Secret Fire

THE BOOK: Secret Fire.

PUBLISHED IN: 2007.

THE AUTHOR: Dennis Young

THE EDITOR: Various

THE PUBLISHER: The first four novels were published through iUniverse. The compendiums were published through Amazon Createspace.

SUMMARY:  A land forged from the fires of strife, blood of heroes, and touch of the gods. Where deeds of great valor, vile evils, and blazing passions intertwine to shape the course of elven and human history within. With family relationships and blood-oaths taking precedence over all, The Ardwellian Chronicles offer stirring tales of high adventure and challenges testing the mettle of the bravest souls and spirits.

WHY THIS TITLE? All the titles have relationships to the books. For example, in Secret Fire, this refers to several things: Sheynon Calidriil’s desire to fulfill a quest put before him; his growing love for a half-elf maiden; the Priestess Kaanan’s vision of a great challenge to come and how she can aid her Faith in coping with it. Things like that. I think most book titles have at least some connection with the stories they represent.

WHY SOMEONE WOULD WANT TO READ IT: High adventure, relatable characters, strong female protagonists AND antagonists. A continuing saga that eventually will cover nearly one hundred years and three generations.

REVIEW COMMENTS: I have a handful of 4 and 5 star reviews on Amazon, and a lot of great feedback from readers whom I’ve spoken to at conventions, book signings, and other events.

AUTHOR PROFILE: You can find my profile on my website or my Amazon Author page

I have a series called The Ardwellian Chronicles, epic fantasy adventure with continuing characters. The series focuses mainly on three families and members thereof. Currently I have the first four novels complete and published, and I’m working on number five. There will be six novels total in the series and seven compendiums, of which two are complete.

Book One – Secret Fire; Book Two – Dark Way of Anger; Book Three – Secrets of the Second Sun; Kaanan’s Way;  irst Compendium – Blades of Alliance: The Thirteen Swords of Power; Second Compendium – Champions: The Heroes of Ardwel

AUTHOR COMMENTS: My stories are about people; unique and gifted people, yes, but they still have their failings and their blind spots. They’re “human”, to put it simply, and this shows itself at the most inopportune times in some cases. And not only does this pertain to the protagonists, but the antagonists as well. No one is perfect. Some are so far from it, they become their own worst enemy.

SAMPLE CHAPTER:From Book Five, Blood Secret.

Words as brash, impetuous, and foolhardy were used with a smile to describe Kaul, by those whom he had on occasion called friends, or at the least, tolerated as accomplices. Once he had been told only when those around you speak in taunting, are you accepted. Too many times, therefore, Kaul may have taken taunting as a challenge, and soon enough even the bravest of acquaintances found their exit from his company.

Kaul’s ancestry was never known, yet even he knew in the past lay human, Drow, and orcish blood, and he dimly recalled his mother, a slave of the name Sabina. How he had come to Ardwel was a tale unto itself; of murder, kidnapping, and escape, of blood and vengeance taken, the taste of hot flesh in his mouth, the first time he had killed with his own hands.

Then flight from the cold uncompromising north, far beyond the mountains where the lair of the great dragon Ancanar was said to be. Into the fertile lands of city-states and elven villages, of humans in their multitudes and colors, of petty thieves who had no courage for the highways or the soldiers flying banners. Far too tame was this land for Kaul, and he drifted east, to the great Black Forest and the home of Drow.

Drow… dark elves, of which he could be counted as a part, though his countenance was as none they had ever seen. Larger, stronger, callous in a way Drow disregarded, nearly without discipline or conscience, even soldiers stood apart, for Kaul would not hear the words of leaders, and for many moons scratched the welts of punishment that lay across his back.

Then came a messenger, from Modennethra, a House grand in the hierarchy, and an offer of a meeting with one called Skaan. She was lithe and not without a bit of interest, and before they parted he had taken what she offered. The pleasures of her flesh, for one, a promise of a place within the House for another, yet for a service. Never were the Drow known to host an offer without return, given and in full.

Something there had happened; in Reena’s travel to the human place, Drakenmoore, she had returned not her own self, and never again did Skaan see her in that light. Reena, now serving the Dark Princess, had become but a servant, not the concubine of Archane, which Skaan would with gladness have accepted. In simple words, Reena no longer was herself, and no matter Skaan’s position in the House of Modennethra, no matter favors promised to the leaders there, she could not learn the truth of it. And so began the plotting of her way, to seek Reena’s release, but would need of allies she could… if not trust, then control. Allies who owed none of allegiance to Archane.

And after all, Skaan was a great assassin… and held the ways of arts Archane knew nothing of.

Kaul became her bodyguard, and served many years of faithful duty, rising even to the notice of Archane herself, and offered a position in her entourage, to the dismay of Skaan.

However…

Plans change with circumstance, and Skaan soon grasped this was the way to Archane’s heart. Not in lust or desire, or even, hardly ever know by Drow, that of love. But with a keen, dark dagger, deep between those breasts Reena had been so fond of.

Came the time and opportunity, yet in heartbeats it all fell to ruin. Heartbeats that were Skaan’s last, as her own life came to end when she thought it to be Archane’s final day within the world. And Kaul’s part, broken by a seer said to be older than the Dark Princess, left him naked, not only of the flesh, but to the wrath of guards and servitors, damning words and gestures falling on him as he ran. Barely he had escaped, running through the corridors with an army in pursuit, and burst beyond the caverns of Ung’gu’wi, the night cool and misty, and ran, if not for his life, then it was a close thing.

And thereafter he was hunted, shunned by Drow and humankind, and only then did Kaul understand, trust was never full, and only by his own hand would he ever be a king.

LOCAL OUTLETS: My books are available in various book stores in the Midwest, and I also have copies available for direct sales to prospective readers.

WHERE ELSE TO BUY IT: You can find my books on Amazon.com and Barnes and Noble.com.

PRICE: The novels are in the twenty-dollar range, 6” x 9” trade paperback, averaging about 450 pages, and the compendiums are in the twenty-five dollar range, 8-1/2” x 11” soft cover, full color illustrations, about 125 pages.

CONTACT THE AUTHOR: Website: http://www.ardwel.com

Facebook: Working on The Ardwellian Chronicles and Hope I Live Long Enough to Finish Blog: http://www.theardwellianchronicles.blogspot.com

Twitter: @ArdwelWriter Email: ardwelwriter@yahoo.com

Weather Report, March 21

 

OUR CURRENTLY FEATURED BOOKS, “ROSE OF SKIBBEREEN,” BY JOHN McDONNELL, “SURVIVAL,” BY JOHN FAHEY AND “FRACTURED,” BY ERIN R. BRITT CAN BE FOUND BY SCROLLING DOWN BELOW THIS POST.

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UPCOMING ON SNOWFLAKES IN A BLIZZARD, MARCH 22-28:

“BIG IN JAPAN,” BY JENNIFER GRIFFITH

I’m honored that Jennifer would opt to have her novel featured on Snowflakes. Not only is it selling well, but it has strong film possibilities.

Jennifer writes:

“I went to Japan as a missionary during college, and I spent a year and a half there and fell in love with the people and the beauty and the culture. It is amazing! A few years later I started writing romantic comedy, and the idea came up over lunch with my husband to write about Japan. And to write about sumo. BUT…I’m a woman. (Women do not sumo.) And I’m five-foot-one and not sumo size. It was a huge leap to think I could ever get into the mindset of someone doing sumo. But I couldn’t sleep at night because Buck’s character kept bugging me! His story had to be told.

“Research was a bear. Honestly, as I started digging, I couldn’t find much written about sumo online in English. (Since that time, there has been more added, but at the time it was tough!) I combed blogs, read news articles, read the Japan Times, dug up a chart on all the various sumo moves, brushed up on my Japanese (which I could speak fine but not read well), and basically immersed myself in the sumo culture for months. It was fascinating! I might not have caught every nuance of the sport and its politics, but I hope I conveyed a Sumo 101 primer for those who want to know more.

“I started writing BIJ in the summer of 2009, the third week of July, and it debuted in print in the third week of July 2012 at its launch party at a sweet bookstore called Weller Books in Salt Lake City. In the process, I did SEVEN rewrites from the ground up—always keeping Buck’s character’s integrity, but revamping the various situations he had to face and the enemies he encounters and how he triumphs. Oh, and keeping his love interest sweet all along.

“Something of possible interest to readers is that this book has been optioned for film. The producer fell in love with the story and the characters and is working toward production, according to our conversation earlier this month. It’s so exciting! There could be a sumo wrestling romantic comedy coming to a theater near you! Who’d’ve thunk, right?”

“WAR WV,” BY MICHAEL ABRAHAM

This is an environmental novel with teeth. Explains Michael:

“Tragedy strikes often in the coal country of southern West Virginia, one of America’s poorest places. Too often the tragedies are caused by corporate malevolence. When a coal impoundment dam upstream of War, West Virginia, collapses, sending a raging black torrent of death through the hollow, Lucas “Pug” Graham and a band of survivors decide that justice must be done.

“I am continually amazed (and horrified) at the destruction of lives and the natural environments of the central Appalachian coal country. For those exploring the area for the first time, it is an unforgettable, life-changing experience. Through fiction, I wanted readers from a wider geographic area that is so startlingly different from most of America but not 400 miles from our nation’s capital, to visualize the destitution, decrepitude, and misery, while still understanding the resiliency and fortitude of the residents.”

“SECRET FIRE,” BY DENNIS YOUNG

We would be remiss at not including some sci fi and fantasy in our offerings, and Dennis Young’s “Secret Fire” is the first — but certainly not the last. “Secret Fire” is the opening book in his series, “The Ardwellian Chronicles,” which describe:

“A land forged from the fires of strife, blood of heroes, and touch of the gods. Where deeds of great valor, vile evils, and blazing passions intertwine to shape the course of elven and human history within. With family relationships and blood-oaths taking precedence over all, The Ardwellian Chronicles offer stirring tales of high adventure and challenges testing the mettle of the bravest souls and spirits.”

 

 

 

 

 

Rose of Skibbereen

THIS WEEK’S OTHER FEATURED BOOKS, “SURVIVAL,” BY JOHN FAHEY AND “FRACTURED,” BY  ERIN BRITT, CAN BE FOUND BY SCROLLING DOWN BELOW THIS POST.

THE BOOK: Rose Of Skibbereen.

PUBLISHED IN: 2013

THE AUTHOR: John McDonnell

THE EDITOR: John McDonnell

THE PUBLISHER: Smashwords

SUMMARY: This is the beginning of a family saga about Rose Sullivan, an Irish girl who comes to Philadelphia in 1880 and finds love, heartache, loss, and unexpected joy during the tumultuous years around the turn of the century. She marries an Irish mystery man named Sean McCarthy, who has a violent past and a secret life, and he takes her to new heights and depths of passion. The lives of multiple characters, vividly drawn, come together in this series that examines what happens when the rural Irish of the 19th century encounter the breathtaking pace of change in the America of the 20th century. Follow Rose and Sean through the years as their lives take unexpected twists and turns, and they discover the many surprises hidden in the human heart.

THE BACK STORY: This series of novels is based on stories my mother told me about her Irish grandmother and grandfather, who came to America from rural Ireland. They had many heartaches and some scandal, too, and I wanted to tell their story (with some imaginative license) in a series that would play out over the decades.  

WHY THIS TITLE: Skibbereen is the town in Ireland that my great-grandmother came from. I chose “Rose” for a character name because it just seemed to fit. 

WHY SOMEONE WOULD WANT TO READ IT: It’s a historical romance, but it’s not about kings or queens. It’s about the 19th century Irish, who were a very reserved lot. They left their homeland and never saw it again, and they went through many trials, but they kept their sense of humor. It was a challenge writing about emotion when the characters are so reserved, but I feel confident I was able to pull it off.

REVIEW COMMENTS: “John uses great imagery, and the dialogue and voice of the characters are strong and consistent throughout.”

AUTHOR PROFILE: I’ve been a writer since I graduated from college many moons ago.  I’ve done just about every kind of writing imaginable, but in the last seven years I turned to fiction and playwriting, and I’ve never looked back. 

AUTHOR COMMENTS: I have the best job ever — I get to create characters and follow them through the ups and downs of their lives.

SAMPLE CHAPTER: http://johnmcdonnell.weebly.com/

LOCAL OUTLETS: Available on Amazon (http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00C9JV2RA) and Smashwords (https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/303326).

WHERE ELSE TO BUY IT: Barnes & Noble, Kobo. Anywhere that ebooks are sold. 

PRICE: $4.99

CONTACT THE AUTHOR: Email me at mcdonnellwrite@gmail.com.

Survival

THE BOOK: Survival: From a Broken Childhood to PhD

PUBLISHED IN: July 2015

THE AUTHOR: John L Fahey

THE EDITOR: John L Fahey

THE PUBLISHER: John L Fahey

SUMMARY: There are times when an idyllic childhood in Ireland, even for just a few years, can sustain that child as he grows older, encountering physical abuse and terror. That was so for me between 1949 and 1953.

Ireland has been in my heart ever since.

My memoir is about a battering father who would not accept me as his son. It is about my love of Ireland sustaining me, giving me the courage to fight back against despair, to seek a better life through reading and hope and education. It is about never giving up. After a disastrous road accident which scarred my face at 17 and cycling from northeast England and across the Irish Sea to Knock, seeking a miracle, I found the burden of despair lifted from my shoulders.

In my memoir I write about being born in Tees-side in 1944, being taken to my grandparents in Ballybohan, Roscommon when I was almost five, finding love and safety, being torn away when I was nine and taken back to England to be battered continually through my teenage years by my father who called me a bastard.

I gained entrance to a Marist grammar school at age 11, St. Mary’s College, and sought a means of escape through reading as many books as I could from a local public library and my school books. Living with my battered mother, two younger sisters and two younger brothers in a slum, my father would threaten to blind me if he caught me reading. I had to hide my books and study in remote places, forging my parent’s signature on report cards because I did so well.

When I passed eight ‘O’ levels my father raged at me and told me I was going to dig ditches and reading was going to be beaten out of me. The Marist priests at my Marist College intervened and got me a job as a laboratory assistant in I.C.I., a bus ride from our house.

By that time I cycled everywhere on my ten speed bike. I’d begun newspaper deliveries when I was 11, earned money babysitting and continued studying for my ‘A’ levels at Stockton-Billingham Technical College, taking over paying for the rent and food for the table, battling my father demanding and forcibly taking my earnings.

I would not give up hope, would not let myself despair; I had my memories of Ballybohan and Ireland to take me through the worst times. I was hit by a car cycling to school when I was 17 and was horribly facially scarred and I was beginning to be aware I was attracted to other lads my age. I was horrified what I read in books about that. I pleaded and prayed that God would have mercy on me and take my life.

I took that cycle ride to Knock seeking a miracle – once there I instantly changed my prayers that a crippled child would get that miracle and I would accept my scarred face. I returned to Tees-side with even more hope and determination. I discovered books by Mary Renault on the life of Alexander the Great and his beloved Hephaestion. It led me to reading about Achilles and Patroclus. I realized I was not doomed. It seemed as if it was a message from God because that first book was called ‘Fire from Heaven’.

I passed my ‘A’ levels’ and was accepted to the University of St. Andrews to study Chemistry. My father’s sister Josie protected me, having all letters sent to her house, for his signature to be forged. He attacked me when I told him I’d been accepted to University. I escaped on the train north to Scotland.

I went through emotional crises when there, became popular, loved music and dancing, graduated with an Honours degree in Chemistry, finally met other gay people in Amsterdam, got an invitation to visit New York, applied for and got a job and a green card from a Pharmaceutical Research Institute that was to launch me on a successful professional career.

I have never forgotten what my childhood in Ballybohan gave to me. I still weep for children who are abused. I wish that my account will give hope to others that no matter how terrible the circumstances determination and reading can offer a way to escape.

THE BACK STORY: My book Survival is an account of my life up to the age of 23 and ends as I am migrating to America. That began my career as a research scientist. In subsequent years I made my own contributions to the progress of fighting against disease. I worked for major pharmaceutical companies, then a Professor of Chemistry teaching students my love of organic chemistry, guiding them to lift their eyes to a further horizon, and later still was a Director of Clinical Research in several areas of disease. Throughout those years I was driven to do my best, to strive for excellence, putting my teenage years behind me. The frontier of science and medicine was, and is, my life. As I reached 71 I felt impelled to write the story of my early years, initially for later generations of my Fahey clan, more recently for wider distribution after friends urged me to publish it. I hope it is inspirational, that even at the darkest times looking forward with hope and determination and reading can pave a path to success. Writing it was very therapeutic for me. I’m currently writing about my years after reaching America.

WHY THIS TITLE?: I did survive.

REVIEW COMMENTS: [Following is the official OnlineBookClub.org review of “Survival” by John Fahey.]

Sometimes you come across a book so powerful the words jump off the page and lodge in your heart. The non-fiction memoir Survival: from a Broken Childhood to PhD by John Fahey is one of those books.

The author takes a look back at an abusive childhood in post-World War II England, including a four-year idyllic respite living in Ireland with his paternal grandparents. Born illegitimate, his father is pushed to marry his mother when the author is seven months old. Even then, John’s nasty, alcoholic father continues to refer to him as “you bastard” and routinely abuses the entire family physically and verbally. Imagine a child having to read secretly for fear of getting caught and beaten. John loves to read and does exceptionally well in school, gaining entry through an education grant to a highly regarded school. His resilience and determination throughout a dismal childhood of violence and extreme poverty shines through in this story. I was spellbound by this book. It is an unflinching account of a boyhood filled with fear, violence, avoidance, and, as the author states, “daily apprehension.” John’s recollections are vividly described, including the settings of post-war England with its poor neighborhoods and bombed-out buildings and picturesque rural Ireland. Ireland becomes a magical, promised land as he experiences unconditional love and happiness while living there. That wonderful experience, along with his strong Catholic faith, sustains John during the regular verbal and physical abuse inflicted by his father. The descriptions of his years in Ireland are uplifting while the painful memories of the rest of his childhood are heartbreaking to read. There are no Christmas or birthday presents and the author and his sister Patricia envy the children in a nearby orphanage as they hear the laughter from children playing within; at least, they knew those kids received presents. The one time relatives brought over Christmas gifts, his drunken father threw the presents into the coal fire. The author’s lyrical writing style is a joy to read. The early sections about Ireland read like a love letter and are particularly heartfelt. The information about his family living in a poor neighborhood, with little money for even basic necessities, is told in a matter-of-fact way. When John is given an education grant to go to a better school five miles away, he is happy about more than receiving a good education; attending the grammar school at St. Mary’s College guarantees him a nourishing meal each day Monday through Friday and a container of milk in the mornings. To understand how much this means to him is to understand how much we take for granted in our daily lives. John’s small victories and street-smart personality are realistically described. Although John has to turn over his newspaper delivery money to his father, he occasionally uses a portion of his earnings to buy broken biscuits, cookies, and fruit to share with his siblings from the outdoor market. He continues to do this in defiance of his father, who would beat him after finding less than the full wages. His newspaper route and babysitting job for an upper-crust family allow him to see possibilities beyond his harsh life. The babysitting job becomes a safe haven from his father and a quiet place to do his homework. There is an uplifting tone to the story. Although the memories of a violent, poor childhood are traumatic, there is a sense of a light at the end of the tunnel. John is very motivated to better himself even at a young age. As with other true tales of this type, there are often guardian angels that do acts of kindness. This is certainly the case throughout John’s childhood and teenage years. At different times, there are instances of relatives, policemen, teachers, and average citizens showing concern for John and protecting him from his father. This book has earned nothing less than 4 out of 4 stars. The author’s ability to rise above his harsh circumstances is truly inspiring and the writing is superb. Of course, readers who enjoy memoirs would like this book, but I would also recommend it to anyone who appreciates excellent writing in a book of any genre. I feel lucky to have read this story and grateful as I realize how much of my own life I take for granted.

AUTHOR PROFILE: http://www.erinpharm.org/about_me.html

AUTHOR COMMENTS: I will never forget the people throughout my life who have been kind to me.

SAMPLE CHAPTER: Can be found by clicking the photo on my Amazon display page. http://tinyurl.com/o5k2ywh

LOCAL OUTLETS: None

WHERE ELSE TO BUY IT: Amazon and Lulu.com

PRICE: $12.95

CONTACT THE AUTHOR: johnfahey2013@gmail.com.

WEB DOMAIN: http://www.erinpharm.org

TWITTER: @JohnFahey11 WORDPRESS BLOG: http://tinyurl.com/haoska8

Fractured

THE BOOK: Fractured.

PUBLISHED IN: 2015

THE AUTHOR: Erin R. Britt

THE EDITOR: N/A

THE PUBLISHER: Erin R. Britt/Create Space

SUMMARY: Fractured is a collection that examines brokenness. Through poetry, short fiction, and the personal nonfiction essay, I look at the ways life breaks apart, from the literal breaking of objects to the shattering relationships and of self.

WHY THIS TITLE?: I came up with the idea for the collection after I wrote the title essay, Fractured. I realized that this was a theme in a lot of my work, so I started curating pieces for the collection from there. It seemed natural that I would name the book after the essay.

WHY SOMEONE WOULD WANT TO READ IT: There’s a lot of emotion involved, so even if someone hasn’t experienced the exact situation, they will be able to relate to the emotion of it. We’ve all experienced brokenness at one time or another. It helps to know that we’re not alone.

REVIEW COMMENTS:

“Fractured” examines the cracks that run through all our lives. It is engaging and very real. It draws the reader in and holds them until the final page. Erin Britt shows us that we are all fractured and gives hope that even though the cracks are there, being fractured doesn’t have to be a fatal flaw.”– Lori Hicks.

AUTHOR PROFILE: I started writing horrible poetry at age 12. I fell in love with language, so I continued to write horrible poetry into adulthood. It wasn’t until I was a single mom in college that I considered taking a creative writing class. Since then, I’ve earned a BA in English-Creative Writing from Indiana University and will receive my MA in English from there in May 2016. My first novella, CELIA, was published in 2013 through Rainstorm Press. I’ve had several personal essays published in various collections and original academic scholarship published in the university’s Graduate Research Journal. My poems “Howl” and “Your Secret Admirer” are included in the horror anthology HIDDEN IN PLAIN SIGHT, and “Your Secret Admirer” won the Editor’s Choice Award for poetry. I have a short story, “Blood and Rain,” coming out in 2016 in the suspense anthology EDGE OF DARKNESS from Dark Chapter Press. I’m also the editor of Erindipity Editing.

AUTHOR COMMENTS: Of all the pieces in the collection, “Fractured” was the hardest one to write. It is probably the hardest one to read, as well. I put parts of myself into everything I write, but as a nonfiction personal essay, “Fractured” is entirely me and what I was feeling in that situation. It’s scary to put so much out there, but you have to bleed on the page to make a connection. This collection left me with more than a few cuts.

SAMPLE CHAPTER: “Leaves on a Tree.”

“Do you have any siblings?”

I’ve always hated this question. It’s innocent enough on the face of it, just a way to get to know someone better, but I don’t how to answer it without explaining more than I’m comfortable with. I’m an only child, yet I’m the youngest of three; I’m the oldest of two but I’m the second youngest of four; I’m the second youngest of five until I’m the second youngest of four again; I’m the third oldest of seven. All of this was my father’s doing, shedding wives the way that reptiles molt, collecting and losing children along the way.

I didn’t meet Lorrie, his first wife, until I was a teenager. My mother was his second wife. I grew up knowing I had an older brother and sister living in Ohio, but they didn’t know about me. I guess Lori thought it was easier to pretend I didn’t exist. I think she still does. I met my older siblings when I was seven. It was the beginning of our yearly summer ritual. I spent most of my time as the oldest of two, so it excited me to try being the second youngest of four for a while. I idolized my sister and I followed her around the way smoke follows a fire when it moves: she was brightness and warmth; I was soot and suffocation. She humored me with artificial patience and as soon as she was no longer obligated to do so, she tolerated me no longer. My brother was my hero, and his ego appreciated that. Still, he rarely went out of his way to be my brother, so when it was no longer convenient to be so, he claimed me no longer. We didn’t spend time writing letters or making phone calls, so except for those summer visits, they didn’t exist at all. I still counted them.

Ruth was his third wife. That was her middle name, Ruth. Her first name was Nila, the same as my mother, and going to the doctor or checking the mail became problematic because “Nila Britt” could mean anyone. Many a time I heard my mother say, “No, I’m the other one” into the phone. Ruth was his wife in my earliest memories and her daughter, Kristy, was my sister. She was never my step-sister, although that’s exactly what she was, and Ruth was never Ruth. She was my mother, to hear her tell it, though she was dedicated to her hatred of me. To my knowledge, I did nothing wrong beyond existing in the first place. Calling her anything other than “mom” guaranteed some form of punishment from my father, and Kristy liked to tattle. She resented me, so she made sure they knew every slip, every “your mom” instead of “mom.” My father divorced Ruth when I was twelve; Kristy was no longer my sister, step or otherwise, and Ruth was finally Ruth whether she liked it or not. My father blamed us, Kristy and me, for his divorce. Our inability to get along was too much for his delicate marriage to endure, and he made sure to tell us as much. It had nothing to do with his affair with Tami.

Tami is his fourth wife. To his credit, he actually married his mistress, and remained married to her. He was terrified to be alone, always lining up a new woman before abandoning the old one. She brought three children into the marriage, two step-brothers and a step-sister, so my sibling count doubled. I was six years older than her oldest child, and my older sister was six years older than me, so my father obliviously created a certain symmetry. Tami was always Tami. She didn’t try to be my mother and I never encouraged her to try. Like Ruth, Tami didn’t much care for me; unlike Ruth, Tami didn’t put much effort into making sure I knew it.

We’re all grown now, the seven of us and the one I lost along the way. My older sister serves in the Army. Beyond a few strands of shared DNA, there is nothing that connects us as sisters. When she rejected our father, she rejected us all. My older brother works in IT and fathered nieces I have never met. We don’t talk very often, but it’s not hostile. Kristy is living her life as a wife and mom. We’re Facebook friends, but we don’t talk. My younger brother is a mechanic. He lives in town, and while we

don’t interact much, I do see him during holidays and at funerals. The last three are out there somewhere. I had my youngest step-brother in a speech class once and he either never realized who I was, or did and hoped I had forgotten him. I didn’t, but I said nothing anyway.

Do I have any siblings? Yes, I have one, and I am the oldest.

http://www.amazon.com/Fractured-Erin-R-Britt/dp/1515004171/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1452898675&sr=8-3&keywords=erin+r+britt

LOCAL OUTLETS: Online only

WHERE ELSE TO BUY IT: BarnesandNoble.com http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/fractured-erin-r-britt/1122285511?ean=9781515004172

PRICE: $8.99

CONTACT THE AUTHOR: erinrbritt@gmail.com, editor@erindipityediting.com, twitter.com/erinrbritt, facebook.com/erinrbrittofficial, erinrbritt.com, erindipityediting.com

Weather Report, March 14

 

OUR CURRENTLY FEATURED BOOKS, “SOME WAY OUTA HERE,” BY MARK LAUDEN, “OUT OF TOUCH,” BY RUSTY COATS, AND “FAGGOT,” BY FRANK BILLINGSLEY, CAN BE FOUND BY SCROLLING DOWN BELOW THIS POST.

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UPCOMING ON SNOWFLAKES IN A BLIZZARD, MARCH 15-21.

“Kiss Me: I’m One Quarter Irish.”

I’ve got a T-shirt that says that. I wear it sometimes, but no strangers have ever come up and kissed me, which is probably just as well.

Anyway, I do have a genetic disposition toward St. Patrick’s Day — which, just in case you’ve missed the annual onslaught of green-tinged TV advertising, is this Thursday. And as luck would have it (the luck of the Irish?), we do have two books to highlight that are perfect for the occasion.

“Rose of Skibbereen,” by John McDonnell and “Survival,” by John Fahey are both set at least partly on the Auld Sod. Rounding out the lineup is “Fractured,” an ambitious array of short stories by Erin Britt, an editor turned author.

“ROSE OF SKIBBEREEN,” BY JOHN McDONNELL

This is the beginning of a family saga about Rose Sullivan, an Irish girl who comes to Philadelphia in 1880 and finds love, heartache, loss, and unexpected joy during the tumultuous years around the turn of the century. She marries an Irish mystery man named Sean McCarthy, who has a violent past and a secret life, and he takes her to new heights and depths of passion. The lives of multiple characters, vividly drawn, come together in this series that examines what happens when the rural Irish of the 19th century encounter the breathtaking pace of change in the America of the 20th century. Follow Rose and Sean through the years as their lives take unexpected twists and turns, and they discover the many surprises hidden in the human heart.

“SURVIVAL,” BY JOHN FAHEY

According to John: “There are times when an idyllic childhood in Ireland, even for just a few years, can sustain that child as he grows older, encountering physical abuse and terror. That was so for me between 1949 and 1953.

“Ireland has been in my heart ever since.

“My memoir is about a battering father who would not accept me as his son. It is about my love of Ireland sustaining me, giving me the courage to fight back against despair, to seek a better life through reading and hope and education. It is about never giving up. After a disastrous road accident which scarred my face at 17 and cycling from northeast England and across the Irish Sea to Knock, seeking a miracle, I found the burden of despair lifted from my shoulders.”

“FRACTURED,” BY ERIN BRITT

Writes Erin: “Fractured is a collection that examines brokenness. Through poetry, short fiction, and the personal nonfiction essay, I look at the ways life breaks apart, from the literal breaking of objects to the shattering relationships and of self.”

As an aside, I love the name of Erin’s editing service: Erindipity.

 

 

 

 

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Some Way Outa Here

THIS WEEK’S OTHER FEATURED BOOKS, “OUT OF TOUCH,” BY RUSTY COATS AND “FAGGOT,” BY FRANK BILLINGSLEY, CAN BE FOUND BY SCROLLING DOWN BELOW THIS POST.
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THE BOOK: Some Way Outa Here
PUBLISHED IN: February, 2016
THE AUTHOR: Mark Lauden
THE PUBLISHER: Medium Cool Publishers
SUMMARY: Some Way Outa Here recounts the turbulent year from July 1969 to June 1970, when men walked the moon and students marched in the streets. It’s a joyful and inspiring story about young people who set out to change the world – and each other.
Amid the turmoil of the Vietnam war, high school friends confront the horror of the war and the frustration of hometown apathy. The story is told from the point of view of a teen who must reconcile his zeal for science and his opposition to the war; he is challenged to lead despite paralyzing self-doubts. Two remarkable girls join him in an inspiring and passionate journey.
The young rebels are plunged into the crucible of the Cambodia invasion and Kent State killings. Like America, they each have to decide which path to take. Some Way Outa Here is about finding that path. It captures the wonder of a magical time that flourished briefly, leaving America forever changed. It’s about promises and secrets, dreams and nightmares, and coming of age.
THE BACK STORY: We all tell stories about growing up. I was lucky (or unlucky) enough to grow up in a time when young people took on the job of leading a battle to stop a terrible war. Some of the things that happened seem unbelievable now – even to people who were there. I wanted to capture the color and spirit of this era, along with the turmoil and confusion we all went through.
WHY THIS TITLE?: Dylan’s All Along the Watchtower – and Jimi Hendrix’ apocalyptic cover version – epitomized the end of the 1960s. For me, the idea that “there must be some way outa here…” drew me in from the first hearing. It’s the vision of being on the rampart in the middle of nowhere, with wildcats prowling, riders approaching, and the wind blowing hard…there must be some way out. Who hasn’t been there?
The passage of years helped me understand that in 1969-70, I needed a way out of a time when nothing made sense, a place that was oblivious to the madness. Life in the late 1960s was like the place you would find if you fell down a rabbit hole, where nothing was quite real, and you wanted to find the way out, back into the sunshine. Dylan’s words and Jimi’s anguished voice and thrashing guitar said it best.
WHY WOULD SOMEONE WANT TO READ IT? If you were there, you’ll revel in hearing the time and the people recreated. If you’re younger, you’ll be amazed at the world your parents or grandparents grew up in.
REVIEW COMMENTS: “This book is fascinating, beautifully written and original.”
“What an amazing story! I loved reading about the people and the relationships. All the characters came alive for me. It brought back so many memories. I couldn’t put it down.”
“A passionate and personal tale of coming of age in an epic year, in the tumultuous world the ‘60s created.” – Mary Kay Magistad, Public Radio International
AUTHOR PROFILE: I’m a storyteller.
I wasn’t always that way: I learned to speak to an audience in the most painful way possible: standing in front of a thousand people, including a governor and congressmen – I froze and couldn’t even read my notes. Somehow, after an excruciating pause, I thought of a story to tell. It was good enough to receive a standing ovation. Ever since, I’ve known that stories are the way to talk (or write) about the most important things.
I’ve been writing and speaking about my work – architecture, technology, media – for years. My stories help me understand the world, and hopefully they bring a few insights and inspirations to my listeners and readers.
AUTHOR COMMENTS: A great historian called her subject “a distant mirror.” I like to think that the story of Some Way Outa Here is a not-so-distant mirror that helps us see how we became who we are now. The events and the characters are bound together in a dance that echoes down the years to today. By seeing – and remembering – who we were, we can better understand who we are.
SAMPLE CHAPTER: Read the first chapter-and-a-half in the Kindle preview: http://amzn.to/1T7kYJ4/
PRICE: Print $11.99; Kindle $3.99
CONTACT THE AUTHOR:  Email: mark@marklauden.com; Website/blog: marklauden.com