Passage Oak

 

THE BOOK: Passage Oak

PUBLISHED IN: December, 2015

THE AUTHOR: K.M. del Mara

THE EDITOR: K.M. del Mara

THE PUBLISHER: K.M. del Mara

SUMMARY: High above the coast of Cornwall, a remarkable tree dominates the woodland. It stands out because it is the only oak of its type and larger than any other tree. Down the ages, it has served as a landmark for thieves and smugglers, lovers and outlaws.

In the small village below, people have a rather obsessive dread of anything that stands out, that doesn’t fit the mold. They like to keep to themselves and don’t like to see their traditions threatened.

But along comes an Italian and then an Irishman, each escaping religious persecution in his native country. A young woman and a small boy follow, fleeing the French Revolution, plus a stranger running from a charge of murder, and a girl of mixed race sent by mistake from a London orphanage.

Imagine this motley assortment of people seeking to build new lives in one hard-pressed fishing village.

THE BACK STORY: Passage Oak is part of a series of books that deal with some of the ways people respond to war. Do they stand and fight, as portrayed in Whitebeam, set in Scotland in Robert the Bruce’s time? Do they flee for their lives, as a Loyalist family does on the eve of the American Revolution in Willow Oak? Or, as in Passage Oak, do they look for opportunities to profit from the chaos? The struggling fishermen and miners provide a subtext as they try to bring the giving and taking of opportunities into balance.

WHY THIS TITLE?: An ancient oak tree stands as a landmark near a small Cornish fishing village. It not only symbolizes the singular, or the unique, as opposed to the status quo. It is also a metaphor for acceptance and tolerance, as it plays host, throughout its life and beyond, to a vast variety of life forms.

WHY SOMEONE WOULD WANT TO READ IT?: This is historical fiction with more emphasis on story than history, and nearly everyone loves a good story. It is a story that “happens” in an interesting time and place but could have happened anywhere and anywhen. It is more relevant to today’s world than I could have imagined when I began to write it several years ago.

REVIEW COMMENTS:

Amazon reviews for Passage Oak

1-Delmara sets us securely in time and place to experience the struggles that beset strangers in a strange land. The mystery lies at the intersection of those lives where the drive for survival takes on epic proportions. With a tempo that accelerates to the finale, Delmara keeps the reader’s head spinning in ironic twists of fate and the chaos of lives bent on establishing a place in the world.

2-A beautifully written story that takes place in Cornwall in the early 1800’s. Del Mara brings her wonderfully developed characters to life, thoroughly researching the time period and geography and sharing their riveting stories with us.

3-I loved it and couldn’t put it down!
 
AUTHOR PROFILE: I’m also a violinist

AUTHOR COMMENTS: I’d be very grateful if you would post this on your lovely book site.

SAMPLE CHAPTER:
https://www.createspace.com/pub/member/create.preview.do?id=1188127
Password to open the file: bridgE2hØpE
(The ‘O’ in hope is a zero.

LOCAL OUTLETS: soon to be in our County library

WHERE ELSE TO BUY IT: Ingram, Amazon
(Smashwords eventually)

PRICE: $15.99, $3.99 Kindle

CONTACT THE AUTHOR:
kmdelmara@hotmail.com
www.kmdelmara.com

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Weather Report, April 11

OUR CURRENTLY FEATURED BOOKS, “STEELE SECRETS,” BY ANDI CUMBO-FLOYD AND “WE DARE NOT WHISPER,” BY JAN NETOLICKY, CAN BE FOUND BY SCROLLING DOWN BELOW THIS POST, ALONG WITH THE FIRST TUESDAY REPLAY FOR APRIL.

——————————————————————-

UPCOMING ON SNOWFLAKES IN A BLIZZARD, WEEK OF APRIL 12-18.

One of the goals of Snowflakes in a Blizzard has always been to showcase international authors, and this week’s offerings provide a perfect example.

Marina Rubin, author of “Stealing Cherries,” was born and spent part of her childhood in  the Ukraine — so even though her collection of flash fiction stories is largely set in the U.S, her European roots obviously inform what she writes. Moreover, many of the characters she created are immigrants.

Meanwhile, Tracy Black has produced a searing memoir of parental sexual abuse, “Never a Hero To Me,” that takes place in multiple European countries. And “Passage Oak,” by K.M. del Mara, is set in the picturesque English region of Cornwall.

Which, of course, is the wonderful thing about books. No one has the time to travel everywhere, but reading is a wonderful way of experiencing other places without needing frequent flyer miles.

Enjoy.

“PASSAGE OAK,” BY K.M. DEL MARA.

High above the coast of Cornwall, a remarkable tree dominates the woodland. It stands out because it is the only oak of its type and larger than any other tree. Down the ages, it has served as a landmark for thieves and smugglers, lovers and outlaws.

In the small village below, people have a rather obsessive dread of anything that stands out, that doesn’t fit the mold. They like to keep to themselves and don’t like to see their traditions threatened.

But along comes an Italian and then an Irishman, each escaping religious persecution in his native country. A young woman and a small boy follow, fleeing the French Revolution, plus a stranger running from a charge of murder, and a girl of mixed race sent by mistake from a London orphanage.

Imagine this motley assortment of people seeking to build new lives in one hard-pressed fishing village.

“STEALING CHERRIES,” BY MARINA RUBIN

Marina writes: “I had written three books of poetry and the last one had surpassed even my own expectations in terms of craft. I called it “Logic”. But when it came out no one cared, poetry was like a corset, constricting and archaic. I made the only logical decision – not to write again.

I roamed the city looking for meaning, for a new kind of logic, reading quotes from miniature books in the gardening section until I stumbled on a line from Joseph Campbell “the goal of life is to make your heartbeat match the beat of the universe.” I looked around, the year was 2007, what was happening in the universe? Facebook. The IPhone just came out. The screen got so much smaller. The attention span shrunk to a couple of hundred words. That’s when it hit me – I am going to write desperately short stories, 300 words or so, a mini Babel, a shrunken Chekhov, it will have a plot and a conflict.

I remembered the lesson I learned in my creative writing class – in order to write well, write what you know. What did I know? A family of five arrive from Ukraine with no English and two suitcases per person. College boys celebrate their first Shabbat and the two schlimazels forget to turn off the lights. Young women looking for love at the ESL classes, The book, Stealing Cherries, practically wrote itself.

“NEVER A HERO TO ME,” BY TRACY BLACK

Writes Tracy: “Following the publication of Never a Hero to Me, the response was unprecedented. I didn’t expect any feedback but I took my time in conversing with the readers. Some just needed a listening ear and others requested information on groups and forums. Survivors of childhood sexual abuse never ‘get over it’ and triggers and flashbacks are a life time reminder. Some of those I spoke to didn’t/couldn’t cope with their past so I decided to help and present them with a book that details how other survivors find ways to cope. This is great timing because Coping Mechanisms is due to be published very soon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Steele Secrets

OUR OTHER FEATURED BOOK, “WE DARE NOT WHISPER,” BY JAN NETOLICKY, CAN BE FOUND BY SCROLLING DOWN BELOW THIS POST, ALONG WITH THE FIRST TUESDAY REPLAY.

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THE BOOK: Steele Secrets

PUBLISHED IN: 2016


THE AUTHOR:
  Andi Cumbo-Floyd

THE EDITOR
: Laurie Jensen

THE PUBLISHER
: Independently Published Through CreateSpace.

SUMMARY:  When Mary Steele mysteriously finds herself in an old cemetery down the road from her house in a tiny mountain town, she’s not concerned. She’s not even frightened when a ghost named Moses approaches her, or when she has a standoff with a bulldozer. But when her inquiries into the history of the cemetery and the people buried there begin to draw out the worst in the members of her community, Mary begins to be afraid. Will she be able to recover history while keeping the people she loves safe?

Steele Secrets is a story of American history and racism, slavery and family, and the way mystery can lead us to healing. While completely fictional,the book is drawn from real life events where cemeteries have been destroyed – or under threat – because people do not know who is buried in them or do not care. Whether the cemeteries are in urban neighborhoods or in rural countryside, many slave cemeteries in particular and African American cemeteries in specific are under threat.  These themes, historical and current events, and questions about whose responsibility it is to save these historic places are drawn together in the novel.

THE BACK STORY: The idea for Mary Steele’s story came to me after I visited ther cemetery at Neriah Baptgist Church in Buena Vista, VA. Some of my husband’s ancestors are buried there, so we had gone to visit the beautiful graveyard. In the cemetery, I saw several unmarked graves, and I knew that those stones could mark the graves of slaves, people who had been considered the property of other people in that area.

When I got musing about that idea and took what I knew from my work as a historian of slavery, I began to build a story about a slave cemetery under threat . . . and that’s how Mary Steele’s voice reached me.
The book is based on many years work researching, writing about, and working to recover and save the stories and places that were part of the lived experience of enslaved people.  It took me a full year to write the book and then another three months to revise it from third-person to first-person point of view.
WHY THIS TITLE? The book got its title from its protagonist and narrator, Mary Steele, and her name is taken from my husband’s great-great grandmother, whose maiden name was Steele.
The secrets part? Well, that comes up because Mary quickly learns that a lot of people in her hometown have lots of secrets – secrets that have been kept purposely hidden and also things that are secret because of the nature of American history.
REVIEWS:

 

“Here’s what I know: Ghosts don’t show up for just anybody.

When it comes to fiction, it’s important to me that an author do her research—and Andi Cumbo-Floyd shined bright in this area. There’s so much history in this book, so I truly commend her for presenting it beautifully.

Mary Steele is definitely a heroine after my own heart because of her courage—something that young adult readers need more of. While in a cemetery, Mary meets Moses, a ghost with a past. The cemetery is supposed to be bulldozed; but as Mary uncovers the secrets of the cemetery, she knows she has to put a stop to it . . . as well as finding justice for those long gone.

“From the moment I met 17 year old Mary Steele, the heroine of Andi Cumbo-Floyd’s new novel Steele Secrets, I wanted to know more about her. This is a young woman of uncommon intelligence and integrity, of gentle courage and a strong heart filled with deeply sensitive emotions. Through a series of strange-but-true circumstances, Mary is moved to take a stand against racism and injustice in the small town she calls home. True to her name she demonstrates nerves of steel as she uses her intelligence and her determination to prevent the town from destroying an old and forgotten cemetery, one that holds the remains of slaves from a local plantation.” — Becca Rowan.

“Cumbo-Floyd has woven so many lovely themes throughout this book, one that she is marketing for young adults, but one this definitely older adult could not put down. These themes are vitally important for people of all ages: appreciation of our heritage, tolerance for those who are different, honoring the past, learning from our mistakes, and combatting evil with good. This would be a great book for classroom reading, or for families to read together, with much to think about and discuss.”

“Steele Secrets was a completely un-put-downable story, and inspired more than a few tears along the way. I’m so glad I got to know Mary Steele, and I’d love to read more about her and where life might take her next. Somehow, I have a feeling wherever it is and whatever she does, she’ll make it matter.”

“A secret calls out to Mary Steele. And as she follows, it opens up an unexpected world of history and danger as Mary and her friends struggle to integrate a new-found history, both hopeful and terrifying, into their small-town world.

This story addresses racial history and the legacy of slavery in a way that’s honest and constructive without ever preaching or convicting. Reading Mary’s story not only entertained me, but also helped me to better understand history and have a greater empathy and understanding for racial issues in our culture today.”
A young girl finds herself confronting racism and prejudice as she uncovers town secrets long buried …and meant to stay buried. Steele Secrets provides excellent prompts for conversations on the legacy of slavery, racism, life after death, and even gender issues. The author weaves history and genealogical research techniques throughout the well researched book. The twists and turns of the plot kept me reading deep into the wee hours of the night. The characters (past and present!) are likeable and the dialogue is believable.”

“I have appreciated Andi Cumbo-Floyd’s previous books and was looking forward to this one, despite the change of style. I was not disappointed. Because while this is not the same kind of book that Andi has written before, it was still one that reflected her kind heart and her desire for racial reconciliation.

“Andi created a cast of strong female characters, which was my favorite aspect of this book. Mary Steele is a relatable, kind teenage girl who can just happen to talk to a ghost. She discovers that a local slave cemetery is about to be bulldozed, and she, along with her mother, friends, and other people in her town, work to save it. I appreciated that while help came in many forms, the women in the book didn’t need to be rescued, but were able to stand on their own feet to do the necessary work.

“I loved the end of the book in particular. It didn’t have the kind of resolution that one might expect, but I felt like it was honest and true, and that resonates more with me than anything else.

“Andi doesn’t back away from the harsh realities of what it meant to own people as property, and how this still has an impact on the way that many view race relations today. But she also included much hope in the narrative, and that hope allows us to accept things that are still not as we might want them to be.” — Alice Chaffins.

AUTHOR PROFILE: I’m an writer, an editor, and a farmer, and my husband and I steward a beautiful 15-acres at the edge of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains.  I write in the former summer kitchen, where an enslaved woman once cooked for the people who owned our house, and when I’m not writing, I help care for our 4 dogs, 4 cats, 6 goats, and 22 chickens.  My other books include The Slaves Have Names and Writing Day In and Day Out, and folks can get information about those books over at my website, andilit.com.

AUTHOR COMMENTS: My first hope with anything I write is that it captures the imagination and the heart of the reader. If I do that, everything else is just cake.  But in this book, of course, I’m also hoping people become more aware of the threat to enslaved people’s burial places, and I’m hoping that people come to see that racism – as much as we wish it wasn’t so – is still quite alive and well and active today.  Perhaps, Mary Steele’s voice will echo with her readers for a while, and perhaps they will love her and come to love who and what she loves.

SAMPLE CHAPTER: Readers can download the first chapter right here on my site – andilit.com/steele-secrets. 

LOCAL OUTLETS: Locally in Virginia, the book is available at Fork Union Pharmacy and the Fork Union Village Restaurant.

WHERE ELSE TO BUY IT: IndieBound, Amazon, Barnes & noble, Kobo, iBooks, and Smashwords

PRICE: $9.99

CONTACT THE AUTHOR: I’d love to hear from people. I can be found over on Facebook, on Twitter, or through my website, andilit.com.

 

 

 

 

 

We Dare Not Whisper

THE BOOK: We Dare Not Whisper

PUBLISHED IN: December 2015

THE AUTHOR: Jan Netolicky

THE PUBLISHER: Brick Mantel Books

SUMMARY:  Luce Garrison narrates the unraveling of her stoic Midwestern family: a mother plagued by bipolar disorder, a father guilt-ridden by his inability to confront his wife’s descent into madness, and Luce’s own unassailable conviction that she can never be as loved as the brothers she has lost.

As a child, Luce often lingered over albums of glossy photographs, longing to be just like her lovely, enigmatic mother. But images frozen for an instant could not capture the lightless depression and manic bouts of frenzied activity which demonized Bets Garrison. Luce does not know the depths of her mother’s undiagnosed mental illness. Her only certainty? She is an inadequate substitute for the older brother who was stillborn just three months after her parents’ marriage.

After giving birth to Jonny, eleven years Luce’s junior, Bets develops an obsessive, disturbing devotion which trumps every other relationship in the Garrison home. Although Luce tries to minimize the gulf, she is excluded from the smothering attention her mother lavishes upon Jonny. Caught in a void, she can neither be loving sister nor cherished daughter. She can only be in the way.

THE BACK STORY: Here, art imitates life. An acquaintance suffered a personal tragedy, and the resulting grief exposed the individual’s previously undiagnosed bipolar disorder.

WHY THIS TITLE: The title comes from a line in the book: “Silence is a lie we dare not whisper.” Those folks with a family member suffering from a mental disorder may be in denial about their loved one’s condition, or they may face the stigma of negative public perception, so they retreat into silence. Silence is usually an unhealthy reaction to a destructive situation. We can’t afford to keep quiet about mental illness; in fact, we need to be very vocal advocates for those who struggle.

WHY SOMEONE WOULD WANT TO READ IT: Bipolar disorder affects nearly 6 million people in the US alone. It knows no boundaries; anyone could be afflicted. I think readers will be able to empathize with the Garrisons because they could be the family next door . . . or the people living under the same roof.

REVIEW COMMENTS:

“Jan Netolicky’s We Dare Not Whisper is a haunting, yet touching, paean to the beauties and complexities of familial relationships. With sharply written, heartfelt prose, Netolicky explores one family’s unthinkable tragedy coupled with a mother’s underlying mental illness, which ultimately comes into full bloom toward the novel’s climax. Netolicky, however, is able to pull all this off without a jot of sentimentality—the mark of all great writing. In this poignant and timeless novel, the Garrisons feel as though they could be your own family, and they will without a doubt stay with you long after you turn the final page.” —David Armand, author of The Gorge, Harlow, and The Pugilist’s Wife

“We Dare Not Whisper is an excellent work with breathing characters, high emotionality, and smart, good language. . . . with the emotional impact reminiscent of We Were the Mulvaneys by Joyce Carol Oates.”  —David Rhodes, author of Driftless (winner of the Milkweed Prize) and Jewelweed

“Incredibly moving. Quite simply, one of the best books I’ve read. The story, the characters, and the setting ring so true. I have tears in my eyes as I write this.” — Peggy H., Goodreads Reader

AUTHOR PROFILE:  We Dare Not Whisper is my first novel for adults, but writing has been at the core of my professional life. I completed my undergraduate program at Upper Iowa University and earned my Master’s degree in English Education at Northeast Missouri State. In addition to the thousands of comments jotted in the margins of student essays, I’ve written for a variety of purposes and audiences, including free-lance work for local businesses, university alumni papers, and amateur theatrical productions. Primarily, I’ve spent 24 years sharing my love of reading and writing with hundreds of students.

The Skipworth Summer, my novel for young adults, was published in 2012. Now, I am delighted to introduce We Dare Not Whisper.

I live with my husband in Robins, IA, where my favorite pursuits include spending time with my children and grandchildren, enjoying spirited discussions with the women of Serendipity Book Club, writing, playing Mah Jongg, and volunteering for Gems of Hope, an organization supporting those suffering from cancer.

AUTHOR COMMENTS: Writing a book is a bit like birthing a baby. Initially, the creative process is a lot of fun, but those months of waiting for the big production can be fraught with doubt. Then, after delivery, you breathe a sigh of relief and pray everyone thinks you’ve engineered the most breathtaking thing on Earth. If We Dare Not Whisper does not rise to those lofty heights, I’m just hoping no one notices my baby’s ears stick out too much!

SAMPLE CHAPTER:

Remembering.

All those mornings I ran the shower, hot and long, until the bathroom mirror wept steam, clouding my reflection. I did not want to see evidence of Mother’s handiwork, see my eyes bruised from lack of sleep, see the lines that creased my forehead and etched parentheses of sorrow around my mouth. Bracing my arms on either side of the basin, I practiced what I would say to her if I could, snarling essays of anger composed and endlessly revised through the brutal night hours, never finding an attack cruel enough to match my pain.

My brown eyes blackened with the darkness of my rage. “How could you? What gives you the right?” Silent screams echoed in my head. “You bitch. You selfish bitch.”

Hollow words. Empty now. But then? Then, to give voice to those words would have been a relief. To fill my lungs with air, to feel my chest rise in righteous anger, to shriek the assault on my mother—surely, that would stop the bleeding, would salve the wound. Maybe, then, a scar might form, pink and puckered, a reminder I’d done battle and survived.

Everyone would see, of course. My scars rise in thick, ropy relief, marking each indignity I’ve ever suffered like a soldier’s medals worn to commemorate bravery. There’s the now-smoothed ridge from sixth grade when Debbie Halloran buckled my locked knees from behind. I fell awkwardly—as I do everything—slashing my right knee in an asymmetrical Z. Or the vestiges from the gym class volleyball game where I slammed my head against the wooden floor. My

memory convinces me I made a spectacular dig in response to a vicious spike, and the ensuing split lip and bloodied eyebrow were a fair exchange for the save. Others may have a different recollection, one in which my slow and clumsy feet tangle themselves in a comic pratfall, but they are my scars and I may attribute them to heroics if I choose.

The sad truth? I am no hero and silencing pain is not an act of valor. Silence is simply a lie we dare not whisper, and it doesn’t matter if we lie to save face or to hide the truth or to protect the ones we love. I will not be silent anymore. Not just for Mother and Dad, but for Jonny. And for my son.

It isn’t fair, you know, that Trey idolizes Jonny. My brother isn’t here. I am. But it doesn’t matter. Absent or not, Jonny is his hero. From the time he could walk, Trey mimicked Jonny’s every mannerism, perfecting the imitation until you could swear he was Jonny in miniature. Even now, when Trey pushes his hair back from his eyes or pulls up his T-shirt, exposing his belly so that he might wipe sweat from his eyes with the relatively clean underside of the fabric, I draw an involuntary breath and squint to make sure Jonny has not suddenly been shrunk to Trey’s three-foot-four frame. I see Jonny when Trey concentrates with single-minded ferocity, crinkling his brow, chewing his fingernail. I see Jonny when Trey sets his shoulders and crosses his arms in a rare show of defiance. And when Trey reluctantly succumbs to exhaustion after a day of chasing frogs and building stone towers in the garden, he channels Jonny’s characteristic stretch, lacing his fingers behind his neck and flexing his bent elbows back. Seeing him so posed, I could almost believe his arms have become angels’ wings. Does Jonny wear angels’ wings?

Had he earned that right in his twenty short years? Or is the cross where he died nothing more than an asterisk footnoting the epicenter of our family’s despair?

LOCAL OUTLETS: Next Page Books in the New Bo District

WHERE ELSE TO BUY IT: We Dare Not Whisper is available through the publisher (Brick Mantel Books), Amazon (paperback and Kindle), Smashwords, Google Play Books, Barnes & Noble, and iBooks

PRICE: Trade paperback sells for $15.95; eBook versions for $4.99. CONTACT THE AUTHOR: Visit my website at http://www.jannetolicky.com or via the publisher, Jennifer Geist at Brick Mantel Books

First Tuesday Replay, April 5

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. IF YOU’D LIKE TO LEARN MORE ABOUT ANY ONE OF THE BOOKS REVISITED HERE, SIMPLY CLICK ON THE “AUTHOR” PAGE, THEN ON THAT AUTHOR’S NAME.

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“MURDER ACROSS THE BORDER,” BY RICHARD STEINITZ. (FEATURED AUG. 21, 2015).

Yossi Abulafia, an Israeli policeman, is on reserve army duty, and is photographing antelopes instead of watching theespn

riously. After recovering, he discovers that during the collapse he has unwittingly taken a picture of what appears to be a murder – on the other side of the border.  As part of his duties he meets with the Palestinian delegation and discovers a connection to the shooter in Amsterdam, and to the murder in Jordan.  A series of incidents, shootings and diplomatic activity eventually lead to the unexpected solving of the crimes.

“INSIGHTS FROM INSIDE,” BY TOM GERDY. (FEATURED AUG. 21, 2015).

Writes Tom:The seed for this book was planted in 1967 in Little Falls, NJ. I was in a youth group that brought in two inmates to speak to us about their lives. The memory and images of that interaction are still as vivid in my head as if it happened minutes ago. In 2009 a friend shared a story about his high school buddy, BB, who was in prison for a long time on various drug charges. He was up for parole and my friend was trying to help him with that process. BB said that when he got out he wanted to help young people avoid the path he took by helping them make better decisions. That was the opening for the book idea I had in my “hip pocket”. We sent word back to BB telling him that he didn’t have to wait. He could start collecting letters from inmates now. BB started where he was incarcerated and then we networked around to three other prisons. We collected about 125 letters, many of which were from inmates who were still angry or still had a victim mentality. We eliminated those and ended up selecting 33 letters to include in the book.”

“BOOKED,” BY KAREN SWALLOW PRIOR. (FEATURED AUG. 25, 2015).

A life of books. A life of soul. Booked poignantly and humorously weaves the two, until you can’t tell one life from the other. Booked draws on classics like Great Expectations, delights such as Charlotte’s Web, the poetry of Hopkins and Donne, and more. This thoughtful, straight-up memoir will be pure pleasure for book-lovers, teachers, and anyone who has struggled to find a way to articulate the inexpressible through a love of story. This is a book about how books shaped one person’s heart, mind, and soul.

“SCANDAL IN THE SECRET CITY,” BY DIANNE FANNING. (FEATURED AUG. 25, 2015).

Libby Clark, a gutsy Bryn Mawr graduate, is determined to find her place as a scientist in a world where women are thought better suited to housework and marriage. As the only female scientist in the top secret facility, Libby is excited to begin what she believes is important government research.

She soon begins to suspect, however, that not all is as it seems. And to make matters worse, one frosty night she discovers the dead body of her roommate’s sister sprawled behind the bleachers. No one else seems to think finding the killer is important and it’s up to Libby to make sense of the situation. Aided by a band of like-minded scientists, Libby follows every possible lead until she comes to a shocking and unexpected conclusion.

“TALES FROM A MADMAN’S WIFE,” BY MARILYN MILLER SKYLAR. (FEATURED AUG. 28, 2015).

From Marilyn: “This memoir is primarily about the advertising and publishing career of my husband David Skylar. It also depicts the exciting prosperous years of the 50’s and 60’s and later, when new ideas and projects were developed following World War 2.

“I decided to write this book after I found a paragraph that my husband had written many years ago to give some biographical material to a group where he was to make a major talk. I realized then that he would probably write about his life at some point. Of course, this was not to be.A massive stroke got in the way of any creative renderings. Once I  began recreating his business career, I realized I stood beside him in many ways, and would therefore have to personalize his store more. It  took me a couple of years to complete.”

“OKLAHOMA GHOST DANCE,” BY JEFF WILSON. (FEATURED AUGUST 4, 2015).

Anthony Motavato’s life was shattered forever on the morning of April 19, 1995 when he lost his beautiful daughter. Unable to cope with his new reality, Anthony left town and has drifted on the lonely fringes of alcoholism in the years since the tragedy. Realizing his time is short, Anthony finally returns home to face the family he left behind. As he tries to regain his faith and make peace with the people that still love him, he is pulled into the tapestry of lies surrounding the deadliest act of domestic terrorism on United States soil. The only way he can find the forgiveness he seeks is by reliving it all over again. Oklahoma Ghost Dance takes you into the darkest places of imagination. From a plot born within the ashes of the Waco massacre, it slowly untangles historic events surrounding the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building bombing. Jeff Wilson, author of the highly acclaimed novel, Queen Anne’s Revenge, weaves a haunting story of love, heartbreak and redemption.

 

 

 

Weather Report, April 4

 

OUR CURRENTLY FEATURED BOOKS, “SIROCCO,” BY DANIELLE DAHL, “FATHER FLASHES,” BY TRICIA BAUER AND ‘MY DEAR WIFE AND CHILDREN,’ BY NICK K. ADAMS, CAN BE FOUND BY SCROLLING DOWN BELOW THIS POST.

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UPCOMING ON SNOWFLAKES IN A BLIZZARD, APRIL 5-11.

“STEELE SECRETS,” BY ANDI CUMBO-FLOYD.

When Mary Steele mysteriously finds herself in an old cemetery down the road from her house in a tiny mountain town, she’s not concerned. She’s not even frightened when a   ghost named Ms approaches her, or when she has a standoff with a bulldozer. But when her inquiries into the history of the cemetery and the people buried there begin to draw out the worst in the members of her community, Mary begins to be afraid. Will she be able to recover history while keeping the people she loves safe?

Steele Secrets is a story of American history and racism, slavery and family, and the way mystery can lead us to healing. While completely fictional,the book is drawn from real life events where cemeteries have been destroyed – or under threat – because people do not know who is buried in them or do not care. Whether the cemeteries are in urban neighborhoods or in rural countryside, many slave cemeteries in particular and African American cemeteries in specific are under threat.  These themes, historical and current events, and questions about whose responsibility it is to save these historic places are drawn together in the novel.

“WE DARE NOT WHISPER,” BY JAN NETOLICKY.

Luce Garrison narrates the unraveling of her stoic Midwestern family: a mother plagued by bipolar disorder, a father guilt-ridden by his inability to confront his wife’s descent into madness, and Luce’s own unassailable conviction that she can never be as loved as the brothers she has lost.

As a child, Luce often lingered over albums of glossy photographs, longing to be just like her lovely, enigmatic mother. But images frozen for an instant could not capture the lightless depression and manic bouts of frenzied activity which demonized Bets Garrison. Luce does not know the depths of her mother’s undiagnosed mental illness. Her only certainty? She is an inadequate substitute for the older brother who was stillborn just three months after her parents’ marriage.

After giving birth to Jonny, eleven years Luce’s junior, Bets develops an obsessive, disturbing devotion which trumps every other relationship in the Garrison home. Although Luce tries to minimize the gulf, she is excluded from the smothering attention her mother lavishes upon Jonny. Caught in a void, she can neither be loving sister nor cherished daughter. She can only be in the way.

FIRST TUESDAY REPLAY, APRIL 5

This month, we will revisit “Murder Across the Border,” by Richard Steinitz, “Insights From Inside,” by Tom Gerdy, “Booked,” by Karen Swallow Prior, “Scandal in the Secret City,” by Diane Fanning, “Tales From a Madman’s Wife,” by Marilyn Skylar Miller, and “Oklahoma Ghost Dance,” by Jeff Wilson.

 

 

Sirocco

OUR TWO OTHER FEATURED BOOKS, “FATHER FLASHES,” BY TRICIA BAUER AND “MY DEAR WIFE AND CHILDREN,” BY NICK ADAMS, CAN BE FOUND BY SCROLLING DOWN BELOW THIS POST.

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THE BOOK: Sirocco.

PUBLISHED IN: 2014.

THE AUTHOR: Danielle A. Dahl.

THE EDITOR: Critique Partners; Beta Readers; my agent, Amanda Wells; Mary Buckam, USA Today bestselling author; my publisher, Coffeetown Press.

THE PUBLISHER: Coffeetown Press, info@coffeetownpress.com. http://www.coffeetownpress.com

SUMMARY: The Algerian War of Independence begins in 1954, forever changing the lives of the French colonials, including 10-year-old Nanna and her family. The conflict lasts for 8 years, but despite the constant threat of terrorist attacks, Nanna confronts the usual challenges of growing up—helping to raise her spirited siblings, struggling with math, and defying her harsh father by falling in love.

THE BACK STORY:  Writing Sirocco was not an idea that suddenly popped out of nowhere, but a growing need to tell the stories of my growing up with my brothers and sisters, of our adventures and misadventures. A need to paint the breathtaking vistas of the land of my birth, share the uniqueness of its people, and recount the life of a French girl coming of age in a country torn by a war of independence

WHY THIS TITLE?  Sirocco is the searing wind that, in season, blows howling sand from the Sahara desert, scouring the landscapes of North Africa. It is presaged by grandiose fiery sunsets. Fire

that reflects the convictions, spirit, and pride of the men and women who struggled to keep the land their ancestors won through sacrifices and hard work.

WHY SOMEONE WOULD WANT TO READ IT:  Sirocco brings to its readers a view of a little-known part of world history and political environment, which presents so many parallels to our modern world of fear, repression and terrorism.

REVIEW COMMENTS:

“Sirocco is the riveting account of the author’s youth during the Algerian War for Independence (1954-1962), and it is the first English-language novel from the Pied-Noir community. Dahl paints a loving and nostalgic image of Algeria but does not spare the reader from the confusion, chaos and violence of war. The beauty of the text comes from the gradual shift in perspective from child to young adult as Nana begins to understand the complexity of the conflict in Constantine. Her cohesive story is smattered with French and Pied-Noir expressions, authentic scenes, and vivid descriptions of the characters in her life. She transports us to a traumatic period that has long been silenced in France and that has only begun to be uncovered in the last decade.” — Amy L. Hubbell, Lecturer in French, The University of Queensland

“Mesmerizing. Poignant. Bittersweet. Richly evocative writing that places you deep in the world of war-torn Algeria. A stunning debut author to watch.” — Mary Buckham, USA Today bestselling author

“With brilliant storytelling, we are drawn into the world of a French-Algerian family during the civil war. Lush language and skillful rendering of this world create a story you won’t be able to put down. Dahl’s memoir Sirocco teaches us about another culture and the history of a time and a place—and most of all, you will meet a family you will never forget.” — Linda Joy Myers, author of Power of Memoir and Don’t Call Me Mother

“Sirocco is a true gem. The story is original, different from so much out there now, and finely crafted as a good storyteller would. I learned about a part of the world I knew nothing about through the eyes of a child growing up in a world of conflict and beauty. A joy to read.”

“This book engaged my heart, my mind and made me think about things outside my own, comfortable little world. Somehow, Mrs. Dahl captures your attention and writes the novel in a very fluid manner, despite the unpredictability and instability, which was her childhood. Compelling and palpable.”

AUTHOR PROFILE: A fourth generation French settler in Algeria, Danielle A. Dahl was born and raised in Constantine, where she came of age during the Algerian War of Independence. A week before Algeria celebrated self-rule and just before Danielle turned eighteen, she and her family fled their home and took refuge in France. Eight years later, she moved to the United States, where she studied commercial art. She and her husband lived in Washington, D.C., Pennsylvania, and Illinois before retiring to South Carolina.

AUTHOR COMMENTS: Hopefully, Sirocco will help readers understand that, unlike the hardcore, uncompromising extremists whose weapon of choice, is terror, the majority of people indigenous to a culture like that of Algeria are hard-working, peaceful, humble beings who only wish to feed their families and practice their faith without coercion and in harmony with each other and the world at large.

SAMPLE CHAPTER: https://www.amazon.com/author/danielle.a.dahl.

LOCAL OUTLETS: The Booksmith, in Seneca, SC.

WHERE ELSE TO BUY IT: Available online at Amazon.com, BN.com, and in multiple eBook formats from most major retailers. Also at, info@coffeetownpress.com

PRICE: $0.99 for Ebooks during the month of March; $14.95 for books, $4.95 for Ebooks.

CONTACT THE AUTHOR: Email: dadahl.cliffhanger@gmail.com.

Author website: https://www.amazon.com/author/danielle.a.dahl.

Google: Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/Danielle.A.Dahl.Author.14 Twitter:

http://www.DanielleDahl15 LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/pub/danielle-a-dahl/1a/77a/a04