Rarity from the Hollow by Robert Eggleton

robLacy Dawn’s father relives the Gulf War, her mother’s teeth are rotting out, and her best friend is murdered by the meanest daddy on Earth. Life in the hollow is hard. She has one advantage — an android was inserted into her life and is working with her to cure her parents. But, he wants something in exchange. It’s up to her to save the Universe.


Lacy Dawn doesn’t mind saving the universe, but her family and friends come first.

Rarity from the Hollow is adult literary science fiction filled with tragedy, comedy and satire.

“The most enjoyable science fiction novel I have read in years.”

Temple Emmet Williams, Author, former editor for Reader’s Digest

“Quirky, profane, disturbing… In the space between a few lines we go from hardscrabble realism to pure sci-fi/fantasy. It’s quite a trip.”

—    Evelyn Somers, The Missouri Review

. “…a hillbilly version of Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy…what I would have thought impossible; taken serious subjects like poverty, ignorance, abuse…tongue-in-cheek humor without trivializing them…profound…a funny book that most sci-fi fans will thoroughly enjoy.” — Awesome Indies (Gold Medal)

“…sneaks up you and, before you know it, you are either laughing like crazy or crying in despair, but the one thing you won’t be is unmoved…a brilliant writer.” —Readers’ Favorite (Gold Medal)

“Rarity from the Hollow is an original and interesting story of a backwoods girl who saves the Universe in her fashion. Not for the prudish.” —Piers Anthony, New York Times bestselling author

“…Good satire is hard to find and science fiction satire is even harder to find.” — The Baryon Review

Political Allegory: You may be interested in this press release:  http://www.pr4us.com/pr-2618-trump-presidency-predicted-in.html. The original © was 2006. You would have to read the novel to find out how Lacy Dawn, the protagonist, convinced Mr. Rump (Bernie Sanders) to help talk Mr. Prump (Donald Trump) into saving the universe. The political allegory includes pressing issues that America is fighting about today, including illegal immigration and the refuge crisis, extreme capitalism / consumerism…. Mr. Prump was a projection of Donald Trump based on the TV show, The Apprentice. Part of the negotiations in the story occur in the only high rise on planet Shptiludrp (Shop Until You Drop), a giant shopping mall and the center of economic governance, now more easily identifiable as Trump Tower. There is no political advocacy in the story, other than sensitizing readers to the huge social problem of child maltreatment, but the allegory is much more obvious now that Donald Trump is a household name. A similar press release: http://www.pr.com/press-release/695122.

Reviews of New Edition: Requests for reviews of the new edition of Rarity from the Hollow are now being considered. On 1-6-17, the first was published, five stars. To facilitate your consideration of reviewing this novel, the closing lines were: “…Brilliant satires such as this are genius works of literature in the same class as Orwell’s ‘Animal Farm.’ I can picture American Lit professors sometime in the distant future placing this masterpiece on their reading list.” https://marcha2014.wordpress.com/2017/01/06/5-stars-for-rarity-from-the-hollowby-robert-eggleton/ I would be happy to send you a copy.

Sample Positive Reviews of First Edition: The first edition of this novel had a formatting error that has been corrected. The second reads much smoother. This problem likely affected some reviewers of the first edition. A couple of book bloggers have upgraded their reviews based on a review of the second edition and others may do the same. Despite the formatting problem, the first edition was awarded two Gold Medals by major book review organizations, was named one of the best releases of 2015 by a Bulgaria book critic, and received twenty-six five star reviews and forty-three four star reviews by independent book review bloggers. An unsolicited Top 100 Amazon Reviewer found:

Rarity from the Hollow written by Robert Eggleton, to be fully honest, was much more than expected and a great read – semi-autobiographical literary work full of beautiful and ugly things, adventure, romance, pain and humor….”

Another reviewer of the first edition found that the writing style was one-quarter turn beyond that of the famous author, Kurt Vonnegut. http://electricrev.net/2014/08/12/a-universe-on-the-edge/ While I’m flattered by this comparison, please note that the novel was found by the editor of Atomjack Science Fiction Magazine, to be “laugh-out-loud funny” in some scenes. Long-time book critic, Barry Hunter, closed his review, “…good satire is hard to find and science fiction satire is even harder to find.”   http://thebaryonreview.blogspot.com/search?updated-min=2012-01-01T00:00:00-05:00&updated-max=2013-01-01T00:00:00-05:00&max-results=50 Vonnegut, Douglas Adams (i.e., Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy), or Tom Robbins (i.e., Another Roadside Attraction) are also close examples by subgenre. A former Editor of Reader’s Digest found that, “Rarity from the Hollow is the most enjoyable science fiction that I’ve read in several years….”  http://warriorpatient.com/blog/?p=58Recently, the novel was referred to as a Hillbilly version of Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy  and awarded a gold medal by Awesome Indies:  “…Tucked between the folds of humor are some profound observations on human nature and modern society that you have to read to appreciate….”  http://awesomeindies.net/ai-approved-review-of-rarity-from-the-holly-by-robert-eggleton/  More recently, with respect to the story’s treatment of tough social issues, this reviewer said: “…I was hesitant to accept. I usually do not read or review books that discuss child abuse or domestic violence; however, I was intrigued by the excerpt and decided to give it a shot. I am glad that I took a risk; otherwise, I would have missed out on a fantastic story with a bright, resourceful, and strong protagonist that grabbed my heart and did not let go….”  http://www.onmykindle.net/2015/11/rarity-from-hollow.html A book reviewer from Bulgaria named Rarity from the Hollow as one of the best five books that he had read in 2015. http://codices.info/2015/12/top-5-for-2015-ventsi/ On January 20, 2016, Rarity from the Hollow was awarded a second Gold Medal by a popular book review site: https://readersfavorite.com/book-review/rarity-from-the-hollow. Additional praise of the first edition has been posted by book bloggers on Amazon.

About the Author: I recently retired after 52 years of contributions into the U.S. Social Security fund so that I could write and promote my fiction. I’m a former mental health psychotherapist in West Virginia. But, after coming home drained from working with child abuse victims, I didn’t have the energy left to begin its self-promotion. Author proceeds have been donated to a child abuse prevention program in my home state. http://www.childhswv.org/ A listing of services that are supported can be found here: http://mountainrhinestones.blogspot.com/2015/06/review-giveaway-rarity-from-hollow-by.html.

The Press: Dog Horn Publishing is a traditional small press located in Leeds. Adam Lowe is the owner. http://www.doghornpublishing.com/wordpress/books/rarity-from-the-hollow  The press also showcases other semi avant garde titles and publishes a popular magazine for the GLBTQ community (Vada).

Purchase links:





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Old MacDonald Had A Haunted House by Nancy Mauerman

Old MacDonald Had A Haunted House
Cover for adsChildren have always needed a celebratory song for that most silly of holidays, Halloween. They probably already know the tune and half the words so here a few that describe Old MacDonald’s Haunted House with a torture chamber with feathers to tickle, a hidden staircase to sneak sneak and salamanders that slime slime.

Amazon link


nancy 2012 augustNancy Mauerman writes novels for kids that are beautifully illustrated and have a strong central plot with several sub-plots broadening the character’s motivation and adding quirky details used later in the story. There are surprise word pictures on most every page, like, “Worms don’t need legs. They dance together, in slime they spit out, cheek to cheek.” Nancy uses alliterations and assonance, invents new words and introduces others, previously known to adults. She explains their meaning and repeats the word again soon, without breaking the rhythm of the story.

Family problem-solving is her favorite theme because children are hungry to share adventures with their adults. Her dialogues flow naturally, tempting the reader into reading the same passage a little differently each time. The story flows effortlessly, it and the pictures grabs children’s attention, while adults enjoy discovering new insights and the words feel good in their mouths. These are not books adults will ‘accidentally’ lose, burn, or spindle.

Monte Vista Village (The Survivor Diaries, Book 1) By Lynn Lamb

Final Book I CoverImagine: The apocalypse— would you survive?

I’m Laura, and I survived global nuclear war. When I walked out into the devastated landscape, I didn’t find zombies, witches or vampires— what I found was infinitely worse; it was real.

Is this our reckoning?

Our tormentor is no longer the enemy; it is what’s left of the desperate earth. My neighbors are starving and sick from the biochemicals in the air. Our food, water and meds are running low. Our only hope is to come together to stay alive.

Who will lead us to salvation?

Certainly not me. Why would it be me?

The Army Colonel is driving me nuts. Something is just not right there. He should be the leader of the Village, not me.

Can my story have a happily-ever-after? Can it have any kind of ever-after?

Book Trailer: http://youtu.be/cq7L9kysWxw

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/thesurvivordiariestalkpage?ref=hl

Website: http://www.the-survivor-diaries.com/


Sophia’s Secret by Julie Ryan

Sophia's secretThis is the second book in the Greek Island Mystery series. Although each book is intended to be read as a standalone, some of the characters from the first book, ‘Jennas’s Journey’, do make an appearance.
Kat has never understood why she was sent at the age of seven from Greece to live in England with her Aunt Tigi. When she receives an email from her grandmother, the first contact in over twenty years, informing her of her mother’s death, she knows this could be her last chance to find out the truth. Little by little she finds out the shocking facts as her grandmother opens her heart. It seems everyone has a secret to tell, not only her grandmother, as Manoli, her school friend, also harbours a guilty secret. Then there’s a twenty year old mystery to solve as well as a murder and what happened to the missing Church treasure?

For a short period of time, this book has a Rafflecopter giveaway



Author links

Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/Julieryanauthor
Twitter @julieryan18
Blog http://www.allthingsbookie.com

Book links

Jenna’s Journey – http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00EXDPZD2


The boy knew he shouldn’t be out so late on his own but a dare was a dare! His best friend, Vasilli, had dared him to meet up at midnight in their den in the woods. He’d been so excited he could barely sleep. His mother had come to tuck him in—not that a boy of nearly eight needed tucking in he’d reminded her as they went through the usual nightly ritual.
“Night night.”
“Sleep tight, mind the bugs don’t bite.”
Then when she’d gone, he forced himself to stay awake until he heard his parents come back up the stairs to their room. He waited for the light to go out and gave it a few more minutes to be on the safe side. The luminous watch that he’d asked for on last birthday was showing nearly 11.30. There would be plenty of time to get there. He peered out of his bedroom window. It was dark out. There were no streetlights in his village. It was lucky that he’d remembered to pack a torch. He crept silently down the stairs, careful not to wake either his parents or the sleeping twins, put a jacket on over his pyjamas, slipped his trainers on and spying the fruit bowl on the table, put a couple of apples in his pocket in case he got hungry.
The gang had built the den during the long summer holidays when they were allowed to play out until late provided that they told an adult where they were. This was different. The summer had given way to autumn and there was a chill in the night air. He wrapped his arms round himself for extra warmth or maybe just to give himself courage. He thought fleetingly of turning back but he knew he wouldn’t be able to stand Vasilli’s taunts of ‘chicken’ the next day. All he had to do, he reminded himself, was cut through the woods at the back of his house and meet his friend in the den. Just then, as if giving him a signal, the moon came out from behind the clouds illuminating the woodland path. He set off at a run, not wanting to be late. Once he reached the safety of the den, they’d have a good laugh about what a great game it had been.
An owl hooted in the branches above him almost scaring him silly. It felt so different at night. Every sound was magnified a thousand times, making him alert to every eerie sound. Little creatures scurrying around made the leaves underfoot rustle. Twice now he’d thought he heard someone following him but when he stopped there was no one. Only a few more metres to go and he’d be safe.
Not wanting to cut through the churchyard, he kept to the wall until he reached the woods. The moonlight showed him the den, just as he’d left it. He rushed inside, breathing heavily, surprised to see that Vasilli hadn’t arrived yet. He glanced at his watch. It was only 11.54. He decided to wait no more than ten minutes and then he was going home. His father would give him a right talking to if he got caught. He’d probably be grounded for weeks. It never crossed his mind that his friend wasn’t coming. He settled himself into the snugness of the den to wait. At least it was warmer in here, out of the wind.
He woke up suddenly, surprised that he’d fallen asleep. There were footsteps just outside the den: Vasilli must have been held up. He was about to shout to him but thought he’d surprise him instead by shouting ‘boo’ as he crawled through the entrance. The footsteps stopped and he heard a scraping noise. He peered into the darkness but couldn’t make out what his friend was doing. Then the moonlight clearly showed him that whoever it was, he was far too tall for his friend. It was a man with a spade. He could hear the soft earth plop onto the ground as he dug a hole. Suddenly the den smelt of fresh earth and vegetation. He hoped the man wasn’t going to be long. He was in enough trouble already. The moon disappeared and it was dark again, totally silent now except for the sound of the spade on the damp earth. He’d wanted an adventure but suddenly an adventure on your own wasn’t nearly so much fun. He wondered what the man was doing. Maybe he was burying treasure. They could come back tomorrow and dig it up. That would be fun. He knew though that he shouldn’t be here and was afraid. What if the man caught him and told his parents? His heart was thumping so loudly he was sure the man could hear him but the spade just continued to thwack as the soil was lifted. It seemed like hours but his watch showed it was 1.10am. When the moon came out again he saw the man lift something big and heavy into the hole and start to cover it up. Now he knew he had to remain totally silent or else he’d end up in the hole too no doubt! He had a horrible thought that perhaps instead of treasure, the man was burying a body. At any rate it certainly didn’t look like treasure. Why was he out here in the woods at this time? He couldn’t be up to any good? Just then the man trampled down the earth so that it wouldn’t leave a trace just as the moon slid out from the shadows. The boy realized with a jolt that he knew the man. Fear trickled through his body, just as he lost control and wet himself. Hot urine trickled down his leg, turning cold seconds later. He didn’t consider the trouble he’d be in for wetting his pajamas, right now he just wanted to be anywhere else but in the middle of the woods with a murderer for company. He was tired, cold and wet. He watched the man leave and when he was sure it was safe, he ran all the way home. He was relieved that his parents hadn’t missed him. He half expected all the lights to be on and his father standing in the middle of the living room asking him where the hell he’d been. Instead there was a gentle snoring noise coming from the bedroom. Luckily the twins hadn’t woken his parents up while he’d been out. He quickly changed into clean pjs. He’d admit to wetting himself in the morning but that was all. He crept into bed and fell asleep straight away but somehow his mother’s words kept playing on his mind over and over again. ‘Mind the bugs don’t bite.’ He dreamt of bugs covering him but instead of a bug’s face, he saw the man in the woods. He was to dream the same dream time and time again.


Chapter 1

They say you should never go back to a place where you were once happy, not unless you are prepared to be disappointed. As she surveyed the all too familiar island from the deck, Kat wished she’d heeded that advice. The beautiful cove where they’d played as children was now home to a luxury hotel—the azure blue waters of the infinity pool glinting in the sun. ‘Why on earth had she come back?’ she asked herself. She knew that it would only lead to more heartbreak, yet after all this time she had finally been unable to resist the pull of her homeland.
“Is that it?” Asked an excited voice next to her.
“Yes darling, that’s where mama grew up. If you look carefully, you can just make out the house where I used to live when I was your age. It’s at the top of the hill. Can you see it yet? The little house painted yellow. It’s called ‘To spiti lemoni.’”
“I see it, I see it,” replied Izzy jumping up and down.
Looking at her daughter’s face flushed with youthful exuberance, Kat felt a tug of nostalgia for that innocent time. She put her arms round her daughter and hugged her close, wanting to protect her from anything that might harm her.
“When’s daddy coming?” Izzy asked out of the blue.
“You know he has to work, sweetie. This is going to be our little adventure, okay?”
“But I’m going to miss him sooooo much.”
Luckily before Kat could think of anything else to say, they were caught up in the swell of passengers disembarking. Pushing their way past dithering tourists trying to get their bearings, they set off up the hill towards the lemon house. Luckily they hadn’t brought much luggage, just a bag with a couple of changes of clothes each, swimming things, underwear and a few toiletries. Anything else that they needed she figured they could buy on the island. They wouldn’t need much as she didn’t intend to stay for long. She’d planned on being away for a week, two at the most depending on how long the formalities were going to take. Izzy had her own backpack with her DS in it. She’d virtually refused to come away without it and Kat could empathize with that because she felt the same about her Kindle, which went everywhere with her. She knew she gave into her daughter far too much but she could honestly say she wasn’t a spoilt brat like some of the other kids in her class and that was down to her. She could hardly give Robert any credit for his daughter’s upbringing, as he was never there.
The email had pinged into her ‘in’ box just as she and Robert hit a really bad patch. They’d been arguing more and more recently. She knew he worked hard but he didn’t appreciate that she worked too as well as looking after their daughter and the house. It seemed that lately more and more was left to her and when they did speak it was just to complain about each other. She was fed up with his long hours and lack of family time; he complained that she was never satisfied. Then the email from Greece had arrived informing her of her mother’s death. For the rest of the day, she’d put it to the back of her mind. After all, she hadn’t seen her in years so she could hardly play the grief-stricken daughter. Then that evening over dinner she’d mentioned it to Rob and his sense of duty had insisted that she go and pay her respects. Of course, his work responsibilities didn’t extend to him accompanying her and with nobody to look after Izzy she’d almost turned it into a holiday, pushing the real reason why she was here to the back of her mind.
The sun was blazing and already she could feel a trickle of sweat run down her neck into the crevices of her shoulders. They stopped at the periptero, which had expanded from the tiny kiosk that she remembered into what looked almost like a shop with awnings and freezers taking up most of the outside space. She had to face up to the villagers at some point she reasoned and this seemed as good a place as any. Achilles had barely changed at all. As a child she’d thought he was old but back then he couldn’t have been more than forty-five. Now, he must be nearly seventy but she recognized the weather beaten features and the kind eyes. Steeling herself, she spoke to him in Greek remembered from years past.
“Two ice-creams please.”
Achilles looked up from the newspaper he was reading,
“You’re back then? We weren’t sure if you’d come or not.” He said.
For a second she wondered how he could possibly recognize her after all this time. Then she looked down at her daughter who was the spitting image of her at the same age. She knew that whatever she said would be all round the village in a matter of minutes. Achilles would take great pleasure in passing the news on to all his customers and soon everyone would know that Pelagia’s daughter was back for the funeral. There was a pause as neither knew what else to say until finally, remembering the circumstances under which she’d returned, Achilles waved away her offer of a ten euro note and said the ice-creams were on the house. Before he could ask any more questions they moved up the hill and sat on a low-whitewashed wall to eat their ice creams. Looking around her, Kat thought that this part of the village had changed very little. She still recognized most of the houses although some had evidently been sold and tarted up as holiday homes. Where the roofs had once held spare water tanks in case of drought and solar panels for the hot water, now they were proper roof terraces with sun loungers and patio furniture catering to the needs of tourists. The traditional donkeys that she remembered from her childhood had long gone, as the islanders’ wealth had improved. Now you had to be wary of young men riding mopeds and scooters instead. It felt strange to be in a place that was so familiar, yet to always be the outsider. It was strange too how she never quite felt English in England yet she’d been away so long she no longer felt Greek either. Even her name was neither one thing nor the other. She’d changed it from her birth name of Ekaterina to Kat when she’d realized that nobody in her class could pronounce such a mouthful. It wasn’t quite English either as she hadn’t liked to be called Katie. Perhaps she really should have trusted her instincts though and stayed at home. She’d only come because Robert insisted. It was almost as if he had an ulterior motive. She pushed that thought to the back of her mind too. Now she really was becoming paranoid. Maybe that’s what returning to the island did to you?
Soon they reached the top of the hill and the lemon house, pausing only to take in the tremendous view that she recalled so vividly. On a clear day you could see all the way across to the mainland. It was a view that no camera could quite capture. Its exquisite beauty refused to be pinned down. Maybe it wasn’t so bad to be back, after all?
Out of a childhood habit she automatically felt under the terracotta pot where her mother had always hidden the door key. Nothing! She couldn’t believe she’d come all this way to be refused entry to her own childhood home. Her emotions were running high but she knew she couldn’t let the tears fall, especially not in front of Izzy. She thought that if she started crying, she would probably never stop. Then the door opened and her grandmother said.
“I heard you were back. You’d better come in.”
Achilles’ early warning system had worked faster than even she could have anticipated.
“I got a text from Achilles in case you were wondering.”
Kat marvelled inwardly at how well her grandmother could read her mind but then that was something she’d always been good at. Somehow though she hadn’t associated mobile phones with her grandmother and wondered if she was being unreasonably ageist or if it was because the way she remembered the island was before the advance of technology.

Author Biography —Julie Ryan

DSCF0607Julie was born and brought up in a mining village near Barnsley in South Yorkshire. She graduated with a BA (hons) in French Language and Literature from Hull University. Since then she has lived and worked as a Teacher of English as a Foreign Language in France, Greece, Poland and Thailand. She now lives in rural Gloucestershire with her husband, son and a dippy cat with half a tail. She is so passionate about books that her collection is now threatening to outgrow her house, much to her husband’s annoyance!
She is the author of two novels set in Greece, “Jenna’s Journey” and “Sophia’s Secret” both part of the Greek Island Mystery series. She is currently working on a third book, ‘Pandora’s Prophecy.”

Book promotion tour organised by:

Brook Cottage Books is now offering a range of services to authors and bloggers http://brookcottagebooks.blogspot.co.uk/p/services-offered.html

Distracted Driving: The Multi-Tasking Myth by Luke W Russell

Distracted Driving: The Multi-Tasking Myth (Non-Fiction) by Luke W Russellhttp://www.amazon.com/Distracted-Driving-Multi-Tasking-Myth-Judge-ebook/dp/B00J3513FO/

We all want to believe we can drive responsibly and monitor distractions. But our attention is limited by nature, and we are often very subtly distracted from noticing things right in front of us. Depending on what you’re doing while you’re driving, you could literally miss seeing a giraffe grazing on the roadside. Because of distractions, many people have failed to see a gorilla beating its chest right in front of them, and this is no joke.

We really are not good multi-taskers when our attention is spread over tasks that require dedicated attention. That’s why conversations on cellphones turn out to be a serious distraction to drivers. Read this book and see what you think. And then see what you think about whether it’s fair to the rest of the people in your car or on the road when you allow yourself to be distracted in the special way that cellphones can distract.

The View From Endless Street by Rebecca Lloyd

EndlessStreet_CVR_XSML (427x640)With this collection of short stories set in the south of England and beyond, Rebecca Lloyd explores relationships and the brave or foolish things they can make people do.
These stories about murder and ghosts, delusion and desperation, obsession and arson, show readers a sometimes sweet, sometimes macabre vision of humanity.
Rebecca Lloyd channels Roald Dahl’s wit and flair for the unexpected in this collection that will appeal to the quirky side of the literary reader.
________________________________photo by Rosie TomlinsonRebecca Lloyd lives in the city of Bristol in the South West of England. She has two daughters and three grandsons. Apart from fiction writing, she works as a writing tutor and editor. She won the Bristol Short Story Prize in 2008 for a single story – The River, and in 2010 was a semi-finalist in both the Hudson Prize for a short story collection and the Dundee International Book Prize for a novel.

In 2014, she was shortlisted in the first annual Paul Bowles Award in Short Fiction. She is the author of Halfling, (Walker Books 2011), co-editor of the anthology Pangea, (Thames River Press 2012), and author of the short story collection Mercy, (Tartarus Press 2014).
ISBN:- 978-1-937178-48-2
LINKS TO PURCHASE:- my book link

Amidst The American Dreams by Stephan James Gathings

What is it?  Where does it come from? . . . And what’s the price for it?
‘AMIDST THE AMERICAN DREAMS’ shines as a northern star for a culture
ever attempting to define ‘Real Love’. 
In the wake of the turbulent sixties, small-town teens Steve and Sue believe in
 love and find it in each other.  As their dream begins to blossom they slowly discover
that real love comes with a real price.  Here, at the very center of our American Dreams,
 you’ll find what it really means to tell someone “I Love You’.  
It’s the promise of forever.  The story of innocent love struggling to hold
onto a dream in a world seemingly ever bent on ending it.  It’s a faith that stands against
each whirl-wind sent to destroy its ‘completeness’.  As they dance to the song in their
 heart, that only they can hear, it compels each to follow.  To sacrifice all for it, even their
own happiness.
It’s the fulfillment of the faithful and the trials that transform a ‘You’ and
an ‘I’ into an “US”.  This work has redefined “Romance and Love” through the passion,
 the pain and the sacrifices of a True Heart.  Theirs was a Heart born to follow a Dream,
and with a Love strong and willing enough to pay the price for it.
Links for purchase are:


About the Author:  Stephan J. Gathings
Email address: Excalibur@Basicisp.net
Phone: 570-588-0546
            Stephan Gathings still remembers the ‘Rush of Life’ he felt when he realized he was holding the Gift of a True Love in his arms.  He had endured many trials and paid each price in his search for it.  It was only when he finally realized at age thirty that ‘True Love’ was a Gift, and not a prize, that It found him.
The purpose of this book was to share his belief that True Love does exist.  That it is the greatest experience we can ever hope to know.  Love is to the soul what breath is to the body and without either, there is no life in us.  Amidst the American Dreams is the journey of a love perfected. 
He attended both Morris County and Sussex County Community Colleges in New Jersey as a liberal arts major.  His first poem ‘Hero’ was published in the anthology ‘A Vision, A Verse’ back in 1979.  Three more followed in other anthologies during the eighties.  S. C. C. College published his short story ‘A game of pool’ in its literary magazine ‘The Idiom’ in the spring of 1994. 
During 1993-1994, he also wrote, directed, and acted in two plays.  ‘The Patient in room 2-A’ was for the A.I.D.S. Awareness program at S. C. C. College and the New Jersey Collegiate Consortium for health and education.  The second was ‘Behind the Door’.  This one offered an experience in self-discovery by using an untraditional style of playwriting.
            Influences had been poet Richard Brautigan, ‘The Thief of Baghdad (The quest for the Blue Rose), Doctor Zhivago (Boris Pasternak) and the play ‘The Man of LaMancha’. 
            Native-born in New Jersey, he now lives in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania with his precious gift of a wife Julianna.  They have two sons.  The oldest is a computer operator and I. T. tech and the younger is now in the Navy.  Stephan has certification as a Commercial Recreational Specialist and works for a major security company. 
 Dec. 14, 2011
The Morris County Library
30 East Hanover Ave.
Whippany, N. J. 07981
Stephan James Gathings
     The Morris County Library wants to congratulate you about the publication of your new book ‘Amidst the American Dreams’ and the recent article about it and you in ‘Parsippany Life’.  We’d like you to know that we have added you to the Morris Authors’ Collection, a research collection of information about, and books by, local authors. The website for the collection is:
. . .  “We’re planning our next Author’s Day for the Spring of 2012. Hope you can attend and see the collection at that time and we can meet in person.”
Amy Saloway
Reference Dept.
Morris County Library

Author finds a story in his quest for true love

Thursday, December 8, 2011    Last updated: Friday December 9, 2011, 1:30 AM
Parsippany Life

By Lisa Kintish
“Love is to the soul what breath is to the body, and without either there is no life in us.” – Stephan James Gathings
Teen-age life in 1960s Lake Hiawatha was about the search for “True Love,” at least it was for Gathings. He says he “believed” in it and “actively sought after it.”
Gathings dreamed of his “perfect girl.” He called her Sue and pictured her “small, five-foot stature, her silken brown hair, her warm Spring-smile” and could hear her voice whispering in his ear. Most of all, he loved the elusive girl’s “chocolate-brown eyes full of love that left me breathless.”
When his family moved to Dover from Lake Hiawatha in 1968, not only did Gathings have to leave his home of eight years, he was also afraid he lost his chance of ever meeting his real-life Sue. In his new town, he did date a girl and married her after graduating from high school. However, the union did not last and he was left “empty, broken, and feeling betrayed.”
Gathings said, “I had no heart left to give it seemed. I began to doubt that true love actually existed and I felt like a fool for even believing in it.”
He spent his 20s roaming the country, “trying to find meaning to it all.” At 3 , with the realization that “True Love is not a prize to be won, but a gift to be given,” he found his “Sue” and they are now married with two sons. Her eyes, though, are green and not brown, but they “send love straight to my soul with but a glance.”
It turned out that she was never really very far from him after all; she grew up in Boonton, “one town away.”
Gathings’ journey to find true love inspired his novel, “Amidst the American Dreams,” a fictional tale of two teens in Lake Hiawatha who meet at Christmas in 1965. The book follows them for the next 41 years.
Gathings noted, “We watch how the innocence of this First Love evolves and grows to better understand the meaning of having been given ‘The Gift.’ The story progressively shows that life demands faith, sacrifice, and commitment if one wishes the joys of such a love. That along with the bliss there will be painful trials as well, but that real love endures forever. Here is a journey of a love perfected, a True Love.”
By setting the book in the Lake Hiawatha of his youth, Gathings was able to touch the time in his life when there was “innocence and stability.” As he said, “there were no grey areas, everything was either black or white, right or wrong. You easily could see how life worked. What was expected of you and how to act. What friendship meant and that it was earned and honored.”
He observed that back then, people in “this small town” were close and cared for community. Most everyone went to the same church and the children attended the same school.
As for romance at the time, he said, “I was taught to hold a girl in high regard, to treat her in a certain proper way and to dress and act nicely when on a date. In doing so, we both showed respect for each other. Yes there was puppy love and boys would still often try to see how far they could go, but we all knew the standard that was expected of us and affection was not something to be taken lightly. The songs of the times reflected this as well and it was customary to select a song of the month whenever you went steady with someone. It became Our Song and helped to remind us of why we were a couple. I always felt that small towns like this one were the backbone of our country’s strength.”
ParsippanyTroy-Hills High School and St. Peter’s Church are mentioned in the book along with places still around and those that are gone.
Gathings said, “I lived on a side street in lower section of town, down near the Hiawatha Pool. The island mentioned throughout the story is right there next to it. The wooden bridge is now gone that crossed over to it and the river has been drudged down to a small brook into the lake itself. The old iron rear bridge to the island off River Road is no longer accessible, but it could still be seen when last I visited. It was a two-blinker town when I lived there, now both are full lights. The Hiawatha Sunoco on the corner of North Beverwyck Road and Lake Shore Drive has been closed. I had worked there in the ‘70s as a mechanic. The building now sitting there had replaced the old one of years ago.
“The Spa luncheonette is still serving great food and drinks. The seating arrangements have changed slightly since I took my dates there and hung out with friends. As I sat there on my last visit with my eldest son for coffee, I watched as people were still being treated as guests and enjoying the cozy atmosphere. I had worked there as well as a dishwasher and the elderly couple who owned it and were friendly with all of us always welcomed the teenage crowd.”
He continued, “Out on Route 46 west once sat the Par-Troy drive-in, along with the batting cages and a golf driving range up closer to North Beverwyck Road. All are gone now. At the other end of town was the Knoll golf course. I would caddy there each summer with friends when I lived there. It is mentioned as well in the story but without the name. At the bottom of Lake Shore drive and River Road you will, as I said, find the Island and the lake.
“My brother and I had made make-shift rafts one fall day and launched them. Mine soon took on water and I had to swim for it. I almost drowned that day, as I began to sink from two layers of wet clothes on, but for my brother who grabbed me to hang onto his raft as he made for shore. Still, I loved that lake, island and river. I had enjoyed picnics there while on dates many times.”
Gathings learned how to write as a student at the County College of Morris in the late 1970s. He has written a short story and plays as well as poetry. The latter is incorporated into the book, written in what he likes to describe as “exploratory” style.
“Writing Amidst the American Dreams” was “like a form of madness” for Gathings.
He said, “It would not let go of me until it was finished. I took three months between jobs just to do a rough draft. I would work in my den for hours, then wake up in the middle of the night with a spark of insight, or just a piece of dialog that was just right and start working again. Often I had to wait for the characters to tell me what was going to happen next.”
He added, “During that time of quick light meal breaks, gallons of coffee and chain-smoking enough cigarettes to change the color of my wallpaper, I lost over thirty pounds, but had a near perfect rough draft. I spent the next year and a half polishing it, until one night I sat back and read it cover to cover. It was as if for the first time hearing the story and I was so moved by it that I gave it to my wife to read. She insisted that it should be sent out for consideration, so with much reluctance I did. I am still dazed that it has become a reality out there in the marketplace. I have received so much feedback on how it affected others that I felt humbled and so grateful to have been given a chance to share it. It has inspired me to work on my next one.”
With this book, Gathings hopes to “move the reader with emotion, make them laugh, or feel the pain and loss, to not just cry for the characters but to identify with them. And most of all, to love them as I do. In the end, I hope that the story has a major impact on the reader’s way of viewing his or her own life. That it motivates them to make the changes they may need to live a full and happy life.”
Amidst the American Dreams is available at Amazon.com, BarnesandNoble.com, PublishAmerican.com, or by visiting Gathings’ website, http://www.noveltimes.webs.com.
E-mail: kintish@northjersey.com

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