If you look at the Amazon page for our latest release, The Call House: A Washington Novel by C.P. Stiles, what you'll see is just like that empty theater. Nothing. No reviews.
Only that's not really true. There have been some great reviews. And they've been taken down. No use fighting it, but what we will do is post them here instead.
And you know all those nice notes people write but then they never put them up as reviews? We're going to string a few of those together here as well. It's a tough slog for a new book and this one is worth knowing about. So here are a few (we're keeping them anonymous, but honest, they're from real reader letters).
It was an easy, terrific read! I loved the structure and while a dossier on each character might have helped at the beginning, I sorted it all out quickly. Cant believe how era specific and well researched. The narration was crisp and the dialog ws great. I hope it makes it to the beaches all over the US. Really really terrific. The characters come alive in the detail.
Now for my take on The Call House, which I have started reading and which is amazing. What hit me first was how smooth it reads, like silk, truly. The short chapters are like small pearls on a string (ok, mixed metaphor); the narrative carries the reader on like a river, which was why I read much more than I planned last night, couldn't stop. The best thing of all, well, one of two best things, is how Ms Stiles trusts the reader to know only the details offered, as they are offered. It's a gorgeous act of compression. The other best thing is that it's about something very interesting -- good people, bad people, in an environment of politics and policing sure to bring out the extreme worst (best?) in everybody.
If you do pick up a copy - and we really hope you do - and you like it, please let us know. We'd be happy to add your comments even if they don't show up any place else.
We're very pleased to announce the publication of The Call House: A Washington Novel by C.P. Stiles.
What makes this book standout is that the city of Washington, DC, is almost the main character as well as the setting. With so much controversial news coming out of the nation's capital these days, we're thinking it'll be a welcome relief to travel back to a more innocent time.
Sure, it's about a scandal but even that is tame by today's standards. And there's humor. Which always helps.
We hope you'll pick up a copy and enjoy.
Bacon Press Books is pleased to announce our next book coming in May -
The Call House: A Washington Novel
by CP Stiles.
To be honest, the reason you can't pick up this great read right now is that we're having a little trouble getting the description right.
Good question. It's set in Washington, DC, in the 1940s. Mostly before World War II. And it's based on real events. There really was a call house. And there really was a war on vice. But somehow calling it a(n) historical novel doesn't feel right because so much of it is invented. Especially the parts about the police and the FBI.
Then It's a Romance?
Sure. Yes. There's romance. But without giving away too much of the story, it's not just a romance. There's also politics.
Can a City Be the Main Character?
An even better question. The story is about a city in transition. It's about how people come to Washington wanting to change the world and end up getting changed in subtle ways. How sometimes lust for power takes the place of sexual desire. And war can turn the whole world inside out.
What is a Call House Anyway?
According to Dictionary.com it’s
1. a house or apartment used by prostitutes for arranging or keeping assignations.
2. a place at which call girls await telephone calls from customers.
That’s kind of what the book is about, too.
Coming soon in paperback and Ebook. Stay tuned.
Pre-order the Ebook due out May 15.
As someone who’s never looked good in even one hat, I’ve always been intrigued by the expression about wearing two.
But that’s what I’m doing.
In addition to continuing to publish books through Bacon Press Books, I’m also working as a book production coordinator for Joel Friedlander’s new full service book design and production enterprise called The Book Makers.
A little backstory
When I first decided to try independent book publishing, I spent more than a year reading everything I could find on how to do it right. A few experts offered consistently good, usable advice. Joel Friedlander, aka The Book Designer, was one I followed closely. He shared essential information without always trying to sell something.
His blog posts on book design were incredibly helpful. So were his webinars, his monthly cover design contests, his weekly and monthly compilation of blog posts about publishing. In other words, I was a big fan. I even bought his book design templates to see if I could learn how to do it myself.
It’s all about helping authors
Yes. Sure. There are lots of scams out there to take advantage of eager authors. But what I’ve found over the past four years is that there are more people who really do want to help authors. That’s why I started Bacon Press Books. That’s what Joel’s blogs, courses, eBooks, and webinars have been all about.
When Joel said he was looking for a few people to work with him and Tracy Atkins, I jumped at the chance. I knew I’d get to learn more about book production and publishing from two people I admire.
(And a side note for a longer blog: Just because you have to pay a fee, doesn’t mean it’s a scam. When you’ve got good people doing good work, it makes sense to pay for their services.)
Sometimes DIY isn’t the answer
Yes. Sure. One of the best parts of independent publishing is that you’re in control. You get to decide about content, cover, marketing, the works. Start to finish. And you keep your royalties. But . . .
It also means you have to know about cover and interior layout and design. And what about editing? Proofing? Does your book need an index? We won’t even get into the launch, distribution, marketing and promotion.
Sometimes it’s more than an author can handle on her/his own.
Let me quote from Joel’s announcement for The Book Makers:
"There were lots of authors who had no intention of “doing it themselves,” and I don’t blame them.
If you’re only going to publish a book once, or only once every few years, there isn’t much of an incentive to learn the ins and outs of book construction, typography, and formatting software.
So, over 2 years ago, Tracy [Atkins] and I attempted to launch a “done for you” service for authors, only to be sidetracked time and again.
Now, for the last 6 months, we’ve got The Book Makers up and running with a trained staff and a desire to help you get your books done.
I encourage you to visit the site. You’ll be able to see examples of the beautiful books we’ve produced for other indie authors, download a complete Services Guide, check out the various “production packages” we offer at fixed prices, and even enter the information you’ll need to get a custom estimate for your book project."
This may not be for everyone. It’s a premium service - you can see some of the prices on the website. And yes, I will get paid for those authors who work with me. But there are other coordinators who are great and I won’t receive a dime if they’re the ones who help you with your book.
The Book Makers does not publish books. And there is no tie-in with Bacon Press Books.
Mostly. I think it’s good to know about a service that can help you bring a beautiful, professional-looking book to market.
See what you think. Check out The Book Makers.
I met Ann McLaughlin nearly 30 years ago when we were both adjuncts at American University and workshop leaders at The Writers Center in Bethesda, Maryland.
We were about to have our first novels published.
Since then, there has never been a time when Ann wasn’t working on a new book. Or two. No matter what else was going on in a life filled with family, friends, travel and teaching - she always found time to writer, rewrite, then write some more. She went on to publish 7 more novels. She’d found a home with Daniel and Daniel Publishers in California and found new ways to dig deep into her personal history to create stories with universal appeal.
I was honored when she asked if Bacon Press Books would re-issue Sunset at Rosalie, a novel based on her mother’s experience growing up on a Southern plantation. Because the story had personal meaning, she wanted to make sure it stayed in print. We published it in paperback and ebook in 2015.
Ann was especially pleased the book received these two terrific reviews when it was frist released.
"Luminous evocations of the last days of Rosalie, a Mississippi plantation brought down by the collapse of ``King Cotton'' in the early 1900s as observed by a young girl on the cusp of womanhood. McLaughlin (The Balancing Pole, 1991, etc.) begins the story in the summer of 1909 on the eve of Uncle Will's marriage to widowed Aunt Emily, and though many incidents accumulate in the course of the novel, the mood is always more important than the action. Ten-year-old Carlin McNair, precociously intelligent, is looking forward to the wedding. Will is her favorite uncle, and Aunt Emily is her mother's dearest sister and the mother of Carlin's playmates. But all may not be well . . .A clear-eyed, loving but never sentimental look at the Old South as it tries to adjust to a new order." Kirkus Reviews
“Sunset at Rosalie shimmers with the bittersweet magic of a young girl’s coming-of- age amidst the disintegration of her family’s traditional world. With exquisite delicacy, Ann McLaughlin interweaves the unfolding of Carlin’s imagination and the economic collapse of her father’s cotton plantation, and her words bring alive country life in Mississippi during the years before World War I. . . . A pleasure to read, Sunset at Rosalie draws readers into the sights, textures, voices, and customs of a rural South precariously balanced between past and future. This is a novel that will linger in readers’ minds like a cherished memory.” - Elizabeth Fox-Genovese, author of Within the Plantation Household and “Feminism Is Not the Story of My Life.”
She was a woman of great courage and kindness, generosity and grace. She will be missed.
October 8th is the first annual Indie Authors Day. Hundreds of libraries across the country will be participating.
It's a great time for readers to show their support for all the talented authors who have been brave enough to publish their work independently.
If one of your local libraries is participating, please stop by or watch the live Webcast at
Even better, pick up a book by an indie author.
Avrom Bendavid-Val knows the power of keeping a memory alive. The story of his search for the town where his father was born - a town that had completely disappeared - is the subject of two books and a film. This is his message to his readers, family, and friends.
The season of the holidays is about to begin, starting with Rosh Hashanah on October 2nd. What better gift could there be than the marvelous and poignant story of Trochenbrod and its people from the first settlers in 1803 to its disappearance in the Shoah? For young and old, and for your Jewish and non-Jewish friends alike.
Wishing you and your family a joyful and fulfilling new year,
Trochenbrod's Story in Two Books and a Movie
The Heavens Are Empty: Discovering The Lost Town of Trochenbrod grew out of twelve years of research on four continents by the author, Avrom Bendavid-Val.
Trochenbrod was a bustling commercial center of more than 5,000 people, all Jews, that was hidden deep in the forest in northwest Ukraine. The people of Trochenbrod were slaughtered in the Holocaust. Soon nothing remained of this vibrant 130 year-old town but a row of trees and bushes in a clearing in the forest
An imagined Trochenbrod was the setting for Jonathan Safran Foer’s novel, Everything is Illuminated.
The Heavens Are Empty tells Trochenbrod’s story with maps, photographs, personal memoirs, and first-hand accounts. The first-hand accounts are those of Jews born in Trochenbrod, and of Ukrainians and Polish people who knew the town as children. The book’s storytelling emphasizes the life and vibrancy in Trochenbrod for many generations, before it was lost in the Holocaust. You can buy the book at Amazon.com, other online booksellers, and bookstores. Find direct links and more about Trochenbrod’s story at HeavensAreEmpty.com.
The Lost Town: Bringing Back Trochenbrod
In this book Trochenbrod’s story has been completely restructured, rewritten, and redesigned, including new photographs, to be accessible and appealing specifically to young readers ages 12–17. You can buy this book also at Amazon.com, other online booksellers, and bookstores. Find direct links and more information about this book, including information for young readers, at TheLostTownBook.com
In this documentary film, Trochenbrod’s story unfolds as the camera follows Avrom’s search to uncover the facts and spirit of his father’s home town, and bring together its descendants. The film features many fascinating Trochenbrod characters. You can view the trailer and buy the DVD or rent the download at 7thart.com. In addition to the NTSC version, there is a PAL version with Hebrew subtitles.
2nd Annual Bacon Press Books
News about our books, our authors, indie publishing, and maybe bacon.