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Tuesday, December 29, 2009


I have been terribly laggard with this blog of late. Apologies to all. The holidays and family gatherings have occupied lots of time, along with preparing for the launch of The Spirit Lens on January 5th. Preparations included:

  • setting up events (see the schedule on my website)

  • writing a piece for the Roc newsletter about the novels of the Collegia Magica and how The Spirit Lens took shape

  • writing a piece for the Knight Agency holiday blog

  • sending out postcards to bookstores

  • etc. etc.

Should likely have done more, but I've hardly had time to write as it is! When a bit of minor surgery clogged up the works, my kind editor gave me an extension on The Soul Mirror, which is an incredible relief. I hope to get back to serious work on the book in the next day or so.

Meanwhile, in the hullabaloo surrounding the release of The Spirit Lens, I don't want to forget the Lace and Blade 3 anthology that should be hitting the shelves in mid-February with my Song of the Beast follow-on story called, "The Heart's Coda." Here is the lineup for the anthology:

LACE AND BLADE 3 Table of Contents

Kari Sperring, "Featherweight"
Sean McMullen, "Culverelle"
Sheila Finch, "Fortune's Stepchild"
Judith Tarr, "The Horned King"
Jay Lake & Shannon Page, "Embers"
Tanith Lee, "Question a Stone"
Dave Smeds, "A Swain of Kneaded Moonlight"
Rosemary Hawley Jarman, "Fire and Frost and Burning Rose"
K. D. Wentworth, "The Garden of Swords"
Diana L. Paxson, "Blue Velvet"
Samantha Henderson, "Outlander"
Carol Berg, "The Heart's Coda"

Whew! Is that a lineup or what? I am so pleased to be a part of this project. Should be seeing cover art soon!

I'll keep you posted, and get back to regular blogging as I get into the last third of The Soul Mirror development. You can catch more regular, brief updates on Facebook. I'm "Carol Berg, Northern Colorado."
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Tuesday, December 8, 2009

ARC Giveaway

My publisher is giving away ARCs (Advanced Reader Copies) of eight forthcoming Ace/Roc novels at the Dear Author blog today. Hie thee over there and you could win one of eight different new releases, including, as it happens, The Spirit Lens.

All you have to do is comment on the post, telling which are your first two choices and who among all Ace/Roc authors you recommend. Read more of this post!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Supporting Your Local Booksellers

I wanted to order a book this morning. A fellow member of Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers has written a couple of mysteries about an elderly man with short term memory loss (Mike Befeler's Retirement Homes are Murder and Living With Your Kids is Murder)and I think one of them will be perfect for someone on my Christmas list. Ordering occurred to me when I got an email from one of my favorite independent bookstores announcing Mike's signing this Sunday. Unfortunately, I can't make the signing. So I promptly boinked my bookmark for Amazon.

Uh, what's wrong with this picture?

Don't get me wrong. I love Amazon. It's so easy. I can research book titles and availability instantly. I can get free shipping and discounts on popular books and films, notification when the price drops on something I'm hedging about. They have worked hard and developed a great online shopping model. BUT...

When I'm not sure of what I want, when I want to see what's new, what's captivating, which Italian cookbook has the prettiest pictures and easiest directions, which travel guide for France has things laid out in a useful way, I need to browse... I need to read the backs, flip the pages, compare, read a page here and there. You can do this at online booksellers, but it is actually slower (and much less satisfying) than having a stack of books at your side and comparing. The Amazon business and transaction model is primo, but the browse model falls short. And although Amazon will recommend "if you like this, you might also like this," it is the result of database tags and sales data and not the recommendation of someone who loves mysteries or fantasy or cookbooks.

So, one can browse a bookstore and then rightfully compare prices to get the best deal, right? Well, sure. Except that if we all do this, the brick and mortar stores will vanish right before our eyes. And they are doing that.

I just sent out about fifty packets of bookmarks and fliers to bookstores recommended by readers and fellow writers. As I had last sent out bookmarks in 2007, for Flesh and Spirit, I decided to validate the addresses on my list. Fully one-third of the bookstores on my list had gone out of business in the past two years. Many of them were independents who had messages on their dead websites: "After 65 years in the Bay Area..." or 50 years or 80 years, or "All of our stores in the DC area..." Many were Waldenbooks, small, friendly shops that a number of my readers mentioned had knowledgeable staff who loved reading. Borders/Waldens just announced another round of store closings last month.

And so, I left Amazon on this day, and bopped off an email to my friendly independent in Denver, asking them to get Mike to sign a book for me and ship it up here. It might cost me a few dollars more. I might have to pay for shipping. But I'm hoping Ron and Nina will be there next time I need to browse.

Buy at least one book from a local store this season. Chain or independent, big or small. Call it a vote for browsing!

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