Category Archives: Author Spotlight

Rose Ann Kalister Brings Her Rich, Vibrant Heritage to Life on the Page

Sister of Saidnaya captures the story of a girl who immigrates to America from Syria with her parents in the 1920s.  The saga chronicles her challenges to assimilate as a young woman, and her challenge to preserve her heritage with her children as she grows older.

While it’s a fictional account, Rose Ann Kalister, the author, modeled the story after her own family, and their experience growing up in the Ohio Valley.

“I grew up being asked ‘What are you?’” Kalister explained. “When I gave up trying to explain, I took the questioner to my home. Mother hugged my friend, put sweets in front of her, and asked where her family was from.”  Kalister’s book answers the same question with a rich, compelling, dynamic story of life in America in the 20th century.

Much of Kalister’s research came from her family, including her brother Charlie. “Many readers said they knew little about Syrian people even though there were Mediterranean people in their community.”  By combining her rich cultural heritage with her gifts as a storyteller, Kalister wove a story that illuminated a culture that is relatively unknown, despite frequent mentions in the media.

Kalister is an award-winning playwright, and her experience shines through the page with skillful, poignant dialog that brings her scenes to life. Kalister said that the reactions to her book have been tremendously positive and enthusiastic. And her online reviews agree.

She credits the excellent reception to the book in part to the production team of her publisher, Boyle & Dalton. “Before Brad Pauquette’s developmental edits, my improvements had stalled and I didn’t know why,” Kalister explained of her writing process.  “Pauquette’s thoroughness, clarity, problem solving, and honesty in the second edit helped me apply my narrative and dramatic skills. Emily Hitchcock’s understanding and suggestions were no small part of the production process.”

And as for Rose Ann’s reaction when she first held her book in her hands—“Incredulous, relieved, and happy.”

Sister of Saidnaya is available from all major retailers in print and digital formats.  Find it on Amazon here, or Barnes & Noble, or ask for it at your favorite bookstore.

Chris Sumlin – Preparing First-Generation College Students

Christopher Sumlin AuthorChris Sumlin isn’t waiting for an invitation to step into greatness.

At only 24 years old, Chris Sumlin is the published author of two books, Dealing with This Thing Called Life and Dealing with This Thing Called College. Both books are published by Boyle & Dalton.

Dealing with This Thing Called College was released in February of this year, and has already garnered Sumlin a slew of earned media opportunities, in print and on television.

“As much as I felt excitement when I held my book for the first time, I also felt responsibility,” Sumlin explained. “I knew that this book was a charge for me to become more confident, believe in myself and try to sell my book to anyone who would listen.”

And people are listening. The book, still in the early stages of its marketing lifetime, is collecting 5-star reviews on Amazon and Goodreads. The reviews are littered with comments like “Excellent insights,” “I couldn’t put it down,” and “This book is phenomenal.”

Coming from a low-income background in Columbus, Ohio, Sumlin was told not to attend Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia. It was too expensive and he wouldn’t make it. But he did attend, and he not only earned his degree, but has gone on to graduate studies at Boston University. It’s important to him to share what he’s learned with other first-generation college students who might be intimidated.

Dealing with This Thing Called College by Chris Sumlin“We don’t prepare students for college like we think we do. There is a lot to learn about college,” he told me. “I hope my readers will understand that I’m no different than them and that they can truly do anything they put their minds to.”

When it comes to publishing his books, Sumlin explained that he loved the opportunity to work with professional editors and production staff to improve his craft. His storytelling technique has evolved considerably from his first book to his second. “I enjoyed getting criticisms from my publisher about character development,” he said. “The critiques help me grow so much as a writer. “

Chris Sumlin’s dream is to step into a prominent role in the television industry, and he’s on the right track to make that happen. He’s already interned for both FOX and BET, and his recent TV appearances prove that he has what it takes to engage an audience. Like one of his role models, Dr. Brene Brown, he’s not afraid to be vulnerable and speak the truth.

So what happens next? According to Chris, “I hope to just keep growing, keep perfecting and getting better as a storyteller.”

In the meantime, Chris’s wisdom is on the shelf, waiting for young readers. Dealing with This Thing Called Life and Dealing with This Thing Called College are both available from major bookstores worldwide, in print and digital editions.

As we submerge ourselves in high school graduation season, Dealing with this Thing Called College is the perfect graduation gift. Your graduate will enjoy reading it, and hopefully they’ll avoid some of the (often humorous) antics Chris Sumlin wasn’t prepared for. Find it on Amazon here.

Learn more about Chris Sumlin on his website www.TheChrisSumlin.com.  Or find him on Twitter or Facebook.

The Abundant Bohemian: Reviews Are In!

We’re coming up on the one year anniversary of Joe Downing’s fantastic non-fiction book,cover with border The Abundant Bohemian. This book provides the philosophical paradigm and practical tools you need to escape the slog of corporate culture and find the better life that’s calling to each of us.

But don’t just take our word for it. Check out these selected reviews from other readers, and then pick up your own copy of The Abundant Bohemian here.

“Three cheers for The Abundant Bohemian by Joseph Downing. Designed to inspire greatness in everyone who reads it, this book is full of wisdom, insight and DIY suggestions about living a life of interest — one we are proud to call our own. Real life Bohemians are interviewed and studied in detail to provide us with examples to prove that a life we love isn’t just possible, its doable starting right now.”

–Amazon reviewer

“While finding a way to chase one’s muse and still pay the bills can be difficult, the determined do whatever it takes to live the life they love and love the life they live. Joseph Downing falls into the latter category, and his new book serves as a clarion call for like-minded individuals.”

–Rusty Pate, Dayton City Paper

“The title of the book really caught my eye but it only took a few pages to capture my soul. I loved this book! I rarely give 5 stars but there was just something about this inspiring and entertaining book that really hit home with me… My only complaint was I ran out of pages before I was ready.”

–Goodreads reviewer

“Joe Downing has lit the path for all of us who know that a better, more abundant life is possible. An informative, inspiring read!”

–Amazon reviewer

Interested in becoming a Boyle & Dalton author? Learn more about our submission process here. 

Website Launch for The Abundant Bohemian

Boyle & Dalton author Joe Downing just launched a cool new author website! Check it out cover with borderhere: AbundantBohemian.com

Joe’s website design and development was completed by Columbus Publishing Lab.

Downing’s new website is a platform where he can  share blog posts and updates with his readers, as well as spread the word about his book, The Abundant Bohemian.  Although Downing’s book was released less than six months ago, it’s already garnering fantastic reviews from readers.

“This book will open your mind to some creative ideas. Many of the ideas may have crossed our minds before but we are accustomed to dismissing anything that does not fit within our comfort zone. I finally found a book that put my thoughts on paper and even expanded on them.”

-Amazon.com reviewer

Downing’s book is a guide to practically living the type of unconventional, freeing lifestyle most of us only dream about. Drawing from his own experiences, as well as those of some famous Bohemians, Downing provides his readers with one-of-a-kind insight into living a more fulfilling life.

The research for this book was so life-changing that if I had to burn the manuscript when finished I still would have written it.

-Joe Downing

Learn more about The Abundant Bohemian and Joe Downing at www.AbundantBohemian.com.

Interested in becoming a Boyle & Dalton author? We are now accepting manuscripts. Submit a sample for review here.

Author Spotlight: Joe Downing

When we decide to publish a manuscript at Boyle & Dalton, we become invested in the cover with bordersuccess of the author. It’s great to see hard work pay off, and we love celebrating our authors’ accomplishments. We recently sat down with Joe Downing, author of The Abundant Bohemian, and learned more about his creative process.

The Abundant Bohemian extols the benefits of working less, while still making a living, and finding time for the simple pleasures life affords us. Find The Abundant Bohemian on Amazon.com here.

B&D: Why did you decide to write The Abundant Bohemian? What was your inspiration for the book?

JD: Seven years ago I was a minor partner in a law firm working fifty or more hours a week and having to follow someone else’s rules and value system. I had no time or mental energy left at the end of the day to pursue my passion of creative writing. I was miserable and thought I hated being a lawyer. After two years of fear-based dithering I took the risk and quit the firm and opened a small private practice, convinced that I would fail. I didn’t. Because I now kept my profits without giving the majority of it to senior partners and I no longer wasted time in pointless meetings, I was able to cut my hours back to less than thirty-five a week, and in my first year I made more money than my best year with the firm. Most importantly, I had my autonomy and my time back: I now could pursue my writing. I discovered I didn’t hate being a lawyer, I hated someone else controlling my work life. After this, I became evangelical about helping people find ways to do what they love. I spent two years interviewing entrepreneurs and creatives, including writers, artists, dancers, and sculptors, on how they followed their passion and still managed to not just survive, but to thrive. Those interviews became the basis of The Abundant Bohemian.

B&D: In the book you draw from lots of other sources–interviews, quotes, experts from other work etc. What was the research process like for you?

JD: The research process was a labor of love. The people I interviewed were passionate, energetic, and eager to share their secrets. I met amazing people, who then referred me to even more amazing people. The process caused me to reevaluate my views on risk, security, the role of money, and how work that you love is really play. I also drew on many historical figures whose stories have much to teach us. The research for this book was so life-changing that if I had to burn the manuscript when finished I still would have written it.

B&D: How does living the Bohemian life impact your writing process?

JD: Living the Bohemian life is making an affirmative commitment to the value one puts on one’s art. I have all my material needs met, but I try to keep those needs minimal because the time I am not working at my law practice is time I can devote to my writing. I actively seek out and engage other people passionate about their art and their energy feeds my creative process. The Bohemian life values art over material wealth, autonomy over security, authenticity over status: all things necessary to be a contented writer.

B&D: You wrote a blog post a few months ago, and in it you talked about finding success in publishing a book, regardless of the number of copies you sold. How has that outlook impacted your publishing and/or writing experience?

JD: I knew I had to be prepared for the book to be well received and I had to be prepared for it to be criticized, or even worse, ignored. I was passionate about writing the book and that leads to expectations. But I knew I had to detach myself from what came next. How others respond is out of my control, but how I experienced the writing of it was all mine. The lessons I learned and the people I met inspired me and changed my life. I’m a different person than I was when I started the process four years ago. That is the true compensation and value I received. If others benefit and enjoy it, all the better. But the experience justified the time and labor involved. We all want to be validated. We want our work to be respected, appreciated, and consumed. But the act of doing it? That’s where the treasure lies.

B&D: Why did you decide to publish with a hybrid publisher like Boyle & Dalton instead of pursuing the traditional publishing route?

JD: I attended the San Francisco Writer’s Conference several years ago and although I learned a lot, much of what I learned was quite depressing. The majority of the promotion and work to get a book to its audience has shifted from the publishing house to the author. Unless you are already an established best-selling author, little support is given. Without a well-developed platform already in place, few publishing houses will take a risk on a new author. And if you have developed a strong platform, you have to ask: why do you need the publisher in the first place? Technology and the Internet has opened up a new world for writers and other creatives. And many bestselling authors who have published with major houses, such as Tim Ferris and James Altucher, are now self-publishing their books because they were disappointed with the archaic methods and lack of support from traditional publishing houses. They discovered they can do it better themselves. I didn’t want to wait around for some self-appointed gatekeeper to decide whether or not my work was worthy to share with the public. When I chose Boyle & Dalton I received excellent content and copy editing, design and marketing help. And my work and its destiny remained in my hands. That’s what the Abundant Bohemian is all about: people pursuing their art on their terms and making it work. It would have been hypocritical of me to follow any other path.

B&D: What advice do you have for authors who have finished, or are working toward finishing their first manuscript?

JD: First, make it the best work it can be. Many authors rush to publication before their books are ready and then are disappointed when they get rejected or the world doesn’t embrace their work. Take the time and do the hard work of learning the craft of writing. Join a writing group and get feedback from talented writers who will be honest with you. Remember that most writing is re-writing. Read books in the same genre as yours and know your market. Build a platform via a blog, website and social media. Network with other writers and support them. This is not a one-way street. And only when you know you have written the best book you can possibly write, submit it for publication.

B&D: What are you working on next?

JD: I’m continuing to expand and grow my blog at www.abundantbohemian.com, where I explore the themes of creativity, autonomy, financial freedom, and creating fully authentic lives. I’m in the process of creating a Dayton, Ohio based literary journal with author Jenny Monet. And after spending the last four years on nonfiction, I’m excited to be starting a new novel.

If anyone has an interesting story about how they thrive pursuing their art, I would love to hear from them and promote them on my blog. They can write to me at joe@abundantbohemian.com.

Interested in working with Boyle & Dalton? We are now accepting new manuscripts for review. Send us a sample here, or contact us at info@BoyleandDalton.com.

Ours Is the Storm: Now Available!

Ours Is the Storm by D. Thourson Palmer, the latest release from Boyle & Dalton, is now perf5.000x8.000.inddavailable as a paperback and e-book on all major markets.

Find Ours Is the Storm here.

They held each other for a long time, and just as Ahi’rea was about to cease her Sight and go to the fire, Mother spoke again. “He butchered them. Halkoriv. He butchered Teh’rahin and the others. I’ve never seen anything like it. The dark came from inside him, and it ate them.” Father brushed her hair and held her, but she went on. “The dark came from him and ate them, and when it lifted there was nothing left but blood and bone.”

-Ours Is the Storm

Revik Lasivar knows he is a savior. He knows he will never be defeated. He knows he is fighting for good.

Everything Revik Lasivar knows is a lie.

Revik is the prophesied heir to an ancient power, born to deliver his kingdom. Ahi’rea is the nomad seeress fighting to destroy it. As Ahi’rea leads her warriors to his border, Revik embarks on a last crusade drive them out. When the savior and seeress cross swords, however, the deceptions they uncover will change both of them, and their world, forever.

Ours Is the Storm is a gripping story of betrayal and redemption. From its opening chapter to its thrilling conclusion, this book will keep you immersed in a world of harrowing adventure.

Find Ours Is the Storm on Amazon.com here, or click the icons below to purchase the book from other online retailers.

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Author Spotlight: D. Thourson Palmer

We recently announced that we’ll be publishing D. Thourson Palmer’s debut novel, Ours Isperf5.000x8.000.indd the Storm. We had a chat with Palmer about his creative process, and finding inspiration when writing. Get some insight into this Boyle & Dalton author here, and look for Ours Is the Storm on January 14, 2015.

Interested in becoming a Boyle & Dalton author? Submit your manuscript here. 

B&D: Ours Is the Storm is your first novel. Have you always been a writer? What inspired you to take the leap and write a 350+ page book?

Palmer: Even when I was young I loved books. I remember my parents reading these great, weird Uncle Wiggily stories to me, and my mom always made sure I had a book near at hand. I found a massive box of old books in the garage once, including a set of the 1960s editions of Lord of the Rings. They were in terrible shape and I put them back together with scotch tape, and they’re still on my shelf. From the time I could hold a pencil I used to write and illustrate little stories – even before I could write. They were just marks that were as close as I could get to words, filling pages of notebooks I kept around. I started longer stories and novels time and again throughout school, but it wasn’t until college and after that I started finishing stories in between classes. Ours Is the Storm somehow just kept getting longer until it was done.

B&D: What’s the writing process like for you? Do you find it easy to write, or are you forcing hands to keyboard like most of us?

Palmer: I wouldn’t say easy, but one thing that does come to me is the freedom to be crappy. Just to write, and write poorly, and fix it later. That may have come from OITS too, as when I started on it I didn’t really know what I was getting into. I didn’t start with much of an expectation or plan for it. Something else that helps is writing longhand. I write everything in pen on paper first, because it’s too much work to go backwards and edit. My work rate plummets when I’m typing. I spend way too much time fixing and adjusting individual words or agonizing (futilely) over phrasing. When I’ve got an empty notebook and a pen, though, there’s nowhere to go but forward.

B&D: What was your inspiration for OITS? I know you’ve done some traveling–did you channel any of those experiences into your writing?

Palmer: Definitely. At the time I started OITS, I was assistant-teaching English at a high school in Japan. Being pretty far out of my element, being unable to speak to most people, that was something that made it into the book. Learning about other people, other places, and comparing those things to what I always thought I knew but didn’t. Feeling lost. Actually getting lost. I got stuck on a mountain climb once while the sun was coming down, a good couple hours from anything, again in a place where I could barely speak to anyone. This was also around the time it began to occur to me that a lot of my life wasn’t going to be what I had long thought it would, but that didn’t mean it was going to be bad. Just different than expected.

B&D: Which character was the most fun to write?

Palmer: I think Tak’la ends up a lot of people’s favorite, and he’s hopeful and good and all the best things. He’s a stupendous fighter, and I like writing kick-ass fights. I liked some of the side characters the most, characters that aren’t always in the fore. Draden was fun, oddly enough. The Rider was fun to write. Rahi’sta surprised me, I started her in as an aside and she just kept coming back or poking herself in where she hadn’t been before.

B&D: Why did you decide to go with a hybrid publisher like Boyle & Dalton instead of seeking a traditional publisher?

Palmer: I like the idea of working in the community. I’ve been a lot of places but I love Columbus, and I want to see good things come from this city. Collaborating with individuals, instead of some conglomerate or committee or whatever, that’s awesome. I like being able to get away from dollar signs and tell the stories I want, the way I want, and indie and hybrid publishers like Boyle & Dalton are part of that ability. Ursula K. Le Guin spoke at the National Book Awards recently (also, go read The Left Hand of Darkness, I command it), and she said we need “writers who know the difference between the production of a market commodity and the practice of an art.” I don’t know if  can put myself in the latter camp, but I want to.

B&D: Do you have any advice for first-time authors who have just completed a manuscript?

Palmer: Don’t stop now. Do it again.

B&D: What are you working on next?

Palmer: I tried to overturn or examine some fantasy tropes in OITS while still staying in the genre, and that was fun, so I’m working on a tragic, heroic family saga, set in Feriven, like OITS. The next book follows three generations of the heroic Warden family, and mostly it’s them doing their best and everything going awfully wrong. It’s about watching these heroes and really getting into the insanity that would be part of their lives. All the violence, the loss, the expectations – there’s a little bit of work out there where the heroes have to deal with that stuff, but not a lot.

Ours Is the Storm will be released to all major retailers on January 14, 2015. Interested in becoming a Boyle & Dalton author? Submit a manuscript for review here.