Pardon the Interruption—The Future of Publishing from DK (UK)

As a book lover, how can you not just dig this? For those of you have yet to see this amazing video created by DK, stick with it until the end. It’s worth it.

All I can say is sing it DK, sing it…

As seen on the BBC + Giveaway!

Leanna in her regalia

Dorchester’s own fabulous author Leanna Renee Hieber appears in this 3 minute segment which aired last night on BBC America. “All of The Way Station background footage was filmed during an event I was invited to attend as a guest reader by Sci-Fi/Fantasy media maven Diana M. Pho. You’ll see me with Strangely Beautiful book 1 in hand. Later in the evening I was the literary guest in a lineup of dance and musical guests. :) Fun!” says Leanna of the experience.

Leanna is currently touring for her May release, The Perilous Prophecy of Guard and Goddess (Strangely Beautiful series #3). Check out the Dorchester calendar to find out if she’ll be appearing in all her regalia in a city near you!

Giveaway!  And for all you fans of steampunk out there, I’m wondering what some of your favorite titles are in the genre. What titles and authors would you recommend to someone new to steampunk? Post your answer and I’ll select one commenter at random to win an autographed copy of The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker by Leanna Renee Hieber.

Cheers,

Allison Carroll

Editorial and Web Coordinator

Dorchester Publishing

ps—Don’t you just love the Perilous Prophecy cover? !

What’s a YA(author) to do?

Sam (I Am), the Intern

I was inside Random House (insert huge gasp here)… for an hour at least.  I attended a YPG (Young to Publishing Group) brown bag lunch lecture about trends in YA (Young Adult); held in the second floor café auditorium of Random House (double gasp).  The building is everything a book lover could ask for (unless you’re an e-book lover); the entrance was a massive, open space; with rows upon rows of books lining the walls, enclosed in glass cases, with the most perfect recess lighting.  All that was missing was a rolling, wooden ladder; and I would’ve been in Heaven.  *Sigh* Anywho… I used to teach 9th, 10th, and 12th grade English, so I was interested to see the other side of YA literature; and how publishers’ and authors’ experiences varied from my experiences.  Oftentimes I found myself struggling to keep my students’ interests in the canonical literature, and I wanted to know how these publishers managed to succeed with the trade books.

There were four panelists with various experience in publishing including authors, librarians, agents, editors etc.; and hybrids of these. Barbara Genco kicked off the lecture with her observations of an ever-evolving genre, with a brief history of past YA novels, including one of my favs, The Catcher in the Rye (although the meaning of the last line still eludes me to this day).  Genco stated there are dominant themes in YA literature: 1)Self-realization vs. Self-actualization, 2)Gaining Independence, 3)Developing an Identity, and 4)Building & Transitioning in social and spatial relationships.  These are the exact themes I remember my students relating to in stories such as To Kill A Mockingbird, Romeo & Juliet, and Things Fall Apart, so a piece of me felt reassured that I did my students justice.

I was most interested in the conversation led by David Levithan and Jennifer Klonsky.  They discussed the success (and failures) of YA authors.  I’ve always been interested in the process of thought to book to store, but with millennial teens’ lives as saturated as they are, I wanted to know how publishers and editors decided which titles were worthy.  Levithan and Klonsky discussed how pertinent social media is in relation to a YA author’s success… or any author’s success for that matter.  Levithan explained, “Teens expect to have contact with their favorite authors,” and things like Facebook are a great way to make connections.  Although there isn’t a formula for success, this lecture led me to believe that with a novel idea (no pun intended), the proper backing, and an author willing to connect with his/her audience, the chances for success are high.

A great series for YA lovers!

With the popularity of series now, Klonsky touched on the difficulties in asking a series audience to invest in that author’s new, separate works.  Yet, there is a market for these “one and done” books, as YA (more and more) want a complete package in one book.  In closing, when asked whether an author should think of/like the audience when writing, Sara Shandler said, “No, because then you tend to get it wrong (and use words like ‘yo’); although, you have to also entertain the editors reviewing the manuscript.”  Interestingly enough, I never thought about this strange dichotomy of audiences; you have to appeal to the YA audience, but don’t forget about the editors’ entertainment… they are the ones who say “yay” or “nay.”

~Samantha Hazell, Intern

Chuck Hustmyre: Dorchester’s got a movie-magic author

Most authors have a way with words (or their editors do). Some authors have a mastery over words.  This mastery is uncommon. It often results in the kind of reading that activates all the senses; the lines between reality and fiction blur, and suddenly you forget that you’re not really fighting a maleficent wizard or beholding Frankenstein’s monster, you’re not really d’Artagnan pursuing Athos in a duel, and that isn’t really the smell of Christmas dinner, and no that is not Tiny Tim sitting next to you. The ability to activate this kind of relationship between book and reader is rare. That being said, this rarity is exactly what film studios look for when opting to translate a book into film. They want that umami, that mastery that makes words into movie magic. It’s not every day that an author gets the honor of having their book made into a movie, and guess what? Dorchester’s got one of them.

Chuck Hustmyre is a new author at Dorchester. His first book with us, A Killer Like Me, is set to be published in August 2011. Yet Hustmyre’s already an authorial pro. He’s the author of An Act of Kindness (Penguin, 2007), House of the Rising Sun (Salvo Press, 2004), Unspeakable Violence, and Killer With a Badge (Penguin, 2004). He’s written nearly 700 newspaper and magazine articles and is the recipient of myriad journalistic awards. Being the impressively dark, gritty crime novelist that he is, it comes as no surprise his first novel, House of the Rising Sun, was optioned by Grindstone/Lionsgate in 2010.

House of the Rising Sun follows an ex-New Orleans cop who gets framed for a robbery and murder that takes place at the Mafia-owned casino/brothel where he works. This book has been called “lean, mean and nasty,” “grim,” and hailed as “superb detective fiction.” Edward Noeltner of CMG, the film’s international sales company, gushed that the “House of the Rising Sun is the ideal combination of crime, action, and thriller elements.”

Hustmyre is known for effortlessly transporting his readers into whatever crime scene he’s painting. His 22 years in law enforcement allows him to make even police procedure feel accessible to the average reader. There’s no doubt that he’s got something special, and needless to say we’re pretty proud to have a movie-magic author here at Dorchester.

Expect to see House of the Rising Sun in theaters in 2011. The film will star David Bautista (WWE Champion, Wrong Side of Town), Amy Smart (Crank, The Butterfly Effect), Dominic Purcell (Prison Break, Equilibrium), Craig Fairbrass (The Bank Job), and Danny Trejo (Machete). Brian A. Miller (Caught in the Crossfire) will direct. For more info on the film, please visit Chuck’s Web site.

Cast from HOUSE OF THE RISING SUN

In Which We Learn about Zombie Penguins

Intern Becky

Sketchy Becky, the intern

Hello! I’m Becky, and I recently started interning at Dorchester. Now, you might think Dorchester is a publishing house. That’s exactly what they want you to believe. In reality, Dorchester is a paranormal crime-fighting unit. Take a moment to let that sink in. Aha! Suddenly, many of their books make absolute sense.

Dorchester authors are actually covert agents. Some of the “novels” are their mission reports. What better way to hide the truth but  in plain sight? I’ve got to admit, it’s an excellent way to prepare the general public should the reality about the world’s paranormal activities ever get out.

As an intern, it took a few days for the truth to be revealed to me. (Evidently, I passed their secret test. I had thought it was about grammar as well as the correct ratios of pirates to bosoms and how they should heave, when in actuality, they were studying my strategic methods.) Early one Thursday morning, I was whisked away to attend a mysterious meeting. It seemed pretty normal at first. Everyone who could fit was crammed into one of the chairs surrounding a conference table, with the excess sitting on the couch. Then…the door shut. Notebooks were replaced with elaborate communication devices, connecting the team to authors out in the field. Reports were coming in of birds falling from the sky in the south, and schools of fish turning up dead over night for no apparent reason. Myriad surfaces caught the light, rendering the room a momentary disco party.

Zombie Penguin with dead fish

Cute up until it takes out your knees and eats your brain. Will be deadly during the next ice age.

Above the conference table, the whimsical portrait of two potential lovers reading books flipped over to reveal a glossy computer screen. Wide-eyed, I goggled at an incoming  map, glowing red dots revealing masses of undead in hot spots around the city. It did not get prettier when it zoomed out to show first the country and then the world. I hope you never want to visit the South Pole. Apparently we humans lost that territory over a decade ago. Zombie penguins aren’t cute, by the way. They’re vicious. 

The actions of Dorchester are dictated by The Council. I’ve never seen them before (obviously, since I’m only an intern), but my instincts predict shawody figures cloaks with giant hoods. And I have my fingers crossed for some British accents, but I suppose I will settle for a prophetic riddle or two. Considering the defeat of a recent clan of vampires (they targeted distracted souls who were too busy reading during their morning commute to notice the fangs until it was too late), I’d say they’re doing a pretty good job.

Like their crime-fighting “author” counterparts in the field, those remaining in-office are tough and brave. They have to be, as Headquarters unfortunately resides in a building poised above a giant inter-dimensional portal to Hell. They go through doormen pretty quickly. And it is never fun when some wisecracking poltergeist tries to make off with the slush.

Anyway, I have to go. We’re off to hunt down the ice demon who’s planning to begin another snowpocalypse here in New York. I’m in charge of lugging around the spare blowtorches. I’ll try to report in again, but if I do, don’t be surprised if I have a completely different tone. It may be that I’ve already said too much…

-Becky, The Third Intern

P.S. Sketchy refers to my artistic abilities. As opposed to me really being of a sketchy character.

My Foray into Genre Fiction, Casper, and Other Strange Observations

Tricky Nicki, the intern

I never really pictured myself as a romance-reading kind of girl. Or Western, for that matter. And yet suddenly here I am, an intern at Dorchester Publishing, the oldest independent mass-market publisher in the country. Not to say that I’m completely out of my comfort zone. Reading has always been my thing; some people can paint, some can sing, and me? I read. A lot. I do have to admit: even though I read (a somewhat ridiculous amount) before interning here, I had only completed one romance and one Western novel. Pathetic, I know. Fear not – I am already well on my way to romance-enlightenment.

I’ve started this quest with Shadow Bound, which is written by Erin Kellison. Once again, I found myself vastly underprepared to tackle this unknown territory that I never knew existed. Before even opening the novel, I had already drawn some pretty drastic conclusions. Not knowing much about romance, much less paranormal romance, I equated it to Casper. Before you write me off as completely deluded, let me explain. I figured the storyline would go something like this: woman falls in love with ghost, ghost becomes real, and bam. You’ve got yourself a happily-ever-after. I know. How judgmental and misguided. I may have typecast it quickly, but once I started reading it I changed my opinion just as fast. Shadow Bound is not about a ghost; it’s about creatures known as wraiths, and the mysterious in-between world of Twilight. The heroine, Talia, is half-human, half-something-else – I don’t want to ruin the journey for you. Basically, it’s Talia, her mysterious powers, and the human race against the wraiths that are set to destroy them all.

So far, I absolutely love it. I’m already head-over-heels for the romance genre: yes, I am saying that with two whole books to back it up with. Jennifer Ashley’s Penelope and Prince Charming was the first. Definitely a great book to pick if you’re curious about romance; it’s going to pull you in just as it did to me.

It may sound dramatic, but reading Shadow Bound is really the perfect analogy to my foray into the publishing world. I’ve always loved reading, just as I’ve always known I want to go into publishing. Now that I work here, I can see how narrow my vision was. Back then (was that only a month ago?) publishing to me was corporations and general fiction. I considered myself an avid reader but I only read one small section of the whole. So far both Dorchester and genre fiction has warmly welcomed me in, and I’m so prepared to rework my vision and jump into romance, horro, and yes – even Western.

Signed yet another intern,
Nicki Banholzer

My First Marketing Meeting

Sam (I am), the intern

As Robert Gallagher so wisely put it, “change is inevitable – except from a vending machine.” Things are really moving and shaking here at Dorchester as we shift from mass-market to trade publishing. We’re gearing up for our new releases, and just the other day, I sat in on a marketing meeting with the oh-so popular, Leanna Renee Hieber! Leanna is the award-winning, best-selling author, actress and playwright, mostly known for her Strangely Beautiful series (ghostly, Gothic Victorian Fantasy novels). We held a marketing meeting for her new book, The Perilous Prophecy of Guard and Goddess. As the editorial department and marketing department flew through names, contacts, and ideas, I sat in awe of how publishing works. Between the publishing jargon, (of which I had no clue what Steam Punk was until this meeting) to the tasks being assigned, to the speed at which ideas bounced around, I was furiously taking notes, trying to keep up. Currently, I am earning my M.S. in Publishing, and let me tell you, classroom experience is much different from on-the-job experience (hence, the need for an internship). Textbooks alone can’t do the book publishing industry justice. Anyhow, back to the meeting. From the seamless way at which brainstorming occurred, you can tell this was a well-oiled machine. When a team member made a suggestion, someone else knew how to build upon it, whether it was a contact at a bookstore, convention, or website. At first I was intimidated. This was a legitimate meeting; this meeting could make or break the success of Leanna’s book – no pressure. It was a wonderful feeling being a part of the team, rooting for the author’s success; I left the meeting excited for what was to come, and baffled by all of the work involved in making it happen.

~Samantha Hazell, Intern

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