My novel – from Librifiles Publishing

14 July 2010

View the book trailer

Radium Halos is currently available as an eBook and paperback in the following outlets:

Amazon eBook

Amazon paperback

More formats to come!

Book Review from City Unwrapped – Charlotte!

24 April 2014

It’s been a while since I’ve posted…

A nice review for Radium Halos in a Charlotte region magazine (print and online) from March 2014.

Read the review here!

 

cityunwrappedB1801

Summer Reads 2012- Kathy Parker lists her favorites

6 July 2012

I know it’s been a while since I posted, but here’s a blog for all to enjoy!

Last year at this time, Kathy listed Radium Halos as one of her Summer Reads. Thank you again, Kathy, for introducing my novel to so many new readers!

http://marianslibrary.wordpress.com/

A new blog, for teachers and students of U.S. History

17 July 2011

Please visit my new blog, where you can see my book trailer, an excerpt of the curriculum guide for teachers, and information about the 1920s!

http://livinghistory.librifiles.com/

 

My latest article

16 July 2011

I recently had another article published in Foothills Spotlight Magazine!

Author interview – Jenny Milchman

6 July 2011

My latest interview is with an up and coming author, who just got her first book deal with a major publisher! I asked Jenny some questions about her journey.

1. When did you first know you wanted to be a writer?

I wanted to be a writer from before the time I could write. Family lore has me dictating bedtime stories to my mother when I was a sleepy two year old. As a child, I wrote stories that kept my friends entertained on play dates, and as I grew older I did the kinds of programs available to young writers.  In college I took part in the kinds of writing workshops where students had to submit samples and be vetted by the visiting authors. Round about sophomore year, when I was taking poetry workshops and my stated career goal was to live in a cabin in the woods and write, my parents sat me down. “Poets…” they both began, “Don’t really earn much money.” I took that in, or tried to. (What do college sophomores, with most of their expenses paid for, understand about money?) “You seem to love psych, too,” my mom added. “How about a double major?” I did love psych, especially the abnormal variety. Years later, after I’d obediently pursued a graduate degree, it would be my internship in the psychiatric ER that led me to find my true writer’s voice in suspense fiction.

But I always wanted to write.

2. Where have you been published?

I have a suspense short story called “The Very Old Man” published by a new e press in a two-story anthology called Lunch Reads 1. This collection cracked the Top 20 and became an Amazon bestseller in mystery anthologies. The irony is that I am a huge fan of print, and don’t have an e reader, so I have never read my own first publication! Next fall (2012) I will have a short story out in Adirondack Mysteries II. This series is published by a small, regional press and the authors will be sent around on a mini-tour. My first novel, a literary thriller set in the Adirondacks called COVER OF SNOW, comes out the following winter (2013) from Ballantine (Random House), so I am very excited to have a chance to do some touring with other authors–kind of see how it’s done–before that.

3. Who are some of the most important contacts you have made in the literary world, and how did you connect with them?
My novel literally would not have sold if it weren’t for the kindness of another author. I have been lucky enough all along the way (and the way was 11 years for me–so a long time) to have wonderful agents- (three of ‘em), editors who were interested in acquiring my work, and the support of generous, talented authors. But this one author, Nancy Pickard, deserves special mention both because she writes great books and because she happened to have an editor who would click with my work. When Nancy all but placed my manuscript into her editor’s hands–sheer magic happened.

I am a big believer in the idea that it takes a village to break into this business. It can’t happen on your own. If you publish traditionally, you need, at the very least, an agent, an editor, and the support of a whole house. If you publish independently, you need a cover designer, an editor, a tech guru. You may find an agent because you love the work of one of her clients. You may meet a small press editor at a conference. Or there might be an author who’s also an angel. In any event, begin making connections long before you ever need anything–if nothing else, go to readings and buy the author’s book–but not because this may help you. Because then you will never be alone in this writing life.

4. What are some of the activities you are involved in outside of writing?

Well, first and foremost, I’m a full-time stay at home mom. That activity has enriched every one of my days for the past eight years. My youngest will be starting kindergarten next year and that will be a real change in my writing life. So, activities in addition to writing include soccer, Girl Scouts, gymnastics, play dates, reading out loud, homework, putting on plays, watching plays, making cookies, teaching how to make cookies–and 1000 other things. I also do several of what I call para-writing activities, things that relate to writing but don’t accumulate new pages in a manuscript. I have a blog that features authors from all over the world–and every side of the publishing fence; teach writing and publishing, oversee a holiday called Take Your Child to a Bookstore Day, as well as the literary series, Writing Matters. In the fall I will be taking over my biggest para-writing activity yet–but I can’t say what that is quite yet!
5. How did you become involved in Writing Matters?

Writing Matters came about just after I had my first ever published short story. It was featured on a blog site called Lunch Reads–stories that could be gobbled down along with your lunch. I had the idea to do a panel discussion about publishing short fiction online, and took it to a member of my former writing group, who works at a wonderful local independent bookstore, named Watchung booksellers. That first panel discussion was so well attended and so lively that the series just took off from there–other topics we wanted to explore came to mind, as well as other people we wanted to invite. Now authors, agents, and presidents of writers’ organizations are approaching us. We’ve just reached our second anniversary and the series has drawn guests from both coasts, been featured in national media, and I hope, has become a Friday-nights-out mainstay of local residents. I encourage emerging writers everywhere to think of activities along these lines that they might initiate. It’s a great way to meet authors and support bookstores–and who knows what effect that will have down the road on our careers?

6. How do you foresee your life changing once your novel is released?

My life has already changed so much, it’s a little staggering to think what will happen once the book is finally out! As soon as news of the offer began to leak out, it seemed as if everything (career-related) changed. Suddenly authors I had long admired were writing to me–that’s how I found out that the deal had been featured in Publisher’s Marketplace. There was a stream of emails and phone calls that kept me busy for literally weeks–I wanted to respond personally to each one. And lunch with my new editor and agent…then cocktail parties (I had never attended a cocktail party before)…It’s all a little unreal. Actually a lot unreal. Focusing just on my book will be a very different experience for me–I don’t know exactly what that change will feel like. But I figure if the release of my novel keeps me meeting new people and friends, then one very important thing won’t change–the way that writing enables me to forge connections with people by whom my life is immeasurably enriched.

 

My book trailer for Radium Halos

16 June 2011

Everyone likes a great movie trailer, so why not one for a novel?

Here is my latest creation: my book trailer. Enjoy!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=COLVBAReSZ0

Using historical fiction in the classroom

1 May 2011

What initially began as an offer to donate copies of my novel to area high schools, has now become an opportunity to share my story with thousands and potentially millions of young people across the country.

A few months ago, I connected with an administrator at our local Charlotte school system. He read Radium Halos, and suggested I give a workshop at their annual curriculum fair this coming August. He said all the U.S. History teachers for eighth grade and 11th grade would be attending, and if I presented compelling reasons for them to use the books in their classrooms, I might be rewarded with some book orders. Thus began my journey.

I began by studying the North Carolina curriculum– The NC Course of Study. What specific goals and objectives are teachers of social studies expecting their students to master? Next, I matched up the specific time period in their objectives (the early 1920s), to my novel. Several objectives seemed to dovetail perfectly with Radium Halos, such as the labor movement, women’s rights/women in the workplace, and industrial reform. Although Radium Halos is historical fiction, it also lends itself well to encourage discussions on more timely topics, such as workplace dangers, radiation poisoning, and environmental toxins.

Next, I began researching how teachers use historical fiction to bring history alive for their students. I learned that this is a common practice, and teachers use novels in various ways. Some will use a well-known novel such as The Good Earth, or The Grapes of Wrath. Teachers will assign chapters to read, then discuss. Others have a library of various titles in their classroom, and allow students to select a novel to read for a report or presentation.

In my research, I discovered the importance of providing a “package” to teachers. Offering my book for students would not be enough. I would also need ancillary materials– a teacher’s guide, sample tests, essay questions, and discussion guides, for mainstream students as well as for those with special needs and AP (Advanced Placement) students.

One exciting option for teachers is the concept of an “integrated” or “interdisciplinary curriculum.” This would allow a teacher to collaborate with another teacher or department such as the science department to discuss radiation poisoning, or the drama department for a production of “These Shining Lives,” the critically acclaimed play by Melanie Marnich, depicting the true story of the dial painters.

Next up:

With my own clear goals in place, I have now begun to outline my project. Next on the agenda is to create a webpage for teachers to read a sample chapter, view a book trailer (still in development), and learn more about the Radium Dial painters and their place in history. I plan on conducting focus groups with students and history teachers, to learn best practices and how students have reacted to reading and discussing historical fiction in the classroom.

The Digital Age:

Many school systems are now providing laptops for each student, which means they will need affordable eBook versions of historical novels. This will create a whole new industry for authors of historical fiction. I can speak to local classrooms, and eventually with the use of Skype, I can speak in any city, in a “Meet the Author” visit.

The Future:

Once I’ve had some success locally, I can collect testimonials from teachers and administrators, to then “take it on the road” to other North Carolina school systems, branching out geographically to other areas of the country. I can reach out to private schools and home schools. Later, I can offer a similar program for community college and university instructors.

I am most excited about working with students and teachers on this project. As things progress, I will update my blog!

Fiction for only .99?

13 April 2011

Sure, if it’s an ebook!

Five years ago, ebooks were in their infancy. Now, there aren’t enough ebooks for readers to download! Not to worry– I have two ebooks for only .99 per download!

Special thanks to Girlebooks for the snazzy banner! :)

Movers and Shakers!

10 April 2011

Amazon rank lets buyers know ahead of time how well a particular product is selling. This can be indicative of how popular or well-made a product is. The closer the rank is to #1, the better.

In the Kindle Store, Amazon has a “Movers and Shakers” category, listing ebooks based on the biggest increase in rank for the previous 24 hours. Out of over 750,000 ebooks on Amazon, Radium Halos jumped last night from a rank of over 13,000 to (drum roll, please), #341!! It was listed as the #1 book in Movers and Shakers!

How did this happen? Sometimes, we all need a little help. A website called Pixel of Ink, run by Sharon Rosen, promoted the ebook yesterday on their website, their Facebook page, and their Twitter feed. Word began to spread.

Back on March 20, a similar jump occurred in the rank for Celebrities for Breakfast. This was also due to the listing on Pixel of Ink, although I didn’t know it at the time.

Sharon– Thank you so much for the boost I needed! :)

Live radio interview on BlogTalkRadio

23 February 2011

I just completed my first radio interview with Anjuelle Floyd, on her show, Book Talk, Creativity, and Family Matters. This was a one-hour, live show, but if you missed it, you may listen here:

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/anjuellefloyd/2011/02/23/author-shelley-stout

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