Presenting Breaking Cadence

Ooligan Press is proud to present the memoir Breaking Cadence: One Woman’s War Against the War by debut author Rosa del Duca. This thought-provoking memoir details Rosa’s journey from enlisting in the military to becoming a conscientious objector.

Seventeen-year-old Rosa, a small-town girl, sees few options for her future. Living in poverty is a prison that’s hard to escape. When a recruiter from the National Guard comes to her school offering a college education at the price of one weekend a month and two weeks a year, she’s given a thread of hope—a path to a brighter tomorrow. Her mother is apprehensive, but the recruiter assures her the most dangerous thing Rosa will do is fight forest fires, so she consents. Then 9/11 happens and the world changes.

Rosa is thrust into an internal conflict between her own morals and the love of her military family. Honoring her contract means serving in a war she believes is wrong. Fraught with self-doubt and guilt, Rosa decides to become a conscientious objector.

Becoming a conscientious objector isn’t simply saying no to war and walking away. It’s a complicated decision shrouded in public shaming, and for Rosa, a decision not made lightly. Her memoir gives us a glimpse into the female military experience and the effects 9/11 had on our young recruits. In sharing Rosa’s journey with you, we hope to spark a conversation about the issues surrounding teen recruitment and the pressure to remain silent and follow orders, and we also hope to help humanize conscientious objectors.

Rosa’s book is available starting May 21, 2019. Don’t forget to check out her thought-provoking podcast for a deeper discussion about recruitment and conscientious objectors. Through interviews with other conscientious objectors and activists, Rosa explores recruitment and conscientious objection from all angles, encouraging everyone to join the conversation.

You can find Rosa on tour in the San Francisco Bay Area at one of the following events:

276 Village Square
Orinda, CA 94563-2504
Tuesday, May 21, 2019, from 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

Reading and Q&A
3036 24th Street
San Francisco, CA 94110
Sunday, May 26, 2019, at 6:00 p.m.

Reading and Panel Discussion Featuring Bay Area Iraq War Veterans
1537 North Main Street
Walnut Creek, CA 94596
Saturday, June 8, 2019, from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.

Introducing Breaking Cadence: One Woman’s War Against the War

We’re preparing for a busy season at Ooligan Press, with three titles coming out in as many consecutive months beginning in March. Our final book of the school year, Breaking Cadence: One Woman’s War Against the War by Rosa del Duca, is set to publish on May 21. It’s a thought-provoking memoir that not only communicates Rosa’s path to becoming a conscientious objector in the military but also serves as a conversation-starter around a number of pressing topics.

Rosa’s first encounter with the military came at age seventeen, when she was a high-school student in a small town in Montana. Stuck without a way to pay for college and to break free of confining family dynamics, the National Guard recruiter that came to her school seemed to offer the perfect solution: a straightforward path to continue her education while training one weekend a month, and two weeks during the summer. She did the math: she’d be ten percent soldier, ninety percent civilian. It was the year 2000, and the recruiter assured her that the most dangerous work she’d be doing was fighting forest fires. A year into Rosa’s contract, 9/11 changed everything. As the US entered the War on Terror, she began to comprehend the increasing disparity between the American military’s agenda in the Middle East and her own principles. Ultimately, she realized that in order to live by her own ethics, she needed to seek conscientious objector status.

We’re excited to share this memoir for a number of reasons. It’s unique in offering a female perspective on the military experience, as well as a before-and-after perspective of the impact of 9/11 on the military and our society as a whole. Moreover, many people are familiar with conscientious objectors as pertaining to the Vietnam War but have less exposure to those who sought this path in more recent conflicts. And because the War on Terror is ongoing, the issues Rosa raises still resonate soundly today. This book has a dual purpose, then, in sharing her extraordinary story and sparking discussion around relevant issues like teenage military recruitment tactics and the moral quandary between honoring a commitment and not wanting to compromise your core values. You also don’t need to have a background in the military to engage with this book; Rosa’s journey to find her voice and identify her true path in life will resonate with readers beyond a military context.

If you don’t want to wait until May to learn more about Rosa, she also has a highly-rated podcast that’s been releasing episodes since October. In addition to her prowess as a writer, Rosa has an extensive background in radio and music and uses her talents to the fullest advantage in this medium. Her podcast features interviews with other conscientious objectors, activists, and individuals involved in the legal process of war resistance, as well as further reflections on her military experience. It’s an engaging and eye-opening companion to the memoir, and I hope you all check it out and join the conversation.

The Memoir Project Gets a Title: Introducing “Breaking Cadence”

As a project manager for a year now, I’ve tackled everything from social media marketing to planning launch parties, especially while working with my previously managed title, The Ocean in My Ears. But I experienced a completely new part of the process when starting Ooligan’s new project: picking a title.
As you can tell from my previous post, I’d already realized that this would be a challenging new task for me when the press acquired a memoir by Rosa del Duca about her experiences in the National Guard leading up to and after 9/11 and her gradual realization that she is a conscientious objector. However, I don’t think I anticipated quite how difficult it would be! Of course, content is king when it comes to books. But a book’s cover and title are the first two things that a person comes in contact with, and thus are the first clues as to what that book is about. A good title and cover both need to accurately convey the content while also making it easier for the reader to figure out the general genre and topics covered as well as make it stand out from others in its genre at the same time. That’s a tough order to fill!
Thankfully, my team has many design-oriented members, and we all agreed on what we want the aesthetic of the cover to be and how we wanted it to convey Rosa’s mix of confusion (over whether or not she can leave her army family) and confidence (when she realizes she needs to stand up for her personal beliefs). Our cover design process is starting this month, and we’re very excited to see the wonderful concepts members of our press come up with! Soon enough, we’ll have a cover to share with the world.
However, that still left me with the problem of finding a great title that also sufficiently and eloquently captures the same things we want the books cover to show—the division of self, the strength to stand up against the status quo, and the unique mix of vulnerability and bravery that Rosa portrays so movingly in her memoir.
I went through many tactics in our search for The One (as Rosa liked to call our perfect title). My team brainstormed, we gathered ideas from Rosa, we sent out a poll to the entire press, I begged others for advice, and finally, I wrote down every military-themed word I could think of on green cards, words that had to do with the ideology of the book on pink cards, and connecting words on yellow cards. Then my team and I moved them all around into different combinations until we got inspired.

Here are some of the words we moved around on cards to try to find the best combination of words for our title!

Now we have a title! Our memoir project for Spring of 2019 is officially Breaking Cadence: One Woman’s War Against the War. If you don’t know, “cadence” is a term that is used in the military for the call-and-response “sound-offs” that are shouted while running or marching. Breaking Cadence represents Rosa’s eventual break from the military, while the subtitle “One Woman’s War Against the War” portrays her extraordinary courage in standing up for her beliefs, even if that often meant standing alone.
Now that we have a title, I’m excited to pass along the project to my upcoming successor as project manager, Sarah Loepp. Sarah has been with this project from the beginning and has a great grasp of the positioning, marketing ideas, and editorial process as well as where the project needs to go moving forward. It’s been an amazing experience to start the work on this title, and I’m very excited to see the end product! As my time here ends, I wish Sarah, Rosa, and the rest of the press best of luck moving forward with Breaking Cadence.

Working in Untitled Territory

Four years ago, Ooligan Press published a memoir called The Wax Bullet War by Sean Davis, a veteran who reenlisted immediately after 9/11. Since then, the book has been a bit lonely in our backlist as the only political/military memoir we’ve published. That’s about to change.
Ooligan’s newest acquired title will join The Wax Bullet War in the category of military and political memoir. Aside from these similarities, however, it differs significantly in plot. Author Rosa del Duca movingly brings readers through her journey as she attempts to gain conscientious objector status after enlisting in the National Guard following high school. While Rosa’s story may be unique, her experiences trying to decide where she fits in while dealing with misogyny, a dysfunctional home life, and feelings of uncertainty and self-doubt that are relatable to us all. As she discovers where and how to take a stand for her own beliefs, readers grow, change, and learn right along with her.
This title and its message is important to all of us in the press, and we can’t wait to get it in front of readers. Before that can happen, however, there’s so much work to be done. The most important of which is to figure out exactly how to represent that message with the title. We have a few options at the moment, but we are still trying to find the one that feels exactly right. In the meantime, the editing department has headed a developmental edit of the manuscript, and my team and I have started working on the marketing strategy, cover design brief, book description and synopsis, and contact lists for potential media outlets, reviewers, and blurbers.
While this book is in its initial phases, we have to ask ourselves many of the same questions Rosa asked herself: Where does it fit in? What message does it convey? Why this book, and why now? How do we want to portray it to the world? It took a while (no spoilers!), but Rosa eventually decided her place in the world and what she would sacrifice, stand for, and fight for to get there. Now, we just have to decide the same for her book.
We can’t wait to get this story out there. Until then, stay tuned with Ooligan’s Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for updates until the memoir’s release in Spring 2019.