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Monthly Archives: January 2013

News Flash: Ebook Growth Slowing, Hardcover DoingWell–Wall Street Journal on Print Versus Digital

If you clicked above on author Margaret Atwood’s 2011 humorous description of the history of publishing (in which she identifies one of the first forms as “yelling”), and her speculation about the state of digital publishing, you listened to her wry but somewhat anxious questions about how the ebook revolution might affect authors, even one as established as herself.  This video was made less than two years ago, and Atwood was not alone in her speculation and fears. 

According to a recent  Wall Street Journal article entitled, “Don’t Burn Your Books, Print Is Here To Stay,” correspondent Nicholas Carr reports that speculators have mostly favored ebooks for the win over print books. “By 2015, one media maven predicted…traditional books would be gone.”

But the market is turning an unexpected corner.  In a nutshell, ebooks growth is slowing, down from triple-digit sales to a healthy 32%, with hardcover sales doing well.  And tablets are moving ahead of ereaders, because owners can do more than read on them.  

Furthermore, the choice to go digital, or which books to buy as ebooks, is related to genre.

 For example, those who buy literary fiction are more inclined to read a print book, but ebook sales soar when it comes to thriller and romance. 

We’ve reported in this newsletter that despite the rise in ebook sales, readers are not abandoning print books.  “E-books,” according to Carr, “may turn out to be just another format—an even lighter-weight, more disposable paperback.”

 

The moral of the story? No format gets left out.

 

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Posted by on January 19, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

How I Got Talked Into Sailing Around the World by Addie Greene

AddieGreeneThe Plan was to get my new husband through a year and a half of undergraduate school at UCLA, four years of medical school, two years of internship, and two years of residency. That was all right. I had just turned 22, so I’d be a little over 32 when I could stop being the breadwinner and begin a family. I didn’t care where this adventure took us. As a journalist for the Los Angeles Times, I was sure I could get a job anywhere.

Then Pete applied to the California College of Medicine, which began life as the Pacific College of Osteopathy in 1896. His reasoning was that a third-tier medical school would be sure to accept him. It didn’t. I don’t remember the rejection letter, but it must have mentioned the fact that his undergraduate major was English literature and his grades in physics and physical chemistry were abysmal.

I think I was more upset than he was. After all, The Plan now seemed to be in smoking ruins. What were we going to do? What was Plan B?

With characteristic bravado, he wiped the frown from his face, smiled as he crumpled the letter and threw it on the floor, and said, “Well, that means we’ll have to sail around the world.”

“What?!” I was used to Pete’s non sequiturs, but this was more than I could follow.

“Yeah!” he exclaimed with growing excitement. “Now we’re free. We can do anything we want to do.”

I could feel the weight drop from him, as if he’d just shed 50 pounds. He had been carrying his father’s admonition, “You will become a doctor; I am a surgeon; my father was a doctor; you will become a doctor,” around his neck for more than 20 years.

In my mind I could hear him exult, “Dad, I couldn’t get in to medical school. I’ll have to do something else with my life.”

“But…” I said, still speechless.

“I’ll get a job on a newspaper, just like you,” he said. “We’ll save our money, buy a boat, and sail intoblowing winds the sunset.”

Plan B sounded more exciting than anything I could come up with, and way more exciting than slogging through nearly 10 more years of school and job prep. Despite hearing my parents’ voices in my head saying, “But wait a minute. What about buying a house? What about having children?” I answered them silently, “This is my chance for fun and excitement. This is my chance for a Great Adventure.”

And so the preparation began. Little did I realize the magical and life-threatening experiences awaiting me. Curious? I tell it all in my memoir, How the Winds Laughed, released by Fuze Publishing. (www.fuzepublishing.com)

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Posted by on January 5, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

Fuze Publishing Book Blog Hop Extravaganza!

We are hosting our first ever Book Blog Hop!  It’s a way for you to enjoy our blog and then link your own posts to ours so we can start a community and generate more dialogue about all things literary.  There’s a lot happening in the world of publishing, and a lot happening at Fuze.  We have 10 books out now, after almost 4 years in the independent publishing business. To join our Blog Hop, click the link below.  To see our books, go to http://www.fuzepublishing.com!  We’re having a sale all through the month of January!!!

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Posted by on January 3, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

The Supernatural in Memoir

I’m a scientist who always frowned upon new-age beliefs that crystals heal, that mountains house supernatural powers, humming will bring universal peace, and other hogwash. I set out to document in The Gift of El Tio that building a mine in Bolivia would alleviate poverty, and that development takes priority over protecting cultures. I discovered a huge silver deposit and if it required the move of an indigenous Qu

"The Gift of El Tio" by Larry Buchanan and Karen Gans

“The Gift of El Tio” by Larry Buchanan and Karen Gans

echua village, so be it.

Imagine how caught off-guard I was when told it was not solely I who was responsible for this discovery. For the past 400 years the Quechua have passed down word of a prophesy that in the year 2000 the people of San Cristobal would receive a gift, a gift that would make them rich in silver, given to them by their god of the underworld, El Tio. I made my discovery in 1995, close enough for the villagers to believe this gift was it.

Our memoir documents the life of a 1000-year old Quechua village soon to be destroyed and the impact that change would bring. Befriended by Senobio, a character in The Gift of El Tio, I learned ho

w very significant the supernatural is in the lives of these people. To write their story without including their beliefs would give an incomplete picture of who these people are. The Quechua of southwest Bolivia believe rocks are their direct ancestors, they are living souls that speak, feel emotions and have distinct personalities. Most are benign, never failing to offer good advice; others come alive at night to cause grievous harm. Every mountain is a mallku, a wise god; every cliff a demon or spirit; every rock an ancestor. At night the tales flow of the mischievous rocks, those Achachilas, blinding old people or making them deaf; of little blonde girls with cloven hooves luring men to their deaths; of those who commit suicide, zombie-like condemnados, roaming the earth in their wormy, bloody rags in their vain search for peace. How could we possibly ignore this important element of the Quechua culture and hope to give a full picture of their lives? They believe in spirits as we believe the sun rises in the east; they have lived with the demons, sprites, monsters, ghosts, and yes, the condemnados, their entire lives. They know they exist; they have no doubts.
In a culture that has no written history, story telling is a fine art, such as the story related to us by the village nurse, Octavio Lopez Colqui:

“Late at night you hear it. ‘Squeak, Squeak.’ It is trying to move. Oye, listen, very quiet, you hear it again. ‘Squeak, Squeak.’ Not loud. Very soft, like a campanita, a little bell. Getting louder, ‘Squeak,’ with each footstep, moving toward the village. Somebody will die this night. We hide under our blankets.” Octavio pulls his hands over his head, his bronze, weathered face staring into the flames as we nudge closer to each other.

“We call it El Ataut, perhaps it is Ataud, I don’t remember. Like a box but with four legs, no? Patitas we call them. We use it to carry the dead from the village up to the cemetery. It stays up there.”
Karen leans forward, “Have you ever seen it moving yourself?”

“No, no, never, very few people, only certain ones can see it move, but I have heard it many times, yes many times,” he says, cupping his hand to his ear to hear the distant sounds.

“It is made of wood, all of it, bound with some nails and cuero but it is old, the pieces rub together and it squeaks. I know it walks. You see the patitas. They are rounded, well rounded, worn by so many nights of walking through the rocks. Rounded, rounded, like this, and scratched. Yes.” Octavio demonstrates by curling his right hand into a tight fist and rubbing it with his left, laughing softly.
He leans forward as we huddle next to him to avoid the winds. The smell of llama and earth feels warm and comforting. “You hear it getting closer and closer. ‘Squeak, Squeak, Squeak,’ each time louder.” He leans back and laughs, “We put rocks against the door. We hide in the corners. You hear it walking down the streets, yes, up and down each street, up and down every one. And then…it stops.”

Karen and I react the same. “In front of somebody’s house?”
He nods his head. “Yes, then you wait…some time…some time. And you hear it. Again it starts to walk, away from the house. Back up the street, up the hill to the cemetery.”
“Carrying the dead?” we ask in unison.

He shakes his head. “No, no, not the dead. It steals el alma, the soul of the one about to die and carries it to the cemetery. It is Ataut’s duty. He must bury it in the shadow of the cross.”
“And, the person whose…?”

“Claro, of course, they die soon thereafter,” he says, shaking his head and spitting on the ground. Then he smiles, “That is the way it is.”
Karen and I snuggle a little closer. Three people had died in the past week. “That Ataut must be very busy,” I say.

larry and karenOctavio shrugs his shoulders, nods and smiles. “That is the way it is.”

This is just a taste of the Quechua belief systems introduced to us during our stay in San Cristobal. We invite you to read The Gift of El Tio and join us in our remarkable experiences – often unb

elievable, but true!

 

The Gift of El Tio is co-written by husband and wife team Larry Buchanan and Karen Gans.  The above blog post is written by Larry Buchanan.  To purchase the book, go to http://www.fuzepublishing.com

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Posted by on January 2, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

Crusade/Comedy/Funeral; or From Chaos to Story by Molly Best Tinsley

You could say my first motivation in writing my memoir Entering the Blue Stone was selfish.  The bookis an account of my parents’ final years, when my siblings and I had to move them from their home to an independent living apartment in a continuing care facility, then to the assisted living wing, and finally to the nursing home on the bottom floor.  A pretty common experience nowadays, but it feels extraordinary when it happens to you, a cross between a comedy of errors, a crusade for humane treatment, and, of course, a prolonged funeral.  In order to maintain my sanity, I transcribed events almost as they were happening, including conversations verbatim.  I was coping with the chaos by keeping notes–containing it in words.

finalcoverjpegBut I was also trying to glean something constructive from the wreckage—from these notes, I would be able to craft a cautionary tale that others might find helpful.  That line of thinking I inherited from my father—he always taught that the way to redeem yourself after a mistake was to analyze what happened and make sure you never slipped up again.  Where your parents’ end-of-life is concerned, you don’t get a second chance, but I hoped that in publicly telling their story, I might smooth the path for others.

I’m a writer, a story-teller, not a statistician, psychologist, or physician, and I believe that a boots-on-the-ground, anecdotal approach communicates information far more powerfully than some sort of abstract power point presentation.  Stories lodge in the memory; they bring human beings to life in a nuanced, three-dimensional world; they illustrate cause and effect.  Perhaps most important, in fully portraying the challenges and struggles that come with being human, they assure us that we aren’t alone.

So when my siblings and I were thrown into a vortex of incredulity, panic and pain; when the situation was plummeting from difficult to impossible; when it felt like the end of the world, I kept a record step by step of our search for a care facility and then our adaptation to one frustration after the next–the scenes, the dialogue, the unexpected sweet times, the inevitable bad.  Because the circumstances were so surreal, I wanted to create an almost documentary tone in recounting them.  No hysteria, no exclamatory outrage—just the facts.  They would speak for themselves.  And if my book begins as an account of what-not-to-do, by the end, there come insights that have enriched my life ever since.

Find out more about Entering the Blue Stone and other memoirs on the Fuze Publishing website http://www.fuzepublishing.com.  There you can sign up to receive a weekly newsletter that includes news about the publishing industry as well as my tips for strong writing—Tapping the Muze.

Air Force mollyforblogbrat Molly Best Tinsley taught on the civilian faculty at the United States Naval Academy for twenty years and is the institution’s first professor emerita.  Author of My Life with Darwin (Houghton Mifflin) and Throwing Knives (Ohio State University Press), she also co-authored Satan’s Chamber (Fuze Publishing) and the textbook, TheCreative Process (St. Martin’s).  Her fiction has earned two fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Sandstone Prize, and the Oregon Book Award.  Her plays have been read and produced nationwide.  She lives in Oregon, where she divides her time between Ashland and Portland.

 

 

 

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Posted by on January 2, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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