Friday, July 23, 2021

Virtual Book Tour and Giveaway - Finding George Washington: A Time Travel Tale by Bill Zarchy

Welcome to my stop on the virtual book tour for Finding George Washington: A Time Travel Tale by Bill Zarchy. This book tour was organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. On my stop, I have an excerpt from the book as well as a great guest post from the author. There's also the tour wide giveaway for a chance to win a $50 Amazon or Barnes & Noble gift card. Be sure to follow the rest of the tour for more content. Enjoy!
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Title: Finding George Washington: A Time Travel Tale
Author: Bill Zarchy
Publisher: Roving Camera Press
Publication Date: November 19th 2020
Print Length: 284 pages
Genre: Historical Thriller
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On a freezing night in 1778, General George Washington vanishes. Walking away from the Valley Forge encampment, he takes a fall and is knocked unconscious, only to reappear at a dog park on San Francisco Bay—in the summer of 2014.

Washington befriends two Berkeley twenty-somethings who help him cope with the astonishing—and often comical—surprises of the twenty-first century.

Washington’s absence from Valley Forge, however, is not without serious consequences. As the world rapidly devolves around them—and their beloved Giants fight to salvage a disappointing season—George, Tim, and Matt are catapulted on a race across America to find a way to get George back to 1778.

Equal parts time travel tale, thriller, and baseball saga, Finding George Washington is a gripping, humorous, and entertaining look at what happens when past and present collide in the 9th inning, with the bases loaded and no one warming up in the bullpen.

**The eBook is only $0.99!**

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EXCERPT:
The General sat back, bone-weary, enjoying the rest. He then examined his drink.

“Beer, you say?” he grinned tightly. “Very watery, isn’t it?”

We quickly ran out of things to say. He marveled at the cans.

“Such bright, beautiful metal! They appear to be made of gold and silver.”

“Not.”

After a while, inevitability reared its ugly head. “Young man?”

“Please call me Tim, General.”

“Timothy. Could you kindly direct me to the privy?”

“Sure. But I’d better show you how to use it. It’s all changed since your day.”

“That won’t be necessary.”

“Well, there are plumbing devices to learn.”

“Plumbing?”

I took him on a tour of the bathroom. I was sure that, even in wartime, the General had always washed from a basin filled with warm water by servants. He had probably never seen running water in a sink, much less a shower.

At the basin, he gleefully grasped the left lever and twisted, then stuck his hand under the tap.

“Oh my! It’s warm. No, it’s hot! Who heats this water and puts it into this pipe?”

“The water comes from a tank, where it’s kept hot by burning a fuel. Here’s where you sit, General.” I showed him how to lift the lid and the seat and mentioned the protocol of closing the seat after use. He eyed the toilet suspiciously.

“And this little magic lever on the side blows water through and makes it all go away,” I added.

“Where?”

“Where what?”

“Where does it go?”

“Just … away.”

“Is it magic, Timothy? Like the cold box?”

“No sir, just technology.”

“Eh?

“Invention. Science.”

He was curious, yet his shoulders slumped with each new revelation, his apparent displacement in time and space beginning to weigh on him. He needed help.

He looked at me with a tight smile. “I fear I must rest. I hate to impose, but is there somewhere I could lay my weary head?”

I smiled. “I know just the place.”

“And perhaps something to wear that is a bit less formal than my current attire?” He looked down at his high boots and filthy wartime clothing.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Bill Zarchy filmed projects on six continents during his 40 years as a cinematographer, captured in his first book, Showdown at Shinagawa: Tales of Filming from Bombay to Brazil. Now he writes novels, takes photos, and talks of many things.

Bill’s career includes filming three former presidents for the Emmy-winning West Wing Documentary Special, the Grammy-winning Please Hammer Don’t Hurt ‘Em, feature films Conceiving Ada and Read You Like A Book, PBS science series Closer to Truth, musical performances as diverse as the Grateful Dead, Weird Al Yankovic, and Wagner’s Ring Cycle, and countless high-end projects for technology and medical companies.

His tales from the road, personal essays, and technical articles have appeared in Travelers’ Tales and Chicken Soup for the Soul anthologies, the San Francisco Chronicle and other newspapers, and American Cinematographer, Emmy, and other trade magazines.

Bill has a BA in Government from Dartmouth and an MA in Film from Stanford. He taught Advanced Cinematography at San Francisco State for twelve years. He is a resident of the San Francisco Bay Area and a graduate of the EPIC Storytelling Program at Stagebridge in Oakland. This is his first novel.

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GUEST POST:
- If George Washington time traveled to the present time, what do you think he'd think about the United States now?

My answer to this question is 380 pages long, available in print or e-book versions, and soon as an audiobook. It’s my debut novel, Finding George Washington: A Time Travel Tale.

Basically, the whole book is about Washington’s traveling through time to the near-present (2014), his reaction to what he sees, and the modern world’s reaction to him.

Here are some of the salient points, as developed in my imagination:

Washington, I fear, would be dismayed by the intense partisanship he sees around him, the push and pull of hostile forces, and the demeaning of political opponents. My George leaps into the present from 1778, the turning point of the War of Independence, when he was in his mid-40s and struggling to unite the thirteen colonies against British imperialism. Much later in his life, he was elected to his first presidential term with a unanimous vote in the Electoral College, but his second term was fraught with fractious debate and bitter political parties. However, all that is many years in his future. My Washington is younger and more idealistic.

Washington would be confused by race relations in our present-day United States. In his world, most Black people were slaves or (often) disenfranchised freemen. The idea that African Americans could actually be prosperous, educated, fully involved members of our society would probably strike him as odd. Certainly it was outside his experience, which explains why, in my story, George is not sure how to act when he meets LaMatthew Johnson, a Black man and best friend of the protag Tim.

Washington would probably not understand our present-day attitude toward slavery and his own role as a slave owner. There is ample historical evidence that he was ambivalent toward slavery during his life, that he had been horrified to witness slave auctions that split up families, that he had at least a dawning awareness that slavery was evil and immoral. He was stuck in a system where slavery was essential to the functioning of Mount Vernon, his Virginia plantation, and slaves, treated as chattel, represented a huge portion of his wealth. It’s important to keep in mind that slavery, at the time of the Revolution, was legal in all thirteen colonies.

Washington kept his enslaved manservant Billy Lee by his side throughout the conflict. Later, when he was president, most northern states had banned slavery, but George still had no compunctions about keeping slaves with him in his presidential residences in New York and Philadelphia, or about sending slave catchers after two who escaped.

To his credit, he did attempt to free his slaves in his last will and testament, with mixed results. The slaves he owned outright went free. But the slaves who had come to the marriage as part of Martha’s dowery (previously owned by her first husband) remained in bondage, along with a third group of enslaved people, the product of the intermarriage of the first two groups. The ones who were not freed fared poorly indeed, often sold off separately, families ripped asunder.

Washington would not understand our modern concept of universal suffrage, where we try to guarantee that each citizen gets a vote. In his day, the ringing anthem of the Declaration of Independence, which boldly states “all men are created equal” was hardly true at all. More accurately, it should say “all white, male, property-owning, church-going Protestants have somewhat equal rights.” Even colonies like Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, and Georgia, established to provide religious freedom for certain persecuted groups, failed this standard. Providing a setting for freedom of worship did not guarantee voting rights. During the Revolution and for a number of years after, Catholics, Jews, free Blacks, non-landowners, and all women were denied the vote in most of the colonies.

Enslaved people, of course, had no rights or votes at all and, in the new Constitution of 1787, were only counted as 3/5 human. This famous 3/5 Compromise was a temporary solution to the South’s desire to have their slaves counted toward Congressional representation, but not be counted for purposes of taxation. For Washington, who owned over 300 slaves at the end of his presidency, this probably all made sense.

In our own time, of course, universal suffrage is still under attack. All citizens can vote, as long as they are pre-registered (despite how difficult that may be in their states), show up to vote on Election Day (in states where absentee voting is discouraged), and can show the correct type of ID such as a drivers’ license (even in states that have eliminated many DMV offices in poor areas). Some things never change.

Washington would love baseball, as he does in my story! Though his credentials as a landed patrician are hard to miss, George was known to enjoy ball games. In fact, Joseph Plumb Martin recounts, in his Diary of a Revolutionary War Soldier, that Washington climbed down off his white steed one day during the winter encampment at Valley Forge and engaged in a game of wicket (no, not cricket) with his troops. Similarly — in my imagination, anyway — he enjoys modern-day baseball and his friends’ beloved San Francisco Giants.
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GIVEAWAY:
Bill Zarchy will be awarding a $50 Amazon or Barnes & Noble gift card to a randomly drawn winner via Rafflecopter. Good luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

123 comments:

  1. Yes, thank you so much for hosting me today!

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    1. I did a lot of research into Washington and Valley Forge and the War of Independence, in an effort to make it more accurate, and hopefully more interesting.

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  3. Love historical based books. This sounds like a great thriller.

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    1. It's not a historical novel, really, but more like you described it: historically based. And as a thriller, it does get pretty exciting at times!

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  4. I love historical reads and I love thrillers so I am looking forward to reading this one for sure. I especially like the excerpt provided on this post.

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    1. Thank you. The excerpt is fun, but this is more than a fish-out-of-water story. Washington's presence was essential to the Revolution, and I've used that fact, plus the idea of time travel, to speculate on how things might play out without him.

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  5. Sounds like a very interesting book.

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  6. Interesting tour, best wishes on your book.

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  7. I love a good history thriller-thanks

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    1. It's definitely a thriller, in part, but not really a historical novel, since most of the action takes place in the present. But it is historically based.

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  8. thank you for a chance to win

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    1. Well, I find it fascinating, but then, I'm biased (lol)!

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  10. Sounds great, I like the cover and excerpt.

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    1. Thank you. Cover, interior design, and editing by Matthew Félix, a multitalented fellow!

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    2. ... and the excerpt ... well, I thought it was inevitable that, if I moved my main character forward in time by more than 200 years, he would have a lot to learn about a lot of things, incl. toilets!

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    1. To learn more about the book, check out the website at http://findinggeorgewashington.com and the blog at http://findinggeorgewashington.com/blog

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  12. Great post – I enjoyed reading it!

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  13. Love the cover and the excerpt sounds amazing.

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    1. Thanks. Cover design, editing, and interior design by Matthew Félix. He's a very talented guy. And the excerpt is a lot of fun, isn't it?

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  14. I really like reading time travel books. Sounds like a great book.

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    1. Thank you. Time travel is a great literary device, though I'm not sure it's technically possible to achieve it. Fun to read, though, isn't it?

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  15. I liked the Except, nice book cover.

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    1. Thanks. I'm also very fond of the cover! Here's more about how the cover came about: https://findinggeorgewashington.com/finding-the-cover-for-finding-george/

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  16. I like that this book is a Historical Thriller.
    Have recently developed more of an interest in History.
    Thank you for sharing this.

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    1. History can be fascinating! I'm very fond of historical subjects also. Full disclosure: I did teach high school history for a couple years right after college, many years ago.

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  17. Wow! Interesting! Ty for the chance! Have a good night!

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  18. Thanks. I hope you have a chance to check it out. Enjoy!

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  19. You're welcome! Thanks for your interest.

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  20. I love this post because it makes me aware of another historical thriller which I really enjoy.

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    1. It's a historical thriller, a time travel tale, and a baseball saga, all wrapped up in one story.

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  21. In today's post, I especially enjoyed reading about the author's varied and interesting career!

    Nancy
    allibrary (at) aol (dot) com

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    1. Thanks! You might also enjoy my first book, a memoir of my work and travels as a cinematographer: Showdown at Shinagawa: Tales of Filming from Bombay to Brazil.

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  22. How long was the writing process?

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    1. I came up with the idea and began writing a few chapters in 2013. Then I took a long train trip in the summer of 2014, because I knew I wanted my characters to take the same trip and needed to know what it was like. I continued to write and edit sporadically over the next few years, while looking, without success, for a literary agent. When I decided to self-publish last summer, I did another round of editing and revision. So you could say the writing process took six years, though I wasn't writing the whole time.

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  23. I enjoyed your post about what George Washington would think now. Very interesting and thought provoking.

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    1. Thanks. As you can imagine, I've put a lot of time into imagining how GW would react to many aspects of our society!

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  24. The excerpt is interesting. Thank you for sharing it.

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    1. You're welcome! I knew when I started this book that, at some point, George would have to confront modern plumbing and bathrooms!

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  25. Do you ever use your own experiences to write a book?

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    1. Sure. Finding George Washington is a good example. The character of Tim is based somewhat on my son, and a bit on me. I also took a long train ride on Amtrak, because I didn't want my characters to go somewhere without me! I needed to ride the train to understand what it was like, and I got a number of characters based on folks I met on the train.

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  26. This time travel story has a lot going for it with the surprise to George Washington of baseball and modern bathrooms. The elctoral college and slavery are also touched upon.

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    1. Thanks for noticing! I had to do a lot of research, because I realized, at the beginning of the process, that I didn't know much about GW other than a few basics we all know.

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  27. David HollingsworthJuly 24, 2021 at 5:21 PM

    The post is great!

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  28. Looks like an interesting book.
    Thanks for the contest. 

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  29. The books sounds so fascinating love to read it.

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    1. It's a lot of fun, kind of a combination of various genres. Check it out if you can!

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  30. I like the time traveling!! Thats so much fun!

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    1. Yes! As a professor of astronomy said to me, time travel may not be feasible in real life, but it's a great literary device!

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  31. Replies
    1. Thanks. It's a good yarn, with time travel, history, and baseball. And there are trains too! What's not to like?

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  32. This sounds like an interesting book and I also like the cover.

    abfantom at yahoo dot com

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    1. Thanks. I love the cover myself, designed by Matthew Félix, from my photos. And the book is a good, fast-moving story, with elements of several different genres.

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  33. It sounds interesting that he would stop long enough to wicket with his troops

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    1. It's a real historical fact, based on the diary of one of his soldiers during the Revolution.

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  34. Time travel and history. Great combination.

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    1. Yes! Totally agree. Especially when the history is based on real events.

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  35. I love the idea of a book involving time travel. Sounds like a great read!

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    1. When you give your characters, or at least your hero, the ability to travel through time, anything can happen!

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  36. Sound like an interesting book with twists and turns.

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  37. David HollingsworthJuly 26, 2021 at 4:48 PM

    I bet your next book is going to be just as enticing as this one.

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    1. Hopefully it will be. The sequel is called Saving Franklin. It centers on a real-life gunman who tried to kill President-Elect FDR, before he took office in 1933. It's another 'what-if' story ... what if Roosevelts had been killed that day?

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  38. Interesting perspective on what George would think about things today.

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  39. Well, I've spent a lot of time thinking about that, as you can imagine. In fact, this whole book is about how he would react to our modern world. Enjoy!

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  40. How many years have you been writing books?

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    1. I published my first book, Showdown at Shinagawa: Tales of Filming from Bombay to Brazil, in 2013. It's based on 18 short pieces that I'd written since 2002, about my work and travels all over the world as a cinematographer. Some of the pieces had been previously published in magazines and anthologies. Also in 2013, I started work on my debut novel, Finding George Washington: A Time Travel Tale. The following year I took a long train ride as a research trip for Finding George. That was a huge commitment to following through on that book, which I published in November 2020, exactly seven years after Showdown.

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    1. Oh yes! I grew up in Brooklyn and was a Dodgers fan, until they moved away and deserted us. Then I rooted for the Yankees, until I moved to the bay area many years ago. Now I’m a crazy Giants fan.

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  42. Thanks so much! I hope you get to read it. Enjoy!

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  43. Do you set an alarm so you don't write for too long at a stretch?

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    1. I don't need to usually. I'm often so restless that the I need to do the opposite: sit still long enough to get some writing done!

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  44. The book sounds very interesting. Thanks!

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    1. It is interesting, a bit educational, and a page turner to boot. Enjoy!

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  45. liked the excerpt

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    1. Thank you. I knew from the get-go that GW would have to confront modern plumbing at some point.

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  46. I enjoyed the description of the book and it sounds very interesting.

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  47. Where is your favorite place to write?

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    1. I'm fortunate to have an office in my home, a small bedroom at the rear of the house where our son slept when he was growing up. He's long gone now, and I love having a work space all my own.

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  48. It is an interesting thought to see what George Washington would think about things today. Great Book!

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    1. That was the original idea behind the book, watching GW deal with the present. The thriller idea and the baseball theme came later.

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  49. David HollingsworthJuly 30, 2021 at 2:27 AM

    Hope you are having a decent summer!

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    1. Well, I think it is. Read it yourself and let me know what you think.

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  51. I love the idea of a young and idealistic GW.

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    1. Thanks. George in his 40s during the Revolution appealed to me most of all.

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  52. Sounds like an interesting book, thanks for sharing!

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  53. LAST DAY!
    Thanks for the contest.

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  54. I liked hearing about George Washington time traveling. It's an interesting concept.

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  55. The cover is really great! The book sounds so interesting!
    By the way, I am unable to pin the book cover and Pinterest and Google+ no longer exists as an entry method.
    digicats {at} sbcglobal {dot} net

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    1. Try pinning the cover from this page: http://findinggeorgewashington.com

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  56. omg- Time travel is right up my alley! I am fascinated with it

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    1. Then you'll love Finding George Washington. Check it out.

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  57. Last day of the giveaway! It was lovely to meet you! Very interested in your book and hope to read it soon! Thanks for the giveaway!

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    1. You're welcome! Thank you for your interest in my debut novel.

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  58. What I love about this post is not only does it give you an irresistible sneak peek at this great, fictionalized look at George Washington, but you also get a lengthy glimpse into the author’s world. He has an impressive and storied career worth reading up on-after you finish his new book, of course!

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