Sunday, August 6, 2017















FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

PAUL ANNACONE SHARES PATHWAY TO SUCCESS, INCLUDING INSIGHTS FROM CAREER WORKING WITH FEDERER, SAMPRAS,
IN NEW BOOK COACHING FOR LIFE

Tennis Coach Explains the Process of Pursuing Greatness

NEW YORK (AUG. 7, 2017) – After his own career as a tennis professional, Paul Annacone, author of the new book Coaching for Life, became coach for such greats as Pete Sampras, Roger Federer, Tim Henman and others. His eye-opening, autobiographical book explains how each one of us can attain a level of excellence. He uses tennis as a metaphor, as well as a guide, to teach how we can strive toward a goal and overcome the obstacles.

          Annacone comments, “I am often asked, What makes the great so great? What can we learn from their level of excellence?  I answer these and many more in Coaching for Life. The anecdotes are taken directly from the tennis court, and they are presented in a step-by-step way that can help anyone in any walk of life, regardless of the challenges. You can achieve success, the book points out, but you have to follow certain procedures. As I say in the book, the will to win is nothing without the will to prepare.”
          The secrets to success Annacone weaves through Coaching for Life are not about tennis, but rather about the process-oriented journey he has experienced firsthand with some of the most successful players in the game’s storied history. Annacone explains the ability of masters like Federer and Sampras to keep perspective and clarity of purpose in spite of the worst kinds of adversity on the court.

Coaching for Life reveals Annacone’s gentle, yet forceful, paradigm for focus, intelligent planning, and following one’s own skill-set to success that rings true in this uncertain age of frenetic activity.

          Annacone played professionally for 11 years, reaching a career high ranking of No. 12 while winning three singles and 14 doubles titles. He then turned to coaching, spending over seven years with Sampras, three seasons with Federer, five years with Tim Henman and a season with Sloane Stephens. Both Federer and Sampras won Grand Slam titles and were ranked No. 1 in the world while working with Annacone. His coaching tenure also included time in the USTA High Performance Program and as Head Coach of Britain’s Lawn Tennis Association. Annacone has been a commentator and analyst with Tennis Channel since 2014.

          Coaching for Life is being published by IRIE Books and is on sale now online at www.iriebooks.com, www.paulannacone.com, www.amazon.com, www.bn.com and www.booksamillion.com. In addition, the book will be available during appearances and book signing events with Annacone during the upcoming Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati and the US Open in New York. Information about these appearances can be found at www.paulannacone.com.

To request cover art or an interview, please contact: Pete Holtermann (Pete@HolterMediaInc.com)

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Shadows That Stay Forever


This anthology, long in coming, was deeply desired by the many fans of Sci-fi-fantasy master, Roger Zelazny. Everything in its right time. But it seems a long time, to me, since Roger was here on this earth. And yet it also seems he was just here, just passing through, just a moment ago.

Time bends and sometimes we bend with it. Roger knew that all too well. He died June 14, 1995. Some months before he passed he phoned me to say he'd had a dream in which a bunch of characters came to him asking to be worked into a novel.

Anyone who has read the Amber novels knows that time bends in Roger's books. And, for a while on the phone, he bent my ear to a proposal. He wanted me to write a novel about the dream he'd just had.
It was a kind of detective story, in which the main character was a world weary martial artist whose specialty was ... he left that up to me.

I suggested a stick fighter because I had just returned from Jamaica and had seen one. If you've watched any of the old Errol Flynn films (the actor actually lived on the North Coast of Jamaica), you can imagine what a stick fighter does to protect himself. Basically, Robin and Little John. Parry and thrust, pound and pummel, all done with the grace and style of a dancer.

Roger went on to describe the main character as a kind of salvage expert, a guy like Travis McGee in John D. MacDonald's The Deep Blue Goodbye. It all sounded very exciting, this proposed novel, except that, unlike Wilderness which we had written together, Roger wanted me to write this one alone.

He also asked for a character who looked and acted like Sean Connery in Doctor No. He wanted this fellow to pop into the tale at odd, inventive moments. "Could he be a stick fighter, too?" I asked. He said, "Sure." I described how the Connery character might appear and disappear and he suggested that he just walk out of a cane field in formal attire, as if he were going to a high stakes game of baccarat.

Roger asked that the main guy, the salvage expert detective, be what he termed a flawed character. Someone between jobs, between affairs, between worlds. He might be a man of affairs with no affair, but with a flair for stick fighting. Then he caught me with his next comment: "How about an older man, or even an old man?" I laughed and said I knew one such in Kingston. A very urbane old guy who was actually the Queen's Magistrate. Roger chuckled. "Perfect," he said.

I never wrote it. I wanted to. But after he was gone in 1995, I turned to children's books about Jamaica and the editing of a number of books written by Bob Marley that came out under the Marley family imprint of Tuff Gong Books.

Long story short -- or rather long story long -- I was compelled to write Roger's tale when Warren Lapine and Trent Zelazny asked for a contribution to Shadows and Reflections. It came quickly, the story that was more than 15 years old and unwritten. Time bends. And I like to think Roger lent more than a helping hand. I like to think he's still here, don't you?

 

Sunday, April 23, 2017



FRIENDSHIP


There are two towns named Friendship in the hills of Jamaica.

One Friendship is where the fried chicken is, a little stop-and-go where you smell the chicken frying from a mile off on the Junction Road that takes you to Kingston. On the road back at night you might see a rock-stone, as they say, burst into flame. I saw it happen once.

The other friendship is even more mysterious. If you go there and meet Mrs. Pet, you will have your palm read like a newspaper and she will call the saints and re-balance your brain and you will go home hungry and sane, and you will see duppies and mermaids.

Some years ago I left my heart in Jamaica. I left it in the hills of St. Mary, the same Parish where Zora Neale Hurston left her heart so long ago. She said St. Mary was "... the very best place to be in all the world."

Sometimes I smell the fried chicken of Friendship and see the candles of Mrs. Pet burning in the darkness, and I wonder how many friendships there are in the world, too many to count, like the numberless stars, like the saints of the night, like the peenywallies of a summer eve winking on the night breeze, like the salt crystals of the sea at Blue Harbour, like Mike Gleeson's endless stories, Sweet-Sweet's songs, Mr. Denzil's coffees and sugars, Roy's hugs, Mackie's deep voice, Raggy's ragged laughter high on the top of Firefly hill where Noel Coward once blew his blue smoke within sight of the coastline and the John Crow Mountains.

Ah, but once you have lived in Jamaica, Friendship is always coming into port, no matter where you are or what you are doing. Friendship, a town in the heartland of the heart.

Shadow box by Mariah Fox

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Moments of Truth

Back in the sixties when I was a college student at Highlands U. in Las Vegas, NM, I had a professor who was bright, funny, offbeat, and sometimes brilliant in the way he dealt with problem students. I learned as much from him about teaching as I did about poetry.

Once, I remember, he asked us, my soon-to-be-wife, Lorry, and me, to a Simon and Garfunkel concert. It was by no means a class trip. The prof whose name was Bob drove us in his old Ford station-wagon from Manuelitas to Albuquerque.

Before the concert, he asked us to help him load an enormous oak door he was bringing back to his home in the hills. Then we went to the concert. I still remember someone in the front row throwing a cowboy hat to Paul Simon, which he gratefully accepted and wore for the rest of the night. It was unusual seeing the classic New York folksinger, under that too-big hat.

Right before the drive back home, Bob said his feet were hurting. He took off his shoes, and socks and then blew a breath of air into each sock before putting it on again. He said that refreshed the socks and the feet, and he claimed he learned the trick from WC Fields.

Bob seemed his funny, quippy renewed self, and spoke passionately about ee cummings' poetry, an adobe wall he was building, and how he was planning a "Happening" at the university. A happening was usually a spontaneous outburst of talent and protest against the ever-present "system".

We bore on into the moonlight heading toward Santa Rosa and then cutting up in the direction of Las Vegas. Why that drive is forever etched in my memory is not surprising to me. We had to shift a lot in our seats because the enormous door slid with every pothole. I sat on one side of it and Lorry sat on the other side, and the hatchback was wide open because of the length of the door. It started to snow and the road got tricky.

The years have turned that snow-blown drive into Toad's wild ride from The Wind in the Willows. Bob drove fast, then slow. He turned the wheel a lot and the huge, hand-carved Spanish door bashed into one or the other of us. Bob told stories, Zen tales with no beginning and no end. Finally we made it to our doorstep. Yet even today, after almost 50 years, my bones remember every bump and grind on highway 84.

Not too long ago I was doing a presentation at a bookstore in Corrales. For some reason I chose to tell some coyote tales.

But whenever I mentioned the word coyote, someone let loose with a loud howl. And the audience cracked up. So did I. Later when I was signing books, a man stepped up and bought a few and when he set them before me, he howled.

And so there he was, large as life, full of fun and pranks, and not looking any older. It wasn't until he gave me his business card that I realized that professor Bob had switched careers. He was now a horticulturalist. His business card said in embossed print: "Don't Let Your Plants Go Down."

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Shine, Perishing Republic



SHINE, PERISHING REPUBLIC


While this America settles in the mould of its vulgarity, heavily
      thickening to empire,
And protest, only a bubble in the molten mass, pops and sighs
      out, and the mass hardens,

I sadly smiling remember that the flower fades to make fruit, the
        fruit rots to make earth.
Out of the mother; and through the spring exultances, ripeness
        and decadence; and home to the mother.

You making haste haste on decay: not blameworthy; life is good,
       be it stubbornly long or suddenly
A mortal splendor: meteors are not needed less than mountains:
       shine, perishing republic.

But for my children, I would have them keep their distance
      from the thickening center; corruption
Never has been compulsory, when the cities lie at the monster's
        feet there are left the mountains.

And boys, be in nothing so moderate as in love of man, a
       clever servant, insufferable master.
There is the trap that catches noblest spirits, that caught -- they
       say -- God, when he walked on earth.

--Robinson Jeffers


This unusually great poem was in my mother's handbook of modern verse, circa 1924.
She was fond of Jeffers and his love of nature and his fear of man. It seems like the bitterest
of aspic, the toughest of thistle, the poison that finished off the Roman emperors. But Jeffers was a devoted father, loving husband and friend of humankind and his poetry shows that he was one of the deepest thinkers of his age and now our own. I read this poem aloud to an audience in 1965 and it was thought to be a current poem by a Beat poet. Today it reads like a critique of the election results.       



Thursday, September 1, 2016

Running White Canyon with Dan

I remember our daily runs in the summer of 1983. We were in Southeastern Utah running the canyons. Often barefoot. Swimming the rock walled sink holes. Eating red meat over red embers. We outran a flash-flood. Burned our skin in biting dust. Soothed it cool shadows of willow. Dan and Fred were the runners, I was just glad I could keep up some as we went along and I scribbled my notes, following the path of Big Wanderer, the wolf of Navajo myth.

Now -- in a sudden moment -- Dan is gone. But I keep him close; always have, always will.

This is a celebration of his memory.

Running White Canyon With Dan

How far to the bridge? I ask
You can hear it, he says
How beautiful the canyon wren
At five hundred feet
Playing the flash-flood
Like a bowstring 

Canyon Lands, Dan and Mariah, 1984
 

Friday, July 22, 2016

Self-portrait, William Saroyan


Writers of the Purple Rage




"We are all men of letters waiting for the mail." --William Saroyan

I once stopped writing and vowed never to write again. The reason was that I had received a 10 page single-spaced letter written by a man who claimed I'd killed his mother. She was found dead with a copy of one of my books in her hand.

I wrote the accuser back saying that the poor woman had actually died of boredom. The book she was reading happened to bore me as well, not to death, you understand, but to the point of distraction.

So for three years I stopped writing. What a vacation ... from myself. But then I started getting more letters. Curiously, it seemed that those people who weren't dying to finish my book really liked it. I was in a quandary because quite a few begged me to write another book on the same subject -- cattle mutilations and alien space abductions. I went to my unread letter file and found that I'd tossed a bunch of letters into it. All of these were written to me during my so-called writer's vacation. There was a letter from a guy in prison who said my novel was "liberating." Another from a librarian in Ohio who begged to know when the second in the series was available. Still another from a woman in Alaska who said I had written in "the true vein and spoken to her people." Lastly, a Hawaii native who praised my book and said, "If circumstances direct you to write back, then we'd be happy to get your letter and we'll take it from there!" There followed an inscription in Hebrew and some indefinable codes.

Saroyan used to say -- in addition to the above -- that real writers get letters. They do, they surely do. And I am happy to say that I have actually completed the cattle killer book and it was sent off to the publisher.

I await the next accusation, implication, condemnation and infatuation. I am here. I don't expect any dead ravens, as George RR has received.

Maybe just a hamburger or two.