The Fairness of Beasts is Published!

Today is the day!

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We are thrilled to announce that Book III in the Widow Walk Saga by Gar LaSalle is now live on Amazon. We have been working hard with Gar for months to get everything ready, and it’s exciting to see the book go out into the world.

Click here to order The Fairness of Beasts on Amazon for yourself

Here is the official book description:

It is 1862. A massive Union army is invading the verdant peninsula of Virginia to take Richmond and end the Civil war. In the rumble of this conflict, a young woman’s wounded lover stands in harm’s way.

To rescue him, she must risk everything she holds dear and cross enemy lines. The fate of her young family hangs in the balance, as does that of the entire nation. The risk she takes turns out to test her heart beyond anything she could have imagined.

Gar and his team from Heyou Media, the Seattle new media company founded by Tom Skerritt that optioned Widow Walk, are currently out on Whidbey Island (off the coast of Seattle) filming scenes for the early stages of production. 

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Whidbey is the real-life location where the events that inspired the first book, Widow Walk, took place. Tom Skerritt and his team believe the saga has the potential to become a TV or cable series, and Tom has said in his book review that the Widow Walk Saga is like “Game of Thrones…but a plausible version (without the dragons).”

Pre-Order The Fairness of Beasts and Grab Your Pre-Order Bundle!

We are thrilled to announce that pre-orders for The Fairness of Beasts, Book III of The Widow Walk Saga, are open from October 3 - October 23.

CLICK HERE TO SEE REVIEWS & LEARN MORE ABOUT THE PRE-ORDER BUNDLE

Reviews for the book are already starting to come in, and The Midwest Review has named it a Reviewer's Choice, and selected it for their Small Press Bookwatch Fiction Shelf. They wrote:

"'The Fairness of Beasts'... once again demonstrates author Gar LaSalle's mastery of the historical novel format and genuine flair for dramatically engaging his readers from cover to cover. A wonderfully and consistently entertaining read The Fairness of Beasts is unreservedly and enthusiastically recommended for both personal reading lists and community library Historical Fiction collections.”  -- The Midwest Book Review

FINAL-COVER-FOB.jpeg

It is 1862. A massive Union army is invading the verdant peninsula of Virginia to take Richmond and end the Civil war. In the rumble of this conflict, a young woman's wounded lover stands in harm's way. To rescue him, she must risk everything she holds dear and cross enemy lines. The fate of her young family hangs in the balance, as does that of the entire nation. The risk she takes turns out to test her heart beyond anything she could have imagined. The Fairness of Beasts is the third book in the acclaimed Widow Walk saga.

 

Author Gar LaSalle and the Solipsis Team have put together a special pre-order bundle of bonuses that is complimentary to anyone who pre-orders a copy of the book.

What's in the Pre-order Bundle?

  • "Hidden History" Timeline: A beautiful vintage timeline we commissioned to show how the saga fits into the arc of American History
     

  • "Behind the Scenes" Podcast Series: Over a series of podcast episodes, Gar tells the stories that inspired the characters and events of the saga
     

  • Complimentary ebook copies of Widow Walk & Isthmus, the first two books in the series

How does it work?

1. Click here to pre-order the book on Amazon
2. Redeem your pre-order bundle with your Amazon order number at the bottom of this page
3. All set!

We're thrilled that The Fairness of Beasts is ready, and we want you to get all the fun stuff in the pre-order bundle. Check it out, and pass it on to the history buff in your life!

Artist Chat: Representing Women in Literature

In today’s artist chat, we have the pleasure of talking to award-winning authors Karen Essex and Gar LaSalle about the importance of representing strong women in literature and why this is crucial to each of their work. Karen has written many books based on hidden stories behind famous women like Kleopatra, and Gar’s historical fiction saga is centered on a main character who must undergo many trials to keep her family together.

Our conversation goes deep quickly, digging into why they each feel it is important to have strong female protagonists, their opinions on Hollywood’s current “Kickass Women” trend, and the hidden history of women’s health and mental health treatment.

As Karen says, “All female history is hidden history. If you try to do research about women’s lives, you will find yourself having to read between the lines of written history because no one has recorded female stories.”

We invite you to learn some of that hidden history from two author dedicated to bringing it into the light.

KAREN ESSEX is an internationally bestselling author of five novels, including Leonardo’s Swans which tells the stories of the rivalries among the powerful women painted by Leonardo da Vinci. The novel was also a runaway bestseller in Italy and won the prestigious Premio Roma for foreign fiction. She has done extensive adaptation work throughout Hollywood, and has had her articles published in many magazines, including Vogue and Playboy. A native of New Orleans, she currently divides her time between Los Angeles and Europe.

Gar LaSalle is an award-winning author and filmmaker, a physician, a sculptor, and a creator who has been honored widely in the fine arts and medical communities for his leadership and creativity. Widow Walk, published in 2014, won multiple awards including the Eric Hoffer Award for Literature, the IndieReaders Award for Best Novel, and the San Francisco Book Festival Grand Jury Prize for General Fiction. Book III of the saga is slated for release in the Fall of 2017 by Seattle’s own Solipsis Publishing.

    Here are a few of the topics and some of the ideas you’ll hear about in the chat:

    • 2:30 - Why they chose to focus their work on strong women: Karen talks about why she has chosen to focus on the women’s experience of history, reminding us that:

      “Women are… hidden from history. All female history is hidden history. If you try to do research about women’s lives, you will find yourself having to read between the lines of written history because no one has recorded female stories. I wanted to illuminate the female historical experience and women’s ability to succeed and influence history in spite of the challenges they faced.”

      We talk about why that is, and what it means for history and how it motivates what she said has become her life’s work. At 5:00 she talks about how finding that the historical Kleopatra was nothing like Hollywood’s version of Elizabeth Taylor as Kleopatra sparked two of her earliest books.

    • 12:00 - How their work is driven by their daughters
       
    • 15:00 - The hidden history of women’s health and mental health in history, including women being committed to mental institutions for reasons as simple as being emotional or having a sex drive, and about the brutal treatments that amount to torture that were typical at the time.
    • 21:00 - The Dystopian and “Kickass Women” tropes in Hollywood and what they mean for storytelling and how many strengths women bring to the table that are not emulations of violent male traits, like conflict resolution as police officers or de-escalation skills in an emergency room setting.  

      “Even though it’s supposed to be about female empowerment, in a way I think it puts even more pressure on girls. Like, ‘Oh, now we have to be able to beat up men?’… This thing that is supposed to be empowering, I find it quite bothersome.” -- Karen Essex

      “I don’t find [those storylines] necessarily plausible, and the more [Hollywood] pushes on that… it undermines something that is much more significant, it seems to me. I think that the equalities are very real without having to push on that [kick ass female] envelope.” -- Gar LaSalle
       

    • 36:00 - Future Projects

      Karen is finishing her first contemporary novel dealing with sexual politics inspired by the kinds of shocking sex scandals we see in the headlines today. You can find more of Karen’s work at http://karenessex.com, and her books on Amazon here: https://www.amazon.com/Karen-Essex/e/B001HCXNNQ.

      Gar is putting the finishing touches on The Fairness of Beasts, the third book in his Widow Walk saga. He is also working on a documentary called “Never Say Die,” that deals with how our society views death, and an article called “Taking the Guns Out,” which looks at our obsession with guns in entertainment media. You can find more on his work at http://www.garlasalle.co

    Gar LaSalle's Widow Walk Optioned by Seattle's Heyou Media

    We are thrilled to announce that Gar LaSalle's first book, Widow Walk, has been optioned by Heyou, a Seattle-based new media company, and that they will partner on bringing the story to the screen. It's inspiring to see a Pacific Northwest media company support and partner with a Pacific Northwest author to tell a little-known Pacific Northwest story!

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    HEYOU MEDIA OPTIONS THE RIGHT TO PRODUCE GERARD LASALLE’S AWARD-WINNING HISTORICAL SAGA, “WIDOW WALK”

     “Game of Thrones-Style” Fiction Joins the New Media Company’s Production Line-Up of Pacific Northwest Stories and Artists

    Seattle, WA - May 24, 2017 – Heyou Media, a new media and content aggregator company founded by actor and filmmaker Tom Skerritt, announced today that the Seattle group has secured the option to produce the first book in the popular historical fiction saga “Widow Walk.” Developed and written by Gerard (Gar) LaSalle, “Widow Walk” is an award-winning story of a frontier family set in the tumultuous early days of the Pacific Northwest when American settlers, indigenous peoples, and American and British armies clashed for supremacy.

    Heyou Media describes “Widow Walk” as a “Game of Thrones-style saga based in the Pacific Northwest.” LaSalle’s work has also been compared to “The Last of the Mohicans” and “Cold Mountain.” Both books were made into feature movies.

    “Gar and ‘Widow Walk’ represent the high-caliber artists and stories rich in our region and help support a large part of Heyou Media’s mission,” said Skerritt, Heyou Media Founder and Chairman. “We are leveraging the emerging alternative media revolution to create a viable new media and visual entertainment content business to produce, aggregate, curate and distribute outstanding content from around the world. The Heyou Media movement is now stronger with Gar involved.”

    LaSalle selected Heyou Media because of Skerritt’s industry reputation and Heyou Media’s innovative business model. 

    "I am thrilled to collaborate with Heyou Media, an experienced new media company that breaks the mold and cuts through the obstacles that so often encumber creative projects,” said LaSalle. “I chose to work with Tom and Heyou Media because they are blazing a path designed to showcase award-winning local artist partnerships and new media formats. It will be exciting to watch how Heyou Media will transform the evolution, look, and feel of future new media productions.”

    An Emmy Award actor, director and writer in the entertainment industry, Skerritt is recognized for his work in the award-winning films M*A*S*H, TURNING POINT, ALIEN, TOP GUN, A RIVER RUNS THROUGH IT, STEEL MAGNOLIAS and CONTACT; innumerable television shows, such as the Emmy Award CBS series, PICKET FENCES; and Broadway productions. Skerritt founded The Film School in 2004 and the RED BADGE PROJECT, a storytelling program for veterans with Post Traumatic Stress (PTS).

    About Gar LaSalle
    Gar LaSalle (www.garlasalle.com) is an award-winning author and filmmaker, a physician, a sculptor, and a creator who has been honored widely in the fine arts and medical communities for his leadership and creativity. “Widow Walk,” published in 2014, won multiple awards including the Eric Hoffer Award for Literature, the Indie Readers Award for Best Novel, and the San Francisco Book Festival Grand Jury Prize for General Fiction. Book III of the saga is slated for release in the Fall of 2017 by Seattle’s own Solipsis Publishing.

     

    About Heyou Media
    Founded in 2016 by Tom Skerritt, Heyou Media, Inc. (www.heyoumedia.com) is an aggregator of new media visual entertainment content, including music, film, short-story video, web series, virtual reality and special interest videos. The company is focused on curating, creating and distributing web content from around the world. In addition to “Widow Walk,” Heyou Media is producing David Guterson’s “East of the Mountains,” Skerritt’s PTS-focused “What We Came to Be,” and a newly produced STROLLER GANGS web series. Heyou Media, Inc. is based in Seattle, Washington.

    What John Mandel Finds Interesting, Volume II

    "How can they say my life is not a success? Have I not for more than sixty years got enough to eat and escaped being eaten?"

    -- Logan Pearsall Smith

    *  *  *

    The philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein was a wealthy Viennese Jew, an aristocrat, an atheist, bisexual. A stutterer. Marked or hurt in some way. Extremely intelligent, sick-intelligent. There is a story that he and Adolf Hitler were schoolmates when they were boys. It may be apocryphal, but I want it to be true. It’s a love story; in it, Adolf, a lonesome, sullen boy at war with his father and the rest of the world, saw Ludwig as a spoiled, preening blueblood, but was attracted to him anyway; a boyhood crush is implied. Adolf sought Ludwig’s friendship. They became friends, something happened, and the friendless runt Adolf was rejected by the spectacular Ludwig. Little Ludwig went on to be an eminent philosopher, a luminary, and little Adolf, in his shame and rage, went on to visit mad revenge upon Ludwig’s people.

    *  *  *

    Oxford dons had a tradition of inventing Latin slang. The word conundrum is one, considered pseudo-Latin. This was apparently very funny to them.

    *  *  *

    A list of what successive steps to take if your camel lies down in the middle of the desert and won’t go on:

    Shout at it.

    If it refuses to move, hit it with a stick.

    If that doesn’t work, plunge a knife into its hump.

    If that doesn’t work, light a fire under it.

    What John Mandel Finds Interesting

    We are thrilled to have published John Mandel's short story collection. John has a knack for making the mundane feel magical and the hidden feel familiar. But what's even more compelling about John is that day to day interactions with him are as wonderfully jarring as his stories. For example, he send me this story recently:

    I [John] heard myself invoking the word “interesting." Suddenly, after a lifetime of using the word when I regard something whose meaning slips and slides, something which seems to promise meaning but eludes it, I thought, what do I mean? I did the etymology - from the Latin, “It is between” - “To be between."

    This meant to me that when we come upon something that seems to have meaning, when we sense the potential for meaning, we’re drawn, seduced, to dive “between” its elements, where we think we can pick up a trail of bread crumbs to it’s meaning – we’re “interested”. We wonder about it, we become the author of the meaning of the thing, whether or not we think we’re correct, and there seems to be a physical pleasure to it. Part of the brain is excited, it feels good. The state of wonder feels good.

    ~ ~ ~

    And so, in pursuit of a state of wonder that feels good, I offer a few other bits and pieces that John has sent over that he finds "interesting." May you be drawn, seduced, and willing to dive "in between" along with him...

    ~ ~ ~

    A tenth-century grand vizier of Persia took his entire library with him wherever he went. The 117,000-volume library was carried by 400 camels, in alphabetical order, in a train over a mile long. All of the camel-herders were librarians.

    ~ ~ ~

    Interviewer: What was wrong with the third person voice?

    Barry Hannah: In my case, third person just led to too much wisdom I hadn’t earned. And I like the first person- just a guy blasting through with the little he knows. In third person you’d best be aware of the monotone in it and the temptations toward false wisdom and cleverness. First person is where you can be more interesting as a fool, and I find this often leads to the more delightful expedition. You don’t have to be much but a stumbling fool. The wisdom there is more precious than in the sage overview, which in many writers makes me nearly puke. I’m also wary of the glibness that third person invites.

    ~ ~ ~

    The Vietnamese language has no subjunctive case: no should have, would have, could have. As a result, because there is no sense that something else could have happened, of an alternative past, no “if only..,” there is no sense of regret to the Vietnamese speaker. Without the language to describe it, it can’t be conceived.

    ~ ~ ~

    "A man's subconscious self is not the ideal companion. It lurks for the greater part of his life in some dark den of its own, hidden away, and emerges only to taunt and deride and increase the misery of a miserable hour." -- P.G. Wodehouse

    Author Gar LaSalle to give James McClellan Lecture

    We are thrilled to report that our very own Gar LaSalle, author of the forthcoming Fairness of Beasts, has been chosen as the speaker for the prestigious 7th annual James McClellan lecture in Eastern Washington, which features an annual speaker to highlight "humanity in clinical care." In addition to being an award-winning author, sculptor, and filmmaker, Gar had a successful career as a practicing physician and founder Team Health.

    "I am honored to be part of this important lecture series," said LaSalle. "It gives me a chance to speak about the importance of "right-brained" thinking  and the admixture of "soft" and "hard" arts in the teaching, training and practice of medicine."

    The James McClellan lecture series honors Dr. James McClellan and works to celebrate and deepen our understanding of Humanity in Clinical Care and Caregiving. Dr. McClellan, in his years of practice at Providence St. Mary Medical Center in Walla Walla, inspired many physicians, nurses and other caregivers. The Lectureship is organized and governed by an Administrative committee, including an ex officio member of the McClellan family.

    Writing and the Splendor of Solitude

    At every book reading and presentation, I have been asked questions about how I go about my writing: whether my process is compulsive/disciplined or impulsive/inspired, where I write and how frequently. My answer is that I am impulsively compulsive. I write when I have something to write and am disciplined only about preserving the turning of a good phrase or the building a compelling story.

    I do my better work when the surroundings are quiet, and the setting minimizes unnecessary interaction with other living beings. I have had others volunteer to accompany me on research trips and writing jaunts, but I have learned to decline kind offers. It is not that I am a misanthropist or dislike animals. But other spirits intrude with their needs, and I have been told that, with the exception of buzzing insects, I am polite and accommodating to a fault. Thus, almost all of my writing is done in seclusion between the hours of 2 AM and 5 AM when most other beings are sleeping. This is not only because I am free of distraction, but also because I can eschew manners and run wild in the unbecoming “mad man” fugue.

     

    Foxglove Cabin, Whidbey Island Writer’s Refuge

    Foxglove Cabin, Whidbey Island Writer’s Refuge

    My writing is seldom scheduled. I have an apartment and office separated far enough from the rest of my house in Seattle such that I can spread out, leave books and papers strewn where I need them without embarrassing myself in front of those who do not understand the importance of just enough messiness. I wear noise-canceling earphones and tune into a sound-generating program that simulates the patterns of rain on rooftops. I do know when a chapter is done, and I need to move on to another. But I refuse to place the writing of that next chapter into the confined boxes of a day journal. To hell with calendars. I am no longer dependent on them to make a living, so the time is mine, and outside of that which I cherish for self-expression, is shared almost exclusively with those whom I love.

    Another reason I do not carefully tailor writing sessions is that, because for me at least, cooking in the sub-conscious on a problem is part of the solution that will be captured by a set of conscious acts. I expect that is a right-brained thing and just cannot be done on strict timetables. There is no recipe with instructions as to the timing of that. Sometimes it takes years. Sometimes it is never ready. When it is, I try not to spoil the brew before its time or let it molder. And I will get to it. It goes to the “finish-to-finished” stack.

    When I sculpt, another calming meditative process, I go to Maury Island to work in a studio I built in the woods, a large protected space filled with wood and clay and stone and weldable metal. And lots of tools. I can make it as messy as I want, and there are no neighbors. I have written words out there as well because it is conducive both to the symmetry of wood-turning and the balance of poetry. And I can read the poetry out loud and imagine that someone I love is listening.

    Thus, if you are the lucky one to win this prize I advise/recommend/give permission/ask you to give yourself permission to you leave behind all bills, phones, schedule books, pets, lovers and mates, the people who irritate you and your past and present bosses. They will be there waiting for you, one way or another when you get back. If you do bring a laptop, disconnect anything that might tempt you to bring the web and the outside world to you. Place everything you have on your computer’s desktop into a folder and hide it out of sight of your page. Sleep in and stay up way past your bedtime if you like. Get up at 3 am or 10. Bring a bit of ginger tea. Bring a yellow pad, two pencils, and a good gum eraser. If you must use a program other than Word processing app, consider learning Scrivener beforehand to help you keep your writings organized. Save everything.

    And get up and exercise. Tom Clancy, who recently passed away, said while he was ill that he regretted that he sat so much.

    And finally, do whatever you do to make yourself comfortably selfish. But leave the guilt behind. Because this precious time is yours.

    I hope it whets your appetite for more of the splendor of solitude.

    - Gar LaSalle