Excerpt #5 ‘Papa, Where Are You?”

The first of many Christmas references in ‘Papa, Where Are You?’

Click on the links above to acquire your own copy.

Would make a great Christmas gift! 🙂

christmas tree2

“After all the other gifts had been placed back under the tree, we prepared for Christmas dinner. Uncle Albert had a roast cooking, surrounded by carrots and potatoes in the big roaster pan. The smell drifted all over the house.

Grandmother and Uncle Albert tended to the kitchen while Aunt Marianne and I set the table. Papa sat by the tree, drumming his fingers on the arm of the chair. Nearby, Julie sat on the floor and entertained the baby with her new doll.

I was inserting red cloth napkins into the family’s set of silver engraved napkin rings when I came across Mama’s. I sighed as I placed it back in the box and looked at Papa. “Can I get you anything?” I asked. “A glass of water maybe?” He shook his head without taking his eyes from Julie and Teddy. I wanted to cry because it made me sadder to see him so sad.

“I need a roast carver,” Uncle Albert bellowed from the kitchen. Papa looked relieved as he escaped to the kitchen.

Aunt Marianne took Grandmother’s prized Christmas cactus from its perch by the window and placed it on the dinner table. With its little pink flowers, it made a lovely centerpiece. She then gathered holly leaves and berries from outside the front door and scattered them around the cactus. Red tapered candles in silver candlesticks completed the setting.

Dinner was delicious. But it was the worst Christmas of my young life. I just wanted my mama back. . .”

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Excerpt #4 ‘Papa, Where Are You?’

halloween

I find it fitting as Halloween approaches to share an excerpt of the first of many Halloween referrals mentioned in ‘Papa, Where Are You?’

When Papa bounded through the front door, Julie and I ran down the stairs to him with our arms outstretched. He scooped us up and planted kisses on our cheeks.
I was so happy to see Papa take Mama to the hospital to have the baby, I forgot it was Halloween until Uncle Albert ambled down the stairs, ready to take Julie and me out for trick-or-treating.
We kissed Mama and Papa good-bye, put on our costumes, then flew out the door with Uncle Albert.
The harvest moon, as Uncle Albert called it, dispelled the darkness on the unseasonably warm evening. No need for a sweater to cover up our special costumes!  . . .

As the group of us danced down the street, in character, joining a sea of clowns and princesses and pirates, the adults gathered together at every long driveway, keeping a watchful eye on their charges as we ran up to knock on each front door. Julie stayed close to me the whole evening. Having only been in this town for a couple of months, she was still wary around strangers.
But everyone, young and old alike, was in a festive mood. It was like a great big block party.
After a fruitful and fun evening, Uncle Albert walked us up our long circular driveway. Julie and I couldn’t wait to empty our baskets and see what kind of goodies we’d collected.
When we rushed through the door, Grandmother was sitting in the parlor, a solemn expression on her face. The three of us stopped in our tracks. Something was terribly wrong.”

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. . . and Happy Halloween! 

Funny Story

cloudPlane rides, as you know if you’re a long-term follower of this blog, don’t go over well with me. I’ve learned, however, to take my meds ½ hour before boarding and that seems to do the trick.

Recently, I was on four different planes in a 24-hour period. (I survived! 😊)

As I settled into my seat on a full plane, I pulled out my book ‘Papa, Where Are You?’. I was giving a book talk the following week and always desire to refresh myself with the points I may choose to share.new book cover

Of course, I always hope that a seatmate may show an interest in what I’m reading so I could do a bit of marketing on the spot.

I was sitting on the aisle and the gal in the middle seat seemed to be glancing my way at my book. I was hopeful but not sure how to approach this.

“I have that book!” she says. What???
“I wrote this book.” I responded. What???

I turned it over and showed her my picture.

me for book cover

She told me she hadn’t read it yet but her mother had just given it to her and said she’d really enjoy it.

We were both incredulous.

She went further by saying that her parents had recently moved to St. Louis from Chicago because the closest family was here. They didn’t really know anyone other than family. Then in their retirement community, some nice lady sold them my book. Hmmm. Sounded a bit familiar.

I asked if by any chance they are in a retirement community near me, naming it. Yes, that’s the one. It’s also the one my mother lives in – that nice lady! 😊

Ha!

My new friend shared a bit more about her folks and something else rang a bell.

“Is your father retired military?” I asked.
“Why yes he is.” She exclaimed.

I laughed as I explained that my husband is retired military also and my mother has been wanting us to have dinner with her some night along with your folks.

My new friend asked how sales were going. I explained that as a self-published author, it’s all on me so, I remind myself often, “slow and steady, one book sale at a time.”

I’m looking forward to seeing her again!

*****
Last week, my mother was about to get on the elevator at her place. A young lady was getting on behind her carrying a bunch of flowers. As my mother does with everyone she meets, she struck up a conversation.

“Nice flowers.”
“Thank you. They’re for my mother.”
“Who’s your mother?”

You can guess the rest. My mother just met my seatmate.

BookCoverPreview

Papa, Where Are You? book talk

Another adventure of this authoring/publishing book business completed this week.

I gave a “book talk” at my mother’s retirement community.book talk 5

To be clear, I wasn’t sure what a book talk exactly was. I knew a lot of folks there had purchased and read my book but I also supposed there would be folks there who had not. So, while I wanted to answer questions, I also wanted to pique the interest of the hopeful buyers without giving away the whole story.

And honestly, I wasn’t sure if anyone would be there! Those retirement communities have much to offer keep their tenants quite occupied with many fun diversified activities.

To top it off, I developed a severe case of laryngitis several days earlier. I took as much medicine as possible and prayed for a voice as I prepared. After having bullet points on what I might cover and some visual aids, I was ready, sans the voice.

Another factor? I am not, nor have I ever been, nor did I ever have the desire to be – a public – stand up in front – speaker.

And Jean, who is always my ‘wingman’ could not go with me.

What could go wrong!?! ☹

The day before the event, I asked Karen, who graciously accepted, to be my stand-in ‘wingman.’ The morning of, I could talk – at about 90% capacity. I knew the place had a microphone to fall back on if necessary, which it was not.

We arrived and set up and people began to trickle in. For whatever reason, I was calm. It helped that my mother lived here although she does not know everyone.

First question to my audience: Who and how many have read the book? Probably 1/3 had. I proceeded with my talk. I was given an hour which freaked me out, but as it turned out, with my talk and their questions and book selling and signing, an hour flew by.

 

Attendance was about 25. That in itself blew me away! Books were purchased, previous purchases had been brought in to be signed and a few who had borrowed the book from another, decided they needed their own copy.book talk 2

 

I was blessed. I was relieved. My mother was proud.

And then, afterward, over lunch in their dining room,

I lost my voice!             

God’s timing! 😊

Excerpt #3 – Papa, Where Are You?

An organization called Readers’ Favorite was kind enough to give my book a review. This is part of it:

“Papa, Where Are You? is a wonderful, easy-to-read story that takes readers on a journey that young children should never experience. Author PJ Easterbrook invites you on her journey through sadness, uncertainty, and then triumph. She does an excellent job telling about the adventure at Grandma’s house one summer with the two sisters. The description in the first chapter allowed me to imagine the grand house with the wraparound porch before I even saw the photograph. I enjoyed reading about their Halloween costumes and felt excited as if I was at the neighborhood trick-or-treating block party. Unfortunately, I also shared in the sad news and fought the urge to mourn along with the rest of the family. What kind of man would leave his daughters when they need him the most – without saying goodbye? . . . There were many times when I didn’t want to put this book down. Either I felt their sadness and disappointment or I was thrilled that they got their well-deserved happy ending. Papa, Where Are You? is a very moving book.”
Reviewed by Barbara Fanson for Readers’ Favorite

new book cover
Be sure to read more reviews on my author website by clicking below.

Papa, Where Are You? paperback and digital

Duets

I experienced a delightful concert the other night. A granddaughter was in her first piano recital. She’s seven. I was so pleased and proud. I was also surprised because the two pieces she chose were duets with her teacher. reeseThat’s not an easy feat. I know. I’ve been there. More about that in a moment. . .

As I sat there watching her work those keys, I couldn’t help but remember another (probably the last) piano recital I attended. A junior member of our family at the time, maybe a bit older than my granddaughter is now, was preparing for a recital. The deal was the students were to play a piece for memory. Somehow the memory part wasn’t accomplished so she prepared a tiny “cheat sheet.” I’m not sure the teacher was aware of this before time and she obviously was not going to address it at that moment so up to the piano this gal went. She placed the little card, probably not bigger than a postcard, onto the music rack and began to play. She looked so pretty and so proper until   . . . the postcard fell to the ground underneath the piano. As all “professionals” know, the show must go on! So she kept playing, over and over, the same part until, not knowing how to end it, she just stopped.

I’m pretty sure I wasn’t laughing that day, but it really strikes me funny now. I brought it up to her recently and, yes, she remembered it all too well.

Back to my granddaughter playing duets with her teacher – I was so impressed because, as a child myself, I took nine years of piano lessons! It was NOT fun! My brother also took duet booklessons and my teacher had the idea that he and I should play duets. NOT a good idea. He was 20 months older than me and had an IQ way above mine – or so he always told me. He was the methodical legalistic one. I was the “play without rules” type. My mother cringed every time we sat on that dang piano bench together. She wasn’t the only one. My brother would count to the beat and I would “play with feeling”. Finally my mother put a stop to it as our practice sessions were more than she could handle. I will be forever grateful.

So seeing my granddaughter playing sweet duets with her teacher? I was happy because I was pretty sure she played with feeling. 😊

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Papa Where Are You – paperback and digital

 

 

 

Excerpt #2 “Papa, Where Are You”

Today I’m sharing an excerpt of an editorial review associated with Readers View. This is an organization that offers reviews especially to those who are self-published. The catch is that once reviewed, it will be published to various social media sights.

Good or Bad!

I’ve actually scrolled through various reviews to make sure this was correct and not just all sugar and spice. While always professional, the reviews are well written and honest.

Good or Bad!

It was a gamble but with enough hopefully honest reviews up to this point, I submitted my book to them and held my breath.

It came back yesterday and, honestly, I was blown away. It was kind and accurate to the plot – in detail. I was feeling quite humbled and yet affirmed. I’ve posted the beginning and ending of the review so as not to give away the entire story to those yet to read it. 🙂

“Truth is indeed stranger than fiction, and this bizarre story captured my complete attention, invoking unbelievable strong emotions in me from the very start. The story is well written and captivating, and I couldn’t help but fall in love with the two little girls and pray for their well and pray for their well-being. . .
“How in the world does something like this happen? It really causes one to think how every little decision we make completely alters the course of existence.
“Kudos to PJ Easterbrook, for putting to paper a story that needed telling, “Papa, Where Are You?” will remain in the heart and on the mind long after the story is finished.” – Reviewed by Sheri Hoyte for Reader Views

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This is a photograph of “Papa” with his three children – the only photo known to exist. The quality was not good enough to be placed in the actual book.

papa-with-girls

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“Papa, Where Are You?”          “Papa, Where Are You?” digital format