Author Archive

Newsflash: I’m Writing A(nother) Brooklyn Guidebook!

Due out in 2016, I’m writing a book for tourists, locals and former Brooklynites, wherever you may live, that will give the inside story on the borough.

Got a favorite pizzeria, store, secret place in Brooklyn, or amazing photo you’d like to share? Send me an email!

This is my 4th real, physical, guidebook to Brooklyn. Yup, numero #4.

Back in the Pleistocene era, in 1991, my husband and I coauthored the first commercially published guidebook to Brooklyn in 50 years, since the end of World War II. We were newish parents and green arrivals to the borough, back when our Manhattan friends thought it was unsafe to travel here, when Smith Street, 5th Avenue in Park Slope, and Williamsburg were low-rent, dangerous and sometimes druggy, and when hookers trolled Gowanus. My how things have changed! We explored all the ethnic neighborhoods, thinking we’d desktop publish, but the project got too big, and the book was picked up by St. Martin’s Press, my publisher for BK guidebooks #’s 1, 2 and 3. And after reading the first guidebook, my editor moved from Queens to Brooklyn!

But, folks, I’m having a size problem:

  • The 1991 book was called Brooklyn, Where to Go, What to Do & How to Get There, and ran 292 pages. The introduction actually had to justify a guidebook to a place that mostly appeared in the media of the day only in reference to robberies, assaults, murders, and mobsters.
  • In 1998, I did a total overhaul and update, as the borough was beginning to take off. The result:  Brooklyn: A Soup to Nuts Guide. It was 100 pages longer than my first book.
  • In 2004, my third and fattest book ran over 500 pages, a real doorstop. Its super-size was due to all the new restaurants, stores and fun in Williamsburg, Greenpoint, and DUMBO. It was called Brooklyn: The Ultimate Guide to New York’s Most Happening Borough. A good title—Brooklyn was the most happening a decade ago, and still is!
  • 2016: My new publisher is Rutgers University Press, and they’re terrific. Stay tuned!

So, sorry, but I’ll be offline for a bit, eschewing blogging in favor of research and writing my new guidebook to BK. I can’t tell you how much fun it is to explore these neighborhoods once again, and see the amazing creative energy and development that’s going on in North, South, East, West, and Central Brooklyn. The neighborhood boundaries are expanding and contracting, buildings are going up and cool cultural events are goin’ down, it’s hopping.  I just hope I can scrunch all there is to tell tourists into a book that’s not the size of, um, an overstuffed De Fonte’s heroe sandwich.

Cheers all, and if you have something to share, please do send it my way!



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So, IS the 2016 Democratic Convention coming to Brooklyn???

Well, what do YOU think? Will the 2016 Democratic Convention come to Brooklyn…or not? Here’s a piece on Huffington Post I wrote about that very question….

Posted in Books & Movies

New Frontiers: Winners of Digital Book Awards 2015

In Brooklyn, everyone you meet is, or wants to be, a writer, it seems. (Either that or they play in a band…). And with so much of publishing moving away from the printed book and onto mobile reading devices, lots of writers are looking to publish online.

This week a conference of some 1,500 publishing types, writers, and publishing software experts convened in Manhattan to learn what’s going on industry wide, to worry over what disruptions Amazon might yet introduce, and to hear what’s new in the amazingly promising digital K-12 educational book market.

And, because it’s award season, there were also over a dozen awards presented.

So, if you want to know what’s going on in the digital frontiers of publishing, check these out. They include the MOMA’s first ever digital book, and eye-candy about Yosemite (especially for those of us stuck in the concrete jungle). As more and more titles move to digital format, there will be more opportunities for both readers and writers online.

The titles with an asterisk can be read on multiple devices, a nifty and desirable feature that we will see more of in the future.

Winners of Digital Book Awards 2015

  1. Adult fiction winners were Chinese Whispers*, by John Ashbery and The Truth Is a Cave in the Black Mountains by Neil Gaiman. Readable on an app: The Hope We Seek, by Rich Shapero, which the Village Voice called “a delirious fusion of fiction, music and art.”
  2. Adult nonfiction winners were, curiously, two thirds about women and fashion, and one third about how we live in a world of numbers:  Women in Clothes* by Sheila Heti, Heidi Julavits and Leanne Shapton, and Penny Chic: How to Be Stylish on a Real Girl’s Budget, by Shauna Miller. Readable on an app: Incredible Numbers, by Professor Ian Stewart.
  3. Children: From the You Choose: Scooby-Doo! series,  The Terror of the Bigfoot Beast*, by Laurie S. Sutton, and Virginia Wolf, by Kyo Maclear, created by Danielle Mulhall and Laura Brady. Readable on an app: Loose Strands, by Darned Sock Productions
  4. Reference: Lessons Learned on the Audit Trail*, by Richard F. Chambers, and Study It – English as a Second Language , and Picasso: The Making of Cubism 1912-1914,  the first digital publication by The Museum of Modern Art.
  5. Transmedia” category, which is tech-speak for using different platforms to tell your tale, the winner was We Are Angry, by Lyndee Prickitt,
  6. Education and Learning The Discovery Education Techbook Series, by Alycia Chanin.
  7. Ebook cover design was the gorgeous Yosemite: A Storied Landscape, by Kerry Tremain. Part of the book sales proceeds will be plowed back into the Yosemite Conservancy.

In its 6th year, the awards, presented at  the Digital Book Conference,   were sponsored by Blurb  and Kobo.  Congrats to the winners!

Cheapo’s tip: Some authors and publishers may offer first chapters for free as a teaser, which might be a good idea if you just want to check out this brave new frontier for free.

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