Thursday, September 23, 2010: Dedicated Issue: Gallery Books

Gallery Books: Left Neglected by Lisa Genova

Gallery Books: 30 Days to a Well-Mannered Dog by Tamar Geller

Gallery Books: Teed Off by Sherrie Daly

Gallery Books: The Secret History of Elizabeth Tudor Vampire Slayer by Lucy Weston

Gallery Books: The Altar of Bones by Philip Carter

Gallery Books: The Butterfly's Daughter by Mary Alice Monroe

Editors' Note

Dedicated Issue: Gallery Books

Happy birthday to Gallery Books! In this issue, Shelf Awareness celebrates the Simon & Schuster division, now a year old and already making its mark in the business.

The publisher helped support this issue. John Mutter and Laurie Lico Albanese wrote the stories.


Gallery Books: Goodnight Tweetheart by Teresa Medeiros

Books & Authors

Gallery Tour

Gallery has been under construction for a year, the result of the merging of the lists and staffs of Pocket Books's eclectic hardcover and trade paperback lines and Simon Spotlight Entertainment's pop culture and celebrities titles. (Pocket Books continues to publish mass market books, its traditional forte.)

But the merging involved not simply the cobbling together of two imprints: the new division has defined its mission and its editors have remade their jobs, too. Editors specializing in fiction have also bought nonfiction and vice versa. "We asked them to explore the other side," Gallery Books executive v-p and publisher Louise Burke said. "They are crossing over into other genres. We are not pigeon holing here." There is one important constant, however: whatever categories they work in, editors ask themselves "what does the market want?"

With the spring 2011 list, Gallery is fully unveiling its vision as a publisher with four areas of focus, or halls of the gallery, as it were: women's fiction, narrative nonfiction, celebrity titles and thrillers. Within those four halls, Gallery Books aims to showcase established authors and new voices, offer fiction and nonfiction titles, sometimes emphasize the literary, sometimes emphasize the commercial, and appeal to many readers.

The upcoming lists show the depth and breadth of the approach:

In women's fiction, the emphasis, Burke said, is on "great storytellers and books with heart." A prime example is Brooklyn Story by Suzanne Corso (see q&a below), which Burke called "a personal favorite, a cross between Working Girl, Moonstruck and Goodfellas." Other examples (see below): Lipstick in Afghanistan by Roberta Gately, Winter Bloom by Tara Heavey, The Tender Mercy of Roses by Anna Michaels, Amaryllis in Blueberry by Christina Meldrum and The Kitchen Daughter by Jael McHenry.

One of the biggest books of the season for Gallery is a women's fiction title: Left Neglected by Lisa Genova (see story below), the author of the bestselling Still Alice, about a woman who has to retrain the left side of her body after an accident. "Many women can relate to this story of a woman multitasking and not doing one thing well while neglecting her relationships," Burke said. "It's a great example of a commercially viable topic and speaks to what we're publishing."

Burke called Left Neglected "a brain affliction story but less tragic than Still Alice. This will be hardcover. Lisa Genova is ready for prime time."

Already the January book is receiving bookseller buzz. Bill Cusumano of Nicola's Books, Ann Arbor, Mich., wrote: "Thank you for the distinct honor of an early read of Left Neglected. It is what I describe as a WOW book and I only have one higher category, which I use about once every three years.... This is such a spectacular novel my only regret is I have to wait so many months before being able to sell it."

And Elizabeth A. Lewis, manager of Rainy Day Books, Fairway, Kan., wrote: "I could so clearly picture Sarah's symptoms and struggles I felt just as frustrated with them as she must have been. I flew through it--think it will make for a great book club book and is perfect for our clientele (mostly women who like fast-moving, emotional, relatable novels about women). We have a large group of Still Alice fans, and I'm positive that Left Neglected will only enhance their feelings."


An example of narrative nonfiction is In Stitches: The Making of a Doctor by Anthony Youn (see story below), a funny, poignant memoir of one doctor's years in medical school and how he went from being an awkward geek to a successful plastic surgeon.

The Kennedy Detail by Gerald Blaine is another big narrative nonfiction title (see below): it's by a Secret Service agent who was part of the group of agents charged with protecting the life of President Kennedy. The book will be released just before the anniversary of the assassination.


Gallery will publish only a few thrillers each year. "We will be very selective," said Burke. Upcoming are The Altar of Bones by Philip Carter (see story below) and Thou Shalt Kill by Daniel Blake.

Burke called Carter "a new voice," whose book reads like a Dan Brown novel. "The author has captured all I love about thrillers and he has a strong female protagonist who becomes involved with the hero," she said with great satisfaction. Rights have already sold in nine countries pre-publication.


Simon Spotlight Entertainment was the destination publisher for celebrity titles from authors such as Chelsea Handler, Tori Spelling and McKenzie Phillips, and Gallery's v-p and editor-in-chief Jen Bergstrom said that Gallery is continuing that tradition with current bestsellers such as Tim Gunn's Gunn's Golden Rules; Oh My Dog by Beth Stern, Howard Stern's wife; and Sliding into Home by Kendra Wilkinson, star of Playboy's The Girls Next Door and the reality show Kendra. What's more, Bergstrom said, "Gallery will continue to focus on publishing celebrities who are experts on relatable topics and who can dole out helpful advice that is fun to read."

Among big upcoming celebrity titles are Star Jones's novel, Satan's Sisters (see story below), Roseanne Barr's Roseannarchy, The George Carlin Letters by his wife, Sally Wade, and Oh No She Didn't: The Top 100 Style Mistakes Women Make and How to Avoid Them by Clinton Kelly.


Gallery Books: The Mommy Diet by Alison Sweeney

Neuroscience and Nursing Babies: A Talk with Lisa Genova

Halfway through her life, a savvy, driven, successful family woman comes up against an impossible hurdle that forces her to rethink every way she has defined herself. Who am I if I don't have these touchstones? Who am I if I don't have my memories? What happens if I can't hold onto my achievements and place in the world?

Millions of readers know this as the fundamental challenge for Lisa Genova's Alzheimer's-afflicted heroine in the bestselling novel Still Alice, which has more than 500,000 copies in print and was a breakout title across many retail channels. Millions more will soon discover similar neurologically based questions of identity and self-integrity at the core of her new novel, Left Neglected. And Genova is well aware that in many ways this narrative parallels the arc of her own life as a high-powered business woman who took a few wrong turns before taking a new road into the next phase of her life.

"It's incredibly fair to say my first life was a lot like Sarah Nickerson's [in Left Neglected] in that I had imagined it long ago and decided this is what's going to happen," she said. "I went along with my head down going 1,000 miles an hour, but I wasn't checking in with myself or seeing if it was something I really wanted."

In Left Neglected, Sarah Nickerson's high-powered life comes to a screeching halt when she crashes her car while fiddling with her cell phone. She wakes in the hospital with a brain injury that results in a rare condition known as left-side neglected. Sarah cannot see anything placed on her left side--not her children, her husband, her mother or the food on her plate. The life only half-lived and half-seen becomes embodied in Sarah's illness.

"Before she has this neurological condition she's already not paying attention to half of her life anyway," Genova said. "I've talked to a lot of writers over the past couple of years and what becomes apparent is whatever you're writing about, you're kind of writing about yourself."
A high achiever who doesn't define herself that way ("I enjoy learning so I guess I'm kind of a nerd"), Genova was valedictorian of her public high school class, valedictorian at Bates College, earned a Ph.D. in neuroscience from Harvard and once held a high-salaried, high-pressure job as a Boston strategy consultant--the same job Sarah Nickerson holds.

In 2000, Genova went on maternity leave with her first child, and her marriage began to unravel. Meanwhile the author's beloved grandmother had been diagnosed with Alzheimer's and was rapidly deteriorating. As a neuroscientist, Genova understood the disease on a molecular and physiological level, but as a granddaughter she felt devastated and helpless. "All the stuff I could read in the neuroscience world didn't explain what was going on with this woman who I loved."

Genova told a colleague that someday she'd like to write a novel that imagined the disintegrating interior life of an Alzheimer's sufferer. When her divorce was finalized in 2004, she reassessed her future and began the novel. It took a year and a half to complete Still Alice--a time she recalls as hopeful and romantic, when every day was one of creative exploration and personal discovery.

"Getting a divorce is pretty life-changing," she said. "I could have gone into the abyss of it, but in the end I'm really proud of the fact that I decided I'm still young and healthy and I'm ready to get back into things."

When she was unable to find an agent or a publisher for the book so dear to her heart, Genova was daunted but unbowed. She set up a website, self-published Still Alice in 2007, sold the novel out of her car and rustled up some impressive publicity that took her to the front page of the New York Times. By May 2008, she had signed with literary agent Vicky Bijur, and within days Bijur sold Still Alice to Simon & Schuster's Kathy Sagan at auction for $500,000. The life Genova thought was broken had given way to something richer, saner and more satisfying.

"Both books are absolutely books about the self," she said. "Sarah's living a life to prove herself and prove her worth and to have something visible to point to show she's here and she matters and she's important. Through her condition she moves to the conclusion that she doesn't need all of that stuff to be important and to matter, and she has a chance to decide 'What do I want to do and what do I want to be and what is the life I want to have?' "

Today Genova is the mother of a one-month-old baby girl, two-year-old son and 10-year-old daughter. She lives on Cape Cod with her second husband, an independent photographer and documentary filmmaker, and her days are a colorful patchwork of writing and family. The rich tumult of a carefully juggled domestic life is beautifully realized in Left Neglected, as are the strains of a working mother with too much on her plate and too little time.

"That was the easiest part for me to write because I'm living it," Genova said with an easy laugh. "The craziest part of my day is trying to squeeze in the writing and professional life. I'm breast-feeding my baby now, I get that world and I know how insane it is."

Women who do too much; women who can't focus on what's most important to them; women who face the terror of disappearing inside their own minds: these are issues and topics Genova is eager to discuss. What Still Alice did for Alzheimer's, Genova hopes Left Neglected will do for left-side neglected: bring awareness and open conversation to a misunderstood condition veiled in mystery and fear.

But the conversation needn't stop there. Oprah, if you're listening, Genova and her "big, loud, extended Italian family" want you to know it's here--a book that takes the dangers of texting and talking on the cell phone while driving and turns it into a heart-wrenching journey toward self-discovery.

"While I was writing Left Neglected," Genova said, "I'd see Oprah's campaign against using cell phones in your car and I'd be yelling at the TV--'have me on your show, Oprah, have me on your show!' This is a timely issue."--Laurie Lico Albanese




Gallery Books: Nowhere Near Normal by Traci Foust

In Stitches: The Making of a Doctor

Now a handsome, articulate, married, celebrity plastic surgeon and media star, Dr. Anthony Youn emphasized that not long ago, "I was a tall, skinny nerd with big glasses, braces and a huge jaw." And he was not the only medical student like that. "Most doctors are nerds as kids, fish out of water," he said. "They are not the life-long smooth, self-confident people patients like to imagine and doctors like to project."

Medical school is where doctors change; it's "a huge transition" for most future doctors, he continued. At medical school, "you go from being an undergraduate, where you're there to party and have fun and meet girls, to being a doctor, when people are looking for you to save their lives."

In fact, the arc of Youn's life has been greater than that of many doctors. With his own highly successful plastic surgery practice, Youn now is a regular on the Rachael Ray Show, appears on many other shows and blogs on Celebrity Cosmetic Surgery, which he called "the most-read blog by a plastic surgeon in the country."

Unfortunately books about medical students and doctors tend to be testimonials about their live-saving abilities and perpetuate stereotypes of doctors who have always had all the right answers, Youn maintained. The books are serious because "patients want us to be serious."

But he has a prescription for the lack of reality and humor in books about the making of doctors: it is In Stitches, his memoir that comes out in May that focuses on his four years of medical school with "lots of flashbacks to my childhood." The book, Youn said, "tells the truth, and at the same time, it's hilarious."

It's almost too honest, he continued. "A lot of it is embarrassing," he said laughing. "Parts of the book I haven't even told my wife about. I hope she doesn't look poorly on me!"

In In Stitches, Youn recounts growing up one of two Asian-Americans in a small town in the middle of Michigan as well as his journey at medical school, when he had no girlfriends and just a few failed dates, was 6'1", weighed 138, had a horrible haircut and thick glasses. "It's not to show how cool I am or about my exciting life," he stressed. "It's more to say that no matter where you come from, you can grow and develop confidence." And, most medical students, he emphasized, have "a big element of self-doubt. You don't know: do I really fit in here?"

One of the many stories he recounts in the book is about the first life he saved. It is not the tale of heroics in surgery. (In fact, he said, "a lot of patients' lives I've changed and some I've failed as well.") Instead, it is a tale of connecting with and helping a person make a life-changing decision, one that shows medicine at its best. One of the first patients Youn was assigned to during a residency in Michigan had had a heart attack and cardiac arrest. The cardiac surgeon was trying to convince the patient to have a bypass. But the patient's wife had died of cancer and he didn't care about living anymore. Youn's task, the cardiac surgeon said, was to convince the man to have the surgery. "I had time and patience," Youn said, so he sat with the man and talked, eventually helping him decide to have the surgery for the granddaughter the patient cared about. The man said that Youn had spent more time with him in one day than all the doctors spent with his wife during her long illness. Later he told Dr. Youn, "You saved my life."

In another story, one that shows a bizarre and hilarious side of plastic surgery, Youn recounts that during a residency at a Beverly Hills plastic surgeon's office, he helped operate on a porn star with huge breast implants who developed life-threatening complications. He sums up the effort this way: "We had to place medical leeches on her nipples for her to survive." He added: "It's all part of the grueling process of becoming a doctor."

Youn worked on In Stitches for five years and clearly enjoyed the process, from writing an original manuscript to working with Alan Eisenstock to edit and shape the book.

"I'm a doctor, not a professional writer," Youn said. "I have no notion that I'm Will Shakespeare. I won't say I wrote every word, but it's a real collaboration. I'm getting a lot more satisfaction out of it than if I called it in."

Youn wrote "mainly in the evenings and jotting notes here and there. It was great waking up in the morning and the first thing that came into my head was the story."

In fact, he called writing In Stitches "a dream come true" and hopes that the book will be well received by the general public and become required reading for medical students and doctors. Then he hopes to begin writing another book that will detail his experience as a resident and starting up his practice--with the same dosages of honesty, poignancy and hilarity.--John Mutter


Suzanne Corso on Fate, Cranberry Juice, Her True Voice


Brooklyn Story is a fast-paced, emotion-laced and deeply moving fiction debut from Manhattan author Suzanne Corso. It was snatched up by Gallery's senior editor Mitchell Ivers in a matter of days and has the support of Hollywood stars Olympia Dukakis, Lorraine Bracco and Armand Assante. The novel tells the wrenching tale of Samantha Bonti, a gritty, gutsy, good-looking Bensonhurst girl who gazes across the Brooklyn Bridge and dreams of one day crossing over to a new life in Manhattan. Samantha longs to become a writer who lives each day with verve, faith and ease, but her dreams seem out of reach. Her drug-addicted mother can't help. Her Italian gangster father is long gone. Her loving Jewish grandmother can't protect her. And her seductive boyfriend, Tony, is offering expensive gifts and a dangerous life that will only take her farther from her true self and deeper into the dark side of Brooklyn.

Shelf Awareness had a lively conversation with Corso about writing, Bensonhurst, her flight from her past, her dreams for the future and her brief stint at as a temp at Simon & Schuster.


How much of Brooklyn Story is autobiographical?

I have to be honest: Samantha's really me. She really is me. I was brought up by a Jewish grandmother and a Jewish mother turned Catholic, and I had a crazy boyfriend who did crazy things, but I needed to get out of it and to get out of Brooklyn and pursue my dreams.

Although it's one of ultimate triumph, this is a grueling tale. How does it feel finally to have your story out there?

This is huge for a girl like me, who comes from absolutely nothing. But I had so many things inside of me that other girls didn't, and I made that work for me. I'm teaching my daughter now that you can't let a man tell you what to do. When you hear the first "shut up," you have to get out.

Did you study writing?

I had to drop out of high school because of an abusive boyfriend. I had to drop out of college because my mother was dying, and I had to run the household. I may have taken one course at NYU, but every time I tried to go to school, something would happen. I couldn't pursue writing because working to stay afloat was more important. When I was sick with a kidney stone, I had to drink cranberry juice and water until I passed the kidney stone on the R train. That's a true story! I had no money. I couldn't afford to go to the doctor. I passed a kidney stone on the R train.

It sounds like a long journey from there to here. What helped you get started as a writer and what helped you stay with it?

I don't think anyone can teach you how to write. I'd study structure and grammar, and I'd get bored with it. When Mitchell Ivers at Gallery was reading the book, I thought he'd want me to fix up the grammar and everything, but he called me and said, "Suzanne, I love this book so much I don't want to change a thing." The voice is really mine.

When did you start writing Brooklyn Story?

I started the book when I was 17 years old. I didn't choose to be a writer. The writing came to me. It was therapy for me because my life was so dysfunctional. I did so many drafts. I had friends read it. Other editors would work with me. I think that's where I learned, sitting with other writers, letting other people look at it. I believe a lot in fate, too. I would pray, and I would believe that something would happen for me.

You've said that fate and faith have played a role in your life and in your career. Can you talk about that?

When I was 19 years old, I was a temp at Simon & Schuster. I used to look at all the slush piles and I'd imagine what it would be like to be published there. Here I am 21 years later and I'm published there and it's hardcover and I'm over the moon. This is really important for me: the fact that I temped at S&S, and I visualized that I would someday be published there. Fate plays a big part in my life, totally. I prayed to the Blessed Mother, too. It's like she's my mother because my real mother isn't alive anymore. I live in the city. I'm married. I have an 11-year-old daughter named Samantha. When I met my husband, I legitimately became Catholic.

You have some amazing endorsements for your book. Tell me about Olympia Dukakis, Lorraine Bracco and Armand Assante. Are they your friends, and how did you meet them?

I met Armand, Olympia and Lorraine through friends. I'd produced a play and a documentary, and I met Olympia in 2002. I dabbled in all these things because I had to get to where I am right now. Lorraine and Olympia are my friends. I spent a lot of summers in the Hamptons with Lorraine. Lorraine is attached to the role of Pamela, and Olympia would want to play my grandmother. Movie deals are way harder than book deals, but I know that someone big will do the movie, and I can't wait. I can't wait to see what God gives me.

It sounds like you have exciting plans for Samantha's story. What are they?

We're shopping around the screenplay now. Also I guess you can say it--yes, say it--Brooklyn Story is part of a planned trilogy. I do everything in threes. That's my superstition. The next book starts from where Samantha leaves off in this one. She goes onto the next stage of her life, from age 25 to 45, and it's pretty much up to present day. Just when you think you get out of the craziness, you don't get out of the craziness. You can't believe the things that have happened to me!

What do you most want people to know about Brooklyn Story?

I want to be the author who interacts with people. When I do bookstores and signings, I'm very approachable. I want women to come up to me and say, "I went through this, too." I want readers to walk away thinking, "She got out of this. Look at her today. I can get out of it too."


Satan's Sisters: Star Jones's Point of View

Despite its subtitle, Satan's Sisters: A Novel Work of Fiction by Star Jones is a fast-paced, deliciously bitchy roman a clef by the former View co-host, who was dropped from the daily talk show by lead host Barbara Walters in a very public, ugly way in 2006. Apparently not all is forgiven.

Satan's Sisters opens when a former host of the Lunch Club--a daily TV talk show hosted by five women--who has gone on to host her own show, returns as a guest. She announces that her show will soon have as a guest another former Lunch Club host, Missy Adams, whose departure from the Lunch Club was as ugly as Star Jones's from the View and who has written a tell-all called... Satan's Sisters.

Upon hearing the news live on the show, the five current Lunch Club hosts are uncharacteristically speechless: they and other members of the staff immediately fear that Missy Adams may expose any of a number of Lunch Club scandals, including one host's Xanax and junk food addictions; several affairs involving a host and show and network executives, most of whom are married; a closeted gay host who fears being outed; the illegitimate daughter of two staffers. But the host with the most to lose is Maxine Robinson, the queen bee of the show whose career resembles that of the preeminent View host. Maxine forced out Missy, and in return for Missy's departure, Maxine agreed to keep quiet about a man languishing in prison falsely accused of rape by Missy when she was a teenager. This is just one egregious example of Maxine's manipulative, imperious, jealous personality.

The news about the upcoming book sets off a flurry of activity as Lunch Club hosts and staff try to find out what's in the tell-all, obtain copies and almost incidentally confront the things that they fear being exposed. In the end, most of the people wind up happier and in much better situations, even though this growth comes with sometimes painful upheaval. Even the ever-conniving, nasty Maxine has her moments of humanity and is rewarded.

Satan's Sisters is a well-plotted, satisfying fiction debut for Jones.


The Altar of Bones: Siberia to San Francisco and Back

The Altar of Bones by Philip Carter (March) begins in present-day San Francisco when Rosie, an older, homeless woman dying after being stabbed on the street, utters these strange last words: "They didn't have to kill him. He never drank from the altar of bones. I got it back." Clues connect Rosie with Zoe Dmitroff, a San Francisco lawyer who specializes in defending abused women, but Zoe has never heard of Rosie. Soon the pony-tailed man who killed Anna comes after Zoe, and she discovers a long letter from Rosie, who turns out to be Katya Orlova, the grandmother she never met--and a "keeper" of the altar of bones, which means nothing to her.

At the same time, Michael O'Malley, a Texan with a mysterious past, wants to make a deathbed confession to his son Ry, who has run special ops in Afghanistan against al Queda and the Taliban, and has physique, skills and connections to rival James Bond. But Ry arrives late, after Michael O'Malley's other son, Father Dominic O'Malley, a priest, hears what he had to say. Just after Father Dom gets the gist of his father's bizarre tale to Ry, Father Dom is killed in his church by Yasmine Poole, a methodical, brilliant woman who gets orgasmic thrills from killing and works for her lover, billionaire and political kingmaker Miles Taylor. Yasmine will not rest until everyone she is asked to kill is dead.

Yasmine hunts Ry, too, and eventually Ry and Zoe team up to try to elude the different people after them as well as to figure out what's going on. What's on the film that some of the pursuers want? Who are the would-be murderers working for? What is the altar of bones? What haven't their parents told them about their earlier lives?

The action shifts quickly from the U.S. to Paris to Budapest to Russia. Along the way, Zoe learns slowly that she is the new keeper of the altar of bones--located behind a waterfall in Siberia--that offers anyone who drinks it immortality, but at a dreadful cost. The line of keepers and the secret of the altar of bones go back centuries and involve, among others, Ivan the Terrible, Rasputin, Marilyn Monroe and John F. Kennedy. (Carter has a stunning explanation for the assassination of President Kennedy--one that would surprise even the most extreme conspiracy theorist!) As Zoe and Ry continue to elude the people who want them dead, they engage in non-stop repartee that slowly turns tender, especially as they discover the shocking truth about their parents' pasts.

Philip Carter is a pseudonym for a bestselling author in a different genre.


Gallery's Gallery: Highlights from the List

Winter Bloom by Tara Heavey (October)

In the heart of Dublin, an overgrown, littered garden with a stagnant pond is owned by an elderly woman rumored to have murdered and buried her husband there. Eva Madigan, a young mother who wants to move on from the pain of her past, organizes a group to clean the garden and make it bloom again. Soon the lives of the gardeners are revealed; overgrown secrets dug up and shared; the garden gives more than ever imagined.

Advance word from booksellers is rosy: Sally Lott McLellan, a bookseller at Square Books, Oxford, Miss., said she found "the theme of gardening and healing profound and inspiring. I was intrigued by the characters and their stories that had to be unearthed, nurtured and healed."


Oh No She Didn't: The Top 100 Style Mistakes Women Make and How to Avoid Them
by Clinton Kelly (October)

The host of TLC's What Not to Wear, spokesperson for Macy's, fashion magazine editor and motivational speaker, Clinton Kelly offers a mix of fashion do's and don'ts for women, including his list of 100 top sartorial mistakes as well as tips for dressing well. All in an entertaining, useful effort to help fashion victimes everywhere!


Lipstick in Afghanistan by Roberta Gately (November)

In this debut novel, Gately, a former nurse in war zones in Africa and Afghanistan, tells the story of Elsa, a nurse from working-class Boston who travels to Afghanistan after 9/11, wanting to help people less fortunate than she. Elsa takes a kind of talisman with her--a tube of lipstick she found in her older sister's bureau. Whenever she puts it on, it raises her spirits and makes her all the more determined. At the small medical clinic she tries to prove herself to Afghan doctors and villagers--and begins a forbidden romance with a Special Forces soldier. She also gives away lipstick, a coveted item in Afghanistan. Then a tube of lipstick she finds after a bus bombing leads to a friendship with Parween, and the two women risk their lives to save friends and family from the Taliban, and Elsa finds she has to let loose the warrior within her.

Burke called Gately "the real thing": a nurse, aid worker, writer and spokesperson for refugees and the displaced. Burke noted, too, that women's stories in Afghanistan and tales of nurses "touch us all." Lipstick in Afghanistan is an Indie Next pick for November.


The Kennedy Detail by Gerald Blaine with Lisa McCubbin (November)

In The Kennedy Detail, Gerald Blaine, a member of the Secret Service detail charged with protecting President Kennedy, tells the group's story, drawing on his and other agents' memories of their job, the time leading up to the assassination and the tragedy's toll on the men in the days and years afterwards. Scenes that the agents discuss include the president's final words to a tearful John-John when he left Washington for the trip to Texas; the last-minute decision to switch to an open-air limousine for the motorcade; conversations in the hospital as the president lay dying, including how Attorney General Robert Kennedy learned that his brother was not likely to live.

The Discovery Channel is doing a special based on the book that will run November 21. Gallery plans to use that special in an enhanced e-book version of The Kennedy Detail.


Dirty Secret: A Daughter Comes Clean About Her Mother's Compulsive Hoarding
by Jessie Sholl (December)

An essayist and short story writer, contributor to and a creative writing teacher at the New School University, Jessie Sholl opens up fully about her mother's problem with hoarding. She also examines the disorder in general, its effect on family members, and the advantages of accepting such behavior instead of trying to change it. Sholl blogs on this and other subjects at


Welcome to My World by Johnny Weir (January)

The three-time U.S. Championship figure skater who was a star of the 2010 Olympics, Johnny Weir has his own reality show, Be Good, Johnny Weir, on the Sundance Channel and has modeled in runway shows for hip label Heatherette. In Welcome to My World he offers stories about himself and essays on everything from pop culture to skating to fashion to his own complicated and crazy life.

Bergstrom noted that Weir taught himself how to skate in Amish country in Pennsylvania and has become "a popular culture guru on Leno and Chelsea. He's catty and dishing in his own way, and the Lady Gaga of figure skaters."


Chocolate and Vicodin: My Quest for Relief from the Headache that Wouldn't Go Away
by Jennette Fulda (February)

In early 2008, as her first book, Half-Assed: A Weight-Loss Memoir, was becoming a full success, Jennette Fulda came down with a headache, an "invisible tiara of nails," a horrible headache that never went away. She was tested repeatedly and tried all kinds of medications. She turned to writing as well as something more dangerous--the woman who had lost hundreds of pounds began eating lots and lots of chocolate. Eventually Fulda learned to live with the pain and get by, even thrive because of it.

Fulda blogs regularly on


The George Carlin Letters: The Permanent Courtship of Sally Wade
by Sally Wade (February)

Although best known for his sharp satire and comedy ("seven words you can never say on television"), the late George Carlin was also a romantic, as his wife of 10 years, Sally Wade, knew. Every day for a decade, he wrote to her--letters, postcards, notes, drawings--the last a note Wade found propped on her computer when she returned from the hospital the day Carlin died. Here Wade shares more than 100 of those missives and drawings as well as photographs. Incidentally, the pair met in Dutton's bookstore in Los Angeles.


Amaryllis in Blueberry by Christina Meldrum (March)

The Slepy family--Dick and Seena and their four daughters, each of whom has Mary in her name--leaves the Midwest to do missionary work in an African village. But the Slepys are not as ordinary as they seem, and soon Seena is on trial for murdering her husband, and Amaryllis (read aMARYllis) uses her extrasensory gift to uncover the lies and secrets that have been hidden in her family for too long.

Meldrum has done aid work in Africa. Her YA novel Madapple was an ALA Best Book for Young Readers citation last year. Amaryllis in Blueberry is her first adult novel.

The publisher is comparing this with The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver and has already received a wonderful quote from author Kristin Hannah: "Christina Meldrum is a fresh, invigorating new voice in women's fiction. Amaryllis in Blueberry is a beautifully written, completely compelling novel that grabbed me from the very first page and wouldn't let me go. I especially loved the African setting."


Thou Shalt Kill by Daniel Blake (April)

Thou Shalt Kill is a thriller by Daniel Blake, the pseudonym of Boris Starling, screenwriter and author of Vodka, Storm, Messiah and Visibility. Blake has a striking background for a thriller writer. He was a reporter for the Sun and the Daily Telegraph in London and he has worked for Control Risks, a corporation that specializes in kidnapping negotiations and confidential investigations.

In Thou Shalt Kill, Blake introduces a character Burke described as "a man that men want to be and a man women want to be with." He's Pittsburgh homicide detective Franco Patrese, a jaded cop who is on the trail of a serial killer whose mission is to punish and murder the sinful according to his interpretation of the Bible. First Patrese and his partner discover the charred body of a brain surgeon, then a Catholic bishop is set ablaze in his Cathedral. The murders become increasingly horrific as the pair uncover a series of scandals and get closer to the truth about the murders. It's "very scary in a creepy way," Burke added with a shudder.


The Kitchen Daughter by Jael McHenry (April)

After her parents die unexpectedly, Ginny Selvaggio, a shy and sheltered 26-year-old with Asperger's Syndrome, finds comfort in cooking family recipes. When she cooks her Nonna's special rich, peppery soup, the ghost of Nonna appears, quickly gives a cryptic warning and vanishes.

In the meantime, Ginny's bossy sister Amanda decides to sell the family house, where Ginny still lives, forcing Ginny to pack up her parents' belongings. In the process, she stumbles on several mysteries: Why did her mother hide a letter in the chimney? Who is the woman in her father's photographs? The answers lie with the dead and she can communicate with them only by cooking their recipes, which raises their ghosts.

McHenry is a pop culture columnist and editor-in-chief of Intrepid Media, a regular contributor to Writer Unboxed and an amateur cook who blogs about food and cooking at


The Tender Mercy of Roses by Anna Michaels (May)

In this debut novel set in the South, the spirit of murdered young rodeo star Pony Jones guides her grieving father, Titus, who is bent on vengeance, and disgraced police detective Jo Beth Dawson, who is on a self-destructive alcoholic path, to meet. Spurred on by Pony, the unlikely pair go on the search of her killer. That path is intense, emotional and a full of surprises, and leads them to discover deep, dark secrets.

Anna Michaels lives in Mississippi, where she grows roses.




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