Once in a Great City

Click below for a lovely little interview with David Maraniss about his book, Once in a Great City. It touches on several of the themes (and even a couple events) found in my novel, The Bone Garden, which will be going out on submission later this month. Though it’s not my hometown, I love Detroit. It’s my parents’ hometown, my extended family’s hometown, a city that looms large in my imagination and to which I feel an intrinsic connection. I can’t wait to read Maraniss’s book.

NPR

http://www.npr.org/player/embed/463010089/463010090

The Gut Check Guide to Publishing: What Works, What Doesn’t, and Why to Do It Your Way

I always enjoy sharing publishing news, whether it’s mine or someone else’s, and especially when it’s my husband’s. You may have read in this space about Zachary‘s traditionally published books, Playing Saint and The Last Con. You may have read here about his Indie projects through his micro press, Gut Check Press. You might even be a regular listener to the always amusing Gut Check Podcast. (If you’re not, you probably should be.)

Over the years, Zach and his collaborator Ted Kluck have published between them, oh, I’d say thirty books or so. Which is why if you have any publishing aspirations, you’re going to want to get a hold of their latest Gut Check project:

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The Gut Check Guide to Publishing answers most of the questions young or aspiring writers have about which way of publishing is best for them, what to be wary of, how to talk with (and how not to talk to) publishing types, and more. Here’s the marketing copy (written by yours truly) to tell you more…

 

It’s easy to publish a book these days.
It’s also easy to do it really, really badly.

Sure you can go for broke and just learn from your mistakes. But wouldn’t you rather learn from someone else’s? Ted Kluck and Zach Bartels have seen it all. They’ve published with Traditional publishers large and small, started their own Indie micro press, had great success, and watched projects crash and burn. With the wisdom of grizzled old sages and the snark of jaded Gen Xers, they cut through the BS and show you how to

• navigate the world of publishing gatekeepers

• choose when to go Traditional or Indie

• work well with editors, cover designers, and PR wonks

• position your books for success

• learn from failure and rejection

• and much more

Witty, honest, and practical, The Gut Check Guide to Publishing isn’t your ticket to instant fame and fortune. It’s the reality check you have to have before you decide to take the trip at all. It’s what’s going to keep you from looking like an amateur out there. It’s your white knight.

Because if you think writing is hard work, you ain’t seen nothing yet.

 

So basically you get real, practical, been-there-done-that information that can help you make smart decisions about your publishing future, and at the same time it’s actually fun to read. Even the (very helpful) glossary is funny. But personally, my favorite part is the back cover itself:

PubGuideBack

Yep, that’s what writing and trying to make a living out of it is really like. It’s not a vintage typewriter on a pristine desk overlooking an inspiring view. It’s a laptop on its last legs, it’s pizza crust, it’s messy — and sometimes, it’s a cinder block wall.

But it’s still worth it.

Celebrating Five Years of Gut Check Press

Recently my husband, author Zachary Bartels, and our good friend (and Zach’s indie publishing business partner) Ted Kluck realized that their micro press, Gut Check Press, was turning five years old. This seemed to call for some intensive reminiscing and, in true Zach fashion, a cheeky video retrospective created in PowerPoint.

The past five years of developing books and white papers (and the new podcast!), eating deep dish pizza and Chinese food, and smoking untold numbers of cigars have been some of the most fun and rewarding years of our lives as Ted, Kristin, Zach, and I grow closer as friends and share nights of the kind of laughter that makes your face hurt and your eyes tear up. And sometimes there’s even wheezing.

Here’s to the next five years of publishing milestones. ;)

It’s a Banner Day in the Bartels House

My husband‘s first traditionally published novel releases today! You probably already read some of the great reviews that have been coming in. We couldn’t be happier. If you like suspense/thrillers, like edge-of-your seat action, like getting blindsided by plot twists, and like your humor on the sarcastic side, this is your read!

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Yesterday, Parker Saint’s only concern was his swiftly rising star power.

Today, he’s just trying to stay alive.

Parker Saint is living the dream. A cushy job at a thriving megachurch has him on the verge of becoming a bestselling author and broadcast celebrity—until life takes an abrupt turn that lands him on the wrong side of the law. To avoid a public scandal, he agrees to consult with the police on a series of brutal murders linked by strange religious symbols scrawled on each victim.

Parker tries to play the expert, but he is clearly in over his head. Drawn ever deeper into a web of intrigue involving a demanding detective, a trio of secretive Vatican operatives, and a centuries-old conspiracy to conceal a mysterious relic, he realizes for the first time that the battle between good and evil is all too real—and that the killer is coming back . . . this time for him.

Sometimes your husband is on the cover of a magazine…

And that’s freaking AWESOME.

ZachFamilyFiction

 

Zach‘s debut novel, Playing Saint, releases in just six days. Here’s what people are saying about it…

“★★★★½! Bartels’ debut novel is a page-turner from the very beginning. His excellent use of foreshadowing and his glimpses into the past create a story that readers can’t put down. In the vein of Ted Dekker and Frank Peretti, Bartels weaves the supernatural into the natural in ways that are gripping and realistic, adding a shocking surprise that will leave readers stunned.”—RT Book Reviews

“Michigan minister Bartels (42 Months Dry) holds readers’ interest in this intrigue-filled thriller, despite its far-fetched premise. Saint’s character is particularly well developed. This book will be enjoyed by those who love a mystery combined with supernatural elements.”—Library Journal

Playing Saint is everything I love in a novel: great characters, edge-of-the-seat plot, and great twists and turns. I’m ready for his next book already. Highly recommended!”—Colleen Coble, USA Today bestselling author

“A thought-provoking exploration into the power of faith and the reality of evil. Filled with memorable characters and tight writing, Playing Saint is an impressive debut from an author to watch.”—Steven James, bestselling author

“Zachary Bartels is not afraid of head-on collisions with complicated issues. I loved Playing Saint for the recognizable reality, and the humor, and the way I felt when I finished the book—entertained, satisfied, and looking for more.”—Tracy Groot, award-winning author

Playing Saint is a reflection of its author—risky, fast-paced, sarcastic, clever, and ultimately hopeful. We need more novels, and more authors, like this!”—Ted Kluck, award-winning author

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I am so proud of him and happy for him! And you should go pre-order it right now. No, seriously. Do it.