Blog Categories Archives
Insights from Hawthorne Publishing

Spotlight on an Injustice: Modern history with women in the military Cracking the Camouflage Ceiling by Chaplain (Colonel) Janet Yarlott Horton US Army (Ret)

By Nancy Baxter, Senior Editor Hawthorne Publishing


Colonel (ret.) Janet Yarlott Horton was one of the first women and women chaplains in the United States military. A bright and energetic young woman planning to be a teacher and in college, she was contacted by officials in her own Christian Science church to see if she wished to train for the military chaplaincy. Women at that moment in history, the mid-1970s, had just begun to go into the United States Army. Men warily or even with hostility, were expected to accept the women as comrades in arms, and they weren’t at all ready to do that.

One does not enter the chaplaincy of America’s armed forces from a certain denomination. There were Catholic, Protestant, and Jewish chaplains. (Today there are also Muslim chaplains.)

Colonel Horton tells the story of studying in a tough graduate theological course and then serving an internship—graduating as a chaplain to be sent in 1977 to an army training area near Phoenix, Arizona. She would be a chaplain to all who considered themselves Protestants and some who just wanted to experience a faith community.

Janet was the “token woman” with the bunch of “guys.” They warned her their morning run into the desert would “be too much for you,” but she told them she was a seasoned long-distance runner. Into the desert they went, Janet with a bunch of skeptical men; as she tells the story in the book. As they loped in that early morning into along an unpopulated road a distance from settled areas, a pack of hungry, growling coyotes approached. The men climbed trees or hid, leaving her alone.

She told herself she was a chaplain, a person of faith with men from the army looking on.

“Having been ‘praying without ceasing,’ I felt very prepared. . . I prayed to hear the still small voice of God’s Word for this situation. What came to me was to ‘get down and speak to the lead dog.’” All the coyotes lay down as Janet knelt to speak to that lead dog.

She spoke as to a friend. “You have a purpose, but’s it’s not to harm me. And I have a purpose and it’s not to harm you. We need to be about our Father’s business, but it’s not here.”

She stood and pointed to the desert wilderness and the lead coyote trotted in that direction, followed by the others.

The men came forward from their hiding places, astonished,  and they all spoke together about what having a woman with them meant, as they made an effort to understand what the new world of equality even in the armed forces would mean.

Scores of episodes in Colonel Horton’s distinguished career are explored in this remarkable book which has been a best-seller for Hawthorne Publishing, going around the world.


To come: Colonel Horton is at the Pentagon when it is attacked on 9/11.

To purchase her book Cracking the Camouflage Ceiling: Faith Persistence and Progress in the Army Chaplaincy During the Early integration of Women in the Military click back to the website.

Posted in Winds of Change |

Audio books’ popularity soars. . .how does a publisher view this niche in the market?

New statistics show that 50% of Americans over 12 years of age have listened to an audio book in the last year. That percentage has grown from 44 percent in 2018.

A young business friend of mine said recently, “I don’t know why people keep buying cumbersome hard and softcover books. The minute I get into the car, I put on the audio book. It can be a popular thriller or a book that involves my business interest, which I’m supposed to read and discuss in an upcoming office meeting, but every minute I’m improving my mind easily as I drive.”

Smartspeakers are facilitating this surge in popularity in books that often feature well-known actors delivering the narrative and acting the characters.  A person may sit under a tree, on the beach, or on the road, and follow the latest mystery or non-fiction biography.

The popularity and success of many of these books, particularly fiction, depends on the voice and narrative, the reading of the book. Actors with rich, powerful interpretive voices will bring the narrative to life with a variety of tonalities, voices, and expressions. We enjoy hearing something coming alive, giving us some of the pleasure we receive watching a movie.

.But what value do they have for small presses or regional publishers, whose sales have been invested in soft bounds, diminishing amounts of hardcovers and e-books. The answer is not much value so far.

Small press sales can be in the low thousands for any given softcover title, at best. Historical presses are pleased to sell 2,000 at the release of any given title as a new release and then feature it for many years as a standard or backlist title. They have returned their original investment of print and typesetting costs and made a modicum of profit as well as serving their publishing mission. Authors have received some sales royalties and are satisfied.

But audio books are surprisingly expensive to produce. Any one title can cost around $3,000-$5,000 or more to record and produce with a sophisticated and talented performer doing the voice and smooth technology to produce it. E-books can be produced at a professional level for about $500 and very little trouble in India. Of course e-books do not return much when sold through Amazon for either small presses or authors, often a few dollars per sale.

Small presses sell softbound titles for $20 or more.  Audiobooks are sold by subscription usually, a situation small presses cannot manage easily.

So for now, we small presses are still in the business of producing high quality softbound books with arresting themes, titles and content. That’s the way the book business has been since the 1400s, and it’s clear that hand-held books with high quality reading content will continue to sell at least in the near future.

Posted in audiobooks |

E-books: Flash in the pan or a role well earned in the book industry?

When e-books first became popular and began to be widespread about eight years ago, the fad for them made observers predict that these convenient books in electronic form, transmitted to your e-book reader (generally Kindle from Amazon) would take over the reading market.

And indeed, releases purchased in e-book form quickly went up to 20 and even 30% of the book market in the heady days of 2014 and 15.

E-book or print softbound?

Readers remarked on the ease of having a book transferred in a moment from Amazon to a Kindle or Nook reader, the convenience of using the device to read in a car or on a trip, the advantages of having electronic storage instead of an overloaded shelf of books that will never be read again.

By 2017, though, e-book sales had begun diminishing. Market share of children’s books in e-book form fell sharply and adult e-books were declining—both markets taken together declined 12 %.

What has happened to the book format that was so touted as able to replace the book held in the hand? It turns out that the average reader actually still likes the book in the hands. There’s something comforting and leisurely and artistically pleasurable about holding a book, being able to physically turn a page ahead or behind to check something, stopping to instantly look at the photo of the author as the last page.

And it is of course softbound books that are preferred these days. Some statistics, (which are hard to interpret because they vary a lot) say that paperback books are outselling e-books last year by 20%.

But hardcover and gifting softbound books are one reason print books are holding their own and making a comeback. In the first place, publishers have been featuring stunning and beautiful graphics in many books for sale on Amazon. Illustrations throughout a book, or even a striking cover, done imaginatively can make a book a pleasant aesthetic experience, an appreciated gift, or even a keepsake. Christmas still comes and birthdays still appear, and wrapping up or packaging a book with an arresting or beautiful cover often beats giving someone a gift card to buy the dull electronic book online.

In the first flush of the fad for e-books, libraries rushed to stock them through the company Overdrive, which held an exclusive hold on the market and had technology to allow patrons to take out tiles and read them on their Kindles. The books then disappeared from their e-book systems after a reasonable amount of time.

Vincennes Indiana library director Emily Bunyan said recently, “All our patrons were so eager for us to stock e-books for them to take out, and we did that. Then the demand began to cool and they are not particularly popular these days. Our readers enjoy print books still.”

Electronic formats for books will always be a factor in reading. Readers now have choices.

Eighteen percent of the electronic book market is audio books. More on that next time.


Nancy Niblack Baxter, Senior Editor Hawthorne Publishing


Posted in ebooks |

Interest in Doris Day Grows. . .

Mary Anne Barothy, our author of Day at a Time: An Indiana Girl’s Sentimental Journey to Doris Day’s Hollywood and Beyond

In the past three months since the passing of Doris Day on May 13, 2019, interest in this movie star among devoted fans has grown. Case in point—I recently spoke with Cindy Nevin, Administrator for the Doris Day Fan Club on Facebook, and asked her about the growing interest in membership.

Cindy, a DD fan since age 8, said when she first joined the Doris Day Fan Club on Facebook, in 2014, there were around 4,200 members worldwide. She was eager to step up and help “co-administer” the group when the then sole administrator, John McKenzie, put out a notice asking for someone to help. Cindy had been a big DD fan since seeing Doris in With Six You Get Eggroll in 1968. On September 9, 2015, Cindy became co-administrator for the Doris Day Fan Club and soon moved up to administrator, having full reign over the growing fan club.

Currently there are 14,877 members worldwide, an amazing growth since those first days. There are there are members from the USA, Philippines, the UK, Canada, Russia and some other places. Here are some stats on the international distribution:

Top countries:
United States: 10,632
United Kingdom: 1,371
Canada: 742
Australia: 496
Germany: 232

Top Cities:
New York: 336
Los Angeles: 177
London, England: 107
Sydney, Australia: 104
Toronto, Canada: 93

I asked Cindy if she was surprised that more members were joining after Doris’s passing.  “Yes and No. It was shocking the amount of member requests we received.  A constant flow the first few days after her death. There were 400 plus new members added during this time.  I think interest piqued after her death.  It didn’t surprise me that there was so much interest because of who Doris was. I am sure people were reading all over the internet and hearing on TV about her life. Doris is widely cherished and loved…no question about that.”

Cindy added membership is approximately 70% women, 30% men and with a growing interest of young people who are joining on a daily basis.  If you would like to join this interesting group, go to Facebook and look up Doris Day Fan Club where you can request membership. Among some interesting members are Jackie Joseph Lawrence who starred with Doris on “The Doris Day Show”; Scott Drier who does the “Doris and Me” shows; and Paul Peterson from “The Donna Reed Show.” Over the years I have had the privilege of getting to know several members of the original Doris Day Society, several of whom came here to live here in the USA. I have also made friends with some of the members on Cindy’s DD Facebook page.   We all share a deep love for Doris Day! I remember when I first joined the Doris Day Society, as that particular group was called in those days, in the late 1950s in London England, we had to wait for the quarterly DD Journal which was sent out via regular mail. How wonderful that today you get the news and stories instantly.  My, how times have changed!!!!!

You can order Mary Anne’s Hawthorne Best-seller Day at a Time: An Indiana Girl’s Sentimental Journey to Doris Day’s Hollywood and Beyond by clicking back to the website, softcover.

Posted in Doris Day |