Friday, October 2, 2009


Next week my guest blogger will be Martha Engber, author of The Wind Thief and Growing Characters from the Ground Up. Here's a news release on her book.

HOUSTON, TX - Solidifying its reputation as the purveyor of unique, high-quality books, independent publisher Alondra Press announces it newest title, The Wind Thief, an accessible literary novel that fits the bill of an Oprah Book Club pick. The haunting love story by California writer, journalist and public speaker Martha Engber will appeal to the millions of readers who habitually purchase the modestly-priced trade paperback versions of books chosen by Oprah as must-reads.

In specific, the target market for the book consists of female readers between the ages of 30 and 64 who belong to book clubs or choose fiction based on book club recommendations and/or major prizes, such as the National Book Award.

A Unique and Engaging Story

A tale of obsession and redemption, The Wind Thief is the story of two souls who are swept from land to land, one in search of a home, the other in search of a war and both ever a step behind the peace they seek.

Ajay, a young thief from India, is on his way to a better life when he is forced to flee Algiers and subsequently gets lost in the Sahara Desert. He is saved by a strange young woman who believes she can talk to the winds, a gift that will save mankind from an imminent apocalypse only she can stop. Ajay has no choice but to follow her out of the barren wasteland, intending to abandon her once they reach Morocco. Yet when he gets the chance to escape her, he realizes he no longer can. He follows, and continues to follow, even when serious dangers loom.

The Wind Thief combines three features that create a powerful commercial success: an exotic locale, like that portrayed in Isabel Allende’s Daughter of Fortune; a unique story of unusual characters, as in Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides; and a deeply personal journey reminiscent of The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje.

An Affordable Price

The Wind Thief will be aggressively marketed by Alondra Press via an affordable price of $10.95 in a strategy that capitalizes on the in-person and online platform developed by Martha Engber.

A dynamic and experienced public speaker, Martha is the author of Growing Great Characters From the Ground Up: A Thorough Primer for Writers of Fiction and Nonfiction (Central Avenue Press 2007). Martha teaches and lectures to hundreds of people each year through in-person events at bookstores, conferences and meetings and through online classes. She has a fully-developed website, maintains a blog for writers and has an author page on She’s also a member of the Women’s National Book Association, which actively encourages readers to join book clubs through national events backed by bestselling authors like Amy Tan and Holly Goddard Jones and sustaining members such as Ingram Book Group, HarperCollins and Chronicle Books.

A journalist by profession, Martha has interviewed former First Lady of the Philippines Imelda Marcos, Apollo 13 astronaut James Lovell, actress Marlo Thomas and other celebrities. She’s had a full-length play produced in Hollywood. Her poetry and fiction have appeared in Watchword, Iconoclast, Bookpress, the Berkeley Fiction Review and other literary journals.

An Emerging Independent Press

The Wind Thief is the latest title from Alondra Press founded by Kathleen Palmer and Solomon Tager in 2007.

Though only two years old, the press has accrued a strong list of unusual and engaging books like Rio San Pedro (Henry Hollenbaugh), a fictionalized journal of a man’s crocodile-hunting years in Central America during the 1950s, The Canyon Chronicles (K. Gray Jones), a historical novel based on the early history of the Mormon Church, and The Other Face of Murder (Dr. Gil Porat), a tragic-comedy that confronts end-of-life issues.

For additional information about The Wind Thief, contact:
Martha Engber
(408) 243-7662
Kathleen Palmer/Solomon Tager (founders)
Amando Benitez, Editor
Alondra Press

In anticipation of Martha's guest blog next week, if you have any questions about writing, need some advise or even a second opinion, Martha has agreed to answer as many are posted. So, everybody, fill your boots! And we'll see you then.


  1. Sounds like an intriguing plot, although I must admit I have trouble with marketing that borrows a celebrity's name to suggest a vague endorsement that obviously doesn't exist (i.e., "New Novel an Oprah Contender"). By the time I got to the third mention of Oprah I was getting really turned off! If this writeup hadn't been on your blog I never would have read past that first paragraph. Apart from that, the story itself sounds interesting and I'll look forward to your interview with the author.

    (Hope it's okay to express my opinion here even though it's negative. Honesty is good, right?)

  2. Every comment is valuable, Carol. I can confirm that Martha is an outstanding writer. I've had the privilege of reading one of her manuscripts, and it was incredible. I imagine her publisher is willing to do whatever it takes to get her name out there. There's no denying that Oprah's opinion has weight. But that's a discussion for another day. As authors we are under the gun, not to mention the competition. The days of Fitzgerald and Hemingway are over. At least that's the way I see it.

  3. Janice Mackeon MurrayOctober 2, 2009 at 7:57 PM

    I found the Oprah comment annoying too, but I can certainly understand why they used "contender". I agree, authors today have to do whatever it takes to make themselves standout.

    The release sounds intriguing. Good luck to Martha Engber.

  4. I say bravo to the publishers for coming up with an agressive approach. Ms. Engber's book sounds very interesting. I'll be back next week for her guest spot. I think it's cool how many writers you spotlight, Joylene. Good for you. Watch out or we'll be calling you Ed Sullivan or maybe Johnny Carson.

  5. Martha's book sounds interesting. I'll be back next week to post a question.

  6. Looks like the publisher is willing to go the limit to promote their writer. That's a nice thing.

  7. Thanks for stopping by, Janice. I'm sure you'll enjoy Martha's interview. She's got beautiful style and a wonderful storytelling voice.

  8. Hi Sam and Robin. Get to see you guys. Hope everything is going well. Please do stop by tomorrow for my interview with author Martha Engber. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised by her experience. She has a wonderful writing style.

  9. Hi Anon. Yes, I'd appreciate a publisher willing to invest energy and time in my work. I think Alondra Press knows a good writer when they see one. The Wind Thief is an extraordinary book with profound theme and fascinating real-life characters.

  10. I found this interview interesting, and was pleased to see that Martha was so candid in her responses. I like the title, "The Wind Thief." Conjours up all kinds of thoughts!

  11. Hi Katie. I'm glad you enjoyed it. I've read Martha's first chapter and that's why she's here. I knew if I liked it that much, others would too.


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