Where to Find Kilee Brookbank This Fall

Kilee Brookbank, the inspiring burn survivor behind the story of Beautiful Scars: A Life Redefined, has a busy fall lineup of signings and appearances in the Greater Cincinnati area.

While Kilee finishes her third semester at Xavier University, here’s when and where you can meet her and get a signed copy of her award-winning book:

Want more on Kilee? Learn about her charitable foundation at KileeGivesBack.org and visit her personal website at KileeBrookbank.com.

And stay tuned to this website to find out about Kilee’s upcoming appearance on a nationally syndicated TV program! 

Join Five KiCam Authors at ‘Brews and Books’

Cincinnati-area book lovers, come meet KiCam authors Kilee Brookbank, Laura Dewire, Danielle and Christopher Jones, and Keith Maginn from 3-7 p.m. Sunday, November 26, at West Side Brewing in Westwood.

The inaugural “Brews and Books” event also will feature several other local authors and include everything from children’s books, sports books, nonfiction, and holiday books.

This is a great opportunity to purchase some unique holiday gifts: books signed with personal messages from the authors!

“Brews and Books” is a family-friendly event, as well. Of course there will be great local beer, but there also will be plenty of root beer, soft drinks, and food for guests of all ages.

We look forward to seeing you, and we thank you for supporting local businesses and authors!

Q&A with ‘Salvation on Death Row’ Author John T. Thorngren

John T. Thorngren’s life has been one of varied experiences that have taken him from Paris, France, to the oil fields of Texas. He’s manufactured car-wash soap, owned a retail store, operated a chemical plant, and programmed computers. He’s the author of a book about probability and statistics and a songwriter of Southern Gospel.

So maybe it’s only fitting that an unexpected path led him to tell the story of a woman condemned to die on Texas’s Death Row, now hoping for parole in 2019. The twists and turns of his life have led Thorngren to find the value in every human soul, regardless of the journey that soul has taken.

This is the background behind Salvation on Death Row: The Pamela Perillo Story.

How did you come to know Pamela Perillo’s story, and what made you decide hers was a story you wanted to write?

I discovered an old friend was on Death Row in another state. Drugs were the root cause. As an effort to bring attention to his case, I decided to write a fiction novel about a woman falsely accused and condemned in Texas. Needing realism, by chance, I contacted Pamela Perillo, currently incarcerated in Gainesville. Pamela is a private person and had never allowed anyone to tell her story. We found we had a spiritual match and so began this effort.

Tell us about the process. How long did it take you to research the many documents and legal proceedings you cite, and how did you work with Pamela to bring her voice to the project?

Pamela and I worked on this project from 2010 through 2017.  This involved over fifty telephone conversations, 150 letters, and countless hours of research.

Did you ever find yourself surprised or challenged by what you learned as you wrote the book?

Yes, very much surprised. I was surprised about how political the causes for and against the death penalty have become. I was extremely surprised about the Frances Newman case. She personified the worst fear of those against the death penalty—the execution of the innocent. I and many others believe she was unjustly convicted and condemned.

How did this project change or affect your beliefs about the criminal justice system and, specifically, capital punishment?

I once believed that the criminal justice system and capital www.casino-spiele-kostenlos.org punishment were fair and equitable—a sort of Pollyanna viewpoint. Now, I believe that there are dark undercurrents to the contrary, and that once you are convicted and condemned, the justice system behaves like the proverbial snapping turtle that will not let loose till it thunders, regardless of evidence to the contrary. Slowly, I see our country becoming more compassionate regarding the death penalty, and I am encouraged.

Can you tell us about Patriot PAWS and why you chose that organization to benefit from the proceeds of Salvation on Death Row?

Patriot Paws was chosen on behalf of Pamela’s efforts to train service dogs. As noted in the book, Pamela’s encounters with animals throughout a difficult childhood shaped her talent in what she is doing now. She and her fellow trainers have made many service dogs available without cost to disabled American veterans and others with mobile disabilities and post-traumatic stress symptoms. Pamela plans to continue this effort after she is released. Certainly, any monies from my involvement should go to Patriot Paws, as neither Pamela nor I began this effort for profit. There’s a beautiful video describing Patriot Paws through the eyes of Texas Country Reporter; Pamela is in several scenes.

How does your own experience, as the survivor of three heart attacks and two heart surgeries, influence your thinking about the value of all people’s lives?

I am sure everyone who has had their chest cracked open like a crab will tell you how much bluer the sky looks. But I believe everyone, if they look back on their life with discerning eyes, regardless of their health, prosperity, or misery, must conclude that they were put here for a purpose, that every life is precious and none worth taking.

What do you hope readers take away from learning Pamela’s story?

I would answer this with a short story from a personal experience. Years past, I used to write my own Christmas cards, a poem or a two-paragraph vignette. These went out not only to family and friends but to business contacts, many of whom I had never met. For several years there were no comments—good or bad. One afternoon, one of these business contacts, whom I did not know, telephoned and said the card had made his Christmas. One rarely knows what we do that benefits others, but when we do—even for just one—we leap with joy. So if the story of Pamela’s life helps but one soul, then our effort was well worth the undertaking.

Meet Our Authors at These Upcoming Fall Events

Want to connect with one of our incredible authors? Here’s where to find them this fall:

Kilee Brookbank and Lori Highlander, “Beautiful Scars: A Life Redefined”

  • 6 p.m. Friday, Sept. 29, Brown County (Ohio) Fair

 

Sharon Leder, “The Fix”

  • 7 p.m. Sept. 25, Brewster (Mass.) Book Club
  • 2 p.m. Oct. 15, UMass Dartmouth Panel Presentation, Claire T. Carney Library
  • 6 p.m. Oct. 18, Panel Discussion, Nauset Regional Middle School, Orleans (Mass.)
  • 10:30 a.m. Oct. 22, Book Brunch, United Synagogue of Hoboken (N.J.)
  • Dec. 1 and Dec. 8, Simmons College (Boston), class presentations on “Alcohol, Drugs, and Social Work Practice”

Keith Maginn, “(Extra)Ordinary” series

  • 4-7 p.m. Oct. 22, Book Launch, West Side Brewing, Cincinnati
  • 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Oct. 28, Books by the Banks, Cincinnati
  • 1 p.m. Nov. 4, Books from Higher Ground Author Fair, The Summit Church magic-mirror-online (Springfield, Ohio)

Stop by and say hello to our writers!

The Beauty of Diversity

Freedigitalphotos.net/panuruangjan

Freedigitalphotos.net/panuruangjan

One of the core beliefs behind our mission at KiCam Projects is that everyone has a great story to tell. (Our forthcoming book, (Extra)Ordinary: Inspirational Stories of Everyday People, is a testament to that!)

And when we say “everyone,” we truly mean “everyone.” As we round out plans for our first 18 months of publishing, we have authors and collaborators who are men and women; who range from grade-school age to the retirement years; who are white, black, and Latina; who are married and single; who live all across the United States, as well as in Canada; and who represent a variety of faith traditions and spiritual beliefs.

We write about this not to pat ourselves on the back, but because the diversity of our authors simply underscores that every single human being has something important to say. Each story is different, entirely unique, and worth sharing. A great story can be found in rural Ohio or in a large East Coast city. The trick is to look for it.

The news of late, both in the United States and around the world, has been terribly discouraging. That’s why we feel it’s more important than ever to celebrate stories of survival and recovery, to highlight strength, courage, and the will to overcome the seemingly insurmountable.

We believe that when you look for the positive in the world, you usually find it. And the best part is, you can find it in everyone, regardless of what he or she looks like or where he or she lives.

The beauty of diversity is that each of us is part of it. We’re each a thread in the timeless fabric of humanity; no one is exactly like any other individual.

Our differences, thankfully, are the very things that can unite us, and KiCam Projects is honored to play even a small part in bringing people together and honoring diversity.

5 Reasons Why Indies Rock

freedigitalphotos.net/tigger11th

freedigitalphotos.net/tigger11th

We know authors have a lot of choices when it comes to sharing their work—everything from hiring an agent and pursuing a large house, to hybrid publishing or self-publishing. Figuring out the best course can be confusing, and information can be difficult to come by.

Reaching out to a relatively small, independent publisher has its own list of advantages. And although what is right for one author might not meet the goals and needs of another, we think there’s a lot to like about working with an indie. Take a look:

1. Marketing and Publicity Support

One way a quality indie or hybrid publisher will distinguish itself is in its ability to market and promote a book. As one self-published author told us, “I thought writing the book would be the hard part. I was wrong.” Indeed, we’ve used the analogy before: Writing a book is like having a baby. Once the baby is born, the real work begins! With books, the biggest obstacles are found in attracting media attention and converting that coverage into sales. Though it’s certainly not impossible for a self-published author to do that, the road is easier when an author walks it with a publisher.

2. Smaller = Nimbler

Independent houses can respond to changes rapidly and follow trends easily. We’re not bound by layers of procedures and policies that dictate what we do and how we do it. KiCam, specifically, is a business founded on family that wants to tell personal stories. So we treat people as—wait for it!—people. Each project is unique, and so is its creator. We respect, treasure and honor that in the way we work with each author and each book.

3. We’re Open to Your Ideas

We know we don’t know everything. And although we bring decades of experience to the table, we choose to work with authors we know can teach us some things, whether it’s about publishing, publicity, marketing or life in general. We’re constantly learning, and we think that’s not only a good thing, but one of the best things about doing what we do.

4. We’re Non-traditional, by Design

Recently an author wrote to us with a submission she said she was sure many publishers wouldn’t consider. It was her memoir, as told in rhymed verse. The work was moving and meaningful, and it was exactly the kind of story we want to bring to life and help readers discover. Books might be black and white, but what connects with people’s hearts is almost never that simple or obvious.

5. We Take Risks

Frankly, once you’ve started a publishing company from scratch, all the risks that come after that pale by comparison! As one of our mentors once said, “If it doesn’t scare the heck out of you, it’s not worth doing.” So here we are.

If you’re an author looking for a home for your work, please visit our submissions page. We love to hear from writers who believe in our mission—to change the world, one great story at a time—and who have inspiring stories of survival and recovery to share.

Out of High School, Ready for the Future

Kilee at kindergarten graduation and on her last day of high school

Kilee at kindergarten graduation and on her last day of high school

I finally have graduated high school! The day I have looked forward to for many years is finally over, and I am not sure how to feel about it now that it has come and gone. Ever since I was a freshman seeing all the seniors and how much they looked forward to leaving high school for good, I have wanted the same thing. I have wanted to get out of this small town and move on to someplace bigger and better. I finally am at that point in my life, and I have no idea how I feel about it.

The graduation ceremony was great. All I could think about through the whole thing was, “Will I ever see these people again?” and, “Wow, I can’t believe I’m never coming back here.” Of course I know I will see the people who are my closest friends, but the ones I saw every day and just might not have been as close with, I know I probably won’t see again. I grew up with those people and was so used to seeing them and talking to them every day; now I have to get used to a whole new crowd. I was so comfortable with them. We made each other who we are today. They each helped me through the toughest time of my life, and for that I am forever grateful to them. It’s crazy to think I will never have to go back to school there. It’s one of the craziest feelings, but it’s also the best feeling ever. To know I have accomplished this is a great feeling.

13322043_10154258710948156_8154274529613544697_nEveryone always tells you when you’re young that you should never rush through life because it goes by so fast. No one ever listens when we hear those words; we normally do just the opposite. Now that I’m completely finished with high school, I’m starting to see where people are coming from when they say that. It doesn’t feel like very long ago that I was walking into my first day of high school. It’s crazy how fast time flew by, and in a way I wish it wouldn’t have.

My advice for anyone in high school would be this: Don’t rush through it. I know everyone says this, but it is so true. Senior year isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. It’s very stressful and comes with so much pressure. One day you’ll be a scared freshman, and the next you’ll be a stressed-out senior with what feels like a million decisions to make. High school might feel like the worst time of your life, but make the best out of it. You only get to go once in your life. Most importantly, have fun, try your best, and listen to people when they say to never rush through life.

I am so ready to start fresh in the fall, but I am also very nervous. I won’t have the same people around, or the same anything. I will have to get used to a whole new way of life, and I am so ready for it. I can’t wait to start at Xavier. It will be a completely new start, and I am so excited for it.

The Power of the Personal Touch

FreeDigitalPhotos.net/worradmu

FreeDigitalPhotos.net/worradmu

How often do you send an email or leave a voice mail and wonder if it’s been received or if it’s been lost in the vast blackness of the digital universe?

It seems that even with all the communication methods at our disposal, it can be harder than ever to get a response when we reach out to someone.

As an independent publisher, we find ourselves on both sides of that fence. Because we’re a small company, it often requires persistence to get through to distributors, media outlets, agents and other key industry members. So we chip away, making the right contacts and finding the best ways to break down the barriers between us and where we want to be.

On the flip side, we receive inquiries almost daily from ambitious writers who want to submit their work to us or learn more about who we are and what we do. We understand what it takes to reach out; there’s a vulnerability required to share one’s work and put hopes and dreams on the line.

That’s why we make a point of following up with every serious inquiry and letting people know their voices have been heard. It’s not an automated response. An actual human reads and writes all our emails!

It’s gratifying when people compliment us for responding quickly or, in some cases, for responding at all. It’s also a reminder of the power of the personal touch. Our robotic world has conditioned us to expect to be little more than a number, but we know we can do better. And we believe that anyone who makes the effort to reach out to us personally deserves the same consideration.

It takes a little extra time, sure. But no one ever said changing the world would be a quick, easy job!

Be the Badger

Photo credit: Tatterdemalion! via Foter.com / CC BY-NC-ND

Photo credit: Tatterdemalion! via Foter.com / CC BY-NC-ND

A recent lunch with a friend and publishing colleague has surfaced a new mantra: “Be the badger.”

My friend, Ericka, has spent more than 20 years in publishing, working on projects of all shapes and sizes, including editing books for KiCam. She has an amazing way of putting things into perspective and bringing out the best in other people, both in their writing and in their daily lives.

I was telling Ericka about some of the challenges KiCam faces as a new, independent publisher, about some of the frustrating aspects of distribution and the difficulty in getting the heavy hitters to take you seriously (and take your calls).

Ericka quickly flipped the situation on its head, extolling KiCam’s mission, the uniqueness of our purpose and passion, and the flexibility of our mixed traditional/print-on-demand distribution method. She reminded me of all the reasons a writer would want to work with us (blog post on that coming soon!) and helped me see that being new and independent is actually a great thing during this era of publishing.

Everything is changing, so why shouldn’t we help drive that change? 

I felt re-energized and ready to take on the world! That’s when Ericka brought up the badger, the scrappy little animal that just doesn’t care. It works, it perseveres, it never gives up. It’s perfectly delighted to be a badger; it’s not trying to be, say, a rhinoceros. It does its thing, and it does it well. “Be small, but think and act big,” Ericka says.

And so I must issue my pre-emptive apology to every media member, book blurber, interviewer, reviewer and potential partner out there in the world: I’m going to call you. And email you. And probably call you and email you again. Because it’s my job to be the badger for the good of KiCam Projects and our family of authors and filmmakers.

To those of you reading this post, I encourage you to be badgers, as well. If you’re an author, keep going after us publishers until the right one hears your voice! If you’re a fellow publisher, keep fighting the good fight. If you’re a reader and book lover, keep carrying the flag for the little guys, even as you enjoy the great work coming out of the major houses.

Be the badger you were meant to be! And never stop thinking, and acting, big.