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April’s Not Only For Fools Author Extravaganza

Author P. C. Zick ~ Contemporary Fiction (family saga and women’s literature)

Glad to have you here today, P.C. Zick, Take ‘Er away!

I’m so glad you stopped to read my guest blog. Thanks go to Ginelda for hosting me today.

Even though I’m going to start with my birth fifty-eight years ago in Michigan as Patricia Ann Camburn, I won’t make you suffer through the loneliness of my childhood and the angst of my teenage years. I married for the first time in 1980 and changed my name to Patricia Camburn Behnke. We moved to Florida soon after, where we raised our daughter Anna. She now lives in St. Augustine and at thirty-one, she’s one of my very favorite people in the whole world. Her father and I divorced in 2006, and I suddenly found myself single and fifty years old, even though I still thought of myself as a young woman. Dating did nothing for me except give me tons of stories to tell. Some of them will make their way into my novels, I’m sure. But the next phase of my life brought an old love from Michigan back into my life. Robert and I reconnected on the Internet, although when I write our story at some future date I plan to make our reconnection story much more exciting and less common. We married in 2010, and I relocated to Pennsylvania. His job paid better than mine and moving here has allowed me to pursue my career as a writer of fiction full time. During the past year, I’ve been on a very steep learning curve, but I’ve managed to publish two books, both as eBooks and in paperback.

I’ve always known I was a writer deep down, but I didn’t admit it until I decided to leave my career as a high school English teacher. I lost my passion for teaching and was scared I would become one of those old, mean teachers who hate their job. I thought about what else I did well, and I kept coming back to writing. I’d dabbled with a novel; I liked writing Letters to the Editor; I was known as the “writing teacher” among my peers. Probably the biggest motivator was the praise I always received when I wrote something and published it.

I wrote an essay about my mother’s hands after she died in 1998. I read it at my writer’s group, and they said, “Get that published.” I took it to the editor of the local paper and asked if they wanted a column. They did. So many people told me my piece helped them heal after the death of a parent that this thing called writing hooked me. During the next summer break, I pulled out the novel that had been languishing for ten years in a file cabinet drawer, and I finished the darn thing. I sent it to ten publishers and the tenth one – a small publisher – picked it up. The local paper started hiring me to do freelance, and that’s when I decided it was time to give up teaching and go into writing.

My husband is very proud of me. He’s an engineer so the literary world is unfamiliar to him, but he loves what I do, and he supports my quest to see what I can do as an author of fiction despite my lack of income at this point. My daughter Anna is an artist – she paints – and she was my earliest cheerleader for leaving teaching and pursuing what I love. She’s one of my trusted beta readers because she’s honest and interested in seeing that I put out my very best work.

When I began working on my fiction full time last year, I pulled a finished manuscript out of a drawer and decided it was time to do something with the novel, Live from the Road. I found a professional editor and a cover artist and put the book out on Kindle in May 2012. I turned it into a paperback on CreateSpace shortly after. As I learned about the new revolution in writing and publishing, I was working on another novel, Trails in the Sand, which I published in January 2013. The books are different in tone and subject, but both deal with critical issues faced by most folks. The characters all learn to open up their hearts, which makes it much easier to heal the wounds of the past.

I wrote Live from the Road after a trip I took with a girlfriend and our grown daughters in 2007. I’ve always loved road trip books such as On the Road by Jack Kerouac and Travels with Charley by John Steinbeck. I’ve always loved to travel. My girlfriend and I hatched the idea of taking a trip down Route 66 all the way from Chicago to L.A. Our daughters, both in their twenties, asked to join us. We had some wild and crazy times. I began writing as soon as I came home. Even though there are four women (mothers and daughters) who travel together in the book, I just took little sparks from the trip and blew them up as big as the fiberglass giants on the road. I enjoyed writing the book almost as much as taking the trip. Route 66 is a road that writes itself.

Trails in the Sand is a little more serious because I use real life disasters as the backdrop for the characters. During the real-life drama of BP’s Deepwater Horizon oil spill, I served as a public relations director for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. I handled the media for the sea turtle nest relocation project that took place during the summer of 2010. At the same time, I was in the process of moving to Pittsburgh and doing my job either from the road or from my home in western Pennsylvania. Two weeks prior to the oil spill, twenty-nine miners were killed in a coal mine explosion in West Virginia, just a few hours from where we lived. It all fell into place to write about the oil spill, the coal mine tragedy, and a family facing disaster. Trails in the Sand explores the efforts to restore and redemn what has been damaged.

Blurb about Live from the Road:

Live from the Road takes the reader on an often humorous, yet harrowing, journey as Meg Newton and Sally Sutton seek a change in the mundane routine of their lives. Joined by their daughters, they set off on a journey of salvation enhanced by bookcover 01the glories of the Mother Road.

Along the way, they are joined by a Chicago bluesman, a Pakistani liquor storeowner from
Illinois, a Marine from Missouri, a gun-toting momma from Oklahoma, and a motel clerk from New Mexico.

Death, divorce, and deception help to reveal the inner journey taking place under the blazing desert sun as a Route 66 motel owner reads the Bhagavad-Gita and an eagle provides the sign they’ve all been seeking.

Enlightenment comes tiptoeing in at dawn in a Tucumcari laundromat, while singing karaoke at a bar in Gallup, New Mexico, and during dinner at the Roadkill Cafe in Seligman, Arizona.

The trip isn’t always easy as laughter turns to tears and back again. However, the four women’s lives will never be the same after the road leads them to their hearts – the true destination for these road warriors.

Blurb about Trails in the Sand:

When environmental writer Caroline Carlisle sets off to report on endangered sea turtles during the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, the last thing she expects is to bookcover 02uncover secrets – secrets that threaten to destroy her family, unless she can heal the hurts from a lifetime of lies. To make matters worse, Caroline’s love for her late sister’s husband, Simon, creates an uproar in a southern family already set on a collision course with its past.

Using real-life events as the backdrop, Trails in the Sand explores the fight to restore balance and peace, in nature and in a family, as both spiral toward disaster. Through it all, the ancient sea turtle serves a reminder that life moves forward despite the best efforts to destroy it. I would like readers to come away from reading Trails in the Sand knowing that it is never too late to restore peace or find love.

Excerpts:

You’ll find excerpts from both novels on my website – http://pczick.com/page1.php

Giveaway:

I’m giving away a Kindle eBook of both Live from the Road and Trails in the Sand by drawing names of folks who leave a comment on this post, by noon on Friday, April 12. Please include your email address so I can gift you a copy, if your name is one of two I draw. Please be sure to stop by my blogs: Living Lightly or Writing Whims.

Buy Links:

Amazon Author Central (gives you access to all my books, both paperback and Ebook versions)
Smashwords (Trails in the Sand only):
Barnes and Noble (Trails in the Sand only)

Contact:

Website
Living Lightly blog
Writing Whims blog
Facebook
Twitter

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