Archive for the ‘Nobody Wakes Up Pretty – a NYC noir novel’ Category

Through the Eyes of a Storm

August 21, 2013

Rainstorm Press publishes books you’d want to read on rainy, stormy nights — crime, mystery, horror, sci fi. This blog is actually named for my novel, Nobody Wakes Up Pretty, which was published by Rainstorm last year. Now the house has just come out with Through the Eyes of a Storm, an anthology of stories by Rainstorm authors Tammy Maas, Amy Durrant, Tom Knoblauch, Ronald deStefano, Susan Dorsey, Tommy B. Smith, Sakina Murdock, Nate D. Burleigh, Monique Snyman, Robert diBella, Isaiyan Morrison, and me. Revenge, comeuppance, mortality, tempestuous weather and … do you dare?


I’m this week’s Highlighted Author

January 28, 2013

Thank you, Charlene Wilson, for making me this week’s Highlighted Author.
HA button 300

What Ray Bradbury Taught Me about Censorship and Freedom

June 15, 2012

My guest blog for All Things Writing, thanks to Mary Ann Loesch. (also, the link is here.)

The master is gone. I’ve been thinking about Ray Bradbury all week and I’m sure you have been too. Is there a writer or a reader anywhere who does not respond to Fahrenheit 451?

In Bradbury’s novel, not only are books burned but newspapers disappear due to public indifference. People are instead entranced with their “parlor walls,” the flat screen TV’s that Bradbury imagined back in 1953 that can now represent the internet and Wii and all the virtual worlds that have usurped the role of books. But to me, the “walls” carried me back to the immigration detention center where I was a volunteer interpreter for people held for months, even years, awaiting their hearings. Books and magazines were prohibited while TV sets blared at full volume all day.

And I thought about a friend who was convicted at age 16 for a stupid youthful incident in which no human being or any living creature was injured in any way. After being sentenced 35-years-to-life, he spent a year in solitary, supposedly for his own protection–and inmates in solitary were not allowed to have books. A wonderful person on the outside Xeroxed entire novels and put three double-sided pages in the mail every day, in envelopes thin enough that they would not be confiscated. Reading novels in 6-page installments was what kept my friend sane.

I have other true stories like this and it has always been a struggle to get any of it into print. (Talk about censorship: the media is barred from California prisons and detention centers.)

But Ray Bradbury was able to offer a scathing critique of our society and see it not only published but a bestseller. David Ulin, Los Angeles Times book critic, suggested perhaps writing genre fiction–in Bradbury’s case, science fiction–gave an author more freedom.

Yes! I thought of my late friend, Ted Gottfried (aka Ted Mark), who wrote dirty books from the Sixties up until around (coincidence?) 1984. Ted believed teenage boys were gonna learn about sex from porn and he wanted them to learn healthy attitudes, especially respect for women. In the Man from O.R.G.Y. series, Steve Victor travels the world solving sexual problems, always taking the advice of his feminist girlfriend, Stephanie Greenwillow. Along the way, Ted’s books addressed every controversial issue of the day. As long as there was arousal material on every page, the publisher didn’t care if Ted expressed his opinions.

Ted’s porn career came to an end when smut went visual: dirty movies and then the internet. As Bradbury understood, you don’t have to burn books to make them disappear. I wish Ted could have still been writing books during the era of AIDS. He could have saved lives by making safe sex very sexy.

I think Ted would have enjoyed my new novel, Nobody Wakes Up Pretty, which Edgar Award winner Domenic Stansberry described as “A sexy, funny, tender-hearted puzzler about a young woman sifting the ashes of America’s endless class warfare.” And I realized my NYC noir–my genre novel–says more about race and class and says it more overtly than anything else I’ve had published.

Is genre the only way to write uncensored fiction? Maybe it’s just that you can’t write a genre novel without telling a good story. And when you tell a good story you have freedom.

Today, Live in The Nervous Breakdown

June 6, 2012

Thank you, Gina Frangello and Leah Tallon for featuring me and an excerpt from Nobody Wakes Up Pretty. Here’s the link

Paperback now available!

May 11, 2012

Wow – that happened sooner than expected. Both the print edition and the Kindle version are now out. You can click here to order.

Nobody Wakes Up Pretty available today

May 9, 2012

The Kindle edition is now on sale. Paperback should be out in about a week. Hooray!

The cover is ready!

May 7, 2012

Thank you, Eloise J. Knapp! Nobody Wakes Up Pretty should be available on Kindle next week and in paperback soon after.

In the mail!

May 4, 2012

For a change, no junk mail, political flyers, or bills but instead Yalobusha Review: 17 containing “Sweet City,” about my days dancing inside a giant puppet in NYC, (and what a disturbing and wonderful cover)

and also the 2012 issue of Bacopa, with my poem “en mis brazos.”

It’s amazing to me how much is finding its way into print now and this summer:

Nobody Wakes Up Pretty will be available for pre-order any day now from Rainstorm Press. And Eloise J. Knapp‘s terrific cover is almost finalized. Stories coming out this summer: “Beyond the Rembrandt,” in June in Magnolia: A Journal of Women’s Socially Engaged Literature; “Jonathan’s Wake,” in July in upstreet (and especially glad that Jodi Paloni will be in the same issue); “Cybercat” in the Summerguide 2012 issues of Portland Monthly(and I’m looking forward to reading Editor/Publisher Colin Sargent’s novel, Museum of Human Beings, about Sacagawea’s son. Accepted but unscheduled: “True Love” in You, Me, and a Bit of We, an anthology from Chuffed Buff Books in the U.K. and “Two Bucks,” an essay inspired by two wildlife encounters during my time at the Orcas Island Writers Festival will be in the Winter Solstice issue of Kudzu Review next year.

But for me the biggest news was that Aqueous Books accepted my novel The Still Point. (Gotta love Aqueous for publishing Thomas Balazs.) It won’t be published till September 2014, but that’s no big deal when you consider it’s been making the rounds of publishers since 1978. I’m letting all my writer friends (and writers I don’t even know): Never give up!

The first blurb is in for Nobody Wakes Up Pretty

March 5, 2012

“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.

Hello to Moorpark and to the new Rainstorm Press authors page

January 27, 2012

Even a car accident en route to my performance/reading at Moorpark College didn’t totally throw me and certainly didn’t take away from the sheer pleasure of seeing Jerry and Melody Mansfield again.

Melody’s collection of Bug Stories — yes, insects — will be out from Kitsune Books in 2013. And I want to post news of a book of Jerry’s soon.

January 2013 update: Sadly, Kitsune is no longer in business, but Melody’s Bug Collection is now accepted by Red Hen Press. I was lucky enough to see it in advance of publication, and this is what I wrote in response:

In the bizarre enchantment of this collection, all the glories and dilemmas of Western civilization are second nature to the dung beetles, katydids, and fireflies while Melody Mansfield’s reverence for all life makes her intimately acquainted with every pedipalp and scutellum. Immerse yourself in these strange pages: erudite, ecstatic, and suffused with gentle humor.