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.


Praise for The Journalist: A Holocaust Story

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Fiction vs. Nonfiction Sales

One of the most disappointing aspects of the eBook collapse is the lost opportunities for fiction. For some years, fiction has performed better as eBooks, supplanting mass (pulp) fiction. In the past I mentioned we published 60% fiction but 60% of our sales were nonfiction. As we shifted to a 50/50 split, you would expect sales to shift to 70/30 in favor of nonfiction. Instead, it is more like 80/20.
Yes, in recent months it seems 9 out of 10 print books we sell are nonfiction. The eBooks tend to split about 50/50. Above left is the pie chart by imprint. Sunbury Press is nonfiction as is most of Ars Metaphysica. A smaller portion of Brown Posey Press falls into this category as well. All told it is 80% plus for nonfiction.
While we have seen a strong interest in the Ars Metaphysica imprint and continued growth for the Sunbury Press imprint, Milford House and Hellbender Books have lagged. Brown Posey Press is the only good story for fiction in recent months. This brings to mind some questions:
1) Has our segmentation strategy further hurt fiction sales? In other words, were our fiction authors actually benefiting from being tagged with the Sunbury Press logo?
2) Or, is it a sorting of perceived quality? The literary fiction is doing better than it ever has with its own imprint, but the murder mysteries and horror have not.
3) Or, is it the brands themselves? Perhaps Brown Posey Press and Ars Metaphysica better identify with their target markets than Milford House or Hellbender.
4) Or, maybe we haven’t marketed the brands enough. It took quite a while for the International Thriller Writers to actually recognize the new imprints (Milford House and Hellbender Books). The others had no such restrictions.
More food for thought while chewing on your turkey! One last thing I will mention is the positive response received from independent bookstores for the Brown Posey Press email that went out to them. Maybe more direct email with the other imprints will help. And, we definitely need to leverage the Lurk character (below) for Hellbender Books a lot more!

The St. Louis Jewish Light newspaper recognizes veterans’ stories

he St. Louis Jewish Light newspaper about Joe Regenbogen's nonfiction book, The Boys of Brookdale.

The St. Louis Jewish Light inspires their local community with their news and information. They are the award-winning newspaper of the Jewish community for St. Louis, and they publish print editions as well as online. With their motto being "Connecting the Community," The Light serves Regenbogen's book well for St. Louis.

The Boys of Brookdale tells of 16 stories from veterans living in a nursing home located in St. Louis. 

To read the review:

The Light

To purchase The Boys of Brookdale:

Sunbury Press Store

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STL Sports Page interviews Jake Gronsky on “A Short Season”

 Sally Tippett Rains, of STL Sports Page, recently interviewed Jake Gronsky, a former St. Louis Cardinals baseball player, about the book A Short Season. This book, published through Sunbury Press, tells the inspirational story of Josiah Viera, a boy diagnosed with Hutchinson-Gilford Progeria.

This interview allows Gronsky to narrate his baseball career and how he met Josiah Viera to then write the beloved book. This book describes Josiah's challenges as well as his hopes as a young child diagnosed with a terminal illness, but with a love for his family and baseball.

To read the article:

Book Chronicles Special Season For A Cardinals Minor League Team

 

To purchase:

Sunbury Press Store

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The St. Louis Post-Dispatch Reviews the Story of World War II Veterans!

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch is known as the No. 1 St. Louis site for news, sports, and entertainment. Their website offers local breaking news, information, and special reports.

The Boys of Brookdale makes a good fit for their bookshelf of reviews because the nursing home where Joe Regenbogen interviewed the featured Veterans is located in St. Louis. Regenbogen's book tells the story of 16 Veterans, who lived through the Second World War. Levins, the reviewer, comments how people should cherish these 16 stories in Regenbogen's novel since three of the Veterans have unfortunately now passed.

Regenbogen also explained how these Veterans take great pride in knowing their story is being told to others.

To read the review and learn more information on the book:

St. Louis Post-Dispatch

 

To purchase:

Sunbury Press Store

 

 

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Regenbogen interviews WW2 from same nursing home

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Discover 16 Brookdale residents, who survived through World War II, and learn of the Holocaust, prisoners, aviation, and other battles. 

The author seeks media interviews on this important topic or reviews or mentions of his book in the media.

Book overview

Sixteen Amazing Stories from the Second World War Discovered in One Senior-Living Facility.

Of the 16 million people who served in the Second World War, perhaps less than half a million are still alive (as of this writing). Regrettably, these veterans are currently dying at a rate of approximately 500 per day. Brookdale Creve Coeur is a local senior living facility in the suburbs of St. Louis that houses a number of these veterans. It also happens to be where the author's 85-year-old father recently moved. Places like Brookdale contain a treasure trove of remarkable and inspiring stories from World War Two.

For this book, the author interviewed 16 Brookdale residents with memories from the Second World War and have written their stories into the chapters of this book. Among their accounts are a B-24 pilot shot down over the Pacific, two veterans from the Battle of the Bulge, a WAVE, a prisoner-of-war, and a Holocaust survivor.

 

About the Author

Joe Regenbogen is currently a retired high school history teacher. For the last four years, however, he has continued teaching American History part-time in a program for exceptionally gifted 7th and 8th-grade students. At the end of their two years with Joe, these students take the AP exam in U.S. History and so far, they have all done well enough to earn college credit. Since Joe no longer teaches all day, he has taken up writing as a rewarding way to spend his extra time. Vernon Press published his first book entitled Questioning History.

Book review

The Boys of Brookdale

Outstanding book! You won't be able to put it down! Wonderful stories of 16 WW II Veterans (living at Brookdale along with the authors father) who share their experiences and life lessons…”

~ Review from Sunburypress.com

To purchase

Sunbury Press Store

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

 

by Joe Regenbogen

SUNBURY PRESS

Trade paperback - 6 x 9 x 2

9781620061800

218 Pages

HISTORY / Military / World War II

BIOGRAPHY & AUTOBIOGRAPHY / Military

 

For publicity information, contact:
publicity@sunburypress.com

Summer Pick for a Little Inspiration

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At age 2, Josiah Viera was diagnosed with Hutchinson-Gilford Progeria, a terminal childhood illness. His family was given the impossible task to fill a lifetime of memories into a few short years, but then, Josiah fell in love with the game of baseball, the State College Spike of the St. Louis Cardinals adopted him, and together started on a journey - and a season - that would change all of their lives forever.

Book overview:

No parent is ever ready for a terminal diagnosis of their child. No mother should see the day where turning off your son's ventilator is the only option to end his pain. And no grandfather should see the day when your grandchild is scheduled to die in his mother's arms. But on September 10, 2005, this was the harsh reality facing our family, and this was the day we’d never forget.

I am no pastor; nor a preacher. I am no miracle worker, nor a missionary. I am a struggling husband, a decent father, a survivor of brutal child abuse, and from the miraculous survival and extraordinary life of a Progeria child, I am a believer saved by the Grace of God through Jesus Christ.

In A Short Season: Faith, Family, and a Boy's Love for Baseball, Dave Bohner, the story’s narrator and grandfather to Josiah, and Jake Gronsky, former professional baseball player with the St. Louis Cardinals organization, tell the powerful story of Josiah Viera’s fight for life that not only sparked a family's journey towards healing but inspired a generation of baseball players from one of the most historic organizations in Major League Baseball.

A Short Season is a story of hope; a story of acceptance; and a story of faith based on the idea that sometimes a person’s only journey to peace is first trekked through pain. A Short Season is a family’s journey through sorrow and joy, it is a baseball team’s inspiration, and it is the story of one exceptional child’s ray of hope that changed all of their lives forever.

Book review:

"Josiah is an inspiration!

I had the great pleasure of spending a few hours with Josiah Viera and his lovely mother, Jennifer, a few years ago. Josiah is a powerhouse in a frail, little body. He has more energy and exudes more positive vibes than almost anyone else I've ever been around. Makes one wonder what could possibly be so wrong in life if this young man - who could be wallowing in self-pity but has chosen not to play victim - can show us all just how wonderful and precious life can be. I've been looking forward to reading this book for months and was not disappointed. Recommend to all and especially to those who need a dose of inspiration."

~      Linda H, five-star review on Amazon

About the people:

DAVE BOHNER is a husband, father, grandfather, and retired welder who has served in the PA Air National Guard, United States Air Force. He is currently president of the Hegins Area Ambulance Association and has been a medical technician for the past twenty-seven years. He loves the game of baseball, meeting new people, and above all, Jesus.

 

JOSIAH VIERA is fourteen years old and just finished first year of junior high school. He loves God, baseball, dancing, and hanging out with friends. Josiah is an honorary bench coach for the State College Spikes, the newly ‘hired’ bench coach for the TriValley Junior High baseball team, and an honorary member of the St. Louis Cardinals. Every day, Josiah’s goal is to enjoy life and to simply have fun!

 

JAKE GRONSKY is a former professional baseball player in the St. Louis Cardinals organization. Jake now works with former and current professional athletes, writing stories of faith, courage, and perseverance. He lives in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and can be found on Twitter @Jake_Gronsky or contacted by email at Gronsky.Jake@gmail.com.

To purchase:

Sunbury Press Store

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

 

by G. David Bohner & Jake Gronsky

SUNBURY PRESS

Trade Paperback - 6 x 9 x 1

9781620060223

240 Pages with b&w photos

SPORTS & RECREATION / Baseball

FAMILY & RELATIONSHIPS / Children with Special Needs

MEDICAL / Diseases / Genetic

 

 

For publicity information, contact:
publicity@sunburypress.com

The Joes visit famous graves in the big city

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When Joe Farrell and Joe Farley researched Pennsylvania graves, an old movie inspired them to shed light on the graves of famous people in New York.

Book overview:

The Joes ventured to the Big Apple and its boroughs to visit the graves of the rich, famous, and infamous.

This first volume of the Gotham Graves series focuses on those persons famous in and around New York City who were fascinating figures in their times, such as:

  • Louis Armstrong
  • Anne Bancroft
  • Nellie Bly
  • Jim Farley
  • ...& more!

This second volume of the Gotham Graves series focuses on those persons interred in and around New York City who were interesting figures in their times, such as:

  • "Gentleman Jim" Corbett
  • Andrew Carnegie
  • Irving Berlin
  • Lou Gehrig
  • ...& more!

Farrell and Farley have combed New York City to bring you the most entertaining biographies about interesting people buried in New York.

Book review:

"I might sound a bit strange, but have always found a sort of peace walking through graveyards and reading the headstones of all who have gone before me. I try to read as many books as I can find on graveyards and cemeteries, and people’s final resting places, so this book was of special interest. Not to play favorites, but the one who got my attention in this book was Dorothy Kilgallen. I’ve always been interested in her life, and also supposedly controversial death. Thank you to Netgalley and Sunbury Press, Inc for an ARC of this book."

~ Julie, Amazon costumer

About the author:

In 1975, Joe Farrell hired Mr. Farley to work in the Governor’s Action Center. Nine years later Farrell would repeat his mistake by hiring Mr. Farley to work for him at the Public Utility Commission. On May 21, 2010, after 35 years of state service he retired. Mr. Farley has not returned to work because he has been unable to find a cushy high paying position like Joe Farrell’s. In addition, Mr. Farrell has apparently learned from his past mistakes as he has not attempted to hire Mr. Farley a third time. As a result, Mr. Farley has concentrated his efforts at co-authoring his books Keystone Tombstones.

 

To learn more about the authors:

Authors

To purchase:

Volume 1:

Sunbury Press Store

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

 

Volume 2:

Sunbury Press Store

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

 

For publicity information, contact:
publicity@sunburypress.com

Coast to Coast Newspaper talks of “R.E.M.F. – Vietnam’s Other GIs”

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Coast to Coast Newspaper publishes a compelling review of R.E.M.F. - Vietnam's Other GIs, written by John VanDevanter Carter.

Roberta Deen, from Coast to Coast Newspaper, recently published her review of John VanDevanter Carter's book, R.E.M.F. - Vietnam's Other GIs. This is a nonfiction, historical novel about the Vietnam war.

She names R.E.M.F. - Vietnam's Other GIs as a "page-turner" after finishing the book herself.

Be sure to check out her review-

CC Newspaper - Review

To purchase, use these links:

Sunbury Press Store

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

Hawley thinks he has proven Dr. Tumblety was Jack the Ripper

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Jack the Ripper, the (unfortunately) famous serial killer of the Whitechapel area, gets a new name in Michael Hawley's evidence-packed book, Jack the Ripper Suspect Dr. Francis Tumblety.

Book overview:

Jack the Ripper Suspect Dr. Francis Tumblety highlights the most recent groundbreaking discoveries concerning one of Scotland Yard’s top Jack the Ripper suspects in the 1888 Whitechapel Murders Investigation, Dr. Francis Tumblety. Among the discoveries is over 700 pages of never-seen-before sworn testimonies revealing not only a picture of an antisocial narcissist with a single-minded lifelong drive for exploitation but also damning evidence that he may indeed have been the Whitechapel fiend.

Book review:

"...Michael Hawley has outdone himself...this is not just a reprinting of his last book with an extra chapter this is a whole new book with a virtual mountain of newly discovered material (including the discovery of over 700 pages of testimony regarding Dr. Tumblety after his death!!). It paints a much clearer picture of the mind of this unusual but fascinating "man."

Michael gives us an almost complete account of the whereabouts of Tumblety during and after the autumn of terror and paints a compelling argument that it is possible that Dr. Tumblety and Jack the Ripper may be one in the same.

...

It can be difficult to read about such an un-likeable figure, but Hawley keeps the reader fascinated by not only the style in which he writes (academic yet enthralling) but by the sheer amount of information, so much of it new to even the staunchest ‘Ripperologist’ or true crime enthusiast. This will be a book researchers will keep at their side for years to come....a perfect example of allowing the FACTS and EVIDENCE to tell the story..not the writers personal views...hats off to Michael for that.

This may be the best ‘Ripper’ book in a decade...and that is saying a lot considering the amazing work done by such fantastic writers and historians like A.J Griffith and Tom Wescott..5 stars doesn't seem like enough."

~ Brian Young, five star review on Amazon

 

About the author:

Michael Hawley has published over a dozen research articles in journals dedicated to the Whitechapel murders/Jack the Ripper mystery, namely Ripperologist, Whitechapel Society Journal, Casebook Examiner, and The Dagger, and published online articles for numerous websites. He was awarded Article of the Year for 2016 for the most popular Jack the Ripper website, which is based out of London, England. He was honored to lecture at the Jack the Ripper Conference (RipperCon) in Baltimore, Maryland, in April 2016, and the Jack the Ripper Conference in Liverpool, England, in September 2017. Hawley is the author of The Ripper’s Haunts (Nonfiction, 2016) with the top book reviewer and author, Paul Begg, stating, “Hawley’s Magnum Opus” is “head and shoulders above the new Ripper offerings in 2016,” and “for that matter, 2015.” He was honored to be interviewed in two separate podcasts for Rippercast. He is also the author of The Watchmaker Revelations, a mystery/thriller fiction trilogy: The Ripper’s Hellbroth, Jack’s Lantern, and Curse of the Bayou Beast. He is also the author of Searching for Truth with a Broken Flashlight (Nonfiction, 2010), which was awarded June 2011 Book of the Month for the mega-website, ReligiousTolerance.org, and was the subject of an article in the Buffalo Spree, June 2011. Hawley holds a Master’s degree in science (invertebrate paleontology) and secondary science education at State University of New York, College of Buffalo, and a Bachelor’s degree in geology and geophysics at Michigan State University. He was a commander and naval aviator in the U.S. Navy (retired), and is currently enjoying a career as a secondary earth science and chemistry teacher. He resides with his wife and six children in Greater Buffalo, New York.

 

To purchase:

Sunbury Press Store

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

 

by Michael Hawley

SUNBURY PRESS

Trade Paperback - 6 x 9 x 1

9781620068199

296 pages

TRUE CRIME / Murder / Serial Killers

HISTORY / Europe / Great Britain / Victorian Era

HISTORY / United States / 19th Century

 

For publicity information, contact:
publicity@sunburypress.com