Kindle Singles

My husband, Evan Marshall, has fallen in love. Not with another woman. With his Kindle. We bought his/hers Kindles recently and Evan has already read several books on his. But I've only read The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett, a doorstopper we blogged about here in August.

Going Graphic

Most people have heard the term "graphic novel," but many don't really know what it means. Is it the same as a comic book? In some ways, yes. Both comic books and graphic novels tell a story by means of "sequential art"-a combination of text and pictures within panels. However, whereas a comic book tells its tale in roughly thirty pages, a graphic novel can run as long as several hundred pages. With this increased popularity has come a wave of graphic novels for a more "upscale" reader.

Hello Kitty

A recent Pew Internet and American Life Project study by Kirsten Purcell, Roger Entner, and Nicole Henderson, "The Rise of Apps Culture," found that 35 percent of American adults have software applications or "apps" on their cell phones, yet only 24 percent use them, and 11 percent are not sure if their cell phones are equipped with apps.The mobile phone apps culture is only about two years old, according to study coauthor Roger Entner, who is also Senior Vice President and Head of Research and Insights for Telecom Practice at Nielsen. Among the cell phone culture trends you may not be aware of because it is so new is cell phone fiction.

Pearls on a String

We're all used to reading novels that are divided into chapters. But have you ever read a "novel in stories"? In this literary form, a string of self-contained short stories work together to create a complete novel. Usually, these stories are linked by elements such as characters, place, or theme, yet each story also stands on its own.

Fangs for Last Night

There's a reason we love vampire novels, and that reason, quite simply, is repressed sex. But vampires have been around for a very long time. Why the unprecedented popularity now? Here's our theory. It has as much to do with how publishing works, especially in the United States, as with vampires.

The Pleasure of Fresh Nostalgia

Everyone detests a bore droning on about "the good old days." The implication is always that the past is better than the present and the way things were done before is better than the way things are done today. Nevertheless, we have all been touched by nostalgia, the longing for or appreciation of the past. Nostalgia can be pleasurable and fun. It takes an artist, however, to give nostalgia a fresh twist.

Fiction in a Flash!

Recently we wrote about the resurgence of "doorstoppers," or long novels. The flip side is flash fiction, also called blasters, flashers, micro-fiction, micro stories, mini-fiction, fast fiction, quick fiction, minute fiction, skinny fiction, sudden fiction, furious fiction, postcard fiction, immediate fiction, smokelong fiction and short-short stories. You'll find it on the Internet, in printed collections and even on Twitter. In the hands of skilled writers it has evolved into an art form, and it's something you should know about if don't already because it's a fun, easy way to relax, whether you read it or write it.

A Delicate Connection

In her new memoir, Songs of Three Islands, a Story of Mental Illness in an Iconic American Family (Atlas & Company), Millicent Monks writes about mental illness in her family—the Carnegies. I met Millicent Monks through her husband, shareholder rights activist and corporate governance advisor Robert A. G. Monks. I acquired and then published Power and Accountability, his first book, which he coauthored with Nell Minow. A friend of mine saw coverage about the book and sent me the link to the New York Times article. I bought a copy of the memoir.

This Really Happened . . . Sort Of

There's an unspoken bond of trust between reader and author. If it's in print, we think, it must be true. But that's not necessarily so. Literary hoaxes have been foisted on us since the 5th century BCE, when Dionysius the Renegade wrote a play called Parthenopaeus and passed it off as the work of Sophocles. Dionysius's motive was to make a fool of his rival, Heraclides. These days, the motive behind literary hoaxes is usually money.

Even Fat Girls Get the Blues

Not only are people getting fatter and fatter; they are also, according to a recent U.S. government telephone survey, becoming more honest about what they weigh. Theaters are putting in bigger seats for bigger bottoms, and other accommodations will no doubt follow suit. Does all this mean overweight has become commonplace?

Of Angst and Disaffection

I once knew man who said he never read novels written by women, because he didn't like the way women saw the world. I'll read anybody's novel if it sounds interesting. I've never thought women as a rule saw the world particularly differently from men, but I have always been intrigued with how the world is seen by novelists who are very young. Do young novelists see the world in a certain way? I think they do.

The Resurgence of the Doorstopper

The "doorstopper" is back. The doorstopper is the epic historical saga, with a sweeping storyline over many years. Doorstoppers include James A. Michener's Hawaii and The Source, and Jean M. Auel's Earth's Children Series, starting with Clan of the Cave Bear. Kindle ebook editions of many doorstoppers outstrip their printed editions. And spurred by Ken Follett's mega success, publisher are re-releasing new editions of old doorstoppers. With TV/cable/movie tie ins--and and sometimes video or board game versions, too--doorstoppers bring in large audiences.  

How Sexy Do You Like Your Fiction?

A trend we're seeing is that women's fiction is now taking sexiness to the extremes in both directions—ranging from super chaste to scorching hot. The good news is you have a lot of choices so you can dial up or dial down the sexiness in your fiction. Here we describe the new trend and give you ratings and recommendations.