A Must Read

July 21, 2010

It’s a fact that Alzheimer’s touches the lives of millions. But many people aren’t aware of Early Onset Alzheimer’s, which afflicts people in their 30s, 40s, and 50s…when they and their loved ones are still in the prime of life – amy even have small children. This is a cruel disease, and I remember weeping my way through Barry’s book as he and I went through the editing process. I still can’t read the last page without tearing up.

If you want to learn more about Barry, his fabulous book, and the inner workings of this demon Early Onset Alzheimer’s, I recommend watching this wonderful interview that Barry gave on the morning show New Day in Seattle. It will open your eyes to this lovely man placed in a terrible position, and give you keen insight as to this terrible disease.

Go. Read. Learn. And don’t forget the Kleenex.

A Different Shade of Blue – keep them blurbs a-comin’

April 7, 2009

Even though the sun is shining, the windows are open and I’d really rather be outside playing, I can’t tear myself away from my wonderful authors. There is no luckier publisher than I because my authors simply rock the world in talent and good humor – a must in this business. And good works beget good reviews, and I would expect nothing less for Adam Eisenberg’s A Different Shade of Blue:

“As a long-time female police officer who was ultimately one of two female pioneers ever hired, Eisenberg’s A Different Shade of Blue definitely struck a chord. I had to keep checking the cover to ensure this book wasn’t written by a female officer herself! His in-depth, gritty, and thorough look into the lives of female police officers, coupled with his own background in law enforcement, brings the reader along to shatter the glass ceiling. As a crime writer myself who is currently working on a memoir about my own life as a female police officer, I finished the last page of A Different Shade of Blue feeling somewhat defeated–Eisenberg essentially wrote my memoir for me. Quite simply, he nailed it! A fascinating read!”

~ Stacy Dittrich, former detective, author of Murder Behind the Badge: True Stories of Cops Who Kill, (October 2009), and law enforcement media consultant as seen on CNN, Fox, and E! True Hollywood.
“The Devil’s Closet” October 2008
“Mary Jane’s Grave” May 2009
“Murder Behind the Badge: True Stories of Cops Who Kill” October 2009
“Stumbling Along the Beat: A True Story of One Policewoman’s Journey” Spring 2010

This review has special meaning to me. Stacy is in informed source, well published in this genre, and knows more about the inside of a police station than most. This makes her review poignant.

But what makes this especially delicious is that Stacy was at one time an author who came to my blog to scream at the instanity known as the query process. She saw garbage flying out the doors while the really good stuff ended up with rejection letters. Her frustration was so eloquent that I included our exchange in The Writer’s Essential Tackle Box.  I’d like to think something I said gave her the ammunition to stick with it. Stacy did say something along those lines, but I’m more inclined to think she’s just really tough.

The long and short of it is that Stacy hung in there and caught the eye of an agent (Claire Gerus – who  happens to be a dear friend of mine), and got a multi-book deal. Her life has become a whirlwind since that time, and I honor her for taking time out of her busy life to offer Adam a wonderful review.

I just love those full-circle stories. Don’t you?

January’s Cool Book Pick

January 15, 2009

eastfifthbliss_benfranklinEast Fifth Bliss is one of those books that has you slapping your hand over your eyes because poor ol’ Morris Bliss is such a hapless dumbshit – a lovable, sweet, kind, hapless dumbshit – and you can never be sure as to how far away he is from true disaster and annhilation. As hapless as he is, author Douglas Light is such a fabulous writer that you just can’t help falling in love with Morris and wanting to cheer him on much like the Little Engine That Could. I think I can, I think I can. Pleeease, Morris!

I vividly remember my first read through of E5thBliss because he grabbed me at first page, and I didn’t stop reading until the last page, 66,000 words later. My butt had fallen asleep and my knees were locked in a landing position. But I didn’t care because I had to have this book. This is what nabbed me:

There are two theories.

The first:

After brothing up a world with water and soil and fish and plants and beasts that stand on two feet and talk and would eventually want credit cards and cell phones and satellite TV, God dipped his finger in the wetness between New Jersey and Long Island and summoned forth the rock called Manhattan. By doing so, He set in motion His austere plan: one day, there’d be an island replete with towering steel buildings and shabby brick tenements, dying trees, and co-ops with monthly maintenances more than most Americans’ mortgage payments. It’d be a paradise filled with hundreds of concrete parks littered with losing lotto tickets and fried chicken bones. Rats would frolic on doorsteps. Dogs would defecate on the sidewalks. Squirrels would charge at the passing people, having no fear.

His plan called for a place where bulimic make-up salesclerks, who hide their cold sores with dark lipstick, would fit in. Myopic Midwesterners, who swear they’ve read Ulysses when they haven’t, would have a home. The Hasidim would feel comfortable hanging their beaver fur hats there. It’d be a place for all, even Italian restaurateurs who claim that stale toast with a little tomato and a spot of olive oil is bruschetta and charge twelve dollars a plate. Even obese Hispanics in tight stretch pants who wave their nation’s flag while screaming that they’re being stereotyped. All would be welcomed with open arms. All would be embraced. His plan called for an island of everything. An island the world turned to.

The second theory has to do with strange gray and green and purple gases, tiny jumping particles, a spark, and then a Big Bang. Presto! Earth’s formed. Manhattan’s made. Then some slimy being flopped from the waters onto the land, gasped for air, and has since raged for millions of years to become mankind today.

Following either school of thought, this fact stands: Morris Bliss is thirty-five years old. He’s lived his entire life in Apartment 8 in a weathered, red brick tenement on East Fifth Street near the corner of First Avenue. Has lived his entire life with his father.

But Morris has plans, big plans. Life altering plans. He’s starting them today, or this week. This month. He’s starting them very soon.

Morris Bliss has never left home.

See? Hooked. I love the voice – unusual with its present tense. But Doug pulled it off quite nicely, and I felt as though Morris’ life was unfolding in real time right before my eyes. I spent half my time holding my breath and the other reading through the fingers covering my eyes.

We all procrastinate, right? We get caught up in the inertia of everyday – so much so that we find ourselves saying, “One day I’m gonna write that book” or “I’m gonna lose ten pounds,” but we never do it. Well Morris Bliss takes the idea of procrastination to new levels when his life turns into a complete nightmare. He’s dating his boss’ eighteen year-old daughter, who would kill Morris if he found out. His best friend, RJ, is an affable whack job is who recruited by the Red Thread, an international cartel that controls global economics and local sex market, and it falls to Morris to help save RJ’s miserable hide and, with lovely symmetry, himself.

It boasts one of the sweetest endings I’ve read in a long time, and it just made me all glowy and gooey for days afterward. The added benefit of buying this book was to work with Doug Light, one of the nicest and talented writers floating around that rock of Manhattan. I couldn’t have been happier when East Fifth Bliss took the gold medal at the Ben Franklin Book Awards at New York’s Book Expo America in the Popular Fiction category – unquestionably the toughest and Grand Poohba of all categories.

I love Library Journal’s sentiments:

“This fun read boasts a likable protagonist, other quirky and interesting characters, and vivid and humorous descriptions of New York while also providing some significant social commentary. The scene in which Morris and a former high school classmate (and father of the 18-year-old girl with whom Morris is sleeping) storm a vacant building in the middle of the night to roust out a group of homeless squatters is both funny and disturbing. Recommended for large public libraries with an interest in new and unknown authors.”

If you’re looking for a fun, easy read and are in the mood to laugh your butt off while biting your tongue, you won’t do any better than East Fifth Bliss. Great job, Doug. You so rock!

You can read the first two chapters here.

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