This past weekend the T.J. Jackson Mysteries were front and center at ParaConn, Connecticut’s first ever paranormal convention. Both days were sellouts, with patrons enjoying a bevy of booths featuring paranormal experts and ghost hunters, spooky memorabilia dealers, artisans, authors, and more. I’m happy to say that EACH DAY our sales far exceeded any other event we’ve ever done. It was also cool speaking to a packed audience about T.J. and his adventures. We even ran a contest where anyone who purchased a book was entered in a drawing to have a character in my next book named after them (Congrats to winner Amanda Lisnow!). What made ParaConn even more fun was having my daughter Caroline and her husband Sean McCabe at the table next to us for their popular podcast Ain’t it Scary with Sean and Carrie. We met so many great folks and can’t wait to do this again. Special thanks to promoter Charles Rosenay and co-producer Nick Grossman for putting on a first-class event. We hope you enjoy the photos from the weekend; also, click on the provided link to the Connecticut Post’s article on ParaConn which includes many more images, including us!
On Saturday, July 10, we had the pleasure of pitching our author tent at the Fab 4 Beatles Festival at Nolan Field in Ansonia, CT, our largest appearance venue ever. Just a day after Tropical storm Elsa hit Connecticut, the sun was shining on the many hundreds of concert goers and the 10 cover bands who rocked on throughout the day and evening. I'm happy to say that sales of 30 Minutes in Memphis: A Beatles Story were steady all day long, and we had fun connecting with Beatles fans of all ages. I was even interviewed about the book by WERB 107.5 Global Radio at their tent. So to sum up, "A splendid time was guaranteed for all." Our thanks to super promoter Charles Rosenay for the invite. We hope to be there next year!
We were very happy to see that 30 Minutes in Memphis: A Beatles Story earned a perfect four in a review from Beatles Freak Reviews.
Click on this link to read the review:
Last week I had the pleasure of being interviewed live about 30 Minutes in Memphis: A Beatles Story, by Meagan Paese on her great radio show, The History of Rock and Roll, which is broadcast on Knight Radio from the studios of Lynn University in Boca Raton, Florida. We chatted about the book and Meagan spun some Beatles tunes from the 1965-1966 era, when the book takes place. To hear this entertaining and informative show, go to the website www.thehistoryofrockandroll.net. You can also check out past shows such as the one I contributed to. Thanks, Meagan!
This week I had the pleasure of being a guest on Teaflix Tuesdays, a live video show hosted by Dr. Angie McCartney, Sir Paul's stepmom, and his stepsister Ruth. We chatted about the Beatles thread that runs through all of the T.J. Jackson Mysteries, and the thought process behind 30 Minutes in Memphis: A Beatles Story, which I'm happy to say the ladies thoroughly enjoyed. Their show is light and entertaining, and I was made to feel most welcome. So, thanks to the McCartneys - I think you're brilliant!
Here's the link to the show:
Recently I had the pleasure of being a guest on two fantastic podcasts which centered on my novel 30 Minutes in Memphis: A Beatles Story (Ionian Press) and my continuing Beatles thread in the T.J. Jackson Mysteries series (Fire & Ice Books).
First, The Talkback with Adam Mace is "a show about ordinary people and their extraordinary passions." Hosted by NYC-based theater director and playwright Adam Mace, the show provides fresh guests, topics, entertainment and inspiration. We had a great time discussing my books and all things Beatles in Episode 75, entitled "John Lennon: 40 Years Later."
Then, I appeared on the Get Back to the Beatles podcast on the Boston Podcast Network, co-hosted by Boston radio personality Chachi Loprete and Prof. David Gallant of Suffolk University. These guys are Beatles experts on every level, and David even teaches a Beatles college course! Along with fellow Beatles author Mark Brickley, we had fun comparing Mark's nonfiction book Postcards from Liverpool to my historical fiction, and explored the challenges/rewards of working in these genres when applied to the Fab Four. Here are the links to both podcasts, and I hope you become a fan of the shows, as I have!
Recently I did my first-ever author exchange, with my book, 30 Minutes in Memphis: A Beatles Story, going to Texas, for Patricia Gallo Stenman’s Diary of a Beatlemaniac. All things considered, I think I got the best of the deal!
Patti’s book is her actual diary which she kept from 1963-1967. Besides giving insight into the complex workings of a teenage girl’s mind, it is a chronicle of the Beatles’ conquering of America from the Ed Sullivan Show in February of ’64 to the groundbreaking Sgt. Pepper album in ’67(BTW, she saw them live THREE times). As the years progress Patti grows up, finding her way in a blue-collar Italian family in Philadelphia, while attending a restrictive all-girls Catholic high school. There are too many poignant moments in the story to count, but I can tell you that although she was a few years ahead of me in school, I laughed out loud at some of our shared Catholic school experiences. I also found many similarities between Patti and her “Beatle Buddy” girlfriends at the time and my Marnie Culpeper character in 30 Minutes. We’re talking total Beatle devotion here, folks.
But as the reader will see, Patti was no fantasy-crazed airhead. Her entries are insightful, and it’s fascinating to see her naïveté slowly fall away as she matures. One can also understand why a career in journalism was ultimately in the cards for this introspective young lady, and how her determination and ingenuity would lead her to not only befriend a member of the Beatles’ circle (actor Victor Spinetti, who appeared in all three Beatles films) but to have a published column in the Philadelphia Daily News while still a teen.
When I guess I’m saying here is that if you really want to know (or remember) what it was like growing up during Beatlemania, you’ve got to check out Diary of a Beatlemaniac (Cynren Press, available on Amazon. Also visit the website diaryofabeatlemaniac.com). You will not be disappointed. I’m glad I’ve gotten to make the acquaintance of this fantastic author and fellow Beatles fan!
A couple of weeks ago I was invited to do an interview with Daniel Sam,, AKA Plastic EP, a musician/comedian/interviewer, from Melbourne, Australia, who has a Beatles related Facebook page. "Plastic" has interviewed many musicians, DJs, members of the Beatles inner circle, Beatle book authors, etc. over the past few months, but I was the first novelist to chat with him. Of course, the subject was my historical fiction novel 30 Minutes in Memphis: A Beatles Story. It was great fun connecting LIVE with this man on the other side of the world, where we were actually one day apart! Plastis is quite a character, and our interview has well over 1,000 Facebook views and counting. You can check it out by clicking
As Plastic would say, "It' a Ripper!"
In the midst of this current national tragedy, we are all concerned about ways to make things better. Finding avenues to discuss these problems isn’t always easy, but popular literature — especially for our young people — can be an effective and valuable tool. Ideally, a reader should be able to imagine his or herself in the shoes of one or more characters in a book and ask, “What would I do in this situation?” As a longtime educator, I always challenged my students to examine multiple perspectives in literature/social issues, even if it was sometimes uncomfortable. Perhaps this is because I’ve had the opportunity to teach in districts that were vastly different, both financially and culturally.
This is why I have made it a point to include the theme of understanding and appreciation of other races, creeds and cultures in my stories. If you know young people in the adolescent age group, I would humbly recommend these books from my catalog: Spirits of the Pirate House examines the history of slavery on the idyllic island of Bermuda, and its connection to piracy in the Caribbean; Roberto’s Return centers upon the struggles of acceptance in the U.S. of the famed Latino ballplayer Roberto Clemente; Curse of the Fairfield Witch deals with religious intolerance in the 1600s; The Voodoo Cult’s Treasure explores the sometimes difficult blending of cultures and religions in New Orleans, going back to the Antebellum Era; and 30 Minutes in Memphis: A Beatles Story contains realistic depictions of both religious and racial injustice in the mid-60s American South. These themes are conveyed through characters such as Veronique “Ronnie” Goodwin in the T.J. Jackson books, and Marnie Culpeper/Myles Goldfarb/Tillie in 30 Minutes.
It is my hope that the situations presented in these books will make my readers think about things a little more deeply. As I see it, that’s the first step in improving our American society going forward.
This past Sunday we again took part in the Trumbull Arts Festival on the Village Green, and the results were fantastic. Due to a combination of great weather and a big crowd (not to mention some good books) we had our most successful sales day by far. Purchases of the T.J. Jackson Mysteries, The Rovers: A Tale of Fenway, and 30 Minutes in Memphis: A Beatles Story, were brisk, with customers requesting multiple titles. We can't wait for next year's festival! Special thanks to event coordinator Emily Areson and those volunteers who helped with the setup and breakdown.
My thoughts on past, present and future ideas relating to my writing.