Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Roundtable Again!

You may remember Jeff Sherratt participating in the Thriller Writers Roundtable discussions this past month. Well, Teresa Burrell is joining the conversation this week, answering the question, "Who struggles more to write across gender lines - men or women?" The answers are already up, and the conversation is rumbling. It's a fantastic forum for writers and readers alike to share their varying perspectives. This question is particularly relevant for Teresa, as her novel, The Advocate's Betrayal, shifts back and forth between the point of view of the protagonist, Sabre Orin Brown, and her close friend, a cowboy detective, as they each search for answers to the riddle of a mysterious man's murder. Their stories stretch across the country, and their characters couldn't be more distinct. It takes artistry and craftsmanship to write such diverse perspectives, which puts Teresa in a distinctly knowledgeable position with this conversation. Feel free to join in the buzz!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Steamcon in Review

This past weekend was a buzz of excitement as we packed our bags and headed north to Steamcon II in Seattle, the second annual celebration of all things Steampunk. Apart from a brief foray into the city (because even we professionals have to pause to watch Harry Potter), we spent the entire weekend between the two hosting hotels - the Marriott and the Hilton - just outside of the Seatac airport.

Altogether, we were on seven panels discussing the future of Steampunk in publishing, the process of a book's publication from page to shelf, and the importance of an editor in a book's preparation. We sat with Nick Valentino, our own author of the Thomas Riley sequel being released in 2011; and Lisa Mantchev, author of the Theatre Illuminata series - a fascinating surrealistic leap into the magic of the ultimate theatre.

Just for fun, we also sat on some panels unrelated to publishing (because we do have a few other interests). From the Victorian Industrialization to the Crimean War to Steampunk as Modern Myth, the topics ranged widely. There was quite a lot to see as well. Costumes and crafts, books and bands, original artwork, inventions, and a host of other delights. If you couldn't make it this year, be sure to mark your calendars for Steamcon III. You won't want to miss it!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Steamcon or Bust . . .

It's only two days till we fly up to Seattle for Steamcon, and we are abuzz with excitement. Check out the schedule of panels and parties on the website for the delightful details of our upcoming weekend, and look forward to the updates as they come. We're doing all our last minute reading, packing, and general prep work in eager expectation of three full days ahead. Wish us luck - or meet us there!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Headed into the Holidays

The coming months are full of more than the usual holiday bustle. Between Teresa Burrell's full signing schedule, and the growing line-up of promotions and events for Jeff Sherratt's new release, we're almost full to the brim. There's always room for a little more, of course, which is how we're also able to work on editing multiple manuscripts for our 2011 releases while preparing to head to Steamcon 2010 in just over a week.

Here's a small list of some of the things we've been looking at lately:

Steven M. Thomas dropped a lovely review for Detour to Murder over at the OC Metro.

Jeff Sherratt's holiday newsletter is out, and it includes a rather intriguing giveaway from yours truly.

The Advocate's Betrayal has its very own website. Why? Because it's just that good.

If you haven't already listened in on Suspense Radio's interview of Alan Dershowitz and Jeff Sherratt, you'll find it here.

Riverside's Examiner took a look at Detour to Murder prior to Jeff's signing at the Tyler Galleria last week.

Join Jeff over at the famous Mystery Bookstore in Westwood tomorrow for an exclusive signing and discussion of the new release.

Steamcon or Bust!! There is no expressing the level of our excitement over the fast approaching steampunk convention in Seattle.

International Thriller Writers is hosting an online thriller roundtable for writers and readers of the genre. Jeff Sherratt is posting this week and next, but you'll also find our own Teresa Burrell and Mike Sirota joining in the coming months.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Notes from the Office: Mysteries

We're hours away from Halloween-day and there's nothing that says spooky like a good murder mystery. Thankfully, we have a good selection of those around here. In the next couple months, our two masters of mystery, Jeff Sherratt and Teresa Burrell, will be running a whirlwind signing tour throughout Southern California. Hitting bookstores in the Los Angeles, Riverside, Orange, and San Diego counties, there will be no opportunity for you to miss them.

Sherratt's Detour to Murder, out just this month, has been hitting the blogosphere big time. Only moments ago, for example, it was a feature title on Death in the Stacks. The big treat of that post is the film trailer for Detour, the classic source of the novel. Check it out!

One of the premier organizations for mystery and thriller writers in the country is ITW (Internation Thriller Writers). Not only is it a fantastic resource for readers and writers alike, the bestower of the annual Thriller Awards, and the host of ThrillerFest in New York every summer, the organization is staffed by the absolutely hands-down nicest people ever. In the coming months, they're launching a Thriller Roundtable in which writers across America participate in a weekly online panel session on various topics relating to the genre.

We at ZOVA are so excited to listen in on these forum-like discussions, not only because they'll be featuring some really dynamic authors, but because three of our own writers will be joining in!!! The discussion starts this Monday, November 1st, and will be joined by our own Jeff Sherratt the following week, on November 8th. Be sure to join in. It's a wonderful opportunity to make your voice heard, and to ask all those questions you've been dying to have answered from all your favorite mystery aficionados!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


November is just around the corner. For all of you who thought about participating in the National Novel-Writing Month last year and didn't, now's your chance to get a head start. Of course, the name of the game is outputting 50,000 words in only thirty days, but there are all sorts of ways to prep for day one. Check out Wired Magazine's How-To wiki for step-by-step suggestions on what to do between now and November first. Only 30,000 of the 165,000 people who participated last year actually made it to the final page. (I know . . . only 30,000.) This year, be one of the few. The proud. The novelists.

Monday, October 18, 2010

ZOVA Signs New Authors

If you've talked to anyone on the ZOVA team recently, you know there's a lot going on over here. We have so many projects in the works, and it's all stuff we're genuinely excited about. This month saw the release of Jeff Sherratt's newest Jimmy O'Brien mystery, Detour to Murder - a fitting follow-up to our debut release from Teresa Burrell, The Advocate's Betrayal. We gave you a heads-up when we signed acclaimed writer and editor Mike Sirota for his upcoming novel Fire Dance, to be released this coming February. With several more secrets in store, it's about time we mentioned two of our most recent authorial acquisitions.


Author of about a dozen widely-selling novels in a variety of genres, Michele Scott is a powerhouse of a writer. Our 2011 calendar is busting at the seams with her upcoming releases, from children's books to a brand new adult series, as well as the next installment of her famous Wine Lovers Mysteries. We are delighted to be working with her - not only because her books are loved wherever they go, but because she is a genuinely delightful person to work with. Welcome to the team, Michele!


Steampunk pioneer and all-around awesome guy, Nick Valentino is a certified ZOVA favorite. (Not that we at ZOVA have favorites...) After publishing his debut novel Thomas Riley last year, Nick went on to conquer book festivals across the nation. He conquered us too. We're so riled up about his work, we'll be joining him for a special author/publisher panel at the annual Steamcon event in Seattle next month! Join us on the Nick Valentino band wagon. I promise, it will be a fun ride!

For more information about these and other developments on the ZOVA front, visit our website, newly updated with current details.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Oh So Many Author Events

There's nothing like a new release to get you excited about the book industry. This past week saw the unveiling of the first book in Jeff Sherratt's film noir mystery series, Detour to Murder. Jeff shared a release date with the newest from Vince Flynn, Rick Riordan, and John le Carre. Join him at the Barnes & Noble in Torrance, CA, next weekend for the first public signing of the new release! It's the season to be reading, and there's so much to choose from. Be sure to put Detour at the top of your list!

We're also looking forward to hearing all the news from one of the mystery book world's biggest conferences, Bouchercon. Teresa Burrell and Jeff Sherratt are both up there this weekend. We're especially excited to hear about Teresa's panel appearance this morning on the "Continuous Conversation." If the event has made you interested in her most recent novel, The Advocate's Betrayal, then head over to the Borders in Mission Valley this Thursday - or on Friday to the Barnes & Noble in Palm Desert. You can pick up a copy of the book along with a freshly penned signature straight from the hands of the author herself.

All these events, and they still have time to write! How do they do it...?

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Detour to Murder

Today is the official release of Jeff Sherratt's novel, Detour to Murder! The first in a new film noir series, Sherratt returns to his indomitable criminal defense attorney, Jimmy O'Brien, but drives the familiar character in a very new direction. Taking its cues from the 1945 film classic, Detour, starring Tom Neal and Anne Savage, the story follows Al Roberts, a man accused of murder, thirty years after he's imprisoned for the crime. Of course, faithful ZOVA blog followers have heard most of this already. What you really want now is to read the book!

In which case, you should place your order on the ZOVA Books website, where early orders will receive free copies of the Detour DVD along with their book. Or meet Jeff Sherratt at any one of his many southern California events in the coming months. You can take a look at his schedule at, or subscribe to his monthly newsletter for up-to-date news and reviews. Of course, there's his own blog to follow, facebook to 'like,' and any number of other forums, book clubs, fan sites and more to join, post, save, site, request, inquire of, or generally follow. Yep, that's how we do things nowadays!

For those of you who pre-ordered your copy of the book, it may take a little longer than usual to get it to you through Amazon or Never fear - it will arrive soon enough. And it will be everything you were hoping for and more!

Friday, October 1, 2010

An Interview with Teresa Burrell

While we're linking over to other online articles in honor of our authors, there's one more to add to your surfing queue. Nourishing Relationships, a blog for women of the Baby Boomer generation, has posted an extensive interview with Teresa Burrell on her career changes, life choices, and general philosophy of getting things done. It's a fascinating look into the life of our first mystery novelist. The questions they ask are probing and her answers are both enlightening and inspirational. Readers have already responded with questions of their own, so feel free to join in the conversation.

The Big Thrill

There's a long list of October releases over at the Thriller Writers' monthly ''Hot Off the Press" article, but one in particular stands out to us. That would, of course, be our own Jeff Sherratt's Detour to Murder, ZOVA's most upcoming release being loosed on the world this very month. The ITW website features a wonderful article on the book, the original film, Detour, and the complexities of merging the two together. You can read the whole article by clicking here, or just feast on the introduction below:

"Fans of Jeff Sherratt's mystery series have come to expect certain things from his novels. Jimmy O'Brien books are clever, gripping, and addictive. Known for their multi-layered suspense, Sherratt's novels immerse the reader in the politics, society, and industry of Los Angeles in the 1970s, all the while maintaining a style more reminiscent of 1940s who-dunnit narratives than anything else. They're classy, surprising, and endearing - in a murder mystery kind of way."

An now, of course, you want to read the rest of it. Here's the link again. We've got to thank Karen Dionne and the staff at ITW for welcoming us as a publishing house and, by extension, welcoming all of our thrilling authors. We are marvelously proud of them.

Monday, September 27, 2010

The Southern California Writers' Conference

It's the start of a new week, and we're looking back on the weekend with the longing one gives to good days gone by. We spent this Saturday at the Southern California Writers' Conference in Newport Beach. The event was hosted by the Newport Hyatt, and they did a most beautiful job. The conference offered a number of interesting and informative topics presented by educated, experience, and all-around admirable authors, editors, and publishers. Our own Mike Sirota and Jeff Sherratt shared a presentation on Saturday morning, as well as offering their expertise in the read and critique options that highlight the event.

The ZOVA team was given a warm welcome by Michael Steven Gregory and Wes Albers, two of the events' most involved organizers, and we made a point to meet as many aspiring authors as we could. From a non-fiction book proposal on moral intelligence to a young adult novel about cheerleading spider monsters (or something like that), the variety of work in that place was endless. It was a testament to the creativity of our community and the power of the written word.

One other newsworthy revelation occurred during our trek through the conference, but that will have to wait till another post. It's not set in stone, yet, and it's too delightful. It shall have its own space. Just a warning to keep your eyes and ears ready for more developments on the ZOVA front. We are on the move!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Detour to Murder

You have to be in a certain kind of mood to sit down and watch a film noir, I think. Film buffs may disagree, but that's kind of how I feel about most art house films, too. You have to be ready for tragedy to strike. For injustice to rule. You have to be ready to walk in a gray area for the full length of a feature film.

Jeff Sherratt's new Jimmy O'Brien book, Detour to Murder, takes all the classy charm, the wry humor, the tossed-by-fate attitude of traditional film noir narratives - and its namesake Detour in particular - and gives them to the reader fresh, new, and thoroughly unpredictable. Will the tragical traditions of film noir reign in this novel as well? Or will we be taken by surprise with a happy ending after all? Will the twists and turns of the story follow the internal turmoil of a hopeless, hapless character, or will the twists and turns be more in line with Jimmy O'Brien's usual historical, social, and political windings? The story could take any number of detours (pun absolutely intended), and we can't wait to hear what you have to say about them.

The clock is quickly ticking down to our October 12th release date. Check out Jeff's BookTour calendar for detailed information about pre-release events and other Jeff Sherratt sightings in the fast-approaching future.

Sunday, September 5, 2010


When it comes to genres, ZOVA Books is all over the place. Mystery, science fiction, fantasy, thriller, you name it. (Okay, so we don't do romance. We have our limits.) This is why we keep our eyes fixed on awards, ceremonies, conferences, panels, festivals, and all the fixings that come with each of the different genres. So when the news popped up today that the Hugo Award winners were announced, we got pretty excited. Looks like there was a tie for first place between two authors with cool-sounding names (they write good books, too). Just makes you want to run out and pick up copies of everything on the list. Oh, Hugo. Thank you for highlighting such wonderful authors. Someday, we'll see one of our own gracing that brief but inspiring catalog of genric genius. Just you wait.

Monday, August 30, 2010

The Southern California Writers' Conference

Since it's less than a month away, we can start getting excited. Okay, so we've been excited about the Southern California Writers Conference for quite a while now, but our excitement grew all the more when we were mentioned in their front page featured news. Our author, Jeff Sherratt, will be a special guest this year, participating in the read and critique workshops they offer. Mike Sirota, out in 2011 with Fire Dance, is a regular at these events. We're looking forward to seeing him in his element. If you'd like to join us there, you'd better hurry. The event will last a full weekend, from September 24th to the 26th, in Newport Beach. Registration is up right now, so be sure to visit the website! Deadlines are the writer's greatest friend - and enemy - and this is one more fast approaching. Don't let it pass! And we'll see you there.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Looking Forward

If you've taken a look at our website in the last few weeks, you'll already have noticed that we have a new author listed among our noble crew. Hardly new, however, Mike Sirota is well-established in the writing community as an iconic writer of science fiction and fantasy - not to mention his many years as a professional editor for dozens of brilliant writers in the Southern California area and beyond. If you've visited a writers' conference anywhere between Santa Barbara and San Diego in the last several years, you're bound to have heard of him.

It's been a long time since his last book release, which is all the more reason we at ZOVA Books are pleased as punch to announce the publication of his latest novel, Fire Dance, in 2011. The release is a good six months out, but we're already hearing feedback from some impressive sources. The latest is a word from New York Times bestselling author Lisa Gardner: “So great to have a new book from legendary writing coach Mike Sirota. When he writes, you should listen!” And when she speaks, you should perk up. Welcome, Mike. We're glad to have you aboard!

Saturday, August 14, 2010


Check out the new updates to our website. You'll notice our author page is busting at the seams, not to mention the additions on our home page news. At the center of all the meetings, emails, manuscripts, graphics, updates, newsfeeds, and everything else that fills the day of the publisher, what it really comes down to is the sharing of good stories. And we certainly have plenty of those.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Book Blogging

Here are some finds from the book blogging world:

Slate suggests summer reading for college-bound freshman. Don't think I've read a thing on that list, but it sure looks appetizing.

Portfolio discusses the future
of brick and mortar stores. Will independents be the only survivors?

The top 10 most expensive
rare books sold on AbeBooks this month. I think I've heard of three of them.

Blogger on Barnes & Noble going up for sale. Should Amazon buy it?

A cover story: Nancy Werlin examines the step-by-step process behind the cover decisions of Extraordinary on Shelf Talker.

Already re-defining e-readers, the Copia combines the convenience of a digital library with the delights of social networking. Coming soon.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Manuscripts and Manpower

After our author meetings on Friday, the number of manuscripts we have waiting in the wings just about tripled. Partial manuscripts, completed manuscripts, backlist titles... and the list goes on. It's delightful, looking at all those pages full of the future. But it's also reasonably time consuming. Enter our new associate editor! ZOVA welcomes to the team Amanda Shults. Ms. Shults will be working under our editor-in-chief, Dan Silva, doing everything from evaluating submissions to line editing. There's a lot of work to do, but we're confident she'll do it well. Here's to the future!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

"Of what story or stories do I find myself a part?"

"Man is in his actions and practice, as well in his fictions, essentially a story-telling animal. He is not essentially, but becomes through his history, a teller of stories that aspire to truth. But the key question for men is not about their own authorship; I can only answer the question 'What am I to do?' if I can answer the prior question 'Of what story or stories do I find myself a part?' We enter human society, that is, with one or more imputed characters -- roles into which we have been drafted -- and we have to learn what they are in order to be able to understand how others respond to us and how our responses to them are apt to be construed."

- Alasdair MacIntyre (After Virtue, p. 216)

Monday, July 26, 2010

Sentenced to Read

Having now seen this article referenced in two of the blogs I follow (the brilliant Text Patterns, by Alan Jacobs, English professor at my alma mater; and the completely incongruent Bookshelves of Doom, by Leila Roy the Librarian) it seems appropriate that I pass it on to you. It outlines the fascinating work of a rehabilitation program in Texas called Changing Lives Through Literature (CLTL), in which numerous offenders participate in reading groups in lieu of prison time. Shall we say awesome? Yes, we shall. It is a truth universally acknowledged that reading changes lives. How encouraging to see the adage taken seriously at last.

Author Meetings and Brilliant Acquisitions.

This past Friday was a whirlwind of activity as we pulled a marathon of author meetings, from noon to night. All but one of our authors met us down in San Diego, a madhouse of activity, thanks to the annual Comic Con at the Convention Center. In between sightings of a skinny Thor, several Slave Leias, and the Ghostbusters, we sipped coffee and shuffled salads with new authors and old. ZOVA needs to remember to bring cameras to these things. It was a veritable photo fest.

Saturday, we headed up to Los Angeles for the Renegade Craft Fair. Sunburned and sticky, we wandered from booth to booth admiring the best of Southern California's DIY entrepreneurs.

Our favorites, of course, were the paper people. There were plenty of skilled graphic designers offering everything from stationary to book plates to scrapbook sets. Here are a few of our favorites:
DKNG : bold design and illustration
Paper & Type : delicate graphics for a personal touch
In-Vita Paper Studio : classic Renegade paper products
Redstar ink : our personal favorite of the favorites, their website is as lovely as their products

And since we're riding the graphic design train, here, we'd like to take a moment to introduce the newest addition to the ZOVA team. Daniel Pearson, graphic designer extraordinaire, will be working with us on everything from cover art to websites. We are so excited about this, we'll probably burn him out within the first week! It's a joy, not only to work with someone whose designs are so impressive, but whose energy and enthusiasm for the work rivals our own. Welcome to ZOVA, Daniel! We look forward to this partnership.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Friendly Criticism

Many of you aspiring writers remember what it felt like the first time you asked a friend to read your work. You told them you wanted their honest criticism, their straightforward feedback, but in reality, you were hoping for praise. Nothing but praise. Oodles of it. One of our favorite authors, Shannon Hale, recently blogged about what the writer is really looking for from friends - and family - when that precious manuscript is handed over. Friends of authors, take note. Authors, pass this along. It is wisdom. In blog form.

Monday, July 12, 2010

This Saturday, ZOVA joined our second author, Jeff Sherratt, for a Sisters in Crime mystery author panel at the Burbank Public Library. Jeff was joined by two other fabulous writers in the genre, Darrell James and Robert S. Levinson, to discuss how they write, what they read, and what's next in their careers as mystery authors extraordinaire. We got a few photos of the event and some video clips which will (hopefully) be posted shortly.

It was not only good to hear our author among his compatriots, but good to learn a bit more about Sisters in Crime, an organization that advocates for the equality of mystery authors in the marketplace - and publishing place. Sisters in Crime sets up dozens of panels and events for readers and writers throughout the year, making a wonderful resource for mystery/thriller aficionados around the world. Jeff Sherratt was a past board member for the organization, so it's no wonder he's a fan - but the organization speaks for itself in terms of literary quality, advocacy, and active participation in the field.

Equally as informative and delightful was getting to hear from the other authors on the panel. Bob Levinson proved to be a wonderful resource with his years of experience in the industry. Darrell James had thoughtful, compelling perspectives on the art and craft of writing. (His own writing style will be provocatively displayed on Jeff's next book cover for Detour to Murder. Thank you, Darrell!) From Jeff, of course, we heard more of his fascinating stories, the sort of tales that make you want to pick up his book and start reading. If you've chewed through Brimstone Murders and Guilty or Else, you haven't yet exhausted his store. Check out Expectation of Murder, the newest in the Jimmy O'Brien series, available as an exclusive ebook, for Kindle and iBooks.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

And we keep going....

It's been a few days since the launch of The Advocate's Betrayal, but we're hardly winding down here at ZOVA Books. The exclusive ebook release of Jeff Sherratt's Expectation of Murder - a tantalizing prequel to his October release - will be launching any day now on Kindle, iBooks, and all your other e-reading devices. We're crafting cover art for next years' releases, signing on new authors, and prepping for book festivals and author events all the way through 2011. Yep, we're keeping busy.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

The Launch!!

At two o'clock today, we celebrated the launch of Teresa Burrell's newest legal thriller, The Advocate's Betrayal, at the Barnes & Noble in Riverside. Friends, fans, and family gathered to congratulate Teresa on the completion of her second novel, to grab their own copy, and to get it signed by her own hand!

It was quite a crowd in that store with a long line to the signing table, but spirits were high (perhaps thanks as much to the fresh cookies and hot coffee as the excitement over the novel). Teresa started off the event with a brief discussion on her varied history as a teacher, lawyer, and novelist. There were plenty of great questions from the audience, from interest in our donation of profits to the International Justice Mission to curiosity about how Sabre Orin Brown got her name.
If we needed any more proof that readers are our favorite people, this would be it. The picture above shows the line of people waiting for a signed copy. Readers are patient! Readers are fun! Congratulations to Teresa on a job well done, and many thanks to the wonderful booksellers at Riverside! We're already looking forward to next year's launch, and the book isn't even done yet! Maybe getting a little ahead of ourselves? Evidence, I suppose, that we all had a good time.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The Advocate's Betrayal, Day One

Today was the first official day of sales for ZOVA's first official book release. Teresa Burrell's novel, The Advocate's Betrayal, was unveiled to readers at the Barnes & Noble in the Long Beach Town Center this morning around eleven o'clock. A thorough launch party is scheduled for this weekend, as I'm sure regular blog readers know, but several fans stopped by for their signed copies at the Long Beach location, bright and early. Paired next to her first novel, the new release looked appropriately patriotic with it's eye-catching cover graphics and sleek finish. If the sales figures from today are anything to go by, I'd say we have a new wave of eager readers entering the ranks of Advocate fans. Time to take a step back and let our author do what all our authors do best: tell a good story. Thank you, Teresa. Day one, done well.

Monday, June 28, 2010

If anyone's checked the countdown recently, you'll know that our first book, The Advocate's Betrayal, is being released in a matter of hours. You read that right. Not weeks. Not days. But hours. Teresa Burrell will be signing copies at the Barnes & Noble in the Long Beach Town Center tomorrow morning and through the week till she heads toward the Riverside Barnes & Noble at the Galleria at Tyler. There, we'll be celebrating the release from Friday to Sunday, with a special event on Saturday at two o'clock. Join us for a conversation with our author, your own signed copy of The Advocate's Betrayal, and some coffee and cookies on us! We're looking forward to meeting you there.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Press Release for the Launch

Four days left till the launch of The Advocate's Betrayal, and we're spreading the news wherever news can be spread! The press release for the launch aired today. It's a fun sort of game to Google around trying to find new and interesting places the press release has been featured. (More proof that the speed of knowledge in this information age has made us more curious rather than less.) Alternately, post the press release on your own page, blog, or site (is that redundant?) and see how quickly you pop up in the same search. It's also a sneaky way for us to get to know you, since we'll find you when we Google ourselves (Yes, we do that. You know, if we're ever bored...).

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

An Interview with Teresa Burrell

With barely six days left before the launch of The Advocate's Betrayal, we thought we'd ask the author a few questions about her writing. It's always a pleasure to get to know serious authors, and Teresa is no exception. I shot her some questions last night, and was delighted to hear back from her bright and early this morning with the following:

Where do you get the inspiration for your stories?

Most of my story lines come from real cases I was involved in at juvenile court. The Advocate's Betrayal came from an adult case and a juvenile case I dealt with in real life. The juvenile case dealt with a family that taught their children to hate. That kind of petition is very difficult to beat. The adult case is based on a dear friend of mine who lived her entire life in a lie. The main threads that run through both story lines are true, but they have definitely been fictionalized. Strangely enough, some of the true story is less believable than the fiction.

If you were going to write a series with a hero or heroine other than Sabre Orin Brown, what would the character be like?

I've thought for a long time about writing a young adult series, but I just have too many Advocate stories rambling around in my head that I'm not quite ready to move on yet.

What habits or rituals do you have while you're writing?

I write best in the early morning and without interruptions. When I get on a roll, sometimes I'll keep writing all day. If I have a few days when I can just keep writing, I leave my laptop on my bed and just start when I wake up.

What are your favorite mystery novels?

There are just too many to pick a favorite. I definitely prefer legal suspense novels, but I also enjoy a good 'cozy', like Rita Lakin's books.

Any hints as to what the third book will be about?

Sabre finds herself dealing with a satanic ritual case.

We could go on, but we don't want to steal your own questions. Swing by the Barnes & Noble in the Long Beach Town Center from June 29th to July 1 to grill her in person, or join us for a discussion and signing at the Barnes & Noble at the Riverside Galleria on July 3rd.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

One More Week....

Our first book, The Advocate's Betrayal, will be hitting stores one week from today. We've talked a lot about the release, and we're excited to hear feedback from readers about the story itself. Of course, you can read the blurbs on Amazon, our website, and even the back of the book. You can also check out Teresa Burrell's website for a sneak peak at the thrilling preface. There are all sorts of ways to prep yourself for Sabre's next novel.

We've got some other suggestions for readers as well. For the devoted Advocate fan, why not form a mystery book club? From local libraries to online forums, there are dozens of ways to share the Advocate love with friends and strangers alike. Or, be your own advocate! Educate yourself on the needs of children's advocacy in your area. There are plenty of volunteer organizations and advocacy groups you can participate in. Or start up a discussion group on our facebook fanpage - or Teresa's fanpage - to share your favorite passages, questions, and predictions. Visit Teresa at any of her weekly appearances to get your own signed copy, and bring your friends to share the love!

In the meantime, mark your calendars for the release on June 29th, and we'll see you at the Barnes & Noble in Long Beach - or at the launch party in Riverside the following weekend. We're counting down the days!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

The Mystery of the Bestseller

I've been thinking about what makes a bestseller. It's never been my goal to break the box office of books with a thrilling new release (though I do think our new releases are rather thrilling). It's my goal to shed some light on a few good stories and to present compelling authors to discriminating readers. I think that's even in our mission statement somewhere.... Anyway, I've been asking myself how books like Stieg Larsson's Millennium Trilogy or Lee Child's 61 Hours find their way to bestseller lists. With Child, it's a little more straightforward. It doesn't much matter what he writes, after all. His name sells the book. But Larsson? Now that's different.

Stieg Larsson died in 2004; The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo wasn't released until the following year. The book was written in Swedish, and the author made only casual attempts to publish it during his life. I remember when it first came out and Barnes & Noble chose it for their recommended reading title of the month. I was working for BN at the time, and those books sat in a big pile by the cafe, hardly touched by a single customer during the course of the day. The third one just came out at the end of May, an immediate bestseller. What happened between the first book's release and the last? Did the BN promotion eventually take effect? Was it the corresponding film release - a film most people still talk more about seeing than actually go to see? Was it the gradual wooing of the phenomenal cover art? Did people finally pick up the reviews and take them seriously?

I have a theory. I think a few people read it and started talking. They talked louder and longer than they usually did, and they talked about the book in particular. Other people took these first people seriously, picked it up, and talked about it themselves in a louder and longer way than usual. This louder and longer talking about this series of books was relayed through an exponentially growing network of readers and non-readers alike until everyone who hadn't read it bought it, those who had read it pre-ordered their copies of the third, and those who will never read it pretended that they would by buying copies of all three and setting them prominently on their bookshelves. Voila. A bestseller is born.

As I said before, it's never been my goal to set such a monster in motion. But it intrigues me. I am fascinated by every shift in the sales ranking for our first release, The Advocate's Betrayal. I wonder who it might be on the other side of Amazon, clicking the pre-order option. I wonder how they got there, what inspired their purchase, how they heard of it, how long it will take them to read it, whether they will recommend it to friends or keep it in a great collection of pretty books left unread. I want to know these things, but I never will. Readers are the great mystery, the ungovernable democracy that determines what will and will not move from the untouched stack of over-printed titles to the hottest thing on the market. Bravo, readers. I salute you.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

All the buzz has been the release of The Advocate's Betrayal in a few short weeks, and we are thrilled about that. But behind the scenes, we're also not forgetting our other releases, now fast approaching. There's an exclusive e-book hitting the internet from Jeff Sherratt in about a week (the release date remains a secret... prepare yourselves!), followed by the explosive release of an all new Jimmy O'Brien series in October, and our even more secret third author the following month. It seems like a ways away, but the weeks and months will be flying by. At least, they will for us. So get ready for a year of fresh reads! They're on their way.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Busy Saturday...

It's the weekend, which means we spend hours planning and prepping the week to come. There's so much to look forward to on Monday! We're gonna start seeing book reviews up on Amazon and, a press release or two, more detailed plans for the launch of The Advocate's Betrayal on June 29th, a visit to one of our favorite independent bookstores, free giveaways, and much, much more! I'm exhausted just thinking about it. And excited!

Thursday, June 3, 2010


It's never irrelevant for a publishing company to talk about a bookstore. So when I stumbled across this little gem, I just knew I had to share it with you. It's the goal of every publisher of quality to produce the sort of works that will last for years to come. You know, the sort that in fifty or a hundred years will find their ways onto shelves like these, and then again into the hands of careful, discriminating readers. I think that's somewhere in the ZOVA Books mission statement, actually. What we really want to do is to publish books that we would want to find ourselves, as we prowl the rows of beautiful spines in crowded bookshops, waiting to see the very title that will make us jump and squeal and grab it off the shelf. It is a noble goal.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Amazon and Other Places to Click

We are proud and thrilled and eager and honored to announce that Teresa Burrell's The Advocate's Betrayal is available to pre-order on Amazon. With 31 days left before the release, that's not long to wait for the next installment in the Advocate series! Just click through from our website, and you can lay claim to one of the very first copies. Alternately, if you're a big fan of e-books, or if you just like to supplement your print library with digital editions, the book is being released in pretty much every available e-book format. You'll be able to download to your Kindle, nook, or iPad the first day of the release! It's just our way of offering something for everyone.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Going to Press

When our VP, Holly Foland, and I went to visit our printer for the first time, I fell in love with Industry. That is, I fell in love with it again. I remembered all the factories, fisheries, farms, hangars, canneries, and warehouses across the country that I visited as a child. They were always fascinating hubs of work. Good, hard work, done well. Each a master of the art of specialization. A picture of what's behind the scenes of the individual products we use every day.

Our first book went to the press today. I should feel excited, or perhaps anxious about it, but instead I feel a confident assurance. I have seen their work, and they do it well. I have walked by the great rolls of paper in stacks to the ceiling, watched the books shuffle over the conveyor belt, the gloved workers packaging them quickly but carefully into their boxes.

Every step of the way, from Teresa typing the first word on the page to the aimless customer catching sight of it on the shelf, it's a huge and happy effort. We are proud to take our place in this great industry and look forward to what the future holds.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Jeff Sherratt and the Digital Age

Many of our readers bemoan the changing tides. E-readers and digital manuscripts are encroaching on what used to be sacred territory - the world of literature. Bookstores are getting rid of their comfy chairs and replacing them with digital displays. Even libraries are beginning to offer digital book loan programs. It is the end of an era, and the beginning of another. Already, I miss the old days.

Even so, I cannot deny the appeal of the new. In a lot of ways, it comes down to practicality. E-books are more affordable and more portable. There are dozens of features on every e-reader device that will appeal to dozens of different kinds of readers. They are a natural extension of every other technological shift in our world. It was really only a matter of time. On the other hand, print books will not be disappearing any time soon. You may find certain genres or formats gradually disappearing, but there are some books that simply cannot be transferred into digital form - and classics or personal favorites that we will want to see and feel and watch grow with age. Let us then consider the e-reader to be a complement to traditional reading. Perhaps someday it will be the other way around, but for now, print still reigns.

We at ZOVA Books are proud to honor both tradition and innovation as we provide you with the newest works from our favorite authors. This is why, in the midst of sending Teresa Burrell's book to the printer, we've signed our second author, Jeff Sherratt. Jeff's had this book in hiding for a while, so we're really excited to offer it to our readers as an exclusive digital book. It should be up for sale in the next few weeks, so check back for updates (yes, like a title and plotline...) as we move forward with this and other exciting developments.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Launching in 10...9...8....

Or rather, 60 days.

That's right, Teresa Burrell's legal thriller The Advocate's Betrayal will be released by ZOVA Books in sixty short days! If you don't believe me, check out the countdown on our website. It's just below the beautiful graphic of the book's front and back cover.

We are so excited about this release, we are planning two launch parties! And a tour on two coasts! And in the meantime, we'll be giving away a few freebies - copies of her first book for those who want to catch up in time for the new one - as well as highlighting characters from the novel, giving you one or two sneak peaks into its pages, and perhaps even opening a small door into the writer's world with a multi-part interview.

It sounds like a lot, but that's how we like to do things around here. We are just that excited! As always, there's much more to come. From all of us at ZOVA Books, thanks for supporting us in our continual efforts to offer the best in small publishing.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010


The cover art for The Advocate's Betrayal is pretty much done. We'll try to get some sneak peaks up in the near future. I'm so proud of our team for doing everything in-house, and doing it better than most!

I'd like to mention some of the small print that's on the back cover. There's a little blurb, short and unpretentious, that mentions our partnership with the International Justice Mission. Small though the print may be, it is a big part of our work here at ZOVA Books. Beginning with The Advocate's Betrayal, we'll be donating a percentage of our profits to this organization. IJM is a human rights organization that offers advocacy for victims of injustice around the world. Founded by Gary Haugen, a lawyer at the U.S. Department of Justice in 1997, the organization works to provide representation to the under-represented - victims of slavery, sex trafficking, and violent oppression. From investigation to after-care, they are thoroughly committed to the well-being of those who would otherwise be forgotten or ignored. We are proud to be a part of their work even in this small way and hope to continue our partnership in the future. For more information, please visit their website. And spread the word of their work around.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Press Release

Signing with Teresa Burrell has been official since we put pen to paper, but a press release just makes it all the more affirming. Click on the link to read all about our company and the upcoming book. Can it get any more exciting than this?? I don't think so. Be on the lookout, because advanced readers are coming soon!

Friday, April 9, 2010

The Manuscript

Before the book finds a binding, it's just a whole bunch of words on a computer screen tossed aimlessly between inboxes. Well, not so aimlessly. There is a purpose for every revision. Each time it gets to rest because a particular process has been completed, we can breathe a sigh of relief, check off a mental box in the to-do list, and then get filled back up again with a renewed eagerness for the finished product soon to come. Today is one of those days of pausing and recharging. The manuscript for Teresa Burrell's next book is ready for the designers. It just needs formatting, one last read-through, and it's ready for the printer!

You don't have to wait to get a taste of her writing, though. She'll be signing for her first book, The Advocate, at the Barnes and Noble in Manhattan Beach next week. It's a great opportunity to stop by and talk face to face about the upcoming book, the writing process, or any other questions you might have. More sightings and signings to come!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Author Sighting!

Teresa Burrell has been signing at the Barnes and Noble in the Long Beach Town Center for the last couple of days. If you missed her, she'll be there again tomorrow. So head on over!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Signings and Printings and All That Jazz

Yesterday was spent visiting our (soon to be) printing partners up the freeway. It was fascinating to watch the process from plates to print. I can hardly wait for them to start running Teresa Burrell's next title! We signed with her this week and are so excited to be a part of her success. There's a lot to do in only little time! Be sure to check back for details on the release date, author appearances, etc. There may even be a few teasers for the new book.....

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Up and running!

Welcome to ZOVA Books! Getting this company started has been - and continues to be - a fascinating process. We're excited to share every step of the way with you. In the future, you'll see us highlighting our signature authors - letting you know about their various signings and events - and sharing with you bits and pieces from the daily work of a small publishing press. There's a lot to look forward to, so keep checking back!