Wednesday, February 28, 2024

The Background Story of The Golden Manuscripts by Evy Journey

 


The Golden Manuscripts is inspired by the real-life theft of medieval manuscript illuminations during World War II.

Title: The Golden Manuscripts: A Novel

Author: Evy Journey

Pages: 360

Genre: Historical Fiction/Women's Fiction/Mystery

goodreads add to

A young woman of Asian/American parentage has lived in seven different countries and is anxious to find a place she could call home. An unusual sale of rare medieval manuscripts sends her and Nathan—an art journalist who moonlights as a doctor—on a quest into the dark world of stolen art.  For Clarissa, these ancient manuscripts elicit cherished memories of children’s picture books her mother read to her, nourishing a passion for art.  When their earnest search for clues whisper of old thieves and lead to the unexpected, they raise more questions about an esoteric sometimes unscrupulous art world that defy easy answers.   Will this quest reward Clarissa with the sense of home she longs for? This cross-genre literary tale of self-discovery, art mystery, travel, and love is based on the actual theft by an American soldier of illuminated manuscripts during World War II.
Buy Links:



Book Excerpt:

November 2000

Rare Manuscripts

I sometimes wish I was your girl next door. The pretty one who listens to you and sympathizes. Doesn’t ask questions you can’t or don’t want to answer. Comes when you need to talk. 

She’s sweet, gracious, respectful, and sincere. An open book. Everybody’s ideal American girl. 

At other times, I wish I was the beautiful girl with creamy skin, come-hither eyes, and curvy lines every guy drools over. The one you can’t have, unless you’re a hunk of an athlete, or the most popular hunk around. Or you have a hunk of money.

But I’m afraid the image I project is that of a brain with meager social skills. The one you believe can outsmart you in so many ways that you keep out of her way—you know the type. Or at least you think you do. Just as you think you know the other two.

I want to believe I’m smart, though I know I can be dumb. I’m not an expert on anything. So, please wait to pass judgement until you get to know us better—all three of us. 

Who am I then? 

I’m not quite sure yet. I’m the one who’s still searching for where she belongs. 

I’m not a typical American girl. Dad is Asian and Mom is white. I was born into two different cultures, neither of which dug their roots into me. But you’ll see my heritage imprinted all over me—on beige skin with an olive undertone; big grey eyes, double-lidded but not deep-set; a small nose with a pronounced narrow bridge; thick, dark straight hair like Dad’s that glints with bronze under the sun, courtesy of Mom’s genes. 

I have a family: Mom, Dad, Brother. Sadly, we’re no longer one unit. Mom and Dad are about ten thousand miles apart. And my brother and I are somewhere in between.

I have no one I call friend. Except myself, of course. That part of me who perceives my actions for what they are. My inner voice. My constant companion and occasional nemesis. Moving often and developing friendships lasting three years at most, I’ve learned to turn inward. 

And then there’s Arthur, my beautiful brother. Though we were raised apart, we’ve become close. Like me, he was born in the US. But he grew up in my father’s home city where his friends call him Tisoy, a diminutive for Mestizo that sometimes hints at admiration, sometimes at mockery. Locals use the label for anyone with an obvious mix of Asian and Caucasian features. We share a few features, but he’s inherited a little more from Mom. Arthur has brown wavy hair and green eyes that invite remarks from new acquaintances. 

Little Arthur, not so little anymore. Taller than me now, in fact, by two inches. We’ve always gotten along quite well. Except the few times we were together when we were children and he’d keep trailing me, like a puppy, mimicking what I did until I got annoyed. I’d scowl at him, run away so fast he couldn’t catch up. Then I’d close my bedroom door on him. Sometimes I wondered if he annoyed me on purpose so that later he could hug me and say, “I love you” to soften me up. It always worked.

I love Arthur not only because we have some genes in common. He has genuinely lovable qualities—and I’m sure people can’t always say that of their siblings. He’s caring and loyal, and I trust him to be there through thick and thin. I also believe he’s better put together than I am, he whom my parents were too busy to raise. 

I am certain of only one thing about myself: I occupy time and space like everyone. My tiny space no one else can claim on this planet, in this new century. But I still do not have a place where I would choose to spend and end my days. I’m a citizen of a country, though. The country where I was born. And yet I can’t call that country home. I don’t know it much. But worse than that, I do not have much of a history there. 

Before today, I trudged around the globe for two decades. Cursed and blessed by having been born to a father who was a career diplomat sent on assignments to different countries, I’ve lived in different cities since I was born, usually for three to four years at a time. 

Those years of inhabiting different cities in Europe and Asia whizzed by. You could say I hardly noticed them because it was the way of life I was born into. But each of those cities must have left some lasting mark on me that goes into the sum of who I am. And yet, I’m still struggling to form a clear idea of the person that is Me. This Me can’t be whole until I single out a place to call home. 

Everyone has a home they’ve set roots in. We may not be aware of it, but a significant part of who we think we are—who others think we are—depends on where we’ve lived. The place we call home. A place I don’t have. Not yet. But I will.

I was three when I left this city. Having recently come back as an adult, I can’t tell whether, or for how long, I’m going to stay. You may wonder why, having lived in different places, I would choose to seek a home in this city—this country as alien to me as any other town or city I’ve passed through. 

By the end of my last school year at the Sorbonne, I was convinced that if I were to find a home, my birthplace might be my best choice. I was born here. In a country where I can claim citizenship. Where the primary language is English. My choice avoids language problems and pesky legal residency issues. Practical and logical reasons, I think.



The Background Story of The Golden Manuscripts

Are you ever curious how picture books and, by extension, even graphic novels, first began? Has it ever occurred to you that picture books might have illustrious beginnings? Like most mothers, I read to my son when he was a boy, and I understand how wonderful children’s picture books can be. Pictures in books are not only entertaining, but they also teach. Today, we take picture books for granted. We love images. We whip out our cell phones and take pictures to preserve memories of instants in time.

I love illustrations in fiction and wish we did more of them. One of my favorites is an old almost tattered copy of a collection of Jane Austen’s novels featuring illustrations of scenes from her stories by a nineteenth century artist.  Before Masterpiece Theater and my exposure to films of 19th century England, these images shaped my limited conception of everything that was old English. Now, I have an ebook copy of an old, illustrated Jane Austen collection. 

When an art history class introduced me to manuscript illuminations, I was amazed at the thought that illustrated books likely have medieval beginnings dating back to Charlemagne’s reign in the 9th century. While he revived classical art, his most lasting achievement is the flourishing of picture bookmaking. Most people in the Middle Ages couldn’t read, so he championed the creation of picture books to teach them about God.

Historians called those early picture books illuminated manuscripts or manuscript illuminations. They were handwritten and illustrated on parchment (dried and stretched animal skins), often by the same creator who painted the pictures. An illumination is a picture or illustration in a book that conveys the meaning of a piece of text. It’s “illuminated” through the use of gilding—gold or silver decorations on letters and figures.  In medieval times, these manuscripts represented a high art form. 

This intro compelled me to do extensive research into illuminated manuscripts. One of the articles I unearthed told of an actual theft by an American soldier during WWII of a couple of these rare manuscripts. It was eureka moment. I was left with no choice but to write a story around this theft of illustrated books. To make the story more intriguing, and in keeping with the overall theme of the second set of standalone novels in my Between Two Worlds series, I chose a young biracial heroine who’s rootless and anxious to find a home for herself. The product is a literary novel based on actual events, into which I’ve woven mystery, historical, and romance elements.



About the Author 

Evy Journey writes. Stories and blog posts. Novels that tend to cross genres. She’s also a wannabe artist, and a flâneuse. Evy studied psychology (M.A., University of Hawaii; Ph.D. University of Illinois). So her fiction spins tales about nuanced characters dealing with contemporary life issues and problems. She believes in love and its many faces. Her one ungranted wish: To live in Paris where art is everywhere and people have honed aimless roaming to an art form. She has visited and stayed a few months at a time.

Author Links  

Website | Facebook | Instagram | Goodreads

 

Evy Journey will giving away nine $25 Amazon Gift Cards & nine boxed sets of the last 3 books in the series, Between Two Worlds! This is the way it works. Evy is touring for 6 months. At the end of each 2 month period she will be giving away 3 $25 Amazon Gift Cards and 3 boxed sets of the last 3 books in the series, Between Two Worlds. You will have a chance to win 3 times during her tour!

Terms & Conditions:

  • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
  • Nine winners will be chosen via Rafflecopter to receive a $25 Amazon Gift Card and a boxed set of the last 3 books in the series, Between Two Worlds.
  • This giveaway starts February 5 and ends July 30.
  • Winners will be contacted via email on March 28, May 31 and July 30.
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.

Good luck everyone!

  a Rafflecopter giveaway






Wednesday, February 14, 2024

10 Things You Might Not Know About The Dreaming Team & author Chris Wallace

 


The Dreaming Team is a true story for anyone who believes that seemingly insurmountable odds can be overcome if you have the talent and the opportunity.

In the 1850s, Australia was a thriving colony of the British Empire, with its own sense of importance and sophistication.  But the people who had occupied this vast land for upwards of 40,000 years didn’t fit well with colonial expectations of the future.  In every way imaginable, white Australia tried to keep its “darkies” in line. It is against this backdrop in the 1860s that the amazing story of an all Aboriginal cricket team, the first Aussie team to do so, played at Lords, the home of cricket in England.  Conventional wisdom predicted that Indigenous Australians would die off by the next generation. The Dreaming Team brings those Indigenous players to life and follows them on an adventure that would appear to be unbelievable if it weren’t true.  They not only changed the minds and perceptions about Aboriginal Australians, they arguably changed the course of Australian history.  Praise for The Dreaming Team: “A beautiful story, beautifully written, about a piece of Australian history that, if you don’t know about, you probably should. Heartwarming, heartbreaking and brimming with relevance for today’s Australia. A poignant example of how far we’ve come and how far we haven’t.” “The Dreaming Team tells the true story of the all Aboriginal cricket team from Victoria who did a tour of Great Britain back in the 1860s and all the drama, setbacks, and cultural divide between the Aboriginals and white Australians involved. Considering the state of affairs for Aboriginal people in those days, the team’s accomplishments are no small feat!” “What an interesting story. It is truly an Australian story about indigenous Australians. The story grabbed me from the first chapter, and drew me further in to where I could not put it down. I don’t want to give anything away, so I will say that the twists and turns makes you want to know what happens next at the end of each chapter. To say it is a sports story is not fair, it is a people story, told from the heart, about the hearts of people who love the land, and their story. I recommend it highly, and look forward to more from the author, Chris Wallace!”

You can purchase your copy at Amazon.  




Book Excerpt:

Mr. Buckingham has asked Black Johnny to come into the shearing shed.  They stand together, both uncomfortable for different reasons.  Unaarrimin wonders if he’s done something wrong.  He has always tried to be a good worker.  Never complained about anything.  Was happy just to be there on the station  What could he have done?  In the very back of his mind, he wonders if it has anything to do with Alice but dismisses the thought as soon as it comes.  Mr. Buckingham is uncomfortable because he doesn’t like confrontation.  And especially this one.  He is perfectly happy with Black Johnny, finds him easy going, cooperative and good at his job.  It’s only because of his wife that he is in this position.  After a few more awkward minutes, Buckingham clears his throat and begins.  “You know . . . Um . . . You see . . . If it was up to me . . . Well . . . Er . . . The Missus has a bit of ah . . . Oh, damn it, I’m going to have to let you go.  That’s the size of it.  You’ll have to leave the property.  I’ve arranged some provisions for you, tea and sugar, salt, a blanket, a billy, matches, a good knife.  But you’ll have to go.”  Unaarrimin can only look at this man dumbfounded; this man who has been his guardian since he was orphaned as a little boy.  “What have I done?” Unaarrimin asks.  “Well, that’s just it, you see.  It isn’t that you’ve done anything.  It’s more like . . . um . . . look, Johnny, let’s just leave it that the Missus would rather you weren’t here anymore.  Like I said, if it was up to me, we wouldn’t be having this talk.  But you’ve got to go.  Here, take this letter with you.  It’ll help you get a job somewhere else.  But she wants you off the property tomorrow.  Early.”

Alice and Unaarrimin had been inseparable when they were children.  She claimed him.  She taught him to read.  As she learned them, she taught him manners.  They hiked all over Mullagh Station together.  He taught her how to live in the bush, showing her what plants were edible; how to make bread, how to build a proper fire.  They got into all manner of mischief together, stealing honey from Mrs. Buckingham’s cupboard and tobacco from Mr. Buckingham’s pouch.  One time Unaarrimin twisted his ankle jumping from the roof of the shed because Alice dared him.  When they saw that he was alright, they rolled on the ground together in fits of laughter.  He remembers how infectious Alice’s laugh is.  It’s like a melody, like music to him.  He would always do anything to make her laugh.  And she always did.  One day he was teaching her how to throw a boomerang.  “Hold it like this,’ he says.  “Throw from the shoulder”.  Alice cranks her arm for a mighty toss and cracks Unaarrimin in the nose.  She starts laughing her magical laugh.  Even when it starts bleeding, she’s still laughing.  And by now, he is laughing  too.  Alice takes a handkerchief from her pocket and begins dabbing the blood.  Then she gives it to him so he can apply enough pressure to stop the bleeding.  All the while they are laughing uncontrollably.

But there is no laughter now.  Now, he is filled with sadness as he empties the remains of the billy onto the fire and rolls up his swag.  Where is he to go?  What is he to do?  He ambles away from the billabong, no longer conscious of freedom, but thinking of what he has lost, wondering if he’ll ever see her again. 

10 Things You Might Not Know About The Dreaming Team & Chris Wallace

  1. This true story took place in the 1860s, at a time when the British Empire was at its absolute, most glorious, The Victorian Age.  It was said that the sun never set on the British Empire.  This was not hyperbole.  It stretched from Canada in North America to India, Burma and Ceylon in Asia to Rhodesia and South Africa to Sudan, Uganda and Kenya to Nigeria and Togo in Africa to the Seychelles, Mauritius and Zanzibar in the Indian Ocean to Australia and New Zealand in the Pacific to Bermuda, Jamaica and other areas in the Caribbean to British Guiana and the Falkland Islands in South America.  And this is still not all of it.  The game of cricket was, therefore, ubiquitous and played all around the globe.
  2. Until around the 1830s, Australia had been a penal colony, where people could be sent for something as trivial as shoplifting.  At around that time, settlers began arriving and claimed the land for farming, etc., displacing the Indigenous people, whose culture and customs were thousands of years old, and brutalizing them into submission.
  3. Scientists like Charles Darwin and others, who gained their reputations during this period, were convinced that Aboriginal Australians would naturally die off by the next generation.
  4. Many of the Black men who comprised The First Eleven (as the cricket team was known) were boys when their way of life and families were being destroyed by the settlers.
  5. After achieving what would have been unimaginable in a place ten thousand miles away from their country, not long after they returned to Australia, they were virtually forgotten.  The Dreaming Team tells their story.
  6. Chris Wallace grew up in Delaware, Ohio, where his father had a restaurant.  He worked at a men’s clothing store through high school and college and expected to spend the rest of his life there.
  7. He started going to movies alone when he was seven or eight and averaged two double features and a big Sunday extravaganza per week for years.  
  8. He was drafted into the US Army after college and sent to Germany, which began a life-long urge to travel.  He has been traveling ever since and has been to more than 30 countries from Austria to Zimbabwe, some multiple times, and speaks a bit of French, German, Greek, Swahili and a lot of English.
  9. He is currently single and has no children.
  10. He believes that timing is always perfect; that simply saying “yes” can result in amazing adventures, and that every person is the star of their own movie.

About the Author

Chris Wallace is a creative resource.  

As an actor, he was a regular on the hit daytime drama, All My Children, created the role of The Half-Percenter in Joe Papp’s production, Mondongo, appeared in countless television programs, including The Incredible Hulk, The Mary Tyler Moore Hour and had a starring role in the holiday horror classic film, New Year’s Evil.  

As a producer, he put on New York: A Great Place to Live at Lincoln Center which kicked off New York City’s Diamond Jubilee; for Channel Five in New York, he produced the highly acclaimed Harlem Cultural Festival; at the Apollo Theatre in Harlem, he produced Uptown Sunday Afternoon, which was hosted by Harry Belafonte and featured Richard Pryor, Bill Withers, and a galaxy of other performers; for the National Organization for Women, he produced A Valentine’s Day Tribute to Woman at New York’s Town Hall;  was associate producer of the first Ali-Frazier Heavyweight Championship Fight at Madison Square Garden, and produced the gigantic block party, hosted by Gwen Verdon, which named West 46th Street as Restaurant Row. .

He earned the Silver Award at the New York International Film and Television Festival for In the Balance, a film that advocated sustainability and common sense in wildlife management.  It was also singled out by the Department of the Interior as one of the best films of its kind.  Chris wrote, narrated and wrote the musical score for that film.

He performed on several children’s television programs in New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Washington D.C. and Jacksonville, singing his original children’s songs.  In Hollywood, he performed them for all denominations of Big Brothers and Big Sisters of America.  He created a musical, A Special Thing to Be, at the Los Angeles Children’s Museum that featured his kids’ songs and the museum’s children’s chorus.

He wrote the songs for two children’s theatre productions in Hollywood, Hooray, Here Comes the Circus and Sleeping Beauty; wrote and performed the songs on Strong Kids, Safe Kids, a video produced by Henry Winkler for Paramount that dealt with the protection of children from sexual molestation and exploitation.  He created his first musical revue, Greatest Hits, in Hollywood, which played several venues, including Carlos ‘n’ Charlie’s on Sunset Strip and The Backlot in West Hollywood.

Upon relocating to Australia, he produced A Helping Hand at the Victorian Arts Centre, a benefit for Quadriplegic Hand Foundation; wrote book, music and lyrics for Nothing to Wear, a musical based on “The Emperor’s New Clothes,” also produced at the Victorian Arts Centre.  He created a one-man show, A Thing of Shreds & Patches, for the Melbourne Fringe Festival; created another one-man show, The Mark Twain You Don’t Know, which toured Australia, then Pacific Palisades, California, and played in New York City on the 100th anniversary of Mark Twain’s death.  He created several cabaret shows for The Butterfly Club in Melbourne, most notable of which was Les Femmes which featured an all female cast.  He wrote, produced and performed in Huckleberry: A Musical Adventure which premiered in Melbourne.

Which brings us to The Dreaming Team.  This is his second book.  The first, Hollywood Mosaic is written under the pen name, Pete Joseph. You can visit his website at www.olentangymusic.com. 

Saturday, January 27, 2024

My University of the World, a memoir by Neill McKee

 



Neill McKee takes us on an entertaining journey through the developing world from 1970 to 2012. The story starts when he becomes a “one-man film crew,” documenting the lives of Canadian CUSO volunteers working in Asia and Africa as teachers, medical doctors, nurses, engineers, agriculturalists, foresters, and a biologist. He learns the craft of filmmaking and meets and marries Elizabeth “on the hoof.” The story is enlivened throughout by their challenges and adventures together, and Elizabeth’s growing artistic talent and creations. Throughout the short chapters and in a brief epilogue, McKee reflects on the long-term impact of the projects he documented and of his media creations. His memoir is filled with compelling dialog, humorous and poignant incidents, thoughts on world development, vivid descriptions of people and places he visited, and many images, all of which bring readers into his “University of the World.”

Purchase a copy of My University of the World on Amazon or Bookshop.org. You can also add this to your GoodReads reading list.

 

My University of the World

 

This memoir takes the reader on a many-faceted ride through my long career. In the opening chapter in 1970, in India, the reader joins me as a young cinematographer, learning my new craft “on the hoof.” I traveled alone on a shoestring budget on rickety old trains and buses while documenting the lives of Canadian volunteers. That job lasted two years and, to boot, I married Elizabeth, an American woman I met in Japan, in a humorous ceremony in Lusaka, Zambia, after our honeymoon at Victoria Falls. The adventures continued when we settled down in Ottawa, Canada, to have children. There, I was hired by the International Development Research Centre to roam the developing world and make about 30 films on their many projects in education, rural development, agriculture, post-harvest technology, fisheries and aquaculture, health care, water and sanitation—the list goes on. Some of my creations won awards.

 

After 15 years of traveling, editing, and producing, I was granted a sabbatical to do a Master of Science in Communication at Florida State University (FSU). These new credentials led me and my family to Bangladesh, in 1990, where I became the leader of a communication team for UNICEF—the United Nations Children’s Fund. (Lucky for me, Elizabeth is an artist with a portable career, and her growing talent is featured in my memoir.) In Bangladesh, I applied all I had learned in my earlier years and at FSU. The highlight of the job came when I forged a regional team of researchers, artists, and program officers to create an entertaining TV/video and comic book series on Meena, an empowered animated girl cartoon figure, who cleverly negotiates with her peers, family, and community for gender equality in education, health care, and many other child rights. By then, I knew that stories, rather than simple messages, would be discussed in families and communities—a better chance to change behavior and social norms.

 

The success in Bangladesh led me to become the regional communication officer for UNICEF in Eastern and Southern Africa, where I led the agency’s early attempts to contain the growing HIV/AIDS epidemic and launched Sara, the adolescent girl—entertaining animated film and comic book stories of young girls fighting for their rights. In 2001, I joined Johns Hopkins University (JHU) in Baltimore, USA, to do similar work, frequently traveling to Asia, and after three years I was asked to lead a JHU project in Moscow, Russia, at the time Putin was tightening reins on society. Except for a brief epilogue, my memoir ends with my final post in Washington, D.C. (2009-2012) as director of a large global communication project with millions of dollars to program and 140 staff members to manage—a great challenge, employing all I had learned throughout my career.

 

Although I started as a “one-man film crew,” as described in my book, I was influenced and mentored by many of the multi-national people I met and worked with through the years. These experiences led me to become a leader of creative teams; an author and co-author of books, articles, and manuals on development communication; a facilitator and trainer of hundreds of people; and a mentor of others. I learned how to negotiate around roadblocks and apply principles such as gender and racial equity, and skills such as emotional intelligence. My career entailed so many changes and chances to grow and learn that I decided to title this memoir “My University of the World.”      

 


About the Author

Neill McKee is a creative nonfiction writer based in Albuquerque, New Mexico. My University of the World: Memoir of an International Film & Media Maker is a stand-alone sequel to his first travel memoir, Finding Myself in Borneo: Sojourns in Sabah, which has won three awards. McKee holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Calgary and a master’s degree in communication from Florida State University. He worked internationally for 45 years, becoming an expert in the field of communication for behavior and social change. He directed and produced a number of award-winning documentary films/videos, popular multimedia initiatives, and has written numerous articles and three books in the field of development communication. During his international career, McKee was employed by Canadian University Service Overseas (now CUSO International); the International Development Research Centre (IDRC), Canada; UNICEF in Asia and Africa; Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland; the Academy for Educational Development and FHI 360, Washington, D.C. He worked and lived in Malaysia, Bangladesh, Kenya, Uganda, and Russia for a total of 18 years and traveled to over 80 countries on short-term assignments. In 2015, he settled in New Mexico, where he uses his varied experiences, memories, and imagination in creative writing.

Find Neill online:

Author’s website: https://www.neillmckeeauthor.com/my-university-of-the-world

Author's digital library: https://www.neillmckeevideos.com/ (These are most of the film and media projects covered in the memoir – produced by the author from 1970 to 2012.)

LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/neill-mckee-b9971b65/

Facebook: www.facebook.com/McKeeNeill/

Thursday, January 18, 2024

The Inspiration Behind Pinball Wizard by Michael D. Meloan

 


Will you be the pinball wizard or the pinball?

Title: Pinball Wizard

Author: Michael D. Meloan

Pages: 136

Genre: Novella / Romantic Action / Adventure

goodreads add to

Michael D. Meloan’s new novella PINBALL WIZARD is a story of love, sex, jets, and Bukowski. Ralph is buffeted between a controlling father, international intrigue in the US defense industry, and a friendship with the writer Charles Bukowski. A wild girlfriend also ratchets-up the action.

“Are you the Pinball Wizard or the pinball?” asks Ralph’s manager inside a nuclear hardened bunker in England. That is the question driving Michael D. Meloan’s new novella–a story of love, sex, jets, and Bukowski.

Lights flash and bells ring as Ralph is buffeted between a controlling father, international intrigue in the US defense industry, and a friendship with the writer Charles Bukowski. A wild girlfriend also ratchets-up the action.

But in the end, it is Ralph’s turn at the controls.

“My mailbox contained a surprise a week or so ago: PINBALL WIZARD, a novella by Michael Meloan. It is one of the most satisfying reading experiences I’ve had in recent years, in part because it handles a famous writer (Charles Bukowski) as one of its main characters with nonchalant deftness. Meloan’s slightly picaresque story is hard to classify, which is one of the things that makes it such a pleasure to read. He has a gift for writing unapologetically masculine prose; it’s flavorful without being exotic, and it doesn’t hurt that he has a fine ear for dialogue.”–Bill Mohr, writer, critic, and English Literature Professor at California State University, Long Beach

More information on the book PINBALL WIZARD can be found at https://www.amazon.com/Pinball-Wizard-Michael-D-Meloan/dp/1733386483/



Book Excerpt:

“You think every woman is a whore. You hate women.  Admit it!” said Linda. “You can’t look a woman in the eye and relate to her as a human being. All you see is fishnet stockings, tits, and a hole.”

“You’re starting to piss me off,” Bukowski replied. “If it wasn’t for me, I don’t know what the fuck you’d be doing. That shitty little restaurant would be out of business in a week. What would you do if you had to go out and get a real job? I guess you could make Slurpees at 7-Eleven. Or sell oranges on a freeway on-ramp.”

“You’re the kind of vile piece-of-shit that makes people jump off buildings or blow their brains out. You have a genius for sucking every ounce of hope and joy out of anyone around you.”

“At least I have a genius for something. How many even have that?”

“You’re right. I’m sure Hitler was a genius, too.”

“Why don’t you move out? Go ahead and go! Do you think you’re the only woman I can get?”

“No, I’m well aware that the lure of fame—even second-rate fame like yours—is a powerful aphrodisiac for trailer trash women.”

“That’s it!” Bukowski planted his foot underneath the wooden coffee table and kicked it over, launching glasses of wine into the air. “Get out of my house! You DON’T live here anymore! I mean it. We’re through!” Bukowski and Linda stared at each other. Linda’s jaw flexed rhythmically. Then he moved in close. “I mean it!  LEAVE!” he screamed, spewing spittle in her face. Tears streamed down her cheeks.

She stood up and looked at me. “Get me out of here,” she said.

“OK,” I replied.



The Inspiration Behind Pinball Wizard

Three story arcs had been rattling around in my head for years—my parents' dramatic and acrimonious divorce, my work in Europe as a software engineer supporting Top Gun fighter pilots, and my early friendship with the writer Charles Bukowski. Recently, over a period of a few years, I started writing vignettes based on each of these themes. And I posted many of them as shorts on Facebook, where I have 5,000 friends. During the same timeframe, I began unifying all of the elements into a cohesive whole.

A German publisher, Roland Adelmann, became aware of some of the Bukowski-oriented material on Facebook. Bukowski is hugely popular in Germany. I sent Adelmann the manuscript for PINBALL WIZARD, and he was very enthusiastic. We arranged for a translator, Sigune Schnabel, to produce a German translation. Johannes Franke, a German voice actor, also recorded the audiobook version. Then, in 2022, PINBALL WIZARD was released in Germany on Adelmann’s RUP press. www.pinballwizardbook.de

 

Roland Adelmann then suggested that I seek a domestic publisher for the US release. Brooks Roddan, at IFSF Publishing, read the manuscript and declared it "a winner.” He very quickly prepared it for publication, and it was released in the US on August 15, 2023.

www.pinballwizardbook.com

 

After publication, I engaged the services of Charles Barrett at Hollywood Book Publicity. 

https://hollywoodbookpublicity.com/about/ 

He created a compelling press release and has been very effective at securing a wide range of radio and podcast interviews, including The Weekend with Ed Kalegi, The Douglas Coleman Show, Cover to Cover with Mary Elizabeth Jackson, and Book and a Chat with Barry Eva.

 

I’m looking forward to continuing this PINBALL WIZARD journey. 



About the Author

Michael Meloan traveled extensively to England, Germany, and South Korea supporting the Department of Defense as a software engineer. He met the real Top Guns at Ramstein, Germany. He also wrote short stories for Larry Flynt, Buzz, Wired Magazine, and many literary journals. With his brother, Steven, he penned a published novel called The Shroud. Also with his brother, he wrote journalism for The Huffington Post.

In the ‘80s and ‘90s, Meloan was friends with Charles Bukowski and his wife Linda. Bukowski enthusiastically encouraged his writing and invited him and his wife Cathy to many Hollywood events.

Meloan was also good friends with NPR monologue artist Joe Frank. Their regular brunches at the Peninsula Hotel in Beverly Hills were among the most fascinating encounters of his life. They discussed sexual failure, the nature of existence, godly realms, and the existential abyss. Meloan had the privilege of co-writing a number of radio shows with Frank that appeared on the NPR syndicate. The documentaries

Bukowski: Born into This and Joe Frank: Somewhere Out There both contain interviews with Meloan.

Visit the book’s website at www.pinballwizardbook.com.