Writing Retreats

Inspire your writing in romantic France, Italy or the Outer Banks

Writeaways founder John Yewell tells about the writer’s retreats he and business partner Mimi Herman provide in France, Italy and the Outer Banks and how they inspire writers to find their muse.

By John Yewell

Mimi & John in Paris

Mimi & John in Paris

Go to our Writeaways web site, with its pictures of a centuries-old French chateau and an Italian villa, and your initial reaction is likely to be: What a great vacation! And it is, of a sort. But it is so much more than that.

We created our writing getaways in exotic places to get you as far from your daily life as possible, to set you free from care while giving you the guidance you need to unlock, or unblock, the writer within. We welcome writers of all levels and genres, and now have programs in the Loire Valley, Tuscany, and North Carolina’s Outer Banks.

“I didn’t know until I got busy how essential to the process being removed from my regular life would be. John and Mimi took care of all the necessities, creating a space for us to write and indulging us along the way. The food was amazing!” – Charity, North Carolina

 

We take care of everything. Each morning in France, you are greeted with a complete breakfast, including fresh croissants purchased before sunrise at the local boulangerie. In Italy, our hosts Patrizia and Paolo serve you continental style.

Afterwards, we engage in our specially designed workshop and private consultations for two hours. Whatever your level of experience, you’ll find the constructive help you need to produce your best work in a cooperative, but rigorous, atmosphere.

“I first met Mimi and John at their writing retreat at Chateau du Pin. While I had a very interesting story I’d thought about writing for years, I did not think of myself as a writer. Thanks to their thoughtful guidance, I finally began writing that story–and I’m still at it. John and Mimi made me believe I could do it, and gave me the tools I needed. I can’t thank them enough.” – Regina, North Carolina

 

After lunch – buffet-style in France, Tuscan-style in Italy – you are free to write or explore. In France, the chateau is surrounded by 300 acres of topiary, rose gardens, meadows and vineyards. In Italy, you can wander in the olive orchards, sit by the pool, or explore Tuscany as widely as you like. In both locales, we offer tours of the surrounding region, including tastings at local wineries. All of this is included in the program.

In the evening we reconvene for cocktails and wine, then sit down to a spectacular dinner prepared by professional chefs. Afterwards, relax with a digestif or cocktail of your choice in relaxed reflection, surrounded by five-hundred year old walls.

Writers enjoying a great meal during a writeaway.

Writers enjoying a great meal during a writeaway.

Our program in Southern Shores, on North Carolina’s Outer Banks, is a weekend intensive class designed to jumpstart a dormant writing project or launch a new one.

After people began coming to us and asking if they could put together their own groups of friends and families, we began organizing self-organized getaways. We expect to make the first such trips a reality in France and Italy in the spring of 2015.

We are also developing a Master Class intensive program, which would be limited to two students for a week in Beaufort, NC.

Writeaways is based in Durham, North Carolina, although our students have come from all over: Texas, Wyoming, Virginia, Canada. Our long-term plan is to create writing getaways in the kinds of places people dream about going, so that we can pair that dream with their own desire to become better writers.

Mimi and I are both writing professionals with complementary backgrounds. Mimi Herman has taught over 20,000 students to fall in love with writing, especially their own. A Warren Wilson MFA graduate, her teaching style captures students’ imagination and creates a supportive learning environment. As one student said of her time with Mimi, “It is an experience that I will hold with me throughout my whole life.”

I am a writer and editor with an MFA in fiction from San Francisco State University and twenty years of experience in journalism. I teach a memoir class in Durham and consult as a private editor and writing coach.

For more information, please go to www.writeaways.com, or write to us at writeawaysinfo@gmail.com.

Do you believe in Ghosts? OBXPG Author Scott Fields does!

Hauntings at the Ohio State Reformatory

OSR-cropped“You might ask what is my association with the place, and I will tell you that there were two men who killed six people in a two week period back in 1948 and they met each other while serving sentences there. Their names were Robert Daniels and John West, and that two week rampage is the subject of my book, The Mansfield Killings.

 

And if you happen to be in the Mansfield area on Aug. 30-31,  meander over to OSR to meet Scott during a book signing  and maybe, just maybe, you may see a ghost.


By Scott Fields

The Ohio State Reformatory (OSR) has been a landmark in this part of Ohio for over a century.
Located about an hour’s drive north of Columbus, the reformatory boasts two features that make it famous throughout the United States. The first claim to fame is the number of movies shot within its walls which include The Shawshank Redemption and Air Force One among others. The second feature of the Ohio State Reformatory that has made it famous is that it is quite simply haunted.

OSR is considered by many to be in the top ten of the most haunted places in America.  Not only has the Travel Channel’s Ghost Adventures visited the reformatory; it has been explored twice by Syfy channel’s Ghost Hunters show. It has also been featured on Fox Family Channel’s Real Scary Stories, Scariest Places on Earth, and Most Terrifying Places in America.

The prison opened its doors in 1896 to its first 150 young offenders. The doors to the prison closed in 1990 after housing over 155,000 men. Since then it has remained intact by the help of donations and volunteers by the hundreds. Guided tours are conducted throughout the summer months but come to an end in September due to the fact there is no heat in the building.

Scott-4

Author Scott Fields

I have conducted many book signings in my life. Some were good and some not so good, but I never experienced anything like the signings that I have done at the OSR.

I had heard about the eerie things that people had experienced. I believed some but dismissed most of the stories. But that all changed when I sat there and listened to actual witnesses to such events. Even my own daughter had two experiences and she has only visited it a few times.

I think the most astounding story that I have ever heard was told to me by an older man while I was conducting a signing. He pulled out a photograph that he had taken of his brother standing in the aisle next to the empty prison cells. Standing directly behind him was the image of a much bigger man. The man, or ghost or whatever you want to call him, was posing for the picture and standing so close it looked as if he was touching the man. You can clearly see him.

spirit

Ghostly image captured at OSR

Once a month, about a hundred people are allowed to spend a night in the place. They can come and go as they please looking for ghosts. A friend of mine said that he and his wife decided to spend the night sitting quietly at a table and wait for something to happen. Suddenly a figure poked its head around the corner of a window. They spoke to it and it pulled its head back. It soon reappeared then disappeared. This went on for quite some time until my friend had had enough. He walked over to the window and stuck his head outside to find no ledge, no floor, nothing to stand on.

I was next to my daughter when she took a picture of a window from the outside of the building. It was a part of the building where nobody is allowed. When we looked at the photo, there was a figure standing in the window, and I know for a fact that it was not there when she snapped the picture. She also took a picture of a cell and caught a large pink circle on the wall. We were both staring at that wall and did not see it. She immediately snapped another picture to find nothing there.

I could go on and on, but I think you get the idea. Even the Ghost Hunters from the SciFi network have been there several times.

Do you believe in ghosts? I do.

The Mansfield Killings Cover II

 

 

 

 

 

Paperback: 280 pages
Publisher: Outer Banks Publishing Group (October 24, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0982993137
ISBN-13: 978-0982993132
Product Dimensions: 0.6 x 5.4 x 8.4 inches

Available from Amazon, Barnes and Noble and fine bookstores everywhere. And now the ebook is $.99

I always have three of four ideas for books I want to write, says OBXPG author Scott Fields

Outer Banks Publishing Group Author Scott Fields shared this recent newspaper article with us on the release of his newest book, The Geezer Bench.

Reprinted with permission from John Jarvis and The Marion Star

By John Jarvis
The Marion Star, Marion, Ohio

Screen Shot 2014-05-30 at 6.27.45 PM

The Geezer Bench

Scott Fields had written more than a half dozen books when a friend sat with him at his house to share his idea for another.

“I even have a title, The Geezer Bench,” Fields said, recalling the conversation. “Well, with just the title he got my attention.”

The novel tells the story of four friends who share their thoughts of the day as they sit on a public bench before returning to and from their private lives of mixed sorrow and happiness.

According to Fields, the book has been getting attention, “doing real well,” which pleases him for himself and for his hometown of LaRue, where he set the story in his eighth book.

“It’s not quite the same as it was back in the ’50s,” Fields, now a Mansfield resident, said. “In the ’50s it was your Norman Rockwell kind of setting: three or four grocery stores, five gas stations. You didn’t have to worry about taking your keys out of your car. … I’d go down to the Scioto River and go fishing and swimming.”

His previous book, “The Mansfield Killings,” based on a murder spree in 1948 in the Richland County city, has been his best-seller, he said. It also represented a departure from the type of writing he prefers: “I like for people to have a good feeling when they get done reading a book of mine, to see there’s a bright side at the end. That’s what life really is. That’s what I try to put in my books.”

Ironically, he’s writing another book about Robert Dale Henderson, a serial killer who claimed victims in southern Ohio, Mississippi, Louisiana, South Carolina and Florida. He learned of the murders at a book-signing for “The Mansfield Killings” in Delaware, where he met a woman who said her aunt had been married to Henderson.

“I’ve got to write something I can’t imagine,” he said, referring to the violence at the center of the story.

Retired from retail management of Kmart and Pep Boys stores, the 65-year-old Fields in his youth was a talented pitcher for Elgin High School, having been drafted 34th in the 1966 Major League Baseball Amateur Baseball Draft by the Detroit Tigers, after future Hall of Famer Reggie Jackson and before stars such as Steve Garvey and Bernie Williams. He chose instead to go to Ohio University “to learn about writing.”

Scott Fields, sitting, at one of his recent book signings.

“My grandson still does not forgive me for that,” he said. “I played baseball. My dad worked with me all those years. (But) I really didn’t like baseball. I loved to pitch. … It’s something I’ve got to live with the rest of my life. You’re 18. You don’t know much about the world. I decided I’d go to college to learn about writing.”

He said the college instruction helped, but decided a person either has the skill to write or doesn’t. “You just need to practice,” he said.

Professional writing for Fields began about 20 years ago with short stories. “I got a few published, and someone said, ‘Why don’t you write a novel?’ So I did.”

He then started looking for an agent to help him market his books. The process took about 10 years, he said, remarking, “It’s harder to get an agent than to get a book published.”

The effort has been worth it, he said, sharing that with his agent’s help he likely will have two more books published this year.

He’s been around writing his entire life.

“My mother was a writer,” he said. “She never got published, but she was a very talented writer. From the time I can remember, probably since I was 5 years old, I had the idea of a story I always wanted to write. The pressure of family and making a living kind of put it on the back (burner).”

He said in his retirement he always has three of four ideas for books he wants to write. His son, Michael Scott Fields, also recently had a book, “Spirits of the Darkness,” published.

He said he “absolutely loved writing” his latest novel, adding that typically he doesn’t read a book after he writes it, but did read The Geezer Bench and found tears running down his face. “And I wrote it. It has some real touching things in it.”

LaRue has been the setting for some of his other books, as well, but not always without constructive criticism from local residents. He said none of “The Geezer Bench” arises from his own life, adding that he won’t even claim any allusion to places and things in the story to be entirely accurate.

“Even the stuff I put in as fact like the bench in front of the dry good store is up for debate,” he said, good-naturedly.

He said although they are not yet scheduled, he plans to do two book-signing events in Marion County.

jjarvis@marionstar.com
740-375-5154
Twitter: @jmwjarvis

Why Outer Banks Publishing Group is Green

20131019-224508.jpg

It’s nice to say you are a green company, but doing it effectively is another story.

With digital printing we don’t have thousands of books sitting in warehouses waiting to be sold – spent resources that may or may not be purchased and read.

We print books only when an order is received.

The majority of our book sales (85%) are electronic as manufacturers of ereaders have opened their walled gardens allowing their books to be read on any device, any platform, anywhere, anytime.

Think printed books will go away? No way. Did movie theaters close when home theater systems became mainstream?

The Association of American Publishers reported that the annual growth rate for eBook sales fell during 2012, to about 34% – a sharp decline from the triple-digit growth of the preceding four years.

But that doesn’t mean ebooks are going away.  A recent Pew Research Center survey showed that adults who have read an e-book increased from 16% to 23% in the past year. It also revealed that 89% of regular book readers said that they had read at least one printed book in the last year.

Ebooks are merely another channel, another technology to promote, sell and enjoy books. It compliments printed books. Printed books won’t go away – there will just be fewer printed.

Fewer printed books is not good for the big six publishers, but it won’t bankrupt them – just lower their sales volume and profit margins.

That’s why they won’t fully embrace ebooks and why they charge artificially high prices for their ebooks close to the full price of their printed books.

They want to revive the same high profit margins they enjoyed with print books for so many decades.

But they will never convince their customers or the general public that ebooks cost as much as print books to edit, process and distribute.

Ebooks are a disruptive technology and like all disruptive technologies is condemned, rejected and deemed catastrophic for society by those who stand to lose.

The market will determine the accepted price of ebooks, not the publishers and there is nothing they can do to stop it. The tsunami has already hit land.

Who by Fire wins Notable Indie Award by Shelf Unbound Magazine

 

Mary L. Tabor
Outer Banks Publishing Group author Mary L. Tabor’s literary novel, Who by Fire, won the Notable Indie award for best books in 2013 by online magazine Shelf Unbound.

 

(Read Mary’s interview with Shelf Unbound in the February-March issue, Pages 14-15 for more about Who by Fire.)

Screen Shot 2013-12-27 at 12.09.15 PM

Mary L. Tabor’s interview with
Shelf Unbound magazine

Shelf Unbound’s second annual writing competition had over 1,000 entries with 100 titles chosen as winners, according to Shelf Unbound’s publisher, Margaret Brown.

Mary’s book was featured in the December-January 2014 special edition of Shelf Unbound magazine (Page 35).

“Thanks to the Internet, artists can be discovered by a global audience-and in some cases even be funded by philanthropic strangers. The challenge, of course, is the discovery part-how do the indie artist and the indie audience find each other? That’s what this special issue of Shelf Unbound-honoring the winner, finalists, and notable entries in our second writing competition for best indie book-is all about,” wrote Ms. Brown.

Congratulations to Mary for her notable achievement!

Notable

 

 

 

Could GIFs be the next big wave in book reviews and even book promos

Book reviews with GIFs, those tiny videos that play over and over, are rather controversial among the old guard of book reviewers. Read Laura Miller’s insightful and informative piece. Start with the excerpt below.

From Salon.com – Thursday, Nov 7, 2013 06:59 PM EST
GIFs, memes and liveblogs: The controversial new language of book reviewing
Do animation, memes and pictures of Emma Stone have a place in literary criticism? Yes

reading-icarly

Click on the GIF to activate

“The GIFs and images used in the two reviews are, like the vast majority of visual elements cropping up in reviews and other critical discussions online, reaction GIFs: looped clips taken from commercially produced film and television, often featuring popular actors such as Emma Stone or Jennifer Lawrence rolling their eyes, gaping in astonishment, jumping with glee, shrugging their shoulders. They serve to underline the reviewer’s point, rather than to make it, and they can come across as exaggerated and sarcastic, even bratty. But so what? It’s not as if traditionally published professional book reviews haven’t been equally harsh at times, and in this case, the reviews are highly attuned to their intended audience with its densely networked language of cultural references. Besides, as longtime Goodreads member Ceridwen (who doesn’t use images or GIFs herself) explained to me in an email, ‘These reviews often use the very same critical tools found in professional reviews — parsing of character and tone, close reading, comparison with other works or larger cultural positioning — [but] there’s no fiction of critical distance, and the emotional reaction is as important as the aesthetic one.'” >more

Last Bluegrass Drama Released Today, Nov. 1

Ron Rhody’s last novel in the THEO Trilogy,
When THEO Came Home, now available


FRANKFORT, KY – Kentucky’s Capital City is reeling as a new Governor’s actions play havoc with the town, a perfect murder is still unsolved; there is a suicide, a showdown, and a long-ago love rekindling—that’s what he had to deal with When Theo Came Home, the concluding novel in Ron Rhody’s Theo Trilogy.

When Theo CamAuthor Ron Rhodye Home was released at the Kentucky Book Fair in Frankfort on Saturday, November 16, but Outer Banks Publishing Group is offering a special pre-launch price of $12.99 .

The Kentucky Book Fair is the state’s largest. It is co-sponsored by the Kentucky Department of Libraries & Archives, the University Press of Kentucky, and The State Journal, the capital city’s daily newspaper. Held at the Frankfort Convention Center, the Fair attracts over 150 authors and averages over 4,000 attendees. All proceeds go to support public schools and libraries throughout the Commonwealth.

The three books in the Theo Trilogy are set in the Commonwealth’s fabled Bluegrass region and the Capital City of Frankfort and cover a time span ranging from the early 1950s to the first few years of the 1980s.

Rhody grew up in the town he writes about and began his career there. He’s been a reporter, a sportswriter, a broadcast newsman, and covered the Kentucky legislature before moving on to a career as a corporate public relations executive in New York and San Francisco. Both cities figure in this story, too, and the mountains of the Southern Appalachians where snake-handling cults still thrive.

The two other books that make up the Theo Trilogy are Theo’s Story, published in 2010, and Theo & The Mouthful of Ashes, published in 2011.

Order your copy at a special pre-launch price of $12.99, list $15.99.

“The characters are richly drawn. The action runs at a riveting pace. What happened When THEO Came Home is a helluva read and a fine, fine story.” – Ian Kellogg

When THEO Came Home is the concluding novel in the THEO Trilogy. The other books in the series are: THEO’s Story and THEO & The Mouthful of Ashes, both available on Amazon in print and ebook format and in fine bookstores everywhere.

_____________________________

When THEO Came HomeLast novel in the THEO Trilogy
List Price: $15.99
6″ x 9″ (15.24 x 22.86 cm)
Black & White on Cream paper
360 pages

Outer Banks Publishing Group
ISBN-13: 978-0982993101
ISBN-10: 0982993102
BISAC: Fiction / Suspense

JCC Clip from Mary Tabor on Vimeo.

Enjoy wine and cheese with OBX Author Mary L. Tabor

 

If you are in the Washington DC area on Sunday. October 13 attend the Local Author Fair featuring Outer Banks Publishing Group author Mary L. Tabor. Enjoy some fine wine and cheese while discussing Mary’s  newest novel, Who by Fire, a literary gem about a complex tale of love, betrayal, and the search for one self.

Fifteen additional authors will also be on hand to discuss their books.Mary L. Tabor

Here is what Richard Kramer, writer and producer of the TV show Thirtysomething, wrote about Mary L. Tabor’s  sensual, sensitive novel, WHO BY FIRE.

“This brief, elegant, passionate novel accumulates and gathers force like a poem, in which language is compressed and edited and somehow bursts its bounds as it goes along. It made me want to write a book just like it, although I don’t have Mary Tabor’s wisdom and insight and willingness to stay so intently focused. Maybe someday … Until then, I can heartily recommend this, maybe especially to people who haven’t written a novel but who want to, because WHO BY FIRE can show you what a novel can be.”

Who by Fire by Mary L Tabor

Jewish Literary Festival: Local Author Fair

Date: Sunday, October 13, 2013
Time: 7:00 PM – 8:30 PM
Location: Washington DC Jewish Community Center
1529 16th Street NW
Washington, DC 20036
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Who By Fire
Paperback: 248 pages
Language: English
Product Dimensions: 6 x 9 inches

ISBN-10: 0982993145
ISBN-13: 978-0-9829931-4-9

Publication Date: November 2012

OBX Author Ron Rhody weaves another Bluegrass drama in last THEO novel

A prominent newspaper columnist kills the man mostly likely to be the next Governor of Kentucky – and gets away with it. Ten years later, the death of his mentor brings him back to the scene of the crime.

Last novel in the THEO Trilogy

Last novel in the THEO Trilogy

Outer Banks Publishing Group author Ron Rhody has completed the last novel in the THEO trilogy, When THEO Came Home, available in November 2013.

This riveting story takes the reader through San Francisco to the canyons of Manhattan to the mountains of southern Appalachia where snake-handling cults still thrive.

The action takes place mostly in Kentucky’s fabled Bluegrass section and in Frankfort, the state’s capitol city, which is in turmoil in the midst of policies put in place by the new governor that are crippling the city.

What happens when Theo comes home is not what anyone expects – most particularly Theo.

Pre-order your copy at a special pre-launch price of $12.99, list $15.99, now through November 1, 2013.

“The characters are richly drawn. The action runs at a riveting pace. What happened When THEO Came Home is a helluva read and a fine, fine story.” – Ian Kellogg

When THEO Came Home is the concluding novel in the THEO Trilogy. The other books in the series are: THEO’s Story and THEO & The Mouthful of Ashes, both available on Amazon in print and ebook format and in fine bookstores everywhere.

_____________________________

When THEO Came Home
List Price: $15.99
6″ x 9″ (15.24 x 22.86 cm)
Black & White on Cream paper
360 pages

Outer Banks Publishing Group
ISBN-13: 978-0982993101
ISBN-10: 0982993102
BISAC: Fiction / Suspense

Congrats to OBX author Scott Fields for selling over 60 books at his book signing!

 
MANSFIELD, OHIO – The Mansfield Reformatory Preservation Society hosted a book signing this Scott-4Labor Day weekend for Outer Banks Publishing Group author Scott Fields, author of The Mansfield Killings at the historic and haunted Ohio State Reformatory.

Scott said he sold approximately 60 copies of his best selling novel, The Mansfield Killings, based on true events about two ex-cons who went on a 2-week killing spree in the summer of 1948.

The spree attracted national headlines back then ending in a dramatic shootout with police on Route 224 where one ex-con was killed and the other captured.

Scott meticulously researched the event obtaining copies of original documents and photos and then turned the dark chain of events into a novel.Mansfield Killing Book Signing cropped

“I just had to write this book. It took me only four months to finish it,” he said earlier.

The killing spree is part of Mansfield, Ohio’s dark lore, where the state erected an historical highway marker on Route 224 where the killers were confronted and stopped. It’s like the town fathers wanted future generations to remember the horror of that summer more than 60 years ago.

The book signing was held at the Ohio State Reformatory, reputed to be haunted by former prisoners and the location of the filming of the 1994 The Shawshank Redemption, starring Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman.

Scott’s book signing was part of the  20-year-reunion party of The Shawshank Redemption where fans were treated to a Hollywood tour of the rooms and areas where the movie was filmed.

The Mansfield Killings is available from Amazon in both ebook and print versions and in fine bookstores everywhere.

OSR-cropped

The Ohio State Reformatory, alleged to be haunted by former prisoners, now a significant US historical site

Listen to the podcast by Mary L. Tabor with Richard Kramer, TV producer of Thirtysomething

 

Mary L. TaborHere’s what Richard Kramer, writer and producer of the TV show Thirtysomething, among others, and author of These Things Happen, a novel he wrote and has adapted for an HBO series produced by Oprah Winfrey wrote about Mary L. Tabor’s  sensual, sensitive novel, WHO BY FIRE.

 

“This brief, elegant, passionate novel accumulates and gathers force like a poem, in which language is compressed and edited and somehow bursts its bounds as it goes along. It made me want to write a book just like it, although I don’t have Mary Tabor’s wisdom and insight and willingness to stay so intently focused. Maybe someday … Until then, I can heartily recommend this, maybe especially to people who haven’t written a novel but who want to, because WHO BY FIRE can show you what a novel can be.”

Mary L. Tabor with Richard Kramer 08/07 by rarebirdradio | Books Podcasts.

Who by Fire by Mary L Tabor

New cloud radio interviews Mary L. Tabor

Listen to Mixcloud’s interview with Outer Banks Publishing Group author Mary L. Tabor. She discusses her newest novel, Who by Fire, where one of the main characters who died, lives throughout the story.

The interview starts at 50:26 into the broadcast.

Mary L Tabor 03-14-13 by Total Education Network on Mixcloud

Mixcloud connects radio content to listeners more effectively. Mixcloud is re-thinking radio by joining the dots between radio shows, Podcasts and DJ mixes. We refer to them as Cloudcasts – audio shows that are stored in the “cloud” and available to be streamed on-demand.

Everything you need to know about the great e-book price war

How the DOJ’s antitrust lawsuit against Apple and the Big Six book publishers will affect the business of lit

Everything you need to know about the great e-book price war Jeff Bezos (Credit: AP/Reed Saxon)

By Laura Miller for Salon
Closing arguments for the Department of Justice’s antitrust suit against Apple concluded last week, although U.S. District Judge Denise Cote is not expected to reach a decision for another couple of months. If you’ve found the case difficult to follow, you’re not alone. Still it’s worth getting a handle on the basics because the suit — or, more precisely, the business deals behind it — have changed book publishing in significant ways. Furthermore, Judge Cote’s decision could have impact well beyond the book industry.

Read the rest of the story here – Everything you need to know about the great e-book price war

Meet Mary L. Tabor and her groundbreaking novel, Who by Fire

If you haven’t read the latest review by Small Press Reviews of Outer Banks Publishing Group’s Who by Fire by Mary L. Tabor, view the video and discover some significant revelations why people love, cheat and later regret what they did to a loved one.

Mary Tabor “Who By Fire” Reading from William Holloway on Vimeo.

From BuzzFeed – 18 People Who Missed The Point Of Classic Novels

Misguided one-star reviews, taken from Amazon and Goodreads. Via Love Reading Hate Books.

By Siraj Datoo BuzzFeed Staff

Screen Shot 2013-06-07 at 12.28.05 PM

Read the rest>
Google+

Neil Gaiman – on everything creative, but more importantly be yourself

 
For anyone who is creative, you must watch this video of Neil Gaiman’s address to the 2012 graduating class of the University of Arts in Philadelphia.

From the zenpencil.com blog:

“Neil Gaiman (1960-) is one of the best fiction writers in the world in my opinion. His work covers novels, short-stories, children’s books, comics, film, television – pretty much the whole pop-culture gamut.

This quote is taken from Gaiman’s commencement address at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, which was all over the internet last week. In an absolutely beautiful and inspiring speech, Gaiman shares the best tips that he wished he knew when he was first starting his writing career. It’s required listening for anyone passionate about the arts and I’ve bookmarked it so I can watch it whenever I lose my direction. Seriously, if you haven’t seen it, stop what you’re doing and click here.”
 

Neil Gaiman Addresses the University of the Arts Class of 2012 from The University of the Arts (Phl) on Vimeo.

Can geckos write books?

 

Well, yes, because the lovable, popular Geico Gecko has written and illustrated a book called You’re Only Human: A Guide To Life, released today by Workman Publishing for $11.95.

Gecko's book

Courtesy of Workman Publishing

Bloomberg Businessweek online quoted Workman saying the Gecko “has spent the last few years traveling across America, like a modern-day de Tocqueville.” What’s more, it adds:

“He’s a philosopher, an aphorist, a humorist, an artist, a warm companion, a natural storyteller—and, in a grand tradition, a keenly observant and wise outsider who in the course of living and traveling among us has discovered quite a lot about the things that make us human.

“He makes curious and interesting observations on everything from dreams to job interviews to adversity, Twitter to the Golden Rule (it’s not what you think it is) to talking animals: I’m really not sure what all the fuss is about. Lots of animals talk, including humans. The bigger question is, what do you have to say worth listening to?

See the trailer on YouTube.

Available at bookstores everywhere.

________________________________

Product Details

  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Workman Publishing Company (April 23, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0761174826
  • ISBN-13: 978-0761174820
  • Product Dimensions: 6.9 x 6 x 0.7 inches

 

 

 

If you liked ARGO, The Man Who Fooled SAVAK is for you

 

If you liked ARGO, you will love The Man Who Fooled SAVAK, a similar story based on true events.

Order your copy at a special publisher’s discount price of $12.99, list is $15.99.

Just click on our Bookstore tab and then click on Fiction.

We decided to reprint this interview with Douglas Roberts about what inspired him to write such a book. The interview was  originally published June 19, 2011.

_______________________________________

Cover for The Man Who Fooled SAVAKWhen Doug Roberts approached us with his manuscript, The Man Who Fooled SAVAK, it was one of those stories that completely engrossed you where you couldn’t put it down until it was finished.

Inspired by true events in the early 1970s, The Man Who Fooled SAVAK captures what it is like to live in a dictatorship with secret police monitoring your every move – an atmosphere of fear that still pervades today in many countries in the Middle East.

What makes Doug’s book so appealing is that what he wrote today about events 40 years ago is still going on today in many parts of the Middle East. And all of these events are carefully woven into a love story that will make you fall in love all over again.

Q. The release of your book coincides rather well with Arab Spring.   When did you start writing it?

A. In the summer of 2008. A woman I’d met on line named Erica Murray was interested in Iran so I started writing to her about it.   I started doing some very preliminary research into the history and politics of Iran in 1971 in order to refresh my memory of things I had experienced when I was in Iran during that time.   The book was completely finished several months before the uprising in Tunisia.

Q. Even though that was 40 years ago, there are many common elements with what is happening across the Arab world.

A. Yes, especially the fear people experience when living under an autocratic regime is something I hope I have captured, and as the book proceeds, the breaking out of that fear.  Perhaps it will give people hope.  Just like in my book, the methods used by various dictatorial regimes to maintain control seem to be taken from a common playbook:  trample a free and independent press, keep the people fooled, use an iron fist to silence dissent, eliminate fair trials, use torture to extract confessions – the list goes on and on.

Q. But when you wrote the book, you weren’t thinking about that.

A. (laughs) True! I don’t have a crystal ball and the Arab Spring was as big a surprise to me as the rest of the world.

Q. Can I ask you about one of the characters in your book?  Was there really a Junior?

A. Yes there was.  I think Junior made the story possible to write.  We really did sell our liquor and cigarette rations to him.   I recently learned from a fellow who served in ARMISH/MAAG just before I arrived that Junior mostly dealt with the domestic workers, the Iranian nationals who worked at the bachelor quarters where we lived.

Q. I’d like to ask you about another character, Mihan Jazani.  She is a historical figure, the wife of the Bijan Jazani who founded one of Iran’s guerilla movements.   It appears that she’s a friend of yours on Facebook.

A. (Blushes)  Um, well yes…so it would appear.   (laughs)  Actually, Mihan Jazani doesn’t like Facebook and never uses it.  The Facebook account was set up for Mihan by her granddaughter, Aida.  Aida and I exchange messages occasionally.

Q. How were you able to remember so much about what happened then?  It was 40 years ago after all.

A. I was assisted in several ways.   I had some writings I had done about Iran when I was in journalism school at Kent State in 1972.  I had a large number of slides that I’d taken when I was there.  Those were crucial in reviving old memories.  A huge help was finding a 1977 map of Tehran on the (now defunct) Tehran American School website.  I was able to use the exact names of places, even street names.  The fellow I’d mentioned earlier who told me about Junior had sent me a copy of the ARMISH/MAAG directory, which was very useful.  Finally, talking to people I worked with at that time was extremely important, namely Heidi Eftekhar and Barry Silver, who are characters in the story.  I obviously couldn’t remember all events specifically, but I found I could generate them as needed by being very specific in my language.  I would take seeds of ideas and extrapolate and grow them into full blown events.   For example, a certain lecherous officer really did say to Heidi, “I think you’re a woman who needs a lot of loving.”   I took that and ran with it.  Last, but also important, the Internet was a valuable tool in researching the historical incidents in the book.

Q. So, where does the novel part come in?

A. Some of the human rights related events are novelized, but they’re very accurate in their portrayal of the times.  I’ll leave historians to figure all that out.   They will have their work cut out for them because I’ve spent a lot of effort weaving the story line into the history of those days.

Q. How close is your character Doug Roberts to the way you actually are?

A. That’s a really good question. (laughs) I had originally intended that Doug the character would be an extreme version of myself.   But after having read my book now over and over, I’ve come to see that what’s extreme are the circumstances he’s in.   Doug the character is a lot like I was back then: ok in the smarts department, and a little too cocky sometimes.  He’s not very romantic or knowledgeable about women, but does all right in spite of himself. (laughs)  There’s an element of male fantasy in the book I suppose. In the story, I have two charming female lunch companions in addition to Fari my Iranian girlfriend/fiancée.

Q. But you really were friends with Heidi Eftekhar your co-worker in the story.

A. I still am.  Heidi and I communicate regularly by email and her input on the book was immensely helpful.  Miss Farou is the fantasy.  She actually didn’t like me all that much. (laughs).

Q. I get the impression you had a lot of fun writing your book.

A. It was pretty trippy for me at times.  I would totally submerse myself in it.  For example, I had written the scene describing how I spent New Year’s Eve in Iran just a couple of weeks after New Year’s Eve in real life.  When someone asked me about how I’d spent my New Years, it shocked me as to how much effort I had to put into pulling up what I’d actually done versus what I’d just written.  That was a little scary.

Q. What do you think people will get out of your book?

A. I’m sure everyone will get a little something different, but what I’d like for people to take from it is that, like in the story, life may present you with some extreme circumstances.  When that happens, keep a level head and your wits about you.  Try to see beyond what appears to be happening on the surface.  There will always be some good things happening at any given moment. Try to focus on that.  To get through your ordeal it’s a good idea to engage all your friends to help you and your faith if you have that.  Most important of all:  never give up.

The Man Who Fooled SAVAK is available as an ebook on Amazon Kindle and in various ereader formats from Smashwords.com

Available in print Feb 2013

Preorder your copy at a special publisher’s discount price of $10.99 plus 4.99 shipping & handling – $15.98 or $5 off list price.
Send an email to info@outerbankspublishing.com with your name, address, phone number and email address.
List Price: $15.99
6″ x 9″ (15.24 x 22.86 cm)
Black & White on Cream paper
376 pages

Outer Banks Publishing Group
ISBN-13: 978-0982993125
ISBN-10: 0982993129
BISAC: Fiction / Espionage

Renowned Shelf Unbound Magazine interviews Mary L. Tabor

 

Outer Banks Publishing Group author Mary L. Tabor was interviewed by Shelf Unbound, the literary magazine for small press and independent books.

This is probably the most enlightening interview I have ever read on why writer’s write. A must read on Page 12.Mary L. Tabor interview with Shelf Unbound m

Here is an excerpt from the interview – Mary explains how the main character, Robert narrates and invents the story as it is told.

“As Robert and I invented the story he didn’t know, my own memories invaded as they inevitably will for the writer of any story. Memory is by its very nature is flawed, but the need to revisit memory over and over again is part and parcel of being human and alive. Revisiting memory is the way we search for meaning in our lives, for the narrative of who we are and who we might become. In some sense, we’re inventing. But in fact we’re searching for emotional truth.”

You can find Who by Fire on Amazon in print or as an ebook and in bookstores and retailers everywhere.