About


Nobody Wakes Up Pretty

I started this blog to coincide with the publication by Rainstorm Press of my novel, Nobody Wakes Up Pretty.

(Click here to order from Amazon.) Because it’s a crime novel, I figured this would also be a place for my advocacy journalism about the criminal justice system but of course that’s only one of the subjects I write about for LA Progressive, New Clear Vision, and other ezines. So the purpose of the blog keeps expanding

And month by month, I’ve been adding other material about my works for the stage, social justice projects, and other novels: Confessions of a Carnivore (Fomite Press, 2015), The Fiery Alphabet (Loose Leaves Publishing, 2013).

And now, May 2015, Nobody Wakes Up Pretty is also an audiobook, available at Audible, Amazon, and iTunes. Till I heard the great Maria Spassoff read it aloud, I didn’t realize I’d written a dirty book. Oh my. Thank you, Maria, and producer Jim Fowler.

For more information about me and my work, (including the books California Transit, short stories that received the Mary McCarthy Prize, and The Blessing Next to the Wound, co-authored with Colombian exile Hector Aristizabal and named by Amnesty International as recommended reading during Banned Books Week), please check out my website at http://www.dianelefer.weebly.com .

But for the moment, let’s get back to the original intent. Here’s more on Nobody Wakes Up Pretty.

“Let’s get this out of the way,” says Holly. “I’m a white woman who likes black men.” But that doesn’t explain why she’s caught up in the web connecting crime families across the lines of race. Or why her friends are getting shot. Or whether there’s anything she can do to stop the killing.

New York City in the ’90’s. There goes the neighborhood!

As you can tell, it’s a crime novel with political overtones, so the blog is likely to include some rants as well as entries about crime and criminal justice.

A New York City noir: …race…sex…crime…gentrification..and a monkey.

“A sexy, funny, tender-hearted puzzler about a young woman sifting the ashes of America’s endless class warfare.” — Domenic Stansberry, Edgar Award Winner and Author of Naked Moon.

Here’s what Andrew Tonkovich (Mr. Bib) wrote in OC Weekly:

… author-teacher-activist Diane Lefer, winner of the Mary McCarthy Prize from Sarabande Books for California Transit, has written a mystery novel. While I generally eschew this genre (mostly because I’m too busy reading other books), I had a jolly good time reading Nobody Wakes Up Pretty, a smart and sexy book, every page an attack on all that is decent, from the wry title on.
The smart, attractive heroine of this subversive little novel joins forces with her charismatic homeless (!) black (!) boyfriend, toward figuring out a murder in the Big Rotten Apple, circa 1992. The humor is vividly and subversively provocative, including a scene involving the screening of a porno snuff film featuring a monkey and President Bush G.W. Bush, just to be clear about the expectations Lefer has about her audience, and their willingness to embrace – or not – yes, the perfect metaphor for that particular political era. Of course, we’ll be talking mostly about So Cal on Saturday, to which Lefer is a transplant. She’s an amazing person, who worked at the LA Zoo with primates and as a translator for people stuck in INS detention. And wrote about both. At past events, she has arrived wearing the jumpsuit of Guantanamo prisoners. One of the smartest people, let alone writers, I know.

From the U.K., here’s Sakina Murdock at BookBird.

Readers weigh in at Goodreads:

Jan 11, 2013Giano Cromley rated it 5 of 5 stars

NYC is the central character in this wild, fun read. The author recreates the world of these characters exceptionally well and manages to generate intrigue that keeps you reading from the first page.

May 27, 2012Coffeechit rated it 5 of 5 stars

I just finished the book and I really enjoyed it. Great characters, memorable scenes. It’s funny and sad and intense.

Deborah rated it 5 of 5 stars

I love everything Diane writes. No matter the genre, her characters are always deep, flawed, compelling, fascinating, and utterly believable.

Read an interview, posted by The Nervous Breakdown, or
an excerpt:
or my essay about genre fiction, Ray Bradbury, smut, and me:

Readers weigh in at Amazon:

I started Nobody Wakes Up Pretty last night and finished it this morning. There’s not an extraneous word in the book. I couldn’t put it down. It’s real. It’s funny. It’s touching. It matters. And unforgettable characters:
–From the main character Holly: “Just drew my pay in one world, my breath in the other.”
–From Junie: “I do one thing at a time,” he said. “If I’m eating, I don’t drink. If I’m drinking, I don’t eat.”
Everything you want in a book. — Cynthia Newberry Martin

An amazing story with characters so real that I miss them now that I have finished the book. Diane Lefer’s prose is absolutely haunting – I found myself repeating lines from the book as I went through my day. This novel speaks the truth, even when it is not pretty. I highly recommend it.–Susan Dorsey

You can add your own review here at the AskDavid site.

You can follow updates here along with guest blogs and interviews, advocacy journalisms as well as my adventures in Chicago, Illinois and Cochabamba, Bolivia. Please come back!

I started the New Year getting to meet the publisher, Lyle Perez-Tinics, via Skype, and he turns out to be as personable and committed via webcam as via email.

Seeing this book about to turn up in print brings back so many memories of my native earth.

credit: Eyely Photo

Thanks for visiting!

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One Response to “About”

  1. Reflections about Bridging Cultures – Writing 101 | Voices from the Margins Says:

    […] to be different. Some have presented alternative ways of viewing the freedom of difference. Part of Diane Lefer’s comment on the above post gave me a new way to envision […]

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