Our first three books of 2016 offer something for almost everyone.
Camille Cusamano’s “Tango: An Argentine Love Story” is not only a peek into another culture and way of life, but with a memoir tucked inside. It is best read with Latin, salsa or waltz music playing in the background.
With all the grim reports of mass shootings carried out by obviously deranged individuals, Bill Delorey’s novel “Shuffle an Impulse” goes beyond the sensational and into the tortured mind of one mentally ill person struggling not to become front page news.
I hereby nominate our next contributor for the best Snowflakes author name so far — “Clemenceau’s Daughters“ creator Rocky Porch Moore. As a longtime teacher in south Alabama, she has immersed herself in the southern mountain culture and artfully bends that knowledge around the story of a young girl struggling to balance the onrushing modern world with the gravitational tug of old myths.
WEEK OF DEC. 29:
“TANGO: AN ARGENTINE LOVE STORY,” BY CAMILLE CUSAMANO.
From the Amazon blurb:
“Tango is a memoir by a woman who loved, lost, got mad, and decided to dance. The book traces the author’s fall, redemption, and renewal through tango.
“After a violent encounter with her ex’s new girlfriend, Camille Cusumano decided she had some serious soul-searching to do. She took off for Buenos Aires intending to stay a few short weeks, but when her search for inner peace met with her true passion for tango, she realized she’d need to stay in Argentina indefinitely. Tango chronicles Camille’s experience falling in love with a country through the dance that embodies intensity, freedom, and passion—all pivotal to her own process of self-discovery.
“From the charm of local barrios to savory empanadas, Camille whole-heartedly embraces the ardent culture of Argentina, and soon a month-long escape turns into a year-long personal odyssey. Slowly letting go of her anger through a blend of tango, Zen, and a burgeoning group of friends, she discovers that her fierceness and patience can exist in harmony as she learns how to survive in style when love falls apart.”
“SHUFFLE AN IMPULSE,” BY BILL DELOREY
“Several wartime veterans, myself included, developed and founded a program that worked with the VA clinic in Los Angeles for several years, counseling combat veterans with violent mental and social rehabilitation issues. I’ve also experienced the tragedy of mental disorders in family members and friends as well.
“Years later, my companion and I took off across the United States on a camping trip to write about and photograph our national parks and wilderness areas for a nature travel book. While sitting by the campfire one night, I decided to write a short story about violence, and the way a brain controls its chemical and behavioral triggers.
“At that time, we were camping in the southeast near the Great Smoky Mountains, and I figured three or four thousand words would tell the story nicely. It didn’t come close. The word count rose every time I opened the laptop as our journey continued cross-country and through more states and in more campgrounds than I can remember. The first draft of a one hundred thousand word novel “Shuffle on Impulse” emerged somewhere in Vermont almost a year later. I simply could not stop writing.” 🙂
“CLEMENCEAU’S DAUGHTERS,” BY ROCKY PORCH MOORE.
From Rocky’s description:
“Folks tend to die around Little Debbie Ballard. She struggles to make sense of a world where an unspoken past and prejudice collide, where truth is no longer as simple as Daddy’s word, and cruel intentions transcend generations. Debbie discovers the insidious legacy that haunts the women of her family one by one.
“Tracing the roots of Debbie’s ancestry back to pre-revolutionary France, past and present are interspersed to show how the will of a vindictive woman rots a family tree from within.
I’m always happy to pass along marketing tips and/or experiences from Snowflakes authors. This comes from Larry Hewitt, whose “The Juno Letters” was featured on this site last Sept. 25.
“Like many independent writers I have struggled finding the right mix of media to promote my books. Lately I have finally found a good use for my private mailing list — promoting my story draft.
“I call my first draft a story draft — the story is basically complete but the editing and fine tuning have not yet begun. I started inviting readers from my private email list to read the story draft and discovered I hit a responsive chord. I have a couple of rules: 1) I explicitly state I am NOT looking for free editors; 2) while I will always appreciate feedback I ask them NOT to send me information about typos by explaining I have not yet started serious editing; and 3) I do not ask them to buy anything.
“The response has been exciting. I had about a 15% download rate on the first mailing for the V1 story draft. A week later I sent a second email offering version 2 and a briefing on the changes I made through a link to my blog. My blog traffic surprised me and I had almost as many downloads of v2 as I did the first version. I have received an encouraging number of emails and several of my local readers have visited me in my “office” at the Oly Club restaurant in Centralia, WA and told me they appreciated being given a look “under the sheets” so to speak.
“I think this works because it brings readers into the inner circle and helps them feel like a part of the series as it moves forward. I am planning at least a third email before announcing the completed story.”