Book Blitz: Rabbit in the Moon, by Heather Diamond

Rabbit in the Moon

Rabbit in the Moon cover

Rabbit in the Moon
By Heather Diamond
Genre: Memoir

Blame it on Hawaii’s rainbows, sparkling beaches, fruity cocktails, and sensuous breezes. For Heather Diamond, there for a summer course on China, a sea change began when romance bloomed with Fred, an ethnomusicologist from Hong Kong.

Returning to her teaching job in Texas, Heather wonders if the whirlwind affair was a moment of madness. She is, after all, forty-five years old, married, a mother and grandmother.

Rabbit in the Moon follows Heather and Fred’s relationship as well as Heather’s challenges with multiple mid-life reinventions. When Fred goes on sabbatical, Heather finds herself on the Hong Kong island of Cheung Chau with his large, boisterous family. For an independent, reserved American, adjusting to his extended family isn’t easy.

Life on Cheung Chau is overwhelming but also wondrous. Heather chronicles family celebrations, ancestor rituals, and a rich cycle of festivals like the Hungry Ghosts Festival, Chinese New Year, and the Bun Festival. Her descriptions of daily life and traditions are exquisite, seamlessly combining the insights of an ethnographer with the fascination of a curious newcomer who gradually transitions to part of the family.

Moving between Hawaii, Hong Kong, and the continental US, Rabbit in the Moon is an honest, finely crafted meditation on intercultural marriage, the importance of family, and finding the courage to follow your dreams.


Brief Excerpt from book:

Our gourmet eating tour includes visiting a series of tourist centers devoted to Chinese specialty foods. Our stops include a pork floss factory, a tea farm, and an eel farm where I refuse to get out of the bus. I’ll eat eels cooked and on rice, but I have no desire to discover how they’re raised, skinned, and smoked. In the bus, Amah passes around a package of sweet, dried, and shredded pork she bought to share along with all the snacks she purchased as gifts for friends. Americans give chocolates; Chinese give pork floss. I have to admit that it’s good. I gave up eating vegetarian somewhere between the last trip and this one, partly because of my desire to be a good traveler who can fit easily into a new culture and partly because I tired of being told that there was only a little pork or chicken in Chinese dishes “for flavor.” On the last trip, my special vegetarian soup was garnished with a chicken foot, which Fred quickly snatched from my bowl. Being too much trouble is an issue I’m working on.

Because there are so many of us, meals require two large round tables. I have always had a weak stomach when it comes to cleanliness in restaurants. My father liked to tease me about going to his favorite hamburger joint, Mel’s Diner, where I once found a crispy fly in my French fries. This trip poses challenges that go beyond my issues with Chinese table etiquette.

In a Teochew restaurant in Shantou, we’re squeezed into a tiny upstairs room that holds only four tables. We’re seated on stools like the ones at Number 10, and I’m sitting near the wall when I spot a good-sized cockroach lazily ascending. Not wanting to make a scene, I nudge Fred and tip my head toward the roach. Fred calls the waitress and points. She pulls the wet towel out of her apron pocket, smacks it against the wall and the roach, and tucks the rag back into her apron. She then calmly goes back to taking orders from the next table. I tamp down my gag reflex just in time to see a winking chicken head arriving on the next platter.

I have never seen a naked, boiled chicken head, and I do not understand how anyone could think it attractive as a culinary garnish. Yet there it sits, propped up in the middle of its own chopped, steamed, and sauced flesh, one eye closed and its comb flopping left. Fred turns to me with an exaggerated wink, his fingers crooked over his head like the chicken’s comb. Stifling a giggle, I nearly choke on my tea. Mimi sees him and says she heard that if you go out with your boss and the chicken head points to you, you’ll know you’re about to be fired. This strikes me as hilarious, and as Fred plops steamed chicken into my rice bowl, I’m shaking with the effort to contain my laughter.

Back in our hotel room, I put a shower cap on my head and prance around singing a made-up chicken head song in my beginner Mandarin to the tune of “Fish Heads,” by Dr. Demento: “Ji tou, Ji tou, heng pang ji tou.” We roll on the bed, whooping and wiping our eyes. Humor, it occurs to me, might be my secret weapon for surviving Lau family travel. I already adore this man for making me laugh, for the way he laughs with his entire body — shoulders shaking, head thrown back, snorting and gasping for air. For his playfulness, his silliness, his willingness to be the epicenter of a joke by laughing at his own mistakes and foibles. The first man in my life who makes me laugh out loud and thinks my jokes are as good as his own. Serious people like me are pressure cookers with stuck safety valves. Left to ourselves, we can ferment or implode. Levity lifts the lid, lets out the steam, and connects us to the world.


Author Bio:
Heather Diamond is an American writer in Hong Kong. She has a Ph.D. in American Studies from the University of Hawaii and has worked as a bookseller, university lecturer, and museum curator. She is the author of American Aloha: Cultural Tourism and the Negotiation of Tradition. Her essays have appeared in Memoir Magazine, Sky Island Journal, (Her)oics: Women’s Lived Experiences of the Pandemic, Rappahannock Review, Waterwheel Review, Hong Kong Review, and New South Journal.

heather diamond

Website landing page
Goodreads
Facebook
Twitter
Barnes & Noble
Amazon
Indiebound

Spotlight & Excerpt: The Angle of Flickering Light + Giveaway

The Angle of Flickering Light banner

This is my stop during the blog tour for The Angle of Flickering Light by Gina Troisi. The Angle of Flickering Light is Gina Troisi’s debut memoir novel published by Vine Leaves Press.

This blog tour is organized by Lola’s Blog Tours. The blog tour runs from 6 till 19 April. See the tour schedule here.

The Angle of Flickering Light

The Angle of Flickering Light
By Gina Troisi
Genre: Non-fiction/ Memoir
Release Date: 6 April 2021

Blurb:
Gina Troisi’s father moved out when she was five years old, but before he left, he insisted on telling her about his various affairs—with prostitutes, with her mother’s friends, and finally, with his secretary, Brenda, whom he had decided to marry.

By the time she reached adolescence, on a search for respite from her father’s verbal abuse and Brenda’s psychological torment, Gina spent hours doing Jane Fonda’s workouts, smoked cigarettes instead of eating food, became obsessed with her thinness, and with the notion of fading away. She began to find solace in restlessness—drinking hallucinogenic mushroom tea and inhaling crushed pills and powders—perching herself on the periphery of danger again and again.

As an adult, when she finally glimpsed a better life for herself, her grandfather, who had been a surrogate father to her, became terminally ill, and she fell in love with John, a stranger who was utterly familiar, but who was addicted to heroin. She moved from New Hampshire to California, crossing the country in an attempt to alleviate her selfdestructive tendencies, but found herself pulled back to New Hampshire, to John, a man with whom, despite his struggle, she could not deny the sense of home she felt. But what would it cost for a girl to run wildly and recklessly into womanhood, making instant, temporary homes? And would she ever find home within herself?

Links:
Goodreads
Amazon
B&N
Kobo
Apple
Booktopia
Gumroad
Bookshop

Excerpt:

Left Behind

At five years old, I sat “Indian style” on the foot
of my father’s bed, alone in his new condo. I’d
gathered his ballpoint pens from the desk in the
corner, and began assessing the pictures of women
adorning the pens; they wore spiked high heels
and bright-colored leotards and bikinis, and blue,
sequined triangular tops that reminded me of my
older sisters’ dance recital costumes. Their miniature
figures pronounced behind sparkles and strings,
their bodies splayed into decorative shapes. I tipped
them upside down, and their sparse garments fell
off—they were proportioned women, with hardened
pink nipples and clumps of dark hair between their
legs. I clothed and unclothed them with the flick of
my wrist, turned them upside down, then right side
up again. They were grown up, like my mother, whom
my father had just left. I was mesmerized by these
ladies, by their full, buoyant breasts, by the inner
curves of thighs that made a hollowed out space for
their private parts to breathe. I lay down, watching
their clothes fall piece by piece, nestling myself into
the cushion of the king-sized bed.

The ladies made me think not only of my mother,
but also of the faceless women my father rambled
on about while out to eat at our favorite Italian
restaurant. My sisters and I sat silent, letting him
reiterate that Brenda, his secretary who’d quickly
become his girlfriend, had nothing to do with my
parents’ impending divorce, that he’d been cheating
on my mother for years, with all kinds of women,
including prostitutes.

“Your mother just didn’t want to admit it. She kept
her head in the sand. Remember her friend, Marla?”
Marla had lived with us for a while when she needed
a place to stay in between moves. “I slept with her,
too—we had an affair for two years while your mother
and I were together. Ask her.”

When we arrived home from dinner crying, we
gathered in my oldest sister’s room. My mother came
in to find us sitting on the bed. “What happened?”
she asked.

Krista was twelve, so she did most of the talking.
“He said he’s been cheating on you for years, that you
knew. That every time he went on a business trip, it
was never for business.”

While my mother listened, I kneeled behind Krista,
and began to pop the cysts on her back. I worked
around the straps of her tank top, performing a job I
always volunteered for, since she couldn’t reach. My
sisters talked fast, repeated my father’s words, the
gestures he’d made, how he acted as if we must have
known about his mistresses all along. I concentrated
on squeezing, on trying to find the pointed heads
on the bumps of her skin. “Harder,” she usually
said. “Until all the pus comes out. Until they start
bleeding.” But today, she didn’t tell me what to do,
just waited for my mother’s response.

 

Gina TroisiAbout the Author:
Gina Troisi’s work has appeared in numerous literary journals and anthologies, including Fourth Genre, The Gettysburg Review, Fugue, Under the Sun, Flyway: Journal of Writing and Environment, and elsewhere. Her stories and essays have been recognized as finalists in several national contests, including the 2020 Iron Horse Literary Review Trifecta Award in Fiction, the 2018 New Letters Publication Award in Fiction, American Literary Review’s Creative Nonfiction Contest, 2018, and others. She has taught numerous classes and workshops in both traditional and nontraditional settings, including writing workshops for female adult survivors of sexual assault. She lives in coastal Maine.

Author links:
Website
Twitter
Facebook
Instagram
Goodreads

The Angle of Flickering Light banner square

Giveaway
There is a tour wide giveaway for the blog tour of The Angle of Flickering Light. US Only. These are the prizes you can win:

– 1 winner wins a prize package as well as a $20 gift card for bookshop.org
– 3 winners win a prize package

The prize package includes a bookmark, mini journals with a photo of the cover, and wine glass charms.

For a chance to win, enter the rafflecopter below:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Lola's Blog Tours graphic

Spotlight: A Rendezvous to Remember + Giveaway

Rendezvous Tour Banner

Join us for this tour from Feb 9 to Mar 1, 2021!

 

Title:  A Rendezvous to Remember: A Memoir of Joy and Heartache at the Dawn of the Sixties

by Terry Marshall, Ann Garretson Marshall
Category:  Adult Non-Fiction (18 +), 378 pages
Genre:  Memoir, Romance
Publisher:  Sandra Jonas Publishing
Release date:   Feb 2021
Tour dates: Feb 9 to Mar 1, 2021
Content Rating:  R. This memoir contains mature themes, explicit sex scenes, one f-word, and occasional profanity.

In June 1964, Ann Garretson skips her college commencement to tour Europe with Lieutenant Jack Sigg, a tank commander on the German-Czech border, with the hope of returning as his fiancée. A month into their rendezvous, her best friend, Terry, proposes marriage—by mail—throwing all their lives into turmoil.

Jack offers the military life Ann grew up with. Terry, a conscientious objector, will leave for the Peace Corps at the end of the summer—unless the draft board intervenes and sends him to jail. Her dilemma: she loves them both. Caught between the old mores and winds of change, Ann must make an agonizing choice.

In alternating voices, A Rendezvous to Remember presents firsthand accounts by the two who eventually married, enriched by letters from the rival, whose path led him elsewhere. Provocative and delightfully uncensored, this coming-of-age memoir, anchored in the tumult of the sixties, is a tribute to the enduring power of love and family.

Buy the Book:
Amazon
BAM ~ B&N ~ IndieBound
add to Goodreads

 

Meet the Authors:

Terry Marshall and Ann Garretson Marshall taught English in the Philippines as Peace Corps volunteers and later served as Peace Corps country co-directors in the Solomon Islands, Kiribati, and Tuvalu. Back in the States, they worked side by side as community organizers and activists in Colorado. Terry went on to write fiction and nonfiction works on discrimination, poverty, rural development, and intercultural conflict. Ann has thirty years of experience as a writer, editor, and community-government go-between for issues related to nuclear and hazardous waste cleanup. Always seeking adventure, Terry and Ann have traveled to forty-three countries. They live in Las Vegas, Nevada.

connect with the authors:  website ~ twitter ~ facebook ~ instagram


Tour Schedule:

Feb 9 –
Working Mommy Journal – book spotlight / giveaway
Feb 9 – Book Corner News and Reviews – book spotlight / giveaway
Feb 10 – Rockin’ Book Reviews – book spotlight / guest post / giveaway
Feb 11 – Pick a Good Book – book spotlight / guest post / giveaway
Feb 12 – Splashes of Joy – books spotlight / giveaway
Feb 12 – Laura’s Interests – book spotlight / giveaway
Feb 15 – Read and Review – book spotlight / giveaway
Feb 16 – Lisa’s Everyday Reads – book spotlight / giveaway
Feb 17 – Westveil Publishing – book spotlight / guest post / giveaway
Feb 17 – Sadie’s Spotlight – book spotlight / giveaway
Feb 18 – Pine Enshrined Reviews – book spotlight / guest post / giveaway
Feb 19 – Jazzy Book Reviews – book spotlight / giveaway
Feb 19 – Books for Books – book spotlight / author interview
Feb 22 – Kam’s Place – book spotlight / author interview
Feb 22 – Bookish Ramblings – book spotlight / author interview / giveaway
Feb 22 – Book World Reviews – book spotlight
Feb 23 – Stephanie Jane – book spotlight / giveaway
Feb 24 – Books Lattes & Tiaras – book spotlight / author interview / giveaway
Feb 24 – I’m All About Books – book spotlight / giveaway
Feb 25 – Literary Flits – book spotlight / giveaway
Feb 25 – Sefina Hawke’s Books – book spotlight
Feb 26 – Locks, Hooks and Books – book spotlight / guest post / giveaway
Mar 1 – High Society Book Club & Reviews – book spotlight / guest post / giveaway
Mar 1 – BookishKelly2020 – book spotlight

Enter the Giveaway: 

 a Rafflecopter giveaway