Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Press Release: Best First Novel of 1935 Published Digitally by Author's Grandchildren

September 27, 2011
Contact: Libby Sternberg 717.898.3554

Best First Novel of 1935
Published Digitally by Author’s Grandchildren

Istoria Books (eBooks You Want to Read at Prices You Want to Pay ™) proudly announces the publication of The Old Ashburn Place by Margaret Flint, winner of the Dodd, Mead Pictorial Review Prize for best first novel of 1935.

Flint is the late grandmother of Istoria Books’s president, Matthew Sternberg. He, along with his sister, Leslie Lebl, and cousin, Sara Barnacle, decided to make the book available in e-formats after Barnacle and other family members had made several attempts to bring it back into print. For Flint’s grandchildren, this project was a labor of love.

During the Depression, Margaret Flint wrote a series of eight novels set in rural Maine in the first half of the 20th century. Published between 1935 and 1942, they were part of a movement to preserve the memory of rural American life during an era of dynamic and rapid social change. The Old Ashburn Place was heralded by critics as an early example of the modern psychological novel.

“This ‘resurrection’ of a great novel is one of the many benefits of e-publishing,” says Sternberg. “It’s allowed us to make this wonderful book available to a new generation of readers in a 21st century format.”

Barnacle, who lived for many years near her grandmother’s town of West Baldwin, Maine, says the project was more than just a sentimental journey for the grandchildren involved.

“My grandmother has been a lifelong inspiration to me. Not only for her soft molasses cookies and wonderful understanding of children, but as a woman of substance. Her books involved complex character studies that captured a point in time in rural New England. They’re a treasure trove of emotional as well as historical detail. I can’t wait for new readers to find The Old Ashburn Place.”

Granddaughter Leslie Lebl concurs. “The book is also a love poem to western Maine, a very beautiful part of the country,” says Lebl.  “Her descriptions have such immediacy that you feel as if you’re standing there yourself, taking in the view.”

No electronic version of the book existed prior to the Istoria Books publication. Istoria scanned and converted the print version, painstakingly proofreading and formatting it for e-publication. It also features an introduction written by Barnacle. Istoria even tracked down the original artwork and has reproduced it on the cover of the e-version.

The Old Ashburn Place is available for Kindle and Nook.

Margaret Flint’s papers and records are now kept by Colby College in Waterville, Maine.

An essay from the Colby Quarterly about "The Maine Farm Novels" of Margaret Flint can be found here:

Read two 1936 Time Magazine articles about The Old Ashburn Place and Margaret Flint here and here.


As the second oldest member of the Ashburn "tribe," Charlie Ashburn takes his family
responsibilities seriously. He toils relentlessly to keep the rural Maine farmstead going, honoring
his mother's legacy by supporting, along with his siblings, the college education of brother
Alfred and the schooling of others in the clan. In his own unschooled view, the sacrifices he
makes are well worth it if they produce a household that is "beautiful, entire and clean."

Tranquility shatters, however, when Charlie becomes smitten with a well-off girl, Marian
Parks, and entangled with his brother Morris's wife, Elsie. While Marian flirts and tantalizes,
Elsie ensnares him, leading to an existential crisis that ultimately determines Charlie's future.

Margaret “Peg” Flint was born at Orono, Maine in 1891 to Hannah Ellis Leavitt and Walter
Flint. She attended the University of Maine at Orono and, briefly, Simmons College, majoring
first in biology, then philosophy. She did not enroll for her senior year at UMO, but she had
gained a passion for writing and soon married fellow student Lester Warner Jacobs, who had
graduated with a degree in civil engineering. She did not earn a degree herself.

Lester Jacobs’s civil engineering work in the coal industry and later for the Army Corps of
Engineers relocated the family several times—to Norfolk, Virginia, Slidell, Louisiana and Bay
St. Louis, Mississippi. She and Lester had six children, three born before World War I, three
after. During the war years, during which her husband served in the US Army, Margaret lived in
her beloved Maine.

Margaret’s first novel, The Old Ashburn Place, earned a $10,000 national prize for best first
novel of the year in 1935. A phone call from the publisher, Dodd, Mead & Co., had told her she
was a finalist. But the follow-up news of her win came over the airwaves, announced by Walter
Winchell during his radio newscast. The prize was reported in major papers nationwide, such as
the Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, The Christian Science Monitor, and the Chicago

The change in her life from obscure housewife to famous author was as dramatic as it was
instantaneous, but her success was severely offset by the loss of her husband in 1936 to the after-
effects of WWI gassing. The cash prize, however, enabled her to move the family back to Maine.

She renovated the former Pequawket Inn in West Baldwin, which lies within the large acreage
land-granted to her father's family after the French and Indian War.

Eight more novels and a flood of newspaper and magazine articles followed, but she
never achieved her goal of self-sufficiency as a writer. Homemaking was a more immediately
successful passion. People of all ages and backgrounds were attracted to her quiet hospitality.
Guests often enjoyed an afternoon tea before the fire, featuring good conversation and her soft
molasses cookies or fudge, or a bean supper on the porch, featuring the baked beans and brown
bread for which she was locally famous.

As a novelist, her forte was psychological insights into family and neighborhood
relationships. She was also noted for her ability to convey the speech patterns of the small region
between Sebago Lake and the New Hampshire border, the setting for most of her stories. Her
essays on family life, the character of Maine, and on national events as they impacted local life
appeared regularly in several Maine newspapers and in The Christian Science Monitor. A life-
long member of the Christian Science church, she also published inspirational articles in the
church's periodicals.

Her books include:

The Old Ashburn Place (1936): Novel of bucolic Maine life
Valley of Decision (1937)
Deacon's Road (1938)
Breakneck Brook (1939)
Back O' the Mountain (1940)
Down the Road A Piece (1941)
October Fires (1941)
Enduring Riches (1942)
Dress Right, Dress: The Autobiography of a WAC (1943)


Peter Helck's artwork accompanied the serialization of THE OLD ASHBURN PLACE. He was
born in New York City in 1893 and studied art at the Art Students League in Manhattan and later
in England with muralist Frank Brangwyn. Helck was very successful as a magazine illustrator
and advertising artist. A more complete biography can be found at the Istoria Books website.

Bestseller in a Day Book Review: Nearly Departed in Deadwood by Ann Charles

Nearly Departed in Deadwood by Ann Charles
Publisher: Corvallis Press
Publish Date: January 15, 2011
Paperback, 376 pages/Ebook
Fiction, Mystery with Romantic Elements
 ISBN: 9780983256816

My Review:
My thoughts:  I loved this book.  Violet Parker is a woman I could completely relate to.  From having two children and money problems to the quote I mentioned in my Tuesday Teaser yesterday where she wanted to crawl under her desk to hide from the world, I feel for Violet Parker.  I guess though that is where our similarities end.  I don't sell real estate (but I guess it can be argued whether she does or not), and I definitely don't have several men after me (just one, my husband is fine with me).  And thankfully I am not trying to figure out who is kidnapping little girls in town before they get to my daughter (which would be hard since I don't have a daughter).

Ann Charles writes a very amusing story that just when things get too serious, something happens that has you giggling.  Whether it's something that Addy and Layne, Violet's children do,  something Violet does, or something body guard and friend Harvey says, you will find yourself laughing out loud from time-to-time with this book.  But it's not only funny.  It can be serious as well.  First there is the fact that Violet is on a timetable and needs to sell a house to keep her job so that's the first focus on the story and how we meet most of the interesting characters and places.  Second, little girls have been going missing, providing the mystery that Violet gets involved in once she hears that a strange man has been hanging out beside Addy's daily vet stand buying thing from Addy and giving her candy.  At this point, Violet makes it her crusade to find who this kidnapper is.  And of course that can't be all that is going on, add in a handsome jeweler in town trying to sell the family home and trying to date Violet who is very interested until things heat up with another man who also seems interested in her best friend which makes things very complicated.

Complicated seems to be the name of the game in this book.  Violet has Harvey to guard her, but keeps running into Doc and the sparks fly when they are together.  But she's dating someone else.  Then their is the creepy dad of Addy's friend who is coming onto her as well.  But all is not what it seems and this novel is just fun to read to try and figure out what will happen next.  I loved the characters and trying to figure out who each person would really turn out being and what exactly would happen next and what was Doc hiding.  I still didn't see the ending coming.  But I did thoroughly enjoy the full journey of this book.  Ms. Charles crafted her characters in such a way that each of them is interesting and fun and they build on each other and work together in such amusing ways.

I look forward to more books in this series and really can't recommend this book enough.  It's fun, it's a great mystery, it has romance and it has great characters, what more can you ask for?

My Rating: 5.0/5.0

About the Book:
The first time I came to Deadwood, I got shot in the ass.--Violet Parker

Irony is having a big ol' fiesta and Violet Parker is the piñata.  Little girls are vanishing from Deadwood, South Dakota, and Violet's daughter could be next.  Short on time and long on worry, she's desperate to find the monster behind the abductions.  But with her jerkoff co-worker trying to get her fired, a secret admirer sending creepy love poems, and a sexy-as-hell stranger hiding skeletons in his closet, Violet just might end up as one of Deadwood's dearly departed.

Awards for Nearly Departed in Deadwood:

WINNER of the 2010 Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery/Suspense
WINNER of the 2011 Romance Writers of America ® Golden Heart Award for Best Novel with Strong Romantic Elements!

About the Author: 
Ann Charles is an award-winning author who writes romantic mysteries that are splashed with humor. Her book Nearly Departed in Deadwood won the 2010 Daphne du Maurier for Excellence in Mystery/Suspense Award and the 2011 Romance Writers of America Golden Heart Award for Best Novel With Strong Romantic Elements. She has also been a Pacific Northwest Writers Association Literary Contest finalist.

A member of Sisters in Crime and Romance Writers of America for many moons, she has a B.A. in English with an emphasis on creative writing from the University of Washington. She is currently toiling away on her next book, wishing she was on a Mexican beach with an ice-cold Corona in one hand and her Kindle in the other. When she is not dabbling in fiction, she is arm wrestling with her two kids, attempting to seduce her husband, and arguing with her sassy cat. Most nights, you can find her hanging out over at, on Facebook, or as DeadwoodViolet on Twitter--especially around midnight when her quirky fictional world comes to life.

Currently, she has two fiction books available: Nearly Departed in Deadwood and Optical Delusions in Deadwood, which are both part of her ongoing Deadwood Mystery Series. She also has one non-fiction book available: Nail it! The Secret to Building an Effective Fiction Writer’s Platform.


Nearly Departed in Deadwood is a steal at 99 cents for Kindle at Amazon.
Here it is at Smashwords.
And here at B& for Nook.

FTC Information: I received this book through Bestseller for a Day for an honest review. I have no affiliation with above retail links - they are for ease of readers in locating a copy of the book and for the promotion of Bestseller in a Day only, I do not make any money from this post.

What is Bestseller in a Day?

A little later I will have my feature review and more information for the Bestseller in a Day title for this month, Nearly Departed in Deadwood by Ann Charles.  I thought I would post a quick background into what Bestseller for a Day is, so here you go and stay tuned for a review of a great book that you can help make a Bestseller for a Day.

The Bestseller for a Day event is a creation of the Indie Book Collection, an organization dedicated to elevating the status of Indie writers everywhere by ensuring quality standards for their books. Bestseller for a Day serves a number of purposes.

First, we at the IBC realize that robust sales are a vital component of any Indie writer’s platform. In order to get the attention of the entrenched publishing establishment, Indies have to prove they can sell as many books, or more, than any big-name blockbuster author. While this may sound like a lofty goal, many of our Bestseller for a Day featured novels have reached multiple Top 100 lists in the Amazon store. The effects often linger long after the day of the actual event.

Secondly, it is no surprise that today’s publishing environment is changing at lightning speed.  Just as authors have more choices available to them, readers do too, and the roles they play in a book’s success has never been stronger. Our Bestseller for a Day event harnesses the growing power of the reader by creating direct relationships between author and audience. Authors interact directly with readers through their own media platforms, creating relationships and building an audience that will, in many cases, last long beyond the event.

Readers are empowered, as well. Through Bestseller for a Day, readers get the chance to tell Amazon, New York, and the world that a particular Indie book is just as good as the latest big-name release. Their efforts have immediate, quantifiable results. No longer do readers have to wait weeks to see how a favored title ranks on a couple of key printed lists.

Just as readers have an increasingly powerful role in the new way books are bought and read, the rise of the book blogger cannot be denied. We at the IBC love our book bloggers and see Bestseller for a Day as another great way to connect with them. By matching book bloggers with authors who write for their preferred genre and audience, we bring them the chance to offer free books to their established readers. This is also a powerful draw to new followers. Additionally, because we offer “drafting titles” titles for .99 cents, book blogs that may be outside the featured title’s genre still have plenty to gain by participating.

But the most important part of Bestseller for a Day is something that can’t be measured.  There’s an air of excitement that builds as the “big day” approaches that’s contagious. The IBC uses a wide variety of media sources to publicize the event, including newsletters, paid advertisements, book bloggers, and the IBC’s adept command of social media. There’s a building buzz as the day approaches. During the actual Bestseller for a Day event, the IBC, the author, and readers alike are active on Twitter and Facebook as they report the featured title’s progress in real time.

The success of the Bestseller for a Day program is evident with our current offering, Ann Charles’ Nearly Dead in Deadwood. This award-winning romance jumped over 10,000 ranking in the Kindle store due to Bestseller for a Day efforts, and we’re still days away from the event itself! Similarly, last month’s featured title, In Leah’s Wake, enjoyed a similar bump in rankings. The author, Terri Guilano Long, even received a call from Amazon itself the day of the event, wishing her luck. Please join the fun on September 28th!

***I received this book from the publisher for an honest review.  I was not compensated in any other way except receiving the book for free.  I do not receive money for my amazon links since I live in NC (something about some law), so they are up purely for my readers to have a place to check out the book.***