Greetings From Publishing Central
happy to offer you another issue of the Warren Adler E-Sheet,
which keeps you up to date on what is happening in the author's
We hope you enjoy it.
A few years back, a friend of mine -
the late legendary Ted Ashley, a giant in the entertainment industry
- asked if I would be interested in writing an essay for a book of
recollections about how the year 1936 impacted our lives. Though a
child, my long term memory managed to dredge up some rather potent
material about that year, and I consented to write it. The
recollections were being gathered by one of Ted's friends, Stanley
K. Sheinbaum of Los Angeles.
The piece was written about five or six years ago and that was
the last I heard about the proposed book. A year ago I was told by
the editors at Tallfellow Press in Los Angeles that it was to be
published in September.
The book, titled A
Nation Lost and Found, subtitled "1936 America
Remembered by Ordinary and Extraordinary People," features
essays by Shirley Temple Black, Dr. Ruth Westheimer, Oleg Cassini,
Artie Shaw, Elmore Leonard, William Ruder and many others, including
To help launch the book, I was the master of ceremonies at a
dinner hosted by the Literary Committee of the Lotos Club in
Manhattan. Speakers included Oleg Cassini, the nearly 90 year-old
fashion legend and Bill Ruder, co-founder of Ruder and Finn, one of
the world's largest Public Relations firm.
Aside from our own recollections of 1936, it was the year Hitler
invaded the Rhineland and Mussolini invaded Ethiopia while the
western democracies stood by and did nothing. Think of how many
lives would have been saved if these monsters were stopped before
they could wreak havoc on the world and cause the deaths of 50
million people. In many ways the period resonates with a cautionary
tale as applicable today as it was then and might serve as an
example of how dangerous lack of action can be in the face of
obvious and impending evil intent.
This is a book worth reading. With our institutional memory of
the depression era fading swiftly, we can reflect on the testimony
of those who lived through what for many were harsh times.
Visit the website to read my contribution to the book A
Nation Lost and Found.
Publishers, like most media types, like to categorize books by
genre e.g. science fiction, mystery, romance and their various
sub-categories. They push writers to conform to the matrix for
obvious business and marketing reasons. They then further classify
novels as "literary" or "commercial." I have
always been baffled by the imprecision of definitions about what
constitutes literary fiction as opposed to commercial fiction. Does
it mean that if literary fiction becomes commercial by virtue of
high sales numbers it then loses its place in the close-knit snobby
world of the self-appointed literati? There is a converse to that,
but it borders on an oxymoron.
My own definition of what constitutes literary fiction is based
on the old cliché of "standing the test of time." This
means that only a literary creation that "lasts" and
expands its universality to future generations is truly worthy of
entering the canon of literary royalty. Such a definition is sure to
inspire an avalanche of criticism and contempt, especially since I
have dubbed irrelevant many of those who create contemporary
standards of literary purity, most, if not all, of who will drop
over the cliff of memory into the dark pit of oblivion.
As a writer of material straddling many genres, novels which deal
with the range and subtleties of human experience and, therefore,
difficult to slot, I find myself always on the razor's edge of
controversy when I venture into defining the nature of literary
Recently I sat down with Alex Moore, Managing Editor of ForeWord
Magazine, which is devoted to independent publishing, and during a
friendly conversation expounded at length on the subject. It wasn't
meant to be an interview, but our dialog triggered something in
Alex's perception. He expanded on our discussion in the article
Fiction that appeared in a recent edition of ForeWord.
I take this opportunity to congratulate Alex on his perception
and since he agrees with me in most areas, I believe it enhances the
profundity of his editorial. Thanks, Alex.
Visit the website for Alex Moore's full article, Literary
Hear the title song from The Sunset Gang
Read a free story from The Sunset Gang
called "The Home"
There will be much to report shortly on the progress of
Sunset Gang musical to Broadway. It can be said that
there is nothing more complicated than putting the pieces
together for a Broadway show. I will be writing a running
history of this effort in future newsletters. Readers of this
e-Sheet will recall that The
Sunset Gang is based upon a short story from my
collection of the same name published by Viking years ago.
Since then, three of the stories have been adapted as an
American Playhouse trilogy which played on PBS starring Doris
Roberts, now one of the stars of "Everybody Loves
Raymond," Jerry Stiller, whose career has skyrocketed
since appearing on "Seinfeld" and other TV shows,
the great Uta Hagen, Ron Rifkin, Harold Gould, Anne Meara and
many other distinguished actors. The goal for our musical is
to people it with others of equal quality in all creative
areas under the wand of a great director.
This issue of copyright and its longevity often receives little
attention by most authors. It should receive more. It is an issue of
extreme relevance to any artist or writer who creates original
material. Especially for someone like me, who has preserved my
literary legacy through the electronic miracle of Print-on-Demand
and eBooks, the issue is of critical importance.
As we speak, the extension of the copyright by Congress for 20
more years (bringing it up to 75 years after an author's death) is
being challenged in the case of Eldred vs. Ashcroft which the
Supreme Court will be considering in the next few weeks.
There are many people who disagree with this extension. Indeed,
there are those who believe that copyright of intellectual and
artistic properties should be shortened considerably. Those who
favor this reduction point to lobbying by the film industry,
particularly Disney, who have lobbied furiously to extend their
rights and control over Mickey Mouse, Walt Disney's classic cartoon
creation, which was about to expire.
Yet, despite the fact that the latest Congressional extension
benefits a mega-corporation like Disney, it does not mean that
authors and artists should be penalized because they happen to have
become innocent bedfellows with big business.
As an author, I will fight to the bitter end to preserve my
ownership of my artistic creations and defend it vigorously. There
is nothing selfish, covetous or greedy in protecting one's right to
one's creative work. This work is an individual vision, created
usually by a single mind and designed to elucidate, communicate and,
perhaps inspire fellow human beings. This is a right of property
that should never be impinged or diluted. Such unique creations
should be protected for the benefit of the author and artist's
progeny and 75 years beyond the author's life is just about right.
Our entire backlist as well as the new novel Cult
is now available just about everywhere with elegant and modern new
book covers. Of course, the text remains the same and will remain so
until 75 years after my demise.
For your convenience, we now offer an online archive of Warren
Adler E-Sheets. See the E-Sheet archives
Until next time, happy reading, and we hope to see you soon on
the Great White Way!
Visit Warren Adler's homepage now!