Microsoft Word - Brodsky poster.docx
books, Peace Love and You Know What, reading

Peace, Love, and The Beatles on the Bassoon

I have a reading of my novel Peace, Love, and You Know What scheduled Saturday, Sept. 17 at one of my favorite bookstores Brodsky Bookshop. If you happen to be in Taos, it starts 4 p.m. Of course, it’s free.

Besides reading about the hippies from the fictional Westbridge State College, I have invited Andrew Heinrich to play a few Beatles songs on the bassoon.

Andrew studied at the Cleveland Institute of Music and New England Conservatory. He typically plays classical music on the bassoon but agreed to add The Beatles to his repertoire for the reading. I left the choices up to him.

And, yes, there will be brownies, sans the ingredient the character Lenora used in the ones she baked in the book. After all, pot ain’t legal in New Mexico.

Copies of the book will be available to purchase.

So, what’s the novel about? Tim and his roommates, Manny, Mack and the nervous poet Joey, plan a three-day graduation bash at their slummy college apartment. At the top of their invite list is Lenora, their queen, who is graduating and splitting for Europe. (Tim, who is a few credits short, is faking his graduation.) Tim and Lenora have been tight friends for four years and he figures this party might be his last chance with her.

The three-day bash is a big hit for every hippie freak — including the rival Roach Motel Tribe — and dirty professor at Westbridge State College. You name it, they do it. Tim does get his chance with Lenora, but so do two others. And graduation manages to go off almost without a hitch.

For the next few years, Lenora lives in a commune while Tim stumbles on a path toward adulthood and perhaps that elusive happiness.

I am grateful to Rick Smith at Brodsky for the opportunity to read from my novel. Brodsky is a small store crammed with books, mostly used but some new, especially from local authors like myself.

The bookshop goes on largely because Smith makes it an experience to visit and buy books. He has a wealth of knowledge about Taos and tells good stories. Then, there is Willy, the shop cat.

Finding something good to read, whether it is old or new, is a serendipitous experience at Brodsky. Here is a story I wrote for The Taos News about the shop. Brodsky story Taos News

I am getting ready for the reading by choosing a few good sections. Oh, yeah, I gotta bake those brownies.

If you live or are visiting in Taos, I hope to see you there.

Here’s the link to Amazon for Peace, Love, and You Know What: Peace etc. on Amazon

 

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Professor Groovy, short stories, Writing

A Change of Heart

It’s healthy to be flexible. For me that means letting go of ideas and sometimes, possessions.

First, I am happy, thrilled really, that four short stories that have been languishing in my computer were published this week on Kindle this week via Professor ProfGroovy_CoverGroovy and Other Stories. Versions of two did appear in magazines, but I want the greater world to read them.

Being new to this type of publishing, I struggled with pricing. Really, what is something you write worth? Do you devalue it by selling it cheaply? But, hey, I am not a household name.

So I dropped the original price from $1.99 to 99 cents in a matter of hours. My royalty on each book will be about 35 cents. Why settle for so cheap? Well, the four-story collection is only 10,000 words. And I have an ulterior motive. This book is bait for the novel Peace, Love, and You Know What.

Then, there is my office. I am in one of those clean and purge moods. Friday night I took everything out of the office that I could — the living room looked like a bomb hit it — and then washed, waxed (furniture and the floor) and sorted as needed. I did windows. I will admit I went a bit nuts.

And I took a good, hard look at the books in that room. Several I bought in a whim in a secondhand bookstore or online. I thought I liked the authors. But did I love them anymore? Not enough to hold onto their books. They’re in a bag to donate.

There was other stuff set aside for the recycling center and drop-off boxes.

I finally finished Saturday evening.

My friend Teresa emailed me: “We call that a “ranfla moñuda” sort of spring cleaning, very inclusive… out with everything that is not useful anymore! Very good to move energy and shake things up.”

Move energy and shake things up: I like that idea very much.

LINKS: If you are so moved, here are the links for my books: Professor Groovy and Other Stories and Peace, Love, and You Know What

ABOUT THE PHOTO ABOVE: That’s one of the robust zucchini plants in my garden.

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ProfGroovy_Cover
books, Fiction, hippies, New release, short stories

Professor Groovy, Class Is In Session

I just got word Professor Groovy and Other Stories is now available on Kindle. How much fun is that?

As I’ve mentioned before, the four stories are a prequel of sorts to Peace, Love, and You Know What. Michelle Gutierrez designed the cover you see above that reflects that relationship in a creative way. (Thanks, Michelle.)

Lenora Dias, one of the novel’s main characters, is the prominent figure in each story. We get a taste of the late sixties via her point of view.

For those who haven’t read the novel, Lenora is the first of her Portuguese family to go to college at the fictional Westbridge State. She goes hippie big time, but is levelheaded enough to stay out of too much trouble and to graduate on time. A serial romantic, she falls hard in love and suffers for it. She is the queen of her little tribe of hippie friends.

In one story in this collection, Lenora has an encounter with a professor who enjoys having no boundaries with his students. Yes, you could call him a dirty professor.

In another, Lenora reveals a secret and in another, a liar. Then, there is her raucous summer fling with a guy back home.

Yes, these stories were inspired by my experiences long ago, but they are strictly from my imagination. I wrote them before I started Peace, Love, and You Know What. I guess you could call them practice runs although two did get picked up by publications.

I opted at this point to go with Kindle only because the short stories total 10,000 words. In the future, I may incorporate them with other stories to make a heftier book worth printing.

The price to read Professor Groovy is 99 cents, which I believe is fair.

Don’t have a Kindle? You can download the free app to your computer, phone or tablet. Anyway, here is the link on Amazon Professor Groovy

Thanks for reading my fiction.

 

 

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audio, books, Publishing

Listening to My Own Voice

My new experiment: audio. It’s part of my effort to get my writing out to as many people as possible. I’ve done digital and hard copy versions of my first release, Peace, Love, and You Know What. Oh, why not audio?

A friend recommended a microphone to go with my Mac. I’ve read a lot about the process. And I have a relatively easy project for starters: the very-soon-to-be-released Professor Groovy and Other Stories on Kindle.

To backtrack a bit, Professor Groovy is a collection of four stories that have the same characters as Peace, Love, and You Know What. I wrote them before I was inspired to write the novel. Actually magazines picked up versions of two of them. My hope is that people who read or listen to Professor Groovy will want to do the same with Peace Etc.

I decided to do audio for Professor Groovy first for a practical reason. The word count for the four stories totals 10,000. Peace, Love, and You Know What is much heftier at 80,000. I will tackle that one soon along with the first in the Los Primos bilingual series (with my collaborator Teresa Dovalpage).

Then I had to learn how to do it. I am using the GarageBand program so, of course, I had to play around with it. After some small issues (had to put reverb at zero to eliminate an echo), I think I’ve got it down in my practice sessions.

The funny part about this project is listening to my voice. I’ve learned that readers, or in this case, listeners, like to hear authors read their work. I know I did when I was listening to books “on tape” when I commuted Back East. And frankly, I don’t have the bucks yet to hire a narrator.

So what’s my voice like? When I play back the practice sessions, I believe I’m listening to a pleasant one. It isn’t professional or a nice radio voice.

I still use R’s in the odd ways people from New England do. (My former newsroom staff thought my pronunciation of words like “idea” hilarious. Of course, idea needs an R at the end.)

I’ve used my voices in various ways: public speaking, talking on the phone, one-on-one conversations, group settings etc. There are my inquisitive, persuasive, and calming voices.

I would say this is my reading voice, the one I used to tell my six kids, and now my granddaughter, a story. I wanted to make my voice interesting so they stayed with the book, but not corny. This isn’t Dr. Seuss after all.

PEACE ETC.: Thank you to everyone who has bought my novel Peace, Love, and You Know What. Here’s the link on Amazon for those considering it: Peace, Love, and You Know What

ABOUT THE PHOTO ABOVE: That’s a bit of the flower garden inside the fence. Note the sagebrush on the other side and my neighbors’ homes on the hill.

 

 

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joansigning this one
Fiction

Friends, This Is Fiction

A few days ago I got a message from a college friend expressing displeasure with my novel, Peace, Love, and You Know What. I guess he and at least one other person didn’t believe what I’ve said all along: this book is fiction and not a memoir.

First off, I have not led a life that has been so interesting, it deserves a memoir.

I once had a New York agent who wanted me to write a tell-all non-fiction book about the town I lived in at the time in Western Massachusetts — something on the order of Peyton Place. He read the first couple of chapters and wanted a lot more dirt. Certainly there was fodder for scandal. But I couldn’t do it. I loved the people and the town too much.

So instead I write fiction. Sure, I use what I’ve experienced, as I’ve said before, and have my way with it. I am inspired by what I observe. That includes people and places. I believe this is true of many or most fiction writers.

The next novel I will launch is The Sweet Spot. It’s one of my three so-called hilltown novels. The one centers on a scandal involving the young widow of a soldier killed in Vietnam eight years and her married brother-in-law. Did it happen? No. But I’d like to think I wrote it with enough authenticity that one could believe it happened.

Of the three books, the only character based on someone real is a dog.

Back to Peace, Love, and You Know What. I understand that people, especially those who I knew way back then, will read what they want into my novel. But as I told my 92-year-old mother on the phone the other day: it didn’t happen that way.

A funny aside: I mailed my mother a copy of the book with a note inside suggesting she might want to skip some of the pages. Afterward I had doubts. Maybe I shouldn’t have sent the book. Maybe she will be offended.

But when I called my mother several days later, she told me she was half-way through the book. She thought it was very funny. I asked her if the novel was a bit racy, but she assured me she’s read a lot worse in her historical romance novels.

joan at table

I look pretty darn happy. Yup those are some of the brownies.

I told that story at my solo reading held at SOMOS of Taos on July 8. It was a good night. I read small sections to get people through the three-day bash, which never happened by the way, and as I noted that’s only about a third of the book. My friend, Teresa Dovalpage, asked questions about hippies and writing. I made brownies, without pot, of course, and signed books. Thanks to everyone who came. I hope to do it again soon.

CORRECTION: In a May 29 post, I wrote about my visit to Bridgewater State University, which I attended and was the inspiration for the fictional Westbridge State College. I noted visiting several buildings on and off campus. My friend noted the “Brown House” burned to the ground. I mistook another apartment building next door for it. I stand corrected on that fact.

LINK: My novel is available at Brodsky Bookshop and Op Cit Books, and SOMOS in Taos. Here’s the link to Amazon: Peace, Love, and You Know What on Amazon

PHOTO ABOVE: Teresa Dovalpage took that photo of me signing one of my books for my former neighbor, Marcia.

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