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This is one of the best books ever written about growing up in America. Karr evokes the contours of her preadolescent mind — the fears, fights and petty jealousies — with extraordinary and often comic vividness. This memoir, packed with eccentrics, is beautifully eccentric in its own right.

For generations my ancestors had been strapping skillets onto their oxen and walking west. Any movement at all was taken for progress in my family. This high-spirited memoir traces the life and times of this inimitable public intellectual, who is much missed, from his childhood in Portsmouth, England, where his father was a navy man, through boarding school, his studies at Oxford and his subsequent career as a writer both in England and the United States. Christopher Hitchens was a man of the left but unpredictable and sometimes inscrutable politically.

This is a vibrant book about friendships, and it will make you want to take your own more seriously. There is a lot of wit here, and bawdy wordplay, and accounts of long nights spent drinking and smoking. Hitchens decided to become a student of history and politics, he writes, after the Cuban missile crisis. Read the critics discuss the process of putting together the list.

These men were devoured by her hometown, DeLisle, Miss. Ward tells their stories with tenderness and reverence; they live again in these pages. Their fates twine with her own — her dislocation and anguish, and later, the complicated story of her own survival, and isolation, as she is recruited to elite all-white schools. She is a writer who has metabolized the Greeks and Faulkner — their themes course through her work — and the stories of the deaths of these men join larger national narratives about rural poverty and racism. But Ward never allows her subjects to become symbolic.

This work of great grief and beauty renders them individual and irreplaceable. It was a rangy life — one that took him into the military, politics, Hollywood, Broadway — and he depicts it with the silky urbanity you expect. Vidal had a lifelong companion but remained passionately compelled by a beautiful classmate, his first paramour, Jimmie, who died at 19, shot and bayoneted while sleeping in a foxhole on Iwo Jima.

Our great luck, too. As a poor Catholic girl growing up in the north of England, Hilary Mantel was an exuberant child of improbable ambition, deciding early on that she was destined to become a knight errant and would change into a boy when she turned 4. Her mesmerizing memoir reads like an attempt to recover the girl she once was, before others began to dictate her story for her. At the age of 7, looking about the garden, she saw an apparition, perhaps the Devil. She thought it was her fault, for allowing her greedy gaze to wander. Her stepfather was bullying, judgmental, condescending; anything Mantel did seemed to anger him.

As a young woman, she started to get headaches, vision problems, pains that coursed through her body, bleeding that no longer confined itself to that time of the month. The doctors told her she was insane. Years of misdiagnoses culminated in the removal of her reproductive organs, barnacled by scar tissue caused by endometriosis. Her body changed from very thin to very fat. I used to think that autobiography was a form of weakness, and perhaps I still do.

Harry Crews grew up in southern Georgia, not far from the Okefenokee Swamp. His father, a tenant farmer, died of a heart attack before Crews was 2. His stepfather was a violent drunk. When Crews was 5, he fell into a boiler of water that was being used to scald pigs.

He was told, incorrectly, that he would never walk again. Crews sought solace in the Sears, Roebuck catalog, the only book in his house besides the Bible. He began his career as a writer by making up stories about the people he saw there. His father was from Kenya; his mother from Kansas. Obama himself was born in Hawaii, lived in Indonesia for a time, and was largely raised by his mother and maternal grandparents, after his father left for Harvard when Obama was 2.

This is a book about the uses of disenchantment; the revelations are all the more astonishing for being modest and hard-won. He never stopped. In this book, Roth offers a moving tribute to the man but also a portrait almost breathtaking in its honesty and lack of sentimentalism, so truthful and exact that it is as much a portrait of living as dying, son as father. Someone suggested he speak with Shaw, whose real name was Ned Cobb. Reading it, you will learn more about wheat, guano, farm implements, bugs, cattle killing and mule handling than you would think possible.

This is also a dense catalog of the ways that whites tricked and mistreated blacks in the first half of the 20th century. You begin this memoir thinking it will be about one thing, and it turns into something else altogether — a book at once more ordinary and more extraordinary than any first impressions might allow.

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His sentences are clean, never showy; he writes about himself through others in a way that feels both necessarily generous and candidly — which is to say appropriately — narcissistic. The only child of European Jews who settled in the Promised Land, Oz grew up alongside the new state of Israel, initially enamored of a fierce nationalism before becoming furiously and in one memorable scene, rather hilariously disillusioned. As a lonely boy, Oz felt unseen by his awkward father and confounded by his brilliant and deeply unhappy mother. She taught him that people were a constant source of betrayal and disappointment.

Books, though, would never let him down. Hearing about what happened to those Jews who stayed in Europe, the young Oz wanted to become a book, because no matter how many books were destroyed there was a decent chance that one copy could survive. Oz says he essentially killed his father by moving to a kibbutz at 15 and changing his name. Divorced mother and son had hit the road together, fleeing a bad man, trying to change their luck and maybe get rich as uranium prospectors.

Wolff became wild in high school, a delinquent and a petty thief, before escaping to a prep school in Pennsylvania. His prose lights up the experience of growing up in America during this era. Rachel Cusk writes about new motherhood with an honesty and clarity that makes this memoir feel almost illicit. Sleepless nights, yes; colic, yes; but also a raw, frantic love for her firstborn daughter that she depicts and dissects with both rigor and amazement.

The childless writer who could compartmentalize with ease and take boundaries for granted has to learn an entirely new way of being. None of the chipper, treacly stuff here; motherhood deserves more respect than that. The Nobel Prize-winning J. Coetzee, in other words, is taciturn in the extreme. For eighteen years I survived an impossible situation. On August 26, , I took my name back. My name is Jaycee Lee Dugard. I survived. For the first time, ten years after her abduction from her Salt Lake City bedroom, Elizabeth Smart reveals how she survived and the secret to forging a new life in the wake of a brutal crime.

She was kept chained, dressed in disguise, repeatedly raped, and told she and her family would be killed if she tried to escape. After her rescue on March 12, , she rejoined her family and worked to pick up the pieces of her life. Smart explains how her faith helped her stay sane in the midst of a nightmare and how she found the strength to confront her captors at their trial and see that justice was served. In the nine years after her rescue, Smart transformed from victim to advocate, traveling the country and working to educate, inspire and foster change.

She has created a foundation to help prevent crimes against children and is a frequent public speaker. About leaving here, I mean. Instead, he looked at me with great sadness. What about me? You would destroy my life if you left. I am the only person to ever show you love, and you would leave me? Her story is told by her advocate and confidant, Lawrence Fisher. For more than five years his impassioned advocacy has helped Tanya as she has reintegrated into society.

Click here to read more. A lot of the books we have on our site are available to read for free if you have a Kindle Unlimited membership! The first month is free for new members. Cancel anytime! Enroll now on Amazon or Amazon UK! A cry for help, echoing through the ages, inspires a young nobleman to rewrite history— and rediscover a passion he had only dreamt of….

As he pulls his car to a halt at the castle gates he sees a beautiful red-haired woman clutching at the bars in the rain. However, before he can climb from his car she vanishes into the night. She is sworn to haunt the castle until she is reunited with her husband and soul mate, Cai. Little does he realise that he has unleashed magic eons old that will enable Alyssa to appear as a real woman within the boundary of the stones.

As a child he once heard a story of a great castle in Cornwall that once belonged to his family. On entering the castle he cannot shake the feeling that he is being watched, and soon learns that the castle is haunted not by a murdered Countess as he has been told, but by a beautiful red-haired woman who speaks to him in his dreams. Then there is the mystery of who is trying to kill him. Is it Landan Denero? An agent for the Crown, a man who Aidan suspects of being a double agent, and seems to pop up in all the most unlikely places?

What follows is an interwoven tale of chilling betrayal and haunting love story that traverses three centuries…. Amaris Scott witnesses a murder and now her life is in danger. Jinx Thomlinson is notoriously ruthless, and even behind bars waiting for the trial he still has an extensive reach. With six more months until the trial, they have to find a way to keep her safe or they can forget about locking Jinx up any longer. He never makes the same mistake twice, and leaving Amaris alive was definitely a mistake.

She is right to believe he plans to kill her before she can take the witness stand, but there is something neither of them prepared to face. Noah Constance. Box Set. SAC 1: Talyn Phisher is a counselor in a world that has been turned on its ear by an unthinkable discovery: vampires roam among humans. Signs that something is seriously wrong plague her.

When Talyn feels her life is in imminent danger, she reaches out in desperation to the Final Enforcement, an elite, fringe group of the police who do more than take the law into their own hands. And neither is the one who stalks her. SAC 2: Who can Talyn trust? Certainly not those she thought. As the evidence mounts that something is seriously wrong, Talyn gains strength from the sameness of her life. Only to have it shattered when a seemingly innocent come-on turns out to be the beginning of the end of the life she knows.

When the local police disregard the facts, Talyn receives unconventional assistance in the form of Enforcer Narah Adrienne. SAC 3: Talyn finds herself in a compromised position — literally. Having escaped the supernatural battle raging inside her house, she falls into the wrong set of arms, and soon finds herself alone in a prison constructed of Mutables; a group of shifters that can change into virtually any animal.

They too, have a limited female population. But a revelation about her lineage makes becoming a Lycan a surety, rather than a choice. The question that haunts Talyn is: who will transition her? Friend, foe—or lover? Or will Drake find a way to insert his dominance above all. Can she allow the cure? While Drake and Merck fight over Talyn, Mutables move toward her like a magnet, seeking her for what she offers them. Will Enforcer Adrienne be able to protect Talyn from a predator who is not what he seems? Half a claim will not be enough to protect her from the Mutable who want to use her to strengthen their shifts.

Can she allow a full claim and what it will mean for her future? An upper class blind woman from England decides to travel to America and become a mail order bride, when a chance opportunity comes her way for a free passage on a ship. She takes her companion with her and journeys to meet a man she will never see, but hopefully come to love, on his ranch in California. But, before she goes, she decides to give herself a Christmas treat to remember: a romantic holiday fling.

And who better to have a fling with than the gorgeous newcomer who is turning heads around Maplesville? Jada Dangerfield was living her fairy tale—married to her high school sweetheart and working in her dream job—until it all came crashing down. Aisa loathes her job. While her sisters weave and measure the thread of every mortal life, Aisa is responsible for cutting it with her shears. Heartbroken by having to bring the end to so many—including those she had loved—Aisa has sworn off all romantic relationships forever. Michael is a military man who has just come home. Long years of wars have tainted him, clouding his past with regrets, all of which he makes no attempt to hide.

But what destiny awaits an immortal Fate who falls in love with the person whose life she will inevitably have to end? This is one of those times. Pepper has hit rock bottom. With barely enough money to pay for food, desperate times call for desperate measures. But she never could have prepared herself for meeting Dmitri Strife.

Coming to London has given Precious Jewell a taste of freedom, and she will do anything, bear anything, to keep it. Yet, will her restored courage lead her to forsake a debt owed to the grave and a child who is as dear to her as her own flesh? Gareth Conroy, the third Baron Welling, can neither abandon his upcoming duty to lead the fledgling colony of Port Elizabeth, South Africa nor find the strength to be a good father to his heir. Every look at the boy reminds him of the loss of his wife. Guilt over her death plagues his sleep, particularly when he returns to London. The Bargain is a serialized story or soap opera told in episodes.

Each episode averages from three to eight chapters, about 15, to 30, words. Each episode resolves one issue. Emotional cliffhangers may be offered, but the plot, the action of the episode, will be complete in resolving the main issue. My promise to you is that the action will be compelling, and I will tell you in the forward the length of the episode. This episode, Episode I, is four chapters long, 15, words. She was such a know-it-all, and now she sounded scared.

Molly ached to know why. Molly heard the familiar toots of horns and people coming and going from the front door, never coming in and always speaking softly. It made the new-old house seem familiar, and she drifted off to sleep. Sunday was pretty much the same as Saturday. They cleaned and unpacked and generally put the new-old house in order.

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Molly had heard from some of her friends in school that some kids had to go to church on Sundays. It sounded pretty scary, with men in black robes and statues of dead people all around. Parents had to put money in a dish or the devil would come after them. Molly wondered if putting pennies in her piggybank was the same as putting money in the dish at church. They did tell her about praying. They said that would help keep the devil away as well. She was told that church praying was like exercise time in school. You sit and they tell you to stand up and then kneel and start all over again.

But when you really. Then you could talk to God directly. Molly put two and two together and figured out that that was what her mommy was doing for her customers—sometimes she called them clients too. Molly had seen Mommy on her knees before many of her customers. She was evidently taking them to her room to pray for them. She was right. Jason and New Daddy had a big fight Sunday afternoon, and Jason had run out saying he was leaving for good. Too bad for Jason, because they had pizza again and he missed out. Did he find the attitude he lost?

Later that night, Molly heard Mommy talking about being worried about Jason. Mommy started yelling, and that got New Daddy angry and he slapped her. It scared Molly, but she knew that Mommy used some bad words and probably deserved a slap. New Daddy took her to her room and slammed the door.

They yelled a little more and then it got quiet. The door was ajar, and she tip-toed down the hall to see what was happening. She felt better after a quick peek, since it appeared that Mommy was praying for New Daddy. She tip-toed back to her room and closed the door. She fell asleep soon after that. Aside from Molly, who laughed at its efforts, the others barely noticed its presence at all. It felt weak, powerless, and frustrated.

To these people it was just a shadow and not worthy of any concern. What would it take to illicit just one terror-filled scream? It was somewhere around four in the morning when all hell broke loose. Lights encircled the house, and the door was battered down. Down on the floor! It turned out that Jason had been picked up by the police.

A stoned twelve year old stood out in the nighttime. Molly was obviously frightened at first, until a policeman scooped her up in his arms and smiled at her. He said not to worry, that she would be okay. Molly appeared to believe him right away and asked about the pretty jewelry he wore. He said it was called a badge. Mommy and New Daddy were taken out in handcuffs. What about my children? Looking the Other Way by F. Kerner, had not placed her garbage outside. The house was too quiet and no lights were on, which was odd for Mrs.

Kerner at that time of the morning. Tony inquired about Mrs. Kerner when he stopped at the local Star Fire where her daughter, Delores, worked. Delores placed a phone call to another relative who went into the home to investigate. The elderly lady was discovered pinned facedown between a bed and the dryer. Kerner had been caught that way for several hours, and the e-squad rushed her to the hospital where she recuperated for a week.

However, we often shake our heads at those who are unfeeling toward others, and we wonder what reasons prompt people to turn their backs on their fellow man. There are those who might know of a family in their community who are without heat and food, yet never offer them any sort of aid. Sometimes motorists or pedestrians who witness a life-taking car accident flee the scene because they do not want to get involved.

Perhaps such a person not only fears involvement, but does not want to be caught in a possible lawsuit in the case of an automobile accident or a house fire. On the other hand, money may be an issue; some people refuse to help the needy unless monetary compensation is assured. If we remove Tony Greiner from Mrs. One such scene could involve a young woman who stops by with her children.

Another unusual reason someone might have ignored his or her suspicion of trouble inside the house is a fear of the limelight. Regardless of whether a person performs a good or bad deed there are people who avoid the limelight at all costs. Then there are some folks who might sense something wrong inside Mrs. Maybe Joe Schmoe figures that if he helps the hungry family down the street by buying groceries, they will expect it every week. Fearing obligation, he is certain that it is a wiser choice to remain aloof.

As hard as it is for some of us to comprehend, people do exist in this world who simply do not care about their fellow man. Helping someone during times of trial does not have to involve a car crash or resuscitating a drowning victim. An individual could easily aid a young mother struggling with two toddlers and an armload of groceries by simply carrying her merchandise to the car. A floral bouquet presented to a neighbor who is suffering depression may be all it takes to let him or her know that someone cares. However, how do we apply this to the publishing industry?

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Many writers fear getting involved with other writers because of the drama, pettiness, and the handful of divas and diva-dudes whose only real weight thrown around stems from too many bags of Doritos and one too many Twinkies. Mingle online, but choose your friends carefully and your battles even more carefully. No one needs drama attached to their daily lives or their careers. Although publishing has become mercenary, writers should remember that the gift of penning beautiful prose is just that: a gift.

In the case of Mrs. Kerner, her life depended on someone putting his or her neck on the line in her time of need, and Tony Greiner came through for her. In publishing, however, respect and support of one another is essential. Just exercise common sense. Works Cited Ackerman, Jennifer. New York: American Bible Society. Artwork by Jade Gordon. And what better way to do that than to showcase publishers in our new ezine?

Tess: Welcome, Laura. I was absolutely thrilled when you agreed to this interview. Laura: Thank you for inviting me to be interviewed, Tess. Was this something you decided right out of the gate, or did you start out with a wider publication base, and then narrow your focus? What spurred you to make the decision either way? I started out being published by a small print house in the LA area, and then began submitting and being accepted by multiple ebook publishers.

This made me frustrated and discontent. I began looking for other print publishers for my work. Their focus was e-publishing and they had limited interest in doing print. I understood that, but because I knew from my readership and fan letters that there was a growing interest in having these books in print, I continued to submit to houses like Alyson and Kensington. After a number of attempts and rejections of stories I knew were print worthy, I decided to gather together my closest and most talented friends within the industry and fill what I saw as a void in the publishing industry—a press for gay erotic romance and fiction—by creating ManLoveRomance Press, LLC, aka MLR Press.

The readership for this genre is almost entirely straight women and gay men, and I target different media and events for each, keeping in mind that there are a lot more crossover venues each year. There were still too many traditionalists against the idea. The problems, discrimination and exclusion I, and other authors like myself, experienced laid the groundwork for obtaining this goal. Granted, I had to remind myself a lot of times that the rejection, embarrassment, and frustration would be of value in the long run. And it has been. When I put out the call for authors interested in forming the RWA chapter, I had over people respond and out of that , 60 helped us form the new chapter on day one.

Some had to go and join RWA for the first time, and some rejoined after years of disillusionment to be a part of it. I was stripped of my regular RWA membership when I became a publisher even though I am an actively writing author still. As a publisher I am only allowed to be an associate RWA member and thus, unable to serve as president or vicepresident in my chapter. That diligence insists RWA take notice of their new chapter and pushes thinking forward. You have to be a part of the system, support its fundamental goals and believe in it, to work for change.

Tess: Well said. And kudos to you and your group for getting RWA to sit up and finally take notice! Laura: Thank you. Several people had input with the final website design. I like bright, hot colors. I requested the deep burnt orange and red. The website designer balanced that with the black and brown tones and added the seductive male torso, and offset the romantic appeal with a crisp, masculine font for the text to project a clear message what our press was offering. The end result was very appealing.

Are you the creative genius behind it? Laura: I have to admit I am. I wanted the M-L-R in the press name to stand for several things. Besides being a shorter handle for ManLoveRomance Press, I could see the tie-in with not only the genre of gay romance but with the sub-genres of mystery, suspense, adventure, erotica, paranormal, Sci-Fi, and fantasy.

I thought mayhem, lust and romance pretty much covered what we do as well as who we are. Tess: It works! And it comes across as very exclusive, which brings me to my next question. MLR has a pretty exclusive stable of authors. Why did you decide to go the byinvitation-only route?

Did you initially start out that way, or did it come about sometime after you opened the doors?


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Obviously, it plays into the quality of work as in you want to be very selective—certainly understandable—but how do you find new authors? Do in-house authors give you recommendations or do you keep your eye out for talent—and where? Laura: Opening a print house in a small niche market in the present day economy was a huge gamble. My husband and I sunk a big piece of our retirement into the creation of the company.

Not only did I need it to be financially successful, but I knew there were a lot of eyes on the press to see if I could deliver work that was as good of quality as the NY houses I was bucking. After all, I was telling larger presses they were wrong to ignore the genre. They were ignoring worthy talent with a profitable readership. I needed, and still need, to show them otherwise. Additionally, a percentage of my authors are from the ebook publishing industry.

This segment of romance is being degraded as lower quality writing, even from some inside our own ranks. No genre is immune to the personal taste of acquiring editors. Tess: I so agree. Invitation only certainly seems to be working for you. Laura: Invitation only grew out of the fact that I had to limit my authors for several reasons—I could only fund so many titles per year, and each one had to sell well. They also had to be the best of the best in terms of talent, skill, readership, and career. That narrowed the field of authors within the genre. I needed authors that knew how to market themselves and understood that this was a job not a hobby.

I needed authors who trusted me to pull off this upstart business. Writing is hard work. And to succeed you have to go at it like you would any other career. And as you mentioned earlier, everyone is watching. Laura: I feel the real, pressing need to publish the best gay romance and fiction. Tess: And you deliver that by finding only the best established authors, but what about new ones? Laura: While our foundation is made up of requested, top-shelf authors, we do make room for new authors. We occasionally put out open calls, usually during loop chats or special events.

Even though MLR Press is an invitation-only press, we still receive outside submissions on a daily basis. We accept very, very few of those but we do read them. Every one of them. When we find a talent that fits us, we extend the invitation and pull more talent into the house. Once in a while we find a first-time author that has the talent but just needs to acquire the skills.

We can help with that. Sometimes we find authors through recommendations from our authors. Sometimes we see an excerpt on a loop during a chat that catches our eye or hear a buzz about an author that will make me or one of my editors go out and look for something this author has written, and that prompts an invitation. Laura: Very important. For some of the reasons I mentioned before—showing the industry that we are quality authors and some basic reasons why. A great many of my authors feel the same. Pay it forward. If you do well, I do well. A helping hand from an experienced pro can save a newbie a lot of time and heartache if they are willing to listen.

This is hard work, and you have to learn your craft and practice. Writing in this genre is, to me, a calling. You have to understand the genre and its components. Do you think these authors damage the industry? And if so, how? Laura: The first problem is when one of these types of stories that ring false is accepted by a publisher. No amount of editing will change a Dick and Jane story into a Dick and Jack story. I think these authors are damaging the industry if this type of author is the first one in the genre a reader or reviewer is exposed to.

Their first impression will be a negative one, and first impressions are hard to overcome if they even give the genre another chance. Tess: Although I see that you also accept queries, do you ever receive complaints because MLR is by invitation only? Do you find yourself sometimes fielding any unpleasantness because of it, and if so, how do you handle it? Laura: The only complaint I have heard of is one I learned of recently from one of my editors.

The thought never occurred to me to invite them because they were already with several other established presses, bigger and more influential than mine. I was stunned to hear about it. I just have to take the discontent in stride as part of the price of doing business. There are fabulous authors out there I would love to invite, but they have established relationships with their publishers. Tess: MLR opened its doors in January Did things go the way you initially planned? Or was this venture a matter of trial and error until you got it right? Laura: Originally the press was to be a tiny house with a handful of authors in the genre, authors I knew had a following that might sustain a little print press.

It was just a couple of authors and myself, with all the editing hired out freelance or done by the authors themselves. Then editing staff from other houses approached me asking if they could be a part of the effort to bring the genre to print. Four months into publishing life I received a submission query from well-known mystery author, Richard Stevenson, who was looking for a new publisher after the closing of Haworth Press.

Once Dick became part of the family I knew I had to pull out all the stops to make the press truly a viable force in the industry. There was quite a bit of trial and error the first year or so. While I have experience running a small business, my husband is a consultant, and I have experience as a department head in a hospital managing budgets and staffing, publishing is a beast all its own.

And one that is in the process of changing at a rapid rate. There has been a lot to learn and there is still a lot to learn, but I have met dozens of people in the know who have been willing to help—my fellow epublishing peers, especially Sandy Hicks at Aspen Mountain Press, the independent Publishers Association, and industry professionals in various areas of expertise have assisted me. There is something new to learn every day. Literally every day. Tess: Looking back at the past three years, is there anything you would have done differently?

Things like that.

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Sometimes I have to remind myself of that, to trust my feel for a person or situation. Face to face beats out email to email every time. Tess: Can you list for us your five all-time best sellers? And tell us why you think those particular titles have been so successful. It was one of the first titles printed and for some mysterious reason it remains our all-time best-selling title year to year.

I think James is someone a lot of people, male and female, can identify with, and Bram is the white-knight hero a lot of people secretly dream of finding. It was the first erotic romance I ever wrote so it. It was named one of the top five mysteries of by NPR and received glowing reviews, including one in the Washington Post, and has stellar sales numbers.

They have their share of problems, but they tough it out and work on their relationship just like any longterm couple has to do to keep it fresh and solid. They are realistically flawed and approachable. I think the concept of the story is original and James pulls it off so convincingly it seems effortless. Vampire novel full of complex plotting, amazingly rich characters, and sexy romance.

ZAM is a terrific author. It delves into the BDSM culture. Claire is very experienced in writing this type of romance and very successful at it.

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She manages to expose the mindset and needs of the people this sub-culture appeals to and does it in a way that makes it delicious for her readers. Complex characters. They are all different and all the same in that they feature characters and fast-paced, intriguing plots. Tess: All of these books sound absolutely amazing. What are your thoughts on this, and how do you as a publisher handle the issue of pirated books? Laura: I keep an eye on the big offender sites and write take-down requests as needed.

I belong to organizations that fight for the abused rights of authors and publishers by trying to educate the readers instead of working toward the nearly impossible task of catching the pirates. Battling e-pirates can be a. You do what you personally can to end it and hope general education reduces it over time.

Tess: How much responsibility does a publisher have with regard to promotions? And if possible, give us some examples of how you promote MLR as a whole as well as individual books and authors. Laura: I think that promoting is a partnership between author and publisher. Just generally making themselves known in the romance community.

Along with all the work an author can do, I think a publisher has an obligation to market to the wider reader base, especially a print publisher. At MLR Press I look for venues which target our gay readership, our straight women readership, and ones that reach both of them at the same time. Send new release excerpts to sites that feature gay literature, and purchase and man booths at events such as the Toronto Gay Pride and the Philadelphia Gay Pride events. During the entire month of December , we purchased a thirty second commercial that ran very successfully on OUTtv.

We have a partnership agreement with HereTV to have links to our site on their website that features the Donald Strachey films based on the mystery books by Richard Stevenson we publish. I also purchase title listing space for all our titles with our secondary distributors that goes out to 5, bookstores each year.

This takes place in March. Tess: Oh! Your authors are lucky to have a publisher who pays such attention to marketing and advertising. Make sure you let us know when that TV interview airs. Maybe some of us can catch it. Could there possibly be more? Laura: If the occasion arises, such as the Brenda Novak Diabetes Auction, I donate press gift baskets and press merchandise.

I also provide ebooks for loop giveaways and donations to literary events. Individual author promotion happens when a venture pops up that is suited to a certain sub-genre or author style. If I run an ad for an awards program or site, it will be for the titles that are up for those awards. Luckily, I get to do that a lot. Tess: How much importance do you place on cover art in selling a book? Laura: The artwork is what draws a reader to a book, makes them pick it up and hopefully turn it over and read the blurb. That blurb may make them buy the book, but they have to pick it up first.

Tess: What about author input? Laura: At MLR Press we allow authors to have a huge amount of input in their cover, and that makes her job challenging. Deana is amazingly insightful and talented when left to her own design with minimal input. She is an amazing, talented woman. Tess: You alluded earlier to digital publishing being slammed for not producing quality work, one of the complaints being less than stellar edits.

Tell us about your editing department and what emphasis you place on the editing phase of publishing. Laura: We have eight editors at present: three heavily experienced in romance, two mid-level range with experience in gay fiction, and three who have made the transition from line editor to content editor—all with erotic romance experience.

We also have six line editors and seven proofers. We started out using freelance editing. As I said before, producing the best product is important to our reputation. There is always room for improvement. Depending on the skill of the editor, the talent of the author, and how well the two of them have established a working relationship determines how good the final title is. She also creates all the various ebook formats as well as the text for the printers. Very talented. Will digital publishing continue to grow? Will traditional brick-and-mortar publishers suffer due to the increasing popularity of ebooks?

Laura: I see electronic formatting as the future of publishing. I think there will always be some form of printed books— specialty books, rare books, etc. Price, storage, portability, ease of access and selection will win in the end. I believe the line will be debuted in July. What made you decide to launch this new venture?

Laura: Some of my authors write in both markets. I discussed the idea with my artist and my editing staff and the conclusion was it was doable if we added a couple of versatile editors and worked the same way we did with MLR Press—slow and sure, picking strong, solid manuscripts and professional, experienced authors to launch with, working up to widening our roster selectively. And humbled by the trust my authors have in me. Nothing inspires me more to success than knowing others depend on me.

Caregiver curse, I think. At least not in my opinion. Laura: We will be accepting erotica, yes. We also keep in mind the difference between erotica and erotic romance. They are very different types of stories. Tess: What would you like to tell authors about PIP? Laura: Passion in Print is about stories authors are passionate about, not necessarily just books that are passionate, as in erotic romance.

Though erotic romance will be the main focus, we want stories with depth and emotion—mysteries, adventures, paranormal, supernatural, fantasy, Sci-Fi, horror, thrillers. Heat levels from tame to scorching. We plan on starting out with a dozen titles and adding two titles a month. Longevity and quality mean more to us than quantity and speed. Readers pick up romance, any genre of romance, to fall in love again.

We want the stories we publish to give them that, whether it be het or GBLT or whatever. We want to provide that escape for a few hours, that pleasure and heartache and happy ending. Reality gets left behind for just a bit so dreams and fantasies can have their moment. It keeps us healthy mentally and physically. I write solely to entertain. As a print publisher our interest is in novels of 65, words and up to , We want what every publisher wants—solid plotting, even pacing, great characters, and good storytelling skills from an author who understands that once the writing is completed there is still more work to be done.

Tess: How do you plan to make this het erotic romance line differ from all the others? Laura: I like edgier stories more so than a lot of houses. I take risks on work that other places pass up. I like work from the old masters in the industry and new work from the talented but unskilled newbie. I like riskier cover art. I promote my presses fairly aggressively outside of the internet loops and in a variety of ways because I see marketing at the top of my list of necessities, not a side job, so I think we attract different readers than just the traditional romantic.

Channels already exist. Tess: Will PIP also be by invitation only? Laura: PIP is open to outside submissions at the moment. They have to be high quality to back up their non-traditional take, though. I like surprises in a story, believable twists and turns. If an author can deliver that they can hook me. Once we establish a solid roster of ace authors, we will undoubtedly close down to invitation only for all the same reasons MLR Press is restrictive.

An editor also tells me there is chatter about more submissions in the grapevine. What do you say to those who are critical of women writing within the genre? Laura: People who are critical of women who write in the genre are certainly entitled to their opinion. But an author, a good author, can be anyone, can create affecting, realistic characters in any genre. Every author that writes a heterosexual romance is writing about a man in love with another person.

If you can write one man in love effectively, you can write two men in love. Even the erotic scenes can be accomplished physically by a woman to large degree. I like the more equal power play. There is usually less game playing, though I am a big fan of flirting. Men are more direct, and sex plays a larger part in their relationship which lends itself well to writing erotic romance.

No one is concerned about pregnancy, or loss of virginity and subsequent loss of respect. I think men are very romantic, sexy creatures. My husband out romances me by a mile, always there with a card or flowers, a hug or thoughtful gesture just because. Writing or reading about two powerful, intelligent, lusty guys in love and eager for each other is enjoyable.

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  • Tess: On your website, I noticed that you also write mainstream and screenplays. Who is your publisher? And tell us something about your mainstream and screenplay work. I have one mainstream thriller that is really more YA. The central character is a sixteen-year-old boy with an eidetic memory. It was first published by Aspen Mountain Press in in ebook, and then in print by my own imprint, Featherweight Publishing. I wrote screenplays before I wrote most of my novels.

    It won a few small awards but as an expensive Sci-Fi script never got anywhere. Hard markets to get into. Screenwriting is a totally different mindset than novel writing. More visual and fast-paced. Tess: Tell us about writing your YA. It was a lot of fun writing that one. I loved the characters, a unique Black Ops team partnered with a surly teenager. When someone starts to dog his trail, it leads him and his team back to England where his career and life took a different turn eighteen years ago. Now people want him dead and they are willing to take his team out with him.

    Enter teenager computer whiz Quill Tarquin who hacks into secret government files detailing joint, clandestine operations between American and British forces and stumbles on something much more sinister. Suddenly Burke and his boys have their hands full with assassins, internal betrayals and career changes.