NEW RELEASE – Dialogues on the Beach by John C. McLucas

Cover for DIALOGUES ON THE BEACH, a novel by John C. McLucas. A painting by artist Minas Konsolas on the cover: an empty boardwalk bench overlooks an empty Rehoboth beach.

John C. McLucas‘ debut novel, Dialogues on the Beach, is here!

This beautiful paperback, bound in the art of Minás Konsolas, is available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Itasca Books, as well as the Ivy Bookshop in Baltimore, Maryland!

Dialogues on the Beach follows Jim, who was…is? in love with his best friend, Tony, but Tony married Rachel, and she is…always was? a fantastic human being and a caring, supportive friend. Still, it’s unfathomable for Jim to think about loving anyone else the way he loved…loves? Tony, and next to impossible for him to consider loving himself.

Until 1993, when Jim joins Tony and Rachel on Rehoboth Beach. Metaphorical lines in the physical sand separate the gay and straight communities, but when Jim meets Joe, that line is erased and redrawn as a labyrinth. Misunderstandings and new perspectives arise at each turn, but one thing remains certain: Jim isn’t the same person he was when he first met Tony. And maybe that’s OK.


Dr. John C. McLucas has taught Italian and Latin at Towson U. since 1984. He has taught Italian language and repertory to voice students at Peabody Conservatory; he is a classically trained singer himself. Dr. McLucas has published numerous scholarly articles and translations as well as poetry and short fiction.


For more on BrickHouse Books’ New Releases, visit our New Releases page, or follow us for future announcements!

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Exciting book news!

It’s here! BrickHouse Books’ Director Clarinda Harriss’ eighth book and first fiction collection, The White Rail, just came out from Half Moon Editions–just in time for holiday giving, and a real steal at only $12!  Order directly from http://www.itascabooks.com/the-white-rail.html or ask for it at any bookstore, national or local.

Get a first look at The White Rail’s book cover below:

white rail _cover final

Louie Crowder wins 2013 Stonewall Chapbook Competition

BrickHouse Books is very delighted to announce that writer Louie Crowder’s one act play, A Better House for Ritchie, is the 2013 winner of the Stonewall Chapbook Competition. His play can be ordered starting December 10th via our distributor at http://www.itascabooks.com or from your favorite bookstore including Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

A resident of New Orleans, Crowder’s work focuses on the cultural preservation and contemporary gay experience in the south. He also contributes and participates in the cultural spirit of Post-Katrina New Orlean by creating powerful and mystical body of works that speaks to the soul of the city.

Crowder has written other plays such as The First Snuff Film I Ever Saw Was In Charleston, South Carolina. The play was recently performed in New York City at the Wild Project’s Fresh Fruit Festival 2013.

Get a first look of the cover of A Better House for Ritchie below along with the order form through Itasca to buy the play!

ritchie cover

orderform_crowderDirections for Order Form:

Click on the Order Form image to print out, fill out, and mail out!

If you’re having any problems viewing the images or buying the play, comment below for assistance.

 

BhB author writes to celebrity about prison life and life motivation

BrickHouse Books author Baari Shabazz and actor Hill Harper from USA network’s Covert Affairs share more in common than you might think. Both men are successful writers; Harper wrote the best seller Letters to a Young Brother and Shabazz wrote one of BrickHouse Book’s most successful publications For Colored Guys Who Have Gone Beyond Suicide and Found No Rainbow. And both men speak out about prison life.

Harper’s Letters to a Young Brother offers advice and motivation for the thousands of African American men behind bars and the people who love them. After the book was published, Harper received several letters from inmates, all looking for a connection with a successful role model.

Shabazz, who spent 25 years in prison, wrote For Colored Guys Who Have Gone Beyond Suicide and Found No Rainbow as a male response to the book For Colored Girls Who Consider Suicide When the Rainbow is Enough.  Written with five other writers, the book was a finalist in the Channel 11 Playwrights content and was performed at Baltimore’s Artscape and Morgan State University. Shabazz’s book is currently sold out.

On Thursday, November 14, 2013, the event “Letters to an Incarcerated Brother: Encouragement, Hope, and Healing for Inmates and Their Loved Ones” featured Harper speaking out. Shabazz attended the event and was able to speak with Harper. He then wrote a letter to Harper to thank him for the experience.

On Wednesday, November 20, 2013 12:35 PM, baari Shabazz wrote:

 Hi Hill.

I am extremely grateful that you were so responsive to my concerns when I spoke at the library. It speaks loudly about your humanity and compassion. I have asked for help many times by writing to big corporations and did not even get a return letter.

On page 4 you wrote about the failure of the rehabilitation process. I too recognized this same flaw. So I began my own efforts of self reform. First, I looked at what my own values were and saw that my values were criminal. I looked at my morals and saw they were not good. I was not satisfied with my assessment. So I thought it would be good to engage other people who had clean healthy values and morals. I ended up writing to 75 pen pals. Then I thought that I should not be limited to American values and morals, but should include a global view. So I began writing to 21 embassies at the United Nations. I remember most that I received press releases from the Nigerian embassy that gave me CORRECT information about things that were happening that were reported falsely in the American media. When I tried to share this kind of information with other prisoners no one believed me. It was then that I decided that this process of changing my mindset had to be personal and just for me until I had some results for my own life.

As I told you, I was semi-illiterate when I was put in adult prisons at 15 years old. At 18 years old, after joining the then Nation of Islam, I began to educate myself. I spent 25 years in prison because I was involved with changing inhumane prison conditions by writing letters to top prison officials at headquarters or filing legal writs in the courts and educating other prisoners to get their GED diplomas. I was labeled a trouble-maker. I went on to become a teacher of Business English in the School of Business and Management and writing all of the documents to start The Writers Club. I spearheaded the efforts to write a male response to the book “For Colored Girls Who Consider Suicide When The Rainbow Is Enough.” My book, which I coauthored with five other writers, “For Colored Guys Who Have Gone Beyond Suicide And Found No Rainbow,” was a finalist in the Channel 11 Playwrights” contest. In addition to being performed (it is a choreopoem) at Baltimore’s Artscape and at Morgan State University, it has gone through 4 printings, sold out, and now hardcopies are only available on Amazon. (I am trying to find funding for another printing.) However, I pushed my publisher towards doing an e-book which became available about 4 or 5 months ago.

After all other problems with my own self reform, I finally asked the prison officials if they would allow a prisoner to write a rehabilitation program. After a little haggling, I wrote a 30-page proposal, “Offender Restoration Project.” I was given permission from headquarters  to teach it, but was stymied at every turn by Directors of Pre-Release Centers who assisted guards to write false infractions of prison rules and had me transferred four times when other prisoners started to take advantage of my reform ideas.

Now today I am using the life planning component of those reform ideas to assist youth, ex-offenders, and people in drug recovery. I also help writers to self publish books and help people to start businesses. I teach religious classes, Arabic, genealogy, and English, also one-on-one instructions. I have three manuscripts I am working on; one is an autobiography. I am also attempting to market my visual art, but I am handicapped by lack of lack of funding. This is one way I could use some help if you know someone who might take an interest in the whole package of my work. I know I need to be able to project a professional image and use social media as well as having a website. I lacked in-depth computer skills; all I have learned is SELF TAUGHT. I owe school loans and this stops me from taking more college courses to complete my B.A. in Business. I need maybe 10 courses or less. I gained 39 credits from past learning credits and was assessed and told I should be able to get more than 200 past life learning credits. Because my present work in the community has never been evaluated, nor my art and manuscripts.

As I mentioned when I talked at the library, I would like to see the work of many positive ex-offenders exposed. My long term goal is to be able to help prison writers to get published.

Well, that is all for this first communication with you. I look to our friendship and future communication. Thanks for hearing with an ear of compassion.

-Baari

Shabazz is currently waiting for a response but nonetheless has gained an insightful experience.

For more information check out Hill Harper’s Facebook and Baari Shabazz’s work on Amazon.

 

Shelby Hillers is the Online Assistant Editor for BrickHouse Books where she helps manage Facebook, Twitter, and the blog. She is a senior at Towson University majoring in English and minoring in Creative Writing. Her works have been published by The TowerlightLimerence Magazine, and TU Career Center’s co-written blog The Thriving Tiger.

What’s In a Name?

By: Shelby Hillers

It’s no surprise that authors with male names or gender neutral names sell more than authors with female names. What is a surprise is that this is still an on-going trend in the book world. But that’s another article all together. What many writers forget or don’t necessarily know is how much marketing goes behind a book. And one of the key factors of a book selling is the author’s name.

J.K. Rowling wasn’t the first and only female writer to make her pen name more gender neutral. In fact, famous authors like Louisa May Alcott (Little Women), Charlotte Bronte (Jane Eyre), Nelle Harper Lee (To Kill A Mockingbird), and Nora Roberts (when drifting over to detective fiction with book series In Death) all changed their names to more gender neutral/male sounding when publishing their works. The list goes on and shows the trend of female writers creating pen names in order to either sell more books or be accepted into the literary world.

Just how important is a name? As Shakespeare writes:

 

O! be some other name:
What’s in a name? that which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet.

(Romeo and Juliet, Act II Scene II)

 

I’m sure we’re all having flashbacks to high school when we read this, but Shakespeare makes a fair point (as he usually does). The name doesn’t necessarily represent the object. In this case, the author’s name doesn’t represent the writing. So in theory, it should be okay for a female writer to use her real name and sell just as well as a male writer using his real name. It sounds logical but in actuality, it just doesn’t work that way.

And what female writers understand is that their female names don’t appeal to the male readers but they’ve found a loophole. They’ve tricked the male reader into reading a woman’s work, and even better, they’ve gotten the male reader to like it. But if you like the book, does the author’s name really mean anything? The answer should be no, but many readers can’t break that mindset of assessing the writer’s quality by their gender. And it’s not just readers who think this; editors, publishers, and agents are just as guilty of publishing male writers over female writers. That’s a lot of mindsets to change. But I think we can do it.

However, what I’m still trying to decide is whether female writers are still changing their names to prove a point or if we’re just agreeing to popular demand. Are we proving our writer is still as good by changing Joanne Rowling to J.K.Rowling or are we surrendering to the male readership and saying fine, we’ll change for you? I like to think we’re proving a point and assisting these literary works to Best-Sellers lists, but sometimes I fear that if a female writer doesn’t change her name (and isn’t the stereotypical romance novelist), the general public wouldn’t give her the time of day.

So is it smart marketing? Or is it giving in and surrendering our pens?

 

Shelby Hillers is the Online Assistant Editor for BrickHouse Books where she helps manage Facebook, Twitter, and the blog. She is a senior at Towson University majoring in English and minoring in Creative Writing. Her works have been published by The TowerlightLimerence Magazine, and TU Career Center’s co-written blog The Thriving Tiger.

 

Master List of Finalists for National Book Awards

The National Book Awards are almost like the Emmys or Oscars for the book lovers out there. Yes, we will bet on who we think will win for the categories (Fiction, Non-fiction, Young People,  and Poetry). Yes, we make huge announcements who wins what and whether it was well deserved. While it might not be a Twitter trending topic nation wide, it’s important in the literary world. And this past Wednesday, October 16th, the finalists were announced. Now  we’ll scramble to read all the books and try to figure out who will win.

Each book and full review can be found on Amazon.

Fiction:

flamethrower1.  Rachel Kushner for The Flamethrowers (Scribner)

The Flamethrowers is an intensely engaging exploration of the mystique of the feminine, the fake, the terrorist. At its center is Kushner’s brilliantly realized protagonist, a young woman on the verge. Thrilling and fearless, this is a major American novel from a writer of spectacular talent and imagination.”

lowland

2. Jhumpa Lahiri for The Lowland (Knopf)

“Masterly suspenseful, sweeping, piercingly intimate, The Lowland is a work of great beauty and complex emotion; an engrossing family saga and a story steeped in history that spans generations and geographies with seamless authenticity. It is Jhumpa Lahiri at the height of her considerable powers.”

thegood

3. James McBride for The Good Lord Bird (Riverhead)

“An absorbing mixture of history and imagination, and told with McBride’s meticulous eye for detail and character, The Good Lord Bird is both a rousing adventure and a moving exploration of identity and survival.”

bleedingedge

4. Thomas Pynchon for Bleeding Edge (Penguin Press)

“If not here at the end of history, when? If not Pynchon, who? Reading Bleeding Edge, tearing up at the beauty of its sadness or the punches of its hilarity, you may realize it as the 9/11 novel you never knew you needed… a necessary novel and one that literary history has been waiting for.” -Slate.com

tenthofdecember

5. George Saunders for Tenth of December (Random House)

“Unsettling, insightful, and hilarious, the stories in Tenth of December—through their manic energy, their focus on what is redeemable in human beings, and their generosity of spirit—not only entertain and delight; they fulfill Chekhov’s dictum that art should ‘prepare us for tenderness.'”

Non-fiction:

jilllepore

1. Jill Lepore for Book of Ages (Knopf)

“To stare at these siblings is to stare at sun and moon. But in Jill Lepore’s meticulously constructed biography, Book of Ages: The Life and Opinions of Jane Franklin, recently placed on the long list of nominees for the National Book Award in nonfiction, this moon casts a beguiling glow….Consistently first rate.” —Dwight Garner, The New York Times

hiterlsfuries

2. Wendy Lower for Hitler’s Furies (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)

“Hitler’s Furies builds a fascinating and convincing picture of a morally “lost generation” of young women, born into a defeated, tumultuous post–World War I Germany, and then swept up in the nationalistic fervor of the Nazi movement—a twisted political awakening that turned to genocide…..Hitler’s Furies will challenge our deepest beliefs: genocide is women’s business too, and the evidence can be hidden for seventy years.”

theunpacking

3. George Packer for The Unwinding (Farrar, Straus & Giroux)

The Unwinding portrays a superpower in danger of coming apart at the seams, its elites no longer elite, its institutions no longer working, its ordinary people left to improvise their own schemes for success and salvation. Packer’s novelistic and kaleidoscopic history of the new America is his most ambitious work to date.”

internalenemy

4. Alan Taylor for The Internal Enemy (Norton)

“This searing story of slavery and freedom in the Chesapeake by a Pulitzer Prize–winning historian reveals the pivot in the nation’s path between the founding and civil war.”

goingclear

5. Lawrence Wright for Going Clear (Knopf)

“In Going Clear, Wright examines what fundamentally makes a religion a religion, and whether Scientology is, in fact, deserving of this constitutional protection. Employing all his exceptional journalistic skills of observation, understanding, and shaping a story into a compelling narrative, Lawrence Wright has given us an evenhanded yet keenly incisive book that reveals the very essence of what makes Scientology the institution it is.”

Young People’s Literature:

truescouts

1. Kathi Appelt for The True Blue Scouts of Sugar Man Swamp (Atheneum)

“Newbery Honoree and National Book Award finalist Kathi Appelt presents a story of care and conservation, funny as all get out and ripe for reading aloud.”

thingaboutluck

2. Cynthia Kadohata for The Thing About Luck (Atheneum)

“There is bad luck, good luck, and making your own luck—which is exactly what Summer must do to save her family in this novel from Newbery Medalist Cynthia Kadohata.”

farfaraway

3. Tom McNeal for Far Far Away (Knopf)

“Veteran writer Tom McNeal has crafted a young adult novel at once grim(m) and hopeful, full of twists, and perfect for fans of contemporary fairy tales like Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book and Holly Black’s Doll Bones. The recipient of five starred reviews, Publishers Weekly called Far Far Away ‘inventive and deeply poignant.'”

Picture Me Gone

4. Meg Rosoff for Picture Me Gone (Putnam)

“Printz Award-winning author Meg Rosoff’s latest novel is a gorgeous and unforgettable page-turner about the relationship between parents and children, love and loss.”

boxers

5. Gene Luen Yang for Boxers & Saints (First Second)

“One of the greatest comics storytellers alive brings all his formidable talents to bear in this astonishing new work.”

Poetry:

Frank Bidart for “Metaphysical Dog” (Farrar, Straus & Giroux)1.  Frank Bidart for Metaphysical Dog (Farrar, Straus & Giroux)

“A vital, searching new collection from one of finest American poets at work today.”

stay, illusion

2. Lucie Brock-Broido for Stay, Illusion (Knopf)

Stay, Illusion, the much-anticipated volume of poems by Lucie Brock-Broido, illuminates the broken but beautiful world she inhabits. Her poems are lit with magic and stark with truth: whether they speak from the imagined dwelling of her “Abandonarium,” or from habitats where animals are farmed and harmed “humanely,” or even from the surreal confines of death row, they find a voice like no other—dazzling, intimate, startling, heartbreaking.”

the big smoke

3. Adrian Matejka for The Big Smoke (Penguin)

“Long listed for the 2013 National Book Award in Poetry—a new collection that examines the myth and history of the prizefighter Jack Johnson.”

Black Aperture

4. Matt Rasmussen for Black Aperture (Louisiana State University Press)

“In his moving debut collection, Matt Rasmussen faces the tragedy of his brother’s suicide, refusing to focus on the expected pathos, blurring the edge between grief and humor.”

Mary Szybist for “Incarnadine” (Graywolf Press)

5. Mary Szybist for Incarnadine (Graywolf Press)

“In Incarnadine, Mary Szybist restlessly seeks out places where meaning might take on new color.”

Only United States citizens are eligible for the award which are administered by the National Book Foundation. The award ceremony is November 20 where we’ll learn who won what.

Do you have any favorites? What book do you think will win each category?

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