Portrait by Tao Nguyen

Thursday, February 19, 2015

"VANILLA GRASS, A novel of redemption"

My new novel is finally released! In fact, it's re-released. I had some issues with the original publisher and was able to cancel my contract and publish elsewhere. While arrangements were being made I updated the Kindle, notified the Library of Congress of changes, had a book signing, ate too much chocolate, and somehow managed to remain sane! 

"VANILLA GRASS, A novel of redemption" looks at some important and timely issues: Veteran PTSD and the need for post deployment reintegration into society; comfort dogs and service dogs, and the important roles they play in emotional healing; 22 reported veteran suicides daily and some measures being taken in hope of stopping this tragedy; at risk teenagers who abuse sex and drugs while talking slang and lacking motivation; domestic violence and alcohol abuse.I know this sounds serious--and it is! Yet my book is a fast read and entertaining. I know this because I hear from readers:

"It made me laugh and cry. I loved it."

"I read your book in two days. I couldn't put it down and I didn't do anything else except stop to eat."

"I haven't gotten any work done because I can't stop reading your book."

Here are some early reviews:

"This book kept me going from page one to the end. The author has developed the characters so deeply that I felt I knew each one. It taught me about many important aspects of life that I had not given much thought: the horrific physical and mental burdens returning soldiers suffer, the healing power of dogs trained to give solace; the redemption of wayward teens when someone cares enough to teach them their worth, and the importance of speaking up when peers attempt to lead you in a dangerous direction. Congratulations to Bratspis for this thought-provoking book with a plot I could not only immerse myself into, but I could even smell it."

"Every character in Vanilla Grass touched me in some way. The characters are developed through precise dialog and very realistic circumstances, whether an isolated Vietnam veteran or an alienated teenager. This novel brings to life not only the essence of redemption but does so through exploration of some very complicated and humanly challenging circumstances. The effects of war on life and identity are very real . The struggles of disenfranchised young adults and the search for connection that we all struggle to achieve jump,out of every page. The healing power of dogs not only brings together the commonality of the characters but highlights the essence of what really pulls our characters through PTSD and other live traumas. This is a very sensitive and important story. It is about all of us. It is about healing."

"This turned out to be one of the best books I have ever read. Growing up through the Vietnam era, I know that some of our soldiers came back with debilitating conditions. While having heard of "service" dogs, I had not heard of "comfort" dogs, and I found this story to be so touching on so many levels. Leslie's characters all had an amazing depth to them, and made me feel more like I was IN the story, rather than just reading it."

To read more, go to the Amazon website.

Thank you for your support. STOP 22!

Leslie Bratspis

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