Friday, February 23, 2018

Spotlight on #author Nicholas DiGiovani @nidigiovanni @VCCA

Today's Friday Fellow is Nicholas DiGiovanni, a fiction writer, essayist and award-winning journalist from New Jersey. Nick is currently completing his fifth residency at VCCA (Virginia Center for the Creative Arts) and reports that he has written over 10,000 words during his stay!  
His essay collection, 'Man Has Premonition of Own Death,' was inspired by his strange tale of his great-uncle, a 23-year-old carpet-mill worker, in the 1920s -- and by the author's own sudden encounter with serious illness. Below is a sample. The complete work is available on Amazon.

The old radio star Edgar Bergen had a ventriloquist dummy named Mortimer Snerd who had a well-known catchphrase: “Who woulda thunk it?” 
I’m here to say “Who woulda thunk it?” And I’m here to talk about death, mortality and a young man named Thomas Crooks.
Years ago, I stumbled upon, in an old Bible, a yellowed newspaper clipping from a now-defunct daily newspaper in my old hometown, The Yonkers (N.Y.) Herald Statesman. The headline read: MAN HAS PREMONITION OF OWN DEATH. The article, from 1923, was about the death of a 25-year-old worker at the Alexander Smith carpet mill.
It reported that young Crooks had met his fiancĂ© for lunch one afternoon at a lovely old burial ground across the street from the mill. When the whistle blew at the carpet mill, young Thomas headed back to work. That’s when, the article reports, Thomas stopped, turned around, looked back at his fiancĂ© and declared, “I am going in. But I shall be carried out.” 
Fifteen minutes after relaying his bizarre message to his girlfriend, Thomas “fell” into a shallow vat of acid that was used in the carpet-curing process. Workers pulled him out. Others ran to fetch the lad’s mother. She rushed to the hospital, got there while Thomas was still alive but mortally injured, and held her son in her arms. The last sentence of the newspaper article:: “Mrs. Crooks was burned about the face as she continually kissed her dying son.”
Mrs. Crooks was my maternal great-grandmother. Thomas was my mother’s uncle and my grandmother’s brother. I, of course, never knew him, but I have been to his grave – in the same cemetery, across from the same carpet mill.
I’d been working on this eclectic collection for a while when I had my very own Mortimer Snerd moment. One night, I went to plug my telephone charger into a wall outlet and toppled over as I lost my balance. After that, it’s all very vague. I remember a couple of young policemen, I remember being in the emergency room. I don’t remember getting there. An emergency CAT scan determined that I had a foreboding mass of some kind at the back of my head. The tumor was removed in emergency surgery – and so my own battle unexpectedly began.
Who woulda thunk it?

Monday, February 19, 2018

Read the 5* buzz for THE SOLDIER'S RETURN @historicalfiction #series from #BHBW

The Soldier's Return, the second book in our historical fiction series, just concluded a virtual book tour. We'd like to share some of the buzz with you! 

From Donna Maguire of Donna's Book Blog: "This is a great story and a really good historical fiction novel.  I love the setting and I am a fan of that period of history and crave reading anything by new authors to me.
"The plot in the book was well researched and it was historically accurate for the period.  The writing style and pace is spot on for the book and I loved the characters and their interaction.  They work so well together to give an excellent book all round.
"The Soldier’s Return is the second book in the Heaven’s Pond Trilogy, I am yet to read the first book and did not feel at any detriment from this so I would say that the book is fine to read as a stand alone.
"Five stars from me for this one – a really enjoyable read!"
THE SOLDIER'S RETURN is available here:    Kindle Edition     Paperback Edition
The year is 1626. A senseless war rips through parts of Germany. Ongoing animosity between the Catholics and the Protestants has turned into an excuse to destroy much of the landscape situated between France, Italy and Denmark. But religion only plays a minor role in this lucrative business of war.
The young dutchman, Pieter van Diemen, returns to Amsterdam in chains after a period of imprisonment in the Spice Islands. He manages to escape but must leave Amsterdam in a hurry. Soldiers are in demand in Germany and he decides to travel with a regiment until he can desert.
His hope of survival is to reach Sichardtshof, the farm in Franconia, Germany; the farm he left ten years ago. His desire to seek refuge with them lies in his fond memories of the maid Katarina and her master, the humanist patrician Herr Tucher.
But ten years is a long time and the farm has changed. Franconia is not only torn by war but falling victim to a church-driven witch hunt. The Jesuit priest, Ralf, has his sights set on Sichardtshof as well. Ralf believes that ridding the area of evil will be his saving grace. Can Pieter, Katarina and Herr Tucher unite to fight against a senseless war out of control?