Out of the Fire and into the Pan: Sequel to the Blood on My Hands

Shannon O’Leary recently announced the release of her latest book Out of the Fire and into the Pan, a sequel to The Blood on My Hands. Genres: True Crime / Memoir
Set in 1960s and ‘70s Australia, The Blood on My Hands tells the dramatic tale of Shannon O’Leary’s childhood years, growing up with an abusive father, who was also a serial killer. No one, not even the authorities, would help O’Leary and her family. The responses of those whom O’Leary and her immediate family reached out to for help are almost as disturbing as the crimes of her violent father. Relatives were afraid to bring disgrace to the family’s good name, nuns condemned the child’s objections as disobedience and noncompliance, and laws at the time prevented the police from interfering unless someone was killed.
The Blood on My Hands is a heartbreaking—yet riveting—narrative of a childhood spent in pain and terror, betrayed by the people who are supposed to provide safety and understanding. The strength and courageous resilience it took for O’Leary to not just survive and escape from her father, but to flourish, thrive, and triumph over the unimaginable trauma she endured as a child is both powerful and moving.
The Blood on My Hands is a powerful, dark memoir… This is a story that is going to remain in my mind for a long time.” – Readers’ Favorite
“The confusion, uncertainty, and sickening foreboding ring true and offer vital insights into the experience of abuse, including the fact that victims had few options, especially in the 1960s.”  – Kirkus Reviews
In her sequel, Out of the Fire and into the Pan, Shannon explains to the reader how she progressed into the adult world while coming to terms with her terrifying past. Out of the Fire and into the Pan takes the reader on a personal journey where Shannon questions herself, her past, her choice of relationships and her place in the world. It is a story of resilience, accomplishment and personal triumph.
“Out of the Fire is relentlessly gut-wrenching and almost too wild to believe…” – Red City Review

Excerpt from Out of the Fire and into the Pan:
After my book The Blood on My Hands was published, it became obvious that people wanted to know more about my story. Those of you who have read my first book will know that what seemed “normal” to me as a child was horrific abuse.
“Why did the book stop at age fifteen?” This question was asked to me by countless people and interviewers. “What happened in your adult life, and how did you cope?”
The questions made me think. “Why did I stop where I did in the first book? Why didn’t I just keep on with the story?” The truth was, it seemed too painful and difficult to write at the time. Besides, I had written most of The Blood on My Hands during my teenage years and twenties. Later, when I finished the book, and my life had taken the irregular twists and turns of adulthood, I had innumerable notes, songs, poems, and diary entries I had kept, but collating them seemed an onerous task. As an adult, I had children of my own, and my adult past seemed too close to write about.
When I wrote about my childhood, I had countless diary entries and memories that I had locked into my “Dad” basket. It was a story about what I had witnessed and what had happened to me, not about what had become of me and how my childhood torment affected me as an adult. I described how I was an onlooker to his brutal killings and how I was subjected to sexual abuse. I told of my mother’s torment and how she saved our lives by fleeing the perpetrator. I also explained how my mother and other people I met along the way helped me to realise that with an education and by asking questions, I could reach a better potential and seek a different perspective in my life.
I had always intended on writing my second book, the continuing story of how my life unfolded, but it seemed too arduous and complicated. To continue my story, I needed to breathe and think, to regroup my thoughts and feelings, read through my writings and notes from the past forty-five years, and weigh up the effect my continuing story would have on my family. But after being asked countless times, “What happened to you as an adult?” I decided that it was important for others who have experienced trauma to read and see how others cope in life. In my childhood, there were no therapists or child protection teams to intervene and save me. Nor were there any laws to enforce that domestic violence was a crime. We were a poor family who lived in an isolated bushland area; we were charity children who went to school under the umbrella of a judgmental Catholic system. My childhood was enshrouded in a “fend for yourself and crawl out of the hole” mentality.
I also lived with the ever-present fear of being taken away from my mother. I had heard a conversation at school when I was five years old. A new girl named Rosie had come to my school, and, for the first time in my life, I had someone to play with. My euphoria lasted only a few days, because Rosie didn’t come back to school. At first, I thought she must be sick, but then I heard my mother in a conversation with another parent.
“Where’s Rosie?” she asked.
“Don’t you know? She’s been taken away.” My heart fell.
“‘Taken away’? Why?”
“Her father was interfering with her, and she has been put into care.”
Afterwards, I asked my mother what “care” meant, and she explained that if a parent can’t look after their child, the government can take them away.
“What did Rosie’s father do?” I asked, with questions and guilty thoughts panicking my mind.
“He touched her where he shouldn’t have” was my mother’s answer.
With guilty heart pounding, I knew what happened to children if they disclosed the truth.
They will come and take me away, and I will never see my mother again, I thought.
I can see my broken self, shelved away and mended so many years ago. It is being pulled tightly from end to end. The scars are stretched so tightly that they are leaking ever so slightly . . . trickling the blood of the silenced child and making me feel deeply saddened. I often wonder if I’ll ever get over the fear of disclosure, the fear of allowing others to see who I really am. The fear of other people laughing at me, ridiculing me, and saying, “Oh, you made it all up!”
It’s a terrible thing, fear. It eats into my heart and makes me feel totally vulnerable. My formative years were sculpted by violence, piteously carved into my psyche and furiously shaped by the madman I called “father.” To grow up, I had to reorder my thinking and attempt to trust others. I had to rearrange my trauma, which was webbed in fear and self-doubt, and compartmentalize it by placing it firmly in the past. Unfortunately, this stone sarcophagus can still be opened in a millisecond by triggers. I can be thrown back into a place where I want to hide under a bed or in a cupboard, somewhere small, where only I can crawl inside. A place where I can safely say, “I don’t want to share this with the world. I just want to be left alone.”
People often ask me, “How did you come through it? How did you raise yourself up out of the trauma? How did you get over seeing such violence?”
The truth is I didn’t get over it. There is a sadness that lurks in the murky corners of my mind, challenging me daily. Each day presents itself as a small battle, but I try to steer my life in a positive direction. I liken my life to learning the violin. It can be all scratchy and excruciatingly unpleasant one day and reasonably tuneful the next. At times, my life has been hard, complicated and soul-destroying, yet it has also brought me moments of great joy and happiness.
My first book, The Blood on My Hands, was exceedingly painful to write. It spoke about the atrocities my father committed and how I bore witness to his acts of terror and mutilation. It was difficult to tell the truth and announce to the world, “My father was a murderer.” It is even more difficult to disclose the abuse I endured as a child. I am fifty-eight years old now. When I look back over the years, I can see how my life was shaped by my twisted formative beginnings. In this book, I attempt to reveal how I tried to take control of my life, while often being hurled back into the past by triggers and subconscious pre-conditioning. My life has been a series of steppingstones where I have walked forwards, trying to make better choices, unravelling the confusion and chaos of the past. As I look back, I can see how my childhood has affected my relationships with others and how my father’s conditioning shaped my view of what is acceptable and defined my concept of normality…
“What made me the way I am today, and how did I get here?”
I look back at my younger years and can see my initial confusion when embarking on relationships. I can also see how my father’s influence crept into different liaisons and warped my perception of what I felt and how I dealt with different situations. My father had a “knock on” effect, and his actions bore testament in my adult life. This book is about personal growth and change, as I tried to fix the lifetime’s worth of damage he bequeathed me. It tells how I was fortunate to have survived and how I created new steppingstones to rebuild myself.

•••


About the Author:
Shannon O’Leary is a prolific writer and performer. She is the author of several books of poetry and children’s stories, and she has won many awards for song-writing.
Shannon has acted and directed on the stage and on Australian national TV, and she runs her own production company.
She has numerous graduate and post-graduate degrees in education, music, and science. She is a teacher and academic, has five children with her deceased former husband, and lives with her longtime partner in Sydney, Australia.
Her memoir The Blood on My Hands was published in February 2016. It is available for sale on on Amazon.
Readers can connect with Shannon on FacebookTwitterGoodreads.
For further information, to request a review copy, or to set up an interview, please contact Kelsey at Book Publicity Services at Kelsey@BookPublicityServices.com or 805.807.9027.

Those Three Words by Christine Bauer

those three words‘Those Three Words: A birthmother’s story of choice, chance, and motherhood’ by Christine Bauer will be released in May 2018 – for Mother’s Day.
There are three words that, when uttered together, make dreams come true for millions of women. For millions more, those same words can shatter their dreams.  “You are pregnant.”
Almost half of all pregnancies in the United States — some 3.1 million each year —are unintended. Among unmarried women in their 20s, seven out of 10 pregnancies are unplanned.
Author Christine Bauer’s memoir Those Three Words: A birthmother’s story of choice, chance and motherhood takes a deep dive into the emotions of facing an unplanned pregnancy at the tender age of 18.
Those Three Words takes readers along on the journey of weighing options, agonizing over a decision, and ultimately deciding to let another family adopt and raise her baby.  This story also looks at how placing a child for adoption affected the rest of her life, especially when she became the mother of two boys.  Those Three Words touches on the controversial topics of abortion and adoption, birth control, and women’s rights.
This story will resonate with millions of readers because women know and understand the joy and pain of pregnancy and motherhood, love and loss, and the power of family and parental love.

What Readers Are Saying:
“Bauer deftly addresses one of the most wrenching and emotional decisions one might confront: how to respond to an unexpected pregnancy. With candor and grace she leads readers on a thought-provoking journey filled with unexpected twists and turns. I couldn’t put it down.” – Caryn M. Sullivan, Author of “Bitter or Better: Grappling With Life on the Op-Ed Page,” winner of the 2015 Midwest Book Award for Inspiration.
“On its surface, Christine Bauer’s Those Three Words is an engrossing memoir detailing a young birthmother’s hard path toward fulfillment and happiness. But even stronger currents race deeper down, about the difficulty of acceptance, the power of family, and the nature of love. Reading it is a moving and unforgettable experience.” – Jack El-Hai, Author and past President of the American Society of Journalists and Authors
“As a young girl, I was proud to be adopted. I was chosen. Then, after giving birth to my first child, I paused and was overcome with grief. How could any loving woman give up a baby? Chrisy’s book helped me understand the love, agony, and courage needed to be a birth mother, to do what’s right for yourself, and for the helpless human you’ve brought into the world.” – Lory Sutton, Chief Marketing Officer, Minnesota Historical Society

Excerpt from Chapter 1:                     
Late September 1984
Overdose Warning. My index finger landed on these two words. I tilted the box to reduce the fluorescent lights’ glare as it flickered across the small typeface.
Once the words came into focus, I scanned them quickly:
TYLENOL® PM relieves your pain fast so you can sleep and feel refreshed after a good night’s rest.
I didn’t want an overdose warning; I wanted overdose advice. I wanted to know what to take so I would a sleep for an eternity.
I would need to take more than just the Tylenol to be sure it worked, so I decided I should combine the pills with Nyquil. Yes, together, these would create my own little annihilation cocktail.
But would buying these two products together look suspect at the checkout counter? The cashier could ask, “Hey, girl, are you planning to kill yourself?
And then I could say: “Yes, you asshole, I am. I’m pregnant and I’m desperate and this is the solution that causes the least pain for everyone in the long run.
And it’s none of your fucking business,” I’d add.
One by one, I took the packages off the shelf—two of each—and placed them gently in the red plastic shopping basket draped across my left arm.
“Excuse me,” a middle-aged lady said suddenly, startling me. She smiled and nodded at me. I stepped aside so she could reach out and take her own box of sleep aids from the shelf. I was sure she was really going to use hers to sleep and not to kill herself, but I guess you never know.
As I moved over for her, I reached deep down inside my soul and pulled out a smile in return. I hadn’t smiled for days, but this woman made me think of my mom, whose gentle face entered my mind like an uninvited but welcome guest.
I meandered through the drugstore aisles. Before now I’d never thought much about the number of products that were available to solve your problems. There were products to take away body odor, products to make your skin soft, products to get rid of zits and stop bleeding. There were tablets to freshen your breath and capsules to make your headache go away. There were pills to make you sleep, and even kill yourself if you wanted.
But there was nothing to make a pregnancy disappear.
As I passed the plethora of feminine hygiene supplies, I thought of the pretty pink box of Playtex tampons that sat unopened in my dorm-room closet. It had taunted me over the past few weeks, especially this morning. I’d thought of the many times over the years that I’d hated having to open those boxes, having to deal with the inconvenience and hassle of a period. Now opening that box would seem like opening a very special gift.
I moved on from tampons to chips. I stood in a daze in front of the Doritos, Fritos, Old Dutch potato chips, and other unhealthy snacks. The bags lounged in their steel racks, just waiting to be picked up. The Fritos looked good—they always looked good—so I grabbed a bag, placing it strategically into my basket to cover the boxes of Tylenol and Nyquil. I also grabbed some Doritos. What the hell? I may as well eat all I want. I’d been dieting for years—most of my life, really. Another curse of being a girl, and a childhood gymnast at that.
As I approached the checkout counter, the collage of women’s magazines reinforced the ideal body image that had bombarded me most of my life. Headlines blared: “Lose 10 pounds in 2 weeks!” “Get a flat tummy fast!” “Thinner thighs in 30 days!” None of that mattered anymore.
The guy at the counter was about my age, and I was relieved that he didn’t seem fazed by my strange combination of items—I threw in a Toblerone chocolate bar at the last minute to add to the mix as he rang up the sale.
“Thanks,” I said, avoiding his eyes. I didn’t want this guy to feel bad later on when the authorities figured out he was the one who sold me the ingredients for my permanent nightcap.
Plastic bag clutched tightly in my hand, I headed back out to the outdoor mall area of downtown Mankato, Minnesota. I took a seat on one of the wooden benches that dotted the sidewalk and dug my Marlboro Lights out of my backpack. It was about my tenth cigarette for the day, and it wasn’t even noon. I lit up and took a deep, long drag.
God, I hoped this was the right way to do this. This is not something I can screw up; I don’t want to screw up again. But I was damned either way. “Thou shalt not kill,” the commandment said. Nowhere did it specify, “Thou shalt not kill yourself,” but the nuns had made it clear: you do that and you’ll burn in hell. But what made them know everything? Hell, the church didn’t even respect them, so why should I?
Maybe a gun would be a better choice than pills. There were plenty at home, as I came from a family of hunters. I pictured myself back at home, unlocking the gun cabinet and taking a shotgun from the rack. I’d sneak back to my bedroom, position myself on the bed with the yellow-and-green daisy-print bedspread. Then I’d pull the trigger. It would be fast. And it was more of a sure thing.
But it would be so awful for whoever would find me—and unfortunately, that person would most likely be my mom. She was always home. Always there for us.
I put my head in my hands and rubbed my temples, careful not to burn my hair with my cigarette. No, I couldn’t do that. My mom was just too nice and too sweet for me to do that to her. To find her baby like that would be awful—red blood and grey matter with bits of blonde hair splattered against the beautiful daisy bedspread.
I took another deep drag and looked up. The sign “Someplace Else” hung there, laughing at me.
Just last week, my new friends and I had been in Someplace Else, one of the more happening bars downtown. Laughing, dancing, talking, flirting—we’d been on top of the world that night, the same as every night since school had began. It was a dream come true, being at college and on my own.
Now here I was at the same spot, this time at bottom. In just a few weeks I had tumbled from straddling the high board of life to lying at the bottom of the pool. Just last week I was a freshman in love with my friends and my new life. Now, I sat here wondering how many sleeping pills I should take to end my life.
I’d already sorted through my options:
Option 1: Give up college. Get married. Live in Mitchell. Be a mom.
Option 2: Have the baby. Be a single parent. Live with my parents in the town I had so desperately wanted to leave.
Option 3: Have an abortion. Don’t tell anyone. Ever. Go on with life.
Option 4: Grow the baby. Have the baby. Give it to some strangers to raise.
But none of these seemed right. It also didn’t even seem right that I was having to make this decision at all. I had used birth control. I had only slept with Jim, my boyfriend from back home, about five times—that wasn’t much! Especially not compared to all my friends. But here I was. Which is how I ended up at Option 5.

Christine BauerAbout the Author:
Christine (Chris) Bauer was born and raised in the big small town of Mitchell, South Dakota. She feels blessed to have grown up in a place and time when childhood was carefree, when kids left the house in morning and returned in the evening, and in between rode bikes, built forts, and played baseball and Barbies. While she loved her hometown, Chris was eager to move on to new adventures after graduating high school.
Chris attended Mankato State University in Minnesota, majoring in Mass Communications. Her dream was to one day be part of a Woodward and Bernstein-type team who saved the world through ground-breaking journalism.  Soul searching and need for employment led her to a gratifying career in corporate communications, public relations and marketing. Chris has loved reading and writing for as long as she can remember.
Her greatest achievement and most profound joy is being the mother of three kind-hearted children and one beautiful and spirited grandchild. In addition to being a mom and grandma of humans, Chris is also the proud mom to one very spoiled dog and two equally spoiled granddogs. She admits there were moments in the motherhood journey where she preferred the canines.
She resides in the Minneapolis area. While her nest is nearly empty now, she loves that the flock returns regularly for food and shelter. Those Three Words is her first book. It is currently available for pre-sale. To learn more, go to https://www.authorcbauer.com/

Authors Nikki DuBose and Shannon Kopp Announce Carlsbad Book Launch

Nikki DuBoseNikki DuBose and Shannon Kopp will be holding a joint book launch event on October 27, 2016 at the Montecatini Outpatient Office in Carlsbad. The event is from 6:00 – 8:00PM and is open to the public.
Nikki DuBose, a former model turned author, speaker, and mental health advocate, recently released her memoir, Washed Away: From Darkness to Light. In Washed Away, Nikki recounts her experiences navigating the dark side of the modeling industry, while battling abuse, addiction, and various mental health issues.
“By my early twenties, I was modeling professionally and appeared on the covers of and in editorials for magazines such as MaximGlamourVogueFHM, and Vanity Fair. But while my career was going well, my mental and emotional health were in shambles. I went from one extreme to the other to meet weight requirements for photo shoots, and quickly fell into anorexia nervosa. At times I struggled to survive, beginning to abuse diet pills as a way to achieve the figure that my agents were pushing me to have for fashion shoots,” says Nikki.
Nikki’s recovery from a nearly lifelong struggle with PTSD, psychosis, addictions and eating disorders has left her with a passionate longing to help others who are also suffering. Washed Away serves as a testimony to others to let them know that they are not alone in their fears, doubts, and frustrations, and that through recovery all things are possible.
Shannon Kopp has also struggled with eating disorders. For seven years, Shannon Kopp battled the silent, horrific, and all-too-common disease of bulimia. Then, at twenty-four, she got a job working at the San Diego Humane Society and SPCA, where in caring for shelter dogs, she found the inspiration to heal and the courage to forgive herself. With the help of some extraordinary, homeless animals, Shannon realized that her suffering was the birthplace of something beautiful – compassion. In her memoir, Pound for Pound, Shannon shares her poignant story of hope, resilience, and the spiritual healing animals bring to our lives. Pound for Pound vividly reminds us that animals are more than just friends and companions-they can teach us how to savor the present moment and reclaim our joy.
To learn more about the event, go to https://www.eventbrite.com/e/nikki-dubose-shannon-kopp-book-signing-new-date-oct-27-tickets-26909526117
For media inquiries, please contact Kelsey Butts at Book Publicity Services at (805) 807-9027 or kelsey@bookpublicityservices.com.

 

With Ballet in My Soul: Adventures of a Globetrotting Impresario

With Ballet in My SoulEva Maze’s memoir With Ballet in My Soul: Adventures of a Globetrotting Impresario was published by Moonstone Press LLC in April 2017.
A life spanning close to 100 years is noteworthy, if only because of its longevity. The rich life of a woman committed to a professional vision ahead of its time, filled with glamour, excitement, and adventure, is truly remarkable. Narrated in her own words, this is the story of such a woman, Eva Maze, who, from the time she left Romania as a teenager in 1939, dreamed of being a ballet dancer, and through a series a circumstances, became instead one of the most successful theatrical impresarios in Europe – with a career spanning more than 40 years.
Now in her nineties, Maze looks back at the path and passion that led her from Bucharest to the United States as an immigrant, and then, as a married woman, back again to Europe and Asia, where she found her professional calling.
Set against key historical events of the 20th century, including the building of the Berlin Wall, the massacre at the 1972 Munich Olympic Games, as well as the rise and fall of Pan American Airlines, Maze’s fascinating past is brought to life through a combination of serious commentary and amusing anecdotes about the risks and rewards of the business side of theater and dance, some of the personalities who were part of those worlds from the 1940s to the 1990s, her own motivation for being an impresario, and her personal life. Her narration is supported by more than 250 captivating historical and modern images going back to her birth in 1922.
Representing artists and companies abroad from a vast array of talent in the performing arts of the time – including The Alvin Ailey Dance Company, The Living Theatre, and The Swingle Singers – this unique woman became a prolific producer of more than 100 different types of theatrical programs from the world of dance, music, mime, cabaret, and drama.

Lively, educational, and a fun romp through Europe’s professional circles, With Ballet in My Soul blends the artistry of performance and visual enhancements with an adventurer’s heart to provide a heady mix of travelogue, career journey and personal odyssey that’s hard to put down.  –– Midwest Book Review
This is a well-constructed autobiography about a woman who has accomplished much in her years. With beautiful photographs throughout the book, accompanying a pleasing design that makes the memoir feel as if it is almost a scrapbook, the story is engaging, well-written, and constantly surprising.” –– 5 Stars, Red City Review
“A most impressive book!” –– 5 Stars, Readers’ Favorite

Excerpt:
Chapter 1 – Bucharest
My dreams of becoming a ballerina were shattered when I was diagnosed with scarlet fever in the Spring of 1929. “I can’t see, Mamma. Mamma, I’m blind,” I kept repeating over and over again. My body shook, racked with a very high fever, and I couldn’t stop crying. “It will be fine,” my mother whispered as she held me in her arms.“ The doctor is coming.” My mother’s voice was calm as she tried to soothe me, but nothing she said or did seemed to help. I was seven years old, exhausted, and terrified. In my panic, I remember a doctor coming to our house to deliver the verdict.
It was not unusual in those days for a child my age to come down with scarlet fever, or what was also known as “brain fever.” Usually contracted at school, it would begin with a sore throat and rash, and once diagnosed, the entire family was isolated and quarantined. There were no vaccines or antibiotics then, and the child would often die.
Following a previous misdiagnosis – that of an ear infection – I was finally rushed to the hospital for an operation by a specialist, a 70-year-old ear, nose, and throat surgeon known as Professor Popovici. He ended up breaking the mastoid bones behind my ears to drain the buildup of fluids from my brain. In today’s world, this disease would have successfully been treated with antibiotics, but this was Bucharest, Romania, in 1929, and many medical advances lay in the future. The surgery was successful, and with two scars that, to this day, have remained behind my ears, I am indebted to Dr. Popovici for having saved my eyesight – and my life. While this was to be the most traumatic experience of my childhood, it taught me something perhaps more valuable that has carried me through life: to have courage.
As far back as I can remember, I had dreamt of becoming a ballerina, and though I eventually made a full recovery, my hopes of dancing on stage soon faded when my parents, concerned about my health, refused to allow me to exert myself physically in any way. Ballet classes I had previously taken and thoroughly enjoyed were now forbidden. I was their only child, and had almost died, so their overprotection was perhaps understandable, but I was very disappointed, especially since, prior to my illness, my mother had actually wanted me to study ballet. She had taken me to a ballet performance at the Opera House in Bucharest and, much to my delight, arranged for my first ballet lessons at the age of five. My teacher at the time – an imposing former Russian dancer named Madame Semeonova – thought I had a talent for ballet, and even offered me a scholarship. Once I had recovered completely, she did her best to convince my parents to have me resume my lessons, but they would have none of it. My mother had made up her mind that any strenuous activity, including ballet, would endanger my health.
I did, however, continue to dance around the house on my own, since moving my body to music came naturally to me. We all have different ways of expressing ourselves, and responding to beautiful music physically made me feel romantic and ethereal – as if I were floating on air. It would be another 13 years until I returned to my early love of ballet class when, as a young, married 20-year-old, I began training seriously in New York City. By then, I knew it was too late for me to have a professional career as a ballet dancer, though I continued to have a deep affection for the world of music and dance – and felt an almost mystical connection to it. Little did I know this feeling would eventually lead me to another fascinating career in the performing arts: that of managing and touring other talented dancers and artists. Though I myself would not end up dancing on stage in front of audiences around the world (other than in a few bit parts early in my professional life), I would do my best to work behind the scenes and instead, as what is known as an “impresario,” bring the wonderfully artistic world of dance – and other highly creative theatrical mediums – directly to the myriads of passionate spectators who support them worldwide.

Eva Maze currently resides in Sarasota, Florida.
 Her memoir With Ballet in My Soul: Adventures of a Globetrotting Impresario was published in Spring 2017 by Moonstone Press LLC. It is available for sale on Amazon.
 For further information or to request a review copy, please contact Kelsey Butts at Book Publicity Services at Kelsey@BookPublicityServices.com or 805.807.9027.

 


Washed Away: From Darkness to Light

Washed Away by Nikki Dubose
Nikki DuBose, a former model turned author, speaker, and mental health advocate, recently released her memoir, Washed Away: From Darkness to Light. In Washed Away, Nikki recounts her experiences navigating the dark side of the modeling industry, while battling abuse, addiction, and various mental health issues. She recently appeared on the Oprah Winfrey Network on the TD Jakes Show to speak about her recovery from Body Dysmorphic Disorder and eating disorders, and how the pressure to “fit into” the modeling industry nearly killed her.
“By my early twenties, I was modeling professionally and appeared on the covers of and in editorials for magazines such as MaximGlamourVogueFHM, and Vanity Fair. But while my career was going well, my mental and emotional health were in shambles. I went from one extreme to the other to meet weight requirements for photo shoots, and quickly fell into anorexia nervosa. At times I struggled to survive, beginning to abuse diet pills as a way to achieve the figure that my agents were pushing me to have for fashion shoots,” says Nikki.
Because of the lack of laws and protections, models have long been subjected to sexual and financial abuse, bullying from agents, and have been pressured to lose so much weight that many have developed devastating, even fatal eating disorders. 
Nikki’s recovery from a nearly lifelong struggle with PTSD, psychosis, addictions and eating disorders has left her with a passionate longing to help others who are also suffering. Although the modeling industry has made strides towards body diversity in the past couple of years, there is a lack of education and awareness surrounding eating disorders and other mental health issues. Washed Away: From Darkness to Light serves as a testimony to others to let them know that they are not alone in their fears, doubts, and frustrations, and that through recovery all things are possible.

 

Praise
“A compelling and educational read about the dark side of the fashion business and its effect on mental health. Nikki draws upon her experiences of overcoming a life-threatening eating disorder as she navigates through the industry, all while wrestling with a broken home life and struggling to discover her inner voice.  Nikki’s story is truly remarkable and will serve as a beacon to anyone who has ever doubted their own intrinsic value. I highly recommend Washed Away: From Darkness to Light.”  – Brian Cuban, Attorney, Author (Shattered Image: My Triumph Over Body Dysmorphic Disorder), Activist
“I was truly amazed by her determination to live life. I saw a woman that had every reason to quit and remain silent, but she chose to break through every obstacle that challenged her. I am very grateful that she has taken on the challenge to not only speak about her experience, but to fight for change in laws that will empower children and survivors to protect themselves. We all need to learn from Nikki and use our voices to create positive change. It is no longer okay for the silence to outweigh the tough discussion. Ignorance will not stop child sex predators from harming our children.” – Matthew Sandusky, Founder & Executive Director of Peaceful Hearts Foundation, Author (Undaunted: Breaking My Silence to Overcome the Trauma of Child Sexual Abuse), Speaker
“To endure what DuBose has within her first decade proves more than most could handle in a lifetime, yet she looks back at her life with grace and a rare honesty. As she takes us through the overly sexualized fashion industry as an international top model, she gives the no-holds barred account on mental illness, rape, and eating disorders that our society so desperately needs.” – Neesha Arter, Journalist & Author (Controlled)
“Washed Away: From Darkness to Light is an incredible story of one brave woman’s perseverance in the face of daunting life circumstances. Nikki DuBose details her chilling experiences with an eating disorder, childhood sexual abuse, alcoholism and drug abuse – and how she found the strength to rise above and find recovery.  This powerful read will inspire those in their own recovery journeys.” – Kristina Saffran, Co-Founder and Co-Executive Director at Project HEAL

Nikki DuBoseAbout the Author:
Nikki lives in Los Angeles. She recently worked alongside Assembly member Marc Levine on California Assembly Bill 2539, which addressed the need for workplace protections and health standards in the modeling industry. She gives talks regularly on her recovery at universities and treatment centers. Her advocacy work and recovery story has been profiled on CBS Los Angeles, People, Vogue UK, Esquire, India Times, Inquisitr, and many others. She also writes extensively on mental health, political issues, and exposes the truth about the modeling industry on The Huffington Post, the National Eating Disorders Association, Eating Disorder Hope, Clinical Recovery Institute, and Recovery Warriors. She also recently contributed as an expert reviewer for Harvard University’s STRIPED program (Strategic Training Initiative for the Prevention of Eating Disorders), helping craft their lesson for this new semester, which focuses on modeling and eating disorders. To learn more, go to http://nikkidubose.com/
For further information, to request a review copy, or to set up an interview or appearance by Nikki DuBose, please contact Kelsey at Book Publicity Services at Kelsey@BookPublicityServices.com or 805.807.9027.

 

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.

 

Controversial New Bio/Thriller Reveals Major Connection to New York City Area

Code Name Papa Book CoverAfter a lifetime of working for a secret international covert group, John Murray finally reveals his journey with the help of his wife, Sharon, and co-writer, five-time author Abby Jones. His memoir, Code Name: Papa – My Extraordinary Life While Hiding in Plain Sight, details his leadership within an organization that, while not connected to the US government, operated with the full blessing of top people in our government. This book is the first in a planned trilogy that spans more than forty years of missions that could never happen in non-fiction.
Abby Jones is the author who worked with the Murrays on the book and official spokesperson of the trio. Jones states, “The book’s connection to New York City is very clear.  What we worry about the most is that readers from the tri-state area may attempt to locate Papa’s distinctive house which is north of the city.  To assign a place to the homestead for the book, we simply called it ‘Connecticut’.  We will say no more.”
In forty-three fast-paced chapters, readers will find out about a mission that until now “stayed in Vegas” involving a mass assassination at a popular Strip hotel, the reason why Ollie North is still alive and kicking (thanks to Papa), and the everyday stresses for Papa, his crew and their families that led to divorces, suicide, mysterious deaths and much more.   Meanwhile, the New York area mansion where all the missions were planned and the direct connection to NYC for funding is a great backdrop for events that go way beyond Bond and other fictional spies.  The book offers readers an inside look into what really happens deep undercover.
Amazon Reviews:
“I highly recommend this book to anyone who is interested in what really happens to bad people who threaten the safety and well being of our world. It was a page turner that I could hardly put down.”
“I typically do not take the time to write reviews. However, this book was so incredibly riveting that I felt compelled to let other Amazon members know that it’s an honest-to-goodness page turner. I can’t wait to see what happens next…hopefully a sequel and movie!”
“The story is riveting, once you start reading you won’t want to put it down! Learning about these undercover missions involving the cooperation of several nations is mind boggling.”
For the sake of their own safety and that of their loved ones, the writers have chosen to move forward in revealing this story under aliases.
A Vietnam vet, John Murray, later known as “Papa,” has spent the majority of his adult life working as an undercover agent for the U.S., Canadian and various European governments. During this time, he rose from agent to the head of US Operations. Now retired, he and his wife are living in a small rural Western town. As ‘normal’ as he tries to live, he will always be haunted by the visions of what he saw and what he tried to prevent or rectify. To learn more, please visit http://www.codenamepapa.com/
For further information, to request a review copy, or to set up an interview with John Murray, please contact Kelsey McBride at Book Publicity Services at Kelsey@BookPublicityServices.com or 805.807.9027.
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Authors John Lipscomb and Adrianne Lugo Announce Book Signing in St. Louis

The Painting and The Piano by John Lipscomb and Adrianne LugoApril 28, 2016 (St. Louis, MO) – Authors John Lipscomb and Adrianne Lugo announced today that they will be at Left Bank Books in St. Louis, MO on May 18, 2016 at 7:00PM to do a book signing for their memoir, The Painting and the Piano.
“We are especially excited to have a signing and meet with readers at Left Bank Books since more than half of our book takes place in St. Louis,” says John Lipscomb.
Growing up more than a thousand miles apart and worlds away from each other, Johnny and Adrianne seemed to have all that a child could ask for. However, the demons of their respective mothers would tear their young, fragile lives apart.
Told as a tandem narrative, Adrianne and Johnny pass their respective stories of childhood trauma and abuse, addiction, healing, and final triumph of love back and forth in alternating chapters. Their stories are unique, but share parallels that create a taut and emotionally compelling narrative.
Filled with hope, inspiration and humor, The Painting and the Piano is an unforgettable story of pain, loss and the undying human quest for happiness.
“A vivid, moving account of addiction, trauma, and hard-won triumph by two survivors.”Kirkus Reviews
Although it is a non-fiction memoir, the book reads much like a novel: intense and at points, almost unbelievable.”Red City Reviews
“Any reader who enjoys a great work of non-fiction, an autobiography, or a story of redemption and triumph in the face of great odds and a difficult history, should absolutely read The Painting and The Piano.” – Readers’ Favorite
Left Bank Books is located at 399 N Euclid Ave, St. Louis, MO 63108. Further information about the store can be found at http://www.left-bank.com
For more information, to request a review copy, or to set up an interview or appearance by John Lipscomb and Adrianne Lugo, please contact Kelsey McBride at Book Publicity Services at Kelsey@BookPublicityServices.com or 805.807.9027.
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