Tuesday, December 20, 2022

My Mother Passed Away Last Week


Obituary for Rev. Mary Perkins


The Reverend Mary Perkins, a resident of Riverdale and Washington Heights, passed away on Dec. 14th at 89 years old.


Reverend Perkins was one of the first female ministers in New York City who was mentored by Dr. Norman Vincent Peale.  After a career as a director of Christian Education at the Fort Washington Collegiate Church in Manhattan, she was ordained by the United Church of Christ where she was placed in a yoked congregation in Ft. Lee, NJ serving the Moresmere Community Church and the Grantwood Church for over two decades.


Mary was born in 1933 in Warren, Ohio the third daughter and fifth child of Greek immigrant parents. Originating from the island of Samos in Greece, her family immigrated to the U.S. through Ellis Island.


In NYC her family found enclaves of Greek families, with Greek being the language of their home. Mary went to the local public schools of upper Manhattan and graduated from George Washington High School. In her young adult years she supported her widowed father by working as an entry-level doctor’s assistant.


She knew her husband from her childhood and once Charlie returned from the Korean War they were married. They welcomed their daughter Lori Perkins a year later and had their son Richard Perkins four years later.


Always pushing herself forward, Mary went back to school and graduated from Lehman College with a teaching degree. She later pursued and graduated with three master's degrees – a religious counseling degree from the Blanton Peale Institute, a Masters in Theatre from NYU and a Masters of Divinity from Union Theological Seminary.


Mary threw herself into community service, initially as a preschool teacher at St George Church in Washington Heights. She worked at the Fort Washington Collegiate Church as the Director of Christian Education for over a decade. She built a large Sunday School and directed many plays at the Fort Washington Collegiate Church, performing one of the early plays by fellow NYU Theatre graduate John Patrick Shanley.


As a seminary student, she served as chaplain at Bellevue Hospital as one of the first to minister to AIDS patients during the early AIDS crisis. 


In her retirement, Mary spent many joyous vacations with her daughter and grandson Max in their favorite “home away from home” in Belfast, Maine, where her husband’s mother was born. Mary also traveled to spend time in California with her son Richard and daughter-in-law Jackie, spoiling her West Coast grandchildren, Charlie & Caroline.


She is survived by her daughter, Lori Perkins, the publisher of Riverdale Avenue Books; her son, Richard Perkins, an L.A.-based writing teacher, and her grandchildren, Caroline and Charlie Perkins, and grandson, Max Jimenez.


A Memorial/Celebration of Life will be held in February of 2023 at the Fort Washington Collegiate Church.

Saturday, April 20, 2019

Remembering Ghostbusters Ed and Lorraine Warren

I was the literary agent for Ghostbusters Ed and Lorraine Warren in the 80’s, after they had already become famous from their work on The Amityville Horror. I love a good ghost story and had been watching CNN when a Pennsylvania family got on the news requesting the Catholic Church exorcise their home. As a journalist who had become a literary agent, I told my husband that I couldn’t wait to read the book, and he said, “You used to be a journalist.  Go get the story,” so I found myself in their haunted living room with the velvet paintings of Elvis within a week.  Ed and Lorraine Warren were advising the family, and I convinced them to leave their William Morris agent and go with me.  We put together a proposal for a book that became The Haunted which went to a two-day auction and eventually became and Emmy-Award-winning TV movie.

I was their agent for seven books, but after a while the stories all started to sound the same, and there was only so much excitement I could muster for demons in the attic, exploding ectoplasm in the toilets and succubae everywhere.  But I have to say they believed every word they said.

I had been to their haunted museum, where they had told me the story of Annabelle, and I said that no one would be afraid of a haunted doll.  I should have remembered that Twilight Zone episode.

But it was time for me to go on to represent other things like erotica and paranormal romance

I am so glad that Ed and Lorraine’s tales of things that do more than go bump in the night found another generation. They were a fascinating couple, who worked side by side until Ed passed in 2006.  If my memory serves correctly, they met because Ed loved painting haunted places and Lorraine could read auras.  Someone should write a real paranormal romance about them!

I do hope they are continuing their investigations from beyond.

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Yes, Yes Nanette!

(This ran yesterday on RomanceDailyNews.com, but I wanted it to be searchable, so I'm putting it here too.  You should ALL read it).

Everyone is talking about the Nanette comedy special by Tasmanian lesbian comedian Hannah Gadsby, which quietly landed on Netflix about two weeks ago and has been getting the kind of buzz I can only remember for 50 Shades.  “Have you seen Nanette?  What do you think?”

Now you may already be asking yourself, “What the hell does this have to do with romance?” and you’d be surfacely justified, but in this age of #MeToo and TimesUp, everything in the life of contemporary women has to do with romance, or the total lack thereof.  And it’s time we, as romance readers, start connecting the dots (as Hannah Gadsby does brilliantly in this performance).

So, back to Nanette. This made headlines because the comedian said she was doing this comedy special to announce that she was leaving comedy, and then, to her surprise, the powerful, gut-retching and side-splitting performance she gave was so timely and honest that it literally launched an international career that she could never have imagined. So, of course, she is not quitting comedy (there’s your HEA).

Ok, so, if you haven’t seen this special (and maybe even if you have) let me tell you why it’s so perfectly zeitgeisty.

We have grown accustomed to female comedians doing their shticks about dating, marriage, children, shopping, their bodies, each other, men, etc.  We expect the humor to be self-deprecating.  If there’s any anger at all, it is usually aimed at ourselves, or society, or the patriarchy. And women on stage usually don’t get very angry because we have been told a thousand times that angry women aren’t fun or funny.

So here comes Hannah, a bordering on middle-age out lesbian who makes it clear to us that she doesn’t care what we think of how she looks because she’s spent the whole of her life not fitting in as a girl, as a woman, as a comedian, and even, sometimes, as a lesbian. We’ve laughed a few times because we’re trying to get to know her, and she’s being so incredibly forthright that we think we know where this is going… and then she just completely takes us elsewhere…a place we weren’t even thinking we would go on a comedy special.

And she does it so eloquently with a lesson from art history featuring Van Gogh and Picasso (and I have an art history degree, so this really got me where I live).

And where she takes us is to her teenage rape, but she does not dwell there.  She dares us to see her as so many men over the centuries have seen her and most women they encounter as objects for their pleasure telling us about 50-odd year-old Picasso’s bon mot about how his 17 year old lover was at her prime, as was he.  And Hannah then double dog dares us to see her for who she really is – a middle aged out Tasmanian lesbian – who is only now in her prime.
And then she utters this line (you will quote forever), "There is nothing stronger than a broken woman who's rebuilt herself."

Just so powerful.

There has never been another comedy performance like it.

I hope it sets the bar.

Now, go watch that special again. Grab some friends and watch it.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Romance Daily News Launches!

Romance Daily News, a New York-based daily online magazine for romance readers, has launched today. Romance Daily News will give the more than 30 million romance readers throughout the world the latest news on their favorite genre, as well as customized bestseller lists and free eBook downloads through the site’s exclusive partnership with Smashwords, the world's largest distributor of indie eBooks.

Romance Daily News will give readers a daily dose of romance in media such as books, films, TV, and theater, as well as lifestyle topics like fashion, travel, food & drink, relationships, and romance in art, history, gaming, sex, politics, and science.  The new online magazine’s unique features include:
·       An exclusive Membership Program that entitles romance readers to receive every day a free romance eBook powered by Smashwords.  The regular annual rate of $14.99 will be discounted through October 31st for Smashwords members to $9.99 for the first year.  In addition, the first 90 free Book of the Day giveaways include some of the biggest names in romance including NY Times and USA Today bestsellers Natasha Preston, RL Mathewson and Evangeline Anderson. Each eBook is accompanied by a Q&A interview with the author.
·       Multiple exclusive bestseller lists from Smashwords. Romance Daily News will feature nine dynamic bestseller lists, with a different list appearing each day and some alternating week-to-week.  Romance Daily News will feature book reviews, interviews, and sample chapters of books.
·       New original columns such This Day in Romance, an editorial cartoon by Last Kiss artist John Lustig, and articles by editors, agents, librarians, book sellers, etc.
·       Horoscopes by Sephera Giron, a noted metaphysical author of the bestselling book House Magic

Romance Daily News Publisher and Editorial Director, Lori Perkins is a published author, book editor and literary agent with three decades experience in publishing newspapers and books. She was the owner and publisher of The Uptown Weekly News in Manhattan’s Washington Heights and Inwood in the 80’s, as well as an adjunct professor of journalism at NYU. She has written or edited 30 books, most of which are in the romance genre.

An online magazine partnering with a book delivery platform to offer lovers of romance a free book every day is a game changer,” said Publisher Lori Perkins. “Our data partnership with Smashwords allows our subscribers to enjoy curated content that matches what readers are buying and reading.”

”We’re thrilled to partner with Romance Daily News for this multi-faceted partnership,” said Mark Coker, founder and CEO of Smashwords. “For Smashwords authors and publishers, this is an exciting opportunity to reach new readers.  For romance readers, it’s an opportunity to discover and enjoy an amazing diversity of high-quality, curated romance.”

For more romance, please visit RomanceDailyNew.com.  Any inquiries can be directed to info@romancedailynews.com

Thursday, February 8, 2018

50 Shades of Bland

So I went to a press screening of Fifty Shades Freed, the third installment in the Fifty Shades erotic romance saga last night with my movie reviewer friend.  It's been our pre-Valentine's Day date  for the past three years.

Now maybe it's that we've had a year of living in Trumpland and that's just dulled our reactions to everything, or that it was a cold and rainy night, or that anything to do with BDSM has become yesterday's thrill, but that movie was just tepid.  Sure, I got a few nice shots of Jamie Dornan's well proportioned ass, and there were multiple visits to the red room of pain, even one that involved glimpses of stainless steel butt plugs, but it was spectacularly forgettable, as was the music, and the acting by so many really amazing cast members (why did they even bother to hire Marsha Gay Harden and Rita Ora).

And they know it because before we get to the end credits there's actually a montage of the greatest hits form the previous movies set to a remix of the theme song from the first movie to remind you that this was once something that anyone cared about, or that millions of women throughout the world were obsessed with.

It was like a bad Hallmark movie, or the last installment of one of those made-for-TV movies from the late 70's and 80's where something that should have been two hours is stretched out to six.

The one truly amusing part of the film for me was the portrayal of Ana's publishing job.  There are manuscripts piled high on her desk (we ALL read digitally now - that is so 1990's).  The first novel she's acquired has a print run order of 200,000 (also so 1990's). But, hey, I have to remember that this is fantasy!

But I am glad I saw it.  I'm a completest that way.

If you're a real sucker for the this kind of thing, I hear some of the Alamo Draft houses are offering a Fifty Shades three-movie marathon tonight (my local one in Yonkers starts at 6:00.)  Enjoy!