24 Things No One Tells You About Book Publishing
Ten years ago, my first novel Prep came out. Three novels later, here’s what I’ve learned about the publishing industry and writing since then.
- When it comes to fellow writers, don’t buy into the narcissism of small differences. In all their neurotic c, competitive, smart, funny glory, other writers are your friends.
- Unless you’re Stephen King, or you’re standing inside your own publishing house, assume that nobody you meet has ever heard of you or your books. If they have, you can be pleasantly surprised.
- At a reading, 25 audience members and 20 chairs is better than 200 audience members and 600 chairs.
- There are very different ways people can ask a published writer for the same favor. Polite, succinct, and preemptively letting you off the hook is most effective.
- Blurbs achieve almost nothing, everyone in publishing knows it, and everyone in publishing hates them.
- But a really good blurb from the right person can, occasionally, make a book take off.
- When your book is on best-seller lists, people find you more amusing and respond to your emails faster.
- When your book isn’t on best-seller lists, your life is calmer and you have more time to write.
- The older you are when your first book is published, the less gratuitous resentment will be directed at you.
- The goal is not to be a media darling; the goal is to have a career.
Read the rest of the reasons>
Now have “Breakfast” on the Publisher with a special pre-launch discount of $8.99, regularly $15.99 until Feb. 15, 2015 only from Outer Banks Publishing Group. Order yours here.
It has been two years since the death of his wife, and Frank Watson still struggles with the loss. Every morning, he meets with his friends at the local diner to talk and to exchange gossip, but inevitably must return to his farm that remains undisturbed since his wife’s death.
Then, Pepper Ledley breezed into his life. She was the new waitress in town nearly half his age and offered Frank something he had never before considered, a new beginning. However, it somehow didn’t seem right to Frank.
As he struggles with his new feelings and the memory of his beloved wife, Frank faces the biggest crisis of his life. A large foreign corporation needs five hundred acres of land to build an egg factory and Frank alienates himself from the rest of the town when he, steadfastly, refuses to sell.
What transpires is a web of deceit, manipulation and murder.
Get a taste of “Breakfast” – download a free sample – A taste of Breakfast
or order a full copy from our bookstore.
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Amazon wants to be the publishing dictator of the world
From The New York Times
Authors are upset with Amazon. Again.
For much of the last year, mainstream novelists were furious that Amazon was discouraging the sale of some titles in its confrontation with the publisher Hachette over e-books.
Now self-published writers, who owe much of their audience to the retailer’s publishing platform, are unhappy.
One problem is too much competition. But a new complaint is about Kindle Unlimited, a new Amazon subscription service that offers access to 700,000 books — both self-published and traditionally published — for $9.99 a month.
Read the rest of the story>.
ISIS spawned by the People’s desire to control their Destiny
Publisher’s Note: Doug Roberts lived and almost died under the tyranny of a brutal dictatorship in Tehran in the 1970s when he was stationed there as a US Serviceman in Administrative Services office in the U.S. military advisory unit to Iran, ARMISH/MAAG. He knows first-hand what it is like to live in fear of Tehran’s secret police monitoring his every move, especially when he carried out a daring escape for his girlfriend and her mother and reuniting them with their exiled father and husband.
His story comes alive in his dramatic retelling of the events in his book, The Man Who Fooled SAVAK, available at our bookstore for $9.99, Amazon, Barnes & Noble and in ebook versions. Here is his POV on ISIS and the current situation in the Middle East.
As the world watches each new horror ISIS creates, I think it is instructive to note that the forces which shaped ISIS and similar movements began a long time ago after the end of World War I when the old Ottoman Empire was carved up to artificially create six brand new nations: Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, and Palestine (now Israel).
As Andrew Torre [mostly] correctly points out in his recent column for The Manchester Journal, the motives were for economic exploitation by western interests. To that end, governments were put in place to foster economic exploitation.
“Clearly, this was not a good deal for the masses of Middle Eastern people, who have predictably been fomenting revolution ever since. Their unceasing attempts to overthrow the exploitative system reached new heights immediately after WW II and have been regularly squelched by Western power ever since. England constantly repressed Iraqi uprisings; Nasser’s Pan-Arabism of the 1950s was successfully opposed; in 1948 Israel was established as a foil against Soviet influence on Middle Eastern revolutionary movements; and in 1952 the U.S. successfully conspired to overthrow and assassinate the first democratically-elected president of Iran, Mohammed Mossadegh, who had the audacity to claim Iranian oil for the Iranian people, rather than foreign interests.”
(Despite his committing one small factual error, I invite the reader to study his entire column as it is highly instructive. I am including a link to Mr. Torre’s article)
But let me follow up on what happened to Mossadegh. Though he was tried for treason, (a capital offense) he was placed under house arrest, and was not assassinated as many have claimed. His treasonous act? Let me quote from the wiki:
“Mossadegh had sought to audit the books of the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company (AIOC), a British corporation (now BP) and to change the terms of the company’s access to Iranian oil reserves. Upon alleged refusal of the AIOC to cooperate with the Iranian government, the parliament (Majlis) voted to nationalize the assets of the company and expel their representatives from the country.”
Heaven forbid Iran actually being in control of its own oil! The end result of all this was the CIA and MIA installed The Shah of Iran as an autocratic repressive leader for many decades. The relationship worked for a while. The U.S. helped Iran keep the Soviets at bay and strengthen Iran’s Ministry of Security. The U.S. got a lot of oil out of Iran in the process and also sold the Shah an enormous amount of weapons.
I lived in Iran during part of his reign. The year was 1971, the 2500th anniversary of Iran as a nation. Unseen to most people, the seeds of revolution were brewing. One reason was because the Ministry of Security began spying, arresting and torturing its own citizens. The Shah’s secret police were notorious. I got a few clues because, while serving in the U.S. Army, I worked in the classified message center of Sitade Buzurgh (similar to Iran’s version of the Pentagon.)
I thought that what I had seen was important enough that I wrote my first novel, The Man Who Fooled SAVAK, loosely based on what I had experienced.
By 1979 I was watching on television the rise of Iranian militants against western imperialistic interests, and the overthrow of the Shah by the Ayatollah Khomeini and his extremist supporters. They were not called Islamist back then, but in retrospect that is what they were. What else can would you call a group who overran the U.S. Embassy and took 52 diplomats hostage for 444 days, in flagrant violation of international law? My second novel deals with this period.
People can tremble at the thought of ISIS making good on its threat to become a bona-fide nation state of radical religious extremists, but that is exactly what happened in Iran in 1979. To appreciate it fully one needs to understand that the extremism we saw from the militants who overthrew Iran was fueled by a deep resentment of western meddling in its affairs – a fact all to easy to forget in the heat of the moment.
Had anyone bothered to ask the question if such a thing could happen in any of the nations artificially created by western powers after World War I, the answer of course would be a decided ‘yes.’ And in fact that is exactly what we see today in Iraq and Syria.
When the U.S. invaded Iraq as a response to 9/11 in 2001 to overthrow Saddam Hussein, those who were against it correctly warned of unleashing a Pandora’s Box of unwanted consequences. With the repressive dictator gone, old ethnic rivalries were unleashed which, added to the the deep resentment of how Iraq was artificially created in the first place, and this only compounded the chaos.
When the United States invaded in 2003, Shiites made up nearly two-thirds of Iraq’s population of 25 million. But members of the Sunni minority had ruled Iraq since its independence in 1932. That is until the U.S. created a Shiite-led government, which was famously corrupt and repressive in its own right. Not a recipe for success, I think.
So complete is the chaos in Iraq today, one could argue that Iraq as we knew it no longer exists. The civil war in Syria, and the following disastrous collapse of law there allowed Sunni militants from Iraq to regroup and set up a safe haven from which to gather their forces. In its current form we know it as ISIS/ISIL.
Though the entire world, including every known Muslim group, sees ISIS as a threat, including most ironically, Iran – the U.S. response has been to drop bombs on ISIS in Iraq – over a billion dollars worth and counting. But wait. ISIS is actually headquartered in Syria, where the U.S. “supports” ISIS efforts to overthrow the Assad regime. Say what?
The folly of this approach seems obvious to anyone willing to ponder it, I think. Dare I say, that if continued, it will have an impact on the 2016 presidential election?
A better approach, in my opinion, would be to do everything possible to strengthen the one remaining island of stability remaining in the region: the area we call Kurdistan. The Kurdish army is known for its fierce fighters and the Kurdish population has a vested interest in keeping this stable and prosperous area (rich with its own oil reserves), stable and prosperous.
6″ x 9″ (15.24 x 22.86 cm)
Black & White on Cream paper
Outer Banks Publishing Group
BISAC: Fiction / Espionage
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Curl up to a warm fire with these blazing titles
Two great titles from OBX Publishing Group author Mary L. Tabor are now reduced through Outer Banks Publishing Group. Visit our bookstore to order.
WHO BY FIRE – Fiction. Print version $7.99; Kindle $5.99
WHO BY FIRE breaks new literary ground: A complex tale of love, betrayal, and the search for self. A male narrator tells the story he does not actually know but discovers through memory, through piecing the puzzles of his marriage, through his wife’s goodness and her betrayal. He confronts paradox with music, science and a conflagration he witness in his native Iowa. Underlying his search is the quest for heroism and for his own father. WHO BY FIRE has earned its places among books that matter.
“The beauty of the prose, the nuances of the characters, the ever-building plot—everything is in place for a novel that will touch you in all the right ways.”—Lee Martin
“Mary L. Tabor’s WHO BY FIRE is a lovely, innovative, deeply engaging novel about how it is that human beings make their way through the mysteries of existence.”—Robert Olen Butler
- Paperback: 248 pages
- Publisher: Outer Banks Publishing Group
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0982993145
- ISBN-13: 978-0982993149
- Product Dimensions: 7.7 x 5.4 x 0.9 inches
(Re) Making Love – Nonfiction, Print version $5.99; Kindle $3.99
When Mary L. Tabor’s husband of 21 years announced, “I need to live alone,” she cratered and turned to the only comfort she had left: her writing. What resulted was (Re)MAKING LOVE: a sex after sixty story, a fresh, witty, funny and brutally honest memoir of everything she felt and did during her long journey back to happiness. This deeply personal account of her saga takes the reader from Washington, DC to Missouri to Australia through the good, the bad and the foolish from Internet dating to outlandish flirting and eventually to Paris where an unexpected visitor changed the author’s life forever. Her story offers hope and joy told with passion and brilliance that is highly refreshing with the single and most prominent message—it is never too late to find love—and oneself even after age sixty and beyond.
- Paperback: 212 pages
- Publisher: Outer Banks Publishing Group
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 098299317X
- ISBN-13: 978-0982993170
- Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 0.5 inches
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
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.
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.
Hauntings at the Ohio State Reformatory
“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.
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.
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.
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.
Paperback: 280 pages
Publisher: Outer Banks Publishing Group (October 24, 2012)
Product Dimensions: 0.6 x 5.4 x 8.4 inches
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
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.”
“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.
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!
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 Came 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.
Black & White on Cream paper
Outer Banks Publishing Group
BISAC: Fiction / Suspense
Here’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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
- 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, 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.
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.
Available in print Feb 2013
Black & White on Cream paper
Outer Banks Publishing Group
BISAC: Fiction / Espionage
Outer Banks Publishing Group author Mary L. Tabor was interviewed by Shelf Unbound, the literary magazine for small press and independent books.
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.