Sunday, November 16, 2008


Jet lag - it seems to be something not worth fighting over as soon I will be back in the UK. It's
7 am and the coffee machine is heating up water for my oh, so British tea.

So, it's 7am and snowing in Minneapolis and at least I have my New York snow boots with me, and plenty of layers. I met one publisher in the lift yesterday who had come from Carolina, seventy degrees, and had not thought to bring a coat. I hope she found a thrift shop....

Talking of thrift shops, in my presentation yesterday of our front list for the USA, I managed a cat walk in high heeled purple suede shoes, a purple pencil skirt and a black top, total cost for the outfit was $15 / £ 10.75. My whole outfit came from a charity shop in Southwold, where Victoria Cator is a patron and fund raiser, Break (it gives breaks to the parents of disabled children).

Last night we had the sales conference cocktail party in a bar (there are never any cocktails, but a gin and tonic makes a good substitute). I met all our wonderful sales reps, and spoke to the academic marketing manager, Heather Hart, who is in charge of the new web site for academics and course adoptions. In the demonstration, I kept seeing our titles - in these economically strange times, a backlist comes into its own.

Now, back to my proof reading of THE GOOD BODY GUIDE - only 250 pages to go....the nine hour flight was good for the first half of the book. do I sound like an American yet? My joint nationality is also useful for my sales trips, though for the first time the official really did want to know the story of my life!


Friday, November 14, 2008

A trip to the coast

Last week, after over a year of editing, production, sales, publicity and other miscellaneous work we finally got to meet Rhyll McMaster. Who is lovely. As is her daughter with whom she was travelling. So lovely in fact that we decided that they could not stay in the 'grubby london' of Rhyll's novel a moment longer than she had to and so whisked her off up the coast to Suffolk. Specifically to the Ways with Words Festival in Southwold where Rhyll was to appear alongside Sadie Jones in the curtain raising event.

Southwold, which achieved fame recently as Gordon Brown's chosen location for his summer holiday, is a pleasantly grey seaside town with beach huts, stone houses and its very own brewery. Once there we met the wonderful Kay and Steven Dunbar. They founded and still run the Ways with Words festivals with that mix of easy efficiency, intelligence and genuine warmth that characterises the very best literary events. We also met the equally marvellous Rosemary, manager of the Orwell bookshop in Southwold, who runs the festival bookshop and who will forever have a place in our hearts for declaring our show card the 'best she had ever had.'

After being treated to an amazing dinner the night before, we reconvened the next day at the Tardis-like St Edmund's Hall (the size of the theatre is not at all apparent from the outside) where Rhyll and Sadie (who is also fantastic) gave a talk ably chaired by Kay. The topics included the melancholy fifties, the writing process, feminism, the unpredictability of readers' responses, (especially Austrian ones) humour, the probability that everyone 'knows a Redmond' and much mutual admiration. The audience, which had a pleasing number of people who had read both books, seemed to enjoy it and then asked some excellent questions. And then, far too soon, it was time to go back to grubby london.

But not without asking everything to vote for Feather Man at the Spread the Word competition please, please do!


Monday, November 03, 2008

Round ups

I expect that it's true of working in most small offices that one occasionally finds themselves feeling isolated and worried that nothing they're doing is making much of a difference. I think that this is especially true on Monday mornings in small publishers, when one scours the major book reviewing publications hoping that a title with your moniker at the bottom will jump out at you. Preferably with some kind words attached.

It's nice then, at the times when nothing has appeared, to get an email like the one we received today from our American publicist, the excellent Meryl Zegarek (

Marion Boyars

Bold = New as of this report.
Feather Man by Rhyll McMaster – September 2008 (978-0-7145-3148-9)
  • September 29, 2008 – “An interesting and moving story that is reminiscent of works by Margaret Atwood and Harper Lee.”
  • Genre Go Round September 5, 2008
  • Nashville Is Talking August 15, 2008
  • Monsters and “Abuse of any kind is challenging subject to write about yet McMaster manages it with a deft touch.”
  • - “McMaster is an amazing writer. Her prose is pitch-perfect- in the whole of this book, there is not an extraneous word. This story has a very substantial feel, due primarily to McMaster's painstaking character development. From the first page, the reader is truly inside Sooky's head, and comes to know her intimately.”
  • ForeWord Magazine – “…Sooky’s unflinching eye and sense of humor imbue the book with complexity and vitality.”
  • Medieval Bookworm – “What an interesting character study…I really liked this book.”
  • Book Room Review-– “if you’re looking for a book with real substance and excellent character development, I think you’ll enjoy Feather Man.
  • IndieBound September Indie Next List
  •, and LibraryThing,
The Streets of Babylon by Carina Burman – May 2008 (978-0-7145-3138-0)
  • – Review and will post an interview with Carina Burman
  • I Love a Mystery-August/Sept. 2008- “This is a tongue-firmly-in-cheek romp through London …this is the first in a trilogy planned for translation, and I look forward the lady’s return.”
  • You Are What You Read- Sept. 9th, 2008 “…the makings of an absolutely delightful ‘who done it’…This book was seamless.”
  • The Washington Times – rave review, Sunday, August 17th “Ms. Burman offers a hilarious version of all the wrong things to do in Victorian Londonm and draws the reader into the fun with her carefully proper writing style.”
  • The Midwest Book Review- July 2008- “The Streets of Babylon is and excellent historical mystery that makes the time and place seem so alive…Carina Burman provides an exhilarating mid-nineteenth century kidnapped thriller..”
  • July/August 2008 rev.- “ There is a lot to enjoy in The Streets of Babylon, from the wonderful job Burman does of creating the physical and social atmosphere to the delight of her protagonist…I was quite pleased to discover the work of Carina Burman, with Streets of Babylon and look forward to more books with this wonderful character.”
  • Medieval - July 24, 2008 - “…A good time and pure escapism….an entertaining read.”
  • Library Journal - June review - “…first volume of an engaging new historical trilogy”
  • Genre Go Round May 20, 2008 “An excellent historical mystery that makes the time and place seem so alive.”
  • Kirkus Reviews- May 15, 2008 …packed with Victorian flavor.”
  • The Mystery Gazette- May 2008
  • Reviewing the Evidence “The descriptions of the streets and alleys of the city are so breathtaking, one seems to be there. London of 1851 lives again.”
  • Blogcritics – April 29, 2008 “The story takes us on a captivating trip back in time with interesting – and at times quirky – individuals, who quickly come to feel like friends.”
  • International Noir 9, 2008

Which makes one feel rather better about life.

Even nicer is when one of our books is on the long list for World Book Day's Spread the Word
prize. Please, please do vote because if Feather Man isn't a book to talk about I don't know what is.