Day: February 2, 2022
#BookTour “The Lion Trees” by Owen Thomas
Date Published: August 25, 2014
Publisher: OTF Literary, LLC
“THE LION TREES” — WINNER OF THE KINDLE BOOK AWARD!
What if survival required you to unlearn who you are? How far would you fall to save yourself? Sometimes happiness is a long way down.
The Johns family is unraveling. Hollis, a retired Ohio banker, isolates himself in esoteric hobbies and a dangerous flirtation with a colleague’s daughter. Susan, his wife of forty years, risks everything for a second chance at who she might have been. David, their eldest, thrashes to stay afloat as his teaching career capsizes in a storm of accusations over a missing student and the legacy of Christopher Columbus. While Tilly, the black sheep, trades her literary promise for an improbable career as a starlet, and then struggles to define herself amidst a humiliating scandal and the judgment of an uncompromising writer.
By turns comical, suspenseful and poignant, the Johns family is tumbling toward the discovery that sometimes you have to let go of your identity to find out who you are.
Owen Thomas’ rollicking debut novel is the winner of 16 international book awards, including: the 2015 Amazon Kindle Book Award for Literary Fiction, the 2015 Global eBook Award for New Adult Fiction, a 2015 Eric Hoffer Book Award, the 2015 ‘Book of The Year’ for BooksAndAuthor.com, Finalist for the 2015 First Horizon Book Award, and placements at the London Book Festival, the New York Book Festival, the Amsterdam Book Festival, and the Beverly Hills International Book Awards.
Highly addictive, spectacular, and mind blowing… Thomas is a wizard of fiction. — U.S. Review of Books
A sweeping literary saga in the traditional ‘Dr. Zhivago’, ‘Gone with the Wind’, and ‘The Thorn Birds’, this book has it all… original and stirring… –The Eric Hoffer Book Award
[A] cerebral page turner…a powerful and promising debut.–Kirkus Reviews
Winner of 16 International Book Awards, including the Kindle Book Award, the Global eBook Award, The Eric Hoffer Book Award, the London Book Festival, the New York Book Festival, the Amsterdam Book Festival, and the Beverly Hills International Book Awards.
About the Author
Owen Thomas is a life-long Alaskan and avid reader. He has written five books: “The Lion Trees” (which has garnered over sixteen international book awards, including the Amazon Kindle Book Award, the Eric Hoffer Book Award, the Book and Author Book of the Year, the Beverly Hills International Book Award and, most recently, a finalist in the 2020 Book Excellence Awards); “Mother Blues,” (a novel of music and mystery set in post-Hurricane Harvey Texas); “Message in a Bullet: A Raymond Mackey Mystery,” (the first in a series of detective novels); “Signs of Passing” (a book of interconnected short stories, and winner of fourteen book awards, including the 2014 Pacific Book Awards for Short Fiction, also named one of the 100 Most Notable Books of 2015 by Shelf Unbound Magazine); and “This is the Dream,” (a collection of stories and novellas that explore that perplexing liminal distance between who we are and what we want). Owen maintains an active fiction and photography blog on Facebook, Tumblr and on his author website at http://www.owenthomasliterary.com.
For the ninth consecutive year since he has been measuring his commercial success as an author, Owen has not won the Orange Prize for Fiction. Also, to great acclaim, he has not won the Man Booker Prize. Most recently, in April of 2020, Owen was not nominated for a Pulitzer.
Owen makes his home in Alaska, Arizona and Hawaii. When he is not writing, Owen can be found recreating and taking photographs in the grandeur of these wonderfully picturesque locations. Some of these photos are posted on Owen’s photo blog, 1000 Words per Frame.
#BookTour “Maxwell” by Jeremy C. Gredone
Date Published: October 5, 2021
Publisher: Mascot Books
Maxwell is a unique children’s book that celebrates the power of imagination and dreams. It’s a story about transcendence, and the extraordinary blossoming out of the ordinary. It is about the timeless and ever-expanding bond between parent and child, and the priceless lessons of love they hold for each other. While Maxwell is primarily created for children, parents will be delighted at the extras designed with them in mind. Truly something for all ages to enjoy!
– 40-page children’s book with vibrant and layered illustrations that will encourage many a reading to discover all the hidden magic within.
– Children will become part of this interactive story themselves as they are invited to take part in the “imaginative process,” creating new roles and adventures for “The Amazing Maxwell!”
– Includes a separately bound 28-page “True Story of Maxwell + Time Capsule” attached in back pocket of the book–Read the true story of Maxwell (a wild spider) as the author experienced it AND take part in your very own “Time Capsule” between you and your children–the making of a keepsake that can be handed down for generations!
#BookTour “Sloppy” by Jasmine Farrell
Fiction, Romance, Contemporary, Coming of Age
Release date: January 11th, 2022
Classic preacher’s kid, Roxanne felt like the oddball in her environment.
By age 22, she found herself compromising and settling in various avenues of her life- including love.
Will Roxanne be brave enough to end her relationship with a man who ails her? Will she take the path towards her purpose no matter how sloppy it looks? Or will she allow the world and her family to dictate right and wrong?
When I saw Tori’s beads at the ends of her braids sway back and forth to Biggie Smalls’, “One More Chance,” I knew I wanted to share my Play-Doh with her. Her deep brown skin shimmered as she smiled. Her grin, devoured by her deep dimples, made my fingers feel jittery as she cackled at my multi-colored LEGO house. I remembered switching my head to the right and eyed my overnight bag.
“What?” Tori grinned.
“I got you something, Tori,” I replied.
“What is it?”
She pounced up. Eyes wide and her beads jiggling as she swayed in anticipation.
I crawled over to my bag and rummaged for my two jars of Play-Doh. I pulled out both jars and held them in the air.
“Hey, can I have some, Roxy?”
“Of course. That’s why I took it out. It’s for you. Here.”
I bent over, pushed a jar towards her direction and watched her squeal. She knelt, placed both arms in front of our LEGO houses, and slid them back. With one quick swoop, she grabbed the jar once it reached her rainbow socks. I watched as her toes wiggled flamboyantly. I crawled to her side and opened my jar as well.
“Let’s make stars, Tori.”
She closed the Play-Doh and gently placed it on the beige carpet. She wrapped one arm around me and pressed her lips against my cheek and held them there for a while. I’m pretty sure that my heart leaped to the top of my mouth.
“Thanks, Roxy. Yeah, let’s make stars.”
“Yeah, ‘cause you’re a star, Tori.”
Her mother swung Tori’s bedroom door open. “Ya’ll are both 8-year-old girls, not stars. Jesus is the star. He’s the risen King and our everything. Now come in this here bathroom and wash ya’ll hands. Ya’ll been playing in here with this door closed, ya’ll ain’t hear me callin’ ya’ll. I dun’ called ya’ll five times. Dinner is ready. Hurry up and wash ya’ll hands so we can all say Grace. Everybody is downstairs.”
We shuffled past her and skipped down the hallway to the bathroom.
As our hands wrestled each other in the water, our giggles alarmed Tori’s Mama.
“Stop all that playin’ ‘round and get down here,” she hollered from the bottom of the stairs.
We both looked at each other in the mirror and snickered.
Tori had the same kinky coils as mine. Our parents refused to allow us to relax our hair.
I rubbed my hands together and watched the bubbles overtake my little fingers. I felt sprinkles of water hit my face. I looked at the back of Tori’s head as she buried her hands into the brown hand towel that was on a wooden rack. I quickly flicked a soapy hand in her direction, and she flinched. I rinsed off and waited for her to step aside so I could dry my hands too.
“Oh yeah,” she said as she spun around to face me. She pressed her lips to my right cheek. It felt as though a fluffy teddy bear patted my cheek. She skipped out the bathroom, and her footsteps rumbled down the stairs.
I was frozen until Tori’s mother exclaimed, “Little girl, don’t have us eatin’ cold food. Get your butt down here!”
I hurriedly dried my hands as my smile remained plastered on my face for the rest of the evening.
The following morning, when my Mama was on her way to pick me up, Tori and I waited in the living room. As we watched cartoons on the couch, I finally returned the kiss back. I remember the dent my lips felt upon reaching her cheek. I liked her dimples.
A week later, Sunday morning, Mama was preaching about the right kind of love that men and women of God should pursue. We were members of Holy Ghost Saints of Mt Ararat for All Nations in East New York, Brooklyn. I felt up and down the soft, fuzzy fabric until one of the deacons, sitting next to me, grabbed one of my hands with a tight grip. I squealed. I looked up at him and pressed my lips tightly together, hoping he’d let me go. He nodded, tilted my chin up, and raised my pressed lips. He gave me a you -better-not act-up- in-the-House-of-God face in return.
He whispered, “Listen to your mother preach and stop the fidgeting with your clothes before you mess them up. She paid good money for that skirt. Act like a god-fearing young lady.”
I looked down and felt my skirt again. I jolted my head back up and looked to my left to see Tori’s smile. Her eyes were looking at my own and I knew what was next. As she slid off the pew and dug into her mother’s church bag on the ground, I went into my little purse. I looked up at Deacon Brown and smiled at his fixation on my mother.
Eyes still on his gray beard, with every breath I slid my jar of Play-Doh out until it sat on the pew with me. One leg crossed over the other, I shifted my body slightly towards the left towards Tori’s direction. I coughed twice as I opened the small jar of mushy goodness. Tori did the same as she yawned her Play-Doh jar open. She shaped hers into a purple heart. I nodded and shaped mine into a blue diamond. I lifted it up a few inches and raised my chin to her. She raised her purple heart and paused, then slid back to the floor and into her mother’s bag to grab a pen. She scribbled on the Play-Doh heart and looked up at me.
Her mother yanked her right leg towards her hip and muttered into her ear. Tori’s head lowered as she cupped the heart in her hand. Her mother pinched her thigh and retrieved the pen. Her mother looked at me and pierced my chest open with her eyes. Her hand levitated and motioned attention to watch my mother. I looked forward.
My mother was a regal woman, faithfully has the fragrance of Perry Ellis 360 lingering way after she leaves.
The clicking of her heels sounds like elegance with a hint of fierceness lingering on the bottom of her shoes. She smiles when talking about Jesus and how proud she is of me when I do anything related to God. With one look, she can pin me down and close up my throat. She’s the authority even when she’s absent. Her voice booms even when she’s calm, and she cooks as though her parents discovered spices. Beverley, my mother, was the first woman to become ordained in our church. My Mama is fierce. My Mama is strong. My Mama terrifies me.
“Don’t let that Devil tell you that you need to look elsewhere!”
My eyes followed my Mama’s hand as she snatched the Bible from the podium stand and raised it in the air.
“Everything you need is right here in this book; you ain’t got to look no further. That includes love.”
She placed the book down and walked away from the podium. She scanned the congregation and took a deep breath.
“How to love and who to love. That’s right: who. Some people sittin’ in these pews right now got a boyfriend at home, and they a man themselves. Some women sittin’ up in these pews have lady lovers at home.”
She went down the two carpeted steps from the podium and walked forward.
“I’m here to tell you that even though God is love, homosexual relations ain’t love. The sun needs the moon and man needs woman. You can love your neighbor as you love yourself, volunteer at the soup kitchen and talk to God every day. But if you out here lusting the same sex, the altar is where is you have to be because that is not of God. But that’s alright, because our God is a deliverer. Our God is a healer.”
The entire congregation stood on their feet and clapped. A few shouted “Hallelujah!” while my head sank and my body slumped into the pew. “You better preach it this morning, Minister Patton!” Deacon Brown shouted.
Mama marched back up the two steps and returned behind the podium. She scooped up her reading glasses and pushed them onto her face. Mama’s owl eyes gazed down at the Bible as she flipped through the pages before continuing, “Let us turn to 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, and then I want you place a pen at 1Timothy 1:9-10…”
I knew my Mama saw me and Tori just now with our Play-Doh. I mouthed the scriptures to myself as she read them to the congregation. I’d written them down ten times on a notepad for punishment after I told her that I wanted to marry a pretty girl and have lots of babies. Tori was forbidden to spend the night at my house after Mama caught us holding hands a little longer than we should have been.
“Saints, I want you know that it’s just a sin like everything else. Greed, lust, lying, whoremongering and homosexual relations, all sin. Ain’t none bigger than the other. Yes, saints, it does matter who you love.”
She turned her head and squinted her eyes towards me.
“An abominable act is an abominable act no matter how nice, kind, and sweet you are. But there is deliverance.”
After the church service ended, Tori made a mad dash to me and put my heart in her bag.
“Here,” she said as she smiled.
I showed her my creation and said, “Look. I made it cause you’re a diamond. You can keep it.”
She wrapped her arms around me and giggled.
About the Author
Jasmine Farrell, from Brooklyn, NY is a freelance writer and author. With poetry being her first love, she has published three full-length poetry collections: My Quintessence (2014), Phoenixes Groomed as Genesis Doves (2016), Long Live Phoenixes (2018). She released a poetry series that included three micro collections titled, The Release Series (2020). She recently published her debut novel, Sloppy (2022).
#CoverReveal “A Kind and Savage Place” by Richard Helms
Date Published: 03-01-2022
Publisher: New Arc Books / Level Best Books
It’s 1954. The place is Prosperity, North Carolina, a small farming community in Bliss County. Three teenagers, the 1953 championship-winning offensive backfield for Prosperity High, are unwilling participants in a horrific event that results in a young man’s death.
One of the friends harbors a tragic secret that could have prevented the crime. Divulging it would ruin his life, so he stays quiet, fully aware he will carry a stain of guilt for the rest of his life.
The three buddies go their separate ways for almost a decade, before another tragedy brings them back to Prosperity in 1968. Now in their thirties, it is a time of civil and racial unrest in America.
They discover the man who committed murder back in ’54 is now the mayor, and rules the town with an autocratic iron fist. He’s backed by his own private force of sheriff’s deputies and forcibly intimidates and silences any malcontents.
Worse, now he’s set his sights on Congress.
A Kind and Savage Place spans half a century from 1942 to 1989 and examines the dramatic racial and societal turmoil of that period through the microcosmic lens of a flyspeck North Carolina agricultural community.
About the Author