Sunday, February 12, 2017
Lake Effect Fiction — Coming-of-Age Novel THE MERMAIDS OF LAKE MICHIGAN from Internationally Award-winning Author and Great Haven Native, Suzanne Kamata, Hits Great Lakes Museums
February 14, 2017 — Deadwood, OR — From the award-winning author of Gadget Girl and Call Me Okaasan, this intercultural story of finding strength within oneself has found a home in treasured museums honoring the heritage of the Great Lakes. Visit the book nook at the Tri-Cities Historical Museum Store in Grand Haven, or the Michigan Maritime Museum Store in South Haven, and dive into The Mermaids of Lake Michigan—rich with local lore, a search for self, and a little magic—by Michigan native and Japan expat Suzanne Kamata.
In this coming-of-age novel, Elise Faulkner is more at home in the waters of her beloved lake than on land. Her beauty queen mom is always on her back about her lack of a social life. Her sister is dating the boy of her dreams. Her favorite penpal—the one who wrote about mermaids in Ghana—has gotten married and ended their correspondence. No one’s allowed to talk about Elise’s glamorous great-grandmother, the deep-sea wreck diver. Elise is biding her time with books until she can flee her small town. But then Chiara Hanover pops into her life and introduces Elise to jazz, Baudelaire, whiskey, and Miguel—the man of her destiny according to a gypsy.
Library Journal reviewed, “Kamata’s coming-of-age story mixes bits of magical realism with the trials of growing up in the 1970s suburban Midwest … this quick read may interest fans of Jodi Picoult or Kazuo Ishiguro.” Publishers Weekly raved, “In this intricately woven coming-of-age tale, Kamata explores destiny and regret…with tantalizing glimpses of a scandalous shipwreck-diving great-grandmother.” Kirkus Reviews writes, “A lyrical, compelling coming-of-age story with magical elements.”
Cassie Premo Steele, author of Beautiful Waters reviews, “Suzanne Kamata’s new novel, The Mermaids of Lake Michigan, is a beautiful story about a teenage girl who must learn to balance her idealism and belief in mermaids with the harsh realities of growing up and trying to find people to love and trust. A page-turner set in the unstable years of the 1970s, it brought back memories of my own adolescence and took me beyond, in that way all good novels do, into the wonderings of circumstance and the choices we would make if faced with hard decisions. Suitable for teens and adults alike, this novel will teach readers to believe in magic even in the face of tragedy.”
Suzanne Kamata was born and raised in Grand Haven, Michigan. She is the author of the award-winning short story collection The Beautiful One Has Come and has three previous novels—Losing Kei (Leapfrog Press, 2008), which has been translated into Russian; Gadget Girl: The Art of Being Invisible (GemmaMedia, 2013) winner of multiple awards including the APALA Honor Award and the Paris Book Festival Grand Prize; and Screaming Divas (Merit Press, 2014) which was named to the ALA Rainbow List. She has received awards from the Sustainable Arts Foundation, the Independent Publisher’s Association, and SCBWI. Kamata contributes to over 100 publications including Real Simple, The Japan Times, The State (South Carolina’s largest newspaper), MTV.com, Writer’sDigest.com, Brain, Child, Skirt!, The Utne Reader, and is a columnist for Nippon Airway’s inflight magazine, Wingspan, which is in the seat pockets of every international flight. Kamata’s books have been featured in Salon, The San Francisco Chronicle, The State, NPR, The Japan Times, The Japan News, The Telegraph, Harper’s Bazaar Singapore, MTV.com, and the BN blog. Kamata has an MFA from the University of British Columbia, and teaches English at Tokushima University in Japan where she lives with her husband and twins on the island of Shikoku.
The Mermaids of Lake Michigan ISBN: 978-1-942545-59-0, 180 Pages, 5.25 x 8, $13.95 Trade Paperback; $6.99 eBook; Pub Date: February 14, 2017. Distributed by Ingram, Follett, Coutts, Bertrams, and Gardners. BISAC: FIC045000/Family Life; FIC027240/Romance/New Adult; FIC027230/Romance/Multicultural. Wyatt-MacKenzie in Deadwood, Oregon is celebrating their 19th year of publishing.
Sunday, January 1, 2017
We're starting out 2017 with a bang. *giggle* Out today ~ This sexy, raw, uninhibited multicultural, pansexual, intercontinental novel grabbed me from the moment I read the first two chapters of THE WRONG KIND OF INDIAN. Every other chapter travels back to “Jennifer’s” youth through a painfully dysfunctional childhood. While in present-day, she straddles 30-years-old and finds those seeds of dysfunction have been planted deeply into every aspect of the gut-wrenching events that play out in the life of this mysterious, bawdy, beautiful, tortured poet.
A member of the Cherokee Nation, Jey Tehya (a pen name) was born and raised in Oregon. An award-winning poet, she received a Writers in the Schools (WITS) residency from Oregon’s Literary Arts, her master’s degree from Portland University’s Ooligan Press Program, and was recently granted a residency with the Hosking Houses Trust, Stratford-upon-Avon, UK! Jey owns a writing services company, founded a scholarship for Native graduate students pursuing a writing degree, and has established a karmic yoga movement. She currently lives in Oregon (which plays a character in her novel).
Jey did her first reading at Wordstock this year! (Unfortunately the video from the Portland Art Museum was absolutely fascinating and funny but was too big to download.) Her next reading is January 19th at the awesome little neighborhood hangout Another Read Through Bookstore in Portland.
For a group project in grad school we had “avatars” created (at fiverr.com, of course). I laugh every time I look at mine—I know, looks a little cynical, right? I think it's going to be my new profile pic. I'm turning 49 this month and somehow it seems to fit.
For 2017 I'll be cynically optimistic (or optimistically cynical?) as we start our 19th year of indie publishing!
Saturday, December 31, 2016
I'm ready to say good-bye to 2016. So much was lost.
Here's Patti on a happier day... her book launch party. I've always loved this little video:
The next post were the sad words of a daughter who lost her mother. No! Churn. I always envisioned a scene from “The Notebook” when Bob Staffanson showed the love of his life, Frankie, who he lost this month, the beautiful pages of his memoir WITNESS TO SPIRIT filled with photos of their impressive life together. Here's a recent interview where he brilliantly said this: “Standing Rock issue is a tip of the iceberg. The American Indian Institute, of which I am emeritus President, is working on the iceberg.” Here's a photo I sent for the article—Bob and Frankie as she adjusts the bow tie of Boston Pop's Arthur Fiedler. Such a grace-filled and beautiful lady. Behind every great man...
Then the worst words I've ever heard. “Quality of Life.” Noooooo. Everything got darker this fall as my 10-year-old chocolate lab became frail and began to suffer. The more we tried to help, the worse he got. In the middle of caring for “Book” his buddy, our 11-year-old black lab, lost the use of his legs. Oh those dreaded words “Quality of Life.” Twice in a matter of weeks. Part of me believes each of them couldn't handle the other being sick, like an old, loving couple.
Still together... somewhere.
My “Book” was a reader from day one!
He made me happy. Constantly.
So, this month I dove into work and tried not to think about the beautiful energy no longer in the office with me. I found a soundtrack which made me both happy and sad in alternating bursts. I was able to bring a number of Imprint books to fruition alongside our next trio of novels: January's THE WRONG KIND OF INDIAN, February's THE MERMAIDS OF LAKE MICHIGAN and April's THE PROMISE OF PIERSON ORCHARD. Woot.