Publication News from My Writing Cohort

My colleague from Running Wild Press, Elan Barnehama, recently shared some great news: his second novel, Escape Route, is coming out May 4th.

Escape Route is set in New York City during the tumultuous late 1960s. The story is told by teenager Zach, a first-generation son of Holocaust survivors and NY Mets fan, who becomes obsessed with the Vietnam War and with finding an escape route for his family for when he believes the US will round up and incarcerate its Jews. Zach meets Samm, a seventh-generation Manhattanite whose brother has returned from Vietnam with PTSD. Together they explore protest, friendship, music, faith, and love during a time littered with hope and upheaval around the globe.

I first read Elan’s writing in the Running Wild Anthology of Stories, Vol. 2. His short story about these same characters, “Just Be,” was moving and memorable; it was based on a section of Escape Route. I’m so pleased the full story has now been told and can be read.

Here is an early review:

“Elan Barnehama has given us a powerful coming of age story set against the tumult of the 1960s, the War in Vietnam, and the power of memory and Jewish identity in a family of Holocaust survivors. This is a beautifully rendered novel, populated by unforgettable characters in an unforgettable time. Barnehama is a literary craftsman at the top of his game. Superb.”
— Frye Gaillard, author of A Hard Rain: America in the 1960s, an NPR Great Read 2018

You can order Escape Route from

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

Bookshop.org

and anywhere books are sold.

Cover Art for Escape Route by Elan Barnehama

Elan’s upcoming appearances:

May 12th Readings on the Pike, Hannah Grieco, Virtual

May 14th LitFest Pasadena: in-person reading at Vroman’s Bookstore.

May 22: Literary Modiin, Julie Zuckerman, Modiin, Israel. Virtual.

June 15: New Books Network, GP Gottlieb. Virtual

You can find updates and more about Elan on his website.

And you can read my interview with Elan here.

Congratulations, Elan! I am so pleased for you.

Readers, check back for more publication news from writing friends.

Updated! Publication News for Frama-12

My friend Aud just shared this good news: her fantasy novel Frama-12 is now available for pre-order on Amazon! Update as of May 7th: you can now also pre-order the e-book and paperback on Barnes and Noble and the paperback on Bookshop.org! All sites have the same prices for the same formats.

Frama-12 is a fun, light-hearted YA fantasy with depth and heart. If you’ve read my blog recently, you know I’ve read this novel since it was a youngster of a book, and I’ve watched it grow up in our critique group. The characters Winnie, Mikey, and Kip have won my heart, made me laugh, made me worry, made me cheer.

Here’s how Aud describes it:

“Winnie Harris, following a warrior code in honor of her mother’s fighting spirit, will do whatever it takes to protect her little stepbrother, Mikey. Kip Skyler, charming to everyone but Winnie, impresses her stepbrother with his sleight of hand. Now Mikey wants them to pass through a time tear into Frama-12 and save the inhabitants from an invasion. She’ll be the general and Kip the wizard.

Winnie sees two problems with the mission. Frama-12 is just a fantasy game, right? And Kip is majorly annoying. But she’s only half right. If the incompatible teens can’t work together, an enemy could march through a very real time tear and attack Earth.”

I am so excited to read Frama-12 in its grown-up form! It comes out July 13th, 2022 and I’ve already reserved my copy. Like I’ve said before, I kind of feel like a proud aunt waiting for my niece and nephews to step out on stage for their big debut.

You can read about Aud’s adventures on the journey toward publication with Wild Rose Press on her blog. It’s been an exciting ride to follow!

Frama 12 Cover Art

“Alternate worlds? Alien armies? Summer vacation just took a wild turn.”

Book Review: For All Time by Shanna Miles

As soon as I read the blurb on For All Time by Shanna Miles, I was sure I would like it: a “romance that follows two lovers fated to repeat their story across hundreds of lifetimes, who hope to break the cycle once and for all.” I was still wowed by just how riveted I was. I cared about Tamar and Fayard from the very first page. Which is all the more remarkable since modern urban fantasy isn’t my usual inclination.

Then Shanna Miles braids in more of their stories, from the wealthy West African empire of Mali in the 1300s, to 1920s Philadelphia. Tamar and Fayard have their own souls in each time, but their lives vary drastically from period to period, which makes each of them very different people depending on when we find them. I quickly came to care about their fates in each era. Every time they are drawn together by love, and every time they are torn apart.

Their story has some excellent twists – some quite shocking. The best is at the end. I deeply dislike spoilers, so I will try to give nothing away. I’ll only say I’m very glad to have read For All Time, and I recommend it to readers who love well-written love stories that span time and space. You can get the hardback and audio book right now through all the regular channels, and pre-order the paperback for September 6th. When I checked today, I was very pleased to see that it was among Bookshop.org’s Romance Picks by POC Authors, and it’s also Amazon’s Editors’ Pick for Best Young Adult.

Thank you, Shanna Miles! I’m so grateful to have gotten your book via your raffle, though I would have been very glad to have bought it!

Of Ice and Faërie

Since today is National Tell a Fairy Tale Day, which I’ve posted about before, this seems an apt day to share some musing about Faërie.

I woke yesterday morning and found all the trees silvered and gleaming with ice against a luminous grey sky. It struck me like a glimpse into the realm of Faërie.

I gazed and marveled and pondered. I think there’s something true about my waking instinct. Where I live, ice storms are unusual. And where I was born and raised, it was a foreign term; I’m not sure I ever encountered one growing up.

To see every tree and bush, every limb and twig limned with translucent silver is magical. It is strange, and beautiful, and rather perilous. And there lies its kinship with the Faërie realm, which can be all those things.

As the morning warmed, pearls of ice dropped from the trees. Then sprays of pearls showered down, and finally the trees shed melting ice in their own rain.

Now our neighborhood is returned to its more earthly form.

I’m left to ponder. The sense that lingers with me is this: what if Faërie is an alternate world, and in rare, near-miraculous moments, what we glimpse is not a view into that world, but rather where that world emerges and merges with our own.

May you enjoy a sojourn into Faërie with a good tale today.

Bits of Writing News

My friend Aud has some exciting news: the cover of her upcoming book, Frama-12, has been revealed! Go check it out on her blog. I’m so excited to see Frama-12’s progress toward coming out into the big wide world. Aud shared the YA novel with our critique group in short sections over many months, and I got to know and love the characters and the predicaments they got into. I guess I kind of feel like a proud aunt or something, and my niece or nephew has just shown me their costume for when they make their debut on stage!

Aud’s blogpost is also about the  moment before pushing the “send” button. I think Aud nailed it. That’s a fraught moment that a lot of us can really relate to, especially writers.

I recently hit the “send” button for something less momentous than cover art, but still with a tingle of excitement: the Pennwriters Annual Writing Contest. I’ve entered different pieces over a number of years, and for me the great part is getting honest feedback from writing professionals. I’ve always gotten useful, thoughtful, thought-provoking insights. (The prizes I’ve won twice were quite a thrill, too.)

This year I submitted the first ten pages of my fantasy novel in progress. I followed the advice given by Nancy Springer at a Pennwriters Conference years ago, to start a novel as late as possible, when your character is in the thick of things. Aud gave me similar advice in our critique group, as we chatted about in our joint blog about last year’s Pennwriters Conference. To be honest, when Aud said, “This would be a great place to start your novel,” I listened and took notes for future reference, while inside I thought, “Egads! That sounds hard!”

But this past fall, a great opportunity came up to put Nancy’s and Aud’s advice into practice: a Pennwriters online course on Writing Fantasy and Science Fiction, taught by Babs Mountjoy. Babs’ course was fun, useful, and informative, and the feedback from her and fellow students really helped me. So did the feedback from my two critique groups when I shared the new first chapters this fall.

So when the Annual Writing Contest opened this January, I gave the new start another readthrough and polish. And then I hit “send.”

Now I’m going forward in my novel to write new chapters. I hope to finish the first draft this year. The climax is in sight!

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