Dorchester Presents Fall Titles at IPS Conference

There’s more to Tennessee than just country music.

Just twenty minutes outside of Nashville is a town called LaVergne. This is the home of Ingram Publisher Services, Dorchester’s distributor. We began our partnership with them in 2010, officially launching our trade line in January of 2011, and boy are we happy with our new team! IPS has it all: a superb publisher support group, easy inventory reports and ordering, an incredibly talented sales team, speedy tech support, and a sparkling printing warehouse. They’re pretty much a publisher’s dream.

IPS hosts three sales conferences a year in sunny LaVergne, TN. Their publishing clients converge from all around the nation (and world!) to present the upcoming season’s titles to Ingram’s sales reps. The affair spans over a full week, giving the IPS team plenty to get excited about.

Both Tim DeYoung (Senior VP of Sales, Marketing, Distribution) and I flew to Nashville to present Dorchester’s Fall trade titles during the April Spring conference. We were anxious to see what the reps’ response would be to our upcoming offerings. Unsurprisingly, they seemed as excited as we were about “what’s next” for Dorchester! Our Fall list is the mix of quality Western, horror, thriller, and romance titles we’re known for; we’ve got all new Westerns in the classic style, fresh chills and thrills by masters like John Everson and John Skipp, charming historical romances, enthralling paranormal romances, next in series from L.J. McDonald, A.J. Menden, Helen Scott Taylor, and Leigh Greenwood, and of course, enough murder, mystery, and mayhem to keep any thriller fan happy!

Although we took some time to meet and greet with the varied IPS team, stroll through the streets of Nashville, and indulge in some good ol’ BBQ, the best part of this business trip was seeing the same enthusiasm we have for our titles mirrored in our sales team.

It looks like Fall is going to be a great season for Dorchester, and we’re looking forward to seeing what our fans think about our upcoming titles!

A Tale of Enhanced E-books

Intern Becky

Sketchy Becky

It was a dreary, damp Thursday when we set out on our journey to Hachette for another exciting YPG brown bag event. Umbrellas populated the city streets, and we quickly boarded a bus. After a brief window shopping moment (it was a super fancy umbrella store!), we hurried into the shiny building that houses Hachette.

Paper? Where we're going, we don't need paper.

The poster pointing the way was extremely appropriate, considering the topic was Back to the Future: Enhanced E-books. I’m sure even Doc Brown would be duly impressed with the technological future of e-books. I certainly was.

Now, let’s get the basics down first. Industry insiders are already calling regular e-books vanilla e-books. They’re plain. The reader simply gets the text and maybe some images. Enhanced e-books are sundaes packed with toppings (they don’t actually use this as a business term, but it gets the point across). They’re multi-material. Enhanced e-books might include video (a promo trailer, prologue, epilogue, or an author interview), audio, pictures, and more.

Sue Fleming, the VP Director of Content & Programming at Simon and Schuster Digital noted how their relationship with CBS enabled them to include relevant historical footage for several of their presidential books. Hachette’s Digital Managing Editor, Liz Kessler, highlighted how important it is that the additional material be complimentary to the reading experience—placement of said material is key. For example, the Red Riding Hood book ties in with the movie. Among the additional materials found in the enhanced e-book version are storyboards, which help to expand the experience for readers and the fans of the movie. It is vital to maintain the line between enhancing and interrupting the experience.

The speakers and their captivated audience

Dan Sanicola, the Director of Digital Assets at Penguin discussed the success of The Pillars of the Earth app, which tied in with the original novel and the new television series adaptation. One incredibly nifty function was the character tree, which evolved as you read.

While all three speakers agreed that author assets that could contribute to an enhanced e-book haven’t become an influential matter in Acquisitions, the preparation for an enhanced e-book begins early on in the process. It requires new and creative thinking, especially for those who are more accustomed to print books. Videos need to be collected or created (original footage might be shot in-house or through an outside party) and so on.

Basically, things are changing and fast. Everyone wants to create the ultimate reader experience, and for some unique titles, enhanced e-books are just the ticket…

-Becky, The Third Intern

Audience

Spellbound audience

DP staff admire umbrellas at a store

Oooh, umbrellas

Exciting cat poster

Hachette really knows how to decorate. So. Cute.

Western Wednesdays—CABIN GULCH + Giveaway

Sorry I’m a little late getting this one up today folks. First, let me congratulate Joye, last week’s winner of the Western Wednesdays Giveaway of Broadway Bounty by Robert J. Randisi. Thanks to everyone for jumping in on the conversation!

Today, I’m previewing the first chapter of Cabin Gulch by Zane Grey®.  This novel was originally published in 1915 under the title The Border Legion. It was heavily censored by an editor who felt it was too graphic in its depiction of life in a frontier mining camp. This trade edition by Dorchester is the restored, full-length novel  published just as Zane Grey wrote it—a real treat.

And, I’m giving away the trade paperback of Cabin Gulch FREE to one lucky commenter. As the e-book comes out later this month and the trade will not be released until later this year, this copy of the paperback really is one-of-a-kind, at least for a few months. So, I ask you, the reader, just how much ‘true grit’ do you prefer in your Westerns? Do you think editors past who toned down the works of such authors as Zane Grey® were justified or do you prefer an author who tells it like it is, or in the case of Westerns, was even if it’s not always a pretty picture?

Cheers,

Allison Carroll

Editorial and Web Coordinator

Dorchester Publishing

ONE

Joan Randle reined in her horse on the crest of the cedar ridge, and with remorse and dread beginning to knock at her heart she gazed before her at the wild and looming mountain range.

“Jim wasn’t fooling me,” she said. “He meant it. He’s going straight for the border. Oh, why did I taunt him?”

It was indeed a wild place—that southern border ofIdaho—and that year of 1863 was to see the ushering in of the wildest time probably ever known in the West. The rush for gold had peopledCaliforniawith a horde of lawless men of every kind and class. And the vigilantes of 1856 and then the rich strikes inIdahohad caused a reflux of that dark tide of humanity. Strange tales of blood and gold drifted into the camps, and prospectors and hunters met with many unknown men.

Joan had quarreled with Jim Cleve, and she was bitterly regretting it. Joan was twenty years old, tall, strong, dark. She had been born inMissouri, where her father had been well-to-do and prominent, until like many another man of his day he had impeded the passage of a bullet. Then Joan had become the protégée of an uncle, who had responded to the call of gold, and the latter part of her life had been spent in the wilds.

She had followed Jim’s trail for miles out toward the range, and now she dismounted to see if his tracks were as fresh as she had believed. He had left the little village camp about sunrise the morning after the quarrel. Someone had seen him riding away, and had told Joan. Then he had tarried on the way, for it was now midday. Joan pondered. She had become used to his idle threats and disgusted with his vacillations. That had been the trouble. Jim was amiable, lovable, but since meeting Joan he had not exhibited any strength of character. Joan stood beside her horse and looked away toward the dark mountains. She was daring, resourceful, used to horses and trails, and taking care of herself, and she did not need anyone to tell her that she had gone far enough. It had been her hope to come up with Jim. Always he had been repentant. But this time was different. She recalled his lean pale face, so pale that freckles she did not know he had showed through—and his eyes, usually so mild, that had glinted like blue steel. Yes, it had been a bitter, reckless face. What had she said to him? She tried to recall it.

The night before at twilight Joan had waited for him. She had given him precedence over the few other young men of the village, a fact she resentfully believed he did not appreciate. Jim was unsatisfactory in every way except the way he cared for her. And that, also—for he cared too much.

When Joan thought of how Jim loved her, all the details of that night became vivid. She sat alone under the spruce tree near the cabin. The shadowsthickened, and then lightened under a rising moon. She heard the low hum of insects, a distant laugh of some woman of the village, and the murmur of the brook. Jim was later than usual. Very likely, as her uncle had hinted, Jim had tarried at the saloon that had lately disrupted the peace of the village. The village was growing, and Joan did not like the change. There were too many strangers, rough, loud-voiced, drinking men. Once it had been a pleasure to go to the village store; now it was an ordeal. Somehow Jim had seemed to be unfavorably influenced by these new conditions. Still he had never amounted to much. Her resentment, or some feeling she had, was reaching a climax. She got up from her seat. She would not wait any longer for him, and, when she did see him, it would be to tell him a few blunt facts.

Just then there was a slight rustle behind her. Before she could turn, someone seized her in powerful arms. Read more of this post

Western Wednesdays—BROADWAY BOUNTY + Giveaway

It’s time for another edition of Western Wednesdays on the Dorchester Community Blog. This week I’m previewing Broadway Bounty by Robert J. Randisi, the latest title in the Bounty Hunter series. That’s right folks, Decker the bounty hunter is back and in the unlikeliest of places—New York City.

Today’s GIVEAWAY is a print copy of Broadway Bounty. Let me know what Western series are must-reads for you and one lucky commenter will be chosen at random for the giveaway. But no worries if you don’t win—the book is on sale for $3.00 on the Dorchester Web site.

As always, happy reading,

Allison Carroll

Editorial and Web Coordinator

Dorchester Publishing

Chapter One

During the train trip to New York, Decker thought a lot about Dover…

about a conversation they’d had when they were both seventeen.

“I wanna be the best lawman I can be,” Dover said. “I wanna be famous.”

“You want to be rich, too?” Decker had asked.

Dover had smiled.

“If that comes with it, fi ne.”

“A lot of other things come with being famous, Dove,” Decker had warned him.

“Good things.”

“Bad things, too.”

“Like what?” the youthful Dover had asked.

“Like people trying to kill you.”

Dover had laughted, fi lled with bravado, and said, “Never happen . . .”

Well, Dover had achieved a certain degree of fame, and now he was dead.

And then there was that incident that happened when they were both twenty, when they became deputies, against Decker’s better judgment . . .

 . . . they were passing through an Arizona town, stopping to sample the whiskey and other pleasures that a small town like that might have to offer.

In the saloon they heard shooting in the street and rushed to the door with the other patrons. The bank was being robbed. In front of the bank was a man holding fi ve skittish horses. Four other men came piling out, each carry ing a bag fi lled with money. Apparently the robbery had not gone smoothly and some shooting had been done inside the bank.

This had alerted the local law, and the sheriff and two deputies came running onto the scene, guns drawn. After a brief exchange the fi ve bank robbers rode out and the sheriff’s two deputies lay dead in the street.

When the shooting had stopped, people began to fi le out onto the street. The sheriff asked for volunteers to carry the body of his two deputies off the street, and he got them.

Then he asked for volunteers for a posse to follow the bank robbers and track them . . . and he got none.

Dover stepped forward, pulling Decker along with him.

“We’ll volunteer,” he said.

We, Decker thought.

The sheriff said, “You boys are strangers in town. Why volunteer?”

Dover shrugged. “So? Why look a gift horse in the mouth?”

The sheriff stared at him.

“You’ve got a point there,” he said.

Then he bent down and took the deputy badges off his dead men and handed them to Dover and Decker.

“We’ll worry about the swearing- in later,” he said. “Get your horses.”

As they went to the livery for their horses, Decker Broadway Bounty 13 said, “What the hell was that all about? Didn’t anybody ever tell you it’s not healthy to volunteer for anything?”

“Hell,” Dover said, “do we have anything better to do?”

“I’ve always got something better to do than die,” Decker said.

On the train, Decker studied the poster of Oakley Ready.

 He wondered why Dover had sent him a message to meet him in Harrison City. Had he known that he was going to need help with this Ready character? In spite of their friendship, their paths didn’t cross more than two or three times a year, and they had never worked together or split a bounty. Dover must have asked Decker for help because he knew that Ready was going to be especially tough to take.

That bothered Decker.

 Dover was one of the toughest men he’d ever known, and he’d been taken the only way a man like him could be taken— from behind!

And that was the real reason Decker was in New York— the fact that Dover had been shot in the back!

The Tyrone brothers had pulled the trigger, but the odds were that Oakley Ready had paid them to do it.

As the train pulled into the station, Decker put the poster away and grabbed his bag. The trip had been planned— if that word could be used— on the spur of the moment, and he didn’t have much in the way of gear with him. He had his gun, his rifl e and some extra clothes, and that was all.

As a conductor went by, Decker stopped him for a moment.

“How do I get to a hotel from the station?”

“You can take the horse cars, sir, or a private cab. The horse cars are cheaper.”

“Thank you.”

As the train began to discharge passengers at the station, Decker found himself in the middle of a pressing crowd. He’d never seen so many people in one place at one time before, trying to fi t into the same space.

Being jostled did not sit well with him, so he broke free as soon as he could.

He spotted the horse cars immediately. They looked like railroad cars being pulled by horses.

“Need a cab, sir?” a voice asked.

He turned and saw a man standing nearby.

“What?”

“A ride?” the man said. “Do you need a ride somewhere?”

 “Well, I was thinking of taking the horse car—” Decker said, pointing.

“You don’t want to do that, sir,” the young man said.

“Why?”

The man made a face.

“You’ll save money, but they’re fi lthy, badly ventilated and full of vermin— some of it walking around on two legs, if you know what I mean.”

 “You paint a fi ne picture.”

“Now, if you take my cab, it’s clean, and private.”

“And expensive?”

“Some people might think so,” the man said, “but since you just got to town, I’ll make you a special rate. What do you say?”

“Yeah, sure,” Decker said. “Why not?” 

“This way.”

He followed the man to a horse- drawn cab, similar to ones he had once seen in Washington, D.C.

“Get in.”

Decker hesitated. “

You’re from the West, aren’t you?” the man asked. He was young, in his twenties, and very slim, with a shock of unkempt brown hair.

“Good guess.”

“You’re gonna need some clothes.”

 “Clothes?”

“Unless you want to attract attention every time you walk down the street.”

“Do you know where I can get some?”

“Sure.”

 “Cheap?”

“Well . . . let’s say inexpensive.”

“And then a hotel to match?”

“I know just the place,” the driver said.

“All right,” Decker said, “let’s go.”

Using the money generously donated by the Tyrone boys— Oakley Ready’s money— Decker bought himself two suits of clothes suitable for New York.

“Here’s the hotel.”

“It doesn’t look inexpensive.”

 “I could take you to a hotel that could fi t this one in the lobby.”

Decker looked out at the huge brick structure on Twenty- third Street, then back at the driver.

“OK,” he said, getting out of the cab. He grabbed his bag and his rifl e and looked at the driver.

“You’re gonna need a gun,” the driver said.

 “What makes you say that?”

The man smiled.

 “You gonna wear those clothes with that gun on your hip?”

Decker looked down at the sawed- off shotgun in his holster and nodded.

“I see what you mean.”

“I can get you a gun.”

“A decent one?”

“Hell, a good one.”

“Yeah? How much?”

The man thought a moment.

 “I’ll tell you what,” he said fi nally. “A hundred dollars. The ride, the gun, everything.”

Decker studied the man’s eyes. “If I give you a hundred dollars—”

 “Don’t worry,” the man said. “My name’s Billy Rosewood. Ask anybody in New York. I’m reliable.”

 “Reliable,” Decker said.

Rosewood nodded. D

ecker took out Dover’s lucky knife and asked, “Will you get this sharpened for me, too?”

 Rosewood grinned and took it.

“Sure, no extra charge.”

“OK,” Decker said. He gave Billy Rosewood a hundred dollars, knowing he might be kissing it goodbye.

What the hell— It wasn’t his money, anyway.

Western Wednesdays—A CONGREGATION OF JACKALS by S. Craig Zahler + Giveaway

A Congregation of Jackals by S. Craig Zahler has been nominated for a 2010 Peacemaker Award in the Best Western category. Today we’re previewing the first chapter of the nominated novel. For those of you new to Zahler’s work, you’ll see just how well-deserved the nomination is!

In addition, Zahler is posing the question “Which has a richer history—the Western novel or the Western film?” to readers and Dorchester is offering the e-book for FREE to one lucky commenter.

Happy Reading,

Allison Carroll

Editorial and Web Coordinator

Chapter One

They Should Have Paid Attention to Otis

 1888

Otis Boulder had what some people in the San Fortunado area referred to as a rumble gut, a stirring in the juices of his stomach that warned him of impending danger, akin to the nerves in the tip of a dog’s nose that warned it of bad weather. This was a helpful sense in the sprawling Southwest. 

When the two swarthy, sun- bronzed strangers entered the largely empty saloon, Otis’s gastric fluids intimated with a low growl that he should leave. Without even finishing the watered- down drink for which he had been overcharged, the thirty- nine-year-old blacksmith stood, grabbed his hat and walked toward the exit. The final thought he had before he passed through the open door and entered the San Fortunado dusk outside was that these two fellows smelled not like men, but like vultures. 

The denizens of the saloon glanced furtively at the sun-bronzed arrivals and then returned their gazes to the collections of diamonds and royal personages that they would only ever know in card games. The beeves had been ridden northeast that morning and for the next two months the saloon would be peopled by drunken tradesmen with little to do, and sour fellows too old to ride and too ornery to marry.

Amongst these disenfranchised locals sat an anomalous pair, a young handsome couple from Arizona, married not more than three weeks prior: Charles and

Jessica Lowell. When the two sun- bronzed strangers entered the saloon, the newlyweds did not glance furtively as did the others—they openly looked. The couple from Arizona gazed upon the weathered arrivals, surveying the guns in their holsters, the spurs that were long and unnecessarily cruel, the yellow gloves that were stained brown with what might have been dried blood, the dark coats ragged with wear, the cracked faces submerged beneath prickly beards and the long black hair that twined and trailed from beneath their broad brown hats and dripped like candle wax in oily tangles about their shoulders. Their striking resemblance was beyond coincidence: they were identical twins.

Charles squeezed his wife’s hand and, a moment too late, whispered to her, “Do not stare.” The newlyweds had looked; the twins looked back. The one on the left pointed at the couple with his prickly chin and the other nodded while removing his hat. Their heavy boots elicited groans from the floorboards as they strode toward the Arizonians.

Charles felt his muscles tighten with apprehension; his wife sidled close for protection. The twins, limned by the dusty blue light of the gloaming, closed the distance between the door and the newlyweds. Charles was reminded of standing beside train tracks when a locomotive arrived, though he was not exactly sure why.

He said, “Might I offer you fine gentlemen a drink?”

The twins did not acknowledge the inquiry; they pulled weary wooden seats from the table, legs scraping upon the planks of the saloon floor, and sat themselves.

The smell of these men reminded Charles of butcher’s offal left a day too long in the bins.

The Arizonian inquired amenably, “Which particular drink is your preference?”

The twins looked at Charles and then over at Jessica.

Their obsidian eyes coolly fixed upon the finely dressed blonde woman.

Charles cleared his throat and asked, “What would you gentlemen care to drink?”

“Ain’t gentlemen,” the one across from Charles said. The man pointed to his own dingy brown hat. “I still got it on. You want my hat off, you just try and take it off.”

“I am not overly concerned with hats,” Charles replied. Jessica giggled, perhaps too loudly because of her agitated state.

The talker, the one with the hat, looked at his brother and then back to Charles.

“You havin’ fun at us?”

“I can assure you, Mister . . .” Charles waited for a name. Receiving none, he continued. “I can assure you, I am not having anything remotely resembling any form of fun at this present time.”

“You talk smart. That’s how you got her, I s’pose?” The talker looked over at Jessica, upon whom the eyes of the silent brother remained fixed like black moons too stubborn to rise or set.

“I was lucky.” Charles turned in his seat and faced the bartender, a nervous bald man of thirty who could pass for fifty, and said, “Three bourbons and a glass of wine.”

“Get us whiskey instead.”

Charles turned back to the bartender. “Make two of the bourbons glasses of whiskey.”

“We’ll take a bottle,” the talker amended. The bartender looked at Charles; the Arizonian nodded in assent; the rapidly aging drink slinger disappeared to fetch the liquids of his trade.

Charles, his fear allayed by being able to involve some of his considerable inheritance in his current predicament, leaned back comfortably in his chair and asked, “Where are you fellows from?”

“Ain’t none of your mind,” said the talker. He then looked over at Jessica. “She’s got good breeding. You can tell she ain’t done much in the way of work with those hands she got. And all that softness.”

The bartender appeared beside the table, set down a glass of wine, a glass of bourbon and a bottle of whiskey. He reached for the two empty cups upon his tray, but the talker shooed him off and said, “You ain’t gettin’ this bottle back.”

The swarthy man uncorked the whiskey, put the neck to his chapped lips, swallowed a cupful and handed the bottle to his sibling. The silent brother opened his mouth. His gums were wholly bereft of teeth and grossly swollen. At the sight, Charles’s stomach dropped and Jessica shuddered; the couple averted their eyes.

“Now that ain’t polite—lookin’ away from a man while drinkin’ with him.”

Charles and Jessica raised their gazes and watched the silent brother tip the bottle neck. The Arizonians ineffectually tried to hide their repulsion.

“Since you’re buyin’, I’ll tell you what happened to Arthur, why he can’t talk none.”

“I am sure it is a fascinating tale,” Charles said, disguising his sarcasm enough so that it went unnoticed.

“We was captured by some Indians. Don’t at all matter how it happened, but it did. And so there we was, hidden in some cave in some gulch in Indian country, bound up, our backs tied to a damn boulder that weighed more than a fat elephant. Them savages left to go do some scalping or what ever they had a mind to do that day, but only they never did come back. And there we was, tied up expertlike, ’cause if there’s one thing those Indians know, it’s how to tie a knot that won’t never give. Dig up some thousand- year- old Comanche and I bet his moccasins is still tied smart.”

A third of the bottle already ingested, Arthur returned the vessel to his brother. The talker drank, smacked his mouth, exhaled gruffly, handed the bottle back to his brother and, properly lubricated, continued the tale.

“A day passed. And then another. And then a third and a fourth day. And there we was, in that cave, starvin’ to death ’cause those Indians left us. If it hadn’t of rained, we would’ve gone thirsty, but it did rain and some water dripped from the cave ceiling right there onto our heads and we drunk all of it that ran from our scalps down onto our faces, every little bit, even though it tasted like sweat and lichens. But we drank it all.

“And then the fifth day come and we’re both crazy with hunger, delirious, starving, only I’m a little better off than Arthur, ’cause the day we got took by the Indians I had a giant breakfast and dinner, but Arthur overslept and missed his breakfast and he missed his dinner too. So I’m a day behind him in starving to death, if you follow.”

“Indeed. Please continue.”

Arthur handed his brother the bottle. Again the talker drank, smacked his mouth and cleared his throat. Jessica, calmed by the warming influence of her wine, leaned on her husband’s shoulder. Charles looked around and did not think overly upon the fact that most of the saloon denizens had vacated the establishment.

“So we get to arguing. ‘I ain’t gonna die,’ ‘It’s your fault,’ ‘Mom said you was gonna get me kilt,’ ‘It’s your fault Dad got kilt’— that sort of stuff that brothers argue ’bout. So Arthur says, ‘We was born at the same time and I ain’t gonna let you outlive me. I’m gonna last as long as you. Longer even!’ ” The talker looked over at Arthur. The silent man’s eyes were glazed in either recollection or inebriation, Charles could not decide which. “That was the last thing Arthur ever said.”

Charles and Jessica were perplexed by the conclusion of the tale. The talker nodded his head and drank another swallow from the dwindling supply in the bottle.

“I am afraid that I do not understand what happened,” Charles said.

Read more of this post