Friday, July 24, 2009

The author’s Guide to Publishing and Marketing by Tim Ward and John Hunt

The author’s Guide to Publishing
and Marketing $19.95
Tim Ward & John Hunt
2009 ISBN 9781846941665

“This book is written jointly by a publisher and an author, putting their ideas together on the challenges and opportunities for today’s writers.”

There are four parts to this informative book about getting your book of poems or a novel, put out there, into the ’big, bad,‘ publishing world. The reader will get the truth about all the aspects of getting published, marketing your book, using the internet and working with the media.

Without a doubt, if the reader assumes the positions necessary to getting published, this book suggests, you will be a star, not really, but you may at least have a fighting chance. Just as the authors pitch, publishing, they are also selling. So using their own criteria, “The best strategy is to selectively target the groups of people who make up the most likely readers for you book.”

I recommend it to all the writers and publishers of small presses. This will help guide your journey through the market place and we all know we initially need a guide to help us understand the goals, the reality of trying to become famous, make some money, or just get a cherished book published and what market is appropriate to attain that result.

Irene Koronas
Poetry Editor
Ibbetson Street Press

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Paul DeFazio: Corrections Officer, Drug Dealers, Prostitutes collide in his new novel: “Pros and Cons”

Paul DeFazio: Corrections Officer, Drug Dealers, Prostitutes collide in his new novel: “Pros and Cons”

Paul and Michael DeFazio were both born in Dorchester, Mass, and raised in Quincy. Their collective background consists of 9 years of Air Force and Army military experience, 28 years in correction and law enforcement, nine years of living abroad in six different countries, and extensive business experience. They are authors of the searing new crime novel “Pros and Cons.” It is a novel set in Boston, Mass., that portrays two cousins, both in law enforcement, and the tangled web of drug dealers, prison inmates, and sexual tourism that is their unsavory milieu. Gerald Horgan, a noted correction official in Massachusetts, writes of this work:

“Pros and Cons” is an awesome, realistic look into challenges faced by those who work and live in prisons. A fast paced thriller that reminded me of John Grisham’s ‘The Firm’.” I talked with DeFazio on my Somerville Community Access TV Show “ Poet to Poet: Writer to Writer”

Doug Holder: I interviewed Hallie Ephron and Donald Davidoff who co-write a forensic psychologist detective series. Ephron does the writing and Davidoff provides the psych. background material. Why did you guys decide to collaborate?

Paul DeFazio: The first thing I would say was the connection between my brother and me. He’s lived abroad, we’ve been thousands of miles apart for decades, and this was a way to do something together. It was a challenge for us. We needed each other. To put the story together, with all the different aspects, the international aspects, the different views of cultural prostitution, drug trafficking, human trafficking, the laws and how they pertain to our prison system in America…well, both of us had to contribute. But not one of us were a total expert in the area, and we had to bring our knowledge together to write the book. More often than not we did it over the phone and over the computer. But sometimes we sat in the same room. But we are like all brothers. You better not be in the same room because a fistfight could break out. We feed off each other’s energy and we kept each other honest with the story line. The story stayed real and moving.

Doug Holder: What does your brother do?

Paul DeFazio: He runs a plastics business, internationally. He is around-the-world all of the time. My brother is a terrific idea guy and he is very organized. It was a very nice compliment to the storyline. We are able to make our characters multi-dimensional.

Doug Holder: The novelist George Higgins had a great ear for dialogue. He was a Boston lawyer, and talked the talk and walked the walk. Have you had positive feedback that the dialogue in the book is authentic?

Paul De Fazio: Absolutely. Whether it is Boston police officers, or corrections officers. I am very familiar with people in corrections—throughout the state. The dialogue is fresh and crisp. It is something that I have been hearing for some twenty odd years. It only made sense to stay true to what some sound like or talk like. The talk is sometimes very gritty. After all, we deal with people in prison; we deal with people in very stressful situations. The language can be powerful.

Doug Holder: The character Frank Milano was a sexual tourist. He went to the Dominican Republic and got involved in some rough trade. You go into a great deal of detail about this underworld. How much research did you do?

Paul DeFazio: Well truth be told that is a great question. People ask, “ Well Paul you are the law enforcement guy, does that make your brother the sex guy? The answer is no. Michael, my brother was in the Air Force, and he did a stint in Europe. I was in the Army and was sent to Honduras. We both saw cultural prostitution through very different lenses. Michael saw prostitution in a free, liberalized sense—people were doing it for financial reasons. In Honduras it was survival. Women had to do it to support not only themselves but also families. So we brought this in to make the book more than a murder-who-done-it.

Doug Holder: There is very much a cinematic quality to this book. It is action driven, in your face, and fast paced.

Paul DeFazio: Absolutely. My brother and I are working on a screenplay as well. This was the way we like the story to read. I think everyone can learn from this book because it is realistic, and realism makes good films. We wanted to tell an entertaining story that could come off as a movie.

Doug Holder: Do you admire other mystery writes like Dennis Lehane, or Robert Parker?

Paul DeFazio: I like Lehane. He spoke at my graduation at Emmanuel College in Boston. He keeps it real; he entertains you, and makes you think about something that you wouldn’t normally think of. I admire anyone who has the strength and ability to stay with writing. I think writing well is a gift.

Doug Holder: The market is flooded with books similar to yours. How hard is it to sell people on your book?

Paul DeFazio: It is very, very difficult. Especially when you come from a small press. It’s a grind and you have to have confidence. You use the computer and every possible avenue. I’m just starting to learn about Facebook.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Review of WHEELING MOTEL, poems by Franz Wright

Review of WHEELING MOTEL, poems by Franz Wright, Alfred A. Knopf, Publisher, New York 2009, 112 pages, price $26.95

By Barbara Bialick

(Reviewer’s note: The text quoted comes from an uncorrected publisher’s proof copy and may not necessarily match the final version of the book.)

The title poem of WHEELING MOTEL by Franz Wright of Waltham, Massachusetts, seems to represent a stopover on the road from intriguing poet dealing with mental illness, to a place where he almost reluctantly realizes his “remarkably convincing impression of one of the normal.” (“December: Revisiting My Old Isolation Room”)

The Pulitzer Prize winner for his 2003 book, WALKING TO MARTHA’S VINEYARD, does labor over the dark imagery that surrounds his experience of the death of his father, James Wright, a groundbreaking poet and fellow winner of the Pulitzer Prize, who died in 1980. But the symbol of the father is also spiritually connected to the holy father: “God’s words translated into human words/are spoken and shine/on a few upturned faces./There is nothing else like this…” (“After Absence”)

He gets to experience a “fatherly” moment of his own when he meets a child: “time blows through your hair,/the river of the dead/whose name’s forgiveness, very/small, a blue vein/in your temple. And the words/for these things are so terribly small;/and the world of those words/only slightly less mortal/than this instant of taking your hand,/of taking care…not to squeeze too hard…” (“With a Child”)

While his images often speak to death or death wish, there are also sheer poetic moments to savor such as in the poem “Will”: “And this is my alone/song. It isn’t /long…I’m going to the mansion long prepared for me:/the eye socket of a shot crow,/the sapphire/wind on water,/halls of hawk-visited shadows/pines like Chinese characters/in an ancient poem/not yet written/and of childhood/the snows.”
It’s difficult to pluck out a short quote, for his words tumble and flow like fish in a waterfall.

But in “Baudelaire”, he writes, “Evil is hated and feared at least/It is possessed, unlike mere misery of a dark glamour nobody pities.” He doesn’t want to forget his tortured soul as in “December: Revisiting My Old Isolation Room”: “I freely stand here/watching/while you burn/unheard/among the screaming, the/zombies, the pacers, the shit-fingerpainters and furious nocturnal soloquists…”

Wright concludes the collection with “Music Heard in Illness”: “Call no man happy until he has passed,/beyond/the boundary of this life…” But his fellow poets and readers should continue to keep an eye out for the work of Franz Wright. He’s definitely a voice worth considering as he carries on the journey out of horror and pain. Or, as he puts it, “What do we know but this world/…And although I could not speak, I answered.”

Barbara Bialick is the author of Time Leaves ( Ibbetson Street Press)