dan brown

John Irving Wins Lambda Award: Actor Learning to Love; Week’s Bestselling Indies

(Update: Lambda finally posted winners here. )

(Update II: This may be insignificant, but I think it’s interesting to note that several Lethe Press books won in several categories. The reason why it’s interesting is because owner of Lethe Press, Steve Berman, went on an epic rant about the LLF and the Lambda awards not too long ago. You can read about that here. I’ll bet you won’t read THAT update anywhere else online today.)

In order to find out the winners of the 2013 Lambda Awards, I had to go to wiki to find a list. I don’t know why nothing’s been published anywhere else yet, or maybe I missed it. But this is the best I could do with a simple search. I was thrilled to see that a book I read and reviewed when it was first released by John Irving won in the bisexual category, In One Person. I have never read a book that gave a more accurate and detailed account of what it’s like to die from AIDS before. You can read my review here.

Of course this explanation of what attracts Billy as a bi-sexual is vital to the story with respect to how he managed to avoid being infected with the AIDS virus. If I go into more detail here I run the risk of another spoiler, so I’ll stop while I’m ahead. But I do want to say this one thing. This account of what actually happened during the height of the AIDS epidemic is the most accurate I have ever read in fiction. Irving either did a great deal of research, or he experienced all this for himself, because I know for a fact that he nailed it with perfection, from the Hickman catheter to PCP pneumonia. And if you are young and you are LGBT you should read this novel just for the historical facts. You won’t hear them anywhere else. I have over ninety published works out in the LGBT genre and I touch on these topics, but it’s not a place I want to go into detail about because it’s just too painful to revisit.

Although I’m not always thrilled with the LLF, especially because they don’t allow digital books to be entered in the Lambda Awards…as if digital books aren’t even real books…I do think they are important to the LGBT community and I think they finally got this one right with John Irving.

You can read the winner list in full here. I haven’t read any of the other books, and probably won’t.

And, as a side note, I read John Irving’s book, In One Person, in *digital* format, not print, on my iPhone the day it was released.

Most Discussed Books this Week

The most discussed book this week is Dan Brown’s “Inferno.” It’s interesting because I recently downloaded a copy from audible.com and I haven’t had a chance to listen to it yet. Tony and I have a seminar in Philadelphia on Thursday and I think I’ll listen to it in the car on the way down.

The most talked-about book in April was also the most talked-about book in May. According to our monthly chart on books trending in social media, provided by CoverCake, Dan Brown’s Inferno is again cropping up in the majority of online conversations centered on books. Jeff Costello, CoverCake’s v-p of client services, said he thought the novel got a boost from a public relations blitz at the beginning of the month, following its mid-month publication. While comments about Inferno have been mixed, Costello said that “people are definitely talking about this book.”

The article also goes on to mention a few other books people are talking about, and there are a few familiar names on the list I read often.

The Actor Learning to Love

My new release in the Bad Boy Billionaire series, The Actor Learning to Love, is out today. I’ve posted about it here with excerpts. I don’t have any links yet, but I will update later today. Update: Here’s the publisher link.

The actor is the bad boy billionaire who hires someone to stay in his NY penthouse and care for his exotic parrot…a talking parrot he inherited from an ex-boyfriend who couldn’t put up with the bad boy actor.

The guy the actor hires to live in the penthouse for one year is Rory, and Rory has a young son and they recently moved out of their Brooklyn apartment. The reason they moved out is because Rory just went through another divorce and he’s fed up with love, marriage, and men altogether.

It seems like the perfect arrangement, but the bad boy actor has ulterior motives that involve Rory and his son. I won’t give out any spoilers, but this is the first time I’ve ever worked the attacks on the World Trade Center into a novel (you can see the twin towers in the background on the cover)…it’s also the first time I’ve ever written a strong lesbian theme into the subplot.


Indie Bestseller List from Galleycat

Here’s list of self-published books that made several bestseller lists this week.

To help GalleyCat readers discover self-published authors, we compile weekly lists of the top eBooks in four major marketplaces for self-published digital books: Amazon, B&N, Apple iBookstore and Smashwords. You can read all the lists below, complete with links to each book.

I still find it amazing that I’m now seeing bestseller lists for self-pubbed books. Even though I’ve self-pubbed several of my own it’s not something I ever could have predicted ten years ago. Notice how they mention digital books, not print books.

I’m going to be publishing more posts on indie publishing over the summer from my own personal experiences. And one of the angles I’m going to take is how some authors need to self-publish now in order to survive. I love small e-publishers, all of them. I don’t have any issues on a personal level and I will continue to support and promote them as much as I can. But I find issues in a general sense that go across the board. These are the issues that prompted me to self-publish my first indie book over a year ago, and I’m going to start talking about them more.

Authors are going to be put in the position of learning to manage their own careers more and more in the future. If you’re lucky enough to have a great agent, that will make the difference. But for those who work unagented like me, it’s important to know what’s right for you. I had one e-publisher once tell me that I was getting too much exposure. I didn’t buy that then, and I don’t buy that now. In fact, Joe Konrath recently talked about this on his blog, and I happen to agree with him 100% on this topic. How can a genre author ever have too many books out and get too much exposure? I’m Ryan Field, not Ryan Seacrest. The more books I have out for my readers, and the better I can price those books, the happier my readers are going to be. But you see small e-publishers can’t compete that way. They are promoting a stable of authors, not just one or two. And the individual authors finds himself or herself in a precarious position, especially an author who is able to release more than eight books and stories a year.

So I will be going even more independent this summer and I will be self-publishing more books and stories on my own. And I’ll go into as much detail as I can about why and how I’m doing it for those who might be interested.

Dan Brown 10 Questions; Dan Brown Viral Parody; Surviving Mean Criticism

In the 10 Questions section of this week’s Time Magazine, the focus of the interview is on author, Dan Brown. One of the questions that gets interesting is the way Brown launches a book when he’s finished writing it.

There are three angular boxes that I bought when I was in Costa Rica, made out of rosewood. As you remember, rose and rosewood played a role in The Da Vinci Code. One of these three boxes is held by myself, one by my editor and one by my agent. On the night before the book is released, the three boxes come together and form a giant blade and chalice, and we just thank each other for all the hard work and cross our fingers that the world likes what’s about to be born.

Authors all have their little quirks, including me. I have this deal about always beginning a new novel on a Friday. I actually plan for this ahead of time. And even if I’m ready to begin on a Thursday, I’ll delay beginning the book until Friday. Don’t ask. I can’t explain this. It makes me feel good.

You can read more about Dan Brown at Time.com.

Dan Brown Parody and Mean Criticism

Although I hate to post things like this, I’m doing it for all authors who have suffered bad reviews and have had critics parody them. It’s happened to me, it’s happened to people I know. Here’s one article that talks about the reviews for Brown’s latest book, and a parody about his writing. As a side note, I’ve never actually read a Dan Brown book, so I don’t know anything about his writing.

The American author’s latest book came out May 14 to rather dismal reviews, with some saying the fourth book in his Robert Langdon series is the worst one yet. The three previous books in the series include Angels & Demons, The Da Vinci Code and The Lost Symbol, and were generally regarded as harmless fun despite Brown’s occasionally awkward prose.

And here is another where the critic actually parodies Brown’s writing in one of the most vicious ways I’ve seen since Romfail. For those who don’t know what Romfail is, check out that Romfail link. It was an interesting time, and several authors I know were changed forever by this one act of meanness. The reason this parody of Brown reminded me of Romfail is because someone actually set up a twitter account to parody Brown, in detail, just like Romfail.

Renowned author Dan Brown got out of his luxurious four-poster bed in his expensive $10 million house and paced the bedroom, using the feet located at the ends of his two legs to propel him forwards. He knew he shouldn’t care what a few jealous critics thought. His new book Inferno was coming out on Tuesday, and the 480-page hardback published by Doubleday with a recommended US retail price of $29.95 was sure to be a hit. Wasn’t it?

However, in the same article above, 10 Questions, Brown handles the next to the last question like we all should whenever we’re dealing with criticism.

A parody of your writing style went viral recently. Do you find that kind of thing insulting?

On some level you have to take it as a compliment. Of course you hope and you wish everybody loved what you do. In the creative arts, that’s just not how it works.

That fact is that you can parody anything you want to parody. You can take excerpts from a romance novel, from a mystery, and even from the bible and parody them. I wrote a whole post about this once, where a snarky blogger went after the erotic romance genre. My post showed how I could write the same snark about non-erotic romance. Though I mentioned no names in my post, the actual excerpts I used came from a best-selling sexless romance novel that certain critics LOVED and promoted until we were sick to death of it. My goal was simple: to show that anyone can parody anything, and anybody can be mean.

Brown’s reaction above really is the absolute truth. Whether it is a huge author like Dan Brown, or a small group of helpless struggling authors who never harmed anyone but had to suffer through Romfail, you buck up and take the criticism. You don’t complain and whine either. You can keep lists and names in private. If and when these critics fall or suffer some horrible personal tragedy you can smile and take pride in their misfortunes because you know they deserve what’s coming to them (Karma). But you have to prepare yourself for the fact that not everyone is going to like what you do and you can’t take that personally…not if you’re going to survive as an author.

Photo attribution

Dan Brown’s Alleged Bad Writing and Other Links…

I’d like to start this post off by stating that I love Dan Brown’s writing. I think he knows how to create a story, from a masculine POV, in ways that make me want to keep reading. And when I’m reading for pleasure, this is what I care about most.

But I read an interesting post over here, at “Michael’s” blog, on the Dystel & Goderich Literary Management Blog about Dan Brown’s alleged “bad writing.” I use the word alleged because I don’t agree Dan Brown’s writing is bad.

I know the post was written with a tongue-in-cheek tone, and I get where “Michael” was going. But I can’t help wondering how Dan Brown feels when he reads posts like this. Seriously, people must think that authors are made of cast iron. Even in fun, authors take these things to heart.

The post I’m talking about links to this article, where examples of Dan Brown’s alleged bad writing are given, and the tone isn’t as lighthearted as “Michael’s.” I think each example could be debated. But I also know there’s no way anyone can ever win when they go up against a pedantic elitist, so it’s not worth the time or effort to give out examples.

In fact, I feel safe in saying that a lot of what I read and see about what’s considered “bad writing” is written by pedantic elitists who aren’t keeping up with the way people are communicating in a general sense. When I read this blog post over at Hyperbole and a Half, and the long rant that went with it, I felt guilty and a little sad at the same time. Guilty, because I’m one of those people who often abbreviate words like “you” to “u,” when I’m texting or posting online. And that’s because, like most people my age and younger, I’m either using a tablet or a phone to post. It’s easier. It’s accepted. And it’s the way communication is moving whether we like it or not. I also felt a little sad for the blogger for not taking the way communication is changing…and always has changed…into consideration. And it has nothing to do with age. My mom is in her seventies and she texts and abbreviates all the time.

One of the reasons why I rarely comment on the style of another author’s writing is because most of the time it can be debated. And I always think, “who am I to judge?” Evidently, that’s not the case in SOME places. And even though the post about Dan Brown was lighthearted and written with a positive tone, I hope when Dan Brown reads these things he knows he’s getting the last laugh. Because there are plenty of readers like me out there, who are not elitists, who love the way he writes. But more than that, we “get” and appreciate the way communication styles change and evolve with time.

Here’s the best example I can give:

Steven Jobs came up with the infamous line for an ad:

“Think Different”

The pedantic elitists thought it should read “Think Differently,” because it’s grammatically correct.

Steve Jobs argued that he wanted to keep it “Think Different.” Mainly because he wanted “different” to be considered a noun. And he won, the ad was a huge success, and it helped change the world.

I like to “Think Different,” too. And I don’t care what anyone else thinks.