Book Publicity News

Thursday, September 03, 2009

September Update

I’ve launched a book blog today, Confessions of a Book Publicist, which takes you behind the scenes of the publishing business from the perspective of a book publicist.

Look for informative and entertaining stories about the book publicity business…anecdotes about the typical day in the life of a book publicist…the occasional book review or a favorite recipe or two… ruminations on my current reading…news about the books I am promoting…what really happens behind the scenes. The blog will be entertaining, filled with anecdotes, and will also shed light on what it’s like to work with the media. And, of course, it will be about books. So please take a look at Confessions of a Book Publicist.

It’s been a busy summer launching campaigns for two scrumptious and timely cookbooks: SEAFOOD ALLA SICILIANA: Recipes & Stories From a Living Tradition by Toni Lydecker (Lake Isle Press; September) and SIMPLY IN SEASON: Recipes that Celebrate Fresh, Local Foods in the Spirit of More-with-Less by Mary Beth Lind and Cathleen Hockman-Wert (Herald Press; September).

SEAFOOD ALLA SICILIANA takes readers on a Sicilian odyssey. As much a travelogue as a cookbook, this gorgeous book is filled with wonderful, simple and healthy recipes that Toni collected from Sicilian home cooks and professional chefs, while some are her own creative riffs on classic Sicilian themes. And it is the first cookbook to explore in depth the rich culinary dimensions of Sicilian seafood.

SIMPLY IN SEASON, is, simply, about eating in harmony with the seasons. The authors advocate preparing your meals with fresh, locally-grown produce raised in or near your community, in sync with the seasons. SIMPLY IN SEASON features anecdotes and discussions as to why it does make a difference to eat locally grown food. Alice Waters, Michael Pollan and our First Lady have all been outspoken proponents about the importance of eating fresh, locally produced fruits and vegetables. Now there is a cookbook that provides cooks with simple-to-prepare delicious recipes using fresh, seasonal produce. SIMPLY IN SEASON, at the vanguard of the locally-grown and seasonal food movement, couldn’t be more timely.

Just in time for the long, winter days comes a great mystery to curl up with: OVERKILL by Eugenia Lovett West (St. Martin’s Nov/Dec). If Jessica Fletcher from the TV hit series “Murder She Wrote” were a real-life character, she would be Eugenia Lovett West, who successfully launched her career as a mystery writer at the age of 81.

“This is a great and productive time of life,” says the 86-year-young West. OVERKILL is the second book in the Emma Streat series, following on the heels of Without Warning, which featured a 40-something attractive widow whose husband is killed in a hit-and-run accident. Determined to find his killer, Emma plunges into an international high-tech world—and into a brief affair with a sexy British spy in a suspenseful plot that the late Dominick Dunne praised as a “fast-paced page-turner.”

Stay tuned for more on OVERKILL in future postings, recipes from SEAFOOD ALLA SICILIANA and SIMPLY IN SEASON, media updates and more.

To briefly catch up on spring and summer news: I handled campaigns for two excellent mysteries, both of which received rave reviews.

For fans of Kyra Davis, the author who launched a chick-lit mystery series with Sex, Murder and a Double Latte, comes her latest in the series featuring the bi-racial, sassy Sophie Katz: LUST, LOATHING A LITTLE LIP GLOSS (MIRA Books). Davis cleverly uses the housing crisis as the backdrop for this hilarious, entertaining mystery, which is a blend of Mary Higgins Clark meets Bridget Jones. LUST, LOATHING AND A LITTLE LIP GLOSS is the novel that Sophie Katz fans have been waiting for, and the perfect introduction for new readers as well. It has everything a mystery fan could ask for: sex, murder, romance, a haunted house, suspense, lots of humor and just a little lip gloss for her chick lit fans.

THE SECOND DEATH OF GOODLUCK TINUBU (Harper) by the writing team of Michael Stanley, follows on the heals of their successful debut novel, A Carrion Death, which the New York Times Book Review praised as “A first novel saturated with local color. . . . Happily, Kubu is also hugely appealing—big and solid and smart enough to grasp all angles of this mystery. Readers may be lured to Africa by the landscape, but it takes a great character like Kubu to win our loyalty.”

THE SECOND DEATH OF GOODLUCK TINUBU is a murder mystery that takes readers into the heart of contemporary Africa. Set in Botswana and tied to a back story about the current turmoil in Zimbabwe and how the Rhodesian Bush War has forged strange relationships, both good and nefarious, this novel is haunted by the dissolution of these relationships.

A must-read for fans of Jhumpa Lahiri and all novels about the conflicts among the different generations of immigrant families is THE TRICKING OF FREYA, is a mesmerizing debut novel by Christina Sunley (St. Martin’s) about a family of Icelandic immigrants who settle in North America that More Magazine hailed as “an instant classic.” Three weeks on The San Francisco Chronicle’s bestseller list, THE TRICKING OF FREYA received many rave reviews. Scroll down to see what the critics have said about THE TRICKING OF FREYA.

I think I’m all caught up. Sorry for the lapse in postings. I will be blogging on a more regular basis from now on, writing chatty, entertaining stories on Confessions, and discussing in more depth the great books I’m promoting on my webblog.

I want to end here that reading books, writing about them and promoting books is a dream-come-true job for a book lover like myself. Happy reading to everyone this fall!


“Some novels, in addition to all else they accomplish, simply make great company: Christina Sunley's first novel is one, packed with delectable relationships and family secrets….Sunley has created much more to delight readers en route: characters we anticipate with curiosity and fondness, a deep reverence for the magic of language… In the character of Birdie, Sunley's made a marvel… Sunley's writing often enchants… I wish I had more room to quote from this ambitious work, packed with juicy events, dialogue and settings…”
—The San Francisco Chronicle

“An impressive debut novel by San Francisco writer Christina Sunley… This novel works on several levels: as a drama of family dynamics; as an immigrant story; and as a showcase for the author's broad and deep knowledge of Iceland.”
—The Seattle Times
“If all you know about Iceland is failed banks and Björk, The Tricking of Freya is a highly readable introduction…” —The Christian Science Monitor
“An instant classic…[a] luminous first novel…the story sparkles with the author’s love of language and of her own Icelandic culture. The book’s masterfully told final mysteries reveal themselves as magically as darkroom images appearing under the light.”
—More Magazine

"The author draws on her Icelandic heritage for this alluring and mystical story of a ... girl who discovers that family tragedies can haunt and shape many generations." —Good Housekeeping
“THE TRICKING OF FREYA is a fantastic story, full of myth and legend, family drama, epic landscapes, the search for identity, a sense of belonging and unconditional love… Sunley deftly weaves in real Icelandic and Norse history, Icelandic literature, culture and language into her tale, giving it a seriousness and depth that is compelling, romantic and readable… an accomplished debt.” —
“Sunley's debut novel is an intricate family travelogue, based in the present of Icelandic-Canadian life and the half-mythical world of her grandparents' Iceland… This grand coming-of-age-novel boasts a dynamic set of characters and a rich bank of cultural and personal lore, making this dark, cold family tale a surprisingly lush experience.”
—Publishers Weekly Starred Review

“An astonishingly accomplished debut…a bewitching tale of volcanic emotions, cultural inheritance, family sorrows, mental illness, and life-altering discoveries.”

“…Amazing debut… Sunley's writing is truly poetic. She brings here settings alive in a way that will make you believe that you have been there and experienced it all yourself.


Tuesday, May 26, 2009


It's new. It's hot. It's Primal Grill® with Steven Raichlen.

He’s the man who gave barbecue a college education. His books, THE BARBECUE! BIBLE, and HOW TO GRILL (Workman Publishing) are award-winning international best-sellers, with more than a million copies in print in 15 languages. His popular TV shows, BARBECUE UNIVERSITY® and the French language LE MAITRE DU GRILL, have revolutionized the art of the grill in North America and beyond.

And now Steven Raichlen brings you his biggest, baddest, most comprehensive grilling show yet, with easy-to-follow instructions, close-up step-by-step technique sequences and mouth-watering, in-your-face food shots: Primal Grill® with Steven Raichlen.

Shot on location at the historic Esplendor Resort at Rio Rico, just south of Tucson, Arizona, Primal Grill features Steven’s trademark teaching style and insights into barbecue culture and history. This year's shows are themed place and occasion, such as “In the Wild,” in which Steven shows viewers how to grill game and other wild foods, and “From the Farm,” which focuses on the best way to grill the fruits and vegetables. Occasion-oriented shows, such as “At the Game,” focus on grilling for sports fans, and “In a Hurry,” for people with more taste than time.

After the sizzling launch of the first Primal Grill (which aired in 95 percent of the PBS markets), the new Primal Grill features all new recipes ranging from chocolate chipotle baby back ribs (Raichlen’s riff on Mexican mole) to a spectacular lomo al trapo, Colombia's singular beef tenderloin wrapped in salt and cloth and grilled right in the embers. Another first this year, Raichlen demonstrates how to spit-roast a whole hog in the style of the Greek Islands.

“When it comes to flavor, nothing can beat meat grilled and served on the bone,” Raichlen explains in “On The Bone,” a show featuring plate-burying, Catalan-style wood-grilled veal chops; Korean butterflied beef short ribs grilled over charcoal; and an olive and rosemary-studded, smoke-roasted Provencale leg of lamb. “If you’ve ever grilled a veal chop or smoked a rack of ribs, you know that meat on the bone has the best flavor,” says Raichlen. “It also takes us back to the time before knives and forks when people had the primal pleasure of eating with their hands and fingers. So connect with your inner caveman.”

Primal Grill® also features Steven's legendary fireside "chats" about his personal grilling experiences and philosophy, but this year, the chats will focus on his travels around the world's barbecue trail.

Award-winning, best-selling author, founder of the celebrated Barbecue University grilling school at the Broadmoor resort in Colorado Springs, Steven Raichlen is known as the man who reinvented American barbecue. A former Thomas J. Watson Foundation Fellow, Raichlen has a degree in French literature.

Visit Primal Grill with Steven Raichlen's website for a sneak preview of episodes to come.


In the Wild

By the Sea

On the Range

From the Farm

On the Vine

Around the Fire

On the Rotisserie

In a Pickle

Up in Smoke

On the Wing

On the Bone

At the Game

In a Hurry

If you are an editor or journalist wishing to cover what is quickly emerging as the hottest cooking show of 2009, please contact me, Susan Schwartzman at 914-776-1380 or

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

UPDATE: The Tricking of Freya

Bestselling author Christina Sunley gave a reading from her acclaimed novel, The Tricking of Freya, to a sold-out crowd at Seattle's famous Nordic Heritage Museum.

A powerful debut novel that explores kinship, loss and redemption, The Tricking of Freya deftly weaves together Iceland's distinctive history, ancient mythology, reverence for language, and passion for genealogy.

Many of those in attendance at the reading learned of Christina's debut novel through a review in The Seattle Times Book Review, which we placed and which is an example of what a grass-roots publicity campaign targeted to appropriate audiences can do to spread the word about a book.

Christina is elated and so are we.

And don't forget to take a look at Christina's lovely website,, to learn more about the book and its fascinating author.

If you are a media professional wishing to interview Christina Sunley or review her book, please feel free to contact me, Susan Schwartzman, at or call me at 1-877-833-4276.

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Monday, March 16, 2009

The Tricking of Freya Receives Rave Reviews

The Tricking of Freya, a haunting debut novel by Christina Sunley, has just received rave reviews from the San Francisco Chronicle and The Seattle Times.

The Seattle Times Book Editor, Mary Ann Gwinn, calls The Tricking of Freya "an impressive debut novel" in the tradition of novelists like Jhumpa Lahiri and Junot Diaz that "works on several levels: as a drama of family dynamics; as an immigrant story; and as a showcase for the author's broad and deep knowledge of Iceland" and that offers "an armchair tour of a country of unparalleled beauty and strangeness."

San Francisco Chronicle Book Reviewer Joan Frank writes:

"Some novels, in addition to all else they accomplish, simply make great company" Christina Sunley's first novel is one, packed with delectable relationships and family secrets. It is a travelogue and cultural guide to what strikes most of us as an obscure and mysterious place: Iceland."

Booklist hailed The Tricking of Freya as an "astonishingly accomplished debut." Publishers Weekly praised it as a "grand...lush experience," and More Magazine called it an "instant classic" and "luminous first novel."

The Tricking of Freya is published by St. Martin's Press and is available in bookstores as well as online at and Barnes and Noble.

To interview Christina Sunley or review her novel, please contact Susan Schwartzman Public Relations.

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Monday, January 12, 2009

President Obama and the War on Terrorism

Terry Turchie and Kathleen Puckett, former FBI agents and co-authors of HOMELAND INSECURITY: How Washington Politicians Have Made America Less Safe (History Publishing), were guests on KGO's Ronn Owens Show, one of the top talk shows in the San Francisco area on Tuesday, January 6th.

Terry and Kathleen gave their assessment of the latest developments in the war on terror and President-elect Obama's decisions to date regarding national security issues, including the announcement of former Clinton administration bigwig Leon Pancetta's nomination as head of the Central Intelligence Agency.

How safe is America today? What does the future hold for our national security? What has the incoming President already done to keep America safe? What will he have to do when he assumes office this month?

To find the answers, listen to the podcast of Ronn Owen's probing interview with Terry and Kathleen by clicking here.

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Rave Review for Nick Stone's King of Swords

The King of Swords by bestselling thriller writer Nick Stone received a rave review in the Chicago Sun Times last Sunday, January 4, 2009.

"...Stone is so gifted at creating intriguing character and suspense that it's impossible to put down," wrote book critic David J. Montgomery.

To read the review in its entirety, click here.

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Wednesday, December 31, 2008

How Safe Is The Food We Eat?

Dr. Lisa Weasel’s FOOD FRAY: Inside the Controversy over Genetically Modified Food (AMACOM; December 2008; $23.00 Hardcover) is a controversial and fascinating look at the global food fight that is changing the way we think about what we eat.

Just how safe are genetically modified foods? More than ten years ago, the first genetically modified foods took their place on the shelves of American supermarkets. But while American consumers remained blissfully unconcerned with the new products that suddenly filled their kitchens, Europeans were much more wary of these “Frankenfoods.” Even when famine struck Africa in 2002, several nations refused shipments of genetically modified foods, fueling a controversy that put the issue on the world’s political agenda for good.

Some of the issues Dr. Weasel explores in FOOD FRAY include:

How politics instead of ethics and science have driven the controversy over genetically modified foods.

How the general public is too often being duped and manipulated by propaganda about such foods.

How a huge campaign by big business to stop labeling foods may ensure that consumers can’t see what is really in the foods they are eating.

Lying beneath the surface of the story of genetically modified food is a deeper and more persistent narrative of how science, ethics, and politics intersect, not just in the US and Europe but in the legions of developing nations where some of the strongest debates surrounding GM food are currently taking place.

For a growing segment of the Americans, issues of where their food comes from, who controls the food supply, and what choices they make at the supermarket loom larger than ever. Consumers have recently staged mass protests against genetically modified foods that are not thus labeled, suggesting that there is strong opposition to such foods. Paradoxically, at the same time, genetically modified food is touted as the way to solve the world’s hunger problem and feed the world’s ever expanding populous poor.

FOOD FRAY separates truth from propaganda, science from science fiction. Dr. Weasel lays bare the reality behind genetically modified food.

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Thursday, November 06, 2008


Now that we have just witnessed a historical Presidential election, one question still lingers:

Are we safer today than we were before 9/11?

In their new book, HOMELAND INSECURITY: HOW WASHINGTON POLITICIANS HAVE MADE AMERICA LESS SAFE, two top former FBI agents, Terry D. Turchie and Kathleen Puckett, explain the threats to our national security and to our civil liberties, and why the United States faces an uncertain future as a result of the very steps Republican and Democratic politicians have taken in responding to the 9/11 attacks and in politicizing the "war on terror." The result, the authors contend, is that the risk of international and domestic terrorism directed against the United States and her citizens has not lessened but instead increased.

Even worse, the next successful attack on America will move the country further from the rule of law and trigger a government response that will endanger civil liberties, handing the terrorists a major victory in their quest to instill fear and change in the way we live our lives.

President-elect Obama can change the course, but only if he acts decisively to reverse the tide of bad decisions made hitherto and does what it takes to make America safe again. Turchie and Puckett outline how the next president can defeat terrorism while still preserving and protecting the greatness of American law and liberty. Among the many topics they discuss include:

  • What Obama must do to reverse the war on terror

  • How the political agendas of both parties are primarily responsible for virtually inviting the 9/11 terrorist attacks, not the failure of American law-enforcement or intelligence agencies.

  • How the incoming President can make certain that America's Number One national security issue must be the elimination of the al-Qaeda terror network.

  • How Obama can build a more trusting relationship with the new government of Pakistan.

  • Why the next administration must be aware that building new alliances throughout the world to fight terror may ignite the old sparks of the Cold War with former adversaries.

  • Why it is urgent that we find a way to repair and rebuild the relationship between American and Russia if we are to find alternatives to a confrontation with Iran, the world's premiere sponsor of terrorism.
Publisher's Weekly says Homeland Insecurity offers "fascinating insights...full of intriguing sidelights from inside the bureau." As we begin a new chapter in American history, HOMELAND INSECURITY challenges us to rethink our understanding of national security and our civil liberties.

Terry Turchie and Kathleen Puckett, PhD, are acknowledged experts in the field of terrorism and counterterrorism. Turchie was the driving force behind the capture of the two most elusive and solitary domestic terrorists in US history, including domestic terrorist Eric Rudolph. He is a former Deputy Assistant Director of Counterterrorism Division of the FBI. As an author and a principal of TK Associates, LLC, he speaks to hundreds of corporate and law-enforcement groups regarding how to solve complex terrorism cases.

Dr. Kathleen Puckett spent 23 years as a FBI Special Agent, where she was primarily involved in the investigation and analysis of cases involving foreign counterintelligence as well as domestic and international terrorism. Together with Turchie, she was instrumental in the apprehension of Eric Rudolph. She provides behavioral threat assessment consultation to international corporations and governmental security agencies, and is a law enforcement consultant to the Program of Psychiatry and the Law at the University of California at San Francisco. She is a frequent presenter at law-enforcement and mental-health community forums on the psychology of terrorism.

You can learn more about Terry Turchie and Kathleen Puckett at their website, Or read their recent article in the The Huffington Post.

HOMELAND INSECURITY is published by History Publishing Co, LLC.

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