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.