Thursday, September 30, 2010

New Website

We're making progress with the new website and hope to go "live" shortly. Thanks for your patience. I did want you to know that I've added a new feature that will spotlight Windrusher's fans. You can be part of it by sending me a JPG photo of you and your cat reading or displaying one of my books. Well, unless your cat is extra-cerebral, you'll be reading the book and your cat will be watching you for any sudden movements – like reaching into your pocket for a yummy tuna treat. Send your photos to me at

And speaking of photos, while updating my page of photos of our cats for the new website, I came across this one of Gage, who passed on some years ago. As I was writing the first
Windrusher adventure, I used Gage as my model for Lil One. She was a true Wetlos, though a lovable one. We would crack up
at her antics like sitting and staring skywards as if a squadron
of invisible mice was marching across the ceiling. At other times, she enjoyed chasing his tail, though didn't seem to know what to do with it once he caught it. We miss Gage and still speak fondly of her.

I'm sure you have wonderful memories of your old friends.

Monday, September 13, 2010

What's Going On?

Did you know there was a revolution going on? Not the shooting wars in Africa and elsewhere, but one that's affecting everyone who reads. I'm referring to the e-revolution turning books into digital files.

How many of you have already joined the revolution? Do you have a Kindle or an iPad? How about a Nook or Sony Reader? These are the top four right now, with Amazon's Kindle and Apple's iPad leading the way—in a big way. Apple recently announced they had topped the 3 million mark for iPad sales while Amazon has lowered the price of the Kindle several times to stay competitive with the other e-readers.

Maybe you think, as I once did, that this was a passing trend. Who would want to read from a screen when they had the option of holding a real book in their hands, feel the weight and texture of the pages? Certainly, there will always be "real" books we can hold and pages to turn, but the publishing industry is learning some hard lessons the music industry learned several years back when the iPod and iTunes turned that industry on its head. Remember all those music stores? Coconuts, FlipSide, Tower Records, Musicland, Sam Goody? All gone.

The Association of American Publishers announced recently that sales of adult hardcover books for June were down almost 14 percent, while ebook sales were up an incredible 119 percent. Amazon recently reported that for every 100 hardcover books sold in June they sold 180 Kindle books. Authors Charlaine Harris, Stephanie Meyer, James Patters and Nora Roberts have each sold more than half-a-million books, and Stieg Larsson, author of the Millennium series that started with The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, has become the first author to sell over one million Kindle books. Unfortunately, he's dead and can't enjoy the fruits of his labors.

Which brings me back to my original question—did you know there was a revolution going on, and are you part of it? Each of my Windrusher books are available as Kindle downloads, but I have no idea how many people are taking advantage of this. Let me know if you own one of these devices and if you've downloaded any of the Windrusher books. As for me, I don't own a dedicated e-reader, though I do have several books loaded onto my iPod Touch. I am considering either the Kindle or iPad. What are your recommendations?

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Something borrowed, something new

If you've gone to my website in recent days you saw the Under Construction sign. After six years of pretending I knew what I was doing, I've turned the job over to a brilliant graphic designer and website professional. I may not be totally objective since he's my son, but I'm confident the results will be a great improvement over my haphazard attempts.

Below the Under Construction sign is an invitation to visit my Blog. I accepted that invitation and realized I hadn't added a new post in over a year. Chalk it up to my innate laziness, though I prefer to call it exhaustion caused by excessive multi-tasking. The truth is that last year I switched to sending out a monthly e-newsletter to my readers, but it got me to thinking about what authors do to keep their name alive in the minds of their readers. It reminded me of Billy Joel's song, The Entertainer. In his plaintive testament to the price of fame, he wails,

But if I go cold, I won't be sold.
I'll get put in the back in the discount rack
like another can of beans.

Most authors I know may not be able to relate to Billy Joel's fame, but we certainly understand his message. Before my first Windrusher book was published in 2004, I attended a writer's conference and heard one author say "a book had the shelf life of a banana." If those black-spotted fruit in my kitchen are any indication, that means they won't be around as long as that can of beans.

Which brings me back to my first blog post since February of 2009. With my new website, I promise to make a renewed effort to post regularly, speaking on all things writerly, on the changes in the publishing industry, and introducing you to other authors. And I'd love to hear from you. Offer me your insights, suggestions, comments. preferably written on the back of a ten dollar bill, but please respond either way. It's a brave new world out there for authors and book lovers. Let's enjoy it together.