Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Guest Post: Who Am I by Erika Rummel

Who am I? It’s difficult to answer that question when you play multiple roles every day – housewife, mother, career woman, lover. Are you that caring kiss-you-better person, or that authority figure, or that gourmet chef, or that sex kitten?

Who am I? is the question Lisa asks in HEAD GAMES, but instead of looking inside herself for an answer, she makes the mistake of looking into the mirror of other people’s eyes. Don wants her to be his baby doll, Jim wants her to be his lover, and the spiritualist Santos wants her to be a medium to attract his missing sister.

HEAD GAMES is not only a journey into the strange and mysterious north country of Argentina. It is also a journey into Lisa’s head, the landscape of her crazy imagination and the only place where the existential question Who am I? can be resolved.

Is HEAD GAMES autobiographical? Yes, I’ve lived and traveled in Argentina. The description of the wild country on the border of Bolivia is authentic, as is the threatening political climate in the early ‘80s when Argentines lived under the iron fist of the military junta.

In some ways, Lisa is me. In others, she isn’t. Unlike her, I am suspicious of spiritualists and séances. And I wouldn’t fall for a creepy old man like Don, who wants to play sugar daddy. Lisa gets kidnapped in Argentina and lives the life of a captive in a Quechua family compound. Nothing like that happened to me. But like Lisa, I am trying to figure out Who am I? What do I want to out of life?

HEAD GAMES has a happy ending, and that’s what I love about novel writing: You can make it up. Lisa’s life is a fast-paced, thrilling story with a beginning, middle, and end. My life is full of inexplicable twists and turns going who knows where. Lisa ends up knowing who she is. I’m still searching!

PS: If you are into the question Who am I, you’ll also enjoy my novel PLAYING NAOMI, in which Liz, an out-of-work actress, impersonates Naomi Baum, a reclusive millionaire. She plays her role so well that she attracts all the passions meant for the real Naomi. Ted romances her. Miro plots her murder. Things are getting out of hand. Maybe it’s time for Liz to slip back into her old life and her old self? Or is it too late, and has she turned into Naomi?

Find more about Erika Rummel and her fiction at: http://www.erikarummel.com 

Monday, November 25, 2013

Poetry Monday: Kate Middleton following the Colorado River

Though you may have dropped by expecting the Dutchess of Cambridge, the Kate Middleton I want to profie today is the author of the exquisite book Ephemeral Waters which was launched last week by Chris Andrews. Ephemeral Waters is one long poem, broken up into 9 parts including an Instruction (Prologue) and a Relection, After.

The work winds its way with the 1,450 mile river, moving from Colorado through Utah, Arizona, Nevada, California, and Mexico like a poetic tour guide, picking up pieces of information, detritus, visiting side roads, recreation areas and museums, and holding conversations with strangers. It's a fantastic journey that reveals more than simply one place or one space, but also carries us into the heart of humanity, of our frailties, and of the fragility of the natural world on which we rely.  Here's a tiny snippet from the "Instruction (Prologue)":

Drive    You will learn
something    You will learn
nothing but absence, but rock's
wonderful indifference

Middleton's poetry has won a number of prestigious awards (including the WA Premier's Award for Poetry). She was the inaugural Sydney City Poet until 2012.  You can grab a copy of the book here: http://www.giramondopublishing.com/poetry/ephemeral-waters/

Friday, November 15, 2013

Guest post: On Digital Books and Reader Expectations by Leigh Russell

The first Geraldine Steel murder mystery, Cut Short, came out in print in the UK in 2009. In one of the first US reviews, which appeared in the Compulsive Reader, it was described as a 'fine police procedural, with a convincing if disconcerting feel of contemporary Britain.' I remember the thrill of reading a review on an American website, never dreaming that one day my books would find a US publisher.

A fellow author suggested my publisher bring it out as a digital book. It seems strange to recall that just four years ago I wasn't really sure what that meant. Nevertheless I sent a polite request to my publisher to bring my debut out as an ebook. No one thought it was important, but six months later the digital version duly came out. 'Of course your books don't sell on kindle,' someone in the know told me. As for me, I still had only a vague notion what a kindle was. Exactly the same happened with Road Closed in 2010.

But reading habits were changing. When Dead End came out in 2011, the digital and print books were published on the same day. By the time Death Bed appeared in print in 2012, the digital book had already  been available for six months. This pattern has been repeated in 2013, with digital versions of Stop Dead and Cold Sacrifice available for download six months in advance of  print books. 

Nowadays, no one says my titles 'don't sell on kindle'. Not only have the print books reached bestseller lists in the UK bookstore chains and on amazon, but the ebooks have reached Number 1 on kindle.

Every British author aspires to be published in the US, so I was very excited when, following the series' success in the UK, all of the Geraldine Steel books were acquired by a US publisher. They are also publishing my new spin off series for Geraldine's sergeant, Ian Peterson.

Harper Collins US are publishing my books at a rate of one a month, starting with Cut Short in November 2013. It is exciting, but times have changed since Cut Short was first published. Harper Collins are publishing my titles as ebooks first. I doubt if I anyone will suggest I send my US publisher a polite request to bring my books out in print. How times have changed!

Find out more about Leigh and her work at: http://leighrussell.co.uk/

Friday, November 1, 2013

Compulsive Reader Newsletter

Hello all you fine readers. I've been a little snowed under at the moment, but just a quickie to let you know that if you don't subscribe to The Compulsive Reader's Newsletter, you've just missed our November newsletter featuring three (yes 3) separate book giveaways, ten fresh reviews, a roundup of literary news including the latest on the Man Booker, the Forward Prize for poetry, the Dylan Thomas Prize, the Scotiabank Giller, and lots more.  If you would like to remedy this situation just let your fingers walk you over to: http://www.compulsivereader.com/ and sign up for free on the front page. If you are already a subscriber, watch your mailbox for the latest issue which has just been dispatched.