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Monthly Archives: September 2012

Which Publishing Houses Will Be Left Standing?

 

“Think summer blockbusters over indie films and celebrity titles over new voices,”  say LA Timesreporters Dawn C. Chmielewski and Carolyn Kellogg about the future of traditional publishing.  This pessimistic projection comes after a federal court ruled in favor of Amazon in a settlement between the mega-company and three major publishers accused of price-fixing and limiting competition. 

The judge’s decision has thrown the publishing world into massive upheaval.  Literary agent Gary Morris of the David Black Agency declares the decision “essentially handed Amazon a controlling share of the market.”  Others fear print books and brick-and-mortar stores will become an anomaly, not the norm.  Even the judge who ruled in the case agreed that bookstores and publishing houses would likely suffer due to his decision, but said that violating antitrust laws was not the answer. 

The problem with Amazon isn’t just that they are motivated by money.  It is a natural goal for most businesses to seek financial success.  Achieving this at the expense of literary quality and creative breadth isn’t a legal crime; however, it is morally and artistically bankrupt.   Any healthy vision for the future of publishing must include both literary aspirations–

what reader hasn’t experienced a mini-epiphany after reading a stunning passage in a novel?–as well as plans for cultivating new, fresh voices.

What’s the good news?  Now that Amazon has a green light to return to its earlier practice of dropping the wholesale price of books to a point below what traditional publishers can afford, those left standing will likely be the companies geared up for the digital revolution.  “We’re going through a fundamental transformation here,” James McQuivey, media analyst with Forrester Research says, “the companies in a position to focus on digital distribution are the companies positioned to take over.”

Fortunately, Fuze has been preparing, almost since our inception, for the digital revolution. We are gracefully poised not only to remain standing, but with our reader’s support, to thrive and flourish!  

Wednesday, September 26th marks the inauguration of our ebook store direct from the Fuze website!  This means readers can avoid all hosting sites, such as Amazon, and purchase and download ebooks directly from us!  More information is below. 

Have an opinion?  Comments are welcome on the Fuze Facebook page

 

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Read the entire LA Times article.

 
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Posted by on September 19, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Will Children Save Books?

As the last of the baby boomer generation nears retirement, the advertising industry and the business world scramble to anticipate this age group’s desires, it might strike readers as strange to learn that the biggest surge in the publishing industry comes from children’s and young adult books.

According to Susan Carpenter in her LA Timesarticle, “Young Readers Spark Book Resurgence,” last year “overall publisher revenues for children’s books were up 12 percent, to $2.78 billion, and e-books made astounding gains.”  Along with this surge has emerged a continued, strong interest from parents to read print books with their younger children.  John Mendelson, senior vice president of sales and digital initiatives for Candlewick, reports, “there’s a real tactile element to that engagement— sitting together and turning the page with a book in your lap.”

Interestingly enough, our aging boomer population’s fascination with youth is partly responsible for the leap in sales.  “The young adult, or YA, category is particularly healthy as a result of blockbuster franchises and strong crossover readership,” Carpenter reports.  “Many young adult books are read as much by adults as they are by their intended teen audiences.”

Not only is this good news for readers and publishers, but authors are also benefiting from the wave of interest.  “What seems to be different about the teen market as opposed to adult fiction,” says Susan Katz, president and publisher of HarperCollins Children’s Books, “is that young, first-time authors have a wide-open opportunity to sell like gangbusters.”

Later this month, Fuze will release our first children’s book, The Pepperoni Palm Tree, by father-son author team Jason and Aidan Meath.

Read the entire LA Times article.

 
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Posted by on September 12, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

A Few Good Drama Queens (and Kings)

By Mark Saunders

Recently I had the pleasure of leading a four-day workshop for writers and actors on the 10-minute play. Accomplished playwrights including David Henry Hwang, Steven Dietz, Tina Howe, Athol Fugard, Brian Friel, Theresa Rebeck and Tony Kushner have all written 10-minute plays. This dynamic and challenging form, “the American theater’s haiku,” has been embraced by actors and audiences around the globe.

So what is it? A successful ten-minute play is a compressed theatrical experience, with a beginning, middle, and end (but not necessarily in that order), almost always set in one location, with limited staging requirements, and almost always featuring a small cast, often only two to three characters. It’s not merely a scene from a longer play, a skit or a monologue. It is a play.

Anne Campbell and Marty Newman reading “Priorities” by Teresa Peterson.

My favorite quote about the form comes from Jon Jory, at the time a producer-director at Actors Theatre of Louisville: “A ten-minute play can tell a story that forty minutes or two hours would have ruined, and we’ve all gotten stuck with that guy at a party.”

Each day, from Monday through Thursday, the workshop met for a 90-minute session and then the participants would go home and work on their play. Their play had to be finished by Thursday because on Friday we held a public reading of what was created.

I was both thrilled and stunned by the quality of the work they produced and the variety of themes they covered, as well as by the compelling characters and engaging conflicts they created. There were plays on everything from the house-sitting gig from Hell to a family of head-shrinking cannibals struggling to maintain their traditions. Other plays dealt with cancer, putting on a farewell party for a stranger who is dying, the events of 9/11, and an adult son changing his last name against his mother’s wishes; a dystopian downer and a tattoo parlor upper; budding love and a strained father-daughter relationship.

Kate Rowland and Bill Pearlman reading “Off Season” by Randy Kraft.

Again, it wasn’t just the variety that impressed me, it was the quality of their work that took my breath away. I want to thank each member of that workshop for sharing their talent and their stories. Truth be told, I wouldn’t mind getting stuck with any of them at a party.

With a standing ovation even though I’m sitting down, here are their plays: Off Season by L. Randy Kraft; Done While You Wait by Marty Newman; In Concert by Mary Birmingham; Mother Knows Best by Lee Bellavance; Family Recipe by Rick Roberts; Priorities by Teresa Peterson; By Any Other Name by Anne Campbell; My Father and I by Jill Nieglos; Pink Slips by David Stea; and Bon Voyage by Deborah Stein Kent.

The workshop was a part of Encuentro de Teatro, a one-week celebration of the performing arts in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, held during the last week in August. I want to thank the producers of the festival, Kate Lowenstein and John Morrow, for their support. I also want to thank John Donnelly of Portland, Oregon, my friend and fellow playwright. The San Miguel workshop was based on a workshop John Donnelly and I co-taught at Portland State University.

For another perspective on the San Miguel workshop, please visit Randy Kraft’s blog: http://lagunadispatch.blogspot.com

 
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Posted by on September 9, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

How the Winds Laughed Cover Revealed!

 

How the Winds Laughed is a compelling memoir about two novice ocean sailors embarking on a voyage around the world.  En route they suffer enormous mental and physical stress and learn more, perhaps, than they wanted to know about each other.  There is much to learn from this well-written book: about the sea, sailing, island cultures, and personal relationships. How the Winds Laughed is as much for armchair sailors as it is for experienced mariners.

–Anthony Dalton, author of Alone Against the Arctic and eight other books about the sea

 

Order How the Winds Laughed today!

Cover art by Ray Rhamey.
 
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Posted by on September 5, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Fuze Interviews How the Winds Laughed Author Addie Greene

In the beginning, Addie Greene is afraid to climb a mast, even at dock, or change sails on a bucking foredeck washed with breaking waves.  Yet as she and her young husband take 

on the “great adventure” of circumnavigation in a 28-foot boat, a succession of catastrophes demands that she become the driving force in carrying them forward and eventually safely home. 

 This week, Fuze interviewed Addie Greene, author of the new memoir, How the Winds Laughed (September 2012), who reflects on her adventure, her writing process, and the impact of the journey on her first marriage.

 When did you decide you would write a book about your experience?

I began writing on our first passage, from Los Angeles to Nuku Hiva, for the Santa Barbara News-Press, which paid me $10 apiece for the stories.  Then, after Sea Magazine asked me for a full-length manuscript, I began turning these stories into a book.

This is a true story from personal experience! How is the writing process different from the writing of fiction?

In some ways fiction is easier, because in writing fiction you are not constrained by fact.

 How long did it take to write How the Winds Laughed?

The first draft (crossing the Pacific) I finished in a little more than a year. The manuscript then sat in a box for more than 30 years, until I resuscitated it and ran it twice through my critique group. Then Molly Tinsley [Fuze co-founder] and I honed it for fourteen more months.

 What was the most difficult part of writing this book?

 Getting rid of extraneous, unimportant details—shaping the material into a story.

The title of the book comes up in the very first chapter. Can you say a bit about the

meaning of it and how you chose it?

 

               On a wagon bound for market

               There’s a calf with a mournful eye

               High above him there’s a swallow

               Winging swiftly through the sky

 

               How the winds are laughing

               They laugh with all their might

               Laugh and laugh the whole day through

               And half the summer’s night

 

This Joan Baez folk song, one of my favorites when I was in college, goes on to say

 

               But whoever treasures freedom

               Like the swallow has learned to fly

 

The calf’s bondage, and the swallow’s freedom, epitomized for me the meaning of our trip.

 

Do you still keep in touch with the people you met along the way?

 Father Fletcher, who left the priesthood, married, and had two children, visited us in California in the 1980s. Mike Thurston, who married an Australian woman, had two children, and sailed around the world twenty years after we did, visited me in Santa Barbara in the 1990s. Pete and I, divorced five years, sailed back to the Marquesas Islands in his 40-foot Owens cutter with our nine-year-old daughter Addie and seven-year-old son Peter in 1984.  And Pete and his mother went back to Abaiang in the 1980s.

 

What do you think was the strangest thing you did? Strangest thing you ate?

Probably making love in the caldera of a volcano tops the list. And the strangest thing I ate–whale washed up on the reef.

How did this experience change your life?

 It made me look at my culture from the outside in and permanently exterminated my need for television.

 

What is the most important lesson you would like for the reader to remember?

The people we met, by and large poor, gave of themselves and what little they had, which gave me hope that all of us on the planet can live in peace and harmony.

Would you recommend this trip to another young married couple? You and Pete divorced after sharing this experience, yet you dedicate the book to him. So, the two of you must have weathered more than storms and interesting experiences at sea. What does he think of the book?

 In the way in which we made the trip, no I would not recommend it.  It was so physically demanding I couldn’t do it now.  And the constant worry about money, and not being able to fix broken equipment, as I said “weighed on me like a stone.”  Pete isn’t entirely happy with my portrayal of him, but when I asked him if he thought it was fair, he said yes.

The story of Addie’s journey, How the Winds Laughed,arrives in September from Fuze Publishing, but you canorder your copy of this brave memoir today on the Fuze website!

Next week–How the Winds Laughed cover revealed!

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on September 5, 2012 in Uncategorized