The Late Bloomer

The Late Bloomer by [Mark Falkin]

This week’s other featured books, “That Crazy Perfect Someday,” by Michael Mazza and “The Pensees of Alan Kreiger, by Alan Krieger,” by Marc Estrin, 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: The Late Bloomer.

PUBLISHED IN: 2018

THE AUTHOR:  Mark Falkin

THE PUBLISHER: Rare Bird Books/California Coldblood; Rare Bird Books is a PGW-distributed independent publisher of approximately fifty+ books each year in multiple formats, including print, ebook, audiobook, and limited edition.

SUMMARY: In Mark Falkin’s THE LATE BLOOMER, the world experiences an abrupt and unthinkable cataclysm on the morning of October 29, 2018. Kevin March, high school band trombonist and want-to-be writer playing early morning hooky, is witness to its beginning, though he isn’t as shocked by it as he thinks he should be or wishes he could be—these dreams he’s been having; this story that he wrote; his little brother’s night terrors and sleepwalking. Surprised or not, Kevin now not only finds himself pitted against forces these changes have wrought in order to survive, but soon discovers that he may have a crucial role in this new world, one that he is reluctant to play.

Mark FalkinTo stay alive, Kevin embarks on a journey that promises to change everything yet again. On his journey, into a digital recorder he chronicles his experiences at the end of his world.

This book is a transcript of that recording.

Depicting an unspeakable apocalypse unlike any seen in fiction—there are no zombies, viruses or virals, no doomsday asteroid, no aliens, no environmental cataclysm, no nuclear holocaust—with a Holden Caulfieldesque protagonist at his world’s end, The Late Bloomer is both a companion piece to Lord of the Flies and a Bradburyian Halloween tale. And though crossover-oriented and delivering genre-novel fear, The Late Bloomer is harrowing, grim and poignant in the way of McCarthy’s The Road. Told in Kevin March’s singular and unforgettable voice, delivering a gripping narrative with an unsparing climax as moving as it is terrifying, The Late Bloomer defies expectations of the genre and will haunt those who read it.

THE BACK STORY
: I love dark stories. It’s hard to do something original in horror, so that was my goal. I wanted to attempt to write something that explores an answer a question I’ve always had about Lord of the Flies: What if the kids weren’t saved in the end by a contrived deus ex machina? What would that mean?

I wanted to attempt to write a story that leaves the reader as terrified and spellbound as I was as a viewer of the end of The Blair Witch Project and The Wicker Man (original), every time I finish Shirley Jackson’s The Lottery.

WHY THIS TITLE?: The work-in-progress title and for a long time was No Go, taking that from a key turn in Lord of the Flies. But I came to feel The Late Bloomer works better because that’s what Kevin is and it’s key to much in the narrative and I like that it doesn’t sound like a “horror novel”.

WHY WOULD SOMEONE WANT TO READ IT? 
It’s original (apocalyptic) horror. No virus or zombies.  

REVIEW COMMENTS:

“Falkin synthesizes multiple unnerving apocalypse scenarios into something entirely new in this horror novel….The novel’s style also highlights the protagonist’s flair for poetic language, and the overwhelming situation that he finds himself in allows readers to learn more about him as he sees deeper into himself. The apocalypse itself is a mystery that drives the entire story….Through all of this, Kevin has to contend with the possibility that survival is a false hope, but he also finds that recording and remembering are acts of defiance in and of themselves.” Kirkus Reviews (starred review; named one of the Best Books of the Year).

“I fell deep into the postapocalyptic and addictively complex world of The Late Bloomer and didn’t want it to end…the voice of the central character had me hooked” – Dan Chaon, author of Ill Will  (National Book Award Finalist & NYT bestseller)

“A riveting apocalyptic tale with a ton of heart. The Late Bloomer isn’t just about the end of the world; it’s about the end of innocence.” – Scott Thomas, author of Kill Creek and writer of Syfy’s Day of the Dead   

AUTHOR PROFILE: Born and raised in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Mark Falkin graduated from Southern Methodist University in Dallas and then the University of Oklahoma College of Law where Anita Hill taught him Contracts. He has lived in Texas for the last twenty years, where he is a literary agent and recovering music attorney, having represented platinum sellers and Grammy winners alike. He used to be in a band that rocked and rolled.

His 2006 self-published novel, Days of Grace, was optioned for film and shortlisted for a literary award in self-publishing, ‘The Needle’ at POD-dy Mouth blog, where the reviewer said, “This is literature at its best . . . Falkin could easily be likened to the aforementioned Lethem or to Augusten Burroughs or even J.D. Salinger.” Bookpeople in Austin noted, “Here’s more proof that Austin is home to some of the best new writers around . . . Falkin’s novel is reminiscent of the writing style found in Lethem, Sedaris, Coupland, and Kerouac, with his sharp wit and journalistic style.”

In 2015 he published Contract City (Bancroft Press), a dystopian thriller set in 2021 Tulsa about a teenage girl filmmaker who gets embroiled in the conflict between combative revolutionaries and the privatized paramilitary force determined to wipe them out, a father-daughter story that lives at the intersection of documentary film, street art, first love, and speaking truth to power (though written in 2009-2010, if you watched HBO’s Watchmen in 2019, you’ll get a vague sense of it, minus the capes and masks and such). Following Contract City came The Late Bloomer, an apocalyptic horror in the form of an audio transcript made by a young man at the end of his world. It involves no virus, zombie, alien, asteroid, or nuclear winter. It published with Rare Bird Books imprint California Coldblood in October 2018. Kirkus Reviews named it one of the best books of the year.

Working on his next project, he lives with his wife and family in Austin where he reads, misses coaching recreational soccer, tries to find time to paddle Texas waters, and keeps a sharp eye on his daughters, snatching hugs here and there.

AUTHOR COMMENTS: This story hopefully gets readers thinking about how groupthink is dangerous and that there’s so much we don’t understand.

SAMPLE CHAPTER: See the Amazon page.

LOCAL OUTLETS: Bookpeople (Austin), Powell’s (Portland), Magic City Books (Tulsa), some other indies.

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

CONTACT THE AUTHOR:

Twitter: @MarkFalkin

FB: MarkFalkinWrites

http://www.markfalkin.com/the-late-bloomer.html (book trailer)

Mark Falkin

Falkin Literary.

The Late Bloomer by Mark Falkin (a Kirkus Reviews Best of the Year)

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That Crazy Perfect Someday

Michael Mazza (Author of That Crazy Perfect Someday)THE BOOK: That Crazy Perfect Someday

PUBLISHED IN: June 2017

THE AUTHOR:  Michael Mazza

THE EDITOR
: Ruth Greenstein

THE PUBLISHER
: Turtle Point Press. Independent Press in Brooklyn, New York.

SUMMARY: The year is 2024. Climate change has altered the world’s wave patterns, drones crisscross the sky, cars drive themselves, and surfing is an Olympic sport. Mafuri Long, UCSD marine biology grad, champion surfer, and the only female to dominate a record eighty-foot wave, still has something to prove. Having achieved Internet fame, she’s intent on winning Olympic gold. But when her father, a clinically depressed former Navy captain and widower, learns that his beloved supercarrier, the USS Hillary Rodham Clinton, is to be sunk to make a dive site, he draws Mafuri into a powerful undertow.

That Crazy Perfect Someday by [Michael Mazza]Conflicts compound as Mafuri’s personal life comes undone via social media, and a vicious Aussie competitor levels bogus doping charges against her. Mafuri forms an unlikely friendship with an awkward teen, a Ferrari-driving professional gamer who will prove to be her support and ballast. Authentic, brutal, and at times funny, Mafuri lays it all out in a sprightly, hot-wired voice. From San Diego to Sydney, Key West, and Manila, That Crazy Perfect Someday goes beyond the sports/surf cliché to explore the depths of sorrow and hope, yearning and family bonds, and the bootstrap power of a bold young woman climbing back into the light.

THE BACK STORY: My son took to surfing at an early age. On occasion, we’d ride waves together. But then he started to surf big, scary breaks and left me behind. When he began to compete in the NSSA, the contest schedule dictated long and tiring trips up and down the California coast. I became a surf dad, carting him to contests for nearly a decade. This is where I absorbed surf culture and witnessed the talented men and women competing first hand.

The novel’s two main characters hung around in a short story that sat in my drawer for seven years. The story was junk, but I loved the father/daughter relationship. Somehow in my head, the characters intersected with surfing, the idea came, and the story took off from there.

WHY THIS TITLE? I struggled for a title until Mafuri Long, the main character, delivered a wistful musing that seemed to sum up her feelings.

WHY WOULD SOMEONE WANT TO READ IT? 
To my knowledge, this is the first novel to give voice to a professional woman surfer. I thought how much I’d like to write a smart portrayal of one living in a world of high-stakes competition and the family drama that comes with it. The novel chronicles what it’s like to compete in a male-dominated sport, the frustrations women face, the rigors and hope. It also exposes the reader to an authentic surfing subculture many have never witnessed.

REVIEW COMMENTS:

That Crazy Perfect Someday is a stunningly confident debut novel, as agile, quick, and sure-footed as its protagonist. Its narrative surprises hit like rogue waves but feel inevitable in retrospect, expressions of this book’s unique physics. The surfing scenes are among the best I’ve ever read, and the vivid and richly imagined detail calls to mind the work of Adam Johnson and T.C. Boyle. Mafuri is one of those rare characters to whom you’ll have trouble saying goodbye when the pages run out.” — Doug Dorst, New York Times bestselling novelist, coauthor of S.

“Michael Mazza has written an unforgettable tale about a young woman surfer. Whatever her complicated life throws at her—sharks, envious competitors, near-death experiences—she dives into headfirst.  She is fierce, independent, a wiseass, and still searching for where she belongs.  I don’t surf, I don’t even know how to swim, but I would follow this young woman anywhere.”

—Diana Wagman, author of The Care and Feeding of Exotic Pets

“[A] beach-bag must-have.” —Booklist (starred review)

AUTHOR PROFILE: I began my career as a graphic designer but segued into a much longer career as an advertising art and creative director. Chances are that my commercials have invaded your TVs and computers—my apologies. Lately, I’ve come full circle and concentrate my day job on design for a tech company, but still rise at 5:00 am every day to write before I go in. Visit mazzastory.com, and you can see a set of nine vintage surf posters that I designed for That Crazy Perfect Someday. I’ve also designed the novel’s social posts on Instagram: @mazzastory. Feel free to follow me.

AUTHOR COMMENTS: An interesting side note: After I sent off the manuscript for publication, the host city for the 2024 Olympics was still in play; Rome, Budapest, Los Angeles, and Paris.I initially set the Olympics in Durban, South Africa, as the sport needed a coastline. As the pub deadline neared, I had to commit to one of the four cities. I ruled out Rome and Budapest, doubting that they could create the infrastructure. That left L.A. and Paris. Knowing that L.A. had hosted as early as 1984, and Paris in 1924, that gave Paris the edge as it would be a centenary celebration. And more importantly, France had great surfing off the country’s west coast. The IOC announced the host city one month after my novel hit the bookstores. I bet on Paris. Lucky me.

SAMPLE CHAPTER: Read it here, then buy it at your favorite Indie bookstore. Visit mazzastory.com, where you’ll find links to a dozen or so.
https://www.amazon.com/Crazy-Perfect-Someday-Michael-Mazza/dp/1933527862/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1589576867&sr=8-1

LOCAL OUTLETS: Books Inc. Green Apple books. Book Passage

WHERE ELSE TO BUY ITThat Crazy Perfect Someday is available at bookstores everywhere. I encourage you to support your local Independent, especially now when they need our help the most.

PRICE: $17.00 US

CONTACT THE AUTHOR: info@mazzastory.com

 

The Pensees of Alan Kreiger, by Alan Krieger

The Penseés of Alan Kreiger by Alan Krieger by [Marc Estrin]
 

THE BOOK: The Pensees of Alan Krieger, by Alan Krieger.

PUBLISHED IN: 2019.

THE AUTHOR: Marc Estrin.

THE EDITOR: Tod Thilleman.

THE PUBLISHER: Spuyten Duyvil. “Spuyten Duyvil’s existence presents honest and reality-based imaginative texts to a readership that may or may not exist.”

Marc Estrin

SUMMARY: After having had more than his say in Golem Song and The Prison Notebooks of Alan Krieger (Terrorist), Alan has pushed into line again to make sure that these distillates of wisdom would not be lost in the après-moi deluge of Monsieur Tromp.

Standing on the shoulders of a diminutive giant, almost crushing him under his weight, Krieger adopts the format of Pascal’s masterwork to lead the reader through selected complexities of twenty-first century life as suffered by himself, his cat, Myshkin, and pet octopus, Athena. His hospice attendants, being out of the room, were not able to record his last words, but Krieger himself was able to scrawl his next-to-last words (appended within) on a piece of Kleenex.

It is possible that with this small notebook, we will have heard the last of him, since he is now lying in a permanently decaying state underground at The Hebrew Free Burial Society for Indigent Jews on Staten Island. But of course, one never knows.

THE BACK STORY: I’ve featured Alan in two previous books. It was time to kill him off so he can’t bother me again. His real-world shenanigans reported (modified) in Golem Song, were what started me writing. So I owed it to him to knock him off cleanly and for good.

WHY THIS TITLE?: Alan often puffs himself up by standing on the shoulders of others. Most of the time, though, he stands on his own shoulders.

WHY WOULD SOMEONE WANT TO READ IT? It’s short. And funny. Just a bagatelle. But it does have a character context in the two previous books.

REVIEW COMMENTS:

The book is too new to have attracted its own comments, but here are a few concerning Alan’s previous appearances:

“Alan Krieger, self-styled arbiter of Jewish identity, is a charming monster—omnivorous reader with apparently perfect recall, consumer of White Castle burgers and Reddi-Whip, racist, paranoiac, and, at least in desire, a mass-murderer. Oh, and he’s frequently hilarious.” — POPMATTERS.

“Alan Krieger has prodigious intelligence along with prodigious girth; everything about him is supersized. He can argue equally well about the virtues of White Castle hamburgers or why Aristotle’s theory of rational emotion should be applied to his own concept of disinterested rage. He is well read and loves to spout pithy versions of classic stories, such as an uncomfortable retelling of Oedipus to his mother on Mother’s Day. ” — THE GUARDIAN.

“Alan Krieger is not your standard issue 35-year-old emergency-room nurse with a nonstop mind and mighty mouth, living with Oedipal ma in a sixth floor New York apartment “floor-to-ceilinged” with scholarly tomes, ominously reminding him of the Texas Book Depository. Often endearing but just as often infuriating, tossing off bon mots and potshots cavalierly quickly, Alan is one of those people you either love or hate effortlessly and uncritically.” — SAN DIEGO UNION TRIBUNE.

AUTHOR PROFILE: Marc Estrin’s world line approximates a cross between a fungal mycelium and a Rube Goldberg device.  Biologist, theater director, EMT, Unitarian minister, physician assistant, puppeteer, political activist, college professor, cellist and conductor, he is baffling, even unto himself.

AUTHOR COMMENTS: Alan represents my sideways critique of those individuals, nations, and heritages that think of themselves as “chosen” or “cities on hills.”

SAMPLE CHAPTER:

CONCERNING MYSELF.

All men are mortal. I, like Socrates, am a man. Therefore, I am possibly mortal. Possibly, because after all, this isn’t the fifth century C.E. any more. (That’s “Common Era” for the commoners. To speak of before, and especially after, Christ might bring on charges of antisemitism.) But — death is only for common people.

Even though dying is basically free, I do not intend to be completely dead when I die. Already, hundreds of my demographic cohorts have chosen to be cryogenically preserved rather than simply dying, i. e., “dead” for the moment, but resurrectable when the techno-religio-cultural conditions become ripe.

For myself, not quite of the 1%, I would consider simply having my brain digitally scanned and loaded into Deep Blue, or whatever container might be high-capacity enough to hold it, and then backed up numerous times and stored at several locations, including some with gasoline generators should the power grid fail, thus extending the complex relationship between myself, my brain, and my world. And just between us, the world would be better off with more than one of me.

That possible power grid collapse does worry me though, especially if we run out of petroleum products for the generators. I suppose I could go with even more modest rejuvenation therapy during which a gaggle of trusty surgeons could remove any unhealthy cells which have accumulated in the byways consequent upon my non-restrictive diet — along with any accumulating pathogenic byproducts and afterthoughts. A deep makeover, as it were. Provided Medicare will pay for it.

But what about that general electrical failure — possibly as a result of some electromagnetic attack? An EM pulse generated in an atomic war could affect all the critical infrastructure supporting my plan if my brain or I were within the nuclear warhead blast radius. WE NEED TO DESTROY ALL NUCLEAR WEAPONS – AT LEAST AROUND HERE. I will write to my congressman, using many CAPITAL LETTERS.

LOCAL OUTLETSCrow Books, Burlington, VT.

WHERE ELSE TO BUY IT: Amazon, Barnes & noble, etc.; normal array of online sellers, both for print and ebook versions.

PRICE: Print: $16.00; ebook: 99¢

marcestrin.com

CONTACT THE AUTHORmestrin@mac.com,

Weather Report, May 25

Woman Holding Surf Board Standing on Shoreline during Sunset

(Photo by Bradley Hook).

Our currently featured books, “The Nail in the Tree,” by Carol Ann Davis, “The Big Impossible,” by Edward J. Delaney, “Canaan Land,”  by Richard Rossi and “Fabulous: An Opera Buffa,” by Laury Egan, 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, MAY 26-JUNE 1

“THAT CRAZY PERFECT SOMEDAY,” BY MICHAEL MAZZA.

The year is 2024. Climate change has altered the world’s wave patterns, drones crisscross the sky, cars drive themselves, and surfing is an Olympic sport. Mafuri Long, UCSD marine biology grad, champion surfer, and the only female to dominate a record eighty-foot wave, still has something to prove. Having achieved Internet fame, she’s intent on winning Olympic gold. But when her father, a clinically depressed former Navy captain and widower, learns that his beloved supercarrier, the USS Hillary Rodham Clinton, is to be sunk to make a dive site, he draws Mafuri into a powerful undertow.

Conflicts compound as Mafuri’s personal life comes undone via social media, and a vicious Aussie competitor levels bogus doping charges against her. Mafuri forms an unlikely friendship with an awkward teen, a Ferrari-driving professional gamer who will prove to be her support and ballast. Authentic, brutal, and at times funny, Mafuri lays it all out in a sprightly, hot-wired voice. From San Diego to Sydney, Key West, and Manila, That Crazy Perfect Someday goes beyond the sports/surf cliché to explore the depths of sorrow and hope, yearning and family bonds, and the bootstrap power of a bold young woman climbing back into the light.

“THE LATE BLOOMER,” BY MARK FALKIN

In Mark Falkin’s THE LATE BLOOMER, the world experiences an abrupt and unthinkable cataclysm on the morning of October 29, 2018. Kevin March, high school band trombonist and want-to-be writer playing early morning hooky, is witness to its beginning, though he isn’t as shocked by it as he thinks he should be or wishes he could be—these dreams he’s been having; this story that he wrote; his little brother’s night terrors and sleepwalking. Surprised or not, Kevin now not only finds himself pitted against forces these changes have wrought in order to survive, but soon discovers that he may have a crucial role in this new world, one that he is reluctant to play.

To stay alive, Kevin embarks on a journey that promises to change everything yet again. On his journey, into a digital recorder he chronicles his experiences at the end of his world.

“THE PENSEES OF ALAN KRIEGER, BY ALAN KRIEGER,” BY MARC ESTRIN.

After having had more than his say in Golem Song and The Prison Notebooks of Alan Krieger (Terrorist), Alan has pushed into line again to make sure that these distillates of wisdom would not be lost in the après-moi deluge of Monsieur Tromp.

Standing on the shoulders of a diminutive giant, almost crushing him under his weight, Krieger adopts the format of Pascal’s masterwork to lead the reader through selected complexities of twenty-first century life as suffered by himself, his cat, Myshkin, and pet octopus, Athena. His hospice attendants, being out of the room, were not able to record his last words, but Krieger himself was able to scrawl his next-to-last words (appended within) on a piece of Kleenex.

It is possible that with this small notebook, we will have heard the last of him, since he is now lying in a permanently decaying state underground at The Hebrew Free Burial Society for Indigent Jews on Staten Island. But of course, one never knows.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Nail in the Tree

About — Carol Ann Davis

This week’s other featured books, “Fabulous!, ” by Laury Egan, “Canaan Land,” by Richard Rossi and “The Big Impossible,” by Edward Delaney, can be found by scrolling down below this post, or by clicking the authors name on our authors page.

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THE BOOK: The Nail in the Tree: Essays on Art, Violence, and Childhood

PUBLISHED IN: March, 2020

THE AUTHOR: Carol Ann Davis

THE PUBLISHER: Tupelo Press, a nonprofit independent literary press publishing poetry, fine fiction and nonfiction.

SUMMARY: The Nail in the Tree, by Carol Ann Davis, narrates the author’s experience of raising two sons in Sandy Hook, CT, on the day of and during the aftermath of the shooting there, utilizing her experience of poetry and visual art to contextualize her own parenting within a broader history of violence. Part memoir, part art-historical treatise, these meditations lead her to explore crucial subjects, including whether childhood can itself be both violent and generative, the possibility of the integration of trauma into daily life and artistic practice, and the role of the artist. Unwilling to accept the truism that “everything happens for a reason,” Davis follows the entanglements of larger traumatic events into their minutest relationship to individuals; in doing so, she seeks agency both for her children and for any person who, by the accident of histories—of war, gun violence, the holocaust, the Armenian genocide—faces beloved childhood striated with trauma.

THE BACK STORY: I worked on these essays throughout seven years in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook shooting. I am a poet by training and by inclination, but as the years passed I found myself gathering certain ideas or experiences into essays. Eventually that meant that I had a collection.

The essays in the collection came one by one in their own time after the shooting. They were born out of a desire to use anything and everything I knew about the world up to that point to begin to live in the aftermath of an event that seemed to shake that world. I’d always found myself in dialogue with art and with artists from other historical moments—poems in my poetry collections dialogue with works by Vermeer, Willem de Kooning, and Mark Rothko, and do so in relationship to my experience of mothering, for instance—so the form was really an extension of those earlier poems, but utilizing a prose form. In some ways these essays picked up that familiar lens from before and applied it to the aftermath. Much later I realized several of the artists I studied experienced extreme childhood trauma or lived through war while trying to make art. I came to see that, rather than moving past events—the task was to observe their effect and allow myself to be changed by them, painful as that admission still is.

WHY THIS TITLE?:  I tell the story of the title in the preface of the book, and at the risk of being too enticing, I’d rather not give it away! It comes from a phrase my son Willem used to describe his experience of the shooting. I’ll leave it at that and hope a few folks want to pick up the book and find out more.

WHY WOULD SOMEONE WANT TO READ IT? This is a hard question. In some ways this is an interior book, entirely specific to me—why should anyone else want to pick up a book about such a difficult subject as living through the day of and in the aftermath of a shooting? On the other hand, I do want folks to begin to imagine what that might be like to live in my town, since a mass shooting is a reality that could visit any of us at any time. The truth is, though, I wrote the essays in this collection singly for myself—I needed to write them to better know myself and to love my children properly. Then, I had a group of these essays that made a collection, and it seemed like others who might be approaching some of the same fears I approach could use these essays as a way of entering into dialogue with their own concerns. Since I completed the collection, the lockdown culture and repeated mass shootings have brought even more readers into our circle of towns, and everyone, regardless of where they live, now confronts the possibility of gun violence in their most sacred spaces. So in some ways the number of people who can imagine living in Newtown has expanded, unfortunately. Perhaps this means this book can be of use to some in confronting this world in which we live.

REVIEW COMMENTS:

“If ‘broken parts shine truest,’ as Davis suggests, The Nail in the Tree is more than a collection of essays but a linguistic portrait of what it is to be an artist and a mother in the United States, a blueprint for how to keep creating in defiance of fear, grief, and meaning.” – Lindsey Anthony-Bacchione, Brevity

“Haunting and poignant, The Nail in the Tree speaks to the fear and grief of mothers in this time of violence against children.” – Lara Lillibridge, Mom Egg Review

“A poignant and poetic essay about terror; specifically, the terror that occurs when you have two children who very well could have been witness to a school shooting. It speaks to the way that life barges in on what should be the idyllic innocence of childhood.” – Elisabeth Donnelly, Flavorwire.com

AUTHOR PROFILE: Carol Ann Davis is a poet, essayist, and author of the poetry collections Psalm (2007) and Atlas Hour (2011), both from Tupelo Press. The daughter of one of the NASA engineers who returned the Apollo 13 crew from the moon, she grew up on the east coast of Florida the youngest of seven children, then studied poetry at Vassar College and the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. A former longtime editor of the literary journal Crazyhorse, she is Professor of English at Fairfield University, where she is founding director of Poetry in Communities, an initiative that brings writing workshops to communities hit by sudden or systemic violence, and director of the Fairfield University Low-Residency MFA Program. She lives in Newtown, CT, with her husband and two sons.

AUTHOR COMMENTS: I hope this book speaks to parents about how challenging it is to be a parent in this age, but also how beautiful the experience is of loving one another. Since December 14, I’ve spoken to enough people to see that this event changed many parents throughout the nation and not only those of us who were in close proximity. I think that part of being a parent is being responsive to the shifts in need your children present, and each of us is dealing with raising our children now, in this very changed environment. So we must change, react, adapt, and listen a little harder to what they are trying to tell us they need.

SAMPLE CHAPTER: You can read an excerpt that appeared on lithub here.

LOCAL OUTLETS: The best way to buy books by far for small presses is at their website; buy The Nail in the Tree from the Tupelo website at this link.

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

PRICE: 17.95.

CONTACT THE AUTHOR: http://www.carolanndavis.org

Fabulous! An Opera Buffa

Fabulous!: An Opera Buffa by [Laury Egan]

THE BOOK: Fabulous! An Opera Buffa.

PUBLISHED IN: 2018

THE AUTHOR: Laury A. Egan.

THE PUBLISHER: Tiny Fox Press.

SUMMARY: A talented opera singer, Gilbert Eugene Rose, moonlights as a drag queen and diva divine, Kiri De Uwana, in order to pay his rent. However, Gil is dying to become famous on the New York operatic stage; unfortunately he might get his wish when he lands lead roles as a soprano and tenor in separate productions and is also hired to sing Handel by a dangerous female gangster who is at war with the producer of one of the two operas. Suddenly, happy-go-lucky Gil finds himself stranded in the middle of Mobster Boulevard, aflutter in heels, dresses, and wigs, with only his wits for protection and a new romance for inspiration. A delightful divertissement for our somber times.

Laury A. EganTHE BACK STORY: I was sitting on my deck one morning and suddenly a voice winged in. It belonged to Gil, who was very funny and very persistent so I rushed to my computer and began writing, whereupon Gil instantly came through, channeled from somewhere unknown, and so did his pal, Gal Friday—their looks, mannerisms, and comic voices. I was totally entertained by this cast of crazy characters. The book took less than a year to write, but I revised the manuscript many times after the draft was complete.

WHY THIS TITLE?: The story is madcap, an over-the-top tale. And, yes, simply fabulous! The sub-title refers to a comic opera.

WHY WOULD SOMEONE WANT TO READ IT? It is a divertissement and a perfect literary repast for these serious times. Although the main character is a gay male, this book will appeal to everyone who enjoys laughing.

REVIEW COMMENTS:

“A campy, hilarious, fast-paced indulgence that’s addictively entertaining…Dynamic, colorful characters add flair to a story full of snappy dialogue and rapid-fire action. The book’s tone is primarily one of effervescent joy, but Egan also manages to incorporate serious themes of personal identity.”—Kirkus Reviews

“Audacious and brilliantly adventurous, this book reads like a madcap opera, illuminating a beautifully controlled zany cast of characters. Egan reminds us of how essential such fun and joyful storytelling can be, leaving us smiling and wanting more.”—Martin Hyatt, author of Beautiful Gravity

“When Laury Egan turns her hand to any genre of fiction, she makes it sing. This farcical romp is a colorful, spritely swirl of multiple identities, mobsters, mismatched paramours, and musical shenanigans of operatic proportions. Such delicious fun!”—Karla Linn Merrifield, author of Psyche’s Scroll

AUTHOR PROFILE: Fabulous! is an outlier for me. Usually, I write psychological suspense or suspense tinged with a bit of romance (lately, I’ve moved into literary writing). However, I always respect when a character comes through, and Gil was too amusing to ignore. My first title, Jenny Kidd, is set in Venice and is written in the Patricia Highsmith tradition as is a more recent book, A Bittersweet Tale (2019). In between, my stories were collected: Fog and Other Stories, a few of which are wryly humorous, and a YA novel, The Outcast Oracle. In March 2020, The Ungodly Hour, a mystery/romance set on Mykonos, was published. Four volumes of poetry have also appeared in limited edition.

AUTHOR COMMENTS: I needed a break from dark, twisted stories, though there are numerous plot twists in Fabulous! I believe all readers need a similar opportunity to enjoy a good romp.

SAMPLE CHAPTER:

CHAPTER ONE

Kiri De Uwana © Copyright Laury A. Egan 2018

My psychic medium told me that it was just a matter of time. Although Madame Clara didn’t elaborate on the details and said that her timelines might be a trifle off, she was absolutely positive that 2009 would be the year, confirmed by the Ouija board spirit enumerating 009. Well, that was good enough for me, Kiri De Uwana, diva divine! The bright lights were going to become downright dazzling.

My stiletto heels barely touched the sidewalk as I walked home after the session. I didn’t attend to most of the whistles and catcalls from the hot men on the street, though I did flutter my pink chiffon scarf at one hunky black boy who was pile-driving to beat the band. On another day I might have invited him up for a mint julep, but today I had other things on my mind.

By the way, my name is Gilbert Eugene Rose. Although I don’t advertise my place of birth, I hail from the side of Atlantic City sans glamour. Except for music, my childhood was a perpetual winter, one I hurried through with desperate speed. Being a gay boy and, I modestly confess, a beauty—blond hair the color of sunlight, dark blue eyes like glittering jewels, fair skin perfect as cream, and refined features (nothing too large or too small, ahem!)—I was shunned by the girls because they were jealous and taunted by the boys because I was not sufficiently rough and tumble, though a little tumble now and then held occasional appeal.

My escape happened after high school, when opera called yoo-hoo. I fled to the first of several music schools, leaving my mother to tend to her inebriations (my father had departed many years before). After absorbing the collective wisdom of the finest vocal, diction, and language teachers, I packed my makeup, wigs, and hats and took the bus home—my new home, New York City. That was eleven years ago. Now, at age thirty-four, I am broke, or nearly, but after emptying my purse, turning all of my pockets inside out, and searching through every hidey hole in my apartment, I have just enough cash to pay for a lesson with my voice coach, Anna Marie, who thinks I’m a soprano. Well, sort of. Anna Marie is in her eighties and didn’t eat her

carrots when she was young—if you get my drift. Frankly, I don’t see how she can play the piano in her semi-blind condition, but she plunks away nicely with her arthritic fingers. Anyway, she knows her stuff (even if she can’t tell I’m not a female soprano) and loves my voice and appreciates the perfume samples I liberate from Oscar’s, the department store where I dress the mannequins.

So, here I am, yours truly, knocking on Anna Marie’s door.

She answered after a few minutes. “Kiri, dear! How are you?” (She hasn’t twigged to the fact that I’m not the famed singer, Kiri Te Kanawa, an itty-bitty misconception I see absolutely no reason to correct.)

“I’m just fabulous!” I enthused in my best breathy diva voice. “And how are you?”

Anna Marie didn’t reply, having already set off, cane in hand, in the direction of her gargantuan grand piano, a black whale of a Steinway, which I swear was birthed in situ since I can’t imagine how anyone crammed it inside her miniscule living room. Luckily for Anna Marie, the piano and its bench are easy targets for her to find. I followed her to the Steinway’s curvaceous side, feeling much too big for the space—I’m six-foot-one and a weight we won’t mention, though my figure is somewhere between slender and girlish. All right, a sturdy girlish.

We began warm-up scales. With the low ceiling in the living room, my voice sounded positively stentorian. Of course, I possess a very large instrument. Oh, no, how shocking! You think I meant…well, not that kind, but the other instrument I possess is equally impressive. Trust me.

“So, what would you like to work on today?” Anna Marie asked.

“Well, I’ve heard some very exciting news!”

“Oh, do tell!”

“They’re casting for Così fan tutte—”

“At the Met?” Her hands fluttered into a delighted clasp.

“Not exactly…but definitely, definitely uptown.” No need to say how far uptown. I mean, we’re not talking Albany.

“Your Fiordiligi is so fine!” Her watery blue eyes glistened with excitement. “But I’m surprised you weren’t hired without an audition. I mean, you are Kiri Te Kanawa, after all.”

Not quite, alas.

“We must practice ‘Come scoglio,’ then, dear, “Anna Marie said.

And so we did.

LOCAL OUTLETS: Signed copies: River Road Books, Fair Haven, New Jersey.

WHERE ELSE TO BUY IT: Tiny Fox Press http://tinyfoxpress.com/product/fabulous/

Amazon, Barnes & Noble, local bookstores

PRICE: $14.95 paper / $5.95 eBook.

CONTACT THE AUTHOR: My website and contact: http://www.lauryaegan.com I’m always delighted to hear from readers! Also on Facebook and Twitter (Laury A. Egan)

Canaan Land

Canaan Land by [Richard Rossi]THE BOOK: Canaan Land

PUBLISHED IN: April, 2020

THE AUTHOR: Richard Rossi

THE EDITOR: Katie Andraski

THE PUBLISHER: Eternal Grace Publishing, Hollywood

SUMMARY:Canaan Land” is a love story between Brother Billy Gantry, a charismatic con man, phone psychic, and preacher, who falls for Sister Sara Sunday, a sincere Christian and beautiful evangelist. She seeks to redeem “Brother Billy,” who manipulates the flock with fake miracles, including a stunt with gold glitter and feathers he claims are from angels. He turns her small online ministry into a growing Tinseltown racket involving celebrity converts and sermons at the Hollywood Bowl. Can Billy quit the religious show to find true faith and redemption? The novel is also a Hollywood motion picture coming out later in 2020.

Richard RossiTHE BACK STORY: “Canaan Land” is an unapologetic look at modern religion and televangelism based on the writer’s personal experiences as a former faith healing evangelist.  Both the book and the film are, in part, a reflection on Rossi’s own spiritual journey as a former “faith healer” and the bitter lessons he learned. His new life ministry is geared towards the spiritual renewal and healthy creative expression of others, in part, via witnessing his own experiences. 

WHY THIS TITLE: The title comes from the biblical term “Canaan Land,” the land of Promise, of milk and honey.  Canaan Land became a term referred to among black slave songs as a longing to escape oppression and experience liberation and abundance. It has several meanings in the novel. In addition, to this spiritual concept it also describes the characters heading to Hollywood in the story for salvific reinvention.

WHY SOMEONE WOULD WANT TO READ IT: “A lot of ministers today are really scared (during the Corona virus outbreak). Here is why: More people today are looking (for answers) to politicians or science. Church income is down and that is scaring a lot of church leaders. Some of them are saying to those who are working at home: ‘Since you’re saving money by not having to drive to work or buy lunches, we want you to send those savings to us.’

“Then there are those who are more brazen and have no shame. They are saying ‘This is the end. Jesus will be here in a matter of weeks or even less” who know they can say or do anything, and they know their supporters are still going to back them.” So said host Wesley White recently on his live streaming broadcast Start Our Sabbath.

Years before the Corona outbreak, filmmaker Richard Rossi began his Canaan Land project which addressed such issues as ministers “fleecing the flock.” Most recently, his novel Canaan Land tells the story of a con man preacher, abused by another preacher as a boy, who falls for a sincere Christian woman and realizes his con game is not a game anymore.

REVIEW COMMENTS: 

“The novel CANAAN LAND is a heartfelt, edgy, spiritual romance which, considering my own reading preferences, I will nor nit pick or split hairs about. I am a slow reader who does not ready many novels, but, at almost 400 pages, I was able to finish it in two nights. Part of it is that it is a very easy read, but also that it is very entertaining and engrossing. Although written in a relatively short time, it I clearly a labor of love. The people, places and things are described in loving and rich detail. Rather than being a nihilistic teardown of an opportunistic minister and the faith he represents, each character, whatever their moral leanings, or lack thereof, is shown to be laboring under his or her own burden for which he needs deliverance. And the ending, although tending towards a favorable resolution, is in itself bittersweet, demonstrating that we are all a work in progress and that our own personal futures are the fruit of our own choices which at the end of the day, inevitably incline either to life or to death. And I am looking forward to the completed movie version!” (Alan Doshna, alandoshna.com)

“Canaan Land, tops a list of most-anticipated independent novels and films. Rossi’s a former evangelist exorcising his own demons as he shares his journey from fundamentalism to freedom. Everything about Canaan Land is unique. It’s faith-based, yet edgy.” (Charisma Magazine) 

“Canaan Land is not an attack on religion. It exposes the counterfeit to show the search for that which is pure, lovely, true.” (Christian Today)

AUTHOR PROFILE: Multi-medium artist Richard Rossi was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. After working in his hometown as a guitar-playing minister, he journeyed from scripture to script, migrating west on a three-thousand mile cross-country journey to Hollywood to pursue his interest in acting and filmmaking. 

FILM: Richard is an Academy Award-considered filmmaker. His feature dramatic film “Sister Aimee: The Aimee Semple McPherson Story” was voted one of the greatest guerrilla films of all-time and was nominated for best film in Milan. He released his dramatic feature film “Baseball’s Last Hero: 21 Clemente Stories,” on Amazon and his “Richard Rossi 10th Anniversary of Sister Aimee” also contains his Oscar-considered documentary “Saving Sister Aimee” and other bonus extras. His newest film “Canaan Land” will be released in 2020 and is based on his novel of the same title.

BOOKS: Rossi recently gave a radio interview about his popular books. “I wrote my novel ‘Stick Man’ for my own catharsis and healing after my Dad died,” Rossi said. “I hope it brings some healing for others who have experienced loss or pain in life and love. My second book, ‘Create Your Life,’ came about organically without any intention of writing it. Creative people have contacted me over the years asking for advice and encouragement. I answered their questions in emails and blogs. I had an “Aha!” moment recently when I realized I had a couple hundred pages of material answering these questions artists asked me. I wrote a little more on the subject and organized it into the book ‘Create Your Life.’ “Sister Aimee: The Aimee Semple McPherson Story'” is my third book, and contains my thoughts on the famous female faith-healing evangelist who was the subject of two of my movies I made. The book contains my screenplay from my feature dramatic film on her life. “Canaan Land” is my second novel and the film based on it is my third feature dramatic film I wrote and directed.”

MUSIC: Amazon also is the exclusive venue for Richard’s popular music CDs “Without Her Love,” “Seasons of My Heart,” and “The Kingdom Is Near.”

FAMILY AND FAN CLUB: Richard lives with his wife of thirty-six years, and their two children, Karis and Joshua, in Hollywood, California. For more information, visit the International Richard Rossi Fan Club athttp://www.richardrossistore.com


AUTHOR COMMENTS: “Canaan Land” is a work of fiction. It shows dramatically the difference between a sincere Christian minister, Sister Sara Sunday, portrayed by Rebecca Holden in the movie, and a fake one, Brother Billy Gantry, played by me in the film version. The names are fictitious. In the interest of full disclosure, I have on occasion, critiqued certain toxic teachings and religious teachers on my social media, but the film itself is a work of fiction based on my experience in the religious world.  Religious critics of my novel help me because they compliment Canaan Land as something worthy of being talked about. They’re worried my novel will shake things up. I would rather be criticized by the modern day Pharisees than ignored.  Artists may be attacked, criticized, misunderstood, but because they challenge things, their work is unignored. And this is the opposite of the insipid tripe that is often put out as a faith-based story.  “Canaan Land” is my coming out as a former fundamentalist who can no longer subscribe to their beliefs in a hateful angry monster god and their self-righteous practices. My story is my repentance and the main character of my novel is confronted with the need to repents.  I’m going to publicly challenge the biggest names in religion to repent and give back the money they’ve ripped off from the poor.”
WHERE TO BUY IT: Amazon, Barnes and Noble.

 

PRICE: $9.99 Kindle. $15.95 Paperback.

CONTACT THE AUTHORrichardrossilive@gmail.com  818-221-5899