Book Showcase: PROSPECTS OF A WOMAN by Wendy Voorsanger

 



PROSPECTS OF A WOMAN by Wendy Voorsanger

Prospects of a Woman by Wendy Voorsanger
ISBN: 9781631527814 (paperback)
ISBN: 9781631527821 (ebook)
ASIN: B083W7MJTW   (Kindle edition)
Publisher: She Writes Press
Publication Date: October 20, 2020

The story of one woman’s passionate quest to carve out a place for herself in the liberal and bewildering society that emerged during the California gold rush frenzy

Elisabeth Parker comes to California from Massachusetts in 1849 with her new husband, Nate, to reunite with her father, who’s struck gold on the American River. She soon realizes her husband is not the man she thought—and neither is her father, who abandons them shortly after they arrive. As Nate struggles with his sexuality, Elisabeth is forced to confront her preconceived notions of family, love, and opportunity. 


She finds comfort in corresponding with her childhood friend back home, writer Louisa May Alcott, and spending time in the company of a mysterious Californio Don. Armed with Ralph Waldo Emerson’s Self-Reliance, she sets out to determine her role in building the West, even as she comes to terms with the sacrifices she must make to achieve independence and happiness.


Prospects of a Woman is a fresh, authentic retelling of the West that explores women’s contributions in California and shatters the stereotypes of the typical hard-boiled novel of the West that has captured the American imagination for over a century.

Purchase Links #CommissionEarned:   IndieBound  |  Amazon  |  Amazon Kindle  |  BookDepository  |  !ndigo  |  Kobo eBook



Praise for the Book

Prospects of a Woman is a fascinating, complex, dark, and beautiful novel of women and sexuality on the frontier of the California gold strike days.” 

— Douglas Glover, two-time Governor General’s award-winning author of Elle

“I loved this surprisingly feminist story of Gold Rush-era California! Elizabeth Parker is a heroine to fall in love with–plucky, sensuous, courageous and clear-eyed. It is a rare and unusual pleasure to—finally—have a narrative of the Gold Rush told from a woman’s point of view.”

—Janis Cooke Newman, author of Mary: Mrs. A. Lincoln

Prospects of a Woman is thoughtful and thrilling. The landscape of California – the rough-scrabble mining towns, the wildness of the river and woods — sings on every page.”

—Alex Myers, author of the novels Revolutionary and Divide

Prospects of a Woman is a riveting read about a woman who comes to California during the Gold Rush determined to escape societal constraints, find love and strike it rich. As a woman in a man’s world, she faces innumerable challenges but manages to rise above them. This is a bold, rollicking and satisfying tale, one that is hard to put down.”

—Frances Dinkelspiel, award-winning journalist and author of the best-selling books, Tangled Vines and Towers of Gold



Watch the Video:



Read an Excerpt


PART 1

Upon hearing a circus had come to town, an excited farmer set out in his wagon. Along the way he met up with the circus parade, led by an elephant, which so terrified his horses that they bolted and pitched the wagon over on its side, scattering his vegetables and eggs across the roadway. “I don’t give a hang,” exulted the jubilant farmer as he picked himself up. “I have seen the elephant.”

— NINETEENTH-CENTURY AMERICAN FOLKTALE


1

“The power which resides in him is new in nature, and none but he knows what that is which he can do, nor does he know until he has tried.”

— RALPH WALDO EMERSON, “SELF-RELIANCE”

Elisabeth counted the stitches holding together their dingy canvas tent. Twice. She got 946 both times. Cooped up in the midday heat, she seethed at Nate for leaving her alone. They’d lost too much time already. Refusing to wait another goddamn minute on his frittering and scheming, she untied the tent flaps and crawled out, stretching her arms long overhead. A soft air of relief touched her cheeks. Aching with hunger, she stumbled downriver, in the direction of Culoma Town. She hadn’t eaten since a bite of beans for breakfast the day before.
Nate had left early that morning, again. Gone digging for gold in the river, refusing to let her join. Telling her to stay put. Warning about unsavory men roaming around, men with a mind to take what they will. Elisabeth was done waiting on him to bring her something decent to eat. She grabbed her satchel and headed for the river trail, thinking on how she’d get food in her belly with no money left.
She wasn’t thinking about the roaming men but about the blisters on her feet still burning something awful from that long journey getting to the river. Elisabeth walked all afternoon alongside the American River roiling loud, cutting through the valley, tempting her. Tempting Nate. Her eyes burned with the honest light shining lush and vibrant through the narrow valley. The grass glowed golden along the river trail, and the rich green pines marched up the steep sides of the canyon, swaying alive and standing taller and fuller than the scraggly pitch pines at home in Concord. Warm air whooshed through the branches, spreading a sweet smell around.
Arriving in Culoma Town, Elisabeth picked her way through a mess of empty tents strewn haphazard. Plopping down on a log in the center of town, she unlaced her boots to let her stockinged feet breathe and witnessed new beginnings. Industrious fellas buzzed around, hammering up buildings with fresh-hewn boards and siding and plank floors and shingle roofs. Jabbering and rushing. Heaving pails and shovels and pans and timber. Haggling for food and supplies. No women milled about, and she wondered if they were all hiding away too.
Some of the fellas in town noticed her sitting alone on the log. One man dropped his hammer and walked over, stammering and stuttering as if he hadn’t seen a woman in years. She smiled polite, introducing herself as Mrs. Nathaniel Parker. More men came. And more. Until over a dozen stood around gawking at the only woman in Culoma Town. She pulled at her dress collar. Shifted her bottom on the log. Cleared her throat. When a few of the men sat down in the crisped-up grass like they had all the time to waste, she wondered why but didn’t dare ask. A fella with a long curly beard dripping down his chin offered her a cup of cool river water. She took it, gulping. Wiping her cheek with the back of her hand, she reddened with shame. When one man tossed two bits into her empty cup she looked at him coolly, thinking him daft. When another coin clinked into the cup, then another, she didn’t give them back. Didn’t look at the coins either. She simply stared up at the clear sky, fanning herself with her shabby straw hat, acting like she couldn’t care less if those foolish men wanted to waste good money just to sit near a woman looking not exactly pretty.
“I’m not out here to beg,” she said. “Of course not,” said the long-beard fella. She shuffled her unlaced boots, tamping down the dry grass. “I’m simply out getting some air,” she said. “We all see that,” he said. An older man, wrinkled up like a prune, scooted up to her left knee. She caught him looking her up and down, leering, and she wanted to slap him for the lack of manners but held back. Letting men stare for money was unseemly, no matter the circumstances, but she knew each clink of a coin meant she and Nate would eat tonight. Oh, he’d be furious, of course. He’d probably even accuse her of flirting. Maybe she was. Flirting. Encouraging. She didn’t care. She needed a proper supper and a hot bath. Besides, the men seemed harmless.
She considered how many coins those fools had given her, but was too afraid to count for fear they’d wise up to this absurd payment-for-gawking scheme and demand all those coins back. The men stared at her wide-eyed while a pecker pounded on a nearby trunk, knocking and knocking for grubs, matching the thud in her head.
“Any of you know a Henry Goodwin?” Elisabeth asked. “That your husband?” “My father. He settled a claim up the North Fork,” she said. It’d been nearly a month since he’d run off with that Indian girl, and she still stung sore and angry at his leaving. She convinced herself he’d change his mind. Convinced
he’d return to the claim eventually.
“Sing us a song?” A prune-face fella asked. “Not hardly,” she said. “Can’t? Or won’t?” Not exactly delicate, Elisabeth lacked the finer qualities admired in most ladies. Her singing sounded more feeble frog than melodious finch, and she had no patience for sitting still for parlor conversations, finding the feminine topics of curtain colors and canning peaches dreadfully dull. Nate said she walked too heavy, but she knew he’d appreciated her strong back when they’d taken turns pushing their cart loaded down with his case of books through the foothills and into the river basin.

Excerpt from Prospects of a Woman by Wendy Voorsanger.  
Copyright © 2020 by Wendy Voorsanger. 
Reproduced with permission. All rights reserved.




Meet The Author

Wendy Voorsanger

Born and raised on the American River in Sacramento, Wendy Voorsanger has long held an intense interest in the historical women of California. She started her career in Silicon Valley, writing about technology trends and innovations for newspapers, magazines, and Fortune 100 companies. 


She currently manages SheIsCalifornia.net, a blog dedicated to chronicling the accomplishments of California women through history. Her debut historical novel, Prospects of a Woman will be published in October 2020 (She Writes Press); an excerpt entitled “Shifting in California” won 1st place in the California Writers Club short story contest and is published in the Fault Zone: Shift: An Anthology of Stories


She earned a B.A. in Journalism from California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo and an MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts. She is a member of the Castro Writers’ Cooperative, the Lit Camp Advisory Board, and the San Mateo Public Library Literary Society. 


In addition to being an author, Wendy has worked as a lifeguard, ski instructor, and radio disc jockey. Wendy lives in Northern California with her husband and two sons. 


Connect to the author via her website, Facebook, Goodreads, Instagram, and blog.


This showcase, excerpt, and blog tour brought to you by PR by the Book

Book Showcase: DON’T F*** THIS UP! by Fred Stuvek Jr.



Don’t F*** This Up!: A Guide for Students and Graduates or Anyone Making A Fresh Start by Fred Stuvek Jr.
ISBN: 9781732306042 (paperback)
ISBN: 9781732306059 (ebook)
ASIN: B08C5MQVSV   (Kindle edition)
Publisher: Triumvirate Press
Publication Date: July 7, 2020



The margin of error is shrinking…



Has the new normal just f***ed up the future for young adults? 

Thanks to a global pandemic, they’re entering adulthood, their college career, or the workforce during record unemployment, a terrifying economy, and social guidelines that have all but eliminated life as we knew it. 

And what about the millions of newly unemployed workers in America? As they look for a fresh start, how will they overcome the challenges of an economy decimated by COVID-19?

If having a strategy for the future was important before, now it’s critical. The choices new grads, young adults, or the newly unemployed make and the practices they adopt right now are going to shape not only their career but every other aspect of their life as well. 

Fred Stuvek, Jr. has some hard-earned life lessons to share with them. As a former athlete who served in the military and successfully started his own business, he has advice for those looking to thrive in this battered economy. 

In Don’t F*** This Up!, he explains how harnessing certain proven success principles will help guide those looking for a new start in a world where the margin of error is narrower than ever. He can explain the following in more detail:


  • Adopt high standards and become disciplined
  • Learn how to focus on goal setting from a Hall of Fame athlete turned soldier
  • Develop and improve essential relationships from someone who has built successful businesses
  • Establish a high level of personal integrity through the right actions and attitude 
  • Develop the resilience and grit to overcome adversity







Purchase Links: #CommissionEarned   IndieBound  |  Amazon  |  Amazon Kindle  |  Barnes & Noble  |  <Nook Book  |  BookDepository  |  Kobo eBook





Author Q&A



Don’t F*** This Up!: A Guide for Students and Graduates
or Anyone Making a Fresh Start



1.  Your book is titled, Don’t F*** This Up!. That is pretty direct. What exactly do you mean by it and how did you decide on it?

Due to this pandemic students and graduates will be facing one of the bleakest employment environments in generations. Opportunities will be limited, and the margin of error is much less than in former times. While the title is visceral, I wanted to emphasize the importance to my target audience that now, more than ever, it is critical to be prepared and get it right the first time.


2.  You have excelled in sports, the military, and in business. What is the key piece of advice you have gained from this trifecta of experience that you want to give to those making a fresh start in this bad economy?

Nothing gets accomplished without discipline, commitment, and a team working together. Your discipline will ensure you follow through on your plan; that firm commitment in your mission will ensure you have the resiliency to stay the course when adversity strikes; and everyone has each other’s back.  


3.  How is your book unique from other self-help books out there?

Success is not one dimensional, it entails a number of issues that must converge. The absence or weakness in one area of more will impact your ability to reach your full potential. To the best of my knowledge, there isn’t a book out there that comprehensively and specifically addresses the entire range of issues for someone to be successful by telling them WHAT is important, WHY it is important, and HOW you do something about it. 


4.  You say that your advice may be hard for people to hear. Why is that?

You are responsible for you and accountable for yourself. You are not a victim of circumstances. The life you are living is based on the habits you have formed, the decisions you made, and the people you associate with. If you want a better life, develop better habits, make better decisions, and re-evaluate who you are hanging out with.


5.  Can you go over a couple of the core ideas for success that you outline in the book?

In order to be motivated and fulfilled there are two issues that are important – alignment and filling in the gaps. When I say alignment you have to understand what motivates you and match those beliefs with your personality, skillset, interests, and values. The other issue is the gaps – you need to understand what areas you fall short in and work on improving your skills in those areas. You also have to be honest with yourself and don’t try to be something you are not. Otherwise, you have a mismatch which ultimately will result in dissatisfaction, stress, burn-out, and spill over into your personal life.  


6.  You say that the margin for error is narrowing for people starting out in the workforce. What do you mean by that?

Many companies are streamlining, cutting costs, or putting plans on hold until they are better able to gauge the impact COVID19 will have on the economy and their business. As a result, there will be fewer jobs available which will translate into fewer opportunities for them. This may also translate to new business models where companies revert to a hybrid version of their former self from both an expense and staffing standpoint. They say “you only get one chance to make a first impression.” The same holds true here.  


7.  COVID-19 has decimated the economy. For those who have been laid off, what is your biggest piece of advice as they look for a fresh start?

Your mindset, preparation, and commitment will carry you through. Be prepared, be positive, and persevere. Understand there will be rejection and frustration, don’t take it personally, it is part of the process, so put it behind you. Learn from it and move on. Your determination and zeal will ultimately resonate with someone, so never give up, never surrender, and always move forward, even if it is one small step at a time. 


8.  Ultimately, what do you hope readers take away from your book?

Your achievement in life will be determined by the belief and confidence you have in yourself and what you do. You need to develop the right mindset, develop good habits, and make good decisions. To make those decisions you need to know what questions to ask, how to get the answers, and a process to follow. This book is a roadmap to do exactly that and will be a valuable ongoing reference. 


9.  How/where can readers purchase Don’t F*** This Up!?#

It is available in hard copy and eBook through a number of sources such as Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Apple. You can also go to my website https://fredstuvek.com, where the purchase tab on my home page will direct you to a number of sources where you can purchase either version. 
(#NOTE: Purchase Links are also provided at the top of this post.)

10.  Is there anything else you’d like to tell us about the book?

What is laid out in my book is not based on theory. What I recommend is proven, it works. 




Meet The Author


FRED STUVEK JR. has achieved extraordinary success in diverse realms. He has been inducted into the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame for achievements in football, basketball, baseball, and track. He graduated from the United States Naval Academy, after lettering three years as quarterback for the Midshipmen. After serving as a Naval Officer, he transitioned to the business world where he has held senior leadership positions in private and public companies, both domestically and internationally. Key successes include an international medical imaging start-up that led to a successful IPO and forming a private medical services company, which he subsequently sold. From the playing field to the war room, to the board room, his leadership and accomplishments have given him a distinct perspective and a results-oriented mindset.



Connect to the author via his Website, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Twitter, or YouTube.




Giveaway

Enter to win a print copy of Don’t F*** This Up! by Fred Stuvek Jr. This giveaway is limited to US residents only; non-US residents will be disqualified. Giveaway begins at 12:01 AM ET on 08/25/2020 and runs through 11:59 PM ET on 09/01/2020. The winner will be announced by 10:00 AM ET on 09/02/2020. Book will be provided by PR by the Book at the conclusion of the tour. Void where prohibited by law.


To enter use the Rafflecopter form below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway




This Q&A, giveaway, and tour brought to you by PR By The Book

Guest Post: Vee Kumari – DHARMA



Happy Monday, my bookish peeps. Just last week I told you that I’m all about learning about new-to-me authors and books, as well as growing my TBR list. Well, that list has one more addition after today and it’s in one of my favorite genres, mystery. Let me introduce you to Vee Kumari, author of the debut Dharma: A Rekha Rao Mystery. Learn more about this author, her character Rekha, and the book below.




The Importance and Significance of Character Naming
by Vee Kumari



Rekha is an Indian film actress, noted for her versatility and acknowledged as one of the finest artists in Indian cinema, who has acted in more than 190 Bollywood films in her career spanning over 50 years. She has often played strong female characters, often “the other woman.” I chose the name because I wanted something exceptional, not commonly used for Indian protagonists. 

The meaning of the name, as Rekha explains to Al toward the end of the novel, is: “a straight line.” It implies honesty, lack of filters, perhaps stubborn and inflexible.

The pronunciation of the name is a little tricky. The ‘R’ is not a harsh trilled sound, rather a softer sound best produced by having the tip of the tongue tap once against the front half of the palate, but not touching the teeth. But I’d be happy whichever way the readers choose to say it!



**********





Dharma: A Rekha Rao Mystery by Vee Kumari
ISBN:  9781938394423 (paperback)
ASIN:  B0868TRY2C (Kindle version)
Publisher: Great Life Press
Publication Date: March 22, 2020


Rekha Rao, a thirty-something Indian American professor of art history, is disillusioned by academia and haunted by the murder of her father, for which she believes police convicted the wrong person.

She moves away from her nosy Indian family to live an independent life. As luck would have it, she gets entangled in a second murder, that of her mentor and father figure, Professor Joseph Faust. An idol of the Hindu Goddess Durga was used as the murder weapon and left on the body. Rekha is asked to help Detective Al Newton understand the relationship, if any, between the meaning of the statue and the motive for murder.

Rekha is attracted to Al but steers clear of him because of her distaste for cops and prior abusive experience with a boyfriend, sticking to only what she was asked to do. Al and Rekha constantly clash, igniting a love-hate relationship. When police arrest one of her favorite students and accuse Faust of idol theft, Rekha’s ‘dharma,’ her sense of duty, rears its head and propels her into looking for the killer on her own. Walking a thin line between Al’s warnings about the dangers of amateur sleuthing, and the match-making efforts of her family, Rekha finds the killer, and in the process, discovers her inner strength, and tastes the prospect of an unexpected romance.






Purchase Links #CommissionEarned:   IndieBound  |  Amazon  |  Amazon Kindle  




Meet the author:

Vee Kumari grew up in India. She loved to read, and often used it to avoid her mother, who might want her to do a chore or two. It was her mother who directed her to use the dictionary to learn the meanings of new words and construct sentences with them. Vee wanted to become an English professor but went to medical school instead.

Upon coming to the US, Vee obtained a doctorate in anatomy. She became a faculty member at the UC Davis Medical Center, where she worked for over 35 years, and later worked for the Keck School of Medicine for five years. Teaching neuroanatomy to medical students became her passion. She published many scientific papers and won several teaching awards. 

When she retired in 2012, she took classes from The Gotham Writers’ Workshop and UCLA Writers Program. Dharma, A Rekha Rao Mystery is her debut fiction that incorporates her observations on the lives of Indian immigrants and Indian Americans in the US.

Vee lives in Burbank and is also an actor who has appeared in TV shows, including Criminal Minds and Glow, and produced and was the lead in a short film, Halwa, which garnered the first prize in HBO’s 2019 Asian Pacific American Visionaries (APAV) contest.

She is at work on her next novel about an Indian immigrant family whose American dream shatters when one of their twin daughters goes missing.



Connect with the author via her website, Facebook, Goodreads, Instagram, and Twitter.



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

Guest Post: Gen LaGreca – JUST THE TRUTH



Good day, book people. I don’t know about you, but I’m always excited to learn about new authors and books. Yes, I know that my TBR list already has thousands of books on it, but what’s one or two more?! Today, I’m pleased to introduce you to Gen LaGreca, an award-winning author, and the author of the newly released Just The Truth. Ms. LaGreca will be talking to us today about fiction and the impact it has on our lives. I hope you’ll enjoy meeting her, read what she has to say, and add Just The Truth to your mounting TBR list! Thank you, Ms. LaGreca for joining us today. I turn the blog over to you.



Why We Love Fiction, and How it Touches our Lives
By Gen LaGreca


Are there great novels, short stories, plays, and feature films that thrilled you, shocked you, gave you moments of nail-biting, edge-of-your-seat suspense, or steamy, passionate love scenes? Are there works of fiction that got you thinking about important issues? Did you ever wonder about the power of fiction to inform and inspire us?

News stories, textbooks, essays, articles, white papers, and nonfiction books give us a straight-forward account of factual issues, whereas works of fiction tell us a story. Fiction comes from the imagination filled with adventure, excitement, romance, intrigue, suspense, and the full gamut of emotions.


Nonfiction or Fiction? Which do you remember more?

The difference between nonfiction and fiction is like the difference between reading a flight manual and actually being in the cockpit and going for a ride.

For example, let’s take a historical event: Sherman’s March and the burning of Atlanta during the Civil War. How do we remember it? Through a textbook account of military strategies, generals, battles, and timelines? Or do we remember Sherman’s March far more vividly from a scene in the novel and film Gone With the Wind? We’re in the middle of Sherman’s siege. Atlanta is wildly ablaze and in utter chaos. Scarlett O’Hara and Rhett Butler are in a teetering wagon with a half-dead horse driving it. A mother and her just-born child are in the back of the wagon, with the mother trying to shield the infant from falling debris from the fires all around them. The characters are desperately trying to escape Atlanta, but the Confederate army is in full retreat coming at them, slowing them down—and an ammunition depot is about to explode.

You can see how fiction makes that historical event come to life in a haunting, shocking way.


Fiction depicts great struggles for freedom and independence.

The ancient myth of Prometheus relates how he stole fire from the gods and gave it to mankind. This empowered humans so that they were no longer subservient to the deities who ruled them. The gods were so infuriated by losing their power over mankind that they chained Prometheus to a rock and cruelly punished him for eternity. The quest of humans to break free from a ruling class echoes through time and is a great theme for works of fiction.

Did you know that storytelling played a role in the American Revolution? The popular 18th-century play “Cato: A Tragedy” dramatized the struggle of a political leader of Ancient Rome, Cato, who fought for republicanism against Julius Caesar’s tyranny. This play was so important to George Washington that he defied a Congressional order banning the performance of plays during wartime and had the work performed to inspire his troops after their harsh winter at Valley Forge. Washington didn’t give his troops a lecture or a pep talk to boost their spirits. Instead, he used the sweeping drama of a play.

In the prelude to the American Civil War, the most influential abolitionist writing was a novel, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, by Harriet Beecher Stowe. It was this book—a work of fiction—that became an international bestseller and galvanized the North against the evils of slavery.

Fiction has also shown us the face of evil in grim detail. The term Big Brother, which originated from George Orwell’s novel 1984, has become the enduring worldwide symbol of tyranny. We still use this term today, over 70 years since the novel’s original publication in 1949.

Novels have contained moving messages about freedom. Ayn Rand’s epic philosophical novel, Atlas Shrugged, shows us the role of the individual’s free, creative mind and productive activities as the generator of human progress. This novel has inspired millions to embrace the glory of freedom.


Stories that dramatize important ideas have always inspired me in my writing.

With no pretensions to the above works intended, I strive in my novels to create riveting plots interwoven with thought-provoking themes. My new novel, Just the Truth, is a political thriller that portrays the threats to a free press in an era of growing government power and the fearless spirit of one journalist who risks her career, her reputation—and ultimately her life— to uncover a plot to subvert free elections in America. This courageous newswoman battles a powerful bureaucracy to keep journalism, a free press—and truth—alive. It’s an entertaining novel that brings to life the importance of a responsible and independent press, an accountable government, and the rule of law. It’s not only for those who care about modern threats to our country’s founding principles but for anyone looking for an absorbing political thriller and murder mystery.

I love to write fiction that offers a full plate of plot action served with a generous pour of intoxicating ideas. Are you ready for a sizzling read? I’m inviting you to my table.


*********



Just the Truth by Gen LeGreca
ISBN:  9780974457956 (paperback)
ASIN:  B084M65GZ3 (Kindle version)
Publisher: Winged Victory Press
Publication Date: June 1, 2020


A newswoman battles a powerful bureaucracy to keep journalism, a free press—and truth—alive.

Set in Washington, DC, in the near future, Just the Truth portrays the threats to a free press in the era of growing, unchecked government and the courageous spirit of one journalist who risks her career, her reputation—and even her life—to uncover a plot to subvert free elections in America.

Find the truth, wherever it hides was the slogan of firebrand newspaper mogul Julius Taninger (JT) in the mid-20th century. Then, politicians feared his scathing editorials. Now, 70 years later, with JT deceased and his son Clark and grandchildren Irene, Billie, and Laura Taninger running the company, have the tables turned? In modern-day America, does the press—and the broader business community—still have the freedom to criticize public officials, or do those officials have the power to silence their opponents? Laura Taninger is about to find out.

Fox… James Spenser whispers as he lay dying in Laura’s arms.

She cannot let Spenser die in vain.

Having become the president of Taninger News and host of its prime time television show after the death of her intrepid grandfather, Laura becomes the sole journalist to hold President Kenneth Martin’s administration accountable. The signature program of his administration, SafeVote, puts control of national elections in the hands of the federal government, rather than letting the states manage the voting in their own jurisdictions. SafeVote is scheduled to launch with the upcoming presidential election in which Martin hopes to win a second term. Laura suspects foul play when she discovers a $400 million line item in the SafeVote budget allocated to pay an elusive company for performing undisclosed services.

James Spenser, who was Laura’s source within the administration, had vital information for her but was gunned down before he could reveal it. Facing the crushing retaliation of her political enemies against her family’s businesses, a smear campaign to destroy her career and reputation, and the intense pressure of her family to give up her investigation, Laura persists in her quest to learn the meaning of Spenser’s dying word and the secrecy surrounding SafeVote. As she gets closer to unraveling the mystery, she realizes that the facts point to shocking revelations about the man whose memory haunts her, the man who was her greatest business competitor and her most passionate lover—until he betrayed her and the ideals they shared. With Election Day looming and the country at a perilous crossroads, Laura is determined to pursue the truth wherever it leads.






Purchase Links #CommissionEarned:   IndieBound  |  Amazon  |  Amazon Kindle  



Meet the author:


Genevieve (Gen) LaGreca writes novels with innovative plots, strong romance, and themes that glorify individual freedom and independence. She has written novels of all different genres including historical, mystery, and romance fiction as well as short stories. She is one of the successful new indie authors whose novels have topped the charts in the popular ebook format. Her three previously published novels, Noble Vision, A Dream of Daring, and Fugitive From Asteron have been Amazon Kindle Best Sellers and won 11 book awards.




Connect with the author via her website, blog, Facebook, and LinkedIn.



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

Bookish Spotlight: Thérèse Plummer – Audiobook Narrator



June is Audiobook Month and what better way to celebrate than to spotlight an audiobook narrator. I’m pleased to present to you the actress and award-winner audiobook narrator, Thérèse Plummer. Ms. Plummer will be providing us with some invaluable information regarding her audiobook narration style. Sit back, relax, and enjoy.


1. What’s a day in the studio like for you?

I get to the studio to start my session at 10:00 am. I will yuck it up with the engineers and whoever else is around and then get into my studio for a full day of performing. I love the Pomodoro technique* lately as it is fantastic for productivity and keeps my energy levels at a sustainable level.  My typical recording day is 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

2. Tell me a bit about transforming books into audiobooks. How do you prepare, and what do you most enjoy about the preparation? From one project to the next, how much do you change your approach to each audiobook?

I love this question! Each book is a new friend I have just met and in order to get to know her, I need to really listen. The book tells me everything I need to know because the author has taken the time to create this world and the characters whose journeys I am lucky to go on and bring to life. Every story has its own personality and vibe. If I have questions regarding pronunciations I will submit a word list to my producers and also will collaborate with the authors if I am able to ask specific questions about how they ‘hear’ certain characters. My prepping means I read the entire book and will highlight ‘directions,’ I see (e.g. he whispered, she muttered, he said in a flat voice, she roared). I will have made a new friend so when I go into the studio to give the book a voice it is now a dialogue with my new friend.

3. Does your work impact how you read outside of work?

When I am in the studio I record off of an iPad and will scroll to the next page. The other day I had a book on my lap and saw my finger go to the page to scroll it and I started laughing. Old habits!! My husband is very amused as I am always giving things a voice and a character. It’s kind of a habit now. I am definitely a faster reader.

4. What do audiobooks offer that a book can’t? And considering how much audiobooks are booming, why do you think we’re being drawn to this medium more and more?

So when I was twelve years old I remember reading a book called Tully by Paullina Simons** and being absolutely mesmerized. I couldn’t focus in school as I kept thinking about Tully and the next chapter I would get to after school. I was fully invested in this story and these characters. It was so real for me. That’s what a good story does. If I were to guess, I think when a listener finds a voice that works for them telling them the story and bringing it to life, it is the ultimate escape and experience. I have had listeners tell me they won’t leave their car until the chapter ends. Storytelling is the oldest form of entertainment and connection and to have a voice perform a story to you is such an intimate and beautiful experience. It is a human connection and it is highly entertaining. It is a healthy way to detach from the noise of your commute and escape into a wonderful story. I have had other listeners tell me listening to an audiobook is equivalent to watching a movie in their head. 

5. What do you believe are your greatest strengths as a narrator of books? What is the most rewarding or coolest thing you get to bring to this experience through your reading?

I believe my greatest strength as a storyteller is the ability to immerse my whole self into all of the characters and trust myself to then translate that vocally. I lose myself in the story and the characters and I think you have to do that to bring the authors world alive vocally. It is so fun to play crazy characters (lycans, vampires, gargoyles, etc) or little kids talking to their parents and to hear my voice just become what is in my head. I am one of eight kids in my family and I have 15 nephews and nieces to date so I have lots of inspiration. 😊

6.  What’s one thing people might not expect about your role as a narrator?

It is exhausting! The Pomodoro technique helps me with energy but at the end of a six or eight hour day, I usually come home and crash. I am used to playing one character on stage and film but in the studio, it is a one-woman show and sometimes up to 40 characters a book. I have so much respect for my community of storytellers!

7.  How do you take care of your voice?

Sleep is my number one voice-care. The others are vocal/diaphragm warm-ups before my session. Stretching my tongue, jaw, throat, and face. Also lots of water, espresso (not sure that’s a good one but is my vice) and tea. I love soups. And Airborne in the beginning and end of a session.

8. Tell us a bit about being a woman in the audiobook industry. Do you face any particular challenges? How have things changed over time?

The biggest change has been our Union (Sag-Aftra) negotiating contracts with the publishers on our behalf to solidify our rates in the last 10 years or so. I think the biggest challenge as a woman is speaking up for a higher rate as time goes on. I know if I were a man it would be less intimidating but the good news is that my community of storytellers are filled with like-minded strong beautiful talented and fierce queens who band together in support and encouragement of each other. We know our worth and ask for what we want and need. The worst thing that can happen is they say no but it is worth the discomfort. As freelance artists, it is really scary because if we ask and they say no we don’t want to lose work or be seen as greedy or annoying to work with so a lot of us stay quiet. The few times I advocated for myself and asked it was greeted with approval but my god, it was terrifying. I try to channel my inner vampire or werewolf strength at times. LOL. 

  
9.  Who in your life has had the biggest impact on your work as a narrator? 

My father. He was a professional actor in his younger days and growing up in my house he was always singing and bringing characters in his head to life. We never knew who would be serving us our French Toast. Was it a French man or an Italian man? Accents and characters galore. It was a one-man show and incredibly entertaining. He performed a one-man show of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol and every year I sat in the audience and was mesmerized by how he brought every character in that story to life! I was in awe. When he retired my brother and I took over the tradition and perform A Christmas Carol at Grey Towers in Milford Pa. the first weekend in December every year. What a gift.

10.  I’d love to know more about reading Robyn Carr’s work! How do you approach romance in particular as a narrator? (Especially kissing/love scenes!)

I was asked to audition to narrate Virgin River in 2009 at Recorded Books in NYC. They chose my voice and none of us knew the journey we would all go on! The romance books are the same as any other story as it is a friend I have yet to meet. The thing I love about these stories though is that each book has so many mini stories going on that it felt like a soap opera or television show while I narrated. The love scenes are intimate, personal, passionate, and sometimes funny so as the voice of the man and the woman and the narrator I have my work cut out for me. There is a way to soften my voice but get closer to the microphone so I am not too soft and bring the scene to life. I have cracked myself up when the groan I emit as the man comes out more like a croak and my engineer and I will have a good chuckle before going back and getting it right. Again I am bringing a story alive to your ears so the more natural and realistic I can get it the better for you. That is my goal.

I am blessed to call Robyn a friend and she is one of the funniest, most real, bad-ass queens I know. I was able to narrate all of her Virgin River, Thunder Point and Sullivan’s Crossing series as well as her stand-alone novels. I adore these stories and characters. I was able to audition and landed a role on season one of Virgin River for Netflix. To walk on set and be in Jack’s bar after bringing it to life for so many years through audio was surreal and amazing. I think they did an amazing job with the series! The best part of Robyn’s books is that she writes about people all of us know.  Everyone can relate and escape into a really good story for a while. Healthy escapism.

*The Pomodoro Technique is a time management system that encourages people to work with the time they have—rather than against it. Using this method, you break your workday into 25-minute chunks separated by five-minute breaks. These intervals are referred to as pomodoros. After about four pomodoros, you take a longer break of about 15 to 20 minutes.
**Tully Makker is a tough young woman from the wrong side of the tracks and she is not always easy to like. But if Tully gives friendship and loyalty, she gives them for good, and she forms an enduring bond with Jennifer and Julie, school friends from very different backgrounds. As they grow into the world of the seventies and eighties, the lives of the three best friends are changed forever by two young men, Robin and Jack, and a tragedy which engulfs them all. Against the odds, Tully emerges into young womanhood, marriage, and a career. At last Tully Makker has life under control. And then life strikes back in the most unexpected way of all…(GoodReads)





Watch Thérèse in action in this video:




 
Meet the Narrator

Photo by Jody Christopherson

Thérèse Plummer is an actor and award-winning audiobook narrator working in New York City. She has recorded over 350 audiobooks for various publishers. She won the 2019 Audie Award for her work on the multicast, Sadie by Courtney Summers for Macmillan Audio, was nominated for the Multicast Any Man by Amber Tamblyn for Harper Audio and her solo narration for The Rogue Planets Shaken by Lee W. Brainard for Podium Publishing. The American Library Association (ALA) awarded her work on Sourdough by Robin Sloan as part of the 2018 Listen List: Outstanding Audiobook Narration for Adult Listeners.  


Thérèse is the voice of Maya Hansen in the Marvel Graphic Motion Comic Ironman Extremis, Dr. Fennel in Pokemon, and for various Yu-Gi-Oh characters. Television Guest Star Roles on The Good Wife, Law and Order SVU, and the upcoming series Virgin River for Netflix. 

Connect with the Thérèse via her website, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube.



This Q&A and blog tour brought to you by PR by the Book

Book Showcase: LEGENDS FROM MOM’S CLOSET by Sasha Olsen

Legends from Mom’s Closet by Sasha Olsen
ISBN: 9780578620091 (hardcover)
Publisher: BCH
Publication Date: May 19, 2020


10-year-old Sasha Olsen documents how she spent a rainy summer indoors using her creativity and imagination. After reading a stack of books about women like Frida Kahlo, Audrey Hepburn and Billie Holiday, Sasha’s imagination ran wild and she ended up in her mom’s closet picking through her clothes and her grandmother’s vintage pieces to dress up like all the female legends she had been reading about. Complete with photos of the looks she created and tips for other young girls on how they, too, can emulate these iconic women, Legends from Mom’s Closet will inspire readers to delve into the lives of truly remarkable women from the past to learn a thing or two about what it means to be legendary in today’s world. 







Purchase Links: #CommissionEarned   IndieBound  |  Amazon  |  Barnes & Noble  |  BookDepository   




Author Q&A

1.  In your book, Legends from Mom’s Closet, you share tidbits about and dress up like legendary women you read about during a rainy summer spent indoors. A lot of kids your age would spend a rainy summer watching TV or playing video games. What made you decide to start reading books about famous women?

Well, I actually love to read, especially biographies. I don’t usually spend a lot of time using any devices. I didn’t specifically start reading books about famous women, but I started looking around for books to learn more about legendary people. I just happened to meet these iconic women through their amazing stories and spending a day in their shoes! 



2. Who was your favorite female legend to read about?

My favorite legend to read about was probably Frida Kahlo! I felt like she had a very inspiring story. She had a lot of difficult times in her life, but no matter what, she worked hard to achieve her dreams and become an artist. 



3. What is the biggest lesson you learned from getting to know all of these female legends?

I learned many lessons! Most of all though, I learned that women are super strong. Women work very hard and can get through anything that might stand in their way of achieving their goals. Women are so inspiring!



4. What inspired you to use your mom’s clothes and your grandmother’s vintage pieces to recreate all of their iconic looks?

Actually, I just went into my mom’s closet and started trying on her shoes and dresses. This was after I read about Frida Kahlo. So, I just got the idea to try and dress up as her! I thought my mom might be really upset with me for playing with her things, but she loved the idea. If the legend was wearing something like I really couldn’t figure out where to get, I would call my grandma for advice. Most of the time, she had exactly what I needed!



5. Who was your favorite legend to dress up as and why?

My favorite legend to dress up as was definitely Yayoi Kusama. I love her bright artwork, and I was able to get even more creative to dress up as her!



6. How did you decide which legends to include in Legends from Mom’s Closet?

I didn’t choose them before. I just started to read about people who I didn’t know much about yet and it ended up being all women! After, I just decided to share them in this book.



7. Your other passion is the environment. Tell us what you learned about vintage fashion versus fast fashion.

When I started my movement “I Want My Ocean Back” and this project, I was doing a lot of research during that time. I wanted to know more about what are the biggest things that pollute our oceans and cause problems for our planet. I found out like clothing is one of the biggest ocean pollutants and some fabrics, like polyester, have plastic in them so it breaks down and hurts our sea animals. After finding this out, I realized that it’s very harmful to buy fast fashion because people just buy the clothes and throw them away soon after. It inspired me to learn more about vintage and how we can buy secondhand instead, and just reuse clothing! 



8. Ultimately, what do you hope your readers take away from your book?

I hope readers learn how important it is to let your creativity run wild! I want other kids to know that we can get inspired and have fun while also learning new things and growing our knowledge. It’s also very important that we learn more about how fast fashion affects our oceans and that we stop it! We need to win the war against fast fashion to help save the planet.



9. How/where can readers purchase Legends from Mom’s Closet?

Readers can purchase Legends from Mom’s Closet on our website www.legendsfrommomscloset.com, Amazon, Barnes & Noble… and most platforms! 



10. Is there anything else you’d like to tell us about the book or what you learned while writing it?

I just want to share that this book project is super special to me! It means a lot to me, and I worked very hard on it. I hope that everyone enjoys my stories and experiences dressing up as these legendary women. Most of all, I hope readers try it themselves and that it inspires them to think outside the box! I learned a lot from reading and getting to know these women, especially that we can do anything if we believe in ourselves.


Legends From Mom’s Closet Back Cover





Meet The Author


Sasha Olsen is a 10-year-old author, environmental activist, ballroom dancer, bookworm, pianist, and enjoys anything artistic. She always finds new hobbies and things to do, which usually ends up in her trying to juggle everything. She lives with her family in Bal Harbour, Florida, where she also spearheads the conservation movement “I Want My Ocean Back.” Legends From Mom’s Closet is her first book. 



Connect to the author via her website, Facebook, and Instagram.




This showcase/Q&A brought to you by PR By The Book

Book Showcase: PARABLE OF THE BROWN GIRL by Khristi Lauren Adams



Parable of the Brown Girl: The Sacred Lives of Girls of Color by Khristi Lauren Adams
ISBN: 9781506455686 (paperback)
ISBN: 9781506455693 (ebook)
ASIN: B07VHP8M6Z (Kindle edition)
Publisher:  Fortress Press
Release Date: February 4, 2020


The stories of girls of color are often overlooked, unseen, and ignored rather than valued and heard. In Parable of the Brown Girl, minister and youth advocate Khristi Lauren Adams introduces readers to the resilience, struggle, and hope held within these stories. Instead of relegating these young women of color to the margins, Adams bring their stories front and center where they belong. By sharing encounters she’s had with girls of color that revealed profound cultural and theological truths, Adams magnifies the struggles, dreams, wisdom, and dignity of these voices. Thought-provoking and inspirational, Parable of the Brown Girl is a powerful example of how God uses the narratives we most often ignore to teach us the most important lessons in life. It’s time to pay attention. 






Purchase Links: #CommissionEarned  IndieBound  |  Amazon  |  Amazon Kindle  |  Barnes and Noble  |  B&N Nook Book  |  BookDepository  |  Books-A-Million  |  Books-A-Million eBook  |  eBooks  |  Google Play Books  |  Kobo eBook



Read an Excerpt


Chapter 1
Parable of the WEAK BROWN GIRL



Why would God make me a warrior when I’m really just weak?

—Deborah, age nine

For a nine-year-old girl, Deborah had a very sharp and opinionated mind. She was curious and perceptive, yet also quite innocent. About a week prior to Deborah’s ninth birthday, her mother brought her to see me for counseling. She wanted Deborah to have someone to share her inquisitive thoughts with outside of her family and friends. In the time we’d been seeing one another, Deborah and I talked about many things. She often described school as her “happy place.” One could feel the warmth of her big, bright smile when she talked about her friends and her classes. At school she felt safe, contrary to what she described as feeling trapped at home. She lived in a small, one-bedroom apartment with her mother and her mother’s boy friend, who was recently released from jail after two years. Before he returned, Deborah slept in a room with her mother, which she loved because of how close she felt to her mother physically and emotionally.

Now she slept in the living room on their big, dusty, brown couch, which she described as old and worn. The middle dipped low when she lay on the couch and she often awoke with her back aching, but her mother thought Deborah was being dramatic when she complained about it. However, Deborah’s grievances indicated she felt distance between her and her mother and no longer had a sense of security and safety at home. Deborah’s mother was usually tired from working most of the day to support herself, her daughter, and her boyfriend. It had been six months since her mother’s boyfriend had moved in, and Deborah didn’t feel comfortable with him in her home. When she told her mother this, her words fell on deaf ears, just like all her other complaints did. Her mother thought Deborah was jealous but also believed Deborah would adjust to the situation eventually.

Deborah had a black-and white-marbled composition notebook she used as her journal. She didn’t structure her thoughts in a particular way, filling the notebook mostly with pencil-drawn pictures and poems. Knowing these were her private thoughts, I told Deborah she did not have to read them to me. Sometimes, she would bring the journal and have it idly on the desk. Other times, she wanted to read her thoughts from the past week. One day as she read, I glanced into the notebook and saw a picture she’d drawn, but I couldn’t quite make out who or what it was.

“What’s that?” I asked.

Embarrassed, she tried to hide it, but I promised I wouldn’t judge anything she drew or wrote. When she showed me the picture more closely, I was horrified. It was a picture of a girl with a gun to her head and the words “What’s the point? No one cares.” Something inside of me knew Deborah was the little girl. I asked her about the picture and she said it was an old drawing. Upon seeing the concerned look on my face, she tried to reassure me she’d just been having a bad day when she’d drawn it.

We sat in silence for a moment while I tried to gather words. Deborah seemed more concerned with my reaction than the actual drawing, and I sensed she didn’t want me to worry. When I finally found the words, I tried my hardest to impress to her that her life was important and that although things were difficult, people loved and cared for her. I also told her she had a life with purpose just like everyone else and God hadn’t made a mistake when creating her. She paused to think about my words and then desperately asked one of the most profound questions I’d ever heard.

“Why did God make me a warrior when I’m really just weak?”

I’d explained to Deborah that we would journey through life’s questions during our time together. I’d warned I wouldn’t always have the answers, but we would do our best to find them. This was a time I had no answer. As our session for that particular day ended, I promised wewould revisit her question the next time, which would be the following week. As the intervening days passed, I grappled with her question, unable to get it out of my head. I was also ashamed to admit I had been in that exact theological crisis more times than I could count. Why did God make me a warrior, when I, just like Deborah, was simply a weak human being? Numerous challenging moments in my life have led me to question my abilities. When I would outwardly struggle, people would quote, “He will not let you be tempted beyond your ability” (1 Corinthians 10:13). However, my abilities felt like failures. It was—and still is—hard to admit to feeling this weakness, even though I had been in leadership positions before where I had to portray strength. I realized a nine-year-old could articulate one of life’s important questions in a way that I never could.

Nevertheless, I knew I’d have to tell Deborah something more than typical, “You’re not weak—don’t say that. You’re brave and strong.” Why did we respond with this comforting platitude even though it was not the truth for most of us? Adults especially give these types of fabrications when communicating with children, believing to protect them from painful realities. Was it better to tell a child uncomfortable truths at a young age or to lie so they can maintain unchallenged happiness? In this case, I did not want to lie. I had to tell Deborah the truth, which meant I needed to figure out an appropriate response to her question.

A week later, I went to our next session with the intention to pick up where we left off. I waited for her nervously and quietly. Deborah walked into the sparsely decorated room and sat across from me at our usual table. I couldn’t tell if she looked tired because of a long day at school or because of her sleepless nights on her couch at home. I told her I had been thinking about her question all week and I finally had an answer. As I looked into the face of that troubled yet innocent nine-year-old little girl, I said, “Just because you are weak, doesn’t make you less than a warrior. Warriors can be weak.” She might not have grasped the totality of that statement, but nevertheless, she looked relieved to know she could still be considered a warrior. Her weakness did not negate her strength.

If our truest selves are not always strong, why do we place such emphasis and privilege on constantly embodying strength? This quandary is a theological and human in nature, and one many black women and girls especially have to face throughout their lives.

We are human; therefore, we are strong and weak. Many of us, particularly black women and girls, have not been taught how to graciously give ourselves space to live with weakness. Weakness makes us acknowledge our inabilities and surrender to forces outside of ourselves for help. All of this contradicts our understandings of success and strength. We have difficulty seeing power in weakness.

Deborah’s struggles as a young black girl wrestling with a perceived mantle of strength reminded me of similar struggles I’d had my entire life. While I marveled at Deborah’s courage to ask her question, I later realized I’d had to garner my own courage to respond, to admit warriors can be weak and that I can be weak. I, a strong, independent, black woman, can also be vulnerable and fragile.

Black women have not had permission to be both. We need to be seen for all of who we are. I am proud of the strength in my DNA as a black woman and warrior, yet I am also grateful for the grace that gives me space to be weak when I need to be.

Deborah made me confront my own weaknesses. I still don’t know why God created us to have both weakness and strength. However, as 1 Corinthians suggests, God uses the weak things of the world to shine a light of truth on the strong. God chose to become incarnate in the weakness of Christ in order to present a powerful gospel of truth to the world. Weakness was the chosen one. Therefore, do not discount weakness. God resides with us in both our strength and our weakness; neither limits God.



Excerpt from Parable of the Brown Girl by Khristi Lauren Adams. 
Copyright © 2020 by Khristi Lauren Adams. Published by Fortress Press. 
Reproduced with permission. All rights reserved.






Meet the author

Khristi Adams is the Firestone Endowment Chaplain, instructor of religious studies and philosophy, and co-director of Diversity at the Hill School in Pottstown, PA. Previously, she worked as Interim Protestant Chaplain at Georgetown University Law Center & Georgetown University, Associate Campus Pastor for Preaching & Spiritual Programming at Azusa Pacific University, and former Director of Youth Ministries at First Baptist Church of Lincoln Gardens in Somerset, NJ. Khristi is also the Founder & Director of “The Becoming Conference” that began summer 2017, which is an annual conference designed to empower, educate & inspire girls ages of 13-18. Khristi is a graduate of Temple University with a degree in Advertising and a graduate of Princeton Theological Seminary where she obtained a Master of Divinity. Khristi is also currently an Associate Pastor at First Baptist Church of Lincoln Gardens. Her ministry and youth advocacy have been featured on CNN and her work has appeared in Huffington Post, Off the Page, and the Junia Project. When not in residence at The Hill School, she lives in East Brunswick, New Jersey.



Connect with the author via Twitter, Facebook, her website, LinkedIn, and YouTube




This excerpt and blog tour brought to you by PR by the Book

Book Spotlight: FLY, FLY AGAIN by Katie Jaffe & Jennifer Lawson

Fly, Fly Again by Katie Jaffe and Jennifer Lawson, illustrated by Tammie Lyon
ISBN: 9781626346345 (hardcover)
ISBN: 9781626346352 (ebook)
ASIN: B082347ZYR  (Kindle ebook)
Publisher: Greenleaf Book Group Press
Release Date: January 7, 2020


Fly, Fly Again is a clever and charming story about Jenny, a child who dreams of flying. After years of tinkering in makeshift laboratories and studying the mechanics of flight with her pet Hawk, Jenny builds a plane—only to crash into the yard of her skateboarding neighbor, Jude, and his pet cheetah. Working with Jude, Jenny successfully learns how to control and fly her plane. This unique story includes lessons about problem-solving, teamwork, and determination as well as family-friendly information about the basics of aeronautical engineering like lift, drift, and more!










Purchase Links:  IndieBound  |  Amazon  |  Amazon Kindle  |  Barnes and Noble  |  B&N Nook Book  |  BookDepository  |  Books-A-Million  |  Google Books  |  Kobo eBook  



Meet the Authors

KATIE JAFFE is Creative Director and Design Consultant of Aviation for Spectre Air Capital, and has aided in the design of several high-profile aircraft. Currently, she is leading the marketing and design efforts of an overseas airline. She also has a passion for children’s causes, and has committed herself to helping several charities for children around the world. She lives in Austin, Texas, with her husband and three children.



JENNIFER LAWSON is a lifelong educator and advocate of the Children’s Literacy Program, Jennifer seeks to bring knowledge to students through creative curriculum and technology on a global level. As Owner and President of Decision Tree Technologies, she is currently endeavoring to teach using technologically advanced solutions that excite today’s students. She lives in Austin, Texas, with her family. 







Connect with the authors via Facebook, Instagram, or their website




This spotlight brought to you by PR By The Book

Book Showcase: IF I HAD TWO LIVES by Abbigail Rosewood



If I Had Two Lives by Abbigail N. Rosewood
ISBN: 9781609455217 (paperback)
ISBN: 9781609455224 (ebook)
ASIN: B07JP1LFS3 (Kindle edition)
Publisher:  Europa Editions
Release Date: April 9, 2019


This luminous debut novel follows a young woman from her childhood in Vietnam to her life as an immigrant in the United States – and her necessary return to her homeland.

As a child, isolated from the world in a secretive military encampment with her distant mother, she turns for affection to a sympathetic soldier and to the only other girl in the camp, forming two friendships that will shape the rest of her life.

As a young adult in New York, cut off from her native country and haunted by the scars of her youth, she is still in search of a home. She falls in love with a married woman who is the image of her childhood friend, and follows strangers because they remind her of her soldier. When tragedy arises, she must return to Vietnam to confront the memories of her youth – and recover her identity.

An inspiring meditation on love, loss, and the presence of a past that never dies, the novel explores the ancient question: do we value the people in our lives because of who they are, or because of what we need them to be?







Purchase Links:  IndieBound  |  Amazon  |  Amazon Kindle  |  Barnes and Noble  |  B&N Nook  |  BookDepository  |  Books-A-Million  |  !ndigo Books  |  Kobo eBooks




Read An Excerpt

Chapter 9

We started to plan our escape. Exactly what prompted our decision, I wasn’t sure, only we didn’t like that the old black and blues on our bodies didn’t fade completely before new ones were pressed on top of them. We started to fear that if we stayed, our skin would eventually turn a dark purple, an ill-fitting shade for us both. Boyfriends would be nearly impossible then. The beatings, different in the way they were administered and in the reasons why, looked the same on our skin.

After having gone out with my soldier, I confirmed to the little girl that our camp wasn’t completely isolated. When we broke out of the camp, we would follow the river upstream to town. There was a market and a shack with a mean boy as a guard. I didn’t think he would let us stay there. We would have to beg or sell lottery tickets until we had enough for a bus pass to the city. Unlike in our usual games, we didn’t think about the what-ifs, the endless ways we could fail. Failure to make it out of the camp: get caught, get lost, or starve. I feared a great number of things, but voicing them was useless. The little girl was set on leaving.

I didn’t tell the little girl what my soldier had said about me moving away, even though it had been on my mind ever since. I had thought myself perfectly content until another option was presented to me. The United States seemed a contradictory place, where a girl my soldier once knew had gone, where he too wanted to go. It was a place that made one person’s dream and shattered another’s, my soldier had told me. Half of me believed in running away from the camp with the little girl, but the other half wanted to go to New York more than anything.

At the camp, time didn’t seem to move forward linearly, instead scattering itself all around us. Everything was horizontal. In the morning, I ate breakfast and studied at my desk. In the evening, I followed the little girl around. At night, I fell asleep next to Mother while she worked on her laptop. I’d forgotten how many birthdays I’d celebrated since I’d been here. I didn’t know my age.

All I knew was I didn’t want to be a girl forever. I wanted to know the adult loneliness my soldier talked about. There were occasions when he would treat me as an equal, a friend. Unlike Mother, he had never yelled at me or assumed my ignorance. A mutual understanding eclipsed our relationship. I knew he shared with me things he wouldn’t talk about to anyone else, even other adults. He valued my intuition. It was a gift, he had said. Though I didn’t know what he meant, I promised myself I would nourish and strengthen it.

In New York, I knew from my soldier that there were many tall buildings. One floor added on top of another and the buildings grew vertically until they reached the sky. There would be a sense of time passing.

Though I longed for something new, anything other than the camp, I continued to participate in the little girl’s plan. If anything, I was more enthusiastic than before. Usually, it was the little girl who could create anything with her mind. This time it was I who talked wildly about our journey as vagabonds. The knowledge that I didn’t have to carry out the plans freed me. It was then that I first became aware of her as an entity outside myself who could be deceived and manipulated.

We were standing in front of the brick wall, where the little girl had waved to me for the first time. We hadn’t played this game in a long time—pretend to build our own protected city. That night, we began to stack the bricks in the same way the little girl had shown me when we became friends. I told her the story of the silhouettes again and again, embellishing details and smudging facts. She was captivated. I even suggested that one of these women was her mother. 

She bit her lips as she worked. Then she stopped and frowned in a way that made her whole face crumble. When I saw that she was shaking her head, I quickly corrected myself. I didn’t want to take it too far. 

“Maybe it wasn’t her. Could be anyone,” I said. 

“No, it’s her.” She shook her head again as if to empty her thoughts. 

“What if it’s not?” I said. 

“I want to see her. I want to go there,” she said and sat down on the wall we’d made. 

“If that’s what you want.”

“Will you come with me?” she said, not looking at me.

“Anywhere.” I said.

It seemed like the sky could not get any darker, but it did, as if the light was drained out of it. The little girl asked if there were no sun ever again, would I miss it? I told her of course, I would. I would miss anything I couldn’t ever have again. We couldn’t see well in the sudden blackness so we looked up at the stars. I tried to make out the little girl’s face. The sky had wrapped her up in its millions of shimmering lights. I reached out my hand and touched her face. She was as cold as night. 

A few months after the shopping trip, Mother showed me a photo of her friend in a newspaper. One side of her face was dented. Where her eye was supposed to be was a smear of skin oozing pus and blood. Her good eye was wide-open, staring right at me. I dropped the newspaper to the ground and ran to the bathroom. I looked in the mirror and pulled on my cheeks. Everything was intact. When I came out, Mother was sitting on the floor, looking at the photo. She tilted her head left and right alternately. 

“She used to be my secretary. She was also a talented singer,” Mother said. She covered her face. “I hardly recognize her. Come here.” 

I lay down on the floor and put my head in her lap. 

“The article says she was found unconscious on the street. They knew the news would reach me. It’s not safe here anymore. I’m making arrangements for you to go to the United States. When it’s right, I’ll join you.” 

I started to cry. I was afraid of losing her again. She petted my temple, scratched my back. Her touch felt alien. 

“Is she dead?” I asked.

“No. That’s the punishment.” 

On the news, India conducted three atomic tests despite worldwide disapproval. Pakistan responded with five nuclear tests. In the US, Clinton ordered air strikes against Iraq. A gay student was beaten to death. Vietnam dealt with the occasional protests from dissatisfied peasants and non-Party intellectuals. Corruption plagued and inhibited the country’s socio-economic advancement. Mother had taught me how to be callused to the tragedies of the world, or at least act as if I was. Nothing seemed important compared to the picture of the young woman, which invaded all aspects of my imagination. Whenever I closed my eyes, everyone I’d ever known had a bloody face, smashed teeth, broken jaw bones that jutted out and then were bent backward by an invisible hand to puncture their throat. Yet danger in my mother’s mouth was more like a violent film than anything real. Danger was the idea of running away with the little girl. Danger was the pleasure and shame I felt when my soldier’s gaze was on my back the first time I tried on a bra. 

Life went on normally while Mother silently searched for ways to send me abroad. I developed an irrepressible rage around animals, who I used to love. I had the urge to grab the necks of stray dogs and squeeze them. I kicked my pet chicken when she tried to get near me so that I wouldn’t do worse things to hurt her. I hated anything that was helpless and weaker than myself. 

That appetite for physical harm was so strong that I went to the pond one day by myself. It was barely morning. The sun had just broken through the sky. I crept out of bed so that I wouldn’t wake Mother. In the foyer, yellow and orange dust pirouetted around in elaborate patterns. I opened the door and left. Overcome by fear and excitement, I’d forgotten to put on shoes. It was better that way. I didn’t want anybody to ask where I was going. The pond was north of the community’s kitchen and next to the dumpsters. Adults had warned me never to swim there. The water was extremely toxic from years of being the dumpsite for oil and a medley of liquid waste from the kitchen. It was incomprehensible how fish still survived there. Nobody would eat fish from that pond. 

I crunched up my pants to above my knees and inched toward the syrupy water. When the water was up to my thigh, I stopped walking. I could feel many fish around my ankles. They were not afraid of me. Maybe if they bit me, I would grow hideous scales on my legs. I reached down to catch them. They were fast, dispersing as soon as my hand shot down into the thick water. I couldn’t see anything so I waited until they came back. They always did, circling my legs rapidly. After a while, my whole body was soaked and itchy. Still I didn’t catch any fish, but I kept trying, growling to myself. I must have been making noises out loud. 

“Hey, kid,” someone said. 

I didn’t know how long he had been standing there by the kitchen’s back door. His apron was as ragged as the rest of his clothes. He was smoking a cigarette. 

“What are you doing, kid? You won’t catch any fish that way.” He came toward me and threw his cigarette in the pond. I’d been caught. I decided that not saying anything would be my best way out.

“I wouldn’t recommend eating them either. They’ll make you sick. Unless you fry them really well. I mean, you need to fry them down to the bones. Then you can eat them.” He bent down and rolled up the cuffs of his pants. “I’ve been that hungry before. I’ve been so hungry once I ate a cockroach. I guess these fish can’t be any worse.” 

“You ate cockroaches?” I couldn’t help myself. 

“Not cockroaches. A cockroach, kid. There’s a big difference. Hang on.” He scurried off toward the kitchen and came back a few a minutes later with a colander in his hand. 

I felt the water beat harder against my waist as he came toward me. 

“What did it taste like?” 

“Oh, not much really. A bit like licorice.” He submerged the metal colander into the water. “Now we wait.” 

When he pulled the colander out, two little fish were flopping inside. Their bones were visible through their skin. 

“What do you want with them?” he said. 

“To make them die.”

“Kill them you mean. And then cook them?” 

“No.” 

“Listen, I can’t take any part in that unless it’s for a good cause. If you’re not cooking the fish, maybe we can say it’s mercy killing, okay? Okay. And it is. God, what a shitty pond. What a shitty life. Let’s put them out of their misery.” 

We dragged ourselves out of the water. I scooped a fish up inside my palm. It didn’t struggle, its heart throbbing lightly against my finger. The man pulled a cigarette from his shirt pocket and lit it. My fingers pressed in slowly against its slippery flesh. I smeared the dead fish on the ground between us. It smelled the way the pond did, but not any different alive than dead. 

“Here.” He handed me the colander and looked away. I took the other fish and threw it back to the pond. 

“One. I only wanted to kill one,” I said. 

“You only wanted to rescue one,” he said. 



Excerpt from If I Had Two Lives by Abbigail Rosewood.  
Copyright © 2019 by Abbigail Rosewood. 
Reproduced with permission. All rights reserved.



Meet the author


Abbigail N. Rosewood was born in Vietnam, where she lived until the age of twelve. She holds an MFA in creative writing from Columbia University. An excerpt from her first novel won first place in the Writers Workshop of Asheville Literary Fiction Contest. She lives in New York City.




Connect with the author via Facebook, Goodreads, Instagram, Twitter, and her website.  




This showcase and blog tour brought to you by PR By The Book

Book Showcase: THE SEA OF JAPAN by Keita Nagano

The Sea of Japan by Keita Nagano
ISBN: 9781684630127 (paperback)
ISBN: 9781684630134  (ebook)
ASIN: B07L96R7HG (Kindle edition)
Publisher:  Spark Press
Release Date: September 3, 2019


After fleeing a disastrous teaching job (and a bad gambling habit) in Boston, Lindsey starts teaching English in Hime, a small fishing town in Japan. One morning, while trying to snap the perfect ocean sunrise photo for her mother, she slips off a rock at the edge of Toyama Bay, hits her head, and plunges into the sea—and in doing so, sets off an unexpected chain of events.

When Lindsey comes to in the hospital, she learns that she owes her life to a young man named Ichiro—a local fisherman who also happens to be the older brother of one of her students. She begins to spend time with her lifesaver, and in the ensuing months, she becomes increasingly enmeshed in her new life: when she is not busy teaching, she splits her time between an apprenticeship with the local master sushi chef and going out fishing with Ichiro. As she and Ichiro grow closer, however, she also learns that not all is well in Hime, and she is drawn into a war to stop the town next door from overfishing their shared bay. Soon, she, Ichiro, and her pastrami-obsessed best friend, Judy—the person who talked Lindsey into coming to Japan in the first place—are spending all their free time working together to rescue the town. But when their efforts backfire, Hime gets closer to falling apart—putting Lindsey’s friends, her budding relationship with Ichiro, and her career in jeopardy. To save Hime, Lindsey realizes, she’ll have to become a true American fisherwoman and fight for her new home with everything she has.






Purchase Links:  IndieBound  |  Amazon  |  Amazon Kindle  |  Barnes and Noble  |  B&N Nook  |  BookDepository  |  Books-A-Million  |   !ndigo  |  Kobo eBook



Praise:

“Love, survival, conflict…Lindsey runs wild in The Sea of Japan. When her loved ones are attacked, her American spirit stands tall. When her friends are in danger, her Japanese fans get united. The Hollywood-like climax where Lindsey competes in a fishing duel will leave you hanging on the edge of your seat.” — Tetsu Fujimura, Executive producer of Ghost in the Shell (Starring Scarlett Johansson)


“Keita Nagano has created a fascinating tale blending the best of two literary worlds, the American and the Japanese. It is a story of friendship, transformation, and journey for the meaning of life. What’s really marvelous about this novel is the unique style with its apparent simplicity and deep meaning. A true Japanese delight.” — Elvira Baryakina, author of Russian Treasures series

“Win or lose. Sports are loved by Americans because they’re tough and challenging, just like this story. At the climax of the book, the readers are on Lindsey’s fishing competition boat with her, watching her struggle to save the people she loves and get justice for her adopted town. Imagine you are standing on the 10-meter high diving board. The tension is just that, on the beautiful Sea of Japan.” — Thomas Gompf, 1964 Tokyo Olympic Medalist & Former President of United States Aquatic Sports.




Read an excerpt:


#1

The mountains were also still covered with white-silver snow, reflecting on the Sea of Japan.

It was still half-dark and chilly. I brought whiskey to keep me warm while I waited for the sunrise. It worked perfectly. I gently played some smooth jazz from my iPhone and sipped whiskey.

Finally, the tip of the sun appeared on the horizon, illuminating the dark sky. The orange light even illuminated the white snow on top of the Tateyama Mountains beyond the dark ocean. It was the most beautiful sunrise I had ever seen.

This was going to be the best scenery picture for Mom. I stood up and got the camera ready. But the rock was slippery, and as I stood, I lost my footing. I fell off the rock, hitting my head hard. I was thrown into the sea.

The last thing I saw before I lost consciousness was the water rising over my head.


Excerpt from The Sea of Japan by Keita Nagano. Copyright © 2019 by Keita Nagano. All Rights Reserved. Reprinted with permission.




Meet the author

Keita Nagano is an award-winning Japanese author who has lived almost equally in Nevada and Tokyo—more than twenty years in each place—and reflects the difference of the two cultures in his novels. He has a bachelor’s degree in economics from Keio University in Japan, as well as an MBA in global business and Ph.D. in management from Walden University in Minnesota. 

The pursuit of the authentic American experience is his hobby: he has been to all fifty states, all thirty major league ballparks, and the top sixty big cities in America. He has published seventeen business nonfiction and eight fiction books in Japan. In 2013, he received a Nikkei (Japanese Wall Street Journal) Award for Contemporary Novel for his missing-child thriller, Kamikakushi. He is also an official weekly columnist for Forbes Japan

Nagano lives in Henderson, Nevada, with his wife and Welsh corgi, and their teenage daughter is currently studying in Tennessee. 



Connect with the author via Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and his website



This excerpt and blog tour brought to you by PR by the Book