"The universe is made of stories, not of atoms."
—Muriel Rukeyser



Contact: Linda Radke, Five Star Publications

Phone: 480-940-8182 - Fax: (480) 940-8787


CHANDLER, AZ (September 14, 2010) - In addition to fast, professional eBook service, the first 149 authors or publishers to sign up for Five Star eBook conversion receive their choice of a free six-month "Featured" listing at www.AuthorsandExperts.com, a website designed to connect authors with the media and potential clients looking for speakers, or a six-month listing at www.SchoolBookings.com, created to promote authors to schools seeking presenters ($149 value each).

A Five Star eBook conversion transforms a PDF or Word file into an electronic file that is compatible with Amazon's Kindle and Apple's iPod, iPad and iPhone, and downloadable through Amazon.com and iTunes' iBooks.

"The writing's on the wall - or should I say screen," quips Linda Radke president of Five Star Publications, Inc. "Between young readers preferring to glean information off electronic devices and Amazon's earlier announcement that for the first time ever they sold more eBooks than physical books, any author or publisher that doesn't have eBook availability for their manuscripts could be losing a significant amount of retail sales."

Member benefits for both AuthersandExperts.com and SchoolBookings.com include searchable directory listings to help potential clients find them; automatic notification via email telling their target audience that their member profiles can now be found on the websites; the ability to manage and update their own listings; free 30-minute consultation with Five Star Publication's multi award-winning publisher/writer Linda Radke ($100 value). A&E's Featured listing also includes a free blog on the member's profile page, while SchoolBookings includes a free rotating two-line listing sound-bite with member photo and link to their profile page on the site's home page. For more about A&E, access www.AuthorsandExperts.com. For additional information on SchoolBookings, log onto www.SchoolBookings.com.

In addition to free A&E or SchoolBookings accounts, the first 149 authors or publishers to sign up for Five Star eBook conversion will receive the reduced rate of $1.75 per page from $2 per page. Visit www.eStarPublish.com for more information.

To checkout Five Star Publications, which is approaching its 25th year of doing business in Chandler, Ariz., visit www.FiveStarPublications.com, email info@FiveStarPublications.com, or call 480-940-8182.

Dallas Art News Announces The Kennedy Detail SPECIAL EVENT November 20, 2010 at 2:00 p.m

After Nearly Fifty Years Under Code of Silence, JFK Secret Service Agents Speak Out in New Book

THE KENNEDY DETAIL: JFK’s Secret Service Agents Break Their Silence

By Gerald Blaine with Lisa McCubbin
Foreword by Clint Hill

In THE KENNEDY DETAIL: JFK’S Secret Service Agents Break Their Silence (Gallery Books; November 2, 2010; $28.00), Jerry Blaine – one of thirty-four Secret Service agents on President Kennedy’s detail when he was assassinated – sets history straight on what really happened that afternoon and in the months leading up to and following the tragedy. Written with award-winning journalist Lisa McCubbin, this insider account includes contributions from many of the Secret Service agents who were serving on the Kennedy Detail, and draws upon their daily reports, expense accounts, personal notes, and vivid recollections.

Clint Hill, the agent who jumped on the back of the car immediately after the shooting and helped Jackie back down into her seat, has rarely contributed to any works on the assassination, until now. As Hill writes in the Foreword, “I don’t talk to anybody about that day…It is only because of my complete faith and trust that Jerry Blaine would tell our story with dignity and unwavering honesty that I agreed to be involved.”

THE KENNEDY DETAIL is the only authoritative account of the events of that day from the men, like Clint Hill, who were there to guard the president’s life.

As Blaine writes, “Every man on the Kennedy Detail would re-live those six seconds in Dallas a million times over. For the rest of their lives, they would be defined by the assassination of JFK, questioned and blamed for failing to achieve the impossible.”

The Discovery Channel is producing a TV special based on The Kennedy Detail that airs in November and features rare footage from The Sixth Floor Museum’s collections.

The Sixth Floor Museum will host a free program with Jerry Blaine, Lisa McCubbin and Clint Hill on November 20, 2010 at 2:00 p.m. Museum Curator Gary Mack will moderate a program and Q&A session, followed by a book-signing. Books can be purchased at the Museum Store + Café for $28.00.

The program is free but advance seating reservations are required. To make your reservation or to purchase a copy of the book, e-mail programs@jfk.org or call 214-747-6623.

Museum parking is available for $5.00. Visit www.jfk.org for more information.

Special Event

Q&A with Jerry Blaine, Lisa McCubbin and Clint Hill
Moderated by Museum Curator Gary Mack
November 20, 2010 at 2:00 p.m.
The Sixth Floor Museum, 411 Elm Street, Dallas, TX, 75202

The Sixth Floor Museum

The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza chronicles the assassination and legacy of President John F. Kennedy; interprets and supports the Dealey Plaza National Historic Landmark District and the John F. Kennedy Memorial Plaza; and presents contemporary culture within the context of presidential history. Located at 411 Elm Street in downtown Dallas, the Museum is open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday–Sunday and 12 to 6 p.m. Monday. Audio guides for the permanent exhibit are available in seven languages, and a youth version is available in English. For more information, visit www.jfk.org or call 214-747-6660.

AEI Client Stuart Connelly's Behind The Dream 16th on Amazon Book List

Hot New Releases in Rhetoric

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Watch AEI Clients Teman and Teran Evans Segment on The Rachel Ray Show Wednesday!

Dana Foundation Interviews AEI Client Lisa Cerasoli

Caring for a family member with Alzheimer's


One of the first reviews of Lisa Cerasoli’s memoir asked, “Did Cerasoli just make Alzheimer’s disease hip?” The comment may seem strange or even critical, but it was exactly what the author was going for.

“I had to actually look up the definition of ‘hip’ because I thought to myself, ‘Isn’t hip something you want, like a cool pair of shoes or a great car?” Cerasoli said in a recent phone interview. “Alzheimer’s disease – how can that be hip? Well, I discovered that hip means relevant to our time. It means something that people are talking about; something that’s current.

“I wanted to write a book about this horrible mind-stealing illness and I wanted it, in fact, to be hip. I wanted it to be something that people want to talk about, that people want to read about.”

Mission accomplished. As Nora Jo Fades Away: Confessions of a Caregiver is an entertaining, informative peek into the home of a person who has Alzheimer’s. Released in June and a first-place winner at the Paris Book Festival, the book reads like fiction but it is a factual account of the day-to-day work that goes into caring for someone who has dementia.

Confessions of a Caregiver

Nora Jo is Cerasoli’s grandmother, now 89. She lost her youngest son (Cerasoli's father) in July 2003 and her husband, who had Alzheimer’s, less than a year later. Shortly after her husband's death, Nora Jo started to show signs of the disease. In early 2008 Cerasoli and her husband took her into their home, the result of which is a memoir that’s funny, heartwarming, sad, and eye-opening.

While Cerasoli did include a chapter about the facts and fiction of Alzheimer’s, that was not the purpose of the memoir. She had read plenty of informative medical books; she wanted to write something for the caregivers. “Sort of a hidden caregiver’s survival guide,” she said.

She was the keynote speaker at the 2010 Caregiving Conference in Michigan, held by the Alzheimer’s Association, and will participate in the Women’s Conference (October 24-26), hosted by Maria Shriver and Arnold Schwarzenegger. The latter features the March on Alzheimer’s, which Cerasoli will be participating in.

Some research suggests that walking and other forms of exercise can help stave off Alzheimer’s. “You can be proactive in possibly preventing this illness, which is good news to people like me, who had one grandparent pass away from it, and another who is currently suffering,” Cerasoli said. “You can imagine the fear I live with deep down inside as I watch this happen to my Grams. I think to myself, ‘What can I do?’”

Cerasoli is encouraged by the news about drugs that may be better able to treat the symptoms of Alzheimer’s, but hopes researchers can take the next step. “We need preventive medicine,” she said. “We don’t need medicine to fix the symptoms or to keep the symptoms at bay for a couple of months longer.”

Lisa Cerasoli and family(l to r) Lisa Cerasoli, her daughter Jazz, Nora Jo, and Lisa's mom Sherie

As long as this disease exists, there will be a need for caregivers like Cerasoli. “Part of my mission and my purpose right now is to connect with other caregivers and to make them feel like they’re not alone,” she said. “I want to help them deal with the guilt, the exhaustion, the outright confusion…to get them through the day.”

Despite Cerasoli and her husband being very capable, relatively young caregivers (they are in their 40’s), they decided to hire help at the start of the year. Nora Jo still lives with her granddaughter, and Lisa still is an active caregiver, but she sought out help and suggests others do the same if they feel it is necessary.

Nora Jo will be re-released in a few weeks with a new foreword by Leeza Gibbons, a television and radio host who founded Leeza’s Place, a respite center for caregivers, after her mother died of Alzheimer’s in 2008.

--Andrew Kahn

Discovery.com Announces Kennedy Special

JFK Requested Bodyguards to Back Off

Days before he was assassinated in Dallas, John F. Kennedy asked his secret service agents to give him space to campaign.

By Emily Sohn | Thu Oct 21, 2010 05:30 PM ET

Four days before the fateful 1963 motorcade in Dallas when John F. Kennedy was fatally shot in the head, the young president had requested that his secret service agents give him some space.

"President Kennedy made a decision, and he politely told everybody, 'You know, we're starting the campaign now, and the people are my asset,'" said agent Jerry Blaine. "And so, we all of a sudden understood. It left a firm command to stay off the back of the car."

Be sure to tune into "The Kennedy Detail" airing Nov. 22 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on the Discovery Channel.

Blaine's revelations, as well as those from JFK's secret service agents in a forthcoming book, "The Kennedy Detail" and in a series of interviews with the Discovery Channel, reveal how challenging this charismatic president could be to protect and how shaken his murder left those whose job it was to keep him safe.

They were well trained and extraordinarily professional. They were dedicated to the President and especially to the honor of the presidency. Most of all, the Secret Service agents assigned to protect John F. Kennedy were stoic and silent.

They did not talk about their feelings for JFK. And they did not discuss their emotions about his death -- not with each other and not to the world -- until now.

Forty-seven years after the 35th president was fatally shot on Nov. 22, 1963, his bodyguards are sharing their memories about a charismatic man, his glamorous family, and a tragic ending.

Their words offer a new window into an event that transformed not just the nation, but also the men who were supposed to keep him safe.

Investigation Discovery: Explore video, follow the timeline and take a quiz about the JFK assassination.

What emerges from the interviews is a deep sense of grief and remorse. For their jobs and their country, the agents sacrificed sleep, personal freedoms, and time with their families in order to protect the lives of others. They became a tightly knit group. As they reunite with each other and recount their memories of the assassination, many of them unleash tears.

"It was an assault on our country, on every single thing that we stand for," said agent Toby Chandler, who was giving a speech to agents-in-training when the news came in from Dallas. "It was a thing that just must not be allowed to happen. And we were supposed to prevent it. And we failed."

"In our work, and in military work and things like that, you either get the job done or you don't," he continued. "There are very few excuses. You can always say 'Well, you know, it would have been a nice picnic if it didn't rain, but it rained.' And it rained on us. And so we lost a symbol of our country."

Compared to the presidents before him, JFK was a challenge to protect, especially in a motorcade, said agent Jerry Blaine. Eisenhower kept to himself and traveled in a closed-top car, Blaine explained, making him easy to cover.

But Kennedy was charismatic. He wanted to stand up in an open-top car and wave. He wanted to get out and shake hands, unencumbered. He loved crowds. And the crowds were big.

Still, the shooting in Dallas surprised everyone. When agent Paul Landis heard the first shot from his seat in the car behind Kennedy, he continued to scan the buildings and the crowds. But he didn’t see anything.

"I thought, 'Well maybe there was a blow-out or something,'" Landis said. "When the third shot happened, I saw the President's head explode, just like a melon. And well, I knew as soon as he'd been hit, there was no way he was gonna survive that."

For the men who weren't on the scene, shock hit first. But they had jobs to do. So, they pushed aside their emotions and went to work -- moving the children to a home in Georgetown, escorting the President's body to the White House, and later accompanying the First Lady on her powerful, yet dangerous walk from the White House to St. Matthew's Cathedral.

"When all this is going on, your personal feelings are one of a tremendous emotional hit because of the respect you have for that family and for the president," remembered agent Tom Wells, who was escorting young Caroline to her first sleepover when he heard the news that Kennedy had been shot.

Like the other agents, Wells had a deep respect for Kennedy, who knew the names of all his guards, frequently asked about their families, and made them feel like they were a part of his own.

"You've got an upheaval that goes on in your mind and in your gut," Wells said. "There's this unbelievable sympathetic feeling you have. But there's no room for that because the only thing you have got to deal with now is what your role is. So, it is a difficult time. It's a roller coaster, even as detached as I was from the main event."

Eventually, each agent moved on.

"We have a code in the Secret Service called 'worthy of trust and confidence,'" Blaine said. "So I made a decision. You walk away from here. You don’t talk about it. You put it behind you."

As close as they were during the Kennedy administration, many of the agents lost touch with each other in the years following the assassination. Many agonized about what they could have done differently to prevent the shooting. Eventually, they tried to forget.

"Of course, I wish Dallas never happened," said agent Ron Pontius. "Everyone will say that. It was a terrible thing to happen. And I think we're marked for it for the rest of our lives."

Agent Clint Hill was in the motorcade behind Kennedy that day in Dallas. After the fatal shot, Hill jumped on the back of the President’s car and held on as the car raced to the hospital. In the years after the assassination, Hill sunk into a downward spiral of depression and alcoholism. In 1990, when he was pulling his life back together, he finally visited Dallas again.

"I walked in Dealey Plaza for a long time, looking back and forth and up and down, at every angle, for everything possible that I could think of," he said. "How could this have been avoided? What could we have done differently? Where did we go wrong? Why did it happen?"

"I finally came to the conclusion that because of everything that happened that day," he continued, including the weather, the configuration of the streets, and the position of the shooter, "that every advantage had gone to the shooter that day. And we had none."

"So I realized that based on all those conditions, there was nothing that I could have done," he said. "And I finally accepted the fact that what happened was something that I could not avoid. And so that was a great deal of relief to me."

5 new video installations by Glen Pitre for Katrina & Beyond Exhibit Opens At The Louisiana's State Museum

Opening to the public 10/26/10

Côte Blanche Productions was commissioned to create several video installations as part of the Louisiana’a State Museum’s major new Katrina & Beyond exhibit. These original pieces by video artists Michelle Benoit and Glen Pitre will permanently reside in the historic Presbytere next to St. Louis Cathedral in New Orleans’ Jackson Square.

Living With Water is a poem to south Louisiana in moving images and music, projected onto a screen shaped like an Elemore Morgan painting.

Resilience chronicles Louisiana’s long history of disasters --- storms & floods, epidemics & invasions --- and our undiminished capacity to recover from them.

Hurricane Rita provides first hand accounts of Louisiana’s “forgotten storm.”

Reducing Risk looks at how we might make coastal life safer.

Life in Balance, the most ambitious of the five, swirls with imagery, some joyous, some heartbreaking, as it chronicles how devastation can be molded into hope. On a wall built of storm-salvaged windows, each glazed in black glass, 14 video screens follow 50 different Louisianans out of despair and into rising determination to rebuild all that was good and replace what was not with something better.

Lake Charles-born, Paris-educated Michelle Benoit is an award-winning filmmaker, screenwriter, novelist, playwright, museum designer, and non fiction author. Her work has been translated into more than two dozen languages.

Cut Off, LA, born and reared Glen Pitre is best known as writer/director of the big screen “gumbo westerns” Yellow Fever, Huit Piastres et Demie!, Belizaire the Cajun, The Scoundrel’s Wife, and The Man Who Came Back. America’s most famous film critic, Roger Ebert, calls Pitre “a legendary American regional director.”

AEI Clients Gerald S. Blaine and Lisa McCubbin's The Kennedy Detail Reviewed on The Huffington Post

President Johnson Almost Shot By Secret Service Agent Hours After Kennedy Assassination: New Book

by Marcus Baram

A Secret Service agent came close to shooting President Lyndon Johnson just hours after Kennedy's assassination, according to "The Kennedy Detail", a new book that claims to be the first account of the tragedy by members of Kennedy's security detail.

Though Kennedy assassination buffs already have their bookcases full with countless accounts of the assassination, the book by retired agent Gerald Blaine does contain some new revelations.

The night after the assassination, Blaine says he was assigned to protect Johnson's two-story house in Washington when he heard the sound of someone approaching.

Instinctively Blaine picked up the Thompson submachine gun and activated the bolt on top. The unmistakable sound was similar to racking a shotgun. He firmly pushed the stock into his shoulder, ready to fire. He'd expected the footsteps to retreat with the loud sound of the gun activating, but they kept coming closer. Blaine's heart pounded, his finger firmly on the trigger. Let me see your face, you bastard.

The next instant, there was a face to go with the footsteps.

The new President of the United States, Lyndon Baines Johnson, had just rounded the corner, and Blaine had the gun pointed directly at the man's chest. In the blackness of the night, Johnson's face went completely white.

A split second later, Blaine would have pulled the trigger...

Blaine struggled to regain his composure as the reality of what had just happened washed over him. Fourteen hours after losing a president, the nation had come chillingly close to losing another one.

Story continues below

The book also includes the first-ever account of the fateful day by Clint Hill, the agent who jumped on the back of the car in the midst of the shooting and pushed Jackie down into the back seat.

And Blaine dismisses speculation about Kennedy's relationship with Marilyn Monroe. He says that he was on duty the night of May 19, 1962, the famous birthday fundraiser at which Monroe sang for the president. Blaine says that Monroe was present later in Kennedy's suite at the Carlyle Hotel, but that she "left before the other guests."

And he says that the only other time Monroe was in the president's company was in Santa Monica in 1961, at the home of Peter and Pat Lawford, where Kennedy took a brief swim before departing.

2010 New England Book Festival Sets Date


BOSTON, MASS. The 2010 New England Book Festival will hold its annual awards ceremony on January 15, 2011 at the Omni Parker House Hotel in Boston for its annual competition honoring the best books of the holiday season.

One of the grand literary hotels of New England, the Omni is the former home of the famed "Saturday Club," where Emerson, Thoreau, Hawthorne and Longfellow met to discuss the literary achievements of the day.

The competition will accept entries in the following categories: non-fiction, fiction, biography/autobiography, children's books, young adult, how-to, cookbooks, science fiction, photography/art, poetry, spiritual works, compilations/anthologies, gay, unpublished stories and wild card (for books that don't neatly fit elsewhere). All entries must be in English.

Our grand prize for the 2010 New England Book Festival winner is $1500 cash and a flight to the awards in Boston in January, 2011.

Submitted works will be judged by a panel using the following criteria:

1) General excellence and the author's passion for telling a good story.

2) The potential of the work to reach a wider audience.

FESTIVAL RULES: New England Book Festival submissions cannot be returned. Each entry must contain the official entry form, including your e-mail address and contact telephone number. All shipping and handling costs must be borne by entrants.

NOTIFICATION AND DEADLINES: We will notify each entry of the receipt of their package via e-mail and will announce the winning entries on our web site (www.newenglandbookfestival.com). Because of the anticipated high volume of entries, we can only respond to e-mail inquiries.

Deadline submissions in each category must be postmarked by midnight on November 25, 2010. Winners in each category will be notified by e-mail and on the web site. Please note that judges read and consider submissions on an ongoing basis, comparing early entries with later submissions at our meetings.

TO ENTER: Entry forms are available online at www.newenglandbookfestival.com or may be faxed/e-mailed to you. Please contact our office at 323-665-8080 for fax requests. Applications must be accompanied by a non-refundable entry fee of $50 in the form of a check, money order or PayPal online payment in U.S. dollars for each submission. Multiple submissions are permitted but each entry must be accompanied by a separate form and entry fee.

AWARDS: The New England Book Festival selection committee reserves the right to determine the eligibility of any project.

The 2010 New England Book Festival is part of the JM Northern Media family of festivals, which include the DIY Convention: Do It Yourself in Film, Music & Books, New York Book Festival and Hollywood Book Festival. The New England Book Festival is sponsored by The Larimar St. Croix Writers Colony, eDivvy, Shopanista and Westside Websites



10/20 CBS News Network Radio – Brief interview at the top of every hour

10/29 KABC/LA, 7:30 am

11/8 ABC Radio Tour, 8:30 - 10:00 am

11/12 Premiere Radio Tour, 8:00 - 11:00 am

11/12 The Leonard Lopate Show (WNYC/NY), 1 pm

11/18 KERA’s “Think!” with Krys Boyd, 1:00 – 2:00 pm

11/30 The Ronn Owens Show (KGO/San Francisco) (Time TBD)


11/8 Newsweek – “My Turn” column by Blaine


10/20 Good Morning America (ABC) – News mention/LBJ

10/20 World News with Diane Sawyer (ABC) – News mention/LBJ

11/4 Literati Scene (BNN-TV/Boston, MA) – Interview

11/9 Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer (CNN) – Interview

11/11 Morning Joe (MSNBC) – Interview, 8:50 am

11/11 Hardball with Chris Matthews (MSNBC) – Interview

11/12 Fox & Friends (Fox News Channel) – Interview

11/19 Good Day, Texas (KDFW-TV/Dallas, TX/Fox affiliate) – Interview

11/22 Discovery Channel – Two-hour special based on the book, 9-11pm EST

11/22 Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell (MSNBC) – Interview


Boston, MA

11/3 Harvard Coop Talk/signing, 7:00pm, 3rd Flr.

1400 Massachusetts Avenue

Cambridge, MA 02138

(617) 499-2000


Washington, DC

11/8 Discovery Channel Sneak Peek & Reception.

Georgetown/Gaston Hall - By invitation

Discovery will film the event and the footage will be

featured on their website

National Press Club Book Fair & Authors’ Night Signing, 5:30pm

529 14th St. NW, 13th Flr.

Washington, DC 20045



New York

11/11 Barnes & Noble (82nd and Broadway) Talk/signing, 7:00pm

2289 Broadway

New York, NY 10024



Dallas, TX

11/17 Stonebriar Country Club – Private event

11/18 Sixth Floor Museum Oral History Recording 2:30 – 5pm

11/20 Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza Talk/signing, 2:00pm

411 Elm St.

Dallas, TX 75202

(214) 747-6660


San Francisco, CA

11/30 Book Passage Talk/signing, 6:00pm

1 Ferry Building # 42

San Francisco, CA 94111-4231

(415) 835-1020


12/1 Yacht Club – Private event

San Diego, CA

12/3 Warwick’s Talk/signing, 7:00pm

7812 Girard Ave

La Jolla, CA 92037-4287

(858) 454-0347


Los Angeles, CA

12/6 Book Soup– Talk/signing, 7:00pm

8818 W Sunset Blvd

Los Angeles, CA 90069-2125

(310) 659-3110


Bakersfield, CA

12/7 Russo’s Books Talk/signing, 6:00pm

9000 Ming Avenue

Bakersfield, CA 93311

(661) 665-4686


Denver, CO

12/9 Denver Press Club Talk/signing, 12:00pm

1330 Glenarm Pl

Denver, CO 80204-2115

(303) 571-5260


AEI Client Royce Buckingham Interview with Through The Toll Booth

Interview with Middle Grade Novelist Royce Buckingham

by Clete Barrett Smith on October 4, 2010

in Features

This week I’ll be looking at middle grade books with boy appeal.

Royce Buckingham is a Pacific Northwest author who specializes in boy-friendly fiction. His latest book, the supernatural mystery/thriller The Dead Boys, was released by Putnam on September 2 and is a Junior Library Guild Selection.

TOOLBOOTH: Your new book, The Dead Boys, is full of intensely creepy scenes. What are the challenges in writing horror for children?

BUCKINGHAM: It’s a knife-edge, so to speak, because you’re trying to scare them but you’re not trying to traumatize them. You want to do things that are scary but also kid-safe. The difficulty is, how do you get a really good scare, but without the jeopardy that we know as adults is the worst thing that can happen to you? You have to take yourself back to when you were a kid and remember things that scared you then. Some things you forget – like how scary a bully can be. For me, it was a bully with a knife. I was terrified when I got home from school that a bully with a knife was going to cut me. Now, I’m not sure how the bully was supposed to get in my house, or what it was going to be like when he cut me [laughs]. But that was enough.

TOOLBOOTH: Your first two books mixed horror and humor, but this story is strictly scary. Did it feel like you were working without a safety net when you decided to forego the humor? How was that process different?

BUCKINGHAM: I wrote the first draft and my editor asked me, “Do you want this to be spooky?” When I said, “Yes,” he told me he would adjust my tone, and then he cut one hundred of the two hundred pages that I had sent him. And what he had done was cut out all of the humor. I was outraged and terrified and started over, but it all seemed to work. Because now the tone was consistent. The creepy moments are no longer watered down by parts that are safe. There’s no place for the reader to run – you go to the next chapter and it just gets scarier. There’s no place for the reader to relax.

TOOLBOOTH: Your books are often described as “boy-friendly.” What elements do you think constitute a good “boy book”?

BUCKINGHAM: Boy protagonist, first and foremost. Action. Not a lot of internal thought – now, that’s not because boys don’t think, but they tend to like action. They tend to like to see things happen, they like to get to the point.

TOOLBOOTH: Does word count play into a book for boys? Dead Boys is a very spare story – was it a conscious decision to write a short book? From my days as a teacher, I know that many boys tend to pick the shortest book on the list.

BUCKINGHAM: There’s a synchronicity between the way boys read and the way I write. Because I’m a lawyer, I’ve been trained to write with an economy of words. Boys like to get to the point, which matches up with what I do.

TOOLBOOTH: Speaking of getting to the point: Your books all have supernatural elements. How soon do you think a story should get to the supernatural hook?

BUCKINGHAM: I think probably by the first line. Or earlier [laughs]. When boys flip your book open, I want them to be hooked right away by whatever your best idea is.

TOOLBOOTH: Is that why you wrote a prologue that sets up the monster tree?

BUCKINGHAM: Yes, I’ve done that with all of my books. I call it a James Bond opening. James Bond movies always open with a big action scene, and you know right away what kind of movie you will be watching.

TOOLBOOTH: Speaking of supernatural elements, how do you deal with suspension of disbelief for a main character?

BUCKINGHAM: That’s a tricky question, because it’s a hard thing to do. One thing you can do is tell your reader more than you are telling your main character. Dead Boys isn’t like that, but a lot of books are. One of the tricks of Dead Boys is that the kids talk like they are from different eras – 60’s, 50’s, 40’s . . . Now, a reader will pick up on that, because they know what kind of book they are reading, but the main character might not pick up on a clue like that. The reader is paying close attention but the character is not hyper-aware.

TOOLBOOTH: Finally, I know that you have a lot of experience in pitching story ideas – to agents and editors in the literary world as well as film producers in Hollywood. What are some tips you would give people on how to pitch well?

BUCKINGHAM: There’s a pitching formula, and you can go to screenwriting books for that. Save the Cat is a good one to show you how to set up a pitch. They can say it better than I can. But once you have the formula down, what you have to do is you have to practice it. It’s like anything else; if you practice you get better at it.

TOOLBOOTH: Who are you practicing with?

BUCKINGHAM: People at parties, people at work, professionals in the industry, friends, fellow writers when they have time. Anybody who will listen. Your waiter. You get to practice with different personalities – people who are interested, people who are bored, people who interrupt. You do it a zillion times and it all becomes part of your experience. And the people who have experience with something generally do it better.

You can visit Royce online at www.demonkeeper.com

- Clete Barrett Smith