Monday, September 28, 2015

Aliens Among Us: Radiomen

I stumbled upon Eleanor Lerman’s work while searching the Empty Sink Publishing Company’s webpage looking for a place to submit one of my short stories. I clicked on ‘Fiction’ just to familiarize myself with what they publish. I randomly chose Lerman’s The Lightship. I was hooked. The writing intrigued me: literary fiction without the enviable prose that describes something so beautifully but really doesn’t have much to carry the story forward. I enjoy this kind of prose. I do. But I found Lerman’s descriptions to be, well, intelligent, for lack of a better word. 

From The Lightship: (Ed is a cancer survivor who has just attended a rather boring support group.)

“As Ed ate his lunch, he distanced himself from his reaction to the survivor’s group that morning. The idea of the body’s metamorphosis from the familiar form that encapsulated the self into a kind of ghost-like decay seemed a little less threatening—a little less that had to be dealt with in the immediate present—now that he was out of that depressing basement, relaxing in the sunshine that lit up the world this early afternoon. But thoughts of body and self led him back to his conversation with Mary last night, and her suggestion that the mind—and hence, the self—might not actually be anchored within the body, at least, not in the brain.”

I like this story so much that looked for and found a link to Eleanor Lerman’s webpage and found what I’d hoped to find—a novel. I read an excerpt of Radiomen and immediately downloaded it from Amazon. I knew that I was going to gobble this book up and I did. The only thing I’m going to tell you about it is there are aliens among us. To tell more would ruin the story. I gave it a FIVE star review because everything worked. The book is brilliant and intelligently written and holds conflict and suspense, but it’s genre is not sci-fi. It’s literary fiction that’s not stuffy or fluffy. I highly recommend it!

Joan Baum an NPR Reviewer wrote, “…Raidomen may be science fiction but, hardly, a predictable or typical example of the genre, it may well appeal to those who think they would never read such pop-lit and enjoy it.”

From Radiomen chapter ten, where the protagonist and a friend return to Greenwich Village, a location where both had previously lived.

“From the far west side, near the river, where the Socialist Workers Party had had their headquarters and turned out political tracts on mimeograph machines, to radical book stores and chess clubs and coffee bars, Jack, in particular, seemed to have a geography in his head that had been overlaid by a new grid of streets, new buildings, and a new millennial affluence that had turned old neighborhoods into fashionable quarters, unaffordable to most of their original residents. But he didn’t seem overly nostalgic about any of this, just interested in how time and change fought with memory to establish precedence. Which was more real: the village he remembered—more gay than straight, more hipster-friendly than home to fashionistas, more hole-in-the-wall than penthouse in the sky; or where we often had to make a reservation at some tiny restaurant on Bedford Street, or Jane or Great Jones or Little West Twelfth because the rich and famous (or just plain rich) were edging us out of all the places like Jack and I used to take for granted as being ours?” 

 Eleanor Lerman is a native New Yorker and unrepentant member of the Woodstock Nation. She has also been a guide in a Chinese museum, the manager of a harpsicord kit workshop, and a comedy writer. Connections between the humor of the human condition and the mysteries of infinity are the hallmark of her nearly forty-year-long writing career, for which she has received numerous awards including a National Book Award nomination, an NEA grant, the 2006 Lenore Marshall Poetry Award from the Academy of American Poets and a 2011 Guggenheim Fellowship. She is the author of six collections of poetry, two collections of short stories and a novel, Jane Planet. Her most recent novel, Radiomen, was published in January 2015.    

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Jackie Collins: An Author Who Bedalazzed Readers For Four Decades


In my last post I blogged about how difficult it is for writers to make it to the big time. The next day, one of the most successful writers of all time died and left a legacy that had bedazzled readers for decades and will surely bedazzle generations to come. But I wasn't a fan, in fact I didn't read a Jackie Collins novel until the day after she died.

Jackie Collins fulfilled a fantasy for many with sex and glam! She has been a prolific writer of novels that arouse sexual desire for four decades. All of her 32 novels have been 'best sellers' and many made into movies and TV mini-series (Hollywood Wives). Her novels have sold more than 500 million copies worldwide. Her last book, Santangelos, hit shelves this past June as she fought through the last stages of breast cancer.* She admitted that she was a "school dropout" and a "juvenile delinquent" when she was fifteen. "I'm glad I got all of that out of my system at an early age," she said decades later and added that she "never pretended to be a literary writer".

Jackie's success interested me so I decided to read her first book to find out just what started her brilliant career. So I delved into The World Is Full Of Married Men which was published in 1968. Although it was a huge success in Great Britain and America, it had been banned in Australia and South Africa because of its depiction of extramarital sex, The New York Times reported. 

Collins' novels are generally considered Romance genre but it seems to me that they are more commercial fiction or maybe provocative fantasy if there is such a category. The World Is Full Of Married Men began a long romp through the glitzy lives of Hollywood's rich and famous - and infamous! Her storylines include infidelity, betrayal, power struggles, greed, and unfulfilled promises by bad boys that keep you up all night.

My favorite line from The World Is Full Of Married Men: 
"She wore an orange dress, dangerously low cut, and the women in the gathering found themselves standing up straighter and throwing out their bosoms as if in answer to this sudden challenge." pg. 44

Jackie once said, "I write about real people in disguise. If anything, my characters are toned down - the truth is much more bizarre."

In a recent, random Amazon review (2014) of Married Men  'Tracey' wrote: "Better than 50 Shades of Grey. Jackie's books will never leave you lonely." So, I guess I got my answer to what kept her readers reading for 40 years.

And with that I say, "Congratulations, Jackie Collins, on your infinite success. Your books added sizzle and excitement to many readers for many years. May you rest in peace.

* Jackie Collins died two weeks before her 78 birthday. She had been diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer more than six years before her death but kept her illness almost entirely to herself. She reportedly only informed her sister two weeks before she died and flew from LA to London to appear on the TV chat show Loose Women only nine days before her death. (Daily Mail)

Sunday, September 20, 2015

A Two Martini Night

My bio speaks the truth. I do enjoy evening gowns and I do dance with cats. I've been dancing with cats since I was four or five. I've just been drinking martinis since about 1997 when Cindy Brehm, one of those awesome nurses you've heard about lately, taught me by example to order one properly. "Bombay Sapphire martini, straight up, one olive," she'd said with a sexy smile. I ordered the same along with spicy oyster sliders. But, even though the Bombay Sapphire is encased in sea-aqua colored bottle (my second favorite color) I realized right away that in my future I would be ordering Tanqueray martinis, straight up, no olives. I'd graduated from mixed drinks (gin and tonics, daiquiris, and Mai Tais) to the real stuff--shaken not stirred. 

What I really want to talk about is writing, not alcohol. My single martini with dinner is a time to celebrate and relax with my husband from our busy day as authors. But last night I stewed in the down side of writing. Nothing would relax--not my body, not my mind, and surely not my emotions. 

The last two weeks have been exciting: I won third place for my essay, A Flash of Blue, in a writing contest called, Hard Times, sponsored by The NC Writers' Network and a week later published my fifth novel, All The Voices In My head, well a novella this time. I gave away too many books to count in my promo and then sat back to watch the reviews come in. First a TWO (2) star titled, "Depressive Reading", then a FIVE (5) star titled, "What a Great Read". Guess they balanced each other out. I write literary fiction and that means that I write about the human condition so my stories aren't all fairy lights and rainbows and happily ever after endings. I took a risk with 'Voices'--it shows the human condition in a codependent, horrifying way. To me it's the ultimate love story or the ultimate downfall to the woman's movement, I'll let my readers decide for themselves. My two reviewers have taken sides and conflict is always positive in any novel or in any rating system.

Searching for a publisher for my essay has not been fun despite my copy editor friend, Susan, who is sending me leads. I've also searched for appropriate anthologies or maybe even a big magazine like Cosmo or Woman's Health Magazine. It didn't take long to realize that I'm too old and my essay is too personal for Cosmo--they are busy representing the Kardashia's love lives and weight gains and losses. Surprisingly, Woman's Health isn't into the kind of suffering my essay exposes. They like kinky problems that are only vaguely health related. But I suppose the biggest cause for my second martini was the realization of how many people make money off of me! I had to pay to enter the contest and the majority of online magazines charge a reading fee and if one does get published the "pay" is one free issue of the magazine in which their article or essay or short story appears. Many people make money off writers. Yes, I realize that people need to be paid to read contest entries and submissions but eventually, if I write something good enough, I would like to be paid!

Alas, today I read an article titled, "When It Comes To Book Sales, What Counts As Success Might Surprise You", by Lynne Neary (on NPR). The gist of the article is that publishing companies no longer give advances, pay to promote their writers, pay for articles, and that writers will write and publish even if they don't get paid. According to Roxana Robinson, president of the Authors Guild, "You used to be able to make an absolute living wage as a writer. You wrote essays and you published them in journals. You wrote magazine pieces and you got paid very well for those. And you wrote books and you got good advances. So, being a writer, it didn't usually mean you would be rich, but it had meant, in the past, that you could support yourself."

What I always find amusing or annoying is the comment section. One responder (Danny DeGuira) summed it all up when he said, "Years ago when asked what I did, I answered, "I am a writer." Their reply, "Oh, you are unemployed!"

"We can't tell people not to write for free," Robinson said. "But if they want to do it they will do it.

"And maybe--just maybe--next time they'll get paid," Lynn Neary said in conclusion. 

So I'll stop stewing and keep hoping that someday I will get paid.

An afterthought about another comment to the article by David Kulczyk: "Correct me if I'm wrong but the NY Times Best Seller list goes by units shipped not sold...that's why you see Kim Kardashian on the list. They'll print 100,000 units, after six weeks, they go on the discount table at B&N, then the discount stores, and the rest go back to the printer where they get pulped...usually 40-60% go back to be recycled."

Sunday, September 6, 2015

All the Voices in My Head

Just published, (a novella), All the Voices in My Head

Beginning with the disappearance of her college sweetheart, Gloria Webber’s mind is buffeted by the opinions of her parents and friends, driven by an irresponsible husband, and eventually jumbled by conflicting moral dilemmas. What is she to do about all the voices in her head calling, Gloria?

Please visit my storyboard for 'Voices' on Pintrest. 

As a celebration of the release of 'Voices' the Kindle version (eBook) will be FREE for 48 hours begining Monday, September 7 at 8 a.m. PST (11 a.m. EST) and all four of my other novels will be available for 99 cents each during the same time period. (All 5 for $3.96!!!) Click HERE to place your order or go to "Shelia Bolt Rudesill" on the Amazon website.

If you download a FREE copy, I'd appreciate a review on Amazon

THANK YOU so much!


Friday, September 4, 2015

Bloggers Matter: Ginger Dawn's A Spice Below The Horrizon

Today I would like to introduce you to one of my favorite bloggers, Ginger Dawn Harman. Today marks her 100th blog post on Ginger Dawn: A Spice Below The Horizon!

From Ginger's post today, "Truth is...blogging is a wonderful experience and this post is a personal celebration. Not because it's my 100th blog post! It's hard to explain, Victor Hugo, says it best in his book The Hunchback of Notre Dame.

Yeah! I am not just a middle-aged woman who was a foster child, survivor, born during a hurricane, or a mushy huge-hearted handful. I am beautiful and I am using my voice and my words enthusiastically by blogging. And today I feel 100%"

Incidentally, Bud found Ginger Dawn (or I should say she found him) on my Pintrest page when I posted the cover of Bud's novel Hurricane Ginger on two of my boards. Bud's novel has nothing to do with Ginger Dawn since thet met after the book was published. The cover caught Ginger's attention because she was actually born when Hurricane Ginger hit the North Carolina coast in 1970 and was named after the storm.

If it wasn't for social media Ginger Dawn would not be a part of our lives and I would not be celebrating her success today! So Missy Ginger, here's some celebratory cupcakes and tea for you! Keep blogging because it adds a special spice to my life and the lives of all your followers!