Monday, July 10, 2017

Once Upon a Time, 3 Girls Fell in Love with a Broadway Show

New York, NY. The gritty 1970s. Chain snatchers and junkies...every park a needle park...subways blind with graffiti. Garbage blew from sidewalk to sidewalk and the smell of bread still rose from the Silvercup factory. Artists and students squatted in ruined neighborhoods, homesteading Soho and the East Village; nobody lived in Brooklyn unless they'd been born there.
But, if you'd caught "red velvet curtain disease," you hardly noticed. Because there was another world, on stage and off. Whether you yearned to make the magic or simply wanted to be close to it, you believed that anything was possible: which it was, even if only for a moment and not exactly as you'd imagined it would be.

I know — I'm the world's worst blogger. It shocked me to see how long it's been since I posted anything here. I'm embarrassed to confess that I rarely have anything interesting to say; and when I do, it usually works it's way into a long book. Which brings me to why I suddenly appear here now, seemingly out of nowhere, with a post.

I'm pleased and proud to announce the publication of my new novel, Chasing Fireflies. It's a story about being young and falling in love with theatre, and it comes with it's own built-in Broadway musical. You can find a sneak peek on my website.

Chasing Fireflies is available at Amazon outlets worldwide, in both paper and Kindle editions (click here for Amazon US).  If you're torn, because you love the smell and feel of printed paper (like I do!) but also enjoy the convenience of ebooks, please note that my Amazon editions are all registered in the "matching" program: if you purchase the paperback, you can download the Kindle edition at no extra charge. And if you have a local indie bookstore you support, you should be able to order the paperback through them in a few more weeks. (if you ARE an indie bookstore, my books are distributed by CreateSpace)

Apologies to all my readers who were hoping for something more bloggy and less ad. I'll never make the grade as a blogger.. This book, and my other books, are really the best way to know what I have  on my mind and in my heart.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

One Anniversary, One Holiday, TWO Kindle Countdowns!

May 1, the annual commemoration of International Workers' Day, seems like the perfect time to shout-out to readers about the novel I like to think of as the ANTI-Atlas Shrugged, Under the Bus. Click here for a preview chapter.

And on April 26th, I celebrate the anniversary of the publication of The Breast of Everything (Happy Birthday, Mam!). Click here for an excerpt.

What better way for me to celebrate than to run a special Tag Team Kindle Countdown?! From April 24th through May 5th, one or both of these novesl will be available at irresistible prices.
  • The event kicks off on Thursday, April 24th, with The Breast of Everything. The special price of 99 cents remains in play until the afternoon of April 27th, then a bump up to $1.99 through May 1st.
  • On Sunday, April 28th, Under the Bus joins in, available through May Day afternoon at the worker-friendly price of 99 cents (!), then rising to the only marginally higher $1.99 through the afternoon of May 3, with a final 60% discount price of $2.99 until the Countdown ends on May 5.
Spread the word!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

There's a Reason They Used to Call it Vanity Press!

This is me drawing a hugh sigh of relief and announcing the imminent launch of “Under the Bus.”
If you’re thinking “OMG! She actually did it!” you are probably one of the couple of dozen people for whom I wrote this novel. For you guys, I note that it's available worldwide in paperback from Amazon and wherever fine self-published books are sold online (priced higher than I would have liked, but it's a whopper and that jacked up the minimum that would enable a printed edition to be available beyond Amazon) and, far more reasonably, electronically via Kindle (other e-book flavors will probably follow in a few months time). As per the usual drill, status on this will be posted on my Facebook fan page and links added to the book’s page on my website.
If you're NOT one of the OMGers, just give me a  big “Yay!” for the achievement, and leave it at that. Seriously! The release of “Under the Bus” puts me 75% through my 4-books-come-hell-or-high-water project, a milestone I embrace with unequivocal pride and joy.  And the 4th novel, “Chasing Fireflies” (some of you think of this as 'the theater one’), should be available within the next 14 months. All in all, a big Wahoo! But this novel, "Under the Bus”, might be something of a “huh?”
Let me explain. 
If you follow my fan page, you may have noticed the quote I posted last month:"I don't know whether it's art or not, and I don't care. What I wanted was to show the energy and rush and confusion of American life." This was Thomas Hart Benton, talking about his 1931 mural "America Today." Except for the "rush" part (and the fact that it refers to a completely successful work of art!), it perfect captures my feelings about “Under the Bus.” 

Like Benton, we're living in a transitional society with tons of new or disappearing experiences to capture. I chose to focus this book on what I know best: the experience of the over-educated and under-employed trying to get a grip on post-industrial, post-middle-class America. Good times! No surprise, I had a surplus of material. Then there was the bigger challenge of how to frame it. 

What many people will say I "should have" done is push out a hilarious broad-stroke satire, or else craft some kind of passionate romance and/or murder to slap in the forefront of the novel and push my primary subject into the background. Instead -- and this is the Janus-headed blessing/curse of self-publishing -- I opted to follow my heart. Let's just say my heart is overly ambitious!  The resulting novel, while speckled with some very nice bits, is an overblown collage that might not be particularly compelling to anyone who's not one of the previously-referenced OMG-ers. For others reading this post, even if you're super-supportive of my writing, it might be wise to sit this one out and wait for my next novel. Again, I am completely serious about this.
Anyway, so you have a better idea of what I'm talking about, you can click here for a sneak peek at "Under the Bus" (which is probably the most entertaining part of the book).

And here's the blurb:

Waking up from the American Dream—one re-org at a time . Welcome to Pinnacle Management Services. The fastest growing managed office services company in North America. Blessed with good timing and a staff of over-burdened under-paid misfits and broken toys, PMS is the paradigm of turn-of-millennium business success. From the initial growth spurt that boosted PMS from the ranks of a simple mom-&-pop shop, it’s a fast five years to the equity partnership investment that surely foreshadows an eventual public offering. 
As CEO Kippy Melcher would tell you, he’s never made a bad decision…only sometimes he doesn’t get the results he wants. When that happens, someone has to take responsibility. And whenever that happens, well, someone else is certain to be thrown under the bus. 
Reading “Under the Bus” is like meeting a friend for Happy Hour and hearing how her job is worse than yours.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

One Post to Update Them All

If you follow me here–or anywhere–you’ll have noticed that, despite having all the usual channels, I don’t post much at the best of times. When you’re a slow writer, like me, there just isn’t time. It’s tough enough to juggle novel-writing and making a living with maintaining contact with the humans I love. Over the last year, having been not-so-gently nudged from salaried employment to contract work, I’ve been scrambling more furiously than ever.

 And now, I’m heading into NaNo. The book I’d been working on has run over by about five months and is still 2 chapters shy of a complete draft (and several hundred hours shy of a final one). And even so, I’m heading into NaNo. That probably sounds counterproductive to you. Unless you’ve experienced NaNo the same way that I have. As I blogged back in 2011, "NaNo is not to be missed.” It seems somewhat ironic (in the classic, not the millennial, use of the word) that the “jolly little workplace comedy” I was kicking off that year is the same bear that I’ve been fighting to finish off (it turned out to be neither so jolly nor so little after all).

This will be my fifth consecutive November writing marathon. I look forward to it with a mixture of excitement and dread. I expect a particularly difficult run this year, a combination of escalated time pressures and a project that is fraught with emotional baggage. The book I’ll be working on, Chasing Fireflies, is something I’ve been waiting my entire adult life to write. Waiting and preparing. In my mind, the novels I’ve written before–whether completed or not–have been training to write this one. Am I finally ready? No matter how much you prepare, you never feel as ready as you’d like to be. Even if I am ready–enough–is NaNo the right engine to kick it off? NaNo is relentless; it’s brilliant at pushing me forward by not allowing me the luxury of deliberating over every word. But for this novel, I want to deliberate; I want to write with the beauty and fluidity of a much better writer than I am. I know (and yes, I understand it’s probably a self-fulfilling prophecy) that if I manage to push through and “win” another NaNo, I’ll end up with mostly dross.

And yet, I’m doing NaNo. Because the focus and the confidence it gives me are a gift to be treasured. I write nearly every day of the year, but it’s the month of November, National Novel Writing Month, when I feel most like A Writer. On the other hand…don’t expect to read any of my work anytime soon!

Saturday, August 9, 2014

You want to violate the Do Not Call List? Alrighty then...

Every day this week, the message queue on my landline included a string of messages from a company that calls itself Card Services. Note that name well, please: #CardServices.

You know this call. The one that tells you "this is your last chance to lower your credit card interest rates." Positively the LAST. Even though a few months ago you got the same series of calls. Well, maybe it's your last chance this quarter.

I try to ignore these. But when the messages keep rolling in all week, and on some days they call twice, my tolerance wears really thin. Especially seeing, as you probably inferred from the title of this post, this phone has been on the Do Not Call List from that registry's inception.

If anyone from Card Services reads that last sentence, they'd probably laugh themselves silly. My waving around a piddling little infraction like that is like a mosquito bite to a rhinoceros.

"Why so cynical," you ask. "How do you know this isn't a genuine service organization, generously trying to help me lower my credit card interest rates?" Okay, Devil's Advocate. Just because I knew you'd ask, when this morning's call came in, I didn't let it go to message. Instead:

  • I picked up the phone and pressed '1.' 
  • I was the 13th caller. In a mere 2 seconds, I was the 8th. A second later, an operator picked up my call. Either they have a customer-operator ration of nearly 1-to-1, or most calls last no longer than mind was about to. 
  • The representative identified the company as Card Services. I repeated this name to him, and it was confirmed. I asked "which cards." He answered "all of them," going on to list Visa, Master Card, etc. 
  • I asked where Card Services was located. Yes, that was all I asked. A very basic question, I would think.
  • Rather than answer, the operator queried back: "Are you responding to a call?" 
  • I said "I'm responding to the eight calls your company has left me this week. My phone is on the Do Not..."
  • And that was it. I didn't even get to complete the sentence before he hung up. 

Note that this wasn't my first attempt at getting these people off my back. Some months ago, during a similar flood of calls, I tried responding to one of the messages in my queue. The operator gave a similar description as the operator with whom I spoke today: that they served "all cards." When I pressed for more details, she stated they "are not affiliated with any one bank," and implied a kind of debt consolidation service. In that instance, when I said they were in violation of the Do Not Call List, she laughed and said smartly "Excuse me, you called us." It was only when I asked to speak with someone who would take my name off their call list that she hung up.

If Card Services was really providing a service, whether from altruism or for a big kickback from some link in the transaction chain, they would have tried to keep me on the phone and win me over. Or else, like the organizations that are exempt from observing the Do Not Call List, their operators would be taught to simple say so (politely, one hopes; I never understand why operators remotely think it'll help them get my money if the stick out a virtual tongue over this point).

You may have read my posts about a similar encounter with a company wanting to lower the power bills I don't have.  Since I made those posts, those calls have stopped.

So let's try this again. Okay #CardServices? Stop calling me and I'll stop posting about you!