Saturday, 27 February 2010


Fangs ain’t what they used to be at BeWrite Books … thanks to new blood all the way from Transylvania!

After six months working behind the scenes, Romanian-born Anton ‘Tony’ Szmuk is now ready to get his teeth into the top spot as BB’s publisher in partnership with editor Neil Marr.

Already, forty-eight years old Tony, who now lives in Canada, has proved his value as a talented designer, expert technician, sound administrator and enthusiastic promoter and marketer.

You can see his stunning cover art on BB’s three recent releases, The Movie, The Blue Man Dreams the End of Time and Bottom of the List. He’s also learned the ropes of text design, format conversion and setting books for print and ebook alongside BeWrite Books’ co-founder Alex Marr, who will soon be leaving the company after ten years to follow a new career path in the UK.

It was Tony – with help from BeWrite Books editors Hugh McCracken and Sam Smith – who converted and uploaded more than eighty titles to Smashwords over the past month, an amazing feat that makes BB Smashwords’ third biggest publisher and its biggest outside the US. He’s also working on ebook format conversions for the BB book store and for several massive and prestigious new retail outlets he’s negotiating with. This past week alone, his work has earned BB prestigious partnerships with the ultra-selective ContentReserve and Scribd.

Tony’s even finding time to work with Alex in completely re-building a vastly improved website.

He is also responsible for setting up the formerly UK-based publishing house as an ‘official’ Canadian company as of Friday Feb 26, though BB will operate as it always has as an international, web-based affair with staff in Canada, France and the UK and authors and retailers all over the world.

BB editor Neil Marr said: “We’re all thrilled that Tony’s come aboard. I’ve known and admired him for a long time. In fact, when BeWrite closed its non-commercial community forums some years ago, it was Tony who immediately stepped up to the plate and opened within a couple of days as a new meeting place for our members. Tony doesn’t hang around and everything he sets his hand to is neat, innovative and professional. He bubbles with the energy, enthusiasm, talent and know-how BeWrite Books needs to grow. And he admires writers and good literature – that makes him a natural for the big job ahead.”

Fellow fiction editor Hugh McCracken said: “Sad as we were to see Caitlin Myers leave the company last summer for new adventures elsewhere, we’re overjoyed to see someone of Tony’s caliber take the reins.”

Poetry editor Sam Smith added: “We’re looking forward to an exciting future with Tony. And, although Alex will now be on the sidelines after so long as a key player, we’ve all become close friends and I know he’ll always be there when he’s needed. He has an open invitation for a Lakeland holiday at my place”

Neil’s son, Alex (Sandy), who set up BeWrite with Neil and Caitlin on January 1st 2000, took something of a back seat two years ago because of day-job pressure in Munich, Germany where he was based. But he was always on hand for willing help and expert advice and – in spite of the upheaval of a recent move to the UK and a demanding new managerial IT job – put in every hour he could spare to help with the technical and admin side of things after Caitlin left and to help show Tony the ropes.

Even now, he’s currently working on the complex accountancy involved in BB’s receipts and royalty payments. That is likely to be his last ‘official’ task for BeWrite Books; but he’ll never be far away for informal advice and encouragement.

“It’s been exciting to see what was just the germ of an idea over a midnight toast to the new millennium with my Old Man developing the way it has. I’m proud of what we and our authors have achieved. But now it’s time for me to move on and dedicate all my time and energy to a challenging new job and a new home. Having come to know Tony, though, I feel I’m leaving BeWrite Books in the very best of good hands.”

Tony was born and raised in Tirgu Mures, Transylvania – Dracula country to Bram Stoker readers and horror film fans. There, he became a physician … and later a world wanderer in search of a destiny.

Here’s his story in his own words:

“By the age of thirteen I was nuts about music. The first piece I really fell in love with was Beethoven’s Violin Sonata No.5. ‘Spring’. Then came Paganini, Vivaldi and, ultimately, Bach. I had all sorts of ‘periods’ with the music, the Brahms period, the Stravinsky period, etc. Bach wasn’t a ‘period’ for me. It’s just Bach, and then comes music. Of course, I got into jazz as well and all kind of world-ethno fusion which I still enjoy very much.

“At about the same age I started to get involved with literature. Reading everywhere, at any time possible. I think, Steinbeck was my first love. Lots of ‘periods’ here too: Céline, Borges, Camus, Mann, Bulgakov, Huxley, Marquez, Čapek, Llosa, Kafka etc. But, just like with Bach, I discovered Dostoyevsky and that was it; he’s my superhero when it comes to literature.

“As an adolescent, I fantasized about becoming a writer, but I realized that I didn’t know much about life and the world … or anything much at all. I didn’t even know what to with my own life, so I gave up my writing dreams, because what could a guy who doesn’t know anything about anything write about? Instead, I went to university to become a doctor and hopefully, to find out more about something. I found that medicine was not my thing pretty quickly, but I still graduated the medical school because I wasn’t ready to break my family’s medical tradition.

“I became a practicing physician. But after two years, I said to myself that enough is enough, I jumped in my old Mercedes 300D and went to Budapest to ask my Hungarian girlfriend to marry me. She said ‘You don’t really want that. You don’t really want anything, or you don’t know what you want. It’s the same thing.’ So she dumped me and on my way back to Romania, on the train (the Mercedes was lying crashed in a Hungarian ditch somewhere) I realised that she was right.

“I thought that if I don’t know what to do anyway, I might as well emigrate to Israel. I got there in 1993 and started to work all kind of jobs: motorcycle mechanic, translator, diamond cutter, construction, etc.

“After few years, I turned back to Romania to visit my friends and family and got married. Not a very smart move, but at the time it seemed alright. So, what to do next? I started to work with some friends who were byzantine church painters. To say the least, very crazy artists. Life was good. Byzantine fresco and icons on wood were interesting stuff to learn about … and the food and booze at monasteries and in small villages was awesome.

“Then it occurred to me that these things called computers (I had no idea then how they worked), could be used to make icons on wood on an industrial scale. So, I bought a PC and some books and I started to learn about computers and stuff. With my painter friends, we made thousands of icons and sold them all over the world. That was fine, but after a while I figured that computers are really fun to work with, so I gave up the icons business and I opened an Internet Café with a friend of mine from Germany.

“Business was booming, but after a couple of years, broadband came in and I became a bit bored. Then I divorced, closed the business and went to Spain, then Germany to find something else to do. I spent four or five years in Germany, repairing computers and working as a nurse, thanks to my medical education. I was about to start working as a doctor because, again, there was nothing else to do, but I met my present wife who was living in the US at the time. We got married and moved to Canada. BC is a wonderful place.

“Waiting for my residency papers and right to work in Canada, I started to make all kinds websites just to keep myself busy. That’s how I met Neil Marr and BeWrite Books some years ago when he sent some articles to one of my general interest websites.

“We’ve always got on well and seen eye-to-eye, though Neil’s invitation to work with BeWrite was quite unexpected – and welcome. The work’s demanding, but it involves computer skills, art and design, literature, imagination, meeting and befriending creative people … all the things I love most. The future looks rosy.”
Tony officially takes his post as BeWrite Books Publisher on March 1.

Thursday, 25 February 2010


Hya Chaps and Chapettes (scribes and readers):

We're trying our best to get the BeWrite Books Blog up and running again.

This time so that it’ll promote you and your books, your own sites and blogs, buying info, your thoughts, raves and rants, BeWrite Books in general, and be bursting with news and fun to attract the readers ... the guys right at the top of the food chain who determine your value as authors by blowing the cobwebs off their credit cards, and who might even take the trouble to review your work.

We don't want this to be a dry sales blog. We know you have info, comment, anecdotes and jokes coming out of your ears that will give readers an insight into what your work has to offer. And we want readers to tell us what's right and what's wrong.

WWW.BEWRITEBOOKS.BLOGSPOT.COM is as dim as a Toc H lamp right now and has about as many members as the Kalahari Caber Tossing and Clog Dancing Society. SIXTEEN followers! I’ve seen longer bus queues. We need hundreds …. thousands … to flog your books and attract the very best of writers and readers.

This place could really be helpful if a buncha folks registered and commented on posts – or even went so far as to suggest posts of their own. The Blog is picked up at places like FaceBook and Twitter to spread the word even further … and it’s all about spreading the word, isn’t it.

If you’ll just read it and recommend it, that would be finest kind. Contribute a little and it would be even finester kind and we can use it as the basis for a quarterly BB newsletter for reading and writing pals if you write with good sense and/or good humour.

If you’re unsure about what you want to say, just drop me a line at and I’ll help.

Put it this way, people … it will take less time to sign up and drop the odd note than it would to send me an email to say why you can’t be arsed. It’ll also save me the bother of coming over to your house and terrorising your pets.

Please do help out – for everyone’s sake.

That is all. Neil


Things are moving so fast and furious with our admirable partners that they can hardly keep pace with demand from major retailers for exciting new titles from small indies like BeWrite Books.

A note from Smashwords founder and CEO Mark Coker today, though, shows that there's a brilliant light at the end of the tunnel for BB.

No less than EIGHTY ONE BeWrite Books ebook titles in the Smashwords Premium Catalogue will be available in NINE digital formats in a matter of days at online stores including Amazon's Kindle store, Barnes & Noble's Nook ebook store, Sony's ebook store and even the new Kobo ebook store. They can be read on anything from a PC to a new fangled ereader device or even a mobile phone.

If you can't wait, visit, hit the publisher's button in the left margin, key in BeWrite Books and pick up anything you like immediately and in any format under the sun for nine bucks a pop. And, if you can enjoy PDF, those are still available for the next few weeks at a mere $2 direct from

Ol' stick-in-the-muds like my wife, Skovia, of course, can still get BB paperbacks (treebooks) pretty well anywhere.

Happy reading. Neil

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

BeWrite Books Shift into Overdrive

BeWrite Books has today (Feb 23) officially teamed up with Cleveland-based OverDrive (Content Reserve), the leading and most prestigiious global distributor of eBooks and audiobooks for libraries and retailers in the world ... and earning this coveted partnership has been no cake walk.

The company -- with some of the biggest names in publishing on its books -- is super-selective, to say the least, as to which clients and titles it welcomes aboard. The selection process -- which included the strict assessment of sample titles -- made this humble publishing house feel as though it was applying for astronaut training for the first flight to Mars. Worth every minute of the months' long effort, though, when we were accepted with a kindly note of welcome.

Our proud inclusion in Overdrive's massive ContentReserve catalogue now offers us the widest ebook and audio book retail exposure we could dream of. You can read about the company here:

A lot of work is still involved to get our entire catalogue up and running with Overdrive according to their exacting technical standards, but nothing the BeWrite Team can't handle with BB Technical Director Tony Smuk's in-house expertise and the unstinting help of our delightful Overdrive project manager, Margaret Harrison, who is a key player (also with a strong editorial background) on the huge and dynamic Overdrive team of technicians, designers, marketers and expert admin folks.

We're set now for greater than ever, glittering shop window showcasing for BB authors and a wonderful opportunity for them to connect with more e-readers then ever before. So watch this space. You won't have to wait long.


Friday, 19 February 2010

London Book Fair

The huge and lively London Book Fair runs from April 19 to April 21 (incl). If BeWrite Books authors and readers attending would like to drop me a line, I'll do my best to organise a get-together.


Thursday, 18 February 2010

Eeeeee ... Books!!!

ALL BeWrite Books titles are now available at in every known ebook format. And ALL BeWrite authors have a personal author/title profile at that site. Contact me at if you want to make changes.

Through our Smashwords partnership, BB ebooks are now dribbling into the shop windows of Barnes & Noble's Nook, Amazon's Kinndle, Kobo, Sony and elsewhere. Rome wasn't built in a day, so have a little patience until the entire catalogue is available universally. We and Smashwords are working hard at it.

Also, we have an invitation from the absolutely massive forum for authors to promote their own ebooks there with links to Smashwords and other points of sale.
Please do sign up with MobileReads and head for the new thread ( where you have free range and can do yourself a lot of good.

The website is currently undergoing huge reconstruction, so keep tabs. Apart from your paperbacks (treebooks), we will soon have all titles available direct from there in PDF and ePub versions at $7 a pop. Elsewhere, they'll cost $9.

Our ebook titles have also been accepted by ContentReversve Library and Blio. Just waiting for the red tape to unravel. Watch this space.

Cheers. Neil

Monday, 15 February 2010


BeWrite Books is entering the audiobooks field ... and that ain't quite as easy as reading a bedtime story to the littlies if you want to do it properly.

We were lucky recently to sign up professional actor Jacob Keebler in the US to help produce the first BB book that doesn't call for your eyes being open as you enjoy the words.

The job's turning out a hoot, but there's a heck of a lot involved, apart from perfect reading. All kinds of technical stuff, music, sound effects, scripts, etc must tie together to create a perfect recording.

You should soon be able to hear *THE MOVIE* (otherwise known as Cannibal Lesbian Zombies from Outer Space -- versus -- Doctor Clockwork and his Furious Plastic Surgeons of Doom) thanks to Jake, his backup cast, author Bosley Gravel and a whole crew of editors and technicians.

Once this is off the stocks, other BeWrite Books titles will become available in audiobook form, too.

Patience, though. It takes one heck of a lot of time to get it right ... no matter how easy it sounds.


Good to have known Ron McLachlan

Sad news this weekend that friend and BeWrite Books author Ron McLachlan has died in Scotland after a heart attack.

Ron had been fending off ill health for some time, but his death came as a terrible shock because he played down his medical hitches and sounded so upbeat when he swapped email with the BB team only a few days ago.

Ron was author of BB's PLATO'S CHILD and WHISPERS OF GHOSTS. One heck of a character and with experiences behind him most of us can only dream of.

You can read more about him and his work here: or at his own website:

He leaves a warm, close family and his colleagues, friends and readers much the richer for having shared his life with us.

Think of him chasing Daisy up 'Peaceful Mountain', where they both chose life.


I really enjoyed the process of writing, whether novels, short stories or poetry. After all the years of wandering and searching, that was where I finally found myself. I felt as if I had come home. From Ron McLachlan's website.