Newsletter 39: May 2007

Carolyn Dorn and Mary Ellen Corbett

Carolyn Dorn loaded up her humble camping gear in early December 2006, and back-packed 15 miles into the rugged Gila Wilderness to seek solace in places where she had camped in the past with her beloved dog, Rainbow. Carolyn, who has battled chronic depression since early childhood, had made the agonizing decision, a few weeks earlier, to euthanize her ailing dog, and she was still deeply grief-stricken when she drove from South Carolina to New Mexico to take comfort in one of her favorite nature areas.

What she didn’t weigh carefully was the extreme danger of heading into such wilds at the coldest, most inhospitable time of year. Under-equipped, under-stocked and overwhelmed with emotion, the self-described loner and free-spirit pitched her low-budget tent in the overhang of an ancient cave in what was America’s very first wilderness area, a place of extraordinary beauty often characterized as “the frontier primeval.” She set up a rudimentary campsite after crossing the Gila River, in an area familiar to her. But by the time she decided she wanted to return to civilization, the river had risen and was too dangerous to ford, she was deathly sick and out of food, struggling to survive in miserable weather and single-digit temperatures. She didn’t even realize that she’d been the target of a nationally-publicized search and rescue effort and given up for dead.

After 40 days in the wilderness–22 without food–Carolyn was finally rescued. One month after her rescue, she showed up at a Western Institute for Lifelong Learning memoir-writing class being taught by veteran journalist Mary Ellen Corbett. Almost immediately, Carolyn and Mary Ellen began collaborating on THE WILDERNESS WITHIN, the extraordinary story of one woman’s survival, against the odds, and the moments of courage and inspiration that she attained on her exceptional journey.

UP AND COMING FOR SUBMISSION

The protagonist of G.D. Gearino‘s new novel is a man obsessed with women. Like a modern day Portnoy, he is defined by his sexual longings, his fumbling conquests, and the scars left by the women he’s lusted after and loved. SEVENTEEN WOMEN starts with a six-year-old boy told by his best friend that the thing between his legs is “silly.” He is demoralized, confused and then saddened when the girl’s mother calls to say her daughter can’t play with him again. This comedy of mixed messages and misunderstandings about sex follow him into nerdy adolescence, where he tries and fails to bed the hot cheerleader who turns out to be a lesbian, and into adulthood where he discovers that sleeping with someone is not a simple act of biological release but often a complicated emotional game that is as apt to result in pain as in satisfaction. With stylistic precision, warm humor and rueful insights about romantic entanglements, this is a novel that elicits sympathetic tears, grimaces of remembered embarrassment and frustration, and knowing smiles. It is a pure delight.

On a sunny spring day a few years back, Sheila Himmel found herself driving around two counties sampling French fries. As the San Jose Mercury News‘ restaurant critic, she had noticed many upscale eateries adding fries to their menu, so she set off to document the trend bite by delicious bite. Meanwhile, Sheila’s 19-year-old daughter, Lisa, was home, locked in her bedroom, starving herself. As a newspaper writer and editor, Sheila had always loved irony. When it turned out that she was a food writer with an anorexic daughter, it lost its appeal. While she was bingeing in the line of duty, her daughter was counting each calorie as an enemy, another notch in her belt of defeats, proof that she was worthless. Now, Sheila and Lisa are joining together to tell their story from opposite sides of what Michael Pollan, author of The Omnivore’s Dilemma, called “our national eating disorder.” In dueling first-person accounts, mother and daughter provide a sympathetic, articulate account of food and food obsession. Sheila Himmel and Lisa Himmel‘s YOU MUST BE HUNGRY is a moving, intelligent, and eye-opening account of a family struggling to survive a daughter’s harrowing ordeal.

Comedian and television personality Cathryn Michon is the author of the most popular blog on the most visited women’s site on the internet (iVillage.com, which receives 4.9 million unique visitors per month). She contributes hilarious commentary regularly on the Today show, CNN Headline News, and Showbiz Tonight. In SIZE DOESN’T MATTER: HIS BRAIN IS BIGGER, HERS HAS MORE BRAIN CELLS, Cathryn translates her friendly blog style into a must-read guide to help women understand why relationships between the sexes are so difficult. She explores gender roles from childhood to, well, older childhood. She answers questions such as why it is that boys denied toy guns end up making guns out of toast at the breakfast table in order to shoot their sisters, how to overcome nature with your nurture, why scientists have proven that frequent sex can make you just as happy as receiving a $50,000 check every year, and why bad boys and mean girls attract each other…and everyone else. Using her trademark wit and a whole lot of sass, Cathryn will craft a must-read for anyone who has ever chased a guy just to find out he was a serial killer and anyone who needs a helping hand getting their relationships back on track. After all, monogamy may not be natural, but neither is your hair color….

Before they were ever couples, they were friends–friends since the sixth grade at the sturdy little grammar school on Dixie Trail. They would sit together on the curb at twilight and watch the bats, or listen to a portable radio, or walk to the drug store for a fountain Coke. Then came the war. It defined their generation and their century, and it split them apart–plucked them out of North Carolina and thrust them into Europe and the Pacific and adulthood, ready or not. When it ended, they found themselves coupled off in six pairs, many of them having married during furlough. And they started a simple tradition: Once a month, always on the third Saturday, they gathered for supper. Sometimes they made a weekend of it. Usually, they played bridge. Always, they talked about the families they were making, the lives they were forging. They traveled together, laughed together, bickered about politics. They called it Couples Club. These six couples tell the story of America in the late 20th century: They had children, children had children. Families grew estranged and made up, jobs came and went, disease struck and ravaged. But these friendships prevailed. Six decades later, as the world has changed in unimaginable ways, even as they have buried four of their own, Couples Club goes on–still once a month, always on the third Saturday. In COUPLES CLUB, Erin McClam tells this extraordinary story of post-war American life and the indelible bonds of friendship.

For years, the US government has spent billions of dollars training soldiers to kill. But now they have an alternative approach: training killers to be soldiers. Five murderers have been carefully selected to enter into a classified Special Forces unit, codename: Red-Ops. They are the most fearsome weapon ever created, meant to be dropped behind enemy lines. Their goals: Isolate. Terrorize. Annihilate. Five Hannibal Lecters with Rambo skills. But something terrible has happened. Safe Haven, Wisconsin, population 907, is a tiny community of families and retirees, nestled between Big Lake and Little Lake MacDonald in the north woods. One road in, one road out, thirty miles away from everything. A town so small and peaceful they don’t even have a full time police force. The Red-Ops helicopter has crashed just outside of town. The unit is now roaming free in the wilderness, heading for the nearest lights. Heading there to do what they do best: kill. Soon the phone lines are cut, the cell phones jammed, and the road blocked. Safe Haven’s only chance for survival rests on the shoulders of an aging county sheriff. And as the body count rises, he’s quickly realizing something terrifying–maybe the Red Ops haven’t come to his quiet little town by accident. Joseph Konrath is the award winning author of the Jacqueline “Jack” Daniels mystery series. AFRAID is a stand-alone thriller that takes readers on a spellbinding journey into abject terror. Warning: Not for the faint of heart.

When Andrea Friedman was born, her parents were told, “She will never grow up.” “She will never develop mentally beyond the age of four or five.” “She will never live in the real world.” “She would be better off in an institution.” “She won’t be able to function in normal society.” Had her parents followed the advice of “experts,” Andrea might be living the life they predicted. Instead, her family embarked on a journey into the unknown territory of raising a child with a challenge to believe that anything was possible. In 1970, when Andrea was born, much less was known about Down Syndrome, a mutation of a single chromosome that causes mental and physical abnormalities. Andrea’s parents were frightened and overwhelmed by the prospect of raising a child who would never be “normal,” but they were determined to give her as full and rich a life as they could provide. A POSSIBLE DREAM, written by Andrea’s mother, Marj Friedman, and sister, Kay Friedman Holland, chronicles the years from Andrea’s diagnosis to her life today as a working television actress (Life Goes On, Law and Order: SVU, Baywatch, Seventh Heaven, Touched by an Angel, Smudge, ER) who lives alone in her own apartment, drives a car, travels worldwide as a motivational speaker for people with challenges, and arguably functions at a higher level than most of “normal” society. An inspiring account of life lived to its fullest, A Possible Dream is a beautiful, warm, touching narrative of family ties and what we’re all capable of if we believe in ourselves and are believed in.

With BRAVO CIAO ITALIA!, the extraordinary Mary Ann Esposito celebrates 20 years of cooking on public television by inviting everyone to grab their aprons, sharpen their knives, and get in the kitchen. Here, Mary Ann presents the best 100 recipes to come out of the gastronomic boot of Italy. Fresh, traditional ingredients are combined in new ways and streamlined for today’s health-conscious cook, and she teaches the secrets to making succulent dishes such as stuffed pork loaded with a bouquet of herbal flavors, ricotta gnocchi light as a feather, pizza dough that’s thin and airy, and sauces ready in less time than it takes to set the table. Readers travel with Mary Ann and follow the culinary map from north to south. From the hearty foods of the Piedmont to the exotic flavors of Sicily, she will present a world of timeless Italian flavors. Each of the 20 regions of Italy is represented by five classic recipes as interpreted by Mary Ann, offering a complete menu reflective of each region.

Becoming a child’s mother is usually an organic process, evolution on a small scale. One identity transforms over many months into another. Adoptive mothers travel a different path, stepping in where natural family formation falls short. They bond with a child fully formed, a tiny person with a world of experience to which they are not privy. When adoption is accompanied by other major transitions within a family, that transformation to motherhood becomes that much more complex. HOLD YOU ME tells the story of Anne Mernin‘s unexpected road to adoptive motherhood when she and her husband, Michael, who had two biological children already, decided to adopt out of New Jersey’s notoriously dysfunctional child welfare system just as Anne was leaving an investment banking career to become a stay-at-home mother for the first time. Enter Nikki, a 16-month-old African American toddler joining a pale Irish family. As the months went on, Anne discovered a frightening array of health concerns that Nikki’s caseworkers hadn’t known about or hadn’t mentioned. Hold You Me is the story of several transitions–becoming an adoptive family, becoming a mixed-race family, and learning to cope with serious health problems. It provides a refreshingly honest look at race, class, and identity as these meet the nuanced forces of family, in a lyrical narrative that is at times heart-rending, at others hilarious. This is an account of adoption as it is now, how some families are born and others created.

Most people believe that stress is necessary for survival and the most we can do is try to manage it. But THE INNER GAME OF STRESS proposes a radically different premise–that humans don’t need stress at all and, in fact, have the natural ability to eliminate it completely. In it, bestselling author W. Timothy Gallwey (The Inner Game of Golf, The Inner Game of Tennis) teams up with John Horton, M.D., and Edd Hanzelik, M.D., to teach readers how they can develop automatic responses in moments of crisis that actually reduce their anxiety. Instead of allowing fear, anger, resentment, disappointment, and other shattering emotions to overwhelm them and cause long-term physical and mental harm, people can use simple tools to access the brain’s innate calming mechanisms. Stress has become the single most significant health issue of our times. It is estimated that between 75 and 95 percent of all visits to primary care physicians are for stress-related complaints or disorders. Countless programs and books have focused on managing stress, yet the problem is only worsening. The premise that sets The Inner Game of Stress apart is that the consequences of stress can be eliminated, not just managed–and it contains the practical tools to make that happen. Written in the engaging personal style that attracted a huge following for Gallwey’s previous books, The Inner Game of Stress will permanently change the way people think about and react to the stress in their lives.

This October, Lifetime Television will debut Four Extraordinary Women, the story of four women connected not only by their battle with breast cancer, but by their relationships with one man. That man is John Anderson who became the caregiver for his mother, his mother’s best friend and his childhood babysitter, his wife, and his sister, as they were each diagnosed with the same devastating illness. Based on his experiences, John is writing STAND BY HER: A BREAST CANCER GUIDE FOR HIM (AND LOVED ONES). Countless books exist for the over 212,000 women diagnosed annually with breast cancer. Unlike what is available, John’s is specifically aimed at the caregiver. It tells men to stand up and commit to being there for breast cancer patients and aims to support those people doing the supporting, not only explaining the illness itself and various treatments, but what women are going through when diagnosed, how to help them best, and how to work through your own fear and sadness for a loved one. Stand By Her is a unique and important addition to the literature that exists now and the first book of its kind intended specifically for companions and caregivers.

When Ethan Bolker tells people that he is a math professor, one of the most common (and most distressing) responses he hears is, “I never could do mathematics.” To Ethan, math is much more than something that you learn in school, and he aims to prove that to readers. Five years ago, he took a position at Boston’s J. P. Manning public elementary school, spending one morning a week working with first and second graders, teachers, and the principal to develop a new curriculum that would not only educate students in the basics of math but turn them into lovers of numbers who could become as fluent in arithmetic as language. IT’S ELEMENTARY: MATH FOR GRADES ONE TO A ZILLION is a result of his time there. The mathematics is elementary–hence the title. But one of the most rewarding surprises of his work at Manning was how often basic math resonated with the deeper mathematic ideas he dealt with as a university professor and researcher. Using commonsense language, Ethan will unlock the world of numbers for all of us who have found ourselves slightly challenged by math and those of us who are simply paralyzed by it.

When Richard Wise, the Chief Strategic Officer of Agent 16, a New York City ad agency, assembled a wall full of Absolut ads, a colleague asked him why. Richard wanted to figure out exactly why these straightforward pieces, little more than a bottle image and a visual pun, became one of the world’s most recognizable brand images. “The answer isn’t in the ads,” his friend told him. “The answer is the people behind the ad.” So Richard got to know the people behind the advertisements and listened to their stories. His friend was right. Perseverance was fundamental to the success of the campaign. Using his dual training as a market strategist and cultural anthropologist, Richard studied what it was that made the most powerful and potent brands work. He managed to identify six leadership qualities that transcend the particularities of any enterprise type or business model: inspiring, humble, simple, agile, brave, persevering. These “little virtues” are so simple that most leaders overlook their power. In LITTLE VALUES, MIGHTY BRANDS, Richard demonstrates how to clearly see their dramatic importance and how to apply them to leadership and brand building. As Good to Great and First Break All the Rules are to organizational leadership and management, Little Values, Mighty Brands will be a definitive and eye-opening explication of the importance of successful branding and an important tool for all companies from start-ups to Fortune 100 companies in both the private and public sectors.

When Dr. Marsha Coleman-Adebayo discovered the widespread poisoning of workers in the Union Carbide plant in Brits, South Africa, she believed that as the EPA’s and the White House’s envoy to South Africa, all she had to do was report her findings to the government and allow the problem to be sorted out. But after detailing the information gathered on her fact-finding mission, Marsha was told not only to ignore the problem, but to lie about lethal substances, dying children, and permanent environmental damage. Unwilling and unable to do so, she blew the whistle on the federal government. Almost immediately, news came of a demotion and her removal from all EPA activity relating to South Africa. And then the phone calls started, mysterious voices threatening to rape her and brutalize her children. Rather than back down, Marsha formed a coalition with two goals in mind–to protect all whistleblowers under federal employ and to establish non-discrimination legislation for all government employees. The No Fear Coalition’s first piece of legislation passed Congress with a unanimous vote. The second will be on the floor this fall-and her fight is not over yet. NO FEAR, written with Dr. Anne Mini, is the account of Marsha’s whistleblowing experience. Rather than a self-serving diatribe, she and Mini have crafted a compelling proposal that details the human costs of such actions–and the terrific price of governmental inaction. Heroic, engaging, and inspiring, Marsha’s whistleblower memoir is a rewarding and thrilling read. (Please note, Jim McCarthy is the agent on this project.)

Over the last seven decades, the attitudes of American parents toward their children have changed dramatically. Social historians have documented the rise of new anxieties, including fears about the demoralizing effects of low self-esteem and the perils of consumerism. These anxieties have a pernicious effect on writers, too: many children’s authors fail to treat their own work as serious literature. Instead, an alarmingly large number view their books as handy vehicles with which to deliver an ulterior message. Some books for kids, like Curious George Goes to the Hospital, are intended to allay common fears. Other books, like Disney’s desecration of the Winnie the Pooh series, are designed primarily as marketing tools to boost sales of toothpaste and sundry consumer goods, while C.S. Lewis’ The Last Battle is a clarion call to conversion in advance of the coming Armageddon. Stories like these, that value message above literary quality, are too often devoid of conflict and emotional resonance. In their zeal to shelter and edify, these stories offer vanilla fictional worlds, so gilded with manners and morals that they are even less interesting than our own. In FEAR, TOOTHPASTE AND ARMAGEDDON: A JOURNEY THROUGH THE MINEFIELD OF CHILDREN’S LITERATURE, author Daniel Greenstone will explore the ways in which our fears and ambitions for our children shape the literature we offer them, and why it’s just as important for kids as it adults to read complex, thoughtful, challenging works. (Please note, Michael Bourret is the agent on this project.)

Every so often, a diet becomes so integrated into society’s collective thinking that it is no longer merely a weight loss tool, but an actual nutritional movement. Flexitarianism, or part-time vegetarianism, will be the next of these “soul mate” diets. The concept has grown so popular that in 2003 “flexitarian” was selected as the most useful word of the year by the American Dialect Society. Yet there has not yet been a definitive book on this subject–until now. FLEXFOODS DIET by noted flexitarian expert and nutritionist Dawn J. Blatner, writing with award-winning health writer Carol Svec, will offer readers the tools to finally get healthy and lose weight by following their 5-by-5 principles: five new food groups, five-ingredient recipes, five recurring trouble-shooter sidebars, five keys to a flexitarian lifestyle, and a five-week meal plan. This is a completely manageable guide that enables readers to make gradual, rational changes one meal, one food group at a time. The FlexFoods Diet is all-inclusive–there is room for all your favorite foods, for your family’s taste preferences, and for choice. With the FlexFoods Diet, there are no forbidden foods, and there is no way to fail, but there are 5-by-5 paths to success. (Please note, Stacey Glick is the agent on this project.)

RIGHTS ROUNDUP

Albatros purchased Polish rights to David Morrell‘s Assumed Identity, Desperate Measures, and Extreme Denial. Polish rights for his First Blood and The Fifth Profession went to Ksiaznica. Morrell’s Scavenger went to Grasset for World French rights, Hermes for Bulgarian rights, and Piemme for Italian. Barack Obama‘s Dreams from My Father was sold to Text/Canongate in the UK/Australia, Presses de la Cite in France, Bonniers in Sweden, Atlas in the Netherlands, and Hanser in Germany. World Czech rights to Brian Harper‘s Deadly Pursuit were bought by Motto. Nemira purchased Romanian rights to Andrew Hartley‘s On the Fifth Day. Jacqueline Carey‘s Kushiel’s Dart will be published by TEA in Italy, and Polish rights to Kushiel’s Scion went to MAG.

Grenada USA optioned the film rights to Diane Fanning‘s Everything to Lose. Kenneth Schwenker at Oak Island Films optioned Gigi AndersMen May Come and Men May Go, But I Still Have My Little Pink Raincoat.

RECENT SALES

World rights to Lisa Schroeder‘s Mother’s Best, a cookbook from the Portland institution Mother’s Bistro and Bar, were sold by Stacey Glick to Pam Hoenig at Taunton Press.

Valerie Cimino at Harvard Common Press bought World rights to A. J. Rathbun‘s guide to Luscious Liqueurs from Michael Bourret. Golfer David Wood‘s memoir about traveling Around the World in 80 Rounds was sold to Daniela Rapp at St. Martin’s. Michael Bourret sold World rights to Benjamin Balint‘s history of Commentary magazine, Running Commentary, to Jake Klisivitch at Palgrave. Carl Bromley at Nation Books purchased North American rights to Gabriel Thompson‘s guide to community organizing, Calling All Radicals. Michael Bourret is the agent on this project. Michaele Ballard‘s true crime title on the high school cheerleader murder case sold to Charles Spicer at St. Martin’s. The author retains British and translation rights. World rights to Ronnie Fein‘s cookbook of Quick, Contemporary, and Kosher recipes were sold to Matthew Lore at Marlowe & Co. by Michael Bourret.

Michael Bourret also sold World rights to Robert S. McElvaine‘s searing indictment of “ChristianityLight,” Grand Theft Jesus to Lucinda Bartley at Crown.

Mary Selden Evans at Syracuse University Press acquired World rights to reportorial artist Tracy Sugarman‘s memoir Drawing Conclusions from Michael Bourret.

World rights to Lisa McMann‘s YA debut, Dream, about a young girl pulled into other people’s dreams, were sold to Jennifer Klonsky at Simon Pulse.

Erin Moore at Gotham Books purchased World rights to singer/songwriter/raconteur Chris Campion‘s memoir of his daring Escape from Bellevue and Other Stories.

World rights to Lidia’s Italy: The Rest of the Story, the follow-up to the current bestseller by Lidia Matticchio Bastianich and Tanya Bastianich Manuali were sold to Judith Jones at Knopf.

Roger Cooper at Vanguard Press acquired North American rights to bestselling thriller writer David Morrell‘s The Spy Who Came for Christmas.

Jim McCarthy sold World rights to Geoff Herbach‘s debut novel Saint Rimberg to Lindsey Moore at Crown.

World rights to Mark Henry‘s zombie comedy, Happy Hour of the Damned, along with two sequels were purchased from Jim McCarthy by John Scognamiglio at Kensington.

Beth Harpaz‘s memoir of raising a teenage son, 13 Is the New 18 sold in a World rights deal to Rick Horgan at Crown.

Blake Edgar at University of California Press bought World English rights to Jacqueline Friedrich‘s updated and revised Wine and Food Guide to the Loire.

Bestselling fantasy novelist Jacqueline Carey‘s next trilogy was sold to Jaime Levine at Grand Central Publishing in a World English deal.

Michael Bourret sold prolific children’s author and illustrator Anne Rockwell‘s next, Hardware Store, to Christy Ottaviano at Holt.

Mary Ann Esposito‘s Ciao Italia Big Five: Five Ingredient Recipes from an Italian Kitchen went to Michael Flamini at St. Martin’s in a World rights deal.

Emily Loose at Free Press bought North American rights to pilot Lynn Spencer‘s Touching History: 9/11 from the Air.

World rights to David Sears account of Japanese suicide bombers during World War II, At War with the Wind, were sold to Michaela Hamilton at Kensington by Jim McCarthy. Dung Ngo at Rizzoli purchased Susanna Salk‘s Weekend Retreat from Michael Bourret in a World rights deal. Deborah Lytton‘s debut young adult novel Alice in Wanderland was sold to Julie Strauss-Gabel at Dutton Children’s by Stacey Glick.

World rights to Kim Antieau‘s next young adult novel, Ruby’s Imagine, was purchased by Julia Richardson at Houghton Mifflin Children’s Books by Michael Bourret.

Lauren Abramo sold North American rights to Thomas Norman DeWolf‘s Inheriting the Trade to Gayatri Patnaik at Beacon Press.

Emily Easton at Walker acquired World rights to Suzanne Selfors‘ YA novel about a girl transported into the world of Shakespearean tragedy in Saving Juliet from Michael Bourret.

North American rights to Michael Weinreb ‘s consideration of a cultural zeitgeist viewed through one year in sports history, 1986, were sold to Brett Valley at Gotham Books.

Jim McCarthy sold World rights to V. A. Laurie‘s debut middle-grade series, The Oracles of Delphi, set in WWII, to Krista Marino at Delacorte.

Jean Lucas at Andrews-McMeel bought an entertainment, lifestyle, and cooking book by Barcelona Restaurant and Wine Bar owners Andrew Pforzheimer and Sasa Mahr-Batuz.

Debra Englander at Wiley acquired World rights to Alex CountsMicro-Financing: The Transforming Power of Muhammad Yunus and Small Business Loans from Jim McCarthy.

North American rights to true crime author Thomas Henderson‘s next title, about the Grant murder case, were sold to Michael Homler at St. Martin’s.

Stacey Glick sold World rights to Lisa Drayer‘s The Beauty Diet to John Aherne at McGraw-Hill.

Saatchi & Saatchi VP Liz Razin‘s She’s Gone Bridal was purchased by Danielle Chiotti at Citadel in a World rights deal by Lauren Abramo.

Arthur Schwartz‘s Jewish Home Cooking: Strictly Kosher Yiddish Recipes Revisited went to Lorena Jones at Ten Speed in a World rights deal.

Zach Schisgal at Fireside took on Susan RoAne‘s latest, Face to Face, from Michael Bourret.