Kim Weiss Publishing Services

Ain’t no snow about it

December 23, 2008 at 6:30 am

It's Christmas time in the tropics

It's Christmas time in the tropics - fa la la la la

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Have yourself a merry little memoir – the art (?) of holiday letters

December 22, 2008 at 6:30 am

Holiday letters. Mini-memoirs.

What a great idea!

Are your cards out already? Silly question, but if you’re an ambivalent card sender (my apologies friends and family) you may still have time to do something outside of your holiday protocol.

Holiday letters are at worst boring or annoying and at best they are a delight to read. Hopefully, your life has been interesting enough over the last year (and if you’ve never done one, your entire existence) to present in an attractive literary package.

If not, don’t even think about it. Trust Hallmark.

The writers out there can kill two birds with one stone (ouch) with this not so original but card-alternative idea. Especially if you’re in a writing slump and haven’t felt inspired, the holiday letter can be a great exercise. And, should it be readable, your recipients will feel properly holiday-acknowledged.

Worst case scenario: don’t send it. (Sort of like a post break-up letter, or hate mail that you write for mental health purposes but not actually for consumption – oh, sorry, am I alone in this endeavor??)

Your story. Really think about the highlights that others will want to know about. Be amusing or touching or both, but take time to edit yourself. Are you thinking of writing a memoir? Have you already written one? Consider this a bite size “year in the life” tome for your posse.

Be careful. Some people, including yours truly, often perceive the holiday letter as impersonal. In a way, it is. How you can attempt to overcome this objection is to be REALLY entertaining. Or dramatic. But try to pull in your audience with your holiday musings.

Don’t include Aunt Mary if you can’t find a place for cousin Walter. Don’t want to offend anyone.

Not that family members really behave like that.

I feel like Martha Stewart trying to turn some small household item into a masterpiece. Perfecting the ordinary potholder into  fiber art.  In this case, the manufactured message into poetry.


Make it short. Don’t expect anyone to care THAT MUCH about your life. At least not as much as you do.

And, don’t think you can use your letter to replace an actual gift. Remember, it’s the card  you’re replacing. Don’t be cheap!

Holiday greetings to all of you out there and specifically, Happy Chanukah to my fellow tribes-people.

May your world be filled with an abundance of love and light.

And, happy little memoire-ettes.

p.s. tell me how you feel about holiday letters? Do you have a particularly quirky, verbose or memorable one to share?

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How you know it’s Christmas in Boynton Beach, FL…

December 21, 2008 at 6:30 am


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Evolution of a seahorse – incarnation 2

December 19, 2008 at 6:06 am

by Fredda Psaltis

by Fredda Psaltis

Incarnation #1

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A news story becomes a book, how does it happen?

December 17, 2008 at 4:20 am

If you live in Florida, chances are you witnessed yet another gruesome news piece over the past week, bouncing from the local paper to the evening news to CNN to CBS The Early Show.

The breaking story was about a Florida State juvenile facility where innocent young boys were beaten and tortured throughout the 1950’s and 60’s. Many of them are thought to be buried in the thick underbrush of the North Florida woods.

One of the survivors, Roger Dean Kiser, came to HCI last week and told us of this tragic tale via frenetic phone calls and scatter-shot emails to a bunch of the staff. Seeing so much stuff come through here in a given week, I didn’t pay much attention to it until I heard the story myself on the radio in the morning and saw pictures on the news the same night.

It wasn’t just another call from an overzealous author after all.

It was real. And, it was sad.

As testimony to the company that we are, Kiser picked us to retell his story because of his former dealings with HCI as a story contributor to several Chicken Soup for the Soul books. He was a little gun shy of competitors with whom he had prior dealings and signed our contract.


Now all departments are hustling to catch up to a news story that we can only hope has staying power. The governor of Florida declared that he would initiate a proper investigation in consort with the U.S. Department of Justice and the FBI, so we expect the story to unfold over time.

Roger Dean Kiser has been trying to tell his story for 17 years about the beatings that went on in an austere building on school property they called, The White House.

He self-published a book called The White House Boys a while back and with HCI, his book will be completely retooled and brought to market, probably as soon as January.

We hope.

Editors are editing madly, sales people are talking up the book, our computer geeks are notifying amazon, book designers are tweaking the cover, and I’m both assessing the media that’s been done with plans for more. Timing is everything for my department so I’m looking to work with the author sometime this week to see what we can do. (I’m grateful that Oprah’s crew is on hiatus until the new year so she doesn’t jump on it before we’re ready!)

It is suspected that more than 200 bodies might be buried somewhere in the murky, shallow swamplands of Florida. Apparently, this is only one part of what many survivors remember as “The Secret.”

Wow! I don’t think this “secret” involves any mumbo jumbo about the law of attraction. With all due respect, that is.

I’ll keep you posted as to how this all pans out. Keep your eyes peeled for more news stories about this.

The White House Boys: An American Tragedy. You heard it here first.

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