First up Songwriter/Author, Layng Martine, Jr. Big News!
27TH ANNUAL SELF-PUBLISHED BOOK AWARDS
Layng Martine Jr.
on being awarded
Life Stories Category
Your 27th Annual Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Awards submission commentary.
Entry Title: PERMISSION TO FLY A Memoir of Love, Crushing Loss, and Triumph
Author: Layng Martine Jr.
Judge Number: 37
Entry Category: Life Stories
This author understands how to pull you into a story emotionally. Permission to Fly is a love story to his mother, his wife and to his own career and he makes you care about each one very deeply.
The structure and pacing of this book are perfect and it’s obvious that this author was a successful songwriter because he has a great way of tugging at the reader’s/listener’s heartstrings…
I thoroughly enjoyed it. Fantastic job.
Next up Author, Johnnie Bernhard! Congratulations!
How We Came to Be was published in 2018 by Texas Review Press/Texas A&M University Press. It was a bonus read for 2019 Pulpwood Queen Book Clubs. Since its publication, it has received the following awards: shortlisted for Fiction of the Year by the MS Institute of Arts and Letters, Finalist in the Faulkner-Wisdom International Literary Competition, named a “must read” by Southern Writers Magazine, a selected summer read for Deep South Magazine, and a recipient of the Summerall Book Prize, HM of Lamar University. It was a featured novel in a panel discussion at the Mississippi Book Festival, Louisiana Book Festival, WriteSpace Event at Rice University, and represented by the publisher at the Texas Book Festival. Most recently, my first novel, A Good Girl was made part of the permanent collection of the Texas Library System, Texas Center for the Book, in Austin.
I am grateful for your support of the novel as a consideration for book of the year. I must be honest as I feel it pales in comparison to Lisa Wingate’s Before We Were Yours, simply because her novel gave a clear, national voice to the children and parents hurt by the orphanage. This novel will resonate for years in bringing justice and peace to those affected. My silent vote has been cast.
My third novel, Sisters of the Undertow, also published by Texas Review Press/Texas A&M University Press debuts in Texas at the AWP 2020 Conference in San Antonio on March 5 at 1:45 p.m. at the panel discussion, “Family, Race, and Freedom in the Old and New South.” I am fortunate to be sharing that panel space with Jeffrey Blount and Rebecca Dwight Buff. Susan Cushman is the moderator. I am also in conversation with Texas Public Radio and the San Antonio Library system regarding additional events. It will be a featured novel at the Texas Book Festival 2020 per the publisher. The novel debuts nationally February 24, 2020.
Southern Writers Magazine’s January/February 2020 issue is doing an article on the book and the editing process with the publisher. Deep South Magazine has made it part of its winter reading list. At this date, the publisher is waiting for reviews from Publisher’s Weekly and the Library Journal. There has been a conversation with the publisher about entering the book into the National Book Award competition. We are hopeful!
Some of the advanced reviews the publisher has received at this date for Sisters of the Undertow are:
With both humor and depth, Johnnie Bernhard probes beneath the superficialities of life in Sisters of the Undertow, revealing an unexpected hero. I read it in one sitting and thoroughly enjoyed it. Bernhard has some stuff! –Adair Margo, Member, National Council on the Humanities and First Lady of El Paso, Texas
Johnnie Bernhard pierces the soul of sisterhood, revealing the poignant paradox that familial love does not always come naturally, but it always comes. Sisters of the Undertow is a heart-wrenching yet triumphant story about conquering your fate and learning to play the cards you were dealt. –Galveston Monthly
Johnnie Bernhard has an unusual gift of creating characters in Sisters of the Undertow who have such depth of personality which evolve in their lifetimes, it’s as if it weren’t a novel but a memoir. It’s an amazingly captivating novel by an award-winning author; as you read it, you’ll know the reasons. –Margaret Barno,The Daily News of Galveston, Texas’ oldest newspaper.
Johnnie Bernhard has Anne Tyler’s knack for creating quirky, endearing characters with modest ambitions and big, beating hearts. -Sharon Oard Warner, Author and Emerita Professor of English at the University of New Mexico
More information can be found on my website, www.
Kathy L. Murphy
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