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.

My Rite of Passage During the Summer of ‘76

Today it is my pleasure to welcome H. Downing Lane and his memoir My Rite of Passage During the Summer of ‘76.

Author’s description

MY RITE OF PASSAGE DURING THE SUMMER OF ’76 is a riveting coming-of-age memoir about adventure on the high seas with philosophical musings that add a resonant layer of depth.

 

In this memoir, H. Downing Lane recalls the 25-day transatlantic sailing trip he took in 1976 as a young man, the details of the journey around Iceland, the Faroe Islands, and other locales, and reflects on its significance as a coming-of-age learning experience.

 

H. Downing Lane was 26 years old in 1976 when he decided to sign up for a transatlantic sailing trip into the Arctic with an accomplished captain named E. Newbold Smith. In this vivid, often exhilarating memoir, Lane draws from journal entries written during his time at sea to share an account of the remarkable voyage.

 

The Atlantic crossing was a 25-day affair, from Chesapeake Bay, around Iceland, the Faroe Islands, and the coast of Norway. It was undertaken at a point in Lane’s life when he was feeling particularly vulnerable, as he was recovering from an accident in which he had lost an eye. He wished to “prove [his] mettle,” not to the other men aboard the boat, but to himself. As it turned out, Captain Smith was something of a kindred spirit, as he too had survived a devastating accident many years earlier. Lane provides the reader with a realistic vision of what life aboard a sailing vessel is like, from the often freezing temperatures above and below deck, to the many challenges presented by simple bodily necessities. He describes various technical aspects of working on the boat, but his language never devolves into jargon; his account is always perfectly clear and accessible.

 

Lane seasons the text with literary and philosophical quotes that frequently allow him to consider the greater meaning of his experience, and even of life itself. There are also numerous stunning photographs included of the boat and the various stops along the way.

About the Author

Downing Lane is a retired educator, tutoring business owner, English teacher, coach and administrator who sails in his spare time. Presently he is writing a series of books that chronicle his sailing adventures.

Born and raised on the eastern shore of Maryland, he has returned home after 40 years to write. Henry taught sailing for eight years on Long Island Sound and sailed competitively on the Chesapeake Bay, crewed transatlantic to Iceland and Norway, been a crew member of a number of Annapolis – Newport and Newport – Bermuda races and sailed much of the Caribbean and Bahamas.

In 1978, he sailed the SORC around Florida.  In 2008, he purchased Mystique, a 40′ leopard catamaran, and in 2013, he sailed it to Santo Domingo, the Turks and Cacaos and eventually to Florida.

In 2016, he sailed solo for 51 days through the Exumas. On another adventure he and Lainie Wrightson had a calamitous time together – losing both rudders – the basis of his second book, Bluewater Mystique.

He has chartered boats to sail the Dalmatian Coast, Belize, Abacos, Eleuthera and the Maine coast. While maintaining his blog http://www.bluewatermystique.com, he has written numerous blogs about life and sailing.

He is a dedicated learner and loves sharing his experiences and stories.

Find the Author

Website https://hdowninglane.com/
Facebook https://www.facebook.com/HenryDLane
Twitter https://twitter.com/hlane4200

Buy the Book

Amazon https://amazon.com/dp/0228813638

Indigo https://www.chapters.indigo.ca/en-ca/books/my-rite-of-passage-during/9780228813651-item.html

Barnes & Noble https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/my-rite-of-passage-during-the-summer-of-76-h-downing-lane/1136878784;jsessionid=95301DEE645C56E3F36E9185A65C64A5.prodny_store01-va02

Kobo https://www.kobo.com/ca/en/ebook/my-rite-of-passage-during-the-summer-of-76

Smashwords https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/1015994

Yes, there is a giveaway

The author will be awarding a $20 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.

An EXCLUSIVE Excerpt

(I do love exclusive excerpts!)

It was understandable but no one saw it happen. There were no witnesses. After all, the weather conditions during the night barely allowed anyone on deck to observe anything other than pitch black. It had been so dark that even seeing your watch mate was difficult a few feet away. Visibility that night was equivalent to being locked in a dark and dank churning coal bin dungeon.  Even the oncoming huge waves during the turmoil in the midst of the 2nd of 4 gales were difficult to anticipate. While we knew they were coming at us, they did not appear until just before our bow either dipped or sliced into them. They appeared like sea mammoths, like sea leviathans spraying their spume on our deck and tossing us around in the darkness. We were a mere toy in a tub. A teapot in a tempest. Mere moths against monsters. Without stars to light them up, without any depth perspective and with almost constant rain pelting down, the waves appeared more magnified monstrosities than ever. Each night felt surreal outside on deck, as the only visibility we had was a trail of phosphorus tailing us in our white wake. So we had the perfect setting for a mystery.

Thank you!

H. Downing Lane   — we appreciate your sharing My Rite of Passage During the Summer of ‘76 with us! Best of luck with sales, and with all of your future writing.

All the World’s Colors: The Queen of the Blue

Review: All the World’s Colors: The Queen of the Blue

James W. George has created a fascinating and complex world sure to delight those who love his style of fantasy. I appreciated his deftness with words and his ability to evoke an emotional response with his characters. Descriptions are succinct yet effective, and the plot scampers along at a good pace.

I enjoy novels with multiple points of view and commend this author for effectively interweaving at least five distinct stories while introducing two would-be heroes to the reader. There is no question James W. George is good at his craft.

Alas, he doesn’t happen to write the sort of fantasy I prefer. For all that I love reading about make-believe worlds and alternate histories, I tire of violence and I lose interest when too many characters treat too many people too horribly too often.

Most of this first book alternates between the toxic masculinity of a perpetually warring race (think Klingons with sex slaves) and the alternative of a matriarchy of disdainful women who abuse their men physically and emotionally. My interest was finally piqued when he introduced the green religious zealots and the orange greedy merchants, as neither of them appeared to regularly beat up their own people. Sadly, it was too far into the novel for either to play much of a role.

I did enjoy the interesting twist he has put into the story of the blue matriarchs, but this is clearly only the first book of the series and nothing is resolved. One would have to read on to find out where his interesting idea leads.

I recommend this book to all those who like their fantasy darker and more violent than I do. I’m sure that’s a sizable group, and if you fall into this camp, I encourage you to check out this well-written series.

For more about this book, and the review tour this review was part of, see All the World’s Colors: The Queen of the Blue.