Thank you for a great year in publishing!

I wanted to thank you for a marvelous year. In 2014, SINFUL FOLK became a #1 Historical Fiction bestseller on Amazon, received a nomination for the Pacific Northwest Bookseller’s Award, has been reviewed by a number of amazing top authors, is featured at great bookstores like Elliott Bay Bookstore and Powell’s Books, was on several top 10 lists, and has sold amazingly well. I did in-person readings of the book at bookstores up and down the West Coast — my favorites were readings at Auntie’s Bookstore in Spokane and in my hometown of Olympia, where I read accompanied by a great upright bass player at Orca Books. Primarily, I have my readers to thank for this success — thank you for all your reading, good thoughts, and lovely reviews!...

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Amazon finally hits back

Dear KDP Author, Just ahead of World War II, there was a radical invention that shook the foundations of book publishing. It was the paperback book. This was a time when movie tickets cost 10 or 20 cents, and books cost $2.50. The new paperback cost 25 cents – it was ten times cheaper. Readers loved the paperback and millions of copies were sold in just the first year. With it being so inexpensive and with so many more people able to afford to buy and read books, you would think the literary establishment of the day would have celebrated the invention of the paperback, yes? Nope. Instead, they dug in and circled the wagons. They believed low cost paperbacks would destroy literary culture and harm the industry (not to mention their own bank accounts). Many...

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BookList Review

Good news on the book front… novel SINFUL FOLK reviewed in 100-year-old BOOKLIST — the magazine the New York Times calls “an acquisitions bible for public and school librarians nationwide.” From Booklist   *Starred Review*   “In December of 1377, five children are burned in a suspicious house fire. Awash in paranoia and prejudice, the fathers suspect it is the work of Jews and set out to seek justice from the king, loading the charred bodies of their boys onto a cart. Unbeknownst to them, among them is a woman, Mear, who has been hiding out in the town for the past 10 years posing as a mute man. It is a treacherous journey, for their rations are spare and the weather is brutal. And always, they are haunted by the question,...

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The Writing Process

I was invited by Steven Hendricks (author of Little Is Left to Tell) to participate in a “writing process blog tour.” Thanks, Steve! Each person on the tour tags three others to answer questions about creative work and their writing process. My process comments are below. I’ve tagged the following writers: author of paranormal fiction Mark Henry (Random House), historical novelist Jan Moran (St. Martin), and perennial historical romance best-selling author Kathryn Le Veque. My WRITING PROCESS.  1. What am I working on? I am currently working on three different fictional works, in various stages of the process for each. First, and top of mind for me right now is a new book in a new genre for me — a work of fantastic/weird fiction that is essentially a...

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Writing “realistic” magic — a post on Tim Powers & John Bellairs

  (written as a participant in the Rainier Writing Workshop)     LAST CALL and HOUSE WITH THE CLOCK IN ITS WALLS Tim Powers and John Bellairs In my spies+sorcery novel Wilderness of Mirrors, I’m trying to write a grounded fantasy that builds on known facts about the Cold War, the War on Terror, 9/11 and the WTC. I am attempting to construct a fantasy that feels as intricate and realistic as the spy novels of John Le Carré. I think I can write a pretty good spy plot, with gun battles, secrets passed in the dark, cryptographic codes to be broken, etc.  The tricky part of the novel for me is writing the “fantasy” part, as to this point in my writerly life, I’ve written “straight” contemporary or historical fiction. I also have no desire to craft a...

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