Books That Help Us Remember September 11, 2001

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Many of us will not forget that gorgeous September morning when we shared the shock of the decade as the Twin Towers fell. It’s good to take into account though, that to some people–and by some people I mean perhaps children who were born in 2001–this might be a story for the history books. I can understand that notion because it would be akin to what the assassination of John F. Kennedy was to me. Not having been born when it happened, I have no relationship to it. But for many who were there, and witnessed the story unfolding, they struggled with the senseless act, and found it difficult to articulate their emotions. They were forever haunted by it. So, perhaps, the same is true with September 11, 2001. Maybe it’s an event in the history books without a human face.

But many personal accounts have been written about it to keep alive the memory of what a blow it was too all of us. I, too, join the ranks and have a personal story about that day. Just one week to the day my husband and I had been in the Trade Towers. We had been in New York for the U.S. Open, as my husband is an avid tennis fan. One morning, Tuesday, September 4, precisely,  we took a trip via subway to downtown Manhattan. One of our favorite discount department stores, Century 21, was nearby, and we wanted to walk around Wall Street as well. We got off at the Trade Tower stop, right underneath the building. It was cool looking, but dark, and quiet. I guess many people were already at their desks in the offices above us. There were a lot of little stores and there was a Borders Bookstore I wanted to stop in if we had the time. As I was washing up in the restroom I noticed a sign posted that listed a number of rules about conduct in the towers. At first, I thought it odd, but then I remembered the World Trade Center Bombing attack in 1993, the epicenter was the parking garage beneath the tower. Granted, this had taken place eight years prior, but it resonated with me. I found my husband browsing the mall area and told him I thought we should get out of the building. I reminded him of the bombing in 1993, and then said, “This place is a target, we need to leave.” Isn’t that crazy? I thought nothing more of it until after we came home and we were watching in horror as the news covered the story of  two Boeing 767 jets flying into the twin towers, collapsing them on September 11, 2001. For me, 9/11 will always be personal.

On Monday’s Book Hound radio program Jan and I discussed some of the books that came out after 9/11. So, if you are interested in reading more about 9/11, then this short list might be of some interest to you. Let me know what you think, or if there are any 9/11 books you think should be here.

Nonfiction

Firehouse, by David Halberstam, published in 2003. Firehouse is the story of  Engine 40, Ladder 35, and the thirteen men who were on two rigs setting out from this firehouse, twelve of whom never returned. Along the way, we learn the culture of the firehouse and try to understand why these men would become firemen and pursue so dangerous a profession.

Fireboat: The Heroic Adventures of the John J. Harvey, by Maira Kalman, published in 2005. This is a children’s picture book. The John J. Harvey was the best fireboat of its time, but by 1995 the city didn’t need fireboats any longer, so the John J. Harvey was retired. Then one  day in September a horrible event shook the world. The fireboat was needed to fight a roaring fire. This is a true story.

American Widow, by Alissa Torres, illustrated, published in 2008. A memoir written by a young widow who lost her husband that day in September. Alissa’s entire world was upside down. This book chronicles her journey through being a widow and carrying the baby of a father who would never set eyes on his child.

Fiction

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, by Jonathan Safran Foer, published in 2006. Narrated by nine-year-old Oskar Schell, who is trying to discover clues about his father’s death on September 11.

The Zero: A Novel, by Jess Walter, published in 2007.  New York city cop Brian is suffering from a brain injury due to a self-inflicted gunshot wound. He is  now a tour guide for celebrities who want to visit “The Zero.” He ultimately gets a job with the Documentation Department and uncovers clues about who he works for and who he was before he tried to kill himself. This book is described as a dark comedy and I can see why! It’s a complicated story that sheds some light on a harrowing time in our history.

Falling Man, by Don DeLillo, published in 2008. This story brings to the surface emotions and memories of Sepetember 11, and shows how those events shape our perception of our world as it is now. It centers around a married couple and their son who are forever changed by the events surrounding 9/11.

And check out Flashlight Worthy for more recommendations.

Please join us Monday’s on The Book Hound. We sniff out new books and learn about new and bestselling authors. We air weekly on 101.3 FM Renegade Radio and 99.1 FM Talk Fox News Radio. Tunein radio: Search America Matters Media
Text: 775.237.2266
Call in: 844.790.8255

 

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LRP Book Hound Radio Program Highlight Shows: Bobby Rydell, Kristen Lamb, and Matthew Bayan

For many of you who follow my author page on Facebook, this is not new information, but this year my life took a new, exciting direction in the public media eye when Janice Hermsen, of LeRue Press, asked me to co-host with her on the Book Hound radio show . Since the beginning of April when I joined, we’ve had fascinating guests on the air to discuss their books and their lives, some of whom are well-known and some of whom are slightly less known. The show has been a lot of fun, and Jan and I are hitting our stride, learning each other and how to make it interesting for the listeners (I hope!)

Over the last five months of co-hosting there have been many highlights. One of our recent and most exciting guests was Mr. Bobby Rydell. Yup, that’s right, of Grease Rydell High fame, of Bye Bye Birdie fame (he played Hugo Peabody and was super cute!) and of course he was known as a teen idol waaay before there was such a thing as Justin Bieber, and had many hits like Wild One and Volare.

 

Bobby Rydell has a new memoir out and he was sharing some of his journey and life experiences that make up the behind-the-curtain peek at his life. It’s called Bobby Rydell: Teen Idol Life on the Rocks. He was a gentleman to talk with, and he had some great stories to tell. One such was about how he would wait in the wings while George Burns did his comic routine. He said he learned a lot about comedy and timing from him. We have a podcast of the show if you would like to hear the interview. Go to America Matters Media, click on Podcasts, click on Book Hound. It goes by date and Bobby Rydell’s show aired on August 8, 2016.

Another highlight was this past Monday. We had Kristen Lamb on the air August 22, 2016. Kristen is the top resource for author branding in the digital age. She is the #1 Bestselling author of We Are Not Alone–The Writer’s Guide to Social Media and Are You There Blog? It’s Me, Writer. Her latest book Rise of the Machines–Human Author’s in a Digital World is an outstanding resource for any writer, emerging or bestselling. The publishing world is changing, and in order for our books to be seen in the vast ocean of e-books, we need to adapt with it. How will we stand out? How do we connect with our readers? And how do we maintain a long-term fan base? Kristen’s book explains it all! I also recommend following Kristen Lamb’s Blog weekly for writing tips and social media advice.  You can pick up a copy of Rise of the Machines on Amazon, and I recommend you do so. Until I can figure out how to share the podcast on my blog, here is a YouTube Video just for fun:

Clearly, I’m a fan.

Mr. Matthew Bayan has joined us on the Book Hound numerous times and he is a hoot. Matt is the author of the #1 bestseller Eat Fat, Be Healthy–When a Low-fat Diet Can Kill You and an editor. Matt is president of High Sierra Writers, a writing group located in Reno, Nevada and meets every Tuesday night at 7 p.m. at the Reno Barnes and Noble located at 5555 South Virginia Street, inside the store at the Cafe. He has many years writing experience. We always learn something new when Matt is on the show! You can check out his blog here. And of course I would be remiss if I didn’t share one of his videos, this one is on character graphing. Hmmm…don’t know what that is? Watch the video:

This is what happens when I don’t blog for awhile–blog overload! So, this is a biggie, please bookmark and come back to it when you have the time. I get it, we are all busy, but I couldn’t hold back my enthusiasm for our great guests. Please tune-in to the Book Hound on Mondays.

Here are the specifics for the Book Hound: we air every Monday, 4-5 PST on 101.3 Renegade Radio, and 99.1 Talk Fox News Radio. If you can please join us and spread the word where to find us:

Streaming on http://amm.streamon.fm and KCKQ 1180 AM, a Lotus Station
Questions and comments: www.facebook.com/LRPBookHound
Tunein radio: Search America Matters Media
Text: 775.237.2266
Call in: 844.790.8255

If you’ve  missed the live show, you can pick up a podcast at americamatters.us. Go to podcasts and find Book Hound Show. If you are an author with a published book to share please let us know, maybe you will be our next guest! Contact Janice at janiceh at lrpnv dot com, or me, April, on my Facebook page.

 

 

Guest Post: Storytelling, and Editing, is About Intent

Manuscript THE ALTERED I

Today I have the honor of sharing a guest post from Krystal Pyatt, one of the editors of Pypeline Editing. When people find out that I wrote and book and it was published the response I often hear is how they, too, would love to write something. That is terrific, I say in reply. But, often these starry eyed dreamers have little idea of what the writing process is all about and how crucial having a clear goal is to a finished, and polished work. Critical too, is the editing process. Few realize what effort goes into making that writing project sparkle and glow off the page. Here to give a glimpse into what objectives you, as the writer, should take into consideration when mapping our your story is Krystal.

 

Storytelling, and Editing, is About Intent

 

Writing is a magical thing. It is the activity where you place on paper ideas, stories and lessons. It is the ultimate way to share knowledge with others and even generations. To read it is to be entranced, immersed, captivated. If you do not believe in the magic of books, then you may not have found the right ones yet.

That being said, I can think of a few books that have failed to become anything magical. Perhaps it was the writer, the concept or even the editing—or maybe it was a combination of all of the above. Anyone reading this blog may have a few stories in mind as well that did not meet expectations.

The good news, intent can impact everything. Tweet That!

Writing is the process to dump all of your ideas and place the contents in your head to that of your story. However, having intent, having a purpose, can greatly impact the success of any book.

Free writing is important; some of the most creative ideas can come from free writing. However, having a clear intent, a clear message, a clear purpose when writing, can make sure the story moves in a particular direction. This can make it so the story is cohesive to the point of excellence. The reader will lack nothing in terms of the story and, in fact, the reader will be treated like an ally rather than an opponent. They will be in on the secrets of your world, they will be privy to foreshadowing even the characters do not know and the readers will then stay along for the ride, even if it is a torturous one for the beloved characters.

Intent extends to editing as well. In fact, this is when intent shines. It is valuable for each and every author to then ask themselves important questions while editing.

  • From the writing stage, what is the overall purpose of the story?
  • Does the chapter apply to that larger goal?
  • Does the character apply to that larger goal?
  • Does the event apply to that larger goal?
  • Is there anything missing the reader would not know?
  • Are you going in chronological order or is the timeline intentional at least?
  • Does the ending serve its purpose?
  • Is there too much going on?
  • Is everything clear and concise?
  • Are the words strong enough to convey the necessary emotions?

At the end of the day, the story should be a pleasure to read, not painful. The way to accomplish this it ensure, through the editing process, that every word, every punctuation mark and every page contribute to that purpose. Editing helps you cut out the excess content, albeit painful at times.

So, decide your intent and set sail. Create the masterpiece readers will find magical.

 

Author: Krystal Pyatt from Pypeline Editing

Pypeline Editing is a local editing firm in Reno, Nevada. Two editors work on every book. That’s two sets of eyes to ensure grammar problems and typos are completely eradicated. With copyediting, Pypeline Editing also offers professional insights in order to make each book ready for publishing using developmental suggestions.

 

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April Voytko Kempler is the author of The Altered I, a  memoir about Joseph Kempler’s Holocaust experiences. Joseph was sent to six different concentration camps throughout Poland and Austria between the ages of 14-17. His story can be found on Amazon and Google Play books. 

Altered I Sample-April Kempler

Book Club Night with the Girls!

Valerie's Book Club

Valerie’s Book Club

If you are following my Facebook page or Twitter posts…er tweets, then you already know that Joe and I were invited to a local book club. They had graciously selected THE ALTERED I as one of their reads for this year and invited us to discuss it with them. First of all WOW! That was a huge gift in itself, what many an author dreams of, really. Of course I know the real star of the show is Joe. People love him. But, I got some nice praise as well.

Valerie was the perfect book club hostess. She introduced us to the group and expressed why she wanted The Altered I to be on the schedule for the year. She had met us last year when she called the publisher, LeRue Press directly to order more copies of the book as gifts for friends and family members. She had initially been given the book on loan, but wanted her own copy after reading it. The publisher (LeRue Press) mentioned that Joe and I could come in and meet with her and sign the books. We had a great time with her and she even brought a friend along.

Joe with April and Valerie at private book signing

Imagine my surprise when I got an email from LeRue Press saying that The Altered I was selected by Valerie’s book club and could we (me and Joe) be available to join the club to discuss parts of it? Of course!! My honor!

The ladies of this club are wonderful, intuitive, insightful, kind, and generous. We discussed the line-up for the year. Next month everyone is reading The Martian. This one is on my own TBR pile. Some of the ladies won’t see the movie until after they’ve read the book–I did see the movie, but didn’t give away any spoilers–I’m good that way. Everyone brings a dish, no one knows who is bringing what, but it is usually varied. I tasted a variety of healthy salads, my favorite little meatballs, which I don’t prepare anymore since my husband is now gluten-free, and some other main dish fare that was equally delicious. They joked that one time they all had brought salads, twelve of them, but all twelve were different, so it was fun. I learned a lot from this group–especially when planning my own book club–sharing, laughing and eating are all important factors.

The group of twelve members, was formed over eleven years ago, and has met continuously to discuss the next great read. Each submits a book they want to read for the year. My husband, Paul, asked them which was the first book they had read as a club and I was surprised (and delighted) to hear it was Outlander, by Diana Gabaldon. Since that first book they learned a lot, like not choosing a book over 800 pages long! I confided that as one of my favorite authors she had inspired me to want to write.

After some small talk everyone felt comfortable enough with each other to discuss Joe’s memoir The Altered I.

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My heart was warmed each time there was a section from the book mentioned and the group collectively would recite parts from the text. I felt  joy sitting there listening to them tell Joe’s story. I really can’t describe it accurately, but, they knew him and his experiences from what they had read and it felt dear to me.

I was really happy that Joe was comfortable enough to express himself and tell his own story. Sometimes it just isn’t possible. But, with the love and respect directed toward him, he felt he was able to open up and tell his side. There were some unexpected emotions having Joe present. It’s one thing to read about someone’s tragic life story, and then quite another to have this person sitting at your dining room table! One of my friends said that the book club was in for a treat, but in actuality it was the other way around. I felt that this was a fine gift and it was privilege to be among them. These ladies spent their valuable time and money and invested it in a book I wrote. I couldn’t ask for anything more.

If interested in The Altered I Sample Pages

The Altered I is available in print and Kindle format from Amazon. In Kindle format at Amazon UK, as an e-book from Google Play books, and as a print book at BookBind.net

In Reno, NV as a print book: Sundance Books and Music, Grassroots Books, Buy Local (4001 S Virginia St, Reno, NV 89502 775-224-2242), and LeRue Press (775-356-1004).

In Carson City, NV as a print book, A to Zen Thrift and Gift , and Dog-Eared Books

 

 

Joe and I Meet Winston Churchill’s Secret Agent Max Ciampoli

Joe sitting with Max and Linda Ciampoli. Photo courtesy of Linda Ciampoli

Joe sitting with Max and Linda Ciampoli. Photo courtesy of Linda Ciampoli

Joe and I had the unique experience of meeting Mr. Ciampoli and his author wife Linda at a recent book signing event celebrating the sixth printing of their fantastic book at a local Reno bookstore Sundance Books and Music.

April, Linda and Max Ciampoli Churchill's Secret Agent

But really my first encounter with the Ciampoli’s begins a couple years prior to this fun event. As a member of the Historic Reno Preservation Society I had a chance meeting with my co-tour guide Anne Simone at a local Trader Joe’s parking lot. As we were standing there a petite, attractive woman who also knew Anne joined our conversation. I really can’t remember how it all transpired, but regardless Anne introduced us and Linda handed me her business card featuring the book cover of CHURCHILL’S SECRET AGENT. I recognized it at once because I had recently purchased it! I was excited to meet a local author who actually had a publishing agent and a book contract with one of the Big Five Publisher’s. I pocketed the card and went on my way.

Now fast forward to December 13, 2015 and Joe and I are invited to the book signing event! I found a couple of interviews on YouTube of the Ciampoli’s. You might want to check them out. Running time approximately 12 minutes each.

Linda Ciampoli sent me a couple of photos marking the event.

 

Part One

 

Part Two

The Web site: Churchill’s Secret Agent

CHURCHILL’S SECRET AGENT is available:

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

IndieBound

Thanks for checking out this blog and sharing with me a highlight of our year.

 

If interested in Joseph Kempler’s memoir…

Joe’s memoir THE ALTERED I MEMOIR OF JOSEPH KEMPLER HOLOCAUST SURVIVOR is available from: 

Sundance Bookstore

Grassroots Books

Amazon paperback and Kindle

Amazon UK

Google Play books

Old Tales of Nevada with April Kempler Episode 212

Joseph Kempler family photo.

Joseph Kempler family photo.

I’m really excited and pleased to share the interview I did with John O’ Brien host of Old Tales of Nevada, a local television show. I was actually filling in a late notice cancellation, but hey, I’m not too proud! It was a real honor and a treat. I enjoyed it, and was thrilled by the prospect of sharing Joe’s story through this medium. It was my very first television interview, and I hope not my last.

Primarily, the interview had to do with Joe’s memoir THE ALTERED I, MEMOIR OF JOSEPH KEMPLER HOLOCAUST SURVIVOR. Joe was a young boy when WWII broke out in his home city of Krakow, Poland. He and his family had to pack up leave town when he was 13 years old, and by the time he was 14 he was working in a forced labor camp in Rakowice, Poland. He spent the next three years in six different concentration camps, Plaszow and Mauthausen being the most famous. Plaszow was known from the movie Schindler’s List, which parallels Joe’s personal experiences for a time.

Joe’s story isn’t an easy one to hear or tell about, but I’m grateful people want to hear it and have supported me by purchasing the book, liking my Facebook page, and leaving reviews for The Altered I.

I thought I’d share the interview here with you. I welcome your comments, or any additional questions you might have.

 

The Altered I is available in paperback and e-book on Amazon, Google Play Books, and directly from the publisher Lerue Press at 775-849-3814.

You Are Telling an Important Story

Joseph Kempler and his older sister Dziunka (Judy) Laub

Joseph Kempler and his older sister Dziunka (Judy) Laub

Last night I received the sweetest email from a reader of THE ALTERED I: MEMOIR OF JOSEPH KEMPLER, HOLOCAUST SURVIVOR, and I wanted to share it. I might add that Deb, the writer of the email, is also compiling her father’s memoirs into a book. Reading Deb’s words touched me to the heart. I feel sad that her father had to walk a similar path and endure all the horrible things Joseph did in order to survive, but I feel connected in some way by the shared memories of a father who went through the Holocaust.

To ensure the information Joseph gave me was reliable and accurate I researched diligently, giving all I could to the task. I had to dig deep, so it is always reassuring, and validating when I get feedback saying exactly that! It isn’t that I wrote such an important story, it’s important information that must be related accurately. To speak the truth  is a heavy responsibility for any writer of history, but to track down the facts is equally important for such a topic as the Holocaust. I never want room for doubt that the Holocaust didn’t happen.

I hear often, and honestly it’s too often, how some young people today are being taught by their parents that the Holocaust is a myth, a legend, a fabrication. I struggle to understand this belief. So each time a young person has an opportunity to learn the truth, that is a victory. I encourage young people to read more memoirs of survivors. Not only of Holocaust survivors but read the memoirs of people who saved others who weren’t Jewish and could have been killed. Read the memoirs of soldiers who were there and witnessed it all. There are countless books written by people who were in the concentration camps, not only as prisoners-of-war, but as people who worked for the Nazis and who saw, and sometimes took part, in the atrocities taking place. Also, there were many others imprisoned in the concentration camps who weren’t Jewish but suffered alongside for their crimes against the state. Reading from various viewpoints and backgrounds will give a fuller understanding of that time and hopefully will substantiate that the Holocaust was real.

I realize this is getting more rare, but when a Holocaust survivor visits a  school a student should view this as an opportunity to ask their questions and get answers from the source.

Joseph and I have some upcoming Holocaust presentation events where people, old and young alike, can meet him personally, (shake his hand!) speak to him and feel connected to that particular time in history. Yes, it’s a hard history, which none of us likes, and would rather didn’t happen, but it’s important to keep it fresh in our minds because it truly wasn’t that long ago.

As time progresses and these survivors and soldiers who fought for their liberation die, so does the intensity of that event.

My words seem inadequate so I will let the letter explain everything.

 

(edited)

Dear April

I am reading the book you wrote about your father in law. This is unbelievable, the dates and journey your father in law took was the same as my dad.  My dad was in ghetto in Boryslaw then forced labor then Plashow to Mathausen (dates match up with my father’s transport) to Melk, eventually to Ebensee where he was liberated. My dad met a soldier years later who liberated Ebensee.

In 2007 to the date of his liberation I found his brother’s children. My dad believed his brother was killed in war. When his area was annexed to Russia his brother was drafted. The last my dad heard before he went to Plashow that his brother was severely wounded. After the war he contacted Russian military and there was no record of his brother. Can you believe the Russians changed the spelling of his first name by one letter and because of that he could not be found.

My dad is going to be 90. He still plays tennis goes to gym a few times per week.

You are telling a very important story.  I am humbled by your dad’s experiences. Your book is unique in so far as your father in law acknowledged what he had to do to survive. People don’t talk about that. Very painful.

How is he doing?

I will finish his book probably tomorrow.

Excellent job

Warm Regards,
Deb

 

As always you can find your copy of THE ALTERED I: MEMOIR OF JOSEPH KEMPLER, HOLOCAUST SURVIVOR at Amazon.com in paperback and Kindle, Google Play Books, LeRue Press 775-356-1004, and announcing The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum store.