I feel, as a new LDS fiction writer, like I am on shifting, volatile ground right now. I see LDS publishing companies that are smaller and more independent either shutting down business or struggling to stay afloat, while the bigger publishers slowly consume each other until they become one Frankenstien-like conglomeration; you submit to one, and get rejected by all. I read submission suggestions on the websites of LDS publishers and see that just about everyone is asking for literature that appeals to a wider audience than just LDS people. And this recent interview with Lyle Mortimer, who is in fact the CEO of CFI, my own publishing company, leaves me in a bit of a cold sweat. I guess comparatively, it’s not such a bad thing that my first book has only sold around 1400 copies so far. But it also points to a much more worrisome thing… something that maybe isn’t going to go away at all. Continue reading “LDS publishing: a new writer’s perspective”
I was happy when Wm approached me become a blogger on A Motley Vision. I have lurked on the blog for several years and, for the last few, actually commented. My poetry has been featured on Wilderness Interface Zone and in several of the LDS periodicals. My first novel, Lightning Tree, was published last April (2011) by Cedar Fort. I just signed a contract with them for a second novel, which will likely be released before the end of this year.
This is my life:
(btw–one missing from that picture).
A few weeks ago a book by the Brazilian language entrepreneur and LDS Church member Carlos “Wizard” Martins, who started the massive Wizard Language Schools chain (similar to Berlitz), reached the bestseller lists in Brazil. I’m fairly sure that the book Desperte o milionÃ¡rio que hÃ¡ em vocÃª (Awake the Millionaire Inside of You) is, I believe, the first by a Brazilian Mormon to reach the bestseller list.
I first heard of his book just before it was launched in April, and I didn’t give it much thought then–I’m not really in the book’s the target audience of those seeking a financial fortune and I suspect I could just as easily get a copy of the book that started this genre, Napoleon Hill’s 1937 self-help classic Think and Grow Rich, to say nothing of the various similar books penned by Mormons here in the U.S. But now that Martins has achieved a Mormon milestone in Brazil, I have to wonder if he is the first Mormon to reach the best seller list with a book not originally written in English?
I’m a baseball fan. I go to games, watch games on TV and even follow what’s happening in the minors a bit. I even follow Mormons in baseball and know how well Mormons are playing this year–ever heard of Mormon Baseball? Yeah, I’m that guy.
So when a friend told me about Ryan Woodward’s Bottom of the 9th, I bought the first episode. And today I finally got around to having a look. And while I generally liked what I saw, the app didn’t grab me and make me desperate for more. But, even though I’m not enthralled, I’d probably give a second episode a shot, if it were available.
In early June, Dayna Patterson launched a new poetry publication called Psaltery & Lyre. It’s housed under the auspices of Doves & Serpents, a group blog that, Dayna told me in an email interaction, “caters to [the] sort of open-minded/misfit Mormon crowd.” In fact, the blog’s byline is “With open minds and Mormon hearts,” a statement that wants to bridge the gap between mind and heart, faith and doubt, although I’m not completely convinced it does that; that, however, is beyond the purview of this post. What matters at the moment is how the relationship Doves & Serpents posits between mind and heart, faith and doubt translates into the cultural work Dayna hopes to accomplish with Psaltery & Lyre. As she comments on the column’s “About” page,
In the words of Canadian poet Anne Simpson, “Poetry dares us to locate the white heat in ourselves, but that isn’t enough: it dares us to translate that searing heat into language that can burn the page” (www.poetryfoundation.org [scroll down]).
In Psaltery & Lyre, we want to publish poetry that burns the page (or the screen). We want poems that push the borders of faith and doubt, sacred and secular. Above all, we seek excellence.
The monotheists of the Old Testament used the psaltery to accompany religious verses (think Psalms). The pagans of ancient Greece played the lyre while singing passionate love lyrics (think Sapphic odes). In Psaltery & Lyre, the sacred and profane share a bed.
So, while the larger blog project of which Psaltery & Lyre is a part is all about boundary pushing, Dayna wants the column to be, as she’s also told me, “just about good poetry. Period. No matter where/who [the poetry] comes from and no matter what [the poetry] is about.” Dayna herself is quite an accomplished poet and her sense of what makes for good poetry seems rooted in her own poetic practice and passion. I trust this means quality verse will take center stage at Psaltery & Lyre.
In my efforts to highlight the emerging faces and spaces of Mormon poetry and to provide a sense of Dayna’s editorial vision for Psaltery & Lyre, I asked her a few questions to which she graciously responded: Continue reading “I Will Praise Thee with the Psaltery & Lyre”
I came across this video from TED Talks today, and thought I’d pass it on to those who read this. I think Chip Kidd makes some great points about book and book cover design in a quirky way which, if you like it, might even make you laugh. If you concentrate on what he has to say about design (instead of what he says about technology), then there is a lot of good material here.
When I began working in book publishing at Henry Holt & Co. in 1988, one of the first things I learned was that there was a pattern to when each edition of a work was published. Hardcover editions came first, and then, usually a year later, a paperback edition was published, if the hardcover had sold well enough. There were, of course, exceptions, but the pattern was generally understood.
The rise of the ebook has, of course, disrupted this paradigm.