Friday, November 11, 2005

Pop Tarts . . . nothing but Pop Tarts

Friday is upon us with open arms! And to welcome you even further, here is a surprise gem for you. A little extra icing on that pop tart, as it were.

STORIES OF STRENGTH (edited by Jenna Glatzer) is a compilation of stories from various authors--from newcomers to veteran authors like Robin Lee Hatcher and Orson Scott Card--dealing with "ways to beat the odds" and born out of the devastation of Hurricane Katrina (and yes, everything about this anthology is being donated, from the stories themselves to the profits of the book--via the cool folks at Lulu.)

This is a super collection, oodles and oodles of goodies included (over 100 stories, poems and more.) You'll laugh, you'll cry (or both: read WET AND NAKED by Charmian Christie), you'll miss a meal or two, and you will certainly buy additional copies; the stories here will inspire your ailing friend or hopeless sibling as well as brighten the day of a victim of the Katrina catastrophe--or any of the other hurricanes.

And let me add this: POD is shining its brightest right now. A traditional publishing company would not likely have been able to produce a book this quickly (and get it to market) after the hurricane (approximately two months after it hit.) And if one could produce it, they would only have been able to do so by bumping other titles. And this book is not only filled to the brim with top notch writing, it's professionally produced as well.

Kudos to Jenna Glatzer, the contributing writers and to Lulu. And to POD technology. For once.

Now on with our meal. And, hey--how about popping this P5 in your toaster!

(1) SUFFER IN SILENCE: 27,923 6
(4) COOKIN' FOR LOVE: 83,667 6


The Minneapolis Star-Tribune has a nifty little once-over of Vince Flynn. And for those of you who don't know, he self-published his first book (TERM LIMITS)--not POD, mind you, but still.

Here is the crux:

"He got more than 60 rejection letters for his first novel, "Term Limits," before finally publishing it himself in 1997, with a group of investors kicking in 20 percent of the cost (they eventually got about a 500 percent return). It sold well, he was picked up by Simon & Schuster's thriving, politically conservative Atria imprint, and now has three titles left to go on a four-book contract."

The Wall Street Journal has a stupendous article on authors using pseudonyms. What many authors are realizing is that if their previous books don't sell (and thus create the "death spiral" of their career) they simply create a new (pen) name and start over.

So it seems the reason that new/debut authors can't catch much of a break these days is because publishers are committed to repackaging the losers they have already invested (and failed) in. Granted, the WSJ managed to profile some of the success stories, but it makes you wonder how many times we've been duped.

As for me? If my books fail, then I'll flame out and be on my way. I promise I won't re-emerge as "Terri Ann Caldwell" or "Baxter Baker" or some such crap.

As a faithful reader pointed out, St. Martins probably wishes they had PODed their backlist some time ago, based on the sudden renewed interest in I. Lewis Libby's bizarre novel. They are going to have to wait for a rushed print-run (just a few weeks) instead of having been selling thing via POD. From USA Today:

Used copies of [Libby's] 1996 novel, The Apprentice, a thriller set in Japan that includes references to bestiality, pedophilia and rape, have been offered for as high as $2,400 on Now, publisher St. Martin's Press has decided to bring the book back into print, announcing a new run of 25,000 copies.

And to clear up any confusion/panic about the literary patent issue I spouted off about on Wednesday (it was sort of tongue in cheek, y'all), let the lawyers explain.
Nothing like a breakfast that comes wrapped in cellophane, eh?

Stop by Monday. I've got a real ruby for you!

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Why your next chick lit novel may violate a patent

Everyone is spazzing out about Amazon and Random House and their plans to charge to read the innards of a few books.

Spaz out about this:

U.S. Patent Office Publishes the First Patent Application to Claim a Fictional Storyline; Inventor Asserts Provisional Rights Against Hollywood.

How absolutely weird. A faithful reader (and writer) tipped me off to this piece and I'm pretty sure I read it three times, with the certifiable dropped jaw and dimwit eyes.

You can now (try to) patent a storyline of a novel.

I bet Dan Brown (or that other guy) wishes this had been possible years ago.

What a great idea, really. We can reduce the number of publishable books from 195,000 to about 17. At a minimum, it sure would force writers to get creative. Science Fiction might be the only genre to survive it all. Heaven forbid you are writing about something static, like say, the Civil War. (I guess you can always have Lee win the thing!)

Granted, this probably will not survive the first lawsuit (oh, and it'll come) but it still makes one's hair stand on end. Who knew with all of the copyright lawsuits we worry about that it would be the patents that nailed us in the end.

Monday, November 07, 2005

GOLEM by Greg Vilk (Ricochet)


Seriously: wow.

I want you to take all of the "joy" and "excitement" you had for THE DA VINCI CODE and apply it to Greg Vilk's GOLEM.

You will walk away from it saying this: wow.

This book goes above and beyond the tricks and links to history (as in DA VINCI) and takes it one level higher (literally: there are ciphers in the book that you can try to decode. In fact, Vilk is giving away $100 on his site for anyone who can crack the cipher listed there.)

GOLEM takes place during World War II--in Greenland--where a U.S. Rangers unit is deployed to take down a hidden (obviously!) Nazi camp. But when the rangers arrive, they find the Nazis have been slaughtered--all but one, and this lone survivor is telling stories of seeing ghosts in the landscape. Sounds crazy. But is he?

What the rangers find is incredibly wild, original and a blast from start to finish.

Vilk writes with a language that is rich yet easy to digest, a decided talent. And there is even more fun in the hidden codes. This is a novel you will be recommending to friends and family for some time to come.

This book, while self-published and PODed, has already commanded high praise (other than by me, that is) from the likes of bestselling authors James Rollins (SUBTERRANEAN) and Stel Pavlou (DECIPHER). If you can't trust three strong endorsements, what can you trust? Grab this bad boy and hunker down in your favorite chair for a long night!