Saturday, January 29, 2011

Yes! We can finally get our hands on this:

Remember when I first blogged about my New Zealand author friend, Glenis Thomas? Well, take a look again! Click n' Drool Ah-h-h-h…every vivid, scrumptious picture guaranteed to keep you salivating for a week! I’ve been fantasizing about it for a year…even before blueberries were officially listed as a superfood. And it’s FINALLY available for order.

Each recipe is illustrated in all it’s gourmet glory. More importantly, it’s spiral bound so the book stays open without the toaster sitting on it. AND the covers are laminated for easy cleaning. Very important when working with blueberries! The blurb from the site:

Blueberry Recipes is a spiral-bound book with laminated covers. The 196 pages are full of colourful inspiration with 150 illustrated bluelicious recipes and ideas for using blueberries. There is information on history, health, storage, and also cooking tips and hints. The 21 recipe categories cover "every season and any reason to make your day bluelicious!"

Yes, that’s right: "Colourful." The measurements are in metric. BUT there are conversion tables in the back. I simply plan to pen in the American equivalents as I go. See? No prob. And anyway, most measuring cups these days have metric markers as well.

So again, here’s the site: I’m going with PayPal for ease of currency conversion. Oh, I can’t believe I’m finally going to get my hands on this blueberry book! Happiness strikes!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Special note to my readers:

The Ammanon series has recently been acquired by VerveStar, LLC, terminating my association with my previous publisher. As a result, the first 3 books already in print may no longer be available until they are issued under the new imprint. I see that Amazon is already treating Book One, The Prophecy as a collector’s item! At this writing, the other two are still available from independent Amazon venders.

In approximately one year, re-edited and redesigned versions in hardcover and dust jacket will be released, and the series will continue. I assure you it will be an improvement worth the wait!

About my other projects: the non-fiction Confessions of a Clueless Caregiver, originally the first choice of VerveStar, is on hold for now. It is the true, bittersweet, often hilarious tale of the way I breezed back after years and miles away in order to "keep their lives normal." Right. But this is good, I think. The Ammanon series is already three books in, and should be continued in a timely manner.

The Hundredth Spring is my first, and avowed last, sci-fi novel. It's the story of a housewife from the 1940's misplaced among warring alien races. It's been a fun trip; combining a favorite fantasy with memories of Medaryville, Indiana, during the war years. It’s homespun wisdom and lots of Hoosier colloquialisms interspersed with tech talk and wildly different cultural norms. The first chapter has already been published online: Read it here!

My editor for this manuscript happened to know a sci-fi type artist (see my article “Look What I Found Without Looking”, September 12, 2010). He is now doing some original art for the cover. When it’s finished, I will start shopping the book again. There was little interest when I was submitting Spring awhile back, but I got so involved with my motley assortment of characters that I just may publish it independently. For one thing, the people of Medaryville who were so helpful during my research should see a copy before they die. Two dear ladies actually lived during the era described and are now quite elderly.

Well, that catches us up for now. Have a great weekend!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Are you trying to get published?

Let’s face it: when it comes to publishing, it’s a jungle out there! An aspiring author basically has three choices: a traditional and/or Big Name publisher, a subsidy publisher, or a vanity press. Unless you’re Stephenie Meyer, James Patterson, or Stephen King, you can totally forget about the first one.

A subsidy house is iffy at best and fraught with fraud at the worst. They will review your manuscript before offering a contract and, ostensibly at least, offer to share the cost of publication. Unfortunately, they are usually just after the front money – fees, plus however many copies they can get you to buy.

The vanity press is self-publishing, pure and simple. They will give you a finished product with the least hassle, but there’s no attempt at quality. Like the subsidy operations, the vanities offer all sorts over-priced and under-effective editing and marketing services. Sadly, it’s way too easy to suck in a new author chasing a dream.

But that said, far be it from me to discourage you from having a dream! Unfortunately, I have little help for you. Every time I think I’ve got a handle on the way things work in this business, I quickly realize I don’t know zip. I was lucky – at least with Books One and Two of my series. Eloquent, a subsidy imprint of Strategic, was pretty much a one-man operation when I was referred to them. That man was Mark Bredt, who did a brilliant job on my cover and generally took good care of the entire process. He also assigned an editor named Jennifer Leigh Mustoe to do a 3-chapter evaluation of the manuscript. She absolutely tore me apart. Best thing that ever happened to me! Then she disappeared. I’ve been Googling her for years now with no luck.

Book Three was a nightmare of epic proportions. The burgeoning Strategic was sucking in manuscripts by the hundreds and adding departments and off-the-street personnel at nearly the same rate. Even before I became aware of all the legal and ethical charges against them, I was contending with a deranged artist, a third-world Outsourced press writer, and complete lack of interdepartmental communication. But AMMANON Book Three, the Deliverance did finally get out there. And NOT with that cover!

My new publisher, VerveStar, is a small traditional publisher. They’re not just continuing the series; they’re starting over with Book One. This time it will be done professionally in hardcover with dust jacket, and properly promoted. Unfortunately that means Ammanon will not be available on or other sources until it comes out again under the new imprint. So, dear readers, please help me to be patient!

Monday, January 3, 2011

The Creationist’s Chalice by Nikki McLean

This recent entry into the world of fantasy has a lot going for it – not the least of which is it’s cover! Whoever coined the phrase, “Don’t judge a book by it’s cover” was obviously blind to the literary industry. This cover grabbed me right away and did not disappoint. I failed to find a credit for the art, but someone working for the Athena Press of Twickenham, England, was truly inspired.

The premise: a young girl named Lindsay discovers that the fairy tale world of Dalkana not only exists, but was created by her ancestors. Mystically guided through the portal from modern day Scotland, Lindsay is instantly confronted by her true identity as the Fifth Creator, a god to the peoples who live there. This she learns from the first being she meets, a surly archer named Dalgarno who harbors a hatred for the Creators.

While struggling with this new reality, Lindsay finds herself on a quest for the Creationist’s Chalice, which she must have to overcome the Destroyers bent on crushing Dalkana. Dalgarno, mostly as punishment, is assigned by his village elder to guide her to the chalice. For Lindsay, of course, this only adds doubt to the danger.

McLean’s imagination and descriptive abilities make up for a certain immaturity of style. I found some punctuation choices, for instance, rather distracting. But before I go lamenting the lack of English instruction in schools these days, as I frequently do, it should be noted that much may be due to differences in usage. McLean is a very youthful Scottish lass, while I am an elder Yank. None of the foregoing, however, kept me from enjoying the story!

In the process of writing this, I discovered that Miss McLean has a very striking website: As luck would have it, it was being edited and I was unable to access the various pages. Hopefully we can visit it soon to discover more about this intriguing young lady.