48° Rain

RED BANK: BARTENDER/AUTHOR GOES FOR TWO

brandon zenner 052114whiskey devilsRed Bank bartender-turned-self-published novelist Brandon Zenner, seen here in 2014, is  in the running for a contract with Kindle Scout, an Amazon program in which readers vote on which works get published. An excerpt of the Dublin House barkeep’s second novel, “Whiskey Devils,” may be previewed and voted upon here. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

RED BANK: STATE BIDS FOR FORTUNE HOUSE

rb fortune house 100614 1The home of pioneering human rights journalist T. Thomas Fortune has been vacant for many years. Below, an undated photo of Fortune, who owned it from 1901 to 1911.  (Photo above by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

T. Thomas FortuneThe state of New Jersey has thrown its support behind efforts to save a historic Red Bank structure by offering to acquire it, redbankgreen has learned.

Two members of the borough Historic Preservation Committee said the state Department of Environmental Protection, though its Green Acres program, has made a purchase offer to the owners of the crumbling T. Thomas Fortune house on Drs. James Parker Boulevard.

Read More »

RED BANK: NYTIMES NOTES FORTUNE EFFORT

rb fortune house 2 061213Timothy_Thomas_FortuneSunday’s edition of the New York Times includes an article on the divergent fates of two historic New Jersey homes, one of them the Red Bank abode of early 20th-century civil rights journalist T. Thomas Fortune.

Fortune’s house, on Dr. James Parker Boulevard, is the subject of an effort by the nonprofit T. Thomas Fortune Project to save it from demolition and turn it into a cultural center. At right, an undated photo of Fortune.  (Photo above by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

 

 

FAIR HAVEN: ASBURY LEGENDS, GOOD AND BAD

chesek o'rourke 1Authors Tom Chesek and John O’Rourke at River Road Books Thursday. (Click to enlarge)

chesek o'rourke 2A busy summer of author appearances at River Road Books in Fair Haven continues with a Thursday program entitled Heroes and Villains of Asbury Park.

The 7 p.m. event at Monmouth County’s only remaining independent bookstore brings together two Jersey-bred authors for a discussion of some truly unforgettable characters who made their mark – whether good, bad or bloody – upon that famous place Where the City Meets the Sea.

Read More »

RED BANK: $100K PLEDGE FOR FORTUNE HOUSE

rb fortune house 2 061213A volunteer group hopes to acquire the onetime home of pioneering human rights journalist T. Thomas Fortune for use as a cultural center. Below, an undated photo of Fortune.  (Photo above by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Timothy_Thomas_FortuneA slow-building effort launched eight years ago to save a historic Red Bank structure from the wrecking ball has gotten a jolt of adrenaline.

A donor has pledged $100,000 to the effort to acquire and revitalize the onetime home of pioneering African-American journalist T. Thomas Fortune, redbankgreen has learned.

Read More »

RED BANK: AUTHOR EMERGES FROM THE CELLAR

brandon zenner 2 052114Brandon Zenner at his basement writing table. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

For 11 sunlight-deprived years, he’s slung drinks and traded banter with customers at the Dublin House in Red Bank. And for a good chunk of that time, he’s spent his free time in a dim, prosaic Red Bank basement, typing away at a windowless desk near a clothes dryer.

But until earlier this year, when he self-published a 294-page novel titled “The Experiment of Dreams,” Brandon Zenner kept his literary ambitions to himself.

“I never told anybody I was a writer,” Zenner told redbankgreen recently. For one thing, “sports is big in a bar. Writing is not,” he said.

Besides, “it’s just easier not to have to talk about it” and instead just do it, he said.

Read More »

RFH: NOT A BAD OUTCOME FOR AN APOCALYPSE

Katie Coyle, whose novel, ‘Vivian Versus the Apocalypse,’   (Click to enlarge)

By MARY ANN KAMPFE

RFHRHS Public Relations

vivian versus the apocalypse“Someday I’ll read a book by Katie Coyle” reads the inscription in a Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School yearbook.

“It was written by my Advanced Placement (AP) English Teacher Jack Shea when I was about to graduate in 2004,” said Ms. Coyle. “I held Mr. Shea in high regard, and that comment really meant a lot to me.”

As it turns out, Mr. Shea was right. And “someday” came about very quickly.

Ms. Coyle’s first book, “Vivian Versus the Apocalypse,” will be published on September 5 by Hot Key Books. The book and its 25-year-old author have already earned high praise from the literary world.

Read More »

FAIR HAVEN MAN TURNS FEARS INTO STORIES

Drazin with young fans at the Eastern Branch of the Monmouth County Library earlier this month. (Photo by Alexis Orlacchio. Click to enlarge)

By ALEXIS ORLACCHIO

Justin Drazin did not originally plan to add the title “children’s author” to his résumé, but what started out as a short piece to show family and friends has evolved into a trilogy of whimsical tales. And along the way, the Fair Haven-raised environmental policy student  turned one of his childhood fears into a captivating bedtime story for kids.

Drazin, 24, recalls being terrified of the dark when he was younger.  “I had a lot of sleepless nights, a lot of going back and forth to my parents’ room,” he said, removing his brown thick-framed glasses during a recent interview.  “It’s an age-long fear. Everyone goes through it at some point.”

Written from the point of view of a little boy afraid of the dark, “Albert and the Amazing Pillow Monsters” is the first installment of the dreamland-centered series.

Read More »

AUTHOR OPENS SERIES WITH HARD TRUTHS

By DAN NATALE

What does it take to become a published author of fiction? Will power, says Aryn Kyle, author of the national best-selling young-adult novel The God of Animals.

Kyle served up sometimes harsh truths on what it takes when she appeared at Brookdale Community College last Wednesday as the first author in this year’s visiting writer series.

“The amount of time where writing is fun is a small percentage,” she told an audience of more than 100 students, faculty members, fans, and aspiring writers. “It’s fun to start something. It’s awesome to finish something. The middle is hard.”

Read More »

RESTAURATEUR ADDS ‘AUTHOR’ TO RÉSUMÉ

Victor Rallo drains a bottle of vino into a guest’s glass at his book-signing party last Thursday night. (Photo by Stacie Fanelli. Click to enlarge)

By STACIE FANELLI

Victor Rallo stands on a chair dangerously close to a table stocked with dozens of fragile wine bottles. He’s changing a lightbulb while employees circle him laughing.

“He’s definitely a jack of all trades,” says his cousin, Bryant Rallo, general manager of Basil T’s Brewery and Italian Grill on Riverside Avenue in Red Bank.

“Yeah, and parle Italiano perfecto,” Victor Rallo jokes.

The owner of Basil T’s and Undici Taverna Rustica in Rumson, Rallo travels to Italy up to eight times a year, surfs in Puerto Rico, skis in the west, enjoys what he calls “absent-minded photography,” and now, has written his first book.

Read More »

RED BANK AUTHOR DEBUTS NEW RULEBOOK

j-granditsJohn Grandits and his new children’s book, which hits shelves next month. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

John Grandits, the accomplished children’s author and member of the Red Bank library board, is in an especially cheery mood these days.

That’s saying a lot for the ruddy and avuncular 61-year-old, who’s often fueled up on equal amounts of No Joe’s coffee and zest for speaking with schoolkids all over the country.

Earning a star in the Kirkus Book Review and an order for a second edition of your book, which hasn’t even hit bookstore shelves yet, can do that.

“I’m bullish on John Grandits this week,” he said.

After 10 years working on his second children’s book (he’s also published two children’s poetry books), Grandits is ready to hit the self-promotion circuit in advance of the July 4 release of Ten Rules You Absolutely Must Not Break If You Want To Survive The School Bus.

Read More »

IN oRBit: PEOPLE FROM YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD

noworbiting_icon1

Don’t look now, but some of your neighbors are up to some pretty extraordinary things — and in today’s edition of Red Bank oRBit, we call on a couple of them.

carasalimandosmall

First, there’s Cara Salimando, a Little Silver resident who’s just finished her junior year at Red Bank Regional and a talented singer-songwriter who’s going to be very visible around area music venues this summer, including two appearances during this weekend’s Wave Gathering festival in Asbury Park. We talk to the 17 year old performer about past influences, future plans — and a little present in the form of a major-label recording contract.

whwhitesmall

Next, oRBit docks at River Road Books in Fair Haven, where Rumson resident and veteran sailboat skipper William H. White pays a visit to read from and sign copies of the latest in his series of historical high-sea adventure novels, When Fortune Frowns. It’s a ripping-good read drawn from the controversial circumstances and completely bizarre aftermath of the infamous HMS Bounty mutiny. We chat with the author for a bit of background on Cap’n Bligh and Mr. Christian, an opinionated overview of sailing the Two Rivers, and a tantalizing hint about his next project.

All this plus sexiest TV news anchor Jack Ford, here on the only website that dares to be bullish on bookish people — Red Bank oRBit!