Wednesday, February 8, 2023

Spotlight of Tell Me One Thing by Kerri Schlottman


January 31, 2023 
Regal House Publishing


"[A] dynamic, character-driven debut... Schlottman acutely nails the misty, gold-hued atmosphere of the 1980s, and deeply explores themes of class and privilege...This thought-provoking work will put readers on the lookout for what the author does next." --Publishers Weekly (link to review).   

Booklist calls it: "Vivid."   

The book has been blurbed by prominent writers including Chelsea Bieker, Rachel Lyon, Matthew Specktor, Jakob Guanzon. 

Chelsea Bieker (author of Godshot and Heartbroke) writes: “A devastating and rich exploration of trauma, art-making, love and the unmistakable hauntedness of what we cannot control, yet long to. I want everyone to read this book.”  

Jakob Guanzon (author of ABUNDANCE, longlisted for the National Book Award) writes: “Tell Me One Thing will both compel and confront readers with questions that only the finest of novels can posit.” 

“Kerri Schlottman has delivered us the richest of reading experiences. I read Tell Me One Thing voraciously with equal parts intrigue and admiration, thinking how did she pull this off? Slinking expertly between time and location and point of view—the contrasts here are bright and nuanced, honest and vulnerable, jagged yet tender. This is a novel of great heart, examining the lines we draw as we become who we are. A devastating and rich exploration of trauma, art-making, love and the unmistakable hauntedness of what we cannot control, yet long to. I want everyone to read this book.”–Chelsea Bieker, author of Godshot and Heartbroke

“With a clear, empathic gaze, and with a sharp, startling intelligence, Kerri Schlottman's Tell Me One Thing traces two paths--that of artist, and that of subject--through the cruel disparities of the Reagan eighties and beyond. The result is a book that asks enduring questions about what art is for and what we, all of us, owe one another. Tell Me One Thing is phenomenal.”–Matthew Specktor, author of Always Crashing in the Same Car

“At once the expansive story of two women navigating two disparate, intersecting lives, and a thoughtful meditation on the transtemporal power of photography, Kerri Schlottman's TELL ME ONE 
THING is that rare book: an art world novel with heart.”–Rachel Lyon, author of Self-Portrait with Boy

“In TELL ME ONE THING, two women's stories begin in an instant—with a shutter click. Divergent yet inextricable, the paths and aspirations of a photographer and her young subject leap and shatter through the passage of four decades and at the mercy of American dearth, all of which Schlottman relays with understated grit and unflinching humanity. As we follow the photographer through seedy 1980s New York to today's commercially sterilized iteration, Schlottman proceeds to vivify a Polaraid snapped in a Pennsylvania trailer park, infusing viscerality and tragedy into a portrait that would have otherwise hung static on a collector's wall. By reframing an object to be admired as a child to be protected, TELL ME ONE THING 
will both compel and confront readers with questions that only the finest of novels can posit.”–Jakob Guanzon, author of ABUNDANCE, longlisted for the National Book Award

“Fans of The Vanishing Half will love this novel written in alternating points-of-view: each one a perspective rooted in a starkly contrasting experience and yet one that echoes the longings of the other. Reading this was a much-needed exercise in empathy, one tempered by clear, endearing prose. In the parallel universes of two unforgettable characters, Schlottman renders on the page a simple and beautiful expression of our shared humanity. In TELL ME ONE THING, we see the private struggles of a famed photographer making it in the wild days of New York City and how her seminal work exposes and yet neglects the harsh truth of one of her subjects. My heart broke and rooted for both characters, and long after I’ve turned the last page, I am still thinking of them.”–Cinelle Barnes, author of Monsoon Mansion: A Memoir and Malaya: Essays on Freedom

“I loved the way Tell Me One Thing follows two women trying to find their ways in the world — Quinn, the starving artist whose work rescues her from grinding poverty, and Lulu, a subject of Quinn’s photography, whose own ways of working only mire her further into destitution and desperation. Kerri Schlottman’s vivid writing skillfully recreates 1980s New York City and rural Pennsylvania; we’re invited to witness both the heady art-world scene of the era and the foundations being set for the opioid epidemic. It’s such a smart and well-crafted novel, bursting with life. I couldn’t put it down.”–Amy Shearn, award-winning author of Unseen City and other novels

“An intimate look at the way art transforms the lives of both artist and subject, and not always for the better. In crisp, descriptive prose, Kerri Schlottman draws a portrait of both rural Pennsylvania and a transforming New York City, as she—and her characters—probe the murky line between inspiration and exploitation.”–Wil Medearis, author of Restoration Heights

“Stunning and vivid... Two women cross paths almost by accident, and the story follows each of their efforts to overcome the hard lives they’re living. These characters are so realistic, we start rooting for them moments after meeting them....For all of their hard times, this book is full of unexpected moments of fulfillment, surprising flashes of grace.”
–Stephen P. Kiernan, author of Universe of Two and The Baker's Secret



Outside a Pennsylvania motel, nine-year-old Lulu smokes a cigarette while sitting on the lap of a trucker. 

Recent art grad Quinn is passing through town and captures it. The photograph, later titled “Lulu & the Trucker,” launches Quinn’s career, escalating her from a starving artist to a renowned photographer. 

In a parallel life, Lulu struggles to survive a volatile home, growing up too quickly in an environment wrought with drug abuse and her mother’s prostitution.

Decades later, when Quinn has a retrospective at the Whitney Museum of Art and “Lulu & the Trucker” has sold at auction for a record-breaking amount, Lulu is surprised to find the troubling image of her young self in the newspaper. 

She attends an artist talk for the exhibition with one question in mind for Quinn: Why didn’t you help me all those years ago?

While writing, Kerri Schlottman—who has a background in art and writes from a place of authenticity—was inspired by Mary Ellen Mark’s famous 1990 photograph, “Amanda and Her Cousin Amy,” which depicts nine-year-old Amanda smoking a cigarette in a kiddie pool in rural North Carolina. 

Upon Mark's death in 2015, NPR interviewed Amanda and asked her why she allowed herself to be photographed. 

Her reply was: “I thought, ‘Hey, people will see me, I'll get attention, it will perhaps change things for me.’ I thought it might be a way to get out, but that was not the case.”

Weaving back and forth between Lulu's and Quinn's perspectives, TELL ME ONE
THING explores life-shaping moments in each of their stories—doubt, love, pain, and ambition—and unknowingly links one to another through a fierce determination to better their circumstances.

Brimming with characters that won't soon leave you, TELL ME ONE THING captures a portrait of two Americas by an exciting up-and-coming writer to watch.


Kerri Schlottma's novel Tell Me One Thing is forthcoming from Regal House Publishing on January 31, 2023. 
Her writing has recently been featured in The Dillydoun Review, Belle Ombre, and Women Writers. 
Her work has been honored with the Dillydoun International Fiction Prize (second place), Dzanc Books Prize for Fiction (longlisted), and the 2021 University of New Orleans Press Lab Prize (semifinalist).

Kerri is a native Detroiter who has worked in the arts in New York City in various capacities since 2005, most recently at Creative Capital where she helped to fund new projects by artists, performers, filmmakers, and writers, including Maggie Nelson, Paul Beatty, and Dana Spiotta.


Tuesday, February 7, 2023

Code Name Sapphire by Pam Jenoff

Hannah escaped once, but was returned to Europe because no one would take Europeans fleeing the continent. 

She called on her cousin Lily to help her because no one was allowed back into Europe without someone to vouch for them.

Hannah and Lily were close as children, and it was easy to stay with her until Hannah again became desperate to get out of Europe.

Trying to get herself out of Europe for the second time, Hannah joined an underground network called The Sapphire Line that said they would help her.

A mistake on her part caused her cousin and her family to be arrested, sent to a work camp, and then on a train to Auschwitz.

It was all Hannah's fault and she HAD to save her cousin, but how.

Ms. Jenoff has given us another marvelous, heartbreaking, well-researched read based on a true event (the train rescue) that keeps the tension high as we follow Hannah, Lily, and Micheline as they navigate the way of life taking risks in similar but different ways and through the horrors they had to endure.

Ms. Jenoff keeps you close to and empathizing with the characters through everything and suffering along with them.

Another Pam Jenoff masterpiece.

Don't miss this one!!  5/5

This book was given to me by the author for an honest review.





Pam Jenoff is the author of several books of historical fiction, including the New York Times bestsellers The Lost Girls of Paris and The Orphan's Tale.  


She holds a bachelor’s degree in international affairs from George Washington University and a master’s degree in history from Cambridge, and she received her Juris Doctor from the University of Pennsylvania. 


Jenoff’s novels are inspired by her experiences working at the Pentagon and also as a diplomat for the State Department handling Holocaust issues in Poland. 


She lives with her husband and three children near Philadelphia, where, in addition to writing, she teaches law school.













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Monday, February 6, 2023

Spotlight of Dead Heat To Destiny by J. B. Rivard




Award-winning author pens riveting, cinematic WWI novel.


Author J.B. Rivard delivers his best book yet.


In Rivard’s latest–and most daring–novel to date, “Dead Heat to Destiny” (February 7, 2023), the lives and loves of three people are imperiled during the cataclysm of the First World War. 
An adventurous historical novel with both romance and espionage, “Dead Heat” weaves a  stunning tapestry of events.
A new fast-paced World War I novel that offers the perfect blend of romance and espionage, J.B. Rivard’s “Dead Heat to Destiny,” spans 1903-1917. 
This cinematic page-turner follows a beautiful French artist, a spirited American pilot, and a determined German officer as their lives–and loves–tangle in an explosive fight for survival, drawing them together–and towards a spy who is secretly working to tip the balance of the First World War.
February 7, 2023
Books Fluent
 Historical Fiction, Adventure


Korean War Veteran Pens Epic New Cinematic WWI Novel" Veterans Today 

5-Star Review: "...a masterful tale that balances the suspense and intrigue of an international wartime spy thriller with the sensitivity of a deeply emotional drama" Readers' Favorite 

"A tour de force"
 - Reader Views




Destined for success in the booming world of high fashion, young Adrienne Boch deflects the romantic pursuit of Will Marra, an American student in Paris. 


Her cousin, Gregor Steiner, completes his training as an officer in the Imperial German Navy. 


They, like the entire world, are unprepared when World War I begins. As the invading German army threatens Paris, Gregor advances to captain a U-boat, Will becomes a pilot in the U.S. Army, and Adrienne’s family flees an overrun Belgium. 


In Central America, a spy is recruited to defeat the United States. At the climax—during which love hangs in the balance—they meet in a thrilling and emotionally riveting clash.

Spanning 1903-1917, this cinematic novel transports the reader to a variety of stunning locales. 


With his dedication to historical accuracy and his immersive writing style, Rivard offers readers a front row seat to the early twentieth century’s most compelling events.


An Interview with

J.B. Rivard

  1. What inspired you to write “Dead Heat to Destiny”?


Researching the early life of aviator Nick Mamer for my nonfiction book “Low on Gas – High on Sky” confirmed Nick’s service in the Army’s 7th Aero squadron in 1917-18. Although an enlisted man without formal flight training, Nick amassed more than four hours piloting a rickety Curtiss biplane in observation and training flights over the Panama Canal. This introduced me to the United States’ preparations for entering World War I in 1917.

  1. What was the research process like for this book?


Although much research on the US Army’s fledgling Aviation Section had been done, much more was needed to support the four main characters of the novel. This research included the German invasion of Belgium and France in 1914, details of the booming fashion industry in Paris 1910-1917, the buildup of the German Imperial Navy and its advances in U-boat design, the operation of Etappendienst, the German spy agency, the pursuit of Pancho Villa by General Pershing’s Army in 1916, and much, much more. It was in-depth and exhausting, but also rewarding by increasing my ability to convey the realities of these experiences.

  1. Something that’s quite unique about “Dead Heat to Destiny” is how cinematic it is. It’s quite the page-turner! How did you accomplish this?


Writing my earlier crime novels taught me a lot about pace. As an admirer of Elmore Leonard’s novels, I often refer to his suggestions in The New York Times article (2001) “Easy on the Adverbs, Exclamation Points and Especially Hooptedoodle.” Sol Stein’s 1995 book Stein on Writing says modern readers, rather than being ‘told,’ are attuned by movies and TV to ‘seeing’ stories cinematically. He cautions modern writers to avoid static description and backstory in favor of immersing the reader directly into scenes. I often plunge the reader into a scene in which the action is underway—this seems to speed up pace.

  1. You served in the military for 4 years. Did you draw on your experiences while writing “Dead Heat to Destiny”?


Yes, but probably not how you might think. What I learned is that military aviation is a serious business—a wrong move has consequences. But for writing about war, battles and such, my participation in a number of nuclear blasts over the Pacific Ocean in 1962 probably contributes.

  1. What do you hope readers will take away from this book?


Adults of the 21st century are well-aware how unpleasant war is for participants—civilian as well as military. But war’s brutalities also force participants to face and endure realities that illuminate their character and the sometimes impossible choices they face. My story suggests how the war of a century ago impacted friend and foe—for both good and evil. I hope readers find the story enjoyable!



J.B. RIVARD believes words can create pictures. His readers agree; one said, “I was right in the biplane cockpit with Nick,” referring to pilot Nick Mamer, the 1929 record-setting aviator in Rivard’s nonfiction book “Low on Gas – High on Sky.” 


A writer of historically accurate fiction and nonfiction, J.B. knows readers want the past to blaze up and enthrall them. 

Now a prolific writer with dozens of novels completed, J.B. Rivard wasn’t always an author. 


A veteran of the Korean War and a specialist in nuclear reactor technology, Rivard balanced his career in engineering with a love for the arts. 


A visual artist turned novelist, Rivard’s creative work has received widespread acclaim in recent years.


His commitment to compelling and convincing writing derives from four years in the military as well as his technical career on the staff of a U.S. National Laboratory. 


A graduate of the University of Florida, he attended the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts, and is an award-winning artist and author. His latest novel is  “Dead Heat to Destiny,” in which the lives and loves of three people are imperiled during the cataclysm of World War One. 


To learn more about J.B.’s life and work, visit