Saturday, August 31, 2013

Book Giveaway: The Waiting Tide

Since July 2010, TNBBC has been bringing authors and readers together every month to get behind the book! This unique experience wouldn't be possible without the generous donations of the authors and publishers involved.

I'm excited to to bring you next month's 
Author/Reader Discussion book!


We will be reading and discussing The Waiting Tide
with author/poet Ryan W Bradley


In order to stimulate discussion, Ryan and his publisher,
Curbside Splendor  are giving away 8 paper copies to US residents only
and PDF's are available internationally! 



Here's the goodreads description to whet your appetite:

Coming fall of 2013, a book written as a tribute to Pablo Neruda's The Captain's Verses: The Waiting Tide by Ryan W. Bradley. Presented in both English and Spanish. Ryan is an American poet and artist hailing from the great state of Oregon.
"The Waiting Tide is a love letter paying homage to Neruda, to the flow of tides and language. Ryan W. Bradley’s sensual language washes over you in waves."

And here's my two cents:

Ryan W Bradley is second only to Rod McKuen when it comes to tickling my heart and lady-parts with his words. That's right, I said it. His poetry touches me in all the most inappropriate ways and I simply cannot get enough. This particular collection, an ode to Pablo Neruda's The Captain's Verses, contains some of the most passionate and love-drenched poetry I've read in a long, long time. Ryan, much like McKuen, has this incredible knack of taking a single, intimate moment and by turning it over and over again in his hands, stretches it into a lifetime into which he is born, lives and dies, and becomes born into again.



This giveaway will run through September 8th. 
Winners will be announced here and via email on September 9th.


Here's how to enter:

1 - Leave a comment stating why you'd like to receive a copy of the book. You MUST be a resident of the US to win a paper copy, so please state your preference and where you reside.

2 - State that you agree to participate in the group read book discussion that will run from October 15th through the end of the month. Ryan W Bradley has agreed to participate in the discussion and will be available to answer any questions you may have for him. 

 *If you are chosen as a winner, by accepting the copy you are agreeing to read the book and join the group discussion at TNBBC on Goodreads (the thread for the discussion will be emailed to you before the discussion begins). 

 3 - Your comment must have a way to contact you (email is preferred). 


GOOD LUCK! 

Friday, August 30, 2013

Mary Akers' Guide to Books & Booze


Time to grab a book and get tipsy!

Books & Booze is a mini-series of sorts here on TNBBC that will post every Friday in October. The participating authors were challenged to make up their own drinks, name and all, or create a drink list for their characters and/or readers using drinks that already exist. 

Today, Mary Akers shares a drink that she's paired with her upcoming October release Bones of an Inland Sea:

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

My book is BONES OF AN INLAND SEA, a short story collection, and all of the stories take place on or around the ocean. My drink is called The Lifeboat. As in, "May I offer you a Lifeboat?" or "Would you care for a Lifeboat?"


THE LIFEBOAT

Muddle six mint leaves with 1 Tablespoon coconut water (unsweetened) 
 
Combine mint in a martini shaker with: 
 
1 part Citron vodka
1 part Blue Curaçao
1 part coconut water
1 T coconut cream (sweetened)
juice from 1/2 a lime 
 
Add ice, cover, and shake vigorously, then pour into a martini glass. Add a splash of club soda or seltzer and garnish with a thinly sliced star fruit (or lime) on the rim. I also like to throw a couple of blue Pop Rocks on top. They don't change the taste, but it makes the drink crackle like the ocean around the island of Dominica crackles from all the thermal vents in the area.
 
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~



Mary Akers is an ocean advocate and author of the short story collections BONES OF AN INLAND SEA and WOMEN UP ON BLOCKS; she also co-authored the non-fiction title ONE LIFE TO GIVE. Akers frequently writes fiction that focuses on the intersections between art and science, including such topics as diverse and timely as the environmental movement and the struggle for human and animal rights. She co-founded the Institute for Tropical Marine Ecology, a study abroad marine ecology program originally located in Roseau, Dominica. Although raised in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia--which she will always call home--she currently lives in Western New York.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Corey Mesler's Would You Rather

Bored with the same old fashioned author interviews you see all around the blogosphere? Well, TNBBC's newest series is a fun, new, literary spin on the ole Would You Rather game. Get to know the authors we love to read in ways no other interviewer has. I've asked them to pick sides against the same 20 odd bookish scenarios. And just to spice it up a bit, each author gets to ask their own Would You Rather question to the author who appears after them....




Corey Mesler's
Would You Rather



Would you rather write an entire book with your feet or with your tongue?

Since I have agoraphobia I might as well not have feet. So my tongue. Though St. Zimmerman says, “All our tongues are confused.  That lie about everybody having their own truth inside them has done a lot of damage and made people crazy.”

Would you rather have one giant bestseller or a long string of moderate sellers?

Long string of moderate sellers. Or at least bump my audience into the triple digits. And then, of course, some Hollywood money.


Would you rather be a well known author now or be considered a literary genius after you’re dead?

I want it now. NOW!  Because either (1) I won’t die or (2) heaven, like Borges promised, is an endless library.


Would you rather write a book without using conjunctions or have every sentence of your book begin with one?

No conjunctions except the one described in the alchemical text Rosarium philosophorum, the symbolic representation of the spiritual union of the male and female principle called coniunctio spirituum.


Would you rather have every word of your favorite novel tattooed on your skin or always playing as an audio in the background for the rest of your life?

I don’t believe in audio books in the same way I don’t believe in creationism. It’s a late 20th century aberration. But, since I don’t want tattoos, can I say I would rather publicly ingest my favorite novel page by page, preferably as a publicity stunt for my next book? Since my favorite novel is Ulysses, this would take a lot of ingesting.

Would you rather write a book you truly believe in and have no one read it or write a crappy book that comprises everything you believe in and have it become an overnight success?

Honestly, I think I can only write one way and that is to believe in it wholeheartedly. I have no ironic distance from this which would allow me to be breezy here. And, you know, I will always be a small press author and I wear that badge proudly.
  

Would you rather write a plot twist you hated or write a character you hated?

The notion of characters having to be lovable is irksome to me. I am free to dislike my own characters in the same way like I dislike Humbert Humbert or Raskolnikov, to choose two obvious examples. Of course, I also think that all my characters are innocent even the ones who are loathsome, in the same way The First Cause must view Man.

Would you rather use your skin as paper or your blood as ink?

My skin is paper. Onion-skin paper. I am sensitive. You can see my heart beating.

Would you rather become a character in your novel or have your characters escape the page and reenact the novel in real life?

I often want to crawl into the story I am writing, especially when I write a good steamy scene. Books are so much better than real life. Who doesn’t want to live in them?


Would you rather write without using punctuation and capitalization or without using words that contained the letter E?

I believe you are making reference to Georges Perec’s novel A Void. Let’s keep in mind that Perec died at 45 so this may be a carcinogenic method. And, being an old poop, I have trouble with the youngsters who have taken over (or perhaps created) internet and texting forms of communication and fashioned this new argot that eschews punctuation and capitals. No, I rescind that comment. Let them take over. I am too tired to war against the way anyone writes. Did I answer this question? Who am I here?

Would you rather have schools teach your book or ban your book?

Ban is the obvious answer because it means instant sales. As Kurt Vonnegut said, “When society found out it was honoring works of art by censoring them, it stopped doing it.”


Would you rather be forced to listen to Ayn Rand bloviate for an hour or be hit on by an angry Dylan Thomas?

Hell, I’d rather sleep with Dylan Thomas than listen to Rand for one second, or even read one page of hers. I might want to sleep with Dylan Thomas anyway.

Would you rather be reduced to speaking only in haiku or be capable of only writing in haiku?

I wish I could say I was smart enough to write or speak in haiku. I am lucky to stick seven words together that sound reasonably like a sentence.


Would you rather be stuck on an island with only the 50 Shades Series or a series in a language you couldn't read?

I guess without Ginger and Mary Ann I would be reduced to wrist aerobics, so bring on the 50 Shades and its smutty frisson.

Would you rather critics rip your book apart publically or never talk about it at all?

I want attention. Even bad attention. I am like the obnoxious kid in class who speaks crudely aloud so all the girls remember him, even if with disdain. I am also the kid who brings his new toys to your house and begs you to play with him.

Would you rather have everything you think automatically appear on your Twitter feed or have a voice in your head narrate your every move?

I already have the latter. It’s what started my so-called literary career. I finally started writing down all the things the voices (yes, plural) in my head were belaboring. And, eventually, with cunning and alchemy, I formed them into a semi-coherent story that became my first novel, Talk: A Novel in Dialogue.


Would you rather give up your computer or pens and paper?

At this point pen and paper. I can’t believe I’ve come so far down this road that, in looking, back I can’t even see beyond the curve where I started. I began writing on yellow legal pads with a ballpoint pen. Imagine. This was right after the Carpetbaggers came and took all the family jewelry and silverware.


Would you rather write an entire novel standing on your tippy-toes or laying down flat on your back?

I like the metaphor of standing on my tippy-toes but, like Oblomov, I love to lie (and not lay, though I love laying, too) down. If could rig a keyboard to hang above my couch I would be a happy man, a solitary, happy man.

Would you rather read naked in front of a packed room or have no one show up to your reading?

I will be naked for lesser reason than this. I love naked. I am naked right now typing this.


Would you rather read a book that is written poorly but has an excellent story, or read one with weak content but is written well? 

Style is substance. Style is everything. I’d rather read a book of grandiloquent flourish than a potboiler any day. Wouldn’t you?  Nabokov said, “Style and Structure are the essence of a book; great ideas are hogwash.”

And here is Corey's answer to Les Plesko's question from last week:

Would you rather forget that you were ever a writer or realize that you failed but kept trying?

Of course failed but kept trying. It is the street on which I live. I only want to fail better.



~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
 Check back next week to see what Courtney Mauk would rather
and see her answer to Corey's question:

Would you rather lick clean a stranger’s car ashtray, or write a synopsis (or an essay about who the prospective audience is) of your novel for the publisher?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~



COREY MESLER has published in numerous journals and anthologies, including The Esquire/Narrative4 Project and Good Poems, American Places (Viking Press, 2011). He has published six novels, Talk: A Novel in Dialogue (2002), We Are Billion-Year-Old Carbon (2006), The Ballad of the Two Tom Mores (2010), Following Richard Brautigan (2010), Gardner Remembers (2011), and Frank Comma and the Time-Slip (2012), 3 full length poetry collections, Some Identity Problems (2008), Before the Great Troubling (2011), and Our Locust Years (2013), and 3 books of short stories, Listen: 29 Short Conversations (2009), Notes toward the Story and Other Stories (2011) and I’ll Give You Something to Cry About (2011). He has also published over a dozen chapbooks of both poetry and prose. He has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize numerous times, and two of his poems have been chosen for Garrison Keillor’s Writer’s Almanac. His fiction has received praise from John Grisham, Robert Olen Butler, Lee Smith, Frederick Barthelme, Greil Marcus, among others. With his wife, he runs Burke’s Book Store in Memphis TN, one of the country’s oldest (1875) and best independent bookstores. He can be found at www.coreymesler.wordpress.com.


Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Where Writers Write: Mark R Brand

Welcome to another installment of TNBBC's Where Writers Write!

Where Writers Write is a weekly series that will feature a different author every Wednesday as they showcase their writing spaces using short form essay, photos, and/or video. As a lover of books and all of the hard work that goes into creating them, I thought it would be fun to see where the authors roll up their sleeves and make the magic happen. 




This is Mark R Brand

Mark is the author of the novels Red Ivy Afternoon (2006), Life After Sleep (2011), The Damnation of Memory (2011), and the upcoming CCLaP release Long Live Us (Sept 9, 2013), as well as the editor of the 2009 anthology Thank You, Death Robot. He is a two-time Independent Publisher Book Award winner and is the creator and host of the video podcast series Breakfast With the Author (available on iTunes). A native of northern New York, he now lives in Evanston, IL with his wife and son, and teaches English at Wilbur Wright College. He is currently completing a PhD in English with a focus in Creative Writing at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.



Where Mark R Brand Writes


Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Indie Book Buzz: Queen's Ferry Press

We are knee deep in Indie Book Buzz here at TNBBC. Over the next few weeks, we will be inviting members of the small press publishing houses to share which of their upcoming releases they are most excited about!





This week's picks come from Erin McKnight, 
Publisher at Queen's Ferry Press




By René LeBlanc
Releases November 12, 2013

What the Book’s About:

Where the Body Ends is a debut collection of eleven stories, published in places like Timber Creek Review, The Alaska Quarterly Review, and Louisiana Literature. The characters are marginalized, through either physical or emotional deficiency, yet remain reachable to the reader. These people try to push through the fog that has settled over them and in so doing find others doing the same: their struggles, their successes, their symptoms and side effects all center on the ways they manage—with earnestness and humor—under the heaviness of their own lives.

Why You Should Read It:

John Dufresne (No Regrets, Coyote) says of this author: “Evidently, René LeBlanc was somebody’s big secret until now, and I don’t know how they kept her from us.” With this collection, the secret will be out. Above all, these are stories that feature gorgeous writing; the book is largely based in Texas and its prose reinforces the sheer expansiveness of the region as simultaneously sparse and sprawling. Despite writing difficult lives, LeBlanc subverts overwrought telling or overly dramatized scenes and cuts to the core of characters in a way that makes it difficult to stop thinking of them and their burdened days.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~





Erin McKnight is the publisher of Queen’s Ferry Press, an independent small press publishing collections of literary fiction. Authors include Michael Nye, Scott Garson, and the TIL award-winning (Shadows of Men) Kevin Grauke; forthcoming authors include Phong Nguyen, Aaron Burch, and Victoria Kelly. Erin’s own writing has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and W.W. Norton’s The Best Creative Nonfiction, and her reviews of poetry and fiction titles can be found in multiple venues.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Where Writers Write: Courtney McDermott

Welcome to another installment of TNBBC's Where Writers Write!

Where Writers Write is a weekly series that will feature a different author every Wednesday as they showcase their writing spaces using short form essay, photos, and/or video. As a lover of books and all of the hard work that goes into creating them, I thought it would be fun to see where the authors roll up their sleeves and make the magic happen. 



This is Courtney McDermott. 

Courtney's first collection of short stories, How They Spend Their Sundays, will be published by Whitepoint Press in September 2013. Her short stories and essays have appeared in Berkeley Fiction Review, Daily Palette, Found Press, Italy from a Backpack, A Little Village Magazine, The Lyon Review, Raving Dove, Sliver of Stone, Third Wednesday, Nassau Review, and Emerge. She also writes book reviews for NewPages.com and Late Night Library. She earned her MFA in creative writing from the University of Notre Dame. A Returned Peace Corps Volunteer in the country of Lesotho, Courtney now teaches English is Massachusetts. Occasionally, she updates her blog on writing and teaching at: http://courtneymcdermott.wordpress.com/





Where Courtney McDermott Writes


It is a converted pantry. Right off of the kitchen of the apartment. The smells of baking cobbler and coffee permeate the air, because—for the last year—I have lived without an oven, and since I love to bake, this drove me mad.

This room is my designated writing space, the “official” space, for there are many others, but this is where I keep my notebooks, store my ideas, organize my files. This is also my pantry, because I live with three other professionals in the 17th densest place in America, and my dishes and cereals have to go somewhere.



The one window captures sunlight and rain showers, and let’s me breathe when ideas suffocate me. It looks out onto the side of the neighboring house, so not interesting enough to distract me, yet there is a visible corner of sky that is blue and bright, and gives me enough to daydream. It is a temporary place, because all places where I have written and where I someday will write are temporary. But for now, it is as permanent a place as it can be. 
          

This is the place where I store my things, my books (not even close to most of them, but the ones I teach, the ones I could fit in my trunk of my car when I moved to Boston). I have color-coded them, because this way they are art of a different sort. And I am a visual person, so I remember my books best by their covers.
           

I mostly edit here, because I write longhand. So it is better to say that I type here rather than write. I write in comfy chairs (never the bed, or I’ll crash to sleep), and in coffee shops.



I collect my favorites in each city I move to. A new one every day, scoping out the ones with the best lighting—LOTS of natural light—the most solid table, and upright chair, and just the right amount of background noise. I prefer big tables, where I can spread out. I have collected coffee shops called Insomniac and Biscuit and Main Street; Danish Pastry House and Java House; Reid’s Beans and T.Spoons.
           

My desk is my anchor. Here I gaze at the diploma awarded for my MFA from the University of Notre Dame, my dream school as a child. There is the photo album of my time spent in the African country of Lesotho. There is a jar of pens, mostly blue, mostly cheap, because I stash them in purses and pockets and lend them out generously. There is the latest copy of Poets&Writers, my personal computer, my work computer, the books I’m reading for class, for reviews, for personal betterment.
            

The easiest gift to give me is a notebook, and so I have accumulated dozens of notebooks—with thick, fancy paper, roughly edged, or thin, cheap paper that you can only properly write on one side. Notebooks that sprawl open, notebooks that tuck into the pockets of my purse, because I carry one with me everywhere. Each notebook contains certain stories and fragments, and I remember where each is stored. Just as I know my book collection by their covers, so too do I know my writing ideas by the visual impact of the place I’ve written them down. My novel-in-progress written in the big grey notebook given to me by my former therapist, a love story written in the thin journal purchased at a music festival by my boyfriend before the time he’d let me call him my boyfriend. There is a book for prose poems about inventions and phobias, a book for essays on elegance and dating, a book for this piece I’ve just finished.

Les Plesko's Would You Rather

Bored with the same old fashioned author interviews you see all around the blogosphere? Well, TNBBC's newest series is a fun, new, literary spin on the ole Would You Rather game. Get to know the authors we love to read in ways no other interviewer has. I've asked them to pick sides against the same 20 odd bookish scenarios. And just to spice it up a bit, each author gets to ask their own Would You Rather question to the author who appears after them....


Les Plesko's
Would You Rather


Would you rather write an entire book with your feet or with your tongue?
Feet. Need a little distance.

Would you rather have one giant bestseller or a long string of moderate sellers?
Moderate sellers, so I can keep living in moderate cellars.

Would you rather be a well known author now or be considered a literary genius after you’re dead?
NOW. Though I’m edging toward the latter, as a fallback position.

Would you rather write a book without using conjunctions or have every sentence of your book begin with one?
What’s a conjunction?

Would you rather have every word of your favorite novel tattooed on your skin or always playing as an audio in the background for the rest of your life?
SKIN. Why clothes were invented.

Would you rather write a book you truly believe in and have no one read it or write a crappy book that comprises everything you believe in and have it become an overnight success?
Easy answer.

Would you rather write a plot twist you hated or write a character you hated?
Plot twist, though a hated character would be cool if they were interesting.

Would you rather use your skin as paper or your blood as ink?
The old blood as ink metaphor.

Would you rather become a character in your novel or have your characters escape the page and reenact the novel in real life?
I am a character in my novel; it is my life.

Would you rather write without using punctuation and capitalization or without using words that contained the letter E?
The former. E is a good and useful letter.

Would you rather have schools teach your book or ban your book?
Teach, and make them memorize it.

Would you rather be forced to listen to Ayn Rand bloviate for an hour or be hit on by an angry Dylan Thomas?
B!

Would you rather be reduced to speaking only in haiku or be capable of only writing in haiku?
That’s the best one yet
Then the next line has these words
Just five more to go

So, talking like that would make life interesting than having to write it.


Would you rather be stuck on an island with only the 50 Shades Series or a series in a language you couldn’t read?
The latter, if I had a pen.

Would you rather critics rip your book apart publicly or never talk about it at all?
RIP IT GOOD

Would you rather have everything you think automatically appear on your Twitter feed or have a voice in your head narrate your every move?
Tweet it. The NSA already has all that stuff anyway.

Would you rather give up your computer or pens and paper?
Yes

Would you rather write an entire novel standing on your tippy-toes or laying down flat on your back?
On my back if no bedbugs; tippy-toes if.

Would you rather read naked in front of a packed room or have no one show up to your reading?
Naked and no one shows up would be interesting.

Would you rather read a book that is written poorly but has an excellent story, or read one with weak content but is written well? 
No.

And here's Les's response to Collin Kelley's question from last week:

From the Fringe science lab: Would you trade places with your bestselling author alternate universe self if it meant never seeing your own world again (not to mention trapping your doppelganger in a place where they don’t belong)?
YOU BET I WOULD. Get me out of here.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
 Check back next week to see what Corey Mesler would rather
and see his answer to Les's question:

Would you rather forget that you were ever a writer or realize that you failed but kept trying.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Les Plesko is the author of the novels The Last Bongo Sunset, Slow Lie Detector, and Who I Was. He teaches writing at UCLA Extension.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Indie Book Buzz: Akashic

We are knee deep in Indie Book Buzz here at TNBBC. Over the next few weeks, we will be inviting members of the small press publishing houses to share which of their upcoming releases they are most excited about!





This week's picks come from Johanna Ingalls, 
Managing Editor at Akashic Books



The Night of the Rambler by Montague Kobbé 
(forthcoming 9/3/13)

What it’s About
Loosely based on the historical facts surrounding the Anguilla Revolution of 1967, The Night of the Rambler unfolds across the fifteen hours that lapse between the moment when the Anguillan “rebels” board the motorboat that will take them across the strait to St. Kitts, and the break of dawn the following day, when it becomes obvious that the unaccomplished mission will have to be aborted. The novel consciously moves away from the “historical” category, purposely altering at will the sequence of “facts” narrated, collating fully fictional episodes with vaguely accurate anecdotes and replacing the protagonists with fictional characters. At turns highly dramatic and hilarious, Kobbé brings deep honesty to the often-unexamined righteousness of revolution.

Why You Should Read It
Kobbé brings an exciting new voice to the story of the 1967 Anguilla Revolution in his debut novel. This book is funny, poignant, entertaining, and an all-around delight. It’s a great book about the nature of revolutions, which is particularly relevant given recent events in Egypt, Turkey, Iran, etc. It’s historical fiction and alternate reality in the best way—as Kobbé says in his preface, The Night of the Rambler is “a fictionalized and utterly false account of the events that most definitely did not happen on June 9–10, 1967.” Work of fiction or not, this book illuminates the common nature of revolutions great and small.




As Flies to Whatless Boys by Robert Antoni
(forthcoming 9/3/13)

What it’s About
Willy, the narrator of As Flies to Whatless Boys, is traveling from London to Trinidad with “inventor” John Adolphus Etzler in the mid-nineteenth century. Etzler has convinced English working-class families (such as Willy’s) that he has invented machines that use the forces of Mother Nature to ensure no one will have to work, allowing for the creation of a tropical utopian society in the Caribbean. While en route to Trinidad, Willy falls in love with Marguerite Whitechurch, a gentry girl whose lack of vocal cords force her to write to Willy in order to communicate with him. Marguerite and Willy’s love story is interrupted by the ship’s arrival at Port of Spain, where Etzler—who is revealed as a complete charlatan—abandons the group, and it becomes clear that his machines don’t work at all. As the majority of the ship’s passengers—including Willy’s father—are stricken with the “Black Vomit,” Willy must decide whether to return to England with the girl he loves, or to stay in Trinidad with those who he has met along the way.

Why You Should Read It
Robert Antoni has been called the James Joyce of the Caribbean, and this captivating novel proves that he has earned that title. Antoni was named a Guggenheim Fellow in 2010 for his work on As Flies to Whatless Boys, and I’m thrilled with this final version of the book. Not only is it an engrossing story, but the book is also aesthetically captivating—Antoni has incorporated a full-color map of Port of Spain, reproductions of fictional newspaper articles, symbols, drawings, and an appendix that points to exclusive online video content. It’s easy to lose yourself within As Flies to Whatless Boys, and that’s entirely because of Antoni’s voice and his vision for this novel.




We Do!: American Leaders Who Believe in Marriage Equality, edited by Jennifer Baumgardner and Madeline M. Kunin 
(forthcoming 10/1/13) 

What it’s About
We Do! demonstrates, through speeches, interviews, and commentary, the encouraging story of American acceptance of gay marriage and the roles that politicians—gay and straight—have played in that history. This movement, like all civil rights movements, began with individuals telling the truth about who they are to a world that doesn’t accept them. It ends with an entire generation of young people who reject blatant civil rights discrimination. From Supervisor Harvey Milk articulating in 1978 why gay people in all fields must be out and visible (“For invisible, we remain in limbo—a myth, a person with no parents, no brothers, no sisters, no friends who are straight, no important positions in employment”); to Governor Andrew Cuomo blinking back tears as he discusses his pride in making gay marriage a reality in New York in 2011; to President Obama’s unprecedented support; and the courage of many other American politicians—We Do! triumphantly chronicles this recent chapter of our history.

Why You Should Read It 

The Supreme Court’s recent decision to declare the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional was a huge success for marriage equality activists across the country, and We Do! both documents and celebrates American politicians who have voiced their support for this latest fight for civil rights. Madeline M. Kunin—former governor of Vermont, former deputy secretary of education, and former ambassador to Switzerland—joins Jennifer Baumgardner, award-winning author and activist, to collect these speeches and interviews into one inspiring volume.  

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Johanna Ingalls is the managing editor at Akashic Books where she has worked for over a decade since being rescued from the music industry by Akashic publisher Johnny Temple. A graduate of Barnard College, she currently lives in Brooklyn, NY with her husband and their foolishly oversized animals—an Irish Wolfhound named Beckett and a twenty-pound cat named Boutros Boutros-Ghali.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Collin Kelley's Would You Rather

Bored with the same old fashioned author interviews you see all around the blogosphere? Well, TNBBC's newest series is a fun, new, literary spin on the ole Would You Rather game. Get to know the authors we love to read in ways no other interviewer has. I've asked them to pick sides against the same 20 odd bookish scenarios. And just to spice it up a bit, each author gets to ask their own Would You Rather question to the author who appears after them....


Collin Kelley's
Would You Rather

Would you rather write an entire book with your feet or with your tongue?
My feet. I save my oral skills for other things.

Would you rather have one giant bestseller or a long string of moderate sellers?
A long string of moderate sellers. It’s nearly impossible to duplicate a big, popular bestseller and everything that comes after pales in comparison with readers and critics.

Would you rather be a well-known author now or be considered a literary genius after you’re dead?
Now, damn it! To quote Carrie Fisher, instant gratification takes too long.

Would you rather write a book without using conjunctions or have every sentence of your book begin with one?
Without conjunctions. I’m sort of doing this with some of the dialogue in my Venus Trilogy because some of the characters are French and don’t have full command of the English language. I want their voice to have that stilted quality.

Would you rather have every word of your favorite novel tattooed on your skin or always playing as an audio in the background for the rest of your life?
Tattooed. I think the audio would eventually become boring and monotonous, especially while doing my own writing.

Would you rather write a book you truly believe in and have no one read it or write a crappy book that comprises everything you believe in and have it become an overnight success?
I’m already doing the first and have considered the second.

Would you rather write a plot twist you hated or write a character you hated?
A character I hated. Isn’t that what a good villain is all about?

Would you rather use your skin as paper or your blood as ink?
Skin as paper. For reference, see the Peter Greenaway film “The Pillow Book” starring the incredibly naked Ewan McGregor.

Would you rather become a character in your novel or have your characters escape the page and reenact the novel in real life?
Real life. Especially if I get to have sex with a couple of my characters.

Would you rather write without using punctuation and capitalization or without using words that contained the letter E?
Without punctuation and capitalization. Hey, it worked for Faulkner and e.e. cummings…

Would you rather have schools teach your book or ban your book?
Teach would be nice, but the publicity for having it banned would be fantastic.

Would you rather be forced to listen to Ayn Rand bloviate for an hour or be hit on by an angry Dylan Thomas?
Hit me again, Dylan, and put some stank on it!

Would you rather be reduced to speaking only in haiku or be capable of only writing in haiku?
I speak in haiku
Which I would rather not do
But coo coo ca choo

Would you rather be stuck on an island with only the 50 Shades Series or a series in a language you couldn’t read?
I will begrudgingly say 50 Shades, although I can read a little French, so maybe...

Would you rather critics rip your book apart publically or never talk about it at all?
Rip me to shreds. As Mr. Wilde said, the only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about.

Would you rather have everything you think automatically appear on your Twitter feed or have a voice in your head narrate your every move?
I already have voices in my head, so one more won’t hurt.

Would you rather give up your computer or pens and paper?
Pen and paper. Honestly, my handwriting is so bad that I wouldn’t miss it.

Would you rather write an entire novel standing on your tippy-toes or laying down flat on your back?
I’ve been told I do some of my best work on my back.

Would you rather read naked in front of a packed room or have no one show up to your reading?
I think there would be an empty room in either scenario.

Would you rather read a book that is written poorly but has an excellent story, or read one with weak content but is written well? 
Excellent story. I’ve written plenty of mainstream and self-published books that aren’t very well written but have a helluva story to tell.


And here's Collin's response to the Kathe Koja's question from last week:

Would you rather read all day or write all day?
Read all day, write all night. 

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 Check back next week to see what Les Plesko would rather
and see his answer to Collin's question:



From the Fringe science lab: Would you trade places with your bestselling author alternate universe self if it meant never seeing your own world again (not to mention trapping your doppelganger in a place where they don’t belong)?

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Collin Kelley is the author of the novels Conquering Venus (2009, Vanilla Heart Publishing) and Remain In Light (2011, Vanilla Heart Publishing), which was the runner-up for the 2013 Georgia Author of the Year Award in Fiction and a 2012 finalist for the Townsend Prize for Fiction. His poetry collections include Better To Travel (2003, iUniverse), Slow To Burn (2006, MetroMania Press), After the Poison (2008, Finishing Line Press) and Render (2013, Sibling Rivalry Press). Kelley is also the author of the short story collection, Kiss Shot (2012, Amazon Kindle Exclusive). A recipient of the Georgia Author of the Year Award, Deep South Festival of Writers Award and Goodreads Poetry Award, Kelley’s poetry, essays and interviews have appeared in magazines, journals and anthologies around the world. He lives in Atlanta, GA. For more information, visit www.collinkelley.com.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Indie Book Buzz: Black Balloon Publishing

We are knee deep in Indie Book Buzz here at TNBBC. Over the next few weeks, we will be inviting members of the small press publishing houses to share which of their upcoming releases they are most excited about!




This week's picks come from Missi Smith, 
Assistant Publicist at 45th Parallel Communications.





Published by
Black Balloon Publishing
October 2013


What is it about?  Drugs, teenage cruelty, wonder, and the screenflickering worlds of Predator and Married . . . With Children shape and warp the narrator’s developing sense of self in author and photographer Paul Kwiatkowski’s debut. Paul Kwiatkowski’s arresting photographs amplify his novel of profound vision and vulnerability, drawing the reader through adventures and misadventures, from an ill-fated LSD trip on an island of castaway rabbits to the devastating specter of HIV and AIDS. And Every Day Was Overcast, an extraordinary alchemy of photography and fiction, gracefully illuminates the narrator’s travesties and triumphs of forging emotional connections and his own brutal longings for love.

Why am I excited to be publishing it?  At Black Balloon Publishing we champion the unwieldy and the unclassifiable, and this unique take on the novel is already receiving media buzz for its originality and compelling artistry. The American Life’s Ira Glass, and photographers Alec Soth and Doug Rickard have already praised And Every Day Was Overcast.  In the book, Paul boldly captures the vacancy of teen angst and heats it up, setting it in South Florida amongst ruin and stagnation.  Everyone experiences adolescence; few are willing to share meditations that inform identity during those years. 

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Missi Smith is an Assistant Publicist at 45th Parallel Communications, the publicity and marketing firm representing Black Balloon Publishing.