’t tried yet.

Marilyn Meredith a.k.a. F.M. Meredith
http://fictionforyou.com
Twitter: @MarilynMeredith
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/marilyn.meredith
Marilyn’s Musings Blog: http://marilynmeredith.blogspot.com/