Saturday, December 22, 2012

Looking Forward to 2013

Lystra Books and Literary Services will be busy in 2013. Here's what readers can look forward to:

  • Two books from Nancy Peacock, the reissue of her first novel, LIFE WITHOUT WATER, and a brilliant new book, PERSIMMON WILSON. They will be available as both ebooks and print books.

  • I will soon publish as an ebook a non-fiction piece that explains the origins of my novel, UNTIL PROVEN: A MYSTERY IN TWO PARTS. The non-fiction work is entitled TIME OF DEATH.

  • I look forward to revising and rewriting and publishing a novel, STONE SOUP. It is set in a mill town in North Carolina and explores the beginnings of the mill town culture, something that lasted less than 100 years but changed the South in profound ways. It will soon be forgotten, I fear. Hence, STONE SOUP. Do you remember the old legend by that name?

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

More Firsts

First Reading: It was fun . . . a nice group, bought lots of books and were very kind in their comments. A writer's dream.

A new friend, Kathy, made very nice display for me.

First Bookstore: On the "New Mystery" Table at Flyleaf Books.Believe me, it's a thrill!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012


As a publisher and author,** I have read a lot about how books come to be bought and sold. There are detailed marketing plans and some clever ideas out there, but here is how it works: readers buy books that are recommended by a trusted person. Don't you?

Of course that trusted person could be a famous reviewer with a national following, but he or she is more likely to be a friend or family member. Sometimes he or she is a total and anonymous stranger. I've gone to Amazon just to read reviews, haven't you?

So if you've read a book that pleases you, make the author smile. Write a review for or for Tell five people. Buy it for a friend.

The author who has sold millions of copies and the one who has sold tens of copies have this in common. They were readers before they were writers. And when they put the hours, days, weeks, months and years into a book, all they want is for one reader to like it and to tell another reader about it.

I promise that's true. You may be thinking that Fame and Fortune must be involved, because why else would someone spend years on such an uncertain enterprise. I will promise you something else. F & F are rare in this crazy enterprise. Where they do exist, it is because way back in the misty past, one person liked a book and told another person about it.

So ultimately, if you love to read, it's worth your time to make a writer smile. It is what keeps him or her going.

**Until Proven: a Mystery in 2 Parts, written by Nora Gaskin, published by Lystra Books and Literary Services, LLC.

Saturday, October 27, 2012


I advise writers I work with to discover what their characters like to eat, what they drink, how they dress, and what music they listen to. All those details reveal something about the characters.  You know all of the final scenes in Agatha Christie books, the scenes that assemble all of the suspects in the drawing room so the sleuth can reveal the truth? What would those scenes be without wardrobe, a tea table, a drinks cart, and someone tinkling away on a piano in the corner?

And the details keep the writer amused, too. It helps the creative process.

Now I'm a publisher (Lystra Books and Literary Services) as well as a writer and I've discovered a whole new world of details.

For a print book, the manuscript must be uploaded as a PDF. For an ebook, it must be a DOC. And I don't mean DOCX, I mean DOC. But a plain old DOC isn't good enough. It has to be reformatted in mysterious ways. The instructions run a hundred pages or so.

Amazon doesn't play with Barnes and Noble, or Apple or anyone else. Thus, multiple uploads are needed. My beloved indie booksellers don't want to carry print books produced by certain companies. More uploads. I still don't know for sure if I've gotten Until Proven: A Mystery in 2 Parts signed on with Google Books. Would someone please try to order and tell me what happens?

And I'm a newly hatched marketer as well as a publisher, so there's SEO to worry about. And websites and Facebook and Twitter. It's a good think I like technology and embrace social media.

But I want you know, the publisher and writer aren't nearly as amused by their details as the writer should be.

My publisher and marketer selves are glad to have and acknowledge who has helped--copy editor and book designer, Kelly Lojk, formatter, John Low of http://ebooklaunch, and web designer Trudy Thomson of Thanks, y'all!

Monday, October 22, 2012

And The Good News Is...

LYSTRA BOOKS: Good stories well-told for readers

The good news is Lystra Books and Literary Services has published Until Proven: A Mystery in Two Parts by Nora Gaskin.

Two young women are murdered in their homes, forty years apart. Their deaths have the it-can't-happen-here horror that tears into the heart of a community, in this case, the small Southern town of Piedmont, North Carolina. Their deaths have the it-can’t-happen-here horror that tears into the heart of a community, in this case, the small Southern town of Piedmont, North Carolina.

The two families aggrieved by the first murder suffer again with the second—and find that four decades are not enough for healing. When the old scars are torn off by the second murder, the pain of each is magnified.

Until Proven is a mystery, a family saga, and an examination of how a community changes--or doesn't.

Buy it now from for your Kindle, from for other devices, and from Google Books to support your local independent bookstore. See for more information.

Coming soon: the printed book. Watch this space!

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