LDSToolbar & Sustain This

I'm having a little trouble getting back into the post-vacation groove. I apologize. Hopefully, I will be caught up and back on track by Tuesday (taking Labor Day off).

As I was reading through the e-mails sent to LDSP while I was gone, I found one inviting me to participate in LDSToolbar. I added it to my browser and it seems to be working great. It's really kind of cool because it links specifically to LDS sites—including LDS publishers (well, one so far) and to yours truly.

LDSToolbar is not real good with the instructions. Fortunately, when I clicked on the Install Toolbar icon, everything worked just fine.

There was also a link from there to Sustaind.org—which works sort of like digg and kirtsy. You vote on blogs and other sites that you think are extra cool. I tried to add the code to this blog but the instructions either weren't correct or Blogger just didn't like me at the moment because I kept getting an error message. (If any of you have been able to install this on your Blogger blog, send me details.)

So, what do these two things have to do with being an LDS author? MORE EXPOSURE!

It's all about name recognition, getting yourself out there and getting noticed. These are just two more avenues to help you do that.


LDSPs Summer Book Trek Wrap-Up Post

I've finished my reading for the Summer Book Trek and here is my wrap-up post. (Details on wrapping up here.) I thought I was going to read these books. But instead, I read these:

Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer

Farworld by J. Scott Savage

Surprise Packages by Lael Littke, Carroll Morris, Nancy Anderson

Angel Falling Softly by Eugene Woodbury (I read this on vacation. Will post thoughts soon.)

I've started Traitor and will also read Freefall, but not before the end of the Trek.

Now to answer the wrap-up questions:

1. How many fiction books by LDS authors did you read? Four (that I'm willing to admit to here; I actually read 12 but if I disclose the full list, LY will be able to discern my true identity.)

2. Did you read more than you would have read if you hadn't participated in this book trek? Yes. I read more LDS fiction and did not read much national fiction.

3. Did the reviews posted by other participants influence which titles you read? How? Yes. I read Surprise Packages because of several good reviews. I also read Angel Falling Softly because of the "buzz."

4. Did the Whitney awards influence which titles you read? How? No, because I'd already read all of 2007 nominees and winners. But had I not read them, they would have shaped my list.

5. Did the many, many virtual blog tours that happened this summer influence which titles you read? How? Yes. I read Farworld (and a few undisclosed others) because of the blog tours.

6. Did you finish all the books you had planned to read? If not, why? No. Others took precedence.

7. Did you discover any new authors whom you now love? Yes. A few national writers that I didn't realize were LDS.

8. Did you nominate any of the books you read for Whitney awards? Not yet. I'm waiting till the end of the year to do it.

9. Would you be interested in another LDS themed reading challenge either this winter, or next summer? Yes. This was fun.


Summer Vacation

I'm going on a personal vacation. I know I just took a blogging break for the LDSBA convention, but now I'm taking a real break for fun. I'll check my e-mail and if anyone else sends me photos from the convention, I'll post them. But as far as posts requiring thought on my part, those will start up again in about a week.

See ya then.


More LDSBA Pics

These photos are compliments of Traci Abramson, author of The Deep End (a 2007 Whitney finalist), Freefall (released in February 2008), and Royal Target (to be released in October; currently available for pre-order at Deseret Book).

Traci (center) with Kat Gille (my awesome editor) and
Rachel Langlois (marketing/public relations w/ Covenant)

Traci (left), David G. Wooley (center), and Jeri Gilchrist
after David's signing at the Covenant booth.

Clint Harrison from Garden Gate Bookstore in Vernal, Utah
proving that real men read pink.


Newly Posted LDS Fiction

This week's new titles over on the LDS Fiction blog:

The Divine Talisman
by Eldon Thompson

Orson Scott Card's Intergalactic Medicine Show edited by Edmund R. Schubert and Orson Scott Card

Rapunzel's Revenge
by Shannon and Dean Hale

Did we miss any? If we did, let me know.

We've also posted the next contest and the winner of last week's contest.

P.S. Authors & Publishers—If you'd like to be a sponsor for this contest, contact me.

LDSBA—Doo Dahs

Okay, so the official industry lingo calls these "sidelines" but I think doo-dah is so much more descriptive. Each year as I walk the aisles of the LDS BOOKsellers Association Convention, I'm surprise at how the books have dwindled and the sidelines have increased. It's a sign of the times. We're becoming a nation of non-readers. (Sigh.)

Here are just a few of the doo-dahs that impressed me. If you have photos of other doo-dah booths, please send them to me.


LDSBA—Small Independent Publishers

Here are some of the small independent publishers at the convention. There were most likely some that I missed. If your company/publisher was at the convention but is not featured here, please send photo and info.

Archive Publishers

This company does not accept manuscripts for publication.
They specialize in reprinting rare and out of print LDS books and books for
LDS home schooling. They have a new "Faith Promoting" series that's doing well.

Gibbs Smith Publisher

I've always thought of Gibbs Smith as the cookbook publisher—the ones that do
the 101 Things to Do With...Whatever series. But they're changing their image.
Their website is much more impressive than before. They have books on
architecture, gardening, scrapbooking, photography, and many, many more topics.
I was quite impressed when I visited their website.

Greg Kofford Books

Greg Kofford is another reprinter of rare and out-of-print LDS books,
but they also publish other books. Their website says they are
"publishers & purveyors of fine books relating to Mormonism."
It's unclear whether they will look at fiction, but they don't have any
listed in their releases. However, they do have a page that says
they're looking for illustrators for children's books, so maybe they're
moving into that area.
(G.K.—please feel free to correct, update or amend my info here.)

Leatherwood Press

This is one of the few independent publishers that seem to be growing
and expanding. They publish a variety of fiction and nonfiction titles (over 200),
and say they are committed to "the development of new authors."
They also have a national imprint, Silverleaf Press.

Millennial Press

Millennial no longer publishes fiction; they focus on nonfiction and LDS
doctrinal titles. Their "Setting the Record Straight" series is selling very well—
these are titles that deal with specific areas of Mormonism, such as
Blacks and the Priesthood, and Mormons and Polygamy.
Each book is written by an expert in the area and they are very easy to read
and understand. Millennial also distributes the Know Your Religion books.

Signature publishes a wide range of fiction and nonfiction books,
but are mostly known for their Utah historical and regional titles.
They also do reprints of older, out-of-print books, particularly
those with historical LDS significance.


LDSBA Convention

Cedar Fort

Cedar Fort publishes doctrinal books, scriptural commentaries,
self-help, cookbooks, and some LDS fiction. CFI includes the imprints
Bonneville Books, which publishes LDS fiction;
Horizon Publishers
, which publishes all genres, and some LDS doctrinal titles;
Council Press,
publishing historical fiction and nonfiction; and
Sweetwater Books
, which targets the national market.
They also own Pioneer Plus, which does LDS jewelry and gifts,
scrapbooking supplies and fine art prints.

Granite Publishing

Granite does some publishing, but it also does a lot of distribution
for small presses. They represent everything from fiction and nonfiction books,
to music, art, statues, journals, stickers, missionary items, and other sidelines.

I thought this was kind of cool—some of their signers
dressing up in character.

Sounds of Zion

Sounds of Zion is a distribution company, not much of a publisher.
In addition to books (fiction & nonfiction), they represent a full line of
music, artwork, DVD and videos, games, stickers and other sideline products.

Brigham Distributing

Another distributor, not a publisher. Brigham Distributing distributes
both to LDS bookstores and nationally. They have picked up
a lot of the smaller publishers for distribution. They now carry the
Windhaven products (LDS 12 step), Spring Creek (yes, they are still in
business but they didn't have their own booth this year), and
Mapletree Publishing (national titles).


LDSBA Convention


Another of the big super publishers.

This is their wall of new releases.

And thanks to uber-stalker, Sandra, here's a photo
of herself with David Woolley, who did book signings
of volume 4 in his Book of Mormon fiction series.


2008 LDS Booksellers Convention

I'll be posting photos from the convention this week. If you attended and would like to send me your photos and/or comments about the convention, please feel free to do so.

The convention was interesting this year. Smaller than previous years. There were about equal numbers of vendors and bookstore buyers represented. I have some concerns and maybe I'll talk about them later, but I see more difficulties ahead for the independent publishers and bookstores unless something is done soon. Rising costs and diminishing access to the consumer are the problem. I heard several people talking about solutions. Hopefully some of these solutions will move from the talking phase into action in the near future.

But, in the meantime, here's what I saw at the convention this year:

Even Deseret Book seemed affected by the lower attendance this year. Usually they have author signings at every corner, with long lines of book buyers waiting to get their hands on the new releases. Lines weren't that long this year.

There did seem to be some excitement generated by J. Scott Savage and his book, Farworld: Water Keep. These photos were sent to me by Sandra, who actually TOUCHED a real copy of the book (to be officially released next month).

Karlene, J. Scott Savage, Sandra
Karlene and Sandra both reviewed
Farworld: Water Keep on their blogs.

Here's a photo to prove that Sandra and Karlene
actually touched one of the real books.

Here is the FarWorld map.

More photos tomorrow. Authors, Publishers: If you have photos of your booth or your book signing at LDSBA, send them to me with commentary and I'll post them.

Newly Posted LDS Fiction

This week's new titles over on the LDS Fiction blog:

Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer

Watch Me by Brenda Novak

Did we miss any? If we did, let me know.

We've also posted the next contest and the winner of last week's contest.

P.S. Authors & Publishers—I'm out of sponsors for weekly LDS Fiction blog contest. Sponsors agree to ship a copy of their book to the winner of the contest. If you'd like to be a sponsor, contact me.


Break for LDS Booksellers

Hey, folks. Not sure I'll be able to post this week due to the LDS Booksellers event. But I promise I'll take lots of photos again and post them here next week.

In the meantime, keep up the discussion. :)


August 2008 Sponsors

Please take a moment to learn more about our wonderfully generous sponsors.

Flashback by J. Michael Hunter

Laura McClain has screamed herself awake again. Her old nightmare is back. And now the timid kindergarten teacher is convinced that someone is following her—watching her every move. It could just be coincidence that she and the chillingly memorable man seem to show up at all the same places. Perhaps her paranoia is just a result of her deep fear of change. After all, so much has changed in her life recently.

To make matters worse, Laura is now supposed to travel halfway across the country to take possession of a family estate she has inherited. As unnerved as she is with her “stalker” in St. Louis, the plantation in Virginia seems even more frightening to Laura. And what is a Mormon girl going to do with miles of tobacco crop?

But then again, maybe the family estate holds the secret to why Laura’s parents would never talk about their past. In hopes of finding clues to this mystery, Laura packs her bags and catches a bus to Bufordville, a tiny town with more than its fair share of rumors, suspicions, and deadly secrets. Then panic sets in as Laura finds her returning nightmare is, in fact, a twenty-year-old reality—a reality that could very well repeat itself.

J. Michael Hunter received a BA in History and a MS in Library and Information Science from BYU. He has been the Chair of the Religion and Family History Department at the Harold B. Lee Library at BYU.

Twilight's Last Gleaming by L.C. Lewis

While cannons roar and rockets ignite American skies, disease ravages the upper Connecticut Valley. Few notice the sufferings of the families . . . of a single child . . . a remarkable lad named Joseph. Attentions are forced elsewhere on the Chesapeake, which guards the entrance to the infant nation’s threatened capital.

It is the height of the War of 1812. As the beleaguered American forces begin to rally, Britain’s military is divided between battlefronts on two continents. Until Napoleon can be toppled and all of the Crown’s resources can be diverted to the American campaign, Britain needs a tactical diversion. They attack the Chesapeake Bay!

Lieutenant Jed Pearson heads to war, leaving his beloved Willows estate in the care of powerless freed slaves. But soon circumstances will blur the line between adversary and friend, family and foe, British and American.

In this second volume of the epic historical series Free Men and Dreamers, witness the saga of five families caught in the tumult of the oft-forgotten war that cemented American liberty and set the stage for the great work of the Restoration.

Laurie Lewis was born in the history-rich area neighboring Baltimore, Maryland, and has spent most of her life there. She and her husband raised their four children in this area, and Laurie, a homemaker, used her free time to write novels and plays. During a seven-year stint as a science-education facilitator in the Carroll County Public School System, Laurie honed her research skills, and as her children left home, she focused her energies on writing full time. She also became an avid traveler, constantly researching locales and their colorful people to flesh out her work. Laurie now spends her time bringing that research to life in family novels and historical fiction.

Farworld: Water Keep
by J. Scott Savage

Other people may see thirteen-year-old Marcus Kanenas as an outcast and a nobody, but he sees himself as a survivor and a dreamer. In fact, his favorite dream is of a world far away, a world where magic is as common as air, where animals tell jokes, and trees beg people to pick their fruit. He even has a name for this place-Far World. When Marcus magically travels to Far World, he meets Kyja, a girl without magic in a world where spells, charms, and potions are everywhere, and Master Therapass, a master wizard who has kept a secret hidden for thirteen years, a secret that could change the fate of two worlds.

But the Dark Cicle has learned of Master Therapass’s secret and their evil influence and power are growing. Far World’s only hope is for Marcus and Kyja to find the mythical Elementals-water, land, air, and fire-and convince them to open a drift between the worlds. As Kyja and Marcus travel to Water Keep, they must face the worst the evil Dark Circle can through at them-Summoners, who can command the living and the dead; Unmakers, invisible creatures that can destroy both body and soul; and dark mages known as Thrathkin S’Bae. Along the way, Marcus and Kyja will discover the truth about their own heritage, the strength of their friendship, and the depths of their unique powers.

In addition to Water Keep, which will be released in September, J. Scott Savage is the author of Cutting Edge, Into the Fire, and the Shandra Covington Mystery Series. Upcoming novels include Dark Memories, the first mainstream Mormon horror novel, and the next Shandra book. Jeff loves doing anything with his family, anything Disney, medium well steaks, and the Oakland Raiders. He is firmly against prologues and SASEs.

July 2008 Comment Contest Winners

Here are the winners of the June Comment Contest, randomly selected from comments made during the month of June.

Thanks again to our sponsors. Please take a moment to read their bio info here.

A Modest Proposal

by Michele Ashman Bell

Winner: A. Morgan

Commenting on Hornet's Nest #4: Is 'LDS Fiction' a genre label?

Freshman for President

by Ally Condie

Winner: Becky

Commenting on Blog Tours

Angel Falling Softly

by Eugene Woodbury

Winner: Th.

Commenting on Hornet's Nest #4: Is 'LDS Fiction' a genre label?

To claim your prize, you must e-mail your mailing address to me by Wednesday, August 6, 2008.

(Unclaimed prizes will be up for grabs on Thursday, August 7th.)

Click here to learn how you can win a copy of one of our sponsoring books.