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14 February 20

What Every Indie Author Needs to Know About E-Books Six Great Blogs for Self-Publishers Karen Alperts Hit Mommy Memoir 96 New Listings 22 Full Reviews

A GUIDE TO E-BOOK PUBLISHING

What Every Indie Author Needs


A quick guide to the evolving e-book industry
By Alex Palmer

It has never been easier to publish your own e-book. The wealth of tools, platforms, and services available to self-publishers continues to grow and be refined for an ever-broader reach and greater efficiency. But with so many good options, it is also more important than ever for authors to choose carefully how best to position themselves for the greatest chance of engaging the largest possible audience.

Choosing a Retailer and Distributor


The first major choice a self-published author makes is which major retailers (Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing, Barnes & Noble Nook Press, Kobo, Apple iBookstore) and distributors (Smashwords, BookBaby) to use to publish his or her e-book. These services are for the most part nonexclusive, so an author holds on to her rights and can use any or all of them simultaneouslymaking revisions, price changes, or removing the work altogether, whenever she chooses. This makes it desirable for an author to distribute across as many platforms as possible, typically publishing with Amazon and then using Smashwords or BookBaby to distribute to all other major retailers. But Amazon has complicated this with its introduction of KDP Select. The program gives self-publishers the option to join the publishing giants Lending Library, where readers check out as many digital books as they like for a monthly subscription fee. Amazon pays authors who join every time one of their books is rented. Authors can also offer their books for free for up to five days every 90-day opt-in period, enhancing an authors sales rank and discoverability.

The catch in all this is that authors have to publish exclusively through Amazon. For those who already sell most of their e-books through Amazon or whose top priority is getting more readers (rather than high payouts), KDP Select offers attractive benefits. For more established authors or those with significant sales on Nook, Kobo, and elseJane Friedman where, the math makes less sense. Either way, authors who do opt in to the program are only locked in for 90 days, so it is easy to experiment with what offers the greatest return. Theres chatter among authors that the algorithms have changed in a way that doesnt favor books that are free or cheap as much as they used to, so there may be less incentive to use KDP Select, says Jane Friedman, online editor of the Virginia Quarterly Review, who covers e-book trends and strategies at www. janefriedman.com. But smart authors are always testing and experimenting with what works.

Creating a Quality Product


Once an author has written a book he or

she is proud of, and gotten feedback from friends or other beta readers, it is worthwhile to pay a professional to review the text. At the very least, invest in a copy editor to review the manuscript for any typos or grammatical errors. A more thorough content editor may also be valuable to help with the story arc, or to spot inconsistency in character behavior or speech. A great-looking cover is also essential for an e-book -- one thats eye-catching and looks professional, but also easy to read when seen as a tiny thumbnail image on a smartphone or in Amazons Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought section. E-book covers need to be simplified from print book covers, says Joel Friedlander, a book designer who covers e-book design at www.thebookdesigner.com. He adds that author-designed e-book covers tend to fall short in their use of typography, since it is not an easy discipline to learn, and often suffer from an authors attempt to squeeze in lots of symbolic representations of plot points or characters, and this rarely works out well. Authors will also want to seek out blurbs and reviews to include on the book jacket or as part of the front matter. These can be responses from other authors, book bloggers, reviewers, or other well known figures to advance reading copies or other work by the author. There are thousands of book blogs and reviews you can consider reaching out to, including Self-Publishing Review, Indie Reader, and of course PW

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A GUIDE TO E-BOOK PUBLISHING

to Know About E-Books


Select, as well as the site Book Blogs, a hub of more than 20,000 independent bloggers and authors. The Indie View provides a useful roundup of available reviewers at www.theindieview.com/ indie-reviewers/. All told, hiring a reasonably priced editor and designer should not put you out more than $1,500 to $2,000. If that seems too expensive, an author might consider crowdfunding the project, through a site like Kickstarter, IndieGoGo, or Fundly. While crowdfunding is a great way to pull in the money needed to produce a high-quality self-published e-book, it also creates an early buzz for the book and tests whether there is a market for the book before the author takes the next steps toward publication. If it proves tough to raise a few hundred dollars from friends and fans with a concerted Kickstarter campaign, selling a few thousand copies may prove even more difficult. Word document for Smashwords; a MOBI file for Amazon Kindle; and an EPUB file for other e-book retailers, including Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Sony, and Apple iBooks. For the Smashwords Word document, Microsofts automatic formatting will need to be cleared to create clean source copy based on the companys particular style guide (details of which are at www. smashwords.com/books/view/52). While just doing this could allow authors to distribute their book to every major retailer beyond Amazon, the Smashwords meatgrinder gives authors limited choice in how their final layout looks. I want my e-books to look the way I want them to look, says LJ Cohen, author of several self-published novels as well as detailed guides on e-book formatting (available at her website www.ljcohen.net). So I send the Word document to the meatgrinder, and once it gets approved in the catalog, then I upload my hand-coded EPUB file on top of that. To do this for EPUB and MOBI, first use a word processor program that allows for cleaning up formatting and creating custom fonts, paragraphs, and headings. A number of software programs are available for converting documents into EPUB and MOBI files. These include free tools PressBooks, Leanpub, and Jutoh (which has a for-purchase version offering more functions) for both EPUB and MOBI, or Sigil for EPUB files. The programs Scrivener and Apple Pages can export EPUB files but cost money. But perhaps the most popular conversion program in the industry remains Calibre, which converts documents to both MOBI and EPUB. It is free, versatile, and works for both Mac and PC as more than a simple e-book converter. If all this sounds like more trouble than its worth, it may be easier to reach out to a conversion service, which charges a flat fee to convert text into e-book. Providers of this service include BookBaby, eBook Architects, Bowker, and 52 Novels. Smashwords offers its own referrals for e-book formatters at www.smashwords.com/list.

Final Steps to Publication


Before uploading, be sure to preview each file format on its respective devices (Kindle, Nook, Kobo, etc.). For those who do not have access to the devices, Kindle Previewer from Amazon and Nook Everywhere from Barnes & Noble allow for desktop-based previews of the files and can be downloaded for free. With your cover and your e-book file, uploading just takes a couple minutes. Authors are asked to provide basic information such as name and address for royalty payment, as well as the books metadata. This metadatatitle, ISBN, description, etc.is key to how your book will come up in searches. Your books description should be crafted to catch a readers eye and appeal to fans of books in a similar genre and style. Aim for categories as specific as possible (you get only two with Amazon) keeping in mind that selecting a more distinct category (such as Noir or Heist) will automatically include you in a number of general categories (Mystery and Crime Fiction). The advantage of drilling down into subcategories is that your book will be more likely to appear in the
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Manuscript to e-Book

While the manuscript is getting a final proof, an author can begin taking steps to actually turn it into an e-book. The text must be formatted so it wraps and resizes as readers zoom in or out or toggle between devices, the table of contents needs to be made clickable, and in a format that works for every retailer. Authors can do this themselves with a few hours of technical self-education, or pay for a service to take care of it. For those going the DIY route, the manuscript will need to be converted into three documents (assuming you are looking to publish across all major e-book platforms): A Microsoft Joel Friedlander

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A GUIDE TO E-BOOK PUBLISHING


top 100 or top 10 of those subcategories, getting it in front of more readers who browse the bestseller lists. Similar advantages can be found in getting specific with keywords. An extensive list of both KDP keywords and categories can be found at bit.ly/pwKDPCategories. An author will also have to select the books price. Opinions differ on the ideal amount to charge for an e-book, and it can vary depending on the author, genre, and format, but generally lower is better for sales, especially since many readers still expect e-books to cost less than print books. Amazon royalties reward authors for charging between $2.99 and $9.99 for their books (receiving a 70% royalty for publishing direct with Amazon Kindle in that range, and only a 50% royalty outside of it). Outside the U.S, UK, and Canada, Amazon pays 35% royalties no matter what the price. However an author prices her books, it is key to be flexible about the number, ready to raise the price at the right times (e.g. when sales at a low price point have been steady for a few weeks), or lower them at other times (e.g. when a new book in a series is being released, lowering the cost on previous installments will boost sales). ers, such as Amazons Author Central and Goodreads. Authors who find this proliferation of social media outlets too time-consuming or overwhelming may want to focus on just one or two platforms that they enjoy and seem like a natural fit. An author mailing list is a valuable but often overlooked tool for e-book writ- Kate Tilton ers. [E-mail] is older and for that reason its overlooked, but I cant think of any author Ive heard speak who didnt say my email list is indispensable, says Friedman. Theres been a little shift from social media to more of a focus on promotional pricing and giveaways. When books are released, authors should announce it on their social media pages and the Book Bazaar section of www.kindleboards.com. They may consider a blog tour in which they write guest posts or offer interviews to websites that cover similar genres, or selfpublishing and e-books more generally. Giveaways through Goodreads, LibraryThing, BookBub, or through individual book blogs are an effective and popular way for authors to get the word out about their books. A lot of authors I work with have found that being on that free list gets them more visibility, says Kate Tilton, an author assistant who offers an extensive list of available free listings at katetilton.com/free-books/. But it shouldnt be overuseddont constantly offer books for free, avoid holidays and weekends, and I wouldnt put it free close to when you are releasing it. Rather than giving away the entire book through the drawing-style platforms, the e-book format allows an author to also consider giving away a portion of the bookwhether the first few chapters of a novel, a summary version of a how-to book, etc.to anyone who would like to download it. Authors should be sure to include links at the end to where the fulllength version can be purchased, and in the back matter include links to their website, social media platforms, and other books. In all of this, remember these efforts are investments in a long-term career. Social media and marketing work are as much about selling your new book as boosting sales for your back catalogand building connections to help your next book succeed. It is for that reason that personalitydriven marketing is likely to prove more valuable in the long run than paid advertising. While Goodreads, Facebook, and other sites offer affordable ad schemes, these are less likely to give an author the kind of return that an active social presence or live events (promoted through Goodreads Events and elsewhere) can provide.

Keep Learning

Selling the E-Book

Of course, writing and publishing an e-book is not all there is to self-publishing. Without the marketing and promotional apparatus of a traditional publishing house, authors must invest a sizable portion of time and energy into getting the word out about their books and connecting with new readers. This should start as the book is being written and edited: Authors should create a professional website and a basic social media presence through which to connect with fans and post updates and information about their e-book and the progress they are making. This can include profiles on Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Pinterest, a personal blog, and other platforms where the author can find interested read-

While this has covered the self-publishing industry as it currently stands, the industry is constantly evolving and changing. New services pop up continually and established players regularly offer new promotions to make it easier for indie authors to succeed. With this in mind, self-publishers will want to stay abreast of developments by reading industry news sites, such as Digital Book World (www.digitalbookworld.com), Kindle Boards Writers Caf (www.kboards.com), and of course PW Select. A number of self-publishing authors also cover the industry, including David Gaughran (davidgaughran.wordpress.com), Kristine Rusch (www.kriswrites.com), and Joe Konrath (www. jakonrath.blogspot.com). The e-book landscape is always shifting and authors who stay current and remain flexible will find rich opportunities. Alex Palmer is a freelance journalist and the author ofWeird-o-Pedia.

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CHOOSING AN E-BOOK PUBLISHER

Which E-Book Publisher Is Right for You?

By Jennifer McCartney

So you want to publish your e-book but dont know where to start? These days there are dozens of options for self-publishing, so weve rounded up the various services for you to contrast and compare.

hile many authors report excellent experiences with the various companies listed here, its always important to read the fine print to determine which service is right for your bookand your budget. Are you willing to pay upwards of $1000 for add-on options that promise publicity or editorial support? Or are you looking for a cheap and quick way to get your book to the masses? Do you need a service that lets you add audio or high-resolution photographs to your book or have you just written 100,000 words of One Direction fan fiction? How important is it for you to have control of your content and edit it whenever you like? What about the individual bookstore design? Whatever an authors individual needs, theres an appropriate e-book publishing service and often more than one.

Kobo Writing Life (www.kobo.com/writinglife)


Kobo claims to offer one of the worlds largest e-bookstores, with nearly four million titles available across 68 languages and 190 countries. Kobo Writing Life offers a user-friendly, five-step process for uploading e-books, and the company will convert your manuscript into an e-pub file for free with no additional cost to the author. Kobo has recently simplified its royalty structure, offering authors 70% of the list price on books priced $2.99 and higher with no cap. Royalties are 45% for books priced between 99 cents and $2.98, and authors can also choose to offer their e-books for free. Unique to Kobo is its partnership with the American Booksellers Association, which means thousands of independent bookstores make Kobo e-books available for purchase on their Web sites, helping enhance discoverability. Kobo also sponsors author events at independent bookstores

The 70% royalty option comes with pricing restrictions: books must be priced between $2.99 and $9.99 to qualify for the higher royalty rate. Authors can make changes to their book at any time, and the publishing process is one of the quickest available, with books appearing on Amazon within 24 hours. KDP Select (kdp.amazon.com/select) allows authors to opt in to a 90-day exclusive digital distribution deal with Amazon in exchange for a few perks. These include KDP Select making authors e-books available in the Kindle Owners Lending Library, where Amazon Prime members can check out their books for free with no due dates. Authors earn royalties on every book borrowed. The program also offers authors the choice between two promotional features: Kindle Countdown Deals or free book promotion. Authors are also eligible for 70% royalty for sales to customers in Japan, India, Brazil, and Mexico. The big catch to all of these benefits is that while enrolled in KDP Select, authors must agree to distribute their e-book exclusively through Amazon.

Smashwords (www.smashwords.com)
Smashwords is one of the worlds largest distributors of indie e-books with distribution to retailers like Kobo, iBookstore, Nook, and, just recently, Scribd. The company does not currently distribute to Amazon. The advantage to using a distributor is that it saves authors from having to upload their book with each retailer separately. Smashwords also offers consolidated sales reports, which allow authors access the sales information from various retailers all in one place. Smashwords offers royalties of 60% of list price from major e-book retailers and 85% net from sales directly from Smashwords with some exceptions. The company offers global distribution in 51 countries. It offers free conversion to various e-pub formats from a Word doc but requires authors to format the pre-conversion document themselves. It offers a free style guide for this purpose or it will provide a list of recommended e-book formatters who charge a small fee. Authors have the option of selecting a free sample section of their book for readers to give their book a test drive before deciding to purchase. Smashwords also offers a free marketing guide by the founder of the company that includes 41 marketing tips.
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Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing (kdp.amazon.com)


Amazons KDP lets authors convert and distribute their e-books across all Kindle devices and Kindle apps for free. Amazon offers two e-book royalty rates: 35% of list price in all territories or 70% of list price minus delivery costs in set territories (and 35% of list outside those territories)

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CHOOSING AN E-BOOK PUBLISHER


e-book retailers including Kobo, Barnes and Noble, and Amazon as well as Penguins Book Country bookstore. Booktango offers free ISBNs and five publishing packages ranging from a free DIY version to the $359 Eye Catcher. Royalties are some of the highest rates on offer with 100% of list royalties on books sold through Book Country and 100% of net on books sold through Booktangos online retail partners. An extensive selection of add-on services are available, including book trailers, a publicity team, an author website, and a service that promises to get your book in front of Hollywood agents, producers, directors, and writers. Booktango is a straightforward platform that emphasizes the importance of authors getting paid for their hard work. Free guidelines and video tutorials are provided.

Blurb places an emphasis on its print book options, but also offers fixed format e-books, which are sold through the Blurb Bookstore and Apples iBookstore. Blurb charges a one-time $9.99 e-book publishing fee. While more limited in discoverability than other platforms, Blub is ideal for authors who have a design-heavy project like a cookbook or childrens book, and authors can also create enhanced e-books with audio and video. Authors are able to choose from existing design templates using the companys Bookify tool or opt for more options with the downloadable application BookSmart. Royalties are 80% of list price minus Apples 30% fee from books sold via the iBookstorepayments are either made via PayPal (subject to a $1 processing fee) or check ($5 processing fee). For authors who are looking for a supportive online community, Blurb also offers an inspiration hub with creative writing exercises, a tips and tutorials page with numerous webinar tutorials, and the Blurb Indie caf, which gathers together indie publishing resources and tips.

Blurb (www.blurb.com)

Trafford (www.trafford.com)

BookBaby (www.bookbaby.com)

BookBaby offers global distribution to the major e-book retailers including Amazon, Kobo, Nook, and iBookstore. With three publishing packages to choose from, authors can supply their own e-pub file for free or opt to pay $99 for the conversion. Royalties are 85% of net for the free and standard packages and 100% of net with the premium package ($249). All packages include access to the companys Book Promo program, which includes a social media marketing guide, coupons for book trailer production companies and publicity services, and guaranteed book reviews.A great feature is the free BookShop page, which includes information about the authors book and buy buttons for the various retailers. BookBaby can assign e-book ISBNs for $19. E-books take from five to 10 days from upload to appearing in stores, depending on whether the author supplied a file that needed conversion. BookBaby also offers basic cover design for $149 and deluxe cover design for $279. Once authors have published their books they will incur a fee for any subsequent changes to the text (10 changes costs $50, for example). Like Kobo and KDP, BookBaby offers authors additional marketing opportunities to promote and sell their work.

Trafford offers e-book conversion and distribution as part of its standard print publishing package. E-books are automatically priced at $3.99 and royalties are 50% of net. Full distribution takes about 4 weeks from time of upload and e-books are available on Amazon Kindle, Sony Reader, Nook, and Scribd, as well as in the Trafford bookstore. Considering that the basic print package runs $549, along with the lower e-book royalty rate compared to other publishers, this would be an option for authors whose primary concern is a print edition.

iUniverse (www.iuniverse.com/ Packages/Select.aspx)

This is another pricy option from AuthorSolutions that focuses mainly on print publishing but also offers e-book conversion and distribution. Packages start at $899 and many add-on services for editing and publicity are available. iUniverse sets the default and maximum price of all e-books at its discretion and royalties are 50% of net. With terms and royalties similar to Trafford, iUniverse might also be of interest to authors who are primarily interested in print editions of their work.

iBooks Author (www.apple.com/ itunes/working-itunes/sell-content/ books)


iBooks Author allows authors to create and publish their own e-books for sale in Apples iBookstore. The process is a bit more involved compared to other e-book services, but its a great option for design-savvy authors with multimedia-heavy books like childrens books or cookbooks. Authors can choose from several templates, includingclassic textbook, cookbook, or photo book and have the ability to add charts, tables, audio, and video to their books using widgets or drag and drop. To begin, authors must fill out a Paid Books Account application, which is reviewed in approximately two business days. Once authors receive a confirmation email, they must download a delivery application in order to deliver the book.Authors musthave an Apple ID along with a valid credit card on file to sell books.

AuthorSolutions and Its Subsidiaries


Booktango (www.booktango.com)
This e-book platform from self-publishing giant AuthorSolutions (now owned by Penguin) distributes to all the major
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CHOOSING AN E-BOOK PUBLISHER


iBooks Author does not offer a conversion service, but Apple does offer a list of approved aggregators who will format and deliver your book to the iBookstore for a fee -- these include Bookwire, Ingram, INscribe, Smashwords, and BookBaby. Royalties are70% of list price with no fees. ISBNs are not provided. ing, an optional (very basic) free cover design, and the ability to include up to 10 images and three audio/visual clips in the text. Additional changes after publication will incur a fee determined by the production coordinator. Authors can track the sales of just one book for free and additional books for a $9.99 monthly fee. Authors can run price promotions and have the ability to offer the book for free. Vook takes 15% of revenue from titles sold in its storefront.

Lulu (www.lulu.com/publish/ e-books)

Lulu offers four levels of e-book creation and distribution services, ranging from a free do-it-yourself version to the $219 Amplifier, which includes one paperback copy of your book and the option for print distribution to Amazon and BN.com. Lulu offers e-book distribution in the Lulu store, B&Ns Nook bookstore, and Apples iBookstore. It does not currently offer distribution to Amazon. Royalties are 90% of the revenue from sales of your e-book less the commission from sales through B&N and Apple. If a document has images, tables, and footnotes the company recommends contacting Lulu customer support to find out about its premium package. E-books take from one to two weeks to be reviewed, approved, and uploaded to the authors Lulu account for distribution, which makes the wait period a bit longer than other options.Any revision to the text after initial publication requires initiating a new creation process. If you havent opted for the free DIY service, you are required to purchase a new package in order to make your changes.

eBookIt (www.ebookit.com/index. php)

NOOK Press (www.nookpress.com)

NOOK Press is the e-book platform from Barnes and Noble and its e-booksare available for sale in the United States and the United Kingdom through BN.com, NOOK.co.uk, NOOK Reading devices, and NOOK apps. Launched in 2013 as an upgraded and rebranded version of PubIt!, NOOK Press offers a free, simple interface that makes it easy for authors to convert, upload and edit their work. Nook offers two royalty levels based on list price: With a list price between $2.99 and $9.99 royalties are65%.With a list price below $2.98 or greater than $10.00 (but not more than $199.99 and not less than $0.99) royalties are just40% which is just a bit higher than Amazons 35% for the same price range. There are no deductions for delivery fees.Nook Press offers Live Chat support services as well as a collaborative social networking option (similarto Wattpad or Scribd) that allows authors to work together and comment on or edit one anothers work.

eBookIt is a straightforward e-book service that distributes to Amazon, Apple, B&N, Google, Sony, Ingram, and Kobo. The company offers a free DIY guide to formatting your own e-pub file and a free conversion service although there is a one-time $25 distribution fee. For full formatting and conversion it offers a paid service of $149 plus the $25 distribution fee. ISBNs are provided. Custom cover designs are available for $99. eBookit keeps 15% of the net profit and payments are made to authors using PayPal. Additional paid services include audiobook creation as well as press releases and media blasts. The eBookIt CEO also authored a free e-book sharing 50 of the best promotional and marketing ideas for independent authors. The eBookIt bookstore is a bit difficult to navigate with a limited selection of titles in list format with no cover designs, descriptions, or pricing visible. Authors looking for a design-oriented distributor bookstore that encourages discoverability might want to look elsewhere.

Scribd (www.scribd.com)

Vook (vook.com)

This design-oriented digital and print publisher distributes across all the major e-book retailers as well as the Vook bookstore. Vook provides free ISBNS although its publishing packages are among the most expensive in the marketplace. Authors can publish their e-books starting at $299 with add-on services like marketing consultations or copyediting available. The basic package includes conversion from most file formats to an e-pub file, two free previews and rounds of revisions, daily sales track-

Scribd has long been the go-to spot for sharing text-based documents, but its been in the news recently for its new, subscription-based premium reader service (unlimited books for $8.99 a month). Now that the service has been monetized, e-books are available either to purchase separately (outside the subscription model) or via its subscription service and are available in both the Scribd store and Scribd apps with royalties at 80% of revenue. Unlike with other publishers that require an e-pub file, authors can upload any file type (pdf, word doc, rtf) for free and make changes easily by uploading a new file while still retaining the documents statistics, comments, and URL. Scribd emphasizes its facilitation of discoverability with over 80 million monthly readers and a curated homepage of selected titles based on the subscribers interests. It also bills itself as a social publisher that supports comments on authors work and allows embedding of documents in blogs and other websites. Authors must register for a free Scribd account. Authors control pricing and preview options and have access to instant analytics. Jennifer McCartney is a freelance writer, editor, and author of the novelAfloat. Follow her at @jennemem.
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TIPS FOR SELF-PUNLISHING

Six Great Blogs for Indie Authors


By Betty Kelly Sargent

All blogs are not created equalespecially when it comes to those about self-publishing. Many are written by authors who are primarily interested in selling their books, others by experts who want to sell their services, and then there are those that are so chock-full of entertaining stories and down-to-earth, practical advice that you cant afford to miss them.

readership grow over time. If one strategy isnt working, figure out why and change it.

Indies Unlimited (indiesunlimited.com)


This self-described nuclear-powered deathstar of a blog was founded in 2011 by independent author and consultant Stephen Hise as a platform to celebrate independent authors. It operates more like an interactive online magazine than a chat forum and has published almost 4,000 staff-written articles, as well as several tutorial books for authors. IU also offers indie authors opportunities to display their books on the site, video trailers, new release announcements, and a featured book section. Hises advice to self-published authors, Indie authors must increase their awareness of publishing platforms, distribution, branding, marketing, and predatory services. Knowledge is power.

t BookWorks we have a few favorites. This doesnt mean that there are not dozens of other great blogs out there for indie authors. Of course there are. It is just that these particularly appeal to us. What we value most in a blog is passion on the part of the creator, extensive knowledge of all aspects of self-publishing, consistency, and clean, clear, entertaining prose. All of these blogs meet those standards, and they can have a huge, positive impact on your self-publishing success if you let them.

The Creative Penn (thecreativepenn.com)


Not surprisingly, this London-based Web site was launched by creative self-published author, entrepreneur, and speaker Joanna Penn. She provides easy-to-follow resources to help with writing, publishing, and marketing self-published books. Penn offers her readers friendly video tutorials, podcasts, and online classes in the following categories: author/entrepreneur, creativity, e-books and technology, literary travel, marketing and promotion, publishing options, and writing. I self-published my first nonfiction book in 2008 and made a lot of mistakes along the way, she says. I also didnt sell any books because no one knew who I was. That experience made me determined to learn about marketing, as well as how to become a better writer. I started this site to share my experiences and hopefully save other people the money, time, and heartache I went through. One of her sage pieces of advice to indie authors, Dont be boring.

The Book Designer (thebookdesigner.com)


My goal is to help authors reach their readers, says Joel Friedlander, former book designer and founder of this lively, informationpacked blog. And he does just that. In addition to the 700-plus articles on his site, you will find extensive tools and resources, books and guides, webinars, and video-based instruction, as well as his online training course The Self-Publishing Roadmap. This is a full-service blog by one of the major gurus in the self-publishing business. When we asked him for the single most important piece of advice he could offer indie authors, he said, Find your readers. Get to know who are they, what their dreams are. Meet them, learn from them, create a role in their lives and encourage feedback.

No Rules Just Write (norulesjustwrite.com)


CJ Lyons calls herself a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of thrillers with a heart. But thats not what she always was. She started out as a pediatric emergency-room doctor. Then she realized two things. One, that stories have power. As much power as medicine. The power to teach, the power to heal, the power to inspire. And two, that the reason I became a pediatric ER doc was the same reason I write: I want to change the world. This warm, witty blog is filled with entertaining stories and some of the best how-to-format-your-manuscript videos we have seen. Dont miss it.

Jane Friedman (janefriedman.com)


Jane Friedmans blog is as good as it gets. Friedman is a former publisher of Writers Digest, editor of the Virginia Quarterly Review, writer, and media professor, and her blog receives over 50,000 unique visitors a month, and theres good reason: she helps indie authors learn about the business side of publishing as well as how the digital age is affecting and transforming writers, publishing, and storytelling. She offers three types of e-mail newsletters. When you go to her site, click Free Newsletter and you will be prompted to select 1) her blogs as they go live; 2) a weekly digest of the blogs; and/or 3) Electric Speed, a special newsletter focusing on tools and resources. Friedmans advice to self-publishers: Be patient and adapt. Its important to commit to the long haul and be willing to watch your

The Passive Voice (thepassivevoice.com)


In his legal career, Passive Guy, an attorney, entrepreneur, former tech executive, and writer, has been involved in major intellectual property litigation. He started this as an anonymous blog so his snarky remarks would not show up when opposing counsel performed a Google search. He offers no legal advice here, but aggregates hundreds of articles relating to self-publishing. Want to learn more about enhanced e-books, fiction fundamentals, Amanda Hocking, or selfpublishing strategies? You will find it all here.

Betty Kelly Sargent is the founder and CEO of BookWorks.com.

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AUTHOR PROFILE

Not Your Parents Parenting Book


Karen Alperts edgy humor helped make her self-published mommy memoir a hit
By Alex Palmer

Sometimes overwhelmed parents are less interested in reading measured advice than hearing someone say what theyre thinking or wouldnt dare to say in front of their kids. Thats the insight that led Karen Alpert to write and selfpublish her irreverent book of anecdotes and reflections on the indignities of motherhood, I Heart My Little A-Holes. And its immediate success reflects how the right mix of crass and caring can attract a huge readership.

s the title shows, Alperts not interested in niceties when it comes to discussing raising her s o n a n d d a u g h t e r. Rather than kids say the darnedest things, I Heart includes chapters such as Yo baby book, you can take your milestones and shove them up your youknow-what, and Going from one kid to two is, uhhh, how do I say this, let me see, hell. But that was not always the tone she took to her writing. Alpert started blogging about parenthood in 2010, when her daughter was 10 months old. After a name change, the blog became Baby Sideburns (based on the title of one of her posts) and had enough success to attract the interest of the ChicagoNow blog network run by the Chicago Tribune. She had worked for years as a copywriter so had no trouble putting together engaging posts, but hesitated to go too personal with her writing.

I was figuring out what readers were interested in and how far I could push the envelope, she says. Alperts a-ha moment came in the fall of 2012. She had been getting occasional feedback to her posts and had 170 Facebook followers, and felt that was a great place to be for a casual writer. But on November 26, 2012, she wrote the post that would change the direction of her blog and her writing career. Titled What NOT to F*ing buy my kids this holiday, the list included Any toy without an off button, Anything alive, and Talking dolls, along with plenty of colorful commentary and salty language. It was much ruder than any of her previous posts, and readers loved it. The straight talk, wit, and sprinkling of profanity delighted parenting blogs and other outlets, which reposted the piece and sent it into the viral stratosphere. She saw her number of Facebook followers shoot up by tens of thousands practically overnight.

Im not a huge curser, but I cursed a lot in that post and people said, we love it! We curse all the time and its great to see someone speaking like that, and I said, alright, Ill dial that up, says Alpert. From that point on, she wrote with more of an edge in her tone and as feedback and fans rolled in, Alpert increased the frequency of her writing (going from two pieces a week to three pieces a day during her most prolific periods). It was not long before readers began asking whether a book might be in the future. There was clearly a market for it: the profane picture book Go the F**k to Sleep was dominating the bestseller lists, while Louis C.K.s hilariously unsentimental look at fatherhood had helped make him one of the most popular comedians working. But while the idea excited Alpert, she had reservations about going with a traditional publisher. I had concerns that they would have a lot of control over what I put out there,
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AUTHOR PROFILE
she says, while also admitting that, it was a little bit of laziness I didnt want to do the whole querying process. Alpert decided that self-publishing would be the best way to address all these concerns. But her experience as a marketer propelled her to do a bit more market research before getting to work on the manuscript. To see if there was genuine interest (i.e. readers willing to spend money on the book), she launched a Kickstarter campaign in April of last year. I knew it was going to mean a lot of time, and I would have to hire a babysitter, and I just didnt want to make the investment if there was not going to be a return on it, says Alpert. She set a goal of $10,000 over two weeks and promoted it to her Facebook followers and readers of her blog. By the time the campaign deadline hit, she had raised $21,000clearly there was potential. ferent bucketsabout how much my kids are a-holes or throwing up and poopingand figured out from there which sections needed more material and which had enough, while adding images throughout. When it was finally ready, Alpert reached out to Amazons CreateSpace to publish the paperback version of the book. The companys team helped her design the cover of the book, format the text, and even select the right font style, so that, it looked 1,000 times better than anything I could have done on my own. After having trouble getting her book onto iTunes, she reached out to author services firm 52 Novels for the e-book formatting, conversion, and design. It just so happened that the woman at 52 Novels was a fan of Baby Sideburns and she worked with Alpert through every step of the formatting and posting processes. Ahead of the books release on October 20, 2013, Alpert says she really only promoted the book on her Facebook page, but made a concerted effort to include creative and humorous messages in her posts, expressing concern that just saying buy my book, buy my book could turn followers off. Every time I ask someone to buy my book, I try to also give them a piece of entertainment, she says. For example, one post informed fans, this is the copy Im sending to my grandparents and showed an open book with pages full of blacked-out curse words. Or another post in which she showed a copy with comedic Post-It notes with such directions as Read This When You Want to Kill Your Rugrats or Read This When You Feel Youre a Sh*tty Parent. While its humor won the book the greatest fan support and interest from other moms, Alpert was surprised to hear that one of the chapters for which she got the most comments was the only serious piece in the book (actually titled The serious chapter)about post-partum depression. I had experienced maybe five minutes of it when I had my daughter, and I debated about including the chapter in the book because it was so different than the rest, says Alpert. But I cant tell you how many e-mails I got from people saying, Im so glad you included that. People liked the honesty of it and related to the book. She also created a basic Web site for the book at www.iheartmylittleaholes. com through GoDaddy.com, which includes blurbs, jacket copy, and links to where visitors could buy the book. It went up for pre-order five days in advance and within that time took the 46th spot for all of Amazon and stayed in the top 100 for days. Even more exciting for Alpert: It hit number 22 on the New York Times list of nonfiction e-books. The success caught the interest of a handful of agents and publishers who reached out to Alpert. Eventually, she clicked with Rachel Sussman of Chalberg & Sussman literary agency, who worked out a deal with HarperCollins. As the mother of a toddler, I was immediately drawn to Karens authentic and hilarious voice, says HarperCollins senior editor Amy Bendell. She says out loud what we are all thinking, and her writing had our office in stitches. Amidst all of the Facebook and Instagram posts of seemingly perfect families, its refreshing to have someone who is not afraid to share the sometimes dirty truth about parenting. The new HarperCollins edition will be available April 8, repackaged as an ideal Mothers Day gift. Despite her earlier reservations about working with a traditional publisher, Alpert says she has found the process of shifting from DIY to working with a major house to be a total pleasure. She says the company let me keep the book the way I wanted it, while also providing plenty of advice and encouraging a collaborative effort. Theyre mass marketing it, whereas my target was people who were on my Facebook page already, says Alpert. Im holding in my hand the book I always wanted to do. 
Alex Palmer is a freelance journalist and the author of Weird-o-Pedia.

From Blog to Book

Alpert says the Kickstarter campaign was valuable not just because it provided her with the funds to complete the project, but because it also shifted her fans into a concrete group of active investors whom she wanted to be sure were happy with the final product. They were rooting me on and were just so encouraging, she says. Writing the book was harder than I thought it would be, and if I didnt have them there, Im not sure I would have finished. Among the difficulties that fans helped Alpert through was the rookie mistake of giving herself an overly optimistic deadline. With the funds in hand at the end of April, she promised to have the whole book edited and ready by July. In fact, it would take until late October before it was actually ready, but rather than complaining about the delay, the supporters cheered her on. Ive been so scared that the fans are going to rebel at some point, but theyve been completely the most supportive people youve ever seen, says Alpert. She began putting her pieces into dif-

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SELF-PUBLISHED LISTINGS

New Titles from Self-Publishers


The 96 titles submitted for our 18th PW Select

Just in time for the Winter Olympic Games, the incomparable

broadcaster, gold medalist, and world champion figure skater Dick Button demystifies the sport in a book that is among the titles booksellers, publishers, and agents are encouraged to take a look at the following listings of self-published books from authors either waiting to be discovered or with a track record and a following who are doing it on their own.

ART
Skeleton in the Closet: Eating Disordered Lives Fritz Liedtke. CreateSpace. $25 paper (102p), ISBN 9781491020784 Amazon; bn.com; Powells Books; bookstores Combining intimate photographs by artist Liedtke with personal narratives of women and men struggling with the secrets of anorexia and bulimia, this book challenges stereotypes about eating disorders, mental health, and addiction.

$4.99 e-book ISBN 9781310510007 Amazon; bn.com; Smashwords Life, love, construction. A memoir by a writer and contractor told in 99 stories that are gritty, funny, and humane. The View from Casa Chepitos: A Journey Beyond the Border Judith Gille. Davis Bay Press. $14.99 paper (310p), ISBN 9780578124698; $3.99 e-book ISBN 9780615888538 Amazon; bn.com Set in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, this story of two womens cross-border journeys puts a human face to the current immigration debate and explores the deeper issues women of all ages and cultures face. Three for Ship: A Swan Song to Dartmouth Beer Pong Crispus Knight. Fuzzy Plum Press. $4.99 e-book ISBN 9780615848884 Amazon; bn.com At Dartmouth College, beer pong is more than a game, its a way of life. These are the brutally honest drunken recollections of a misanthropic fraternity brother at Dartmouth in the early 2000s.

Seventeen Guardian Angels Cynthia Papierniak. CreateSpace. $17 paper (154p), ISBN 9781482338140; $2.99 e-book ASIN B00GM9FSF0 Amazon; bn.com A memoir about surviving maternal child abuse and the 17 people who offered kindness, friendship, treatment, compassion, and guidance. Two Years at Occidental College in the Late Sixties Charles E. Rouse. CreateSpace. $14 paper (282p), ISBN 9781453771365; $6 e-book ASIN B004H4XEOO Amazon; bn.com Rouse spent two years at Occidental College in Los Angeles from the autumn of 1966 to graduation in 1968. They were very turbulent years for the United States and turbulent times for him. I Remember: A Boys Years in Nazi Germany Ottomar Rudolf. Inkwater Press. $13.95 paper (170p), ISBN 9781592997350; $2.99 e-book Amazon; bn.com Forced to serve in the Panzer Corps during WWII, Ottomar Rudolf eventually moved to New York in
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BIOGRAPHY & AUTOBIOGRAPHY


Boy @ the Window: A Memoir Donald Earl Collins. Donald Earl Collins. $13.99 paper (384p), ISBN 9780989256131; $4.49 e-book ISBN 9780989256117 Amazon; bn.com A coming-of-age story about the authors search for redemption, trust, love, successfor a life worth living. Its about one of the most important lessons of all: what it takes to overcome inhumanity to become whole and human again. 99 Jobs: Blood, Sweat, and Houses Joe Cottonwood. Clear Heart Books. $17.99 paper (302p), ISBN 9780615909448;

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1948, attended college, and was drafted into the American army during the Korean War. He later became a distinguished American professor. Rabbi Kameleon: The Hidden Son of Chabad Rebbe Schneerson Issachar Levi Schneerson. I. Tal van Kekem. $10.47 e-book ISBN 9789079656080 Kobo The hidden extramarital son of the late Rabbi Menachem Schneerson of Chabad publishes the ugly truth about his father, himself, and their top-secret relationship. Showdown at Shinagawa: Tales of Filming from Bombay to Brazil B i l l Z a r c h y. R o v i n g Camera Press. $17.95 paper (216p), ISBN 9780984919109; $6.95 e-book ISBN 9780984919116 Amazon An inside look at the international adventures of film crews making a living in the fascinating, unpredictable, sometimes dark, often comical world of the film and video business. lishers. $24.95 hardcover (408p), ISBN 9780989399609 (805) 450-2602; Summerland Publishing; Amazon; bn.com; Ingram; Follett; Quality; Baker & Taylor Using humor but without bias, agenda, or exaggeration, Borgen presents hard facts and real data about business and politics in Current America. Driving to Perfection: Achieving Business Excellence by Creating a Vibrant Culture Brian L. Fielkow. Two Harbors Press. $26.95 hardcover (252p), ISBN 9781626525078; $9.99 e-book ISBN 9781626525085 Amazon; drivingtoperfection.com; bn.com Fielkow says a businesss most important strategic and competitive advantage is its culture. If you grow your culture, youll grow your company. young New Jersey girl who struggles to survive emotional, physical, and verbal abuse at the hands of her alcoholic stepfather. The book offers a look inside the dysfunctional world many abused children come from. Parents in Highschooland: Helping Students Succeed in the Critical Years Karyn Rashoff. BarkingDogBooks. $12.95 paper (162p), ISBN 9780989760614; $4.95 e-book ISBN 9780989760607 Amazon; Smashwords Using interviews with students, parents, and teachers, Rashoff identifies, analyzes, and resolves the complex interactions among students, teachers, and parents. Nearly 20,000 counseling interactions point to behaviors at home for school success.

FICTION
Spellbound Jennifer Adele. Synthesis 365. $15.99 paper (262p), ISBN 9780615876221; $2.99 e-book ASIN B00ET3B9BI jenniferadele.com A macabre tale of curses and spells, love and dangerous obsession, magic and mystery. The Holy Mark: The Tragedy of a Fallen Priest G r e g o r y A l e x a n d e r. Mill City Press. $14.99 paper (283p), ISBN 9781626524996; $4.99 e-book ISBN 9781626525016 theholymark.com; Amazon; bn.com A disgraced and exiled Catholic priest from a powerful New Orleans family ponders his future and reflects on his 25 years in the priesthood. The Coin Maria Elena Alonso-Sierra. CreateSpace. $12.25 paper (335p), ISBN 9781483912479;$2.99 e-book ASIN

EDUCATION
Dyslexia: Time for Talent: The Ultimate Guide for Parents and Children Carolina Frhlich. Frohlich Publishing. $23.99 paper (438p), ISBN 9780956643520 Amazon An inspirational book that empowers parents and children to tackle dyslexia and achieve success and happiness in their lives. It addresses dyslexia from a holistic perspective.

BODY, MIND & SPIRIT


Bird from Rajasthan Harvey Rosenberg. Go Jolly Books. $9.13 paper (32p), ISBN 9780982282403; $4.85 e-book ASIN B00HEVKPSK Amazon; bn.com Full-color illustrations and inspirational words seek out the secret corners of the heart as the reader accompanies Starlight the songbird on a courageous journey to find her beloved.

FAMILY & RELATIONSHIPS


Anelisse: A True Story of Child Abuse Adriana Bellini. Monarch Publishing House. $9.99 paper (180p), ISBN 9780615885063; $2.99 e-book ASIN B00ENJPV2G Amazon; bn.com The true story of a

BUSINESS & ECONOMICS


The Relevance of Reason: The Hard Facts and Real Data About the State of Current AmericaBusiness and Politics Mack W. Borgen. Brody & Schmitt Pub-

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SELF-PUBLISHED LISTINGS
B00CBW94P2 Amazon; bn.com Romantic suspense on the French Riviera. When artist Gabriela Martinez finds an old French coin, she unwittingly places herself in terrible danger. Her marriage is shaky, a madman is trying to terrorize her, and the U.S. intelligence officer protecting her is falling in love with her. Chiral Mad 2 Edited by Michael Bailey. Written Backwards. $20 paper (424p), ISBN 9781494239978 nettirw.com; Amazon; bn.com An anthology of psychological horror containing 28 short stories by established authors and newcomers from around the world. All profits from sales go directly to Down syndrome charities. Fathers House C. Edward Baldwin. Smashwords. $3.99 e-book ISBN 9781311398581 Amazon; bn.com; Smashwords Assistant district attorney Ben Lovison, while investigating the death of a young teenager, uncovers citywide corruption and its link to his childhood home, Fathers House. The Only Witness Pamela Beason. Wi l d Wi n g P r e s s . $13.95 (312p), ISBN 9780979876868; $3.99 e-book ISBN 9780979876851 Amazon; bn.com; Smashwords A baby has vanished, and the only witness is a gorilla that communicates in sign language. Of Lake, Land and Liberty: The Battle of Plattsburgh in the War of 1812 Joseph W.M. Bebo. Joseph W.M. Bebo. $3.99 e-book ISBN 9780981972428 Amazon Historical fiction about two boys from upstate New York. Their desire to defend their country and their thirst for adventure leads them to become heroes in the Battle of Plattsburgh. Her Bodyguard E.E. Burke. E.E. Burke. $12.99 paper (342p), ISBN 9780989819213; $2.99 e-book ISBN 9780989819220 Kobo; Amazon; bn.com Passion and ambition collide when a woman embroiled in a bitter war between a powerful railroad and rioting settlers hires a bodyguard to protect her from a killer. Part of the Steam! Romance and Rails series. Undeliverable Rebecca A. Demarest. Writerly Bliss. $14.99 paper (288p), ISBN 9781492999911; $6.99 e-book ISBN 9781483515014 (412) 999-6665; bn.com A suspense novel about a father using his job at the Lost Letters Office to find his missing son. Orange Peels and Cobblestones Rose Marie Dunphy. Rose Marie Dunp h y. $ 1 4 . 9 5 p a p e r ( 2 6 0 p ) , I S B N 9780615696713; $9.99 e-book ASIN B00BGJ9UVE Baker & Taylor; Amazon; bn.com; bookstores; (631) 256-6346 A love story and coming-of-age novel set in Italy, New York, and California, based on a true story. How does a mother give away her own child? Dunphy explores themes of adoption, abandonment, rejection, the immigrant experience, love and forgiveness, and includes discussion questions. An Involuntary Spy: A GMO Political Thriller Kenneth Eade. Times Square Publishing. $12 paper (322p), ISBN 9781492909774; $3.99 e-book ASIN B00GQPBLZ6 Amazon Seth Rogan was a biologist for the largest biotech company in the world. When asked to do tests on the companys GMO foods, he uncovered a government conspiracy to cover up their known dangers. After blowing the whistle, he is forced to flee the country. Tales from Little Lump: Alien Season Jeff Folschinsky. CreateSpace. $5.99 paper (103p), ISBN 9781492962557; 99

CALL for ENTRIES!


Honoring Excellence in Print Books from Self Publishers and Independent Presses www.indieexcellence.com

masthead usage

Recognizing Outstanding Books in Print Worldwide www.bhbookawards.com

sealusage

Celebrating the Best in Regional Excellence www.usareba.com


sticker usage

sticker artwork--prints on gold foil

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SELF-PUBLISHED LISTINGS
e-book ASIN B00FJIEID8; BN ID: 2940148956006 Amazon; bn.com A hilarious tale about the small town of Little Lump, Texas, and what happens when aliens show up without warning. Is this the end of the world? Not if Gertie and the customers of Aunt Gerties Gas n Sip have anything to say about it. Loco Jeff Ford. Fordified Productions. $15.95 paper (324p), ISBN 9780989859103 locoford.com Ford takes the reader from Wall Street to Honduras in his nautical thriller of love, loss, and moral decay on the high seas. Pen Pal Francesca Forrest. CreateSpace. $15 paper (352p), ISBN 9781494264635; $3.99 e-book ASIN B00H1UIIM4; BN ID 2940148826934 Amazon; bn.com Em is a 12-year-old girl in a floating community off the Gulf Coast. Kaya is an activist in a terrifying prison. They are pen pals across age, distance, and culture, and at the intersection of the natural and supernatural world. The Nation by the River Gabe Galambos. Garnet Star Publishing. $14.95 paper (330p), ISBN 9780988257917; $2.99 e-book ISBN 9780988257924 Amazon; bn.com When teenager Michael Costa discovers clashing factions violating his welldug holes, he learns of his heritagethe shadow world of a secret society. The Woods Ronald Lee Geigle. Polidais. $14.99 paper (428p), ISBN 9780991271313; $3.99 e-book ISBN 9780991271306 Amazon; bn.com A saga of love, grand dreams, and transformation set in the Pacific Northwest during the waning years of the Great Depression. Luz Luis Gonzalez. CreateSpace. $19.98 paper (554p), ISBN 9781477492017; $9.99 e-book ASIN B00H9FUEVY Amazon; bn.com God has decided to have another child, a daughter, who will be born of a Cuban woman and come into the world during a tumultuous time in Cubas history, the mid-1990s. The Root of Heaven and Earth E.A. Grace. Ethosphere Press. $19.99 paper (888p), ISBN 9781938960680; $4.99 e-book ISBN 9781938960703 therootofheavenandearth.com In this story of broad scope and probing ideas, a scientist seeking a way to heal his world finds answers that may help heal ours. Will Shakespeare and the Ships of Solomon Christopher Grey. Pacific C o a s t C r e a t i v e P u blishing. $26.95 hardcover (280p), ISBN 9780983964193 pcoastcreative.com In 1947, the last remaining member of a secret order of Knights Templar must outrun militant enemies to find and save the Holy Grail before it is destroyed by the worst hurricane in a century. Night Chill Jeff Gunhus. Seven Guns Press. $14.95 paper (438p), ISBN 9780615828381; 99 e-book ASIN B00CRKPTL6 JeffGunhus.com When a cult targets Jack Tremonts five-year-old daughter, he finds himself up against dark, supernatural forces. Suddenly, hes fighting not only for his family but to stop a devastating evil from escaping into the world. The Equation Judith I. Hill. CreateSpace. $16.95 paper (457p), ISBN 9781490313252; $9.99 e-book ASIN B00FY4G2AY Amazon; bn.com A compelling tale of unrequited love between algebra teacher Travis Hall and his student, Sarah Thompson. Neo-History August Hock. MountainLion Press. $20 paper (246p), ISBN 9780989048828 Amazon A newly minted detective takes his first case in Georgetown, searching for the missing last manuscript of renowned scholar of history Al Finkel. A Cheap Shofar: UnOrthodox Short Fictions Paul Ilie. . $ paper (215p), ISBN 10:0615858503; $ e-book ISBN pilie@usc.edu Short fictions with religious themes portraying Orthodox and secular Jewish characters. Written in varying styles, from realistic and symbolic to whimsical and psychological. India Was One An Indian. Season Ball. $14.95 paper (368p), ISBN 9780615916194; $3.79 e-book ASIN B004S3OWO0 indiawasone.com What if India was divided into two countries? Everything was going smoothly for Kaahi and Jai until they were trapped he was in South India, and she was in North India.

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SELF-PUBLISHED LISTINGS
Paper Soldiers Joe Joffe. Penn Media. $8.99 paper (207p), ISBN 9780615798363; $3.99 e-book Amazon When law firm associate Jake Green is called in to assist with the investigation of a major American oil company and star client, he finds himself embroiled in a global power struggle. The Rummy Club Anoop Ahuja Judge. Daggerhorn Publishing. $16.95 paper (316p), ISBN 9780991081011 (925) 577-6500 Four high school girlfriends from India reunite in California after decades and resume their weekly rummy night; a snapshot of the Indian diaspora in the 21st century. Conspiracy of Silence Gled Browne Kabongo. iUniverse. $16.95 paper (306p), ISBN 9781475945676; $2.99 e-book ISBN 9781475945683 Amazon; bn.com Boston executive Nina Kasai has been living a lie since her college days, but some secrets are too big to stay buried. Will Nina find the courage to confront her pastand make a life-altering decision leaving multiple casualties in its wake? Freeze Kill David Kreinberg. David Kreinberg. $2.99 e-book ISBN 9780991378401 Amazon; bn.com; Smashwords A child discovers the ability to stop time and then uses it to murder people, becoming a serial killer with a horrifying gift. The Donation of Constantine: A Novel Simon LeVay. CreateSpace. $16.95 paper (425p), ISBN 9781470132156; $7.99 e-book ASIN B00FQ70MAU Amazon Set in eighth-century Italy, this is a story of intrigue, illicit passion, and the struggle for control of medieval Europe. Community Service Dakota Madison. Short on Time Books. $9.99 paper (230p), ISBN 9781493735099; $2.99 e-book ASIN B00GOKZBJK Amazon; bn.com As Maggie Mitchell enters her final semester of college, the last thing she wants is a guy in her life, let alone two of them: Sawyer, an overconfident jock who uses a wheelchair, and Jude, a hot actor whom all the girls want. But who will Maggie choose? In the Presence of My Enemies Rene Allen McCoy. FaytheWorks Publishing. $14.99 paper (334p), ISBN 9780983604648; $4.99 e-book ASIN B00GY8IR0M; BN ID 2940148871156 Amazon Kara Bentley must overcome unrelenting trials that threaten any hope she has of leaving the projects, while winning the love of the man of her dreams and, most importantly, holding on to her faith in God. Dating a Cougar: Book 1 of the Never Too Late Series Donna McDonald. CreateSpace. $12.99 paper (282p), ISBN 9781461119845; $0 e-book ISBN 9781939988034 Kobo; Amazon; bn.com Former model Alexa Ranger falls for retired Marine Casey Carter and proves that it really is never too late for love and romance.
Illuminating Crystal: Book One in the White Bird Series P.B. Morlen. BookLocker. $18.95 paper (350p), ISBN 9781614342885; $3.99 e-book ASIN B0068R63KU Amazon; bn.com When Crystal Blue finds an ancient manuscript in a bookstores basement, she is forever changed for the mission she was born to fulfill. She is an Avatar, gifted with the ability to walk between worlds but vulnerable to dark forces that seek to destroy her. Crimson Liberty George W. Morrison. Georjes Press/CreateSpace. $15.95 paper (304p), ISBN 9781479153800; $2.99 e-book Auntiesbooks.com; Bookpassage.com; Smashwords Dewy Spearman directs Macbeth in a theater controlled by a corrupt family and soon is fighting for his reputation, his career, his lady, and even his life. Rev Conner Moysei. Conner Moysei. $4.99 e-book ASIN B00HBU5PAW; BN ID 2940149079018 Amazon; bn.com After a chemical world war, some humans the giftedpossess enhanced abilities. The government attempts to isolate them to protect them, but a terrorist group interferes. Greek Bonds and French Ladies

Paul A. Myers. Paul A. Myers Books. $9.99 paper (242p), ISBN 9781494325985; $2.99 e-book ASIN B00H0OSM40; BN ID 2940045477239 Amazon; bn.com In 2012, hedge fund investor Jim Schiller bets billions on a bailout of Greek bonds now threatened by scandal. Can Jim and Sophie dAuverne, a former French finance official, save the bailout?
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SELF-PUBLISHED LISTINGS
Hot Minnesota Sex Death M.R. Nesheim. M.R. Nesheim. $14 paper (357p), ISBN 9781619273108; $3.99 e-book ISBN 9781620952511 mrnesheim.com; Amazon; iBooks; bn.com An irreverent, playful mix of allegory and parable that tells the tale of the U.S. economy during the subprime crisis. The Fallen Body: Taylour Dixxon Series Stone Patrick. CreateSpace. $12.99 paper (246p), ISBN 9781493601394; $3.99 e-book ISBN 9781493121533 Amazon; bn.com A small-town lawyer befriends a New Jersey socialite and millionairess who is arrested for the murder of her husband, turning her law practice upside down. Plus One: Because Prince Charming Isnt Always Mr. Right Sarah Phelan. Blanket Fort Publishing. $14.95 paper (264p), ISBN 9780977992720; $6.99 e-book ASIN B00FS1LVHM Amazon When Julias husband leaves her, she must attend an old friends wedding on her own. Only the best man knows the truth, and the secrets he and Julia share could be why theyre both there without their plus one. Quartet Heather Refetoff. CreateSpace. $14.60 paper (402p), ISBN 9781480043909; $3.99 e-book ASIN B009M4PH8K Amazon; bn.com An Anglo-American Gen-X couple leave New York City for an inherited estate in rural England, where their story intersects with the courtship, marriage, and French sojourn of another couple. Privileged Corruption Ursula Ringham. Ursula Ringham. $14.99 paper (348p), ISBN 9780991064410; $6.99 e-book ISBN 9780991064403 Amazon; bn.com In Silicon Valley, software start-ups are considered high risk, high reward, but are they worth risking your life? Kate Crawford is about to find out. The Not-So-Terrible Ivan Phil Saroyan. Philip Saroyan. $5 paper (48p); $2.99 e-book ISBN 9781467558167 (562) 322-8245 A modern science fiction comedy about a surgeon who cryogenically freezes himself to find a cure in the future. The Devils Playground: Book One of the Sapphire Staff Series Cynthia Sens. iUniverse. $25.95 hardcover (232p), ISBN 9781491711842; $3.99 e-book ISBN 9781491711859 Amazon; bn.com The first in a thriller mystery series set in the Midwest with elements of humor, history, action, adventure, and a touch of the supernatural. The Wolf at the End of the World Douglas Smith. Lucky Bat Books. $18.99 paper (360p), ISBN 9780991800735; $8.99 e-book ISBN 9780991800742 smithwriter.com A shapeshifter battles ancient spirits and a covert government agency in a race to solve a murder that could mean the end of the world. Robyns Egg Mark Souza. Mark Souza. $12.99 paper (336p), ISBN 9780985677213; $2.99 e-book ASIN B0085BCLK8; BN ID 2940044806092 Amazon In a dismal future driven by corporations, where most citizens are human billboards, Moyer and Robyn struggle to purchase a baby. It may cost more than they realize. Break in Two M.J. Summers. Indigo Group. $15.49 paper (364p), ISBN 9780992142209; $3.89 e-book ASIN B00GHM379G Amazon; bn.com A feisty chef. A hot cowboy. A past that comes back to tear them apart. The Mysterious World of Men and Women Looking Al Sundel. Lulu Press. $15.99 paper (214p), ISBN 9781483402383; $9.99 e-book ISBN 9781483402390 mysterysingles.com; lulu.com; bn.com; iPad;Amazon A mystery set in a singles colony where New Age women meet divorce-enraged men. Tougher beachhouse confrontations than Emma Bovary or Anna Karenina ever knew. All Means All, If You Believe Gwen Sutton. Lift Him Up Productions. $13.99 paper (246p), ISBN 9781491236611; $8.99 e-book ASIN B00GRIUHF2 Amazon A deeply emotional journey through one familys tragedy, lifethreatening choices, and ultimate redemption when a promising college senior commits an unimaginable act that shatters his familys normal, happy existence.

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Collection of Auguries: Stories Annie Q. Syed. McNally Jackson. $14 paper (172p), ISBN 9781938022456 McNally Jackson Books The writer of the foreword says these stories are short, energetic frissons to shake the mind, emotions, and senses out of their usual ruts; they prove both disquieting and thrilling. Seven-X Mike Wech. Seven-X Film Group. $10.99 paper (270p), ISBN 9780615505817; $2.99 e-book ASIN B007MF7LV2 Amazon; bn.com; seven-x.com A tenacious reporter becomes prey in a radical paranormal experiment after committing himself into an asylum rumored to enslave prisoners presumed executed by the state. e-book ISBN 9780982726471 Amazon; bn.com Create bath and body products at home with potent essential oils. Eco-friendly recipes are filled with enticing fragrances and soothing organic ingredients. Loukoumi and the Schoolyard Bully Nick Katsoris. NK Publications/Dream Day Press. $15.95 hardcover (32p), ISBN 9780984161034; $9.99 e-book ASIN B00GIA4N72 loukoumi.com; (212) 397-2804; Baker & Ta y l o r ; F o l l e t t ; bn.com; Amazon After making fun of Loukoumis name, schoolyard bully Igor the alligator realizes that while Loukoumis name is different, everyone is really the same. Includes audio download narration by Morgan Freeman, Nia Vardalos, Olympia Dukakis, Gloria Gaynor, and others. Ages 58. Blood Orange Soda J a m e s M i c h a e l L a rranaga. James Michael Larranaga. $3.99 e-book ISBN 9780991325603 Amazon Darius is a bullied high school freshman who drinks blood orange soda to transform into a vampire. He learns life as a vampire has its own challenges. Ages 1216. Clan Realm Lovejoy. CreateSpace. $12.99 paper (336p), ISBN 9781493639540; $2.99 e-book ASIN B00GMM93FI Amazon Clan 1672 (privately known as Twain) was never supposed to survive the Incubation Tank. But he did. Illegally. He is different from the other Clansa secret that could destroy him. Ages 1216. Karlas Magic Skates; or, The Edge of the Cold Sheila Paige. CreateSpace. $7.95 paper (42p), ISBN 9781484160169
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Countryside: The Book of the Wise J.T. Cope IV. Village Green Press. $24.95 hardcover (260p), ISBN 9780985814151; $3.99 e-book ISBN 9780985814175 Amazon; Kobo; bn.com; Smashwords Eleven-year-old Luke Rayburn has never seen a skyline without skyscrapers or fallen asleep to anything but the sound of traffic. But his life is about to change in ways he never imagined. Ages 811. The Panther/Girl Michelle Geltner. Of Myths & Magic Publishing. $14.99 paper (241p), ISBN 9780991122301; $2.99 e-book ISBN 9780991122318 Amazon; bn.com Kira hates humans. After all, she isnt exactly human. But now she must learn to trust them in order to escape a zoo, navigate a forest, and rebuild her devastated species... and her life. If she doesnt, she may never find her way home. Ages 1216. No Returns Gail Giles and Deb Vanasse. Running Fox Books. $14.99 paper (234p), ISBN 9781940320045; $5.99 e-book ISBN 9781940320038 runningfoxbooks.com Three middle-school boys want their fledgling band to get noticed. An adventure of music, magic, and myth that puts a fresh spin on the timeless tale of Faust for young readers. Ages 812.

HEALTH & FITNESS


ePatient 2015: 15 Surprising Trends Changing Health Care R o h it Bh a rg a v a a nd Fard Johnmar. IdeaPress Publishing. $36.95 hardcover (240p), ISBN 9781940858005; $9.99 e-book ISBN 9781940858012 Amazon A look at how technology and empowered patients are changing health care globally. With original research and dozens of real-life case studies and stories. Organic Beauty with Essential Oil: Over 400+ Homemade Recipes for Natural Skin Care, Hair Care and Bath & Body Products Rebecca Park Totilo. Rebecca at the Well Foundation. $29.95 paper (328p), ISBN 9780982726426; $9.95

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Amazon A brave girl teams up with her skates and sets forth on a journey to rescue a world taken over by ice. Ages 48. Princess Bing Bong Hits the Beach Va n e s s a P a n i c c i a , illus. by Susan Shorter. AuthorHouse. $18.99 paper (30p), ISBN 9781491841891; $3.99 e-book ISBN 9781491841907 Amazon; bn.com In this second book in the series, Princess Bing Bong heads to the beach with her best friend, Ferris. As usual, nothing goes as expected, and this beach day is anything but ordinary. Ages 58. Dead Chest Island: The Secrets Begin, Book 1 J.J. Parsons. CreateSpace/MediaTechnics. $8.99 paper (158p), ISBN 9781494329136; $4.99 e-book ASIN B00H58VB6M; BN ID 2940149079155 Amazon; bn.com Edison Jones; his sister, Charlotte; and his African-American friend, Jonathan, explore an old pirate legend in the Caribbean and discover some very mysterious technology. Ages 812. The Jinni on the Roof: A Ramadan Story Natasha Rafi, illus. by Abdul Malik Channa. Pamir. $10.99 paper (40p), ISBN 9780988864900 Amazon; bn.com Raza is too young to fast, but he longs for the delicious parathas the grown-ups eat before dawn. Raza hatches a plan. Will he get away with it? A tale about a mischievous boy who learns the true meaning of Ramadanpatience and empathy. Ages 48. Jim Morgan and the Pirates of the Black Skull James Matlack Raney. Dreamfarer Press. $12.38 paper (330p), ISBN 9780985835934; $2.99 e-book ISBN 9780985835958 Amazon; bn.com Jim Morgan is thrust into a deadly race against old enemies and new for possession of a powerful talisman, with Jims destiny at stake. Ages 812. The Last Girl on Earth Tom Ryerson. Isis Press. $5.97 e-book ISBN 9780981378183 Amazon Claire and Steve endure a high school prank to discover they might be the only survivors of a worldwide catastrophe. Now what do they do? Ages 1216. Pooch and the Prince Tom Samuels. Inkwater Press. $10.95 paper (94p), ISBN 9781629010007; $2.99 e-book ASIN B00E5SAQR0 Amazon; bn.com The story of a little girl, a border collie named Pooch, and an Indian-Welsh pony called Prince. Ages 69. Trapped in Oblivion Ifeoma Theodore Jnr, E. Kachifo Ltd. $4 paper (243p), ISBN 9789785205817 Bookstores A romance story between adoloscents, set in Africa. It addresses intricate issues like teen pregnancy, child molestation, domestic violence, peer pressure, HIV/AIDS, among others. Ages 1216. I Wish Raisins Could Float Gerald Walker. Gerald Walker. $2.99 e-book ISBN 9781467597869 Amazon The adventures of 14-year-old Allison Electric; her eight-year-old brother, Caleb; Allisons fat-tongued dog; and Calebs dead goldfish. Ages 812. The Sleepy Star Adrienne Werle-Austermann. 1414 Publishing. $19.99 hardcover (26p), ISBN 9781628474084 Amazon; bn.com A bedtime tale filled with whimsical illustrations. A sleepy star falls from the sky and has an incredible underwater adventure. Ages 36. The Knifes Edge: Book 1 of the Ronin Saga Matthew Wolf. Matthew Wolf. $29.99 hardcover (426p), ISBN 9780989148320; $5.99 e-book ASIN B00CAWXIPU; BN ID 2940044388819 Amazon Gray, a young boy, encounters nine legendary warriors known as the Ronin, who wield elemental powers. Now, Gray must uncover his past to discover his strange connection to the Ronin before all the lands fall to ruin. Ages 1216.

NONFICTION
Couch Potato Politics: Why America Is Screwed Up and Why Its Our Own Damn Fault Mark A. Prior. CreateSpace. $17.95 paper (328p), ISBN 9781484103135; $8.99 e-book ASIN B00COUXXZS; BN ID: 2940016411781 Amazon; bn.com A witty and biting primer on American politics and government. Topics range from gerrymandering to the two-party system to

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legalizing marijuana. Miracles Matter: True Stories of God at Work Janet Tombow. Carpenters Son Publishing. $12.95 paper (229p), ISBN 9780988940390; $9.99 e-book ASIN B00GWTW7E0; BN ID: 2940149052943 Amazon; bn.com A collection of true stories from some who overcame lifes difficult times and unique challenges through divine intervention. Each remarkable story gives hope and uplift. Amazon; bn.com Ta p p a n m o v e s beyond the clichs and excuses for alcohol violence to solve the mystery behind the behavior. Drawing on the latest science, he pinpoints cytokines and their inflammation of the brain as the cause. accessible, yet researched and thought-provoking stories and reflections about priorities, purpose, and love. The book is not intended as a conclusion but a starting point for a life well lived. What if Tomorrow Never Comes? Neil David Schwartz. CreateSpace. $12.99 paper (216p), ISBN 9781484900352 Amazon; bn.com The authors life is broadsided when he suddenly loses his wife and becomes the caretaker of his young dying daughter. An account of his journey from tragedy to recovery.

RELIGION
William Marrion Branham: Gods Twentieth-Century Prophet Victor Sutch. Inkwater Press. $12.95 paper (216p), ISBN 9781592998982; $3.99 e-book ASIN B00B9P2PLC Amazon; bn.com Angel visitations, miraculous healings, divine miraclesBranhams life is presented in chapters that compare it to events in the life of Jesus Christ. Scientific Introduction to BibleThe Design of Life Jinhai Wang and DC Jubsal. SJ MedMusic. $6.99 e-book ASIN B00HFFDE4M Amazon The book provides scientific notions, findings, and analysis related to the origin of humans. The past of humans is a key consideration for the future. The authors present disaster prevention strategies through design, music, love, and medicine.

POETRY
The U.S. Presidents: Profiled in Short Poems Birendar Singh. Birendar Singh. $12 paper (67p), ISBN 9780989280105 (301) 983-0186 A rhythmic glimpse into the lives and accomplishments of the U.S. presidents.

SPORTS & RECREATION


Push Dicks Button: A Conversation on Skating from a Good Part of the Last Centuryand a Little Tomfoolery Dick Button. CreateSpace. $13.20 paper (254p), ISBN 9781494223472 Amazon; dickbutton. com Everything many of us know about figure skating, we learned from the man whos been called the Voice of Figure Skating. Olympic gold medalist, World Champion, and U.S. Champion Dick Button demystifies this art and sport beloved by millions.

PSYCHOLOGY
WordPlay: How Words Captivate, Illuminate, Intimidate, Inform, and Imbue Us with Intelligence Glenn Bassett. CreateSpace. $12.99 paper (308p), ISBN 9781492985389; $6.99 e-book ASIN B00GF0M20U Amazon A compilation of the most salient research pertaining to language u s e . A l a y p e r s o n s introduction to psycholinguistics with the emphasis on how words shape behavior and become the substance of the mind. Mean Drunk: Anger, Hostility and Alcohol William Tappan. CreateSpace. $12.75 paper (132p), ISBN 9781493556670; $7.99 e-book ASIN B00G3FNXFU

SELF-HELP
Kindling: Igniting a Life of Insight and Purpose William Corwin Clyde. CreateSpace. $7.99 paper (138p), ISBN 9781492899518; $3.99 e-book ISBN 9781310543630 Smashwords Conversational and

TRAVEL
Moving with the Seasons: Portrait of a Mongolian Family Liza F. Carter. Saltwind Press. $48 paper (189p), ISBN 9780989018708 movingwiththeseasons.com A photographic and written portrait of the daily life of a modern nomadic family.

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Reviews
Fiction
Collection of Auguries
Annie Q. Syed. McNally Jackson, $14 paper (172p) ISBN 978-1-938022-45-6

Syed presents a rich and engaging collection of short shorts that reveals hidden truths about the human condition and encourages readers to search for fuller understanding of themselves and their place in the universe. In some entries, the author uses dialogue between two characters to drive the narrative. Other stories are more traditional in their form, and address love, dreams, and memories. All are well crafted and rich in their sense of place; they use philosophic inquiry, scientific explanation, and ancient myth to examine the human experience. And while most of the stories run less than five pages, readers will find themselves pondering them long after finishing the collection. As the narrator of Love Is Not a True Word explains, Some stories we understand better the more often we hear or read them. Other stories we can only understand the first time and thereafter we can never reach the same understanding. The meaning of Syeds stories will stick with readers like dreams throughout the day.

low herself to get close to any of them. So when firefighter Rusty Wilson starts pursuing Julie, she resists his efforts. But soon, strange things start happening to Julieher house gets broken into, her cat is killed, a snake is left in her carand she thinks shes become a target. And when she finally lets down her guard with Rusty, some surprising truths about her past come to light. Clarks (After Midnight) strong grasp of the intricacies of firefighting and police procedure is on display in this suspenseful novel. That, and a well-rendered setting, ground the story, parts of which are more believable than others. Fans of the series will certainly enjoy this latest effort from Clark and find Julie an engaging protagonist.

the house, whose wife is about to give birth to twins, and who is haunted by his past. Given how powerful the Fathers Disciples arethey have infiltrated the DAs office, the police department, and most of city hallthe odds are certainly against Lovison, but the tone of the book will leave few readers surprised at how it all plays out.

Inside the Tall, Thick Book of Tales


A.C. Birdsong. Cape Buffalo Publishing, $12 paper (307p) ISBN 978-0-615-85105-1

Fathers House
C. Edward Baldwin. Smashwords, $3.99 ebook (229p) ISBN 978-1-311-39858-1

Cries in the Night


Kathy Clark. Nightwriter93, $9.99 paper (251p) ISBN 978-1-4928-7667-0

In the second installment in Clarks Denver After Dark series, Julie Lawrence works as a victims advocate for the police department in Denver. Shes friendly with the police officers and firefighters who make up her social circle, but doesnt al-

Nothing shatters the illusion of reality in a thriller more quickly than a ludicrous and gratuitous detail. And in this improbable thriller, Baldwin strains credulity to the breaking point when he describes a character as having received advanced medical and legal degrees by the age of 11. In Duraleigh, N.C., a hyperpowerful criminal drug syndicate called Fathers Disciples is using Fathers House, a home for disadvantaged boys, to recruit members. Pitted against this group is Assistant District Attorney Ben Lovison, a young prosecutor with links to

Jacob is the last in a line of caretakers of magic. He is charged with training one apprentice in his life and passing on all his magical knowledge. But his apprentice, Palmer, is impatient and yearns to use magic before the time is right. When Jacob says he will no longer work with Palmer, the apprentice manages to trap Jacobalong with Lucy, a young girl who lives next doorinside a book of childrens fairy tales, promising to let him out only after Jacob gives him all of his magical knowledge. Now Lucy and Jacob must devise an escape plan before its too late. Although Birdsongs premise is interesting and fun, and the books setting is imaginative, plot holes and inconsistences take away from the narrative. While some of the novels many charactersparticularly Plamer fall flat, others, like the Bookworm, are delightful and entertaining.

Jump
Stephen R. Stober. Stephen R. Stober Books, $2.99 e-book (294p) ISBN 978-0-9919567-1-5

The unnamed protagonist of this novel knows nothing of his own identity. Hes a presence who moves from host to host, helping people through times of extreme duress and hardship before moving on

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again. This time, he finds himself in Boston, where his host is Jeremy Roberts, a successful businessman whose family was destroyed by the disappearance of his daughter, Jessie. As Jeremy, the narrator utilizes his photographic memory to restart the investigation into Jessies disappearance, working to uncover a dark conspiracy before he must move on to his next host. Stobers thriller is engaging and his premisewhich will remind readers of TVs Quantum Leapis fascinating. Although some elements of the plot strain the bounds of credulity, tight prose and a winning concept make for an entertaining read. providing readers with an authentic account of the perilous life of 19th-century fishermen. Frosts art, reproduced in black-and-white and full-color plates, is evocative, whimsical, and dramatic. This accessible, entertaining, and educational book should appeal to readers young and old. Jude Has Ever Done, a salacious man plays a prank on a womanconvincing her that she might have contracted HIV. Other stories examine violence, love, and the fringes of society, and feature a host of lewd, vulgar, and self-centered characters, while a series of eight shorts about a girl named Eva form the backbone of the collection. These gritty stories will appeal to readers with an appetite for blunt entertainment.

Night Chill
Jeff Gunhus. Seven Guns Press, $14.95 paper (438p) ISBN 978-0-615-82838-1

Molly Waldo! A Young Mans First Voyage to the Grand Banks of Newfoundland, Adapted from the Stories of Marblehead Fishermen of the 1800s
Priscilla L. Moulton and Bethe Lee Moulton. Glide Press, $19.95 hardcover (136p) ISBN 978-0-9836365-0-2

Drawing on historical events, the mother-daughter team of Priscilla L. and Bethe Lee Moulton vividly capture life in a 19th-century New England fishing community. Inspired by the paintings of J.O.J. Frost and fleshed out with biographies, a map, other artwork, and a glossarythis coming-of-age tale follows fictional 16-year-old Jon Bowen on his first voyage aboard the fishing schooner Fides. As he battles the elements and learns the ropes, he encounters a colorful cast of characters who help him to survive along the way. The authors narrative is crisp and packed with details,

Jack Tremont moves his family from California to Maryland for a slower pace and quieter life. Things in Maryland seem idyllic until a dying drunk tells Jack that his daughter, Sarah, is in grave danger. Soon, Nate Huckleya terrifying killer with dark powerssets his sights on Sarah. When Sarah goes missing, Jackwith the help a mysterious Native American named Joseph Lonetreemust take matters into his own hands and uncover a supernatural conspiracy. Gunhus (Jack Templar Monster Hunter) has created a taut thriller that will keep readers up at night. While the plots supernatural elements can seem a bit heavy handed, the books real strengths are the genuine creepiness of Huckley and the way the author steadily ramps up the tension. Readers looking for a good scare will delight in this novel, even if they suddenly feel compelled to sleep with the lights on.

Ten Stories
Paul Cumbo. One Lane Bridge Publications, $11.95 paper (164p) ISBN 978-0-9882086-2-9

Surface Children
Dean Blake. Dean Blake, $12.95 paper (202p) ISBN 978-0-9923690-0-2

This collection of brash shorts from blogger Blake covers everything from broken relationships to vanity and horror. And while some stories are unfocused and discursive, the collection proves ironically entertaining and appealingly tasteless. In The Committee, a group of young adults form a pact to look perfect from any angle, while in The Worst Thing

Cumbo (Boarding Pass) offers up 10 shorts with broad appeal in this entertaining collection. In the opening story, a group of boys in the small town of Lawson, N.Y., are accessories to a bike theft and learn an important lesson when they confront the reclusive man from whom the bicycle was stolen. In Thunderbird, a young boy learns life lessons when his troubled 18-year-old cousin comes to visit. While Cumbos stories are tender and well crafted, some of them lack depth. Park Avenue describes a young mans new job at a stock brokerage firm in New York. The storys characters reflect the elitism and materialism of the world of high finance, but they fail to reflect the moral ambiguity many readers will expect from the denizens of Wall Street. While these emotive tales often lack the kind of gut-wrenching or heartwarming denouements that would make them stick with readers, they ably capture everyday
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life and the unexpected lessons that come from self-discovery. in. But when Willa agrees to work with a writer friend on a project related to the popular reality show Dare You!, she must own her choices, while challenging her fathers mantra and opening herself up to new challenges and unexpected surprises. Scotch (The Song Remains the Same) spins an entertaining tale of fate versus free will, and of one womans decision to reclaim her life by reconsidering the paths not taken and facing fears. Rife with lighthearted humor and memorable characters, readers will find themselves rooting for Willa during her emotional journey to overcome her insecurities and create her own path for happiness. ing readers curious about what comes next for the Heroka in the modern world.

The Donation of Constantine


Simon LeVay. CreateSpace/Lambourn Books, $16.95 paper (425p) ISBN 978-1-4701-3215-6

Nonfiction
99 Jobs: Blood, Sweat, and Houses
Joe Cottonwood. Clear Heart Books, $17.99 paper (302p) ISBN 978-0-615-90944-8

LeVay (When Science Goes Wrong) provides an intriguing look at eighth-century Rome and a critique of the complexities of historical truth in this fictional account of the creation of one of the seminal documents in European history: the Donation of Constantine. With Aistulf, King of the Lombards, poised to overrun Rome, Paul, the brother of Pope Stephen II, and Leoba, a nun, missionary, and scribe, concoct a desperate scheme to forge a letter from Emperor Constantine I giving the Pope temporal power over the West. LeVay presents an intriguing view of the clash between social necessity and individual faith that successfully evokes a world with concerns familiar to modernday readers. Additionally, the author offers a coherent, fact-based picture of the ambiguities of historical truth and the shakiness of the foundations of society. The inclusion of historical background information weighs down the narrative at times, but the complexity of the novels issues provides room for reflection on the perversion of fact and dogma in the face of necessity.

The Wolf at the End of the World


Douglas Smith. Lucky Bat Books, $18.99 paper (360p) ISBN 978-0-9918007-3-5

The Theory of Opposites


Allison Winn Scotch. Camellia Press, $13.99 paper (312p) ISBN 978-0-9894990-0-2

Everything happens for a reason. Or so Willa Chandler-Golden, the daughter of a popular self-help guru and bestselling author, has been led to believe. But this idea of a universe of no coincidences is challenged when Willas comfortable life suddenly comes crashing down: her husband proposes a no-contact separation for the summer, she is fired from her job, and her troubled 12-year-old nephew moves

Killings in a remote Canadian town draw the attention of two rival groups: the Heroka, Native American shape-shifters, and the Tainchel, a secret government agency tasked with hunting down the Heroka. Among those investigating the killings are Gwyn Blaidd, a solitary Heroka war hero of the wolf totem, and Kate Morgan, a member of the Tainchel traveling with her visually impaired son, Zach. As the killings continue, dark supernatural forces align in an attempt to rule the world. Smith (Chimerascope) has a thorough grounding in Native American lore, and this creates an immersive and enjoyable reading experience. Readers will delight in learning more about Native American mythology, which is skillfully woven throughout the story. Smiths novel is both well paced and deftly plottedleav-

In this gritty and entertaining memoir, Cottonwood presents readers with a collection of anecdotessome more serious than othersabout his experiences working odd jobs as a contractor, carpenter, plumber, and electrician. As the titles suggests, the work wasnt always easy, but it brought Cottonwood into contact with a variety of colorful characters and situationse.g., when the author takes a job rewiring an illegal rental for a crazy man; when he gets a job changing light bulbs on a college campus; and when he salvages a clawfoot bathtub from a wrecking yard in San Jose, Calif., only to let it sit unused on his unfinished bathroom floor for six years. Cottonwoods prose is lively and his stories often charming. Readers will find it easy to relate to the author and his experiences, which are likely to appeal to anyone who has worked a less-than-perfect job.

Emily Dickinson, Virgin Recluse and Rebel: 36 Poems, Their Backstories, Her Life
Lea Bertani Vozar Newman. Shires Press, $22 paper (212p) ISBN 978-0-9746389-8-0

Emily Dickinson is one of those most celebrated figures in American poetry. Here, college professor Newman compiles 36 poems that she finds representative of Dickinsons canon and reflective of her life. The author pairs these poems with scholarship and biographical information to give readers a fuller picture of the poets life and work. Topics range from Dickinsons relationship with God to her

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obsession with mortality and gradual isolationall of them framed by her evocative words. Those who havent read Dickinsons poetry will likely find this an interesting entry point, but readers already familiar with her work will absolutely delight in this volume. Newman is an informed guide and offers readers a chance to understand the woman behind the poems.

Push Dicks Button: A Conversation on Skating from a Good Part of the Last Century and a Little Tomfoolery
Dick Button. CreateSpace, $15.99 paper (254p) ISBN 978-1-4942-2347-2

Parents in Highschooland:

Helping Students Succeed in the Critical Years


Karyn Rashoff. BarkingDogBooks, $12.95 paper (162p) ISBN 978-0-9897606-1-4

Rashoff uses her considerable experience (33 years as a high school counselor) to provide practical advice in this no-nonsense guidebook for parents and students. Rashoffs tone is compassionate but firm, and she uses snappy, memorable comparisons to get her points across, while employing advice from families who have successfully navigated high school. Each chapter concludes with an enthusiastic directive or question, and readers will find help on a broad variety of topics, such as how to talk to your child and how to improve study habits. Rashoff also has suggestions for success from teachers of various subjects. The author is also attentive to issues surrounding ethnic diversity in schools, and includes a chapter on Wisdom from Other Cultures. Rashoff has compiled such a helpful bookwell researched, on topic, with plenty of good examples that its hard to give her anything but an A.

Dick Button is one of the most famous names in figure skatingas both an Olympic champion and an expert commentator. Here, he invites readers to join my dogs and me on my well-worn couch and discuss his sport. Button ably breaks down some of the fundamentals of figure skating for those new to the sport, highlights key moments in figure skating history (his own included), and explains recent changes in scoring that have alienated some fans. Figure skating enthusiasts will find this intimate, insiders account priceless. Button is gregarious and self-effacing, and hes clearly passionate about his sport. However, the authors informal tone doesnt always make for easy reading. Button meanders from topic to topic without a strong sense of organization, and this can leave readers confused, even as they enjoy his laidback affability.

the-grid living, while leaving him feeling disconnected from the modern world. After graduating from college and finishing an unsatisfying internship at the Nation, Schimmoeller embarked on a solo journey across America on a unicycle. The authors story of finding a way to live in the world on his own terms is told simultaneously with that of his attempts to save old-growth forest adjacent to his homestead in Kentucky. It doesnt make a difference one way or the other if I take a break, he tells a stranger who questions the intensely slow pace of his mode of transportan explanation that speaks to the authors quest to find respite in a troubled world.

Twelve Mindful Months: Cultivating a Balanced & Fit Body, Mind & Spirit
Carol Tibbetts. True Nature Press, $26.95 hardcover (160p) ISBN 978-0-615-68758-2

Fitness instructor Tibbetts offers up a winning self-help book that will likely find an eager audience among those hoping to fulfill New Years resolutions that include losing weight, getting active, and having a better outlook on life. The author posits that mindful, healthy living can lead to impressive results, such as in-

Slowspoke: A Unicyclists
Guide to America
Mark Schimmoeller. Synandra Press/Alice Peck Editorial, $14.95 paper (311p) ISBN 9780-9860587-0-7

Sumptuous language and a disarming gentleness propel this profoundly simple, funny, and sincere memoir. Growing up as the child of idealistic homesteaders in Kentucky imbued Schimmoeller with a deep appreciation for nature and off-

creased contentment, relaxation, and happiness. With a chapter devoted to each month of the year, the book features topics ranging from journaling and serenity to keeping a food diary. Each chapter also includes encouraging tips on fitness, healthy eating, and mindfulness. Although Tibbetts doesnt present anything particularly new here, readers already committed to a healthy lifestyle or those who need a friendly reminder will welcome this useful companion.

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REVIEWS

Childrens Books
Picture Books
Loukoumi and the Schoolyard Bully
Nick Katsoris. NK Publications/Dream Day Press (www.Loukoumi.com), $15.95 (32p) ISBN 978-0-9841610-3-4

Katsoris addresses bullying in his sixth book starring Loukoumi, an anthropomorphic lamb who lives up to her sweet name (its the Greek word for Turkish delight candy). After Loukoumi tells her friends that shes going to have a baby brother, a pushy alligator named Igor butts in and makes fun of her name. Following a leaden pep talk from one of her friends (You shouldnt be a bully because it really isnt cool. You should be accepting of others. Thats the golden rule), Loukoumi counters Igors meanness with kindness. In a speedy about-face, Igor apologies to Loukoumi, and her response crystallizes the storys obvious message: It really is cooler to be nice. The author reinforces the theme of Loukoumis sweetness in the storys conclusion, when her father says they will name her newly arrived sibling Lou, in honor of Loukoumi. The brassy digitally created cartoons have a TV cartoon vibe, but tend to be static and flat. A portion of the books proceeds will benefit St. Judes Childrens Research Hospital. An audio download featuring celebrity narrators is available on the series Web site. Ages 48.

explore a mysterious island and encounter dangers aplenty. Edison Jones, his older sister Charlotte, and new friend Jonathan follow clues left on an old piece of scrimshaw, which lead them to a longlost tunnel on the ominously named Dead Chest Island. After a tsunami leaves them stranded on the island, they must find a way to get home again. As their series of bizarre encounters expands to include a secret submarine, Russian spies, and a reclusive beatnik, they realize theyre in for the time of their lives. Parsonss middle-grade novel keeps characterization and explanations simple, while drawing on local myth and folklore, as well as historical events, to produce an entertaining if occasionally erratic narrative. Part of the story is recounted in a local dialect, which can disrupt the flow of events even as it adds color and flavor. However, the book ends with numerous questions left unanswered, setting up future installments of a planned series; a lighthearted afterword separates fact from fiction and offers some historical context. Ages 812.

must take to the high seas in pursuit of vengeance and treasure. A hidden island holds the key to finding the legendary Treasure of the Ocean, but Jim and his allies will have to outwit monsters, overcome their darker impulses, and fight for their lives to claim the prize. Swashbuckling pirate action meets magical mayhem as the intrepid teens encounter one problem after another. The overall story is a little convoluted with its numerous twists and turns, and fans may be tempted to face-palm as Jim makes some spectacularly bad decisions along the way, but Raney delivers a fast-paced, entertaining tale. Ages 812.

Blood Orange Soda


James Michael Larranaga. James Michael Larranaga, $3.99 e-book (350p) ISBN 978-09913256-0-3

Jim Morgan and the Pirates of the Black Skull


James Matlack Raney. Dreamfarer Press (www.jimmorganbooks.com), $11.99 paper (328p) ISBN 978-0-9858359-3-4

Fiction
Dead Chest Island
J.J. Parsons. CreateSpace (www.edisonjones. com), $8.99 paper (158p) ISBN 978-1-49432913-6

In this offbeat, fast-paced adventure set in the Caribbean in 1956, three children

The adventures of Jim Morgan continue in this second entry in the series, following Jim Morgan and the King of Thieves. A year after fighting the King of Thieves, Jim is ready to reclaim his home, now that his wicked Aunt Margarita is about to be arrested. But his homecoming leads to betrayal and tragedy as another old enemy surfaces. Now Jim, along with his best friends, Lacey and the Ratt Brothers,

Fifteen-year-old Darius is a goth who will someday become a vampire if he stops taking reds, pills that help suppress the blood cravings and allow vampires to lead normal lives. However, when constant bullying by Asian gang members at school gets to him, Darius decides to forgo the reds and transition early. His uncle hooks him up with blood orange soda, which accelerates the transformation while amplifying his physical changes and prowess. As Darius romances the sultry Shelby, likewise a vampire-in-transition, he must resist the temptation to take things to the next level. Hes also coping with his mothers declining health, the result of V2, the vampire version of HIV. The allegories fly fast and furious in this overwrought storyone that never entirely settles on an identity. Is this a story about bullying or drug abuse? Are readers meant to empathize with the teen who juices up on prohibited substances to settle his problems through fighting? With awkward slang (furreal, fugger) and a confused plot, this tale doesnt take full advantage of its unique spin on vampires in high school. Ages 12up.

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