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“Sherman’s Eagle” by Devin Blankenship
ISBN – 978-0-9856016-0-7
2012, 292 pp., $12.99
Sacramento residents will certainly recognize some of the locations mentioned by Devin Blankenship in his first novel, “Sherman’s Eagle,” a plot-driven mystery that moves across the U.S. with a stop in Atlanta and the finale in Sacramento just as Gold Rush Days begins. Old Sacramento, the Tower Bridge, Sutter’s Fort and the historic I Street Bridge are some of the above-ground locations, but Blankenship’s characters also venture underground in their search for “a mythical Civil War antiquity.” The good guys are Kal Boyce, his ex-girlfriend and her new boyfriend, and Boyce’s professor.
“The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Getting Published” by Sheree Bykofsky and Jennifer Basye Sander
ISBN – 978-1-61564-127-7
2011, 378 pp., $19.95
While not a fan of any book with idiot or dummies in the title, “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Getting Published,” now in its fifth edition was a surprise. This book, with its orange spine will be easy to locate on any shelf and may be just the one to reach for when you are thinking about sending a box of truffles with that book proposal about cats. Do you have to write the entire book before submitting a query? Sheree Bykofsky and Jennifer Basye Sander will let you know when and why. What I like most about this book is that that it reminds you, repeatedly, to read and study what has already been written. The authors encourage would-be writers to peruse the physical shelves in brick and mortar stores, not just turning pages online. They offer suggestions for publications to read and where you might find them at a lower cost. They tell you that you have to write the book and that you have to write the book again. They encourage writers to seek other writers and form groups. The book begins quite simply by asking the writer to consider why he or she wants to write. It proceeds to a very short list of categories for fiction and nonfiction. Other chapters include information about submitting work, book contracts, agents, and the pros and cons of independent publishing. An excellent book that is certainly not for idiots.