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Book Review of "Decanted ", by Linda Sheehan


Decanted by Linda Sheehan is a beautifully told atmospheric novel comprised of two interwoven stories set mostly in the vineyards of France.  It’s a story about love, heartbreak, redemption, resilience, courage, and the intriguing world of wine.

Decanted presents an immersive glimpse into winemaking and the clique of winemakers who are at the top of their craft. By pure osmosis, you’ll learn that your wine cellar should be cooler than 55 degrees Fahrenheit and most importantly, you’ll learn that old dusty 1945 bottle of Romanée-Conti, sitting on a shelf in your basement is probably worth over 100,000 dollars.

Sheehan tells her story in evocative prose that makes your reading of her novel a bit surreal,  a little bit magical, and totally absorbing.  If you have ever been to France, you’ll feel like you’re back. If you haven’t: welcome. It’s a crazy place. You’ll get a feel for the wine region’s unique, romantic atmosphere.

Alternating between the past and present, friendships and romance, hope, and despair, Decanted becomes a novel about finding oneself through passion, history, acknowledgment, grief, and love.


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Book Review of "Crystal Chronicles – Flame of the Fallen", by Dyon Whiteley


Crystal Chronicles – Flame of the Fallen, by Dyon Whiteley, is an epic tale based in the futuristic fantasy Kingdom of Orericite. Many years after humans played a part in destroying organic earth, inorganic creatures - morphed from earth's stone and metallic ore - battle for control of the land leftover. 

Whiteley kicks off his story in a dismal dark world where the inhabitants are about to engage in a violent civil war.   With beautiful descriptions and memorable characters, Whiteley masterfully provides commentary on the politics, habits, and the ways of his fantastical creatures that are the new rulers of earth.  An utterly gripping saga that is written in the first person in a way that pulls you into the "alien" perspective by the assumption that this perspective is "normal."   The fun of reading Whiteley's novel is that somehow, he manages to think of and describe these malevolent entities that equal the surrealistic creatures and nightmare landscapes that HR Giger conceived in drawings. There is also a considerable amount of gore and cruelty in the novel that is written in such a way that pulls at your emotions.   


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Updates From Barnes & Noble Press, Thirty Influential Figures in Publishing, and More


Found on Poets & Writers Magazine


Every day Poets & Writers Magazine scans the headlines—publishing reports, literary dispatches, academic announcements, and more—for all the news that creative writers need to know. Here are today’s stories.

Barnes & Noble has announced updates to its self-publishing platform, Barnes & Noble Press. The royalty rate for e-book sales has been increased to 70 percent; authors previously received between 40 to 65 percent. The platform also expedited its payment schedule from a sixty-day to thirty-day model. (Publishers Weekly)

Book & Film Globe has announced its inaugural Publishing Power 30, an “annual list of the book business’s most influential gatekeepers.” This year’s thirty professionals include publishers Reagan Arthur and Dana Canedy, and writers L. L. McKinney and Celeste Ng.

“When I revise, as I approach the hard parts, I remind myself that the work I am doing is for my younger self and for others who are out there suffering and might find use in my work.” In conversation with her editor Megha Majumdar, Randa Jarrar reflects on the writing process of her memoir, Love Is an Ex-Country. (Catapult)

Jarrar appears in this week’s installment of Ten Questions from Poets & Writers Magazine.

“I do believe that my legal education and work help me to do something important for my writing, which is to question my characters and to ask questions about them.” Cherie Jones discusses building complex characters for her debut novel, How the One-Armed Sister Sweeps Her House. (Los Angeles Times)

“Anytime I’m going through a really difficult experience, I’m always trying to work it out in my dream life.” Jackie Wang shares how images from her dreams informed her debut poetry collection, The Sunflower Cast a Spell to Save Us From the Void. (NPR)

“Have I mentioned that both books are very funny? This seems essential to writing anything good about the internet.” Emily Temple compares how two debut novels—Fake Accounts by Lauren Oyler and No One Is Talking About This by Patricia Lockwood—represent life on the internet. (Literary Hub)

“If you’re having difficulty writing traditionally constructed poetry, the medium of found poetry can let you gain access to a vocabulary you didn’t know you needed.” E. Kristin Anderson recommends trying erasure poetry. (New York Times)

“Fiction’s espionage genre has long been a boy’s club.” Paul Vidich recommends ten spy novels that feature women in the lead roles. (Electric Literature)

Book Review of "Touching Gently: A Memoir", by Charles Hargrove


In his book, Touching Gently, A Memoir, Charles Hargrove had the unique ability to welcome the reader to the culture and times living in Southern California in the 1930s. He takes the reader on a journey beginning with his childhood, which included loving parents, horses, boy scouts, a teenage romance, acceptance into the right crowd at school, a job in the family business, his first heartbreak, and a chance at an acting career.

Hargrove’s memoir continues with detailed vignettes of his experiences in college, meeting the love of his life, Joan Von Euer and his stint in the Navy during the Korean War. Serving as a Quartermaster on a destroyer, he writes vivid descriptions of life aboard the USS Halsey Powell: sleeping in narrow bunks stacked three feet high, rough seas and seasickness.

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Barry Lopez: ‘We Don’t Need the Writer. What We Need is the Story, Because This Keeps Us Alive’


From Beyond the Page: The Best of the Sun Valley Writers‘ Conference


Welcome to Beyond the Page: The Best of the Sun Valley Writers’ Conference. Over the past 25 years, SVWC has become the gold standard of American literary festivals, bringing together contemporary writing’s brightest stars for their view of the world through a literary lens. Every month, Beyond the Page curates and distills the best talks from the past quarter century at the Writers’ Conference, giving you a front row seat on the kind of knowledge, inspiration, laughter, and meaning that Sun Valley is known for.

On Christmas morning 2020, the writer Barry Lopez died in Eugene, Oregon, surrounded by his family, after a long battle with prostate cancer. Widely honored as one of our greatest writers about the natural world—in nonfiction classics such as Of Wolves and MenArctic Dreams, and Horizon—for half a century Barry traveled the globe—High Arctic to Antarctica, Oregon to Kenya—bringing back stories etched in luminous prose that explored our profound connections to the diverse, fragile planet we inhabit.


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Global ePublishing Revenues to Grow by 9% YoY to $27B in 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic caused a massive hit to the offline bookselling and newspaper industries, with millions of customers turning to digital media and online content amid lockdown. According to data presented by, the rising demand for online content is expected to continue this year, with the global ePublishing industry reaching $27bn in revenue in 2021, a 9% jump year-over-year.
eBooks to hit $15.6bn in Revenue This Year
The ePublishing market includes eBooks, digital editions of the consumer or business magazines called eMagazines, and ePapers as online versions of daily or weekly newspapers. This type of digital content provides several advantages to customers.
The content is easy to purchase, and can be downloaded directly on the reading device itself. Whole libraries can be stored online without the need for physical space, which means easier transportation of books. Moreover, ePublishing is also a cost-efficient option for publishers, allowing them to save on printing, logistics, and sales costs. 
In 2017, the revenue of the global ePublishing industry amounted to $21.8bn. In the next two years, this figure rose by 13% to $24.7bn. Statistics show that revenues of the entire sector slightly increased to $24.8bn in 2020, despite the increasing demand for online content amid the COVID-19 lockdown. However, this figure is set to reach almost $32.3bn by 2025.
The global ePublishing market is dominated by eBooks, which are set to reach over one billion users and generate $15.6bn in revenue in 2021, a 6% jump year-over-year. eMagazines and ePapers play a considerably smaller role and are expected to hit $7.2bn and $4.2bn in revenue, respectively.
Amazon is the key player in the ePublishing business. With the launch of its eReader called Kindle and the associated Kindle Store in 2007, Amazon became an online distribution service for eBooks.
Following the streaming trend, Amazon also offers subscription-based access to its library, enabling an unlimited consumption of eBooks for a monthly fee. Today, the Kindle Store includes over six million eBooks and 60,000 audiobooks, making it one of the world's biggest ePublishing services.
Statista survey showed that Amazon dominates in the US, German, and the UK market, with 83%, 66%, and 84% of respondents using its services to buy eBooks. On the other hand, the Chinese market is highly competitive, with iReader, Amazon and QQ Reader holding around 30% of the market share each.
The United States, Japan, and China to Generate Over 50% of ePublishing Revenues in 2021
The United States has a leading role in the global ePublishing market and is expected to generate $9.8bn in revenue in 2021, an 8% increase in a year. Statistics show that eBooks account for more than 60% of that value. As the second-largest globally, the Japanese market is expected to hit $2.3bn value in 2021, 10% more than a year ago. Revenue of the Chinese ePublishing market, as the third-largest globally, is set to rise by 11.1% YoY to $2.2bn in 2021. Although China is far behind in this comparison, statistics show the number of eBook users in the country is set to reach 378 million this year, almost four times more than in the United States and Japan combined.
With $1.7bn in revenue, the United Kingdom ranked as the largest ePublishing market in Europe and fourth-largest globally. Statistics show that eBooks also represent the largest segment of the UK's market, expected to hit $965 million value this year. South Korea follows, with $956 million in revenue, respectively.

The Literary Risk-Takers: On New Migrant and Refugee Fiction

Article from LitHub

John Domini Considers the Work of Viet Than Nguyen, Teju Cole, Dubravka Ugresic, and More

I can’t attend, for the road between my poem and Damascus is cut off for postmodern reasons.
–“I Can’t Attend,” by Ghayath Almadhoun

No ISBN sequence can keep track the world’s recent homeless, but the books won’t stop coming. As the refugee crisis grows unremittingly, with people out of Syria, El Salvador, Rwanda, Afghanistan, Bosnia… as the numbers mount, so do the novels and short stories. Fiction that grapples with the dislocation, the desperation, has surged over the past decade or so, and the output includes some celebrated recent titles. This year, our purgatorial 2020, has seen a fresh flurry, and several prove highly distinctive, both fine and strange.

Myself, attracted to such imaginations (and perhaps prodded by the ghost of my father, an economic refugee out of Southern Italy), I’ve been struck especially by that last element: the strangeness of these creations. Dream passages, nutty exaggeration, linguistic somersaults, disorienting shifts of frame and focus—these devices and others distinguish a surprising number of the imaginative works that struggle with these broken lives. That goes as well for authors working in their second or third language, a situation that you’d think would make them rely on the simple and standard. Instead, they embrace the subversive, and this refusal to conform gives me my essay. I’d argue that a norm-busting impulse distinguishes the most authentic fiction about migrants and refugees.


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Book Review of "Almost Damned", by Chris Leibig


Chris Leibig’s 2016 PenCraft award-winning novel Almost Mortal ended with defense attorney Samson Young, having just learned that his client Camille Paradisi had risen from the dead after being brutally shot to death in front of the Bennett County Courthouse, agrees to represent her and the other descendants of the Fallen Angels in their plea for redemption.   In this sequel, Almost Damned, Sam seeks to keep his commitment. But how? Samson Young is a criminal defense attorney with an office in contemporary Washington, DC.  He is struggling to handle several legal cases that seem to be mysteriously interconnected.  The intense opening court scene sets the stage for drama and suspense that keeps the reader guessing until the last page.


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Book Review of "The Gotten", by Rob Tucker


Astrid Sims is a new girl in town. The Gotten, by Rob Tucker, is a young adult novel that introduces a precocious thirteen-year-old British girl into the world of pre-teen boys. Set in the 1950s in a small Mid-west town, Astrid’s intimidating personality, intellect and boldness set her apart from the other girls. She self-assuredly inserts herself into a clique of four boys, Ray Kern, Eddie Devito, Steven Tilman, and Clement Petersen. Although they resent her for including herself in their social circle, she ingratiates herself by contributing a doorbell to the boys’ tree fort. She says the bell is magical and introduces a game she called, “ring if you dare.” 

 Astrid impresses the boys with her world of imagination by installing the doorbell on their tree fort.  She starts a rumor that if a person rings the bell with a question in mind, the bell will provide an answer.  Does it really have that power?

Suddenly the boys and Astrid disappear, causing chaos in the small community. The police, news media, and parents become involved in searching for the boys and Astrid. Rumors fly.  They question if she is a witch who has control of the future?

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Book Review of "Beyond Revelation", by John Hazen


Beyond Revelation by John Hazen is the third novel in his Francine Vega Investigative Thriller series. Told in the first person by Francine Vega, a TV journalist in New York City. She is as much a detective as she is a reporter.

Hazen makes this novel easy to enjoy as a stand-alone by having his protagonist give an intriguing glimpse into the series' first two installments. The back story also tempts readers to peruse the previous novels. Beyond Revelation opens with Francine expressing her emotional involvement with her family, her job, and previous experiences as an investigative journalist. The behind-the-scenes of news media, news programming, and the workings of a news network lead into the main plot.

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Why Does Goodreads Have a Problem with Fiction by Women, About Women?

Introducing the Madievsky Rule

If you’ve used the internet to read book or film reviews in the last decade, you’ve probably heard of the Bechdel test. Cartoonist Alison Bechdel introduced the test in her comic strip Dykes To Watch Out For in 1985 as a means of assessing the ways women are portrayed in fiction. The test consists of a simple yes-or-no question: Does it depict two women in conversation about something other than a man? The Bechdel test doesn’t assess the quality of representation, nor does it determine whether the work is told through a feminist lens. It’s less a summative evaluation than a quick-and-dirty assessment of whether the work meets even a basic representational standard.

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Book Review of "Torment in the Wind", by Judy Bruce


Judy Bruce's Torment in the Wind is the seventh installment of the Wind Series. Megan Docket, who is a small-town attorney, is the surprisingly endearing protagonist of the series. Her preferred legal practice is estate planning, wills, and tort cases, but unfortunately, she repeatedly finds herself serving in criminal cases.   She also is a gifted yet troubled female detective. 

A threatening letter mailed from the state of Nevada sets off a series of revelations that unearths deep secrets, and Bruce's layered approach gives the book more than enough plot points to keep the novel exciting.   

Bruce's choice to reveal the possible villain's identities and peel back the layers of their family lives creates an atmosphere full of ominous suspense. Which one of them is the real villain in this story? Which one of them is out to kill Megan? 


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Writing a Book? Here’s How Authors Make Money.

Writing a Book? Here’s How Authors Make Money.

Posted by  | Dec 16, 2016 |  | 13  |     

Writing a Book? Here’s How Authors Make Money.

Have you been thinking about writing a book, but wondering if it’s worth the time and effort? Have you been wondering how exactly do authors make money? How much do authors make per book? Whether you write books on how to make money or romance novels, this advice is actionable.

Maybe you’ve already written a book to build you brand. Now you’re wondering how to get the most out of your efforts.

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What’s Your Definition Of Success As A Writer? How Do You Measure It?

“Writing isn't about making money, getting famous, getting dates, getting laid, or making friends. In the end it's about enriching the lives of those who will read your work, and enriching your own life as well.”

Stephen King

A lot of the creative dissatisfaction comes from not being clear about your definition of success.

For many writers, publishing a book is a nebulous goal that has dollar signs and media mentions attached to it, but often hasn't been specified clearly enough. So whatever stage you're at on the writer's journey, identifying your definition of success will help a great deal. Watch the video below or here on YouTube.

Why are you writing?

Why do you want your book published and out in the world for others to read?


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Indie Success: “The Best of All Possible Worlds”

By Matia Madrona Query | 

Nov 20, 2020

Hugh Howey

For many in the self-publishing community, bestselling author Hugh Howey needs no introduction. He has written numerous sci-fi novels across multiple series, including the Bern Saga, the Sand series, and the postapocalyptic Silo Saga, which began with Wool, published in 2011 through Amazon’s Kindle Direct program. The series is set in a future when humanity has escaped an uninhabitable surface world by moving into underground silos.

This year, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt published all three Silo books—Wool, Shift, and Dust—individually and as a box set. The books have new covers, and the set features original tie-in essays and a chapbook of short stories.



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