Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Speakeasy by Elyse Douglas

Speakeasy by Elyse Douglas
Speakeasy: A Time Travel Novel by Elyse Douglas

Publisher: Broadback (April 5, 2022)
Category: Time Travel, Historical Fiction Romance
Tour Dates May 3-June 30
ISBN: 979-8423229016
Available in Print and ebook, 375 pages

Description Speakeasy by Elyse Douglas

In 2019, A West Village Nightclub Singer, Roxie Raines, stumbles through a basement doorway into the past and finds herself in Roaring Twenties New York, with all its dangers, secrets, excitement, and romance.

Roxie Raines lurches through a secret basement doorway in 2019, and time-slips back to New York’s raucous Roaring Twenties. While she dazzles the speakeasy crowds with her “modern sound,” she gets trapped in the dangerous web of Frankie Shay, an evil club owner. She struggles to escape his control and return to the basement doorway that sent her to 1925.

When she meets the handsome detective, Jake Kane, it’s love at first sight, but Jake has a secret past, and her own time travel secret makes him suspicious.

Roaring Twenties New York comes alive with flappers, gangsters, romance and speakeasies and Roxie’s stunning rise to stardom could come with the price of losing both the man she loves and her own life.

Suzie's Review Speakeasy by Elyse Douglas

A thrilling time travel romance set in 1920's New York City-- 'Speakeasy,' by Elyse Douglas is already my book of the year.

Following a 21st century woman who gets sent back in time via a portal in the basement of the bar where she is performing as a singer, this novel explores the roaring 20's in full technicolor, pulling no punches.

The main character is a young woman named Roxie. A strong, smart woman, Roxie is a singer who loves to perform music from the jazz age, but doesn't often get the opportunity to do so in today's world. Enter Speakeasy, a 1920's themed bar with a secret so big not even the owner seems to be aware of it.

See, in the basement of this bar is a portal, and stepping through the portal brings you to another time. And this is exactly what happens to Roxie after she follows an intruder in the bar down to the basement, finds the portal and, well, the rest is history—literally.

Roxie is instantly transported to 1925 New York where she must deal with criminals, prohibition and a real lack of women's rights. Roxie soon meets a detective named Jake Kade and the two feel an immediate pull toward each other. But whether or not Roxie is going to be able to return to her own time is a mystery that I won't spoil here!

This is a firecracker of a novel, and one that I highly recommend to all historical fiction and time travel lovers. The plot is enough to keep any reader guessing as to what is going to happen next and the romance between Roxie and Jake made for a sizzling addition. I couldn't help but wonder where things were going to go between them, and I was delighted with the way it all worked out in the end.

Five out of five jazzy stars for this one! 

Speakeasy by Elyse Douglas

About Elyse Douglas

Elyse Douglas is the pen name for the married writing team Elyse Parmentier and Douglas Pennington. She and her husband, Douglas Pennington, have completed many novels, including The Other Side of Summer, The Summer Letters, The Christmas Eve Series, Time Visitor, Time Change, The Summer Diary, and The Christmas Diary Series.

Buy Speakeasy by Elyse Douglas


Giveaway Speakeasy by Elyse Douglas

This giveaway is for 3 copies with the winners choice of print or ebook. Print is open to Canada and the U.S. only and ebook is open worldwide. This giveaway ends on July 1, 2022 midnight, pacific time.  Entries accepted via Rafflecopter only. 
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Speakeasy by Elyse Douglas

Tuesday, May 3, 2022

They Called Him Marvin by Roger Stark: Excerpt, Review

They Called Him Marvin by Roger Stark

They Called Him Marvin by Roger Stark

Publisher: Silver Star (September 21, 2021
Category: Historical Romance, WW2, Family Saga, Based on a True Story
Tour dates: April 25-June 24, 2022
ISBN: 978-0578855288
Available in Print and ebook, 320 pages

Description They Called Him Marvin by Roger Stark

They were just kids, barely not teenagers, madly in love and wanting to be a family, but WW2 and a B29 got in their way.

Three hundred ten days before Pearl Harbor, buck private Dean Sherman innocently went to church with a new friend in Salt Lake City. From that moment, the unsuspecting soldier travelled a remarkable, heroic path, falling in love, graduating from demanding training to become a B29 pilot, conceiving a son and entering the China, Burma and India theater of the WW2.

He chronicled his story with letters home to his bride Connie that he met on that fateful Sunday, blind to the fact that fifteen hundred seventy five days after their meeting, a Japanese swordsman would end his life.

His crew, a gaggle of Corporals that dubbed themselves the Corporealizes, four officers and a tech Sargent, adventured their way across the globe. Flying the “Aluminum Trail” also called the Hump through the Himalayas, site of the most dangerous flying in the world. Landing in China to refuel and then fly on to places like Manchuria, Rangoon or even the most southern parts of Japan to drop 500 pounders.

Each mission had its challenges, minus fifty degree weather in Mukden, or Japanese fighters firing away at them, a close encounter of the wrong kind, nearly missing a collision with another B29 while flying in clouds, seeing friends downed and lost because of “mechanicals,” the constant threat of running out of fuel and their greatest fear, engine fire.

Transferred to the Mariana Islands, he and his crew were shot down over Nagoya, Japan as part of Mission 174, captured and declared war criminals.

Connie’s letters reveal life for a brand new mother whose husband is declared MIA. The agony for both of them, he in a Japanese prison, declared a war criminal, and she just not knowing why his letters stopped coming.

Excerpt They Called Him Marvin by Roger Stark

Meanwhile in Guam

Page 163 - 164

          Six flying hours south of the shivering Riku, 334 B-29s were lining up on runways on Saipan, Tinian, and Guam, destination the Shitamachi urban area of Tokyo.

          Destination, Riku’s home.

          Air Corp General Curtis LeMay briefed pilots bragging that they were going “to deliver the biggest fire cracker the Japanese had ever seen.” The firecracker was built using two thousand tons of incendiary bombs, two thousand tons of fire.

          The wind that blew through Riku’s coat would be tailor made for the bombers, blowing away smoke and debris giving their bombardiers clear view of the urban landscape below. It also aided the resultant inferno by acting as a giant bilge that forced air into the waiting mouth of the flames. Tightly built buildings of wood and paper burn very well when gasoline is poured on them, especially when the combustion is force fed the life enhancing steroid of oxygen.

          This attack would mark a change in America’s bombing strategy. Bombing raids had begun about six months before. They were occasional in the beginning, but when Iwo Jima fell in late February, they began to be most regular. The raids had been focused on military targets, airplane factories, or strategic inventory, oil tanks and such, attacks that the Allied Army labelled as Strategic Bombing.

          Day time raids, conducted at 30,000 feet, they avoided urban areas. They also didn’t produce much in the way of results. A 500 pounder dropped from five or six miles up, aimed at a well defined target would ride the jet stream winds to unintended destinations. Napalm, on the other hand, dropped over a broad urban target from 12,000 feet could not help but hit something and start a fire that probably would also burn something else. A perfect outcome in a General’s mind.

          The cruel reality was that civilian workers were just like aluminum, or rubber or TNT, an ingredient in the creation of the armaments of war. Reduce any one of the ingredients and Japan’s war effort would be hampered. Strategic bombing of military targets was not destroying the Japanese war machine fast enough. When the Generals learned they could “disrupt” the workforce by dropping firebombs on their homes, urban areas became the target of choice for B-29s.

          The Japanese were unprepared for this change in strategy. They had no expectations of night time fire bombing raids on non-military targets. The B-29s would meet no fighter resistance and ground defenses, altho heavy at times were antiquated and inaccurate and thereby virtually ineffective. This war wasn’t supposed to come to Japan’s shores, no one in Japan saw the need of upgrading and modernizing anti-aircraft defenses. The Pacific Ocean was their anti-aircraft defense.

          The inhumanity of the attack stunned honorable Japanese warriors.  This apparently indiscriminate bombing of innocent, peaceable urban civilian sites that might or might not surround military sites was inconceivable within the Bushido moral code.

          Major Ito would plead at his Yokohama War Crimes trial that public opinion of the Japanese people “was too bitter to put into words.”  Most had lost family or friends to the Birds from Hell and they hid not their loathing. They considered the airmen that inhabited the birds as kichiku bei-ei, the Demonic Beasts.

          B-29ers that had the unfortunate opportunity to interact with Japanese citizens outside of their airplanes after crash landing felt the brunt of it. 

Suzie's Thoughts They Called Him Marvin by Roger Stark

The best historical fiction book that I've read in a while! 'They Called Him Marvin,' by Roger Stark is the story of a young couple, true love and the war that changed the 20th century. It is based on a true story.

Months before the bombing of Pearl Harbor was set to drag the United States into the second World War, 18-year-old Dean Sherman and 16-year-old Constance Baldwin met on a double date with friends in Salt Lake City, Utah. This was only a short time after Dean had enlisted in the army and when he eventually realized that he wished to marry Constance, she was hesitant only because she knew that her parents would not want her to marry a soldier. But eventually Constance's parents came around and the two were married just in time for Dean to be sent overseas to join the war effort.

'They Called Him Marvin,' serves as a chronicle of the very real story of these two young people's love for one another, expressed through retellings of shared stories and real letters passed between them during Dean's time overseas.

When Dean left, Constance, (or 'Connie' as he called her) was pregnant and she soon gave birth to their son, Marvin. Dean received this news via a Western Union telegram, delivering the information while laid up in a hospital bed after having suffered a broken foot in Calcutta, India.

Despite their distance from one another, the two continued to write to each other faithfully until Dean's plane eventually went down over Nagoya, Japan and he and his crew were taken as prisoners of war.

Many years later, Connie's retelling of this devastating time, and of the uncertainty of not knowing where the father of her child was, were just as real and painful to read as if they had been fresh. This is a moving story and one that I'm sure any lover of historical fiction will enjoy. 

About Roger Stark

Roger Stark, by his own admission, is a reluctant writer. But there are stories that demand to be told. When we hear them, we must pick up our pen, lest we forget and the stories be lost. Six years ago, in a quiet conversation with his friend, Marvin, he learned the tragic story of his father, a WW2 B-29 Airplane Commander, shot down over Nagoya, Japan, just months before the end of the war.

The telling of the story that evening by this half orphan was so moving and full of emotion, it compelled Roger to ask if he could write the story. The result being “They Called Him Marvin.”

Roger Stark’s life has been profoundly touched in so many ways by being part of documenting this sacred story. He prays that we never forget, as a people, the depth of sacrifice that was made by ordinary people like Marvin and his father and mother on our behalf.

Website: https://theycalledhimmarvin.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TCHMarvin

Buy They Called Him Marvin by Roger Stark


Giveaway They Called Him Marvin by Roger Stark

This giveaway is for 3 print copies, one for each of 3 winners. This giveaway is open to  the U.S. only and ends on June 24, 2022 midnight, pacific time.  Entries accepted via Rafflecopter only.

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Follow They Called Him Marvin by Roger Stark

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 They Called Him Marvin by Roger Stark

Monday, April 18, 2022

Song Girl by Keith Hirshland: Review & Interview

Song Girl by Keith Hirshland
Song Girl: A Mystery in Two Verses by Keith Hirshland

Publisher: Beacon Publishing Group (January 21, 2022)
Categories: Mystery Thriller, Detective/Police Procedural
Tour Dates April and May, 2022
ISBN: 978-1949472400
Available in Print and ebook, 388 pages
  Song Girl

Description Song Girl by Keith Hirshland

Detective Marc Allen is ready to leave the Raleigh, North Carolina, Police Department. Two murders that happened on his watch have apparently been solved thanks to a suicide note confession written by a distraught father. But Allen isn’t buying it. He’s convinced that the man’s adopted daughter, Teri Hickox, is the one responsible for the heinous crimes. With his personal life a muddle and his professional career unsettled he decides the best thing for him is a change of scenery.

The detective, now in Colorado Springs, is working new cases and making new friends. One of those friends is Hannah Hunt who, after suffering a freak accident, finds herself only able to speak in song titles. Another is a mysterious drifter who lives out of an old Dodge van and goes by “the champ”. But as Allen builds a new future, events unfold showing him that he can’t escape his past.

Song Girl is…

Part sequel to The Flower Girl Murder

Part stand-alone mystery

All entertaining

Praise for Song Girl by Keith Hirshland

”A well-written mystery”-The Hollywood Digest “Highly enjoyable! Engaging from start to finish.”-The Entrepreneur Magazine

Review Song Girl by Keith Hirshland

Review by Suzie M.

Reading the summary for this book, you may think it sounds a little wacky. A mystery about a girl who can only speak in song titles? Huh? But rest assured, 'Song Girl: A Mystery in Two Verses,' takes what might seem like a strange premise and makes art out of it.

This is the story of a detective, Marc Allen, who leaves Raleigh, North Carolina after a case that he was working on for his old department is closed in a way that he feels was too hasty.

Starting over at a different department in Colorado Springs, Allen gets to know his neighbors, particularly a woman named Tracey who introduces him to a brother and sister named Rampart and Hannah. Rampart, named for the line in 'The Star-Spangled Banner,' was only a small child when his parents agreed to take in Hannah after her parents were killed in a car accident.

Being raised as brother and sister, the two became close, even while Rampart began traveling the country as a professional boxing champion. Hannah, herself an ice skater, eventually suffers a strange accident on the rink which leaves her with only the ability to communicate in song titles.

Meanwhile, Allen begins looking into other cases, most notably the case of a local homeless man who overdosed in a way that strikes the coroner as suspicious. Allen begins to wonder if the man was murdered, and if this case might just have something to do with the case that made him leave Raleigh.

A varied story with enough twists and turns to make for a rollicking mystery, 'Song Girl' is just the type of book to curl up with on a cold evening. Keith Hirshland has created something really special here-- a book that leaves you unable to stop thinking about it for a long time after finishing! 

Interview With Keith Hirshland

Suzie: Which character in ‘Song Girl’ is your favorite?

Keith: Hi Suzie. First let me say thank you for allowing me to spend some time with you and your readers. I appreciate the opportunity. Now on to your questions.

Am I allowed to say Lettie the Pyredoodle puppy? Just kidding of course but this is a very difficult question. I like all my characters, even Teri who I love to hate. But if I had to pick one, right this second, I think it would be Song Girl herself, Hannah Hunt. One because that character was the impetus for the book in the first place. I wanted to see if I could write an entire mystery around a character who could only speak in song lyrics. Obviously that idea had to take on a few transformations. The second reason is I love the way she ultimately deals with everything life throws at her including the anomaly that begets the book’s title.  

Suzie: How long did it take you to complete ‘Song Girl’?

Keith: I have found that it takes me a little more than a year to write one of my mysteries from start to finish. It starts with the idea and the concept and finishes with the sign off on the final edit. My first book, Cover Me Boys, I’m Going In (Tales of the Tube from a Broadcast Brat) was about five years in the making mostly because I was still working in the TV industry full time. But the mysteries, including Song Girl, all have taken twelve to fourteen months.

Suzie: Where did you get the inspiration for your cover?

Keith: Isn’t it a beauty? I, actually, can’t take any credit for the cover. The folks at Beacon Publishing Group did all the work on that. My original idea had a background featuring Pikes Peak here in Colorado Springs and the words “Song Girl” written diagonally across the cover. The “r” in Girl was a gun. Thankfully the creative people at Beacon went in a different direction. 

Suzie: Using the title, ‘Song Girl’ as an acrostic, describe your work or yourself.









How did I do?

Suzie: You did great!

Suzie: You are covering a golf tournament where something goes terribly wrong. Tell us about it. (This can be fact or fiction)

Keith: Gosh I am afraid this happened more times than I’d like to admit. I’ll give you one that is particularly memorable.

We were in the middle of a telecast and the power went out in the announcer booth. Our set up featured two announcers in a trailer looking at monitors in front of them on which they could see the action that was being transmitted across America. They were wearing headsets so they could hear me, themselves, and the other announcers on the show. Suddenly the power to the monitors went out so they were, in effect, broadcasting blind. When it happened the first thing I did was go to a commercial which gave our technicians 2 and a half minutes to figure out what the problem was and fix it. When they couldn’t we came back from break and I described the action on the screen to them in their headsets and they basically repeated what I was saying to make it seem like they could actually see it too. I would say something like, “Tiger Woods is on the green, crouching behind his ball, reading the line of the putt. Looks like it breaks a little from his right to left. He rises and circles the green to get a look from the other side of the hole. He heads back to his ball, readjusts the position and settles in to strike the putt. One look at the hole, then another, and a third. Now he’s ready. He brings the putter back and strikes the ball. It’s on a good line and it’s in! Birdie for Tiger Woods. Now let’s go back a hole for the second shot of Jason Day.”

The announcer, Brian Anderson, knew people could see what was happening on the screen, simply said something like, “At 11, Tiger looking over an eight footer for birdie. He’s giving it all of his attention but he’s one of the best in the world at these right to left putts. It’s on the way and he’s made it. Tiger to within one of the lead.”

Thankfully it was only a few minutes before we got power to the monitors and could resume business as usual.

Suzie: What words do you use over and over that drive your editor crazy?

Keith: Hah, great question. I think I tend to use “that” a lot and it’s an easy one for my editor to point out and for me to eliminate. Even though it’s not a word the editors and I go back and forth a lot with regard to the use of the oxford comma. I am a fan but I’ve had editors who think differently.

Suzie: If you could be somebody else for a day who would you choose and why?

Keith: For just one day? I’m a huge sports fan, baseball and the San Francisco Giants in particular, so I would choose to be Buster Posey before he retired. He was the Giants’ catcher and a certain future member of the Baseball Hall of Fame. I would love to know, first hand, the feeling of being among the best in the world at a particular position and to not only stand in the batter box and face a 100 mile an hour fastball but be able to hit it over the fence 400 feet away. That would be cool.

Suzie: What do you do when you are not writing?

Keith: I guess first and foremost I spend a great deal of time thinking about writing. Whether it’s my current WIP or coming up with ideas for what’s next. I walk the dog (we have great trails and dog parks here in Colorado Springs), and most importantly I do whatever I can to support my wife and kids with regard to their lives and careers.

 Suzie: What was your first job?

Keith: The first job I can remember was picking up the golf balls from the driving range at our local golf course. As kids my mom would drop me and my brothers off at the golf course in the morning every day during the summer. It was essentially our “camp”. We’d pick up the range in exchange for being able to play for free.

My first job in which I actually earned a real paycheck was working for National Car Rental at the Reno airport. We’d clean the rentals upon return, fill them up with gas, and get them ready for the next customer.

Suzie: What are you currently working on?

Keith: I am writing the sequel to Murphy Murphy and the Case of Serious Crisis. This time our intrepid detective has found himself embroiled in a case involving the fictious Commission on Cliches. My original plan was to make the Murphy Murphy series a trilogy with redundancies first, then cliches, and finally finish it up with Murphy Murphy somehow involved with the Pun Police. At the same time, I’m starting to think about another Detective Marc Allen book. (Mark Allen is the detective in Song Girl)

Suzie: Thanks so much for the interview and all the thought you put into answering my questions!  I wish you the very best!

Awards and Recognition for Keith Hirshland

Book Talk Radio Club Book of the Year 2020 (Murphy Murphy and the Case of Serious Crisis)

Top Shelf Award First Place (mystery) for Murphy Murphy and the Case of Serious Crisis

New Apple Awards Solo Medalist True Crime Category (Big Flies)

Shelf Abound Award Winner Indie Book Competition (Big Flies)

Song Girl by Keith HirshlandAbout Keith Hirshland

Keith Hirshland is an Emmy Award–winning sports television producer with more than three decades of experience producing live and pre-recorded programs that aired on ESPN and ESPN2. Among the first forty people to be hired by the Golf Channel in 1994, Hirshland was in the middle of the action when that network debuted in 1995. He provided his talents for Golf Channel, as its live tournament producer, for two decades.

Cover Me Boys, I’m Going In: Tales of the Tube from a Broadcast Brat is a memoir about his experiences in the television industry. Published by Beacon Publishing Group, Cover Me Boys was recognized as the Book Talk Radio Club Memoir of the Year. Hirshland’s second book, and first work of fiction, Big Flies, was published in 2016 and is the recipient of the New Apple Awards “Solo Medalist” in the True Crime Category. Hirshland followed that success with his third book, The Flower Girl Murder. In 2020 Beacon Publishing Group released Murphy Murphy and the Case of Serious Crisis, Hirshland’s third mystery novel. It was a Top Shelf Magazine First Place award winner and was named the Book Talk Radio Club Book of the Year for 2020.

Song Girl Hirshland’s fifth book is the sequel to The Flower Girl Murder and was released in January of 2022. All five books are available at www.keithhirshland.com, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and other bookstores.

Keith Hirshland lives in Colorado with his wife and their Pyredoodle Mac.

Website: https://www.keithhirshland.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/khhauthor
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KeithHirshlandAuthor/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/khhauthor/?hl=en

Buy Song Girl by Keith Hirshland


Giveaway Song Girl by Keith Hirshland

This giveaway is for 3 print copies One for each of 3 winners. This giveaway is open to Canada and the U.S. only and ends on June 1, 2022 midnight, pacific time.  Entries accepted via Rafflecopter only.

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Song Girl by Keith Hirshland

Thursday, April 14, 2022

Listen To Me by Lynne Podrat: Review

Listen To Me by Lynne Podrat
Listen To Me: How My Down Syndrome Brother Saved My Life by Lynne Podrat 

 Publisher: LP Press (August 19, 2021) 
Category: Non Fiction, Memoir, Special Needs, Disabilities, Down Syndrome, Siblings 
Tour dates: March 14-April 14, 2022 
ISBN: 978-1737666806 
Available in Print and ebook, 128 pages

  Listen To Me

Description Listen To Me by Lynne Podrat

This memoir was written to honor my youngest brother’s influence over my life, the good, the bad, and the ugly of living with a Down Syndrome sibling. It tells the story of the children in my family, despite our parents’ frailties, remaining committed to each other through life’s many changes and separations. Who I am today is directly related to the who I needed to become.

Review by Suzie M. Listen To Me by Lynne Podrat

From the first day that she met him, Lynne Podrat knew that she had to advocate for her little brother, Bruce. Born with Down Syndrome in 1967, Bruce was almost sent to a state school/care home as a newborn.

Lynne's parents were not sure if they would be able to care for a baby with disabilities in their own home, and it took Lynne's urging for them to come around to the idea of raising him themselves. It was from then on that 13 year old Lynne knew that her brother was going to require more care than most children, and it seemed like she was more prepared than anyone to give it.

Unlike some people, Lynne understood that Bruce was not just his disability. He was a person who loved rock and roll music and Star Trek and it was because of herself and their other brother, David, that Bruce got to experience many of the most wonderful things about life.

Refusing to take no for an answer, Lynne went on to include her brother in family get-togethers and in all of their lives at every opportunity, caring for him until his passing from cancer in 2020.

It is clear from reading this memoir that Lynne and Bruce were not only brother and sister, but many other things, including travel-buddies and partners-in-crime. They seemed to have a very rewarding relationship that makes this memoir a touching read.

'Listen To Me: How My Down Syndrome Brother Saved My Life,' is the story of one woman's refusal to accept the world's dismissal of her “disabled” brother, and the real meaning of the word 'family.' Don't miss out on reading this wonderful, soul-changing memoir! I promise that you won't regret it. In the words of Lynne herself, 'To know Bruce was to love him,' and you will love him, too. 

Listen To Me by Lynne Podrat

About Lynne Podrat

Lynne Podrat graduated from the Pennsylvania State University and then spent fifteen years in the Fashion Industry as an Assistant Buyer and Department Manager with Bloomingdales Department Store before returning to school to receive her educational degrees from Arcadia University and Gynedd Mercy.

A retired educator and Administrator from the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania School District, she taught English, literature, composition and history in elementary and secondary schools.

She has secretly been a writer and poet her whole life, but has only recently chosen to share those talents with the world. Lynne now lives with her husband in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, spending winters dragon boating where her heart races and summers hiking the Rockies in Vail, Colorado where her heart sings.

Buy Listen To Me by Lynne Podrat


Giveaway Listen To Me by Lynne Podrat

This giveaway is for 3 print copies, one for each of 3 winners and is open to the U.S. only. This giveaway ends on April 15, 2022 midnight, pacific time.  Entries accepted via Rafflecopter only. 

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Listen To Me by Lynne Podrat

Thursday, March 3, 2022

Suzie's Review and Author Guest Post: Time and the Tree by Róisín Sorahan

Time and the Tree by Róisín Sorahan
Time and the Tree by Róisín Sorahan

Publisher: Adelaide Books, NY (September 6, 2021
Category: Literary Fiction, Fantasy, Modern Fable, and Self-actualization
Tour dates: January-February, 2022
ISBN: 978-1955196635
Available in Print and ebook, 282 pages

Description Time and the Tree by Róisín Sorahan

A modern fable about the nature of time and the quest for happiness.

It’s darkly funny, deceptively simple, and a necessary read for testing times.

In this gripping philosophical tale, a boy awakens beneath a tree in a forest in summer. He is soon joined by Time and his slave, a withered creature hooked on time and aching to disappear. The story evolves over the course of a year as a host of characters are drawn to the Tree for guidance. The unlikely cast grapple with choices and grope towards self-knowledge in a world where compassion is interwoven with menace. As the seasons bring great changes to the forest, we watch the child grow while the trials he faces mount. Then the time for talk and innocence passes as the forces of darkness rally, threatening the lives of his friends.

Lyrical, honest and heart-breaking, Time and the Tree confronts readers with a unique perspective on the challenges life presents. A wise and hopeful book, it is uplifting and unsettling by turns.

Suzie's Review Time and the Tree by Róisín Sorahan

Ah, time. It passes so strangely. Sometimes flying by like it's being carried on the wind, sometimes limping and dragging along. Of course, that's real life, where time is a concept that we cannot see, touch or hear. But in Róisín Sorahan's fairy tale/novel, 'Time and the Tree,' Time is a very different thing altogether.

In this book, Time is a man, and that man is a little bit of a grouch. Represented by a brass hat and wearing a pocket watch, this obsessed and whimsical fellow, Time is a frequent visitor to the Tree A wise, old tree that lives in the woods.

Of course, what is time to a tree? Trees don't age like we do, so a lot of time can slip by unnoticed to a tree. But a small boy on the other hand...

And that is where the third principal character of the novel comes in. The Boy is a young boy who lives in the woods and befriends the tree. He also sort of befriends Time, as much as anyone can befriend Time.

Time, as you might guess, has a lot of time on his hands. So much that he is able to come up with a lot of problems that he needs help to solve. But he's not the only one, however. The Boy and the Tree meet many characters in this magic-filled tale who need help, offer stories or just happen to pass by all within one memorable year.

Whether by chance or luck, the Boy and the Tree manage to help the people they meet and the Boy learns something about life along the way.

Sorahan's expertly crafted fairy tale is one for the ages. I enjoyed every minute of this beautifully written story and I think you will, too. Every bit of this is nothing short of perfection!

Guest Post by Róisín Sorahan


“Happiness is a knife wrapped in silk, gliding across the belly. It always hurts. It tricks you for a time that life is kinder and more beautiful than it really is and then, just when you believe it, it’s thrust into your gut and given a good old twist before it’s snatched away again.” - Time

– Time and the Tree

It has been a bitterly cold winter. Perhaps it has always been this frigid, but I don’t recall. I shuffle from car to house, shoulders hunched against the freeze. I resent the frozen landscape.

Today, there was a thaw. The earth re-emerged from the snow, with its colours of autumn and promise of spring. I felt the sun on my face. The tangled breeze might have come off the ocean.

The shoulders dropped, and I paused on the path by the brook. It was swollen and intent on breaking its bonds. It had the look of one heading elsewhere. I envied its movement. It’s hard to be anchored. At least, it is for me.

The road was quiet, and the flag person, who was managing traffic, struck up a chat. We talked of the respite. The season’s turn. The state of the river. And the snow expected tomorrow.

We passed each other again on my return journey. “You just missed summer,” I was hailed, between a ragged cough and a chuckle. We both laughed. And, as I continued onward, she called after me, “Love ya, honey.”

My step lightened. My smile widened. The earth felt forgiving beneath my feet. It took so little, really. But, in that moment, I was happy.

Love is the coin of happiness. Where there is happiness, there is kindness, generosity and empathy.

In its absence, darkness rushes in to fill the space. The inner void breeds anger and despair, and lives of great emptiness follow.

Unhappiness, I’ve noticed, always looks for someone else to blame. But accosting the world for the absence of light, is like berating the mountain for being so tall. It is always within reach, with work and commitment, and the belief that it’s worth the effort. The higher the climb, the better the view. And then, there’s the journey.

These past couple of years, it almost seemed redundant to talk of happiness. We moved into survival mode. Focus shifted to getting groceries, keeping jobs, wearing masks, sourcing vaccines.

Covid put a stranglehold on connections, on smiles. Routine was broken. Days were discordant. Certainties were questioned. And, as in war, everyone’s experience was different.

Some got through it relatively unscathed; others felt like they were the only ones in the trenches.

Many will recall it as a period of death, loneliness, confusion. And the grief of endings was compounded by a pandemic that denied a last word, last touch, the comfort of a hand held.

Many will mourn the unnecessary return of mindless commutes to soulless offices. The opportunity to work from home, put kids to bed at night, and retreat into a familial space, was a blessing, for some.

For others that space became a prison. A gradual and persistent erasure of the self. The outside world a threat. The inner, a torment.

And, there was the conflict of both experiences, brushing up against each other. Reconciling these emotions could be a life-long endeavour.

The pandemic challenged us in ways we never anticipated. As a society, and as individuals, we demonstrated, on a massive scale, our capacity for change. And our propensity for goodness. People denied themselves the comfort of being with loved ones, in order to keep them safe. We witnessed feats of heroism on a daily basis, ranging from health workers’ herculean efforts, to parents who home-schooled their children, while holding down a job from the other side of the table.

The pandemic also stoked fear, and the era of the Other raised its wily head, once again. The void opened, and anger rushed in. Words were turned upon the bewildered in attempts to confound even further.

But now, the numbers are falling and the defences are coming down. We who have battled, are returning home. But it’s a different place, and we are not who we were before the pandemic. Nothing is quite as we remembered it. Borders have shifted, as have priorities.

Life will never be the same again.

Life should never be the same again.

The crank has turned. The chance to begin anew is upon us.

It is time to heal the anger and allay the fear. To renew our connection with ourselves and our world. It is time to free words from the knot of deceit.

It is time, to be happy.

It’s sounds a little trite, doesn’t it? After everything. Yet, it is no small thing.

Philosophers have been contemplating happiness for centuries. Its meaning, its morality, its psychological, social, even economic impact, has been mulled and debated. It’s a tricky, elusive concept, that either bends and weaves to the thinking of the time, or creates new modes of living and new thought patterns.

The pursuit of happiness is noble, and desperately needed at this time. Yet, we must be clear about what we are chasing. The zeitgeist, it seems to me, has falsely aligned happiness with perfection: the perfect partner; home; body; family; career. Take your pick, and post to Instagram. This is the epitome of the empty promise.

Our culture has also enmeshed happiness with guilt. It is self-serving, selfish, and indulgent; pitting self against the tribe. At a period when our survival feels threatened, this is a dangerous line of thinking. Socially, it is imperative that we think of others, show kindness, give support. This does not mean that we sacrifice ourselves.

Dousing one’s spark to let others shine is antithetical. It diminishes all of us. In supressing the will to love and learn and be, it scrubs words and drags darkness into the space where the light should be.

Without happiness, we cannot help ourselves, let alone another. It comes back to the fundamental tenet that underlies pretty much every spiritual philosophy: love yourself; love others.

Happiness is not a luxury, or an afterthought. It’s not something to be experienced on a Friday night, when the week’s work is done. It is a constant battle to renew the self and live well in the moment. It is not contingent on luck or acquisition. Happiness is a choice that we make. It’s the decision to plough the scarred earth, rather than let the wounds fester.

It is time for growth. Our comfort levels in how we engage with the world, at this stage, are different. Some will step out, turn the lock on what’s past, and not look back. People will travel, wrap arms around loved ones, date, read books, dance. Others will stand at the window, and let the sun warm their faces.

There is no absolute way to be in the moment. Each must follow their instincts, with care and kindness, knowing that the choices are theirs to make. The season is turning. Change is upon us.

We are responsible for the paths we travel. Our capacity for fear and self-destruction is enormous. But, if the pandemic has taught us anything, so too is our ability to change, to fail, to fail better, to love, to immerse ourselves in the moment. Our capacity for happiness is also boundless.

The temperatures in my world will plummet again tomorrow. The earth will hold its secrets a little longer. It’s easy to embrace the light, when arms are outstretched on a sun-drenched, sandy island. But, today, I am reminded that happiness is also in a snatched conversation by the side of the road.

(c) Róisín Sorahan

About Róisín Sorahan Róisín Sorahan is an Irish author currently living in Vermont. She has published numerous stories about her adventures on the road, as well as life as an English teacher in China. Prior to becoming a nomad writer, she pursued a decade-long career in public relations. She holds a Master of Letters from Trinity College Dublin, specializing in Samuel Beckett. Time and the Tree is her debut novel.

Website: https://roisinsorahan.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/roisinsorahan
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Roisin.Sorahan.Author
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/roisinsorahan/

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This giveaway is for 3 print or ebook copies, One for each of 3 winners. Print is open to Canada and the U.S. only and ebook is open worldwide. This giveaway ends on March 12, 2022 midnight, pacific time. Entries accepted via Rafflecopter only.

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