Friday, July 30, 2010

Charlie Rose Interview with Amazon's Jeff Bezos

As I have noted in previous blogs, I enjoy listening to Jeff Bezos, founder of, and I also admire his visionary sense. I saw him on Charlie Rose’s PBS Show the other night. Here is part of that interview...
and for more of the interview go to Charlie Rose Show and click on the picture of Jeff Bezos. Rose does good interviews.


Thursday, July 29, 2010

Screenwriter Shane Salerno and J. D. Salinger Documentary and Biography

The mysterious best-selling novelist, J. D. Salinger died recently, and the announcement of his death brought to our attention again the reclusive nature of the author. The novel, The Catcher in the Rye, was published in 1951, not only to rave reviews, but to criticism and censorship in high schools and libraries. Challenges mainly ranged from the use of profanity, and those famous (and overused) words, Family Values, but the strength of the writing and the brilliance of the story overcame the adversity and it is considered a classic and one of the top novels of the 20th century. As far as it is known at this time, Salinger apparently never wrote another book, and only had a few published short stories. (That is, unless an unpublished manuscript or manuscripts show up in what the author left behind).

Apparently screenwriter, Shane Salerno is one who was enthralled by the book and its author, as he spent nearly six years and his own financing, researching, interviewing, and working on his two hour documentary, Salinger. When news of this documentary came out shortly after Salinger’s death January 27, 2010, it was rumored that the documentary could have a short interview with Salinger himself.

In this new Newsweek article today, Shane Salerno is quoted about the 800-page biography, The Private War of J. D. Salinger, co-written with David Shields: “will substantially rewrite the record of J. D. Salinger’s life, and correct many inaccurate stories that have been told for decades.”

Salerno apparently has amassed 15,000 pages of interview transcripts with Salinger intimates, former colleagues, and more than 100 personal photographs, (one in the Newsweek article) and is quoted by Newsweek to say, “We’ve been sifting through all this new material to contextualize this giant of American literature. You’re going to see a very different Salinger than you’ve read about for five decades.”

It may be interesting to discover that Salinger was not really a recluse at all, but for the most part just disappeared from the world of literature and lived a quite and lonely life for the last sixty years. He was 91 when he died.

What do you think?

Maybe we’ll have our answers soon when determined biographer, researcher, screenwriter, and producer, Shane Salerno releases his two-hour documentary, Salinger, and the biography, The Private War of J. D. Salinger hits the bookshelves.

Hopefully we’ll learn something about the mysterious author who penned this controversial coming of age novel. I look forward to it.

~ Linda

Thursday, July 22, 2010 Now Selling More Kindle Books Than Hardcover Books

" ... even while our hardcover sales continue to grow, the Kindle format has now overtaken the hardcover format.” -Jeff Bezos, Founder and CEO of

Author Andrew E. Kaufman, who I recently interviewed, brought this Amazon information to my attention via his blog post. For those of us who are Kindle authors, it is encouraging to see the promising growth rate of the Kindle users, and the overall popularity of ebooks.

I do now have the Kindle for PC and this has given me the opportunity to download sample chapters of ebooks I may be interested in. I’m in front of my computer monitor so many hours of the day that I do not find it difficult to read a book on my 19” flat screen. Heck, I do that all the time when writing a book or when I recently formatted 12 of my late husband Don Pendleton’s books for re-print and Kindle. And as I have been saying, maybe one day I will buy the Kindle Reader as the price is now more attractive.

Thinking a very few months ahead, I wonder how many Kindles will sell for the Christmas Holiday? Do you plan on having one at some point?

SEATTLE, Jul 19, 2010 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- (NASDAQ: AMZN) -- Millions of people are already reading on Kindles and Kindle is the #1 bestselling item on for two years running. It's also the most-wished-for, most-gifted, and has the most 5-star reviews of any product on Today, announced that Kindle device unit sales accelerated each month in the second quarter--both on a sequential month-over-month basis and on a year-over-year basis.

"We've reached a tipping point with the new price of Kindle--the growth rate of Kindle device unit sales has tripled since we lowered the price from $259 to $189," said Jeff Bezos, Founder and CEO of "In addition, even while our hardcover sales continue to grow, the Kindle format has now overtaken the hardcover format. customers now purchase more Kindle books than hardcover books--astonishing when you consider that we've been selling hardcover books for 15 years, and Kindle books for 33 months."

Kindle offers the largest selection of the most popular books people want to read. The U.S. Kindle Store now has more than 630,000 books, including New Releases and 106 of 110 New York Times Best Sellers. Over 510,000 of these books are $9.99 or less, including 75 New York Times Best Sellers. Over 1.8 million free, out-of-copyright, pre-1923 books are also available to read on Kindle.

Recent milestones for Kindle books include:

Over the past three months, for every 100 hardcover books has sold, it has sold 143 Kindle books. Over the past month, for every 100 hardcover books has sold, it has sold 180 Kindle books. This is across's entire U.S. book business and includes sales of hardcover books where there is no Kindle edition. Free Kindle books are excluded and if included would make the number even higher.

Amazon sold more than 3x as many Kindle books in the first half of 2010 as in the first half of 2009.

The Association of American Publishers' latest data reports that e-book sales grew 163 percent in the month of May and 207 percent year-to-date through May. Kindle book sales in May and year-to-date through May exceeded those growth rates.

On July 6, Hachette announced that James Patterson had sold 1.14 million e-books to date. Of those, 867,881 were Kindle books.

Five authors--Charlaine Harris, Stieg Larsson, Stephenie Meyer, James Patterson, and Nora Roberts--have each sold more than 500,000 Kindle books.
Readers are responding to Kindle's uncompromising approach to the reading experience. Weighing 10.2 ounces, Kindle can be held comfortably in one hand for hours, has an e-ink display that is easy on the eyes even in bright daylight, has two weeks of battery life, lets you buy your books once and read them everywhere--on your Kindle, Kindle DX, iPad, iPod touch, iPhone, Mac, PC, BlackBerry, and Android-based devices--and has free 3G wireless with no monthly fees or annual contracts--all at a $189 price.


Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Paperback Covers

Robert McGinnis is one of America's foremost illustrators. Since 1950s, he has painted over 1,000 paperback covers in all genres, including mystery, romance, and western. He also painted movie posters, many from well-known movies such as James Bond, You Only Live Twice, Thunderball, Breakfast at Tiffany's, and The Odd Couple. He is a member of the American Illustration Hall of Fame.

He painted alluring women who ended on many hard-boiled detective books throughout the years and his covers are easily spotted by those who know his work. He did the Shell Scott Mystery series written by Richard S. Prather, and has recently done covers for several of the recent Hard Case Crime novels, including Richard Prather’s The Peddler.

Here is an interview about paperback covers, featuring author Stephen King, Hard Case Crime publisher and writer, Charles Ardai, and artist Robert McGinnis.


Saturday, July 17, 2010

Don Pendleton's "Joe Copp Mystery Thrillers"

Finally! I now have all six of Don Pendleton's Joe Copp Private Eye mystery thrillers on sale as Kindle and paper with new covers. It has taken me much longer than anticipated to get those six books ready for publication again in print. I am happy with the new covers and I think they look great in print, and others have told me the same thing. I know Don would love them if he was still here--and as some of you know, he died in 1995. I work hard to keep his works available not only for his old fans, but for new readers.


Monday, July 5, 2010

Interview with Andrew E. Kaufman, Author of "While the Savage Sleeps"

My Interview with author, Andrew E. Kaufman

Linda: Andrew, congratulations on publishing your novel, While the Savage Sleeps, a forensic paranormal mystery thriller. It sounds like a fascinating novel. In reading your biography I see you received university degrees in journalism and political science and then went on to become an Emmy-nominated writer/producer in TV news media. So my first questions are: When did you become interested in writing? Did you write as a kid?

Andrew: For as long as I can remember I've always had a fascination with and a love for the written word. My mother (to whom I dedicated the book) was an avid reader, and I think that had a significant influence on me. Plus, I've always been a communicator and yet somewhat introverted. For me, writing seemed to work in both respects.

Linda: Who or what has influenced your writing and in what way?

Andrew: That's a tough one. I think for me, as far as writing goes, the influence was a cumulative process: One part actual life experiences, one part the many things I've read throughout the years. I don't think any one has had more of an influence than the other. More, my writing is reflection of all of those.

Linda: Who have been your favorite writers over the years? What books do you believe have influenced your writing? What books have most influenced your life and/or your world view?

Andrew: Every single one of them! It doesn't matter whether or not I enjoyed them; in certain ways they've all helped shape me and my writing. I've greatly admired many writers, and that, I think, drove me to be better myself. In others, I may not have admired them so much and as a result decided to avoid writing in the same manner. But yes, there are some writers I've enjoyed more than others. Dennis Lehane comes to mind, and Jonathan Kellerman, too. Both have a very unique voice, which to me is of the utmost importance. You could throw a page in front of me from either of them and I'd be able identify it in a heartbeat.

Linda: I love to ask writers how they receive their inspiration. Many feel their inspiration comes from beyond them at times as they are working with their characters. Have you experienced that in your writing? Do you visualize your scenes? Do you “walk” in your character’s shoes?

Andrew: I've been told by people who have read While the Savage Sleeps that my writing is very visual, that the scenes seemed to play out in their heads like a movie. I think that's because I'm very big on capturing the mood and visuals when I write. In my mind's eye, I'm constantly zooming in, panning, pulling away, and examining things—not in a lingering sense or to the point of distraction, but just enough to give people a sense of where they are while they're on that page. As for my characters, I think they are all extensions of my own personality. In order to portray them effectively and give them dimension, I think you have to really get inside their heads (or maybe it's the reverse, or both). If you don't do that, you end up with very flat characters. My protagonist, Cameron Dawson, has had a particularly difficult life. In order to effectively get that across to the reader, I needed to feel his pain as if it were my own. I was able to do that, but it was a very difficult and emotional process. There were times I literally had to take a break from him and move on to something else because I felt emotionally drained. I suppose for an author, portraying a character can at times be like getting into an acting role.

Linda: Tell us about While the Savage Sleeps, and how the idea for the story began.

Andrew: Believe it or not, it came to me in a dream; no joke. I'd been struggling for quite some time, trying to figure out my plot but not having much luck at all. I remember waking up one morning—or rather, sitting straight up in bed—and saying to myself: “That's it! I've got it!” I suppose my subconscious, or maybe something else, had been trying to tell me something. Perhaps the only way to get me to listen was while I was asleep and my defenses were down. Either way, it worked. The idea resonated strongly, and a novel was born.

In a nutshell, While the Savage Sleeps is the story of two strangers: distance separates them, a dark secret connects them, but a voice from the grave will draw them together. It begins in the fictional town of Faith, New Mexico where strange things are happening. People are disappearing and for others it's far worse. The answer lies not in their backyard but miles away where Kyle Bancroft's life is turning upside-down. She's seeing, hearing, and dreaming things she can't explain: flashbacks to World War II and an eerie hospital ward with locked doors, empty gurneys, and gutteral screams. To make matters worse, a ghostly green-eyed girl is complicating Kyle's vision with an urgent message: time is running out. Kyle’s otherworldly encounters are driving her straight toward Faith, where she and Cameron will need to find out whether the child speaking from the grave is dangerously evil or trying to help them uncover a secret the town has been hiding for more than fifty years.

Linda: You have taken what is becoming the new direction in publishing...self publishing, e-publishing, as many of us are doing. Why your decision to do so? Your book is available at Amazon Kindle. What other plans do you have for it? Will it also be in print soon?

Andrew: I feel very strongly about this. I spent more than a year querying agents, trying to find representation, and I had quite a few requests for the manuscript, as well as a lot of positive feedback. The comments were indeed very encouraging, things like: “It's very well written.” and “Compelling story.” and “Has tons of potential.” But in the end, many of them felt it was a genre that fell a bit too far outside their areas of expertise. Agenting these days has become extremely specialized. Most are very specific about what they feel they can sell. Because While the Savage Sleeps mixes two sort of unlikely bedfellows, forensics and the paranormal, I think that made it difficult to pin down, where genres are concerned and thus, a not-so-good candidate for agent representation. But I believe e-books and self publishing are about to change everything. This isn't your father's “vanity press” anymore. Amazon and many others are now paving the way for indie authors and allowing them to find their audiences, or perhaps visa versa. Regardless of what the naysayers think, this is a great time to be an author because it's a whole new game. Just look at Joe Konrath. He's selling his e-books hand over fist. As for print, yes, I'm currently in the process of working out the details on that and hope to have a hard copy available by the end of summer.

Linda: With your years of experience in writing, research, and skill as a journalist, how would you compare that to your experience of writing a novel?

Andrew: Two completely different worlds. When I wrote for television news, the stories were often 15 to 20 second blurbs—not exactly the most nurturing environment for creativity. Even when I produced special series, they were often only about a minute-thirty, and that was with soundbites. But on the other hand, it did teach me some valuable skills. For one, I learned to be economical with words. I admit I did go the other direction for a bit, a little crazy with words, but that I think was to be expected (I was verbally frustrated), however, I did come back around and tone it down. TV news also taught me to research my stories well. For While the Savage Sleeps, I actually attended an autopsy. I wanted my scene to not only be factually correct, I also wanted the readers to get a sense of the mood and nuances in that setting. I have to admit it was a truly nauseating experience, one I'd rather not have to experience again, but I don't think the book would have been the same without it.

Linda: One more question—what is your favorite quote?

Andrew: “And the time came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” –Anais Nin

Linda: That’s a great quote. Thanks for giving me the opportunity to interview you for my blog, Andrew. Again, congratulations on getting your book out there, and the best of luck with it.

Andrew: The pleasure was mine. Thank you for having me!

Visit Andrew E. Kaufman's website and his blog.


Sunday, July 4, 2010

Free PC Kindle Reader and New Kindle Price

Amazon has recently dropped the price of their ebook reader, the Kindle.

It now sells for $ attractive price...

and you can now download FREE an app, A Kindle reader, for your computer, BlackBerry, iPhone, iPad...

With Amazon's increased royalty rate for authors that just went into effect, it would be my guess that more and more books in the $2.99 to $9.99 price range are going to be available as authors choose to take advantage of the greater royalty.