Archive | Books RSS feed for this section

Complicated Relationships

16 Nov

I was honored to be the co-chair, with Sandi Rosen (left), at the recent Mandel JCC Sisterhood Brunch at Temple Emanu-El in Palm Beach. The event featured Sally Koslow (middle), author of The Real Mrs. Tobias.

The novel is about multi-generational mother-in-laws and daughter-in-laws and the many complicated relationships within the families. Need I say more. . . the mother-in-laws are therapists. Think Nora Eprhon because some of the scenes are laugh-out-loud funny but yet poignant at times. This fast-paced read resonates with many people. Don’t we all have some complicated relationships?

The next event, if you are in the area, is December 15 with authors Alyson Richman and Shaunna Edwards, who wrote The Thread Collectors. For more information, click here.

Advertisement

Thumbs Up for Denise Lutz

30 Oct

I wrote this article about Denise Lutz for the November issue of Downtown NewsMagazine, Birmingham, Michigan.

The saying “Jack of all trades, master of none,” applies to many individuals but not to former Detroiter Denise Lutz. Lutz excels at everything. Friends describe her as a Renaissance woman for she is a photographer, equestrian, philanthropist, pilot, animal advocate and car aficionado.

And wait. . .there’s more. She just added published author to this lofty list. Lutz recently returned to her hometown to celebrate her first novel, Thumbs. She debuted the novel along with a landscape photography exhibit at the Robert Kidd Gallery in downtown Birmingham. Lutz’s “Heaven on Earth” exhibit featured 20 signed limited-edition photographs shot in Michigan, Kentucky and Switzerland. Always charity minded, she donated the proceeds of the art sale to local photojournalist Linda Solomon’s nonprofit, Pictures of Hope, helping children express their thoughts with a camera.

According to Lutz, Birmingham was the perfect venue for this celebration. “Detroit is my roots, and I used to work around the corner from the gallery,” she said.

Although she currently lives in Kentucky on historic Glen Lake Farm, Motown is part of her soul. Lutz grew up on the tree-lined streets of Lathrup Village with extended family nearby. Her idyllic childhood included summers Up North in a log cabin on a lake enjoying all sorts of outdoor activities, including horseback riding. Her interest in aviation began at an early age as her dad would fly the family to the cabin. After graduating from the Rochester Institute of Technology in New York, she entered the advertising world, working local stalwarts W.B. Doner and J.Walter Thompson, becoming the first female art director in Detroit. Then, when she married auto executive Bob Lutz, of GM and Ford fame, she became the quintessential corporate wife wearing ballgowns, meeting dignitaries and fundraising for nonprofits.

After her divorce from Lutz, she wanted a different locale and decided to move to Kentucky to be closer to family, create her horse farm and begin a new life chapter.

“I decided I have a lot to say and share, and I knew how to write a bit, having been in advertising,” she said.

She began writing nonfiction with a partner and decided to break out on her own with a novel. A book agent questioned her fiction writing skills. Never shying away from a challenge, Lutz attended writing seminars in New York and programs at the Carnegie Center for Literacy in Lexington.

“I knew I loved outrageous, quirky characters,” she said. Thumbs, a comic thriller, tells the story of sweet Catharine, married to the inventor of sexting, who blackmails personnel. All goes awry with laugh-aloud antics when Catherine becomes an assassin’s bait.

“Denise Lutz has the lightning-fast mind, razor-sharp wit and fabulously dark sense of humor that would make masters of the craft from Hitchcock to Hiaasen giggle admirably,” said Erin Chandler, of Rabbit House Press, the book’s publisher.

This is certainly a debut novel as Lutz has many plot lines from her professional and personal life and looks forward to more publications. She describes herself as independent, appreciative and someone who listens to her own voice.

“I am curious and grateful for the blessings and strengths that I have, and for the beauty in life, the good friends, family and faith that sustain us through those events we cannot control.”

Story: Carla Schwartz

Photo: Laurie Tennent

Fashionista Friends and Authors

18 Oct

Neiman Marcus, in Troy, Michigan, recently hosted a fashionable event with three Detroit icons — Brenda Rosenberg (left), Suzy Farbman (middle) and Linda Solomon. Not only are these women known for their stylish looks, but they are authors of dynamic books. They are also friends, and I’m proud to say that they are my friends too.

When I wrote about Brenda previously in the former magazine Style, I described her as bold, bodacious and beautiful. Well, she’s so much more. For the past several years, she has been on a journey of peacemaking, bringing together many ethnic and religious groups. Now, she is the author of Charmed, a memoir told through her charm bracelet. Brenda will be honored on Nov. 10 at the Trade Secrets event at the Detroit Marriott Troy.

Suzy Farbman is a past honoree of Trade Secrets, featured previously on Motown Savvy. She is an award-winning journalist and compelling story teller. She has covered design for national and Detroit publications. Her latest book, Detroit’s Cass Corridor & Beyond, is part memoir and part art book. Farbman includes personal photos of her homes in Franklin, Michigan and Sarasota Florida with photographs by Beth Singer.

In welcoming readers to her book, Suzy writes: “By opening our doors and telling our story in these pages through vivid images and anecdotes, I am sending a personal love letter to each reader. As you turn these pages, I invite you to celebrate with me the love of family, the joys of collecting, the resilience of one of the world’s great cities, and the brilliant diversity of Detroit’s artists.”

Linda Solomon is an award-winning photojournalist nationally and locally. I featured her on Motown Savvy when her book on Aretha Franklin the Queen Next Door was first published. As I posted before, Linda developed a trusted relationship with Franklin and documented her career. From Christmas parties to birthday bashes to recording sessions, this is a personal portrait of a Motown legend. Yes, the Pink Cadillac is prominent.

Linda’s passion is her Pictures of Hope project, helping children in need express their thoughts with a camera.

As you can see, these three fashionable women are extraordinary!

Success in a Nutshell

28 Sep

Here’s an article that I wrote for the Downtown NewsMagazine, Birmingham. It’s on Dr. Barry Franklin, who offers practical advice for any graduating student or entry-level professional in his new book. I had the pleasure of working with Dr. Franklin at Beaumont Health in Royal Oak, Michigan. You can go directly to the site https://www.downtownpublications.com/single-post/barry-a-franklin or read it here.

Barry A. Franklin, Ph.D, helps patients with heart health as director of preventative cardiology and cardiac rehabilitation at Beaumont Health, Royal Oak, and is the author of numerous academic papers and books. His recent publication is the book GPS for Success. Yet instead of reversing heart disease in this endeavor, he empowers a new mindset. He navigates the reader on a road to success by offering attainable strategies. His passion is studying successful people, which he acknowledges in this unique resource book for entry-level professionals and aspiring leaders.

His passionate journey began decades ago by setting his own goals. As a college student and gymnast at Kent State University, he mastered an iron cross maneuver on the still rings, which requires tremendous strength and perseverance. He then set his sights on graduate schools – University of Michigan and Penn State. He wrote his first book in 1984, and began envisioning himself as president of national organizations, which he achieved. While aiding heart patients during the day, at night he immersed himself in studying the habits of successful people and reading dozens of self-help books. Some of his favorites are Rhonda Bryne’s The Secret and The Success Principles by Jack Canfield.

“These books had a profound impact on me,” says Franklin. Canfield’s book particularly was a springboard for Franklin’s thinking about writing his own formula.

Franklin believes GPS for Success is distinctive because it’s an aggregate guide for success. “It’s one-stop shopping and the most comprehensive book on this topic ever written,” he explains.

Franklin observed a missing link in college education. “Students are not prepared adequately for the real world,” he explains. Soft skills like interactions with people, collaborations, accepting criticism, and active listening are a few examples of what’s not taught in basic curriculum. In that vein, in 2012, he developed a college course, “Success Strategies,” and began teaching it at Central Michigan University (CMU).

“Having witnessed, firsthand, Dr. Franklin’s presentation of this material to our students, I’m delighted that he has chronicled his life’s experiences and career advice into this invaluable resource,” says Thomas Masterson, dean of the Herbert H. & Grace A. Dow College of Health Professions at CMU. “It’s a must read for all students as it will help them succeed, not only in the classroom, but more importantly in life.”

Franklin taught the one credit course for five years to rave reviews and students began asking for a textbook.

GPS for Success is slated to be used as a textbook in professional advancement courses at Penn State University and the University of Michigan. This book took more than three years to complete, with many starts and stops. During COVID, Franklin sheltered in his home with his wife and finished the book. He hopes it will be his legacy, because he reveals his personal “ultimate success” is making a difference in young people’s lives.

There is an extensive index at the end of the book with additional references, as well as an appendix of inspiring quotes from Albert Einstein to J.K Rowling to Magic Johnson. Franklin’s favorite quote is from a bumper sticker – “You are your own fortune cookie.”

Perhaps the most illuminating quote is from Franklin himself. “I wrote this book to help young people entering the work force, to live the life that they imagine.”

Photo by Mackenzie O’Brien

Take an Enjoyable Detour

10 Dec

Four of the five writer, (left to right): Marion Phillips, Rosemary Gensler, Nancy Sims and Ellyn Horn Zarek

Make a sharp right turn and get lost in the pages of the novel Detours by five authors. Yes, five–Rosemary Gensler, Phyllis Hoffman, Marion Phillips, Nancy Sims and Ellyn Horn Zarek,

The authors call themselves The Inkslingers as they weaved a story of sisterhood and bonding. Their real-life experience of meeting at a writing workshop became the setting for their book. The five authors collaborated over coffee, jellybeans and other delectable treats.

The women recently spoke at the Mandel JCC in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. This unique collaboration was a labor of love. The authors reminded the audience that the word labor is inside collaboration.

So, start the journey. . .

Oh Savannah

4 Nov

I just returned from Savannah, and I was enthralled with the city. The cultural and historical sites are plentiful. The town squares with the beautiful trees and all the flora and fauna are breathtaking.

As a savvy shopper, I loved the local stores — particularly, Satchel, Savannah Bee Company, Savannah Coffee Roasters and E. Shaver Booksellers.

Satchel is a favorite local store.

Satchel was established in 2006 by Elizabeth Seeger. It’s a hybrid store because it’s part studio and part retail. You can actually watch the leather being cut (see above). What’s great about the handbag is the customization from the color to the leather to the lining to size of the strap.

Next on the shopping trip was the Savannah Bee Company. There is an array of specialty honey from orange blossom to lavender and so much more. I purchased whipped honey with chocolate. (Yes, chocolate!) The Savannah Bee Company made the 2021 list of Oprah’s Favorite Things.

With all the shopping, the perfect caffeine boost is at Savannah Coffee Roasters. It’s a lovely, casual place to dine as well.

Before I went to Savannah, I read Surviving Savannah by Patti Callahan. This historical fiction book about a shipwreck was interesting. I learned the saying “Keeping up with the Joneses” is from Savannah. I went to Jones Street where the homes were beautiful. In the book’s acknowledgements the author mentions the bookstore E. Shaver. So, I went there and was greeted by the booksellers and the cats that live there.

Several years ago I read the Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil by John Berendt, a non-fiction book about a murder which was made into a movie.

I highly recommend Savannah as a place to visit.

Trade Secrets to Empower Women

11 Nov

One of my favorite events in Motown is Trade Secrets, where successful  women give inspiring advice. The event raises funds for the JVS “Women to Work” program. I know about the program first hand. This program provides unemployed women (those displaced from the workforce and those never in the workforce) with job search training, career assessment and market-ready skills. “Women to Work” helps with resume building and most important confidence boosting.

This year’s virtual event 7 p.m. Nov. 19 features Suzy Farbman (below) as the keynote speaker. Suzy is my friend and colleague. She is a dynamo– a compelling storyteller and an extraordinary person. Her latest book is GodSigns. The tagline reads “Health, Hope and Miracles, My Journey to Recovery.” Suzy, who has appeared on the Oprah show, weaves a spiritual account of her path overcoming adversity. Here’s an apt description of the uplifting book:  “Think of the startling truth and eye-opening adventure of Eat, Pray, Love.”

For more about the book, please click here.

To date, the 2020 Trade Secrets event has raised more than $238,000 through sponsorship and ticket sales to empower unemployed women. To purchase a ticket click here

Persian Lit: A Personal Post

20 Oct

Yes, this is a personal note. The author of this book, published by the University of Edinburgh Press, is my son Kevin Schwartz, an Iranian Scholar. You many think that Persian literature is indigenous to Iran, but it has far reaching tentacles. From the Balkans to the Bay of Bengal and crossing the continents to South Asia, Persian literature is prevalent. This scholarly book explores trends in literary culture of the the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Even the war ballads of the first Anglo-Afghan War in oral and written forms are part of Persian Literature. Other cross cultural connections are revealed in Remapping Persian Literary History, 1700-1900.

If you are interested in this topic, this book can be purchased on Amazon or through the University of Edinburgh here.
https://edinburghuniversitypress.com/book-remapping-persian-literary-history-1700-1900.html

 (You can use the code NEW30 to get a 30 percent discount,)

For more information about Kevin Schwartz, please visit his website https://www.kevinschwartz.org/

Yep, I’m proud.

Meet the Good Book Fairy

5 Mar

Did you know there is a book fairy? I met her the other day when she spoke at the Mandel JCC in Palm Beach Gardens. Her name is Lauren Margolin (left), and she has a fabulous blog www.goodfairybook.com where she shares her love for books and book clubs.

She gave some great advice for book clubs. Here are some of her tips: Choose books two to three months out, mix genres and locations in books, have the facilitator gather info on the internet, pull some good quotes from the book for discussion, coordinate the food and drink to match the book’s locale, meet at a bookstore for a change, authors love to be contacted and perhaps you can set up a Skype interview.

Then she listed several great book club choices in her presentation, which she gives all over the country.

Killer of the Flower Moon by David Grann; Educated by Tara Westover; Limelight by Amy Poeppel; Madame Tussaud by Michelle Moran; The Island of the Sea Women by Lisa See; Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens,;Moloka’i by Alan Brennert; Harry Potter by J.k. Rowling; The Kite Runner by Khaled Kosseini; Before we were Yours by Lisa Wingate; Beneath a Marble Sky by John Shors; Pope Joan by Donna Woolfolk Cross; The Rent Collector by Camron Wright; Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick; Close Range by Annie Proulx; The Lager Queen of Minnesota by J.Ryan Stradal; The Winemaker’s Wife by Kristen Harmel; The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris; Midnight of Bright Ideas Bookstore by Matthew T. Sullivan; The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin; Hum if you Don’t know the Words by Bianca Marais, All the Ugly and Wonderful Things by Bryn Greenwood; The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson.

 

Please go to her blog that is filled with information for book lovers. You can click here.

What is your book club reading?

Perfectly Pink

13 Jan

It was an amazing evening at the Breakers in Palm Beach this past weekend to benefit the Promise Fund.  Every guest who attended the benefit received an autographed copy of The Queen of Soul by my friend Linda Solomon (top right, with husband Barry). Of course, if you are a Motowner, you know there is only one queen of soul — Aretha Franklin.

The weekend started out with a live radio show from Florida with broadcaster Michael Patrick Shiels, host of Michigan’s Big Show, interviewing Linda and Promise Fund founder Nancy Brinker. The Promise Fund, founded by Nancy Brinker, Detroiter Julie Fisher Cummings and Laurie Silvers, works to eliminate barriers to quality healthcare for Palm Beach County neighbors to save lives due to late stage breast cancer and cervical cancers. It was announced at the event that a hologic (3D) mammography machine with be housed at FoundCare, a non-profit federally qualified health care center, where thousands of women come for primary care.

Many of the attendees attended wore pink including myself (lower right).

Thanks to AutoNation Cadillac, West Palm Beach, for donating books. Kudos to all the supporters!

Food In Books

Food and drink inspired by classic and modern literary works.

Beauty Box Fashion

Beauty Blog

Meghan's Mirror

Chronicling the Chic, Classic and Casual Style Duchess of Sussex (the former Meghan Markle)

Mara Movies

Fun, Fashion, Frivolity: An insider guide to Metro Detroit and beyond

snapshotsincursive

Interesting stories about everyday moments.

Motown Savvy

Fun, Fashion, Frivolity: An insider guide to Metro Detroit and beyond

Chevrons & Éclairs

Fun, Fashion, Frivolity: An insider guide to Metro Detroit and beyond

%d bloggers like this: