BookExpo Publishing Shift

BookExpo was once a group of traditional publishers with a sprinkling of indies. As an expo attendee from 2008–2017, my observation of traditional publishing is stagnant content published with a 1950s business model. A new world of publishing has evolved due to the contagious enthusiasm of indie business models.

Indie publishers not only bring new and original content, but publish it well. This has created a shift within hybrid to self-publishing businesses, offering authors once unattainable reviews, awards, and national marketing opportunities.

In 2017 BookExpo changed their name and limited indie inclusion. The expo suffered in size and attendance. Ingram Content Group is now one of the largest BookExpo exhibitors, offering workshops at BookExpo like “How To DIY Publish.” Robin Cutler, an upcoming FAPA Annual Conference speaker, participates in Ingram’s growth and is a resource in FAPA’s vision for members’ success.

—Mark Wayne Adams, SYP Kids Creative Director & FAPA Past President

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OUTBACK: Moment Two

This complimentary excerpt from OUTBACK: Bothers & Sinisters. Read the Introduction and Moment One also.

—•—

MOMENT TWO

PERSPECTIVE

“Welcome to the Outback!” The open-armed stranger soaked in the panoramic hillside view. “That is shonky business about your brothers and sisters.”

Driew was awed at the sunset’s radiance. “Call them bothers and sinisters. They’ve used those names my entire life.” Driew’s voice cracked.

“Why?”

Driew tried to speak, but his voice had succumbed to dehydration.

“You need water before you go hoarse—which might not be a bad thing.” Like an Olympian, the stranger heaved a wooden disk from a pile of fieldstones, revealing a well. He pulled at the well’s rope until a water-laden bucket appeared. The stranger filled the canteen with water.

“Drink. Best Outback water in the county, I guarantee.”

The metal container chilled Driew’s lips at the touch. Its contents not only quenched his dry palate, but also his hangin’ feelings.

“I agree! Best . . . drink . . . ever,” said Driew.

While drinking in the refreshing view and water, Driew contemplated how he would respond to the question about his family’s moniker for brothers and sisters. He handed the canteen to the stranger.

“Hey! Mate to planet earth! Are you avoiding my question?” prodded the stranger.

“Imagine you’re the only normal kid you know,” said Driew.

“I am! You confirmed that, mate,” said the stranger.

“You’re hilarious—NOT! I’m not only their ‘lil bother,’ but also the smallest and darkest member of my family.”

“You’re literally the black sheep of the family!” laughed the stranger. “You make bloody good stories. Go on.”

“Misspellings like bother, sinister, and our names are a historic Qweepie family birthright. Qweepie is pronounced like it sounds, and is always followed by chuckles,” said Driew.

“You have issues, mate. Not only creepy, but you can’t spell it either!” The stranger slugged Driew’s shoulder.

Be them ever so cruel, there’s no family crueler than ours, Driew contemplated before responding. “You wouldn’t understand the humiliation.”

“Oh, I understand! There are some real haters in this town. I’m Gulia. Spelled with a G instead of J. Kids call me Goo-lia, Gruelia, Moolia, and a list of bloody hurtful and ignorant combinations,” said Gulia. “What’s yer name, mate?”

“You’re a girl!”

“Too right, mate! Don’t I stand out like a shag on a rock?”

“What’s with your pirate talk, mate? Does everyone here talk like you or is it Talk Like a Pirate Day?” asked Driew.

“I adopted words when visiting Australian relatives,” said Gulia.

I need an Australian dictionary to understand her, Driew thought. “That makes sense. My name is Driew; also misspelled, with an ‘I’ after the ‘R.’ My bothers tease that an odd baby needed an odd name,” said Driew, with a crooked grin.

“We have one thing in common, weird names!” Gulia smiled.

“Two things actually. My dad and Ida Mae, our housekeeper, tell me to play out back. Outback, we have in common,” Driew returned her smile.

“Okay. Bizarre names and the Outback, two things we share.” Gulia passed the canteen to Driew. “What brings you to my Outback?”

“Dad inherited a farm years ago. Since it didn’t sell, we’re here until it’s sold, which I hope won’t take long,” said Driew.

“Which farm?”

“The one where you rescued me,” said Driew.

“That old dump! People live there?” said Gulia, gagging dramatically.

“I know. Mom says magic can be found in the ugliest places. A magic goldmine must be buried there,” said Driew. “Our Wekiva Springs house must have had no magic because it was beautiful.”

“Wekiva Springs. Never heard of it. Is it near Dawson Springs?” asked Gulia.

“No. It’s a subdivision near Wekiva Springs State Park, near Longwood, Florida,” Driew answered.

“Moving from one spring and state park to another. You must not like change,” said Gulia.

“I don’t understand?” said Driew, shrugging.

“Wekiva Springs to Dawson Springs. Wekiva Springs State Park to Pennyrile Resort State Park. You’re about eight miles from Pennyrile,” said Gulia, pointing away from town.

“Oh, I didn’t know!”

“I don’t see the magic in your farm either. But like I said, people dump treasures on Old Hospital Road all the time. Your farm appears to be the biggest dump of treasures around,” chuckled Gulia.

“Old Hospital Road? Where is New Hospital Road?” asked Driew.

“I’ll show you,” said Gulia, signaling Driew to follow her into a tree near the well. They rested in the comfortable cradle of a twisted branch.

“See Outwood Bridge? It’s not used much. A long time ago, Old Hospital Road led to Outwood Hospital beyond those trees. Built in the 1920s for soldiers coming back from World War I, it even had a golf course. They called the road Hospital Road. The new road is Highway 109. Locals call the hill from Dudley Riley Bridge to the top ‘Hospital Hill.’ Don’t ever step onto the road at the bottom! People drive way too fast through there,” warned Gulia.

“Why would they build a new road when a good one already existed?”

“Who knows why people stop using perfectly good routes? I do know the old, unused road and your rundown farm are eyesores in my Outback. Both are mostly hidden until fall when the leaves drop and I can see both of them from my bedroom window,” said Gulia.

“Sorry.” Driew wished many things in life stayed hidden. Not only his farm, but also his childhood memories of unacknowledged pleas. That’s not cool. That’s not right. Don’t! Stop, STOP, STOPPP! PPPlease. These resurfacing memories drowned out his good times. “Why doesn’t my sinister like me?” asked Driew.

“Boomerang! You must have hit your noggin on that scarecrow. What do you mean, mate?” said Gulia, giving a cross-eyed look.

“Boomerang? Definition please,” said Driew.

Boomerang—my word to avoid saying something mean. Like ‘right back at you’ or ‘come again.’”

From the Qweepie farm, Nieve clanked a cowbell to summon Driew home.

“I’ve got to go,” sighed Driew, disappointed to leave his judgment-free listener who, as an added perk, lived within sight of the farm.

“Driew, holdin’ a grudge means letting mates live rent-free inside your noggin.  Time for their eviction letters,” Gulia encouraged.

“Unfortunately, my sibling grudge owns the deed to my mind.” Driew smashed his fist into his palm. The force stung, causing him to shake off the pain.

The cowbell interrupted their conversation, followed by a more determined call from Nieve.

“I gotta go!” said Driew.

“Here, one last swig for the road.” Gulia tossed the canteen to Driew.

He finished the last sip of cool Outback water then leapt from the comfortable branch. “I’ll see you around the Outback,” said Driew, running toward home.

“Hey, mate! You’re the best roadside treasure I’ve found in the Outback—a scarecrow with a brain!” Gulia watched Driew descend the hill.

Driew’s perspective of his Outback was not clear like Gulia’s Outback water. The pumpkin patch and the tree line were concealed by dusk’s darkening hold. A sprinkling of fireflies twinkled in the foggy air. Like the pumpkins, Driew was maturing.

Nieve called southern slang lazy-talk. Some of her words like dija, y’all, and prolly were Driew’s favorite words. Gulia’s slang wasn’t southern, but boomerang was sort of like lazy-talk, and it was a word he could adopt.

Speaking a combination of Kentuckian and Australian slang—how cool, Driew thought. He sensed speaking Australian words made Gulia feel closer to her Australian relatives. Her words made her unique!

— • —

Marq found the house’s torn window screens obstructed his view from inside and had not rushed to replace them. Their absence freed the night air to blend with the fragrant smell of southern cooking. Driew enjoyed this open-air lifestyle.

Bits of plastic jugs, stacks of decaying vehicle cushions, and bald tires were strewn around the front yard. The eyesore Gulia saw was clear from this distance.

Nieve beckoned Driew from their two-story concrete house’s side porch. The rest of the Qweepie family had gathered in the dining room.

“Driew Dawin Qweepie, where were you, baby doll? Dinner is ready!” Nieve hugged him, happy he had returned from out back.

She hung the heavy cowbell beside the door and gave it a pat. Great placement, she thought. “You’ll save my voice,” she whispered. Overwhelmed by the work ahead of them, tears welled within her as she surveyed their Kentucky farm. She gently kissed Driew’s forehead, removing straw from his hair. I don’t want to know, she thought. “You’re a mess! Wash up before dinner.”

They strolled through the aged 1930s doorway to dinner.

—•—

Text and illustrations copyright © 2016 by Mark Wayne Adams. All rights reserved. Family Tree Novel is a SYP Kids imprint.

OUTBACK: Moment One

This complimentary excerpt from OUTBACK: Bothers & Sinisters. Read the Introduction and Moment Two also.

—•—

MOMENT ONE

HANGIN’

“Be them ever so cruel, there’s no family crueler than ours!” Driew Qweepie’s hooded tormenter chuckled. “Go! Here comes that Brown kid!”

Four teenage silhouettes bounced through the overgrown pumpkin patch, their escape concealed by the shadowy tree line.

Fall’s first cool breeze crept through the once popular town of Dawson Springs, ending the suffocation of summer’s dog days. Driew Qweepie’s tween body hung limp in his overalls from the scarecrow’s post. Cawing crows, darker than his hair, mocked him from their perch above.

His eyelids rose and fell over eyes of blue and green. Heterochromia, the condition was called, thought to be hereditary, or caused by a disease or an injury. Since he was healthy and the only family member with heterochromia, Driew’s explanation was an unimaginable injury. His siblings teased, “Dropped on your head is your problem.”

Thick wire-rim glasses obscured the condition. Non-family members awed at Driew’s pleasing appearance. His dark complexion, chocolate ringlets of hair, and dwarf-like size made him a doll for sure.

As he hung from the scarecrow’s perch, his consciousness swayed like a porch swing in a gentle wind. The hangin’ left him to reflect on his family hierarchy. An unwritten historical timeline that flipped through his mind recalled a decade of prank-filled albums created by four tormenting siblings. Soon his eleventh year would bring new volumes of teenage tortures.

Labeled “little bother,” he was the youngest and lowest ranking member in the Qweepie family. From the first moment of his life, he learned trust was not easily earned. His bothers’ and sinisters’ torments had worsened since moving to the Kentucky farm.

His parents, Nieve and Marq Qweepie, uprooted their Florida lives to resolve nasty letters received about their farm’s demise. Marq listed the property for sale after his father died and never intended to return. Ida Mae, the caretaker during Marq’s absence, became feeble and unable to maintain the farm properly.

“She needs you. She needs you,” a voiced echoed melodically, awakening Driew. His heavy eyelids rose to reveal a hazy heterochromic gaze reflecting his own.

“PSST! Holy Dooley! You alive mate? G’Day! Here down under!” a voice called below him.

Driew’s light-sensitive eyes focused on the pumpkin patch. Behind the scarecrow’s post, the setting sun cast a veil of darkness over the stranger. “Wh-wh-who are you? Wh-wh-what do you want?” Driew’s voice screeched into the silent patch.

“I heard whimpers. Thought I’d find an abandoned pup out here, or something entertaining. People dump treasures off this road all the time.” The stranger pointed toward the road leading to the Qweepie farm.

Scarecrow was an elevation from being a “little bother.” This prank signified his torturous life—a pawn to ward away intruders.

“No worries. They aren’t coming back,” coughed Driew.

“Who did this, mate?”

“My bothers and sinisters.”

The stranger tugged at Driew’s overall straps, releasing him from their confines. The stranger backed away in awe of Driew’s glide to safety.

A whirling cloud of dust howled through the patch. Crows abandoned their perch, alerting the hillside of the disturbance.

“A willy willy! Let’s rack off! These spirits give me the heeby jeebies!” The tween stranger grabbed Driew’s overall straps and led him away.

—•—

Text and illustrations copyright © 2016 by Mark Wayne Adams. All rights reserved. Family Tree Novel is a SYP Kids imprint.

OUTBACK: Introduction

This complimentary excerpt from OUTBACK: Bothers & Sinisters. Read Moment One and Moment Two also.

—•—

INTRODUCTION

“Before you can understand your family tree, you must uncover its magical roots.”

M. W. Adams

A family tree supports various magical branches throughout extreme conditions. Its survival requires continual sacrifice. Therefore, when a diseased branch causes imminent danger, it is shed. Its loss is felt deep into the roots.

In Aboriginal culture, family stories are told in sing-song, a repeated, rhythmic voice rising and falling over the Australian continent. When a family member is lost, speaking his name is forbidden. His spirit continues through sing-song until his family falls silent.

Modern society records life through silent words, written with the belief that one hundred forty characters will exist perpetually. When a family member dies, his name is liked and shared until an algorithm deletes his wall. Modern society lives in the now and rarely explores its family’s deleted past.

Both cultures send children to play in their Outback. In this magical land, thought to be a childhood safe haven for creating memories, children are lost, stolen, or barely escape. Their extreme Outback adventures are buried, never to be unearthed through words or song.

For generations, the family tree records words and sing-song that wind deep in its core. Children playing in or around the tree may accidentally sever or uproot disturbing moments hidden in their Outback.

—•—

Text and illustrations copyright © 2016 by Mark Wayne Adams. All rights reserved. Family Tree Novel is a SYP Kids imprint.