Monday, December 19, 2005


Went to two recent events almost back to back and enjoyed them both tremendously. First I went with my friend Barbara McCullough to the annual Lindeman Young Artists Development Concert at the Metropolitan Opera. We heard a very talented bunch of people perform. I was especially impressed with my fellow New Yorker, tenor Dimitri Pittas, who performed pieces by Mozart and Donizetti. I was very impressed with soprano Alyson Cambridge [photo above], who appeared in the act three quartet from Puccini's La boheme. This is a very gifted lady, and she seemed to have a lovely and humble personality when I briefly spoke with her afterwards. Tamara Mumford is another talented Mezzo, and like Cambridge, a real beauty as well. Russell Thomas is a fine tenor and a pleasant fellow who sang the pants off a piece from Rigoletto. I didn't have a chance to speak with the other artists, but they were all very talented and impressive and will hopefully go on to major careers. There was a buffet on the Grand Tier after the concert, but it was a might skimpy, and Barbara and I agreed that the appetizers were from hunger. Oh, well. Nobody goes to the Met for the food. Besides, they have to come up with millions and millions of dollars to mount each production. I suppose we're lucky we got anything to eat at all.
Then the Charles Street Association had its annual Christmas party at the Donna Karan gallery near Greenwich street. The place was beautifully appointed for the party, there was plenty of wine, and the food, catered by local restaurants, was excellent. [Much better than at the Met!] George Capsis and associates pulled off a great party in a very short time. Charles Street is home to a lot of interesting people in a variety of professions. But no, Sarah Jessica and Matthew Broderick did not attend. [They moved into a townhouse up the block a couple of years ago. The street was full of tabloid photographers the night they came home with the baby.] Nice party, nice people, lots of fun. And lots of wine!

Friday, December 9, 2005

Instant Messaging

Instant messaging [IM] is certainly an interesting feature of the internet. Like the phone -- only you can't hear or see anybody. But it's fun anyway. They can also be convenient if you need an immediate reply. Since I received my first IM from a nice fellow in NC a few weeks ago I've told a few friends and acquaintances who've never IM'ed about it and I've been getting a lot of IMs lately.

Sometimes, however, I can't answer an instant message when it comes in because I'm right in the middle of work, or uploading photos onto one of my web sites, or getting ready to sign off and go out. [With my clunky computer I'm always afraid to do more than one thing at once. The number of disconnects and fatal exceptions -- don't ask! -- I get already are legion!] So if anybody IMs me and I don't respond -- assuming I'm online to begin with -- don't be offended; it just means I'm genuinely busy and can't stop to chat. Feel free to send me an email and I'll answer it as soon as I can.

Some day I'll write of my experiences with AOL!

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Dean Martin

A few years ago I co-authored a book on THE RAT PACK which did very well. Originally we were to do another book for the same publisher on Rita Hayworth, but since sales for The Rat Pack book were so good, they implored us to switch to a book on Dean Martin. My co-author had had enough of the Rat Pack so I decided to do the book as a solo effort. It was called MARTINI MAN: The Life of Dean Martin and also sold quite well. It was not the first book on Martin and it certainly hasn't been the last.

After Martini Man came out, there was a sudden flood of books about Dino. First his producer did a tome on the Dean Martin show, then little Ricci, the youngest of his children, came out with a slender volume that added little to the lore of Dean Martin. Ricci objected to his father being called "Martini Man" and claims he didn't drink martinis, and he probably didn't -- most of the time. But he did drink martinis when he was in the mood for one. But the main reason for using Martini Man for a title was because a martini goes with Martin's show biz uniform, which was always a tuxedo. You think of tuxedos and you think of martinis, the classy drink, it's as simple as that. [The cover of the book shows Martin drinking -- what else -- a martini!]

After Ricci's book, his half-sister Deana did her own tome about Dino, which was a bit thicker, frankly padded with stuff that she or her co-author probably got from other biographies, including mine. [No problem. There's nothing wrong with using a previous tome for research.] Then a few months later, Jerry Lewis himself came out with his own book on Dino. None of these books could in any way be considered biographies of Dino, but they had their own points of view and points of interest.

The families, friends, co-workers of celebrities always scream about what has been written about them, but I'm pleased to report that nothing written by any of these people in any way conflicts with what I wrote about Dean Martin -- in fact all these books written by "insiders" only confirm my take on ol' Dino.

Martini Man -- the full honest story of Dean Martini's life and career -- still sells briskly, so I'm not afraid of a little competition

But enough already with the Dean Martin books! [Be prepared. He has several other children and two still-living ex-wives yet to be heard from.]

Let me say that I am sympathetic to the offspring of famous people who see strangers [to them] writing and talking about their parents and want a piece of the action, to feel more a part of the excitement, to be recognized for their own achievements [while, ironically, battening off their fathers or mothers]. Children of the famous often have privileges, advantages and "ins" that most of us don't have, but they also have to deal with very large shadows. No matter what sort of person he might have been, I always felt sorry for the late Eric Douglas, who was not only in the shadow of his father, Kirk Douglas, but of his older brother, Michael Douglas. I wouldn't wish that fate on anyone and I think it actually killed him.

Monday, October 31, 2005

End of Month -- and Halloween!

This has been a busy month. I've been finishing up a very big project as well as doing work on others, but there were plenty of distractions. I was visiting my mother -- luckily as it turned out -- when she had a bad fall and couldn't get up, even with my help. The paramedics came, and the police, and then the ambulance. I have to say that every single person was highly professional, warm, and terrific. My sister met me at the emergency room; they decided to admit Mom and she stayed for about two days. All sorts of tests were taken and when it was determined that Mom had not had a heart attack, she was whisked right out of the hospital. [Well, not exactly whisked. It took so long for the wheelchair to arrive that we just got her up and out of there ourselves.] A visiting nurse was supposed to come but because of some mix up or another she didn't arrive until OVER A WEEK later. Mom is also supposed to get physical therapy, home health care and so on -- but only for a couple of weeks.

My advice to everyone: Stay healthy!

Well, I'm going out tonight to celebrate one of my favorite holidays. I've never been crazy about parades -- the village Halloween parade is more for the kids anyway -- but I love going barhopping on Halloween just to see the crazy costumes and have a lot of fun. Barhopping in Manhattan is always fun, of course, but there's something extra special about Halloween, St. Patty's [and I'm not even Irish], and New Year's Eve. Normally I avoid crowd scenes, but these dates are something else.

Have fun!

Thursday, October 6, 2005

Official Website

My official web site is at There you will find photos of, and some commentary on, most of my books. I'll be updating the site periodically, with reviews and other information.

Speaking of William Schoell web sites, a few months ago I was surfing the web when I came across an unofficial William Schoell web site called LATE AT NIGHT after one of my books. The site was really beautiful, and to say I was flattered is an understatement. I emailed the fellow who put it together and told him how much I liked it. Then...

... the web site disappeared! Gone, vanished, kaput, as if it had never been ... like something out of one of my novels. I never heard from the guy I emailed. Had I gone crazy?

This is what I think happened. I think the gentleman who put the web site together was overworked, like all of us, with little free time, and another web site was one too many, especially as it wasn't likely to get that many hits. When he heard from me -- assuming he even got my email -- he probably panicked: Oh no, I don't have time to keep this one up -- what do I do?
Then: with a flick of a mouse, the web site was deleted. Vanished without a trace from the Internet, angelfire, the world at large...

Oh well, for awhile I had a nice fan site for my late, lamented horror novels of the eighties and nineties. It was fun while it lasted! I bear the fellow no ill will; in fact, I'm STILL flattered. He is also a writer and has his own web site to deal with. I wish him well.

UPDATE: Apparently this unofficial web site still exists on the web. I came across it one night but failed to jot down the url, which I will if I come across it again. It is called Late at Night but the trouble is if you type that phrase in a search engine you'll come up with hundreds of pages. [Web sites routinely disappear from search engines and then show up again until they're fully indexed but that can take months if not years.]

Bio News

I'm finishing up a major bio with co-author Lawrence Quirk on one of Hollywood's most enduring and still active stars. After that, I'll be doing a bio [for teens] on one of America's greatest playwrights, Tennessee Williams. I love Williams' work, including his novella The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone. He was a fascinating and in some ways contradictory character. I'll enjoy revisiting many of his wonderful plays, including the vastly under-rated Vieux Carre. I'm also working on a project on monster movies -- that should certainly be a lot of fun. Hopefully I'll have more news on the 20th Century Opera book shortly.

Sunday, October 2, 2005

Welcome to the Website

Okay, this is my first post on the web journal for my official site. This will not be a "blog" as such, but a journal of information, updates, notes on the publishing industry and people I have worked with, info on upcoming books, an occasional rant, advice for new and old writers. Be sure to check out my performing arts and entertainment ezine High and Low NY at, as well as the classic film ezine Quirk's Reviews, which I also edit; you can find it at But there will be lots of new stuff on THIS site as well, which will be periodically updated. I would love to hear from you at Thanks for checking in.

William Schoell