• +1 919.961.0198
  • info@outerbankspublishing.com

Tag Archives: #OBXPublishing

Bill Clinton

Bill Clinton and James Patterson to write a thriller novel

James Patterson and Bill Clinton

Author James Patterson, former President Clinton (Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times; Diedre Laird / Charlotte Observer)

Have you heard…former President Bill Clinton and iconic author James Patterson have teamed up to write a novel, The President is Missing, that will be published June 2018.

Alfred A. Knopf and Little, Brown and Company will jointly publish the novel, which represents a rare foray into fiction for a former president, according to the report published in The New York Times.

You can read the rest of the story in the Times here.

Clinton-Patterson novel

 

    The Mansfield Killings soon to be a major motion picture

    Outer Banks Publishing Group author Scott Fields’ novel, The Mansfield Killings, based on the true story of the horrific murders of the Niebel family in 1948, will be made into a major motion picture in 2018.

    Outer Banks Publishing Group, OBX PublishersProduced by Forbidden Tears Productions of Waldron, Arkansas, the movie will be filmed in Waldron and on location in Mansfield, Ohio and at the historic Ohio State Reformatory (OSR) also in Mansfield, where the story started. The Shawshank Redemption and Air Force One were also filmed at the reformatory.

    Jennifer Anderson-Bounds, owner and producer Forbidden Tears Productions, was chosen as Female Producer of the Year 2016 and won the Humanitarian Award from WIND International Film Festival 2016. She was also awarded 2nd Place in Indie Film Festival 2015, along with a nomination for Best woman filmmaker 2015 in Barcelona.

    Scott Field’s literary agency, Gilbert Literary & Film Agency International of New Zealand, secured the movie contract.

    Scott, who was three years old when the killing spree occurred, said he had dreamed all his life of writing a story that would become a movie. When he heard about the murders, he became obsessed with writing the story into a novel and completed the manuscript in four months.

    When asked about his reaction to the movie deal, Scott said,

    “Without doubt this is probably the most fascinating and exciting thing to ever happen to me! When I was just a little boy, my parents took me to a movie, and instead of wishing that I could be an actor, I wanted to be the guy who wrote the screenplay. It was the beginning of a dream that has been with me for about 60 years. I am not talking about an occasional dream…it was with me practically everyday.”

    “My mother wOuter Banks Publishing Group Author Scott Fieldsas a great writer, but she never pursued her talent. I inherited it but being a Kmart manager and raising a family of three kids, I had no time to write even a short story. Then after 30 years in management, I became a common worker and began to write. After having a few short stories published, I decided that it was time to try writing a novel. Since then I have had 16 novels published, but the dream was still there.”

    He said at times it was difficult to write the novel because the killings were so atrocious and brutal.

    The Mansfield murders was the worst two-week killing spree in Ohio’s history. On the night of July 21, 1948, Robert Daniels and John West, former inmates at the Ohio State Reformatory, entered John and Nolena Niebel’s house 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.

    The brutal murders caught national attention in the media, but the killing spree didn’t stop there. Three more innocent people would lose their lives at the hands of Daniels and West in the coming week.

    The two parolees were captured after a 14-day manhunt in Ohio when West attempted to shoot it out with police and sheriff’s deputies at a road blockade north of Van Wert, Ohio. West was killed by police and Daniels was captured, tried and convicted.  He was executed in the electric chair on January 3, 1949.

    The Mansfield Killings where the murderers were captured

    The scene at the Van Wert roadblock, where West was killed and Daniels captured while sleeping in the car on the front top rack – July 22, 1948

    Scott Fields tirelessly researched the killings, the capture and trial of Daniels and even interviewed a surviving member of the Niebel family to weave this tragic story bringing the reader back to those dark days in the summer of 1948. What led to these brutal killings, and why was the Niebel family singled-out to be savagely murdered? It has been more than sixty years since the tragedy, and, yet, this question still remains unanswered. The killing spree is not only remembered to this day, but is an important and dark part of Mansfield lore.

    ___________________________________

    The Ohio State Reformatory

    If you are ever in Mansfield, Ohio, be sure to tour the historic Ohio State Reformatory, the most haunted location in Ohio and one of the shooting locations of The Mansfield Killings.

    Hauntings have been documented over the years by professional paranormal investigators and TV shows on the paranormal, including Syfy’s Ghost Hunters and the Travel Channel’s popular, Ghost Adventures.

    Ohio State Reformatory

    View the informative video about the OSR and its rich history.

    Order a copy of The Mansfield Killings at our bookstore.

    2016-2017-Transition-Beach-1200x800

    May your year be filled with happiness and success

    2016-2017-Transition to 2017

    OBXPG Logo Wreath

    Happy Holidays from Outer Banks Publishing Group

    Enjoy this phenomenal performance by Pentatonic and their version of God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen this holiday season.

    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)

    Bizarro by Dan Piraro

    In Jail for Self-publishing?

    By DAN PIRARO

    If you have ever seen Dan Piraro’s critically acclaimed comic Bizarro (and you have: it is published daily in over 360 papers), you know that he doesn’t see the world like the rest of us do. His single panel gems are a unique concoction of surrealistic imagery, social commentary, and witty plays on words. Indeed, if Salvador Dali, Garry Trudeau and Oscar Wilde had an illegitimate child, that child would be Dan Piraro.

     

    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.

    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
    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