Book Showcase: BOTTLED LIGHTNING by L.M. Weeks

BOTTLED LIGHTNING by LM Weeks book coverBottled Lightning by L. M. Weeks
ISBN: 9798985588019 (paperback)
ISBN: 9798985588002 (hardcover)
ASIN: B09ZWQT54Y (Kindle edition)
Publisher: South Fork Publishers
Release Date: June 14, 2022
Genre: Fiction | Thriller

AN INTRIGUING CLIENT. A PASSIONATE ATTORNEY. A DEADLY GAME.

Top global technology lawyer Tornait “Torn” Sagara knows he shouldn’t get involved with his beautiful client, Saya Brooks, whose revolutionary lightning-on-demand invention will solve climate change and render all other energy sources obsolete. But their shared connection as hafu (half Japanese, half American) draws them irresistibly together.

Saya’s technology could save the world, but what’s good for the planet is bad news for those who profit from the status quo. Now, someone wants to stop Saya from commercializing her invention and will go to any lengths—even murder—to do so. When Torn takes Saya for a spin on his motorcycle, they are viciously attacked. That death-defying battle on a crowded Tokyo expressway is only the start of Torn’s wild ride.

As the violence escalates, Torn discovers that everything he values—his reputation, his family, and even his life—is on the line. Racing from the boardrooms of Tokyo to the wilds of Russia in a desperate search for the truth, Torn is forced to face his own flaws and discover what really matters most.

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Read an Excerpt:

Chapter One
Savior
救世主

Saya startled Torn when she tapped him on the shoulder and said, “Wow, that’s quite the bike. It looks like something Batman would drive.”

He was surprised again when he turned around, but this time by her piercing green eyes, which he never grew tired of seeing. Sometimes he wondered whether they were real or contacts, but he’d never seen her eyes any other color. She had let her dark hair down and wore a navy-blue leather jacket, dark blue jeans and black boots with relatively flat heels.

He tried not to stare at her. She was a client, after all. And not just any client, but perhaps the most intriguing client he’d ever had. “That’s quite a departure from what you were wearing a few minutes ago,” he said, his voice echoing slightly in the underground parking garage.

She looked at him for a moment, trying to decide again whether his mixed-race features were more Japanese or Western. “Is it appropriate for motorcycle riding?”

“It’ll work, and the boots with flat heels are a great idea. All motorcyclists, at least the men, dread women dragging their high heels across the seat when they mount the bike.”

“Did you say mount?”

He grinned. “Sorry, I mean when they get on their steed. Is that better?” He was struggling to avoid being too jocular with his beautiful client.

“I get the point. Don’t worry, my high heels are in this bag with the rest of my clothes for the dinner.”

“What about your potential investors? Shouldn’t you be schmoozing with them in the car?”

She cocked her head and smiled. “The technology does all the schmoozing necessary, don’t you think? It’s like showing someone lightning in a bottle.”

“Well, I was impressed with the demonstration even though I’ve seen it before,” he said with genuine enthusiasm. He thought for a moment and added, “I like the imagery of selling little bottles of lightning at combini,” convenience stores.

Saya added, “Besides, I told them I needed a few minutes to discuss an IP matter with my lawyer before I meet them at the hotel. So…” She paused playfully. “Do I get a ride or not?”

“Sure, but how did you know I’d have an extra helmet?”

Still smiling, she said, “Oh, Torn, I know you’re prepared for every eventuality.”

He smiled. “But the ride’s not that interesting. It’s mostly straight expressway.”

“Not a problem. Just go fast! It’s a beautiful bike and I want to see what it can do.” Saya ran her index finger along one of the hard rubber fins protruding from chrome sheaths attached to the side of the fairing. “Hey, what’re these for?”

“Those protect the rider, engine, and fairing if the bike gets dropped.”

“They’re cool. They make the bike look even more aerodynamic, but please don’t drop it.”

Torn swelled with pride about his BMW K 1200 LT. Nothing pumped up a biker, particularly someone who took his riding as seriously as he did, more than compliments about his ride.

“Here’s your helmet.” He took her bag and placed it in the top case where he kept the extra full-face helmet.

After closing his face covering and securing his chin strap, Torn helped Saya with hers. “By the way, we’ve gotta exit the expressway when we get into the city because tandem riding’s illegal past Hatsudai.”

She could hear Torn’s low voice through the helmet’s speakers located near her ears. It made her feel like an astronaut.

“That’s strange. Why’s that?” she asked through the mic in her helmet.

“Short story long, Japan banned tandem motorcycle riding on expressways for decades, starting in the seventies, because motorcycle bosozoku used to attack cars on the expressway with chains back in the sixties and early seventies.”

“What’re bosozoku?”

He looked at her through his helmet visor. “You’ve really lived a sheltered life, haven’t you? They are car and motorcycle gangs. Anyway, when the ban was finally lifted for most expressways in Japan, it was maintained for central Tokyo, ostensibly for safety reasons. Those crowded, narrow and winding expressways in the city center were deemed too dangerous for tandem riding. I think it’s because of the number of deadly motorcycle accidents from late night racing on the Circuit. But it’s not as if the narrow local streets choked with cars, motorbikes, bicycles, and pedestrians are any safer.”

She watched him get on the bike. “Well, it seems silly to me. They should crack down on the illegal racing, not riding with a passenger.”

“You’re preaching to the choir. Are you ready?”

“Yes!”

Torn put the retractable passenger foot pegs down and explained how to get on.

Light on her feet, Saya mounted the bike successfully the first try without scraping the seat or kicking the top case behind her or Torn in front. She was surprised at how stable and comfortable the large well-padded seat and backrest felt. She grabbed handles built into the side cases because she felt like she should hold on to something even though she didn’t need them for balance.

Torn checked his phone one last time and saw that Mayumi had called and Kiwako had texted. He stored it in the small compartment in front of his seat and exited the garage onto a street lined with cherry trees.

On their right flowed a mountain stream strewn with moss-covered boulders. The bike’s windshield and Torn’s body protected her from the wind, but she could still smell the cherry blossoms. They glided along the winding road past rice farms and orchards. The entire scene was bathed in gold from the setting sun. She could not believe how completely secure she felt. It was not a feeling that would last.

“Shall I turn on some music?” He almost didn’t suggest it because he knew he should focus on driving given that he had a passenger, a client no less.

Despite the noise of the engine and the rushing wind, she could hear Torn’s relaxed unrushed voice clearly through the speakers in her helmet. “Definitely.”

Can’t Hold Us by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis poured from the speakers in their helmets, two speakers imbedded in the fairing in front, and two on the sides of the passenger backrest. Saya felt the subtle vibration of the outside speakers on the sides of her backrest.

Torn selected his music based on whether it worked with the acoustics of the bike. Some music was more bike-appropriate than others. One of his favorite things about listening to music on this bike was that the volume automatically increased as the bike accelerated, to compensate for the louder engine noise.

As Torn accelerated the bike out of a turn, Saya’s excitement changed to euphoria. She released the handles and wrapped her arms around Torn’s broad chest.

Once on the expressway, Torn accelerated to ninety kilometers an hour as they drove down the on-ramp to merge into Tokyo-bound traffic.

“Go faster!”

Giving in to the fun, he laughed. “No need to yell. I can hear you just fine!” He throttled up to 120 and seamlessly moved from the left lane through the middle lane to the outside passing lane.

“Can you go faster?”

He accelerated to 140, taking advantage of any openings in the three lanes to pass slower traffic in the other lanes.

Saya found the frequent weaving in and out of traffic exhilarating—like a motorcycle in the movie Tron—and didn’t want Torn to slow down. She giggled. “Can you go faster?”

He turned off the music, raised the adjustable windshield to its maximum height and accelerated to 180. The aerodynamically shaped fairing and the bike’s weight kept the rubber side down. Even this speed didn’t feel too fast, because of the bike’s stability and the wind protection provided by the windshield. However, the louder engine and much faster rate at which they passed the guardrail posts were proof of their significantly greater speed.

“Oh my God,” she squealed as she wrapped her arms more tightly around Torn and put her helmeted head on his shoulder.

Torn smiled. It was intoxicating when the bike had the desired effect of lowering a woman’s inhibitions. “No need for the death grip.”

“Oh, sorry.” She tried to comply, but she liked holding onto him tightly.

Torn sensed her interest in him was more than just as her lawyer. For the first time in his career, his resolve never to become romantically involved with a client began to waver.

Traffic reappeared as they got closer to Hachioji.

“Don’t slow down!”

Ignoring her, he throttled down, knowing there were tollbooths ahead. He weaved in and out of the cars, again using all three lanes to keep progressing faster than the flow of traffic until they had reached the toll plaza.

Just enough traffic remained after the tollbooths to make things fun. He pulled into the left-hand lane and toggled to Imagine Dragons. Demon played from the bike’s speakers. Saya squeezed her arms more tightly around Torn’s waist and closed her eyes. “This is more fun than I ever dreamed.”

Torn felt warm all over.

A few minutes later a big black Mercedes pulled up behind them, its front bumper almost touching the bike’s license plate. Torn sped up but the car continued to tailgate.

Saya, eyes closed and lost in the music, didn’t notice the car right behind her.
Then it sped up, passing them closely on the left. Torn swerved into the middle lane to avoid a collision. He turned off the music, causing Saya to open her eyes. The Mercedes pulled in front of them and slowed down, forcing Torn to decelerate and swerve back into the left lane. It had no rear license plate, rare and illegal in Japan.

“What’s that guy doing?”

“I don’t know.”

The big Mercedes changed lanes, slowing down in the middle lane until it was parallel with them. The tinted passenger window opened. Before Torn could react, a man stuck a gun out of the window and fired. The bullet passed through the soft padding under Saya, exiting the other side of her seat.

With well-practiced fluidity, Torn squeezed the left handle bar lever to open the clutch and shifted down to fourth gear with his left foot, then throttled up with his right hand while releasing the clutch lever with his left hand. The Beemer raced away from the Mercedes. He shifted back up to fifth gear as the RPMs shot up.

“Oh my God!”

“Are you hit?” he asked as calmly as he could while breaking into a cold sweat.

“I don’t think so.”

Things were moving in slow motion for Torn. He thought, No one has a gun in Japan except yaks. All at once he was relieved neither one of them had been hit, scared shitless about being chased by yakuza types, and pissed off at the damage to his motorcycle.

The big car again appeared next to them in the center lane.

Torn slammed on the brakes with his right hand and foot, letting the Mercedes fly by. He shifted down two gears to third and throttled up, accelerating to 120 so fast he almost popped a wheelie. He flew by the driver’s side of the car, the high RPMs making the bike’s engine scream. Shifting up to fourth gear, he rocketed to 160.

The powerful car caught him quickly. He sped up to 180 but the big Mercedes stayed on them. They approached more traffic, forcing both vehicles to slow down. As they reached the Mitaka Highway Bus Turnout, the three lanes of traffic became two, creating a traffic jam.

Salvation.

Torn threaded between the two lanes of stalled traffic. Their pursuer briefly flanked them on the left shoulder until being thwarted by a soundproofing wall built to protect the surrounding homes from expressway noise.

They were safe, but only for a moment. He heard a motorcycle engine being revved until the ugly sound was deafening. It was the sound of a bike with its muffler illegally removed. At the same time he saw the blinding light of a single high beam behind him and heard loud death metal music. His heart sank.

“Motherfucking Yankee,” he muttered, momentarily forgetting his mic was still on.

“What’s a Yankee?”

“The scourge of the roadways. Over-the-hill punk motorcycle gang members who belonged to bosozoku gangs in their teens and early twenties.”

He doubted this was a coincidence. He wasn’t even sure if it was a real Yankee. He had encountered them many times, and while always obnoxiously loud, they’d never hassled him before.

The Yankee motorcycle veered left onto the narrow shoulder and flanked them, barely squeaking by between cars in the left lane and the five-meter-high soundproofing wall.

Torn saw that the hot-pink bike indeed had the Yankee trademark Norton Commando-like fairing with the headlight recessed into a bubble in the fairing’s front and a heavily padded extra-long sissy bar attached to the back of the unoccupied passenger seat. The rider wore a silver Nazi helmet and black mask. Torn saw what looked like a long PVC pipe attached to the side of the bike.

Another screamingly loud bike with its high beam on appeared immediately behind them, revving its engine. It pulled into the right lane and flanked him on the narrow shoulder between the cars and the center guardrail separating the two lanes of inbound traffic from the two lanes of outbound traffic.

Torn accelerated to get ahead of them, then swerved slightly to the right and left in front of cars in each lane. As expected, the cars moved towards the outside of their lanes, leaving no room for the pursuing bikes to proceed between the cars in the left lane and the wall on the left and the cars in the right lane and the central guardrail on the right. Still, this slowed the Yankees down for only a moment and they soon caught up to Torn and Saya yet again.

With the Yankees continuing to flank them on both sides, they approached the Eifukucho Exit, a connector between the Chuo Expressway coming into the city center from the west and the inner-city Metropolitan Expressway.

“Why didn’t you exit?” she screamed.

The fear in her voice made Torn’s heart beat even faster. He took a deep breath and responded, without emotion, “They would catch us at the first light. They’re smaller and more maneuverable.”

The matter-of-fact nature of his response worked. She lowered her voice. “We could find a cop.”

“Not before those guys would be on us. And don’t squeeze so tightly. I can barely breathe. Try to squeeze the bike with your knees and move with the bike. Don’t fight it.”

Saya loosened her death hug.

On the other side of the Eifukucho Tollbooth, traffic thinned for a moment as more cars exited. But traffic would soon increase again, and it would be difficult to lane split with the big BMW because the lanes were narrower on the much older inner city expressway than on the newer feeder expressways entering the city.

The Yankee bikes pulled up next to them. The driver on the left pulled from a sheath a long lead pipe with a chain and spiked ball.

“Is that a mace on the end? He has a mace!” she screamed.

It’s actually a flail, he thought to himself, but this was no time to be a stickler for ancient weapon accuracy. “Yes, I see it. No need to shout. I have speakers next to my ears too.” He regretted correcting her almost before the words had left his mouth.

Torn decided to go on the offensive with his much larger bike, which was surprisingly nimble for its size. He swerved the BMW at the biker wielding the homemade weapon.

“Are you crazy?! What’re you doing?!”

His move had the desired effect. The smaller bike swerved away. Torn accelerated like a rocket, pulling away from both Yankee bikes, but he soon heard them gaining on him. He could not outrun them in the afternoon traffic. They again pulled up on either side of him with their ridiculous—but lethal— weapons in hand. Torn slammed on both the hand and foot brakes so hard he thought he might pop a back wheelie, but the Beemer only skidded slightly before the antilock brakes did their job. The Yankee bikes flew by, then quickly slowed down.

Now Torn needed to pass them. He aimed for the left side of the bike on his left. He calculated that, because the biker held the threatening pipe in his right hand, placing himself and Saya on the left would make it difficult for the assailant to swing at them across his own chest.

Torn forced his way between the Yankee and the wall. Despite the maneuver, Torn had underestimated the biker’s resolve and dexterity; he was able to swing at them across his body and shatter the BMW’s windshield, spraying safety glass on Torn and grazing his right arm. Torn grimaced when the flail’s spikes tore through his jacket and into his right triceps, while his body shielded Saya from harm.

Torn knew he couldn’t avoid them much longer. The Yankees would get them sooner rather than later.

“I’m going to crash into them. Watch your legs,” he warned.

“Can’t you outrun them?!” her voice now a high-pitched scream.

The other biker approached on their left, swinging his flail with his right hand. Torn shifted down and countersteered the left handle bar hard, instantly flicking the BMW left into the other bike. The Yankee tried to avoid the big bike but it was too late. The motorcycles collided with a hard fiberglass-on-metal crunching sound. The smaller bike, already headed towards the soundproofing wall as the driver tried to avoid Torn’s bike, slammed into the wall with a loud crash followed by the clanging of metal scattering across the road. The rider bounced off the wall and cartwheeled across the expressway at an angle before hitting the center guardrail. The BMW’s fairing and front left fin had protected Torn and Saya as it hit the other bike, leaving them unhurt.

One to go.

Traffic increased again as rush-hour cars merged onto the expressway from the local roads.

“Look at that sign. Aren’t we supposed to get off?!”

Torn saw the sign showing a bright red circle-backslash symbol over two figures on a motorcycle. He saw another sign directing tandem riders to exit at Hatsudai.

“Driving tandem may save us if we stay on.”

“I feel much better now,” she said, totally deadpan.

“Your sarcasm’s not helping,” he replied without emotion.

She hugged him tighter.

They passed Hatsudai on the right. Torn could see the remaining Yankee gaining on them in his sideview mirrors. When they reached the Shinjuku on-ramp, traffic slowed to a crawl as more cars merged onto the two narrow curved expressway lanes. The moment of truth.

He maneuvered the bike to the centerline.

“You can’t be serious! There’s not enough room!”

“Who needs mirrors? Keep your legs in tight.”

He sped up. The right mirror was the first to go, then the left, followed by angry honking from the cars his mirrors hit as he threaded the needle between the narrow lanes. The bike remained upright because the big mirrors were designed to pop off on impact.

Torn saw the Yankee’s high beam in the side-view mirrors of the cars between which he drove, and heard the bike’s screaming engine.

“He’s right behind us!”

No shit, thought Torn.

Traffic thinned out right before the Yoyogi Rest Area. Torn accelerated. Please be there.

As he passed the on-ramp from the Yoyogi Rest Area, he heard a siren.
Yes! And there’s our savior.

The patrol car pulled up next to them.

“What’s he doing?” Torn asked, his eyes trained on the road.

“He’s waving you over!”

Then they heard the loud speaker command. “You there, on the blue motorcycle. Safely pull over at the next exit.”

Torn exited at Gaienmae. He stopped at the bottom of the off-ramp and told Saya to get off.

The police car pulled up behind them, lights flashing.

Torn stood while straddling the bike as he pressed a button to lower the electric center stand. The bike lifted slightly as the electric motor whined and then dropped back down when the center stand locked into place. He dismounted and removed his helmet.

The Yankee bike followed them off the expressway and passed by. Torn couldn’t see the driver’s face, his head covered by a helmet and his face with a bandana. There was no license plate.

Torn wished he had a gun. He made eye contact and flipped the guy off as he passed.

Turning to Saya, “Are you alright?”

She was shooting the Yankee with her phone as he drove by.

“Yes.”

“Great idea. Please AirDrop those to my phone.”

Saya hugged Torn as hard as she could, burying her head into his chest for what felt like an eternity. She was shaking.

He wondered if he was shaking too.

Saya looked up and kissed him on the cheek. “You’re amazing, and here I thought you were just a lawyer.” She kissed him again, but this time on the lips.

Torn didn’t know what to say. His heart pounded, his pulse raced, and his arm started to ache. His skin felt clammy and he felt sick to his stomach. “Don’t barf now,” he told himself.

Two uniformed police officers, one visibly much younger than his partner, approached.

Releasing Saya, Torn turned and said emphatically to the police officers, “That guy on the Yankee bike tried to kill us!”

The young officer, looking like a deer caught in the headlights, stopped for a moment and then said, a bit shakily, “You’re under arrest.”

Excerpt from Bottled Lightning by L.M. Weeks.
Copyright © 2022 by L.M. Weeks
All Rights Reserved.

 

Meet The Author

Author LM Weeks headshot photo

L. M. (“Mark”) Weeks is uniquely qualified to write this international legal thriller. Like Torn, (the protagonist in Bottled Lightning) Mark was born in Alaska and for many years has practiced law in Tokyo, representing technology companies from all over the world in connection with their fundraising, intellectual property matters, cross-border mergers and acquisitions, and related disputes. For more than10 years, Mark was the Managing Partner of the Tokyo office of the global law firm Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP. He speaks, reads, and writes fluent Japanese, was an International Rotary Club scholar to Japan during high school, and graduated from International Christian University, a Japanese liberal arts college. Mark attended Fordham University School of Law in New York City, where he practiced law for almost sixteen years before relocating to Orrick’s Tokyo office in 2004. During his formative years in Japan, Mark earned a black belt in aikido. Also like Torn, he is an avid motorcyclist, and his adult son is biracial and bilingual and lives in Tokyo. In addition to riding motorcycles and writing, Mark’s other passion is saltwater fly fishing.

Connect with the Author:  Facebook | Goodreads | Instagram | Twitter | Website
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Guest Author: Gary Lee Miller – FINDING GRACE

Good day, my fellow book lovers. For those of you in the Midwest, Southern US, and East Coast, I hope you’ve recovered from the recent storm. Thankfully, the power didn’t go out here in my little part of West Virginia, so I spent the time reading. Have you ever stopped to realize how amazing it is that the authors we read craft such amazing stories? And not only one amazing story, but often one after another after another? I often find it difficult to create introductions to blog posts, and these people are out there writing thousands of words in wondrous combinations for our reading pleasure. Whoa?! Had to take a moment there. An author takes an idea or life experience and then creates an entire world and story around it, then we get to read about it. I’m honored to welcome one such author to the blog today. Please help me welcome Gary Lee Miller, author of Finding Grace. Mr. Miller will be sharing with us the creation of this amazing story. I hope you’ll enjoy what he has to share and add Finding Grace to your TBR list. Thank you, Mr. Miller, for joining us today, the blog is all yours.

The Back Story of How Finding Grace Came to be Written
by Gary Lee Miller

An old Chinese proverb says, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” That was how Finding Grace came to be. With a single step. Unfortunately, the cause of that step was the passing of my wife of 45 years, Sharee, from leukemia. Thus began a long winding road of dealing with loss and finding an outlet for my grief. I don’t believe in coincidence, and there were an extraordinary number of occurrences which could have been attributed to coincidence. I know that sometimes we have an angel (or angels) on our shoulder which lead us down paths meant to be traveled. And so began my journey.

Over the years of our marriage, very infrequently, I would write some song lyrics. Not the music, but just the words to express my feelings or to tell a story. Sharee thought they were good and always encouraged me to write more. But our life was busy raising our daughters and earning a living, so writing never became a priority. After her passing in May, 2019, I had too much time available to be alone with my memories and thoughts. That’s when I began spending time writing song lyrics again. Most of my lyrics are called “spoken word”, which tell a story, rather than the traditional Verse, Chorus, Bridge structure. Writing several times each week over the summer I soon had over a dozen song lyrics. Then one day, the angel on my shoulder whispered in my ear, “You know if you take these six song lyrics, they might make a pretty interesting story.” And that was the first step.

They say to write what you know, so while Finding Grace is a fiction novel, there is a tremendous amount of detail based on my first-hand experience with Sharee and her illness. While never having written a screenplay or novel, I wrote what I knew. The characters for each song materialized quickly, as did the idea for the cross-country trip. Then came the two main characters of Judith and Grace. The reason for a cross-country trip was easy, based on my losing Sharee. Grace was dying from leukemia and wanted Judith to come home to visit her before it was too late.

The next step was contacting a friend of mine in LA in the movie industry, sharing my thoughts about writing a screenplay called Finding Grace. He said to write a two-page pitch, and include the song lyrics, which I did. He read it, saying my lyrics were very strong and the idea of Finding Grace was very solid as well. He encouraged me to write the screenplay/script. I had no idea about the structure of a screenplay, so I googled and printed the first ten pages of five movies. After narrowing down the different format structures to two that felt comfortable to me, I began writing the first five pages. Then I sat back, reading those first pages, satisfied and at ease with my format. So, over the next six months, I wrote. That’s when things got interesting.

I wrote when, emotionally, I had the need. There was no schedule for when I would sit down to write. Sometimes a week or more would go by without writing, but there was a routine when I did write. I would sit at the end of my kitchen table with my favorite picture of Sharee facing me on the other end. On my right was the bay window where I could see the trees, birds, rabbits, and squirrels. Seeing God’s blessing of nature helped. Then I would bring up my Spotify playlist of favorite songs that Sharee and I loved, with it playing softly in the background.

To say things got interesting perhaps is an understatement. I have always been a very visual person, so as I began writing, more often than not, I found myself as an outside observer. It was as if I were actually watching the characters in my mind as they talked with each other, and there were times when it was challenging to keep up typing their back-and-forth dialogue. Does that sound strange to you? It truly felt surreal to me. Again, I believed it was that angel on my shoulder still whispering in my ear. So, I listened.

After completing the screenplay, my friend in LA read it, and again was encouraging, but that was when COVID-19 shut down life as we all knew it, and all movie production. Shortly thereafter, a “coincidence” occurred. While having a phone conversation with a friend who had just released a best-selling business book, I mentioned my screenplay. He asked if he could read it, and also if it would be okay for his wife to read it. Naturally I said sure, emailing Finding Grace him. A couple of weeks later I received an email from his wife, asking to schedule a Zoom! call to discuss my screenplay. What I didn’t know was that she was an executive for an international publishing company, and she liked Finding Grace, asking if I might be willing to turn it into a fiction novel. After giving it some thought, I agreed to invest the time and work to bring Finding Grace to life. What were the odds of this kind of connection that would lead to the next step of my journey?

I quickly learned that it was MUCH more work writing a novel as compared to a screenplay or script. A screenplay is primarily the dialogue between the characters with some minimal detail about the day and location of the scene. In a novel, you must create a living, breathing world, researching every detail and nuance to bring that world and the characters in it to life. And such was my goal with Finding Grace. I’m proud of the characters Judith meets during her bus trip back home to Nashville, with each having their own personality and speech pattern based on their life experience and background. As I wrote, each became real to me, as I cared about them, their backstory, and the journey that lay ahead for them after leaving Judith.

The characters in Finding Grace are generally composites of many different people who have crossed my path during my lifetime. My goal was to create truly interesting characters with backstories that every reader could relate to on some level. As I wrote, some made me laugh and some made my eyes leak.

There is a strong component of St. Jude’s Children Research Hospital in part of Finding Grace. Sharee and I knew that cures for all forms of leukemia would eventually come from the research teams at St. Jude. Three months after her passing, I spent a day with an executive at St. Jude which included a full tour of their facilities. It was an emotional day for me. I paid close attention to every detail during my tour and worked hard to convey details accurately for my readers. Those “angels in disguise” at St. Jude certainly deserve our support.

The title, Finding Grace, was the only title possible for this book. With Grace as one of the two primary characters, along with all other character’s search, in one form or another, of finding their own grace, the title came easily. Who is Grace? Her wisdom and values shared in the book were my best efforts to meld those of my late mother (Sarah), Sharee, and, to some extent, myself.

If you decide to read Finding Grace, I hope you enjoy the journey with Judith, and recognize yourself in some of the pages as you go along. Spoiler alert! If you like happy endings; you are going to LOVE Finding Grace.♦

FINDING GRACE by Gary Lee Miller cover

Finding Grace by Gary Lee Miller
ISBN: 9781631956591 (paperback)
ISBN: 9781631956607 (ebook)
ASIN: B09MGBJMY5 (Kindle edition)
Publisher: Morgan James Publishing
Release Date: March 15, 2022
Genre: Fiction | Inspirational Fiction

Grace Lee calls her granddaughter, Judith, with a dying wish…for Judith to travel from Los Angeles to Nashville to come visit her. But there’s a catch. Judith must make the journey by bus.

The award-winning novel Finding Grace shares Judith Lee’s transformative, cross-country journey, revealing what truly matters. Each day of Judith’s journey becomes a story on its own, as the people she meets and places she visits along the way challenge her to rethink her life. Finding Grace is about Judith’s transformation back into the real world during this journey as a result of the people she meets on the bus, how she deals with the imminent passing of her grandmother, and how all this changes her life’s future plans. There are tears and laughter throughout, with interesting characters whom readers would recognize from their own lives. Today, more people are reflecting on what is and is not important. Finding Grace provides food for thought on many levels.

Purchase Links #CommissionEarned: IndieBound.org | Amazon.com | Amazon Kindle | Barnes and Noble | Nook Book | BookDepository.com | Bookshop.org

Meet the Author

Gary Lee Miller’s writing is rooted in life experiences and people who have crossed his path during his life’s journey. Gary draws on his ability to translate his observations into highly relatable stories for readers. Prior to beginning his writing career, Gary was a successful businessman and entrepreneur. He also acts in movie and TV productions, and is listed in IMDb.com. He resides in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

Connect with the author via: Facebook | Twitter | Website
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Guest Post: D. Marshall Craig MD – HIDDEN AGENDAS

Good day, my fellow book lovers. I’m constantly in awe of authors. Not only do they create amazing, and often memorable, characters, but they then go on to craft a wonderful tale involving that character or cast of characters. Most authors do this while working full-time jobs as sales clerks, mechanics, teachers, librarians, lawyers, physicians, engineers, professors, chemists, etc. Coming up with one story idea is wonderful, continuing to come up with new stories is simply mind-boggling to me, yet I’m incredibly grateful to authors for doing this day after day, month after month, and year after year. Like many of you, I wonder about author’s writing process. How do they get from a germ of an idea to a complete book? How do they begin? What’s their writing routine? I’m pleased to welcome D. Marshall Craig M.D., author of Hidden Agendas, the second book in the Dr. Kyle Chandler thriller series, to the blog today. Dr. Craig will be providing us with answers about his writing process. I hope you’ll enjoy what he has to say and add Hidden Agendas to your TBR list. Thank you, Dr. Craig, for taking the time to join us today.

My Writing Process
by D. Marshall Craig, M.D.

Every writer has his or her own personal way to create a story that will interest the reader. Some writers are very methodical in their approach to writing, some are completely random. I believe there is no one correct method to successfully complete the process of writing on what content you want to convey to the reader.

With that said, I would say that my methods of writing have evolved from a combination of some structure and occasional randomness. I usually have some ideas about what the progression of the plot is going to be, so I start by trying to put them down in a general outline. I then figure out the beginning of the story that will hook the reader’s attention. Next, I jump forward to creating an ending that will be surprising and not at all expected. As the process of the flow of the story is formulated, I will add thoughts and different situations to the plot to grab the reader’s interest as the story’s suspense builds. There are times as I progress with the story that I will switch around the order of events to make the story more climactic.

For my first novel, I used all my experiences with the crazy individuals and hard-to-believe situations I experienced or heard about as a surgeon during my career of over thirty years. I knew from the beginning that this initial story was going to expand into a series of books about my protagonist in the future. For each successive novel, I again make a rough outline of the plot and where I want to go with the story in relation to my main protagonist in order to keep the reader interested.

I strongly think that the development of characters in the story is key to keeping the reader turning the pages with interest. I try to make the characters seem believable but still somewhat unique in their own way. For my Dr. Kyle Chandler Thriller Series, I like to use fast-paced, snappy dialogue between characters to create a kind of tension, especially when there is a potential love interest. The trick for me with each new novel is expanding the personalities of the principal characters forward with each story while introducing new characters at the same time to make the story full.

With that in mind, I have to admit that it’s not an easy process. Face it, there are times for any writer when it is difficult to produce anything of value on your computer screen looming before you. Like anyone else, I have periods when I don’t feel inspired to write at all. I have come to accept that those periods are part of the process. I have learned to just walk away from the keyboard if ideas are not flowing in my brain. I’ll go focus on something else leaving whatever I was stuck on totally behind. Then for whatever reason, I’ll come back to my keyboard later to look at things with a fresh point of view. This usually works to get new ideas going in my brain. I really can’t explain it, but the same thing happens to me when I work crossword puzzles. Just a new sense of confidence, I guess.

With a fresh start, these new ideas lead to the evolution of the plot. At those times, I feel compelled to get my ideas down on my computer as soon as I can almost in a frantic sense of desperation. It’s during those times that new ideas with plot progression just seem to flow out of my brain to my fingertips on the keyboard.

I’ve been asked before if there is a central message or theme in my current novel series that I want readers to grasp. I guess you could say that as my protagonist progresses in each novel, he is like David facing overwhelming odds against a Goliath opponent. In each situation, it leads to the theme of “never give up.”

If I was asked for one of the best pieces of writing advice that I have ever received, it would be to write about what you know. Despite what some people might think, you’re not going to know about everything. So, if there’s something you don’t know, become an expert on the subject with exhaustive research. Put the effort in to make your story interesting enough to grab the attention of the reader.

I’ve listed a few ideas about how I try to get an interesting suspense/thriller story written that may or may not help other writers go through the process more easily. Everyone has their own process to conquer. If you can figure out that the key is to enjoy the process as much as the result, then the writing itself will fulfill you that much more. ♦

HIDDEN AGENDAS by D. Marshall Craig M.D.

Hidden Agendas, Dr. Kyle Chandler Thriller Series #2, by D. Marshall Craig, M.D.
ISBN: 9781633635463 (paperback)
ASIN: B09LC35T1D (Kindle edition)
Publisher: White Bird Publications LLC.
Release Date: February 8, 2022
Genre: Fiction | Thriller | Medical Thriller

When busy trauma surgeon Dr. Kyle Chandler goes to a medical symposium in London, he agrees to two innocent meetings for his friend Ian Griffin, who runs a private investigation firm. During his time in England, Dr. Chandler stumbles on a mysterious system of illegal smuggling to the United States. How could the smuggling of products in bulk wine carriers have anything to do with the shipping of French antiques? As Kyle continues his investigation, he soon realizes he faces a powerful, complex network involving organized crime while escalating threats to him reveal the truth – and the truth nearly costs him his life.

 

Meet the Author

Author – D. Marshall Craig, M.D.

D. Marshall Craig, M.D. draws upon his knowledge of medicine gained from over 30 years as a trauma, plastic, and reconstructive surgeon to continue the story of hard-working hero Dr. Kyle Chandler. Craig’s series of medical suspense thrillers are inspired by some of his wildest stories and most colorful characters from his previous medical career. He now enjoys his second career as a winemaker and vineyard manager for a small boutique winery. He lives with his wife in the mountains of western North Carolina. The first book in the Dr. Kyle Chandler series is Cut to the Chase (White Bird Publications).

Connect with the author via: Goodreads | Instagram | Website
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Guest Post: Clark Rich Burbidge – STARPASSAGE: BOOK FOUR – CYBER PLAGUE

Good day, my fellow book lovers. Did you know that November 15th-19th is “National Young Readers Week?” I try to keep up with all things bookish, but this was new for me. As many of us turns our minds towards gift purchasing and giving for the next few months, what could be better than gifting books? (In my mind, the only thing better than books are gift cards to bookstores. But that’s me.) If you have a young reader in your household or life, I hope you’ll consider gifting them the entire StarPassage series by Clark Rich Burbidge, including the most recent addition StarPassage: Book Four – Cyber Plague. I’m honored to welcome Mr. Burbidge, author of this award winning series, to the blog. He’ll be providing us with a look “behind-the-scenes” of this series. I hope you will enjoy what he has to say, add these books to your holiday buying list, and don’t forget to enter the giveaway. Thank you, Mr. Burbidge for sharing with us today, the blog is now all yours.

A Glimpse Behind The Scenes

Writing fantasy, and within that historical fiction, requires numerous parallel lines of research. This was by far my most complex book yet. It was necessary not to just continue the science and mythology of time travel I have created but also flip it on its head when suddenly you are pulled into the future. The technology must be well thought through without dwelling on it. Concepts like pathogens, AI advancement, trans-human tech, societal breakdowns and how they might evolve and/or be repaired, computer virus damage and how to effectively deal with it, personal stories all add to the challenge. One of the passages I am most proud of is the trip to the St. George Sanctuary, especially their meetings with the mayor and the town meeting. Having attended many of these small-town events, I found it really fun to put the flow of them into my writing. I initially thought the book could be over after the experiences at the lab but there was more in me that needed to get out. The futures of Dr. Powell and some of the other characters needed to be examined and, of course, where did the stars come from. I really like the scene in the Oval office, especially at the end after the travelers leave.

I have inserted characters from my own life into these books. Martie always has reminded me of my youngest sister and, of course, that may make me like Tim. My father came home with PTSD from Korea, and it was a twenty-year battle with his demons. I am so proud of him, but the scenes played out early in the first book are ones I know a lot about. Some of the bad guys are people that have mistreated me or my family over the years. I did not assign their traits, only their names, and I guess it’s a bit passive aggressive, but their story didn’t end well for any of them. Donny in particular had to die twice. I tried to slip most of my grandchildren’s names into the books, some subtly and others more prominently. One of our sons has two daughters who are not twins but share the traits and names of Callie and Courtney. Books last forever, and long after I am gone, a simple choice of a name will bind me to them over time and space.

And last, the title went through several iterations, but I decided to keep it simple, the words Cyber and Plague pull certain visceral emotions out of people nowadays.

StarPassage: Book Four – Cyber Plague by Clark Rich Burbidge
ISBN: 9781632695789 (hardcover)
Publisher: Deep River Books LLC
Release Date: October 28, 2021
Genre: Fiction | Middle-Grade/Young Adult Fiction | Paranormal Thriller

In Book One, teenagers Tim and Martie are desperate to end their parents’ downward spiral. Then an ancient Christmas ornament reveals its secrets, sending the siblings across the centuries on a search for hope. But Tim and Martie aren’t the only ones hunting through time. They’re being watched by dark figures-Trackers doomed to haunt history. These Trackers believe the teens’ ornament is their key to freedom, and they will do whatever it takes to steal it.

In Book Two, Bobby and Mike are struggling after a tragic accident rocked their family. With the help of the Carson family, they go on a dangerous adventure to solve riddles, save lives, escape the stronger, faster Trackers, and experience some of the most dreadful and exciting moments in history.

In Book Three, Mike longs to help a struggling new patient who may hold dangerous secrets. An evil Tracker has escaped to the present, bringing with him plans to end the world. Our growing band of travelers work together to resist the powerful Trackers at every turn while trying to solve the relic’s riddles and guard against the ever-growing risk of betrayal.

Now the Gold Medal winning saga continues with Book Four. Contemporary twin sisters are thrust into a compelling adventure with a mysterious warrior from the past who holds secrets even he does not understand. In the most dangerous adventure yet, our unlikely heroes are thrust into a dangerous and uncertain future where humanity is on the verge of extinction. Pulled from the pages of our modern world, a dangerous cyber plague, societal breakdown, and the relentless Trackers must be overcome to preserve the future. Our inexperienced new travelers must learn quickly to survive while overcoming a series of impossibly complicated and interwoven threats.

 

Meet the Author

Author Clark R. BurbidgeClark Burbidge was born and raised in the high mountain valleys of the Rockies. He earned an MBA from the University of Southern California and a BS from the University of Utah. Clark and his wife, Leah, live near Salt Lake City, Utah, where they enjoy their blended family of ten children and nine grandchildren.

Clark’s award-winning works include the StarPassage series, Giants in the Land trilogy, the acclaimed Christmas book, A Piece of Silver: A Story of Christ and a nonfiction work, Living in the Family Blender: 10 Principles of a Successful Blended Family.

Connect with the author via: Facebook | Goodreads | Twitter | Website

Giveaway

This is a Rafflecopter giveaway for one (1) print copy of StarPassage: Book Four – Cyber Plague by Clark Rich Burbidge via The Book Diva’s Reads. This giveaway ends at 11:59 PM ET on 11/23/2021 and the winner will be announced by 10:00 AM ET on 11/24/2021. Giveaway is limited to US residents ONLY. Any entry received with a non-US address will be disqualified. Void where prohibited by law.

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If you’re unable to enter via the above link, click here to enter.

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Guest Post: Melkart Rouhana – GREATNESS IS NOWhere

Good day, book people. I often wonder where authors get their inspiration or ideas from, whether they’re writing fiction or nonfiction, I’m interested in their inspiration for writing. This is especially true for books that might be categorized as self-help. Yes, the author wants to help but help with what specifically and why? It is for this reason that I’m pleased to welcome motivational speaker, consultant, and executive coach Melkart Rouhana, author of Greatness is NOWhere to the blog. You don’t necessarily have to be in business to gain wisdom from his teachings. I hope you’ll enjoy what Mr. Rouhana has to say as he provides insight into how he came up with Greatness is NOWhere. Thank you, Mr. Rouhana, for taking time away from your hectic schedule to share with us today, the blog is now yours.

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Greatness is not exclusive to athletes, famous people or great organizations who have left their footprints in our world. Greatness concerns you, and me. The title ‘Greatness is NOWhere‘ is purposefully playful. How did you read it? Greatness is nowhere OR greatness is NOW here? In the last 10 years roaming the world, coaching executives, and enabling greatness in some of the most celebrated organizations, people mostly see “nowhere” instead of “NOW here” and accordingly attract mediocrity. Why? As human beings, we are wired to exaggerate the negative because it helped us survive the dark ages. We moved beyond those days though, but we still carry this ‘shredder’ that rips out our energy, and robs us of our dreams. ‘Greatness is NOWhere‘ is founded on one simple truth: Every human being is versed in greatness and our purpose is to chase and unveil the best of ourselves, our teams, and our organizations.

The 65000 words in this book are literally written in every corner of this world. I remember writing a few pages in Angola, Africa, continuing the chapter while on a 40,000 feet flight en route to Paris, to finally finish the chapter in Atlanta. In this book, I share 3 principles, 15 truths, and 20 tools to jazz up your culture, pep up your people, spice up your customer experience, and ultimately unleash greatness.

Principle 1: You can’t be what your culture is not
How do you promote and inspire a winning culture that literally shapes everything you do?
Truth #1: A purpose-driven culture is a culture worth living.
Truth #2: Every culture has a silver lining: The Attar Factor.
Truth #3: Make culture happen. For real. Every day!
Truth #4: With oxytocin we charge.
Truth #5: This is the era of agility.

Principle 2: You can’t be what your people are not
How do you translate talent to performance, and bring out the gold in others?
Truth #6: Talent alone is not enough
Truth #7: Rethink leadership: All bets are off!
Truth #8: Autonomy is the ruling currency
Truth #9: Bring out the gold: A to Z
Truth #10: Energy: The supreme power

Principle 3: You can’t be what your investment is not
How do you bring your investment to the world, and convert your customer experience into one that chills and thrills?
Truth #11: The language of emotions
Truth #12: The Holy Grail of customer experience
Truth #13: Spice up your experience
Truth #14: Uncover the cream of the crop
Truth #15: 19 for COVID-19

The call is for greatness.You have a voice. Choose the road to greatness.
Capture your moment. Raise your flag. Sing your song.
And remember, Greatness is NOW here!

Book Cover: GREATNESS IS NOW hereGreatness is NOWhere: Three Principles to Jazz up Your Culture, Pep up Your People, and Spice up Your Customer Experience by Melkart Rouhana
ISBN: 9781737844303 (hardcover)
ASIN: ‎B09K3GPSLN (Kindle edition)
Release Date: November 1, 2021
Publisher: MRT Books
Genre: Nonfiction | Business Management | Leadership & Motivation | Success Self-Help

Greatness is the ability to unleash the best version of yourself, your team, and your organization.

Ever since the dawn of civilization, greatness has been the voice of our human spirit. It is not an outcome, but a way of living. We are in a constant chase after meaning and progress. We seek to find the best possible version of everything, including ourselves, yearning to unleash our potential and make an impact.

Greatness is not exclusive to athletes or famous people who have left their footprints in our world. It concerns every one of us-you and me, people who choose to find meaning, the voice to lead a purpose-driven life, and the courage to make a meaningful contribution. Can you imagine the impact you and your organization would have if you harness the power of greatness and tap into the highest reaches of potential, inspiration, and execution?

Greatness is not a philosophy or a strategy. It is a deliberate commitment to inspire engaged colleagues, fashion customer excitement, produce exponential results, and leave a distinct footprint in the world. In Greatness is NOWhere, Melkart examines three principles to enable greatness:

Principle 1: You can’t be what your culture is not

How do you promote and inspire a winning culture-that intangible and hidden mark of distinction that literally shapes everything you do?

Principle 2: You can’t be what your people are not

How do you translate talent to performance, surround yourself with the right, talented, and passionate colleagues, and bring out the gold in others?

Principle 3: You can’t be what your investment is not

How do you bring your investment to the world, deliberately evoke emotions in your customers, and convert your customer experience into one that chills and thrills?

Greatness is NOWhere answers all these questions and more and shares three Principles, 15 Truths, and 20 Tools to jazz up your culture, pep up your people, spice up your customer experience, and ultimately unleash greatness.

The Truths presented in this book represent the accumulation of knowledge and insights Melkart Rouhana have gained throughout the years, drawing on a wealth of thoughts, practices, and experiences of great organizations, executives, authors, researchers, and practitioners. In Greatness is NOWhere, Melkart Rouhana shares a roadmap that will guide you to find greatness and lead your people and organization to ultimately unleash their potential and, in the process, impact the future of our world.

The call is for greatness.

You have a voice.

Choose the road to greatness.

Step up! The choice is yours.

Purchase Links #CommissionEarned: IndieBound.org | Amazon | Amazon Kindle | Barnes and Noble | BookDepository.com

 

Meet the Author

Author Melkart RouhanaMelkart Rouhana is the Chief Engagement Officer of MRT Consultants. He is a world-renowned culture, leadership, and service expert, and is a highly sought-after keynote speaker.

Named “The Rock Star of Customer Service” by Porsche executives and “the Engagement Magician” by top hoteliers, Melkart has held previous positions as corporate director of global learning at The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, and corporate head of learning and development for Emaar Hospitality Group and Armani Hotels and Resorts, to name few. He also coaches on the Executive MBA program for London Business School, and is the co-founder of the Culture and Performance Forum.

Melkart’s philosophy has been recognized as foundational and has been instrumental to the success of some of the most celebrated companies and institutions around the globe.

Connect with the author at: Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | YouTube | Website

This guest post and virtual book tour brought to you by PR by the Book

Guest Post: Olivia Swindler – CYNTHIA STARTS A BAND

Good day, my bookish peeps. My excitement level is building because the virtual West Virginia Book Festival begins on Friday evening. Getting to meet (virtually) and hear new-to-me authors as well as those I’ve read for years, is a bit like opening presents. I love book festivals. I enjoy listening to authors, as well as reading their works simply because most authors are incredible storytellers. Today I’m pleased to welcome a new-to-me storyteller to the blog. Please help me welcome Olivia Swindler, debut author of Cynthia Starts a Band. Ms. Swindler will be sharing with us her impressions on being a storyteller and being true to oneself. So sit back, relax with your favorite beverage, and let’s hear what Ms. Swindler has to say (oops, almost forgot, please add Cynthia Starts a Band to your TBR list if it isn’t already there). Thank you, Ms. Swindler for taking the time to join us today, the blog is now all yours.

An Authentic Story

I have always been a storyteller. From the moment I learned that I could keep my sister’s attention if I had a good enough story, I knew this was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.

When I started writing, it took me years to find my voice. No matter what the plot was, for some reason, the story kept falling flat. The words that I was writing didn’t feel like me because they weren’t me. The stories I was trying to tell were not mine to carry. I knew it. Those who read my words knew it. It was not authentic.

In my mid-twenties, I had an “oh-my-gosh-the-world-is-ending-and-I-will-never-find-love-again” breakup. (Older and wiser now, I wish I was dramatic when I typed those words, but I know that you can find that phrasing verbatim somewhere in a text to my sister). I really thought that my life was over.

I started to tell a few of my friends about my recently ended relationship. After describing something my ex had said to me while we were dating, one of my dearest friends said the words I had been dreading and denying—that he had been emotionally abusive and manipulative.

With the pieces of my broken heart, I refused to believe her. He HAD loved me. I loved him.

A few months went by, and I did my best to forget her words. I moved on with my life. I figured out who I was again. I felt like myself. And then, one morning, I got on Twitter. The #metoo movement had begun, and I found myself absentmindedly scrolling through the tweets. I could relate to almost every tweet. The things these women were calling abuse were things that I had experienced in this relationship.

I fell to the floor and cried.

From my spot on the floor, I wrote what would become the last song in Cynthia Starts a Band, Wasn’t Love. I had spent the better half of a year justifying this bad behavior because I thought that the way I was being treated was the way love was supposed to look like. For years, I held onto that song, keeping it as an anthem to myself. It was a reminder of what I had walked through. A testament to my own strength and courage.

And then, after years of writing stories that were not mine to write, the story of Eleanor Quinn, a woman who is escaping an abusive relationship, came to me. The words ultimately wrote themselves.

  • I wrote Cynthia Starts a Band as a beacon of hope for anyone trying to find their agency again.
  • I wrote Cynthia Starts a Band as a love letter to anyone who has felt alone in their pain.
  • I wrote Cynthia Starts a Band to remind myself of the courage it takes to start over.

I hope that through stories like Cynthia Starts a Band, readers feel empowered and remember that they can do hard things. I hope you feel seen. I hope you feel loved.

CYNTHIA STARTS A BAND by Olivia SwindlerCynthia Starts a Band by Olivia Swindler
ISBN: 9781631954900 (paperback)
ISBN: 9781631954917 (eBook)
ASIN: B097KV9C5G (Kindle edition)
Publisher: Morgan James Publishing
Release Date: October 19, 2021 (paperback edition)
Genre: Fiction | Friendship | Women’s Fiction

 Eleanor Quinn lives a life most young girls dream of. She’s the lead singer of a wildly successful band, dating the most beautiful man in America, and in love with her life on tour. She pours her heart into every song she writes and genuinely enjoys connecting with fans. So, when she disappears after her fiance’s fairy-tale perfect proposal on stage, the world is shocked. Worse yet, he starts telling interviewers that Eleanor is crazy — possibly even a danger to herself and those around her. As the weeks go by, the world wants to know: Who is Eleanor Quinn really?

But Eleanor needs to find that out for herself.

Broken and filled with self-doubt after the proposal, Eleanor embarks on a journey to regain agency in her life. She needs to reconnect with the Ellie Quinn underneath pop sensation “Eleanor Quinn.” Determined to find herself again, she moves in with her cousin in Seattle, picks a new name, and enrolls in a local university’s writing class. But she starts to realize that running away and starting over isn’t as easy as it seems in movies. Crushed by self-doubt and subconscious fears, ghosts from her past refuse to leave her alone. She realizes the only way forward is to share her version of the past.

Olivia Swindler’s debut novel embraces the values of family, empowerment, and healing and draws on the #metoo movement. Reminiscent of Evvie Drake Starts Over (Linda Holmes) and Searching for Sylvie Lee (Jean Kwok), Cynthia Starts a Band tells the story of starting over, discovering who you are when the world isn’t looking, and summoning the courage to be honest with yourself and the world.

Meet the Author

Olivia Swindler

Olivia Swindler was raised in Spokane, Washington but currently resides in Grenoble, France, as the Communication Coordinator for Young Life in Europe. She spends most of her spare time wandering through the mountains and eating her weight in bread.

Olivia believes that through fiction we can learn and grow from one another because there is something magical about picking up a book and allowing it to transport you someplace new. Cynthia Starts a Band is her debut novel. She hopes it will create and foster hard, real-life conversations, inspiring readers to have the courage to discover who they are when the world isn’t looking.

Connect with the author via: Facebook | Goodreads | Instagram | Twitter | Website

Giveaway

This is a Rafflecopter giveaway for one (1) print copy of Cynthia Starts a Band by Olivia Swindler via The Book Diva’s Reads. This giveaway ends at 11:59 PM ET on 10/28/2021 and the winner will be announced by 10:00 AM ET on 10/29/2021. Giveaway is limited to US residents ONLY. Any entry received with a non-US address will be disqualified. Void where prohibited by law.

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Book Showcase: THE ENCANTO by Arthur Swan

The Encanto, LA Fog Book #1, by Arthur Swan
ISBN: 9780996560535 (paperback)
ASIN: B0994W46CD (Kindle edition)
Publisher: Swanfall
Release Date: October 14, 2021
Genre: Fiction | Mystery | Supernatural Thriller


An ancient Mayan artifact, smuggled into Los Angeles, unexpectedly alters three lives in bizarre ways.

Gray, an aspiring artist struggling to provide for his family, Claire, his insomniac wife, and Ashley York, a wealthy socialite striving to make it as a real actress, find their paths crashing together, their dreams and their very identities threatened.

Meanwhile, Saul Parker, a detective and hobbyist magician who is self-conscious about his weight, strives to solve a strange case that seems impossible to comprehend.

Only Wayob, a mysterious chameleon-like killer, has a grasp on the dangerous power that has consumed his life and now infiltrates the others.

The Encanto, Book 1 of the LA Fog series, is an intricately woven, character-based mystery about how the choices we make inform our identity.

Purchase Links #CommissionEarned: Indiebound.org | Amazon | Amazon Kindle | Barnes and Noble | BookDepository.com

 

Read an excerpt:

Would a cloud be too much to ask? The afternoon sky had thinned out and surrendered to the relentless sun. Saul parked on Lincoln Boulevard near the mob of looky-loos pressing in around the barricades on the sidewalk. Behind the crime scene was a carwash with faded fin-toppers that might have looked stylish in the sixties.

He left the engine running for the AC. In front of him was a pink van advertising “Topless Maids $99” and then a squad car. Beside it, Hernandez was talking to the uniforms. She was five foot two and lithe. She only saw him as a partner, but Saul was hoping for more.

He couldn’t bear for her to see him heave his huge belly out. If she would just get in here with him, they could crank up the AC and talk like human beings. Forget all the politics and procedure of the LAPD.

He motioned her towards his car, but she looked away.

He flashed his lights.

Useless signal against the sunlight. He sighed. Grabbed his trench coat from the backseat. Climbed out of the car and put it on. It did little to hide his girth. If anything, the coat made him more conspicuous.

Instantly sweating, he tried to ignore the murmurs from the crowd, the mouths gaping open, all the phones pointing at him as plowed his big belly toward Hernandez.

She glanced at him from the corner of her eye but continued joking with the uniforms, as if unaware of his approach. Her skin was perfect. She would look twenty-five if not for the clump of gray hair always falling across her forehead.

“What’s the status?” he asked.

“Where you been, Barker?” She trotted out her Chicana accent, pronouncing the P in his last name like a B. She was pissed.

“Traffic’s a bitch,” he said.

She pointed inside his coat. “Is that the evidence you were looking for?”

He glanced down. A dollop of ketchup stained his shirt. He hadn’t noticed it escape his burger. He should have told her he was going to the Castle for lunch. She knew he belonged to the clubhouse for the Academy of Magical Arts, but she had no idea how much he loved going there. The ornate wood and crystal chandeliers. The deliberate lack of windows which made it feel like stepping out of LA and back in time to an alternate world where the air seemed to spark with possibility.

He’d only lied because Hernandez was working through lunch, and what if, like his ex, she hated magic?

He buttoned his coat over the stain. They needed to focus on the case. At least Saul did. Not that Lieutenant Levy had actually told him in so many words, but she’d called Hernandez with the assignment instead of Saul when he was the lead detective, or he was supposed to be. If Levy had demoted him, she should have at least told him, but Saul wasn’t surprised. She was passive-aggressive and still held a grudge against him for the Brown shooting. Although he’d been cleared of wrongdoing, the fallout had stalled her career.

Hernandez led him away from the uniforms to the black-and-white on the curb in front of Checks Cashed. In the backseat, a middle-aged man with a shaved head, stared at the crowd with a sour expression.

Hernandez turned toward Saul and combed back her shock of white. “Look. I don’t care if you take a long lunch, just let me know where you’re at, okay? We’re partners. We’re supposed to trust each other.”

Her eyes caught the sunlight like honey. Saul tried to memorize every detail. He could gaze into them for hours. “I went to the Castle. If you want to come next time—”

“Hollywood is too far for lunch.”

Was she suggesting somewhere else? A real sit-down meal instead of their usual takeout. Or maybe dinner? The Castle would be ideal for dinner.
Before he could ask, she slapped the roof of the squad car. “We’ve got the bastard dead to rights, and get this: he can’t move his legs.”

“He’s a paraplegic?”

“Exactly. His wheelchair’s in the trunk.”

Saul peered through the back window of the car. The man inside had a potbelly. His arms were cuffed behind his back. He looked up at Saul, his face blank and his eyes, shadowed by a massive brow, just dark hollows.

Saul shuddered.

Excerpt from The Encanto by Arthur Swan.
Copyright © 2021 by Arthur Swan. Published by Swanfall. Reproduced with permission. All rights reserved.

Meet the Author

Author Photo - Arthur Swan
Arthur Swan

Arthur Swan was raised in North Carolina and now resides in Los Angeles, where his “day job” is a Character Supervisor for Dreamworks. He has contributed to films ranging from ‘A Beautiful Mind’ to ‘How to Train Your Dragon.’

In his spare time, when he’s not writing or swimming his morning laps, he volunteers for Young Storytellers, enjoys fishing and fireworks with his favorite niece and nephew, and on weekends he can be found hiking high climbs in early fog before the sun burns through as mist vanishes to blue sky.

His first novel, Before the Sun Hits, won the Reader Views Reader’s Choice Award.

Connect with the author via: Facebook | Goodreads | Instagram | Twitter | Website
This excerpt and tour brought to you by PR By The Book

Q&A by Cindy Wang Brandt, author of YOU ARE REVOLUTIONARY

YOU ARE REVOLUTIONARY by Cindy Wang Brandt Virtual Book Tour Banner, published by Beaming Books, tour by PR by the Book

Hello book divas and divos and Happy Indigenous Peoples’ Day to those of you in the US! I’ve been an avid reader all of my life. I can vividly recall sitting beside my mother as she read stories to my from assorted picture books when I was much younger. One of my paternal aunts, my father’s youngest sister, also helped to instill a love of reading by providing me with boxes of children’s books when I was in elementary and junior high school (aka middle school). I’ve tried to instill the love of reading in my nieces and nephews, often gifting them with books when they were younger and taking them with me to various book festivals. Not all are book divas and divos in later years, but they all fondly recall these experiences. I love helping to spread the love of reading in our youth and it is for this reason that I’m excited to welcome Cindy Wang Brandt, author of the soon-to-be-released You Are Revolutionary, a picture book for young readers. I hope you’ll enjoy learning more about this author and book and perhaps enter the giveaway for a print copy of You Are Revolutionary to share with young book diva or divo. Please help me welcome Cindy Wang Brandt as she answers a few questions about her background and the impetus for You Are Revolutionary.

Author Q&A

 

1. Where did you grow up / live now?

A. I grew up and still live in the Southern city of Taiwan called Kaohsiung (pronounced Gao Shung), where we were pandemic free for most of the year 2020!!

 

2. What is your education/career background?

A. I grew up conservative evangelical so I was very religious. I went to a Christian college and seminary, and actually became a career missionary for 5+ years! But now I have “faith shifted” and am no longer part of that world—this shift informs much of my work now.

 

3. Do you have kids and/or pets?

A. I have two awesome kids and I had the cutest Yorkie in the world named Caramel, but we lost her a few years ago. 😦

 

4. What inspired you to write?

A. I entered the blogging scene in the early 2010s and eventually developed a career as a writer, publishing my first book in 2019 and now a children’s book in 2021. I didn’t grow up in a literary family, in fact, English is my second language, so there was no support or resources for my journey to become a writer. The democratization of the internet made it possible for me to share my words with the public and I am forever grateful for the platform. Now, looking back, there were many clues that I was meant to be a writer, I just didn’t know it at the time. Anytime I needed to write in life—for school, writing family newsletters, and eventually on social media, it lit me up inside and I felt the most joy when I found any opportunity to put words together.

 

5. Where/when do you best like to write?

A. I’m a morning person, so I only ever write in the mornings. However, I do get my best ideas randomly throughout the day—often in the shower, which I do at night.

 

6. What inspired your story?

A. As I’ve previously mentioned, I have “faith shifted” meaning I’ve left the faith of my childhood. This has caused significant anxiety and trauma in adulthood. As I’ve sought to understand the source of my angst, much of it was having power wielded over me when I was a child. A big part of my own healing is to become an advocate for children today, that they be afforded full autonomy because they are human beings, not any lesser than adults. If kids are to be treated and respected as adults are, then what excludes them from becoming revolutionaries, people who make a change in the world? It is a human right to have a say in the way we live our lives, and yet we exclude kids from this work. I think our world still has a long way to go to extend children the rights they deserve, and I hope my book helps move progress.

 

7. Who do you hope will read your book?

A. I work with parents and I want parents to know that their responsibility isn’t just to raise happy and healthy children, but that we have an awesome responsibility to raise conscious citizens that together create a better world for all. The best way to love our kids is to create a world that is kind to all kids. Parenting is a revolution in itself, an act of changing the world. I hope parents who feel this responsibility deeply will pick up my book and read it for their inner child as well as their own kids.

You Are Revolutionary

written by Cindy Wang Brandt and illustrated by Lynnor Bontigao

YOU ARE REVOLUTIONARY - CWBrandt

Synopsis:

You have what it takes to change the world!

This is the empowering message parenting author and podcaster Cindy Wang Brandt wants every child to hear and embrace. In this inspiring picture book she speaks to every child who sees injustice in the world, revealing that they already have inside themselves everything they need to make big, transformative change in the world—just as they are. Every kid is a revolutionary! You don’t need to wait until you grow up. You don’t even need any special skills. Kids who are loud, kids who are quiet, kids who make art, kids who are good at math, kids with lots of energy, kids who are good listeners—all kids have what it takes to make a difference.

Lynnor Bontigao’s vibrant illustrations feature a diverse group of children taking up a call to action and using their individual gifts to change the world.

Book Details:

Genre: Children’s Picture Book (Ages 5-8)
Published by: Beaming Books
Publication Date: October 12, 2021
Number of Pages: 32
ISBN: 9781506478302 (Hardcover)
ISBN: 9781506478982 (ebook)
ASIN: B08VLQX3PJ (Kindle version)

Purchase Links #CommissionEarned: IndieBound.org | Amazon | Amazon Kindle | BookDepository.com | BN.com | eBooks.com | !ndigo eBook | Kobo eBook


Connect with the Author via: Instagram  | Twitter

Connect with the Illustrator via:  Facebook | Instagram  | Twitter | Website

Giveaway:

YOU ARE REVOLUTIONARY Giveaway image

This is a Rafflecopter giveaway hosted by The Book Diva’s Reads. There will be one (1) winner of a print copy of You Are Revolutionary by Cindy Wang Brandt, illustrated by Lynnor Bontigao. This giveaway is open to residents of the United States and Canada only. The giveaway begins at 12:01 AM ET on October 11th and ends at 11:59 PM ET on October 18, 2021. The winner will be announced on October 19, 2021 by 10:00 AM ET. All person entering that resides outside of the US and Canada will be disqualified. Void where prohibited by law.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This virtual book tour and giveaway organized by PR by the Book

Book Spotlight: HERE WE GO LOOP DE LOOP by William J. Sibley

Virtual Book Tour Banner features a night sky and cacti, HERE WE GO LOOP DE LOOP book cover has a green 1972 Mercury Montego on the top half of the cover, the bottom half features two cowboys in jeans, work shirts, and cowboy hats with one on a horse holding a rope, several fences including a barbed wire fence are seen in the foreground;  HERE WE GO LOOP DE LOOP by William Jack Sibley, "A cowboy, an heiress, her brother's husband...and a badass '72 Mercury Montego." Virtual Book Tour September 13-17

Here We Go Loop de Loop by William Jack Sibley
ISBN-10: 1637527756 (paperback)
ISBN-13: 9781637527757 (paperback)
ISBN: 9781639880027 (ebook)
ASIN: B09F279GG6 (Kindle edition)
Publisher: Atmosphere Press
Release Date: September 1, 2021
Genre: Fiction | LGBT Fiction | Humorous Fiction

HERE WE GO LOOP DE LOOP - WJSibley
 A cowboy, an heiress, her brother’s husband … and a badass 72 Mercury Montego.

This is the story of a her loving a him – who’s in love with another him – and that other him enduring an unrequited love for the original her. With a small-town Texas appreciation, this book is replete with humor, adversity, and the tenacity of survivors unwilling and unable to acknowledge defeat.

Here We Go Loop De Loop by William Jack Sibley has greed, lust, sexuality, spiritual enlightenment, more lust, xenophobia, and the meaning of a life worth living, all woven into a single, outrageous knot in the insulated town of Rita Blanca, Texas. The author, a fifth-generation Texan and a resolute seeker of wisdom, truth, and the occasional virtuosic lie, with humor and reflection, has wrought a story of humanity through characters doing the best they can – just not terribly well. 

Advance Praise:

“A wonderful example of generous escapism and a book to be recommended.”— Kirkus Reviews

“Larry McMurtry meets A Midsummer Night’s Dream. This is Sibley’s best yet — a rollicking screwball comedy with a heart as big as Texas.” — Steven L. Davis, Author, Past President, Texas Institute of Letters

“Put me in a car with Bill Sibley on a road trip across the nation and everything will be just fine. His spectacular voice, his aptitude for creating instantly indelible characters in richly funny scenes, his perfect pacing and splendid particularity are dazzling and hypnotic. Storyteller supreme!” —Naomi Shihab Nye, Young People’s Poet Laureate, Poetry Foundation

“A satirical small-town Texas comedy with welcome, surprising heart. Sibley’s boisterous comic novel blends small-town satire and humanist warmth as it unspools its tales of isolated people learning to love. His prose is sharp and evocative. At its best, HERE WE GO … finds these snared coyotes daring to find new ways to love.” — BOOKLIFE Review

“No doubt a different kind of love story with hilarious characters. This is such an entertaining and beautifully written book. The author’s vivid description of what a ranch is and how it works, using the actions and dialogues of the characters, is a big plus to the book. I was enthralled at the effortless and consistent expression of the Texas lingo through the conversations. The biggest positive of this book is the rich dialogue.” – ONLINEBOOKCLUB.ORG

“Happy small towns are all alike; a great place to spend a lifetime but not a weekend. There is right and there is wrong and a million in-betweens. There is white and there is black and dozens of better beautiful shades. There is man and there is woman and God knows what else. Let love figure it out. Well done! Colorful characters, colorful dialogue, good suspense, good ending.” – Robert Flynn, Author, Professor Emeritus, Trinity University

Meet The Author

Author - William Jack Sibley

Award-winning William Jack Sibley is a fifth generation Texas rancher and a versatile writer whose work has spanned from the likes of writing dialogue for television’s Guiding Light to serving as a contributing editor at Andy Warhol’s Interview Magazine, to seeing his plays produced off-Broadway and regionally. Sibley is the author of a dozen screenplays, nine stage plays, and three novels (Any Kind of Luck, Sighs Too Deep For Words, and Here We Go Loop De Loop).

Sibley’s previous works have won the National Indie Excellence Book Award and USA Best Book Award while succeeding as a finalist in the Lambda Literary Award, Foreword Reviews Book of the Year, and more. Sibley currently is the Secretary of the Texas Institute of Letters, as well as a member of The Dramatist Guild and the Writers Guild of America. He lives in San Antonio. For more, visit www.williamjacksibley.com.

Connect with the Author:  Facebook | Goodreads | Instagram | Twitter | Website 
This spotlight and blog tour brought to you by PR By The Book

Book Showcase: ABDI’S WORLD by Abdi Abdirahman

SOULstice Publishing Virtual Book Tour, ABDI'S WORLD: THE BLACK CACTUS ON LIFE, RUNNING, AND FUN by Abdi Abdirahman with Myles Schrag and foreword by Mo Farah, photo of Abdi Abdirahmah in white Nike track uniform, with Abdirahman name tag pinned to front of shirt, holding an American flag up in his arms behind him in victory.

Abdi’s World: The Black Cactus on Life, Running, and Fun by Abdi Abdirahman and Myles Schrag with a foreword by Mo Farah
ISBN-10: 1733188789 (paperback)
ISBN-13: 9781733188784 (paperback)
Release Date: August 16, 2021
Publisher: Soulstice Publishing, LLC
Genre: Nonfiction | Memoir | Sports Biographies | Running & Jogging

 
ABDI'S WORLD by Abdi Abdirahman

Abdi’s World is a quirky place where the only American distance athlete to qualify for five Olympics shares the stories that shaped his enduring love of running and his laid-back approach to life. Abdi Abdirahman arrived in Tucson, Arizona, as a teenager when his family escaped civil war in their home country of Somalia. How the “Black Cactus,” as he is affectionately known, stumbled upon a career as one of the world’s most durable and beloved track and road racers of the 21st century is a story of resilience, commitment, and respect for friends and competitors alike—told here in a guide that is part life lessons, part training tips, part autobiography, and all Abdi. He has traveled the globe and shared his joie de vivre at every stop, showing a magician’s ability to balance work and play that anyone young or old, in or out of running, could learn from to live a more meaningful life. Enter Abdi’s World to join him on his insightful journey—and see what happens when you meet his stride.

Purchase Links #CommissionEarned: IndieBound.org | Amazon | BookDepository.com

 

Read an excerpt:

Chapter 3
Representing America . . . Second Time’s a Charm

 

Have you ever been to Seville, Spain?

Neither have I.

I had plans to be there in August 1999, but I didn’t get to go—and I had only myself to blame.

So much was happening to me so fast that year. I was finishing my second year of classes at the University of Arizona and my final year of collegiate eligibility on the track. On the heels of the NCAAs came the USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon. I was running the 10,000m there in my first post-collegiate race. Though my fitness was still good, I had no idea what to expect in terms of my performance or how a big meet like this would be conducted.

Among those who would be competing—the very best professional distance runners in the country—I recognized plenty of names from the Pac-10 Conference. The top three in each event would qualify for the IAAF World Track and Field Championships, which would be held in Seville. Representing the United States at the Worlds and the Olympics was the best opportunity for these guys to make their money. They weren’t going to show me any mercy.

I felt strong and played it smart in my event. From the start, I and the rest of the field deferred to Alan Culpepper, the favorite. He took charge and we let him. But I hung close and managed to take third place in 28:28.26, six seconds behind Culpepper and four seconds behind runner-up Brad Hauser, one of the Stanford twins I had run against many times over the past two years. In an instant I had achieved something I didn’t think possible—competing at a world-class competition as an American.

Soon, reality replaced my excitement. Paperwork, man. Take care of the details. That’s my hard-earned advice. When you make a national team, the USA Track & Field officials spring into action. Seville was less than two months away even as we crossed the finish line. USATF makes sure you have everything in order so you can make the international trip—passport, visa, fingerprints, shots, a lot of stuff I had never given any thought to. When they said to send them my passport so they could process my application for the trip, I sent them the only document I had: my green card. I didn’t think anything more about it until they called me a few days later and said, “Abdi, we need your passport.” A green card shows you’re in the United States legally, but it doesn’t make you a citizen.

I hadn’t been out of the United States since I arrived in 1993 through a program for Somali refugees. I’d been running and going to school for the past six years. My parents had always taken care of life’s details. They gained citizenship while I was in college, so I assumed that meant I was a U.S. citizen too. What I discovered was that my two brothers and four sisters, all under age 18, received automatic citizenship when my parents did. But I was an adult by then; I had to apply on my own. The clock to Seville was ticking down, and time wasn’t in my favor. I tried to fast-track citizenship, and there are mechanisms for doing that. But I couldn’t get it done soon enough.

When Culpepper and Hauser were running around the track at Seville’s Estadio Olímpico, I was watching it on TV in Tucson. While I was frustrated with myself and understood how I had made the mistake, I also felt like I had let down Meb Keflezighi, my UCLA friend who placed fourth at nationals and would have earned the third spot had I not been there. Meb didn’t have a qualifying time that met the standard required to go to Worlds. By the time I got this all sorted out, he didn’t have time to run a race that might have gotten him a qualifying mark. I’m a laid-back guy and don’t mind making fun of myself. I let things go pretty quickly . . . grudges, regrets, mistakes. But more than 20 years later, this is still a little embarrassing because it wasn’t fair to Meb.

Surely I’m the only athlete who has missed being on a national team because he didn’t know he wasn’t a citizen. Since then, I’ve been proud to represent the United States at the Olympics and the World Championships in track and cross country 13 times. But I can’t count this one.

If anything, this incident reminds me how naïve I was back then. I didn’t have big ambitions of being a runner; I had no big plans at all. Not getting the opportunity to be on the track in Seville in 1999 was an eye-opener. It made me realize I needed to take care of the details if I wanted to run at this level. The Olympic Trials were less than a year away, and I really wanted to wear a USA jersey. I barely remembered Somalia, but in America I had found a place where I could feel at home.

It was time to make it official.

***

As it turns out, if you allow enough time, the process of becoming an American isn’t so difficult. After passing the citizenship interview and exam, I was ready. I became a U.S. citizen on January 28, 2000, just under a month after I “officially” turned 23 years old. Like many refugees who arrive at a border without proof of birth, I was assigned a January 1 birthdate by immigration officials when I entered the United States. My actual birthdate is March 21, 1977, according to my mom, but you won’t see that anywhere else but here.

In just a few weeks, I would compete for a spot on the U.S. team that would go to the IAAF World Cross Country Championships. My family had moved to Seattle, Washington, while I was in college, so Coach Murray joined me for a simple naturalization ceremony at the Pima County Courthouse in Tucson.

When you become naturalized as an American citizen, you stand in a strange sort of limbo. You are asked to support and defend the U.S. Constitution and the laws of the United States against its enemies. You give up allegiance to any other nation. I had no problem committing to that and taking the oath of allegiance. Also on that day, the emcee names each of the former countries of the new citizens. When I heard “Somalia,” I stood up to acknowledge that was my old country. It’s a funny place to stand. I felt like I had been practicing becoming an American for the past six-plus years. Because of my incredibly rewarding college experience—which was still happening, since I would be taking a few more classes to complete my degree—I was comfortable saying I wanted to be a permanent part of American society. I felt American.

It was humbling and thrilling—I could feel a transition happening in real time. But as with my early days at U of A, where I felt increasingly accepted and open to all that was going on around me, it didn’t change how I saw others. I didn’t feel better than non–U.S. citizens I knew, just like I didn’t feel better than other students at Arizona. I didn’t feel like I was turning my back on Somalia, either. I was just stepping into who I wanted to be: an American. Likewise, I didn’t feel better about myself when I beat other guys in races during my college career, and I didn’t feel worse about myself when I lost to them. In all these situations, if you compare yourself to others and try to take on their journeys, you lose sight of where you want to go.

Excerpt from Abdi’s World by Abdi Abdirahman and Myles Schrag. Copyright 2021 © by Abdi Abdirahman and Myles Schrag. Reproduced with permission. All rights reserved.

Meet the Author

Abdi is an American long-distance runner and a five-time Olympian competing for the United States in the marathon in the upcoming Summer Olympics (July).

Born in Hargeisa, Somalia, Abdirahman graduated from Tucson High School in 1995 and attended Pima Community College before transferring to the University of Arizona for his junior and senior years. At Arizona, Abdirahman was named the 1998 Pacific-10 Conference Cross Country Male
Athlete of the Year. He finished second at the 1998 NCAA Cross Country Championships.

He launched his Olympic career when he competed in the 10,000 meters at the 2000 Summer Olympics. Abdirahman has competed in three Summer Olympics since and is the first American distance runner ever to make five Olympic teams.

At the 2020 United States Olympic Trials in Atlanta, Abdi finished 3rd in the marathon with a time of 2:10:03, securing his place on a fifth Olympic team, and, at 43, becoming the oldest American runner ever to make the Olympic team.

Connect with the Abdi via: Instagram | Twitter

 

This excerpt and virtual book tour brought to you by PR By The Book