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June 10, 2004
Volume 1 No. 37
ISSN 1530-5287

eBook Ecstasy

 

From the Publisher:
Welcome to the third issue of eBook Ecstasy published by Tigress Press, LLC. We’re having a grand time putting this newsletter together, and we hope we are meeting your needs and expectations.

For authors, Australian author Tricia McGill (see review of Remy O’Shea in this issue) and innovative Echelon Press publisher Karen Syed are interviewed in this issue. Both share their insights into writing and publishing. Tigress Press senior editor Janet Musick talks about editing in Editing – What’s the Big Deal? In what will be an ongoing column, Janet shares some tips to help you write better.

For readers, we’ve got some great reviews and new releases. We’d like to hear from our reader subscribers what kinds of books you’d like to see reviewed, and what authors you want to know more about.

Contents
1. Publishing News
2. Market News
3. Author Interview
4. Publisher Interview
5. Featured Article
6. Book Reviews
7. New Releases

Featured author: Tricia McGill
Featured publisher: Karen Syed
Featured reviewer: Barbara M. Hodges
Featured reviewer: Barry Hunter
Featured article: Janet Musick

Publishing News
(Submit your publishing news to this column as it occurs so we can make it available to readers in the next available issue.)

Announce the release of your new book in the e-book announcements forum at Knowbetter:
http://www.knowbetter.com/forum/forum.asp?FORUM_ID=11 and list the title in their e-book directory: http://www.knowbetter.com/ebook/titles/add_info.asp.

Laura’s Guide to Self-Publishing is a site to help others in self-publishing, as well as marketing and publicity:
http://www.freewebs.com/lauraonselfpublishing.

The Speculative Literature Foundation’s SLF Small Press Co-operative is designed to help small presses within the science fiction, fantasy and horror genres cooperate on projects and exchange useful information. For more information, send e-mail to slf-coop@speculativeliterature.org with the subject line: Small Press Co-op Application.

Check out Holly Lisle's free e-book on writing fiction, Mugging the Muse: http://www.hollylisle.com/downloads.html#mugging

Books We Love (www.BooksWeLove.net) is where readers come to find quality reading, and where authors and publishers benefit shared promotions.

Cybling is a SF, fantasy and horror chat area featuring interviews with the movers, shakers and up-and-comers in the genre: http://cybling.hypermart.net/flashz.htm

ebooklove is a new group at Yahoo Groups for discussing romance e-books:
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/ebooklove

Ebookbase is a wholesale distributor of e-books targeted for mobile devices:
http://www.ebookbase.com/

Publishing & Marketing for New Authors is a publishing and marketing email list:
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/newauthors

Dawnstar Books! www.dawnstarbooks.com publishes Two Cents and features great marketing tips.

Book Promotion Newsletter is available at www.bookpromotionnewsletter.com.

Use EPIC's (Electronically Published Internet Connection) Publishers Corner to get information about your publishing company listed free: http://www.epicauthors.org/pubcorner.html.

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MSRW proudly announces the Dixie First Chapter Contest 2004 Finalists (listed in alphabetical order by authors’ last name). Winners will be announced officially at RWA National in Dallas. For more information: http://members.tripod.com/MSRW-Jackson/contest2004.htm.

Contemporary:
Linda Ingmanson, Tempt Me; Laurie Kellogg, Seductive Challenge; and Patty Tremblay, First Lady of His Heart

Super-Sexy Erotica:
Lisa Van Auken, Sweet City Nights; Marion Gillespie, Body Heat; and Jennifer Wilkins, Her Elven Lord

Historical:
Chelley Kitzmiller, Medicine Man; Connie Ratcliffe, An Honorable Lie; Elizabeth Stock, Secrets & Seduction

Inspirational:
Kelly Ann Riley, A Cowboy’s Prayer; Roxanne Sherwood, A Perfect Love; Missy Tippens, Promises

Paranormal/Futuristic:
Beth Barany, April’s Folly; Barbara Dove, Escape From Cie; Lynda Hilburn, The Vampire Shrink: Kismet Knight, Ph.D., Vampire Psychologist

Romantic Suspense:
Jeanne P. Adams, Black Knight; Kathy Bennett, A Dozen Deadly Roses; Liz Slawinski, In Too Deep

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Market News:

(Before submitting to any publisher or publication on this list, see the company’s website for more specific and current information.)

Baen Books now accepts electronic submissions. Prefers 100k-300k word novels:
http://www.baen.com/

Black Medina is a new online literary magazine. Open to submissions:
http://www.blackmedina.net/

Bobbing Around, Dr. Bob Rich's newsletter, is accepting short articles, announcements and brags: http://mudsmith.net/bobbing.html.

Dragonfly Publishing, Inc. is currently seeking 50,000-90,000 word SF/F and SF romance novels: http://www.dragonflypubs.com/dfp/subs.html.

Moonlight Publishing is open to submissions. Send query letter only: 
http://www.moonlight-publishing.co.uk/.

Mundania Press is open to submissions in SF/F, mystery, horror, romance, paranormal and erotica: http://www.mundania.com/submissions.html.

Runestone Publishing LLC is open to submissions in the following genres: SF/F, mystery, romance, paranormal, suspense and thriller: http://www.runestonepublishing.com/.

Tigress Press is open to submissions for publication in late 2005 and 2006, and is particularly interested in fantasy or romance or a combination of the two:
http://www.tigresspress.com/.

Romantic Interludes (http://rominterludes.com) is a new website for readers and writers and is currently seeking reviewers and article writers. At this time, we are unable to offer monetary compensation. What we can offer are advanced copies of books and the opportunity to possibly get a quote in the reviewed book when it is published. This in turn will give reviewers invaluable exposure. We are also looking for authors who would like to get extra promotion as we offer at least a dozen ways to promote an author and 95% of them are FREE!

Grace Abraham Publishing - Non-fiction:
Do you have a compelling story to tell? Do you have the solution to a problem plaguing moms, dads, families or children? Are you a survivor who wants to share a tale of hope?
 If you have a non-fiction, book-length manuscript you'd like Grace Abraham Publishing to consider publishing, please send us a proposal. Manuscript must be completed. Multiple submissions are okay provided you inform us of that at time of submission.
 Please answer the following questions in your proposal (besides word count, synopsis, chapter headings, etc.):
 Is there enough interest to provide an audience large enough to justify our publishing your book?
 Is there enough material to justify a book on this topic?
 What's different or better about your book than similar books on the market?
 What qualifies you to write this book?
 How do you plan to market and promote this book?
 Grace Abraham Publishing is currently a royalty-paying publisher of works for sale in electronic format and trade paperback. Audio format is also under consideration. Books will be first published in electronic format. Other formats will be determined for each book on an individual basis.
 Please do not send full manuscript unless it is requested.

Dark-N-Stormies - Fiction Imprint of Grace Abraham Publishing is currently seeking book-length fiction in the mystery/suspense, psychological thriller, cozy mystery, romantic suspense and procedural mystery categories.
 If you have a completed manuscript you would like Dark-N-Stormies to consider, please send a cover letter, synopsis, and first two chapters only via snail mail (with SASE) to the address listed on our website (http://www.graceabraham.com ) or via e-mail (posted in the body of your message - attachments will NOT be opened) to gd830@hotmail.com.

Mathews Books is open for submissions. Our goal is to fulfill dreams, one author at a time. We are starting things off with two fiction contests, both on line at http://www.mathewsbooks.net.
 The two contests are open to all fiction writers, with a $500 first prize plus having your manuscript published in the Romance 101 Contest, in the Fiction 2004 is open to all genre with a $500 first prize plus having your manuscript published so check it out at www.mathewsbooks.net.

Tina Adams of Fiction Promotions (http://www.fictionpromotions.com) has recently introduced a new website to fans in the fantasy reading world, Fantasy Author Yellow Pages (http://www.fantasyauthoryellowpages.com) where readers may search out and find their favorite fantasy authors on the web. What does this have to do with pictures? In exchange for you adding a small graphic to your author website, Ms. Adams will post a premium listing for you on the site, complete with author photo and a 35-word ad! Listings are live for one year. For more information, and to get listed, visit http://www.fantasyauthoryellowpages.com.

WritersBreak.com
Check out www.WritersBreak.com, the new web site and ezine for fiction and creative non-fiction writers!: http://www.writersbreak.com.

See Lida Quillen’s list of reputable, royalty paying, non-subsidy publishers at
http://www.sff.net/people/Lida.Quillen/epub.html.

For another good list of publishers and services, see Piers Anthony’s list at
http://www.hipiers.com/publishing.html.

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Featured Author Interview: Tricia McGill

BMH: Tell us a little about yourself.

TMG: I've been writing full time for about 17 years. I’ve worked as a pattern cutter for most of my 'working' life, so was only able to indulge in my passion of writing when I retired early. I was born in London, and came to Australia with my husband years ago where we settled near Melbourne, Victoria. I write romance, but across the sub-genres. I've had historicals, time travel, contemporary, futuristic and mainstream published.

BMH: Which publishing methods do you use? Why?

TMG: All my books are published as e-books as well as trade paperbacks. I opted to go with an electronic publisher when I realized that my style did not suit most traditional publishers. I like the freedom of being able to write as the mood takes me. I doubt at this stage that I would be happy to stick to set guidelines. As you see, I skip sub-genres. I've just finalized a book of poems and prose that I've self-published, and have to admit I found a great deal of satisfaction with the whole process.

BMH: How many published novels do you have?

TMG: Eleven to date.

BMH: Why did you get into writing?

TMG: Might as well ask me why I breathe. I began to write early on in my life but never had the time to actually start a novel. After I was forcibly retired due to illness, I started a novel and haven't been able to stop writing since.

BMH: You write romance novels in many genres. Do you have a favorite? Why?

TMG: I'm always being asked this question and can never give a straight answer because I love every genre I write in. My historicals bring me immense satisfaction because I'm a glutton for research. This is the same for time-travels, as the time period my characters go back to needs to be scrupulously researched too. I absolutely loved writing my futuristic, as there was something wholly freeing in making up unusual worlds and aliens – and it was such fun. My mainstream, Traces of Dreams, which won the RWAustralia's Romantic Book of the Year Award, was a book straight from my heart as it was based on my mother's life. And my contemporaries are fun as I'm fascinated by the relationships between men and women.

BMH: Which of your characters is your favorite? Why?

TMG: I've fallen in love with all my heroes, but have to say that Jack from Autumn Fire would be just about my special favorite. He's so caring, and honest. And how many of us ladies wouldn't fall in love with a tall, dark, handsome hero who is 15 years our junior but sees nothing whatsoever wrong with the age difference?

BMH: How do you get your ideas for your books?

TMG: Usually I dream a basic plot line or idea, or get a flash of insight about 5 am. Sometimes the characters or a scene pops into my head first, and I build the story around this. Each of my book plots has come to me in a different way. Remy O'Shea is the sequel to Blue Haze, which had to be written. My Highland Love, now with my publisher, is the sequel to White Clover, written because I loved Travis from White Clover so much he had to have his own story. Traces of Dreams, as I said, is based on my mother's life, and is a tribute to the women who lived through the two world wars and the great depression.

BMH: How do you promote your books?

TMG: I try to keep my name and my books as visible as possible. I've been in group ads, but have given that up, as for a large outlay I couldn't see an increase in book sales. I have a web page, which is essential and run regular contests that bring many people to my site who are then added to my mailing list. I'm featured on quite a few web sites and send my books out for reviews. I give talks and workshops, and in the past have donated quite a few books to libraries in my area. I've had articles in local newspapers and been interviewed on local radio a few times.

BMH: What has given you the most return for your advertising dollars?

TMG: I've found that personal appearances, such as workshops and talks, are more successful for me than advertising that costs a lot and brought next to nothing back in return.

BMH: Do you attend writer’s conferences? If so, do you see them as a big help in promotion?

TMG: I attend the Romance Writers of Australia's annual conference, more as a way to meet up with friends and writing acquaintances than as a way of promoting my books, but I do sell books on the bookstall.

BMH: For new authors, what is the one thing they must do to promote themselves?

TMG: First and foremost, they must get a web page, then get their books and name up on as many sites as possible on the Internet. Send out promotional material, like flyers and bookmarks, etc, to any gathering where readers are likely to be, such as conferences and workshops.

BMH: What is your next release, and when can we expect to see it?

TMG: I have a contemporary romance, tentatively titled "Tarnished Dreams," which is due out soon at Scheherazade Tales Romance E-Novels (http://scheherazadetales.com). This book is set in Tasmania, a part of this country that I love.

BMH: Whom or what, was the biggest influence in your writing career?

TMG: My husband was the guiding force behind me at the start. He had such faith in my abilities. His philosophy was, "If you aren't enjoying it, then don't do it." He saw me through the depressing rejections, and unfortunately didn't live to see my first published book.

BMH: What type of support do you receive from your family?

TMG: Absolute. My sisters especially think I'm extremely clever, unbelievably determined, and probably slightly mad.

BMH: What’s next for you?

TMG: I have a story idea rolling around up top that I will begin soon. The names and places have yet to solidify but I do know it's a love triangle, with two men. It will take place in a couple, or perhaps three different time lines. And I'm not sure yet which country it will be set in. One thing only is sure at this stage – one of the heroes is a Viking. I've been working for months, collecting, collating and editing a book of poems and prose in conjunction with members of the group I do volunteer work for. I decided to self publish this book so the near future will be taken up with promoting this book. All proceeds go to the program that provides PCs and cheap Internet access to disabled, housebound and elderly people.

Excerpt from Look Into Your Heart by Tricia McGill (www.wingsepress.com).

 Liam couldn’t believe it. Talk about an ugly duckling turning into a swan. Her snub nose with its sprinkle of freckles was all that saved her face from perfection. The combination of auburn hair and tall lissome figure must attract men wherever she went, yet she was blushing like a schoolgirl, as if unused to male attention. Wide eyes were watching him with wariness at odds with the luscious fullness of her mouth. The dress she wore graced perfect curves, a slim waist, and full breasts.
 The beauty she'd become stunned him. This truly magnificent creature, he surmised, was totally unaware of the effect she had on people. At a good five foot eight she was above average height and moved with the grace of a ballerina. And those large luminous eyes were something else.
 Viola had told them on one of her visits that her sister’s looks had set many a male heart thumping. Liam had secretly scoffed at that--but now could see what she meant.
 Liam backed off at the look that had come into her eyes, his inbuilt bachelor’s antennae going into action when she murmured, "Why thank you," flashing him a brilliant smile that sent his libido into over-drive. "Viola was very sick, as you know, and this break will do her the world of good. I gave up my flat to stay with her and she wouldn’t come without me." Her shoulders lifted in a shrug and the small movement entranced Liam. There was an innate grace about everything she did, be it moving a limb or a lip. "It was nice of you to invite her."
 Liam grinned at that, not missing the way her eyes settled on his mouth. Could she be as stunned by her reaction to his every move as he was by hers? "I have had many epithets bestowed on me in my time, Katie, but nice has never been applied to me before."
 Her mouth curved in a soft smile.
 "It's amazing, the difference between you and Viola. People must find it hard to believe that you're sisters." Liam remembered hearing that from Viola.
 Liam knew that Viola’s mother had died when she was eight and her father had remarried practically straight away. Four years later Katie was born. Apparently Viola’s mother had been tiny, but Katie had inherited her own mother’s height. Viola told them once that when Katie was ten they'd been the same height but then, as Katie shot up, she’d been her sister’s defender.
 "You could say that." Her nose wrinkled charmingly. "When I was fourteen and fifteen, plump and gawky, I was very envious of her fragility."
 "But when this miraculous metamorphosis of yours took place you could hardly have been envious then, Katie. You’ve grown into a very lovely woman," he drawled.
 Her mouth moved, and his stomach did a somersault as she licked those inviting lips. For a moment she stared mutely at him.
 "I could get to like these compliments," she said huskily.
 "You're not going to tell me you aren't quite used to them. Many men must have admired you."
 "Oh yes, many," she said with an enigmatic little smile.
 "How's Viola really coping without Charlie?" he asked, thinking it wise to change the subject.
 Sadness clouded her eyes. "I think it's getting better. I liked Charles. Although I must be honest and admit I resented him at first. But once I saw how he loved and cherished Viola I grew to respect him."
 "He was a good man." Liam swallowed. His own grief still weighed heavily on his heart.
 "Yes."  She paused, as though realizing his distress. "Did you design this house?" Her beautiful eyes wandered over the kitchen. "It’s a lovely home."
 Liam looked around, seeing it in a new light. "Do you really like it? I designed every detail down to the last brick. I guess it’s the materialization of a dream." He knew he sounded like a proud parent praising his favourite offspring, but couldn’t help it. "Do you still paint?"
 Kate was astonished again. Her painting was something he’d ribbed her about, too. "Mmm, I still like working in watercolours. How about you? Still dabbling in oils?"
 "Yes, I still paint." He jabbed a long finger in the air. "You can see my amateurish efforts filling the walls."
 "Amateurish?" Kate chuckled. "Please don't be falsely modest on my behalf."
 He shrugged, grinning. "I have little spare time now, unfortunately. One has to pay for success, and in turn it gives one back monetary success." His sigh was exaggerated.
 "Yes, it must be hard being rich as well as successful," she agreed.
 His wink was mischievous. "Come, I’ll take you to my studio." He waved a hand for her to precede him from the kitchen.
 Viola and Bart sat close together on the sofa, deep in conversation. They didn’t lift their heads as Kate and Liam passed on their way across the room. Kate had noticed a spiral staircase at one side of the patio that faced the rear garden and Liam now stood at the bottom, gesturing for her to go up.
 Halfway up she almost tripped. Before she could grab the rail Liam steadied her with a warm hand on her arm and one on her waist. Once again, her reaction to his closeness stunned her and a tide of colour flooded her face as she tried to free herself. But he insisted on holding her steady until they reached the top. On the landing he flicked a switch, flooding the circular studio with light.
 "Oh, it’s the turret. How lovely," she said, letting her eyes wander around the room.
 "Like it?" he asked, jamming his hands in his trouser pockets.
 "Yes. Very much." The top half of the walls was glass, the lower part taken up with canvasses leaning against the wall. Beams rose to a point high above them. Kate went to stand before a half finished seascape on an easel in the middle of the room. "How lucky you are." Going to one of the windowpanes she pressed her forehead on the glass. "And I’ll bet the view from here is wonderful."
 "It is." He stood beside her and her heart thundered as she felt the heat coming off his body. "You’re more than welcome to come up here any time you wish as long as you’re staying here," he said softly. Kate smiled and he watched her mouth, his eyes taking on a strange glint. "I’m afraid I don’t get as much time as I’d like to paint these days, but feel free to use the studio." He returned her smile, his sensual lips softening. "We won’t get in each other’s way. But please don’t poke your nose into any of my things."
 Kate nodded seriously, "You needn’t worry about that. I notice your studio is in immaculate order. I will try to keep it that way. Thank you for the offer."
 Kate’s mouth went dry as he brushed a knuckle down her cheek, then took a tendril of her hair and twisted it around his finger. "I can’t believe how much you’ve changed," he murmured, pulling on the tress gently.
 Had Kate’s limbs been capable of functioning she would have put some space between them. But her feet were stuck like limpets to the floor. His touch sent her heart off at an erratic beat.
 When his hands framed her face she felt her world tilt. His thumbs brushed at the corners of her mouth before moving to remove the combs at the side of her head, sending her hair tumbling about her face. Mutely she stared at him.
 "Did you consider me an ogre last time we met?" he asked.
 "To be frank, yes." Kate cleared her throat when her voice came out husky. "You looked at me with such open contempt. I thought you a conceited fool. I was eager to learn and you dashed all my enthusiasm with your smart remarks about my artistic abilities--or lack of them as you saw it."
 "Hmm. I was an egotistical bore wasn't I?"
 "Yes, you were rather horrible." Kate snatched back her combs and refastened them in her hair. He made a small sound of repentance then played his fingers down her arms, closing them about her wrists.
 This man was too overpowering by far. Kate swore beneath her breath when the corners of his eyes crinkled. The arrogant so and so was laughing at her.
 "I wondered what that leggy blonde saw in you," she said sweetly, and an expression of pained indignation settled on the tough features. "What happened to her, by the way? I thought you were going to be married."
 "Yes, well..." He shrugged carelessly. "I broke off the engagement. Have you ever heard that old proverb: A young man should not marry yet, an old man not at all? I heeded that advice. Don’t get me wrong, I love women. But as for marrying one, forget it!"
 "Ah, at least we agree on something."
 "We do?"
 Kate nodded. "Truth is I’m not the marrying kind either."
 "Great." He winked again, his mouth curving in a mischievous grin. "I think I should enlighten you about something. That conniving pair downstairs have picked you as a likely candidate to end my bachelorhood. Mark my words, they’ll pitchfork us together at every opportunity."
 "Is that so?" Pretending a horror she was far from feeling, Kate gasped. The prospect of spending time in his company grew in attraction by the minute.
 "How wonderful we're of the same mind about preserving our single status. Now we can enjoy each other’s company and know exactly where we stand." There was a teasing light in his grey eyes.
 Offering his hand, he turned to switch off the light, then preceded her down the spiral staircase.

~ * ~

 Later, as Kate stood before the open window in her bedroom, she went over their conversation. The sigh of the sea whispered faintly on the cool breeze. It was a glorious night with a star spangled sky--the silvery radiance of the moon casting mysterious patterns across the room.
 Going to flop on the bed, she sighed. Liam might be well in charge of the situation and know exactly where he stood, but she felt as confused as a child. There was something potentially dangerous about the way he’d played her along in Viola and Bart’s company, conveying to them that he knew what they were up to. And he had made it clear he would get every ounce of pleasure out of it as he saw fit--never mind what Kate’s feelings were.
 That was the main problem--she had no idea exactly what her feelings were. When he’d touched his lips to her wrist before she’d come upstairs to bed she’d been unable to read the message in his eyes, but her heart had thumped and her nerves pulsated.
 Here was a virile, handsome man, and cocksure into the bargain. She had come here expecting a cool reception, sure he’d forgotten her, yet he’d resurrected all her uncertainties. No man had come within a mile of arousing her senses as Liam did, and she’d convinced herself that she didn’t care. Her career had taken precedence. But her reaction to him astounded her.

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Featured Publisher Interview: Karen Syed of Echelon Publishing.

BMH: Tell us a little about yourself.

KS: I'm never sure how to do this. I was raised in a small town in Florida and lived the life of a wild youth, never taking anything too seriously and never getting anything "finished" until one day I decided to write a book. When I finished that book (CHILD OF HOPE), it was a turning point for me. Since then I've been on a slow boat to success – moving forward and enjoying the ride. I have a wonderful husband who is tremendously supportive and he keeps my eyes open so I can see the potential before me.

BMH: How did you get into publishing, and why?

KS: This is easy. When I sold my first book, it was a nightmare. When I sold my second, third, and fourth books, it was almost as bad. A partner and I decided we wanted to create a house with the best interest of aspiring authors in mind. So, we formed Echelon, intending to offer new authors the chance to be discovered without fear of losing all their rights. Now, as a sole proprietor of Echelon, I still maintain those values and believe in the original mission.

BMH: Is Echelon open for submissions at this time?

KS: Submissions are closed until July 1, 2004. We never imagined that authors would embrace us the way they have. We get so many proposals that we need time to catch up. When we open again, we will be looking for Young Adult adventures, thrillers, westerns, and women's fiction – I love the idea of chick lit!

BMH: What is your submission process?

KS: Submissions are a bit sticky for us. If writers visit the web site (http://www.echelonpress.com/submission.htm), they get the full version. Because we are small, we are a bit more specific. This is to accommodate the smaller staff. I can tell you that if you do not follow the guidelines specifically, your manuscript will be returned unconsidered. I encourage writers to know the guidelines for each house they submit to…in some cases, it could make or break your chances.

BMH: Do you belong to any writer’s organizations? If so have they been a help to you?

KS: I personally belong to RWA. I have for more than ten years. Of course it has helped. I learned how to play by the rules. I don't like rules in writing, but rules of business are a necessity. That is the first thing a writer needs to do when stepping up toward publication: learn the business! I also belong to EPIC and I think I have learned more from them. Some things are easy, but EPIC has taught me how to keep trying in the face of opposition. Not every book contract offers fame and glory. The market is so competitive you must have total commitment and the willingness to do whatever it takes to put yourself on top. It won't happen overnight, but if you keep working hard, it can happen. Echelon also belongs to the Horror Writers Assoc. Groups like this offer valuable resources for learning and marketing.

BMH: What are your feeling on e-books and their future?

KS: I have been sitting on the fence for some time on this issue. I love holding a book in my hand and not having to replace the batteries, but the more I learn and the more I experience, the stronger I feel about e-books. I don't think they will ever replace paper books, but there is so much potential for the e-book revolution. Not only the impact on the survival of our planet, but the level of convenience e-books offer readers. Technology is a remarkable thing and I am in awe of how quickly things can change. The potential seems limitless.

BMH: What do you feel is the biggest marketing and promoting tool for publishers?

KS: The author (YOU)! No one can sell YOU like YOU! So obviously you are the best tool for marketing your book. You know your book. You love your book. I try to work very closely with my authors to help them develop a plan that best suits them. Each author is different and each book is different. We have to focus on the strength of the author and utilize that to its fullest potential. If I had to pick something tangible, I would say the blurb. Readers want to be swept away with a book, so by using the words to promote, authors can prove themselves.

BMH: How is a marketing dollar best spent in your opinion?

KS: Carefully. I am not a big advocate of giveaways – sorry readers – I think if you spend money to give things away you will never make back your investment. I think authors need to focus on who will BUY their books. How do you reach the most readers? Multiple venues. Significant focus should be placed on booksellers as they reach hundreds of readers on a daily basis. Librarians fall into the same category. Even though they do not sell the books, they offer authors a chance to be discovered. If a reader likes an author's book, they will go out and search for more works by them. It is a productive circle! Therefore, the short answer would be mass mailings to bookstores and libraries.

BMH: How big a part do you feel good reviews play in sales?

KS: This is tough. It depends on the reviews. I'd say they definitely have an impact, but I am not convinced of how much. Authors need to remember that a review is an OPINION. It is one person’s view and there are so many factors to consider. What kind of day was that reviewer having? Do they like that setting? Occupation? Time period? Reviews are great for an overall view, but I guarantee you won't find two reviewers who have the same opinion about one book. I know that I have GREAT reviews and very minimal sales? Hmmm…

BMH: What does Echelon do to promote its authors, and what do you do to encourage your authors to promote themselves?

KS: We do a lot of mass mailings, we are trying to participate in more book festivals (geared toward readers, not writers), and we do a lot of co-op promoting with the author. This has not always been the case, but Echelon is committed to the success of the company and each of our authors. We have an author list that each author is on and we interact regularly with marketing ideas, business discussions, and a ton of support and encouragement. You cannot promote enough and we make that clear to every author.

BMH: What about a web site? How important is it to be easily navigated?

KS: In this day and age, every author NEEDS a web site. It is an incredible tool for gaining exposure. It may not increase sales, but it is a tool to encourage and increase reader awareness. Readers are generally more willing to part with their hard-earned money when they can equate an author with something "real." By reading bios, seeing pictures, feeling like they "know" an author, they aren't buying a new author; they are buying a "friend." Web sites don't have to be expensive, but they have to be!

BMH: What, as a publisher, is your biggest headache concerning submissions?

KS: ARROGANCE. So many manuscripts I personally receive tell me, "You HAVE to buy my book," or "this is the best book you'll ever read." In their cover letters there are typos, misspelled words, etc. It is vitally important to make your submissions as clean as possible. Your submission is your sales pitch and it is an absolute indicator of what an editor can expect from you. The publishing industry is over-filled with good writers, and even great writers. Nothing irritates me more than getting a submission that is mediocre at best and filled with catch words that the writing doesn't back up. Makes my eye twitch.

BMH: How many new releases do you plan for 2004?

KS: By the end of 2004 we will have published between 24 and 30 books. Our goal is two titles per month per area, but sometimes we toss in something special for good measure. The plans are the same for 2005 and we have already filled 50 percent of our schedule This does not include our exciting Dollar Download and Notable Novella Releases.

BMH: Where do you see Echelon five years from now?

KS: At the top of the independent lists! Ultimately, we would like to be the first TRUE independent to put titles on the national best seller lists, and that will come in time. Five years from now, Echelon will be advertising competitively, our books will be on the shelves of national chain stores and dominating sales in the independent stores, and our authors will be receiving the national media exposure for their talent and achievements that they deserve. Already our lists contain award-winning authors and novels and the future is even brighter!

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Feature Article by Janet Musick, publisher and senior editor of Tigress Press:

Editing – What’s the Big Deal?

As an editor, I love reading great stories, and many times I’ll wade through all the flaws just to find that great story. But many editors won’t; they’ve got too much to do to teach you your craft. This is the introduction to a series on writing I hope will inspire you to write well enough to get read by any editor.

Every editor dreams of getting the perfect manuscript, so what do editors want? Let’s start with the basics. Editors want – no, expect – authors to know grammar, punctuation, and spelling. Surprisingly, these elements of good writing are missing from many manuscripts. Before you submit your manuscript, check it carefully. I know many editors who won’t give a manuscript a second glance if it starts out with errors. At that point, it doesn’t matter how great your story is; it’s not going to be read.

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TIP: A second pair of eyes will catch mistakes you might overlook because you’ve read the book so many times you read what you think you’ve written. It doesn’t have to be a professional editor, but it must be someone who knows the rules of good writing.

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No one can question the impact of good grammar in writing. There are countless grammatical rules, all of which are bound to get broken sometime. Those rules generally should be followed in both narrative and dialogue. But, as my mother was fond of saying, “There’s an exception to every rule.” My advice is to know the rules, then break them judiciously and infrequently.

Write conversationally, particularly with dialogue. I can hear the grammar skeptics now: Whose conversation? My response: the conversation of your setting. If you’re writing a historical novel, know what your characters would say and how they would say it for the time period. Dialogue is as much a part of setting as costume, architecture, transportation, etc. There’s nothing better for throwing a reader out of a story than by using language inappropriate to your setting.

As for punctuation, know the basics. If your sentence needs a pause, insert a comma. Do you need a comma or a semicolon? Single quotes or double quotes? Dash or ellipsis?

Speaking of ellipses, if you’re going to use one, insert it properly. In Microsoft Word, for example, click INSERT on the Menu toolbar (that’s the one with FILE, EDIT, VIEW, etc.), then find the … and click on it. Then click INSERT and CLOSE. If the ellipsis is at the end of a sentence, don’t put a period after it. However, if the sentence ends with a question, insert a question mark after the ellipsis.

If you think spell check will catch every misspelled word, think again! Spell check – regardless of the word processing program you use – only catches misspelled words that aren’t correct spellings for other words. Buy a dictionary, or use one of the free online dictionaries.

If you’re using a dialect, make a sheet listing the regular word and its counterpart in your dialect so you spell it the same every time. Of course, my preference is that you not use dialect at all or, if you must, use it sparingly, just enough to give your reader the flavor of it.

This is just a sample of what you will find in future articles. Stay tuned for more tips. And consider this as you write your book. You are writing for your reader, not for yourself.

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1 Diamond: Pass on this one
2 Diamonds: Has problems. It may be hard to finish.
3 Diamonds: A good overall story.
4 Diamonds: A wonderful book. Highly recommended
5 Diamonds: Outstanding. You'll want to read this one over and over.

Book Reviews:

Title: The Wall
Author: J.E. Hall
Genre: Fantasy
Publisher: 1st Books
Pub. Date: 1993
ISBN: ebook: 1410775437; print: 1410775429
Rating: 3 Diamonds
Reviewer: Barbara M. Hodges

John Christian is a truck driver on his way home to his wife and son. A nearing storm and his wife’s cautioning words ringing in his head leads him to an overnight stay in a motel.

John’s television viewing is halted when a triangle of light appears in his room. From it steps a man. The Keeper has come because of a statement made years ago by an idealistic younger John…an urge to change the world.

The Keeper’s world is in chaos and heading toward a devastating ending. And the man believes John can stop it from happening. Doubting his own sanity and leaning toward it all being a dream, John agrees to go with the Keeper when he is promised that he will be returned to this exact time when his quest is over.

When John arrives in the alternate world, he discovers the Keeper has also sought the help of two others from Earth, Simon and Kate. They are just as puzzled as he is about what they are to do to solve the coming problems.

With the Keeper’s help, they are given a plausible story and are shown a room of scrolls that will give them a look into the world’s history. Reading the scrolls, they recognize a lot of their own world’s problems.

John, Kate and Simon journey to the city behind a wall of crystal, Drusba. The towering wall circles the entire city and many miles beyond it. Watchers line the top of the wall day in and day out. The people are a content lot, depending on the ruling counsel to see to all of their needs.

Into this the three strangers are thrown. Like pebbles in a clam pond, their disturbing influences flow outward, touching all.

The three find themselves in predicaments with no clue as to what is required of them. Left only with the sage words, “You will know when it is right,” they stumble along, making discoveries that will rock the compliant citizens of Drusba as well as themselves.

This is a good story. But it is in need of a good editor. I had trouble with the point of view changes and the interior dialogue. But even with the problems, it was an entertaining read. Give it a try.

Title: Remy O’Shea
Author: Tricia McGill
Publisher: Jacobyte Boooks
ISBN: Print: 1741001315; e-book: 1741001331
Published: 2003
Genre: Romantic Adventure
Rating: 4 Diamonds
Reviewer: Barbara M. Hodges

Remy O’Shea begins with a bang, and then it is a full-fledged ride until the last paragraph. This book is the sequel to Blue Haze. Remy O’Shea is Bella’s brother, a convict sent from London to do his time on their Australian ranch.

He is content to be there, complete his sentence, and get on with his life. But then a pretty pair of eyes sends him spinning.

Sara Greenwood and her mother and father have just arrived from Sydney, and her overbearing father has no plans to see his only daughter courted by a sweet-talking convict. But Sara and Remy have other plans and their attraction to each other grows.

Agnes is Bella’s nursemaid, a plain young woman who has given her heart to Remy and who is more then willing to take what he will throw her way. One night, thick-headed with drink, an angry Remy, looses his head and has sex with Aggie, only to fully regret it the next morning. The one-night stand leads to heartache for all, and sets Remy onto path that will tear him away from the woman he loves and needs.

I loved this story. It has everything. Happiness, tears, love, hate. I recommend it highly for all lovers of romantic adventure tales.

Title: A Brush With Love
Author: Jo Barrrett
Publisher: Echelon Press
ISBN: Print: 1590802667
Published: April 2004
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Rating: 4 Diamonds
Reviewer: Barbara M. Hodges

A moment of recklessness and an ignored stop sign leaves Ruth Moore paralyzed from the waist down. Continual verbal abuse by her mother has shattered her self-esteem and this seems the final straw. But her college friend Jennifer has her own ideas. She bullies Ruth into leaving her mother’s house and coming to live with her.

Ruth had loved her oil painting, but now feared that she would never paint again. A chance encounter at a local store focuses her attention on a male form that her hand itches to sketch. Unable to shrug away the urge, she does so. The man is Mick Thomas, who is fleeing his own demons. In his prior life as Michael Harrison Thomas, he was the one who’d run the stop sign and broadsided Ruth’s car. Already unhappy at being forced into following in his father’s footsteps, the accident is the catalyst that sends him looking for a salve for his troubled life.

When he overhears the two women talking about him and the sketches, he asks to see them. He is surprised by the quality of the work, but mesmerized by the artist. Ruth is just as taken with him, but doubts fill her. What will he say when he realizes she can’t walk? And then Mick discovers that Ruth is the victim of his thoughtlessness. But neither can ignore the chemistry growing between them. He agrees to model for her and the attraction grows. He knows he has to tell her who he is, but fear of her rejection keeps him quiet.

This is a wonderful romance. We are allowed into the heads of these two headstrong people, each coping with their own insecurities. I highly recommend it for an entertaining read.

Title: Doggie Biscuit!
Author: Darrell Bain
Publisher: Twilight Times Books
ISBN: Print: 1-931201-81-1; e-book: 1-931201-80-3
Published: July 2004
Genre: Non-Fiction Humor
Rating: 5 Diamonds
Reviewer: Barbara M. Hodges

I loved this little story about a dachshund named Biscuit. It made me laugh and cry. In so many ways I recognized my own basset hounds. The story covers Biscuit’s entire life and is handled with skill and humor. Anyone who has ever loved a pet will enjoy this tale. I plan to read it again and again.

Reviewer Barbara M. Hodges shares her life with her husband Jeff, two basset hounds and a sassy cat. Barbara has been published in both fiction and non-fiction, and her first novel, The Blue Flame, was a finalist in the Independent eBook Awards. Her other fiction novels include, The Sword and The Flame, co-authored with C.R. MacPhadrick, The Emerald Dagger, released June 2003, and two fiction novels under contract for later release, Romeo’s Angel and The Silver Angel. She can be reached by e-mail: bassetbarb@aol.com.

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Baryon Reviews:

Bumper Crop, Joe Lansdale, Golden Gryphon, 24.95, 199 pages, ISBN: 193084624X, reviewed by Barry Hunter.
 In the old days when cotton was king and the crop was good, a farmer was said to be in HIGH COTTON, which was also the title of Lansdale’s last collection from Golden Gryphon. Another term we often heard was when a crop was unexpectedly good or produced more than normal, it was called a BUMPER CROP. Here is a BUMPER CROP of stories from Joe Lansdale that show twenty-six examples of his dark and twisted humor and the nightmares that don’t always go bump in the night.
 After reading “God of the Razor,” you will never be able to look at a razor blade the same again. “Fish Night” is a small tale about the stream of time. “Chompers” makes you think about the old adage, you are what you eat. “Duck Hunt”, “On a Dark October”, “Fire Dog”, and “Cowboys” all sound like normal story titles, but in the hands of Lansdale, they are anything but normal.
 After you meet ”Billie Sue”, “Old Charlie” and the “Master of Misery”, Lansdale will make you look at your world through different eyes. Lansdale is a definitely a writer with Mojo and these stories are definitely a BUMPER CROP for the reader.

The Flame in the Bowl: Unbinding the Stone, Marc Vun Kannon, www.echelonpress.com, 393 pages, ISBN: 1590801350, reviewed by Barry Hunter.
  Tarkas is a singer apprentice in his village and has his eye on one of the maidens when his world is turned upside down by his gift to the gods is called into question and he leaves the village to find his fortune elsewhere.
  Tarkas makes a long journey through strange lands before he ends up with the demi-god Hara-Khan who is to be his teacher as Tarkas has been chosen as a new Hero. The remainder of the story has the teacher and student learning about each other and the adventures they have interpreting the prophecies and dealing with the gods on several planes.
Kannon has written an interesting tale that uses a new approach on how the gods, demi-gods, heroes and elementals interact in order to keep the planes and worlds in order. This is not the ordinary fantasy/sword and
sorcery tale and it is one that will give you something to think about as you look forward to more adventures.

Season of Peril Season of Peril, Michales Warwick Joy, www.tigresspress.com, 300 pages, ISBN: 09740848-5-9, $12.95, reviewed by Barry Hunter.
 Imagine a walled city where no one ever ventures outside, a walled city that has outlawed magic. Margar, the last of the mage hunters, soon finds himself on another mission for the Prince. It is a mission only a few know about; Margar must stop the killings that are happening in the streets every night. The city’s lies are about to be uncovered, and the city and its existence are in jeopardy.
 Eventually Margar finds help in an Adept from the order of Domia, a foreign-born bounty hunter, and a samurai. The latter two have sneaked into the city to hopefully earn a reward for solving the puzzle presented by the killer. As they join forces, the history of the city is uncovered, as is an entrance to caverns underneath the city. After they solve the problem, more killings occur, and Margar and the samurai descend into the caverns and find them deeper and more interesting than they would have thought. The truth they discover will shake all of Margar’s beliefs and help explain the prophecies of the Blind Sister of the Domia.
 This is a multi-layered story, and facts and history are uncovered that help them in their quest. Margar and his friends are interesting characters, and Joy keeps the story moving with them and plenty of action, along with a well designed plot that only discloses the true motives of Margar. This is an extremely well written tale that has touches of Burroughs and Terry Brooks. It is a sword-and-mystery tale that will appeal to almost every reader. Be sure to pick this one up.

Knight Spirits, David Kuzminski, www.double-dragon-ebooks.com, $4.99, 226 pages, ISBN: 1554040949, reviewed by Barry Hunter.
 Here in a feudal society, the Knights of the Star are seeking applicants to fill some openings in the order. It is based on some religious beliefs, but their most important mission is to maintain the peace and protect the kingdom from invasion. The applicants must pass some strange tests: wearing a leather suit suspended in the air by ropes, learning some strange phrases like “up”, “down”, “hover”, and finding out if their voice will activate the strange flying suits the Knights wear.
 Several years before, the starship Staten Island crash-landed on this planet and the only survivor was able to train one person in the suit’s operation. From then on this became a religion with the responsibilities of their mission. Currently there are twelve empty suits, of which four have lost their power.
 Kuzminski has written a riveting novel of technology being seen as magic with plenty of action. The combination of a futuristic fighting suit in a medieval world and the normal palace intrigues makes for interesting reading. Kuzminski has written another winner to go along with his others. He continues to turn out original and interesting novels. Don’t miss this one and keep your eyes open for others to come.

Barry Hunter has been reading ever since he was old enough to hold a book. He has published Baryon for the last 28 years. It is available online at http://www.baryon-online.com

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The following publishers have new releases for 2004. You are sure to find a book for your reading enjoyment. Check them out and tell them you saw their listing on eBook Ecstasy.

Wings ePress Inc. at http://www.wings-press.com/
Twilight Times Publishing at http://twilighttimesbooks.com/
New Concepts Publishing at http://www.newconceptspublishing.com/
NovelBooks Inc. at http://www.novelbooksinc.com/
Scheherazade Tales at http://scheherazadetales.com/
Amber Quill Press at http://www.amberquill.com/
Atlantic Bridge at http://www.atlanticbridge.net/
Awe-Struck at http://www.awe-struck.net/
Disk Us Publishing at http://diskuspublishing.com
Double Dragon Publishing at http://www.double-dragon-ebooks.com/
Extasy Books at http://www.extasybooks.com/
Embiid at http://www.embiid.net/
Hard Shell Word Factory at http://www.hardshell.com/
Mundania Press at http://www.mundania.com/submissions.html
 



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