Friday, September 7, 2012

Indie Spotlight: Bookslinger

Back in November, I happened to stumble across a weekly twitter indie-chat called #indieview, which I still attend rather religiously. It's run by Rachel of Consortium Books and brings independent bookstores, indie publishers, and book bloggers together for 30 minutes of  topic-driven, highly engaging conversation. This network of forward-thinking indie professionals have their fingers on the pulse of the publishing community and they are ready to take things to the next level.

Today, I've asked Rachel to introduce you to Consortium's Bookslinger App, which launched this past April. If you're a fan of short stories, and you're an Apple user, this is a must-have app! Who doesn't want free weekly short stories sent directly on their phone?

If you haven't downloaded the app yet, take a peek at what Rachel has to say about it:

If you’re anything like me, your to-read pile is more like a to-read bookcase…or bookcases. The problem of deciding what to read next definitely isn’t a lack of options! But when you’ve just put down a book and are trying to decide which of the dozens to pick up next, it’s helpful to have something to help guide your decisions. And, as they say – there’s an app for that!

That’s why we created Bookslinger. Designed to help readers discover new short fiction writers, Bookslinger releases a new short story each week to highlight a book or an author that you might not have found otherwise. Right now, it’s available (for FREE) on Apple devices and we hope to expand to Android devices soon.

Check out some of the stories that have been featured in Bookslinger:

Poison Eaters (Small Beer Press): In her debut collection, New York Times best-selling author Holly Black returns to the world of Tithe in two darkly exquisite new tales. Then Black takes readers on a tour of a faerie market and introduces a girl poisonous to the touch and another who challenges the devil to a competitive eating match. Some of these stories have been published in anthologies such as 21 Proms, The Faery Reel, and The Restless Dead, and have been reprinted in many “Best of ” anthologies.

Cradle Book (BOA Editions): Timeless yet timely and hopeful with a dark underbelly, these fables revive a tradition running from Aesop to W.S. Merwin. With a poet’s mastery, Craig Morgan Teicher creates strange worlds populated by animals fated for disaster and the people who interact with them, or simply act like them, including a very sad boy who wishes he had been raised by wolves. There are also a handful of badly behaving gods, a talking tree, and a shape-shifting room.

Los Angeles Stories (City Lights Publishers): Los Angeles Stories is a collection of loosely linked, noir-ish tales that evoke a bygone era in one of America's most iconic cities. In post-World War II Los Angeles, as power was concentrating and fortunes were being made, a do-it-yourself culture of cool cats, outsiders, and oddballs populated the old downtown neighborhoods of Bunker Hill and Chavez Ravine. Ordinary working folks rubbed elbows with petty criminals, grifters, and all sorts of women at foggy end-of-the-line outposts in Venice Beach and Santa Monica. Rich with the essence and character of the times, suffused with the patois of the city's underclass, these are stories about the common people of Los Angeles, “a sunny place for shady people,” and the strange things that happen to them. Musicians, gun shop owners, streetwalkers, tailors, door-to-door salesmen, drifters, housewives, dentists, pornographers, new arrivals, and hard-bitten denizens all intersect in cleverly plotted stories that center around some kind of shadowy activity. This quirky love letter to a lost way of life will appeal to fans of hard-boiled fiction and anyone interested in the city itself.

This Is Not Your City (Sarabande Books): Eleven women confront dramas both everyday and outlandish in Caitlin Horrocks’ This Is Not Your City. In stories as darkly comic as they are unflinching, people isolated by geography, emotion, or circumstance cut imperfect paths to peace—they have no other choice. A Russian mail-order bride in Finland is rendered silent by her dislocation and loss of language, the mother of a severely disabled boy writes him postcards he'll never read on a cruise ship held hostage by pirates, and an Iowa actuary wanders among the reincarnations of those she's known in her 127 lives. Horrocks’ women find no simple escapes, and their acts of faith and acts of imagination in making do are as shrewd as they are surprising.

Elephants in Our Bedroom (Dzanc Books): The debut short story collection from the editor of the Mid-American Review. Michael Czyzniejewski’s writing is both poignant and playful. The collection includes flash and longer fiction and is the antithesis of those collections complained about for having every story too similar to one another.

You can also check out the Bookslinger blog, which lets you know a little about the story that’s featured each week in the app – and sometimes we release free stories there, too!

*Rachel Zugschwert is the marketing manager at Consortium Book Sales & Distribution. She never runs out of something to read next, but has been known to rely on her phone to help her figure it out.

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