Floating Underwater by Tracy Shawn

Floating Underwater is a new Women’s Fiction novel by Tracy Shawn. It was released in September 2021, published by Turbulent Muse Publishing. Recommended for readers who enjoy works from authors such as Brunonia Barry, Alice Hoffman, and Sue Monk Kidd.

Synopsis:

Part psychological fiction and part mystical fiction with a dash of magical realism, Floating Underwater follows a woman’s astonishing journey through the extraordinary and, ultimately, to her own self-actualization and power.

Fearful that her lifelong premonitions not only predict the future but can also change its very course, Paloma Leary is devastated when her latest vision predicting a third miscarriage comes true.

Falling into a mystifying world of increasingly bizarre phenomena, including a psychic connection with her mysterious neighbor, out-of-body experiences, and visits from her long-dead mother, Paloma grows desperate for answers. She is also desperate to start a family. But when a life-changing vision reveals a tragic secret from the past, Paloma learns to accept her gifts and embraces a far different future than she ever could have imagined.

A Note from the Author:

Floating Underwater was inspired by my own personal history, past work experience, and sheer imagination. Having suffered through two miscarriages myself, I wanted to write about how a character deals with that particular loss. Motivated from my past work as an intern at a psychiatric center, I also wanted to explore what it’s like for a daughter when her beloved mother has severe schizophrenia. I added in the narrative element of magical realism and otherworldly events because I believe loss and grief can make our day-to-day reality too difficult to bear without the hope that something magical is just beyond this realm. I created these extraordinary experiences for my protagonist, readers, and for myself to help us all feel as if everything in this crazy, upside-down world (and beyond!) will somehow, someday be okay.


Praise:

“The author delivers spot-on dialogue, believable and enchanting characters, and surprising twists. It’s easy to imagine the novel as a talked-about book club selection (in fact, there’s a list of questions at the book’s conclusion).” – STARRED REVIEW, BlueInk Review by Reviewer Patricia Moosbrugger

“One woman’s mystical journey to move forward while confronting a troubled, mysterious past. Beautifully written; an ethereal, eloquent pleasure.”  – Marlene Adelstein, author of USA Today bestseller Sophie Last Seen

“…mysticism, feminism, friendship, and love… The women in this novel represent different forms of strength … The writing is stunning… This book will remind you to listen to the wind when it speaks and to look for what’s floating beneath the surface of the water.” 5 Stars, Reviewed by Jenna Swartz, San Francisco Book Review  


Excerpt:

(from Chapter 1)

Paloma smiled at Reed as she clenched the sides of her chair. They sat at their usual spot—a small table outside their favorite deli. Pedestrians slogged by through an unseasonably humid June. A heat wave had intruded on the small town of Sunflower Beach; even the window-box geraniums were wilting in defeat. Paloma doubted they’d survive the summer.

She directed her attention back to her husband. She had to tell him. But she kept her mouth shut as she caught sight of a small bird flitting by and out of view so quickly it could have been her imagination. She swallowed down the murky taste of dread. Maybe it would be better for Reed not to get his hopes up. But he had a right to know—and besides, she wanted him to know.

He cocked his head, grinning. “What is it?”

“I’ve got some good news.” She reached over and held his hand, knowing he had already guessed.

“We’re pregnant,” he said.

She laughed and nodded in confirmation.

“Honey, that’s great.” He squeezed her hand and smiled as if loss were never an issue. “This time will be different. I just know it.” He got up to hug her. She stood and received his embrace, the glow of his positivity radiating through her body. “I hope so.” She sat back down, wishing she could catch sight of the bird again. She didn’t tell him how two days earlier, as she was mindlessly driving to work, one of her visions had struck. With both hands fixed on the steering wheel, she had managed to pull off the road. She’d tried to will the image away, yet it grew even more vivid. A corpse of a baby sparrow floated down a creek. With its thumb-sized frame and bruised eyelids, it looked like it had plummeted to its death before it even had a chance to breathe. She waded in and scooped it out of the water, but its translucent form had slipped through her cupped hands. She watched, paralyzed, as it tumbled toward the waiting mouth of the ocean—lifeless, distant, gone.

When the vision ended, she had eased her car back onto the street, shutting out the message. But, as before, she could not forget it, even here with Reed. Especially here with Reed. “Of course it’s going to be okay,” he said. “Wait just a minute.”

He went into the deli and walked up to the counter.

Paloma held her stomach as she watched her husband point to a row of Russian tea cakes. He beamed at droopy-eyed Manny behind the counter, who never changed his just-give- me-your-order expression. With Reed’s tall, robust frame constrained inside his Oxford shirt and his brown, grey- flecked curls brushing his collar, her husband’s bouncing-on-his-toes earnestness made her want to cry. Even though his optimism could be annoying, it also saddened her in its naïve vulnerability.

He returned and handed Paloma a crisp white bag with two conjoined butter stains already seeping through. “Just a little treat to enjoy later,” Reed said, “for my wife—and baby.” He flashed his big-toothed grin as though nothing bad would ever happen again.

Paloma opened the bag and inhaled the sugary aroma.

Reed chuckled as he folded his large body back into his chair and leaned in, eagerness lighting up his face. “When’s the due date?”

For some reason, she couldn’t remember. She knew the date marked something else, something that made her nervous. “The doctor says I’m due…” She stopped and took a sip of ice water, trying to shake off the apprehension.

“If we count the months from your last period, wouldn’t it be around April?” Reed drew closer, the lunch-crowd noise closing in around them.

She nodded, her memory jogged. “The baby is due April twenty-first.” As soon as she said it, she remembered: April 21 was her mother’s birthday. Paloma gagged; the smell of a pastrami sandwich the ponytailed guy at the next table was wolfing down eliciting sudden nausea.

“You okay?”

“Yeah,” she said. “Just feeling queasy.” She picked up a napkin and wiped her forehead. “I guess my hormones are kicking in.”

Reed’s eyebrows shot up. “They are? That’s a good thing. You never felt any morning sickness before.” He beamed at her, his conviction reeling her in.

“You’re right.” Maybe her vision of the dead sparrow was about something else—or maybe it meant nothing at all.

“Sure I am,” Reed said with utter finality.

Manny’s impatient voice burst through an open window as he called out their number and rang the counter’s bell five times in a row—then, impatiently, five more times. Reed stood up and raced back into the deli. But as he brought back his tuna on rye and her turkey sandwich, he gripped the bright orange tray like a little kid who was afraid everything might crash to the ground at the slightest misstep.

Paloma held her sweaty glass to her forehead. “Thank you.” She ignored the foreboding that sank into her gut.

Reed bit into his sandwich and chewed with gusto. Paloma watched him, envious of—but also heartened by—his ability to believe in the future. She reminded herself that happiness was not going to turn into tragedy the second she allowed herself to trust it. Noticing a dab of tuna on Reed’s chin, she smiled as she reached over to wipe it off.

“Don’t worry.” Reed winked. “Our kid can’t ever be as sloppy as I am.”

“I wouldn’t bet on that. Your messy gene runs pretty deep.”

She had missed their silly bantering. They hadn’t been this playful with each other since the last pregnancy, but his jokes and her bursts of laughter had dissipated over time. She wagered, though, that most couples eventually lose sight of what first brought them together.

Reed patted her hand. “It is going to work out this time, Paloma…”

Paloma smiled, then took a bite of her sandwich. Maybe Reed was right; everything would be okay—the future did not have to be defined by the past.

And then, out of the corner of her eye, Paloma saw her. Bone-thin Serena raced across the street and planted herself next to the bumper of a parked car. In her ragged skirt and barely there T-shirt, Serena could be mistaken for one of Sunflower Beach’s many homeless people, who tucked themselves into alleys, behind bushes dotting the hillsides, and around trash-strewn paths by the railroad tracks. Yet the bedraggled Serena lived with her family, who tried their best to care for her in their own, private way. Serena stared at Paloma with her mismatched eyes, one blue and the other an unnatural shade of milky green. Slowly, Serena shook her head as her gaze misted over with what looked to be pity. Even though she had followed Paloma around ever since she’d moved into town, when she was in sixth grade and Paloma in fifth, Paloma’s heart raced now, and the nausea returned.

Reed leaned away and averted his face from Serena’s scrutiny. “She’s been showing up even more, you know.”

“I know,” Paloma whispered. “I think she’s trying to tell me something.” Paloma shoved her plate away. Eating would be impossible now.

“She’s not trying to tell you anything.” Reed sighed. “She’s just more unhinged than usual.”

Paloma dared to look again. Serena pinned her down with those unnerving eyes, and then her mouth suddenly twisted into a grimace. Not knowing what else to do, Paloma waved. Serena turned abruptly. Passersby shook their heads and stared as she skipped barefoot down the street. Paloma watched the last coiled ends of Serena’s long, tangled hair as it floated out of view.


About the Author:

Tracy Shawn lives and writes on the Central Coast of California with her husband, two mischievous cats, and loyal pit bull. Her debut novel, The Grace of Crows, won several indie book awards. Floating Underwater is her second novel. Tracy Shawn’s short stories have appeared in Literary Brushstrokes, Psychology Tomorrow Magazine, and Steel House Review Literary Journal. She’s written numerous articles for print and online publications and is currently working on her third novel.

Readers can connect with Tracy on Twitter, Facebook, and Goodreads. To learn more, go to https://www.tracyshawn.com/

To request a review copy or an interview with Tracy Shawn, please contact Kelsey Butts at Book Publicity Services at Kelsey@BookPublicityServices.com or (805) 807-9027.

 

The Accidental Suffragist by Galia Gichon

The Accidental Suffragist is a timely and inspiring Women’s Historical Fiction novel about the women’s suffrage movement and the fight for women’s right to vote. It was released on June 1, 2021, published by Wyatt-MacKenzie Publishing.

Synopsis:

It’s 1912, and protagonist Helen Fox is a factory worker living in New York’s tenements. When tragedy strikes in the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire, Helen is seduced by the Suffragist cause and is soon immersed, working alongside famous activists.

As Helen’s involvement with the cause deepens, she encounters myriad sources of tension that test her perseverance: estrangement from her husband, who is blindsided by his wife’s sudden activism; ostracization by neighbors; unease at working side by side with wealthier suffragettes; and worry about her children as she leaves them to picket the White House in Washington.

The narrative spans World War One and concludes with the triumph of 1919. In a time when the obstacles for women, from any background, were insurmountable, Helen discovers her voice as an independent woman and dreams of equality in a male-dominated society.

Excerpt:

CHAPTER 1

January 1911. New York City. Lower East Side

HELEN FOX WALKED UP to her building, dodging wayward neighborhood boys chasing a stray dog, grabbing the last few moments of daylight. Before stepping over the onion peels and picked-over chicken carcasses on the sidewalk, she wrinkled her nose as a carted horse dropped manure in front of the building; she then hastened her way up the stairs. Pausing in the foyer, she raised her arms over her head to stretch her back from being hunched over a sewing machine all day at her job at McKee Button Factory. The closing bell still clanged in her ears. Nearly thirty years old, she wore a high-necked shirt tucked into a simple brown cotton skirt. She sighed as she saw the dust coating her clothing.

As she eased down the tight dark hallway, she almost didn’t stop at the mailboxes, giving them just her usual cursory glance. Then a bright white envelope in the slot marked with their apartment number caught her eye. Surprised, she reached for it, examined “Fox Family” written in swooping calligraphy. The return address was unfamiliar. She stood for a long moment just looking at the envelope. Feeling the weight of the paper in her hands, she started to get excited—something she didn’t feel very often. Something good was in this envelope. She looked over at the other mailboxes. Had her neighbors received one as well? No, but there was another envelope in her box. Two pieces of mail! This one was a bill and Helen’s heart sank. She knew that the doctor’s visit for Eleanor a few weeks ago would come back to haunt her. Putting both envelopes in her skirt pocket, she’d deal with them later. She could savor the heavy envelope later when the children were asleep. Her four chil- dren—Abigail, 12, Walter, 10, Claudia, 8 and Eleanor, 4—were waiting upstairs for her to start supper before her husband, Albert, came home. After climbing the stairs, she hesitated at the front door, stood straight, and tucked in the long brunette hairs that had fallen loose. Worry lines prematurely settled in her forehead and around her mouth.

“Hello Mama,” Abigail, her eldest, said and kissed Helen on the cheek as she entered the main area of their two-room apartment. The sofa sat in the center, doubling as Helen and Albert’s bed at night, with a small kitchen set against the wall by the window facing the street. Shelves holding plates and teacups hung above the limited counter. The only other furni- ture in the main room was a square wooden table with four mismatched chairs. The one bedroom, separated by a faded cream curtain with small flowers, had a bed where the children slept and a pine four-drawer dresser that held all the family’s clothing.

“How was your day?” Abigail asked.

Helen thought about the foreman at her factory, at the end of the day, who stood by the door, holding it open with his dirty gray boot, dangling a set of keys from his fingertips, grin- ning, and saying, “See you in the morning, ladies.” They’d been locked in the factory all day.

“Good, good, had a nice chat with Iris on the way home,” she said, squaring her shoulders, stroking the back of her neck, then walking over to a basin in the kitchen where she cleaned her hands to get the dirt out from under her fingernails. They didn’t need to know.

Abigail went back to the counter and resumed chopping celery for the supper stew.

“Ouch!” she cried out.

“What?” Helen rushed over. She grabbed Abigail’s arm and saw the blood.

“It’s ok. Just a nick,” Abigail reassured, covering the wound with the cloth from the counter.

“You must be more careful. That girl last week at the factory, you remember I told you? The one who cut off her finger. She still isn’t back to work. I heard she has an infection.” Helen fingered the doctor bill in her skirt pocket.

“Yes, Mama.”

Helen composed herself and focused on Claudia and Eleanor; her eyes gleamed and mouth curved into a smile as she saw Claudia chopping potatoes for the stew and Eleanor, in the middle of the kitchen covered in black dust. She was pitching in, gathering coal from the storage area to heat their rooms. Helen walked over to her and patted her dress creating a black swirl.

“Let’s get you cleaned up little one.” Then she scooped her up in her arms, not caring that the dust was getting all over her as well.

Noises came from the street and Abigail stood by the grimy window, observing children standing on a stranded horse cart watching a game of stickball while drying laundry flapped over them on a clothesline between two buildings. They tightly clutched baskets filled with items foraged from the streets. None of them looked as if they had bathed in weeks; dirt smudged on foreheads, shirts untucked, uncombed hair.

Albert burst into the apartment, “I got a few more guys to come to our next meeting. It’s a great start.” The children all crowded around him by the front door, eager to hear his update.

“Papa, Joe at school said you spoke to his father,” Walter said.

“Did he say he was going?”

“Don’t know. He said he didn’t want any trouble. Are you in trouble?”

“Nah. Not at all.”

“Please tell me the owners don’t know yet what you’re doing. If you lose your job … the can in the closet has even fewer coins,” Helen stated. For weeks now, Albert had been coming home late from attending union meetings at his factory job and was now furtively organizing a group.

“Stop your worrying, Helen. We’ll be fine. Change is coming and we can’t stop it!” he bellowed, taking off his boots, durable workwear coat, and flat cap. He had hazel eyes from his English ancestors, a full head of chestnut hair that he slicked back with pomade every morning and still stood lean and tall even though he spent countless hours hunched daily over heavy machines in the garment factory.

 


Praise:

“The Accidental Suffragist is the so-timely story of the sacrifices one mother makes – to her family, her safety, and her previous identity – when called by a cause and stirred to act.  Through the telling of this factory worker’s experience, Gichon reminds us of the grave sacrifices so many women made more than a century ago and the debt of gratitude we owe them today as we see Kamala Harris’s ascent to Vice President.  My teenage daughters snatched this book from my hands before I could even finish.” –Alisyn Camerota, CNN Anchor and Author of “Amanda Wakes Up”

“With its captivating heroine and rich historical details, The Accidental Suffragist is a novel that both enlightens and enthralls. A must-read for those interested (and we all should be!) in the fight waged by brave American women determined to secure their right to vote.” –Nina Sankovitch, Author and Historian

“The Accidental Suffragist is an entertaining, meticulously researched novel about the struggles and eventual triumphs of the Suffragist cause in the early twentieth century. Within this fascinating historical context, Gichon also explores the challenge and compromise inherent to working motherhood, a topic equally relevant today as it was then.” –Heather Frimmer, M.D., Physician and Author “Better to Trust”

“Many women wish the world was a kinder, fairer place for them, some women make it so. Gichon, like her heroines, moves through the world fueled by love and a sense of justice, the result is a richly detailed and studiously researched novel that will bring hope to your heart.” –Lorea Canales, Author of “Becoming Marta”


About the Author:

Widely quoted in The New York Times and more, Galia Gichon spent nearly ten years writing financial research for top investment banks before launching Down-to-Earth Finance, a top personal financial advising firm in New York.

Galia is the author of My Money Matters, a personal finance book which received notable press from the New York Times, TODAY Show, CNN, Newsweek, Real Simple and more. Galia Gichon consistently leads seminars for Barnard College where she has taught for 13 years, and other organizations. She is an avid angel investor focusing on women-led and impact startups and actively counsels startups through accelerators.

Readers can connect with Galia on Instagram, Twitter, and Goodreads. To learn more, go to: https://www.galiagichonauthor.com

‘Bunco: A Comedy About The Drama of Friendship’ by Robin Delnoce

Bunco: A Comedy About The Drama of Friendship is a new book by Robin Delnoce. Recommended for fans of Bridesmaids, Desperate Housewives, and Bad Moms. Bunco was released in August 2020 and is available for sale on Amazon. Genre: Women’s Fiction / Women’s Humorous Fiction 

Synopsis:

We all have “those” friends.  Maybe you’ve known them since childhood, or met in college, or while waiting for a child’s practice to end. Maybe you found yourself living on the same street. There’s no single path to friendship. Relationships don’t follow a script and neither do the lives of smart, funny, complicated suburban women.

Jill, Anne, Mary, and Rachel met years ago through a neighborhood group that regularly got together to play a dice game called bunco. Although players have come and gone, they continue to use bunco as an excuse to abandon their day-to-day responsibilities and enjoy food, drinks, and the company of their best friends. 

When new neighbors move in under the cover of night, the foursome sees an opportunity to expand their bunco circle. But within hours, suspicions run rampant as the odd behaviors of the newest residents are interpreted differently. Are they quirky, or kinky? Diabolical, or misunderstood? Time after time, as the truth sheds light on some secrets, more emerge. Each woman finds herself shocked by the friends she thought she knew.

Through the friendly banter, intimate confessions, and tongue-twisting insults, you may see yourself or your friends in these characters. Wipe away tears of laughter and loss as you join the four metaphorical rounds of bunco, and feel part of the conversation. Whether engaging in playful exploits, providing unconditional support, making uncomfortable sacrifices, or winding up in handcuffs again, these ladies are those rarest of friends who become true family. Of course, families don’t follow a script either, unless it is a plot-twisting, slightly off-color comedy about the drama of friendship. And bunco, sort of.


Excerpt:

EMERGENCY AREA WAITING ROOM – DAWN

The early morning daylight begins to fill the foyer of a hospital waiting room packed with police officers.

ANNE HUTCHINSON, an athletic, petite woman in her early 40s, is sitting dazed and exhausted in bloodstained clothes.

JILL MICHAELS stands behind Anne with her phone to her ear. Over a decade has passed since Jill’s tenure as Miss South Carolina ended, but she currently reigns over the local elementary school as parent council president. She masks her anxiety with her polished manners and pleasant southern accent.

JILL

Good morning Miss Lowe, this is Mrs. Michaels. I hope your morning is going well. Would you be a dear and let Mrs. Kaiser know I won’t be able to attend today’s parent council meeting?

A police officer watches Jill closely as he patrols the room. She reads the judgment on the officer’s face.

Jill

Actually, I may not be able to attend tomorrow’s fundraiser either. I’ll call y’all back as soon as I know. Thank you so much, Miss Lowe.

Jill ends her call, sighs heavily, and takes a seat next to Anne.

RACHEL EASTON, a mid-40s, Midwest-born, and Irish-proud woman, is asleep on the opposite chair. Handcuffs dangle from one of Rachel’s wrists. When awake, Rachel harbors a deep and painful secret that manifests itself in belligerent and self-destructive behavior.

A NURSE passes by the three women. The aroma emanating from Rachel’s general vicinity stops her in her tracks. 

Nurse

How long has this homeless woman been sleeping here?

Jill

She’s not homeless. She’s with us.

The nurse shakes her head in disgust and continues on her way.

MARY HUESTON approaches the women with coffee in her hands. Now in her early 40s, Mary has traded her Hollywood acting auditions for youth soccer games, and her figure has become less “soap opera star” and more “community bake sale.” She hands Jill and Anne the steaming Styrofoam cups.

Mary

Here. Should we wake Rachel?

Mary begins to take a seat next to Rachel but quickly pivots to allow more breathing room. They each deeply inhale the cup’s contents to mask the aroma. 

Jill

She’s been through a lot. Let’s let her sleep.

Mary

We’ve all been through a lot.

Mary notices Anne staring off in the distance.

Mary

How ya doing Anne? 

Anne slowly brings her attention to Mary.

Mary

You okay?

Anne silently examines her bloodstained clothes, contemplates her predicament, and shakes her head in disbelief.

Anne

(Under her breath)

Fucking bunco.


About the Author:

Robin Delnoce has the kind of sense of humor that would crush any political aspirations. Her off-color humor amuses most but offends a few, and she has been known to issue a post-party apology or two. After twenty years of being caught in her verbal crosshairs, her husband kindly suggested she shift her energies to a more constructive outlet.

To learn more, go to https://buncothebook.com/

 

Told from the Hips by Andrea Amosson

Told from the Hips book cover
Told from the Hips, by Andrea Amosson, has been translated from the original Spanish version titled Cuentos Encaderados. It is a collection of short stories that feature strong women and the strength they have within them to handle any challenging situation that comes their way. Each story is about a different woman, in a different circumstance. The women in these stories each have varying backgrounds, cultures, and histories. Their stories are empowering, relatable, and thought-provoking. 
 “Told from the Hips is a collection of stories of womanhood, sensuality, emotion, and difficult pasts that have been “collected” from these individual characters at various points in their lifetime and experiences… Andrea Amosson creates a collection of short stories that each work well on their own to create their own solid tone and feeling, yet that work together to create a theme of powerful, strong, unembarrassed women. Each story tells its own tale in a short time, creating both a full, stand-alone story, yet one that leaves readers yearning for more.” – 5 Stars from Red City Review

 

Excerpt:
COPENHAGEN
After thirty minutes of riding, my uncle, who always led the group, took a left turn. I noticed these were the hardest turns for me. Turning right was easier, but in the opposite direction, I usually leaned in so far that I was afraid of landing belly-down on the pavement. From behind my aunt yelled that the “Lope” was straight ahead.
I looked up with excitement. “The Lope, at last!”
We got off our bikes. We parked them next to an assortment of velocipedes, some with little baskets and flowers, others with stickers, and still others simple or elegant.
“Where is the ‘Lope’?” I asked, looking around and observing the parking area with multi-colored bikes next to an empty space where children were kicking a ball around; a little further on, a couple of homeowners with their pets and, at the center, something that appeared to be a sort of flea market.
“This is the Lope”! they answered in unison.
Once again I felt a fondness towards them; you could tell they were close, a couple of Chileans isolated in the middle of the Nordic cold. They had spent so many hours together they even coordinated their answers, without really intending to.
“This is it?” I said, with obvious surprise.
“Yes. What do you think?” she answered, her eyes shining.
“It’s pretty… ” I lied.
“Let’s look around, you’ll like it,” he said.
“Sure… let’s go… it’s pretty…” I lied again.
So we started to cross the humble streets of the so-called “lope,” no longer capitalized. The vendor stalls sold
vintage watches, second-hand clothes, some portable radios, fake pearl necklaces, little tea cups, music. They adored this little outdoor fair with its charming wares.
I thought about the Persa Bío Bío marketplace, the enormous bagatelle fair in my capital city, about how I would get ready one weekend every month to peruse the ample aisles and be amazed at the products they had for sale. Suddenly I was struck by the immense distance that separated us. I could go to the Persa Bío Bío whenever I wanted, but what about them? They had been living in Europe for a long time. Many years would have to go by before they could visit the dusty Atacama Desert again, where he came from, or the fertile lands of Temuco, where she was born.
I understood that the “Lope” was not just a flea market. It was, in reality, a small journey back to their lost homeland. A connection to that slice of a republic beaten down by dictatorship.
As the years passed, the visit to the “Lope” had become sacred. Every Sunday they got on their bikes and pedaled hard to get to the only disorganized and chaotic place they could find in Copenhagen’s limpid symmetry. They would wander through the sparse rows of enchanting shops as if they were visiting the Louvre. Basically, it amounted to a way of conjuring up a sense of nostalgia in the midst of a flea market.
Once I realized this, I decided to wander through the “Lope” (capital letter and all), with the best attitude I could. I even tried to chat with some of the vendors. They obviously didn’t understand anything I said, but the Danish, in utter contrast to their environment, exude a special warmth in their embrace of foreigners. “Thank you!” I repeated as I paid three thousand crowns for a dysfunctional watch with an orange band.
The visit to the “Lope” came to an end. In a couple of hours, I had to board a train to Switzerland. And from Switzerland, a plane to Santiago.
“Did you like it?” they asked me in unison, as usual.
“Of course! It was lovely! Thank you so much!” I answered, with the enthusiasm of a girl of fifteen, but this time I really meant it.
We went back to their apartment by a different route. They wanted me to see the monuments, cross some bridges and glimpse some of the parks for one last time. The cool breeze of Frederiksholm Canal caressed my cheeks. The look in my eyes thanked them for this last round of stops at the traditional tourist attractions. And I appreciated even more the visit to the novelty store.
Back on their street, we chained the bicycles to the lamp post in front of the building. My uncle ran up and down to and from the apartment so fast that he didn’t give me time to prepare for saying good-bye. He had my suitcase, backpack and the new bag I had to purchase to hold all the presents they were sending to Chile. The bag was a universe of small multi-colored packets tied up with silk and satin bows. They hadn’t stopped wrapping packages for the entire length of my stay. Whenever we had dinner, our table-talk was surrounded by wrapping paper, ribbons and cards. They wouldn’t let me help and that had bothered me. This was before visiting the “Lope” and understanding their estrangement. The little packages were another remedy for the loneliness they felt.
We went to the train station, in a cab this time. It had started to rain. We ran with the luggage, me sweating, they with agility, but all of us somber.
My train was already at the platform, although it would not depart for another thirty minutes. “It’s better if you get on now,” he said, his eyes all red.
“But there’s still time,” I answered.
“No, Emilia, you’d better get on now,” she insisted.
“All right…” I said, astonished.
I thanked them for their hospitality, for the roast beef dinners, the walks through the immigrants’ quarter, the visits to palaces, gardens, castles, the coast. They listened to my words in silence. To cheer them up, I mentioned the gifts they were sending to Chile. And, especially, the visit to the “Lope.”
The parting was rather cold. Not what I was expecting. There were no hugs, barely a handshake.
I got on the train to look for my seat, next to the window. I placed the suitcase in the space under the seat and arranged the rest on my lap. Then I looked for them. Outside, people crowded together between the trains that came in and out of the station.
When I saw them, I waved. I know they saw me, but they didn’t respond.
Raindrops ran down the window and I couldn’t distinguish their faces. They started to walk away slowly. From my spot, I could see them going out the door; they didn’t turn around. They walked with their arms around each other, at a weary pace, as if dragging their bodies through the rain that now beat down furiously. I stared at them until my sight began to blur, blinked for an instant, and when I opened my eyes, they had already gone.

Andrea AmossonAbout the Author:
Andrea Maluenda de Amosson was born in Antofagasta, Chile. She studied journalism at the Catholic University in Antofagasta, and completed graduate studies in Hispano-American and Chilean Literature from University of Chile. She received a Creative Writing scholarship from University Complutense of Madrid, Spain, in 2005.
Andrea has lived in Dallas, Texas with her family since 2011, she is the mother of two little boys.  She teaches a weekly creative writing class, the only one in Spanish language in the Dallas area, and she has founded a free, Spanish only, book club for the Hispanic population. The book club now has more than 30 members and celebrated it’s 2nd anniversary last October.  She is also the founder of “La farmacia de la Ñ”, a literary group of Hispanic writers and poets of the Dallas-Fort Worth area, that offers free public literary events to the Hispanic population, in order to promote reading and writing; and to open space to share the Latin-American culture.
Andrea has won several awards and contests for her writing. Most notably, she won 1st place People’s Choice for her short story Maria Kawésqar in a literary contest organized by La Nota Latina magazine, the Hispanic Heritage Literature Organization, and the International association of Hispanic authors and poets in Miami, FL.
Told from the Hips was published by Nowadays Orange Productions in January 2015. It is the English translation of Cuentos Encaderados.
Readers can connect with Andrea on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads. To learn more, go to http://www.andreaamosson.com/
For further information, to request a review copy, or to set up an interview or appearance by Andrea Amosson, please contact Kelsey McBride at Book Publicity Services at Kelsey@BookPublicityServices.com or 805.807.9027.