CastleGate Magazine June 2014 - Page 12

J von Minden Overcoming untreated autism and learning disabilities, J. von Minden graduated summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa, from St. Joseph University in Philadelphia, PA, with elections to Sigma Tau Delta and Alpha Sigma Lambda. His first novel, The Dream Zone, was published when he was only nineteen. Since then he has published two more— Widow’s Byte, and Bird of Paradise. When not writing, he is a woodworker and private tutor. He has one son, and lives in Olympia, Washington. Although I had been writing since age eight, I did not become a true author until age fourteen when I received a precious gift. I was sitting on a bench in downtown St. Paul, Minnesota, waiting for my bus. An old black man approached me, smiling as though he recognized me from a past life. His ragged clothing and dishevelled hair betrayed his life as a well-seasoned homeless man and yet he asked no one for a coin. Instead, he pulled a harmonica out and played a few lines. Then in a gritty voice he told me about his days playing music with the legendary Muddy Waters. He played a little more on his harmonica then continued on his walk to nowhere, playing his harmonica, and smiling at the people he passed. He never told me his name, but as you can see, I never forgot the gift he gave me—the gift of his story. I returned that gift by remembering him in this book’s sequel, Pieces of Rainbow. We are our stories. LIGHTNING IN THE CRADLE Release Date 06/01/2014 Rītva is a twelve year old girl growing up in a convent in the Latvian highlands. As an orphan, she endures the social backlash by retreating into local mythology and fantasy. As she comes of age, coming to terms with who she is and what she is, the shifting lines of World War II sweep through her home, first bringing Russian occupation and then Nazi subjugation. Amid the trauma of forced indoctrination into a Hitler Youth division, she learns the real secret of her parentage and its incestuous consequences that could send her to concentration camp. As an ethnic Prusiaskai, the pre-Christian ethnicity of the Baltic coast from the former East Prussia to modern day Latvia, Rītva is the only characterization of this race to appear in fiction. Officially listed as extinct since WWII, the Prusiaskai are but one of the many smaller ethnicities that were exterminated in Eastern Europe, a crime we must not forget, a voice we must not lose. This series follows the interconnecting lines of those people, most based on actual lives that have touched the author of his family or are a part tree. Evil Tammy’s Blog Spot http://eviltammy.blogspot.com/