Kindle, A New Way To Read

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