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Stacy Bierlein Archive

Stacy Bierlein

I Meant to Write about Bull Fights

September 10th, 2009
by Stacy Bierlein

NEWPORT COAST, CA -

I have participated in a number of political demonstrations, but few as memorable as the March for Women’s Lives in 2004.  More than 1.15 million people converged on the mall for the largest march on Washington in U.S. history.  Organizers jammed more than 100 speakers into the program; exemplary speeches demanding access to contraception, sex education, global family planning, and choice.

 But what I am starting here—it is not the memory of a massive protest, or a recollection of the Bush Administration’s use of women’s rights as a political bargaining tool.  Writers do this. We begin with something approachable, something we trust we might get onto the page or screen correctly.  We try for a moment to hold the story in our heads, even as we know we have to let it go. 

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Stacy Bierlein

Home Sweet Mafia Movie

June 7th, 2009
by Stacy Bierlein

NEWPORT COAST, CA -

I spent my childhood in Saginaw, Michigan, about an hour and a half north of Detroit.  In those days Saginaw was known as a General Motors town.  It was also a gambling town.  Restaurants, inns, and the local country club hosted back room card and dice games.  Mostly these were friendly but competitive card games where local businessmen got to show off, but not always.  Police officers were aware of these back rooms, and to say they turned their heads may understate the case.  Some of our classmates’ dads were cops and also great poker players.

 While no one used the term gambling addiction in those days, a lot of people got themselves in trouble.  And trouble had this way of escalating.  Where there were gamblers, there were loan sharks, and loan sharks came with leg breakers.  Saginaw became a fertile playground for mobsters, locally grown and from notorious Detroit mob families.  We did not know it at the time, but the FBI called Saginaw an extortion town.

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Stacy Bierlein

How Famous Is Too Famous?

January 19th, 2009
by Stacy Bierlein

NEWPORT COAST, CA -

When I was in graduate school in Chicago, I worked for a talented and occasionally tormented artist.  He used to tell people he wanted to be so famous that he could smoke pot in a crowded restaurant and no one would dare to ask him to leave.

That sounds dreadful, someone usually said to his girlfriend, after he left the room.  She worked as a publicist for the state lottery.  One of her responsibilities was to try to convince big winners to go public with their stories.  Most lottery winners hoped to avoid their fifteen minutes of fame, she said, fighting to keep secret their new financial status.  Most didn’t want to tell their children.  A few tried to avoid telling their spouses.

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Stacy Bierlein

A Call to Action for Independent Publishers

December 13th, 2008
by Stacy Bierlein

NEWPORT COAST, CA-

Publisher’s Weekly called last week one of “the grimmest weeks in publishing in recent years.” Headlines on Wednesday morning announced a shake up at Random House—actually a reorganization involving the consolidation of several publishing groups. Later that day, Simon & Schuster announced the elimination of 2% of its workforce, with cuts occurring in all areas of the company. That evening found the president of Penguin discussing publicly the grim situation facing his competitors—layoffs, freezes on hiring and pensions, as well as freezes on new book acquisitions—which could only mean that his announcement was coming next. Sure enough, Thursday morning, Penguin announced employees would not receive their annual pay raises in the new year. Sadly, we’re used to news and rumors of small presses on the verge of crumbling, but with Barnes & Noble and Borders standing by their predictions of sales dropping as much as nine percent creating the worst holiday season ever, we’re watching the big boys stumble too. Should any small publisher attempt growth in this business climate? Should an author even bother to send out her work right now? YES. Absolutely.

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