How a Book Was Born: Author Gerri Almand on Writing The Reluctant RV Wife

How a Book Was Born: Author Gerri Almand on Writing The Reluctant RV Wife

Welcome to the fourth installment of the Sunbury Press author journey series!

In every book, there's a story. And not just the one between its pages.

Every author has a different journey for how they ended up with the incredible book that landed in our inbox. Sure, we loved the book that they sent to us--enough to publish it and share with you all--but we wanted to know what it took for them to write that book, what drove them toward publication, and to get to know them better as artists.

And instead of keeping those answers to ourselves, we thought--to hell with it, let's share it with YOU.

We are thrilled to continue this new author-centric series with the hilarious Gerri Almand, author of The Reluctant RV Wife.


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"How a Book Was Born"

by Gerri Almand

The Reluctant RV Wife was a fluke. I never planned to write a book, just as I never planned to bounce up and down the road in a tin-can house. I cringed when my husband announced his dream of buying an RV and seeing the country. Not once had I EVER wanted to be one of those old coots tootling around in an obnoxious motorhome.  But I eventually agreed to try it, and off we went.

It didn’t take long to realize my husband’s RV enthusiasm was unlimited and his wanderlust insatiable. I threw hissy fits that each road trip lasted longer than the one before. My hysterical complaining failed to faze my husband. By our second year of RVing, I knew I had to reconcile being torn from a sticks-‘n-bricks, stay-at-home lifestyle to living part time as a gypsy. I started writing to manage my angst. Words erupted like projectile vomit, and it felt like I was leaving deposits on the keyboard as I struggled to get it all out.

As I wrote, the conflict between a reluctant wife and her excited husband traveling in an RV metamorphosed into a story arc. I realized my emotional meltdowns went beyond resistance to RV travel. The story became a growing old temper tantrum, a final attempt at figuring out the meaning of life and how to spend the rest of mine. Our RV had turned my life upside down and changed me in profound ways. I wanted to share the struggle and the ultimate triumph of achieving a new kind of freedom through a minimalistic lifestyle. My manifesto, The Reluctant RV Wife, was thus born.

My first public appearance as an author took place in a Sunbury Press booth at the 2019 Decatur Book Festival, outside of Atlanta, Georgia. A stranger approached me at the festival. My cardboard poster of the cover of The Reluctant RV Wife had caught her eye.

“Is that a true story?” she asked me, looking at the title of my book.

I laughed. “Yes, it is. I never wanted an RV—my husband did.”

“And he dragged you off in that thing?”

“Well . . . I did agree to it, though I hadn’t wanted to.”

The woman continued. “Back when my husband asked me to marry him over forty years ago, I looked him straight in the eye and told him there were three things I absolutely would never abide: cheating, beating, and RVing.”

I burst into a deep belly laugh. Other women who overheard the conversation laughed as well.  “I’m going to steal those words,” I said. “I love that story.”

That conversation followed me home. I had met many women and a handful of men who reported wanting no part of RVing but had spouses who did. How could those folks oppose RV travel so adamantly if they had never tried it? Then came the epiphany: I’d been just as reluctant as they professed to be. Maybe my story would help change some minds.

Both RVing and writing a book challenged and changed me. While I had never considered becoming a nomad, I had dreamed of being a writer since childhood. Instead, I became a social worker and spent forty years writing Psychosocial Evaluations, Social/Developmental Histories, and Child Custody Investigation Reports. The RV proved a vehicle for finding my voice and fulfilling that childhood fantasy of becoming a ‘real writer.’

My husband argues that The Reluctant RV Wife is his book. He jokes, “You had nothing to say until I bought you an RV.” While I disagree with his summation, writing a book about RV travel now feels like the most satisfying accomplishment of my life. It’s also been a hell of a fun literal and literary journey.


About the Author

Author photo of gerri almand author of the reluctant rv wife

Gerri Almand is a retired social worker turned writer, storyteller, and speaker. Her husband’s retirement crisis, which included buying an RV and declaring they should see the world, has given her untold ammunition for writing material. With a permanent home address in Tampa, Florida, Gerri and her husband Michael Hamlin now switch off their reluctancies. She continues to feel quasi-reluctant on the road and he feels acutely-reluctant during their periods at home. Learn more at her website.


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It Started with a Dream: How Oxana Lapchuk Wrote The Journalist, a Holocaust Story

It Started with a Dream: How Oxana Lapchuk Wrote The Journalist, a Holocaust Story

Welcome to the second installment of the Sunbury Press author journey series!

In every book, there's a story. And not just the one between its pages.

Every author has a different journey for how they ended up with the incredible book that landed in our inbox. Sure, we loved the book that they sent to us--enough to publish it and share with you all--but we wanted to know what it took for them to write that book, what drove them toward publication, and to get to know them better as artists.

And instead of keeping those answers to ourselves, we thought--to hell with it, let's share it with YOU.

We are thrilled to continue this new author-centric series with the inspirational Oxana Lapchuk, author of The Journalist: A Holocaust Story.


"It Started with a Dream"

by Oxana Lapchuk

Oxana Lapchuk author journey

My book journey started ten years ago on May 5, 2010 when I dreamed that I gave birth to a beautiful, healthy baby. The baby was chunky and laughed profusely. While I knew I wouldn’t be having a baby, I did know that God was speaking to me in a different way; instead, he was telling me that I'd bring something new into the world. To me, that meant it was finally time to write a book about the story that meant the most to me: my father’s holocaust experiences.

Now, this happened right around the time that I was diagnosed with endometrial cancer. Thanks to the dream, I had newfound confidence that I would beat it and that my book-baby would become a reality. I needed to focus on it, not the cancer. I had surgery shortly after the dream, cutting out the need for chemo or radiation and giving me inspiration to get to work.

But when I focused my attention toward the book, I found that there were many challenges to getting it written.

First and foremost, my father had died 20 years earlier. I had to recall my conversations with him about his experiences and dig through his records and documents (he was a journalist) to try to piece it all together. I found some old photos that shed some light on his timeline and was able to get a clearer picture. However, I knew it wasn’t enough; I needed to go to the actual concentration camps to get further clarification.

In 2018, a friend of mine connected me to a German teacher who focused on the Holocaust. I spoke to her about my father’s history in Buchenwald and working in the underground tunnels of the Dora-Mittlebau complex. She helped me locate someone at the Buchenwald Memorial who was able to gather even more documents about his personal information while he was at the camps.

I made arrangements with her to pick us up at the train station in Nordhausen, Germany and to take us to the underground tunnels in Dora-Mittlebau. They only opened the tunnels in 2006 so we were able to take a tour and see for ourselves the horrible working conditions that the prisoners had to endure.

Then she drove us to Buchenwald—about an hour away. We met with the head of the Memorial Archives and she had all the documents ready for me. We spent an hour going over everything, and I realized that some of my information was not accurate.

So I had to make some revisions as to my father’s timeline while in the different camps. The most amazing experience for me was when they took me to the actual spot where my father slept in the barracks in the “Little Camp.” It was block 63. I stood on that grassy spot where there was once a building. It was as if I was walking in his footsteps and reliving some of his experiences.  I couldn’t believe it.

When I went back to the states, I immediately started rewriting to make it as accurate as possible. At the time I was thinking I might self-publish it, but I wasn’t young anymore and didn’t have the time or the finances to go through that whole process. I had been a member of the Florida Writers Association and found out they were having a conference in October 2018 near my city.  So, I went.

At the conference, I made an appointment to meet with Lawrence Knorr of Sunbury Press, Inc. To my surprise, he was actually interested in publishing it! And one year later, my book (and my father's story) was published.

Some amazing things have happened since it got published. I was able to reconnect with friends that I hadn’t been in touch with for 45 years. I was able to reconnect with an old roommate. But the most amazing connection was with a woman whose father is in several chapters of the book. His name was Stefan, and he was arrested along with my father and spent some time with him in two of the camps. They were in Buchenwald together and my father’s prisoner number was 25362 (adds up to 18) which in the Hebrew means “life” and her father’s number was 25363.

She lives in Idaho and had done a lot of research about her father and had also been trying to locate my father as well.  When she found my book on the internet, she was amazed and told me the book filled in a lot of gaps for her. Her father had died in 1998, and before the war was studying to be a priest in Lviv, Ukraine. Our fathers never reconnected after the war once they moved to the states.

Writing and researching this book has been an amazing journey and has opened up a lot of doors for me. I’ll even be doing an event at the local holocaust center here in my town in the fall, and the local paper has written an article about me and the book. My old alma mater even has two of my books in their libraries!

I’m excited about where else the wind will take this book, especially if it can get out to those who need it. One of the reasons for writing it was to give hope to many people out there who are facing challenging situations. I believe they’ll find help in the principles my father practiced that enabled him to overcome and triumph in the midst of his adverse circumstances.


About the Author

This is an author photo of Oxana Lapchuk, author of the journalist a holocaust story

Oxana Lapchuk was born in New York, New York the same year her father emigrated to the United States. A lifelong student of Ukrainian history and culture, she has worked as an interpreter in Ukraine and Israel and now lives in Florida. This is her first book.


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Mark Singel recalls the fast-paced events of 1993 in new memoir

HARRISBURG, Pa.  — Sunbury Press has released A Year of Change and Consequences, former acting Governor Mark SIngel’s recollection of the events of 1993.

msayocac_fcAbout the Book:
Mark Singel, a Johnstown native and Penn State graduate, won election as Lieutenant Governor in 1986 as Robert Casey’s running mate. In 1993, Governor Casey was stricken with Appalachian familial amyloidosis, a rare and usually fatal liver disorder. The governor required a multiple organ transplant, which was still experimental at that time. While the governor was incapacitated and recovering, Mark Singel became the acting Governor of Pennsylvania. This book is Mark Singel’s recollection of the events that year.

About the Author:
Mark Singel served as Lieutenant Governor of Pennsylvania from 1987 through 1995 and, for a period of time, Acting Governor of the Commonwealth. The only person in Pennsylvania history to serve an extended time as Acting Governor, Singel received high marks for his stewardship. He led the state by enacting the first modern workers’ compensation reform package, refinanced the state’s park system through the “Key 93” program, and helped launch the high-tech era with landmark telecommunications legislation. He was also instrumental in reducing state and local taxes, the implementation of a statewide 911 emergency phone system, and the creation of thousands of new jobs in recycling and environmental technologies. He was the original author of the state’s mortgage assistance bill that has saved 50,000 Pennsylvania homes.

Prior to his terms as Lieutenant Governor, Singel served six years in the Pennsylvania State Senate and was chief of staff to two members of the U.S. Congress.

Singel ran for U.S. Senate in 1992 and for Governor in 1994. He served as Chairman of the Pennsylvania Democratic Party from 1995-1998 and was the President of Pennsylvania’s Electoral College in January, 1997. He was a delegate to the Democratic National Convention five times from 1992 through 2016.

55Singel founded The Winter Group in February, 2005 and has developed it into one of the most effective and prestigious government relations firms in the state. He continues to provide consulting services to clients in retail, hospitality and gaming, manufacturing, technology, energy, non-profits, and health care fields. Recent successes include a ban on public smoking, legislation to address child sexual abuse, and consumer protection in health care settings.

Singel served as Chair of Pennsylvanians for Judicial Reform which was instrumental in bringing talented, progressive jurists to the state’s Supreme Court.

Singel has served in various capacities with Pennsylvania’s governors and decision-makers and maintains strong personal and political ties with leaders at all levels today.

A magna cum laude graduate of Penn State, Singel continues to teach at the Harrisburg campus and other universities. He has served on the Boards of Penn State and St. Francis Universities and holds several honorary doctorate degrees. Singel is currently active with Harrisburg University and is a regular commentator on local and statewide political broadcast programs. He is a sought-after speaker at both political and academic events and is active in numerous community and philanthropic activities.

Singel has been married to Jacqueline for 40 years and has three children: Allyson, Jonathan, and Christopher. He has three grandchildren: Thomas, Felicity, and Henry Boots.

A Year of Change and Consequences
Authored by Mark Singel
List Price: $29.95
Hardcover: 300 pages
Publisher: Sunbury Press, Inc. (May 26, 2016)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1620066955
ISBN-13: 978-1620066959
Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
BIOGRAPHY & AUTOBIOGRAPHY / Political
HISTORY / United States / State & Local / Middle Atlantic
POLITICAL SCIENCE / American Government / State

For more information, please see:
http://www.sunburypressstore.com/A-Year-of-Change-and-Con…

"Call Sign Dracula" flies to the front… Sunbury's bestellers for March

MECHANICSBURG, Pa. — Call Sign Dracula: My Tour with the Black Scarves: April 1969 to March 1970, Joe Fair’s Vietnam memoir of his service in the Big Red One, ranked #1 due to author activities in Kentucky. Joe has received a lot of publicity for his book, and is preparing for several large reunions.

csd_fcAbout Call Sign Dracula:

Call Sign Dracula provides an outstanding, valuable and worthy in-depth look into the life of a US Army Infantry soldier serving with the famed 1st Infantry Division (The Big Red One) in Vietnam.  It is a genuine, firsthand account of a one-year tour that shows how a soldier grew and matured from an awkward, bewildered, inexperienced, eighteen year-old country “bumpkin” from Kentucky, to a tough, battle hardened, fighting soldier.

You will laugh, cry and stand in awe at the true life experiences shared in this memoir.  The awfulness of battle, fear beyond description, the sorrow and anguish of losing friends, extreme weariness, the dealing with the scalding sun, torrential rain, cold, heat, humidity, insects and the daily effort just to maintain sanity were struggles faced virtually every day.  And yet, there were the good times. There was the coming together to laugh, joke, and share stories from home. There was the warmth and compassion shown by men to each other in such an unreal environment.   You will see where color, race or where you were from had no bearing on the tight-knit group of young men that was formed from the necessity to survive.  What a “bunch” they were!

… then the return to home and all the adjustments and struggles to once again fit into a world that was now strange and uncomfortable.

Call Sign Dracula is an excellent and genuine memoir of an infantry soldier in the Vietnam War.

Sales at Sunbury Press roared back in March, topping all other non-Christmas months in the history of the company. It was by far the best March on record, and helped the company close a solid first quarter, up 8.5% from 2013.

fs_fcRobert Walton’s novel Fatal Snow debuted at #2, thanks to the First Friday book signing event at the Sunbury Press store and the author’s end cap display of books at his Bob’s Bagels store.

Alan Mindell’s baseball love story, The Closer, held onto #3.

Mike Campbell’s Amelia Earhart: The Truth at Last returned to the top 10 at #4 thanks to strong sales across the globe.

Terry Ray’s “The Crossers” series grabbed spots 5 through 8 thanks to author activities. More copies were sold of volume 1 The Man in the Mountain, than the others: volume 2 The Circle, volume 3Crossing the Valley and volume 4 Path to Armageddon. Terry’s science fiction novel about aliens battling over control of Earth, GXM731, finished the top 10.

The Sign of the Eagle by Jess Stephen Hughes, last months #1, slipped to #9.

Following are the top overall print sellers by category:
History / Memoir – Call Sign Dracula by Joe Fair
Fiction  – Fatal Snow by Robert Walton
Horror/Mystery – Fatal Snow by Robert Walton
tbd_fcChildren/YA – Dinorific Poetry #1 by Mike & Ethan Sgrignoli
The Arts – Contemporary Photo Impressionists by T K McCoy
Self-Help – What to Do about Mama? by Barbs Matthew & Blank
Metaphysical/Spiritual – Jesus the Phoenician by Karim El Koussa
Reference – Education Behind Bars by Christopher Zoukis

The company released seven new titles during the month of March:
The Machine by Horace Taylor, Return to Red Lodge by R. C. Reynolds, Bravo! by Guy Graybill,  Jesus Runs Away by Joe Farrell, Call Sign Dracula by Joe Fair, The Bear by Wnedy Latty and The Bronze Dagger by Marie Sontag.

For a list of Sunbury’s all-time best-sellers, please see the Sunbury Press web site:

http://www.sunburypressstore.com/BESTSELLERS_c3.htm

For a complete list of recent and upcoming releases, please see:
http://www.sunburypressstore.com/COMING-SOON_c47.htm

Joe Farrell recounts 16 years in Cathloic schools in New York City

JRA_fc gQUEENS, N.Y. — Sunbury Press has released Joe Farrell’s humerous memoir Jesus Runs Away … and other stories of attending Catholic schools in the early 60s.

About the Book:

A smorgasbord of entertainment and lessons awaits readers as author Joe Farrell releases through Sunbury Press a unique memoir. Jesus Runs Away chronicles his journey as a student who enjoys a carefree life amid schools of rigid discipline and stern religious training. In the early sixties, being in a Catholic school means being compelled to always abide by the rules: pray earnestly when told to do so, study the lessons to answer questions correctly, a “yes” or “no” answer should always be followed by “Sister”, and never ever do anything that would upset or make the teachers mad. Through vivid narration, Jesus Runs Away unveils the funny side that lurks behind the austere façade of Catholic Schools. It follows the author as he finds himself caught up in different mischief during grade school and to even more grave misbehaviors—including a police arrest—during high school and college. A baby boomer, Farrell’s life is one that is carved by the tumult of the fifties and sixties and the social and personal dramas that come along with it. His is an interesting wave of colors brightened by adventure, discipline, lessons learned, friendship, and love. Providing a good glimpse into the life of pure Catholic training, Jesus Runs Away is a witty revelation of a schoolboy’s shenanigans and the ultimate inspiration one can get from them. This memoir of growing up in the 60’s is full of Farrell’s wit, humor, and irreverence yet it’s a touching and poignant story. A fun and enjoyable read.

JoeAbout the Author:

Many of the nuns, brothers, priests and lay teachers who dealt with Joe Farrell during his sixteen years of Catholic schools forecasted failure for him in this life and in the next. So, when they heard he was in a maximum security prison they weren’t surprised. The part that surprised them was that is was as a staff psychologist and not an inmate. It probably would have amazed them to discover that he had a very long and successful career in government and in two Fortune 500 companies as a high level manager and advocate for consumers and citizens. They would probably be stunned to hear he presently is Executive Director of the Disciplinary Board of the Supreme Court of PA.

Along the way, he raised two children who were excellent students. His son is an intellectual property attorney and his daughter, after over a decade of teaching, is an elementary school principal.

His success in the next life is yet to be determined…

Jesus Runs Away: … and other stories of attending Catholic schools in the early 60s

Authored by Joe Farrell

03List Price: $19.95
6″ x 9″ (15.24 x 22.86 cm)
Black & White on White paper
392 pages
Sunbury Press, Inc.
ISBN-13: 978-1620063927
ISBN-10: 1620063921
BISAC: Biography & Autobiography / Personal Memoirs

Also available on Nook and Kindle

For more information, please see:
http://www.sunburypressstore.com/Jesus-Runs-Away-97816200…