alanajoli: (mini me short hair)
Bank Square Books in Mystic, Connecticut had a fantastic signing yesterday! This was the latest stop on the Big Summer Road Trip Tour with four of Tor's authors: Max Gladstone, Elizabeth Bear, Brian Staveley, and James Cambias.



It's always a delight to spend time with fellow Substrater Max Gladstone, and it was really fun to chat with Elizabeth Bear about some of the details of her "Eternal Sky" trilogy. Both Brian Staveley and James Cambias made me intrigued by their work. We all lamented how mass market paperbacks are becoming fewer and farther between (because otherwise I'd have picked up some backlist titles!). We got some excellent selections from the children's department at Bank Square Books (where we also found Waldo), and I'll be looking into sadly unsignable e-book copies of the Tor tour writers' backlist books.

A lovely time was had by all -- thanks to the four authors, a shout out to Tracey Maknis/Trinitytwo from The Qwillery, and cheers to Bank Square Books for having such a great event!
alanajoli: (mini me short hair)
(Crossposted at Substrate)

As I mentioned in yesterday's post, I went to hear Max Gladstone read at Enigma Bookstore in November. I was playing around with my camera's video capture, and I successfully recorded Max's section of the reading. It's about twelve minutes, and if you've not had the chance to hear Max read in person (or if you've not heard an excerpt from Two Serpents Rise,) check it out!

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Links

May. 5th, 2012 02:00 pm
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These links have been keeping tabs open in my browser until I wrote about them, so here's me clearing off my desktop:

  • My review of Grave Dance by Kalayna Price is up over at Black Gate. Spoiler: I loved it.

  • Target has decided that selling Amazon's kindle is a conflict of interest, Bryan Bishop reported over at The Verge. So, what's going on between Amazon and Target? I suppose we'll known in a few weeks – or it'll fade from the news and we won't figure it out.

  • Penelope Trunk wrote a really interesting post on Venture Beat on "Why Smart Authors Are Cutting Amazon Out." She's advocating what ends up being even more self-publishing than I usually see: effectively, be your own publisher and bookstore. I'm not sure I'm 100% behind her sentiment, but I do think it's a well-written and well-reasoned argument.

  • Tor/Forge e-books are getting rid of DRM, as announced on Tor.com and at PW. Thank you, Tor! I'd not actually noticed your DRM before, so at least you made it the kind that wasn't annoying previously. But I appreciate that you're getting rid of it entirely! (Especially as it's in time for me to buy Safehold 5 when it drops to mm price this fall, and, of course, Three Parts Dead, which is not yet listed as a nook book, but I'm assured will be.)

  • The success of Fifty Shades of Grey (the slightly-edited-to-not-be-Twilight-fanfic bestseller) is somewhat baffling to me -- PW reports that it was the top fiction seller in the country the last week of April. Smart Bitch Sarah Wendell posted with other recommendations over at Kirkus, and one of her comments made me suspect something: Fifty Shades of Grey may well be appealing to people who don't usually read or didn't previously read romance. I was reminded how I was relatively unimpressed with The Da Vinci Code when it came out, but it had huge, widespread appeal, perhaps also among people who were not typical readers or book buyers. I've nothing to back that up other than its just being a random thought. I've not read, nor do I intend to read, Fifty Shades of Grey.

  • PW also reported that B&N has just gotten into bed with Microsoft for their digital initiatives. If this means I will eventually be able to play Jade Empire on my nook (rather than my X-box), I am completely doomed.




  • Speaking of B&N, the nook's new advertising campaign (reported on by Lauren Indvik on mashable) is amusing.

  • And last, PW's coverage of the upcoming ruling on Authors Guild v. Google.
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I happened upon some fun history this week (though some was published awhile ago). According to the Guardian, a collection of fairy tales by Franz Xaver von Schönwerth was just discovered in Germany after being archived for some 150 years. The fairy tales are not the polished versions of the Brothers Grimm (as evidenced by this excerpt):

A young prince lost his way in the forest and came to a cave. He passed the night there, and when he awoke there stood next to him an old woman with a bear and a dog. The old witch seemed very beautiful and wished that the prince would stay with her and marry her. He could not endure her, yet could not leave that place.


You can reread the story in full here. It's worth taking a look, and then trying to reconstruct it as a narrative that would stand alone, instead of relying on interpretation based on other previously read and studied fairy stories.



On a different note, rogueclassicist over at rogueclassicism posted (back in February) about just how much the book shopping experience in Ancient Rome is mirrored by book shopping today. He quotes an article, written a few years ago, by Mary Beard, which reported:

For those who did go in, there was usually a place to sit and read. With slaves on hand to summon up refreshments, it would have been not unlike the coffee shop in a modern Borders.


Of course, a good copy of a 500 line work cost about the same as what it would cost to feed a family of four for a year. So some things are not quite the same.

On a more personal note, I was checking in with my reading goals today and realized that I'd made one! I've already reread three books this year -- one of them by surprise, because it was on my TBR pile, and I hadn't realized until I'd started it that I'd already read it. And then, of course, since I'd started it, I might as well finish!

I'm into the Mythsoc long lists now, as well, so I'm reading a lot of good quality fantasy. And the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Awards are coming up, so I'll have a small pile of YA titles to read for that. There will be no shortage of reading material for me in the next month!
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A few interesting topics in the last week and change that are relevant to previous posts on this blog:

  • The price fixing suit against Apple and the "Agency 5" has been amended so that it doesn't include Amazon (it surprised me that Amazon had initially been included, since they've never been pro Agency Model) and Random House. PW covers it here.

  • Verso Digital conducted a survey (also covered in PW) that shows book buyer preferences for a mixed digital and print market -- so print is likely to remain around for awhile.

  • Of course, according to Andre Tartar of Vulture, that will only be true so long as Barnes and Noble stays in business He views them as the last hope for print books reaching the public. The comments on the article are at least as interesting as the article itself.


  • And last but not least, Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy address the complaint by Fox News that their movie promotes a dangerous liberal agenda in an interview with UK based Leicester Square TV. There are several other amusing clips from the interview on Leicester Square's YouTube channel as well.
alanajoli: (Star Cruisers)
A couple of interesting bits of knowledge about digital publishing came to my attention recently, both first via PW, but their link to the B&N/nook divide didn't work, so you get a TechCrunch column (via John Andrews) instead.

Here's the deal with B&N/nook: according to John Biggs at TechCrunch, the company has announced that they're considering spinning off nook as a separate company. What strikes me about this is that it's really not a new strategy for B&N to split off branches of the company into their own separate companies. B&N, B&N.com, and B&N College were all, at one point, separate companies. I want to say that the college stores are now back under B&N proper, but I'm not sure if B&N.com is operating as a separate company or not. Functionally, as far as the user is concerned, they're all the same, and they certainly share customer information among the companies. So it wouldn't surprise me if nook splits off for now, and as B&N figures out where it's going in the marketplace, it may recombine again in the future. That seems to be how B&N typically works over the long haul.

Now, granted, whether they can compete long term with Amazon and Apple, who knows? I hope so, because, well, you all know my customer loyalty bias. I do think it's too bad that the nook Simple Touch isn't doing better, since it's a pretty great little device -- there are some things that my nook First Edition did better, but the Simple Touch has some excellent features, and the hyperlinking works very well (for books that are formatted properly for the device; as always, some formats work better than others).

The industry is changing, and according to Hyperion CEO Ellen Archer, in a Digital Book World interview with Jeremy Greenfield, it's not just digital that's making the impact, but media arms. Archer is the publisher behind the Richard Castle novels (with Tom Straw writing as the fictional Castle); the most recent Nikki Heat mystery came in at #1 on a bestseller list (she doesn't mention which one), and she notes that another media tie-in also hit the #1 spot. Since Disney is the parent company to Hyperion, and ABC is the parent company to Disney, Hyperion has a lot of connections in that world, and Archer is projecting that as the future.

All that said, I think we've still got a long ways to go before the market for paper books burns out. (Pun intended.) There really is still an experiential quality there -- and there are still plenty of people who aren't willing to have a devoted digital reading device and hate staring at the computer screen when they're relaxing. Granted, that number grows smaller... but the market is still there.

Although, if it's true that the market for consumer goods is driven by fourteen year olds, the industry shift may come a lot sooner than I anticipate.

*Yes, the quote is from Leverage. Because that show is awesome.
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Whenever new technology gets introduced to the publishing trade, people are sure that the old formats are going to die -- at least, according to the lecture I attended back in 2000, back when the Sony RocketBook was the height of e-reading technology. According to the speaker (whose name I sadly cannot recall), when the mass market paperback was introduced, people proclaimed that it would be the death of the hardcover. The hardcover market has certainly changed, but those big boys are still around, and I know readers who vastly prefer them to the paperback counterparts.

So whenever people proclaim e-books as the death of print, I'm skeptical. E-books as the death of bookstores, however -- well, there seems to be something to that. Not on the whole, I think, but I do believe that the digital revolution helped bring about Borders's downfall. A recent article by Ben Austen in Business Week looks at the Borders situation and comes up with an interesting hypothesis about what it means for the bookselling business: it's possible that e-books may actually make it more likely for small bookstores to survive. People who shop at bookstores tend to want to be at bookstores -- they like the environment, and they may want a physical gift to give to someone rather than a digital download.

According to consultant Jeff Green: “It’s the only retail industry I can think of that will go full circle, back to the way it originally was. . . . From the small-village bookstore to the big-box retailer and then back again. That doesn’t ever happen in retail.”

The full article is pretty interesting, and I think there are some good insights, not just into why Borders failed, but into what the industry may need to consider in order to stay flying.

Dreams

Nov. 22nd, 2009 10:06 pm
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Despite having now worked at a library for nearly four years, apparently my subconscious still thinks of me as a bookseller. (I worked at Barnes and Noble for just over four years.) Last night, I had a Barnes and Noble dream, one where I was working at a store that I've never worked at with a coworker of mine, not from a B&N, but from my college Tutoring and Writing Center. Instead of my normal B&N clothing, I was wearing my black gi top and bottom (which, because in my dream I had a shift in the cafe where we always had to wear black tops and bottoms, seemed perfectly reasonable).

Yeah. It's been almost five years, and still that's the job I have dreams about.

Quick thoughts:

My husband just got his second degree black-belt yesterday! In honor of that, any time I mention him on the blog from now on, I'll be calling him by the nickname Two Stripe. Mostly because it amuses me, but also because either [livejournal.com profile] listgirl or [livejournal.com profile] mechristy asked me to blog about the family more, and I haven't been doing it, because I didn't have an appropriate blog name for him. (Baby number one, who is thus far doing just fine flopping around inside the womb, is nicknamed Bug while she's in utero, will stay Bug until she's old enough to decide if she wants her real name to show up on the Internet.)

Don't forget to visit [livejournal.com profile] kickstart_tu! We've got some great items on the auction, including books, crafts, digital art, online advertising, and critiques from [livejournal.com profile] tiffanytrent and [livejournal.com profile] kimpauley. Stop on by and spread the word!
alanajoli: (mini me)
All right, one week to get myself back on my feet, and here I am, returning to ye olde blog. (I was delayed in turning in my short story to my editor, and one of the things I forbade myself from doing was blogging before it was finished and ready to turn in.) But a couple of cool things happened today, and I wanted to make sure to blog about them, and update you guys on my goals from the trip, before Saturday turned into Sunday. (Hopefully, the novel tourism post will go up tomorrow!)

So, first cool thing: my review of Caitlin Kittridge's ([livejournal.com profile] blackaire's) novel, Street Magic, went up on Flames Rising. Matt was kind enough to post it for me on a Saturday, because the book has just hit the shelves, and I didn't want to have gotten an advanced reader copy for nothing! It's a really, really excellent novel, which I expound upon in my review. Check out what I had to say, and look for the novel at your local bookstore!

Second cool thing: I finally got to meet Anton Strout ([livejournal.com profile] antonstrout) (who is, for the record, the most beloved low-to-midlist urban fantasy writer in America, or so I hear) live and in person. He did a book signing up in Pittsfield, his home stomping grounds and not distant from my college stomping grounds. So finally, I have my books signed. Hooray! I decided that bringing him a PEZ dispenser would border on creepy fangirl, so I decided to eschew it and just bring books and questions and a big smile. He did a reading from the first chapter of Deader Still, which was brilliantly creepy and got wonderful reactions from the audience (including me -- I'd forgotten how vivid, and, frankly, gross, that scene was!). The best part, however, was his commentary -- as he was reading, he'd interrupt himself and tell us little bits about the characters or his word choice or things that he liked about the scene, which was a huge enhancement to the story for me. Also (and I hope I'm not blowing his cover), he is super nice in person. Based on his blog and his books, I was expecting more snark, but he was totally gracious and sweet. (And I'm not just saying this because he might find this entry later. These are honest impressions here!)

The Barnes and Noble in Pittsfield is pretty darn great. They didn't have Pandora's Closet in stock, sadly, but I did pick up Red Headed Stepchild by Jaye Wells and Angel's Blood by Nalini Singh. The staff was really great, too, but my favorite part was walking in and seeing a young woman reading manga with this huge grin on her face, totally oblivious to anyone walking by. Seeing the power of reading in person like that gives me a little thrill.

So, those are my good things. Now to catch up on my goals... )
alanajoli: (lady scribbler)
So, I had just about the best weekend ever. Work at the library was busy, but good. The playtest went beautifully, and I finished edits on Saturday night (as you've already heard). I got to meet a good friend for dinner on Sunday (hi [livejournal.com profile] sarah_joy!). And I *finally* got to meet Jennifer Lynn Barnes ([livejournal.com profile] jenlyn_b)!

I'd never been to the Borders in Milford, CT before, but I can cheerfully say that their cafe is a great location for a book signing. The closest door to the outside of the building is right next to the nice open space of their cafe, which means that I wandered in, looking around, and spotted Jennifer almost immediately. (She spotted me right back, and if she did not, in fact, recognize me immediately, she did a wonderful job of giving every appearance of recognition. *g*) Almost as soon as I sat down where the chairs were arranged, the friends who had been keeping her company between readers went off to browse, and as I arrived at the very tail end of the signing, we got to chat for almost twenty minutes. As much as I feel like I already know about her process from her blog, it was great to hear about her experience selling her books and about the struggles she had with the sequel to Tattoo first hand. I realized in chatting with her just how much I've missed her regular blogging since she returned to Yale from her year in England! (I cannot imagine being a full time grad student *and* writing as much as she does. I know she's fast, but still!)

So, kudos to Jennifer for being just as awesome in person as I expected her to be from her blog. And, while I'm still learning how to get up to the level of [livejournal.com profile] blue_succubus when it comes to taking pictures at bookstores, I did remember to snap a shot while getting my copy of Tattoo signed:

alanajoli: (Default)
Earlier today I commented on [livejournal.com profile] sartorias's recent post about keeping old books. I'm not particularly sentimental about my books (though the ones that are signed--whether by my children's librarian growing up from books I won during summer reading or by the authors--are certainly special). When a book gets old, I replace it. Nearly five years of working at bookstores trained me to think that old books, beat-up shouldn't be read. (In some cases, this is for their own protection; we recently replaced an old copy of Edith Hamilton's Mythology that was falling apart at the spine. It's still on the shelf, but we have a shiny new copy to refer to without having to worry about losing pages.)

On the other hand, I love physical books. I love how they look on the shelf. I loved seeing my first novel in print, feeling its weight, having a friend heft it and then ask if there were pictures. (Thanks to the lovely and talented Lindsay Archer, I could say yes. He didn't believe me, and I had to flip through to show him the insets.) And, as Giles once said on Buffy, books smell. I recently got a new dictionary because it was required for a copyediting assignment I'm working on. Possibly the most fun I've had in this assignment is opening up the dictionary and flipping through the pages, having that new-book-smell of paper and book glue waft up as I found the answers to my questions (and got distracted by words like "emissary," which I didn't realize could mean not only messenger, but secret agent).

I love content posted online, but find that I read comics better online than prose. I've only ever made it through one e-book without printing it. (This was a novel by the aforementioned [livejournal.com profile] sartorias, who didn't say it was a novel when she posted it on Pixel-stained Technopeasant Wretch Day, so I was fooled into thinking it was a short story. By the time I realized, it was too late, and I'd been utterly sucked in. Given how much I enjoyed it, I'm not complaining.) At this point, however, I think I read maybe fifteen web comics, most of them cohorts on DrunkDuck whose authors or artists have found us over at Cowboys and Aliens. As much as I enjoy the serial nature of the stories... it'd be nice to sit down with them away from the screen. Which I suppose explains Rich Burlew's success with Order of the Stick in print: geeks like me like how books smell.
alanajoli: (Lydia)
Alibris sent me a lovely e-mail today, the best advertising using Harry Potter I've seen in a Post-Potter world. Instead of the "If you liked Harry, you'll like" strategy (which I don't knock at all--it works reasonably well, in my experience, in both hand sales and at the library), they took a completely different tack, recommending books that are either by an author named Harry/Harold/etc. or about characters/subjects that have some variation on the same. Recommended titles include:

* The Overlook, by Michael Connelly, in his LAPD series about homicide detective Harry Bosch
* Truman, by David G. McCullough, about the life of Harry S. Truman
* Harriet the Spy, by Louise Fitzhugh
* Jesus and Yahweh: The Names Divine, Harold Bloom's newest nonfiction

So, hurrah, Alibris, for making me smile when I checked my e-mail.

--

Tangent: I now have a paid account, and would like to have the nifty tag cluster feature that journal users like [livejournal.com profile] slwhitman sport. How do I do that? Must I change my background and etc?

Why Buy?

Jun. 22nd, 2007 06:12 pm
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When I worked at the bookstore, I had to put a limit on my buying habits. I bought books to the extent that I probably wasn't actually earning much from my bookstore job. New Year's rolled around and I made a resolution that I've been pretty good about keeping: Don't buy a book unless you're going to take it home and read it that night. Or if it's a graphic novel. 'Cause those are quick reads, and also indespensible.

I always find it interesting to learn why people buy books, and [livejournal.com profile] mindyklasky has put up a great poll in her journal, asking for people's opinions. Some of the comments are really interesting as well.

Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] sartorias for linking to this.
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I check the online booksellers fairly often to see if my novels are listed, but I hadn't checked Alibris until today. Imagine my surprise when I found a listing for Into the Reach! I'm pleased that it's being made available through other online retailers (though it doesn't appear on Powells yet).

Alibris is actually having a competition for a $100 gift card, which you can enter by writing reviews. So, if you'd like possible book money and would like to help me out with some viral marketing, write a review! It's a win for both of us. :)
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It's that time again. As BoingBoing announced, the Hugos are up and nominated. Naomi Novik and Neil Gaiman are among the nominees (in two different categories).

The last time I truly paid attention to the Hugos was in 2003. I was running the Science Fiction and Fantasy book group for the Barnes and Noble in West Bloomfield, Michigan. That year, we read something like two thirds of the novels, which included winning title Hominids by Robert J. Sawyer, with whom I was working on an autobiographical essay at the time, and Kiln People by David Brin. That was the book that made me fall in love with cross-genre private eye noir.

I may try to follow them again this year (as much as I can) and see how many I can read before the voting happens. Not that I'll make it to WorldCon in Japan... but it will be fun to follow.

--

Funny that I should mention Sawyer this morning, as I was just thinking about him last night. I started reading King's Peace, by Jo Walton, which begins, in the first chapter, with the main character's rape. One of the problems I had with Hominids, which Sawyer actually dealt with very well and with great sympathy, is that the main female character is raped very early on in the novel. Rape generally bothers me as a fictional device, and I'm astonished how much both rape and attempted rape come up in manga and anime designed for the young female audience.

My friend Lydia Laurenson (whose newest title, The Books of Sorcery: The White and Black Treatises came out in January) has written several very good short essays about the dangers of using rape as a storytelling device in roleplaying games. Sometimes in storytelling, rape is used as a short-hand for how evil the villain is In Hominids or King's Peace, from what I've read of the second so far, as the rapists are mostly nameless and faceless, I suspect that the rape is designed to give the heroine an internal struggle to overcome.

I tend to find almost all uses of rape as a fictional device off-putting at best. In the case of King's Peace, where I had yet to invest in the character, I seriously questioned whether I wanted to continue a book that started with this kind of event. So here's my question: why rape? Is the intention to make the audience uncomfortable (I suspect this is the case in Hominids)? Or have readers in general become desensitized to this type of violence?
alanajoli: (Default)
I have several friends who enjoy writing, several friends who have self-published, and fewer friends who have been published through the traditional publishing system. In most cases, I met these folks before I read their fiction, which is always a little nerve wracking to me. If I like a person, I very much want to like their books. The anxiety begins as soon as I pick up a copy in the bookstore or the library. What if I don't like it? What will I say? Do I have to break all ties? Shanna Swendson was the first author who really made me confront my fear issues, because she impressed me so much when we met that I desperately wanted to be able to be part of her viral marketing team. :) Luckily for me, she's a great writer with books that are easy to recommend, so after about the first chapter of Enchanted, Inc., my fears were dispelled.

Lately, I've been meeting people who I know are writers through my space, live journal, and etc., which gives me an idea of whether or not I'm going to like their writing style before I actually read their books. I recently read Jennifer Lynn Barnes ([livejournal.com profile] jenlyn_b)'s Golden, and had the very odd experience of noticing how much one of her characters wrote like she blogs. In one scene, the protagonist goes into a rant about Central Standard Time for television shows. Whether or not Ms. Barnes feels the same way, I don't know, but it was very much the same style of rant that I love when she writes them in her blog (most usually about celebrity bangs and the tragedy thereof).

The book was excellent, and I've already told the librarian in the youth services department at my library that we really should own a copy, because I'm going to start recommending it to our patrons. From what Barnes has posted about the reviews of her newest book (Tattoo) on her own livejournal, it sounds like the critics think she's grown since her first novel, so I'm expecting Tattoo to be even better. If I actually make it out to the local Barnes and Noble, as is vaguley my plan for the day (as I want to find out if they have Into the Reach in their system yet and meet the new Community Relations Manager), I'll be picking up a copy to see for myself.

--

Quick news: I got my comp copies for Departure. Hurray! They look very pretty, and I'm looking forward to seeing them displayed on bookstore shelves!
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The rush of the holidays is finally over, and though things are not quite back to normal (I am still in dire need of a two week vacation), I'm getting back on track on several of the writing assignments that got shoved off to the side while shopping for presents, parties, gatherings with family, and company came to the fore. I had a lovely visit with my friend Fallon just after New Year's, completely unscheduled, and she gave me a copy of the Ramayana that she'd purchased during her semester in India. It's certainly the classiest book I received this year (India obviously takes book publishing seriously, as a book may cost a full week's wages for some people in the rural areas, from what Fallon was telling me), and I'm looking forward to reading it!

Other notable books that came to me during the holidays:
Mistborn, by Brandon Sanderson [livejournal.com profile] mistborn
Fruits Basket 15 (because manga is one of my weaknesses)
Sorcerers and Secretaries by Amy Kim Ganter

I also have a shared Barnes and Noble gift card left to spend (which was, for a household that usually gets and gives a lot of books, more common this year than actual print), so I'll add to the list then.

What I'm looking forward to receiving is my promo copies of Departure, which should be coming any day now. In fact, if you're interested in ordering Departure from the publisher, it's possible you could get a copy before my promo copies arrive! It was listed as available starting January 2nd, only in paperback. The hardcovers haven't been printed yet.

Departure features another great cover by Lindsay Archer, but no interiors for this print run. It's a much longer book, which was part of the reason for this decision, as was Lindsay's schedule, which had several conflicts, and my publisher decided he'd rather not get a second artist to do interior. (I'm glad that's what he decided--it wouldn't be the same without Lindsay's work!) There is some talk of releasing a "special edition" with interior prints some time in the future, but whether or not that will happen, who knows?

In the mean time, start keeping an eye out (and asking local booksellers) for both Into the Reach and Departure, which should have much wider availability starting this month. Rumor has it that Barnes and Noble has already ordered 750 copies of Into the Reach, which they will make available to their customers mid-month.

--

The other big news from this end of the world is that I got my first fan letter. So, Matt, if you're out there reading this--thanks! You'll be hearing from me via a return letter in the near future. :)
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Into the Reach is now available on Amazon!... sort of. A Marketplace seller has just placed two copies, listed for $20, on the Amazon listing. I've got an e-mail out to them to find out if this is for the paperback or the hardcover--if it's the hardcover, it's a good deal, as it's still less than list price, even with shipping.

Still no news on Departure. Neither book is yet listing on Barnes and Noble, but I'm checking regularly in hopes that the mid-January estimate is accurate (or a bit late)!
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Today I followed up with the book and card shop down the street, missing the buyer as he was in a meeting with someone else. This also happened at R. J. Julia's, alas, but I left a flyer at both places, along with my business card, so I hope I'll hear from them. If not, I'll certainly stop back by (in which case I may order a copy of one of Shanna Swendson's novels, either Enchanted, Inc. or Once Upon Stilettos, to purchase while I'm there and subsequently donate to my local library).

The people at the book and card shop already know my face, as I'm constantly in there to buy Reeses Peanut Butter Cups, which are both a weakness and an addiction of mine. (They've also started carrying peanut butter M&Ms. I'm doomed.) The staff at R. J. Julia's were almost entirely new to me, however, so I bought some food in the cafe and a book, as a sales rep for a major publisher (perhaps Harper Collins; I forget which one) told me that one good way to make an impression on booksellers was to ask for a recommendation and buy a book that they recommended. I didn't go so far as to ask for a recommendation, but I did think that being not only a local author but also a customer might support my case. We'll see how that goes.

In other news, [livejournal.com profile] jeff_duntemann has invited me to be involved in his new shared world science fiction project, set in his Drumlin world. (He was nominated for an Asimov's Readers Choice award for his novella, "Drumlin Boiler," published in April 2002; the stories for his new project will take place in this world.) I came up with an interesting first line and concluding line last night, but have no idea what story will come in the middle, so I may scrap them entirely when I actually engross myself in the project.

I also finished Beast by Ally Kennen this morning, which I'll be reviewing for School Library Journal as soon as I finish this post. Preview of my review: it was quite good.

**

Currently Reading: Tales of the Last War, which I misplaced (and found again), so I started The Grieving Tree, another Eberron novel by Don Bassingthwaite, as well as Men In Kilts by Katie MacAlister, which I purchased at the bookstore this morning.

Currently Playing: Still KotOR II. I'll update when that changes instead of boring you all wit the same information.
alanajoli: (Default)
Last night I dreamed not only a novel, but a whole novel series. (Granted, I believe it was heavily influenced by Trevis Powell's upcoming novel No Hero, the amount I've been playing Knights of the Old Republic II: Sith Lords, and being in the middle of writing my second novel for White Silver Publishing. Usually when I dream a novel it's just a stand alone, and it typically has a firmer plot.)

This is my second novel dream this year, and as soon as I woke up I took down notes on everything I remembered, which involved one scene where one of the main characters stole a bunch of diamonds from the top of a merry-go-round. This, of course, is not particularly relevant to the rest of the story. The main concept behind the novels, in theory, is that the Veil between this world and another one, probably heavily influenced by magic, is extremely weak, and certain individuals see and interact with both at the same time. The overlay between the worlds is really interesting to me, as it seemed to work so that if someone was injured by warriors from behind the Veil, they would probably end up being treated both at a modern hospital and by a Veil healer, but the modern hospital workers wouldn't be able to see the wounds created behind the Veil, leaving the person completely at the mercy of Veil healing techniques and without the benefit of modern technology. I imagine that this overlap would be really difficult to make come across well, as the person interacting with both realities would be acting in both; whether they were predominantly interacting with one or the other, their body and actions would be clear in both realities. So would they be considered insane? Or would their body be able to handle dual activity, so that while acting behind the Veil, they would also be acting in the real world with responses that made sense? Possibly, people who didn't perceive the Veil would be tricked by the Veil's own properties into believing that the person was acting appropriately, even when they were not...

At any rate, the dream was quite bizarre while simultaneously being strangely coherent. The notes are interesting, and mostly, unsurprisingly for me, character centric. (Notably in the dream, I was also wandering around, doing research for these very novels that were going on simultaneously in the dream.)

**

In other news, I stopped by a local book/card/candy store to find out if they might carry my novel, and I was told to come back Monday morning and see the buyer. They apparently really like to carry local authors, which I find quite exciting! I'll take them a flyer in the morning, and possibly pop over to the major independent bookstore in Shoreline Connecticut (R. J. Julia's) and see if they'll consider carrying Into the Reach as well.

**

Currently Reading: Tales of the Last War, as I haven't finished it yet.
Currently Playing: Knights of the Old Republic II: Sith Lords, which promises to take me longer than the fifty odd hours I normally spend on X-box RPGs...

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Alana Joli Abbott

July 2017

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