Wednesday, August 30, 2017

#BookRelease BHBW announces new #memoir by Billy Ehrlacher!

Tales from the Hot Dog Grill: The Uncensored Memoirs of a Food Service Engineer 

by Billy Ehrlacher

"The setting of our tale is Doomsdale" and Jon and Kiki's story goes downhill from there! College students, Jon and Kiki work for the OTHER hot dog stand in Doomsdale and their boss, Wicked Wilma, hires them to go underground and work for the popular competition to discover their secret ingredient....hint: it's not the sauce! A modern day Candide, Jon romps through the absurd world of fast food and concludes it's the WORST of all possible worlds.

About the author:

Billy Ehrlacher obtained a bachelor's degree in theatre from DeSales University.  SInce graduating Billy has performed all over the Lehigh Valley as well as in New York City.  Some of his past theatre roles include:  Robert in Ceiling Art, Forrest in Warped Speed Dating, Lab Tech in Women are From Venus Men are From Uranus, Ahmed in Getting Complete, Barry in Lois's Wedding, Mickey Black in Tony & Tina's Wedding, Sal in Tony & Tina's Wedding, Grumio in Babes in Toyland, Al in The Philadelphia, Snout in a Midsummer Night's Dream, Mike in Dinner With Marney, and Etienne in The Vampire Lesbians of Sodom. and Mohameed in The Tale of the Allergist's Wife among many others. He has performed his well received cabaret act at The Duplex Cabaret Theatre, Don't Tell Mama, and The Laurie Beechman Theatre all in New York City.  A civic minded individual Billy is a longtime advocate and a staunch supporterof Downtown Allentown.  In 2012 his efforts were awarded with the 2012 Downtown Ambassador Award.  Billy also  previously hosted his own radio show called, The Billy Show.  He is  presently working on developing not one but two  web soap operas.  One has a working title of The Neighborhood, and the other Dumpster City.  Billy Ehrlacher resides in Allentown, PA.

Tales from the Hot Dog Grill is available here: click here to view the paperback book

Here's Billy's author page over at BHBW:

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Spotlight on #BHBW author Paul Misencik, Sr. #memoir

While most people scramble to keep up with one life, Paul Misencik Sr. is busy living about five. And Blue Heron Book Works is thrilled to announce that we are publishing his memoir FLYING early next year. 

This is Paul: At the age of four Paul took his first airplane ride in a 1929 Ford Trimotor, made of corrugated aluminum and lovingly nicknamed the “Tin Goose.” He still vividly remembers that first plane ride. From then on, Paul was hooked on airplanes, learning to fly before he could drive. He wooed the love of his life, Sally, at the age of fifteen by taking her on several airplane rides. Sally was blissfully unaware at the time that Paul wasn’t yet old enough to qualify for a pilot’s license.

Paul is a native of Northern Ohio. Graduated University of Akron, 1963, M.A. American History specializing in Native American Culture and Colonial American History. While in high school, he was a regular on a Saturday afternoon TV show hosted by Jimmy Breslin, where Paul discussed Ohio Native-American culture and society. After college, Paul taught school and coached high school football in Akron Ohio. On weekends and during the summer he worked as a flight instructor, stunt pilot, and aerobatic instructor. He fondly recalls flying with Richard Bach the author of Jonathon Livingston Seagull, and he provided aerobatic instruction to George Peppard, the star of the WWI flying movie, The Blue Max.

In 1967, Paul was hired as a pilot with Eastern Airlines and flew as a captain, flight instructor, and check-airman until they ceased operations in 1991. While at Eastern, he was artist and cartoonist for the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) Airline Pilot Magazine. After Eastern Airlines, he flew as an international airline captain with four other airlines including USAfrica Airways which was headquartered in Reston, Virginia. As a captain with non-scheduled Airlines, Paul has had some of his most memorable aviation adventures.

In 1996 Paul was hired as a major air carrier investigator with the National Transportation Safety Board and in 1998 he was promoted to his present position as the chief of the operational factors division at the NTSB.

Paul love of American history has resulted in three published non-fiction books that are based on his life-long research. The titles are: The Original American Spies: Seven Covert Agents of the Revolutionary War, and George Washington and the Half King Chief Tanacharison: An Alliance That Began the French and Indian War. His third book is Sally Townsend: George Washington’s Teenage Spy, which will be published in 2015. Besides compiling Paul’s memoirs, he and Sally are currently researching their fourth book on 18th Century Indian villages and trails in the Ohio territory.

Paul has been married to Sally Misencik since 1963, and they live in Reston, Virginia. They have two children Karen Misencik Carter and Paul Jr. Karen and her husband Tom live in Arlington, Virginia, and Paul Jr. and his wife Altamira live in Javea, Spain with their two children Diego and Mateo.

The ceremonial handing over of the manuscript! Aviator and historian Paul Misencik traveled to Alllentown to turn in his memoir, well also to do some research on his fourth book which he is writing with his wife, Sally Misencik. Of course, they didn't have to come to Allentown to turn in his manuscript, that's what email is all about, but it's a lot more fun to celebrate in person! These are tales from inside the cockpit, and really, you can't make this stuff up and we can't wait to have it ready for you to read.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Spotlight on #BHBW author @LynnieGodfrey #memoir

Sharing Lessons Learned While Seeking the Spotlight

This book includes Lynnie Godfrey’s memories of working with celebrities, including the late dancer and actor Gregory Hines, who introduced her to her husband Carl E. Lee and was the best man at her wedding; songwriters Burton Lane and Sammy Cahn; and Norman Lear, producer of “All in the Family” and its spinoff “704 Hauser.” Godfrey had a leading role in that later show. She even forgot until recently that she was in a play called “Mama Liberty” with Tim Robbins (in fairness, he wore a mask for his part.)
The book follows Godfrey’s career, including performing a show-stopping number in “Eubie!” on Broadway, right before Gregory Hines’ number and right after one by his brother, Maurice. She played Lola in “Damn Yankees,” the stepmother in “Cinderella,” and the title role in “The Snow Queen,” parts rarely or never done by black women. She even landed a role originally designed, she says, for a “Cybill Shepherd type,” playing Helen the Computer for “The New Monkees” TV show.
Connect with Lynnie online:
Connect with Lynnie on twitter:

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Spotlight on #YA author Maddy Wells @BlueHeronBW

Maddy Wells (born 1986) is the author of the "Have a Life" series, three novels which explore the moral landscape of American woman from 1967 to the present. The first book in the series, "Have Love", released on Kindle on Oct. 15, 2016, is set in the Summer of Love, in New York City. The second novel, "Have Mercy", is about the daughter and granddaughter of the heroine in the first--the granddaughter having to navigate the waters of finding her voice as an artist at the same time dealing with an immature mother who is arrested for having sex with a student.The third book, "Have Faith", to be released next year, continues the theme of abortion and love which is begun in the first book.

Here is Maddy Wells' author page at Blue Heron Book Works

Have Mercy

Mercy O'Reilly's life plan is to become a rock goddess, a deity in the tradition of Patti Smith or Lady GaGa or maybe Madonna.  This is no pipe dream:  she's got the blue's blood because rock n' roll is the family business.  Her father is The Griffin, a metal rock god, her mother a mere mortal ex-groupie turned high school teacher.  Mercy is their love child so all the mythic elements are in place.

Mercy's made a fine start.  She has: a band, a hand-me-down Fender, juvenile deliquents for parents, ambition and talent.

What she needs now are words for her songs.  When Jane is arrested for conduct unbecoming a teacher the court awards custody to her dreadful grandmother.  

"Universe have mercy," she prays and the response is "Go on the road, my dear!  It's the ultimate rock place and solution to what ails the rock soul.  And most importantly:  it's fun!

Monday, August 14, 2017

#Review of 'Songs of Ourselves' a #memoir anthology @BlueHeronBW

5.0 out of 5 starsBeautiful collection of poignant and empowering stories

Beautiful collection of poignant and empowering stories. Each author offers a snapshot of a moment in their (using that pronoun deliberately) life that transformed them and made them see the world differently. I'm going through a time in my own life when hearing others' stories of love, loss, bravery, and self-discovery help me sort through my own thoughts and provide a really wonderful connection to our shared humanity. As another reviewer noted above, the book comes in bite-sized chunks and the reader can open the anthology at any point to read. I commute on subway and found this book particularly well suited to read on my daily 30 minute commute to/from work.

Description: Blue Heron Book Works loves stories and we are dedicated to the idea that everyone’s individual story—not just those who live in the glare of the celebrity spotlight—is essential to the bigger story of who we are. It’s not politically correct to assign characteristics to nationalities, and in fact most Americans wouldn’t consider being American a nationality, claiming that we all come from somewhere else. And yet, after even one generation here—often sooner—the thing that we all have in common, the thing that makes us American, asserts itself and that is this: we look at everything with a child-like sense of the new. Nothing has associations that can’t be reworked or reimagined. That’s what Americans do: we reinvent ourselves constantly, create ourselves from scratch because all of us are starting over in some way. It’s this looking at a situation for what it is without the judgement of generations that makes us the most creative people on the planet. This quintessential American point of view is captured beautifully in journals and blogs, letters, in unedited and unreflective short bursts of observation and it is what we are celebrating in Songs of Ourselves.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Why I Love Vincent Francone #memoir #review @BlueHeronBW

Like a Dog is one of those books--all true and heartbreakingly real--that you're reading along, sucked into Francone's beer-soaked world of private mail sorting--and who knew such a business existed?--when your drink explodes through your nose you're laughing so hard.  Life is absurd and I love Francone for revealing those absurdities with a smart subtle wit. Trigger alert:  don't let your kids read this book, they may think their own life will turn out all right.

DescriptionVincent Francone’s “Like a Dog,” as in “Work like a dog,” is a great read. A working class guy who comes up on the South Side of Chicago and moves north in a quest a better life, Francone takes us on a dazzling tour of minimum wage America over the last couple of decades. He’s has done it all; “I’ve tried telemarketing, copy writing, editing; I managed a courier center, I conducted background checks on potential healthcare employees, and worked in a stock room. . . .” And that’s before he goes to university and winds up, like so many other academics today, as a part-time instructor in a string of economically stressed public colleges. Francone’s descriptions of boring and soul-destroying work, the places where it’s done, and the people who do it are beautifully written, wildl entertaining, deeply poignant, and mysteriously inspiring. This is what it’s like to be alive in these times, “Like a Dog” insists, this is the battlefield of everyday life. These are your adversaries: mindless repetitive work, bored and boring co-workers, feckless bosses, plus your own inclination to work as little as possible, spend every penny you earn right away, and escape from bad job to bad job, without ever climbing any ladder that might lead to better paid if equally meaningless work. Best of all, this post-industrial odyssey down mean streets and corridors to mean offices and classrooms, dingy apartments, and dead end bars is full of gritty life. Francone is a gifted story- teller with a great, street smart voice. His protagonists and characters are brilliantly drawn.. And in their bafflement and self-destructive resistance to the work regieme that claims them they press back in an utterly realistic way against our recession-bred equation of employment, almost any employment, with salvation. Studs Terkel would have loved this book--John McClure, Phd

Vincent Francone is a writer from Chicago whose memoir, Like a Dog, was published in the fall of 2015. He won first place in the 2009 Illinois Emerging Writers Competition (Gwendolyn Brooks Award) and is at work on a collection of poems and stories. Visit to read his work or say hi.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Inspired by Greatness: Phillipe Petit #MondayBlogs @lauralibricz #BHBW author

August 8, 1974

New York, New York. This morning, Phillippe Petit, 24, was arrested for disorderly conduct and criminal trespassing after entering the World Trade Center and stretching a high wire between the two towers. Petit, assisted by six accomplices, has been taken to Beekman Downtown Hospital for psychological observation.
     A traffic jam formed in the streets below at 7:15 a.m. as spectators gathered to watch Petit 1,350 feet above them dance on the wire. After eight passes back and forth between the towers, approximately 45 minutes, Petit surrendered to waiting Port Authority of New York and New Jersey police officers.
     Eyewitness Sgt. Charles Daniels told reporters:  “I observed the tightrope ‘dancer’—because you couldn’t call him a ‘walker’—approximately halfway between the two towers. And upon seeing us he started to smile and laugh and he started going into a dancing routine on the high wire….And when he got to the building we asked him to get off the high wire but instead he turned around and ran back out into the middle….He was bouncing up and down. His feet were actually leaving the wire and then he would resettle back on the wire again….Unbelievable really….Everybody was spellbound in the watching of it.”
     Petit, a Frenchman, told reporters that he had planned the stunt over the last six years. When asked why, he told reporters, “If I see three oranges, I have to juggle. And if I see two towers, I have to walk.”
     The seven men reportedly spent the last three days, disguised as construction workers with fake IDs, lugging their gear up to the top floor of the tower, including the 450 pound inch-thick tight rope and a disassembled 50 pound, 26 foot custom-made balancing bar. They spent the whole night setting up the tight wire. Using a bow and arrow, a line was shot across from one tower to the other and used to pull subsequently thicker ropes across. Then the tight wire was pulled across, fastened and stabilized with two guy lines to minimize swaying.

     In a 2003 interview in the Observer by Adam Higginbotham, Petit said: “Notre Dame and Sydney (Laura’s note: two other high-wire stunts he had performed) – that was nothing. Notre Dame doesn’t have a police station, it is not 1,000 or so feet high. It was a public structure, very easy to access. And Sydney Harbour Bridge was half-and-half: a bridge, in the middle of the night. The World Trade Center was the end of the world. Electronic devices, police dogs. It was l’attaque de la banque. Bank robbery, you know?”
     When asked what he felt his chances to pull the stunt off were: “Zero. Under zero. It was impossible. And the walk was not even to think of. I’m trying to sneak inside the biggest, most surveilled, protected building in the world. I was a kid from the street and I thought: maybe I could have two crews coming at more or less the same time and then putting a ton of equipment across and then guylining it and then tightening it – without being caught by all the cops and the guards? And you’re asking me did I think about the walk? Of course not. The walk was a stupid, ridiculous objective. And maybe when I did think about the walk, it was nothing. I am a wire-walker. I can walk any time, anywhere – I’m indestructible. So the walk was never a subject. Really, the tough part was the bank robbery. Getting out alive? Pfft! I was not interested in that.”

But survive the stunt he did and it is the topic of his book To Reach the Clouds, now released as a paperback titled Man On WireMan On Wire was not only the description of his crime on the police report, but the title of the 2008 award-wining British documentary directed by James Marsh. This is also the subject of the 2015 film, The Walk. Those are my DVD tips for this week.

Where were you on August 8, 1974?

Here’s a link to the 2003 Observer article by Adam Higginbotham:

Thursday, August 3, 2017

5 Star Review of Nicholas DiGiovanni’s #memoir @nidigiovanni #BHBW

How strange that a book so unrelentingly about death should contain so much life. But that’s what we have in “Man Has Premonition of Own Death,” which stands athwart decay and demands to know why.
The book title copies the headline that appeared above a 1925 story in a Yonkers newspaper about a young man who uttered something of a prophecy shortly before he was fatally injured in a gruesome industrial accident. The young man was the author’s great-uncle, and it’s fair to say that Nicholas DiGiovanni, a novelist, essayist, journalist and poetry impresario, has been obsessed with the sad uncanny tale of Thomas Crooks ever since he found the old newspaper clipping in a family Bible some 35 years ago. Popping up here and there among the dozens of short essays & stories that make up this volume, elements of the Crooks story compose the leitmotif of a man who dies before his time yet somehow knows it’s going to happen. Which is not far from DiGiovanni’s own story. 
For the author is himself a man who more or less has come back from near death to tell us about it. A strikingly personal account of fear, despair, hope, love, and above all, family, the book amounts to a premonition of his own death. DiGiovanni, in his 60s, is in recovery from brain and esophageal cancer. As we learn, he twice came very close to dying, once from the cancer before it was surgically removed, and once from massive hemorrhaging due to the effects of mixing chemotherapy with medicine he was taking for a heart condition (which itself was just barely prevented from killing him some dozen years earlier). DiGiovanni has had to confront his mortality repeatedly and with an intensity that many of us will feel only when we’re close to the end. It is the certainty of death and our foggy knowledge of what comes after it that permeate DiGiovanni’s writing. 
But despite the grim topic and a necessarily autumnal cast, “Man Has Premonition of Own Death” is engaging as well as defiant, spirited and even light-hearted. This is due to the author’s voice, which is warm, wry, courageous and funny. DiGiovanni’s sense of humor, which only occasionally is of the gallows type, keeps these essays from being depressingly dark. Writing about those who have died among his family and friends, about his fondness for cemeteries and the celebrities and nobodies buried there, about the beliefs and indoctrination of his Catholic schooling, about how the dead are treated, considered, feared, missed — through all of it DiGiovanni proves to be an entertaining, thoughtful and perceptive writer. It is said that philosophy begins with the awareness of death, and that’s the direction in which DiGiovanni ultimately moves, although I wish his book offered even more reflection and metaphysical contemplation of our damned mortality.
Decrying how morticians mute death’s warning to the living through their cosmetic manipulations of the faces of the dead, DiGiovanni writes, “We all would benefit … if we got up the courage to look death straight in the eye.” Indeed, his book helps us do.

Nicholas DiGiovanni is a novelist, essayist, award-winning journalist, blogger and teacher of creative writing. His novella “Rip,” a modern-day parody of Washington Irving’s “Rip Van Winkle,” was published in 2011 by Black Angel Press. His fiction has appeared in Paterson Literary Review, Identity Theory, The Caribbean Writer, and elsewhere. 

Connect with Nick online:
Nicholas DiGiovanni was born at the Fort Dix Army Hospital while his father served in the Air Force at Maguire AFB. His father was then assigned to duty at a base near Lincoln, Nebraska, and his parents moved with their new baby to Fremont, Nebraska, for a year. The author has spent the rest of his life being grateful that his parents did not stay in Nebraska – where he believes he would have wound up as assistant manager of an Agway franchise – and moved back to their home town of Yonkers, New York, a gritty industrial city on the lower Hudson River where DiGiovanni grew up, went to school, and absorbed the history of his family and his city – including the strange and sad tale of his great-uncle, 23-year-old carpet-mill worker Thomas Crooks, who (according to a 1920s newspaper article) had a “premonition of his own death,” falling to his death in a vat of acid just minutes after turning to his bride-to-be after a lunchtime picnic and declaring “I am going in, but I shall be carried out!”