Monday, October 18, 2004

Words and Pictures

I apologize for not posting for so long. To all of you who have written asking if I'm okay, I thank you for your concern. The interval of silence has nothing to do with my state of mind, it's just that there are a finite numbers of hours in a day. With the Chagim, the holidays, and my involvement in so many projects, I'm operating on hyper-speed. Currently, I'm writing two screenplays for cable TV. Normally, these two projects would keep me occupied 24/7. But Karen and I are also getting The Hebrew Kid and the Apache Maiden ready for its January '05 publication date. We are mailing out review copies to Jewish newspapers, magazines and book clubs. We are also arranging through our distributor, Jonathan David Publishers, for showcasing in the big chain bookstores. However, Borders, Barnes & Noble and all the huge chains are reluctant to take a chance on ordering more than one or two copies from a new independent publisher with a book by an unknown author--no matter how well written it is. And they all agree that The Hebrew Kid and the Apache Maiden is a delightful read. They are interested in the BIG promotions, and narrow their focus to the publishers who will spend a fortune on advertising and publicity. So our strategy is to concentrate our efforts in the Jewish community, our primary market. Still, it would be fantastic if the readers of Seraphic Secret would drop by their local bookstore, independent or chain, and ask for The Hebrew Kid and the Apache Maiden ( ISBN: 0-9754382-1-2). If enough people order the book, they will start to pay attention. If any of my readers is a professional publisher, I would appreciate hearing from you with any advice you might have.
I'm also busy working with other authors on the next several Seraphic Press titles. Here's a quick run-down:

My Shrapnel is the true story of Gila Weiss, a young American immigrant to Israel who survived the Machane Yehuda bombing. Her book is amazing because Gila refuses to be a victim. This is an amazingly heroic and resilient woman who works hard to make the best of the terror that ripped into her life. On the first page of the book she writes: "... the bombing, in fact, was the best thing that ever happened to me." Naturally, Gila is not thankful that it happened, but since it did, she is determined to rebuild her life and make it better than ever.

The Shidduch Diaries is a funny and touching look at the current shidduch dating scene. Our intrepid heroine, Rachel Ginzburg, asks the central question: "Is it against halacha for Jewish men to be normal?" This novel is affectionate and romantic, Frum-Chick-lit, if you will.

Many of you have written to me asking if I will be publishing the entries of my blog as a book. Karen and I have discussed this at length. We agreed that we did not want to publish a bereavement self-help book. We want to do something... different. We want our feelings about Ariel to be conveyed in a unique form. I am a big fan of graphic novels. Seraphic Secret will be our first graphic novel. What is a graphic novel? These are books that use the conventions of comic books to tell their stories. But the art work and stories involve serious, mature themes. Some graphic novels I have read are as powerful, and in certain cases even more powerful than conventional novels. Art Spiegel's Maus won the Pulitzer prize several years ago. In this groundbreaking book, Spiegel tells the story of his father, a Shoah survivor, using highly stylized drawings that depicts Jews as mice and the Nazis as cats. It's a powerful two-volume work. For the art work of my book, I have asked Judith Margolis to collaborate with me. Karen and I met Judith and her writer husband David, when we first moved to Los Angeles 20 years ago. Judith is a brilliant artist who has had shows all over the world. Besides being supremely talented, Judith knew Ariel. Her daughter Hodya used to play with Ariel when they were children. Judith was also one of Ariel's most loyal and frequent visitors. Though she lives in Israel now, whenever Judith came to LA, she would make time to visit Ariel. A few months before Ariel died, Judith gave him a drawing. It's a beautiful rendering of a moment in creation -- the separation of the waters, and Ariel treasured this exquisite work, keeping it on his night table till the end. We realize that telling the Seraphic Secret story as a graphic novel is highly unusual, but Karen and I believe that a synthesis of our words and Judith's artwork is the most powerful and appropriate way of remembering our son. Words alone simply cannot convey all we feel.

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