Day of All Saints

THIS WEEK’S OTHER FEATURED BOOKS, “FOREIGNER,” BY NAHID RACHLIN AND “THE RETROACTIVIST,” BY NATE RAGOLIA, CAN BE FOUND BY SCROLLING DOWN BELOW THIS POST, OR BY CLICKING THE AUTHOR’S NAME ON OUR AUTHORS PAGE.

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THE BOOK: Day of All Saints

PUBLISHED IN: 2017

THE AUTHOR: Patricia Grace King

THE EDITOR: Brian Ascalon Roley, the judge for the Miami University Novella Prize in 2017

THE PUBLISHER: Miami University Press

SUMMARY: Martín Silva de Choc, childhood survivor of an army massacre during the Guatemalan civil war, and now a language-school teacher in Guatemala City, falls in love with his American student, Abby, and follows her home to Chicago on a fiancé visa. Days before their wedding, however, Abby goes missing, and on a Halloween afternoon Martín embarks on a search that leads from the ghost-strewn yards of Chicago’s North Side to the Lincoln Park Conservatory—and ultimately back to his violent past. A story about repressed secrets and the limits of love, Day of All Saints traces the effects of historical trauma on individual lives.

THE BACK STORY: I got the idea for Martín, my protagonist, soon after I moved back to the U.S. from Guatemala, years ago. In Day of All Saints, Martín is a Guatemalan who has just arrived in the States and who finds it a strange place on some levels. The book began with this character, Martín, with my wondering about how different aspects of American life might seem to a newly arrived Guatemalan.

Martín’s backstory – his childhood in the Ixcán, a remote region of Guatemala that was hit hard by the civil war, and then his status as an internal refugee – came from experiences even further removed in time. As a volunteer with Witness for Peace in the ’90s, and as the director of a language school in Guatemala in the early ’00s,

I often listened to the oral testimonies of civil war survivors. Those stories – and the courage of their tellers – have remained with me for decades. They’re such important stories, too rarely heard, and in Day of All Saints I wanted to give them another hearing.

WHY THIS TITLE: The story takes place across one Halloween afternoon. In the U.S., Halloween is celebrated quite exuberantly; in Guatemala, it’s barely recognized. (And so it’s another thing that freaks Martín out.) The holiday that matters much more in Guatemala is November 2nd, Day of All Saints. While both Halloween and Day of All Saints have to do with ghosts and the dead, I wanted to explore the contrast between the U.S.’s fun- or thrill-centered celebration and the more solemn rituals in Guatemala.

WHY SOMEONE WOULD WANT TO READ IT: I think stories at their best provide bridges into other lives, other worldviews, other cultures. That’s not their only function, of course; ideally, they should also entertain us, or move us with their beauty. But in this current moment and in the foreseeable future, my hope for Day of All Saints is that it might increase or encourage compassion for the outsiders in our midst, wherever we are.

REVIEW COMMENTS:

Patricia Grace King’s debut novella, Day of All Saints, succeeds not only in brevity of form but is also so well written, so compassionate in portraying survival in such violent times, that it is hard to put down. So much can be said about the Guatemalan civil war and how it impacted both the public and private spheres, but King reminds us anew, with such lyricism, that the reader can withstand the brutality. She brings the story much closer to home—to Chicago—and much closer to love, as the protagonist, Martín, must overcome the trauma and guilt of survival. Love may not be successful for him, but it’s a beginning, and King asks us: If we can’t call that beginning a small act of redemption, then what in this world ever is? –Helena María Viramontes, author of Their Dogs Came with Them and Under the Feet of Jesus

A haunted hero. His missing bride. Ghosts everywhere. In this elegantly-structured, suspenseful, and affecting novella, Patricia Grace King displays her great gifts as a writer: sharp prose, vivid setting across two cultures, and a profound empathy for the dispossessed, the forgotten, and the dreamers. — Christopher Castellani, author of A Kiss for Magdalena and All This Talk of Love

Day of All Saints is a gripping and beautifully written tale of war and its aftermath that is, at once, profound and a page-turner. In this searing story, Patricia Grace King examines not only the human toll of Guatemala’s civil war, but also the costs of facing—and of failing to face—the ghosts that haunt us. — –Judith Claire Mitchell, author of A Reunion of Ghosts and The Last Day of the War

In Day of All Saints Patricia Grace King has crafted a heartbreaking, sensual tale, steeped in the rich details and characters of Guatemala, a part of the world rarely visited in North American writing. — Patricia Henley, author of Hummingbird House and In the River Sweet

King’s brevity reaches to encompass the edges of love, war, and impermanence in one graceful, striking sweep. Though one might be skeptical of the ability to address such weighted themes in so few pages, King proves that minimalism amplifies trauma, and even honors it in ways that expounding on it cannot.  –Heavy Feather Review

AUTHOR PROFILE: Patricia Grace King grew up in North Carolina’s Appalachian foothills, the granddaughter of Mennonite preachers on both sides of the family. After moving to Spain at nineteen, she became addicted to travel and has since lived in various parts of Central America, as well as in Atlanta, Chicago, and Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley. She also spent a year traversing Canada and the U.S. with a public art display.

Guatemala, where Patricia lived for three years—as an accompanier of refugees with Witness for Peace during the civil war, and later as a language school director—is the setting for much of her writing. Patricia’s first book, Day of All Saints, won the 2017 Miami University Novella Prize and was shortlisted for the 2017 Balcones Fiction Prize. Her two chapbooks, Rubia and The Death of Carrie Bradshaw, respectively won The Florida Review’s Jeanne Leiby Memorial Contest and the Kore Press Short Fiction Award. Her stories have been published by Ploughshares, The Gettysburg Review, Narrative Magazine, Nimrod, and other journals.

She holds an MFA from Warren Wilson College’s Program for Writers and a Ph.D. from Emory University, where she was a Dean’s Teaching Fellow. She was the 2013-2014 Carol Houck Smith Fellow at the Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing and has been awarded additional fellowships and grants from the Vermont Studio Center, the Barbara Deming Memorial Fund, and the Illinois Arts Council.

Patricia lives with her husband, David Janzen, in Durham, England, where she is completing a novel as well as a story collection and has become a big fan of mushy peas.

SAMPLE CHAPTER:

Here’s the opening scene of Day of All Saints. (Courtesy of Friends of Writers.)  here’s the link

WHERE TO BUY IT: Your local bookstore / Amazon US / Amazon UK / Barnes & Noble Miami University Press / Small Press Distribution / Sandmeyer’s Bookstore in Chicago

PRICE: $15.00

CONTACT THE AUTHOR: https://patriciagraceking.com

Foreigner

Foreigner: A Novel by [Rachlin, Nahid]THE BOOK: Foreigner.

PUBLISHED IN: Published years ago but is constantly reissued and kept in print form as well as on Kindle

THE AUTHOR: Nahid Rachlin.

THE EDITOR: Carol Smith.

THE PUBLISHER: W.W. Norton

SUMMARY: A young woman from Iran comes to the US, goes to college, marries an American man and becomes a scientist. After many years in the U.S. she begins to feel her life is sterile here and returns to Iran in the search of her past, what she has left behind. And what she finds.

Nahid RachlinTHE BACK STORY: I had reached a stage in my life that I felt I didn’t know where I really belong, felt foreign in both the US and Iran, the country I came from. I wanted to shape those feelings in a character in my novel.

WHY THIS TITLE?: The title refers to the protagonist, a young woman, feels foreign in both America and Iran, the country she came from and tries to resolve that by returning to Iran and delving into her past

WHY WOULD SOMEONE WANT TO READ IT? I think anyone who has questions about their identity, or just likes to read novels with cross-cultural issues, intermarriages, etc. would like reading it.

REVIEW COMMENTS: sample reviews of Foreigner:

Anne Tyler, NY Times Book Review: about Foreigner: “I am so impressed with Nahid Rachlin’s style–its purity and sparseness and immediacy. In remarkable few words, she has managed to bring to life an entire small pocket of existence… a rare intimate look at Iranians who are poorer and less educated… I have read (this book) four times by now, and each time I have discovered new layers in it. The voice is cool and pure. Bleak is the right word, if you will understand that bleakness can have a startling beauty.”

V.S. Naipaul: “An accomplished Iranian novel. Foreigner avoids political comment. Its protest is more oblique, the political constriction drives the passion deeper, and the novel with all its air of innocence, is a novel of violation, helplessness and defeat.” — Among the Believers.

“Rachlin’s prose carefully understates and suggests her heroine’s awakening to a pervasive atmosphere of menace and sensuality; residue of a culture she thinks she has abandoned, but which continues to claim her.” ― Bruce Allen, Chicago Tribune

Note: you can find reviews of my other published books on my website or on the books on amazon

AUTHOR PROFILE:  Nahid Rachlin went to Columbia University Writing Program on a Doubleday-Columbia Fellowship and then went on to Stanford University writing program on a Wallace Stegner Fellowship. Her publications include a memoir, PERSIAN GIRLS (Penguin), four novels, JUMPING OVER FIRE (City Lights), FOREIGNER (W.W. Norton), MARRIED TO A STRANGER (E.P.Dutton-Morrow), CROWD OF SORROWS, a novella, (Kindle Singles). She has a new short story collection, A WAY HOME, in press (Ravenna Press) Fall 2018.

SAMPLE CHAPTER: Go to Amazon page.

AUTHOR COMMENTS: You can find all of my published books on Amazon or order them in bookstores. My author page where you can find my published books and their prices: https://www.amazon.com/Nahid-Rachlin/e/B000APUAUK SAMPLE CHAPTER: you can find glimpsed into the novel by looking at the sample on Amazon under Foreigner

WHERE TO BUY IT: Amazon, Barnes & noble, etc.

PRICE: Various prices on my books, in paperback and kindle and some still available in hardcover.

CONTACT THE AUTHOR: My email: nahidr@rcn.com, website: http://www.nahidrachlin.com, twitter @nahidrachlin

 

The Retroactivist

The Retroactivist by [Ragolia, Nate]THE BOOK: The Retroactivist

PUBLISHED IN: 2017

THE AUTHOR:  Nate Ragolia

THE EDITOR: I had some great help on this book from Antoine Valot, Shaunn Grulkowski, and Amanda Hardebeck, and they all deserve credit.

THE PUBLISHER: Spaceboy Books LLC, a Denver-based science fiction press

SUMMARY: The Retroactivist is the story of Reid Rosales, an aspiring cartoonist living in Capitol Hill Citizenry District, Denver, Colorado, United Sociocracy of the Americas in 2087. Technology and automation have removed human beings from jobs and work, allowing the economy to thrive on the backs of robots. In exchange for daily hyper-local voting, everyone receives a basic income that allows them to live comfortably and pursue whatever travels, hobbies, desires they wish.
 
After running out of creative inspiration, Reid begins a search for meaning and seeks some way to differentiate himself from all the other citizens who work in cartooning. His search brings him to the doorstep of a 20th Century reenactment society called Club 20c, wherein the members participate in bygone capitalism, class systems, and war games. Eventually, Reid’s passion for the club leads him to incite a revolution against the Sociocracy with consequences that change his life, and the lives of his friends, forever. 

THE BACK STORY: I wanted to write a novel that aped the standard plot line found in many popular dystopian science fiction books, like 1984, Brave New World, The Hunger Games series, etc. while involving a world that was pretty clearly established as a utopia. Part of it, for me, was a belief in self-fulfilling prophecy. If we keep reading stories about how terrible and fascist the world MUST become in the future, we might actually manifest it… or at least accept it as it degrades because it feeds into a sequence of narratives we’ve already observed and consumed. The other part was to write something that satirized present day society through the lens of the future. (I’m a big fan of classic The Twilight Zone and the optimistic science fiction of Star Trek.) Most of the systems that are in place today, for their flaws and the ways they are unfairly manipulated, are entirely human-made, which means they’re also all very changeable. This book is about anti-heroism, and about seeing the future for its potential, rather than for its potential pitfalls.

WHY THIS TITLE?: Reid’s revolution is an activism of regression… so The Retroactivist seemed like a witty way to convey that idea.

WHY WOULD SOMEONE WANT TO READ IT? This book is a utopia/dystopia sci-fi novel that’s inherently optimistic and interpersonal. It’s about what good could come from humanity in the future. It’s also about relationships and personal meaning, and exploring how completely loving we can be of each other if we found a way to remove the senses of scarcity and fear that pervade modern life. If you like stories about rugged individuals saving the world from government, if you’re looking for something new in science fiction, or if you see the future as a bright potential then this book is for you.

REVIEW COMMENTS:
“In The Retroactivist, protagonist Reid Rosales confronts these and many other questions in this page-turning speculative novel of ideas that reminded me of Looking Backward meets Steppenwolf. Ragolia rightly avoids easy answers in this engaging exploration of social justice, historical nostalgia, and frustrated agency, and ends his tale with a shocking conclusion that has to be read to be believed.” – Rick Claypool, author of Leech Girl Lives
 
“Ragolia has a knack for presenting the fantastic as believable, unfolding a unique perspective on what it means to be genuinely fulfilled, not just comfortable. I have a sense if Margaret Atwood and Ayn Rand sat down for an afternoon of Chardonnay, they would have lots to say about this novel. Ragolia also gives the reader a treat by nestling into the novel subtle references to the 20th Century that if you are on your toes you will read with a smirk. The Retroactivist reads quickly have a steady pace and is a tribute to what Indie Authors have to offer. Kudos to Nate Ragolia. Buy it!” – Josh Jones, author of Redneck Blues and The Broken Equation

AUTHOR PROFILE: Nate Ragolia grew up in rural Colorado reading science fiction and comics, and imagining strange worlds beyond our own. He was labeled as “weird” by a girl in his first grade class and it stuck. These days, he’s a writer and publisher in Denver. He’s authored the books, There You Feel Free, and The Retroactivist, co-founded Spaceboy Books LLC (readspaceboy.com), and edits BONED: A collection of skeletal writings (bonedstories.wordpress.com). He also dabbles in webcomics, The Illiterate Badger (2009 – 2016, illiteratebadger.com) and The Right Corking Adventures of Cecil Larkbunting and Alastair Wakerobin (2013 – present, larkandrobin.com). When not creating, he’s spending time with his wife, petting his dogs, and voraciously devouring other peoples’ works.
  
AUTHOR COMMENTS: In addition to the points about dystopia and social commentary alluded to above, this book is about our potential for true individual freedom (from illness, poverty, suffering) that could come from working together to change how our society operates, whether by technology or other means.

SAMPLE CHAPTER: Amazon page link: https://www.amazon.com/Retroactivist-Nate-Ragolia/dp/0998712000/

LOCAL OUTLETS: Any store can special order it at your request.

WHERE ELSE TO BUY IT: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Indiebound.org, or request it at your local bookstore.

PRICE: $11.38

CONTACT THE AUTHOR: You can find me on Facebook at @NateRagoliaAuthor and on Twitter at @nateragolia. Reach out. Every book is part of a greater dialogue.

Weather Report, Sept. 17

Image result for Guatemala + photos + free

(Antigua, Guatemala. Photo from FreeImages.com.)

OUR CURRENTLY FEATURED BOOKS, “TIME IS THE LONGEST DISTANCE,” BY LARRY FONDATION, “GUN, NEEDLE, SPOON,” BY PATRICK O’NEIL AND “SPRING INTO LIGHT,” BY EMMANUEL KANE, CAN BE FOUND BY SCROLLING DOWN BELOW THIS POST, OR BY CLICKING THE AUTHOR’S NAME ON OUR AUTHOR PAGE.

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“I must admit to feeling a personal connection to one of the featured books on Snowflakes in a Blizzard (snowflakesarise.wordpress.com) this week — Patricia Grace King’s “Day of All Saints.”

In 1993, when I was a reporter for the News & Advance in Lynchburg, VA, I spent 10 days in Guatemala doing a story on a Lynchburg nurse who periodically gathered medical supplies and took them to remote village clinics in that country. What I found, during that period of civil war, was a place that was both beautiful and creepy, colorful and haunting. The volcanic mountains shimmered in the distance, and there was an armed soldier on almost every corner in downtown Guatemala City.

Like most Americans, I knew nothing about the countries to the south of us, and this was life changing for me. It was my first time out of the U.S. (except for Canada and Mexico), and it reminded me that many people in the rest of the world lived very different lives from us.

Patricia’s novella also deals with that period of Guatemalan turbulence, describing the experiences of a survivor who escapes to Chicago only to find new challenges there.

In a similar vein, Nahid Rachlin’s novel “Foreigner” profiles a woman who feels torn between her native Iran and her adopted United States.  It provides a good example of a book that has been out for quite awhile, yet has proven timeless –in part because of her wonderfully evocative prose.

Finally, we take a leap into the future with Nate Ragolia’s “The Retroactivist.” Nate writes:

“I wanted to write a novel that aped the standard plot line found in many popular dystopian science fiction books, like 1984, Brave New World, The Hunger Games series, etc. while involving a world that was pretty clearly established as a utopia. Part of it, for me, was a belief in self-fulfilling prophecy. If we keep reading stories about how terrible and fascist the world MUST become in the future, we might actually manifest it… or at least accept it as it degrades because it feeds into a sequence of narratives we’ve already observed and consumed.”

UPCOMING ON SNOWFLAKES IN A BLIZZARD, SEPT. 18-24,

“DAY OF ALL SAINTS,” BY PATRICA GRACE KING.

Martín Silva de Choc, childhood survivor of an army massacre during the Guatemalan civil war, and now a language-school teacher in Guatemala City, falls in love with his American student, Abby, and follows her home to Chicago on a fiancé visa. Days before their wedding, however, Abby goes missing, and on a Halloween afternoon Martín embarks on a search that leads from the ghost-strewn yards of Chicago’s North Side to the Lincoln Park Conservatory—and ultimately back to his violent past. A story about repressed secrets and the limits of love, Day of All Saints traces the e_ects of historical trauma on individual lives.

“FOREIGNER,” BY NAHID RACHLIN.

From New York Times reviewer Anne Tyler: “I am so impressed with Nahid Rachlin’s style–its purity and sparseness and immediacy. In remarkable few words, she has managed to bring to life an entire small pocket of existence… a rare intimate look at Iranians who are poorer and less educated… I have read (this book) four times by now, and each time I have discovered new layers in it. The voice is cool and pure. Bleak is the right word, if you will understand that bleakness can have a startling beauty.”

“THE RETROACTIVIST,” BY NATE RAGOLIA.

This book is a utopia/dystopia sci-fi novel that’s inherently optimistic and interpersonal. It’s about what good could come from humanity in the future. It’s also about relationships and personal meaning, and exploring how completely loving we can be of each other if we found a way to remove the senses of scarcity and fear that pervade modern life. If you like stories about rugged individuals saving the world from government, if you’re looking for something new in science fiction, or if you see the future as a bright potential then this book is for you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Time is the Longest Distance

Time is the Longest Distance by [Fondation, Larry]THIS WEEK’S OTHER FEATURED BOOKS, “GUN, NEEDLE, SPOON,” BY PATRICK O’NEIL AND “SPRING INTO LIGHT,” BY EMANUEL KANE, CAN BE FOUND BY SCROLLING DOWN BELOW THIS POST, OR BY CLICKING THE AUTHOR’S NAME ON OUR AUTHORS PAGE.

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THE BOOK: Time is the Longest Distance

PUBLISHED IN: December 2017

THE AUTHOR: Larry Fondation

THE EDITOR: Jennifer Barnes, editor of Raw Dog Screaming Press

THE PUBLISHER: Raw Dog Screaming Press

SUMMARY: Lawrence is homeless. Unlike the vast majority of the homeless population, however, Lawrence had been a graduate student before living on the streets. He had not been a scholar of any special talent or renown, but rather an awkward, bookish man who studied literature. He has a notion about a connection between Nathaniel Hawthorne and Nathanael West, and he had wanted to write a dissertation about it. Then he had an unspecified nervous breakdown, and found himself on Skid Row in downtown Los Angeles.

Image result for Larry Fondation + author + photosThe story takes place during the course of 2005-2006, prior to the global economic collapse that began in 2008. Of course, Skid Row had been “collapsed” for a very long time. But during the early part of the decade, civic leaders and developers saw an opportunity to extend downtown LA’s revitalization to the areas around Skid Row, which had become a burgeoning art district. Proponents saw Operation Clean Sweep as a way to reduce crime on Skid Row; opponents saw it as a way to clear out the homeless for good.

Time Is the Longest Distance does not delve into that debate overtly or politically, but rather tells Lawrence’s story against that backdrop. Lawrence is articulate, and sometimes lucid, but more often not. He is well-read, and frequently sees current events through a historical lens – principally, though not exclusively, via Puritan New England. For example, he views the arrests by the LAPD and the prosecutions in LA County Court of drug dealers and other violators of the law on Skid Row as a recurrence of the Salem Witch trials of 1692.

Lawrence has fantasies (hallucinations) and obsessions. When he sees parking meters replaced, he stuffs the stems with sundry and quotidian found objects, making “time capsules,” before the new meter heads are installed. He worries over a stray piece of blue thread in his occasional home – a Single Room Occupancy (SRO) hotel. But two things concern him most: a “lucky quarter’ he believes his mother gave him long ago and Bekah, a young woman he meets while standing in line at a soup kitchen.

THE BACK STORY: I’ve been writing about the homeless since the publication of my third book, Fish, Soap and Bonds. I believe that displacement and poverty – whether in Syria, in South Sudan or on Skid Row in Los Angeles represent the most pressing issues of our time. It took me 2 years to write the book. This is the most and the least autobiographical of my books.

WHY THIS TITLE? It’s a quote from Tennessee Williams, The Glass Menagerie, and it relates to homeless people because they don’t have the means and the ability to move around, but they have plenty of time, empty time.

WHY WOULD SOMEONE WANT TO READ IT? Homelessness has touched almost every neighborhood in America. I present an alternative view of the lives of homeless people and a day-to-day narrative of their experiences, thoughts dreams and struggles. Our understanding of the homeless has to begin with our common humanity.

REVIEW COMMENTS:

“Poignant, bare, dense. Essential” — Bertrand Tavernier

“Fondation strips his of an interiority meant to make them more universally familiar, engaging the reader with the dispossessed on their own impossible terms.” – Santa Fe Reporter

“…narratives about the fringe of the fringe of contemporary American culture sublimate and ferment like a hard Scotch… ‘ –American Book Review

AUTHOR PROFILE:  Larry Fondation is the author of Angry Nights and Fish, Soap and Bonds, Time is the Longest Distance, and of Common Criminals, Unintended Conse-quences and Martyrs and Holymen, all three are collections of short stories. His fiction focuses on the Los Angeles underbelly. Three of his books feature collaborations with London-based artist Kate Ruth.

Fondation has lived in LA since the 1980s, and has worked for nearly 20 years as an organizer in South Los Angeles, Compton and East LA. His first three books are being published in France by Fayard. The first, Angry Nights (FC2 National Fiction Competition Winner, 1994), translated as Sur Les Nerfs (“On the Edge”), appeared in French in January 2012. It was nominated for the 2013 Prix SNCF du Polar. The second, Criminels Ordinaires (Fayard), was published in February 2013. Fondation is a recipient of a Christopher Isherwood Fellowship in Fiction Writing.

AUTHOR COMMENTS: I am indeed a very urban person. I don’t go camping or anything like that. I am most comfortable on concrete and asphalt. So I think urban life has had the largest impact on both what I write about, clearly, and on my style. But I do read a great deal. Just walking into a good bookstore is sexy to me.

So I have a long list of “influences,” from Cervantes, Hawthorne and Crane to Beckett, Borges, and Max Frisch. All aspirational, of course — all these writers are way out of my league!

But I remember my first reading of Hubert Selby’s Last Exit to Brooklyn. It blew my mind. First of all, I grew up very blue collar. “Writer” was not on my list of possible vocations. Vocational schools were the sites of sheet metal shop and auto body repair practice. (A college scholarship did help me get away from those kinds of professions, which I respect, but at which I suck.) Then I read Selby. It was stunning to me that someone could write about the streets like that and in prose like that. Stylistically, I am not much like Selby but the whole subject matter and torrid prose! Wow! And, Samuel Beckett — all the “closed space” novels. So brief and beautiful and haunting.

Finally, in addition to the “very literary” stuff, I also have read a lot of Donald Goines and Iceberg Slim and all.

Urban life seems to me to be marked by a multitude of occurrences, of discontinuous incidents and syncopated rhythms. Traditional narrative arc works well for certain kinds of portrayals. But not necessarily for the jumble of urban living, especially living on or close to the streets. Indeed there a lot of unintended consequences in contemporary life on both large and small scales. I try to approximate the discontinuity with short, stark vignettes that I hope, when taken together, add up to more than the sum of their parts.

I am also highly influenced by the visual arts. The photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson talked about capturing life at “the decisive moment.” The idea is to evoke a broader, more complete story at a given moment in time. Of course, this leaves much to — in this case — the viewer’s imagination. If you look at Van Gogh’s “The Potato Eaters” (1885), you see poor people eating a frugal meal. You can infer a whole story just looking at that one image. Van Gogh even talked about how the painting smelled“ not like paint, but “of bacon, smoke and potato steam.” You can ponder the barkeep’s entire life while looking at Manet’s “A Bar at the Folies-Bergere” (1881). Even abstract painting goes for a sort of evocation. I think it would be great to be able to achieve that sort of suggestion and simultaneity in writing. I am not saying I can do that, but I am striving for it.

Now, in the internet era, the momentary is even more prevalent. One can Google shark fin soup one minute and Talleyrand the next… that’s life as it’s lived now. Formally, my fictional project is largely one of compression.

SAMPLE CHAPTER: Larry Fondation’s books can be found on Amazon or at the Raw Dog Screaming Press website — http://rawdogscreaming.com/authors/larry-fondation/

LOCAL OUTLETS: Skylight Books, Los Feliz, CA. \

WHERE ELSE TO BUY IT: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, etc.

Gun, Needle, Spoon

 Image result for Patrick O'Neil + author + photo

THE BOOK: Gun, Needle, Spoon

PUBLISHED IN: 2015

THE AUTHOR: Patrick O’Neil

THE EDITOR: Guy Intoci

THE PUBLISHER: Dzanc Books

Gun, Needle, Spoon by [O'Neil, Patrick]SUMMARY: Before his life went totally off the rails, Patrick O’Neil was living the punk rock dream, working at San Francisco’s legendary Mabuhay Gardens, going on to become a roadie and then the road manager for such seminal bands as Dead Kennedys, Flipper, Subhumans, and T.S.O.L. But that was before his heroin addiction veered totally out of control. A junkie for eighteen years, O’Neil, the educated son of intellectuals, eventually turned to a life of crime, ending up the ring-leader of a group of armed bank robbers, all in an increasingly out-of-control attempt to keep himself and his girlfriend in drugs. Now, after a stint in prison and fourteen years clean off drugs, O’Neil takes a look back at the experiences—moving, calamitous, and at times both hilarious and terrifying—that led to his downfall and recovery. Told in sparse prose and graphic detail, Gun, Needle, Spoon examines the long road to redemption, and the obstacles along the way, demystifying the “criminal life” so often depicted in film and fiction, but seldom written about from the first-hand point of view of those who have lived it.

THE BACK STORY: I got busted for armed bank robbery in 1997. I was strung-out, physically destroyed and looking at doing 25 years to life in prison. While I was awaiting trial in county jail I was stuck in a cell for 23 hours a day with a serial-killer cellie. He and his girlfriend had been busted for “befriending” old men and then killing them by poisoning them in order to steal their property and wealth. He was constantly offering me cookies and candy and I’d say, “Hell no George, you poison people!” After a few months, I’d do anything to get out of our five-by-10 foot cell. In San Francisco, at least back in the ’90’s, they offered adult education classes, and one of them was creative writing. Now, when you’re incarcerated there’s not a whole lot of options for creative self-expression; I had always been a storyteller as a visual artist and then a musician, so it wasn’t that far-fetched to try my hand at writing. Only I hadn’t read a book or scribbled even a short sentence in many years. I was practically illiterate. Yet boredom and adversity breed creativity, at least for me it did, and I started writing long diatribes against “the man” for keeping me down, and these short stories about the crimes I’d committed and the people I’d run with for the last few years. I was also reading a much as I could get my hands on. I read Edward Bunker’s Education of a Felon, and I knew I could write like that. I’d read George Jackson’s Blood in My Eye or Eldridge Cleaver’s Soul on Ice and wish that I could write like that. I’d try and read crap like Dean Koontz and end up throwing it across the cell. But I read a book a day and when I was eventually convicted and sent to the big house I kept writing. When I hit the mainline I joined a creative writing group. Every week I’d share my work with my fellow convicts and get nods of approval. My “stories” started to evolve into longer pieces of creative nonfiction, and I started thinking of myself as a writer. Then one day, out on the yard, a giant corn-fed thug, his skin covered in swastikas, sided up to me and handed me this book: “Yo, ya gotta read this, bro.” At first I was just really stoked he didn’t stab me, but then I realized he was a member of my writing group. When I read the book, Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird, it changed my perspective. It not only made me want to be a better writer, but I knew I was going to be one.

WHY THIS TITLE: My working title was “Opacity” – which was a design reference to a color’s density lacking transparency. I originally intended it as a play on words regarding memory not always being clear. I even submitted the memoir with that title to a few agents and indie presses (and received rejections). When I asked a friend to read the final draft and she wanted to know what the title meant I realized it was confusing and wasn’t working. A few weeks later I was driving in the Mojave Desert up by Joshua Tree with my friend and fellow author Rob Roberge. I was complaining that my title was horrible, but was stumped on composing a new one. He said, “What’s the book really about?” I said, “Guns, needles, spoons…” listing off the subject matter, and then realizing I had the title.

WHY SOMEONE WOULD WANT TO READ IT: You might want to read my memoir if you’re in recovery, thinking about getting into recovery, have a loved one that is in recovery, or know someone that should be in recovery. It’s not a cautionary tale of the horrors of addiction, or even a scared straight after school special. It’s a story of redemption and perseverance. Parents, wives, husbands, significant others, and children of addicts have written to me thankful for the insight into what their loved ones have and are experiencing and dealing with. Forgiveness starts with understanding and compassion. Gratitude comes from how we are able to help one another.

Also, if you’re into junkie lit, true crime, and addiction memoirs, than this book might be for you as well.

And lastly, I come from the original punk rock era of the late ‘70’s early ‘80’s and my memoir might make sense to a lot of aging punk rockers out there – in other words the mom and dads of today. Although I taught English at a community college for over nine years and it saddens me to say that none of my students read. Not for pleasure, not for educational purposes, not newspapers, or even the owners manual for their TVs. So these days I am always amazed when anyone wants to read—my work, or anybody else’s—so I thank you in advance if you do.

REVIEW COMMENTS: “Patrick O’Neil’s recent memoir, Gun, Needle, Spoon, follows [the addiction memoir’s] well-worn narrative tracks but also manages to push out of them in ways that are surprising and significant. — Lindsay Marshall, American Book Review

“The omissions, the prose, and the patience with which he tells his frequently disturbing tale all add up to a whole greater than the sum of its excellent parts. Patrick O’Neil is a fantastic writer, and this is a hell of a debut.”– Michael T. Fournier, Razorcake

“Gun, Needle, Spoon is a work of tremendous courage, one which strikes a perfect balance between bluntness and beauty—O’Neil is a truly gifted storyteller—and gives readers a peek behind the curtain of a life most have only ever seen in fiction.” — — Elizabeth A. White

“That’s why I find Gun, Needle, Spoon so compelling. It dramatizes a big addiction in a way that sheds light on our little addictions. We’re addicts, but not heroin addicts. If O’Neil can come back, so can we.” — — Art Edwards, Entropy Magazine

“Patrick finds a way to dance on the razor’s edge of emotion while not becoming sentimental.” — Jacob Singer, Curbside Splendor

“O’Neil either doesn’t give a damn what you think, or he simply trusts the reader to be smart enough to make their own judgments. He offers his story with grim humor and unsettlingly vivid imagery.” —  Gabriel Ricard, Drunk Monkeys

AUTHOR PROFILE: Patrick O’Neil is the author of the memoirs Gun, Needle, Spoon (Dzanc Books) and Hold-up (13e Note Editions). His writing has appeared in numerous publications, including Juxtapoz, Salon.com, The Fix, The Nervous Breakdown, After Party Magazine, and Razorcake. He is a contributing editor for Sensitive Skin Magazine, a Pushcart nominee, and a two-time nominee for Best Of The Net. He holds an MFA from Antioch University Los Angeles, and is the co-coordinator for the Why There Are Words, Los Angeles reading series. For the past 17 years he has lived and worked in the recovery community as a recovering addict/alcoholic, a drug and alcohol counselor, a college instructor, and a narrative therapist. In 2015 the State of California granted him a Certificate of Rehabilitation. In 2016 California Governor Edmund G. Brown awarded him a Governor’s Pardon. He has taught writing workshops in numerous correctional facilities and institutions and continues to be of service to his fellowship and community. O’Neil currently lives in the MacArthur Park/West Lake district of Los Angeles, with his wife Jennifer, and two rather large Maine Coons.

AUTHOR COMMENTS: A good sixty percent of the first half of Gun Needle Spoon was my thesis for grad school. I began my MFA studies with a definite vision of the book I wanted to write and I concentrated on completing it. The final draft of that manuscript was a slightly shorter version of what would ultimately become Hold-Up (my first memoir translated into French and published in France). After graduating grad school I wrote a “part two” —a “this is me now” part to the memoir—and

I eventually got an American publishing deal with Dzanc and worked with Editor-in-Chief Guy Intoci on a complete re-write/revision that became Gun Needle Spoon. It was a long journey to getting published, but the final results were well worth it.

SAMPLE CHAPTER:

Here is the opening chapter to Gun, Needle, Spoon published by The Nervous Breakdown

http://thenervousbreakdown.com/tnbnonfiction/2015/06/excerpt-of-gun-needle-spoon-by-patrick-oneil

LOCAL OUTLETS: Los Angeles: Book Soup, Vroman’s, and Skylight Books.

WHERE ELSE TO BUY IT: Dzanc Books, Powell’s, IndieBound, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble.

PRICE: $14.95

eBook: $9.99

CONTACT THE AUTHOR:

Website: https://patrick-oneil.com

email: patrick@patrick-oneil.com

Facebook: https://www.faccebook.com/authorpatrickoneil

Instagram: @patricksoneil

Twitter: @PatrickSOneil

Spring Into Light

Spring Into Light by [Kane, Emanuel]

THE BOOK: Spring into Light.

PUBLISHED IN: 2018

THE AUTHOR: Emmanuel Kane.

THE EDITOR: Paul Conant.

THE PUBLISHER: World Group Press.

Image result for Emmanuel Kane + author + photoSUMMARY: In this novel, Tito finds his childhood friend and marries her, but later two old flames, Margie and Laurie, attempt to enter into his new life. Tito returns to his birthplace and accidentally runs into two women, relatives, later realizing one of them still remembered a promise had to (one day) marry to her when she was only seven years old. However, he must first deal with immigration issues in America before he can put together the proper resources to become a spouse. Can the well-educated immigrant from a low-income family emotionally withstand his no-nonsense future bride and the distractions of his American ex-girlfriends?

THE BACK STORY: I wanted readers interested in African-American romance and cultures outside American to take a peek at love and marriages in the African context. * It took me 6 months to write this book, which is a sequel to Leap in the Dark

WHY THIS TITLE?: I chose the title, Spring into Light, as the main character found light by returning to his birth country. He met his best friend, and she taught him more about himself and life.

WHY WOULD SOMEONE WANT TO READ IT? The book covers interracial romance, a controversial subject for some people in America and around the world. The dialogue will captivate readers. (See readers’ comments below.)

As the author, I believe that conversation is the key to understanding how we think and how we communicate our feelings, hopes, and desires

REVIEW COMMENTS:  “…an interracial romance story full of exciting episodes that will leave you feeling good. The author cleverly weaves words making every scene one to remember. This is a must-read book! I can’t wait for Kane’s next novel.” -Sardool Singh, Secretary, Global Listening Center

“I love the way each character is described. I feel as if I know these characters. I was sucked right into this book just after reading the first page. I really could not put this book down, and when I did, I wondered what would happen next. Wonderful topic and characters!”

“Interesting character description. Raises that often asked the question of Can we go back home and if we could what would it look like? And of course who doesn’t like to read a little romance. I couldn’t wait to turn the next page.” — Sara G.

“The writing and story are engaging, with a plot that is roundly interesting. The characters we’ve been introduced to thus are well thought-out, and the driving conversation helps to build a fascinating story. I am curious to see how the rest of the story unfolds.” — Oluwatobi F, Sweden

* From the opening sentence, the reader is gripped by the powerful conversation of the characters. Spring into Light it true to its title. Every conversation springs. Every character adds new light to the story. I can’t wait to see the end of the story. I have already recommended the book to colleagues and friends, who need to spring into a new light of romance epitomized in the book.” — Fayoyin A., Johannesburg, South Africa

AUTHOR PROFILE: Emmanuel Kane is the author of Spring into Light, currently available at Amazon. His latest book explores the world of interracial romance between a world traveler and a sheltered, traditional young lady. Kane is a language and communications professor with over 35 years’ experience in freelance writing, publishing, and public speaking. Serving on twelve Editorial Boards, he has published sixteen books and numerous essays, and his writings have been cited by popular media in the US and abroad. He received awards in journalism, creative writing, and teaching including the Distinguished International Scholar Award from the Chinese Academy for Social Sciences and Kom-USA Achievement award. Emmanuel, who appears in over twelve presses such as Sage, Greenwood Press, and literary magazines, weaves multi-cultural stories and political commentary with the notion that we cannot bridge our cultural gaps only by mastering our environment. He has received awards in journalism, creative writing and teaching including the Distinguished International Scholar Award from the Chinese Academy for Social Sciences, and Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers. Emmanuel encourages us to smile more. He lives in Charlotte, North Carolina. links: luminaryvoices.com http://www.newmarketsadvisor.com/

https://www.google.com/search?q=healthcare+management-ngwainmbi&rlz=1C1GCEA_enUS777US777&oq=healthcare+management-ngwainmbi&aqs=chrome..69i57.9616j0j4&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8

https://www.linkedin.com/in/emmanuel-ngwainmbi-823a12a2/ http://www.theworldgrouppress.com (under construction)

AUTHOR COMMENTS: I believe that sharing a smile can calm anxiety, fear, and insecurity in those we meet. “Never judge people by their looks or by what you’ve been told about them. Wait until you’ve heard them say few things; until you’ve watched them perform certain acts.”

SAMPLE CHAPTER:

She held his hand and examined his entire body with her eyes, checking for any blemishes. Pasting a smile on her face, she delivered her conclusion. “You look good, perfect. Please come inside.”

He followed her.

“Sit down. Not there, here.” She pointed to a seat a few yards from the exit door. “You are now a big boy. Your father will not mind you sitting in his armchair.”

Tito sat on the full leather chair facing a shelf loaded with a massive television screen, picture frames of children and adults, and volumes of an encyclopedia. He rested his elbows on the arms of the chair, feeling his buttocks slowly sinking away.

To buy this book, go to https://www.amazon.com/dp/1732427607

LOCAL OUTLETS: Park Road Books (Charlotte, NC)

The Last Word Bookstore (Charlotte, NC)

Page After Page bookstore, (Elizabeth City, NC)

WHERE ELSE TO BUY IT: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, etc. http://www.newmarketsadvisor.com/ http://www.theworldgrouppress.com https://www.amazon.com/dp/1732427607

Amazon, Barnes & noble (online)

PRICE: Kindle $2.99

Paperback $12.99

CONTACT THE AUTHOR Emanuelkane3@gmail.com Jimhenderson814@gmail.com (schedule readings, book signings, book talk, lecture, etc. https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100014356931673 (facebook)