The winner of the Eight Characters giveaway is xmaggiexjanex, who should e-mail me at LynnViehl@aol.com with your full name and ship-to info so I can get these books out to you.
It's assumed that the average life cycle of a book begins when it's created and written by an author, then printed by a publisher, sold by a bookseller and finally either bought by a reader or stripped and destroyed. Given the ever-decreasing shelf life and sales of books, people outside the industry often wonder why we writers even bother.
They don't know it, but books, like babies, bees and the brain have secret lives. Being written and sold is only the beginning for a book. Like cats with nine lives, books are hard to get rid of or control once they're set free. Readers rarely destroy them, so a sold book can expect to join personal collection, become part of a public library or be passed along to another reader. Books are carried around the world by folks on airplanes and ships, into combat by soldiers, imported and exported and smuggled across borders, and are routinely passed down through generations.
Books are no longer confined to print or brick-and-mortar libraries, either. On the internet, works in the public domain are being made available to the public via electronic collections of literature like Project Guttenberg and Bartleby.com. You've seen how willing writers are to publish their own works as free e-books. The ease of electronic publishing -- not to mention the infinite number of downloads -- allows any author to go global.
The author rarely if ever knows where their books will go or how many lives they'll have. Lord Byron, for example, had no idea that a collection of his poetry published back in 1860 in England would end up in the collection of a 21st century housewife/novelist. It took 124 years from the day it was printed to make it to the junk shop in California where I found it; there were at least three other owners, judging by the names written on the inside cover. If only the book could talk, imagine the stories it would have to tell.
I send as many books as I can out into the wilderness of the world because, well, I'm obnoxious that way. Along with what I give away here at the blog, I send out books every month to American soldiers stationed in combat zones. One novel that I've been putting in every box of books that I send to Iraq is Tied to the Tracks by Rosina Lippi. Not only because I think it's brilliant, funny and a great story, but because it's a book about home, and what home means. I've been a soldier who was far from home, so I know how important it is to be reminded of that. This and the many secret lives that I think Tied to the Tracks will have is why I'm making it the ninth very cool book of December.
For a chance to win today's giveaway, in comments to this post name the title of a book that you think will have many secret lives (or, if you can't think of any titles, just throw your name in the hat) by midnight EST on December 13, 2006. I'll draw one name from everyone who participates and send the winner unsigned copies of Tied to the Tracks by Rosina Lippi, Into the Wilderness by Sara Donati (Rosina's alter-ego) and Talyn by Holly Lisle. Giveaway open to everyone on the planet, even if you've won something here at PBW in the past.