A black bear in Colorado Springs steals restaurant Dumpsters specifically to feast on the leftovers. In Cape Town, a baboon breaks into homes, raiding kitchens for human food. A coyote makes itself comfortable in the drink cooler of a downtown Chicago Quizno’s sandwich shop. Shouldn’t these animals be roaming free—in the wild, far away from urban centers? So-called “wild” animals are gravitating toward populated areas—spaces we tend to think of as a realm apart from nature. In reality, cities— possibly the most exciting, most surprising, and least understood ecosystems on the planet—are intertwined with natural environments. And just as shifting from country to city living changed humans, cities may be changing the animals that end up living within their loose confines.
In Feral Cities: Adventures with Animals in the Urban Jungle (Chicago Review Press, April 2015) author Tristan Donovan digs below the urban gloss to uncover the stories of wildlife—from tiny bugs to migratory birds to foreboding cougars—that share our sidewalks, streets, and homes. Donovan’s travels and research with experts in Brooklyn, Chicago, Phoenix, Miami, Mumbai, and elsewhere offer a journalistic look at urban wildlife, introducing curious city dwellers and animal lovers to the wall-eating snails that are invading Miami, the wild boars that roam Berlin and the parrots of Brooklyn. From carpet-hungry bugs in Raleigh to the cockroaches of New York City, the tales in Feral Cities explore streets and homes that are far more alive than we often realize, show how animals are adjusting to urban living, and ask what the wildlife in our metropolises—and our response to it—says about us.
Revealing that urban life isn’t always as bad for animals as you might think, Feral Cities explores how cities are becoming distinct ecological communities and illuminates the mindset of city inhabitants and urban wildlife experts as well as actions of the animals themselves.
Children Go Face-to-Face with a Giant Pacific Octopus!
Wildlife photographer and environmental educator David FitzSimmons is on a mission to get children to fall in love with animals of the ocean by making reading as engaging and educational as a swim in the sea. His new book, Curious Critters Marine, the third book in his popular Curious Critters series, is being released on April 22, Earth Day 2015. And it’s bound to make a splash!
FitzSimmons is at the forefront of environmental education. He produces exquisitely-detailed, up-close photography of amazing animals that inhabit the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, as well as the Gulf of Mexico. Through stunning photography, children go face-to-face with animals ranging from a spectacular spoonbill to an incredible blue lobster, from a tufted puffin to an upside-down jellyfish, and from a baby sea turtle to a giant Pacific octopus.
“Children are mesmerized as they stare eye-to-eye with a crab, a cormorant, or an octopus. I try to photograph the animals on eye-level so kids can connect emotionally with the critters,” said FitzSimmons. “The goal is to foster children’s biophilia—to get young readers to fall in love with nature.”
And fall in love they do—with a cadre of curious animals. “Up to ninety percent of kids’ dreams are about animals. My books allow children to experience nature, particularly animals, through reading,” said FitzSimmons. “Of course, peering at a sea star in a tidal pool or hearing a cormorant call along the coast are great ways for children to connect with nature. But these experiences should be supplemented with nature reading.”
Adding to the fun photography is playful prose accompanying each critter. As the animals posed for portraits, David imagined them talking to him. Then he wrote down what they had to say.
The cushion sea star, for example, serenades readers with stanzas set to “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star.”
Look at me, a bright sea star,
out beyond the big sand bar.
Crawling in the shallow sea,
tiny tube feet carry me
out to join a galaxy
of sea stars that look like me.
A crabby calico crab bemoans his thankless role as a detritivore: “I’m the one down here devouring loads of decaying debris, and nobody applauds my efforts. Without recyclers like me, can you imagine what the ocean would look like? Why, we’d be wallowing in whale waste and covered in crumbling kelp.”
The tufted puffin revels in romance : “I love getting all dressed up—putting on my best black feathers, brightening up my bill, and growing two feather plumes—all for my lovely lady.”
And an agile gray angelfish waxes poetic about life on the reef:
Swim so happily angelfish.
Give you little fins a swish.
Twist and turn within the reef.
Nibble sponges with your teeth.
Other creatures also offer their insights into marine world. The spike-covered Atlantic horseshoe crab explains that a sharp shell has allowed this spider-relative to survive since “long before dinosaurs were around.” A baby loggerhead sea turtle tiredly talks about his march from nest to sea after hatching. And the blue American lobster points out that, while most of his crustacean compatriots are “brown or dark green,” he is a rare “one-in-two-million blue gem of the sea.”
With mesmerizing images and inviting prose, Curious Critters Marine is sure to whet the appetite of young children wishing to know more about North America’s salty waters. Additional material in the back of the book includes a Life-Size Silhouettes page, a Glossary, and a Natural History page, where readers learn that Atlantic horseshoe crabs have blue blood, that tufted puffins may carry up to sixty fish in their beaks at once, and that California sea cucumbers eat with their mouths and their rear ends!
FitzSimmons points out that oceans cover more than seventy percent of the Earth’s surface, yet humans have explored less than five percent of their waters. He believes that Curious Critters Marine may act as “a snorkel, fins, and mask,” allowing readers of all ages to “dive in!”
With Curious Critters Marine, you will find a wet and wonderful world awaits you.
Curious Critters Marine
by David FitzSimmons
Hardcover, Color illustrations throughout, 11 in. x 9.5 in., 32 pp.
Published by Wild Iris Publishing
Official Publication date April 22, 2015 (Earth Day)
Children’s Nonfiction (Ages 2-8).
www.curious-critters.com displays more Curious Critters photos and provides information about how FitzSimmons photographed the animals, as well as insight about how he write his books.
Curious Critters Volume One has sold over 100,000 copies and won six national book awards, including the coveted Independent Book Publishers Association’s Bill Fisher Award for Best First Book.
About the Author -- DAVID FITZSIMMONS
David FitzSimmons is an award-winning free-lance photographer and writer. David photographs and writes for various magazines, including Outdoor Photographer, Popular Photography, ProfessionalPhotographer, and Shutterbug. His 100+ calendar credits include numerous titles by BrownTrout and Barnes & Noble. David’s most recent publications include Animals of Ohio’s Ponds and Vernal Pools, Curious Critters, which has won five national book awards and sold over 100,000 copies to-date, and Curious Critter Volume Two, as well as audiobooks for both Curious Critters titles. Forthcoming is Salamander Dance (Spring 2016), a children’s picture book exploring the annual life cycle of vernal pools, and the first two board books, Curious Critters Ohio and Curious Critters Michigan.
One of seven Sigma Pro photographers in North America, David presents seminars and workshops to a wide variety of audiences, from public school, college, and university classes to photography groups and civic organizations. His works have been exhibited at the Roger Tory Peterson Institute, the National Center for Nature Photography, and the Telluride Photo Festival.
Before becoming a freelance photographer and author, David taught for over twenty years, first as high school English teacher and then as a university professor, having instructed at Ashland University, Ohio State University, and Cornell University. He holds a Ph.D. in English from Ohio State, with a specialty in narrative theory—investigating the components of storytelling—something that influences his photography and writing.
Learn more about David at www.fitzsimmonsphotography.com
Steve Brooks is one of LA’s most sought-after celebrity dog trainers, the founder of SteveBrooksK9U, and author of the book “Dog Bites with Steve Brooks.” Steve has been training dogs for over 20 years using force-free based solutions. He is a Certified Professional Dog Trainer, a Canine Behavioral Expert and licensed presenter of Family Paws and Parent Education.
Beginning February 12, visit Steve at the Doggie Spa Vendors area at the Hotel Pennsylvania for his “Dog Bites” cooking demonstration and training tips he’s used on Hollywood’s A-list canines! See Steve that night at the NY Pet Fashion Show where he will be judging and signing copies of his new book.
More information: www.SteveBrooksK9U.com
THE PERFECT HOLIDAY READ—
FROM THE AUTHOR OF THE NEW YORK TIMES & USA TODAY BESTSELLERS A DOG’S PURPOSEand A DOG’S JOURNEY!
W. Bruce Cameron, the bestselling author of A Dog’s Purpose, (which hit the USA Today list and spent a year on the New York Times bestseller list with a movie by Dreamworks in the works) and its New York Times and USA Today bestselling sequel, A Dog’s Journey, returns with another inspiring novel, THE DOGS OF CHRISTMAS (Forge Books Hardcover; $15.99; October 15, 2014). A Dog’s Purpose and A Dog’s Journey have been absolute success stories with over 326,000 “Likes” on the A Dog’s Purpose Facebook Fan page and countless readers who have fallen in love with their moving stories. THE DOGS OF CHRISTMAS is just as heartwarming and thought-provoking.
“Cameron’s latest demonstrates how the unconditional love received from dogs can make all the difference in human lives…A book about dog lovers by an author who understands the canine soul.”
—Kirkus Reviews on The Dogs of Christmas
In THE DOGS OF CHRISTMAS, while nursing a broken heart, Josh Michaels is outraged when a neighbor abandons his very pregnant dog, Lucy, at Josh’s Colorado home. But Josh can’t resist Lucy’s soulful brown eyes, and though he’s never had a dog before, he’s determined to do the best he can for Lucy—and her soon-to-arrive, bound-to-be-adorable puppies.
Soon in over his head, Josh calls the local animal shelter for help, and meets Kerri, a vivacious woman with a quick wit and a fierce love for animals. As Kerri teaches Josh how to care for Lucy’s tiny puppies and gets them ready to be adopted through the shelter’s “Dogs of Christmas” program, Josh surprises himself by falling for her.
But he’s fallen even harder for his new furry family, which has brought incredible joy into Josh’s life. He barely has time to sit down, between chasing after adventurous Sophie and brave Oliver, but when he does, his lap is quickly filled by the affectionate Lola. And Rufus and Cody’s strong bond makes Josh wonder about his own relationships with his family.
With Christmas and the adoption date looming, Josh finds himself wondering if he can separate himself from his beloved puppies. At odds with Kerri, Josh isn’t willing to lose her, but doesn’t know how to set things right. Can a surprise litter of Christmas puppies really change one man’s life? THE DOGS OF CHRISTMAS is a charming holiday tale that explores the power of love, trust, and a basket full of puppies.
W. Bruce Cameron is an exceptional and talented writer whose passion and dynamic narrative vividly illuminate what’s most important in our world, and his novels resonate with adults and young adults alike. THE DOGS OF CHRISTMAS will not only entertain, but will enlighten humans everywhere about what’s most important to dogs: Spreading the word that you can adopt a dog of any breed you desire through animal rescue.
THE DOGS OF CHRISTMAS For more information, contact:
By W. Bruce Cameron Karen Lovell / Forge Publicity
ADDITIONAL PRAISE FOR THE DOGS OF CHRISTMAS
“This sweet story is told with humor and a deep understanding of the transformative value of loving a dog. A perfect holiday read!”
—Greg Kincaid, New York Times bestselling author of A Dog Named Christmas
“W. Bruce Cameron is a champion of the underdog! The Dogs of Christmas is an inspiring, delightful story that deserves a special place under the tree of every canine-lover in your life.”
—Claire Cook, bestselling author of Must Love Dogs
"As warm and bright as Christmas morning. If you don't already have a dog, reading this book will send you right to the shelter to find one to love."
—Iris R. Dart, New York Times bestselling author of Beaches
ADDITIONAL PRAISE FOR A DOG’S PURPOSE & A DOG’S JOURNEY
“An amazing book.”
—Alice Walker, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of The Color Purple, on A Dog's Purpose
“I loved the book and I could not put it down.”
—Temple Grandin, New York Times bestselling author of Animals in Translation
on A Dog's Purpose
“Once again endearing himself to animal lovers, Cameron explores the concept of canine karma with acute sensitivity and exhibits cunning insight into life from a dog’s perspective.”
—Booklist on A Dog's Journey
“Readers will devour this wonderful story and cry from beginning to end. Sweet and heartfelt, Cameron likely has another bestseller on his hands.”
—Publishers Weekly, starred review on A Dog's Journey
Lisa Hennessy Launches Holiday Pet Recipe Books for Hanukkah and Christmas
Great Gifts Under $10!
New York, NY – October 15, 2014 – Have you ever considered preparing a healthy and nutritious homemade meal for your canine companion? Many pet parents in recent years have decided to prepare meals for their furry friends as oppose to feeding them commercial diets. Due to food recall scares as well as a human-diet emphasis on knowing what’s in the foods we eat, pet owners are beginning to understand the health benefits of providing their pets with a natural home cooked diet. Lisa Hennessy, founder of Your Pet Chef, is excited to launch two new books: “The 12 Days of Christmas” and “The 8 Days of Hanukkah,” for the upcoming holiday season.
Lisa began preparing meals five years ago when her Rough Collie, Shelby, was diagnosed with Degenerative Myelopathy. The disease caused her to lose control of her hind limbs. The vet had suggested a special diet for Shelby that had been designed by a leading veterinary researcher on this disease. Although Lisa was skeptical that Shelby would eat homemade meals consisting of tofu, spinach, and peppers, she decided to give it a chance. To Lisa’s surprise, Shelby loved her new healthy meals and gobbled it all up!
Lisa mixed the recipe with kibble for a few weeks, gradually decreasing the kibble and increasing the “Shelby Food.” While the food did not stop the disease from progressing, it did slow it down. Unfortunately, Shelby passed 6 months after she began eating “Shelby Food,” but Lisa was inspired to continue cooking for her two dogs. Since they had the same positive response to this diet, Lisa decided to eliminate all store bought food and exclusively feed them home prepared meals.
Lisa built a career of over 20 years in sourcing, purchasing, operations, and manufacturing in many different types of industries including textiles, metals and automotive. These experiences have helped her become a well-rounded businessperson. Starting up her own company had always been a dream for Lisa, and when the opportunity presented itself in 2012, she sprung into action.
Lisa founded Your Pet Chef as a way to share her love of preparing home cooked meals with other dogs. Every meal is prepared based upon the information either pet parent or veterinarian provides regarding a pet's medical condition. The meals are prepared using a wide variety of proteins that can be cooked or raw and organic vegetables. Learn more at: http://www.yourpetchef.com/.
In March 2014, Lisa published the “Your Pet Chef Cookbook” where she shared her recipes, helpful hints, and stories and photos of her customer’s dogs. This October 2014, Lisa is ready to launch two holiday cookbooks that will prepare pet families for the upcoming holiday season. “The 12 Days of Christmas" and "The 8 Days of Hanukkah" shares holiday inspired recipes that are all grain and gluten free. These cookbooks will make the “paw-fect” gift for under $10.00 for pet lovers everywhere!
Just like owners, pets tend to gain weight between Thanksgiving and the New Year. An estimated 45% of the 130 million pets in the United States are overweight or obese, putting them at risk for diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, osteoarthritis, and cancer. It’s essential we keep our four-legged friend’s diet and health a top priority as the holiday festivities begin to take place.
“Pet owners want to include their pets in the holiday celebrations, but we do not have to put their health at risk,” expresses Your Pet Chef Lisa Hennessey, “Many of the recipes contain 5 ingredients or less, which make them really easy and fun to prepare. Your canine will benefit greatly from these delicious and nutritious home prepared holiday meals!”
About Your Pet Chef: Established in 2010, after Lisa Hennessy’s dog was diagnosed with degenerative myelopathy, the celebrity chef began creating homemade raw food for other pets. Each meal is personally prepared to meet your dog’s needs providing not only a safe but healthy and balanced diet. For more information please visit: http://www.yourpetchef.com/. Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Your-Pet-Chef-LLC/307281802713857.
If dogs could talk, one phrase they are likely to use is “cheeese.” At least, that’s what you’ll be hearing after pawing through this adorable collection of candid canines called DOGFACE (Viking Studio, October 23rd, 2014, Hardcover & eBook). Like their human counterparts, dogs are expressive, care-free and photogenic. Their smiles, winks, head tilts, ear waves, and even the drooling will brighten even the worst of days.
DOGFACE is a one-of-a-kind collection of photographs that is a must for any dog lover. Author and photographer Barbara O’Brien profiles a wide array of dog breeds in this full-color, one-hundred page collection including a goofy Border Collie, genteel Great Dane, a curious Corgi to name a few. With incredible range of emotion, expression, and of course, cuteness, DOGFACE shows just how human dogs can be, and why they truly are “man’s best friend.”
Barbara O’Brien, a professional photographer and animal trainer, has spent years photographing canine actors, always looking for the perfect shot. She lives on a farm in Stockholm, Wisconsin, with her family, three dogs, eighteen cats, ten rescue Morgan horses, two ponies, seven sheep, thirty-odd chickens, five ducks, and three very naughty goats. To say she is an animal lover is an understatement.
From #1 New York Times bestselling author Teresa J. Rhyne comes the next chapter in discovering how dogs come into our lives for a reason, show us how to live, and teach us how to love.
The Dogs Were Rescued (And So Was I) is the sequel to the New York Times, USA Today, Wall Street Journal and international bestselling memoir, The Dog Lived (And So Will I).
It begins with another devastating diagnosis for Rhyne’s beloved beagle, Seamus, who successfully fought a malignant tumor just one year before Rhyne herself faced breast cancer.
Rhyne vows to fight again and embarks on some experiments to create a healthier lifestyle for her family. She finds better food for Seamus, and trades cheese and meat for a plant-based diet for herself.
She soon realizes that’s not enough for her…or the animals.
As Rhyne struggles to find her place—somewhere between a hippie in a hemp skirt and a hypocrite in leather high heels—she also has to cope with the threat of Seamus slowly slipping away and whether her own health will follow the same fate.
Enter Daphne and Percival—two dogs from dire circumstances who need help. As Rhyne and her boyfriend Chris say good-bye to Seamus, they soon find themselves rescuing a new generation of beagles (and welcoming not one, but two) into their home.
And this turns out to be the best medicine for everyone.
The Dogs Were Rescued (And So Was I) Teresa J. Rhyne October 7, 2014 ISBN: 9781492603382; $14.99; Trade Paper; Memoir
Teresa J. Rhyne is a work in progress (she knows that now more than ever). For the moment, she is a lawyer, writer, speaker, animal advocate, wine aficionado, and, for always, a breast cancer survivor. She lives in Southern California with Chris—her boyfriend, soul mate, and partner in all things—and their two mischievous beagles. And, yes, she’s still vegan. For more information, visit http://teresarhyne.com/1-2/
Daphne (a.k.a. Doodlebutt) was rescued from a kill shelter in Los Angeles. She was used by a backyard breeder, shot, and left on the streets. She also was diagnosed with cancer and had a mast cell tumor removed shortly after she was adopted.
Daphne is now cancer-free, slim, trim, and bossy as ever (just ask the neighbor dogs or beagle friends Maizy and Chloe). She channels Seamus with her devotion to food and is equally fond of toast.
Percival spent the first 18 months of his life confined to a steel cage—the victim of animal testing in a pharmaceutical lab. He never walked on grass, saw sunshine, or had a treat or a toy, until he was rescued by Beagle Freedom Project.
Percival is a happy, playful, little imp who loves life with a zeal that surprises everyone, given all he’s been through. He loves his squeaks, all people, other dogs, and the occasional treat, but all of that pales in comparison to his obsessive love of Chris.
A portion of the proceeds from the sale of print copies of The Dogs Were Rescued (And So Was I) in October 2014 will benefit Beagle Freedom Project.
The very beloved (and diabolically cute) Seamus passed away on March 19, 2013. His story has traveled the world as The Dog Lived (And So Will I) has been translated into six languages. His legacy lives on in helping and humoring others. He touched so many lives and was truly one of a kind. He will never, ever be forgotten.
Four-legged philosophers that show us every day is a gift.
REALLY IMPORTANT STUFF MY DOG HAS TAUGHT ME by Cynthia L. Copeland
Inspiring and heartwarming, REALLY IMPORTANT STUFF MY DOG HAS TAUGHT ME (Workman, September 2014, $12.95) is a collection of the timeless lessons we can learn from man’s best friend. It includes reminders to greet every morning with enthusiasm, to love completely and forgive easily, and to enjoy the ride—even if the destination is the dump, not the dog park. Whether it’s a therapy dog exemplifying a life of service to others, a senior dog celebrating her inner puppy, or a mutt reveling in his uniqueness, every dog has wisdom to impart. Remarkable photos capture dogs at ©Blickwinkel/Alamy work and at play, eating with gusto, protecting young charges, mourning lost friends, and celebrating ordinary moments.
Every page delivers a lesson that appeals as much to our hearts as to our minds:
Love is an action word.
©Rita Kochmarjova/fotolia It’s not about catching your tail; it’s about the fun of chasing it. Nap. Play. Eat. Repeat. There’s no such thing as bad weather. Greet loved ones with enthusiasm whether they’ve been gone ten minutes, or ten months. ©Jay Fleck/Moment Open/Getty Images Scratch where it itches, when it itches.
Bask in a sliver of sunshine. Anything can be a toy. Every meal is the best meal ever! ©JumpStart Studios/Iconica/Getty Images
We may teach our dogs to sit, stay, and roll over, but the “stuff” they teach us every day about love, loyalty, self-confidence, persistence, and optimism is of far greater value. # # # _______________________________________________________________________________________ _______________ About the Author—Cynthia Copeland is the author of more than 25 books, including The Diaper Diaries and Really Important Stuff My Kids Have Taught Me. Her work has been featured on Good Morning America, selected for Oprah’s “O List,” and recommended by Ann Landers. She currently volunteers as a dog foster parent, taking pups from overcrowded shelters until permanent homes can be found. She lives in Keene, New Hampshire. REALLY IMPORTANT STUFF MY DOG HAS TAUGHT ME By Cynthia Copeland • Workman Publishing ISBN: 9780761181798 / $12.95 / September 2014 / Paperback / 176 pages
ORLANDO, Fla. (September 9, 2014) – Prepare for a dose of shock and “awwww” as Ripley Publishing’s new book Reality Shock! is now on sale. With all new content Reality Shock! is a mix of “can’t bear to look, but can’t look away” stories, people, facts and photos. It’s just the ticket for teens and tweens, whether they’re reluctant readers or constant page-turners. Reality Shock! delivers strange stories, bizarre bits and twisted tales like only Ripley’s Believe It or Not! can. The content ranges from cute to creepy; what’s “great!” to one reader is just plain “gross!” to another – that’s part of the fun of Reality Shock! Sections in Reality Shock! include: • ANIMALS – meet real-life wolf-man Werner Freund, who lives with a pack of wolves and feeds them directly from his mouth • SPORTS – ﬁ nd out why the new British sport of bubble soccer is such a kick • BODY – you won’t believe how a 56-year-old grandma can function with 18-inch long ﬁ ngernails; she hasn’t cut them in 20 years! • FEATS – Canadian Lonnie Bissonnette is like no other BASE jumper – he hurls himself off bridges in his wheelchair • ART – learn about one photographer’s “Snot Shots” – they certainly are something to sneeze at • FOOD – people at one festival dine on octopus – while it’s still alive! Reality Shock! makes the perfect holiday or birthday gift for any kid. They’ll love pouring over the weird, bizarre and fun stories from around the world – and relish the opportunity to gross out parents and friends. Mom and dad will be happy to see their child with a book that they can’t put down, and will likely be unable to resist the urge to ﬂ ip through a few pages themselves.
RIPLEY’S BELIEVE IT OR NOT! REALITY SHOCK! IMPRINT: Ripley Publishing
PUBLICATION DATE: Sep 9, 2014
PRICE: $28.95 US / $32.95 Canada
TRIM SIZE: 9 x11¾ inches
Reality Shock! is available through all major booksellers. please visit: www.ripleybooks.com
LET THE TORNADO COME
By Rita Zoey Chin
Simon & Schuster | Hardcover | June 24, 2014 | $25.00
“[A] lyrical debut … Chin deftly creates the palimpsest of [her] stories, past and present, in this candid, graceful testimony to remarkable resilience.” —Kirkus Reviews
“At the heart of this brave, beautiful memoir is an extraordinary tale of hard-earned compassion and love. Despite all odds, some of the most broken down souls, human and animal alike, can not only heal but can take wing and soar. Rita Zoey Chin offers us her unforgettable story with richly textured, luminous prose—I fell in love with her book from the very first line.”
—Mira Bartók, bestselling author of The Memory Palace
"Unbearably beautiful and unflinching, Rita Zoey Chin’s Let the Tornado Come is a brilliant portrait of a life skirting the precipice. She has captured masterfully the maelstrom of her years as a runaway, a wife, a sister, a rider, a searcher. But what shines, page after page, is her resilience, in how every day is built. This is a story full of lightning—sudden, intimate, radiant."
—Paul Yoon, bestselling author of Snow Hunters
“Let the Tornado Come is as riveting as it sounds. In lyrical yet clear-eyed prose, with a gentleness and humility that belie a fierce inner strength, Rita Zoey Chin illuminates the debilitating consequences of childhood abuse and her search for its antidote. At once heartbreaking and heartening, compassionate and wise, Let the Tornado Come is a story about love—its unmatched enormity, its curative power, its reverberating force that, though not dissimilar to the tremors of fear in our heart, can carry us to a place where we are cherished, and in turn, learn to cherish the life in our care.”
—Vaddey Ratner, bestselling author of In the Shadow of the Banyan
Rita Zoey Chin was born into a world that roared: a Queens apartment near JFK Airport where the power of the planes that rattled the walls was matched only by the power of her neglectful parents whose violence and out-of-control nature left her with no choice but to run away. Today, Rita is no longer a girl without a home but instead a successful writer and the wife of a promising surgeon. How did she go from hitting rock-bottom to creating a meaningful life for herself? In LET THE TORNADO COME: A Memoir (Simon & Schuster; Hardcover; June 24, 2014; $25.00), Rita candidly shares how she found happiness after her tumultuous upbringing, the debilitating panic attacks that threatened to take it all away in her thirties, and the beacon of light that reassured her that she’d survive once more: her horse, Claret.
Rita first ran at age eleven. In the years that followed, where she was headed wasn’t something she knew until she was already on the move: sometimes a friend’s house, sometimes a hidden stairwell off an alleyway, sometimes strangers’ beds. By thirteen, she was out of the house for good and soon found herself a ward of the court, being sent from one institution to another and running away from most, back to the streets and an adult world of drugs and sex that threatened to consume her. At nineteen, after a three-month-long cocaine addiction, she finally hit rock bottom. Realizing she had to turn her life around or else, she called upon one of her few cherished childhood memories: a herd of horses galloping across a field, beautiful and free. The sound of their hooves hitting the ground never left her and came to represent hope as she began piecing her life back together; the horses comforted her the same way they did whenever her mother kicked her out of the house or her father raised his hand, even during those long, crazy nights spend on the run. Little did she know then just how important her connection with horses would be in the years to come.
Fast-forward just over a decade, and Chin is no longer a girl without a home but instead a prize-winning poet and happily married; she loves her life and is proud of what she’s accomplished since her years as a runaway. Without any warning, however, her life is turned upside-down when she is besieged by terrifying panic attacks that worsen with every passing moment. Within weeks, she is incapacitated with fear—literally afraid of her own shadow. Realizing her hard-won happiness is in jeopardy if she doesn’t seek help, she turns to a variety of treatments to help ease her anxiety. Eventually, she finds an emotional pillar in Norm, the first therapist to reassure her that the events of her childhood were not her fault.As he helps her through her panic attacks in a way no conventional therapy or doctor (including her husband) had prior, Rita simultaneously finds solace in an unexpected friendship with another troubled soul: a spirited, endearing horse named Claret. “The first time I saw Claret, I fell in love,” she fondly remembers. Taking into account her past experiences and calling upon all she had learned about anxiety from Norm, Rita formed a bond with the rebellious, agitated Claret that those around her thought impossible. “In the end, we saved each other,” she says.
A riveting memoir that reads like a novel, in LET THE TORNADO COME Rita shares how she applied the hard lessons learned during her tumultuous childhood and adolescence to save the beautiful life she created for herself in adulthood with prose so vivid and raw they could only be written by a true survivor.
About the Author
Rita Zoey Chin’s writing has appeared in Tin House, Guernica, The Rumpus, Freerange Nonfiction, and elsewhere. She received her MFA from the University of Maryland and now lives in Boston with her husband, where she teaches at Grub Street, mentors teenage girls, and rides her mischievous horse, Claret.
About the Book
LET THE TORNADO COME: A Memoir
By Rita Zoey Chin
Published by Simon & Schuster
Publication Date: June 24, 2014
ISBN: 9781476734866 | E-Book ISBN: 9781476734880