Kindle, A New Way To Read

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Brenda Novak

I found a book on my co-worker’s desk and read an interesting tidbit on author, Brenda Novak. It was on the back of her book.

It was a shocking experience that jump-started Brenda Novak’s career as a bestselling author – she caught her day-care provider drugging her children to get them to sleep. That was when Brenda decided she needed to work for home.
“When I first got the idea to become a novelist, it took me five years to teach myself the craft and finish my first book,” Brenda says. “I learned how to write by reading what others have written. The best advice for any would-be author: read, read, read…” Brenda sold her first book, and the rest is history. Her novels have received both critical acclaim and thousands of enthusiastic responses from readers.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Book Deal for College Kids' "Twitterature"

The Twitter revolution continues apace as two 19-year-old college freshman just sold "Twitterature: The World's Greatest Books, Now Presented in Twenty Tweets or Less" to Penguin.
Penguin's John Siciliano bought the book, and the deal was brokered by Brian DeFiore at DeFiore and Company. According to LA Observed, the book will be "a humorous retelling" of literary classics in 140-characters or less. The book was pitched by Emmett Rensin (who is the son of David Rensin, a LA Observed writer) and Alex Aciman.

Here's more from the website: "Like any good revolution, this one started in a college dormitory. Sitting in our suite at the end of another long day at the University of Chicago, we had an epiphany of the sort that many men wait for until their golden years, and which for too many others never comes before the grave. What, we asked, are the grandest ventures of our or any generation? And what, to give this a bit more focus, best expresses the souls of 21st century Americans?”

Oprah Book 'Say You're One of Them'

Oprah Winfrey announced that Say You’re One of Them by Nigeran author Uwem Akpan is the first story collection to be featured in her book club. Each of the five stories in the collection “left me gasping,” Winfrey said, in explaining why she chose the book.

Charlotte Abbott -- Publishers Weekly

50 Cent's Book, The 50th Law, on Wall Street Journal's Best Seller Lis


1. "Official Book Club Selection: A Memoir According to Kathy Griffin" by Kathy Griffin (Ballantine Books)
2. "Mastering the Art of French Cooking" by Julia Child, Louisette Bertholle, Simone Beck, and Sidonie Coryn (Alfred A. Knopf)
3. "Culture of Corruption: Culture of Corruption: Obama and His Team of Tax Cheats, Crooks, and Cronies" by Michelle Malkin (Regnery Publishing)
4. "Outliers: The Story of Success" by Malcolm Gladwell (Little, Brown and Company)
5. "In the President's Secret Service: Behind the Scenes with Agents in the Line of Fire and the Presidents They Protect" by Ronald Kessler (Crown)
6. "The Conversation: How Black Men and Women can Build Loving, Trusting Relationships" by Hill Harper (Gotham)
7. "StrengthsFinder 2.0: A New and Upgraded Edition of the Online Test from Gallup's Now, Discover Your Strengths" by Tom Rath (Gallup Press)
8. "The Last Lecture" by Randy Pausch with Jeffrey Zaslow (Hyperion)
9. "Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man: What Men Really Think About Love, Relationships, Intimacy, and Commitment" by Steve Harvey (Amistad)
10. "The 50th Law" by 50 Cent and Robert Greene (HarperStudio)
11. "A Bold Fresh Piece of Humanity" by Bill O'Reilly (Broadway)
12. "Liberty and Tyranny: A Conservative Manifesto" by Mark R. Levin (Threshold Editions)
13. "Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen" by Christopher McDougall (Knopf)
14. "Strength in What Remains" by Tracy Kidder (Random House)
15. "Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide" by Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn (Knopf)

Sunday, August 23, 2009

The Ghost Whisperer Writes!

First she was an actress. Then she was a singer (remember "BareNaked"?). Now, Jennifer Love Hewitt is carving a path for herself as an author, with two whole books in the works. (For those of you who are keeping count, that's one less than Lauren Conrad. Really.) So what great literary works can we expect to see in bookstores under Hewitt, Jennifer Love? In 2010, she'll release a dating and relationship guide — called The Day I Shot Cupid — and this November, a ten-issue comic book series about a possessed music box called, creatively enough, Jennifer Love Hewitt's The Music Box.

Did You Know?

Hillary Clinton’s memoir, Living History, sold more than 200,000 copies in its first day of publication, more than any other nonfiction title. It was published in June 2003.

Quotes of the Day For the Writer

"Experience is one thing you can't get for nothing."

-- Oscar Wilde

"Twilight" Author Sued

A woman who wrote an obscure vampire book as a teenager has sued "Twilight" author Stephenie Meyer, accusing her of stealing ideas from the work for the fourth book in her vampire series, "Breaking Dawn."

Meyer's publisher responded that the lawsuit, filed on Wednesday in federal court in California, is a meritless claim meant to further the career of the aspiring screenwriter making the complaint.

Jordan Scott's lawsuit accuses Meyer of copyright infringement and argues that, as Scott wrote her vampire novel "The Nocturne," she posted passages online, and that Meyer stole ideas from Scott's work for her own book."The Nocturne" and "Breaking Dawn," which was published in 2008, show similarities in language, plot lines, characters and other points, Scott's lawsuit stated. For instance, the lawsuit said both books contain a wedding passage and an after-wedding scene of sex on the beach.

Hachette Book Group, Meyer's publisher, said the "alleged similarities" are "wholly lacking in substance," and Meyer based "Breaking Dawn" on an earlier, unpublished sequel to "Twilight" that she wrote.

Hachette called the suit a "publicity stunt to further Ms. Scott's career," and said it expected the court would dismiss it.

Meyer's "Breaking Dawn" is the fourth book in the "Twilight" series, which has sold more than 70 million copies worldwide and become the basis of a Hollywood movie series.
The first film, "Twilight," earned more than $380 million at worldwide box offices and the second, "New Moon," hits theaters in November. The books and movies are about a girl named Bella Swan, who has a star-crossed love affair with dangerous but handsome vampire Edward Cullen.

Scott's book "The Nocturne," which she started writing at age 15 in 2003, had an initial printing of 5,000 books and is about to go into a second printing, according to her lawsuit.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

MTV's The Hills Star Is a Bestselling Writer

Lauren Conrad wants to be known as more than just the former start of MTV’s “The Hills”. And now she is.

Her first book for teens, “L.A. Candy” (Harper Collins, 326, $17.99), has topped The New York Times best-seller list for children’s chapter books. For two straight weeks, Conrad’s novel about a young woman living in Los Angeles, who gets discovered for her own reality show, has made the list.

Conrad, 23, who left the show in May, has a deal to write two more books about the characters. She talked with The Associated Press about “L.A. Candy”, paparazzi and frenemy Heidi Montag Pratt’s faith.

AP: People are going to read this book and look for similarities in your life but you say it’s fiction right?

Conrad: It's very similar to my lifestyle and the experience that I went through as far as, you know, emotionally and just the changes that just happened in my life but as far as specific experiences it's different. All the things that happened in this book were made up.

AP: What did you learn about writing a book?

Conrad: The deadlines can be stressful because it's kind of a forced creativity. You want to take your time and the publisher's like, `Yeah, but we're gonna need it in like a week.' I kind of felt my first draft needed to be perfect, and I learned as I went along you can make changes and figure it out along the way.

AP: Heidi Montag Pratt was very vocal about her faith on "I'm a Celebrity ... Get Me Out of Here," which we never saw on "The Hills." Was she always that religious when you were roommates?

Conrad: She was religious definitely. I don't think she was as vocal about it but, yeah, I remember she usually had a Bible by her bed.

AP: There are pictures of you every week in the tabloids. Do you feel a pressure to always look presentable when you leave the house?

Conrad: I used to get stressed over it. I moved actually to a different area. In our old home we had anywhere up to six cars waiting full of photographers outside. If I wanted to walk my dog, run out to the grocery store real quick, it was like a thing. I remember there were days I felt I couldn't leave the house ... I don't really care as much anymore.

AP: What's it like to be in line at the grocery store and see your face on the cover of a magazine?
Conrad: I try to ignore it unless it says something bad and then I'm like, `Bummer! I just wanted to get produce.' (Laughs.)
AP: At what point did you realize with all the things you've gotten to do that your life had taken an extraordinary turn?

Conrad: It still surprises me every day. It's still surreal. You can't help but feel lucky that I got to do so much for just being me.

AP: You have a deal to write two more books but what else do you want to do?

Conrad: I really, really want to produce. That's the top of my to-do list.

AP: Do you keep in touch with anyone from "The Hills"?

Conrad: Lo (Lauren Bosworth) is still my roommate and I speak regularly with Stephanie Pratt (Spencer Pratt's sister) and Whitney Port is a very good friend.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

J.K. Rowling Self-Made Billionaire

J.K. Rowling
Age: 43
Net Worth: $1 billion
Industry: Media/Entertainment
Sometimes sheer talent and persistence is enough. As a single mother on welfare in Scotland, Rowling began writing the first Harry Potter novel in Edinburgh caf├ęs whenever she could get her infant daughter to sleep. After being rejected by 12 publishing houses, Bloomsbury, a small publisher in London, offered an advance of 1,500 pounds (about $2,400) -- even while one its editors, Barry Cunningham, advised Rowling to get a day job. Good thing she didn't listen: The following year, U.S. publishing rights to the first Potter book sold for $105,000. Rowling has since sold nearly 400 million copies worldwide, and is the only author on the Forbes list of the richest people in the world

Librarians Fighting Google's Book Deal

Critics of Google's book-searching agreement with publishers and authors were cheered last week when antitrust regulators in the Justice Department set their sights on the search giant's publishing deal, demanding more information.

"This is a monumental settlement that's at stake, and for the government to show this kind of attention is heartening," says Lee Van Orsdel, dean of university libraries at Grand Valley State University. "The increased scrutiny on the part of the DOJ tells us that our concerns are resonating far beyond the library community," concurs Corey Williams, associate director in the office of government relations at the American Library Association.

Goliath Google facing off against a legion of librarians and, possibly, the U.S. Justice Department — now there's a fight.

Indeed, a deal that once appeared a sure bet for rubber-stamp approval is now the target of angry opposition and intense regulatory interest, which throw its future into question.

At issue is a $125 million settlement agreement reached last October that gives Google the right to make millions of books available for reading — and purchase — on the Internet. Under the pact, a Book Rights Registry will be set up that will allow publishers and authors to register their work and get paid for their titles through institutional subscriptions, ad fees and book sales. Google will retain 37% of the revenue, with the remainder going to the registry to be distributed to authors and publishers. The deal effectively gives authors and publishers control over their work in the digital world and pays them for it. For the public, it means easy click-of-the-mouse access to millions of books that sit on dusty shelves in university libraries across the country.

The agreement, which must still get federal court approval, was aimed at ending two lawsuits filed in 2005 against Google by the Authors Guild and the Association of American Publishers. Basically, authors and publishers had complained that the Web-searching king had broken copyright laws when it scanned millions of books from university and research libraries and made snippets of their content available online.

In a complex settlement agreement, which took three years to hammer out and spans 135 pages excluding attachments, Google will be allowed to show up to 20% of the books' text online at no charge to Web surfers. But the part of the settlement that deals with so-called orphan books — which refers to out-of-print books whose authors and publishers are unknown — is what's ruffling the most feathers in the literary henhouse. The deal gives Google an exclusive license to publish and profit from these orphans, which means it won't face legal action if an author or owner comes forward later. This, critics contend, gives it a competitive edge over any rival that wants to set up a competing digital library. And without competition, opponents fear Google will start charging exorbitant fees to academic libraries and others who want full access to its digital library.

"It will make Google virtually invulnerable to competition," says Robert Darnton, head of the Harvard University library system.

Although competitors could scan orphans, they would not be protected from copyright suits as Google is under the agreement. "They'd face lawsuits all over the place," making the risk too big, said Darnton.
Without competition, pricing could go wild, critics claim. The registry, which oversees pricing, is comprised of authors and publishers who stand to benefit from high subscription fees. "There will be no incentive to keep prices moderate," Darnton says.

The library community recalls with horror the pricing fiasco that occurred when industry consolidation left academic journals largely in the hands of five publishing companies. The firms hiked subscription prices 227% over a 14-year period, between 1986 and 2002, forcing cash-strapped libraries to drop many subscriptions, according to Van Orsdel. "The chance of the price being driven up in a similar way (in the Google deal) is really very real," she says.

In a sign that Google has been listening to critics' complaints, it recently signed an amended individual agreement with the University of Michigan, adding a mechanism that would give the university the right to dispute a price increase through arbitration. Any price discrepancy in the arbitrated settlement would come from Google's 37% revenue stake, not from the authors' and publishers' share. "That's a step in the right direction, but it only benefits the University of Michigan at this point," says Williams.

Then there's the privacy issue. Google has the technology to track every page and book a person reads, how long they spend on a given page and what books they purchase. Yet the agreement makes no mention of how much of this information will be collected or how it will be used. "That really flies in the face of core principal library values of protecting patron privacy," says Williams. "This agreement is completely silent on the issue of privacy."

Opposition to the deal has been escalating, with librarians, academics, consumer advocates and even a few authors urging the federal court to either scuttle the deal or at least amend it. The son and daughter-in-law of author John Steinbeck as well as musician Arlo Guthrie are among the high-profile critics. In May, the federal judge overseeing the matter extended the deadline to Sept. 4 for people to offer comments and for publishers to opt out of the deal.

In April, the Department of Justice launched its own investigation to see if the deal broke antitrust laws. And this week, opponents were elated when the DOJ appeared to step up its scrutiny by issuing civil investigative demands, or CIDs, demanding additional information from Google and other parties.

But Google has its supporters. "I think a lot of [the criticism] has been unfair and really ignores the benefits this provides," says Paul Aiken, executive director of the Authors Guild. "We're talking about bringing books to people on the Internet — making sure that books stay relevant in the online age and that people have sources for facts that go beyond what's available on Wikipedia."

Dan Clancy, engineering director at Google, dismisses suggestions the deal will give Google a monopoly. He says orphans represent only a small percentage of the overall books Google is dealing with, although he was unable to say what percentage of the 10 million books Google has scanned thus far fall into this category.

Clancy contends that the orphan-licensing agreement wasn't extended beyond Google because it was part of a class action settlement pact, and other companies weren't part of the suit. He supports efforts by Congress to pass an orphan-works bill that would give everyone similar legal protection.

On the matter of privacy, Clancy says Google will issue guidelines before the program is rolled out.

Advocates remain upbeat that the deal will get a green light. "We believe that we're on very solid legal ground to get this settlement approved," says Michael Boni, a partner at Boni & Zack LLC, which represents the Authors Guild. "So we're really not considering any doomsday scenarios at this point."

However, attorney John Briggs, who isn't involved in the case, says the DOJ clearly has concerns. "It's not routine for a settlement of a class action like this to be getting scrutiny of any sort from the Department of Justice," says Briggs, managing partner and co-chairman of the antitrust group at Axinn, Veltrop & Harkrider LLP law firm. "I think it signals Google is very much in the sight line of the Department of Justice."

Supporters warn it would be a huge blow to the publishing world if the deal is scuttled.

"I think the publishing industry is under great stress trying to figure out how to operate in a world where it's very easy to make copies of things and to distribute copies of things — which is exactly the problem that the music industry faced," says Paul Courant, dean of libraries at the University of Michigan.

"I think it would be very bad for publishers and authors and the digitization of information going forward if the settlement is not accepted, even if it has to be adjusted in some way, shape or form," says Carolyn Reidy, chief executive of Simon & Schuster, who was a party to the agreement.

The federal court hearing is slated for Oct. 7.

Pearson Answers Schwarzenegger’s Call for E-Textbooks

Last week, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger proposed replacing school textbooks with e-books in order to help plug a state budget gap. Now, textbook giant Pearson has responded with digital content to supplement California’s programs in biology, chemistry, algebra 2, and geometry.

In a statement made recently, Schwarzenegger said, “Kids are feeling as comfortable with their electronic devices as I was with my pencils and crayons. So why are California’s school students still forced to lug around antiquated, heavy, expensive textbooks?” But easing the strain on students’ backs was not the Governor’s main reason for putting out a call to developers to create electronic textbooks. The current budget gap in the state is estimated at $28 billion.

Peter Cohen, Pearson’s CEO of North America school curriculum business, said, “We believe it is important to take these forward steps toward an online delivery system and we are supporting the Governor’s initiative, recognizing there are numerous challenges ahead for the education community to work through,” including “how we ensure that low income and disadvantaged students receive equal access to technology; how we address the needs of English language learners; and how we protect the intellectual property rights of content and technology creators to support future investment and innovation.”
According to the official Web site for California’s Free Digital Textbook Initiative, e-books must “approach or equal a full course of study and must be downloadable.” The site also offers instructions and links for publishers of e-books to submit books for consideration for use in California schools.

Pearson is the first major company to respond to Schwarzenegger’s initiative, which garnered an array of responses from the media, from speculation in the U.S. that other will imiate the project, to others who point out that e-books in school are not more environmentally friendly than print textbooks.
From Craig Morgan Teicher for PW

Did You Know?

Charles Dickens called the sickly character in A Christimas Carol "Small Sam" and "Puny Pete" before settling on "Tiny Tim".

Scott Turow's Sequel To Presumed Innocent

Scott Turow will publish a sequel to the bestseller Presumed Innocent in May 2010. Innocent (Grand Central) will reunite Rusty Sabich and Tomy Molto (if you can reunite dealy adversaries, that is) after Rusty's wife died mysteriously. This will be the frist Turow novel not published in hardcover by Farrar, Straus, & Girous, who discovered the author in the late 1970s.

From The BookPage

Time LaHaye's New End of Days Book

Just when you thought you'd seen thelast of Tim LaHaye, the author of the Left Behind books will return in Fall 2010 with the first in a new trilogy chronicling the end of days, In Endgame (Zondervan), written with Craig Parshall, the rapture is brought about by a nuclear event.

Julia Roberts To Star In Jacobs' Friday Night Knitting Club

Actress Julia Roberts is planning a project with a literary link. The Georgia native has optioned Kate Jacobs' the Friday Night Knitting Club for Universal Pictures, and plans to start in and produce the film. It's a long way from license to screen, but we think this project is a good bet for the former Pretty Woman.

From The BookPage

Stephen King’s New Work

Legions of Stephen King fans are in for a treat November 10th, when Scribner will release Under the Dome—an 1,136 page “tour de force” from the master storyteller.

From the Scribner catalog:“On an entirely normal, beautiful fall day in Chester’s Mill, Maine, the town is inexplicably and suddenly sealed off from the rest of the world by an invisible force field. Planes crash into it and fall from the sky in flaming wreckage, a gardener’s hand is severed as “the dome” comes down on it, people running errands in the neighboring town are divided from their families, and cars explode on impact. No one can fathom what this barrier is, where it came from, and when—or if—it will go away.”

Featuring more than 100 characters facing a menacing supernatural element in their small Maine town, early reads are comparing Under the Dome to King’s classic epic, The Stand.
From BookPage

Quote of the Day for the Writer

"I've got a folder full of rejection slips that I keep. Know why? Because those same editors are now calling my agent hoping I'll write a book or novella for them. Things change. A rejection slip today might mean a frantic call to your agent in six months."

- MaryJanice Davidson

Sunday, June 14, 2009

South Florida Novelist Speaks with Student Writers

It took mystery-fiction author James W. Hall more than 20 years and four unpublished novels before he finally got his big break in the publishing industry with Under Cover of Daylight. Fifteen published novels later, Hall is a humble author living in South Florida, enjoying his career as a writer and professor at Florida International University, where he is a semester away from retirement.

In the fall 2008 semester, Hall spoke to undergraduate English majors and students in the graduate writing program from the Farquar College of Arts and Science (Nova Southeastern University) about his unusual pathway to publication, his inspirations, and his predictions on the future of the industry.

Forum: how did you get your first book published?

My situation is fairly unusual. It’s not a guideline on how you would do it these days because things are very different now than they were back then. I still think the right way to answer the question is “write the best book that you can.” That gives you the best possibility to get published. But in my case, I had published a story in a literary magazine and an agent in New York wrote me a letter.

But in this environment, no one sends book directly to publishers. You have a literary agent. You have to figure out, buy looking at the marketplace, what’s working in the world and what feels compatible to you, and let that be your guide.

Forum: What’s the difference between your first four novels and the fifth one that got published?

I ask myself that a lot. While cleaning out my office at the university in preparation for retirement, I’ve come across fragments of stories I’ve written that didn’t publish and now I can see why they didn’t publish. They were wretched! I didn’t even remember how wretched they were, but they were terrible.

I tried four times and it didn’t work out. So I said, “I’m going to give it one more shot, but this time. I’d going to do something because I like it—not because I think it’s good or other will admire me.”

Forum: Did you feel more pressure working on your follow-up books since someone else set the timeframe?

It’s actually just the reverse of that. I think one of the reasons I wrote at first – and why I believe a lot of people write – is to have people love me and have people say, ”Oh I love your characters, I love your book, and therefore, I love you, whoever you are who created this thing.” After Under Cover of Daylight was published, they already “loved” me, so I was not trying to win then over at that point.

Forum: What inspires you to write and continue writing your stories?

So many thing go into that question. At any given moment, for one, the psychological issues that drives the story is biographically relevant to me at that point in my life. My mother died last year. So the topic of dealing with grief and losing a parent is a subject that’s big enough to wrestle with while writing. I always say that I’ve got to have something that is psychologically and emotionally at stake.

I also have to have a nonfiction subject, something that I have to do research on to learn about. The way I know what the subject is, is when I start to get really excited and engaged about it.

Forum: How do you write about South Florida in a way that’s more interesting than maybe it actually is?

Well, that’s pretty hard to do (laughs). I frequently watch the evening news, and I turn it off and say, “Oh man, I didn’t work hard enough today,” because there’s stuff that’s more extreme, more weird and bizarre and wonderful and wrenching than what I managed to come up with. So, in a way, South Florida sets a very high bar for any writer.

I think the right answer for each of you – and this is part of your job as writers to figure out – is that you have some unique knowledge set. You know stuff about South Florida and about your community, forums your own viewpoint, which others don’t know. Park of what learning to be a write is about is learning what that unique perspective is. Some people cal it your “voice”. It’s also the way you see things around world.

Forum: You said, you’ve tried to ignore the business side of writing, but you’ve probably seen a lot of changes in publishing during the last 20 years.

There have been a lot, but the big one that probably affects you all more than anything else is the Internet. The “digital age” is hitting publishing. What is the way people are going to be reading their books in the next 20 years? I think its [electronic devices like] the Kindle. I have a Kindle, and I love it. It’s a great device. Being romantically connected to the book as a piece of paper and ink is irrelevant because the world is going to leave you behind.

Forum: What is your dream book to write?

I’m happy doing what I’m doing. I’m very happy. I’ve reached my dream, really—and beyond that dream, I’m about to write.

By Brandon Bielich from the Farquar College of Arts and Sciences booklet.
Here is the link to the school: The Farquhar College of Arts and Sciences at Nova Southeastern University

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Quote of the Day for the Writer

"You must keep sending work out; you must never let a manuscript do nothing but eat its head off in a drawer. You send that work out again and again, while you're working on another one. If you have talent, you will receive some measure of success - but only if you persist."

- Isaac Asimov

Monday, June 8, 2009

Meg Whitman Writes Book On Values & Her Time at Ebay

NEW YORK – Former eBay chief executive Meg Whitman, a presumed candidate for governor of California, is working on a book about the "core values" that helped her build the online commerce giant.

The book, currently untitled, is scheduled to be published by Crown Business in February, just as California starts voting for its next governor. Financial terms were not disclosed, but Whitman will donate all of her earnings to charity.

"Whitman will interweave personal stories and leadership lessons culled from her tenure at eBay and other companies," according to a statement issued Monday by Crown, an imprint of Random House, Inc. "She will offer a blueprint for success in both business and life, identifying core values that make it possible to achieve success without ethical compromise."

Whitman, 52, joined eBay in 1998, when the company had just 30 employees. By the time she stepped down last year, eBay was a multibillion dollar company with more than 15,000 workers.

She formed an exploratory committee earlier this year to seek the Republican nomination for governor. Incumbent Arnold Schwarzenegger cannot run again because of term limits.

"She is eager to share her successes, her setbacks, and her values, which will provide a detailed portrait of this extraordinary woman and a best-practice template for others in business today," Crown's vice president and publisher, Tina Constable, said in a statement.

Did You Know?

What famous children's book author created an imaginative ad campaign for an insect spray called Flit?

Answer: Dr. Seuss, whose real name was Theodore Seuss Geisel. He worked on the ad campaign--which featured his trademark bugs.--for 17 years.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Stephen King's It Comes To Movie Theatres!

Warner Bros. is bringing Stephen King's landmark horror novel "It" to the big screen in an adaptation being produced by Lin Pictures and Vertigo Entertainment.

Dave Kajganich has been hired pen the script, which follows a group of kids called the Losers Club that encounter a creature called It, which preys on children and whose favorite form is that of a sadistic clown called Pennywise. When the creature resurfaces, the kids are called upon to regroup again, this time as adults, even though they have no memory of the first battle.

The novel is set in 1958 and 1985, though the feature version will be set in the present day.

"It" was the best-selling book of 1986 and in 1990 was turned into an ABC miniseries.
The screen rights have bounced around town since then, and at one time landing at the WB and again at Sci Fi.

Kajganich, repped by UTA and Madhouse Entertainment, has stealthily made a name for himself with his dark materials, writing "The Invasion" for Warners and snagging gigs such as the "Pet Semetary" remake among others. He was recently tapped to write New Line's "Escape From New York" remake and is adapting "True Story" for Plan B and Paramount Vantage. The latter is a mystery drama.

Star Literary Agent Changes His Home

Eric Simonoff, a star book agent who represents the Pulitzer Prize-winning novelists Jhumpa Lahiri and Edward P. Jones as well as the memoirist-turned-novelist James Frey, is leaving the literary agency Janklow & Nesbit and joining William Morris, the global talent agency.

Mr. Simonoff, 41, had been at Janklow & Nesbit for 18 years and was promoted to the role of director two years ago. He will take all his clients with him when he joins William Morris on Friday. Jennifer Rudolph Walsh and Suzanne Gluck, co-heads of William Morris’s literary operations in New York, London and Los Angeles, said they had wanted to work with Mr. Simonoff for two decades. “For years he’s been our dream date,” Ms. Gluck said. Mr. Simonoff said he had decided to make the move because of the “attractiveness of change.”
by Patrick Healy of NY Times

Stephen King's Successful E-book Download

PORTLAND, Maine – It's not the sensation of his first effort, but Stephen King's latest e-adventure is another best-seller.

King's agent, Ralph Vicinanza, said Tuesday that downloads of King's novella "UR," available only as an e-book and released to coincide with the launch of Amazon's upgraded Kindle reader, have reached "five figures" after barely three weeks on the market.

King began writing the story Jan. 18, the agent had it edited and sent to Amazon on Feb. 4, and the edited proofs were in the hands of King and his agent — sent, in fact, to their Kindles — two days later.

"UR," available as a download for $2.99, is about a college English instructor whose pink Kindle allows him to access new books by famous dead authors as well as newspapers that tell of a future event that he is compelled to try to forestall.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Nora Roberts Reopens Hotel

BOONSBORO, Md. (AP) - Tragedy, desire and a happy ending. A new Nora Roberts novel?

Close. It's her new bed-and-breakfast, a luxurious getaway built from the charred remains of a 210-year-old hotel in downtown Boonsboro, near Roberts' western Maryland home.

The eight literary-themed rooms are furnished with items largely chosen by Roberts and purchased or made locally, reflecting her love affair with the little town that has become a destination for romance readers.

The best-selling author and her husband, Bruce Wilder, will welcome their first guests Tuesday to Inn BoonsBoro, nearly a year after an accidental fire destroyed all but the stone walls.
Roberts said she had dreamed for years of restoring the three-story structure, located across Main Street from the Turn the Page Bookstore Cafe that she and Wilder opened in 1995.
The shop holds book signings that draw up to 250 readers to Boonsboro, a town of 3,400 that had no tourist lodging.

In 2007, Roberts and Wilder bought the former Boone Hotel and a nearby restaurant building in hopes of reviving the faded business district of what has become a bedroom community for workers in Washington and Baltimore, each about 60 miles away.

The hotel ''was really in dire straits'' but ''I sort of had half the idea already in place - you could do a B&B, and the rooms could all be different and unique,'' Roberts said. ''And then, when we were able to get it, we just went forward with that.''

The $3 million renovation has made the hotel a decorator's showcase in shades of tan, green and blue, with each room except the penthouse suite designed around a literary couple.
Lovers of ''Pride and Prejudice'' can choose the ''Elizabeth and Darcy'' room, done up like an English country house with a velvet chair and cashmere throw.

The ''Nick and Nora'' room, based on Dashiell Hammett's ''The Thin Man,'' features Art Deco touches including a curlicue lamp that Roberts proudly proclaims she assembled herself.
The only room dedicated to a Roberts couple is the ''Eve and Roarke'' room, with Lucite chairs and other modern furnishings suggesting the slightly futuristic world of the ''In Death'' series, written under the name J.D. Robb.

All this luxury doesn't come cheap. The price for a night's stay ranges from $220 to $300.
Packages incorporating massages, champagne or tours of the nearby Antietam Civil War battlefield are available.

Roberts, 58, and her downtown neighbors fully expect the B&B to fuel the tourist economy that has developed around her work. Paintings and photographs by local artists adorning the inn's walls are for sale, and more are available at nearby Gifts Inn BoonsBoro, a shop Roberts and Wilder recently opened offering locally made art, crafts, soap and furniture.

''We have a deep well of talent in the area, and so we want to showcase that,'' Roberts said.
Boonsboro Mayor Charles F. ''Skip'' Kauffman is deeply appreciative of what Roberts and Wilder have done for Boonsboro.

''They're great people and they're people of their word. They say they're going to do something and they do it - and they've got the money to do it with,'' he said.

With the B&B finished, Roberts said she's eager to get started on a new J.D. Robb book after a nearly three-week break from writing.

'I'm a writer who wants to write,'' she said. ''Come Tuesday morning - or Monday afternoon, if I can manage it - I'm back to work and all will be well.''

Danielle Steel is going digital

NEW YORK – Another brand-name writer has joined the e-book party: Danielle Steel.

The prolific, best-selling novelist said Thursday that 71 of her books — and that's not even all of them — will be made available digitally Feb. 24, including her latest, "One Day at a Time." Other works include "Sunset in St. Tropez," "The Promise" and "Leap of Faith."

In recent weeks, John Grisham and Tom Clancy also have agreed to allow their novels to come out as e-books, a tiny, but quickly growing market.

Tolkien Book To Come Out This Spring

An early, long-unpublished work by J.R.R. Tolkien is coming out.

"The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrun," a thorough reworking in verse of old Norse epics that predates Tolkien's writing of "The Hobbit" and "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy, will be published in May by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

According to Houghton, the book will include an introduction by Tolkien and notes by his son, Christopher Tolkien.

J.R.R. Tolkien, whose fantasy novels have sold millions of copies, died in 1973. "The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrun" was written in the 1920s and '30s, when the author was teaching at Oxford University.

Quote of the Day for the Writer

"Easy reading is damn hard writing"

-- Nathanial Hawthorne

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Molly Ringwald To Pen 40-Something Book

Actress MOLLY RINGWALD is writing a new book about life as a 40-something.The star, who became the face of many 1980s teen movies including Pretty in Pink and The Breakfast Club, turned 40 last year (Feb08) and realised it's such a significant age, she's writing about it.

Ringwald, who is pregnant with twins, has struck a deal with publishing house HarperCollins and her untitled literary debut will hit stores at the end of 2009.The actress says, "It's not just about 40, but people of my generation catching up and what that's like, and how you have to re-identify yourself at that age in a culture that's pretty youth-driven."

Once you've been 40, you've been through a few car wrecks and there's a lot on interesting stuff to examine."

Stephen King Disses Twilight's Stephenie Meyer

Los Angeles (E! Online) – Count Stephen King among those not swooning over Edward Cullen.

In what should have been a controversy-free interview with USA Weekend to promote his latest book, the horror master has slammed Twilight creator Stephenie Meyer's writing flat-out saying she has none.

What started with an innocent question on the recent juggernaut success of fellow mainstream writers Meyer and J.K. Rowling quickly devolved into a full-scale denouncement of the former's skills.

"The real difference is that Jo Rowling is a terrific writer and Stephanie Meyer can't write worth a darn," he said. "She's not very good."

Leave it to an author not to mince his words.

Possibly sensing the worldwide fallout from inflaming millions of Twilight loyalists, King went on to say that while Meyere's writing may bite the big one, her storytelling is least to a certain, less experienced segment of the population.

"People are attracted by the stories, by the pace and in the case of Stephenie Meyer, it's very clear that she's writing to a whole generation of girls and opening up kind of a safe joining of love and sex in those books. It's very exciting and it's thrilling and it's not particularly threatening because they're not overtly sexual.

"A lot of the physical side of it is conveyed in things like the vampire will touch her forearm or run a hand over skin, and she just flushes all hot and cold. And for girls, that's a shorthand for all the feelings that they're not ready to deal with yet."

While King seemed to reserve his choicest words for Meyer, she wasn't the only best-selling author eviscerated by him. On the contrary, King declared Perry Mason author Erle Stanley Gardner "terrible," Dean Koontz "sometimes…just awful," and James Patterson "a terrible writer" who is nonetheless "very very successful."

Obama's Campaign Mgr Gets 7-Figure Book Deal!

NEW YORK – Obama campaign manager David Plouffe has agreed to a seven-figure deal to write a book about last year's presidential election.

"The Audacity to Win: The Inside Story and Lessons of Barack Obama's Historic Victory" will be published by Viking next fall.

According to a statement issued Wednesday by Viking, the book will offer a unique, high-level account, including "the deliberations about whether to run against long odds, the epic primary battle with Hillary Clinton, the drama of the general election campaign against John McCain and the strategic roads taken — and not taken ... The book will also detail the business lessons to be learned from the formation and the functioning of an unprecedented $1 billion start-up — use of technology, crisis management, grass roots, and personnel management."

Viking is an imprint of Penguin Group (USA).

Interest was strong for Plouffe's book. The Obama campaign not only raised the most money ever for a presidential election — some $750 million — but is widely credited for being among the most sophisticated and well organized. Plouffe's literary representative, Washington attorney Robert Barnett, told The Associated Press that 17 imprints (some within the same publishing house) competed for the book.

"For those of us who had been Obama supporters and received dozens, if not hundreds of e-mails throughout the campaign from David Plouffe, you came away with the feeling that you knew this guy and wanted to know more," Viking President Clara Ferraro told the AP. "His e-mails were very motivating and sincere. I would read one of them and think, `This campaign is so smart.'"

Some of those e-mails may end up in the book, Ferraro said.

Ferraro and Barnett declined to offer financial details, but two publishing executives said that bidding reached at least $1.5 million to $2 million. The executives asked not to be identified, saying they were not authorized to discuss negotiations.

Barnett has worked on many million-dollar contracts; his clients include President Barack Obama, former President Clinton and former first lady Laura Bush.

John Grisham: `I've got the easiest life in the world!'

NEW YORK – John Grisham has no desire to ever run for office again.

"I wouldn't take a seat in the U.S. Senate if it was given to me and guaranteed for 20 years with no opposition," says Grisham, who served as a Democratic representative in the Mississippi state House of Representatives from 1983 to 1990.

Getting fired up, he declares, "Look, I've got the easiest life in the world. I don't want to go to Washington and sit through subcommittee hearings on Medicare. How much fun is that? No."

Besides, he's having too much fun writing books. Grisham, who turns 54 on Sunday and has started an official Facebook page to reach out to fans, had an especially good time working on his new legal thriller, "The Associate."

The author, who splits his time between his farmhouse in Mississippi and a plantation near Charlottesville, Va., hired a young lawyer to be his research assistant and gather off-the-record stories from associates in New York firms for his book "The Associate". He also read blogs by disgruntled lawyers painting brutal portraits of the workplace.

"This is not cheap factory labor — these are Ivy League kids," he says, "and they're just getting chewed up and treated like (they're) disposable."

Doubleday released "The Associate" last week and ordered up 2.8 million copies of the book, already topping best-seller lists.

The publishing world needs superstars like Grisham, J.K. Rowling and Stephenie Myer to write popular fiction that sells books, says Grisham's longtime agent, David Gernert.

Grisham, who generally ignores critics' reviews, loves getting feedback from fans.

"He certainly enjoys going out and meeting or hearing from his readers — and I think, in a slightly perverse way, he even enjoys getting the letters from readers who say, `I found a mistake on page 127,'" Gernert says of the celebrity author. "There's kind of a connection between John and his readers."

Paramount Pictures has already purchased the movie rights and cast 22-year-old Shia LaBeouf in the leading role.

"It's good for the career, good for the book business — very excited about it," says Grisham, whose books have been turned into movies starring Tom Cruise, Julia Roberts, Denzel Washington, Matt Damon and Samuel L. Jackson.

Another deal that excites him: Hillary Clinton's new gig as Secretary of State. Grisham and his wife were big supporters of Clinton during the past presidential campaign and were disappointed when she lost the Democratic primary to Barack Obama.

If Clinton were in the White House, Grisham joked they'd "still be at the Inauguration."

As for President Obama, Grisham says, "He's very smart, he's shrewd. He has good people around him. And he wants to be a great leader and a great president. And I think he's up to it."
Grisham thinks Obama's hope-soaked honeymoon will last a long time. But the political junkie wonders why anyone would want to be president.

Grisham, who has sold 235 million books worldwide, likes his job better.

Did You Know?

When Jack Canfield talks about perseverance, he speaks from experience. His best-selling Chicken Soup for the Soul series was rejected by over 144 publishers before going on to sell over 100 million copies.

Neil Gaiman's spooky book wins Newbery

Oh, the horror! Neil Gaiman has received the top prize for children's literature: The John Newbery Medal.

"I am so wonderfully befuddled," the best-selling author said Monday after winning the 88th annual Newbery for "The Graveyard Book," a spooky, but (he says) family friendly story about a boy raised by a vampire, a werewolf and a witch.

"I never really thought of myself as a Newbery winner. It's such a very establishment kind of award, in the right kind of way, with the world of librarians pointing at the book saying, `This is worthy of the ages.' And I'm so very used to working in, and enjoying working in, essentially the gutter."
Gaiman, known for his "Sandman" comic-book series, had worked on the "Graveyard Book" off and on for more than 20 years, an understandable delay for the author of more than 20 books and the winner of prizes for science fiction, fantasy and horror.
He says "The Graveyard Book" was inspired in part by "The Jungle Book," Rudyard Kipling's classic about a boy raised by animals. Gaiman's book opens with a baby boy escaping an assassin who kills his parents and older sister. The boy totters to a decrepit cemetery, where he's adopted by ghosts, christened Nobody Owens (Bod for short) and given the Freedom of the Graveyard.

On Gaiman's blog, he writes that "The Graveyard Book" is not a children's book. It's "a book for pretty much for all ages, although I'm not sure how far down that actually starts. I think I would have loved it when I was eight, but I don't think that all eight-year olds were like me."

Quote of the Day for the Writer

"If you're a singer, you lose your voice. A baseball player loses his arm. A writer gets more knowledge, and if he's good, the older he gets, the better he writes."

--Mickey Spillane

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Singer Leona Lewis Signs Deal for Autobiography

LONDON (Reuters) – Leona Lewis, who won British talent TV show The X Factor in 2006 and topped charts around the world with her debut album "Spirit," has signed a deal to pen her autobiography with publishing house Hodder & Stoughton.

The book, which will include more than 100 new photographs, will hit the shelves in October, shortly before the scheduled release of Lewis' second album, the publisher said on Monday.
"The last two years have been an unbelievable experience for me," said the 23-year-old Londoner, who debuted at No.1 in the key U.S. album chart last year, the first British woman to achieve the feat.

"Spirit" has sold an estimated five million copies around the world since its release in 2007.

Hodder & Stoughton, which did not disclose the financial details of the deal, said photographs for the autobiography would be taken by Dean Freeman, who also worked on the publisher's collaboration with soccer star David Beckham.

"This will be the first time Leona tells her story of how the X-Factor launched her from waitressing in Pizza Hut in Hackney to stardom on both sides of the Atlantic," said Hodder editor Fenella Bates.

"It is a real-life fairytale and every girl's dream."
02/08/09 6:16 am Sun

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Did You Know?

Do you know the motivating power that bestselling novelist, Sandra Brown, used to become a writer? That power was being fired from her job in television. Her husband told her that she can now use the time to do what she has always wanted to do--write! To bad for the television station. I guess they too can't keep their talent. : )

01/08/2009 Thurs 8:31 am