To all who have read and/or taken the time and energy to respond to FIRST, YOU GET PISSED, thanks. I gave it a new title: BREAST JUNK. It is in the hands of someone in publishing who I hope can lead me to an agent.
Meanwhile, I'm getting rights back to my out-of-print books to be published by the Independent Publishers Group via the Authors Guild. The process should be...uh...interesting since some of my early publishers either no longer exist or have been absorbed by mega-publishers. The books will be in paper and ebook editions, and possibly audio. I thoroughly enjoyed narrating the audio edition of GIRLS OF TENDER AGE for Simon & Schuster. They invited me to audition so I high-tailed it to the Yale School of Drama and spent one hour with a professor in a sound studio got up to look like what I could expect from Simon & Schuster. She coached me for an hour. I got the part!
The first three books to come out from IPG will be MASTERS OF ILLUSION, THE PORT OF MISSING MEN and DIRTY WATER. I will discuss the latter with my son, Jere, who collaborated with me. He wrote the blog segments of the novel from a first person, present tense point-of-view. The blogger character, "speaking" in real time gave the book an immediacy picked up on by several reviewers. So if there's going to be an audio book, Jere could narrate those segments while I take on the rest: a typical third person, past tense narrative. We'll have a great time. I always have a great time with Jere. (The reason I haven't discussed it with him yet is because I just thought of it now.)
This summer, it will be back to Fall River, MA, where I went on a tour of the Lizzie Borden house. By the time the tour had ended, I knew who killed Lizzie's parents and it surely wasn't Lizzie. The competition, however, is stiff. Since I started writing this novel, another novel with an entirely different take on the crime was published. A Lizzie Borden film arrived on the scene, again with another take altogether. I'll keep up my work on my own version, which, I'm convinced, is the real one.
A BIO (I'm going to have to get Jere to write one if we're going to take on a new audio collaboration.) Photos and video to follow.
I was born and raised in Hartford, Connecticut and have lived in Connecticut until I served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Cameroon. There, I lived in Buea, a town situated on a series of ledges five thousand feet up the side of Mt. Cameroon, an active volcano, its peak nearly 14,000 feet above the equatorial sea. Having aspired to be a beach bum, I am happy to say I now live a half-block from the Gulf of Mexico in the town of Fort Myers Beach, a barrier island that takes the brunt of any hurricane leveled at the city of Fort Myers. Most fortunately, I have a water-loving family and a labradoodle named Saltalamacchia, also a water-lover. Salty is my first dog.
My grandparents on my father's side emigrated from the Italian Piedmont, and on my mother's, Quebec. My fondest childhood memories are of sweltering summers blue-crabbing with my French-speaking grandfather from 5 a.m. until 5 p.m., my grandfather wearing a worn three-piece suit and cap, and me, my underpants. When I told my Italian grandfather that I would be going to Cameroon as a Peace Corps volunteer he told me there were very good grapes grown in Africa.
My brother was autistic, a savant, who would not allow singing, laughing, sneezing, electronic sound (including television, radio and anything that produced music), and the flushing of the toilet except when he was asleep and he never seemed to be asleep. He had a library of over two thousand books all on WWII. As his adjutant, I attained a vast pool of knowledge on such things as identifying fighter bombers from their silhouettes and why we dropped the atomic bomb. "To win the war," Tyler told me. "But it didn't work so we dropped another one. Victory at last."
The relationship with my brother was one of three influences on my writing; the second, my father's bedtime poetry and prose following the Our Father and Hail Mary: "My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings. Look upon my works ye mighty and despair!" The third influence was the shelf of classic children's literature my mother kept stocked with such gems as The Swiss Family Robinson, Bambi, Tom the Water-Boy, Silver Pennies, King Arthur and the Round Table, The Child's Odyssey. Somehow, The Bedside Esquire (1936) found its way to the shelf and I read the extraordinary short fiction within, including Hemingway's "The Snows of Kilimanjaro," Gallico's Keeping "Cool in Conneaut," Salinger's "For "Esmé with Love and Squalor," Hecht's "Snowfall in Childhood," and my favorite, "Latins Make Lousy Lovers," by Anonymous who turned out to be Helen Lawrenson, the only woman with a piece in the collection. (Sheesh.) There was also an excerpt from the novel, Christ in Concrete, by Pietro Di Donato, that so bowled me over I decided I would be a writer, too, just like all the writers who wrote fiction for Esquire Magazine in 1936.
After Peace Corps service, I taught, worked as a librarian and got my first freelance writing job with Reader's Digest. The Digest editor assigned me sports and games for How to Do Just about Anything, a book which sold 50 million copies world-wide. Reader's Digest made a vast fortune on that book alone, while the writers earned $25 to $75 dollars per article. I learned economy of language writing such pieces as "How to Play Tennis" in fifty words.
In 2010, I was awarded the Diana Bennett Fellowship at the Black Mountain Institute at UNLV, where I wrote my most recent novel, The Honoured Guest: Anne Alger Craven, Witness to Sumter, in Her Words.
My work has been reprinted in several foreign languages. I have taught fiction and memoir writing at many venues including the Mark Twain House in Hartford, CT, and on the Aran Islands through the National University of Ireland, Galway, and online via this website.