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About FireCrystal Communications

I started FireCrystal Communications shortly after graduating from Princeton in 1972. ("FireCrystal" is a play on the anglicized German name "Glossbrenner.") I wrote my first book in 1976 using a legal pad, a Flair pen, and a Royal Ultronic typewriter. I wrote four other books and a lot of other material exactly the same way.

In 1981, after using a CPT dedicated word processor (8-inch, single-sided floppy disks) for several years, I became convinced that I had to get an IBM/PC - though I had no idea why.

It proved to be a fortunate decision, for nowhere was the need for clear, conversational explanations of complex subjects greater than in the early days of personal computing. I wrote many books, articles, and magazine columns on the subject, including The Complete Handbook of Personal Computer Communications [St. Martin's Press] in 1982. With total sales of over 186,000 copies, it was one of the very first books ever published about what we now call "cyberspace."

Emily Glossbrenner - click for largerWhile I was writing computer books and ads and brochures for advertising agencies, my wife, Emily Glossbrenner, was building a career in the corporate world, managing the national real-estate license exam program for Educational Testing Service and then marketing IBM mainframes and services to Fortune 500 companies. When one of my books about public domain and shareware software led to a thriving mail order business, she left IBM and joined me at FireCrystal Communications.

From the first day she was a complete partner, writing books, co-authoring books, suggesting projects, dealing with agents and publishers, and handling everything else associated with being in the information business. Her first project was writing Search Engines for the World Wide Web (Peachpit Press, 1991).

A Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Wilson College, Emily brought not only her own creativity to FireCrystal but also a complete mastery of detail. For example, Emily organized and managed every aspect of the re-publication of Debt & Delusion: Central Bank Follies that Threaten Economic Disaster by Peter Warburton. Purchasing the rights, bidding out the printing, handling the file conversion and copyediting, and adding an improved index - Emily did it all. Including Amazon advertising and order fulfillment. (Emily has used her unique skills to index scores of books since joining FireCrystal.) The book was in profit about 18 months after publication despite never appearing on a bookstore shelf.

FireCrystal Worldwide HQ + Bucks County CottageThe "world-wide headquarters" of FireCrystal Communications is an 1820s "Federalized" farmhouse on three-and-a-half acres on the Delaware River in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. The property has an old horse barn, and a guest cottage which we offer as a vacation rental.

A few years ago, one of our guests, the artist and filmmaker, Bill Jersey, presented us with a surprise gift: his chalk drawing of the back of the main house and the barn. We love being a high-tech couple living and working in the antique house shown in Bill Jersey's drawing.

"For anyone but an absolute beginner, Glossbrenner's Complete Hard Disk Handbook is practically indispensable."
— New York Times
"Excuse me. I'm back to rave in your ear... I can affirm - not just hope - that How to Buy Software is the definitive software shopper's guide... For intelligence and thoroughness,
no one else comes close."
— Stewart Brand, Whole Earth Software Review
"One of the USA's most respected authors of computer
"how-to" guides."
— USA Today
"A real bon-bon of a book...
About the Author is most certainly a five-star headliner"
— Velma Daniels, Scripps Howard News Service
"Search Engines for the World Wide Web, one of Amazon's Top 10 Internet Books of 1997, is exactly what Web guides should be-concise, easily referenced, informative, and appropriate for all levels of expertise... Highly recommended for both the casual Web user and the veteran surfer."
— The Editors of
"I have been reading your books since 1986–still have How To Buy Software. I love your mixture of technical info and humor.... I knew that you would deliver the goods... and Internet 101 sure does!
— G.H.