Open Sesame with author Jon Gibbs and other weekend nonsense

Because most of us in the Parisian Phoenix birdhouse work day jobs, weekends tend to explode with creativity and commitments. I started this morning answering email, tracking income and expenses and doing the sort of nonsense that keeps the business doing business.

In my personal life, my daughter and I have dedicated some time to spring cleaning. In the process, I came across my copy of Rachel Thompson’s Soul Harvest. Rachel has a way of approaching harsh reality with a weirdness that somehow sums up the situation beautifully. As this novel first hit the market almost eight years ago, and is her second book, the work itself has some punctuation and editorial errors that sometimes can jar a reader. But for a sophomore writing attempt, Rachel presents characters that while they appear drastically emblematic of a certain stereotype, they also provide a delightful break from the same-old. In Rachel’s work, the weirdos are the heroes and the people outside the norm have more potential than the status quo.

Rachel has an essay in our anthology, Not an Able-Bodied White Man with Money, has contributed art to Parisian Phoenix and is working on at least one nonfiction title to our publishing house.

“You have to grab your readers by the eyeballs and not let go.”

Author Jon Gibbs

My morning was spent with Parisian Phoenix author Larry Sceurman and our beloved photographer friend Joan Zachary at the monthly meeting of the Greater Lehigh Valley Writers Group where poet Darrell Parry will be offering insight to members in a program and workshop next month.

Meanwhile, Joan, Larry and I listened to author Jon Gibbs discuss how to craft an opening. His insight proved ridiculously valuable and fun.

One of the first things he did was to post the first lines of the six best selling books on Amazon last year, without telling us who the author was and the book, until after we read the lines. Of course, Colleen Hoover was #1. Stephen King was sadly down at #5. And #6? Diary of a Wimpy Kid.

Jon had some fantastic wisdom. “You have to grab your readers by the eyeballs and not let go.”

Jon offered some copies of his upcoming middle grade novel, Abraham Lincoln Stole My Homework, for review. I offered him his pick of the Parisian Phoenix books in trade. He picked my novel, Manipulations, the first in the Fashion and Fiends series.

Speaking of books to review, I received an email last night from the wordsmith behind Echo City Capers, Ralph Greco Jr. Ralph makes his living as a writer, and he asked me to review his latest book. So Jon will have to wait until I devour Ralph’s latest erotic fiction. As you can see, the books Ralph writes for his income and the material he pens for Echo City are two very different beasts.

photo by Joan Zachary

Joan and I had a business lunch at a local diner where we both had chicken salad. I try to touch base regularly with members of the team so we are all on the same page. The concept in our model of publishing is that author, editor, designer and artists all work together to create a book that everyone in the group can enjoy. So we all talk to each other in most phases of the project.

Joan then visited Eva Parry and her newly adopted ratty rats. Eva’s as-of-yet untitled tarot journal will be the next book on our production schedule once we finish the hardcover second edition of Sometimes I Get… and Larry’s second book, his short story collection, Coffee in the Morning.

Published by Angel Ackerman

Writer, Editor, Traveler, Fashionista, Francophile, Student and Mother Publisher at Parisian Phoenix ( Author of the Fashion and Fiends series

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