Tag Archives: new york times

#WisdomWednesday – Is bad publicity good publicity?

There are some things that most writers have on their bucket list, including hitting the NY Times Bestseller List. If you write anything other than romance, you might also have “appear in the New York Times Book Review” on that list. As a romance writer, being in the Book Review was not on my list mainly because the NY Times normally doesn’t pay much attention to us. They even got rid of the Mass Market Fiction list which is where a lot of romance writers might appear on a list.

Imagine my surprise when I got a note from my publisher that I might be in the Times. It was like a WHAT? REALLY? And sure enough, Mr. Robert Gottlieb included ONE SUMMER NIGHT in his “Round Up of Romance” http://nyti.ms/2xxXZ78.

I have to admit that when I first read the review, I didn’t know what to make of it (besides the weirdness factor of having an 86 year old man think that ” The sex between Maggie and Owen is equally delicious . . .”)

And then came all the commentary about the “Round Up of Romance” and the ensuing justification by the NY Times Editor for choosing Mr. Gottlieb to review romance and the manner in which he reviewed it (see below).

So for today, I’d be interested in hearing your take on the “Round Up of Romance” and whether bad publicity is just as good as good publicity.

 

Redux Thursday – Guest Blog by Nancy Thayer

Nancy ThayerThis Thoughtful Thursday we’re having a redux and continuing to visit with Nancy Thayer, the New York Times-bestselling author of The Hot Flash Club, The Hot Flash Club Strikes Again, Hot Flash Holidays, The Hot Flash Club Chills Out, and Moon Shell Beach. Nancy is also the author of a new June release, Summer House. She is the mother of Samantha Wilde, whose debut novel, This Little Mommy Stayed Home, comes out on June 23. Nancy lives on Nantucket. You can visit her website at www.nancythayer.com.

If you leave a comment on this blog by midnight EST Friday June 24th, you could be the lucky winner of a SINS OF THE FLESH t-shirt!

Excerpt from SUMMER HOUSE

At thirty, Charlotte Wheelwright remains the dreamer she’s always been. But when she begins an organic garden on a portion of her grandmother’s land, Charlotte learns to plant her feet in solid ground and begins to build a new life.

More often than not, ninety-year-old Nona Wheelwright contentedly spends her time reminiscing about days gone by. But with her family’s annual reunion and financial meeting looming, Nona must give up her days of quiet solitude to soothe her easily riled up family.

For decades Charlotte’s mother, Helen, who married into the illustrious Wheelwright family, has been pressured to adhere to their way of life. But when, during the course of the family’s annual summer retreat, she discovers her husband’s betrayal, Helen wonders if she sacrificed her dreams for the wrong reasons.

Artfully written and set on the glorious island of Nantucket, Nancy Thayer’s Summer House is a vibrant and stirring novel about family, love, and daily choices that affect entire lives.

New York Times calls it, “a Nantucket family-reunion story…well-wrought, appealing book will come as a pleasant surprise…packed with literally down-to-earth charm, what with a central character who escapes her family of starchy bankers by lovingly tending her vegetable garden.”

Charlotte had already picked the lettuces and set them, along with the bunches of asparagus tied with twine and the mason jars of fresh-faced pansies, out on the table in a shaded spot at the end of the drive. In July, she would have to pay someone to man the farm stand, but in June not so many customers were around, and those who did come by found a table holding a wicker basket with a small whiteboard propped next to the basket. In colored chalk, the prices for the day’s offerings were listed, and a note: Everything picked fresh today. Please leave the money in the basket. Thanks and blessings from Beach Grass Garden. She hadn’t been cheated yet. She knew the customers thought this way of doing business was quaint, harkening back to a simpler time, and they appreciated it.

Perhaps it helped them believe the world was still a safe and honest place. The day was overcast but hoeing was hot work and she had been up since four-thirty. Charlotte collapsed against the trunk of an apple tree, uncapped her water bottle, and took a long delicious drink. Nantucket had the best water on the planet: sweet, pure, and clear. It was shady in this overgrown spot, so she lifted off the floppy straw hat she wore, in addition to a heavy slathering of sunblock, and sighed in appreciation as a light breeze stirred her hair.

She couldn’t linger, she had too much to do. She took another long drink of water, listened to her stomach rumble, and considered returning to the house for an early lunch.

When she heard the voices, she almost jumped.

People were talking on Bill Cooper’s side of the fence, just behind the green tangle of wild grapevines. Hunky Bill Cooper and his gorgeous girlfriend. From the tense rumble of Coop’s voice and Miranda’s shrill whine, they weren’t happy.

“Come on, Mir, don’t be that way.” Bill’s tone was placating but rimmed with an edge of exasperation.

“What way would that be?” A sob caught in Miranda’s throat. “Truthful?”

The moment had definitely passed, Charlotte decided, when she could clear her throat, jump up, and call out a cheerful hello. Vague snuffling sounds informed her that Bill’s dogs, Rex and Regina, were nearby, nosing through the undergrowth. She thought about the layout of Bill’s land: along the other side of the fence grew his everlasting raspberry bushes. The berries wouldn’t be ripe yet, so Bill and Miranda must be taking the dogs for a walk as they often did.

She was glad the berry bushes grew next to the fence, their prickly canes forming a barrier between Bill’s land and Nona’s. A tangle of grasses massed around barberry bushes was wedged against the fence, and then there were the tree trunks. They would pass by any moment now. She would keep very quiet. Otherwise it would be too embarrassing, even though she had a right and a reason to be here.

“I never lied to you, Miranda. I told you I wasn’t ready for a long-term commitment, especially not when you’re in New York all winter.”

“You could come visit me.”

“I don’t like cities,” Bill argued mildly.

“Well, that’s pathetic. And sleeping with that—that slut—is pathetic.” Miranda was striding ahead of Bill. She cried out, “Rex, you stupid, stupid dog! You almost tripped me.”

“Mir, simmer down.” Bill sounded irritable, at the end of his patience.

Miranda didn’t reply but hurried into the orchard of ancient apple trees. Bill followed, crashing through the brush. Charlotte could hear a few more words—I’m not kidding! It’s over, Bill!—then she heard the hum of their voices but no words, and then they were gone.

“Gosh,” Charlotte whispered to herself.

Charlotte had had a crush on Bill Cooper for years. Coop was a hunk, but so easygoing and funny that when you talked with him you could almost forget how handsome he was. She seldom saw him, even though he lived right next door. Of course, “right next door” was a general term.

Nona’s property consisted of ten acres with fifty feet of waterfront on Polpis Harbor, and the Coopers’ land was about the same size. With all the plantings, you couldn’t see one house from the other, even in winter when all the leaves had fallen.

Like the Wheelwrights, the Coopers mostly summered on the island, the Wheelwrights coming from Boston, the Coopers from New York. Eons ago, when they were all little kids, Coop had played a lot with Charlotte’s brother Oliver, even though Oliver was younger, because Coop was an only child, and the two families got together several times over the summer for cocktails or barbecues. Then came the years when they rarely saw each other, everyone off in college and backpacking in summer instead of coming to the island.

Coop lived in California for a while, but three years ago his parents moved to Florida and Coop moved into the island house, telling everyone he wanted to live here permanently. He ran a computer software business from his nineteen-sixties wandering ranch house, mixed his plasma TV and Bose CD player in with his family’s summery bamboo and teak furniture, and was content. Mostly he allowed his land to grow wild, except for a small crop of butter-andsugar corn famous for its sweetness. At the end of the summer, he held a party outdoors, a clambake with fresh corn, cold beer, and icy champagne.

Charlotte had seen Coop and Miranda about town now and then, when she went in to catch a movie or pick up a prescription at the pharmacy. It was obvious why any man would fall in love with Miranda Fellows. She was a dark-eyed beauty hired to run Luxe et Volupté, an upscale clothing shop on Centre Street. She was British, and her accent thrilled the young, beautiful, rich, social-climbing set, men as well as women. She was such a snob, and Coop was such a genuine good guy, they seemed like an odd pair, but Charlotte hadn’t allowed herself romantic thoughts about Coop.

SUMMER HOUSE by Nancy ThayerShe hadn’t allowed herself romantic thoughts about any man for quite a long while.

Her own move to Nantucket had not been a lighthearted, impulsive act. She’d thought about it a lot. She’d searched her soul. She came to Nantucket to get away from men—at least from one particular man—and to somehow balance with good acts the wrong she’d done. Her organic garden was her own self-imposed penance and repentance, and she’d been diligent and hardworking and nunlike for three years. She didn’t know when her penance would be over . . . but she knew she would find out when the time came. Until then, she forced herself to work hard, every day.

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Thoughtful Thursday – A Wise Latina Woman Once Said . . .

That wisdom has nothing to do with race, religion, ethnicity or gender.

Much is being made of Supreme Court Justice nominee Sonya Sotomayor’s 2001 comments that she “would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn’t lived that life.”

Much should be made of that statement because it is either a statement made with poor judgment or one made with the conviction that she is better equipped to make a decision because she is a Latina woman. Either of the rationales for the statements is troubling.

As a judge and a person in the public eye, Sotomayor should at least be more circumspect when speaking. Being a fellow lawyer, we are taught to carefully consider what we say and write. To not do so and speak thoughtlessly can lead to repercussions, witnessed here by words that are coming back to haunt her.

Being a Latina who understands the whole underdog thing — my parents came here from Cuba, I wasn’t born here and didn’t speak English when I went to kindergarten, I went to a top tier college on a scholarship and to law school — I appreciate how hard Sotomayor has worked to get where she is.

But isn’t that underdog story typical of America? Isn’t that one of the wondrous things about this country? My husband’s grandparents all came here from Italy. Barely spoke English, but learned. Worked hard to buy homes, send their kids to school. Grand kids have prospered.

It’s the American dream. Work hard and prosper. Whether you’re white, black, brown, Italian, Cuban, Irish, Protestant, Catholic, Jewish, Muslim, America is the land of opportunity. Equal opportunity, sometimes not as equal as we would like, but certainly doable.

I should know. I did it. My parents did it. My husband’s grandparents did it. So did millions of others.

But back to Sotomayor. She did it and we should applaud her for it, but not just because she is a Latina woman.

You might remember that “just because” discussion from months back. The risks of making decisions based on “just because.”

When the nomination was mentioned, many people in the office looked to me and asked, “What do you think?”

I wondered, did they ask their white male counterparts right off the bat, or just me – the Latina Woman.

That’s one of the problems of “just because.” Everything you do is tainted by the “You got that (job/scholarship/nomination/published) just because you were (white, black, brown, Italian, Cuban, Irish, Protestant, Catholic, Jewish, Muslim).”

Just because diminishes you and everything you do. It diminishes those around you and builds resentment.

If we are to nominate Judge Sotomayor to the Nation’s most important Court, please let it be on the basis of something other than just because.

I, for one, intend to read more about her and her decisions and you should as well. You can click here for the White House press release. Read about some of her decisions (links provided, although I do not vouch for their authenticity nor the opinions which may be expressed therein).

http://www.scotusblog.com/wp/judge-sotomayor%E2%80%99s-opinions-with-dissents-%E2%80%93-part-i/

http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2009/05/26/us/0526-scotus.html

http://ninthjustice.nationaljournal.com/2009/06/debate-continues-on-sotomayors.php

And do you know what? If you take even one minute to read one of these cases, you will be one up on Harry Reid, who said, “I understand that during her career, she’s written hundreds and hundreds of opinions. I haven’t read a single one of them, and if I’m fortunate before we end this, I won’t have to read one of them.” Courtesy Politico – click here for more.

Just some thoughts for you on this rainy Thursday.