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Thursday’s Pre-Publication Post: The Blog Tour Is Coming! The Blog Tour Is Coming!

Busy, busy, busy. That’s how this time of year always is, right? But somehow, everything is even busier (and, of course, more exciting!) with the release of my short story collection, Quiet Americans, just a little more than a month away.

One of the pre-publication projects that I’ve been working on behind the scenes is a blog tour. You may be familiar with these “tours.” A quick way to explain the concept, as the Book Publicity Blog does in this excellent post, is that a blog tour involves “an author going from blog to blog (rather than from store to store as they would on a traditional book tour).” Since my book’s publisher is too small to have its own publicist (and, let’s face it: I’m a bit of a control freak as it is), I’ve taken on the job of arranging the tour myself. As work-intensive as the process is, I couldn’t be more grateful. The emergence of the blog tour concept is a real blessing for my book and me. Between the lack of a big-time publicity budget and my responsibilities at my “day job,” a traditional city-to-city tour just wasn’t in the cards.

So I am happy to announce that the Winter Blog Tour for Quiet Americans will launch the week of January 17, 2011, which is the same week that the book will be released. The tour will last a little over a month (touring will be light during the days I’ll be focusing on the Association of Writers & Writing Programs Conference in early February).

I’m so excited for this tour. I’ll admit that I’m a bit apprehensive, too. But mainly, I’m excited.

Right now, the biggest challenge ahead of me is content. The blog tour “stops” will feature a combination of interviews, book reviews written by various “hosts,” and some guest pieces that I’ll be writing up. Interview questions haven’t yet arrived, and the reviews, thankfully, are not my responsibility. So as soon as I finish my holiday cards, complete a freelance assignment with a fast-approaching deadline, and check one or two other things off my to-do list, I’ll be able to focus on preparing those guest posts.

I’ll also be working hard to showcase the participating host blogs. In fact, I can promise you the unveiling of the tour schedule and hosts three weeks from today, on Thursday, December 30. (There. I’ve just given myself another deadline!)

For now, I just hope that all of you who read this blog will share my enthusiasm. And I’d like to say an early, heartfelt “thank-you” to all of the tour hosts. Thank you for welcoming my book and me to your online homes. Thank you for reading the review copies. Thank you for the wonderful comments you’ve already shared with me about your reading experiences. Most of all, thank you for what you’re going to be doing in the next couple of months.

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Thursday’s Pre-Publication Post: Giveaways Galore!

These are exciting times as my debut short-story collection, Quiet Americans, nears its January 19, 2011, publication date. This week, we launched two giveaway opportunities, both of which will conclude on December 19 (the one-month marker to the release date).

If you’re on Goodreads, you can sign up to win one of three copies that will be offered to participants. (I do appreciate the Goodreads team managing this giveaway!)

But wait, there’s more! After all, we’re just post-Thanksgiving, en pleine Chanukah, and pre-Christmas.  The gift-giving spirit abounds! If you’re not on Goodreads, two lucky fans of our Facebook page, chosen at random, will also receive copies. So if you’re not yet on board with us at Facebook, now’s the time!

(I can tell what some of you might be thinking: Can I sign up for the Goodreads giveaway and be eligible for the Facebook fan page option, too? And the answer, dear friends, is YES!)

I’ll be happy to inscribe all giveaway copies. There’s just one little wrinkle: For now, giveaway books can be shipped only to U.S. mailing addresses. I’m very sorry about that!

Again, you have until December 19 to sign on…but why wait?

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Thursday’s Pre-Publication Post: It’s (Almost) Party Time!

Minor annoyances aside (for example, the arrival of my annual November cold meant that for several days I could not breathe through my nose), this past week was pretty great. Highlights included a weekend visit to an old friend I hadn’t seen in years (I brought along a review copy of my forthcoming story collection, Quiet Americans, as a housegift), and the discovery, thanks to Tania Hershman/Twitter, that “For Services Rendered,” the story that opens Quiet Americans, has received a Pushcart Prize Special Mention.

As if that weren’t enough, this week has included a number of e-mail exchanges and phone calls to formalize not one, not two, but THREE book parties that are being planned to celebrate the publication of Quiet Americans (do I have amazing family and friends, or what?). Events will take place during the winter in New York and Washington, and in Boston in the spring.

So now, as I immerse myself in a new set of to-do items connected with party planning, I have some questions for all of you. In your view, what makes a book party successful? Care to comment with any brief descriptions of parties you’ve hosted and/or attended, and what made them memorable (hopefully, in a positive sense!)? Any tips for an author embarking on this for the first time? No advice is too “insignificant”: I welcome comments on Evite “vs.” Paperless Post as much as I crave suggestions on how to handle book promotion/sales. Thank you in advance for sharing!

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Notes from Around the Web

  • Robert Lee Brewer’s interview with poet (and former Hebrew school teacher) Erika Meitner–and Meitner’s poem, “1944,” that Brewer included with the interview material–persuaded me to order a copy of Meitner’s latest book, Ideal Cities.
  • Speaking of poetry, I am very grateful for “Cut the Challah, but Slice it Slant: A Response to the ZEEK Poetry Manifesto.” Thank you, Zackary Sholem Berger!
  • Over on HTMLGIANT, “a literature blog that isn’t always about literature,” author Kyle Minor, raised as a self-described fundamentalist Christian, explains why he is “Jealous of the Jews.” Hint: Roth, Bellow, Malamud, Ozick, and at least one of the Singers have something to do with it.
  • Chanukah is coming! And the Jewish Literary Review prepares us with some poetry.
  • My latest pre-publication post about my forthcoming story collection, Quiet Americans, takes this week’s anniversary of the Kristallnacht to reflect on that event in my own poetry and prose.
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    Thursday’s Pre-Publication Post: Kristallnacht in Poetry & Prose

    If you follow me on Twitter, you may have seen my comment earlier this week about the anniversary of Kristallnacht, and my link to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum’s website article that explains:

    Kristallnacht — literally, “Night of Crystal,” is often referred to as the “Night of Broken Glass.” The name refers to the wave of violent anti-Jewish pogroms which took place on November 9 and 10, 1938 throughout Germany, annexed Austria, and in areas of the Sudetenland in Czechoslovakia recently occupied by German troops. Instigated primarily by Nazi Party officials and members of the SA (Sturmabteilungen: literally Assault Detachments, but commonly known as Storm Troopers) and Hitler Youth, Kristallnacht owes its name to the shards of shattered glass that lined German streets in the wake of the pogrom-broken glass from the windows of synagogues, homes, and Jewish-owned businesses plundered and destroyed during the violence.

    Each of my father’s parents had left Germany by November 1938, but they’d each left alone (they met and married here in New York). When I think of the Kristallnacht, I don’t think first of the encyclopedia definitions. I think instead of my grandmother’s stories, which she likely heard in full only after the war—a realization that somehow came to me only after my grandmother had passed away and I couldn’t ask her anything else. These were stories about her parents, who remained back in Germany in their apartment that night, and about her favorite uncle, Michael, who was taken to Dachau during Kristallnacht. He died there.

    When I look at my writing, it’s a bit surprising even to me how many times Kristallnacht appears. For starters, it’s mentioned in at least two of my published poems to date: “Pünktlichkeit” and “Mannheim.”

    In my forthcoming story collection, Quiet Americans, Kristallnacht also appears more than once, starting with its presence in the first story, “For Services Rendered,” where it is referenced but not specifically named: “But after November 9th—after nine of Berlin’s twelve synagogues were torched and children from the Jewish orphanages made homeless and more than one thousand Jewish men sent away from the city—well, so much had changed.” (It’s also alluded to in a remembered conversation between two of the main characters, but for those of you who haven’t yet read the story, I won’t reprint the passage here.)

    Such references stem from what others have recorded, from researching/rechecking historical facts. But in another of the book’s stories—”Homecomings”—the depiction of Kristallnacht emerges from the more personal knowledge of what happened to my great-grandparents and their brother-in-law.

    And for that, you’ll have to wait. Just a little longer.

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