Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Echook Promo and Giveaway

Let eChook take you away

The best of two worlds have merged to bring the overworked and under-rested 10-minutes of transcendent bliss. Award-winning short story writer Tessa Smith McGovern has wedded the restorative nature of getting lost in a story to the immediacy of modern technology to bring readers eChook. More than brain candy, eChook offers apps full of well-written short stories that soothe the soul like 10-minutes of literary gourmet chocolate.

Taking from the idea of the chapbook -- small, single-chapter books that were the latest technology in 16th-century England -- McGovern developed eChook, an app that turned her linked short stories into digital chapbooks. She wanted to reimagine the short story genre for a generation that does too much and rests too little. “Life-affirming, thoughtful stories can help us relax so we can attend that next meeting, collect the kids or greet our families with more energy and joy,” McGovern says.

There are several ways to enjoy eChook. Readers can buy full-color chapbooks from the app store in almost a dozen ways: on their iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, Android, from or iTunes, and coming soon on Kindle or Nook. Choices include collections of short stories linked by a single theme (such as Memoir) or collections of linked short stories that follow engaging characters through different adventures. Each app features information pages with enriched content such as “About the Author,” and “Memoir and Fiction.” eChook offers short stories that are light in your pocket and on your pocket book.

I look forward to speaking with you about the biggest little thing in publishing and escaping to a relaxing world in the palm of your hand.

Tessa Smith McGovern was born in Croydon, Surrey, England, shipped off to boarding school at 11, and left home for good at 16. She worked as a sales assistant in a jewelry shop, a secretary in a second hand car dealership, and sang in a band. At 22, she lived in Spain for a year, working as a waitress, followed by a year in Austria as a nanny, then a tour guide. She moved to the United States at age 30.

Her first short story was published in 1996. Many of her early stories were what we call short shorts, sometimes referred to as flash or micro fiction. They were indeed short, between 100 and 750 words. Tessa believes that “A short short is like a poem. Every word matters. I love the way they can capture those moments when the ‘cotton wool of daily life’ parts to reveal something unexpected.”

After a few years of publishing short shorts in literary magazines, Tessa began to notice a tendency towards what she calls catastrophic thinking. It dominated her short-short stories and had started to seep into her daily life. “One day,” she says, “I was walking my dogs on the beach and saw a helicopter appear on the horizon. I imagined it firing at me, shots landing on the beach, fountains of sand gushing like tiny oil wells ino the air. My heart started to pound and my face and chest got hot, and I realized my imagination wasn’t doing me any favours.”

That’s when she began writing longer pieces of about 1500 words. These, she felt, would give her more dramatic options. “By accident, I discovered there are two types of short short stories. There are the snapshot stories that fully describe a moment, like Virginia Woolf’s ‘Green’, that are usually up to 750 words in length. Then there are the longer short shorts, often between 750 and 2000 words, which have a beginning, middle and end.” She found that stories with a more complex narrative required some plotting, and that the rapid-fire, spontaneous eruptions of imagination became diluted by more leisurely periods of consciously-directed thought. “The flood of characters and situations slowed down for me, and the writing process turned into a delightful balance of plot and inspiration.”

Then she discovered humor. “One day, I read about a group of senior citizens in England who were stealing all the free biscuits at their local cinema every Wednesday morning. The cinema handed out a letter, reprimanding them for being biscuit-thieves, and they were deeply offended.  It was so funny I put it into a story called ‘Hissing Sid’ and was amazed to find that, every morning, I couldn’t wait to work on it. Now I strive to pinpoint those moments when reality and happiness meet. Life can be painful, but there are times when things turn out well. I’ve discovered that there’s always something funny lurking nearby, if we can relax enough to see it.”


Just a few days ago I received a wonderful eChook Swag bag.  It contained wonderful cocoas, a tea bag, a nice tea/coffee mug, lip balm, a mouse pad and a very nice reusable library or grocery bag with the eChook logo.  It was a wonderful present to unwrap.  If you would like one of your own, simply fill out the form.  Giveaway ends May 4th and is open to continental US only.  Thank you to Tracy at Meryl L. Moss Media Relations, Inc. for this wonderful giveaway.

If you can't see the form, you can find it here