Monday, June 3, 2013

Authors at Eighth Day Books

On Friday, May 31 and Saturday, June 1, I attended two book readings and signings at Eighth Day Books during the store's Spring/Summer sale. The two authors were very different, as was their path to publication and their means of publication.

The first book, by Dr. Philip Gaunt, a professor at Wichita State University and former chair of the Elliott School of Communication there, was The Blane Game:

When minds work together to save the planet, save oil, and prevent war, strange things happen. Like communication with aliens, telepathic communication, and even potential war. When Mike realizes he can hear people's thoughts it's not long until he's contacted by the U.S. government to participate in a top-secret project to contact aliens. Not knowing what's going on with him, Mike agrees. In Russia, Katrina works alongside a group of scientists who are trying to do the same. Little does either country know, they're racing to answer the same question: is communication with aliens possible? Time is of the essence in this suspenseful novel. Since both countries want to be the first to make this discovery, Mike and Katrina are pushed to their limits. After Mike makes contact with Sergei Brebin, a Russian employee, telepathically thinking he's an alien, he realizes the Russians are on the same search. The men become friends and begin to exchange information in hopes of figuring out what their countries really want from the aliens, when Brebin is killed.Realizing this covert operation may be about much more than alien communication, Mike investigates, realizing each country is out for its own greed and is willing to destroy anyone that gets in the way. Trying to reach aliens again, Mike meets Katrina. The two become friends, and realize it's in their best interest to leave their positions. Mike rushes to find Katrina and save the woman he's come to love, but can he make it to her before the Russians find out she's derailed from their plan? Find out in the Blane Game.

Professor Gaunt chose to work with Tate Publishing in Mustang, Oklahoma (and you'll not that the company website refers to the recent tornados in Oklahoma). Tate has an interesting business model:

Tate Publishing & Enterprises, LLC, is a Christian-based, family-owned, mainline publishing organization with a mission to discover unknown authors. We combine unknown authors' undiscovered potential with Tate Publishing's unique approach to publishing and provide them with the highest quality books and the most inclusive benefits package available.

Tate Publishing was formed after Founders Richard & Rita Tate published their first book with a traditional, mainline royalty publishing company. They soon found that after investing many years of their lives into their work, it was no longer theirs. The rights were now the publisher's, and the majority of the royalties were going to the publisher. That's when the Tates set out to redefine what a mainline royalty publisher should be. Remember, the most important step to get started is to submit your manuscript. In 2010, we accepted only a single-digit percentage of authors who submitted manuscripts for publication.

At Tate Publishing & Enterprises, we believe your work is just that—your work. We believe that you should make the most money from your project. You will retain all rights to your manuscript, PLUS retain the highest royalties in the business from your sales. That's the way it should be! And that's the way we do business.

Tate offers editing and creative services, etc.

The second book, by Melvin D. Epp, was The Petals of a Kansas Sunflower: A Mennonite Diaspora, published by Wipf & Stock:

Rather than pledging allegiance to the military effort as dictated by Prussian law in 1867, many devout Anabaptists deemed it prudent to become pioneers in Kansas. The year was 1876 and odd numbered sections of railroad land were being marketed by the Santa Fe across Kansas. Towns developed around train depots; local shopping became available. Marie Harder Epp was born in America to these relocated Anabaptists. She was a Kansas Mennonite farmer and also the village poet. Her poems, written for oral delivery, tell the story of life in Holland and West Prussia following the Reformation, the relocation to Kansas, and the creation of a church community on the tall grass prairies. A church was organized to focus these hard-working Germans on divine realities as they buried their dead, married their young, and dealt with the harsh prairie winds. Marie's poems also describe the changeover from buggies to cars, from German to English, and from isolation to global outreach. With time, the Anabaptists learned through cultural adaptation that they could be both staunch Mennonites and also patriotic Americans.

Wipf & Stock also has a different model (located in Oregon):

From the land of great microbrews and towering Douglas firs, Wipf and Stock Publishers is the underdog team, a ragtag bunch who arrive to work with mud still on our shoes from the weekend ride or hike. Committed to writing that honors the imagination, intellect, and heart, our model is simple yet provocative: with a list as diverse as our northwest landscape, we publish based on the merits of content rather than marketability. We have no agenda and are shamelessly unapologetic about what we like: relationships, good beer, fine books, and enough coffee to keep us moving. We work hard to bring relationships back to the focus of publishing, because we believe in the value of voice.

Wipf & Stock books, unfortunately, are very expensive (print on demand). Although I enjoyed the reading and the history Mr. Epps presented, I could not fit a $54.00 paperback book into my monthly budget!!

But, never fear, I did support my local bookseller, purchasing Marilynne Robinson's When I Was a Child I Read Books:

Ever since the 1981 publication of her stunning debut, Housekeeping, Marilynne Robinson has built a sterling reputation as a writer of sharp, subtly moving prose, not only as a major American novelist (her second novel, Gilead, was awarded the Pulitzer Prize) but also a rigorous thinker and incisive essayist. Her compelling and demanding collection The Death of Adam in which she reflected on her Presbyterian upbringing, investigated the roots of Midwestern abolitionism, and mounted a memorable defense of Calvinism is respected as a classic of the genre, praised by Doris Lessing as "a useful antidote to the increasingly crude and slogan-loving culture we inhabit". In When I Was a Child I Read Books she returns to and expands upon the themes which have preoccupied her work with renewed vigor.

In "Austerity as Ideology" she tackles the global debt crisis, and the charged political and social political climate in this country that makes finding a solution to our financial troubles so challengin. In "Open Thy Hand Wide" she searches out the deeply embedded role of generosity in Christian faith. And in "When I Was a Child" one of her most personal essays to date, an account of her childhood in Idaho becomes an exploration of individualism and the myth of the American West. Clear-eyed and forceful as ever, Robinson demonstrates once again why she is regarded as one of our essential writers.

And, Praying To Our Lord Jesus Christ: Prayers and Meditations Through the Centuries by: Benedict J. Groeschel:

Personal devotion to Our Lord Jesus Christ is an essential component of authentic Christian spirituality. In recent decades skeptical approaches to theology and Scripture have tended to diminish our awareness of the need for personal devotion to Our Savior. This leaves people with a feeling of emptiness and isolation.

Fr. Benedict has made this anthology of profound prayers, drawn from all of Christian history, available to those who experience a hunger for devotion. Beautifully illustrated with classic art, this book will be a valuable companion for personal prayer, for times of recollection, and even for those times of critical spiritual need.

Readers wishing to grow in their devotion to Christ and increase their love for Him will find the prayers in this book helpful and inspiring. Ranging from the prayers of early Church martyrs and Fathers and including those of mystics and theologians, it provides an introduction to the Church's vast patrimony of twenty centuries of devotion to Jesus Christ. Fr. Groeschel adds his own insights throughout the book.

This book, combining profound prayers with wonderful spiritual insights and inspiring art—makes a beautiful gift for all who would seek to know and love Our Lord Jesus better. Illustrated.

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