Announcement: Langford Book Accepted for Publication; MS Readers Wanted

Hi all. Chris Bigelow has provisionally agreed to publish No Going Backward, my novel about a gay Mormon teen coming out and coming of age, with Zarahemla Books. I’m looking for readers who would discount code united pharmacy be willing to look over the MS within a relatively short timeframe (my revised MS is due to Chris for editing by the end of April), in exchange for bribes, favors owed, baklava, what have you.

Continue reading “Announcement: Langford Book Accepted for Publication; MS Readers Wanted”

WindRiver Purchases Mapletree

LDS publisher Windriver Publishing has purchased another LDS publisher, Mapletree Publishing, according to a message posted on the websites of both companies. The merger consolidates two smaller publishers active in the LDS market, and borders on creating a new medium-sized publisher.

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Citations Exhibiting the Most Prominent Reading…

SALT LAKE CITY, UT - MARCH 31: The Mormon Tabe...
Image by Getty Images via Daylife

Since last General Conference I’ve been meaning to look at the books mentioned in each Conference, just to see what items General Authorities think fit to mention. I’ve finally managed to complete my look at last conference, and I’m starting to look at this conference. The list is, I think, interesting. Continue reading “Citations Exhibiting the Most Prominent Reading…”

James Wood on the “nonsense written” about characters in fiction

From what I recall (I consume way too much without proper digestion), James Wood is a meanie of a literary critic who is erudite to a flaw and a bit fusty. I probably read some of his reviews back when I was reading The New Yorker (grandparents had a subscription — is anything better than hand-me-down magazines?), but I don’t remember them. However, when I read the reviews of his latest book How Fiction Works, I quickly ordered it from my local library. Several months later, I finally have it in hand.

I enjoyed it and learned from it so I suppose that means that it’s a good book. Reminds be a bit of John Gardner’s On Moral Fiction in its breadth and insistent literariness. I liked that Wood uses tons of examples from literature and that he expresses a real breadth as a reader (although he doesn’t deal much with genre) in that he likes and finds value in works of literary realism, postmodernism, and pre-realism, yet isn’t afraid to show where all of them can go wrong. He cites (approvingly) James and Nabokov and Austen and Stendhal and others and does a good job of not conflating all of them. He shows where there are serious points of differences. I also love that he clearly loves novels, loves fiction. And he goes after some of the silly truisms that get passed on, celebrating all types of metaphor and characters and style and point of view (although he does go on about free indirect discourse a lot — but he’s right — it’s what makes novels unique and wonderful and heterglossic, to borrow from Bakhtin). One wishes for a bit more structure and the latter 1/3 of the book seems a bit more rushed and less-developed than what comes before. Continue reading “James Wood on the “nonsense written” about characters in fiction”

Work in Progress: Elder Cannon Remarries

Kent and I have been hitting the “issues facing Mormon publishing and book/film selling” pretty hard over the past few weeks. And there is more to come — I recently finished reading Rapture Ready! and have a few things to say about it in relation to the Mormon market. But I don’t want to lose sight of the fact that I really enjoy reading and writing Mormon literature. I was going to write up some liner notes for my Irreantum Fiction Contest entry, but then I realized that the judge(s) might read this blog.

So instead I have decided to offer a glimpse of a work in progress. It was originally called “The Courtship of Elder Cannon.” Apparently I retitled it “Elder Cannon Remarries” at some point. It’s been almost a year since I last worked on it so I’m a bit rusty on where I was going with it, but I think it’s the next piece of creative writing I want to focus on. I originally envisioned it as a longish short story, but now I’m thinking of putting my money where my mouth is and try to write a novella.

I suppose this is rather self-indulgent on my part. And I know writers are supposed to be superstitious about not letting this stuff see the light of day until a full draft is complete (and even then only to a few readers). But I thought that I’d take a cue from the non-fiction author-bloggers and forward-thinking speculative fiction writers and go public with the project and provide a teaser of what’s been written so far.

So without further ado, here are the first 2,000 words of the first draft of “Elder Cannon Remarries.” Continue reading “Work in Progress: Elder Cannon Remarries”

Echos of the Decline of Mormon Retail

The April 2008 issue of Christianity Today featured an article on the changes that have affected Christian retail over the last two decades. The description is surprisingly similar to what has happened to LDS retailers — so much so that I thought the article’s claims bore some analysis here.

The article indicates that the CBA, the former Christian Booksellers Association, “has reported a drop from more than 3,000 members out of an estimated 4,000 Christian retail stores in the mid-1980s to a mere 1,813 members today out of an estimated 2,800 stores in existence.” The same kind of drop has been seen by the LDSBA, which has seen attendance by bookstores at its annual convention drop by half.

Unfortunately, the article is long on description of the problems and short on answers. But there are a few ideas that may help LDS retailers improve.

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On The Financial Motive

There is something deceptive about success stories. You hear a story of someone else’s success, and it is sometimes hard not to assume that you can do the same.

Author success stories are no exception. For Mormons, Stephanie Meyer is the most recent example. She is just like so many LDS authors — a suburban housewife with kids who writes in her spare time. I’m sure she has a Church calling, worries about how well her kids are doing in school and probably finds inspiration in the people she knows. In fact, her life is just like that of half the women in my ward.

The problem is Meyer’s success — or that of Orson Scott Card, Dean Hughes, Rachel Nunes or whoever — is really very difficult to replicate.

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Looking at our Niche Comprehensively

Last week William, in the comments to his post on a reader-oriented ecommerce site, suggested that the site he was proposing needed to be restricted to just fiction. While such a decision should probably be left to whoever starts such a site (William made it clear he isn’t taking on the project), I disagree. It seems to me a comprehensive site is one of the things we are missing.

Continue reading “Looking at our Niche Comprehensively”