Welcome author C.Y. Bourgeois
to the Book Boost!
She's here to discuss her thoughts about the future of publishing and here's what she had to say...
I, sadly, think e-books are the future of publishing. Everyone is tied to their electronic devices these days...nobody, including me, can go anywhere without their cell phone. Now, with smart phones, you can instantly download and read books on your phone, any place, and any time. People are carrying e-readers everywhere too. Download and read whenever, wherever. I don’t believe it’s just a trend. I think it’s the future of publishing.
There are a ton of self-publishing companies around these days, primarily pushing e-books. E-books are cheap - cheap to upload and cheap to download.
A large part of the reason that there are so many self-publishing companies out there is because it is extremely hard for a new author to get his or her book published by a traditional publishing house, even if it’s really good. Publishers need to make money; they need to be pretty sure that they will at least recap their expenses for each new author they sign on. Agents are also in the business to make a living, so they too are reluctant to take on an unpublished, unproven author.
New authors can self-publish with a minimal amount of expense, get their work out in the world, and hope to be discovered by hordes of eager readers. E-books are available to readers around the planet. That’s a pretty big potential audience.
There are also many ways to publish an e-book for free. An author can publish as many works as he or she wants this way. This gives e-readers an abundance of books to choose from and the cost is much less than traditional hard copy books. Many of the e-books can be downloaded for free and a lot of them are available for right around five dollars. This makes them a very attractive option over purchasing a hardcover for twenty-five-plus dollars or even a soft cover, which now start in the neighborhood of eight-ninety-five and go up from there. With e-books, if you buy it and don’t like it, at least you didn’t lose a lot of money.
Don’t get me wrong, to my mind; nothing beats the feel and the smell of a book in my hands. I love how I can pick up a book and lose myself in the pages. With the flip of each page I’m transported to another place and time, another persona, another horror or joy, another life. I love going to secondhand stores or the library and browsing through the titles, searching for authors I love, and discovering new ones.
I think (and fervently hope) that real, hold-in-your-hand books will always have a place in our hearts and minds, but they are swiftly being overshadowed by e-books; the instant gratification we crave these days - download from anywhere at any time. I am certain that books will always be available for those of us who love them, but they may soon be relegated only to libraries and secondhand stores.
I think the day will come when we won’t be able to walk into a store and pick up a new book, feel the weight of it in our hands, ruffle the pages - the scent of paper and ink filling our nostrils - and read the back cover, our minds quickening at the hint of the exciting story lying in wait between the shiny covers.
I think the day will come and I think it will be a sad day.
A Note from the Book Boost: Hopefully there will always be a place for print books in the world. Although, my home is running out of room for them now. :-) Thanks for joining us today, C.Y. and best of luck on your new release! Please tell us more.
Shelby Leight is a wise-cracking, lighthearted teenager, looking forward to a fun-filled senior year in high school. She already knows the pain of losing a loved one, but has worked her way through the grief to come out on the other side.
Then, in the fall of 1975, in the sleepy, picturesque town of Palmer Alaska, the unthinkable happens. There's a serial killer on the hunt and one of Shelby’s best friends has disappeared.
The sudden loss of her friend in such a violent manner awakens something in her, an ability to communicate with the dead....visions. In the midst of all this, Shelby falls in love for the first time only to discover the shocking truth about her boyfriend. Can she accept him for who – what he is? Can her friends and family accept him?
Shelby has a vision of the killer stalking another of her friends and is desperate to stop him before it’s too late. Instead of an enjoyable senior year of high school, Shelby and her friends must come to grips with life and death - and all they hold - in their quest to find a monster before he kills again.
You know how we make a smooth transition from an old year to a new year? How, despite the big fuss everybody makes on New Year’s Eve swearing the new one will be better than the last, nothing mind-blowing happens with the changing of the calendar? How life just marches on tossing things your way, here and there, for better or worse? Well, on January 1st as we hung up our shiny new calendar, we looked forward with eager anticipation to a year that had to be better than the last. After all, we said, it can’t be any worse. Famous last words . . .
September 17, 1974 . . . two soldiers in Army dress greens standing on our front porch . . . our world lurched on its axis, knocked us to our knees, lives changed forever in a New York minute. A few days later my brother Phil came home from Vietnam . . . in a flag draped coffin. Just nineteen when he died, they called him a hero. I didn’t care, I just knew I didn’t get to have a brother and he didn’t get to have a life. I’d said goodbye to him before he shipped out less than one year before being killed.
After he left we wrote back and forth every week, letters were better than nothing, but never in my wildest dreams did I think we would never be together again, never talk to each other in person again.
Phillip Thomas Leight, my big brother, my friend, friends not just because we were close in age, only two years apart, but because he was genuinely a good person. I admired him; he was the most happy-go-lucky guy, always the goofball; cracking jokes and playing pranks. Phil was also my defender, my knight in shining armor. I called him my Dragon. Not only did he have a picture of one tattooed on his chest, he acted like one; docile, going about his business, but if anyone or anything threatened his family or friends he’d puff up like a fire-breathing dragon, ready for battle, defending us to the death. I guess that’s what he thought he was doing when he volunteered for duty in Vietnam.
I couldn’t believe my brother had just vanished from this earth, how could it just go on turning as if nothing happened? I thought I’d never be happy again; my heart was broken in too many pieces. Two nights after his funeral, Phil fixed that. He visited me in my dreams telling me everything would be okay He said it was alright to be sad as long as I didn’t “snivel and whine” too long (that made me laugh—it was so Phil). He said he knew I loved him and missed him, whispering “ditto back atcha”.
It’s what he always said whenever someone told him they loved him or would miss him, or anything else he thought even slightly sappy. He told me to be happy, have a good life, to remember him not with sadness but with joy in the memories we shared. He gifted me with one of his big, incandescent smiles, the ones that used to light up entire rooms when he walked in the door. Then he left and never returned.
After his visit I could feel the broken pieces of my heart shifting, moving together, healing. At last I’d been able to say goodbye to my brother. I hoped he was going someplace nice. Although I will always grieve for him, I take comfort in knowing that wherever my Dragon is I’ll be with him again one day.
January 1975. New calendar, new year. I was able to laugh again and life marched on.
I’m Shelby Violet Leight (pronounced light). I adore my family and consider myself a loyal friend. I have a slightly sarcastic sense of humor, a vivid imagination and I love watching Saturday morning cartoons, The Twilight Zone, and Star Trek.
Eight days into 1975 I turned seventeen. The eighth of January is my birthday as well as that of Elvis Presley. I thought (still do) it very cool to have popped into the world on the same day as The King of Rock and Roll. I bragged about it endlessly as though sharing Elvis’s birthday made me somehow special. My friends just shook their heads and laughed. I also imagined that being seventeen meant I was all grown-up. I looked forward to starting school in August as a senior and after graduation planned to attend college in Fairbanks, majoring in Marine Biology.
1975 was the final year of a dreadful two year recession in the U.S., the year The Boss, Bruce Springsteen, declared in no uncertain terms that he was “Born to Run”, David Bowie scored a mainstream hit with “Young Americans”, and Willie Nelson crooned about “Blue Eyes Cryin’ in the Rain”. Construction of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline started, and South Vietnam surrendered, a longed-for ending of the vicious, deadly Vietnam War, bringing the rest of our Boys home.
Even though it started out just like any other year, 1975 turned out to be quite a pivotal time in our lives. Not due to popular songs or oil pipelines; in part due to the ending of a long and brutal war that killed thousands of fathers, sons, and brothers along with my own, but mostly because of what happened later right here in the sleepy, little town of Palmer Alaska.
I was reminded for the second time in my short life how things sometimes take an unexpected turn and knock you to your knees.
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