Finalist #2 for the 2012 Outskirts Press Best Book of the Year

Congratulations to Whitney LeBlanc, author of Blues In the Wind-ReVisited, one of three finalists for the Outskirts Press 2012 Best Book of the Year Award.

The first finalist was announced yesterday in this post and the last finalist will be introduced tomorrow on this blog. Public voting will determine which of the three finalists should be awarded the Outskirts Press 2012 Best Book of the Year Award and its $1,500 Grand Prize. Voting is open to everyone and begins on this blog on Friday, May 31.

Louisiana native Whitney J. LeBlanc has been a teacher, writer, producer, set designer and award winning theatre director. He holds a Master’s Degree in Theatre Arts Production from the University of Iowa. He has spent more than half of his fifty-year professional career in Hollywood as a television director of “Sitcoms”, and daytime dramas like, “The Young and the Restless” and “Generations.” LeBlanc has four children and now lives in the Napa Valley with his physician wife. He writes novels and creates stained glass windows for churches.

INFORMATION ABOUT THE BOOK

Whitney J. LeBlanc has written the saga of a Creole family from Estilette Louisiana, against the backdrop of the birth of the blues. In the 1930’s Phillip Fergerson’s marriage to Martha, the beautiful Creole woman of his dreams turns into nightmares. Instead of becoming the doctor he promised to be, he becomes a high school teacher, and events of murder, lynching, voodoo and sexual abuse by a priest, set in motion the disintegration of the family. Martha’s brother, Lightfoot, performs blues music in the juke-joints as he witnesses the beginning of the blues as an art form. We follow the early blues legends from Robert Johnson, to Bessie Smith to Leadbelly to Lightinn’ Hopkins and BB King as they sing their way through the Delta. Martha, a proud and devoted Catholic, looks on in horror as one by one of her family falls under the influence of the devil’s gut-bucket music. With his marriage falling apart, Phillip finds himself in the arms of a woman from his past. Each of the four children go their separate ways and Martha blames it all of the influence of the sinful music. She takes her revenge. It is a story filled with love, lust, murder, voodoo and adventure.

Buy the paperback from Amazon for $17.54
Buy the paperback from Outskirts Press for $17.06
Buy the paperback from Barnes & Noble for $18.95
Download the e-book from Outskirts Press for $10.00
Download the Amazon Kindle edition for $7.15

Every year, Outskirts Press recognizes the best book they publish with their annual Outskirts Press Best Book of the Year award, which must not only win an EVVY Award from the Colorado Independent Publishers Association but must also be recognized as the best book among three finalists.

As one of three finalists, Whitney LeBlanc and his book Blues In the Wind-ReVisited will be competing head-to-head-to-head with the other two finalists in a public poll on this blog starting on Friday. Whitney has already demonstrated he has the writing chops to win this prestigious award, as evidenced by his EVVY Award win. Does he have the marketing prowess to make it as the Best Book of the Year author in this digital age? Stay tuned for information on the remaining finalist, being announced tomorrow, and then come back on Friday to vote for the book you believe to be the best among the three.

The author of the winner will receive a $1,500 credit to his or her Publishing Center, courtesy of Outskirts Press, and an exclusive 2012 Best Book of the Year award seal to apply to the cover of the book.

Are you ready to publish your own award-winning book and perhaps find yourself in the running for next year’s Best Book of the Year award? Get started today.

Start Publishing Today

Finalist #1 for the 2012 Outskirts Press Best Book of the Year

Congratulations to Sharon Rhodes, author of It’s a Family Affair, one of three finalists for the Outskirts Press 2012 Best Book of the Year Award.

The next two finalists will be introduced over the next two days on this blog. Public voting will determine which of the three finalists should be awarded the Outskirts Press 2012 Best Book of the Year Award and its $1,500 Grand Prize. Voting is open to everyone and begins on this blog on Friday, May 31.

Sharon Rhodes was born and raised in Opelika, Alabama. She joined the Air Force right out of high school and spent many years traveling the world before retiring in 2009.  She is also the author of Family Secrets, her debut novel. She lives with her husband and son in Bossier City, Louisiana. She is currently working on her third novel. “This was my second book published by Outskirts Press and it was absolutely on point. As before, my experience was totally successful.”

INFORMATION ABOUT THE BOOK

Ricky Robertson should be on top of the world. His son, Derrick, has just fathered a child with the beautiful Stacey Morgan. There’s just one problem: Ricky is sure that Stacey is his daughter from an affair he had years ago. What’s more, she’s on a mission to become Mrs. Derrick Robertson. Now, Ricky is determined to keep his son from marrying the girl he feels is his daughter while also keeping her identity a secret. His fear is if the truth comes out, he will lose his wife forever. As he makes his views on the relationship known, family members are starting to ask questions. Will he reveal the truth – or forever hold his peace? Meanwhile, Derrick and sister Sade begin to piece together the story of their biological mother’s life. What they find out will shock them – but not as much as what Stacey is about to find out about her parents. The sequel to Sharon Rhodes’s Family Secrets, It’s a Family Affair continues the tale of intrigue as it explores the boundaries of human relationships and desires. In the process, Rhodes asks us to think more deeply about the commitment we make to each other in love and lust and what it means to be a family. More often than not, the answer is: it’s complicated.

• Buy the paperback from Amazon for $13.46
• Buy the paperback from Outskirts Press for $13.46
• Buy the paperback from Barnes & Noble for $14.95
• Download the e-book from Outskirts Press for $5.00
• Download the Amazon Kindle edition for $3.99

Every year, Outskirts Press recognizes the best book they publish with their annual Outskirts Press Best Book of the Year award, which must not only win an EVVY Award from the Colorado Independent Publishers Association but must also be recognized as the best book among three finalists.

As one of three finalists, Sharon Rhodes and her book It’s a Family Affair will be competing head-to-head-to-head with the other two finalists in a public poll on this blog starting on Friday. Sharon has already demonstrated she has the writing chops to win this prestigious award, as evidenced by her EVVY Award win.  Does she have the marketing prowess to make it as the Best Book of the Year author in this digital age? Stay tuned for information on the remaining two finalists, being announced tomorrow and the day after, and then come back on Friday to vote for the book you believe to be the best among the three.

The author of the winner will receive a $1,500 credit to his or her Publishing Center, courtesy of Outskirts Press, and an exclusive 2012 Best Book of the Year award seal to apply to the cover of the book.

Are you ready to publish your own award-winning book and perhaps find yourself in the running for next year’s Best Book of the Year award? Get started today.

Start Publishing Today

Official Outskirts Press EVVY Award Nominees for 2012

The EVVY Awards are widely acclaimed for recognizing excellence in independently published books. Offered every year, these awards are sponsored by the Colorado Independent Publishers’ Association (CIPA), and judged by a panel of professionals on a qualitative scale of merit in nineteen different categories.

Each year, Outskirts Press officially nominates a small percentage of the books published during the year for submission to the EVVY Awards. Since a nomination is the first step toward receiving the Outskirts Press Best Book of the Year Award, the standards are exceedingly high; we nominated just 2% of the books we published in 2012. These nominations represent the very best of our publications as determined by Outskirts Press executives and members of the production teams.

Outskirts Press official nominees and winners receive additional exposure of their books in featured Outskirts Press marketing channels, including our blog, social media networks, and in our email newsletters.  The winners are announced during an awards ceremony hosted by the Colorado Independent Publishers Association on May 18, 2013.

Congratulations to this year’s Official Outskirts Press EVVY Award nominees, presented alphabetically below:

Wait! There’s more!

As a result of being nominated for the EVVY Awards, these Outskirts Press authors have taken the first step toward winning the coveted Outskirts Press Best Book of the Year Award. Three of the nominees above who subsequently win an EVVY Award during the CIPA banquet this coming May will be selected as Semi-Finalists for our annual Best Book of the Year Award and its $1,500 Grand Prize.  Stay tuned.

Wouldn’t you like to win an extra $1,500, and bragging rights as the author of the best book of the year published by Outskirts Press? Start publishing now and your book could be in the running for the “Best Book of the Year Award” for 2013 and its $1,500 grand prize. For more information on rules and eligibility, click here: Best Book of the Year Award.

Are you an author looking for help to market your self-published book?

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Susan Mercer speaks on her Best Book of the Year award

Notifying Susan Mercer of her Best Book of the Year award gave us an opportunity to discuss her award-winning book, Pathway to Math Proficiency, her marketing tactics, and her future plans:

Susan Mercer, Author of "Pathway to Math Proficiency"
Susan Mercer, Author of Pathway to Math Proficiency and Best Book of the Year Award Winner

Susan: It has been an honor to win this recognition and I appreciate all you and your company have done! As you probably know this is my second book and both experiences have been outstanding!

Outskirts Press: What led you to write Pathway to Math Proficiency?

Susan: For the past fifteen years, I have been writing math curriculum with a focus on conceptual understanding of pre-algebra concepts. After sharing my lessons with colleagues and with their encouragement, I decided to create a website (www.supermathunits.com) to post my resources for educators around the country to view and use. After receiving great comments and praise I decided to write my first book Pathway to Pre-Algebra Proficiency.

Regarding Pathway to Math Proficiency, I decided to write this book in particular because, as a math teacher, I believe there is a need to help students understand and make the necessary connections between fractions, decimals and percents. Math textbooks present these three critical issues in isolation without any visual representation. By using only the textbook, students miss the opportunity to develop a more in-depth understanding of numbers as well as learning how fractions, decimals and percents relate to each other. I have experienced first-hand how important it is for middle school students to be able to understand the meaning of fractions, decimals and percents in order to succeed in advanced math courses.

Outskirts Press: What was your writing process like? How long did it take?

Susan: For Pathway to Math Proficiency I used the student activities I developed for my sixth, seventh and eighth grade math students over the past twenty years. I planned, structured, organized and formatted each page of my book. In addition, as I developed each activity, I asked my math colleagues for their feedback and comments and altered pages based on their feedback.

      

It took me two years to write Pathway to Math Proficiency. It took this long because I work full time, I’m a single parent and it is hard to find quiet time to focus on writing. In addition, I wanted to try out each activity with students to make sure they were as effective as intended.

Outskirts Press:  Tell us about publishing with Outskirts Press.

Susan: This is my second experience publishing with Outskirts Press and I love it! I was assigned a representative who helped me throughout the process, responded to my emails in a timely manner and helped with the formatting codes of the PDF file I submitted. I could not have done it without their help every step of the way.

Outskirts Press:  What marketing efforts did you make to earn over 1,500 votes for your book in the Best Book of the Year polls?

Susan: My marketing efforts are three fold. First, for the past fifteen years I have presented my lessons, activities and strategies at national, state and local math conferences where I collected emails from the attendees. I have kept this database of math educators from around the country updated by sending occasional emails with useful information. Second, my math resources have been available on my website for the past six years and I have collected contact information from all the math educators who have used my lessons via my website. Lastly, as a math curriculum specialist in the sixth largest school district in California, I have a large network of educators whom I know, who know my work and who voted for my book. Of course, my 614 Facebook friends and family helped too.

Entries are being accepted for the third annual Best Book of the Year awards. Click here  to get published and be in the running for the award and its $1,500 Grand Prize.

News Flash! Susan Mercer wins the Outskirts Press 2011 Best Book of the Year Award

Congratulations to self-publishing author Susan Mercer, author of Pathway to Math Proficiency: Mastering Equivalent Fractions, Decimals and Percents…with Ease.

 Susan Mercer has just been recognized in a public poll as the author of the 2011 Outskirts Press Best Book of the Year Award and recipient of the $1,500 Grand Prize that comes with it.

For more details about Susan and her books, click here

A more formal announcement and press release will be distributed soon, and in the coming days keep a look-out for an interview with our 2011 Best Book of the Year author, Susan Mercer! Congratulations, Susan!

Are you ready to publish your own award-winning book and perhaps find yourself in the running for next year’s Best Book of the Year award?
Get started today.

Vote now for the 2011 Outskirts Press Best Book of the Year

It all comes down to this! The official Outskirts Press EVVY Nominations for 2011 have been determined, the 18th annual EVVY Awards have been won, and the three finalists for the 2011 Outskirts Press Best Book of the Year have been selected.

Now it is in your hands.  In the public poll below, it is your turn to vote for the finalist that you feel best deserves to be awarded the 2011 Outskirts Press Best Book of the Year. These authors have already established their writing and publishing chops by being finalists. Now the Best Book of the Year Award recognizes the author with the best author platform and marketing muscle to win in a public vote. The winner of the most votes within the next week will be awarded the 2011 Outskirts Press Best Book of the Year and the $1,500 credit that comes with it. The public poll is open until Friday, June 8th at Noon Eastern Time. At that time the poll will be closed and the finalist receiving the greatest percentage of total votes will be announced the winner. Last year’s poll was neck and neck with just 110 votes separating the 2010 winner from the runner-up, so every vote counts!

NEWS FLASH! The polls are closed. See the winning announcement here.

And the three finalists are…

Susan Mercer, author of Pathway to Math Proficiency: Mastering Equivalent Fractions, Decimals and Percents…with Ease.

Susan Mercer is a math curriculum specialist in Santa Ana, California, and has spent the last eighteen years teaching, presenting, writing and developing math resources specifically to address the needs of students. Pathway to Math Proficiency is a 101 page workbook that helps students master the relationships between the part and the whole with ease. In Pathway to Math Proficiency: Mastering Equivalent Fractions, Decimals and Percents…with Ease veteran educator and successful textbook author Susan Mercer has organized a graduated sequence of visual images that help students make the needed connection between fractions, decimals and percents while creating the mental image of the part and the whole each represents. Certainly it helps to read these books first, so for more details (including purchasing options) about this book to help determine your vote, click here.

Bolko Zimmer, author of Angelic Warfare: The Stones of Fire.

Bolko Zimmer holds a Ph.D. in Educational Human Resource Development from Texas A&M University and completed his dissertation on prison ministries. He spent 21 years in the United States Army, where he reached the rank of lieutenant colonel, and 20 years as an adjunct professor. A 126-page dramatic retelling of the fall of man, Angelic Warfare: The Stones of Fire is a captivating account of the ultimate confrontation between good and evil. In this vividly imagined work, author Bolko Zimmer creates a fully realized universe populated by seraphim, cherubim, and countless angels—all with their own agendas and allegiances. Blending a biblically based foundation with extraordinary dramatic insights, Angelic Warfare: The Stones of Fire was published in April 2011 and is required reading for Christians, Bible scholars, and anyone who loves the greatest story ever told. Certainly it helps to read these books first, so for more details (including purchasing options) about this book to help determine your vote, click here.

Glenn Skinner, author of The Keya Quests: The Battle for Shivenridge.

Glenn Skinner brings his lifelong love of fantasy, science fiction, and medieval history into everything he writes.  His true calling would be that of a bard, spinning a rich tapestry of tales by firelight, infusing magic into the grey sameness of everyday life. A 425-page epic, The Keya Quests: The Battle for Shivenridge continues the fabled tales of Keya, a young and brave warrior. With destiny on her side and supernatural forces unleashed that she never could have imagined, Keya has triumphantly emerged from her first adventure in Three Souls Destiny-Bound and has found the warrior of legend who will save her people from the evil Lord Randar. But she finds that her epic quest has only begun — now they must free the people of Shivenridge. But is Shivenridge ready to accept what Keya brings, or will the price of freedom prove to be too high? Certainly it helps to read these books first, so for more details (including purchasing options) about this book to help determine your vote, click here.

Vote below from among these three finalists for the 2011 Outskirts Press Best Book of the Year Award.

Are you ready to publish your own award-winning book and perhaps find yourself in the running for next year’s Best Book of the Year award?
Get started today.

Finalist #3 for the 2011 Outskirts Press Best Book of the Year

Congratulations to Glenn Skinner, author of The Keya Quests: The Battle for Shivenridge, one of three finalists for the Outskirts Press 2011 Best Book of the Year Award. The first two finalists were introduced yesterday and the day before on this blog. Beginning tomorrow, public voting will determine which of the three finalists should be awarded the Outskirts Press 2011 Best Book of the Year award and its $1,500 Grand Prize Voting is open to everyone and begins on this blog on Friday, June 1.

Glenn Skinner brings his lifelong love of fantasy, science fiction, and medieval history into everything he writes. His debut novel, The Keya Quests: Three Souls Destiny-Bound, was published by Outskirts Press in August of 2010 and showcased his lifelong love of fantasy, science fiction, and medieval history.  His true calling would be that of a bard, spinning a rich tapestry of tales by firelight, infusing magic into the grey sameness of everyday life. A traditional archer and bowmaker, he has also made handcrafted longbows for Renaissance fairs. He is a technical support engineer by day, star gazer by night, and an author always. Glenn lives in Massachusetts with his wife of 35 years; they have five children and three granddaughters who share his love of imagination.

The first in a series, The Keya Quests: Three Souls Destiny-Bound went on to become an official 2010 Outskirts Press EVVY Nominee and win 2nd place in the 2010 Reader Views Literary Awards.

His follow-up in the series, The Keya Quests: The Battle for Shivenridge, was published in May 2011, garnered another official Outskirts Press EVVY nomination, an EVVY Merit award, and is a finalist for the 2011 Outskirts Press Best Book of the Year award.

A 425-page epic, The Keya Quests: The Battle for Shivenridge continues
the fabled tales of Keya, a young and brave warrior. With destiny on her side and supernatural forces unleashed that she never could have imagined, Keya has triumphantly emerged from her first adventure in Three Souls Destiny-Bound and has found the warrior of legend who will save her people from the evil Lord Randar. But she finds that her epic quest has only begun — now they must free the people of Shivenridge. Keya’s army charges through the portal and races into the raging battle below.

But is Shivenridge ready to accept what Keya brings? Years of war and hardship have fostered suspicion, and the people have mixed feelings about the legendary Black Sword and the warrior who wields it. New friends, old enemies, betrayals, and dreams of destruction abound. Keya must come to terms with a psychic’s prediction, and an ancient book that holds the key. A curse must be broken, and there is a secret to be revealed. Keya’s life has been drastically changed, giving her new resources of personal power and emotional strength, but she still struggles with doubts and fears that may be her demise.

As Keya and her companions embrace the elation and frustration of adjusting to their new roles in Shivenridge, the portal between the worlds remains ready to be used…or misused. There are friends waiting to join Keya in her quest, but Lord Randar’s legacy of evil lives on in his lieutenant, who shares Randar’s lust for power and revenge. Join us now in the next adventure with a uniquely endearing heroine whose impulsiveness, courage, integrity, and innocence combine to make her both deeply human and immensely powerful.

Will her gifts allow her to overcome the odds again? Or will the price of freedom for Shivenridge prove to be too high?

Every year, Outskirts Press recognizes the best book they publish with their annual Outskirts Press Best Book of the Year award, which must not only win an EVVY Award from the Colorado Independent Publishers Association but must also be recognized as the best book among three finalists in a public opinion poll. As one of three finalists, Glenn Skinner and his book The Keya Quests will be competing head-to-head-to-head with the other two finalists in a public poll on this blog starting on Friday (tomorrow). Revisit the previous two blog postings for information on the other two finalists and then come back on Friday to vote for the book you believe to be the best among the three. The author of the winning book will receive a $1,500 credit to his or her Publishing Center, courtesy of Outskirts Press, and an exclusive 2011 Best Book of the Year award seal to apply to the cover of the book.

Are you ready to publish your own award-winning book and perhaps find yourself in the running for next year’s Best Book of the Year award?
Get started today.

Finalist #2 for the 2011 Outskirts Press Best Book of the Year

Congratulations to Bolko Zimmer, author of Angelic Warfare: The Stones of Fire, one of three finalists for the Outskirts Press 2011 Best Book of the Year Award. The first finalist was introduced yesterday on this blog and the final finalist will be introduced tomorrow. Public voting will determine which of the three finalists should be awarded the Outskirts Press 2011 Best Book of the Year award and its $1,500 Grand Prize. Voting is open to everyone and begins on this blog on Friday, June 1.

Bolko Zimmer holds a Ph.D. in Educational Human Resource Development from Texas A&M University and completed his dissertation on prison ministries. He spent 21 years in the United States Army, where he reached the rank of lieutenant colonel, and 20 years as an adjunct professor. He has taught at Webster University, Wayland Baptist University, and Union University, and has published several articles on health-care administration and faith-based programs. Dr. Zimmer has also served as president of the board of directors for the Bexar County Detention Ministries in San Antonio, Texas. Dr. Zimmer and his family live in Humboldt, Tennessee.

A 126-page dramatic retelling of the fall of man, Angelic Warfare: The Stones of Fire is a captivating account of the ultimate confrontation between good and evil. In this vividly imagined work, author Bolko Zimmer creates a fully realized universe populated by seraphim, cherubim, and countless angels—all with their own agendas and allegiances.

At the center of the conflict is the cherub prince, Lucifer. It’s the dawn of time, and Lucifer is filled with vanity. Before long, he rebels against the Supreme Spirit, who rules over all. Lucifer then convinces a third of the angels to follow him and they began an endless reign of evil. Among their heinous crimes: enticing mankind to commit every imaginable sin. The actions of these fallen angels also give rise to giants, who terrorize the humans, and monstrous beasts, which destroy everything in their path. Hope comes in the form of an archangel and mighty prince named Michael. He and his angels enter this world of growing wickedness to watch over and protect the virtuous people. But the angels soon confront legions of demons, valiantly resisting them until something horrifying occurs that changes heaven and earth forever…

Blending a biblically based foundation with extraordinary dramatic insights, Angelic Warfare: The Stones of Fire was published in April 2011 and is required reading for Christians, Bible scholars, and anyone who loves the greatest story ever told.

Every year, Outskirts Press recognizes the best book they publish with their annual Outskirts Press Best Book of the Year award, which must not only win an EVVY Award from the Colorado Independent Publishers Association but must also be recognized as the best book among three finalists in a public opinion poll. As one of three finalists, Bolko Zimmer and his book Angelic Warfare will be competing head-to-head-to-head with the other two finalists in a public poll on this blog starting on Friday. Stay tuned for information on the remaining finalist announced tomorrow and then come back on Friday to vote for the book you believe to be the best among the three. The author of the winner will receive a $1,500 credit to his or her Publishing Center, courtesy of Outskirts Press, and an exclusive 2011 Best Book of the Year award seal to apply to the cover of the book.

Are you ready to publish your own award-winning book and perhaps find yourself in the running for next year’s Best Book of the Year award?
Get started today.

Finalist #1 for the 2011 Outskirts Press Best Book of the Year

Congratulations to Susan Mercer, author of Pathway to Math Proficiency: Mastering Equivalent Fractions, Decimals and Percents…with Ease, who is one of three finalists for the Outskirts Press 2011 Best Book of the Year Award. The next two finalists will be introduced over the next two days on this blog. Public voting will determine which of the three finalists should be awarded the Outskirts Press 2011 Best Book of the Year award and its $1,500 Grand Prize. Voting is open to everyone and begins on this blog on Friday, June 1.

Susan Mercer is a math curriculum specialist in Santa Ana, California, and has spent the last eighteen years teaching, presenting, writing and developing math resources specifically to address the needs of English Language Learners, special education and low math skill students in grades five through eight. She has presented at national, state and regional math conferences and has conducted numerous professional developmen seminars for elementary and intermediate teachers.

Born and raised in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Mercer received her B.S. from the University of Buenos Aires and then moved to California to gain her Masters in Education and teaching credentials from Chapman University. She has been an author with Outskirts Press since October 2007 and published her first book, Pathway to Pre-Algebra Proficiency: 30 Puzzles and Mini-Lessons Designed with the Preteen in Mind in January of 2008. It went on to win a 2009 EVVY Award in the Workbooks category and has received nothing but accolades and five star Amazon reviews and has been cited as a work “ready to motivate the most reluctant learner” and for “keeping students engaged in a fun way.”

Susan followed up the success of her first book with Pathway to Math Proficiency, one of 2011’s finalists for Outskirts Press Best Book of the Year. It was published in March 2011 and also won an EVVY Award just a couple of weeks ago. Pathway to Math Proficiency is a 101 page workbook that helps students master the relationships between the part and the whole with ease. In Pathway to Math Proficiency: Mastering Equivalent Fractions, Decimals and Percents…with Ease veteran educator and successful textbook author Susan Mercer has organized a graduated sequence of visual images that help students make the needed connection between fractions, decimals and percents while creating the mental image of the part and the whole each represents.

As students complete these captivating exercises, comprehension of what otherwise have been troublesome equivalency concepts now occurs easily and is immediately reinforced. Whether used as a classroom or home schooling resource, Pathway to Math Proficiency: Mastering Equivalent Fractions, Decimals and Percents…with Ease allows students to connect the visual and verbal representation of parts to the whole with forty ready-to-use, printable activities and over fourteen hundred math problems that incrementally build a student’s skills in equivalencies. All students in grades four through eight will find Mercer’s activities engaging, but English Language Learners and Special Education Students, in particular,
will be rewarded by the visual aides to learning and the gradient sequence of the exercises.

Every year, Outskirts Press recognizes the best book they publish with their annual Outskirts Press Best Book of the Year award, which must not only win an EVVY Award from the Colorado Independent Publishers Association but must be recognized as the best book among three finalists in a public opinion poll. As one of three finalists, Susan Mercer and her book Pathway to Math Proficiency will be competing head-to-head-to-head with the other finalists in a public poll on this blog starting on Friday. Stay tuned for information for the other two finalists announced tomorrow and the day after and then come back on Friday to vote for the book you believe to be the best among the three. The author of the winner will receive a $1,500 credit to his or her Publishing Center, courtesy of Outskirts Press, and an exclusive 2011 Best Book of the Year award seal to apply to the cover of the book.

Are you ready to publish your own award-winning book and
perhaps find yourself in the running for next year’s Best Book of the Year award? Get started today.

Doris Kenney Marcotte speaks on her Best Book of the Year award

Notifying Doris Kenney Marcotte of her Best Book of the Year award gave us an opportunity to discuss her award-winning book, The Beads of Lapis Lazuli, her marketing tactics, and her future plans:

Doris: What a joy ride!  It’s still hard to believe my little book has been so well received. It was an exhilarating contest.

Outskirts Press: What led you to write The Beads of Lapis Lazuli? 

Doris: Curiosity and the search for truth led me to write The Beads of Lapis Lazuli.  I was working on a different story about the ancient Minoans that wasn’t going well, so I set it aside and started writing about a housewife named Kathryn who was writing a book about the ancient Minoans and was stuck for answers to an old love story.

I have always been intrigued by mysteries and puzzles and when I first read about the lost Minoan civilization on the Greek Island of Crete, I was hooked.  There is no Rosetta Stone to decipher their pictograms.  Who were they?  How did they live?  Why did young women, not men, wrestle the bulls?  I am still fascinated by the ancient Minoans and the prequel to The Beads of Lapis Lazuli will bring the Minoans back to life.  Some archeologists say ancient Crete was Atlantis and it is possible but no one has found a way to prove it.  My next book, The Age of Silver, brings the Minoans to life using the world’s oldest story of true love as a guide: the myth of Ariadne and Theseus.

Outskirts Press: What was your writing process like? How long did it take?

Doris: Since I don’t write full-time, it took several years to finish The Beads of Lapis Lazuli and like many writers, I could probably rewrite it again.  I was sad when I declared it finished.   As they say, ‘It takes two people to write a book; one to write the story and one to break your arm to keep you from getting back into it.’  I held onto it until a friend persuaded me to turn it lose.

Many readers have suggested that The Beads of Lapis Lazuli is autobiographical, but it’s not.  The central characters are composites of all the friends and relatives I’ve ever known.  It’s a tribute to the strong women in my life: my grandmothers and my mother. The sailing adventures are mine and they are drawn from personal experience.  The joy of sailing, the storms, the threat of being boarded by armed men are all real life adventures.  Although I am chicken of the sea, I would not have missed any of the challenges or the trauma. We have chartered boats without professional crew in the Mediterranean, the Aegean, the Caribbean, and the Coral Sea near the Great Barrier Reef.

      

The Beads of Lapis Lazuli was written in the wee hours when the house was quiet.  For me, one of the best things about writing fiction is the research.  I learned to repel off my best friend’s back porch, interviewed a fella who writes for Field and Stream in order to choose the right weapons for the story, and visited Crete to walk the sites where the Minoans once lived with such elegance and grace.  I decided to include a touch of ESP because of personal experiences that have no logical explanation.  Many people tell me they have had similar incidents happen to them: finding an unexpected bit of information that you really need to solve a problem, or a feeling that something is wrong and unfortunately you learn that your premonition is true.   Writing fiction is a mysterious process that is difficult to understand.  The characters make demands on your imagination that lead you to places you never intended to go.  Sometimes it makes me wonder who’s really writing the story.  Am I the writer, or is it someone who’s looking over my shoulder?

Outskirts Press:  Tell us about publishing with Outskirts Press.

Doris: Outskirts Press was the perfect choice for publishing my book. Fortunately, my want to hold my book in my hand overcame my fear of doing something I knew so little about.  Once I found the courage to schedule a phone conference to begin the process, I knew I was in good hands. Wendy talked me through the initial procedures, answered a long list of questions, and stayed with me until she handed me off to Jennifer, my Production Manager.  Kudos to every member of the Outskirts staff.  All my emails were answered promptly and never ignored!  Everything was done using email, even the copyediting which was another new experience.  However, with the editor’s clear instructions it worked out well.  I would never have believed that the entire publishing process could be performed online, but it was.

I chose a custom cover which allowed me to create exactly the image I had in mind. To get the look I wanted, I took dozens of pictures of my own little Snake Goddess with a strand of lapis beads on her arms, sent the photo to OP along with a few suggestions, and the design department did the rest.  I think they are the ones with ESP because the cover is even better than what I envisioned.  I also chose the enhanced interior option.  I’m embarrassed to say that I was not aware that interior design was so involved – the choices are endless.  With a few suggestions, I allowed OP to design the interior and after a few tweaks we achieved a look I felt was appropriate for the topic.

Outskirts Press has such a wide range of services I will choose them again to publish my next book.  I feel that the entire staff is sincerely interested in producing a good product.  They helped me achieve my goal which was to make my book the best it could be.

Outskirts Press:  What marketing efforts did you make to earn over 1,000 votes for your book in the Best Book of the Year polls?

Doris: The first call for votes went to everyone in my address book with two requests: please vote, and please ask relatives, friends, and friends of friends to vote.  A large number of enthusiasts really got into the voting and launched individual campaigns.  I posted a notice about the competition on Facebook with the request to involve friends and friends of friends, and a few special people worked very hard: one at a university, two in retirement homes, and two medical professionals.  Without networking, the voting would have been very different.  Persistence, begging, pleading, and follow-up were what pushed the vote over the top to a nail-biting end.

Entries are being accepted for the second annual Best Book of the Year awards. Click here  to get published and be in the running for the award and its $1,500 Grand Prize.