Go with God, Adrienne Rich.

From the New York Times obit:
Adrienne Rich, a poet of towering reputation and towering rage, whose work — distinguished by an unswerving progressive vision and a dazzling, empathic ferocity — brought the oppression of women and lesbians to the forefront of poetic discourse and kept it there for nearly a half-century, died on Tuesday at her home in Santa Cruz, Calif. She was 82...
In 1997, in a widely reported act, Ms. Rich declined the National Medal of Arts, the United States government’s highest award bestowed upon artists. In a letter to Jane Alexander, then chairwoman of the National Endowment for the Arts, which administers the award, she expressed her dismay, amid the “increasingly brutal impact of racial and economic injustice,” that the government had chosen to honor “a few token artists while the people at large are so dishonored.” 
Art, Ms. Rich added, “means nothing if it simply decorates the dinner table of power which holds it hostage.”

A delicious deal from Publisher's Lunch: Barbara Taylor Sissel scores 2-book deal at auction!

From Monday's Publisher's Lunch:
Barbara Taylor Sissel's EVIDENCE OF LIFE, about a woman caught in a web of lies after her husband and daughter go missing during a camping trip to the Texas Hill Country, challenging everything she believes about her family and her life, to Erika Imranyi at Mira, in a two-book deal, at auction, by Barbara Poelle at Irene Goodman Agency (World English).
Barbara Taylor Sissel is something of a Cinderella story. Her first novel, The Last Innocent Hour, was published by a small literary press in the '90s. She was orphaned not long after when her agent left the biz. Last year, frustrated with the pace and tone of the stumbling publishing industry, Sissel indie pubbed The Ninth Step and The Volunteer and brought her debut novel out of the vault on Kindle.

Readers responded big time. Fans of Picoult-style situational drama and Shreve-caliber writing downloaded tens of thousands of copies. Reviews raved, and the rest is history.

Look for EVIDENCE in bookstores next spring, and for a limited time, grab The Ninth Step for just $2.99 on Kindle.

Congratulations, Bobbi!

Are thongs allowed in literary fiction? (Robert Bausch joins LeagueXA)

When I asked our newest member, Robert Bausch, to send me a brief bio, he responded with:
"Robert Bausch wears a thong most of every day. He started writing around ten this morning and in spite of limited success, he continues to do it. He's getting old. When he looks in the mirror it shocks him. He is considering removing the thong and wearing something more appropriate, like a sarong, or maybe a pair of hunting boots and a parka. He has published numerous articles in various magazines and once promised somebody that he would return their call."
He quickly reassured me that he was kidding and sent the more predictable version that included his various literary prizes and honors and professorial credentials. But it was too late. I already wanted to read all his books.

Critics have been heaping praise on the guy for years, so it's good to see that hasn't gone to his head. (According to O Magazine: "Being inside the minds of these characters is an experience so intimate...it almost blinds you with love." And Washington Post Book World says, "Bausch [writes] with consummate style."

His latest, In the Fall They Come Back, is the story of an idealistic young teacher taken beyond the standard boundaries of human compassion and frailty by three students in whose lives he becomes involved.

Reviewers have praise it as a "compelling story with indelible characters" and "rich and unforgettable. If you aren't moved, and moved deeply, you're not paying attention."

FREE weekend read: THE LAST INNOCENT HOUR by Barbara Taylor Sissel

Barbara Taylor Sissel's riveting debut novel, The Last Innocent Hour, compared to Iris Johansen and Daphne du Maurier, is out of the vault and FREE on Kindle this weekend!

Something twisted is stalking the Cunningham family. It lurks at the periphery of Beth's vision. Her husband Charlie can't help, if she could even remember him; he's doing time for a murder he didn't commit. The small child Beth was found with, whom she doesn't know either, was taken to foster care. There isn't much time now. If Beth doesn't recall the hideous events that stole her memory soon, the killer will strike again, and someone else will die.

Download The Last Innocent Hour FREE and settle in for a great weekend read.

FREE on Kindle: Election year #MustRead MILKSHAKE by Joanna Weiss

As the primaries continue to suck my head inside out, I keep thinking about one of my recent favorite reads: Milkshake, the debut novelist of laser-sharp, funnier-than-an-Etch-a-Sketch Boston Globe columnist Joanna Weiss.

When she tries to feed her baby in an art museum, new mother Lauren Bruce suffers a wardrobe malfunction and finds herself at the center of a political firestorm, dealing with political rallies and talk show appearances in addition to breast pumps, perfect-mommy friends, and post-baby sex.

Jenna Blum, NYT bestselling author of Those Who Save Us, sums it up: "Smart, compassionate, gently ferocious and always hilarious, MILKSHAKE is about the spectrum of women's mothering choices, breasts, breastfeeding, and babes, and how competition doth make fools of us all. Utterly charming."

And since it's all about the economy this year, you'd be downright unAmerican if you didn't grab it FREE today on Kindle!

Download THE LONG DRUNK and score a free poster

For a limited time, screenwriter Eric Coyote's hilarious debut novel, The Long Drunk is available FREE on your favorite e-reading platform.

And if you ask very nicely, he'll send you this great poster too!

From the *starred* Kirkus review:
"The novel is in top form during scenes highlighting Murphy's crew of homeless friends... An unshakable noir with a protagonist learning along the way, but beyond the more overt genre traits is a rewarding story of a man's unconditional love for his faithful companion."

For details and download, visit www.EricCoyote.com.

Nice shout out from UK book blogger, Ceinwenn

Our authors got a nice shout out from UK book blogger Ceinwenn this week:
For those of you who have never heard of Linda Gillard, check her out. I’ve read all but one of her books & have enjoyed them all... Thanks to Linda I now have 4 new authors I am investigating (having downloaded their books while they were free!). ...Swedish for Beginners by Susanne O’Leary, Megan’s Way by Melissa Foster, The Ninth Step by Barbara Taylor Sissel & Before the Fall by Orna Ross. I’m looking forward to reading these books (but being a Swedophile, I’m especially looking forward to Swedish for Beginners!)
Thank you, Ceinwenn! I'm pretty proud of this bunch in general and a huge fan of all the writers mentioned above. (I don't invite anyone to join until I've read and loved at least one of their books.) Enjoy!

I'm also a fellow Swedophile. My grandfather was from Sweden, my grandmother from Norway, so I grew up loving lefse, lingonberries and the lilt of Scandinavian languages.

Tack så mycket, flicka!

Visit Ceinwenn's Book Ramblings here and grab Swedish for Beginners FREE on Kindle today and tomorrow!

Start the week with a great FREE read! Susanne O'Leary's SWEDISH FOR BEGINNERS

FREE today through Wednesday: Susanne O'Leary's contemporary novel of love and disillusionment, Swedish For Beginners.

When her father dies, Maud learns that her mother, the beautiful Eleonore, whom she had never known, was from Sweden. She travels to Stockholm to meet her Swedish family and discovers both a new country and a mysterious past that shatters Maud’s fantasy of the fairytale princess she had always believed her mother to be.

"Susanne O'Leary's atmospheric and captivating novel reminds one a little of Stieg Larsson's The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. But Swedish for Beginners is not as violent as Larsson's novel. O'Leary has a more lyrical quality to her writing. She keeps the reader guessing on several strands, until the final denouement." The Irish Indepenent

Download it FREE on Kindle!

Perfect weekend read: HIPPIE BOY by Ingrid Ricks

Looking for a great weekend read? Grab Hippie Boy: a girl's story by Ingrid Ricks for just $2.99 on Kindle.

Per the PR:
What would you do if your Mormon stepfather pinned you down and tried to cast Satan out of you? For thirteen-year-old Ingrid, the answer is simple: RUN.

For years Ingrid has begged her free-wheeling dad to let her join him on the road as a tool-selling vagabond to escape the suffocating poverty and religion at home. When her devout Mormon mother marries Earl―a homeless Vietnam vet who exploits the religion’s male-dominated culture to oppress and abuse her family―she finally gets her wish.

Ingrid spends the next few summers living on the margins while hustling tools with her dad and his slimy, revolving sales crew. He becomes her lifeline and escape from Earl. But when her dad is arrested, she learns the lesson that will change her life: she can’t look to others to save her; she has to save herself.

CROSSING WITH THE LIGHT: the poetry of Extraordinary Author Dwight Okita

Still available in paperback: Dwight Okita's unique poetry collection, Crossing With the Light, which contains one of the most reprinted poems about the internment of Japanese Americans during WWII. "In Response to Executive Order 9066" has appeared in many textbooks and anthologies. It's a glimpse of a moment in American history through the eyes of a teenage girl, personal rather than political. The poet's life as a gay man is illuminated in "When Frank Walks In" and "Where the Boys Were," a poem inspired by the AIDS crisis.

Okita's work has been featured in the Chicago Reader, Chicago Sun-Times, Fox Evening News, the TV show "Image Union" and National Public Radio.

If you haven't read Okita's novel, The Prospect of My Arrival, grab it FREE today only, pour yourself a nice glass of pinot and settle in for a beautiful reading experience.

Thursday Freebie! MEGAN'S WAY by Melissa Foster

Melissa Foster's multi-award winning family drama, Megan's Way, is FREE today only on Kindle.

"Megan's Way was inspired by a true and very personal event," says Foster. "Many years ago, my mother had undergone surgery for what I was told, at the time, was a benign condition. Years later, she revealed to me that there had been an oncologist in the operating room - the doctors had thought she had cancer. She also confessed that had they found cancer, she would not have sought treatment. Upon hearing this, I instantly reverted into a little girl again. What? How could you leave me? The emotional impact of that event, and what that loss would have meant to both of us, festered for years - until Megan's Way was born."

"Beautiful and tender portrayals...very enjoyable read on the order of a Jodi Picoult novel." The Bookish Dame

Live from SXSW: 3 quick observations and a thank you freebie

Terrific audience at the indie publishing panel yesterday at SXSW. Kat Meyer of O'Reilly Media led the lively discussion and did a great job bringing out both the nuts and bolts aspects and the "why" of it all.

A few quick impressions:
Marty Beckerman is flat hilarious. He's the person you want to sit next to at the dinner party.

The new cover for Neal Pollack's Jewball is evocative and very cool. (Though I will miss the flaming basketball.) Look for it later this month exclusively on Amazon.

My hotel is full of Germans.

Thank You freebie!
Thanks to everyone who came. As promised, Crazy for Trying is available FREE on Kindle today and tomorrow. Enjoy!

Indie Revolution: Extraordinary Authors Neal Pollack & Joni Rodgers at SXSW

This afternoon at 5 PM at the Sheraton Austin, Kathleen Meyer moderates SXSW panel discussion "Self-Publishing: A Revolution for Midlist Authors" with indie/traditional crossover authors Neal Pollack, Marty Beckerman and Joni Rodgers.

Per the PR:
Self-publishing's moment has arrived. Authors both famous and obscure are releasing their own ebooks,cutting out the middleman, bypassing the gatekeepers of a notoriously hard-to-break-into industry, and sometimes making huge profits. But it's midlist authors, established but not bestselling, who stand to benefit the most from the self-publishing boom. This panel, comprised of already-published authors who are either trying to or intending to self-publish, will examine the benefits, pitfalls, and potential of self-publishing, and will point the way toward a new self-reliant digital future for book writers.

Dwight Okita reads "Farewell Samba" on Ira Glass show

1) Take a break and listen to Dwight Okita read the poem "Farewell Samba" from his book Crossing With the Light on Ira Glass' radio show.

2) Help me encourage Dwight to bring this book out of the vault as an ebook.

3) Buy Dwight's novel, The Prospect of My Arrival. (What's more delicious than prose written by a poet?)

If you love Jodi Picoult, read THE NINTH STEP by Barbara Taylor Sissel

Read The Ninth Step by critically acclaimed author Barbara Taylor Sissel FREE on Kindle this weekend!

Sissel writes intense, topical family dramas loved by fans of Jodi Picoult and Anita Shreve. Per the PR:
Livie Saunders is fluent in the language of flowers; she taught the meanings to her fiancé, Cotton O'Dell, but then Cotton vanishes without explanation on their wedding day forcing Livie to learn the language of desolation. Heartbroken, she buries her wedding gown beneath a garden pond and resolves to move on, but there are nights when she slips . . . into a sequined red dress and a pair of stiletto heels, a stranger's bed, a little anonymous oblivion that is not without consequence. Still, she recovers a semblance of ordinary life and imagines she is content. But then, six years later, Cotton returns and her carefully constructed world shatters...
THE NINTH STEP is a story of redemption that will take you through the weekend and stay with you long after. FREE on Kindle for 48 hours only!

A little ghost story and a haunting novel from Mylène Dressler

Don't miss this beautifully eerie little ghost story from Mylène Dressler's blog.
"The next day, at mid-day, I look out. No one. Nothing. No movement. Only the interior, connecting doors are a little wider open, as if they are growing braver..."
After you read it, you'll be hungry for more Dressler. Download her gorgeously haunting novel, The Deadwood Beetle for just $5.99 on Kindle.

Joni Rodgers' THE HURRICANE LOVER is free on Kindle this week!

The Hurricane Lover, a delicious game of cat and mouse involving a firebrand scientist, an ambitious reporter, and a con artist using chaos as cover for identity theft and murder) is free on Kindle today through Friday. Rodgers, a bestselling author and ghostwriter who lives on the Gulf Coast, volunteered during relief efforts in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and experienced Hurricanes Rita and Ike firsthand.

"I wanted to share the story of that summer in a very personal way," says Rodgers. "With human faces, families, all the love and heartache and laughter that is part of life, even in the most extreme situations. I wanted readers to know what happened here. We witnessed enormous destruction and a lot of dirty deeds, yes, but we also witnessed the power of compassion and an overwhelming tide of lovingkindness. That's what I hope readers will take away from this novel: there are more good people in the world than bad. And whatever our differences, we are capable of loving each other."

The Hurricane Lover is a delicious game of cat and mouse involving a firebrand scientist, an ambitious reporter, and a con artist using chaos as cover for identity theft and murder. Rodgers weaves actual weather and news broadcasts and emails sent and received by FEMA officials (later made public through the Freedom of Information Act) into a tale of two cities, two families, and two desperate people seeking shelter from the storm.

Click here to download FREE on Kindle.

"There is always something left to love." (Happy Birthday, Gabriel Garcia Marquez!)

Gabriel García Márquez, Colombian-born author and journalist and winner of the 1982 Nobel Prize for Literature, is 85 today. Affectionately known as “Gabo” to millions of readers, he is the patron saint of recovering creative writing majors and late-night corner bar philosophical debate.

My favorite line from One Hundred Years of Solitude: "There is always something left to love."

And then there's this:
“If I knew that today would be the last time I’d see you, I would hug you tight and pray the Lord be the keeper of your soul. If I knew that this would be the last time you pass through this door, I’d embrace you, kiss you, and call you back for one more. If I knew that this would be the last time I would hear your voice, I’d take hold of each word to be able to hear it over and over again. If I knew this is the last time I see you, I’d tell you I love you, and would not just assume foolishly you know it already.”
Yes, please.

Our new Facebook page: LeagueXA

We've revamped our Facebook page in accordance with the driving philosophy of FB: "If it ain't broke... redesign it until it is!"

Stop by and flip us a LIKE. We'll keep you posted on our goings on, daily deals, frequent freebies and just the right amount of random amusements. (No kitten posters. We promise.)

Up front right now is the new trailer for Eric Coyote's The Long Drunk.

Check it out.

Past the gatekeepers and out of the vault!

You won't find any amateurs here. Only seasoned professionals -- bestselling, critically acclaimed and award-winning authors -- handpicked by Stella Link founder Joni Rodgers, who's debut novel, Crazy for Trying, was originally published by MacAdam-Cage and short-listed for the Barnes & Noble Discover Award.

Since then, Joni's been published by HarperCollins, Random House and Simon & Schuster, and she continues to work with Big 6 publishers while releasing select backlist and new titles through her own digital imprint, Stella Link.

Most of us in the League of Extraordinary Authors made it past the proverbial gatekeepers long ago and are still being published by big name publishers and at small literary presses. That means readers will find the same quality they expect from big name publishers, but because indie authors have a much lower overhead than traditional publishers, we're able to offer these terrific books at reader-friendly prices!

Check out our "Old Friends & Backlist Bargains" widget in the right hand sidebar. All these titles were originally pubbed in hardcover and paperback by big name and literary presses. Out of the vault as new ebook releases, they've got fresh indie spirit and often include bonus content, sneak peeks and other special features you won't find in the original hardcover and paperback editions.

Barbara Taylor Sissel signs with Goodman Agency

Our extraordinary authors are thriving!

This week, Barbara Taylor Sissel was signed by literary agent Barbara Poelle at Irene Goodman Literary Agency.

Sissel is one of my all-time favorite authors, whose debut novel, The Last Innocent Hour, was pubbed by a small literary press back in the 1990s. After Sissel's agent left the biz, she was marooned for several years, during which she fought the good fight and refused to compromise her vision as an artist.

Last year, Sissel took matters into her own hands and indie pubbed The Ninth Step and The Volunteer, both of which immediately garnered glowing reviews and tens of thousands of downloads, rocketing to the top of various Amazon lists. Meanwhile, she continued working on another novel and started kibitzing with Poehlle, who'd previously expressed an interest in her work.

"She is fantastic," Sissel posted on Facebook. "Initially when she read the story, she made editorial suggestions that, as I worked with them, were amazing to me in the way they so exactly fit my vision and sharpened the story's focus. She was at the top of my list as far as literary representation goes I so hoped when I resubmitted the manuscript to her, she would contact me. And she did!"

Barbara Taylor Sissel embodies the Extraordinary Authors brand -- "indie spirit combined with traditional craft skills" -- so the Goodman Agency is a perfect fit. As many in the publishing industry are struggling to cope with changes, Sissel and the Goodman Agency are among the thrivers. Why? 

"The answer is simple and timeless," says agency founder Irene Goodman, "a great story always sells. Good writing never gets old. The technology may change, but we’re ready to embrace whatever format emerges, as long as it contains a story that stops us in our tracks."

Personally, I can't wait to see what The Barbaras do as a team.

3 Great Weekend Reads on the cheap!

Looking for a great book to take you away from it all this weekend? Here are three great reads I can personally highly recommend, each for less than $3:

Milkshake by Joanna Weiss
When she tries to feed her baby in an art museum, new mother Lauren Bruce suffers a wardrobe malfunction -- and becomes the "Joe the Plumber" of the breastfeeding wars. A sexy politician, running for Massachusetts governor, enlists Lauren to help her win the women's vote. Breastfeeding advocates, who call themselves the BOOBs, want to make her a true believer. And a group called the MOMs -- for "Mothers on Modesty" -- wants everyone to cover up. Now, Lauren has to decide where she stands, all while dealing with political rallies, breast pumps, talk show hosts, perfect-mommy friends, and post-baby sex.

The Ice Chorus by Sarah Stonich Per the Booklist review: "In this tender, elegantly told love story, Liselle flees her native Toronto for a small village on the Irish coast. As she slowly incorporates herself into the lives of the villagers, Liselle recreates the circumstances surrounding the bitter breakup of her 18-year marriage. While accompanying her workaholic husband on an archaeological dig in Mexico she met Charlie, a gifted painter. When he mounts an exhibit of eight shockingly intimate portraits, she is forced to make a decision. Stonich effortlessly conjures multiple vivid settings and uncommonly interesting characters even as she moves seamlessly between the past and present. A subtle, lovely evocation of the transforming power of love."

Before the Fall by Orna Ross
In 1923, Dan O'Donovan, an Irish Free State soldier, was found dead in the notorious sinking sands at Mucknamore. Was he a victim of the civil war that tore this village apart ? Or lured to his death for other, more personal, reasons? Now it is 1995 and Jo Devereux has returned to Mucknamore from San Francisco, pregnant and troubled, to uncover the silence that surrounds this event in her family history. "Magnificent...hauntingly captivating." Sunday Independent

Help us trend #WorldBookDay today! (Justin Bieber can trend tomorrow again tomorrow.)

Happy World Book Day, a worldwide celebration of books and reading, marked in over 100 countries all over the world! Please share this link and help us get books trending on twitter and Facebook!

Stella Link's League of Extraordinary Authors is an international, multi-culti, genre-transcending coalition of authors who've stepped off the map to combine indie spirit with traditional craft skills in a whole new kind of publishing.

Check our Amazon widget on the right. EVERY book is under $5!

Visit the Stella Link eBookstore and shop with the convenience and security of Amazon while supporting indie artists.

Follow us on Facebook for frequent freebies and special offers.

We're only a few weeks old, but we're growing, and we're dedicated to bringing readers the same high quality they expect from big name publishers at prices that make reading an easy addiction to live with.

Extraordinary Authors at AWP

Attending AWP 2012? You might bump into one of the Extraordinaries.

Today at noon, Dawn Raffel, author of Carrying the Body and the forthcoming The Secret Life of Objects, will participate in a panel discussion, Prettying Up the Baby: Publishing Creative Nonfiction in a Challenging Market, with Ava Chin, Marion Winik and Bridgett Davis.

Per the PR: "Journalists, editors, and memoirists address crafting relevant nonfiction for a changing market—one that increasingly requires writers to have a wide skill set."

Tonight, look for Dwight Okita, author of Prospect of My Arrival, at the Guild Literary Complex reading and performance offsite at Jak's Tap.