Literary Flairs

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Spotlight: Crooked Paths and Abandoned Borders: Story in "Real" Time (Volume 1) by author Kerry Augustyniak

Dear readers,

Today's Spotlight is on a compelling, emotionally charged, and adventurous Memoir titled Crooked Paths and Abandoned Borders: Story in "Real" Time (Volume 1 available at Amazon Stores) by the very talented and gifted author Kerry Augustyniak.

From the author's desk : This is a true story about courage, survival and a quest about purpose and belonging in life with a realization of a spiritual component within.
Author Links : Connect with author Kerry Augustyniak

Self Publishers and Publishers Advertising Club :

Writer explores life between stability and panic | Lifestyles | The Register-Guard | Eugene, Oregon

Book Spotlight


Author : Kerry Augustyniak

Genre : Non Fiction, Memoirs, Self Help, True Story

Format : Paperback

Available at : Amazon - 

Black Sun Books -

Reviews : Multiple 5 stars

Synopsis : This is a story about courage. It's a true story of one human’s struggle and one canine’s quest to find a pack where they belong. It’s about surviving as castaways, while each tries to find footing in a wilderness they were never intended to be part of. It’s for those who dance to the beat of a different drummer and what happens when they fail to integrate, a story of trespassed boundaries, disintegration, and broken hearts, in the midst of conflicting ideologies. Despite anguish, despair, and nothing but failure along their crooked paths, they are eventually lead back to where they both began. Where Love, Hope, Acceptance, and Credence can be found, right under our very own nose.

Amazon Reviews

Chapter Excerpt - Crooked Paths and Abandoned Borders

I’m one of those who has known the bounds between stability and instability all of my life, dipping in and out of each realm to varying degrees. My challenges have not been obvious to others, not at first glance anyway. My wit, charm, and street smarts, though fleeting, have allowed me to skate through just enough to survive. Survive was all I could ever muster when it came to employment. I was able to disguise my inner world, long enough, to obtain way too many entry-level positions to count with just as many failed attempts to follow. I’d seen therapists on and off throughout my life without a diagnosis ever being revealed, not to me anyway. 

After they collected my money and posed as interested advocates, some better than others, they would then attempt to shoot confidence and some semblance of order into my veins. Scantly comprehended by my brain, it mostly dribbled out before it had a chance to sink in, and the little that did would wear off in a short time. Many years later, at the crossroads of life and at the threshold of “the change,” I was deteriorating quickly. It’s true that I’d had high levels of anxiety and a history of panic throughout my life. Perhaps a learning disability of sorts, brain damage, or ADD, but as long as I can remember, my mind has blasted me with negative interpretations of my world and myself, creating deep passages and well-worn grooves for my fully insulated, uninterrupted, negative thought patterns to run in, but none of which were comparable to what was taking place at this juncture in my life. 

My children flew the coop, my place of employment was trying to rid themselves of me (or so I thought), I found myself out on medical leave, my husband of 27 years moved out, and the unwavering support that I had been receiving from my doctors came to an abrupt end. My inability to cope with the recent series of inevitable milestones in my life, created intolerable doses of fear, anger, anguish, sadness and despair, during which time I managed to blow away everything and everyone that had been within close proximity to me. I took out innocent bystanders and wreaked havoc on everything that crossed my path. It had become painfully apparent that the boat load of bad habits I’d spent a good deal of my life trying to control and abstain from, had only been replaced by coping strategies fabricated on false, delusional, security systems.

I’ve written this story for several reasons; I am determined to finish something that I started, because this in and of itself is less than a common experience in my life. Not long ago I had started a story about a canine friend of mine named Copper, who broke my heart; but true to form I was derailed in the process time and time again. When shit hit the fan I decided to pick it up again and since mine and Copper’s experiences seemed so similar in theme, I wanted to try to integrate them. Like me, Copper had characteristics he was born with that made it difficult, no, impossible, for him to succeed in the situations where he was placed. 

Although these environments with their rule and limits did not allow for his attributes to be showcased, much less accepted, I knew he was not flawed. Leaving no stone unturned while running up against dead ends, failed attempts, and repeated messages that he did not measure up, he was ultimately able to find his true pack by continuing along the crooked, dimly lit and unmarked path that life has to offer. Like Copper, I had little interest in the limits of rules and did not know how to carry myself well in social situations.

In school, I missed the boat in learning most of what was taught about reading, writing and arithmetic, so I’ll warn you now that there are many hiccups in my attempt in putting this story together, but this story is for those living in the margins. It’s for the ones who have had continuous struggles and failed attempts at making a living or finding a niche for themselves in this world, whether due to mental afflictions or just simply marching to the beat of a different drummer, a beat that is not copacetic with the rhythms of the culture they find themselves in. If you know the pain of persistence in the face of fear, failures and flaws, or have worked in menial positions all of your life, leaving you wanting, if your experience in the world is one of perpetual outcast, then this book might be for you.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Spotlight : Author Florence Osmund presents highly acclaimed and widely read novels - The Coach House and Red Clover

Dear readers,   
Today's special spotlight is on three-time BRAG Medallion Honoree author Florence Osmund and her superbly written, widely read novels - The Coach House and Red Clover both available at Amazon (Kindle and Paperback) . The Coach House with 170+ reviews and Red Clover with 60+ reviews have been highly acclaimed by readers worldwide. We'll learn more about her and her novels in this special spotlight today.

Author Links : Connect with author Florence Osmund 

After more than three decades of experience in corporate America, Florence Osmund retired to write novels. Her website is dedicated primarily to helping new authors—offering advice she wishes she had received before she started writing her first book. Osmund currently resides in Chicago where she is working on her next novel.

Author's website :

Twitter handle : @florenceosmund


Author's Achievements and Awards :

The Coach House – 2012 B.R.A.G. Medallion honoree 

Daughters – 2013 B.R.A.G. Medallion honoree

Red Clover – 2014 Indie Book of the Day award 

Book Spotlight 1


Author : Florence Osmund

Genre : Literary Fiction, Family-Relationships,Women's Fiction

Formats : Kindle, Paperback and E Pub

Reviews : 170+ reviews with multiple 5 stars

Synopsis : May, 1948. Marie Marchetti flees Chicago and her devoted husband when she realizes he is immersed in local corruption, only to discover itʾs the identity of her real father and his ethnicity that unexpectedly change her life more than her husband ever could. 

Chapter Excerpt - The Coach House


He stood on the busy sidewalk at the corner of State and Randolph streets and watched the young woman walk around the Marshall Field’s department store window display in her stocking feet. The hem of her blue satiny dress swirled around her as she moved, touching the back of her calves with each step, calling attention to her Betty Grable legs, and making him forget the original purpose for his being in this part of town. He strained to get a look at her face, but she was preoccupied with her work, oblivious to him and all the other pedestrians bustling around Chicago’s busy Loop.
He watched her position and reposition the stiff mannequin. After looking around to see if any other passersby were observing him observing her, he moved closer to the center of the window. At twenty-five, Richard had had his share of girlfriends, every one of them a beauty, but none as captivating as her. What do I have to do to get your attention, gorgeous? He cased her left hand for a wedding band. C’mon, sweetheart. Look my way.
When she finally noticed him, he froze for an instant, grabbed his chest with an open palm, and smiled. Her glossy close-to-black hair softly framed her flawless olive-skinned face and accentuated her deep-set whiskey brown eyes. His heart raced.
Exerting his best charm, Richard proceeded to give her hand signals to point out which way he thought she should position the mannequin. Try uncrossing her legs, he pantomimed. Now put her arm across the back of the sofa.
The young woman gave him a puzzled look at first and then smiled back at him. He beamed when he saw her face redden as she tried to follow his directions. She looked at him for approval each time she rearranged an arm or leg, a reaction that encouraged him even more.
After several attempts, she took a couple of steps back to look at her handiwork and then shook her head. He couldn’t help but laugh. The mannequin didn’t look anything like a happy housewife relaxing in the front room listening to the radio while dinner was cooking in her brand-new 1944 Tappan Deluxe six-burner double oven.
With her back toward him, she continued her work. When he thought he couldn’t stand the distance between them any longer, he tapped on the window, causing her to jump. He took off his Fedora and held it to his chest, gave her his best smile, and mouthed, “Can we meet?” The awkward moment that followed didn’t deter him. He gave her a slow wink and then gestured toward the door.
She looked at him for a long moment before revealing any response. Her narrowed eyes and tilted head told him she was dubious of his suggestion. He smiled at her again. Come on, sweetheart, please don’t make me beg.
“Okay,” she mouthed back and then disappeared through a concealed door at the back of the display window.

Book Spotlight 2


Author : Florence Osmund

Genre : Literary Fiction, Family-Relationships

Formats : Kindle, Paperback and E Pub

Amazon Stores :

Reviews : 65+ reviews with multiple 5 stars

Synopsis : The troubled son of a callous father and socialite mother determines his own meaning of success after learning shocking family secrets that cause him to rethink who he is and where heʼs going.

Amazon Reviews

Goodreads Reviews

Chapter Excerpt - Red Clover

Excerpt from Chapter 1

Eight-year-old Lee Winekoop entered the front parlor to find his mother sitting in her favorite Louis XV chair reading an issue of Town & Country. An identical chair occupied the space immediately next to it for his father. Without knowing why, Lee had never liked those chairs, nor the room they were in. The parlor—with its twelve-foot ornate ceiling and stilted furniture—made him feel tiny, unimportant, and uncomfortable. But then he didn’t feel very comfortable anywhere in the eighteen-room lakefront mansion in the wealthiest section of Evanston, Illinois.
Her black hair was pulled back into a perfectly coiffed bun at the nape of her neck, and the cultured pearl necklace Lee’s father had given her years ago lay flat upon her flawless ivory skin. She did not bother to look up from her magazine.
“Where’s Kate?”
He ignored her question as to his nanny’s whereabouts and did not allow the queasy feeling in his stomach to stop him from asking the question that had been on his mind for a long time.
“Why are Nelson and Bennett so much older than me?”
His mother sighed and momentarily lifted her gaze from the magazine. “Older than I, dear.”
Why does she care about grammar when I’m trying to figure out something this important?
“Older than I, then. Why is that?”
“I don’t know what you mean, Lee.”
His stomach began to churn. “Nelson was born in 1950 and Bennett just two years after that. Then it was another eight years until I was born. They’re so close to each other, and then there’s me. Why is that?”
She looked past him, as if searching for the answer. After a long pause, she said, “It just happened that way. Not all children are spaced evenly apart.” She made a face he knew all too well when she didn’t want to deal with something. “Where is that woman?”
“They have dark hair, and mine is light.”
“That happens in families.”
“And I have green eyes.”
“Your father—”
“No, Mother. Father has hazel eyes.” Lee’s heart was pounding. A child interrupting an adult while talking was forbidden in his family. “Did you want me when I was born?”
His mother’s pursed lips and stone-faced stare told him he might have gone too far with that one. He hoped she would answer the question but was afraid at the same time.
Her face softened. “Of course I wanted you.”
“Do you know what my initials spell?”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
“Think about it, Mother. My name is Lee Oliver Winekoop. My initials spell L-O-W. Did you know that when you named me?”
She shifted her petite body in the chair and frowned. “What on earth has gotten into you? Maybe I need to make a special appointment with Dr. Jerry. Are you feeling all right?”
She was referring to Dr. Jerry Osgood, the psychologist Lee had been seeing for two years, to make him more like his brothers he thought. What his mother didn’t know was how much he was already trying to be like them.
He almost laughed aloud at her question. When did he ever feel all right?
“Nelson’s initials spell N-E-W.”
“And Bennett’s are B-M-W. Mine spell out L-O-W. Why did you do that to me, Mother?”
“Lee, you’re being overly sensitive. I’m sure...that is...I never gave any thought to what your initials would spell out when I named you. I wish you would stop being so querulous.”
“Who was Nelson named after?” Lee knew the answer, but he wanted to hear her say it.
She shifted her gaze to something across the room and hesitated a moment before responding. “Uncle Nelson. Why do you ask?”
“Who was Bennett named after?”
She closed her eyes for a brief moment. “What difference does it make?”
“It was Grandfather, wasn’t it?”
“Yes,” she said. She appeared as if she was about to sneeze. Lee waited for that to happen, and when it didn’t, he asked the question that interested him the most.
“So who was I named after?”
She stared into Lee’s eyes for several seconds before answering. “No one in particular, dear, I just fancied the name.” The wistful look on her face wasn’t one Lee had ever seen before.
“So you took the time to name them after someone special in the family, but when it came time to name me, you just picked some old name? And Lee is a girl’s name anyway.”
“Now you’re being impertinent, young man. Did it occur to you that perhaps someone... Sometimes a family name can be... Where is Kate?” she asked, her face twitching with frustration.
Lee ignored her sensitivity to his questions and continued with his mission to get to the bottom of what had been bothering him for months. He shifted his weight.
“Do you know what happened on the day Nelson was born?” he asked.
“Yes, it was unbearably hot. I was nearly overcome by heat on the way to the hospital, and then I had to endure two hours of exasperating labor.”
She doesn’t get it.
“Do you know what else happened?”
She dabbed her brow with the monogrammed lace handkerchief she carried in her sleeve. “No, but I’m sure you’re about to tell me.”
“There was a doctor right here in Chicago who did the first kidney transplant.”
She took in a deep breath. “What does that have to do with anything?”
“And on the day Bennett was born, Mickey Mantle hit his first grand-slammer.”
She crossed her arms across her chest. “That’s nice, dear. What’s a grand-slammer?”
“Guess what happened on the day I was born.”
The little color she had in her face disappeared. “Please don’t aggravate this occasion by making me guess, Lee. What difference do all these trivialities make?”
“On my birthday, The Flintstones was on television for the first time.” He studied his mother’s face for a reaction. “Don’t you understand? That’s the most important thing that happened on my birthday. That’s all they could come up with for that day.”
“That’s all who could come up with?”
“Whoever puts together the list of important things that happen on each day. I checked it out at the library. It’s all there in black and white.”
“Lee, mothers have no control over what day their children are born. And I certainly did not have any knowledge of or influence over Mickey Mantle or The Flankstones or any other cultural phenomenon. What is your point?” Then she began to “shout,” which for her meant speaking at a volume just above a whisper. “Kate! Where are you?”
A sudden whiff of her perfume made him feel faint. He backed away from her.
“It’s The Flintstones, Mother. It’s a silly cartoon show. It just seems kind of funny, that’s all.”
“Are you saying that if you were born one day sooner or one day later, it may have been advantageous for you in some way?”
“All I know is that if I had been born sooner, I wouldn’t be so far behind.”
“Behind what?”
“Nelson and Bennett.”
“It’s not a race, dear. And you shouldn’t be comparing yourself to them—they are from...they’re much...older and they’ll...”
“And they’ll what? Amount to something someday, but I won’t?”
“Why would you say such a thing?”
“Father said it first, Mother.”
“Lee, dear, you’re special to us. You’re not like Nelson or Bennett, and we don’t expect you to be. And it’s your own aspirations that will determine what you do in life.”
He broke off eye contact with her and turned to walk away but then stopped and turned to face her again. “And then there’s Uncle Nelson’s birthday gifts. How do you explain that?” he asked before turning away from her.
“I’ll call Dr. Jerry in the morning,” she said to his back.
“If it makes you feel better, Mother,” he mumbled.