Sunday, April 22, 2012

The western rides again?

I'm in an invitation only online group with some of the most published western writers today. Most of them have published hundreds of books. I've always been amazed that they invited me in.

They have been discussing something that is very good news if the trend continues. They have been noticing that royalties have been trending higher than in recent years. Berkley, which has been a mainstay of the western book market even when some other publishers quit doing them or scaled back is bringing back some earlier series. Other publishers are starting to contract western titles and I'm talking to one smaller publisher that is looking to start publishing a western line and wants me to help him find good projects for it. eBook sales are adding to the picture and publishers are starting to print more books to distribute. One by one western authors on this online list chimed in reporting increases.

Westerns have suddenly reappeared on the shelves at Walmart, in supermarkets where they haven't been before and some other places where they had all but disappeared. Add to this the fact that one of the hottest venues in romance these days are those with strong western characters, particularly books set in Texas, and historical fiction that is set in that time period and in the old west. One editor calls those "babes in bonnets books."

We've seen a renewed interest in western movies and television and hopefully that is helping increase the readership in western books. (The remake of True Grit demonstrated there is still a very strong audience for a western.) Media channels such as Netflix have been steadily increasing their stock of classic westerns and the studios that own them have been happy to respond to the demand by re-releasing the titles. We are being told that there is more coming up in the way of western tv and movies.

One of the best definitions of what a western is that I have heard is "a morality play on horseback." I believe in our modern times where there is such angst directed at Washington and such anger about the state of our economy and our country that the stark simplicity of the western is a wonderful release. It's the good guy versus the bad guy, usually with overwhelming odds, but good is going to triumph. We yearn for more of that in our lives, and that is a big factor in why people love westerns.

The interest in western books has always been cyclical, so perhaps this is the beginning of the next up cycle. I know those of us that love the genre can help by buying the titles coming out . . . and by talking up the fact that the western is back. Can you say "self-fulfilling prophesy?"

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

I'd like you to meet Ethan

What is the point of having a blog if you can't use it as a platform to brag on a new great-grandson?

Pictured is Ethan with the new mom, our granddaughter Kasey. He was born Sunday, Aptil 15th, and arrived just in time for lunch. We rushed down to Dallas from Amarillo but arrived just minutes too late. (I forgot my phone and had to turn around and get it since I use it to connect my computer when we are on the road) Those extra minutes would have made the difference. No problem, I figure Saundra will forgive me in a year or two. I've been doing penance by dog-sitting our two dogs and their four dogs (and working) while Saundra is next door with the baby and young family. Maybe that will help.

The young man weighed in at 8 lb 9 oz and was 20.25 inches long. He's a looker, and going through family pictures they found a picture of Kasey at five days old. You could practically trade out the pictures they were so much alike.

About time for us to return home, but first to drive into town to have lunch with our other great grand Micah (now one) and his parents at my favorite place to eat, Papadeaux Restaurant. Ah yes.

If you think it is not appropriate to use this type blog in this manner . . . well . . . get over it. It's what grandpa's do.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

German Language Book Rights sold

 Pelican Ventures Book Group announces sale of German language rights Aztec, NM – March 29, 2012 – Nicola Martinez, Publisher and Editor-in-Chief for Pelican Book Group, a Pelican Ventures company, announced today that Verlag der Francke Buchhandlung, a Christian book publisher located in Marburg, Germany, has obtained worldwide German language rights for RUBY DAWN, a romantic suspense novel written by Raquel Byrnes. Gospel Literature International, foreign rights agent for Pelican Ventures, negotiated the deal. The German-language edition of RUBY DAWN is expected to be released some time in 2013.

RUBY DAWN, which is the second in the Shades of Hope series penned by Ms. Byrnes, was first published in English by PBG’s White Rose Publishing imprint in January 2012 and is currently available for sale at retail outlets as well as publisher-direct. Ms. Byrnes, who is a resident of California, is represented by Terry Burns of Hartline Literary Agency. Other books in the Shades of Hope series are PURPLE KNOT, which is book one and also currently available for sale; and BAYOU BLUE, book three, which will be released by Pelican Book Group (White Rose Publishing) in August 2012.

Pelican Book Group publishes Christian fiction in a variety of sub-genres and story-lengths. White Rose Publishing imprint in particular publishes romance in lengths ranging from 10,000-word short stories to 80,000-word novels. Formats are electronic and print. Free reads offered on the site, as well as exclusive free reads for the public White Rose Publishing readers’ group are indicative of the types of stories that can be found in the White Rose Publishing catalogue.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Meet client Bonnie Calhoun

Meet Bonnie Calhoun, shown with me here at the American Christian Fiction Writer's conference right after she won the coveted "Mentor of the Year Award."

Bonnie is one busy lady. As the Owner/Director of the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance Bonnie has helped use the 220+ blogs of the Alliance to promote many titles on the Christian bestseller list. She owns and publishes the Christian Fiction Online magazine, which is devoted to readers and writers of Christian fiction. She is the Northeast Zone Director for American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW). At ACFW she was named the ‘Mentor of the Year’ for 2011, and she is the current President of (CAN) Christian Authors Network. Bonnie is also the Appointment Coordinator for both the Colorado Christian Writers Conference and the Greater Philadelphia Christian Writers Conference. In her spare time she is an avid social media junkie, and teaches Facebook, Twitter, Blogging and HTML as recreational occupations.

But the reason we seem to be seeing her everywhere right now is because of the release of her new mystery from Abingdon Press, "Cooking the Books." A delightful, fast-paced mystery with compelling characters and a twisting and turning storyline this is a book that has to be on your must read list. The book was just featured on the cover of Publisher's Weekly Magazine, the bible for the publishing industry and the source that many bookstore acquisition people and librarians use to order books. She not only got the cover, but the back and both inside cover pages as well. Amazing.

It seems like every day I am seeing another interview of her or another review showing up on her book. I've been involved in this business for a long time, and I've never seen anybody come out of the starting blocks like this. Everybody is talking about this book and you don't want to be left out. 

She has another deal set with Abingdon for a book in their "Quilts of Love" series entitled "Pieces of the Heart" set to release next August.

I predict that you're going to be seeing a lot more of this lady, even though she maintains a work schedule that will kill most of us . . .she's just getting started.