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S.G. Cardin
Sunday, 18 January 2009
Life and thoughts on the publishing world
Mood:  caffeinated
Now Playing: Sirius Sat. Radio - 1st Wave
Topic: Writing

Just thought I'd pop in and say "Hi." It's been a busy week.  I work at night from 10 pm to 6 am and it's been a challenging week.  Some of my challenges?

Sleeping.  I'm only averaging 5 hours at home after working all night. I have to work in more sleep, but my body is waking up.  I suppose it's still adjusting to the new schedule.

Weight Watchers.  I lost .8 pounds this past week.  Can't complain but I thought it would be more. I'm sticking it to it though. My husband lost 5 pounds. The bum.  But I do realize boys/girls lose weight differently and my weight loss isn't going to be as easy as his.  It's encouraging. 

Writing
I found one day to write one chapter of my paranormal romance. Now the challenge is to find time to post it here on WDC for feedback.

Now I was crusing my writing group and I found this recent tidbit from "Shelf Awareness:"

"Shelf Awareness" has recently reported that Barnes & Noble is downsizing for the FIRST time in the company's history. THey eliminated nearly 100 positions in their corporate headquarters. B&N have approx. 40,000 employees and 800 stores overall.

MY THOUGHTS
Even B&N is not immune to today's tough economic times, however this looks like a restrucing move to me. I think think restructing is important and it's probably what has to happen to avoid a bankruptcy. I think there's A LOT of overhead in today's business and I think a vast majority of business can go for some streamling and restructuing.  I'll be monitoring B&N along with Borders to see how today's economy continues to effect them - and us.

Books on the reading list:

The Tsarina's Daughter by Carolly Erikson
Dreams from my Father by Barack Obama
Armed & Dangerous by William Queen.

Anyone else want to share their reading list?

Currently reading: Twilight by Stephenie Meyer


Posted by sgcardin at 6:06 AM
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Saturday, 10 January 2009
Thoughts on Borders and a book review
Mood:  caffeinated
Now Playing: The Bangles, Different Light
Topic: Writing
THE WRITING WORLD

I hear that Border is having troubles. They didn't "Internet" savvy until lately and it may be too late. While Amazon and Barnes & Nobles began an Internet campaign in the early 2000's, Borders didn't get really active with it until 2006. Borders also didn't offer a rewards/membership card like B&N until recently. To make it appealing, they offered it free, but still, it may be a little late. I heard they just fired their CEO, and that can't be good. Borders is also downsized their stock that they keep in stores - 85K which is hard to match B&N 140K - 150K stock. I would hate to see Borders go under but I think they need to come up with something that is unique and their own to stay afloat. I'll be monitoring Borders in the next couple of months and come back with a occassional updates.

I'll be tackling element of Romance Gothic in my next official newsletter and have the winners of my poetry contest announced. I hope to have the newsletter out next week so be on the lookout for it.

And now for a book review...

Book Review for: “Wanting Something More”
Written by: Kathy Love
340 pages
Kensington Publishing Corp.
ISBN: 0-8217-7614-2
$5.99
4.5 Stars

Kathy Love tells the story of Marty Stepp, the supermodel sister in the “Stepp Sister” series. “Wanting Something More,” finds Marty visiting her sisters in Millbrook, Maine during the winter months only to meet up with Nathaniel Peck, a previous paramour that broke her heart. Love weaves a delightful contemporary romance that will leave the reader anxiously turning the page.

The story opens with Mary returning to Millbrook to get in touch with her roots. She has supermodel burnout and was just ditched by her boyfriend who turned out to be gay. Stuck in a blizzard, the town’s top cop, Nathaniel Peck, comes to her rescue. Marty’s immediately distrustful of him. He hurt her pride back in high school with a mean-spirited kiss. Nate appears to be a changed man. He takes being a cop seriously and he strives to be an honorable police officer. He’s remorseful for treating Marty so badly in high school, but Marty is a hard sell.

Nate finally gets Marty to go out for a cup of coffee. Marty slowly eases into a dating relationship with Nate. She’s still a little afraid that he might be tricking her. When she discovers from her sisters that he was attacked while sleeping and his knee was injured, Marty starts to soften toward him.

While out on a date with Nate, Jared Nye, another old classmate comes onto Marty with a forceful kiss. Nate breaks it up and takes Marty to his place. They make love, spending the next twenty-four hours trapped by a snowstorm, getting to know each other well.

Once they’re able to get out, an old school chum, Josie, who knows Jared and Nate, tells Marty that Nate is using her - again. Josie has been put up to this by Jared. Marty can’t bear the thought of Nate using her and leaves. Nate goes after Marty once he finds out the truth – that Josie and Jared set him up. Can he convince Marty that his love is real?

Love’s writing is sharp. Marty’s life as a supermodel, while glamorous, lacks substance. Her vulnerability will touch the heartstrings. Nate is a likable guy who has changed his ways and readers will find themselves rooting for Marty and Nate. The dialogue is crisp and spirited. The love scenes are visual and emotional. Love does write in a “Lonesome Dove” point of view which switches with no clear breaks or division. This might be disconcerting for some readers. The plot moves forward seamlessly. “Wanting Something More” is a delicious way to spend the weekend.

Posted by sgcardin at 11:39 AM
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Friday, 9 January 2009
Losing Weght is a life style change...
Mood:  caffeinated
Now Playing: Bangles, Different Light
Topic: Life
Well, the cards all fell into place with my schedule and child care so I was able to go back to Weight watchers this week. Mind you, I wasn't looking forward to it, but I knew it had to be done. I had gained 5 pounds over the holidays and it was time to reign in the intake.

As usual, the new year is a time to jumpstart something like this so I motivated myself to go. I need to go. While I've taken off 15 since Joe's birth, I've got another 25 to go and weight watchers works for me. Why? Because I've discovered for me, no pill can help.  A balanced lifestyle change when it comes to eating is the most effective way for me to lose weight.  The biggest thing weight loss requires though is patience and in today's "I want it now" world, patience is hard to come by - especially with weight loss.  However I have learned the value of patience has paid off with my writing so I must take that and apply it to my weight loss as well. It's not easy patient, let me tell you, but it is something I have to buckle down with and just do.

There have been a lot of factors in play this time around regarding my weight loss. The weight loss after Andrew was easy. I think my body's metabolism was different since I was younger (33) and I could find someone to watch Andrew - Brent - while I went.

This time around there are more demands on me. Work, writing, balancing two children, it hasn't been easy and my weight loss suffered for it. My metabolism is slower - I'm 40 now. Those are my obstacles.

Well, I can't do anything about my metabolism except eat right which is what I plan to do. Weight watchers has never been a diet to me, just a life style change.

Since I'm working 10 pm to 6 am now, I've got plenty of time during the day to make a meeting. Brent watched the boys when I went to a Weds. meeting at 6 pm.  I watched Joe after work this morning so he could go.  The new schedule, while inconvenient, is working.  I'm getting enough sleep through power naps and a long nap after work. During the day, Brent and I are home (on his days off) and we were able to knock out a lot of chores that needed to be done this week - like take down Christmas. With my new laptop, I'm able to do some more writing than I would normally without it, so that's nice too. I'm hoping to work on my official newsletter and post the winners of my poetry contest this upcoming week.

Anyway, back to weight watchers - I'm doing good on program so far. The proof will be in next week's pudding.  I'm sticking to water, which I don't mind, coffee to keep me going, and I'm trying to cook as much as I can. The 0 point veggie soup helps. I made a Tortellini salad out of their "best eats" cook book last week that was really tasty.  That's what surprises me - weight watcher's food isn't blah.  It's very tasty. You just have to find the TIME to cook it and time with me is always at a premium with my busy life.

Anyone else doing weight watchers?  Got any tips? Comments, Suggestions?  Share. hehe
Smiles,
Steph


Posted by sgcardin at 5:03 PM
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Thursday, 8 January 2009
Just dropping off a book review...
Mood:  caffeinated
Topic: Writing

Just thought I'd drop this off for you Harry Potter fans...

 

Book Review for: “The Tales of Beedle The Bard”

Written by: JK Rowling

Scholastic, Inc.

ISBN: 978-0-545-12828-5

$12.99

5 Stars

 

Discover Harry Potter’s wizarding world’s unique fairytales in “The Tales of Beedle the Bard.” Filled with wizarding fables that invoke “Grimm’s Fairytales,” these five short stories carry messages of hope, morality, and virtue. Rowling expands Harry Potter’s universe by sharing these magical fairytales in a writing style that’s easy to read and appeals not only to children, but adults as well.

 

The most compelling story is that of the three brothers. They encounter death as they cross a bridge. Death gives them each a gift – the elder wand, a stone that brings back the dead, and the cloak of invisibility. It is this story which is referenced in book seven of the Harry Potter series and it gives Voldemort’s driving desire to possess these objects perspective, as Voldemort was trying to find a way to cheat death.

 

The other stories are just as interesting. In “The Wizard and the Hopping Pot,” a self-serving wizard refuses to share the hopping pot with the townsfolk. His refusal to help others leads the hopping pot to drive him crazy until he does. In Dumbledore’s footnotes, Rowling cleverly ties in legends of our own history and talks about how the wizarding community and humans came to have separate societies.

 

“The Fountain of Fair Fortune” rebuilds trust between muggles and the magical. Three witches and a knight go on a quest and discover what they were looking for was more in their hearts than in their magic.

 

“The Warlock’s Hairy Heart,” tells what happens when a magician gives up his humanity by removing his heart. Its probably the most gory of the fairytales – but its also one that captures the essence of the Grimm stories.

 

“Babbity Rabbitty and her Crackling Stump,” is one of the first stories in Harry Potter’s universe that deals with Animagi – those wizards and witches who can change into animals. In it, an arrogant king wants to be the only one who can do magic in the kingdom. A sly charlatan who can’t do magic, fools the king into becoming the Grand Sorcerer. When the king puts the charlatan on the spot, he turns to Babbitty, an old witch, to help him fool the king.

 

All the stories have folksy, fairytale appeal. They read like we would expect a fairytale to. The use of magic in the story makes little difference to the moral of the story being told.

 

The book complements Rowling’s Harry Potter series well. The writing is easy to understand. The stories are well paced. Rowling makes her characters appealing with little emotional touches reminiscent of the Harry Potter series. Overall, “The Tales of Beedle the Bard,” is a book all will enjoy.

 


Posted by sgcardin at 11:14 AM
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Tuesday, 30 December 2008
Keeping up with life...
Mood:  don't ask
Topic: Life
Well, I thought I'd drop a line about how busy I've been.  Let's face it - the holidays are always a hectic time.

24 DEC
Well I had this brianchild idea that I could get the family together and cook perogri's. (a Polish kind of ravioli) with a dough outside and a potato/cheese filling.  I wanted to make tons of them and spend the afternoon cooking them.  Well, it got off to a good start, but I failed to realize that not everyone wanted to cook them like I did. Needless to say, my husband wiped out a few comments that made me feel bad about even involving him. I was in a sad, foul, hurt mood until we had it out on Christmas.  Other than that the Christmas Eve dinner went well and Joseph and Andrew had a blast exchanging ornaments.

25 DEC
I was still stewing over my husband's insensitive comments and we had it out.  I was a "bitch" and got a half ass "I'm sorry" from him.  I just sucks that I can't get my point across without being a bitch.  I related my tale of sorrow to my friends back home who gave me some great coping tips for the next time it happens. And there will be a next time.  I fear after 17 years of marriage my husband is a bit too complacent and I'm an enabler because I have no stomach for verbal altercations.

Other than that we had a great time at my SIL's Kristi's. The food was awesome and Joseph played real well. The only unfortunate thing was my fight w/my husband took away from my joy of getting a laptop.

INBETWEEN
I've been working.  I can't complain.  I am working.  Sadly, my reading and writing are lacking because I have a trainee at work.  However, I move to AM watch starting on 4 JAN.  I'll be working from 10 at night until 6 in the morning so I should have plenty of time to read and write.  (I hope!) My husband has promised to pick up the slack and take Joe to his therapies and I hope he does.  I need to sleep from 7 am to at least 4 pm.  It will be interesting to see if this schedule really works out or is my own private hell for the next 3 months until I can change watches.

THE WRITING WORLD
I haven't had a chance to troll the boards lately.  I did get some great feedback on my opening chapter of THE WOLF'S KISS which I'm going to retitle THE HUNGARIAN.  Now, if only I can find time to write...

Smiles,
Steph

Posted by sgcardin at 1:22 PM
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Sunday, 28 December 2008
More Publishing Industry Thoughts & Comments
Mood:  caffeinated
Topic: Writing
This is another piece I found on my Mike's Writing Workshop Group that I belong to on Yahoogroups.com:

David Didriksen, a bookstore from Massachusetts had an interesting
op/ed in 12/22/08  Shelf Awareness:

"These are hard times for our publishing brethren, and by extension,
for booksellers as well. Large publishers have been placing a
moratorium on new titles, laying off workers, firing executives and
scrambling to downsize. The lay-offs are likely to continue and
booksellers are the ones most likely to feel the aftershock."

Mr. Didriksen lists the following issues:

**an industry bloated by years of inefficiency

**cranking out too many inferior products, while failing to leverage
the best assets in its portfolio: backlist titles

**publishers that have commoditized themselves into a corner, trying
to live solely off blockbusters for the benefit of huge mass market
chains and Amazon.

As an aside, I was struck by how similar this list is to the issues
facing American automakers: failure to adapt to new technology and
focusing on short-term best-selling products instead of thinking
ahead to the future."  --  This comment is from Maya, the person who brought the piece to the group, and I have to agree with it. I think the big thing, for me, is failure to adapt to new technology, but focusing on the short term hasn't helped the industry either.

". . . publishers could benefit from new efficiencies and creative
new initiatives. Publishers might even rediscover the intrinsic value
of backlist sales . . . And Amazon is getting so powerful, it may
someday wonder whether it needs publishers at all."

"Booksellers and publishers once acted as partners in the book
industry, developing authors and promoting backlist titles, before
the lure of quick bucks in mass merchandising channels changed the
relationship. Now may be a good time to get back to basics and do
business together again if we all want to survive."

 This may help the traditional market right now and act like a transition tool like the hybrid is for the auto industry.  (what a comparison!)

Getting back to basics will help, I think. We've become so bloated on "I want it right now" and "mass marketing" techniques, I think we've gotten away from the more personalized touch of traditional publishing and marketing.  

From seeing articles like these, I'm not surprised the publishing world needs restructuring, just like the auto industry.  Let's see what happens...

Steph

Posted by sgcardin at 8:01 AM
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Monday, 22 December 2008
Honest Scrap Award
Mood:  caffeinated
Topic: Life

  I got the "Honest Scrap" award from WDC member Vivian Gilbert Zabel.

You can visit her blog at:http://vivianzabel.blogspot.com/

 

 
Scrap means left overs, fragments, discarded material, and many times truth and honesty is discarded material, considered fragments and left over. So, we need to tell it like it is, and let the scraps fall where they will.

The guidelines for winning this award include the following:

1. List 10 honest things about yourself (make it interesting, even if you have to dig deep)
2. Pass the award on to 7 bloggers

My 10 Picks:

#1 - I was married in Denmark, in a city called Nykobig. A Justice of the Peace married us. I'm still married 17 years later to the same guy.

#2 - My mother was abusive toward me when I was a teenager. That's why I joined the army.

#3 - I was an MP in the army from 1986-1997.

#4 - My first published poem was in my high school's literary magazine. The poem was called, "It Didn't Hurt Too Much."

#5 - I grew up drawing superhero comics.

#6 - In 1995 I received the "Outstanding Evening College Student" award from California Baptist Universary. I graduated with Honors with a BS in Political Science.

#7 - I was 33 when my first son was born.

#8 - My youngest son, Joseph, who is two, has developmental delays, specifically speech. It's very demanding and hard work to get him to his therapies, but I manage. They are working. Joe now has a vocabulary of at least ten words and it's expanding everyday.

#9 - My short story, "Spontaneous Decision," scored 8th in the Mainstream/Literary category in the recent Writer's Digest Annual Competition.

#10 - My novel, "Destination:Berlin," was inspired by my own visit to Berlin on the Berlin Orientation Tour in 1988.

Steph's 7 Honest Scrapers:

Kelly's Journal: http://www.writing.com/main/books/item_id/1016769

Niki's Journal: http://www.writing.com/main/books/item_id/1214476

Debi's Journal:  http://www.writing.com/main/books/item_id/1369145

Maggie's Journal: http://www.writing.com/main/books/item_id/1011455

Jennifer Jackson, Literary Agent Journal: http://arcaedia.livejournal.com/

Nathan Bransford, Literary Agent, Journal: http://nathanbransford.blogspot.com/

Lorraine's Blog

http://blog.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=blog.view&friendID=30504353&blogID=457781826

 


Posted by sgcardin at 1:01 PM
Updated: Monday, 22 December 2008 1:03 PM
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Sunday, 21 December 2008
Thoughts on the Publishing Industry & These Tough Economic Times
Mood:  caffeinated
Topic: Writing
I belong to Mike's Writing Workshop on Yahoogroups and there were a couple of News articles I wanted to bring here and share my thoughts with you:

1ST ARTICLE

Got this off a news website.

NEW YORK – Another book publisher is cutting jobs: Macmillan, where
authors include Thomas Friedman, Rick Atkinson and Janet Evanovich, is
eliminating 64 positions, just under 4 percent of its work force.

"Going forward we are tightening our belts in response to the current
recession, but we are also reorganizing and rethinking our business to
position ourselves for the long term," Macmillan CEO John Sargent
wrote in a company memo, a copy of which was obtained Monday by The
Associated Press.


ME: Yes, I definitely think reorganizing is a MUST in today's tough economic times, but what will it mean for the publishing industry? How do you reorganize? What are the priorities?


Simon & Schuster, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and Thomas Nelson also
have announced layoffs in recent weeks. Staff reductions are likely at
Random House Inc., which is undergoing a significant consolidation.
Other publishers, including Macmillan, have frozen wages or deferred
raises.

Sargent said Monday that it was "necessary to adjust our company and
become more efficient in the face of the market we are dealing with."
He added that there would be no cuts in the budget for acquiring books.

 Me: That's good for us aspiring authors hunting for the traditional publishing contract.

"That's 100 percent unchanged," he said in an interview.

In a move Sargent said he had been looking into for months, Macmillan
will combine its seven children's companies into a single division,
the Macmillan Children's Publishing Group, effective Jan. 1. Macmillan
also plans reductions through a "centralized business and production
group for its adult and children's publishing companies," according to
the memo.

Other changes include the increased use of digital technology and
reducing Macmillan's presence at BookExpo America, the industry's
annual national convention. In the Internet age, other publishers have
questioned BookExpo's role; the show's manager, Lance Fensterman, has
said he is looking at ways to make the show more affordable and more
productive.

 ME: Consolidation and increase digital technology. Use of Internet Marketing, I wonder? Streamlining BookExpo of America.  I think are good moves, considering the times.

"I think it makes more sense to funnel our marketing dollars
elsewhere," Sargent said, referring to the book convention.

Macmillan's publishers include St. Martin's Press, Henry Holt & Co.
and Farrar, Straus & Giroux. Macmillan is owned by Verlagsgruppe Georg
von Holtzbrinck, based in Stuttgart, Germany.

"We will remain a loose federation of publishers producing and selling
a remarkable collection of books by exceptional authors," Sargent
wrote in the memo.

************

2ND ARTICLE

Layoffs at Random House, Simon & Schuster

By HILLEL ITALIE – Dec 3, 2008

NEW YORK (AP) — The economy has crashed down on an industry once
believed immune from the worst — book publishing — with consolidation
at Random House Inc., and layoffs at Simon & Schuster and Thomas
Nelson Publishers.

"Yes, Virginia, book publishing is NOT recession proof," said Patricia
Schroeder, president and chief executive officer of the Association of
American Publishers. "It's sad day."

At Random House, the country's largest general trade publisher, the
man who helped give the world "The Da Vinci Code" is in talks for a
new position, while the publisher of Danielle Steel and other
brand-name authors is leaving altogether.

Stephen Rubin, who released Dan Brown's blockbuster thriller in 2003,
is negotiating for a different job after Random House eliminated his
position as president and publisher of the Doubleday Publishing Group.
Bantam Dell head Irwyn Applebaum, whose many authors have included
Steel, Dean Koontz and Louis L'Amour, is departing, effective immediately.

Ouch. The guys the authors trust is leaving? Is he that expensive? 

Random House, under the leadership of chief executive officer Markus
Dohle, announced the changes Wednesday as part of a "new publishing
structure" that will "maximize our growth potential in these
challenging economic times and beyond."

Spokeswoman Carol Schneider would not say whether Applebaum, 54, was
leaving voluntarily; Applebaum and Rubin, 67, have more than 40 years
of combined experience in publishing. She said that layoffs are
possible as the company's many imprints and divisions are shifted and
split up.

"There may be difficult decisions to make and if layoffs are necessary
they will be done as fairly and as quickly as possible," she said.

Simon & Schuster has been helped by President-elect Barack Obama's
embrace of Doris Kearns Goodwin's "Team of Rivals," but not enough to
save some 35 positions, about 2 percent of the staff. CEO Carolyn
Reidy said in a company memo Wednesday that "today's action is an
unavoidable acknowledgment of the current book-selling marketplace and
what may very well be a prolonged period of economic instability. "

Reidy added that "the entire publishing industry is coping with these
truly difficult circumstances. "

On Tuesday, a top executive at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt resigned as
the publisher faces a credit squeeze and possible sale. Meanwhile, the
head of Thomas Nelson Publishers, a Nashville, Tenn.-based company
that releases religious books, announced that about 10 percent of the
staff, "54 of our friends and co-workers," had lost their jobs.

"This will affect nearly every department in our company," CEO Thomas
S. Hyatt wrote on his blog, http://www.michaelh yatt.com.

An overhaul has been expected at Random House ever since Dohle was
hired last spring by parent company Bertelsmann AG, a German-based
conglomerate, and began a planned months-long review of the publisher.

Last month, Random House said it would freeze pensions for current
employees and eliminate them for new hires.


Me: Ouch! No pensions for new hires? 

Under the new alignment, Random House will reduce the number of its
principal divisions from five to three: The Random House Publishing
Group, the longtime home to E.L. Doctorow and Maya Angelou; the Knopf
Publishing Group, a literary institution that includes Toni Morrison
and John Updike; and the Crown Publishing Group, known for such
political authors as Obama and Ann Coulter.

Applebaum's Bantam Dell Publishing Group and Rubin's Doubleday
Publishing Group will be dispersed among the three divisions. Bantam
has long been in trouble as sales for mass market paperbacks dropped,
while Doubleday has been hurt by the absence of Brown's long-awaited
follow-up to "The Da Vinci Code" and by disappointing sales for a
highly publicized debut novel, Andrew Davidson's "The Gargoyle."

Dohle said Wednesday that he is hoping to "create a new role" for
Rubin at Random House, working directly with the CEO.

"As you know, Steve has successfully led Doubleday for almost two
decades and is universally respected and admired throughout the
industry for both his publishing expertise and management skills,"
Dohle said in a company memo.

Rubin, through a spokesman, declined to comment Wednesday.

Applebaum said in a statement he had been "honored to work with a
long-standing team of extraordinarily skilled colleagues at Bantam
Dell who, book by book, year after year, consistently have brought to
the marketplace more top-level best-sellers than any other group of
Random House."

Asked if he had been offered another position at Random House,
Applebaum declined to comment.

Dohle is retaining at least one Random House tradition — allowing the
divisions to bid against each other for books, a practice far more
welcomed by authors and agents than by those worried about expenses.

Me: This sounds good, considering the purse straps are tightening.

"I want to stress the fact that all the imprints of Random House will
retain their distinct editorial identities," Dohle said Wednesday.
"These imprints and all of you who support them are the creative core
of our business and essential to our success."

Also, Wednesday, The New York Times announced its 10 best books for
2008. Nine of them, including Toni Morrison's "A Mercy" and Jhumpa
Lahiri's "Unaccustomed Earth," were published by Random House Inc.

TRENDS: (Thoughts from me)

What does it mean for the future of publishing? Look at the last 10-20 years. 2 Big things have happened:

# 1 - Publishing has moved to BIG publishing houses and away from medium sized firms.

#2 - Publishers spend outrageous amounts of money to support just a handful of books they think will be successful.

Print books are here to stay, I firmly believe that. Yes, there's been an expansion in self-published books for about 10 years since IUniverse and other self-publishing firms developed, but the digital media used here, is not the same digital media traditional firms want to tap into. I think we're going to see less money thrown at traditional marketing strategies and more cost effective marketing via the Internet.

People still like to sit down and rip into a meaty book.  I do think the publishing industry is going to re-examine how they do business and MARKETING is a big area they are going to look at next to layoffs. They need to tighten the purse straps.

MY PREDICTIONS:

I think you're going to see less money thrown at a handful of books. I think you're going to see publishers and agents be very selective about who they represent.

That said, it becomes very important to establish writing creditals. Without name regconization it will be that much harder to break into traditional publishing, I think.  Attend the Writing conventions and conferences if you can.  Making personal contacts with agents and publishers might give you a foot a door esp. now.
 

Anyone care to share thoughts?

Posted by sgcardin at 4:49 AM
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Tuesday, 16 December 2008
Final Thoughts on Gothic Lit
Mood:  caffeinated
Topic: Writing
Here are the elements for a "Gothic" tale...

To have a novel known as "Gothic," its got to follow a set of rules. First, the setting takes place in a castle, or if the story is set in America, an old family estate. That's what makes Southern Gothic appealing, because an old plantation can be used. The estate, be it a castle, mansion, or plantation, can sometimes be abandoned, or sometimes occupied. It can be near caves to augment a mystery and may often contain secret passages, trap doors, any mysterious rooms.

Next the novel has to carry an atmosphere of mystery and suspense. In "The 13th Tale," there's an atmosphere of mystery built up around the parentage of the twins, Emmeline and Adelaine. Also, there's usually an ancient prophecy involved along with omens and visions.

There are usually supernatural events which occur. It doesn't matter if they are given a natural explanation or not, the event is what's important.

Other elements include high emotion, women in distress, a powerful or tyrannical male figure and metonymies - metaphors like rain which is used to represent something else, like sorrow.

If you're thinking of exploring this genre, read a couple of books or short stories first.  The plot and pacing must be "tight" for your story to be successful.

On  different note:
Has anyone read "Twilight" by Stephenie Meyer? Any thoughts? I read the first two chapters so far - Bella has been Edward but his reaction to her has been frigid to say the least.

Posted by sgcardin at 10:15 AM
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Monday, 15 December 2008
More thoughts on Gothic Lit & Holiday Life
Mood:  caffeinated
Topic: Writing
Just a few more thoughts on Gothic Lit...

Another influential author in the Gothic tradition was Edgar Allen Poe. In "The Fall of the House of Usher," he explored such classic gothic themes of decay, death, and madness, but he added his own twist - and looked into the terrors of the soul.

Also writing along with Poe, was Emily Bronte. "Wuthering Heights," explored gothic elements on the Yorkshire Moors through the brooding Heathcliff character.

With Bram Stroker's "Dracula," the most famous gothic villian ever was created - Dracula. Stoker also established Easter Europe as a favorite locale for the genre. More recently, in the 1930's HP Lovecrft has been connected with the genre, blending gothic elements with horror, setting a new bar for writers.

Romance has also been blended with the gothic genre. During the 1950's, 60's, 70's, such authors as Victoria Holt, and Dorothy Fletcher focused on the female and her connection to a "gloomy" castle.

Another sub-genre is known as "southern" gothic. This sub-genre takes traditional gothic elements and plants them in the Southern United States.

Next final thoughts on Gothic - what are the elements?

Also - you can find this article on Gothic Lit in my official monthly newsletter. You can sign up by visiting my website at sgcardin.tripod.com and going to the bottom of the page.


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Life

As usual, life is keeping me busy.  I had the usual slew of appointments for Joe.  He did better at his group last week.  He sat down in the chair longer and attended to tasks longer which was nice.  The ladies at group say it will take him 3 weeks to settle in so we've got another week.  

I've been working on my novel, "The Wolf's Kiss." I'm officially half-way down now. I'll be starting the "Hungary" section of it now.  I've also developed it's official title - The Hungarian. It's a very different story from the Short Story I wrote in 2006, but I believe it's a lot more developed.

Later on today, I'll be working on my official newsletter and I hope to have that out within a day or two.

I'm currently reading: Alison Weir, "The Wars of the Roses." If you love history, esp. British history, you'll find her look at this complex time fascinating. She writes in a very engaging way that, for me at least, brings history to life.

It rained last night, but it looks to be clearing a bit now. I need to mail my sister's Christmas gift off today so I'll probably tackle that once I pick Andrew up from school if it doesn't start to rain again.

Anyone else have any thoughts on Gothic Lit? Love to hear them.  Does anyone have any good gothic short stories or novels they can recommend?

Smiles,
Steph

Posted by sgcardin at 8:43 AM
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