Monday, December 31, 2012

'Finding Claire Fletcher' Book Tour & Review


Finding Claire Fletcher 
by Lisa Regan

Book Blurb: 
 
Down on his luck, Detective Connor Parks takes solace in the arms of a woman he meets at a local bar, but in the morning, Claire Fletcher is gone, leaving behind clues to a decade-old mystery—her own abduction. Perplexed and driven by an unsettling need to see Claire again, Connor must solve the mystery of her disappearance and find her once and for all.





Read an excerpt:
Chapter 1
I still saw her sometimes-the girl I used to be. She lived behind a locked door in my mind. The door that protected the last secret part of me. The last bastion I had that no one else could infiltrate or overcome. It was locked so securely that no one but me could force or tease it open.
Behind the door, the girl stood on the street corner waiting to cross, shielding her eyes from the sun with one slender hand. She was in the tenth grade and she was on her way to school. She had a backpack slung over her left shoulder. She wore jeans and a yellow cotton shirt.
Behind the door in my mind, I liked leaving the girl suspended on the street corner for as long as I could. Sometimes I just watched her stand there, shielding her eyes, vaguely aware of the cars whizzing by in front of her. She had a slight smile on her face. I wanted her to stay right there on the street corner forever, frozen in her peaceful beauty and teenaged innocence.
But she couldn’t stay there forever, not even behind the secret, locked door in my mind. Eventually she crossed the street, walked the 30 feet or so . . . In my mind, however, she didn’t stop when she saw the man crouched next to his car, neck craning to peer beneath it, the backseat door hanging open next to him. In my mind she kept walking.
She never knelt down beside him to look beneath the car as he did, attempting to coax an imaginary but frightened kitten from beneath it. In my mind, the man didn’t smash her head off the door jamb and stuff her stunned, slack body unceremoniously into the backseat. These things never happened to the girl I used to be behind the locked, secret door in my mind.
I envisioned two alternatives for that girl. One was that she stood on the corner, shielding her eyes with one hand and when she stepped off the curb into the street, certain that the way was clear, she was crushed by an oncoming truck and killed instantly. There she lay in the street, limbs twisted and bent at odd angles, her thick red blood congealing on the pale asphalt. Her eyes were fixed upward, blank, unknowing. I liked this scenario because it did not involve the man who unmade her and took everything pure away from her.
The second alternative was that she did not cross the street. She decided to turn left instead of crossing and she avoided the man altogether. And so she went on with her life. She knew nothing of the abject horror she avoided. She was still innocent in that way.
This girl from scenario two lived a parallel life. I imagined that she was out there, still living my life. She went to her proms and high school graduation. She had a boyfriend and went off to college. The very second I thought about her, she was out there living the life I was supposed to live.
Maybe she was making plans to get married or have a child with someone. I liked to think of her that way, as if she still existed in some other dimension. I liked to think that someday I’d run into her and see in her face that in spite of what I’ve been through the girl I used to be is all innocence and light.
That when she smiles it’s beautiful and not broken.

**My thoughts**

I really liked this book. The story was familiar, yet new at the same time.

My heart hurt for Claire from the very beginning. She has just spent the past ten years being held captive by a sadistic madman. Sure, it seems like she could have just run away. But his psychological mind games prevented her from feeling safe. The abuse she endured was horrible. Yet she is able to reach deep within herself to find amazing strength.

Connor's attraction to her propels him forward in reopening her case and helping her. You don't know if it is going to work or not and will find yourself biting your nails on a regular basis.   

Buy links: Amazon \ Kindle

BIO: 
 
Lisa Regan is a suspense novelist. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in English and Master of Education Degree from Bloomsburg University. She lives in Philadelphia with her husband and daughter.

ONLINE LINKS:



Twitter: www.twitter.com/lisalregan @lisalregan



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Thursday, December 27, 2012

Review of 'Get Out of Debt and Retire a Millionaire So You Can Leave Your Mark on the World

Get Out of Debt and Retire A Millionaire So You Can Leave Your Mark on the World

925 Ideas to Help You Save Money, Get Out of Debt and Retire A Millionaire So You Can Leave Your Mark on the World from the author of the highly acclaimed book, Your Mark on the World, is a collection of articles about family financial planning that originally appeared at FamilyHow.com.

925 Ideas... is an easy and readable guide to help your family find financial peace. Author Devin D. Thorpe explains:

1) how you and your spouse can find agreement on money matters,
2) how to teach your kids about money,
3) how to pay for your children's college education,
4) how to live like a millionaire
5) how to come up with $25,000 in a crisis
6) how to make ends meet on one income
7) how to get out of debt and stay out of debt
8) why home ownership should be your family's top financial priority
9) how to ask your boss for a raise
10) how to use your finances to do more good in the world.

**My thoughts**
 I love that this book dives right in to teaching children how to appreciate the value of money. It is tougher to teach us old dogs new tricks, but we can help the future generations to make better choices. A great deal of focus continues on the teen years, which is one of your last chances as parents to really make an impact on your children's spending habits.

The advice for adults covers general spending habits, planning vacations, and how to handle those inevitable battles over money that often occur within marriage partners. Devin Thorpe gives practical ideas to prevent some of the rockiness and to maintain a sense of happiness in your family. He also forces you to take a hard look at yourself and your own spending habits.

While the book is originally written for an LDS audience, who would be planning service trips, the advice is applicable to anyone who uses money. I know that my mind is spinning about ways in which I need to work on my own financial goals, and this book can help me.  

Get the book on Smashwords FREE or Amazon for only $0.99


Purchase Your Mark on the World on Kindle / Paperback / Nook / Smashwords

Follow Devin D. Thorpe

Blog: YourMarkOnTheWorld.com
Facebook.com/YourMarkOnTheWorld
Twitter: @devindthorpe or #yourmarkontheworld
Newsletter Sign Up: http://bit.ly/NLQBn6


Do you have a question for Devin D. Thorpe? He set up a page to help you! "Ask me anything page" Head over and get advice from a Financial Adviser!

The tour prize is an Amazon Kindle (GC equivalent) and 5 winners of Mark of the World and 925 Ideas to Help You Save Money, Get Out of Debt and Retire A Millionaire So You Can Leave Your Mark on the World. Everyone can download 925 ideas for FREE from Smashwords! Fill out the for below to enter! Open Into for Digital and US for Print.
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Follow the tour!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

'Hollywood Holiday' Blog Tour!

Blurb:

All she wants for Christmas is for Hollywood to love her again. But once she meets him, her Christmas list changes.

Jen’s only Christmas wish: Hollywood falling back in love with her. Meeting ex-Marine Gunner was a bonus. She likes that he isn’t impressed by celebrities or the movie biz. She likes that he’s funny and sweet … and drop-dead gorgeous. And she loves that he has no idea who her alter-ego is: Jen Fleming, Hollywood bad-girl and paparazzi target number one. Why ruin an amazing affair when he’s leaving after the new year?
But the closer they get, the harder she falls, and the more she wants to tell Gunner everything. Especially once he shares his secret with her.

Her new Christmas wish: Gunner accepts and loves her for who she really is. 

"My new favorite author is Sasha Summers. She's as addictive as chocolate." - Marcia King Gamble, National Best-Selling Author


**My thoughts**

This was a fun and quick romantic read that I managed to polish off in between opening gifts and eating dinner on Christmas day. All Jen wants is to start fresh, though Hollywood isn't quick to allow stars to do so. Especially those who have had some very public nosedives.

You feel sorry for Jen, as she genuinely seems to want to start fresh. You're immediately drawn to Gunner, just as much as she is. As soon as he lets his own secret slip to her, you can't help but to love him even more and to root for them to work things out. This is better than reading the gossip columns!

Now that I have read this book, I am eager to check out some of Sasha's other books. 


About the Author:

Sasha is part gypsy. Her passions have always been storytelling, Hollywood, history, and travel. It’s no surprise that her books include a little of each. Her first play, ‘Greek Gods and Goddesses’ was written for her Girl Scout troupe. She’s been writing ever since. She loves getting lost in the worlds and characters she creates; even if she frequently forgets to run the dishwasher or wash socks when she’s doing so. Luckily, her four brilliant children and hero-inspiring hubby are super understanding and supportive.

Please visit her website: http://www.sashasummers.com

Also check out the first book in the Red Carpet Series!

She wasn’t meant for movie stars, Hollywood, or happy endings. And then she met him.

Happy Endings are for fairy tales. Or the movies. Not for real life. At least, not in Claire’s life. Even though she’s starting over, she knows better than to want too much this time. But when she falls, literally, into the strong arms of Hollywood’s ‘it’ boy Josh Wiley, Claire’s in for some surprises. Her plans for rest and relaxation are forgotten as one incredible night with Josh becomes two… And her heart begins to want him as much as her body. Will two kids, one bastard ex-husband, and Josh’s juggernaut career mean the end of their affair? Or can Claire find her happy ending after all?

Buy links: Amazon \ Kindle

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'Fresh Blood, Old Bones' Book Tour


Fresh Blood, Old Bones Synopsis:

Fresh Blood, Old Bones showcases the work of new and established writers in horror, fantasy, and science fiction (with bizarre thrown in for good measure). Enjoy eighteen tales as true masters of the genre (including Joe R. Lansdale, Nancy Collins, and Neal Barrett Jr.) combine their talents with stories from up-and-comers (including Tim Bryant, Monica J. O'Rourke, John Paul Allen, and many others) in this unique and exciting anthology.
**My thoughts**
Horror is a genre that I have enjoyed from a very young age. I started with V.C. Andrews and Stephen King, like all other good boys and girls. Over the years, I have come to appreciate more of a variety from the horror genre. I am even starting to enjoy short stories even more than I used to. Typically, I prefer reading the novel-length format a bit more.
This book is a fun compilation of horror gems from indie authors old and new. There is something for everyone, depending on your specific tastes.


Meet Author John Paul Allen:
John Paul Allen describes himself as a semi-complete unknown. "I'm like a literary lounge singer," he shares, "but thanks to social networking, digital technology and good people who believe in my work my readership is expanding. Author of Gifted Trust (novel), Monkey Love (novella), and Dark Blessings (short story collection). His short story, House Guest, has remained in the top 100 for Kindle horror twelve straight months. John recently took part in Fresh Blood Old Bones, an amazing collection of works by some of the best tenured and new writers in the horror genre.
Former Michigander, Eagle Scout, and fourteen year veteran of the U.S. Navy John Paul Allen has lived in Cuba (GTMO), Florida, Virginia, South Carolina, Texas and now resides in Tennessee where he spends time with his girlfriend and enjoys being Paw Paw to one-year-old Makenzie and his new granddaughter, Zoe.

Follow John on the Fresh Blood, Old Bones Tour from December 23 – 29. Read special guest posts, enter to win John’s entire Biting Dog Press digital library, read reviews of Fresh Blood, Old Bones and even listen in on a live podcast interview. For more information, check out the John Paul Allen Tour page from FreeBookDude.com and Biting Dog Press.
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Sunday, December 23, 2012

"Tips on Pimping" Guest Post by Author John Paul Allen

Tips on Pimping

What’s the hardest part about being a writer? No – not the writing – it’s the promoting. You work weeks, months, and sometimes years to get a story published then watch the numbers. In my case that means emails from Dave of Biting Dog Publications to inform me of sales (or lack of them), with requests that I get the word out. The term we use is pimping. I’m D. John Ice and my books are my girls. 
 
Again pimping … promoting is the hardest part of the job and if you don’t know what you’re doing you’ll wind up spending more time selling than you do writing and that’s not only frustrating, takes the fun out of what we do, and makes us less than popular among potential readers. Still it must be done and I’m going to share a few tips that’ll help make the experience more enjoyable for both you and everyone you reach out and touch.

Know What You’re Pimping: A new story? No – your product is YOU. When you post on facebook, Goodreads (any social media website) or tweet about your work a small number of friends might click the link you’ve offered. Most will not, because 1: they see that crap all the time and 2. they don’t feel the love. They doubt your true interest in them, beyond as a potential sale. 
 
“But I have to tell them,” you say. Yes you do. If they don’t know, they aren’t going to buy and there’s only one thing more depressing than an unread story or novel. That’s an unread story or novel after you’ve posted about it on every freaking website you can join. The error is that the writer needs to understand the between story promotion and self-promotion. I see it as a 5 – 95% endeavor. Only five percent of your social media time should be spent sharing news of your work. Put info about your writing in the profile. Make sure you include any links. Once each week you can post about your work, but that is only if you’ve been active on the site and pimped yourself enough.

What is Self-Pimping? It is caring about others and treating those you list as friends as just that. Read their posts and comment when appropriate (or at least click like). It also doesn’t hurt to comment or like photos – especially if they share pictures of their kids or pets. If you want them to learn about you (and your stories) you must learn about them. Will this sell books? Yes, not to all of them of course, but not all your friends in your natural world buy your books. Still there’s a chance they might tell others about the online friend they have who happens to be writer and that person might become a reader. Also you’ll make friends online with other writers and with them you can discuss each other’s projects and at times swap works. Don’t be too pushy, but there’s nothing wrong with offering a copy after you’ve become friends and if you offer to read someone else’s work it doesn’t hurt to write a review or post about the work if you enjoyed it.

Know Where You Can Pimp Your Story: There are places on the net where you can promote. The first site that comes to mind is Free Book Dude (www.freebookdude.com). They offer info on free reads, have contests, and set up online book tours for writers. Visit them, look around and ask Joshua Cook if you have any questions. Also there are groups on facebook and all over the net where writers and readers meet to share books (their own and others). Remember they are trying to build communities so don’t hit and run. Read other posts and take part in discussions before you post about your own work.

I understand that you must promote, but again it’s how you do so that determines success in finding readers. I know from my own experience. Nine years ago, after releasing my first novel, I joined Myspace. I saw it as a perfect place to pimp and looked at all who befriended me as potential readers. That’s how I treated them – as readers and not people. Almost all my posts centered on trying to get them to buy my book. Then my wife passed away and upon sharing my grief I discovered they were more than royalties. They were kind wonderful people who cared about me and my survival. Because of them I did and I also learned not to look at them as friends (some who became readers) and they began to look at me as someone worth learning more about – in some cases that meant giving my work a read sometimes it doesn’t. I’m happy with each result and truth is that in the long run this mindset sells a lot more books and makes the net a lot more fun.

Note: I’d like to thank the following: 
 
Free Book Dude (freebookdude.com) for putting together this book tour and for all they’ve done to help writers promote their works. Check out their site.

Biting Dog Press/Publications (Bitingdogpress.com) who puts out some damn good stuff.

Meet Author John Paul Allen:
John Paul Allen describes himself as a semi-complete unknown. "I'm like a literary lounge singer," he shares, "but thanks to social networking, digital technology and good people who believe in my work my readership is expanding. Author of Gifted Trust (novel), Monkey Love (novella), and Dark Blessings (short story collection). His short story, House Guest, has remained in the top 100 for Kindle horror twelve straight months. John recently took part in Fresh Blood Old Bones, an amazing collection of works by some of the best tenured and new writers in the horror genre.

Former Michigander, Eagle Scout, and fourteen year veteran of the U.S. Navy John Paul Allen has lived in Cuba (GTMO), Florida, Virginia, South Carolina, Texas and now resides in Tennessee where he spends time with his girlfriend and enjoys being Paw Paw to one-year-old Makenzie and his new granddaughter, Zoe.

Follow John on the Fresh Blood, Old Bones Tour from December 23 – 29. Read special guest posts, enter to win John’s entire Biting Dog Press digital library, read reviews of Fresh Blood, Old Bones and even listen in on a live podcast interview. For more information, check out the John Paul Allen Tour page from FreeBookDude.com and Biting Dog Press.


Fresh Blood, Old Bones Synopsis:

Fresh Blood, Old Bones showcases the work of new and established writers in horror, fantasy, and science fiction (with bizarre thrown in for good measure). Enjoy eighteen tales as true masters of the genre (including Joe R. Lansdale, Nancy Collins, and Neal Barrett Jr.) combine their talents with stories from up-and-comers (including Tim Bryant, Monica J. O'Rourke, John Paul Allen, and many others) in this unique and exciting anthology.







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Friday, December 21, 2012

'Winter's Magic' Book Blast

Winter’s Magic
By Cynthia Gail

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

BLURB:

Beth Sergeant and Nick Chester come from opposite ends of the social food chain. While he sees a rare beautiful woman without an agenda, she sees a wealthy playboy. Can he convince her to let go of her insecurities and take a chance on love, when challenges from his past force her to reveal her most guarded secret?

Owner of La Bella Vita, a five-star day spa nestled in the affluent suburbs of Nashville, Tennessee, Beth Sergeant knows her elite clientele first hand. She attended their private schools. She was even engaged, although briefly, to one of their most recognized bachelors. But she never fit in to their social-elite world.

After losing his parents to a car accident at a young age, Nick Chester was raised by his grandfather, the wealthiest man in Nashville. When he chooses to socialize, he has a never-ending list of exclusive events and beautiful women vying for his attention. Yet he never lets himself forget that everyone has an agenda.

Beth can’t resist Nick’s charm and accepts an invitation to dinner, despite her deep-seated insecurities. She proves she’s nothing like other women Nick's dated and learns to trust him in return. But just as the last of their resistance crumbles and true love is within reach, challenges from Nick's past threaten to destroy everything and force Beth to reveal her most guarded secret.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Read an excerpt:
Beth made her way over to the tree to get a closer view. Several handmade pieces intermingled with the sparkling crystal ornaments and gold strands of glass beads. She fingered the row of cotton balls that ran along the edge of a red felt Santa hat. On the top, in glitter writing, it said 1982. “Who made these?”

Nick laughed, but when she turned her head, she caught a hint of sadness in his eyes. “I made them with my mother when I was in grade school. Every year, on the first day of holiday break, we would go to the craft store and buy materials to make a dozen ornaments.”

“A dozen?” She wondered how a person ever got over losing a parent, much less losing both. Or if you even could. And his poor grandfather, losing a child ... Her chest tightened at the thought.

“One for our tree at home, one for Grandfather’s, several neighbors, and the mailman. And I’ll never forget Mrs. Sawyer at the bakery. She used to give me a free cinnamon roll when I came in with my grandfather.”

“We weren’t very crafty at my house. But Mom and I would bake like a storm. Candy, cookies, fudge. We always took packages to our neighbors on Christmas Eve, right before we went to church for Midnight Mass.”

“Do you still go?” The reflection of the tree lights sparkled in his eyes as he spoke. At this very moment, he didn’t look, or act, like the city’s most eligible bachelor. She could feel her resolve slipping. She needed Jenny.

“I haven’t been in years. In fact, I don’t think I’ve been since I graduated high school.”

“I haven’t, either. You can imagine my surprise when Grandfather asked me to take him this year.” He glanced back at the tree. “Would you like to come with us?”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~
 
AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Home is where you hang your hat. A native Missourian, my family relocated twice during my teenage years, taking me from a high school freshman class of over 1,200 students to living in a small town in Kentucky with a total population of less than 1,000.

Home is where your heart is. Despite the culture shock and challenges of those shy, teenage years, I met my true love in that tiny town and I couldn’t be more grateful for the opportunity to experience a community where everyone waves, calls you by name, and treats you like family.

My husband and I live in the suburbs of Nashville, Tennessee with our eighteen-year-old son and three dogs. When I’m not working or writing, I can be found with family and friends. I love to bake in the winter, grill in the summer, and on occasion, I sneak away from everyone and curl up with a good book.

I hope you enjoy my stories. Each one touches on modern day issues, fears, and challenges that women face every day. And each one illustrates that love is within reach if you let down those walls and allow your heart to open. Our lives and experiences are so much more meaningful when we have someone to share them with.

LINKS


Barnes & Noble http://bit.ly/RnxlBC

Soul Mate Publishing http://bit.ly/VwT9ZI




Cynthia will be awarding the following prizes to three randomly drawn commenters during the tour either one $10 Starbucks GC, one $10 Amazon GC, or one $10 Soul Mate Publishing GC. Follow the tour for more chances to win!

Interview with George Polley, Author of 'The Old Man and the Monkey'

Welcome to the virtual book tour for The Old Man & The Monkey by George Polley. He was kind enough to take some time to let us get to know him and his story a little bit better. 

What was the inspiration behind this story?

One morning in late 2006, I had a dream about a large Japanese “snow” monkey. Since I didn’t remember anything about the dream other than the fact that I’d had it and that it was about a snow monkey, I did what I normally do: I asked him what he was doing there. “Tell my story,” he said. So I got up, made myself a cup of coffee, went down to my office, sat down at my computer, and started to write.

I was curious about him. Why had he appeared, what did he want me to know, and what was his story? “The Old Man and The Monkey” is the result. He turned out to be a wise old monkey and one of my favorite characters. The story of Yukitaro (the monkey) and Genjiro Yamada and his wife Harue has become one of my favorite stories, and all because that old monkey appeared in a dream one night.

Why are myths and folktales still relevant today?

Myths and folktales are stories that teach about what is important to know about living in this often puzzling world. What is life about, what are true friendships like, why do we do things this or that way? The best ones teach without lecturing or hectoring, by involving their listeners and readers in interesting tales.

What is your favorite myth or folktale?

You know, I’ve read so many over the years that it’s no longer possible for me to pick one out that’s my favorite. They all kind of run together. In literature, it’s probably J. R. R. Tolkien’s “Lord of The Rings”, “The Hobbit” and Rowling’s “Harry Potter” series.

What is your favorite genre for writing?

I’m grinning right now. “Why?” you ask. I have too many interests to have a favorite genre; instead, I have several, and here they are: Children: “The Old Man and The Monkey”, “Bear”, “Bear in Trouble” (to be published in 2013); literary (I know, I know, that’s thought of as so boring and pass├ę, but the best literary novels are not); adventure. I plan to write at least one thriller in 2013, and have a humor book in mind. I do have rather broad interests. :-)


What other projects are you working on?

I’m working on a novel about Mexico City, where I lived for a time in 1973-74. The title is “The City Has Many Faces”.

I also have two more “Andy and Bear” novels planned: “Harl Lake” and “Graywolf”.
And I have a psychological thriller that I’ll write somewhere in there.

What is something readers may not know about you?

I have four wonderful children and ten wonderful grandchildren scattered about from California to Pennsylvania. I’ve been writing and publishing stories and poems since the late 1960s, all because my 7th Grade English teacher at James Madison Middle School in Seattle told me I had a lot of talent as a writer way back in 1947, and I never forgot it.

Thank you so much for your time!

 
About the Author:
George Polley was born in Santa Barbara, California and raised in Seattle, Washington. He has lived in California (Berkeley and Stockton), Illinois (Cooks Mills  and Villa Grove), Minnesota (Luverne, Marshal and Minneapolis), and from 1984 until early in 2008, in Seattle, when he and his wife moved to Sapporo, Japan so that she could fulfill her dream of returning to the land of her birth.

His work has appeared in the South Dakota Review, Crow's Nest, Expanding Horizons, The Enchanted Self, Community Mental Health Journal, Maturing, The Lyon County (Minnesota) Review  Wine Rings, North Country Anvil, North American Mentor Magazine, the McLean County (Illinois) Poetry Review, River Bottom, Tower Talks and Foundations.

He has also authored several booklets in the mental health field, two of them co-authored with Ana Dvoredsky, M.D. in 2007.

George's e-book 'The Old Man & The Monkey' poses one of the most elegant and powerful arguments against racism of all time, and his 'Grandfather & The Raven' argues equally compellingly against violence in all its forms. 


 
The Old Man and The Monkey
George Polley

Genre: Adventure, Inspirational, Legend

Publisher: Taylor Street Publishing

ISBN: 9781451543773
ASIN: B003T0GJ4E

Number of pages: 60
Word Count: 7,267

The Old Man and The Monkey is about a village elder in Japan and the large monkey who became his friend over the last five years of his life. Since the villagers don't like monkeys, none of them approve of the friendship between the old man Genjiro Yamada and Yukitaro ("snow monkey" in Japanese).

But Genjiro refuses to give up the friendship, even when his wife objects to it. After all, monkeys are nuisances and thieves. But over time, both Genjiro’s wife and the villagers come to grudgingly accept him, especially when, on several occasions, they receive a special blessing from him.

'The Old Man & The Monkey' is a stunningly beautiful story of a relationship which develops between an old man and a creature which is regarded as a dangerous pest in Japan, a snow monkey, in George Polley's moving allegory of dignity in the face of prejudice and racism.





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'The Old Man and the Monkey' Book Tour & Review

The Old Man and The Monkey
George Polley

Genre: Adventure, Inspirational, Legend

Publisher: Taylor Street Publishing

ISBN: 9781451543773
ASIN: B003T0GJ4E

Number of pages: 60
Word Count: 7,267

The Old Man and The Monkey is about a village elder in Japan and the large monkey who became his friend over the last five years of his life. Since the villagers don't like monkeys, none of them approve of the friendship between the old man Genjiro Yamada and Yukitaro ("snow monkey" in Japanese).

But Genjiro refuses to give up the friendship, even when his wife objects to it. After all, monkeys are nuisances and thieves. But over time, both Genjiro’s wife and the villagers come to grudgingly accept him, especially when, on several occasions, they receive a special blessing from him.

'The Old Man & The Monkey' is a stunningly beautiful story of a relationship which develops between an old man and a creature which is regarded as a dangerous pest in Japan, a snow monkey, in George Polley's moving allegory of dignity in the face of prejudice and racism.

Read an excerpt:
 
Prologue

In a small park near one of the rivers that run through the city of Asahikawa, Hokkaido, there is a bronze statue of an old man and a monkey seated side by side on a wide flat stone looking out over the river and the mountains. The monkey is bigger than ordinary snow monkeys; the top of his head reaches to the old man’s shoulder.
Looking at the bags under his eyes, one can see that the monkey, like the man, is elderly. Affixed to the base of the statue is a bronze plaque that reads: “Genjiro and Yukitaro.” These two old friends sit and warm themselves in silence as the years and seasons pass.
As Long as long as the statue has been there, people passing by have paused, wondering how a monkey and a man could become friends because, as everyone knows, monkeys are pests and can be dangerous when humans get too close. Some people tell each other that such a friendship is unnatural, and that because it is unnatural, is impossible. Others believe that Genjiro and Yukitaro are characters that the artist made up. But everyone agrees that the statue is appealing, because the two old friends have such an air of tranquility and peace about them that people come and sit down next to it to enjoy their lunch, or to just sit quietly and look out at the river and the mountains, later commenting on how peaceful the experience was.
So it is that the old man and the monkey receive a constant stream of visitors who sit and enjoy their company in silence and take something of them away to warm themselves.
No one believes the old man and the monkey were real; but I know that they were because the old man was my grandfather, Genjiro Yamada, and Yukitaro was his companion and friend for the last five years of his life.
Now is the time for me to tell their story and reveal for the first time how an improbable friendship like that between a man and a monkey happened, how it was good, and how it ended.

**My thoughts**

This story left me feeling warm and fuzzy and emotional, all at the same time. Despite our best efforts, we still tend to fear those who are different from us, when sometimes the different ones can make the best friends and blessings. 

I honestly thought that this was a folktale that had been passed down from generation to generation in a land overseas. I didn't realize that it was based on a dream that the author once had. It's language and Polley's storytelling make it seems like a tale as old as time.

As an adult, I loved the message of the story, as a way to remind myself to be more accepting. As a teacher, I love this story because of its lessons. I would definitely use this in the classroom.   

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