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Book Blast – Dreams That Never Were

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About the Author

Greg Messel

Greg Messel grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area and lives on the Puget Sound in Edmonds, Washington, with his wife, Jean DeFond. Dreams That Never Were is his 11th novel and is a historical fiction account of a young reporter caught up in the events surrounding the assassination of Sen. Robert F. Kennedy in 1968. Greg has also written a series of mystery novels set in San Francisco in the 1950s. He has lived in Oregon, Washington, California, Wyoming and Utah and has always loved writing, including stints as a reporter, columnist and news editor for a daily newspaper. Greg won a Wyoming Press Association Award as a colunist and has contributed articles to various magazines.

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About the Book

Title: DREAMS THAT NEVER WERE
Author: Greg Messel
Publisher: Sunbreaks Publishing
Pages: 296
Genre: Historical Fiction

Dreams That Never Were 2

BOOK BLURB:

On June 5, 1968 Senator Robert F. Kennedy, then a candidate for President, is mortally wounded by assassin Sirhan Sirhan in the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles. Among the innocent bystanders who were also shot that night is a young idealistic reporter from San Francisco, Alex Hurley.

The tragic incident changes his life as he’s swept up in the turbulent events of 1968.  Alex is conflicted about the Vietnam War after spending several months there as a reporter. The war costs him his first marriage and threatens to tear his family apart. However, he meets a woman who’s love restores his hope and together they forge a new life set against the backdrop of the war, the civil rights struggle and political upheaval in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Alex Hurley’s story is part political thriller and partly a romance in Dreams That Never Were, the latest historical fiction novel by award winning author Greg Messel.

The title comes from a famous quote of Robert F. Kennedy’s “Some men see things as they are and say, ‘Why?’ I dream of things that never were and say, ‘Why not?’”

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Dreams That Never Were 9

Book Excerpt

I heard unfamiliar voices talking.

He’s starting to open his eyes,” someone said.

That’s a great sign,” commented another.

I detected a pain in my side, just below my rib cage. I tried to open my eyes, but they seemed to be glued shut. The voices resumed—talking about me as if I wasn’t there. Finally, I blinked my eyes, trying to focus, and soon realized  I was in a hospital bed. Standing by me, with concerned looks etched on their faces, was an odd collection of people from my life. 

Through my bleary eyes, I saw my ex-wife Brenda; John Greer, my photographer pal from San Francisco; and Darlene Harvey, the reporter from the Los Angeles Times, I’d been admiring from afar since I had arrived in Southern California. 

Brenda moved forward and tenderly gripped my hand in a way that she had not done for a long time. 

How are you, Alex?” she asked softly. 

I gave a weak shake of my head. “I dunno. What happened?” 

Don’t you remember, mate?” John jumped in. 

Remember what?” I mumbled blankly, as my weak voice tailed off into nothing.

He’s still coming out of the drugs. Give him a minute,” Brenda pleaded. “They’ve been keeping him kind of doped up since the surgery. This is the first time I’ve been able to talk to him.”

Surgery?” I asked. 

Brenda shushed me and gently ran her long, slender fingers through my hair. “Take it easy. Don’t try to talk right now. Take your time. Then we’ll help you understand what happened.”

I groggily attempted to get my bearings. “We were at the hotel. Everyone was celebrating Bobby’s victory. I was following him out of the ballroom, and there was like a riot. I was suddenly on the floor and couldn’t get up. It was strange. All of these people kept stepping on me—on my arm and on my legs.” 

I glanced at my right hand which was heavily bandaged. “I got knocked down. I’m sorry. Everything is a little hazy. I’m having trouble getting my brain to work.”

The three people hovering over me could not have been more different—two beautiful women and John, with his long black hair pulled back in a ponytail and a scruffy beard covering his face. The trio exchanged concerned glances, whispered, and nodded at one another. I started to shift in my bed and was met with a jolts of pain in my side and my leg. 

Brenda attempted to lighten the mood. “I was afraid you’d wake up in your hospital bed, see your ex-wife standing over you, and think you’d died and gone to hell.”

I gave her a weak smile, while the others chuckled to break the tension. 

Brenda was trying to make sure my re-entry was a slow descent, but that strategy was quickly dashed when John started blurting out all the details of the last 14 hours. “Take it easy, Alexander. You’ve had surgery. You were shot, man. They removed the bullet. The doc says you’re going to be fine. Some people from San Francisco are on their way down here, including our boss. Everyone’s been worried about you after they saw the news.”

The news? I was shot?”

Brenda glared at John. “Way to go slow, John. Senator Kennedy was shot. You and some other people were also wounded by the assassin.”

No, no, no!” I yelled. “Bobby was shot? No, not this time! This wasn’t supposed to happen! Assassin? Is Senator Kennedy going to be all right?” 

John moved closer. “Bobby’s just down the hall. He’s still alive, but he’s not doing very well.”

Not doing very well?” I snapped with rapidly accelerating alarm.

John blundered ahead. “This place is like a fortress. It was hard to get in here especially onto this floor. Cops are everywhere.”

Maybe we should go,” Darlene said shooting a glance at John. “We’ll come back later, Alex. We just had to see you. We were so worried.” 

No, no, don’t leave right now,” I pleaded. I repeated what I had been told to try to take in the enormity of the news. “Senator Kennedy was shot. How could… how did it happen?”

Brenda nodded to John and Darlene. “I’ll stay with him. I know you must be very busy.”

Darlene leaned over and kissed me on the cheek. She was dabbing tears from her eyes. “It’s been a long night. We’re all living in a nightmare. I’m so sorry, Alexander. It’s good to see you awake.”

Darlene grabbed John by the elbow and pushed him towards the door. John flashed a peace sign. “Peace, my brother. I’ll see you a little later. Take it easy and get better. I’ve got to call San Francisco. Everyone’s anxious to hear about you.”

After they departed, I tried to shift to get a better look at Brenda. She looked great. Her long black hair cascaded onto her shoulders. It was longer than I had ever seen her wear it. She wore a lime green mini dress with white trim and white boots. 

Where am I, and what time is it?” I quizzed Brenda. “Actually… what day is it?”

It’s Wednesday,” she checked her wrist watch. “It’s about a quarter to two.”

At night? What happened to Tuesday?!”

You had surgery earlier today, and I just got to town. I came straight to the hospital. I flew down as soon as I heard about the assassination attempt. Your name was on the television as one of those wounded with Bobby. I caught the next plane to LA to see you.”

Uh… wow… that’s… I mean, I’m overwhelmed. That’s a lot of money. Is that all right with Tom?”

I was very upset, and Tom immediately offered to fly me down here to see you.”

That’s very nice… of you… and your husband.”

Alex, I don’t think you’ve grasped what’s going on outside this room. It’s a national crisis. I wish you could look out the window at the street below. There are barriers up, and hundreds, if not thousands, of people are lining the street in the front of this hospital. News about the shooting is on TV constantly.”

Where’s Senator Kennedy now?” I groggily asked.

Here. Eric Sevareid and Walter Cronkite have been on CBS saying something has happened to the fabric of our nation. There are signs everywhere that say ‘Pray for Bobby.’ The raw footage of the shooting has been shown over and over again on NBC. You’re right. After the shots were fired, it was like a riot. When I turned on my television, not only did I see Bobby bleeding on the floor in the pantry, but I saw you on the ground with a pool of blood under you. You were wearing a blue blazer, lying on the floor on your side against the wall.”

Dreams That Never Were 7

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VBT – Rescued by the Captain

TourBanner_Rescued By the Captain

Rescued by the Captain
by Laura A. Barnes

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GENRE: Historical Romance

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BLURB:

Abandoned at sea
When Ivy Mallory awakens; she finds herself on the ship of the man who rejected her love years earlier. While he was away working for the Crown, she embraced the London Seasons trying to forget him. Caught in the middle of a treason plot; she must help save her brother. To do so she needs to put her trust in the one man who can protect her. But can she protect her heart from loving him again?

Found at sea
Captain Marcus Thornhill never imagined he would find a lady floating unconscious in a lifeboat out in the middle of the open sea. But it wasn’t any lady, it was Ivy. Seven years earlier he rejected her love for a life at sea. As he rescues her he gets involved in a treason plot that will bring the war to their beloved shores of England. As he unravels the plot he is unable to deny his desire for her. Is he too late in saving her and the love he has for her?

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Teaser_Rescued By the Captain

EXCERPT

Thorn stood at the bow of his ship ‘My Hedera’ starring out into the dark night, lost in his deep thoughts. The brigantine dipped and swayed into the huge waves that rocked the sea. Dark storm clouds stretched across the skies blending into the black sea. None of the stars lighted the sky tonight; because the heavens had opened for a fierce storm. As he ran his fingers through his long, dark, wet hair he brought them down to his sides, fisting his hands in anger. The storm was nothing compared to the turmoil of emotions that were running through him.

“Captain, do you think it is her?” Sammy his first mate shouted to be heard above the thunder as he twisted his hat in between his hands.

“I don’t know Sammy, I don’t know.” Thorn whispered into the storm.

Marcus Thornhill, Thorn to his friends continued starring out into the dark night. He knew it was her; he just didn’t want to admit to it. While trying to get control of his anger he tried to figure out who would have done such an awful thing to her. Before he returned to her he needed to be calm. He was angrier with himself than with anyone else. If he would have come home sooner, he could have prevented something like this from happening.

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AUTHOR Bio and Links

AuthorPhoto_LauraBarnes

I have always dreamed of being an aspiring author. I am making my dreams come true, one word at a time. When I am not writing, I am spending time with my family. I love reading books on lazy afternoons, and late into the night. Anytime really. Married 28 years to the love of my life and we have three wonderful children and two sweet grandbabies. Besides writing, I have always wanted to travel. In the last few years we have gotten our passport stamped in England and Scotland. We are hoping to add Italy to the list soon.

Links
http://www.lauraabarnes.com
Amazon: amazon.com/author/lauraabarnes
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16332844.Laura_A_Barnes
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorLauraA.Barnes/
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Twitter: https://twitter.com/labarnesauthor
Book+Main Bites: https://bookandmainbites.com/LauraABarnes
Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/laura-a-barnes

Rescued By the Captain – Sale Links

Amazon Link: https://www.amazon.com/Rescued-Captain-Laura-Barnes-ebook/dp/B01NCWCDP7/

Kobo Link: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/rescued-by-the-captain
https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/rescued-by-the-captain/id1194175441?mt=11

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/rescued-by-the-captain-laura-a-barnes/1125516477?ean=9781365606502

Lulu Link: http://www.lulu.com/shop/laura-a-barnes/rescued-by-the-captain/ebook/product-23023095.html

Google: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Laura_A_Barnes_Rescued_By_the_Captain?id=XL7oDQAAQBAJ

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RAFFLECOPTER GIVEAWAY

Laura A. Barnes will be awarding a $10 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

Enter to win a $10 Amazon/BN GC – a Rafflecopter giveaway

Book Blast – Victor by Tami Lykens

Digital

Title: Victor
Author: Tami Lykens
Genre: Historical Fiction / YA
Publisher: ASJ Publishing
Pages: 117

Blurb: 

Eleven-year-old Ardith is forced to leave her homeland of Sweden when her father is stationed as king over conquered Estonia.

At the start, Ardith is bitterly homesick. Later she starts to feel at home at the stables when she meets the new foal with a silver mane, whom she names Victor. Ardith sets her mind on proving she knows Victor’s destiny. Adventures follow, including hilarious mishaps with the stable boy, Peeter; offending old ministers; and assaults from a cruel villain.

Ardith faces devastating opposition as she endeavors her quest, simply because she is a girl. What begins as her dream for another becomes Ardith’s discovery of her own profound impact in this strange, new land.

About The Author

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Growing up, running through the wheat fields of Southern California, Tami wanted to be the Bionic Woman. Today, she writes books, plays, and articles to help kids and adults find their superpowers; so they can become superheroes.

Tami currently lives in Melbourne and soon will be in TN.

Links: 

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Amazon

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Publisher Page

VBT – NADYA’S WAR

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About the Author

 CSTaylor Headshot

C.S. Taylor is a former Marine and avid fencer (saber for the most part, foil and epee are tolerable). He enjoys all things WWII, especially perfecting his dogfighting skills inside virtual cockpits, and will gladly accept any P-38 Lightnings anyone might wish to bestow upon him. He’s also been known to run a kayak through whitewater now and again, as well give people a run for their money in trap and skeet.

His latest book is the historical fiction, Nadya’s War.

WEBSITE & SOCIAL LINKS

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About the Book

Title: NADYA’S WAR
Author: C.S. Taylor
Publisher: Tiny Fox Press
Pages: 300
Genre: Historical Fiction

BOOK BLURB

Nadezdah “Little Boar” Buzina, a young pilot with the Red Army’s 586th all-female fighter regiment, dreams of becoming an ace. Those dreams shatter when a dogfight leaves her severely burned and the sole survivor from her flight.

For the latter half of 1942, she struggles against crack Luftwaffe pilots, a vengeful political commissar, and a new addiction to morphine, all the while questioning her worth and purpose in a world beyond her control. It’s not until the Soviet counter-offensive at Stalingrad that she finds her unlikely answers, and they only come after she’s saved the life of her mortal enemy and fallen in love with the one who nearly kills her.

Nadya's War

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Book Excerpt

Seven of us zipped through the overcast sky, a dozen meters beneath the cloud layer. Gridnev flew lead and a girl named Tania from First Squadron flew on his wing. Alexandra and I cruised next to them about thirty meters away. I pictured myself as a modern version of my ancestors who rode into battle on horseback, courageous and strong. If only they could see me now, sailing through the air to drive off the invaders. I wondered if they’d be proud or jealous. Maybe both.

The four of us escorted a flight of three Pe-2s from the 150th High-Speed Bomber Regiment across the snowy landscape. That unit was led by Lieutenant Colonel Ivan Polbin who I’d heard was quite the commander. I’d also heard he enjoyed music and sang well, like me, which made me think we’d get along—even if he was a die-hard communist and loyal to Stalin.

The twin-engine Peshkas flew nearly as fast as our fighters, something I was grateful for. I’m certain the three crew members inside each bomber were thankful as well, since unlike the German Heinkels and Stukas, these planes were tough to catch for any aircraft. That being said, I was glad I was in my Yak-1. I wouldn’t have wanted to fly one of those bombers at all, no matter how prestigious they were. They were still big targets, and far less nimble than the fighter I had. I prayed we’d keep them safe.

All the Pe-2s, however, did have fresh, winter paint jobs. Their off-white and tan colors hid them well in the surroundings, and if I wasn’t paying close attention, I’d even lose sight of them from time to time. Their target was a rail depot the Germans were using to bring in supplies and troops headed to Stalingrad. Obliterating it would disrupt logistics and force the Luftwaffe to keep it safe once rebuilt.

With luck, the Germans wouldn’t spot the Peshkas until the bombs were already dropping and they were headed home. I fantasized about how easy of a mission this could be as we went deeper into enemy lines. Those thoughts almost turned into dreams as the drone from my fighter’s engine combined with the dreary sky nearly put me to sleep, despite the digging pain in my arm.

“Tighten up, Little Boar,” Gridnev called out over the radio.

My eyes snapped to the formation. I’d drifted away from the bombers by a good fifty meters sideways and at least that in altitude. I glanced over my shoulder to see Alexandra off to my right. She’d stayed with me even as I wandered. “Reforming now. Thought I saw something below and wanted a better view.”

The Inspiration Behind ‘Nadya’s War’ by C.S. Taylor

Some nameless, late night many moons ago, I was doing what I do best when trying to write, namely surfing the web and finding every excuse—and inventing a few more—I could to not look at MS Word and actually type something out. Somewhere between articles telling me that “These ten unexpected, cuddly things will kill you” and “which type of mason brick are you?” I stumbled upon an article dealing with the Night Witches and was mesmerized.

For those who know little or nothing about them (and most don’t) the Night Witches were a group of female pilots in the Red Army Air’s 588th night bomber regiment during World War 2. The group was one of three all-female regiments that had been put together by Major Marina Raskova, a national heroine at the time and a fantastic pilot. The young women of the 588th flew the Po-2 biplane, which was made in the late 1920s and was really only good for training and crop dusting. It wasn’t a combat aircraft by any stretch of the imagination. But they flew it nonetheless to drop bombs on the Germans. They got the name Nachthexen (Night Witches) by the Germans because the girls quickly learned to cut their engines just before they went on a bombing run, so they were completely silent until the bombs exploded.

Fascinating stuff, I thought, and something that deserved a book or two. Also, since I love flying and in a prior point in my life, I was intent on flying for the USMC, I thought writing a book that centered around the Night Witches seemed to be a great idea.

So with that thought in mind, I began fleshing out a plot and characters, but the more I did my research into the Night Witches, I realized that their sister regiment, the 587th (who flew the Pe-2 medium bomber), met my needs in terms of the story better. So I shifted my focus to the 587th and kept at it.

I kept at it for a few weeks and soon discovered that some of the historical characters I wanted in my book didn’t survive the timeline I was after as the 587th didn’t see combat until 1943. And since I was writing historical fiction, I couldn’t exactly have one of them pop up in the story when he or she was supposed to be dead.

It was about that point when I realized I really wanted more dogfights in my book overall, and thus, settling on the 586th fighter regiment was an easy choice. My decision to go with the 586th was reinforced even more when I realized that there weren’t any books on these women at all, at least on the historical fiction side. There were a few dealing with the Night Witches and some female pilots who were in male units, but the 586th was untouched, which is very appealing as a writer.

So with the 586th firmly settled, it was just a matter of changing a few things from my rough outline because my main character, Nadya, was going to be a fighter pilot and not a bomber pilot.

Building Nadya as a real person took a lot of work, and the details of her life came from a variety of sources, mostly interviews that had been recorded with surviving members of the 586th, 587th and 588th.

The stories I read were not only from the pilots, but the navigators, bombardiers, mechanics, and ground crews, and I drew a lot of inspiration from all of them as their tenacity and bravery was nothing short of legendary. I really wanted to capture that with Nadya’s War with not only Nadya herself, but with all of the supporting characters, too. Most of all, I wanted to ensure that Nadya was crafted in such a way that her story would slide neatly in between all the others I read, not overshadowing any of them in terms of what she goes through, heroics, etc., but accurately mirroring what each young woman in all three of these regiments dealt with day in and day out.

I like to think I managed to pull that off. Hopefully readers will agree.

 

Book Tour ~ The Tree of Life

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Title: The Tree of Life
Author: Dawn Davis
Publisher: Friesen Press
Pages: 304
Genre: Historical Fiction

Two accidental time travelers explore Canada in 1939 in THE TREE OF LIFE, the first installment in the Tower Room series by Dawn Davis.

As THE TREE OF LIFE opens, Charlotte Hansen and her friend, Henry Jacobs, are hanging out in the old mansion where Charlotte and Leo, her grandfather, live. Henry is there to practice the piano, and Charlotte is waiting for him to finish so that she can supervise his work on a massive school project researching the 1930s. When Leo leaves the house to pick up his friend Gwendolyn Fenton—whom Charlotte does not like—the two eleven-year-olds prepare tea and cookies for the grown-ups’ visit and then rush to the Tower Room. The room is located on the top floor of the mansion. Charlotte is not allowed in the room without permission; but she is headstrong and ignores the directive. After leaving the tray of tea and sweets on the tabletop, Charlotte pulls Henry underneath the table with her.
The children soon hear Gwendolyn telling Leo about a magical brooch from her childhood. Suddenly, a large hand grabs Charlotte, who clutches Henry tightly before the hand thrusts the pair into nothingness. After Charlotte regains consciousness, she and Henry meet the younger version of Gwendolyn, a spoiled force of nature determined to appropriate the brooch her late mother left her brother. The friends learn that they are still in Rose Park, the neighborhood they both call home, but the year is 1939.

As Charlotte and Henry realize that they have traveled backward to move forward, the purpose of their time travel is revealed: Charlotte is there to help Gwendolyn resolve the pain of her past. During the adventure, Henry advocates against the anti-Semitism and racism of that time, and Charlotte learns to look beyond her own desires to help a person in need.

The idea for THE TREE OF LIFE and the Tower Room series came to the author after she attended a centennial celebration at her daughters’ school. “What might happen,” Davis thought, “if two children lived their research instead of simply reading about it? This one step outside the restrictions of time became the foundation for the series.”

As in THE TREE OF LIFE, the next three books will highlight different time periods in Canadian history, with the one constant being the appearance of Charlotte and Henry. Although the children will appear in each book with different names and bodies, they will be easily recognizable as eternal soul mates, and the harbingers of love and connection for those who have stumbled and lost their way.

For More Information
• The Tree of Life is available at Amazon.
• Pick up your copy at Barnes & Noble.
• Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.

The Tree of Life
Book Excerpt:
They needed to work on our outfits for school on Monday.

There was to be a parade in the playground, a decade fashion show parade. Since most of the parents refused to scour the bins at Good Will for appropriate clothing, Henry and Charlotte were the only ones so far who had volunteered. Technically Henry did not volunteer. Charlotte signed his name in invisible ink and was planning on informing him later this afternoon. She would tell Henry that he would get special marks for being in the parade (a lie) because Henry was motivated only by marks. Their grades were already as high as they could go, mostly for bringing in a lot of old junk from Charlotte’s great aunt Dilys’s decaying trunks; printed spun rayon dresses, white nubuck open-toed Cuban-heeled shoes, step-by-step instructions on how to pluck out all your eyebrow hair and draw on fake eyebrows that had a larger arch, one of the first ballpoint pens ever made (1938), a picture of a chesterfield suite in mohair that cost $1.95 at the Adams Trade-in Store Special, and a spring hat with a lilac ribbon purchased at Fairweathers for $2.00 and still in the bag. In reviewing her list, Charlotte found one item to be extremely interesting. In the 1930s, a hat cost more than a chesterfield.

It irked Charlotte that she needed to refer to her lists to remember how many items she had collected because Henry never needed this crutch. He could recite any list, any page of a book, any tiny print on a newspaper, even if he had only seen it once and for less than a second.

That’s because Henry had a condition called eidetic memory bog.

A bog is a swamp, a very damp place where unpleasant things grow and multiply. This was Charlotte’s way of describing the interior of Henry’s skull.

Eidetic memory: an article in a newspaper, a children’s story, musical notes from dingy old manuscripts, the script on a Chinese menu, junk mail forced through the mail slot, recipes, etc. etc. misc., all absorbed, imprinted, collated and filed away for future reference, word perfect. Although Henry denied it, Charlotte believed he had this disease because of his permanently crossed eyes. Therefore his brain was unable to process information the way the brain of a normal person (like Charlotte’s) did by sucking up facts through perfectly aligned eyeballs and expelling it all through the very same portals. Henry’s out-take portals were plugged by all the surgeries he had when he was a toddler, and Charlotte feared that someday Henry’s brain might explode from all the useless information he could not eliminate.

A handful of people knew he had this illness, and Henry utilized it sparingly.

“Because I appear to be blind, I overcompensate by having an unusual ability to retain data that may or may not be useful in the world at large,” Henry once told Charlotte. “Is that so unusual?”

Of course she immediately had to set him a test.

Henry was lounging around on Charlotte’s bed, breathing her air and staring at her ceiling and moving his lips in a really annoying way so she said: “Let me show you something.”

He ignored her for a while but finally cranked his head over to where Charlotte was stitching together a hole in the leg of one of her stuffed animals.

“What?”

She dropped the dog and held the World Book up to his face.

“Look at this.” She pointed to the section on German wirehaired pointers. She let Henry look at the article for three seconds and then she whisked the book away and sat cross-legged on the end of her bed because Henry was taking up all the middle space.

“What about it?” he asked.

“What kind of dog is a German wirehaired pointer?” Charlotte asked.

“A hunting dog,” he replied immediately.

“How did it come to be?”

“It’s a cross-breed which means the dog was developed by breeding a German short haired pointer with a poodle pointer.”

“And how much does it weigh?”

“About twenty-five kilos.”

“Does it like having its ears scratched?”

Silence.

“How many times a day do you have to take it out for a walk?”

Silence.

“What do you do if the dog howls in the middle of the night?”

Angry silence.

“How long does it take the average German short haired pointer to devour a bowl of food, and what happens if one freshly cooked pea is buried in the midst of its food?”

Confused silence.

“What good does it do you to be able to memorize this anyway?”

Superior silence.

“Facts are meaningless,” she said. “Experience is everything.”

“Shut up,” Henry said. “There is only one fact that is significant. I blend in. I get along just fine.”
In fact, Henry did not get along just fine, and if it weren’t for Charlotte, he never would have survived at Rose Park Public School.

For some reason the mere presence of Henry on the playground at school annoyed a few of the boys in the grade five class, the ones who weren’t very bright—Tyler MacKenzie in particular. Tyler invented a few colourful names which he felt best described Henry’s exterior; cross-eyed creep, frogman, slimebucket, and monster boy were a few of the favourites. These insults usually bounced off Henry, drifting into the air like soap bubbles, which then quietly burst, leaving Henry unharmed. He didn’t seem to hear the words directed at him. But once Henry made the mistake of getting in Tyler’s way. He was standing at the southern end of the playground reading a book he had projected onto the wall of the school, the same brick wall Tyler and his friends were using to see who could slam a baseball the hardest.

Henry didn’t know he was in the way because he was not present to the reality of the moment.

He returned abruptly when Tyler stood before him, blocking his view of the wall.

“Hey, slimebucket, we’re playing a game here. Move.”

Henry didn’t.

“Or maybe we could use you as a target and just aim for your nose.” Tyler touched Henry’s nose lightly with his fingertips. “That would be easier to hit than the wall.”

Henry brushed aside the grubby fingertips and stared straight at Tyler.

“Smell,” he said, “is stored in the limbic area of the brain.” His voice was measured and precise. “That’s why whenever I smell dog shit, I think of you…”

“In fact, all our memories and emotions are stored in the limbic area,” Henry told Charlotte five minutes later as they were both hurried off to the nurse’s office. Charlotte got an elbow in her eye trying to defend Henry whose upper lip had been cut right open.

He continued to talk as blood pooled in his mouth.

“The emotional content we all have stockpiled is extremely personal,” he said matter-of-factly, shifting the ice pack from the staffroom freezer to spit in the yogurt jar from the daycare centre. “And everything we possess inside here,” he said, tapping his forehead with three fingers, “is warehoused instantly with no conscious intervention on our part at all.”

So much for blending in.

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About the Author

Dawn Davis

Dawn Davis is a writer living and working in Toronto, Canada. Before becoming a writer, Davis worked as a teacher after completing her education at York University and the University of Toronto.

The Tree of Life is Davis’s debut novel, and the first book in her Tower Room series.

For More Information

Author Interview

Dawn, thanks for being here today. Tell us about you.
I have passed through the tumultuous stages of infancy, childhood, teens, university, career, marriage, children, family commitments and I now find in the later part of my life a freedom I never had the time to experience when I was younger. My days are now my own and I am a part-time student again, studying jazz and classical piano and ballroom dancing for the love of it.  I was born in Barrington, Illinois, attended New York University for two years and moved to Toronto at age 19 with the intention of staying for a year or so.  Instead I returned to school in Toronto, began to teach, married, had a family and never went back.  Toronto has been my home for over 40 years.  I love the city, the people, the food, the ravine, and the vibrant artistic community.

What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
At some point in the early morning my Maine Coon kitten Charlie decides she needs to have her ears, neck and head scratched and flops down on my head.  By the time I move her and minister to her needs I am wide-awake and in need of a cup of coffee.  I wander downstairs and realize I forgot to take the garbage out the night before.  Other small tasks present themselves and before I know it I am fully immersed in the business of the day.

If you could hang out with one famous person for one day, who would it be and why?
I would love to spend a day with Bill Evans although he is no longer alive and such a meeting is near impossible. To watch his fingers on the keyboard, to see him bent over in concentration, to hear him play “I Loves You Porgy” and improvise would be such a great gift. It is not necessary that Bill acknowledge my presence. To sit where I can see him and hear him play is more than enough.

What’s the story behind your latest book?
Two eleven year old children living in downtown Toronto in 1999 are thrust back in time to their own neighborhood 60 years earlier. They soon discover cannot go home until they accomplish a task. They arrive not knowing what the task is or why they have been transported but they recognize immediately that this Toronto is a different city than the one they inhabit, and the threat of another world war is imminent.

Tell us your writing process
I jot down ideas when they come to me and always carry a notebook in my purse. Mostly I hear conversations in my head and I respond by listening. The outline of the book or story appears slowly and when I begin to write I do it very freely to get to know my characters. My first draft is a mess and very difficult to straighten out. This is when the thought:  “Why am I doing this?” first appears and it is a struggle to ignore it and carry on.

When did you realize you wanted to be a writer?
Writing took hold of me when I was very young and it never let go. It is similar to playing the piano – how can this body and mind          produce something so intangible and why on earth does it want to? I have no answer for that except to say that writing takes me, for a while, into a different state of consciousness.

Tell us about your main character:
Charlotte Hansen lives with her grandfather in a crumbling old mansion in downtown Toronto. Her parents died when she was two and Leo is her only family. She is headstrong and inventive but very much a loner since her personality can be abrasive.  Her one friend is Henry Jacobs who is near blind and suffers from a condition that Charlotte calls “eidetic memory bog”.  Charlotte involves Henry, much against his will, in many dangerous enterprises and when the two journey back in time to 1939 Toronto they find themselves involved in a family crisis and a city on the verge of war.

What are you working on next?
I am working on another time travel book in this series, the departure point the same Tower Room that propelled Charlotte and Henry back in time. This story will be set in Toronto during the 1980’s and in Queeston, Ontario during the War of 1812. The book highlights what happens to Leo, Charlotte’s grandfather, on his first time travel adventure.  Charlotte and Henry will also be present. This series looks at the “different bodies/same souls” theory – if such a theory is true, isn’t it reasonable to assume we are always travelling with the people we love and learning lessons which might help us in future lives?

Do you have any special/extraordinary talents?
I like to bake and play the piano. I’m not sure they are talents so much as necessities of existence.

Who are your favorite authors?
Top five?  Kurt Vonnegut, Anne Tyler, Kate Atkinson, John Mortimer, Mordecai Richler

What do you like to do with your free time?
I like to walk, read, dance and sleep.

Tell us about your plans for upcoming books.
I hope to write three more books in the Tower Room series highlighting the travels of Charlotte’s family. I also write comedy sketches and will continue to do this.

Any final thoughts?
I always learn something new about myself when I fill out one of these questionnaires. I am grateful for the opportunity. Thank you.

Release Day – Forget Me Not by Allison Whitmore

forgetmenotrelease

About the Book

Cover Forget Me Not (1)Title: Forget Me Not

Author: Allison Whitmore

Genre: Historical Fiction

Theodora “Teddi” Donovan and Calvin Wynne have always hated each other. They didn’t have a choice after Teddi’s bootlegger father killed Calvin’s and left them both orphaned. The scandal has fueled gossip in quiet, quaint Brookhurst, New York, for over a decade. When a friendship develops between them as teenagers, they are ridiculed and shunned by the strict society that dictates life in their town. As they grow older, friendship turns into love, and Teddi and Calvin have to choose between their future and the scepter of their past. Spanning continents and decades, Forget Me Not is a coming-of-age story about truth, self-reliance, and the freeing power of love.

Author Bio

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Allison Whitmore started her first novel, Forget Me Not, one icy morning in her dorm room in Southampton, NY. After many years of teaching high school English, she came back to the novel to rewrite it. Allison comes from a family who loves history and enjoyed immersing herself in the research that brought Teddi and Calvin’s world to life. She lives in her hometown, Los Angeles, California. You can find her on Twitter @alli_whitmore and her website: allisonwhitmore.com.

Links

Print: Amazon (Print)

Ebook: Amazon (Kindle)

B&N

Website: www.allisonwhitmore.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/alli_whitmore

Facebook Author Page

Facebook Book Page

Goodreads Giveaway – Port Arthur by Danielle M. Maistry

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Port Arthur by Danielle M. Maistry

Port Arthur

by Danielle M. Maistry

Giveaway ends August 06, 2015.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway

Goodreads Contest Winner – A Cross In Time

Congratulations to Lynn A. from Mineola TX who has won a copy of A Cross In Time by Richard W. Black.

Thank you to everyone who recently entered the Goodreads Giveaway.

A cross in time front

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