Sheryl Sorrentino

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Orange is the New Black

Posted by Sheryl Sorrentino on Sunday, July 26, 2015,
I’ve become hooked on the Netflix series, Orange is the New Black. What a coup for Piper Kerman (author of the book by the same name)! I wish one of my books would get turned into a TV series. But seriously, unless someone you know is in prison, who even thinks about inmates or correctional institutions? The disenfranchised are tidily tucked away from view; we have no idea what goes on in such places, nor do we care. For raising our “corrections consciousness,” I give props to Ora...
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Don’t Ditch Your Land Line

Posted by Sheryl Sorrentino on Sunday, September 21, 2014,
Most young people no longer install land lines when they get their first apartment. They often live in short-term housing; their finances are tight; and they grew up relying on mobile devices and simply don't know any better. But many older folks, too, are getting rid of home phones they've had for years. I say, please don’t!

Don’t get me wrong: Cell phones are a fantastic invention. They have earned a prominent foothold in our day-to-day lives and changed the fabric of how we comm...
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This Beautiful Life: Quick and Compelling Read about Indidiousness of Technology

Posted by Sheryl Sorrentino on Monday, June 9, 2014,


This hidden gem deals with the current vexing topic of kids “sexting,” that is, posting and sending unflattering sexual pictures and videos of themselves over the internet. Fifteen-year-old Jake Bergamot receives just such a video from Daisy, a 13-year-old admirer and schoolmate he meets at a party. In an unthinking moment of bravado, disgust, confusion—we are never quite sure which (indeed Jake himself is never 100% sure), he forwards the email to one of his buddies.

The rest is...
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Are Mediums for Real?

Posted by Sheryl Sorrentino on Saturday, February 22, 2014,
I have a confession to make: I am a huge fan of Long Island Medium, that hoaky reality show featuring Long Island, N.Y. housewife and spitfire extraordinaire, Theresa Caputo. Maybe it’s that big, bleached head of hair, or that infectious, down-to-earth Italian charm (so reminiscent of characters I grew up with), or her tattooed, tough-guy sweetie of a husband. Maybe I’m jealous of her remarkably well-adjusted and supportive (if sometimes snarky) teenagers who good-naturedly indulge...
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The Mysterious Life and Death of a Health Fanatic

Posted by Sheryl Sorrentino on Saturday, November 30, 2013,

My brother George left this world one year ago today at age 57. At the time, I considered it one of life’s great ironies that a man who never drank—and who was unfailingly obsessive about his diet and weight—died so young of liver cirrhosis.

My brother was a dedicated servant to his chiropractic patients and most in his element when giving advice about nutrition and health. He lived and breathed health-related issues far beyond chiropractic, and was always ready to impart his knowled...


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Astor Place Vintage: A Well-Crafted Collision of Feminism's First and Third Waves

Posted by Sheryl Sorrentino on Tuesday, October 15, 2013,

I was recently contacted, out of the blue, by a traditionally-published author for an honest review of her latest novel (tell me, how cool is that?). Although I already had the book on my Goodreads "To Read" shelf, I was afraid I might hate it. And then what? Unlike some, I would never trash a novel after being asked to review it. But at the same time, I couldn't very well accept a free copy and then not post a review--at least not without telling the author why I didn't enjoy her book enou...


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A Dumb Question about “Revenge Porn”

Posted by Sheryl Sorrentino on Tuesday, October 8, 2013,
 
I read in last Sunday’s paper that California passed a new law designed to combat “revenge porn.” It imposes fines and even jail time on jilted lovers who post nude photos of former flames "with the intent to cause serious emotional distress." The only problem is, the law has two huge loopholes: It doesn’t apply to “selfies” (that is, self-shot pictures), and it doesn’t affect the Federal Communications Decency Act of 1996 (which shields website operators from liability for use...

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Am I Dead?

Posted by Sheryl Sorrentino on Wednesday, September 25, 2013,


I saw a rather intriguing movie last week—Margaret, in which Anna Paquin (playing 17-year-old Lisa Cohen) performs a powerful scene with Allison Janney as Monica, the woman hit and dismembered by a New York City bus after Lisa thoughtlessly distracted the driver over a stupid cowboy hat. Lying in the street in Lisa’s arms, her severed leg lodged beneath the bus’s rear wheel about ten feet away, Monica asks Lisa, “Am I dead?”

It is a gruesome, bloody, and emotional scene—one wh...


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"Crossing Over" in Literature as in Life

Posted by Sheryl Sorrentino on Saturday, September 14, 2013,
Note to Readers: Full post appears as a guest blog on Compulsion Reads!

I have been asked on several occasions why I, a white writer, feature non-white protagonists in my two most recent novels (Puerto Rican Norma Reyes in The Floater and biracial Sonya Schoenberg in Stage Daughter). The question itself is rather telling. After all, real life is multi-dimensional where race is concerned, so why would a novelist “raise eyebrows” simply by creating fictional characters whose cultural ...
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And the Mountains Echoed

Posted by Sheryl Sorrentino on Monday, August 12, 2013,

And the Mountains EchoedAnd the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

First, a confession (in the interests of fairness and full disclosure): Khaled Hosseini has attained “untouchable” status in my view—so much so that, as my all-time favorite author, he can do no wrong. When an artist bestows upon me so much pleasure with his unbelievable gift, that shared connection engenders a sort of intimacy and expectancy. We begin to grow together.

Like Hosseini’s first two novels (The Kite Runne...
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Strip Clubs: Harmless, Well-Paying Women’s Work in an “Open Urinal”?

Posted by Sheryl Sorrentino on Saturday, August 3, 2013,

My fourth novel, Stage Daughter, is barely hot off the presses (http://stagedaughter.com) and I am already sniffing around for a fresh idea for my next story. I want to write something edgy and different—a story that pushes the envelope with emotion and controversy. But how do I top a twelve-year-old girl reconnecting her hapless, stressed-out single mom with her devout, unwitting married Muslim dad? I am toying with the idea of writing about a lonely male protagonist who works as a secur...


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Self-Promotion for Chumps and Hos

Posted by Sheryl Sorrentino on Wednesday, July 24, 2013,

Times may be tough, but it’s a great time to be in the self-publishing business. That is, if you happen to sell some variant of snake oil meant to transform an unknown writer into a best-selling author. Book ads. Virtual tours. Paid Tweetingthe possibilities are endless. The only catch is, these marketing devices can only deliver on one promise: To keep our fantasies alive while quickly emptying our wallets.

 

If this sounds a little like prostitution, there are definitely parallels b...


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Loss of Innocence and the Self-Defense Defense

Posted by Sheryl Sorrentino on Thursday, July 18, 2013,

Like many people, I feel perplexed and dismayed by the not-guilty verdict in the George Zimmerman trial. I want to believe that those six women—who heard the evidence on both sides—did their jobs and made the right decision. But as a lawyer, I am not so naïve as to believe that justice prevails in all instances, especially when questions of race are involved.

This verdict has people up in arms. On one side, folks are demonstrating, decrying, and destroying. At the opposite extreme, c...


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On Paula Deen's Use of the "N-Word"

Posted by Sheryl Sorrentino on Thursday, June 27, 2013,
There’s been a lot of backlash surrounding the lawsuit against Paula Deen and the Southern celebrity chef's admission that she used the “N-word” when (among other instances) describing an incident that took place when she was a bank teller and got held up at gunpoint. Ms. Deen said in her sworn deposition that she used the racial slur when recounting the event to her husband.

Although I feel for Ms. Deen being a victim of such a terrifying crime, I am not sure how these extenuating circu...
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Trapped on Vacation

Posted by Sheryl Sorrentino on Sunday, June 23, 2013,
It’s never fun when vacation plans are derailed, but it’s especially unsettling to take a long-awaited trip, only to wind up in the middle of a disaster area. I’d carefully planned our two-pronged retreat, first to a lovely, well-appointed condo in Canmore (near Banff National Park in Alberta, Canada); then—the highpoint of our trip—a secluded cabin in Jasper National Park, about a five-hour drive to the Northwest.

It rained off and on the first few days, but we were still able to en...

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Something Different, or More of the Same?

Posted by Sheryl Sorrentino on Friday, June 14, 2013,
Check out full review of And the Mountains Echoed on Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/559995391

We may give lip service to "reinventing ourselves," but it is a truism that people want and expect us to do what we do best in life. Nowhere is this more evident than in the arts. If a certain genre of book, music, or movie makes someone famous, fans will want more of that. Once an author, musician or director tries “crossing over” into something new and different, he or she risks...
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The Artistry of Writing

Posted by Sheryl Sorrentino on Sunday, May 5, 2013,
Don’t tell my husband, but I am in love with a certain Latin singer. Not the man, necessarily, but his voice. As an "old timer" I’m somewhat embarrassed to admit I’ve become enamored with Marc Anthony’s “second wave” of Spanish love ballads and salsa numbers. But this is not a blog about Latin music or Marc Anthony; I only bring him up because while immersed in his playlist, I got to wondering what it takes to be the literary equivalent of a gifted singer.

In Anthony’s case, ...

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Baby Mama Drama, Meet Islam

Posted by Sheryl Sorrentino on Monday, April 8, 2013,
My fourth novel, Stage Daughter, is nearly complete. Yet never before have I felt such trepidation about releasing a work of fiction. Even with my first novel, Later With Myself: The Misadventures of Millie Moskowitz (which portrays—albeit somewhat fictionally—the freak show that was my childhood), I did not feel such angst as I do about my latest multicultural undertaking.

In Stage Daughter, protagonist Sonya Schoenberg haplessly conceives a child with a devout Muslim man through a night ...
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The Dream Snatchers

Posted by Sheryl Sorrentino on Saturday, March 16, 2013,
I find myself once again facing an all-too-familiar dilemma. Having nearly finished my fourth novel, Stage Daughter, my fingers now itch to hold a proof copy in my hand. I want to see how it looks and reads as a real-life book. And yet, despite having gotten early feedback from five trusted readers, and having edited my manuscript several times over from beginning to end, I am reluctant to take the next steps to prepare it for self-publishing.

Why? Because I am convinced this is my best work ...

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Who Are You Mad At Today?

Posted by Sheryl Sorrentino on Wednesday, February 27, 2013,

I have been doing a great deal of Internet research on Islam for my upcoming fourth novel, Stage Daughter. Aziz, one of three main characters, is a Muslim man, so I have been undergoing a crash online course to better understand how he might think, feel, and react in different circumstances. When not worried about dark-suited CIA agents appearing at my doorstep, I have learned some rather interesting things.

Naturally, all religions have their more bizarre teachings and their more extremist f...


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“Started But Didn’t Finish”: Sacrilegious or Sensible?

Posted by Sheryl Sorrentino on Sunday, January 20, 2013,
Three days ago, I abandoned Michael Chabon’s The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay in favor of Elizabeth Berg’s Once Upon a Time, There Was You. Not because Amazing Adventures isn’t a great book, mind you. But after completing 146 pages (and with more than 500 remaining), my brain began to ache.

Don’t get me wrong: Chabon is an excellent writer and there were moments when I’d been intrigued. But on the whole, I found myself growing weary from the effort required to muddle throu...

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Cold, Critters, and Cramped Confinement: Here’s to Getting Away from It All

Posted by Sheryl Sorrentino on Friday, January 11, 2013,

I just finished reading T.C. Boyle’s San Miguel, a brilliant work of historical fiction that chronicles the lives of two sheep ranching families who resided on this remote island off the coast of Santa Barbara during the late nineteenth century and the 1930’s. Mirantha Waters, the story’s first female protagonist, loathed the isolation and merciless weather on San Miguel island and was often at odds with her husband. In contrast, Elizabeth Lester, the island’s subsequent female homest...


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Gun Control after Sandy Hook: Part One

Posted by Sheryl Sorretino on Tuesday, January 1, 2013,

As we enter a new year in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook rampage, there is precious little we agree on where gun control is concerned. So I’d like to begin with these fairly incontrovertible but conflicting premises:

(1)   Criminals and insane people do not respect the law.

(2)   “Bad guys” will always have access to guns, no matter how tightly they are regulated.

(3)
  
We each have a fundamental right to protect ourselves—and others—from violence, invasion, and threats of injury. ...


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Will the World End Today?

Posted by Sheryl Sorrentino on Friday, December 21, 2012,
Some people really believed the world would come to an end today. Despite the supposed cessation of the Mayan calendar and the numerical quirkiness of today's date (122112), I never believed the world would self-destruct in one quick blast on such a typical Friday. I believe it will happen more gradually than that. Who knows? Maybe it is happening already. This was a year of fear, loss, and devastation for so many. And while I suspect we have many more centuries—if not millenia—to look fo...

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The Legend of Doofus O'Reilly, One Badass Cat

Posted by Sheryl Sorrentino on Saturday, November 17, 2012,
One week ago today, I had the gut-wrenching experience of having to euthanize my cat of nearly fifteen years. Sadly, he declined quickly the last month of his life, and sprouted an orange-sized tumor in less than a week. But he lived a good life of almost seventeen years’ duration, during which time that annoying, furry creature won my heart and earned my grudging respect.

His name was “Heathcliff” back in 1998 when I rescued him from my mother-in-law (who was about to return him to the...

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An Author's Confession

Posted by Sheryl Sorrentino on Thursday, November 8, 2012,
I have had a sad revelation. My second novel, An Unexpected Exile, isn’t as good as my other two. There, I’ve admitted it. I released AUE too impulsively, out of a misguided sense that I needed to quickly follow up my first book, Later With Myself: The Misadventures of Millie Moskowitz, with something “light” and “commercially marketable” (since Later With Myself so clearly isn’t either). But I’ve learned a few things since I wrote my first book, while the painstaking effort I...

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On Giving Bad Reviews

Posted by Sheryl Sorrentino on Friday, September 28, 2012,
And by “bad,” I don’t mean poorly-written (that’s a subject for another day). I mean those scathing one- and two-star reviews some people post when they didn’t enjoy a book for whatever reason. Now, I have no problem stating my case if I don't like a particular book. But when faced with the pesky dilemma of whether to imprint an already negative review with fewer than three stars, I have recently found myself unable to do it. Having been on the receiving end of a few such critiques,...

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When Did Anger Become a Four-Letter Word?

Posted by Sheryl Sorrentino on Friday, August 24, 2012,

The Floater just received another five-star review, for which I am thrilled and extremely thankful. In it, the reviewer characterizes Norma’s boyfriend, Oscar, as “a bit of a hothead.” This got me wondering, is it no longer acceptable to express anger in an honest and appropriate way?

Oscar gets pissed when (among other things) (1) Norma slams the bathroom door on his hand; (2) the firm where he’s worked as a supervisor for 14 years demotes him to mail runner; and (3) Norma’s sister,...


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What Constitutes a Fair Shot at Success?

Posted by Sheryl Sorrentino on Friday, August 17, 2012,
I’m all for the American ideals of self-determination and hard work, but I also believe in that seemingly-forgotten principle that every American deserves a fair shot at the so-called American Dream. But becoming successful in this country is—and has always been—as much about having resources as being resourceful.

I just can’t help wondering: What if we had the ability to guaranty every child in the U.S. would, upon successfully graduating from high school, receive up to $250,000 to a...

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Why I Write What I Do

Posted by Sheryl Sorrentino on Saturday, June 30, 2012,
Oh, I can feel those labor pains. The Floater is in head-down position, and I’m at six centimeters. Just one reader left, whose feedback I await with bated breath. But the comments I've received from test readers thus far have proven invaluable. I am excited—and scared! My baby is about to be born, and somehow, I sense that her emergence will, like the birth of a new family member, change my life in unimaginable ways big and small.

At this juncture, I cannot help but take stock of my fir...

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How Rotten Have We Become?

Posted by Sheryl Sorrentino on Sunday, May 27, 2012,
I am planning a trip to New York this summer to visit my two brothers. (For those of you who have read Later With Myself: The Misadventures of Millie Moskowitz, think: Stanley and Jake, only ten times more jaded, negative, and income-challenged). I don’t typically use my blogs to rant, but today, I will make an exception because I am once again dumbfounded by just how low the human race will stoop.

Before I even subject myself and my eleven-year-old daughter to the intrusion, humiliation, a...

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More on the Editing Process: The Thin Line Between Taking it On the Chin vs. Up the You-Know-What

Posted by Sheryl Sorrentino on Saturday, April 21, 2012,
A dear friend and fellow writer challenged me to put my manuscript where my mouth is: After she’d asked me to review her manuscript for typos and grammatical errors (and I did my signature Sorrentino slash-and-burn), she dared me to let her stick her nose into to my own, upcoming third novel, The Floater. Well, have I ever been told a thing or two (excuse me, “shown,” not “told”).

Our battle of the pens has gone something like this (I paraphrased a bit for the sake of propriety, yet...

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A Note on Character Development (Fictional and Personal)

Posted by Sheryl Sorrentino on Thursday, March 29, 2012,

Someone once told me that fiction writers construct their stories from a personal mosaic of life experience, casual observation, and imagination. I have found this to be true of own my writing (though for me, the hodgepodge can feel more like the makings of a bad dream), especially when it comes to crafting characters. 

 

I start by conjuring a mental sketch of someone I knew once upon a time. Okay, I am going to stop right there, because that confession makes me seem devious and unimagina...


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Am I Insane to Keep Trying?

Posted by Sheryl Sorrentino on Saturday, March 17, 2012,

I haven’t blogged for about a week. In part this is because I have been busy focusing on my day job. But the real reason is that I’ve been feeling discouraged. So far, I have had one Kindle sale this month. Yes, I know it’s taboo for me to disclose such a shameful fact. But if you’ve read Later With Myself, you know that I am not one to shy away from forbidden topics.

 

At my 50th birthday party last weekend, friends all told me what an incredible achievement it is to have publi...


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It Can Always be Better . . .

Posted by Sheryl Sorrentino on Friday, February 17, 2012,

If you think your manuscript’s finished, it probably isn’t. How do we know when we’ve hit that literary “sweet spot” when we deem our work “perfect”? We can’t. We only think we can. Perfection isn’t ours to judge—that call gets made by friends, agents, and ultimately (hopefully!) readers.
 

If we hit our mark, we may have a hit. This is perhaps (but not always) the sign of a great writer. But if we don’t, then we’re simply not as wonderful as we’d like to think we ar...


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Sheryl Sorrentino: Real Fiction for Real Women™


Sheryl Sorrentino is a practicing attorney by day who unexpectedly discovered her passion for writing after learning of a long-deceased half-brother in 2007. She is the author of five novels (Later With Myself: The Misadventures of Millie Moskowitz; An Unexpected Exile; The Floater; Stage Daughter and Stop & Frisk) with a sixth (Smarter Than That) slated for release Spring of 2017. She lives with her husband and teenage daughter in the San Francisco Bay Area. You can learn more about Sheryl Sorrentino by visiting her Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/sheryl.sorrentino#!/pages/Sheryl-Sorrentino/249323025094995. Follow Sheryl on Twitter at @SherylSorrentin.

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