Judi Culbertson graduated from Hampton DuBose High School in Florida, and majored in creative writing at Wheaton College in Illinois. After two years in Philadelphia she moved to Long Island where her son Andy was born. Here she published GAMES CHRISTIANS PLAY (Harper & Row, 1967), followed by THE LITTLE WHITE BOOK ON RACE (Lippincott, 1970) with a friend, Patti Bard.
In 1970 Judi began working for the Suffolk County Department of Social Services, working with families at risk, children in foster care and, finally, in the Court Unit where she wrote petitions to free children for adoption. During this time she was writing articles for Glamour, The New York Times, Newsday, Cosmopolitan, Woman's Day, Working Mother, and others and travel stories for major newspapers.
In 1986, after a trip to Paris, Judi and her husband, Tom Randall, wrote a travel story that developed into PERMANENT PARISIANS,An Illustrated Biographical Guide to the Cemeteries of Paris, published in 1987 by Chelsea Green Press. This was followed by four more: PERMANENT NEW YORKERS; LONDONERS; CALIFORNIANS; and ITALIANS.
After earning an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Vermont College, Judi published THE NURSERY (St. Martin's Press, 1996). By then she had started speaking professionally on a subject that had long fascinated her, people's attachment to stuff. This led to two books: SCALING DOWN, Living Large in a Smaller Space, written with Marj Decker (Rodale 2005) and THE CLUTTER CURE (McGraw-Hill, 2007).
Judi left social work in 1999 to pursue her interest in selling used and rare books on the Internet.
It is this background that helped create the Secondhand Prose Mystery Series. A NOVEL DEATH is the first book, published by Avalon Books in June 2011. AN ILLUSTRATED DEATH will be published on October 1, 2013 by Harper/Collins. When not writing, she and Tom travel extensively and enjoy their twin grandchildren, Andrew and Emily, as well as the three cats they live with: Ignatz, Vladimir, and Pangur.
Title: An Illustrated Death
Author: Judi Culberton
Publication Date: October 1, 2013, (ebook only) by Witness Impulse, an imprint of HarperCollins
Event organized by: Literati Author Services, Inc.
When bookseller Delhi Laine gets the opportunity to appraise the late Nate Erikson’s personal library, she jumps at the chance. It’s not every day a bookseller gets to peek into the mind of a famous illustrator, not to mention his fascinating collection of rare books. Invited to spend time with the artistic Erikson clan at the family compound in the Hamptons, Delhi is intrigued by their eccentric and eclectic ways.
But when death visits the family once more and another Erikson is found dead, dark family secrets come to light—including the death of Nate Erikson himself. Surrounded by the charmed family not quite as idealic as they once seemed, Delhi is determined to solve the murders once and for all. But digging up truths can get you dirty…and Delhi is about to discover how far some will go to keep them buried.
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Guest Post - The Value of Books
To me, the best book not only grabs you and takes you for an enthralling ride; it tells you things that help you live a more satisfying life. Sometimes the information is emotional; sometimes it’s practical. In my Secondhand Prose mystery series, I give a lot of hints about what makes a book valuable, things I wish I had known when I started to sell used and rare books. Searching for books is exciting, and the more you know, the more fun it is.
For instance: Just because a book is old doesn’t make it valuable. A copy of A Tale of Two Cities from 1859 that is part of a set of Dickens is worth only about $3.49. A first edition of Harry Potter and The Sorcerer’s Stone in its dust jacket sells for around $1,500. Most of us would love to have a crystal ball that would tell us at the beginning of an author’s’ career that they are on their way to becoming a literary legend.
Another hint: Up to 90% of a book’s value lies in the dust jacket. Collectors want to have it. A jacket makes a book more attractive and gives clues as to whether or not a book is a first printing. There shouldn’t be reviews quoted on it or seals from literary prizes. One of my biggest nightmares as a bookseller was hearing about an acquaintance who threw away the dust jacket as soon as he finished a book, so that he would know that he had read it. Arrgh.
Your childhood books and your parents’ are probably also collectible. Hardcovers are best, again in dust jackets. First editions of Dr. Seuss, Laura Ingalls Wilder, E.B. White and many others are all worth holding onto or selling.
Despite the popularity of e-books, there will always be a demand for physical books, not just to collect as an investment, but to have the ones we love where we can reach out and touch them. As the title of one novel points out, “Books do furnish a room.”
The best of them help to furnish a life.
Ten (10) e-copies of An Illustrated Death. Winner must have access to Bluefire Reader and have an Adobe account to receive free download.
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