Archives for category: Book Giveaway



Author Rachel Carey Talks About Her Debut Novel, Debt

The original inspiration for Debt was my rediscovery, as an adult, of the works of Charles Dickens. I’d always liked Dickens, but I really fell in love with his writing when I was old enough and cynical enough to appreciate how smart he was about human weakness. But as I was reading Bleak House and Little Dorrit, I was also tracking the news about the financial meltdown of 2008, and I began to wonder what Dickens would have made of a figure like Bernie Madoff. What would he have had to say about students who owed a hundred thousand dollars in student loan debt, or bankers who received a government bailout and immediately paid themselves million dollar bonuses with taxpayer money?


I think Dickens would have understood those people very well, because people like that appear in all his novels: people who take out debt because they convince themselves it’s necessary, poor people who struggle against a system they don’t understand, rich people who justify any amount of self-indulgence by claiming that they are “important.” But if there was a modern American writer tackling our debt-ridden society with Dickensian scope, I wasn’t sure who it was. So I decided to take on a challenge: writing the book I thought Dickens would have written, if he’d been alive to witness our current social ills.

Of course, the book didn’t turn out at all like a Dickens novel, because my own voice and perspective quickly took over the project. But many elements of Debt are stolen straight from Dickens: the picaresque characters from all walks of society, the dense plot filled with fantastic coincidences and illegitimate children, even a little lame boy who says, essentially, “God bless us, every one.” I also created a protagonist — an orphan, of course — who shared some superficial elements with my own life, not out of narcissism but because Dickens frequently did so. One of my favorite qualities in Dickens is the democratic quality of his plots, the way he weaves together the lives of the rich and poor, so I tried to keep that essential truth in my plotting of Debt: social classes are more interconnected than they appear, and sometimes the pauper has the power to bring down the king.

This book was my tribute to my favorite social satirist. I hope it brings some of the pleasure to my readers that his work has brought to me.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Rachel Carey is a writer and filmmaker. She received an MFA in Film Directing from NYU, a M.Ed. from Harvard, and a BA in English from Yale. She currently teaches college film classes — and lives with her husband and daughter in New Jersey. Rachel is still paying back her student loans — and has dedicated her novel to the Sallie Mae Corporation.

ANNOUNCEMENT: For her outstanding and original writing, Silver Birch Press is nominating Rachel Carey for a 2013 Pushcart Prize. 

NOTE: A FREE Kindle version of the Silver Birch Press release Debt, a novel by Rachel Carey is available through Monday, Nov. 18, 2013. You can download the Kindle version— which retails for $6.99 – for free at

PHOTOS: Author photo and cover photo by Jeff McCrum.


The Silver Birch Press release Phoenix, a memoir by Philippa Mayall, is available as a free Kindle download — a savings of $7.99 — on Wednesday, 7/31, at this link.

“This is no simple recovery story. Phoenix has the lust, the furor and passion of Norman Mailer…of Pynchon, of Kerouac…With this fierce memoir, Phoenix, Philippa Mayall comes roaring into the literary world; her sharp and angry Manchester, England, voice barges into the pale and tidy tea room of L.A. literature like a Harley with Drone power.”

JILL ROBINSON, Huffington Post


The Silver Birch Press release Phoenix, a memoir by Philippa Mayall is available as a free Kindle download — a savings of $7.99 — on Tuesday, 7/30, and Wednesday, 7/31, at this link.

“This is a memorable book — beautifully and even lyrically written…exuberant with the sense of a life lived determined to survive.” JOHN RECHY, author of CITY OF NIGHT and THE MIRACULOUS DAY OF AMALIA GOMEZ


The Silver Birch Press release DEBT, a novel by Rachel Carey is available for free at on Friday, July 26, 2013. You can download the Kindle — which retails for $6.99 — at

So remain debt-free today (at least when it comes to this novel) and download your Kindle version of DEBT for free!


Silver Birch Press is initiating a series of free Kindle downloads with Debt, a novel by Rachel Careyavailable for free at on Friday, July 26, 2013. You can download the Kindle — which retails for $6.99 — for free starting at 12 Midnight PST at this link. (This is the first time we’re trying this, so if there are any glitches — say, the book doesn’t show up for free — we will fix the problem and repeat the offer.)

Phoenix, a memoir by Philippa Mayall will be available as a free Kindle download — a savings of $7.99 — on Tuesday, 7/30, and Wednesday, 7/31, at this link.

Download the Kindle version of the Silver Birch Press Summer Anthology for free (a $2.99 value) on Wednesday, 7/31, and Thursday, 8/1, at this link.

Please spread the word and tell your friends. Facebook posts, Tweets, and other links would be most appreciated.

Thank you!


Congratulations to Jason Kerzinski — an artist and writer in New Orleans — for winning a copy of Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim by David Sedaris. Jason responded to our October 1st post where we offered to mail a copy of the book to the first person who left a comment.

This afternoon, I noticed that the copy Jason claimed is a First Edition (2004), but don’t know if this gives the volume any extra value — since the publisher must have printed a gazillion copies in an initial run for the popular Sedaris.

Note: There is still an unclaimed book giveaway among our September posts.


I read Lying Awake by Mark Salzman shortly after reading a profile of the author by Lawrence Weschler (“The Novelist and the Nun”) in the Oct 2, 2000 issue of The New Yorker. In the article, Salzman reveals his multi-year battle with writer’s block that included several drafts his agent and publisher rejected and his difficulty working at home because his cat wanted to sit in his lap — making it hard to concentrate.

While he struggled to write and often had no idea where to take his story, he did have several brainstorms related to the cat. First, he fashioned a skirt from aluminum foil and wore it while he worked (the cat did not like to sit on the metal garment). One day, Salzman was wearing the tin foil skirt and nothing else (you know how it is when you work at home) and stood up to get something. He looked out the window and saw a man working on the telephone wires outside — the lineman shook his head in pity when he saw Salzman. It was time for another cat deterrent tactic.

Salzman took his laptop to his garage and worked in his car. His cat followed him and sat on the vehicle’s moonroof while Salzman attempted to complete his novel, which, in his words, he wrote with a cat’s a**hole staring down at him.

Somehow the author managed to complete Lying Awake, which went on to bestsellerdom and rave reviews. Here’s one from the Amazon Page that does a good job of summarizing the novel: “Using a very limited palette, Mark Salzman creates an austere masterpiece. The real miracle of Lying Awake is that it works perfectly on every level: on the realistic surface, it captures the petty squabbles and tiny bursts of radiance of life in a Los Angeles monastery; deeper down it probes the nature of spiritual illumination and the meaning and purpose of prayer in everyday life; and, at bottom, there lurks a profound meditation on the mystery of artistic inspiration.”

Note: I recently found a beautiful paperback edition of Lying Awake at one of my used books haunts, and will mail the novel to the first person (U.S. only because of postage rates) who leaves a comment on this post. This our third book giveaway.


We are pleased to announce that Colleen was first to offer a comment about our REVOLUTIONARY ROAD post — and wins her very own copy of this amazing novel by Richard Yates. Visit Colleen — a recent UNC grad with a degree in English and advertising — at her blog Colleen Abroad, Passport to Somewhere: Because it’s never too early to start exploring the world…

Congratulations, Colleen! Thank you for visiting the Silver Birch Press blog!

Visitors, stay tuned for our next book giveaway — coming soon. 


BOOK RECOMMENDATION: I’ve read Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates three times— and consider this 1961 novel a prose miracle. And  I’m in good company.

“The Great Gatsby of my time…One of the best books by a member of my generation.” KURT VONNEGUT

“Here is more than fine writing; here is what added to fine writing makes a book come immediately, intensely, and brilliantly alive. If more is needed to make a masterpiece in modern American fiction, I am sure I don’t know what it is.” TENNESSEE WILLIAMS

NOTE: At a thrift store, I recently found a Vintage Contemporaries paperback edition of Revolutionary Road  (in very good condition) and will mail the book to the first person in the U.S. who leaves a comment on this post. This is our second book giveaway.


Viv from Live.Grow.Nourish.Create was the first to comment on yesterday’s post about Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress, a novel by Dai Sijie — and wins her very own free copy, compliments of Silver Birch Press.

On her blog, Viv calls herself “a constantly evolving work-in-progress.” Right now, she is all about art, quilts, education, books, dharma, nature, motherhood, community, poetry, music, love, friendship.

Hope you enjoy the book, Viv!