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Tuesday, May 4, 2021

SQUEALER by Christopher Calcara - Book Tour - Guest Post - PLUS BONUS EXTRA Guest Post!!! - Giveaway - Enter Daily!


Hi, lovelies!!  It gives me great pleasure today to host Christopher Calcara and his new book, “SQUEALER,” here on FAB!!  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 $10 Amazon or Barnes and Noble Gift Card!!  Also, come back daily to interact with Christopher and to increase your chances of winning!!

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

Squealer

by Christopher Calcara

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GENRE: Crime Thriller/LGBT

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BLURB:

With tongue-in-cheek and dark overtones, Squealer examines the life of an impressionable Midwestern Catholic Italian choirboy who grows into a mob-worthy assassin in order to avenge high school nemeses from his past.

As ‘Pete Casanova’ takes us on a journey through the heart-land, his early ethnic and religious experiences expose the motivations for his deadly actions. We come to realize why, for him, it’s never too late to seek revenge.

Squealer addresses topics of physical, mental, emotional, and sexual abuse inflicted on students by their teachers and religious authorities. It deals with the difficult subjects of homophobia, prejudice and bullying, but with wit … and suspense!

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EXCERPT ONE:

Word had it that the mob boss controlled every rotten illegal operation between our quiet hamlet on the Missouri River and rough and ready Chicago to the east. Unlawful pursuits included prostitution, gambling (before it was legalized on riverboats), drugs, and booze (legal but susceptible to monopoly). No telling how many enemies he offed, or had offed.

I heard “the family” stuck their black hands in all the local gay bars, typical of controlling interests at the time. If you didn’t play hardball with them, you didn’t play at all. An adversary was typically dispatched in one of two ways: either their livelihood was lost to a mystifying incendiary fire or, if particularly scorned, they could be found dead, hogtied like a sausage in the trunk of their car, which was dumped at the airport.

On our journey across the river to Civella’s, Georgio would tell me how honorable a human being this mobster was, how generous a friend to his family the man had been. Having set up Georgio’s father in business, they were eternally and intractably indebted.

I was told of a secret tunnel in Civella’s basement that led across the street to the house of his brother, Carl “Cork” Civella. Georgio said that whenever the fuzz or the Feds visited Nick’s home, he’d have his punks run contraband through the underground to the safer surroundings at Cork’s. I suspected the reverse was pulled off if they hit up Cork. (Years later, I learned this hidden labyrinth never existed. With the law firmly in Nick’s pocket, there was no need for it. The fabled tunnel under my grandfather’s store probably never existed either, although I don’t doubt there was an excavator in our family.)

For all the buzz, I was afraid of the old man before I ever laid eyes on him. I pictured a menacing Marlon Brando type entangled in the tomato vines, brokering international power deals and assassinating those who crossed him with silencers in restaurant bathrooms.

We were let into the fortress by a tough disagreeable understudy who was plainly more than a butler or manservant. He had the bulk of a bodyguard, and I’m sure he was padded with impenetrable long underwear. Everything about this man said he was prepared to take a slug for somebody. Even his eyes seemed to say, ‘Do not fuck with me!’

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GUEST POST:

Describe Your Book Cover and How it Came About:

 

When I learned my novel would be printed in paperback, I obsessed about how important it was to get the cover right. So many options, too little time. Since major themes in the book are bullying by school peers and multiple forms of abuse by teachers (and in the case of SQUEALER, religious faculty), there had to be an illustration of a Catholic teaching Brother. With the primary objects of the abuse being both the protagonist and an antagonist, and both being high school students—young, vulnerable, indoctrinated Catholic students—an illustration of a young boy was imperative.

Before my publisher, Wallace Publishing, pitched any cover ideas to me, I found two graphics online that appealed to me. I designed a prototype with the overpowering teacher (in black on a white background to suggest his malevolence) occupying the largest portion of the front cover. His black robe and clerical white collar had to show he was a teaching cleric and not a priest. It’s a very subtle distinction and even few Catholics might recognize it.

Within the teacher’s black silhouette, I placed the white silhouette of the boy in a prayerful stance, looking upward toward the Brother to suggest innocence and misplaced adoration. Along with the boy, the book’s title would be superimposed in white over the Brother’s robe, with my author name in red beneath it. The subtitle of the novel is “Growing up Gay the Catholic Italian Way” and I wanted to somehow include the Italian element, so I suggested it be in green to mimic the Italian tricolor. Fortunately, Wallace Publishing nixed that idea and I’m glad they did; it would have been a hackneyed concession. So the subtitle too would be in red type, making for a rather stark cover in only three colors—red, white and black—but which highlight the sometimes grave nature of the book.

As to the back cover, where the blurb appears, it was important to me that the humor in the novel be featured there to contrast with the seriousness of the front cover. A high school friend contributed the old photo of the freshman me cheekily impersonating a Brother in front of a large portrait of the patron saint of our school’s Brotherhood. The banner beneath the kneeling saint reads “Suffer little children...” It was perfect. I decided that my senior picture beside it would further illustrate a wiser student after four years of an especially difficult educational experience.

Wallace Publishing approved my visual interpretation and put all the elements together in a most professional way that completely satisfied me and serves to further tell the multi-layered story of SQUEALER.

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BONUS GUEST POST!!!:

Everyone Loves a Hero!  Tell Us All About This Genuine Character and the Inspiration Behind Their Development:

The character Sal in SQUEALER is the brother of the protagonist. He appears to play a rather minor role but without Sal, off whom all the other characters play, the story would not be as complex as it is.

Early in the novel, Sal is as innocent as Luca, the protagonist. They are three years apart but have the same Catholic educations from the same elementary and secondary schools. Both did their time as cherubic altar- and choirboys, serving their faith at Masses assisting the parish priests, and on the bleachers of the church organ lofts.

It is in high school where their paths diverge. Though they come from a middle class Italian family and are raised with Christian values, Sal becomes a petty thief—small thefts from jobs initially. When he meets antagonist Leonard, in the same high school class as Luca, their crimes become more sophisticated and punishable.

Inspiration for the character derived from my relationship with my own brother, IF his life had taken a negative turn. In the final analysis, I know that I would still love him. With all the vitriol and vengeance polluting the novel, I also wanted to portray a sweet, unconditional love.

It’s clear that everyone in the novel loves and admires Sal, in spite of his failings. Sal is Luca’s big brother to whom he looks for guidance as an example, grows in his imposing shadow. For sister Nickie, Sal can do no wrong. Even for their parents, Sal is forgiven everything, blameless. To Leonard, Sal is more than an accomplice; he’s the brother that orphan Leonard never had.

Sal and Leonard associate themselves with the Kansas City mob, acting as go-betweens on Las Vegas casino skims. (Place is important in the novel because the Italian Mafia was very active in KC, where the characters of the novel live.) Sal may be the older of the two, but Leonard is the true world-weary and streetwise ringleader.

Ultimately, Leonard turns on Sal and he goes to prison. It was heartwarming to write two jail scenes for Sal, one at which only Luca is present and the other where both Luca and Nickie visit their brother behind bars. These scenes in particular portray Sal as the good, loving, forgiving person he is.

Sal is the hero of SQUEALER. While he commits many sins and crimes, of all the bad actors in the book, he alone atones, genuinely absolves his detractors, and pays the price willingly. Sal is the only one who doesn’t squeal on anybody.

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AUTHOR BIO:

After earning a degree in Journalism from the University of Missouri School of Journalism, Calcara created marketing campaigns for businesses and institutions featured in print and broadcast media.

He writes fiction and semi-fiction, short stories, memoirs, plays, novels, and screenplays. He has collaborated with composers to write plays with musical scores. Joan is one such musical play that lyrically exposes the soul of Jeanne d’Arc—Joan of Arc.

Calcara was the only Charleston writer to win the 2011 South Carolina Arts Commission Fiction Project. His short stories have been published by numerous literary journals. He has lived in the South, Southwest and Southeast, and currently writes from the Midwest.

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CONNECT WITH CHRISTOPHER:

Website:

https://chrisjcalcara.wixsite.com/website

Email:

chrisjcalcara@gmail.com

Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/christopher.caruso.14

Twitter:

http://www.twitter.com/CJCalcara

YouTube:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCNAGN_S_-Vr2s0JIn5nlYWw

Goodreads Author Page:

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/21162911.Christopher_Calcara

Goodreads Book Page:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/57388832-squealer

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BOOK BUY LINKS:

Amazon US Kindle eBook:

https://amzn.to/3tk9gk6

Amazon US Paperback:

https://amzn.to/3nMxUsD

Amazon UK Kindle eBook:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Squealer-Growing-Gay-Catholic-Italian-ebook/dp/B08TB6HTV8

Amazon UK Paperback:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Squealer-Growing-Gay-Catholic-Italian/dp/B08VRMMXST

The Book Depository Paperback:

https://www.bookdepository.com/Squealer-Christopher-Calcara/9798703393741

BAM! Books-A-Million Paperback:

https://www.booksamillion.com/product/A16542063521

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GIVEAWAY INFO:

Christopher Calcara will be awarding a $10 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via Rafflecopter during the tour.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

**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.

9 comments:

  1. Christopher ~ 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! :)

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  2. Thank you for hosting me, Ally. You have a beautiful site--so colorful and inviting. I'm honored to be here.

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  3. I'm glad you enjoyed it, Rita. It's just one small part of a complex story. I think you'd enjoy the novel.

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  4. I love the excerpt and the cover.

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    1. Glad you enjoyed the excerpt and the cover, Sherry. Thank you.

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