14 February 2012

'All There Is' -- A Box of Valentine Chocolates: CSM Review

The publication of All There Is of course was timed to coincide with Valentine's Day. Today's Christian Science Monitor review of the David Isay book was described as "sweeter – and occasionally gooier – than a box of chocolates" by Heller McAlpin. Not surprisingly, the reviewer said the exceptional love story of Beverly Eckert and Sean Rooney was the "most moving" of the lot. 

An article about the book and Beverly's story appeared in the Stamford Advocate.

12 February 2012

Like Pebbles in a Pond..

Sometimes the words just fail, and only images come to mind.

It was just three years ago when the sickening, horrifying news spread out from the crash site, on the home of the Wielinski family at 6038 Long Street, in the quiet village of Clarence Center, New York, on the flight path to the Buffalo airport. Continental Flight 3407 had stalled, gyrated out of control, and fell like a rock, bursting into flames when it hit the ground. All 49 on board perished, as did Doug Wielinski, while his wife, Karen, and daughter, Jill, were able to struggle out of the wreckage of the burning house.

We all spend just a few brief moments on this beautiful earth -- a mere instant in the long history of humankind. And the life of each breathing soul is like a pebble tossed in a high and lazy arc over the calm waters of a clear, blue pond. The very moment that pebble strikes the surface of the water, gives rise to a ripple, which generates another and another and another. They spread outward from the center and lap upon far shores and near, often in mysterious and wonderful ways.

In this way did the lives of those on Flight 3407 affect those around them. Ripples in a pond.

I have been thinking about how to best end the story of Beverly Eckert, and it makes sense to talk about the wonderful ripples sent out from her exceptional life. There will be an accounting of the ways she made this country safer, changed the way airlines operated, the way skyscrapers were designed. But there will also be stories about the people Beverly touched, changed, helped and loved. It is these ripples that are a kind of eternity, moving through time, through hearts, through generations.

The ripples of some pebbles just go one and on.

10 February 2012

Beverly Eckert's Love Story in New Book Sparks (Accidental) Interest in 'No Truer Hearts'

Many people know about Beverly Eckert, but very few know about her biography. So I was momentarily surprised by a somewhat mysterious email I received last week from the owner of a small bookstore in Upstate New York asking if I could send her copies of No Truer Hearts.


I replied that I would be happy to send copies of the book -- once it was published! After thinking about the possible reasons for such a query, I lit upon the probable solution: people were confusing the new book, All There Is (see previous blog post) with mine somehow. Not long after, a woman from the Small Press Department of Barnes & Noble Inc. (!!) emailed me with a similar message: could you send us a copy of your book? It was nice to get the attention, but frustrating not to be able to ship out copies of the finished volume. (Lord knows I've been trying hard to get it done!) Plus, it gave me a big boost to know people were interested in Beverly's story, even now.

Finally, a few minutes ago I received confirmation of my initial theory by putting myself in the shoes of a potential Upstate New York reader who had heard in the news that a book telling Beverly's story had just come out. How would this reader look for the title of this book? Ask Mr. Google, of course! So I googled "Beverly Eckert book", and the first three results were to this blog and to my web site, anthonytoth.com, which has information on Beverly and No Truer Hearts. Mystery solved.

Just proves the importance of having a strong online presence for an obscure (but talented) writer. It's called building a "platform," all this non-writing self-promotion. In plain English, it's simply spreading the word, which is what writers desire anyway.

Now to get on with the writing! (And then to send a copy to that nice lady from Barnes & Noble once I'm done.)

02 February 2012

New Book of Love Stories from StoryCorps Features the One About Beverly and Sean

The love story that is at the center of No Truer Hearts is the one involving Beverly Eckert and Sean Rooney. A book released today also tells this story, in Beverly's own words. The title is All There Is: Love Stories from StoryCorps, and it was written by Dave Isay, the founder of StoryCorps. The book contains a number of love stories, and Beverly's is based on the recording she made for StoryCorps in New York City in 2006.  This article in the Buffalo News gives a good summary.

Love stories are the most important ones, because love is the most imortant thing.