Spring Oregon Readings–The Rescuer’s Path

You are invited!

Three Oregon readings now scheduled for The Rescuer’s Path, my new novel of the antiwar movement, the struggle for justice, an adoption reunion, and the love between a Holocaust survivor’s sheltered daughter and an anguished half-Arab peace activist suspected by the FBI of a lethal truck bombing:

The Rescuer’s Path: photo of cover

Hood River Library, Hood River, Oregon, April 1, 2012, 2 p.m. Cosponsored by the library and Waucoma Books, Hood River, Oregon.

In Other Words–Women’s Bookstore and Community Center, Portland, Oregon, April 28, 2012, 5-6:30 p.m. Reading, with discussion “Unwed Mothers and Other Outlaws–1960s and the Present Day”

White Salmon Valley Library, White Salmon, Washington, May 12, 2-4 p.m. Three Regional Authors Read.

Small Press Review praises The Rescuer’s Path

I’m happy to tell you that the prestigious and nationally distributed Small Press Review praises my new novel, The Rescuer’s Path, very glowingly–mostly–in the Jan.-Feb. 2012 issue. Here’s the review; enjoy!

Small Press Review—review by Marie C. Sanchez

The Rescuer’s Path

by Paula Friedman (2012; 195 pp; Pa; $15.95; Plain View Press)

From the first page, Friedman illuminates a world near Washington DC of gullies and game trails and Gavin Hareem, a Nixon-era wounded antiwar leader who is accused of the deadly bombing of an army truck. While Malca Bernovski rides a horse off-trail, she encounters the wounded half-Syrian fugitive and, by aiding him, sets off a blossoming romance that sends them both on a desperate struggle for survival and justice. The sheltered Malca, 16-year old daughter of a Holocaust survivor, reveals surprising resources and choices.

If you’ve ever wanted to enter the mind of a pacifist who eventually turns to violence, this is it. Gavin alternates between reality and insanity, clarity and confusion, brilliance and absurdity, striking just the right notes of believability.

Years later, the lovers’ child searches for her parents and the story moves seamlessly from the nation’s capital to the Colorado Rockies, from the Warsaw Ghetto to post-9/11 San Francisco.

Time itself appears among the major characters. Deft strokes unobtrusively fill in the couple’s histories without slowing the story, and elegant leaps propel the story forward years and decades. However, Friedman’s adroit touch fades toward the end where the treatment of time feels more like gaps than well-timed jumps.

The couple’s daughter searching out her birth parents in the last third of the book starts out promising, but at the end, seemed unfinished. The treatment of daughter and time at the end of the book seemed disappointingly lackluster, given such an incandescent beginning.

That said, the writing is lyrical and poetic, the places finely detailed, the characters vividly drawn and the story captivating.

—JanFeb 2012 SPR—

The occupation of authors

The Amazon.com price for my debut novel, The Rescuer’s Path (pub. Jan. 1, 2012, Plain View Press), list price $15,95, is now between $8 and $9. This means no net profit or royalties for either myself or the publisher.

This means neither authors or publishers can earn back any financial investment in a book’s production and publicity. But books, which generally are produced print on demand through Ligthtning Source, at this point one of two only major sources of short-run print jobs, are mostly distributed through Ingram, the main distribution channel of (physical, hardcopy, real) books in this country (and in others, I suppose). Ingram automatically markets those books through online “stores” including, when it chooses (always), Amazon.

So, basically, anyone not using a “major” publisher—i.e., one of the 5 or 6 owned by one of the international megaconglomerates that control the U.S. “majors” along with more profitable, and thus more favored, industries, and that run these “publishing” companies, necessarily, based on profit-making blockbusters—must be wealthy enough to either write for a hobby only (or to lose money) or else publish only in ebook form. And guess who owns and controls the major ebook readers? One is Barnesannoble with its Nook readers—and its price reductions for print books that often or usually lowball even Amazon’s; the other, of course, with its Kindle, is, once more, Amazon.

In high school many years ago, we learned of “vertical” corporation control of industries; this was supposedly stopped by the reforms of—oh my—the very early 20th century.

Okay. Occupy.

Unless one belongs to the 1 percent who can afford to spend years writing books for a hobby. And buying publicity for $million$.

Listing through snow

We were snowed in for four days, electricity off at all hours through most this time. Icy and beautiful one night, trees–their limbs–tinkled in the wind, falling. Today outside was sunny and still and bright, brilliant sparkles on the white, blue-shadowed, rolling-heaped snow.

A time to make lists, worn out from building wood fires in the tiny stove, digging out the car, shivering in the cold, changing from wet clothes.

The Rescuer’s Path, my new novel, is now (available on amazon, barnesandnoble, plainviewpress.net, etc., and) up on Goodreads. To “drive traffic to one’s book,” should I make Listopia lists? Rather than let people know, This is a novel of a Holocaust survivor’s daughter who aids a half-Arab antiwar leader suspected of the lethal bombing of an army truck, and of the trust and love that blooms between them, of their flight and the long pursuit–? Rather than tell people that Ursula Le Guin calls this novel “exciting, physically vivid, and romantic,” and that Cheryl Strayed, Carole Glickfeld, Heather Sharfeddin, Barbara Mullen, folksinger/writer Carol Denney, blogger Harriet Klausner–all speak highly of this book.

All right, lists. (That last sentence had a list.) I love lists. And movie and science fiction dystopias. And really, really good films–books and films. Here they are, then–

10 Best Films of all time (features)

The Seventh Seal

The Official Story

Children of Paradise

Odd Man Out

La Jetée

(Wajda’s trilogy) A Generation, Kanal, Ashes and Diamonds

Au revoir, les enfants

Duel in the Sun

A Place in the World

oh okay, Casablanca. But there’s Coup de grâce. Citizen Kane. Battle of Algiers. Midnight Cowboy. Four or more of Bergman’s best. And . . .

Next time–10 Best Novels of all time.

Which would you list?

In the New World–The Rescuer’s Path is now available

The day of debut, January 1, 2012. The day of true debut, January 9, 2012–The Rescuer’s Path is now published (Plain View Press, $15.95). The Rescuer’s Path is available for online purchase through Amazon.com, BarnesandNoble.com, etc.,  and listed on LibraryThing, already reviewed on MainstreamFiction and various other blogs, soon to be in several print publications.

“Exciting, physically vivid, and romantic”–Ursula K. Le Guin. “I couldn’t stop reading this novel”–Carole L. Glickfeld. “Vivid, humane, and wise”–Cheryl Strayed. Many other strong, positive blurbs by admired women authors.

“A wonderful family epic”–Harriet Klausner, MainstreamFiction. Other strong, positive reviews by other bloggers. . . .

Is this what I had always in mind? Imagining The New World of Being an Author (with a published novel), is this what I expected? Life going along afterward just as before? Some congratulations, much enthusiasm from friends and acquaintances, mixed bookstore reactions, mixed reviewer reactions (from promised reviews to brushoffs), constant work-beyond-work twelve hours a day on p.r.–this is the great golden ring, the nirvana-in-the-real-world, (etc. etc.), I had in mind?

Well, not exactly, no. Imagine all the circus days of childhood, all the glory days of hope, the “State Fair” (40s movie) happy-happy here-together, over the top, unending joy of blossom springtime, weddingcake festivities of . . . oh you know, you get it, you imagine, you can image, cue the rising theme, the music, soundtrack of the glorious, the successful, the most-fully-reached, a-c-h-i-e-v-e-d in glory, whatnot and all that, forever life.

Oh yes. Well it’s a book–a good book. About a Holocaust survivor’s daughter who, in 1971 Washington DC, rides in a park and finds and helps a wounded man, a fugitive, a Syrian refugee’s son, who is the antiwar leader hunted for the lethal bombing of a US Army truck. They turn distrust to trust, to friendship, to love, but police pursue . . .  You get it, right? But not yet–years go by, their child is given up, grows up, seeks for her origins, the days of 9/11 loom . . .

If you like it, say so on the Amazon, LibraryThing, Goodreads, etc. ratings/rankings/reader-reviewing sites. I’d love people to know of this good book, to read it. We live in this world, we writers and readers, ours to know is real.

The Power of a Book

Today, 11-11-11, I reread John Hersey’s book Hiroshima (1946).

This is a book written long before films sported iconic mushroom clouds, a la Children of Men (2006), or bristled with pamphlet-perfect flash-‘n-blast, like the playground scene in Terminator 2 (1985). It’s a book from well before the “nuclear literature” that later became material for graduate-level fields—a book from before the Cold War or the years of post-Dr.-Strangelove sophistication.

This is a book of journalism, built from interviews with six persons who survived an unforeseen actuality in the moment when the Bomb and its effects had been unknown and were still inconceivable, entirely new.

Thus the presentation, moment by moment, of these survivors’ (and, in the writing, the author’s) confrontation with worsening, unimagined horrors can cut, even today, past our defenses.

It’s a good book to read when people in power talk about “taking out” Iran or Israel, Damascus or D.C. It’s a book that may have helped, if people in power opened and read it, in 1946, in 1962, yesterday.

A good book to read those hours one wonders if writing’s a waste of time.

Occupy 10 Things at Once, or Work and More Work

I used to think you had to be a working mother to go nuts from doing too much at once. This is, of course, false. Be a writer, editor, and politically conscious human being in the days of Occupy and political change!

At least, things better change. Don’t know about you, but I, like most authors, don’t make enough from my books to eat, pay housing costs, pay insurance costs, etc. And like most authors, even those of us who have publishers (after years of skimping and trying), I have to do most of the books’ p.r.

Okay, so where in this do we find time to edit or whateverthehellelse we do for a living?

Well, and now it’s time to Occupy. Hey, I am with you, guys! Folks, I’m out there on the line and in the great political arena with you, every night.

Except, it’s by “liking” you on Fb. It’s by naming a few of you here: Occupy Oakland, Occupy Mosier, Occupy Writers, occupy . . .

We need to Occupy. We need to make a society where resources and wealth, power and decisions, are more shared. We as writers need to end the control of communications by big corporations. We as people need to end domination of the many by a few.

Of course. And “But the laundry! But the dishes!” “First , I have to pay the bills” and all of that just keeps a vicious cycle going. We need for own sakes basically to make a better world. Then there are 9 other things, right this minute, to do.

What are your most urgent tasks to do? Is creating change among them? And when do you write?

What sort of editor?

You probably already know what sorts of work editors do. Here are some definitions, if not.
* A copy editor deals with issues of grammar, spelling, styling (for instance, does the use of capitalization, of quote marks vs. italics, of hyphenation, etc. follow the styles of the U. of Chicago Manual of Style and of the publishing house’s own style guide?), and–too often—of pre-preparing copy for the typographers.
* A line editor deals with larger issues of sentence construction, avoiding repetition, etc.
* A content editor, or substantive editor, deals with larger issues
of organization, both within and among the book’s chapters.
* A developmental editor deals with even larger issues of the book’s organization, and may suggest adding characters, possible changes in structure or point of view (and even in plot elements), etc.

These functions tend to overlap; for instance, most publishers will combine developmental, content, and some line editing into one job description, termed that of “the editor” or, perhaps, “the substantive editor”; nearly all publishers combine line editing and copy editing into one position, term it “copy editor,” and
pay at the lowest scale they can get away with, whereas some publishers, otoh, combine copy editing with some proofreading and typographic copy preparation and pay at the very lowest scale that they can barely get away with.

With individual clients, editors often combine most of the “higher level” editing functions into one, termed “editing”; a general critique of a manuscript, with few or no edits/comments noted on specific lines or paragraphs, and with a several-page letter developing major points about changes preferable for the manuscript, is called a manuscript critique.

Rates range from $20/hour for basic copyediting from low-paying presses to $90/hour for a manuscript critique with some example edits by a known writer or highly regarded editing professional.
Is this set of defiinitions of use to you? Please do let me know. Remember, this is a new blog, and your input can definitely affect these discussions.

With our own hands

Since we were kids, we’ve each heard: “Most people can never be real Writers!” Just as we’ve heard that most people cannot be musicians, cannot learn algebraic topology, cannot “really” embrace their full feelings, cannot “actually” cause much political change . . . Well, you know who such cautions benefit, don’t you? What the marxists call “the owner class,” that’s who—meaning the Big Owners, the folks who give their kids a publishing house or enough stock to manage a minor country, for a birthday present—the folks who are much happier if we don’t take our (political) destinies in our own hands.

Let’s not listen to such discouragement. Let’s, in fact, take our writing (and other) destinies, to the extent humanly possible, into our own hands. And minds and hearts. And share this empowerment, and mutual encouragement, and skills tips; let’s thus strengthen one another and our writings.

Obviously, we still have to learn and polish our techniques, our skills, our knowledge. In fact, for any of usl, it is necessary, beyond “talent,” to write, to learn the guidelines of grammars and styles, to read the finest of writings, and to write, and to write, and to write.

Welcome to my blog. Here we can discuss the struggles and possibilities of writing and literature, writers and others in the world. This is a new blogsite, begun as my debut novel, The Rescuer’s Path, approaches publication (2012, Plain View Press, $15.95—available beginning in January 2012 through the press and through Amazon, B&N, other online bookstores, and by order through your local independent bookstore).

The Rescuer’s Path tells what happens in 1971 when a Holocaust survivor’s daughter aids a wounded fugitive, a half-Syrian peace activist wanted in the lethal bombing of a U.S. Army truck, and with him must flee an implacable police and FBI pursuit. Then, years later, in the shadow of 9/11, their grown birthdaughter determines to seek her origins . . .

I want to know about your novels, too—and your writing experiences, tips, and struggles. Soon I hope to post guest blogs here (articles 100 to 400 words), so contact me if you would like to contribute one!