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Saturday, December 31, 2011

Selling My Books on the Streets of Brooklyn 12/31

It's a sad day in our family. Alphonse, my brother in law, 83, passed away this morning. It was not unexpected, as he has been ill for months, but it's still a shock when the inevitable occurs. It's like walking on egg shells. I've known him since I was five, probably younger. I was in the wedding party, doing whatever someone does at that age. I don't know what year he emigrated to America, but, barely speaking English, he was drafted into the Army almost immediately, served his time, and received an honorable discharge. Since our personalities are so different, we often did not see eye to eye, but he had many good qualities. He was an excellent draftsman and spent most of his adult life in the trade, leaving it for a while to sell insurance. He was excellent with his hands. I will always remember the wonder I experienced as a child at the elaborate nativity scenes, called presepio in our home, he created. He was an excellent gardener, perhaps learned from the time he spent in Japan while in the service. He was terrific at home repair and was still at it well into his seventies when his oldest daughter moved into an apartment upstairs in our three-family home. He worked hard and played by the rules. He fell twice in the street the past few years, injuring himself, and did not look to sue anyone. Of course, his greatest accomplishment was bringing his four wonderful daughters into the world. His grandchildren Onofrio and Carmen got to see him during his last days. His oldest grand-daughter, Tanina, and her family are flying in Tuesday from Italy, just in time for the wake. Unfortunately, Onofrio and his family had to return last week. I offer condolences to my sister Carmela and her four children: Isabella, Tanya, Luciana and Sandra and her husband Ron and their children Ronnie and Danielle, and to the great grandchildren: Valentino, Yuri and Tanina's son, who I will be meeting for the first time. The hardest part for me is seeing the pain in their eyes.
Rest in Peace, Al.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Selling My Books on the Streets of Brooklyn 12/30

Jack was in rare form today. He's still going to Zuccotti Park practically every day to join his comrades in protest, and to sell T-shirts and buttons to tourists. He was torqued off because a group dared to set up a tent under the banner of Occupy Judaism. He is a former Jew himself, and wants the movement to be completely secular. He said he told Jesse Jackson to take a hike when the Reverend and his entourage visited recently. Jackson put his finger to his lips to shush him. Jack has a problem with religion. He was letting the expletives fly. I was afraid he was scaring away potential customers. Fortunately, he soon tired and left. I doubt there are many protesters downtown presently, as I haven't seen any press coverage lately. I guess it's only the fringe of the fringe.
A local home attendant who has passed the floating bookshop hundreds of times stopped by on behalf of the 95-year-old woman she takes care of. Despite her age, the woman still reads, and she has tons of books she wants to get rid of. The younger woman had me write a list of the hardcover mysteries I had on display. She later returned with a bag of books and money. I wanted her to have the book, Lisa Scottoline's Lady Killer, for free, but she wouldn't hear of it. Thanks, ladies.
For the first hour and a half it looked like it was going to be a day of no sales. I consoled myself by enjoying the mild temperature. Eventually, a woman purchased a large dictionary designed for pre-teens. Then a guy stopped short and asked how much the Ultimate Sinatra CD was. I offered to prove its quality by popping it into the player in my car, which was nearby, but he trusted me. Soon a woman who reads and returns the books she buys from me bought a Barbara Taylor Bradford novel. And a gentleman purchased Crazies to the Left of Me, Wimps to the Right: How One Side Lost Its Mind and the Other Lost Its Nerve by Bernard Goldberg, which I'm sure would get a rise out of Jack.
Thanks, folks.
Now playing on Martini in the Morning: Louis Prima and Keeley Smith's version of Just a Gigolo, which I remember the adults listening to at family gatherings in the the '50's, and everybody laughing as Prima goes into his rant, which includes Italian terms, at the end: "...Nobody - noodu, noodu...Sta sera il vileno...." The final phrase translates to: "Tonight the poison." He was a character and a great entertainer.
Read Vic's stories, free:
http://members.tripod.com/vic_fortezza/Literature/

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Selling My Books on the Streets of Brooklyn 12/29

Last night I watched another of the musical videotapes I made in the '80's. What made this one special was the inclusion of several clips from the best music series ever, hosted by saxophonist David Sanborn. It ran for about a year on NBC at 12:30 AM Monday morning. It presented such diverse styles and genres: Ruth Brown, Leonard Cohen, Lou Reed, Sonny Rollins, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Red Hot Chili Peppers. I can't wait to see who's on the next tape. And there are now clips available at youtube. Although it's difficult to pick a highlight among great artists, I am floored every time I see Jeff Healy perform. Healy is an example to hold up to anyone who thinks the odds are stacked against one. Born in Toronto, adopted as an infant by a fireman, he lost his eyes to cancer at eight months. He started playing guitar at three. Unfortunately, he was taken by cancer at 41. In between, he kicked major ass. Marvel at his incredible performance of See the Light (writers love irony), backed by the wonderful house drummer and bassist, and a New Orleans pianist, here:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ikHI7_PMFNc
I had only one sale today, a DVD of one of my all-time favorite movies, The Dirty Dozen, starring Lee Marvin and an incredible supporting cast. Most critics trashed it upon its release in 1967. Sometimes they forget that there is a difference between movies and film, just as there is between rock n roll and Cole Porter, and that there is no reason an audience can't appreciate each. The Dirty Dozen is vile, vulgar and ludicrous, but great fun, directed by Robert Aldrich with brio. It was enormously popular and has grown in stature among critics through the years. I doubt it would have been as successful had it been released in the modern era, where action is required from start to finish. There is basically no action until the last 20 minutes, when all hell breaks loose, but it is never boring because of its wonderful humor, character development and performances. Telly Savalas steals many scenes as Maggot, a bigoted redneck who, justifying his murder of a woman, says: "The Lawd told me to chastise her." Nunally Johnson and Lukas Heller adapted the screenplay from the novel by E. M. Nathanson. It is not based on fact, although a group called The Filthy 15, none of whom were convicts, was the inspiration for the book.
I thank Steve, employee of Coney Island Hospital, for buying it. Thanks also to Moses, who donated a slew of children's books.
Read Vic's stories, free: http://members.tripod.com/vic_fortezza/Literature/

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Selling My Books on the Streets of Brooklyn 12/28

As forecast, the wind was howling today. I decided to open the floating bookshop to see if I'd get lucky. I did. I caught Will, a local security guard who has purchased a lot of music from me, on his way to work. He bought three oldies CDs and a Bill Gates-Warren Buffet chat I thought I'd never sell. About an hour-and-a-half later, I was just about to close when Cabbie rolled his hack to the curb. He bought thrillers by James Patterson and Lawrence Sanders. Thanks, guys.
A friend posted an interesting video on Facebook this morning. Given the wealth of electronic devices in play these days, consumers are spending a lot on batteries. This one-minute clip shows a great way to save money. A six volt lantern battery, which runs about five bucks, contains 32 AA batteries. The trick is prying it open, which is explained in the video. Here's a link to it:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c3qPrlun45c&feature=related 
Remember, there are a lot of pranksters out there. Buyer beware.
I had a lot of time to read this afternoon. I finished Steve Martin's second novel, The Pleasure of My Company. It is an amusing first person account of "benign insanity." The lead character has many irrational fears, sidewalk curbs just one of them. Although the book never really takes off, it is well written, interesting and only 163 pages. On a scale of five, three.
Last night I watched an unusual film, Pick Pocket (1959), made in France, directed by Robert Bresson, who referred to his cast as "models." He used non-professionals making their screen debut, some of whom went on to make other films. He strove for "neutrality" and often did 15 to 20 takes to achieve it. There was almost a complete lack of emotion in the entire scenario until the final scene. The main character wanted to be a Superman, above the laws and conventions of society. I was reminded of the work of Dostoevsky and Nietzsche. The scenes of him at "work" were fascinating. On a scale of five, three-and-a-half.
I thank Greenfield Surveys for the check.
Read Vic's stories, free:
http://members.tripod.com/vic_fortezza/Literature/

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Selling My Books on the Streets of Brooklyn 12/27

Occasionally an elderly man dressed in Middle Eastern garb, who walks with the aid of a cane, stops by the floating bookshop and asks if I have any Islamic books. I always say: "No, sorry." I have trouble understanding a lot of what he's saying. He is always pleasant. Today he purchased a book on prayer. Shokron, sir.
Although the session was curtailed by rain, it was rewarding. As I was setting up, the Merry Mailwoman noticed that I was fully stocked and was unable to resist passing on the mysteries Joanne donated. She bought three. Later, a woman who has passed many times without a word asked the price of Kevin Trudeau's best-selling The Weight Loss Cure. Trudeau has been sued by the Federal Trade Commission for fraudulent claims and has paid as much as 37 million in reparations. I charged a dollar. Good luck, ma'am.
A few weeks ago a middle aged woman bought a couple of self-help books. She returned today and was intrigued by David Lynch's Blue Velvet on VHS. I explained that it was vile, vulgar and great, a film that improves at each viewing, once the shock has diminished. "Will it give me nightmares?" she asked. All I could say was that no movie had ever given me nightmares. "Me, neither," she said, but passed on it anyway, a mistake. It is bizarre genius.
I met Sal Buttaci through All Things That Matter Press, where he has had two volumes of Flash Fiction (stories less than a thousand words) published: Flashing My Shorts and 200 Shorts. He also has volumes of poetry in print. Although we've never met in the flesh, we communicate regularly via email and on Facebook, where he posts old pictures of his Italian-American upbringing I really relate to. He was born in Brooklyn, grew up in Jersey and now lives in West Virginia. He was kind enough to promote Killing in his latest blog. Read it here:
http://sbuttaci.blogspot.com/2011/12/author-worth-reading-vic-fortezza.html?spref=fb
Grazie, amico mei.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Selling My Books on the Streets of Brooklyn 12/26

I drove my great nephew Onofrio, his lovely wife Noemi and little Olivia to the airport. We hit traffic on the perpetually under construction Belt Parkway. By the time I dropped them off, it became a question of whether I would suffer the consequences of a 61-year-old bladder. I made it home with seconds to spare. Whew!
The flight should be in the air by now. It was sad to see them go. Who knows if we will ever see each other again? They made an incredible lasagna for dinner on Christmas Day, no meat, as Noemi is a vegetarian, but a delicious blend of spinach and ricotta. My niece Isabel has her youngest daughter Carmen and her boys to keep her company for a few more weeks. Valentino, 11, is quiet and mannerly. It was interesting to see him share his portable Play Station with his cousin Chris, communicating despite the language barrier. Yuri, four-and-a-half, is a ball of fire. I had to give him the tickle torture several times to keep him in line. Isabel would like to keep them in America, as their separate fathers are losers, but she is afraid of being charged with kidnapping. Her oldest daughter Tanina and her family are due in after New Year's.
I don't know if you saw the fantastic play Bengals' wide receiver Jerome Simpson made Saturday. There were two defenders waiting to put the hammer on him at the goal line - and he did a forward flip over one of them - and stuck the landing! It was an unbelievable show of athleticism of which Mary Lou Retton would have been proud. And the story doesn't end there. He faces federal charges of having received 2.5 pounds of marijuana at his home in September. What a world!
Since I had to make the airport run, the floating bookshop was open for only a short time today. I thank the kind lady who purchased beautiful pictorials on tall buildings and gardens, and a guide to parties for children. To his chagrin, Herbie, one of my regulars, was unable to find anything he hadn't read among the latest batch of popular novels Joanne donated. Thanks also to John, who helped me bring the crates to the elevator. I needed every inch of trunk space to accommodate Onofrio's luggage, as little Olivia made quite a haul on her first American Natale. Bon voyaggio, bellissima!
Read Vic's stories, free: http://members.tripod.com/vic_fortezza/Literature/

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Selling My Books on the Streets of Brooklyn 12/25

It was a great Christmas Eve. I got to sit on the couch with the remote while the ladies of the house cooked and wrapped gifts. My great nephew Onofrio helped with the cooking and did a masterful job. There is a tradition in many Italian-American families to eat late and open gifts at the stroke of midnight. I was all for this as a child, but I saw last night how tough it can be on kids. My great-great niece Olivia, almost two, was cranky, as was Yuri, four-and-a-half. Valentino, 11, was sleepy but didn't complain. To my surprise, Olivia polished off an entire plate of pasta. She cried because she wasn't allowed to have any lasagna, which contained ingredients her little body isn't ready to process. I concentrated on the seafood: the octopus salad, scallops and several types of shrimp, one covered with turkey bacon. Wow!
Fortunately, one of the Spanish language stations was running the animated Cars, which kept the boys awake. At 10:30 I left to pick up their grandmother, Isabel, who works in a hospital. Unfortunately, she will be working today too. By the time we got home, everyone was watching the perennial classic A Christmas Story. When midnight struck bedlam ensued. The kids were suddenly wide awake and tearing through the wrapping on their gifts. It was a sight not seen in our home for quite some time. Then it was time for pastry. I had three miniatures. As I bid everyone good night, Olivia said: "Ciao," tugging at my heartstrings. She is so beautiful.
I'm surprised and happy the Giants took it to the Jets yesterday. I find Rex Ryan insufferable, although he is a good coach. Of course, the Giants are not without jerks. No modern team is. Brandon Jacobs is pathetic, excoriating Ryan for a lack of class while demonstrating a complete lack of it himself. And what's with the Jets, during home games in their shared stadium, covering murals depicting the Giants' four Super Bowl victories? The Giants don't cover the one celebrating the Jets' great upset of the Colts.
The second best thing about Saturday's NFL action was that the Eagles were eliminated. They grossly underachieved in 2011. It would have been a sin for them to qualify for the playoffs at 8-8 on the basis of one good month.
I thank Joanne, who took time out from her Christmas Eve chores yesterday to donate another batch of popular novels, and to the kind people who bought books on Bay Parkway. I figured folks would be tapped out from holiday spending. As I always say: Give it a shot.
Read Vic's stories, free: http://members.tripod.com/vic_fortezza/Literature/

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Selling My Books on the Streets of Brooklyn 12/24

I'm looking forward to a great day and I hope yours will be too. Here's another of our All Things That Matter Press family of writers. Mark Lewandowski is a man of considerable experience, a world traveler.

I did not go to Alaska because I wished to live deliberately; I went to make money, hopefully enough to fund a trip to Sweden. The plan was to work in a cannery for the first half of the summer, and then fly to Stockholm, hometown of Hans, a college buddy from the University of Kansas. Things didn’t work out that way. When we arrived in May salmon wasn’t running yet; jobs at the fish processing plant in Homer were scarce. By the time the jobs arrived at the end of June, Hans, his girlfriend, and her brother had given up and left Alaska. I stayed on for the rest of the summer, sometimes working 18 hour shifts “sliming” salmon for many days in a row. I never overslept, even though I didn’t need an alarm clock. Before I went to bed each night I popped some Tylenol. Like clockwork I’d wake up five hours later, once the Tylenol wore off and the pain returned to my hands. By the end of the summer things so striking before, like the bald eagles as common as crows in the Lower 48, or moose lumbering down the main street, clogging up early morning traffic, had become the norm to me.

In August I started a Master’s of Fine Arts in Creative Writing at Wichita State University. I arrived in Wichita in the middle of the night, about four hours before Orientation was to begin. The second story I wrote for my first workshop was called “The Slime-Line Queen.” It became the first story in my collection, Halibut Rodeo. Like all the other stories in the book, “The Slime-Line Queen” was inspired by the jobs I did, and the people I worked with at Seward Fisheries.

That was 1988. I planned on going back to Homer the following summer, but in March 1989 the Exxon Valdez spilled its load into Prince William Sound, setting back the Alaskan fishing industry for years. Seward Fisheries had no immediate use for slimers. Full time residents found work scrubbing oil off of sea rocks with paper towels. I never returned to Homer. But I continued to visit places outside my comfort zone. I lived in Poland as a Peace Corps Volunteer, and in Lithuania as a Fulbright Scholar. I travel just for fun, too. My experience traveling infuses all my writing, both short stories and essays. I like to believe that I have a keen eye for “place.” In all my narratives setting plays a primary role.

Now I am an Associate Professor of English at Indiana State University, with a modest list of publications in numerous literary journals. Halibut Rodeo came out 22 years after that summer in Homer. When I think of how much time has passed, I recall a conversation I had with a single dad I worked with on the Slime-Line. He had just finished his first year of classes at the local community college:
“You know why I’m going to college?” he asked.
“Why?
“So I can get a job where no one looks over your shoulder and tells you to go faster.”
I think I took his words to heart.

Buy the paperback version of Halibut Rodeo:
http://tinyurl.com/2bdpwgn
Buy the Kindle version:
http://tinyurl.com/275ycpz
Read my blog:
http://halibutrodeo.com

Friday, December 23, 2011

Selling My Books on the Streets of Brooklyn 12/23

A few months ago I read Stephen King's Thinner, which was issued in 1984 under his pseudonym, Richard Bachman. I finally got around to viewing the movie version released in 1996. It was very faithful to the book, as I recall. The most interesting aspect was the casting of Michael Constantine, whose most famous role was as the principal on Room 222, as the 100+ year old gypsy who casts a curse on three "white men from town." He got to ham it up and probably had a lot of fun. On a scale of five, I rate it three-and-a-half. Voters at IMDB disagree, rating it only 5.3 out of ten.
Here are the top five stocks of the year:
5. Perrigo (PRGO) +62% (Drugs)
4. Biogen Idec (BIIB) +66%
3. Mastercard (MA) 67%
2. Intuitive Surgical (ISRG) +71%
1. Cabot Oil & Gas (COG) +104%
I don't own any. Do you? Probably only politicians do.
I've had a copy of Somerset Maughan's Of Human Bondage on display at the floating bookshop for a long time. It was reissued to take advantage of the 1964 release of a version starring Kim Novak and Laurence Harvey, whose photos grace the cover of the paperback. The film has been forgotten. The novel, written in 1915, endures. Today a Russian gentleman purchased it along with John Irving's The 158 Pound Marriage. Dawn, a semi-regular, bought Stephen King's The Shining, which has a silver cover. An elderly woman fond of mysteries purchased one by the prolific Ed McBain, whose real name is Evan Hunter, author of Blackboard Jungle. There was once a stigma attached to genre writers. One modern writer of such fare, I don't recall who, said Stephen King, whose stature has grown recently, is this century's Edgar Allen Poe. It wouldn't surprise me. What writer wouldn't want his work to endure? Trouble is, none will be around to enjoy it.
Thanks, folks, and also to Abdul the Friendly Porter, who donated a bunch of books, among them two Nancy Drew mysteries and Betty Smith's beautiful A Tree Grows in Brooklyn.
Read Vic's stories, free: 
http://members.tripod.com/vic_fortezza/Literature/

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Selling My Books on the Streets of Brooklyn 12/22

It was an interesting day on the street. The floating bookshop wasn't open five minutes when a 40ish gentleman approached sans his wife and elementary school age son. He asked my advice as a "man of the world." I could barely keep from laughing. He claimed his wife was abusing him, and rolled up his arms to reveal the scratches he'd suffered. They were fresh and deep. There were some on his face too. He said the abuse used to occur six times a months and is now down to four. He once called the police, but did not press charges, reluctant to break up his family, certain his wife would soon be on the street "pushing a cart." He and his son once spent a night in a shelter to get away from her.  He tried city services, to no avail. She refuses to seek help. The only thing I could think of was a semi-regular customer who works in the psychiatric department at Coney Island Hospital. I told the guy I'd run it by Kofi next time I saw him. Of course, I heard only one side of the story. When I first started seeing the couple, I sensed the man was verbally abusive. Since then, they'd seemed a model family. I would never have guessed the woman was abusive. I hope they find peace, especially for the kid's sake.
A while later I was approached by a charming elderly woman who had a heavy Russian accent and spoke very slowly to make herself understood. She was on her way to buy some potatoes, an ingredient for a soup Marlene Dietrich once made for French actor Jean Gabin, who spent a short time in Hollywood, on the theory that the quickest way to a man's heart was through his stomach. Her second language was French and she lamented how much she has forgotten. We traded terms, which I learned from films: Merci beaucoup, J'taime, Je ne sais quoi, sacrebleu. She purchased The Feast of Christmas by Paul Levy, who must have converted. As she was leaving, I said "Au revoir," and she laughed. Merci, Madame, and thanks to the woman of color who bought two spiritual books, the gentleman who bought the Garcia Lorca videotape, and Big Al the beat poet, who bought two other spiritual books, although he believes organized religion is doomed.
Now playing on 57 Chevy Radio: Marvin Gaye's Pride and Joy. I remember the confusion I suffered as a pre-teen when my friend's older brother, a teenager, who claimed to hate blacks, sang along as it played. Life is so fascinating.
Read Vic's stories, free:
http://members.tripod.com/vic_fortezza/Literature/

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Selling My Books on the Streets of Brooklyn 12/21

 Happy Hanukkah to Jews everywhere. Long live Israel.
The floating bookshop was rained out today. At least the paving crew was working. Now we have smooth streets, no more dust, and the odor of fresh asphalt is history. And parking will return to its normal annoying state.
It's time to introduce another of our All Things That Matter Press family of authors. Give him a chance.

“JUST WHO IS JEFF GEPHART, ANYWAY?”
Just as my wanderlust has kept me moving from place to place and working in diverse capacities, my writing defies strict categorization, from the satirical humor blog I post on my website (jeffgephartwriting.com) to the poignant drama of my first two novels—2006’s The Second Life and Out of Dark Places, published in 2011 by All Things That Matter Press.  The settings and characters can change, but one theme that ties most of my writing together is the examination of the human spirit.  I find people fascinating, and I want to understand what motivates and inspires them, so that’s what I write about.  Most of the kids my age loved Star Wars for the space battles and memorable aliens, but what drew me in was the battle raging within Luke Skywalker’s soul and his ultimate decision to reject the Dark Side.  To me, nothing is more compelling than a story of someone finding the resources within themselves to overcome life’s staggering obstacles.  The Second Life deals with a man who rejects society’s definition of religion and struggles to find the truth within himself, while Out of Dark Places features a protagonist who learns that the connections we make with others might be enough to redeem his tattered soul. 
While my next project will be a more light-hearted, comedic look at a character finding his way through a confusing world, I’m sure you’ll notice those same themes of self-discovery and the evolution of the human spirit.  If you’re a reader that enjoys having your empathy awakened and discovering that the similarities of our life experiences is what binds us all together, I have a feeling you’ll find it as rewarding to read my books as it was for me to write.
http://www.amazon.com/Out-Dark-Places-Jeff-Gephart/dp/0984639209/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1302752992&sr=8-2
http://www.amazon.com/Out-of-Dark-Places-ebook/dp/B004W8E9XU/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1313263945&sr=8-3

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Selling My Books on the Streets of Brooklyn 12/20

It was a day when things just fell into place. Since the streets in the area are being resurfaced and massive equipment and manpower are disrupting traffic and parking, I had to take the floating bookshop elsewhere. I found no parking on Avenue U, but as soon as I rolled up to Bay Parkway a car vacated the last spot on 84th Street, as close as I could get without having to feed the meter. I had to lug the crates only 50 yards. I hoped it was a good omen. Indeed it was. An MTA construction foreman working on the remodeling of the station nearby bought four hard cover thrillers. He beat Jack to the punch, limiting the employee of Chase Bank, one of my best customers, to three. A gentleman then purchased eight children's books, and another pounced on a book of Ronald Reagan's presidential speeches, which I was proud to sell. It was donated yesterday by the 84-year old veteran. Thanks, folks.
Then it was off to the airport to pick up my great niece Carmen, 29, and her sons Valentino, almost eleven, and Yuri, four. I hadn't seen them since Val was Yuri's age and size. He's now twice that size and calls his little brother "piccolo." Neither speaks any English, of course, the same for their mom. My Italian is very bad these days, so I have to add "Capeesh?" whenever I say something to them in their native tongue. I was surprised how thin Carmen is. She weighs a lot less than she did years ago. I guess being a young single mom will do that to you. Of course, her mother was thrilled to see them. She now has a boat load staying in the apartment, six counting Onofrio, Noemi and little Olivia. They are beautiful kids. My sister, their great grandmother, was shopping, but she left me a plate of sausages and a salad. 
Before leaving, I ran into Rosanne, who had just finished cleaning the house across the street, where that great family will celebrate Christmas Eve. A year or so ago I wrote a story centered on the block we grew up on, and mentioned her late dad, Nick. I wrote down the info and, thrilled, she said she would look it up tonight on the web. Tomorrow is her 46th birthday. I remember her riding around on her Big Wheel, cute as can be. For some reason, that memory brings the passage of time front and center like no other.
I found a great feature regarding Kindle sales - an app that leads to actual sales, which is far superior to the ranking that appears on Amazon's pages. I had hoped Killing had had ten sales. It's seven, a profit of 14 bucks and change.
It was a great day.
Read Vic's stories, free:
http://members.tripod.com/vic_fortezza/Literature/

Monday, December 19, 2011

Selling My Books on the Streets of Brooklyn 12/19

I thank the Merry Mailwoman and Herbie for purchasing books today.
Here's an excerpt from a short story with a political bent, Actor-Activist, published a few years ago:

   A dark-haired, handsome man adjusted the headset he was wearing, leaned toward a
microphone, and eyed his host, a curly-haired man with a toothy grin, who sat up straight
as he received a cue from his producer.
   "We're back. If you're just joining us, we've been chatting with actor-activist Alfred Tinto." He looked at his guest. "Al, in our remaining moments, why don't you sum up."
   "Thanks, Frank. It's simple, really. The administration lied to justify its war for oil profits. They aren't fooling anybody any more. They have no regard for the working stiff, let alone the poor, women, minorities, or the environment. They're plunderers. The hurricanes revealed them for what they truly are. People are starting to realize this, as the polls indicate. The war in Iraq is doomed. Let's support our troops by bringing them home."
   He leaned back, satisfied. His host was smiling.
   "I couldn't have said it better. Thank you."
   Minutes later Tinto was at a bathroom sink, snorting a line of cocaine. He looked in the mirror and straightened his tie. His suit was tailored perfectly, hugging incipient paunch. His hair was slick, not a single one out of place. He had a gold ring on each pinky.
   He hit the street gazing at his Rolex. He did a double-take as a man in uniform, knife handle protruding from his back, brushed past him. He assumed it was some sort of counter protest, and smirked, the issue too serious to have one nod to the clever humor of the ruse.
   "Open your eyes," he said. "Read the Times. Don't believe everything your leaders tell you."
   "Only the ones you'd vote for," said the ex-Marine, continuing on his way.
   “We’re not the ones stabbing you in the back. The administration is.”
   Tinto followed him with his eyes. Apparently the display hadn't been intended solely for him, as he'd first believed. So many know-it-alls yelled at him in the street.
   Brain-washed, he thought.

Read the rest and other stories here:
http://members.tripod.com/vic_fortezza/Literature/

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Selling My Books on the Streets of Brooklyn 12/18

The world lost one of its guardians of liberty today, Vaclav Havel, 75, who led "The Velvet Revolution" in Czechoslovakia in 1989. He lampooned communism in five absurdist plays. Here is one of his quotes: "None of us—as an individual—can save the world as a whole, but . . . each of us must behave as though it were in his power to do so." Rest in peace.
When it rains it pours: Penn St. QB Matt McGloin had to be hospitalized when he suffered a seizure after a locker room fight with a teammate. Happy Valley is anything but these days.
Any Giants fan surprised by today's loss to the lowly Redskins has not been paying attention. They've also lost to both the struggling Seahawks and Eagles at home. Fortunately, they have a good foundation of young players on which to build.
On a positive sports note - golf has a new budding superstar, Lexi Thompson, 16, who is now the youngest woman to have won both an LPGA and European event after this weekend's victory at the Dubai Ladies Masters. You go, girl. Former teen sensation Michelle Wie, now 22, finished 12th. Having won only twice, it shows how unrealistic and unfair expectations can be.
I was puzzled when Cell 211 arrived from Netflix. I didn't recollect anything about it, why I'd added it to my list. I'm glad I did. Made in Spain in 2009, it is the story of a prison riot, riveting from start to finish, despite its liberal bias. I just can't muster much sympathy for violent criminals. I'm the only person I know who thought The Shawshank Redemption was twaddle. Luis Tosar burns up the screen as the leader, Malamadre, which translates to Bad Mother, I believe. He appeared in the film version of Miami Vice (2006), which has vanished from my memory. Also making his mark was young Alberto Ammann, trapped behind enemy lines and using his wits to try to survive. Of course, it's subtitled, but I believe there was a dubbed version option on the DVD. On a scale of five, I rate Cell 211 four. It was directed by Daniel Monzon.
Bad News Billy stopped by the floating bookshop today. His six-year-old grandson was bitten by a dog the family was unable to track down. As a result the poor kid is undergoing a series of four shot regimens. Billy bought him a bunch of children's books, and the Elvis in Hollywood videotape for himself. Thanks, my friend, and also to the woman who purchased the large pictorial on cats.
Read Vic's stories, free: http://members.tripod.com/vic_fortezza/Literature/

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Selling My Books on the Streets of Brooklyn 12/17

I thank the kind people who bought books on Bay Parkway today, and Joanne, who donated another bag full of popular novels and promised another tomorrow.
It's time to introduce another of our All Things That Matter Press family of authors, who proves that  beauty and brains sometimes do mix:
My literary career began in Neo-Victorian fiction and drama. I am the author of the acclaimed novel Wynfield’s Kingdom that appeared on the cover of the First Edition Magazine in the UK and the sequel Wynfield’s War. The two novels were adapted for stage as historical tragicomedies, Hugo in London and Lady with a Lamp respectively. Last year I decided to temporarily leave the slums of 19th century London behind and relocate to the heart of early 20th century Dublin, the hearth of nationalistic activity, where every week a new alpha-rebel usurps the power. That is precisely the setting for my iconoclastic novel, Martyrs & Traitors: a Tale of 1916.
Introduced to the concept of cultural activism at an early age by my father, a prominent operatic coach and language revivalist, I always found it fascinating how various ethnic groups have addressed the concept of national identity, especially when it was in peril.
While examining any nationalistic movement, it is vital to remember that some individuals perceive their facial features and their language as mere technicalities, while other – as definitive elements of their personhood. Some can effortlessly divorce themselves from their roots, move to another country and marry someone from another ethnic group, while others would find such acts blasphemous. Some are willing to fight not only their perceived enemies but even those comrades who show insufficient zeal, branding them cowards and traitors. At one point does love for one’s heritage become unwholesome and destructive? I don’t attempt to answer that question.
One of my goals in writing Martyrs was to challenge the stereotype of Irish rebel as being a financially disadvantaged Catholic and fond of drink. The protagonist is the complete opposite – a middle-class Quaker of Anglo-Scottish origin and a vehement abstainer. I find that the Protestant angle is largely underrepresented.
My choice of focal character has been questioned on several occasions. I have been asked: “Why did you choose Bulmer Hobson for your protagonist? That’s not a name you hear frequently.” And my answer is: “Because Michael Collins has been done to death, and I have nothing more to say about him.” To me historical fiction is not about brand recognition.  I am not interested in capitalizing on the star power of iconic figure. With the risk of sounding arrogant and elitist, I do not read bestsellers, nor do I watch blockbusters. My lifelong quest is to dig up lost treasures, literary and historical, and bring into light those figures that have remained in the shadow for whatever reason. Currently, Bulmer Hobson is not a star in the popular epics of Irish nationalism, but he certainly was a star in his day – a star that was abruptly extinguished. The story of a man so precocious and egotistical in his politics yet so na├»ve in matters of the heart fascinated and moved me, and I hope it moves my readers. This novel is my hymn for all prematurely extinguished stars.
Martyrs and Traitors: A Tale of 1916
Book and Kindle Editions
Amazon.com:     http://tinyurl.com/3kahyk8
I'm a Chernobyl survivor adopted into the traditions of French Romanticism, Neo-Victorianism and Irish nationalism.  In other words, I'm a toxic, radioactive Euro-mix.  My passion is examining history's great disasters and writing about them, from famines, to botched military campaigns, to acts of terrorism.  I have described the Charge of the Light Brigade and the Irish Famine in my Victorian novels "Wynfield's Kingdom" and "Wynfield's War" (Fireship Press), and now I am focusing on the Easter Rising of 1916. The protagonist of my latest novel "Martyrs and Traitors: a Tale of 1916" (All Things That Matter Press) is Bulmer Hobson, Ireland's forgotten and discredited hero who had tried to stop the ill-fated insurrection. The novel has received excellent reviews from historians and novelists, including the bestseller Peter de Rosa.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Selling My Books on the Streets of Brooklyn 12/16

After a two day hiatus, the floating bookshop reopened. I had plenty of company, as a work crew was planting trees along East 13th. What a racket: two dump trucks, a cement and earth mover, and ten boisterous men. The street has yet to be paved, two weeks after it was torn up. Vehicles, including mine, have a thick, ugly layer of dust on them. And it's futile to wash them, as the streets in the entire area have been prepared. It looks like it will be another week before they get to ours.
I can hardly believe it, but Killing will be going to print soon. My literary angel, Victoria Valentine, and her husband, a Vietnam vet, both loved it. I've been editing V's romance novel, Love Dreams. I was expecting a free copy of the next anthology she publishes that contains one of my short stories. I was blown away when she offered to put Killing into print as a Water Forest Press book. All I have to do is buy copies, on which I'll eventually turn a profit. The best thing about it is that my biggest fan, my sister, will get to read it. She will never buy a Kindle. This is the best Christmas present I've ever received.
Now playing on Live 365: Fire by the Crazy World of Arthur Brown. Whenever I hear it I recall an incident from my college days. There was a smoky, minor blaze in a dorm room. As fire trucks came on the scene, one joker put his stereo speakers in the window and cranked out the aforementioned song, eliciting cheers from onlookers.
Bob Rubenstein dropped by. The White Bridge is getting closer to publication. He will soon receive a copy for final approval. Understandably, he's on edge. I'm sure I will be about Killing in the next few weeks. It's almost as if you're afraid you'll drop dead before you see it in print.
I thank the kind woman who purchased four hard cover thrillers and the Russian gentleman who overpaid for three paperbacks.
ReadVic's stories, free:
http://members.tripod.com/vic_fortezza/Literature/

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Selling My Books on the Streets of Brooklyn 12/15

The floating bookshop was closed today as I accompanied a friend to the doctor. Meanwhile, this comes courtesy of an old Exchange buddy, Joey Fork Tongue. Thanks, goombah.     
Yes, it's that magical time of year again when the Darwin Awards are bestowed, honoring the least evolved among us. Here is the glorious winner:
1. When his .38 caliber revolver failed to fire at his intended victim during a hold-up in Long Beach, California, would-be robber James Elliot did something that can only inspire wonder. He peered down the barrel and tried the trigger again. This time it worked.
And now, the honorable mentions:
2. The chef at a hotel in Switzerland lost a finger in a meat cutting machine and after a little shopping around submitted a claim to his insurance company. The company, expecting negligence, sent out one of its men to have a look for himself. He tried the machine and he also lost a finger. The chef's claim was approved.
3. A man who shoveled snow for an hour to clear a space for his car during a blizzard in Chicago returned with his vehicle to find a woman had taken the space.
Understandably he shot her.
4. After stopping for drinks at an illegal bar, a Zimbabwean bus driver found that the 20 mental patients he was supposed to be transporting from Harare to Bulawayo had escaped. Not
wanting to admit his incompetence, the driver went to a nearby bus stop and offered
everyone waiting there a free ride. He then delivered the passengers to the
mental hospital telling the staff that the patients were very excitable and prone to
bizarre fantasies. The deception wasn't discovered for 3 days.
5. An American teenager was in the hospital recovering from serious head wounds
received from an oncoming train. When asked how he received the injuries
the lad told police that he was simply trying to see how close he could get his head
to a moving train before he was hit.
6. A man walked into a Louisiana Circle-K, put a $20 bill on the counter
and asked for change. When the clerk opened the cash drawer the man pulled
a gun and asked for all the cash in the register which the clerk promptly provided.
The man took the cash from the clerk and fled, leaving the $20 bill on the counter.
The total amount of cash he got from the drawer - $15.
[If someone points a gun at you and gives you money is a crime committed?]
7. Seems an Arkansas guy wanted some beer pretty badly. He decided that he'd
just throw a cinder block through a liquor store window,
grab some booze, and run. So he lifted the cinder block and
heaved it over his head at the window. The cinder block bounced back
and hit the would-be thief on the head knocking him unconscious.
The liquor store window was made of Plexiglas. The whole event was caught on videotape.
8. As a female shopper exited a New York convenience store a man
grabbed her purse and ran. The clerk immediately called 911
and the woman was able to give them a detailed description of the snatcher.
Within minutes the police apprehended the snatcher. They put him in the car and drove back
to the store. The thief was then taken out of the car and told to stand there for a positive ID.
To which he replied, "Yes, officer, that's her. That's the lady I stole the purse from."
9. The Ann Arbor News crime column reported that a man walked into a Burger King in Ypsilanti, Michigan at 5 A.M., flashed a gun, and demanded cash.
The clerk turned him down because he said he couldn't open the cash register
without a food order. When the man ordered onion rings,
the clerk said they weren't available for breakfast. The frustrated man walked away.
[A 5-STAR STUPIDITY AWARD WINNER]
10. When a man attempted to siphon gasoline from a motor home parked
on a Seattle street by sucking on a hose, he got much more than he bargained for.
Police arrived at the scene to find a very sick man curled up next to a motor home
near spilled sewage. A police spokesman said that the man admitted to trying
to steal gasoline but he plugged his siphon hose into the motor home's sewage
tank by mistake. The owner of the vehicle declined to press charges saying
that it was the best laugh he'd ever had.
In the interest of bettering mankind, please share these with friends and family
unless of course one of these individuals by chance is a distant relative or long lost friend.
In that case, be glad they are distant and hope they remain distant.
Read Vic's stories, free:
http://members.tripod.com/vic_fortezza/Literature/

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Selling My Books on the Streets of Brooklyn 12/14

The floating bookshop was closed today as I had the honor of picking up my great nephew Onoforio, his lovely wife Noemi, and adorable one-year old Olivia from Kennedy Airport. This is the perfect time to introduce another of our All Things That Matter Press family of authors, a real fighter:

Randy woke up this morning in Vanderhoof, British Columbia, happy to be living—quite literally. We don’t have many days on this earth and Randy appreciates that fact more than many because he is a survivor of a rare kind of brain bleed—a subarachnoid hemorrhage.
Although there are scars, a titanium plate and some lasting mental challenges, Randy leans on his degree in education, his past work with children, and his knowledge that a good story can change outlooks and lives. Having survived may, to large degree, fuel his drive, but his past work with children infuses his writing. Randy’s stories encourage readers and leave them wanting more.
Randy has had two books in print, his most recent, #9 Grundpark Road. The main character is a young boy named Daniel Sterling, who, like all of us, struggles with his own particular challenges. Daniel refuses to let his disadvantaged beginnings prevent him from reaching his goals. This uplifting, page turner will make you feel like you are capable of more, too.
Check Randy out at http://www.allthingsthatmatterpress.com and any of these other places:
www.randykwallace.com
justajot.blogspot.com
http://www.facebook.com/randykwallace
twitter.com/randykwallace
Look him up at Amazon.com where you can find paper or electronic versions of his book. #9 Grundpark Road is also available in Nook.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Selling My Books on the Streets of Brooklyn 12/13

RIP Officer Peter Figoski, 47, 22-year NYPD veteran, father of four daughters (20,18,16,14), killed in the line of duty by a creep whose rap sheet is a mile long and who was recently released on his own recognizance after a drug bust. I know the administration of justice is often complex and that the judge may have been compelled by other circumstances than knee-jerk liberal reaction, but it is particularly infuriating when such decisions lead to the most horrible outcome. Figoski will not be at the wedding of any of his girls, and that career criminal, who is also a suspect in a shooting in North Carolina, will probably live a long life behind bars on the public's dime. I suppose there will be silence from the Reverends Sharpton and Jackson. They probably will not the praise the heroic restraint of Pigoski's partner, Officer Glenn Estrada, who did not gun down the suspect while apprehending him. And I guess we can expect the likes of Ed Asner and Susan Sarandon to make a martyr of the slimeball in the future, as they have of Mumia Abu Jamal, the Philadelphia cop killer, who slew Officer Daniel Faulkner in 1981 and recently escaped the death penalty when officials threw in the towel after 30 years of appeals. The extreme left considers such men "political prisoners" rather than the common murderers they are. It is an outrage. And for the morons celebrating the assassination of a cop, these felons would put a bullet in anyone who stood in their way, regardless of skin color. They are your enemy, not the authorities. Wake up!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Selling My Books on the Streets of Brooklyn 1212

Political Man dropped a bombshell on me today. To prevent him from going on one of his rants, I immediately asked what new musical discoveries he'd made. Of course, this did not stop him from telling passersby his opinion of Republicans, how they were serving the rich at the expense of the middle class. For someone who professes to be squeezed financially he spends a lot of money on pot and CDs. Anyway, as we were discussing country hits that crossed over to the pop charts he threw in the fact that he is gay and has had the same lover for 27 years. I said nothing, although I was surprised, as I often see him in the company of a woman I assumed was his wife.
Also on the neighborhood political front, Jack took time out from his Occupy Wall Street T-shirt business to pay his electric bill, which was three months in arrears. He says tourists are spending a lot of cash in Manhattan, taking advantage of the depressed dollar. I'm not sure how it works, but some Europeans come here to shop during the Christmas season because it costs them less than at home, despite the price of the flight. Jack said there are a lot of Italians in town, and he started spouting the phrases he uses to attract them. "Not fongoul, though," he said. He is limping severely due to an arthritic knee. I asked if he'd taken the acetaminophen the doctor had prescribed. Of course, he hadn't. He'd opted for a glass of wine instead and claims it does not mix well with the drug. He is always entertaining.
The Giants may not be very good, but they fight to the end. It's nice to see a great kid like Eli Manning have an All-Pro type season. There were flashes of brilliance in the past, followed by maddeningly erratic play. And what can be said about defensive lineman Jason Pierre-Paul, who didn't start playing football until college, except: Wow!
A woman who lives in the Atlantic Towers complex told me someone had left books in the courtyard. I investigated and found about ten I should be able to sell, including Stephen King's The Shining, a couple of large pictorials, a few classics, and a novel by Steve Martin, which I plan to read, as I've always enjoyed his work and his thoughtful interviews on Charlie Rose. He seems to be a modern renaissance man.
Thanks, ma'am. And thanks also to Herbie, who purchased Danielle Steele's Star, and the kind mom who bought nine books for her daughter.
Now playing on Live 365: Larry Verne singing his classic novelty song: "Please, Mr. Custer, I don't wanna go...."
Read Vic's stories, free: http://members.tripod.com/vic_fortezza/Literature/

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Selling My Books on the Streets of Brooklyn 1211

Remnants of Occupy Wall Street recently vandalized a set of Law and Order SVU, which, as it so often does, uses current stories as a backdrop for its episodes. The members believe they are being exploited. I derive a fiendish delight out of this, as SVU has a left bias that had me abandon the show - that and its ludicrous, obligatory plot twists. No episode passes without a liberal teaching point or two. It got so annoying. So it's fun to see liberals turn on each other. What do its writers do - pledge solidarity with the movement, which would prove a liberal bias they would never want to admit? My guess is they will be silent.
It takes a lot to surprise me these days, especially when it comes to the behavior of athletes, so the news that NL MVP Ryan Braun has tested positive for PED's got no more than a sniff out of me. I hope further tests prove it is a mistake, but if he did use them he should be stripped of the honor. It will be interesting see if the pathetic Bud Selig looks the other way, as he did when the homers were flying out of parks at historic rates just after the strike. It's not a stretch to say that steroids brought baseball back to prominence, and made many rich.
I had another lucky day on Bay Parkway, which was my third choice to set up shop. There were no parking spots at the other locations. As I pulled up, I spotted Joanne approaching. She has donated so many popular books to me and brought me 16 more today. She is moving to Long Island, as her landlord is selling his house. I will miss her.
I thank the Russian gentleman who purchased two coffee table books and the young mom who bought three books for her son, who has just begun to learn to read. It looked like that would be it for the session until a young man showed and asked about the CD's I had on display. Although only in his thirties, he is interested in the music of the 50's and 60's. He asked about the quality of the sound. Since my car was right there, I popped a disc into the player and cranked up the volume. His eyes spread. "Pretty good," he said. He bought all three, and I'm now in the process of burning new copies. So I will be well-armed when I return to my usual nook tomorrow.
Read Vic's stories, free: http://members.tripod.com/vic_fortezza/Literature/

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Selling My Books on the Streets of Brooklyn 1210

Nyquil still works for me. I slept through the night. Unfortunately, I felt like doo-doo most of the morning. I guess it takes a while for the ibuprofen to kick. It's amazing what one of those little pills can do. I didn't make my usual Saturday visit to a friend - why bring my germs to his place - but I was able to put in a couple of hours selling books on Bay Parkway. I even peddled one of the VHS tapes Marie donated - Beavis and Butt-head Do America (Huh, huh, huh) - to Bob, who has yet to make the transfer to DVD. Right now my nose is running as if it is in a marathon.
Thanks, folks, and ditto to John, whose purchase of Killing boosted my Kindle ranking into the Top 1000 (74,000+).
Each year I burn a CD for my four nieces. This year's disc features twelve songs:
Besame Mucho - Andrea Bocelli - the world-renowned singer steps back from the semi-operatic in an understated though powerful performance of the Spanish standard, enhanced by gorgeous piano and acoustic guitar work.
Baby-O - Dean Martin & Paris Bennett - This is only the second of the fake duets I've liked, the other being Unforgettable by Nat & Natalie Cole. It's a bouncy pop tune perfectly suited to Dino and the young lady who appeared on American Idol.
Another Day in L.A. - Indigo Swing - a modern swing tune.
Ramble On - Led Zeppelin - listening to it today, I was impressed by the beautiful bass work of John Paul Jones. One of the few things I like about winter is listening to music with the windows rolled up.
Dress You Up - Madonna - one of the the few songs by her I like.
I'm Gonna Tear Your Playhouse Down - Paul Young - spectacular bass work by Pino Palladino.
Don't Get Me Wrong - Pretenders - irresistible pop.
Passion - Rod Stewart - "...Once in love, you're never out of danger...." Beautiful.
The Space Between - Roxy Music - simple, wonderful mood piece by the UK band.
Panama - Van Halen - silly hormonal rock brought to high art as Eddie slows what begins as a standard lead to soft, gorgeous fuzz and is matched in tone by David Lee Roth's vocal.
Zoot Suit Riot - Cherry Poppin' Daddies - more foot-tapping modern swing.
Werewolves of London - Warren Zevon - a fun trip in the mind of one of the most bizarre songwriters ever - "...little old lady got mutilated late last night...."
Panic Switch - Silver Sun Pickups - one the few modern rock songs I've liked. Then again, does any NY radio station play modern rock now that RXP has gone under?
This Must Be the Place - Talking Heads - a surprising upbeat pop song from one of the most unique bands ever.
What would the world be like without music? I shudder to think.
Now playing on Live 365: 16 Candles by the Crests, with the late Johnny Maestro on lead vocal.
Read Vic's stories, free:
http://members.tripod.com/vic_fortezza/Literature/

Friday, December 9, 2011

Selling My Books on the Streets of Brooklyn 12/9

I'm under the weather for the first time since early '06 or '07. I remember it because it was my first three weeks as a supervisor at the Exchange and I dared not stay home. I had some kind of upper respiratory thing and feared I'd get a hernia from coughing. This time it's a simple cold. I bought some Nyquil this morning and hope it still does the trick for me. It used to put me out like a light. Otherwise, it's a rough night's sleep. I'm feeling kind of icky right now. Maybe the adrenaline has worn off.
So today I faced the question of whether to work the floating bookshop. It was never really in doubt. What choice did I have - stay home and be miserable? Fortunately, it was a beautiful day and I felt fine. The one ibuprofen I took must have bolstered me. And people were in a buying mood. As soon as I got to my usual nook, Alan approached and bought a Phillip Margolin thriller. Minutes later, an Asian gentleman purchased a large book on Bruce Lee karate techniques. It's hard to believe the Dragon has been dead longer than 30 years. As I've been expecting, the fresh batch of children's books I received finally started selling, as several women bought. A delivery guy on a bike hit the brakes as he spotted the Frank Sinatra coffee table book. I also sold him an Ultimate Sinatra homemade CD.
Jack stopped by and asked if I'd be interested in selling items he has emblazoned with the Occupy Wall Street logo. I politely declined. A half hour later he returned and gave me an NYC T-shirt I'd inquired about a few days ago, which I will give to one of my great-great nieces or nephews, who will be flying in from Italy for the holidays. I felt like a rat for having turned him down, but we all know adhering to principle is not easy, and I want nothing to do with OWS. I appreciate the one-percent, who create jobs, who pay 37% of the federal taxes and goodness knows how much in state and local taxes and other fees.
Thanks, folks.
Read Vic's stories, free: http://members.tripod.com/vic_fortezza/Literature/

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Selling My Books on the Streets of Brooklyn 12/8

Let's have a show of hands: Who believes former Illinois Governor, Rod Blagojevich, is truly sorry for the corruption that has seen him sentenced to a 14-year stretch in prison? Who believes former New Jersey governor, Jon Corzine, does not know what happened to the 1.2 billion that has disappeared from the coffers of the now defunct MF Global? Who believes Alec Baldwin was singled out by a flight attendant, who he claims looked the other way as other passengers used their electronic devices in violation of regulations? The latter incident shows that the disease of entitlement so ingrained in almost 50% of the population is not restricted to the lust for other people's money.
I have never seen the show Mythbusters, which airs on cable, but I was entertained by an article in today's NY Post detailing a recent event the show staged at a police test firing range. They fired a cannonball, which overshot its target and flew into a part of suburban San Francisco, damaging houses and an SUV before finally coming to a halt. Fortunately, no one, not even Nancy Pelosi, was hurt.
Is it possible that the real owners of the Florida Marlins are the U.S. Congress or the Fed? Where is this moribund franchise getting the money to sign high-priced free agents? Are they printing it themselves?
The Angels have won the Albert Pujols derby, giving him 25.4 million over ten years. They also have signed pitcher CJ Wilson, who was a bust in the post season, for 77 million. I'm sure the one-percenters and union folks still able to afford to attend games won't mind a ticket increase.
For the first time in its history, Harvard has entered the basketball Top 25. This may change tonight when the Crimson face UCONN, which graduates very few of its roundballers.
The madness that is major college sports has never manifested itself more clearly than with the inclusion of Boise St. in the Big East, football only. Last time I looked at a map, Idaho was about 2000 miles from the conference's hub. I guess the team will earn enough to cover the cost of longer flights. And I suppose it's silly to wonder about the lost classroom time of student-athletes.
God bless America.
The floating bookshop had no sales today, as business hours were curtailed by the cold. I did receive three donations: eight VHS tapes from Marie, three great coffee table books from Moses, and three hardcover thrillers from the 84-year-old veteran. Thanks, folks.
Read Vic's stories, free: http://members.tripod.com/vic_fortezza/Literature/

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Selling My Books on the Streets of Brooklyn 12/7

The floating bookshop was rained out today, which makes it the perfect time to ballyhoo one of our All Things That Matter Press family of authors, Anna Mullins. She is still crazy after all these years.
The Biography Of My Memoir

“Why I have the kind of vivid Technicolor memory I do has always been a mystery to me and to the few who knew of it.”

The above quote is the first sentence of my memoir and for the next 327 pages I explain in detail what I meant by that and the reason I believe I was blessed/cursed with so many colorful and distinct memories, both good and bad, funny and sad. Two of the worst memories drove me straight to mental hell in agony that refused to relinquish. The first time it happened in 1967 during the Viet Nam War and I chose to have six shock treatments to cure me, they did in two weeks. The second time was seven weeks after my beloved mother’s agonizing July death from Alzheimer’s. That inspiration struck on 9/11/2001 when the horror I was watching on T.V. reminded me of my Great Grandmother Fox, my mother’s grandmother I only met once when I was very young, but she instilled in me a memory that had haunted me many times throughout my life.  In 2001 I chose to cure myself by writing about why I was so distressed. That cure worked also, after a decade of edits, though it did raise a few eyebrows from family members. Oh well, not the first time I messed with their brows or the grey matter behind them.

I was born with a Pisces artistic nature I couldn’t ignore. I took piano lessens from second grade through twelfth. The initial inspiration for that musical obsession I got from a religious picture of St. Cecelia in my parents bedroom. I decided when I was four or five years old I wanted to play a piano in heaven when I died so I insisted mamma buy me one to practice on. Actually, my first piano became a bribe she used to get me to do something I really didn’t want to do, go to first grade at a Catholic school. I finally caved in after a lot of family persuasion and several other bribes I required, daddy’s paint quarter horse, a puppy, and five new chicken feed sack dresses. I’m sure some of those nuns wished I had not allowed myself to be bribed to go to that awful “purgatory” in 1944-45. Old unjust ladies in black I was forced to give a little piece of my mind to every once in a while. If something doesn’t make sense to me, I can become an instant rebel.

My unique childhood logic was always considered rather strange by adults but that never deterred me. When I made my mind up, there were few on earth who could change it, and that stubborn quirk still haunts me to this day. Oh well, after I ordered my natal horoscope in the 1970’s I found I could blame all my idiosyncrasies on the alignment of the stars above my head on the day I was born…so I still do. It’s easy to blame it on those professional astrologers who claimed my star alignment was rather strange and unusual who gave me a detailed opinion of why I was so “different.” It’s not my fault…it’s my Gods. At least that’s the excuse I’m going to use in the afterlife, if I ever get the chance.

At various times in my life I also became obsessed with learning how to cook, sew, paint, sculpt, and conquer fast horses. I’m a Texas native with a few drops of Apache blood flowing in my veins. When I was six, I insisted on learning how to shoot a rifle and hit the bull’s-eye, so my legend of a superman Daddy took me out in the pasture with a Winchester 30-30 and taught me. I realized that was a handy thing to know when I was seven years old guarding German POW’s on a big horse with a Federal rifle still in its saddle holster on my grandpa’s cotton farm in 1945. The “official” guards allowed me to do that while they took naps on the back porch because they didn’t think the prisoners would run off and I didn’t think they would harm me. I was their favorite entertainment on their lunch break. The guards explained to grandpa, “Where would they go, they can’t find a big enough boat to get back home on, and besides, they like earning enough to buy cigarettes and cokes and candy.” My singing and dancing was the most torture those lucky POW’s ever had to endure in America…but I would peel their oranges for them.

See? My logic isn’t all that “crazy” compared to some adults I have known in my lifetime.

My adult logic hasn’t been much different than my childhood, except that I know a whole lot more about how the world works now than I did back then. After I was forced out of my church by a couple of bad apples, I decided to launch my own religion that consisted of the Creator of all that exists, with Jesus and my “spirit” as my mentors, and me as the pastor. For over two decades I researched religion until it jelled into a creed I could accept and I’m still happy with it. I doubt the T.V. evangelists would be because I quit believing in Hellfire and Damnation they charge for telling you how not to get there.

Motherhood was the only vocation I ever lusted for and I did accomplish that. I have five wonderful children who blessed me with eleven grandkids and they are now the focus of my senior years. I live on the outskirts of San Antonio and stay involved with my three youngest grandchildren’s projects.  I still love to write, paint, cook, and still drag out my sewing machine when they want new patches on their jeans they consider badges of honor, usually required because of another pain in their butt that rips denim and skin.

I never intended to become a writer or an author but destiny had plans I felt I couldn’t alter. When I chose to publish my life story, I wanted it to be as honest as I could remember and knew I was going to have to confess all my sins if I was going to write about anyone else’s…so I did. I do hope I don’t make your eyebrows too uncomfortable if you choose to read Confessions Of A Crazy Fox.
Confessions Of A Crazy Fox is available on Amazon in soft cover and for Kindles http://www.amazon.com/Confessions-Crazy-Maria-Kolojaco-Mullins/dp/0984639284/ref=sr_1_1_title_0_main?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1311704034&sr=1-1
And in print on my Publishers Website
http://allthingsthatmatterpress.com/ 
It is also available as an E-book at Barnes & Nobles Nook Book Site


   

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Selling My Books on the Streets of Brooklyn 12/6

The floating bookshop was rained out today and it looks as though it will be so again tomorrow. Fortunately, I made some money accompanying Arlynn to the doctor. She has only one more scheduled visit this year, Thursday. She sorted through the donation of children's books I received Sunday to see if there were any she could peddle at Amazon. She mailed two this morning, one to Germany. Sure enough, she bought three of my new batch, and also a self-help CD about letting go of the past. Thank you, my friend. I will be making my own music CD's tomorrow to peddle on the street, as I just received a shipment of blanks. I filled out Christmas cards today, but won't mail them until the 15th.
I received a stunning offer from my literary angel, Victoria Valentine, who has published 12 of my short stories through the years in her beautiful magazines and anthologies, as well as my second novel, Adjustments. She is the person most responsible for keeping me in the game. Anyway, I offered to edit the romance novel she's working on and she offered, as payment, to put Killing into print for free. I would just have to buy copies, which I know I would turn a profit on eventually. There are people who will never read it as a Kindle book, most notably my sister, my biggest fan. I tempered my excitement. I want VV to read the last few chapters to make sure she realizes what she may be getting into. As I've said, I know there would be people who would be outraged by what is proposed, even though the event doesn't come off. Also, her husband, who is a Vietnam veteran, is currently reading the novel. Post 9/11, the book was available briefly electronically. I visited a Vietnam veterans website and described the book to gauge reaction. Several of them tore me a new you know what. I was upset. The last thing I would want to do is anger those men, who have been treated so unfairly by so many, especially the arts community. I am more proud of this work than any of my others. It is as close to complete fiction as I can get, meaning it contains very little from my own life. Mind you, none of the veterans read the book. The part in question occurs late and is roughly ten-percent of it. I wait on pins and needles for the opinion of VV's husband. He has enjoyed my work until now. I'm not sure myself if what the main character proposes doesn't cast him in such a negative light that no one will identify with him in the end. If that's the case, the novel is probably a failure, despite the richness of what occurs before the climax. To me, he is someone you would want next to you in a foxhole.
Read Vic's stories, free:
http://members.tripod.com/vic_fortezza/Literature/

Monday, December 5, 2011

Selling My Books on the Streets of Brooklyn 12/5

It was a lucky day all around. First of all, Bob Rubenstein treated me to lunch as a final thank you for editing his second novel, The White Bridge. As we were sitting in the El Greco Diner, facing Sheepshead Bay, I happened to notice the TV was tuned to the Fox Business Channel. I stole a glance every now and then and saw what I hoped to see - the stock market was up significantly. I've had an order in to sell my 300 shares of Verizon for a couple of months. I thought I had it last Thursday, but customer service explained that the stock reached the level before the opening of the NYSE, where it conducts its transactions. I was pissed, certain it would not breech that mark again for years once players realize the European crisis is not going away before it does major damage to the world economy and the market suffers a major retraction as a result. I hope I'm wrong about that, but I'm risk averse right now. So I've had two minor winners this year. I made a little more from Intel than I'd thought originally, $1091 rather than $600. Today's take was $903, small potatoes compared to what those with real business sense earn, but much better than bank interest these days. Unfortunately, there's not much I can do with my barking bank stocks. Even Zipcar, which I still believe in, has lost half its value.
It looked like the floating book shop was going to be a bust - until my only customer of the day came along. Victoria not only purchased A Hitch in Twilight but ten other books, which she will share with her work colleagues. Fortunately, I had a bag big enough to hold them all. Weeks ago Viktor the Ukrainian gave me a red cloth bag. I'd been hoping to use it in such a way ever since. Thank you, ma'am. Hitch is now sold out of its original 110 book print run except for a copy being held by a friend of a friend. More copies are on the way. Of course, it can be purchased online, along with my other books. The links to each can be accessed at my web site, where many of my short stories are available for free. Go here:
http://members.tripod.com/vic_fortezza/Literature/

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Selling My Books on the Streets of Brooklyn 12/4

The other day Political Man stopped by the floating bookshop and quickly segued from his daily rant against Republicans to his love of music. He raved about the latest CD collection of the Beach Boys, except that there is still no stereo version of Good Vibrations. He also has found a version of Jethro Tull's Aqualung with satisfactory sound in its 40th anniversary edition. He gave an earlier version, on which he claimed the sound was dead, to his pot dealer.
Speaking of music, I recently watched a VHS tape I made in the '80's when I had the stamina to stay up and tape the great musical acts that appeared on Late Night with David Letterman, which would air at the end of the show, about 1:30 AM. I was still young and strong enough then to rise at six the next morning with no problem. This particular tape kicked off with the late Robert Palmer's intelligently written Addicted to Love: "...You like to think you're immune to the stuff/but it's closer to the truth to say you can't get enough..." There were also appearances by the Pretenders, Wall of Voodoo and Brian Ferry, flying solo after his split from Roxy Music. There was also a seven-song excerpt from the Talking Heads unbelievable Remain in Light concert, which begins with David Byrne taking the bare stage himself, putting down a beat box, and accompanying himself on acoustic guitar to Psycho Killer. As the show progresses, the roadies build the set, and throughout it Byrne, at the pinnacle of his showmanship, runs around like a madman. He must have been in unbelievable cardiovascular shape. Here's the opening clip, courtesy of youtube. Enjoy:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-pCZ5E5tn4I
Thanks to Bob, who purchased an illustrated children's version of H.G. Wells' The Invisible Man. Any time I see the title, I think of the classic film version starring Claude Rains, and laugh as I recall the constable arriving on the scene and saying, very slowly in a British accent: "Here now, what's all this?" and the crazy screams of the proprietress of the saloon/rooming house.
Spasibo to the kind Russian woman who made a donation of about 50 children's books.
Tim Tebow haters must be cursing up a storm right now after another come from behind win.
Now playing on Live 365: the gorgeous, sultry Sade singing Smooth Operator.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Selling My Books on the Streets of Brooklyn 12/3

I thank the kind folks who bought books today on Bay Parkway. In a desperate bid to boost book sales, here's an excerpt from Super G, part of the A Hitch in Twilight collection.

    Lunch in hand, David Chang dashed onto the elevator as the doors were closing. “Whew,” he said, smiling at two co-workers, young turks of the corporate world. “Timing is everything.”  
   “You oughta know, whiz kid,” said Ted. “What’s that – moo goo gai pan?”
   Lila rolled her eyes as her companion snickered. David said nothing. Although he’d never gotten used to the occasional slur, he knew no harm was meant most of the time. It was simply one of humanity’s foibles and had to be tolerated.
   Ted’s cell phone rang. Lila smirked, apparently recognizing the ring tone, a familiar romantic ballad.
  “Hi, hon.” He listened a moment. “Not before eight, probably nine. We’re soooo busy.”
   Lila failed to suppress a smile.
   “Oh, okay. I’ll see if I can get away early. Bye. Love you.” He frowned. “My kids came down with the flu. We’ll have to postpone that meeting.”
   Lila’s face became stone-like. David shifted uncomfortably, as if he were guilty of eavesdropping.
   Suddenly he noticed a capital A on Ted’s brow.
   “What’s that on your forehead?”
   Ted shot him an inquisitive look. “Oh. It’s Ash Wednesday.”
   “I’m Catholic, and that doesn’t look like any ashes I’ve ever seen.”
   Lila rose onto her toes. “I don’t see anything, even the ashes.”
David was beside himself. The letter was bold and black. He leaned right. “Must’ve been the shadows. Sorry.” He looked away, gut contracting in fear. Hurrying toward his work station, he came to a halt and chuckled, suspecting he’d been the victim of a practical joke, albeit one he did not get.
  And you got all scared, he thought, admonishing himself.
  He shook his head, fascinated that a man would observe a religious tradition in the AM, and commit infidelity in the PM. Humans were a curious lot.

  
Available in print or on Kindle:
http://www.amazon.com/Hitch-Twilight-Tales-Warped-Imagination/dp/0984098410/ref=ntt_at_ep_dpt_3

Friday, December 2, 2011

Selling My Books on the Streets of Brooklyn 12/2

It's time to introduce another of our All Things That Matter Press family of authors, a remarkable woman and genuine Native-American voice.

Amy Krout-Horn(Oieihake Win, Last Word Woman) has resided in two worlds; the world of the sighted and the world of the blind. She has been a writer in both of them. She spent time in Washington DC acting as a political lobbyist for the disabled, worked as the first blind teaching assistant at the University of Minnesota’s American Indian Studies program, and holds degrees in American Indian studies and psychology. She is a regular contributor to Slate and Style magazine and, in 2008, was awarded their top fiction prize for War Pony. Amy, with her life-partner, Gabriel Horn, co-authored the novella, Transcendence (All Things That Matter Press, 2009). Her creative non-fiction was featured in the spring 2010 issue of Breath and Shadow, and Talking Stick Native Arts Quarterly published her essay, Bleeding Black, in their fall 2010 issue. Her latest book is an autobiographical novel, My Father’s Blood (All Things That Matter Press, 2011). Currently, she is at work on her third novel, Dancing in Concrete Moccasins.
A staunch advocate for social and environmental justice, she writes and lectures on native history and culture, diabetes and disability, and humanity’s connection and commitment to the natural world. For more information, to purchase books, or to contact Amy, please visit her official web site.
http://www.nativeearthwords.com/

Thanks to the kind folks who bought books today. I finally had a chance to pay back the 84-year-old veteran who has donated so many books to me. He was interested in Broadcast Century, a large coffee table history of the industry. I was happy to give it to him.
This morning I finished the editing of round four of Bob Rubenstein's The White Bridge. He is going his own way on a lot of the prose, which I believe still needs a lot of refinement. I won't argue, only suggest. It's his book and I hope I'm the one who's wrong.
Now playing on Martini in the Morning - Andrea Bocelli's beautiful version of Besame Mucho, which I will be downloading soon.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Selling My Books on the Streets of Brooklyn 12/1

Students of the CUNY system have been demonstrating against proposed tuition hikes. In her column today in the NY Post, Andrea Peyser put the issue in compelling perspective. By 2015, tuition will have risen from its present $4300 to $6330. It's a bargain these days. Before the open enrollment travesty of the '70's, NYC colleges were known as the Harvard of the poor. When standards fell, their degrees became the object of ridicule. When standards were raised a decade or so ago, the reputation of the schools increased. By comparison, students of the state university system will be paying $7603. At NYU, the annual fee is $41,606, at Columbia $43,088. Parents of some NYC private schools pay $33,000 to $40,000. There were professors at the demonstrations. Many earn more than $100,000 per year. Anyone who has been to college knows what a piece of cake teaching at one is. It is virtually stress-free compared to working at a public junior or high school. They are grossly overpaid. I suggest each contribute a portion of his salary to a student in need. And there is another factor that makes the protests even more absurd: 60% of the students have their entire costs covered by state and federal financial aid - 90,000 out of the 150,000 student population! Another 10,000 get partial coverage. The sense of entitlement is staggering, and it is created by government. God help us.
An ice cold wind curtailed the operating hours of the floating bookshop. I had no sales, but the 84-year-old vet braved the elements to make another donation: three thrillers and two Bibles. Thank you, sir.
Read Vic's stories, free:
http://members.tripod.com/vic_fortezza/Literature/

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Selling My Books on the Streets of Brooklyn 11/30

Since the street paving crew was working right beside my usual sunny nook, I had to move the floating bookshop to my warm weather spot, which is in the shade of a six-story apartment building. Fortunately, it wasn't that cold, despite the wind, but I decided to cut business by an hour to be on the safe side. I was immediately rewarded when a young man who works with the handicapped approached. I told him I had a copy of Introducing Rousseau. "Jean Jacques Rousseau?" he said in his islands' accent, eyes wide. He is pursuing a Masters in Philosophy.
A few minutes later Big Al the Beat Poet appeared. I hadn't seen him in weeks. He does not venture out much in the cold. I loaned him my friend Carlos' poetry CD, Written in Pain, and he purchased Desert Moon, The Lost Poetry of Victoria Valentine, my literary angel. I have a signed copy on my shelf.
Later, Alan visited and had trouble finding something to his liking. Knowing his penchant for mysteries, I suggested Dick Francis' Straight. "I'll try it," he said.
I was happy to see John approaching. I told him I'd posted Killing directly to Kindle, and he's working on posting one of his own novels, an indictment of the war on drugs. He questions me every day. I'm happy to help. He purchased Close to the Edge a couple of years ago and I always feel indebted to anyone who takes a chance on one of my books. He's frustrated, as the formatting of the test copy isn't right. I made suggestions and offered to make a house call if he continued to have problems. John is amazed at the number of people who greet me in passing. The other day I counted 20.
As I was packing up, I put aside Laurie Halse Anderson's Winter Girls, which I intended to read. It'd been ignored. Since the jacket was missing, I was clueless as to its content and what to tell potential customers. Sure enough, a man with a heavy Russian accent spotted and bought it. Such delightful oddities make life so special.
Thanks, folks.
Please remember that the packaging of Close to the Edge and A Hitch in Twilight at Amazon qualifies one for free shipping, $35.63+tax. Edge takes place almost entirely in Brooklyn. Many of the stories in Hitch take place in Brooklyn.
Read Vic's stories, free:
http://members.tripod.com/vic_fortezza/Literature/

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Selling My Books on the Streets of Brooklyn 11/29

Guilt, the emotion that keeps the world from descending into even further chaos, was my friend today. I heard raindrops falling on the fire escape outside my windows. The forecast had called for showers, so it wasn't a surprise. By the time I finished lunch, the rain seemed to have stopped. I could have easily rationalized staying indoors, as I'm in the home stretch of the fourth round of editing Bob Rubenstein's The White Bridge. My ridiculous personality wouldn't allow it, of course. I would have felt like a slacker if I didn't at least check on the conditions. The streets were wet and the sky was overcast, but it wasn't raining. Since a two-block stretch of East 13th is being resurfaced and heavy vehicles are raising a ruckus, I decided to forgo my usual nook and head for the isolation of the viaduct at East 15th. Not one person stopped for the first hour, which I'd expected. Then Pe'er, 30-something, came along and purchased A Hitch in Twilight. I'd never heard the name and assumed it was Orthodox, although her attire was not overtly conservative. I was unable to find a definition online, but I noticed that a couple of Israelis shared the same first name. Here's something else I found through the wonder of the PC: Toda lakh. Thank you also to the woman of color who bought Neale Donald Walsch's Conversations with God, Book 2. And once again one of my main mantras proved correct: Take a shot, you never know what will happen.
So Barney Frank is retiring. It doesn't matter. The damage he and his confederates, Dodd and Kennedy, have done is irreparable. They succeeded in accelerating the country's descent into Socialism. Roughly speaking, 50% of Americans are resisting, but that number decreases daily as Democrats cater to the entitlement mentality. I hope the next election proves me wrong. Newt Gingrich is proving he is far and away the leading candidate to lead the opposition, but his personal baggage is heavy. Still, it would be interesting to see him debate Obama.
The fun story of the day must have the OWS crowd and its supporters tearing their hair out. Three Connecticut financiers, one-percenters, have won the highest lottery payout in the state's history. Love it!
Fret not Giants fans. The team has too much youth and inexperience to mount a serious playoff charge, but it may be building a solid foundation for the future. And Osi and Tuck are a shadow of their former selves, so the biggest need is obvious. Jacobs played well, but he is a stooge. That display after he scored the touchdown was reprehensible. I hope he doesn't return. For now, revel in the play of Jason Pierre-Paul. Imagine a defensive lineman making tackles way across and downfield. He is a coach's dream.
Read Vic's stories, free:
http://members.tripod.com/vic_fortezza/Literature/

Monday, November 28, 2011

Selling My Books on the Streets of Brooklyn 11/28

I didn't sell any of my own books today, but I did sell five romance novels to a young home attendant. Thanks, ma'am.
It's time to introduce another of our All Things That Matter Press family of authors. Give the kid a shot:


Spawned in the cornfields of rural Illinois in 1984, he grew up with a wholesome face and an uncouth mind. A love of physical challenges and lush landscapes inspired him to join a volunteer wildfire squad in 2003, and it was here that he was put on the search and rescue team for the Columbia Space Shuttle, which had broken up over Texas on re-entry that February. During his month working on the Columbia mission, Nick was perplexed by the daily absurdities that came of working for a secretive, hierarchical government organization under adverse conditions in the middle of nowhere. This brought about paranoia, which in turn brought about his first novel, Shooting Angels, now available from All Things That Matter Press.

Shooting Angels is the heavily fictionalized story of a team of wildland firefighters who go to east Texas to investigate a fallen Space Shuttle. As the crew endures physical and emotional hardship, however, they soon realize that the crash was no accident: it was the result of a cosmic conspiracy, involving NASA, Mr. and Mrs. God, and a foul-mouthed, disembodied head which has taken up its residence in the cellar of an elderly rancher. Shooting Angels races from the jungles of Texas to the dark corners of undiscovered space to the smoggy streets of Central Heaven, where people, no longer cowed by the threat of mortality, are free to give in to their most detestable urges. Part science fiction, part adventure, part humor, and part philosophy, Shooting Angels is an action-driven exploration of the relationship between science, religion, and the human imagination.

Currently, Nick lives in Northampton, Massachusetts, where he is a writing instructor at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. When not writing or selling his time to the halls of academia for a pitiable wage, he is going for long-distance runs, traveling internationally, catching up on the news, or looking for dates. (He prefers the strong, silent, immensely wealthy type.) His next novel, The Calamari Kleptocracy, is forthcoming from All Things That Matter Press.

For more information about Nick’s fiction, please visit his website: http://nicksansone.yolasite.com/

To purchase a print copy of Shooting Angels, go here: http://www.amazon.com/Shooting-Angels-Nicolas-Sansone/dp/0984098488/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1317814951&sr=8-1
And for a Kindle edition, go here: http://www.amazon.com/Shooting-Angels-ebook/dp/B004FN1VBK/ref=tmm_kin_title_0?ie=UTF8&m=AG56TWVU5XWC2&qid=1317814951&sr=8-1

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Selling My Books on the Streets of Brooklyn 11/27

Life has a way of mocking us, albeit gently most of the time. I was steaming today, waiting for a parking space to open on Bay Parkway. My one chance was usurped by a woman who pulled up just as someone was leaving. I had decided to play the good citizen, staying beside a hydrant rather than blocking traffic by double parking. I tried to tell myself to be happy that it was another beautiful indian summer day, but I couldn't fool myself. After 45 minutes I surrendered. Unfortunately, option two at 24th Avenue and 86th Street wasn't any better. I dreaded going to Avenue U, although many Italian-Americans still live there. Studies have shown that as a group we are not avid readers. There is also a significant Asian presence there now, and many do not speak English. And the pedestrian traffic is considerably less than at Bay Parkway. While en route, I wondered if the forces of nature were sending me there. Yeah, right, I thought, sniffing. Sure enough, minutes after setting up, Joey, 30-something, exited the On the Hill bar and grille, taking a smoke break while the Jets game was in commercial. He noticed the floating book shop and approached. When he learned I was a goombah, he bought A Hitch in Twilight. He dropped out of Lafayette HS his junior year, earning a smack on the head from Joe Gambuzza, the legendary baseball coach, and went to work on Wall Street. That didn't work out, but, given the wad of cash he pulled from his pocket, he seems to be doing fine. Thanks, sir, and also to the young woman of color, who bought two self help books. I have only four copies of Hitch left. I've been building my paypal account up with earnings from survey sites in anticipation of the purchase of more.
I signed up for Kindlegraph this morning at the the urging of a member of our All Things That Matter Press family. The service is free and allows readers to secure an electronic signature from an author. The idea seems so silly and is an obvious marketing ploy, but silly ideas have taken off in the past. It isn't even a genuine signature, but one that is chosen. Then again, what do I have to lose? Here's a link to my page there:
http://www.kindlegraph.com/authors/vfortez

Saturday, November 26, 2011

George Will's op/ed piece in today's NY Post listed absurd reasons to be thankful this holiday season. This was the one I enjoyed most: "A market-research firm found that people who buy the $43,000 Chevy Volt (seats four in space not taken by its 400-pound battery) or the $34,500 Nissan Leaf, and who get a $7,500 government bribe (aka tax credit) for doing so, have average annual incomes of $150,000, and half of the buyers own at least two other vehicles." It's just more proof of who the real enemy is. Is there anything more absurd than the American government?
It is believed humans use only 20% of the capacity of the brain. What if there were a pill that allowed the usage of 100%? This is the premise of Limitless (2011), which I caught up to last night courtesy of Netflix. I went in with low expectations, as the reviews upon its release were tepid. Since I find the idea so fascinating, I decided to give it a shot. I was pleasantly surprised. Based on the novel The Dark Fields by Alan Glynn, who co-wrote the screen play with Leslie Dixon (Mrs. Doubtfire), the story was kept simple and logical. Neil Burger (The Illusionist) directed. Bradley Cooper was fine as the lead. Robert DeNiro played a powerful mogul. He was okay. It seems he will never again approach the heights he did in Raging Bull, The Deer Hunter, Goodfellas and The Godfather Part II. Anyway, on a scale of five, I rate Limitless three-and-a-half.
I set up shop in Park Slope today and had a bit of luck, selling The Great Pianists and a children's version of Oliver Twist to a woman who teaches English to immigrants. A gentleman purchased a book on power and influence, and another bought a beautiful pictorial on New York, both from Abdul's donation yesterday. And I sold A Hitch in Twilight to Judy, who was decked out in a Jets sweat shirt, pessimistic about her team's chances of making the playoffs let alone the Super Bowl. Since she is such a big football fan, I expected her to take Adjustments, but she changed her mind at the last minute. Regardless, thanks, ma'am.
Live 365 is currently playing Joanie Summers' Johnny Get Angry, a bouncy pop song whose break is dominated by kazoos! It also contains a lyric that would be frowned upon these days: "I want a brave man/ I want a cave man...." It's a different world than the one I grew up in.
Read Vic's stories, free:  http://members.tripod.com/vic_fortezza/Literature/