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Book Tour – Developing Minds

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Book Genre: Literary Fiction
Publisher: Laughing Fire Press
Release Date: September 14, 2015
Buy Link(s): Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Developing-Minds-American-Ghost-Story/dp/0967492297/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1442109831&sr=8-2&keywords=developing+minds
Barnes and Noble.com:http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/developing-minds-jonathan-lapoma/1122192543?ean=9780967492292Book Description:-“Raw and edgy. . . Entertaining and authentic look at the troubled American education system. . .” —Kirkus Reviews, Recommended Review

“Should be required reading for anyone who is considering or has ever considered teaching as a career. . . most highly recommended.” —Readers’ Favorite, 5-Star Review-“A scathing comic novel . . . sort of a M*A*S*H for Miami schoolteachers.” —Patrick Murtha, Book ’em, Danno-“Incredibly artistic . . . raw and endearing.” –San Francisco Book Review

-“A multi-faceted exploration of growth, maturity, and eventual transformation. . .” —D. Donovan, Senior Reviewer, Midwest Book Review
-Finalist in 2015 Stargazer Literary Prizes for best Visionary and Metaphysical FictionDEVELOPING MINDS: AN AMERICAN GHOST STORY follows a group of recent college graduates who struggle with feelings of alienation and their addictions as they try to survive a year of teaching at two dysfunctional Miami public schools.A poetic and insightful coming-of-age novel, DEVELOPING MINDS is centered on 24-year-old Luke Entelechy, an aspiring writer who sees his creative output suffer when he begins teaching at one of Miami’s most challenging middle schools. As the year progresses, however, Luke begins to relate to the neglect and abuse his students suffer, and is faced with a haunting decision: continue to let his dark past destroy him, or rise above the struggle to realize his potential as an artist and a real human being.Equal parts disturbing and humorous, DEVELOPING MINDS offers a brutally honest look at the American public school system and the extreme measures many teachers take to cope with working in it.


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Author Bio:Jonathan LaPoma is an award-winning novelist, screenwriter, songwriter, and poet from Buffalo, NY. In 2005, he received a BA in history and a secondary education credential from the State University of New York at Geneseo, and he traveled extensively throughout the United States and Mexico after graduating. These experiences have become the inspiration for much of his writing, which often explores themes of alienation and misery as human constructions that can be overcome through self-understanding and the acceptance of suffering. His five feature-length screenplays have won over 40 awards/honors at various international screenwriting competitions, and his novel DEVELOPING MINDS: AN AMERICAN GHOST STORY is a finalist in the 2015 Stargazer Literary Prizes for best Visionary and Metaphysical Fiction. He lives in San Diego and teaches at a public secondary school.

Author Links – 

Website: http://www.jonlapoma.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/jonlapoma

Twitter: https://twitter.com/JonLaPoma

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jonathanlapoma

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25586052-developing-minds

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Developing-Minds-American-Ghost-Story/dp/0967492297/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1442109831&sr=8-2&keywords=developing+minds

 
 
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Book Tour – Lucien and I by Danny Wynn

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Book Genre: literary fiction
Publisher: Bright Lights Big City
Release Date: Late August 1994
Buy: Amazon

Book Description:

Be Careful What You Wish For…

What if you had the chance to relive your twenties the way you really wanted them to be?

Thirty-nine-year-old David is presented with that opportunity by Lucien, a charismatic young Englishman. Ranging from downtown Manhattan to Istanbul, Majorca, and the Hamptons, the two of them live a life of excess—drugs, beautiful women, and adventure—and forge a strange but great friendship.

But with every journey, there comes a price; and in every paradise there lurks a temptress. For David, will his quest for excitement lead him to betrayal and loss?

“Wynn immerses readers in psychologically rich studies of his characters and their quiet but fraught interactions. The prose is subtle but vivid, intellectually engaged but never arid, as the author provides readers with a flurry of glittering snapshots that gradually coalesce into a picture of tarnished longings. An engrossing and vibrant…meditation on friendship and the deep currents that run beneath its surface.”

—Kirkus Review


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Danny Wynn is a full-time fiction writer, and before that, he was an executive in the record industry and part-time fiction writer. He has lived in New York City, Los Angeles, and London, and now makes his home in the West Village with his wife and two children. His other favorite place in the world (after the West Village) is the island of Mallorca, Spain

He is currently finishing two novels.

Danny describes himself as a creature in search of exaltation. In addition to attending the original Woodstock Music Festival, some of the other great concerts he’s been to include: Roxy Music on the Avalon Tour at Radio City, Bon Iver at Town Hall and subsequently at Radio City, The National at BAM and later at The Beacon, and The Waterboys at the Hammersmith Palais, Bruce on his solo tour, U2 on Zooropa and later tours, Dylan on the right night, and Van on the right night.

Among his favorite movies are: Performance, Bad Timing, McCabe and Mrs. Miller, and Withnail and I. His favorite novels include: The New Confessions by William Boyd; A Flag For Sunrise and Dog Soldiers by Robert Stone; The Magus by John Fowles; Legends of the Fall by Jim Harrison; andThe Comedians and The Quiet American by Graham Greene.

He derives enormous sustenance from his close friends.

Excerpt

Drop ’em, blossom. Show us yer growler.”

Mock Cockney accent, exaggerated deep voice, cartoon lasciviousness. Signature Lucien. Lines that caught his ear, phrases, often said apropos of nothing, no context. Sometimes staying with him for a few days, sometimes woven in and out of his conversation for years. Absorbed into his persona, like the flaws in fine linen, a natural quality of the fabric, as fashionistas are fond of saying. He always seemed half-aware that his persona was on display, but was relaxed and natural at the same time. He was a performer. Mephisto. Gollum.

That particular line—“Drop ’em, blossom…”—Lucien picked up from a scoundrel named Bobby Stevens toward the tail end of his days at public school. Bobby S was an older guy, mid-twenties, local, a bit dodgy. Sold hash and other drugs. His crude personality had a curious appeal, especially for the aristobrats at the school, always on the lookout for a bit of the debauch.

One night, Lucien and a couple of friends went out with Bobby S to the new nightclub in town. It had been promoted as having a spectacular state-of-the-art laser show. They stood around in the flashing darkness, drinking pints and gin and tonics. Before long, Bobby S pronounced in his coarse lowlife manner, which Lucien later came to mimic so well, “This is crap! I’ve seen better light shows in the cancer ward at the Children’s Hospital.”

Yeah, I know—vile and disgusting, not remotely funny to most people. But the over-the-top outrageous­ness made it humorous to the young lads. And even many years later, when Lucien related the incident to me and we were both supposedly mature adults, the same atrocious quality made us laugh. We cringed at how out of order it was, but all the same we laughed. That’s what we were like.


Author Interview

Danny, thanks for being my guest today. Tell us about you.….
I am at long last a real writer who writes good books, and I got there through a very large number of tiny incremental improvements. I am sometimes very unhappy, but I do my very best to enjoy life. I love my wife and kids and friends.

What inspires you to get out of bed each day?  
First, my wife and kids. And second, to write novels that speak to people so they are touched and moved.

If you could hang out with one famous person for one day, who would it be and why? 
Bob Dylan because he is the greatest musical and lyrical artist of all time. Or Bill Murray because I think his company would among the most enjoyable I’ve ever experienced.

What’s the story behind your latest book?
It is the story of a strange but great friendship between a very charismatic young man and a middle-aged man trying to re-live his young adulthood, and it takes place predominantly in the nightlife of Istanbul and downtown Manhattan, all of which is captured with great realism that the reader can see, hear and experience for himself or herself. The story is truly shown, not told.

Tell us your writing process. 
I try to have a complete story before I start, especially an effective ending. Then I figure out how to show the story rather than tell it. Then I build it in layers via numerous drafts in which I gradually find ways to make my writing as alive and precise as possible, and add telling details and characteristics that add to the realism and the interestingness of the work.

When did you realize you wanted to be a writer?
When I was 7 or 8.

Tell us about your main character:   
My main character in “Lucien And I” is the first person narrator, David Burden, and he feels that he was born at 29 years old, and is on a quest for excitement and capture the young adulthood he didn’t have. He is not a good person, but he is an extremely honest narrator. And in the course of his quest, he does an enormously bad thing and deeply regrets it.

What are you working on next? 
A highly compelling, page-turning thinking man’s adventure story that takes place in the Greek islands, and has three uniquely interesting well-drawn characters. It is going to be by far the best novel I’ve ever written. It is very exciting to write. I feel like I have electricity in my veins.

Do you have any special/extraordinary talents?
No, but I write very well.

Who are your favorite authors?  
Graham Greene, Robert Stone, William Boyd, John Fowles, Jim Harrison, Somerset Maugham, Pete Dexter and Paul Theroux.

What do you like to do with your free time?
Read, listen to live and recorded music, travel, and spend time with the people I’m close to, sometimes combined with a fine meal.

 

Any final thoughts? 
The subject of all my novels is ultimately the human condition. If that subject interests anybody reading this, they should read my novels.

Wildflower by Alexandra Forry

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Title: WILDFLOWER
Author Name:
ALEXANDRA FORRY
Book Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
Release Date: March 4, 2014

Author Bio: Alexandra Forry has an incredible talent for living vicariously through the colorful and intriguing escapades of her strong female characters and successful leading men. Her first book, “Omerta Affair,” based on the true story of mafia boss Tony Torino and his paramour Evelyn Rosenberg has recently been adapted and re-released as “Timeless Endings”–romance fiction. Her latest book, “Wildflower,” is an adventure in coming of age for both a young orphan and her repressed aunt who is trapped in a destructive marriage. It is a beautiful story of life, hope, growth, and triumph and deals with many of the traumas of youth, such as bullying.

Alexandra Forry is familiar with life’s challenges. She was born and raised in Las Vegas, Nevada, where she lives with her loving grandparents. Alexandra has conquered the limitations of Cerebral Palsy to write exciting and engaging novels. She has completed a number of talks and internet book tours and is a member of the Las Vegas Romance Writers and RWA.

ALEXANDRA FORRY

Author Links
Website
Facebook
Twitter
Linkedin
Goodreads
Amazon

Giveaway– Autographed paperback with a personal message to the winner.

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Book Blurb: In this beautiful and moving story of love, growth, and redemption among the stunning red rocks of Sedona, Arizona, Sydney—a teenaged Army orphan—discovers that love knows no bounds and life has many twists and turns of fate. After she is forced to move in with her late mother’s sister Blanche and Blanche’s abusive alcoholic husband Dean, Sidney finds purpose and friendship in Lexy, the daughter of Max Heller the City’s most prominent widower and business magnate. Unknowingly, the girls’ antics awaken Blanche’s lost and suppressed passions and stirs Max’s long-thwarted drive to build a loving and complete family. What emerges is the wonderfully successful Epicurian Café, the brainchild of Blanche and Sydney actively encouraged by Max and Lexy. The Café quickly becomes a center of the community, the start of a new life for Blanche and Sydney, and a chance for Max and Lexy to discover true love and the meaning of commitment. An emotional roller-coaster with its exciting twists and turns, Wildflower is an exhilarating and satisfying read.

Excerpt

Why don’t we open a business? Like a simple sandwich and coffee shop,” Sydney announced with a glimmer of hope in her eyes.
“A sandwich shop?” Blanche asked, looking surprised and a bit taken aback.
“Yeah, why not?”
While Sydney waited for an answer, Blanche just looked at her, dumbfounded.
“Sydney, I would love to open a sandwich shop, but it takes a lot of money–money that we just don’t have.”
“Oh please, Aunt Blanche! I bet you can get a loan from the bank. It will be exciting!” Sydney pleaded.
“I don’t think that your uncle will approve. Sydney I love your idea, truly do! I was taken aback at first, because it has always been a dream of mine to open a little shop of some kind on Main Street,” Blanche said wistfully. ”It costs a lot of money to open up a business, besides I have an offer for a job in Prescott.”
“Pooh on Uncle Dean, and turn down that job. For me, please? You can ask Annette how to open a business–she will know, since she owns her own business.” Sydney said begging her aunt.
“I will think about it, okay, Sydney?” Blanche said making her way to her closet and picking out a dress.

 

 

 

 

Book Tour ~ Untouchable by Elizabeth SaFleur

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Author Bio

Elizabeth SaFleur, an erotic romance author, penned the Elite Doms of Washington series, contemporary tales of dominance, seduction, and love set in our nation’s capital. The first novel, Lovely, was released in January 2015. She’s a member of the Romance Writers Association and avid reader of all fiction genres.

www.ElizabethSaFleur.com

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Author Links – 

Website | Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Goodreads | Amazon

 

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GIVEAWAY

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Book Genre: Romance
Publisher: Troll River Publications
Release Date: July 3rd, 2015 (pre-order special at $2.99 from the original $4.99)

Buy Links:

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00V8CZ3KG
B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/untouchable-elizabeth-safleur/1121714928?ean=2940151858380
Kobo: https://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/untouchable-34
Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/532355

 Book Description

A powerful man in a powerful world, corporate attorney Carson Drake is the master of the short-term affair and the preemptive strike. His motto, do unto others before done to him, has kept him single and safe.Public relations executive London Chantelle relishes in her independence and is an unlikely partner. Mistrustful and damaged from her history, London wants nothing to do with men seeking to cage her.

Yet their unexpected encounter at private BDSM club Diabolus offers a delicious opportunity for them both. Mesmerized by London’s spirit, Carson offers her a weekend of sexual, submissive pleasure. London, anticipating she could finally put her unwanted darker, longings to rest, agrees to his proposal.

The weekend proves beyond what either could guess. Carson quickly taps into London’s masochistic streak, and they discover how perfect they could be together. But when a blackmailing co-worker and long-buried secrets threatens their budding relationship, Carson must turn to the secret and powerful BDSM organization, The Tribunal, for help. Yet help always comes with a price, and soon Carson and London are forced to deal with their pasts.

Excerpt

“Control of your submissive goes beyond administering punishments and pleasure,” Carson said. Katie shifted once more. He traced a fingertip across the brunette’s shoulder tattoo. The ink on her flesh read Hurt Me. If only all women came pre-labeled with warning stickers, like this beauty draped over his legs. Perhaps then he’d have understood London’s edginess today a little better. Danger: High Voltage would have suited her.

For the last two hours he’d tried to stop thinking about those legs. Every technique he used only pushed her deep into his mind. And the thought of pushing deep into her.

Katie wiggled across his thighs and reclaimed his attention. He placed his hand over her lower back. “Be still.” He waited. When she finally stopped her attempts to grind into his crotch, he returned his attention to the growing audience for his spanking demo at Club Accendos.

“Settle,” he whispered. Carson willed his usual concentration to rise. After all, he’d agreed to this silly demo.

“Yes, sir.” Her words came out garbled. Katie was a screamer, so he’d gagged her. But he couldn’t enjoy her usual vocal appreciation of his work, thanks to unshakeable thoughts of a certain PR Princess.

He returned his attention to the ass presented. Smack! Smack! Katie’s behind grew more heated under his hand. When he palmed her pinkened butt, she pressed into his lack of an erection. It wasn’t Katie’s fault for his lackluster reaction to her. He’d just been here so many times before.

Katie’s flesh jiggled under three more swats. She fell further over his lap, releasing the last of her own tension and settling into the moment. If only he could do the same.

He slipped the gag from Katie’s mouth and let it clatter the floor. He eased her up and caught her by the arm as she swayed. Her heavy lids told him at least she’d enjoyed their time together.

“Thank you, sweetheart. As you can see, Katie is starting to float. That’s when you need to stop. Check in with your sub often and pay attention to the signs. Any questions?” If there is a God, there’ll be no questions.

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Interview with Elizabeth SaFleur

Elizabeth, tell our readers about you.….
Hello! Thanks for having me stop by. I’m an erotic romance author who is recovering from a thirty-year public relations career. For many years I’ve lived and worked in my novels’ setting, Washington, D.C. Due to the nature of my former clients, I write (and tweet and post) under my pseudonym, Elizabeth SaFleur, because my DC colleagues might be a little shocked at my new career choice. Then again, perhaps they’d fear they provided inspiration. (I have sworn secrecy.)

Today I share twenty-eight, wildlife-filled acres in Virginia with my husband and furry child, a westie (who is the real Dom in the household). If my house were to catch on fire I’d grab three things: the westie, my laptop and my Sally Rand regulation, five foot wide, black and pink, ostrich feather fans. In my spare time I dance (from cabaret to burlesque) with a semi-pro dance troupe. It’s never too late to take up burlesque.

What inspires you to get out of bed each day?  
I don’t think the characters in my head would allow me to stay in bed all day. So many stories, so little time. Almost every day I wake up “talking” to characters. Those demanding Doms!

If you could hang out with one famous person for one day, who would it be and why?  
Would it be bad if I said, Stephen Amell, the actor from Arrow? I promise to give him back to his wife at the end of the day. If not Stephen, then I’d like to spend the day with Bono. He is someone who has used his life well. He’s creative, philanthropic and dedicated to life-long learning. I think I could learn a thing or two just by breathing the same air as Bono.

What’s the story behind your latest book?
Untouchable was inspired by the hero, Carson Drake. Carson made a cameo appearance in the first Elite Doms’ book, Lovely. After Lovely debuted, Carson haunted me. I sensed he had a story that needed to be told. Of course, as soon as I thought about him, he began to “talk” to me. I began to ask him questions in my head and wrote down the dialogue. The entire story of Untouchable was inspired by me asking him two basic questions: who is your ideal partner and what would be the worst scenario in which you could meet this person? The story cascaded from his answers.

Tell us your writing process.  
I try to write a first draft straight through, just to get the characters and story down. After the first draft, I go through every chapter asking myself what I was trying to accomplish with each one and how I wanted the characters to come across. The third (and subsequent drafts) are for line editing and plot holes. Copy editing and proofing are done in final drafts. Oh, and I tend to “futz” with the first seven chapters over and over and over again no matter where I am in the process. I am in awe of writers who can write just a few drafts and call it a day. I go through many!

When did you realize you wanted to be a writer?
I don’t recall a time when I didn’t write. I wrote my first novel, the Mystery of the Bunny, when I was seven. I think I one sale – to my parents for a dime. They are responsible for my writing addiction! Over the years I tried writing various novels and short stories. But Lovely was the first novel I tried to get published.

Tell us about your main character:   
In Untouchable, Carson Drake is a corporate attorney and sexual dominant. When we meet him, he also is quite lonely. He’s honorable, but often comes across as gruff. He doesn’t understand why people don’t see what he does. But I love his loyalty. He simply would not give up on London.

London Chantelle, the heroine in Untouchable, surprised me. She presented herself as being a this tough, public relations executive. But, as the story progresses, we find she has a softer, nurturing side. It’s that part of her that causes Carson to come undone.

I love how these two characters come together. The people they present to the world prove to be incompatible. But, their true selves – once revealed – show they are perfect for one another.

What are you working on next? 
I’m writing the third and fourth Elite Doms books. Perfect is the third book and features Mark Santos – an ex special forces’ member who is in love with his brother’s widow, Isabelle. The fourth book, presently untitled, is about Derek Damon Wright, a club owner who will meet his match in dancer Samantha Rose.

Do you have any special/extraordinary talents?
I can teach any woman how to exotic dance. I’m not trying to shock — really. But, for many years, I taught exotic dance in a professional dance studio, teaching everyday women how to get back in touch with their sensual selves. We do not teach women how to be strippers. Rather, women come to us to recover their sensual side that they may have lost for a variety of reasons: medical conditions, sexual assault, losing themselves to family commitments and more. At the end of my lifetime, I already know I’ll look back on my dance teacher days and believe it was one of the best uses of my time.

Who are your favorite authors?  
I have so many favorite authors! But two writers stand out for me: Joey W. Hill and Beth Kery. Both write emotionally deep and plot-rich stories that I can’t put down.

What do you like to do with your free time?
In addition to dance, I spend time with my furry child (a three year-old Westie) and my husband, taking long hikes through our woods and visiting local wineries and restaurants with friends and family.

Tell us about your plans for upcoming books.  
I’m so glad you asked! The Elite Doms series is at least seven books, each one about a dominant and submissive seeking true love while staying true to themselves. The Doms are connected, but each story is a stand-alone story.

Any final thoughts?
Many thanks for having me stop by. Also, thank you to all the readers who read, comment and review books. Time is precious, so thank you for spending a little bit of yours with me. I love to hear from readers, so please feel free to drop me a line anytime: ElizabethLoveStory@gmail.com or stop by my blog: http://www.ElizabethSafleur.com/blog

Timeless Endings by Alexandra Forry

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Timeless Endings by Alexandra Forry

ALEXANDRA FORRY

Title: Timeless Endings
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
Release Date: February 27, 2014
Buy Link(s):
Amazon
BarnesandNoble

Giveaway
Enter to win an autographed copy of Timeless Endings

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Book Description

Evelyn turned toward the lights of the city. The view was breathtaking as she stood looking down on Las Vegas, lovingly wrapped in Tony’s arms. It was a moment she would keep deep in her heart, forever.
“Look at this-The City of Gold!” Evelyn exclaimed as Tony kissed her forehead.
“And it’s all ours, Eve!”
Thus begins a heartwarming and harrowing tale of life and forbidden love lost to one generation and found in the next. Caught between a turbulent love triangle that shook the very foundations of the Mafia’s Las Vegas Empire, and a deadly struggle for wealth and power, Mob Boss and “King of Las Vegas” Tony Torino, his mistress hustler and onetime showgirl Evelyn Rosenberg, and her husband top Chicago mobster Charlie “Gus” Rosenberg live and love in defiance of the violent and unforgiving laws of the Mafia. All that remains is Evelyn’s carefully preserved diary left by Gus to be discovered by his daughter Adriane and Tony’s son Victor as they pack up her late father’s belongings. Through the vivid and brilliant use of flashbacks, juxtaposed with current events, we witness one of the most beautiful and ill-fated love stories of the last century. As Victor, a forest ranger who fled his family’s Mob past, and Adriane, an attorney being pressured to work for the Mafia, read through the diary old hatreds and new alliances rise leaving us to wonder if history will repeat itself.

EXCERPT

“Adriane, look at what I found,” Victor said peering closely at the photo.
“What?” she said, walking over to him.
“It’s a picture of your parents, my parents and two other couples sitting on the sofa at your old home. Hey, I remember taking this photo at a party!”
“Ah, it must have been taken before my mom went and slept with your dad,” Adriane said, looking at the photo.
“Seems like your dad was trying to figure out what happened back in Las Vegas. What a coincidence this is. We were just talking about it!”
“Victor! It’s a photo that my dad kept in his desk, nothing more!”
She rolled her eyes as Victor looked over at her and then down at the very bottom drawer of the desk. He bent down and pulled it open.
A look of astonishment crossed his face.
“Adriane, what if we have the story wrong about what happened in Vegas long ago?”
“Victor, did you forget? My dad told his side of the story to the person who wrote that sickening movie. My dad had no reason to lie about what happened!”
“If you say so, but I think that you need to take a look in this drawer.”

 

Book Release – If You Leave This Farm by Amanda Farmer

If You Leave This Farm: The Dream is Destroyed
by Amanda Farmer

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  Genre: Memoir, Autobiographic
Publisher: Archway Publishing
Release Date: July 2014
Description
My book chronicles the story of our move to Minnesota as a family when we are teenagers to farm together. The first year’s catastrophic crop failure sets off a determination by our father to totally control our circumstances and leads to 12 years of struggle by my younger brother and I to leave the farm. Interweaved into the story is our life as Mennonites and the influence that has upon our lives. 

 

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Amanda grew up on the farm and worked together there with her family until the age of 29. She now lives with her husband on a hobby farm in southeastern Minnesota. They have one grown daughter. Amanda holds a Master’s Degree in Nurse Anesthesia and currently works in that profession.

Author Links –

Website: www.farmgirlwriter.com
Blog: https://farmgirlwriter.wordpress.com/
Facebook https://www.facebook.com/pages/Amanda-Farmer/762017803836447?ref=hl
Twitter: https://twitter.com/farmgirlwriter5
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22833980-if-you-leave-this-farm?ac=1
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/You-Leave-this-Farm-Destroyed/dp/1480809284/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1423873269&sr=1-1&keywords=if+you+leave+this+farm

Excerpt One:

I grab a book to read while supper is being put on the table. Reading is my escape to adventures I probably will never see, but there is nothing to stop me from dreaming. I work in a few paragraphs before it is time to gather at the table. Daddy begins by reading a passage aloud from the Bible. Then he prays before we dig into a hearty meal of farmer’s fare: potatoes, meat, a vegetable, and always a dessert.

“Children,” Daddy says tonight, “Next Monday evening, we are going to go to Nirvana to see some slides of farms that are for sale in the Midwest. They are being shown by a real estate agent from there. I need you to get the milking started right away when you get home from school.”

Daddy has been talking for some time now about buying land “out West” and moving out of the crowded Pennsylvania area. Currently, Daddy is renting land in small blocks of five to ten acres, as far away as twenty miles from the home farm. He and Paul are farming around five hundred acres altogether. We all spend a lot of time on the road, traveling back and forth to the various fields and hauling the baled hay home during the long summer days. Daddy and Paul think it would be so much easier to just have a piece of land all in one block to farm. I am not so sure about this idea, but Daddy promises that if we do this, we won’t milk as many cows. We will only have maybe fifty cows. That sounds like a wonderful idea to me and I am open to an adventure. By now it is nine thirty, and I fall into bed, exhausted with dreams of faraway places and fewer cows to milk.

Excerpt Two:

I spend my morning after milking today reading the local newspaper and the Budget (Ohio), an Amish-Mennonite newspaper. The Budget is a compilation of letters from “scribes,” or writers, in various communities all over the country, telling of the happenings in the lives of other Amish and Mennonite families. The letters hold a certain fascination to me as, it seems, all kinds of strange and exciting things happen in other people’s lives. In contrast, my life is the same stressful combination of work and sleep and nothingness every day. I have started to become increasingly more discouraged and just plain tired of the life that is mine. Daddy’s response to any voicing of this weariness is, “God gave us all these gifts. We need to be good stewards and work hard to take care of them.”

After about an hour of reading, I make my way to the barn to stand upon my perch, from which I scout for cows that I will need to breed later in the day. Then it is time to hook the gooseneck cattle trailer to the pickup and take the bull calves that have been born in the last week to the sale barn. It is a job I enjoy. It does take a special skill to back a gooseneck trailer around, and I am proud that I have mastered it. Not many women can do what I do on a daily basis.

As I return from my fifty-mile round trip, I notice a car in front of the house. Daddy is talking to a building salesman. I step inside in time to see him signing a contract for another machine shed. My heart drops. Just what we need. More buildings to pay for. I am feeling depressed, but the day is warm, so I walk out into the pasture to check on the dry cows. I lie on the grass in the pasture, with the sun on my face, and allow the tears to course down my cheeks and onto the fading grass of summer. Oh God! Help us! is all that I can pray. I want my life to be about more than paying for buildings and cows.

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