The Contract by Sheila Grinell

“How do you encourage curiosity in a place where thoughts are policed?”

Joanna Dunhill knows just how difficult it can be working with family, and now that she has an opportunity to finally, in mid-life, achieve professional and financial success, family—and Saudi Arabian culture—stand in the way. Author Sheila Grinell flawlessly depicts female empowerment and cultural dissonance in this story about the difficulties of owning and growing a small business. Her new novel, THE CONTRACT (She Writes Press, October 2019, Original Trade Paperback, ISBN: 978-1-63152-648-0, $16.95), explores the many “contracts” we enter in our lives, implicitly in marriage and with siblings, as well as explicitly on the job.

Joanna and her husband, Ev Dana, operate a museum design company to which Ev supplies brawn and creativity in an abstracted, laid-back way that irks Jo no end. Given her drive and management skills, though, she’s convinced they can win a much-prized deal with the Saudi Arabian government. The mission: to create a new children’s museum focused on renewable energy.

When Jo’s competitor and archrival, Phil Owen, becomes involved in the deal, Jo must find a way to look past their personal drama and join forces. Harder still, she must probe the limits of what she will be allowed to accomplish in Saudi Arabia as she seeks to expand opportunities for the mothers and daughters who will patronize the future museum. Meanwhile, it seems Ev would rather pass on the entire project and explore one of his own at a local art gallery. Will Joanna’s over-ambitiousness and Ev’s side-gig get in the way of both their business and their marriage?

“The test was about to begin. Not the presentation she and Ev would make to the review committee–they knew how to present their qualifications. No, the test would be learning the ropes of a society that repressed women yet where the potential client, the deputy director of the agency that had summoned them, was female.”

 In THE CONTRACT, Grinell draws complex characters who share many of the struggles Americans face in business, especially when confronted with gender and cultural differences. Even here, where we enjoy the freedom to choose our own paths, we are often unsure how to take the next step.

 ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Sheila Grinell spent forty years developing science centers in the US and consulting on museum projects around the world, including in Saudi Arabia. She turned to literature in her sixties, publishing a debut novel, Appetite, in 2016. The Contract is her second work of fiction. Born in a taxi in Manhattan, she studied at The Bronx High School of Science, Harvard University, and the University of California at Berkeley. She lives in Phoenix with her husband and their dog.

Meet the Bobs and Tweets: Scout Camp by Pepper Springfield

BOBS AND TWEETS

Book #4: Scout Camp!

by Pepper Springfield

Illustrated by Kristy Caldwell

The Bobs and Tweets are back for a whole new summer adventure. Their next destination: camp! In Pepper Springfield’s latest book BOBS AND TWEETS: Scout Camp! (Scholastic; August 1st, 2019; Original Trade Paperback; ISBN: 9781338355406) illustrated by Kristy Caldwell, readers join the Bonefish Scouts as Bus Driver Joan leads them on a trip filled with sing-songy hikes, breathtaking views, tippy canoes, smores, and more camp fun!

But when Scout Leader Mike splits the group in two for a “team-building” exercise that forces them into survival mode, the Bobs and Tweets must work together in order to overcome some serious challenges. Will the scouts be able to pitch a tent, build a fire, and boil water before the ominous storm clouds keep them from finding their way home?

 Scout Camp!  flawlessly demonstrates just how far a little teamwork and problem-solving can go when learning new skills and having fun along the way!

Mirador by James Jennings

Epic New Novel Set to Release with 25th Anniversary of Zapatista Revolt in Mexico  

NAFTA, the North American Free Trade Agreement, signed by Mexico, Canada, and the U.S. in the early 1990s, was billed as a pathway to growtNew Book h and prosperity for the people of the member nations. Not so for Mexico’s indigenous people. Their agrarian way of life received a death sentence when their own government canceled land reforms, ended communal land holdings, and opened their homeland to multinational corporations. The day the treaty took effect an army of peasants rose up, calling themselves Zapatistas and demanding a voice in their own affairs. They refused to be forgotten. In his new novel MIRADOR (Greenpoint Press; August 1, 2019; Original Trade Paperback; ISBN: 978-0-9906194-4-4; $20.00), Oklahoma native James Jennings tells the story of Nate Hunter, an ordinary man unwillingly thrust into the heart of the Zapatista struggle.

Nate and Sarah Hunter are a golden couple. Nate is established in an upwardly mobile career; and Sarah is a nurse, determined to make a difference in the world by helping people in need.

When Pastor Tom, a Dallas minister, looks for volunteers to join a mission trip to the village of Mirador in Chiapas, Mexico, Sarah quickly decides she’s going. Nate won’t let her go alone. It is only supposed to be a simple two-week trip, but Nate and Sarah are oblivious to the unrest brewing below the surface calm. Nate soon discovers that the cost of choosing to accompany Sarah rather than trying to stop her from going will be high.

MIRADOR is written in the historic tradition, taking a relatively unknown event and enlarging it in human terms through the lives of its characters. Jennings has traveled extensively throughout Mexico, including Oaxaca, Mexico City, and Chiapas, where he has seen the poverty of the local people first-hand. 2019 marks the 25th anniversary of NAFTA and the Zapatista uprising – a perfect time for an epic story depicting the passions of people fighting to protect their way of life and a man who joins their struggle and sees their heroism up-close.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: James Jennings is a writer and trial lawyer who practices in Oklahoma City and lives with his wife, Vicky, in Edmond. He is a fifth-generation Oklahoman and a citizen of the Chickasaw Nation. MIRADOR is Jim’s second novel. His first, The Light Most Favorable, was published in 2012. His third, Blue Wild Indigo, is nearing completion, and his fourth, Travertine Rim, is in progress.

Dark Data: Control, Alt, Delete by Douglas J. Wood


DARK DATA
Control, Alt, Delete
Douglas J. Wood
_________________________________________________________________________________________

“If you can identify a person’s desires, then you can also exploit their weaknesses, both physical and mental, through algorithms that serve up alternatives as subliminal tools for behavioral manipulation.”

Paula Janković is no ordinary hacker. With the ability to access any system at any time, Janković utilizes the principles of the “Selfish Ledger” to profile individuals through their emails, social media accounts, and online activities; unleashing a superstorm of dark data and fake news and manipulating people to do her bidding. But who is really behind such operations? Meet Constantine Petrenko, a seasoned Russian criminal and financial oligarch whose hunger for world domination takes center stage as he enlists a myriad of talented felons, like Janković, to coordinate a series of terrorist attacks intended to bring the international business community to its knees.

Meanwhile, as Janković does her part for Petrenko, ISIS leader Abu al-Badri teams up with the Russian and his minions to devise a plan intended to wreak even greater havoc upon innocent victims throughout the world.

With hopes to thwart the oncoming death and destruction, rookie journalist Rebecca Taft— the only person who might have a lead on al-Badri and Petrenko’s master plan— is working with the CIA. Together they decode an ominous list of dates in efforts to learn where and when the imminent attack will be. Can they solve this puzzle of pandemonium before it’s too late?

“No one is immune from being off social media.”

In his new thriller, DARK DATA: Control, Alt, Delete (Plum Bay Publishing, August 13th, 2019, Original Trade Paperback/Hardback, ISBN 978-1-7335253-1-2/978-1-7335253-2-9, $16.99/$25.99), award-winning author Douglas J. Wood transports readers to a world where privacy is just an illusion and using data for the targeted advertising and marketing we see today is nothing compared to what is truly possible. Experts Wood interviewed while writing DARK DATA warn that the reality of this books’ scenes could be just one “click”, “share,” “tweet,” or “like” away.

DARK DATA is not only a thrilling novel, but also serves as a cautionary tale that sheds light on the dangers of social media and the mystery that is the Selfish Ledger. Involving questionable characters in positions high and low, Wood brilliantly portrays what could happen if the wrong people control information that has the potential to destroy us all.

Great Dates With Some Late Greats by David Finkle

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

“In presenting the following, I’m asking you the reader to recognize as true a series of (almost entirely) serendipitous incidents that will strain credulity to the breaking point and possibly far beyond it, as far beyond as the other side of the grave…I ask you to take my word that what are included here are no more and no less than events experienced by myself and others.”

A series of adventures now begin for several unsuspecting people, who, while enduring the mundane tasks of daily life, are greeted by incarnations of celebrities, athletes, poets, politicians, and an evil dictator, to list a few. Author David Finkle is a critic who has written about theater, music, and books throughout his career.  He is also a constant observer of human behavior, and his stories reflect that by placing ordinary people in extraordinary situations.  His new collection, GREAT DATES WITH SOME LATE GREATS (Plum Bay Publishing; Original Trade Paperback; June 30, 2019; $16.99) brings to life amazing figures, expired for decades, centuries, millennia even, to embolden modern-day folk with their dreams and wisdom from the past.

How does Marilyn Monroe, returning to play Hamlet on the New York stage, benefit a fellow living down the eastside Manhattan block where she used to live? Could Marcel Proust inspire a couple of jaded 21st century teenagers in a trendy New York café?  Would the classicist Jane Austen attend a speed dating session? Why would Hitler be stalking a seemingly random man in the West Village? With witty dialogue and a satirical glint, GREAT DATES WITH SOME LATE GREATS will provide answers to these questions and more with additional visits from Jesus, Elvis Presley, Babe Ruth, Machiavelli, Mona Lisa, William Shakespeare, Homer, Toulouse- Lau Trec, Harry Truman,  and Oscar Wilde.

Four of the stories originally appeared on Manhattan Book Review and were viewed over 2500 times. While artificial intelligence dominates the news feeds, and rehabs for people with cellphone addictions may soon emerge, it’s clear that readers have a deep appreciation for historical figures, the classics, and writers like David Finkle who bring them to life.

About the Author:
David Finkle is a writer and journalist focusing on the arts and politics. Based in Manhattan, he is the author of People Tell Me Things, a story collection; The Man With the Overcoat, a novel; and Humpty Trumpty Hit a Brick Wall, rhyming verses and illustrations about the Trump White House.  Finkle is currently a theater critic for  New York Stage Review and The Clyde Fitch Report and has contributed to many publications, including The New York Times, The New York Post, The Village Voice, The Nation, The New Yorker, New York, Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, and American Theatre.