Tag Archive: Chesterton Press

EDIT: Since posting this yesterday, several people have privately told me of more issues with Tuscany Press. Some of it has been anecdotal, but others have been verifiable; and it all adds up to an unpleasant picture. The editor-in-chief at Tuscany has told me that the essay I fisked in the following post is opinion and should not be construed as Tuscany’s stance, but he did not address the issue that it was approved by Tuscany despite being obviously wrong. I may do an update on this issue soon.

ANOTHER EDIT: I’ve posted an update on this situation here.

Tuscany Press has been my go-to publishing house to recommend to fellow Catholic authors. I’m associated with Chesterton Press, a smaller indie Catholic Press (my Novel Ninja business is separate and not exclusive to Catholic fiction), but Tuscany is a larger operation and can handle more submissions at a time. However, I’m no longer recommending them, due to a recent post on their subsidiary, CatholicFiction.Net, on why science fiction is evil.  Continue reading

Note: I was asked to write a review of 1635: The Papal Stakes. I decided to do a separate post to provide context for those who don’t know what the series is about.

My friend and sometime employer Regina Doman, who owns the small publisher Chesterton Press, is extremely picky about the covers of the books she publishes. I’m not quite as picky, but there’s good reason to pay attention because it’s often the first thing that a potential reader will see. It gives a sense of the adventure you’ll find inside; or perhaps it’ll make you curious about the symbols or people shown there; or, sometimes, there will be something so incredibly grabbing about it that you’ll pick the book up and say “That had better be in here!”

Many years ago, I was browsing the Baen Books catalog of upcoming releases when I spotted the latter kind. Rather than describing anything else first, let me just show it to you:

To quote my friend Andy after seeing this for the first time: “Wh-wh-whaaaaaaaaaaaaa?”

This is 1632, by Eric Flint, first book in the Ring of Fire series (originally The Assiti Shards, and now more commonly known as just the 1632 series). This impossible scene doesn’t quite happen in the book, but it comes close. Yes, those are modern Americans with modern guns. Yes, those are 17th-century soldiers with 17th-century guns and armor. No, those 17th-century guys don’t know what they’re getting into.  Continue reading

Well, sort of.

I just got word from my apprentice, Rebecca, that the administrivia has been settled. I’m officially teaching an extracurricular writing workshop this fall at my alma mater, Christendom College. It’ll be on Wednesdays from 6:30 to 8:30. Continue reading

Browsing for Books

I live in Montgomery County, MD. When I was a kid, there was a Crown Books just up the street. It was small, but I could walk to it and throw my allowance and odd-jobs money at new books. Then Crown went out of business.

Then there was Bonifant Books, a large used-book store a bus ride away. I expanded my collection considerably using that place. And then they went out of business too, while I was off at college. The same went for all used-book stores in my area save one. (At least, those which carry stuff I’m interested in, which is mainly SF&F.)

While I was in college, downtown Silver Spring got built up. It’s pretty much the only thing the county government has had a genuinely good idea about since, well, ever. (I don’t have a high opinion of them, but that’s a separate topic.) It had a dinky mall without a bookstore, but the area around it got beautified and expanded, with a better movie theater, more parking, great restaraunts . . . and a Borders! Their cafe was my favorite place to go work. And then, of course, they closed down.

So, basically, from where I live, I have to drive half an hour to get to a decent bookstore. I live in a major metropolitan area, and I have to drive half an hour to browse shelves. I have a choice between three Barnes & Nobles and a Books-A-Million. Go figure, the one that’s easiest for me to get to is the B&N in Virginia.

Of course, said store is at Tysons Corner, which I pass by semi-frequently to go to meetings with Chesterton Press or visit friends. It also has a Lego Store. (Granted, the Books-A-Million is at Arundel Mills, which also has a Lego Store, but I almost never drive up there anymore.) The problem, of course, is that since I usually only go there on trips with other things to do, I rarely stop in at Barnes & Noble and usually I’m in a hurry anyway.

This last Saturday, I had a chance to actually browse while waiting for someone. I’d literally forgotten how much fun it can be to just go through the shelves and see what catches my eye, pick it up, and try to decide if it’s something I might be interested in. I found a bunch. Probably more than I can afford (not just financially, but in terms of time as well), but I took down a lot of titles to look at later.

It was nice to just be able to pick up a real, physical book. Something I can hold, flip through — and yes, smell. I like ebooks. They’re cheaper and more convenient for me, particularly since I’m in front of the computer all the time and am one of the lucky people who never gets eyestrain or other ill effects from staring at a screen all day. (Actually, my energy-efficient lightbulb lighting my workspace is the only thing that gives me eyestrain. I need a different lighting method. Probably LED or full-spectrum.)  But there’s something about the feel of a book in your hand that just can’t get replicated by any other method. It’s a tactile experience that, while not vital, still adds something.

Plus, considering my preferred ereader is actually my laptop, it means that a dead-tree book edition doesn’t come with email and Facebook popups. Unplugging is necessary from time to time.

I did wind up buying one book: Graceling, by Kristen Cashore. I can’t remember the last time a book swept me up while still in the bookstore. I read the whole first chapter there, and had to stop myself from reading more. It was an excellent price for a trade paperback (even considering that mass-market YA novels are usually priced slightly cheaper), so I decided to splurge even though my reading list is already full.

The thing that grabbed me wasn’t the action sequence or the magic system, though both were interesting; it was the introspective young girl, gifted with a supernatural talent for violence, and how she viewed the world. That first chapter painted a picture of a young girl with a talent that made people afraid of her, that trapped her in a life she didn’t want, but who still tries to do as much good with her abilities as she possibly can.

I hope to have time to finish it and write up a review this week. In the meantime, I have a book to write, manuscripts to evaluate, marketing releases to craft, a workshop to teach, and a Lego display to prepare for the National Air & Space Museum next month.

Probably a good thing I don’t have a bookstore to browse in all the time.


Not really.

Quick Update

Not all of you are on my Facebook page (or follow my personal page), so I probably seem more silent than I actually am. Even so, I do seem to keep neglecting my blog, don’t I? I thought I should let you know what I’ve been up to.

  • Co-writing two novels for Chesterton Press — one with Regina Doman and the other with Elizabeth Hausladen — in a new YA contemporary fantasy series called The Chronicles of the Ruahim. (Both due for publication in the spring.)
  • Preparing for an expansion to the series, with at least two more novels after that (one co-authored with Lori Janeski, who does not as of yet have anything for me to link to).
  • Editing and reviewing books that I either can’t tell you about just yet or will hopefully do so in the near future.
  • Preparing for a non-credit creative writing workshop this fall at Christendom College, in Virginia.
  • Preparing a one-shot RPG adventure for Taste of Fate on August 10th at Labyrinth Games with my friends at Evil Hat Productions. (A sci-fi story heavily influenced by Babylon 5 and Schlock Mercenary.)
  • Having too much fun posting quotes from Babylon 5 as I re-watch the series. Y’know. Research. Honest. *nods* (In fact, I should really do a blog post on the show as it had an enormous influence not only on the sci-fi genre but on television as a whole.)
  • Preparing a display for BrickFair VA, a local and very large Lego convention (yes, I do non-writing things — check out those photos and tell me that’s not both impressive and genuine art). The show’s this weekend and I am not yet ready. Weee!
  • And then between BrickFair and Taste of Fate, I’m off to a conference in New Jersey for elbow-rubbing, card-exchanging networking.

All in all, I’m pretty booked between now and mid-August.

In the future, I need to do some more updates. I’ve been writing stuff down, so I just need to actually sit down and write blog posts. I’m a very naturally talkative person, but I’m also a perfectionist — which is good in an editor, and kind of bad in a blogger. Alas! I’m much more active over on Facebook, especially on my personal page — but my personal page covers far more than my opinions on writing, so that doesn’t really count.

Oh, one other announcement: my above-mentioned co-author (and mutually-adopted little sister) Elizabeth is getting married, probably before our book comes out. She’ll still be Mrs. Nathan Hajek.

Now I just have to make certain her fiance earns the honor of her hand in marriage. (*evil laugh*)

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