Littlestown resident pens 3rd novel in the Langdon Trilogy about civil rights in America

SUNBURY PRESS BOOKS

GETTYSBURG, Pa. — Sunbury Press has released C James Gilbert’s A Second Revolution, the third book in the Langdon Trilogy about civil rights in America throughout history.

About the Book:
At the end of the Great War in November, 1918, Jim Langdon, of Langdon Plantation in Macon, Georgia, is preparing to continue his late father’s work for the full legal equality of Black Americans. Although slavery had been abolished fifty-two years earlier, constitutional rights and guaranteed protection under the law holds no meaning for black citizens.

With his wife, Elizabeth, by his side and Almighty God leading the way, Jim immerses himself in the civil rights movement with a dream of showing the nation that black or white, we are all brothers and sisters.

A long road with the possibility of so much to gain in the end is still a long road, especially when racism and hatred are…

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Alan Mindell’s “The Closer” is Sunbury Press’s best-selling novel of all time

SUNBURY PRESS BOOKS

Mechanicsburg, PA — Sunbury Press, the trade publisher based in Pennsylvania, has released its list of top selling novels of all time:

  1. The Closerby Alan Mindell — R. A. Dickey was the first knuckleball pitcher to ever win a coveted Cy Young Award–despite spending most of his career in the minor leagues.  Terry Landers, also a knuckleballer, is Dickey`s fictional counterpart in The Closer.  The main difference, aside from winning the Cy Young, is that at age thirty-three, Terry has never played in the majors. Once he finally gets his chance, what follows is the heartwarming story of his impact both on the pitching mound and with a family in distress. “The Closer is an Award Winning book. Written with extraordinary compassion and deep attunement to the human psyche, Alan deftly defines the keys to a positive mind and winning the Game of Life. A book that is sure…

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“Planet Jesus v1: Flesh & Blood” in book stores

SUNBURY PRESS BOOKS

Sunbury Press has released Flesh and Blood, Doug and Shaun Brode’s first installment of his new Planet Jesus series.

About the Book:
“The PLANET JESUS Trilogy is just CRAZY – in the most WONDERFUL and CREATIVE way. Highly recommended – a must-read!” — Rod Lurie, director/writer/producer (KILLING REAGAN, COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF, STRAW DOGS, RESURRECTING THE CHAMP, NOTHING BUT THE TRUTH, etc.)

Where The Twilight Zone meets The New Testament is where ‘Flesh and Blood,’ the first volume in the PLANET JESUS trilogy, takes place. In his latest novel, Douglas Brode, now collaborating with his son Shaun L., retells the old story of The Christ with a new twist: The angel Gabriel, who descended from the stars to impregnate Mary, wife of Joseph, with a Divine Child was actually an ancient alien. His purpose was to create a high-level hybrid race so that civilization on earth could rapidly advance.

In “Book One:…

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Keith Rommel’s “Thanatology” series collecting awards in Hollywood on the festival circuit

SUNBURY PRESS BOOKS

c-mw-laurelsHOLLYWOOD, CA — The first two books in Keith Rommel’s Thanatology series (Sunbury Press), The Cursed Manand The Lurking Man, have been adapted into feature films and have recently begun their festival runs. Rommel along with director/producer James L. Perry wrote the screenplay for The Cursed Man, and with executive producer Maritza Brikisak for The Lurking Man. Each film took top awards for their screenplay. Now the powerful stories and acting are turning heads. To date, the two films and the novels combined have garnished 60+ awards,  the start of what could be truly spectacular. The film festivals continue throughout most of the year, bringing with them many opportunities. Having won ‘Best Book of the Year’, ‘Best Feature Screenplay’, ‘Best Ensemble’, ‘Best Narrative Feature Film(s)’ and wins in many other categories, the films are a direct reflection of the full length novels and are gaining much attention.

lm_with-laurelsRommel…

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CAN SCIENCE FICTION SAVE THE EARTH?

DAN BLOOM HOPES “CLI-FI” WILL SWAY NON-BELIEVERS

By James Sullivan

In the 1957 pulp classic On the Beach, the novelist and aeronautical engineer Nevil Shute imagined a horrific scenario in the aftermath of World War III. A small group of survivors clustered in southern Australia await the arrival of a deadly radioactive cloud, contemplating the near-certainty that the rest of humanity has already perished.

It’s a terrifying prospect, of course, which is why the book has retained its grip on the public imagination, adapted twice as a movie and, in 2008, as a BBC radio broadcast. Dan Bloom first read On the Beach in a high school English class in 1967. It gave him Cold War nightmares.

Bloom was panicked all over again a decade ago when he read the doomsday predictions of the British environmentalist James Lovelock. Writing in the Independent, Lovelock envisioned an earthly population wildly diminished by massive climate change—not hundreds of years in the future, but by the end of this century.

“I was in a deep funk for about a month,” says Bloom, a former news reporter who has been teaching English in Taiwan for 20 years. Lovelock, the scientist, has since boomeranged, accusing himself of “alarmism” and emboldening gleeful climate skeptics. Bloom, meanwhile, has tempered his own pessimism: he thinks we’ve got 500 years, “30 generations of people, to keep working on this problem.”

While he’s still here on the potentially dying planet (Bloom is 70), he’s looking to literature to help convince his fellow human beings about the ominous implications of carbon emissions.

“I’m looking for the On the Beach of climate change,” Bloom says. “I’m looking for somebody somewhere in the world who can tell a story that has the power of On the Beach so it shocks people into awareness.”

A native of Springfield, Massachusetts, Bloom says he became an environmentalist while studying at Tufts University in the late 1960s. He read Ecotopia, Ernest Callenbach’s cult novel about an attempt to create a green utopia on the West Coast, when it came out in 1975. In 1980, he tried to find an agent for a novel he wanted to write about a huge flood that submerges New York City. What did he learn from that experience?

“You need to be a genius to write a novel,” he says. “I’m not a genius.”

It wasn’t until he saw the 2004 disaster film The Day After Tomorrow, which imagined the sudden arrival of a new Ice Age, that Bloom started thinking about the power of storytelling to rally like-minded citizens concerned for the future of life on Earth. A few years later, he coined a phrase: “cli-fi,” or climate fiction.

He’s committed to promoting the idea that well-told stories are and will be critical to raise awareness about the implications of climate change. Unpaid and unaffiliated, Bloom has devoted the last several years to contacting writers, editors and literary gatekeepers, hoping to draw attention to his notion of cli-fi.

“I’m basically a PR person,” he says.

His idea of a genre for speculative climate fiction found some traction a few years ago when it was endorsed on Twitter by Margaret Atwood, the novelist whose science fiction trilogy, capped by MaddAddam (2013), dealt with a corrupt anti-environmentalist. Bloom acknowledges and applauds the broader genre of eco-fiction, popularized during the rise of the environmental movement in the 1970s and epitomized by such titles as Edward Abbey’s The Monkey Wrench Gang and, more recently, Barbara Kingsolver’s Flight Behavior.

But he’d like to think of cli-fi as “an independent, stand-alone genre,” restricted to those works of fiction that consider the specific problem of human-made global warming. 

That makes for a limited category. Yet there are examples as far back as Jules Verne, who imagined—in the 1860s—a future Paris struggling with a precipitous drop in temperature. That was a plot point in Verne’s “lost” novel Paris in the Twentieth Century, which went unpublished until 1994.

Given the speed with which the phrase “climate change” (which actually dates back at least 50 years) has overtaken the environmental discussion in recent years, it’s perhaps not surprising that there’s been a surge in books that could be called cli-fi. Among them are Marcel Theroux’s Far North (2009), which the Washington Post called “the first great cautionary fable of climate change”; Ian McEwan’s Solar (2010), which won a UK literary award for comic fiction; and Nathaniel Rich’s Odds Against Tomorrow (2014), which imagines New York City flooded by a colossal hurricane.

These are all examples of quality fiction that happen to take climate change as a shared theme. “As far as I’m concerned,” Bloom says, “cli-fi needs character-driven stories. It shouldn’t be propaganda novels.”

A good story, he believes, will have the potential to attract not only climate activists, but also some of the deniers: “The whole point is to reach people with emotions, not just preach to the choir.”

Next up, he thinks, is the forthcoming novel from the Hugo Award-winning science fiction veteran Kim Stanley Robinson. Due in March, New York 2140 submerges the great city under the water of the rising tides. “Every street became a canal,” explains the promotional blurb. “Every skyscraper an island.” How will the city’s residents—the lower and upper classes, quite literally—cope?

The book, Bloom thinks, might be the next phenomenon in the genre he created.

“I think it’s going to blow the lid off.”

Perry County Council of the Arts and Sunbury Press sponsor short story anthology

SUNBURY PRESS BOOKS

MECHANICSBURG, Pa. — Sunbury Press has released Strange Magic, a short story compilation from writers in the A Novel Idea Workshop sponsored by Perry County Council of the Arts. Catherine Jordan was the editor.

From PCCA:
sm_fcIn the late 1980s, I wrote a nifty little novel and signed on with a veteran agent who peddled it all over New York City.

I papered the wall of my office with scores of rejection letters, licked my wounds, and went on to other pursuits. But I always wondered why my story went nowhere.

Fast forward thirty years. In collaboration with the Perry County Council of the Arts, author Don Helin assembled a stellar faculty of successful, published authors to teach A Novel Idea, a year-long class for aspiring novelists. I signed on for that first year, half to represent PCCA, and…

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Barsky Brings to the Table a Sumptuous Treat in Hatched

 

hatched-book-cover

It comes as no surprise that first time novel writer, Robert Barsky, spent 8 years researching and writing his latest book, Hatched. The novel combines intrigue, money and cooking, a seemingly unlikely combination, but one that has proven to have all the right ingredients.

Barsky, a professor at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee, has authored 8 books. His non-fiction is known for its immense depth and discussion of intense subjects including international law, human rights, migration, language theory, literature, and Noam Chomsky. His current novel has proven to be nothing short of the same level of meticulous preparation he is known for. Barsky brings to the table a sumptuous treat in Hatched, and has quickly become one of Sunbury Press’ current bestsellers.

Robert, thank you for talking with us. Hatched is quite different from your previous work. What inspired you to write this novel and what was it like moving from more serious topics to something light and fun?

I quite literally dreamed up this plot while on my honeymoon with Marsha, 9 years ago, on the isle of St. Bart’s. I turned to her one morning and said “You would not believe the dream I just had, it was like a film! I dreamed that….” and then it was gone, I couldn’t remember a thing. Then, suddenly, it all came back, and poured out of me. I was excited, and spent the next 8 years researching and writing it, finding out amazing details relating to the plot as I went along, including, of course, details regarding Fabergé eggs.

Hatched has so many wonderful layers to it, including a Fabergé egg inspired restaurant. It’s such a specific vision. Where did that idea come from?

Eggs were part of the initial dream, and Fabergé eggs became part of the story from the earliest days. They represent perfection, intricacy, beauty, and the very height of what human beings can create. At the same time, though, they are a metaphor for indulgence, excess and the vast distance that existed in Czarist Russian times between the aristocracy and the people of Russia. I don’t remember exactly what made them central to the novel, but it may be that they were already there, in my subconscious, at the time of my dream….

Over the course of 8 years, I imagine you had many ideas come and go. How did you weed through all of your ideas to solidify the current story? What advice would you give to emerging writers?

I followed the narrative, and would work on it tirelessly, rehearsing new scenes, and then tinkering with them as new revelations came to light. It was as though the story already existed, and I had to pay careful attention to document it all correctly. I remember one scene, for example, that takes place on Long Island, when Jude’s truck has broken down, and, in one of the many coincidences of the novel, he is picked up by John, the owner of Fabergé restaurant. In the car is Tina, who oversaw the kitchen, as well as two characters in the backseat, fooling around. I had to keep looking and looking at that scene, and one day realized that one of the guys in the backseat was “the new guy” who had been working in the restaurant before its collapse. When I realized it, I felt that I was seeing the obvious, but it was also something that had evaded my attention for months. I think that emerging writers would do well to take that kind of time in order to consider the details of their stories, because I’ve come to believe that we as authors know much more about the story than we realize, and we need to give it time, like fine wine, to open up.

The intrigue of your novel stems from former college roommates who are planning to counterfeit billions to shake up the U.S. economy. Do you feel that your previous work on Chomsky inspired this story line?

Noam’s Chomsky is indeed a constant inspiration, and has been for decades. He wasn’t there in the dream, although he has been in many of my dreams, but it’s sure that his work and my own work deriving from it has inspired me on all sorts of levels. So when I asked the question, why do these three roommates wish to effect change in US Treasury policy, answers had to have some relation with their desire for a “good society”, something that I believe runs through Noam’s work, from A-Z.

I heard that you have experience cooking. Did you train professionally or are you the official cook at home?

I did train professionally, starting at the very bottom. I was working in Cape Cod as a construction worker, very difficult work, for $3.35/hour (in the early 80s). I was living with friends in Nickerson State Park, all summer long, and we were all cobbling together enough money to live, as well as sufficient savings to help out with the cost of college. Each day, I drove by this gorgeous restaurant called The Joy of Dining, in my dump truck, and one day I got up the nerve to stop and ask for a job. I was asked to come back the following day, and as my first task the owner asked me to cut a vegetable, probably a zucchini. Anyhow, I displayed to him immediately that I knew nothing, and so he started me out as a pot washer. Over the next few summers, he sunk deeper and deeper into debt, and as a consequence, he trained and promoted me for higher tasks, culminating with my being employed as a sauté chef. He was SO exacting, fastidious and meticulous that I felt each day that I was learning important things for my life. But it was torture, in a sense, because he was also uncompromising and demanding. My training with him served me well. I also worked in Switzerland as a bartender the year after graduating college, and my training was crucial to surviving there as well, since I was working in an extremely fancy hotel. Since those years, I’ve kept up a strong interest in cooking – and my wife is a superb cook, much better than me!

What kind of research did you do for this novel? Did you spend time in restaurants, for instance? What did you learn during that process that supported your characters or locations?

I did tons of research for this novel, including of course drawing from my experiences in restaurants, in Cape Cod, Montréal, and Verbier. The areas I needed the most help in, though, were related to counterfeiting money, and here is where serendipity, my favorite thing, played another important role. I invited a scholar to work in our Vanderbilt Bandy Center, and she in exchange invited me to give talks in Milano. One night she told me that I was “busy,” and that she was going to take me somewhere. We drove for around an hour, to a warehouse area, where she introduced me to her father, who wanted to show me his collection of Italian motorcycles. I myself drove a Moto Guzzi at that time, and now drive an Aprilia, and so was treated to 100 motorcycles, from 1914-2014, all Italian. Amazing! When he was done starting all of them for me, he invited me upstairs to see his factory; as it turned out, he is in the business of making…MONEY! He is one of the three printers involved in the process of making the Euro, as well as other currencies worldwide. He showed me a bit of the process, and even gave me a key tool to printing numbers into the bills. Unbelievable!

Your professional history is as impressive as your books. You’ve been a professor at Yale, McGill, Toulouse, and University of Edinburgh, to name a few. Have these years of travel and cultural immersion created experiences that you draw upon when writing? Do you foresee those experiences impacting any of your future fictional work?

Indeed, all of these experiences impact my work, my writings, my life. I’ve noticed that when I meet people I can usually guess when they’ve traveled a lot (or read a lot); there’s something about putting yourself “out there,” as it were, in different settings, different paradigms, that changes us. Some of my travels, to Rwanda, Burundi, Morocco, and China, have been very exotic, very difficult, I suppose, which again helped me to imagine my own world differently. I’ve been tempted to write a novel that involves extensive travel, particularly after Hatched, which for the most part occurs in one building!

As a writer with a strong non-fiction background, were you inspired by real life events and people when writing Hatched?

I was indeed, yes; my own roommates in college, my cooking experience, what I learned about financial markets in my early (bizarre) investments in the silver market (in the 1970s), what I learned as a visiting professor at the Toulouse School of Economics, and of course ideas about how people live, love, interact, in the so called service industries, and beyond. Notice, though, that it has NOTHING to do with universities; Jude said that he learned everything as a mover, at Asphalt University. I love that.

What kind of transition was it going from writing non-fiction to fiction? Is it something you hope to do again?

I do indeed look forward now to the next one, I loved it, it was like a sumptuous dessert, a delectable diet of pleasure and imagination.

Back to food. Who doesn’t love to talk about food. What is your favorite dish to eat, to make and of course, what is your favorite way to prepare eggs?

Funny thing about eggs, which I think I learned in that restaurant. The owner and head chef at the Joy of Dining was a tyrant, an impossible, difficult perfectionist, but he was also someone who made food we’ve all eaten, like sunny side up eggs, or omelets, or lobster, and he did so in ways that were so mind-blowing that you were made to feel that you’d never tasted those dishes before in your life. That remains the kind of food I like best, and so I especially LOVE to eat out in China, in Italy, in France, where the knowledge of the ingredients, and the preparation of the food, is so incredible. At the end of the day though, I suppose that caviar (another egg), and amazing handmade Italian egg noodles are among my favorite egg dishes, along with custard, and a perfect omelet, and lobster eggs, and.!

Being from Montreal, does Poutine make your top 10 comfort foods list?

No, it is on my top 1,000, except for when it’s freezing cold (-30 or so), and I haven’t eaten for a week. Then it would be pretty high up there!
robert-barskyHatched is available for sale through Sunbury Press and where books are sold.