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Monday, September 5, 2016

My September Featured Follower is... And Don't Miss #InkRipples



. . . Steve Parlato, author of The Namesake. I first met Steve in the UncommonYa group and came to appreciate his hard work and generous nature. He always chimed in during discussions, tweeted and re-tweeted author news, and posted regularly on the blog. Then I read his book and was drawn into his story by some seriously good writing and a story that touched my heart. I reviewed it just recently. This an example of a young adult story that can be devoured by a more mature reader and truly appreciated by them. My Review.


BLURB: The Namesake ~ (Adapted from Merit’s dustjacket copy)
For his teenage son, Evan Sr.’s decision to end his life is a deep betrayal. Evan was named for his father, and looks eerily like him, but the suicide proves the father he thought he knew was just a myth. A locked trunk may hold answers, and, thanks to his grandmother, the key is literally in Evan’s hand. Will his quest for answers help Evan find peace, or will he merely follow his father’s path to despair?  
In a voice that resonates with the authenticity of grief, Steven Parlato tells a different coming-of-age story, about a boy thrust into adulthood too soon, through the corridor of shame, disbelief, and finally…compassion. 

Evan Galloway, in his third year at Saint Sebastian’s Catholic High School, is told to “write what you know” for his college-application essays. But it’s what he doesn’t know that is haunting him.
“It’s funny how perfectly life splits into before and after,” Evan says. Before his father killed himself, home life was pretty normal—Now there’s a hole in that life that can’t be filled or explained. Evan takes on a quest…and the story becomes compelling, as answers to questions slowly surface…His digging… “let[s] the dragon out of the cave,” though, as troubling information unfolds about his father... Parlato’s debut novel, many years in the making, is a painstaking dissection of a father’s past and its reverberations in his son’s life.

A memorable, disturbing story, carefully wrought. (Fiction. 14 & up)


Steven Parlato, novelist, poet, and illustrator, is Associate Professor of English at Naugatuck Valley Community College, where he serves as advisor to the student newspaper, The Tamarack. Parlato’s played roles ranging from the Scarecrow to Macbeth; his poetry appears in Freshwater, MARGIE, Borderlands, Pirene’s Fountain, and Peregrine. Steven’s YA manuscript won a 2011 CT Shoreline Arts Alliance Tassy Walden Award. Upon The Namesake’s 2013 release, Kirkus called Parlato’s novel “a memorable, disturbing story, carefully wrought.”  

Lee, I’m so honored to be September’s Featured Follower. It’s been a summer of deep personal loss—my dad passed in July after a long cancer battle—and I’ve been in a bit of a creative slump. But the chance to share with your readers is inspiring. And it couldn’t come at a better time: I’m excited to share the news that Brilliance Audio’s new CD version of The Namesake audiobook releases September 6. It’s available for pre-order now on Amazon and Barnes and Noble

And stay tuned because Steve has more news about his next book. I'll be posting all about it next week! The Precious Dreadful! is the title. Can't wait to find out more.




#InkRipples is a monthly meme created by Kai Strand, Mary Waibel, and Katie L. Carroll. They post on the first Monday of every month with a new topic. They're all authors, but you don’t have to be to participate.


The idea of #InkRipples is to toss a word, idea, image, whatever into the inkwell and see what kind of ripples it makes. They provide the topics and will be blogging about them on the first Monday of the month. You can spread your own ripples by blogging about the topic any day of the month that fits your schedule, just be sure to include links back to Katie, Kai, and Mary.


My favorite banned book is Catch 22. I still have a torn and marked up paperback of my first copy, and I wouldn't part with it. Every time I run into situations that seem to have no solutions or are totally insane, I hear Heller's words in my head. 



So here are 3 Quotes for the Week from Joseph Heller's Catch-22:


“Insanity is contagious.”
 

"[They] agreed that it was neither possible nor necessary to educate people who never questioned anything.”

“Why are they going to 'disappear him?'"
"I don't know."
"It doesn't make sense. It isn't even good grammar.”

101 comments:

  1. Hi Lee and Steven - so sorry to read about your father - experiencing the loss of a parent is always so difficult .. my thoughts as you adjust.

    You've obviously got lots to share with author friends, students and bloggers ... they (the bloggers) certainly helped me through the time of my mother's final illness ... and we'll be here ...

    Good luck with "the Namesake" and Lee with your books - then there's that audio ... great way to advertise/market your book - cheers and take care - Hilary

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    1. Hilary, do you realize you're the first to comment today? Alex must be snoozing. :-) Thanks so much for your kind words for Steve. I know he'll appreciate them.

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    2. Hi, Hilary! Lee is right; I appreciate your lovely message. We're taking comfort in the fact that Mom and Dad are reunited; still it's never an easy adjustment. It may sound odd, but I feel even closer with my character, Evan, these days, truly understanding the loss of father--though under very different circumstances. Thanks for checking in, and thank you, Lee, for having me!

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  2. Steven, sounds like you've tackled a difficult subject, one that I know has touched the lives of many children.

    I think I read Catch 22 in high school and was too young/nieve to know what the heck was going on. Maybe it's time to reread it, as the quotes you provided are so excellent!

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    1. With Heller's story, you laughed while crying inside.

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    2. Hi Bish, I didn't set out to tackle the topic I did, but the story sent me in that direction. It was a pretty tough journey, writing The Namesake, but it's my hope that it touches readers who may feel alone in their own dark journeys. Thanks for your comment! SP

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  3. catch 22 is a good one indeed.

    Can be a touchy subject, sounds like Steven hit it out of the park for sure.

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    1. He handled the subject very well. Each time Evan discovered more about his dad, I ached for both the father and son--actually, for all of the people who played a part in the father's life.

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    2. Aw, thanks, Pat. Whether or not it was a true home run, it was important for me to portray the topic with authenticity. From Lee's reaction (which was very powerful for this author), I guess I did okay. :) Thanks for stopping by, Pat!

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  4. Great quotes, Lee.

    So nice to "meet" you, Steven. Congratulations on your book and on the next one too. Best wishes to you with your writing. May it touch the hearts of young readers.

    Have a lovely week.

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    1. Glad you stopped in Beverly. Thanks.

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    2. Thank you, Beverly! That is every author's hope, isn't it? So from your fingertips to the hearts of readers out there! Nice "meeting" you as well - and THANKS AGAIN! ~ SP

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  5. Hello to Lee and Steven, wonderful and interesting post to make Monday go with a swing. Good luck with the book and many, many sales.
    Yvonne.

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    1. I think Steve's new audio book will be a hit. I'd love to hear Evan's voice.

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    2. Thanks, Yvonne! I appreciate the good wishes! The actor who voiced The Namesake does a great job with Evan. Gave me chills to hear my words come to life! Cheers! ~ SP

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  6. This book sounds great. I had a friend in the sixth grade who had just moved into the neighborhood and a month later, his father shot himself. His mother moved the family back to Florida where they had moved from. I have often wondered what happened to him. I've not read Catch 22 but have seen the movie!

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    1. Nothing is sadder than losing a loved one to suicide. So many unanswered questions.

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    2. Sage, the book was inspired by a family member's suicide, and my inability to let go wondering what it would be like for a teen to lose a parent that way. It's become part of my mission to raise awareness of the issue of suicide--to get beyond judging and try to encourage folks to reach out to those who are suffering. September is Suicide Prevention Month, btw. I'll be thinking of your sixth grade friend. Take care, SP

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    1. Really? He'll be stunned by that.

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    2. I am a little stunned, Dezmond. I doubt that moniker will stick. ;) Thanks for stopping by! ~ SP

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  8. The Namesake sound like a great read and hard subject to write. Thanks for sharing Lee and Wishing you both much success.

    Juneta @ Writer's Gambit

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    1. I was really caught up in Steve's story. I do recommend it.

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    2. Thank you, Juneta! I hope you have a chance to check out The Namesake. And thank you, Lee, for the recommendation!

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  9. I love Steven's cover, and the story sounds really powerful.

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    1. The cover does capture the essence of the story. Mystery. Loneliness. Many doors to open for the answers.

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    2. Thanks, Kelly! I was really pleased with the cover. As a former graphic designer, I was worried about how it might turn out. But Merit did a wonderful job. I like your take on it, Lee!

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  10. Steven, to lose a parent is a massive blow. It is only natural for your mind to recoil at writing when your inner turmoil is so fresh and deep. Love your cover, and your story sounds riveting.

    Lee, I love all 3 of those CATCH-22 quotes.

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    1. As someone enamored with grammar (my family doesn't get me at all) I had to include that last one.

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    2. Thank you, Roland. I hope you'll have a chance to check out The Namesake--which you can literally check out of many libraries. :) I can't claim credit for the cover, but I like it, too! ~ SP

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  11. Congratulations to Steve on his new book. Wishing him all things good. I loved Catch-22!

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    1. I'm looking forward to his new book.

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    2. Thank you very much, Carol! I'm hoping to have The Precious Dreadful out in the world soon. Good things back to you!

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  12. You sure squeeze a lot into one post! Love the trailer.

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    1. Thanks for stopping by, Jacqui! Thanks, Yvonne! And congrats on all your book success, my friend!

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  13. Congrats to Steve on his book and on being your Sept featured author! It's so good of you to help introduce authors to a wider readership. :)

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    1. I agree, Lexa; Lee is very special! Thank you for the kind congrats! All best, SP

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    2. Hi there and I love to network with authors. This is fun for me. The best part is most of the people I interact with would have such a great time together. I just know it.

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  14. Hi, Lee! Hi, Steve P!

    Steve, I am deeply sorry for your recent loss. As you probably know, the best way to recover from such a blow is to keep busy and stay connected. Clearly you are doing that.

    I clicked over to Lee's review of The Namesake and read the others in this post. These morsels have me hungering for the entire story because it is one to which many of us can relate. Thirty years ago I went into shock upon discovering that a person I loved and trusted was not what she seemed, not what I had come to believe her to be, that she harbored secrets and kept me in the dark, not for my own good, but to advance her own agenda. I found myself playing detective, uncovering clues, needing to know and yet not wanting to know. Dreading... the truth. This book will surely be a hot seller, Steve!

    Thank you for introducing Steve and his book, Lee!

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    1. Thank you so much, Del--for your kind comments and for sharing some of your own experience with personal detecting. Evan goes through just what you describe, "wanting to know. Dreading...the truth." If you have a chance to read The Namesake, let me know what you think. All best, SP

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    2. I hope you'll read and engage with Steve's story. It's not a here-today-gone-tomorrow book. That's for sure.

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  15. Congratulations Steve. A difficult topic which is dear to my heart. I have been volunteering on a crisis line for over eighteen years now and suicide raises so many questions. And regrets.
    I am sorry to hear that you have been through a difficult time. Which is an understatement for the loss of a parent. I hope you have support and can be kind to yourself.
    Thank you Lee for introducing yet another author to my bookaholic self.

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    1. Hello, EC! Thank you for your kind message--and for all you do to guide those in darkness toward healing and light. I have a wonderfully supportive wife, family, and friends, and believe me, I recognize how lucky I am. I also feel lucky to be introduced to Lee's kind and generous followers. All best, SP

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    2. I adore bookaholics like you. And I'm so in awe of you for your work on the crisis hotline.

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  16. So sorry for your loss Steve. Congratulations on your book, though.

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    1. Thank you, Kelly. Good and bad, darkness and light are so tightly intertwined, aren't they. I appreciate your condolences and congratulations equally. All best, SP

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    2. Thanks for your thoughts, Kelly. I know Steve appreciates them.

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  17. Congrats to Steven. His book does sound deep, and the cover is enticing.

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    1. Thanks, Chrys! The Namesake is pretty deep, but also has a good deal of humor--Evan's coping mechanism. Thanks for stopping by! SP

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    2. A book that makes me squirm a bit is one that I really hold on to for a long time. The Namesake did that for me.

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  18. Did you know Heller actually wrote a sequel to Catch-22? But I hear it is not in the same league as the original.

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    1. I didn't know that, Jevvifer. Interesting!

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    2. It was Closing Time and not as good. Still it was incisive and opened up your mind to thinking about things a bit. Heller was something else. Would love to talk to him. One of his quotes that I will never set free from my head is : "Some men are born mediocre, some men achieve mediocrity, and some men have mediocrity thrust upon them."

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  19. Steve, congrats on your book! It sounds like a wonderfully heart-wrenching story. How difficult it must have been to write it, and I'm so sorry for your loss.

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    1. Thank you, Lori. It was definitely a challenge to write, but ended up being an experience I wouldn't trade. Thanks for your condolences. ~ SP

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    2. Thank you, Lori. It was definitely a challenge to write, but ended up being an experience I wouldn't trade. Thanks for your condolences. ~ SP

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  20. Replies
    1. Liz - Deep, but with humor (essential, I think). For instance, Evan compares the mausoleum where his dad is buried to a giant "crisper drawer." Dark humor as coping mechanism, I guess. Thanks for stopping by! SP

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    2. The reason Steve's book sticks with me is that while it tackles a very heavy topic, I was sometimes smiling. He managed the balance of comic-tragedy so well.

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  21. Dear Steve, So sorry for your loss. Hugs! I love the concept of your book. I would love to read it. I have a feeling I must keep tissues handy.

    And yes, Jennifer is right. The sequel is called "Closing Time" and there's a 5th Anniv edition available. :)

    Lee, I have my copy of Catch 22, too. :) InkRipples sounds like fun. So, was this month's prompt Catch 22? :)

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    1. Vidya ~ Yes, tissues not mandatory, but a good option. Thank you so much for your kind message. Hugs back to you! ~ SP

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    2. Just banned books this month, Vidya. I couldn't think a book that was more ban-worthy for all the idiocy that banning brings to the act itself.

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  22. Catch22 is sitting on my bedside table where it has been for several years - I really MUST read it!
    So sorry to read about your dad Steve.
    Congratulations on the new Book.

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    1. Barbara, thank you. I like to think of my folks celebrating their anniversary together (it's today) for the 1st time in 11 years. Thoughts appreciated! ~ SP

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    2. When you do read, it I'd love to hear your thoughts. I think it's time I read it again to see if the years have changed my perspective.

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  23. The Namesake sounds like an intense and dark read.

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    1. Hi Nana,

      Yes, it's fairly intense and dark, but I hope truthful and with some funny moments and uplift. Thanks for commenting! ~ SP

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    2. Yes. But you'll find the human foibles in it and relate to those.

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  24. Congrats to Steve, and my sympathies about your dad.

    Catch22 is great! My son is already reading banned books like the Captain Underpants series. :)

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    1. Thank you, Christine, for your sympathies and congratulations. Both are appreciated! ~ SP

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    2. Oh please. Captain Underpants was banned? I need to see what these banner look like.

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  25. I've only ever seen the movie for Catch 22. Hard to watch.

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    1. I'll have to look for the movie. It's been years since I read the book. Thanks to Lee for getting it back on my radar. Take care, Donna! ~ SP

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  26. So cool you got to meet him:) Also, I'd say that my favorite banned book is Huck Finn. All the good ones get banned. I almost wish mine would get banned now;)

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    1. Mark, I agree with you. So many of the good ones are banned and challenged. Right after The Namesake was published, I got an email from a TX librarian alerting me that a parent had challenged my book. I took it as a sign of success. ;) All best, SP

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    2. We need a book-banning campaign for all our books. Why not? One reviewer contacted me and said my book was terrible because the kids did dangerous things. Well, then. You need to be on that book-banning committee, my dear. I'm nominating you today. :-)

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  27. Great to see you here, Steve. Excited to hear your announcement next week!

    It's been a long time since I read Catch-22, but I remember quite enjoying it. As always, thanks for participating in Ink Ripples, C. Lee

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    1. Hi, Katie! Great seeing you again, too. News on the new novel coming, but no official announcement just yet...

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  28. The Namesake sounds like a potentially heartbreaking story. Thanks for recommending it.
    www.smpace.com/blog

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    1. Yes, Lee, thank you! Stephanie, I think of The Namesake as part breaker/part mender as hearts go. All best, SP

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  29. I always heard that "insanity is contagious--you get it from your kids." ;) THE NAMESAKE sounds like a book I would read. Thanks for introducing it to us.

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    1. Hi, Kathleen! If you have a chance to read The Namesake, please let me know what you think. All best, SP

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  30. Steve's book sounds interesting and I like the cover.

    I want to reread Catch-22. It went over my head in high school.

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    1. Thank you, Medeia! I like the cover, too. I can say that because I had nothing to do with designing it! ;) Take care, SP

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  31. I imagine the book was difficult to write. It's a sad subject. Namesake sounds like a wonderful book. The cover is intriguing.

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    2. Hi Joylene, it was, at times, very difficult to write, but it ended up being a healing process. Thank you for your sensitive comment. All best ~ SP

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  32. Sounds like an interesting, albeit tragic, story. Thanks for featuring it.

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    1. J.H. I am really appreciative to Lee as well for featuring my novel. It is a dark story, but leavened with hope and humor. Kind of like life. ;) All best, SP

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  33. Steve, so sorry for you loss. Wishing you much success with your writing. Your book sounds intriguing. I'll definitely have to check about the audio.

    Thoughts in Progress
    and MC Book Tours

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    1. Thanks very much, Mason. I hope you enjoy the audio book. Andrew S. Bates did a fine job voicing it. All best ~ SP

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  34. Sounds like an interesting story. And love those quotes, Lee. X

    shahwharton.com

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    1. Thank you, Shah. Those are some great Catch-22 quotes, aren't they? Here's a quote from The Namesake, not saying it stacks up against Heller, just to share: "This time, the bad stuff seems important in a new way. Like part of the recipe: the bitter lemon that makes the coconut sweeter."

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  35. Both books sound good! Maybe I'll make Catch 22 my banned book read this year. Thanks, Lee!

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    1. Thanks for stopping by, Kai! All best ~ SP

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  36. That last quote though.

    I'm so sorry for your loss, Mr. Parlato. The Namesake sounds amazing, though. I'm gonna have to pick it up sometime. :)


    Alexa
    thessalexa.blogspot.com
    verbosityreviews.com

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    1. Thank you very much, Alexa--for your kind condolences and for checking out The Namesake. Let me know what you think! All best ~ Steve

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  37. So wonderful to meet Steve. His book sounds fascinating. I have seen the cover around and will have to check it out. Wishing Steve the best of luck. Sorry to hear about his dad.
    ~Jess

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    1. Thank you, DMS. I really appreciate your kind comment. Let me know how you like The Namesake! All best ~ SP

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