Stuff in the ‘Our Authors’ Category

13 November, 2015


Tatsha RobertsonTatsha Robertson is a journalist and co-author of Media Circus: A Look at Private Tragedy in the Public Eye, with Kim Goldman, the sister of Ron who was killed alongside Nicole Simpson, the wife of OJ Simpson. The book focuses on the grieving process of victims of high-profile tragedies. She is currently writing a new book with Harvard professor Ronald Ferguson that explores the parental behaviors that lead to academic success in children.

Tatsha always wanted to be a writer. She watched her mother write poems and plays that were performed by kids in their Boston neighborhood. When they moved to South Carolina where her mother’s family is from, the first grader began to hone her own writing skills by creating little stories about girls and dogs. She even commissioned her best friend to complete the art. As she grew older, her focused turned toward journalism, though fiction was still a dream. Each year, her mother would buy her a tape recorder for Christmas. Tatsha would interview anyone who’d sit down with her.

She joined her high school newspaper staff and she’d later earn a MA in Journalism from Ohio State University, where she was the recipient of an academic fellowship.  She now has more 20 years of experience handling investigative, feature and news stories for digital and print media. As the first female New York City Bureau Chief for The Boston Globe, from 1998 – 2006, she covered the 9/11 terrorist attacks, and many other major news events.

Additionally, she has been an adjunct instructor at the Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute at NYU from 2006 to 2014. Since 2006, Robertson had been a frequent guest on national media, appearing on CNN, FOX, Court-TV, MSNBC, Dateline, HLN and the Today Show.  After leaving the Boston Globe, Robertson served as Deputy Editor and Interim Managing Editor at Essence Magazine from 2006 to 2010 where she developed the magazine’s focus on investigative journalism, earning its current status as an important voice on news and political coverage. After establishing Essence’s Washington bureau, she was one of the first journalists to interview President Obama in the Oval office. It was also at Essence that she developed and edited award-winning investigative journalism on two culturally significant topics: the achievement gap and missing Black children.

Robertson joined People Magazine as the Senior Crime Editor where she led coverage of the Newtown and Boston Marathon tragedies. She forged a partnership among the magazine, Anderson Cooper (CNN) and the Cartoon Network to address the national bullying crisis, resulting in a lengthy article in People and extensive coverage on CNN, as well as an award from the National Multicultural Institute.

Since becoming an editor, Robertson has won many awards, including Time Inc.’s Henry Luce Award for Public Service (2008, 2010, 2013), 10 awards (of which 6 were for first-place) for news coverage from the National Association of Black Journalists; New York Association of Black Journalists, and was a finalist in the Henry Luce Award for Reporting (2014).

Follow Tatsha on Twitter @TatshaRobertson and check her out on the web at

29 July, 2013


Thomas Armstrong, Ph.D. is the Executive Director of the American Institute for Learning and Human Development, and an award-winning author and speaker who has been an educator for over forty-five years. Over one million copies of his books are in print in English on issues related to learning and human development.Armstrongindex

He is the author of sixteen books including:

His books have been translated in over eighty foreign editions into twenty-seven languages, including Spanish, Chinese, Hebrew, Danish, and Russian.

He has written for Ladies Home Journal, Family Circle (where he received awards from the Educational Press Association, and the National Association of Secondary School Principals, Parenting (where he was a regularly featured columnist for four years), Mothering (where he was a contributing editor), The AMA Journal of Ethics, many other periodicals, journals, and edited books.

He has appeared on several national and international television and radio programs, including NBC’s “The Today Show,” “CBS This Morning,” “CNN,” the “BBC” and “The Voice of America.”

Articles featuring his work have appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, USA Today, Investor’s Business Daily, Good Housekeeping, and hundreds of other newspapers and magazines around the country.

Dr. Armstrong has given over 1000 keynotes, workshop presentations, and lectures on six continents in 29 countries, and 44 states in the past thirty years. His clients have included Sesame Street, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the European Council of International Schools, the Republic of Singapore, and several state departments of education. He is a member the PEN American Center.


Twitter: @Dr_Armstrong

21 July, 2013


Photo credit: Leslie McKeller

Whether he’s writing about John Smith or John C. Calhoun, about the Union’s siege of Charleston in the Civil War or the shipwrecked birth of America, Joseph Kelly looks for the human story, fully painting the figures who make history happen. Always he aims to write about complex ideas and history in lively, readable prose. His interests range from the obscenity trial of James Joyce’s Ulysses to U. S. Southern history. Currently, he’s tackling the maroons, mutineers, and pirates who pioneered the idea of America. His Marooned: Shipwreck, Jamestown, and the Epic Story of the First Americans was published by Bloomsbury Press in Fall 2018.

In addition to several critical and biographical articles on James Joyce, Kelly’s first book, Our Joyce:  From Outcast to Icon, uses extensive archival research to uncover the manipulations of this monumental figure of modern literature by liberals and conservatives in the American culture wars.  His popular introductory books on short stories, poems, essays, and plays, W. W. Norton & Company’s Seagull Readers, have sold well over 100,000 copies and are entering their 4th edition.  His latest offering from Overlook Press, America’s Longest Siege:  Charleston, Slavery, and the Slow March toward Civil War, “brings a literary sensibility to the craft of history writing,” according to the eminent Lincoln scholar, Orville Vernon Burton.

Kelly earned his Ph. D. in literature with a minor in history from the University of Texas at Austin in 1992.  Since then, he has been teaching a variety of courses at the College of Charleston, most recently Irish nationalism and culture, urban geography, and composition.  He is the Co-Director of the College of Charleston’s Commission on Diversity, a Faculty Administrative Fellow in the President’s office, and a recent recipient of the Charleston’s Distinguished Service Award and Leo I. Higden Outstanding Leadership Award.

16 July, 2013


book_party_1Debut novelist Elaine Neil Orr has been very busy promoting her gorgeous novel about a missionary in the pre-Civil War South who goes to Africa.  Inspired by the diary of an actual missionary, A DIFFERENT SUN has been getting rave reviews. Elaine, who teaches literature at North Carolina State University, sent in  this wonderful photo of one book club that has embraced this wonderful and complex novel.

10 April, 2013

Elaine Neil Orr at Quail Ridge Books, Raleigh, NC

149255_10151609324216095_748943320_n (3)Last night, April 9, Elaine Neil Orr launched A Different Sun (Berkley/Penguin), a novel about a young missionary woman who leaves her parent’s plantation to accompany her missionary husband to Africa, at a wonderful independent bookstore in Raleigh, Quail Ridge Books.  Orr, who was born in Nigeria, where much of the novel takes place, was inspired by9780425261309_p0_v1_s114x166 an actual diary of a young missionary woman.

Library Journal applauded Orr’s debut:

“Lush, evocative, breathtaking in its descriptions, and deeply spiritual in its themes of love, forgiveness, and transformation, this extraordinary novel shines with light and depth. Reminiscent of Barbara Kingsolver’s magnum opus, The Poisonwood Bible, with elements of Joseph Conrad and Louise Erdrich, Orr’s stunning debut is starkly beautiful and true to life.”

Orr is also the author of a breathtaking memoir of growing up in Nigeria, The Gods of Noonday (University Press of Virginia).

For more about Elaine Neil Orr, go to


12 November, 2012

I Believe in NaNoWriMo

A Guest Post from Melissa F. Olson, whose debut DEAD SPOTS was just published by 47North

For thirteen years now, a small non-profit organization based out of SanFranscisco has transformed the otherwise boring month of November into National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo for short), which is, as they put it, “thirty days and nights of literary abandon.” The idea is very simple: first, sign up online. Then, over the course of the month, write 50,000 words. If you make it to 50,000, you “win.” If you don’t make it, you’ve likely still managed to jump-start your writing ambitions with the support of the NaNo organization, which has grown from 140 participants the first year, to over a quarter of a million last year.

That’s it. There’s no hidden agenda, no contests or prizes, no fees. This is simply a program for anyone who has wanted to write a novel, but needed a kick in the pants. And that’s what I love about the whole enterprise: it’s for everybody. You might be a professional author, with a long list of bestsellers under your belt, or a lowly office assistant who had this idea a few years back and never got around to making notes. NaNo is all about people from all walks of life saying, “Yes. I’m doing this. I’m writing a novel, and here it goes.” All are welcome.

It’s such a refreshing attitude for the writing profession, which is probably the first or second most intimidating career plan in the world (along with acting). It can be so difficult to get yourself published, especially in these changing times. Professional writing has long had the stink of elitism all around it, an oppressive sense of failure that can push you down before you’ve even begun. NaNoWriMo is all about throwing those anxieties aside and embracing the fun, crazy parts of writing: not just the joy of creating a story, but also the caffeine overdoses, the sore typing fingers, the giddy sense of accomplishment when a scene comes together, the way a certain line of dialogue can seem so hysterically funny at three in the morning.  Not to mention the sense of community: you’re working with a whole online group, of course, but many cities now have NaNoWriMo get-togethers, giving novelists the chance to hang out with maybe the only people in the world who understand their desire to write.

As much as I love NaNoWriMo, however, I myself am not a NaNoWriMo winner. A couple-three years ago, I signed up for my first NaNoWriMo, and ended up a NaNo loser. I think I made it to something like 30,000 words, far short of the 50,000-word goal. I didn’t just walk away from what I’d written, though – I kept going. After all, how could I abandon a project that had occupied my thoughts for a full month? And those 30,000 words grew to eventually become DEAD SPOTS, my first novel, which was just published last week. DEAD SPOTS took a total of eight months to finish, and eventually weighed in right around 90,000 words. Now, math has never been a friend of mine, but I believe that means I wrote about a third of the book in about an eighth of the time, thanks to NaNoWriMo. And if that’s being a loser, well, you can sign me up to lose every year.

Check out Melissa’s website at You can also follow her on Twitter and like her on Facebook.

19 October, 2012

Spotted at McNally Jackson Bookmongers, Princeton, NJ

It’s not too late for the candidates to get some guidance from Quintius Cicero on how to run a successful campaign!  You can “Like” Quintius Cicero” on Facebook where he will continue to live-blog during the final Presidential debate.  Here is HOW TO WIN AN ELECTION, Edited by Philip Freeman, well-positioned next to a “binder.”

25 May, 2012

Remembering Kathi Kamen-Goldmark

I first encountered Kathi Kamen-Goldmark seven years ago when our mutual dear friend and my client, Leslie Levine, asked me to join her, Kathi and Sam Barry to lead what has come to be known as the reading and writing week at Rancho La Puerta, a health spa of some renown in Tecate, Mexico.  With her infectious grin, sparkling eyes, wicked sense of humor, and warmth, not to mention a cloud of gorgeous red curls, Kathi was a force to be reckoned with.  To know Kathi (and by that I mean, to be lucky enough to encounter her), was to fall instantly in love.  And it just got better throughout the week, as Kathi and Sam lead singalongs at the piano in the lounge at Rancho, and regaled us with stories of their publishing escapades and friends.  Kathi valiantly took part in early morning hikes, African dance class, yoga and the great fitness classes, but she lived for the Broadway dance class at week’s end, in which a tiny Asian dance master led us through Hollywood routines, leaving us breathless and panting for more.

The week’s highlight was the talent show, organized by Kathi and Sam, friends and partners in music, life, and everything else the universe has to offer.  Kathi began shamelessly recruiting for the talent show on day one of our week there, cheering on the talented and the talentless, who like I, could always be part of the back-up dancers and play the kazoo.  There is no one else in the entire world who could persuade me to make a consummate fool of myself, but there was no saying “no” to Kathi!  (Truth be told, I enjoyed making a fool of myself, but that can be our little secret.)  For the finale, Kathi, guitar in hand, would perform “The Slut Song,” her own indelible composition, and one that left us with tears of laughter pouring down our faces.

Kathi also loved our delicious swims at what Leslie called “the secret pool,” high on the hill with a stunning view of the surrounding mountains, graced with an archway looking out on to a vista of what I imagine to be a grove of cypress trees.  (A city girl, I am rather loose with my botanical terms.)

From time to time, we had to remember that we were actually there to teach and share our knowledge about reading, writing and publishing.  Kathi’s fiction-writing class made the art of writing seem like the art of the possible–and it was such fun.   No one was exempt from reading their work, yours truly included.

So most years, I totally looked forward to seeing Kathi, bright halo of hair surrounding her merry face, at Rancho and sharing the good times and mischief.  I knew that Kathi had so many friends, countless friends, and felt lucky that in my own little way, I had been admitted at least into the outer circle.  In time, Kathi and Sam got married, and it was a joy to witness the tenderness with which they treated each other.

So when Kathi and Sam asked me if I’d represent them for a book they planned to write together on their journey through cancer, each of them as both patient and caregiver (Sam had also had a scare with colon cancer), I was deeply touched and I vowed to place the book in the best of publishing hands. I felt truly honored to be working with them. They wrote a brilliant proposal that was actually laugh-out-loud funny in parts.  I found a wonderful editor who had lost her sister to cancer the year before.  As Kathi put it, if she had to go through this hellish experience, she wanted at least to be able to share what she and Sam had learned along the way.   Sadly, just as we were waiting to receive the fully executed contract, I received the news that Kathi had only perhaps a day or even hours to live.

I hate that Kathi had to suffer, to be scared, and to die. It feels shockingly cruel.  But I take some comfort in that she lived so richly that most of us would be lucky to sample the crumbs of the banquet that she laid out daily for everyone she touched.

Kathi, you were and remain a goddess.  Thank you for letting me know  you, even a little bit.

Love, Joelle

(Kathi above with Leslie Levine)



13 March, 2012


Classicist, historian and novelist Philip Freeman brings a remarkable gift as a storyteller and an ability to make the ancient world contemporary through his interpretation and translation of events and great works. Currently the Fletcher Jones Chair of Western Culture at Pepperdine University, Dr. Freeman earned a joint Ph.D. at Harvard University in 1994 in classics and Celtic studies.  He has taught at Boston University, Washington University in St. Louis, and was the Qualley Chair of Classical Languages at Luther College in Iowa. He has been a visiting fellow at the American Academy in Rome, the Center for Hellenic Studies in Washington D.C., and the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, and has been awarded fellowships by the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Loeb Classical Library Foundation, and the Lilly Foundation.

Philip Freeman is the author of a number of books on ancient and medieval studies, including biographies of St. Patrick, Julius Caesar, and Sappho, as well as translations of the works of Cicero.  Praising his biography of Alexander the Great  (Simon & Schuster 2010), Wall Street Journal declared: “Mr. Freeman’s ambition, he tells us in his introduction, was ‘to write a biography of Alexander that is first and foremost a story.’ It is one he splendidly fulfills.” His most recent biography, Hannibal: Rome’s Greatest Enemy was published in February 2022 (Pegasus). A long-time contributor to Princeton University Press’ “Ancient Wisdom for Modern Times” series, Freeman’s latest title is How to Tell a Story (May 2022), which distills Aristotle’s Poetics.

Freeman has been interviewed on All Things Considered, MSNBC, as well as many local NPR shows.  His books have been reviewed in the Wall St. Journal, Slate, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Times, among others.  More recently, Dr. Freeman has proven a natural as a historical novelist. St. Brigid’s Bones, Sacrifice and The Gospel of Mary are Celtic mysteries (Pegasus), set in the early days of Christianity in Ireland, and feature a young nun, Sister Deirdre, who proves to be a charming detective.

You can also follow Philip on Twitter or check him out on Facebook (philipfreemanwriter).  Also check out