Rick's weekly blog (Thursday) is in the form of a picture (usually with caption). It's under the heading of Rick's Pics.
March 11, 2013:
"North of Hollywood" has been selected as a Finalist by Foreword Reviews Book of the Year Awards and will be featured in the American Library Association trade show.
Rick Lenz's "North of Hollywood" has been awarded first runner-up in the London Book Festival (memoir). The awards will be presented at the British Library in London on January 24, 2013.
"NORTH OF HOLLYWOOD" Wins at the LOS ANGELES BOOK FESTIVAL!
4th national award for North of Hollywood. The latest courtesy of the Hollywood Book Festival.
For many years a working actor, Lenz has written a space ride through the mind of an actor who finds success, loses it, then discovers something better. On the surface, a memoir, North of Hollywood is more accurately described as a non-fiction novel, a flight through success, hilarity, heartbreak, and joy.
Honorable Mention for 21st Annual Writer's Digest Book Awards
Creative, entertaining, polished -- a truly professional effort. Several steps above professional, actually. The writer does a masterful job with taking a linear narrative and circling back, jumping ahead, then coming back to a step past where he was. Not an easy trick, but it works. Instead of dumping all the information on the reader at once, he hints at something (his parental issues, for instance), then returns to it later. In less talented hands it could be a mess, but it layers the book and elevates it above a simple memoir.
It would be easy for the book to devolve into self-absorbed whining, but the writer manages to be funny and interesting as he battles a lifetime of existential and personal crisis. Through it all, he weaves several sub-themes -- Ann Stuart, Dixie Thorpe -- that hold the book together.
The snapshots of celebrity are just right -- with humor, humility, sarcasm and a needle as needed. Alan Alda is the guy we hoped he'd be. Lauren Bacall? No surprise. But the writer isn't dropping names; he makes it clear how well he knows people and even what his take says about himself.
As with the celebrity reveals, his own struggles and those of his family are made hugely readable by the light and subtle writing style. He gives the reader credit for having a brain and nowhere does he overdo it or collapse into the wordiness less confident and talented writers do.
The book is polished, from its edit to its formatting (chapters always start on right-hand pages, a rarity in self-publishing). The cover is professional and compelling.
Minor punctuation and usage (caps, italics) miscues could be solved with a light edit by someone familiar with Chicago style. They're minor enough to be unnoticeable to anyone but an obsessive editor.
Applause? Standing ovation.
More Praise for North of Hollywood
FOREWORD BOOK REVIEWS
... An overwhelming sense of peace, the type gained through experience and reconciliation, pervades the novel from the very first few chapters. ... A scattering of sitcom titles and movie references provide readers with enough chronological anchors to highlight the memoir’s kaleidoscopic form without breaking the rhythm of Lenz’s poetic prose. The effect is beautiful, as if the reader were experiencing Lenz’s life from the perspective of every camera that ever filmed him.
Author & Film Night with Rick Lenz and Screening of “Cactus Flower”
July 25, 2012
An Author & Film Night with writer/actor Rick Lenz and a screening of, “Cactus Flower,” starring Goldie Hawn, Walter Matthau, Ingrid Bergman, and Rick Lenz will be presented in the Community Room on Thursday, August 16 at 7 p.m. The free program, co-sponsored by the South Pasadena Public Library and the Friends of the South Pasadena Public Library, will also feature an introduction to the film during which Lenz will discuss his new book “North of Hollywood,” awarded “Best Biography” at the 2011/2012 Los Angeles Book Festival. After the film, Lenz will conduct a Q&A with the audience.
A NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR
North of Hollywood is not so much about dishing dirt as it is about
crazy people in show business—especially me. Like most crazy
people, I choose crazy people to hang out with—for example,
actors. Then, I meet a woman, “a feminine holy spirit,” who
begins to save my life.
I come from a background of family drug abuse. Two of the
story lines of North of Hollywood touch on the interweaving
strands of my daughter’s struggle with her own drug abuse;
and me with mine—as I attempt to develop some crude
spiritual tools. (In the beginning I’m like someone who’s
never held a chisel, picking one up and trying to sculpt a unicorn.)
The funny parts of the story—and there are lots of those—are mostly about how clueless I was in my actor life and also in my personal one. The nice part—I think—is that in the end I manage to gain a tiny bit of common sense.
How that happens is my story. I have heroes—most of those are not famous people, although a few are. My main heroes turn out to be my funny, smart, resilient sons, my incredibly courageous daughter and sister, and finally, my wife Linda without whom I would not be alive.
It would give me tremendous satisfaction to think that my story not only entertains, but also shines a light that is useful and hope-giving to others.
Take a Roller Coaster Ride Through the Life of a Real Hollywood Actor
Rick Lenz is an actor who has made it in New York and Hollywood. You have seen him countless times on TV and in the movies. He has been a popular leading man as well as a character actor, consistently avoiding repetition in the roles he chooses. Rick Lenz has played leads opposite some of entertainment’s biggest names, and has had recurring or guest starring roles on many of your favorite TV shows.
Yet his book is more than just an ordinary Hollywood insider story. Lenz is a terrific writer with a wicked sense of humor. Also a gifted artist and widely produced playwright, Rick uses his extraordinary storytelling skills to take you into his personal experiences with actors and entertainers we normally only hear about through the rumor mills, and to reveal real-life experiences of heartbreak, suspense, discovery and joy.
"I love the book! Insightful, honest, wise, and charming. A wonderful read! Congratulations!"
Bernard Slade, playwright of "Same Time, Next Year."
His memoir is fascinating. He doesn’t pull any punches. Along with plenty of showbiz anecdotes, he tells us about his marriages (especially his “final” one) and his journey from summer stock through New York, then to Hollywood. He offers us deep insights into an actor’s life and living in general. Feeling the shock waves of his stormy family background, including the emotional tremors of nearly losing his daughter who struggled for years with drugs, Rick Lenz is a real life husband and dad—and the absorbing reality of that shines through his words.
Spending time with Rick Lenz is fun, enlightening and authentic. If this weren’t a true story it would make a mesmerizing fictional adventure. Bottom line: North of Hollywood is edgy, way out of the ordinary, and, as a bonus, funny as hell.
More Praise for "North of Hollywood"!
“North of Hollywood gave me more satisfaction than any celebrity memoir or Hollywood insider book I’ve ever read! Yes, as a pop-culture junkie I drooled over the movie and TV anecdotes, but the best parts, for me, are the introspective passages. Rick Lenz’s book reads like a nonfiction novel. It is, by turns, fall-on-the floor funny and graveyard-serious, a page-turner with a brain. This is an excitingly original book overflowing with lyrical power that I can’t compare to anything else I’ve ever read. His voice is endlessly thought provoking and entertaining. I LIKE THIS BOOK! in an over-the-top, Sally Field, kinda way."
—KEVIN COOK, WRITER AND EDITOR