Archives for April 2016

Dickens wrote it long ago, and not much has changed.

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way …”


The Rosie Project

rosieI’m on chapter two and have already busted out laughing a dozen times. I believe this is going to be a great read.


I would have read, “Go Set a Watchman” by now if I had known the history behind it.

Taken from “The Writer’s Almanac.”

It’s the birthday of novelist Harper Lee  born Nelle Harper Lee in Monroeville, Alabama (1926). Childhood friends described Lee as the “Queen of the Tomboys,” unafraid to get in playground fights with boys. Sometimes she beat up the boys who were bullying Truman Capote, who spent summers with relatives in Monroeville, and became one of Lee’s closest friends. Capote’s aunt later wrote: “A dress on the young Nelle would have been as out of place as a silk hat on a hog.”

At Monroe County High School, Lee had a wonderful English teacher named Miss Gladys Watson. Miss Watson demanded that her students abide by the “three Cs” in their writing: clarity, coherence, and cadence. To emphasize these three points, she asked them to read all their work aloud to the class; and they were expected to rewrite their essays to her complete satisfaction. Miss Watson introduced her students to 19th-century British literature, which Lee loved – she especially adored Jane Austen. Years later, she told an interviewer: “All I want to be is the Jane Austen of south Alabama.” She went on to the University of Alabama, but felt like a misfit. She began a law program, encouraged by her father, a successful lawyer. But she didn’t like law, and quit after a year. Instead, in 1949, 23-year-old Lee followed her old friend Truman Capote to New York City, where she hoped to become a writer.

She got a job as an airline reservations agent. She rented a small, cold-water-only apartment on the Upper East Side, where she wrote every night at a makeshift desk made from a door set across sawhorses. When she moved to New York, Capote asked his friend Michael Brown, a composer, if he would look after Lee, whom he described as “a shy friend from Alabama.” Lee became close friends with Brown and his wife, Joy, and they recommended a well-respected husband-and-wife team of literary agents. In November of 1956, Lee brought them five short stories. They liked one of them, called “Snow-on-the-Mountain,” but dismissed the other four. They thought she had potential, though, and suggested that she try writing a novel, which would have more commercial promise. After meeting her, one of the agents wrote in an office memo: “The author is a nice little Suth’n gal – from Alabama – who says ‘Yes, Ma’am’ and ‘No, Ma’am.'”

A few weeks later, for Christmas of 1956, Michael and Joy Brown gave Lee a huge gift: enough money to quit her job and spend the year writing. She wrote to a friend: “Aside from the et ceteras of gratefulness and astonishment I feel about this proposition, I have a horrible feeling that this will be the making of me, that it will be goodbye to the joys of messing about.” In mid-January, she delivered her agents the first 50 pages of a novel called Go Set a Watchman.She delivered another 50 pages each week until the first draft was finished. They helped Lee focus the novel more on the character of the lawyer father, retitled the manuscript Atticus, then sent it off to an interested publisher, the J.B. Lippincott publishing house. Lippincott published mostly textbooks, but their one female editor saw potential in Lee’s novel. That editor encouraged Lee to rewrite the novel to focus on the childhood of the main character, Scout; Lee spent two years rewriting the book under her editor’s scrutiny, and finally produced a final version, To Kill a Mockingbird (1960). She did not publish another piece of writing until last year, when she published the novel Go Set a Watchman (2015). Lee passed away earlier this year at the age of 89.

John Milton

On this day in 1667, the poet John Milton (books by this author) sold the copyright for his masterpiece, Paradise Lost, for 10 pounds. Milton had championed the cause of Oliver Cromwell and the Parliament over the king during the English Civil War, and published a series of radical pamphlets in support of such things as Puritanism, freedom of the press, divorce on the basis of incompatibility, and the execution of King Charles I. With the overthrow of the monarchy and the creation of the Commonwealth, Milton was named Secretary of Foreign Tongues, and though he eventually lost his eyesight, he was able to carry out his duties with the help of aides like fellow poet Andrew Marvell.

When the monarchy was restored in 1660, Milton was imprisoned as a traitor and stripped of his property. He was soon released, but was now impoverished as well as completely blind, and he spent the rest of his life secluded in a cottage in Buckinghamshire. This is where he dictated Paradise Lost -an epic poem about the Fall of Man, with Satan as a kind of antihero – and its sequel,Paradise Regained, about the temptation of Christ.

The Writer’s Almanac for April 27, 2016‏

Wanted-Book Clubs

I’m an author in search of readers. If your club decides to read my memoir, Crime A Day: Death By Electric Chair & Other Boyhood pursuits, or one of my other published books, I’ll be available to answer questions by SKYPE, email, or perhaps in person if I’m in your area.

crime a day pic

“Historically important, insightful, and hugely entertaining”

Debra Di Blasi, author of Drought and Prayers of an Accidental Nature

“Bold and frank, Crime A Day tells Joe DiBuduo’s story of growing up poor and hungry, of the redemptive power of love, and one man’s ability to change his life of circumstance to a life of choice. A fascinating glimpse into the seedy underbelly of mid-20th Century America.”

Michaela Carter, author of Further Out Than You Thought

By turns unsettling, witty and tragic, Crime A Day exposes the harsh consequences of childhood poverty, educational deprivation and social marginalization. DiBuduo went from a hard-working 6-year-old paperboy to a 22-year-old ex-con with a history of incarceration spanning nearly a decade. An unforgettable memoir about tough gangsters and hard drinkers, corrupt police and cynical judges, and the hungry, hardscrabble kids who survived “Hano”— once Boston’s roughest and most impoverished neighborhood.

To set up a date and time for a conference, email

Or call 1-928-533-8081


Please feel free to choose any book you’d prefer to read.

My Amazon page is



If you’d like the first few chapters of any book to examine, please send a request.