Friday, August 14, 2015

Heading down new roads

One of the first things I learned as a self-published author three years ago was that I was more than an author. I was a businessman who had to package and promote his books as effectively as any Big 6 publisher to succeed in a competitive industry.

I also had to seek new markets. Through, I’ve been able to sell e-books in places I’ve never visited, such Britain, Australia, and Southeast Asia. Through Podium Publishing and Audible, I've been able to offer an audiobook of The Mine.

Last week I started down yet another road by signing a contract with Natasha Soudek to create an audiobook of The Journey. Soudek, a Los Angeles-based actor, narrator, and songwriter, has already begun work on the project, which should be completed by early October.

Through the Audiobook Creation Exchange (ACX), an Amazon platform, I hope to convert each of my six — soon to be seven — novels to audio. With the exception of The Mine, all are available only as Kindle e-books on Amazon.

Readers and listeners can also expect to see three new covers. Laura Wright LaRoche, who created or modified the covers of The Show, The Fire, and September Sky, is currently updating the cover of The Journey and creating a new one for Mercer Street.

LaRoche recently finished an elegant new cover for The Mirror (above), the fifth book in the Northwest Passage series. A cover reveal for Mercer Street, the second book in the new American Journey series, is scheduled for the middle of September.

I plan to release the novel itself on October 30.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Review: The Finest Hours

As I noted in a review of Timothy Egan’s The Big Burn more than two years ago, I don’t read many non-fiction books. And, when I do, I tend to gravitate toward stories about disasters.

My latest venture into non-fiction was no exception. Last month I finished the audiobook of The Finest Hours. Written by Michael J. Tougias and Casey Sherman and narrated by Malcolm Hillgartner, it is the riveting account of the “U.S. Coast Guard’s most daring sea rescue” -- a historic event that I had never heard about.

The book is much more than a tale about the Pendleton and the Fort Mercer, two oil tankers that split in half in heavy seas off Massachusetts in February 1952. It is a tribute to an often overlooked and unappreciated branch of the U.S. military.

Tougias and Sherman tell the story from the perspective of the participants and, in doing so, give the reader a feel for what it was like to be there. The book is much like Sebastian Junger’s The Perfect Storm, which chronicled the last voyage of the doomed fishing boat Andrea Gail.

Like Junger’s work, Tougias and Sherman’s book will be adapted to the big screen. Walt Disney Pictures will release a film account of The Finest Hours in January.

I recommend the book for anyone who likes stories about the sea and about the unsung heroes of the Coast Guard who take risks that many of us could not even imagine. Rating: 4/5.