I began working on investing titles in 2004 to help consumers make better decisions with their money (Weiss Ratings’ Ultimate Guided Tour to Stock Investing, Weiss Ratings, Inc.). During the financial crisis, three of the six titles I worked on became New York Times best-sellers (The Ultimate Depression Survival Guide, Martin D. Weiss, John Wiley & Sons, April 2009; The AARP Retirement Survival Guide: How to Make Smart Financial Decisions in Good Times and Bad, Julie Jason, Sterling Publishing, August 2009; and Making the Most of Your Money Now: The Classic Bestseller Completely Revised for the New Economy (Third Edition), Jane Bryant Quinn, Simon & Schuster, December 2009). That year also saw the publication of Asset Allocation For Dummies (Wiley, 2009), co-authored with a wealth manager whose expertise was a lot of fun to “dummy down.” I have a tremendous sense of urgency in meeting deadlines when the world is falling apart.
Now that I think about it, the books I edit and collaborate on focus on crisis. I developed my first New York Times’ bestseller (Covenant House: Lifeline to the Street, Doubleday) based on 15 years of monthly fundraising letters by the founder of the Times Square shelter for runaway and abused kids. While writing and managing publications, I collaborated on three other books, in the religious (Paulist Press), educational (Rosen Publishing Group) and academic categories (Child Welfare League of America). Producing books wasn’t my job at Covenant Houses—but words are my passion. I believe books have the power to change lives. Lifeline to the Street attracted over 10 million dollars from new and existing donors.
To me, that’s what books do: they open up your mind. Early in my career, I led an all-volunteer staff to produce an award-winning local history book based on more than 1,000 photographs and dozens of oral histories painstakingly recorded by a local resident who had grown up in “The Hollow” on the other side of genteel Morristown, New Jersey. As the granddaughter of Italian immigrants, I was probably proudest of that book.
Is there a book that you’re passionate about that I can help you write? Click here to see some of the books I’ve worked on.
Personal Finance and Investing
Asset Allocation For Dummies®, Dorianne R. Perrucci and Jerry D. Miccolis (John Wiley & Sons, May 2009) This book, part of the popular “For Dummies” series, demystifies asset allocation in terms that novice investors can understand. I worked with wealth manager Jerry D. Miccolis on every stage of the manuscript and had a lot of fun “dummying down” the “inside baseball” talk about investing—but you’ll have to ask Jerry for his side of the story. Read more about the book here.
Making the Most of Your Money NOW, Jane Bryant Quinn (Simon & Schuster, December 2009)
Smart and Simple Strategies for Busy People, Jane Bryant Quinn (Simon & Schuster, January 2006)
Any list of personal finance books has to start with the third edition of Quinn’s 1,242-page “bible,” praised by the economist Burton Malkiel (who wrote the iconic A Random Walk Down Wall Street) as “the classbook for practical financial advice.” I contributed original reporting and research on dozens of personal finance topics to this classic New York Times’ best-seller a few years after publication of Smart and Simple Strategies, which targeted a younger generation too busy to pay attention to their money.
The AARP Retirement Survival Guide: How to Make Smart Financial Decisions in Good Times and Bad, Julie Jason (Sterling/AARP, August 2009) Five-time, award-winning author and money manager Julie Jason will tell you that my “extreme” (probably OCD-driven) organizational skills helped her finally see her way clear to finishing her manuscript, after several editors and multiple revisions left her stranded. A joint publishing project between AARP and Sterling, the publishing arm of Barnes & Noble, the book guides readers through the challenge of creating retirement income.
The Ultimate Depression Survival Guide: Protect Your Savings, Boost Your Income, and Grow Wealthy Even in the Worst of Times, Martin D. Weiss (Wiley, April 2009) I never did meet financial expert and New York Times’ best selling author Martin D. Weiss, whose Weiss Ratings built a trustworthy reputations for providing consumers with unbiased information on financial institutions, but that’s the life of a ghostwriter. I worked with senior staff to understand the strategies that individual investors needed to learn to cope the credit crunch, the housing bust, and the decline of the U.S. dollar, while mastering an expanding lexicon on terms. The book hit two best-selling book categories (Business and Advice).
Demise of the Dollar…and Why It‘s Good for Your Investments, Addison Wiggin (Wiley, April 2008)
I collaborated on two books with Agora Publishing’s best-selling author Addison Wiggin: I.O.U.S.A., a manuscript that was a lot of fun to put together, combining original research, interviews, and graphics from the award-winning Sundance documentary; and the second edition of Demise of the Dollar, which I updated with new research and rewrote.
Weiss Ratings’ Ultimate Guided Tour of Stock Investing, Weiss Ratings (Weiss Ratings, Inc., Fall 2004) Ultimate Guided Tour was the first book I wrote to help the average investor. It was a lot of fun collaborating with the senior staff on the research and writing of the manuscript, which offers novice investors a step-by-step guide to stock investing. The short schedule was greatly helped by the fact that the company rented a red Ford Mustang for me during the week I spent on site in Palm Beach, Florida.
Health and Society
Reclaiming Your Life After Diagnosis: The Cancer Support Community Handbook, Kim Thiboldeaux and Mitch Golant, PhD (BenBella Books, May 2012) For me, books are always personal. I began editing the second edition of Reclaiming Your Life After Diagnosis, which provides critical information about cancer, shortly after my mother was diagnosed with Stage IV breast cancer, driven by my own search for help.
“Reaching out to High-Risk Adolescents,” published in: Courage to Care, Responding to the Crisis of Children with AIDS, Olga Hernandez and Stephen E. Torkelson (The Child Welfare League of America, Washington, D.C., 1990 I interviewed Covenant House senior staff and wrote the chapter on the newly-opened AIDS program at Covenant House, published by the Child Welfare League of America.
Runaways: Coping at Home and on the Street, Pat Connors with Dorianne R. Perrucci (The Rosen Publishing Group, 1989) I interviewed Pat Connors who directed the “Nineline,” the Covenant House helpline, working from her notes and interviewing her and other staff and especially, street kids. Educational publisher Rosen signed the book, which was distributed nationally to 160,000 public and private school libraries.
It Only Hurts When I Grow: Stories from Covenant House for Hurting Kids, Fr. Kevin Kenny with Dorianne R. Perrucci (Paulist Press, 1988) Chaplain Fr. Kevin Kenny had several versions of this manuscript, based on what he had learned from Covenant House street kids struggling to change their lives. I organized and rewrote his notes and interviews into a publishable dramatic narrative packed with real-life stories and practical advice for young readers.
Covenant House: Lifeline to the Street, Fr. Bruce Ritter (Doubleday, February 1987) The monthly fundraising letters that Covenant House founder Fr. Bruce Ritter wrote every month to his donors struck a chord with me, which is how I came to develop by first New York Times’ best seller. I edited 15 years of letters into a dramatic narrative that traced the history of the agency, against the larger story of social changes that were hurting kids and pushing them to the street. The book also struck a chord with donors and readers, who contributed $10,000,000 to support the agency’s work with runaway and abused kids.
“A moving and startling collection of newsletters.”
Covenant House: Lifeline to the Street
Morris County: The Progress of Its Legend, Dorianne R. Perrucci (Windsor Publications, May 1983) I loved researching this book, the first in a century for Morris County, New Jersey. I wanted to make history come alive for readers, so I wove original interviews with residents who had priceless memories to share along with current news centering on controversial development plans, while digging into the extensive written and photographic archives of the public and county historical libraries for information dating back to the Continental Army‘s encampment in Morristown, N.J.
New Neighbors, Old Friends: Morristown‘s Italian Community, 1880-1980, James V. Costanzo (The Morris County (NJ) Historical Society, February 1982) I managed a pro bono staff of volunteers to edit and produce this award-winning book of historical photographs and oral histories (First Place, Book Excellence, League of Historical Societies of New Jersey), drive by the unrelenting passion of its author, who collected over 1,000 photographs and recorded dozens of moving oral histories from family and friends neighbors while growing up in “The Hollow” on the other side of mainline Morristown, NJ.
Religion & Theology
Victims and Sinners, Spiritual Roots of Addiction and Recovery,Linda A. Mercadante (Westminster John Knox Press, January 1996)
My friend Dr. Mercadante is a nationally-recognized expert on the “SBNR” (spiritual but not religious) movement. I helped her with developmental and content editing on Bloomfield Avenue, which traces her spiritual journey from the streets of Newark, N.J., where she grew up in an unchurched household, to the halls of Methodist Theological School of Ohio; and Victims and Sinners, which provides a provocative historical and theological analysis of Alcoholics Anonymous, the popular addiction recovery group.
I Believe in the Creator, Dr. James M. Houston (William B. Eerdmans, October 1980)
One of the first books I worked on, in exchange for getting a fellowship to study theology for a year at Regent College in beautiful Vancouver, Canada. The book, part of a series edited by the noted Anglican cleric Michael Green, examines controversial areas of the Christian faith from writers of different nations, cultures, and confessional backgrounds. I worked with Dr. Houston, an Oxford Ph.D.