Brand Name or Generic?

There are about ten things going on in my mind to blog about today, so bear with me as I ramble. I am so thankful for my busy days and stacks of to-do-stuff. Without those stacks I would become a bit worthless. Every pile of notes and printed out paper have some kind of valuable information inscribed on it. As I look around my workspace I can count six different mounds of information. Each with an identity of it’s own. Do this, do that, call, email, fax… it is never ending. I must be the most fortunate person on the planet. But sometimes… Gigi (that’s what my granddaughter calls me) likes to play!


Oh yes, I am a prehistoric party animal, now confined to the old age horror of becoming a hermit. I heard on an interview the other day that a book signing is one to the best things writers can do for themselves. Why? Not because they might sell a few books, but because the signings get them out of the house. Yes, writers are a rare breed. Some people isolate themselves because they are depressed. Others just stay in because they don’t like people, or even themselves. Well, writers stay in because we have so much company that we can’t get away. Our heads are full of so many people visiting that we can’t socialize with them all, much less get out and find new friends.


Sometimes the visitors are not characters that we created ourselves, but creatures from distant planets fashioned by other writers. I have fallen in and out of love with many authors during my lifetime of reading. My first love was as I’ve stated many times before, “The Boxcar Children”, by Gertrude Chandler Warner, which I read while in third grade. There have been many others along the way, and then in high school I found the classic love stories of Kathleen Woodwiss, “Ashes in the Wind”, “A Rose in Winter”, “Petals on the River”, and “Shanna”, I could go on and on. Then I sort of stuck with the current name brand authors, like Danielle Steele, Mary Higgins Clark, Sandra Brown, Nora Roberts, Fern Michaels, Luanne Rice, and Christian novelist, Leisha Kelly. I have read hundreds of books by these ladies. Forgive me, but I sometimes break the sisterhood pack and stray to male authors like, John Saul, John Gresham, Nicholas Evans, Paul Young, Richard Nance, and James Alexander Thom and of course… that rouge, Nicholas Sparks!


What wonderful authors all the above are, but the gist of this blog is not to focus on the above, most of whom are New York Best Sellers, but to tell you of some of the finest authors I’ve stumbled upon on my journey the past few years. Some of the best writers may not have even been discovered yet. I’ve recently read three books by first time authors, “The Help”, by Kathryn Stockett, “Color Me Butterfly” by L.Y. Marlow, and “The Shack” by W. M. Paul Young, absolutely great reads. Somebody took a chance on these aspiring writers and look at the beautiful, and meaningful words these newcomers have composed.


Then there are those authors like me who have had their work published by a small press such as Lucky Press. What a blessing these small presses are. They reach out and take new authors under their wing. Mentoring, encouraging, and basically hand feeding us until we’re ready to take flight, soaring out into the world with our first published novel in our hands, a dream come true. These presses may not be name brand, like Doubleday, Dorchester or Simon & Schuster but as in most other things, the generic version is often just as good, and sometimes even better than those name brands.


I have read the classics such as “The Poisonwood Bible” by Barbara Kingsolver, and John Stinbeck’s “East of Eden”. Great works! But… not to go un-noticed were the other great works I’ve come across. “Journey of the Chosen”, and “The Secrets of the Sword” by Richard Nance, “Smoky Mountain Magic” by Horace Kephart, “Storming Heaven” and “The Unquiet Earth” by Denise Giardina.


Then from my own family of Lucky Press authors, “Max and Menna”, a heart-wrenching story of children who are left to fend for themselves as their mother drowns herself in the bottle. The story of “Max and Menna”, by Shauna Kelley will touch you to your very core. Then there is “There are no Words”, by Mary Calhoun Brown. A story that takes you into the body and soul of an autistic little girl named Jaxon. This gripping, suspenseful tale of friendship, challenge and intrigue will stay in your heart for a long time. Did well-known authors write these two novels? No. Were they written by authors who have shown us their talent? Yes. Watch out Nora and Danielle, Shauna, and Mary is on the prowl. Two other new releases from Lucky Press, LLC are “Dappled Glory”, by Diane Mechem Kinser, and “The Prophet of Sorrow”, by Mark Van Aken Williams. Both are on my reading list.


I am also very excited about the release of several other new novels this year by Lucky Press. “Norah”, by Cynthia Neale, “Leaving the Hall Light On”, by Madeline Sharples, “My Beginning”, by Melissa Kline, “String Bridge”, by Jessica Bell and “Santa’s Brother, Santa Claus: Paper Doll”, by the founder of Lucky Press, our own Janice Phelps Williams. For a complete list of Lucky Press authors and their titles visit the Lucky Press website at www.LuckyPress.com.


I know I’ll still wander back and pick up a brand name now and again, like Charles Frazier or Catherine Anderson, but my desire for quality and value will always make me take a look at the generics first.

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