As the Sycamore Grows Virtual Book Tour October ’10
Join Jennie Helderman, author of the nonfiction narrative, As the Sycamore Grows (Summers Bridgewater Press), as she virtually tours the blogosphere in October on her first virtual book tour with Pump Up Your Book!
About Jennie Helderman
Jennie Helderman broke the glass ceiling at age ten by becoming the first girl page in the Alabama State Legislature. That surge of girl power wouldn’t be the last time she saw a need to put women’s issues at the forefront. Years later, after she helped set up a crisis-call center in an old house, a cry for help at the other end of the phone line resounded in her head. That call was the catalyst; eventually, the empty bedrooms upstairs served as the community’s first shelter for victims of domestic abuse.
From there, Helderman began work with women’s issues and leadership, community development, public relations and communications, beginning in Gadsden, Alabama, and reaching to national levels. She has championed women’s and children’s issues and worked with child abuse victims. From 2000 until her term expired in 2006, she presided over the six-member board of the Alabama Department of Human Resources, which serves 520,000 clients each month and oversees all family abuse issues in the state.
A 2007 Pushcart Prize nominee, Helderman coauthored two nonfiction books, Christmas Trivia and Hanukkah Trivia and writes profiles for magazines. Previously she chaired the editorial board of the 120,000 circulation alumnae magazine of Kappa Kappa Gamma, The Key.
Helderman is married to a retired newspaper publisher; is the mother of two and grandmother of three; and has recently moved from Alabama to Atlanta. Her website address is www.jenniehelderman.com.
About As the Sycamore Grows
As the Sycamore Grows is a true story about abuse, loss, redemption and hope.
Think about Sleeping with the Enemy out in the woods when the enemy totes a Bible and packs a .38. Mike slapped and shoved, but his primary tools were isolation and economic abuse. Until he discovered the power of the Lord as another means of control. Ginger was brought up to pray and obey, but she escaped the isolation and poverty of the cabin hidden behind a padlocked gate.
Both Ginger and Mike speak, as do family, friends, in-laws and exes. Thus Ginger is revealed as a flawed heroine, a rebellious teenager who abandoned her baby. Mike ran away to escape his father’s fists and yet, years later, he glimpsed himself in his father’s casket.
From south Texas to a Foxfire lifestyle in Tennessee, they spiraled downward into poverty by Mike’s choice, and abuse enforced by religion and a gun.
Undergirding the abuse is loss: the alienation of families, the spiritual void from betrayal of church, and the death of the son Ginger abandoned. This boy’s suicide as a teenager, symbolized by the sycamore tree, became the wedge that allowed Ginger to break free and ultimately to work toward ending the legacy of abuse.
Read the Excerpt!
A noise. Ginger awoke, listened. The hum of a motor, the scrunch of tires creeping along the road outside the cabin. She reached over to her husband’s side of the bed. Empty. Where he was heading in the thin light of dawn, she didn’t know. Mike McNeil didn’t offer explanations for his comings and goings. She knew better than to ask.
She rolled back onto her pillow, wide awake now. She could see the black handle of Mike’s .38 at the edge of the closet shelf. Mike seldom strapped the gun to his belt anymore. He had made his point. She wouldn’t take it again and he knew it.
The light was still too dim to see the photos fastened with thumb tacks to the rough-sawn boards next to the closet. It didn’t matter. She pictured them in her mind. She and Mike had squeezed into the metal kiosk at a truck stop that day and posed fast, before their quarter ran out. Mike had just trimmed his beard. A good memory.
Birds chirped outside.
Time to rise. She rolled out of bed.
In the boys’ room, she stood over her sons and smiled. Casey’s feet hung off the foot of his bed. He’d hit a growing spell the day he turned thirteen. She kissed his forehead, then his brother’s.
“Wake up, both of you. Casey, I’m going to put a brick on your head or you’ll outgrow everything you own.” She laughed and gave twelve-year-old Jody a nudge.
In the next room, she built a fire in the woodstove to chase off the morning chill. Atop the stove, water for coffee heated in a blue enamel pot while the last of the oatmeal cooked in a dented stewer. The boys would have the oatmeal. She wasn’t hungry.
She laced up her boots and trudged up the hill to milk the cow while they ate breakfast.
An ordinary morning at the cabin in the woods where she lived with Mike and their two sons.
Nothing different or ominous, nothing to suggest that before noon on September 29, 2000, Ginger would make her escape.
She forced a needle through pigskin for a rifle pad while each boy pulled on his one pair of jeans. Better pick beans today before the sun gets up in the sky. Summer didn’t like to let go here at the bottom of Tennessee, and this day would be hot by noon. She twisted her hair through her fingers, wishing she could pull it up off her neck. Or cut it.
Casey crossed the kitchen in two steps, gathered his homework under one arm, and dashed out the door. Knees, elbows and perpetual motion, he disappeared up the hill. Jody lumbered in from the bedroom and fumbled with his papers, a scowl on his face.
Still my little freckle-faced boy.
Jody and Casey had entered school for the first time this year, a small church school just across the state line in Alabama. She’d hoped they would like a regular school but so far it was a split decision. It was early, just three weeks into the school year. Plenty of time yet to adjust.
She gave Jody a quick squeeze before hurrying both boys toward her old Honda. They had ten miles to drive to school.
Mike spotted the blue of Ginger’s car in the distance as he returned home. He checked his watch and calculated when she would be back. At the cabin, he opened his Bible to Revelations and read until time to go. He tromped down their dirt road to the blacktop where he ducked into the trees to watch for her car. Leaning against a pine, he lit a Winston Gold, then another as soon as it burned to the filter.
The last time she left, he had watched her. He could see to the bottom of the hill where, that time, she’d stopped for a few minutes, backed up the road, then stopped again. She was trying to pick up a signal on that car phone, way out here.
He was on to her.
Ginger slowed to turn between two scrub oaks onto their road when she returned from the school. The galvanized metal gate stood open. Mike didn’t always padlock it now like he once did. He’d made that point, too.
This time her tires crunched against the road as she headed the quarter mile toward the honeysuckle vines and briars that hid the cabin. Mike didn’t want anybody in his business. If somehow anybody slipped past the padlock and wandered up the road, they could pass within thirty yards of the cabin and never know it was there.
They’d built the cabin back in 1996, when they had to vacate the rental house in a hurry. She and Mike sawed and hammered while the boys, young as they were, toted and hauled. Five hundred square feet divided into two rooms, board and batten sides, a tin roof. No electricity, no phone, by design.
Mike’s car sat in tall grass just off the road. She parked beside him and called his name when she got out of the car. No answer.
Backtracking down the road, Ginger walked to Trent’s tree, a young sycamore she had named in memory of her oldest son. She had first planted an apple tree for Trent, but ants made a bed at its base. When she poisoned the ants, she killed the tree. The sycamore was a sapling that came up in the compost pile. A smile spread across her face. The sycamore was thriving. She’d kept a close watch on it.
She hurried to the garden. Time to pick beans.
Here’s what critics are saying about As the Sycamore Grows!
“Jennie Helderman has taken a heart-breaking issue and boiled it down to human beings, of flesh and blood and lost days and fearful nights. It opens the door on a too-common human story, and closes you in with it.”
— Rick Bragg, Pulitzer Prize winning author of The Most They Ever Had, All Over But the Shouting, Ava’s Man, and The Prince of Frogtown.
“Rarely has a story of a woman’s courageous fight for freedom been told in such an eloquent and moving way. And, even more unusual, we get an open view into the twisted mentality of a man who was able, like so many abusers, to convince the outside world that he was normal. A hard book to put down.”
— Lundy Bancroft, author of “Why Does He Do That?” and co-author of “Should I Stay or Should I Go.”
“This is a page turner! A powerful portrayal of mind control!
—Patricia Evans, author of Controlling People
“This story grabs hold of your heart and squeezes it dry. It is a tale so touching, so emotionally overwhelming, women will cringe and thank God they never had to walk in Ginger’s shoes, and men will wish they could have met Ginger’s husband in a dark alley. I applaud author Jennie Helderman’s gift for writing, I marvel at Ginger’s courage for sharing it.”
— Jedwin Smith, two-time Pulitzer Prize nominee, author of Our Brother’s Keepers and Fatal Treasure
Jennie Helderman’s AS THE SYCAMORE GROWS VIRTUAL BOOK TOUR ‘10 will officially begin on October 4 and end on October 29, ‘10. Please contact Dorothy Thompson at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in hosting and/or reviewing her book or click here to use the form. Thank you!
If you are a tour host and would like to add her banner to your sidebar, please use the html code directly underneath the graphic. Thank you!
#1 BEST PROMOTION SERVICE AT PREDITORS & EDITORS POLL 3 YEARS IN A ROW & AGAIN IN 2016
VIRTUAL BOOK TOUR, BLOG TOUR & BOOK PUBLICITY ENDORSEMENTS: NICE THINGS PEOPLE SAY ABOUT PUMP UP YOUR BOOK
"Today my blog tour ended, with another great review which made me end the tour with a big smile! What a fun way to end this incredible 4-week tour. I will surely miss it. I want to thank you for arranging it so well and for being there for me whenever I needed. Thank you!!!"
Miri Leshem-Pelly, SCRIBBLE & AUTHOR
"Just wanted to thank you for the book tour. :) You did a great job. :)" Suzanne M. Hurley, THE TEDDY BEAR EYE CLUB
"Thank you for running my book promotion for BlackJack. I am so pleased with the reviews that came in and appreciated all you did. My sales have improved from being around 800,000 down to the 200,000 on Amazon and hopefully dropping still. I will definitely be contacting you for a promotion again." Christine Donovan, BLACKJACK
"You’ve been a joy to work with, and I’d do another tour with you in a heartbeat. Overall, it was an excellent experience and a good value. I’ll be sure to look you up when it’s time to release my next book." Michael Allan Scott, GREY DAZE
"Just wanted to thank you for putting together a great tour for You Won't Remember This. I think the author was pleasantly surprised and overall very pleased." Bacon Press Books
"Dorothy, thanks so much for another great VBT!!! The Twitter-Party was a new feature this time that I particularly enjoyed. I will continue to recommend PUYB to my writer-friends, because you are simply the best!!!" T.M. Wallace, WINTERGARDEN
"Thank you for a great blog tour for my “Depression and Your Child.”
I’m in the middle of my third book and will definitely call on you again when it’s time to market it." Deborah Serani, DEPRESSION AND YOUR CHILD
"Your hard work and professionalism hasn't gone unnoticed. When I release my next novel(s), I will definitely use your service. I have already recommended you to several authors." Ashley Fontainne, GROWL
"Thanks for a very good experience with Pump Up Your Book. Fighter Pilot's Daughter has sold out of the first printing (still available as POD on Rowman & Littlefield's site, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, etc.). My editor at R & L says there's a very good chance the book will come out in paperback in the summer. He asked me "Did you hire a publicist or something?" I told him about you, and he was impressed." Mary Lawlor, FIGHTER PILOT'S DAUGHTER
"You are amazing Dorothy and I love what you do to get the spirit of our books out to the world. Thank you!" Lee Papa, TEMPLE OF ALL KNOWING
"I can't believe the response this book is getting! I am so very thrilled that she liked it!!! You are THE BEST, Dorothy, for hooking up this amazing tour with all these stunning reviews! This was the book I was going to keep under my bed forever and ever and now WOW. I can't believe this is happening. It's like a dream come true!" Madeline Wynn, DAUGHTER OF THE FALLEN
"Just wanted to say I'm appreciating your tweets so much. This is really helping my book sales, and I'm telling writer friends about you." Mary Lawlor, FIGHTER PILOT'S DAUGHTER
"Thank you SO much!!!! I had a blast on the tour and appreciate all the time the bloggers and reviewers spent promoting Ash to Steele:)" Karen-Anne Stewart, ASH TO STEELE
"When it comes to looking for a virtual book tour coordinator, Dorothy Thompson of Pump Up Your Book Tours is simply the best. I have tried several virtual book tour coordinators and have even set up a book tour on my own, but none of them were as successful as my tours with Pump Up Your Book Tour, which has the combination of expertise and experience needed to get the author the results they need. On this latest tour, TWELVE TO MURDER made it up to number three on Amazon! Thank you, Dorothy!" Lauren Carr, Best-Selling Mystery Author of Mac Faraday, and Lovers in Crime, Mysteries
"Thank you again for all of your help and support for my recent book tour. You were so supportive and responsive, and I enjoyed working with you. It was a great tour and I really enjoyed it, especially when my book hit the top 100 in the two subcategories! That was awesome! Thanks for "pumping up my book!"" Monique Roy, ACROSS GREAT DIVIDES
"Thank you for another amazing tour, Dorothy!! I loved the sites I had an opportunity to visit and the people I met along the way. I even made a few new friends and found wonderful supporters that I'll never forget - I promise! The exposure you gave my book was absolutely unbelievable, and I can't think of a better way to welcome and expose an author's new creation to the literary world. Happy New Year to all your readers and may your success continue to grow. " Kaylin McFarren, BURIED THREADS
"Thank you for a great virtual book tour. I thought it went really well and it was great to have a wave of PR that flowed through the two month period of my book release. I'm working on my next book - and will definitely reach out to you when it comes time to market! You were a delight to work with and really made me feel looked after. As I've mentioned before, I just don't know how you do it all." --Deborah Serani, DEPRESSION AND YOUR CHILD
"I just wanted to let you know how wonderful I felt my book blast went for Be Careful What You Wish For in the month of August. So many emails and contacts that I would never have gotten. The publicity was just phenomenal!" --R.K. Avery, BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU WISH FOR
"Just wanted to touch base with you and extend a huge thank you for the wonderful and successful book blast you arranged for Love Vindicated for me. I was very happy with your services and will be passing your name and brand along to some writer friends with a stellar recommendation. Again thanks and I look forward to working with you again in the future." --Lila Munro, LOVE VINDICATED
"Thank you so much for all your hard work in putting together the virtual book tour for The Sixth Power. I appreciate it so much." --Carol Nicolas, THE SIXTH POWER
"Thank you SO MUCH for such a great blog tour!" --Sandra D. Bricker, ALWAYS THE BAKER, FINALLY THE BRIDE
"Wow - you are absolutely fantastic. Can't believe how lucky I was to find you :)" --Jo Sparkes, THE BIRR ELIXIR
"I just wanted to let you know that tonight Steven Manchester's Twelve Months became The Story Plant's first #1 Kindle bestseller. This couldn't have happened without you. Barb's cover is an absolute showstopper, Sue's copyediting boosted the overall work, Jackie's proofreading kept all of us honest, and Tracee Gleichner's blog tour started what has become an avalanche of great reviews." -- Lou Aronica, STORY PLANT
"Blog tours have been the most effective promotion I’ve done. Dorothy Thompson and her company Pump Up Your Book are the greatest. I’ve spent money with other promotion companies that advertised packages then didn’t deliver the service they advertised, inflated their audience and reach and point blank falsely represented themselves. Dorothy has been a Godsend, and by far, her services are the best promotional endeavors I’ve invested in thus far." -- Alicia Singleton, DARK SIDE OF VALOR
"I didn't realize that there is a place on amazon that you can see your stats for foreign sales; mine are really good and I believe it is your tweeting service. I think I might have found the key to successful self-publishing when I found Pump Up Your Books." -- Suzanne Jenkins, PAM OF BABYLON SERIES
"Dorothy Thompson helped promote my book, Gringos in Paradise: Our Honduras Odyssey. Taking part in it was so much easier (and less expensive) than the travel schedule I was hving to keep doing on my own. She set up everything, coached me through my part, and I found my book and I promoted it all over the Internet. It definitely increased my book sales." -- Malana Ashlie, GRINGOS IN PARADISE
"Dorothy was not only a lot of fun to work with but she helped me get the word out about my book. I would recommend her to both debut and experienced authors." ---Deborah Woehr, PROSPERITY: A GHOST STORY
“Dorothy is a firecracker promoter. She is skilled at finding the most visible placements in promoting your book with unmatched enthusiasm.She is creatively talented and a wonderful person to have on your team.” --Kathy Holmes Eckardt, REAL WOMEN WEAR RED
“I invested in a three month virtual book tour with Pump Up Your Books promotions for my noir thriller, Moonlight Falls. Not only did the marketing campaign work wonders for spreading the word about the new novel, in the very last month, on the very last day of the tour, Moonlight Falls became an Amazon Kindle bestseller!” –Vincent Zandri, MOONLIGHT FALLS and THE REMAINS
“I’m so pleased every day when I look at Google Alerts and see our titles all around the blogosphere, so thanks for that!” –-World Ahead Media
“This has been a wonderful experience. Dorothy Thompson and her whole team are very committed to each author, take each author’s tour very seriously, and work towards maximum exposure in the right places. This is the best book promotion expenditure I’ve made in terms of return on investment. I highly recommend Pump Up Your Book Promotion.” --Phyllis Zimbler Miller, MRS: LIEUTENANT
"I used Pump Up Your Book promotions a few months ago for my novel, Nephilim. My publisher is a great person, but when it comes to promotions, she encourages authors to do that on their own. Enter Dorothy Thompson at Pump Up Your Book. I had 8 reviews of the book and was featured as a guest author every day of the week at various websites during the month that I used her company. Amazing! She secured everything for me which was really nice and I didn't have to do anything but write a few blogs or answer interview questions. I would use Pump Up Your Book again in a heart beat!" --Mary Ann Loesch, NEPHILIM