Up and Coming – July / August 2016

Hello Everyone,

I welcome your input regarding these postings. If there a particular area you would like more information on or something you would like to see included, reduced or removed please contact me. If you or someone you know would like to be added to my regular e-mail list, simply send a request to AuthorChuckMiceli@gmail.com and I will be happy to make the addition.

For New, Aspiring or Established Authors

If you are available, consider joining me and over 100 other authors at the New England Author’s Expo in Danvers Ma. This year, Chris has organized a series of workshops during the setup and networking time specifically for authors and publishers. I will be joined by authors, Mandi Lynn and Stephanie Queen for an open discussion on, “The Business of Being an Author.” The doors are open to the public for free admission from 4 to 9 pm and will include a series of special presentations by guest celebrity authors. Information and registration is available on the website at: http://www.newenglandauthorsexpo.com/.

Amanda’s Room:

I was scheduled to meet with Richard LaPorta of Husky Trail Press to initiate the republishing the Amanda’s Room Reader’s Edition through Ingram under the Hitchcock Lake Publications imprint. Unfortunately Richard pulled his back and I became immersed with other projects so that meeting has had to be rescheduled. More to come.

I often get letters from people who have read Amanda’s Room but not all of those comments make it to Amazon.com or one of the other review sites. Just in case, I’ve decided to include some of them here, because frankly, they are one of the best parts about writing. Here is the latest one from Michelle R.

Hi Chuck,

I apologize for the delay in sending you this note.  I met you in the airport and purchased your book “Amanda’s Room” in late April.  I read the book in 3 days.  It was a true page turner and I could not put it down, often stealing 30 minutes here and there until I finished it. Please let me know if you have any additional books.  I would love to read them.

Thanks Michelle.

Thank you for the kind words Michelle. My next book, Injured Angels, is still in the works. I’ll post when it’s available.

Injured Angels

Speaking of Injured Angels, I was challenged by fellow author, Leesa Freeman, to post on Facebook the first lines of each of the three first chapters of my upcoming book. I’ve also included my response below:

(Spoiler alert: My upcoming book, Injured Angels, will be authored under the pen name, Charlotte Mitchell, since it is being told in the first person by my female protagonist.)

  1. “May I Have This Dance?” It seems unbelievable now but three lifetimes ago, it started just that way.
    2. Frank was an optimist. When he told Harvey that I was the future Mrs. Russo, he had no way of knowing how the past and the future would conspire against us to keep that from happening.
    3. That wasn’t all there was to it. I loved Frank and there was no way I was going to stop seeing him.

Upcoming Events:

Presentation and Book Sale / Signing, July 27, New England Author’s Expo (NEAE) : Danversport Yacht Club, 161 Elliott St, Danvers, MA 01923

July 27, 2016 marks the tenth year of the NEAE annual event and the fourth year I will be participating. Run by Chris Obert, author and owner of Pear Tree Publishing, the NEAE attracts authors, publishers, illustrators and other writing professionals from throughout Massachusetts, Connecticut and other New England states. The location of the event is a posh, amazing venue. It also provides a terrific opportunity for networking with the other participants and with radio and cable television hosts and celebrity authors. Information and registration is available on the website at: http://www.newenglandauthorsexpo.com/.

Book Discussion for Amanda’s Room at Paul Gregory’s Restaurant, 148 Center Street, Southington, CT. is scheduled there for September 14, 2:00 – 4:00 pm. This is a follow-up to the Book Sale and Signing that took place on June 15. Paul Gregory’s is now another regular outlet for sales of Amanda’s Room. If you have already read the book and would like to join in on the September 14 discussion, call Paula at the restaurant Monday through Friday till 3 pm and tell her you plan to attend. The number is 860-621-9999.

New E-mail format and AuthorChuckMiceli.com Website:

My major activity lately has been working with my son, Jason, on revising and updating my website, my e-mail formatting and the rest of my social media. Several of the sites have new, more consistent names, new / updated information and added functionality. We still have a long way to go but the new ones should be more dynamic with better graphics and the new website should be a delight to visit. Expect more interesting and useful information in the near future. More to come.

Well, that does it for now. I hope this finds you and yours happy and well. Until the next time,

Warmest Regards,

Chuck

 

Up and Coming – June / July 2016

Hello Everyone,

I welcome your input regarding these postings. If there a particular area you would like more information on or something you would like to see included, reduced or removed please contact me. If you or someone you know would like to be added to my regular e-mail list, simply send a request to AuthorChuckMiceli@gmail.com and I will be happy to make the addition. If the e-mails are not of interest or value, simply reply with Please Remove in the subject or first line and I will remove you from the mailing list.

For New, Aspiring or Established Authors

Check at the bottom of each month’s alert for information on organizations and publications of interest to writing professionals.

Now what’s Up and Coming.

TONIGHT ! May 26, 7 pm – Book Discussion of Amanda’s Room at Davinci Coffee House – 1627 Meriden Rd, Wolcott, CT 06716 – (203) 528-3711

Have you read Amanda’s Room? Were there parts you found confusing, surprising, infuriating? Did you follow how the weather quotes connected to the chapters? Have you wondered how much of the book is based on reality vs. fiction? Did you wish you could discuss the book with the author and other readers? If yes, you have an opportunity to do all that and more tonight when I will meet with readers and patrons at Davinci Coffee House at 7 pm. Special thanks to the owner/proprietor, Lucy, who is keeping the place open past its normal closing time in order to host this event. You can sip her marvelous coffees (and what else?), taste some of her delectable desserts and discuss and debate the meaning of the “story behind the story” with me and other readers.

Amanda’s Room:

I spoke with Richard LaPorta of Husky Trail Press this week. We are planning to meet next week to initiate republishing the Amanda’s Room Reader’s Edition through Ingram under the Hitchcock Lake Publications imprint. More to come.

AuthorChuckMiceli.com Website:

I’ve been working on revising and updating my website with new / updated information and added functionality. While I still have a long way to go, I’m pleased with the progress. Feel free to check it our, but expect more and more useful information in the near future. More to come.

Upcoming Events:

Radio Interview: May 28, 9:30 – 9:45 pm, The Reggi Voyage, WESU

Donovan Longmore will be interviewing me in conjunction with my participation in the Bloomfield Author’s Fair on June 4. Just connect to the link – www.wesu.org – to hear the live interview. See below for more information on the fair.

Book Sale and Signing:  June 4, 10:00 am – 4 pm – Bloomfield Author’s Fair – Downtown Bloomfield CT.

I will be joining a number of Connecticut authors as part of the Celebrate Bloomfield Festival. The week-long festival will run from June 1-5. June 4 is set aside to focus on authors and the arts. A special guest during Author’s Day will be singer/actress Anika Noni Rose.

Anika, a former Bloomfield High School student, has appeared extensively on stage and screen, including the ABC Television series Private Practice, the film Dreamgirls and as Tiana in Disney’s, The Princess and the Frog. She is currently playing the role of Kizzy in the TV Mini-series Roots (Starting May 30th). For more information on the entire event and all of the festivities, go to: http://www.celebratebloomfield.org/

Book Sale and Signing:  June 11, 9:30 am – 4 pm – Litchfield Gallery on the Green – Downtown Litchfield CT.

I and other Connecticut authors will be joining over 70 juried artisans and crafters. Browse around the green through artwork, photography, jewelry, woodworking, pottery, furniture, clothing, glasswork, quilting, leather goods and more. The picturesque town of Litchfield is an art-lovers paradise, making it the second most visited town in the state of Connecticut. This year, the Gallery on the Green will be held on the same weekend as the world-famous Litchfield Hills Road Race, which attracts many of the best runners in the world. More information at: https://www.facebook.com/galleryonthegreenct

Book Sale and Signing – June 15, 4:00 – 6:00 pm. Follow-up Book Discussion – September 14, 2:00 – 4:00 pm. Paul Gregory’s Restaurant, 148 Center Street, Southington, CT

Paul Gregory’s is now another regular outlet for sales of Amanda’s Room. On June 15 from 4-6 pm I will be on hand to autograph and personalize copies of Amanda’s Room. Then, once people have had a chance to read it, on September 14 from 2-4 pm, I will return again to conduct a book discussion on the “story behind the story.” If you have already read the book but would like to join in on the September 14 discussion, call Paula at the restaurant Monday through Friday till 3 pm and tell her you plan to attend. The number is 860-621-9999.

Presentation and Book Sale / Signing, July 27, New England Author’s Expo (NEAE) : Danversport Yacht Club, 161 Elliott St, Danvers, MA 01923

July 27, 2016 marks the tenth year of the NEAE annual event and the forth year I will be participating. Run by Chris Obert, author and owner of Pear Tree Publishing, the NEAE attracts authors, publishers, illustrators and other writing professionals from throughout Massachusetts, Connecticut and other New England states. The location of the event is a posh, amazing venue. It also provides a terrific opportunity for networking with the other participants and with radio and cable television hosts and celebrity authors. This year, Chris has organized a series of workshops during the setup and networking time specifically for authors and publishers. I will join authors, Mandi Lynn and Stephanie Queen for an open discussion on, “The Business of Being an Author.” The doors are open to the public for free admission from 4 to 9 pm and will include a series of special presentations by guest celebrity authors. Information and registration is available on the website at: http://www.newenglandauthorsexpo.com/.

Resources for New, Aspiring and Established Authors:

Last month I discussed several organizations that support new and established authors, including the Connecticut Author’s and Publishers Association (CAPA): aboutcapa.comThe Association of Publishers for Special Sales (APSS), http://community.bookapss.org/and the New England Author’s Expo (NEAE): http://www.newenglandauthorsexpo.com/

For on line services I discussed Authors Publish Magazine: http://www.authorspublish.com/

Because I am trying to get this out before tonight’s book discussion at Divinci Coffee House in Wolcott, I will hold off until next month to discuss other author / publisher resources.

Well, that does it for now. I hope this finds you and yours happy and well. Until the next time,

Warmest Regards,

Chuck

Up and Coming – May / June 2016

Are You a New, Aspiring or Established Author?

Check at the bottom of this month’s alert for information on organizations and publications of interest to writing professionals.

Now on to what’s Up and Coming. As will be self-evident from the following, I am entering into one of the busiest times of my year.

Injured Angels:

Thanks to fans who keep asking how it’s coming and to a writer’s group that holds my feet to the fire for ongoing productivity, I am working more steadily on the new book each week. There is still much rewriting to go but it’s moving forward. More to come.

Amanda’s Room:

The movie: I will be meeting with the screenwriter, Carl Guerra, on the morning of May 11 to plan out our next steps. We welcome inquiries from interested producers. More to come.

The book: A description of Amanda’s Room and publication information appears in the April 26, 2016 issue of Publisher’s Weekly.

I will be meeting with Richard LaPorta of Husky Trail Press on the afternoon of May 11 to initiate republishing the Amanda’s Room Reader’s Edition through Ingram.

Upcoming Events:

Book Sale and Signing: May 6, 10 am – 5pm – Paradies Lagardere Travel Retail Shops – Bradley International Airport – Windsor Locks, CT. If you are flying in or out of Bradley International Airport on the Friday before Mother’s Day look for me on the concourse and stop by to say hello. I will be there on May 6 selling and signing my books and I am thrilled that Paradies Lagardere Travel Retail will be carrying Amanda’s Room for sale after the event.

Book Sale and Signing:  May 14 and 15, 10 am – 6 pm – Made in Connecticut Expo – Farmington Polo Grounds – 152 Town Farms Road – Farmington, CT.  This is one of my favorite annual events. Over 300 companies and businesses all featuring items made in Connecticut. There is no better event to sample all that Connecticut has to offer. The fair is expected to draw between 35,000 and 40,000 people but the grounds are so expansive that it doesn’t feel crowded. Saunter past the tents, sample food, beverages and goodies (you can smell the chocolate and pastries aisles away), shop for arts, crafts and Connecticut made products and visit our book booth to examine books in a wide variety of genres from nine Connecticut authors.

Book Discussion: May 15, 7:00 – 8:00 pm, Southington Mini Diner, 1765 Meriden-Waterbury Turnpike, Southington, CT  This is something brand new I am trying. Two new restaurants are now carrying autographed copies of Amanda’s Room for sale. Since people generally go there, not to purchase books but to enjoy a meal and conversation, I am hosting discussions with those who have read the book and are interested in the “story behind the story.” The Southington Mini Diner is one of our favorite places to eat at any time of the day. If you have already read the book but would like to join in on the discussion, call the Mini Diner and tell them you plan to attend. The number is 860-276-8237. Ask for Theresa or her son if they are around as they have been helping plan this.

Book Sale and Signing:  May 21, 10 am – 4 pm – Warren County Sci-Fi Fantasy Day – East Washington Avenue – Downtown Washington NJ.  Are you a sci-fi geek? This promises to be tons of fun. More than just the event itself, Washington NJ appears to be a very hospitable place to visit. Check out their Facebook page for a whole series of videos from local restaurant and shop owners welcoming you to their town for last year’s inaugural event. I am thrilled to be selling and signing copies of Amanda’s Room at the same venue as my son Jason’s game development company, Geek Fever Games  (http://www.geekfevergames.com/)  More information on the Warren County Sci-Fi Fantasy Day at: https://www.facebook.com/WCSFD/timeline

Book Discussion: May 26, 7:00 – 8:00 pm, Davinci Coffee Shop, 1627 Meriden Road – Wolcott CT   This is a second restaurant that has just started carrying Amanda’s Room. Davinci normally serves breakfast and lunch only and specializes in gourmet Italian coffee, tea and a variety of sandwiches and pastries. It is a comfortable, intimate atmosphere. Once again, I will be hosting a discussion of the book for any who have read it and would like to participate. If you have already read Amanda’s Room and would like to attend this discussion session, call the proprietor, Lucy Minnocci, (She is there each day until early afternoon) to let her know you’ll be coming (she wants to have enough pastry on hand). The phone number is 203-528-3711.

Book Sale and Signing:  June 11, 9:30 am – 4 pm – Litchfield Gallery on the Green – Downtown Litchfield CT.  I and a number of other Connecticut authors will be selling and signing our books in addition to over 70 juried artisans and crafters who will showcase and sell their artwork, photography, jewelry, woodworking, pottery, furniture, clothing, glasswork, quilting, leather goods and more. The picturesque town of Litchfield is an art-lovers paradise, making it the second most visited town in the state of Connecticut. This year, the Gallery on the Green will be held on the same weekend as the world-famous Litchfield Hills Road Race, which attracts many of the best runners in the world. More information at: https://www.facebook.com/galleryonthegreenct

Book Sale / Signing and Followup Book Discussion: Book Sale and Signing – June 15, 4:00 – 6:00 pm. Followup Book Discussion September 14, 2:00 – 4:00 pm. Paul Gregory’s Restaurant, 148 Center Street, Southington, CT  This is another new initiative. Since Paul Gregory’s will not be a regular outlet for sales of Amanda’s Room, two separate events have been scheduled at the restaurant. On June 15 from 4-6 pm I will be on hand to sell and autograph copies of Amanda’s Room. Then, once people have had a chance to read it, on September 14 from 2-4 pm, I will return again to conduct a book discussion on the story behind the story. If you have already read the book but would like to join in on the September 14 discussion, call Paula at the restaurant Monday through Friday till 3 pm and tell her you plan to attend. The number is 860-621-9999.

Resources for New, Aspiring and Established Authors:

Connecticut Author’s and Publishers Association (CAPA):  This is a great organization for those thinking about writing a book or those who have written and need advice, encouragement and/or support for polishing, publishing, marketing and distributing their work. CAPA offers very reasonable membership rates, monthly meetings in several sites throughout Connecticut, a monthly newsletter with useful information, frequent webinars, an annual writer’s conference, great opportunities for book sales and signings including a dedicated booth in the Connecticut Building at the Big-E  and a wealth of information, advice and support from other members. Information is available on their website at: aboutcapa.com

Association of Publishers for Special Sales (APSS):  Are you already an established author but need a channel to get your books out into the world? Then APSS could be the organization for you. APSS is headed by Brian Jud, a world famous authority on book marketing, the author of How To Make Real Money Selling Books and one of the co-founders of CAPA (See above). APSS is a rapidly growing organizations that has chapters across the country and now in other countries. They specialize in helping self-published authors or those published by small or independent publishers to get their work out into the world by focusing on outlets that go beyond the traditional bookstores. They have reasonable membership rates, offer very frequent webinars on a variety of marketing methods, in-person meetings, a newsletter with very useful information and a ton of low-cost marketing opportunities (probably more than most authors have the time to use.) They are excellent at partnering with other organizations and using their membership numbers to leverage for discounts on many marketing opportunities for their members. Information is available on their website at: http://community.bookapss.org/

New England Author’s Expo (NEAE):  July 27, 2016 marks the tenth year of the NEAE annual event and the forth year I will be participating. Run by Chris Obert, author and owner of Pear Tree Publishing, the NEAE attracts authors, publishers, illustrators and other writing professionals from throughout Massachusetts, Connecticut and other New England states. The Danversport Yacht Club, where the event is held, is a posh, amazing venue. It also provides a terrific opportunity for networking with the other participants and with radio and cable television hosts and celebrity authors. It is also more than simply the annual event since it links to a series of marketing opportunities offered by Chris throughout the year. This year, in addition to the book sales, Chris is organizing a series of workshops during the setup and networking time. Interested authors can sign up to present to other authors or to the public. Information and registration is available on the website at: http://www.newenglandauthorsexpo.com/

Authors Publish Magazine:  I will devote more space to other websites in the future, but for authors who want to get their work published for others to read, I don’t know of any other better information source for current, on-going leads. Every on-line issue lists publications and organizations that are currently accepting submissions for poetry, short stories, or full manuscripts. Descriptions provide details on the kind of publication, submission criteria and financial information. More at:  http://www.authorspublish.com/

Other Projects:

For some time now I have been working with a number of new authors on their projects. I don’t consider myself a writing expert, but you can’t remain in this business for any amount of time without learning something of value, so I do believe I have some knowledge that can help new writers to save time and needless frustration. There are also people who, I believe, are worth the time because they have something special to share with the world and perhaps I can help them to share it, like the painter whose life-long ambition is to see his work in a book, or the friend whose own dedication to his yet-to-be-finished first novel inspired me to write mine, or the non-fiction writer who, with his wife, is creating a first work of fiction, or the young girl who is embarking on her first book. As these projects come to fruition, I will report on them. More to come.

Well, that does it for now. I hope this finds you and yours happy and well. Until the next time,

Warmest Regards,

Chuck

Correction

The first April / May 2016 “Up and Coming” post contained information from my monthly email update. If you click on the WordPress link, it should bring you to the correct, revised copy. Sorry for any confusion.

Warmest Regards,

Chuck Miceli

Up and Coming – April / May 2016

Hello Everyone,

 

Please note that because of the lateness of this notice, I will be including events from April and May and will provide an update in May with additional details on some of these items.

Injured Angels:

With all of the activity around Amanda’s Room of late, Injured Angels has had to take a back seat. I did, however, do a significant amount of work during my vacation with some surprising results. Here’s a little inside scoop. When it is published, you will probably not find it under Chuck Miceli, but rather under the pen name Charlotte Mitchell. That is because, during my recent rewrite, I came to the conclusion that in order to fully explore my protagonist’s emotions and behaviors, I wanted and maybe needed to be in her mind and skin, so the entire story is being told as a first person account by my main character, Maureen Russo and I am thrilled with the difference it makes. More on this to come.

 

Amanda’s Room:

The movie: The screenplay is written. I was hoping to pitch it to some studios while I vacationed in California but that didn’t happen. As with Injured Angels, that project has had to take a spot on the back burner while I attended to more pressing issues. I am actively seeking a producer interested in discussing the project. Please note: This is not a low budget movie. To be successful, the film would need to rely heavily on computer generated graphics. Interested persons please message me via Linkedin: cmiceli or Facebook: authorchuckmiceli

The book: By mutual agreement, California Times Publishing (CTP) and I have terminated our contract. It took a while to complete the transition, but the CTP editions of Amanda’s Room have been unpublished and the Hitchcock Lake Publication editions are once again on Amazon and BarnesandNobel.com. I hope to meet with Husky Trail Press in the near future to republish Amanda’s Room Reader’s Edition.

Hard-cover Edition: I am in discussions now with printers for a special hard cover collector’s edition of Amanda’s Room. When printed, I suspect unsigned copies of this edition would retail between $25 and $30 plus shipping. If any of you on my mailing list are interested in pre-ordering an autographed collector’s copy, please let me know. I plan to have the cost lower than normal retail and hopefully can make signed copies available to you for around $20.

 

Upcoming Events:

Book Club Kit Raffle: April 27, 5:30 – 8 pm -The Waterbury Exchange Wine and Beer Tasting – La Bella Vista, 380 Farmwood Road, Waterbury, CT.

This is a great event with multiple local vendors providing free tastings of their wines and beers, loads of food tasting stations and a silent auction, all in a wonderful elegant atmosphere. Advanced tickets are $35 per person and can be obtained from Cathy Chaikowski at 203-598-2438. For the second year, the exchange will be auctioning off one of my book club kits for Amanda’s Room. Each kit contains five copies of the book, story and author information sheets and instructions for organizing the book club meeting, all contained in an attractively wrapped basket. Once everyone has read the book, the organizer contacts me and I meet personally with the group members to discuss the “story behind the story.” There are also instructions on obtaining extra copies for additional people who wish to join the group. It makes for a great, fun-filled evening. If that sounds appealing for one of your groups, I can supply complete kits for $40, which is less than the cost of three books alone.

 

Book Sale and Signing: April 30, 10:00 am – 4:00 pm – The Connecticut Festival of Indie Games –  Elm City Games / The Grove – 756 Chapel Street, New Haven CT.

This is a fun-filled day for the whole family. For only $10 per individual or $15 for the family, you can spend the entire day playing board games developed by one of more than 30 local indie game developers. You can try playing as many as you like and if you find one you love, you can purchase it directly from the developers. Who knows, you might just discover the next Monopoly or Magic. I’ll be on hand all day selling and signing copies of Amanda’s Room. For more information and to register, go to their website: http://www.ct-fig.com/

 

Book Sale and Signing: May 6, Exact hours TBA – Paradies Lagardere Travel Retail Shops – Bradley International Airport – Windsor Locks, CT.

Traveling for business or pleasure on the Friday before Mother’s Day? If you’re flying in or out of Bradley International Airport, look for me on the concourse and stop by to say hello. The final arrangements are still being worked out but I will be there on May 6 selling and signing my books and I am thrilled that Paradies Lagardere Travel Retail will be carrying Amanda’s Room for sale after the event. I will provide the specific times for the book signing and the exact store location(s) in my May update.

 

Book Sale and Signing:  May 14 and 15, 10 am – 6 pm – Made in Connecticut Expo – Farmington Polo Grounds – 152 Town Farms Road – Farmington, CT.

This is one of my favorite annual events. Over 300 companies and businesses all featuring items made in Connecticut. There is no better event to sample all that Connecticut has to offer. The fair is expected to draw between 35,000 and 40,000 people but the grounds are so expansive that it doesn’t feel crowded. Saunter past the tents, sample food, beverages and goodies (you can smell the chocolate and pastries aisles away), shop for arts, crafts and Connecticut made products and visit our book booth to examine books in a wide variety of genres from nine Connecticut authors.

 

Book Discussion: May 15, 7:00 – 8:00 pm, Southington Mini Diner, 1765 Meriden-Waterbury Turnpike, Southington, CT

This is something brand new I am trying. Two new restaurants are now carrying autographed copies of Amanda’s Room for sale. Since people generally go there, not to purchase books but to enjoy a meal and conversation, I am hosting discussions with those who have read the book and are interested in the “story behind the story.” The Southington Mini Diner is one of our favorite places to eat at any time of the day. If you have already read the book but would like to join in on the discussion, call the Mini Diner and tell them you plan to attend. The number is 860-276-8237. Ask for Theresa or her son if they are around as they have been helping plan this.

 

Book Discussion: May 26, 7:00 – 8:00 pm, Davinci Coffee Shop, 1627 Meriden Road – Wolcott CT 

This is the other restaurant that has just started carrying Amanda’s Room. Davinci normally serves breakfast and lunch only and specializes in gourmet Italian coffee, tea and a variety of sandwiches and pastries. It is a very comfortable, intimate atmosphere. Once again, I will be hosting a discussion of the book for any who have read it and would like to participate. If you have already read Amanda’s Room and would like to attend this discussion session, call the proprietor, Lucy Minnocci, up until early afternoon to let her know you’ll be coming. The phone number is 203-528-3711.

I hope this finds you and yours happy and well. Until the next time,

Warmest Regards,

Chuck

Why the Ideal 2016 President / Vice President Team Might Just be Trump/Sanders or Sanders/Trump

The 2016 Presidential race continues to be one of the most intriguing ever and only gets more compelling over time. The two primary reasons for this are readily apparent: Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders and the reasons for their enormous appeal are strikingly similar. Both men are outsiders who political pundits wrote off at the beginning of the race as non-starters. Now, both are seriously being talked about as the potential front-runners in their respective parties. Each of them has drawn enormous support: in Trump’s case, through the tens of thousands of people who have rushed to his rallies, through his unprecedented name recognition among voters and through the non-stop media coverage he has attracted since the start. The 74-year-old Sanders, in a head-to-head race with a candidate who could become the historic first women president, has garnered the financial backing of over two million people across America and has attracted the lion’s share of support from a wide spectrum of Democrat voters including the young and even women voters. Each man has also turned his back on those individuals and organizations, including Super PACs, who could provide substantial financial support in exchange for influence in the political process.

At the same time, these two individuals are about as far apart on the political spectrum as candidates could get. Bernie Sanders represents the extreme progressive and liberal wing of the Democratic party, where even many in his own camp cringe when he unflinchingly describes his program of Democratic Socialism. At the extreme other end, although not without his share of skeptics, Trump allegedly represents the Republican’s conservative wing, including the ultra-conservative elements of the Tea Party and evangelical voters. While in the past, these outlier fringes of each party attracted little serious attention and few voters, Trump and Sanders have brought their respective political ideologies to center stage. It is not yet clear if voters buy into the extreme tenets the candidates represent, but it is clear that many voters certainly like them.

What is it about candidates Trump and Sanders that voters find so appealing? For one thing, each of them jettisoned “Political Correctness” early on in their campaigns in exchange for, clear, candid and in Trump’s case, sometimes crass language. While political pundits proclaimed an early political death due to the candidates’ unprecedented straight talk, poll after poll showed that with each new gaffe, their popularity grew. Other candidates who later tried to emulate their lead came across as being politically expedient rather than sincere. Now, with significant momentum behind each of them, it seems plausible, if not likely, that they could face a head-to-head contest come November. While the drama of this clash of titans is enormously appealing, the stakes for the electorate are frighteningly high. While most mainstream “establishment” candidates might be influenced by big money contributions from individuals and organizations, history has demonstrated that much of the influence exerted has been to maintain the status-quo. Change under these conditions tends to be slow, incremental, and for the most part, centrist, but this is not the kind of change either candidate Sanders or Trump promises.

Each of these men is committed to radical change toward opposite political extremes. Trump has no problem calling for a complete, if only temporary, ban on immigration from all Muslim countries and building a barrier between Mexico and the U.S. on the scale of the Great Wall of China. For his part, Sanders talks in terms of a political revolution that includes universal health care, a $15 minimum wage and free college education for all.

If Sanders and Trump face off against each other in November, the outcome of that election, as perhaps in no other time since the civil war, would divide the U.S. into a nation of winners and losers. And the greatest numbers of those losers are likely to be the mainstream political moderates. BUT WHAT IF…

What if the contest between these two political juggernauts ends in a dead heat and each candidate received the exact same number of electoral votes? In that scenario, with neither candidate receiving an absolute majority, the House of Representatives would decide the vote for president, with each state delegation receiving one vote, and the election of vice president would go to the Senate. If one party controls the House and the other controls the Senate, we could end up with a president from one party and a vice president from the other for the next four years.

Could Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders actually work together? Given their placement on the political spectrum that may seem impossible but when you consider their history, it may not be as unlikely as it first appears. In the past, Donald Trump has supported Democratic causes and candidates when it suited his personal and professional interests and Bernie Sanders points out proudly how he has worked with members of the opposite party on issues of common interest, like support for veterans. So what would a Trump/Sanders or a Sanders/Trump White House actually look like? A look into the personalities of each candidate might provide some clues.

Donald Trump is, above all else, a dealmaker. Everything about him from his business dealings, to his television programs, to his books, has been about “The Art of the Deal.” While he has done a masterful job navigating, if not, manipulating the obstacles on his path to the Whitehouse, even he has acknowledged that once there, deals will have to be made to get things done. At the same time, he has made it clear that for him, a successful deal means that he has made the best of the bargain and if his campaign speeches are to be believed, he defines that as the best bargain for the American people.

Bernie Sanders has demonstrated deep conviction, but he has also shown himself to be a man of compassion. Few candidates have been handed the ammunition he has to embarrass, if not demoralize his opponent. From Clinton’s vote to enter the IRAQ war, to her handling of the Benghazi attacks and her maintenance of a private e-mail server housing classified and top secret U.S. documents (and the resulting investigations), Clinton has been ripe for attack. Sanders has mildly attacked the bad judgment issue of the IRAQ war vote but he has steadfastly avoided taking political advantage of the other issues. Throughout the campaign and televised debates, he has shown great restraint and enormous respect for the former Secretary of State. He talks about a revolution through mobilizing millions of the electorate, but even if he does manage to galvanize voters around the first few issues, sustaining that level of involvement over a four-year term will become increasingly difficult and may eventually prove impossible. When that occurs, negotiation and compromise will be essential if he hopes to see significant parts of agenda succeed.

Trump has issued substantial volleys against his Republican rivals and Hillary Clinton but has had much less to say about Sanders. While it has been easy for Sanders to criticize Trump from a distance, he seems reticent to attack people he respects, regardless of their political persuasion. Would he be as critical of Donald Trump after getting to know the man vs. the candidate? To their advantage, neither man is tied to special interests that bankrolled their campaigns. Likewise, neither has demonstrated reluctance toward differing with their own party on issues about which they care deeply. Is it possible that thrust together, their mutual respect could overshadow the ideology of their parties and allow them to seek common ground in order to accomplish worthwhile goals? If that happened, it is highly unlikely that they could agree on any agenda that pushed them toward one extreme or the other. Compromise would have to occur. But in the privacy of the oval office, free from the spotlight of the media and the constant public pressure, what might the outcome of their negotiations look like? Perhaps…

On immigration: Might the president / vice president shelve arguments about deportation vs. immediate path to citizenship and wait until other areas of agreement are acted upon and settled? Might they concentrate on humane means for securing the borders, for thoroughly vetting all people who enter the country regardless of religion or national origin and for handing illegal immigrants who ignore the law?

On Healthcare: Might Trump agree to stall scrapping Obamacare until an alternative solution that both parties can accept is developed? Might Sanders accept an affordable system that includes reasonable premiums and deductibles so that as Governor John Kasich says, “They have some skin in the game” and individuals don’t take advantage of the system.

On College Tuition: Might they find a solution that provides affordable higher education for everyone who wants and is willing to work for it and that is tied into meaningful metrics like academic performance, attendance and participation, so that the new system does not diminish the value of higher education in the process?

On abortion: Instead of digging in on extreme positions of pro-choice vs. pro-life, might they move toward more common ground. Might they appreciate that while no women should have a pregnancy thrust upon her as in rape, or incest, nor seriously threaten her physical or mental health, at the same time, no human should be deprived of the right to life at the very moment of birth? Might they shift the conversation away from arguments about life beginning at conception or not until after birth, and toward a discussion about viability instead? Might they focus on the ability of the fetus to live outside of the mother’s womb and move away from the argument of the right of the woman vs. the fetus and toward a discussion about balancing the rights of the mother and the fetus?

On foreign intervention: Might such a team forge a U.S. foreign policy that maintains our role as champions of human rights in the world yet avoids future engagement in wars in which we need not and should not be involved? Might they find a way to extricate us from the Middle East yet avoid further destabilizing the region? Might they carry a big stick while holding out an olive branch?

On military and domestic spending: Might such a team strike a reasonable balance between spending on defense and on social programs? Might they find ways to salvage critical programs like social security? Would they be free to identify and eliminate waste, fraud and mismanagement?

These and other areas are fertile ground for intelligent, creative minds to plow. The prospect of two people so opposed in political ideology actually accomplishing them together seems remote at best. But there is one area that these two candidates strongly agree on and may be able to do something about, together or individually.

Both of these men have rejected funding by the powerful lobbies, individuals and Super PACs. Both have severally criticized the threat big money plays in the political process and in the accomplishment of  meaningful change. This may be the first time in recent U.S. history when meaningful campaign finance reform is achievable, regardless of who wins. As the new president takes office, the victor in this race may find that his greatest ally in this endeavor to be the looser.

We can always hope.

I wrote this piece to stimulate thinking and dialogue about the upcoming election. If you find it interesting, feel free to share it on your social media and re-post in your blogs. If you do, please reference me as the author. Good Reading.

Chuck Miceli

February, 2016

Up and Coming – February 2016

Welcome to my monthly update and thank you for your interest in my writing activities. Here are the February 2016 highlights:

Welcome New Readers – I’m thrilled to have you join us. I do hope you find these monthly e-mail updates interesting and useful.

A Time for Reflection

As I shared in my last couple e-mails, between some personal health issues, the holidays, publishing issues with Amanda’s Room, and a death in the family, my author activities have slowed considerably in the past couple months. While I appreciated the many notes of support I received, this has also been a very positive time for reflection and assessment. Out of that process, I will not be doing much marketing, publicity or public appearance activities for Amanda’s Room right now, but I have finally resumed the re-writing of my upcoming novel, Injured Angels.

Amanda’s Room

After several months of trying to coordinate my needs as an author with California Times Publishing’s (CTP) business model for providing services, it became apparent that we could not achieve our differing goals at this time and so, by mutual agreement, we have decided to terminate our contract. Over the next several weeks, CTP will unpublish their editions of Amanda’s Room and I will replace them with the previous, Hitchcock Lake editions. This process is necessarily a slow one in order not to lose the ratings and reviews the book has accumulated over time, but hopefully, it will all be sorted out by the beginning of March. I have also been in discussions about a complete revision of the audio book version. More on this to come.

Writing Again!

Injured Angels has undergone many transformations since I began it and has languished for a long time as I tried to figure out what type of story it really should be and how I should tell it. I realize now that I have known the direction I should take for some time, but I was too intimidated to continue. Let me explain.

Injured Angels traces three distinct phases in the life of Maureen Russo. The first phase chronicles her high-school romance, marriage, trials, and ultimately fulfilling life with her husband Frank. Phase 2 occurs when Maureen loses Frank after more than 50 years and in the process, loses her own reason for living. It is only through her odd friendship with the abrasive and socially inept Doris Cantrell, that Maureen is able to piece back together the fragments of her own life. In phase 3, when Sal Verona enters Maureen’s life, she must choose between a deep, fulfilling friendship and a second chance at love.

While I have had the story line in place for some time and have written most of the relevant parts, something essential has been missing. As I said earlier, I have actually known what for some time but have been too intimidated to act on it. That element is the voice.

The author’s “voice” is one of the most difficult parts of a book to accomplish or even to explain. It is apart from the story, plot, settings or characters, yet it can make the difference between a blockbuster or a bust. Essentially, the voice is the manner in which the author tells the story. It is the choice of words and vocabulary and the pace, dialect and rhythm with which they are delivered.

I realized that, in Injured Angels, the voice was flat because I was trying to tell this women’s story from the sidelines, as an observer, when what I really needed to do was to get into her skin and tell her story from the inside out: in other words, to become her.

Fortunately, I just began a wonderful inter-generational writing program at UCONN, which has helped me to clarify what I need to do and motivated me to get back to work. The UCONN Waterbury Creativity Workshop, led by acclaimed writer, Professor Thomas Dulack and his daughter, actress, teacher and filmmaker, Ilvi Dulack, is an intensive workshop concentrated on writing, sharing, giving and receiving feedback and furthering the works of the participants. During our first session, I realized that I have known for some time that to tell Maureen’s story effectively, I had to become Maureen, but I have been procrastinating because of the daunting challenge of being a male author telling a women’s story in the first person.

Following the workshop session, I came home and rewrote the first chapter in Maureen’s own voice and I am excited at the outcome. I have now gone on to insert a new second chapter, one which I have wanted to include, but could not envision how to until now.

I don’t know how the marketplace or my readers will react to this strategy, and I might wind up publishing Injured Angels under a female or asexual pseudonym, if necessary, to avoid the inherent conflict, but those are decisions best left for the future. For now, I will just enjoy the process of writing and discovering who Maureen Russo really is.

Miner’s Lament (poem)

I had planned on finding a publication for publishing Miner’s Lament, but once again, that would take time away from my writing, and right now, that is more important to me than adding to my writing resume, so here, for your enjoyment, is my award-winning poem, Miner’s Lament.

A few hints before you read should add to your understanding and appreciation of the poem.

  1. My father was a coal miner in Pennsylvania.
  2. He was pulled out of school in the 4th grade to work in the mines because the family needed the money.
  3. A “cage” in an elevator car used to hoist men and supplies in and out of the mines.
  4. Coalmines can run deep underground, in many cases 600 feet down or more.
  5. Mules were used to pull mine cars filled with coal and were kept in the mines all their lives. Because of the constant darkness, they eventually became blind.
  6. Miners would often share their lunch with the rats, because if miners saw rats running, it usually meant danger and the miners would quickly follow the rats.
  7. Miners often kept canaries with them because the birds were more sensitive to poison gases. If the bird died, it was time for the miner to leave.
  8. One of the jobs for children in the mines was to open and close huge doors for the mules that were pulling the mine cars. The doors regulated the flow of air in the mines. Without them, the miners could suffocate.
  9. The breakers were huge crushers mounted in tall towers that broke coal into different sizes for the various markets. Coal mixed with stone would empty into chutes on their way into the breaker. Trucks would pull under the towers to transport the coal away. “Breaker Boys” were children that sorted out the stones from the coal. The constant crushing of the breaker would produce clouds of black dust all day. If a boy lost his footing and fell into the breaker, he would be crushed to death.
  10. Early coal cars were not equipped with breaks. A sprag is a wooden wedge that a boy would sandwich between the wheel and wheel housing of the coal car to stop the car.
  11. Black damp and white damp are names for explosive or poisonous gases found underground.
  12. When a loose piece of rock fell from the roof of a mine, it often had the shape of a bell, which could range in size from a basketball to a car.
  13. Timbers in a deep mine were not there to keep the mine from collapsing. The weight would be too much for them. But prior to a cave in, the rock would often shift. When it did, the “singing” of the cracking timbers would warn miners to clear out quickly.
  14. My father died of the “black lung” diseases: an emphysema-like condition from years of breathing in coal dust.

 

Miner’s Lament

 

Pink: the color of sky,

blossom,

organ.

 

Pink, the day education ended

and heaven faded to black

in a cage dropping six hundred feet.

 

Pink, invisible in the darkness

save the lamps lighting the way

of blind mules, fat rats and sacrificial birds.

 

Dark pink after a year,

waiting in the blackness for each mule,

opening , closing, salvaging precious air.

 

Light grey after three years,

straddling chutes in the breaker’s deafening roar,

sifting stones in the black clouds.

 

Grey after seven years,

racing alongside two-tons of runaway coal car

with only sprags to stop them.

 

Dark gray after twenty years,

surviving black damp, white damp,

falling bells and singing timbers.

 

Black after thirty years,

wheezing up blood

 

and never smoked a damn day in my life.

 

 

Chuck Miceli   5/1/2015

 

 

Thanks and Good Reading

Chuck Miceli