Wednesday, May 25, 2011

For Dads and Daughters

If you've got a daughter active in sports - or your said girl who was/is active in sports (hello my fellow brethren!), check out Daddy's Little Goalie: A Father, His Daughters, and Sportsby Robert Strauss.

Robert is friends with my aunt and uncle, and his daughters - yes of the book - are classmates with my cousins. He is also a skilled journalists, and we often share bylines in the same section of a magazine or newspaper.

Example: for the July issue of New Jersey Monthly, he wrote a feature about Atlantic City, and I wrote the sidebar about Miss America.

Anyway, it's a recommend.

Digg this

Monday, May 23, 2011

Book Expo America Book Signing

For anyone going to the Book Expo America conference: I'll be signing copies of my bookon Tuesday at 11am. I'll be at booth 3424. AND I WILL HAVE SALT WATER TAFFY.

Digg this

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Anatomy of Two Articles

As you probably know from reading this blog, I'm a freelance journalist, and sometimes I write about books. For the last year or so, I've been reviewing books for American Way magazine, and I can't review those books right after reading them because of my contract.

But now that these two stories are out, I thought you might be interested to see how two assignments from the same book came about.

In September, I get a slew of catalogs from publishers, showcasing what books will be coming out in the next season. After I think most of them have hit my mailbox, I sit down with sticky notes and a pen, and start marking what books I might want for what magazines.

One of those books was Halfway to Hollywood: Diaries 1980--1988by Monty Python's Michael Palin.

"American Way," I marked on the sticky, and requested the book. I pitched it to my editor who said yes. I then proceeded to read all 660+ pages of the book.

The assignment was only 125 words. I was getting paid in accordance to a short piece. Why slog through the entire book?

Of course, because that's what I'm supposed to do. It's what any decent journalist would do. I knew how long the book was before I pitched the review. It wouldn't be write to do a review without reading what you're reviewing, even if it is over 600 pages long.

One theme kept popping up: Running. Palin is a big runner. Not in the "do 52 marathons in 52 weeks way," but in the running-to-clear-the-mind way. I sent his publicist a note asking her if he still ran. He did, she said.

In November, I pitched a story to Runner's World for their "I'm a Runner" column, which runs at the back of every issue.

I'd been trying to break into Runner's World for three years. I even wrote for Bicycling already, which is owned by the same company - and I don't own a bike!

Surprise, surprise:


The article ran in the April issue, with an extended Q&A online.

And in the June issue, I saw this:


And here's the American Way piece.

From reading one book for one small assignment, I ended up writing another big assignment, and I'm currently working on my third piece for Runner's World. And I got to talk to Michael Palin! Yes, that Michael Palin!

On Tuesday, I'm going to Book Expo America for two reasons: first, to sign copies of my new book. Second, to find new books to write about for magazines. And the cycle starts all over again.

Digg this

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Review: Fool for Love by Eloisa James

Oh HELL yeah I read another romance novel. C'mon, folks. Smart chicks read them, too, especially when they're written by Shakespeare professors from Fordham.

Quick refresher: Eloisa James is really Mary Bly, who I wrote about here. I don't really dig historical romance - especially when the hero is named "Darby" in an obvious one-letter difference from hero of heroes Darcy. But Bly's books are so researched, and interesting and funny, and such a window into another time period that, when I wanted something fun to read, and couldn't quite handle another Nora Roberts murder-mystery themed romance, picked up Fool for Love, which James published in 2003.

The heroine here is Henrietta, a country bumpkin of sorts but Heiress whose mother died in childbirth. She has also inherited her mother's weak hip, which doctors told her was the reason her mother is dead, and warned Henrietta that she cannot have children.

Darby (yes, see?) is a bit of a city fop who stands to be disinherited because his aunt is knocked up. Since the aunt (not related to him) and his uncle essentially lived separate lives, and the uncle had a mistress, and the aunt was known to get around, he assumed that the kid is not his uncle's - even though the uncle died in the aunt's bedchamber (intrigue!) So if the baby is a boy, Darby loses his inheritance.

So he decides to hit the countryside to see what's what. He brings his two step sisters along. Their parents are dead, so he's responsible for them. While in town, the girls run away from their nursemaid, and into Henrietta.

And things, of course, unspool from there.

The only thing that really bothered me was the Darby name. The aunt's lover's name is Sebastian. Sebastian! Put that name on a hero!

Interesting read when I didn't want to think about what I was reading. I dig it.

Digg this