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A screenwriter is at work on a movie script based on Oceanview Publishing’s The Perfect Assassin, optioned by Amber Entertainment in September after a chance recommendation to Ileen Maisel, an Amber founder/producer.

Maisel got the book from a friend she stayed with on a visit to the Massachusetts coast last spring. Delighted with Ward Larsen’s first suspense thriller, she tracked down Oceanview co-founder Susan Greger in nearby Ipswich, went through the Oceanview catalog—and left a meeting with Greger with samples of the publisher’s fiction. Referred to co-founder Bob Gussin, who handles Oceanview’s subsidiary rights, Maisel was talking options with him and his wife, Patricia, another co-founder, within a couple of weeks.

Option contracts don’t get reviewed and signed overnight, but by the time the deal for an 18-month option was signed, Amber had its publicity in high gear, and Bob Gussin found himself being interviewed by Variety for a story that ran in mid-October. As it reported:

“It’s the first sale of feature rights for five-year-old Oceanview, which was founded by the Gussins and Greger—who are all former Johnson & Johnson execs. Amber specializes in acquiring and converting recognizable properties into films.”

This publicity (coinciding with the publication of Larsen’s third novel by Oceanview) and the Oceanview press releases and email blasts resulted in a few other calls to the publisher and to some of its 65 authors about possible television and movie projects.

Bob Gussin says Amber is being given right of first refusal on all the press’s current titles, several of which Amber has expressed interest in.

The Perfect Assassin features an American woman sailing solo across the Atlantic whose boat is hijacked by an Israeli assassin. Once the screenplay is drafted, the Amber crew will select a director. Bob Gussin says he understands the next steps are to get an actor committed for the starring role and then shop the project to a studio.

Founded in 2005, Oceanview issued its first titles in 2006. Prior to the Amber deal, its rights sales were only for book club, large print, and Korean editions.


An “indisputably great book. The Flight of Ikaros is evocative and painful; restrained and full of compassionate feeling” is how the Wall Street Journal concludes a recent review of a book by Kevin Andrews, just reissued by Paul Dry Books.

First published in 1959 and then published by Penguin in 1984, “this rare account [of post-World War II life in Greece] has languished out of print” for too many years, the WSJ reviewer noted. It’s the first publicity in the Wall Street Journal for the publisher, which acquired the title from the author’s children, who inherited the rights to it.


Chronicle Books has bought rights to Corinne Humphrey’s The Tao of Rudy, a picture book she published in late 2007, that it plans to publish in March with some changes, including a new title—Shoot for the Moon: Lessons on Life from a Dog Named Rudy.

“It’s very exciting!” Humphrey says. Her acrylics illustrate the book, which is about a dog she rescued in 2006. Although Chronicle’s acquisition includes rights of first refusal on the sequel and any other Rudy books, Humphrey has retained the rights to her original artwork, which is shown in galleries and donated to an annual fundraiser for the shelter from which Rudy was adopted.


At Stafford House, Teresa Power reports a five-year licensing deal with Scholastic Book Fairs, which will print copies of her ABCs of Yoga for Kids to sell in the school book fair market. “It’s a great way for the book to be exposed to children of all walks of life, which always has been a goal of mine,” commented Power, who will receive a royalty on each book sold.


Prufrock Press, which serves gifted, advanced, and special-needs students, has acquired Cottonwood Press, a 25-year-old publisher with more than 85 products for K–12 language arts classrooms. Cheryl Thurston, Cottonwood founder and publisher, says her company’s materials have always sold well to teachers of gifted students, so she expects the publications to do well at Prufrock.

Joel McIntosh, who founded Prufrock Press in 1990, notes that his company has more than 450 products, including textbooks, teaching guides, books for parents and teachers, activity books, and gifted education journals for teachers, administrators, parents, researchers, and students.


Longtime IBPA member Chris Roerden of Edit It is chairing the Mystery Writers of America/Helen McCloy scholarship program, which awards two $500 scholarships to promising writers who want to improve their writing skills by taking writing courses, classes, or workshops. For more information see mysterywriters.org/?q=AwardsPrograms-McCloy. The application deadline is February 28.


An Impact Publishers title was among three parenting books assigned by an Ontario, Canada, judge to the divorcing parents of 11-year-old twins. Justice David Price also ordered the parents to submit written summaries of a strategy from each book that they are prepared to adopt, the Toronto Sun reported.

The Impact title assigned was Parenting After Divorce: Resolving Conflicts and Meeting Your Children’s Needs by Philip M. Stahl.


Bright Ring publisher MaryAnn F. Kohl is one of 13 people named to the Barnes & Noble Kids’ Expert Circle, an advisory board of child development, pediatric medicine, arts, and education experts who will provide information on the bookseller’s Web site every month at bn.com/expertcircle.

Kohl, who is celebrating Bright Ring’s 25th anniversary this year, has consulted for Fisher-Price, the Jim Henson Company, Blues Clues, and Little Einsteins.


Allworth Press, founded in 1989 by Tad Crawford, has been acquired by Skyhorse Publishing. A highly focused house, Allworth publishes business and self-help books for artists, photographers, graphic designers, interior designers, filmmakers, performing artists, and authors, With a backlist of more than 300 titles and 2009 sales reportedly $1.4 million, it has been issuing 18–20 titles a year, a number that Skyhorse plans to increase.

Both companies are based in New York City. Crawford, who will continue to act as publisher for Allworth Press, is also a lawyer and a writer.


Last fall Midnight Mercury’s author Joe Washington was front and center on the home page of AuthorsReading.com, with a photograph and feature story. Washington’s Three Lives was pictured and described along with titles by Karen Kingsbury, Michael J. Fox, Janet Evanovich, and Jeffrey Archer.


Cynthia Frank notes that one of Cypress House’s more unusual customers is a cloistered order of nuns, who have on several occasions ordered as many as a dozen copies of the company’s paper airplane book. “We have a great time imagining them folding and flying planes in their quiet convent,” she says.


Berritt-Koehler Publishers BK Communique recently recommended Keyword Density Checker, a free resource at iwebtool.com/keyword_density. It analyzes the most-used words on your Web site and lists the number of times that they appear, so you can select them as keywords (or revise your Web site text for better search engine optimization).


Kathy M. Miller at Celtic Sunrise has been collecting awards left and right (13 to date) for Chippy Chipmunk Parties in the Garden. Besides her 2010 Benjamin Franklin Award, she reports she is especially pleased by the Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Award, Children’s Category, which carries a $1,000 cash prize.

Members in the Spotlight is compiled by Linda Carlson (lindacarlson.com), who welcomes news of unusual special sales, licensing deals, significant media coups, and other achievements at linda@ibpa-online.org. The focus of this column is as much about how you accomplish something as what you accomplish, so details and specific how-to’s are important.

To ensure you receive Linda’s messages regarding IBPA articles, make sure you have her email address in your address book.

Please submit your news in the text of your email (no attachments) and remember to include your name, title, and the name of your press. This column does not use news about nonmembers. Since information for Members in the Spotlight is needed at least six weeks in advance of an issue’s publication date, news you submit by January 15 can be considered for the March and later issues. News that is time-sensitive and misses the Spotlight deadline—events, upcoming television and radio appearances, and co-opportunities—should be directed to lisa@ibpa-online.org for inclusion in the IBPA e-newsletter, Independent Publishing Now.



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