Wednesday, July 31, 2013


 I don’t really care if I’m the only one who found J.K. Rowling’s pseudonymous stunt a disheartening display of celebrity privilege, but the moment I heard it, I felt an acrimony towards her I had never felt before. 
I had always admired Rowling, especially her spirit of charity, and no less the obstacles in life she overcame to gain success as a writer.

These days Rowling stands in a place that few writers have or ever will, as somebody who became a billionaire from writing books.  And while her charitable giving leads me to believe she knows how fortunate she is as a human being, her pseudonymous stunt, and the fact that a foundation to help other writers who were once like her is not among her philanthropic priorities, makes me think she doesn’t know how lucky she is as a writer.

Rowling stated two things about her short stint as Robert Galbraith that stuck in my craw.  1.  That she’d hoped she could have kept it secret a little longer and 2. How liberating it was to write under a pseudonym.

I couldn’t help think of The Prince and the Pauper, the royal and the poor boy trading places for a little while.  Like the prince in the story, how much fun it must have been to pretend to be a commoner for a little while.  How carefree you can be when you don’t have to worry about sales.  How unburdening to release a novel as a first time author (fake biography and all! Ha! Ha!), while still reaping the benefits of publicity that a first time author seldom gets (one of the things that gave Rowling away).  How liberating not to have people judging her work as J.K. Rowling.  Oh, the burden must be enormous.  The expectations crushing.  How gratifying for her to get such good reviews when nobody knew it was her writing. 

But really, how gratifying can it be for a 9-time novelist to be told how assured her writing is for a 1st time novelist.  It’s hardly making the short list for the Man Booker Prize.  And then, poor J.K.’s cover was blown and a book that had reportedly sold only 1,500 copies shot to the top of the Amazon sales list.  All because of that name she was just so eager to hide.  Damned if you do, damned if you don’t.  How hard it must be to be J.K. Rowling.

Funny thing though.  When the princess left the royal court for her little escapade, no commoner got to take her place.  He was just one of her fictional characters. 

Thursday, July 25, 2013

GERALDO AND ME: the shirtless selfie

For those of you who don't know about Al Capone's vault and Geraldo Rivera, which is probably most of you who are on-line tweeting and weren't alive then, but Geraldo hasn't been sexy since unearthing Al Capone's empty vault in 1986 on live t.v..  His cred as a journalist and subsequent sexiness has been in serious decline ever since.

He got even less sexy with the Geraldo Show, broken nose, skinhead brawls and all.  And then he joined Fox News, well, need I say more?  By the time of the 'hoody' comment we were never going to find Geraldo sexy again.  No matter how toned and youthful his body may be for a 70 year-old, you know, it's just not happening.  If sexy is an attitude, then Geraldo is just too damned annoying to be sexy.  He has a t.v. persona that's seduction proof.

I haven't even mentioned the face yet, but since it's in the selfie, I feel I have to.  Now, I'm no more ageist than the next person, and no more shallow about looks, but what do you say about ditching that moustache?  It's got to be circa Watergate.  I mean, he looks like he's wearing a permanent and less humorous Groucho Marx disguise.  That's just a silly way to look at 70.

This picture reminds me of those testosterone ads on-line where the guy with the really old face, has a body like a 30-year old competitive body builder.   It just doesn't fit.

I admire the fact that Geraldo hasn't had cosmetic surgery, being in t.v. and all, but maybe next time he'll shave the old 'stache, trim the hair, lose the sleazoid tinted glasses, crop the groin out, and, well, the nose?  Can't do anything about that.   Or, better yet, since not long ago I posted about the arch lack of artistry in these meta-mirror selfies, how about just having an artist photograph his well kept body for posterity.  Do it right.

What can I say?  My wall paper once featured a shirtless shot of me.  Then, I'm only 50.  And 50 is the new 30.  Plus my face still matches my body.

We're all going to be 70 one day, God willing, but, unless 70 is the new 40 by the time I get there, I doubt I'll be posting the naked truth about it.

Maybe dignity just isn't for celebrities.  Geraldo left his in Al Capone's vault.

geraldo rivera

Wednesday, July 10, 2013


Today, in my first live t.v. interview, I learned what happens when it's just you and an interviewer with about 2 minutes to describe two books and you know the interviewer isn’t listening to a word you are saying.  My mind went blank and the last two sentences of what I wanted to say were lost and the whole thing went down hill.  There’s about 20 to 30 seconds that are really uncomfortable.  Feel free to cringe, but I did recover and I was at least coherent if not concise.

Lesson learned:  get your sound bites lined up.  Less is better.  Relax and smile.  I really wasn’t nervous until my mind went blank.  And I think my mind went blank when I realized from the look on the interviewer’s face that he wasn’t listening to a thing I said.  It's like talking in a vacuum and suddenly you panic.  You're throat tightens up, your mouth goes dry and there's nothing you can do.  Like an actor forgetting a line.   Remember that scene in Curb Your Enthusiasm Season 4, when Larry is in The Producers and forgets his line and the whole production comes to a halt?  Well, it wasn't quite that bad, but it felt that way.

 It was just one of those things about a super short form interview you have to experience to get a handle on.

Saturday, July 6, 2013


Awards night, for those of us who attended and received awards, was both an energizing and intimate event at New York's Grolier Club.  Several things stayed with me from that night.  First, how supportive and inclusive the writers I met were.  They seemed to understand what my friend and fellow writer, Cindy Hill, told me recently.  "Books are not in competition with each other."  It's what publishers already know.  Having many books that are like each other creates a synergy between them and helps bring attention to them all.

Even when all the books are so very different.  Which is one of the other remarkable things about that night.  I was amazed at the scope and variety of the work represented there.

Lastly, I was taken by how much writer's went through to produce their work.  At a time when it may be easier than ever to publish books, it is very difficult to sell books.  Despite the odds against commericial success from writing, all of these writers have one thing in common.  They have not let anything stop them from telling their stories, and many have made great sacrifices in time, energy and financial resources to complete their projects. Here are the books and links from some of the authors I met and shared with that night.

From Kizzie Elizabeth Jones, winner in the Children's category of the Beach Book Festival.

And from Ralph W. Baker Jr. his honorable mention in the General Non-fiction category.

Here is Midge Leavey's honorable mention for the Children's category:


And from K. Patrick Malone, winner in the Compiliations/Anthologies category:


Publisher Danforth Prince accepted the Grand Prize for the Beach Book Festival for author Darwin Porter:

This is the untold story of the sex slave who was rented out by her husband, even for rape, to celebrities and high-rollers. Boldly told, it's all here, naming names with the first published exploration of the 1970s sex goddess who was transformed into a feminist icon of the 1980s. To this iconic and overheated saga, Blood Moon applies its award-winning formula to sex-industry players from the world of entertainment and politics.

From Ronita Johnson, honorable mention in  the Biography/Autobiography category Coming to Forgiveness

Finally, from Alicia Young, winner of the How-to category for The Savvy Girl's Guide to Grace