Kindle, A New Way To Read

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Kelly Gottuso Mortimer for Mortimer Literary Agency

Mortimer signs only writers not yet published by a traditional house, or those who haven’t been published within the last three years. She looks for manuscripts that are great as is, or manuscripts that are close, but need some work to catch an editor’s eye. For full submission guidelines, visit

What Distinguishes Her Agency: Most agents have more experience, and have been through situations I haven’t. What I can promise is honesty. And I’m a fighter. I’m scrappy. I’m the female version of Rocky Balboa, and the human Seabiscuit. I just don’t have it in me to quit. One of my professors told me I cold sell ice cubes to Eskimos.

Seeking: A date with Colin Farrell. But, since that ain’t gonna happen…I want go-to guys and gals. This business isn’t for wimps, crybabies or, in historical terms, simpering fops. It’s a war zone out there. No playtime allowed. Writers: Don’t concentrate on winning the battle (getting published); concentrate on winning the war (staying published – having a career as a writer)! In terms of genre: suspense (from the first line on, please), paranormals (dark and light) and young adult—for me, a protagonist about 16. (Don’t send stuff I wouldn’t let a kid read. I have to draw the line somewhere.)…In nonfiction, I’m eclectic. “I’m interested in everything from [mixed martial arts] to collecting vintage jewelry. (I have about 400 pieces –it’s all I wear.) I’ll read a query about most anything, except I don’t represent books that are anti-God or anti-Jewish, anti-Jesus or anti-Christian, anti-military, anti-liberating-wars or anti-constitutional-rights.

Perfect Day: I shot a rattlesnake in the morning, closed a book deal in the afternoon and designed a handbag (my other company) in the evening, implementing the snake’s rattle as an embellishment. And yes, I have pictures.

Most Novel Manuscripts Are …not ready for submission. Most writers are either impatient, or they just don’t know any better. I feel bad, but I can’t do much other than be as nice as possible, and give them some pointers.

Is There A Magic Bullet To Successful Authorship? Most would say there isn’t one. I disagree. The bullet is hard flippin’ work, and an I-refuse-to-give-up attitude. One of my quotes: “I never fail, because I don’t quit until I succeed.” My attitude is: It’s not if you get published—it’s when. Example: My client Kelly Ann Riley stayed with me doggedly through every rejection. I told her to keep writing, and I’d keep editing and submitting, and if neither of us quit on each other, she’d eventually get published. Three a half years later, I got a contract, and in a few months’ time, she was writing for two houses.

Best Publishing Advice Read or Received: It covers any field: Whatever you choose to do, give it everything you have, no matter what. No effort is trivial if the effort is your all.

By Jane Friedman for Writer’s Digest March/April 2011

Assistant Public Defender’s First Novel Written On the Bus

Persistence paid off for Assistant Public Defender Sean Espenship.

After more than a decade spent crafting his thoughts---and even some notes he’d strung together during his bus ride commutes---his first novel, Casino’s Gamble, is published.

Espenship, 39, is a Jacksonville Beach native. He heads the major crimes defense unit for the 4th Circuit Public Defender Matt Shirk.

He called Casino’s Gamble a piece of fact-based fiction about the challenges facing young man looking for deeper meaning in life. He likened the story to Good Will Hunting and The Blind Side.

The backdrop: Gainesville. The main character in the book developed after Espenship learned of a childhood friend’s suicide during a break from law school in the mid-1990s.

“It was a cathartic exercise,” Espenship said.

He started to jot down ideas almost immediately. Then he graduated and put the book down to start a career and a family.

After taking a job with the Public Defender’s Office six years ago, Espenship said he found a makeshift office for his writing in the Jacksonville Transportation Authority buses he used to commute downtown from the Beaches.

Writing isn’t just a hobby. Espenship said the exercises keeps him sharp to argue in front of judges and juries.

“It’s about mastering more colorful language,” he said. “If you’re always speaking legal-ease, no one understands. It’s like if a doctor got up there and used medical terms.”

Casino’s Gamble released December 21, 2010. Readers can order it for the Kindle as traditional paper copies begin to hit local bookstore shelves.

Espenship has written short stories and is now working on a second novel. His advice to fellow writers: Keep plugging away.

“You got to get up and put something on paper even if it’s utter garbage. Every now and then, there’s a seed in there,” Espenship said.

By David Hunt, Florida Times Union

Literary Scout Sues To Be Paid for Finding “Twilight”

A woman who claims credit for discovering “Twilight” as a potential feature film is demanding payment for her role in helping launch one of Hollywood’s biggest movie franchises.
Nanette Shipley says in a lawsuit filed Thursday in Los Angeles Superior Court that was “a literary scout,” whose job was to find potential feature films for Maverick Films.
Shipley claims enormous success, helping Maverick find and obtain the rights for two motion pictures, “Twilight” and “The Lighting Thief.”

She says her complaint against Maverick and topper Mark Morgan that she was promised $75,000 for her work in connection with “Twilight” and $100,000 for her work in connection with “The Lighting Thief.”

She says she’s only been paid $20,000 and she wants the outstanding $155,000 plus legal costs.
Maverick Films was an indie film production studio started by Madonna. It was then led by Morgan, who in 2008, acquired sole ownership of the company’s current projects and re-launched as Imprint Entertainment. He’s been quite successful, setting up “Twilight” with Summit, which went on to gross nearly $400 million worldwide and spawn four sequels (“Breaking Dawn” will be released in two parts) and “Percy Jackson & the Lighting Thief” with Fox, which has grossed more than $200 million worldwide.

Morgan could not be reached for comment.

By Eriq Gardner, editing by Zorianna Kit

Cuba’s International Book Fair Draws Millions

A river of people flows through the old colonial fortress, and the antics of clowns and music blasting from loudspeakers are interrupted only when an announcer summons the parents of a lost child. It’s a festival all right, but a festival of books.

The high walls of El Morro and La Cabana, which offer a spectacular view of Havana’s bay, house a giant celebration that mingles literary chitchat with an exuberant popular fair where some 6 million visitors socialize, browse for sandwiches of sizzling pork and scramble for novels, essays and scientific tomes.

With an illiteracy rate near zero, Cuba boasts that its International Book Fair—which turns 20 this year—has little in common with what it calls more elitist events in the Americas and Europe.
“This fair is oriented toward the reader…as a chance to acquire books and have a dialogue with the authors, both Cubans and foreigners,” organizer Edel Morales told The Associated Press.

“It is notable difference to others in the world where people rarely attend,” he said.”Here it is the people who make the fair.”

Still, what sets the fair apart also presents some challenges.

The absence of a “professional segment” of meetings between critics, large publishing houses and other experts is one of its shortcomings, Morales acknowledged.

The even catalog lists more than 60 national exhibitors including publishers and regional cultural centers. All share one characteristic: They either are run by the state or have strong ties to the government.

About 30 foreign publishers have also turned out. Most are small and some are financed by the nations honored at this year’s festival: the leftist ALBA bloc that includes Cuba, Venezuela, Ecuador and Bolivia.

Zuleica Romay, president of the Cuban Book Institute said 2,400 titles are for sale and an estimated 6 million people, counting return visitors, will attend, either during the Havana run that ends Sunday or during a two-week tour of the country’s provinces.

The most visited pavilion appeared to be one offering local volumes on everything from art and literature to social sciences, alternative medicines and biographies at prices attractive to Cubans who love to read but often finds books hard to find.

“I come every year. It is good to walk through and get books that are not always available,” said Nadira Reyes, a 30-year-old teacher who was looking for colorful books with animals gracing the covers for her preschool-age son.

A few yards (meters) always, Yadriana Torres, 20, wanted books on beauty and massage, which she is studying.

“The problem is that they are expensive, because the most interesting in my field are sold in foreign currency,” Torres said. The book that caught her eye cost 25 convertible pesos, or $27—more than the average monthly salary in Cuba.

Reyes headed for a pavilion that offered mostly local books in the local currency, a peso that is worth a little under 5 cents. Torres lined up for one that sells in “convertible pesos,” which are worth just over a dollar.

Many local books are made of modest paper, simple printing and soft, rustic binding, and they usually are heavily subsidized.

A good example is one of the most anticipated items of this year’s fair: “The Man Who Loved Dogs,” by Cuban writer Leonardo Padura, published last year by Spanish publisher Tusquest Editores. It sells for $24 elsewhere in the world, but islanders were able to buy it for just 30 Cuban pesos($1.40) when it went on sale this month.

Some complain that important books by several major writers are almost unavailable. This year’s fair had no presentation of works by Latin America’s new Nobel Prize winner, Mario Vargas Llosa, who is a sharp critic of Cuba’s communist government.

Organizers said they did not have the rights to print the books and denied any political motivations.

Despite the difficulties, foreign editors from small companies said it was worth the trip.

“I’m excited to see so many people,” said Abigail Garrido of Urano Mexico, which brought 35,000 copies of its publications, mostly novels like the Dan Brown bestsellers “The Da Vinci Code” and “Angels & Demons.”

“We sell more here than in any book fair in my country,” Garrido added. “I think that for small publishers, it is a good opportunity.”

Garrido said her company isn’t making a profit on the fair due to the low prices.

But it’s important “visibility,” she said.

When the book fair wraps up, the island will also benefit. Some publishers donate unsold merchandise to libraries and schools.

By Andrea Rodriguez, AP

Author Trivia

Dashiel Hammet: The author of hard-boiled detective stories and novels started out as a private detective. His first case? To track down a thief who had stolen a Ferris Wheel.

"Sam," as he was known before he began writing, left school when he was 13 years old and held several jobs before working for the Pinkerton National Detective Agency. He served as an operative for the Pinkertons from 1915 to February 1922, with time off to serve in World War I. From Wikipedia

Among the enduring characters he created are Sam Spade (The Maltese Falcon), Nick and Nora Charles (The Thin Man), and the Continental Op (Red Harvest and The Dain Curse). From Wikipedia

Inspirational Quotes For The Writer

"You must want to enough. Enough to take all the rejections, enough to pay the price of disappointment and discouragement while you are learning. Like any other artist you must learn your craft—then you can add all the genius you like."

--- Phyllis A. Whitney