Weather Report, Aug. 10

THE CURRENTLY FEATURED BOOK IS “SHOWING UP,” BY ERIC WEST. YOU CAN FIND IT BY SCROLLING DOWN DIRECTLY BENEATH THIS POST.

UPCOMING AUGUST 11-13 …

Katrina destruction“UNCHARTED TERRITORY,” BY BETSY ASHTON.

After the death of her daughter in the first book of the series, Maxine “Mad Max” Davies’ new role in life, full-time grandparent raising two grandchildren, takes her into post-Katrina Mississippi, nature’s newest wasteland. While she gets used to raising children again, she also learns to live in a region where most of life’s conveniences vanished in the storm and tidal surge. She must protect her grandchildren as well as help others in this new environment. Along the way, she encounters racism, murder, modern-day slavery and child abuse.

Explains Betsy: “I wanted to write about a female protagonist who was in her fifties, still sexy, still headstrong, still snarky occasionally. As a reader I was tired of reading about younger protagonists. Besides, if I had one with some mileage on her, some real-life experiences, I could take her into different situations.”

The second episode in a trilogy, this is thus far out only as an e-book. So hang onto your Kindle and let Betsy take you into uncharted territory.

“A REAPER MADE,” BY LIZ LONG.

As a change of pace (and that’s often what I shoot for in pairing books), Liz Long provides us with not only an intriguing fantasy, but a new take on that all-too-familiar villain, Death.

From the Amazon blurb: “Grace had finally gotten used to her new afterlife as a ‘Made’ – a Reaper who used to be human. When Made Reapers and souls begin disappearing, however, Grace and her mentor Tully suspect demons. Grace’s worst fears are confirmed when her living family is threatened. She’ll have to break every rule in the Reaper book to save them, including using a little magic to become temporarily human. “

FOR AUGUST 14-17.

THE GAP YEAR GIRL: A BABYBOOMER ADVENTURE THROUGH  21 COUNTRIES,” BY MARIANNE BOHR. 

For most of the fortunate and intrepid few who put the real world on hold after college in the 1960s and ‘70s, shouldered a backpack and set off for European or Asian adventures, there was no going back. Adult Responsibility, that familiar killjoy, was waiting at the airport for them when they returned, ensuring that any future travel would be more structured than free.

Except for Marianne Bohr and her husband Joe. Decades after their initial unfettered  wanderings, they decided to return to the same places as seasoned babyboomers. Even better, they wrote a book about it. So even if you are one of those who remain planted in that real world, you can at least relive your golden days vicariously through them.

“ROAD GANG,” BY H.V. TRAYWICK JR.

H.V. Traywick Jr., better known as Bo, had a 1970s Asian adventure of another sort – Vietnam. Unlike Marianne, he hasn’t been back, but he has revisited his two years as the commander of an engineering crew and allowed the rest of us to experience it with him.

Traywick’s work in Southeast Asia was quite similar to that performed by the people who toil on American highways. Generally, though, no one shoots at them.

There is a little bit of Hawkeye Pierce in Bo, though, and his account is not only richly detailed but often wryly humorous. It takes us from his days as a less-than-decorated student at Virginia Military Institute to his “in-country” interactions with men higher up the military pecking order.

“My Dad always used to tell us tales from serving World War II,” Traywick recalls, “and one day my mother asked me, ‘Why don’t you ever tell any war stories from Vietnam?’ I said,. ‘I didn’t think anyone would be interested.’”

I think you’ll agree that he was wrong.

NEWS AND NOTES.

  1. OK, Snowflakes followers, listen up. Beginning in two weeks, we’re going to initiate our long-promised monthly drawing. Each month, someone at a writer-friendly bookstore will pull one of your names out of a hat – or, something – and the winner will have his or her choice of any two books from a list compiled from the Snowflakes collection. Someone else will get to pick one book. I’ll give you the list of available books in next week’s Weather Report, just to whet your appetite.

That’s another incentive to follow the blog, and I’d appreciate your spreading the word.

  1. And finally, this from Tom Bentley, whose “How to Think Like a Writer” was a Snowflake feature last month:

“I don’t know if this is Weather Report worthy, but I won a fellowship (minus the lodging fees) to the Catamaran Writing Conference, which is at beautiful Pebble Beach, CA, so even if I don’t get much writing done, I can at least stare at the sea. And I published a long (15,000 words) collaborative short story on Amazon.

Showing Up

West and wifeNOTE: “IT HAPPENED IN A LUTHERAN CHURCH,” BY REBECCA MOATZ, WILL BE FEATURED AT A LATER DATE.

THE BOOK: Showing Up

PUBLISHED IN: 2015

THE AUTHOR:  Eric West

THE EDITOR: Fred DuBose – Reader’s Digest

THE PUBLISHER: Publication Printers, Denver, CO

SUMMARY: Seeing Mt. Everest was Eric West’s dream. It wasn’t on his bucket list… it was his dream. In 2011, he arrived in Nepal armed with nothing more than a mindset he called Showing Up. Showing Up seemed to change his luck; the more he was present, the luckier he became. He would see Mt. Everest (and eventually go on to climb it), meet true love, and change his destiny forever, all within moments of each other. How could this possibly happen? Embedded in that question lies the simplicity and potency of Showing Up.

West’s adventures began as a college exchange student in London, England. He went on to become a school teacher in Tokyo, Japan. Later as a captain in the billion dollar mega-yacht industry, he visited exotic destinations via luxury yachts most landlubbers only saw on the cover of glossy travel magazines. But his dream was to one day visit Mt. Everest. Armed with no climbing experience, he showed up in Nepal. Within days he met a Dutch climbing guide he would later marry. Their high-altitude romance set in motion plans to climb the flanks of Everest together the following year.

Showing up book coverTHE BACK STORY: Writes West: “The book was written to serve as the centerpiece for speaking events: Keynotes, corporate events, motivation speeches. Penning the book was a chance to share the Showing Up message with a global audience; Your dreams are important. Your dreams deserve your time. Nothing takes the place of your presence. And Showing Up works. The initial research and layout ideas for the book came after an online and telephone interview with Dutch climbing star Eveline Wessels. This interview gave me insight to the inner workings and preparation that build and support a Mt. Everest expedition.”

WHY THIS TITLE?: Showing Up was chosen for the title because Just Do It was already taken.

WHY SOMEONE WOULD WANT TO READ IT: Showing Up takes the reader around the world, from ocean crossings on luxury yachts to the flanks of Mt. Everest and Denali, hitchhiking through Japan and an unforgettable night with the Grateful Dead. Plus a truly motivational message that anyone can accomplish anything. This book is a true non-fiction hybrid. Showing Up is one of a kind.

REVIEW COMMENTS:

By Christina Thirkell on May 26, 2015

Showing Up was different than any book I’ve read to date. Loved the author’s writing style, and how he weaves his experiences together and how his “Showing Up” style determined his future. This is more than about climbing Mt. Everest… it’s about taking risks with simplicity. Anyone can apply the Showing Up philosophy. Great time to add to your summer beach reading list!

By Eric Kissel on May 19, 2015

Quick read of not just an Everest story, but a new spin on the motivational and self-help genre. West tells a collection of great stories from his lifetime and shows you how you can learn to “Show Up” and improve your life. Everyone can take something away and apply it to either their personal life, professional life, or educational life.

By David Hoffmanon March 4, 2015

Great read! the book is a series of short stories tied together in a neat package. I especially enjoyed learning about the mountain climbing and sailing aspects all the while enthralled by the story line. Eric hits a home run with his first book. I highly recommend it.

AUTHOR PROFILE: Eric West is an author, adventurer, and professional speaker. He lives in Denver, CO.

AUTHOR COMMENTS: “I’ve never been one to follow rulebooks. After all, who knows more about my dreams and a path to their realization than me? I came to believe my presence was a foolproof plan for unimaginable success. I eventually gave my mindset a name… I called it Showing Up. But was I wrong to pin my hopes on an idea so simple? Or was I on to something big… Mt. Everest big? Now I speak to audiences of all ages and backgrounds about the answer to that question.”

SAMPLE CHAPTER: Chapters 7 and 8 are great sample chapters.

WHERE TO BUY IT: Amazon (paperback and ebook).

PRICE: $16.99 paperback $9.99 ebook

CONTACT THE AUTHOR: ShowingUpAgain@gmail.com or learn more at ShowingUpAgain.com or shop.ShowingUpAgain.com

Call Eric West directly at 619-829-6942.

Showing Up book trailer

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8gCUFMOp1Ow

Tuesday Replay, August 4


THIS FEATURE HAS A TWO-FOLD PURPOSE; 1. TO ALLOW THOSE RECENTLY ADDED TO OUR FOLLOWER’S LIST TO LEARN ABOUT BOOKS THEY MIGHT HAVE MISSED AND 2. TO MAKE SURE PREVIOUSLY FEATURED AUTHORS AND THEIR WORK AREN’T FORGOTTEN. TODAY, WE’LL REVISIT BOOKS NOS. 1-5. IF YOU’D LIKE TO READ MORE ON ANY ONE OF THEM, SIMPLY CLICK ON THE AUTHOR’S PAGE, THEN ON THEIR NAME.

MAY Simpson26: “ISLAND DOGS,” BY B.M. SIMPSON.

This book had a lot to do with my starting “Snowflakes in a Blizzard.” I encountered Brian Simpson — a successful building contractor in St. Petersburg, FLA — on Linked-In, and we agreed to swap books. I can’t say I couldn’t put “Island Dogs” down, because I received it on my computer, but I hated turning it off. Rarely have I read anything so relentlessly entertaining.

Those of you who have followed this blog know that I occasionally break into rants about our current fixation with “genre.” “Island Dogs” doesn’t fit into any of those neat but confining cubbyholes that someone has handed down from on high. Rather, it revolves around an ensemble cast of mostly woeful but likable expatriates who meet and bond in a Caribbean beach bar. The reason we care about these characters is that the author does a wonderful job of presenting their back stories. The reason we don;’t get bored is that he weaves in a number of ongoing threads throughout the narrative. Moreover, Simpson spent time in the Caribbean himself (including, yes, a few beach bars), so his details are authentic.

And it occurred to me, after reading this, that if something this good can’t find a publisher (Brian eventually self-published), there must be a lot of gems hiding out there that readers ought to know about.

Interestingly, this first Snowflake was the only one so far that hadn’t been published at the time it was featured.

MWaiting fore WestmorelandAY 29: “WAITING FOR WESTMORELAND,” BY JOHN MABERRY.

This book gives memoirs a good name, and also provides an excellent argument for waiting until the arrival of some perspective before writing one.

There have been hundreds — maybe even thousands — of books written about the Vietnam War. Until now, however, there has never been one about John Maberry’s Vietnam War. As with Brian Simpson and his gregarious barflies, Maberry provides a compelling back story — his own, revealing what  he brought to Southeast Asia and what he took away from it. He’s an excellent writer with a sly, self-deprecating sense of humor, and reading this is like sitting down for a long conversation with him. All you have to do is listen and nod.

JUNE 2: DEATH OF A CABMAN, BY NINA BOYD.

I liked “Death of a Cabman” a lot, even though I probably would never have read it had it not been presented to me as a Snowflakes possibility.

Our first international writer (she lives in the UK), Nina has produced a soothing but still intriguing cocktail blending a murder mystery with a romance with some turn of the century (the 20th century) English history.

Even if you don’t care all that much about the identity of the murderer (as in the old Perry Mason books, the victim was rather despicable), chances are you’ll find her main characters endearing and her insights into the British suffragette movement intriguing.

This does have a genre — a “cozy mystery.” And it does that genre proud.

River Caught IIJUNE 5: “THE RIVER CAUGHT SUNLIGHT,” BY KATIE ANDRASKI.

This memoir disguised as a novel is so deftly done that even the real-life inspiration for one of its central characters — an evangelist with some very human failings — provided its author with a positive blurb.

Katie Andraski was a long-time publicist whose specialty was working with Christian authors. The main voice in her book is a woman conflicted by her job, tormented by grief over the terminal illness of her mother and at odds with her brother. Although Andraski undoubtedly wrote the book partly as a personal catharsis, it never descends into “poor me.” Instead, it is an enthralling account of how a person trying desperately to do the right thing sometimes finds herself confronted by a fork in the road where “right” has no signpost.

JUNE 9: “WHAT TO DO ABBarbara_Trainin_Blank_book_cover_65kOUT MAMA?” BY BARBARA BLANK.

Our initial venture into non-fiction, and a useful one.

What makes this book unique is that it reflects a diversity of experiences, from heart-warming to sobering to blood-curdling. Caring for an elderly parent or spouse, especially when dementia enters the picture, is a classic example of “You had to be there.” And so the voices in “What to Do About Mama” come not from physicians or social scientists, but people who were, indeed, there — at a time when someone had to be.

Barbara Blank amd co-author Barbara Matthews are two of those voices of experience, and it’s clear that they regarded those in their care as people to be loved and understood rather than problems to be solved.

Weather Report, August 3

Mount Everest

OUR CURRENTLY FEATURED BOOKS ARE “THE LAST BEST THING,” BY KATE SEBENY AND “HANNAH, DELIVERED,” BY ELIZABETH JARRETT ANDREW. YOU CAN FIND THEM BY SCROLLING DOWN JUST BELOW THIS POST.

UPCOMING ON “SNOWFLAKES IN A BLIZZARD …

AUGUST 4: FIRST TUESDAY REPLAY. 

This is the debut of a new feature that will run monthly. Since we continue to add followers, it seemed like a good idea to periodically pass along some of the earlier featured books that relative newcomers may have missed. Also, it gives the authors another opportunity to get work out there. This week, we’ll offer condensed versions of the posts for “Island Dogs,” “Waiting for Westmoreland,” “Death of a Cabman,” “The River Caught Sunlight” and “What to do About Mama?”

AUGUST 7: “SHOWING UP,” BY ERIC WEST, AND “IT HAPPENED IN A LUTHERAN CHURCH,” BY REBECCA MOATZ.

1. I will admit that I was leery of Eric West’s book at first. Not that I have anything against motivational self-help books — I could probably learn a few things from many of them — but they just don’t seem a good fit for our program. But then I read “Showing Up,” and my mind changed completely.

Writes Eric: “Seeing Mt. Everest was my dream. It wasn’t on my bucket list; it was my dream. In 2011, I arrived in Nepal armed with nothing more than a mindset I called ‘Showing Up.’ And Showing Up seemed to change my luck; the more I was present, the luckier I became. I would see Mt. Everest (and eventually go on to climb it), meet true love, and change mys destiny forever, all within moments of each other. How could this possibly happen? Embedded in that question lies the simplicity and potency of Showing Up.”

Eric West’s adventures began as a college exchange student in London, England. He went on to become a school teacher in Tokyo, Japan. Later as a captain in the billion dollar mega-yacht industry, he visited exotic destinations via luxury yachts most landlubbers only saw on the cover of glossy travel magazines. But his dream was to one day visit Mt. Everest. Armed with no climbing experience, he showed up in Nepal. Within days he met a Dutch climbing guide he would later marry. Their high-altitude romance set in motion plans to climb the flanks of Everest together the following year.

Again, Eric: “The book was written to serve as the centerpiece for speaking events: Keynotes, corporate events, motivation speeches. Penning the book was a chance to share the Showing Up message with a global audience; Your dreams are important. Your dreams deserve your time. Nothing takes the place of your presence. And Showing Up works.”

I’ve never really considered climbing Mount Everest, but Eric’s book made me feel I could do that if I really wanted to. If nothing else, his inside look at high altitude climbing made me feel as though I was already there.

2. Churches are often called “sanctuaries,” but the experience of or R.L. (Rebecca) Moatz and her son was just the opposite. In “It Happened in a Lutheran Church,” she writes with heartfelt candor about how rumors about her son not only affected both their lives, but carved an ugly split in the congregation that had once nurtured them. This is a personal story, but also a cautionary tale about how churches are not immune to rumor, gossip and conflict.

R. L. Moatz grew up in rural Pennsylvania. A series of challenges have led her to reinvent herself many times to meet the needs of her family. She has worked in medical, technical and creative fields and brings the sum of her experiences to her writing. With a unique balance of empathy and understanding to offer the reader, she now heals others with her words and brings a fresh perspective to some of the more difficult life situations.

NEWS & NOTES:

1. From Katie Andraski, author of “The River Caught Sunlight”:

“My book was featured on Ereader News Today’s Book of the Day last week and I’ve never, ever seen my stats on Amazon so good. In Kindle ebooks category of Religion and Spirituality I’m at 330 for Author Rank. And 911 for books for Religion and Spirituality (Author Rank). (These may not seem fabulous to you, but to me, a year after the book has been out, with minimal publicity, it’s huge.) It only cost 60$ to do this promotion and they presented my book very nicely.

2. For those of you who might be considering a trailer video, here’s a particularly effective one (I thought) by Kate Sebeny, one of our Snowflakes in a Blizzard writers :

Book trailer

1. The Last Best Thing

 

 

NOTE: PLEASE VISIT OUR OTHER CURRENTLY FEATURED BOOK, “HANNAH DELIVERED,” BY ELIZABETH JARRETT ANDREW, BY SCROLLING DOWN BELOW THIS POST.

BOOK: “The Last Best Thing.”

PUBLISHED IN: 2015

THE AUTHOR: Kate Sebeny

THE EDITOR: Kate Sebeny

THE PUBLISHER: Kellen Publishing

SUMMARY: Sam and Sarah are the elderly owners of a farm in central Iowa that turns into a private retirement community when it also becomes home to a disabled friend, a destitute neighbor and a recent retiree. Married nearly 50 years, Sam is a former lawyer suffering from congestive heart failure. But he knows there’s nothing wrong with his wife’s heart. Sarah is an ex-English teacher and a resourceful farm wife who flinches at nothing in the service of those she loves. She’s also a “murderer.”

Sarah’s “victim” is a lifelong friend more full of mischief than life. He comes to spend his remaining days with Sam and Sarah when it’s clear those days are numbered by a painful degenerative bone disease. Determined to commit suicide while still physically capable of it, he bargains with Sarah to postpone his plan by extracting from her a promise to “help” him when the time comes. He argues that her assistance would constitute an act of mercy similar to that she performed for her cancer-riddled old dog; it would be “the last best thing” she could do for her friend.

Betty is another member of this “home away from the old folks’ home” who ultimately becomes involved in the logistical and moral complications of Joe’s death. Willfully blind, eternally optimistic, and afflicted with a host of endearing quirks, this breast-cancer survivor and former nurse moves in with her neighbors Sam and Sarah when she loses her own farm paying for her husband’s Alzheimer’s-related nursing home expenses. Along with Betty comes her daughter, Libby, who leaves a job and husband she dislikes to help care for a father she despises.

As the realization of a longtime, commonsense-defying goal, Henry, a successful artist, moves from Amsterdam to join his old college friends – and Betty, for whom he cherishes a special fondness.

Together, this group of old friends and new lovers confronts the hardships and disappointments of old age and infirmity with courage, humanity and humor. Until a threat to their close-knit community arrives in the form of a home healthcare nurse sent to check up on Joe. Miserable in her personal and professional life, Renee is at first charmed out of her bitterness by inclusion in the old folks’ loving fun. So much so that, even when she accidentally discovers Joe’s fate, Renee’s initial reaction is one of envy for the grace she imagines Joe’s life to have been blessed with.

But later, the increasingly heavy burden of “her senile uncle, her loser son, menopause, car problems, and her alternately charming and vile ex-husband” gets on Renee’s last nerve. In desperation, she appeals to the aging community of friends and bribes them to take her demented uncle into their household. When that doesn’t work, Renee threatens to reveal her knowledge of Joe’s death. Through blackmail, she demands that the old folks “take care of” her uncle – one way or another.

As soon as Sarah accepts sole responsibility as Joe’s “killer,” everyone – Libby, Sam, Betty and Henry (who wasn’t even physically in the state of Iowa at the time of Joe’s death) – defuse Sarah’s admission with their own contradictory “confessions.” In the process of deciding how far to go for a friend, the characters of this “geriatric Big Chill” discover their own truest selves.

THKate SebenyE BACK STORY: I moved next door to my best friends, so there was no longer any separation of households; it was all one big happy family. One evening over gin-tonics on one front porch or another, we kicked around the scenario of a “deaf haven,” a play of words on the title of a book I’d written, Deaf Heaven. This deaf haven would be populated by us as geezers decades hence, future debilities leaving us hard of hearing or otherwise, still living cooperatively, still drinking gin-tonics on the porch.

WHY THIS TITLE? I had recently had to put my cancer-riddled old dog down, knowing it was the last best thing I could do for my old friend. This question also speaks to the back story in that I reflected long and hard on what a shame it is humans aren’t legally accorded the same mercy at the end of our lives. It wasn’t long after the writing of this story that my significant other, who was dying of congestive heart failure, chose to be proactive and meet death on his own terms.

WHY YOU WOULD WANT TO READ IT: Naturally, I write books I’d want to read myself. (The irony here is that authors are the only people who can’t read their books for the first time.) I subscribe to Toni Morrison’s philosophy: “If there’s a book that you want to read but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.”

The elements this book contains are those that appeal most to me as a reader. Dark as the subject matter might be at times, it’s very funny in places. The story is just like life, only more meaningful. The characters—even the “villain”—are engaging and easy to relate to. And I’m always a sucker for evocative description.

REVIEW COMMENTS:

Grady Harp, for Amazon: “This is one surprisingly fine debut!… [Kate’s] way with dialogue is unpretentious, at times hilarious while at other times desperately sensitive that the mouths and minds of her characters speak in a fashion that makes them and their status wholly credible…. Treat yourself to one of the more refreshing new authors to be published this year. Think AM Holmes, Alice Hoffman, Sue Monk Kidd, Joyce Carol Oates, Annie Proulx. And now remember to read Kate Sebeny.”

Trudi LoPreto, for Readers’ Favorite: “The Last Best Thing is not like any other book I have ever read. It touched things in my own life that are a natural part of growing old with humor, wisdom and love. Kate Sebeny has written a story that will make you cry, make you laugh, and make you say what if. I highly recommend this book to all… you will not want to put it down until the very last page.”

Sophia Carleton, UK reviewer: “Quirky. Heartwarming. Uplifting. Not normally words you’d associate with a story about euthanasia, the ravages of age and terminal illness. Yet that’s exactly what I was left with after reading The Last Best Thing…. There’s real potential here for this novella to become a full blown novel. However, it is damn near perfect as it is: a bite-size treat of thought provoking escapism to the American Midwest.”

AUTHOR PROFILE: Born in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, I earned my bachelor’s degree at the University of Iowa and my master’s at Iowa State University. I’ve taught undergraduate writing at two universities, and been editor of a local newspaper and at a national magazine. I’m the recipient of several grants and awards for my writing. I’ve also renovated every place I’ve lived, including the historical Madison County jailhouse in Winterset, Iowa. Along with three dogs and three cats, I call my current rehab project on the Des Moines River home.

AUTHOR COMMENTS: As I mentioned earlier, The Last Best Thing is an issue-driven story about end-of-life decisions. The news is full of right-to-die items, but I wanted to give the debate a personal face. At some point(s), everyone’s life is bound to be touched to some extent by this dilemma. The book’s characters show us one way to confront such inevitable circumstances with humanity, grace and humor. And that is together, helping one another through times of trouble.

SAMPLE CHAPTER: (LINK) http://www.amazon.com/Last-Best-Thing-Kate-Sebeny-ebook/dp/B00WQ4OT2S/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1436036807&sr=1-1&keywords=sebeny

WHERE TO BUY IT: Kellan Publishing, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo

PRICE: $3 – $7 for digital edition, $10 – $16 for print edition

CONTACT THE AUTHOR: Website: http://www.KateSebeny.com Email: katesebeny@gmail.com

Instagram: katesebeny

Twitter: KateSebeny

LinkedIn: Kate Sebeny

Publisher’s website: http://kellanpublishing.com/index.php/authors/kate-sebeny/

2. Hannah, Delivered

PUBLISHElizabeth Jarrett AndrewED IN: 2014.

THE AUTHOR: Elizabeth Jarrett Andrew

THE EDITOR: Joe Coccaro.

THE PUBLISHER: Koehler Books.

SUMMARY:  Late one night in a busy St. Paul hospital, a nurse midwife drags Hannah Larson out from behind her reception desk to assist with a birth.  When Hannah witnesses that baby tumble into the world, her secure, conventional life gets upended by a fierce desire to deliver babies.  So begins Hannah’s journey away from her comfort zone. In a midwifery apprenticeship in New Mexico, she befriends a male midwife, defends a teenage mom, and learns to trust women’s bodies, then moves back to Minnesota to start her own illicit birth practice.  Hannah’s need to stay safe proves both an asset and a liability: homebirth isn’t legal in Minnesota in the 1990’s; to deliver healthy babies, Hannah risks jail time, her community’s respect, and her career.  The key to unlocking her fear rests in one birth—her own. Hannah, Delivered tells the story of how inexplicable passion, buried strength, and professional skill deliver one woman from fear into a rich and risk-filled life.

THE BACK STHannah, DeliveredORY: My sister is a homebirth midwife in New Mexico.  I admire her and her colleagues tremendously.  They get to kneel at the entrance to life, which is a mysterious and wondrous place.  They also have to face the possibility of death, witness tremendous pain, and open their hearts to the breadth of human relationships.  Midwives tend to be earthy and wise in ways few people are anymore.  They must have profound faith in women’s bodies. It was this last fact that hooked me.  I’m interested in faith in all its forms, and midwives work with an intriguing, countercultural form of faith.  I wanted to explore how this faith might work and set it next to traditional, Christian faith to see what the differences are.  Maybe I also secretly want to become a midwife but know that’s completely impossible.  So I lived out that fantasy by writing Hannah’s story!

WHY THIS TITLE?:  Even though the novel contains lots of birth stories, the most important are Hannah’s literal birth and her birth into life as a midwife, faithful to women’s wisdom.

WHY SOMEONE WOULD WANT TO READ IT: Lots of people like this book because they love reading birth stories.  What I think makes this book unique, though, is its exploration of faith outside the boundaries of traditional religion.

REVIEW COMMENTS:

“Nothing is more important than how we are born. And this engrossing novel takes you right into the heart and soul of this primal experience.” –Christiane Northrup, M.D., ob/gyn physician and author of the New York Times bestseller, Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom

“Unflinchingly honest, a gripping novel that explores the emotional and spiritual dimensions of natural birth.” — Jennifer Margulis, author of The Business of Baby

“Hannah, Delivered delivers the goods. Compelling, controversial, thought provoking and beautifully written, I could not put it down.” –Patricia Harman, author of The Midwife of Hope RiverThe Blue Cotton Gown: A Midwife’s Memoir, and Arms Wide Open: A Midwife’s Journey

“Hannah, Delivered documents Hannah’s trajectory from midwife wanna-be to solo practitioner with grace, veracity, heart, and passion.” –Peggy Vincent, author of Baby Catcher: Chronicles of a Modern Midwife
AUTHOR PROFILE: Elizabeth Jarrett Andrew writes, loves, teaches, and urban homesteads in South Minneapolis.  When she’s not chasing her gregarious daughter around the neighborhood or dancing with her partner, she’s doing her best to support the spiritual life of writers.  Her books are Swinging on the Garden Gate:  A Spiritual Memoir (Skinner House Books), Writing the Sacred Journey:  The Art and Practice of Spiritual Memoir (Skinner House Books), On the Threshold:  Home, Hardwood, and Holiness (Westview Press), and the novel, Hannah, Delivered (Koehler Books).  You can connect with Elizabeth at www.spiritualmemoir.com and www.elizabethjarrettandrew.com.

AUTHOR COMMENTS: “On the one hand, I feel like I haven’t strayed at all from spiritual memoir.  Hannah is really a fictionalized spiritual memoir.  I wanted to explore spiritual terrain that was beyond my personal experience. On the other hand, I am floored by how difficult it was to write and publish this book.  From conception to print, Hannah took me twelve years.  I traveled a steep learning curve.  And now that it’s out in the world, I feel far more exposed than I ever did with my memoirs or essays—which says a lot, since Swinging on the Garden Gate is about coming out bisexual.  Hannah feels like I’m dreaming out loud.  The whole public can analyze my psyche!”

SAMPLE CHAPTER: On Amazon.

LOCAL OUTLETS: 

Hannah, Delivered can be ordered at your local bookstore or online.

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

PRICE: Varies.

CONTACT THE AUTHOR. Find Contact information at www.spiritualmemoir.com
or www.elizabethjarrettandrew.com

1. Clog!


PUBLISHED IDan Smith head shotN
: 2014.

THE AUTHOR:  Dan Smith.

THE EDITOR: Several

THE PUBLISHER: Square D (self-pub).

SUMMARY: Coming of age story of a high school senior whose family has fractured and he finds himself at a new school in the isolated mountains of North Carolina. He is a good athlete, so fitting in is not a major problem. He is recruited for the nationally-prominent square dance team (winner of three national championships) because mononucleosis has decimated the squad and he adjusts well, loving the sport.

The book concentrates on Eb McCourry’s adjustment and growth in light of a number of challenges. He faces violence, pedophilia, uncertainty about his future, his first love, the poverty of his past and finds inspiration in a crusty old coach who takes him under his wing.

It is a book with strong women characters (the square dance coach is based on the legendary Kay Wilkins, who died recently) and pits country vs. city, wealth vs. poverty, heritage vs. ambition.

THE BACK STORY: CLOG! is based on a true story, one I witnessed as a senior in high school. I researched it through newspaper and school files, talking to coaches and former dancers and the first draft required 28 days to write and a year to rewrite, rewrite, rewrite.

WHY THIS TITLE?: My young grandgirl told her friend Gracie when CLOG! came out, “My pampa has a new book called CLOG! And it’s not about what happens to the toilet.”

WHY YOU WOULD WANT TO READ IT: Heavy action (football and square dance, a violent father and one of the football players), good love story, politics of the times, feminist angle, good feel for 1963 and for the people and “place” of the mountains of North Carolina.


Clog  2!COMMENTS: 
Author Joe Hill, recently tweeted, ‘Coming up with fresh story ideas is an overvalued skill. Coming up with fresh ways to telling them is an undervalued skill.’ In CLOG! author Dan Smith has managed to achieve both.” William Wallace.

CLOG! does what great fiction should do: take you away from your life for a while. In this case, you’re in for a fun ride! ” Janeson Keeley.

“Dan Smith captures time and place through details and action. It was a nice trip back to that era. … CLOG! is a moving, inspiring and entertaining story.” Judy Ayyildiz (40 Thorns)

This is a great read. The author brings to life the rare and precious world of competitive dancing in the mountains of North Carolina a half century ago.” Roland Lazenby (Michael Jordan: The Life)

“Loved the story and every page of this book. It is a must read for anyone who grew up in the 60s, as well as anyone curious about that time. I should be embarrassed to say that one of my criteria for a good book is, would this make a great movie! And yes, yes, yes, this would! Eb is an unforgettable character.” Daph (internet reviewer)

AUTHOR PROFILE: This was my first novel and, after 50 years as a journalist, it was a college education. I wrote the first draft in a heartbeat (the story’s been hanging there since I was a teenager), then found out what writing a novel means. I have never worked so hard, nor been so thoroughly gratified by a project before and I still have a great deal to learn about the genre. A great deal. But I’m happy with CLOG! because, first, it was the story I wanted to tell about the people I love and respect. It is a story about my heritage, about a culture that is struggling to survive and about the dignity of the mountain people of North Carolina.

AUTHOR COMMENTS: As I mentioned, this is a story about greed vs. culture; rich vs. poor; city vs. country; ambition vs. heritage. It is about young women and young men learning who they are at a time (1963) of great transition in our country. It is a story of preservation and struggle and ultimate triumph.

SAMPLE CHAPTER: On Amazon page.

WHERE TO BUY IT: Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Clog-Novel-Dan-Smith/dp/149377218X/ref=sr_1_5_twi_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1418596500&sr=1-5&keywords=clog!+paperback Createspace: https://www.createspace.com/4526454

PRICE: Free Kindle download for AmazonPrime subscribers; otherwise $3.99 Kindle, $15 paperback.

CONTACT THE AUTHOR: pampadansmith@gmail.com