Wednesday, March 27, 2024

📚 Things You Might Not Know About St. James Infirmary by Steven Meloan #TheDreamingTeam

9:00 PM 0 Comments


We're thrilled to have with us Steven Meloan, author of the book of short stories, St. James Infirmary, as part of his virtual book tour with Pump Up Your Book. Steven is here to give us ten things you might not know about his book. Enjoy and don't forget to pick up a copy of his book (link below)!

Steven Meloan has written for Wired, Rolling Stone, the Huffington Post, Los Angeles, BUZZ, the San Francisco Chronicle, and SF Weekly. His fiction has appeared in SOMA Magazine, the Sonoma Valley Sun, Lummox Press, Newington Blue Press, and Roadside Press, as well as at Litquake, Quiet Lightning, Library Girl, and other literary events. His short fiction collection, St. James Infirmary, was released in 2023 on Roadside Press. He is a recovered software developer, co-author of the novel The Shroud with his brother Michael, and a former busker in London, Paris, and Berlin.

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10 Things You Might Not Know About St. James Infirmary

By Steven Meloan

  • Many of the stories were spawned by semi-annual “Sonoma Writers’ Workshop” literary events in my town—raucous, coffeehouse-style readings set to acoustic live music. The below picture was taken at one such gathering—and is on the back cover of St. James Infirmary.

    In writing/compiling the stories, I came to see that they often centered around “wounded people in need of care.” And since the title story makes mention of an old folk-blues standard, “St. James Infirmary,” it seemed the perfect encompassing title for the collection. 

    “St. James Infirmary” (the song) has been recorded by the likes of Louis Armstrong, Cab Calloway, Josh White, Dave Van Ronk, Joe Cocker, Van Morrison, Rickie Lee Jones, Danny Elfman, and many more. Jim Morrison delivered a drunken rendition of the song during his last live performance with The Doors. An entire book has been written about the history of the song.

    During WWII, my mother was friends in Greenwich Village with the folk singer Josh White. (White was later honored with his own commemorative US postal stamp, and was mentioned in Bob Dylan’s autobiography.) I grew up hearing his version of “St. James Infirmary,” and the song plays a key role in the title story of the collection—centering around a wild cocktail party given by my parents during my teen years.

    Jacket blurbs for St. James Infirmary note that the stories “vividly capture lost times and lost places,” taking readers on “a dark and uncanny journey through everyday life,” exploring “complex human relationships and the often-mysterious forces that shape them.” The cover image—of a cocktail glass surrounded by ‘60s/’70s era Pop Art colors—evokes such lost times and places. But while the cover is celebratory at a visual level, the title hints at these darker undercurrents.

    The collection offers tales of arriving in LA as a young boy, where our hotel room was given-up to seedy convention goers; of an addict woman soliciting money from passing motorists; of freshman college experiences involving psychedelics, car thieves, the FBI, and a nude woman in a student art film; of an ill-fated 20-something one-night stand at a Redondo Beach dive bar; of reconnecting decades later with a college-era romance that ended too soon; of a high school girl visiting the Manson ranch just days before the murders; of a past lover’s near-death experience and final days; of busking in the shadows of the Berlin Wall, belting-out "Psycho-Killer" to a club crowd, and a torturous near-romance with a German local.




    Steven Meloan
    Roadside Press
    80 pp.
    Short Stories

    A book of short stories by Steven Meloan.

    Steven Meloan’s writing has been seen in Wired, Rolling Stone, Los Angeles, BUZZ, the San Francisco Chronicle, and SF Weekly. His fiction has appeared in SOMA Magazine, the Sonoma Valley Sun, Lummox Press, and Newington Blue Press, as well as at Litquake, Quiet Lightning, and other Bay Area literary events. He has regularly written for the Huffington Post, and is co-author of the novel The Shroud with his brother Michael. He is a recovered software programmer, and was a street busker in London, Paris, and Berlin.

    “Reading these stories, I felt like I was hearing an original voice for the very first time. They are surreal, cinematic, poetic, and have real punch-with everything I could want in a collection of short fiction. Set in California and Europe, from the 1960s to the 1980s, they vividly capture lost times and lost places. They have echoes of Jack Kerouac and Paul Bowles, and can be read again and again with a sense of wonder and pleasure.”-Jonah Raskin, Author of Beat Blues, San Francisco, 1955

    St. James Infirmary is a captivating collection of stories that takes readers on a dark and uncanny journey through everyday life. Meloan’s writing has a haunting subtlety that draws one in, as if witnessing the events in real-time. With sharp insights and unexpected twists, these stories explore complex human relationships and the often-mysterious forces that shape them. Meloan vividly captures the gritty reality of each setting, throwing a column of light into the underground of the ordinary. For fans of evocative writing that stays with you long after the final page, St. James Infirmary is a must-read.” 

    – Roadside Press

    St. James Infirmary is available at Amazon at and Roadside Press at .


    Tuesday, February 27, 2024

    📚 10 Things You Might Not Know About The Dreaming Team & Chris Wallace #TheDreamingTeam #10things

    9:00 PM 0 Comments

    We're thrilled to have with us Chris Wallace, author of the historical fiction novel, The Dreaming Team, as part of his virtual book tour with Pump Up Your Book. Chris is here to give us ten things you might not know about his book and himself. Enjoy and don't forget to pick up a copy of his book (link below)!

    Chris Wallace is a creative resource.  

    As an actor, he was a regular on the hit daytime drama, All My Children, created the role of The Half-Percenter in Joe Papp’s production, Mondongo, appeared in countless television programs, including The Incredible Hulk, The Mary Tyler Moore Hour and had a starring role in the holiday horror classic film, New Year’s Evil.  

    As a producer, he put on New York: A Great Place to Live at Lincoln Center which kicked off New York City’s Diamond Jubilee; for Channel Five in New York, he produced the highly acclaimed Harlem Cultural Festival; at the Apollo Theatre in Harlem, he produced Uptown Sunday Afternoon, which was hosted by Harry Belafonte and featured Richard Pryor, Bill Withers, and a galaxy of other performers; for the National Organization for Women, he produced A Valentine’s Day Tribute to Woman at New York’s Town Hall;  was associate producer of the first Ali-Frazier Heavyweight Championship Fight at Madison Square Garden, and produced the gigantic block party, hosted by Gwen Verdon, which named West 46th Street as Restaurant Row. .

    He earned the Silver Award at the New York International Film and Television Festival for In the Balance, a film that advocated sustainability and common sense in wildlife management.  It was also singled out by the Department of the Interior as one of the best films of its kind.  Chris wrote, narrated and wrote the musical score for that film.

    He performed on several children’s television programs in New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Washington D.C. and Jacksonville, singing his original children’s songs.  In Hollywood, he performed them for all denominations of Big Brothers and Big Sisters of America.  He created a musical, A Special Thing to Be, at the Los Angeles Children’s Museum that featured his kids’ songs and the museum’s children’s chorus.

    He wrote the songs for two children’s theatre productions in Hollywood, Hooray, Here Comes the Circus and Sleeping Beauty; wrote and performed the songs on Strong Kids, Safe Kids, a video produced by Henry Winkler for Paramount that dealt with the protection of children from sexual molestation and exploitation.  He created his first musical revue, Greatest Hits, in Hollywood, which played several venues, including Carlos ‘n’ Charlie’s on Sunset Strip and The Backlot in West Hollywood.

    Upon relocating to Australia, he produced A Helping Hand at the Victorian Arts Centre, a benefit for Quadriplegic Hand Foundation; wrote book, music and lyrics for Nothing to Wear, a musical based on “The Emperor’s New Clothes,” also produced at the Victorian Arts Centre.  He created a one-man show, A Thing of Shreds & Patches, for the Melbourne Fringe Festival; created another one-man show, The Mark Twain You Don’t Know, which toured Australia, then Pacific Palisades, California, and played in New York City on the 100th anniversary of Mark Twain’s death.  He created several cabaret shows for The Butterfly Club in Melbourne, most notable of which was Les Femmes which featured an all female cast.  He wrote, produced and performed in Huckleberry: A Musical Adventure which premiered in Melbourne.

    Which brings us to The Dreaming Team.  This is his second book.  The first, Hollywood Mosaic is written under the pen name, Pete Joseph.

    You can visit his website at




    10 Things You Might Not Know About The Dreaming Team & Chris Wallace

    1. This true story took place in the 1860s, at a time when the British Empire was at its absolute, most glorious, The Victorian Age.  It was said that the sun never set on the British Empire.  This was not hyperbole.  It stretched from Canada in North America to India, Burma and Ceylon in Asia to Rhodesia and South Africa to Sudan, Uganda and Kenya to Nigeria and Togo in Africa to the Seychelles, Mauritius and Zanzibar in the Indian Ocean to Australia and New Zealand in the Pacific to Bermuda, Jamaica and other areas in the Caribbean to British Guiana and the Falkland Islands in South America.  And this is still not all of it.  The game of cricket was, therefore, ubiquitous and played all around the globe.
    2. Until around the 1830s, Australia had been a penal colony, where people could be sent for something as trivial as shoplifting.  At around that time, settlers began arriving and claimed the land for farming, etc., displacing the Indigenous people, whose culture and customs were thousands of years old, and brutalizing them into submission.
    3. Scientists like Charles Darwin and others, who gained their reputations during this period, were convinced that Aboriginal Australians would naturally die off by the next generation
    4. Many of the Black men who comprised The First Eleven (as the cricket team was known) were boys when their way of life and families were being destroyed by the settlers.
    5. After achieving what would have been unimaginable in a place ten thousand miles away from their country, not long after they returned to Australia, they were virtually forgotten.  The Dreaming Team tells their story.
    6. Chris Wallace grew up in Delaware, Ohio, where his father had a restaurant.  He worked at a men’s clothing store through high school and college and expected to spend the rest of his life there.
    7. He started going to movies alone when he was seven or eight and averaged two double features and a big Sunday extravaganza per week for years.  
    8. He was drafted into the US Army after college and sent to Germany, which began a life-long urge to travel.  He has been traveling ever since and has been to more than 30 countries from Austria to Zimbabwe, some multiple times, and speaks a bit of French, German, Greek, Swahili and a lot of English.
    9. He is currently single and has no children from any of his three previous marriages.
    10. He believes that timing is always perfect; that simply saying “yes” can result in amazing adventures, and that every person is the star of their own movie.





    Chris Wallace
    Round Lake Publishing
    368 pp.
    Historical Fiction

    In the 1850s, Australia was a thriving colony of the British Empire, with its own sense of importance and sophistication.  But the people who had occupied this vast land for upwards of 40,000 years didn’t fit well with colonial expectations of the future.  In every way imaginable, white Australia tried to keep its “darkies” in line.

    It is against this backdrop in the 1860s that the amazing story of an all Aboriginal cricket team, the first Aussie team to do so, played at Lords, the home of cricket in England.  Conventional wisdom predicted that Indigenous Australians would die off by the next generation.

    The Dreaming Team brings those Indigenous players to life and follows them on an adventure that would appear to be unbelievable if it weren’t true.  They not only changed the minds and perceptions about Aboriginal Australians, they arguably changed the course of Australian history. 

    Praise for The Dreaming Team:

    “A beautiful story, beautifully written, about a piece of Australian history that, if you don’t know about, you probably should. Heartwarming, heartbreaking and brimming with relevance for today’s Australia. A poignant example of how far we’ve come and how far we haven’t.”

    “The Dreaming Team tells the true story of the all Aboriginal cricket team from Victoria who did a tour of Great Britain back in the 1860s and all the drama, setbacks, and cultural divide between the Aboriginals and white Australians involved. Considering the state of affairs for Aboriginal people in those days, the team’s accomplishments are no small feat!”

    “What an interesting story. It is truly an Australian story about indigenous Australians. The story grabbed me from the first chapter, and drew me further in to where I could not put it down. I don’t want to give anything away, so I will say that the twists and turns makes you want to know what happens next at the end of each chapter. To say it is a sports story is not fair, it is a people story, told from the heart, about the hearts of people who love the land, and their story. I recommend it highly, and look forward to more from the author, Chris Wallace!”

    You can purchase your copy at Amazon.



    Sunday, February 25, 2024

    📚 Back Story: Going There: Tales from the Riviera and Beyond by Donna Fletcher Crow #BackStories

    9:00 PM 0 Comments


    📚Back Story: Going There: Tales from the Riviera and Beyond

    By Donna Fletcher Crow

    For many years I had wanted to go to France with my daughter-in-law Kelly. She speaks French, has a Cordon Bleu Grand Diplome, and has visited France many times. In other words, the perfect guide to a fabulous country I wanted to get to know better. But somehow, the adventure never worked out for us.


    Until the summer of 2021. Granddaughter Jane was to study at the Princesse Grace Dance Academy in Monaco. There would then be a ten-day gap between the end of her program in Monaco and the beginning of her final year at the Ballettschule of Basel. Chaperoning Jane was a perfect excuse.


    After more than a year of severe lockdowns around the world the restrictions had eased just enough to make it possible. With all the proper documentation of vaccinations and tests, along with an ample supply of masks, we set off on the amazing itinerary Kelly had planned: A week on the Riviera, a week in the Loire valley, then on to Switzerland.


    It was all to be pure pleasure and family time. This was for fun, not work.


    But the characters from several of my series disagreed. To my surprise, they wanted to come, too. Looking back at my trip journal, I see it was on day 6 that Lord and Lady Danvers from my Lord Danvers Investigates Victorian series showed up on the Promenade des Anglais in Nice. Then Elizabeth and Richard from my literary suspense series joined us on the boat to St. Tropez. Felicity and Antony from my Monastery Murders series showed up in the wine caves in the Loire valley the next week… and so it went.


    My biggest surprise, though, was two summers later. My husband and I were fulfilling a long-held dream and celebrating our sixtieth anniversary with a crossing on the Queen Mary 2 when we were joined by a bevy of my characters. Really? On a romantic anniversary getaway? It’s little wonder I was surprised.


    But then, surprises and adventures are some of the nicest things about the writing life—along with being able to share all of them with my readers.

    Donna Fletcher Crow, Novelist of British History, is an award-winning author who has published some 50 books in a career spanning more than 40 years. Her best-known work is Glastonbury, The Novel of Christian England, a grail search epic depicting 1500 years of British history. The Celtic Cross is a 10-book series covering the history of Scotland and England from the 6th to the 20th century.  Crow writes 3 mystery series: The Monastery Murders, contemporary clerical mysteries with clues hidden deep in the past; Lord Danvers Investigates, Victorian true-crime stories within a fictional setting; and The Elizabeth and Richard literary suspense series, featuring various literary figures. Where There is Love is a 6-book biographical novel series of leaders of the early Evangelical Anglican movement. The Daughters of Courage is a semi-autobiographical trilogy family saga of Idaho pioneers. Reviewers routinely praise the quality of her writing and the depth of her research. Crow says she tries never to write about a place she hasn’t visited and one of her goals in writing is to give her readers a you-are-there experience. Donna and her husband of 60 years live in Boise, Idaho. They have 4 children and 15 grandchildren, and she is an avid gardener.

    Author Links  

    Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

    In the summer of 2021 my daughter-in-law and I slipped through a brief window of sanity in a world driven mad by the Covid pandemic. Our purpose was to see my granddaughter Jane to a summer program in Monaco, then back to her ballet school in Switzerland. In spite of restrictions, protests, and nail-biting worries, the result was a marvelous experience. I invited characters from my mystery series to join me in my imagination and have their own adventures in each setting. Their encounters are: Nice: “The Crime of Passion”; St Tropez: “The Mother Decrees”; Villefrance-sur-de-mer: “The Ghost Boy”; Monaco: “Fracas in Monaco”; The Loire Valley: “The Old Winemaker”;  Saint Gallen: “Whispers of Legend”. The final coda is “Home Another Way” As 2 years later I return from quite a different trip aboard the Queen Mary 2 and my characters join in the celebrations as worlds coincide. More information on the book GOING THERE: TALES FROM THE RIVIERA AND BEYOND can be found at


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