Weather Report, Sept. 27

UPCOMING ON SNOWFLAKES IN A BLIZZARD, SEPT. 28-OCT. 4

“THERE YOU FEEL FREE” BY NATE ROGALIA.

There You Feel Free is the story of five people whom you might call hipsters.

The Kid struggles to put his life together after his relationship, and the economy, falls apart. Cheyenne tries to define herself against the members of her kickball team. Doug faces isolation amid his long list of online friends. Paul attends a support group for struggling geniuses. And Nick battles the sinister feeling that life isn’t going as planned.

They all cross paths inside and outside a poem: a loving rewrite of T.S. Eliot’s The Waste Land refinished with contemporary references to indie music and pop culture. Packed with laughter, levity, reflection, and revolution, There You Feel Free captures the intricate quandary of the Millennial Generation.

Originally published by Black Hill Press / 1888 in 2014, the Second Edition presents the book with the original footnotes, reflecting the chaos and upheaval in trying to find meaning and purpose in the Millennial generation.

“YOU WILL NEVER BE NORMAL,” BY CATHERINE KLATZKER

Catherine writes: You Will Never Be Normal is the story of my dissociative identity disorder, (multiple identities,) and PTSD that were accelerated by meditation and treated with psychotherapy and mindfulness. In You Will Never Be Normal, I take readers through that DID experience. This memoir looks deeply at the lifelong effects of early childhood trauma from the perspective of my own treatment and healing and my wish to have a ‘normal’ life. A key takeaway from this book is that ‘it’s not trauma alone that traumatizes—it’s having no one who is interested or cares about you afterward, that’s what’s especially traumatizing.’ Healing was a result of therapy and mindfulness. For a long time I wanted to get rid of my alternate identities, to make them go away and have my life go back to normal. What ultimately happened was that I fell in love with my “parts” and wanted to make their burdens my own.

As I became less fragmented, we became less and less separate over time until fully integrated.

“ALL BLEEDING STOPS,” BY MICHAEL J. COLLINS

What does a doctor do when he thinks his best is not good enough? Matthew Barrett, thirty-one years old and fresh out of residency, is drafted and sent to Vietnam as a combat surgeon in 1967 at the height of the Vietnam War. Compassionate and sensitive to a fault, he is determined to make a difference but quickly finds his idealism crushed by the pain, suffering, and indifference that surround him. Shamed by his inexperience and tormented by his failures, he slowly unravels. Only the love of Therese Hopkins, a nurse, keeps him from falling apart. But will their love survive the grinding horror of war?

Matthew’s journey of redemption takes him from combat surgeon in Vietnam to transplant doctor in Ohio and, finally, to physician in a relief camp in Biafra, exploring how the caring and compassion that draws young people to pursue the healing arts can also sow the seeds of their own destruction, and how love may be the only thing that can finally make all bleeding stop.

When Silence Screams

When Silence Screams (The Arthur Nakai Mysteries Book 3) (An Arthur Nakai Mystery)

This week’s other featured books, “The Magi Menagerie,” by Kale Lawrence and “Absolution,” by Rachelle Storm 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: When Silence Screams.

PUBLISHED IN: 2021

THE AUTHOR:  Mark Edward Langley.

THE BACK STORY: I decided to write this book when I learned of the 5,712 girls and women that went missing on Native reservations in Canada and the USA in 2016. The more I read and learned, and the amount of missing fliers I went through from MMIW (Missing and Murderer Indigenous Women), put a face to the number and shocked me. I thought, “Why is this not known? Why is this not talked about?” The families stories touched my heart, and made me think I needed to create a story around a fictional 19-year-old girl who gets caught up in the horrifying world sex trafficking by talking with someone on a fake online profile. She is never seen again.

WHY THIS TITLE?: I chose this title because it is what the FDMI (Field Deputy Medical Investigator) says to another character in the book. “These girls’ voices are not heard before they are stolen. When I meet them, it’s like they are speaking to me because that is when their silence screams. “LOOK AT ME! SEE WHAT HAPPENED TO ME!”

Mark Edward Langley

WHY WOULD SOMEONE WANT TO READ IT?:  I think someone would want to read a good story involving characters that are relatable and ones they can cheer for, cry with and laugh with. Though my characters are Navajo, I think the stories they tell will make the reader see them not only as Native American, but people just like themselves struggling with a lot of the same issues and some the reader is not. I want to raise awareness. I also touch on Navajo beliefs and traditions trying to educate the reader with another point of view.


REVIEW COMMENTS:

Regarding my series:

1) “Langley’s third installment of his Arthur Nakai Mysteries is the most thrilling yet. The characters are fully formed, and the danger is real and urgent. Langley has an unmatched feel for his New Mexico setting, both the landscape and the culture. A master of dialogue, Langley lets the banter flow freely and allows the mystery to drive the story from the opening pages to its heart-pounding conclusion.  There’s not a better detective writer in the American West.”   — James Wade, Spur Award-Winning author of All Things Left Wild and River, Sing Out.


2) “With Death Waits in the Dark, Mark Edward Langley offers readers an utterly compelling portrait of human beings struggling to deal with the aftermath of great trauma. Langley writes about the great Southwest with a loving eye for detail that fans of Tony and Anne Hillerman will readily embrace. I was utterly captured by this fine second novel in the Arthur Nakai series. Along with those who are already fans, I can only hope that there will be many more stories to come. I recommend this book with a full heart. ” — William Kent Krueger, New York Times Best-selling author of This Tender Land and Ordinary Grace.

3) “Death Waits in the Dark tells a gritty story of betrayal, deceit, and danger through the eyes of Navajo protagonist Arthur Nakai. The tightly written noir plot moves from scene to scene like a thriller, building suspense in every page.” — Anne Hillerman, New York Times best-selling author of the Leaphorn, Chee & Manuelito Novels.

4) “Combining the gait of a fine horse, the comfort of your favorite Indian blanket, and the ease of a well-worn saddle, Mark Edward Langley’s Path of the Dead  is one heck of a debut novel!” — Craig Johnson, New York Times best-selling Author of the Longmire Series.


AUTHOR PROFILE: I have always felt a kinship with the American Southwest. It was where my heart and soul were first touched immediately by the beauty of the landscape and the wonder of its people. Revisiting it in my 30’s, I realized I was home among the red rocks and desert landscapes on New Mexico, Arizona and Utah. My goal is to move there so I can be within driving distance of all the locations in my books.  When you read my books you get the sense that I’ve driven the hard-packed dirt roads, highways, visited the ruins, and moved through the communities … and I have. I believe you cannot write about an area if you yourself have not seen, smelled, touched, heard, and absorbed it into your soul. The Arthur Nakai Mystery Series includes Path of the Dead, Death Waits in the Dark (which was a finalist in the American Book Fest Awards in 2020 and won the Feathered Quill Award for best mystery of 2021) and When Silence Screams (Winner of the Public Safety Writers Association Award). I am currently writing my fourth novel of the series, Broken Glass, due out August 2022 as well as book five, Midnight Harvest, due out in 2023. My wife, Barbara, and I divide their time between their home in Indiana and the state of New Mexico.  


SAMPLE: Amazon.com: Mark Edward Langley: Books, Biography, Blog, Audiobooks, Kindle

WHERE TO BUY IT: Amazon, Barnes & Noble and independent booksellers.

PRICE: $15.99.

CONTACT THE AUTHOR: Markedwardlangley.com. From there people can click on my social media pages, watch book trailers, read more reviews, listen to my radio and podcast interviews and much more!

Mark Edward Langley, award-winning author of the Arthur Nakai MysteriesAuthor @ markedwardlangley.comAuthor @ blackstonepublishing.com

The Magi Menagerie

The Magi Menagerie by [Kale Lawrence]

THE BOOK: The Magi Menagerie.

PUBLISHED IN: 2021.

THE AUTHOR: Kale Lawrence

THE PUBLISHER: Enchant Fire

SUMMARYSome stars aren’t meant to be followed. For seventeen years, Ezra Newport and his parents were habitual immigrants, traveling from their Ottoman Empire home across 20th century Europe. As the Newports migrate to Belfast, Ireland, Ezra wants nothing more to settle into a consistent life and lay the foundation of his architectural dreams. But after a strange, mechanical bounty hunter murders his mother and prompts the disappearance of his father, Ezra discovers that his parents had actually been on the run. Now, their enemies are targeting him, and they won’t stop until he is dead. 

In a moment of desperation, Ezra’s fate collides with the Third Order of the Magi, a secret society dedicated to using their supernatural powers to protect their communities. With increasing violence around the world, the Magi are fairly certain they know who’s behind the attacks on Ezra and his family since the same group could also be threatening their own existence.

Kale Lawrence

Both Ezra and the Magi’s survival hinges on knowledge only Ezra’s father has and the key to saving them could be buried within history itself. In a race across continents and time, both Ezra and the Magi must secure an ancient Babylonian artifact before hell is unleashed on the world. And, against all odds, Ezra must decide where his allegiances truly lie, despite what is written in the stars.

THE BACK STORY: I’ve always been fascinated with the three wise men—or Magi—from the Christmas stories. They just sort of came out of nowhere, following a star into the west and just as quickly, disappearing into the folds of time. This story was essentially born from wondering, “What ever happened to those guys?” That led me down a fantastic rabbit hole of creating this entire secret society of Magi dedicated to helping the world. But I sort of left that idea on the shelf for a while, until a year later when I wrote the first chapter as a creative writing exercise. I knew immediately what came out of that exercise (very similar to the final version of the first chapter) was that story and started piecing together all the details.   

WHY SOMEONE WOULD WANT TO READ IT: I sincerely hope that readers come away from this adventure feeling empowered, knowing that they, too, can do great and wondrous things. I also hope that audiences can appreciate the diversity of the cast and see the beauty in every person, no matter their race, religion, or sexual orientation.

The Magi Menagerie was the light that guided me out of a lingering depression. I honestly didn’t know if I would ever write creatively again, but when I dove into this story, I knew it had to be told. If this story helps someone else out of a dark time, it makes all the blood, sweat, and tears that went into this project worth it.  

REVIEW COMMENTS:

“I am completely in love with this book!!! The author creates a fantastical realm where not only is magic present, it’s rooted in a known history: the Three Wise Men.” – Amazon Review

“The way it was written, the world-building, the magic system, the characters, all of it! Not to mention the amazing cover, stunning! Once I started reading this book I could not put it down.” – Goodreads Reviewer

WHERE TO BUY IT:

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-magi-menagerie-kale-lawrence/1139655329?ean=9781736512517

PRICE: $16.99 Paperback

CONTACT THE AUTHOR:

Connect with Kale Lawrence on:
Website: www.kalelawrence.com
Instagram: @kalelawrence
Facebook: facebook.com/authorkalelawrence
Goodreads: goodreads.com/kalelawrence
Book Bub: bookbub.com/profile/kale-lawrence
TikTok: @authorkalelawrence

Absolution

Rachelle Storm

THE BOOK: Absolution.

PUBLISHED IN: 2021

THE AUTHOR: Rachelle Storm.

THE EDITOR: Maggie Katamay.

THE PUBLISHER: Amazon.

SUMMARY: Absolution weaves together an unforgettable plot of forbidden desire and sworn duty as three immortal brothers struggle to protect themselves in a corrupt world that seems destined to end in annihilation. Chris Harris’s destiny was bestowed on him before birth, just as it was on his two brothers, John and Randy. Not human but the physical embodiment of elemental water, earth, and fire, they’ve been burdened with protecting Earth and freeing the world from the Ultimate Evil, an enigmatic force shrouded in mystery and only known as a looming threat on the rise. However, unlike their elemental forms, their human selves have desires of their own and Chris finds himself in a situation that makes him question everything.

Absolution

After a night of training in New York City goes wrong, Chris and his two brothers are hidden away in the remote town of Anderson, North Dakota by the Guardians, a brotherhood sworn to protect the immortals and help them fulfill their destiny. Their plans are derailed when Chris has an intense encounter with Joanie McNamara, a young woman returning to her hometown after years of running from her past. Forced to choose love or duty, Chris is placed in an impossible situation that leaves him at odds with those sworn to protect him as he tries to decide whether to embrace his instincts or the only values he has ever known. His choice will place everyone on a collision course with the Ultimate Evil and nothing will ever be the same. Absolution is an epic fantasy intertwined with a contemporary romance at heart as Chris and Joanie try to find a way to embrace their love and still save the world from itself.

THE BACK STORY: In 2009, I was fresh out of college and trying to figure out what to do with my life during The Great Recession. I wanted to escape into my writing and started listening to music to get into the mood. As soon as “Map of the Problematique” by Muse began to play, the first scene of the book unfolded in my mind. It didn’t take long for my imagination to fill in the blanks or to decide that this would not only be a book, but a series. It took a while to gain the courage to publish the first novel and it has been edited quite a few times over the years. The pandemic forced me to actually sit down and make a decision about how I wanted to proceed with the story that I always knew deep down needed to be told. I felt very much at a crossroad in my life and chose to share my characters and their story with the world. I haven’t looked back since.

WHY THIS TITLE?: I get asked this question quite often. Some readers see the title and assume it is some sort of religious text because absolution is a term rooted in religion. However, the story is not religious, even though it is a bit ontological. It is rooted in the concept of how humans and the universe came to be, but from the perspective of an epic fantasy. Absolution is the process of creating a shift from the consumption of evil to embracing goodness in the world. If the Elements create absolution, they could tip the scales of the world back in favor of Good in the never-ending battle between Good versus Evil. This is the story of how that battle comes to be.

WHY WOULD SOMEONE WANT TO READ IT? Absolution is unique because of its hybridity and the way it plays with traditional tropes in fantasy and romance genres. It is a fantasy, but steeped in romance. It takes itself seriously and yet has humor and sarcasm. It is both traditionally romantic and yet feminist in its approach to romance. Most importantly, Absolution is meant for the mainstream and embraces diversity with multiracial characters looking to break through the glass ceiling and shatter the expectations of what love interests and heroes in the genres can embody.

In terms of a niche audience, Absolution is great for New Adult readers who once considered themselves YA readers, but have since grown up a bit. These readers still love the fantasy elements and romance, but have moved on from the high school settings of popular YA novels from the past decade.

REVIEW COMMENTS:

“You know when you sometimes read a synopsis of a book and you get an idea in your head of how the story is going to go? Well, this one blew me away. It was truly surprising. First we have elementals (of sorts) and that’s one of my favorite kinds of magic ever (Huge Avatar the Last Airbender fan here) and then we have a fast paced, easy to read, almost like a movie feel to the story. It was so effortless to imagine what was going on, and what every character looked like. There was action, humour, and even enough romance to suit my little fluffy heart. I read it so fast (once I got started) and I’m now finding myself waiting for the next book. Don’t miss out if you are looking to clock out of the world for a while and just have some fun.” – Chelle’s Book Ramblings.

“Kept me reading and thinking of the characters when I was away from the book and unable to read it, imagining what may be coming next. Can’t wait for the next book!” — Amazon Review

— This book was great for any fans of paranormal/fantasy type fiction. It was an easy read but didn’t lack depth which I’ve found some books of the same genre to do. The story hooks you quickly and keeps you intrigued and wanting to know more. The characters are all developed well and you can definitely find a character to relate to. I really liked the character of John the most and related to him quite a bit. Those looking for a character they can rally behind and be a “team member” for (example: team Jacob/Edward from the twilight saga) you can absolutely find a character to get behind and root for in this series! I only wish the book was longer so I could continue the adventure with these characters, but I can’t wait for the next one!” – Goodreads Review

AUTHOR PROFILE: There are two things to know about me as an author. One, I am a book nerd who loves fandoms, popular culture, and embraces the truly powerful way humans can come together as a fandom family when they enjoy a fictional universe. I love all things fandom, including the romance, fantasy, and epicness of it all.

Two, I am a proud, Black woman who loves writing diverse, multiracial characters in complicated, nuanced worlds. In a world obsessed with black and white, I tend to also embrace the gray. When it comes down to it, I write to help readers escape the sometimes dark world we live in and find solace in a world that not only gives them hope, but leaves a piece of that feeling with them when they finish the story.

AUTHOR COMMENTS: Absolution was completed while I was very much immersed in the pandemic and all of the social/political issues facing our current state of the world were in the backdrop. The book world is on the brink of a War on Destruction, a vague war with no end in sight and nothing but inevitable escalations. The story takes place a few years later than we are in present-day and in this world, there was a pandemic of some sort. There is racism, sexism, and everything else we experience. The difference is the Harris Brothers are meant to actually save humankind from the world that is collapsing around them. The book is not political, but has social commentary. It is not religious, but is ontological and philosophical at points. Current events definitely will hit home when reading, but not enough to jolt readers out of the escapism it embraces.

SAMPLE: You can find a sample by heading over to my author page on Amazon.com or giving the Kindle version a try on Amazon.

WHERE TO BUY IT: Amazon for Paperback and Kindle Versions

Barnes & Noble for Hardcovers

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/absolution-rachelle-storm/1140115065;jsessionid=3C3BCFEB68D322EC601A926FFB7F3E64.prodny_store02-atgap18?ean=9781668539002 PRICE:

Kindle $2.99

Paperback $18.99

Hardcover $24.99

CONTACT THE AUTHOR: Contact Rachelle Storm on Twitter @rachellestorm42 or through her website at rachellestorm.com

Weather Report, Sept. 20

New Mexico Border — Stock Photo, Image
New Mexico desert (Deposit photos)

Our currently featured books, “Bridge Across the Ocean, by Jack B. Rochester and “Smile, Or Else,” by Chantel Brenner, can be found by scrolling down below this post, along with the First Tuesday Replay. Or, click the author’s name on our Authors page.

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UPCOMING ON SNOWFLAKES IN A BLIZZARD, SEPT. 21-27.

“WHEN SILENCE SCREAMS,” BY MARK EDWARD LANGLEY.

Writes one reviewer: “Langley’s third installment of his Arthur Nakai Mysteries is the most thrilling yet. The characters are fully formed, and the danger is real and urgent. Langley has an unmatched feel for his New Mexico setting, both the landscape and the culture. A master of dialogue, Langley lets the banter flow freely and allows the mystery to drive the story from the opening pages to its heart-pounding conclusion.  There’s not a better detective writer in the American West.” 

“ABSOLUTE,” BY RACHELLE STORM.

Absolution weaves together an unforgettable plot of forbidden desire and sworn duty as three immortal brothers struggle to protect themselves in a corrupt world that seems destined to end in annihilation. Chris Harris’s destiny was bestowed on him before birth, just as it was on his two brothers, John and Randy. Not human but the physical embodiment of elemental water, earth, and fire, they’ve been burdened with protecting Earth and freeing the world from the Ultimate Evil, an enigmatic force shrouded in mystery and only known as a looming threat on the rise. However, unlike their elemental forms, their human selves have desires of their own and Chris finds himself in a situation that makes him question everything.

“THE MAGI MENAGERIE,” BY KALE LAWRENCE.

For seventeen years, Ezra Newport and his parents were habitual immigrants, traveling from their Ottoman Empire home across 20th century Europe. As the Newports migrate to Belfast, Ireland, Ezra wants nothing more to settle into a consistent life and lay the foundation of his architectural dreams. But after a strange, mechanical bounty hunter murders his mother and prompts the disappearance of his father, Ezra discovers that his parents had actually been on the run. Now, their enemies are targeting him, and they won’t stop until he is dead. 

In a moment of desperation, Ezra’s fate collides with the Third Order of the Magi, a secret society dedicated to using their supernatural powers to protect their communities.

Bridge Across the Ocean

BRIDGE ACROSS THE OCEAN by [JACK ROCHESTER]

This week’s other featured book, “Smile, Or Else,” by Chanel Brenner, can be found by scrolling down below this post, along with the First Tuesday Replay. Or, just click the author’s name on our authors page.

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THE BOOK: Bridge Across the Ocean.

PUBLISHED IN: September, 2021

THE AUTHOR: Jack B. Rochester.

THE EDITOR: Tori Merkle.

THE PUBLISHER: Brilliant Light Publishing/Media L3C, Norwich, Vermont.

SUMMARY: A story about the love of bicycing, the love of technological innovation, cross-cultural love, and the love between people. Jedediah Smith, Luke Lin, David Bondsman and Rick Saundersson have created the most innovative bicycle drive in history: The Spinner, a technologically advanced device that produces and stores its own energy without using batteries. It’s 2011, it’s ideally positioned for the just-emerging city bike market, and the world’s largest bicycle maker located in Taiwan is interested.

Just before they are to leave for Taipei to discuss a licensing agreement with Joyful Bike, Luke is struck down while cycling and killed by a hit-and-run driver. Although heartbroken, the three friends decide to continue with their business travels, taking Luke’s fiancée Suzie Sun with them.

Jack B. Rochester

The guys begin negotiations with Joyful’s director of business development, Jung-Shan Lai. She takes them cycling on Joyful bikes through Taiwan’s breathtaking scenery as they continue to thwart the attacks of two business espionage intellectual property (IP) thieves. Jed promptly falls in love with Jung-Shan, and she with him.

Will the team be able to secure and finalize their business deal with Joyful Bike? Will the agents of business espionage ride away with the stolen bicycle drive intelligence? Will the three friends get justice for Luke’s tragic death? Will Jung-Shan and Jed work out their cross-cultural love affair?

THE BACK STORY: I’ve been a serious cyclist since 1988. I won’t soon forget the teenaged girls in a convertible who intentionally tried to run me into a ditch with their blood-curdling screams. More than a few drivers have tried to squeeze by me without crossing the center line. Yeah, it can be scary and dangerous out there on a bike. But it’s also hard to beat the exhilaration and feeling of freedom that come from pedaling yourself to peak physical and emotional experiences. It took me five tries to summit the Kancamagus Pass, but I’ll never forget that endorphin-high when I finally made it.

So as a cyclist, I was inspired to write this book because on August 24, 2012, Dana McCoomb, driving of an 18-wheel truck, ran over and killed Alexander Motsenigos, who was riding his bicycle on Weston Road in Wellesley, Massachusetts. At the time, Mr. Motsenigos was a 41-year-old husband and father of a six-year-old son. McCoomb drove off, but was caught on surveillance cameras. The police stopped him later. He claimed he didn’t recall hitting anyone.

A grand jury failed to charge him with a single infraction.

When I began writing this, my fourth novel, in 2011, its title was Shift. After Alex’s death in 2012 and due to my growing awareness of the vast number of cycling deaths in this country – around 1,000 per year – I renamed it White Bike. By 2015, the manuscript had been retitled Bridge Across the Ocean and had grown to 118,000 words. I set it aside while I finished writing and publishing Anarchy, which my associate editor Tori Merkle and I worked on together. I knew Bridge was too long but I couldn’t bear to shorten it. In 2019 I gave it to Tori and she pared it down to 86,000 words so it was of publishable length. I feel the book is as much hers as mine.

WHY THIS TITLE?: There is a true bridge across the ocean in the Ponghu Islands between two of its 88 islands. Almost three miles in length, it crosses the South China Sea (aka Strait of Taiwan). It became a metaphor for the business relationship between Smithworks and Joyful Bike, as well as between Jed Smith and Jung-Shan Lai, who fall in love with each other.

WHY WOULD SOMEONE WANT TO READ IT? Bridge Across the Ocean is an eclectic mix of genres that breaks through fiction stereotypes, thanks to the author’s engaging story. It opens the door to a diverse readership. It’s contemporary and action-packed. It has its share of suspense and what-happens-next: intellectual property (IP) espionage, business and technological innovation, and a deeply moving love story.

An avid cyclist for more than 30 years, author Jack B. Rochester combines his love of cycling with his love of writing in his fourth novel. “This is a book about love,” he says. “It’s a story about four intelligent business innovators’ love of bicycles and cycling; the love by all parties of technological innovation; and a love between two people and the importance of unconditional love between all people.”

To support this message and bring awareness to cycling safety, I’m donating all royalties to organizations promoting bicycling safety, beginning with the Massachusetts Bicycle Coalition.

REVIEW COMMENTS:

“The span of the metaphoric bridge across the ocean has one end in New Hampshire and the other in Taiwan. At one point the three MIT graduates, on a visit to tour the Penghu Islands with Jung-Shan, ride across the 2,494-meter Penghu Trans-Oceanic Bridge, which truly does cross a roaring section of ocean. The joy of riding, buffeted by wind over the roaring chaos of the ocean South China Sea below, reads like a real-world analog to the pleasure of reading this novel. The ride continues to a profoundly satisfying and surprisingly spiritual ending.” — Rob Swigart, author of Little America, Portal, Mixed Harvest and more

“We need stories like Bridge Across the Ocean to remind us that cycling is an act of vulnerability and an act of joy. Some readers will decide to one day bike through Taiwan. Others will daydream about breakthroughs in bike tech. Everyone will carry Luke’s story in their mind. I did all three because after all, as Joyful Bike’s CEO says, “The bicycle is my destiny.” — Sara Dykman, author of Bicycling with Butterflies

“I loved Bridge Across the Ocean from beginning to end. I’d never read a novel in the cycling genre, nor one set largely in Taiwan. These ingredients combined for a uniquely delicious literary stew. Bridge Across the Ocean reveals important truths about the impact of cultural differences on business, love and life. You won’t be disappointed. I’m giving it two thumbs up.” — Bob Calverley, author of Purple Sunshine and Sunshine Blues

“The themes layer nicely. A start-up negotiating with manufacturing giants of China, the testing and science of a remarkable (and entirely plausible) power train for commuter bikes, a foreshadowing of the Lime-Lyft-Spin bike-sharing explosion, serious industrial espionage attempts, and, finally, a love story. The latter at first seems almost predictable – boy meets girl – but then the surprises come. What I like about the book is all this layering, and the progression from the first mystery to the conclusion. And that it is not a polemic or harangue about bike safety. It gets its message across in a much more subtle and profound way. What I don’t like about this book is that there are such things as “white bikes” and that there are more each day.” — John Gantz, author of Pirates of the Digital Millennium and Pan-Mass Challenge cycles.

AUTHOR COMMENTS: This book is dedicated to Asian-American unity and to everyone who loves riding a bicycle. Although we need to memorialize and honor cyclists killed in traffic accidents, I feel it’s most important for each of us to actively help lower the number of cycling casualties. To that end, I’m donating 100% of my royalties from Bridge Across the Ocean to organizations or causes involved in improving cycling safety in the United States. There are many worthy recipients for such donations. The first recipient is the Massachusetts Bicycle Coalition, or MassBike as we call it here. The gift will likely be awarded to different organizations over time. You can follow my donations and activities and read much more about these issues at the book’s website.

LOCAL OUTLETS: Pedego Bicycles, 8A Camillia Place, Lexington MA; Bikeway Source, 111 South Rd, Bedford, MA. Maybe Book Ends, Winchester, MA, but the book isn’t published yet. Wish we had a bookstore here in Lexington. We used to have three.

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

PRICE: $17.95 print, $10.99 ebook .

CONTACT THE AUTHOR: Jack.rochester@mac.com jack@fictionalcafe.com http://www.jackboston.com http://bridgeacrosstheocean.com/

Twitter: @JackBRochester

Smile, Or Else

Chanel Brenner — Press 53

THE BOOK: Smile, or Else

PUBLISHED IN: 2021

THE AUTHOR: Chanel Brenner

THE EDITOR: Tom Lombardo

THE PUBLISHER: Press 53

SUMMARY: Winner of the 2021 Press 53 Award for Poetry, Smile, or Else by Chanel Brenner, is a moving collection of elegiac poems dealing with the death of her six-year-old son, Riley.

THE BACK STORY: My first book, “Vanilla Milk,” contained all poems from the first two years of grief. I didn’t plan on publishing another collection, but poems about Riley and the ongoing grief continued to surface. After some time, I realized that I had enough poems for another cohesive collection.

WHY THIS TITLE: The original title was “Raising Grief,” but during the editing process, “Smile, or Else” emerged and felt right. Not someone shouting, “Smile, or Else!” is the last line of one of the poems in the collection, titled, “Facebook Post: Mother Son Hike at Solstice Canyon 183 Likes.” The poem is about what you see and don’t see in a photo on Facebook and the challenging moments that lead up to that perfect picture. It’s reflective of daily life and grief; we try to rise from darkness and create those moments of joy.

WHY SOMEONE WOULD WANT TO READ IT: My hope is that anyone who has experienced loss or knows someone who has lost a loved one will connect with the poems in this collection.

REVIEW COMMENTS:

“Clear and cutting as glass, Chanel Brenner’s poems will challenge everything you think you know about grief. Smile, or Else is her journey through the unimaginable labyrinth that is the death of a child. And yet, I would not categorize this book as “sad,” rather as what the Spanish call duende, those moments in art where spirit speaks through the poet, rising up from the depths of sorrow. “We Never Heal, Just Remember Less,” the poet titles one of her gorgeous, devastating poems. How Brenner negotiates the rough spots and savors the sweet makes for a haunting, brilliant book that I could not put down.” — Alexis Rhone Fancher, author of State of Grace: The Joshua Elegies, poetry editor, Cultural Weekly.

“Brenner’s poetry is an odyssey. Traversing largely uncharted lands of primal grief and pain, it brings the reader to an improbable destination: the small turning point where grief and loss become joy and transcendence.” — Susan Whitmore, Founder & CEO of griefHavenChanel Brenner’s poetry stirs, provokes, elevates with its precision and insight. These poems are expertly crafted and beat with a true poet’s heart.” — Emily Black Rapp, New York Times best-selling author of The Still Point of a Turning World and Sanctuary.

AUTHOR PROFILE: Chanel Brenner won the 2021 Press 53 Award for Poetry for Smile, or Else. She is also the author of Vanilla Milk: A Memoir Told in Poems, (Silver Birch Press, 2014), which was a finalist for the 2016 Independent Book Awards and honorable mention in the 2014 Eric Hoffer awards. Her poems have appeared in Rattle, Raleigh Review, New Ohio Review, Duende, Muzzle Magazine, Spry Literary Journal, Barrow Street, Salamander, Spoon River Poetry Review, Literary Mama, and others. Her poem “Apology” won first place in the Smartish Pace Beullah Rose Poetry Prize (2018) and her poem “July 28th, 2012” won first prize in The Write Place At the Write Time’s contest, judged by Ellen Bass. Her essays have appeared in Modern Loss, The Good Men Project, and HerStry. She lives in Southern California with her husband and son.

AUTHOR COMMENTS: I was thrilled when I found out that my collection won the 2021 Press 53 Award for Poetry. I am so grateful for the opportunity to share my experience with loss and connect with others through my writing.

SAMPLE CHAPTER: (Provide link). Sample poems are available on my website. https://www.chanelbrenner.com/poems/

LOCAL OUTLETS: Flintridge Bookstore, Village Well Books & Coffee, Culver City and other independent bookstores.

WHERE ELSE TO BUY IT: https://www.press53.com/poetry-collections/smile-or-else-by-chanel-brenner https://www.amazon.com/Smile-Else-Chanel-Brenner/dp/1950413349

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/smile-or-else-chanel-brenner/1139042480

PRICE: $17.95

CONTACT THE AUTHOR:

Chanel@chanelbrenner.com

First Tuesday Replay, Sept. 14

This feature has a two-fold purpose: 1. To allow those recently added to our followers list to discover books they might have missed and 2. To make sure previously featured authors and their work aren’t forgotten. If you’d like to learn more about any of the books revisited here, simply click on the “Authors” page, then on that author’s name.

“ABANDONED EARTH,” BY LINWOOD RUMNEY.

Abandoned Earth: poems by [Rumney, Linwood D.]

Regardless of the tradition I am writing into or in response to, I value accessibility and music, and I hope these values are evident in the book as a whole. There’s also enough formal and stylistic variety in the book that there’s likely to be poems it to appeal to just about anyone, regardless of taste. The work includes short, restrained lyrics that play with syntax, as well as expansive narrative poems. There are strictly formal poems as well as absurdist prose poems. There are earnest poems about love, death, and suffering as well as humorous poems. I worked hard to organize the book into a coherent whole, so those who are interested in such things will find various narrative subtexts spanning the book.

“VOYAGE OF THE STINGRAY, BY RICHARD STEINITZ.

The Voyage of the Stingrayis a nautical adventure, full of surprises, suspense and intrigue. A new, top-secret type of submarine – USS Stingray (SSL 1001) – is being developed by the US Navy. Commander Jeff Woodbridge is given command of the SSL project after it broke its first captain and killed the next one! Assistance comes in the unlikely form of an MIT dropout sent to help them with their new electronic toys. Slowly the captain and crew learn how to use it and to take advantage of its special talents – small size, stealth and littoral (close to shore) operations.

Richard Steinitz

NCIS is sent to investigate the death of the previous captain and discovers it is not an accident. Stingray is dispatched on Sudden Deployment, and sails on two hours’ notice – leaving part of the crew behind. The boat’s medical officer, Dr. Ellyn Gross, sails with her, contrary to Navy regs. In addition, an unintentional stowaway is found.

Stingray heads for the Middle East, takes on a SEAL team and heads for the Iranian coast.

“LUBBOCK ELECTRIC,” BY ANNE ELEZABETH PLUTO.

Cowboy movies and TV shows were a staple of my Brooklyn childhood. The “romance” of the far-way west was woven into Russian fairy tales and the stories of the Arabian nights. I have long been interested in narrative journeys and the calendar year: the seasons, both in their weather and in their religious holidays. These poems are a collection of love poems, started when I first met my husband, who then lived in Lubbock, Texas. The first 12 poems start the aim to create a heart made from the cotton cattle prairie landscape and the two people from disparate worlds as they fall, together, into the future, which leads the speaker back to other worlds: the following 22 poems weave Brooklyn family lore and Boston landmarks to finish the book.

A Murder of Principle by [Coryell, Susan]

“A MURDER OF PRINCIPLE,” BY SUSAN CORYELL.

What happens when an unscrupulous principal threatens to destroy a model high school?

A new principal takes Harding High by storm, wreaking havoc with every executive order, every decision, tearing down the stellar school tenet by tenet. Teachers, other administrators, students, parents—the community at large increasingly react to the tremors shaking Harding High as Principal Wendy Storme churns a destructive path through their traditions, values and protocol. Everyone seems to have a valid motive for murder.

English department chair Rose Lane, and her rookie sidekick, intern Penny Bright, are determined to move the hurricane force Storme out of Harding for good…except that somebody beats them to it with the decisiveness of murder.

“AFTERSHOCK,” BY TOM BENTLEY

A scheming would-be novelist, his prim, closet-alcoholic boss and a discerning homeless veteran have their fates thrown together by the 1989 S.F. earthquake. The distinct first-person voice of the schemer, and that of the homeless veteran and the secret alcoholic make for an at times rollicking, at times sad collision of lives. Their interplay is disastrous, surprising, and richly human. Through the fragile fault lines of these rocky relationships runs humor, loss and longing for connection.

“FIREFLIES AT ABSOLUTE ZERO,” BY ERYNN ROWAN LAURIE.

Writes one reviewer: “Following an ancient tradition of craft and inspiration, Erynn Rowan Laurie’s work breathes in wonder, transmutes it into crisp lyricism, and offers it, sharp and focused, back to the waking world. Grounded in experience, dream, and story, these poems declare with rich attention the world voice of the divine, the warp and weft of myth, the complexity of being human, and the great beauty of the earth, rough and sweet. Fireflies at Absolute Zero is a collection for all who seek to invite in the raw, poetic nature of being and witness the singing of spirits and powers; bluejay, human struggle, mandrake, divine story, seashore… all brought into focus by the magic of the sacred word.” Ruby Sara – editor of “Datura” and “Mandragora.”

Weather Report, Sept. 13

Rear view of man with bicycle — Stock Photo, Image
(Deposit Photos)

Our currently featured books, “Echoes From the Hollow,” by Don Roberts, “The Golden Key of Gangotri,” by Eyal N. Danon and “Snapshots,” by Don Tassone, can be found by scrolling down below this post, or by clicking the author’s name on our Authors page.

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UPCOMING ON SNOWFLAKES IN A BLIZZARD, SEPT. 14-20

“BRIDGE ACROSS THE OCEAN,” BY JACK B. ROCHESTER.

A story about the love of bicycing, the love of technological innovation, cross-cultural love, and the love between people. Jedediah Smith, Luke Lin, David Bondsman and Rick Saundersson have created the most innovative bicycle drive in history: The Spinner, a technologically advanced device that produces and stores its own energy without using batteries. It’s 2011, it’s ideally positioned for the just-emerging city bike market, and the world’s largest bicycle maker located in Taiwan is interested.

Just before they are to leave for Taipei to discuss a licensing agreement with Joyful Bike, Luke is struck down while cycling and killed by a hit-and-run driver. Although heartbroken, the three friends decide to continue with their business travels, taking Luke’s fiancée Suzie Sun with them.

The guys begin negotiations with Joyful’s director of business development, Jung-Shan Lai. She takes them cycling on Joyful bikes through Taiwan’s breathtaking scenery as they continue to thwart the attacks of two business espionage intellectual property (IP) thieves. Jed promptly falls in love with Jung-Shan, and she with him.

Will the team be able to secure and finalize their business deal with Joyful Bike? Will the agents of business espionage ride away with the stolen bicycle drive intelligence? Will the three friends get justice for Luke’s tragic death? Will Jung-Shan and Jed work out their cross-cultural love affair?

“SMILE, OR ELSE,” BY CHANEL BRENNER.

Wrote one reviewer: “Clear and cutting as glass, Chanel Brenner’s poems will challenge everything you think you know about grief. Smile, or Else is her journey through the unimaginable labyrinth that is the death of a child. And yet, I would not categorize this book as “sad,” rather as what the Spanish call duende, those moments in art where spirit speaks through the poet, rising up from the depths of sorrow. “We Never Heal, Just Remember Less,” the poet titles one of her gorgeous, devastating poems. How Brenner negotiates the rough spots and savors the sweet makes for a haunting, brilliant book that I could not put down.”

FIRST TUESDAY REPLAY

This month, we will revisit “Abandoned Earth,” by Linwood Rumney, “The Voyage of the Stingray,” by Richard Steinitz, “Fireflies at Absolute Zero,” by Erynn Laurie, “A Murder of Principal,” by Susan Coryell, “Aftershock,” by Tom Bentley and “Lubbock Electric,” by Anne Elezabeth Pluto.

Echoes From the Hollow

Echoes From the Hollow by [Don Roberts]

This week’s other featured books, “The Golden Key of Gangotri,” by Eyal N. Danon and “Snapshots,” by Don Tassone, can be found by scrolling down below this post, or by clicking the author’s name on our Authors page. The “First Tuesday Replay” will run next week.

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THE BOOK: Echoes From the Hollow.

PUBLISHED IN: June 2019

THE AUTHOR: Don Roberts

THE EDITOR: Dixiane Hallaj

THE PUBLISHER: S&H, Inc.

SUMMARY: Echoes from the Hollow is a fictional coming-of-age story set in western Pennsylvania during the 1950s. The tale is anchored in the village of Whistler and its nearby Hollow. The first-person story is told through the eyes and voice of Harry Morgan, a young kid who has to make choices and deal with the consequences of bad decisions. Unanticipated danger, sudden death and the threat of eternal damnation are all lurking beneath the veneer of bucolic innocence. Judgmental but often clueless, Harry resolutely makes decisions and reluctantly learns to live with the consequences. He has a passion for knowing everyone’s business, but he is no snitch. Keeping secrets may show loyalty, but at what cost?

Meet his family and learn what PTSD was like for Harry’s father and his family after WW II. Feel the rhythm of country life as you meet the quirky villagers impacting his life. It is a tale full of sound and fury that does mean something: his father’s redemption is possible, and Harry’s resilience sees him through hard times.

THE BACK STORY: I grew up in a small village similar to the one portrayed in the novel. Character traits were drawn from people I knew there and my imagination. E.L. Doctorow said, “Historians tell us what happened. A novelist tells us what it felt like.” I want readers to know what it felt like growing up in the 1950s, through the eyes of a coming-of-age country boy.

WHY THIS TITLE: The Hollow was where terrible things happened — things that would echo in the hearts and minds of some villagers for the rest of their lives.

WHY SOMEONE WOULD WANT TO READ IT: It’s a story for adults who wonder about the human condition. The characters and situations are timeless – serving as a reminder of what we can learn from the past. Also, read it for the humor.

While Whistler is a fictional village, there were hundreds, perhaps thousands, of similar villages throughout America in the 1950s. Isabel Allende said to write about “What should not be forgotten.”

REVIEW COMMENTS:

I have included three of the thirteen 5-star reviews that are on Amazon.  There were no reviews less than 5-star.

Dexter reviewed a product · Sep 24, 2019 5.0 out of 5 stars A thriller with subtle humor.

Verified Purchase

John Doe reviewed a product on July 7, 2019- 5.0 out of 5 stars Couldn’t stop reading

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When you discover a book that tells you about yourself in ways that make you feel you are immediately a part of the story, you are in for a delightful read. Echoes from the Hollow was such a book. About a young boy negotiating life in a small town while beginning to come into his own. His family has dark secrets and yet ably centers him. Surrounded by good people with their own big and small secrets, encountering more than a taste of fundamentalist religion, Harry is a determined, bright, curious and sharply observant boy. He struggles to be good, to find his place in this small town world. He takes joy in a best friend as they share discoveries and later must test their bond. The characters are very alive. The story unfolds with multiple levels of themes that ring true in this author’s tight, clever, very creative writing style. It is a non-stop read. — John Doe.

Paul Schafer reviewed a product on July 12,1919- 5.0 out of 5 stars. Unique Coming of Age Novel

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If you enjoyed The Lord of the Flies, A Separate Peace, Where the Red Fern ( omit Ren) Grows, and other books of that ilk, you are in for a genuine treat. Read Echoes from the Hollow to experience not only the joys and wonders but also the iniquities of growing up in the small village of Whistler, Pennsylvania, during the 1950s. The wholesomeness, the respectability, and the integrity of the inhabitants of Whistler prove to be no match against evil. How the serpent enters and corrupts this Garden of Eden makes for a forceful, intense, and suspense-filled story. Highly recommended

AUTHOR PROFILE: Don Roberts went to a one-room country school and then to a consolidated school district in a nearby town. After graduating from Slippery Rock State College, he taught in Beaver Falls, PA and then went to Venezuela to teach in Maracaibo. After two years, he and his new wife returned to the U.S. where he completed a Master’s Degree in History and then a Ph. D. He taught for thirty-five years in Pittsburgh’s inner-city schools and, at the same time, was a part-time History Lecturer at the University of Pittsburgh. He and his wife, Kay, have lived in Monroeville for the past thirty-five years.

AUTHOR COMMENTS: The story of Harry Morgan and his village are really social history of a time and place in western Pennsylvania. The 1950s are often romanticized. The good old days weren’t always so good, not for everyone.

SAMPLE CHAPTER: See Amazon page.

LOCAL OUTLETS: Borders Books for the Kindle version

WHERE ELSE TO BUY IT: Amazon for the paperback or Kindle.

PRICE: Kindle $4.99, paperback $17.95.

CONTACT THE AUTHOR: donroberts2@verizon.net