THIS WEEK’S FEATURED BOOKS, “THE BIG BANG SYMPHONY,” BY LUCY JANE BLEDSOE, “CINNAMON GIRL,” BY LAWRENCE KESSENICH AND “UNASSISTED LIVING,” BY JIM GUSTAFSON, CAN BY FOUND BY SCROLLING DOWN BELOW THIS PAGE, OR BY CLICKING THE AUTHOR’S NAME ON OUR AUTHOR’S PAGE.
First of all, I want to let the world (or that tiny portion of it that might care) know that Snowflakes in a Blizzard will be taking a short vacation break.
Among other things, I’ll be exploring the wilds of darkest New England with no computer, no laptop, and a phone that does nothing but make phone calls. During that time, I won’t be friending anyone, keeping track of my fantasy baseball team or reading any of Donald Trump’s tweets. I even may eat a lobster at some point.
Anyway, that means next week will bring a pause in this blog, the posts to resume the week of August 1. What better time for a snowflake to briefly melt away than July?
But that still leaves this week, when we will offer a peek into the minds of a master of untamed imagination (Matthew Pitt), a flash fiction/poet (Tina Barry) who looks at real life through her own unique prism and a student of the Civil War (Nick K. Adams) whose specialty is making the past come alive in surprising ways.
In other words, a little bit of everything, new and old. These are the debut books for Matthew and Tina, although both have a long list of published stories in a variety of literary magazines and anthologies. As for Nick, we featured his previous novel, “My Dear Wife and Children,” in March of 2016.
UPCOMING ON SNOWFLAKES IN A BLIZZARD, JULY 18-24
“MALL FLOWER,” BY TINA BARRY.
Writers Tina: “Mall Flower is a collection of poems, short and flash fiction and hybrids of the two. Some of the themes I explore are alienation, loss of a parent, divorce, sexual awakening and its decline. I tried to provide the reader with a balance of light and dark, often in the same piece. There are playful pieces, such as ‘Mall Flower,’ about a teenager’s sexual awakening while strolling the mall, and darker yet still humorous works, like the flash ‘Going South,’ that focuses on my family’s last trip to Florida before my parents’ divorce.
“ATTENTION PLEASE NOW,” BY MATTHEW PITT.
The characters in this story collection strive to blend into the background only to wind up emerging from or being prodded past the scrims of convention. Some do it bravely; others with reckless abandon. In “The Mean,” a cancer-stricken, high school math teacher’s plan to live out his days in quiet moderation shatters, after he befriends a gang of stoner dropouts. In “Au Lieu des Fleurs,” Parisian prankster-anarchist Mouna Aguigui visits a grieving office worker in his bowl of soup, nudging him and others to commit madcap acts of agitation. In “Kokomo,” a young boy living in a rural Indiana community becomes attuned to a piercing hum a noise that may presage apocalyptic events. And in the title story, a public-address announcer entertains crowds by airing the local baseball team’s dirty laundry for the entire stadium to hear. Throughout the people inside these eleven stories are jolted awake, alert, and alive by patchwork alliances, bracing humor, and episodes of surreal grace. Matthew Pitt is a writer who understands and explores the strange balance between the serious and the comic, the quirky and the familiar. Irresistibly complex, always imaginative, these stories showcase an immensely talented writer grappling with the ironies and difficulties of life in the new century.
“AWAY AT WAR,” BY NICK K. ADAMS
From Nick: “Away at War is a companion novel to my last book, My Dear Wife and Children: Civil War Letters from a 2nd Minnesota Volunteer, the annotated collection of 100 letters sent by my great-great-grandfather back to his young family on the Minnesota prairie from September 1861 to September 1863. This new book is the story of that family – his wife, two daughters 5 and 7, and an infant son – as they struggled to maintain the homestead until his promised return.
“The storyline comes directly from the soldier’s letters, for he responded to their farming problems and questions, their descriptions of daily activities and events, and their longing for his safe return. All that information became the basis for the scenes and letters I created to portray what life was like during the same two-year period of the letters, for The Family Left Behind. Minnesota’s harsh seasons dictated the cycles they had to follow, and even with the help of family and friends, the hardships and responsibilities were almost beyond them.”