Those who join my lobster gang will get a free copy of The Ghost Trap
Hey guys, as many of you know, The Ghost Trap is in development to become a major motion picture. And things are seriously heating up. I need a street team to help me build out the buzz as we get going. A street team is about a dozen people who will be part of my lobster gang. I need people with a strong social media presence, book lovers, Goodreads members, and bloggers who will amplify bits of The Ghost Trap News when I post updates. This is a volunteer position, but it will come with perks. The first perk is a free Kindle copy of The Ghost Trap that I will send to you or person of choice.
My lobster gang will go with me throughout the film-making process, so you will learn what it's like to turn a book into a movie. A special newsletter will also go out to my gang with exclusive news.
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if interested and let me know what you can bring to the table.
Every May 1 of the year I get so HAPPY that it is truly spring in Maine. So, I'm giving away five Kindle copies of The Ghost Trap on my TikTok page @kaystephensauthor starting May 2 until May 9. All you have to do is:
1. Follow me on TikTok
2. Comment on the one thing you like most about Maine.
3. Tag a friend who might want to win a book as well.
Winners will be selected by random drawing and contacted privately on May 10. Winners will simply need to provide an email address in order to receive a Kindle copy through Amazon. Entry does not require a payment or a purchase of any kind. Note: this is an adult novel so the giveaway is only available to entrants who are 18+.
The Ghost Trap is the haunting story of Jamie Eugley, a young lobsterman struggling with the grinding responsibilities of a head-injured fiancée and mounting trap wars. It is a modern tale with an old-fashioned hero, who puts family and heritage before himself. In the end, it’s not just about lobstering, but about one man’s sorrow for not appreciating the love he had, however damaged. Written with sensitivity and rich description, this is a piercingly accurate depiction of life in a small Maine lobstering community.
It took me eight years to finish my latest novel, By The Dark O' The Moon, a Prohibition-era historical fantasy. I submitted the manuscript to a to Screencraft's Cinematic Book Writing Competition and learned that it placed as a quarterfinalist out of 700 entries.
Stay tuned to find out what's happening with this novel next!
Shout out to my fellow female authors at Leapfrog Press
From Leapfrog Press: Happy International Women's Day! We want to showcase some of our wonderful authors today, whose books are brilliant and moving:
Can of Worms Enterprises Consortium Book Sales
#womenauthors #internationalwomensday #WomensDay2022 #thefutureisfemale #womensart #supportwomenauthors #supportwomenauthors #TBR
Note: The Ghost Trap is currently on back order but that doesn't mean you can't get it. Back order just means it might take two weeks to arrive. Also please consider by buying the book directly from the publisher (which pays the author the royalty) and not from some used book dealer (which doesn't).
Love Maine? Love lobster? Two great tastes go together with our author talk tonight at 6 pm EST! Please join us in celebration of Lobster Week as we chat about Maine in fiction. No lobster bibs required. Leapfrog Press #theghosttrap #amphibians #laratupper Sherman's Books & Stationery ZOOM LINK HERE: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/86014160880
Meeting ID: 860 1416 0880
On August 1, 2021 The Portland Press Herald published a piece on Maine's best lobster novels. Editor’s Note: Given Vinalhaven’s centuries-old tradition of lobstering, we asked Vinalhaven librarian Scott Candage to recommend a few novels about lobstering in Maine. These are his picks, listed in alphabetical order by writer. To read the full story, click here. (Screenshot below due to paywall).
Ten years after the book was published by Leapfrog Press, The Ghost Trap has been acquired by an L.A.-based production company.
By Susan Mustapich
August 12, 2017 CAMDEN — Four novels about the lives and loves of the men and women who fish for lobster in Maine give us a close look at the place where we live (or visit) through their authors' eyes.
All of the books center around a strong, 20-something character, along with romance and relationships and the business of lobster fishing. In "The Ghost Trap" by local author K. Stephens and "Stern Men" by Elizabeth Gilbert, trap wars, seafaring myths and superstitions play important roles in the stories, while in "Hull Creek," by Jim Nichols, the tension centers around a working fisherman and wealthy newcomers who live on the waterfront
All but "The Lobster Kings" are located in fictional settings that closely resemble nearby coastal and island fishing communities and tourist destinations on Penobscot Bay. Zentner's novel takes place on an island near the Canadian border in a setting that resembles Passamaquoddy Bay.
"The Ghost Trap," published in 2009, takes a gritty, realistic look at the life and loves of fisherman Jamie Eugely, who works out in a bay off of small-town coastal Maine. The setting is fictionalized, yet feels like a very real place, right in the Midcoast.
Jamie, who looks for adventure as far from Maine as he can drive, is drawn back to the fishing grounds his family has worked for generations, and is bound to his fiancee Anja by more than a ring. Anja, who suffered a near drowning, struggles to follows steps back to normalcy, in order to reclaim the life and love she can almost remember. The meaning of the "ghost trap" referenced in the book's title, which is open to interpretation, is connected to the circumstances that bind Jamie and Anja to one another, and make their dreams all the more difficult to catch.
In a recent interview, Stephens talked about the meaning of the term "ghost trap," both in general and to her as a writer.
"The ghost trap is a trap cut off at the surface that lies at the bottom of the ocean.That trap can be cut off by a propeller, or can be cut off by a more nefarious means, in an on-the-water conflict in the dead of night," she said. She imagines ghost traps at the bottom of the ocean. "There are lobsters in there, lives in the trap that will never come out."
"The Ghost Trap features a male lead and perspective on relationships and friendships. Stephens has seen the book draw an equal audience of men and women at book signings. She has heard dissatisfaction from female readers about the realism of Jamie and Anja's relationship. "I loved the book, but hated how realistic it was," is one of the comments she gets.
Stephens, who emulates authors Annie Proulx and Caroline Chute in tackling tough topics, said "The Ghost Trap" "is not chick lit. And it's not a chick lit subject by any stretch. The love story is a huge part of this book. There is an enduring love here in this novel, but it is not happily ever after. It's a novel of sacrifice and tenacity and a lot of pain."
"The Ghost Trap" balances the dark, with the light, for the most part. It is filled with lots of local sights and scenes, believable characters including Jamie's friend from childhood Thongchai, life in the bars, restaurants and convenience stores in Jamie's community, and dialog flavored with "elements of funny, lighthearted, bawdy humor."
Stephens was inspired to write her novel back in the 1990s by stories shared by fishermen friends, and was so concerned about accuracy that she had several fishermen read the book before it was published. At the same time, she makes it clear that as an author, she was not trying to come off as a spokesperson for the lobster industry.
"What was really important to me with this book was not only to be very authentic about the working culture of lobstering, but to also pay a little bit of tribute to the mysterious element of the deep that plays into character choices later on," she said.
The deep Stephens refers to is the cold Maine ocean. In her novel, the oxygen, phytoplankton and zooplankton, that make Maine coastal waters appear murky, give life to lobsters and other sea creatures, both real and mythological. Stephens introduces the myth of creatures that live in the sea into the modern world of lobster fishing in a believable manner. Whether selkies are seafaring superstition, or a trick of the eye and imagination caused by the shape shifting ocean, "The Ghost Trap" gives them substance in the place where a lobster boat sits atop the depths of the ocean.
"Hull Creek" is the story of Troy Hull, the last of the fishermen living and working on the waterfront in a town that wealthy visitors have made their home. The reader sees the world through Troy's eyes and thoughts: his boat, his land and dock, his town with all of its features, his friends and foes, and loves lost and found.
Alcohol-fueled adventures, raunchy dialog and a decidedly male perspective are all part of Nichols' storytelling. Yet, as Troy works to put a failed relationship behind him and fight his own insecurities, his story is a realistic view of vulnerability hidden beneath a hardened exterior.
Troy faces the problem of keeping his generational waterfront home and his new lobster boat, when the lobster catch falls off. When he falls behind on a second mortgage he took out to buy the new boat, he finds himself in the middle of relationships with people he doesn't trust, the banker who oversees his mortgage, an old friend and occasional fisherman who needs help transporting drugs, law enforcement and visitors who want more than the average tourist experience.
Will he allow himself to be pushed out of town by people who clearly do not want him there? Will he give in to the anger and hopelessness that fuel desperate measures to make the difficult choices he faces? "Hull Creek" keeps the reader guessing which way Troy will turn, right up to the end.
Gilbert, author of “Stern Men,”published in 2001, creates a body of history around the families who fish off the fictional islands of Fort Niles and Courne Haven, and moves that history forward with the story of Ruth Thomas, the book's protagonist. Ruth is the daughter of a “greedy” lobsterman and a mother who has left the island. Ruth grows up among a Dickensian collection of character's from a jumble of social classes, all thrown together by island life on Fort Niles.
After Ruth's mother Mary leaves the island, her father abandons her to the Pommeroys, a family of seven boys led by matriarch and beauty Rhonda Pommeroy, and her husband Ira, who enjoy drink and one another a little too much. Ruth is perfectly happy growing up with the Pommeroy boys, and occasionally visiting her father, who lives within walking distance. She prefers spending her days with the odd Senator Simon, obsessed with founding a history museum on the island, and his assistant Webster Pommeroy, while resisting the influences of the Ellis family, the richest clan on the island, and her mother Mary's employer. Lanford Ellis, an ancient and reclusive summer resident is the lone representative of the family that once ran a granite company and much of the island. Ruth grows up knowing that her father and other islanders believe her grandmother and her mother were crippled by their devoted service to Lanford's daughter, the demanding Miss Vera Ellis.
As Ruth nears graduation from a private off-island high school paid for by Mr. Ellis, she meets Owney Wishnell, a lobster whisperer and young man her age, and faces the dilemma of shaping her own future. The history of past lobster wars and the threat of a new struggle, her childhood with the Pommeroy family, and the aging Ellis heirs all factor into her ultimate choice.
"Stern Men" shares one of the plot devices common to chick lit. When Ruth first meets Owney, and when Cordelia finds out that Kenny's wife has left him, the reader will know that sex, love and marriage are in the future, and that many chapters will be read before any of that happens.
Courier Publications reporter Susan Mustapich can be reached at 236-8511 or by email at email@example.com.
ndie Spotlight: Leapfrog PressAuthor: Kate Flaherty |
Mar 12, 2015
Leapfrog Press began in Wellfleet, Massachusetts, in 1993 as the brainchild of writers Marge Piercy and Ira Wood, whose initial goal was providing an outlet for literary fiction overlooked by the big New York houses. While Piercy has served as judge for Leapfrog’s annual fiction contest, the press currently is in the hands of Managing Editor Lisa Graziano and Acquisitions Editor Rebecca Schwab. Now based out of Fredonia, New York—in storied Chautauqua County on the shores of Lake Erie—Leapfrog’s list has moved on as well. In addition to literary fiction by both new and established writers, Leapfrog publishes a smattering of nonfiction and poetry and a diverse list of middle grade and YA fiction.
What makes Leapfrog stand out as an independent press is their refreshing lack of fear when it comes to compartmentalization. Despite publishing a small number of titles per year, they’ve put out everything from mysteries to memoir, science fiction to how-to, hardboiled exposé to tender and poignant story collections. When Leapfrog says they simply want “writing that expands our webs of connection with other humans and the natural world; books that illuminate our complexities,” they really mean it.
For Ploughshares, Lisa Graziano helps readers understand the why and how of their editorial decisions, provides details on Leapfrog’s annual fiction contest (deadline is May 1!) and gives the inside scoop on Leapfrog’s future.
KF: From Mary Malloy’s historical fiction/mysteries, starring adventurous academic Lizzie Manning, whose expertise and mettle could put even Indiana Jones to shame, to Michael Mirolla’s fascinating and frightening sci-fi tale The Facility, where the future is filled with Mussolini clones, to Li Miao Lovett’s powerful novel In the Lap of the Gods, set in China during the controversial construction of the Three Gorges Dam project, Leapfrog’s list is wonderfully quirky. What qualities do your divergent titles share? What marketing challenges does this wide range of titles bring you?
LG: Good storytelling first, and we do like quirky, as you put it. But our books share a few themes to which we are partial. Many have a grounding in science, sometimes subtle, sometimes not. Some are based in important cultural and/or historical questions, whether or not they are “historical.” We don’t perceive these themes as separate. They tend to run together in many our books. You mention Malloy’s novels: Malloy is a professor of history, and she recreates the process of historical research, which involves science, in her novels. Cretaceous Dawn is a time-travel dinosaur adventure—but really a scientific look at what it would be like to hike through late Cretaceous North America.
In other titles, The Ghost Trap shows the reader the culture of Maine lobstermen, in exquisite and often sad detail. In the Lap of the Gods gives us a close-up of the human toll of the world’s greatest engineering project. Dancing at the Gold Monkey shows us the raw hurt of young men back from the Vietnam War. Berlin delves into the philosophical field of logic, twisted up with history. Death My Own Way is a precise psychological allegory about the artist as installation art. We also have a soft spot for dark humor: if you’re into that, check out the authors Vickie Weaver, Michael Graziano, Gregory Hill, Jacob White, Joan Connor, and Dmitri Zlotsky, to name a few. But to us, they are all “Leapfrogian” in their use of history, culture, and science, whatever the plot or the other themes, and whatever the format.
KF: The titles you’ve published as part of Leapfrog’s YA/middle grade fiction list indicate a strong dedication to diversity, both cultural and thematic. What are you most proud of in terms of what Leapfrog provides young readers? What prompted Leapfrog’s foray into the YA arena?
LG: We first published MG in 2008 simply because some wonderful manuscripts came our way, and they are every bit as much “literature” as our adult books. Carlon’s novels about Duke Ellington and Louis Armstrong are unique—thus the support of places such as Jazz at Lincoln Center, and the awards they’ve won. They aren’t simply books about musicians. They are about the culture, the historical context, who these great musicians were as ordinary people, how they were impacted by and dealt with racism, and they’re very much about the music itself. Smelcer’s YA novels of Native Alaskans—stay tuned for Stealing Indians in 2016—are wilderness adventures in the sometimes grim context of cultural destruction and racism. B.B. Wurge’s novels have great lessons for kids about family bonds, scientific investigation, acceptance, and most of all, our wonderful imaginations, which make anything possible—even immortality on the moon.
KF: Your fiction contest guidelines are remarkably broad; Leapfrog will consider submissions of adult, young adult, and/or middle grade fiction in the form of a novel, novellas, or a short story collection. It seems your only strict requirement is a minimum of 22,000 words. How does this flexibility work in Leapfrog’s favor? How does your contest differ from your regular reading period?
LG: Regular submissions are judged on a query letter with synopsis and a short sample, with the author’s publication record as part of the decision. The contest is quite different. An entire manuscript is submitted and read by several judges, and the judging is “blind.” We don’t know anything about the manuscript, since there is no synopsis. We simply read and see where it takes us. The author’s publication record is unknown and therefore not a consideration. And knowing nothing about the theme or plot in advance makes it exciting to open each entry. Sometimes we’re hopelessly caught by the first line, such as these from some of our winners: “One day, the wind blew. It lifted the dust and took it away. The next day was Thursday…” (The Lonesome Trials of Johnny Riles); “This is how bad it’s gotten: I dream about the U.P.S. man.” (How to Stop Loving Someone); “Look. Have you ever tried to right a car you yourself have tumbled?” (Being Dead in South Carolina); “The old family farm is going to drown. . . .You can’t think of anything to do but throw an enormous party.” (And Yet They Were Happy). There are so many more. Others sneak in and quietly grow on us.
The months of reading entries are insanely busy and very special, with a lot of self-inflicted all-nighters. Opening the contest to any book-length work of fiction gives us a huge variety. We don’t want to exclude novellas just because they’re short, or story collections just because they are a harder sell than novels. We simply look for what we think is the best.
KF: What else should writers and readers know about Leapfrog’s future? Upcoming titles? Other contests in the works?
LG: Our next four titles, this summer and fall, are Gregory Hill’s The Lonesome Trials of Johnny Riles, a darkly hilarious Western unlike any you’ve ever read; John Smelcer’s YA novel Savage Mountain; Michael Gutierrez’s The Trench Angel, a historical Western and WWI; and Girl Singer, an adult novel steeped in the Jazz world from Mick Carlon.
News, bits, and musings from a Maine coast writer. Stay Salty!