A Writer's Dreams Come True

In 1997 I was hired to teach an Oral History writing workshop at Touro College in Brighton Beach, Brooklyn. My students were recent Russian immigrants who came to the U.S. after the Cold War. In my class they wrote and spoke passionately about their personal and collective histories. The storytelling was measured and deliberate, personal and always compelling. Amelia described the garden where she felt safe, and kissed a boy for the first time; Yuri described the icy waters of the Gulf of Finland where his family swam and picnicked; and Stalina told of being named for Stalin. She explained to the class how, even though she was advised to change her name, she would never, “it is our history and I carry that with me today.” Told with a stoic, often ironic, and at times playful demeanor, these stories inspired me to create the central character for my debut novel. It took me five years to write Stalina. Working full time as a television stage manager, I wrote whenever I could and tokk workshops to hone my craft. In 2008, after I finished a first draft of the novel, I was side swiped with a diagnosis of breast cancer. With the rigors of treatment, battles with insurance, and continuing to work, I felt I had to give in to my health needs and put the novel aside. I finished treatment at the end of 2009 and entered the abyss that many patients experience when they are released from the care of their doctors. It felt like being cast out to sea. I sat at my desk one day and thought what should I do with myself? I opened a drawer, pulled out the novel, read through it, made some minor changes and entered it in the Amazon Debut Novel Emerging Writer Award Contest. A year later, I had forgotten about the contest and was going through a crisis of how to keep my writing life alive, when I received a phone call from Terry Goodman, the Senior Acquisitions Editor of AmazonEncore, Amazon’s new publishing venture. He was extremely complementary of the novel and wanted to know if I would be interested in having it published. After picking myself up off the floor, where I had fallen from the shock of it all, I said yes, and managed to croak out a thank you. Aside from the occasional writer’s high when you find the perfect combination of words, that phone call was the most encouraging and exciting moment in my writing life. To be part of the publishing world at a time when there are great upheavals and a revolution of change is exhilarating. I am deep into the writing of a second novel, and this year I was also honored as the first recipient of the Sarah Verdone Writers Award. The award was established by family and friends of Ms. Verdone, a journalist, wife and mother, who died from breast cancer in 2010. A number of other awards have also come my way, all of which have helped to shore up my confidence to keep writing. In 2011 Stalina was chosen for re-release by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. There are good days and hard days with the writing, but it is often filled with discoveries that tweak my curious nature, and keep me pushing on through to the next sentence. I hope other aspiring writers are inspired by my journey and will look for a community to support them in their efforts to keep writing. Please check out my website at www.emilyrubin.net. Stalina is available in bookstores (support your local indie) and on Amazon.

5 New Year's Resolutions to Make Every Year

With every new year comes a clean slate and the opportunity to make your next 365 days as meaningful as possible. What are some of your resolutions? We came up with some ideas for resolutions for this year and every year after.

From our OGTV family to yours, Happy New Year!

Keep reading... Show less

Blind Waiter Serves Up Diner Classics and Life Lessons

** As we wind down to the final days of this difficult year, OGTV is tipping our hat to all of the essential workers on the front lines with this uplifting story about a New Jersey man who has found a way to do this difficult job for years, even without his eyesight! **

The flickering neon sign reflects eerily off the aging, chrome exterior; a long smooth marble counter with spinning stools draws your gaze left and right as you enter; the checkered linoleum floor seeps under the rows of back-to-back leather booths enveloped by the rain streaked wrap-around windows. You may think you've entered a typical American roadside eatery, but your experience here will be anything but ordinary.

You have just stepped into the Bendix Diner, a staple in Hasbrouck Heights, New Jersey since the 1940's. It's no surprise that The Bendix can serve up a sizzling Burger with deep fried onion rings and a frothy chocolate shake. What is unique about this meal is the waiter who delivers it to your table – his name is John Diakakis, and he is blind.

Keep reading... Show less

How to Reduce Feelings of Isolation and Loneliness - Ask The Doctor (E7)

During these incredibly stressful days, OnlyGood TV is excited to launch a new series - Ask The Doctor - that explores the questions and provides guidance for finding the road to achieving emotional, psychological, and spiritual wellness.

Hosted by Dr. Stacy Berman, each episode will help you navigate through these rough times and find your way to a happier and healthier life. Feeling lonely and isolated during quarantine? In this episode, Stacy reminds us that we are all wired to be part of a social community and offers a simple, self-soothing exercise to fill that connection gap that we are all experiencing.

Keep reading... Show less

Are You A Christmas Trivia Expert? - Not Your Average Joe

Everyone could use a few more smiles in their daily lives…and watching a funny video will often do the trick! OnlyGood TV videos help make your life fun, more manageable, happy and stress free!

Joe Leonardo is an improv actor from New York City. For our new "man on the street" series, Not Your Average Joe, he traveled through Times Square asking New Yorkers trivia questions about Christmas! Check out this hysterical video and see which city pedestrians know their facts and which don't... Keep track of your own answers too! Happy Holidays!

Keep reading... Show less

Chefs Honor Sailors and Their Families With a Holiday Feast to Remember (Random Acts of Cooking E1)

What would be a unique way to honor the service of 400 hungry sailors and their families for the holidays? You contact Chef Plum, have him round up his crew of top flight chefs and grill masters, bring in enough food to feed…well…the Navy, spice it up with a dash of top flight entertainment, and you have all of the ingredients for a memorable evening of food, love, and family!

Keep reading... Show less

Sullivan the Therapy Dog Helps Make A Christmas Movie - Sullivan's Travels

** OGTV is celebrating the first day of winter and the holiday season by inviting you to join a golden retriever named Sullivan on one of his many adventures. **

Do you ever wonder what a day in the life of a therapy dog is like? In the OGTV Original Series "Sullivan's Travels," a golden retriever therapy dog named Sullivan Travolta takes us along with her as she assists folks in all kinds of settings. Having been trained at Project Chance in Jacksonville, Florida, Sullivan provides support and happiness to kids and adults in schools, nursing homes, classes, and any other program where she's needed.

Keep reading... Show less

* OGTV Top Videos *

Watch and Subscribe
It's a Positivity Movement
OnlyGood TV on YouTube


Get your Only Good TV Newsletter