Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Father's Day Book Giveaway!

GIVEAWAY IS OVER. Winners are being notified. Thank you for entering! 

* * * 

A Well-Respected Man is celebrating FATHER'S DAY. And you can, too. 

We are giving away the novel by award-winning author David W. Berner through his blog -- where you are right now -- in an online raffle. Five gifted KINDLE Editions and THREE print editions (softcover) are up for grabs. This means EIGHT WINNERS selected randomly. FREE to enter. Deadline: June 18, 2018, 11:59pm.

Reviews: "Absorbing.” - Midwest Review of Books
                 "Masterful." - The Jack Kerouac Project
                 "Thought-provoking." - The Hemingway Foundation 

Here's how to enter.

In the email listed below, enter your FULL NAME, FULL ADDRESS, and the EMAIL where you would like the KINDLE EDITION sent electronically if you win. Print winners will have their copies mailed to the address given.


Send all giveaway entries to this email address:

Winners will be chosen randomly and will be notified June 19, 2018 by email. Entries received after 11:59PM June 18, 2018 will be deemed ineligible. Decisions are final.

Good luck! And happy Father's Day!


A WELL-RESPECTED MAN: A novel  (Strategic Publishing, Release: 4/5/18)

Chicago Professor Martin Gregory is the author of a critically acclaimed novel of love and longing, a cult favorite among women. The book brings him unexpected status and prestige, but also unwelcome fame.
A love affair with one of his students derails his career and breaks his heart. Coming to terms with a life knocked off balance, Martin retreats to a quiet English village, only to be confronted at his flat by a mystery woman with an unexpected message and an implausible request, one that could alter his life forever.
A cross-country train trip, a visit to his father's grave, and a re-examination of a deep loss will eventually reveal either Martin's greatest character or unearth his most heartbreaking flaw.
A Well-Respected Man is about the hard choices we make to find fulfillment, and the search to discover meaning in both the life we choose and the one thrust upon us.
"Thought-provoking ... a story of how love never goes away." - Nancy W. Sindelar, Ernest Hemingway Foundation of Oak Park, Illinois
"Award-winning author David W. Berner intertwines complex timelines in effortless fashion while creating characters of great depth. Typical of Berner's work, the reader is left to contemplate life's toughest decisions. A Well-Respected Man is a must read!" - Geralyn Hessalu Magrady, author of Lines
David W. Berner is the recipient of the Chicago Writers Association Award, the Royal Dragonfly Book Award, and has been short-listed for the Eric Hoffer Grand Prize. He has been honored as the writer-in-residence at the Ernest Hemingway Birthplace Home in Oak Park, Illinois, and at the Jack Kerouac Project in Orlando, Florida.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

When the Light Shines: Hemingway Shorts

Writing is communal, despite what they say about it being a lonely art. Yes, you can keep a personal journal and you can write in a secret diary, and these can be wonderful things. But being a writer is about getting your work read. Putting your work out there to share with the world. This is what art is about, the communal emotions born from the human condition. Painters need eyes. Writers need readers.

So, when the Hemingway Foundation of Oak Park called for submissions to its annual Hemingway Shorts publication, that is what we had in mind. Writers sharing. And that's what we got. Some 200 submissions were taken. And at the end of a long, tedious, sometimes difficult process, eleven pieces were chosen for publication. One, and only one, was the winner, a beautiful story by Veryan Williams-Wynn entitled The Empty Chair. Veryan is from Devon, England and she signifies the great reach of our submissions. 

She, like so many others, shared the work. And we thank you for the courage, for it certainly takes courage to offer your work to the world, shining a light on wonderful stories. 


The Hemingway Shorts, Volume 3 is available HERE.

Those who were chosen for publication are listed below:

Runner-Up: Everything That’s Something Must Come From Chicago by Jennifer Sears 

Finalists: (in no particular order)

Bairro Portugues by Sharon Willdin 

Last To Leave by Lisa Ferranti 
The Most Wonderful Time of the Year by Genevieve K. Waller
The Crossing Guard by Floyd Sullivan T
The Canalways of Kerala by David Alan Peizer 
Analisa’s Letter by Dottie Sines 
Intention by Melanie Haney 
Bomb Threat by Gregory Joseph Imhoff 
Chardonnay by Rob Vogt

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Review: The Vines We Planted

I always thought it would be fun to pair wine with a great work of literature— a robust cabernet when reading Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises, a peppery tempranillo with Don Quixote, or a buttery chardonnay with Madame Bovary. Certainly one should be sipping on a pinot noir when gulping through the pages of the hit novel Sideways, the book about of two friends who head out for one last trip to wine country before one of them marries. 

I consider this again after reading the new novel The Vines We Planted by Joanell Serra, a complex family saga touching on a number of themes—loss, redemption, forgiveness, marriage, immigration, love, adoption, mystery, and yes, wine. Plenty of wine. Like an old vine wine, the story has deep roots, taking place in California’s wine country where generations have tended to a family vineyard. But where family also means complicated realities, secrets, heartbreak, and courage to face tough truths about mysterious relationships.

Along with wine, there are also horses. And I don’t say this flippantly. Some of the most beautiful passages in this story center around the Macon family’s young widower, Uriel and his love of horses, the peace and comfort he receives from caring for them. In the first pages of the book, Serra writes, Uriel understood how to coax an angry stallion back to his stall, when to let a horse run hard, and when to rein it in. He knew never to turn his back on a horse or put himself in the path of its temper.” These words come to define much more than the character’s relationship with horses.

Serra weaves a number of storylines into a larger narrative about how we face our challenges and learn to overcome them. Sometimes taking in all the themes makes for a dense read, but when is family not complicated? The layers of any family run long and deep. The Vines We Planted captures that reality. 

So, what wine should one be drinking when reading The Vines We Planted?


The wine has an array of flavor profiles—grapefruit, raspberry, peach, to name a few. And the range of colors includes mango, cantaloupe, and melon, among others. The assortment of possibilities with rosé is like the scope of storylines in The Vines We Planted—complex, but highly drinkable, a book, like the wine, that one can savor.  
THE VINES WE PLANTED, by Joanell Serra
WiDo Publishing (May 8, 2018)