Sep - 29 - 2010
[Note: September 25 - October 2 is Banned Books Week]
Some ten or fifteen years ago, I called home to see how my parents were getting along and Dad told me the town was in an uproar over a book called The Giver. There was a movement afoot to have the book banned in the school system and as one of the little town’s most respected preachers, he’d been called to appear before the school board to deliver his own arguments on whether or not the book ought to be left on the shelves.
Now, having grown up in this town and having had to defend myself regularly from such questions as “Why you always readin’ them books?” and “Them books got good pictures?”, I have to admit that I was a bit shocked to learn that someone else was actually reading. The fact that they had then decided to ban the book was far less surprising to me.
Then it occurred to me that I didn’t know which side of the issue my dad would be arguing for. I had suspicions, though. My parents are great people in a million ways but when I was growing up, they were incredibly suspicious of secular culture. We weren’t even allowed to listen to Christian rock music because there was an outside chance that Petra was as evil as Journey. I’m not kidding. They did come around as we got older (Beat the System was the first vinyl I ever bought), but when I heard about this book-banning business I instantly relived those old suspicious days and my hackles went up. . .Read the entire post
Sep - 19 - 2010
A while back I offered to give an Advance Review Copy (ARC) of Fiddler’s Green to anyone who sent me a picture of themselves posed with The Fiddler’s Gun stocked in their local bookstore. I probably should have put a cut-off day on that offer but since I didn’t, Debi sniffed it out and got her picture sent in last week so I’m adding her to the list. Congrats, Debi.
My thanks to all of you who told your local bookseller how much you loved the book and bribed them to stock it. I hope you’ll do the same for Fiddler’s Green this December. It’s people like you that have made the book such a success and I’m grateful. Word of mouth is the best advertising a book can have.
I’m officially closing the door on the free ARC copies, though. The rest of you will just have to wait until the release date. If you sent in a picture, be patient, I’ll be shipping your copies once editing is complete, probably sometime in the next month. I hope you’ll stop by here and let everyone know what you think after you’ve read it. . .Read the entire post
Sep - 16 - 2010
You don’t have to spend much time around the publishing world to hear the term Print-on-Demand (POD). It’s a process in which books are digitally printed as they are purchased rather than printed in bulk and stored until sold. For a publisher who only intends to sell a few copies it’s a convenient option. That convenience comes at a price, though. The quality of POD a book is notably sub-par offering very few options for paper color, paper weight, cover stock, cover coating, size, etc. And on top of this lack of creative flexibility, a POD book will often cost as much as $10-15 to print leaving very little margin for an author or publisher to make a living.
From the inception of the Rabbit Room Press, it was pretty clear that Print-on-Demand wasn’t the direction we wanted to go. I think it’s incredibly important that the physical book be as well-conceived and well-designed as the writing on its pages. I want to create things that are as beautiful to hold and look at as they are to read. That’s something I couldn’t achieve with current POD technology. . .Read the entire post
Sep - 14 - 2010
Everyone knows what Wordle is, right?
It’s a fun little website that creates a word cloud out of whatever text you feed into it, making words that occur the most often the largest. I thought it would be fun to feed it the entire manuscript of Fiddler’s Green. So I did. Read the entire post
Sep - 13 - 2010
Last week you may have seen this news story pop up:
USS Dubuque Seizes Ship Captured by Pirates
You can probably imagine my interest in the report but my association goes deeper than simply being an author who writes about pirates. Almost twenty years ago, you see, I was U.S. Marine Sergeant “Pete” Peterson and I served on the USS Dubuque for a while.
Luckily, the time I spent on the De Puke (as we called it) was almost entirely taken up by sleeping, playing Spades, and reading Michael Crichton novels rather than fighting pirates or saving the free world. I remember a tattered copy of Jurassic Park making the rounds from jarhead to jarhead throughout the berthing area and it ignited all sorts of lively debate about how well Steven Spielberg had (or hadn’t) interpreted it. Crichton was considered high literature to us in those days. If I remember correctly, a copy of Congo was being passed along not far behind it.
This was in the early to mid-90’s and there seemed to be a new war or conflict springing up every other week. Young as we were, we were anxious for pirates to fight, or an embassy to evacuate, or a “peacekeeping mission” to join. Day after day, we’d run through our drills and study our battle plans and then we’d stand outside the hatch at night smoking our cigarettes as the sea rolled past . . . Read the entire post
Sep - 07 - 2010
One question I'm asked all the time is: "Why do you publish your books independently?" I wrote a few posts about this last year but with the new book in production (and a lot of new readers) I think it's worth revisiting.
The primary factor in the original decision was the problem of genre. If you've read The Fiddler's Gun, think about it for a minute. What genre would you put it in? Young Adult? Historical? Adventure? Literary? Women's Fiction? Is it a book for boys? For girls? Is it Christian fiction?
See what I mean? You're probably thinking, wait a minute, it's all those things, it's a book for everyone. But from the standpoint of a publisher whose job is to market and sell books, that poses a big problem. For instance, what shelf would you say The Fiddler's Gun belongs on in the bookstore? . . .Read the entire post
Sep - 05 - 2010
Now that there’s a new book on the way, I thought it was only fitting (and necessary) to revamp the website. Take a look around and be sure to check out the Fiddler’s Green page where you’ll find the newly unveiled synopsis of the book.
The manuscript itself is going through its third round of edits and an early review draft has been sent out to a chosen few for feedback and the option of providing endorsements for marketing purposes.
In other news, Evie Coates and I have been meeting for the past couple of weeks to talk up the new cover design and the work she’s done so far is fantastic (see the end of this post for a peek.) She’s finished most of the border that frames the cover (like the first book) and it’s almost as if she reached right into my brian and pulled out exactly what I’d been imagining. . .Read the entire post
Sep - 04 - 2010
I spent a number stressful days last week trying to write the last chapters of the next (and final) installment of the Fin’s Revolution tale: Fiddler’s Green. I’d put off those chapters for a long time because I needed to be patient and mull over Fin’s entire story and make sure that all the necessary events and emotions came together in just the right way. After writing all day on Saturday, I laid awake until three or four in the morning with a whirl of descending character arcs and plot resolutions spinning through my head. When I woke at seven the next morning my brain still hadn’t stopped. So I got up, got dressed, shirked church and sat in the coffee shop writing. At about 3pm on Sunday, I wrote the final sentence of Fiddler’s Green.
An ending is a strange and delicate thing. In storytelling terms its importance is equaled only by its opposite: the beginning. The bits in the middle tend to be easier to shape because they’re open ended and the writer can, in some measure, both pre- and re- form them throughout the narrative...Read the entire post