Finding George Washington

Today it is my pleasure to welcome author Bill Zarchy and his historical time-travel baseball thriller Finding George Washington.

Author’s description

On a freezing night in 1778, General George Washington vanishes. Walking away from the Valley Forge encampment, he takes a fall and is knocked unconscious, only to reappear at a dog park on San Francisco Bay—in the summer of 2014.

 

Washington befriends two Berkeley twenty-somethings who help him cope with the astonishing—and often comical—surprises of the twenty-first century.

 

Washington’s absence from Valley Forge, however, is not without serious consequences. As the world rapidly devolves around them—and their beloved Giants fight to salvage a disappointing season—George, Tim, and Matt are catapulted on a race across America to find a way to get George back to 1778.

 

Equal parts time travel tale, thriller, and baseball saga, Finding George Washington is a gripping, humorous, and entertaining look at what happens when past and present collide in the 9th inning, with the bases loaded and no one warming up in the bullpen.

 

When a sidekick’s sidekick takes on a major role

In my books I usually have one minor character who insists on playing a larger role in the story. I’m always curious as to whether other authors experience this, so I asked Bill Zarchy if he had such a character in his novel, Finding George Washington. I was quite impressed with the sensitivity and insight in his response!

A Foil for My Foil

Early in the development of my debut novel, Finding George Washington: A Time Travel Tale, I knew that I wanted to tell the story in the first person, from Tim’s point of view. I wanted to bring General Washington to the present, and I figured that I could show George’s personality and response to the 21st Century through his interactions with Tim.

Tim was George’s foil, a character whose purpose is to contrast with another character, often the protagonist, to bring out their differences. Think Sancho Panza in Don Quixote, Dr. Watson in the Sherlock Holmes mysteries, or Bud Abbott playing straight man to Lou Costello.

Having Tim as the foil certainly worked out in many ways, but pretty soon, I began to think that I needed to provide him with a sidekick. As I wrote the early parts of the story, it became apparent that the very fact of George suddenly appearing in Tim’s life was astounding, to say the least, and Tim needed his own foil to reflect his astonishment. That’s how the character LaMatthew Johnson came to be. Tim and Matt could have their own private conversations about George, particularly in the early stages of the narrative, where they weren’t sure if they believed his story.

That wasn’t all. As I deepened my research into Washington as a slave owner, I realized that I needed people of color in my story. So Matt is mixed race, descended on his father’s side from enslaved people in the South (the Johnsons), and on his mother’s side from Jews fleeing the Nazis (the Lefkowitches).

From their first meeting, Matt confronts George about his role as owner of many enslaved people, forcing him to acknowledge that slavery is cruel, evil, and immoral. These dialogues elevate Matt’s role in the story from mere sidekick duty. He never gives George a break about slavery, even rejecting the notion Washington was just “a product of his time.”

As I write this, it’s Passover, which commemorates the Exodus, the liberation of the Jews from slavery in ancient Egypt, and I wonder, “was Pharaoh just a product of his time?”

Despite their differences, George and LaMatthew do learn to trust and admire each other.  Matt, whose role at first was to help Tim understand and explain George’s momentous presence among them, later takes decisive and risky action to defend George during a surprise ambush. Originally intended as a mere sidekick, Matt thus forces his way into becoming a principal character.

About the Author

Bill Zarchy filmed projects on six continents during his 40 years as a cinematographer, captured in his first book, Showdown at Shinagawa: Tales of Filming from Bombay to Brazil. Now he writes novels, takes photos, and talks of many things.

Bill’s career includes filming three former presidents for the Emmy-winning West Wing Documentary Special, the Grammy-winning Please Hammer Don’t Hurt ‘Em, feature films Conceiving Ada and Read You Like A Book, PBS science series Closer to Truth, musical performances as diverse as the Grateful Dead, Weird Al Yankovic, and Wagner’s Ring Cycle, and countless high-end projects for technology and medical companies.

His tales from the road, personal essays, and technical articles have appeared in Travelers’ Tales and Chicken Soup for the Soul anthologies, the San Francisco Chronicle and other newspapers, and American Cinematographer, Emmy, and other trade magazines.

Bill has a BA in Government from Dartmouth and an MA in Film from Stanford. He taught Advanced Cinematography at San Francisco State for twelve years. He is a resident of the San Francisco Bay Area and a graduate of the EPIC Storytelling Program at Stagebridge in Oakland. This is his first novel.

Find the Author

https://findinggeorgewashington.com/
https://findinggeorgewashington.com/blog/
http://billzarchy.com/

Buy the Book

The eBook will be $0.99 during the tour everywhere it’s sold.

Paperback:    https://www.amazon.com/dp/0984919120/
Kindle: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08NXXNLBB/
Nook: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/finding-george-washington-bill-zarchy/1138366946
Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/finding-george-washington
Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/1053144
Apple: https://books.apple.com/us/book/finding-george-washington/id1541743641
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Finding-George-Washington-A-Time-Travel-Tale-by-Bill-Zarchy-112403433952296

Yes, there is a giveaway

The author will be awarding a $50 Amazon/BN gift card to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

Enter here to win.

This post is part of a tour sponsored by Goddess Fish. Check out all the other tour stops. If you drop by each of these and comment, you will greatly increase your chances of winning.

My Favorite Excerpt

I had once kissed my old girlfriend Marnie on the Kiss Cam, a few months after we started dating, when things were still going well between us. I didn’t miss her, exactly. She had treated me badly. But the memory brought on pangs of loneliness. The camera focused on a young couple in the stands, who watched as their image came up on screen, then dove into a passionate smooch.

The crowd cheered. Though he still wasn’t sure what was happening, George was shocked by these indecorous public displays of affection. The camera cut to an older couple, who responded with a much more dignified buss. Light booing and laughter from the masses.

Sinatra continued to croon to “Strangers in the Night.” George was mortified.

“Timothy, this song and these people seem to be celebrating romantic liaisons of the most crude and casual type. How offensive!”

The screen cut to a pimply young guy, who practically leaped onto his cute girlfriend, attacking with a scary abundance of tongue.

“Ewww,” a girl behind us called out. Our whole section laughed.

The image on screen switched to George, with Rachel beside him. In that strong left profile shot, with his pale skin, high forehead, prominent apple cheeks, graying russet hair tied in back, and aquiline nose, he looked just like the guy on the quarter dollar.

The camera seemed to stay on them forever. Finally, with a good-natured grin, Rachel gave him a prim peck on the lips, then lingered an extra second or two. The fans screamed their appreciation.

I was speechless, overcome with dread, though not sure why. How had this happened? We had brought the Father of Our Country out in public to a baseball game in San Francisco.

And his iconic face was up on a giant screen, being kissed by a woman not his wife, as Sinatra sang about getting lucky.

I shared the moment with 40,000 of my closest friends at the ballpark. I hoped all their intentions were friendly.

Thank you!

Bill Zarchy — we appreciate your sharing your book Finding George Washington with us! Best of luck with sales, and with all of your future writing.

Company Assassin

Today it is my pleasure to welcome author Claudia Blood and her  novel, Company Assassin.

Author’s description

It’s Duff Roman’s eighteenth birthday, but no one is lighting candles.

 

Turning eighteen in the orphanage on Kalecca means starvation for those who aren’t hired into a Family. Outside the Family compounds lies the jungle. And in the jungle lies death. And Relics—the only real currency on Planet Kalecca.

 

The orphans are Duff’s family, and he’s sacrificed everything to keep the orphanage running, even his chance to move on. Now, at eighteen, he has no choice but to leave. Without him to bring in extra money, the orphans will starve under the Company’s control. Duff’s only chance to save them is to find a spot on an independent crew and hopefully find a Relic to sell.

 

A seemingly chance encounter with Z, leader of the most feared independent crew, offers Duff his opportunity to score a Relic. And offers Z a chance to relieve the guilt he feels over his past.

 

But a company assassin has plans to lay waste to Duff’s future, and the orphanage as well.

Guest Post on Character Creation

There is a ton of advice about how to create characters. I’ve seen questionnaires, character sheets, and archetype cards. Even methods where you write a job and adjective to start.

I started playing D&D I the third grade. So I’ve created hundreds of characters for D&D campaigns over the years. The nice thing about that process is the templates and combination choices are laid out for you. I’ll create a favored soul because the party needs a healer. But I don’t truly know them until the first battle or difficult choice.

So for me, the stats on a page are not enough. What color their eyes were didn’t play into if my new favored soul runs into battle and drags out a downed comrade or is hyperventilating in the corner.

I think of character creation as a process to get to know your characters. So for me being a pantser, I have to interact with them to make sense of who they are.  Almost like when you meet a person for the first time. Very few people come out and give you their life story. (Most of us would run away from those that do over-share with the flimsiest of excuses.)

So I will journal from their POV about whatever is bothering them at the moment.

I will put them in a scene and apply pressure to see what they do.

I will interview them. This can be fun if you can get someone else to ask you the questions and you answer as the character.

Yes, I will need to write down what color their eyes are and other quirks, but this tends to come out later. After I’ve determined if they sneak away when the going gets tough, or sound the battle cry and join the rest of the party in battle.

About the Author

Claudia Blood’s early introduction to Dungeons and Dragons, combined with her training as a scientist and a side trip into the world of IT set her up to become an award-winning author of Science Fiction and Fantasy.

Find the Author

Website: http://www.ClaudiaBlood.com
Facebook: facebook.com/AuthorClaudiaBlood
Facebook: http://bit.ly/ClaudiasAdventurersFB
Twitter: twitter.com/AuthorClauBlood
Instagram: instagram.com/authorclaudiablood
Short Story give away for newsletter sign up: https://dl.bookfunnel.com/knyz61msub

Buy the Book

https://books2read.com/CompanyAssassin
https://books2read.com/HorizonFound
https://books2read.com/TimeRift

Yes, there is a giveaway

The author will be awarding a $50 Amazon/BN gift card to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

Enter here to win.

This post is part of a tour sponsored by Goddess Fish. Check out all the other tour stops. If you drop by each of these and comment, you will greatly increase your chances of winning.

My Favorite Excerpt

Matilda from Chapter 4

Matilda sat at the table and threaded the needle. The demon alarm still buzzed in the background. She’d given the kids their assignments and tried to act as normal as possible. She didn’t want them worried about Duff or the demons since even the orphanage had company supplied protections. As long as they stayed in the orphanage, they should be fine.

Miss CuddleBug, Sheila’s doll, needed some surgery. Usually this sort of activity would calm Matilda. She checked her nails and saw the distinctive purple at the base that meant her nanites were activated. She took a deep breath and used the mantras her father had taught her.

Peace is within my reach.

Breathe and breathe again.

“Will Miss CuddleBug be well?” Sheila stood on her tip-toes to see her dolly on the table.

“I’ll get her fixed up.” Matilda stroked Sheila’s hair. Sheila’s complexion grayed. Matilda snatched her hand back. She had to be careful with the little ones when she was this worked up.

Thank you!

Claudia Blood — we appreciate your sharing your book Company Assassin with us! Best of luck with sales, and with all of your future writing.

The Code

Today it is my pleasure to welcome authors Jacqueline Ruby and Marcellus Moses and their novel, The Code.

Author’s description

The story of the two entangled stars is well known.

Albert Collins, entomology professor, becomes a social media sensation; the sensation becomes a giant celebrity; the celebrity becomes the “Manliest Man” alive.

The small time gangster, Memphis Smith, becomes a prisoner; the prisoner becomes the new Tupac Shakur; the new Tupac takes the world by storm.

Their parallel rise to fame and their fateful meeting on the Tonight show all played out in real time before their legions of fans and detractors.

Now, for the first time, their inside story, their secret story, is told by those who were closest to them.

Jacqueline (Jack) Ruby, super agent, reveals the methods that allowed Albert Collins to become the most desired man in the world. She takes us behind the scenes to the bankers, film producers and heiresses that made Albert into the very definition of manhood in the 21st. century.

Marcellus Moses does the same for Memphis Smith. He shows us the arrests and prison fights, the raw racism and brilliant talent that made Memphis Number One With A Bullet.

Jacqueline and Marcellus tell their insider accounts to the award winning novelist, Susan Brown, who weaves it altogether in the thunderous adventure of The Code.

My Review

The Code is based on the slick premise that two fictitious characters are allegedly telling the “true story” of how each of them created a celebrity.

Although I struggled with the initial concept of an unknown professor appearing sexy for no particular reason when seen on film, I squelched my inner cynic and read on. I’m glad I did as there is much I appreciated about this novel. Compelling writing. Exquisite details about of the world of celebrities and those who make them. And most impressive of all, an excellent if unforgiving look at our culture.

One of many great quotes:

“Why do your powerful, rich friends want to know me? They already have everything.”

“They have everything but they never have enough. They’re addicted to novelty and the fulfillment of new dreams. You’re the new flavor.”

I also particularly liked Jessica, Albert’s pretension-adverse wife. She plays a fine foil to his growing immersion in his new life and her drab academic research into André Breton’s novel Nadja makes for an almost eerie comparison to Albert’s growing status as a star. 

There were things I liked less, however. I hoped the story would really be told through the eyes of the agents, at least mostly, but it isn’t even close. Although Albert’s agent Jack is involved from the beginning of his tale, most of the telling is done from Albert’s point of view, often involving his thoughts or scenes Jack knows nothing about.  Memphis, on the other hand, doesn’t even meet his agent Marcellus Moses till the second half of the book, making the premise even more flimsy with him. I suppose the reader is supposed to believe these two agents somehow know everything, including their creation’s inner monologues, but my ability to suspend disbelief wouldn’t stretch that far.

I found the brutality of the prison scenes difficult to read. I didn’t expect them and might have passed on the book altogether if I’d known. While I agree some of it was necessary to the story, I think even those with more of a stomach for such things would probably have appreciated it if the author had dialed it back a bit.

Like other novels with fascinating premises, the story is difficult to conclude and the only real option is for it to end as a tragedy. The author finds an interesting and unexpected way to do this, though, and it is one that ties everything together and states her thesis one more time. It works.

About the Authors

JACQUELINE (JACK) RUBY is the founder and CEO of Jack Ruby and Associates, New York’s premiere talent agency. She is the co-author of The Code, a book based on real life events involving celebrity, greed, adultery, vanity, and violence. From the nation’s mansions and universities to TV shows and Instagram accounts, The Code reveals the inner workings of celebrity culture and moral decay permeating it.

MARCELLUS MOSES is the head of Bad Man Records. Among others, he has built and managed the career of Creep-E and Fat Marcus.

Jacqueline and Marcellus tell their insider accounts to the award winning novelist, Susan Brown, who weaves it altogether in the thunderous adventure of The Code.

Find the Author

CONNECT with JACQUELINE (JACK) RUBY at

Website: https://jackrubyauthor.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jackrubyauthor
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/20241319.Jacqueline_Ruby

Buy the Book

Amazon.com https://amazon.com/dp/0228821444
Amazon.ca https://amazon.ca/dp/0228821444
Kindle https://amazon.com/dp/B087N3753X
Indigo  https://www.chapters.indigo.ca/en-ca/books/the-code/9780228831952-item.html
Barnes & Noble https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-code-jacqueline-ruby/1136925493
Bookshop https://bookshop.org/books/the-code-9780228821458/9780228821441
Book Depository https://www.bookdepository.com/The-Code-Jacqueline-Ruby-Marcellus-Moses/9780228821441
Kobo https://www.kobo.com/ca/en/ebook/the-code-30

Yes, there is a giveaway

The authors will be awarding a $10 Amazon/BN gift card to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

Enter here to win.

This post is part of a tour sponsored by Goddess Fish. Check out all the other tour stops. If you drop by each of these and comment, you will greatly increase your chances of winning.

My Favorite Excerpt

Jack walked behind Albert and put her hands on his shoulders. She started to massage him, kneading the muscles along the top of his back and along the base of his neck.

“Professor,” she said, continuing to work on his shoulders, “Edward has taken all these tweets and YouTube views and Facebook posts and Google searches and analyzed them. Edward, tell us what we know so far.”

Edward tapped the keys on his computer and a large graph appeared.

“Here is the answer to the question ‘who is this man?’ Here’s what people say unprompted. They say simply—just like miraclehoneyful and raviebabe—he’s a man, a real man. He is the man. The remarkable thing about the answer is that it seems to be consistent everywhere. You see all the different segments of the graph: men, women, black, white, gay, straight, Jewish, Christian, atheist. All the same. They agree. Even Democrats and Republicans. The man in the video is the man.” Edward paused.

“But I still have no idea what it means. It’s so vague.”

“What it means is that they read into that figure in the video certain traits and qualities that make up the aspiration of modern manhood,” Jack said.

“And what is modern manhood?”

“Who knows? But they see it in you. They may not know precisely what it is, but they feel you embody it.”

“But I’m not the man. I’m just me, an underachieving, over-mortgaged middle-aged professor, specializing in insects.”

“Ah, but nerds are very sexy right now. Have you ever seen the world’s sexiest math teacher?”

“No. What does that have to do with me?”

Jack looked hard at Albert. Maybe there was a hot nerd angle to be mined. Or maybe not. She would let the great river of social media decide. It was a decision for later.

“Nothing for the moment. But you need to understand that you are much, much more than you think you are,” Jack said, flattering him as she did all her clients.

Thank you!

Thanks for sharing The Code with this blog.