Just Before Midnight: A Christmas Eve Novella: READING SAMPLE

Just Before Midnight, A Christmas Eve Novella, is “a charming intersection of the movies ‘Crash’ and ‘It’s a Wonderful Life.'”

Christmas Eve is the time to be at home enjoying the warmth and laughter of family, isn’t it? [Read more…]

Note to College Football: Get Rid of the Bowls and Improve the Playoff Model

It's time for college football to kill the bowls and improve the playoff model.

I have always loved the traditions of college football, but many, including the bowl system, are dead anyway!

Note to college football: it is time to get rid of the bowls and improve the playoff model.

My first memory of watching an entire college football game was January 1, 1969, when Rex Kern and a group of “Super Sophs” led the Ohio State Buckeyes to a 27-16 win over the USC Trojans and their Heisman star, O.J. Simpson.

The Rose Bowl was the epitome of tradition. A great parade, followed by a matchup between the Big Ten and Pac-10 champions. Sure, there was 1942, when the game was moved to the campus of Duke University due to fears of a Japanese West Coast invasion (or terrorist attack) during World War II. But for more than half a century it was synonymous with the Big Ten and Pac-10. That ship sailed a long time ago with the coming of the BCS Era. I’ve gotten over it.

When it comes to college football I’ve been a traditionalist and have dragged my feet on most changes, including the BCS and the rampant conference realignments. In terms of declaring a national champion, I’ve never felt like we had to have a perfect system, free from any controversy. It never bothered me that many years there were multiple champions crowned. It was never more than two and it wasn’t like boxing where there might be three welterweight champions at one time. But now that we’ve made the first move to a four-team playoff  for the NCAA Division I Bowl Subdivision – the only division in college football without a playoff – I want to finish the transition.

Here is how I would to it: [Read more…]

What Is the Agency Model in Ebook Pricing?

what is the agency pricing model?Q:  What Is the agency model in eBook pricing?

A:  The agency model is when a reseller allows the publisher to set the price charged to its (the reseller’s) customers. The common agency model terms for eBooks have been that the publisher keeps 70% of the proceeds and the reseller earns a 30% commission. This is different from the traditional pricing model in the book publishing industry, where prices have been controlled by the reseller. In the traditional model, publishers sell their books to resellers at a discount of approximately 50% (legal and illegal discount variance is a topic for another day!). Resellers offer the books to consumers at whatever price they choose.

The “agency model” for eBook pricing is back in the news with a deal reached between Simon & Schuster (S&S) and Amazon (confirmed October 21, 2014), which S&S CEO Carolyn Reidy acknowledges is a “version” of the agency pricing model. [Read more…]

Arkady Renko: From Gorky Park to Tatiana

Martin Cruz Smith brings back Arkady Renko for an eighth book in Tatiana.

Is there a glimmer of hope for Renko?

Arkady Renko is a literary detective who takes us on tumultuous journey through modern Russian political history – the intrigue and the frightening pathos – from a gruesome triple murder in Gorky Park to the death of the fearless investigative reporter, Tatiana, the newest installment in the series and the title character.

Martin Cruz Smith introduced Chief Inspector of the Soviet Militsya, Arkady Renko, in the dark, brooding thriller, Gorky Park, way back in 1981. Renko was a textbook lesson in the long tradition of police procedurals, but more so for the use of forensic science in crime investigation – who can forget the scene with the professor, the maggots, and the human skull – long before CSI was a household acronym and a staple of television and novels.

In 1983 a movie adaption of Gorky Park hit theaters, with William Hurt playing Renko and a memorable and magnificent performance by Lee Marvin as a charming, chilling, predatory American businessman. I watched it again last year and it has held up better than most 80s movies. That’s why it took me by surprise that I had missed the release of Tatiana by a year. I’m a longtime fan after all. I know Smith has sold a boatload of Renko novels, but reading him still feels a little like discovering a hidden artistic gem before the rest of the world discovers such a superb talent. [Read more…]

Will Samsung Save the Nook?

The new Galaxy Tab 4 Nook comes with $250 in free downloads.

The new Galaxy Tab 4 Nook comes with $250 in free downloads.

Will Samsung save the Nook?

The good news from Barnes & Noble for the first quarter of Fiscal 2015 that ended August 2, 2014, was that book retailer cut losses from $87m to $28m compared to the same period a year ago. The bad news was that overall revenues had dropped 7% from $1.33b to $1.22b. Worse yet, Nook sales were off a staggering 54%.

Does that signal the end of Nook?

Barnes & Noble launched its first Nook reader in November 2009 to compete with the Kindle. A year later B&N released a color tablet called the Nook HD+. In both releases, sales and performance exceeded all expectations. Consensus was the Nook device would allow B&N to finally challenge Amazon in the digital book distribution world. A few tech journalists were impressed enough to predict the Nook HD+ could compete with the iPad. But that was way back in the day when the tablet was still in its infancy. [Read more…]