Category Archives: Industry News

Wearable book? You’ve got to be kidding me

MIT - Sensory FictionA couple months ago, I stumbled upon this article about something MIT students were working on called “sensory fiction.”

Essentially, it is a “wearable book” that using lighting, temperature changes, and even a heart rate-altering chest strap to “enhance” the reading experience. Now, in case you have a heart of ice when Anna Karenina throws herself under that train, a machine can force you to be human! Isn’t that great?!

Seriously.

At the risk of sounding like a crotchety old-timer who still prefers paperbacks to e-books (but has accepted the convenience of the latter), COME ON.

Aside from it being a complete insult to writers, didn’t we learn anything from the failure of 3D television sets? Do we REALLY need pulsating lights, a “body compression system,” and a “shiver simulator” in order to empathize with others–real or fiction?

If we do … if we can’t feel characters’ emotions without the help of technology … then pack your bags, society, because we’re doomed.

Click here to read the article in The Guardian and watch a video of “sensory fiction” in action.

And please tell me: What do you think?

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Books provide SHelf Help for the winter blues

ID-10065957Are you feeling blue today?

With spring months away and no more holiday lights to distract us,  mid-January can seem … well … bleak. For many, this is the heyday of seasonal affective disorder–that quarterly depression that my mother thinks is hooey and that I combat with a sunlight desk lamp.

I’m not going to contribute to the myriad articles out there suggesting you:
• invest in light therapy (mine was a gift),
• pester your doctor for Zoloft (pills ain’t the answer, man),
• sprint around the block every time you want a cookie (though I’ve done it; it sorta works),
• or nix the coffee (it suppresses serotonin, which is bad; but it also makes me less like the Incredible Hulk in the morning, which is good).

However, as a writer who can attest to the therapeutic benefits of the pen (or keyboard, or iPad, or whatever), I WILL suggest that you follow Vintage Book’s lead and seek solace between the pages of a book. And I do not mean the sort of book you find in the dreaded self-help aisle.  What I mean is more along the lines of … wait for it … SHelf Help 😉 Continue reading

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What’s your opinion: Convicted murderer’s crime novel wins publishing deal, award

Image courtesy of franky242/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of franky242/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

There is a story flying around Twitter today about a crime novel … written by an incarcerated convicted murderer.

As reported by the New York Times on Friday, Cuts Through Bone earned first place (which includes a publishing contract and $10,000 advance) in  a debut writing contest sponsored by Minotaur Books* and the Private Eye Writers of America. The 44-year-old author drew inspiration from “Law and Order” episodes, books and maps about New York City, and novels he borrowed from his South Carolina maximum-security prison library, where he works handing out periodicals every day. It’s been 25 years since he last saw the outside world.

Alaric Hunt is reportedly serving a life sentence for the 1988 murder of Joyce Austin, a 23-year-old Clemson University graduate student. Austin died of smoke inhalation when Hunt and his brother set fire to her 12-unit apartment building (as well as Clemson’s Fort Hill Mansion) in order to distract police while they robbed a nearby jewelry store. They stole $200 worth of women’s rings. Continue reading

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Pitch Wars is almost here!

pitch wars graphicMuch of the year, writing can be a lonely existence, with faceless paper rejections and long periods of silence. But sprinkled amid the gloom are sparkling opportunities that remind us we’re really anything but alone. There is Pitch Madness, for example, and Twitter’s famous #tenqueries. And just one week from today, PITCH WARS will begin!

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What is Pitch Wars? 

Pitch Wars is a contest in which agented authors, literary interns and editors (hereafter known as “mentors”) work with aspiring writers to polish their manuscripts and pitches for a participating group of agents.

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How do I participate?

For the next six days, hop around to the 47 mentors’ blogs to determine who you’d like to work with. Read their bios, peruse their wishlists, and find up to four who have signed up for your genre/category. Also, polish your query letter and the first five pages of your manuscript. Continue reading

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E-books, print books, and Kindle’s MatchBook program

AlicesAdventuresInWonderlandTitlePageKindle_Paperwhite_WiFi

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Smacked against my refrigerator right now is a  magnet that says, “A room without books is like a body without a soul.” The name beneath the quote says Cicero, though I have no idea where the bookmark itself came from. Nevertheless, I love it.

I love it because it’s the best way to explain to my husband that yes, even though I ultimately gave in to the whole e-book thing (A, it was a gift, and B, I don’t go anywhere without bringing at least three books along, so it makes packing a heck of a lot easier), I still MUST have a print copy of any book I enjoy. Continue reading

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