Archive for November, 2011

November 30th, 2011

A Self-Publisher’s Companion by Joel Friedlander

by Gwen

A Self Publishers Companion

Okay, tell me the truth, have you thought of stepping out from the books and writing your own? Come on, just between us, have you? Have you been busy with NaNoWriMo?

Fine, don’t tell me. I have. However, the thought of the waiting game and rejection letters terrifies me. The emergence of the ebook market had me thinking that maybe I should take a gander at self-publishing. Enter Joel Friedlander of the blog, The Book Designer and his book, A Self-Publisher’s Companion.

This Companion isn’t a how-to, it is more of a why-for. (Yes, I just made that up) He took some of his best blog posts and wrapped it up into one package that allows you to explore your motivations, think about just what it means to be self-published, and a whole lot more.

There are a million books out there that will tell you how to self-publish, but this is the only one that asks the important questions like should you self-publish or what does success mean to you.

These are important questions to answer. I would HIGHLY recommend reading this if you have thought about or perhaps mused upon writing. It is so thought provoking and will answer so many questions you may have about self-publishing. (And it doesn’t mean that you just slap a cover on your ebook and send it out to the world)

As for me and my writing, I am still trying to figure out what success means to me and what I am hoping to gain by it. Oprah is gone, so that dream is out and I am not sure that have the stones to submit my manuscripts over and over again only to be courting rejection. On the other hand, I am not sure that being able to hold a book with my name on it (that no one would buy) is enough for me. Thanks to The Self-Publisher’s Companion, I have a better grasp of what being self-published really means and just what it might mean to me.

What does success mean to you? This book might be an important step to achieving whatever it does mean to you.

Joel Friedlander has a great blog, The Book Designer, so if you are still on the fence about this, check it out.

November 11th, 2011

Happy Haul-idays for the Geek and a Safer Future

by Gwen


I really love how the folks at Chronicle have made this contest even more special this year by giving away $500 to your favorite charity as well!

Every 2 minutes, someone is sexually assaulted in the United States. (RAINN)

The charity that I would choose to win this prize is called The SARP Center, Sexual Abuse Recovery & Prevention Center, here in San Luis Obispo, CA. Not only are they there to support victims and their families, but they are actively out there, with educational programs. It is one thing to be there to help and they go the extra mile, trying to stop the violence in the first place. That is huge in my book. Being a part of the change, rather than just dealing with the aftermath.

Let’s get to the fun part of this contest … the wish list.

The Architecture Nerd in me wants these-

100 ideasDesign SketchbookArt_Deco_San_Francisco

The Crafty Girl in me wants these-

craft incBook ArtQuilt


For the burgeoning Foodie (geek)-


For the fun of it-


I could go on and on with all of the goodies that Chronicles offers, couldn’t you?

The good news is that if I win, one of my lucky readers will win too!

$500 worth of books for a great cause, SARP.

$500 worth of books for my wish list.

$500 worth of books for a treasured reader.

I think that Chronicle might just be my favorite Elf of Santa’s.

November 2nd, 2011

The Girl Who Would Speak For The Dead by Paul Elwork

by Gwen

The Girl Who Would Speak

Emily Stewart discovers that she has the ability to make her ankles crack, producing a strange disembodied sounding noise, the summer she and her twin brother, Michael turn thirteen. What starts out a cool parlor trick to scare the local kids, turns into something darker when adults get involved. In 1925 many families are still reeling from the loss of loved ones from the Great War and the influenza epidemic. Spiritualism is on the rise and there are many people that would give anything to contact the other side.

“All this business about happiness,” Mary said, shaking her head. “As if you might find a box of it under the stairs and be all set.”

While the “spirit knocking” is the premise, the real meat of the story is how a small lie, that turned into a much larger one, effects Emily. Her desire to please and help people is juxtaposed with her brother’s almost maniacal desire to turn her gift into worldwide fame. Emily gains humanity and compassion for other’s grief, but pays a huge price.

The one misstep in the book is the occasional chapter that looks back at the lives Emily and Michael’s parents. While it does provide background, they material isn’t really necessary to move the story forward and instead of filling out the big picture, it leaves another story line untold and unfinished.

Overall, it provides an interesting, more psychological perspective and great study of things that can go wrong when you try to assuage the grief of others with the best of intentions, but use nefarious means to do so.

The Girl Who Would Speak For The Dead by Paul Elwork

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Amy Einhorn Books/Putnam (March 31, 2011)
  • ISBN-10: 0399157174
  • ISBN-13: 978-0399157172