Publication Day!

Today is the day I have been waiting for the last eight years. Today is the day that Towers of Gold: How One Jewish Immigrant Named Isaias Hellman Created California is officially published. Did the heavens sing to me this morning? Did stardust drop around my head as I woke up? Frankly, no. It was just another typical morning in my home in Berkeley – rush, rush, rush.

Except. Except. Last night some dear friends dropped off a bouquet of flowers. The phone rang this morning with well wishes from friends around the country. And I got a spate of congratulations on Facebook.

It has been kind of funny to be so obsessed about my small corner of the universe these past few weeks when our world is going through monumental changes. Barack Obama is our new president. The U.S. economy continues its free fall.

Yet, in this world of publishing, an obsession with your own project is what it takes to sell a book. I am but a blip in the world of books, so it is mainly up to me to get the word out about Towers of Gold. And this aspect of book publishing is a full-time job. I’ve been blogging and commenting and Facebooking and writing editorials and setting up readings and interviews – basically saying yes to anything that comes my way. I am very curious to see what impact, if any, the activity will have.

I spoke Monday night at the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism on a panel about Jewish Identity. The other panelists were Lisa Alcalay Klug, who has written the “Heebster Handbook” called Cool Jew and Yoav Potash, who is making a documentary about an Orthodox Jewish lawyer who is trying to get a battered woman released from her life sentence in prison. Professor Joan Bieder, the author of The Jews of Singapore, moderated the panel. There was a great turnout and lots of probing questions.

On Wednesday, Nov. 12, it will be like old home week. I will be talking at The Dunsmuir Hellman Historic Estate in Oakland, the Hellman family’s summer home. In keeping with the gracious feel of the Victorian-era mansion, the estate will hold a tea at 3 pm, followed by a talk I will show some great photos of the place in its prime.

I will be at Book Passage in Corte Madera at 7 p.m. on Friday Nov. 14; Mrs. Dalloways in Berkeley at 4 pm on Sat. Nov. 15; and Copperfield Books in Healdsburg on Sunday Nov. 16 at 1:30.

And I will be on John Rothmann’s radio show on KGO 810 at 1 a.m. on Sunday Nov. 16. It’s a call in show, so call with questions (if you are awake; I better tell my teenager about this because she will be awake for sure) The number is 415 808-0810.

More event information here.

I just want to take this opportunity to thank everyone for helping me to get to this point: my family, my wonderful writing group North 25th, all the historians, archivists and librarians, and friends who were just generally supportive. Thank you.

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