old news from loblolly writer's house, the publishing house for romantic historical fiction and gothic suspense by a mississippi writer from the deepest of the deep south






Here's old news/events involving Charlsie Russell/Loblolly Writer's House, which the reader may find of interest


01/2014:

bookcover for Camellia CreekClick on cover to read an excerpt






Set in the Port Gibson area, Claiborne County, Mississippi, Camellia Creek revolves around the fate of a defeated people, subjugated by martial law, mendacity, and tyranny, as they attempt to restore order to their war-ravaged world, and Radical Republicans maneuver for absolute control of a federal government drunk on power and polluted by self-righteous bigotry. To the Republican-dominated Congress of the United States and its minions, the Constitution is the law of the land in name only and an inconvenient framework for governing a nation.

And last, I recently discovered a wonderful review by Justine Carlson of Wolf Dawson, which she published at her book review sight on Tumbler. Take a look.

04/2013-For you tried and true Southerners, whose ancestors wore gray or even if you just wish they did, you might enjoy stopping by and perusing my latest blog at Loblolly Log. Each day I live and each year I'm punished at tax time for my hardwork and meager success, I look back at Southern history and its fate and feel more and more compelled to weave my mysteries and suspense with its ever fading glory, its true tie to our Founding Fathers' nation, and the dubious legacy of Lincoln.

My anticipated 2013 release, Camellia Creek is set in the Port Gibson area, Claiborne County, during Presidential Reconstruction (fall, 1865), a backdrop where a defeated people, subjugated by martial law, mendacity, and tyranny, attempt to restore order to their war-ravaged world, while Radical Republicans maneuver for absolute control of a federal government drunk on power and polluted by self-righteous bigotry; and the Constitution is anything but the law of the land, much less the governmental framework of a great nation.

06/2012-More great news. River's Bend is a finalist in the mystery category of Dan Poynter's Global eBook Awards. Two hundred fifty-two category judges evaluated almost one thousand entries in one hundred and one categories. Winners will be announced 18 August at the second annual Global eBook Awards Ceremony in Santa Barbara, California. This is the second award presented to River's Bend in as many months, winning for romance in the 2012 Next Generation Book Awards' Indie competition.

06/2012-More great news. River's Bend is the co-winner of the 2012 Next Generation Book Awards' Indie for romance. Though I don't market my books as romance, they all contain a sensual romance and do well among judges of that genre. The co-winner for the contest is J. E. Hopkins' vampire romance, Lover's Betrayal from her Misfits of the Lore series.

I've now got all four of my books in the system and available for print on demand from Lightning Source. Book buyers please visit my Book Buyers page.

On the 9th of June I spoke at the Colbert Family Reunion where fifth generation descendents of William Colbert met in the Soule Chapel outside Macon in Noxubee County. The chapel is one of the earliest frame buildings in the county (1841), and its cemetery is the oldest maintained graveyard in Noxubee. That hallowed ground hosts some of the best and brightest of Mississippi's early leaders. A number of graves found on the gently undulating hill are decorated with Confederate battle flags, the final resting place of those who fought for the Lost Cause. Yes, sometimes the good guys really do lose wars. My topic was life in Noxubee County circa 1830. It was a wonderful opportunity, and I enjoyed the event immensely.

06/2012-Barnes and Noble (B&N) has picked up Riverís Bend in printóa perk for choosing Lightning Source (LSI) as its printer. LSI, a digital printer, is owned by the book distributor Ingram and therein lies my ďinĒ to the big chains. The book is also available in EPUB format for B&Nís Nookóthat distributor is Mike Coker over at Smashwords (see sidebar). All of my books are available for Nook at B&N, not so for the print copyóIíve still got to get the other three to LSI.

If you do visit Barnes and Nobleís virtual store, note the five-star review I received from a pleased fan of Riverís Bend. Finding both the print book and that five-star review at B&N this past week were happy surprises.

In addition to the five-star review at B&N, Iíve had some fan mail on Riverís Bend, so pop on over to its fan page if you’re so inclined and take a look at what readers are saying.

03/2012-Had a great surprise early last month when Google alerted me to an article written by Lynn Lofton and published in the “Book Biz” section of the Mississippi Business Journal heaping praise on both River’s Bend and its author (me!). The kind words came from Diane Shepherd, the owner of Main Street Books in Hattiesburg, who nominated my work for the promotion. I am humbled and very grateful for the honor.

I've also updated my Business and Marketing Plans. The evolution of print-on-demand printers (LSI) and epublishing has resulted in changes to how I run my business (for the good). This will be the subject of my 22 March post at my blog, Loblolly Log (see right sidebar for link).

In addition, I am pleased to announce that the digital version of River’s Bend has been accepted into Dan Poynter’s second annual Global eBook Awards. The contest does more than simply judge the books, prompting authors to promote their tomes through a series of online (and off) initiatives, such as “Google Alerts” (which I already do) and news releases. I do those too, with little avail, but I am preparing a news release, per the contest’s suggestion, announcing the book’s acceptance.

Epico Bayou has joined Riverís Bend at Amazon’s Kindle store. This event proved significantly less time-consuming than my month-long struggle with River’s Bend. Granted, things like Thanksgiving and Christmas did break that effort up. Nevertheless, this most recent conversion was not without glitches--one of which, thankfully, was on Amazon’s end. Of note, the templates for my mobi books, so painstakingly developed through trial and error, worked without a hitch. The problems were with the .html code in the book itself--and were my fault. Think typos here, and .html does not like “typos” in the code. My creation of Epico Bayou as a mobi book is the subject of my 17 March blog (see sidebar).

01/2012-The craft fair season ended for me on 10 December 2011 in Long Beach, Mississippi at the Long Beach High Schoolís Concert Choirís Christmas on the Avenue. It was a cold day--it always is that particular early Saturday in December, I can count on it. The night before the show--I knew the forecast--I told my husband I probably wouldnít schedule a show in December ever again. The next day, bundled up and wrapped in a thick blanket, I sold 19 books. Needless to say, Iíll freeze my butt off out there again next year. Nineteen books was a very nice way to close out the season.

In the few weeks since that day, Iíve managed to pull off a nice Christmas and delved heavily into two new publishing initiatives. One deals with marketing--thatís my new blog Loblolly Log (yeah, itís a play on words. The Log part is meant to conjure up visions of the felled limb of a pine tree as well as a running diary--in this case of author/publisher Charlsie Russell). Today, 30 December 2011, I will publish my fifth weekly blog. The subject of these initial posts is the publication of my newest book, Riverís Bend, in Kindle format at Amazon. (Mastering the Kindle format, by the way, is my second initiative).

The blog posts are full of lessons learned and ďhow-toísĒ regarding the creation of a Kindle book (mobipocket.azw), so if any of you out there are interested in creating your own Kindle book--prior to upload to Amazonís DTP--take a look at my posts. Yes, the DTP will create a Kindle-readable book, but if you have it ready to go before uploading it, you will have your book looking the way you want it on Kindle, vice the more generic rendition the DTP will spit out. Iím speaking theoretically, of course. I havenít done it yet. And you can still buy my books in Kindle format through Smashwords.

In addition to my blog, Iíve established accounts on Twitter, Linkedin, and Iíve created Facebook pages for Loblolly Writerís House and my books. Go and friend Charlsie Russell. Not only are the winters cold, the summers are hot. Iím determined to establish an online presence--hence the blog and social networking.

Iíve been worse about keeping up with Twitter, Linkedin, and Facebook than I have with keeping up my website, so you know how remiss I am.

Iíve been good keeping up with my blog so far, though.

12/2011-Just this week (the last in September 2011) I placed the first order for my fourth novel, River's Bend with the printer. It's a milestone I'd hoped to accomplish at the beginning of the summer. Indeed, I did not complete the order before the onset of fall.

Book poor and lacking a distributor, I've decided to print my books with Lightning Source (LSI), a print on demand (POD) printer having a working relationship with Ingram Distributor. No, this route will not get my books in every store across the country, but it will allow readers anywhere from sea to shining sea to walk into their favorite bookstore, be it an independent establishment or a Barnes and Noble or Books-a-Million, and request the book be ordered--and the store representatives will be able to do so. I am hoping, however, that I can persuade the big chains here in Mississippi to carry one or two copies of my book on their bookstore shelves. And yes, I do intend to submit my three previous novels to LSI, so they, too, will be available everywhere. I trust, the very supportive independent book stores/gift shops/ and coffee houses across the state will continue to carry a few copies of my books on their shelves. These shops you can find listed below.

Not only does the new methodology have the potential to expand my marketing outlets, but being POD, the new paradigm will help me manage my inventory (significantly reduced) by allowing me to print small print runs, albeit at a greater cost per book. I figure what I put in extra on each book, will be offset by the interest I'm not paying on the loan needed to purchase the minimum 1,000 copies required for an offset print run.

Lastly, I'm in the early throes of creating an audio book. River's Bend will be the first book in this new format, and I intend to let interested self-publishers know what it took to create my listening masterpiece--once I've accomplished that feat, of course

Book News

Loblolly Writer's House recently made a second digital sale (Wolf Dawson) through Smashwords, but more importantly I was happy to learn I have my own profile page at the Apple iTunes store. That is the result of the folks at Apple picking up the three digital editions of my books produced by Smashwords. Now to drive readers that direction!

11/2010-I am pleased to let readers know I have uploaded my three published books on the Smashwords website and the books are now available for downloading in a number of digital formats to include mobipocket for Amazon's Kindle and epub for, among others, Barnes & Noble's Nook, iphone, Stanza, and the newest Sony E-reader. Epub will standardize the formatting for all digital readers at some point in the future. Smashwords also formats works in LRF (the format used by the original Sony readers), Javascript, HTML, Plain Text, and Palm Doc for Palm Pilot devices. Smashwords promises additional formats in the future in addition to greater functionality with already existing e-readers.

In addition to making my books available to readers who have fallen in love with their e-readers (I am one--I got a Nook for Christmas last year), Smashwords provides me the potential for marketing/distribution beyond my "hardcopy" limitation within the state of Mississippi, the setting for all my books. Logistics limits my marketing area. I have very small print runs, which makes me less than desirable to book distributors, even regional ones, but I can personally manage contact with independent bookstores throughout the state.

My primary venue for selling books is craft fairs, and each season I try to hit as many as I can from one end of the state to the other. Weekend after weekend beginning in April and ending in early December, I pack up my car with tent, table, chairs, and books and set up a booth at large and small towns across the state. In addition to the Mississippians who patronize these events, I have sold books to visitors from outside Mississippi and have subsequently received follow-up orders from outside Mississippi's boundaries and occasionally from outside the South. Still, when it comes to getting out there and hand-selling my books, I am limited by financial/logistical restraints, and I stick close to the place where I believe my books are most likely to sell in the greatest volumn--Mississippi, my niche market, so to speak. This website is my shop window to the world beyond Mississippi; I'm hoping Smashwords and the growing digital market will expand that market.

And for those of you who love the physical book, so do I. Epublishing supplements Loblolly Writer's House's products, not replaces them. I always intend to publish my books in hardcopy.

That said, I promised my fans I'd tell you, as best I could, how I turned my Quark-typeset book into a digital book. So if any of you are thinking about going that route (even if you are thinking of going with strictly an epubbed book--you don't have to print it first) then follow me to my Publishing on Smashwords for the Digital Market page.

And for those of you who wish only to read on your now treasured e-reader, visit Charlsie Russell's Page at Smashwords. From there you can also visit the pages of a myriad of other authors and get a feel for what Smashwords has to offer the growing e-reader community.

05/2010-Charlsie Russell is pleased to announce that Epico Bayou has garnered Loblolly Writer's House its third Independent Publisher Book Award (IPPY) taking home the silver (2nd place) in regional fiction (South) for 2010. The annual IPPY contest highlights the best books in independent publishing, this year honoring 347 books out of 3,890 enties. For more on the Jenkins Group and its annual contests (there's more than one) go to the Independent Publisher website. Thank you Jim Barnes and the Jenkins Group, your staff, and judges for sponsoring this prestigious contest.

Already announced, Epico Bayou (July 2009) won Rebecca's Reads Spring 2010 Written Art Awards in the Mystery Category. The Written Art Awards is a biannual literary award founded to pay tribute to authors who are self-published or have had their books published by a subsidy publisher, small press, university press, or independent book publisher. Loblolly Writer's House/Charlsie Russell is a self-publisher and would like to thank Rebecca's Reads, not only for liking Epico Bayou, but for providing a positive venue for the little guys and gals to promote their writing.

04/21/10-Charlsie Russell blogged about her self-publishing experience at Savvy Authors. Check it out.

05/24/08-Wolf Dawson won the gold medal in the romance category of the 2008 Independent Publisher Book Awards (IPPY) .

05/14/08-In addition to her second consecutive placement in the annual IPPY Contest [The Devil's Bastard is a 2007 Bronze Medal winner], Ms. Russell is proud to announce Wolf Dawson's first-place, gold-medal finish in the 2008 Next Generation Indie Book Awards showcasing small presses, independent publishers, and self-published authors. The historical romantic suspense set at the close of Congressional Reconstruction in Mississippi once again made its big splash in the romance category, but also finaled in the historical category of the same contest.

6/07-On the fourth of this month Charlsie Russell was thrilled to find a five-star review from Midwest Book Review on Wolf Dawson also at Amazon!

05/07-The Oxford So & So, a small magazine of Southern nostalgia owned and operated by Mr. Richard Burns in Oxford, Mississippi, pubished a feature article by Charlsie Russell regarding her genealogical search for her great-great-grandfather, Phillip Sherrod Young, a Confederate Veteran hailing from Pontotoc County. This wonderful, homegrown periodical is not published online (or I'd link you there), but it can be ordered from: Oxford So & So, PMB #177, 1739 University Avenue, Oxford, Mississippi 38655 for $4.00 an issue. The gist of Ms. Russell's article can be found in the Newsletter section of this website, but if you're interested in Mississippi history, lore, or just a plain, down-to-earth read, check out the Oxford So & So. Special subscription rates are also available. E-Mail: Oxford So & So for more information.

05/07-On the eighth of this month Loblolly Writer's House learned that The Devil's Bastard had finaled in the Romance Category of the 2007 Independent Publisher Book Awards.

5/07-Wolf Dawson was finally released and is on sale at select book stores throughout the state. In addition you can order the book online from Amazon and Cover to Cover Books in Natchez.

03/07-Charlsie Russell is proud to report that her history article on the James Willing raid(s) against British West Florida during the American Revolution was picked up for publication by Common Patriot a wonderful little magazine on the American Revolutionary War. If you get an opportunity, check out Common Patriot's website. For the record, you'll find Ms. Russell's article on James Willing in Issue IV, Volume I.




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