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Leonard Nimoy did not like what I wrote about his book.

“Damn you, Alle C. Hall. Damn you!”

In Novmber of 2002, I interviewed Leonard Nimoy for his book, Shekina.

How I Got That Story

Book Review Rule #1: Keep your ears open. Always.

I was working in a Jewish bookstore when a massive controversy 86’d Leonard Nimoy’s big speaking event. Such a scandal!

Rule #2: Know who’d want to publish that story.

I was on the phone to The Stranger like a hobo on a ham sandwich. Looking back, I should have tried The New York TImes first. The story went international, ultimately to be parodied on Saturday Night Live. I knew a freelancer at The Times who covered Jewish-y/city-y stuff. However, I had never written for The Times, and I had, regularly, for The Stranger. Bird in the hand vs. bigger publication? A question we will address at the upcoming workshop.

Rule #3: Know your subject.

I had years of experience with the concept of the Shekina. I knew its importance to the various slices of Jewish culture, and I knew what it meant to me.

Rule #4: Be prepared to be inspired.

I call this the “Who knew?” principle. Jews usually define Shekina as the female essence of God. During my research, however, I learned that Shekina translates literally from Hebrew as “Divine Presence.”  The Shekina of Jews was given its female essence by ancient Kabbalists (who pre-dated Madonna by centuries.)

None of the above factored into the published piece, or even into my pitch. So what? I loved learning it. It was fun talking to Leonard Nimoy, too, if you go for that sort of thing.

Rule #5: Hit your deadline and your word count.

You can ask Josie Davis over at PLOP! how I butchered Rule #5 in my recent piece on Madonna. Fortunately for me, she still wants me to review for her.

Rule #6: Write the review that the book deserves, even if it is a negative review; even if it’s about Leonard Nimoy.

Read my final piece, and see if you can tell which part Nimoy objected to. My criticisms were well-supported and the piece well-balanced. I didn’t intend to take pot-shots, but I wasn’t afraid to do my job: critique.

Rule #7: Publicize your publication.

My upcoming workshop at Richard Hugo House will cover this essential area in depth. I might slap up a post about it, if comments demonstrate the interest. HINT HINT.

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Calls, News, & Reviews

Alle’s newest class: Write a book review. Get it published.

Get Published: The Book Review

Saturday, Oct. 13, 1-5PM at Richard Hugo House.

There is no reason that your book review shouldn’t be published right now, by someone other than yourself.

Participants in this 1/2-day workshop will leave understanding how today’s publishing works for them, and with a plan for submitting at least one piece. More here.

Kudos:
“When Alle spoke to my nonfiction writing class at the University of Washington, she was at once inspiring, funny, and concrete.

She arrived highly prepared and provided a map of publications, what type of material they publish, and how a writers approaches them most effectively. She had designed her presentation to draw forth student participation and used specific examples drawn from students’ experiences and needs. Her presentation was extremely valuable.”     —Carolyn McConnell, formerly Senior Editor, YES! Magazine.

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About Publishing Calls, News, & Reviews How I Got That Story Read Alle's work

Best-selling author gives thumbs’-up to Alle’s “Madonna” review

Really fun to read!

So writes Laura Fraser, whose latest travel memoir, All Over the Map, is the sequel to her 2001 New York Times bestseller, An Italian Affair.

Thanks, Laura!

(I interviewed Laura for How I Got That Story.)

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About Publishing Calls, News, & Reviews

Contest: 100 Words or Fewer – your entry can benefit Richard Hugo House

100 Words or Fewer Writing Contest

Mention you heard about the contest from Richard Hugo House, and part of your entrance fee goes back to RHH programming.

Remember: unpublished material only.

If you win, that 100-word section of a longer piece will count as previously published. Other contests and many a lit. mag. will not accept the longer piece if you included the previously published section.

Think wisely about your submissions. Good luck!

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Calls, News, & Reviews X-tra Credit: Soapbox and Such

A fan responds to “Madonna & Me”

In response to my review, I received this e-mail:
Impressive. Read and thoroughly enjoyed every word. Followed the link to
Good Girls Don’t Get Stoned. Was moved beyond words. You are a gift.
Peace,
Kathleen
(a fan)
Well. Thank you, Kathleen. Well.  Moments such as these make red-letter days for writers.