Great Dates With Some Late Greats by David Finkle

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“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.

 

The Don Con by Richard Armstrong

 

The Mafia comes to Comic-Con — and criminal hilarity ensues — in the new comic crime thriller The Don Con

“I loved this book! It could be my f*#%$@ autobiography!”

—Joe Gannascoli, “Vito Spatafore” on The Sopranos

“A clever, fast-paced, and bittersweet caper. The Don Con is to Fan-Cons as

Galaxy Quest is to Star Trek conventions.”

—Jonathan Frakes, “William T. Riker” on Star Trek: The Next Generation

About the Author

Richard Armstrong has been a freelance advertising copywriter for more than forty years. His previous books include Leaving the Nest: The Complete Guide to Living on Your Own; The Next Hurrah: The Communications Revolution in American Politics; and the world’s only novel about direct mail, God Doesn’t Shoot Craps. Armstrong’s articles have appeared in National Review, Washingtonian Magazine, Advertising Age and many other publications. He lives with his wife Sharon and his dachshund Stardust in Washington, DC.

The Expedition by Chris Babu

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 “They say you don’t shoot to kill; you shoot to stay alive.”

 THE EXPEDITION

By CHRIS BABU

A generation after most of humanity was destroyed by the deadly superbug Aeru, a micro society rises from the ruins of what was formerly known as Manhattan. This miniature civilization of survivors is known as New America, a place where every citizen is supposedly considered equal. Yet, zones segregated by thick walls according to job and status suggest otherwise. Just two weeks prior, in order to earn a higher quality of life for their families, several young high school graduates signed up as pledges for the infamous Initiation test. Those who survived barely have the opportunity to enjoy their success.

In book two of the Initiation series, THE EXPEDITION (Permuted Press, ISBN: 978-1682618356, Hardcover, January 2019), author Chris Babu returns to New America where Drayden, Catrice, Charlie, and Sidney are targeted by their despot ruler, The Premiere, for another death-defying mission. They were promised a better life for their families, and after risking everything to get it, they now learn that there is just one more thing they need to do—save the world from its looming demise.

In THE EXPEDITION, the four pledges join forces with the elite security team, the Guardians, to leave the uncontaminated safety of New America.  They must venture beyond the walls into the unknown to find deep-cycle windmill batteries and search for signs of life. Without these batteries, all power in New America will cease and its citizens will die. In addition, Drayden harbors a personal agenda—finidng his mother, who was brutally exiled to live outside the city’s walls.

 Although Premiere Holst assured them that the Guardians would serve and protect them, the relationship between the two groups is contentious. Add to this the obvious hurdles of battling desperate post-Confluence creatures and deranged survivors, and the potential of contracting Aeru, and the journey seems like it is doomed to fail.

With a degree in Mathematics from M.I.T., Babu draws upon his knowledge to create increasingly difficult quandaries the pledges must solve to reach their goal.  Like Rick Riordan who imparted his love of mythology to middle-grade readers in the Percy Jackson series, Babu wants to encourage kids to find the fun in math and problem solving.

In a battle of brains versus brawn among ruins of the Aeru ravaged jungle beyond New America’s walls, Drayden, Catrice, Charlie, and Sidney face the most puzzling challenge of all time—how to survive.  A perfect triad of math, science, and harrowing adventure, THE EXPEDITION will have the heart and mind racing, cheering for a new generation of teenage heroes.

About the Author

Chris Babu is a self-proclaimed science and math nerd who grew up playing soccer and the violin in North Haven, CT.  He was a bond trader on Wall Street for nineteen years, and his first novel, The Initiation, was published in 2018.  He lives on the east end of Long Island with his wife, daughter, and 130-pound Great Dane, Buddy.

 

Where the Angels Lived by Margaret McMullan

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“Someone should write a book,” my mother says, sipping iced coffee. “Not about the drama of that time, during the war, but about what it does to the person who’s left with all of it, the person who feels it but doesn’t quite know it all.”

Where The Angels Lived
One Family’s Story of Exile, Loss, and Return

By Margaret McMullan

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The moment she discovers the existence of Richard, a long-lost relative, at Israel’s Holocaust Museum, Margaret McMullan begins an unexpected journey of revelation and connectivity as she tirelessly researches the history of her ancestors, the Engel de Jánosis. Propelled by a Fulbright cultural exchange that sends her to teach at a Hungarian University, Margaret, her husband and teenage son all eagerly travel to Pécs, the land of her mother’s Jewish lineage. After reaching Pécs, a Hungarian town both small and primarily Christian, Margaret realizes right then and there how difficult hergoing to be. Heart-wrenching, passionate and insightful, WHERE THE ANGELS LIVED (Calypso Editions, 13: 978-1-944593-08-7, $17.95, Original Trade Paperback) by Margaret McMullan beautifully documents the relentless determination of a woman picking up the pieces of her family’s fragmented history throughout the Hungarian Holocaust.

“The destruction of the Jews in the country districts of Hungary was a simple business. The Germans made good use of their experience gained annihilating between three to four million Polish, German and Austrian Jews.”

In WHERE THE ANGELS LIVED, Margaret quickly discovers just how distinguished and influential her relatives appear to have been before the Holocaust. However, no one seems to recall the man whose name she saw that day in Israel: Richard Engel de Jánosi. With the help of students, strangers, and long-lost relatives, Margaret slowly pieces together bits of information about Richard’s past she never would have found without venturing to her family’s homeland.

While Margaret’s research starts to reap its own rewards, the road to discovery still comes at a price.  Back in the United States, Margaret’s father is sick and her mother is looking frailer every time they Skype. Despite her parents’ deteriorating health, there is much more work to be done abroad.

 “Remembering the dead, especially family members is important. I know this.”

As Margaret struggles to discover why Richard’s existence is wiped from Pécs history, her journey soon becomes her mother’s journey, a nation’s journey, and even perhaps, all of our journeys to reconnect with an inexplicable past.

Sitting there in the pew carved of Moravian oak, I start to shake. I curse every last Hungarian who deported or murdered my family. See? Look at me. My mother got out and she had me and I had a son. You didn’t end us.”

Historical, authentic and family-oriented, WHERE THE ANGELS LIVED tells the tale of a somewhat parallel universe that exists even in the 21st century—dealings with Soviet-style bureaucracy; skepticism; anti-Semitism; and ironically the same sort of isolation and rejection Margaret’s Jewish Hungarian family experienced in 1944 before they were forced into concentration camps. Straddling memoir and reportage, past and present, this story reminds us all that we can escape a country, but we can never escape history.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Margaret McMullan is the author of eight award-winning books including the novel, In My Mother’s House and the anthology, Every Father’s Daughter. Her work has appeared in USA Today, The Washington Post, The Huffington Post, The Los Angeles Times, The Chicago Tribune, among others. She received a NEA Fellowship and a Fulbright in Hungary to research her new book, Where The Angels Lived: One Family’s Story of Loss, Exile, and Return.

 

The Exile by Gregory Erich Phillips

“Everything was dark.  Though her eyes could see little, her other senses became acute, telling her she wasn’t dreaming. Terror reached down into the pit of her stomach as her worst fear was revealed by the sound of whirring jets and the sensation of changing air pressure—she was on an airplane…was she really being deported? Even after everything that led up to this, it was unbelievable.”

THE EXILE

A novel by

 Gregory Erich Phillips

As a pre-teen, Leila made a risky escape from an evil man and a life of poverty in Colombia.  Today, a full-grown woman with a seemingly perfect life and successful career, Leila is well on her way to having it all.  But buried secrets have a nasty habit of coming back to haunt us, and in Gregory Erich Phillips’s new novel THE EXILE (Koehler Books; April 6, 2019; Paperback; ISBN: 978-1-6339376-5-9; $18.95) events steadily mount to a fever-pitch when Leila and others are forced to face extreme challenges to avoid losing everything they love.

It is the mid-2000s and Leila is working for one of the top mortgage brokers in Phoenix, Arizona.  Her manager, Samantha, applauds Leila’s hard work while at the same time taking every opportunity to remind Leila of her Hispanic immigrant status.  Leila’s perfect life begins to unravel, precipitated by the mortgage crisis of 2008 and an ill-timed romance with Samantha’s son, Ashford. Seeing Leila with her son brings all Samantha’s latent racism to the surface, and she lays down an ultimatum with disastrous consequences.

THE EXILE is a captivating story about love, family, home and the courage it takes to protect them. It is a timely novel that sheds light on the challenges faced by Hispanic immigrants living in the United States. Phillips, whose first award-winning novel Love of Finished Years depicted the complicated life of a German immigrant woman in New York during World War I, is adept at presenting events, whether current or historical, on an emotional level through his strong characters.  In THE EXILE he also draws on research and professional experience to express the realities of an abrupt deportation and the fallout for well-meaning people in the mortgage business.

A prolific writer with another novel already underway, Phillips is quickly establishing himself as an author to watch.  THE EXILE has already won first-place for mainstream fiction in the Pacific Northwest Writers Association Literary Contest and is well on its way to being on must-read lists in 2019.

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