Sunday, May 24, 2009

The Literary Fiction/Thriller Divide by David Morrell, Gayle Lynds, Karen Dionne, and Barry Eisler

First up, David Morrell:

A few years ago, there was a controversy when Jonathan Franzen’s THE CORRECTIONS was chosen for the Oprah Book Club. He asked for his book to be withdrawn because Oprah’s Book Club was directed toward a mass audience and Franzen felt that his work was part of the high-art segment of literature. I have a Ph.D. from Penn State and for many years was a professor of American literature at the University of Iowa. Naturally I wanted to look at Franzen’s high-art novel. Imagine my surprise when I discovered that it was a genre novel — specifically, a dysfunctional family novel. This only reinforced in me the believe that all novels ultimately fit into one or more categories. The categories themselves don’t matter as much as how well each novel is written.

The division between high-brow and low-brow shows how much Calvinism and moralism affect many opinion makers. In the early 1900s, the great cultural analyst Van Wyck Brooks bemoaned this influence, pointing out that when a critic refers to a “good” book, that book is frequently slow-paced and difficult to read, something we are encouraged to work at, as if leisure were sinful. For these critics, any novel that gets our hearts pounding should make us suspicious. They refer to thrillers as a “guilty pleasure.”

I personally turn away from the Calvinistic tradition and embrace the all-embracing transcendentalism of British Romantics like Wordsworth, as well as Emerson, Thoreau, and Whitman in the United States. I welcome diversity and the stimulation of my senses as well as my intellect. One purpose of the International Thriller Writers organization, which Gayle Lynds and I co-founded, is to show that thrillers can be as well-written as any other type of novel, including Franzen’s dysfunctional-family novel, and that the excitement in them makes our lives fuller.

David Morrell is the author of FIRST BLOOD, the award-winning novel in which Rambo was created. He holds a Ph.D. in American literature from the Pennsylvania State University and taught in the English department at the University of Iowa until he gave up his tenure to write full time. “The mild-mannered professor with the bloody-minded visions,” as one reviewer described him, Morrell is the co-founder (with Gayle Lynds) of the International Thriller Writers organization. His numerous bestsellers include THE BROTHERHOOD OF THE ROSE (the basis for a top-rated NBC miniseries broadcast after the Super Bowl), THE FRATERNITY OF THE STONE, THE FIFTH PROFESSION, and EXTREME DENIAL (set in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where he lives). He is also the author of THE SUCCESSFUL NOVELIST: A LIFETIME OF LESSONS ABOUT WRITING AND PUBLISHING. His latest is THE SPY WHO CAME FOR CHRISTMAS, a holiday action thriller. His latest thriller, THE SHIMMER will publish July 2008. Please visit him at www.davidmorrell.net.

Gayle Lynds:

Back in the early 1980s, when I was beginning to write fiction, my mentor was Robert Kirsch, the L.A. Times literary critic. He sent me to the Breadloaf Writers Conference in Vermont, explaining it was the child of Robert Frost, the preeminent “literary” workshop in the United States, and he was worried that my primary influence (other than him) was the Santa Barbara Writers Conference, tops at the opposite end of the literature spectrum.

It was true that at the Santa Barbara conference I was getting earfuls from various instructors and fellow students about how pretentious, boring, and navel-gazing so-called literary fiction was. In other words, “literary” writers were full of themselves, and pea green with envy because they made so little, if any money, for their work.

So off to Breadloaf I went, where I got earfuls from various instructors and fellow students about how shallow, repetitious, and needlessly breathless genre fiction was. How writers in the field were lightweight and definitely not serious artists. Worse, they wrote only for money.

Both were – and are – excellent conferences, but the divide was there.

When all of that occurred more than twenty years ago, I was writing and publishing literary short stories. Within a short time because of changes in my personal life I was suddenly writing and publishing male pulp fiction. Today of course I write international espionage novels, which puts me at the heart of what some call non-literary fiction.

What has always bothered me is that both sides aimed – and still aim – poisoned darts at each other. It was utterly silly then, and it still is. We’ve already won the moral war.

As David points out, at our best we combine first-rate writing often better than what’s to be found in “literary” fiction, with dimensioned characters, stories as important and vital as any of the classics, and plots that keep people reading through even content-heavy passages. Among our precursors are Homer, Shakespeare, and Dickens. Each was composing genre fiction during his time. Each was serious about his work, popular with large audiences, and making a living. I’ll bet none of them was embarrassed about it either. And despite all those negatives, they’re now viewed as literary icons.

On the other hand, the “literary” folks are winning the PR war.

Remember when genre fiction was called popular literature? It’s an honorable designation, reflecting the fact that we purposefully want to reach people – regular people. We want large, gregarious, vibrant audiences. To do that, we must be relevant and experiential. We must hit a nerve, say something so intimately entertaining and personally important that readers return to devour more of our books. Is it working? Sure does seem so – they’re voting for us at the cash register.

But that’s helped the literary writers to beat us in public relations – they’ve been calling us writers of commercial fiction, or “commercial writers,” so long now that the phrase is deep in the public’s lexicon. As all of us know, words are powerful. By calling us commercial writers, they’ve inculcated the public with the idea that we do indeed write only for commerce – for money. That there’s no way we can take pride in our work and our contributions, or heaven forbid that our books might be excellent, because of course those qualities are unnecessary for success in the book-buying marketplace. In fact, quality often hinders sales.

As such, prima facie, our books are not worthy to be read.

When was the last time you heard us referred to as writing pop literature? My guess is it’s been years, probably more than a decade. And that’s really our fault. I suspect there’s some sort of Calvinist, Catholic, Jewish, or Midwestern guilt deep within us in which we have a niggling fear they’re right. That our work’s unworthy. Oh, for Pete’s sakes – get over it!

Oprah Winfrey is a smart woman, and she reads a lot, but she has done a disservice to readers. And I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if it’s because the term “commercial fiction” has brainwashed her, too. She trends toward the underdog, which I heartily support. But as such I suspect she views literary fiction as the underdog against a vast conspiracy perpetrated by commercial fiction to destroy our culture. Or, at best, add nothing insightful to it.

One of my great regrets has been to watch the demise of small book clubs across the country. Over and over friends and people I meet while on tour tell me their book clubs have died. Why? Because “we were reading” depressing books, boring books, hard-to-understand books, books “we should” read, books that “are good for us.” It reminds me of castor oil. Often they were Oprah picks.

Have you noticed that sales of Oprah’s book club selections have declined steadily book by book since the first one? I’m glad the sales figures remain large, because I want to do everything I can to support the publishing industry and those who enjoy her choices. Still, a mark of anything successful is that more and more people are attracted to it. Not fewer.

But “fewer” is what is happening to book clubs across the country. When clubs make it a rule that literary fiction will be their only reading choices, people slowly stop reading the books, then they stop attending. Sayonara book club.

At the same time, we’re seeing something similar happening in schools. Instead of a mixture of literary and pop fiction in elementary and high school reading and literature classes, the selections are almost entirely literary – and fewer kids read well, and fewer still read any books as adults.

Literary fiction is an important part of our culture, and it can bring great reading joy. I wish it well. But not at the expense of genre fiction.

If in order to thrive, literary fiction feels it must denigrate us, there is something tragically wrong. And I say to our denigrators what I say to us – get over it. Get a life. Get busy and do something about it as Norman Mailer, Joyce Carol Oates, and a host of other literary writers have done by creating suspense stories and novels. Even Graham Greene, who for years divided his novels into “real” books and entertainments, at the end of his life decided he had been wrong, that all of his books were just that, books, everything and nothing, not lesser nor greater because of whatever category he or others might choose for them. They were books. Books.

It would be a sorry world if only one form of reading pleasure were available to us. Let us all sit around the campfire and tell tales large and small. Let us respect – and celebrate – each other. Everything else is a waste of time that could be better spent writing the next book. Which is what I am going to do now.


New York Times bestseller Gayle Lynds is the award-winning author of eight international espionage novels, including THE LAST SPYMASTER, THE COIL, MASQUERADE, and MESMERIZED, which are published in some 20 countries. Her books have won such awards as “Novel of the Year” (THE LAST SPYMASTER) given by the Military Writers Society of America, and have been People magazine “Page-Turner of the Week” and “Beach Read of the Week.” Publishers Weekly lists her work among the top ten spy novels of all time. BookPage concurs: “Gayle Lynds has joined the deified ranks of spy thriller authors like Robert Ludlum and John le Carre.” With Ludlum, she created the Covert-One series and wrote three of the novels. One of them, THE HADES FACTOR, was a CBS miniseries in April 2006. A member of the Association for Intelligence Officers, she is co-founder and co-president (with David Morrell) of International Thriller Writers, Inc., and is listed in Who’s Who in the World. Born in Nebraska, raised in Iowa, she now lives in Southern California. You can visit her at www.GayleLynds.com.


Karen Dionne:

At one of my Backspace conferences, an accomplished literary fiction author participated in a panel discussion on creating living, breathing characters in literary fiction. One of the things she discussed at length was the musicality of words, and the care with which she chooses each one. When I told her that I, too, spend a great deal of time crafting individual sentences even though I write thrillers, I could tell she didn’t believe me. I think this is one of the misconceptions literary fiction authors hold toward thriller authors: that we sacrifice quality for the sake of the story. It’s true, the fast pace in thrillers means there’s little time for lingering descriptions or deeply introspective character development. But that just makes the opportunities more precious. And even in the most intense action scene, the rhythm of the sentences, their length, whether or not a sentence ends on a hard or soft note — all of that matters. It isn’t that we don’t care about elegant language, or that we can’t write anything else; it’s that we choose to write thrillers.

Why? For me, it’s all about tension and pace. Thrillers are noisy. Whether they start with a bang or build to a crescendo, they’re all gripping, exciting, involving. And clearly, I’m not the only one who enjoys reading them, since thrillers dominate the bestseller lists.

Which leads to an area where I think literary fiction authors can learn from thriller authors: commercial appeal.

I’d like to offer Jon Clinch’s literary novel FINN as an example. I’m familiar with this book and its backstory because Jon and I are members of the same writing community, and we share an agent.

FINN opens with the most beautiful description of a dead body I’ve ever read:

Under a low sun, pursued by fish and mounted by crows and veiled in a loud languid swarm of bluebottle flies, the body comes down the river like a deadfall stripped clean.

It proceeds as do all things moving down the Mississippi in the late summer of the year, at a stately pace, as if its blind eyes were busy taking in the blue sky piled dreamily deep with cloud. There will be thunder by suppertime and rain to last the whole night long but just now the early day is brilliant and entirely without flaw. How long the body has been floating would be a mystery if any individual had yet taken note of its passage and mused so upon it, but thus far, under that sky of blue and white and upon this gentle muddy bed a swarm with a school of sunfish and one or two smallmouth bass darting warily as thieves, it has passed only empty fields and stands of willow and thick brushy embankments uninhabited.

A crow screams and flaps off, bearing an eye as brown and deep as the Mississippi herself.

Sunday morning, early, and the river is without traffic.

An alligator gar, eight feet if it’s an inch, rises deathlike from the bottom and fastens its long jaw upon a hipbone, which snaps like rotten wood and comes away. The body entire goes under a time or two, bobbing and turning, the eggs of blowflies scattering into the water like thrown rice. The urgent sunfish eddy. The bluebottles hover, endlessly patient, and when the body has recovered its equilibrium and resumed its downward course they settle once more.


Reading on, we learn the body “lacks for skin, all of it, from scalp to sole. Nothing remains but sinew and bone and scraps of succulent yellow fat that the crows have not yet torn free.” The chapter finishes with Pap Finn cooking strips of human skin on a blind bootlegger’s campfire.

That opening could well be the opening of a thriller. It grabs the reader, draws them in, sets the tone, raises questions — all the things a good thriller opening does. In fact, when I wrote to Jon and asked if I could quote his novel in the context of this discussion, he told me he was actually thinking in terms of thrillers when he wrote it, and had “set out to see if I could write a book that accomplished many of the things that I’d heard thriller writers talking about, but with my own set of literary tools.”

Jon’s editor at Random House, Will Murphy, says in a preface to the advance reading edition: “Dear Reader: You hold in your hands a major debut and that rarest of beasts — a real work of literature that has big commercial potential.”

When FINN went on submission, 8 publishing houses wanted to buy it. The auction lasted for days, and the winner, Random House, made the book their lead title — not only because FINN is gorgeously written, but because it also tells such a wonderful story, and they believed the novel would sell in great quantities.

“Commercial potential” and “literary fiction” don’t have to be incompatible concepts, and their happy marriage shouldn’t be “rare.” Readers aren’t stupid. They want great stories. Thrillers sell in such large numbers because they deliver. But a beautifully written literary novel that also thrills will be just as well received.

I’ve always felt a little sad about that literary fiction author who didn’t believe I cared about the musicality of my words as much as she did. I don’t know why she couldn’t acknowledge we had that in common, but her close-mindedness hurts her more than it hurt me.

Thriller authors, on the other hand, are incredibly open. We joke that we’re so nice because we get all the meanness out of our systems when we write our novels. Whether that’s true or not, the thriller community is extraordinarily supportive. Those of you who don’t read thrillers won’t know this, but having David, Gayle, and Barry on this panel with me is like having a panel made up of Pulitzer and Booker prize winners with one MFA student. Not only have these accomplished authors made room for me at the table, all of them have made their mark on my debut. They’ve given me endorsements, critiqued the opening chapters, recommended the novel to their own editors — even given the novel its title. No one knows if one day I’ll be as successful as they are, but their acceptance isn’t contingent on that. It’s enough for them that I too, write thrillers.

Detroit native Karen Dionne dropped out of the University of Michigan in the 1970s and moved to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula wilderness with her husband and infant daughter as part of the back-to-the-land movement. During the next thirty winters, her indoor pursuits included stained glass, weaving, and constructing N-scale model train layouts. Eventually, her creative interests turned to writing. Karen’s short stories have appeared in Bathtub Gin, The Adirondack Review, Futures Mysterious Anthology Magazine and Thought Magazine. She worked as Senior Fiction Editor for NFG, a print literary journal out of Toronto, Canada, before founding Backspace (www.bksp.org), an Internet-based writers organization with 950 members in a dozen countries. Karen is a member of the International Thriller Writers, where she serves as Debut Author Committee Chair. She and her husband live in Detroit’s northern suburbs. FREEZING POINT (Berkley, October 2008) is her first novel. A second eco-thriler, BOILING POINT, will publish Ocober 2010 from Berkley. www.karendionne.net

Barry Eisler:

For me, generally speaking, “literary fiction” means stories that are driven primarily by who; “genre fiction” means stories driven primarily by what. In other words, character driven vs plot driven stories. There’s nothing wrong with either; the only problem, I suppose, is when a writer thinks he’s writing one and is actually writing the other.

One reason literary fiction tends to garner greater critical accolades is because writing character-driven stories is harder than writing plot-driven ones. It’s easier to generate interest by creating a ticking bomb scenario than it is to generate interest by creating a vivid person. I agree with David, Gayle, and Karen that there’s also a Listerine element at work here: “if it tastes this bad, it must be good for me.” Which, if you think about it, is a silly way to judge a book, or anything else, for that matter.

How can you tell whether a book is more literary or more genre? One good sign that you’ve read something more on the genre end of the continuum is forgetability. If the pages were flying by while you were reading it, but shortly after finishing you’re no longer thinking of the book and its feeling doesn’t linger, it was probably more genre than literary. If you remember the characters, though, if they still seem real to you long after you’ve finished the book, if you can instantly recollect the feeling of the book just by thinking about it, if the book stays with you… I’d call that more literary.

It should be obvious at this point that the best books are both genre and literary: you can’t stop reading while you’re in the book, and you can’t stop thinking about it when you’re through. There’s plenty of fiction out there that fits the bill, but it’s classified as genre more often than as literary. Genre aspects tend to eclipse literary aspects when it comes to classifying a book because the genre aspects are more obvious. For example, Dennis Lehane’s Mystic River succeeded perfectly as both genre and as literary fiction, but it’s more widely known as genre because the mental and marketing category “crime” is easier shorthand than “vivid characters; convoluted, Greek tragedy personal history; haunting sense of place.” If I were Dennis, I wouldn’t mind being known more as genre than as literary. A rose by any other name smells as sweet — but genre sells better.

By now, you’ve probably guessed that what I respond to as a reader is both, and not one or the other. I can’t get through books that are boring but supposed to be good for me. But a page-turner without substance doesn’t do it for me, either. Actually, if there’s no substance, I won’t be turning the pages — we’re back to boring, just without the “it’ll be good for you” promise to get you through.

As for my own books, I like to think they succeed as both genre and literary — at least, that’s what I aim for. But I don’t spend much time thinking about it. I just write the stories that interest me, and try to write them in as powerful a way as I can.

As far as sales and marketing goes, though, again, it’s great to be known as a thriller writer.

After graduating from Cornell Law School, Barry Eisler spent three years in a covert position with the CIA’s Directorate of Operations, then worked as a technology lawyer and startup executive in Silicon Valley and Japan, earning his black belt at the Kodokan International Judo Center. Eisler’s thrillers have won the Barry Award and the Gumshoe Award for Best Thriller of the Year, have been included in numerous “Best Of” lists, and have been translated into nearly twenty languages. The first book in Eisler’s assassin John Rain series, RAIN FALL, has been made into a movie starring Gary Oldman that will be released by Sony Pictures in April 2009. His latest novel, FAULT LINE, is available March 10, 2009. To learn more, please visit www.barryeisler.com.

As originally appeared on Susan Henderson's LitPark. Reprinted by permission.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Dead Men's Dust is out today in the USA


Joe Hunter, the star of Dead Men's Dust, hits the shores of the USA today in the first of an on-going series. Anyone who would like to browse the book or who would like to watch the book trailer may do so here:



Tuesday, May 5, 2009

On Buying Books

According to a survey commissioned last spring by Random House Inc., 28 percent of Americans purchase between 11 and 20 books every year. The figure is slightly higher for Canadians: roughly one-third (34%) report buying themselves at least one book per month. 36% of non-reading Canadians said they had bought a book as a gift during the previous year.

Not bad for an industry rocked by declining sales, massive layoffs, acquisitions freezes, and severe reorganizations.

But included in the Canadian report is this curious statistic: Proportionately, heavy readers purchase the lowest amount of books.

Let me say that again: The most enthusiastic readers buy the fewest number of books.

With all the talk about the overall decline in reading, one would think voracious readers would be the backbone of the publishing industry. Instead, the relatively small group of dedicated book buyers cited above represent 76% of the total number of books sold; a whopping 70% of the monetary value of all industry sales.

I didn't used to buy books. While we always had great stacks in the house, the books we owned tended to be given to us, or books we picked up at yard sales. Occasionally, we bought one new from a bookstore, but for the most part, if we wanted a book, we went to the library. At one point, I carried six different library cards in my wallet.

Recently one librarian gave me a retired "Date Due" card as a memento: heavy lined stock with two columns -- one to sign your name and the other where the librarian stamped the date the book was due before inserting the card in its pocket in the back of the book. The card shows that between June 1989 and July 1994, my son checked out The Big Beast Book by Jerry Booth 13 times. I remember the librarian telling him that if he borrowed the book 20 times, he could keep it. Apparently, he took her at her word.

The card is a charming reminder of a little boy who loved dinosaurs so much that he repeatedly trekked to the library to check out this and other favorites. But looking at the card now, I have to wonder: Why didn't we just buy the book for him?

It's a good question. Why don't more book-lovers buy books? It may be because buying something that's only going to be used once feels excessive, indulgent. Or possibly the resistance stems from the days when a personal library was the province of a privileged few: when books were rare and expensive, their ownership was treasured. Now that books are available and affordable, their preciousness is diminished.

I started buying books after I began writing them. When my debut thriller sold to Berkley, a number of authors agreed to read my novel with a view to a possible endorsement. In appreciation, I bought their books. I began with paperbacks, then graduated to hardcovers. I quickly discovered I liked owning books. The books I bought felt different, smelled different, than the books I was used to. They were mine. No one had handled my books but me. Reading them, I felt a stronger connection with the author. I wasn't just enjoying their stories; I'd invested in them when I bought their books.

In a few short years, my book-buying habit has become so entrenched that even though I moved to a new city four years ago, I still haven't taken out a library card.

New York Times bestselling thriller author Lee Child says he writes his popular Jack Reacher series to a 4th-grade reading level in order to reach the people who are on the fringes of reading. It pleases him when they say, "Great book! I finished it."

Similarly, the 87 million Americans who bought less than 10 books last year could be said to be on the fringes of book buying. Since my novel published, I've met some of them. I know they're of this group because they begin the conversation by saying, "I bought your book!" as if their purchase was a big deal. And it was remarkable. Not because they can't afford it -- my novel published in paperback, and these are people who commonly spend the equivalent amount on a morning muffin and latte -- but because they're not in the habit.

As an author, I'm grateful for their support. And while I don't say it, as one of the converted, secretly, I hope their purchase marks the beginning of a long and satisfying addiction. If more book-lovers become book-buyers, perhaps the publishing industry's woes will ease, and the 14% who purchase more than 20 books per year -- my category -- will explode the next time Random House takes a survey.


Karen Dionne is the author of Freezing Point, a thriller Douglas Preston called "a ripper of a story," with other rave endorsements from David Morrell, John Lescroart, and many others. Her novel published October 2008 from Berkley Books. For more information about her, go to www.karendionne.net.

JACK WAKES UP now out in stores!

That's right, everybody, you can now buy JACK WAKES UP in stores everywhere and on the web here: You can also get free audio, and buy your copy here:
http://sethharwood.com/jack-wakes-up

Want to give it a trial first? Here's where you can read the first three chapters:


Hope I'll see you at a reading event soon!
http://booktour.com/author/seth_harwood

Seth

Joseph Finder, Jesse Kellerman, Simon Kernick, Robert Gregory Browne, Russel McLean, Zoe Sharp and Gregg Hurwitz on Sean Black's Debut


Murder, kidnapping, explosions......mix in Sean Black’s no-nonsense all-action hero, Ryan Lock, and you have all the ingredients for a top-notch thriller.

Zoe Sharp

Readers, meet Ryan Lock—a tough-guy hero for a new age. Lockdown takes you on a mission through the animal rights movement, into the corporate corridors of power, and out through the dark alleys of Manhattan. Hold on tight—this one burns like a lit fuse.

Gregg Hurwitz


LOCKDOWN by Sean Black is published in hardcover on July 30th by Bantam/Transworld. He is currently at work on the second book in the series, LOCKUP.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Supporting Indie Bookstores

Friday was Buy Indie Day, during which everyone was encouraged to show support for independent bookstores by buying at least one book from their local indie.

It was also the official release of my book, "Dope Thief," from St. Martin's Minotaur, and I was lucky enough to be at my local bookstore, The Doylestown Bookshop, which hosted my first reading and signing. It was a blast, and some excellent friends, Jonathan Maberry and his wife, Sara Jo, brought a cake made in the image of my book.

The next day I was back at the Bookshop with twelve of my friends in the Liars Club, a group of Philadelpaia-area writers, producers, actors and other creative types, kicking off our tour to promote independent bookstores all over the region.

We hosted a party for the store, featuring games, free food and prizes like free books, a chance to appear in a comic book written by Jonathan Maberry, or a cameo in producer Laura Shrock's "It's Todd Show".

Our events have gathered a lot of attention from the ABA and in the local press.
The Philly Liars Club includes L.A. Banks (The Thirteenth-Vampire Huntress Legend, St. Martin's Griffin); Gregory Frost (Shadowbridge and Lord Tophet, Del Rey/Random House); Merry Jones (The Borrowed and Blue Murders, St. Martin's Minotaur); Don Lafferty (a social networking/promotion guru), Marie Lamba (What I Meant..., Random House); William Lashner (Blood and Bone, William Morrow); Jonathan Maberry (Patient Zero, St. Martin's Press); Jon McGoran, aka D.H. Dublin (Freezer Burn, Berkley); Ed Pettit (Poe scholar); Laura Schrock (Emmy Award-winning writer/producer, currently producing the canine comedy web series It's Todd's Show); Kelly Simmons (Standing Still, Washington Square Press); Keith Strunk (Prallsville Mills and Stockton, Arcadia Publishing); and Dennis Tafoya (Dope Thief, St. Martin's Minotaur).

The events were a ton of fun and we had excellent crowds, sold some books, and supported a bookstore that has always been a great friend to local authors.

Dennis Tafoya
Author of Dope Thief
St. Martin's Minotaur
www.dennistafoya.com
5/3/2009

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Thanks to the Independent Booksellers

The independent booksellers of America picked Running from the Devil as a "Notable Book" for May! I'd learned this news a while ago, but didn't believe it until I actually confirmed it at Indiebound.org http://www.indiebound.org/indie-next-list?edition=200905. I confirmed on "Buy Indie" day (May 1st).

I immediately headed to my local independent, the Book Cellar, in Lincoln Square, Chicago. I'd read that Lenore Skenazy, author of "Free-Range Kids: Giving our Children the Freedom We Had Without Going Nuts with Worry," would be signing and I was interested to hear her speak.

It was a great way to celebrate the news, to Buy Indie, and to learn something. Lenore was a riot: interesting and informative, the book store owner and employees were friendly, and I couldn't have asked for a more pleasant time. I'm honored they chose my book, love what they do every day to further reading and learning, and wish them continued success. Many thanks to them.

Jamie Freveletti
Running from the Devil
May 5, 2009
http://www.jamiefreveletti.com/


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