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By Editor I have to admit, when the news broke a few weeks ago, that New Yorker writer Jonah Lehrer (of the now removed-from-sale Imagine) had plagiarized himself--i.e.
By Neal Thompson Perpetual bestseller Dean Koontz's new novel, Odd Apocalypse, goes on sale today. Clive Barker "” writer, artist, and master of the horror genre "” speaks exclusively with Amazon Studios about the true nature of fear, finding the right arena for his stories and his Neverland dreams.
By Alex Carr Regular Omni readers might remember that I take an annual vacation into the Canadian wilderness to unplug and catch up on my leisure reading. For new readers (ages 6 and up) who have discovered chapter books, a great series to get them hooked on this summer is Ivy & Bean. When I was a kid I loved stories of mermaids and (I'm dating myself here) liked to pretend I was Darryl Hannah in the movie Splash. One of the pleasures of attending Book Expo America in New York City early in June was meeting Walter Mosley, best known for the Easy Rawlins mysteries. That’s 22 new, no-spoiler book recommendations, plus 3 library-celebration posts and a look ahead to free audiobooks all summer. So if you want to find your voice in blogging or just have a super list of blogs to visit and follow, look into the April AtoZ Challenge – I’ll remind you next March! When the folks at the Publishers Spotlight booth asked last week at TxLA conference if I’d heard of AudioSYNC free audiobooks all summer, I told them that I’ve been promoting this free download program every summer since it began!
And yes, it’s back this summer – two free complete audiobooks that you can download each week and keep forever! Every Thursday from May 5 to August 11, 2016, I will highlight each week’s two free titles with direct links to the SYNC website.
From now on, I plan to recommend a couple of books weekly along with the Thursday AudioSYNC notes, saving this 6-posts-a-week pace for next April.
My book talk: For Higgs, his future as a Harvard-educated dentist like his dad (and as planned for his deceased older brother) is all set, until his answer to a hypothetical question starts a chain reaction of awful at his California high school and brings wild and wonderful Monarch into his life just before graduation. I listened to Heidi speak on a debut YA authors’ panel last week at TxLA, and she was just as funny in person as in this offbeat author interview video. Sail into your local library or independent bookstore for the February 2016-published first adventure in this two-part sea saga (Heidi is indeed working on the second book now, she assured us!). First of a two-part adventure that spans time, tides, and every human emotion, The Girl From Everywhere wants to remain in existence, despite her father’s longing to undo her past. This laugh-aloud look at serious issues will be released in paperback on May 10, 2016 – if you can wait that long to read it! A handsome new guy on the basketball team, the chance to become school mascot and a Mathlete, not-so-subtle mean girl comments – so much change in high school! Told in alternating chapters by Stewart and Ashley, this Canadian family story brings humor to the often-tricky worlds of high school, stepfamilies, and identity. Kate will track down the killers in the unforgiving Arizona deserts and mountains to avenge her father’s death, but when the 18 year old discovers that the gang is after the gold that her father hid, look out! Read chapter one here (courtesy of the publisher), then hunt down this wild Western tale at your local library or independent bookstore! We need girls with grit in westerns and all kinds of books – Kate is as gritty and tenacious as they come. Excited to point y’all to the newest Teens’ Top Ten booklist as compiled by YALSA at the American Library Association!
Enjoy the 2016 Teens’ Top Ten books list in this video and join the conversation using #TTT16. Love, death, and motorcycles that contain the essence of every owner who’s ever ridden them in this futuristic desert world. My book talk: Only way to Sky-base and the good life from the grubby town where the Colonel owns everything and controls everybody? I got to hear LeVar Burton speak yesterday at the Texas Library Association conference – yay! His Kickstarter to revive and add to the classic kids’ TV show Reading Rainbow was a phenomenal success, as this photo shows. On the new Reading Rainbow site, you can find your favorite Reading Rainbow episodes on Netflix, DVD, or iTunes, check out the subscription-based Skybrary Family online kids’ reading library of videos and books, and the new Skybrary School which offers the same for elementary classrooms and kids.
Meeting authors and discovering upcoming books is such a great part of TxLA – hearing literary luminaries speak is a huge bonus!
We're happy to share this conversation between Koontz and fellow prolific novelist Michael Koryta, whose new book, The Prophet, goes on sale next week. Morris One of the biggest debates among writers is whether you should write for an audience or not. What separates great horror from the things that go spatter in the night?Clive Barker: Metaphysical despair. I plan to bring up far more books than I will likely ever get to, but that's all part of the fun--to leave books for next year. This is all free, a labor of love to help bloggers build up their blogging muscles and gain readership.
One classic title pairs with a contemporary one thematically, so that’s 30 free audiobooks for you. Greenwillow Books, 2016.  [author site]  [publisher site]  [video author interview] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher. May is Huntington’s Disease Awareness Month, so look for a Team Hope HD Walk near you. Farrar Straus Giroux Books for Young Readers , 2015 [author site]  [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher. Delacorte Press, 2015.  [author site]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher. Gotta win the Blackwater Trail race through unforgiving desert with bandits, cannibals that might not be myths, and a hundred other riders on their motorcycles that are part living things.
This debate goes hand-in-hand with the debate over what defines "good"? books"”and how it relates to "popular"? books.Some people say screw the audience!
That the world is meaningless and we're just bouncing around on it and when we're finished we die and that's the end of it.

Was allowing the laughs to join the darkness a conscious decision?DEAN: Humor began to enter my work as far back as Watchers (1987), and by Lightning (1988), my agent and publisher at that time became alarmed and counseled me that suspense and humor never mix. In "On the Head of a Pin,"? researchers find something hiding in high-tech animatronic film footage that leads them beyond reality. One of my favorite films of all time is "North by Northwest," which is tense and funny; so I just kept doing what I was doing.
That if you write exactly what is in your heart, it will be wildly popular"”and if it is not wildly popular, then at least it will be good writing, unlike those popular books, which clearly feature authors who sold out and write with less coherence than a sock puppet.Other people say worship the audience.
When Sartre put the idea of existentialism in front of us at the beginning of the 20th century, the idea of human hope was possibly at its lowest ebb. Henry Award winner, part of his "Crosstown to Oblivion"? series.Mosley participated on the SF in the Mainstream panel at BEA, along with me, my wife Ann VanderMeer (The Weird), and John Scalzi (Redshirts). That if you don't keep your fingers on the pulse of your audience, riding the latest trends, you are ignorant. A relaxed and free-wheeling conversation in the green room beforehand included Mosley's ruminations on airlifted crocodiles in Australia, among other topics.As for the panel, at 30 minutes it was too short. They recognize that our fallen world is not just tragic but also absurd, often hilariously absurd, and that laughing at humanity's hubris and reckless transgressive behavior is a potent way to deny legitimacy to that hubris.
That if you listen to your audience, it will be wildly popular"”and if it is not wildly popular, then at least it makes people happy, and you are not being haughty and self-indulgent, the way those nearly incomprehensible artistic books are.But I think we may be overcomplicating it just a wee bit. Besides, if a character is able to make you laugh out loud, a bond is formed that ensures you will worry more for him when he finds himself in jeopardy. How can we talk about the "proper"? way to pursue writing, or even what constitutes "selling out,"? without first talking about our goals?
Early on Mosley called science fiction "the kind of writing that prepares us for the necessary mutations brought about in society from an ever changing technological world,"? and as a result "The mainstream hasn't excluded SF; the mainstream has excluded itself. And I will always remember that it wasn't my looks or my sartorial splendor or macho toughness--ha!--that won Gerda; she says that she laughed so much on our first date, her stomach hurt the next day. No one told Jules Verne he was a science fiction writer, but he invented the 20th century."?Later, talking about the idea of genre and of audience, Mosley said that when he sent his early novel Gone Fishin' to publishers, he was told, "White people don't read about black people. To help you start that scintillating bit of conversation with yourself (if you haven't already had it), I've composed a flowchart designed to help you figure out why you write with a minimum of buzzwords"”and thus, who your audience truly is. Existentialism arose from the ashes of Auschwitz and Hiroshima and we had to address that very seriously. Or at least, who your audience truly might possibly have some (however distant) relation to.All you have to do is head on over to the top of the article and take the flowchart test.
There are horrific moments in movies (and not necessarily horror movies either) when something is evoked that has an awe-inspiring emptiness.
Did you have that planned before the new novel or did it come to you later in Odd's journey?DEAN: I had written a 32,000-word ebook novella, The Moonlit Mind, to intrigue readers about a forthcoming novel, 77 Shadow Street. Pascal says, "We may enlarge our conceptions beyond all imaginable space; we only produce atoms in comparison with the reality of things. You are like the runner who runs not to stay in shape or to compete, but simply because she likes the feel of the pavement beneath her feet and the wind through her hair.
So as I was finishing Odd Apocalypse, my publisher asked me to write a 60,000- to 70,000-word short novel in three parts to reintroduce readers to Odd.
You have no wish to share your writing through publication or otherwise, and you certainly don't leave your notebooks lying open conspicuously where others might find them in the secret hope of being discovered. What that phrase evokes is the sense of a limitless empty meaningless space we as human beings have no control over and a total inability to impress meaning upon. Somehow we also got onto the topic of the aesthetic of Steampunk, which I said had appeal because while the seeking of perfection was a very human impulse, attaining it was a kind of insanity"”as evidenced by the kind of seamlessness of Apple products.
For you, it's more about having friends on paper you can come back to, a way to express yourself and the ideas you're struggling with, and the sense of accomplishment and satisfaction working on any complex project can bring.For the Hobbyist, audience truly does not matter. We think we have the power to impress ourselves upon the world in some fashion "” through having a family, through feeling love, through our associations with political parties or to a church "” and when we feel those connections we feel momentarily safe.
By the way, those readers who don't do ebooks tend to get exercised about a piece appearing only digitally.
If you are writing only for yourself, the only person you need to take into consideration is you.The Literati(Yes, Literati, I know it should be Literatus, but face it: Literati sounds cooler!)You are the Literati! Reacting to the Apple comment, Mosley said "like white sugar,"? which I thought was a great observation. Refined sugar is supposedly a great leap forward, but you could also see it as the end product of the work of mad scientists who knew not what they wrought. You believe that there is a set of standards that define good books, and that good books are not necessarily the same thing as popular books.
You probably love rare words and complex symbolism, and have a strong urge to love incredibly subtle books because of their high degree of artistry. Whether the debate itself, which has been part of genre convention panels for years, will ever reach some kind of definitive conclusion is unclear"¦and probably unimportant.
Steve's sense of pace and his writing are even better than his previous best, and his scene transitions are amazing, something really new and highly effective. If you aren't already a member, you yearn to be a part of that clandestine and esteemed club of literary elites, the Literarti"”those select few readers and writers speak the secret language of books, and whose writing is pure.For you, self-publishing defeats the point.
The picture drops much from the book, but at the same time it's absolutely true to the book, to its characters and its themes.Steve is also a great guy and a family man. When he'd send me long emails about progress on the picture, he'd write also about his daughters and family things.
If it doesn't make the grade, that's fine"”you are ready to go back to the drawing board and make it better. After one such email, I wrote him back to say that he was so normal, compared to most of my Hollywood experiences, that I was getting suspicious. But when it finally does, you will know you have accomplished something great"”something truly worth doing.
I said I was steeling myself to wake up one morning and discover that he'd been arrested with Charlie Sheen, crossing the border from Mexico in a school bus loaded with drugs and explosives. About a month later, I received a supposedly sincere email saying that he'd been arrested with Charlie Sheen, crossing the border in a school bus loaded with drugs and explosives, that attorneys were going to be able to deal with the situation, but there would be bad PR related to the fact that he and Sheen were wearing lingerie from Victoria's Secret.

And figuring out how to write an objectively good book is in many ways figuring out how to please that most selective audience of experts.The CraftsmanYou are the Craftsman!
You love books"”from pulp to high art to everything in between"”and you want to be a part of the industry that creates such gorgeous things. How often in your writing life has that been the case, in which the story knocks on your door, and not the other way around? Do you find your best work is the result of those sorts of moments?DEAN: More often than I've written about, novels begin when a most peculiar line or even a paragraph enters my head, intriguing but mystifying. You likely see writing as a craft, working hard to improve your writing, taking your audience into account, and always fixing in on your standards. While being appreciated by the experts or ranking on The New York Times best-seller list would be neat, you don't particularly write for affirmation. If I'm working on a novel, I write down the intrusive words so as not to forget them, and I return to them when the current book is finished.
Your books are love letters to those first books you fell for, and to the industry that created them.For the Craftsman, your audience is you"”as you relate to each genre and audience.
You don't particularly have anything against self-publishing, but it likely wouldn't be for you unless you figured out a way to make it up to your standards. The consummate craftsman, you recognize all the expertise and effort that goes into making a quality book at a traditional publisher: the developmental editing, the copy editing, the proofreading, the typesetting, the art directing, the artist, the copy writing, the advertising, the quality printing, the distributing, the who-knows-what-else.
DEAN: I want to return to Christopher Snow for a third and final volume, and of course I will finish the sixth and seventh Odd Thomases.
And more than anything you want to be able to hold that finished paperback book in your hands at the end, and feel proud.The EntertainerYou are the Entertainer! After all, haters gonna hate, and you're just going to keep on writing things that entertain the hell out of people. It goes all the way down to the street!"? Feet tore down the driveway."Watch out!"? screamed Ivy."Thar she blows! I get mail every week asking if I'll write a sequel to Watchers, and though that is tempting, I doubt I will. You want to tell a story that has everyone on the edge of their seat"”one that delights and captivates and has something for just about everyone. You don't particularly care if your prose is artful, or if everything is super original and unique, or if your writing style can compare to Hemmingway. You want to make it to The New York Times best-seller list"”because that is the surest sign that people enjoy reading your books.You don't necessarily have anything against the traditional publishers, but you probably think it's awesome that self-publishing allows more people"”including you!--to share their stories directly with the people who will love them. But if I do, I want to have the second book finished before the first is in print, so no gap develops between volumes.
Your main concern is making sure people get to experience your stories, and that those people are entertained.
So there was me feeling like a solitary little kid and when the wind came along, I was just carried away. It was so long that it came down the stairs and into the living room and out the living room window and in the other living room window and over to the hall and around the dining room table and back through the hall and out the front door.Then it went down the front steps and around the side of the house and around the back of the house and around the other side of the house and halfway across the front of the house, where it met up with itself and went up the driveway and back down the driveway before it slithered right over the sidewalk and out into the center of Pancake Court. But you've said that you never see writing as a job, and that talent is "an unearned grace." Do you believe there's a responsibility that comes along with it, then? At least everyone in your chosen genre, and sometimes, just everyone.The InsiderYou are the Insider! You take the idioms "write what you love"? and "be yourself"? very seriously, and you pour yourself into your writing"”as unadulterated as you can. I've arrived at the conclusion that it does indeed come with an obligation to use it to the best of your ability and in a way that brings joy to others.
You'd rather write the story that is in your heart, and because you were true to yourself, you know that when others love it, you will have found loyal readers with a true connection to you and your writing. Because I love storytelling and the deep beauty of the English language, writing is never work for me.
Using your writing to reach out to random strangers all over the world who somehow have this shared connection. It doesn't matter if everyone doesn't love your books"”in fact, is probably better if they don't. And then she yelled, "WHAT THE HECK DO YOU THINK YOU'RE DOING?!"?Bean looked over her shoulder.
So I keep promotion and publicity to a minimum.I want readers to be engrossed by a book, with luck even enchanted, and I'm acutely aware that I must give them value. When you are amongst fans of your writing, you know you are amongst your people.For the Insider, self-publishing and ebooks are the greatest thing since the printing press.
But there are only eight or nine people in the world whose opinion of my work greatly matters to me. They allow you to tell the stories you want to tell, exactly as you want to tell them"”unsullied by oversight, or by what one or another person thinks will be the next big thing.
I put in those long hours for me, for the delight I take in creating, and then because each book is a gift to Gerda, whose entire life has been a great gift to me. Your audience is not the experts or the masses"”your audience is people just like you"”however many people that may be.Writing Is Whatever You Want It to BeOf course, why we write is a complicated issue, and we often want to write for all of the above reasons, all at once, or maybe on alternating days. We can want to believe that a "good"? book can be a "popular"? book"”that it's somehow possible to satisfy both crowds while staying true to ourselves. We want to believe that our dreams, exactly as they are, will appeal to large numbers of people. We pour our heart and soul into a story, and if we choose to share that story with others, we likely want acceptance, on some level, from those we share it with.But I hope that by considering what you want out of writing, you can figure out how to improve while remaining true to yourself. I'm a firm believer that being yourself doesn't mean stop improving"”otherwise, why would we bother to learn anything at all?"”and that writing for an audience does not mean you should sacrifice your style, self, or authenticity. That writing for an audience"”as anyone who seeks publication on some level does--just means giving someone a gift they'll like, rather than giving them the gift you want.

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