Most authors are thrilled to make appearances at bookstores and and elsewhere, because they know it is one of the best ways to promote their book. Still, it’s a bit daunting. You end up giving what is basically an extended elevator-speech, touting the virtues of your story, hoping you’re not saying too much or too little.
Now, compare that with a conversation you might have with a group of people who have already read your book. Having just done that with two different book groups in the East Bay, I can sum it up in one word: exhilarating! It’s like sitting around with some new friends having a conversation about some old friends you have in common—in this case, those old friends are the characters in your book. If a book group asks you to one of its meetings, accept the invitation immediately!
Nov. 3 , 2018
“No one wants to hear the author’s voice”
This is the speech that I gave to the National Kidney Foundation in San Francisco at their annual Author’s Luncheon. The point I was trying to make? Write the novel in such a way that the characters tell the story — not you, the author.
May 23 – Ever been to a Literary Death Match? Adrian Todd Zuniga has been leading them for years in cities all over the county, and they sound hilarious. I got a chance to talk to him about that and more in a recent podcast that was sponsored by our mutual publisher Rare Bird Books. I’m ready to head to the next “Literary Death Match” when it comes back to town!
May 22- I will be on the faculty for the Book Passage Mystery Writers Conference which runs from Thurs., Sept. 27, through Sun., Sept. 30. This is the 25th year of this annual Conference, and it has produced some great mystery writers. You get to work with lots of editors, writers, agents, publishers, but you also have a chance to hang out with cops, D.A.s, and coroners and find out how they do their jobs.
May 21- will be one of the speakers at the National Kidney Foundation Lunch in San Francisco on November 3 at the S.F. Marriott Marquis. I’ll be talking about what goes into writing a novel like Through the Bookstore Window. This is a very prestigious event and the biggest of its kind in San Francisco. Am I excited? You betcha!
May 20 – I will be at Laurel Book Store at 14th & Broadway in downtown Oakland for Through the Bookstore Window on Thursday, May 24, 6:30 pm. This is exciting! I was born in Oakland, and my first job was about two blocks away.
Now’s the time to challenge it and change it.
The Electoral College doesn’t work the way that Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and the other drafters of the Constitution intended. They would be appalled to see how the 2016 election ended up with minority rule. This can be changed, and it must be done so now. The Electoral College is like a rogue ship that set out years ago from its original anchorage in the Constitution. It is now floundering—unable to go back to its 18th century moorings. But it is equally unable to reach the safety of the 14th Amendment and the “one-person, one-vote” requirement that has been the law ever since the last century. It’s a ship that’s ready to sink.
This website will be presenting information about the Electoral College and how to challenge it. We can make it happen! You can reach me at mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org
The Electoral College is Unfair & Dangerous
There’s some guy in Wyoming whose vote is worth three times more than mine. This has been going on in every presidential election for my entire life, and I’m sick and tired of it. How does this happen? It’s because of the way the Electoral College has been rigged to work. It takes about three times as many votes to elect an Elector in California as it does to elect one in Wyoming.
This is a blatant form of voting discrimination, and the sooner it ends the better.
The Electoral College’s Other Problem
Throughout the entire 20th Century, Americans became used to the idea that the winner of the popular vote would take office as President. But when the voters’ will was thwarted in 2000 and 2016, it became clear that the Electoral College could seemingly emerge out of nowhere and change the outcome of the election and alter the course of history. But there’s another, long-term harm built into that Electoral College that has been there all along, and that becomes more apparent the more you look at it.
What Did Hamilton & Madison Have in Mind?
The original Electoral College was nothing like we see today. The framers of the Constitution did not create a popular election for President, but they settled instead on a collegial-method of selecting a President through a group of independent Electors. Nowhere in their nightmares did they contemplate that the Electoral college would be used to distort or devalue a popular vote.
Electoral Bait & Switch
A modern Presidential election is an all-consuming process that lasts for almost two years, costs well over $5 billion, and dominates American life like nothing else. In 2016 there were more than 135,000,000 votes cast for President, making it one of the largest elections in history. Americans are constantly reminded that they’re voting for the most important office in the world. While this long process is going on, the country is inundated with speeches, interviews, promos, news clips, endorsements, social-media spots, and attack ads. Although the political pros knew to focus on swing-states in the latter days of the campaign, candidates spend most of those two years crisscrossing the country throughout the primaries and general election, searching for endorsements and money, and making campaign stops everywhere. Debates among the candidates are carried nationwide, and they become some of the most highly watched shows of the year.
Then, on a Tuesday in November, everything comes to an end when the nation votes. And then . . . and then Americans wait to see if the election will turn out the way they voted or whether something else will happen.
Does the world need another blog? Maybe so. This one is about books and bookstores, social and political issues, and whatever seems important at the moment.
You can get an idea of the subjects that are likely to be covered by looking at my novels, Through the Bookstore Window and The Circle of Thirteen, as well as some earlier books described at the bottom of the page. You are also invited to to the website of our bookstore, Book Passage, to catch the pulse of a lively, independent bookstore in action.
I hope you’ll read along.
“No one wants to hear the author’s voice”
Bill’s Blog – Nov. 3, 2018
Speech to the National Kidney Foundation Author’s Luncheon
“The thing about writing a novel is this: no one really wants to hear an author talk about it. And there’s really more to it than that. When they finally read the book, readers don’t want to hear the author’s voice at all. When readers get into a story, it’s because they are experiencing it through the eyes of the characters. Authors may create the plot and the setting, but it is the characters who have to live in that world – maybe shaping it as they go along, or being shaped by it. But one way or another, it is the characters’ story. And if an author is lucky, the characters will imbed themselves into the heads of readers who will then do what every author hopes – flip the pages to find out what happens next.”
Hold the Presses
Bill’s Blog – Dec. 1, 2017
When a book becomes a major news story, local news services often run to local bookstores to see what the story feels like on the ground. That was the case with Michael Wolff’s book Fire and Fury when the news hit the fan in January. That’s when this photo began its world-wide journey from Book Passage.
An idea has taken root in certain quarters that publishers aren’t necessary. And for that matter, who needs bookstores? According to this facile argument, they’re both are just relics of the pre-internet days. This is a very misguided idea.
Through the Bookstore Window is a novel that explores the grim effects of war, gun violence, and sexual abuse. But it is also a story about love that transcends age, gender, background, and – perhaps – the readers’ expectations.
“It’s a rare mystery that can deliver so much in the way of pure emotional resonance. Bill Petrocelli’s Through the Bookstore Window is such a book. This is a thriller with a heart.”
Janis Cooke Newman, author of A Master Plan for Rescue
If you’re a novelist, there’s nothing better than great quotes from other writers and booksellers. Fame and fortune is nice, but you can’t exist without the respect of your peers. Here are some quotes I love.
Linda Watanabe McFerrin, who heads up Left Coast Writers, calls Through the Bookstore Window “a gripping tale about an enigmatic and fascinating woman who is driven to outrun and outwit her tormentors and fix what is broken.”
He is the author of four books.
Through the Bookstore Window was published in March 2018 by Rare Bird Books. It’s a novel that explores the effects of war, gun violence, and sexual abuse. But it is also a story about love that transcends age, gender, background, and – perhaps – the readers’ expectations. Foreword Magazine calls it “an unusual, rewarding take on the nature of memory: how it haunts and heals, how single moments set the future in motion, and how it binds survivors together in ways they seldom expect.”
The Circle of Thirteen was published in 2013 by Turner Publishing. The theme of the novel is the coming empowerment of women. Novelist Lisa See called it “a true celebration of women in the face of great odds.” It begins with a mindless act of family violence and spans seven decades, finally culminating in the desperate effort by Julia Moro, the U.N. Security Director, to stop a major act of terror. The story is woven around themes of poverty, political corruption, environmental disaster, and the backlash against the rising role of women. Abraham Verghese describes it as “A wonderful, uplifting thriller full of strong and unforgettable women” —
Sexual Harassment on the Job
Sexual Harassment on the Job: What it is and How to Stop it was co-authored by Barbara Kate Repa and published by Nolo Press in 1992. It was the first book published on the subject of stopping workplace harassment and sexual violence. Bill’s note: “We edited the book while watching the Clarence Thomas hearings on TV.”
Low Profile: How to Avoid the Privacy Invaders
Low Profile: How to Avoid the Privacy Invaders was published by McGraw Hill in 1980. It was one of the first books that talked about abuses of data collection by government and businesses and about the future implications of computerized record-keeping. Bill’s note: “This book was written a few years before the invention of the internet. I think I had an inkling of what was coming when I wrote this on page 243:
“And when the next wave hits it will be worse. Technology continues to be the ally of the snooper. Future privacy-invaders will not only be more efficient in getting what they want, they will be much better able to cover their tracks. Informational systems used to have built-in limitations; the very bulk of the material maintained in the system imposed practical limitations on what an individual snooper could glean from the files. But the computer is rapidly depriving us of that protection. At the same time we are increasing the personal information in public and private data banks, we are expanding geometrically the accessibility of that information to those who are bent upon abusing it.”
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