Tuesday, November 17, 2009

RRW Live Read Excerpt

I'm finally posting the excerpt I had planned to read on RRW Live October 29, before yet another sinus infection and laryngitis turned me into a croaking, coughing frog.

This excerpt is from Chapter 3: Demon Alcohol and the Return of the Monstermen. In this interlude, Leysa Henko is skulking along the seedy streets of Tallenook's alcoholic section, making her "bread deliveries," when she comes to the house of notorious drunk and child abuser Ned Tinshire.

Readers have told me this part of the book brings a tear to their eye. Leysa is so helpless on the streets, even though she is surrounded by children and others enjoying the summer.

Read on:

"As Leysa approached the door, her knees went to jelly, her mouth tightened and dried, and she felt a stinging in her eyes as her increasing sweat made its way down to her forehead. She found herself walking slower as she approached the front door of the Tinshire residence, a miserable heap of faded reddish-brown brick that seemed to lean to the right and had numerous vertical cracks in the front door and even a few spider cracks on the windows. She quietly knocked on the door, hoping against hope that he wasn’t at home. But he was.

“Whooo ish it!” Tinshire bellowed in a bombast that seemed to shake the bricks and aggrieve the fading door of his downtrodden house. None of the kids playing on Carmichael Street even looked up at the sound of Tinshire’s blasting voice. They only knew him as the drunk of the neighborhood; beyond that, Ned Tinshire was a ghost.

Leysa had heard that stilted dialect before and was terrified. She knew what it meant. It meant a disheveled, unshaven pig-man with half his teeth missing, smelling of B.O., with an undershirt barely covering his protruding hairy gut, in his underwear and socks was about to stagger to the door, and yell a second time before opening. It meant Monsterman. She was right on all counts.

“I shaid, whooo ish it! Ansher me na er go the hell away!”

“M-M-Mr. Tinshire…” she lost her breath for a few seconds, unable to speak out of terror. He interrupted.

“Yeah, thash me, who the hell’re you?” Still, the door remained closed.

“It’s Leysa H-H-Henko, I have your b-b-b-bread for this week.” Bread was the codename they gave the vodka.
Silence on the other side of the door. Leysa hoped he would just pass out on the other side of the door so she could run away, run far, far away from this wicked place. She wanted her mommy.

Tinshire had forgotten that they called the vodka “bread” and while Leysa kneaded her hands, setting the brown bag down on the stoop temporarily, Ned Tinshire paused for a few seconds to wonder if he had actually ordered bread. “Bread?” Then he remembered. “Oh, oh, bread, yeah, bread. Ah, my bread!”

The door opened and there stood Ned Tinshire, a former captain of and ace pitcher for the Tallenook High baseball team, wooer and kisser of WHS’ finest beauties. His formerly blue eyes had long ago gone gray from too much hard living and booze, and his fat, swollen tongue appeared to hang perpetually from his nearly toothless mouth; he seemed to be constantly smacking his lips as if he was thirsty. He propped himself up, leaning against the doorframe for support, wobbling a bit, threatening to fall over if even a stiff breeze blew past him.

“’Bout damn time!” he yelled, grabbing for the bottle on the stoop, and nearly losing his balance and falling down the steps on top of Leysa. Again, no reaction from the kids of summer; their minds were as much on vacation as their bodies.

Leysa grabbed for it, too, to hand it to him, and the two bumped heads, hard.

“Damn stupid kid!” he yelled, rubbing his head and nearly tripping over the child; he steadied himself and raised his hand as if to strike Leysa. Then he remembered his vodka and thought better of it.

“Ah, come on, move already! Christ! Just give me the damn bottle and ged adda here!” He grabbed the bag off the stoop and was back inside and about to close the door before Leysa even got up from the collision; she was dizzy from the hit, her head was throbbing and she thought she might cry. (It’s amazing how quickly a broken-down human being like Ned Tinshire – already a decrepit old man at 48 – can move when his drug of choice is within arm’s reach.)

Leysa fought back the tears and stared up at Tinshire just as he was starting to close the door. She still had to collect, and there was no time for crying now. “But Mr. Tinshire, please, you owe us $2.05 for this week’s delivery, and you still owe us for the last two weeks. My father said” ---

The fear radiated out of her in waves. Ned picked up the scent of her angst like a crazed Doberman, and went for the throat with his retort.

“I’ll pay whenna feel lige payin’, now go away!” he slurred, his eyes fixed on the bottle, his tongue smacking his lips, while his hands fumbled for the door. With that, Ned Tinshire slammed the door in Leysa’s face and her tears finally gave way, turning the beautiful summer day into a watery, confusing maze of prisms and vague images of girls in pimlico dresses and boys in black shoes and short knickers, playing the day away with their hulahoops and baseball games, without a care in the world. Or any knowledge that a frightened 8-year-old immigrant girl stood crying and shaking on Ned Tinshire’s front stoop. To them, Leysa Henko was a ghost, too."

Friday, October 2, 2009

A New Review! Wow!

Just picked up this review from flipkart.com. I'm constantly amazed at the ways in which this book is helping people understand and overcome this disease, not to mention being an enjoyable read. Read on:

An Amazing First Novel from Kenneth James Kirsch

Review by Dr. Michael Hinson

I picked up this novel after hearing Mr. Kirsch's appearance on Blog Talk Radio last year, and was blown away by its honesty, its no-holds-barred look at alcoholism, and its unflinching sympathy and focus on the true victims of the disease -- the children and loved ones impacted by the alcoholic. Too much of today's attention on alcoholism is focused on the alcoholic themselves, and not enough is paid to the folks at home who have to constantly pick up the pieces.

Leysa Henko is an unforgettable character, and the reader will find themselves crying with her and rooting for her. The backdrop of Prohibition makes this story all the more stark in its contrasts to modern life, and the setting of the coal regions of Pennsylvania helps put the entire story in a very gritty, humanistic light.

Leysa Henko is not the sexy, joking, debutante alcoholic in the mold of today's forgettable chick lit. She's a survivor of alcoholic parenting herself -- a working class, scrappy fighter who is slowly succumbing to the travesty of her disease.

Pick up Demon Alcohol and the Monstermen today. You won't regret it. It's a great read, and one you won't soon forget.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

The Promotional Tour Rolls On!

Last week, I told you about a great recovery-minded writers, Marian L. Thomas, and her wonderful new book, Color Me Jazzmyne.

This week, the promotional tour for Demon Alcohol and the Monstermen makes a stop at the premier free book promotion and information site, Authors Promoting Authors. Check out the promo blurb here: http://authorspromotingauthors.blogspot.com/2009/08/great-authors-great-reads.html

After you've checked out that blurb, pencil in these two dates/timeframes on your calendar:

Sept. 2009 (date undetermined) interview by Book Critic and Author D. Vonthaer. More details as (and if) I get them.

October 29, 2009: Online reading of Demon Alcohol and the Monstermen on Red River Writers Christmas Exchange show on blogtalkradio. More details as I get them.

As with all great tours, the dates are subject to change. I mean, I could pull a Steven Tyler and fall off the stage after a dizzy spell.....(lol)....http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-uXRTWuk3XM

Monday, August 24, 2009

Another Strong Recovery-Minded Author: Check out Color Me Jazzmyne by Marian L. Thomas

Hey Readers,

Just wanted to take a second to pass along a book that's getting great reviews. Authors Promoting Authors, a tremendous free promotional service for authors, recommends Color Me Jazzmyne by Marian L. Thomas.

Check out APA's Book Blitz promotion for this highly-rated author:


Now, on to the story:

Book Description for Color Me Jazzmyne by Marian L. Thomas:

Child abuse, rape, struggling to live are all things women go through at least once in their lifetime. In this tale, Naya Mona takes readers on a journey through her crayon box of life, and shows us what her true colors are as she recounts her past to her son whom she is meeting for the first time. How do you tell your son that your father is his? The spiral of events that fill Naya's life provides each reader an intimate look at the drama, romance and struggles that become her voice. On stage, she must become Jazzmyne-the jazz singer. Naya no doubt commands the attention of its readers and takes them on a rollercoaster ride that is filled with the melodious tones that makes Color Me Jazzmyne a true reading pleasure.


Sunday, August 23, 2009

Promotion Tour Rolls On

I'm potentially up for two upcoming interview shows in the near future:

Sept. 2009 (date undetermined) interview by Book Critic and Author D. Vonthaer. More details as (and if) I get them.

October 29, 2009: Online reading of Demon Alcohol and the Monstermen on Red River Writers Christmas Exchange show on blogtalkradio. More details as I get them.

Take care,

Kenneth James Kirsch

September is National Alcoholism Awareness Month

Just a quick note to acknowledge National Alcoholism Awareness Month in September.

This disease is insidious and it needs to be stopped.

If you or someone you know, or a loved one, are affected by this disease, please get help.

Alcoholics Anonymous, Al-Anon, Alateen, and other affiliated groups are ready to help you or your loved one on the road to recovery.

Reach out today.

If you are interested in reading a fictional account of what this disease does to families, check out my book, Demon Alcohol and the Monstermen. It can be purchased for $8.99 from PublishAmerica at www.publishamerica.com.

Thanks for reading and God Bless.

Kenneth James Kirsch

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Demon Alcohol and the Monstermen Promotion Tour Kicks Off August 5, 2009

To mark the first anniversary of Demon Alcohol and the Monstermen, I'm going to be a guest on Red River Writers Live Blog Talk Radio show, August 5, 3pm EST.


Here are the details:

=================At RRW Live Specials=================

Wednesday, Aug 5th, 2 pm Central, April Robins hosts Tell Us About You

April and Co-Host Laurie Zieber will take questions from listeners directed to the following FaceBook Group members scheduled to give a two minute elevator speech about their work: Barbara Ehrentreu, Rita Schiano, Stephanie Osborn, Christine Duncan, John Wayne Cargile, Naomi Giroux, Kenneth James Kirsch, Barry Eva, James Priest, Rosey Dow, Kathleen Heady, and Jd Glasscock.

A varied genre of Authors, Writers, and Illustrators.

At the end of the show, Guests will answer questions from the Chatroom and callers in a teleconference setting.

To submit a question for me to be asked on the show, contact:

Laurie Zieber http://www.lauriezieber.com/Home.html OR

April Robins http://www.robinfalls.com/


To attend and participate in April's Show at RRW Live Special:

Dial the Call-in Number: (347) 637-1731(OR)

Log onto http://www.blogtalkradio.com/ then search for Red River Writers Live.

Click on the current show and you can leave a written comment at the Chatroom.(OR)

Listen to the live or archived show online by going direct to http://www.blogtalkradio.com/RRW-Specials

Odd, acknowledging and celebrating the first anniversary of a frank, no-holds-barred look at a dreadful disease such as alcoholism. Those of you who've read it, and reviewers, have told me the book was "poetic," "intense" and "sobering."

Thanks again for all the kind comments and reviews.

If you want to read the reviews, go to Amazon.com or BN.com.

See ya in the (online) bookstore,

Kenneth James Kirsch

A 'Sober' First Anniversary for Demon Alcohol and the Monstermen: A Sale, and an Appearance...

Big Doings!

As of Aug. 11, Demon Alcohol and the Monstermen turns 1!

The book is now on sale for $8.99.

I'm kicking off a new round of promotion as well.

FIRST, some details on the sale and promotion. (I'll post on the anniversary issue separately. It's quite a story and you'll want to take a breather before reading it, believe me.)

SALE DETAILS: My publisher (PublishAmerica, or, PrintAmerica as I [ahem] affectionately call them), has issued Demon Alcohol and the Monstermen for $8.99 as of July 2009.

The original $27.95 sale price was absurd to begin with. Further, their method of accounting for sales through the UK, where the dollar has taken a beating as of late, left me with little more than change for coffee when my first, uh, "royalty check" arrived.

Oh well, live and learn I suppose. Iconic TV mom Carol Brady once opined: "Poorer or wiser, which is more important?" Hmmm, I'll get back to you all on that one....

However, whether it's the summer heat, the anemic sales to date, or some other reason, you the reader benefit. Simply go to http://www.publishamerica.com/, search either by my name, or the title, and order the book, and you will get the reduced price.

For some reason, the online bookstores still have it at full price.

Details on the promo tour next....


Kenneth James Kirsch

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Have You Seen Me Lately?

Well, February's come and gone and nary an entry from me.

There's been no news on the Demon front this month to report, that is, until now...

It's Sequel Time: Inspiration can strike a writer anywhere. The idea for a sequel to Demon Alcohol and the Monstermen hit me while I was on the R6 Septa line commuting to work in Philadelphia one day last week. I scratched out a few ideas, wrote a few opening paragraphs, and now I'm off to the races.

The working title is The Ballad of JJ Henko. James Joseph Henko is the son of Demon protagonist Leysa Henko. The next generation of Henkos takes Leysa's addictions and abusive personality to an extreme. If you read Demon you may have gotten the idea that the insidious disease of alcoholism can be overcome as easily as a happy ending can be written into a book. Not true in real life, my friends. At least not in JJ Henko's case.

On the publishing front: lessons learned -- this time around, no PublishAmerica. While I appreciate them taking a flyer on this returning writer, their non-existent editorial department left my manuscript with more than a few embarrassing grammatical scars. And the royalties.... uh, anybody seen my royalties?

A New Round of Promotion: After a serious case of the Winter Blahs, I'm revving up the old promotion engine again for Demon. I'm hoping to get a publisher or agent interested in the sequel early in the drafting process.

I'll be appearing on the monthly chat schedule of The Red River Writers. You can find them on Facebook. They do chat sessions with authors and I'm going to be appearing in March. Stay tuned. I will provide details as they become available.

That's all for now. Come on Spring!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Excerpt II from Demon Alcohol and the Monstermen

Nothing like giving away the ole' store for free, eh? This excerpt is from Chapter 4, A Deep Sleep, and is one of the pivotal scenes of the story. Leysa Henko ponders death and its permanence at her mother's funeral and suffers a terrible injustice at the hand of the evil "Sauced Sisters of Tallenook. "

From Chapter 4: A Deep Sleep

Leysa didn’t move throughout the viewing service. She sat straight upright in he chair – like a lady, as her mom had taught her – and remained absolutely silent as she kept her eyes trained on the casket and Ionna’s face. She brought her copy of “Flowers of the Field” with her and held in tightly against her chest. She felt as if she even opened her mouth, she might throw up her entire breakfast; she was afraid to move. The room had a sickening sweet smell of too many flowers and too much perfume, and it made Leysa nauseous.

Mrs. Strengen sat next to her on her left with Devak, Jr., and Maryska – also feeling nauseous but for a different reason – sat on her right in the first pew, next to Devak. Will Lankev and Havik Kestine sat behind Devak.

Alecia Rusmen and Abigail Tangotch sat directly behind Leysa. Alecia leaned up to Leysa, which made Leysa jump and momentarily snapped her out of her trance-like state, and caused her to gasp. Alecia, trying to console her, near-whispered in her ear: “Leysa, dear, your mother is not dead. She is only sleeping.” Abigail heard Alecia’s comments and chimed in: “That’s right, dear. She’s having the most peaceful sleep she’s ever had.”

At this, the gullible Leysa – when it came to love for her mother anyway – suddenly saw hope. Her eyes got like saucers and she spun around to address the two apartment building busybodies, who were half-lit themselves and had no business trying to console anyone, least of all a child who has just lost her mother.

“If she’s only sleeping, when is she going to wake up?” Leysa replied, looking back and forth at their faces, searching for an answer and actually almost smiling a bit. She was just about ready to elbow Maryska and tell her the good news – their mother wasn’t dead after all, she was just sleeping! – when she saw Alecia and Abigail withdraw in shock. The Sauced Sisters of the Wrong Side of Tallenook hadn’t expected that kind of response.

Alecia and Abigail sat silently, desperately searching for a response, when Father Patrick Carnes of St. Jerome’s appeared at the front of the altar and started the service. Alecia told Leysa: “Hush now, child. Father is about to begin the service. Turn around now.”

“Oh,” Leysa replied in a hushed voice, confused and more hurt than ever, and turned back around to face Father Carnes. She started to cry; Maryska reached her arm around her and Leysa leaned against her big sister’s shoulder, her head partially turned toward the back of the church. She stole a few short, inquisitive looks back at Alecia and Abigail throughout the service, but the Sauced Sisters made sure not to make eye contact with her. They ignored Leysa for the next 45 minutes. Leysa gave up trying to talk to them and instead concentrated again on Ionna.
“Her chest isn’t moving,” she thought silently to herself. “How can she be asleep if her chest isn’t moving? She isn’t even breathing. Maybe she’s holding her breath. Can people hold their breath as long as they want when they’re sleeping?” And with that, Leysa tried to hold her own breath for as long as she could. When Maryska saw what she was doing, she poked Leysa in her side, and Leysa let go of her breath in a loud whoosh that made Devak turn and give her a disapproving look.

After the service, Leysa and Maryska went to view Ionna with Devak, with their friends and well-wishers in tow. Maryska went first, and Leysa stayed extra close to her, seemingly just inching her way up.

As Leysa approached the casket, tears started to well up in her eyes, and she knew right then and there that Ionna was not sleeping. She was not waking up. She was dead, her mommy was dead. Dead and gone. Gone to God and belonging to the angels in Heaven. She let go of Maryska’s hand, which she was holding with her left hand, and was vaguely aware of a tingling feeling in her right hand – like electric fingers trying to wrap themselves around her own fingers – and felt the hair on the right side of the back of her neck stand on end. But she was so caught up in the moment that she shut out the outside world; she barely noticed the tingling, or the chilled feeling on the right side of her body.

She took a small, folded-and-crumpled painting she had done in the studio from the small purse she carried with her. “I painted this for you, momma” she whispered, and lay it in the casket. The painting was of two white, winged, dark-haired angels, hand-in-hand, one seemingly directing the other one upward, through a rainbow toward a bright yellow sun. Off in the bottom left-hand corner in the green grass of their front yard was a stick figure of a little girl with blue drops coming from her eyes and forming a puddle on the ground.

“Bye-bye momma,” she whispered. “Be good for God. I’ll be good for Daddy and Mrs. Strengen. I’m not mad at you for lying about the Monstermen in America. I’m not mad at you at all.” With that, she felt faint and took Maryska’s hand before Maryska got too far away from the casket. She walked away holding Maryska’s hand with her left, and rubbing her right hand against her dress, trying to warm it back up and not giving a second thought as to how to do it – and the rest of the right side of her body – had gotten so chilled.

Alecia and Abigail were among the first to leave after the processional. Leysa gave them the same loathing look she had given the mean German man at Ellis Island. She hated them – the hate suddenly gave her clarity of thought – and she felt a vague desire for revenge, although she was not sure what revenge was. She only hoped that something bad would happen to them, that God would punish them for telling such an awful, awful lie. And that there was nothing wrong with wanting something bad to happen to them because they were bad people, and God smote bad people who deserved it. “Yes,” she thought. “God will get them. God will get them good.”

The Sauced Sisters shuffled and stumbled quickly out of the funeral home without looking back, clutching their purses and speaking to no-one.