Newsletter 41: January 2008

TIM BROOKES

For centuries, forest fires were thought to be natural disasters, killing wildlife and vegetation alike. Now we know them to be essential to the development of a thriving ecology.

FDR’s adult-onset polio could be attributed to the fact that as a sheltered child of wealthy parents, he was not exposed to the relatively mild polio virus that had circulated through most human habitations for at least the past 5,000 years. So, he never developed the immunity that almost all children of his time had. Germs and illnesses, it turns out, are one of the best ways to ensure long lasting good health.

By the same token, many of the events in our lives that we think of as disasters, misfortunes or simply bad news have hidden benefits — some catastrophes, small and large, local and global are actually essential to us as individuals and to the common good. THE GOOD SIDE OF BAD combines fascinating insights from the world of psychology, sociology, history, and science, while covering subjects as diverse as aviation, infectious diseases, tsunamis and hurricanes, and even tainted Aquadots in order to uncover the good news hidden beneath the bad.

Author Tim Brookes is a commentator on National Public Radio’s Sunday Weekend Edition. His work has also appeared in National Geographic, Outside, American History, and Vintage Guitar. His first book, Guitar: An American Life was widely praised for his intelligent, fascinating, engaging, and highly readable style.

With a keen storyteller’s eye and a deep appreciation for the good and the bad in human experience, Tim will explore why things are almost never as bad as they seem and why sometimes the Bad is essential to our survival as a species. THE GOOD SIDE OF BAD will be an entertaining, thought provoking and ultimately uplifting book.

UP AND COMING FOR SUBMISSION

For 19 years after moving from Northern Ireland to America, Colin Broderick was an alcoholic, working construction and drinking heavily while trying to forge an identity as a writer. He was, in his words, an orangutan–he had a raw, primitive approach to life, did what he wanted to do, and didn’t give a damn what other people thought of him. ORANGUTAN is his story–from the crack addled streets of New York in the late eighties to a drunken cruise on the Volga on a boat called the Turgenev. In it, Colin takes readers along to after-hours Irish bars in the Bronx, to a night of drinking with Artie Mitchell’s ghost in the Tenderloin, to unofficial writing seminars with friends like Malachy McCourt, Billy Collins, and Colum McCann. He ushers them through three marriages, two divorces and numerous romances, the house in Riverdale, the used bookstore coffee shop he owned, to an upstate jailhouse drinking hooch out of a Ziploc baggie. He will tell what it is like to wake up in a hospital or jail cell without knowing where you are or how you got there. What it’s like to be beaten and left for dead. How it feels to be stabbed. It is his New York story. It may not be pretty, but it is often entertaining and amusing, and in the end, there is redemption. Stripped of pretense, brutal in its honesty, and wildly engaging, Broderick’s memoir is an invitation to join him on the dark side as he hurls dung and takes the consequences as they come.

Steve Thomas, longtime host of “This Old House” and host and producer for the History Channel, recently signed on with Discovery to develop programming for their new network, Planet Green. Now, he proposes to write a lively and provocative book for home owners who yearn to “go green.” MY GREEN HOME will be welcome by anyone who is considering renovating their existing house or building a new one, but has hundreds of questions about the process. How do you know which materials are truly “green?” What if you want a pool? Can you use granite in the kitchen? How can you insulate an old house? What kind of roofing tiles are best? Should you install solar panels? What issues are more critical in the arid Southwest as opposed to the damper Northeast? Steve is a trusted name in the home building and renovation fields and now is a strong voice in the green movement. Using a dozen or so houses in different regions of the country to explore the possibilities, he will help the home owner navigate the burgeoning and yet complex realm of green building. MY GREEN HOME will offer a friendly, optimistic, and practical voice, meant to reassure as it educates the reader. It will be the first definitive work on green building.

John Milton’s Paradise Lost is one of the most important–and intimidating–works of the English language. In her new work of literary history, DISOBEDIENCE AND THE FRUIT, Susan Tyler Hitchcock tells the tale that lies behind the glorious epic of Heaven, Hell, and the Garden of Eden. A broken man as he composed the poem, Milton had been a key figure in Cromwell’s revolution. He fell from power and faced prison, possibly execution, when Charles II regained the throne in 1661. Blind, twice widowed, having lost his only son, Milton called on his three adolescent daughters as he completed his life’s work, despite relationships fraught with conflict. One daughter read aloud to him in eight foreign languages without understanding a word; another scrawled lines of poetry as he blurted them out from memory after nightly visitations by his muse. Yet Milton was far from a loving father: he accused his daughters of selling his books and pocketing the money and his third wife played the wicked stepmother, assailing the girls’ characters. And yet, without his daughters, Milton would not have written Paradise Lost. In the riveting DISOBEDIENCE AND THE FRUIT, Susan exposes one unique family’s secrets and, in so doing, revives the great English poem for readers today.

Some eight millennia after sugar was domesticated in New Guinea, around the sixth century B.C.E., Indians had learned to refine cane juice into brown sugar and begun to explore its many culinary uses. From South Asia, sugar cane spread to the Middle East, to the Mediterranean, and then finally to Europe’s sugar colonies in the Americas. At first, sugar was an expensive luxury sprinkled gingerly on spiced stews, then an affordable treat stirred into custards and cakes, and finally an indispensable necessity. With SWEET DOMINIONS, Michael Krondl is writing a popular history of sugar and dessert, tracking both from relatively inauspicious beginnings to the current insatiable cravings for sweets. To feed those cravings, planters needed cheap labor. The horrors of the transatlantic slave trade can be directly traced to the Old World’s sweet tooth. Plenty of wars can be credited to the same cause and, in fact, America’s long troubled relationship with Cuba is a direct consequence of the sugar business. Krondl’s formidable storytelling gifts will serve him well in what is sure to be a fascinating account of the good, bad, and ugly history of the world’s sweet tooth.

In 1970, Renee Pappas was at the center of a music and cultural revolution. With David Geffen, she was on the ground floor of Asylum Records, and was there at the beginning of the careers of the Eagles, Linda Ronstadt, and Jackson Browne. It was an extraordinary period in American life. In SWEET LITTLE ROCK ‘N ROLLER, Pappas takes readers on a thrilling ride inside those times. Married to Jerry Wexler, one of the most powerful members of the music industry, she lived in the heady center of the New York music world. Her dinner parties included the likes of Bob Dylan, Glenn Frey, Paul Simon, Elton John, Jerry Garcia, Willie Nelson, Cher, Bob Crewe, Ron Wood, Teddy Pendergast, Mark Knopfler, Neil Diamond, Kris Kristofferson, Chris Hillman, Roger McGuinn, Kim Carnes, Neil Sedaka, and Bette Midler. Music industry executives like Clive Davis, Neshui Ertegun, Joe Smith, Mo Ostin, David Geffen, Seymour and Linda Stein, Jann Wenner, Chris Blackwell, Jac Holzman, Susan Blond, Mitch Miller and John Hammond were frequent visitors to her home. She was surrounded by greatness, living in opulence, and struggling to form her own identity amidst the dazzling displays of talent, beauty and ego. Rich with formerly untold stories of music legends, and reflections on the turmoil and glamour of those special times, SWEET LITTLE ROCK ‘N ROLLER is a moving, dramatic story of a particular brand of American success.

Gardeners love what they do. Because of that, they tend to get a bit carried away. Eventually many find that they have created more garden that they can care for. At that point, what can you do? Throw up you hands and move to a condo…or find a simpler way to garden. For 20 years, Sydney Eddison, beloved author of numerous gardening titles, taught drama and designed sets for student productions. During that time, she and her husband settled on eight acres of overgrown land in Connecticut. In the summers, Eddison played outside, whacking down brush and planting, planting, planting. In short, she began gardening. And so her life unfolded and with it, the garden. Over the past few years, she has adjusted her site and her sights so that her garden has become much less demanding but no less fulfilling, thanks to energy-saving discoveries and short-cuts. Based on her own experience and that of gardening friends, there really is A SIMPLER WAY TO GARDEN. In her inspiring, delightful, and passionate new book, Eddison helps other gardeners find their own paths while sharing tips from hers.

In 1982, under the auspices of the Bank of England, Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher assembled a team of mathematicians, economists, and computer scientists at Cambridge University who were charged with building the monetary equivalent of the Hubble Telescope: a global economic model with the capacity to see far into the future. The model, called the Threadneedle Lens, was an unqualified success and secretly guided England’s fiscal policies for more than a generation. For the past twelve months, however, every Threadneedle simulation has produced the same result: global economic collapse. Convinced that errant American fiscal policy is at the root of the problem, the Bank of England hires a top American think tank to solve the problem. The question is whether the Yanks can succeed in time, despite long odds, their own foibles, interference from two governments, and the emergence of a vicious enemy with a vastly different strategy for saving the world. Written by George Shaffner, an international business executive and author of the critically acclaimed “Vernon Moore” fiction trilogy, THE THREADNEEDLE LENS is a fast-paced thriller that is also a meditation on today’s headlines: massive mortgage defaults, record budget and trade deficits, looming Medicare and Social Security crises, soaring energy prices, and a plunging dollar. Truth or fiction, the threat is very, very real.

Every weekday morning, Jennifer Jolly hosts All That’s Fit on the Fine Living Network, the upstart cable station with 49 million subscriber households nationwide. The channel’s mission is to inspire and empower people to live better by stealing back some of the precious moments of their own lives every day. Jolly knows that the number one excuse that moms give for not exercising regularly is that they don’t have the time. She knows all too well how that feels. As a single mom with a full time job, she often finds that she has a million balls in the air at once. But she has learned that the secret to feeling good is working out. It’s that simple. In order to juggle everything in her life, she has to find that spare minute here and there to exercise. With ALL THAT’S FIT, co-authored by Rachel Safier, Jolly helps other busy moms figure out how to make the most of their limited time. Approachable, warm, and empathetic, Jolly is a Rachael Ray for the fitness world, and her book will inspire all who read it.

Is it possible to be a single mom even if you’re married? Based on Shahara Ahmad-Llewellyn’s experience, and her interviews with many women of all walks of life, the answer is, yes. Absolutely. Her book exposes, for the first time, the anger, frustration, and concerns of women who find themselves raising their children alone, even though they are married or in committed relationships. The book includes interviews with military wives, the wives of professional athletes and performers, spouses of corporate executives who travel much of the time, and mental health professionals. It asks why many married women are wracked with feelings of loneliness and guilt even while living in what they are told is the ideal social position. Combining personal experience, mental health information, and countless background interviews, MARRIED SINGLE MOTHERS is a pivotal and groundbreaking work that forces us to reconsider how we think about parenting roles, while giving voice to the shuttered feelings of countless women nationwide.

How often it happens. We’ve just enjoyed a lovely meal at a restaurant, and the waitress brings the dessert menu. They all look so good, but we’re full. So we order one dessert and four forks. Wouldn’t it be easier if we just had smaller desserts that we could sample and enjoy without having to settle and share? The trend now is towards downsizing desserts. Sweet and rich little cupcakes, a spoonful of banana crème brulee, a tiny butter-crusted pecan pie, itty bitty key lime pies. Served in fun and funky little dishes, they offer a bit of whimsy and something sweet after the meal. Celebrated cookbook author Beatrice Ojakangas‘ latest, MINI INDULGENCES is a collection of delicious dessert tapas–favorite indulgent desserts, down-sized. With influences from Scandinavia, Asia, South America, and other places, Ojakangas will go beyond the expected cookies, pies, and tartlets. MINI INDULGENCES will appeal to young, innovative cooks, as well as those who are watching their waistline.

A society’s economic base extends itself into so many other aspects of its life–arts, sports, literature, even religions. To understand the turning points in history, we need to look at the economic methods used to organize societies. When Alan Morris and John Sayre began to investigate the subject, they found that all major historical transitions were either the cause or result of a shift from one economic structure to another. They then began to wonder if the four “coordinating mechanisms” that economists typically believe organize all societies (cooperation, command, custom, and competition) might individually be flawed to the point that they couldn’t be successful. In order to answer these questions, they trespassed into fields outside their own–archaeology, history, anthropology, political science, and psychology. The result is THE WORLD OF ECONOMICS which seeks an underlying truth in the behavior of whole societies using an adaptive consciousness about how they organize themselves. Calling to mind a Guns, Germs, and Steel for economics, Morris and Sayre’s book will be a riveting, highly intelligent consideration of the world of economics.

The dazzling and dynamic Luciana D’Altavilla, former restaurateur and current culinary ambassador, can teach us plenty about getting–and keeping–fabulous figures eating and living Italian style! In her forthcoming book, LA DOLCE VITA DIET: LOSING WEIGHT, LIVING AND EATING ITALIAN STYLE, this Sophia Loren-like beauty, who is living proof of the techniques she preaches, gives inspiration to women of all ages as she shares recipes from her native country and her real life. Written in Luciana’s charming accent, LA DOLCE VITA DIET delights us with delicious, simple, and healthful dishes that confirm that eating and living Italian style is a fun approach to life, with long-lasting benefits.

There were over 4.2 million professional women pregnant in 2007. They all had access to countless books about how to handle their pregnancies from healthy conception and to the first years with their child. What they wouldn’t have been able to find on the shelves was a book that discussed how professional women can start families while maintaining the reputations and positions they have earned. Christopher Flett is a sought-after speaker and author of What Men Don’t Tell Women about Business who has worked one-on-one with over 1,600 business women around North America. In PROFITABLE PREGNANCY: BUILDING YOUR FAMILY WHILE YOU BUILD YOUR CAREER, he will lead women through key considerations before getting pregnant, how to manage professional careers while pregnant, and the options available after the birth. Flett believes that women are afforded unique business opportunities when they have children. They are able to connect with service providers and other mothers, which can form important professional bonds if done with intention. This will be an invaluable resource for an ever growing market.

On July 20, 1948, FBI agents armed with arrest and search warrants descended on homes and offices in New York City, Chicago, and Detroit, targeting 12 men whom J. Edgar Hoover believed posed a grave threat to the nation–the leadership of the Communist Party-USA. It wasn’t much of a cabal. Composed primarily of deluded backers of Stalin as a hero of the working class, American Communist leaders limited themselves to attending international conferences, writing pamphlets, giving speeches, and dreaming of a worker’s utopia. But at the start of the Red Scare, the resultant trial riveted a nation. Hundreds of demonstrators marched outside the courthouse, and it was a top item in national newspapers and radio broadcasts. The trial itself quickly dissolved into a mockery–one that lasted over nine months, the longest in the country until that point. Over the past 60 years, the Foley Square Trial has been overshadowed by the subsequent McCarthy witch hunts. But the story remains a compelling look at how American society–both general and political–reacts to stress, and a fundamental challenge to its core belief. THE FEAR WITHIN is journalist Scott Martelle‘s exciting, enlightening, and engaging reconsideration of one of our nation’s pivotal historical moments.

It’s vacation time and the family is elated. Everyone is enjoying the gorgeous scenery, glorious weather, great food and nighttime fun. Then, as always, the vacation ends. After a few days back in the daily grind, your sun-kissed demeanor starts to fade and an all-too-familiar sense of depletion and anxiety sets in. So many of us navigate our way from one high point to the next, lamenting that the time in between is boring, tedious, empty, or lonely. The highs excite and ignite us for a moment, but have no lasting positive effect. If you’re tired of trying to live from high to high and stumbling through the troughs in between, it’s time to chart a new course. What you don’t know is that we come into the world with an innate sense of self. This self is a unique repository, or amalgam, of our Primary Needs. Since no one gives us our Primary Needs, they can’t be taken away. They may go unacknowledged and not be nurtured. They may lie dormant and unexpressed to the world. But, they’re always within us, holding the potential to sprout and emerge. In 16 PRIMARY NEEDS, authors Arnie Herz, renowned lawyer and speaker, Robert Wolf, psychotherapist, and Honey Sterzer, social worker, teach us the importance of knowing, understanding and satisfying our Primary Needs to live happy, healthy, fulfilling lives. (Please note that Michael Bourret is the agent on this project.)

In 2006, Rhoda Janzen went home to visit her folks for the holidays. But a visit with Rhoda’s family is a little different than most. Her father was once the leader of the Mennonite World Council, the Mennonite equivalent of the Pope, but in plaid shorts and black dress socks pulled up snugly along the calf. He’s a theologian who believes in a loving God, a servant heart, and a Senior Discount. Two months before she went home, Rhoda’s husband of fifteen years had left her for a guy he’d met on Gay.com. A guy named Bob. That same week, as she was driving home to a house she could no longer afford, a partially inebriated youth smacked her car head-on, leaving her with assorted broken bones and Frankenbruises the size of her head. Under circumstances like these, what was a 43-year-old gal to do? Naturally she went home to the Mennonites. HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS essentially asks the question, “What happens when a middle-aged professor whose life has become a travesty finds herself on a bus filled with Mennonite oldsters, several of whom are experiencing intestinal turbulence?” Let the healing begin! (Please note, the agent on this project is Michael Bourret.)

When Carrie Friedman‘s essay, “Stop Setting Alarms on My Biological Clock”, about her self-termed pre-partum depression, appeared in Newsweek this past summer, the reader reaction was enormous. Thousands of people responded with glee that someone was finally speaking about all the taboo things associated with the fears and anxieties young women feel about having kids. And then there were a few who were angry and appalled, and even someone who wished that Carrie would die in childbirth. Clearly, she struck a chord. Now, she’s telling her own story as well as offering practical advice and tips gleaned from many interviews she has had with other pre-partum depressives, as well as those from all walks of life–single men and women, doctors, teachers, gynecologists, psychiatrists, to name a few, who have something to say about this topic. She’s spoken with people who have kids, who want to have kids, and those who don’t want to have kids, all in the hopes of gaining some insight into this very topical subject. Completely unique and original, MY PRE-PARTUM DEPRESSION will be a fun, funny, entertaining and informative look at the pressures society (not to mention overbearing mothers) puts on women, and their uteruses. (Please note, the agent on this project is Stacey Glick.)

RIGHTS ROUNDUP

Ediciones Pamies purchased Spanish rights to Anne Stuart‘s Moonrise and Ritual Sins. Susan RoAne‘s Face to Face went to KNomad for South Korean rights. Simplified Chinese rights to John Hemingway‘s Strange Tribe were acquired by The Reader’s Cornerstone. World Chinese (complex characters) rights to that book went to Ten Points Publishing. Barack Obama‘s Dreams from my Father sold to Editorial Almed in a World Spanish rights deal. Spanish rights to Keith Ellis‘s The Magic Lamp went to Urano. David Morrell‘s Scavenger will be published in Serbia and Montenegro by Otrovena Knijga. Joachim de Posada‘s Don’t Eat the Marshmallow…Yet! will be published in comic book form by Hankyung BP in Korea. Unicorn Publishing House will publish A. J. Hartley‘s On the Fifth Day in Greece.

Audio rights to David Morrell‘s The Spy Who Came for Christmas sold to Brilliance Audio.

An option to Sara Zarr‘s Story of a Girl went to Mixed Breed. Polsky Films optioned Matthew Algeo‘s Last Team Standing.

RECENT SALES

World rights to the first two titles in Kaitlin O’Riley‘s romance series, The Five Hamilton Sisters, were sold to John Scognamiglio at Kensington.

Tracy Behar at Little, Brown acquired World rights to longtime faculty member of The Poynter Institute, Roy Peter Clark‘s The Glamour of Grammar.

The third title in Richelle Mead‘s Vampire Academy series was sold to Jessica Rothenberg at Razorbill in a World rights deal by Jim McCarthy.

Eric Nuzum‘s Boo! A Ghost Story about Friendship, the Search for Truth, the Downside of Recreational Drug Use, Guilt, Punishment, a Little Girl in a Blue Dress, Finding and Losing True Love, and One Irrational Fear sold to Susan Kamil at Dial. The author retains British and translation rights.

The next three titles in Victoria Laurie‘s Psychic Eye mystery series sold to Kristen Weber at NAL in a World rights deal. Jim McCarthy is the agent on these titles.

Stacey Glick sold North American rights to bestselling author A. J. Hartley‘s first two fantasy novels, Act of Will and Will Power, to Liz Gorinsky at Tor.

Casey Ebro at Arcade Publishing purchased Jessamyn Conrad‘s What You Think You Should Know about Politics…but Don’t from Lauren Abramo. The author retains British and translation rights.

Edward Redwin‘s debut thriller, Afraid, was sold to Jaime Levine at Grand Central Publishing in a World English deal.

Jennifer Josephy of Broadway bought North American rights to Elizabeth Yarnell‘s cookbook of Glorious One-Pot Meals from Stacey Glick.

Adina Kahn sold World rights to Julie Gabriel‘s Organic Beauty Bible to Andrea Gold at HCI.

Morton’s Steak Atlas by the celebrated restaurant chain’s Klaus Fritsch with Mary Goodbody sold to Rica Allannic at Clarkson Potter in a World rights deal.

Carrie Ryan‘s young adult debut, The Forest of Hands and Teeth, was purchased by Krista Marino at Delacorte from Jim McCarthy in a World rights deal.

Geoffrey Stone at Thomas Nelson acquired World rights to Easy Entertaining with Aux Delices by Debra Ponzek with Christie Matheson.

Michael Bourret sold World rights to Mexican small-plates cookbook Antojitos by Barbara Sibley and Margaritte Malfy with Mary Goodbody.

World rights to two new novels by Mary Carter, Sunnyside Blues and Not My Sister, were sold to John Scognamiglio at Kensington by Jim McCarthy.

Beacon’s Allison Trzop acquired North American rights to polling expert David Moore‘s Manufacturing Public Opinion from Jim McCarthy.

Celebrated true crime writer Jeanne King‘s next as-yet-untitled project sold to Charles Spicer at St. Martin’s in a North American deal.

Rabbi Andrea Myers‘ I’ll Be Home for Passover was purchased by Beth Kressel at Rutgers University Press in a North American deal.

Vintage Buttons Redux by Susan Beal was sold by Stacey Glick to Taunton’s Erica Sanders-Forge.

Marnie Cochran at Ballantine acquired North American rights to Sarah Bowen Shea and Suzanne Schlossberg‘s The Essential Breastfeeding Log.

Stacey Glick sold World rights to Aileen McCabe-Maucher and Hugo Maucher‘s The Inner Peace Diet to Michelle Wells at Alpha Books.

Diane Fanning‘s next two true crime titles, including the female veterinarian poisoning case, were sold to Charles Spicer at St. Martin’s in a North American deal.

Diane Fanning‘s two novels, including The Trophy Exchange, were also sold, these in a World English deal to Anna Telfer at Severn House.

Books three and four in Heather Brewer‘s The Chronicles of Vladimir Tod were purchased in a North American deal by Maureen Sullivan at Dutton from Michael Bourret.

Michael Bourret also sold Gabriel Thompson‘s as-yet-untitled book about immigrant labor to Carl Bromley at Nation Books.

Fondue, a cookbook by Hallie Harron, was sold by Stacey Glick to Valerie Cimino at Harvard Common Press.

Charles Spicer at St. Martin’s acquired Michele McPhee‘s next true crime title about a murder case in Alaska. The author retains British and translation rights.

Tracy Stern‘s Tea for You was acquired by Rica Allanic at Clarkson Potter in a World rights deal from Michael Bourret.

Only the Lonely, a novel by Gary Zebrun, was sold to Joe Pittman at Allyson in a World rights deal by Michael Bourret.

New York Times #1 Bestseller, Joy Bauer‘s The Joy Bauer Weight Loss Plan, was purchased by Mary Ellen O’Neill at Collins in a World rights deal.

Dr. Marie Savard‘s Below the Belt, Above the Knee was acquired by Mary Norris at Globe Pequot in a World rights deal.

World rights to Jillian Venters‘s Gothic Charm School, an etiquette guide, were acquired by Sarah Durand at Harper from Lauren Abramo.

Power to the People by Daniel Botkin was sold to Jerry Pohlen in a World rights deal.

Stacey Glick sold World rights to Kathleen Taylor‘s Big Book of Sock Knitting to Erica Sanders-Forge at Taunton.