Give Books as Christmas Gifts This Year

We’re told these are hard times and it’s easy to believe it.

So, we’re contemplating a more frugal Christmas than usual. Good news: books are cheaper than most of the gifts people flock to the stores to buy.

Author Joshua Henkin (Matrimony) notes in a guest post in today’s Emerging Writers Network blog that with book sales down 40%,  publisher layoffs being announced, and more independent bookstores closing that “what’s at stake is the future of books, and of reading culture.”

Sure, he says, Rowling, Meyer and other authors will continue to publish, but what does the future hold for other authors?

Long term, I’m not worried about the industry, for I think publishers will see that their old business models have become wasteful and ineffective. That will change. So, too, the way we read books. There will be less paper and more Kindle. This will take time.

For now, Henkin suggests that “You really can make a difference.  A typical paperback novel costs less than fifteen dollars, far cheaper than a necklace or a sweater or dinner at a nice restaurant.”

Authors Guild President Roy Blount, suggests we should buy books now and stockpile them for birthdays throughout the year and even pick up children’s books for friends who look like “they may eventually give birth.”

If you need ideas, take a look at the Books for the Holidays site. And then, if you’re children are still young enough, read them some fresh bedtime stories. If they’ve left the nest, read a story to yourself rather than watching TV or checking the feed on Twitter before you turn in for the night.

Peruse My Top Picks at Powell’s Books.

Forever Friends Blog Tour

Today it’s a pleasure welcoming Shelagh Watkins who is here to talk about the new “Forever Friends” anthology from Mandinam Press:

Thank you for reading this blog entry! This is the eleventh post on the blog tour. If you are new to the tour, welcome! If this is the eleventh blog you have read, thank you for following the tour! As I write this, the tour has reached the sixth day and Shelagh’s Weblog, where all the blog posts on the tour have been posted, has received over three hundred views between December 1st-5th. A special thank you from me to everyone following the tour on my weblog!

Forever Friends is gaining in popularity every day, as more books are sold daily on

Earlier this week, I answered questions posed by Sue Durkin. Today, I will be answering Malcolm’s questions:

1. What are the primary benefits of your Published Authors group? What does it provide that authors weren’t getting elsewhere?

I set up the Published Authors Network on August 5th 2007 to give authors a chance to meet and exchange ideas about publishing and marketing books. At the time, there were similar Ning networks such as Book Marketing and Book Place. The difference between the Published Authors Network and other networks is the additional forum, where members of the network gather on a public forum to discuss anything in general and writing in particular. It’s a fun place as well as a place to discuss serious issues about writing and the publishing industry.

2. When the group decided to do an anthology, how was the theme chosen? What were the benefits of a theme approach rather than including poems and short stories about any subject?

I suggested to the group that Mandinam Press, which I set up in January 2008, would be willing to publish an anthology of short stories and poems without giving any real thought to how it might be set up. However, one of my poems, Hope for a Safer Place, was chosen for inclusion in the anthology Stories of Strength, with the obvious theme of ‘strength’, which gave me the idea to use a theme for the Published Authors anthology. Friendship seemed to be an obvious choice because of the friendships on the forum. The main advantage of a theme was giving the contributors something to focus on. It concentrated the mind!

3. Does the anthology have a primary audience or age group?

No. There really is something for everyone for nine to ninety!

4. How would you describe the book to your prospective audience in 25 words or less.

This book will delight and entertain you: from everlasting love to broken friendships, from childhood to old age; there really is something for everyone!

5. If you could say more, what else would you tell them?

This is a book that will grow on; a book you will cherish. You will love the cover, love the depth and variety of its contents and love the feel of it in your hands. Put it on your coffee table, by your bed, on your desk or by the phone so that you can dip into it anytime and read something new.

6. Where can the anthology be purchased? (include links if you know them)

Forever Friends is available now from all major online stores, including

Forever Friends


Forever Friends

7. What other book projects have you been involved in?

I set up Mandinam Press to self-publish The Power of Persuasion, a book that is on the list for Wales Book of the Year. The latest project that I might be involved in is the serialization of Mr. Planemaker’s Flying Machine on local radio. The project is in the very early stages of development and, until I know more, I can’t say if it will actually go ahead or not. Watch this space!

8. Does the group plan to issue new anthologies in the coming years?

There is nothing planned at the moment. I will see how things go and maybe consider a second anthology next year. I will not be making any decisions about this before spring 2009.

I would like to thank Malcolm for inviting me to talk about Forever Friends. Malcolm’s poem, Debt, Paid in Full is a wonderful tribute to an old friend, Mr. Henry, whose life was saved by a doctor. The doctor’s son was a one of Malcolm’s pals. Every Saturday, to repay the doctor, Mr. Henry drove from his farm into town to pick up Malcolm’s pal, and his pal’s brothers and schoolmates. From town, they all rode out along the canopy road north of Tallahassee, Florida, eating sticky buns that Mr. Henry had waiting and ended up at what appeared to be an infinite paradise: a creek down in the woods where the boys looked for minnows, sailed boats, and watched for snakes. With the writing of the poem, the debt has now been paid in full!

Buy the book and read the poem along with all the other wonderful poems and stories. You will not be disappointed!

Thanks again for reading this and best wishes for the holiday season!

Shelagh Watkins

Please follow the tour to learn more about the book.

Blog Tour

December 1 Chelle Cordero
December 2 Zada Connaway
December 3 Mary Muhammad
December 4 Helen Wisocki
December 5 Pam Robertson
December 6 Dick Stodghill
December 7 Philip Spires
December 8 Milena Gomez
December 9 L. Sue Durkin
December 10 A. Ahad
December 11 Malcolm R. Campbell
December 12 Lynn C. Johnston
December 13 Dianne Sagan
December 14 Donald James Parker
December 15 Karina Kantas
December 16 Grace Bridges
December 17 Tiziana Rinaldi Castro
December 18 Yvonne Oots
December 19 Dana Rettig

Denny Crane, Denny Crane

Media Life Magazine notes that when Boston Legal wraps of the series’ final moments, this will be the first time in 20 years that writer David E. Kelly won’t have a show on television.

Going back to such shows as “L. A. Law” and “Doogie Howser, M.D.,” I have enjoyed David Kelley’s writing for years. That’s what lured me in week after week to watch “Boston Legal” in spite of the fact that the show featured wholly unrealistic courtroom scenes and used the slightest of pretenses for cramming a kitchen sink full of liberal pointificating into every program. Lack of relevance to the plot was never a barrier.

The dialogue was superb, the characters creatively drawn, and the plots were humorous and off the wall. (I know one judge who watches the show just to see what kind of outlandish legal messes they’ll dream up next.) A talented cast made the thing work. I think we’ll be seeing David Kelley again.

NOTE: Shelagh Watkins will be with us this Thursday to talk about her wonderful anthology (yes, I’m biased since I have a poem in it) Forever Friends.