Author Spotlight no.371 – author and talk show radio host Francine Silverman

Complementing my interviews, today’s Author Spotlight, the three hundred and seventy-first, is of author and talk show radio host Francine Silverman. If you would like to take part in an author spotlight, take a look at author-spotlights.

3 FranFrancine Silverman is a New York City girl, born and bred. As a child she loved writing letters and “poems” to friends and kept a diary. Ironically, her first published piece was at age 12 or 13 in the New York Post to columnist Dr. Rose Franzblau, complaining about her father’s failings. Fran never had any parental support on her writing and only discovered she had talent when a teacher at Bronx Community College gave her an A on a piece she penned.

Her first published article was in a judo publication. She and her husband belonged to a YMCA gym that had a track above the gym and they would watch the judo class below (their nephew was in the class). She got the idea to write about the beloved judo instructor while jogging around the perimeter. She recalls calling a writer she knew – the father of her daughter’s friend at school – and asking his take on the piece. He said it was full of clichés. It was but she was devastated!!

Fran honed her writing skills as a newspaper reporter. While married and raising a child, she worked at a local weekly newspaper as a sales person. She never liked it and one day interviewed a local doctor. She wrote the article and nervously asked the editor if she would publish it. Voila, she did, and from then on contributed articles. She remembers when she left the weekly, the staff said goodbye without fanfare. They were used to reporters and photographers leaving for greener pastures. She went on to freelance for a daily newspaper, doing feature articles. She was eventually hired by the daily and part of her responsibility was to go out and interview the man on the street about local issues – and take their pictures. Writing for newspapers was a wonderful experience and she recommends it to aspiring writers. Of course, there are less newspapers today but the Internet has many opportunities for writers.

During the time at the weekly and afterwards, she took myriad writing courses. A funny thing happened at one of them. She told the instructor where she would be working and he pooh-poohed the weekly. He must have assumed it was a rag. (Its editor later won a Pulitzer Prize!) A few months later, the instructor contacted her to ask if they would publish an article of his. Wonders never cease!

The second half of Fran’s life began with her ezine, Book Promotion Newsletter, launched in March 2003. She had written two guidebooks, Catskills Alive (Hunter Publishing 2000 and 2003) and Long Island Alive (Hunter Publishing 2003), but didn’t know how to market them or know any authors with whom to seek guidance. The ezine began with 10 authors and grew into the thousands. Recognizing the ingenuity of her subscribers through the questionnaires she sent them and their newsletter contributions, Fran took 325 of their best marketing strategies and put them into a book, Book Marketing from A-Z (Infinity Publishing 2003).

A reviewer at www.bvsreviews.com wrote: “In this book, more than 300 authors give the reader some insight on the who, what, where and when and how of marketing a book…There are a few known entities here, but for the most part, the authors in this book don’t have the recognition of someone like Stephen King, John Grisham… But that doesn’t mean their advice isn’t worthy. On the contrary, these folks get to the core of how to get your book out there, published and recognized.”

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Author Spotlight no.141 – Pam Grimes

webbadgesponsorComplementing my daily blog interviews, today’s Author Spotlight, the one hundred and forty-first, is of Pam Grimes, author of Confessions of an Edgy Suburban Mom, and the 2012 Shirley You Jest! Book Awards / Shirley HAH non-fiction winner.

“Pam Grimes’ “Confessions of an Edgy Suburban Mom” spins a handful of humorous yarns. The best of them, such as “The Great Toilet Paper War”, sparkle to life when the author pulls back on the jokes and, with a deft, light hand, lets a great story tell itself.” ~ Shirley You Jest! Book Awards

PamelaAnn2(2)Pam Grimes is an author, humor columnist, and domestic diva who lives in Portland, Oregon with her husband, three teenage sons and their slightly bi-polar dog.

Shaped by a childhood resembling a Rat Pack movie (complete with Sinatra soundtrack), Pam was raised on a steady diet of off-beat humor, producing a unique, if not somewhat twisted viewpoint, far from the politically correct.

Her first published work, Confessions of an Edgy Suburban Mom is a collection of hilarious tales of family life set against the backdrop of that bizarre no-man’s land known as suburbia. Confessions is steeped in hilarious observations of parenting and family life and strives to both entertain as well as touch the hearts of its readers.

Conjuring images from the sixties through today, Grimes’ stories refresh our collective memories of youth while drawing sharp comparisons with today’s culture. Confessions of an Edgy Suburban Mom is available on Amazon.com in both paperback and Kindle.

And now from the author herself:

Raised in Portland, Oregon during the turbulent sixties and seventies I was more than a little sheltered, protected in the bosom of suburbia along with the rest of the Scooby Gang. But even suburbia couldn’t shield us from the rapidly changing social and political landscape, times indeed were a changin’, and we would need to change with them in order to adapt. Add to that a painfully shy child sporting a crooked pixie-cut, an unibrow that would even impress Ernest Borgnine, and you’ve got a pretty good idea of what shaped me as a writer. While this history serves as a backdrop for my writing, it’s my own family that I mine for humorous fodder. Raising three sons has been the greatest blessing of my life. Fortunately, my boys inherited their parent’s irreverent, slightly cracked sense of humor, and actually enjoy being the central characters in my writing. Don’t worry; I’ve set aside a healthy fund for their future psychoanalysis… just in case!

People usually ask how one becomes a successful writer; I always tell them that I’ll ask when I meet one. What most people define as “success” is rare among writers. Not many achieve the superstar status of a James Patterson or Nora Roberts. The writers I know don’t do it for fame or fortune; they do it because it’s their passion. Each writer’s path is as unique as his or her “voice” and in the eighties my path led me to the University of Oregon, where I majored in English and minored in snack foods. There I met and married my college sweetheart, a man who still wakes up everyday in shock and awe, wondering how he got mixed up in all of this.

After settling back in Portland, I worked as a personnel recruiter and college placement director. But my true desire was to raise a family, so I traded in my power suit and pumps for maternity pants and a pair of  Keds, and spent the next eleven years raising three sons. While spending my thirties elbow-deep in diapers wasn’t without its charms, I was more than ready for a challenge once my youngest went off kindergarten.  Raised on a steady diet of Nancy Drew mysteries and Stephen King novels, I was inspired to write at an early age. From the moment I could hold a pencil I was writing short stories for friends and family and once I got my hands on my dad’s old IBM Selectric there was no stopping me. With the boys in school I finally had the opportunity to return to my first love; writing.

Cover-Final(1)After producing my first manuscript, a humorous mystery novel set in New Orleans, I decided to focus on short format stories, and eventually published my first column, The Edgy Suburban Mom in Connecticut County Kids magazine. Finding that my voice spoke to parents, women and mothers in particular, I focused on the pitfalls and general absurdity abundant in parenting and suburban life, from my own slightly off-beat perspective. The Edgy Suburban Mom was eventually published in my hometown, Portland, Oregon, in both Portland Monthly Magazine and Portland Family Magazine.

While writing about my family has been enormously rewarding, I’m excited to dive back into fictional writing and am currently working on my second novel; a thriller set on the Oregon Coast. Never fear, The Edgy Suburban Mom will return with another anthology of short stories, Confessions II will be available at Amazon in 2013.

You can find more about Pam and her writing via…

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The blog interviews will return as normal tomorrow with lad lit novelist Andy Holmes – the five hundred and sixty-ninth of my blog interviews with novelists, poets, short story authors, bloggers, biographers, agents, publishers and more. A list of interviewees (blogged and scheduled) can be found here. If you like what you read, please do go and investigate further. And I enjoy hearing from readers of my blog; do either leave a comment on the relevant interview (the interviewees love to hear from you too!) and / or email me.

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As I post an interview a day (amongst other things) I can’t unfortunately review books but I have a list of those who do, and a feature called ‘Short Story Saturdays’ where I review stories of up to 2,500 words. Alternatively if you have a short story or self-contained novel extract / short chapter (ideally up to 1000 words) that you’d like critiqued and don’t mind me posting it online in my new Red Pen Critique Sunday night posts then do email me. I am now also looking for flash fiction (<1000 words) for Flash Fiction Fridays and poetry for Post-weekend Poetry.