At Home in the New World

This week’s other featured books, “A Case for the Dead Letter Detective,” by Lori Brack, and “Hard Toward Home,” by C.D. Albin, can be found by scrolling down below this post, or by clicking the author’s name on our Authors page.

THE BOOK: At Home in the New world.

PUBLISHED IN: 2018.

THE AUTHOR: Maria Terrone.

THE EDITOR: Anthony Tamburri, press founder and publisher.

THE PUBLISHER: Bordighera Press is a nonprofit publisher dedicated to the literature and scholarship of and about the cultures of Italy and its diasporas. Since 1989, the press has published works spanning award-winning poetry and prose to groundbreaking scholarship and research.

SUMMARY: At Home in the New World begins with two essays from my childhood (Italian American, Catholic) and goes on to explore the anxieties and obsessions of my life, as well as the personal meaning of my Southern Italian heritage. I write about the people who strongly influenced me, including my parents and, perhaps surprisingly, WWII-era men like my father and veterans in general. I’m a proud, native New Yorker and so its locations and urban flavor figure prominently. At Home in the New World describes how I’ve come to feel a sense of belonging and connection despite the vast changes in my city. On a personal note, I’m basically a serious person, but I like to think that I’m not afraid to write about subjects such as gloves and shoes that might seem superficial at first glance. They aren’t, and I enjoy exploring these obsessions with both humor and attention to historical research. At Home in the New World was a Finalist for the 2019 Eric Hoffer Book Award.

Maria Terrone

THE BACK STORY: I didn’t realize I had the possibility of a book until I saw that over a period of about four years, I’d written and published a good number of mostly memoir-type essays. Reviewing them, themes began to emerge. And so, the book is divided into five sections. “Hide and Seek” focuses on some mysteries I’ve encountered. The opening essay, “Mystery, Menace, and Early Sorrow,” was named a Notable Essay in the Best American Essays 2019, and centers on my first witnessing, as a child in the hospital, what I considered adult evil. Other sections: “Obsessions,” which includes such topics as my CPA-brother’s surprising fixation on guns and mine on gloves and cooking; “The Italian Thing,” about trying to investigate my heritage, especially the buried secrets related to parents of the Sicilian grandfather I never knew; “At Work: Factories and Fifth Avenue,” on my various jobs, from supermarket cashier to typing veterans’ psychiatric reports as a teenager to working at a Manhattan beauty company, and finally, “From New York to the World,” a section that explores my relationship to my city over the years.

WHY THIS TITLE? “At Home in the New World” is the title of the last, culminating essay in the book. My city is an ethnically diverse, international hub almost unrecognizable from the mid-twentieth century place where I grew up as a baby boomer. At Home in the New World is ultimately my way of coming to grips with the new, more complex but ultimately more interesting reality. And perhaps because of my Italian American roots, the title essay focuses on food as the great unifier.

WHY WOULD SOMEONE WANT TO READ IT? My book is both intensely personal but also touches on universal themes: family; the human need for connection; the individual in a changing society; the effects of war. It also includes humor in unexpected places and lyricism because, as a poet, I like to find beauty in the ordinary—I can happily meditate on a favorite, falling-apart cookbook. Potential readers: those interested in New York City, past and present; those drawn to the perspective of a baby-boomer; readers interested in things Italian American; readers who enjoy lyrical prose writing and poetry.

REVIEW COMMENTS:

 “I love this collection of essays by Maria Terrone…Subtly crafted, witty, honest, it brings to life a New York one instantly recognizes: an international city, ranging from the factories of Long Island City to a Fifth Avenue beauty company to shooting ranges to Catholic schools. A world where a woman might lose herself in preparing foods from many countries to dreaming of fashionable clothes and out-of-this world watches and shoes, while taking those graffiti-soaked subways to summer jobs in New York’s cubicles and windowless offices. All of it memorably realized here on page after page in a language which only really fine poets can evoke, realizing for us, her lucky readers, a world shared in truth by so many of us.” — Paul Mariani, author of The Whole Harmonium: The Life of Wallace Stevens.

“This is a fascinating collection of essays, driven mostly by Terrone’s sense of wonderment and curiosity about the world around her…Terrone has the power to pick the reader up and transplant them into her world. Her prose is skilled, shifting between light and dark but always with the power to make even the most mundane activities seem magical.” — —Jane Wright, Litro.

“Reading Terrone’s essays, filled with honesty and vulnerability, I began to feel fortunate for the chance to know her; I felt like I was making a new friend…with exquisitely detailed recollections, Terrone brings to life the people she worked with, revealing her belief in a shared humanity as she does so.” —Elly Hong, The Common.

AUTHOR PROFILE: In the early years of my career, I worked as a journalist, magazine editor and in corporate communications. In 1990, I joined the City University of New York, first as director of public relations for Hunter College and later, after moving to Queens College, as the head of its communications operation. But from my earliest childhood, I wrote poetry, putting it into a draw. It was only after I worked at Hunter that I summoned up the courage to show my poems to a few poets on the faculty, and they urged me to take my talent seriously. And so I did, reading literary magazines and the works of contemporary poets I admired. I began to have my poems accepted by POETRY magazine and other journals. Over time, three of my full-length collections were published. There is a lot of information about me and my work, with excerpts, on my website http://www.mariaterrone.com. More recently, I found how enjoyable it is to write essays—I can write lyrically, but much more expansively in prose, which is very satisfying.

AUTHOR COMMENTS: Some years ago, my Italian heritage had little bearing on my work. But as my ethnic self-awareness grew, my writing changed. At Home in the New World recognizes the journey of so many who’ve come to America, and my own coming of age in my evolving city. I believe this book has particular relevance today. In her review for At the Inkwell, Kait Burrier writes: “This collection arrives at precisely a time when America’s interest in immigration is piqued…it has the potential to spark conversations on the many ways people find themselves at home in the ever-changing new world that is America.”

SAMPLE CHAPTER: Go to amazon.com. Under Books, type Maria Terrone. At Home in the New World will be my first book listed. Click on the image and then click “Look Inside” at left to view table of contents and samples of writing.

WHERE TO BUY IT: Amazon, Bordighera Press, Small Press Distribution, https://www.spdbooks.org/
Indiebound, https://www.indiebound.org/

PRICE: $16.00.

CONTACT THE AUTHOR:

maria.terrone60@gmail.com

http://www.mariaterrone.com

A Case for the Dead Letter Detective

Lori Brack/Writer Editor InstructorTHE BOOK: A Case for the Dead Letter Detective

PUBLISHED IN: 2021

AUTHOR: Lori Brack

PUBLISHER: Kelsay Press

SUMMARY: A Case for the Dead Letter Detective is a chapbook of 24 poems regarding the life and work of a detective who works for the Dead Letter branch of the post office. Of course, dead letters are a metaphor for what is lost, what is written and not read, what is secret. 

BACK STORY: The dead letter detective showed up in my writing about 12 years ago as I was studying writing as an age 50-something grad student. He appeared again and again as the subject of many poems written over about a decade. As I put the book together, I recognized that he is simultaneously an imaginary and real character, both a dead and a living character, both me and other.
WHY SOMEONE WOULD WANT TO READ IT: If you are interested in letters and mail, in lyric poems, in prose poems, in Jung's theory of the anima/animus, in a brief break from your daily reality, this might be a book you will enjoy. One reader said, "There is a complicated, solitary life depicted in this book, and its readers will likely be drawn back again and again because it haunts them, they miss it, and I think they will find each rereading even richer and more revelatory than the last." REVIEW COMMENTS:
"In her gorgeous metaphor of the Dead Letter Detective, whose job is to show us the hole in the side of your life that spits out things you didn't know were there, Lori Brack invites us to recover what we thought forever lost and to see what we've always overlooked. The detective is summoned to divine the address, she writes, and divine Brack does in these delicate, magical-realist-tinged, and mysterious poems that are simultaneously as clear as a creek over purifying stones. Brack envisions a world bursting with urgent messages we haven't yet learned how to find." -- Bruce Beasley, author of Theophobia, All Soul Parts Returned, and other books "Dear Reader, Brack's postage-stamp pieces of prose rupture reality, separating it like fingertips carefully tearing apart an old lick-and-stick sheet of stamps along the perforation lines. In the newly opened spaces in between the tidily torn edges, one's imagination can dance and breathe a bit of fresh air." -- Lea Redmond, proprietor of The World's Smallest Post Service and author of Letters to My Future Self, Knit the Sky, and other books "How much, wonders Lori Brack's dead letter detective, can go amiss with twenty-six letters and ten digits? In her new book, A Case for the Dead Letter Detective, Brack's magical language weaves a world in which utterance exists at the knife-edge of loss. With its kinetic, sometimes absurdist language and improbably wonderful throughline, The Case is a brilliant found letter, a tour de force." -- Susanne Paola Antonetta, author of The Terrible Unlikelihood of Our Being Here, and other books AUTHOR PROFILE: Lori Brack is also the author of Museum Made of Breath, published in 2018 by Spartan Press, Kansas City. The chapbook A Fine Place to See the Sky was written as a poetic script for a work of performance art by Ernesto Pujol and published by The Field School in 2010. It is a collaboration with her grandfather's 1907-1918 Kansas farming journal. Her essays and poems have appeared in journals and anthologies, many available online, including Rooted: The Best New Arboreal Nonfiction, Another Chicago Magazine, North American Review, The Fourth River, Entropy Magazine, Superstition Review and its blog, and Mid-American Review. She has worked in art centers, libraries, colleges, and is now engaged in independent artist, community building, and education projects. SAMPLE POEM The Dead Letter Detective as a Boy Each childhood discovers and then conceals. May morning, all the other boys running over grass and he, hands cupped to the glass, peers through the mausoleum grate. Sunlight through high windows filters the leafy floor. Someone's plastic roses dulled by dust. A still wasp, half wrapped in cobweb. Veined marble and ranks of bronze with names he strains to read. He rattles the big handles in his childish hands that cannot undo these doors. LOCAL OUTLET: Ad Astra Books and Coffee House, Salina, KS Where else to buy it: https://kelsaybooks.com/products/a-case-for-the-dead-letter-detective
PRICE: $16 + tax CONTACT THE AUTHOR: www.loribrack.com

Hard Toward Home

Craig_Albin_2.jpgTHE BOOK: Hard Toward Home: Stories.

PUBLISHED IN
:  2016.

THE AUTHOR:  C. D. Albin.

THE EDITOR
: Kevin Morgan Watson.

THE PUBLISHER
: Press 53 is “a quality publishing House of short fiction and poetry collections.”  It was founded in 2005 by Kevin Morgan Watson and is based in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

SUMMARY: Hard Toward Home is a collection of contemporary short stories set in the Ozarks of north Arkansas.  The stories explore family tensions, regional dynamics, and the influence of the past.  They also avoid stereotypes about rural southern life and, in particular, the Ozarks.   While the situations the characters find themselves in may be emotionally thorny and sometimes even dark, the stories honor the intensity—for good or ill—of familial connection, and they hold out hope for possible redemption.

Hard Toward Home by [C. D. Albin]Eudora Welty once remarked that “human life is fiction’s only theme,” and the stories in Hard Toward Home seek to render human life honestly and with respect for the complications and confusions we all experience as we move through life.  The characters may live, work, love, and fight in the rural Ozarks, but their struggles are universal and relatable to everyone.

All characters in this collection are beset by conflicts and pulled in multiple directions, but here are a few examples: a lonely doctor’s wife transplanted from St. Louis tries to help a sick doe discovered at the edge of an Ozark forest; a grade school maintenance worker shaves his beard in an attempt to reach his emotionally distant step-daughter; a high school history teacher who moonlights as an American Legion umpire must grapple with personal history when a player and former student confronts him; and an aging carpenter fires his grandson for subpar work, then struggles to assess how much labor he has left undone in his own house.   

THE BACK STORY
: As a doctoral student at the University of Mississippi, I took a fiction-writing workshop with Tim Gautreaux, who had just published his first book, the story collection Same Place, Same Things.  I was deeply moved by the book—its authenticity of characterization and freshness of language—and was taken by a desire to write stories of that quality.  At the time I was trying to write essays and didn’t think of myself as a fiction writer, but Gautreaux, who began writing poetry and then transitioned to fiction after he took a workshop with Walker Percy, helped me to think of myself as a writer of fiction.  It changed the course of my career.  I went through a long apprenticeship, starting and stopping, and probably put in something like ten years of work on my first collection, but Gautreaux had set the bar, and I was determined to write as well as I could.  The book came out in 2016, and the following year the Missouri Library Association awarded me the Missouri Author Award in Fiction, so I finally had some tangible evidence that I was headed in the right direction.  

WHY THIS TITLE?: The title is a phrase from the collection’s title story.  In the story, a man’s wife has left him and taken their only child to Memphis.  He sets out after them, but as he drives out of the Ozarks into the delta, “he realized she would endure the city and its close walls, its thick air and alien clamor, just to be rid of him.  The knowledge seared like a burn, and he swung the truck around and drove hard toward home.”  For me, the phrase is redolent of family loyalties and resentments, hopes and disappointments, and many of the stories in the book deal with those issues, so I felt “hard toward home” was a fitting title. 

WHY WOULD SOMEONE WANT TO READ IT? 
I think readers who appreciate realistic fiction and taut storytelling enjoy the book, and so do those who appreciate original language and careful writing.  I suppose one obvious niche the book fits into is supplied by the Ozarks setting, since there hasn’t been a great deal of serious literary fiction set in the region.  However, I try to write about universal issues.  The stories are simply set in the Ozarks because I’m from the region and continue to live there.

REVIEW COMMENTS
: “A new voice from the Ozarks, C. D. Albin crafts a reverent, clear-eyed but heartfelt look at his people, the love, the violence, the myriad forces at work in lives that push the hidden up through the ground, to be seen and reckoned with in surprising ways.”—Daniel Woodrell, author of Winter’s Bone.

“Characters don’t talk much in C. D. Albin’s unforgettable Hard Toward Home.  They have a lot they want to say, but the pressure of love and disappointment, old violence and unforgotten resentment brings them to the very edge of what language can say.  And then they find the words, searingly.  Written with haunting restraint and understanding, these gorgeous, perfect stories explore the things we want and the things we’re capable of, both of which often surprise us.—Erin McGraw, author of The Seamstress of Hollywood Boulevard.

“In every one of the ten stories in this collection, not only do the characters suffer from a kind of double-mind, a state of tension about how to handle the forces acting upon their lives, but so too does the reader feel pulled in two directions: simultaneously repulsed by the often vulgar dramas playing out on the page and rooting for the characters to find some kind of equanimity, a state of grace.  Writing that makes us feel with such complexity deserves all the praise we might bestow.”—Jeffrey Condran, author of Prague Summer.

AUTHOR PROFIL
E: For many years I have taught writing and literature at Missouri State University – West Plains, a two-year campus in my home town.  I suppose some would describe my writing as regional since I set my fiction in the same place where I grew up and continue to live, but I believe it’s important for a writer to know the neighborhood if he or she is to have any chance of painting life accurately. 
  
AUTHOR COMMENTS:
 I believe both the writing and reading of literary fiction makes us more conscious of human worth, and that consciousness can shape our actions toward our fellow human beings, whatever the state they find themselves in.  I write to remind myself of those things and to make proper use of whatever gifts I’ve been given. 

SAMPLE CHAPTER: See the Amazon page.

LOCAL OUTLETS:  Ozarks Bookstore, The Book Nook, Drago College Store. 

WHERE ELSE TO BUY IT: Press 53, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, ABEbooks, etc.  

PRICE: $14.95 

CONTACT THE AUTHORwww.cdalbin.com   and CraigAlbin@MissouriState.edu.

Weather Report, March 29

liberty 1

 

Our currently featured books, “Cretin Boy,” by Jim Landwehr, “Gods of Avalon Road,” by Leilani Stewart and “Inhuman,” by Eric Leland, 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

“AT HOME IN THE NEW WORLD,” BY MARIA TERRONE.

Maria writes: “At Home in the New World begins with two essays from my childhood (Italian American, Catholic) and goes on to explore the anxieties and obsessions of my life, as well as the personal meaning of my Southern Italian heritage. I write about the people who strongly influenced me, including my parents and, perhaps surprisingly, WWII-era men like my father and veterans in general. I’m a proud, native New Yorker and so its locations and urban flavor figure prominently. At Home in the New World describes how I’ve come to feel a sense of belonging and connection despite the vast changes in my city. On a personal note, I’m basically a serious person, but I like to think that I’m not afraid to write about subjects such as gloves and shoes that might seem superficial at first glance. They aren’t, and I enjoy exploring these obsessions with both humor and attention to historical research. At Home in the New World was a Finalist for the 2019 Eric Hoffer Book Award.”

“A CASE FOR THE DEAD LETTER DETECTIVE,” BY LORI BRACK.

If you are interested in letters and mail, in lyric poems, in prose poems, in Jung’s theory of the anima/animus, in a brief break from your daily reality, this might be a book you will enjoy. One reader said, “There is a complicated, solitary life depicted in this book, and its readers will likely be drawn back again and again because it haunts them, they miss it, and I think they will find each rereading even richer and more revelatory than the last.”

“HARD TOWARD HOME,” BY C.D. ALBIN

Hard Toward Home is a collection of contemporary short stories set in the Ozarks of north Arkansas.  The stories explore family tensions, regional dynamics, and the influence of the past.  They also avoid stereotypes about rural southern life and, in particular, the Ozarks.   While the situations the characters find themselves in may be emotionally thorny and sometimes even dark, the stories honor the intensity—for good or ill—of familial connection, and they hold out hope for possible redemption.

Eudora Welty once remarked that “human life is fiction’s only theme,” and the stories in Hard Toward Home seek to render human life honestly and with respect for the complications and confusions we all experience as we move through life.  The characters may live, work, love, and fight in the rural Ozarks, but their struggles are universal and relatable to everyone.

All characters in this collection are beset by conflicts and pulled in multiple directions, but here are a few examples: a lonely doctor’s wife transplanted from St. Louis tries to help a sick doe discovered at the edge of an Ozark forest; a grade school maintenance worker shaves his beard in an attempt to reach his emotionally distant step-daughter; a high school history teacher who moonlights as an American Legion umpire must grapple with personal history when a player and former student confronts him; and an aging carpenter fires his grandson for subpar work, then struggles to assess how much labor he has left undone in his own house.   

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‘at home in the new world,

‘ BY MARIA TERRONR

 

 

 

 

Cretin Boy

This week’s other featured books, “Gods of Avalon Road,” by Leilani Stewart and “Inhuman,” by Eric Leland, 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: Cretin Boy.

PUBLISHED IN: 2020.

THE AUTHOR: Jim Landwehr.

THE PUBLISHER: Burning Bulb Publishing.

SUMMARY: Cretin High School, located in Saint Paul, Minnesota was a Catholic, all-male, military academy that brought unique twists to the already difficult high school experience. Cretin Boy takes an in-depth, humorous look at my experience as a teenager growing up in the late 1970s. The book focuses
primarily within the walls of school, but drifts into all that goes into the socialization of a kid as he navigates life on the fringe of adulthood.
Readers are brought into the hallways, auditoriums, and sports fields of Cretin High. It is here where the mix of military discipline and religious doctrine combine with pubescent testosterone to create an environment of caustic angst for myself and many of my classmates looking to define ourselves. From orders barked by a raging military sergeant during freshman orientation, to the question-authority bent of a liberal social studies teacher, to a stress-inducing visit to the rifle range, the reader sees all levels and quality of instruction.

Jim LandwehrBut, as much as the book is about high school, what happens outside the walls of Cretin High is also captured. This work looks at those menial first jobs, takes you dancing with a girl at that first high school formal, and peels down the street in a Corvette-on-loan with a teen at the wheel. It is a coming of age story with a military dress code, a coming to faith story while smoking in the boy’s room. A story that begins with the uncertainty and trepidation of freshman orientation and ends with the promise and hope of graduation.

THE BACK STORY: Because Cretin High School was such a unique experience, (Catholic, all-male, military academy) I felt it was a story that needed to be shared. It took about 3 years on and off to write.

WHY THIS TITLE?: After much deliberation I chose Cretin Boy for a couple of reasons. First, I think it is attention-catching, at least compared to the alternatives I had considered. Ultimately, though, I insisted it be called Cretin Boy, as that was what we were called when we attended. Despite all the obvious assumptions a title like this might conjure up, Cretin High was actually named after Joseph Cretin, the first Catholic Bishop of St. Paul, Minnesota.

WHY WOULD SOMEONE WANT TO READ IT? Despite being set in an all-male Christian academy, the book actually speaks to the experience of growing up as a teenager in any school. In addition to the Christian and military elements, it is about the assertion of independence, the struggles of adolescence, dating, that first job, fitting in and the temptations of substance abuse. All of these circumstances occur under what I call the oppression of Church and State. It makes for a unique, yet relatable story.

REVIEW COMMENTS:

• “Full disclosure: I have never been a high school boy, and I have never attended a Catholic military school. But when I finished reading Cretin Boy, I felt like I had.”

Landwehr paints a rich portrait of coming of age in the 1970’s—complete with chapters on hair, girls, cars, and a certain New Year’s Eve date with PBR. Playing in the background through the amusing—often poignant—stories is a reminder of the power of friendship, positive role models, and a family who cares. An upbeat trip down memory lane for those of a certain age.”

• “Jim nailed the high school experience… what a great book… recommended reading for anyone who went through high school in the 70’s or beyond.”

• “This is a funny and heart-warming trip down memory lane but also a great “coming of age” story about growing up attending a Catholic military academy. This book is a must read for any high school kid – full of laughs and allowed me to relive memories I had nearly forgotten.”

AUTHOR PROFILE: Jim Landwehr is a twenty-first century cartographer and Renaissance man. In between his day job that keeps the lights on and the creditors at bay, he walks his dog, takes an occasional bike ride and scribbles out books and poetry.  Next to his wife and his two above-average children, his eight books, Cretin Boy, Dirty Shirt, The Portland House, Thoughts from a Line at the DMV, Genetically Speaking, On A Road, Reciting From Memory and Written Life are his biggest pride and joys. He’s working towards a Pulitzer or even a Pushcart, but at the moment would settle for a few good Amazon Reviews and a little beer money. For more on his writing, visit: https://sites.google.com/view/jimlandwehr/home

AUTHOR COMMENTS: I write because I cannot not write. It is complete escape for me, and my only regret is not getting started down the writing road until 11 years ago. I donate a portion of my sales to a different cause for each book as my way of giving back.

SAMPLE CHAPTER: https://www.amazon.com/Cretin-Boy-Jim-
Landwehr/dp/1948278286/ref=cm_cr_arp_d_bdcrb_top?ie=UTF8.

LOCAL OUTLETS: Signed copies available for purchase on author’s Square site.

WHERE ELSE TO BUY IT: Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Burning Bulb Publishing
PRICE: $14.99.

CONTACT THE AUTHOR: Email: jimlandwehr@att.net.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorJimLandwehr
Twitter: @jimlandwehr61
Author Website: https://sites.google.com/view/jimlandwehr/home
Blog: http://www.writerjimlandwehr.com/

Gods of Avalon Road

Gods of Avalon Road by [Leilanie Stewart]THE BOOK: Gods of Avalon Road

PUBLISHED IN: October 2019

THE AUTHOR: Leilanie Stewart

THE EDITOR: Claire Voet

THE PUBLISHER: Blossom Spring Publishing

SUMMARY: (From the back cover) London, present day. Kerry and her university friend Gavin move to London to work for the enigmatic Oliver Doncaster. Their devious new employer lures them into an arcane occult ritual involving a Golden Horse idol.

Britannia, AD 47. Aithne is the Barbarian Queen of the Tameses tribes. The Golden Warrior King she loves is known as Belenus. But are the mutterings of the Druids true: is he really the Celtic Sun God himself?

Worlds collide as Oliver’s pagan ritual on Mayday summons gods from the Celtic Otherworld of Avalon. Kerry is forced to confront the supernatural deities and corrupt mortals trying to control her life and threatening her very existence.

Leilanie StewartTHE BACK STORY: Gods of Avalon Road began life as a short story of around 6000 words. The plot centred on a woman who experienced mysterious events in her new flat; together with a friend, she began research to find out why, discovering how the previous occupiers had performed pagan rituals that had resurrected an ancient, immortal being. In the end, I left the short story version unfinished as it kept getting bigger and bigger. I decided I had enough ideas to make it into a novel, but needed a new focus. A few years later, I decided to lift the three main characters and plug them into a new idea that crystallised while I was on a long walk near the Thames by Wandsworth Bridge. Inspired by a few real locations, I decided to set the story in a fictional house in a real street and once the ball was rolling, the ideas began to connect into a comprehensible chapter plan, which I outlined and it took off from there.

WHY THIS TITLE: Since the story was inspired by a real location in London, Avalon Road, my first idea was to use that as the title. Later on reflection, I felt that calling it Avalon Road gave it more of a literary feel: I needed a title that would show readers my novel was an urban fantasy story. I decided to expand it to the title as published, Gods of Avalon Road, as this also gives a glimpse that the book has elements of Celtic mythology within.

WHY SOMEONE WOULD WANT TO READ IT: Fans of Celtic folklore would enjoy it, as the gods are taken straight from Celtic myths and legends: Belenus, Ceridwen, Morfan and Afagddu are all characters in my book who are also known in Welsh mythology and feature in some of the King Arthur legends. However, I’ve added a new twist by reimagining them in 21st century London and taking it a step further by throwing in some paranormal romance. Imagine if the ancient Celtic Sun God, Belenus, was not only real but in love with Kerry, your average girl next door. How would that work in modern day life?

REVIEW COMMENTS: This intriguing and unique plot mixes the fate of ancient Gods with modern paganism set on the banks of the River Thames in London. Well written and with strong, complex characters, this book will appeal to readers who love the themes of pagan ritual, myth and legend. (Lisa R, Amazon)

The Gods of Avalon Road is not one of my usual reads, but the idea of the story was intriguing to me. The writer appears to have done a great deal of research into the myth/beliefs used within the book and I found it all quite interesting. I enjoyed seeing the characters develop and their lives change throughout. The events kept my attention throughout. A great and interesting read. (Elisha B, Goodreads).

The Gods of Avalon Road by Leilanie Stewart is an interesting read. Kerry gets involved in an arcane ritual. She begins to have visions of a Golden Warrior. Kerry’s life begins to spin out of control as her world is threatened by pagan gods. It kept me on the edge of my seat throughout. Beautifully written. Entrancing. Hypnotic. You’ll truly enjoy this one. I give it five out of five stars. (A.R. Ford, author website and Facebook review page).

AUTHOR PROFILE: Leilanie Stewart is a writer and poet from Belfast, Northern Ireland. Gods of Avalon Road was her debut novel, published by Blossom Spring Publishing in 2019. She has also had two poetry collections published: A Model Archaeologist from London based Eyewear Publishing in 2015 and Chemotherapy for the Soul by Canadian publisher Fowlpox Press in 2017. Leilanie’s poems and short stories have appeared in magazines in the UK, US and worldwide. Her poetry was longlisted for the Melita Hume Poetry Prize 2014 in the UK and a selection of her poetry and fiction was chosen for the Best of the Web Storm Cycle Anthology 2013 published by Kind of a Hurricane Press in the US. More of Leilanie’s work is forthcoming: her third poetry collection, The Redundancy of Tautology is coming soon from Cyberwit and her second novel, literary fiction set in Japan, is under consideration by a US publisher.

AUTHOR COMMENTS: You can listen to an excerpt on Leilanie Stewart’s YouTube channel at: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=iR9wTzBzaIM

SAMPLE CHAPTER: A sample can be downloaded from Amazon at: https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/aw/d/B07ZDFBCML/

LOCAL OUTLETS: Available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble and the Book Depository worldwide and in Waterstones and Foyles in the UK. 

WHERE ELSE TO BUY IT: Via the publisher’s website at: https://www.blossomspringpublishing.com/shop/gods-of-avalon-road/

Author signed copies are available at a discount price from: https://meandibooks.bigcartel.com/product/gods-of-avalon-road

PRICE: Paperback for £8.95 and Ebook for £1.99

CONTACT THE AUTHOR: https://leilaniestewart.com

Inhuman

 InhumanTHE BOOK:  Inhuman

PUBLISHED IN
: 2021.

THE AUTHOR:  Eric Leland

THE EDITOR
:  Chantelle Aimée Osman – 22Literary

THE PUBLISHER
: RTNY Self-Published, created by Eric

SUMMARY: In 1969, somewhere over South Vietnam, Captain Brandon Doran sits aboard an unmarked aircraft on final approach to a Top-Secret military base. A shadowy government operative offers a deal: in exchange for erasing Brandon’s tarnished military record, he must ensure the recon team, to which he is about to be assigned, follows orders. Easy enough. Or so Brandon thinks.

Sergeant First Class John Nicholas, Captain Brandon, and the elite Recon Team New York venture deep into North Vietnam to rescue Recon Team Florida, which has gone missing near a remote village in the north. John expects heavy resistance, but intercepted radio traffic suggests something near that village has spooked even the hardened North Vietnamese Army. Soon after New York’s midnight insertion behind enemy lines, John finds out what. Confronted in the night by a merciless demon, John reacts the way any soldier would: he shoots it. But John discovers, far too late, pulling the trigger is the worst mistake he can make.

Eric Leland (Author of Inhuman)

Flung headlong into atrocity and supernatural chaos, New York’s surviving members discover an unexpected ally in Jaran, a young novice in the old magic of her ancestors. She is the only defense New York has against this powerful evil, but her magic requires a cruel price. Now, with a ruthless NVA hunter-killer team on New York’s trail, and an ancient evil lurking in the shadows, the few remaining survivors learn their escape demands brutal payment. To survive, New York must become as inhuman as their demonic pursuer.

THE BACK STORY: During a class for my MA I wrote a 25-page short story titled Recon Team: Mercury. That story was shortened to five pages and is now the prologue to Inhuman. For a NaNoWriMo idea I thought it would be interesting to see what happened when the rescuers came looking for the team that disappeared in my original short story. Inhuman is the result.

WHY THIS TITLE?: For two reasons. One, Inhuman’s primary antagonist is a demon who takes possession of a soldier and forces him to hunt and kill his team. Two, the novel is the story of a military teamwho is both trapped behind enemy lines and hunted by this demon. As the story progresses and the team’s situation becomes more desperate, the main character’s compassion wanes.It is no longer a question of ‘will he survive?’ but rather, ‘is survival worth the cost?’

WHY WOULD SOMEONE WANT TO READ IT? It’s probably easier for me to explain why someone would NOT want to read it. If you’re looking for a happy ending, I would suggest leaving Inhuman on the shelf. This is very much a story about your best efforts not being good enough, the things we do that we aren’t proud of, and the loss of people we love. Inhuman is unique in that, while being a war/horror storyand primarily following the military team, we also follow a young woman, Jaran, whose village and life were destroyed essentially by collateral damage and we watch as she tries to make things right. Broadly, military/veterans will probably appreciate the book. Narrowly, readers struggling with depression and self-doubt will find they are represented here.

REVIEW COMMENTS

“It is far too easy to run out of adjectives when describing the experience of reading InHuman. Within the pages of this book resides a mixture that combines the intimate and powerful bond that unites a small group of men who experience extreme stress and horrific violence on a daily basis, with their absolute level of trust and admiration for each other. It is a story of comradeship forged through battle. Anyone who has served in the military will find characters that they have known first hand.”

“You never saw any of it coming, the minute you thought you had it figured ,another twist, the characters were well planned and I found myself highly invested and emotionally involved with each and every one of them.”

“Inhuman by Eric Leland is a brutally evocative tale, a supernatural horror thriller about a merciless evil, the horrors of war, and the hearts of men. Leland’s gut-wrenching writing, characters, and plot twists took me completely by surprise. This is not your average military horror thriller.”

AUTHOR PROFILE: Eric Leland grew up in Massena, NY and entered Army basic training upon high school graduation. He was an MP in the Army for six years and reclassified to a Special Agent with the Army Criminal Investigation Division. Eric deployed to Honduras in 2002, and Iraq in 2003 and 2009 where he was awarded an Army Commendation Medal with “V” device for valor. He completed his MA in Creative Writing from Southern New Hampshire University and has happily traded in his gun for a pen. Eric lives in Seattle with his wife
  
AUTHOR COMMENTS:
  My absolute goal in any of my writings is to entertain, so I hope the experience of the book is worth both the reader’s time and the price of admission. On a grander scale, and at the risk of sounding pretentious, I hope we can, despite our differences and the places we come from, learn to love each other.

SAMPLE CHAPTER

Excerpt from Prologue

Screams in the dark. The sharp spat of a suppressed pistol shot echoed off the pit’s curved walls.

Conway gripped his flashlight hard and peered into the dark. Hard to see.

“What’s your status?” he shouted down to Sergeant Sutton.

Nothing.

Silence.


From behind came the sound of struggle. Shouts. Conway shined his light back down the passageway to where his soldiers held the Mongol man and woman.

The man—arms tied behind his back—jumped and jerked, trying to break free from the hard grasp of a big noncommissioned officer. Conway’s Vietnamese interpreter stood in front of the small group and the Mongol man shouted in the interpreter’s face.

“What the fuck is he saying?” Conway called.

“Keeps saying the same thing, Captain!” The interpreter yelled, straining to be heard over the shouting. “‘Cut the rope!’ He keeps saying ‘Cut the rope!’”

Conway turned back to the pit and tapped Jones, his CIA handler, on the shoulder. “Why do you think he keeps saying that?”

Jones shook his head. “No idea.”

Conway rubbed the sweat from his face and again called down into the pit to his man. Again, no answer.

More shouting from behind. The woman’s voice now joining the din.

With a hard calm Jones said, “Shut those people up, Captain.”

Conway yelled over his shoulder. “Shut those motherfuckers up!”

The interpreter said something in Vietnamese, but they kept shouting. Now that Conway was paying attention, he caught the phrase that the Mongols kept saying: “Cat day leo.”

When the interpreter couldn’t quiet them, the slap echoed in the cave’s passage, followed by the wet sucking groan of someone losing their wind. They were quiet after that.

Far below in the pit, the tiny star that was Sergeant Sutton’s flashlight moved.

Thank God.

“Sergeant!” Conway called. “What’s your status?”

The flashlight pointed up at Conway. Blinding.

“Oh, Captain,” Sutton yelled. “I haven’t felt this good in years.”

Conway and Jones looked at each other. An odd thing to say.
Into the pit, Conway called, “Glad to hear it. What the hell happened down there?”

“Just got a little frightened. You’re not thinking of cutting that rope, are you?”

“Not particularly.”

“Good!” Sutton called. “Mind if I come up now?”

Jones cut Conway off before he could respond. “What do you see down there?”

Sergeant Sutton’s light shined down at the corpse they had discovered. “Just this poor fellow here. Those Mongol dogs didn’t treat him well.”

Jones scratched his face and called down, “There must be something else. This is the place. Look around some more.”

Sutton’s flashlight swept around the pit and lit up the gouged walls. “There’s nothing else down here. May I come up now?”

Conway watched Jones think for a long beat. At last, he stood and turned away and waved a frustrated hand at Conway.

“Come on up, Sergeant.” Conway called.

“Thank you, sir!”

Something about Sutton’s voice sounded strange. Not scared. Not anxious to get out of that hole. He sounded…

Excited?

The rope pulled taught as Sergeant Sutton grabbed hold and started the long climb up out of the dark. As if they sensed the movement, the Mongols started screaming.

Conway didn’t even have to ask the interpreter what they were saying. They had repeated the phrase about a thousand times in the hour that Recon Team Florida had been in that cave.

Turning from the pit, Conway went down the passageway toward the exit. To where the Mongol man and woman waited with the rest of Florida.

As he approached, their screams quieted. Instead of screaming for him to cut the rope, now they were pleading.

Conway shined his light on them.

“Cat day leo,” they repeated. Eyes squinted and tear-filled. They were begging.

Footsteps echoed from behind. Sergeant Sutton. The Mongols looked behind Conway. In the light their eyes went wide. Their mouths dropped open.

“Sergeant,” Conway said over his shoulder. “Do you have any idea why these people kept telling me to cut that rope?”

From behind came a tiny echoing click. Distinctly the sound of a 1911’s safety being switched off.

With the cave walls and the suppressor so close to Conway’s ear, the explosion of gas was a hurricane roar.

Pain popped in Conway’s ears and he slapped his palms over them.

The Mongol man’s head jerked and he dropped limp on the ground. The Recon man who had been holding him staggered back, clutching his chest, blood blossoming through his dark green uniform where his heart should be. His lips moved. But over the ringing and fuzz in Conway’s ears, he couldn’t hear what the man said. The Recon man slumped to the ground.

Conway jumped as Sergeant Sutton fired a second shot. The Mongol woman’s head snapped back and she fell.

The soldier holding her jumped away in surprise and yelled something.

Conway spun. Shaking with surprise and fear and confusion, he stared at Sergeant Sutton.

The afternoon light outside the cave illuminated Sutton’s perverted smile. His eyes…

His eyes…

“Oh, God,” Conway mumbled.

You’ll know him when you see his eyes. That’s what Jones had said in his mission briefing.

When the ring in Conway’s ears quieted, the sound that replaced it was Sutton’s soft laughter.

“Thanks for not cutting that rope.” Still laughing, he pointed the pistol and shot Jones in the face.

Conway didn’t understand. Legs wobbling, he fell to his knees, hands still cupped over his ears.

Shouts from behind. One of his men. Conway couldn’t even remember the names of the men he commanded. Only Sutton.

“Put the fucking gun down!” A voice commanded. “Put it down now!”

But Sutton pointed his 1911 and fired——and the commands ceased.

Conway stared down the suppressor’s dark hole.

Sutton’s finger flexed on the trigger, but no sound came. Sutton turned the 1911 to examine it.

The slide was locked to the rear. He looked at Conway and frowned. “Would you mind telling me how this works?”

It took Conway about two heartbeats to react. Yanking his rifle slung across his back, he aimed at Sutton.

“On…” Conway stammered. “On your knees. Now!”

Slide still to the rear, Sutton pointed the empty pistol at Conway’s face and pulled the trigger.

When nothing happened, Sutton threw it down with a frustrated grunt. He looked down at himself, patting the various pockets of his LCE until his hand fell on the handle of the combat knife sheathed on his thick pistol belt.

“Oh,” Sutton said. “I prefer these anyway.”

He drew it, metal scraping. Shining sharp in the ambient light.

“Drop it,” Conway pleaded. “Goddamnit!”

Sutton rolled his eyes. “If you’re going to shoot, get it over with. He waved the blade.

“Otherwise…”

“On your knees!”

“No.” Sutton lunged.

Conway fired. And fired and fired. And when Sutton hit the ground Conway kept firing until his rifle went silent.

Over the iron sights, Conway watched Sergeant Sutton take his last wet,
bloody breath. Watched those white eyes watching him.

And when those white eyes closed, the light in Conway’s periphery dimmed with them. And darkened. Until all was black.

Turning toward the exit, trying to find the light, Conway suddenly felt very dizzy. He leaned up against the wall.

He could feel the warmth of the light on his face. He walked toward it. He had to get out. But something grabbed hold of him from the inside and shoved him to the ground. He couldn’t move.

Then, from somewhere — from everywhere — a voice said, “You should have cut that rope.”

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

PRICE: $13.95

CONTACT THE AUTHOR: I think it’s very important to open the door to writer/reader interaction. You could post your e-mail address, Facebook page, or Twitter handle, or all of the above.

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/eric_leland/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/EricLelandRTM

GoodReads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/21148748.Eric_Leland

Weather Report, March 23

(From Good Free photos).

Our currently featured books, “A Light Too Far Away,” by John Chaplick, “Home Front Lines,” by Brenda Sparks Prescott and “call me him,” by River Braun, can be found by scrolling down below this post, or by clicking the author’s name on our Authors page.

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You’re also invited to check out the Website We Who Create (https://www.wewhocreate.com/)

UPCOMING ON SNOWFLAKES IN A BLIZZARD

“INHUMAN,” BY ERIC LELAND.

In 1969, somewhere over South Vietnam, Captain Brandon Doran sits aboard an unmarked aircraft on final approach to a Top-Secret military base. A shadowy government operative offers a deal: in exchange for erasing Brandon’s tarnished military record, he must ensure the recon team, to which he is about to be assigned, follows orders. Easy enough. Or so Brandon thinks.

“GODS OF AVALON ROAD,” BY LEILANI STEWART

London, present day. Kerry and her university friend Gavin move to London to work for the enigmatic Oliver Doncaster. Their devious new employer lures them into an arcane occult ritual involving a Golden Horse idol.

Britannia, AD 47. Aithne is the Barbarian Queen of the Tameses tribes. The Golden Warrior King she loves is known as Belenus. But are the mutterings of the Druids true: is he really the Celtic Sun God himself?

Worlds collide as Oliver’s pagan ritual on Mayday summons gods from the Celtic Otherworld of Avalon. Kerry is forced to confront the supernatural deities and corrupt mortals trying to control her life and threatening her very existence.

“CRETIN BOY,” BY JIM LANDWEHR.

Cretin High School, located in Saint Paul, Minnesota was a Catholic, all-male, military academy that brought unique twists to the already difficult high school experience. Cretin Boy takes an in-depth, humorous look at my experience as a teenager growing up in the late 1970s. The book focuses primarily within the walls of school, but drifts into all that goes into the socialization of a kid as he navigates life on the fringe of adulthood. Readers are brought into the hallways, auditoriums, and sports fields of Cretin High. It is here where the mix of military discipline and religious doctrine combine with pubescent testosterone to create an environment of caustic angst for myself and many of my classmates looking to define ourselves. From raging orders barked by a military sergeant during freshman orientation, to the question-authority bent of a liberal social studies teacher, to a stress-inducing visit to the rifle range, the reader sees all levels and quality of instruction.

 

A Light Too Far Away

Retired CPA becomes published novelist

This week’s other featured books, “Home Front Lines,” by Brenda Sparks Prescott and “call me him,” by River Braun, 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: “A Light Too Far Away.”

PUBLISHED IN: 2020.

THE AUTHOR: John Chaplick.

THE EDITOR: Michael Murray.

THE PUBLISHER: Cricket Cottage Publishing LLC.

SUMMARY: Over her objections, neurosurgeon Susan Cosgrove Pritchard is assigned a twelve-year-old patient whose glioblastoma has already progressed by the time she completes her diagnosis. After conventional treatments fail to shrink Feliks Walczek’s tumor, Susan abandons both her surgical career at a prestigious Boston hospital and her professional disdain for unproven methodologies in a desperate effort to save him.

She takes control of her deceased father’s chemical research company in order to resurrect and complete his long-since aborted cancer cure efforts. Susan soon finds herself caught between a pharmaceutical industry that tries to shut her down and a predatory business tycoon who will stop at nothing to steal her father’s company from her.

THE BACK STORY: I wrote this story based upon an actual experience I had with a client of mine nine years ago when I served as a consultant to her company. The story was written for anyone who has survived cancer and anyone who is concerned about our country’s lack of success in developing a complete cancer cure.

WHY THIS TITLE? The term “A Light Too Far Away” serves to highlight the significant progress the medical profession has already made in cancer treatment, while at the same time finding itself eons away from a final, total cure.

WHY WOULD SOMEONE WANT TO READ IT? Because it’s a story so fascinating that, as several of my readers have commented, “I couldn’t put it down. I stayed up until late at night to finish it in one sitting.” This book reaches, first of all, a significant female audience and, additionally, a world full of people who fear cancer and/or have already survived it.

AUTHOR PROFILE: All of my books are based upon my own experiences and derive from my primary writing objective: To take the readers to places they have never been before and to involve them so deeply in the story that they will never forget it.

SAMPLE CHAPTER: See the Amazon page.

WHERE TO BUY IT: The book is listed on Amazon at $14.95.

CONTACT THE AUTHOR: I have a Website (EngagingBooksOnline.com) where the buyer can see and buy my books, although the site is not interactive for discussion. I welcome reader interaction via my email address at jpchaplick@gmail.com.

 

 

 

 

Home Front Lines

THE BOOK: Home Front Lines

PUBLISHED IN
: 2021

THE AUTHOR:
  Brenda Sparks Prescott

THE PUBLISHER: Bedazzled Ink

SUMMARY: In 1962 tensions are rising between the United States and the Soviet Union. But it is the everyday tensions of home, family, and military life that are top of mind for military spouse and African American Betty Ann Johnson in D.C. and Cuban Lola Montero who is asked to cook for the Soviet troops amassing on her island. At a time when many Americans feel unsettled and fearful of nuclear war, these women harness their agency to prepare their families for the worst in Home Front Lines by Brenda Sparks Prescott [March 16, 2021, Bedazzled Ink Publishing].

When Betty Ann catches wind that military preparations are being made for something more than just practice drills, she gathers a small band of military spouses to develop an evacuation plan for their children. Across the Florida Straits, Lola accidentally witnesses the installation of a Soviet missile. She and her sisters secretly make plans to send their children to Florida without their husbands’ knowledge. The two women are on opposing sides of the conflict, but they share the same fierce determination in protecting their children.

Home Front Lines is a story of strong and determined women. It is a story of BIPOC historical fiction in the 20th century, a genre that too often leaves out narratives not directly tied to the World Wars, the Great Migration, or Civil Rights movement. But these communities existed in every time and place, and their stories deserve to be told.

Brenda Sparks PrescottTHE BACK STORY
: The spark for this idea ignited in the uncertain days following 9/11 when I felt a longing for guidance on how to react to dangerous world events as an average citizen. To explore possibilities, I looked back to the Cuban Missile Crisis, a historical episode in which citizens felt the imminent threat of mass destruction while conducting their everyday lives.

Since I’m always intrigued by the difference paradox, I wanted to start with the assumption that mothers would act to protect their children from a threat, which allowed me to examine how identical impulses can lead to very different life outcomes when clothed in different cultural circumstances. What does that mean? We each live a unique life, according to our nature and experience, and I worked hard with my characters to make sure they did also. I also like novels in which things happen, so this book is rich with plots and sub-plots.

WHY THIS TITLE?: The title “Home Front Lines” is a before-and-after of “home front” and “front lines.” The term home front tends to apply to spouses, usually wives, left behind while soldiers go off to a hot war confined to a designated battle ground. The title’s mashup acknowledges that civilians increasingly come under deadly threat as the Cold War and now terrorism have rewritten the rules of global conflict. With the inclusion of the term front lines, I wanted to convey that these spouses displayed knowledge gained from their closeness to the military, as well as their own initiative and agency in a time of national crisis.

WHY WOULD SOMEONE WANT TO READ IT?
This book is filled with family drama, humor, details of daily military dependent life, and multi-national characters that will be satisfying to those who enjoy the development of relationships and the period details of historical fiction. It will appeal to African Americans who are looking for stories that reflect them and their family’s agency in the American experience, particularly in the military. Speaking of the military, it will also appeal to members of military families for their portrayal as important contributors to a way of life that’s usually seen as primarily about those that serve in uniform.

REVIEW COMMENTS: “I enjoyed the book so much that I wish the author had written more.” Goodreads reviewer Shana.

AUTHOR PROFIL
E: Brenda Sparks Prescott lives and writes in Eastern Massachusetts and Southern Vermont. Prescott is the co-editor of Solstice Literary Magazine and her writing has appeared in publications such as The Louisville Review, Crab Orchard Review, and Portland Magazine. She also serves on the advisory board for the Solstice MFA in creative writing program, and is a founding member of Simply Not Done – a women’s writing collaborative. Brenda’s family has a long history of military service, with records stretching back to the Civil War.
  
AUTHOR COMMENTS: 
The book reveals commonalities in the experiences and agency of everyday women across cultures that have been important in shaping the American identity, and it is set during a time when the belief of people around the world—not just U.S. citizens—in American institutions and ideals resulted in world governments stepping back from the brink of disaster. It tells a compelling story without employing a majority cultural character as a guide for the reader. Instead, it invites the reader on their own exploration of the gaps in understanding caused by perceived differences based on race and culture.

LOCAL OUTLETS

●      Porter Square Books

●      Harvard Coop

●      Brookline Booksmith

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

PRICE: $16.95

CONTACT THE AUTHORConnect with Brenda Sparks Prescott at https://brendaprescott.com/ at @bsparksprescott on Instagram@bsprescott on Twitter, and BrendaSparksPrescott on Facebook.