Monday, August 7, 2017

Event alert: romance with Phyllis J. Piano, insider publishing with Bob Miller, thrills with Benjamin Percy (Thursday) and R. Jean Reid (Friday) and a heads up on Finn Miller's truck tour

Tuesday, August 8, 7:00 pm, at Boswell:
Phyllis J. Piano, author of Love Reconsidered

Boswell welcomes back Phyllis J. Piano whose new novel is a page-turning contemporary tale of how three memorable characters seek to rebuild their lives after betrayal and tragedy, with the help of new relationships, loyal corgi dogs, home-cooked meals, and the ritual of football Sundays.

It's always a thrill ride when you schedule a launch event close to pub date. Our copies of Love Reconsidered are scheduled to arrive tomorrow, just in time.

Former Milwaukeean (and still part-time resident) Phyllis J. Piano spent more than thirty years as an award-winning corporate communications expert for some of the world's largest companies. A world traveler, Piano has since left the corporate world and fallen back into the arms of her own first love: writing. Her first novel, Hostile Takeover: A Love Story, was published in 2016.

Wednesday, August 9, 7:00 pm, at Boswell:
Book Talk with Bob Miller, publisher of Flatiron Books in conversation with Boswell's Daniel Goldin

Join us for an evening with Bob Miller, the publisher of Flatiron Books, for a talk about books and publishing with Daniel Goldin of Boswell. Named after the historic building in which the company is housed, Flatiron Books is committed to publishing intelligent fiction and nonfiction with commercial appeal by authors with distinctive voices. Flatiron’s editors include Amy Einhorn (fiction), Will Schwalbe (cookbooks), Sarah Dotts Barley (young adult).

I couldn't go into this event without reading at least one of the Flatiron Books we'd be talking about. I wound up devouring The Fact of a Body: A Murder and a Memoir, by Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich. The book, which combines a multiple-trial case of the murder of a young boy in Louisiana with the author's own story, has already appeared on best-of-the-year-so-far lists from Entertainment Weekly and Amazon's Audubile. Writer recommendations include Tom Perrotta, Celeste Ng, Garth Greenwell, and Maggie Nelson.

Bob Miller has had a storied career in publishing, beginning as an editorial assistant at St. Martin’s Press for Tom Dunne. He's worked at HarperCollins, Workman, Dell Publishing, and Disney’s Hyperion, which he also founded. Bob Miller is now the president and publisher of Flatiron Books, a division of Macmillan.  Flatiron has gone on to publish some of our favorite titles including Oprah Winfrey's What I Know For Sure, Jenny Lawson’s Furiously Happy, and Mark Frost’s The Secret History of Twin Peaks. We’ll also be talking about Flatiron titles being released this fall.

Thursday, August 10, 7:00 pm, at Boswell:
Benjamin Percy, author of The Dark Net

This is our first event with Ben Percy since his comic book career took off. As the author of Green Arrow and Teen Titans titles, and coming the same week as comics writer Fred Van Lente, we decided to do some comics outreach, as we noted in the blog. I visited Lost World of Wonders and Vortex, while Peter delivered signs to The Turning Page and Collector's Edge.

And since Percy also taught at Marquette, we tried to get the word out to the various creative writing professors and instructors who know Percy from his time here. We also thought writing programs would be interested in our Bob Miller event. It's still August, so we'll see if that outreach made an impact.

Of The Dark Net, bookseller Sharon Nagel says, “In Percy’s latest, dark forces are gathering to take over the world unless an unlikely group of folks can stop them. The Dark Net is the criminal underbelly of the Internet. Most people know nothing about it, but it is used by a select few for nefarious purposes such as human and drug trafficking. Hannah, a twelve-year old blind girl, her Luddite aunt Lena, a reporter, and Mike, a former child evangelist who runs a homeless shelter, are the unlikely heroes who must stand against the demons of the Dark Net. Fast-paced and exciting, you won’t be able to stop reading this cyber thriller until you find out what happens.”

And since this is his first visit since his writing book, I thought it was also fair to include my staff rec for Thrill Me: "Just when I think there is nothing new to be said about fiction, Ben Percy comes along with an errata slip to the contrary. This entertaining collection offers helpful guidance on creating memorable set pieces, designing suspense, handling violence, including or abandoning backstory, and keeping the momentum going. References come not just from books, but film, television, and Percy’s own life. His enthusiasm is contagious! I love the idea of Percy and Rick Bass spotting the germ of an idea, and instead of fighting over it, they decide to race for it." (Daniel Goldin)

Benjamin Percy has won a Whiting Award, a Plimpton Prize, two Pushcart Prizes, and a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. He is the author of the novels The Dead Lands, Red Moon, and The Wilding, two story collections, and an essay collection, Thrill Me. He also writes the Green Arrow and Teen Titans series for DC Comics.

Friday, August 11, 7:00 pm, at Boswell:
J.M. Redmann writing as R.Jean Reid, author of Perdition

A girl’s body washes ashore in Pelican Bay, Mississippi and Nell McGraw, reporter for the Pelican Bay Crier, questions whether the girl’s death was an accident or murder. It’s not long before another child goes missing. There’s no headway on the cases until Nell receives an anonymous call saying, “You would do well to look in the woods.” The next day they find the missing child’s body exactly where the anonymous caller said—down a well in the woods.

Reviewing Reid's latest novel, Kirkus Reviews writes: "Part mystery, part thriller, part social commentary, and all impossible to put down."

R. Jean Reid lives and works in New Orleans, but has family connections to the Milwaukee area. She grew up on the Mississippi Gulf coast. As J.M. Redmann, she is the author of multi-Lambda Award-winning Micky Knight Mystery series, including The Intersection of Law and Desire, Death of a Dying Man and Ill Will. Her day job is in public health as the director of prevention at NO/AIDS Task Force.

A look head at Tuesday, August 15, 7:00 pm, at Boswell:
Finn Murphy, author of The Long Haul: A Trucker's Tales of Life on the Road

My goal on this one is to send out info to the moving companies. It's on my to-do list for the week!

Boswell is pleased to host the 45’ Wrapped Truck Tour. Finn Murphy, a long-haul trucker since 1980, offers up a rollicking account of life out on the Big Slab. Since the time Murphy dropped out of college thirty years ago, he’s covered more than a million miles packing, loading, and hauling people's belongings all over America. And boy has he got some stories!

Murphy offers a trucker's eye view of America on the move. Going far beyond the myth of the American road trip, he whisks readers down the I-95 Powerlane, across the Florida Everglades, in and out of the truck stops of the Midwest, and through the steep grades of the Rocky Mountains. As he crisscrosses the country, Murphy recounts with wit, candor, and charm the America he has seen change over the decades, from the hollowing-out of small towns to changing tastes in culture and home furnishings.

Our buyer Jason Kennedy was on the committee who picked this book for the Indies Introduce program. He writes: "Such a brilliant book about long haul movers--yep, you read that correctly. Finn Murphy has moved his customers from one place to another for over 20 years. He is in charge and responsible for the packing, stacking, driving, and unpacking at each move he does. Long haul movers know a lot about their customers’ private lives from the clues they leave around to be packed up. It is wise to be nice to them! Along the way, Finn makes some very astute observations about America's heartland and the evolving workforce of today. Completely engrossing and worth the read, even if you don't plan to use movers."

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