Other Books

Invasion of the Blatnicks

blatnick 300 Steve Berman has always strived to be the nice Jewish boy his parents want him to be. So how can he tell them that he’s lost his job when he’s about to visit them in Florida for the High Holidays?

Relief comes in the form of an oddball real estate developer building a shopping center at the edge of the Everglades, who takes a liking to Steve and offers him a job. His parents are delighted that he’s moving to Florida and eager to involve their whole family in his job—to Steve’s dismay.

Can he survive the zany construction crew, his wacky relatives, and the occasional alligator slithering through the job site? Comic complications ensue with the craziness of his cousins, the Blatnicks, and the equally zany construction crew.

This was my MFA thesis from Florida International University. It’s neither a mystery nor a romance, but a comic novel about Jewish family relationships and shopping mall construction.
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The Outhouse Gang

outhouse gang 2020 300 Iron John meets How to Make an American Quilt in this collection of linked stories which have the weight of a novel.

Seven fathers raising sons in the 1960s and 70s, facing the challenges of changing times and attitudes as the suburbs encroach on small-town life.

One Halloween they bond together for a rash protest against the strictures of the times and drag an outhouse from the countryside into the center of town.

Over the next twenty years, they’ll recreate this event every Halloween, as their sons grow up and join them.

The Outhouse Gang is an insightful look at what it meant to be a father, and a son, in those tumultuous times.
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The Burning Water

burning water 300 What if the pandemic only hit straight men?

How does a virus escape into the general population? The Burning Water offers one frightening possibility.

An unscrupulous North Korean doctor runs a secret research operation near the Chinese border. He is developing viruses based on genetic information, using African orphan children as his subjects. One winter day at this isolated facility, a boy squirms while getting an injection. The needle holding an experimental virus is knocked out before it’s empty and some of the virus is exposed to the air.

An American journalist joins forces with a Chinese doctor, and a doctor and nurse from this blandly named Children’s Research Institute. Surrounded by the dead and dying, they rush to understand what has happened—and what the consequences will be for a world that has never seen a global pandemic like this before.

The Burning Water is the story of how the virus spreads, the heroic efforts of those who try and stop it—and the deadly secret the virus holds. Ripped from the headlines, The Burning Water explores how a deadly virus like SARS or COVID-19 can escape a laboratory, infect local people-- and then spread world-wide.

From a Goodreads review: "As with everything Plakcy writes, included with the mystery, suspense and death, there is a welcome dose of history. The historical details are is so cleverly inserted that, until you finish reading his books, you don’t realize what an expert history lesson you’ve just received."
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The Murder Beats: Structure in Genre Fiction

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For many writers of genre fiction, structuring a book is a real pain point.

The Murder Beats solves that problem.

I have taken everything I've learned about structure in genre fiction, through my graduate studies, my own writing, my teaching at the college level, and lectures I've presented at conferences and to writers' groups about the mechanics of writing. In The Murder Beats, I demystify many different ways of structuring a book of genre fiction, focusing on element such as beats, scenes, acts, tropes and universal fantasies. Liberally studded with examples, The Murder Beats can take your nascent manuscript to the next level.

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Paws and Reflect

paws 2022 300

From Publishers Weekly: The companionship and unconditional love a dog provides can be of especially great comfort.

Bringing together conversations with more than two dozen notable men, including playwrights Edward Albee and Charles Busch, film director Jonathan Caouette and writers Victor J. Banis, Ron Nyswaner and Jay Quinn, this anecdotal anthology shows how dogs have given men love, confidence and support.

I joined with my friend, dog breeder and journalist Sharon Sakson, to bring together stories ranging from comic to tragic to sappy. The familiar joys and trials of sharing life with a dog are all here, including stories of comfort and "extraordinary lessons in how to cope with loss." The sincerity and warmth that comes through in each of these stories is infectious, and the inter-species relationships they describe provide unique perspective on the interview subjects as human beings.

Sharon is also the author of Brussels Griffons: A Complete Pet Owner’s Manual and Paws & Effect: The Healing Power of Dogs and Paws to Protect: Dogs Saving Lives and Restoring Hope.

Buy for Kindle and print.

How to Succeed at a Two-Year College

how to succeed cover general 200 Do you have questions about college? What kind of college to attend, how to pay for it, what to study and how to prepare for a career?

How to Succeed at a Two-Year College answers those questions, and more. If you are a high school student (or the parent of one), a veteran, a returning student, or just curious about what a two-year college can offer, this is the book for you.

Too many college websites are confusing, requiring a lot of hunting to find the answers to simple questions. How to Succeed at a Two-Year College brings together all the information you need in a simple, easy-to-read format. Topics include:

What is a two year college?
Navigating financial aid
How to prepare for college
What kind of degrees are typically offered?
Credit for prior learning
Online courses
How to excel in classes
Academic Success and Career Centers
Buy for Kindle.