Asshole Attorney by Douglas J. Wood

Asshole Attorney Cover
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ASSHOLE ATTORNEY
Musings, Memories, and Missteps in a 40 Year Career
By Douglas J. Wood

“Doug, I been practicin’ law for fifty years. And I learned a long time ago, there ain’t no such word as ‘attorney’ or ‘lawyer’. It’s ‘asshole attorney’ or ‘fuckin’ lawyer.’”

Author and entertainment attorney Douglas J. Wood heard this statement from a southern lawyer nearly forty years ago—and it was these words that provided him with the inspiration to write ASSHOLE ATTORNEY: Musings, Memories, and Missteps in a 40 Year Career (June 26th, 2018; Plum Bay Publishing House; ISBN 9780998861722).

ASSHOLE ATTORNEY takes readers on a journey from Wood’s younger years when he was a self-proclaimed “Army Brat,” having moved to eight different homes throughout his childhood. One particularly devastating move for young Doug was when his family relocated from the beautiful beaches of Hawaii to Rutherford, NJ, where he developed his hatred for snow and faced the reality that the “green water in the Passaic River was no comparison to the gin clear waters of Oahu.”

Later, after a college career which included a car accident, a fake ID, and a sympathetic cop, Wood admits he is lucky to be alive and glad that he was able to pursue his legal career with “twenty-four law school rejections under my belt.” Despite that string of rejections and an average GPA in college, Wood tested extremely high on the LSATs.
As luck would have it a brand-new law school opened – the twenty-fifth he applied to – and accepted him on the spot during a phone interview.

“I was a college student who really screwed up, but God and an angel were on my shoulder…I was given a second chance. Most people are not.”

Doug’s madcap journey includes his many insane stories working with out-of-control rock stars; dealing with international crises in the dark alleys of Eastern Europe; life-threatening adventures with businessmen; evading Paris authorities; surviving helicopter crashes; leaping on business opportunities that were unheard of at the time; and a partnership in one of the world’s leading law firms. Throughout the memoir, Wood balances his “asshole attorney” adventures with fond stories about his parents, siblings, wife, children, friends and colleagues.

Readers will be charmed by Wood’s candor and humor and will laugh aloud at his sharp, witty commentary in ASSHOLE ATTORNEY as he navigates the pathways of his life and the jungles of his 40-year profession.

About Plum Bay Publishing House
Plum Bay Publishing is an independent publishing house and hybrid self-publisher. Their goal is to publish titles that will have a positive impact in the world, and provide information and knowledge for all audiences, large and small.

About the Author
Douglas J. Wood is the author of the award-winning Samantha Harrison political trilogy – Presidential Intentions, Presidential Declarations, and Presidential Conclusions. His non-fiction books include the popular text Please Be Ad-Vised: A Legal Reference Guide for the Advertising Executive, now in its seventh edition, and 101 Things I Want to Say…the Collection, a book of fatherly advice to his children. A partner at Reed Smith LLP, he has over 40 years of experience practicing entertainment and media law. He works in New York, lives in New Jersey with his wife of 44 plus years, and is currently working on a new novel about cyberwar and financial terrorism scheduled to be published in 2019. For more information, visit his website www.douglasjwood.com.

ASSHOLE ATTORNEY | Musings, Memories, and Missteps in a 40-Year Career
By Douglas J. Wood | Plum Bay Publishing House | Publication Date June 26th, 2018
ISBN 9780998861722 | Hardcover, Paperback and E-Book | Price $22.99, $14.99, $9.99 | 240 Pages

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Publishing 101: Creating Your Author Bio

Author Bio Claire McKinneyPRWhen I was young and naïve, I thought the bios you read in theater programs and on the backs of books were written by someone who had a lot of nice things to say about the person. I didn’t know that individual people wrote their own author bio.

From that perspective, I started to categorize them by how much ego the subject had in order to write such glowing praise about himself!  I was amazed at how much people touted their own accomplishments.  I don’t know about you, but I find it difficult to write about myself. I feel much more comfortable singing the praises of other people.  However, in order to sell our books, we all need to try to channel that egomaniac and compose a good author bio.

There are two forms to consider when crafting your author bio. One is a brief, three-to-four sentence paragraph that can go on the back jacket of your book.  The other is a lengthier explanation that could be found on a separate page in your book under “About the Author,” or as a separate page in your press kit with your author photo.

To help you get started on your author bio, try answering some questions:

  • Where did you go to college and what degrees do you have?  If you attended an MFA program or writer’s retreat, where was it?
  • Where do you live? How many children/pets do you have?
  • What do you do during the day? (i.e. what’s your day job? Are you a full-time care giver, doctor, consultant, etc?)
  • Do you have any previously published articles or books?  What are they?
  • Are you a member of any organizations, or do you serve on the boards of any non-profits? What are they?
  • What are your special interests?
  • Have you been interviewed by, reviewed in, or wrote for any media outlets?  What were they?
  • What is your website address? What is your Twitter or Instagram handle, Facebook or LinkedIn page, or Snapchat name?

Now take a look at everything you have noted above ,and highlight all of the information you would want to read about someone with a book like yours.  What gives you credibility?  What makes you interesting as a writer?  People these days are accustomed to looking in private bedrooms on the internet, and they feel entitled to know about their authors.  This holds true even more if you have written a work of non-fiction.  Then your education and other items that relate to your credibility become super important.  Once you have pulled out all of the material that could go into your bio you are ready to write.

If you haven’t already looked at author bios in the books you have on your shelves, do so.  You can model yours after theirs to fit the style and length that you need.  The short bio should list your credentials and education, especially for non-fiction; your affiliations; and perhaps the state and/or city in which you live.  You are not required to print your address for all-the world to see, but telling people the region where you reside is a nice way to give readers some perspective on what your lifestyle might be.   You can mention your kids and pets as well, but it isn’t a requirement.  Again, these are just additional personal details that bring potential book buyers closer to you as a person/writer. On this page is an example of a short bio from Laurie B. Levine, a family therapist with a young adult novel.

For the longer bio you should write about three paragraphs that fit on approximately three-quarters of a page.  In this version you will have more freedom to talk a bit more about why you wrote the book and what your interests are.  Just take a look at the questions you answered earlier to find the material with which you have to work. Here is an example of a long bio from Merle Bombardieri, a psychotherapist with a self-help guide.

Any bio is an opportunity for an author to come out of the book to say hello to a reader.  Make it your own.  In the longer author bio, it is easier to be you. If you have a sense of humor, let it come through.  If you are more straight-laced and like to stick with the facts, then do that.  Most of all do not be afraid to talk about the good things you have done.

After you have written your long and short forms, have a friend, family member, neighbor take a look and provide some feedback.  I like to have several sets of eyeballs check out anything I write and I always accept feedback (even if I grit my teeth during the delivery of it). Get it done and check it off your list.

Review: The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

GoldFinch
Donna Tartt/Little, Brown and Company
“I’ve made a fortune off it, and I would really like for you to have it all to your own again-you know, the thing itself, for old time’s sake, just to have, to really be yours, keep in your closet or whatever, get out and look at it, like in old days, you know? Because I know how much you loved it. I got to where I loved it myself, actually.”
The Goldfinch
The Goldfinch is full of intricate ties and coincidences, and every event that takes place somehow relates back to one moment, when he was a 13-year-old boy whose mother was killed in a terrorist attack at a New York museum. At the time of the explosion, Theo’s mother was in a separate room from her son, looking at the painting of The Goldfinch by Dutch artist Carel Fabritius. After being knocked out for some time, Theo thoughtlessly steals the painting and wanders out of the museum, The Goldfinch under his arm, completely ignored by the police and everyone he passes, until he finally reaches his mother’s apartment. From there, the story continues to go downhill for Theo, as he is taken by his estranged alcoholic father, to a new, seedy home in Las Vegas.
While in Las Vegas, Theo befriends an outsider like himself, the Russian-born and substance-abuse expert, Boris. Boris drags Theo down, and the two find themselves spending their days drinking incessantly and doing whatever drugs they can get their hands on. Meanwhile, the painting, like his mother’s ghost, haunts him at every twist and turn. Finally giving in to his fear of discovery and guilt for his impulsive theft years ago, Theo wraps The Goldfinch heavily in cardboard and rags, deciding never to look at it again, but at the same time keeping it close by.
The painting symbolizes Theo himself: he is chained to his mother’s death as long as this goldfinch is chained to a post. He can’t get rid of this painting, the same way he can’t shake off the memories of his mother and the terrorist attack that has single-handedly destroyed his life. He grasps for solace in dark things, such as drugs and lies, and only searches for the bad within the good he does have. As Boris tells Theo, ten years after the two have left Las Vegas, of their young drinking days, “I was trying to have fun and be happy. You wanted to be dead. It’s different.”
At times Theo is confused by his feelings for Boris, and the relationship borders on something more than their friendship’ They’ve both been through such rough experiences and have no one else to love, and therefore they depend on each other. Boris can hold Theo tightly at night not because he is in love with Theo, but because he loves Theo, as his closest confidante, the one person he can always depend on. But Theo, a born-and-bred New Yorker, can’t handle the careless Las Vegas lifestyle, and after his father dies, he runs away back to New York City, leaving Boris to fend for himself alone.
Years later, Boris comes to New York City to find Theo and admits that he stole The Goldfinch, thinking that Theo would have already discovered the textbook Boris put in its place. But the artwork has been preserved by Theo who has kept is wrapped up tightly and in storage. He is completely shocked when Boris tells him that he switched the painting with a math book and has been using it as a tool in illegal dealings: “I switched it. Yes. It was me. I thought you knew. Look, am sorry… I had it in my locker at school. Joke, you know… I swear, I wasn’t going to keep it.” All those years, Theo had been harboring guilt and fearing the authorities, when he was actually off the hook.
From then on the tone of the book shifts and becomes more fast-paced, as if Tartt finally decides she wants to get to the point and is tired of the story’s drawn-out plot. The audience is swept out of the US and into Amsterdam, where the painting is being held as collateral by drug dealers. During a violent scuffle for the painting, Boris gets shot and Theo saves the life of his boyhood friend by shooting and killing the enemy. The next few chapters becomes a hazy, discontented mess as Theo throws himself into drugs and illness while deciding whether or not to commit suicide because they did not save the goldfinch from the drug dealers, just as Theo cannot save himself.
The Goldfinch is a sad, beautifully written journey of the tormented soul of Theo Decker, a boy who tragically lost his mother and with her, his morals and sense of self. The Goldfinch explores the dark side of a person while perfectly delivering the message that life is only temporary, just like a painting that can slip from one’s grasp so easily.

Review: Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn

SharpObjectsGF“I just think some women aren’t made to be mothers. And some women aren’t made to be daughters.”

-Sharp Objects

There are a fair share of books that use a narcissistic mother character, where the daughter feels misunderstood and unloved by her egotistical mother. Usually when I read books with this sort of mother-daughter relationship I don’t feel much sympathy for the female protagonist because it feels like I just read a book with the same exact relationship except the characters had different names. For instance, the last book I read with a bad mother-daughter relationship was Still Missing by Chevy Stevens. And even though the alcoholic, youth-obsessed mother had her adult daughter kidnapped, I couldn’t feel sorry for either character because I’ve become immune to this dynamic in books.

Gillian Flynn’s book Sharp Objects is an exception. Flynn writes the narcissistic, insane, manipulative mother so well that every time Camille, the protagonist, has any sort of reaction with her mother I not only get nervous for her, but with her. Her disassociation with her mother, Adora, dips and weaves through the entire book, with a sick, twisted ending that you’re expecting, but also sincerely hoping won’t happen. When you finish Sharp Objects you will shudder, and never look at milk or doll houses the same way again.

Camille Preaker hasn’t been home to Wind Gap, Missouri, in eight years, having set up a new life after spending time in a psych hospital for her cutting issues. Instead of cutting lines, though, Camille was cutting words into her skin, the scars of which were still etched into her body: “Richard let out a burp of a laugh, a shocked croak. Unworthy flared up my leg.”  Her sister Marian had died in her teens, something Camille-and the rest of her family-never got over.

Never wanting to set foot in the town she left behind, Camille reluctantly heads back to Wind Gap when her employer, the Chicago Daily Post, hears a rumor about a murder mystery involving two strangled and and deliberately “de-toothed” 13-year-old girls occurring in the same year.  If the paper gets the story, its sales will boom.

While in Wind Gap Camille realizes not much has changed-her mother is still a nervous, self-absorbed woman who has always had everything she wanted delivered on a silver platter. And Camille’s half-sister Amma is the most popular girl in school–a beautiful 13-year-old girl who Camille notices is developing-or already has- psychopathic tendencies: “’Sometimes if you let people do things to you, you’re really doing it to them,’ Amma said, pulling another Blow Pop from her pocket. Cherry. ‘Know what I mean? If someone wants to do fucked-up things to you, and you let them, you’re making them more fucked up. Then you have the control.’” There’s only one thing, however, that the arrogant Amma can’t control: she’ll never live up to her dead sister Marian or the two dead girls, and her overwhelming jealousy makes Amma an even creepier character.

Sharp Objects is a dysfunctional, sickening thriller that engulfs you in its first sentence. I’ll definitely be picking up Flynn’s novels Gone Girl and Dark Places in the near future, and you should be reading Sharp Objects.