First Tuesday Replay, Jan. 3

Colorado MandalaThis week’s two featured books, “Crooked Moon,” by Lisette Brodey and “Shrink Wrapped,” by David Liebert, can be viewed by scrolling down below this post, or by clicking on the author’s name on our Author page.

“COLORADO MANDALA,” BY BRIAN HEFFRON.

With refreshing depth, distinct literary merit, and highly original poetic phrasings that spill from the pages like paint, Colorado Mandala is poet Brian Heffron’s debut work of literary fiction. It mines the complex landscape of post-Vietnam America to unearth the deep connections that bind individuals together, and also ferociously rip them asunder. Illustrative, luscious, seductive, and engaging, this rare piece of craftsmanship will stir the senses of any one who thirsts for artistic expression, or who longs for an era in our country now utterly, irretrievably gone.

In the heady, hippie backdrop of Pike’s Peak, Colorado, in the tumultuous 1970s, three souls swirl together in an explosive supernova. Michael is the flinty-eyed, volatile former Green Beret, whose tour in Vietnam has left unbridgeable chasms in his psyche and secrets that can never find light. Sarah is his fair-haired paramour, the ethereal Earth Mother widow of a fallen soldier and single mother to a ten-year-old son Stuart. Paul is a young wanderer, who is drawn in by Michael and soon bears the mantle of both minister and scourge. As they are drawn together, and torn apart, each is changed forever. And our hearts race along with them, through the rocky, raw Colorado terrain amidst the blood sport of man and beast.

FAIRY & BLOOD: LILAC, BY WILLIAM CRISEL

This is a dark fantasy tale of a lone fairy who goes on a journey to bring balance to her world. She faces gods, beasts and the harsh environment of her world in order to do so. She puts herself directly in the path of danger in order to succeed.

Adds William: “The book idea came about during a conversation of myths and fantasy. How fairies were magical happy creatures that assisted others via magic or wisdom. I pondered if there where any stories that put this creature in a more heroic role – one wasn’t childish – and more something darker. I could not find such a tale so I decided to write it myself.”

Paisley Memories“PAISLEY MEMORIES,” BY ZELLE ANDREWS

At seventeen, Tess Cooper was a high school drop-out, an orphan, and a single mom to a baby girl with Down syndrome. The next two years didn’t turn out like she thought it would.

After her dad’s death, she flees Brooksville, Alabama, in his beloved 1957 Thunderbird before the red clay on his grave can settle. A year of traveling from place to place brings Tess and Paisley to the deep fried, southern town of Panacea, Florida, where her money runs out. A stranger, named Butterball, takes them in and gives Tess a job taking pictures at Wakulla Springs State Park and the annual Sopchoppy Work Grunting Festival.

Afraid to trust these people, Tess plans to leave, but the T-bird is stolen and she is forced to stay. Paisley is thriving on all the attention. Tess weighs her options. Can she give her baby what she needs? Should she put down roots in this place where she has found friends? Or should she give Paisley up for adoption and head out on a life of her own?

“ROBIN’S BLUE,” BY PAM ALSTER

Robin’s Blue, Pam Alster’s debut novel, is an epic coming-of-age story set against the disco 70’s through the Reagan-era 80’s, when divorce was the norm and casual sex and recreational drugs were ubiquitous. Robin Daniels, a runaway from a violent and emotionally desolate upper middle-class home, repeatedly navigates her world without guidance. After a failed marriage, she discounts love as an option and moves through a series of jobs and men. A futile attempt to live as a kept woman compels her to become a high-class call girl. She searches unsuccessfully through the resulting transient experiences and escalating drug use for the one lesson that will resolve her omnipresent question of purpose.

Before AIDS and addiction became household words, Robin’s Blue speaks to a generation that basically raised itself. Robin’s journey takes her from suburban Philadelphia to Miami to the South of France and ultimately to New York City where she is obliged to make peace with the girl inside she left dormant at sixteen.

“SOMEONE NOT REALLY HER MOTHER,” BY HARRIET CHESSMAN

This is a story about a woman with Alzheimer’s, and the ways in which her life inspires and influences her daughter and granddaughters.

Hannah Pearl is a 75-year-old French woman living in assisted living on the Connecticut Shoreline in the year 2000. Although her daughter and granddaughters live nearby and visit often, Hannah is starting to forget who they are, as memories of her girlhood in France and England erupt into the surface of her American world. Having escaped France at the age of fifteen, as the Germans invaded in 1940, Hannah tries to come to terms with her own continuing life, after her family perished in the camps of Drancy and Auschwitz.

This novel is composed of seven tightly interlinked stories. Hannah’s daughter Miranda and American-born granddaughters Fiona and Ida, each hold on to a particular vision of Hannah, whose largely untold life story of love and grief intertwines with and infuses their own. Each family member must negotiate the fraught intricacies of memory and geography, while it is the reader who ultimately discovers and illuminates all the pieces of this dream-like puzzle.

 

Walking Over Eggshells

 

“WALKING OVER EGGSHELLS,” BY LUCINDA E. CLARKE

This is the true story of a young girl brought up by a mother who never showed her any love. This left her an obvious target for the charismatic man she met and married, a Walter Mitty clone. For the next 25 years he took her to live in seven different countries, (mostly in Africa) often one step in front of the creditors. Trained as a teacher, she took various extra jobs to put food on the table. She bred small animals for pet shops, worked on a local radio, ran the worst riding school in the world, finally she ‘fell’ into the media world, first writing for radio and television and then later into production. Eventually she set up and ran her own video production company. She went from poverty to having millions in the bank and back to poverty, before eventually meeting someone with whom she could share a more ‘normal’ life.

 

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writersbridgebridgebuilder

Recently retired after 35 years with the News & Advance newspaper in Lynchburg, VA, now re-inventing myself as a novelist/nonfiction writer and writing coach in Lake George, NY.

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