Sunday, January 15, 2017

The Lord of the Infield Flies by Steve Reilly

Author:Steve Reilly
Publisher: Strong Books
Pages: 126
Genre: Sports Memoir

The Lord of the Infield Flies will thrill readers with Coach Steve Reilly’s harrowing, challenging, and adventuresome baseball team’s trek from Connecticut to play in Maine. As a prequel to his award winning memoir, The Fat Lady Never Sings, Reilly, a high school baseball coach, narrates the true story from the beginning of his coaching career at the age of 20. In summer 1977, Reilly plans to take his high-school-age team on a weekend trip to the baseball mecca on Cape Cod to play a Massachusetts all-star team. When plans go awry, he jumps at an offer to take the players instead to the serene surroundings of southern Maine to play that state’s all-star team. Most of the team’s starters decline; their hearts had been set on “The Cape.” Determined to go through with his commitment, Reilly gathers ten players to make the four-hour trip in a cabin truck and his car on a Friday night. Will the team arrive in time to battle Maine’s best the following morning?

After his legal alcohol-age players convince him to stop at a package store on the way to buy just a “few beers” for the idyllic cabin they will be staying at in the resort area of Old Orchard Beach, they exit the package store with hand trucks filled with cases of beer. Chaos reigns. The cabin truck with its inebriated players gets separated from Reilly’s vehicle, losing half the team traveling in the opposite direction in Massachusetts! Will the team ever get to Maine? Will the team play Maine’s all-stars? And, will the players make it back to Connecticut?  



Book Excerpt:

March 25, 2005

HE PEARL WHITE DOOR opened before me. A gaunt man wearing a gray pin-striped suit and goatee held the door open with his left hand and gestured with his right hand for me to enter. As I passed through the door, nervousness came over me. The strong scent of roses reminded me where I was. A pedestal sign directed me to go left. After an elderly couple crossed my path with their heads down, another pedestal sign directed me to the right down a narrow hallway. To my surprise, the hallway was empty. At the end of the hallway stood a wooden pedestal with a gold banker’s lamp lit above an open book. I grasped the pen from the slot carved in the pedestal and signed the book like a schoolboy as I made sure my penmanship was within the lines. I picked up a small card from a slot in back of the pedestal and put it in the pocket of my dress shirt; there would be plenty of time to read the poem later. With no one in front of me, I stood alongside the doorway as if waiting for permission to enter, but none was needed. As I stood in the doorway about to enter the quiet room, I thought about the summer of 1977 and my Senior Babe Ruth baseball team’s trip to Maine the last weekend of July.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

PUYB Virtual Book Club Presents Roping the Cowboy Book Blast! Win $25 Amazon Gift Card!


We invite you to Marianne Stephens for authors at Romance Books ‘4’ Us' ROPING THE COWBOY: 9 ROMANCES ON THE RANGE Book Blast at PUYB Virtual Book Club today! Marianne and authors will be giving away a $25 Amazon Gift Card! Leave a comment on each of their tour stops for extra entries!


Inside the Book:

Title: Roping the Cowboy: 9 Romances on the Range
Author: Marianne Stephens for authors at Romance Books ‘4’ Us
Publisher: Romance Books ‘4’ Us
Pages: 306
Genre: Mixed Romance Genres

Sweet through sizzling collection of love stories includes contemporary, period, and historical romance, otherworldly romance, and romance with a touch of magic.

Book Excerpt:

Lightning Strikes Twice by Rose Anderson writing as Madeline Archer

Santa Rosa, New Mexico
June 1919

Valentina returned to the dining room with a pitcher of lemonade and found Isabella in tears. She noticed the opened letter from the bank man on the table. Concerned it brought bad news, she placed a comforting hand on her young mistress’ shoulder. “Why the tears, querida niña?”

Isabella stuffed the letter back into the envelope and dabbed her eyes with her napkin. “Mr. Montrose sent an unfounded condemnation of me.”

“Condemnation?” Pulling out a chair, Valentina sat down. “Tell me, what does the bank man say?”

“Remember Papa took out a loan and bought fifty heifers?”

Valentina nodded. “Sí, from a stockman in Ohio.”

Isabella tapped the letter with her fingertip. “Mr. Montrose acknowledges I am the head of the family, now that Papa and Jorge are gone. But I’m a woman. Because of this truth, he says he doubts my ability to pay the balance. The bank put a lien on our home and will foreclose if this debt isn’t paid within three months’ time.” Covering her face with her hands, Isabella’s words came brokenly through her fingers, “If I sold everything we have now, everything- including Papa’s gold pocket watch- I still wouldn’t have enough to cover this debt.”

Outraged on behalf of the girl she raised, Valentina said, “To think you will not pay because you are a woman- for that they will take the hacienda? Madre de Dios, to do such a thing.” She gathered Isabella into her arms and rocked her. The niña only just lost her papa this past winter. Such heartlessness. It was clear Señor Montrose did not know how strong and brave Isabella was, nor how bright. Señor Renaldo had done his best to fulfill his wife’s deathbed request by including his daughter in every lesson he taught his son. Sí, Señor Montrose did not know Isabella at all.

Isabella drew back and tearfully met Valentina’s eyes. “I can’t allow us to lose everything. Where will you and Hector and Tomás go without this place to call home and where would I be in the world without all of you? We are family. I’ll not see us scattered to the winds.”

Seeing hopelessness reflected in those young eyes, Valentina struggled to find an answer. Even if she pooled her small savings with that of the brothers, it would be too little to help. She tenderly brushed the wisps back from Isabella’s face. “What can we do?”

“Papa was to meet the man from Ohio at the Denver Stock Show this year-he’s bringing our fifty head with him. Our only option is to do what Papa set out to do. The cattle must be brought home. We’ll keep the ten best for our bulls and sell the rest once they’re here. It won’t bring us as much money as Papa expected, but I don’t care about that. Our home will be safe.”

“Sí, I can see that this would work. But we do not have vaqueros to drive them, niña. Nearly all the able-bodied men are gone to war or dead from sickness.” When the war with the Kaiser came, those vaqueros young and strong enough to be soldiers went to fight. Several lost their lives.

“I’ll bring them home.”

About the Authors

This sweet through sizzling collection of love stories includes contemporary, period, and historical romance, otherworldly romance, and romance with a touch of magic by Award-winning and Bestselling Authors: Janice Seagraves, Nicole Morgan, Rose Anderson, Denyse Bridger, Gemma Juliana, Michele Zurlo, Tina Donahue, Krista Ames, and Suz deMello.


Giveaway Details:

The authors are giving away a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

Terms & Conditions:
  • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
  • One winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter to receive both prizes.
  • This giveaway ends midnight January 27.
  • Winner will be contacted via email on February 1.
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.
Good luck everyone!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, January 5, 2017

PUYB Virtual Book Club Chats with D.A. Hewitt, author of 'Dominion'

D.A. Hewitt is an award-winning author of four novels and over a hundred short stories. One novel was awarded a gold medal from the Independent Publishers Book Awards for best regional fiction. He attributes his success to hard work, honing a skill and providing an outlet for his passion for writing.

Born in Michigan, he lived for 25 years in North Carolina before returning to live in his home state. In addition to enjoying sky diving and mountain climbing, he is a proud veteran of the US Marine Corps and has earned a degree in mathematics.

Mr. Hewitt admits to a fascination with the work of Carl Jung and of the Gnostic religion. He’d always thought intertwining these topics in a science fiction novel was a stretch, but one day the storyline of Dominion came to him. He wrote the novel in a stream of consciousness. “It makes sense, tapping into the collective unconscious,” Mr. Hewitt says, “very much like Carl Jung might have predicted.”


About the Book:

Author: D.A. Hewitt
Publisher: Double Dragon eBooks
Pages: 372
Genre: Science Fiction

It’s the year 2075. Lunar mining and processing facilities have prospered near the lunar south pole, where the Moon’s largest city, Valhalla, rests on the rim of the Shackleton Crater.

Dominion Off-Earth Resources has beaten the competition into space and is ready to establish its monopoly with the opening of the orbiting space resort Dominion. But Pettit Space Industries has a secret plan to emerge as a major contender in the commercialization of space. The upstart company is training the first space rescue squad at a secluded off-grid site in Barrow, Alaska.

The rescue squad gets nearly more than it can handle when its first mission involves the Pope, who’s traveling to the Moon to establish the Lunar See. During the rescue attempt, they discover Earth is imperiled by an asteroid large enough to cause mass extinction. Using the unique skills taught during their training, skills emphasized by the great psychoanalyst Carl Jung, these Jungi Knights must elevate their game if they are to save both the Earth and the Pope—while not getting killed in the process.

Before you started writing your book, what kind of research did you do to prepare yourself?

To write Dominion, I needed to know a lot about psychology. I studied the work of Carl Jung and the Nag Hamaddi scrolls. Eventually I developed the Process Map of Consciousness. You can view it at my website,

Did you pursue publishers or did you opt to self-pub?
I submitted to the big publishers first. There was some interest, but nothing panned out. Eventually I went with Double Dragon, a small press. They’ve been wonderful to work with.

If published by a publisher, what was your deciding factor in going with them?

There were two deciding factors. The editor was enthusiastic about my novel, and their response time was very quick. With larger publishers, the waits can be months, even years.

If published by a publisher, are you happy with the price they chose?

I think the e-book price was fair and in line with most other e-books in the science fiction genre. The print price was a bit high, but because it’s a small press, their print runs are smaller and so they have to set a higher price to break even.

How did you choose your cover?

The publisher chose the cover, although I had some input. I suggested the Earth and the Moon superimposed. That’s very apt for my sci fi novel (Dominion). The novel chronicles the Moon’s declaration of independence after it is colonized. As you can imagine, the declaration causes much conflict.

Did you write your book, then revise or revise as you went?

Both, actually! I typically rewrite the previous day’s efforts when I sit down to write. Of course, after the novel is finished, I revise the entire manuscript.

What’s your opinion on giving your book away to sell other copies of your book?

I don’t mind giving some books away. As an author, I’m trying to get the word out about my novel. Anything I can do to achieve that is fair game. Of course, I’d like to make enough to be able to quit my day job, but that’s the aspiration of many a novelist.

What are three of the most important things you believe an author should do before their book is released?

Get a website and business card. If you already have them, update them. Now, I know that’s only two things. But they’re very important. The third would be to become active in social media. Social media is a great tool for getting the word out about your novel.

What are three of the most important things you believe an author should do after their book is released?

Celebrate, promote, and get started on your next book.

What kind of pre-promotion did you do before the book came out? 

I developed my website, and a blog, My blog has a great “steal this thesis” theme. I’ve also developed a presence in social media.

Do you have a long term plan with your book?

I would love to make it a trilogy. We shall have to wait and see. I have other novels in the pipeline.

What would you like to say to your readers and fans about your book?

My hope is that Dominion is not only a great read for fans of science fiction, but that it also is a great read for fans of other genres. And beyond that, I hope readers get a sense of the power of psychoanalysis and how it relates to religion. I’ve developed a Process Map of Consciousness and posted it on my Stinky Universe website, and it’s my belief that it can help people understand themselves in the context of a complex psychological world.

Northern Waste Book Blast!

Sci-fi Romance Author Eve Silver's HIDDEN is available now! Don't miss the third book in this incredible scifi romance series NORTHERN WASTE - and find out more about all three books below!

Title: Driven (Book 1)
Author: Eve Silver
Publisher: Independent
Pages: 321
Genre: Scifi Romance
"Edgy, steamy, action packed, and plotted with nail-biting tension..."--Library Journal, Starred Review

In the harsh Northern Waste where human life is worth little, ice trucker Raina Bowen has learned to keep her eyes open and her knife close at hand. She's spent her life on the run, one step ahead of the megalomaniac who hunts her. All she wants is to stay out of trouble and haul her load of grain to Gladow Station—but trouble finds her in the form of a sexy stranger called Wizard.

He has the trucking pass she needs, and she has to drag him out of a brawl with the very people she's trying to hide from in order to get it. She may have rescued him, but Raina's not foolish enough to see Wizard as anything close to helpless. He's hard and honed and full of secrets—secrets that may destroy them both. As they race across the Waste, trying to outrun rival truckers, ice pirates, and the powerful man bent on their destruction, Raina's forced to admit that trouble's found her. And this time, there's nowhere left to run.

"Anyone looking for something different will find [Silver]'s steamy, sinewy universe great fun..."--Publishers Weekly, Starred Review

"Eve [Silver] expertly fuses nonstop action and adventure; a cutting-edge, exceptionally inventive setting; and a terrific, take-charge, no-nonsense heroine in Driven, a fresh, fabulously fun futuristic romance."--,The Chicago Tribune

"...kind of Mad Max meets Red Dawn..."

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Kobo

Title: Frozen (Book 2)
Author: Eve Silver
Publisher: Independent
Pages: 93
Genre: Sci-fi Romance
Raina and Wizard are back, racing across the Northern Waste to outrun ice pirates as they follow a distress call to an isolated community that just might hold the answers to the mystery of Wizard's missing-and-presumed-dead, now-possibly-alive sister, Tatiana. But instead of answers, all they find are buried secrets and a truckload of trouble.

For those of you who've been missing the Northern Waste, FROZEN is a brand new novella that takes place between the events of DRIVEN and HIDDEN. It can be read as a stand-alone.

Warning: FROZEN includes non-stop action, Reavers, snowscooters, plasguns, frigid temperatures, rebels, a heroine who's a blond tsunami with a backbone of pure steel, and a smart, hot hero who has a little difficulty with emotion.

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Kobo

Title: Hidden (Book 3)
Author: Eve Silver
Publisher: Independent
Pages: 346
Genre: Scifi Romance
“…[Silver] keeps bringing a fresh aspect to romance with strong worldbuilding and a poignant love story. It's a true marriage of the themes of fantasy/science fiction and romance…”—

For most of her life Tatiana was imprisoned, tortured in the name of science, her DNA used to create a plague that could wipe out the entire population of the Northern Waste. But since her escape she's no one's victim. Not any more. She means to hunt down her tormentor, kill him, and destroy the plague he created. Nothing slows her down or distracts her from her mission. Until she encounters the mysterious Tristan who claims his goals match hers.

Enemy or ally, she has no way to know…but she does know better than to trust a smart and sexy stranger who's alpha to the core. While her body aches for his touch, her mind recognizes that he's a man with secrets and a hidden agenda of his own. She means to discover what he's hiding, but first they'll have to survive ice pirates, a lethal plague, and being trapped in an underground lab, running like rats in a maze from a deadly threat unleashed by a madman.

“[Silver]’s name is fast becoming synonymous with high-octane, gritty adventure…What immediately elevates these books, besides great plotting and worldbuilding, is the depth and texture of her characters. This is a perfect action romance!”RT BOOKreviews

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Kobo

Excerpt from DRIVEN:

The air was stale, rank with the stink of smoke, sweat, and old beer. Bob’s Truck Stop. Nice place for a meal.

Raina Bowen sat at a small table, back to the wall, posture deceptively relaxed. Inside, she was coiled tighter than the Merckle shocks that were installed in her rig, but it was better to appear unruffled. Never let ’em see you sweat. That had been one of Sam’s many mottos.

She glanced around the crowded room, mentally cataloging the Siberian gun truckers at the counter, the cadaverous pimp in the corner and his ferret-faced companion, the harried waitress who deftly dodged the questing hand that reached out to snag her as she passed. In the center of the room was a small raised platform with a metal pole extending to the grime-darkened ceiling. A scantily clad girl, barely out of puberty, wiggled and twirled around the pole. Raina looked away. But for a single desperate act, one that had earned her freedom, she might have been that girl.

Idly spinning the same half-empty glass of warm beer that she’d been nursing for the past hour, she looked through the grimy windows at the front of the truck stop. Frozen, colorless, the bleak expanse stretched with endless monotony until the high-powered floodlights tapered off and the landscape was swallowed by the black night sky.

A balmy minus-thirty outside. And it would only get colder the farther north they went. Raina had a keen dislike of the cold, but if she were the first to reach Gladow Station with her load of genetically engineered grain, there’d be a fat bonus of fifty million interdollars. That’d be more than enough to warm her to the cockles of her frozen heart.

More than enough to buy Beth’s safety.

Keeping her gaze on the door, Raina willed it to open. She couldn’t wait much longer. Where the hell was Wizard? Sitting here—a woman alone in a place like this—drew too much attention. She wanted no one to remember her face. Anonymity was a precious commodity, one she realized had slipped through her fingers as from the corner of her eye she watched one of the Siberians begin to weave drunkenly across the room.

“Well, hello, sweet thing.” He stopped directly in front of her, kicked the extra chair out from the table, and shifted it closer before dropping his bulk onto the torn Naugahyde. He was shrouded in layers of tattered cloth that were stained and frayed, the stink of him hitting her nostrils before he finished his greeting.

“Leave. Now.” Keeping her voice low and even, Raina snaked one hand along her waist toward the small of her back, resting her fingers on the smooth handle of her knife.

The Siberian smiled at her, revealing the brown stubs of three rotting teeth. “You can’t chase me off so easy. I’ve been watching you.” He gestured at the front of his pants. “You need a man, sweet thing.”

Uh-huh. “And you think you’re a man?”

The trucker frowned at her question; then his thick brows shot up as he realized he’d been insulted. Undeterred, he leaned forward, catching her ponytail with one scarred and dirty hand. “I’ll show you how much man I am. Give us a kiss, sweet thing.”

His tongue was already out and reaching as he pulled her face closer to his.

“Last warning,” Raina said softly, wishing he would listen.

He gave a hard tug on her ponytail. Raina slid her knife from its sheath, bringing it up with a sharp twist, neatly slicing through the tip of the trucker’s tongue. Blood splattered in all directions, thick and hot. With an enraged howl he jerked back, letting loose his hold on her as he clapped both hands over his mouth. Dark blood dripped down his unshaven chin to pool on the tabletop.

Raina sent a quick look at the rest of the Siberians. Their attention was firmly fixed on the girl who was shimmying up and down the pole. Returning her gaze to the moaning trucker, she picked up the stained scrap of cloth that passed for a serviette and slowly wiped her blade clean. She knew that once serviettes had been made of paper, but that was a long time ago, when there had still been enough trees to provide pulp.

“Name’s Raina Bowen. Not sweet thing.” She sighed. So much for anonymity. “And the last thing I need is a man.”

About the Author

National bestselling author Eve Silver writes for both adults and teens. She has been praised for her “edgy, steamy, action-packed” books, darkly sexy heroes and take-charge heroines. Eve's work won the OLA Forest of Reading White Pine Award (2015), was shortlisted for the Monica Hughes Award for Science Fiction and Fantasy (2014), and was both an American Bookseller’s Association Best Book for Children and a Canadian Children’s Book Centre Best Books for Kids and Teens (2013). She has garnered starred reviews from Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, and Quill and Quire, two RT Book Reviews Reviewers’ Choice Awards, Library Journal’s Best Genre Fiction Award, and she was nominated for the Romance Writers of America® RITA® Award. Eve lives with her husband, two sons, an energetic Airedale terrier and an exuberant border collie/shepherd. And a snake called Ragnar.


Wednesday, January 4, 2017

PUYB Virtual Book Club Chats with Kali Kucera, author of 'Unawqi, Hunter of the Sun'

Kali Kucera is an American lorist and short story writer living in Quito, Ecuador, where he also rides and writes about bus and train travel. Since he was 9 years old he has been composing plays, operas, short stories, and multi-disciplinary experiences. He has been both a teacher and performer as well as an arts mobilizer, and founded the Tacoma Poet Laureate competition in 2008.

His latest book is the mythical realism novel, Unawqi, Hunter of the Sun.


About the Book:

In a time when supernatural and industrial worlds are staged to collide, an Andean boy finds himself in the center of an epic struggle between the cosmos and the earth. Unawqi is born with both insurmountable power and a fate of certain death, both of which are challenged by his hunt of the emperor, Aakti, the Sun: the very force that desires to abandon the earth unless Unawqi can overcome

Premise: How easily we take the Sun for granted. We are conditioned to its rising and setting on time, and assume it enjoys doing so, or more likely is indifferent. Unawqi, Hunter of the Sun reveals a more perilous tale: the Sun, Aakti, is a being who is a reluctant player in providing light and warmth to our world, and even more has always desired to leave us to die if he didn’t have certain personal complications standing in his way. Aakti will stop at nothing to get what he wants, even if that involves murder of his own kin or annihilation of an entire living planet. Ironically, what holds him back is the very life he is creating; the family from which he tries to but cannot wrest control, and among them a young intrepid boy emerges, a hunter who sets out on a journey, not to stop the Sun, but to overcome him with a force we also take for granted: our humanity.

Welcome Kali! Did you pursue publishers or did you opt to self-pub?
Both, actually.  I learned along the way of pursuing publishers how far they have gone into the gutter and it’s basically impossible to get considered by anyone serious, and in direct contrast, how the self-publishing option has increased the quality and respectability of its own game over the past five years.

If self-published, did you hire someone to format the ebook version for you or did you do it yourself?  Can you tell us what that was like?
I did it myself.  Similarly to the previous question, five years ago it would have been a headache, but now there are so many templates and refinements of guidelines and tools to correct bad formatting, with a little bit of focus and patience it’s easy.

If self-published, how did you determine the price?
There are automated tools built into publishing platforms that guide you to making an informed price.

How did you choose your cover?
I designed the cover to reflect the soul of Unawqi, an innocent boy, burned and mutated not of his own choosing, and yet persistent with his curiosity to live through it.

Did you write your book, then revise or revise as you went?
Both. Revision comes with every reading, every version from longhand to typed, and then some more on top of that.  It’s a constant exercise. Since I’m a story teller, I always read my chapters out loud to hear how the written word sounds orally.

What’s your opinion on giving your book away to sell other copies of your book?
Not the same book, but digital copies of my other books, yes.

What are three of the most important things you believe an author should do before their book is released?
Read it. Hire an Editor. Start writing your next book.

What are three of the most important things you believe an author should do after their book is released?
Plan a tour. Don’t whine about how difficult it is, just throw yourself into every opportunity to market it. Work even faster on writing your next book.

What kind of pre-promotion did you do before the book came out?  
I offered promotional copies in exchange for reviews and feedback.  I use my own blog to reveal chapters as they’re written.

What would you like to say to your readers and fans about your book?
The hallmark of my writing is that characters from one story/book show up in other stories/books, so the end is never the end, and feel free to snoop into my other stories to look for clues about a character’s past or future life to the one exposed in a different story.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

PUYB Virtual Book Club Chats with Mary Lawlor, author of 'Fighter Pilot's Daughter'

Mary Lawlor grew up in an Army family during the Cold War.  Her father was a decorated fighter pilot who fought in the Pacific during World War II, flew missions in Korea, and did two combat tours in Vietnam. His family followed him from base to base and country to country during his years of service. Every two or three years, Mary, her three sisters, and her mother packed up their household and moved. By the time she graduated from high school, she had attended fourteen different schools. These displacements, plus her father?s frequent absences and brief, dramatic returns, were part of the fabric of her childhood, as were the rituals of base life and the adventures of life abroad.

As Mary came of age, tensions between the patriotic, Catholic culture of her upbringing and the values of the sixties counterculture set family life on fire.  While attending the American College in Paris, she became involved in the famous student uprisings of May 1968.  Facing her father, then posted in Vietnam, across a deep political divide, she fought as he had taught her to for a way of life completely different from his and her mother’s.

Years of turbulence followed.  After working in Germany, Spain and Japan, Mary went on to graduate school at NYU, earned a Ph.D. and became a professor of literature and American Studies at Muhlenberg College.  She has published three books, Recalling the Wild (Rutgers UP, 2000), Public Native America (Rutgers UP, 2006), and most recently Fighter Pilot’s Daughter: Growing Up in the Sixties and the Cold War (Rowman and Littlefield, September 2013).

She and her husband spend part of each year on a small farm in the mountains of southern Spain.


About the Book:

FIGHTER PILOT’S DAUGHTER: GROWING UP IN THE SIXTIES AND THE COLD WAR tells the story of the author as a young woman coming of age in an Irish Catholic, military family during the Cold War.  Her father, an aviator in the Marines and later the Army, was transferred more than a dozen times to posts from Miami to California and Germany as the government’s Cold War policies
demanded.  For the pilot’s wife and daughters, each move meant a complete upheaval of ordinary life.  The car was sold, bank accounts closed, and of course one school after another was left behind.  Friends and later boyfriends lined up in memory as a series of temporary attachments.  The book describes the dramas of this traveling household during the middle years of the Cold War.  In the process, FIGHTER PILOT’S DAUGHTER shows how the larger turmoil of American foreign policy and the effects of Cold War politics permeated the domestic universe. The climactic moment of the story takes place in the spring of 1968, when the author’s father was stationed in Vietnam and she was attending college in Paris.  Having left the family’s quarters in Heidelberg, Germany the previous fall, she was still an ingénue; but her strict upbringing had not gone deep enough to keep her anchored to her parents’ world.  When the May riots broke out in the Latin quarter, she attached myself to the student leftists and American draft resisters who were throwing cobblestones at the French police. Getting word of her activities via a Red Cross telegram delivered on the airfield in Da Nang, Vietnam, her father came to Paris to find her. The book narrates their dramatically contentious meeting and return to the American military community of Heidelberg.  The book concludes many years later, as the Cold War came to a close.  After decades of tension that made communication all but impossible, the author and her father reunited.  As the chill subsided in the world at large, so it did in the relationship between the pilot and his daughter. When he died a few years later, the hard edge between them, like the Cold War stand-off, had become a distant memory.

For More Information:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Before you started writing your book, what kind of research did you do to prepare yourself?

I wanted to structure the “plot” of my family’s life chronologically, with the focus alternating between the larger picture of the Cold War, the more intimate dramas of our gypsy household, and the private convolutions of my own psychological development.  These were very different stories, and each demanded its own kind of research.  

For the larger picture of the Cold War, I had, of course, all kinds of books and articles at my disposal.  Studying multiple histories of the many dimensions and geographies of the Cold War as a professor had given me a lot of background material for the book.  Still, I had to go further, read more, think harder, about the particular phases that determined my Dad’s career.  Spending time with the wars of the twentieth century wasn’t pleasant.  Those are bloody stories for anybody, but for me they brought back memories of hard times at home.  With the names—Eisenhower, Kennedy, Diem—and the places—Vietnam, Moscow, Havana—came recollections of base housing, where we waited for Dad to come home and hoped he was alright.  Apart from the emotional edginess, though, this kind of research was relatively straightforward.  

For the stories of my own family, the sources were more complicated.  First of all, my father had never told us anything.  Like other military dads then and now, he was committed to a code of secrecy about the missions he was involved in.  He took those secrets to his grave.  And he chose not share with my sisters and me those episodes he could relate: they were too violent or frightening in some other way that might shock our young (and girlish) ears.  I have reason to think he did tell these stories to my boy cousins and perhaps to my mother; but she too was very circumspect and kept them to herself if she knew them.

What I did have from my Dad was a substantial collection of letters he wrote.  They start during his years in college and in flight school and continue through the later years.  I’m really grateful to my mother for keeping them and to my sisters, Nancy and Sarah, for letting me hold onto them for as long as I have.  And a lot of military records ended up in my mother’s files after my Dad passed away.  Those provided a crucial map of the very complicated chronology of his career and definitive, if cryptic, indications of where he went and what the missions were.

But much was missing nevertheless.  My Dad was a good letter writer, but he would go for long periods of time without communicating anything.  During his first tour in Vietnam, for example, there was a six-month period when we didn’t hear from him at all.  My sisters and I had nightmares and my mother worried constantly.   Eventually we heard from the Red Cross that he was alright.  It was still a while before we heard from him directly.  I describe the effects of all this on my psyche in the book, but for the purpose of building the narrative it meant I had to try to sort out the speculative from the factual in family rumors (still circulating) about where Dad was and what he was doing those months he was in the dark. 
And all the military records aren’t there either.  Big gaps fall between years, and much information about unit missions is absent.  I spent a lot of time trying to get the missing records from the various US Army and Marine Corps archives.  You’d think this would be pretty straightforward; after all, it’s the military, and they’re the epitome of organization, right?  But not so.  There are a number of these archives scattered across the country.  Some of them house certain materials, and others different things.  Archivists don’t all seem to know which facility has what.  And one of them, a large storehouse of military records located near St. Louis, burned down in the 1970s.  All those documents were lost forever. 
I should say, though, that those archivists and librarians who I asked for materials were very helpful and did all they could to steer me in the right direction.  Without their help, I wouldn’t have had nearly as much information to use to build the narrative of Dad’s assignments that was the plot of FIGHTER PILOT’S DAUGHTER. 
My mother, of course, was another resource for the story of our family.  She was a great story teller.  A striking character herself, she gave dramatic accounts of my Dad, his friends, the extended family, and my sisters and me as kids.  But she was unreliable.  She loved the story more than anything, and the truth sometimes suffered from this.  I interviewed her over a period of several months—this was a few years before I wrote the memoir—and learned a great deal about our early years that I hadn’t known before.  Much of it turned out to be accurate.  When I checked on her versions of the larger history and her tales of my Dad’s work, however, I saw that in some instances she’d picked and chosen scenes and dialogues for their effectiveness in her story rather than as they had actually happened.  I tried to make that in itself part of her portrait in Fighter Pilot’s Daughter—without dishonoring her memory.

For the convolutions of my own psychological development, I had my girl-diaries, journals, and letters to consult.  They brought back some of the crucial details of daily life in our household and in the scattered rooms and apartments I called home after leaving my parents’ care.  The smells of particular kinds of paint or the odd placement of windows—these details can really bring life to a memoir, and I was grateful to my younger self for having kept a record of them.

But the greater pool of information lay in my memory banks.  These in some cases were wide open, but in others not so much.  For the harder memories, I had to sit with whatever I could clearly recall and wait for more to come.  Sometimes it took days of going back and waiting.  It was like courting somebody or, I imagine, being a therapist hoping a patient would come to see something crucial.  Memories of my mother’s anger at me when I came home from college in Paris during a time when I was breaking away from the family ethics and beliefs came slow and with difficulty.  What was even harder to get back was the recollection that finally emerged of her actually fearing me.  She didn’t understand what influences I’d been exposed to in Paris and was frightened to know what they might mean.  In the end, it was all much ado about nothing, but it was a hard picture to look at: my own mother, afraid of me.

Living in memory as continuously as I did during the writing of FIGHTER PILOT’S DAUGHTER introduced a rich practice in my life.  The more I remembered, the more I remembered;  and writing was an important vehicle for drawing it out.  I’ve tried to keep that going in the months since the book first emerged.  Not that I’m plotting another memoir (I’ve turned to fiction now and have a novel ready to go…), but the whole experience of going into the deep past of my youth has given the self-portrait I carry around with me a lot more dimension than before.  You’d think that somebody who took on the project of writing a memoir would know a lot about the self being narrated there.  On the other hand, all this the research—into the histories, letters, journals, interviews, and my own mind—not only made the book possible, but it worked like a kind of self-therapy: and a lead to several new understandings of myself as a fighter pilot’s daughter.

Did you pursue publishers or did you opt to self-pub?

I pursued publishers through an agent and was happy to get a contract with Rowman & Littlefield.

If published by a publisher, what was your deciding factor in going with them?

Rowman & Littlefield has a reputation for publishing good memoirs and particularly those set in the second half of the twentieth, so I felt it was a good choice. 

If published by a publisher, are you happy with the price they chose?

I wasn’t happy at the beginning. I thought it was too expensive. But the book sold well after it’s first year, so it was reissued last fall in paperback. The price is much better now. A lot more people have been buying it in paper (and the kindle sales have gone up to!).

Did you purposefully choose a distinct month to release your book?  Why?

I was happy with the month the publisher chose, September, because it’s when everyone comes home from summer vacation or summer jobs and when schools and universities start up again. I wanted it to be a new book available for that moment.

How did you choose your cover?

The designers at Rowman & Littlefield came up with a few options, and I chose the one that appears on it now. It has a photo of my sisters and me wearing our father’s Korean War helmets—it’s an absurd picture in a way, but I like it very much. I thought it fit the designer’s image quite well.

Did you write your book, then revise or revise as you went?

I revised as I went and then revised the entire draft several times. Each day I would start out by re-reading what I’d written the day before.

What are three of the most important things you believe an author should do before their book is released?

-Make sure you’re on as many social media platforms as you’re familiar with;
-Create a website for yourself or update an already existing one to show the new publication
-Alert as many bookstores and book clubs in your area of the upcoming release and tell them you’re available for readings & signings.

What are three of the most important things you believe an author should do after their book is released?

-Sign up for a virtual book tour with Pump Up Your Book!
-Pay attention to your social media
-Spread the word in any way you can

Do you have a long term plan with your book?

I’d love to see it emerge as a screenplay and am learning how to write one for that reason. It’s a long shot—a really long long shot, but I’d like to try.

What would you like to say to your readers and fans about your book?

I’m very happy I wrote it and grateful for the good reception it’s had.

The Tigress and the Yogi Book Blast - Win Books!

Hot off the presses! THE TIGRESS AND THE YOGI by Shelley Schanfield is available now! Sign up to win a paperback copy of her book or one of 5 ebooks!

Author: Shelley Schanfield
Publisher: Lake House Books
Pages: 382
Genre: Historical Fantasy
A talking tigress.
A wandering yogi.
A young woman's harrowing journey through an ancient land where chaos threatens gods and mortals alike.

A tigress speaks to the outcaste girl Mala, and as she flees in terror, she encounters an old yogi. She offers him hospitality. As an untouchable, her very shadow may sully the holy man, but he accepts, repaying her kindness with stories that awaken her hunger for forbidden spiritual knowledge. Soon after he leaves, she is orphaned and enslaved, but the warrior goddess Durga appears in a vision and offers her hope. 

Thus begins her quest for liberation, on which she meets gods and goddesses, high-born Brahmins and lowly keepers of the cremation grounds, outlaws and kings, and young Prince Siddhartha Gautama, who is prophesied to become the Buddha. She finds happiness for a brief time, but when she loses everything, her quest goes terribly wrong. She becomes an outlaw warrior, worshipping the dark goddess, Kali. She masters occult powers but descends into madness, misusing the supernatural gifts the goddess bestows, and when she again encounters the old yogi, she must decide whether to continue on the path of bloody vengeance or seek transcendence through the power of yoga.

The Tigress and the Yogi is an historical fantasy that brings to life the vivid mythical world of ancient India and transports the reader to the Buddha's time in a story filled with love and fear, anger and desire. This visionary novel creates a memorable portrait of a powerful woman, her extraordinary daughter, and the men they challenge and inspire. It examines the yearning for spiritual transformation and inner peace, and the ways in which the pursuit of wisdom and compassion can go terribly wrong.

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Book Excerpt:

Fragrant trees shaded the grove, though open patches among the leaves admitted some dappled sunlight. After the thick, dense forest, this place was like a spacious and cool green temple. There was a tall, slender stone pillar set in a circle of stones in the very center. The snake-loving Nagas, the most fearsome of the hidden forest tribes, must have sacrificed here once. Nagas had not been seen near the village in years, but everyone still feared them. Sometimes when a village man disappeared, people whispered that the dark ones had sacrificed him to their Great Mother, She who was ancient as the earth.
Mala shrugged off a whisper of unease. It was so peaceful and beautiful, there could be no danger. She crawled to a tree trunk and curled up against it to rest awhile. The birds and insects remained silent. Her own breathing was loud in her ears. It felt good just to rest her hand on her belly as it rose and fell. Soon she was aware of nothing else.
Her back against the tree and her head nodding, Mala slipped into a strange new place of lights and sounds. The tree’s roots cradled her and the earth’s coolness was like a soothing caress. Light fell from the leaves above like drops of water. Then she gasped.
On a tigress’s back, a many-armed, beautiful goddess appeared in radiant splendor, waving hands carrying weapons. One hand the goddess held before her breasts in a strange gesture, thumb and forefinger touching. The other she held out toward Mala, and from its upward-facing palm shot a beam of light. Mala prostrated before the vision.
Om, Divine One,” Mala said. Om!”
The bejeweled goddess dismounted from the tigress and with her two free hands lifted her ruby and diamond garland from around her neck, smiling as she did so.
I am Durga, Mala. Durga held out the garland. One day this will be yours. As Mala reached for the sparkling necklace, the red jewels began to drip blood. Mala cried out.
She woke. The vision flitted at the edges of consciousness like a wild animal hiding in the forest’s shadows. Dusk was approaching. In the distance, there was something or someone: a horse whinnied, human voices called and laughed. Or did she imagine it? Was Durga only a dream?
No. The warrior goddess was real. Warriors had strength and courage. It was a sign. Mala must be strong and courageous, too. But what did the jewels dripping blood mean?
That when a warrior fights for justice, blood is shed.

About the Author

Shelley Schanfield’s passion for Buddhism and yoga arose sixteen years ago, when she and her son earned black belts in Tae Kwon Do. The links between the martial arts and Buddhist techniques to calm and focus the mind fascinated her. By profession a librarian, Shelley plunged into research about the time, place, and spiritual traditions that 2500 years ago produced Prince Siddhartha, who became the Buddha. Yoga, in some form, has a role in all of these traditions. Its transformational teachings soon prompted Shelley to hang up her black belt and begin a yoga practice that she follows to this day.

Because she loves historical fiction, Shelley looked for a good novel about the Buddha. When she didn’t find one that satisfied her, she decided to write her own novels based on the spiritual struggles of women in the Buddha’s time. She published the first book in the Sadhana Trilogy, The Tigress and the Yogi, in 2016 and will publish the second, The Mountain Goddess in early 2017.


Giveaway Details:

Shelley is giving away one autographed copy of The Tigress and the Yogi PLUS 5 ebooks!

Terms & Conditions:
  • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
  • Six winners will be chosen via Rafflecopter.
  • This giveaway ends midnight January 27.
  • Winner will be contacted via email on February 1.
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.
Good luck everyone!