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Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/profile/blog/sgcardin/sort_by/entry_order DESC, entry_creation_time DESC/page/18
by StephB
Rated: GC · Book · Personal · #1051691
It's about adventure! Life, Scouting, Family, writing what else is there?
WELCOME TO:

GEMINI RISING

Banner for my blog, "Gemini Rising"


*Flower1* *Flower1* *Flower1* *Flower1* *Flower1* *Flower1*

UPDATED INTRO 4 JULY 2019:
Just a little about me. I've been married for 27 years and currently live in Southern California, but I grew up in New Hampshire.

I've got 2 kids, a 17 yrs old and a 12 yr old. Both are boys. Nuff said.

I work as a 911 dispatcher for LAPD. I enjoy my job a lot.

I love to write, but since I've been so involved with the Boy Scouts program since 2015 (now Scouts BSA since girls were invited to come on board) I haven't written much. I hope to get back to more writing soon, as I'm scaling back my BSA commitment.

I like to get out in nature, take walks around Castaic Lake, drink coffee and watch football.

Here's a little bi about my zodiac.

GEMINI: Gemini, the sign of the Twins, is dual-natured, elusive, complex and contradictory. On the one hand it produces the virtue of versatility, and on the other the vices of two-facedness and flightiness. The sign is linked with Mercury, the planet of childhood and youth, and its subjects tend to have the graces and faults of the young. When they are good, they are very attractive; when they are bad they are more the worse for being the charmers they are. Like children they are lively, and happy, if circumstances are right for them, or egocentric, imaginative and restless.

Their good qualities are attractive and come easily to them. They are affectionate, courteous, kind, generous, and thoughtful towards the poor and suffering - provided none of the activities resulting from expressing these traits interferes too greatly with their own lives and comforts.

Geminians can be successful in many walks of life though their general characteristics tend to make them unreliable. They are often skilled manipulators of language, in speech and writing, and may be: debaters, diplomats (though in politics they are more interested in theory than practice), orators, preachers (brilliant rather than profound), teachers, authors, poets, journalists, or lawyers.

*Flower1* *Flower1* *Flower1* *Flower1* *Flower1* *Flower1*


This is me. I am a Gemini. Pure, Raw, passionate.

The NEW focus of this blog is to share my adventures, scouting adventures, book reviews, thoughts, opinions, and writing adventures from actual writing, writing/editing tips, marketing, research. I'll get there.

Another Signature

Find me at:

WEBSITE:
http://www.stephanieburkhart.com

TWITTER:
http://twitter.com/StephBurkhart

FACEBOOK:
https://www.facebook.com/StephanieBurkhartAuthor

GOOD READS:
http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4031660.Stephanie_Burkhart

YOU TUBE CHANNEL:
http://www.youtube.com/user/botrina?feature=mhee

Previous GRATITIOUS Warning, that I decided to keep in case I post about something that might offend.

*Exclaim* WARNING *Exclaim*

I intend to be open, honest, and forthright. No topic is off limits from religion to you name it, I'm going there. If you think you might be offended...back up now - this blog isn't for you. For those who "dare" *Wink* check out the "Gemini Rising..."

Previous ... 14 15 16 17 -18- 19 20 21 22 23 ... Next
January 23, 2009 at 6:25pm
January 23, 2009 at 6:25pm
#631585
Hi all. I found an interesting article about PLOT the other day which got me to thinking about my own story plots and what works and what doesn't work. That said, I thought I'd share some words about PLOT and PLOTTING and how important it is to a story and how it's effected my own storywriting. I hope you find some useful info to take away with you. *Smile*

For me, plto is a sequence of events that carries a story from beginning to end. It involves the evolution of the main character and tells a compelling story. Plot must compel the reader to turn the page - the character is that element which keeps the reader there.

So what's the plot? Introduce a sympathetic character who tackles a difficult problem and overcomes it by the end of the story. As the character goes on this journey, he or she must change (or not).

So how do you start a story? One thing I've learned is to start in the middle of an action sequence and show the reader how the main character gets out of it. This beginning involves the reader. At a MIN - put the main character in motion - have him moving - walking or running, but have them in motion. That also engages the reader.

While introductory background information is generally discouraged - if employed carefully, it can work well. In my novel, "The Wolf's Torment," 10 year old Mihai (my main character in this novel) and his mother are being chased by an evil witch. THe action of the chase is met to draw in the reader giving the reader a little background information on Mihai and his mother which is important because Mihai always considers what she would do when he encounters major life decisions.

In my forthcoming novel, 'Twilight Over Moldavia," it starts in the moment. (No prologue) Michael and Stefan are in the heat of a horse race.

As you start keep this mind - do you start with action? Or do you start with a telling scene full of background info that doesn't engage the reader? That's a very important PLOT element you have to consider when working on your story.

Another thing that works for me - make a ROUGH outline of the story - and I do mean rough. Start with your action orientated event then introduce a series of challenges for your main character to overcome and then by the end of the story show how the character has grown or hasn't. I mean rough because sometimes your character may dictate a different series of events you didn't originally plot. THAT'S OKAY. Go with it. At the end of the story the character should get to where you intended them to go.

By doing prelimilary work on my story including Drafting a Plot, it will show in a quality story that is engaging, compelling, and a page turner.

THOUGHTS On Meyer's TWILIGHT

I'm still reading this book but I'll be honest - I didn't find the opening sequence too enaging. Bella switching schools just felt like a routine sequence to me. I will say the character's voice was good - it had to minus the lack of an engaging opening, but if I didn't know Bella was going to met a vampire, Edward, that she falls in love with, I might not have stayed with the opening as long as I did. I think a better place for Meyer to have started is where Bella, as a new student walks into her biology class and notices Edward's reaction to her. For me, that was the first engaging scene of the novel?

Thoughts?
Smiles,
Steph

Just a quickie note on some life stuff: good news I'm down a pound at Weight Watchers this week so I feel like I'm off to a good start. Two pounds total in two weeks and a total 16 pound weight loss in my journey - which by the way started in Jan 2007!! I'm also going to see UNDERWORLD 3 today and I'm very excited about that. I haven't seen a movie in a movie theatre in like 8 months.

Smiles to all
Steph
January 18, 2009 at 12:02pm
January 18, 2009 at 12:02pm
#630474
Just thought I'd pop in and say "Hi." It's been a busy week. I work at night from 10 pm to 6 am and it's been a challenging week. Some of my challenges?

Sleeping. I'm only averaging 5 hours at home after working all night. I have to work in more sleep, but my body is waking up. I suppose it's still adjusting to the new schedule.

Weight Watchers. I lost .8 pounds this past week. Can't complain but I thought it would be more. I'm sticking it to it though. My husband lost 5 pounds. The bum. But I do realize boys/girls lose weight differently and my weight loss isn't going to be as easy as his. It's encouraging.

Writing
I found one day to write one chapter of my paranormal romance. Now the challenge is to find time to post it here on WDC for feedback.

Now I was crusing my writing group and I found this recent tidbit from "Shelf Awareness:"

"Shelf Awareness" has recently reported that Barnes & Noble is downsizing for the FIRST time in the company's history. THey eliminated nearly 100 positions in their corporate headquarters. B&N have approx. 40,000 employees and 800 stores overall.

MY THOUGHTS
Even B&N is not immune to today's tough economic times, however this looks like a restrucing move to me. I think think restructing is important and it's probably what has to happen to avoid a bankruptcy. I think there's A LOT of overhead in today's business and I think a vast majority of business can go for some streamling and restructuing. I'll be monitoring B&N along with Borders to see how today's economy continues to effect them - and us.

Books on the reading list:

The Tsarina's Daughter by Carolly Erikson
Dreams from my Father by Barack Obama
Armed & Dangerous by William Queen.

Anyone else want to share their reading list?

Currently reading: Twilight by Stephenie Meyer
January 10, 2009 at 5:24pm
January 10, 2009 at 5:24pm
#628941
I just want to thank "Anonymous" for gifting a 3 month Premium membership for WDC!! That really made my day to wake up and see that. I love WDC very much and its always been a challenge to find the GPs to keep active. I can't thank The StoryMaster enough for having the MASP program for Moderators because that's really how I've been supporting my membership, but coming up with articles for it is never easy. I'm always challenged about what to write and usually fall back on book reviews.

Thank you, Anon from the bottom of heart for gifting me a 3 month Premium membership. I appreciate it from the bottom of my heart.

THE WRITING WORLD

I hear that Border is having troubles. They didn't "Internet" savvy until lately and it may be too late. While Amazon and Barnes & Nobles began an Internet campaign in the early 2000's, Borders didn't get really active with it until 2006. Borders also didn't offer a rewards/membership card like B&N until recently. To make it appealing, they offered it free, but still, it may be a little late. I heard they just fired their CEO, and that can't be good. Borders is also downsized their stock that they keep in stores - 85K which is hard to match B&N 140K - 150K stock. I would hate to see Borders go under but I think they need to come up with something that is unique and their own to stay afloat. I'll be monitoring Borders in the next couple of months and come back with a occassional updates.

I'll be tackling element of Romance Gothic in my next official newsletter and have the winners of my poetry contest announced. I hope to have the newsletter out next week so be on the lookout for it.

And now for a book review...

Book Review for: “Wanting Something More”
Written by: Kathy Love
340 pages
Kensington Publishing Corp.
ISBN: 0-8217-7614-2
$5.99
4.5 Stars

Kathy Love tells the story of Marty Stepp, the supermodel sister in the “Stepp Sister” series. “Wanting Something More,” finds Marty visiting her sisters in Millbrook, Maine during the winter months only to meet up with Nathaniel Peck, a previous paramour that broke her heart. Love weaves a delightful contemporary romance that will leave the reader anxiously turning the page.

The story opens with Mary returning to Millbrook to get in touch with her roots. She has supermodel burnout and was just ditched by her boyfriend who turned out to be gay. Stuck in a blizzard, the town’s top cop, Nathaniel Peck, comes to her rescue. Marty’s immediately distrustful of him. He hurt her pride back in high school with a mean-spirited kiss. Nate appears to be a changed man. He takes being a cop seriously and he strives to be an honorable police officer. He’s remorseful for treating Marty so badly in high school, but Marty is a hard sell.

Nate finally gets Marty to go out for a cup of coffee. Marty slowly eases into a dating relationship with Nate. She’s still a little afraid that he might be tricking her. When she discovers from her sisters that he was attacked while sleeping and his knee was injured, Marty starts to soften toward him.

While out on a date with Nate, Jared Nye, another old classmate comes onto Marty with a forceful kiss. Nate breaks it up and takes Marty to his place. They make love, spending the next twenty-four hours trapped by a snowstorm, getting to know each other well.

Once they’re able to get out, an old school chum, Josie, who knows Jared and Nate, tells Marty that Nate is using her - again. Josie has been put up to this by Jared. Marty can’t bear the thought of Nate using her and leaves. Nate goes after Marty once he finds out the truth – that Josie and Jared set him up. Can he convince Marty that his love is real?

Love’s writing is sharp. Marty’s life as a supermodel, while glamorous, lacks substance. Her vulnerability will touch the heartstrings. Nate is a likable guy who has changed his ways and readers will find themselves rooting for Marty and Nate. The dialogue is crisp and spirited. The love scenes are visual and emotional. Love does write in a “Lonesome Dove” point of view which switches with no clear breaks or division. This might be disconcerting for some readers. The plot moves forward seamlessly. “Wanting Something More” is a delicious way to spend the weekend.
January 9, 2009 at 11:02pm
January 9, 2009 at 11:02pm
#628813
Well, the cards all fell into place with my schedule and child care so I was able to go back to Weight watchers this week. Mind you, I wasn't looking forward to it, but I knew it had to be done. I had gained 5 pounds over the holidays and it was time to reign in the intake.

As usual, the new year is a time to jumpstart something like this so I motivated myself to go. I need to go. While I've taken off 15 since Joe's birth, I've got another 25 to go and weight watchers works for me. Why? Because I've discovered for me, no pill can help. A balanced lifestyle change when it comes to eating is the most effective way for me to lose weight. The biggest thing weight loss requires though is patience and in today's "I want it now" world, patience is hard to come by - especially with weight loss. However I have learned the value of patience has paid off with my writing so I must take that and apply it to my weight loss as well. It's not easy patient, let me tell you, but it is something I have to buckle down with and just do.

There have been a lot of factors in play this time around regarding my weight loss. The weight loss after Andrew was easy. I think my body's metabolism was different since I was younger (33) and I could find someone to watch Andrew - Brent - while I went.

This time around there are more demands on me. Work, writing, balancing two children, it hasn't been easy and my weight loss suffered for it. My metabolism is slower - I'm 40 now. Those are my obstacles.

Well, I can't do anything about my metabolism except eat right which is what I plan to do. Weight watchers has never been a diet to me, just a life style change.

Since I'm working 10 pm to 6 am now, I've got plenty of time during the day to make a meeting. Brent watched the boys when I went to a Weds. meeting at 6 pm. I watched Joe after work this morning so he could go. The new schedule, while inconvenient, is working. I'm getting enough sleep through power naps and a long nap after work. During the day, Brent and I are home (on his days off) and we were able to knock out a lot of chores that needed to be done this week - like take down Christmas. With my new laptop, I'm able to do some more writing than I would normally without it, so that's nice too. I'm hoping to work on my official newsletter and post the winners of my poetry contest this upcoming week.

Anyway, back to weight watchers - I'm doing good on program so far. The proof will be in next week's pudding. I'm sticking to water, which I don't mind, coffee to keep me going, and I'm trying to cook as much as I can. The 0 point veggie soup helps. I made a Tortellini salad out of their "best eats" cook book last week that was really tasty. That's what surprises me - weight watcher's food isn't blah. It's very tasty. You just have to find the TIME to cook it and time with me is always at a premium with my busy life.

Anyone else doing weight watchers? Got any tips? Comments, Suggestions? Share. hehe
Smiles,
Steph


January 8, 2009 at 5:14pm
January 8, 2009 at 5:14pm
#628587
Thought I'd share this you Harry Potter fans...

Book Review for: “The Tales of Beedle The Bard”
Written by: JK Rowling
Scholastic, Inc.
ISBN: 978-0-545-12828-5
$12.99
5 Stars

Discover Harry Potter’s wizarding world’s unique fairytales in “The Tales of Beedle the Bard.” Filled with wizarding fables that invoke “Grimm’s Fairytales,” these five short stories carry messages of hope, morality, and virtue. Rowling expands Harry Potter’s universe by sharing these magical fairytales in a writing style that’s easy to read and appeals not only to children, but adults as well.

The most compelling story is that of the three brothers. They encounter death as they cross a bridge. Death gives them each a gift – the elder wand, a stone that brings back the dead, and the cloak of invisibility. It is this story which is referenced in book seven of the Harry Potter series and it gives Voldemort’s driving desire to possess these objects perspective, as Voldemort was trying to find a way to cheat death.

The other stories are just as interesting. In “The Wizard and the Hopping Pot,” a self-serving wizard refuses to share the hopping pot with the townsfolk. His refusal to help others leads the hopping pot to drive him crazy until he does. In Dumbledore’s footnotes, Rowling cleverly ties in legends of our own history and talks about how the wizarding community and humans came to have separate societies.

“The Fountain of Fair Fortune” rebuilds trust between muggles and the magical. Three witches and a knight go on a quest and discover what they were looking for was more in their hearts than in their magic.

“The Warlock’s Hairy Heart,” tells what happens when a magician gives up his humanity by removing his heart. Its probably the most gory of the fairytales – but its also one that captures the essence of the Grimm stories.

“Babbity Rabbitty and her Crackling Stump,” is one of the first stories in Harry Potter’s universe that deals with Animagi – those wizards and witches who can change into animals. In it, an arrogant king wants to be the only one who can do magic in the kingdom. A sly charlatan who can’t do magic, fools the king into becoming the Grand Sorcerer. When the king puts the charlatan on the spot, he turns to Babbitty, an old witch, to help him fool the king.

All the stories have folksy, fairytale appeal. They read like we would expect a fairytale to. The use of magic in the story makes little difference to the moral of the story being told.

The book complements Rowling’s Harry Potter series well. The writing is easy to understand. The stories are well paced. Rowling makes her characters appealing with little emotional touches reminiscent of the Harry Potter series. Overall, “The Tales of Beedle the Bard,” is a book all will enjoy.

December 30, 2008 at 7:18pm
December 30, 2008 at 7:18pm
#626829
Well, I thought I'd drop a line about how busy I've been. Let's face it - the holidays are always a hectic time.

24 DEC
Well I had this brianchild idea that I could get the family together and cook perogri's. (a Polish kind of ravioli) with a dough outside and a potato/cheese filling. I wanted to make tons of them and spend the afternoon cooking them. Well, it got off to a good start, but I failed to realize that not everyone wanted to cook them like I did. Needless to say, my husband wiped out a few comments that made me feel bad about even involving him. I was in a sad, foul, hurt mood until we had it out on Christmas. Other than that the Christmas Eve dinner went well and Joseph and Andrew had a blast exchanging ornaments.

25 DEC
I was still stewing over my husband's insensitive comments and we had it out. I was a "bitch" and got a half ass "I'm sorry" from him. I just sucks that I can't get my point across without being a bitch. I related my tale of sorrow to my friends back home who gave me some great coping tips for the next time it happens. And there will be a next time. I fear after 17 years of marriage my husband is a bit too complacent and I'm an enabler because I have no stomach for verbal altercations.

Other than that we had a great time at my SIL's Kristi's. The food was awesome and Joseph played real well. The only unfortunate thing was my fight w/my husband took away from my joy of getting a laptop.

INBETWEEN
I've been working. I can't complain. I am working. Sadly, my reading and writing are lacking because I have a trainee at work. However, I move to AM watch starting on 4 JAN. I'll be working from 10 at night until 6 in the morning so I should have plenty of time to read and write. (I hope!) My husband has promised to pick up the slack and take Joe to his therapies and I hope he does. I need to sleep from 7 am to at least 4 pm. It will be interesting to see if this schedule really works out or is my own private hell for the next 3 months until I can change watches.

THE WRITING WORLD
I haven't had a chance to troll the boards lately. I did get some great feedback on my opening chapter of THE WOLF'S KISS which I'm going to retitle THE HUNGARIAN. Now, if only I can find time to write...

Smiles,
Steph
December 28, 2008 at 1:56pm
December 28, 2008 at 1:56pm
#626460
This is another piece I found on my Mike's Writing Workshop Group that I belong to on Yahoogroups.com:

David Didriksen, a bookstore from Massachusetts had an interesting
op/ed in 12/22/08 Shelf Awareness:

"These are hard times for our publishing brethren, and by extension,
for booksellers as well. Large publishers have been placing a
moratorium on new titles, laying off workers, firing executives and
scrambling to downsize. The lay-offs are likely to continue and
booksellers are the ones most likely to feel the aftershock."

Mr. Didriksen lists the following issues:

**an industry bloated by years of inefficiency

**cranking out too many inferior products, while failing to leverage
the best assets in its portfolio: backlist titles

**publishers that have commoditized themselves into a corner, trying
to live solely off blockbusters for the benefit of huge mass market
chains and Amazon.

As an aside, I was struck by how similar this list is to the issues
facing American automakers: failure to adapt to new technology and
focusing on short-term best-selling products instead of thinking
ahead to the future." -- This comment is from Maya, the person who brought the piece to the group, and I have to agree with it. I think the big thing, for me, is failure to adapt to new technology, but focusing on the short term hasn't helped the industry either.

". . . publishers could benefit from new efficiencies and creative
new initiatives. Publishers might even rediscover the intrinsic value
of backlist sales . . . And Amazon is getting so powerful, it may
someday wonder whether it needs publishers at all."

"Booksellers and publishers once acted as partners in the book
industry, developing authors and promoting backlist titles, before
the lure of quick bucks in mass merchandising channels changed the
relationship. Now may be a good time to get back to basics and do
business together again if we all want to survive."

This may help the traditional market right now and act like a transition tool like the hybrid is for the auto industry. (what a comparison!)

Getting back to basics will help, I think. We've become so bloated on "I want it right now" and "mass marketing" techniques, I think we've gotten away from the more personalized touch of traditional publishing and marketing.

From seeing articles like these, I'm not surprised the publishing world needs restructuring, just like the auto industry. Let's see what happens...


Steph
December 22, 2008 at 6:43pm
December 22, 2008 at 6:43pm
#625624
I got the "Honest Scrap" award from fellow WDC member Vivian

You can visit her blog at:http://vivianzabel.blogspot.com/

Honest Scrap Award


I'll be posting my "Honest Scrap" awards on Monday. (I have Monday off and I'll have time to post the award on Monday) The Honest Scrap award: (from Viv's blog)

Scrap means left overs, fragments, discarded material, and many times truth and honesty is discarded material, considered fragments and left over. So, we need to tell it like it is, and let the scraps fall where they will.

The guidelines for winning this award include the following:

1. List 10 honest things about yourself (make it interesting, even if you have to dig deep)
2. Pass the award on to 7 bloggers

My 10 Picks:

#1 - I was married in Denmark, in a city called Nykobig. A Justice of the Peace married us. I'm still married 17 years later to the same guy.

#2 - My mother was abusive toward me when I was a teenager. That's why I joined the army.

#3 - I was an MP in the army from 1986-1997.

#4 - My first published poem was in my high school's literary magazine. The poem was called, "It Didn't Hurt Too Much."

#5 - I grew up drawing superhero comics.

#6 - In 1995 I received the "Outstanding Evening College Student" award from California Baptist Universary. I graduated with Honors with a BS in Political Science.

#7 - I was 33 when my first son was born.

#8 - My youngest son, Joseph, who is two, has developmental delays, specifically speech. It's very demanding and hard work to get him to his therapies, but I manage. They are working. Joe now has a vocabulary of at least ten words and it's expanding everyday.

#9 - My short story, "Spontaneous Decision," scored 8th in the Mainstream/Literary category in the recent Writer's Digest Annual Competition.

#10 - My novel, "Destination:Berlin," was inspired by my own visit to Berlin on the Berlin Orientation Tour in 1988.

Steph's 7 Honest Scrapers:

Kelly's Journal:
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This item number is not valid.
#1016769 by Not Available.


Niki's Journal:
 Invalid Item 
This item number is not valid.
#1214476 by Not Available.


Debi's Journal:
BOOK
Days with Debi  (18+)
Just my jibber jabberings.
#1369145 by Debi Wharton


Jennifer Jackson, Literary Agent Journal: http://arcaedia.livejournal.com/

Nathan Bransford, Literary Agent, Journal: http://nathanbransford.blogspot.com/

Maggie's Blog:
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This item number is not valid.
#1011455 by Not Available.


Lorraine's Blog: http://blog.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=blog.view&friendID=30504353&blogID=...
December 21, 2008 at 10:38am
December 21, 2008 at 10:38am
#625457
I belong to Mike's Writing Workshop on Yahoogroups and there were a couple of News articles I wanted to bring here and share my thoughts with you:

1ST ARTICLE

Got this off a news website.

NEW YORK – Another book publisher is cutting jobs: Macmillan, where
authors include Thomas Friedman, Rick Atkinson and Janet Evanovich, is
eliminating 64 positions, just under 4 percent of its work force.

"Going forward we are tightening our belts in response to the current
recession, but we are also reorganizing and rethinking our business to
position ourselves for the long term," Macmillan CEO John Sargent
wrote in a company memo, a copy of which was obtained Monday by The
Associated Press.


ME: Yes, I definitely think reorganizing is a MUST in today's tough economic times, but what will it mean for the publishing industry? How do you reorganize? What are the priorities?


Simon & Schuster, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and Thomas Nelson also
have announced layoffs in recent weeks. Staff reductions are likely at
Random House Inc., which is undergoing a significant consolidation.
Other publishers, including Macmillan, have frozen wages or deferred
raises.

Sargent said Monday that it was "necessary to adjust our company and
become more efficient in the face of the market we are dealing with."
He added that there would be no cuts in the budget for acquiring books.

Me: That's good for us aspiring authors hunting for the traditional publishing contract.

"That's 100 percent unchanged," he said in an interview.

In a move Sargent said he had been looking into for months, Macmillan
will combine its seven children's companies into a single division,
the Macmillan Children's Publishing Group, effective Jan. 1. Macmillan
also plans reductions through a "centralized business and production
group for its adult and children's publishing companies," according to
the memo.

Other changes include the increased use of digital technology and
reducing Macmillan's presence at BookExpo America, the industry's
annual national convention. In the Internet age, other publishers have
questioned BookExpo's role; the show's manager, Lance Fensterman, has
said he is looking at ways to make the show more affordable and more
productive.

ME: Consolidation and increase digital technology. Use of Internet Marketing, I wonder? Streamlining BookExpo of America. I think are good moves, considering the times.

"I think it makes more sense to funnel our marketing dollars
elsewhere," Sargent said, referring to the book convention.

Macmillan's publishers include St. Martin's Press, Henry Holt & Co.
and Farrar, Straus & Giroux. Macmillan is owned by Verlagsgruppe Georg
von Holtzbrinck, based in Stuttgart, Germany.

"We will remain a loose federation of publishers producing and selling
a remarkable collection of books by exceptional authors," Sargent
wrote in the memo.

************

2ND ARTICLE

Layoffs at Random House, Simon & Schuster

By HILLEL ITALIE – Dec 3, 2008

NEW YORK (AP) — The economy has crashed down on an industry once
believed immune from the worst — book publishing — with consolidation
at Random House Inc., and layoffs at Simon & Schuster and Thomas
Nelson Publishers.

"Yes, Virginia, book publishing is NOT recession proof," said Patricia
Schroeder, president and chief executive officer of the Association of
American Publishers. "It's sad day."

At Random House, the country's largest general trade publisher, the
man who helped give the world "The Da Vinci Code" is in talks for a
new position, while the publisher of Danielle Steel and other
brand-name authors is leaving altogether.

Stephen Rubin, who released Dan Brown's blockbuster thriller in 2003,
is negotiating for a different job after Random House eliminated his
position as president and publisher of the Doubleday Publishing Group.
Bantam Dell head Irwyn Applebaum, whose many authors have included
Steel, Dean Koontz and Louis L'Amour, is departing, effective immediately.

Ouch. The guys the authors trust is leaving? Is he that expensive?

Random House, under the leadership of chief executive officer Markus
Dohle, announced the changes Wednesday as part of a "new publishing
structure" that will "maximize our growth potential in these
challenging economic times and beyond."

Spokeswoman Carol Schneider would not say whether Applebaum, 54, was
leaving voluntarily; Applebaum and Rubin, 67, have more than 40 years
of combined experience in publishing. She said that layoffs are
possible as the company's many imprints and divisions are shifted and
split up.

"There may be difficult decisions to make and if layoffs are necessary
they will be done as fairly and as quickly as possible," she said.

Simon & Schuster has been helped by President-elect Barack Obama's
embrace of Doris Kearns Goodwin's "Team of Rivals," but not enough to
save some 35 positions, about 2 percent of the staff. CEO Carolyn
Reidy said in a company memo Wednesday that "today's action is an
unavoidable acknowledgment of the current book-selling marketplace and
what may very well be a prolonged period of economic instability. "

Reidy added that "the entire publishing industry is coping with these
truly difficult circumstances. "

On Tuesday, a top executive at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt resigned as
the publisher faces a credit squeeze and possible sale. Meanwhile, the
head of Thomas Nelson Publishers, a Nashville, Tenn.-based company
that releases religious books, announced that about 10 percent of the
staff, "54 of our friends and co-workers," had lost their jobs.

"This will affect nearly every department in our company," CEO Thomas
S. Hyatt wrote on his blog, http://www.michaelh yatt.com.

An overhaul has been expected at Random House ever since Dohle was
hired last spring by parent company Bertelsmann AG, a German-based
conglomerate, and began a planned months-long review of the publisher.

Last month, Random House said it would freeze pensions for current
employees and eliminate them for new hires.


Me: Ouch! No pensions for new hires?

Under the new alignment, Random House will reduce the number of its
principal divisions from five to three: The Random House Publishing
Group, the longtime home to E.L. Doctorow and Maya Angelou; the Knopf
Publishing Group, a literary institution that includes Toni Morrison
and John Updike; and the Crown Publishing Group, known for such
political authors as Obama and Ann Coulter.

Applebaum's Bantam Dell Publishing Group and Rubin's Doubleday
Publishing Group will be dispersed among the three divisions. Bantam
has long been in trouble as sales for mass market paperbacks dropped,
while Doubleday has been hurt by the absence of Brown's long-awaited
follow-up to "The Da Vinci Code" and by disappointing sales for a
highly publicized debut novel, Andrew Davidson's "The Gargoyle."

Dohle said Wednesday that he is hoping to "create a new role" for
Rubin at Random House, working directly with the CEO.

"As you know, Steve has successfully led Doubleday for almost two
decades and is universally respected and admired throughout the
industry for both his publishing expertise and management skills,"
Dohle said in a company memo.

Rubin, through a spokesman, declined to comment Wednesday.

Applebaum said in a statement he had been "honored to work with a
long-standing team of extraordinarily skilled colleagues at Bantam
Dell who, book by book, year after year, consistently have brought to
the marketplace more top-level best-sellers than any other group of
Random House."

Asked if he had been offered another position at Random House,
Applebaum declined to comment.

Dohle is retaining at least one Random House tradition — allowing the
divisions to bid against each other for books, a practice far more
welcomed by authors and agents than by those worried about expenses.

Me: This sounds good, considering the purse straps are tightening.

"I want to stress the fact that all the imprints of Random House will
retain their distinct editorial identities," Dohle said Wednesday.
"These imprints and all of you who support them are the creative core
of our business and essential to our success."

Also, Wednesday, The New York Times announced its 10 best books for
2008. Nine of them, including Toni Morrison's "A Mercy" and Jhumpa
Lahiri's "Unaccustomed Earth," were published by Random House Inc.

TRENDS: (Thoughts from me)

What does it mean for the future of publishing? Look at the last 10-20 years. 2 Big things have happened:

# 1 - Publishing has moved to BIG publishing houses and away from medium sized firms.

#2 - Publishers spend outrageous amounts of money to support just a handful of books they think will be successful.

Print books are here to stay, I firmly believe that. Yes, there's been an expansion in self-published books for about 10 years since IUniverse and other self-publishing firms developed, but the digital media used here, is not the same digital media traditional firms want to tap into. I think we're going to see less money thrown at traditional marketing strategies and more cost effective marketing via the Internet.

People still like to sit down and rip into a meaty book. I do think the publishing industry is going to re-examine how they do business and MARKETING is a big area they are going to look at next to layoffs. They need to tighten the purse straps.

MY PREDICTIONS:

I think you're going to see less money thrown at a handful of books. I think you're going to see publishers and agents be very selective about who they represent.

That said, it becomes very important to establish writing creditals. Without name regconization it will be that much harder to break into traditional publishing, I think. Attend the Writing conventions and conferences if you can. Making personal contacts with agents and publishers might give you a foot a door esp. now.


Anyone care to share thoughts?
Steph
December 20, 2008 at 11:28am
December 20, 2008 at 11:28am
#625323
Life

Well, as usual, I'm a busy little bee. Today, I have to work, but I want to make sugar cookies with my son, Andrew and we have some shopping to do. Which, of course, doesn't leave me much time on the Internet, as usual. The baking will be fun. Andrew likes to bake and I got us matching Christmas aprons from a girl at work who likes to sew.

Writing

I got the "Honest Scrap" award from fellow WDC member Vivian . I'll be posting my "Honest Scrap" awards on Monday. (I have Monday off and I'll have time to post the award on Monday) The Honest Scrap award: (from Viv's blog)

Scrap means left overs, fragments, discarded material, and many times truth and honesty is discarded material, considered fragments and left over. So, we need to tell it like it is, and let the scraps fall where they will.

The guidelines for winning this award include the following:

1. List 10 honest things about yourself (make it interesting, even if you have to dig deep)
2. Pass the award on to 7 bloggers

I'm looking forward to posting on Monday. *Smile*

My writing thought of the day comes from a WDC newsletter I saw and in it, the editor tackled verbs. She had a paragraph up and listed a lot of "was" verbs along with some passive voice. It was a great example of how NOT to write. That said, look for me to tackle "passive voice" in an upcoming blog entry.

Steph

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