Oh, This Book, This Book, This Book! Garden of Darkness by Gillian Murray Kendall

“Oh, this book. This book, this book, this book. Post-apocalyptic YA is usually just something I read for funsies, but I had to stay up last night until I’d finished this one. It wasn’t the story–kids survive in a world where disease has wiped out all of the adults–but the writing. Most YA uses fairly simple, straightforward prose in telling its story, with the occasional descriptive passage used to point to something that will be Very Important to the Plot. This book, however, seemed to relish language; to use it to full effect to build mood and character. Every character had a distinctive voice, a distinctive way of speaking, which made them clear on the page. Each change of circumstance was rendered clearly, with the panic of the early part of the book giving way to the fear and loneliness of the middle, then on to the companionship, love and hope of the latter part. I really wish I could explain this better or that I had been smart enough to copy down some of the phrases and sentences that particularly stood out for me, but, alas, no. I will say, though, if you haven’t read it yet, to give it a try when you have a chance. Like I said, there’s nothing earth-shatteringly original about the plot, but the writing itself elevates this book far above the rest of the heaping pile of post-apocalyptic YA.” Billie Bloebaum, Powell’s @ PDX

The Garden of Darkness explores the journey of four children who, after surviving a disease that seems to infect all but one adult, hope to find meaning by joining forces with this sole remaining grownup — who says he possesses a cure. These children discover, however, that the greatest meaning of all lies in the friendships they forge during the journey itself. This groundbreaking Young Adult novel—shaded with despair like that in The Road and hope and renewal like that found in The Hunger Games— shows the courage, tenacity and, finally, love necessary to create a new world from the ashes of the old.

Their families dead from the pandemic SitkaAZ13, known as “Pest,” 15-year-old cheerleader Clare and 13-year-old chess club member Jem, an unlikely pair, are thrown together and realize that, if either of them wishes to reach adulthood, they must find a cure. A shadowy adult broadcasting on the radio to all orphaned children promises just that—to cure children once they grow into Pest, then to feed them and to care for them.
Or does this adult have something else in mind?

Against a hostile landscape of rotting cities and of a countryside infected by corpses and roamed by voracious diseased survivors, Jem and Clare make their bid for life and, with their group of fellow child-travelers growing, embark on a journey to find the grownup they believe holds the cure. Their only weapon is Clare’s dog, Bear.
But Clare and Jem, as well as their followers, are hampered by the knowledge that everything in this new child-led world had become suspect—the love of diseased adults, alliances, trust, hope. As Clare and Jem learn to stitch wounds, skin deer and survive in the ashes of the old world perhaps it is no surprise that they begin to find that friendship is as redemptive as anything they seek—that friendship has its own kind of healing power. And, at the end of their journey, in the face of the ultimate betrayal, they discover that out of friendship can come love.

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Wardrobe Malfunctions Plague BEA

You know the cliché that goes “If they can put men on the moon they should be able to (fill in the blank)? Well, I have one for you. If they can put men on the moon they should be able to make a conference name tag that works. But if wardrobe malfunctions at recent Book Expo America events are any indication, we are as far from producing a sensible name tag as we are from establishing a colony on Neptune.

The book conference’s name tags, suspended around the neck by a lanyard, were certainly large enough – about 4 inches square – and the typeface a highly legible 18-point sans serif bold. The problem was that the tags tended to twist on their lanyards, displaying their blank reverse sides and forcing the viewer to resort to a variety of unsatisfying strategies to identify the wearer. Such as…

  • hoping an errant breeze will spin the tag back to obverse
  • hoping a third party will address the person by name
  • presenting your card and praying the presentation will be reciprocated
  • asking the person’s name and learning that he or she is the CEO of a major publisher
  • asking the person’s name and learning he or she is someone you recently dined with…or slept with

The solution is obvious: print names on both sides of the tag. But it’s clearly more obvious to me than to the Expo’s planners and it’s not a laughing matter. In this age of social networking, the failure to know whom you’re talking to is not just embarrassing, it could mean lost business.

But I’m not through.

Lanyards are poor devices for displaying identification. Name tags depending from them hang down to the nether regions, requiring one to gaze awkwardly at the bearer’s belly. Short of pretending to tie one’s shoelaces to effect a surreptitious glance at the name tag, it means another business opportunity missed.

It does not require an advanced engineering degree to perceive that the best location for name tags is the chest, but even that solution is fraught with issues. Many people like to show off their attire and resent having their fashion statements compromised by a name tag. Some of us worry that the tags’ pins will leave unsightly and irreparable holes in dresses, blouses or jackets.

That problem led to the creation of paper “Hello My Name Is” tags with peel-off backings, which are great unless the adhesive is so strong that it leaves a rectangular patch on one’s clothing, or so weak as to cause the tag to curl up or simply fall to the floor. It can be jolly fun to attend a conference and count the number of paper name tags adhering to attendees’ shoes. I once observed a significant publishing executive walking about with someone else’s name tag stuck to his behind like a Kick Me sign.

But I’m still not through.

If you attend a party or conference that uses paper name tags you owe it to fellow attendees to print largely and neatly. All too many people write their names in tiny script or illegible scribbles, forcing one to gape boorishly at a woman’s embonpoint when he’s simply trying to get a good gander at her name. Honestly, lady, I’m not staring at your bosom. I’m just trying to read your damn name tag.

And talking of boors, are there any more pretentious than those who feel they’re so notable they do not need to wear a name tag at all?

So yes, if they can send men to the moon, can they not produce a sensible name tag? I hope so, and maybe they could have it ready for next year’s BEA?

(Hello. My Name Is) Richard Curtis

This blog post was published by Digital Book World as Excuse Me, Madame, I’m Not Gazing at Your Bosom, I’m Just Trying to Read Your Damn Name Tag

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Ray Garton’s New Thriller Depicts the Storm to End All Storms

Cover image for the sixth and final installment.

The title of Ray Garton’s new horror thriller seems to be the only word out of place in the assessment of Garton fans and reviewers.  Frankenstorm portrays the effects of a stupendous west coast hurricane on the populace of a small town that is already seething with emotional storms long before the winds begin to rise to horrific fury.

Kensington Books is marketing the book in e-serial installments at the end of which it will release the paperback.  Comments on the chapters have been almost universally positive.  The title drew the ire of at least one reviewer who otherwise lavished praise on the skill with which the horror master builds his troubled characters and matches the crescendo of their emotions to the climax of the storm.

“Even if not loaded to the gills with gruesome vintage monster molds,” writes Matt Molgaard, “this is assuredly a horror story, well-written and clearly worth examination. The way science and mankind are headed nowadays, something like this could easily be a reality, which makes it all the more uncomfortable. Reminiscent of a Ray Bradbury precautionary tale, Frankenstorm comes highly recommended, even if the title of the novel is severely off-putting (despite Garton’s amazing career, this one was passed down the HNR line multiple times; the reason being: no one wanted to even approach a novel with a title that sounds like an awful SyFy Network film).

“Look beyond the stomach turning, cheesy title (this novel is neither stomach turning, nor cheesy, for the record) and pre-order this one right here. It’s worth it!”

Open Road is in the process of reissuing some twenty Garton backlist titles.

Richard Curtis

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E-Reads Travels to Open Road

Richard Curtis and the E-Readsmobile Prepare to Take to the Open Road

Afoot and light-hearted I take to the open road,
Healthy, free, the world before me,
The long brown path before me leading wherever I choose.

Walt Whitman, Song of the Open Road
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Dear Authors, Agents, Publishers and Friends of E-Reads:

As you know, E-Reads, the e-book publisher I founded in 1999, was recently acquired by Open Road, the largest independent e-book publisher in the English language. As of April 1, 2014 publication of our books will be taken over by Open Road, and the E-Reads website will be closed down. We have recently spent a great deal of time with the management and staff of Open Road and have every confidence that their superb publication and marketing machine will create a warm home for our books and greatly enhance their value.

I am very proud of the list that our superb team of artists and technicians has built in the fifteen years since I started the company, inspired by a vision of a digital publishing future that seemed remote at the end of the 90′s but has become the dominant force in books today. Though we created brilliant covers and a wonderfully robust website, our focus was always on the content itself. We loved books, we loved our books, and it gave us intense pleasure to bring them back to print and share their delights with old fans and a new generation of readers.

Although I’ve posted hundreds of blogs promoting E-Reads’ books, I’m somewhat at a loss for words as I convey my baby to its new home. So I’m going to let one of our most successful authors express what is in my heart.

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“E-Reads was a unique, precious, important thing in my life, and, I suspect, in the lives of many others. It was a joy to bring up the site and see what might be cooking on one day or another. I muchly enjoyed your blogs, or whatever they might be called. Too, it was nice to see the write-ups on one book or another. Too, your team was professional, effective, gifted, superb. The site was ample, well-organized, and well managed. It was also very attractive. The scroll arrangement, for example, was a marvelous device for pointing up and calling attention to offering after offering. Too, so many of your covers were marvelous. Of course, it was a pioneer project, too. It was original, and historical. What an amazing, and wonderful, fifteen years…

“E-Reads was an individual island, with its own trees, beasts, and scenery. It was a place where one could locate, and conveniently access, many books by many wonderful authors which were no longer generally available. Your rescue mission saved much that otherwise might have perished. It was a place where one could find such things. It designed for itself a needed role, and it played it splendidly.”
John Norman
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I will serve in a consultancy role with Open Road to assist in the transition. And of course my commitment to the clients of my literary agency, Richard Curtis Associates, Inc., remains as absolute as ever.

Richard Curtis

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Kim Harrison’s “Undead Pool” Hits #1 on New York Times Bestseller List

Kim Harrison returns to the supernatural adventures of Rachel Morgan in The Undead Pool, the penultimate book of Kim Harrison’s bestselling Hollows series. And today it achieves the pinnacle of success in the book industry, the #1 position on the New York Times bestseller list, beating out Janet Evanovich, James Patterson, J. D. Robb (Nora Roberts) and Donna Tartt, author of The Goldfinch.

HARDCOVER FICTION

THE UNDEAD POOL, by Kim Harrison
THE GOLDFINCH, by Donna Tartt
THE CHASE, by Janet Evanovich and Lee Goldberg
PRIVATE L.A., by James Patterson and Mark Sullivan
CONCEALED IN DEATH, by J. D. Robb

In The Undead Pool, Witch and day-walking demon Rachel Morgan knows magic—earth, ley line, even the forbidden demon magic—and that knowledge has saved her life more than once. But now something—or someone—is attacking Cincinnati and the Hollows, causing spells to backfire or go horribly wrong while living vampires attack humans and Inderlanders alike.

The pressures build when the city is quarantined to contain the unreliable magic, and Rachel must stop the attacks before the undead vampire masters who keep the rest of the undead under control are lost and it becomes all-out supernatural war.

The only way to do so is through the ancient elven magic, but that carries its own perils—for magic always has a price, and gods do not come lightly when called.

Keep an eye out for news of the climactic 13th book of the Hollows series.

Kim Harrison is represented by Richard Curtis Associates.

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Charles Curtis Middle Grade Fantasy Scheduled for 2015

Tantrum Author Charles Curtis

Georgia McBride at Month9Books has acquired North American and audio rights to a middle-grade fantasy thriller called Strange Country Day, and an untitled sequel by debut author and New York City sportswriter Charles Curtis, in which a boy develops superhuman athletic skills while under the watchful eyes of some spooky adults. The book is scheduled for fall 2015 publication from the publisher’s new middle-grade line, Tantrum Books. Richard Curtis brokered the deal.

Charles Curtis is a writer and journalist based in New York City. He has reported and written for publications including NJ.com (where he is currently the site’s sports buzz reporter), The Daily, ESPN.com, ESPN the Magazine, Bleacher Report, TV Guide and Entertainment Weekly. Charles has covered the NFL, MLB, NHL, NBA, golf, tennis and NASCAR. He has also written about television, film and pop culture.

In addition, Curtis has also written, produced and was featured in videos for ESPN.com and The Daily. He has made radio appearances on stations including 92.9 The Ticket in Bangor, Maine, WLIE 540 AM in Long Island and on morning shows across Canada via the CBC.

He can be reached on email at charlescurtis82 at yahoo.com or on Twitter: @charlescurtis82.

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“The Braided Path” by Donna Glee Williams

The Braided Path,” a fantasy by Curtis Agency author Donna Glee Williams, has just been released by Hades Publications in its EDGE Science Fiction Fantasy Publishing imprint.

On the slopes of a vertical land where people’s lives are bounded by how high and low they are able walk on the single path that connects their world, the young widow Len Rope-Maker watches as years go by and her son Cam never finds his limits. Long past the time when other youths in Home Village have found their boundaries, Cam keeps climbing higher and lower, pushing on with his sweetheart Fox who also shows signs of being a Far-Walker. But Cam’s drive to venture far nudges him towards the top of the world, while Fox’s sends her downward, toward the mythical sea at the bottom of all things. Both are true.

“The Braided Path is set in a world which is not this one (but is like this one in some ways), in a culture which is not modernity, and in a world where the laws of nature are basically the same as in our waking world, i.e., there are no vampires, zombies, werewolves, princes, swords, dragons, wizards, or any magic at all, really, except for the alchemy of love.”” – Donna Glee Williams

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OPEN ROAD INTEGRATED MEDIA ACQUIRES E-READS

Open Road Integrated Media has acquired E-Reads, it was announced today jointly by E-Reads CEO Richard Curtis and Open Road CEO Jane Friedman.

E-Reads and Open Road, founded ten years apart, share the same passion for the power of digital publishing.

E-Reads was founded in 1999, at the dawn of the digital era. The company is the oldest independent digital publisher in the field and was built to create an ebook market for authors.

Open Road was founded in 2009, just as the ebook market was about to explode. The company was built from the ground up to bring the greats back to life through digital publishing and marketing. Using cutting-edge technology, Open Road connects authors and readers like never before. This is why we are so excited to announce Open Road’s acquisition of E-Reads, uniting the oldest ebook publisher with the largest.

Open Road will bring all of its marketing power to E-Reads’ 1,200+ titles, a majority of which are science fiction and fantasy and also span the romance, mystery, and thriller genres. These incredible books by authors like Dan Simmons, Harlan Ellison, Greg Bear, John Norman, Aaron Elkins, Laura Kinsale, and Ray Garton join Open Road’s more than 4,000 titles, adding to its growing genre list.

See the official announcement below for more information on our exciting news.

Thank you for joining us on the Open Road,

Richard Curtis and Jane Friedman
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OPEN ROAD INTEGRATED MEDIA ACQUIRES E-READS

E-Reads’ 1,200+ Titles to Be Published and Marketed by Open Road,
Uniting Oldest Independent Ebook Publisher with Largest

Superstars Dan Simmons, Harlan Ellison, Greg Bear, John Norman (Science Fiction and Fantasy), Aaron Elkins, Barbara Parker (Mystery),
Laura Kinsale (Romance), and Ray Garton (Horror)
Add to Open Road’s Growing Genre List

(New York, NY, February 10th, 2014) – Open Road Integrated Media, the largest independent ebook publisher, announced today that it has acquired E-Reads, the oldest independent ebook publisher in the field. E-Reads’ more than 1,200 titles, a majority of which are science fiction and fantasy and also span the mystery, thriller, romance, and horror genres, will now be published by Open Road and marketed through the company’s proprietary platform. E-Reads founder Richard Curtis will consult with Open Road during the transition.

“E-Reads has proven to be as successful as I envisioned when I founded the company in 1999,” says Richard Curtis. “However, as I recently surveyed the state of the industry, it became apparent that it was time to seek an alliance with a company with greater resources, particularly in the all-important area of marketing. I am confident that Open Road will afford all of our books the best opportunity to realize their full potential in a competitive, ever-changing, and increasingly crowded marketplace, and I look forward to playing a role in the integration of these two great firms.”

“E-Reads is one of the publishing industry’s pioneering companies, and it shares Open Road’s passion for the digital future,” says Open Road cofounder and CEO Jane Friedman. “Richard Curtis has built an incredible catalog filled with beloved and bestselling authors, and we are excited to welcome them to the Open Road family as we bring all of our resources to connecting them with readers around the world.”

E-Reads’ catalog spans multiple genres, with a focus on science fiction and fantasy authors including Harlan Ellison, Greg Bear, John Norman, Dave Duncan, Dan Simmons, Brian Aldiss, and Robert Sheckley; mystery bestsellers including Aaron Elkins and Barbara Parker; romance star Laura Kinsale; and horror master Ray Garton, who will now join Open Road’s growing list of genre greats.

Open Road launched as a literary publisher (Mary McCarthy, William Styron, Sherman Alexie, Michael Chabon) and has since expanded into additional genres including science fiction and fantasy (Octavia E. Butler, Theodore Sturgeon), mystery (Carl Hiaasen, Dorothy L. Sayers), and romance (Heather Graham, Amanda Scott), among many others.

This acquisition unites the oldest independent ebook publisher in the field with the largest. E-Reads was founded by Richard Curtis in 1999, at the beginning of the ebook era. Open Road Integrated Media, cofounded by Jane Friedman in 2009, published its first ebook in 2010 and has since grown to become the largest independent ebook publisher, with more than 4,000 titles.

Chris Davis, Open Road COO, led the negotiations on behalf of Open Road. Terms of the deal, which is expected to close on April 1, were not disclosed.

After the closing, the E-Reads website will be taken down and its titles will be featured on Open Road’s website (http://www.openroadmedia.com/), with links to all major e-tailers.

About Open Road
Open Road Integrated Media is a digital publisher and multimedia content company. Open Road creates connections between authors and their audiences by marketing its ebooks through a new proprietary online platform, which uses premium video content and social media. Open Road has published ebooks from legendary authors including William Styron, Pat Conroy, Alice Walker, James Jones, and Pearl S. Buck.

About E-Reads
Founded in 1999, at the dawn of the ebook era, E-Reads is the oldest independent digital publisher in the field and an innovative leader in the modern book industry.

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Harlan Ellison Opens The Cartons and….

E-Reads has issued a handsome matched collection of over thirty major works by multiple award winning fantasist Harlan Ellison.

Over the course of his legendary career, Ellison has defined–and defied–modern fantasy literature, yet has refused to allow any genre to claim him. A Grand Master of the Science Fiction Writers of America, winner of the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Horror Writers Association, and winner of countless awards, including the Hugo, Nebula, Edgar Allan Poe and Bram Stoker, Ellison is as unpredictable as he is unique, irrepressible as he is infuriating.

E-Reads is proud to publish over thirty titles in Ellison’s brilliant catalog, now available in this elegant new package. Included are such deathless works as Shatterday, I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream, Strange Wine and Deathbird stories. For the complete list visit his author page.

Here’s an entertaining video of Harlan “discovering” the books on his doorstep…

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Janet Dailey, Beloved Romance Author, Dies

Janet Dailey, author of over ninety works of historical fiction and popular romances, died unexpectedly at the age of 69 years over the past weekend. She had undergone emergency heart surgery in November but had bounced back and was cheerfully looking forward to returning to work.

She has been a client of Richard Curtis Associates since publication of her bestselling novel HEIRESS and has published dozens more since then, including a police detective trilogy, sequels to her popular Calder western historical series, and Christmas romances for her current publisher Kensington Books. Some sixty of her older titles have been reissued by E-Reads. After the death of her husband Bill she took over operation of his successful Branson, Missouri music theatre business. She also renovated and reopened Ye Olde Englishe Inn in Hollister, Missouri.

Janet Dailey was a trailblazing romance author who matured into a serious chronicler of western history, emphasizing love of the land and the passionate men and women who forged the American west. Her fans will miss her but none more than myself, her friend and agent for decades.
Richard Curtis
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Janet Dailey was born Janet Haradon in 1944 in Storm Lake, Iowa. She attended secretarial school in Omaha, Nebraska before meeting her husband, Bill. Bill and Janet worked together in construction and land development until they “retired” to travel throughout the United States, inspiring Janet to write the Americana series of romances, setting a novel in every state of the Union. In 1974, Janet Dailey was the first American author to write for Harlequin. Her first novel was “No Quarter Asked”. She has since gone on to write approximately 90 novels, 21 of which have appeared on the New York Times bestseller list. She has won many awards and accolades for her work, appearing widely on radio and television. Today, there are over three-hundred million Janet Dailey books in print in 19 different languages, making her one of the most popular novelists in the world. For more information about Janet Dailey visit www.janetdailey.com.

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