Sunday, August 21, 2016

"DAZZLED" - A Mystery Built on the Contradictions of L.A. with Unflinching Fresh Eyes

I wondered how anyone ever felt at home here, where there was nothing you could trust to hold on to, not even the ground beneath your feet.—Dazzled

Title: Dazzled 
Author: Maxine Nunes
Series: A Nikki Easton Mystery (Book 1)
Publisher: Five Star (October 23, 2013) 
ISBN-13: 978-1432827304 
Available on Amazon (Paperback, Kindle and Hard Cover)
Synopsis: Feisty one-liner actress Nikki Easton finds herself embroiled in a quest to either find out who murdered her best friend—the "dazzling" aspiring actress Darla—or verify that the unrecognizable corpse buried in the Hollywood Forever Cemetery is really someone else. Along the way, Nikki finds herself smitten with a sexy cop, looks for clues at a Playboy-type mansion, and tangles with unsavory Underworld characters whose antics and shocking connections are nearly indistinguishable from the rest of Hollywood's movers who slither through this book. Sex, drugs and lost souls who are torn between the need to be "somebody" and the desire to flee L.A. keep this mystery ticking like the proverbial time bomb.

Maxine Nunes' Dazzled is a tale told with such precision for atmospheric details, lifestyle annoyances and pitch perfect dialogue, it should come with a cautionary disclaimer for Los Angelenos:

"Warning: May induce the sensation that you are still inside the plot every time you look up from the book."

True to its genre, the story takes readers where others have gone before, but Nunes puts a fresh spin on the familiar elements through inspired turns of phrases ("...a man who evidently thought a strip of chest hair would do for a necktie") and quirky 21st Century updates (gifted with a bouquet, the only "vase" Nikki can find is an empty Slurpee cup).

Nunes also has a gift for depicting layered characters. To this end, she makes excellent use of an acting class that demands "honest emotions" of its students. In the hands of a lesser writer, these scenes could come off as satire or excessively dramatic; but here they skillfully alternate between humor and pathos while giving readers the necessary insights.

The stronger the personality the more it hid.Dazzled

Dazzled lovingly and painstakingly explores the paradoxical contradictions of Los Angeles and its hapless inhabitants. The smell of night jasmine juxtaposes with the stench of the actress with a "show biz" sensuality hides her true self in plain sight...and all the sleights of hand resonate in the book's first line:

What's real?

At its core, the mystery explores love in its various forms and disguises. Twists, turns and double-crosses abound. Enough to keep the pages turning, but not so complicated or overloaded with characters that it ever feels unwieldy.

All in all, a fun read—unless you are living in L.A., in which case you might have fun while also thinking about leaving town; or if you are the optimistic type, you might find yourself looking forward to a sequel!

Maxine Nunes
Maxine Nunes is a New Yorker who has spent most of her life Los Angeles. She has written and produced for television, and currently writes for several publications including the Los Angeles Times. Her satiric parody of a White House scandal won the Pen USA West International Imitation Hemingway Competition.

Friday, August 5, 2016


When you think of L.A., you may think "Cars," but do you also think "Poetry"?

Award-winning poet Carolyn Howard-Johnson recently re-published this lovely poem on her Facebook Page. It evokes in delicious detail her neighborhood walks past a neighbor who enjoys tinkering with his car. She has given me permission to share it (even if you are not a "Poetry Buff," I believe you will find this an enjoyable read:

The Vintage Corvette and Its Man

The man who polished
his Corvette to the sound
of concertos—usually
piano—crackling slightly
(radio tubes), a lament
in the dusks of some twenty
summers, wasn't there last
spring or this. I didn't interrupt
his idle then, lying there beneath
his aqua and blue rrrrrmm,
rrrrmmm, plates coded black
and gold from, California 70s, no,
more like the 50s…likely
the one he spit-polished
in his teens, couldn't disturb
his meditation. Now,
I walk my dog in June,
jasmine in the evening
air—unseen blossoms—I long
to hear his garage door yawn,
again see the bulb in a cage
hanging from its umbilical
cord above his workbench,
hear KMozart broadcast
from that radio (shaped
like a gothic window), older
than the car itself. Then in
twilight, I hear the door
rise on its springs. Trixie
and I cross the street
specters in the quiet. A chamois,
untended, brittle, cracked, sits
atop the crusted hood,
his wife carries a plastic bag
tied like a bandana
around decay—doesn't bother
with light or radio—tells
me, this vintage thing, tires
now cracked, is waiting
for magic emollients,
Carnauba, Magclean
ArmorAll and his grandson
to come from Cleveland to claim
it, once he’s old enough to drive.

Originally published in 

Carolyn Howard-Johnson's new, rather brilliant book of poetry, Imperfect Echoes: Writing Truth and Justice with Capital Letters, lies and oppression with small is available at Amazon. Please check it out!




  • Best known as The Frugal Book Promoter.
  • Youngest person ever hired as staff writer for the Salt Lake Tribune--"A Great Pulitzer Prize Winning Newspaper."
  • Editorial assistant at Good Housekeeping Magazine (NYC).
  • Handled PR accounts (press releases) for fashion publicist Eleanor Lambert.
  • Columnist for The Pasadena Star News, Home Decor Buyer and the Glendale News-Press.
  • Currently columnist for My Shelf: "Back to Literature" (giving out annual "Noble Prize").
  • Graduate of University of Southern California.
  • Instructor for UCLA Extension Program
  • Award-Winning Novelist: "This Is the Place"
  • Award-Winning Non-Fiction: "Harkening"
  • Chapbook of Poetry named "Ten Best Reads" by the Compulsive Reader
  • Won Irwin Award (Book Publicists of Southern California
  • Named Woman of the Year in Arts and Entertainment Award by California Legislature.

Hook up with Carolyn and enjoy her communications at:
Sharing with Writers and Readers blog (A Writer's Digest 101 Best Websites pick!)

You can subscribe to Carolyn's newsletter by sending an e-mail with "subscribe" in the subject line to

Thursday, May 26, 2016


Bukowski Mural: Los Angeles

Want to subscribe?
Please go to Book Publicity by Marlan Newsletter  
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Note from the Editor

Welcome to the first installment of the Book Publicity by Marlan Newsletter! I began representing indie authors four years ago when my longtime friend, Luke Benoit, published a book that I thought was terrific (All Storms Pass: The Anti-Meditations). I ran a book review and an author interview in my blogs, and the they history. Since then, it's been a thrilling--and educational!--ride as I hone my publicity and marketing skills, while assisting indie authors (self-published and small press) with their book launch campaigns, book reviews, press releases, press kits, speaker engagements and of course, book signing bookings. My services sometimes include editing (copy editing, as well as full-on revision suggestions and rewrite/ghostwrite).

Every client experience has been a teaching episode. It is not enough to throw your book up on Amazon and hope for the best. And each PR effort requires diligence as well as knowledge on the part of all who are promoting a book.

Why am I smiling? I'm on vacation!

I'm an "Arisanal Publicist"--each book campaign requires a carefully crafted one-sheet, "elevator pitch," and consideration of the target market, as well as knowing how to attract media hosts and reporters. Books are as different as snowflakes.

This month, I find I have a short list of Writer-Author-Publisher items that might interest you. So here we go!

PS - I will consider articles you submit for this newsletter. So please feel free to submit your pearls of hard-won wisdom via the Contact Form on this newsletter! Thank you! 

Upcoming Stuff

Seattle Publisher, Gemelli Press, will be releasing and re-releasing these spicy guidebooks to Italy, just in time for your next Italian Romp (or your next fantasy about it):

In Etna's Shadow
Salento by 5
Pit Stops, Pitfalls and Olive Pits
Coins in the Fountain 
The Essential Etna Wine Guide
I worked with Gemelli and its sister, Green Darner Press, last year on several of their exciting books, and cannot wait to get started on helping spread the word on these new offerings. (I also did the final edit on Pit Stops, Pitfalls and Olive Pits, a lovely you-are-there guidebook with charming anecdotes along the way.)

Hot Tips and Contests
For great tips in PR, Writing and Beyond, I highly recommend veteran author/publicist Carolyn Howard-Johnson's jam-packed Sharing With Writers Newsletter. She also maintains a generous and informative website, where she frequently publishes my book reviews (she welcomes your submissions too), and most recently a note of praise I wrote her re her Artists First podcast interview:

This very savvy publicist is the author of the bestselling How to Do It Frugally series, which serve as encyclopedias for self-published authors.

Free Book Review Sites

I write book reviews for The Midwest Book Review, but the MBR editors are fine with me publishing those reviews elsewhere first; so while I wait for MBR to Green Light them, I send them off to Carolyn Howard-Johnson's The New Book Review site, in addition to publishing them on my blogs: L.A. Now & Then and Roadmap Girl's Book Buzz

As you authors and publishers already know, there's no such thing as too much PR exposure!

Why would one publicist support another publicist? Good question! I'll write about that in my next newsletter!

Very happy for U.K. mystery author Celia Conrad (Alicia Allen Investigates Trilogy) whose novel, Wilful Murder has just been selected as BOTM (Book of the Month) by the Goodreads Legal Anything group.

Conrad is an attorney-turned-author with a powerful imagination that spins her legal experiences and love of Classical Literature into mystery gold.

And P.S. to anyone in the Los Angeles/Pasadena area: Sisters in Crime is a wonderful group for mystery writers and readers. They meet once a month at the South Pasadena Public Library (and are international, as well). The meetings are open to anyone and free (membership is worthwhile if you care to join for a small fee), and feature speakers who give talks on all aspects of writing, publishing and mystery/suspense genre writing. 

 Keep an Eye Out for...
Book Cover Draft-Not Final

I edited and helped revise the first draft of Shelly & Sherry Glaser's all-about-healing book enticingly entitled The First Practical Handbook for Crazy People. Sherry Glaser is a well-known performance artist and activist whose hilariously painful one-woman show, Family Secrets, still holds the title of Longest Running One-Woman Show in Broadway History. Her mother, Shelly Glaser, was in and out of mental wards for most of her adult life, but as she pushed for answers to help heal herself and found a path that worked for her...she also began writing this book. Years after her mother's death, Sherry Glaser came across the manuscript, and sat down (with her mother's blessing from the Great Beyond) and began revising it--as well as adding her own two cents about her own Odyssey to Sanity. If you'd like more info or wish to donate to the crowd-funding site for the book's publication, please visit

Sherry Glaser: "Oh My Goddess!" NYC United Solo Festival Winner
 Sherry Glaser's Big Fat Media Kit

Should you consider a Digital Press Kit?

Just a few words about the Digital Press Kits I've started designing for clients (authors and entertainers). When I first started, all the elements of the press kit were laid out one-by-one and attached to an e-mail query to a reporter or program director, or copied & pasted into the body of the e-mail. This is still advisable (sans the attachments and preferably via a service like Constant Contact if you're going to send out to a lot of recipients). However, a Digital Press Kit can be quite impressive and effective. Check out the link above for Sherry Glaser or visit the press kit I created for Stacey R. Campbell's Young Adult adventure tale Arrgh!

Make your Bio great again!
It's not just books that are as different from each other as snowflakes, but so are publicists. Because I find myself at a loss to articulate all that I encounter in a day or over a period of months working with an author, I've decided to post some "Before" & "After" shots to help folks get a whiff of what it's like to be...well, me.

A couple years ago, I was hired by a friend I've known for over three decades. She is highly accomplished in all facets of her professional life, and well known in her circles (we're talking Ted Talks and awards and a column for Psychology Today, etc.). Yet, despite all this, and more, I was surprised when she sent me what I considered to be a rather "bare bones" account of who she is (aka "Bio").

It turns out that we are not always the best publicists for ourselves when it comes to writing bios; one reason being our modesty or even "blindness" to what exactly makes our life story so interesting to others.


Judith Fein lives to leave. An award-winning travel journalist, she is either on the road or on her computer. She has contributed to more than 100 international publications, and is the author of the acclaimed book, LIFE IS A TRIP: The Transformative Magic of Travel. Judith has been a keynote presenter for many conferences, including the Adventure Travel Trade Association, and Tedx San Miguel de Allende. Widely lauded as a speaker and storyteller, she is a frequent guest on broadcast media. With her husband Paul Ross, she teaches public speaking and creativity as applied to writing, PR and Marketing. With humor, surprise, and hands-on exercises, they help people to be their best creative selves. Judith is the co-founder and executive editor of the award-garnering experiential travel blog Your Life Is a Trip, which has more than 125 contributors. She blogs about travel for The Huffington Post and Psychology Today, and occasionally she and Paul Ross take people on very unusual trips. In her LBTW (Life Before Travel Writing), Fein ran a theatre company in Europe, lived in Africa, and then worked as a screenwriter, playwright, and theatre director in the U.S.A.  Her website is Global Adventure.


Overall I like it. The basic bio is there that you always use and that's really good. It seems a little weak to me because of some omissions, intentional or otherwise, that could make it sparkle? It seems to be the end-product of your modesty.

A few questions:

1. Weren't you the President of a Travel Journalists Assoc. or did I dream that? Any high office like that is notable.
2. I don't think it would hurt to be more specific about the "broadcast" -- esp. what people recognize (like what makes people go "Oh!" and gasp at parties or stop looking around to see who else is there but now they fixate on you). So I would mention NPR and the Marketplace that you and Paul were regulars on (not only Marketplace, but Savvy Traveler). 

I'm not all that thrilled about the sentence that explains how you bring out the best in people as writers, etc. It sounds like a bit of a sales pitch (I know you don't mean it that way), but it seems out of place in an Author's Bio (to me).

3. Details on the publications wouldn't hurt either, as you have written for L.A. Times, NY Times. Those are not easy papers to get into. Do NOT take it for granted that it's no big deal or it will sound like bragging. Here you can brag.

4. Try to stay cognizant of what makes people go "Ah!" When I wrote Luke's bio, I wrote that he "toiled in Hollywood" before becoming a therapist. One radio host jumped on that and had a field day asking Luke about his "Hollywood" career.

People in Podunk or other than L.A. imbue the word "Hollywood" with either the image of success (writer) or balls to try to make it as a writer. 

A reader would want a little something about your travels (in a condensed, flighty kind of sentence) like "Judie has run with the bulls in Mexico, healed with the healers in the Yucatan, danced the hootchie-kootchie in the pyramids, etc."

I hunger for specifics. Colorful, fun specifics. Because you and Paul are colorful and fun.

Judith Fein lives to leave. An award-winning travel journalist, she is either on the road or on her computer. She has contributed to more than 100 international publications, including the Los Angeles Times, Boston Globe, Dallas Morning News, National Geographic Traveler, the Jerusalem Post, Hemisphere, Islands, New Mexico Magazine, Travel Age West, Organic Spa, and Spirituality and Health.  She is the author of the acclaimed book, LIFE IS A TRIP: The Transformative Magic of Travel. Judith has been a keynote presenter for many conferences, including the Adventure Travel Trade Association, and Tedx San Miguel de Allende. Widely lauded as a speaker and storyteller, she is a frequent guest on broadcast media, was a regular contributor to The Savvy Traveler for six years, and has been heard on the BBC, All Things Considered, and Marketplace.  With her photojournalist husband Paul Ross, she teaches public speaking and creativity as applied to writing, PR and Marketing. Judith is the co-founder and executive editor of the award-garnering experiential travel blog, which has more than 125 contributors. She blogs about travel for The Huffington Post and Psychology Today, and occasionally she and Paul Ross take open-hearted people on very unusual trips. In her LBTW (Life Before Travel Writing), Fein ran a theatre company in Europe, lived in Africa, and then worked as a Hollywood screenwriter, playwright, and theatre director in the U.S.A.  Like a modern-day Marco Polo or Ibn Batuta, Fein has traveled from Mog Mog to Vanuatu, trained as assistant to a Mexican healer, purchased a camel in Tunisia, danced with spirits in Brazil and a Mayan elder in Quintana Roo, dragged her husband to consult with a Zulu sangoma in South Africa, swum with beluga whales, had a private audience with the High Priest of the Ancient Israelite Samaritans, appeased the mischievous jinns in Morocco, and eaten porcupine, albeit not with relish, in Vietnam. Her website is 

#guidebooks #sherryglaser #FrugalPromo #bookpublicity #editing

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Authors: Do Not Discount the Power of "The Lovely Little Note"

Years ago, I took a "Making a Literary Life" workshop from the prolific California author, Carolyn See. She was testing material for her upcoming book of the same title. One point she makes that has always stuck with me is "You should write one Charming Note to someone you admire (who is a celebrity or highly visible in the profession you aspire to). None of the recipients has ever responded with, "Oh this sounds like what Carolyn See advises!"--until now.

A few days ago, another author I greatly admire, Carolyn Howard-Johnson, was interviewed on a radio podcast, and I wrote to let her know how much I enjoyed it. To my surprise, she not only asked my permission to post it on social media, but she posted it on her Carolyn Howard-Johnson's Sharing with Writers Newsletter blog with this prologue::

One Lovely Thank You Note a Day: This is What Carolyn See May Have Meant
In one of her books on writing, Carolyn See advises authors to write one lovely thank you note a day, the emphasis on "lovely." Lots of authors are good at writing thank you notes, especially since e-mail has made it so easy. But "lovely?"  We are all pressed for time.

Still, I have one reader who has sent me several that is an example of the kind of letter I think See would have approved of. Her name is Marlan Warren and she gave me permission to reprint her letter if I thought it would help other writers to do something similar--or at least to nudge them to write their letters. I mean, a note like this can make an author so happy! And the words from a smart publicist are an added bonus!

Dear Carolyn:

I really enjoyed your interview with Maxine Thompson on the Artist First RadioNetwork last night. I felt privileged to hear you and Maxine discuss literature, writers, writing, and your own great how-to knowledge (I’m a huge fan of your How to Do It Frugally series and now a fan of Maxine's show). You are two Old School pros who know better than anyone that being a great writer or editor means more than having been at the top of your class in English.

I especially liked your tip to "Promote the Promotion." This is what I try to explain to my PR/Marketing clients, but it is hard for them to grasp. Most think it's enough to post a "Hey! Buy my book!" on social media and leave it at that.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Client Reviews for Book Publicity by Marlan

Compliments are always welcome here! As Noel Coward once said:

"I can stand any criticism as long as it is unqualified praise."

I'm disappointed that Yelp will not allow people to see the 5-Star Reviews for Book Publicity by Marlan. If you'd like to read the testimonials my sweet clients have sent me, just visit We love Book Publicity by Marlan 

Thank you so much!

Monday, March 21, 2016

No blood, but plenty of sweat & tears: Author Jennifer K. Jordan's 14 Year Quest for "DADLY Wisdom"

Jennifer K. Jordan
Published in Broadway World Book News

Book Title: 
DADLY Wisdom: Untold Stories That Represent the True Faces of Fatherhood
Author: Jennifer Karin Jordan
Publisher: Motivational Press (March 10, 2016)
ISBN-10: 1628652691
Paperback: 232 pages
Genre: Family Relationships
Brand: Hogan Hilling's DADLY Series

Available at Amazon
Author Website: Jennifer Karin Jordan Website
Facebook: DADLY Wisdom Facebook Page 

Author Contact: 
(562) 208-4869 /
Interviewer: Marlan Warren (323) 347-6762 / 

Interview with Author Jennifer K. Jordan: “I wanted to give a snapshot of fathers’ wisdom from across the world.” 

What began as a simple tribute to honor the wisdom and love of her father became a life-altering journey for Jennifer K. Jordan, author of DADLY Wisdom. Recently Jordan sat down with journalist/blogger Marlan Warren to reveal her 14-year process to gather insights from fathers she believes (according to the book’s back cover) “represent humanity at its best.”

Q: Did any of the interviews surprise you?

A: All of the interviews did that. Every time I interviewed a father, I was so impressed and moved that I thought I could never meet another such fine human being. I was in awe of all the fathers and their love for their children, and their dedication to helping their families no matter what.

I was surprised when Cain Credicott spoke to me for two hours for his interview. He is extremely busy as the Editor-in-Chief of Paleo Magazine, so I didn’t think his interview would be so long.

When I listened to Bernard Sayone and Tomas Kovar talk about their experiences in the Holocaust, I was constantly amazed. I learned more about the Holocaust from interviewing them than I had in any school, book or film. Bernie and Tomas also inspired me because they now work to promote peace in the world instead of being victims of such a difficult past.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Interview with Judith Fein, Author of THE SPOON FROM MINKOWITZ: A Bittersweet Roots Journey to Ancestral Lands

How to crack the mystery of who we are, why we love, and where we came from can be the greatest mystery of all. Judith Fein embarks on a quest to call on ancestors and urges us to do the same..

Interview with Judith Fein, 
Author of  
The Spoon from Minkowitz: 
A Bittersweet Roots Journey to Ancestral Lands: 

            Finding roots is the solution for a rootless life.”

 I heard the Eastern European ancestors of many people like me
 calling out. “Remember us. Don’t forget us. Our story needs
 to be heard. Write our story. Write your story."
—Judith FeinThe Spoon from Minkowitz

Title:      The Spoon from Minkowitz:  A Bittersweet Roots Journey to Ancestral Lands
Author: Judith Fein with Photographs by Paul Ross
ISBN: 978-0-9884019-3-8
Paperback             Pages: 256       Price:     $18.95
Discussion Guide Included
Pub. Date: Jan. 5, 2014 (Available in all e-book formats.)
Author Website

Note: This interview was written by Marlan Warren and originally published as a press release in 2014 in, and picked up by the BBC Record.

     Judith Fein is a travel journalist’s travel journalist. Like a latter-day Marco Polo, she has globe-trotted without maps or preconceived notions from Mog Mog to Vanuatu. By her own account, she has swum with Beluga whales, consulted with a Zulu sangoma in South Africa, and eaten porcupine in Vietnam (“not with relish”). In 2011, when Fein and her photojournalist husband Paul Ross visited Tunisia during the Arab Spring, the French-speaking American Fein found herself on the radio, speaking to Tunisians about Democracy. Her popular travel memoir Life Is a Trip: The Transformative Magic of Travel conveys her need to find out where people of different cultures come from and what makes them act, think, and behave the way they do. After decades of travel, there was one frontier that still eluded the “I-live-to-leave” Fein: the mystery of her own ancestral roots.

     Fein’s book, The Spoon from Minkowitz: A Bittersweet Roots Journey to Ancestral Lands, takes us on the trip she finally made in 2012 to the shtetl her Jewish grandmother left behind in an obscure Russian (now Ukrainian) village.

     The Spoon from Minkowitz has garnered stellar reviews. Catharine Hamm, travel editor of the Los Angeles Times, found The Spoon from Minkowitz “as tense as a thriller and as tender as a love story.” Zelda Shluker, editor of Hadassah Magazine, noted the book is “unlike any other back-to-roots book…driven by the author's almost mystical quest to recover the past…Her curiosity, openness and passion take us along on a journey that turns out to be ours as well.”

     We had the opportunity to catch Judith Fein for a moment when she was not in perpetual motion to talk about the deeper meanings of genealogy as explored in this book:

For those who have not yet read your book, what is “the spoon from Minkowitz”?
My grandmother was from a village called Minkowitz in what was then Russia. That fact plus five others were all she would ever tell me about where she was from and why she left; she didn’t want to talk about the past. My mother told me virtually nothing.

When I met my husband Paul, we were immediately attracted. But here’s the kicker: when I asked Paul's parents about their ancestral roots, it turned out his father’s family came from…Minkowitz

Okay. So the “spoon.” When Paul told his parents we were getting married, his father offered us the only thing left from his parents’ shtetl of Minkowitz: a soup spoon they brought with them to America. I treasured that spoon because it made our ancient, ancestral connection so real and concrete. We made a place of honor for it under the chupa  (Jewish wedding canopy) on a satin pillow.

You followed your intuition and things miraculously started happening—as you did in Life Is a Trip. Would you call your process “right brain”?
I explored the context my ancestors, and the ancestors of so many others, came from by just showing up and going from town to town looking and learning.

Perhaps it is “right brain.” I prefer to call it “following the arrows.” It’s about keeping eyes and ears open, and following wherever the arrows point, even if you don't know where they are leading or what you will find there. If you trust you will end up in the right place, you will somehow get there. 

This book is like a Jewish Roots, the Alex Haley book that traces his African American family history. And in some ways, it’s like Safran Foer’s Everything Is IlluminatedHow would you pitch The Spoon from Minkowitz to a Hollywood producer?
Hmmm.. I’d say it’s a female Everything Is Illuminated meets Life Is a Trip.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Yelp Review: Kari Hock, Green Darner Press / Gemelli Press

I have been like the shoemaker going without her proverbial shoes when it comes to keeping current with my own PR! In fact, I just found this wonderful review from Kari Hock, Managing Editor of the Seattle-based Green Darner Press and Italy's Gemelli Press.

Thank you so much, Kari! Here's her Yelp review (which Yelp did not "recommend" - along with denying me permission to claim my business):

As a managing editor of a small independent book publishing company, having Marlan on board has been an essential part of the process. She is so knowledgeable and an expert at what she does. She is a joy to work with.--Kari Hock, Green Darner Press/Gemelli Press


Wednesday, July 1, 2015

"Like finding an agate among river rocks": Italian American Immigrant Memoir WRESTLING WITH THE DEVIL beats the competition.

Title: Wrestling with the Devil
Authors: Antonio Russo and Tonya Russo Hamilton
Publisher: Gemelli Press
Date of Pub.: April 15, 2012
Genre: Memoir / Italian American / Italian Immigrant
ISBN 978-0982-102398 (Hard Cover)
ASIN: B008EWZ0TW (Kindle)

I had an outlet for my demons.
--Antonio Russo

Be not fooled by the staring young boy on the cover or the word "wrestling" in the title of Wrestling with the Devil (A Story of Sacrifice, Survival and Triumph from the Hills of Naples to the Hall of Fame) by Antonio Russo as told to his daughter, Tonya Russo Hamilton. This is a memoir with something for everyone, Italian Wrestler or not.

Wrestling with the Devil takes us along the simple-but-not-easy path that Russo took to Honor and the fulfillment of his Destiny. If filmmaker Martin Scorcese had not made a film about a raging bull of a boxer who cannot love, and made this story instead, it would have given American audiences a rare "insider" view of one determined man's journey from Italian boyhood to an Italian "American Graffiti-meets-Rebel Without a Cause" immigrant adolescence in Portland, Oregon to a miraculous college wrestling scholarship and finally, to a successful coaching career and induction into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame.

We are treated to a slice-of-Italian-American-Life in the 50s and 60s with all the warmth and family confusion, goodwill, great food and "immigrant drive for success" that such a cultural experience often entails.

What adds to this memoir's tenderness and heart is the equally touching fact that although it is told in the First Person, it is actually written by Russo's daughter, Tonya Russo Hamilton, who has spun a compelling, seamless narrative in her father's voice from what must have been hours and hours of taped anecdotes.