Monday, April 14, 2008


Hot Scots Castles and Kilts_Tammy SwoishHot Scots, Castles, and Kilts by Tammy Swoish

Hot Scots, Castles, and Kilts is the first novel I have published. I began writing shortly after I graduated from college. I'd always loved writing and figured while I was waiting for an English teaching job to open, I'd make some quick money and write a novel. I had an English degree. I'd studied the best. How hard could it be? Approximately ten years later, a full-time job which pays the bills, and three manuscripts stored in the attic, I have my answer. Writing is hard work.

It took me writing in two genres (adventure and romance) before I found my voice in young adult fiction. Voice . . . now that's an illusive foe to conquer. Hot Scots began during my time in Seton Hill's Writing Popular Fiction program. When I finished the program, the story, with the help of an editor, continued to improve and change into the novel it is today.

Here's the blurb from the back of the book:
Little does 16-year-old Sami Ames know what she’s in for when she and her mother head to Scotland to help their cousins save MacKensie Manor. Sami feels like she’s landed in a medieval time warp. There’s no electricity, no running water, or hair conditioner! But Sami joins in the challenges of daily peasant life in order to get MacKensie Manor up and running as a working farm tourist attraction. She can’t imagine people paying to make soap, dye wool, or milk cows. What’s worse, a ghost has invaded her room. Sami can’t figure out cousin Fiona, who obsesses over an ancient family feud with the McClintoggs, but Sami’s thrilled when she has a close encounter with a hot Scot. Too bad it’s Adan McClintogg!

Ten years ago, I had no clue how difficult the writing industry would be to crack. I love to write, but you won't hear me say things like I'd be happy just to write even if I'm never paid. I'm a realist and do not like the feeling of wasted time. If I had no hope of being paid for my writing, I'd have given up and stuck to private journal writing. Being published was the beginning goal. Now I set the bar higher and move forward. This is our purpose in life. Set your bar and move forward.

-Tammy Swoish
April 2008

See what Santa Fe New Mexican had to say about Hot Scots and watch for a second Sami Ames story in early winter 2008.

You can visit Tammy online at

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Monday, April 07, 2008

From The Authors Guild: Amazon Tightens Grip on Long Tail

I got this message over the weekend in my email from The Authors Guild:

Last week Amazon announced that it would be requiring that all books that it sells that are produced through on-demand means be printed by BookSurge, their in-house on-demand printer/publisher. Amazon pitched this as a customer service matter, a means for more speedily delivering print-on-demand books and allowing for the bundling of shipments with other items purchased at the same time from Amazon. It also put a bit of an environmental spin on the move -- claiming less transportation fuel is used (this is unlikely, but that's another story) when all items are shipped directly from Amazon.

We, and many others, think something else is afoot. Ingram Industries' Lightning Source is currently the dominant printer for on-demand titles, and they appear to be quite efficient at their task. They ship on-demand titles shortly after they are ordered through Amazon directly to the customer. It's a nice business for Ingram, since they get a percentage of the sales and a printing fee for every on-demand book they ship. Amazon would be foolish not to covet that business.

What's the rub? Once Amazon owns the supply chain, it has effective control of much of the "long tail" of publishing -- the enormous number of titles that sell in low volumes but which, in aggregate, make a lot of money for the aggregator. Since Amazon has a firm grip on the retailing of these books (it's uneconomic for physical book stores to stock many of these titles), owning the supply chain would allow it to easily increase its profit margins on these books: it need only insist on buying at a deeper discount -- or it can choose to charge more for its printing of the books -- to increase its profits. Most publishers could do little but grumble and comply.

We suspect this maneuver by Amazon is far more about profit margin than it is about customer service or fossil fuels. The potential big losers (other than Ingram) if Amazon does impose greater discounts on the industry, are authors -- since many are paid for on-demand sales based on the publisher's gross revenues -- and publishers.

We're reviewing the antitrust and other legal implications of Amazon's bold move. If you have any information on this matter that you think could be helpful to us, please call us at (212) 563-5904 and ask for the legal services department, or send an e-mail to

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Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Seton Hill Stoker Winners

Congratulations to Seton Hill Writers Mike Arnzen and Gary Braunbeck who won Bram Stoker Awards this past weekend in the following categories:

Michael A. Arnzen - Fiction Collection for Proverbs for Monsters (tied with Peter Straub)

Gary A. Braunbeck - Long Fiction for "Afterward There Will Be a Hallway"
-Anthology for Five Strokes to Midnight with co-editor Hank Schwaeble

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