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Friday, July 24, 2020

The Road to Delano by John DeSimone - Book Tour - Guest Post - Giveaway - Enter Daily!

Hi, lovelies!  It gives me great pleasure today to host John DeSimone and his new book, “The Road to Delano”!  For other stops on his Goddess Fish Promotions Book Tour, please click on the banner above or any of the images in this post.

Be sure to make it to the end of this post to enter to win a Signed Copy of the featured book, “The Road to Delano”!!  Also, come back daily to interact with John and to increase your chances of winning!

Thanks for stopping by!  Wishing you lots of luck in this fabulous giveaway!

Please note that this giveaway is only available to US residents.  Sorry INTL – please check out other giveaways on this blog.

The Road to Delano
by John DeSimone


GENRE: Historical Fiction



It’s 1968, and a strike by field workers in the grape fields has ripped an otherwise quiet central California town down the middle. Jack Duncan is a Delano high school senior who is on his way to earning a baseball scholarship, hoping to escape the turmoil infesting his town. His mother has kept from him the real cause of his father’s death, who was a prominent grower. But when an old friend hands Jack evidence indicating his father was murdered, he is compelled to dig deeper. This throws him and his best friend and teammate, Adrian Sanchez, whose father is a striking field worker, into the labor conflict led by Cesar Chavez. Road to Delano is the path Jack and Adrian must take to find their strength, their duty, and their destiny.




The voices from the fields woke Jack early on Saturday. The musky odor of grapes sifted into his bedroom even though his closed window was shut to the morning cold. He pulled back the drape and row upon row of trellised vines emerged from the gauzy twilight. They stretched to the horizon on three sides of his house. He thrust the window up and leaned out, and a biting wind chilled his face. Thick dark clouds filled the sky, and the voices of workers trimming and bundling echoed in the morning stillness. In these quiet moments, he imagined the land calling to him. Did it matter anymore that all of it was gone?

“Jack, you up?” his mother called from downstairs.

Off to the east, a red bruise ran across the rugged spine of the Sierra peaks. The air heavy with moisture, it was time to get on the road before a storm rolled in.

Jack slipped into his jeans and plaid shirt, tall and sinewy, hardened from work and sports. Ella, his girlfriend, always told him he never fought his clothes like some guys; they moved with him. He didn’t know what to say when she said things like that. He brushed back his blond crew cut and stooped to tie his boots, then he snatched his sheepskin coat off the hook by the door. His mother called again.

The day was already half gone from the tone of her voice.

In the kitchen, he grabbed a piece of toast, slurped some coffee, and bolted outside.

He mounted the cab of his father’s dirt-splattered combine parked by the rickety porch of the Victorian, now tired and sagging. Jack fired it up and the engine idled under his throttle foot. The strong pulses surprised him after all those years of sitting idle. He revved it up, ready to make its last run into Delano.

The cab of the boxy, once-bright yellow combine, now the peeling paint, was pocked with rust, perched over the rotary thresher blade in front, raised for road travel. The square separation box that stripped the stalks of their grain pods hunched behind him. Most of the gauges worked—fuel, oil, temp, volts. He flicked on the headlights in the gray morning, two above on the cab’s roof and two below, illuminating the rusting threshing blade.



Everyone loves a hero! Tell us all about this genuine character and the inspiration behind their development.

Recently, I read a story of an ex-football player who sprinted across a parking lot to catch a child dropped out of a fourth-floor window. The apartment building was engulfed in flames, and the desperate mother couldn't escape. Out of other options, she dropped her child out the window, hoping someone would save him. And that someone was an ex-marine and a college receiver. He snared the child on a flat-out run. He was an ordinary person who rose to the moment in a heroic act. In my estimation, he's an everyday hero.

Look, I enjoy a superman or batman movie like most folks, but heroic exploits are expected of them. If they don't do something utterly dramatic, I'm bored. But it's the everyday heroes, those who we have no expectations of going beyond what they do day in and day out, who stir my imagination. The lunch pail guy who snares a plunging child out of the air. The waitress who performs the Heimlich on a choking patron.

Our neighborhoods are filled with quiet heroes if we looked around. So is our culture at large. Where does the courage to act in the moment come from when others stand by and watch? That's what intrigues me about the everyday hero.

It was nearly a decade ago I read a series of essays on Civil Disobedience that included a biography of Cesar Chavez. I knew of him at the time, but I didn't know what he had accomplished. In reading about his life, I was impressed by how he used nonviolent action. He identified with the poorest of the poor in California's grape fields and led them on a successful mission to improve their wages and working conditions. He did it through the practice of nonviolence. Chavez had an eighth-grade education, he was a devout Catholic, and he had the gift and experience of organizing people to stand up for their rights. These fieldworkers were Americans, but they were not treated like other Americans in their workplaces. Chavez just wanted fairness and justice for the farmworkers. He refused to stand by and watch his fellow farmworkers treated like chattel. So he learned what to do and how to do it, and he acted.

What made him heroic in building a farmworkers union? He never tore down his community to get what he wanted. He never led a riot. He only wanted mutual success--for his union members and the growers. They needed each other.

It seemed so simple. But it wasn't. Farmworkers had been agitating for better wages and working conditions in the Central Valley for most of the twentieth century to no avail. That is until Chavez came along and followed the example of Gandhi and others to use nonviolence as an organizing principle in a labor struggle.

No one had ever done that before.

That's what inspired me to write a story set in the grape fields that surround the Ag town of Delano, California. It's a hot place in the summer and freezing in winter—the perfect climate to grow delicious table grapes. And I wondered what the kids in high school thought of his stand on nonviolence. The strike split the town down the middle, and kids tend to take sides. I had two characters in mind. One the son of a grower, the other the son of a farmworker. So I asked myself, "What side were these characters on?"

And that's the story of the Road to Delano. Two high school students who must confront their prejudices, their inclinations, and their plans.

The Road to Delano is the path Jack and Adrian must take to find their strength, their duty, and their destinies.

It's a literal road, yes. But it is also a path of moral choices that shape their futures. I often wonder, what would I have done in similar circumstances? What would you have done?

I hope you enjoy reading the Road to Delano.



John DeSimone is a novelist, memoirist, and editor. He’s co-authored bestselling The Broken Circle: A memoir of escaping Afghanistan, and others. He taught writing as an adjunct professor at Biola University and has worked as a freelance editor and writer for nearly twenty years. His current release, a historical novel, The Road to Delano, is a coming of age novel set during the Delano grape strike led by Cesar Chavez. BookSirens said, “It’s more than a little Steinbeck, in a good way….” He lives in Claremont, Ca, and can be found on Goodreads and at www.johndesimone.com.









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John will be awarding a signed copy of “The Road Delano,” (US Only) to a randomly drawn winner via Rafflecopter during the tour.

**This post contains affiliate links and if clicked and a purchase is made, I may receive a small commission to help support this blog.  This does not cost you anything, it just helps pay for all those awesome giveaways on here.**

This contest is sponsored by a third party. Fabulous and Brunette is a registered host of Goddess Fish Promotions.  Prizes are given away by the sponsors and not Fabulous and Brunette. The featured author and Goddess Fish Promotions are solely responsible for the giveaway prize.


  1. John ~ Good morning! Welcome to FAB! It is so great to have you here! Congrats on your new book and good luck on the book tour! :)