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Category Archive: Authors

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Neo-Nazi Trump Supporters Are Going After YA Books Now

Reprinted in part from The Huffington Post

After author Laura Silverman dissed Trump on Twitter, white supremacist trolls went ballistic on her upcoming book’s Goodreads page.

What amazes me is that there are no copies of this book released anywhere, yet some people are attacking the book and the author. I thought this is worth reprinting here.

– Outer Banks Publishing Group Publisher

By Claire Fallon Culture Writer, The Huffington Post

Author Laura Silverman wrote a YA novel, Girl Out of Water, that’s slated for publication in May 2017. The book hasn’t fully made its way through the editorial process, and review copies have not been sent out.

Nonetheless, one day last week, Silverman heard from a fellow author that Girl Out of Water had been besieged with one-star ratings and reviews on Goodreads, a popular site where readers keep track of the books they’re reading.

“There’s zero chance those reviews could have been legitimate,” she told The Huffington Post in a phone conversation. Not only is the book still under wraps, but she and others noted that many of the nasty reviews were posted by brand-new accounts.

 

laura-silverman-tweet

 

So what was going on? Silverman, who is Jewish and frequently tweets about the election, had a good idea. Ever since this summer, her tweets calling out presidential candidate Donald Trump for his problematic statements had attracted bucketloads of anti-Semitic responses and threats from white supremacist accounts. After she tweeted her anger about Trump’s cozy interview on Jimmy Fallon last week, the trolls multiplied ― and, apparently, spread to other forums.

Read more>

Sketch by Karen Piedmont of the "Craw" section in Frankfort, KY

Another Sneak Peek into Ron Rhody’s new novel

Author Ron Rhody

Novelist Ron Rhody

Outer Banks Publishing Group author Ron Rhody has agreed to serialize a few chapters of his newest novel, Concerning The Matter of The King of Craw,  giving readers a sneak peak into his book based the real life of John Fallis, a legendary figure, who was like a Robin Hood in Frankfort, Kentucky during the Roaring Twenties.

Each week, we will present a new chapter here or you can read it on Ron’s blog. Here is the second chapter Ron released.

Sketch by Karen Piedmont of the “Craw” section of Frankfort, KY in the early twenties.

CONCERNING THE MATTER OF THE KING OF CRAW will be released Nov. 5, 2016 at the Kentucky Book Fair, Frankfort, KY. You can pre-order a copy from our bookstore at the publisher’s pre-release price of $11.99.

By Ron Rhody

CHAPTER FOUR: RISE PEON

Monday came.

Collection day.

The day Tubby and his merry men would be expecting to collect their tribute, the day that would mark the start of my second full week of school in this town still strange to me, the day that would set the way my peers would think of me.

I knew they knew of Tubby’s shakedowns. They must have talked of it. The word must have gotten around. Not that they were likely to ostracize the timid and the weak among them. They’d just have no respect for them.

I understood that. If you don’t respect yourself, no one else will. To prove that you do, you can’t let others push you around.

While I was a boy, the only instruction I ever had in fighting came the afternoon Andy Charbonneau got beat up.

Jigger Swinson beat hell out of him. Jigger was the biggest and meanest boy in class.

We were playing marbles after school behind the swings. Jigger said Andy cheated. He grabbed Andy’s taw and wouldn’t give it back. Andy called him a liar.

“Don’t call me a liar you little bastard.” He took Andy apart.

When Andy couldn’t stand up any longer, Jigger kicked him in the side and walked away with Andy’s taw.

Jimmy D. and Winston and me helped him home. Andy’s dad, the guide, the elk hunter, was there. “What happened, boys” he said as he washed the blood from Andy’s face.

Mr. Charbonneau, Baptiste Charbonneau, was a cheerful man with an easy way and the build of a bear. His face was wind-burned and sunburned and his eyes crinkled at the sides when he smiled. No smiles now.

When we finished, Mr. Charbonneau said, “Did anybody help this Jigger Swinson beat on Andrew?”

“No, sir.”

He waited a moment or two, considering, then said, “I’m not for fighting, boys. But some things you can’t let pass.”Concerning The Matter of The King of Craw

He looked around to each of us. “I want all you boys to pay attention to this.”

Another long pause, waiting to be sure we were listening.

“I don’t expect you to fight unless you have to. But from time to time you’ll have to. Life works that way.” He seemed saddened by that, but continued.

“If there’s going to be a fight, don’t stand around jawing. Don’t waste time pushing or shoving. Knock the sonofabitch down and stomp on him. Hit him as hard as you can! Go for the stomach. Knock his wind out. When he bends over to try to get a breath, hit him behind the head with both your hands locked together. When he falls, stomp on his hands so he won’t be able to hit again for a long time. Don’t give him any quarter. Don’t give him time to collect himself.”

Mr. Charbonneau was a respected man. He had to master the mountains. Sometimes had to master the egos of the swells who could afford his skills but who drank too much or wanted to take a calf for the meat when it was bulls only season and he wouldn’t permit it.

We listened.

“Beat him so bad he’ll never want to fight you again,” he said. “Blow through him like a Maria and then stand over him and tell him if he ever sees you coming he damn well better get out of the way.”

We were gathered in his kitchen when he told us this. Andy was sitting on a stool by the sink with the bloodstained washcloth floating in the basin and we were ringed around him. Mr. Charbonneau was standing behind Andy with his hand on Andy’s shoulder.

“Understand, boys? Understand what I’m telling you? Don’t get caught up in ideas about fair fights. There are no fair fights. You hit first! Hit with as much force as you’ve got. Drop him down and stomp on him before he knows what’s happening. Make him never dare mess with you again.”

He ran his gaze over each of us, satisfying himself that we understood.

“Now, Andrew,” he said, moving around to stand in front of Andy. “I want you to go find this boy Jigger Swinson. I want you to give him that message. And I want you to get your taw back.”

He walked to the corner by the fireplace where he kept a staff that he used when he was scouting in the mountains, a long wooden staff of fire-hardened oak that had been shaved into round and varnished slick. He hefted it, swung it, slapped it against his open palm a couple of times, walked to the window and looked out. The afternoon was fading but there was still an hour or two to sunset. He walked back across the room to stand in front of Andy.

“This boy’s bigger than you. Take this to even that up. When you find him, don’t say anything.”

Mr. Carbonneau raised the staff above his head and swung it down in a sweeping arc.

“Smash him! Hit down, like you’re chopping a log. Hold the staff in both hands. Hit hard. Aim for a spot between the shoulder blade and the neck. Then switch your hold and swing like you’re hitting a baseball and hit him across the upper arm.”

He drew back, pivoted and stepped into the swing as if he expected to drive it out of the park.

“Then swing it down and bark his shins. Then stab it into his gut. When he falls, stand over him and jam the stick into his neck where the Adam’s Apple is. Not too hard. You’ll kill him if you press too hard.”

Mr. Charbonneau stood there, legs apart with the staff’s point shoved into the floor at his feet and him leaning into it, steel in his tone.

“Tell him give me back my taw. Tell him don’t you dare come at me again.”

He handed the staff to Andy. “Go now.”

And turned to us. We were breathless at what we’d seen, shocked at what we’d heard. “You boys go with him,” he said. “See that no one interferes.”

No one did.

Andy got his taw back.

Jigger Swinson didn’t mess with any of us again.

I remembered.

Tubby and his three merry men circled me when class let out for morning recess.

“Pretty boy, pretty boy, we’re waiting for you. It’s Monday morning and tribute is due.”

They were standing by the outside water fountain. You had to pass it on the way to the playground. Tubby made his little sing-song chant loud enough to be heard by those who were passing. Most of the class knew what to expect. They didn’t stop as they passed but began to gather in little groups just far enough away to be close enough to watch.

The morning was chilly. Tubby had on knickers again and a neatly knotted tie and a button- up sweater, with hair slicked back and an arrogant smile. He stood hands on hips, looking big and threatening. The three merry men grinned at each other.

He held out his right hand, palm up, smirking. I smiled right back and drove my fist into his gut with all the force I had. Tubby’s eyes widened. He folded over, gasping, and I hit him behind the neck with my interlocked hands. He splayed out flat, almost bouncing off the concrete pavement at the base of the fountain. I let him lay gasping for a minute, then rolled him over and knelt down with my knee in his chest. I grabbed his tie and forced his gagging face up to look me in the eyes. The surprise on his face was deeper than the pain.

“Wha….” he tried say but he was fighting too hard to breathe.

I tightened my grip on his tie. “Tubby, the peons have risen,” I said.

I dropped him down then and rose to deal with the merry men. But there was no need. Lucas was standing behind me, protecting my back.

Across the schoolyard kids were running in to get closer.

Tubby was still on his back gasping for breath. The merry men seemed dazed. Lucas nodded his head toward Tubby and said to them, “Your little shakedown is over, boys. I wouldn’t try it again or pretty boy might get mad. Now pick your friend up, clean him up, and get out of here.”

Then he turned to me laughing and shaking his head said, “Where’d you learn that!”

(more to come)

Author Ron Rhody

Novelist Ron Rhody gives sneak peek of his newest novel

Outer Banks Publishing Group author Ron Rhody has agreed to serialize a few chapters of his newest novel giving readers a sneak peak into his book based the real life of John Fallis, a legendary figure, who was like a Robin Hood in Frankfort, Kentucky during the Roaring Twenties.

Each week, we will present a new chapter here or you can read it on Ron’s blog.

CONCERNING THE MATTER OF THE KING OF CRAW will be released Nov. 5, 2016 at the Kentucky Book Fair, Frankfort, KY or you can pre-order a copy from our bookstore for $11.99.

By Ron Rhody

         King of Craw by Ron RhodyI’m not sure how to characterize it. It is a work of fiction, yes —  but it is based on real people and real events. A mystery? Yes, but not of the usual kind. This one has to do with a man of glaring contradictions —  a mercurial man of lethal temper and tender compassion  whose acts cause him to  becomes an iconic figure in Bluegrass folklore.

No one who knew him, not even he himself, could explain why he did the things he did.  He was either Lucifer let loose or Galahad  to the rescue of the poor and the powerless. The debate on whether the sum of his actions was good or evil was intense then and remains so now. And the matter of his death is still suspect.  Was it a fight over a game of dice  as the newspapers reported, or a killing ordered by powerful men who had had enough of the King of Craw?

The book is about all that, and friendship, and the odd turns love can take. Considering this, I thought it might be  good  to give prospective readers an idea of what the story is and how it unfolds. So over the next few weeks we’ll run a  few of the opening chapters here. The one that follows is the Prologue – the “overture” before the curtain rises. Comments and questions are welcomed.

“The essence of good and evil is a certain disposition of the mind.”

Epictetus

PROLOGUE

I have been able to reconstruct most of the facts of his life, but I still cannot explain the man.

The sudden explosions of violence.

Like the cutting of Semonis.

The surprising acts of compassion

Like the burial of the mountain child.

What drove him?

He and Semonis were friends. At a dance. A woman. A remark by Semonis that John Fallis thought insulting? The knife was out and in Semonis’ side before anyone could move.Some spark, some circuit in his mind connected and he reacted violently and without thinking.

That happened often.

Ted Bates.Not serious. The bullet missed the bone and the leg healed. Tubba Dixon had a pool cue broken over his head and would have had the jagged stump shoved down his throat if he hadn’t been pulled out of Fallis’s reach.

There were other shooting and cuttings.

Anger? Surely.Self defense?  Perhaps.

For the Semonis knifing, he was arrested, charged with cutting and wounding with intent to kill without killing, and jailed. But nothing came of it.

From his bed, Semonis petitioned the Judge to set John Fallis free. John is my good friend, he declared. It was a simple misunderstanding, as much my fault as John’s.  Please let him go.

The battered and the wounded often petitioned the court to let him go.

Because of acts like the burial of the mountain child?

A stranger, a man from the mountains, had come to town to find work and feed his family. No work could be found. While the man searched, his baby son caught the river fever and died.

The man knew no one. Had no friends or family to call on.  No job. No money. No way to bury his baby son, his only son. For a man like him, a man from the prideful culture he came from, the shame of it was damning, the despair of the loss of his son crippling.Then someone told him about a man who might help.

No need to belabor the story.

The stranger came to the grocery. Stood before the counter. Humble. Humiliated. Told his story. Promised somehow, someday, if only Mr. Fallis could see his way clear to lend him enough money to bury his son, he’d pay it all back, swear to God.

John Fallis listened quietly. Took the measure of the man. Didn’t lend him the money. Gave it to him. More than was needed.  And stood with the man and his wife at the burial so that they didn’t have to endure it alone.

Like the spark that set off the violence, there was a spark that triggered compassion.

I doubt he was aware of either.

Whatever the case, to most of those in that section near the river where the poor lived, that section where the bad-ass bars and the honkey-tonks and the cat-houses huddled, to most of the people in that part of town where John Fallis had his grocery, and to many others all over town that were poor and powerless, he was revered. He stood up for them.

To the proper folk of the city, though, he was Lucifer unleashed. He was a lawless, thuggish, un-intimidated insult to decency and the Powers-That-Be. They wanted him gone.

John Fallis was ten when he began to carry a knife.

The older boys, the bigger boys, picked on him. He fought back. They thought it was funny. Until he got the knife.

When he became a man, no one thought it would be funny to pick on John Fallis. He brooked no insult, would not be cheated, would not be pushed around. He bent a knee to no man.

He was the King of Craw and Lucas Deane was his acolyte.

I came to know Mister Fallis through Lucas. That’s how I thought of him—as Mister Fallis.

He was strikingly handsome. He had a charm that was almost magnetic. When he chose to use it, which was not always, he won friends easily and women became willing prey. Being around him was like being swept up in a vortex of energy where something exciting, something dangerous, something unexpected could happen, would probably happen, at any second. I fell gladly into his orbit. I was only a boy then. We were in the seventh grade, Lucas Deane and I, when we met. I was transferring in from a distant school. Lucas was already there. That year was nineteen-twenty. The Great War was over. The country was opening the door to the Roaring Twenties.  The Big Shoot-Out was a year in the future.

The Big Shoot-Out. The day John Fallis took on the entire city police force. You’ve heard of it. Everyone’s heard of it. Even the New York Times was appalled. But John Fallis was special to Lucas Deane long before that. Lucas and his mother would have starved but for John Fallis.

Lucas’s mother was ill and couldn’t work. They were penniless.  No money for food, no money for rent. Lucas was only seven at the time.  John Fallis heard of it. He found Lucas and gave him a job … things he could do, sweep up at the grocery after school, stock the shelves … and paid him enough that they could get by.

Later, Mr. Fallis kept Lucas on. He liked the boy. Lucas’s gratitude was endless, his admiration boundless. I could understand that. I came to admire John Fallis, too. But not to the point of blind devotion.

Lord, save us from our heroes.

John Fallis, main character of Concerning the Matter of The King of Craw by Ron Rhody

All I’m trying to do is tell a story…We live by stories

Author Ron Rhody

Author Ron Rhody

Outer Banks Publishing Group author Ron Rhody tells what it takes to write a novel based on the real life of person in this interview. He talks about his newest book, Concerning The Matter Of The King of Craw, to be released at the Kentucky Book Fair on November 5 in Frankfort, KY and how he “wrote it” rather than reporting the story.

What brought you to write about John Fallis and his life and times?

I had just wrapped up When Theo Came Home (the last, maybe, in the Theo trilogy) and was searching for a subject for the next book. I had two ideas. One was for a story about what happens when the meek inherit the earth – you know, the promise in the Beatitudes, Mathew 5.5, “Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth” – what would happen, I wondered, if that happened?

The end of times… everyone gone … to heaven or hell … only the meek left. What would happen? Fascinating idea to play with.

The other idea was to try to build a story around John Fallis, the King of Craw. Fallis was a real character, a fascinating character, a dominating figure in Kentucky’s capital city during the Roaring Twenties, controversial at the time, legendary now.

I grew up in that town.  I remember hearing stories about about him as a boy – most of them bad. He was a legitimate businessman on the one hand, but on the other a  gambler, a brawler, the biggest bootlegger in the whole area with a violent temper and a reputation for mayhem.

He was also handsome and charismatic and loved by the common folk because he helped them and stood up for them against the Establishment. The powers that be didn’t like that. There is speculation even today that powerful forces in the city sent a hit man to do him in.  I thought I’d try to find out about him and build a story around him. The meek could wait.

Fallis is a real person. How did you get the information you needed to craft an informed story?

The way a reporter goes about it. Search the record, talk to people.  Son Bixie Fallis’ “biography” of his father at the Capital City Museum was a start and an enormous help.  Bixie’s story is that of a loving son writing about a hero father, so it has to be taken with a certain restraint, but it is first hand and intimate.

No one is alive today who knew Fallis directly but, thankfully, there is Jim Wallace’s collection of interviews with people who lived in the Bottom and Craw and who did know Fallis. They’re in his This Sodom Land treatise done for the University of Kentucky. It is enormously rich. And there is Doug Boyd’s work in his book Crawfish Bottom. It has a whole section on Fallis.

Those two pieces, and the local area newspapers, were my principal sources. And there are, of course, people who didn’t know Fallis but have relatives who did and who remember the stories they were told. I managed to find and talk with several of them.

After that, it was a matter of imagining what might have happened or could have happened as I worked with the information the limited sources provided. I’ve tried to stay true to facts I could uncover and make sure the inferences I’ve drawn from them are fair.

Concerning The Matter Of The King Of Craw is my fourth novel.  I think it is the best. I’ve learned a lot listening to Theo. The first three books are about him and make up the Theo trilogy. They did not start out to be trilogy. But one story led to another and then became three.

Like Concerning The Matter, they are set in Frankfort, which is Kentucky’s capital city – a jewel of a place, a river town in a Bluegrass Valley that has a character and a feel to it that works on me like magic.

All I’m trying to do is tell a story that makes the reader want to know what happens next and feel satisfied when one gets to the end. A story. A good story. That’s all. We live by stories.

The Theo books are about a young man who starts out as rookie reporter assigned to cover a bizarre murder which he leads him to a career in big time newspapering in New York City and other world capitals and ultimately back to that little town on the river trying to decide whether to run for Governor.

Along the way there are two other murders. He’s implicated in one of them. There is political intrigue and malfeasance, graft, blackmail, Melungeons, and, of course, a girl, Allie, who becomes a woman and who is in and out of his life through it all. I don’t know whether Theo runs and gets elected or not.

At present, I’m not interested in finding out, but I may want to.

The first three books I “reported.” I grew up newspapering, That’s the way you tell the story – who, what, when, where, why – and, if you can figure it out, how. I think they’re good books. They move fast and the stories are compelling.

I didn’t “report” Concerning The Matter Of The King of Craw.  I wrote it. There’s a difference. The who, what, when, where, why, and how are there. But there’s more. I think I’m getting the hang of it.

When you start a novel, who are you writing for?

I’ve given that a lot thought. The straight of it is that I’m writing for myself. I’m telling myself the story. If I can hold my interest, keep the story moving, touch a cord of emotion, be intrigued by things I didn’t know, discover something of value in the motives and actions of my characters, I’m happy.

All I’m trying to do is tell a story that makes the reader want to know what happens next and feel satisfied when one gets to the end. A story. A good story. That’s all. We live by stories.

Is there another book on the horizon?

I imagine. For a long time I’ve wanted to try a memoir of a sort. Not a real memoir. A string of stories or vignettes that tell of some of the things – people, places, events – that have mattered and may hold some interest for others. I’m not sure I have the courage to do that. There is the remembering of course. Pain came along with the good times. Not sure I want to revisit all that.

And there is the matter of ego. I’ve never been accused of being overly modest, but there seems something so egotistical about presuming to do a memoir that I’m not sure I’d be comfortable with trying one.

Otherwise, there’s Theo. Might be interesting to see if he could get elected and find out what challenges he would face as Governor of the Grand & Glorious Commonwealth of Kentucky and how he’d handle them.

And, of course, there’s the meek. I’ve often thought that given the prospect of an uncertain Heaven, or the beauty and bounty of Mother Earth, I’d opt for her.

We’ll see.

______________________________

Concerning The Matter of The King of Craw

He brooked no insult, would not be cheated, would not be pushed around. He bent a knee to no man. He was the King of Craw and the powers-that-be wanted him gone.

Concerning The Matter of The King of CrawList Price: $16.99
6″ x 9″ (15.24 x 22.86 cm)
Black & White on Cream paper
288 pages
Outer Banks Publishing Group
ISBN-13: 978-0990679042
ISBN-10: 0990679047
BISAC: Fiction / Historical / General

Now $11.99 – Pre-order here

 

The Killing Road, based on a true story by Scott Fields

Author found it emotionally difficult to write The Killing Road

Outer Banks Publishing Group Author Scott Fields

Author SCOTT FIELDS

Author Scott Fields talks about his new novel, The Killing Road, and why he decided to dramatize this true story and how hard it was to write such a book.

What made you dramatize the true life events of The Killing Road?

I was at a book signing when a young couple came up to me and the woman told me about a time when three members of her family were killed by a maniac who eventually killed twelve people in a three week period. She gave me the phone number of her grandparents. I met with them and they gave me a scrapbook that was full of everything I needed to know.

What is your fascination with real life crime stories? Why do you think you are so interested in true crime? Your earlier novel, The Mansfield Killings, is also based on true events.

Normally, I prefer feel good stories. I like a story with a conflict but a happy ending. The Killing Road and The Mansfield Killings began by someone telling me about some events that happened years ago. Something clicked inside me when I heard about each one, and my regular life was put on the back burner.

What do you hope to accomplish by writing The Killing Road? By writing any book?

Most everyone has a hobby, and mine just happens to be writing. For all my life ideas would pop into my head. If they stayed there for several years, then I took them seriously and would eventually turn those ideas into a novel.

How did you go about starting The Killing Road? What was involved?

After several interviews and trips to the library for additional information out of the newspapers, I was ready to begin.

You said it was hard writing The Killing Road. What did you mean by that?

It was extremely difficult to write about some of the things that he did. It only took me four months to write The Mansfield Killings, and it took me two years to write this one. He was incredibly vicious and did some things that I described in the novel but will not discuss them today.

Do you have another book on the horizon?

I am about halfway finished with a little more upbeat kind of novel. Imagine a mafia hitman turning into a pastor and becoming obsessed with taking care of kids with cancer. I have a real problem with kids getting cancer, and I just had to write a story about it. This will be one more way of feeding my hobby.

__________________________________

The Killing Road
Now $12.99 directly from the Publisher for a limited time

Click here to order your copy!

List Price: $17.99
5.5″ x 8.5″ (13.97 x 21.59 cm)
Black & White on White paper
220 pages
Outer Banks Publishing Group
ISBN-13: 978-0990679035
ISBN-10: 0990679039
BISAC: Fiction / Crime
Ron Rhody at Buffalo Trace

New Novel dramatizes life of Kentucky’s legendary John Fallis

Front cover final choiceKentucky Native Son Ron Rhody’s exciting new book, Concerning the Matter of The King of Craw, will debut at the Kentucky Book Show November 2016

Pre-order your copy at the special publisher’s discount, $11.99. Click here to pre-order.
Ron Rhody's King of Craw Pre-order

Click here to pre-order your copy.

Based on true events!

The essence of good and evil is a certain disposition of the mind.”

                                                                                                       Epictetus

“To those in that section near the river where the poor lived, that section where the bad-ass bars and the honkey-tonks and the cat-houses huddled, to the people in that part of town they called the Bottom, and to many others all over town that were poor and powerless, he was revered. He stood up for them.

To the proper folk of the city, though, he was Lucifer unleashed. He was the King of Craw and they wanted him gone.”

Set in the Roaring Twenties in Kentucky’s Capital City, the story spins around John Fallis, a legendary figure in Bluegrass folklore, and two boys who fall into his orbit.

A successful businessman, a gambler, a bootlegger, movie-star handsome, charismatically compelling, and deferential to no one, he was the champion of the common man and the scourge of the Powers That Be.

He was the King of Craw.

The story begins just before the night of the Big Shoot-Out when he takes on the entire city police force and sets his fabled reputation in stone. But the way he died remains a mystery to this day. Did the powerful forces in the city have him killed or was it the gambling fight it was purported to be?

Though this is a story and not a history, most of it happened. John Fallis, Craw, Crawfish Bottom are names that still resonate and questions about his early end are still unanswered.

This is the first piece of fiction built around the man and the place, full of action and drama, most particularly for readers drawn to mystery and the on-going battle between good and evil.

Whatever you ultimately decide about JF’s place on the scale of good and bad or the particulars of his death, you won’t be bored.

The Publisher

Mark Coker, Smashwords, Outer Banks Publishing Group, OBX Publishing

Need your help to end the US book embargo

I recently received a very interesting email from Mark Coker, founder of Smashwords, who brought to light the US book embargo against Cuba. Cubans earn the equivalent of only about $20 USD per month, whether they’re a doctor or a janitor. They don’t have a lot of money to invest in publishing.Smashwords Logo

Imagine if we could make our free ebook publishing and distribution services available to their writers? Imagine if Cuban readers could gain greater access to the nearly 400,000 low cost ebooks at Smashwords and other ebook retailers including over 60,000 free ebooks at Smashwords?

The petition will help abolish the embargo and free up our rich literary history to the Cuban people. Outer Banks Publishing Group supports Mark and  this worthy cause and I am hoping you will, too. Please help and sign the petition.

Here is Mark’s email, published in its entirety:

“I’m writing to ask for your help.
Please go to https://petitions.whitehouse. gov//petition/end-book-embargo-against-cuba and consider signing my petition to end the US book embargo against Cuba.

Background on this Petition

Last month, I joined a publishing industry delegation to Cuba to meet with Cuban writers, publishers and government representatives from their ministry of culture and book institute.
The goal of the meetings was to build bridges of understanding and explore opportunities for greater cultural and economic collaboration between the Cuban publishing community and the American publishing community.

I was struck by what I learned.

First, the good news.

Cuban writers and publishers are excited about the warming political relations between Cuba and the United States.
Cuba has an adult literacy rate of nearly 100%, about 20 points higher than the US.
Cuba boasts a rich literary culture.
I visited the Havana Book Fair, which was attended by hundreds of thousands of Cubans. I’d estimate 90% of attendees were millennials. These young readers are smart, educated and optimistic. They want greater access to books. They’re the future of Cuba.

Here’s the bad news

The US embargo against Cuba has been enormously harmful to the Cuban people, and it’s been especially harmful to their book market. Cuban publishers have difficulty acquiring even the basic raw materials of bookmaking like paper and ink.
Because so much of the infrastructure of global book publishing passes through the United States, the embargo makes it difficult for Cuban authors and publishers to reach a broader audience.

Cuban readers don’t have easy access to books published by American authors and publishers.

Cubans earn the equivalent of only about $20 USD per month, whether they’re a doctor or a janitor. They don’t have a lot of money to invest in publishing.

Imagine if we could make our free ebook publishing and distribution services available to their writers? Imagine if Cuban readers could gain greater access to the nearly 400,000 low cost ebooks at Smashwords, including over 60,000 free ebooks? I want to help them today but I can’t because of the embargo.

 

I founded Smashwords to break down barriers like this. To give every writer the freedom to publish, and every reader the freedom to read what they choose.
According to a Pew poll in 2015, fully 72% of the American public wants the embargo lifted.
The US stands virtually alone in this embargo which has now persisted over 50 years.
I realize the politics around this are heated. I realize many Americans — especially Cuban-Americans who emigrated in the ’60s — have strong feelings about the current political regime in Cuba. I respect these feelings. I want to take the politics out of this and focus on the Cuban people.
Would it be so bad to let the books flow freely in both directions? Might books help heal the wounds on both sides?
President Obama has taken steps over the last year to normalize relations with Cuba and set the stage for the end of the embargo.
But change can’t come soon enough. Given the current political dysfunction in the US, it’s unlikely the US congress will vote to end the embargo even though 59% of Republicans want it ended, according to that same Pew poll above.
The embargo is composed of a spaghetti mess of presidential edicts, Treasury department statutes and Congressional actions.
Despite the political gridlock, President Obama has some latitude to make modifications around the edges. He’s already relaxed travel restrictions and allowed American telecommunications companies to invest in Cuba so they can make Internet access more ubiquitous in Cuba.
President Obama says he wants to do more to expose Cubans to American culture and more global information. Books are the solution!
As we say in the petition, books promote greater cross-cultural understanding, economic development and free expression.
On the eve of President Obama’s March 21-22 trip to Cuba, I’d like to ask your support. Let’s encourage President Obama to lift the embargo against books and educational materials. It would be a good first step.

THREE THINGS YOU CAN DO TODAY TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE

  1. Please sign the petition at https://petitions.whitehouse. gov//petition/end-book- embargo-against-cuba
  2. Compose friendly Tweets directed at the White House (@WhiteHouse) and President Obama(@BarackObama), urging the Obama administration to end the book embargo. In your Tweets, include the link to the petition. For example, earlier I tweeted this:

    End the Cuba book embargo https://petitions.whitehouse. gov//petition/end-book- embargo-against-cuba @WhiteHouse @BarackObama

    Books help cross-cultural understanding and economic development. You can retweet it at https://twitter.com/markcoker or feel free to copy and paste it into your own tweet, or compose an original tweet.

  3. Visit the many news stories and blog posts that have been written about our campaign and use their social media buttons to share on Facebook, Twitter and elsewhere. Or join the discussions in their comment threads.

Here are some of the links:
Wall Street Journal

NPR

Huffington Post (I wrote this)

Publishers Weekly

Smashwords Blog

The timing today is critical. Next Thursday, March 17, 2016,  the Obama administration will announce modifications to the embargo that will likely loosen some restrictions on the embargo. Let’s encourage him to add books to his list!
Thank you for your consideration and support. At the bottom of this email I’ve pasted in the full text of the petition.

Best wishes,
Mark
Mark Coker
Founder
Smashwords
https://www.smashwords.com
https://twitter.com/markcoker
http://blog.smashwords.com

 

THE PETITION

Sign it now at https://petitions.whitehouse. gov//petition/end-book- embargo-against-cuba

END THE BOOK EMBARGO AGAINST CUBA

On the eve of his historic visit to Cuba March 21-22, we call on President Obama to utilize executive powers to immediately lift the economic embargo against Cuba as it pertains to books and educational materials.
As a basic human right, readers everywhere deserve greater access to books and literature.
Books promote cross-cultural understanding, economic development, free expression and positive social change.
The book embargo runs counter to American ideals of free expression.
Cuba’s adult literacy rate – at nearly 100% – is among the highest in the world.
Cuba boasts a rich literary heritage.
End the embargo to make the works of American and Cuban writers more accessible to readers in each country.
72% of Americans support an end to the trade embargo against Cuba (Pew, 2015).”
_________________________

Mark also orchestrated another petition which will appear next week on the cover of Publishers Weekly. Unlike the petition above which is for the general public, the other petition was signed by nearly 50 CEOs of publishing companies and writers associations (RWA, Authors Guild and more). You can read about both petitions in the news stories above.

Outer Banks, Outer Banks books, Outer Banks publishers, Outer Banks Publishing Group, OBX, OBX books, OBX publishers, OBX Publishing Group

You and your book are your brand

book, Outer Banks Publishing Group, Outer Banks Publishers, Outer Banks Publishing, Outer Banks, Outer Banks, OBX, OBX books, OBX Publishers, OBX Publishiing Group

Richard Ridley

Be Honest, be Transparent

So, this isn’t the first time I’ve floated this idea out there, but it’s something I like to touch on from time to time to remind indie authors what an author brand really is. Using the word brand suggests that there’s an artificial construct involved. That you as an author are being directed to create a persona that you think meets readers’ expectations.

Every time I get into this discussion with people I’m reminded of a scene from the classic television show Seinfeld. When Jerry and George are pitching a show to the television network executives, they’re asked what it’s about, and George excitedly proclaims that it&’s about nothing. The network executive is confused because it can’t be about nothing. It has to be about something, but George insists that it’s not. Jerry interjects that even nothing is something.

That exchange encapsulates what an author brand is. It’s nothing. That is to say it’s nothing false. It is you. It is your interests, your opinions, and your personality. It is everything you love. It can even be everything that drives you crazy. Wherever your passions lie, that’s your brand. There is nothing to do to build a brand other than to be yourself, genuinely, fervently, and openly.

Building and maintaining an author brand is, at its core, you being honest about who you really are. If you are, your brand will thrive and help grow your community. It won’t happen overnight, but it will happen as long as you stay committed to that principle. In turn, your community will help grow your readership.

Richard Ridley is an award-winning author and paid CreateSpace contributor.
Reprinted from Createspace Community Blog
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Writing is like exercise – you need to keep in shape


Writer and Internet marketer Aaron Harris notes five good reasons why you should write every day especially if you have a blog or website. His five reasons to keep in shape as a writer are:

  1. You are someone’s idol, hope, and inspiration
  2. Your works could be a part of someone’s daily routine
  3. No matter how bad you write, there will always be someone who loves your work
  4. Writing helps you loosen up, relieve stress
  5. Writing is simply one of the best ways to express yourself

Read the rest of Aaron’s article published on the Digital Donut site.

 

Happy Holidays

If in London…Poet Owain Glyn is a Guest Panelist at the London Convention at Foyles Bookstore Dec. 12

Poet Owain Glyn

Poet Owain Glyn at home writing

Owain will chair a panel discussing how to get the best from literary sites such as Wattpad, and how this can lead to ever wider followings, and even publication.

The convention will be attended by more than 150 Wattpad authors, poets and writers who will participate in the discussion.

Foyles was once listed in the Guinness Book of Records as the world’s largest bookshop in terms of shelf area (30 miles/50 kilometres) and number of titles on display. It is one of the largest bookstores in the UK.

Owain is a Welsh exile, currently living on the wild coast of Cornwall, UK, a land of legend, from King Arthur, and Merlin, to mermaids, pirates, and smugglers.

Windswept - Poems of Love

Get Windswept into love

Inspired by his surroundings and his love of words he writes on a wide range of subjects, from romance, to humour, politics, dark spiritual matters, and children’s poetry. He writes in a style which he hopes is accessible to all.

Bring some love into your life – order your copy here for $10.99.

And if you want to know more about Owain, see the interview by Phoenix Rainex on her site.

And be sure to read JT Twissle’s excellent article on how Owain creates his poetry, The Passionate and Whimsical Poet of Penzance on her site.

_______________________

Windswept – Poems of Love
List Price: $10.99
5.5″ x 8.5″ (13.97 x 21.59 cm)
Black & White Bleed on Cream paper
140 pages
Publication Date – September 30, 2015
Outer Banks Publishing Group

W & G Foyle Ltd. (usually called simply Foyles) is a chain of book shops with seven locations but is best known for its flagship store in Charing Cross Road, London.

Concerning The King of Craw – a new Ron Rhody novel

Ron Rhody

Ron Rhody

Outer Banks Publishing Group author Ron Rhody is finishing up a new novel based on true events and the nefarious characters that lived and ruled in an area called the Kingdom of Craw in Kentucky’s Capitol City during the heady days of the Roaring Twenties.

Famous throughout the southeast, Craw was Storyville on the Kentucky, the Barbary Coast in the Bluegrass – gambling and women and booze, knife fights and gun fights and party till the lights go out. Anything. Any time. All the time.

The plot revolves around John Fallis, a real character, renown as the King of Craw, and two boys who fall into his orbit. Fallis was a Robin Hood to the poor and powerless and the devil incarnate to the powers that be.

They wanted him gone and his story has taken on mythic proportions in the area.  His death is still a matter of controversy.

We’re shooting for a publication date of mid-year.

Front cover lo res CHere’s a sneak peak at one of the cover drafts.

Ron is the author of the THEO trilogy of novels, Soccer, a Spectator’s Guide and Wordsmithing, the Art and Craft of Writing for Public Relations. See all his titles on Amazon.