Tag Archives: Literary Fiction

Animal Circus – Spotlight

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Literary Fiction
Date Published: October 7th, 2018
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Doe’s Circus, one of the last of its kind in Australia. Travelling across the country all year round, thousands of humans visit to revel in the tradition of Dagwood dogs, dodgem cars and the weekend prime time show. 
Yet for the animals locked away in the small confines of the petting zoo, the circus is a neon-lit, human-infested nightmare.
Tormented by the ringmaster and his gang of tyrannical showmen, two pigs, a rooster and a sheep devise a plan to accomplish the impossible―escape the circus.
About the Author

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Michael Batchelor, born 1991, is an Australian author based on the Gold Coast, Queensland. He graduated from Griffith University in 2011 with a Bachelor of Communications and in 2015, published his first novel, The Red Chilli.
Michael’s greatest joy is to share his stories and ideas with the world.
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McDowell – Promo Blitz

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Literary Fiction
Publisher: Story in Literary Fiction (Ingram)
 
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A finalist in the William Faulkner Creative Writing Competition.
McDowell, an arrogant, selfish, uncaring surgeon–except with his three children whom he ineptly tries to council as they come of age–loses his career, wealth, respect, and fame when his grandson goes on a killing spree and then fails in a suicide attempt living in a vegetative, brain-dead state. When the boy dies under suspicious circumstances, McDowell is convicted and jailed for second-degree murder. He escapes to become a fugitive pursued by authorities, an investigative TV reporter eager to interview him before capture, and his daughter who is trying for a retrial. McDowell’s family members struggle to find meaning in their lives but each is thwarted at every turn by their father’s reputation. McDowell keeps on the move to prevent his capture and establish a new life. He is forced to gingerly reenter society at the lowest levels and with each new acquaintance, he must learn a new sense of humanity to survive.
 
 
 
Excerpt
 
 
 
Prologue
 
 
 
Nepal, 1981
 
Himalayas
            The sky cleared briefly before daybreak. The sharp bitter winds eased somewhat, but the negative forty-degree temperatures penetrated to the bone. Hiram McDowell lifted the flap of a one-man tent to look in on Erick Woolf, who turned his head, his beard tinged in frost-white from his labored breathing; Woolf lifted his goggles, his pale blue eyes opaque with fatigue.
            “You ready?” Hiram asked.
            Woolf shook his head “no,” trying to smile but his face remained motionless.
            Hiram took off his outer gloves, freed up an oxygen tank from Woolf ’s backpack, and placed the mask on Woolf ’s face. Woolf rallied after a few minutes of oxygen.
            Within half an hour, with four other climbers, Hiram and Woolf started for the summit. Woolf ’s fatigue slowed progress and after an hour they soon fell behind the others. The wind gusts increased. Woolf sank into a sitting position a few yards from a slope of snow and ice.
            Hiram steadied himself on a steep vertical. For a few seconds, the visibility improved, but he saw no one.
            “Go,” Woolf called to him, his voice husky dry. “I can’t do it.”
            With only slight hesitation, Hiram waved his agreement. He had only two hours or less to summit before their oxygen supply ran low. And Woolf was too weak to go on; the rest would strengthen him. At the summit, Hiram took photos and, for a few minutes, absorbed the satisfaction of his achievement and the awe of the view from the highest point on earth.
            Winds picked up and snow and haze decreased visibility as he began his descent. He pressed on. After an hour, he stumbled onto Woolf a few feet from where he had left him.
            “Get up,” Hiram yelled over the howling wind.
            “Help me. In the name of God,” Woolf pleaded.
            Hiram gripped Woolf ’s parka to help him stand, but Hiram was too weak to lift, and Woolf fell back.
            “Rescue,” Woolf moaned, drifting off into semi-consciousness. Rescue from base camp was impossible until the weather improved. And they were in the dead zone, too high for helicopters.
            Hiram freed Woolf ’s remaining oxygen supply and attached it to his own pack.
            “Don’t leave me, Hiram.” Woolf coughed.
            Hiram backed away and started down. Climbing ropes aided him for a few hundred yards. Near a rock crevice familiar to him, he stumbled on the half-buried lifeless body of a facedown climber. A candy bar and water were in the inner jacket pocket. Near the corpse’s outstretched arm, a glint of silver stopped Hiram. From hard snow and the ice-solid fabric of a frozen glove-hand, he freed a silver crucifix that he pocketed for identification and to send to family. He plodded ahead. The storm abated and he felt the muted exhilaration at knowing he would not die.
            On return home after his miracle survival, Hiram dreamed of immortality. He determined to climb every peak above 8000 meters in Nepal.
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About the Author

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William H. Coles is a literary fiction writer, winner of multiple awards including the William Faulkner Creative Writing Competition, The Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction, and others. To learned the art of writing fiction in courses and workshops from more than seventy-five authors, editors, and teachers. He and created storyinliteraryfiction.com, a website with resources for fiction writers, illustrators, and avid fiction readers and works of fiction. The site has had over two million visits in the last three years.  He was an ophthalmic surgeon specializing in ocular-injury repair and reconstruction, a professor and chairman at SUNY Buffalo School of Medicine, a Regent for The American College of Surgeons, president of the Association of University Professors in Ophthalmology. He plays jazz piano, was former President of the Gibbes Art Museum in Charleston, SC, and has lectured internationally on mechanistic biologic ophthalmic research, ophthalmic surgery, jazz, and valuing antique Georgian and federal furniture and art at Emory University. He won a Mayor’s award for contributions to historic preservation in Charleston, SC. and the Conrad Berens Award for best film on a medical subject. He lives and writes in Salt Lake City, Utah.
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F**k You, Your Honor – Blitz

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Literary Fiction, Satire
Date Published: June 2017
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Publisher: Black Letter Editions
F*ck You, Your Honor is a satirical literary novel about a low-end attorney and real estate broker who is ordered by a judge to write a book to save his law license.
Attorney Darwyn “Wyn” VanWye is down on his luck. He squats in a foreclosed government-owned HUD home and conducts his law practice over his smart phone from a sports bar.
While attempting to reconcile with Amalia, his Argentine ex-wife, so his excessive alimony payments can be terminated, Judge Solomon arbitrarily sanctions him for misconduct. Instead of a fine or jail time, the judge sentences him to write a sixty-five thousand word book about the “dignity and integrity” of the legal system. Wyn believes the judge is out to get him.
After resisting the order, F*ck You, Your Honor is the book Wyn writes to hopefully save his law license. Will he succeed in placating the judge and winning back his ex-wife?
The book is loosely inspired by an article in the Wall Street Journal about a pharmaceutical executive who was sentenced by a Federal judge to write a book to show penance for lying to the Federal Trade Commission. The executive wrote the book, but instead of writing the reflective work the judge ordered, he denounced the unfairness of the legal system.
What if a lawyer was ordered to write a book like this? His first instinct would be to try to argue his way out of it.
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Excerpt
 29
Another day, I met a new prospective client at The Overtime who wanted to retain me to file for a divorce. I was talking to Cora who was busy with the lunch crowd when the prospect arrived thirty minutes early. I hate clients who are too punctual; it shows they are controlling. It’s rude. Here am I busy working on another case, and a prospective client comes in, and I feel the pressure of her waiting for me across The Overtime. But I immediately forgave her as soon as I saw her.
I must say, if ever I was tempted to start a sexual relationship with a client, this would be the one. After the case was over, of course. I could easily see myself ridding my new client of her soon-to-be ex-husband, and, maybe months later, after enough time had passed… my thoughts wandered off for a second and then wandered back to the case. Although she was probably in her late thirties, she had aged well; beautiful lips, a sensual curved neck. She had a rich, Southern drawl.
As I introduced myself, she let out this warm vibe. I made her fill out the questionnaire while she waited. Questions about the date and history of the marriage, names and addresses, the number of children, any instances of domestic violence. All based on statutes and precedent that I would need to file her case.
I noticed by her questionnaire she lived in a prestigious area of overpriced bungalows and Tudors that surrounded a big park near downtown. The park had a lake and a boathouse. Amalia and I used to go down there some afternoons in the summers for picnics and free concerts. I think part of my attraction to her, however, subconsciously, she reminded me of Amalia.
I never really thought that I had a type. I guess I do. I never liked the competitive career women, and just as important, they never liked me.
This woman was warm and kind. She was of Spanish or Mexican origin, but unlike Amalia, she had been totally Americanized. She spoke perfect English, ate bland food at The Overtime, though she dressed flamboyantly. She worked as a branch manager in a bank. She complained about the inflated prices of real estate and the ridiculous number of Starbucks. On street corners. In grocery stores. In strip malls. Being a banker, I guess she did the math, and $6 a cup is a lot for a cup of coffee.
She confided her husband had not touched her in a year. Unbelievable! I wanted to leap out of my chair and kiss her. I hadn’t touched Amalia in over a year, either.
The first thing I did, I asked her if she and her husband could reconcile. There’s a ninety-one day waiting period for a divorce, to give the couple time to cool off, maybe go to counseling.
If the parties went through a divorce, I could make thousands of dollars. If the couple can’t get along in the divorce, and both get lawyers, a couple can blow through their life savings. If the parties reconcile, the divorce is either dismissed or never filed, and I earn, well, nothing. Amalia called this “chewing my paw.”
I thought again about my divorce. Some of the arguments with Amalia were just silly.
One time, we fought over a banana. I had left a banana on the kitchen counter the night before court to pack with my exhibit books. I usually brought a snack to help me through a whole day trial. Some judges allowed you to bring food into the courtroom to eat on the breaks; others didn’t. Without even telling me, she ate the last banana.
I have to admit, at the time, I was furious.
Another time, she packed me a lunch, put it in my briefcase, and took out my notebook with all my notes for a hearing. I appeared in court, totally unprepared. Sabotaged by Amalia. Lucky for me the case was continued. We went round and round as to who was at fault on this one.
My arguments with Amalia were passionate; never violent. They almost always ended in laughter. For a few years, we had a dog, Knuckles, though the dog eventually died. One day we took him to the vet. She wrote the dog’s name down on a form at the vet’s office: ‘Nuckles’. I informed her the word began with a silent K. The word didn’t register with her, and she had a hard time believing me. I can still hear her making the K sound, trying to pronounce it, trying to make sense of the word.
The English language mystified her. The next time she wrote out a grocery list, along with the milk and some more bananas, she asked me to pick up a package of ‘knoodles’.
I may not be the best one to give a guy marital advice, but still, here goes: Sleep with your wife from time to time. Be nice to her. Otherwise, keep your penis in your pants. These, along with financial difficulties, are the main causes of a divorce.
I explained the essence of a dissolution of marriage, showing off my knowledge with citations of statutes and case law. The first step after a divorce is filed—the parties exchange financial statements and supply the supporting documentation. I call this making the pie. Once you make the pie, you divide the pie, calculating how to fairly distribute the personal property, the assets and debts between the parties. Every asset is taken into account. From the smallest savings bond to the parties’ coin collection, each coin valued and divided coin by coin. The court will even divide the porn.
A divorce works like this: most lawyers review the financial documents, and based on the factors in the statute, calculate what their client is reasonably entitled to. Then they double it. So they will stay employed.
The most accurate definition of a divorce I copied from a well-respected, influential, and prestigious legal journal.
“A divorce is a domestic legal proceeding which takes a highly dysfunctional family, and legally divides it into two highly dysfunctional families.” That was the best definition I ever heard.
I gave her advice about the fundamentals of a divorce. There were statutes about temporary orders, how child support was calculated, parenting time was determined, alimony figured, property, pensions, and debts divided. Hopefully, there’s not much to fight about. If there are no children, thank God. That’s where people fight the most. They also fight about money, until they see how much money they will have to spend to fight about the money. First, a couple doesn’t need to agree to get a divorce. That hardly makes sense. If a couple cannot agree on who will pay the sewer bill, they cannot agree on the divorce. Second, if one party says the marriage is broken, it’s broken. End of story. Agreements of the parties or other court orders are enforced through contempt proceedings, which is an allegation of a deliberate violation of a court order under Rule 107. There are two types of contempt: punitive and remedial.
Remedial contempt is when the judge is mad enough at a party for violating a court order, he or she can put you in jail until you comply. Punitive contempt is when a judge is real mad, he or she can simply put you in jail. (Amazing, though, how a deadbeat dad who owes back child support, has no money, no job, no savings, and no prospects—through some miracle of math or accounting is able to purge a remedial contempt by coughing up ten thousand dollars after spending only one night in jail.)
The smartest thing any divorcing couple can do is sit down and work out a compromise. Settle some of the divorce or all of it ahead of getting the lawyers involved. Write it on a napkin and sign it. It doesn’t matter what form it is in.
A guy usually knows he has to share the assets of the marriage with his wife, especially if the wife is a housewife. A woman thinks differently. She doesn’t like to share. All of the assets are hers; all of the debts are his. That was the story of my divorce.
I gave my prospective client some good advice: “Empty all the bank accounts,” I suggested. “If you don’t, your husband certainly will. Once he finds out you are thinking about filing the divorce.”
This was sound legal reasoning. Before a divorce is filed, there are no court orders in place to protect the assets so the court can divide them fairly. One parent can run off with the children. Or abscond with all the assets and gamble them away in Las Vegas. Once the divorce is filed or if the money disappears in contemplation of the divorce, you will have to fully account for yourself and your finances.
About the Author

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In his junior year in college, Craig Chambers attended the University of Leeds in England. He did not attend a single class, traveled around Europe instead. He came back and took the final exams, only to be disappointed that he got a 1 in English. He later learned that “First Honors” was the highest grade.
In the ‘80s he became a real estate broker while he worked on developing his writing style. Chambers attended law school in the ‘90’s because he observed a real estate closing where the lawyer messed up the deal, but still charged a fee of $1,000. He figured he could mess up a real estate deal for a lot less than that. His literary satire on the legal system, F*ck You, Your Honor, was released in June, 2017. He resides in Littleton, CO.
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American River – Blitz

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American River Trilogy, Book One
Historical Fiction, Literary Fiction
Publisher: Archway Publishing
Published: June 2017
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In the mid-1800s, three immigrant families—Irish, Mexican, and Japanese—settled along the banks of the American River in Northern California. A century later only one family remains. The Morales family lost their land when California became a state. The Japanese colony collapsed. But Cormac McPhalan’s Mockingbird Valley Ranch, now managed by his grandson, Owen, is still a thriving family business.
Then, in the politically- charged year of 1959, Owen’s wife, Marian, leaves the ranch to follow her dream of becoming a professional artist. Her twelve-year-old daughter, Alex, a musical prodigy, goes with her, while fifteen-year-old Kate stays behind and tries to hold the family together despite the growing rift between her father, Owen, and her older brother, Julian. But Kate shocks and angers her father when she falls in love with the ranch foreman’s son, Japanese internment camp survivor, Tommy Ashida. And Marian’s summer love affair with with a talented young musician, Carl Morales, ignites a firestorm that will later impact all three families.
From the concert halls of Europe to Kyoto’s ancient avenues, and Manhattan’s artist’s lofts to San Francisco’s North Beach, the members of a new generation— artists, musicians, poets and politicians, the inheritors of their immigrant ancestors’ hopes and dreams— make their way through the turbulent decade of the sixties. But when an unexpected tragedy brings the three families together, they find that they are torn apart by conflicting opinions, dangerous secrets, engrained prejudices, and their own lofty ambitions.
Set against the natural beauty of Northern California, O’Connor weaves a complex tapestry of interrelationships and betrayals that captures the mood and resonance of a decade that began in innocence and ended in despair.
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Other Books in the American River Trilogy
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American River: Currents
American River Trilogy, Book Two
Publisher: Archway Publishing
Published: March 2018
In the second book of the American River trilogy, a cavalcade of disasters both personal and public threatens to overwhelm the scattered members of the McPhalan, Ashida, and Morales clans during the tumultuous 1960s.
Katestill mourning the death of her brother, Julian finds herself torn between her love for Carl, now a celebrated conductor who is looking for career opportunities on the East Coast, and her devotion to the West and especially the family ranch at Mockingbird. Also, while attending a music festival in Venice, Italy, she meets Stefan Molnar, a renowned concert pianist, who has become her sister Alex’s mentor (and lover). As Kate and Stefan’s unintentional relationship grows, complications multiply.
Meanwhile, Tommy Ashida, now studying in Japan, falls in love with Emiko Namura, the beautiful, sheltered daughter of a Tokyo businessman. He hopes she holds the key to understanding his Japanese heritage, but will that knowledge lead to happiness or something darker?
Determined to make her mark in the male-dominated art world, Kate’s mother, Marian, decides to move to New York while Kate’s father, Owen, becomes involved in local politics. When he is elected to the California Assembly, he finds himself in direct opposition to Jorge Morales, Carl’s father.
Alliances fray, relationships dissolve, divisive secrets are revealed, and promises are broken as the members of three California families struggle to salvage their shattered dreams.
Set against the natural beauty of Northern California, O’Connor weaves a complex tapestry of interrelationships and betrayals that captures the mood and resonance of a decade that began in innocence and ended in despair.
American River: Currents, Book Two of the American River Trilogy, is filled with passionate and resolute characters who refuse to let go of their unique visions of success even as life’s tumultuous currents threaten to sweep them all away.
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American River: Confluence
American River Trilogy, Book Three
By Mallory M. O’Connor
Coming November 2018
Book three of the American River Trilogy begins with the three families—the McPhalans, the Morales, and the Ashidas—in turmoil. Following Owen McPhalan’s death, his daughter Kate has inherited Mockingbird Valley Ranch only to discover that the once profitable family business is no longer sustainable. Desperate to find a way to save Mockingbird, she struggles to formulate a plan. But she hasn’t counted on the wrath of Dan Papadakis, Owen’s former campaign manager, who is working behind the scenes to undermine her efforts.
Excerpt from American River: Tributaries
Part I: The Ancestors
Chapter 1
Mockingbird Valley Ranch
Near Auburn, California
 June 1859
Cormac McPhalan paused at the top of the bluff and stood for a moment admiring the view. To the east he could see the peaks of the High Sierra that John Muir would later call the “Range of Light,” lonely granite spires capped even in summer with a mantle of snow. Cormac studied the mountains, his spirits, as always, lifted by their grandeur.
     Turning, he looked toward the west where the Central Valley of California spread out wide and flat, a violet lake bordered by the Coast Range, a wavy, blue line on the far western horizon.
     A hawk swept past, screaming its warning, and Cormac’s eyes followed it into the still dark canyon where the North Fork of the American River had carved a rock-strewn channel. Although he couldn’t see the river, he could hear its wild, cascading song, a husky roar fueled by snowmelt from the spring thaw. The river had been like that—high and wild—when he first laid eyes on the land that would become Mockingbird Valley Ranch.
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 About the Author

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Award-winning author Mallory M. O’Connor is a writer, art historian, musician, and professor emerita at Santa Fe College where she taught art history and served as director of the Santa Fe Art Gallery. O’Connor holds master’s degrees in both American history and art history from Ohio University, and has also lived in California, Florida, Mexico and Tennessee. She is the author of two non-fiction art history books, both published by the University Press of Florida. Since retiring from her position at SFC, Mallory has written three novels, the American River Trilogy. Book One, American River: Tributaries, was published in 2017 and recently won First Prize in the Fiction Category from Northern California Publishers and Authors. The book also won the President’s Award for Fiction from the Florida Authors and Publishers Association. Book two of the trilogy, American River: Currents, was published in 2018. Book three, American River: Confluence, is scheduled for a November 2018 release.
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Model Marine – Book Tour & Giveaway

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Literary Fiction / Military Fiction   
Date Published: January 13, 2018  

 

 

 

Molly Monroe had her future planned out for her. When she makes an impulsive decision to join the Marine Corps, her boyfriend breaks up with her, her brother bears the burden of guilt, and her mother feels betrayed. The people in Molly’s life have always tried to protect her, but she wants to protect herself.
As a Combat Camera Marine, Molly observes and records her environment from behind the lens, where image shapes day-to-day life. After she is wounded during a combat deployment, her dreams are frightening, and her memories are a kaleidoscope of scattered and chaotic scenes; a collision of past and present, real and unreal. Snapshots in time. Glimpses of war. Fragments of love: lost and found.
This story unfolds through multiple perspectives and as the negatives and positives develop, an image of the Model Marine is sharpened into focus.

 

About the Author

Sondra Sykes Meek is originally from Florida, but she has lived in several locations in the United States and abroad. She is a wife and mother of two, a retired Marine Corps Master Sergeant, and a Project Manager in the Defense Industry. She earned a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing, and has several stories in various stages of progress. She hopes to write full-time one day, but for now, she writes in the spare, quiet moments of her life.
Sondra wrote and published Model Marine: A Novel to reveal the courage and sacrifices of Marines and their families. She wanted to offer readers another kind of hero: someone who is not supernatural, immortal, or from the future. Although the events of this story are fiction, the setting and characters are influenced by her experiences as a Marine. The narrative is as authentic as it can be without excluding civilian readers. The protagonist is named after a Marine Corps icon, “Molly Marine.” This is especially relevant now, as 2018 marks 100 years since the first woman joined the United States Marine Corps.
Sondra hopes all readers enjoy this emotional journey of love, loss, and sacrifice. There are real heroes hidden within the pages of her debut novel. She invites you to meet them, love them, and remember them.
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