Stephen King Touched My Girdle

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www.shadowteams.com
by Beth Wareham

Spanx, actually. I was standing beside a conference table, hand up my dress, (my own hand) pulling an anaconda-like roll of latex down my leg when he struck. With a touch more appropriate for inside the covers of 50 Shades of Grey, Stephen King pinched the roll of latex and gave it a yank, taming — and at once setting free – both it and me.

I heard a voice say, “We’re late for the meeting” and with a soft kiss on my neck, I heard him moving away. I whirled around, just as a pair of holey blue Converse, low-tops, turned the corner. I yelled “Congrats on the Red Sox!” and he yelled back, “I’m farting through silk!” A publicist ran by, smiling like a baby with gas. I was left alone to deal with the current of electricity running up and down my spine. I knew I would never see him again.

I’ve been told about Stephen King getting pulled over for speeding with just his giant turtle in the car. Another editor remembers looking down at the treadmill next to her in the hotel at a book convention and wondering who set it on .5 to work out. The Converse, low-tops, were her first clue.

When Salman Rushdie’s fatwah went down, make no mistake, it was Stephen King and Stephen King’s call to booksellers that kept Rushdie’s books on sale. To paraphrase, Mr. King said, you don’t sell him, you don’t sell me.

When I read Stephen King, it’s like being locked in a trunk with my brothers, shit-weasels both. When I read Stephen King, I am deliriously happy. I remember the stupid jokes and haven’t boarded a plane since Dream Catcher without saying “sit up front, first to the crash site.” As a teenager, I was reading Salem’s Lot when a boy knocked on my window, causing me to urinate in fright. My Mom called me “Window Pee” for a week.

Yeah, these books are scary. But they are are also hilarious and few humans have a greater mind when it comes to American pop culture than Mr. King. You are so immersed in your country’s own inside jokes, it is also feels like hanging out with your siblings. It’s all familiar.

I cannot presume to review the body of Mr. King’s work – my 401K won’t hold that long. However, here are some of my favorites.

CLICK ON COVER TO BUY. PROCEEDS GO TO E-BOOK ARFICA

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Revival
Herion addiction, men of fallen faith, and rock and roll collide in a deal even the devil wouldn’t make. The publisher says it’s the scariest ending he has ever written. You be the judge.

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Stephen King Stickers – Only 6.99, I put mine on my lunch box.

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Bag of Bones is a ghost story, a story about grief, on a lake in New England.

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On Writing is simply one of the most entertaining, interesting, useful, no bullshit book on writing I’ve ever read. The reading list in back makes it worth the purchase.

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Salem’s Lot, the generator of dreaded “window pee”, was cool long before everything had a vampire in it. This is a scary book.

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The Stand introduces recurring characters in a post-apocalyptic world dedicated to his wife Tabitha. My husband would attach me to “post-apocalyptic” too.

51D0welpt7L._SL75_Mr. Mercedes is Stephen King’s foray into self-described “hard boiled detective fiction.” He’s so good he can shift from horror to ghost to detective to cute stickers for my lunchbox.

 

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For baby boomers, 11/22/63 resonates as the day a certain idea of America died. John F. Kennedy was killed in Dallas and no one has ever stopped guessing about his end, including Mr. King.

 

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In Doctor Sleep, little Danny Torrance from The Shining grows up and works in a hospice. This is classic scary King.

 

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Raising 21st Century Writers

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When you first see your baby across the room, you’ll know instantly if he or she is a writer. This one is. Pick the right writer name for your baby: Thomas King, Bob Dickens, Jill Grisham, Margaret anything. Lofty, yet accessible. Short for tweets, yet holds some gravitas.

Next, your writer baby will need some deprivation, some hardship that makes good story. This kid won’t soon forget his empty shoe box of pacifiers, a recurring thread in his fiction 25 years later. img_0021-1

Let your baby begin programming their own publishing platform IMMEDIATELY upon birth. They will be born just knowing how to do this. Provide tools and support. Unknown-2

Get your baby used to the tools of a writer. Public readings,images-4 filming book trailers, the works.
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Your baby should be encouraged to stay up writing all night until the book is done. images-6 They can grow and play on their own time.

A baby writer also needs a writer “look.” This one is taken.images-7

Now your baby has a book and is ready to cut a deal. Find the right agent for your baby, one that listens and believes in the art form. Make sure the chemistry is right.
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Meet with as many publishing companies as you, your baby and your baby’s agent can stand. People will look at you blankly. But a baby is marketing gold and don’t you let anyone tell you otherwise. Let them know you’ve been building your baby’s twitter followers since birth. Cite Facebook numbers. Say Reddit and StumbledUpon just to keep your hand in the big game. Unknown-3

The publishing companies turn your baby down.

Then, just when all believe that your baby’s career as a great writer is lost, here comes AT, AMAZON TERRESTRIAL, who, for a few Skittles, will publish your child’s book. images-9

Money is made. It’s dumped directly into the family account. The 21st Century famous writer buys his family a car and they drive off, a happy writing 21st Century family. images-10

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Chat #BookVersusMovie with Us on 10/3!

This week, Shadow Teams is putting #ebookchat on hold temporarily to have a lively discussion with @BookVersusMovie, a team of two women, both named Margo, who have a great podcast that will help you give the real smackdown to adaptations. Which is better? Now you’ll know! Come chat with The Margos about their favorite books, movies, and digital tools. Friday, October 3, 12-1 Eastern time, with the hashtag #bookversusmovie. We can’t wait to see your smiling avatar there!

Here’s how to participate:

– Make sure you have a Twitter account. Don’t know how to set one up? Here are some simple instructions.
— If you don’t plan on using an application like Hootsuite or Tweetdeck, remember that you can put the hashtag #ebookchat into Twitter to search for messages. Even easier: Use TweetChat.com (there are other sites like this), as it allows you to open a window with just the #ebookchat tweets, nothing else.
— Share tweets, with or without your own comments, but try to include the hashtag so everyone knows where to turn for more information, or to join.
— Almost anything goes in a Twitter chat, but one thing that doesn’t: Self promotion. Please don’t make this about you; it’s about a community.
— Speaking of community, let your own Twitter followers know that you’ll be participating in a chat. People then know to skim your hashtagged tweets, or can “mute” you for a while. There’s a Chrome extension that can do this, too.

#Ebookchat will return on October 10th at noon. Are you interested in being a guest for #ebookchat? Email beth@shadowteams.com.

ANTI-INDENTITES: Traditional Publishing and UFO Believers

You hear it all the time: I like a book. I like to feel that paper in my hands. Great, I always say. There is no other answer. It’s what they say they like and I believe them.

Then there are people in and around the trade publishing world that say weird things about content all the time: like there isn’t a bear eating their drapes. They say things like “I’m writing the flap copy in my head now!” or “I’m writing a book about Silicon Valley but they don’t want to talk to me until I say I have a deal with a traditional publisher.” Whaaaa……? Did you just climb out of the crater in Roswell? Some of the coolest publishing on Earth comes out of Silicon Valley, the great disrupters of the Universe.

Within 2 -3 years, most reading will be done on a cellphone. It’s coming, it’s happening, it’s the next logical step. Everything will be on the cell or the home computer. People won’t carry an iPad and iPhone or Galaxy and Kindle or whatever combo they cary. They will want just one thing to carry and just one thing that is possible to lose. And if you don’t believe me, WHY DO YOU THINK AMAZON PUT OUT A CELLPHONE?

I’d like to read on the Glass, but I can’t afford it. A wristwatch might be fun if someone gave me special wizard glasses with long thick lenses. Hmmmmm… business idea? I just don’t know. But all of it is blowing wide open and to think otherwise is to see UFOs in the skies over Cleveland.

ANTI-INDENTIES: “Traditional” Publishing Lovers Are True UFO Believers

You hear it all the time: I like a book. I like to feel that paper in my hands. Great, I always say. There is no other answer. It’s what they say they like and I believe them.

Then there are people in and around the trade publishing world that say weird things about content all the time: like there isn’t a bear eating their drapes. They say things like “I’m writing the flap copy in my head now!” or “I’m writing a book about Silicon Valley but they don’t want to talk to me until I say I have a deal with a traditional publisher.” Whaaaa……? Did you just climb out of the crater in Roswell? Some of the coolest publishing on Earth comes out of Silicon Valley, the great disrupters of the Universe.

Within 2 -3 years, most reading will be done on a cellphone. It’s coming, it’s happening, it’s the next logical step. Everything will be on the cell or the home computer. People won’t carry an iPad and iPhone or Galaxy and Kindle or whatever combo they cary. They will want just one thing to carry and just one thing that is possible to lose. And if you don’t believe me, WHY DO YOU THINK AMAZON PUT OUT A CELLPHONE?

I’d like to read on the Glass, but I can’t afford it. A wristwatch might be fun if someone gave me special wizard glasses with long thick lenses. Hmmmmm… business idea? I just don’t know. But all of it is blowing wide open and to think otherwise is to see UFOs in the skies over Cleveland.

ANTI-INDENTITES: Are traditional publishing lovers the true UFO believers?

You hear it all the time: I like a book. I like to feel that paper in my hands. Great, I always say. There is no other answer. It’s what they say they like and I believe them.

Then there are people in and around the trade publishing world that say weird things about content all the time: like there isn’t a bear eating their drapes. They say things like “I’m writing the flap copy in my head now!” or “I’m writing a book about Silicon Valley but they don’t want to talk to me until I say I have a deal with a traditional publisher.” Whaaaa……? Did you just climb out of the crater in Roswell? Some of the coolest publishing on Earth comes out of Silicon Valley, the great disrupters of the Universe.

Within 2 -3 years, most reading will be done on a cellphone. It’s coming, it’s happening, it’s the next logical step. Everything will be on the cell or the home computer. People won’t carry an iPad and iPhone or Galaxy and Kindle or whatever combo they cary. They will want just one thing to carry and just one thing that is possible to lose. And if you don’t believe me, WHY DO YOU THINK AMAZON PUT OUT A CELLPHONE?

I’d like to read on the Glass, but I can’t afford it. A wristwatch might be fun if someone gave me special wizard glasses with long thick lenses. Hmmmmm… business idea? I just don’t know. But all of it is blowing wide open and to think otherwise is to see UFOs in the skies over Cleveland.

For the love of God, it’s ALL DIGITAL PUBLISHING

Hachette and Amazon made great theater. Mergers and oustings are our present form of castle sieges and beheadings (the Game of Thrones kind, not the Isis kind) and in all this noise there is something called a story.

As Amazon began leaving the pack behind, Kindle was the word, product, catalyst, stick with fire on the end, that drove all things “book” forward. The established order needed words for the scruffy wanna-bes climbing their walls, hoping for an advance and a place at the banquet table.

So up bubbled that word, SELF-PUBLISHED. That word has connotations of type-os, run-on sentences, dangling modifiers and strange page breaks. Well, have you checked out a “real” book lately? A colleague reported a typo on the DEDICATION page recently. I don’t know about you, but I’d get my husband’s name right in a book. Especially if it was the 5th page. This writer didn’t. I suspect it wasn’t her fault.

Now, here come children’s books on amazon’s new digital platform. SELF-PUBLISHED was a term of the range wars, the battle for dollars within an industry losing its market share. It was derogatory. It suggested these books did not have the “expertise” of other books. Those children’s book authors are gonna explode with creativity in this new world. They are the most resourceful, driven people I’ve ever met.

And, with the beginnings of publishing services companies appearing – like mine – we edit, copyedit, design, cover design, and market -a “self-published” book is a complete misnomer. It’s a DIGITAL story. It’s highly produced. And as more and more writers hire companies to prepare their ebooks with rigorous editing, position and cover design, what precisely IS the difference?

I say there is none. I say we need a new word.

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EVERYBODY POOPS: The Day Amazon Announced Kindle’s Kids’ Books Creator

Today, Amazon announced that the self-publishing world would now include children’s books. Their newest platform, Kindle Kids’ Books Creator, could now take the particular needs of an ebook for kids – illustration, text placement, etc. – and make it work in the electronic world. So what, you think. It is a ZZZZzzzzz of a story, except if you make your living writing and publishing. In that case, that announcement was one big KA-BOOM.

Publishing companies made huge profits from their children’s departments in recent years. The lockdown on that market was still intact. Apps allowed fantastic children’s stories to come to life – look at Loud Crow’s work with Sandra Boynton – but made no real incursion into trade publishing’s territory. As a matter of fact, at least in Sandy’s case, the app (it IS glorious) seemed to drive sales of the same book. Still can’t figure that out.

Now with the KKBC, who knows what will happen? Sure, great stories rise but the competition just got a whole lot rougher. Amazon just gave all those aspiring children’s book authors and illustrators out there the gift of fire. I think I see it rising above Washington Heights already.

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THIS IS WHY: Wild Mad Love for Ebooks

I believe ebooks to be the coolest thing I’ve touched since Bono in the 90s. I wanted in on an idea that allowed anyone anywhere to be faster smarter higher than they could ever dream of being. Books in the hand. Ebooks. Millions, if you want and they fit. 

There is a time as an older girl, adolescent and young woman where I ate books. Nobody was talking about much of anything – though there was some drunken polka dancing I remember feeling great shame over – I became aware of this huge, now dead, march of voices behind me. They talked to me and I ate their stories whole, trying to shape in my own mind a life I wanted to live. West with the Night by Beryl Markum is the story that haunts; I volunteer on a project in Zambia. 

This is the child I see now. This is what I have stayed to see: I am so excited about ebooks.

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