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Foreword review: A LITTLE SOMETHING

A Little Something

Foreword Review

Haddaway stays tightly focused on characters who deal with tragedy in a way that feels real.

Richard Haddaway’s A Little Something opens with a random and seemingly minor accident. While waiting on deck at his youth baseball game, eleven-year-old Justin gets hit in the head by a foul ball and has to go to the dentist for emergency work. While he seems fine on the way there, something goes wrong at the dentist, and what started as a small injury instead leads to the boy enduring a long coma. This instigates a moving story about life, death, family, and the meaning of love between a parent and child.

What makes this story work so well is Haddaway’s laser focus on the characters and how each deals with the impact of Justin’s coma and the uncertainty about his future. Nearly the entire book takes place in the hospital, while Haddaway fills in the characters with flashbacks to their lives before the accident. Justin’s parents, Sam and Katherine, bring very different perspectives to the situation. Katherine, a doctor herself, understands the clinical reality of Justin’s condition, while Sam relies on optimism and focuses on best-case outcomes.

Through their dialogue with one another—and their discussions with other characters—the book makes both perspectives and both parents truly relatable without making those differences too stark, so the couple remains compatible.

There are times when the book presents signals that it’s going to wind up with a clichéd story line, but those thankfully prove mere ways to play with audience expectations. Justin’s coma has no easy solution, and what makes A Little Something work so well is the way it takes readers inside the minds of family members in various stages of accepting that difficult reality.

The medical aspect of the situation is explained with a journalistic style that reveals all that needs to be known without becoming too technical. The doctors and other supporting characters feel like real people, and the flashbacks show both parents as well intentioned without turning them into too-perfect victims.

Perhaps most impressively, A Little Something realistically portrays its characters coping with grief in myriad stages—from lashing out at the dentist whose error might have caused the coma to grasping at Justin’s small movements as signs of hope for recovery.

The book addresses a sad story without veering into melodrama, and it does real character work in showing how its subjects handle their increasingly difficult ordeal.

Jeff Fleischer
April 30, 2014

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Booklist review: DARK LADY OF HOLLYWOOD

“Ken Harrison is a burned-out Hollywood executive who has been demoted from his job as vice president of comedy. Ken is also a very sick man, and his recent treatment for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma has left his body wasted and his mind vulnerable. Ken’s saving grace is his love of Shakespeare, particularly the sonnets. So when he meets the beautiful Ophelia Lomond, a budding actress and personal assistant to the spoiled and demanding Jazzminn Jenks, host of a popular talk show, he just knows something Shakespearean has happened. Ophelia becomes his muse, his personal version of Shakespeare’s Dark Lady. Not only does Ken fall in love with Ophelia, he also agrees to her request that he murder Jazzminn. As the clock ticks toward the appointed day, the three find themselves trapped in their own modern-day Shakespearean drama. A finalist in the William Faulkner Creative Writing Competition, Haithman’s hilariously funny novel gives readers a bird’s-eye view of the Hollywood machine and its players. With witty, fast-paced dialogue and characters readers will cheer for, this debut is a deeply satisfying story of love, loss, and acceptance.”

–Carol Gladstein, Booklist

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Tony Rogers Wins National First Novel Prize

Tony RogersHarvard alum author and Cambridge resident Tony Rogers’s novel, The Execution of Richard Sturgis, As Told by His Son, Colin, recently won the first annual Dorothy and Wedel Nilsen Prize for a first novel. An excerpt of the novel first appeared in Harvard Square Editions’ Above Ground anthology. The story follows a rowdy, complex family man who befriends two devious men, and with them, is arrested for the rape and murder of a young man. While the other two men are released, Richard is sent to trail and convicted. His son Colin, deeply scarred by the effects of the trial and going through his teen years known as the son of a murderer, can’t bring himself to believe in his father’s guilt, continuing what he knows maybe a lifelong search to find out the truth about the murder and about his father.

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Midwest Review: ALL AT ONCE

“The boundaries of human imagination are explored in Alisa Clements’s intelligent fantasy novel All at Once. Clements presents two romantic triangles, centuries apart, whose participants all share psychic abilities beyond the norm. Much of this beautifully written novel centers on the story of Josephine, a scholar researching native religious practices in a more or less modern-day Brazil, and her encounters with a group of people, rebels against the government, who seem to have harnessed their psychic powers in a manner that promises great things for humanity but threatens the power structure. How Clements connects the dots between the two fraught relationships is just one of the rewards of this clever and entertaining book.”

—Midwest Review

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Virtual Writers Workshop, 1st Sunday of the Month at 12 p.m. Eastern Time

Drum Circle 7

The Virtual Writers Workshop brings published authors together with writers for synergy and exchange in a drum circle the first Sunday of the month at 12 p.m. Eastern time, 9 a.m. Pacific time. Get writing for the next meeting!

Participants have included acclaimed author and Pastor Stan Duncan, award winning author Charles Degelman, and Soviet author Ruben Varda whose humorous story ‘Consultation’ about a celestial computer class experimenting in virtual worlds was first published in the HSE anthology Voice from the Planet, later reprinted in Cambridge Book Review, and was lauded by British reviewer The Truth about Books, which named Planet ‘Book of the Month’. If you would like to meet up and rap, read a poem, lyrics, some of your writing (max 10 min.), or just listen, come to the Virtual Writers Workshop in Second Life.

Directions:
Just create an avatar, download the Second Life veiwer ‘Firestorm’, launch the viewer, and go to this location by pasting this link in the browser in the upper left of the Second Life viewer for a primer on how to move your avatar:

http://slurl.com/secondlife/Virtual%20Ability/170/100/23

…Then, on Sunday at 12 p.m. Eastern time, 9 a.m. Pacific time, click on Visit Etopia Island (154, 181, 23) and hit then hit the orange  “Teleport Now” button in the middle of the page, and then the gray “Teleport” button at the bottom of the popup to participate in the workshop. Pacific time when everyone will be here… or  meet us here by pasting this link in the browser in the upper left of the Second Life viewer:

http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Etopia%20Island/150/181/22

Chat by typing into the chat box and hitting ‘enter’. To be able to hear the talk, hit CTRL P, and on the preferences screen, lower the volumes on the media, music, and sound effects, and raise the volume on the voice chat. Right click on the drums to play, ‘stand up’ to stop. If you’d like to read, when it’s your turn, press the ‘speak’ button on the bottom of the screen to talk. For best results, use a headset or Mac. Be sure to turn the speaker button off when you‘re done talking to avoid feedback (worse than criticism!)

You can improve listening by standing near the person who is talking.

‘See’ you there!

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Panel Discussion: The Antiwar Movement — Degelman at the Joiner Center for the Study of War and Social Consequences

Panel Discussion: The Antiwar Movement — Then and Now | Charles Degelman | William Joiner Center for the Study of War and Social Consequences.

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David Laudau Named HSE’s Editor-in-Chief

David Landau took over as Harvard Square Editons’ Editor-in-Chief today. David graduated from Harvard College where he wrote and published a political portrait of Henry Kissinger. The first book-length treatment of its enigmatic subject, Landau’s Kissinger: The Uses of Power created an immediate furor in the U.S., going on to appear in Great Britain, Japan, Spain and China (where millions of people read it in a government-sponsored pirate edition). The New Republic, in a 1992 review, called it “the best of the books” about Kissinger.

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Publishers Weekly on Harvard Square Editions

Publishers Weekly Harvard Square Editions: A Publishing House Run by Alumni
By Judith Rosen 

…Not only does HSE operate on a shoe-string budget out of staffers’ homes, but those apartments and houses are scattered throughout the U.S., South America, and Europe. So it wasn’t until last summer’s publication party for Voice from the Planet that many founding members of HSE met for the first time in person. They gathered in France for a joint reading at Village Voice Bookshop in Paris…”  

…and Harvard Square Editions has just put out three new novels: Travelling Light by J. L. Morin, Patchwork by Dan Loughry, and A Weapon To End War by Jonathan Ross!

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HSE-published short story adapted to award-winning screenplay

Hey, folks,

In 2009, Harvard Square Editions published a short story titled “The Crash” in Above Ground, HSE’s first globe-trotting, short-fiction anthology.

In 2010, the author transformed “The Crash” into a feature-film script called THE RED CAR. This adaption just appeared on the finalist list for Francis Ford Coppola’s American Zoetrope Screenplay Competition.

An excerpt (Act One) of THE RED CAR can be found here.

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NYC’s MidCity News Talks about Spiders and Flies

Reel Talks’ Scott Adlerberg Publishes Novel.

Regulars at Bryant Park’s Reel Talks, the series of Word for Word chats about movies screened at the HBO Bryant Park Summer Film Festival, know that program host Scott Adlerberg is passionate and knowledgeable about movies. He is also a writer whose most recent novel Spiders and Flies, a harrowing psychological thriller set in Martinique. Atmospheric, suspenseful, and darkly comic, Spiders and Flies will keep you awake at night, and not only because you won’t be able to put it down. Image Credit: Angelito Jusay.

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Midwest Book Review gives Planet Thumbs Up

Voice from the Planet
Charles Degelman, editor
Harvard Square Editions
79 Garden Street, Cambridge, MA 02138
9780615367323, $14.95, www.harvardsquareeditions.com

All over the world, lives are changing and they change in many different ways. “Voice from the Planet: An Anthology of Living Fiction” is a collection of short fiction that goes through all genres and concerns, from the realistic to the fantastical to the coming of age to the war story. A grand variety pack of tales, Charles Degelman puts together a fascinating collection that will never stop entertaining. “Voice from the Planet” is a solid volume, not to be missed. http://www.midwestbookreview.com/lbw/oct_10.htm

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Rave Review

Voice from the Planet, by Various

“Sincere, credible and authentic – this is a truly global piece of literature…” The Truth about Books

This anthology of 30 short stories from across the globe comprises the many and varied works of authors who came together via the internet to form a truly unique experience for the reader. From award winning authors to complete unknowns; just as the anthology does not discriminate geographically, is it not prohibitive to the unpublished author.

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