Sunday, May 27, 2007

J.K. Rowling and the Moonlight Signing

To celebrate the publication of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows on July 21, 2007, J.K. Rowling will be signing the night away at the Natural History Museum in London. One Canadian fan, and their parent or legal guardian, will win a chance to be there.

Raincoast Books and Bloomsbury Plc announced today an online contest open to Canadian fans age 8-18 to win a trip to London to attend the J.K. Rowling and the Moonlight Signing event.

Seventeen-hundred fans will have the opportunity to meet J.K. Rowling and have their book signed at the Natural History Museum, including the lucky Canadian winner and their parent or legal guardian. The first 500 fans will be randomly selected to attend the midnight reading. The subsequent signing is expected to last until dawn. Every ticket holder will receive a free book from Bloomsbury Publishing.

Ten years after the publication of 'Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone', the launch of the final book in the series, 'Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows', returns to where it all began: with a book, the author and her readers.

The Canadian online contest begins at 9:00 a.m. Pacific Time, May 24, 2007 and will close at 5:00 p.m. Pacific Time on July 2, 2007. To enter and for full contest details please go to:

The winner will be announced on July 3, 2007.

Arbor Books Warns About Ghostwriting Fraud

In an effort to combat the problem of fraud in the ghostwriting industry, Arbor Books announced guidelines for those people seeking to hire a ghostwriter or ghostwriting company.

The question of whether to hire a firm or an individual is the first hurdle facing most prospective clients.

“The answer is relatively simple,” says Arbor Books President, Joel Hochman. “Choose a firm over an individual for obvious reasons: If you get into a problem with an individual writer, you’re stuck, with little or no recourse. Basically, you’re at the mercy of that writer. With the internet as wide open as it is, the chances of hiring a charlatan are high.”

A firm on the other hand, offers a vetted staff of writers and back-up writers, as well as editorial oversight and project management.

“The best way to safeguard yourself against ghostwriting fraud is to work with a reputable ghostwriting firm,” says Arbor Books co-owner, Larry Leichman.

Before you sign a contract with a ghostwriting company to write your book, make sure they have proof of the following:

* They are NOT a referral agency farming out your work to inferior, uncaring writers
* A relationship with a major publishing law firm -- for your protection
* Full insurance against PLAGIARISM and defamation lawsuits
* Full insurance that also covers YOU as the author
* Guarantee that you own 100% of ALL the rights, profits and royalties to your book
* Protection of the Better Business Bureau
* Listing with Dun & Bradstreet
* Supervised writing by the country's top professional editors
* Total confidentiality and non-disclosure
* Plagiarism protection and detection
* A Publishing Law Firm as counsel (intellectual property, libel law)
* Full publishing and promotion services including TV, radio, and print
* All the promises in writing!

You can meet Arbor Books representatives to discuss your project at this year 2007 Book Expo, June 1 through 3 at The Javits Convention Center in New York City ( Arbor Books will be at Booth 5255. Or you can contact Arbor Books direct at 877-822-2500 or at their Web site:

Art Book by Clark Hulings Wins Independent Publisher Award

The newly published 20th anniversary edition of A Gallery of Paintings by Clark Hulings has won a bronze medal in the 2007 Independent Publisher Book Award Competition.

First published in 1986, A Gallery of Paintings by Clark Hulings instantly became a classic. As author and artist, Hulings received glowing reviews for both his masterful paintings and drawings, and his insightful commentary. Long out of print, it is still eagerly sought by collectors and artists alike.

Now, on the twenty-year anniversary, White Burro Publishing has released a completely revised softbound edition by this long-time New Mexico resident. Updates include a new foreword by Hulings, a comprehensive index and fifteen new paintings. All of the reproductions have been "re-mastered" using state- of-the-art digital technology, making them as vibrant as the artist's anecdotes.

Hulings is renowned as one of the most compelling observers of life. His luminous landscapes, rural and urban, are drawn from years traveling abroad as well as throughout the United States. The environments he documents are rich with the patina of time reflected in architectural details, dazzling and subtle light effects, life-affirming human moments and sensitivity to animals, notably the burro, a patient beast of burden that has become a Hulings' trademark.

In this extraordinary volume, Hulings offers both practical and personal insight into his art. He explains his technique, process and philosophy of painting using the plates as examples, and complements this invaluable information with his own amusing and poignant stories. Described as an "intimate journey into a man's soul," A Gallery of Paintings by Clark Hulings opens a window onto the lives of people throughout the world, as well as the working life of a major American artist. Now it has been recognized as one of the best fine art books of the year.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Disney Book Group Launches Publishing Program to Support Pirates of the Caribbean

Disney Book Group continues to grow its largest publishing program ever for a live action film. The massively anticipated release of Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End on May 25, 2007 will see the release of multiple new titles – with close to 2 million books already confirmed to ship to retailers in the U.S.

The Pirates of the Caribbean publishing program continues its rapid growth as a result of its wide appeal – as audiences of all ages connect with the sense of magic and adventure in the films, the books are published for readers at every age – from beginning readers to more advanced chapter books, from storybooks to young adult fiction – and for adult fans, there are gift and collectible titles as well.

Disney Book Group will release a broad publishing program based on Pirates of the Caribbean and the At World’s End movie. Included in this massive campaign are books for readers of all ages, including Disney Press’s At World’s End Junior Novel, which is already a New York Times best seller; the Saving Jack Sparrow and Force of Will 8x8 storybooks for readers ages 4-6; Singapore! and The Mystic’s Journey early readers for kids ages 5-7; At World’s End: The Movie Storybook for readers ages 10 and up; and gift books from Disney Editions including: Pirates of the Caribbean: From the Magic Kingdom to the Movies; The Art of Pirates of the Caribbean; Bring Me That Horizon: The Making of Pirates of the Caribbean; and The Pirates Guidelines.

Books based on the entire Pirates of the Caribbean franchise will be also debut in conjunction with the film’s premiere – titles include From Ship to Shore: A Magnetic Book; The Secret Files of the East India Trading Company; Pirates of the Caribbean Poster Book; and The Black Pearl: A Pop-Up Pirate Ship. Additionally, the original Jack Sparrow chapter book series based on the teenage Jack Sparrow - which has launched New York Times and USA Today best selling titles - will continue to grow into a 12 book program.

The Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest Junior Novel was a #1 New York Times best seller and remained on the list for 15 weeks. Pirates of the Caribbean titles have appeared on best-seller lists in the UK and France, and within the next year, over 60 different Pirates of the Caribbean titles will be available globally.

Disney Book Group is part of Disney Publishing Worldwide (DPW). Disney Book Group’s imprints include Hyperion Books for Children, Jump at the Sun, Disney Press, and Disney Editions.

Joost Announces Deal with Creative Artists Agency

Joost™, the world’s first broadcast-quality Internet television service, has signed with Creative Artists Agency (CAA), the world’s leading talent and literary agency. CAA will assist Joost in its efforts to secure the most compelling and entertaining content for distribution on the online entertainment platform.

Joost combines the best of TV and the best of the Internet by offering viewers a full-screen sight, sound and motion experience enhanced with the choice, control and flexibility of Web 2.0. Currently in an expanded beta, Joost is the first online, global TV distribution platform that brings advertisers, content owners and viewers together in an interactive, community-driven environment.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Columnist and Author Derek Maul Signs New Book at Books-a-Million

Award-winning writer Derek Maul will be reading and signing his new book, "Get Real: A Spiritual Journey for Men," at Brandon Books-a-Million, located at 839 Brandon Town Center Mall, Saturday, June 9, 2007.

Maul will read from "Get Real" at 2:30 p.m.; a signing session follows at 3:00 p.m. A second reading begins at 7:00 p.m. with a signing session at 7:30 p.m. Seating is on a first come, first serve basis.

"Get Real" ($14.00, 144 pp.) is published by Nashville-based Upper Room Books, publishers of the Upper Room daily devotional guide.

For additional information about the book signings at Books-a-Million, call 813-571-2062.

Maul writes a popular weekly op-ed column for local editions of the "Tampa Tribune." His commentary and features have appeared in "Newsweek," "USA Today," "The Christian Science Monitor," "Presbyterians Today," "Guideposts," and many other print and online publications.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Varied Verses Bring Poetry to Wider Audience in New Collection

Michael Cook touches hearts and tickles funny bones with a wide assortment of poetic verse for the weary soul, empty heart and troubled mind in his new collection, "The Rise and Fall of the Mind" (available through AuthorHouse).

Ranging from concise haikus, light ballads and simple love poems to more complex undertakings such as sonnets, villanelles and pantoums, Cook's poetry is diverse enough in composition and subject matter to appeal to all types of readers. Placing particular emphasis on the spiritual significance of psychological states, these poems are designed to help readers in the introspective process of self-realization.

The poem "At the Ballet" illustrates Cook's adept word usage as well as the depth of subject matter:

Death got the biggest hand/ at the ballet tonight.

The audience loved his slow dance -
the way he wielded his sickle
the way he cut down all those young sailors,
bare-chested, in the prime of life.

His skeleton costume glowed in the dark
and charmed us too.

And his strength, his prowess,
as he scooped up bodies and twirled them
around like dolls!

When he suddenly stopped and pointed at me,
I felt the chill.

The dance death danced
entranced us who were watchers tonight,
seduced us, and also made us sad.

So we clapped as hard as we could,
as hard as we knew how,
when Death took his bow.

Through these verses, Cook hopes to reach readers who have felt a void in their lives left by a lack of poetic verse. "Poetry deserves a wider audience," he says. "The hunger for poetry can be seen in the phenomenon of rap music, which is driven by the poetic impulse to communicate orally. This book appeals to those who already love poetry because of its skillful use of language - 'The best words in the best order,' as Samuel Johnson put it. But it also appeals to many who very rarely enjoy poetry because it has become impenetrably dense, obscure and over-intellectual. These poems, in contrast, are written for enjoyment by the whole person: mind, body, heart and spirit. I would hope to reach people who need poetry, but might not know it ... people who appreciate the poetry inherent in the mere fact of being and can respond to the voice of a fellow traveler on the road of becoming."

Cook grew up in New York and pursued a Hollywood film career after studying theater and film at Northwestern University. He soon returned to New York and received a doctorate degree in mathematics. He also studied philosophy and theology for a year at seminary before beginning post-doctoral research at Rockefeller University. Two of the four musicals he has co- authored have been produced: "Le Shotgun Marriage" was made during summer stock and "The Lysistrata Affair" was presented during an Equity Showcase. He currently works on Wall Street in New York where he resides with his wife, Melissa.

Website: The Rise and Fall of the Mind by Michael Cook

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Online Book Reflects New Model for the Publishing Industry

Three years ago, when Michael was finishing fourth grade, he was a reluctant reader. His mother couldn't get him to read the back of the cereal box - let alone a book or a magazine. Then, while he was on summer vacation, he discovered "Diary of a Wimpy Kid" in a daily serial format on Funbrain (, a learning-based online publisher for kids. Starting that summer, Michael enthusiastically logged on to Funbrain every week to read the latest adventures of Greg, a seventh grader, and the protagonist of this successful online children’s book.

Michael wasn’t alone. More than 70,000 different kids read “The Diary of a Wimpy Kid” every day, and nearly 40 million kids have read it since it appeared online in May 2004. While the online book edition of “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” has already likely topped out as the most read children’s book in America, the print version of “The Diary of a Wimpy Kid” (published by Amulet, an imprint of Harry N. Abrams Publishing) had its first appearance on “The New York Times Book Review Children’s Best Sellers List” last Sunday in the number seven slot – less than a month after its print debut.

“In my more than 25 years in the publishing industry, I have never seen anything as exciting as the online success of ‘Diary of a Wimpy Kid,’" said Jess Brallier, publisher, Funbrain. “Kids are reading online – millions of them – and, as a result, the publishing paradigm is changing completely. Successful online fiction is driving the publication of print books and, best of all, kids who previously were reluctant readers are developing a love of reading because of the engaging way that online publications are designed and delivered.”

The Diary of a Wimpy Kid” was written and illustrated by Jeff Kinney, a graphic artist and self-described “wimpy kid.” Since the online children’s book was launched in 2004, Kinney has received email from thousands of online readers and parents who are amazed at the way their reluctant readers have become enthusiastic readers since they started following Greg and reading about his misadventures online.

“Publishing is about connecting as many people as possible with good content and, in the process, being successful enough that you can afford to publish again and again,” said Brallier. “‘Diary of a Wimpy Kid’ is a new model for children’s publishing. The content is available free to an immense number of kids. They don’t have to come from a family that goes to bookstores or libraries or have money to buy a book. If kids have access to the Internet, they have access to this great content. It’s publishing at its best.”

To support teachers who want to use “Diary of the Wimpy Kid” in the classroom, TeacherVision ( published a number of enrichment activities. Teachers can use these resources to have their students explore plot and character development; develop creative writing projects, such as a song about Greg; as well as write a journal of their own.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Heroic Tales of Ordinary People Defying Injustice

Everyday across the United States, millions of people face a wide range of injustices, from sexual harassment on the job, to unfairly low pay, to unrelenting authoritarian bosses. For some people, retaliation against such conditions is nothing but a fleeting daydream, but for a growing number of working people, standing up and fighting for their rights has become a reality. Their heroic boldness inspired the 23 short stories featured in Gregory Alan Norton's rousing new book, "An Infinity of Days in the Psychotic Atomik Empire" (ISBN 1891386581, Plain View Press, 2007).

"An Infinity of Days in the Psychotic Atomik Empire" delves into the tough realities of modern day Chicago and brings to life a diverse cast of characters, including college students, union organizers and telemarketers, who use any means they can to maintain their dignity and civil rights. Many of the short stories were originally published in prominent literary publications, such as "The Princeton Arts Review" and "Tarpaulin Sky." While the subject matter of his book may be heavy, Norton skillfully uses tongue-in-cheek humor and irony to lighten the mood and reveal the spontaneous resistance that arises to challenge life's daily indignities.

Humor and activism blend together seamlessly in each story within "An Infinity of Days in the Psychotic Atomik Empire." The "hands on" methods of confrontation illustrated throughout Norton's book are exemplified in one particularly memorable account, where a young woman learns karate and flings her supervisor across the office in retaliation for sexual harassment.

"What I have tried to convey is the steady strength of the character many working class people show despite great adversity," Norton says. "Although they have to struggle to make ends meet, they often show great courage in standing up to a system that's stacked against them."

The "empire" in the title refers to the state of the current American government, armed with considerable nuclear power and engaged in a controversial war. With a family background in coal miner strikes and personal experiences within the Civil Rights Movement and Peace Movement of the Vietnam War Era, Norton passionately believes that changing such an "empire" for the better will only result from unified collective action.

About the Author:
Gregory Alan Norton
resides in Chicago, Illinois. He has been an activist in the civil rights, peace and labor movements. He served as an organizer and newspaper editor for the United Steelworkers and has participated in other unions as well. Norton is currently working on a new novel, "The Psychology of Starlight," that deals with immigration issues. For more information, visit

Sunday, May 6, 2007 Joins Up With the Syndicate is partnering with Universal Press Syndicate (UPS), the largest independent newspaper syndicate in the world. UPS and Lulu will work together to launch an online storefront as a new way for UPS to be able to produce and distribute their content to the vast audience of fans of their authors and creators.

Leveraging Lulu's digital content marketplace infrastructure, Universal Press Syndicate, will now be able to reach their audience directly and provide a broader range of titles because of the flexibility of Lulu's print-on-demand technology.


Saturday, May 5, 2007

Nation's Largest Literary Festival Breaks Book Sales Records

In its 12th straight year the The Los Angeles Times Festival of Books drew between 130,000 and 140,000 people and featured the largest number of writers, panel discussions, exhibitors, and activities in its history. Held on the beautiful UCLA campus on Saturday, April 28th and Sunday, April 29th, the event drew higher than expected attendance and drove record book sales for sponsors.

"It was inspiring, moving and exhilarating to celebrate reading and writing with over 130,000 of our friends and neighbors at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books," said Publisher David D. Hiller.

The Festival brought together its largest and most eclectic gathering of literary stars thus far, including Dr. Phil McGraw, Tim Gunn, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Julie Andrews Edwards, Walter Mosley, Arianna Huffington, Ellen Burstyn, T.C. Boyle, Mary Higgins Clark, Gore Vidal, and Ray Bradbury.

463 authors participated in book readings and signings and made appearances on one of the 100 discussion panels. was also an integral online participant in the 2007 event, hosting web chats with several celebrity authors who took live questions from the public throughout the weekend.