Newsletter 37: September 2006

TARTS AND SINNERS

In the sleepy English village of Lower Piddly, three women’s lives intersect in ways both funny and poignant. Annie Ruddock is married to Nigel, the sanctimonious and deadly dull vicar of St. Swithun’s. Jayne Frobisher finds herself newly middle-aged, with grown sons, a chicken coop in her backyard, and a philandering husband. And, Fiona Wiggins, a wistful young woman whose obsession with the life, style and culture of the 1950s keeps her from analyzing what’s wrong with her ne’er-do-well fiancé, Kye, her difficult relationship with her mother, and her attraction to her work friend Lily.

The women’s unhappiness bridges their generational gap and they become friends who are both curious about and supportive of each other. Before long, Annie has fallen for the cross-dressing bell ringer at the vicarage, Jayne has decided to take stock of her life, change her hair and dump her cheating husband, and Fiona has begun to understand that her present is as imperfect as the era she so idealizes. Egging each other on in and out of outrageous situations, these spunky dames set tongues wagging all over the British countryside with their liberated antics.

In the tradition of bestselling writers like Maeve Binchy and Joanna Trollope, Carrie Kabak takes us into the beguiling heart of this three-way narrative about love, friendship and the courage to change. TARTS AND SINNERS is an enticing romp of a novel.

UP AND COMING FOR SUBMISSION

One of the most incontrovertible facts that we, as human beings know, is that there are two sexes: male and female, XX and XY. The knowledge of aberrant sexual traits has been around since Aristophanes wove the lovely tale of the hermaphrodites in Plato’s Symposium, and we all assume that the unfortunate people so afflicted are rare and random genetic mutations. But, in fact, nearly 65,000 children a year are born with sexual characteristics of the opposite sex and are then routinely mutilated in order to conform to society’s need to place them in the blue or pink category. In PAYING FOR SEX: THE OTHER SIDE OF PINK AND BLUE, Gerald Callahan, Professor of Immunology and Pathology at Colorado State University, and accomplished poet and essayist who serves on the faculty of the English Department, turns his probing eye to the baffling field of human sexuality, the relationship between sex and genitalia, and the inadequacy of two sexes to cover the range of humanity and some of the biology of sex. PAYING FOR SEX tells the whole story, weaving entertaining, eye-opening anecdotes from the vast archives of history, biology, immunology, zoology and gender studies. The conclusion? Not so obviously, human beings come in myriad categories.

In June, the New York Times featured an article by Rachel Yoder in the Modern Love column detailing her experiences with “love addiction” and her recovery attempts. Love addiction, it turns out, was only one piece of a fascinating life, which Rachel will explore and share with readers in her memoir, STRUNG OUT ON LOVE AND CHECKED IN FOR TREATMENT. The book is an amalgamation of disparate and contradictory experiences. It charts Rachel’s journey from growing up in a Mennonite community, to the entitled world of money, politics, and pedigree of Georgetown University, through a vitriolic early-twenties romance, and into a treatment center in the Arizona high desert for “love addiction.” It is the story of a woman looking outside herself–to her family, her church, her boyfriends, her recovery community–not just for validation, but for the absolutes by which to lead her life. In the same vein as Jeannette Walls’ The Glass Castle, Rachel’s memoir gives voice to her own experience after a lifetime of wondering who she should have speak for her. It is a spirited, lively, humorous, passionate account of a life, and it represents memoir at its very best.

At 24, Wendeen Eolis invented the legal recruiting industry. Since then, she has become the CEO of a remarkably successful international legal/business consultancy, a political and government advisor on the front lines with former Mayor Giuliani and Governor Pataki, and the first woman to win a piece of the prize in the main event at the World Series of Poker. She has built her diverse resume and her reputation as a premiere negotiator by sizing up people and situations quickly and accurately. With THE PEOPLE READER, Wendeen shares her strategy, taking readers through a 12 step process to master this ability, opening up unending opportunities to succeed in new ways. Delivering her lessons with trademark wit and sass, she’ll examine in detail how to become an effective people reader and how to make good judgment calls. Calling a spade a spade, Wendeen tells it like it is as she navigates from the boardroom to the bedroom, from a poker room to a courtroom and from a political feud to a family fracas, highlighting the positive impact of applying her 3-D philosophy of Desire, Determination and Discipline. Combining Wendeen’s vibrant personality and the impressive depth of her experience at conference tables and poker tables alike, The People Reader is sure to be a new classic in the prescriptive nonfiction realm.

Are humans alone in the universe? Is there interplanetary life? Hundreds of millions believe that we are not, in fact, alone. We all wonder at some point what the consequences would be if that were established as fact and what might be needed to prove beyond doubt that we do have cosmic neighbors. Around 1930, in the high desert of northwest Mexico, a highly anomalous skull was discovered. The Starchild Skull, as it came to be known, was half as heavy, half as thick, and twice as durable as human bone, laced with mysterious fibers and a strange red residue. Since 2004, Lloyd Pye, well-known researcher and lecturer in alternative knowledge, has been in London researching and studying the skull, which could well be a hybrid between a human and an extraterrestrial “Grey” (the aliens with a dome-shaped head, small narrow face, and large black oval eyes made famous by the cover of Whitley Strieber’s book, Communion). That radical position is supported by numerous lab tests by reputable scientists, and detailed in Pye’s THE STARCHILD SKULL: HISTORY’S GREATEST RELIC?, which confirm that the skull appears to be not entirely human. The book chronicles the untold saga of those tests, a rollercoaster ride of ups and downs, hope and despair, trial and error, trying to establish the Starchild’s genetic heritage. No one could have predicted the course of events that unfolded during the quest for answers. No one who comes to know about those events will easily forget them.

A few minutes after midnight on Thursday, June 1, 1809, in the tiny English village of Newmarket, an eccentric 29-year-old Scotsman named Captain Robert Barclay put on a flannel jacket, stepped out of his ground-floor apartment, and walked one half-mile up the village’s main road. Then he turned around and walked the half-mile back home. Barclay intended to repeat this stroll once every hour, day and night, for the next 41 days and 15 hours. The previous autumn, Barclay and “a gentleman of celebrity” in the British sporting world named James Wedderburn Webster had made a wager. If Barclay walked one mile every hour for one thousand consecutive hours, Webster would pay him one thousand guineas. Night and day Barclay walked the half-mile up the road and the half-mile back, in blistering heat and blinding rain. As word of his extraordinary undertaking spread, great crowds converged on Newmarket to watch Barclay walk. At 3:37 p.m. on July 12, before thousands of cheering onlookers, Barclay walked his thousandth mile, successfully completing his long journey to nowhere. He had lost 32 pounds and “the spasmodic affectations in his legs were particularly distressing.” Captain Barclay’s feat (one is tempted to say “feet”) spawned a competitive-walking craze that lingered into the 20th Century and launched the medical specialty now known as sports medicine. But most importantly, Barclay’s astounding achievement marked the birth of spectator sports in the English-speaking world. Never before had so many people come from so far to watch (and, not coincidentally, to bet on) an athletic event. In ONE MILE PER HOUR: IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF A HISTORIC WALK TO NOWHERE, Matthew Algeo will tell the story of Captain Barclay and his continuing (if forgotten) influence from a unique perspective. Next spring, he will set out to duplicate Barclay’s walk: giving readers a deeper understanding of Barclay’s achievement. In the spirit of The Year of Yes and The Know it All, Matthew’s book will be a vastly entertaining illumination of a subject explored through personal experience.

Beth Baruch Joselow has devoted a long writing career to nonfiction stories and books about people. She has written at length about divorce and the children of divorce, and about artists and what drives them. When she started a new career as a licensed professional counselor of mental health, she was drawn into the individual stories of men and women who, in the public world, are too often seen as diagnoses rather than human beings. I SAW A MAN WHO WASN’T THERE grows out of a blog Beth wrote regularly for over a year, as a diary of her work with people who have chronic mental illness. During that time, the blog, titled Alternative Universe, was recommended in Newsweek and logged thousands of unique hits. I Saw a Man Who Wasn’t There is a book about the individuals Joselow has worked with and the kind of care most commonly available to those with chronic mental illness. It is written from the perspective of the psychiatrists, counselors and case managers who work with these people daily, and who constantly scramble to provide what their clients need, in a time when material support is continually diminishing. Recent studies summarized on the website of the National Institute of Mental Health have found that an estimated 26.2 percent of Americans ages 18 and older – about one in four adults – suffer from a diagnosable mental disorder in a given year. In this deeply humane, profoundly moving, insightful, accessible book, Joselow turns her observant eye on the mental health industry in one of the most revealing considerations of the subject to date.

Bernard Aronson has served as Assistant Secretary of State for Inter American Affairs and has held several positions in the White House, including Deputy Assistant and Executive Speechwriter to the President. Considered an expert in Latin American issues, he serves on the board of the Center for Global Developments and co-chairs the Task Force on U.S.-Cuban Relations in the 21st Century. From this elevated and very well-imformed vantage point, Aronson is poised to provide a thought-provoking and incisive analysis of recent U.S. policy in a region that is increasingly vital to our well being. WHEN LATIN AMERICA WAS IN SEASON will tell the inside story of a crucial period in the hemisphere’s development: 1989 to 1993. During this time, cataclysmic events took place that changed the face of the region. Among them: how democratic forces in Nicaragua surprised the pundits, how the war in El Salvador ended in midnight negotiations, the real story behind the U.S. invasion of Panama to oust General Noriega, the rise and fall of the “Shining Path” guerillas, the most murderous and radical guerilla movement in Latin American history, and how a free market revolution overcame the commercial debt crisis. Many of these events are still dictating the nature of U.S. diplomacy and, with the immigration crisis coming to a head, will have growing relevance to a large readership. An important and necessary book for anyone who is interested in the future of the Americas.

“The uncivilized white man is ruining the neighborhood,” Walter Cronkite reported on August 25, 1969, “so the Indians today barred him from 25 miles of a popular Pacific Coast beach in Northwestern Washington.” CBS introduced America to a new tribal leader, Joe DeLaCruz, who declared that his “people just had enough.” History has reserved many pages for great chiefs, leaders who fought valiantly for their nations; these pages are planted deep within the mythology of America in the 19th Century. Then America’s native people merged with their conquerors and assimilated. Or…that was supposed to be the end of the story. Mark Trahant has a different version. As a journalist, Trahant had conversations with DeLaCruz for nearly 30 years about his goals in closing the beach back in 1969 and about the nature of Indian Country’s leadership during the latter half of the 20th century. He found that DeLaCruz was a leader who refused to let his tribal identity and culture disappear, a “peace chief” who had the vision, passion and determination to carry his people yet one more decade further. PEACE CHIEFS is Trahant’s account of that next generation of Native American leaders—doctors, lawyers, tribal chiefs, casino bosses, religious representatives and would-be vice presidents. It will be an insightful consideration of a culture under siege and the leaders doing everything they can to protect the tradition, values, and rights of the people they govern.

If you hate looking like a fool, don’t have a child. If you only bet on sure things, don’t have a kid. But if you accept that the greatest rewards come from the harshest trials, then parenting is for you. That’s part of the wisdom gained by Franklin Kinard during his first year of parenting. Frank is the father of a wonderful six-year-old boy named Jordan and he shares joint custody with Jordan’s mom. In a stellar bit of negotiating, he sees his son every day. A MAN AND HIS SON is about Frank’s first year as a dad. It is a naked, unguarded account of how the arrival of a little boy transformed a self-absorbed man and taught him lessons he never thought he’d learn. Frank is a financial news producer at CNN. He is also a veteran of sales and marketing. But all the business experience and people managing in the world couldn’t have prepared him for parenting. As a dear friend pointed out to him, “Parenting is an amateur sport. There are no professionals.” With that bit of wisdom tucked away for reference and good use, Frank recounts the joys and perils of contemporary fatherhood.

The morning after Doug realizes he is in love with his best friend Shelley is a nerve-wracking one. For the first time ever, he’s waking up in her bed. They’ve kissed. He’s going to tell her he loves her. That afternoon, Doug is going to say the words. While he’s waiting for Shelley to get out of class, he’s followed by a man who turns out to be a detective. He informs Doug that he is, in actuality, Shelley’s imaginary friend. Kissing Shelley and falling in love with her have broken the rules of the bureaucracy, and he has to return to the world of imaginary friends to stand trial. After a dramatic escape from the Rationalization Home, a prison for rogue imaginary friends, Doug stumbles into a dubious existence in the real world. Friendless, lost, and pursued relentlessly by Invisible Bob, the imaginary world’s crack hunter, Doug must find his way back to Shelley, no matter how often he’s told that she will have moved on. SHELLEY AND DOUG is a clever, captivating and thoroughly original story of a hidden world occupied by those friends we’ve now forgotten and of a love strong enough to break all the rules. Tom Jacobs‘ debut, which will appeal to fans of Jasper Fforde and Mark Dunn’s Ella Minnow Pea, is a charming tale readers won’t soon forget. Please note that Lauren Abramo is the agent on this project.

Many years ago, the Sonora desert was once an ocean inhabited by mermaids. When the water gave way to the sands of the southwest, these wise women were forced to make their home on land. Though they faced many challenges in learning to adapt to their new landscape, they formed strong bonds and made peace with change. That is their story — at least as Myla Alvarez tells it. Myla sells odds and ends she finds in the desert at her Church of the Old Mermaids, and each customer finds “what they need,” as she puts it. For the past ten years, Myla has lived a life she considered full and productive, sharing her stories and time with both the permanent and temporary residents of her community. When a past love returns, Myla’s confidence is shaken, and the mermaids seemingly abandon her. Myla must find a way to save herself and her extended makeshift family. Her crisis of faith will force her to confront her deepest secrets, risk her own life to save another, and summon the courage to believe again. CHURCH OF THE OLD MERMAIDS is the latest gem from author Kim Antieau. Filled with whimsy, but grounded in the issues of our times, this is a novel that will appeal to readers of authors from Barbara Kingsolver to Jacqueline Mitchard. Please note that Michael Bourret is the agent on this project.

RIGHTS ROUNDUP

Mondadori bought Italian rights to Anne Stuart‘s Shadow Dance. A children’s version of Joachim de Posada and Ellen Singer‘s Don’t Eat the Marshmallow…Yet! sold to Gipun Book Corporation in Korea. Russian rights to Steven Keslowitz‘s The World According to the Simpsons sold to Geleos Publishing House. Karakter bought Dutch rights to A.J. Hartley‘s The Mask of Atreus and On the Fifth Day. World Spanish rights to David Morrell‘s Creepers sold to La Factoria de Ideas. A story of his entitled “Continental Grip” sold to Mystery magazine in Japan. Headline bought rights to his Scavenger for the UK and British Comonwealth (excluding Canada) with non-exclusive Open Market rights. Doug Borton‘s Mortal Faults sold to Pygmalion for world French rights.

Audio rights to David Morrell‘s Scavenger were purchased by Brilliance Audio.

First serial rights to Lisa Drayer‘s Toned, Trim & 30 sold to Women’s Health magazine.

Producer John Diamond optioned the rights to William Stevenson‘s A Man Called Intrepid. Rights to Gene Cernan and Don DavisLast Man on the Moon were optioned by producer Mark Craig. Paramount TV optioned the rights to She’ll Take It by Mary Carter.

RECENT SALES

World rights to Vampires of Hollywood, a paranormal mystery by Adrienne Barbeau and Michael Scott, along with a sequel, were sold to Erin Brown for Thomas Dunne Books.

Bill LeBlond at Chronicle bought world rights to The Lobel’s Meat Bible by the Lobel family, owners of M. Lobel & Sons, the renowned New York butcher shop.

Stacey Glick sold world rights for Mike Linderman‘s The Teen Whisperer as part of a two book deal to Kristen McGuiness at ReganMedia.

World rights to renowned food writer Arthur Schwartz‘s The Big Book of Southern Italian Food were sold to Pam Krauss at Clarkson Potter.

Pamela Clements bought world rights to Let Us Break Bread Together by Alexander Smalls, creator of “Southern Revival” cooking, for Rutledge Hill.

World rights to Rabbi Robert Levine‘s God vs. God, a book on fundamentalism in American culture, sold to Hillel Black for Sourcebooks.

World rights for a book of gay erotica based on popular blog The Great Cock Hunt were sold to John Scognamiglio at Kensington by Jim McCarthy.

Roger Cooper bought bestselling author David Morrell‘s Scavenger for CDS Books. The author retains British and translation rights.

Jim McCarthy sold world rights to Margaret Sullivan‘s The Jane Austen Handbook to Melissa Wagner at Quirk Books.

Kitchen, housewares and entertainment editor at Amazon.com, A.J. Rathbun‘s Wine Cocktails was sold in a world rights deal by Michael Bourret to Valerie Cimino at Harvard Common Press.

Michael Bourret also sold world rights to In the Club and To the Penthouse, two new books in Antonio Pagliarulo‘s forthcoming Celebutante mystery series, to Krista Marino at Delacorte.

Charlie Spicer at St. Martin’s Press bought world rights to true crime writer Carlton Smith‘s book on the murder of 70-year-old psychologist Felix Polk.

Gabriel Thompson‘s There’s No José Here, a behind-the-scenes look at the lives of immigrants, sold in a North American rights deal by Michael Bourret to Carl Bromley at Nation Books.

Stacey Glick sold Jeffrey Yeager‘s Laugh Your Assets Off, a guide by the “Ultimate Cheapskate” to Kris Puopolo at Broadway. The author retains British and translation rights.

Kirsty Melville at Andrews McMeel bought world rights to Mod Mex by Dos Caminos executive chef Scott Linquist with Joanna Pruess.

Michael Bourret sold world rights to Paul Pearsall‘s Awe, a startling look at the delights and dangers of our eleventh emotion, to Michele Matrisciani at HCI.

Tracy Gates of Viking Children’s Books bought world rights to a new picture book entitled Truck Stop by Anne Rockwell, in a deal also by Michael Bourret.

World rights to Jamie MichaelsKiss My Book, a young adult novel about a teen sensation who gets caught plagiarizing her debut, were sold by Michael Bourret to Krista Marino at Delacorte.

John Hemingway‘s A Strange Tribe, a memoir about his father, Gregory, and grandfather, Ernest, sold in a North American deal to Rob Kirkpatrick at Lyons Press.

Jim McCarthy sold world rights to Tony Rubino‘s Life Lessons from Dogs and Life Lessons from Cats to Pamela Clements at Rutledge Hill Press.

Mark LaFlaur at St. Martin’s Press bought North American rights to Michael ReynoldsBad Faith, on the relationship between conservative Republicans and the religious right.

John Scognamiglio at Kensington bought world rights to Dark Swan, a new urban fantasy series by Richelle K. Mead, in a three book deal by Jim McCarthy.

Michael Bourret sold world rights to Commerce Bank President and founder Vernon Hill‘s The Power of Wow to Adrienne Schultz at Portfolio.

Claire Booth‘s The False Prophet, about Mormon murderer Taylor Helzer, sold in a North American rights deal by Jim McCarthy to Samantha Mandor at Berkley.

Samantha McFerrin at Harcourt bought North American rights to Jenny Tripp‘s sequel to Pete and Fremont in a deal by Michael Bourret.

Jeanne King‘s true crime The Granny Grifters sold to Charlie Spicer for St. Martin’s Press. The author retains British and translation rights.

Jim McCarthy sold world rights to Starting a Home Staging Business by Barb Schwarz to Debra Englander.

Joachim de Posada and Ellen Singer‘s sequel to Don’t Eat The Marshmallow…Yet! sold in a world rights deal to Denise Silvestro at Berkley.

Charlie Spicer at St. Martin’s Press bought North American rights to reporter Jeanne King‘s untitled true crime on the murder of Janet March.