Currently viewing the tag: "Steve Wiegenstein"

Slant of Light by Steve Wiegenstein - cover

THIS OLD WORLD by Steve Wiegenstein

Thanks to BSP author and former MWG president Steve Wiegenstein for allowing us to reprint this blog post. Steve’s is the author of SLANT OF LIGHT (2012) and THIS OLD WORLD (Sept. 2014). 

I’ve just returned from the annual meeting/conference of the Missouri Writers’ Guild, an organization I have had the privilege to serve as president for the last two years. I came away with several reflections that I will be sharing over the next few posts.

First, and most important from the personal perspective, I was reminded that all writers–all writers, I repeat–need to continually sharpen their craft. At the conference, we had beginning writers and authors with multiple books. But I think every one of us came away with something to remember. It’s easy to get stuck in a stylistic rut, or to grow insensitive to one’s weaknesses. A conference, with its wide variety of sessions and viewpoints, is a great way to pause and reexamine old habits. I was in a session this weekend with an insecure beginning writer who in the space of two minutes told us the most amazing and moving story, reminding  me that inspired thoughts can come from the most unexpected sources and that everyone deserves to be listened to.

I was reminded as well that writers, for the most part, are generous people with their time and thoughts. Throughout the conference, people gathered in hallways and side chairs, conversing and sharing. That’s where the real conference is taking place, as much as in the formal sessions and workshops.

It’s an ongoing, evolving art form, this act of writing, and a gathering of writers both humbles and refreshes. How much there is yet to know. How much there is yet to write.

You can find the original post on Steve’s blog.

We’re delighted to report that we’ve got a lot going on in the next couple of weeks. First, as described in our last blog post, we’re excited to participate in the Saint Louis Literary Consortium’s 2012 Holiday Book Signing at Left Bank Books on November 9, 10, 11th. We hope everyone in STL will come out and support a great independent bookstore, wonderful literary organizations, publishers and, of course, local and regional authors.

BSP authors Steve Wiegenstein (SLANT OF LIGHT) and Jean Ellen Whatley (OFF THE LEASH) will be in store to sign their books. Jean will be signing from 6 – 8 pm Friday evening, and Steve will be signing from 12 – 2pm on Saturday. This is the perfect opportunity to buy the best gift of all–BOOKS–for everyone on your holiday list! And, even though NEVER HUG A NUN and DRIVING ALONE won’t be available for in-store purchase yet, you can pre-order your copies at the register.

Next, we’ve got another wonderful event coming up for OFF THE LEASH

 Blank Slate Press author Jean Ellen Whatley, Subterranean Books, and the Human Society of Missouri are coming together to do a book signing and to promote pet adoption. A portion of all sales will go to support HSMO’s mission. Jean will have a great slideshow and talk about how her dog, Libby, inspired her to go on a cross-country journey to rejuvenate, reenergize, and reclaim her life. Libby accompanied her every step along the way and their already strong bond became even stronger. It’s amazing how much we love our dogs!

So, if you love your dog, if your dog inspires you with his/her love and devotion, plan on joining Jean and supporting the HSMO.
>> when: November 18, 1:00 pm
>>where: 1201 Macklind Avenue | St. Louis, MO 63110 | phone: (314) 647-8800
>> Here’s a blurb from  from the Riverfront Times about her last event at Subterranean Books. And a clip in which she talks about the importance of Libby in her life and on her journey.

And the buzz is building for Kevin Killeen’s NEVER HUG A NUN

We’ve got a number of events on the schedule to make sure you can get a copy of NEVER HUG A NUN for everyone on your holiday shopping list. Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanza, or Yuletide, no matter what holiday(s) you celebrate, you’ll want a copy of this delightful book that celebrates the innocent mischievousness of being a kid.

>> KMOX Fontbonne Book of the Month Club with Charlie Brennan
> Tuesday, November, 27
> 7 to-9 p.m. at Nerinx Hall in Webster Groves
>  Featuring Kevin Killeen and musician John Pizzarelli, author of World on a String: a musical memoir
> Charlie Brennan will interview Kevin on KMOX on November 14th

>> KMOX Holiday Radio Show
> Monday, December 3
> The Rep on the Webster University Campus, Webster Groves
>  Featuring Kevin Killeen and the whole on-air KMOX crew

>> Booksigning at Webster Groves Bookshop
> Saturday, December 8 , 1-4
> 100 West Lockwood Avenue,  (314) 968-1185

>> Reading at the Newly Remodeled Central Library
> Tuesday, December 11 at 6:30 p.m., Carnegie Room (3rd Floor)
> 1301 Olive St., downtown – (314) 206-6779.

 

It’s been a while since we’ve done a comprehensive update on what’s going on at Blank Slate Press, so we’ve got lots of big news and exciting events coming up. First up:
Blank Slate Press has joined forces with several other organizations and small presses to form the Saint Louis Literary Consortium. Our first collaboration is a book signing holiday promotional event at Left Bank Books in the Central West End the weekend of November 9, 10, & 11th. Along with featured Blank Slate authors Steve Wiegenstein and Jean Ellen Whatley, authors from the St. Louis Poetry Center and the St. Louis Writers Guild will also be on hand. Other publishers participating in the Consortium and the event include Penultimate Press, Stonebrook Publishing, and Walrus Publishing. For more information, contact Left Bank Books at (314) 367-6731.
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Also, we’re pleased to announce that we’ve joined the Small Press United/ Independent Publishers Group team and that all our books will now be distributed through SPU/IPG. This is big news for a small press like BSP, and we’re very excited about the opportunities ahead.
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Jean Ellen Whatley’s Book Launch @ Subterranean

October 29th, 7-8 pm, 314.862.6100

We’re delighted to announce that Subterranean Books in The Loop will host former KDNL/ABC-30 on-air personality Jean Ellen Whatley’s launch for her debut memoir, OFF THE LEASH. The event will held on Monday, October 29th from 7:00 – 8:00 pm. Call 314.862.6100 or visit www.subbooks.com for info or let us know you’re coming  on our Facebook event page.

Here’s the back flap description of the book:

From sea to shining sea and then some, Jean Ellen Whatley and her dog Libby set out from Saint Louis to drive nearly 9,000 miles across America to revive her life. But she’s got enough baggage to bottom out a truck: her ex-husband got out of prison just as she was getting the last kid through college, her mother and two brothers died inside a few years and she’s got another brother who she has never seen but needs to find.

With a family history of secrets and betrayals, addiction and abuse, survivor solidarity and abiding love, our unlikely heroine wrestles her life to the ground and hogties it as she frees herself from the traps of the past. What unfolds on this odyssey is nothing short of life-changing-aided and abetted by strangers on the highway, long-lost family members, cosmic playing cards and the ever-present comfort of Libby who reminds her to live in the moment.

Listen to her interview with St. Louis On the Air’s Don Marsh here. 

Jean is also going to be featured on McGraw Milhaven’s show on KTRS-AM, The Big 550 on Thursday, October 25th in the 9:00 to 10:00 segment.

Want to know more about Jean and her incredible journey? Check out her blog and watch her trailer here.

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NEVER HUG A NUN goes to press & you’re going to want to buy copies for everyone on your Christmas list!

Our official launch for Kevin Killeen’s comic novel of boy hood antics in 1960s Webster Groves will be December 8 at the Webster Groves Bookshop, and you can preorder your copy now. Call the bookstore at (314) 968-1185 to reserve your copy for the December 8th signing, or preorder online at Blank Slate Press. The book should be available in time for Christmas.

Kevin’s book will also be featured at Charlie Brennan’s (KMOX) November Book Club and will be available at the KMOX Annual Holiday Show. We’ll send out an update with specific dates & times. In the meantime, Check out Kevin’s blog and see how he feels about his “baby” going to press. Hint…it’s funny.

We’re also delighted to have a couple of wonderful endorsements for the book:

“If Webster Groves were Hannibal, Patrick would be Tom, Ebby would be Becky, and the tracks would be the river. How often does a radio guy make you think of Mark Twain? Kevin remembers what it was like to be a kid. This is fun stuff and would be great for book clubs.” – Bill McClellan, St. Louis Post-Dispatch

“Kevin Killeen’s utterly winning novel gives us the human comedy in full measure. Blessed with a genuine comic gift, Killeen manages to write with both hilarity and humanity. The book is a buoyant delight from beginning to end.” – David Carkeet, author of The Full Catastrophe

 “An engaging, funny, adventurous, warm and very nostalgic read. This is a book about memories, and why they never leave our hearts.” – Harry Hamm, KMOX Radio Entertainment Editor

 

Want to know more? Here’s the NEVER HUG A NUN back flap description:  

Fom falling for a girl with no-good-for-sports stick arms and beautiful penmanship, to jumping freight trains, smoking cigarettes, projectile vomiting, robbing the local Ben Franklin–and, in his spare time, trying to get to heaven–Patrick Cantwell is learning all about life at Mary Queen of Our Hearts parochial school. By the time Patrick graduates second grade, he’s practically a grown-up, complete with a broken heart, a police record, and memories of the Beatles at Busch Stadium.

Written with the same keen sense of comic timing Killeen brings to radio station KMOX’s “A Whole ‘nother Story” and the annual Holiday Radio Show, Never Hug a Nun is a sweet, laugh-out-loud look at the innocence of childhood in the leafy Webster Groves suburb of 1960s Saint Louis.

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Know someone who loves the heat and grit of hard-edged southern gothic? DRIVING ALONE is the perfect holiday gift.

Preorder a copy for everyone on your holiday shopping list who loves a great love story wrapped in the sweltering heat of the damned. DRIVING ALONE is beautiful and not a little disturbing.

Here’s what early readers had to say:

“Driving Alone is a gorgeously grim new take on redemption and romance. It is unsettling and provocative, combining the classic romance of the open road with the claustrophobia of a morality play. If Hell is other people, Driving Alone has the devil riding shotgun.” - Jared Shurin, reviewer for Pornokitsch, director & literary judge of The Kitschies

“Hardboiled, hardbitten and haunting as well as lyrically libidinous and lovingly lascivious, Kevin Lynn Helmick tackles sex and death along the lost highway the way the damned do–alone.” – Jedidiah Ayres, author of A F*ckload of Shorts

“An intense nightmare that shimmers with beauty and darkness. Helmick broils these characters in southern humidity and human tragedy until the reader is left sweating, breathless, and amazed.” – Fred Venturini, author of The Samaritan

Here’s the back flap description:

Billy Keyhoe’s luck just ran out. After beating his girl to a bloody pulp and being shot at by the clerk of Earl’s ’66, Billy takes off in his Daddy’s beat-up 66 Caddy toward West Texas, leaving Waycross, Georgia and all his troubles in the rear-view mirror. At a crossroads, he picks up a beautiful hitchhiker who seems to know more about Billy than he knows himself. The farther they go, the more Billy is drawn to Feather until he realizes he has “fallen in love somewhere out there in the night, with something or someone, or just an idea, it wasn’t clear.” But unfortunately for Billy, he discovers that even true love cannot save him, and he finally realizes he might have gone too far to ever make it back.

Preorder your copy today. 

Kevin maintains a blog at www.kevinlynnhelmick.blogspot.com.

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SoL Cover

Steve Wiegenstein makes it to the big leagues

Last but by no means least, Steve Wiegenstein’s debut novelSlant of Light continues to receive great reviews, and we’re delighted to announce that he has been invited to participate in the  Arkansas Literary Festival. We’re thrilled that Steve will be rubbing shoulders with so many amazing authors!

Besides the Left Bank book signing, he’s got several events coming up. If you’re in the neighborhood–and especially if you love historical fiction, Missouri fiction, and books about the Civil War–please stop by:

10/27 – signing at Main Street Books, St. Charles, 3-5 pm
11/13 – talk and signing, Daniel Boone Regional Library, Columbia, 7 pm

Get your copy of Slant of Light at your local independent bookstore, online at Amazon or B&N, or directly from us at  http://blankslatepress.com/how-to-buy/ .

PLEASE VOTE for the one SLANT OF LIGHT cover concept you like best. From the very abstract to the photographic to the historical, we’ve got very different design ideas to consider. Please feel free to share your comments–we’ll take all votes and comments into consideration. And if you vote and leave a comment (tell us in the comments which cover you voted for and why), you’ll be automatically entered to win a copy of the book when it’s released.

First, here’s the summary of the novel:

With the nation moving toward Civil War, James Turner, a charming, impulsive writer and lecturer, Charlotte, his down-to-earth bride, and Henry Cabot, an idealistic  Harvard-educated abolitionist are drawn together in a social experiment deep in the Missouri Ozarks.

Inspired by utopian dreams of building a new society, Turner is given a tract of land to found the community of Daybreak. But not everyone involved in the project is a willing partner and being the leader of a farming community out in the middle of nowhere isn’t exactly the life Turner envisioned.

Charlotte, confronted with the hardships of rural life, must mature in a hurry to deal with the challenges of building the community while facing her husband’s betrayals and her growing attraction to Cabot. In turn, Cabot struggles to reconcile his need to leave Daybreak to join the fight against slavery and his desire to stay near the woman he loves.

As the war draws ever closer, the utopians try to remain neutral and friendly to all, but soon find neutrality is not an option. When war finally breaks out, Missouri descends into its uniquely savage brand of conflict in which guerrilla bands terrorize the countryside while Federal troops control the cities, and in which neither side offers or expects quarter. Ultimately, each member of Daybreak must take a stand—both in their political and personal lives.

Remember, these are concepts–not finished covers. Let us know what you like and why, what would make you pick the book up, turn it over and read the back cover or thumb through the pages, and what would make you pass it by.

To see a larger version of the covers, click the cover.

 

And…now you can pre-order your copy of SLANT OF LIGHT and have it delivered to you as soon as the books are available:

 

(Updated 12.5.2011 – More proof everyone needs a proofreader. Thanks to Elena Makansi for pointing out my misplaced apostrophe.)

Blank Slate Press was founded in 2010. With the help of our Editorial Board, we selected our first two authors–who, incidentally, had NOT finished their books–and guided them through the publication process with both books coming out in early 2011. While it was a learning experience for all of us, we successfully launched two debut novelists to rave reviews. THE SAMARITAN by Fred Venturini, our first book out the door, has received more accolades than we can keep track of and our second book, DANCING WITH GRAVITY by Anene Tressler, continues to receive glowing praise for the beautiful writing, the unique protagonist, and the startlingly revealing journey through one man’s crisis of character and journey of faith.

Besides kudos for the writing, both books have won awards (DANCING WITH GRAVITY won the 2011 Literary Fiction category from International Book Awards and THE SAMARITAN won the Cross-Genre category from USA Book Awards) and now both have been included on notable end-of-year “Best of…” reading lists. Shelf Unbound magazine named THE SAMARITAN as one of its top 10 Small Press books of 2011 (a list which was picked up by USA Today) and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch has included DANCING WITH GRAVITY on its round up of favorite books of 2011.

For those of you keeping count, that’s an amazing 2 for 2. Not bad for a debut publishing house. Not bad at all.

But that’s only the beginning!

We’ve got more great books on the horizon plus we’re launching a sister imprint — tentatively titled Treehouse Publishing — to offer curated, collaborative publishing to authors interested in forging a middle path between working with a traditional publishing team and the new financial opportunities afforded by going it alone through self-publishing.

Our next Blank Slate Press book, DAYBREAK by Steve Wiegenstein, is in production now and will be launched in the spring of 2012. DAYBREAK, set on the cusp of the Civil War, follows the story of charismatic author and speaker James Turner, his pragmatic wife Charlotte, and the idealistic abolitionist Adam Cabot as they work to build a Utopian society in the bottom lands of the Missouri Ozarks. While Steve does a fantastic job transporting the reader back in time and capturing the turmoil of the period, the thing that absolutely captivates me about this book is the amazing characters that populate it. Not only are Turner, Charlotte and Adam wonderfully drawn, but the secondary characters are so colorful and compelling that, even when they’re absolutely dangerous, good-for-nothing low-lifes and outlaws, you can’t help but love them. I can’t wait to introduce the world to Sam Hildebrand (a real-life Ozark outlaw), Harp Webb, Lysander Smith, and the men and women of the Daybreak community.

In short, DAYBREAK is fantastic.

And I can’t wait to tell you more about our first Treehouse title. I’ll be getting the revised manuscript mid-December and will write more about it then. For now, I can tell you now that it’s a fictional chronicle of one man’s experience in the Vietnam War. Torn between being a conscientious objector and doing his duty to serve his country, the main character ends up trained for the infantry but, at the last moment, he is pulled from his trip to the front lines and stuck in an office simply because he can type. It’s a look at running a war’s back office and is a bit like Catch 22 meets M*A*S*H meets The Office. If you’re interested in the philosophical pretzels we can twist ourselves into when it comes to war, this book is for you.

Stay tuned for more on this one!

 

 

We had two events this past week that featured our wonderful writers and that gave us a chance to give readers a peek at our upcoming release, DAYBREAK by Steve Wiegenstein. First, on Wednesday night, Anene Tressler read from her debut novel Dancing with Gravity at the Kirkwood Public Library. It was a well attended event and we even had a chance to sell some books thanks to Main Street Books in St. Charles.

Then on Saturday and Sunday, we enjoyed the beautiful weather at our first-ever booth in the Historic Shaw Art Fair. Thank you to the Art Fair organizers for letting Blank Slate Press participate and thank you to everyone who stopped by our booth to buy a book and meet our authors! Fred Venturini, author of The Samaritan, was on hand to sign books on Saturday (and sign 100 books those who participated in our Klout promotion!), and Anene was in the booth visiting with readers and signing books on Sunday. It was a wonderful opportunity to connect with old friends and make new friends among neighbors, art lovers, readers and writers from across the country. The weather was perfect, the conversation was animated, and besides some tired feet and aching backs, we had a fantastic time!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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I added our presenter’s notes to the slideshow Jason Makansi used at the recent St. Louis Publishers’ Association meeting. The meeting’s focus was public speaking and how authors can use events to promote their work. Let us know if you have comments/ideas/suggestions on the presentation or gives us your ideas for ways authors can use events to engage their readers.

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