cherry_blossoms

Book Titles to De-stress

There is plenty going on right now. Politics are turbulent, international news is depressing, plus tax season and Easter are culminating in the next few days. Time for a break.

Some of the funniest things I’ve seen online lately are nostalgic about the 1980s politics. And we’ve seen a sales bump with our own 1980s nostalgia, Siberiak: My Cold War Adventure on the River Ob. Though the eighties were, in reality, filled with anxiety for many people about the global situation particularly the nuclear proliferation, looking back on them can feel relaxing compared to staying up with current affairs.

Siberiak takes the reader back in time to a peace mission where American High School students travel to Russia. The illustrations are cute and wry, and the text is the wandering of a teenage mind in a new setting. The pace is just right for a short back porch journey to an almost reassuring past.

Another Raincloud book that seems particularly appropriate for the current political climate, is the award-winning From Ashes Into Light, a Visionary novel about overcoming fascism (which as of this posting is heavily discounted on Amazon). Ultimately the message is about how dark times can also instigate triumphs and personal growth. This intense but uplifting read delivers us through several personal and cultural tragedies in a poetic and lyrical narrative.

Detailed Descriptions

Siberiak: My Cold War Adventure in the River Ob

In 1988, two years before the end of the Cold War, the US and the USSR held the world at nuclear ransom. Meanwhile, grassroots organizing is bringing American and Soviet youth together in missions of peace. What can a group of teenagers, on a raft on Siberia’s Ob River, hope to accomplish? With sensitivity and humor, SIBERIAK tells the tale of one young person’s journey of discovery and cultural immersion. A lovely coming-of-age story that takes place during a unique historical moment. PUBLISHERS WEEKLY calls Siberiak: My Cold War Adventure on the River Ob “…a kaleidoscope of impressions and perceptions,…facinating.”

From Ashes Into Light

From Ashes into Light is a transpersonal tale of epic tragedy, spirituality, family, and personal redemption. It is told through three distinct voices: the hauntingly tragic story of Ruth, a Jewish adolescent during Kristallnacht in World War II Austria, Saqapaya, a stalwart Native American from coastal California during the time of the Spanish conquest, and Friede Mai.

Friede is born during WW II to a Bavarian soldier and a East-Prussian mother. As those around her struggle with the inevitable chaos and paradox of war, Friede opens her heart to gruesome enemies, at times saving herself and family members from atrocities. With war behind them, the Mai family immigrates to the US, where Friede, her veteran father and ex-refugee mother, struggle with the reverberations of trauma. Friede is unable to find inner freedom until she meets her spiritual guide, a Rabbi, who helps her see that the voices from the past are teachers and the horrors of history are also beacons of light.

Three electric characters weave a narrative of raw consciousness, a moving example of transforming the ripple of suffering through the incredible strength of vulnerability.

In addition to the 2016 International Book Awards, From Ashes Into Light won the Living Now Awards Silver Medal for Inspirational Fiction, was a finalist in the 2016 Best Book Awards in New Age and Visionary Fiction, and was the winner of the 5th Annual Beverly Hills Book Awards in New Age and Visionary Fiction. 

Buy either Raincloud book from your local bookstore (if it’s not in stock you can order them), by calling this number and order directly from our warehouse in Chicago: 800-888-4741, or from your favorite online retailer.

cherry_blossoms

Raincloud Press Titles Receive the 2016 Best Book Awards

best_book_award_badgeThis is an especially good day at Raincloud Press. All three books that we published this year became finalists in the 2016 Best Book Awards! From Ashes Into Light is a finalist in both Fiction: New Age and Fiction: Visionary. For the Love of Meat: Nine Illustrated Stories is a finalist for Fiction: Short Stories. And Spot 12: Five Months in the Neonatal ICU is a finalist in Comics: Graphic Novel.

From_Ashes_Into_Light_Award_Cover_90This is a huge honor for us! It’s great to have the talent of our authors, Gudrun Mouw and Jenny Jaeckel, acknowledged in this way. For Gudrun Mouw and her debut novel From Ashes Into Light, this is her third award. Although her reviews on Goodreads have been mixed, the award judges are picking this book again and again. There really is nothing like From Ashes Into Light: spiritual fiction about some of the world’s biggest tragedies and a soul who reincarnates through the ages. The narrative is poetic and shifts between four main characters, making it perhaps a little complicated for those used to genre fiction.

Our lead title for Fall of 2016 is Spot 12: Five Months in the Neonatal ICU. The Best Book Award is the first award for this title and we are thrilled. Spot 12 is an adult comic book about the author Jenny Jaeckel’s time in the NICU with her newborn who was born with a genetic condition. The baby Asa survives a harrowing first five months. Spot 12 is getting great reviews and by word of mouth is transforming how friends, families and strangers are viewing the NICU experience.

For the Love of Meat: Nine Illustrated Stories by Jenny Jaeckel got squeezed out of it’s summer publication spot so that Raincloud Press could transfer all our titles to a new distributor (Small Press United). For the Love of Meat was published in October alongside Spot 12, but without the same media attention. That wasn’t the original plan. But some books gain notice after slowly building fans, and this is what For the Love of Meat will probably do. Some of the biggest fans of this collection of short stories are librarians, who can appreciate the Latin flavor of this multicultural and multinational collection.

meat_front_3_small-copyWhat’s Next

We had a few titles scheduled for 2017, but I’ve pulled those to make room for House of Rougeaux, Jenny Jaeckel’s debut novel now scheduled for the beginning of 2018. This is a novel of a lifetime and we need a whole year to midwife our precious manuscript. Thanks go out to our test readers who are bouncing up and down with excitement over this title, and also managing to give insightful and helpful feedback. Next step, professional editing and cover mock-ups. Advance copies should be ready by June 2017.

Raincloud Press is publishing quality literature, inclusive literature and narratives that feed the best of what people have to offer: Community, love, overcoming oppression, humor, racial and spiritual tolerance and harmony, and an LGBTQ supportive environment. Something about that feels so radical right now. And I just can’t put my finger on why…

 

 

Hospital through the eyes of patient

One Month Countdown ~ 100 Copies to Give Away!

It’s one month until Spot 12: Five Months in the Neonatal ICU publishes. This unique graphic memoir, sometimes called Graphic Medicine (a visual story about medical-related issues), brings us an intimate portrait of a mother living in the hospital with her baby in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). Author Jenny Jaeckel first published this book in Canada after winning the prestigious Xeric grant in 2008. For the first time on October 7th, 2016 Spot 12 will be available in the US market through a major distributor (Small Press United, a division of IPG).

Spot_12_Cover_90In honor of this big day, Raincloud Press has decided to give away 100 copies of Spot 12 through the Goodreads Giveaway program. The giveaway starts today and ends on October 2nd. You do have to be a member of Goodreads to enter the giveaway. But signing up is easy and you can set it up so you won’t get any junk mail.

If you have never checked out Goodreads, it is a social site for book lovers. It gives you an easy way to keep track of books you’ve read, how you liked them, and books you want to read. It’s very user-friendly and if you are considering reading a book, there are a ton of reviews that can help you decide. Writing reviews on Goodreads is a great way to support your favorite authors or publishers.

Here’s the link:

Goodreads Giveaway

or clink on the link in the sidebar

 

Cunero 12

Don’t forget that Spot 12 is also being released in Spanish (Cunero 12: Cinco Meses en la UCI Neonatales). Consider donating a pair of copies (in English and Spanish) for your local library, hospital or special needs organization and help support parents who have been through a difficult hospital stay.

Spread the Word

The most powerful force in the book world today is word-of-mouth. If you love Spot 12, pass it around to your friends. Tell family about it. Help spread the word of this brave and pioneering story. Thanks for your support!

Read More

Visit the website dedicated to Spot 12 for advance praise and Jenny Jaeckel’s Biography.

Visit Jenny Jaeckel’s blog for a continuation of the story that begins in Spot 12. 

cherry_blossoms

Spot 12 Makes PW’s Fall Announcements List!

Spot_12_Cover_90Spot 12: Five Months in the Neonatal ICU is publishing in October this year during the very busy Fall Book Season. We are working extra hard to get the word out, so this amazing graphic memoir doesn’t get lost in the shuffle.

This week has been full of good publicity! We learned that Kirkus Reviews chose their review of Spot 12 to be printed in their print magazine, which one of their marketing team told me they only do for 10% of their indie reviews. Now I just saw Spot 12 on Publishers Weekly Fall Announcement List. That’s so great! This list lets librarians, bookstore owners, and bookstore employees know what are the exciting titles for Fall.

For those of you who are advance readers and want to hear more about Jenny Jaeckel’s journey with her special needs infant, you can visit her blog . She just wrote a new post about the first year out of the hospital. And all summer she will be writing about the years following Spot 12 (Asa is now 11 years old).

Spot 12 also has a dedicated website with more detailed information. Check it out here. We are still in a transition while our titles switch over exclusively to IPG (SPU) Distribution, so stay tuned for ordering details to be posting later in the summer.

Spot 12 Description

Spot 12 delivers the gritty details of a mother, a newborn, and a five-month stay in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) in a visually gripping graphic memoir by Jenny Jaeckel. A routine prenatal exam reveals a dangerous problem, and first-time parents find themselves thrust into a world of close calls, sleepless nights, and psychological crisis. Surrounded by disagreements, deaths, extended family tensions, and questions of faith, the mother struggles to maintain a positive frame of mind.

Against the antiseptic, mechanical reality of the NICU, the dedicated health professionals are drawn as sympathetic and wry animal characters. Doctor Eyes and Nurse Gentlehands are two of the care providers that do all they can to take care of Baby Asa. But even the best hospital staff make mistakes, and Jaeckel and her husband’s vigilance must be acute. At times they battle feelings of helplessness, but their determination, insight, bravery, and connection ultimately helps keep their little one alive.

 

cherry_blossoms

Spot 12 at BEA 2016

Chicago_FoggyThrough the IBPA (Independent Book Publishers Association), Raincloud Press brought a book to the BookExpo of America (BEA) in May 2016 held in very foggy Chicago. It was a momentous event, for it signified the debut our first true lead title: Spot 12: Five Months in the Neonatal ICU.

Spot_12_BEASpot 12 and the Spanish version (Cunero 12) had shelf space in the IBPA booth. And on Thursday May 12th, myself and an IBPA liaison gave away 96 ARC copies. The response was very positive. The majority of passersby were interested in the obviously graphic novel cover. And after being told the graphic memoir was for adults, many people became intrigued. And several visitors wanted to know more about the saga of baby Asa. It was thrilling to have so much contact with potential readers.

The IBPA booth was a hub for independent publishers, and I got to compare notes with several other houses. When you are newish to the business, this chance to talk to other small houses is very useful. For example, the question over whether to sign with a large distributor or DIY/stick with wholesalers always comes up. It was a relevant question for me, as I was meeting with a contact in the IPG booth about distributing Spot 12IBPA_Raincloud_Press_Cocktail_hour

Upon return from BEA 2016, I received the news that Spot 12 received a positive review from Kirkus Reviews. I could hardly believe my luck (see below for full review). Using the review as more fodder for my case, I applied to SPU (a division of IPG) for distribution. I found out days later that we were accepted! It was a joyful occasion, as it will ultimately mean more people will find out about the book.

During the transition to SPU (June 2016-August 2016) some of our titles may be hard to find. But fear not, because our titles will be back with a splash come mid-August, well in time for the October 7th publication date of Spot 12.

SPU_Raincloud_Press

Kirkus Review of Spot 12: Five Months in the Neonatal ICU

“Jaeckel (For the Love of Meat , 2016, etc.) catalogs her daughter’s five months in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit in this graphic memoir. When it was discovered that the author was suffering from a buildup of amniotic fluid, her doctors recommended inducing labor early. Shortly after the birth, physicians found that her daughter, Asa, suffered from tracheoesophageal fistula, a rare esophagus defect that needed to be corrected with surgery. So began a monthlong process to ensure that Asa could breathe and eat correctly and would be safe from the dangers of infection. It was touch and go, with Jaeckel and her husband, Cito, restricted in their access to Asa. Jaeckel was particularly affected by the stress of the situation.With this memoir, told in paneled illustrations like a graphic novel, the author chronicles her experiences with doctors and nurses (of various degrees of patience and gentleness), supportive friends, her intrusive mother, and the esoteric acronyms that categorize hospital life (“Her SATS are low,” reads one speech bubble. “She had T.P.N. and now she’s still N.P.O.”). The people in the memoir are represented in the illustrations as stylized animals, reminiscent of Art Spiegelman’s seminal graphic novel, Maus . Jaeckel and her family, too, are mice, while the supporting characters are a mix of dogs, cats, deer, frogs, and other endearingly drawn creatures. The illustrations greatly soften what, as simple prose, might read as an extremely serious and upsetting account of a sick infant. The depictions of Asa as a tiny mouse with wires and tubes taped to her body are simultaneously adorable and tragic. In the book’s strongest moments, Jaeckel discusses and draws her own fraught emotional state, which leads to very striking panels of symbolic representation: tiny animals separated by immense, inky blackness, and Asa tranquilly aloft among the stars or suspended at the middle of the Tree of Life. Though hospitals, and illness in general, can often rob patients of their individuality, Jaeckel has managed to represent such a world in a unique and highly personalized way.

A memorable and beautifully executed memoir of a newborn’s difficult first months.”

From_Ashes_Into_Light_OnSaleNow

Ashes Blog Tour ~ Week Five

From_Ashes_Into_Light_OnSaleNow

It’s been five weeks since From Ashes Into Light by Gudrun Mouw was launched and the blog tour is still in full swing. On March 21st an interview with Gudrun posted on The Literary Nook. Today, March 28th, a guest post appeared on Cover 2 Cover.  For the full schedule please visit PUYB. Or follow us on twitter @raincloudpress where I am posting links to all the interviews with Gudrun Mouw and other reviews.

The blog tour continues through the first two weeks in April. We’ve been informed that a review of From Ashes Into Light will be published in Whole Life Times, print copies of which are available in Los Angeles or by subscription (no review link yet). Also in April, for a few days in the first week of April, the kindle version of From Ashes Into Light will be free. Stay tuned for more about this promotion.

On May 7th, at the Los Olivos Grange, and hosted by the Book Loft of Solvang and the Solvang Library, the first reading and book event with Gudrun Mouw will take place. Details about the event will be posted here when it gets closer to the event. You can follow Gudrun on Twitter (@GudrunMouw) for updates too.

 

From Ashes Into Light Description:

From Ashes into Light is a transpersonal tale of epic tragedy, spirituality, family, and personal redemption. It is told through three distinct voices: the haunting story of Ruth, a Jewish adolescent during Kristallnacht in World War II Austria, Saqapaya, a stalwart Native American from coastal California during the time of the Spanish conquest, and Friede Mai.

Friede is born during WW II to a Bavarian soldier and an East-Prussian mother. As those around her struggle with the inevitable chaos and paradox of war, young Friede opens her heart to gruesome enemies, at times helping her family members escape atrocities.

With war behind them, the Mai family immigrates to the US, where Friede, her veteran father and ex-refugee mother, struggle with reverberations of trauma, suspicion and prejudice. Upon leaving home, Friede meets her spiritual guide and confidant in her fiancé’s Rabbi, who helps her see that the voices from her past are teachers and the horrors of history also contain beacons of light.

Three electric characters weave a narrative of raw consciousness, a moving example of transforming the ripple of suffering through the incredible strength of vulnerability.