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

Maggie Gyllenhaal Talks Sex Scenes

Tribeca: Maggie Gyllenhaal on Sex Scenes From a Woman’s Perspective

Maggie Gyllenhaal as Charlotte Dalrymple. 
Maggie Gyllenhaal as Charlotte Dalrymple.
 Ricardo Vaz Palma, Courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics 

“The plague of our times,” a character declares in “Hysteria,” Tanya Wexler’s new film, “stems from an overactive uterus.” The time is Victorian England and the focus is the invention of the vibrator. The romantic comedy, which plays at the Tribeca Film Festival on Thursday and opens commercially on May 18, stars Hugh Dancy as Mortimer, a forward-thinking doctor, and Maggie Gyllenhaal as Charlotte, a champion of women’s rights and the rebellious daughter of Mr. Dancy’s mentor, as well as his romantic match.

Though its period detail and depiction of na├»ve men trying to “cure” hysterical women through womb massage seems hilariously out of date, there are moments when issues of women’s rights raised (lightly) in the film feel surprisingly relevant. We spoke with Ms. Gyllenhaal by telephone about “Hysteria” and why there are still so few good sex scenes. Here are edited excerpts from the conversation:
Do you think the light tone makes a movie about female sexuality more palatable? Why are there so few good movies about the subject?
I’ve talked to so many people about this. I’ve been interviewed about this all over the world and because of how they finance movies now, I’ve talked to women in Norway and Italy and Finland, Spain and all these women kind of say the same thing, which is there aren’t a lot of movies like this. And why is it even in all those different cultures where they’re not particularly prudish and open to talking about female sexuality? Why, when they watch the movie, is there a kind of hysteria? When I saw it in Toronto, people were laughing in this kind of hysterical way, like, oh my God, an orgasm — and me, too, in a way. I hadn’t been around for the orgasm stuff because Charlotte doesn’t get the chance with the vibrator, and so I hadn’t seen it and I had the same feeling, I got a little flushed and I got a little shy.
Why is sex still such a complicated thing to tackle on film?
I’ve thought a lot about women in movies and sex and sex scenes. The question is why, if half of the adult population is women who have sex, why is it difficult to see? I personally think this doesn’t necessarily account for this movie, but the most interesting sex scenes that I’ve done or seen are the ones that are truthful from a women’s perspective — instead of what I think everybody got used to in the ’80s and ’90s: put on a black Victoria’s Secret demi bra and be lit perfectly and arch your back. That’s supposed to look like sex. But that doesn’t look like sex for most people, and if it does, I think you’re probably missing out on a lot. The more truthful you can be, the sexier it is and the more uncomfortable it can make you sitting next to a stranger in a movie theater.
As an actress, do you look for roles that are more honest about sex?
Someone was talking to me about a film-school character trope, these women in their 20s, quirky, happy-go-lucky, don’t-need-anything kind of girl — that romantic comedy fantasy. But the problem with that fantasy — and I’ve been offered so many parts like that — mostly those women don’t have a lot of need. So you see a man kind of go, “This woman doesn’t care what I do.” I think everybody has great need and that’s so complicated. If somebody needs you, if you need them, all of a sudden you’re going to have responsibility and that’s part of what’s so scary about sex to begin with. In the case of “Hysteria” all of these women have massive need, and some of them are so unhappy and they’re not functioning.
Did you think having a female director was important?
If you’re directed by a woman, it’s going to change the feel of the movie. I remember doing “Sherrybaby,” which was also directed by a woman [Laurie Collyer] and I was doing a really complicated sex scene where the guy in it was like, “That’s not sexy,” and we were both like, “Yes it is.” It’s not what you think would be sexy, but it is. There’s something about having a woman see things more like you that can be really helpful.
What about these scenes makes them work or not?
There’s been such a history of sex scenes that don’t speak to me at all. So when you have the opportunity to do a sex scene and still be a real, thinking person in the midst of it, it can be an incredible way of expressing something about who you’re playing and something about the story. Sex on screen can be one of the most compelling ways of telling a story. Not if you stop acting — I think a lot of people stop acting and start pretending that they’re in a soft-core porn. But the women who don’t I get so interested in. It’s something we don’t talk a lot about in our culture and all of sudden there’s a comparable experience, like I had sex in this way and it felt disappointing and lonely or I’ve had sex in this way and experienced a connection I never could have felt any other way. That’s where I get really interested. Even if you’re talking to your friends, are you getting into the absolute deepest intimacies of it? Maybe, but to see someone act it well, it can make you feel like you have a connection to other human beings.
What was it like working with Hugh Dancy?
His character was hard. He has to make a massive philosophical change in the way he thinks about the world in general. Which I think must have been difficult for him. Because you kind of go: people have been having sex forever and women have been having orgasms, so these guys just all of a sudden truly believed that there was nothing sexual about it and they were just having paroxysms? Either they’re so massively disassociating and it’s terrifying, or they know it’s sexual and they can’t say, but what a hard thing to have to play.
Do you think movies have gotten better about dealing with female sexuality?
In a lot of ways we have. In a lot of ways we haven’t. I do see some movies now and then [with] a sex scene I can relate to and I see a lot less of the ’90s version that I was describing before. I recently went to see “Girlfriends” [from 1978] and it was one of the first narrative movies directed by a woman here [Claudia Weill] and it had a huge effect because of that. She said afterward she made it because she was tired of going to the movies and feeling like the woman’s story was not her story and she was like the other friend way in the background. Even though there isn’t a lot of explicit sex in that movie, it’s about a girl in New York trying to get by and figure out who she is, and I related to it so much and that was made more than 30 years ago. What sex scenes have I liked recently? The sex in “Blue Valentine.” That was very sad and real.
Have you thought at all about “Hysteria’s” relevance in this contentious season of political debate over women’s bodies?
It’s funny because I never thought this movie could really hold a political agenda. I don’t think you can ask it to except in a gentle way, and at the same time so many people have said to me, there’s a scene [where] I say I know one day women will vote and have access to education and have rights over their own bodies. And 100 years later we still haven’t gotten there. But my favorite thing was a woman in Italy said to me, “Which do you think has done more for women’s equality and emancipation, the vibrator or the dishwasher?”

Tribeca Film Festival With Sandra Siegal and Kate Linder


Maria Shriver.com The Blog

Alzheimer's and Caregiving

A Granddaughter’s Journey: Alzheimer’s is Not Just for The Elderly

By Lisa Cerasoli

In 2003, I fell into caregiving quite accidentally, like most family caregivers. When my father called with a diagnosis of terminal lung cancer, without a second thought (or a single rational one), I hopped a plane back to my hometown in Michigan.

The plan? To “heal the guy” and high-tail it back to L.A. He died nine months later.

My grandfather, his father, was in the later stages of Alzheimer’s, which was verified when he looked directly at my father’s obituary and innocently asked, “Who is that guy?” That was my first genuine experience with this disease, and it was at that moment that I realized I couldn’t leave Mom and Gram.

My grandfather died shortly thereafter. I had the honor of cutting his hair the day before he passed. He spoke his first and last words in weeks that day. “Thank you,” he said, as he gazed up at me.

Directly upon the heals of his death, my grandmother, the fabulous Miss Nora Jo, started to become anxious, forgetful and more paranoid than usual.

She was always really funny and tactless; she was our “Archie Bunker in really great drag!” But eventually, she, too, was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. My husband and I (along with our two-year-old daughter and his twelve-year-old son) moved her in promptly.

And that’s when life shifted from Michigan to Mars.

We had Gram up to the house every weekend for three years. So we assumed moving her in would feel the same. We were wrong. In The Secret Life of Bees, Sue Monk Kidd writes, "Knowing what’s right and doing it are two entirely different things. And it’s doing the right thing that counts.”

Well, we knew what the right thing was, and then we did it, which people constantly commend us for, but that did not take away from the shocking reality of “the doing.” And we knew from the moment we made that decision, we were in over our heads.

One year (and several anti-depressants into this adventure) later, my mom suggested I write about it. My response to that was, “Mom, I can barely put together a cohesive grocery list. You want me to write a book?!”

But after further “sleepless” contemplation, I realized, this might be a way to involve my gram, and give us both a nice distraction, along with a bit of purpose. The result was, As Nora Jo Fades Away, my second book.

Here are few excerpts:

Gram could only tell the time now by looking at the stove. “395” to her meant five minutes till Oprah! For us it meant, time to throw in the pizza!

If I left the room for any reason, my return was received as a near-reunion. That is, if they weren’t all trailing me. Let me put it to you this way: between my young daughter, Jazz, my Tea Cup Poodle, Beau, and my gram, Miss Nora Jo, I haven’t peed alone since the summer of ’05.

Gram has been referring to my daughter as “that little boy” and hiding perishables in her underwear drawer for months, and then some long-lost relatives pop in for a visit and suddenly she’s as clear and clairvoyant as a damned psychic. I swear, this job has no glory.

Gram came from a generation that didn’t know anything about “me time,” so it’s not just the Alzheimer’s that has her terrified to be alone. Still, it’s tough, and some days the guilt engulfs me. I want to hold her hand through this whole journey but there are days when answering the same questions become unbearable: My husband is Pete; his son is Brock; I’m Jazzy’s mom. It’s January. It’s June. It’s 2009. No, Gram, we’re not going to have a hurricane, that was national news. My husband is Pete; his son is Brock; I’m Jazzy’s mom. It’s January. It’s June. It’s 2009. It’s all so exhausting...

There she was, rocking in her chair to the beat of her tears. It was Christmas Eve. I approached cautiously. “Gram, what’s wrong?”
“I’m just so ashamed. I didn’t know Ricky-- my own grandson. I’m just so ashamed.” She choked out.
“It’s okay. It’s okay.” I consoled. “Like fifty percent of people your age suffer from memory loss.”
“Yeah, but eighty percent of ‘em are already dead!” She retorted.
...And the woman had a point.

Writing made me realize that this journey was not just exhausting, but contained an abundant series of oddly touching moments that were changing us all for the better.

The memoir won the 2010 Paris Book Festival, and then the London and L.A. Book Festivals, as well, which honestly gave me confidence (and some energy) to pursue Alzheimer’s advocacy on a bigger level.

There was so much we were all learning, about ourselves, this disease, the power of compassion, the ability to “let go.” And the book exposed all angles of the illness -- guilt, fear, anger, devastation, but also the foibles and the funnies that were occurring, too.

And then in the Fall of 2010, I went to Maria Shriver's March on Alzheimer’s in Long Beach, California. I came back even more re-energized (and not just ‘cause I got a break)!

I decided that younger generations needed to become familiarized with this disease, and that the best way to “education” that demographic would be to make it feel like entertainment.

So, I started filming us. Gram was engaging and hilarious and incredibly endearing. And she had passed those traits straight down to my daughter, Jazz, her great granddaughter. So I had two great leading ladies who were a near-century apart but saw each other more as sisters.

And many of their “commonalities,” like their love of card games and coloring contests, made our journey manageable. And we were no longer in “over our heads.” The water was often “neck high,” but we had learned to stay afloat. We still weren’t perfect, but we were pulling it off.

Caregiving is going to be inevitable for many. My objective and my passion is to create mass awareness until we find a cure. There are hidden joys in every aspect of life, even when illness strikes. \

Knowledge is power. Compassion is key. Love and humor can conquer anything. And we are all much stronger than we think.

My grandmother and my daughter taught me that life is about perspective. My documentary, “14 DAYS with Alzheimer’s,” has become mine.


In 2003, Lisa Cerasoli (then an actor - Series Regular, General Hospital) met with Ken Atchity about her screenplay. He said, “Sounds like a novel.” She started writing while simultaneously leaving for Michigan to care for her Dad. On the Brink of Bliss & Insanity - published by Five Star Publications - was the result. It won The London & L.A. Book Festivals. As Nora Jo Fades Away, evolved when Lisa & family took in her gram upon diagnosis of Alzheimer’s. It won The 2010 Paris Book Festival, then nabbed a beautiful foreword from Leeza Gibbons. It’s optioned by RicheProductions. They are currently developing the series. Lisa refers her documentary, “14 DAYS with Alzheimer’s,” as “the sequel” to her memoir. It was completed in August of 2011 and has been touring ever since.


Writing Treatments that Sell

The treatment is a tool used by Hollywood writers to provide a compelling overview of a story prior to writing or revising it. It’s as useful as a marketing device as it is as a diagnostic tool, and some treatments have even sold for millions of dollars. Based on his bestselling book, Writing Treatments that Sell, Dr. Atchity will show you what a treatment is and what you need to know about its essential elements in order to add it immediately to your arsenal of professional writing tools.

About the Presenter
Dr. Atchity is the author of 15 books, including A Writer’s Time, Writing Treatments That Sell, and How to Publish Your Novel. He’s worked successfully in nearly every area of the publishing and entertainment business, and has spent his lifetime helping writers get started with and improve their careers. As founder and head of Atchity Entertainment International, Inc., The Writer’s Lifeline, Inc., including Atchity Productions and Story Merchant, and The Louisiana Wave Studio, LLC. he has produced nearly 30 films in the past 20 years for major studios, television broadcasters, and independent distribution. He is currently nominated for an Emmy for “The Kennedy Detail,” based on the New York Times bestselling book he developed. For nearly twenty years before, as professor of literature and teacher of creative writing at Occidental College and UCLA, he helped literally hundreds of writers find a market for their work by bringing their craft and technique to the level of their ambition and vision. During his time at Occidental, he also served as a regular reviewer for The Los Angeles Times Book Review.

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A 2014 Oscar for Indira?

Publication: The Times Of India Ahmedabad;

Oscar-winning Hollywood director Bruce Beresford was in Mumbai recently to scout for actors for a film on former Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. In an exclusive interview, he tells Dhamini Ratnam why he is betting on a newcomer to play lead TIMES NEWS NETWORK

BRUCE BERESFORD is by his own admission, fascinated by India. Which is why, when the script for Birth of a Nation, a film on Indira Gandhi dropped into his email inbox while he was holidaying in Hawaii last year, he took barely 48 hours to respond with a 50-pager Word document with questions and clarifications.

“The thing about scripts,” says the 71-year-old director of Driving Miss Daisy (which won the Oscar in the best film category in 1990), “is that they pile up. I always read scripts as soon as I get them.”

The script Beresford read was in its 27th draft. Krishna Shah, who demands instant recollection as the man behind the 1978 film Shalimar, wrote the first draft in 1986. The USA-based Hollywood producer wasn’t able to figure out which story to tell from Gandhi’s life.

“Her life is like a Russian melodrama, with a plethora of characters. Then I came across the Bangladesh war, and realized that this episode best exemplified her. She stood up to Yahya Khan (the then Pakistani President), whom nobody wanted to touch, since he was friends with (US President) Nixon. She could not bear the brutality against the people of East Bengal,” explains Shah.

Excerpts from the interview:

Where were you at the time of the Bangladesh war?I was in England, where I worked till 1972 at the British Film Institute. I remember that there were a lot of news items about Indira Gandhi at the time. It was a long time ago, but I was an admirer. The general turn was that she was pretty remarkable, a sort of an Indian Mrs Thatcher. But, by the time I got the script, 40 years had passed.

Did you ever think then that you would make a film on her?No, I never thought I would. It was a fascinating story, though — the rise of a woman to such extraordinary power, which in itself was very rare. Besides, she was a woman, who was also, to put it mildly, formidable. I felt that it would be better if such a film would be made by an Indian, rather than an outsider like me. Then, when I read Krishna’s script, I thought I don’t know why I should rule myself out. Maybe as an outsider, I can bring some objectivity. The last film I did — Mao’s Last Dancer — was about Chinese politics. I thought, if I could do that, you know...

Tell us a bit about your research on Indira Gandhi.I assumed that there would be many films on Indira, given the huge number of films made in India. There were none that I knew of. I searched for her online, and read up, largely to see how accurate the script was. The dialogue’s good. I’ve even started on a couple of biographies that I downloaded from Kindle.

What is the perspective that you are trying to bring in?One of the key tasks is to humanise Indira Gandhi and capture her personality. This is why I like doing films, and if I may say so myself, it’s what I’m good at. I’ve done a number of historical films, and it has always been important for me to portray people with sympathy, warts and all. I want to show them as rounded personalities, not flawless beings, but still capable of admiration.

One aspect that will come into play is her politics. For a lot of liberals, Indira Gandhi was a dictator, and her policies were problematic.That is really what makes the film interesting. If you look at the biographical films done in the 1930s, they were completely idolatrous. Audiences now, are far more sophisticated. They don’t want to see people simply idolized. They want to see elements of controversy. To make a biographical film, you need character conflict, people who have weaknesses that they then overcome, or perhaps don’t, but certainly deal with.

So what are the flaws you’d depict?It’s too early for me to answer that. Once the film is absolutely locked in... I’ll refine all the thoughts. One thing I do know is that she was extraordinarily wilful, which I’m glad about, because it gives us enough conflict for the story. I personally, admire that trait.

The Gandhi family is very particular about the way it is portrayed. Did you need to take permission to make this film, or let them know of your plans?I’ve had nothing to do with that.

(Krishna Shah): This story is in the public domain and as an artiste, I have the right to interpret and depict it, based on factual material. They (Gandhis) know I am doing this film. I haven’t sought any permission, nor do I need to. Through intermediaries, however, we have informed them.

You are keen to cast a newcomer to play Indira Gandhi. Why is that?The one thing that we’re keen on is that the actor bear some resemblance to Indira Gandhi. We have met a number of actors, gone through several known actresses, but the jury’s still out. I’m weary of prosthetics — they take forever to put on and tire out the actor before the shot.

(Krishna Shah): If we have a newcomer, we may surround her with some well-known actors. Indian cinema is star-driven. Nana Patekar matches Jayaprakash Narayan rather well. Shah Rukh (Khan) matches Jawahar Lal Nehru. Paresh Rawal would make a great Yahya Khan. But we haven’t approached them yet. That’ll take a few months. We hope to shoot the film between October and December this year. We’re looking at a November 2013 release, in time for the 2014 Oscars.

While media reports have thrown up Madhuri Dixit and Priyanka Chopra’s names, Bruce Beresford says he’d rather have a newbie play Indira Gandhi

Indira Gandhi was India’s prime minister from 1966 to ’77, and served a fourth term in the ’80s

The rise of e-reading [via David Angsten]

21% of Americans have read an e-book. The increasing availability of e-content is prompting some to read more than in the past and to prefer buying books to borrowing them.

Summary of findings

One-fifth of American adults (21%) report that they have read an e-book in the past year, and this number increased following a gift-giving season that saw a spike in the ownership of both tablet computers and e-book reading devices such as the original Kindles and Nooks.1 In mid-December 2011, 17% of American adults had reported they read an e-book in the previous year; by February, 2012, the share increased to 21%.

The rise of e-books in American culture is part of a larger story about a shift from printed to digital material. Using a broader definition of e-content in a survey ending in December 2011, some 43% of Americans age 16 and older say they have either read an e-book in the past year or have read other long-form content such as magazines, journals, and news articles in digital format on an e-book reader, tablet computer, regular computer, or cell phone.

Those who have taken the plunge into reading e-books stand out in almost every way from other kinds of readers. Foremost, they are relatively avid readers of books in all formats: 88%
of those who read e-books in the past 12 months also read printed books.2 Compared with other book readers, they read more books. They read more frequently for a host of reasons: for pleasure, for research, for current events, and for work or school. They are also more likely than others to have bought their most recent book, rather than borrowed it, and they are more likely than others to say they prefer to purchase books in general, often starting their search online.

The growing popularity of e-books and the adoption of specialized e-book reading devices are documented in a series of new nationally representative surveys by the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project that look at the public’s general reading habits, their consumption of print books, e-books and audiobooks, and their attitudes about the changing ways that books are made available to the public.

Most of the findings in this report come from a survey of 2,986 Americans ages 16 and older, conducted on November 16-December 21, 2011, that extensively focused on the new terrain of e-reading and people’s habits and preferences. Other surveys were conducted between January 5-8 and January 12-15, 2012 to see the extent to which adoption of e-book reading devices (both tablets and e-readers) might have grown during the holiday gift-giving season and those growth figures are reported here. Finally, between January 20-Febuary 19, 2012, we re-asked the questions about the incidence of book reading in the previous 12 months in order to see if there had been changes because the number of device owners had risen so sharply. All data cited in this report are from the November/December survey unless we specifically cite the subsequent surveys. This work was underwritten by a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

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New feature film planned as 'answer to Oliver Stone's fanciful 'JFK'

0416 john f kennedy and jacqueline kennedy.jpg
President John F. Kennedy, shown with wife Jackie.

In marketing Oliver Stone's 1991 New Orleans-shot, Kennedy-assassination conspiracy theory "JFK," Warner Bros. referred to it as "the story that won't go away." Now, some 21 years later, another film company is doing its part to make sure that claim remains true.

President John F. Kennedy, shown with wife Jackie.

The Los Angeles-based Atchity Entertainment, in partnership with the Florida-based Ramos & Sparks Group, announced plans today (April 16) for a feature film based on one insider's account of the Kennedy assassination. The production is described it as an "answer to Oliver Stone's fanciful 'JFK.'"

The new film will be based on the New York Times bestseller "The Kennedy Detail," written by former Secret Service agent Gerald Blaine - a former member of Kennedy's security detail -- with journalist Lisa McCubbin.

The book has already spawned a Discovery Channel documentary, also called "The Kennedy Detail," which was narrated by Martin Sheen and nominated last year for a News and Documentary Emmy in the long-form historical programming category.

For its part, Stone's 1991's "JFK" was based on a book by New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison who -- unsatisfied with the official line -- launched his own investigation into the assassination. Shooting for two months in town in summer 1991, "JFK" stands as one of highest-profile films to shoot in New Orleans prior to the state's 2002 adoption of filmmaking tax incentives.

'The Kennedy Detail,' by former Secret Service agent Gerald Blaine and dissecting the Kennedy assassination, will be the subject of a new movie.

Upon its release in December 1991, the film earned more than $200 million in worldwide box office, as well as eight Oscar nominations, including for best picture. (It won two, for film editing and cinematography).

It also, however, generated no small amount of controversy, as Stone was widely criticized for playing fast and loose with the facts.

The new film, producer Rich Ramos says, will be different.

"As a life-long student of the Kennedy administration and the events of November 22, 1963, I could see immediately that this book provided a clear picture and keen insight into the everyday workings of the administration as well as that horrible day in Dallas," producer Rich Ramos said today in a news release.

"The true story contained in 'The Kennedy Detail' needs to be brought to theaters around the world so that history can be presented accurately, once and for all."
Producers are targeting a 2013 release date - exactly 50 years after the assassination -- although it's unclear when production will begin or where it will take place. No cast has been announced.

This month only, Poisoned Pen Press, is offering Story Merchant Client Dennis Palumbo's debut Daniel Rinaldi Thrilller, MIRROR IMAGE, as an e-book for just 99 cents!

If you haven't yet made the acquaintance of trauma expert and police consultant
Dr. Dan Rinaldi, a character Kirkus Reviews calls "Jack Reacher with a psychology degree," this is your chance.

To purchase the e-book of MIRROR IMAGE at this special promotional rate, just click on this link:

Here's what some noted mystery authors have to say about MIRROR IMAGE:

                      “Dennis Palumbo establishes himself as a master story-teller with his first crime novel, Mirror Image.  Using his background as a licensed psychotherapist to good advantage, Palumbo infuses his fast-moving, suspenseful story with fascinating texture, interesting characters, and the twists, turns and surprises of a mind-bending mystery. Very impressive.”
---Stephen J. Cannell (writer/creator of The Rockford Files;    New York Times best-selling mystery author)

Mirror Image is a rich, complex thriller, built around a sizzling love affair. A compelling read, with surprising twists and characters that leap off the page.”

---Bobby Moresco (Oscar-winning writer/producer of Crash and Million Dollar Baby)

“Mirror Image is a deviously plotted thriller with lots of shocks and surprises you won't see coming, and a smart, sympathetic hero-narrator who takes you along as he peels back layers of lies and wrong guesses to get closer to the truth.”  ---Thomas Perry (Edgar-winning, New York Times best-selling crime novelist)

“Dennis Palumbo’s experience as a psychotherapist hasn’t just helped him make his hero, therapist Dr. Daniel Rinaldi, authentic, human and a man in full, it’s endowed him with the insight to craft a debut thriller filled with action, deduction and romance, expertly paced for maximum suspense.”  ---Dick Lochte, award-winning author and critic

“Dennis Palumbo’s novel is stark and disturbing but there’s a humanity running through the core of it that makes this book special.  Maybe it’s Palumbo’s dual training – as a writer and as a psychotherapist – that allows him to plumb the depths and bring up not only darkness but those occasional diamonds of light that sparkle and illuminate and make a book worth reading.”
 ---T. Jefferson Parker (Edgar-winning, New York Times best-selling author of The Renegades and Iron River)

"Mirror Image is a standout mind-bender! A wonderfully constructed novel that has you seeing double -- and all through the eyes of an intriguingly fresh character: a psychologist.  Dennis Palumbo knows his craft.  This guy can write." ---Ridley Pearson (New York Times best-selling crime author)

New at bn.com: Aries Fire by Elaine Edelson


Aries Fire
by Elaine Edelson
Nook eBook: download at bn.com
Author’s website

“The violent and conspiratorial murder of the renowned scholar, Hypatia of Alexandria, 415 CE leaves her tempestuous 17 year old bastard daughter, Seira, fleeing for her life. A target for extermination by unknown forces, Seira is hurled into a world of religious wars and political intrigue between the Roman Empire and Attila and the Huns.
The fates relentlessly test Seira’s mettle as she searches for her mother’s murderer and her father’s identity. As she matures from an impatient, obstinate, and reckless young woman to a brilliant warrior, scholar, and healer, Seira seizes control of her destiny and finds herself in Constantinople–the center of power for the Eastern Roman Empire–in the presence of the Empress and Emperor, the men who loathe her, lust after her, and fear her. It is in the high court that all the forces that have shaped her over the years converge in the final act that will determine her fate and forever shape the tides of history.”

Mrs. Kennedy and Me Debuts At Number Five On The New York Times Bestseller List!

Mrs. Kennedy And Me Number 7 On Publisher's Weekly Best Seller List!


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2. "Weeknights With Giada" by Giada De Laurentiis (Clarkson Potter, $35). Giada De Laurentiis shares her tips for getting meals on the table quickly. Last week: 2

3. "The Big Miss" by Hank Haney (Crown, $26). Haney delivers an insightful account of his six years coaching Tiger Woods. Last week: 3

4. "Trickle Down Tyranny" by Michael Savage (Morrow, $26.99). Savage, a conservative spokesman, discusses his opinions of President Obama's policies. Last week: —

5. "The Pioneer Woman Cooks" by Ree Drummond (Morrow, $29.99). More recipes from the woman who chucked urban life to marry a cowboy and move to his ranch. Last week: 5

6. "Imagine" by Jonah Lehrer (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $26). Lehrer looks at the science behind what sparks creativity. Last week: 4

7. "Mrs. Kennedy and Me" by Clint Hill with Lisa McCubbin (Gallery, $26). A memoir from Clint Hill, the Secret Service agent assigned to guard Jacqueline Kennedy from 1960 to 1964. Last week

8. "Wild" by Cheryl Strayed (Knopf, $25.95). A memoir of Strayed's 1,100-mile hike along the Pacific Crest Trail. Last week: 10

9. "All In" by Paula Broadwell with Vernon Loeb (Penguin Press, $29.95). The author chronicles Gen. David Petraeus' career and his impact on the U.S. military. Last week: —

10. "The Blood Sugar Solution" by Mark Hyman, M.D. (Little, Brown, $27.99). A doctor describes his guide to losing weight and staying healthy, which involves maintaining balanced insulin levels. Last week: 8

For the week ended April 7, compiled from data from independent and chain bookstores, book wholesalers and independent distributors nationwide.

— Publishers Weekly

Mrs. Kennedy and Me: Discussion and Book Signing with Clint Hill

Thursday, April 19, 2012, 2:00 pm - Sixth Floor Museum, Dallas Texas,

Mrs. Kennedy and Me: Discussion and Book Signing with Clint Hill

For four years, from the election of John Fitzgerald Kennedy in November 1960 until after the election of Lyndon Johnson in 1964, Clint Hill was the Secret Service agent assigned to guard Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy. During that time, he went from being a reluctant guardian to a fiercely loyal watchdog and, in many ways, her closest friend. Fifty years later, Clint Hill tells his story for the first time, offering a tender, enthralling and tragic portrayal of how a Secret Service agent who started life in a North Dakota orphanage became the most trusted man in the life of the First Lady. Filled with unforgettable details, this is the once-in-a-lifetime story of a man doing the most exciting job in the world, with a woman all the world loved, and the tragedy that ended it all too soon — a tragedy that haunted him for fifty years.

Program is free with paid Museum admission or $5 for program only. The Museum will not be taking reservations. Seating is limited and will begin at 1 PM. Books can be pre-ordered at store.jfk.org and will be for sale on-site. Pre-orders placed by Wednesday, April 18, 2012 can be picked up at the event.

Liz Smith Reviews Mrs. Kennedy And Me

Clint Hill's Tender and Loving Memories of America's Most Famous, Fabulous and Fascinating First Lady — Jackie!

"TRUE LOVE is like a ghost: everyone talks of it, but few have met it face to face."
--La Rochefoucauld

I HAVE delayed writing much about a new book titled "Mrs. Kennedy and Me" because, frankly,
every time I look at it, I choke up. This is the story that Clint Hill, the special agent of the Secret Service to Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, thought he would never write.

But, finally, with the help of Lisa McCubbin, he has done so for Gallery Books of Simon & Schuster. Talk about being unable to put a book down; I was enthralled with this memoir from start to finish, tears streaming down my cheeks at the end when President Clinton summoned Mr. Hill to the White House in 1994 to tell him that Mrs. Onassis was dying, and to thank him for service to his country during JFK's administration. And after.

This, simply, is a love story -- and a great one, in that the adored First Lady formed a real bond with her protector, Clint Hill. A friendly respectable bond. And after all the scandal-ridden, tell-all, tell-what-they-imagined, and really tragic books about the Kennedys - this one is a readable relief.

Clint Hill came to truly love Jackie and it shows on almost every page. (Except in the historical
beginning where Hill feels he is being punished by the Secret Service for an unpalatable appointment.)

Kennedy watchers, Kennedy lovers, Kennedy haters are being presented here with an unvarnished but idealistic-at-heart version of Jack, Jackie and the family.

This presents the sly, freedom-loving, paparazzi-hating first lady who seems to have had no idea of what she was in for when she married John Fitzgerald Kennedy. But Mr. Hill thinks she surmounted everything -- gossip, whispers, back-biting, in-laws, tragedies and triumphs with a rare sophisticated good humor.

THERE IS no hint of the onslaught to come of the mythic - true or false - versions of their lives and times with which we would eventually be deluged. Mr. Hill's take is his very own. Clint Hill thinks Jackie overlooked the president's shortcomings, that they were happy together in the White House, that Jackie truly was devoted to her crafty father-in-law and more than did her part as the most fascinating first lady ever to live at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. His job was to protect her and protect her children and protect them, he did. Or tried to.

It was a difficult, demanding, unrewarding job but he came to love it and her. And the only hint of the negative is toward the end when President Kennedy warns Clint Hill to keep Jackie away from a man named Aristotle Onassis. At the time, Hill couldn't figure out why. And even as Jackie lay dying in New York, Clint Hill writes: "...Mrs. Onassis...I still can't bear to call her that -- to me she will forever be Mrs. Kennedy."

As I said above, this is a love story by someone who notes rightly that "Mrs. Kennedy and I had been through hell together." He felt he couldn't/shouldn't even call or see her again without bringing to mind that day in Dallas.

This is a grand, protective and unabashedly idealistic view of Jacqueline by someone who loved and served. On every page, I waited to see what Clint wrote next, what negatives he observed but hid, but -- in the end--he reveals next to nothing except about her cleverness, her hidden worldliness, how hard she worked to do the right thing, and protect her children and her husband's legacy.

And you know what? You read right up to the trip to Dallas, hoping the ending will be different. Clint Hill has added immeasurably to the history of the 1,000 days, plus many more when he went on serving. He is a great American hero. And his heroine is enhanced by how he remembers her!

Jackie would have loved this book. It is a real, revealing portrait and is simply fascinating.
Clint Hill is in his 80s and I would like to give him a big hug.

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