At Outskirts Press we take great pride in celebrating the work of our successful self-publishing authors, and we do so in many ways, including through our Self-Publishing Author Spotlight blog series. Today we shine the spotlight on T.D. Arkenberg, the 2018 Outskirts Press Best Book of the Year Winner for his memoir, Two Towers.
Two Towers is the fourth book and first memoir from award-winning author T.D. Arkenberg. Independent Publisher Book Awards, Next Generation Indie Book Awards, National Indie Excellence Awards, and Pirate’s Alley Faulkner Society have recognized his work. T.D. studied at The University of Chicago, London Business School, and Northwestern University. He lives with his spouse, Jim, and their cat outside Chicago. Visit www.TDArkenberg.com. Keep reading below to learn more about all the books he has published (so far) with Outskirts Press.
TWO TOWERS – In his poignant memoir, Two Towers, T.D. Arkenberg navigates readers through a personal perfect storm. A resurgence of his father’s long-dormant cancer and chaos at his job in the aftermath of the September 11 terrorist attacks serve as the backdrop for a private struggle with a secret hidden for thirty-seven years. The story opens on Christmas Eve, 2001. Alone, he stands in his empty childhood home. Two months earlier, his father succumbed to cancer after a lengthy struggle. Five weeks after that painful loss, his mother’s unexpected death shattered his world. The double-barreled blast toppled his towers of strength and unconditional love at a time he was barely treading water. Only weeks before his parents’ deaths, his professional life descended into turmoil. Nineteen hijackers commandeered four commercial jets, unleashing unspeakable terror on US soil. Two towers collapsed into piles of twisted steel, a dusty grave for thousands of innocent souls. Two of the planes belonged to his employer. Eighteen colleagues were killed and thousands of others were soon without jobs. His leadership would never be more severely tested. Friends don’t know how he survives. Neither does he, especially with the added burden of a dark secret. As his world starts to crumble, fate offers a lifeline. Jim, a facilitator of a men’s coming-out group guides him through the process of accepting his sexuality. With towers collapsing around him, Jim might be able to save him from becoming another casualty. Two Towers stands as testament to duty and the power of love. Visit the Two Towers Author Webpage for more details or to order.
A BELGIAN ASSORTMENT – Travel to Belgium, One Tale at a Time
A Belgian Assortment transports readers to contemporary Belgium, a vibrant and multifaceted nation in the heart of Europe. The country plays host to legions of expatriates. Award-winning author T.D. Arkenberg draws on his own experience as an expat in Brussels to craft this collection of twelve vivid and enticing short stories. The characters who populate the stories are as unique and as diverse as the inhabitants of Belgium. Among these is Sabine, an idealistic Flemish woman. Relocating to Brussels to teach young immigrants, she soon finds her broad-minded ideals compromised. An unexpected lover revives her wounded spirit, but can the couple escape the bias and terror that grip the city? Brothers Hasan and Kadar, transplants from Lebanon, struggle to assimilate. A dark secret threatens to isolate them even further, this time from each other. American Jack Ramsey, free of the fetters of his Catholic upbringing, lives openly as a gay man in Brussels. But a visit from his mother could push him back into the closet. Marion is a shop clerk who finds refuge from her lonely, drab life in the carnival atmosphere of Chatelain, one of Brussels’ afternoon markets. A chance encounter offers her a lifeline, but will she grab it? Then there’s Marguerite, a charming octogenarian whose quest to recreate the lavish dinner where she first met her late husband inspires an unexpected detour. These are just a few of the colorful and complex characters who await readers in the pages of A Belgian Assortment.
NONE SHALL SLEEP – Opera is Life!
And life is opera. None Shall Sleep parts the curtain to reveal lives drawn together by one woman’s dream to sing. Isabella Fabrini, a discouraged Argentine-bred consultant living in London, has little to show for her forty years but a sputtering career, a string of unsatisfying relationships, and layers of cynicism. Her bold plan to reinvent herself as an opera singer has unintended consequences even before the reluctant diva sings her first note. “Every Italian town worth its weight in pasta has an opera house,” Isa says as she plans her debut. San Benedetto is no exception. The faded spa town of Isa’s birth, with its nineteenth-century theater, provides the setting for concert weekend, when anything can happen. Those gathered to hear Isa sing are as colorful as characters created by Puccini or Verdi. Their mirth and mayhem rival any opera libretto. There’s Telma Rossi. The fiery temptress stole Isa’s fiancé but wants more—a chance to steal the spotlight and maybe crush Isa again. Luca Caruso, a dashing restaurateur who fell in love with Isa at the start of her musical journey but harbors a painful secret, which sabotages their relationship. Can concert weekend liberate him from his tragic past? None Shall Sleep is a story of hope, perseverance, friendship, and love that will captivate anyone who’s ever dared to dream big. The novel was a 2014 semifinalist in the prestigious Faulkner-Wisdom competition.
JELL-O AND JACKIE O – Jet Set Dreams
Greek Isles, Capri, the Riviera, Jackie Kennedy Onassis, Andy Warhol, Twiggy; people and places that conjure up the chic world of the jet set. To Tad Aldenburg, a child who discovers Jackie Kennedy on the cover of LIFE magazine, beautiful people provide escape from a world of canned soup, bickering parents, and Jell-O. Tad’s fascination with Jackie begins just as his mother announces the return of her younger sister. His aunt’s free spirit and globetrotting lifestyle open old wounds while secrets promise to cut even deeper. When Tad greets his aunt, he can’t believe his eyes. She’s torn from the same magazine pages as Jackie. The uncanny likeness sparks his imagination. We first meet Tad as an adult approaching his thirty-ninth birthday. After years of running from love, he may have found romance with Mike, a handsome CPA. But a ten-year age difference and suspicions planted by his over-protective mother and petulant brother stir anxieties. Can he accept the love that Mike offers? Temptation and doubt threaten his happiness, testing lessons learned in childhood. Tad awakens to news that a plane piloted by John F. Kennedy Jr. is missing. Stung by the recent deaths of his father and aunt, the unfolding Kennedy tragedy catapults Tad back to his youth. Could that turbulent journey help him find a path forward? Capturing the glamour and calamity of an era that includes the rise of Jackie Onassis into an international icon, Jell-O and Jackie O was a 2013 semifinalist in the prestigious Faulkner-Wisdom literary competition.
FINAL DESCENT – First Class Betrayal
Everyone hates the airlines, and Intercontinental’s no exception. Economic headwinds, executive infighting, and a concession-weary workforce generate turbulence, feeding the media and Congress a diet of sensational service failures. Richard Weston, Chairman and CEO, will use any means to crush dissent. His goal? Keep the company airborne long enough to sell it. Leaks of his scheme could send the airline into a graveyard spiral. Charting a course of deception, Weston enlists the aid of diabolical, Ingrid Shattenworter. The pair tap grizzled company veteran, Hap Sweeny to polish the airline. And Sweeny’s got just the guy to calm employees, Jim Abernathy, a young idealist who loves Intercontinental as much as Sweeny – perhaps more. Jim has an adoring wife, Julie and a satisfying job. One thing’s missing – a baby. Getting pregnant is their top priority, but Julie fears Jim’s job will make him an absentee parent, or worse, send him to an early grave like his father. Ignoring his wife’s warnings, Jim accepts Sweeny’s offer, pulling away just when the couple’s goal is within reach. At work, forces conspire; the current culture won’t surrender without a fight. And rather than pacifying employees, Jim stirs them up. Weston commands Sweeny, torn between love of the airline and loyalty to his boss, to rein in the maverick before the place ignites. A flight to Frankfurt provides the stunning climax. A story of love and betrayal, the book appeals to anyone who’s toiled in the corporate world, juggled home and work, or stepped onboard a commercial airliner. Visit the Final Descent Author Webpage here.