May 20th, 2009

Mash-up! Is it a book or a video or ??

USA Today reports: “Anthony Zuiker, creator of the hit TV series CSI and its two spinoffs, says his new multimedia "digi-novel" will launch a "revolution in publishing for the YouTube generation."

“Level 26: Dark Origins, to be published by Dutton Sept. 8, is the first in a series in which each book will be supplemented with 20 videos, or "cyber-bridges," featuring actors playing characters from the novel. .. After every 20 pages or so, readers will be able to go online to watch a three-minute video. The videos are designed, Zuiker says, "to embellish the novel and drive readers to the next book."

Will this work? Who knows? It was enough for a “seven-figure, three-book deal.”
Read more here.

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Nobody deserves this more than Charlaine Harris

I met Charlaine Harris in 2000, when she was better known for two mystery series that attracted a small group of fans - but no wide-spread success.

Last week, I saw the NY Times list for May 24. And who was sitting at number one? Charlaine. As the New York Times reports, "It was a first for Ms. Harris, who has published 26 novels in nearly three decades and sold the original book in the Sookie series, “Dead Until Dark,” for just $5,000 nine years ago."

She told me that she went in a different direction because she felt her career was hanging in the midlist doldrums. To give her creative brain an electric shock, she decided to write something quite different so she wouldn't have to follow the same rules. She threw in everything she'd ever wanted to write: vampires, werewolves, fight scenes, very quick action, and some explicit sex. Though the book (DEAD UNTIL DARK) was initially hard to the sell to publishers, it has paid off for her - in spades.

There's a lesson in here someplace for all us writers. Write what you love.

Read more about Charlaine's success here.

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Melissa Walker's Lovestruck Summer

Next up on the Girlfriend's Cyber Circuit: Lovestuck Summer
Lovestruck Summer is the story of Quinn, an indie rock girl who comes out to Austin, Texas for a music internship. She also plans to spend long, lazy days in the sun at outdoor concerts--and to meet a hot musician or two. Instead, she’s stuck rooming with her sorority brainwashed cousin, who now willingly goes by the name “Party Penny.” Their personalities clash, big time.

But Sebastian, a gorgeous DJ, definitely makes up for it. Sebastian has it all: looks, charm, and great taste in music. So why can’t Quinn keep her mind off Penny’s friend cute, All-American Russ and his Texas twang?

Sebastian is the kind of guy Quinn wants, but is Russ the guy Quinn needs? One thing’s certain: Quinn’s in for a summer she’ll never forget!

About the author
A former editor at ELLEgirl and Seventeen magazines, Melissa Walker knows her indie rock. She hails from Chapel Hill, North Carolina, and currently resides in Brooklyn, New York. She loves talking about books, fashion, magazines and all kinds of pop culture. Visit her at or on

I asked, Melissa answered
A. What's the scariest thing that's ever happened to you? Bonus question: have you used it, in any way,
in a book?
M. Honestly, my dad dying in 2004. It was the scariest thing I could ever have imagined, and somehow I got through it. I haven't used it in a book yet, but I probably will one day if I can put myself back in that intense grief again to write about it.

A. Mystery writers often give their characters an unreasoning fear - and then make them face it. Do you have any phobias, like fear of spiders or enclosed spaces?
M. Lately I've started to develop a fear of flying, but I don't want to indulge it at all, so I mostly try to ignore it!

A. Do you have a favorite mystery book, author, or movie?
M. Does CLUE count? Because I love, love, love that movie. And its 3 endings. Genius.

A. At its heart, every story is a mystery. It asks why someone acts the way they did - or maybe what will happen next. What question does your book ask?
M. Lovestruck Summer asks: Should I judge a book by its cover? Meaning, can the main character, Quinn, get beyond her preconceived notions of "what people are like" and open up to individuals?

A. Is there a mystery in life that you are still trying to figure out?
M. Oh, there are a million! If there were no mysteries left, what would I think about all day?

PS-For a chance to win Lovestruck Summer, plus 3 other great beach reads, your readers can go to

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Damn! I want to see this movie

Part of The Road were filmed here. I even thought I was a shoo-in for a part, as you can read here.

But it's gotten pushed back a year, and usually that's a sign that something is wrong. Esquire says, "Everyone involved — director, producer, screenwriter — says there was no secret agenda to that, no worry to be inferred, no doubt on anyone's part about the final product. The movie, which required more than two hundred visual effects to decolorize a landscape stripped of life, simply wasn't ready." Read more from Esquire, which calls it "the most important movie of the years" here.

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