Why not toss some of your holiday gift budget toward a visual journalist who might be selling just what you need for that special someone on your list?
Today’s topic: Novels…
I’ve written quite a bit over the years about my friend Craig Lancaster — most recently, when he left his job as copy desk chief of the Billings (Montana) Gazette, to concentrate full-time on his writing.
1. Craig’s first novel — 600 Hours of Edward, released in October 2009 — completely knocked my socks off.
The official publisher’s blurb:
Edward Stanton is a man hurtling headlong toward middle age. His mental illness has led him to be sequestered in his small house in a small city, where he keeps his distance from the outside world and the parents from whom he is largely estranged. For the most part, Edward sticks to things he can count on…and things he can count. But over the course of 25 days (or 600 hours, as Edward prefers to look at it) several events puncture the walls Edward has built around himself. In the end, he faces a choice: Open his life to experience and deal with the joys and heartaches that come with it, or remain behind his closed door, a solitary soul.
Amazon appears to be out of print copies, so pick one up from Barnes & Noble.
2. Craig’s second novel, The Summer Son, came out in January 2011.
Here’s the official pitch:
Approaching forty, Mitch doesn’t want to become a middle-aged statistic. When his estranged father, Jim, suddenly calls, Mitch’s wife urges him to respond. Ready for a change, Mitch heads to Montana and a showdown that will alter the course of his life. Amid a backdrop of rugged peaks and valleys, the story unfolds: a violent episode that triggered the rift, thirty years of miscommunication, and the possibility of misplaced blame.
3. Craig’s third book — Quantum Physics and the Art of Departure, published in December 2011 — won a gold medal in the 2012 Independent Publishers Book Awards.
The official blurb:
Novelist Craig Lancaster returns to the terrain of his Montana home and takes on the notion of separation in its many forms – from comfort zones, from ideas, from people, from security, from fears. These ten stories delve into small towns and big cities, into love and despair, into what drives us and what scares us, peeling back the layers of our humanity with every page.
4. Craig returned to Edward for his fourth book, Edward Adrift, which came out in April.
It’s been a year of upheaval for Edward Stanton, a forty-two-year-old with Asperger’s syndrome. He’s lost his job. His trusted therapist has retired. His best friends have moved away. And even his nightly ritual of watching Dragnet reruns has been disrupted. All of this change has left Edward, who lives his life on a rigid schedule, completely flummoxed.
But when his friend Donna calls with news that her son Kyle is in trouble, Edward leaves his comfort zone in Billings, Montana, and drives to visit them in Boise, where he discovers Kyle has morphed from a sweet kid into a sullen adolescent. Inspired by dreams of the past, Edward goes against his routine and decides to drive to a small town in Colorado where he once spent a summer with his father—bringing Kyle along as his road trip companion.
By my count, you should be able to buy all four of Craig’s books for a total of just $38.91, not including tax and shipping. If you have a very special reader on your Christmas list: Do just that. You won’t be sorry.
A product of the University of Texas at Arlington, Craig worked various copy-desk and design positions at the Dayton Daily News, the Anchorage Daily News, the Olympian of Olympia, Wash., and the San Antonio Express-News before joining the San Jose Mercury News in 2000 as sports editor. He moved to Billings in 2006.
- Craig submitted to a nice Q&A with us when his second book published…
- …and again when his third published.
- Find Craig’s web site here.
- Find his blog here.
- Find his Amazon.com author page here.
- Find his YouTube channel here.
- Find his GoodReads page here.
- Find his publishing company here,
- Find his Facebook fan page here
- Find his Twitter feed here.
Cary, N.C., based free lance reporter, photographer and web designer Mike Emmett writes horror, fantasy and science fiction. He’s put out four books so far…
1. His first, Demon, published in Sept. 2011, is about a small-town journalist whose horror novelist hero has a deep, deep secret.
Demon is also a tribute to the works of Stephen King, who was kind enough to give me permission to use his characters’ names and fictional places in the books that he had written about over the past 40 years. If you’re a Stephen King fan, you will love Demon.
2. Eva: A Ghost Story, published in March 2012, is about a couple who quit the rat race, take their life savings and buy a weekly newspaper in a small Connecticut town.
The problem: Something strange is going on at the paper. Something sinister. And it’s not poor copy editing.
3. Damn It to Hell, published in September 2012, is a collection of 21 short stories Mike wrote between 1980 and 2011.
4. A Mystical Time, was published this past March.
An unexpected royalty check allows hack novelist Sean O’Shea to travel the world.
While in Ireland, on a day trip to Kilkenny he meets a fellow Yank at the infamous haunted pub Kyteler’s who tells him a story about Leprechauns and how real they are. When the Leprechaun tale turns to reality, Shaun’s world is changed forever…
A 1976 graduate of Marshall University in Huntington, W.Va., Mike worked as a reporter and copy editor for a number of papers including the Gazette of Chillicothe, Ohio, the Citizen-Journal of Columbus, Ohio, Florida Today of Melbourne, the Times-Union of Jacksonville, Fla. and the Rocky Mountain News of Denver, before joining the News & Observer of Raleigh, N.C., in 1992.
He was one of the early pioneers of Raleigh’s web site, Nando.net, in the early 1990s before working with web operations at TotalSports, Nascar.com, the Greenville (S.C.) News and Media General.
Find his web site here.
Longtime reporter, editor and writing coach Bruce DeSilva writes crime novels about “Liam Mulligan, a reporter at a dying Providence newspaper.”
Cool cover blurb No. 1 from Publisher’s Weekly:
Smart-ass Mulligan is a masterpiece of irreverence and street savvy.
Cool cover blurb No. 2 from Joseph Finder, New York Times best-selling author of Vanished and Buried Secrets:
Bruce DeSilva accomplishes something remarkable: He takes everything we love about the classic hardboiled detective novel and turns it into a story that’s fresh, contemporary, yet timeless.
A 1968 graduate of the University of Massachusetts, Bruce spent 14 years as a reporter for the Providence (R.I.) Journal, and four more at the Hartford Courant.
In 1989, he became a writing coach and executive director of the National Writers Workshop in Hartford. He joined the Associated Press in 1996 as an editor and writing coach. He left the AP in 1999.
He also teaches as an adjunct professor at the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism in New York City and works as a journalism consultant.
Photojournalist Kent Sievers of the World-Herald of Omaha, Neb., published his first novel last year.
Here’s the publisher’s description:
It is the dead of winter. In Omaha, Nebraska’s north downtown, homeless men are disappearing. Alex Capstain sees it when no one else does because he lives among them. For nearly two years he has called a doghouse home. After losing everything to a failing economy, he’s working his way off the street one recycled can and odd job at a time.
Days away from taking the first big steps toward his dream of indoor living and a reunion with a daughter lost in divorce many years before, he’s beaten, robbed and left for dead. The driver of a church van comes to his rescue. Alex has no way of knowing the ride will put him on a collision course with a monster and the decades-old web of murder, corruption and greed that set him loose on the world.
Kent spent 10 years as a freelance shooter before joining the World-Herald in 2001. He also works at the local Apple store, just for the heck of it.
And for those of you who are hoping to touch the heart of someone very special this holiday season, you might try the direct approach: Words of love.
Los Angeles-based writer Kevin Hollingsworth has published two small collections of romantic prose poetry that might put a smile on your lips. Or, better yet, someone else’s lips.
On the left is Kevin’s 50-page 2009 collection, Wonders. Find it at Amazon for $14.99.
On the right is Romance With a Touch of Love, Kevin’s 2011 work. It’s 30 pages. Amazon lists it at $9.95.
Kevin is a 1992 graduate of UCLA. Find his web site here.
You’re reading the seventh of a series of blog posts offering up ideas for Holiday gift giving, but with items created by your visual journalism colleagues around the world.
The schedule, so far:
DEC. 7: Comics and cartoons
WEDNESDAY: Nonfiction books
Also, check out the gifts for geeky collector-types that I wrote for the O.C. Register‘s Holiday Gift Guide in the Thanksgiving day paper.
Do you know of anything — or anybody — I should add to my list? Give me a ho-ho-holler.