Gillian McCain and Legs McNeil – Dear Nobody: The true diary of Mary Rose

Gillian McCain Legs McNeil, editors of Dear Nobody photo credit Annie WattDear Nobody coverYou will recognize authors Jillian McCain and Legs McNeil from a host of individual publications and as the co-authors of Please Kill Me,The Uncensored Oral History of Punk, which was translated into 12 languages and became a worldwide best seller in 1996. Their latest, Dear Nobody: the True Diary of Mary Rose, is a work of extraordinary intensity and insight and it comes from a surprising source – the journals of a teenage girl in the late 1990s.

In them, she recorded her ferocious thoughts against the circumstance of her life: abandonment by her father, her mother’s abusive live-in boyfriend, her terminal disease, cystic fibrosis, addictions to alcohol and drugs, problems at school and with the law, treatment in rehab centers, and all of that between the ages of 15 and 17.

The first half of the book deals with Mary Rose’s tumultuous life, additions, abuse and more. The language is harsh, but also incredibly powerful. 

“Every time I drank, I would feel the little beads of precipitation on the bottle and think of it as the only friend that would ever cry for me. I’d peel off the label like I was unwrapping a present.

“I felt secure with alcohol, like I had finally found my home. Alcohol had become my mother, my father, my boyfriend, my best friend and my religion. I drank with a passion. I was always done first and always drunk first—but still wanting more—and if I didn’t get it I felt like I was going to die.

“It didn’t matter how drunk I already was, or how much I had thrown up, or how I couldn’t remember what had happened three minutes ago, or where I even was. With alcohol, I was my own role model. I was never alone…….and she never hurt me. I was obsessed and in love with her. I would lie, steal, beg, and cry for her. I did time for her; I was dying for her. I hated life, unless I was drunk. I didn’t even want to go to heaven—because I thought I’d have to leave alcohol behind on earth.”

Her mom reveals in the afterword that McCain and McNeil are the authors of one of Mary Rose’s favorite books, Please Kill Me,The Uncensored Oral History of Punk.

The second half brings more and more of her fight against cystic fibrosis into the picture.

“In the hospital, we wear our IV scabs and scars like they are badges of bravery. We flaunt our paleness as one would flaunt beauty. In the hospital, each coughing fit is like a dutiful performance by the orchestra of viruses in our lungs—and we are obligated to do encores. Our frailness and weakness are signs of beauty—and suffering. In the hospital the machines and IV poles that you wheel along are like the status symbols the popular girls in high school wear around their necks.

“In the hospital—the closer to death you are—the closer you are to sainthood.”

*********************

“Yes, after a while—those cards and flowers and phone calls fade away, much like your health. And the other lonely, sickly freaks become your new family because to the rest of the healthy people we know, we have already died.

“It’s haunting to think that my family members will not drive an hour to come and visit me while I am in the hospital and yet I know they would drive two hours to attend my funeral.”

Mary Rose, even with just this assembled collection in her slim portfolio, is already one of the finest, most insightful authors of the 21st Century. It is stunning to have the editors note they did not change one word of the writing – it’s all original with Mary Rose.

To listen to our interview with the editors, click on the grey podcast bar below. Author photo by Annie Watt.

A.R. Torre – The Girl in 6E

The Girl in 6E coverAlessandra Torre author of The Girl in 6EAlessandra Torre writes under the open pen name of A.R. Torre. Hers is a success story born of the age of digital publishing. Her first book, Blindfolded Innocence, was self-published on Amazon and became such a hit that it attracted mainstream publishers and inspired a pair of sequels. Her latest, The Girl in 6E, is available in hardcover, Kindle and audiobook editions. It has received justifiably rave reviews. The elevator pitch for the book is just 6 words – What if 50 Shades met Dexter? Here’s the publisher’s descripton: Deanna Madden (aka Jessica Reilly) hasn’t touched another person in three years, but her anonymous clients spend thousands of dollars to watch her take her clothes off for the camera. Fearing she may be dangerous to the outside world, she keeps herself isolated in a penthouse apartment. Her clients can expose their deepest desires and fearlessly fantastic to her, and she keeps all of their secrets – until she discovers that one client’s fantasies are bleeding over into the real world, and may threaten a young girl. Can Deanna face the world again in order to save a child? That summation does not begin to describe the emotional intensity of the connection between the character and the reader, drawn into chapter after chapter with the desperate desire to find out What Happens Next. Deanna/Jessica hasn’t just kept from touching another person for three years; she literally hasn’t been past the front door outside her apartment for those three years. All her food, clothing and supplies are delivered to her door. At night, she bribes the building’s pill-addicted super to lock her in from the outside so she couldn’t get out even if there was a fire. And that’s not to protect her from someone coming in; it’s to protect the world from what she’s afraid she would do if she allowed herself to leave the apartment. Now she has to leave. Can she? And if so, what will happen? This is an extraordinary book, dealing with the huge forces of sex and violence in our culture. It’s not for the squeamish, but it will wonderfully reward the adventurous.

Daniel Silva – The Heist

Daniel Silva author of The HeistThe Heist by Daniel Silva coverA fallen British spy has been murdered in Lake Como, and Gabriel must cease his work repairing an altarpiece by Veronese and agree to hunt down the killers—and the world’s most iconic missing masterpiece: Caravaggio’s Nativity with St. Francis and St. Lawrence. The investigation will lead him and his remarkable team of operatives to a brave woman who survived one of the worst massacres of the twentieth century and give her a chance to strike a blow against the dynasty that destroyed her family.

From the shimmering boulevards of Paris and London, to the gritty criminal underworlds of Marseilles and Corsica, and finally to a small private bank in Austria where a dangerous man stands guard over the ill-gotten wealth of one of the world’s most brutal dictators, Gabriel’s search will take him on one of the most intricate and perilous missions of his long career and force him to confront a final, heart-stopping choice.

About the Author: Daniel Silva is the award-winning, number #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Unlikely Spy, The Mark of the Assassin, The Marching Season, The Kill Artist, The English Assassin, The Confessor, A Death in Vienna, Prince of Fire, The Messenger, The Secret Servant, Moscow Rules, The Defector, The Rembrandt Affair, Portrait of a Spy, The Fallen Angel, and The English Girl. He lives in Florida with his wife, Jamie Gangel, and their two children, Lily and Nicholas. In 2009 Silva was appointed to the United States Holocaust Memorial Council. Before becoming a writer Silva was the chief Middle East correspondent for UPI in Egypt and the Executive Producer of CNN’s Crossfire.

To hear our interview with Daniel Silva, click the grey podcast button below:

Edward Castronova: Wildcat Currency

castronova - headshotwildcat currency - jacket coverEdward Castronova is a professor of telecommunications and cognitive science at Indiana University. He is also a gamer, someone who actively plays and is familiar with the games of virtual reality. His interest, other than having a good time and  crushing his enemies and hearing the lamentations of their women, is in the virtual money used in these games. In fact, he’s interested in any type of nonstandard medium of exchange, and he has written a fascinating book about it, Wildcat Currency, subtitled, How the Virtual Money Revolution is Transforming the Economy Are frequent flier miles money? They can be. So were the old S&H Green Stamps in some senses. How virtual is virtual money. and what really counts as money? This book answers these and many more provocative questions in a clear, easy text, with fascinating examples. It’s a book about an aspect of economics that won’t cause your eyes to glaze over, and that is a rare event worth celebrating. Check out the interview by clicking on the grey podcast bar below. We were so intrigued, that we asked to schedule a follow-up interview in a couple of weeks.

Edgar Harrell with David Harrell: Out of the Depths

Out of the Depths cover 300

Edgar and David Harrell comboImagine being left in the Pacific Ocean, without food or water, surrounded by sharks, with friends suffering unimaginable injuries drifting beside you, many of whom would die over the course of five days of extremely adverse conditions. Your ship was just attacked by a Japanese torpedo and you’re left in darkness, with the risk of hypothermia, starvation and dehydration, and with the desperate fear of an enemy ship coming back to finish the job. Hundreds of your friends and fellow Marines are injured, dead or missing.

These are the unfathomable conditions that Edgar Harrell confronted when he served on the USS Indianapolis during World War II. He delivers a poignant story of courage and faith in his new book, Out of the Depths as he retells what happened during a historic and fatal mission, sharing a tale of inner strength and faith in God that stirs the reader like few war memoirs never have.

This is a read-it-in-one-sitting book, which is just what I did. This is the tale of the worst Navy disaster in the history of the United States. Some 879 Sailors and Marines died, more than two-thirds of them after the ship sank.  Harrell makes a case that much of that was caused by incompetence and and a cover-up by high-ranking Navy officials.

Harrell’s son, David Harrell, an ordained minister, helped with the book, but it certainly wasn’t because his farther was having any problems with mental acuity. Though the senior Harrell will be 90 this fall, his descriptions of these desperate events in our interview are strong and clear.

Click on the grey podcast button below for the interview that was so compelling our listeners requested that it be repeated.

Brad Meltzer – I Am Rosa Parks

Brad MeltzerI am Rosa Parks 300Three years ago, New York Times bestselling author Brad Meltzer was shopping for clothes for his daughter, and all he could find were shirts with princesses on them. Being surrounded by history all day as the host of the History Channel television show Decoded, Brad knew there were better role models and heroes for his children to want to emulate. He had a friend draw a picture of Amelia Earhart and on the back Brad wrote, “I know no bounds.” His daughter loved it, and Ordinary People Change the World was born. Ordinary People Change the World launched in January 2014 with I AM AMELIA EARHART and I AM ABRAHAM LINCOLN. Brad wanted children to see that real heroes – people like Abraham Lincoln, Amelia Earhart or Rosa Parks – were real people capable of extraordinary things. Once children hear about these ordinary people who have changed the world, they react the same way we all do. They’re inspired. They dream bigger. They work harder. BIO: Brad Meltzer is a #1 New York Times bestselling author of adult thrillers (including The Inner Circle and its recent sequel, The Fifth Assassin). His two nonfiction gift books, Heroes for My Son and Heroes for My Daughter were New York Times Bestsellers as well, and he has won the prestigious Eisner Award for his comic book work, Justice League of America. Brad is also the host of the History Channel TV show Brad Meltzer’s Decoded. He lives in Florida with his wife and their three children. To listen to our interview with Brad Meltzer, click on the grey podcast button below

Scott Bly – Smasher

SmasherScottBlyScott Bly has served up a mix of magic and science that ostensibly is aimed at middle-graders, but will delight adults as well. Smasher has a lot going for it, including a perfectly nasty villain, a young hero, a girl who is more than she appears, time travel and a race against the clock. You can hear our interview with him by clicking on the grey podcast bar at the bottom. Below is the bio from Amazon: Scott Bly has been a computer consultant in Los Angeles for over a decade. He has also taught computer classes and developed interactive educational games for elementary and middle school-aged children. Scott has collaborated and worked with a wide variety of computer specialists, from hackers and designers, to software developers and FBI Consultants. Scott’s debut Middle Grade novel, SMASHER, a fast-paced computer thriller, was published by Scholastic on March 25, 2014.

Scott moved to Los Angeles from Kansas City to study film at the University of Southern California. The City of Angels provided Scott opportunities he’d never considered back in his hometown, and he made movies, wrote screenplays, fell into a career in technology, played in bands (he warbles like a songbird, would you believe it?), and met his beautiful fiancée, Audrey. Life wasn’t bad. One fateful day, the vivid world of Scott’s imagination collided with reality when one of his new computer-repair clients turned out to be the Vice President of The Blue Sky Press (an imprint of Scholastic, Inc.). After speaking with him at length about his educational efforts and depth of computer and technology knowledge, she suggested he pen a kids’ book on the subject. The result is SMASHER, the first novel set in a world of magic and advanced technology. Scott’s multi-media and game design led to the classroom, where students get to immerse themselves in the story and game as a vehicle for computer education. Scott is excited about the school visits and live appearances where interactive experiences will serve as a continuation to the adventure begun within the pages of the novel.