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  • Tammy Pasterick


GREATER PITTSBURGH FESTIVAL OF BOOKS


The spring season is a popular time for book festivals, and this year, the city of Pittsburgh is hosting its very first one! The Greater Pittsburgh Festival of Books (GPFB) will be held this Saturday, May 14th at various locations around Pittsburgh. If you've never heard of this festival, check out the description from the event's website below.


"The Greater Pittsburgh Festival of Books (GPFB) showcases Pittsburgh’s historic, vital role on the national and international literary stage. Readers, writers, booksellers, publishers, critics, educators, and neighbors will connect with, learn from, and support each other. With free, diverse programming featuring nationally recognized authors (many living in Western Pennsylvania), and across age, genre, and background, the Festival will celebrate the joys of literacy."


I will discuss my novel, Beneath the Veil of Smoke and Ash, and share what it was like to be an immigrant in Western Pennsylvania at the turn of the twentieth century. I'll also share how my research into my family's history took me on a wild adventure and turned me into an author. If you love local history and have an interest in genealogy, you'll definitely want to attend this event. Feel free to stick around after the talk to meet me and buy a signed copy of my book.


My talk will be held at 3:30 pm at Duolingo at 125 S. Beatty Street, Pittsburgh. Mary Jane Kuffner Hirt, author of The Mount Washington Transit Tunnel Disaster, will be discussing her book as well. For a complete list of the festival's events, please visit the GPFB website at https://www.pittsburghbookfestival.org.



AWARDS


In my last post in March, I promised an update on the awards my book has received. Beneath the Veil of Smoke and Ash did exceptionally well in the prestigious Eric Hoffer Book Awards. If you've never heard of Eric Hoffer or the awards honoring this great American philosopher, keep reading. The following is from the organizaiton's website:


"The Eric Hoffer Book Award honors the memory of the great American philosopher Eric Hoffer by highlighting salient writing, as well as the independent spirit of small publishers. Since its inception, the Hoffer has become one of the largest international book awards for small, academic, and independent presses."


In a competition against thousands of independently published books, Beneath the Veil of Smoke and Ash received the following distinctions:


Grand Prize Finalist

First Horizon Award Finalist (award given to debut authors)

Montaigne Medal Finalist (award given to the most thought-provoking books)

Honorable Mention in Historical Fiction






My book also received a Silver Medal from the 2022 IPPY Awards for Best Regional Fiction - Mid-Atlantic.




Beneath the Veil of Smoke and Ash is a finalist for the Goethe Award given by the Chanticleer International Book Awards. Winners will be announced in June. My book was also a finalist in the ScreenCraft Cinematic Book Competition. ScreenCraft is currently pitching my book to film agents.

REVIEWS


I now have 124 reviews on my Amazon page. If you've read my book and haven't yet left a review, I would be so very grateful if you would do it now. I'd love to get to 150 reviews by the end of the week! Leaving a review on Amazon and Goodreads is the highest compliment you can pay an author, especially since reviews have become the most important factor in getting authors exposure in the highly competitive world of book publishing. And don’t worry … your review can be as short as one sentence. No book reports necessary!



FINAL THOUGHTS


I'm absolutely thrilled with the wonderful reviews and awards my book has received in the past several months, and there are still a few competitions that have not yet announced their winners. Keep your fingers crossed for me! I hope to see some of you at the Pittsburgh Festival of Books. I have a fascinating and fun presentation planned for you. Until then, here's a glimpse of where I've been spending a lot of time this spring.






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  • Tammy Pasterick

"Here comes the sun, And I say, It's all right." —The Beatles


So it begins. The laundry room floor is cluttered with dusty baseball pants, smelly soccer socks, and flannel shirts covered in dirt. My kids are constantly tracking mud all over my front porch with their cleats, my husband is digging in the garden and ordering seeds, and my favorite chocolate dog will soon be shedding like a Christmas tree. Spring is in the air, and chaos has returned to my once peaceful home. It's messy, hectic, and exhausting, but oh-so magical!


It's been several months since I posted any news or updates about my book, so I'll dive right in. I have exciting news about a giveaway no book lover could possibly resist as well as details about upcoming events and awards my book has received.



INTERNATIONAL WOMEN'S DAY GIVEAWAy



To celebrate International Women’s Day, I’ve teamed up with ten amazing female indie authors to give away ten award-winning novels featuring strong female characters. They range in genre from historical fiction to thriller to women’s fiction and will definitely keep you reading late into the night. Each book will be hand-signed and personalized by the author and will include surprise goodies. One lucky winner will win them all!


Please visit one of the following pages to enter by March 15th:

My Facebook author page: https://www.facebook.com/authortammypasterick

My Instagram page: @authortammypasterick.



GREATER PITTSBURGH FESTIVAL OF BOOKS


The Greater Pittsburgh Festival of Books (GPFB) will be held on Saturday, May 14, 2022 at various locations around Pittsburgh. If you've never heard of this festival, check out the description from the event's website below.


"The Greater Pittsburgh Festival of Books (GPFB) showcases Pittsburgh’s historic, vital role on the national and international literary stage. Readers, writers, booksellers, publishers, critics, educators, and neighbors will connect with, learn from, and support each other. With free, diverse programming featuring nationally recognized authors (many living in Western Pennsylvania), and across age, genre, and background, the Festival will celebrate the joys of literacy."


I will be discussing my novel, Beneath the Veil of Smoke and Ash, with Mary Jane Kuffner Hirt, author of The Mount Washington Transit Tunnel Disaster. If you love local history and have an interest in genealogy, you'll definitely want to attend our event. We'll be discussing how our family research projects took us on a wild adventure and turned us both into authors! The time and location of this talk have yet to be announced, but I will post an update in the coming weeks. Feel free to visit the GPFB website at https://www.pittsburghbookfestival.org to learn about the festival's other events.



AWARDS


My book is currently in the running for several awards, and the final results of these contests won't be announced until later this spring. But I am absolutely overjoyed about being a finalist for The Montaigne Medal, which is a special distinction given by the judges of the Eric Hoffer Book Award. If you've never heard of Eric Hoffer or the awards honoring this great American philosopher, keep reading. The following is from the organizaiton's website:


"Each year, the Eric Hoffer Award presents the Montaigne Medal to the most thought-provoking books. These are books that either illuminate, progress, or redirect thought. The Montaigne Medal is given in honor of the great French philosopher Michel de Montaigne, who influenced people such as William Shakespeare, René Descartes, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Friedrich Nietzsche, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, and Eric Hoffer. This is an additional distinction beneath the Eric Hoffer Award umbrella."


I highly doubt that I will win this award, as I am competing against seasoned journalists and academics. But as a historian and longtime advocate for the labor movement and mental health awareness, there is no greater honor than knowing my book is considered "thought-provoking" by literary experts. I always wanted to shed light on the sacrifices of Pennsylvania's immigrants and teach people about a period in American history that is often overlooked. Being a finalist for this prestigious award is an incredible honor and validates all my hard work.


Beneath the Veil of Smoke and Ash is also short-listed for the Goethe Award given by the Chanticleer International Book Awards and is a semi-finalist in the ScreenCraft Cinematic Book Competition. Awards season kicks into full gear later this spring, so I should have plenty of updates in April and May.



REVIEWS


I now have 98 reviews on my Amazon page. If you've read my book and haven't yet left a review, I would be so very grateful if you would do it now. I'd love to get to 100 reviews by the end of the week! Leaving a review on Amazon and Goodreads is the highest compliment you can pay an author, especially since reviews have become the most important factor in getting authors exposure in the highly competitive world of book publishing. And don’t worry … your review can be as short as one sentence. No book reports necessary!



HAPPY SPRING!


Whether you have active kids like I do, an obsession with gardening, or just want to get outside with your dog for a dose of fresh air, I wish you happiness and health this spring. As much as I love winter, I take great pleasure in sitting on my patio with the sun on my face and a cool spring breeze at my back—especially if my husband has made me one of his signature margaritas. Everything feels so fresh and new at this time of year, so get outside and have some fun!


Here's a throwback to Spring 2015 when my son, a fourth grader at the time, needed a lot of base coaching from dad.


My little soccer star in action that same spring. She had just turned seven.



 

A native of Western Pennsylvania, Tammy Pasterick began her career as an investigator with the National Labor Relations Board and later worked as a paralegal and German teacher. Her debut novel, Beneath the Veil of Smoke and Ash, is available now.

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  • Tammy Pasterick

"Silently like thoughts that come and go, the snowflakes fall, each one a gem."

—William Hamilton Gibson



The snow is falling softly, the fire is crackling, and I've got a book in one hand and a glass of red wine in the other. I'm wearing my red flannel pajamas, a microwaveable neck wrap, and thick wool socks covered with moose. Winter has come, and I couldn't be happier! This is my favorite time of year for so many reasons. As much as I love the holidays, it is such a relief when January arrives, and my schedule slows down dramatically. It's a time to be still, savor the quiet, and think about what I'd like to accomplish in the coming year. I go into a hibernation of sorts, preferring to spend my free time snuggled under the covers with a good book or in front of the TV with a seventy-pound Labrador on my lap.


The winter months have always been my time to rest and recharge, but I need these tranquil months more than ever now that my kids are teenagers. Their school and sports schedules are demanding, and it's no small feat getting them where they need to go. Our calendar is always crammed with too many commitments—especially in the fall and spring—but thankfully, January and February are relatively calm. Consequently, my mind is less cluttered, the muscles in my neck and shoulders are more relaxed, and I feel very peaceful. It makes me wonder why the rest of the year has to be so insanely busy. Although I'm sure I'll miss my crazy schedule when my kids go off to college and wish I had a soccer or baseball game to go to.


Winter evokes many different thoughts and emotions in people. For some, it triggers pleasant childhood memories of sled riding, skiing, ice skating, and snowball fights. Others will think of the warm, hearty meals like chicken pot pie and beef stroganoff that their mother or grandmother used to make. Some will remember the many afternoons by the fire drinking hot chocolate and doing puzzles with a loved one. For me, winter evokes all of these images. But my very favorite wintertime memories are of skiing down a mountain with my kids, giggling whenever one of us crashed into a snowbank, and eating chocolate covered waffles afterward. Winter is simply magical. It's a time when the air is crisper, the sky is bluer, the night stars shine brighter, and the world looks a little softer and kinder with all that fluffy, white snow.


I realize that most people don't love winter as much as I do. My husband is the only other person I know who fantasizes about retiring in the Rocky Mountains and having only moose and grizzly bears as neighbors. Some people just can't stand the cold. But that doesn't mean you can't experience the beauty of a snowstorm or the brutal cold of a Russian wind. All you have to do is pick up a book to indulge your senses in the sights and sounds of winter. Luckily, I have four fantastic recommendations that will soon have you traversing a blizzard, outrunning an avalanche, racing through a snowy forest on horseback, and riding a sleigh through the icy streets of Moscow. And you won't even have to leave your spot by the fire!



Mesmerizing from the first page to the last, Kristin Hannah's Winter Garden is one woman’s sweeping, heartbreaking story of love, loss, and redemption. At once an epic love story set in World War II Russia and an intimate portrait of contemporary mothers and daughters poised at the crossroads of their lives, it explores the heartbreak of war, the cost of survival and the ultimate triumph of the human spirit. It is a novel that will haunt the reader long after the last page is turned.


1941. Leningrad, a once magical city besieged by war, cut off from aid, buried in snow. A city full of women desperate to save their children and themselves…


2000. Loss and old age have taken a terrible toll on Anya Whitson. At last, she will reach out to her estranged daughters. In a halting, uncertain voice, she begins to weave a fable about a beautiful Russian girl who lived in Leningrad a lifetime ago…


Nina and Meredith sit spellbound at their mother’s bedside, listening to a story that spans more than sixty years and moves from the terrors of war-torn Leningrad under siege to modern-day Alaska.


In a quest to uncover the truth behind the story, Nina and Meredith discover a secret so shocking, so impossible to believe, it shakes the foundation of their family and changes who they believe they are.




Six teens, one dog, a ski trip gone wrong . . .


Sam is dreading senior ski weekend and having to watch after her brother and his best friend, Gavin, to make sure they don’t do anything stupid. Again. Gavin may be gorgeous, but he and Sam have never gotten along. Now they’re crammed into an SUV with three other classmates and Gavin’s dog, heading on a road trip that can’t go by fast enough.


Then their SUV crashes into a snowbank, and Sam and her friends find themselves stranded in the mountains with cell phone coverage long gone and temperatures dropping. When the group gets sick of waiting for rescue, they venture outside to find help—only to have a wilderness accident leave Sam’s brother with a smashed leg and, soon, a raging fever. While the hours turn to days, Sam’s brother gets sicker and sicker, and their food and supplies dwindle until there isn’t enough for everyone. As the winter elements begin to claim members of the group one by one, Sam vows to keep her brother alive.


No matter what.


Filled with twists, secrets, and life-changing moments, Ski Weekend is a snow-packed survival thriller featuring a diverse cast of teens that will appeal to fans of One of Us is Lying and I Am Still Alive.




Winter lasts most of the year at the edge of the Russian wilderness, and in the long nights, Vasilisa and her siblings love to gather by the fire to listen to their nurse’s fairy tales. Above all, Vasya loves the story of Frost, the blue-eyed winter demon. Wise Russians fear him, for he claims unwary souls, and they honor the spirits that protect their homes from evil.


Then Vasya’s widowed father brings home a new wife from Moscow. Fiercely devout, Vasya’s stepmother forbids her family from honoring their household spirits, but Vasya fears what this may bring. And indeed, misfortune begins to stalk the village.


But Vasya’s stepmother only grows harsher, determined to remake the village to her liking and to groom her rebellious stepdaughter for marriage or a convent. As the village’s defenses weaken and evil from the forest creeps nearer, Vasilisa must call upon dangerous gifts she has long concealed—to protect her family from a threat sprung to life from her nurse’s most frightening tales.




First published in Italy in 1957 amid international controversy, Doctor Zhivago is the story of the life and loves of a poet/physician during the turmoil of the Russian Revolution. Taking his family from Moscow to what he hopes will be shelter in the Ural Mountains, Zhivago finds himself instead embroiled in the battle between the Whites and the Reds. Set against this backdrop of cruelty and strife is Zhivago's love for the tender and beautiful Lara, the very embodiment of the pain and chaos of those cataclysmic times. Pevear and Volokhonsky masterfully restore the spirit of Pasternak's original—his style, rhythms, voicings, and tone—in this beautiful translation of a classic of world literature.



 

A native of Western Pennsylvania, Tammy Pasterick grew up in a family of steelworkers, coal miners, and Eastern European immigrants. Her debut novel, Beneath the Veil of Smoke and Ash, was released by She Writes Press in September 2021. Visit www.tammypasterick.com to learn more.




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