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2017: Here We Go

Winter has come. In Northern California, there continues to be more rain and snow than we’ve had in a long time. The weather is a blessing, and hints of a lush, green spring.

To my friends and family, the New Year seems to bring excitement and foreboding in equal measure, as 2017 rings in uncertainty. At Raincloud Press, our authors have been busy sharing on their blogs, and I’ll put some links to the highlights here:

I am enjoying the cold and slower pace of winter, and the goal of taking time and not rush. It feels like an important gestation period for the various projects happening at Raincloud. I can feel the potential building for our first mainstream novel, House of Rougeaux (to be published most likely a year from now). The design team and the editors are gearing up and by April we should have the first physical copies and artwork to share.

If you haven’t already, please check out our currently available titles which are available everywhere.  Or order by phone directly from our distributor in Chicago (800)888-4741.

 

Happy New Year,

Erika Lunder

Publisher, Raincloud Press

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Raincloud Press Titles Receive the 2016 Best Book Awards

best_book_award_badgeThis is an especially good day at Raincloud Press. All three books that we published this year became finalists in the 2016 Best Book Awards! From Ashes Into Light is a finalist in both Fiction: New Age and Fiction: Visionary. For the Love of Meat: Nine Illustrated Stories is a finalist for Fiction: Short Stories. And Spot 12: Five Months in the Neonatal ICU is a finalist in Comics: Graphic Novel.

From_Ashes_Into_Light_Award_Cover_90This is a huge honor for us! It’s great to have the talent of our authors, Gudrun Mouw and Jenny Jaeckel, acknowledged in this way. For Gudrun Mouw and her debut novel From Ashes Into Light, this is her third award. Although her reviews on Goodreads have been mixed, the award judges are picking this book again and again. There really is nothing like From Ashes Into Light: spiritual fiction about some of the world’s biggest tragedies and a soul who reincarnates through the ages. The narrative is poetic and shifts between four main characters, making it perhaps a little complicated for those used to genre fiction.

Our lead title for Fall of 2016 is Spot 12: Five Months in the Neonatal ICU. The Best Book Award is the first award for this title and we are thrilled. Spot 12 is an adult comic book about the author Jenny Jaeckel’s time in the NICU with her newborn who was born with a genetic condition. The baby Asa survives a harrowing first five months. Spot 12 is getting great reviews and by word of mouth is transforming how friends, families and strangers are viewing the NICU experience.

For the Love of Meat: Nine Illustrated Stories by Jenny Jaeckel got squeezed out of it’s summer publication spot so that Raincloud Press could transfer all our titles to a new distributor (Small Press United). For the Love of Meat was published in October alongside Spot 12, but without the same media attention. That wasn’t the original plan. But some books gain notice after slowly building fans, and this is what For the Love of Meat will probably do. Some of the biggest fans of this collection of short stories are librarians, who can appreciate the Latin flavor of this multicultural and multinational collection.

meat_front_3_small-copyWhat’s Next

We had a few titles scheduled for 2017, but I’ve pulled those to make room for House of Rougeaux, Jenny Jaeckel’s debut novel now scheduled for the beginning of 2018. This is a novel of a lifetime and we need a whole year to midwife our precious manuscript. Thanks go out to our test readers who are bouncing up and down with excitement over this title, and also managing to give insightful and helpful feedback. Next step, professional editing and cover mock-ups. Advance copies should be ready by June 2017.

Raincloud Press is publishing quality literature, inclusive literature and narratives that feed the best of what people have to offer: Community, love, overcoming oppression, humor, racial and spiritual tolerance and harmony, and an LGBTQ supportive environment. Something about that feels so radical right now. And I just can’t put my finger on why…

 

 

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Spot 12 ~ Published at Last

img_1254We have been very busy all summer getting ready for the publication of Jenny Jaeckel’s two latest books: Spot 12: Five Months in the Neonatal ICU and For the Love of Meat: Nine Illustrated Stories. Two very different books that ended up publishing in the same month because of delays over the summer.

If you need some recommendations for Spot 12, Jaeckel’s memoir about her baby who spent 5 months in the NICU because of a congenital condition, see this review from the blog tour: Lovely Bookshelf. Or you can go to www.spot12book.com for a list of about 12 reviews that went up during our blog tour that just ended today.

For the Love of Meat is Jaeckel’s first collection of short stories and reading it is like taking a mini-holiday around the globe. We did a review campaign on Amazon, getting advance copies in the hands of reviewer, and you can read the reviews if you want to hear what people are saying. Of course, both books are on Jaeckel’s Goodreads page, which is always a great place to go to decide whether you want to read a book or not.

As the publisher, October was very demanding. I’ll be glad to put my feet a little up in the coming months. But there’s not too much time for rest, because Jaeckel’s first novel is out to the first batch of test readers. After the next rewrite, I’ll be getting together with our editor, cover designer and publicist to begin to get House of Rougeaux in shape to be published in March 2018.

Yikes! That’s a long time from now! But the better the book, the longer it takes to come out because everything has to be just so. I won’t say anything more, except that this is an amazing full-length novel.

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Spot 12 Makes PW’s Fall Announcements List!

Spot_12_Cover_90Spot 12: Five Months in the Neonatal ICU is publishing in October this year during the very busy Fall Book Season. We are working extra hard to get the word out, so this amazing graphic memoir doesn’t get lost in the shuffle.

This week has been full of good publicity! We learned that Kirkus Reviews chose their review of Spot 12 to be printed in their print magazine, which one of their marketing team told me they only do for 10% of their indie reviews. Now I just saw Spot 12 on Publishers Weekly Fall Announcement List. That’s so great! This list lets librarians, bookstore owners, and bookstore employees know what are the exciting titles for Fall.

For those of you who are advance readers and want to hear more about Jenny Jaeckel’s journey with her special needs infant, you can visit her blog . She just wrote a new post about the first year out of the hospital. And all summer she will be writing about the years following Spot 12 (Asa is now 11 years old).

Spot 12 also has a dedicated website with more detailed information. Check it out here. We are still in a transition while our titles switch over exclusively to IPG (SPU) Distribution, so stay tuned for ordering details to be posting later in the summer.

Spot 12 Description

Spot 12 delivers the gritty details of a mother, a newborn, and a five-month stay in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) in a visually gripping graphic memoir by Jenny Jaeckel. A routine prenatal exam reveals a dangerous problem, and first-time parents find themselves thrust into a world of close calls, sleepless nights, and psychological crisis. Surrounded by disagreements, deaths, extended family tensions, and questions of faith, the mother struggles to maintain a positive frame of mind.

Against the antiseptic, mechanical reality of the NICU, the dedicated health professionals are drawn as sympathetic and wry animal characters. Doctor Eyes and Nurse Gentlehands are two of the care providers that do all they can to take care of Baby Asa. But even the best hospital staff make mistakes, and Jaeckel and her husband’s vigilance must be acute. At times they battle feelings of helplessness, but their determination, insight, bravery, and connection ultimately helps keep their little one alive.

 

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Diversity at IBPA’s Publisher’s University

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Electric Bike for Borrowing in Salt Lake City, #PubU2016

Every year I consider going to IBPA’s conference Publisher’s University. This year, one of the reasons I chose to go was that IBPA brought in Newberry Award Winner Kwame Alexander to do the keynote speech. I live in a small college town where there’s is a great used bookstore, but never nationally renowned author events. I miss living in the Bay Area where there are so many events to chose from and a very diverse population. And as a publisher with multicultural titles, I was interested in learning more about success in the genre.

Kwame Alexander was an incredibly inspirational speaker. He appeared to have an endless amount of enthusiasm for the subject of publishing, and had such an awesome story about his own journey. Kwame encouraged us to tweet his hashtag #KwameRules which was fun. Then a huge gaggle of us went out to the hall to purchase one or more of his 12 books. I purchased “Surf’s Up” for my boys (aged 4 and 6). I came home yesterday and read it to them last night–they loved it!

I was happy to see a lot more diversity in the attendees than in the conference I attended two years ago and in the award winners in the Benjamin Franklin ceremony. It was heartening to me because I feel like the gaps that the big publisher’s leave is mainly in the non-white, non-male subjects like, for instance, Native American heroes (represented by In Search of Nampeyo by Steve Elmore, Benjamin Franklin Gold Medal Winner). But I don’t want to fall into romanticizing diversity either. From a White person, that is unsavory.

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There is an edge I learn more about walking every day. How to be a thoughtful, engaged White person, who is not frightened by my own blind spots, but that goes out and tries to remedy them. I could not do it with out others pointing out privilege and sharing their personal stories about discrimination. And I’m grateful for the diverse stories out there.

In that vein, I talked to a lot of different folks at the IBPA conference about Raincloud Press’ forthcoming book that is in Spanish. This will be a big adventure learning how to get the graphic memoir Spot 12 (Spanish: Cunero 12) to an American Spanish-Speaking audience. I’m looking forward to what I will learn.

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Taking the TRAX to the airport, #PubU2016
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Reincarnation and Tolerance

Four Ways Exploring Reincarnation Can Help Dispel Hate

  •  If we come back lifetime after lifetime, then we are bound to have lives as both men, women, gay or transgender people, as Asians, Natives, Blacks, Latinos and Whites, Christians, Muslims, Jews, Hindus, and Buddhists. Think about this before you judge anyone.
  • If you are inexplicably drawn to someone, it may be you’ve known each other in a past life! These experiences cross social, racial and economic barriers. Don’t be afraid, see what the connection is.
  • Everyone has their own path for this lifetime. Often, things don’t work out exactly how we’d planned. Chances are, you have had lives both with great status and power, and with great need. Don’t waste time wishing things were different. When you reincarnate, it will be.
  • When we hold tightly to grudges, they can follow us into the next lifetime, lessening our happiness and creating conflicts. Clean up your emotional baggage now, and be kind to your future self.

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Terrifying for the Racists

In a time of unimaginably hateful, fear-based crimes, readers seek books that help give a positive message and make sense of the chaos around them.  From Ashes Into Light is that balm to those who are sick of the violence and callowness reported in the news, but want relevant and contemporary topics.

​In Gudrun Mouw’s forthcoming novel, From Ashes Into Light, the narrative plunges into the darkness, but always comes up for air. Through the alternating protagonists, we are immersed in new perspectives of the Holocaust, seen through a young Austria Jew, and of the enslavement and Genocide of the Native Americans, seen through a boy who successfully evades capture. A third protagonist, Friede, a white girl, a war-refugee, helps bring the suffering of the past into a contemporary perspective by experiencing the other two as past lives. Friede overcomes a terrifying childhood suffering at the hands of her father, an untreated PTSD-suffering veteran, and has help overcoming her personal history by integrating the history of the past. Her message is tolerance and being true to your own knowing.

Raincloud Press is publishing From Ashes Into Light on February 26th, 2016. Available now for preorder.