Look What Judy Goldman Can Do!

Judy Goldman, author of Losing My Sister, can stuff her whole fist in her mouth AND say the alphabet backwards!

(Filmed at the Murphey School Radio Show on November 3, 2012, during Judy’s live storytelling event. From Minnow Media on Vimeo)

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Blair Staff Enjoys the BOOKMARKS Moveable Feast

Yesterday, Blair staff got together to celebrate Sunday literary-style! The BOOKMARKS’ Moveable Feast was held at the Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art (SECCA) and hosted 14 authors, including Blair’s own Judy Goldman, author of Losing My SisterIt was great catching up with our beloved author!

Moveable Feast Collage

Blair Staff at the BOOKMARKS Moveable Feast

While munching on delicious snacks, we also got to chat with several other authors who visited our table:

  • Penelope Niven, who promised a yet-to-be-determined prize to the first airline passenger she catches reading Thornton Wilder: A Life
  • Emily Colin, who showed us the awesome trailer for her new novel, The Memory Thief
  • Christopher Castellani, who gave us the inside scoop on how his new novel, All This Talk of Love, connects to his other books
  • Wiley Cash, who told us all about A Land More Kind Than Home and growing up in North Carolina (snake-handlers and all)
  • Holly Goddard Jones, whose new book, The Next Time You See Me, explores the disappearance of a woman before information moved at the speed of smartphones
  • Dana Sachs, whose grandmother became a model at 97 and was the inspiration for Sachs’s new novel, The Secret of the Nightingale Palace

AND we won prizes! While Heath Simpson and Shannon Pierce got to take home giveaway books, I’m lucky enough to be dating the winner of two Isabel Allende tickets!

All in all, a pretty great way to spend a Sunday. Thanks to BOOKMARKS, SECCA, and all the authors who made it such a great event!

To learn more about BOOKMARKS and their events, visit http://www.bookmarksnc.org.

Last chance to win Woody Durham and Losing My Sister

Our current Goodreads giveaways end this week. Make sure to submit your entry today!

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Losing My Sister by Judy Goldman

Losing My Sister

by Judy Goldman

Giveaway ends September 02, 2012.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Woody Durham by Woody Durham

Woody Durham

by Woody Durham

Giveaway ends August 30, 2012.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Goodreads giveaways! (Who can resist free books? Enter to win here.)

We’re gearing up for a big fall season, and to celebrate, we thought we’d offer some of our upcoming fall and backlist titles to readers on Goodreads.

(Side note: If you don’t have a Goodreads account, you are missing out, my friend! It’s a social media site dedicated to books and readers, so you can rate and review the books you read and watch your friends do the same. Just like Facebook or Twitter, it’s free! And the best part? There are tons of book giveaways going on every day.)

So please enjoy our latest Goodreads giveaways listed below. With any luck, you’ll take home an autographed copy of a backlist title or get a sneak peek at some of our fall titles that haven’t yet been released.

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Losing My Sister by Judy Goldman

Losing My Sister

by Judy Goldman

Giveaway ends September 02, 2012.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win

Goodreads Book Giveaway

The Politics of Barbecue by Blake Fontenay

The Politics of Barbecue

by Blake Fontenay

Giveaway ends August 15, 2012.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Woody Durham by Woody Durham

Woody Durham

by Woody Durham

Giveaway ends August 30, 2012.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Murder on Music Row by Stuart Dill

Murder on Music Row

by Stuart Dill

Giveaway ends August 25, 2012.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win

Goodreads Book Giveaway

I've Had It Up to Here With Teenagers by Melinda Rainey Thompson

I’ve Had It Up to Here With Teenagers

by Melinda Rainey Thompson

Giveaway ends August 25, 2012.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win

Why we’re excited about our fall titles (and why you should be, too!)

Some of our fall titles have been getting some press in the aftermath of Book Expo America, so we thought we’d share a preview of what’s to come. We’re excited to bring these books to you this autumn, and here’s why, in our own words:

The Politics of Barbecue
A novel by Blake Fontenay
September 2012

From editor Steve Kirk: Seriocomic. There’s a word that hasn’t come to mind in a while–probably because quality novels in the mold of Fontenay’s Politics of Barbecue are few and far between. A serial arsonist wants to burn down Memphis. An up-and-coming “producer” would turn it into the porno capital of the East. A beef mogul would steal one of its best assets–a new barbecue museum–for his own hometown. The mayor doesn’t care what happens as long as graft flows into the pockets of his quilt-patched overalls. All of this leaves a pair of Wiffle ball-playing slackers as the last best hope for saving a city that’s equal parts eyesore and landmark. Joining forces with a more-than-she-seems starlet and a crossbow-toting billionaire bum, they set Memphis on its first baby steps toward renewal.

With all that going on, it’s no wonder that Library Journal included The Politics of Barbecue in their Editor’s Picks from Book Expo America 2012.

Woody Durham: A Tar Heel Voice
Woody Durham with Adam Lucas
September 2012

From Debbie Hampton, design and production director: Leave it to sentimental me to get all teary while reading Woody Durham: A Tar Heel Voice—a voice inked to my idyllic youth in a family of Tar Heel fans. As a 15-year-old, I had a Carolina-blue room with one wall dedicated to the Tar Heel player I had a crush on—with his pictures and a big ol’ 13, his number.  When not actually in Chapel Hill at the games, my family and I were glued to the TV. It was yours truly jumping and screaming among the men in the family, who would sit there stoically, trying to hear. Men—how can they just sit there?

Reading Woody Durham: A Tar Heel Voice brought back all of those memories. Immediately, I recalled the sound of Woody’s voice doing the play-by-play (of course, the men in my family never heard it). It sent me straight to YouTube to recount some of those heart-pounding moments set to the tune of Woody’s voice. Even though I later married an N.C. State grad and “converted,” I could still recall the names of the faces in the photos of players from the ’60s and ’70s. Yes, I’m giving away my age. There will be many Tar Heel fans reminiscing with this book, which for me was a scrapbook of fond memories and sounds.

Losing My Sister
A memoir by Judy Goldman
October 2012

From Brooke Csuka, publicist: I have two and a half sisters. No, really. I have an older half-sister from my father’s first marriage, and he ended up with three girls once he married my mother.  Ballet practice, Disney princesses, dress-up shoes–then teenage jealousy, competition–you name it, we shared it. So when it comes to sisters, you can call me an expert.

I think that’s why Judy Goldman’s Losing My Sister speaks to me the way it does. Beyond being a beautifully written memoir that flows like poetry–the author is a poet, after all–it’s just so true.  Along with the joy, the humor, and the fun of sisterhood comes the agony of loss and heartache of illness, and Goldman captures it beautifully as she and her sister, Brenda, deal with the deaths of their parents to Alzheimer’s and cancer and then Brenda’s own sickness. Even Publishers Weekly agrees: “Goldman beautifully renders the complexity of sibling relationships with candidness, tenderness, and sorrow…[her] book speaks to the human ability to forgive and attain a measure of peace amid loss.” As Jenny Lawson says, this book “made me hug my family a little bit closer.”

So You Think You Know Antietam? The Stories Behind America’s Bloodiest Day
James and Suzanne Gindlesperger
September 2012

From Katie Saintsing, editorial assistant: When I was a kid, my parents took my brothers and me to Boston; Washington, D.C.; Philadelphia: places rich with American history. A book like So You Think You Know Antietam? would have been an excellent resource to have on these family vacations. James and Suzanne Gindlesperger have told the story of the battle of Antietam in an interesting and accessible way, and with its color photos, maps, and GPS coordinates, the book makes a great companion on trips to the battlefield. So You Think You Know Antietam? guides readers to each of the battlefield’s monuments and explains who the markers are for, but it also illuminates the most engaging details of the battle: Readers will find out who the “Red Legged Devils,” the “Black Devils,” and the “Jackass Battery,” were, what a “witness tree” is, and who the youngest casualty from either army was. I found the story about Colonel John B. Gordon to be one of the most interesting. Gordon was wounded five times and fell forward with his face pressed into his hat, which rapidly filled with blood. It was a hole shot through the hat that saved him from drowning in his own blood, and Gordon went on to become governor of Georgia.

On a recent trip up through Virginia, my mother took every sign for a Civil War site (and there are a lot of those on the highway in Virginia) as an opportunity to say how much she’d like to go on a tour of all the Civil War battlefields. I think So You Think You Know Antietam? (as well as the authors’ earlier book, So You Think You Know Gettysburg?) might be just the thing to help her to start planning her trip.

Chefs of the Mountains: Restaurants and Recipes from Western North Carolina
John E. Batchelor
October 2012

From Margaret Couch, accounts payable: I’ve always wanted to revisit the mountains of North Carolina for a vacation. My husband and I are celebrating a significant wedding anniversary this year, and since we actually honeymooned in the mountains, we thought it was the perfect opportunity for another visit. Commemorating special occasions always requires food, so naturally I looked at Chefs of the Mountains by John Batchelor as a good resource for restaurants while vacationing. There are so many restaurants with fascinating stories about the chefs that it will be difficult to narrow it down to just one. But since the restaurants are organized by locale, I just need to decide what town to visit. There are lots of restaurants in Blowing Rock and some of them have hotels or inns attached—same with Asheville. There are also featured chefs and restaurants in Boone, Valle Crucis, Banner Elk, Linville, Spruce Pine, and Hot Springs. I guess it won’t matter which place we plan to visit because there will definitely be a great restaurant wherever we choose to go. Now I just need to make a decision!

Check back later this summer–we’ll start previewing titles from our distributed presses.

Judy Goldman spills on the real “Mad Men”

When we found out that our author Judy Goldman whose memoir Losing My Sister will be released in October worked as a secretary and ad copywriter in New York City during the 1960s, we had to ask if she’d write a little guest blog for us as a celebration of Mad Men‘s upcoming series premier. (It’s this Sunday, March 25, at 9 p.m., for those of you living under a rock.) For anyone who can’t get enough martinis, cigarettes, skinny ties, and bouffant hairdos on the show, you have to read about the real thing. Enjoy!

__

The Original Mad Men

By Judy Goldman

            1965, post-college, post-teaching English in Atlanta for two years, I planned to move to NYC with a friend — a long journey from my childhood in Rock Hill, SC.  Just before we were to leave, though, she called to say she’d decided to get married instead.  Uncharacteristically, I went on alone — and landed at the Barbizon Hotel for Women, a very proper place that was also home to girls from Katherine Gibbs, the secretarial school where students wore white gloves to class.  My room was so tiny I could lie in bed and open the door.

I wanted a glamour job, and got one — at  Filmex, which made TV commercials.  I was assistant to a production assistant.  So it wasn’t so glamorous.  At $70 a week, I could cash my paycheck on the bus.

When ad agency execs came to view their commercials, my job switched to bartender.  I still remember the pamphlet I had to memorize — how to make a vodka gimlet.  A Manhattan.  Black Russian.  I could tend bar and engage in small talk at the same time.  Be friendly, honey!  Me, in my sheath dress and three-inch heels, brown hair streaked with blonde.

Judy Goldman and her bouffant

Judy, in her sheath dress and three-inch heels, brown hair streaked with blonde, at the switchboard.

Every day at lunch, I relieved the switchboard operator.  Once, a guy in the studio called:  “Honey, we’re having trouble with the sound system.  Would you count to ten over the loudspeaker?”

I went slow.  One.  Two.  Three.  Four.  Five.  Six.  Seven.  Eight.  Nine.  Ten.

From where I sat at the front desk, I could hear the crew laughing.  What was so funny?

Another call.  “Sweetheart, we’ve just about got it figured out.  Count again.”

That’s when I figured it out.  My slow, Southern syllables.

I didn’t stay at Filmex long.  Who wanted to work at a place where the guys never learned your name?  The ad agency people seemed more my type; I especially liked the copywriters.  And, I’d always loved to write.  Copywriting seemed the obvious next step.  Of course, the route to any good job for a woman began in the secretarial pool.

Next, Ogilvy & Mather — secretary to copywriters.  Then:  junior copywriter at Benton & Bowles.  Two of us were hired the same day.  We were told that the head of the agency was betting on me to surface first; the VP was betting on the other gal.  I envied her.  The VP was better-looking.

One month in, the other gal left to get married.  Not to the VP.  He was already married.  Which, at times, didn’t really seem to matter.

It was up to me.  During the day, I wrote ads for Vick’s Cough Syrup.  Evenings, all those office parties.

Just before I’d started at Benton & Bowles, I flew home to see my parents, and my sister fixed me up on a blind date.  Home again for date #2.  He drove his Volkswagen Beetle to New York — date #3.  That’s when we got engaged.

Three months after the head of Benton & Bowles bet on me, I left to get married.

I didn’t know then what I know now.  That the life I’d lived for two years would one day be a TV program.

__

Judy Goldman is the author of two novels, Early Leaving and The Slow Way Back, and two books of poetry. Her new memoir, Losing My Sister, will be published in October 2012.

Her work has been published in Real Simple magazine, and in many literary journals—including Kenyon Review, Southern Review, Ohio Review, Gettysburg Review, Shenandoah, Prairie Schooner—as well as in numerous anthologies. Her commentaries have aired on public radio and she teaches at writers’ conferences throughout the country. She received the Fortner Writer and Community Award for “outstanding generosity to other writers and the larger community.” She’s also the recipient of the Sir Walter Raleigh Award for Fiction, the Mary Ruffin Poole Award for First Fiction, the Gerald Cable Poetry Prize, the Roanoke-Chowan Prize for Poetry, the Oscar Arnold Young Prize for Poetry, and the Zoe Kincaid Brockman Prize for Poetry.  Judy lives with her husband in Charlotte, North Carolina.