JACK ENGELHARD’S “SLOT ATTENDANT”

By John W. Cassell

My copy of Jack Engelhard’s SLOT ATTENDANT came this afternoon.  As I was reading another truly engrossing novel at the time and NEVER read more than one book at a time, I set myself the modest goal of reading chapter one today, then finishing the other book tomorrow, thereafter reading this long-eagerly anticipated story solely until completion.

You know what happens to the “best laid plans….”  Likely you do in Gaelic as well as English.

What happens is, here it is almost 2AM and I just finished SLOT ATTENDANT.  I could NOT put it down.  I could not stop until I knew as much as the author cared to tell me about every absorbing subplot, as well as learning heaps about both casinos, in which I have a certain rooting interest, and the world of writing and publishing…a world so important to me and many people I deeply care about…. not until I learned the outcome of protagonist Jay Leonard’s desperate battle to regain both confidence in and respect for himself.

Having lost both myself once upon a time, I found myself quickly empathizing with his brilliantly orchestrated struggle.  I FELT for this man…Jack Engelhard is that kind of writer…superlatively combining personal experience, the experience of others, and a truly vivid, thoroughly grounded imagination to paint this compelling portrait.

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The Art of Pushing Books

By Jack Engelhard

 

The trick is to get yourself a good publicist, a publicist, as I was once told, who would kill for you. Well, that’s going too far, don’t you think? I haven’t had a publicist since that one time back then. After that it’s been me and you and where are you? I must learn the art of persuasion, public relations, backslapping. I should go to the right parties. I should do lunch at Elaine’s. I should get out more. Must get on TV. Better yet, get my own show.

 

My guess is that I’ll become rich and famous after I die. That’s how it usually happens. Success (for artists) usually happens after it too late.

 

I have no idea why I’m complaining. Most people have it worse. My gripe, I guess, is why we need all that marketing and the trickery that goes with it and why it is that TV personalities have all the apparatus and all the luck – when real writers  are stuck at our computers without a paddle.

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Salinger Alleges Indecent Rip-Off

  Indecent Proposal 

 

By Jack Engelhard

Someone has come along with a “sequel” to JD Salinger’s “The Catcher in the Rye.” Salinger is suing to stop publication and distribution. He calls it a “rip-off.” Don’t look at me to get into the legalities. But I do know how it feels.

I wrote nothing as popular as “The Catcher in the Rye” but popular enough to be translated into more than 22 languages and to be made into a movie starring Robert Redford and Demi Moore – “Indecent Proposal.” (The movie’s box office was about $260 million worldwide.) The novel’s concept (“what would you do for a million dollars?”) was mine and the title was mine. This was original and it was my baby.

My novel sold about 4 million copies worldwide and still sells (through Comteq Publishing) even after the movie has run dry.

Salinger’s novel is still going strong after sales of 70 million.

Around the house, following the publication of “Indecent Proposal,” we used to say, “No matter what happens, they can’t take that away from you.”

Really?

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We’ll Always Have Typos

 

By Jack Engelhard

 

Don’t know about you but as for me, I always catch my typos when it’s too late, like when I’ve already sent something out, or even after I’ve had it published — all that even after I’ve done the re-writing and re-reading a hundred times. I don’t let anything go until it’s perfect. But it’s never perfect!

 

Typos happen, usually overnight when you’re not watching.   

 

Though it’s already available on Kindle, I’m having a new novel published in paperback (“The Girls of Cincinnati,”) and in fact it already IS published though it won’t be up on Amazon until a couple of weeks. Before I gave it the okay, I had the proof copy for proofreading and found no mistakes, which makes my point, once again, that I’m a lousy proofreader – as are most novelists.

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Books That Could Never Get Published Today

By Jack Engelhard

Readers at the New York Times have already spoken about the most overrated books of all time and the winners (or rather, the losers) are J.D. Salinger’s “The Catcher in the Rye” and God’s “The Bible.” I read all about it in the Times’ Paper Cuts blog ( “Plaster Saints?”) and arrived at the conclusion that the least favorable works were usually those that failed to adhere to political correctness. 

Hence, Books That Could Never Get Published Today

The Hebrew Bible: Too Jewish.

Confessions of St. Augustine: Too Christian.

Moby Dick — Dear Mr. Melville: A quite similar book has already been done by Jonah and it is still in print. We’d reconsider if you could produce a more sensitive Capt. Ahab. You do go on about whaling. Also, your opening line does not work for us. Can you come up with something better than “Call me Ishmael?” (Our first readers, by the way, were rooting for the whale.)

The Old Man and the Sea — Dear Mr. Hemingway: We no longer use the term “old man.” (Our first readers, by the way, were rooting for the fish.)

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Fiction Friction, News Blues

By Jack Engelhard

 

When I heard that an obscure French-born novelist had won the Nobel Prize, I thought it must be me and I began eyeing that red Cadillac. After all, I fit all three categories. I am obscure. I am French-born. I am a novelist. Who else could it be? A man named Jean-Marie Gustav Le Clezio, that’s who. Oh well, as we say in baseball (and the economy) – wait till next year.

 

I hope Le Clezio wins us over. This is not promising. There have been no long lines for preceding Nobel champs, big names like Orhan Pamuk and Elfriede Jelinek.

 

Hemingway got the jitters when he won it and in fact he wanted no part of it due to the jinx.

 

But I’m stalling. I’ve really come here to talk about THE DEATH OF THE NOVEL. The latest to have his crack at this is columnist Kyle Smith writing in today’s New York Post (Sunday, Oct. 12). He sums it all up, in my favorite newspaper, by saying (if not in those words) that, in this fast-paced age of technology, fiction does not speak for our times.

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Someone Stole My Novel (Indecent Proposal)

By Jack Engelhard

What’s this?

Just for the heck of it I decided to check out how my most famous novel is doing among top booksellers and found that there are a slew of books by this title “Indecent Proposal” that were written by everyone but me – and years after me! In fact, someone just came out with his very own “Indecent Proposal” sometime this year.

Let’s get this straight!

I wrote the original novel back in the mid-1980s; it was published by Donald I. Fine Publishers in 1989. I repeat, 1989. Paramount Pictures bought the rights to it two years later and, based on my novel, delivered the famous movie starring Robert Redford and Demi Moore. The movie was released April, 1993. (See the credits at the beginning of the film– Based Upon The Novel By Jack Engelhard).

At the same time, this novel, MY novel (for crying out loud) was translated into more than 22 languages.

Following that, Pocket Books, a division of Simon and Schuster, reprinted the novel into a movie-tie-in paperback.

After Pocket Books lost the rights to it, I retrieved the contract and had it republished by Comteq Publishing – the version that ought to be on sale right now.  

  Indecent Proposal 

 

 

Instead, I find that a host of other writers and publishers have decided to feast off the fanfare and fame that was generated by my original novel, and movie. Obviously they’ve tacked in different storylines while using my title. This is legal, right? I mean anybody can beg, borrow or steal another man’s book title.

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