Meet the Author: Sarah Winchester: Beyond the Mystery by Bennett Jacobstein – at the Redwood City Public Library – March 11, 2020 from 7:00 – 8:30PM

In honor of Women’s History Month, Bennett Jacobstein will be at the Redwood City Public Library on March 11, 2020 from 7:00 – 8:30PM to discuss his new book about the Winchester Mystery House and Sarah Winchester’s true story.
Sarah Winchester: Beyond the Mystery
PUBLISHER: Independently published
PUBLICATION DATE: September 2019
ISBN: 978-1794616608
DESCRIPTION: 110 pages, paperbound
DISTRIBUTION: Amazon / Ingram / Baker & Taylor
PRICE: $8.95
“Sarah Winchester was a wonderful person who devoted a good part of her life to funding a hospital for tuberculosis patients.  It has become a personal crusade for me to tell her true story.  My goal with the book is to restore Sarah’s reputation,” says Bennett Jacobstein.
Sarah Winchester was a brilliant, creative and generous woman. She lost her only child, Annie, at six weeks old. Her beloved husband William, heir to the Winchester Rifle fortune, died at a young age from tuberculosis. Sarah never recovered from her two heartbreaking losses. Yet through all her pain she was focused on helping those in need.
Sarah spent major parts of her adult life on two building projects. Both of them live on today, 97 years after her death.
In San Jose, California, Sarah built an architectural marvel, a mansion in the American Queen Anne revival style reflecting great beauty and great innovation. The mansion has operated since 1923 as a tourist attraction known as the Winchester Mystery House. The house is a California Historical Landmark and is on the National Register of Historic Places.
Throughout the years rumors have been associated with Sarah and her house. The rumors suggest that the grief-stricken widow sought comfort from a medium in Boston who told her that (as the heir to the Winchester Repeating Arms Company fortune) she was being cursed by the spirits of those killed by the Winchester rifle. She should move west, the medium said, and build a house and never stop building. As long as construction continued, she was told, she would not die. The rooms would shelter the good spirits and the sound of hammers would drive away the bad spirits. These rumors led to Sarah being portrayed as eccentric and crazy. However, research has shown that there is a different version of the story. Not only were there rational reasons for everything in the house, but Sarah was not at all crazy and spent a good part of her life in a philanthropic effort.
In West Haven, Connecticut, Sarah funded the building and operation of a hospital for patients with tuberculosis. The hospital, honoring her husband, was named the William Wirt Winchester Annex for Tuberculosis. Sarah was especially concerned with helping those of limited economic means. Over the years thousands of lives have been saved through the work of this hospital. Although the hospital no longer exists, the fund Sarah created continues to support the Winchester Chest Clinic, now part of the Yale New Haven Hospital.
Sarah’s hospital remains virtually unknown, whereas Sarah’s mansion is toured by a steady stream of visitors from around the world. The mansion was the setting for the 2018 film Winchester, a paranormal thriller starring Academy-Award-winning actress Helen Mirren. The movie was advertised as “inspired by true events.” It is true that Sarah and the house both existed, but that is where the “true” events end.
The rumors surrounding the house continue to be told, but in Bennett’s book ‘Sarah Winchester: Beyond the Mystery’ historical research including newspaper and magazine articles, personal correspondence, and interviews with Sarah’s contemporaries reveals an alternative explanation of Sarah Winchester and her mansion.
About the Author: 
Bennett Jacobstein lives in San Jose, CA. He is a retired librarian and founder of Toucan Valley Publications, publisher of demographic materials and children’s social studies titles. He is the author of The Joy of Ballpark Food: From Hot Dogs to Haute Cuisine, a culinary tour of the food offering of each of the major league baseball stadiums. 
Bennett became intrigued by the story of Sarah Winchester and her house.  Once his research revealed that Sarah Winchester was not crazed and was a wonderful person who devoted a good part of her life to helping those in need, it became a personal crusade for him to tell her true story.
Bennett Jacobstein will be at the Redwood City Public Library on March 11, 2020 from 7:00 – 8:30PM to discuss his book Sarah Winchester: Beyond the Mystery.
To learn more, go to http://beyondthemystery.com/

The Conversations We Never Had by Jeffrey H. Konis

the conversations we never had book coverThe Conversations We Never Had is a memoir / historical fiction novel, by Jeffrey H. Konis, that highlights the importance of family, history, and Jewish heritage.
When Jeffrey’s grandma died, he was left with a sense of guilt and profound regret for not having gotten to know her better.
“My father remembers nothing about his real parents. They were dead by the time he was nine. Olga, his mother’s younger sister, not only survived the Holocaust, but was able to find my father at his hiding place – a farm in Poland – and later brought him to America to raise as her own. In all that time, he never asked her any questions about his parents,” says Jeffrey. “I lived with Olga for over two years and she would have been able and willing to tell me about my real grandparents, my dad as a little boy and so much more had I simply asked the questions.  I never did.  Olga has been gone for more than twenty years, along with everything she could have told me. I wish I could go back and have a second chance to get to know her better and learn more about my family from the only person in the world who knew them and remembered them.” 
The Conversations We Never Had is a chronicle of Jeffrey’s time spent with his Grandma “Ola” and an imagining of the stories she might have shared had he only took the time to ask the questions. It is a heartwarming story that will leave you eager to spend time with your family and learn more about them before it’s too late.

 

Praise
The Conversations We Never Had is a book that will warm your heart and lead you toward the pursuit of love and gratitude for those who are part of your journey. Beautiful and inspiring, this book is highly recommended!” – 5 Stars, Readers’ Favorite
“The Conversations We Never Had is more than another Holocaust survival story: it’s a perceptive and examining survey of how ideals, thoughts, traditions and culture are handed down in families, surveying the types of questions asked and those left unsaid, and their impact. Readers of Holocaust literature and biography will find themselves drawn to the family and personalities surrounding Jeffrey H. Konis and will be particularly delighted to understand how Jewish traditions and family messages helped him shape his own decision-making process.” – Midwest Book Review

 

Excerpt from Chapter 2 – Grandma Ola and Me
Over the following days, I found myself picking up the old routine of going to classes, hitting the library, getting a slice or two for dinner, going home and hibernating in my room. Grandma would occasionally check on me, I think more than anything to make sure it was indeed me and not some wayward stranger. I felt bad not spending more time with Grandma the way I had that night when we talked about her dad, but I guess I was too tired after my long days or unsure how to restart the conversation. I knew Grandma was lonely, lonelier with me around than she would have been alone. Then there was something of a break in my schedule. It was the weekend after Thanksgiving and, caught up with all my work, I decided to spend some time with Grandma and talk. Late Saturday afternoon, after the caregiver had left, I approached her.
“I know it’s been awhile but I was wondering whether we could talk some more, if you’re up for it, that is.”
“Up for it? I’ve been ‘up for it’ for the last two weeks. What do you think, that I’ll remember these things forever? You think my memory will get better as I get older?”
“I know, I’m sorry. I’ve been busy with school and . . . .”
”Jeffrey, you barely say hello to me. How many grandmothers do you have anyways? Well?”
Interesting question but, of course, she was right. My maternal grandmother died when my mother was a young girl; I never knew her father, Grandpa Eugene, who died when I was two.
But Grandma Ola said something else that made me stop to think for a second: her memory would surely deteriorate, and in the not-too-distant future. Once that went, so did any chance of learning about my paternal grandparents. There was now a sense of urgency to my mission. Indeed, there were increasing signs that her mind was starting to slip.
The phone had rung, a few nights previously, and I gave Grandma first dibs to pick up the phone to see who it was, as this was pre-caller i.d. The phone kept ringing and I looked in on Grandma, who I knew was lying on the couch in her room. The scene upon which I stumbled was humorous, though it should not have been: there was Grandma, holding a pillow to her ear and talking into it, “Hol-low? Hol-low?” I quickly picked up the phone just as my dad was about to hang up. He often called to check on both of us, to make sure that we hadn’t yet killed each other, that we were still alive.
As willing as Grandma was to have me and as eager and grateful I was to live with her, we each had our own trepidations about this new living arrangement, this uncharted territory in which we were to find ourselves. Grandma Ola had taken in her first new roommate in over forty years. Grandma, I suspect, felt responsible for my well-being. For all she knew, I could be entertaining all sorts of guests and be a constant source of noise and irritation that she had been mercifully spared for so long. I, on the other hand, was moving in with an elderly woman whose mind was on the decline, someone for whose well-being I would be responsible. Not that Grandma expected this of me; then again maybe she did.
She had employed caregivers seven days a week from nine to seven, who would look after her needs, meals, laundry, baths, doctors’ visits, grocery shopping – everything. Grandma, who was a proud, independent woman, and did not wish to argue or appear unreasonable with these good- hearted people, particularly Anna, seemed to accept their help with graciousness and gratitude. Anna may well have a different story to share but this is what I had observed. Above all, Grandma was a realist; she was aware of her own limitations.
What did I add to this equation? Not a whole lot. I did provide Grandma with some psychological comfort in the evenings when I was home. Should some life-threatening event occur, a bad fall for example, I was there to help. My services had been called upon once in this regard, though the fall in question was more humorous than harmful.
I woke up to a yell from Grandma in the middle of one night. My first thought was that she was having a nightmare and ran to her room to check on her, only she wasn’t there. Puzzled, I was on my way to the kitchen but noticed the light was on in the bathroom. I knocked and opened the door a crack. “Grandma, are you in there? Are you okay?” I asked.
She cried that she wasn’t and asked for help. I walked in to find my grandmother stuck in the bathtub on her back from which she was unable to extricate herself. She explained that she had been about to sit on what she thought was the toilet, not realizing her error until it was too late. I scooped her up and carried her back to her bed. I made sure she was indeed okay and wished her goodnight.
I suppose I shouldn’t have found any of this humorous, that this was a sad result of aging, a dreaded process, and that I should have been more compassionate and understanding. True, I suppose, but my understanding under the circumstances consisted of making sure Grandma was all right, carrying her to bed and keeping a straight face through it all. But it was funny. The only thing that wasn’t so funny was that I would be exhausted in my classes the next day owing to my lack of sleep.
As her new roommate, I was also expected to provide Grandma with some company, particularly since she had recently lost her husband. My father, I knew, expected at least this much from me; I didn’t know, on the other hand, what she expected. She likely considered my presence a mixed blessing; I might be nice to have around but also something of an intrusion.

 

Author Jeffrey H. KonisAbout the Author
After practicing law for many years, Jeffrey Konis left the profession to embark on a career as a high school social studies teacher. His first book, From Courtroom to Classroom: Making a Case for Good Teaching, offers a unique perspective for teachers who seek to inspire their students to learn for the sake of learning.
His latest work, The Conversations We Never Had, is a memoir / historical fiction novel that was released in May 2016.
Jeffrey loves reading, collecting fine art photography, soccer – especially Liverpool F.C. – travel, and his family most of all. He currently resides in Goshen, New York with his wife, Pamela, and sons, Alexander and Marc.
Readers can connect with him on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.
For further information, to request a review copy, or to set up an interview or appearance by Jeffrey H. Konis, please contact Kelsey McBride at Book Publicity Services at Kelsey@BookPublicityServices.com or 805.807.9027.

 

Romance, Family, and History Collide in New Work by Glen Thomas Hierlmeier

Lazlo's RevengeAuthor Glen Thomas Hierlmeier announced today that his latest historical romance novel, Lazlo’s Revenge, is now available for purchase on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Xlibris.
Any reader who enjoys historical fiction, romance, war stories, and stories with action and adventure, should definitely give Lazlo’s Revenge a read. I am pleased to be able to recommend this book to any such reader. I am also looking forward to reading more from the promising author, Glen Hierlmeier, as soon as I possibly can!” – Readers Favorite
Lazlo’s Revenge follows Maxine “Max” Fischer, a writer and Swiss war correspondent, whose parents lived through the tragedies of the Great World Wars. Greatly distressed by continuing wars and massive numbers of refugees, Max sets out to uncover the tragedies and triumphs of her parents, traveling the same paths they walked years before. Stories of war, romance, death and deliverance are unearthed through tears and admiration as she traces their stories through the debacle of the great wars, and the political upheaval between the wars.
“Readers will enjoy this book because it deals with current issues – the danger and ruthless cruelty of wars, immigration, and the plight of displaced persons, as well as the centuries old plight of Jews,” says Hierlmeier. “Told through a love story and an action-packed odyssey of a family and their closest friends, who are caught in a tragic battle between good and evil. It is a story of personal experiences with characters every reader can identify with.”
“With deft skill often found in good fiction, Hierlmeier masterfully creates a sweeping epic anchored by strong characters. The accurate and poignant historical references are sure to delight any historical reader.”Red City Review
A veteran of the Vietnam War, and a businessman as President and CEO for many years, Glen Thomas Hierlmeier has drawn inspiration from his experiences to pursue his passion of penning historical fiction. Glen retired in 2009 to devote his full-time attention to his grandchildren and his writing. He resides with his wife, RuthAnn, in Bakersfield, California.  He has written three other books including Thoughts From Yesterday: Moments to Remember, We Had to Live: We Had No Choice…, and Honor and Innocence: Against the Tides of War, the prequel to Lazlo’s Revenge.  A fourth book, Tapestry, was co-authored with RuthAnn.
For further information, to request a review copy, or to set up an interview with Glen Thomas Hierlmeier, please contact Kelsey McBride at Book Publicity Services at Kelsey@BookPublicityServices.com or 805.807.9027.

 

Lazlo’s Revenge by Glen Hierlmeier

Lazlo’s Revenge
Glen Hierlmeier’s latest historical romance novel, Lazlo’s Revenge, is the story of one woman’s adventure throughout Europe to uncover her parents’ pasts.  Stories of romance, war, and traumas both physical and emotional are unearthed as she traces their footsteps back to the major sites of World Wars I and II.
Lazlo’s Revenge follows Maxine “Max” Fischer, a writer and Swiss war correspondent, whose parents (Hank and Roberta Fischer, the main characters from Hierlmeier’s previous book, Honor and Innocence) lived through the tragedies of the Great World Wars.
In Lazlo’s Revenge, Max sets out on an adventure throughout Europe to uncover her parents’ pasts and see the very places where they survived on their odyssey to escape danger and death. Stories of romance, war, and traumas are unearthed as she traces their footsteps back to the major sites of World Wars I and II.
During her journey, Max becomes fascinated by the people who influenced her parents’ lives. She follows the life and times of Lazlo Floznik, the man who saved her parents and helped them escape catastrophe in Europe by seeking out refuge beyond the reach of the security forces that sought to imprison them.  The years leading up to World War I, the time between the wars, and the experiences of World War II reveal their secrets as Max explores her family roots, in this deeply emotional story tied together by Lazlo’s intense story of love, and that of his father, Miklos, before him.

 

Praise:
Any reader who enjoys historical fiction, romance, war stories, and stories with action and adventure, should definitely give Lazlo’s Revenge a read. I am pleased to be able to recommend this book to any such reader. I am also looking forward to reading more from the promising author, Glen Hierlmeier, as soon as I possibly can!” – 4 Stars, Reviewed by Tracy A. Fischer for Readers’ Favorite
“With deft skill often found in good fiction, Heirlmeier masterfully creates a sweeping epic anchored by strong characters. The accurate and poignant historical references are sure to delight any historical reader.” – 4 Stars, Red City Review

 

Excerpt:
Chapter 1: Bukovina
 
August 1914
Czernovitz, Bukovina
Austro-Hungarian Empire

 

Miklos Floznik
I approached the first houses, gasping for breath, horrified to see the destruction being wrought by round upon round of artillery fusillades. There was no cover to be found. Dazed, I continued running, desperately trying to save myself. I passed perhaps a dozen or more homes laid nearly flat. Mutilated bodies lying all about and the wounded wailing like nothing I had ever heard. As I neared the outskirts of the city, the shelling began again as suddenly as it had stopped. Cannonade pounded in the distance. The earth trembled ferociously at my feet. Turning a corner behind what still stood of the only remaining wall of a large stone building, another round of explosions pounded the city as I leaped down into a now-exposed basement filled with debris from the collapsed upper floors—only one wall and half another standing. Hope drained from me. Each deafening blast shook my senses, sending shards of glass and cracking timbers high into the air with a sickening burst.
Darkness fell quickly in the gloomy gray of dark as I slipped over a broken wall of stones and fell into the pit of the decimated structure. I pushed tightly into a corner of what was once someone’s home, protected from the drenching rain by a small portion of what remained of a badly damaged wall hanging precariously overhead—a welcome but uncertain shelter in the midst of chaos. I pushed tightly back against the cold stone walls on either side, finding as much safety as possible against a new round of explosions that pounded above and around. Each blast shook the skeletal rubble of the house, wrenching stone and wood from tenuous perches and sending more flying debris into the desolate hole that would be their final resting place . . . and perhaps mine as well. I was trapped—I couldn’t move for fear of being crushed in that dreadful place or being shelled to death outside. I pulled my knees to my chin… all I could think to do was pray… and as I prayed… tears came but did not assuage my fear.
Mercifully, with the darkness, silence also descended—even warriors need their rest. Only screams of the wounded and desperate pleas of survivors who searched frantically through the rubble for lost loved ones pierced the cold, wet, bleak night. Soon, darkness also shrouded them in silence, all but the woeful cries of the dying calling out miserably in their hopeless plight—my hopelessness too, I thought. In my corner hideaway, I could see nothing but the black of night illuminated only by the flickering dance of fires burning what remained. I knew without seeing that only rubble lay before me, and there was no hope to be found.
Bombardment of the trenches and the city paved the way for the Russian ground troops, armored cars pulling cannons, and the dreaded Cossack horsemen. I knew they would come—surely, by morning they would come. Everything in their path would be destroyed, everyone who resisted would be killed, and all others would be taken prisoner. There was no doubt. It was their way— what Colonel Eduard Fischer and the Hungarian Army had come to Bukovina to prevent, what I bravely thought we could accomplish was lost. I had not even seen a Russian, but I knew there was no hope of saving anyone. The Kingdom of Bukovina was doomed, and surely none of Austria-Hungary would be safe. With the Hungarian Army defeated and the stronghold city of Czernovitz overrun, no one remained to save us. Even Colonel Fischer might be dead, leaving no leader to stand boldly and hold the remnant together.
In the barren darkness, my youthful excitement as a proud Hungarian soldier on a mission to save the Kingdom of Bukovina, and ultimately the empire, suddenly struck me as a foolish notion. Wearing my uniform once made me very proud, but now I was only frightened and angry. My comrades and I were assured that victory would quickly prevail, but war and death tragically became very real, fearful, foreboding, and final. I questioned myself: Was I a coward to run? Do I really know what bravery is? Do I really know what all these good people are dying for? Do I know what this war is all about? Do I even care about Jews? After all, these people in Bukovina are Jews, many of them. Are they worth the death of so many fresh, hopeful young Hungarian and Austrian men? Are they worth my life?
My head swirled with doubts. My heart ached for answers I didn’t have. Life became too real, too fast. My tortured mind flashed back to the wretched face of the too-young boy, dead in the trench, and the unknown soldier whose bloated corpse had lifted my escape. I sat in my wretched corner and questioned why I had come to such a place—why anyone would engage in such brutality.
Was this worth it… for them… for us… for anyone?
After being drenched for nearly all of three days, the rain finally stopped. The choking smell of charred remains of buildings, gunpowder, and the rotting dead hung heavily in the air. I wished for the rain again, to dilute the ghastly stench. Time slipped slowly by. The dying must have passed through death’s mercy in the eerie silence and the wounded attended to, for as I listened—no sound. Strange, I thought, that in the midst of all this evil, there should be silence. I knew it could not last. Fear grabbed my throat again. My impulse was to get up and go, take action, do something, anything, but my mind held me back—there was nowhere to go, no escape, no hope. The Russian Cossacks would be here by morning—nothing to do but hide and wait, then fight to my death, to salvage whatever honor there might be in resisting.
Below the woeful mute of night, I crouched and cowered. Shivering in fear, my mind drifted back to happier days in Budapest when, as a young boy, I…
Just then!  
Something fell on the far side of the rubble, sounding as if it came from behind the largest pile of debris—perhaps another dislodged stone. I leaned forward to hear and peered vainly into the darkness as my heart leaped in my chest and immense fear gripped me. The worst of my thoughts seized me—the Russians were coming in the night and rooting out survivors! Desperate, I slowly reached to my side, and silently drew out my pistol. Another sound. Someone was moving, and not more than ten meters from me.
I raised my pistol and aimed in the direction of the sounds, I was prepared to shoot anything on sight, at any slight movement—my hands trembled against the trigger. A faint light appeared, flickering behind the rubble, like the light of a small candle casting a very large, daunting shadow around me, barely visible as it slowly danced in the eerie candlelight, nearly scaring the life out of me as my finger tightened on the cold trigger.
Crying—quiet, sorrowful weeping—as if the person hidden by the pile of debris knew she had to be very quiet but could not help herself… clearly a woman, perhaps a very young woman, maybe just a girl. I was still… very still… and listened for perhaps fifteen or even twenty minutes, until the light wavered and died. The soft whimpering continued for a long, long time in the fearful dark that kept me huddled closely against the walls of my corner as though I wished to disappear in its grasp. I would wait. By the dim light of morning, I would see who my companion in that hellacious hole might be. Though I resisted, sometime later I dozed, exhausted, dreamily wishing for the safety of my home in Budapest.
I woke to the constant patter of a dreary rain as the breaking dawn cast a ghastly glow over the destruction strewn around and about me. My eyes fixed toward the sound and the light of a few hours earlier; I listened but… only quiet and stillness… no sound but the steady falling rain.

 

Glen Thomas HierlmeierAbout the Author:
Glen Hierlmeier is a graduate of the United Sates Air Force Academy, and has an MBA from The University of Wisconsin. He served in the U.S. Air Force, where he helped develop the Manned Orbiting Laboratory and the F-15 Eagle fighter aircraft, and gained a deep interest in world affairs and warfare.
He subsequently completed a career as a banker and real estate executive, serving as President and CEO of various companies for over thirty years before retiring in 2009.
Glen enjoys writing historical fiction and has published three other books including Thoughts From Yesterday: Moments to RememberWe Had to Live: We Had No Choice…, and Honor and Innocence: Against the Tides of War, the prequel to Lazlo’s Revenge.
Readers can connect with Glen on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.
For further information, to request a review copy, or to set up an interview or appearance by Glen Hierlmeier, please contact Kelsey McBride at Book Publicity Services at Kelsey@BookPublicityServices.com or 805.807.9027.

 

Author Pamela Sherrod Reveals Involvement in Legal Battle Over Sammy Davis Jr. Estate

Sammy Davis Jr.: The Writer Who Saved His Estate.February 17, 2016 (Sarasota, FL) – Pamela A. Sherrod, a Christian author, screenwriter, and producer, announced today that her memoir, Sammy Davis Jr.: The Writer Who Saved His Estate, is now available for purchase on Amazon. The memoir shares the story of how she unintentionally stumbled into the center of one of Hollywood’s longest and most vicious legal battles and played a vital role in the historic outcome of the Sammy Davis Jr. Estate.
When Sammy Davis Jr. died in 1990, after losing his fight with throat cancer, another war soon erupted, one which threatened to dismantle his legacy and the future of his estate. The $5 million debt that he’d left his widow, Altovise, represented just one chapter in a tumultuous story that was filled with unfathomable glamour, multiple scandals and the treachery that accompanied the greed of their associates.
In 2005, when Sherrod partnered with Altovise Davis to create inspirational and educational family films, she was introduced to the dark side of the entertainment industry. Sammy’s embattled estate teetered between the control of his wife – whose life was wracked by alcoholism – and the two men who were determined to seize it. The tragedies that followed would challenge, not only Sherrod’s faith in God, but the very essence of the work that she’d begun.
In this eye-witness account, Sherrod presents stunning revelations and testimonies about the famous couple’s life – including friends such as Bill Cosby and Elizabeth Taylor – as she documents, not only the final outcome of the Davis estate, but the tragic and triumphant events that preceded it.
“It’s more than just a story about Hollywood, the betrayal of friends, the theft of screenplays, the abandonment of allies and other horrific things that take place there,” says Sherrod.  “It’s Sammy and Altovise’s story, but it’s also my story as a Christian writer. I was pulled into the Sammy Davis Jr. saga, although it wasn’t my intention, and (for better or worse) it made a lasting impression on my life. In many ways, I’m ‘the last little Indian,’ trying to finish the work that Sammy urged Altovise to do, and the work that I’d committed myself to do.”
Pamela lives in Sarasota, FL, where she’s raising her daughter. To learn more, go to: SammyDavisJrTheWriterWhoSavedHisEstate.com
For further information, to request a review copy, or to set up an interview or appearance by Pamela Sherrod, please contact Kelsey McBride at Book Publicity Services at bookpublicityservices@gmail.com or 805.807.9027.
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Guardian of Paradise by W. E. Lawrence

GUARDIAN OF PARADISE BOOK COVERGuardian of Paradise, by W. E. Lawrence, is a historical romance novel filled with action, adventure, suspense, and intrigue. It was published in October 2014 and is available for sale on Amazon.
“Lawrence blends romance, action, and beautiful scenery into an alluring concoction.” – Kirkus Reviews

 

Synopsis:
In 1888, Kira Wall, surviving daughter of missionaries swept away in a tsunami, lives a primitive, but enjoyable life with natives on an isolated island in the South Pacific. But her serene world is turned upside down when an Australian merchant ship, commanded by the sinister Captain Darcy Coleman, arrives with an overabundance of modern and lavish goods. Kira suspects ill intent. Chief Ariki refuses to listen to Kira’s warning, forcing her to uncover the real plan of the captain on her own. Unfortunately, she has a distraction. A six-foot tall, blond, and handsome distraction. Trevor Marshall, doctor and botanist, hopes to find exotic plants on the island to research new cures and medicines. He is dedicated to science, but when meeting the strong-willed, beautiful Kira Wall, he’d prefer to spend time researching her—all night.
The captain thwarts Kira’s attempts to call him out at every step, turning the village chief against her. With only Trevor and her best friend Malana by her side, she stalks the captain and his officers through the dense, predator infested jungle, toward the island’s inactive volcano. Frustrated by her failure to reveal the captain’s true intentions, Kira begins to think maybe she’s wrong about everything. Then an explosion and earthquake bigger than anyone on the island has ever seen renews her resolve. Was the blast natural or man-made? She is determined to prove it was the captain’s doing. Kira races against time and the island people’s naivety to stop the captain from destroying her home and killing everyone she loves.

 

Excerpt:
Chapter 1
South Pacific island of Alofa, two days sail northeast of Sydney, Australia 1888 
            Kira’s heart leapt to her throat as the blare of the lookout’s conch horn shattered the tranquil morning. Startled blue and red lories sprang, squawking from the palm trees, their wings thrumming the air as they fled. Macaque monkeys jumped limb to limb, screeching and chattering from their jungle perches. Another blast of the trumpet sent even the fiddler crabs on the beach scurrying for the safety of their holes.
            She glanced to the cliff overhead, dropped her fishing net, and rushed up the sandy path toward the island’s observation post. The rest of the villagers would be taking cover until the men determined the extent of the threat. With her pulse pounding and her feet working to find traction on the steep, winding grade, images of pirates raiding the village flashed through her mind. The horror of women and children screaming while their men fought to protect them with only spears and clubs sent the chill of danger up her spine.
            When she reached the large flat rock high above the harbor, she found the stocky form of Kupe, the tribal chief’s son, standing with hands on hips, his black Polynesian eyes fixed on the bay. Wearing only a pair of worn, light-colored pants, extending mid-calf and a cloth headband to hold back his wiry dark hair, he remained still.
            “What is it, Kupe?”
            “Ah big ship is com’n in tee harbor,” he answered without turning.
            “A large ship is coming into the harbor,” she corrected. She squinted into the morning glare of the sun. “Are they pirates?”
            She studied the movements of the enormous shiny wood boat with three tall masts. Two wide painted stripes, one cream at the waterline and one black just above, encircled the ship. A complicated system of shroud rigging hung like webbing from the cross spars down to the deck rails.
            “I do not think so.  Ship is too big,” answered Kupe. “Tey have dropped their sails. Tey come in slow. Not hurry.”
            She lifted her hand to shade her eyes. Men lined the ship’s bow, all clothed in the same white bell bottom pants and loose-fitting gray striped shirts. Peering into the clear water, they tried to determine the depth of the harbor.
            “They fly the Australian flag and take their time.  Pirates not tat careful.”
            Kira spotted the dark blue fabric flapping in the breeze above the quarterdeck; the British Southern Cross embroidered in the upper left corner. Her heart sank. “If they’re who I think they are, they might as well be pirates. In fact, it would probably be better if they were.”
            Kupe turned his head and gave her his big brother-like stare. She and Kupe were not related, in fact, Kira was originally from Australia. Still they shared the same competitive bond of siblings. “What are you talk’n about, Kira?”
            “I’m afraid it’s one of those merchant ships from Sydney. They’ve come to trade.”
            “Tat would be good news. Tey have come to trade goods for our crops.”
            She fought the sour feeling in the pit of her stomach. “If we let them, they will take a lot more than we have to give.”
            Kupe’s eyes narrowed. “Our crops are plentiful. There is more than enough to trade.”
            “You don’t understand. We have to be careful. Most of these merchants are selfish and greedy. They’ll take advantage of our people.”
            The corner of his mouth turned up in the hint of a smile. “Tey will not be that bad.”
            “They will be, if we let them. What’s even worse, they think nothing of tramping our fields while they’re gathering the fruit, leaving them scarred.”
            He shook his head. “You always think tee worst.”
            She glared sideways. “I know what I’m talking about. My parents warned me of these kinds of people. I’ve seen for myself what they have done. I was young, but I saw the damage they cause.”
            He turned his gaze back to the ship. “We can take care of ourselves.”
            Kira grabbed him by the shoulders and turned him forcing him to look her in the eyes. “Listen to me. If this were a ship of raiders, I know our men would protect us. But this is different. Worst of all, the more merchants who find out about us, the more outsiders will come. Our home will never be the same and we have nowhere else to go.”
            He shrugged free of her grasp. His large flat nostrils flared. “You make no sense. Tradors have come here before. Our people have pleasure in their visits. It has been a long time since tee last merchants came.”
            She dropped her arms. “It hasn’t been long enough.”
            Glancing down, Kupe held out his hands. “Look at my pants. Tat is how long it has been. I hope tey brought new ones.”
            Though he had a strong build, his round brownish-tan belly threatened to burst the tattered breeches. Everything about Kupe was big; his head, body, even legs. They matched his huge heart and his consuming desire to provide for his people. Kupe being the future ruler of the tribe, Kira only feared for his overtrusting nature and inability to perceive a disguised threat.
            Looking at his worn pants, she would have laughed if she weren’t so angry. “You just don’t see the danger.”
            Kupe set his jaw. “Enough, as long as the outsidors show us tey mean no harm, tey will be treated as guests. We will welcome them.”
            “But-”
            “I said enough. We must call off the warning and greet our visitors before I tell Chief Ariki they have come. He will want to prepare to meet their leadors.”
            She smirked. “Your father is also too trusting of strangers.”
            Kupe shook his head again. “Our people had visitors long before you came… good and bad. You should have more faith in people.” He turned down the path toward the harbor beach, then stopped and looked over his shoulder. “Are you com’n?”
            She picked up a stone and with a loud grunt, hurled it over the cliff. “Yes, I’m coming.”
***
Author W. E. LawrenceAbout the Author:
W. E. Lawrence graduated in 1978 from the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill with a BS in business administration. He has run a successful home health care supplies distributorship for the past twenty-three years.
Passionate about God, writing, reading, family, sports, politics, and America, Lawrence currently lives in Davidson, North Carolina, with his lovely wife and their two wonderful children.
E. Lawrence enjoys writing historical romance novels filled with action and adventure. He published his debut novel Guardian of Paradise in October 2014. To learn more, go to http://welawrenceauthor.wix.com/author
Readers can connect with W. E. Lawrence on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.
For more information, to request a review copy, or to set up an interview or appearance by W. E. Lawrence, please contact Kelsey McBride at Book Publicity Services at Kelsey@BookPublicityServices.com or 805.807.9027.

New Historical Fiction Novel ‘Almost a Millennium’

Almost a Millennium by Jeanbill
Almost a Millennium is an eclectic novel about the unlikely connection between an English monk and an American physician that lived nearly 1,000 years apart, one of today and one in the medieval period. It begins at their birth, traveling through time to their adulthood.
Using cryptography, Paul, a monk at Llanthony Abbey in Wales, writes a four-page document about his life and a harsh critique of the crusades. He places his writings in safekeeping in the hope that it will survive the crusades and eventually land in the hands of someone who can decipher his secrets. When Fred unexpectedly comes across Paul’s book and ciphers Paul’s cryptic message, he has no idea that four pages of millennial history will challenge him to rethink Christianity.
Almost a Millennium by Jeanbill is a deeply compelling historical fiction novel. Although a work of fiction, the story is a depiction of England’s history and the power dynamics at the time. It is a richly detailed story and many times I found myself forgetting that I was reading a work of fiction as the historical events described felt very authentic. The setting of the story and the character development were simply amazing as we dived into Paul and Fred’s compelling background stories. Paul and Fred were two people so different and yet so alike. The pace of the story was set from the beginning and this held true to the very last page. Jeanbill used a unique and very captivating style in developing this story.” – Reviewed by Faridah Nassozi for Readers’ Favorite

 

Excerpt from Almost a Millennium:
CHAPTER ONE
This evening the wind will be gusting to forty miles an hour. No rain in sight, but a rapidly moving cloud cover will probably hide tonight’s full moon that will be directly above us for a few short hours. If you are lucky and outdoors, you may be able to catch a glimpse of the moon if there is a break in the cloud cover.” Fred reached to shut off his favorite radio station, knowing he would not be hearing this weatherman again.
It was a few minutes past eight o’clock; two hours before, the sun had disappeared over the western horizon. The wind was blowing the clouds swiftly, shutting out the full moonlight above. Occasionally, a brief flash reflected from the landscape, lighting the grassy areas, tall trees in the distance, and rows of bushes along the expressway. The road was free of vehicles as far as Fred could see.
When the sun had set the day before, he had finally decided that it was the time to make a decision. He had all night to think about how to solve his problem of atheism versus God, but was not being able to do so. At long last, he decided upon a solution, knowing what to do and how to do it. He felt immediate relief. Later that day, he went to the hospital and to the clinic to sign all the charts that required his signature. He felt it was his obligation to be caught up with all the paperwork that needed his attention. He had the time that day to vacuum some of the floors and clean all the dishes that needed washing. He wanted to wait until it was dark, for traffic would be minimal on the freeway.
Helen had decided to leave Friday morning for her sister’s home. She, too, would have time to gather her thoughts and to make some decision about the future of her marriage to Fred. He had not told her what the problem was; they had had the same argument again. This time Helen told Fred that he would have to explain himself and verbally respond to her questions of “What’s wrong?” and “Why don’t you talk to me?” She had always felt close to him since their marriage, although an occasional brief period of pensiveness bothered her during that time. For the last month, Fred appeared to be more preoccupied. At first it was only once in a while, lasting only a few hours—then he was back to his usual outgoing and cheerful self. But now he had been moody all day long for the past several days.
Fred knew what the problem was, but he could not explain it to Helen. She would not understand. He had told her no problems existed at the medical clinic where he treated patients. But, what he did tell her was that his problem was indirectly related to his bi-monthly (bimestrial) meetings with a group of friends sharing the same interests–timely topics, such as atheism, religion, politics, chaos theory, and evolution. Fred had told her he’d been happily studying these subjects for years. Not knowing the specifics of what they studied, she felt he looked pleased about attending the meetings with his friends. He believed in atheism, and topics regarding that subject or religion always seemed to make him uncomfortable. Finally, Helen was able to force Fred to talk about his real problem.
Happiness pervaded Fred’s love for Helen ever since he’d met her six years earlier. Within a year, they were married, and life had continued to be content until a few months ago when he was exposed to that “book.” It appeared now that he was not enjoying the everyday tasks, not listening carefully to his patients and medical peers, and not attending Helen as he had done in the past. His world had become topsy-turvy and what he thought he proved as true may have been other- wise. This mental alteration began when he first deciphered the secret writings in the last four pages of the “book.”
Up until the last few months, he had plotted his whole life from the time he was in college through medical school, his first marriage, his successful practice, and his esteemed position in the community. He achieved these goals with a keen ability to manipulate the people close to him, meaning he was in complete control. Just two achievements were not manipulated: his second marriage when he fell completely in love with Helen, having no desire to exploit her, and the “other matter” that seemed to have taken control of him.
A little over six feet, broad shoulders, brown hair with streaks of gray consistent with his age in the early forties, a friendly smile most of the time, and that sparkle in the eyes that would attract others—-these physical attributes characterized Fred. His “other matter” reached its climax a month ago after breaking the code in the “book.” At that time, his demeanor changed, fights began with his wife, he lost interest in his surroundings, and rapidly descended from despondency to deep depression.
Driving at seventy miles an hour, Fred did not notice the botanical life that he passed and the fast moving clouds with occasional lunar light streaking the darkness. He was driving for only one fanatical reason. He was searching for the panacea that would relieve his anger, his fear, his frustration, and the depression that seemed to have consumed his life. The overpass was one mile ahead. At its base, massive cylindrical cement supports were in place adjacent to the highway. In the distance, they were barely visible but became larger and closer as he began accelerating faster and faster. No cars were in view, which gave him some relief. No one would see the crash, and there would be no harm to drivers of other automobiles. Moving his right hand from the steering wheel, reaching down to his seat belt and unlatching it, he began to veer his new red sedan diagonally across the other two lanes, directing the car to the closest brightly lit pillar by the car’s high beams. It was dark out; the clouds on high appeared thick, hiding any traces of moonlight. In only a few seconds, he would be relieved of the depression and heavy burden he’d carried for the past month. He finally would be at rest–clear- headed at last. Closer and closer, it was now time!
Where did it come from? The sky was dark like a moonless night. The moon could not be seen, but there was that flashing, sustained light that appeared brightly in the windshield blinding him. Suddenly, he turned the steering wheel in a clockwise motion, not knowing why! A strange, steady sensation electrified his whole body from his hands to his feet. Driving to the right shoulder of the highway, he braked the car to a stop and turned off the ignition.
Sweating profusely, he wiped his hands on a towel lying on the floor mat. What was I thinking, did I really want to take my life? I was so ready to end it and would have, except for that damn flash of light coming from nowhere. It must have been the moonlight shining through a break in the clouds. Why did I make the decision to commit suicide instead of working things out? Everyone has his breaking point or a point of no return, and I must have reached it, but this time that flash of light prevented my reaching the goal of finality. Could Chaos theory explain this experience, a small movement of a cloud results in saving my life.
While sitting in the car, his heart rate was decreasing to normalcy, the perspiration had ceased, and a generalized calm pervaded his body–a feeling he had never experienced in his life. Was this the type of sensation Paul had? It could have been but certainly of lesser quality.
Why did he want to end his life? He had a successful career. He had no financial worries, well respected by his peers, happy with his practice, happy with his new wife, and pleased that he accomplished so much since the death of his mother. He enjoyed all these endeavors until the “book.” Then, it seemed everything began to disintegrate, not all at once, but slowly, like an insidious disease. He thought about past incidents in his life that could have started him toward the point of no return: the death of his parents, the desire to become a physician, his first wife, his second wife, his sometimes fanatical promotion of atheism, or did it begin with Paul who lived a thousand years ago?
Fred started his car, found the nearest turnoff, returned to the freeway, and headed back home. As soon as he reached home, he went to the telephone to call Helen. Her sister answered and gave the telephone to his wife. He said, “Helen, we have to talk.”

 

Author Jeanbill HeadshotAbout the Author:
Jeanbill has been associated with medicine for more than 50 years, practicing as a general practitioner. He studied many hours in the medieval library of University of Notre Dame, researched and wrote over a period of 20 years in his spare time.
His debut novel Almost a Millennium was published in January 2015 and is available for sale on Amazon. Genres: Historical Fiction / Medieval / Religion
Jeanbill resides in Lynden, WA. Married to his other half for 57 years until cancer separated them, he has four children and 14 grandchildren.
Readers can connect with him on Goodreads, Facebook, and Twitter.
For further information, to request a review copy of Almost a Millennium, or to interview Jeanbill, please contact Kelsey McBride at Book Publicity Services at info@bookpublicityservices.com or 805.807.9027.