Showing posts with label novels. Show all posts
Showing posts with label novels. Show all posts

Friday, November 20, 2015

Retired Mountain Journalist Writes Mystery/Thriller Novels


          Murphy, NC novelist Wally Avett got a Christmas surprise early this year, when he was notified that Amazon will include two of his books in their annual  Holiday Gift Guide listing.

          MURDER IN CANEY FORK and LAST BIGFOOT IN DIXIE will be among books recommended by Amazon as downloads at $1.99 each during the entire month of December.
          “I’m very happy about the opportunity for sales and exposure,” Avett said this week. “Last year Amazon picked CANEY FORK for its Daily Deal for just one day and it spiked for a week, selling several thousand copies.”
          A graduate of the UNC Journalism School, Avett worked on several Tar Heel daily newspapers before settling in the extreme southwestern tip of the state as editor of the weekly CHEROKEE SCOUT newspaper for the decade of the 70’s.
          He served as Murphy’s town manager during the 1980’s and then pursued a career in sales – outdoor advertising, manufactured housing and then real estate, selling mountain homes to Florida retirees.
          Along the way he did some magazine writing but always dreamed of writing fiction.  He still writes a regular column, HILLBILLY   RANGER, for the local paper in Murphy.
          In the past three years he found an agent, Jeanie Loiacono of Houston, and his four completed novels were published.  They are available at Amazon Books and also at several sites in Murphy.
          “I love a good story,” he says.  “And therefore all my writing is inspired by true incidents, molded to fit my fiction.  CANEY FORK , for example, is based on the true story of a vigilante slaying in a Southern state during World War II.”


          BIGFOOT is a wild rollicking tale written for the homefolks in Murphy with a gentle love story, a little humor and a cast of characters often recognizable to local readers.
          REBEL BUSHWHACKER and COOSA FLYER were both published in 2015, both heavily inspired by local history.
          BUSHWHACKER is a bloody tale of the partisan raiding in the mountains during the Civil War, a number of true incidents included in the fictional treatment, especially the atrocities of real-life southern guerilla, John P. Gatewood.
          FLYER is pure fiction but was inspired by the life of pioneer Georgia aviator Micajah Clark Dyer, who invented and flew a primitive aircraft at least 20 years before the Wright Brothers.
          Avett lives with Dean, his wife of 52 years, on a large creek just outside Murphy. He is a gardener, outdoorsman, Sunday school teacher, gospel singer and reluctant handyman who sometimes tells funny stories.

Avett has joined NCWN, and we welcome him to NCWN-West.

On December 12, Saturday, 1 - 3 p.m. at the Moss Memorial Library in Hayesville, NC, Wally along with Tom Davis and Deanna Klingel and Glenda Beall will present a panel discussion on publishing and marketing. This is a free event held by NCWN-West and is open to the community at no charge. 
         

          

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Does the Cover Sell the Book? Ellyn Bache, successful guest blogger today, gives us the scoop.


Cover Story
by Ellyn Bache
Like most writers with a string of books in print, I’m asked at almost every book event about the covers.
Does the author get a say in them?  Sometimes.    
How important are they?  Very.
And like most writers, I’ve seen my share of the good, the bad, and the ugly.  Three truly wonderful covers.  One disaster.  Lots of in-between.

The Good:
Depending on the publisher, and almost always with a big New York house, the author has little or no control over the cover.  My 2011 novel, The Art of Saying Goodbye, was published by Harper Collins, which could have left me out of the design process entirely.  But my editor, Carrie Feron, sent me each rendition, including the first one  . . . an impressionistic painting of two women, one with her head on the other’s shoulder, being comforted as they sat on a park bench in floaty summer dresses, with a soft-focus white building in the background. 
My daughter said it was pretty but looked like a lesbian love story set in World War II – not, as was actually the case, a contemporary novel about a group of 40-something women in an upscale suburban neighborhood, struggling with the illness of a longtime neighbor. 
Even before I’d had time to object, Carrie rejected that first cover. She jettisoned several more.  She ordered some fine-tuning.  The final product was remarkable.  A drawing of three women in jeans walking through a lovely but somber fall landscape, it captured perfectly the serious, powerful, graceful journey at the book’s center.
The novel got good reviews.  It was chosen as an “Okra Pick” by the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance.  It was nominated for SIBA’s annual book award. 
How much did the cover influence that?
Hard to say.  But experience tells me there was certainly some.  Years before, my novel Festival in Fire Season had come out with a dust jacket featuring colorful azaleas, a hint of fire, and the word, “Sizzling” from the Publishers Weekly review – visuals so intriguing it was hard not to pick up the book.  The novel became a Literary Guild and Doubleday Book Club Selection, important in those days.  Later, my novel Riggs Park featured three girls holding hands, hair flying as they ran through a summer landscape that perfectly conveyed happy friendships long past. The novel was selected to help launch a new line of women’s fiction
The Bad:
            The Activist’s Daughter is about a girl from DC who flees her mother’s embarrassing civil rights activism by going to college in North Carolina (The South! oh no!) in the fall of 1963.  It was published originally by a small, well-respected feminist press.  I had no say in the cover, but a warm, pleasant-looking version was sent to me while the book was in production.  Imagine my horror when the final copies arrived, all black-and-white and drab tan, with an illustration of a woman with her hair in a bun (in the ‘60s?) and an outfit (floral blouse, straight skirt) from no discernible era, being dragged off by what look like storm troopers.  Above that are my name and the title of the book, nothing else. On the back cover, in tiny type, there’s a long plot summary, an excerpt, and some reviews but no hint that this is a novel – much less by a fiction writer whose earlier work, Safe Passage, had been made into a movie starring Susan Sarandon – a film many potential readers would know.
When I started finding copies of the book in the social studies sections of bookstores, it dawned on me that people thought the novel was a memoir.
Happily, the print run soon sold out and the rights reverted to me.  The reprint has a beautiful cover (in which, yes, I did have a say) featuring the Old Well in Chapel Hill where the book is set, placards to suggest the civil rights movement, and the words “A Novel” prominently displayed.  Over the years, The Activist’s Daughter has become a perennial reading group selection for readers interested in the ‘60s.  I’m convinced the new cover helped. 
The Ugly:
Most book covers are neither beautiful nor disastrous, even with glitches that can be maddening for the author.  The protagonist of Over 50’s Singles Night is named BJ Fradkin – except on the cover, where it became BJ Franklin. The pastel pink cover of Raspberry Sherbet Kisses features lovers kissing while standing in an over-sized fruit bowl – so sweet that one reviewer said the novel is light but not that light (about a woman trying to hide the fact that she sees music and tastes shapes – as some people really do).  The sales impact?  I’ll never know. 
If a book is a big seller, the publisher will sometimes correct errors on the next printing.  But if sales are low and the writer is unhappy?  In today’s digital environment, most books are also e-books, which can stay “in print” indefinitely at little cost to the publisher, which often opts to hold on to rights rather than reverting them. 

Often, the best a writer can hope for is an editor sensitive to the visual journey readers take before deciding to open the book and embark on the literary one.  It makes a huge difference.   

Ellyn Bache is the author of more than a dozen books of fiction, including the novel Safe Passage, which was made into a movie starring Susan Sarandon, a collection of short stories that won the Willa Cather Fiction Prize, and The Art of Saying Goodbye, a novel that was chosen as an Okra Pick and SIBA Book Award nominee.  Currently, she's most excited about an upcoming production next spring at Furman University of  the musical comedy, Writers' Bloc written with Joyce Cooper (who did all the music and lyrics).  Ellyn lived for many years in Wilmington before moving to Greenville, SC. Her website is: www.ellynbache.com 

Monday, December 29, 2014

Congratulations to NCWN West member, Pat Davis


We received this email from Pat Davis of Brevard who has published her first mystery novel for teens and young adults. I met Pat in 2008 when she lived in Pennsylvania. We were attending a NCWN Conference and began talking while standing in front of an elevator. That was the beginning of a friendship we still enjoy. A native of Transylvania County, NC, Pat moved back to the mountains and continued with her writing. Give this new writer a try. Order her book on Kindle. That is what I am doing. Glenda Beall


From Pat Davis:
I'm delighted to announce the publication of my Teen and Young Adult mystery novel, THE NIGHT THE DANCING STOPPED.

It is now available on Kindle eBooks for $2.99 or through a variety of other e-sellers for approximately the same price.
The paperback is still in the review process and will go on sale on Amazon and other book retailers in a week or two.

I hope you will consider buying my eBook or paperback. The story has characters of all ages, and adults have reported enjoying reading it too. For those of you familiar with the Blue Ridge/Great Smoky Mountains area, many locations will be familiar, although they are used fictitiously.

If you purchase and enjoy The NIGHT THE DANCING STOPPED, please write a REVIEW. Sales and Reviews are crucial to the success of this novel. Thanks for your continuing encouragement and the purchase and review of my first foray into fiction writing.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Congratulations to Susan Snowden

Atlanta native, mountain writer, Susan Snowden's novel,  Southern Fried Lies is on shelves at your local bookstores.





Southern Fried Lies (a novel)

Author: Susan Snowden
Publisher: Archer Hill Publishing
ISBN: 978-0-9853301-0-1
266 pages; soft cover
$16.95

Available in bookstores and from online booksellers


Told in the clear, strong voice of Sarah Claiborne, a precocious teenager who reads Kafka and Camus, Southern Fried Lies is the story of a well-to-do Atlanta family in crisis.
The Claibornes appear picture-perfect: Edward, a successful architect; Catherine, active in the church and community; four model children. But life at “Tara” is not what it seems. Catherine’s sole focus has always been her oldest son, Ben; it is as if her other offspring and husband are invisible. When Ben suddenly moves away and refuses to communicate with his mother, Sarah becomes the target of Catherine’s wrath. Her father is too busy to help, and when Catherine’s behavior threatens the safety of all her children, Sarah takes on the task of “fixing” her.
The novel is set in Atlanta and New Orleans in the early 1960s.


About Susan Snowden:
An Atlanta native, Susan Snowden has lived in the Asheville area since 1995. Her work has appeared in numerous literary journals and anthologies. A grant from the NC Arts Council
supported this project.