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Praise for Russell Hill’s The Egret from Mystery Scene Magazine

In Russell Hill’s The Egret, a grieving father wreaks vengeance on the hit-and-run driver who caused his daughter to die. This father, never named in the book, begins stalking the uber-rich and conscienceless Earl Anthony Winslow. As the tension escalates, so do the attempts on Winslow’s life, moving up from a gunshot to a poisonous snake bite to a Molotov cocktail and even to a hastily assembled IED. Although the book is deadly serious, this escalation of violence is faintly reminiscent of Wile E Coyote’s constant attempts to kill the Road Runner. Winslow somehow survives everything the grieving father throws at him, although several bystanders aren’t as fortunate. The father sees himself as an egret: patient, and deadly. Finally confronting his daughter’s killer, he says, “There’s a bird that is a stalker. It moves silently and when it finds the thing it wants to eat, it remains motionless until the thing is right where it wants it and then it strikes. Right now I have you right where l want you.” It isn’t the final act of revenge itself that makes this 161 page novella so fascinating, it’s the look deep inside the mind and soul of a man who compares himself to a bird. Author Russell Hill likes birds. He is best known for the magical realism of The Lord God Bird, in which two teens taking refuge in the Great Dismal Swamp encounter a bird long thought to be extinct. In that book, Hill visualized the ivory-billed woodpecker as ecology’s bellwether: learn or die. In this deftly handled novel, an egret delivers a lesson on how to kill.  Betty Webb, Mystery Scene Magazine

From others:

I was so engrossed by The Egret that I read it in one straight sitting. It’s brilliant, concise, poetic, gritty and deceptively simple with all the dark undercurrents of anger and nostalgia. – Max Jourdan, London filmmaker

In his novella, The Egret, science fiction writer turns to realistic—all too realistic—fiction. In this suspense tale, Hill writes in a lean, mean prose style that I associate with some of my favorite writers, including those household names of fame, Chandler and Hemingway….I also admire Hill’s use of a daring device–1st person POV, where it becomes ominously more and more clear the narrator, who has suffered what he believes is a terrible injustice, may not survive his obsession with revenge, that his elaborate plans to get even may end in ways he did not foresee. – Edward Harkness, The Law of the Unforeseen, Beautiful Passing Lives & Saying the Necessary

We would love to hear your thoughts! If you read The Egret, or any PBS books, please add a comment – it doesn’t have to be fancy or time consuming – on Amazon, or Goodreads. Thank you so much. Cheers to igniting indie buzz!

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The New York Times Reviews Sandler’s ‘Goodbye To Tenth Street’ as one of the Best Art Books In 2018!

The Times’s art critics select some of their favorite art books and books related to art of the year.

Click to see full NYT link

By Roberta Smith

‘GOODBYE TO TENTH STREET: A NOVEL’ By Irving Sandler (Pleasure Boat Studio). Anyone drawn to postwar New York’s art scene that centered in part on East 10th Street should read the last book of Mr. Sandler, the art historian and critic extraordinaire who died in June. He was there in the late 1950s and early ’60s taking notes while the Abstract Expressionists made history, and he became known for his meticulous accounts of their saga. But here he offers a roman à clef filled with the unverified gossip, overheard conversations, and rumors of nooners and backbiting that were unsuitable to fact-based history (though a few historical figures occupy the margins). The tale — from charged studio visits to nasty exchanges at the Cedar Bar —has its own sad, sordid, unsurprising truth.

And this month, Small Press Distribution included
Goodbye to Tenth Street in their SPD Recommends.

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Seattle PBS author Mary Lou Sanelli Op-ed

Mary Lou Sanelli is a writer, dance teacher and literary speaker. She lives in Belltown.
Click on books to view:

In what kind of world does a baby girl live in a homeless camp?

A bike ride past a small child in a blue-tarp homeless encampment stirs thoughts about society’s failures.

Even during our rainy months, as soon as I begin riding my bike, satisfaction flows into me quickly, like a sugar rush, just as when I was 6 years old, feeling the freedom of riding for the first time. But the real point is that I notice so much more at bicycle speed, and I want to notice.

And this morning would feel like too grand a luxury, too great a denial, to not notice the newest jury-rigged tarp strung between branches along the waterfront pathway, so stark and, yet, so full of determination, everything about its makeshift survival is admirable and horrifying at the same time. The layers of plastic persistence are etched into my brain.

I feel uncomfortable to think of it now, nearly as much as I felt then, when my first thought was what will our parks be like in 10 years as our city becomes more and more crowded and even more expensive, every tent standing alone and, yet, together in one continuous chain of poverty and addiction and a failing system of both health care and leadership.

A young man is standing on a sheet of muddy cardboard next to the tarp and for a moment the earth seemed to fall away under my feet. Because what else I see is tender and good and yet countless kinds of wrong in a country rich as ours: He (her father or brother, I don’t know), is holding a baby girl, maybe a year old. Their campsite is pretty tidy, but the one next to them is trash-strewn and reeks of urine and feces, the horrible smells we need to protect ourselves from.

I slowed, stopped, and without thinking said, “Good morning.”

He was a man battling some kind of chemical addiction; all you had to do was look at him to know it. To have no choice but to raise a child in filth and chaos is visible in the eyes. And I had this clear impression that I was seeing someone struggling to cope and losing his struggle at the same time. He looked at me, squinted, and said, sort of absently, “Good enough.”

I tried to continue riding as though nothing had happened, but the tension in my spine grew along with my guilt. I live with that image every moment now. I can’t let it go. A maternal anger has come over me. We don’t have time to work out what’s going wrong with the system, certainly not enough to save that little girl. I rode off wondering if her generation won’t even find homelessness newsworthy anymore because it’s so common.

My friends lean both ways.

One thinks that the homeless should be “rounded up.” That is exactly what she said. As if, like the sunspot she had lasered off her cheek, we can simply swipe them away, the whole problem disappearing if we apply enough heat.

Another started helping in a soup kitchen long before it was cool to do so.

My mother used to say: There but for the grace of God, go I.

I say: God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and the patience not to smack the head of the man in my building who said, “Mary Lou, Mary Lou,” repeating my name twice so that I, silly liberal, silly woman, would finally comprehend the world as he sees it. “What’s the point of more bike lanes if they encourage more people who can’t afford cars?”

“You are an imbecile,” I said.

It’s the kind of thing I say when I don’t say anything for a few seconds so that I can collect my thoughts.

It’s the kind of thing I say when I am fed up.

It’s the kind of thing I say when I feel desperate about our failings.

I tell you, homeless children are our truest failing.

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Robert Sund Poets House makes changes with PBS

The Robert Sund Poets House to now carry these Sund titles to simplify the ordering/shipping process. PBS was honored to distribute these Robert Sund books:

Taos Mountain

Poetry. Literary Nonfiction. Art. Edited by Glenn Hughes and Tim McNulty. Afterword by Glenn Hughes. After growing up in the Pacific Northwest, poet and painter Robert Sund was moved and altered by his encounter with the Southwest. He lived in Taos, New Mexico, and filled page after page with notes, poems, prose, and gorgeous paintings. This book is a limited edition which demonstrates Sund’s virtuosity and versatility.

Poems from Ish River Country: Collected Poems and Translations

Poems from Ish River Country collects the complete poems of poet, painter and calligrapher Robert Sund. Mr. Sund’s few published volumes of poetry and frequent public readings established his reputation as one of the most distinctive poetic voices of the Pacific Northwest, where he enjoyed a tremendous popularity before his death in 2001. His short, imagistic poems, in the tradition of William Carlos Williams and Kenneth Rexroth, distill the essence of the Northwest landscape and in plain speech celebrate themes of family, friendship, work and quiet contemplation.
Included here are the poet’s award-winning collections, Bunch Grass, which gave literary voice to the rolling wheat country east of the Cascade Mountains in his native Washington State, and Ish River, which celebrated the misty, riverine landscape of the Puget Sound country, a place, in the poet’s words, “between two mountain ranges where / many rivers / run down to an inland sea”. But the great bulk of this collection contains poems unpublished during the poet’s lifetime or published only in very limited editions. There is also a generous selection of his translations, from Issa, Buson, Basho, and most especially from the Swedish poet Rabbe Enckell, with whom Mr. Sund felt a close affinity.

From the site:

Like a Boat Drifting.”

Like a boat drifting,
      sleep flows forward
            on the deep water of dreams.
      Drifts and drifts…
      until, finally
      the bottom falls out of knowledge.
      In the fragrant mist of dawn
      the rower wakes,
            picks up the oars, sets them,
            and begins to row.
      All night
      he labored in his dream
            to be born
      like a song in the mouth of God.

For more on Robert Sund &/or to order books:

PBS will continue to carry Notes from Disappearing Lake

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It is with great pleasure & esteem that PBS announces the official publication of

Goodbye to Tenth Street
by Irving Sandler

“It’s not unusual for an art historian or critic to mingle with artists; it is unusual for an art historian to turn those interactions and the firsthand knowledge that results into the basis for scholarship,” Blair Asbury Brooks wrote on the website Artspace in 2014. “This was Sandler’s gift.”

Irving Sandler and Lois Dodd in Tanager Gallery 1956.

Guggenheim photo of the Cedar Street Tavern in the ’50’s.

From the impactful, inspiring and influential art historian and critic, known as a champion of artists, Irving Sandler’s Goodbye to Tenth Street, is a captivating read for art and historical fiction lovers.

Goodbye to Tenth Street is the first novel written by Irving Sandler, one of America’s finest and most acclaimed art critics. Sandler vividly portrays the New York art world from the death of Jackson Pollock in 1956 to the emergence of Andy Warhol in 1962. Goodbye to Tenth Street explores the business and the culture of Abstract Expressionism, including the soul-searching quest for artistic authenticity, the alcohol, the sex, and the intense rivalries among its proponents. Based on Sandler’s personal experiences, the art world of his invention brings to life a tight-knit but deeply competitive community of artists, critics, curators, and gallery owners, where connections are forged and betrayed, ideologies clash, and relationships blossom and implode with dizzying speed. Several of the characters are well known personalities—Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning, Andy Warhol, et al.—and others hint at real people or are amalgams of art world denizens that may be identified by the astute reader.

Art theory and art history are interwoven throughout the plot of this crisp and sparkling narrative. Sandler paints a dynamic portrait of the Abstract Expressionists and their visual breakthroughs and makes us ponder the pursuit for meaning, emotional honesty, and objectivity via artistic expression. With the arrival of Pop Art as the newest avant-garde, where commercialism supplants emotional expression, Sandler reveals the changing attitudes in the art world, the conflict between the older and younger generation of artists, and the necessity of these periodic upheavals in keeping art relevant to our times. Written from the perspective of a contemporary, Sandler gives a “behind-the-scenes” look at the personalities and events of this important period in American art history.

Much gratitude goes to Jack Estes, Catherine Sandler, Irving’s devoted daughter, and Lucy Sandler, Irving’s beloved wife, for all of their incredible help and support with this publication. A special thank you to Catherine for her exacting detail-oriented help writing the letter with Jack and I, refining the look/editing of PR and book; and for her front cover design. I made the back to match. Thank you, as always, to all of our readers and supporters of this small indie press…we couldn’t be here without you!


Click the Artists Space logo above to link to the website and the above Irving Sandler image for a link to a bevy of Instagram posts/photos, placed in rows for automatic viewing of many people’s tributes to Irving Sandler..

“Artists Space has been the site of provocative discussion and experimentation within contemporary artistic debate….Artists Space was founded in 1972 by arts administrator Trudie Grace and critic Irving Sandler as a pilot project for the New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA), with the goal of assisting young, emerging artists.” 

In Artforum in 2004, critic Robert Storr called Sandler’s sweeping narratives “readable and deeply informed by their author’s unrivaled access to the artists and art-worldlings about whom he writes.”

He added: “No one has seen more exhibitions in New York galleries or sat on, or in on, as many panels for as many years. Nor has anyone more scrupulously set down what people said in such forums, at openings, or in intimate studio or bar conversations than Sandler. Name a painter, sculptor, curator, critic, or idea man or woman and he will have talked to them and made notes.”

We hope you enjoy this book, and perhaps discover more art, artists and knowledge through his others books, as I have with his wonderful Swept Up By Art.

Finally, please share a comment to help spread the word and gain momentum on Amazon, Goodreads or Pleasure Boat Studio. Thank you and Happy Holidays!

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“In a dark time, the eye begins to see…

                                                           Theodore Roethke
Dear friends:

This year, my eye sees one thing: There IS light at the end of the tunnel. So here is this year’s, somewhat polemical but hopeful, Thanksgiving poem. 
A blessed holiday season and New Year to you all,
Poem That Can Make America Great Again
We will grieve not, rather find 
Strength in what remains behind; 
In the primal sympathy 
Which having been must ever be; 
In the soothing thoughts that spring 
Out of human suffering; 
In the faith that looks through death, 
In years that bring the philosophic mind. 
       William Wordsworth, “Immortality Ode”
This is the poem
that will make America great again.
This is the poem
that the hungriest child in America
can trade in for a feast
at a billionaire’s table. This
is the poem that will transfuse its blood
into the bodies of Muslims
and Jews and Zoroastrians and sinners.
This is the poem that crossed the border
without inspection and proclaimed
its independence from hate, indifference,
bigotry and divisiveness. This is the poem
that refuses to be read its rights when
its wrists are shackled and its joy is crushed.
This is the poem that has gerrymandered
the countless districts of the heart into a state
of perfect justice. This is the poem that revoked
the citizenship of every racist, bigot, anti-Semite,
Islamophobe, xenophobe, homophobe and
torturer of animals, the poem that will tear down
the Border Wall, brick by inhospitable brick,
and, in its place, build a center for infants,
geriatrics, and the infirm of heart. This is the poem
that sleeps with the Meditations of Marcus Aurelius
under its pillow. This is the poem that is not
vulnerable to false pieties or empty slogans,
a poem of hesitant rhetoric. This is the poem
that voted for Dick Gregory, Eugene McCarthy,
Ralph Nader, Barbara Jordan, and, of course,
Barack Obama and Jimmy Carter. This is the poem
that gazed into the President’s heart and found
only a resonant emptiness This is the poem
that snuck a peek at the President’s tax returns
and is too ashamed to say what it found there.
This is the poem that can turn into a hammer
for Habitat for Humanity and a nail in the coffin
of injustice. This is the poem that would rather
sleep with Angela Merkel than Stormy Daniels,
with Elizabeth Warren than Melania Trump.
This is the poem that loves the voluntary acts of
strong women. This is the poem that can concretize
the great abstraction– goodness, charity, humility,
decency, and kindness– into a vast conspiracy.
This is the poem that can make America great again,
that will allow us to gaze into the mirror and see
a face we can sleep with once more. See?— It’s
working already. Isn’t it amazing, what poetry can do?
                                                                           Thanksgiving, 2018

Michael C. Blumenthal

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Review of The Egret by Ed Harkness

On Goodreads, Edward Harkness gives The Egret *****

 The Egret by Russell Hill 

It was amazing

In his novella, The Egret, science fiction writer turns to realistic—all too realistic—fiction. In this suspense tale, Hill writes in a lean, mean prose style that I associate with some of my favorite writers, including those household names of fame, Chandler and Hemingway. The Egret literally snatches the reader–me–like its first and central metaphor, the egret, described in the opening paragraph as patient, waiting in the shallows for just the right moment to snatch its minnow. By the end of the second chapter, I realized I was the happy minnow.

I also admire Hill’s use of a daring device–1st person POV, where it becomes ominously more and more clear the narrator, who has suffered what he believes is a terrible injustice, may not survive his obsession with revenge, that his elaborate plans to get even may end in ways he did not foresee.

I won’t give away too much here other than to say the 1st person device works as well in the film Sunset Boulevard, with its voice-over narrator spoken by a man floating lifelessly in a swimming pool. It also works in Randall Jarrell’s famous short poem, “The Death of the Ball Turret Gunner” (“…when I died they washed me out of the turret with a hose.”). And it works in The Egret.

As an earlier reviewer said, The Egret is a “page turner.” That’s almost an understatement.

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Twilight in Danzig by Siegfried Kra officially sent into the world this 10.15.18

Pleasure Boat Studio is honored and grateful to release this significant, cinematic-beauty:

Twilight in Danzig by Siegfried Kra

Based on Siegfried Kra’s own childhood, Twilight in Danzig is an important addition to pre-Holocaust literature and a unique chronicle of European Jewish culture that reads like a thriller.

Young Jonas Kruger’s parents. are scions of Danzig society, his father a coal merchant, his mother a lovely socialite. But the rise of Hitler in 1933 forces them to examine their identity and make difficult moral choices: Jonas’ governess secretly enrolls him in the Nazi Youth; Mr. Kruger buys open tickets on the Queen Mary, but keeps his family in Danzig, hoping the madness will blow over.

But soon the anti-Jewish laws will reach Danzig and the Krugers will face the most difficult decision of their lives: whether to try to reform and resist from within, or to flee penniless to a country that doesn’t want them, leaving their larger family to an unspeakable fate.

~ The story of this family is unique due to the great wealth they had and lost. It adds another dimension to the personal hardships and loss suffered by many at the hands of the Third Reich. No Jew was safe during this period. They finally attempt to leave Danzig and their privileged life. It is a very personal story and one that recounts the hopelessness of coping in a world controlled by a treacherous leader. I highly recommend this book. If you don’t read it you are missing a treasure.” – Gary A. Wilson, Ph.D.

~ “…a stunning portrait of a city under seig at the birth of the Nazi regime in 1932 and 1933.” – Rick Zitter

SIEGFRIED KRA emigrated, with his family, from Danzig, Germany to New York in 1939. He attended CCNY, then went to medical school in France and Switzerland before completing his training at Yale. In his practice as a cardiologist, he has treated tens of thousands of patients. Kra has published over a dozen books, both fiction and non-fiction. In addition to medicine and writing, his passions include his passions include opera, growing orchids, and tennis, which he still plays weekly at age eighty-six. He also still teaches as an Associate Professor of Medicine at Yale University School of Medicine and Quininipac University Netter School of Medicine.

$22.95 – on sale now through the end of November for $18.95 when you order at:

We really appreciate any little review or comment you might provide on Amazon, Goodreads or this site to help spread the word and boost knowledge of our titles. Thank you for your support!

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Jeanette Winterson’s 10 tips on writing

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Brain Pickings

Jeanette Winterson’s 10 Tips on Writing

winterson.jpg?w=680In 2010, inspired by Elmore Leonard’s classic 10 Rules of Writing published nearly a decade earlier, The Guardianinvited some of the world’s most celebrated living authors to share their own dicta of the craft. “Resign yourself to the lifelong sadness that comes from never ­being satisfied,”Zadie Smith counseled in the last of her ten. Midway through her list, Margaret Atwood grounded the psychological dimensions of the craft in the pragmatic and the physical: “Do back exercises. Pain is distracting.” Neil Gaiman thought eight rather than ten tenets would be sufficient — a meta-testament to his sixth: “Perfection is like chasing the horizon. Keep moving.”

Among the contributors was Jeanette Winterson — a writer of exquisite prose and keen insight into the deepest strata of the human experience: time and languageour elemental need for belongingthe power of arthow storytelling transforms us.


Jeanette Winterson (Photograph: Polly Borland)

Winterson offers:

  1. Turn up for work. Discipline allows creative freedom. No discipline equals no freedom.
  2. Never stop when you are stuck. You may not be able to solve the problem, but turn aside and write something else. Do not stop altogether.
  3. Love what you do.
  4. Be honest with yourself. If you are no good, accept it. If the work you are ­doing is no good, accept it.
  5. Don’t hold on to poor work. If it was bad when it went in the drawer it will be just as bad when it comes out.
  6. Take no notice of anyone you don’t respect.
  7. Take no notice of anyone with a ­gender agenda. A lot of men still think that women lack imagination of the fiery kind.
  8. Be ambitious for the work and not for the reward.
  9. Trust your creativity.
  10. Enjoy this work!

For more hard-earned guidance on the writing process from other titans of literature, see Henry Miller’s eleven commandments of writing, Eudora Welty on the art of narrative, Susan Sontag’s advice to writers, and T.S. Eliot’s warm, wry letter of advice to a sixteen-year-old girl aspiring to be a writer.

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If you love indie books, we could use your help!

Do you love indie books? So do we, and we wouldn’t be here without all of you wonderful readers! There are so many treasures here at Pleasure Boat Studio written by an array of stunning talent.

Unfortunately, the piggy bank to effectively support the press, is pretty dry, too dry to buy the necessary books that are needed right now, to send for review, for inventory to fulfill orders, for a few big SPD orders that pay back every few months through consignment sales.

We would be ever so grateful for your community support and help in meeting the financial demands of the press, in any way you might be able to extend a hand. To show this gratitude, and to compensate you for your generosity, I am offering several options of goods and services that you can choose from, as well as by giving 10% to

The options to treat yourself, or to gift others:

* Surprise Bag: Get 3 surprise books of your preferred genre(s) for $30!

* $100 Club: Prepay for $100 worth of new releases &/or books of your choice. We will send the books to you as you request them.

* Bulk Orders: If you would like to order in bulk for a book club or other reason, you will receive a 30% discount when you order from this site.

Live in Seattle?

* Pet sitting or dog walking, if you live in West Seattle – $25/day

* One Reiki Treatment ~ $65 or a 4-Session Reiki package ~ $200. Info:

Please email me your contribution amount and address after donating through the donate button, and I will send you a certificate and/or package of books immediately, whichever your choice(s) may be. There is no exp date. If you would like to be on a list of names for supporters or not, please let me know. Thank you so much!