March 2011

A quarterly guide to what’s new in self-publishing Full reviews of 30 self-published books Listings of 141 new titles


w Regional successes: four reports w Nine kids’ books that found big houses w How agents are changing their tune w New measures of success

A Nation’s Honor… A Generation’s Political Soul… Love and War in the Age of Aquarius
ALtAmoNt AuGie
A Novel by Richard Barager
308 pages ISBN 13 (TP): 978-0-9830661-0-1; $15.95 ISBN 13 (e-book): 978-0-9830661-1-8; $9.99


startlingly vivid portrayal of one of the most colorful and turbulent periods in American history. The tumultuous affair of David Noble and Jackie Lundquist, two illfated college lovers at odds over Vietnam, spills onto a tableau of some of the era’s most iconic settings—the legendary battleground of Khe Sanh; a Midwestern campus riven by dissent; and Altamont Speedway, scene of the notorious rock festival profiled in the film Gimme Shelter. Let the richly satisfying story of David and Jackie transport you to a Sixties state of mind.

“ …historical fiction at its very best. The main characters are true-to-life and make the readers care…Barager’s writing is always on target.”
—ForeWord Clarion Reviews

“I believe you’ll agree that this novel is the product of both genius and passion, a powerful and unforgettable literary experience.”
—Mark Spencer, winner of the Faulkner Award for the Novel for The Weary Motel

Available at Amazon, and Distributed to the trade by Pathway Book Service: 800-345-6665

Review Copies Available: Contact Publicist at


Booksellers Reveal Secrets to Self-Published Success
Midwest & Rocky Mountain States
By Claire Kirch


f there was ever a stigma about selling self-published books, independent booksellers in the Midwest and Rocky Mountain states have long since gotten over it. Self-published books sell well at most of the stores in the region contacted by PW. The Bookworm in Omaha, Neb., disclosed that two self-published books— Pleased but Not Satisfied by Berkshire Hathaway executive David Sokol, and Five Minute Talks on Life, Love, and Faith by Fr. James Schwertley, a retired Catholic priest—currently are their top-selling titles. More than 10,000 copies of Sokol’s book have sold since 2008 (2,000 of them since December), and 550 copies of Schwertley’s since September 2010. Orders for both books, which are sold exclusively by the Bookworm both instore and online, come in from all over the world. Booksellers agree that the self-published books that sell best are books that are both professionally packaged and aggressively marketed by the author. While several bookstores contacted disclosed that they only sell books by local authors on consignment for a 90-day period, that local connection, while important, wasn’t necessarily an essential factor in sales. “The author is in advertising, and Fall from Grace doesn’t have that ‘selfpublished’ look about it,” Bev Bauer, the owner of Redbery Books, in Cable, Wis., says about Kerry Casey’s comingof-age novel about five high school hockey players, which has sold 400 copies in her small store. The author lives in St. Paul, Minn., and has visited Red-

bery only “occasionally.” The biggest success story in recent years of any self-published book placed in Midwestern and mountain state bookstores has to be Blind Your Ponies by Minnesotan Stanley West. West, who lived in Bozeman, Mont., at the time, self-published his debut novel in 1997, after failing to find a publisher. Recalling that he “didn’t know any better,” he sold the novel, about a high school basketball team, to “every bookstore [he] could find” in that state. “The rings kept getting wider and wider,” West tells PW, and the book was picked up by independent bookstores across the Midwest, and then by the chain bookstores. By the time Algonquin Books acquired Blind Your Ponies last year, West had sold 40,000 copies. Gail White, a clerk at the Blue Heron in Ennis, Mont., tells PW that Blind Your Ponies is talked up to any customer asking for a recommendation. The combination antique store/bookstore has sold over 1,000 copies since 1997. “It’s one of the best reads,” White declares. Country Bookshelf in Bozeman also reports that the store sold “hundreds and hundreds” of copies of Blind Your Ponies since 1997, and has already sold about 100 copies of Algonquin’s reissue, published in January. “It’s one of those books people would read, and then return to the store to buy copies for others,” Anna Hjortsberg, Country Bookshelf’s manager, says. Charles Kaine, the owner of Readers Cove, in Fort Collins, Colo., describes Karla Oceanak as a prime example of an author who understands the fine art of self-promotion. Kaine has sold 400 cop-

ies of Oceanak’s debut children’s book, Artsy-Fartsy, since 2009, and has sold 300 copies of the second book in the Aldo Zelnick series, Bogus, in the past year. He reports that he’s got young customers “sitting on their hands” waiting for the third book, Cahoots, scheduled for release in May. “They’re an easy sell,” Kaine says, explaining that he tells customers the series is “just like Wimpy Kid Diaries, though not as snarky,” and that both books also refer to beloved local landmarks, as Oceanak lives in Fort Collins. IPG started distributing the titles through its regular program this past fall, and Artsy-Fartsy was recently named an IndieBound Children’s Books Favorite. Mary McDonald, events coordinator at the Learned Owl, in Hudson, Ohio, has been talking up Terry Sykes-Bradshaw’s debut novel, The Awful Truth About Dead Men to other GLiBA booksellers and to sales reps. “It’s a hoot, it’s fun, it’s a good mystery set during a Florida cruise,” she declares of the book, which has sold 40 copies in the store since this past summer. While the Learned Owl has a selfpublished authors section, The Awful Truth About Dead Men is shelved with the other paperback fiction titles. “When we’re fired up about a [selfpublished] book, we’ll mix it in with the regular books,” she disclosed, “There’s no reason Sykes-Bradshaw couldn’t be published by a mainstream press.”
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The South
By Marc Schultz


hen someone asked Mandy Williams, coauthor of What I Learned After My Husband Got Fired!, why the kinds of lessons laid out in her self-published personal finance memoir aren’t being taught in schools, Williams replies, “How would I know? What do I look like, a teacher?” That question cropped up shortly after the August 2009 release of the book Williams wrote with her sister, Tina Pennington, during a speaking engagement for businesswomen arranged by the Jewish Federation of Greater Houston. Within a matter of months, the sisters—who write under the names Red (Pennington) and Black (Williams)—found themselves teaching those very lessons, out of their own book, to a class of high school seniors at the KIPP Zenith charter school in Houston. Within a year, the title was approved by the Texas State Board of Education as a textbook for the state curriculum’s newly required financial literacy component. By the end of next month, Williams and Pennington plan to release a self-published teaching guide for What I Learned, based on the 140-page course proposal they sent to the Texas board. Even before their success with Texas schools, the sisters’ unusual self-pub story had gotten them a write-up in PW Daily: on the strength of their book, and a good bit of chutzpah, the Texas pair got Neiman Marcus in Houston to launch their self-pubbed, handbound title with its very own display window, featuring mannequins dressed like Williams and Pennington. It doesn’t hurt that the sisters

have a media-ready Odd Couple dynamic: Pennington is the finance-illiterate suburban housewife, while Williams is a selfdescribed “rich bitch who races cars.” The first-time authors’ aggressive time line put them out of the running for commercial publication—though they ended up consulting with Bright Sky Press in Texas—and their determination to print in the U.S. (with R.R. Donnelley) meant they had to commit to a 25,000 print run if they wanted any hope of recouping their investment. Though Williams never even considered education as a part of her marketing plan, the book’s content makes it a natural fit for a financial literacy classroom, covering everything from credit cards and insurance to time management, stress, and values. But it’s the story and the style that made it an unexpected hit with KIPP high schoolers: “It’s [written] the way kids communicate,” says Williams. “One kid told us it was like a reality show in a book.” The sisters’ foray into education was a surprise for both of them. When they were first called into the office of KIPP’s executive director, who received a copy from one of KIPP’s founding teachers (who received the copy from his wife), Williams expected, at best, that KIPP wanted a “dog-and-pony show: round up all the kids, put them in the auditorium.” After about 40 minutes of discussion, however, the director asked them to plan and teach a semester-long financial literacy program for his seniors. “Without skipping a beat,” Williams says, “I tell him, ‘Sure, no problem.’ I look at my sister and she looks like a deer in headlights.” After meeting for five weeks with a “task force” of eight high school students who volunteered to help them hammer out a curriculum, Williams and Pennington still hadn’t considered using What I Learned itself in the classroom: “The last day, we said to them, ‘Okay, we’re not

teachers, what do we use for handouts in class? How do we get the message across?’ And it was these kids that suggested we use the book as a textbook.” The program turned out to be a winner: “After we completed it, both the Texas Education Agency [which is overseen by the 15-member State Board of Education] as well as the lieutenant governor’s office wanted to hear more about the program.” That meeting led the pair to put together and submit a 140-page document on the program, called The Book Club Approach to Personal Finance & Life 101, which earned What I Learned approval from the State Board of Education for use in public schools throughout Texas. Like What I Learned, The Book Club Approach will be printed in the U.S. by R.R. Donnelley, with an initial print run of 1,500 (“as we expect it to be updated as we get feedback from users”) and a retail price of $20 (What I Learned sells for $25). Though Williams and Pennington still have a lot of copies on their hands— Williams estimates that between 2,000 and 2,500 copies have been sold—the future looks promising. With almost 1,700 high schools in Texas and dozens of KIPP middle and high schools across the country, plus interest from independent schools, churches, the Girl Scouts of America, and Williams and Pennington’s core demographic of boomer women and senior citizens, Williams is confident they’ll move all 25,000 copies. She even hints at a sequel, already outlined, which would pick up where What I Learned leaves off: Williams’s husband serving her with divorce papers. “But really,” says Williams, “we don’t know what happens next.” That uncertainty makes up a big part of both the risk and reward of self-publishing: “From everything I’ve read, I would venture to guess [a traditional publisher] would’ve had a marketing strategy in place before this book ever hit the presses. And I’m not sure that a traditional publisher would have understood, shortly after launching the book, us taking a fivemonth sabbatical to go teach school!”

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New England
By Judith Rosen


n a variation of the phrase coined by Tip O’Neill on politics, all self-published books are local, or at least the ones that work best in New England. “I think self-publishing makes sense for über-local authors,” says Susan Fox, coowner of Red Fox Books in Glens Falls, N.Y., who has sold Lawrence Gooley’s Terror in the Adirondacks (Bloated Toe Press), about serial killer Robert F. Garrow, and trail guides on snow shoeing and hiking in the Adirondacks, part of Roger Fulton and Michael Carpenter’s series of Outdoor Books for Ordinary People, extremely well. “We’re doing really well with regional nonfiction,” says Jon Platt, owner of Nonesuch Books and Cards in Biddeford and South Portland, Maine. “There definitely is a market for the super, super local,” he says. “We sold John Moon’s City

by the Sea, a $40 pictorial on Portland, like hotcakes over Christmas, and in the dead of winter we’re still selling 15 a week.” Nonesuch has also experienced strong sales, over 165 copies, for Maine pediatrician Conner Moore’s memoir, Black Bag to Blackberry, published by Bryson Taylor Publishing in Saco, Maine. It was founded by Deb Landry to self-publish her antibullying children’s books. As Platt sees it, “The real future for us is nonfiction regional books, whether they’re travel books or kids books. The whole regional aspect of our book sales has become critical for our survival, especially when we’re up against e-books.” The right local title also works at Devaney Doak & Garrett Booksellers in Farmington, Maine. As an example, owner Kenny Brechner cites John Hodgkins’s Our Game Was Baseball, a history of the Temple, Maine, Townies that shows how baseball served as the glue for small towns in Maine. “You look at the book, and it

doesn’t look self-published. It’s an interesting piece of local history, well done, and well priced at $15.95. I sold it hand over fist at the holidays. Everybody has family that played on the teams.” Although Tom Holbrook, owner of RiverRun Bookstore in Portsmouth, N.H., agrees that local self-published nonfiction sells best, his store-recommends list includes Lisa Genova’s novel Still Alice, originally self-published and then picked up by Simon & Schuster. Recently, RiverRun has done well with local author Darcy Scott’s first novel, Hunter Huntress. “Technically,” says Holbrook, “it wasn’t self-published; it was published in England.” After failing to find a U.S. publisher, Scott imported the U.K. edition and sold it herself. She has since signed with Publishing Works, Exeter, N.H., for her sophomore effort. Sometimes self-published fiction works for bookstore/publishers. That’s

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the case at Box Car and Caboose Bookshop in St. Johnsbury, Vt., which has an Espresso Book Machine. “This is a kind of nuanced thing,” says co-owner Scott Beck of the store’s Railroad Street Press publishing division. Railroad both prints and acts as publisher for self-published authors. It even has begun making some books available nationally by downloading them to Lightning Source. One of the store’s, and Railroad’s, bestsellers is Robin Berenbaum’s novel, Gresham’s Law, set in Vermont, which has sold close to 300 copies to date. It helps when self-published novelists already have a national platform, like Archer Mayor, whose Joe Gunther mys-

teries, set in Vermont, are pubSomerville (PowderHouse lished by St. Martin’s. Several Press, Nov.), about the Boston years ago when backlist sales for Irish mafia before Whitey his early books began to falter, Bulger, fell back on her film Mayor took back the rights and and television connections now publishes the first 12 under after Berkley signed, then canthe AMPress imprint. Pat celed, the book. To date, says Fowler, co-owner of Village Keratsis, they’ve sold 4,000 Square Books in Bellows Falls, copies, and the book has been Vt., likes to stock the early mys- Archer Mayor on the Boston Globe bestsellers teries so people new to the series can read list twice. them all. “I give him a whole shelf in the So what makes a self-published book mystery section,” she says. work? For Jeff Mayersohn, owner of HarA few independent authors are able to vard Book Store in Cambridge, Mass., capitalize on platforms they’ve developed which printed Citizen Somerville, it all in other media. Elayne Keratsis, producer comes down to two things: “There’s a of USA Network’s Burn Notice, who coaucompelling story and a very strong local thored Bobby Martini’s memoir, Citizen component.”

TheWest Coast


By Wendy Werris
hen it comes to selfpublished books, regional titles and niche categories rate high among West Coast indie booksellers, who also cite the willingness of these authors to promote and market these books as key to their success. At Diesel Books in Oakland and Brentwood, California, co-owner John Evans says, “The most important standards for any book are marketability and editorial excellence. Neither is necessarily applied in the self-publishing arena. In a sense, then, the bookseller becomes those wings of the publisher as we decide whether or not to stock self-published titles.” The most successful of these books at Diesel have been about Malibu, where the chain had a store that closed just last month. My Fifty Years in Malibu by Dorothy Stotsenberg sold more than 800 copies, and Marian Hall’s Malibu: California’s Most Famous Seaside Community had sales of 150. “These are micro-regional titles that lend themselves particularly well to self-publishing,” says Evans. San Francisco’s Green Apple Books is also bullish on self-published books, and

the store carries about 150 active titles. Buyer Kevin Ryan notes, “I kind of dread it when an author walks into the store with their self-published title, but half the time I’m pleasantly surprised. We’ve had some great books come to us this way.” The store’s biggest success has been with Kate Pocrass’s Mundane Journeys: A Field Guide to San Francisco that’s sold 230 copies to date. Pocrass’s follow-up book, A Field Guide to Color, has also done well for Green Apple. “Most niche books are too narrow for the bottom line of traditional publishers,” Ryan says. “Self-publishing provides an opportunity for these authors, because they don’t have to sell 5,000 copies to make it work.” Consignment terms at Green Apple are 50/50. “We never charge authors to hold events at Green Apple,” Ryan adds. “That goes against what we believe in as booksellers. Author signings are turnkey events here; they take very little effort. It’s the author’s job to get people into the store, and more often than not this works well. Frankly, I’d rather have local authors. People tend to show up for their friends.” At Warwick’s in La Jolla, Calif., local author liaison James Jensen looks for

self-published books that appeal both to locals and tourists. Trail of Light by Sarita Eastman is one such title. This biography of Dr. Anita Figueredo, who was the first female surgeon in San Diego and close friends with Mother Teresa for decades, has sold almost 250 copies; the author is Figueredo’s daughter and lives in La Jolla. “She’s a wonderful self-promoter, which makes all the difference in the world,” Jensen says. Warwick’s has also done well with La Jolla 92037 by Olivier Dalle and Paul Burlingame. Jensen describes it as an atypical travel book that combines photography with unusual facts and statistics about the resort town; it has sold over 200 copies. In recent months Warwick’s, which maintains only 10 self-published books in active inventory, has implemented a marketing program for self-published authors in which they agree to spend the day in the store to meet and greet customers. Jensen brings in 10 copies of the book on consignment—generally a 60/40 split in favor of the author—for these events. “The way this program is set up takes away our liability,” notes Jensen. “The authors do most of the work, and we’re not sitting on excess inventory.”

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Self-Published Children’s Books Thrive in the Mainstream
By Sally Lodge

Tales of self-published kids’ books that have become backlist staples for trade houses are familiar publishing lore. Two are titles written by young readers themselves: Christopher Paolini’s Eragon, first published by his family, then found a home with Knopf in 2003, and Alec Greven’s How to Talk to Girls, which grew out of a school report and was picked up by Collins in 2008. And more than 20 years ago, Jerry Pallotta’s self-published alphabet books were the inaugural four releases from Charlesbridge’s trade division and are still among its bestsellers. Here are less well-known stories of nine self-published titles that are flourishing in second lives with mainstream companies.
A Feisty Feline Hits His Stride
A chance encounter at an Atlanta stoplight led to the creation of Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes, written by children’s musician Eric Litwin and illustrated by James Dean. Waiting for the light to turn, Litwin recognized Dean, a local artist known for his paintings of a blue cat named Pete, in the next car. Litwin told him he was a big fan of Pete and asked if he wanted to collaborate on a book; thus a children’s book protagonist was born. In 2008, the two self-published a book in which the singing, sneaker-wearing Pete struts his stuff. The collaborators—Litwin on guitar and banjo and Dean with giant easel—promoted their book at Atlanta-area bookstores, schools, libraries, and festivals, and sold some 4,000 copies. One bookseller showed the book to HarperCollins sales rep Eric Svenson, who passed it along to the house’s picture-book team. “We are always on the lookout for great

new characters with a unique quality, and Pete had that,” says Margaret Anastas, editorial director of HarperCollins Children’s Books. “Across the board, everyone here felt this book could be a success on our list.” HarperCollins released Pete the Cat in March 2010 and sent Litwin and Dean on a five-city tour; the book spent three weeks on the New York Times bestseller list and has sold 50,000 copies. The duo will hit the road again in August, when Pete returns in Pete the Cat: Rocking in My School Shoes, which has an announced 75,000-copy first printing.

2001 self-published the picture book, which features art by Karen Keesler. Passionate about her book and its message, Duksta visited schools and art festivals, and handsold copies to galleries and children’s stores across the country. After selling 179,000 copies, author and illustrator signed up with agent Cathy Hemming, who placed the book with Sourcebooks Jabberwocky. “We had just launched Jabberwocky, and I Love You More was a perfect fit for us,” says Todd Stocke, Sourcebooks’ v-p and editorial director. “Laura had had extensive success within gift and specialty channels, and our job was not just to put the book in bookstores but to nurture both markets and expand her reach in nonbookstores.” Jabberwocky’s first picture book, I Love You More was released in October 2007. The publisher has sold 120,000 copies, as well as 50,000 copies of a board book edition released in September 2009. Duksta continues to spread her message of love in You Are a Gift to the World, illustrated by Dona Turner, due in April, which she’ll promote on a fiveweek national tour.

Writing from the Heart
Floridian Laura Duksta was working as a bartender when her nephew inspired her to write I Love You More, a flip book revealing love from both a parent’s and a child’s perspective. After receiving rejections from publishers and agents, she borrowed money from her mother and in

Labyrinthine Path to Production
For years, math whiz Jason Shiga worked on creating Meanwhile: Pick Any Path. 3,856 Story Possibilities, a graphic novel in

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which readers use myriad tubes and tabs to follow various adventure paths. The process entailed making a series of seven increasingly complex flow charts and writing a computer program to map the branches of the story. Shiga then created black-and-white art, which he photocopied and stapled together, cutting the tabs on each page by hand. In 2001, he began selling the book on his Web site and at comics conventions, and moved approximately 1,000 copies. “This book is an incredible reading experience, and as soon as I held the selfpublished version in my hands, I couldn’t let it go,” says Maggie Lehrman, senior editor of Abrams Books for Young Readers and Amulet. Together with Charles Kochman, now editorial director of Abrams ComicArts, she bought Meanwhile from Shiga’s agent, Dan Lazar of Writers House. “We knew we wanted to run with the book, but trying to figure out how to mass produce something so complicated was the hard part,” Lehrman says. After Shiga colorized his art on the computer and the production department mastered numerous challenges (including sourcing paper that could reproduce the graphics well and resist rips), the Amulet title rolled off press in March 2010 and currently has 45,000 copies in print. Meanwhile was named an ALA Best Graphic Novel and a Booklist Top 10 graphic novel, and has had solid sales in the trade and in the comics community, Lehrman reports. Abrams ComicArts will release Shiga’s adult graphic novel, Empire State: A Love Story (or Not), in April.

making the most out of one’s life, which won an Independent Publishers Bronze “IPPY” Award for Most Outstanding Design in 2008. Almost simultaneously, Humphrey met two people who urged her to submit her book to Chronicle: a friend of Tyrrell Mahoney, Chronicle’s v-p of sales and marketing, and Feiwel and Friends publisher Jean Feiwel, whom Humphrey encountered at BEA. Humphrey followed their advice and sent her book to San Francisco. “When we saw it, we saw exactly what those people had seen: a graphic, punchy, gift book, which is Chronicle’s specialty,” says editor Julie Romeis. “We worked with Corinne to edit the book, and gave it a fresh design and new title so that it would appeal to a broader kid audience.” Chronicle will release Shoot for the Moon: Lessons on Life from a Dog Named Rudy with a 15,000-copy first printing in May. “With its inspirational wisdom, this book is reminiscent of Oh, the Places You’ll Go!” Romeis observes. “It makes a wonderful graduation gift.”

and a sequel. “As I did some research before the auction, I realized how popular this book was online,” says Szabla. “That only fueled the fire of our wanting to publish it. I am really tough on fantasy, and this was a find.” Featuring illustrations by Ana Juan, Fairyland pubs in May with a 50,000copy first printing. Valente will embark on a four-city tour and will attend a number of upcoming conferences.

Launching with a Splash
Sterling’s Splinter YA line debuted in January with Colleen Houck’s Tiger’s Curse, a paranormal romance originally published by the author on Kindle in fall

A Leap from Web to Page
In 2009, adult novelist Catherynne M. Valente published her first children’s book, The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making, as an online serial. The novel, centering on a girl who is transported to Fairyland to help inhabitants deal with turmoil, was named the 2010 CultureGeek Best Web Fiction of the Decade and won the 2010 Andrew Norton Award for Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy—the first work ever to win this prize before appearing in book form. The story garnered accolades in tweets and blogs, including from Neil Gaiman and Cory Doctorow. Valente’s agent, Howard Morhaim, brought the book to auction, and Liz Szabla, editor-in-chief of Feiwel and Friends, clinched the rights for Fairyland

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Gift Book Gets New Look
After 25 years as a flight attendant, Corinne Humphrey retired and promptly did two things she’d long wanted to do: adopt a dog (which she named Rudy) from a shelter and take a painting class. Both steps helped inspire The Tao of Rudy, a book she self-published in 2007. A frequent inspirational speaker in her Park City, Utah, area, Humphrey sold more than 2,000 copies of her book about

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2009. When the Kindle book, about a girl who attempts to piece together an ancient prophecy to break a curse, appeared, Houck “quickly cultivated a devoted fan base online,” says Cindy Loh, editorial director of Sterling’s Children’s Books and Splinter. After arriving at Sterling in April 2010, Loh heard from a friend at a Hollywood studio that a self-published property was making the studio rounds. She contacted Houck’s newly acquired agent, Alex Glass at Trident, who sent her the manuscripts of Tiger’s Curse and its two sequels. “I took them home that night and quickly devoured them, entirely ignoring my family,” says Loh. “Everyone at Sterling agreed that this was the book we wanted as Splinter’s first.” Sterling released the novel with a hefty 250,000copy first printing and a $250,000 marketing and publicity campaign. “We wanted to make a big statement when we launched Splinter, and felt this was the perfect book to do that with,” Loh says. The novel took the #1 slot on its first day on sale and subsequently spent four weeks on the New York Times bestseller list. Splinter has an aggressive publishing schedule for the next installments of Houck’s five-book series, with Tiger’s Quest coming out in June and Tiger’s Voyage in November. “We don’t want to make readers wait,” says Loh.

wide reading initiative. Bookseller Virginia Meldrun, owner of the Owl’s Tree in Powder Springs, Ga., suggested that the authors contact Sleeping Bear Press, and a contract was soon inked. “We needed to move quite quickly with the book, given the school district’s deadline,” says publisher Heather Hughes. “We tweaked the book a bit in terms of design and did some copyediting and proofreading. We fulfilled the school’s order and then brought the book out in the trade.” The July 2010 release has sold 25,000 copies. “This book is a good fit for our press, since we are used to a real grassroots publishing approach,” says Hughes. “There has never been a greater need for communities to discuss bullying. From e-mails we’ve received, we’ve learned that the book has been helpful in starting discussions. We’re very pleased to be a part of that.”

lished the book in June 2010 and sent the author on tour, releasing the paperback the following December. The two editions have sold a combined 35,000 copies. In February, Greenwillow published a follow-up, The Secret Zoo: Secrets and Shadows; The Secret Zoo: Riddles and Danger will follow next fall. The series will continue, says Geck: “Bryan thought up this series when he was in elementary school, and has at least a 15-book arc in mind. The paperback sales of The Secret Zoo grow every week, which is always nice to see.” The author will tour again in April.

From Journal to Picture Book
Cheryl Kilodavis’s My Princess Boy, illustrated by Suzane De Simone, centers on a four-year-old who happily wears traditional girl things like dresses, jewelry, and tiaras. The book grew out of Kilodavis’s journal entries about her son, a self-titled “princess boy.” Kilodavis selfpublished the book in 2008, first having it bound by a copy center and, as news of it spread by word-of-mouth, hiring a printer to produce 1,000 copies, which she sold on Amazon. After the author was interviewed in People and appeared on Today, Kilodavis sought out a publisher; last fall Simon & Schuster signed up the book, releasing it under the Aladdin imprint in D e c e m b e r. There are now 20,000 copies of My Princess Boy in print. “ We k n e w right away we wanted to do this book, to make sure that its message about acceptance gets out to a wider audience,” says Aladdin editorial director Fiona Simpson. “This is a beautiful story that needs to be told.” ■

Propitious Encounter Leads to Book’s New Incarnation
After receiving rejection letters from some 100 agents, in 2007 Bryan Chick decided to self-publish The Secret Zoo, his novel about a magical land that lies behind the walls of a zoo. He sold copies to bookstores in his local Ann Arbor, Mich., area and visited schools, making presentations to, in his estimation, some 20,000 students. In a conversation with one principal, Chick mentioned he wished he could connect with a publisher, and the principal mentioned that his aunt, Lois Adams, is the managing editor of Greenwillow. “Lois read the novel and passed it along to me,” says Steve Geck, Greenwillow’s executive editor. “I fell in love with the book. Bryan knows how to write characters, and his novel had great pacing and was absolutely on target for middle-grade readers.” The house pub-

School Request Triggers Deal
Diane Lang and Michael Buchanan drew from their experience as high school teachers to write The Fat Boy Chronicles, which follows a teenager’s struggles with obesity, abuse, and isolation. The Charlotte, N.C., authors self-published the book early last year and had sold some 1,000 copies when local school district requested 2,000 copies for a community8

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Agenting Gets Untraditional
By Rachel Deahl

Talk to any agent today and a topic that usually bubbles to the surface is the difficulty of today’s book market.


or years agents have been grumbling about the death of the midlist author— those writers who are not bestsellers but consistently move tens of thousands of copies. Midlist authors, who once made up the core of major publishing houses, are now forced to take lower advances or head to smaller presses. Insiders will tell you the publishing business is moving toward a model more like the movie business, in which large corporate players chase after major hits and publish fewer titles overall. As the big six take fewer chances on new writers and drop more midlist authors, and as it becomes easier to distribute titles with the rise in POD software and the growing popularity of digital books, some agents offer publishing programs and different types of representation. After Steve Ross left HarperCollins, where he ran the Collins imprint, he launched a consulting business. Now at Abrams Artists Agency, Ross works both as a traditional agent and the head of Abrams Author Services, which provides consulting on the publishing process. He will do everything from finding the right outside help—publicists, book jacket designers, editors—to consulting on the best way to bring out a

title. “With the evolution of technologies and the rapid proliferation of platforms, there are numerous decisions that the author faces along the route of self-publishing. Keeping current with each of these options, and their distinct advantages and disadvantages, is almost a full-time job,” he says. “The writer’s job is to create great content, not to be expert in, say, the relative distribution or marketing capabilities of certain presses. Writers and their work benefit from knowing what has proven effective and what is likely to be an unproductive squandering of their resources— resources including time, energy, and money.”

Scott Waxman

Jim Levin

Steve Ross

At a panel at Digital Book World in January called “New Models for Agents,” Jim Levine of the Levine Greenberg Agency, said he and his colleagues now consider themselves “multimedia producers” more than agents. Levine explained that he looks at manuscripts that potential clients bring in with an eye for how the content can live in various forms. Should this potential book be an app? An e-book? An enhanced e-book? Scott Waxman, who runs the Waxman Literary Agency, was one of the

first agents to try a nontraditional model, adding a publishing arm called Diversion Books. Waxman has compared Diversion to Amazon’s publishing unit, AmazonEncore, calling it “between the big houses and the lonely road of self-publishing.” At the DBW panel, which Waxman also sat on, he said in some ways his business approach has not changed, but that he looks for “an author who’s willing to experiment and try something new.” As much as things have changed, however, many things remain the same. Ross notes that the biggest mistake selfpublished authors make is the same one authors published by the big six make: assuming their work ends at publication. “Self-published authors in particular need to roll up their sleeves and realize that almost anything that happens for their book is going to happen as a result of their efforts,” Ross says, “so they need to work studiously and assiduously on behalf of their work.” Authors who lack motivation, belief, and ambition are not likely to succeed, says Ross, unless all they want is for their book to be one of the hundreds of thousands of new titles published each year. ■
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A Wide World of Self-Published Titles
The 141 titles submitted for our second quarterly PW Select.

From a lavishly illustrated volume on a Chicago
architect, an exposé of D.B. Cooper, and a Ouija board–controlled family sojourn to Kabul, in nonfiction, to novels based in early Hollywood, the Depression-era Corn Belt, and a segregated rural community in Maryland, plus plenty of self-help books—about yoga, baking bread, moving households, training dogs, and an exploration of the lives of wolves: this installment of PW Select has something for everyone, and again shows the enormous breadth of stories people have—and are able—to tell.

Zook: A Look at R. Harold Zook’s Unique Architecture. Berry Green. Ampersand. $19.95 trade paperback (152p), ISBN 978-0-98181268-7 Ampersandworks .com; Amazon; Ingram; The work of R. Harold Zook is recognized as historically significant, particularly in Hinsdale, Ill., where he lived for 26 years.

The remarkable true story of one man’s meteoric rise and fall, and the thousands of lives he touched throughout his largerthan-life journey. I Did What I Had to Do! James E. Diamond. Vantage Press. $14.95 paper (330p), ISBN 978-0-533-16325-0 B&T; Ingram A compelling account of the author and his wife’s time in Chad as Peace Corps volunteers in the 1970s. Odd Road to Kabul: A Memoir. Patricia Diaz. Lulu. $28.30 hardcover (286p), ISBN 978-0-557-94810-9 A Ouija board takes control of a dysfunctional family and leads it on a perilous road to Kabul, Afghanistan, to build an international church, against the backdrop of the ’60s. Sixty Slices of Life on Wry: The Private

Life of a Public Broadcaster. Fred Flaxman. Story Book Publishers. $16 paper (252p), ISBN 978-1-891513-01-5 (828) 645-8580 This humorous memoir by a public radio veteran and journalist demonstrates that you can learn about life from your dog, that the “teen disease” can be cured, and that there are better ways “to make babies.” Lust for Justice: The Radical Life & Law of J. Tony Serra. Paulette Frankl. Lightning Rod. $19.95 trade paperback (306p), ISBN 978-0-61538683-6; Amazon The first authorized biography of J. Tony Serra, a renowned counterculture lawyer who represented Huey Newton in the 1960s; he is also the older brother of the

Jerry Wolman: The World’s Richest Man. Joseph Bockol and Richard Bockol. American Literary Press. $25.95 hardcover (222p), ISBN 978-1-934696-45-3

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American sculptor Richard Serra. Foreword by Gerry Spence. The Greater Generation. Phil Holt. Vantage Press. $13.95 paper (145p), ISBN 978-0533-15734-1 B&T; Ingram A memoir of a group of young boys from Malden, Mass., and the story of a generation of American youth who succeeded in ways they could never have expected and embodied the American Dream they fought so hard to protect. Two Years of Eternity: One Missionary’s Experience. Scott R. Hoyt. Vantage Press. $15.95 paper (300p), ISBN 9780-533-16357-1 B&T; Ingram Hoyt describes his transition from “normal teen life” in Southern California to becoming a Mormon missionary on the streets of Peru. Kaleidoscope: Shapes and Colors of Childhood. Bill Kraft. $23.95 hardcover (162p), ISBN 978-0-615-37035-4 Amazon; Celebrates the simple joys of growing up in the rural Midwest of the 1940s and ’50s and discovering the larger world. Bad Girl Gone Mom: A Girl Born Without a Vagina. K.C. Lauer. Xlibris. $29.99 hardcover (287p), ISBN 978-14568-2339-9 K.C. struggles with sexual development dysfunction, hearing loss, and depression, and also battles with her family and her faith. Wolfer: A Memoir. Carter Niemeyer. BottleFly Press. $17.99 paper (374p), ISBN 978-0-615-40948-1 Amazon Niemeyer spent a career in the business of government predator control—and brought wolves back to the American West. I Remember. Ed Palasz. Vantage Press. $13.95 paper (308p), ISBN 978-0533-15675-7 B&T; Ingram Orphaned by the 1918 influenza epidemic, the author rode freight trains, panhandled, and went into the Merchant Marine before meeting the woman who became his wife for over 50 years. The Red-headed, Freckle-faced, Barefoot Boy: An Autobiography.

Creative book marketing campaigns
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Clarence M. Rincker. Vantage Press. $25 paper (435p), ISBN 978-0-533-16314-4 B&T; Ingram Rincker’s life story, from the dust storms and grasshopper hordes of the Great Depression through WWII to earning his master’s degree. UNTE: Life in the Soviet Union as Seen Through the Eyes of a Child and a Teenager. Antonette Sabonaitis, trans. by Gerald C. Tamkutonis. Vantage Press. $14.95 paper (278p), ISBN 978-0-533-16337-3 B&T; Ingram Life in the Baltic countries under Soviet occupation during WWII. Before the Journey Became Home. Zents Sowunmi. CreateSpace. $14 paper (207p), ISBN 978-0-615-30262-1 Amazon A detailed childhood account of the fears, hopes, and anxieties of a Nigerian immigrant to the U.S. Looks Easy Enough: A Joyful Memoir of Overcoming Disease, Divorce, and Disaster. Scott Stevenson. $18 paper (451p), ISBN 978-0-9842810-0-8 Amazon; A love letter to the author’s wife, this memoir of overcoming adversity with a smile was a winner of Readers Favorite and Pinnacle Achievement awards. From the Andes to the Rocky Mountains: A Father, Mother and Son’s Story. Carlos A. Suarez. Vantage. $11.95 paper (127p), ISBN 978-0-533-16245-9 B&T; Ingram The compelling narrative of the emigration of the author and his family from Colombia to the U.S. in search of a better life. The Snitch, Houdini and Me. Johnny Virgil. JVE. $12.95 paper (250p), ISBN 978-0-615-38693-5 Amazon A humorous first-person memoir about growing up in American suburbia during the ’60s and ’70s.

Deciphering the Latino Consumer: A Guide for Employers, Professionals, Retailers, and Business Travelers. Lori Madden. SLS Publications. $19.95 paper (106p), ISBN 978-1-4515-6602-4 Amazon How to improve working relationships between Anglos and Latinos and enhance business opportunities with Hispanics in the U.S. and abroad. Greet! Eat! Tweet! 52 Business Etiquette Postings to Avoid Pitfalls and Boost Your Career. Barbara Pachter. CreateSpace. $13.95 paper (160p), ISBN 978-14536-0034-4 Amazon; An etiquette guide to help businesspeople avoid career-damaging mistakes. The Employee Rights Handbook: Effective Strategies to Protect Your Job. Steven Mitchell Sack. Legal Strategies Publications. $39.95 hardcover (640p), ISBN 978-0-9636306-7-4 www.TheEmployees How to get properly hired, protect yourself on the job, and fight back if you are unfairly or illegally fired. Find Your Perfect Job: The Inside Guide for Young Professionals. Scott Smith. Career Strategies Media. $12.95 paper (136p), ISBN 978-0-98439380-0 (215) 989-9291 A successful business executive and attorney shares insider secrets on landing a dream job. Big Wave Surfing: Extreme Technology

Endless Energy: The Essential Guide to Energy Health. Debra Greene, Ph.D. MetaComm Media. $18.95 paper (307p), ISBN 978-0-61526933-7 A practical “new home health guide for the 21st century.” The Way of Forgiveness. D. Patrick Miller. Fearless Books. $12.95 paper (120p), ISBN 978-0-9822799-0-8 w w w. f e a r l e s s b o o k s .com/Forgive.html A revision of Miller’s earlier work, which was praised by Wally Lamb. Oneness Am. Philip Nash. SameHand. $12.21 paper (188p), ISBN 978-0-615-29793-4 Ingram; Amazon This illustrated blend of reconstructed spiritual sayings unifies the five major faiths. Cranio-What? A CranioSacral Therapy Primer. James Nemec. First Edition. $12.95 paper (62p), ISBN 978-09792805-7-3 Designed for patients of this nonintrusive, light-touch healing art. The Little Book of Gratitude Quotes. Edited by Kathleen Welton. Little Quote Books. $9.99 paper (150p), ISBN 9780578065861 Amazon; A collection of 365 quotations that encourage kindness and gratitude.

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Development, Management, Marketing, & Investment. Kenneth J. Thurber. Beaver’s Pond Press. $29.95 hardcover (408p), ISBN 978-159298-380-3 Ingram; B&T;; Borders Insights necessary to surviving in today’s rapidly changing technology landscape. paper (525p), ISBN 978-0-615-23129-7 1-800-BOOK.LOG A professional baker offers tips on making great bread. www.collegeadmissionstips .com/ “College Admissions Secrets & Tips to Look Exceptional” to admissions officers. America the Melting Pot/Now the Chamber Pot. Mary I. Arnold. 48-hour printing. $10 paper (150p), ISBN 978-1-4507-3427-1 A call to action to avoid “one-world government.”

The Price: A One-Act Play. Leon Newton. Innovopublishing. $9.99 paper (55p), ISBN 978-1-936076-40-6 Amazon An arrogant millionaire who does not believe in God thinks his paperwork is mixed up.

Cooking on the Line: From Food Lover to Professional Line Cook. Wayne Cohen. Larousse Churchill. $14.95 paper (258p), ISBN 978-1-4537-7819-7 Amazon A cook’s-eye-view of the intensity of cooking at award-winning restaurants. How to Bake Bread: The Five Families of Bread. Michael Kalanty. Red Seal Books. $27.95

Keys to the CASTLE: Mentor in a Book: College Admissions Secrets & Tips. Kamala Appel. $29.97 paper (126p), ISBN 9781-4538-2103-9

What Really Works: Blending the Seven Fs for the Life You Imagine. Paul Batz and Tim Schmidt. Beaver’s Pond Press. $20 hardcover (184p), ISBN 978-159298-360-5 Ingram, B&T;; Borders The Seven Fs represent the key elements that bring satisfaction to life: faith, family, finances, fitness, friends, fun, and future. How can people achieve success in all of these areas?

“Helps in explaining existential situations youth yearn to understand in a way they can easily grasp.”
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A New Way for Teens to Overcome Daily Challenges
This small book is full of wisdom of the deepest kind, couched in simple language and written from the heart. Provides useful tools for developing a positive outlook on life.

Soon to be a Series!
ISBN (HC): 978-0-9832025-0-9 ISBN (eBook): 978-0-9832025-1-6 5 x 8, 72 pages, hardcover with dust jacket, $10.99

On Sale June 15, 2011
Available on Amazon,, Distributed to the Trade by Pathway Book Service, 800-345-6665

Jewish president and a disarmament plan that could end life on Earth—perhaps from laughter, in this comic apocalyptic farce. F i n d i n g t h e Wa y Home. Sarah Byrd. WestBow Press. $19.95 paper (268p), ISBN 978-14497-0350-9 Amazon; Suzanne Morgan has lost herself, Peter Morgan has lost his way, but grief has brought them together. State of Mind. Sven Michael Davison. Bedouin Press. $25.95 hardcover (389p), ISBN 978-09666149-2-3 In the future, people marry their minds with computer chips, and innocent people are committing murder. The Serpentine Curve. Charles Domina. Vantage Press. $14.95 paper (238p), ISBN 978-0-533-16217-8 B&T; Ingram A 30-something Manhattan geneticist returns to England to help her former professor at Cambridge with research. Her fateful decision will lead her on a lifealtering odyssey. Asylum Lake. R.A. Evans. Chapbook Press. $15 paper (205p), ISBN 978-1-936243-10-5 A small town’s dark secrets can be found at the bottom of Asylum Lake. Gaia’s Emissary. Suzanne Fensin. Magical Aspirations Press. $17.95 paper (245p), ISBN 978-09828851-0-9 Ancient spiritual wisdom, Earth stewardship, environmentalism, and personal development are embraced in an attempt to save the planet. Tailspin. Denton Gay. Booklocker. $14.95 paper (190p), ISBN 978-160910-555-6 b o o k l o c k e r. c o m / books/5026.html A sensible and ambitious dog named Dorothy rises from obscurity to power in the U.S. in this political satire. Hitter of the Year. Milton D. Ghivizzani. Colosseum Publishing. $7.99 paper (313p), ISBN 978-09753975-1-0; Amazon An underworld mystery starring attorney/sleuth Joe Bari, who made his debut in Ghivizzani’s Employee of the Year. Killing Them Softly: An Erotic Tale of Murder. Roy Glenn. Escapism Entertainment. $14.95 paper (252p), ISBN 978-0-9827316-1-1 Three people become sexually involved and plan a murder for money. Dina’s Lost Tribe: A Novel. Brigitte Goldstein. iUniverse. $32.95 hardcover (412p), ISBN 978-1-45025108-2 An American historian’s search for the mythical place of her birth at the time of her parents’ flight from Nazi persecution leads her to a mountaintop utopia and the passionate world of a medieval Jewess. For the Love of Art. Janet Goodfriend. Painted Wood Press. $16 paper (274p), ISBN 978-1-45285601-8 A mother’s getaway on Martha’s Vineyard is the setting for an art heist puzzle. My Friend Michale: A True Story about the Real Jaws. Kenneth W. Grimshaw. CreateSpace.

Beaufort 1849: A Novel of Antebellum South Carolina. K a r e n Ly n n A l l e n . Cabbages and Kings Press. $13.95 paper (306p), ISBN 978-09671784-1-7 After years abroad, Jasper Wainwright tries to persuade the planters of Beaufort, S.C., to change their economy to avert the coming war. In Theda Bara’s Tent. Diana Altman. Tapley Cove Press. $15 paper (339p), ISBN 978-0-615-34327-3 Amazon; An orphan carves a place for himself in the early years of the American film industry. Musings of a Mystery Sibling. Marian Armstrong. iUniverse. $15.95 paper (220p), ISBN 978-1-4502-3418-4 The premature death of a book editor’s brother prompts her to test his theories on life. Altamont Augie. Richard Barager. Interloper Press. $15.95 paper (308p), ISBN 978-0-9830661-0-1 www.richardbarager .com A novel of the late 1960s about the meaning of national honor and a free society’s choice between nihilism and tradition. Roll Over, Hitler! Daniel Bruce Brown. Inkwater Press. $25.95 paper (397p), ISBN 978-1-59299-465-6 w w w. i n k w a t e r p re ss .com A m e r i c a ’s f i r s t

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$12.95 paper (103p), ISBN 978-1-45371639-7 Amazon A Montauk pilot tells the story of a killer shark—from the point of view of the shark. M o n t a u k Ta n g o : From the Ashes of 9/11 to the Frying Pan. Lewis Gross. iUni verse. $24.99 hardcover (285p), ISBN 978-14502-1645-6 A fictional account of the true story of how a family starts a restaurant on Long Island after fleeing the devastation in their downtown New York neighborhood after 9/11. Vengeance Is My Trump. Wm. J. Iwaschuk. Vantage Press. $13.95 paper (289p), ISBN 978-0-533-16279-6 B&T; Ingram An action-packed thriller about a protagonist with the Midas touch. Tr a i n o f C o n s e quences. Tom Jarvis. iUniverse. $14.95 paper (212p), ISBN 978-1-45026623-9 www.tomjarvisfiction .com Two troubled teenagers run away to escape abuse and neglect, embarking on a journey that changes their lives. The War Is Language 101: Short Works. Nath Jones. Scribd. $4.99 paper (230p), ISBN 978-0-615-41188-0 Experimental flash fiction explores identity and authority as experienced by a female soldier in the wake of Abu Ghraib. Progeny: The Children of the White Lions. R.T. Kaelin. Terrene Press. $25.99 paper (672p), ISBN 978-0-615-42103-2 In the first volume of a fantasy series, brother and sister must deal with tragedy while discovering their lives are an illusion. See Ya. Cheryl Kerr. Chanter Press. $12 paper (233p), ISBN 978-0-615-27969-5 In 1996, a colonel’s death leaves his daughter and a chance visitor to solve a mystery that traces to 1944 and WWII. War with Pigeons. Tae Kim. A StoryTelling. $24.95 hardcover (394p), ISBN 978-0-9844359-3-7 A deceased friend’s request sends a young man on an odyssey of love, loss, and hope; hailed as “intriguing and fascinating” by Midwest Book Review. A Despicable Profession: Book Two of the American Spy Trilogy. John Knoerle. Blue Steel Press. $15 paper (310p), ISBN 978-0-9820903-0-5 In 1946, former spy Hal Schroeder is recruited by former OSS director Wild Bill Donovan for a mysterious mission to Berlin. Tamara’s Child: A Novel. B.K. Mayo. Fir Valley Press. $14.95 paper (407p), ISBN 978-0-9815884-7-6 B&T; Partners West; Amazon A homeless pregnant teenager, struggling to make a new life for herself and her future child, is victimized by the people she turns to for help. Postal. Peter McNeil. Level 44 Publications. $24.99 (470p), ISBN 978-0-615-40999-3 (704) 501-7085 A candid depiction of the rise and fall of postal employees in six interlocking narratives highlighting greed, job insecurity, betrayal, corporate ladder climbing, single parenthood, and romance. Journey to Virginland: Epistle I. Armen Melikian. Two Harbors Press. $23.95 hardcover (288p), ISBN 978-1935097-51-8
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www.JourneyToVirginland .com Dog vs. God. In an iconoclastic story, Dog demolishes the foundations of Western civilization. Encounters in Paris: A Collection of Short Stories. Carolyn Moncel. CreateSpace. $17.99 paper (114p), ISBN 978-1-4538-9821-5 Amazon; Ellery Roulet, a 35-year-old AfricanAmerican executive living in Paris, faces betrayal, loss, mistakes, and regrets in this bittersweet collection of tales. Rev. Bucky. Joe Milton Murphy. Vantage Press. $13.95 paper (164p), ISBN 978-0-533-16332-8 B&T; Ingram What happens when an unassuming church mouse turns “spokesrodent?” This allegorical tale offers a humorous look at


the challenges our society faces today. Duncan’s Diary: Birth of a Serial Killer. Christopher C. Payne. $12.95 paper (280p), ISBN 978-0-9828119-3-1 Amazon Duncan is in the throes of a midlife crisis and searching for his own identity when he begins to secretly explore a world of torture and death. The Gargoyle Prophecies, Part I: The Savior Rises. Christopher C. Payne. $10.95 paper (220p), ISBN 978-0-9828119-6-2 Amazon Is Stefani truly the savior of an inhuman race or has her solitude and the trauma of her mother’s death finally affected her sanity? Golden State. David Prybil. iUniverse. $TBD hardcover (320p), ISBN 978-1-4502-7303-9 iUniverse, Set in California during the 2003 recall election that brought Arnold Schwarzenegger to power, Golden State follows four Sacramento locals who get swept into an anything-goes atmosphere. Zaftan Entrepreneurs: Book 1 of the Zaftan Trilogy. Hank Quense. CreateSpace. $17.99 paper (353p), ISBN 978-1-4563-4938-7 A unique First Contact story—part adventure and part corporate and political satire, spiced with comic relief. Waterfall Dance. Andrew Quinn. CreateSpace. $14.99 paper (254p), ISBN 978-1-4536-2947-5 Amazon Into the most sensational trial of the century comes one extraordinary witness. To prevail, an animal must change what it means to be human. Your Weight and More. Robert G. Rohland. Vantage Press. $10.95 paper (86p), ISBN 978-0-533-16319-9 B&T; Ingram Eleven-year-old Billy Jack Baxter discovers a novelty scale in a general store that will tell him his “weight and more,” changing his life. Deed So. Katharine A. Russell. CreateSpace. $16.99 paper (438p), ISBN 978-1-4537-7503-5 Amazon A coming-of-age tale set in a small Southern town in 1962, before civil rights, assassination, war, and women’s rights touch the inhabitants. The Making of a Nurse. G. Scott. Vantage Press. $13.95 paper (271p), ISBN 978-0-533-16159-1 B&T; Ingram Largely autobiographical, Scott’s debut follows Genell Lee, a woman born into a loving but impoverished family, who grows up to pursue her dream of becoming a nurse. Climate Change and the Oceans. John Slade. Woodgate International. $12.95 paper (238p), ISBN 978-1893617-19-3 Extensive research into climate change and clean energy is woven into a fictional tale that attempts to give global warming a human face. The Emancipation of Giles Corey. Michael Sortomme. Singing Lake Press. $16.95 paper (358p), ISBN 978-09830517-5-6 Amazon A modern-day shaman works to redeem the soul of a man unjustly sentenced to death during the Salem witch trials. The Rebel Princess. Anne M. Strick. CreateSpace. $15.99 paper (388p), ISBN 978-1-4528-6497-6 Amazon The story of a film company on location in Mexico reveals the making of a film, from preproduction through wrap, enlivened by romance, sex, and a possible murder.

Intimate Strangers. Anne M. Strick. CreateSpace. $15.99 paper (457p), ISBN 978-1-4537-7625-4 Amazon The story of a contested adoption. PushBack. Alfred Wellnitz. iUniverse. $14.79 paper (324p), ISBN 978-1-4502-3432-0 Amazon Hyperinflation shatters the U.S., and African-American insurgents battle a white supremacist government in this thriller. Mission of Malice. Renee Wetherill. $18.99 trade paper (309p), ISBN 978-1-4392-4393-0 Amazon; A provocative tale of suspense, terrorism, and intrigue set on the dangerous Arizona/Mexican border. Butterfly Rising. Tanya Wright. CreateSpace. $15 paper (257p), ISBN 978-1-4536-5036-3 Amazon Lilah Belle (Lucasville’s loopiest singer) and Rose Johnson (the town’s seductress) take a road trip to meet the mythical, magical Lazarus of the Butterflies. Martha’s Vine. Sheree Zielke. Creeping Ivy Publishing House. $17.95 paper (584p), ISBN 9780-9866437-0-5 Amazon The power grid has vanished, demanding new rules, violence, and unlikely heroes, such as Martha, a middle-aged woman with a deadly secret.

Food Facts at a Glance: A Quick Reference Guide for Choosing Wholesome, Nutritious Foods. Ginger Grant. GG Publications. $12.95 paper (240p), ISBN 9780-615-41174-3 Amazon

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Accessible tables and charts showing nutrition and food composition, and brief explanations of common food and nutrition terms. Vital Yoga: A Sourcebook for Students and Teachers. Meta Chaya Hirschl. Prajna Publishing. $35 paper (300p), ISBN 978-0-98230550-8 Poses for all ages and body types, off the mat practices, history and philosophy, breath practices, therapy, meditation, and a chai tea recipe. Breast Cancer: Reduce Your Risk with Foods You Love. Robert Pendergrast. Penstokes Press. $24 paper (184p), ISBN 978-0-9844769-0-9 Amazon Breast cancer prevention for women of all ages, with the unique perspective of a pediatrician specializing in adolescent health. Elaine R. Barber. Ampersand. $17.95 hardcover (36p), ISBN 978-1-4507-0620-9 Ampersandworks; Amazon;; Ingram Billy Barber was only 11 when he made his first solo flight. As Capt. William A. Barber, he became one of the youngest commercial airline captains in the United States and a flying renaissance man who performed aerobatic stunts for 25 years. The Scrapper. Alex Marie Bess. KidPub Press. $13.95 paper (188p), ISBN 978-1936184-85-9 Yo u n g C l a r a l y n has wanted one thing all her life: to be a knight. There’s just one obstacle—no girls are allowed at Knight School. The Tiny Tiger. Janette Shipston Chan. Author House. $13.50 paper (20p), ISBN 978-1-45204106-3 Amazon; A tiny tiger’s roar leads Tong and Jenjen on a journey through a forest and over a mountain to become a family. Fenella: A Fable of a Fairy Afraid to Fly. Susannah Cord. Brown Books Publishing. $18.95 hardcover (48p), ISBN 978-1934812-80-8 Amazon; Borders; www.FenellaTheFairy .com A fairy tale in the tradition of Hans Christian Andersen about facing and embracing your worst fears. Dinosaurs on the Move: Movable Paper Figures to Cut, Color, and Assemble. Cathy Diez-Luckie. Figures in Motion. $14.95 paper (48p), ISBN 978-09818566-1-2 NBN; Ingram; Borders, Make movable dinosaur action figures with this creative learning tool, featuring 10 easy-to-assemble favorites in colored and ready-to-color versions; includes dinosaur facts. The Angel Children. Linda Emmanuel. The Wintermantel Group. $11.99 paper (120p), ISBN 9780-9767418-1-7 This fictional fantasy reveals how to use energy to get whatever you want—just be careful what you wish for. This Star Shall Abide. Sylvia Engdahl. Ad Stellae Books. $10.95 paper (252p), ISBN 978-0-615-34834-6 Amazon Now back in print (first published by Atheneum), this is an award-winning science fiction novel about a young rebel fighting a repressive society. Ten Finger Prints in the Butter. Margaret Konieczny. $10.95 hardcover (40p), ISBN 978-0-9828886-0-5 www.kankpublishing .com Margie counts the fingerprints as they appear in the butter in this counting book with a suspenseful theme. Happy Jazzfest. Cornell P. Landry, illus. by Sean Gautreaux. Ampersand. $16.95 hardcover (36p), ISBN 978-1-4507-0618-6 Ampersandworks; Amazon;; Ingram A rhythmic salute to all events at the annual New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival. The Happy Hearts. Marlana Liburdi. Happy Heart Int’l. $8.50 hardcover (16p), ISBN 978-0-61534485-0 Every day, like clockwork, the magic telephone rings in the Happy Hearts home with important news about a child in need. Manny McMoose and His Chubby
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France Creates a New Nation: The United States of America at Yorktown, Virginia, in 1781. Gilbert Di Lucia. Vantage Press. $25 paper (138p), ISBN 978-0-533-16396-0 B&T; Ingram Historian Di Lucia tells a new version of Cornwallis’s famous defeat and surrender to George Washington at Yorktown based on meticulous research.

Bitsy’s Labyrinth. Mary Andonian. Good Thief Press. $11.99 paper (198p), ISBN 978-0-9831075-0-7 Amazon;; Ingram Thirteen-year-old Bitsy Johnson describes the summer her mom built a labyrinth on their farm, and the unexpected things that happened because of it. The Adventures of Little Billy Barber: Billy’s First Flight Lesson.


Caboose: A Parable About Kids’ Struggles with Life’s Adversity. Kevin McMahon. Vantage Press. $8.95 paper (28p), ISBN 978-0-533-16352-6 B&T; Ingram An endearing tale told in verse about one child’s efforts to thwart bullying and address his own obesity. Stranger Danger! Play and Stay Safe Splatter and Friends. Melissa Perry Moraja. $24 hardcover (32p), ISBN 978-0-9842394-4-3 Amazon In this rhyming story, Razzle teaches Josh four stranger danger safety rules. Jake and the Fly. Melissa Perry Moraja. $9.95 paper (86p), ISBN 978-0-98423942-9 Amazon Find out if Jake rids his home of invading pesky flies, and if he’s able to rescue his dad from the flies’ beady stares. Goodnight Tigers. Amanda Morgan and Jessica McDaniel, illus. by Sean Gautreaux. Ampersand. $17.95 hardcover (32p), ISBN 978-14507-0621-6 Goodnight Tigers is a captivating bedtime story that provides an introduction to Louisiana State University. The Adventures of Yat and Dat: What’s Cookin’? Nancy Parker, illus. by Nancy Parker. Ampersand. $17.95 hardcover (32p), ISBN 978-1-4507-0619-3 Ampersandworks; Amazon; Ingram; Yat and Dat are lovable birds who are tired of eating seeds and scraps. Culinary masterpieces are everywhere, so one day they decide to make their own using specialties found in some of the greatest restaurants in New Orleans. Portia’s Incredible Journey. Emma L. Price. ELP Books. $9.95 paper (144p), ISBN 978-09841650-0-1 w w w. e l p b o o k s . n e t ; Amazon Young readers follow Portia from one disaster to another as the likable character gains wisdom and strength. The Expeditioner’s Club, Volume 1: Rio Roosevelt. Kate Moira Ryan. Word Clay. $10.80 paper (123p), ISBN 978-1-60481-807-9 Amazon As the child of two expeditioners, 10-year-old Timothy Elliott is thrilled when he learns he has the ability to time travel. But when he winds up with Theodore Roosevelt in the Amazon, he’s not sure he has what it takes to be an expeditioner. Year of the Beloved Animal: Story of the Chinese Zodiac Animals. Noriko Senshu. Studio Cherry Publishing. $15.45 paper (34p), ISBN 978-09793360-3-4 A version relating Chinese zodiac animals, focusing on the cat. Goodnight Houston. Jennifer and Kyle Solak, illus. by Paul Dolan. Ampersand. $17.95 hardcover (36p), ISBN 978-1-4507-0623-0 Ampersandworks; Amazon; Ingram; Goodnight Houston takes families on a bedtime tour of the many points of interest that make Houston unique. Fleurdelicious. Mary Beth Touzet and Reneé Hemel, illus. by Amy Lee Story. Ampersand. $17.95 hardcover (32p), ISBN 978-1-45070617-9 Ampersandworks; Amazon; Ingram; Fleurdelicious explores the city of New Orleans, where she finds images of the fleur-de-lis all over town. Readers are invited to count the number of fleur-de-lis on each spread.

When Cancer Hits Home: Cancer Treatment and Prevention Options. Patrick Maguire. Coastal Carolina Publishing. $16.95 paper (264p), ISBN 978-0-615-39111-3 Amazon A guide for common cancers.

Invitation to Wonder: A Journey Through the Seasons. Elizabeth Ayres. Veriditas Books. $19.95 paper (282p), ISBN 978-0-9845178-4-8 Ingram; Amazon In a hectic, uncertain world, these elegantly written, life-affirming reflections on nature’s beauty, wisdom, and mystery aim to provide a comforting respite.

Varitan’s Illustrated Greek Myths. Yonah Ignacio Varitan. Orphiflamme Press. $34.95 hardcover (120p), ISBN 978-0-9828812-0-0 A retelling of the Greek myths for our time—part science, part prose poem, part moral-social treatise.

Old Daisy and Young Jack Living Together. Lee Weir Carlson. Vantage Press. $10.95 paper (78p), ISBN 978-0-533-16330-4 B&T; Ingram A heartwarming tale of how the author and his wife chose to bring a rambunctious black Labrador puppy into their family just as their 14-year-old German shorthaired pointer was entering her last years. Unaccountable Congress: It Doesn’t Add Up.

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Joseph J. DioGuardi. $12 paper (160p), ISBN 978-0-89526-521-0 Amazon Against the background of America’s economic crisis, a former congressman (and CPA) from New York State reveals the fiscal unsustainability of the U.S. government and outlines the necessary steps to charting a new course. Moving Gracefully: A Guide to Relocating Yourself and Your Family. Carol Miller Fradkin. CreateSpace. $17.95 paper (336p), ISBN 978-1-4528-9932-9 A comprehensive guide that walks the reader through the entire relocation process, from making the decision to move through getting adjusted to new surroundings. Marketing and Publishing a Manuscript. Janet Horton. Columbia County PC. $21.95 paper (62p), ISBN 9780-9844536-0-3 default.aspx A single source for learning about the publishing process and the people involved. Because, It’s Just Good Manners! Janet Horton. Columbia County PC. $17.95 paper (52p), ISBN 978-1-93663499-6 A reminder of the simple things we have forgotten—good manners and common courtesies. C o a c h S o l o m o n ’s Playbook: 25 Character-Building Principles. John L. Manning. Mannart. $12.99 paper (168p), ISBN 978-09832946-0-3 Amazon A coach instructs young athletes in character-building principles to help them succeed in sports and life. Things My Teacher Did Tell Me. Charles R. Womack. Vantage Press. $18.95 paper (367p), ISBN 978-0-533-16312-0 B&T; Ingram A contemporary almanac of northeast Florida, this book makes the case for celebrating Jacksonville as one of America’s greatest cities.

The Big “C”: A Weapon of Death. Nina Norstrom. Vantage Press. $14.95 paper (148p), ISBN 978-0-533-16003-7 B&T; Ingram In this mother’s account of her daughter’s battle with Hodgkin’s lymphoma, readers are introduced to a strong and resilient young woman who was only 16 at the time of her diagnosis. Famous Personalities Honored on Stamps: Links to Medicine. Marc A. Shampo, Robert A. Kyle, and Werner Heidel. Vantage Press. $22.95 paper (262p), ISBN 978-0-533-16361-8 B&T; Ingram A collection that interweaves the world of postage stamps with vignettes celebrating those who’ve excelled in a wide variety of professions who have also contributed to medicine, from Che Guevara to Agatha Christie. Positively Ninety: Interviews with Lively Nonagenarians. Connie Springer. $37.50 paper (110p), ISBN 978-0-9712744-2-6 Springer interviews and photographs 28 spirited nonagenarians to present a hopeful and dynamic view of aging. A Penny Always Has Two Sides: A Memoir of Growing Up in Wartime Germany. Steffie Steinke. Inkwater Press. $21.95 paper (306p), ISBN 978-1-59299-481-6 Amazon;; Powell’s; Inkwaterpress .com The author’s life as a child in Germany during WWII. Untold: The New Orleans Ninth Ward You Never Knew. Lynette Norris Wilkinson. Write Creations. $13.99 paper (118p), ISBN 9780-9706292-1-0 Riveting true stories of 16 Katrina survivors from the Lower Ninth Ward of New Orleans.

Memories for the Future: A History of Palm Beach’s Royal Poinciana Playhouse. Thomas C. Clarie. Back Channel Press. $39.95 paper (428p), ISBN 978-1934582-24-4 Amazon A history of the stunning world-famous Royal Poinciana Playhouse in Palm Beach, Fla., includes 340 photos, 21 in color.

Poems of Passion Norma H. Conroy. Vantage Press. $10 paper (74p), ISBN 978-0-533-16301-4 B&T; Ingram The author offers readers poems of love, work, current events, family, and friendship. Poetry Political (with Tongue in Cheek). Maack Twain. Vantage Press. $8.95 paper (69p), ISBN 978-0-533-16297-0 B&T; Ingram In the great tradition of American humorists, Twain uses poetry and short verse to skewer today’s politics, pundits, and pontificators. From Poverty 2 Publicity. J. Will Da Invincible. Vantage Press. $7.95 paper (35p), ISBN 978-0-533-15078-6 B&T; Ingram Poems with a vibrant hip-hop beat deal with issues of poverty, injustice, and love.

mADD man. Brian J. Robinson. Abstract Publications. $16.99 paper (232p), ISBN 978-0-55734122-1 Amazon; Revolution Books (New York, N.Y.)
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A call for change in the educational system, specifically for gifted children with alternative brain chemistries who are stigmatized with such labels as ADHD.

The Power of Resilience. Dr. Julia Baldwin. Vantage Press. $27.95 paper (146p), ISBN 978-0-533-16355-7 B&T; Ingram The author and 10 successful women leaders all share how they have dealt with crisis in their lives and turned what could have been a life-changing negative into a cornerstone of their success. Secrets of a Working Dog: Unleash Your Potential & Create Success. Ellen and Patrick Galvin and Bella the Boxer. Joseph Rudolph Publishers. $19.95 paper (192p), ISBN 978-0-9828680-3-4 Amazon; Straightforward advice on how to balance the responsibilities and challenges of modern life and still have fun. P r e m o n i t i o n s o f a Yo u n g M a n , Unscathed. Terron J. Cook. $21.95 (218p), ISBN 9780-557-55083-8; Amazon The story of a young man fighting to overcome his tumultuous past and help others to avoid the same pitfalls. Soaring Above Co-Addiction: Helping Your Loved One Get Clean, While Creating the Life of Your Dreams. Lisa Espich. Twin Feather Publishing. $14.95 paper (176p), ISBN 978-0-61535975-5 In this memoir-style self-help book, the author shares her experience of overcoming co-addiction by utilizing such tools as affirmations and visualization. My Parents Get Windows 7. Louise Latremouille. KLMK Enterprises. $19.95 paper (164p), ISBN 978-09732728-7-1 This book is like having the most patient geek in the family sit down and teach you

computer basics one-on-one. The Art of Successful Relationships: The Prince or the Predator. Georgina Ramirez. Vantage Press. $9.95 paper (93p), ISBN 978-0-533-16171-3 B&T; Ingram A guide to identifying the predators and bullies in one’s life, developing the “strong spiritual and moral core” to defeat these negative influences, and finding the power to lead. Shift: Change Your Words, Change Your World. Janet Smith Warfield. Word Sculptures. $15.95 paper (208p), ISBN 978-09778324-7-7 Shift uses words to look at meaning, perception, emotions, actions.

Fearful to Fearless: Biblical Truths to Inspire You to Live a Life Free of Fear and to Worship God. Jeff Kusner. Koozzz. $15.99 paper (420p), ISBN 978-0-615-40232-1 Fearful to Fearless brings together almost 400 passages of scripture to help us to not be afraid and to look to Christ for strength and comfort. Theology 101 in Bite-Size Pieces: A Bird’s Eye View of the Riches of Divine Grace. Judy Azar LeBlanc. Westbow Press, $11.95 paper (104p), ISBN 978-1-4497-0706-4 Amazon A fresh look at the nature of God’s power and the power of grace. Letters to the Lord: Learning to Live in My World of Wars. Don Reeves. Booksurge. $13.99 paper (165p), ISBN 978-1-4392-4557-6 Amazon A retired USAF chaplain, Reeves plunges the reader into new frontiers of thought on the “mindlessness” of modern war. Destined to Live, Despite Me: Biblical Truths for Suicide Survivors. Yolanda Shanks. $14.99 paper (144p), ISBN 978-0-578-05468-1 Destined to Live speaks to suicide attempts in terms of spiritual direction.

Dystopia: What’s to Be Done? Garry Potter. CreateSpace. $29.95 paper (380p), ISBN 978-1-4538-2256-2 Amazon An analysis of the most serious of the interrelated and interacting multiple crises facing humanity and a proposal for radical systemic change.

Bombing Harvey. John Birges Jr. and Nina J. Arnold. Vantage Press. $16.95 paper (208p), ISBN 978-0-533-16380-9 B&T; Ingram Part memoir and part novel based on the true events surrounding the extortion and bombing plot that brought down a Lake Tahoe casino in 1980. D.B. Cooper Case Exposed George C. Nuttall. Vantage Press. $18.95 paper (284p), ISBN 978-0-533-16390-8 B&T; Ingram In November 1971, Dan “D.B.” Cooper parachuted out of a passenger jet that he had hijacked with $200,000 in cash. The author, a former CHP officer, examines all available evidence and discovers an astonishing case filled with poor police work, missing documents, lies, and coverups.

Double Bubble Universe in a New TOE. Katya Walter. Kairos Center. $14.95 paper (160p), ISBN 978-1-884178-00-9 Amazon Current information about quantum physics that spans the thinking styles of both scientists and “spiritists.”

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In Theda Bara’s Tent
Diana Altman. Tapley Cove Press, $15 trade paper (352p) ISBN 978-0-615-34327-3

Harry Sirkus, the protagonist of Altman’s atmospheric historical, is a boy orphaned at a young age and sent to live in a home for destitute children. Once Harry becomes a teenager and realizes the home can no longer support him, he strikes out to find his fortune. Along the way he meets young wouldbe mogul Louis B. Mayer and begins to learn the film business. He next works for William Fox, founder of Fox Film Corporation, and then—from the 1910s to the 1930s—proceeds to meet a host of influential performers and famous film industry figures, all the while casting a critical eye on issues like immigration, anti-Semitism, and opportunity in early 20th-century America. Through Harry, Altman frames a vibrant story about early Hollywood and a tumultuous time in American history. Harry, meanwhile, lovable if a little bland, mainly serves to bring readers closer to larger-than-life figures like Fox and Mayer. Readers with an even passing interest in the history of Hollywood will be enthralled.

flattered that he might have something to offer the old man. The resulting scheme to escape from crippling gambling debts by planting a bomb in and extorting $3 million from a Lake Tahoe casino would be considered over-the-top if it wasn’t true. But the book provides little tension to sustain reader interest and the underdeveloped psychology of its characters also proves a serious drawback.


Tamara’s Child
B.K. Mayo. Fir Valley Press (www.firvalleypress .com), $14.95 trade paper (407p) ISBN 9780-9815884-7-6

Bombing Harvey: Based on a True Story
John Birges Jr. and Nina J. Arnold. Vantage, $16.95 trade paper (224p) ISBN 978-0-53316380-9

A novel based on the real-life extortion attempt on a Lake Tahoe casino masterminded by a veteran of the Hungarian air force–turned–restaurateur should be more gripping than this halting effort, mostly told from the perspective of the criminal’s son. John Birges Jr.—also one of the book’s coauthors—survives a difficult childhood: he is physically abused by his father, John Birges Sr., and his mother takes her own life after his parents divorce. Desperate to escape his father’s grasp, the younger Birges leaves home at the age of 16. Three years later, despite the family rift, the younger Birges agrees to help his father out of a jam, ostensibly because he’s

In Mayo’s heavy-handed novel, Tamara Ames is a scared and very pregnant 16-year-old. Abandoned by the baby’s father, Tamara is told to leave home by her mother and has only one family member to whom she can turn: her stepbrother, Gary. A sleazy criminal, Gary makes Tamara uncomfortable, but she’s run out of options. And it’s only a matter of time before Tamara meets a doctor who happens to know an older, wealthy couple who desperately want a baby. Working in concert with Gary, the doctor steals Tamara’s child to give to the couple, and though the plan succeeds, Tamara later recognizes her baby and attempts to steal it back, but not before deciding how much she values her child’s happiness. While the book’s subject matter is charged, there’s nothing in the text that’s surprising or unique. All of the characters are stereotypical, leading to disengagement from the very beginning.

killer thriller, presented as if it were a murderer’s diary. Following the separation from his wife—described in overwrought prose: “The newness of my separation from my wife hung over me like the plastic vault of a new toy recently pried open with those damned metal ties that cling to its contents”—Duncan, the finance director for a California company, goes off the rails. While on vacation in the Dominican Republic, he has a surprisingly satisfying violent sexual encounter, which triggers dormant feelings that lead him to build a killing lair in his vacation home. With his soundproof base of operations established, the psycho seeks his first victim through the world of online dating. When the woman is reported missing, the case is assigned to police detective Sudhir Takhar, but his investigative efforts can’t prevent Duncan from claiming more lives. The graphic descriptions of Duncan’s slaughters shock but do not add any depth to this run-of-the-mill depiction of a conscienceless killer.

Your Weight and More
Robert G. Rohland. Vantage, $10.95 trade paper (86p) ISBN 978-0-533-16319-9

Duncan’s Diary: Birth of a Serial Killer
Christopher C. Payne. JournalStone (www, $12.95 trade paper (280p) ISBN 978-0-9828119-3-1

Only readers with an appetite for explicit sexual sadism will find anything worthwhile in this contemporary serial

Rohland’s simplistic, Depression-era fable proves to be more a collection of sketches than a well-developed novella. In 1935, 11-year-old Billy Baxter, who “live[s] in a small community somewhere within the Corn Belt of America,” has an odd encounter that will change his life forever. Elderly Paul Alfred Perkins—also known as Pap—stops Billy outside the corner grocery store and tells the boy he used to watch him playing ball with his friends. When Billy then loses two cents to a machine that claims to predict “your weight and more,” Pap gives him the money to try again. This time, the machine tells Billy his fortune. Upset by Pap’s intervention, Billy’s mother goes looking for the old man, only to be told Pap doesn’t exist. The remainder of the book sketches the arc of Billy’s life as it
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intersects with the predictions made by the machine. The author does himself no service by his terseness; for example, the reader is told that Billy was awarded a Bronze Star for valor without a hint as to why. In the end, what was intended as a hopeful parable makes virtually no impact.

circumscribed academic world doesn’t make Salant’s work unenjoyable, but it does impose unfortunate limitations on the novel and the audience it’s likely to reach. The book has moments that are laugh-out-loud funny, but those high points are separated by pseudo-Socratic dialogues that, much like Ablong himself, fail to reach an emotional core.

Deed So
Katharine A. Russell. CreateSpace, $15.29 trade paper (438p) ISBN 978-1-4537-7503-5

The Emancipation of Giles Corey
Michael Sortomme. Singing Lake Press, $16.95 trade paper (348p) ISBN 978-09830517-5-6

In Russell’s jumbled novel, Haddie Bashford is a young white woman with a great deal of growing up to do. She lives in rural 1960s Maryland where segregation is the law, but race relations between the locals are more progressive. All of that changes when a black youth is shot for assaulting a white farmer’s disabled son. This—coupled with the increase in sit-ins in nearby towns—raises racial tensions to a new level. And if that isn’t enough, an arsonist is also striking the town, destroying property irrespective of its owner’s race. Haddie must negotiate all of this, as well as her burgeoning adolescence, a crush on a much older friend, and a sense that everything is not as easy as she once thought. Russell paints a detailed, compelling portrait of time and place, but there’s way too much going on, with plot threads initiated and then dropped, as if Russell is unsure about which story she wants to tell. The result is a novel that’s easy to get into, but hard to stay with.

Alan Salant. The Olivier Arts and Open Press (, $12.95 trade paper (114p) ISBN 978-0-9819891-8-1

In Salant’s uneven comic novel, professor Wilson Ablong is a genius of sorts who once had an awesome idea that turned into a unified theory and changed everything for humanity. Ever since, he’s been coasting along in a tenured faculty position at his university, where he insults students, toys with colleagues, and generally refuses to engage with anyone. This works out fine until his long-lost son, Tex, shows up and forces him to connect with people. The strain sends Ablong into a breakdown. As he recovers, he opens up about his fears, his doubts, and the hallucinatory value of broccoli. Ablong’s very

While it’s conceivable that a book centered on “nine days of rituals to free hundreds of ghosts in the Massachusetts Bay Colony” could work, this muddled novel does not. In 2009, retired academic Mortimer Siminsky is introduced to “Indigenous Shamanic Practitioner” Sophie St. Cloud, whose shamanism is “in-yourface,” and who presents him with the draft of a novel detailing her experiences in Salem, Mass. Two years earlier, Sophie attempted to use “High Magick” to aid the spirit of Giles Corey, who was pressed to death in 1692 as a result of the notorious Salem witch trials. Sortomme’s interminable descriptions of the rituals carried out over the years to free Giles’s soul are stultifying, leavened only by passages that are unintentionally humorous, e.g., “They knew that eating chocolate over the bones of Giles Corey would give them power, fortitude and courage.” The book’s dense, excruciatingly detailed account of preparations for the emancipation ritual are also a slog (“We move on to Netzach, symbolizing our energy valve, the Solar Plexus of the reading, right-brain in orientation. We have the Knight of Pentacles; he is riding slowly, his speed imperceptible to others”)and most readers will concur with Mortimer’s opinion that Sophie’s narrative is “confusing.”

ing debut, featuring Pete Thorsen, a Chicago lawyer turned amateur detective. As a managing partner for his law firm, Thorsen has his hands full. But he is unwillingly thrust into the middle of a murder investigation when Cara Lane—the woman he dined with the night before— is found drowned. Reports that the two argued at dinner, along with Thorsen’s admission that, after the date, he went for a late-night walk that brought him to the crime scene, make him a natural suspect. To clear his name, the attorney digs into Lane’s past, discovering that his dinner date was a former student radical involved in a bombing that injured two people 20 years earlier. Wangard’s novel moves along—twisting and turning—at a brisk pace. And his well-drawn detective has enough personality to make readers excited for the next installment.

Butterfly Rising
Tanya Wright. CreateSpace, $12 trade paper (257p) ISBN 978-1-4536-5036-3

Target: A Pete Thorsen Mystery
Robert Wangard. Ampersand (, $17.95 trade paper (312p) ISBN 978-0-9818126-9-4

Wangard launches a promising contemporary mystery series with this engag-

In Wright’s meandering debut, Lilah and Rose are misfits in hometown Lucasville, Miss. Singer Lilah is extremely close to her brother, and when he dies in a freak accident, she begins drinking and stops singing. Rose, meanwhile, catches the eye of every man in town, but never allows anyone close to her heart. Both women realize they need to leave Lucasville, so they set out on the road in search of healing from the magical Lazarus of the Butterflies. When they find him, the healing he offers takes a form neither expects. Lilah makes peace with her demons and begins a career in Nashville. Rose finally allows a man to love her. And while Lilah and Rose’s tragedies aren’t over yet, their friendship will be enough to sustain them. The story begins with a great deal of promise—misfits in a South touched by magic—but it soon becomes abundantly clear to the reader that Wright, who can write a very nice sentence, doesn’t fare as well with plot and structure, with the narrative veering into tragedy and then recovery at a pace that calls out for the guiding hand of a smart editor.

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Cooking on the Line: From Food Lover to Professional Line Cook
Wayne Cohen. Larousse Churchill, $14.95 trade paper (258p) ISBN 978-1-4537-7819-7

Entire chapters are devoted to moving with pets (“Moving is very stressful on fish, and quite risky”) and children (“They may be angry [especially older children] and sad”). Packing tips include how to handle hazardous items that can’t be stored in moving vans, advice about items that can be damaged by heat, and suggestions about items that should be transported personally. Fradkin concludes with information about unpacking, safety, security, and a listing of useful Web sites. This guidebook serves as a definitive, comprehensive manual.

Zook: A Look at Harold Zook’s Unique Architecture
Betty Green. Ampersand, $19.95 trade paper (152p) ISBN 978-0-9818126-8-7

In this absorbing memoir, Cohen—a college football player and business owner who always loved to cook—answers an online advertisement for a line cook and brings significant life skills but scant culinary experience to the kitchen. Working with a young chef and an ambitious menu, Cohen forges through mundane tasks and back pain and finds his personal and professional comfort zone despite hostile personalities and questionable restaurant operations. Eventually, Cohen becomes a chef himself, laboring to meet the many challenges of kitchen work while yearning to take the next professional step. He interns in the kitchens of celebrated chefs, discovers the latest trends and techniques, and receives other job offers before settling in with his mentor. The book is intensely detailed, and though the author’s tendency to conclude each chapter with a melodramatic cliffhanger will likely irk some readers, Cohen’s relentless positivity—a quality that often comes across as slightly vain—lends a nice energy to his story.

Secrets of a Working Dog: Unleash Your Potential and Create Success
Ellen Galvin and Patrick Galvin. Joseph Rudolph, $19.95 trade paper (192p) ISBN 978-0-9828680-3-4

Moving Gracefully: A Guide to Relocating Yourself & Your Family
Carol Miller Fradkin. CreateSpace, $17.95 trade paper (336p) ISBN 978-1-4528-9932-9

For this handy and thorough guidebook to moving, Fradkin draws on her own experiences of moving more than 20 times, which, surely, should qualify her as an expert. Fradkin tackles moving from every conceivable angle, beginning with making the decision to move, followed by detailed information and tips about selling houses, interpreting real estate listings, mortgage shopping, finding a new home, tools of the hunt (e.g., tape measure, digital camera), renting versus buying, then goes on to selecting a moving company, creating an inventory of belongings, and getting ready for moving day.

Written by a husband and wife team from the point of view of Bella, their happy boxer, this charming guide to success offers valuable life lessons aimed at helping readers enjoy well-balanced lives. The book’s commonsense advice originates from Bella’s experience: keep life uncomplicated, find out where your passion lies, and take time everyday to reflect. This canine wisdom applies to everything from breathing to stretching and exercising to choosing happiness. Readers are also presented with engaging case studies of successful individuals who exemplify the book’s advice, including Amy Sacks, whose Pixie Project allows her to follow her passion and help facilitate animal adoptions, and Carol Gardner, who turned the end of her marriage into an opportunity by creating a line of greeting cards. Also included are sections on communication, persistence, camaraderie, maintaining focus, and the importance of napping as well as practical and realistic advice about time management. Delightful and insightful, Bella’s pearls of wisdom will entertain while imparting more than a few valuable lessons.

A registered nurse turned Chicago Architectural Foundation Museum docent, Green offers a lavishly illustrated homage to the Midwestern architect R. Howard Zook (1889–1949). After seeing a Zook home being demolished, the author’s curiosity in the architect was piqued, and she began tracking down his English Costwald–style cottages and commercial and municipal buildings— romantic, whimsical structures, most boasting the architect’s trademark flourishes: a layered, mock-thatch roof and spiderweb-shaped ornamental ironwork. Green has a remarkable eye for detail, and her photographs are assured and dramatic. Zook’s spiral staircases, “Juliet balconies,” built-in umbrella stands and bunk beds, hidden chevrons, undulating shingles, his earthly material textures and sensuousness come to brilliant life. While the photos enchant, however, the prose disappoints. The introduction and brief biography of Zook are bland and clotted with trivia (“He frequently entertained guests and was described as a good conversationalist”), with the remainder of the book devoted to inspirational quotes only tenuously connected to the material. Still the book is, as Green describes, “a labor of love” (proceeds will go to the preservation of Zook homes) and is a visual treat that would beautifully complement a more conventional biography of the architect.

Vital Yoga: A Sourcebook for Students and Teachers
Meta Chaya Hirschl. Prajna, $35 trade paper (320p) ISBN 978-0-9823055-0-8

Hirschl—who, after working for years in stressful management jobs, ditched the corporate world to become a yoga instructor and studio owner—offers tips and advice to both students and teachers of yoga.
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Hirschl aims to help modern yogis transform their asana (pose) and meditation routines via yoga history, philosophy, and traditional practices like pranayama (breath), mantra (chanting), mudra (gesture), and drishti (gaze). The author clearly summarizes classic yoga texts, the eight limbs of yoga, pioneering teachers, energetics, and basic anatomy in a way that will greatly benefit new practitioners. She also offers an excellent overview of yoga styles, as well as sections on classical asana, advice on selecting teachers and classes, tips on becoming part of a community, and her take on applying yogic precepts to daily life via “stealth” yoga. For instructors, Hirschl offers sample yoga sequences and advice about the initial steps of opening a studio. As reference and inspiration, Hirschl’s beautifully illustrated compendium will best serve novice students and teachers, as well as those aspiring to change careers.

Theology 101 in Bite-Sized Pieces: A Bird’s Eye View of the Riches of Divine Grace
Judy Azar LeBlanc, WestBow, $11.95 trade paper (124p) ISBN 978-1-4497-0706-4

How to Bake Bread: The Five Families of Bread
Michael Kalanty. Red Seal, $50 trade paper (525p) ISBN 978-0-615-23129-7

A flip through this master course in bread baking from French-trained, California Culinary Academy instructor Kalanty might temper the most determined aspirant, but after digesting the basics (baker’s percents, ingredients, add-ins, tools, techniques, and workplace setup and flow), readers will be primed to attempt Kalanty’s “formulas” for a gamut of baked goods including baguettes, bagels, pizza, challah, babka, stollen, and cinnamon buns. With his Five Families of Bread method—adapted from a 19thcentury French culinary concept—Kalanty contends that readers can utilize similar techniques to make a variety of baked goods. A dynamic teacher, Kalanty adds spice with history and anecdotes in this engaging and practical volume. As readers turned bakers acquire skills like the “Degas and Fold,” “Poker Chip Gesture,” and visualization, Kalanty insists they will gain confidence to enter the fast track to creating boulangerie-quality breads.

LeBlanc’s well-meaning but uneven exploration of theology would have benefited from a thorough edit. While the author provides notations and references that steer readers to various scriptural sources, LeBlanc fails to clearly delineate the theme and purpose of her book and frequently contradicts herself. The “Bird’s Eye View” of the subtitle, for instance, never materializes, and the book lacks a clear structure. While LeBlanc seeks to explore some basic tenants of fundamental Christianity, her work lacks breadth and depth. Forty of the book’s 124 pages are given over to a “New American Standard Greek Lexicon,” while other entries on concepts like “Adoption” or “Justification” run less than two pages. That missing editor might have addressed these issues and caught some of the author’s tics: her assertions, for instance, that she “must admit that [she doesn’t] fully comprehend” or “cannot even imagine” or finds it “quite difficult for me to wrap my mind around” various biblical concepts. While there are probably some readers out there who will connect to LeBlanc’s thoughts and appreciate her scholarship, this book is not likely to find a wide audience.

with synopses of patients’ diagnoses, workup, treatment, and outcome. These histories are sometimes heartbreaking— like the case of a retired accountant whose melanoma doesn’t respond to treatment—and often inspiring—like the case of a retired seamstress whose lymphoma is cured. “If I’m able to lessen that fear [of cancer]... for even a few people then I’ll have achieved my goal,” Maguire writes in this valuable reference that reminds readers that knowledge is power.

Wolfer: A Memoir
Carter Niemeyer. Bottle Fly Press, $17.99 trade paper (374p) ISBN 978-0-615-40948-1

When Cancer Hits Home
Patrick Maguire. Coastal Carolina Publishing, $14.99 trade paper (264p) ISBN 978-0-61539111-3

In this colorful memoir, Niemeyer explores a life shaped by wolves, suspicious ranchers, intrepid trappers, other extraordinary characters, and convoluted politics. “Wolves had a way of working their way into my life,” Niemeyer writes, “like a worm through an apple. They are just animals, of course, but they have a way of making people nuts, and for that matter, attracting nutty people.” A government expert who reintroduced endangered gray wolves to the West, Niemeyer works day and night to become a revered wildlife expert and develop a real understanding of the often unjustly maligned wolf. Among the book’s many engaging anecdotes are stories about grinding up prairie dogs for bait, flea treatments for trappers, and capturing a dart-gunned grizzly. Niemeyer’s cogent tale is full of empathy, and his adventures and the mindboggling challenges he faces will rivet readers.

An oncologist whose parents died of cancer brings his unique perspective to this thoughtful and surprisingly touching reference aimed at helping people reduce their risk of cancer and learn about diagnosis and treatment. The book covers some familiar but important territory: reducing the chances of getting cancer via quitting smoking, eating well, exercising, and practicing safe sex. Maguire also discusses topics like prostate and breast cancer testing and their risks and benefits for early detection—he favors both. But the manuscript’s real strength lies in the author’s calm, concise discussions of treatment options for the 20 most common types of cancer. Maguire presents readers

D.B. Cooper Case Exposed: J. Edgar Hoover Cover Up?
George C. Nuttall. Vantage, $18.95 trade paper (285p) ISBN 978-0-533-16390-8

Nuttall—a former California Highway Patrol captain—offers an uneven exploration of one of the most baffling unsolved cases in recent American history: D.B. Cooper’s 1971 highjacking of a Northwest Airlines jet. Aided by a former colleague, Harry L. Grady, of the San Diego Police Department, Nuttall examines vintage books, press clippings, maps,

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and law enforcement records, only to conclude the official investigation of the case was botched—particularly the failed attempt to capture Cooper after he parachuted from the stolen jet with $200,000 in cash. Nuttall’s investigation turns up some interesting findings: the absence of radar tracking the highjacked jet, conflicting reports from witnesses aboard the plane, a lackluster search for Cooper in the wrong location, and the tardy release of serial numbers on Cooper’s ransom money. But Nuttall’s investigative work loses some credibility when he delves into late FBI chief J. Edgar Hoover’s gambling addiction and homosexuality, tying those factors to an agency coverup, organized crime, and blackmail. Nuttall reaches some bewildering conclusions that blunt the book’s potential as one of the definitive volumes on this mysterious case.

file—and the artists of the stamps remain a mystery.

Positively Ninety: Interviews with Lively Nonagenarians
Connie Springer. Blurb (, $37.50 trade paper (110p) ISBN 978-09712744-2-6

Famous Personalities Honored on Stamps: Links to Medicine
Marc A. Shampo, Robert A. Kyle, and Werner Heidel. Vantage, $22.95 trade paper (280p) ISBN 9780-533-16361-8

For these short profiles of people pictured on postage stamps, the authors devised a unique if limiting premise for inclusion: “men and women with relatively little known links to medicine who were honored on stamps primarily because they made their mark in other fields—politics, art, philosophy, religion, entertainment, sports, and so on.” The 131 individuals profiled include Walt Disney and Ernest Hemingway, who were both American Red Cross ambulance drivers during WWI; Hector Berlioz and Robinson Jeffers, who were once medical students; basketball inventor James Naismith, who was briefly a Colorado physician; O. Henry, who was a licensed pharmacist while a prison inmate; and Howard Hughes, who founded the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. The book disappoints on multiple levels. Some of the stamps profiled belong to larger sets, leaving readers to wish the authors had presented the entire set. Additionally, there is scant information about the stamps themselves—usually a single sentence at the end of each pro-

In this uniformly upbeat volume, Springer—discouraged by her mother’s decline in mental health—interviews and photographs 28 nonagenarians who are leading happy, vibrant lives. Among those profiled are Janet Kalven, a 94-yearold feminist with a 30-year mortgage; Dot Grannen, who, at 90, fulfills her lifelong ambition to tackle an Olympic bobsled run; Neil Keto, who, at 98 and with only one eye, is still a voracious reader; and swimmer Russ White, who has amassed hundreds of medals at the National Senior Olympics. Though most of her subjects have outlived their spouses, siblings, and, in some cases, children, they still lead fulfilling lives, full of social events and activities. However, Springer wisely avoids Pollyannaism, detailing the health conditions of her subjects as well as some of their disappointments. If there’s a recurring theme, it’s the importance of staying focused, staying positive, and never giving up. And the claim that happiness and contentment are often a choice is encouraging and inspiring.

tuality literature by an author whose influence Stevenson readily acknowledges. However, Stevenson’s narrative is hardly a journey of discovery. In the book’s introductory note, the author tells readers exactly what “Truth” means to him: having a perspective on the “Magic” of life, or “knowing that we choose our experiences to learn and to grow from so we can all move towards and experience the Oneness of all things.” Despite Stevenson’s obvious sincerity, the crises he encounters inevitably end as opportunities to tell his wife and sister-inlaw—as well as the reader—about the “Magic,” unintentionally producing a memoir that proves to be more of a selfcongratulatory slog than a self-revelatory journey.

Shift: Change Your Words, Change Your World
Janet Smith Warfield. Word Sculptures (www .word, $15.95 trade paper (208p) ISBN 978-0-9778324-7-7

Looks Easy Enough: A Joyful Memoir of Overcoming Disease, Divorce, and Disaster
Scott Stevenson. Deadora, $18 trade paper (451p) ISBN 978-0-9842810-0-8

In this didactic memoir, Stevenson reflects on his personal and psychological growth while dealing with his wife’s struggle with breast cancer, his sister-inlaw’s tumultuous divorce from an abusive husband, his losses in the recent stock market crash, and the destruction of his home in a wildfire. The tone of the book is reminiscent of Tom Youngholm’s The Celestial Bar—a staple of New Age spiri-

A meandering collection of poems, haiku, charts, and essays from self-help guru Warfield boils down to two admonitions: we must allow our creative selves to manifest, and we must not allow people to control and constrict our lives. In most cases, Warfield’s advice and exercises— daily affirmations, essays on perception, tips like “learn and grow from your mistakes”—are well-intentioned and provide methods of increasing self-awareness that will likely prove helpful to readers. But the book takes an unsettling turn when the author offers her bizarre take on the Holocaust: “Certainly, genocides and holocausts are unwise choices if we want to create a peaceful, prosperous planet where humans respect one another and work together in harmony. Yes, we can label them evil if we want but what do we accomplish? Doesn’t this just beget pride in us and guilt in others?” Warfield then concludes: “We, of course, would never do such a horrible thing, but then we have never walked in those other shoes.” These and other stunningly wrongheaded statements undermine her approach and, coupled with ramblings about religion and consciousness, result in a book that raises more questions than it answers.

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Hirschl aims to help modern yogis transform their asana (pose) and meditation routines via yoga history, philosophy, and traditional practices like pranayama (breath), mantra (chanting), mudra (gesture), and drishti (gaze). The author clearly summarizes classic yoga texts, the eight limbs of yoga, pioneering teachers, energetics, and basic anatomy in a way that will greatly benefit new practitioners. She also offers an excellent overview of yoga styles, as well as sections on classical asana, advice on selecting teachers Theclasses,Tiger becoming part of a and Tiny tips on Janette Shipston Chan, illus. byapplying yocommunity, and her take on Kelly Barrow. AuthorHouse (, gic precepts to daily life via “stealth” $13.50 paper (24p) ISBN 978-1-4520-4106-3 yoga. For instructors, Hirschl offers samThis warm and and advice about the ple yoga sequencesstraightforward story, a metaphor for opening studio. As a Chiinitial steps ofadoption, adraws from refernese and inspiration, Hirschl’s beautifully ence proverb asserting that an invisible, unbreakable red thread will best those illustrated compendium“connects serve destined well as novice students and teachers, as to meet regardless those aspiring to change careers. of time, place or circumHow to Bake Bread: stance.” Each time The Five Families of Breadtiger Tong the Michael Kalanty. Red Seal, $50he hears a roars, trade paper (525p) ISBN 978-0-615-23129-7 roar” coming “tiny A flip through this master course in from the other side bread baking from French-trained, Caliof the mountain fornia Culinary Academy instructorit’s his and assumes Kalanty Setting out to the it, he encounters echo. might temper findmost determined aspirant, but after digesting the basics fellow tiger Jen-jen, who tells him she is (baker’s percents, ingredients, add-ins, following a red string “wherever it goes,” tools, techniques, come along. The string and invites him toand workplace setup and flow), to a cave, where they to atleads themreaders will be primedfind a tempt tiger who wears a pink bow and young Kalanty’s “formulas” for a gamut of baked goods including baguettes, bagels, has the end of the string tied to her paw. pizza, challah, babka, stollen, and cinnaTong and Jen-jen name her Lila, and the mon “lived happily Five Families of threebuns. With his ever after.” In keepBread method—adapted the a 19thing with the simplicity offrom tale, Barcentury French culinary suggestive of row’s digital cartoons areconcept—Kalanty contends that computgrade-school workbooks or early readers er games. Chan can utilize similar personclearly pulls from techniques to make a variety al experience: her bio states that she and of baked goods. thread” her husband “followed their red A dynamto China, whereic teacher, Kalanty adds they adopted their spice with history and andaughter. A rosy story for adoptive parecdotes children. Ages ents to share with their in this engaging and practical volume. As 3–6. readers turned bakers acIf Trees Could Talk quire skills like the “Degas and Fold,” Paul KayChip Gesture,” and visualization, “Poker Jr., illus. by Hervé Blondon. Vantage Press, $17.95 (26p) ISBN 978-0-533-16358-8 Kalanty insists they will gain confidence to This paper-over-board creating bouenter the fast track to book offers a tribute to trees, focusing on their interaclangerie-quality breads.


Theology 101 in Bite-Sized Pieces: A Bird’s Eye View of the with and tionsRiches of Divine Grace
Judy Azar LeBlanc, contributions to WestBow, $11.95 trade paper (124p) ISBN the human race. 978-1-4497-0706-4

Children’s Books

Picture Books

LeBlanc’s well-meaning but uneven Written in the exploration of voice of a tree, theology would have benefited from a is the narrativethorough edit. While the author provides notations and references composed prithat steer readers to various scriptural marily of sources, couplets fails to clearly delineate rhymed LeBlanc the theme and purpose of her book and with a less-thanfrequently contradicts herself. The to precise meter (“From giant redwoods “Bird’s Eye Joshua of the subtitle, for inthe ancient View” Tree./ We are as distance, never materializes, and the book verse as the human family”). The poem lacks a clear structure. While LeBlanc mentions what some trees bear (“apples, seeks to exploresyrup, basic tenants of oranges, maple some and even grapefundamental Christianity, hercome from fruit”), that “paper and boxes work lacks breadth and depth.breatheof the book’s us,” and that “You Forty in the air that 124 pages are given overbook “New on we breathe out.” Yet the to a is short American Standard Greek Lexicon,” substance, presenting information and while other entries on concepts like analogies that seem either random (“Fall “Adoption”of our colors are on run less is when all or “Justification” display./ thanFourth of July is your colorful day”) The two pages. That missing editor might have(“We lose our leaves and peoor strained addressed these issues and caught some of the author’s our way of reple shed their skin./ This is tics: her assertions,again and again”). Balancing an newing for instance, that she “must admit that [she doesn’t] fully green hues, auburn palette with bright comprehend” or “cannotnaïf, blocky illustrationsit a Blondon’s even imagine” or finds add “quite difficult for me to wrap my mind note of whimsy, portraying trees from around” various biblical concepts. While above and below, occasionally personifythere are probably some readers out there ing aspects of nature, and emphasizing who will connect to LeBlanc’sbut also fratrees’ strength and usefulness thoughts and appreciate her scholarship, this book gility. A well-intentioned ode to the inis not likely to find nature. audience. terconnectedness of a wide Ages 4–8.

When First Flight Home Billy’s Cancer Hits Lesson
Patrick Maguire. illus. by Linda Terentiak. Elaine R. Barber, Coastal Carolina Publishing, Ampersand (, $14.99 trade paper (264p) ISBN 978-0-61539$17.95 (40p) ISBN 978-1-4507-0620-9 111-3

An oncologist whose nostalgic story Set in the 1930s, thisparents died of cancer brings his obsessed with planes stars a boy who isunique perspective to this thoughtful postscript, Barber proand flying. (In aand surprisingly touching reference aimed Billy—William reduce files the real-lifeat helping peopleA. Bartheir risk of husband—who about diagber, her late cancer and learnfirst soloed at nosis and treatment. The a commercial age 11 and went on to be book covers some familiar and competitive aerobatic airline captainbut important territory: reducing the chances Billy “made runways pilot.) At breakfast,of getting cancer via quitting smoking, eating well, exercising, in his oatmeal and flew his spoon around and practicing safe sex. Maguire he dishis bowl.” Every day after school,also rides cusses topics like his bike to the prostate and breast cancer testing airport to and their risks and benefits for early detection—he favors both. But the watch planes manuscript’s take off and real strength lies in the author’s calm, land. When concise discussions of treatment options he asks a pilotfor the 20 most common types of cancer. Maguire presents readers if he needs

with synopses of patients’ diagnoses, workup, treatment, and outcome. These “some first class help,” the man proposes histories are sometimes heartbreaking— a trade: “I will pay for your time in flight like the case of a retired accountant whose lessons.” On the day of his first lesson, melanoma doesn’t respond to treatBilly bids a dramatic farewell to his case ment—and often inspiring—like the mother (“Today I leavewhose lymphoma is of a retired seamstress a boy and come back a “If I’m able to brightly colored cured. pilot!”). Large, lessen that fear [of type conveys evenboy’s enthusiasm, as cancer]... for the a few people then I’ll whenachieved my with the pilot and grabs have he takes off goal,” Maguire writes in this valuable reference that reminds the control stick: “I’m flying! I’m really readers More successful than Terentiak’s flying!”that knowledge is power. wooden characters are her renditions of Wolfer: A Memoir electric-hued period airplanes, with each Carter Niemeyer.pictured against dappled model labeled, Bottle Fly Press, $17.99 trade paper (374p) ISBN 978-0-615-40948-1 aqua skies. Ages 4–up. In this colorful memoir, Niemeyer exGoodnight Houston plores a life shaped by wolves, suspicious Jennifer and Kyle Solak, illus. other Dolan. ranchers, intrepid trappers,by Paul extraorAmpersand (, dinary characters, and convoluted poli$17.95 (36p) had a way of working tics. “WolvesISBN 978-1-4507-0623-0 their “The stars life,” Niemeyer writes, “like way into my at night are big and bright,/ In Houston, it’s an apple. They are just a worm throughtime to say goodnight,” opens this course, but they have a way animals, ofaffectionate tribute to Texas’s of largest people nuts, and for that matter, makingcity. Simple rhymed couplets bid goodnight to various landmarks, attracattracting nutty people.” A government tions, who reintroduced resources, inexpertevents, and natural endangered gray cluding the Hermann Park Railroad, day wolves to the West, Niemeyer works the Houston Zoo, and night to become a revered wildlife Miller and develop a real understanding expert Outdoor Theatre, Galvesof the often unjustly maligned wolf. ton Bay, the OrAmong the book’s many engaging anecange are stories dotesShow, and about grinding up praiDiscovery Green. rie dogs for bait, flea treatments for trapSome entries feel pers, and capturing a dart-gunned grizlike filler— zly. Niemeyer’s cogent tale is full of em“spicy and his adventures and the mindpathy, tacos and juicy barbeque,” “babies in the blooming bluebonnets”—but conboggling challenges he faces will rivet tribute an overall sense of the sources of Houstonian pride. The digitally enD.B. Cooper Case Exposed: photohanced artwork largely consists of J. Edgar that appear to have been run graphs Hoover Cover Up? George C.aNuttall. Vantage, $18.95 tradeare through few Photoshop filters, but paper (285p) ISBN 978-0-533-16390-8 certainly eye-catching and the highlight of Nuttall—a former California Highway the volume. Standouts include images Patrol captain—offers over the skyscrapof fireworks exploding an uneven exploration of one of the most baffling unsolved er-studded night skyline, a NASA astrocases in recent American and the D.B. naut suspended in space, history: sun setCooper’s Houston’s ting over1971 high-main waterway, Bufjacking of a Northwest falo Bayou. The paper-over-board book Airlines jet. Aided by a concludes with capsule descriptions of the former colleague, Harlocations, events, and highlights referred ry L. the verse. This friendly introduction to in Grady, of the San Diego Police Departto Houston should find its core readership ment, city residents amongNuttall exam- and visitors. Ages ines vintage books, 4–up. press clippings, maps,

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Portia’s Incredible Journey
Emma L. Price. ELP Books (www.elpbooks. net), $9.95 trade paper (144p) ISBN 978-09841650-0-1

“How did everything go so wrong so quickly?” laments the almost 11-year-old narrator of Price’s debut novel, after her parents tell her she must learn to administer her own insulin shots rather than rely on them to do it. Portia then flashes back a year, to when she was diagnosed with diabetes, adjusted her diet, and learned how to test her blood sugar. In the present, a visit from her cousin, who also has diabetes, comforts Portia, as both girls deal with their health-related problems. Attending a summer camp for diabetics, Portia reaches out to an ornery girl who is also afraid of giving herself insulin

shots. Back home, Portia worries about the growing tension between her parents and fears they will divorce. While the story may reassure diabetic readers, it’s weighed down by extraneous, stilted dialogue. The story’s histrionic tenor reaches a crescendo when a truck slams into the van that Portia and several family members are riding in—while fleeing a hurricane—and Portia requires surgery for a broken arm. Portia’s close bond with her caring grandmother adds an affecting note to this overwrought novel. Ages 6–12.

Bitsy’s Labyrinth
Mary Andonian. Good Thief Press, LLC (www., $11.99 trade paper (198p) ISBN 978-0-9831075-0-7

In this largely successful spiritual coming-of-age story, 13-year-old Bitsy feels ignored by her mother, who spends her time helping fellow recovering alcoholics, and by her remarried father, who reneges on promises to visit. She is also alienated from her older sister, who has taken up drinking and smoking. Bitsy’s mother,

who prays as she walks the labyrinth she built on their lavender farm, explains that she uses it to contemplate problems while walking, and gives the problem to God when she reaches the center. Though Bitsy is skeptical, she too talks to God, asking for help with her family issues. After her best friend Gina gains a sense of calmness from the labyrinth, Bitsy becomes frustrated. In a melodramatic turn of events, Gina’s mother, who is battling cancer, dies of a bee sting while walking the labyrinth, after which Bitsy attempts to set it on fire. Andonian has a nice handle on dialogue, and Bitsy’s narration, with its gently sarcastic sense of humor and embarrassment concerning her mother’s outspoken faith, feels genuine and contemporary as the story makes its way to an upbeat conclusion. Ages 12–18.

Join backpackers Jason Medley and Theo Barnes on their road trip across Europe, New Zealand ... and the Milky Way Galaxy.

Two friends. One Jar. The Universe’s DNA.

What could possibly go wrong?

“Unique and funny [with]... style and panache... [Finders Keepers is] a strong debut from a very imaginative writer.” —Publishers Weekly “Finders Keepers is a rollicking novel.” —Science Fiction & Fantasy Association of New Zealand “A crazy roller-coaster ride... O -the-wall... Like nothing else I’ve read before.” —SFBook Reviews To buy FINDERS KEEPERS via To buy FINDERS KEEPERS via 3 Finger Prints: To buy the FINDERS KEEPERS e-book:
3 Finger Prints Publishing 2010 Paperback $13.99 USA (301p) ISBN: 978-0-9794801-4-0

A novel by Russ Colchamiro
RUSS_1/2H.indd 1


The big bang was no theory.
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2/11/11 11:57 AM



More and more authors are choosing to sidestep agents and big houses to bring their books to the reading public.

Book Publishing Success Measured by More than Sales Alone
The desire to influence, to promote a cause, and just for fun are among the standards for success
By Kevin Weiss
Publishing continues to evolve and change as digital readers and digital formats rule the day. Interactive, media-rich apps are changing the very definition of book. And online retail outlets like Amazon have forced bricks-and-mortar booksellers to rethink their business models, and in the case of Borders, to contract. sellers are not comprehensive. The New York Times bestsellers list doesn’t include every single vender of books. Amazon’s rankings are based solely on Amazon sales and are updated hourly, but actual figures are not released, for competitive reasons. Nielsen BookScan bases its figures on retail sales from about 75% of retailers. And none of these takes into account direct sales or complete book club sales, which may be a more significant portion of book sales as authors and publishers have gone directly to readers. Perhaps even more important is that, for many authors, book sales alone are not the only measure of success.


elf-publishing, led by print-on-demand providers, has served as one of the key catalysts to the changes. More and more authors are choosing to sidestep agents and big houses to bring their books to the reading public. From full-service self-publishing operations with myriad services to free online ebook conversion portals that allow writers to produce digital books in minutes, opportunities for authors and choices for readers have never been greater. What hasn’t evolved as quickly is the measurement of success. Historically, that yardstick has been hitting the New York Times’s bestsellers list, which is still a worthy accomplishment. Yet even that respected source does not take into account the changes that have taken place in the industry. The metric used in determining best-


uthor Solutions Inc. worked with more than 20,000 authors last year to help them bring their works to readers. I’ve spoken with many of these authors, and I can tell you firsthand that their reasons for publishing—and ultimately their definitions of success—are as unique as the books they submit to our companies for publication. Yes, a large subset of authors publish their works with the hopes of rising to the top of bestseller lists, as Brunonia Berry or Lisa Genova did. But many write to influence readers, to bolster a cause they believe in, to support a consulting career, or for the fun of it. Reg Green is one of the world’s foremost advocates of organ donation. He wrote The Gift That Heals to raise funds in support of his cause and sells thousands a year at the dozens of speeches he gives around the world. Reg never defined his book’s success on sales alone. His goal is

to reach people through his words—to affect behavior. By any measure, Reg— who’s raised the profile of this cause—and his book have been a greater success than most bestsellers. C.S. Marks has created Alterra, a parallel world of heroic elves. Marks decided to free these characters from her imagination onto the pages of her books. Her books’ covers feature original illustrations, oil paintings that make her characters even more vivid. Marks is also a master marketer—one of the reasons she chose to self-publish—and she’s created quite a following. In January 2011 alone, her four-title series sold a combined 2,700 e-books. At book signings in Los Angeles and New York, hundreds of miles from her Indiana home, fans lined up early to meet her and secure autographed copies of the series’ flagship title, Elfhunter. Don Failla has been teaching network marketing for decades. His book, The 45-Second Presentation That Will Change Your Life, is a concise training manual for readers who want to establish network marketing businesses that depend on the cooperation of independent distributors. He’s sold tens of thousands of copies of his self-published book, averaging about 500 copies a month through channels tracked by Nielsen BookScan. He has had even more success selling direct to consumers at speaking and consulting events.


istorically, publishers have measured success by number of print books sold. Authors have measured success by the size of their advance. But the industry has changed dramatically. How we account for sales and what is considered a success should continue to evolve with the other changes taking place in the industry. ■
Kevin Weiss is the president and CEO of Author Solutions Inc.

28 P U B L I S H E R S W E E K L Y ■ M A R C H 2 8 , 2 0 1 1

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