Thursday, December 20, 2012

Some More Love for Cheeseland

Earlier this year Eckhartz Press released Randy Richardson's excellent novel, "Cheeseland". We thought so much of it, we nominated it for several "best of the year" book competitions.

But of course, we're biased. We published it. Don't believe us. Here's what some unbiased readers have been saying and writing about Cheeseland. It's the #1 ranked coming of age novel at GoodReads thanks to comments like this...

"This is a fun coming-of-age novel with one of those archetypal "bad influence" friends from your adolescence. I really enjoyed this book. The protagonist is even-keeled Daniel McAllister, a guy who grew up in a working-class neighborhood in Chicago and then went on to better things. His best friend as an adolescent was Lance Parker -- one of those great, universal characters. We ALL had a Lance in our lives...the "bad influence" kid your parents didn't want around. Or maybe YOU were "Lance" when you were growing up...the guy who always had the crazy, irresponsible idea to do something you shouldn't do (in this case, go on a road trip to Wisconsin instead of going to your high school graduation ceremony). Somehow, we're never quite able to say "no" to the Lances in our lives, and in Cheeseland, Randy Richardson shows how that plays out over a lifetime. There are serious undertones to this novel, including some dark secrets that haunt Daniel and Lance from adolescence into adulthood. But there is also a lot of humor, especially on the aforementioned road trip, which hit close to home. I was a bit of a "Lance" in my day, and I remember all too well how a spur-of-the-moment idea like a road trip can lead to lots of fun -- and lots of trouble. You get both in Cheeseland. Bottom line: this is a very well written coming-of-age novel. Highly recommended.
---Mike O'Mary, author of "Wise Men and Other Stories" (5 stars out of 5)

"Being a Chicago native myself I loved all the Chicago references in this fine coming-of-age novel. From easy access to Pabst Blue Ribbon beer just over the Wisconsin border, where the drinking age was lower, to a rock concert in the heart of the Kettle Moraine, to mindless midnight runs up and down I-94 between the south suburb of Dolton (where people are known as „dolts“) to the airport – I almost felt this was my story! These were my songs. The main characters are bound by blood by a series of events that happened in high school, and the story is a kind of exorcism of their past, spanning three decades. The author sprinkles plenty of surprises in the story, so that I really did not know what was coming next at any juncture. I especially loved the character of Buck, a voice of reason and sanity for boys just trying to survive their childhood. If you liked Larry McMurtry’s The Last Picture Show, you’ll love Cheeseland, Chicago’s answer to that Texas classic. Highly recommended!"
---Frederick Brooke (5 stars out of 5)

"Cheeseland is a refreshing, entertaining, and profound bro-mance about choices one makes because of an unforgiving past... Without giving too much away, the ending plays out like a Shakespearean tragedy. It was the only way this kind of story could end both in fiction and in real life. The setting was a big hit with me. As a Chicagoan, I knew the highways, places, towns, and other details Mr. Richardson used. Especially liked his mention of Alpine Valley-many warm and hazy memories from my adolescence. I cannot help but compare Mr. Richardson’s work to Frank McCourt’s Angela’s Ashes and Dennis Lehane’s Mystic River. A five star drama!"
---Dina Rae (5 stars out of 5)

The Living Wills in the Classroom

We've just gotten word that the Eckhartz Press novel "The Living Wills" (written by Brendan Sullivan and Rick Kaempfer) is going to be read by Marist High School in their Chicago literature class.

Kudos to Marist alum, Brendan Sullivan. That must be a thrill for him.

Some More Love for The Balding Handbook

Pat Colander from SHORE Magazine writes the following on her blog today...

"And Perfect Last-Minute Gifts: For the man who has everything but hair, Eckhartz Press is featuring David Stern's The Balding Handbook: The 5 stages of grieving for your hair. As Publisher Rick Kaempfer says, the book will “bring you back into the light. Of course, you'll need sunscreen when you get there, but the few extra bucks you shell out to the Hawaiian Tropic people is a trifle when you consider the incredible life that awaits you after reading this book. Whether you are a fellow sufferer, or just a mean person that wants to give this book as a gag gift to that baldy you know (“Tee hee, Get it? You're bald!”), “The Balding Handbook is for you.”

Here are a few reviews on GoodReads...

"Stern's book takes the Five Stages of Grieving and applies to hair loss. As a fully actualized bald man, Stern offers advise and insights to his balding brothers. So funny. So funny. So funny. I received this book in the mail and read it the same day. My neighbors must think they are living next to a lunatic as I laughed loud and hard at every chapter."
--Brent Petersen (5 stars out of 5)

"I was given this book by my brother and had no intention of reading it. The next thing I knew I had read the entire book in a few hours. This really is a funny and smart read. Pleasantly surprised."
--Sly (5 stars out of 5)

"This book has given me the will to live. Brilliant. Brilliant. Brilliant. Thank you from the bottom of my heart."
--Curly (5 stars out of 5)

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Righting a Wrong, Balding Handbook-style

Help Eckhartz Press author David Stern ("The Balding Handbook") right a 200-year wrong. Please sign his official White House petition to rename the "Bald" eagle, the "Follicly-Challenged" eagle. It's the right thing to do.

You can sign it here.

He needs 25,000 signatures in a month, so please pass the word. We've got about 24,998 signatures to go.

We're #1

Well lookee here.

The #1 Coming of Age novel listed on GoodReads is the Eckhartz Press release "Cheeseland" by Randy Richardson.

We're #1

On Amazon's list of Hot New Releases/Parodies, lookee here...

The Balding Handbook is #1!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Scenes from The Balding Handbook's Book Release Party

Author David Stern was among his people all night. As you can see, they covered a full range of emotions...

The Balding Handbook on the Radio

Tune in Thursday December 27th at 9pm to Sports Night on WGN Radio (AM 720), hosted by Brian Noonan and Dave Kaplan. They'll be talking to the author of "The Balding Handbook", David Stern.

Dave has prepared a list of some of his favorite athletes. See if you can guess what they all have in common.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

A Balding Handbook Shout Out

The Balding Handbook's author David Stern has been hustling. The book is selling incredibly well online, but Dave also has a carload of these things with him at all times and sells them every day to people he meets.

Yesterday he was at the Horseshoe Casino (probably researching for his next book; either an homage to flashing lights or oversized horeshoes), when he played poker with a man named Fat Ali.

I don't want to say what Fat Ali's brothers will be receiving as holiday gifts this year, but he asked Dave to mention this on the blog. Here goes: "Special shout out to Fat Ali who will be spreading holiday cheer to his six bald brothers this Christmas."

By the way, we're having a little party for The Balding Handbook this weekend and we need your advice. Is there a thematically appropriate beverage or food we should serve? Send your ideas to

Monday, December 10, 2012

More Love for The Balding Handbook

We've been astounded by the way "The Balding Handbook" has been flying off the shelves, so first of all, thanks to all of you who are buying it--especially those of you buying ten copies at a time. (Know a lot of bald guys?)

It's getting attention all over the country. Joe Donatelli is "The Humor Columnist" (based in Cleveland) and he has published an excerpt from the book in his most recent column. It's a section that particularly tickled his funny bone, the description of the different kinds of combovers.

You can read it here.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Rick Kaempfer

Eckhartz Press co-publisher and author Rick Kaempfer is featured in the current issue of Illinois Entertainer magazine.

The piece, written by Cara Jepsen, is about his co-founding of this company, his previous writing and radio career, and his upcoming book on Eckhartz Press.

You can read it here.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Meet Kim & Randy

This Thursday night Kim Strickland will be part of the lineup at the Book Cellar in Lincoln Square (4736 N. Lincoln Avenue, Chicago). They are staging a "ChicagoNow Bloggers Author Night", and Kim writes the blog "A City Mom" for ChicagoNow. She'll be signing copies of her Eckhartz Press book "Down at the Golden Coin" at the Book Cellar, along with fellow ChicagoNow authors Jimmy Greenfield, Carrie Goldman, Kirk Mango, and Fern Ronay. The festivities begin at 7pm.

This Saturday (December 8) Eckhartz Press author Randy Richardson will be appearing in Woodstock at "Read Between the Lynes" from 2-4pm. He'll be signing copies of his novel "Cheeseland". Read Between the Lynes is located at 129 West Van Buren Street in Woodstock.

The Balding Handbook's Cause

The Balding Handbook gets serious for a moment: Eckhartz Press author Dave Stern is donating a portion of the proceeds to a charity that provides wigs for children undergoing chemo.

It's called "The Happiness Plunge" and you can read more about this great charity here.