Meet The Pitch Week XIII Finalists
W.R. Ambroziak, Blood Debt
Blood Debt is the story of an abused young boy who grows up to be a Space Patrol Officer but leaves the service to hunt down and take revenge on his mother’s murderer.
W.R. Ambroziak grew up a middle child in rural Wisconsin. Too young to hang out with her older siblings and too old for the younger crowd, reading, and eventually writing, became an escape. At 13, she began to create a rich fantasy world of diverse characters and far off planets.
Real life stepped in and had its say: jobs, love, and life. Tragedy struck and nearly crushed her when she lost her 17-year-old son, Zach. That same year, the paper mill where she worked closed its doors. There followed four long, cold, empty years where she never wrote, and could not even bear to put up a Christmas tree.
Then, when a support group friend died, W.R. wanted to write a memorial poem. The poem wasn’t easy, but the process seemed to burst through an internal obstruction and words erupted. The world she had created opened up, richer and fuller than before.
Come now and wander under alien skies. Share the adventures, hopes, sadness, and pleasures of the people who live there.
Jim Brosnan, Nameless Roads
This volume of poetry, Nameless Roads, might stir up a desire in the reader to wander through New England as the poems engage readers in a variety of landscapes from Maine’s Casco Bay and Spring Point Lighthouse to the White and Green Mountains to Emerson’s Old Manse in Concord, Massachusetts. The evocative imagery will linger in the reader’s memory.
Dr. Jim Brosnan holds the rank of full professor at Johnson & Wales in Providence, Rhode Island. He placed second in the New England Association of Teachers of English’s 2010 Poet of the Year competition. Jim’s publishing credits include four chapbooks of poetry and over 400 poems, some of which have appeared most recently in the Aurorean, Mad Poets Review, The Leaflet, The Bridge, The Teacher As Writer, Encore, and Voices of the Poppies (UK). Since 2012, Jim has won numerous awards in the annual National Federation of Poetry Society’s competition, including a second place by the Utah Poetry Society, a third place in Texas, and honorable mentions in Maine and New York. He has been an avid nature photographer, capturing images such as moose in Yellowstone and elk in the Rocky Mountains. Jim lives in southeastern Massachusetts with his wife Donna, but frequently spends time at their home on the coast of Maine, which serves as a writing retreat and a place to indulge in fantail shrimp.
Sam Callahan, God Complex
In God Complex, Maeve and Declan Keegan are what most people would call ordinary New Jersey teenagers, until one evening, their mother is unexpectedly killed and latent powers ignite within them. They discover they are demigods, being hunted, and expected to save nine realms from extinction.
Sam Callahan spent seven years in a few universities and a community college studying acting and stage management, before saying “that was fun” and ditching it to write sketch comedy for giggles and random scenes for a sitcom she’s been dreaming up for most of the last decade. She spends her afternoons daydreaming, staring at the majestic ceiling of the New York Public Library, and her evenings enjoying stories in all sorts of forms, curled up in a wicker chair with two cats draped over her lap and shoulder.
“Young professional? More of an ancient amateur.” — Doctor Who, “The Lodger”
Sam lives in Brooklyn. This is her first novel.
Sarina Prabasi, The Coffee House Resistance:
An Immigrant Tale
The Coffee House Resistance is Sarina Prabasi’s account of the twelve months after Donald Trump won the U.S. election. She is a mother, an immigrant, an entrepreneur and small business owner, and an international nonprofit leader. She wears each of her hats with fierce pride and love. These identities inform her deeply felt personal perspective on the events of the last year. Confused and in despair, she attempts to now make sense of a country that she thought she knew so well. And while, at the end of the year, many questions remain, ultimately, this is a story of political awakening, of coming together and forming unlikely community, her growing conviction that all change must start with our own actions, and the enduring truth in the Chinese saying, that a thousand-mile journey starts with a single step.
Sarina was born in The Hague, in the Netherlands, raised in Thailand, India, China, and Nepal, and spent formative years of her life in Ethiopia. Most of her professional life has been focused on international nonprofit work in health, education, and most recently as the CEO of an international nonprofit, focused on water and sanitation. When she and her husband moved to New York City, they started a coffee shop that has grown into a thriving business and a natural hub for community conversations. Sarina is proud mama to two young daughters, who teach her something new every day.
Shannon Rose, Freedom Wings
Freedom Wings, a new adult memoir, takes the reader back to the Spring of 1998 in a small New Jersey town. A teenaged Shannon Rose, saddled with a lot of responsibility at home, comes up with a plan to see the country alone, going into the unknown and setting out for a different life. With big dreams and an even bigger imagination, inspired by her parents, teachers, and a chance meeting with some locals in Vermont, she takes her dream and decides to make it a reality and travel across the country from New Jersey to California and back.
Shannon is a Mortgage Consultant currently living in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She is originally from Toms River, New Jersey, and is a 2003 graduate of Colorado Mountain College. Prior to landing in Philadelphia, she spent many years in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, snowboarding in the winter and mountain biking in the summer; several summers in Alaska working on the passenger train that runs from Anchorage to Fairbanks; and many wanderings around southeast Asia. She has been to all 50 states, most of Canada by way of Highway 1, and Eastern Europe. She currently holds the title for “cool aunt” in her family and has a very serious dark chocolate addiction. Her favorite musician of all time is Bruce Hornsby.
Elise Von Holten, Darkness Visible
Many people think they would like for God to touch them in a visible way, not content with the life that they have been given and the everyday grace that is theirs. Elise Von Holten was a young, agnostic, happy, joyful woman when she was struck down with Rheumatoid Arthritis, a life-changing illness. God was the last thing on her mind. She started seeing suicide as a reasonable option. Instead, she discovered that through the pain and disability, a breathtaking adventure and love awaited her, forcing her to give up her judgments, the one tool that had saved her from facing her brutal childhood, and come home to love.
Darkness Visible is her tale. Elise never expected the travels to foreign lands, the loves and illusions that were shown, and the life lessons that she learned, revealing a surprisingly complex fabric stitched together from a crucible of human suffering and pain. She hopes you find the hardships, pain, betrayals, and adventures of her life journey as fun and ultimately filled with the joy that passes all understanding as she now understands they hold.