Writing

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

JCC Clip from Mary Tabor on Vimeo.

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.

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.

 

 

 

Mansfield Killings Novel comes to life for Author

 
It was the worst two-week killing spree in Ohio’s history. On the night of July 21, 1948, Robert Daniels and John West entered John and Nolena Niebel’s house in Mansfield, Ohio with loaded guns. They forced the family including the Niebel’s 21-year-old daughter, Phyllis, into their car and drove them to a cornfield just off Fleming Falls Road in Mansfield. The two men instructed the Niebels to remove all of their clothing, and then Robert Daniels shot each of them in the head.

Scott Fields of Mansfield, Ohio was so intrigued by this true story that he turned the horrific events into a page-burning novel that you cannot put down until you turn the last page. During a recent book signing in his hometown of Mansfield, Scott was approached by a man he had never seen before. The man introduced himself and Scott’s jaw dropped.

By Scott Fields
Author of The Mansfield Killings

I had just begun a book signing when a dignified, older man walked through the door. He stood in the back of the room as I finished with the person in front of me. He then approached me and shook my hand introducing himself as Roger Winger. I had no clue as to who he was in spite of his obvious pause as he waited for me to take heed of his presence.

Roger Winger

Roger Winger and Scott Fields

“You don’t know who I am, do you?” he asked.

“No, I don’t,” I said. “Sorry.”

“In July of 1948, I saw the dead bodies of the Neibel family lying in a cornfield off of Flemming Falls Road.”

For several seconds I stood there with mouth open trying to comprehend what he had just told me. “What did you just say?”

“I actually saw the dead bodies.”

I grabbed him by the arm and led him into another room. “How could you have seen such a thing?”

“I was six years old at the time. I lived next to the cornfield where the Niebels were found. That day was like any other summer day. I had seen the group of boy scouts marching down Flemming Falls Road earlier in the day. I hardly gave notice because boy scouts on that road was a common sight to see. Later that day, I stepped outside my house to see find police cars, ambulances and even fire engines all up and down the road. Out of curiosity, I walked down to the cornfield. There were men rushing back and forth but seemed to be concentrating on a spot about 50 feet into the field. I cautiously walked through the corn stalks until I was within a foot or so from the spot where the three people had been shot.”

“Did you see the bodies?” I asked.

“Yes, I did. Their bodies had turned white and were extremely bloated.”

“Was there signs of blood?”

“No. I don’t remember seeing any blood.”

“That’s a bit surprising,” I said. “Considering thThe Mansfield Killings Cover IIat they were shot in the head. What happened next?”

“One of the policemen saw me and yelled at me to get the hell out of here. I took off running thinking they were chasing me.”

“Daniels declared that they did not rape twenty year old Phyllis, and yet the bodies were found completely nude. The first coroner stated that there was no evidence of rape and yet the coroner at Daniel’s trial stated that she had been raped. Why do you think Daniels would admit to everything but deny raping Phyllis?”

“I’m not sure,” said Roger. “I personally think he did it. Back in those days, murder was one thing. Rape was another.”

Small talk followed, and soon we said our goodbyes. I did manage to get his phone number and address, because I have many more questions for him.

_______________________________________

The Mansfield Killings now at this special publisher’s discount price of $12.99 (List $14.99).

Publication Date: December 3, 2012

Discount Price: $12.99
5.5″ x 8.5″
Black & White on Cream paper
280 pages

ISBN 10 – 0982993137
ISBN 13 – 978-0-9829931-3-2

Binding Type: US Trade Paper
Language: English

Review: Who by Fire, a dissection of the turmoil and pleasures of straying couples

Reprinted with permission from Michael Johnson

By MICHAEL JOHNSON

Novels about love affairs outside of marriage are a genre unto themselves and I try my best to avoid them. John Updike made a career of these stories anyway, so what’s left to say? Yet once in a while a new writer emerges with such sharp sensibilities, such descriptive powers, and such a rich story that I am forced to reconsider.Who by Fire by Mary L. Tabor

Mary L. Tabor is such a writer, and her new book, “Who By Fire” (Outer Banks, $17.95), launched a few weeks ago to a full house in a Washington, D.C. bookshop, kept me turning pages to enjoy the careful prose, the fascinating digressions and most of all the unspooling of the story.

To my mind, the story is the fire in the relationships. The ice is Ms. Tabor’s masterly control of the complex plot. The reader begins to suspect what is to come as hints are dropped along the path toward the climax. This book is hard to put down.

“Who By Fire” is a near-surgical dissection of the turmoil and pleasures that straying couples experience – and the effect on the betrayed.

Ms. Tabor takes the time to develop characters so that you care about what they are going through. She finally kills off Lena, the woman who succumbed to her lover’s charms, and she does it abruptly after setting the scene: “And then she died.”

Who by Fire by Mary L TaborMary Tabor is a writer who likes to say it is never too late. She started publishing her prose at age 60 and already has to her credit a frank memoir of her life and marriage entitled “(Re)Making Love: A Memoir.” Her best short stories are collected in “The Woman Who Never Cooked.”

She takes stunning risks in her new novel, the most impressive being her decision to write from the perspective of Lena’s husband, Robert, the man who suffers as his emotions of widowhood and awareness of his dead wife’s affair mingle in his thoughts.

Jay McInerney tried the gender-swap in “The Story of My Life” but he never let you forget he was trying to sound like a girl. Ms. Tabor glides into the male perspective effortlessly and stays there.

As the narrator “Robert” reconstructs the story of his life, Ms. Tabor makes him recall what he had failed to see before his wife’s death:

“If I’d seen them on the street, I’d have known because they would have done the sorts of things that reveal: They would have passed between them a bottle of water, their hips would touch, as if by accident, when they walked; they wouldn’t touch with their hands the way safe lovers do, but an observant eye could catch both the intimacy and the caution—and know. It was when she was dying that I knew. It was the way he touched her head before he left her bedside. What I thought was an obligatory visit from a colleague changed with one gesture.”

I was propelled through this book most of all by the taut language, the dialogue and the perfect sentences, honed in the author’s years as a teacher of creative writing at George Washington University, Ohio State and University of Missouri, among others. From the outset, you are in the thrall of a confident storyteller.

Her digressions take the reader into worlds she clearly knows — the detail of the Dead Sea Scrolls, the art world, the finer points of classical music, quantum physics and the business of psychology. She has her psychologist character Evan say at one point:

“I’m beginning to think I give more comfort than cure. Not such a bad thing but not what I expected. I feel like an old broom—cleaning up, moving around the messes in people’s heads, never sure if that’s all I’m doing.”

She will throw odd words at you and expect you to understand. The apple trees are espaliered. The plants are pleached.

I was drawn into the suspense when the lovers realize that the betrayed wife is returning home early. With cinematic realism, the lovers find themselves about to be discovered when they hear the key in the lock:

“A familiar sound, merely a click, but they thought, almost as if their minds were one, that they heard the separate mechanisms of the lock moving, tumbling like thunder.”

This reader quickly turned the page to watch them awkwardly lie their way out of trouble.

Mary L. Tabor tells me she is at work on a new novel. Somehow she finds time to do a weekly internet interview about writing, broadcast on Rarebirdradio.

It is never too late, as she would be the first to tell you.

Who by Fire – a captivating story about relationships within the bonds of marriage

 

Who by Fire by Mary L. Tabor breaks new literary ground as a complex tale of love, betrayal, and the search for one self. Quite simply, we have chosen Who by Fire for publication under our name because it is like nothing else we have read and has earned its place among books that matter.
Order your discounted copy at a special publisher’s price of $13.99  (List $17.95) in our bookstore.
#WhobyFire
Reprinted from the author’s blog.

 

Who by Fire is told by Robert, Lena’s husband, as he attempts to understand her affair with Isaac, an affair that he has become aware of after her death. He imagines the story of his wife and her lover.

Robert the narrator is trying to know himself in the story he is writing as he tells his imagined version of his wife’s betrayal. The story becomes a paradoxical tale of his own undoing that he comes to realize by telling it.

In the epigraph to the novel, Robert says, “Life has a way of raveling. Story discovers how it happened. That is the fiction.” This is the reader’s first introduction to Robert’s persona, a man who must control the world he inhabits. The telling of the story as he imagines it, reveals more than he would have wished and as this occurs, his telling moves into real time, for there is no way for him to deal with what he discovers except to report what is actually happening versus what he has imagined.

Pre-publication praise:

Robert Olen Butler, winner of the Pulitzer Prize for A Good Scent From a Strange Mountain: 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.

Lee Martin, author of Break the Skin and The Bright Forever, finalist for the Pulitzer Prize: Mary Tabor’s Who by Fire, is a lyric meditation on love and desire, one that will catch you up in the blaze of its eroticism, its tender evocation of love and the passions and accommodations of a life lived through the flesh and through the imagination. Can memory lead to forgiveness? Who by Fire explores that question in a story I won’t soon forget. 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.

 

Marly Swick, author of Paper Wings and The Evening News: Who By Fire is a profound and lyrical novel, deeply felt and deeply moving. Intricately layered, this novel loops through time with the dare-devil courage and grace of a seasoned stunt pilot. In the narrator’s unflinching journey of self-discovery, he comes to understand the past, both his failures and his saving graces. In the end, it is a hero’s journey, both for the narrator and the reader. This is beautiful truth.

Michael Johnson, foreign correspondent and writer for The International Herald Tribune, American Spectator and The Washington Times: Mary Tabor’s captivating story of love and death tackles the tangle of relationships within and outside the bonds of marriage. Her eye-popping knowledge of men’s and women’s behavior is effortlessly recounted as couples face their anguished choices. Set in a world of art, music, anthropology and science, her novel enlightens the mind while it stirs the emotions. She does all this in a confident style of prose that ranks her alongside the finest novelists working today.

• “The Fire,” excerpt from completed novel, Chautauqua Literary Journal, summer 2006, review of The Woman Who Never Cooked also appears in this issue.
• “The Fire,” excerpt from novel, second prize for prose, Tall Grass Writers Guild (Lee Martin, judge) and publication in Falling in Love Again, anthology, Outrider Press, September 2005 (Mary L. Tabor, featured reader at Chicago Book Fair, June 2005).
• “The Fire,” excerpt nominated in January 2005 for Pushcart Prize XXXI by Joan Connor.
• Semi-finalist, 2004 James Jones First Novel Fellowship under former working-title Controlled Burn.

Paperback: 248 pages
ISBN: 978-0-988299-314-9
Language: English
Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 8.5 inches
Publication Date: November 2012

Excerpt from Scott Fields’ steamy novel, Summer Heat

 

From Chapter 3 of Summer Heat

Earl glanced at her chest. Her firm, ample breasts strained the buttons on her blouse. He slightly lowered his head to peek through the openings at the soft skin. Earl swirled his finger down her arm to the soft skin on the inside of her elbow. She was panting now. Her eyes were closed and sweat trickled down her neck and disappeared behind her blouse. He could see the outline of her hard nipples. His finger was only inches away. So far, it had all been innocent play. He had not crossed any line, but that was about to change. His head throbbed. He could feel the blood pounding through his veins.

 

It was near closing. The last of the patrons were walking out the door. Jessie was wiping down the bar when Earl leaned back in his chair.

“Hey, there, Lil’ Darlin’, bring me a bottle of the good stuff,” he said. “And bring two glasses.”

Jessie knew what the good stuff was. Earl loved Crown Royal and kept cases of it in the backroom. She carried the bottle and two glasses across the room and set it on his table.

“Sit down, girl,” he said. “I don’t want to drink alone.”

“It’s late, Earl,” she said.

“What are you talking about? We still got a half hour before closing.” He poured two drinks. “Here, this will get you where you need to go.”

“I don’t think I ever had any Crown Royal before.” She sipped the drink. “Damn, that’s good stuff.”

“How come that old man of yours never got you any?”

“Frank doesn’t drink.”

“He doesn’t? Hell, that don’t sound American.”

“He ain’t never even tried it.”

Earl gulped his drink. “Don’t know what he’s missin’, does he?”

Jessie took another sip. “This stuff is so smooth.”

“Drink up, girl,” said Earl filling the glasses. “We got this whole bottle here to kill off.”

“Must be terribly expensive.”

“Are you enjoying it?”

“Yes.”

“Then don’t worry about it,” he said. “It wouldn’t hurt you none if you untied a few of them knots.”

Jessie gulped her drink. “What are you talking about?”

“You just look like you might need to unwind,” said Earl. “You seem tense or upset about something.”

“You might be right.”

Earl filled her glass again. “Must be hard on you with Frank gone.”

She leaned back in her chair. “Yeah, I miss him a lot.”

“Pretty young thing like you must miss havin’ a man carry you off to bed.”

“Oh, Frank isn’t that kind of guy,” she said, her words slurring already. “He loves me. I got no doubt about that, but in his own way.”

“In other words, you ain’t getting any.”

Jessie filled her glass and took another drink. “Why? You applying for the job?”

Earl reached out and placed his hand on top of hers. “That I am, darlin’,” he said with a sober voice.

Jessie set her drink on the table and leaned back. Her head was spinning from the alcohol. It had all been light-hearted banter until now. Even in her drunken stupor, she could see that he was serious.

“Think you’re man enough?” she asked with a smile.

Earl tightly gripped her hand. His smile disappeared. “I know I’m man enough.”

It was about that time that the other waitress started towards the front door. Earl bolted across the room to let her out. He said his good nights, let her out and latched the door behind her.

“We’re all alone,” he announced with a smile.

Jessie pointed at a chair next to hers. “Come and sit down next to me.”

Earl slowly swaggered across the room. Beads of sweat erupted on his forehead. He had thought about this moment ever since he met her. Fantasies of her swirled in his mind.  His head throbbed with excitement. He pulled up a chair and sat next to her.

“Now where were we?” he asked, his voice raspy.

“You were telling me how much of a man you are.”

With one hand, Earl began rubbing her back and shoulders. Jessie moaned in approval.

“Tell me something,” said Earl. “How married are you?”

“What do you mean?”

“You know what I mean.”

She held up her hand. “I have a ring.”

Earl sneered. “That don’t mean anything.”

He ran his hand over her shoulders and lightly caressed her bare arm.

“I didn’t think that would make much of an impression,” she said closing her eyes. “Damn, that feels good.”

He ran one finger lightly over her cheek. “I know something else that would feel even better.”

Jessie said nothing. She groaned as he lightly swirled his finger over her bare skin.

“Relax,” he said. “You seem tense.”

“It’s been a long time.”

“A long time for what?”

“Since…since a man has touched me.”

“How does it feel?”

“Incredible,” she said with a slur. “Simply incredible.”

Earl glanced at her chest. Her firm, ample breasts strained the buttons on her blouse. He slightly lowered his head to peek through the openings at the soft skin. Earl swirled his finger down her arm to the soft skin on the inside of her elbow. She was panting now. Her eyes were closed and sweat trickled down her neck and disappeared behind her blouse. He could see the outline of her hard nipples. His finger was only inches away. So far, it had all been innocent play. He had not crossed any line, but that was about to change. His head throbbed. He could feel the blood pounding through his veins.

Earl reached over and lightly touched the side of her breast. It was firm and yet soft to the touch. Jessie jerked. She moaned and arched her back. Earl withdrew his finger. He wasn’t sure. Was that a cold reaction? Was she pulling away? Then, Jessie moved her chair closer and turned in his direction. “Please,” she uttered softly.

Her breasts were right in front of him, heaving now from her heavy breathing. Earl could see her nipples through the sweat-soaked blouse. He could feel his manhood throbbing in his pants. He reached over and gently unbuttoned the top button of her blouse. He glanced at her face for a reaction.

“Faster,” she muttered.

His hands trembled as he fumbled with the remaining buttons. When he finished with the last one, he slowly pulled her blouse open. Cool air from a slow-turning ceiling fan washed over her exposed breasts making her nipples even harder and leaving small bumps on her skin.

In spite of his gruff exterior, Earl knew women and he knew what pleased them. He reached over with both hands and lightly touched the sides of her bare breasts. She jumped slightly but moved even closer. He slowly moved his fingers to the underside of her breasts, caressing the soft skin, coming close to her nipples but never touching them. He then formed circles around the breasts even closer to her nipples, occasionally, brushing them as if by accident.

By then, Jessie’s chest was rising and falling as she gasped for air. Earl firmly grasped her ribcage and leaned towards her. He lightly touched her lips with his. As she moved closer to kiss him, he pulled away, then lightly, hovered his lips over hers.

Crazed with lust, Jessie pulled him close to her, savagely kissing his lips. The taunting and teasing was over. Earl wrapped his arms around her and kissed her long and hard. Still locked in a tight embrace, Jessie slid her cotton blouse over her shoulders and let it fall to the floor. Earl fumbled with his belt sending his pants sliding down his legs. He stepped out of them just as she did hers.

“Take me now,” she said with a raspy voice. “I don’t care where, just do it.”

Earl picked her up and sat her on the edge of the table. He grabbed her ankles and slid her closer to the edge. Jessie lay back on the table. She wanted to scream. Her whole body was on fire. He had to do, and he had to do it now. What was he waiting on? She could feel hot liquid as it dripped from the tender folds of her skin and onto the floor. He wasn’t going to tease her again. He wouldn’t do that. He couldn’t.

Then it happened. She felt his strong, hard manhood as it slid, effortlessly, into her. She screamed with pleasure. Her whole body screamed with pleasure. It was obvious that the teasing and taunting of foreplay was over. He was at the right height and could easily slam it deep into her. She screamed with pleasure at every thrust that he made.

Her first orgasm came within seconds, the second and third minutes later. He picked up speed, slamming home even faster. Jessie was delirious with pleasure. Her orgasms seemed to be coming with every thrust. It went on for what seemed like an eternity. She had never experienced anything like this before. He was man enough. That was for sure.

Just as she was about to pass out, he slowed his movement. He leaned his head back and emitted a guttural, almost primal growl. She felt him pulsating inside her, then, slowed to a stop.

___________________________

Summer Heat is available in print from The Outer Banks Publishing Group Bookstore at $9.99 and on Amazon, the Kindle, and bookstores everywhere.

Paperback: 212 pages
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0982993110
ISBN-13: 978-0982993118
Product Dimensions: 8 x 5 x 0.5 inches
Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces

 

New Author is Never without an Idea for his Next Book

 

Newly-published author, Scott Fields talks openly about his writing, how he does it and his newest book, Summer Heat.

Here is the synopsis:

When she was 17, there wasn’t a man alive she would let get near her, and when she was 18, there wasn’t a man she would keep away.

She stood five feet seven inches tall, weighed one hundred twenty pounds, her green eyes sparkled like brilliant cut emeralds, her inviting full lips always ruby red and moist.

Women universally hated her, men continued to hold doors for her long after she passed by – just to watch her walk away. To imply that Jessie exuded sex would be an understatement, akin to inferring that water was wet.

Ninety-nine point nine percent of the men in Steam Corners wanted her, but she only wanted one man, Spencer Deacon. He was everything that she was not, even-tempered, amicable, well respected and kind. The one thing that Spencer didn’t want was Jessie, and his firm and undeniable rejections infuriated her.

What followed was a series of sordid events involving murder, deceit, betrayal and the conviction of an innocent man.

_______________________

Publisher: I couldn’t help but notice that your latest novel, Summer Heat, is quite diverse from some of your earlier novels which were small town, nostalgic works. Why is this book different?

S. Fields: All my life I’ve had this obsession with ideas for stories. I never know when one of these germs is going to somehow penetrate my head. I certainly have no control of it. It just happens. I’ve written 12 novels, 8 screenplays and 13 short stories, and each one of them was inspired by one of those germs that was implanted in my head. I’m always writing something, and all the while I have four or five story ideas buzzing in my head.

Publisher: Bestselling author James Patterson has the same problem. Maybe you could give us a little history of your writing career.

S Fields: All my life I’ve always wanted to write. I didn’t really get started until I went to college. Believe it or not, I turned down a contract from the Detroit Tigers, so that I could go to college and learn to write, a decision I’ve questioned more than once. The sad part is that I learned that nobody can teach you to write. The only way to learn is by simply writing, and I mean writing everyday. To hone the craft to an art form, one must be dedicated to the point of obsession. After college, I continued writing short stories and was lucky enough to have four of them published. Later, I began to write novels and now my fifth one has been launched by Outer Banks Publishing.

Publisher: So you actually turned down a chance to be a professional baseball player. That must have been a difficult decision.

S Fields: You have no idea. I was drafted in 1966 after graduating from high school. There were over 700 young men in that draft, and I was the 34th pick. You better believe that was a tough decision.

Publisher: How long does it take you to write a novel?

S Fields: Up until a year ago, I was working a full time job, and most of my books would take about a year to write.

Publisher: Where did you get the idea for this one? Was it another one of those germs from out of nowhere?

S Fields: I was driving along the highway. My wife was asleep, and my mind was in neutral thinking about what I was going to do when I got home. The next thing I know I get this idea about a young, sleazy woman who loves to party married to an older, serious-minded farmer. Every man in town wants her, but she wants a young, Afro-American man. To her frustration, this young man wants nothing to do with her sexually.

Publisher: I’m a bit surprised that someone who writes warm and fuzzy stories could write such a book.

S Fields: Most authors have a certain genre that is their expertise. It is a genre in which they excel. Stephen King is famous for his books of horror, and Danielle Steele writes women’s fiction. I write whatever excites me at the time. I have no niche or particular genre to call home. I even wrote a book about two men who went on a killing spree back in 1948. In a two week period, they murdered 6 people in Ohio. Even after all these years, it still remains the worst killing spree in Ohio’s history. On the other end of the spectrum, I wrote a religious book called Just Believe. Actually, I hope I never settle for one particular genre. I think I would get bored.

Publisher: Where are all of these projects that you have written? You’ve only had four novels published.

S Fields: They are buried somewhere in my computer. Generally, when I finish a project, I’m aching to get started on a new one. Many of my projects were written years ago and have been forgotten.

Publisher: Have you ever dreamed of becoming a nationally-known author?

S Fields: I’m sure every writer has a one time or another dreamed of seeing his books in stores across the nation. I like to keep things in perspective. I consider writing as my hobby, then I’m never disappointed.

 Publisher: Do you think Summer Heat will be successful?

S Fields: Not to appear immodest, but, yes, I do. Women’s fiction in 2004 represented 55 per cent of all book sales. Today’s trend is thrillers, but women’s fiction is still right up there.

Publisher: Well, we believe Summer Heat is a hit.

S Fields: Thank you very much.

Photo of Scott during a recent book signing at the Mansfield/Richland County Public Library in his hometown of Mansfield, Ohio.

___________________

About Scott

In 1996 with a lifelong dream of being a writer, Scott Fields started writing short stories. Within the next two years, he had four stories published. Since then, his first novel, All Those Years Ago, was published, and in the fall of 2004, his second novel, A Summer Harvest, was released. His third novel, The Road Back Home, was published in the fall of 2007 by Charles River Press, and his fourth novel, Last Days of Summer, was released by Whiskey Creek Press.

He was born and raised in La Rue, Ohio, a small village nestled in the farmlands of mid-Ohio. It was there that he learned to appreciate small town life and country living, which he incorporates into his novels. He graduated from Ohio University in 1970 with a degree in English Literature.

Scott and his wife, Deb, now live in Mansfield, Ohio. Their children, Sara, Angela, Michael, and Matt live in the Detroit area.

_______________

Summer Heat is available in print from The Outer Banks Publishing Group Bookstore at a special discount of $9.99 and on Amazon, the Kindle, and bookstores everywhere.

Paperback: 212 pages
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0982993110
ISBN-13: 978-0982993118
Product Dimensions: 8 x 5 x 0.5 inches
Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces

Am I Crazy or What? Or how social media and YOU can bring a book to life

By Mary L. Tabor

So you wanna get published, right? So you think only a big house can get you anywhere worth getting, right? So, you think you need an agent first thing, right? I thought all these things and have the credentials to prove that I’ve been on a literary journey: English major, Phi Beta Kappa, teacher, professor, MFA degree, literary journal editor, literary prize winner. But no big house and no agent.Mary L. Tabor

Instead, I did what some may think is crazy. I went with a product development company that dabbled in publishing. But my book got out. And I went to work. I have an active public Facebook page that is linked to my Twitter account, a website always under revision as new stuff happens and I write a blog where I try to post at least once a week.

Today’s post that you are reading would have been this essay. But this site begged for it and it’s theirs. But later you may see this post on my blog. Go check out this: How to buy a dress and end up with a book party.

I don’t tweet about my memoir (Re)Making Love: a sex after sixty story much, though some. I don’t blog about my book much, but some: actually, I blogged the book while I lived it—that’s the first crazy-some-say thing I did before the product development company found me—and that (Re)MAKING LOVE: a sex after sixty storyaccounts for the banner of a blog that deals not with erotica but with literary thought, interviews and essays on writing and books.

Now you’d think a book with this sordid, unconventional history wouldn’t be doing very well, right? And, indeed, I’m not getting rich. But is that what we artists are really about? Okay, a girl could hope but that’s never been the goal: The work will out.

But get this: The small print in the visual of my book  on Amazon says, #7 top rated in the Kindle store for Non-Fiction, Biographies & Memoirs, Arts &literature, Authors. The week before it was #5 behind The Diary of Anne Frank and Steven King’s On Writing.

And guess what: The book party at Upstairs on 7th (aka: “How to buy a dress and get a book party”) resulted in the promise of another book party by one of the women who came. Then I went to dinner with a banker-friend I know and told him what happened. He called his wife and is planning another book party in another dress shop and he’ll be providing the wine.

Is there a moral? Ain’t no good here at morals. But I will say this: If you put your heart and soul into your book and you’ve edited it like crazy with a cool eye, had others eyeball it and critique it, then find a reputable publisher and work—yes that means you—to sell one book at a time. Because like the memoir I wrote, it’s all personal.

PS: Another piece of good news: A new and much more experienced indie publisher has taken my memoir. Be sure to check out the second edition (more edits and a prologue) now from Outer Banks Publishing Group.Mary L Tabor, author of (Re)MAKING LOVE: a sex after sixty story

 

 

 

(Re)MAKING LOVE: a sex after sixty story, second edition, is available on Amazon, the Kindle, Barnes & Noble, the Nook, iBook, Sony ereader, the Outer Banks Publishing Group Bookstore and in other electronic formats from Smashwords.com.

An Excerpt from The Man Who Fooled SAVAK by Doug Roberts

 

I happened to look in my rear view mirror to see a black Mercedes sedan zoom up behind me then pass. It shot around me at an extremely high rate of speed and was soon out of sight. “Wow, where’s the fire?” I though. A few minutes later as I was about to make my final right turn off the main highway, the same black Mercedes shot out of the intersection I was about to turn into. It turned left and roared past me, heading west Cover for The Man Who Fooled SAVAKtoward Tehran.

I took my foot off the accelerator, my stomach feeling queasy with deep apprehension. I had caught a glimpse of the driver’s face with dark glasses and thick mustache. It seemed vaguely and ominously familiar. I slowed the car and idled toward the vacant lot where I was to meet Junior, afraid of what I might find. I could see Junior’s old Peykan in the distance, the driver’s door open. I was sure I saw him move and at first I thought he was about to get out of the car, but as I got closer I could see Junior’s body suddenly fall forward against the steering wheel, sounding the car’s horn.

“Oh no! Please God! Oh no! This can’t be!” I said over and over. “Oh Jesus, no!”

I pulled my car alongside his. My knees were shaking as I got out of the car, and walked toward Junior. As I approached, I could see the back of his head was covered with blood. He had been shot, execution style. I pulled his torso off of the steering wheel to stop the horn from sounding, and then I lifted his left arm to feel his wrist. I thought I detected a faint pulse, but then a few seconds later, it stopped.

The only pulse I could feel now was my pounding heart, ready to burst through my chest. Flooded with a mixture of fear and sadness, I tried to ponder what to do next.

“We’ll need to notify his wife,” I remember thinking. I started searching his pants for a wallet with an ID, but I found nothing. The only thing I found was a large roll of bills in the left pocket of the old tweed jacket that Junior always wore. My hands were shaking.

“My god, this is a lot of money! His wife is going to need this,” I thought as I crammed it into the pocket of my fatigue jacket. I looked across the vacant lot to see an old man who was walking with a shuffled gate toward me from one of the distant houses. I waited for him as he approached. When he came up to the car, he was shaking his head.

He looked at me, quizzically. “SAVAK?” he asked.

I nodded. “Bali Agah. SAVAK.”

The old man started shaking his head again. “Shah very bad. Very bad man.”

I nodded. The old man and I stood together in silence appraising the ghastly scene.

“You want me call police?” he asked.

“Yes, you call the police. Don’t tell them I was here,” I said in my best Farsi.

“I no tell. We see nothing.”

At that moment we heard a siren somewhere in the distance growing louder.

“I need to leave now,” I said.

“You go! Boro! Boro! Zud bash!” (Go! Go! Hurry!) exclaimed the old man waving me away vigorously with his hands.

I stepped away from the old man and got into my car, knees and hands still shaking. I turned the key in the ignition and headed out to the main highway by first going around the block. I waited until I heard the siren stop and then proceeded. As I drove, I kept checking the rear view mirror, side streets, and intersections for any sign of a black Mercedes. But it had done its dirty work and was long gone. When I got back to the Teamhouse, I unloaded my car and took the goods up to my room. The boxes seemed incredibly heavy and my shaking knees complained at the load as I came up the stairs the last time. When I had finished, I collapsed into my bed and started sobbing again. “Junior, I am so sorry man,” kept repeating as though he could hear me.

I looked at the huge roll of cash, and was suddenly struck with an irrational fear that Lou might think I was trying to cheat him. I counted out what I felt Junior would have paid him that day and put it in an envelope, then slipped it my desk drawer. I took out a sheet of paper, and scrawled simply, “Lou, bad news. Junior’s dead. SAVAK shot him.” I placed the note on the desk where he could find it then walked downstairs to my car.

I dreaded having to tell Fari what happened, but forced myself to the car. When I walked into the house minutes later, Fari emerged from her room to meet me and immediately stepped back. “Oh my god, Doug! What happened? Your eyes are all red!”

“Fari, Junior’s dead. SAVAK shot him in the…in the…back of the head,” I said with my voice breaking.

Fari put her arms around me and held my while I continued to weep. “Doug, this is awful.”

I put my face down onto Fari’s shoulder. “Junior was a good person,” I said through my tears. “He didn’t deserve to die.”

__________________________________________

The Man Who Fooled SAVAK, a suspenseful romance, is available on the Kindle, the NOOK and in other ebook formats from Smashwords.com.

Electronic Edition
eIBSN 978-1-4524-4281-5
435 Pages
Published June 2011

Bookstores are no longer a guarantee of an author’s success

CHICAGO - SEPTEMBER 18:  Author Dan Brown's ne...
Image by Getty Images via @daylife

Some interesting questions from a potential author -

Author: Do I have a better chance going the traditional route (agency, etc), than with Outer Banks Publishing, in order to get the book to the big screen?

Outer Banks: No. The content is what will get you there whether you self-publish, publish with a small publisher or large one. However, there are agents out there who specialize in film placement and they have connections in Hollywood and in the film industry if you can get one to represent you.

Author: Would my book make its way into the main stream bookstores if I went with Outer Banks?

Outer Banks: It would depend on sales and demand. Keep in mind a book is a product like any other product and if people love it, they will demand it and it will sell. People will ask for it in bookstores and the bookstores will have to keep it on their shelves.

Let’s say you landed a major publisher, one of the big 6 in New York. They would place two copies in all the major book stores given the state of book sales today. Two things could happen: it sells and the bookstore orders more copies or it sits there until the 90-day consignment period is over and the bookstore either discounts it or sends it back to the publisher.

With roughly 100,000 books in a given big box bookstore (Borders, Barnes and Noble, Books-a-Million) how is your book going to stand out? Having your book in a bookstore does not guarantee sales or exposure anymore. Before the Internet and Amazon, bookstores were the only place to get books. Now most books in print as well as  ebooks are sold online.

The current book selling trend is this: ebooks are outselling printed books. Dan Brown‘s The Lost Symbol, presold more copies as an ebook than print titles.  Bookstores are ultimately forced to stock less.

But don’t fear, bookstores will always be around just like the printed book, but they may be a lot smaller. If they want to stay large, they will have to reinvent themselves, perhaps into a literary center where authors, writers, and readers can meet and have open discussions, debates or writing sessions.

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Have you written the Great American Novel?

From The Writer’s Edge blog:

Books in the Douglasville, Georgia Borders store.

Image via Wikipedia

As writers who have completed books, many of us believe we have written the great American Novel or a nonfiction book that will change the world. And we may have, but the hardest part of being an author is convincing others of your feat. Not that you’ve written a book, but that your book is revolutionary.The Writer’s Edge, May 2010

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From The Writer’s Edge: Bloom Where You’re Planted

This is great advice for those of you who are thinking about book promotion, but aren’t sure about moving forward. Although the book you’ve just published have may not be as perfect as you’d like, or your platform may not be as developed as you want it to be, there are still opportunities out there. And the best way to take advantage of existing opportunities is to assess what you currently have to offer in the way of published writing, expertise, and experience, and then capitalize on those offerings.

Paula Margulies, The Writer’s Edge, Mar 2010

Take Your Novel to the Next Level

ATTEND THE SAN FRANCISCO WRITE AND PITCH CONFERENCE

February 19 -21, 2010. All Genres
From the Algonkian Writer Conferences

What does the market really want? Reality check time. 50,000 or more in this country are struggling to write first novels, thousands of manuscripts flooding agent offices, but only a few hundred at most will ever be published by a major house. Why? … This unique writer conference was developed by the editors and authors at Algonkian Writer Conferences to provide you, the aspiring author, with not only network connections, but comprehensive, hands-on experience utilizing the craft skills, insider advice, and hard-to-swallow facts you must possess before you can even hope to get a first novel successfully published in this tougher-than-ever market–experience and info you will not receive at any other conference, and certainly, not from any Craft and Tips 101 writer magazine.

The W&PC is also the only writer conference to evaluate your novel or work-in-progress even before you arrive. As a participant, you will discover many days worth of eye-opening pre-conference work and study, our valuable MS analysis conducted by business pros (like Charles Salzberg on the left), our own time-tested Competitive Fiction Guide, as well as network pitch sessions, panels, lectures, Q&A, and interactions with some of the best list-building agents who will be present to provide connection and advice in proportion to your needs.

After this conference you will be able to:

  • Display the craft, voice, and narrative verve that will put you on top even with the most discriminating editor or agent.
  • Develop a reality check-list for all major structural and narrative issues that profoundly affect your novel.
  • Reevaluate your novel premise, development, and all else in a manner the market demands and rewards.
  • Demonstrate how to build your “platform”–publishers are now looking for solid credentials more than ever.
  • Forever avoid the pitfalls of the query and pitch process.
  • Use crucial must-knows to stop the rejection cycle, and write from the heart with newfound smarts.
  • Do whatever is necessary to make an agent or editor feel confident in promoting your novel.

Getting published by a major house

In today’s environment, you will face more obstacles than ever. An aspiring author attempting to write the breakout novel must not only create a high concept novel premise that rings with “ca-ching” but must avoid all the common pitfalls in title, hook, early character development, prose craft, and ongoing narrative composition. Sound complicated? Well, it is. Welcome to reality! Writers unable to fulfill the many and picky demands of discriminating agents and editors will be rejected every time, and usually within seconds after reading the first page (or even the first line–no kidding).

Everyone is looking for reasons to reject

Why shouldn’t they? Hundreds of projects are right behind yours, all clamoring for publication, all written by ambitious yet soon-to-be-disillusioned writers who believe all they ever needed for success was Writer’s Digest and their local critique group to get it all straight.

After working with writers for many years, we know that isn’t true.

Writing is Similar to Computer Programming

    Ok, if you think this idea is off the wall consider this: if a programmer leaves out a single character or adds an extra character, the program will not work as intended.

    Writing in essence is the same. If you don’t craft your words, sentences and paragraphs properly, your intended message does not come across.

    Programming is a lot easier than writing – it’s exact – XYZ code tells the computer to execute a specific function. The computer does not have an opinion about the code and the code does not have several meanings.

    Writing, on the other hand, is more complex. Words have different meanings for different people. The structure of a sentence or paragraph may have one meaning for one person and different meaning for another.

    But if the writing has the right flow, the right words and the right structure it is like great poetry. That’s why we hear statements like, “The writing works! The writing pulls you in! I just love the writing!” It is the stuff of the classics and more.

    So what exactly is the right stuff – the stuff of classics, the magic of the writing? My take is that the writing communicates universal truths, truths that are common and important to all human beings. The universal appeal of these truths is so powerful that the writing lives on generation after generation, century after century.

    More importantly, the writing drips with emotion. Words can stir our deepest hopes and dreams, our imaginations, our inspirations and they let us dance in the joy of the things we love.

    It’s not easy getting words to do all those things, but as writers we always try. So if you can get the right “programming” for your words, you will write a classic that will live on and on.

    Try doing that with a computer.

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    What We Look for in a Book

    Tao Te Ching, Outer Banks Publishing Group, Online Book Publishing, Authors, Writers,

    Image via Wikipedia

    Whether you have written nonfiction or fiction, all books in essence are about a story.

    In light of more than 400,000 titles published last year and the number increasing daily with the explosion of ebooks and self-publishing, your book has to be exceptional to get noticed and to ultimately be purchased.

    Here are some basic elements that should be in every book:

    1. Known as the lead or hook in newspapers, the first sentence or paragraph should effectively communicate something that will entice, interest or emotionally attach the reader to your book so he or she will want to read the rest of the book.
    2. Every word, sentence, paragraph and section or chapter should relate in some way to the theme or story in a significant way. Background information on a character, a situation or concept should not be there just to fill pages. It should all relate in some way like the Ying and Yang – each complement each other, each are relevant to each other as parts that create the whole.
    3. This may sound obvious, but your book should have a beginning, a middle and an end.  In essence, all questions, concerns or conflicts should be resolved by the end of the book. The reader should not be left with any questions whether your book is nonfiction or fiction unless intentional.

    Content is king. No matter what you write about, if the content and the writing engages, inspires, entertains or educates with an emotional attraction, the world will open up to you.

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