Weather Report, April 16

Image result for pictures of portland maine

(Portland lighthouse, photo through Hop Culture)

OUR CURRENTLY FEATURED BOOKS, “MISSILE PARADISE,” BY RON TANNER, “SO LATE TO THE PARTY,” BY KATE ANGUS AND “THE STING OF THE BEE,” BY K.E. LANNING, CAN BE FOUND BY SCROLLING DOWN BELOW THIS POST, OR BY CLICKING THE AUTHOR’S NAME ON OUR AUTHOR POST.

——————————————————————————-

A paradox: Although fiction is theoretically “invented,” it often offers the opportunity to be more honest than non-fiction.

One of the books featured this week on Snowflakes in a Blizzard (snowflakesarise.wordpress.com),  David Ebenbach’s “Miss Portland” offers a good example.

David writes: “I’ve had important people in my life who have struggled with bipolar disorder (like my character Zoe), and their experiences—along with my own experiences with depression—made me want to tell this story. And in fact at first it was supposed to be a story—as in, a short story. I thought I was writing something that would run maybe ten pages. But Zoe’s life was bigger than that, and I fell for her, and soon the pages started piling up; I wanted to stay with her to find out where she was really going. Readers tell me they’re glad I stuck with it.”

If David’s primary goal was to educate the general public about bipolar disorder, he may have accomplished that by interviewing those “important people” in his life and letting them describe what the condition was like for them.

Then again, those individuals might have felt self-conscious about being thus “outed” in public, and said very little. Or, they might have reacted badly to the harsh reality of seeing their quotes — or descriptions of their actions — in print. Changing their names would have only muddied the water.

So often in these cases, though, the point is not “who,” but “what.” I don’t need to know the identity of the real people who inspired the character of Zoe — indeed, since I probably wouldn’t know them, that knowledge is really irrelevant. What matters is what the author has learned about bipolar disorder, not just out of textbooks or on-line, but through person-to-person interaction.

Meanwhile, Dan Sheehan’s novel “Restless Souls”  allowed him to tap into his life in several different countries. An Irishman by birth, Dan later lived in California and spent time in Sarajevo, and he has used those experiences and settings to craft what one reviewer called “”A great rattlebag of a novel (that) turns genre inside out.”

Finally, in honor of National Poetry Month, we offer you Janet Passehl’s “Clutching Lambs.” An artist as well as a poet, Janet provided this intriguing response to the template question “Why would anyone want to read this?”:

“The ideal audience would consist of creative thinkers who are willing and able to digest poetry in unexpected ways. Last year I was invited to give a reading in front of a display of some of my drawings. My drawings are completely non-representational and just consist of lines, single or grouped. A psychiatrist in the audience told me later that while I was reading, she watched the drawings turn into landscapes, and when I stopped reading, they went back to being just linear. A recent reader of Clutching Lambs told me she felt as if she were physically chewing on language.”

UPCOMING ON SNOWFLAKES IN A BLIZZARD, APRIL 17-23.

“MISS PORTLAND,” BY DAVID EBENBACH.

After years of medicated struggle, 34-year-old Zoe quits her office job and moves into a trailer with her boyfriend in rural Maine against her family’s wishes and her doctor’s advice. After all, she has big plans with Gordy, a goateed vegetarian with thoughtful eyes and a job at a yoga studio and, as it turns out, an unfortunate desire to always be in control. But when a late-night argument turns violent, Zoe runs away in search of a mystical beach house she recalls from childhood, only to discover that in order to find it, she must reckon with her past. In electric prose that burns with wit and intelligence, Miss Portland explores what it means to give up everything in order to recover who you are.

“RESTLESS SOULS,” BY DAN SHEEHAN.

Set in the early-mid 1990’s, Restless Souls tells the story of the friendship between three wayward Irish lads in their late twenties. Tom, Karl and Baz grew up together in down-on-its-luck Dublin. Friends since childhood, their lives diverged when Tom left home to be a war correspondent. Now, after three years embedded in the Siege of Sarajevo, he returns a haunted shell of the lad who went away.

Karl and Baz have no idea what they’re doing but they are determined to see him through the darkness, even if it means traveling halfway around the world. Hearing about an unlikely cure at an experimental clinic, they embark on a road trip across California. But as they try to save Tom from his memories, they must confront their own – of what happened to their childhood friend Gabriel. And in doing so, they must ask how their boisterous teenage souls became weighed down, and why life got so damn complicated and sad.

“CLUTCHING LAMBS,” BY JANET PASSEHL.

Clutching Lambs brings together poems that are driven by language itself, wrought against a hidden background of peril and loss. The poems are haunted by the vulnerable— women, children, the occasional man or wild animal. This is an emotional book. Architecture and the natural world frame the psychological content. There estrangement from religious faith, the sense that one will not be protected, a lesson I learned repeatedly and at too young an age. My background as a visual artist impacts this book via my use of imagery as well as my occasional use of ekphrasis as a starting point.

The poems in Clutching Lambs are not intended to be parsed for story, but to be entered and experienced as extended lingual, visual, and aural moments that are simultaneously inhabited by the numinous and the concrete.

 

 

Advertisements

Missile Paradise

Missile Paradise by [Tanner, Ron]THIS WEEK’S OTHER FEATURED BOOKS, “SO LATE TO THE PARTY,” BY KATE ANGUS, AND “THE STING OF THE BEE,” BY K.E. LANNING, CAN BE FOUND BY SCROLLING DOWN BELOW THIS POST, OR BY CLICKING THE AUTHOR’S NAME ON OUR AUTHOR PAGE.

————————————————-

THE BOOK: Missile Paradise

PUBLISHED IN: 2016

THE AUTHOR:  Ron Tanner

THE EDITOR
: Robert Lasner

THE PUBLISHER
: IG Publishing.

SUMMARY: Booklist starred review put it this way: “Tanner’s high-adrenaline, piquantly funny, bad-to-worse novel is set in the Marshall Islands, where the U.S. detonated 67 nuclear bombs between 1946 and 1958, subjecting the Marshallese to the unending consequences of nuclear fallout.

https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51DV8NPmzOL._SY200_.jpgIt’s 2004 at the start of this tale of cultural dissonance, hubris, anger, loss, and resiliency, and Cooper, a talented video-game programmer, is about to join a missile-defense group on the island of Kwajalein, a military stronghold on which Marshallese are not allowed after dark. But he has a freak accident after sailing alone across the Pacific from California, following a rift with his fiancée, and begins his stay on Kwajalein in rehab after losing a leg. A bizarre diving mishap has left Alison widowed with two young sons. Jeton, an impulsive Marshallese teenager jilted by his American girlfriend, propels himself into deep trouble. And Art, the flinty cultural liaison, fights discrimination against the Marshellese. In this poisoned island paradise besieged by poverty, disease, and rising sea levels precipitated by global warming, each irresistibly self-embattled character makes grievous mistakes, suffers from regret, and plunges into disaster. Tanner (From Animal House to Our House, 2012), who lived in the Marshall Islands and launched the Marshall Islands Story Project, brings this microcosm of human folly and valor to captivating realization with bracing insights, tangy humor, profound respect, and rebounding resonance.”

THE BACK STORY: I lived in the Marshall Islands—in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, closer to Japan than to Hawaii—when I was a teenager. It changed my life. It was there that I first witnessed the power of American culture on other people (the Marshallese) and I realized that the world was much larger and more complicated than I had imagined. The experience politicized me and I vowed to somehow help the Marshallese, if I could. That’s why I returned to the islands in 2008 to teach. “Missile Paradise” was difficult to write. At first it started out as a collection of stories. It took me ten years to get it right.

WHY THIS TITLE?: “Missile Paradise” refers to the place—the paradisiacal mid-Pacific islands, where the story occurs—and the missiles that the American government is building and testing out there.

WHY WOULD SOMEONE WANT TO READ IT? If you’re curious about the world—and Americans in the world—you’d find this book of interest. Although the story in “Missile Paradise” is fiction, everything I reveal in the book is true: we Americans do have a top secret missile base in the middle of the Pacific; the base is populated mostly by American civilians (programmers, engineers, and so on); the Marshallese (our hosts) are a thoroughly troubled people and soon their islands will be under water.  Most Americans have never heard of any of this, but they should know.

REVIEW COMMENTS:

Kirkus: “The themes here are major—global warming, imperialism, America’s role in the world (the story is set soon after the Abu Ghraib prison scandal). But Tanner displays a light touch, favoring snappy dialogue over didacticism. The result is winning…”

https://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/ron-tanner/missile-paradise/

Booklist (starred): “Tanner…brings this microcosm of human folly and valor to captivating realization with bracing insights, tangy humor, profound respect, and rebounding resonance.”

http://ronaldtanner.com/booklist-missile-paradise.pdf

Foreward:  “Missile Paradise critiques American privilege abroad, yet does so in brilliant context. This is a deeply humane story of coming to terms with loss, stitched with moments of humor and genuine heart.”

http://www.ronaldtanner.com/Foreward-review.pdf

Library Journal: “A fascinating read.”

 http://reviews.libraryjournal.com/2016/04/books/fiction/fiction-from-bear-beverly-whittemore-buchman-farrow-tanner-wilde-winter-xpress-reviews/

Publisher’s Weekly: “Tanner…is at his best when depicting the very human flaws, obsessions, and prejudices his characters face, all against a vivid island background where summer never seems to end and social progress is at a standstill.”

http://publishersweekly.com/978-1-63246-009-7

AUTHOR PROFILE: I was born in California but grew up mostly in North Carolina. I lived for a time in the Marshall Islands and returned later to teach there, living on the capital island, Majuro, where I established the Marshall Island Story Project, to help save the oral culture of the Marshallese: http://www.mistories.org/. Currently,  I live on an historic farm, north of Baltimore. When we bought it, the farm hadn’t been touched since 1959, so we’ve been doing tons of work on it: http://houselove.org/farm/

Before that, my wife and I were living in a big Baltimore brownstone that was a wrecked and abandoned fraternity when we bought it. We spent 15 years bringing it back to its original Victorian splendor. Our work was featured in THIS OLD HOUSE magazine and I wrote a book about the adventure: From Animal House to Our House: a Love Story. Here’s the trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rx2nt7SRg58

Now we operate our farm as a nonprofit to promote the preservation and restoration of historic family farms. This venture includes a writer’s retreat: http://houselove.org/farm/retreat/  Eventually we’ll have programming and events.

I teach writing at Loyola University-Maryland and hope to retire one day to work full time on my farm. Currently I’m working on a collection of stories, a collection of essays, and a novel, which is based on my experience as a professional musician on Nevada’s casino circuit.

AUTHOR COMMENTS: “Missile Paradise is a fun book to read (everyone tells me)—there’s adventure and exoticism—but it’s also about important issues: the limits of American ambition and the blind, sometimes crazy pursuit of the American dream, exploitation of “undeveloped” cultures, globalization of Americana (music, consumerism), as well as global warming and the ruin of our environment. So, there’s lots to think about here. “

SAMPLE CHAPTER:

http://ronaldtanner.com/missile-one.pdf

or go here: http://www.ronaldtanner.com/books/

LOCAL OUTLETS:

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

PRICE: You can buy it from me for $12 here: http://www.ronaldtanner.com/rons-shop/

CONTACT THE AUTHOR: rtanner@loyola.edu

 

 

So Late to the Party

THE BOOK: “So Late to the Party.”

PUBLISHED IN: 2016

THE AUTHOR: Kate Angus.

THE PUBLISHER: Negative Capability Press. Based in Mobile, Alabama, Negative Capability Press has been publishing award-winning books since 1981 under the guidance of Editor-in-Chief Sue Brannan Walker.

Kate AngusSUMMARY: The poems in So Late to the Party, in different ways, all ask the same question: How can we best live in this beautiful terrible world that we are lucky enough to so briefly visit? There are poems about loneliness and desire, love and loss, longing and connection, cups of coffee and glasses of wine, wolves and tiny origami dragons, violins and shipwrecks, New York City’s East Village late at night and early mornings in Michigan, cassette tapes and theremins, and family and friends and lovers and pets who all make an appearance, wandering in and out of the poems.

WHY THIS TITLE?: Before this book was published, a different version of it was called Distant Satellite. I changed the title to So Late to the Party in part because I realized the redundancy of that previous title (what satellite isn’t distant?), but more because of how long it took for me to finish this book and find a publisher who would give it the home I wanted. For many years, I watched so many of my friends publish their first, second, third book while I was still trying to revise this book into the right version. I began to feel like there was some special room somewhere where a party was happening—the “being a published writer” party—and hopefully I’d been invited and I might walk into that room someday, but for the time being, I’d gotten lost along the way, I hadn’t printed out the right directions to find my way there or something. I did believe I’d eventually arrive at that party, but I felt very very late, especially in comparison (though I know you should never compare) to friends and grad school peers, so it started to feel as if my book’s title should reflect that feeling of lateness.

WHY WOULD SOMEONE WANT TO READ IT? I think So Late to the Party ultimately is about being lonely and curious and optimistic but also sometimes very sad and longing for a connection with others and the world. This is a very beautiful life, but also sometimes a really hard one, and these poems dwell in that space, in a speaker who is trying to figure out how can we live in this world as well and as happily and as kindly as possible even when we feel lost. I think anyone who has felt that way might find an echo of their experiences in these poems and so also hopefully feel a little less alone in the world.

REVIEW COMMENTS:

“One of the reasons these poems are so successful is that they are genuine. Real enough to stop your breath. Today’s Book of Poetry felt like the poet/voice was someone he knew, already familiar with – or someone he wanted to know. Who wouldn’t want to get at the source of this humour and dark wit, the kindness and ready sharp tongue?…So Late to the Party has at least one ghost and one sonnet, a tiny dragon, wolves and so on. What…most impressed was the consistency with which Angus knocked her poems out of the park. Tension, humour, justice, fate, sorrow – it’s all in this remarkable first book….Today’s Book of Poetry’s greatest pleasure in his poetry life is discovering poets like Kate Angus.” —Michael Dennis, Today’s Book of Poetry review.

“‘Lift off the roof / of your skull,” writes Kate Angus in this confident, wonderful debut, and I do indeed feel my mind dangerously opened by the clarify and intimacy of these intelligent, warm, sad, funny, genuine poems. This poet takes us with her as she walks through the world, often alone, often filled with happy despair, always hopeful, always thinking of distant others, including us, her readers. This book does not merely describe, but enacts a faith in life, and in poetry’s necessity. This is the poetry for those of us who don’t just want but need to ‘always and silently unseal everything,’ to see what we can feel and know.” —Matthew Zapruder, author of Come On All You Ghosts.

“Lately I’ve been reading a Kate Angus poem every morning, so I can start the day falling in love with language. The poems in So Late to the Party look at love and lust, loneliness and longing, and treat us to a better understanding of the nuances of humanity. These poems will break your heart.” — Shelly Oria, author of New York 1, Tel Aviv 0.

AUTHOR PROFILE: Kate Angus was born and raised in Michigan, and currently lives in New York where she teaches at Gotham Writers’ Workshop, LIM College, and privately. She is the founding editor of Augury Books and the Creative Writing Advisory Board member for the Mayapple Center for Arts and Humanities at Sarah Lawrence College. Kate’s poetry and nonfiction have appeared in The Atlantic, The Washington Post, Tin House, Poetry Daily, The Academy of American Poets’ “Poem-a-Day” newsletter, Best New Poets 2010 and Best New Poets 2014. She has received the A Room of her Own Foundation’s “Orlando” prize; residencies from Interlochen Arts Academy, the Elizabeth Kostova Foundation, and the Betsy Hotel’s Writer’s Room; as well as The New York Times’ “Teacher Who Made a Difference” award. Her hobbies include drinking coffee, going to CrossFit, adding extra garlic when she cooks, and looking at pictures of dogs on the Internet.

SAMPLE POEM:

Wild Rabbits Have Sharp Eyes

Which is another way of saying, everything you want to hide

blares like a motel’s Vacant sign. How long it took

for you to tumble into sleeping on the couch, the bed stripped

except for piles of laundry you could not bring yourself

to put away. Do you remember when you didn’t

live inside this city’s constant siren, when you were

the teenager in the woods, wearing dark like a blanket, the night

studded with stars as many as your friends. It’s just the past now:

the teenagers you later taught are all adults. They have children, lovers.

You have a certain archive of a mind

that files away the beautiful impractical. For example: The Amish

cultivate saffron. For example, Octopi have three hearts and die

of starvation–the mothers starve guarding

their unhatched eggs. So you know things.

Knowledge doesn’t fix the faucet whose drip stains

the white sink chlorine blue. Information is only your own hands

stroking your hips as you turn each night. What you would give

to be a wheat field during a storm. Stalks bending, seeded

by violent rain, and the sky a clotted

purple arch above you, lightening strikes that jolt you so you remember

no matter how dead you feel you are not dead.

LOCAL OUTLETS: So Late to the Party can be purchased at independent bookstores in New York City such as McNally Jackson, Berl’s Brooklyn Poetry Shop, and The Corner Bookstore. links: mcnallyjackson.com berlspoetry.com cornerbookstorenyc.com.

WHERE ELSE TO BUY IT: Amazon, Indiebound, and Small Press Distribution,

https://www.amazon.com/Kate-Angus/e/B01GEVLSMM https://www.indiebound.org/book/9780942544367

https://www.spdbooks.org/Products/Default.aspx?bookid=9780942544367.
PRICE: $12.95

CONTACT THE AUTHOR: Email: http://www.kateangus.org/contact/

Instagram: @collokateangus

Twitter: @collokate Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kate.angus.5

The Sting of the Bee

The Sting of the Bee (Sting of the Bee Trilogy Book 2) by [Lanning, K.E.]

K.E. LanningTHE BOOK: The Sting of the Bee.

PUBLISHED IN: 4-4-2018


THE AUTHOR:
  K.E. Lanning.

THE EDITOR: Heather Webb and Jim Thomsen.

THE PUBLISHER: Indie Published

SUMMARY: Catastrophic global warming has melted the ice caps — John Barrous will stop at nothing to stake his claim on the rich, virgin continent of Antarctica.

After the murder of his wife, John escapes urban strife for the quiet life of farming. He and his fifteen-year-old daughter join in a United Nations PR event, but the Oklahoma-style land rush turns into a race against ruthless, armed competitors . . . and a corrupt politician determined to control this new land.

Excerpt:

Misfits from around the world, willing to fight for a new life. Faces around him had a hungry look as they sized up the competition. They had waited a lifetime for this chance, and no one wanted to be too friendly with someone they might end up killing later in the day.

THE BACK STORY
: The Sting of the Bee Trilogy are speculative sci-fi novels exploring a ‘What If’ scenario of a complete melting of the ice caps, caused by climate change. The series explores the impacts of humans on the Earth and the toll of overpopulation, particularly in an era of reduced landmass due to flooded seas. However, I was primarily interested in the consequences to human civilization of such a catastrophic event: the subsequent human migrations, societal upheaval, and clash of cultures. And the social chaos enabling political corruption.

For dramatic effect, I squeezed the timeframe of the Melt into one human’s lifespan by using a scientific theory that a tipping point, in which there is a sudden shift in the warm and cold ocean currents, could alter climates in specific regions. So I ‘pushed’ the Brazilian warm current past Antarctica to accelerate the pace of melting. With this catalyst, I was able to cause massive sea level rise of approximately 300 feet.

In the second novel in the trilogy, The Sting of the Bee, launching on 4-4-2018, the newly unveiled continent of Antarctica braces for an invasion of humans. After the murder of his wife, John Barrous escapes from the corrupt country of the United States of Amerada, filled with haves and have-nots, to stake a claim on the rich, virgin land of Antarctica. Along with Lowry Walker, now returning to her home, John and his fifteen-year-old daughter join a United Nations PR event, an Oklahoma-style land rush. But the Rush turns into a race against ruthless, armed competitors . . . and a corrupt politician determined to control this new land. Within the epic of settling a new land, John and Lowry crisscross in this complex tale of love, destiny and betrayal.

WHY THIS TITLE?: Primarily, the title is a metaphor for what nature does when you mess with her, indicating climate change.

WHY WOULD SOMEONE WANT TO READ IT? To my knowledge, no one has ever used the de-iced continent of Antarctica as a setting. I consider the novel to be speculative science fiction, or eco-fiction/cli-fi, more on the Robert Heinlein/Margaret Atwood end of the sci-fi spectrum.

REVIEW COMMENTS: “Exhilarating fun, audacious in concept and convincing in execution.” – Jim Thomsen

“Off-beat global warming sci-fi…(with) sure pacing and sympathetic protagonists.” – Kirkus Reviews

AUTHOR PROFIL
E: K.E. Lanning is a scientist and writer. Born in Texas in 1957, she grew up near Houston, TX, (USA) in the small town of Friendswood, laced with white oyster shell roads and open fields dotted with huge live oaks—riding horses rather than bikes. But nearby, NASA’s space program shepherded thoughts of astrophysics into her head.

Lanning received a bachelor’s degree in Physics in 1979 from Stephen F. Austin St. University in Nacogdoches, TX and a MBA in 1986 from the University of Houston. In her geophysics career, science met art—imaging landscapes beneath the surface of the earth. Lanning owned and directed an art gallery in Houston, TX, fascinated with curating thought-provoking shows with new and proven artists.

A life-long fan of science fiction, Lanning has always been intrigued by the multi-dimensions of the genre, allowing the author to explore society, humanity, and our future, and bring the reader along for the ride. To reveal the inner workings of some of the best sci-fi authors in the business, she’s published a series of sci-fi author interviews in FUTURISM (OMNI) magazine, In the Author’s Universe: Sci-Fi Authors from a Writer’s Point of View, including authors Hugh Howey, Margaret Atwood, Andy Weir and Cixin Liu.

Her first novel was A Spider Sat Beside Her, a work of literary/speculative science fiction, with an eco-fiction emphasis, and was published in 2017. The next novel in the trilogy, The Sting of the Bee, launches 4-4-2018. Listen to the Birds is in progress, and will complete the trilogy, though each will be standalone works.

AUTHOR COMMENTS: I was interested in the political and social implications of a catastrophic melting of the ice caps rather than focusing on the environmental impacts per se. I wanted to throw characters into the fray, and follow their journeys through a maze of personal sacrifices, betrayals, and intrigue.

SAMPLE CHAPTER:

John Barrous opened his eyes in the dim light of the hotel room. A pleasant voice said, “John, wake up, it’s time to rise and shine.”

With a yawn, he turned to his phone. “I’m awake. Thanks, P.”

“I hope you slept well?”

He stared at the ceiling above the bed. “Not really.” John threw the covers back and sat on the side of the bed, looking dully at the band of pale morning light framing the top of the curtained window.

“John, I thought you might be interested in today’s news story on the Antarctic Land Rush.”

Scratching his head, he mumbled, “I guess.”

A smiling virtual newscaster appeared on the screen. “In our top story of the day, the stage is set for the Great Antarctic Land Rush. The final conference will be held today at the United Nations headquarters.” From the corner of the screen popped a 3-D video running on a continuous loop, showing the melting ice cap of Antarctica, the huge glaciers flowing to the ocean, breaking off into the sea until the continent was bare. “People from around the world will be signing up for the adventure of a lifetime—”

A dull pain pulsed in his head. “I’d like some quiet now,” he said, and the screen went blank. His hands trembled as he massaged his temples. He caught a whiff of brewing coffee, and rose to grab a cup. Clasping the warm cup in his hands, he gulped the coffee, closing his eyes as the hot liquid stung his throat.

With a sigh, he walked to the window of the room, edging the curtain open on one side. Blinking against the slanted rays of the sun, he gazed out over the port city of Summit, New Jersey. Across the street, a myriad of flags fluttered in front of the newly completed United Nations building. His nerves tingled at the sight.

To the east, the sea shimmered in the dawn light, broken only by the tallest skyscrapers still visible above submerged New York City. He sipped his coffee, and then shifted his gaze to the vast shanty town near the edge of the water. Tendrils of smoke rose from amidst ramshackle huts cobbled together from the scrap material washed onshore after the Melt.

The wealthy had fled the rising sea waters and built anew, but in the burgeoning lower classes, survival of the fittest had been their only choice. Massive refugee cities grew from the outcasts of society, abandoned on a shore of hardship. Years of pitiful conditions created an underclass filled with anger and resentment. Like stray dogs, savage gangs had proliferated, snatching crumbs from a world devastated by rising sea levels.

An emptiness punched him in the gut, and his lips parted like a drowning man trying to draw a breath. A moan escaped from the depths of his pain, and John glanced at his daughter Ginnie, snuggled in the other bed. He had not awakened her with his outburst.

Swaying, he turned back to the window, clutching the curtain. That underworld had murdered his beloved Helen.

LOCAL OUTLETS: BookNoFurther, 16 West Marketplace, Church Ave SW, Roanoke, VA

WHERE ELSE TO BUY IT: Amazon:  https://www.amazon.com/Sting-Bee-Trilogy/dp/0999121022/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1521478895&sr=8-1&keywords=the+sting+of+the+bee&dpID=51BCHNe0u1L&preST=_SY291_BO1,204,203,200_QL40_&dpSrc=srch

PRICE: $4.99 ebook, $14.99 paperback

CONTACT THE AUTHOR: www.kelanning.com; kelanningauthor@gmail.com

Weather Report, April 9

Image result for Marshall Islands + missiles + photos + free

OUR CURRENTLY FEATURED BOOKS, “SISTER NUN,” BY SHANTI WEILAND AND “LOST AT THAXTON,” BY MICHAEL E. JONES, CAN BE FOUND BY SCRO9LLING DOWN BELOW THIS POST, ALONG WITH THE “FIRST TUESDAY REPLAY.” OR, YOU CAN CLICK THE AUTHOR’S NAME ON OUR AUTHORS PAGE.

———————————————————————————

The issue of global warming has already insinuated itself into scientific discourse and political argument. And now, judging from two of this week’s featured Snowflakes in a Blizzard books, it has become a rich source for novelists.

Writes “Missile Paradise” author Ron Tanner: “If you’re curious about the world — and Americans in the world — you’ll find this book of interest. Although the story in “Missile Paradise” is fiction, everything I reveal in the book is true: we Americans do have a top secret missile base in the middle of the Pacific; the base is populated mostly by American civilians (programmers, engineers, and so on); the Marshallese (our hosts) are a thoroughly troubled people and soon their islands will be under water.  Most Americans have never heard of any of this, but they should know.”

Meanwhile, K.E. Lanning brought several several scientific degrees, a career in geophysics, and a keen interest in science fiction to the latest book in her “eco-fiction” trilogy, “The Sting of the Bee.”

“I was interested in the political and social implications of a catastrophic melting of the ice caps rather than focusing on the environmental impacts per se,” she says. “I wanted to throw characters into the fray, and follow their journeys through a maze of personal sacrifices, betrayals, and intrigue.”

Finally, in our continuing celebration of National Poetry Month, we give you Kate Angus’ “So Late to the Party.” Perhaps it could serve as a hopeful chaser to the eco-fiction offerings.

As one reviewer observes:

“‘Lift off the roof / of your skull,” writes Kate Angus in this confident, wonderful debut, and I do indeed feel my mind dangerously opened by the clarify and intimacy of these intelligent, warm, sad, funny, genuine poems. This poet takes us with her as she walks through the world, often alone, often filled with happy despair, always hopeful, always thinking of distant others, including us, her readers. This book does not merely describe, but enacts a faith in life, and in poetry’s necessity. This is the poetry for those of us who don’t just want but need to ‘always and silently unseal everything,’ to see what we can feel and know.”

UPCOMING ON SNOWFLAKES IN A BLIZZARD, APRIL 10-16.

“MISSILE PARADISE,” BY RON TANNER.

Booklist’s starred review put it this way: “Tanner’s high-adrenaline, piquantly funny, bad-to-worse novel is set in the Marshall Islands, where the U.S. detonated 67 nuclear bombs between 1946 and 1958, subjecting the Marshallese to the unending consequences of nuclear fallout.

“It’s 2004 at the start of this tale of cultural dissonance, hubris, anger, loss, and resiliency, and Cooper, a talented video-game programmer, is about to join a missile-defense group on the island of Kwajalein, a military stronghold on which Marshallese are not allowed after dark. But he has a freak accident after sailing alone across the Pacific from California, following a rift with his fiancée, and begins his stay on Kwajalein in rehab after losing a leg. A bizarre diving mishap has left Alison widowed with two young sons. Jeton, an impulsive Marshallese teenager jilted by his American girlfriend, propels himself into deep trouble. And Art, the flinty cultural liaison, fights discrimination against the Marshellese.

“In this poisoned island paradise besieged by poverty, disease, and rising sea levels precipitated by global warming, each irresistibly self-embattled character makes grievous mistakes, suffers from regret, and plunges into disaster. Tanner (From Animal House to Our House, 2012), who lived in the Marshall Islands and launched the Marshall Islands Story Project, brings this microcosm of human folly and valor to captivating realization with bracing insights, tangy humor, profound respect, and rebounding resonance.”

“THE STING OF THE BEE,” BY K.E. LANNING

The newly unveiled continent of Antarctica braces for an invasion of humans. After the murder of his wife, John Barrous escapes from the corrupt country of the United States of Amerada, filled with haves and have-nots, to stake a claim on the rich, virgin land of Antarctica. Along with Lowry Walker, now returning to her home, John and his fifteen-year-old daughter join a United Nations PR event, an Oklahoma-style land rush. But the Rush turns into a race against ruthless, armed competitors . . . and a corrupt politician determined to control this new land. Within the epic of settling a new land, John and Lowry crisscross in this complex tale of love, destiny and betrayal.

“SO LATE TO THE PARTY,” BY KATE ANGUS

Writes Kate: “I think So Late to the Party ultimately is about being lonely and curious and optimistic but also sometimes very sad and longing for a connection with others and the world. This is a very beautiful life, but also sometimes a really hard one, and these poems dwell in that space, in a speaker who is trying to figure out how can we live in this world as well and as happily and as kindly as possible even when we feel lost. I think anyone who has felt that way might find an echo of their experiences in these poems and so also hopefully feel a little less alone in the world.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sister Nun

THIS WEEK’S OTHER FEATURED BOOK, “LOST AT THAXTON,” BY MICHAEL E. JONES, CAN BE FOUND BY SCROLLING DOWN BELOW THIS POST, ALONG WITH THE “FIRST TUESDAY REPLAY.” OR, YOU CAN CLICK THE AUTHOR’S NAME ON OUR AUTHOR PAGE.

————————————————–

THE BOOK: Sister Nun

PUBLISHED IN: April 2016

THE AUTHOR: Shanti Weiland

http://www.shantiweiland.com

THE EDITOR: Sue Brannan Walker

THE PUBLISHER: Negative Capability Press

SUMMARY: Follow Sister Nun as she escapes over the wall of her convent (even though she has, in no way, been held captive) and read as she explores her identity, sexuality, and the path to enlightenment by wrestling alligators, vacationing in hell, and traveling through time and space during her 215-year lifespan.

Image result for Shanti WeilandTHE BACK STORY:  In 2010, I was hanging out in a friend’s pool, on what was probably the last reasonable pool-day-weather, and lamenting that I felt stuck in my writing. She recommended that I write some poems from a distinct character’s perspective. I didn’t think that I would write an entire book about Sister Nun, but I did write four poems from her perspective that autumn, all of which are now included in the book.

I created the Sister Nun character with isolation in mind. It is Sister Nun’s loneliness that pushes her to live her post-convent life so expansively. Anything is better to her than feeling “safe” in an ill-fitting cage. Even a life of sequestered spiritual development cannot move Sister Nun. She feels an urgency to strike out, with both clumsiness and grace, to find herself.

After I witnessed the potential for connection, and for alienation, in the grief that followed the Tuscaloosa tornado, in 2011, I decided to write a whole book from Sister Nun’s viewpoint.

WHY THIS TITLE: Although Sister Nun is not religious, she joins a Buddhist convent in response to a broken heart. She quickly leaves the convent in order to find herself “but/keeps the name ‘Sister,’ as the/divorced do.” I titled the book Sister Nun because her story moves forward when she leaves her past behind; however, it is when she accepts both her past and present that she actually evolves.

WHY SOMEONE WOULD WANT TO READ IT: If you like coming of age stories and conversational poetry mixed with surrealism, you will enjoy Sister Nun’s adventures.

REVIEW COMMENTS:

“Weiland’s book is polished, unusual, and lovely, but it is even more than that. I don’t remember when I read a book of poetry that I couldn’t put down. Sister Nun is an unforgettable character – and this book that bears such a strong character’s name reminds me of Jane Eyre, Emma, Anna Karenina, and Lolita deserves to be in such elite company.” — Amy King, Author of The Missing Museum and I Want to Make You Safe; winner of the 2015 Tarpaulin Sky Book Prize.

AUTHOR PROFILE: Shanti Weiland’s first book, Sister Nun was the 2015 winner of the Negative Capability Press Book Competition, judged by Amy King. Her second book, Cracked Planet, is forthcoming from Negative Capability Press in summer 2018. She is currently writing a book of poems about Star Trek: The Next Generation; authors the blog, The Poets That You Meet; and hosts the web corner, Online Enlightenment. You can find her at shantiweiland.com.

Weiland received her BA in English from the University of California, Davis and later moved to the desert, pursuing a Creative Writing MA at Northern Arizona University. She then traveled to the humid and friendly south, where she earned a PhD in Poetry from the University of Southern Mississippi. She currently teaches writing and literature at The University of Alabama and lives in Birmingham with her wife and pets.

AUTHOR COMMENTS: If you are interested in learning more about my writing process and thinking behind some of my poems, check out my blog, The Poets That You Meet, which features accessible poetry discussions and writing prompts. https://shantiweiland.com/blog-the-poets-that-you-meet/

SAMPLE POEMS:

Virginity

Virginity is a fragile

canoe. Metaphors are

fragile, too, of course.

Sister knows this but

can’t help thinking of

powdered white cleavage

and unattractive doilies.

The absence of color and

all the colors at once. The

lotus, pure and floating on a

muddy pond. But what about

cow tipping, the irresistible

urge to knock down the

innocent? Children dressed

to match the night and in love

with love, snake through the

gold grass and up to that

old girl, mother to a dozen

calves in her lifetime, and

remembers them only

by their markings.

The hush of midnight and silence

of those trying to keep silent.

She brushes her tail against

her own leg, feels the breeze on

her hooves as she drifts from

one pattern to another, brown

with white spots…black and

brown swirls…white and

grey…white and grey.

The half moon takes root and

she dreams of soft

mooing and warm milk.

Silver cars on a distant

highway. The way

things used to be.

Click here for more information and audio reading: https://shantiweiland.com/2016/11/23/the-virgins-are-all-trimming-their-wicks/

Immortality

When things go

well, Sister wants

to live forever like

a superhero with a

band of immortals

who crawl all over

buildings helping

people out.

When the world is

over, they fire

marshmallows in a

red cave and remember

old loves who

died again and again

throughout the centuries.

Their own beautiful,

permanent youth, changed

a hundred times over,

glittering pink some days,

opaque and withholding on

others. Wings at times,

that which separates them

from the larger pack. Lean

muscle, recognizable to

those who study

immortality or the history

of friendship.

Other times, agony’s familiar

noose, a corrective sinner’s

flog, Sister longs

to change back to

energy. Watch the

story through the eyes of

everyone else. Blissfully

detached, and a gentle voice,

asking, Do you like it

here?

Click here for more information and audio reading: https://shantiweiland.com/2016/12/14/vampire-connoisseur/

Sister Nun Faces A Sidewinder

Sister would say that she had lived

a lonely life, if pressed now in

this chain motel parking lot.

Scales as bright as her own

bald head. The cacti, fuzzy and

soft from a distance, wave

at the cars, taking them

for suns.

If she said she was only alone

when she asked to be, that, too,

would be true, but today she faces

a sidewinder, and she stills

like red rock.

* * *

Here’s a little known fact: Women

were created by accident. As

dinosaurs lay dying, giving up

on their offspring, lightning

struck a stone, and a giant

woman appeared. Her physical sight

was slight at first, and she hopped

around lava and ducked

from Pterodactyls on

gut alone.

She nursed baby Brontos when

their mothers passed. Held their

long necks gently across her

lap. But soon, the comets made them

so sad that they lifted their big, baby

legs into tar pits, and positioned themselves

to the sun.

The woman painted her body with wet

sand and opened her eyes for

the first time as she sank

into the salty Earth, and

waited.

* * *

Sister has learned to wait.

And as the snake finally returns to

her cold nest, Sister thinks of the

woman she left this morning, wrapped

in sky, blue sheets, her naked body

heated in the dark room, and with the

look of our first mother, loving and

astonished.

Click here for more information and audio reading: https://shantiweiland.com/2017/11/01/the-first-woman/

LOCAL OUTLETS: Grace Aberdeen Habitat Alchemy, Tuscaloosa, AL

WHERE ELSE TO BUY IT: Amazon https://www.amazon.com/dp/0942544412/ref=cm_sw_su_dp

PRICE: $13.95

CONTACT THE AUTHOR: http://www.shantiweiland.com

Lost at Thaxton

Lost at Thaxton: The Dramatic True Story of Virginia's Forgotten Train Wreck by [Jones, Michael E.]THE BOOK: Lost at Thaxton: The Dramatic True Story of Virginia’s Forgotten Train Wreck

PUBLISHED IN: 2013.

THE AUTHOR:  Michael E. Jones

THE EDITOR
: Joseph, with CreateSpace. CreateSpace would not share his last name which was disappointing because he did a great job. I’d love to work with him on future projects.

THE PUBLISHER
: Thaxton Press, LLC, a company I set up to publish this book and future work.

Michael E. JonesSUMMARY: In 1889, a massive late-night storm caused a tiny creek at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains to turn into a raging river. The rushing waters washed away an embankment where the railroad crossed the creek. Near the small village of Thaxton, Virginia, a passenger train plunged into the washout, and at least eighteen people perished in the wreck. The survivors remained stranded with no contact or help for hours in the rain, while those who did not make it out were consumed by a horrible fire that ripped through the wreckage. In the days that followed, most of the remains found were tossed into a common and now unmarked grave in the city of Roanoke. The wreck was forgotten even in the state of Virginia, where they had memorialized train wrecks that were much less devastating. The book focuses on the people on board the train and their stories before, during, and after the wreck.

THE BACK STORY
: My great-great grandfather, Tandy Jones, was the section-master in charge of the tracks where the wreck occurred. The family connection peaked my interest, but the fact that the story seemed to have slipped through the cracks of history inspired me to write about it. I wanted to memorialize the event, the lives that were lost, and the people who survived but carried the scars of that terrible night with them. I spent about two years on the research and writing, which included untold hours carefully thumbing through nineteenth-century court records and enough time in front of microfilm machines to make me ponder buying my own. My wife successfully squashed that notion but I’ve still got a spot picked out for one just in case she changes her mind during a moment of weakness.

WHY THIS TITLE?: One of the surviving passengers on the train was Alpheus Wilson, a well-known Methodist bishop who traveled all over the world. Bishop Wilson carried a particular Greek version of the New Testament with him everywhere he traveled and he lost it in the wreck at Thaxton along with many other personal items. While reading a biography on Wilson, I found that he would often mention in the years afterward that he needed something that was “lost at Thaxton.” When I saw that phrase, I knew it was the perfect title to represent the memory of those who perished in the wreck as well as their story.

WHY WOULD SOMEONE WANT TO READ IT? 
The story is told in a narrative form so that the reader can feel as if he or she was riding on the train that night. Even though it is written in this manner, every detail is directly related to information found through research. As I mention in the introduction, Lost at Thaxton is not “based on a true story,” but instead it is an authentic true story. The real-life drama that took place that night stands on its own. That is certainly not to say the book is infallible, but it is a genuine effort to tell as true a tale as can be told while looking back so long ago. If you like history and especially if you like those forgotten stories that seem to get left behind sometimes, I think that you would enjoy the book.

REVIEW COMMENTS:

One of the most recent Amazon Reviews: “The author has a very clear writing style, easy to follow and understand. He has done an excellent job in his research, as well. The author puts a human face on the tragedy, neither embellishing nor minimalizing the event. I recommend the book and commend the author for bringing to light a little known historical incident and its effects on those involved. Railroad buffs or those just interested in a fascinating true story would find this book an excellent read.”

John Barnhart, with the Bedford Bulletin (Bedford, VA): “The result of Jones’s work is a highly readable book that’s hard to put down.”

Mark Aldrich, Railroad History: “An interesting, valuable book”

Amazon Review: “Found this book to be very compelling and hard to put down. Reads fast and the reader is pulled along wondering who is going to live and who is not in this horrible accident”

There is a collection of other reviews at http://lostatthaxton.com/reader-reviews/ if you are interested!


AUTHOR PROFIL
E: Lost at Thaxton was my first book and sparked my desire to make writing more than just a side project. I have spent most of my career creating things in the tech industry but I have found I enjoy prose more than code when it comes to writing. In 2018, I completed my first fiction work (a historical fiction novella). I’ve also launched an online publication (www.historyleftbehind.com) to share more true, narrative-style US history short stories with a focus on the forgotten moments and the people who lived them. I’m a graduate of Clemson University and I currently live in Charleston, South Carolina.

AUTHOR COMMENTS:
 My primary goal with Lost at Thaxton was to tell the tale of a forgotten but significant historical event, memorialize the lives of the eighteen people who were lost in the wreck, and to tell that story in an interesting and authentic way. A secondary goal of mine was to get a historical marker placed at the site of the wreck, which we achieved and dedicated at the site in 2015. I was lucky enough to write the text that appears on the marker! The story of how that came together involves a car accident in Cleveland, Tennessee and an out-of-the blue phone call I had with a multi-millionaire. It is an interesting side-story and one that I share in book talks and will eventually add to the book.

SAMPLE CHAPTER: You can get a sneak peek at different chapters/sections of the book using the “Look Inside” feature at Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Lost-Thaxton-Dramatic-Virginias-Forgotten/dp/0989004600

LOCAL OUTLETS: The Bedford Museum in Bedford, Virginia, the Bedford Welcome Center in Bedford, Virginia, and Books on Broad in Camden, South Carolina. If you have an indie bookstore that you like, they should be able to order a copy for you as well. I love indie bookstores!

WHERE ELSE TO BUY IT: Lost at Thaxton is available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million, and most online booksellers. You can also order autographed copies directly from the website at http://lostatthaxton.com/get-the-book/. I’m trying to make this snowflake available in as many blizzards as possible!

PRICE: The paperback retails for $19.99 and the Kindle version is $4.99.

CONTACT THE AUTHOR: Email: mike@mikejoneswrites.com | Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/mikejoneswrites | Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mikejoneswrites/ | Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/mikejoneswrites | Website: www.historyleftbehind.com

Michael Jones

Lost at Thaxton: The Dramatic True Story of Virginia’s Forgotten Train Wreck

http://www.lostatthaxton.com

http://www.historyleftbehind.com