Page 1

DECEMBER/ JANUARY 2020

SHELF UNBOUND WRITING COMPETITION

2 019 I N D I E B E S T AWARD WINNERS

WHAT TO READ NEXT IN INDEPENDENT PUBLISHING


OUR STORY

S H E LF

U N B O U N D

M A G A Z I N E All we wanted was a really good magazine. About books. That was full of the really great stuff. So we made it. And we really like it. And we hope you do, too. Because we’re just getting started.

2

DECEMBER / JANUARY 2020


Lamb to the

Slaughter by Pete Delohery A novel about love and cour age, sin and redemption “Iron” Mike McGann is facing the twilight of his prizefighting career. Desperate for his future, he has refused to honor his promise to his wife to quit the ring and start a family. Rufus “Hurricane” Hilliard is the most menacing presence in prizefighting. But behind his menacing ring presence lives a man nobody knows, a complex man who despises his own image. Rufus “Hurricane” Hilliard vs. “Iron” Mike McGann, just another fight shown on The Continuous Sports Network, but by the time it is over the lives of these and many others will be forever different.

“This heartfelt tale makes a powerful emotional impact.” —Blue Ink Starred Review Also in Spanish: El Cordero al matadero Available in print and e-book at Amazon, xlibris, and Barnes & Noble.

w w w. p e t e d e l o h e r y. c o m

3


Shelf Unbound Staff. PRESIDENT, EDITOR IN CHIEF Sarah Kloth PARTNER, PUBLISHER Debra Pandak CREATIVE DIRECTOR Anna Trokan COPY EDITOR Molly Niklasch CONTRIBUTING EDITOR Megan Lord Sara Grochowski Lynn Russo Christian Brown D.L. Graser

WHAT TO R EAD NEXT ?

SIGN UP FOR A

FREE

SUBSCRIPTION TO SHELF UNBOUND W W W . S H E L F M E D I A G R O U P. C O M

SUBSCRIBE

FINANCE MANAGER Jane Miller

For Advertising Inquiries: e-mail sarah@shelfmediagroup.com

CAN’T GET ENOUGH OF SHELF UNBOUND? Follow us on social!

For editorial inquiries: e-mail media@shelfmediagroup.com

 @ SHELFINDIEREADS  @ SHELFMAGAZINE  @ SHELFMEDIAGROUP

4

DECEMBER / JANUARY 2020


THE EMERGENCE OF HIV A NOVEL

DAVID CORNISH MD

Dr. Arthur Noble is a brilliant first-year medical resident in San Francisco, who has a stellar career ahead of him. However, all of Noble’s skills are put to the test when he encounters a strange new illness.  The ailment seemingly appears out of nowhere, and serves its victims a most horrible and brutal death.   Noble struggles to find answers to the medical mystery, even as many researchers and society refuse to believe it is a serious threat, or that it even exists.1980 is an authentic medical story about a disease that will eventually have an unimaginable impact on the entire world.

1980 is a fascinating read written with the medical professional in mind. It paints a complete picture of the early days of the crisis. …one of the most frightening mysteries of modern medicine. Medical professionals will find it fascinating and the general public, compelling.” - A&U Magazine, America’s AIDS Magazine

Available at

Print ISBN: 978-1-54392-803-7 eBook ISBN: 978-1-54392-804-4

Check out David Cornish’s first novel, 1918, about the influenza pandemic that killed 100 million people.

Print ISBN: 9780692334805 eBook ISBN: 9780692334812

WWW.DAVIDCORNISHBOOKS.COM

5


DECEMBER / JANUARY CONTENTS

I N TH IS

ISSUE

AWARD WINNERS 10 Overall Winner

Teetering On Disaster by Michaela Renee

17 Finalists IGIST: New Stars

by L.S. Larson

Cooperative Lives by Patrick Finegan

I Don't Belong Here by Melissa Grunow

Little Lovely Things by Maureen Joyce Connolly

Kick-Ass Kinda Girl: A Memoir Of Life, Love, And Caregiving by Kathi Koll

36 Long-Listed Britfield And The Lost Crown

by C.R. Stewart

Freckled, Memoir Of Growing Up Wild In Hawaii by TW Neal

Savagery by J.C. Mehta

Nobody Move by Philip Elliott

In The Shadow Of War by Patrick Garry

High Flying by Kaylin McFarren

The Biggest Moonshiner by Betty M. Rafter

The Spanish Papers by Kevin Tumlinson

The Weight Of The Moment by Michael Bowe

On Life And Meaning by Mark Peres

64 Recommended Reading 68 Top 100 Notables 6

DECEMBER / JANUARY 2020


A WORD FROM THE PUBLISHER

Winners. BY SARAH KLOTH, PUBLISHER

We receive book after book as entries in our annual Shelf Unbound Best Indie Book Competition. We received hundreds of entries this year in all manner of genres. You can find the winners, finalists, long-listed (new this year), and our top “Notable” books in this issue. To everyone who entered, we want to let you all know how much we enjoyed reading your books. Our overall winner is Teetering on Disaster: A Memoir by Michaela Renee Johnson from Bowker, 2019.

From Michaela Renee Johnson:

"So much of the story still makes me laugh, and sometimes sigh, sometimes at the same time. I reflect on moments from the story with different colored glasses each time. The hardest part about publishing a memoir is the realization that people suddenly know intimate details of your life, but it’s incredibly humbling when people say that my true life story inspired them in some way, and those moments make it worth it." There are many books to discover in this issue – we hope you find your next favorite read here.

7


Available at

WW

P U S W.

S ER

O

NIC

E Y L F

R

M O .C 5s e ag r o F

9

Here is the book that so many early readers are going crazy over. It is the TRUE story of the REAL American hero who risked his life in 1947 to fly the X-1 rocket plane through the sound barrier and take the world of aviation into the modern age. The risks were great with some scary ups and downs, but Chuck Yeager was steady and determined and he did it. What is the sound barrier? This book gives a careful explanation. You and your children will never forget this story. See the movie at www.supersonicflyer.com.


www.codenamearcangelbrucejarvis.com


OUR 2019 WINNER

SHELF UNBOUND

BEST

INDIE BOOK

COMPETITION AWARD WINNER

01

TEETERING ON DISASTER BY MICHAELA RENEE

10

DECEMBER / JANUARY 2020


WINNER

2019 SHELF UNBOUND COMPETITION

Our Winner.

of the 2019 Shelf Unbound Competition for Best Independently Published Book

" YOU'LL LAUGH

AND YOU'LL CRY - SOMETIMES AT THE SAME TIME."

11


CONTINUED

01

WINNER

Teetering On Disaster. It was 1992 when her father saw the economic collapse coming, he had two choices, the rough path or the easy path, and he chose the rough one... Dad began. Then I interrupted, "DAD, ITS MY MEMOIR!" And then my Mom piped in and yelled, "OH MY GOD! I RAISED A BUNCH OF NARCISSISTS!" Let's try again... Meet Michaela: she's the girl next door--except that "next door" happens to be a 27-foot 5th Wheel Trailer with no electricity or running water in the Sierra Nevada's. At 17 she sets out to take on the world, but 10 years later, she finds herself right back where she started...in a small mountain town in the middle of nowhere. You'll laugh and you'll cry-sometimes at the same time- as she stumbles upon a few Mr. Right Now's and other adventures on her quest to find love and uncover the girl she always was but had lost somewhere along the way.Join 'Crazy Kayla' and her nutty cast of characters for a little muddy-path Rock Crawlin' through the true story of how her American Dream survives and thrives, in the face of life's inconveniences and heartbreaking setbacks that sometimes leave her Teetering on Disaster.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

MICHAELA RENEE Michaela Renee Johnson is a licensed psychotherapist, Be You Find Happy podcast host and an award winning published author. She inspires happiness by encouraging people to speak their truth with grace, and live a courageous life of authenticity. Her business Be You Find Happy holds workshops and conversations on happiness in spite of life's setbacks and has landed her speaking opportunities across the nation.

12

DECEMBER / JANUARY 2020

She lives in Northern California with her husband and son. She enjoys traveling and has visited 19 countries; she loves the ocean and everything in it. She rarely finds herself without an activity whether it be hiking, yoga, tinkering the garden, golfing, reading or spending time outside.


CONTINUED

Interview with Michaela Renee. Tell us about your book. MR: The story begins in 1992 when my parents moved us from an upscale neighborhood in Sacramento to a 27-ft trailer in the Sierra Nevada Mountains with no running water or electricity. It’s been described by a reviewer as "Swiss Family Robinson meets Jerry Springer.” I believe it’s poignant and humorous especially now with people having more connection than ever, but feeling more alone and overwhelmed than ever. It’s an often humorous, always brutally honest, and at times heartbreaking true story of a family of five that must give up any reality they've ever known to carve out a new one they've never imagined. As a pre-teen I was caught in the middle navigating my way through adolescence — shaving my legs for the first time in the frigid water of an irrigation ditch — but the experiences I had gave me profound wisdom about my family, the world and my own ability to thrive in the face of life's inconveniences. The story continues into adult-hood when I get divorced in my twenties, stumble upon a few "Mr. Right Now’s,” and end up right back where I started: a small mountain town in the middle of nowhere. Was it difficult writing about your experience and putting it out in the world for others to read? What was that experience like writing this book? MR: The truth is this book began as an online blog that started getting a tremendous following, I was writing it as part of my own therapeutic healing process and it blossomed into a book. It gained wings and quickly became a published book… So, I think the hardest part about publishing a memoir is the realization that people suddenly know intimate details of your life, and especially in an age of social media feel compelled to share the rights and wrongs. Sometimes it’s incredibly humbling when people say that my true life story inspired them in some way, and those moments make any negative press worth it.

01

WINNER

What is your favorite chapter / memory included in this book? MR: So much of the story still makes me laugh, and sometimes sigh, sometimes at the same time. I reflect on moments from the story with different colored glasses each time. The other day a radio station interviewer brought up a paragraph in the end, where I share my insights on life from the experiences I had, she called it “my manifesto of sorts.” I went back and reread and it was so in love with the girl who wrote that. I thought, if those words inspire no one but myself, I will have accomplished something, at the end of the day that was why I wrote Teetering, to heal myself, and so it made me so proud. What writing advice do you have for other indie authors? MR: Just write. Don’t talk about writing, don’t think about writing, just write. If I feel inspired, I sit down and type a couple thousand words and sometimes it lives there in a word document in a folder labeled “writing” until the time is right for me to continue. I also don’t put pressure on myself to write a thesis every time I pick up the pen (or the keyboard). Sometimes I’ll just jot quotes I’ve made up, or funny things that have happened, a dream I had or journal out an experience that unfolded that day. Many of my children’s books started as night time stories I told my son and then went and scribbled ideas on a stick-it note. The future only happens forward, so picking up a pen and writing is action toward your goal, that’s all that matters, the who/what/when/why/where/how will work itself out. What are you working on next? MR: I am over the moon about my next book, a narrative non-fiction that takes the same brutally honest (and humorous) tone as Teetering to inspire people to live a courageous life of authenticity, speak their truth with grace and find happiness. If there’s one thing I’ve learned it’s that happiness is a constant reset, and I can’t wait to share some insights as a psychotherapist into the truths about living your best life.

13


CONTINUED

01

WINNER

Teetering On Disaster. BY MICHAELA RENEE

READ AN EXCERPT

Excerpt from Teetering on Disaster All you really need to know is, sub-40-degreeirrigation-ditch water, goosebumps and a disposable blue razor don’t play well together, period. The first time I shaved my legs I was fifteen years old, squatting on the edge of a riverbank wearing a pair of jean cutoffs, without any soap and using a ten cent disposable razor I borrowed from my dad. This was not by preference, but because it was the only running water I had access to. To some, this little episode could be deemed poetic, an idealistic event granted only to those who have had the pleasure of growing up in the Pacific Northwest. So let me be clear, it definitely wasn’t by choice and it really isn’t much of a river either, because it’s only six foot wide by four foot deep, making it more like a creek. Because it’s man-made, the official County term for this body of water is “irrigation ditch.” It begins at the base of the Tahoe National Forest and carries snow melt from the Sierra Nevada mountain range to my podunk little town each year. Excerpt from Teetering on Disaster SETTLING for a short while is not bad, as long as you still follow your dreams, BOUNDARIES and ENTITLEMENT are basic fundamentals to creating inner strength, EXPECTATIONS should be set, but it’s only when you let them go that they are met, DISAPPOINTMENT is the only way to see value in your blessings, COURAGE is being able to spend some time at rock bottom, FRIENDSHIP is everywhere but only found when you quit looking for it, STRENGTH cannot be measured by anything less than your ability to stand up when you fall regardless of how long it takes you to get back on your feet, JUDGMENT is necessary for one person to realize their own faults, FORGIVENESS is the gift we are afforded to share grace with one another, CLOSURE can only be created by the one needing it, otherwise it’s not closure at all, CIRCUMSTANCE is fate and having faith when 14

DECEMBER / JANUARY 2020

the direction of the road isn’t clear, CONFUSION is required to gain a better understanding of the depths of your soul because sometimes your mind and your heart disagree, LOVE allows the heart ease from the greatest of all pains, TRUST is deserved and earned and should be considered a reward, CLARITY comes when all of those pieces arrive together in synchronistic harmony. If not, there’s always Write Off Day…so then there’s that. 


The story is about Digit, the Robot dog, who helps to stop bullying at the Zipper Elementary School. Digit is a special dog because he teaches children not to bully each other in school. Digit carries a red toolbox kit that teaches children about positive behavior, positive role models, positive rules, being kind to one another, being helpful to each other, and teaches children how to deal with problems about bullying in school. Digit teaches the children how to be friendly, to share, to say please and thank you but most of all he teaches them to have positive behavior. Digit says, “Bullying Hurts! It hurts us all. Stop Bullying now!

15

DECEMBER / JANUARY 2020


Through the story of mean and obnoxious bees that fly around in Mrs. Busy’s classroom,

like a double-shot versus disrespect and aggression. Being a bully is not the correct in ofbehavior Irisheither whiskey”

young minds will begin to understand the contrast between a kind and loving attitude school or outside of school or anywhere. Mrs. Busy tells the children to do their best in

school and play together nicely as bullying hurts the feelings of others. Mrs. Busy lets the children know they should use only kind words and their indoor voices, they should be good listeners, and they should not punch, kick, shove, hit, spit, and grab one another. Bullying hurts others. The ten bees were wrong to hurt one another. No More bullying! Bullying Books By others is not an acceptable behavior. Bullying hurts!

Colm Herron 16


FINALISTS

xxxxxra.

BY XXXXXX

02

17

DECEMBER / JANUARY 2020


FINALISTS

2019 SHELF UNBOUND COMPETITION

INTRODUCING....

2019 FINALISTS

IGIST: NEW STARS BY L.S. LARSON

COOPERATIVE LIVES BY PATRICK FINEGAN

Introducing our finalists of the 2019 Shelf Unbound Competition for Best Independently Published Book

I DON'T BELONG HERE BY MELISSA GRUNOW

LITTLE LOVELY THINGS BY MAUREEN JOYCE CONNOLLY

KICK-ASS KINDA GIRL: A MEMOIR OF LIFE, LOVE, AND CAREGIVING BY KATHI KOLL

18


02

FINALISTS

CONTINUED

IGIST: New Stars. Ever since her mother disappeared, Emi was a light sleeper. Most nights she lay awake, wondering when the plague would strike. It had ruined most of the planet, leaving the Bygones on Earth restless and without hope. There has to be a way, her father had promised her. A way to escape Earth and observe the wonders of space. A way to defeat the plague and save the Bygones. A way to advance science like her mother and achieve her dream of joining the best and brightest inventors in the universe at the Intergalactic Institute of Science and Technology, or IGIST. As old stars die, new stars are born.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

L.S. LARSON L.S. Larson grew up in Washington State on the Olympic Peninsula in the small town of Forks (known for Stephanie Meyer's Twilight series). After becoming a father of three daughters, L.S., having been inspired by the Tom Swift series, set out to write a new sci-fi series that would not only be entertaining and fun but also show his three daughters and hopefully everyone that they can be a great inventor and make a massive impact. The mission of IGIST is to inspire the future. 19

DECEMBER / JANUARY 2020


CONTINUED

Interview with L.S Larson. Tell us about your book. LL: 200 years in the future, Earth is not so nice a place. A plague has turned the planet into a dystopia, terrorizing the Bygones left on Earth. Meanwhile, humans in the cosmos are opening up new vistas for humanity. The best and brightest explorers and scientists are educated and trained at IGIST, the Intergalactic Institute of Science and Technology. It’s like a space MIT. The story follows Emi, a young woman from the plague-ravaged Earth, who’s determined to study at IGIST and create a cure for the plague. On her journey Emi meets an incredible cast of characters from all over the universe. Readers can go behind the scenes with backstories, concept art, and interviews in the IGIST app.

How did you go about developing this book? LL: I wrote IGIST to inspire my daughters to study STEM. I noticed that my daughters, nieces, and nephews are obsessed with apps like TikTok and Fortnite, which do a great job of incorporating the technological capabilities of smartphones. By contrast, E-Reading apps like Kindle haven’t really changed since they were invented. As a technologist, I set out to reinvent the digital reading experience with a new medium called the Immersive Novel. This format brings the story to life with photorealistic illustrations, cinematic animations, and Augmented Reality filters. In fact, readers can experience the entire Immersive Novel for free in the IGIST app. As they scroll through the story, readers earn coins, which they can use to collect Character Stickers

02

FINALISTS

readers prefer a hardcopy, they can actually bring the physical book to life with their smartphones or tablets. Since we launched the book and the app, we’ve seen that IGIST gets kids who historically aren’t readers excited about reading.

What was the experience of writing this book like for you? LL: Writing IGIST has been one of the most fulfilling experiences of my life. I woke up every morning at 4:30 AM and wrote a chapter then handed it off to my oldest daughter, Kendall, who read each chapter every night after she finished all her homework and gave me her feedback. I also got to collaborate with an incredibly talented team of illustrators, animators, and software developers. We built the IGIST app and created this Immersive Novel together.

What writing advice do you have for other indie authors? LL: My advice is to do the work. One of the most valuable lessons I learned in the Marine Corps was discipline. I attended the University of Arizona on an ROTC scholarship, so I had to be up for training every morning at 5 AM. Getting into this routine really helped me be productive. I’d recommend setting aside a few hours every day and forcing yourself to write during that time.

What are you working on next? LL: The second adventure in the IGIST series. You can read a preview of that in Book 1 and follow @ igistuniverse on Instagram to see the latest Book 2 concept art.

and other bonus content in the IGIST app. And if 20


CONTINUED

02

FINALISTS

IGIST: New Stars. BY L.S. LARSON

Excerpt from Chapter 5 - The Plague: Suddenly, she heard it. A loud crack. She stopped dead. Her ears perked, and the hair on the back of her neck stood straight up. She heard it again over the siren and the screaming. It was an awful sound. Wuh-PSSSH, then a loud crack. Again, Wuh-PSSSH, crack! Jack was still paralyzed. The sound of the plague burst repeatedly like a whip cracking. A hundred feet away she saw it. A dark cloud exploded from one of the cabin doors. The plague was regenerating, with long fractal tentacles shooting out, while multiple rapid explosions expanded the dark cloud. Wuh-PSSSH, crack! Wuh-PSSSH, crack! The dark cloud engulfed several people. It was the blood-curdling screams in the cacophony of whipcracks and wailing sirens that broke Jack’s paralyzed state. Sweating profusely, she ran back to the bow of the ship. She could hear the sound gaining on her. She grabbed the rail and yelled, “No!” then punched the rail with all her might. She couldn’t bear to look back. There was no way Jack could get to her precious Helix Cells that she so desperately needed. She had no choice but to abandon them. She climbed to the top bar of the rail, looking toward Torrance Compound in the distance and the breaking waves below. Her left hand gripped the edge of the railing. She could feel her grip slipping from the blood spilling out of her cuts. She felt a searing pain in her left hand. Boy did it burn. The cloud was upon her. Jack held her breath. Wuh-PSSSH, crack! She jumped. 

21

DECEMBER / JANUARY 2020

READ AN EXCERPT


02

FINALISTS

CONTINUED

Cooperative Lives. A landmarked midtown Manhattan address. Carnegie Hall and Central Park at your feet. Three hundred units. Thirtytwo full-time employees. Five hundred neighbors. You’ve hit the big time. Joined the elite. But what do you know about them, the neighbors? Have you ever met them? Really engaged with them? Or do you gaze down in the elevator, the same way you do on the subway and the street? Oh sure, you’ve heard a famous writer lives on the fourteenth floor, a retired US senator on the eighteenth. You’ve witnessed so many Broadway impresarios glide through the lobby you’ve lost count. But what about your real neighbors – the couple in 7H, for instance, or the family in 8B? Did you know they once harbored the most wanted fugitive in America? ABOUT THE AUTHOR

22

PATRICK FINEGAN Patrick Finegan was born during the latter half of the Eisenhower Administration and graduated during the Carter and Reagan Administrations from Northwestern University and the University of Chicago Law School and Graduate School of Business. He worked more than thirty years in law, corporate finance, management consulting and risk management. He has a wife and grown daughter and has lived in the New York metropolitan area his entire professional life - most of that time in the same residential co-operative. Cooperative Lives is his first work of fiction. DECEMBER / JANUARY 2020


CONTINUED

Interview with Patrick Finegan. Tell us about your book. PF: Cooperative Lives is my first work of fiction, a novel about tenants in an upscale residential co-operative. Some old, some older, their lives come crashing together when one chance mishap triggers another, transforming their otherwise private residential complex into Ground Zero for a front-page national scandal. The setting is Manhattan, 2012-13, an island still recoiling from the financial crisis and still recovering from 9/11. The story predates WikiLeaks, Brexit, ISIS, the 2016 US presidential election and the global contagion of nationalism.

02

FINALISTS

it exhilarating. By extension, writing Cooperative Lives was an invitation to speculate. The two dowagers in the lobby, the one who always wears black and the other who never parts with her overcoat: why are they accoutered this morning in vibrant blue and red yet conversing so somberly? And why is the taller woman pointing insistently at the concierge? Previously, I wouldn’t have noticed. And probably shouldn’t have. But there is an undeniable vicarious thrill to speculating about other people’s lives, and writing a novel helped sate that appetite.

How did you go about developing this book? PF: I began modestly. I envisioned a series of short stories depicting everyday occurrences of imagined neighbors in a staid Manhattan co-operative that would, when viewed collectively, present a pointillist impression of New York after 9/11 and the 2008 financial crisis. In one story, a compulsive planner locks himself out of his well-stocked apartment during a blackout. In another, a wife berates her husband for flouting pedestrian crosswalk signals in front of their impressionable child, only to be mowed down herself while observing them. In a third, an aging money manager accidentally depletes a client’s account, but is saved from ruin by a longforsaken pack of cigarettes. Other stories entailed skiing accidents, medical malpractice, malware, overzealous media – a wide palette of seemingly unrelated topics.

What writing advice do you have for other indie authors? PF: That’s rich. A newbie offering advice seems preposterous. I suspect most indie authors have been writing fiction since college or their youth. Many have MFAs. I am a latecomer, well into retirement, with no formalized education in creative anything, except perhaps accounting. My advice to late bloomers is to begin by mining your own experiences – the trials you’ve witnessed firsthand, the memories you’ve suppressed but which still somehow torment you. Buried within those memories are characters yearning to be freed, beseeching you to voice their emotions through your words. They may even furnish you with a plot. For younger authors, my advice is, “Live.” Nothing breathes life into narrative description better than life itself – its heartaches, its challenges, its unexpected rewards. That applies even if you’re writing fantasy. And if you can’t work from genuine, on-point experience, conduct research, lots of it, until you’re ready to pull off a con, because that, after all, is the point of fiction.

What was the experience of writing this book like for you? PF: Cathartic. I am a lawyer, not an actor and, until recently, not a novelist. My previous publications were professional. Writing fiction required immersing myself in an imagined character’s psyche, in their emotions, and then expressing them with the same fierceness and conviction as I feel my own. Then doing it again for the next character and so forth, each time with a nuanced or radically different perspective. Writing Cooperative Lives was a crash course in method acting, and I found

What are you working on next? PF: I am wallowing in research but hope to commence writing another New York-centered novel this winter, publishing it before my sixty-fifth birthday. That’s just four-and-a-half years from now, scarcely enough time to get to know my characters. Depending on life’s commitments, my timetable may slip, but I am eager to get started. Several readers have entreated me to bring back characters from Cooperative Lives, but I will probably begin with a fresh slate. A lot depends on my research. The connecting medium will be water. 23


CONTINUED

02

FINALISTS

Cooperative Lives. BY PATRICK FINEGAN

The man and woman sat at the patient’s side for an hour. The man turned to the woman and said, “You haven’t had breakfast yet, have you?” She shook her head slowly. “I’ll buy you breakfast in Tahoe. I need to return Susan’s rental car and retrieve her clothes. Can you give me a lift?”

READ AN EXCERPT

“You don’t … you don’t want to stay here with her?” Another selfish bastard, the woman thought. Any excuse whatsoever to get away. His shoulders slumped. “If it made even the slightest difference to the outcome, Hanni, I would. I’m just trying to be practical. My understanding is she rented a Miata. I have to either return it and replace it with something more, well, practical, or impose on you for God knows how long. If I deal with the car now, I can return in a day and camp out here until she’s discharged.” Hanni was unconvinced. Jack tried again. “Melissa and my sister Eleanor are flying in on Monday. I need a roomier car. A two-seater won’t do.” Hanni seemed dubious. At last Jack blurted out, “How’s this? I can’t drive a stick shift. I might as well have inherited an airplane.” Hanni burst into laughter then shushed herself. Even she knew when to remain solemn. “So what you really want is for me to drive you to San Francisco in Susan’s car so you can pick out something a little boy can drive?” Jack shrugged. “Something like that. Would you do that for me, please?”

24

DECEMBER / JANUARY 2020

Susan’s husband no longer seemed superior. He was a pathetic little boy in knickers. “Come on, Mario Andretti, let’s go. You drive the first leg, back to Tahoe. The SUV’s got automatic transmission.” She hesitated a moment, then added, “You can buy me dinner, too.” 


02

FINALISTS

CONTINUED

I Don't Belong Here. What does it mean to belong? In a place? With a person? To a family? Where do our senses of security and survival lie? I Don't Belong Here ruthlessly investigates alienation during moments of transit and dislocation and their impact on women’s identity. These twenty essays—ranging from conventional to lyrical to experimental in form and structure—delve into the root causes of personal uncertainty and the aftershock effects of being a woman in an unsafe world. Provocative, authentic, intimate, and uncompromising, Melissa Grunow casts light on the unspeakable: sexuality, death, mental illness, trauma, estrangement, and disillusionment with precision and fortitude.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

MELISSA GRUNOW Melissa Grunow is the author of I DON'T BELONG HERE: ESSAYS (New Meridian Arts Press, 2018) and REALIZING RIVER CITY: A MEMOIR (Tumbleweed Books, 2016) which won the 2018 Book Excellence Award in Memoir, the 2017 Silver Medal in Nonfiction-Memoir from Readers' Favorite International Book Contest, and Second Place-Nonfiction in the 2016 Independent Author Network Book of the Year Awards.

25

DECEMBER / JANUARY 2020


CONTINUED

Interview with Melissa Grunow. Tell us about your book.

MG: I Don’t Belong Here is a collection of essays that explores the various concepts of what it means to belong, or in many cases, to not belong. Belonging can be anything from finding that physical or metaphorical space we call “home,” or figuring out who we are by experiencing who we don’t want to be. Our identities are formed and maintained by our sense of belonging to different groups— from family and relationships to geography to gender and even to socioeconomic class—so what happens when those systems break down? How is our identity impacted by transit and dislocation? Personally, I’ve felt more like an observer most of my life, rather than as an active participant in it. While a number of writers feel this way (as our observational skills are part of what makes us writers), I have not read anything that really investigates it. I Don’t Belong Here uses often taboo topics in contemporary American culture, such as abuse, death, mental illness, trauma, isolation, and estrangement, as the catalysts for the exploration within each of the essays. To me, the writing in this book is more of an invitation to a conversation than it is attempting to make any kind of solid argument. It’s an exploration of my lived experiences within the forbidden, one where I invite the reader along on the journey.

How did you go about developing the book?

MG: I had chosen the title for I Don’t Belong Here early on in the project because it was exactly how I was feeling about each essay I wrote. What I mean is, I was starting to realize how my writing felt like an immersion in the distant persona. I spend so much time with other people feeling like I was only existing inside my head; I was observing what was happening around me and pushing the spotlight onto others, rather than living as if I am in the starring role of my own life. So, to answer your question more directly, the idea came first and the majority of the essays in the collection followed suit. Creative nonfiction is a wonderfully adaptive genre because an essay can take so many forms and address endless topics and issues, and the writer doesn’t have to have all of the answers. I’m most compelled to write a new piece when I’m trying to make sense of something or someone, even if that someone is myself. I let these essays take over. Even if I set out with one intention, often he piece would deviate in form or subject by the time I was done with the first draft. That’s always been my process, though. When it comes to writing, for me, the work comes along when it’s ready. I very rarely have any control over it.

02

FINALISTS

What was the experience of writing this book like for you?

MG: Writing this book gutted me. It was an emotional and mental endurance marathon because I was committed to diving deep into the subject every time I sat down to write. Oftentimes that meant unveiling some ugly truths about myself, whether it be a person I once was or the person I believed myself to be. I forced myself to be as raw and truthful in every essay because authenticity was essential to unveiling and investigating the themes in the book. I had to just off the naysaying part of my brain that warned me how people might react or respond to some of the essays. If I listened to those internal criticisms, I wouldn’t have written a thing. I told myself the book would never get published anyway, so why not be as real and dark as necessary? During revision (and I am an extensive reviser), I was more cautious about what I said or how I said it. I didn’t censor myself, but I did think critically about purpose and audience.

What writing advice do you have for other indie authors?

MG: Writing is work and to be a writer, you need to do the work. In the age of social media, it can be intimidating when we see the success of other writers, but what we often don’t see is their process and their struggles. It is a process, and you are going to struggle. Share your drafts with others and welcome their feedback, but don’t allow for that feedback to override your purpose. Join a writing group or take a class. Be a thoughtful literary citizen and remember that while writing is a solitary act, writers are part of a community, and we need to support one another. Show your support for your writing friends’ successes by going to their readings, buying their books, sharing their work on social media, leaving a review on Goodreads, and requesting that your library stock their books. Read. Read books in your genre and outside of your genre. You cannot be a writer if you don’t read. Read some more. Study the prose like a writer, but do not try to emulate it. Find your own voice among the chorus of voices that are out there. Throughout all of it, keep writing, but don’t chastise yourself if you need to take a break from the work. It will be there when you’re ready to return to it.

What are you working on next?

MG: I’m nearly finished with a rough draft of a true crime memoir, so that’s my primary project right now. I am also working on a collection of speculative nonfiction essays as well as a collection of short stories that are surreal, realitybending, and maybe even a little weird.

26


CONTINUED

02

FINALISTS

I Don't Belong Here. BY MELISSA GRUNOW

DWELLING PLACE

READ AN EXCERPT

“One never reaches home, but wherever friendly paths intersect the whole world looks like home for a time.” - Hermann Hesse, Demian “Do you smell that?” I asked. Dave closed the door against the cold November night air behind him. He studied the yellow walls and textured ceiling of the living room, scanned over the cobwebs in the corners, the stains on the flattened carpeting. “Smell what?” he asked. I inhaled again. It was subtle but evident. I wandered into the kitchen while taking giant breaths in through my nose until I was dizzy. I tossed the house key onto the counter and listened to it clang and then settle onto the outdated teal Formica. I would have to add it to my key ring later. “I don’t smell anything,” Dave said, though he never did. Five years of heavy smoking at the poker table in the Las Vegas Palms Casino before moving back to Michigan had made sure of that. A cheap, gel air freshener from a dollar store sat dried up on the counter. Once the smell of strawberries, it could no longer cover the distinctive odor of water damage, mildew, rot. I hadn’t noticed the odor while house hunting or during the home inspection. But I couldn’t deny it now. It was all around us, like a damp dungeon slowly closing in. Dave set the envelope of signed mortgage papers on the stove. I imagined clicking on the gas burner and watching them catch fire, my signature on the bottom

27

DECEMBER / JANUARY 2020

of each page turning to ash and floating away, absolving me of any responsibility for something I wasn’t sure I was ready to handle. Maybe, I hoped. Maybe what the house just needs is a good cleaning. Maybe, what I knew was a serious something, would turn out to be a simple nothing. 


02

FINALISTS

CONTINUED

Kick-Ass Kinda Girl: A Memoir of Life, Love, and Caregiving. Kathi Koll's acclaimed and award-winning memoir is both a love story and a survivor's tale in which Koll courageously unveils an unexpected life of joy, adventure, heartbreak, and even little laughter as she shares the realities of life as a full-time caregiver. When her husband, Don, called on his way to the hospital, Kathi Koll had no idea how dramatically their lives would change or how her loving heart and indomitable spirit would fight it. From childhood, her life might have seemed charmed —play dates with Lucie Arnaz, real dates with a future TV idol, and a big brother engaged to film star Dolores Hart. But behind the scenes, her role as a caregiver began early with a mother dying of cancer, a father battling alcoholism, and a brother diagnosed with a debilitating disease. Then Kathi found Don Koll--her "rock"--and their joie de vivre and unstoppable moxie made everything feel possible. Until Don woke up "locked in" after a catastrophic stroke.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

28

DECEMBER / JANUARY 2020

KATHI KOLL Kathi Koll is the founder of The Kathi Koll Foundation, a charitable organization dedicated to providing meaningful support to caregivers and their families. Her experience caring for her late husband, Don Koll, for more than six years after his debilitating stroke, was the inspiration for creating the foundation and writing her memoir. Kathi lives in Southern California, and is the proud mother of three children and extremely proud grandmother of nine grandchildren, who all lovingly call her KK. When she isn't helping and educating caregivers, she is traveling the world, looking for new adventures. Kick-Ass Kinda Girl: A Memoir of Life, Love and Caregiving is her first book.


CONTINUED

Interview with Kathi Koll. Tell us about your book. KK: Kick-Ass Kinda Girl is my story as a caregiver. It didn’t start out that way, but developed as I wrote, and the common theme of my caregiving history became the thread binding so much of my life. It’s not a “How To” but unveils my experiences from a young age as a caregiver through a number of different situations with my mother, father, brothers, and husband. Along with my very personal story I have tried to throw in “prescriptives” — how I did things, how I would have done things differently, and how I was able to keep a sense of humor and live a normal life through some very challenging times. How did you go about developing this book? KK: I sat down one day and just started writing at the recommendation of my friend Nancy Brinker who started Susan G. Komen in honor of her sister who died of breast cancer. She said, “Kathi, I wrote a book about my sister. I think if you wrote about your experiences with your husband, Don, it could help a lot of people.” Nancy recommended a wonderful editor to me, Joni Rodgers, who liked my story with all its different aspects of life and agreed to take me on. We worked together for four years before my memoir was ready to publish. What was the experience of writing this book like for you? KK: I’ve always enjoyed writing, especially during challenging times. Jotting down my thoughts and rereading them has been an exercise that has helped me look at each situation of my life with a clearer mind. I had just experienced the darkest period of my life after the death of my husband and brother within days of one another, and writing my thoughts was an emotional release. Some of my stories took me a couple of years to dive into and tears rolled down my face as I relived some very painful experiences, but in writing, rewriting, and rereading I found myself able to think about some very sad situations with less pain. I also discovered that I was unconsciously writing about so many sad parts of my life, and I see myself as a pretty happy person. I called Joni and said, “This story is so sad!” She said, “Well start writing about some fun and funny experiences,” which

02

FINALISTS

we then interspersed throughout the book. Writing about my life was truly cathartic if not a little embarrassing in parts, but I knew if I didn’t open myself up, warts and all, my story wouldn’t help anyone. What writing advice do you have for other indie authors? KK: Just go for it! Read a lot, especially in the genre you are interested in writing, and talk to everyone and anyone you can think of who could offer advice. The internet can be a great resource for new authors. Use social media —Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter to develop an audience and work at getting your story known. It takes persistence – a lot of it! Let friends know what you’re doing in hopes they will pass the word on and maybe even have a book party in your honor when the time comes. Look at it as a “Grass Roots Campaign” that will hopefully grow. What are you working on next? KK: Well, my main focus right now is the foundation I started, The Kathi Koll Foundation, to help caregivers in need. After the death of my husband, I woke up one morning thinking about caregivers that can’t afford many simple necessities, or even respite, while caring for their loved one. All caregivers feel the same incredible loneliness, exhaustion and unbearable sadness while they care for someone close to them, but in many situations the burden is more than they can take, both financially and emotionally. I was very fortunate to be able to afford more than most, so I came up with the idea to help those who can’t. The foundation's gifts won’t fix their problems, but it does give a bit of respite in meaningful ways, plus the added gift of knowing they aren’t alone in their struggles. We know how caregivers feel, appreciate what they are doing, and want to help. I also write a monthly blog to help educate others on many topics related to caregiving. Many of us have been, are, or will be in a caregiving situation eventually. I hope by sharing my thoughts it will offer some guidance from one who has been there. I’ve also started a podcast, Care for Caregivers with Kathi Koll. I guess it’s the way of the new generation and I’m trying to be part of it! If you are interested you can find out more about the foundation, sign up for my blog or listen to my podcast at www.TheKathiKollFoundation.org or www.KathiKoll.com. 29


CONTINUED

02

FINALISTS

Kick-Ass Kinda Girl: A Memoir of Life, Love, and Caregiving. BY KATHI KOLL

THE DAY MY WORLD STOOD STILL “Rock bottom became the solid foundation in which I rebuilt my life.” —J. K. Rowling October 27, 2005—the day that changed everything. The peak of the mountain—or was it the bottom of the sea? I had two lives with my husband Don, and this day was the dividing line. Every moment of that day is etched into my memory, starting with waking up in Don’s arms. We had a habit of sleeping nose to nose with my leg wrapped around him, like two pieces of a puzzle never to be separated. He slowly started kissing me, distracting me from my scheduled appointment with the subcontractors I was about to meet but quickly forgot. It was a way we started many mornings, but this one wasn’t like others. I distinctly remember thinking at the time that something was really different. What was it? As we quietly rested in one another’s arms, I glanced out the window and spotted a boat cruising by. The early morning light on the bay sparkled through our partially opened blinds, and I could hear the soft sounds of seagulls in the distance. My thoughts drifted to how ideal my life truly was. I didn’t want the moment to pass, but true to form, Don sprang up and was ready to get on with his day. That bittersweet morning was the last time I saw Don as the man I knew on “the front side of the fence.” A stroke had always been Don’s biggest fear. Both his father and sister had died from them during their fifties, and Don battled the aching dread he would succumb to the same fate. He visited his doctor regularly, took prescribed medications, exercised with a trainer most mornings, and did everything he thought would help to avoid what he felt would one day be his demise. I distinctly remember Don saying to me one day before his stroke, “You know, Kathi, there are only three

30

DECEMBER / JANUARY 2020

READ AN EXCERPT

things in life that really matter: food, water, and love. Food and water enable one to exist. Love enables one to live.” I would imagine his buddies would be surprised by the simplicity of these words, but then again, maybe not. Those words resonated with me more than he knew at the time, and the strength of them was tucked away deep in my thoughts, to reappear after Don was ill. To read more please visit www.kathikoll.com.


02

FINALISTS

CONTINUED

Little Lovely Things. It is the wrong time to get sick. Speeding down the highway on the way to work, her two little girls sleeping in the back seat, medical resident Claire Rawlings doesn't have time for the nausea overtaking her. But as the world tilts sideways, she pulls into a gas station, runs to the bathroom, and passes out. When she wakes up minutes later, her car - and her daughters - are gone. The police have no leads, and the weight of guilt presses down on Claire as each hour passes with no trace of her girls. All she has to hold on to are her strained marriage, a potentially unreliable witness who emerges days later, and the desperate but unquenchable belief that her daughters are out there somewhere.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

MAUREEN JOYCE CONNOLLY LITTLE LOVELY THINGS is my debut novel and I am so excited to share it with the world. Through four different POVs, we experience the tragedy and ultimate joy in overcoming loss. NY Times bestselling author, Jacquelyn Mitchard calls it "A Shattering Adventure."

31

DECEMBER / JANUARY 2020


02

FINALISTS

CONTINUED

Interview with Maureen Joyce Connolly. Tell us about your book. MJC: It's 1993, the first Saturday in September— impossibly hot—and Claire Rawlings is driving her two girls to the daycare at the University of Chicago Hospital where as a resident, she is scheduled for rounds. Ignoring the troublesome signs of a sudden allergic reaction, Claire exits off the freeway to safety, only to pass out cold. When she wakes up, her daughters are gone. Vanished. LITTLE LOVELY THINGS is a haunting and prismatic exploration of how tragedy can transform lives. With lyrical prose and page-turning momentum, the story unfolds through the viewpoint of four characters: Claire, the devastated yet strongwilled mother; Moira, the transient who finds herself thrust into instant motherhood; soulful Jay, whose grisly discovery brings him to the center of the tragedy; and Andrea, the scrappy and wildly talented tomboy. Traversing the landscape of loss, LITTLE LOVELY THINGS ties together the threads of lives shattered, hope lost, and—finally—joy restored.

characters. I needed to get it just right, to balance the tragic event with the hopefulness. I think that being a late in life mother helped fuel the fearfulness of losing a child – I think I was able to capture how difficult that might be.

What was the experience of writing this book like for you? MJC: It was like running a marathon with a boulder in my arms! As mentioned, it took a long time but that was partly because I was working full time and partly because I had to actually learn how to write a novel. When I got into the scenes I am most proud of, the experience was pure joy.

What writing advice do you have for other indie authors? MJC: I am actually not fully indie, I am with a smaller press. I think you should hire someone to professionally edit your manuscript, since another pair of eyes is critical, and then you should stay on top of marketing trends because they are changing all of the time.

What are you working on next? MJC: I have just finished a chapbook of poems and am starting my next novel. Fingers crossed it works out!

How did you go about developing this book? MJC: This book took a long time! I spent close to ten years considering the themes, the plot, the 32


CONTINUED

02

FINALISTS

Little Lovely Things. BY MAUREEN JOYCE CONNOLLY

Excerpt from Chapter 1 Thwap, thwap, thwap. Claire woke, bleary-eyed and still in the Mother Goose chair, to the sound of neighborhood sprinklers through the open window. Swords of sunlight cut through the tree cover into her eyes. Her back grumbled at the angle she’d struck: ninety degrees south for her lumbar region, twenty degrees north for her neck. The girls’ beds were empty. A brief ember of panic stirred until Glen appeared in the doorway. “Can you hurry, Claire? I have to be at the field in thirty minutes.” He helped as assistant coach to the high school’s football team on weekends for extra income. “Lily’s dressed.” “Andrea?” “Nope, but eating Eggos.” “One for two.” Claire tilted forward and groaned. “I’m hurrying.” “You okay, hon?” She nodded. It was her turn to take over their shared routine. She dragged herself to the bathroom and into the shower, where the hot water goosefleshed her skin. Glen appeared in a cloud of steam to hand her a towel and then pointed to her stomach. “Claire?” She looked down. A faint rash was splayed across her abdomen like a pink Canis Major. “Might be,” she spoke slowly over the din of the water, careful not to convey concern, “a slight reaction.” “Reaction?” Glen’s voice tensed. “To what?” “Hep C vaccine.” A new strain of the virus was invading healthcare facilities like mad, messing with patients’ livers or kidneys. The residents had been put on an accelerated

33

DECEMBER / JANUARY 2020

READ AN EXCERPT

vaccination schedule. Two doses, backto-back. Glen’s gem-blue eyes filled with worry. “Don’t do that, babe.” “What?” “That oversensitive thing. It’s nothing. I’ll take a Benadryl.” “You should call in.” “You know I can’t do that.” “Or you won’t.” He paused before smiling. “Laid a T-shirt and shorts on the bed for Andrea.” 


A VIETNAM JOURNEY AND LOVE STORY An American soldier (Richie) and a Vietnamese woman (Linh) fall in love and have a baby during the war in Vietnam. He attempts to marry Linh but fails to get permission from the Army and is then pulled out of Vietnam. Linh and her son make an incredible journey to potential safety and security in Hong Kong. Meanwhile, Richie builds his career and raises a family in the United States. They meet again in Hong Kong two decades later and achieve their ultimate destiny.

Available in Hardcover, Paperback & Ebook at: www.tomwascoe.com


HOLD YOUR BREATH!

HIGH FLYING IS HERE! “

High Flying is a fast-paced, suspenseful, psychological thriller. Readers will find themselves with their hearts pounding while they read this!” - Paige Lovitt for Reader Views

www.kaylinmcfarren.com

35


LONG-LISTED

xxxxxra.

BY XXXXXX

03

36

DECEMBER / JANUARY 2020


2019 SHELF UNBOUND COMPETITION

THE SECRETS OF ELIMEARE

BRITFIELD & THE LOST CROWN

FRECKLED, MEMOIR OF GROWING UP WILD IN HAWAII

HIGH FLYING

IN THE SHADOW OF WAR

NOBODY MOVE

SAVAGERY

THE BIGGEST MOONSHINE R

THE SPANISH PAPERS

THE WEIGHT OF THE MOMENT

ON LIFE AND MEANING

INTRODUCING....

2019 LONG-LIST Introducing our long-listed titles for the 2019 Shelf Unbound Competition for Best Independently Published Book

The Biggest Moonshiner Betty M. Rafter

.95

LONG-LISTED

Betty M. Rafter

37


03

LONG-LISTED

CONTINUED

The Secrets of Elimeare: Wielder of Light. Shelby's life is about to change forever. Not only are her parents getting divorced, but her best friend of eleven years is not who she seems. Embark upon an adventure with Shelby as she transports around the globe discovering the truth of who she really is and the origins of her forgotten family. Along the way, you will step into a world of unforgettable characters who will help Shelby learn of a great power she possesses... a power she will need to understand because one day she just might need to save them all.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

SUZY ROSENOW I am a wife and mother of six wonderful children. We live happily in Arizona enjoying blazing hot summers and blissfully mild winters. My favorite pastime is hanging out with my family.

The inspiration for my book came from raising children with anxiety. I wanted to write a story that showed that it is possible to overcome that anxiety when we realize who we are and the power we have within ourselves to overcome any obstacle that we face.

38

DECEMBER / JANUARY 2020


CONTINUED

03

LONG-LISTED

The Secrets of Elimeare: Wielder of Light. BY SUZY ROSENOW

READ AN EXCERPT

“I was waiting for you to get there.” She was digging through her bag trying to find something. “Of course, you are, you’re from our world.” I found myself breathing faster. Was I hyperventilating? Probably. This had been the most baffling day of my life and it just wouldn’t end. Ashley pulled out a book and set it beside her. She took my hand and said, “Take a deep breath and stop asking me questions. You’ve had enough information for one day.” They called for first class passengers to board the plane, so we stood and got in line. Taking a deep breath, I squared my shoulders. I could do this. I felt like I was walking in a dream that I would wake up from any minute. Nothing seemed real. Once on the plane, I curled into a ball, and went to sleep. My brain was on overload. I found myself sitting in a chair in a dark room. Beyond me, far in the distance, I could see a shaft of light coming through a partially opened door. Someone or something was moving toward me. I was terrified and wanted to scream but couldn’t. My arms and legs felt like lead. I couldn’t move to get away, so I sat there waiting as it moved closer and closer. I was suddenly surrounded by hooded figures that were blocking my view of the light.

Every part of me desperately wanted that light. Something warm and peaceful rose up within me, a strength I didn’t know I had filled me and loosened my limbs. I stretched out my arm, light shot out of my hand and surrounded me. It pushed all the darkness and all the dark figures away in one mighty burst of power. Then I jolted awake.  39


03

LONG-LISTED

CONTINUED

Britfield & the Lost Crown. Tom has spent the majority of his life locked behind the cruel walls of Weatherly Orphanage, but when he learns that his parents might actually be alive, Tom is determined to find them. Together, with his best friend Sarah and armed with only the word "Britfield" as a clue to Tom's mysterious past, the two make a daring escape. Now, they are on the run from a famous Scotland Yard detective and what appears to be half of the police officers in England! The hunt is on, but will Tom and Sarah be able to evade capture long enough to solve an even bigger conspiracy that could tear apart the country? Multiple Award-Winning, Britfield and the Lost Crownby C.R. Stewart, is the first book in a thrilling seven-part series based on family, friendship, loyalty, and courage that is written for pre-teens, Y/A, and readers of all ages. Britfield and its heroes, Tom and Sarah, take readers on an epic adventure as they travel across England. With its stimulating language and stunning historical and geographical asides, Britfield engages the reader from the very first pages and doesn't let go until it reaches its exciting conclusion!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

C. R. STEWART Originally from in Newport Beach, California, C. R. Stewart has 20 years of experience writing fiction, nonfiction, and movie screenplays. His areas of expertise also includes film and media production, global strategy, and international marketing.

"Britfield & The Lost Crown was conceived as an idea over 10 years ago while I was enduring a tedious finance seminar. It started as a sketch of a hot air balloon with a young boy and girl trapped inside. From this simple drawing sprang the entire concept and story for Britfield." 40

DECEMBER / JANUARY 2020


CONTINUED

03

LONG-LISTED

Britfield & the Lost Crown. BY C.R. STEWART

Every so often, Tom gave the balloon a long blast of hot air to maintain its altitude. While they drifted southeast toward London, their main concern was Gowerstone. Peering through the binoculars, Tom searched for the helicopter. “I don’t see him.” “Do you think he gave up?” “No,” he replied quickly. “He’ll never give up.” “We seem safe for now.” “For the moment,” he added with caution. As Sarah admired the scenery, Tom reached into his pocket to retrieve her locket. “This really does bring me luck,” he concluded, handing it to her. “Thanks for letting me borrow it.” “It’s yours, silly,” she smiled, pushing it back. “Just promise you’ll always keep it with you.” “But —” “Promise.” “All right . . . it’s a deal.” Stuffing it back in his pocket, he felt the piece of paper Patrick gave him and removed it. “What’s that?” she inquired curiously. “Before we left, Patrick broke into the Grievouses’ office and looked through my file. He wrote something down.” “Let’s see.” Tom opened it. Scribbled across the page was just one word. “Hmm,” he grunted, expecting detailed information. “What does it say?” she demanded. “Britfield.” “Britfield? What the heck does that mean?” “How am I supposed to know?” “There must be more.” She snatched the paper from his hand and thoroughly examined both sides. Dissatisfied, she shook her head. “So Patrick breaks into the office,

READ AN EXCERPT

sneaks your file out, and writes only one word on it — is he mad?” “I’m sure he was in a hurry,” his voice deepened, “given that we were planning to rescue you and everything.” “Then it’s a clue?” “It’s a name.” “Maybe it’s your last name,” she suggested encouragingly. This comment caught Tom off guard. After all these years of having only a first name, it was a lot to digest and felt rather strange.  41


CONTINUED

03

LONG-LISTED

Freckled: A Memoir of Growing up Wild in Hawaii. We never call it homeless. We're just "camping" in the jungle on Kauai... We live in a place everyone calls paradise. Sure, Kauai’s beautiful, with empty beaches, drip-castle mountains, and perfect surf... but we’ve been "camping" for six months, eating boiled chicken feed for breakfast, and wearing camouflage clothes so no one sees us trespassing in our jungle hideout. The cockroaches leave rainbow colors all over everything from eating the crayons we left outside the tent, and now a tractor is coming to scrape our camp into the river. Standing in front of the tent in my nightgown, clinging to my sister as we face the tractor, I know my own truth: I just want to be normal. But Mom and Pop are addicted. Addicted to Kauai’s beauty, to drugs, to surfing, to living a life according to their own rules out from under their high-achieving parents’ judgmental eyes. I’m just their red-headed, mouthy, oldest kid. What I want doesn’t matter. But I’m smart. I will make a different life for myself someday if I keep up my grades no matter what happens. No matter how often we run out of food. No matter how many times I change schools...or don’t go to school at all. No matter how many bullies beat me up for the ABOUT THE AUTHOR

color of my skin. I might be growing up wild in Hawaii, but I have dreams I’m going to reach, no matter how crazy things get.

TW NEAL TW Neal is the nonfiction writing name for USA Today bestselling, award-winning author Toby Neal.

Neal, a redheaded, freckle-faced clinical social worker and mental health therapist, grew up on the island of Kaua`i, inspiring her memoir, FRECKLED: a Memoir of Growing up Wild in Hawaii. "Everything that happens in our lives is the stuff of story," Neal says, "and sometimes the best stories are true."

42

DECEMBER / JANUARY 2020

You can get TWO FREE award-winning, full-length Toby Neal fiction novels by signing up for her email newsletter! http://tobyneal.net/TNNews


CONTINUED

03

LONG-LISTED

Freckled: A Memoir of Growing up Wild in Hawaii. BY TW NEAL

"I enjoy hula—like ballet, it’s a physical challenge, and I like physical challenges. I like the percussion of the ipu, the rhythm of the chant, the good feeling I get when we are all coordinated as a group.

READ AN EXCERPT

After class one day, Kumu puts her hand on my shoulder and tells Mom, “Toby’s picking it up really well. She’s got a feel for it, and she works hard.” Mom knows it has been difficult socially. She says cautiously, “Toby doesn’t feel like the other girls accept her.” I want to look down and hide, but make myself look at Kumu. I need to know if she thinks the hassling from the other girls is okay. Kumu’s expressive black brows come down in a fierce frown. I like watching her mobile, golden-skinned face with its wide nose and fine-cut, plump lips. You always know exactly what she’s thinking, and I like that. “Who stay giving you trouble?” she asks me. Complaining about the bullying is being a rat and only makes it worse. “The nail that sticks up gets pounded down,” Mrs. Harada says in my mind. “Keep your head down and don’t draw attention to yourself, and maybe they’ll forget we’re here.” Pop’s version. I’m still trying to make that approach work. “Nobody, Kumu. It’s okay.” “You tell me if anyone gives you hard time. I want you to keep dancing,” Kumu says. I’d do anything to make her smile like she does, looking at me."  43


03

LONG-LISTED

CONTINUED

High Flying. Skylar Haines has struggled with personal demons most of her life, going to dark extremes to subdue anxieties rooted in her tragic past. On a perpetual hunt for the next adrenaline hit, she discovers a passion for flying and becomes a hard-edged stunt pilot, verging on obsession. In the sky, following her most daring airshow, she encounters a mysterious storm and almost collides with another aircraft, sending her into a perilous dive. Guided by a mysterious voice, she manages a safe landing but finds herself transported to another time. Eight months before she was born. One week before her father was murdered. Though baffled by her circumstances, Skylar soon arrives at a single certainty: Before her lies a remarkable chance to change her family's destiny drastically for the better -or possibly even worse -- depending on the choices she makes, before her window of opportunity closes. ABOUT THE AUTHOR KAYLIN MCFARREN Kaylin McFarren has received 48 national literary awards, in addition to a prestigious Golden Heart Award nomination for FLAHERTY'S CROSSING - a book she and her oldest daughter, New York Times/USA Today best-selling author Kristina McMorris, co-wrote in 2008.

FUN TIDBITS. She keeps a glass of wine close by while writing love scenes, Kleenex on her desk while writing heart breakers, and has been known to empty a box of chocolates when she's completely stumped. 44

DECEMBER / JANUARY 2020


CONTINUED

03

LONG-LISTED

High Flying. BY KAYLIN MCFARREN

A striking man with wavy brown hair and an athletic build strode up to her, wiping his hands on a rag. “So, you must be Skylar. It’s good to meet you. And all in one piece.” A bright smile stretched across his face.

READ AN EXCERPT

She returned his smile and realized that she recognized him. Her brain started filing through faces and names, searching for something to remind her who this man was. Then a picture came to mind. She knew a picture of this man. That was it! Skylar had seen his face in her grandfather’s album. Only, that album was filled with photos of her father. He looked exactly like a picture of her father. But that was impossible. Wasn’t it? Skylar looked at him a little closer. Same hair. Same sea blue eyes. If her father had a twin, this would be him. But wait…it couldn’t be. He didn’t have a twin and this man looked to be 25-years-old. The world came to a standstill. It was 1997! Her father would have been twenty-five in 1997. This was crazy, and so was being here, in this place—in the same year and place where her father had died. Skylar kept her clammy hands clenched at her sides and squeezed her eyes tight. This is all a dream…just a dream. Either that or she was dead. She must have crashed and died on impact. That was it! She was… dead. She opened her eyes again, but everything was the same. Still 1997.

Her father stepped forward and reached out a hand. “Skylar? Are you all right?” She simply stared, mystified. “This… this isn’t real. It…it can’t be.” 

She broke out in a cold sweat. A tingling sensation began in her hands and feet and then quickly spread to her entire body. 45


03

LONG-LISTED

CONTINUED

In The Shadow Of War. Glen Kinsella has just finished opening all his high school graduation cards proclaiming him to be on the doorstep of an exciting life. But as the summer of 1970 begins, Glen is living with his deluded grandfather and an array of desperate residents in a Midwestern prairie town that has withered to nearextinction - a town populated primarily by the sagging shells of long-abandoned houses. Hope is not one of Glen's traits. In high school, he was known as the retard's brother. He never had a date, nor even tried to be on speaking terms with someone as sophisticated as Suzanne. But as his grandfather always said, anything is possible in Corcoran. And in the summer of 1970, that prediction appears to be finally coming true. After decades of planning the revival of his beloved town, Glen's grandfather convinces a group of women whose husbands have been sent to Vietnam to live in Corcoran. Soon they begin renovating an old ballroom, where Suzanne will perform for the grand opening. But all this new life is threatened when a disgraced war vet arrives, harboring a secret about one of the husbands that will thrust the town into the center of political controversy. ABOUT THE AUTHOR

PATRICK M GARRY Patrick Garry is a law professor with a Ph.D. in Constitutional History. He has written fifteen scholarly and popular audience books in the areas of law, history, politics and religion. Those books have received numerous awards and have been featured in hundreds of media interviews, academic conferences, and book reviews. His general audience books alone have been the subject of dozens of radio and television news programs. In addition to his works of nonfiction, he has also published eight highly acclaimed books of fiction. Garry’s novels have not only been reviewed by hundreds of professional book reviewers, but they have also received more than 75 different literary awards.

46

DECEMBER / JANUARY 2020


CONTINUED

03

LONG-LISTED

In The Shadow Of War. BY PATRICK M. GARRY

"It always takes you awhile to warm up, doesn't it?" "Warm up?" "Yeah, warm up to being serious with me." She smiled, and I laughed. And over the back of the pew she crossed her arms and rested her head upon them. "I've come to the conclusion that God might be contagious," she said, still smiling. "You mean being in here?" "No, I mean belief. Belief can be contagious. Once you start believing, even it it's in something small, you learn how to believe - and then you can believe in the really big things." "So faith is a paint-by-the-numbers deal? I always thought it was a matter of revelation." "Right, the bolt of lightning scenario. And maybe that's what it is. All I can say is what I've been feeling. You know, there's nothing but belief around this place - Ardelle believing in Interlachen, Julia and Lillie believing their husbands will come home, your grandfather...well, on and on I could go. But it makes me want to believe. And not just in that creaky old building." "Doesn't everyone want to believe, in something?" "I don't know," she chuckled. "Sometimes I think the world is too strangled by doubt to even want to believe. I mean, my parents - they're too consumed with their shallow notions of freedom to even believe in love. And my sister - she's too addicted to rebellion. You say the world wants to believe? I don't think so." "Suzanne, I wouldn't take this place all that seriously. Granted, there's a lot of belief here, but I think it might be just a substitute for reality."

READ AN EXCERPT

"This almost scares me to say, but I really think Ardelle believes in me. And I think your grandfather does too, although you'd know better than me. I've never felt anyone believing in me before." The way she spoke, with her lips uttering the words that brought a slight glistening to her eyes, made me want to rush out an exclamation that I too believed in her, even if I wasn't completely sure that I did. î –

47


03

LONG-LISTED

CONTINUED

Nobody Move. Eddie Vegas made a terrible mistake. Now he has to pay the price. After a botched debt collection turned double murder, Eddie splits, desperate to avoid his employer, notorious L.A. crime boss Saul Benedict, and his men (and Eddie's ex-partners), Floyd and Sawyer, as well as the police. Soon he becomes entangled with the clever and beautiful Dakota, a Native American woman fresh in the City of Angels to find her missing friend-someone Eddie might know something about. Meanwhile in Texas, ex-assassin Rufus, seeking vengeance for his murdered brother, takes up his beloved daggers one final time and begins the long drive to L.A. When the bodies begin to mount, Detective Alison Lockley's hunt for the killers becomes increasingly urgent. As paths cross, confusion ensues, and no one's entirely sure who's after who. But one thing is clear: They're not all getting out of this alive.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR PHILIP ELLIOTT Philip Elliott is an award-winning author, freelance editor, and founder and editor-in-chief of award-winning literary journal Into the Void. His debut novel, comedic L.A. noir NOBODY MOVE, won the Indie Author Project Award for the region of Ontario. Philip was a National Juror of the 2019 Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, and a winner of the 2018 Big Pond Rumours Chapbook Prize. His writing has been nominated for The Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net. A music and film obsessive, Philip lives in Toronto with his wife and their spoiled pug. 48

DECEMBER / JANUARY 2020


CONTINUED

03

LONG-LISTED

Nobody Move. BY PHILIP ELLIOTT

Floyd hated kids, which was unfortunate because his wife wouldn’t stop pestering him to give her one. Every goddamn day recently. “Not now, baby,” he said into his cell phone as Sawyer drove the S.U.V. to their destination. He couldn’t catch his wife’s reply over the ’80s trash metal Sawyer insisted on blaring every time he drove, which was every time they went anywhere because Sawyer was unquestionably the better driver of the three of them, Eddie being the third person. One time, after a botched robbery of a San Diego jewelers, Sawyer successfully evaded an entire legion of pursuing cops, which included a helicopter. Must have been every on-duty cop in the state of California. The man could drive, no doubt, but that fucking music . . . Once, on a highway near the U.S.-Mexico border, Floyd made the mistake of switching the music off. Without so much as a modicum of warning, Sawyer swerved off the road and slammed on the brakes, the S.U.V. screeching over the dirt. The vehicle came to a halt and Sawyer looked Floyd in the eye. “I ain’t driving without my Pantera,” he said, casual as afternoon tea, while Floyd breathed quickly and deeply, unsure whether to punch Sawyer in the face or apologize. Before he’d come to any kind of decision, Sawyer switched the music back on, pulled onto the road, and continued the journey as if nothing had happened. Floyd was just glad he hadn’t turned the music off on the freeway. “I can’t hear you, baby,” he shouted into his cell phone. “I’ll talk to you later, okay?” He hung up and shoved the phone into his pocket.

READ AN EXCERPT

Sawyer turned the music down. “Yup?” “I know the cat runs the bar in this place. Says Eddie’s in there right now talking with some new girl. I said we’d be discrete, so we gotta get him out of there quietly, without a fuss. You got that?” He watched Sawyer’s face. “I don’t want security fucking our shit up.” 

“Hey, Sawyer,” he yelled as they passed a decrepit motel, crackheads and prostitutes spilling out of it like a sickness. 49


03

LONG-LISTED

CONTINUED

Savagery. Savagery joins Mehta's oeuvre as a reflection of what it means to be indigenous in today's increasingly hostile, post-colonial America. Reflecting on self, place, and space and with strong confessional leanings, Savagery joins the ranks of other muchneeded indigenous poetry of the era to provide a lens (and mirror) into indigenous issues and disparities while also providing a constant offering of hope. These poems are raw and very, very necessary.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR J.C. MEHTA JC Mehta is a multi-award-winning poet and author of over one dozen books. She’s currently a poetry editor at Bending Genres Literary Review, Airlie Press, and the peer-reviewed Exclamat!on journal. During 2018-19, she was a fellow at Halcyon Arts Lab in Washington DC where she curated an anthology of poetry by incarcerated indigenous women and created “Red/Act,” a pop-up virtual reality poetry experience using proprietary software. As a citizen of the Cherokee Nation and native Oregonian, place and personal ancestry inform much of Mehta’s creative work. 50

DECEMBER / JANUARY 2020


CONTINUED

Savagery. BY J.C. MEHTA

Savagery Am I not Native enough for you? What are you? I can see The Indian in your cheekbones. My skin, white albumen on salmon, etched into the bones the only whisper of Cherokee begging to be birthed. Show me your tribal card, ancestry, your lineage, proof of Dawes Rolls in your blood. You look like something. Something savage and uncontained.

03

LONG-LISTED

READ AN EXCERPT

The Heart Consumes Itself It’s not true the starved don’t eat, we die of broken hips, pelvis churned to dust—slowly, the heart consumes itself. Atrophies and implodes. (These chambers, remember, are a muscle.) Nobody nowhere shoulders the strength to stop it all, the whole fat world from slipping between cracked, wanting lips. We eat and we hate, with each bite and gagme spoon. Our weakness displayed like limbs splayed wide, flushed shameful folds of pink. How I wish I could stop. Let the valves shut down cold. Listen, that last organ coda. And you in dutiful ovation.

She Was Always So Thirsty

I packed my mom in Tupperware from the dollar store. She always wanted to go to the Bahamas, even before she’d gone to sand—before her bones could be mistaken for broken shells. I don’t know if it’s bad to divide ashes, leave a slice of femur in the Caribbean foam, a chip of coccyx in Oregon waterfalls gushing like overdue orgasms. How does a person want to be after our skin’s burned to sepia, the only organ capable of holding all our worst messes together? She never said but I felt her wailing through my insides demanding turquoise waters, a cleanse, a starting over. But then again, who’s surprised? She was always so thirsty.  51


CONTINUED

03

LONG-LISTED

The Biggest Moonshiner. The Biggest Moonshiner is a story of unconditional love, triumph over hate, forgiveness, and redemption. It's a memoir with bits of history during the hard-scrabble life of the author and her eleven siblings growing up during the Depression in the Glades of South Florida with, allegedly, "the biggest moonshiner on the East Coast" and their faith-based mama. It tells of their mama's struggle to keep the family together and life lessons the author and her siblings gleaned from adversity: while hiding out in the woods with their parents, Urbie and Leila Meeks; when they were running from the Feds, picking cotton in Alabama while on the run, living in a tent and picking other crops with migrants; and during their time living in an orphanage. Leila never lost her faith in God or her unconditional love for their hardworking, optimistic, and fun-loving daddy, who made every challenge a fun adventure-even when he got drunk and abused her and sometimes the kids or when they were homeless after he lost their home and business gambling or when she had to feign for herself and six kids when he went to prison for making moonshine. When a tragedy brought about the death of Leila and her unborn child, the siblings struggled to work through the fog of pain, knowing they had to put their anger and hate aside and forgive, if they were going to fulfill their mama's last request: "To get along with your daddy, and keep the kids together." ABOUT THE AUTHOR

BETTY M RAFTER Betty M. Rafter was born in North Florida in Millville, but spent her childhood in the Glades and Palm Beach County in South Florida. She has been writing stories, poems, songs, and ditties since she was a young girl, but except a 7/11 poem published in The International Book of Poems, The Biggest Moonshiner is her first published work.

52

DECEMBER / JANUARY 2020


03

LONG-LISTED

CONTINUED

The Biggest Moonshiner. BY BETTY M. RAFTER

The Biggest Moonshiner

As she opened her door and stepped out onto the wet ground, the men lowered their guns and walked toward her. They recognized Mama. “Well, well, Misses Meeks! Whatta we got here?” A big man with thinning gray hair and his belly hanging over a wide black belt with a shiny badge on it said, “Don’t be afraid, kids, but we need you to get out and stand away from the car.”

READ AN EXCERPT

The Biggest Moonshiner is a story of unconditional love, triumph over hate, forgiveness, and redemption.

It’s a memoir with bits of history during the hard-scrabble life of the author and her eleven siblings growing up during the Depression in the Glades of South Florida with, allegedly, “the biggest moonshiner on the East Coast” and their faith-based mama. It tells of their mama’s struggle to keep the family together and life lessons the author and her siblings gleaned from adversity: while hiding out in the woods with their parents, Urbie and Leila Meeks; when they were running from the Feds, picking cotton in Alabama while on the run, living in a tent and picking other crops with migrants; and during their time living in an orphanage.

We got out of the car, and Dink took us into the edge of the woods where he pointed. I thought they were going to leave us in the woods, but they just started taking the jugs out of our car and loading them into theirs. The big man looked at Dink and said, “Let me talk to your mama for a minute, and you can get back in the car.” He stepped up close to Mama and said in a quiet but stern voice, “Misses Meeks, I’m gonna pretend I didn’t catch you with all your young’uns in the car and a load of moonshine. If we catch you hauling again, we’ll take your young’uns away from you and send you up to visit their daddy in Atlanta Prison.” He turned to the tall, skinny, redheaded man wearing a badge on his dirty T-shirt and said, “Elmer, we got those jugs from that deserted still back in the woods we just left—and not from a car loaded with young’uns, now, didn’t we?” Leila never lost her faith in God or her unconditional love for their hardworking, optimistic, and fun-loving daddy, who made every challenge a fun adventure—even when he got drunk and abused her and sometimes the kids or when they were homeless after he lost their home and business gambling or when she had to feign for herself and six kids when he went to prison for making moonshine. When a tragedy brought about the death of Leila and her unborn child, the siblings struggled to work through the fog of pain, knowing they had to put their anger and hate aside and forgive, if they were going to fulfill their mama’s last request: “To get along with your daddy, and keep the kids together.”

Betty M. Rafter

$17.95

Betty M. Rafter

The big guy stepped back, looked at Dink, and nodded his head toward our car. We climbed back in as they got into theirs. 

Elmer spat his tobacco on the ground right in front of Mama, as he continued to lean on the front fender of the car. “Yessir, that’s just what we done.” 53


03

LONG-LISTED

CONTINUED

The Spanish Papers. World War II—Hitler is obsessed with gathering ancient knowledge and artifacts from around the globe, in an effort to consolidate the wisdom and power of longgone cultures and rule the modern world. The División Azul—the Blue Division—is a Spanish military force fighting for the Nazis against the Russians on the Eastern Front. They are skilled, cunning, and capable, acting as a scalpel on the battlefield and bringing Hitler one victory after another. But unknown to Hitler, an ancient secret order has infiltrated the ranks of the Blue Division, and are secretly working against Hitler's interests, preserving the most dangerous and powerful artifacts in a vault hidden deep in the mountains of the Sonoran Desert, in Arizona. Dan Kotler—Archaeologist and FBI Consultant—is back, along with his partner Agent Roland Denzel. Together they race to solve the riddle of the Spanish Papers and to prevent a rogue organization from using the vault of ancient treasures to succeed where Hitler's forces failed. The fate of the modern world—and that of billions of lives—is at stake. ABOUT THE AUTHOR KEVIN TUMLINSON Kevin Tumlinson is an award-winning and bestselling novelist, living in Texas and working in random coffee shops, cafés, and hotel lobbies worldwide. His debut thriller, The Coelho Medallion, was a 2016 Shelf Notable Indie award winner.

Kevin grew up in Wild Peach, Texas, where he was raised by his grandparents and given a healthy respect for story telling. He often found himself in trouble in school for writing stories instead of doing his actual assignments, and he doesn't regret that in the least. 54

DECEMBER / JANUARY 2020


CONTINUED

03

LONG-LISTED

The Spanish Papers. BY KEVIN TUMLINSON

Denzel studied Kotler for a moment, then slid to the ground, the gun resting against his knee. “What’s the story with the Jani? How do you know them?”

READ AN EXCERPT

Kotler huffed and shook his head. “Remember about a year ago, when I went to Denver to give a talk? I … had a visitor. Someone knocked on my door, and when I opened it, he had a gun on me. He also had about a foot of height and a hundred pounds of muscle on me. The guy was massive.” “You never told me this,” Denzel said, his voice stern. Kotler shook his head. "No. I didn't. And it's because, in the end, that guy wasn't my enemy. Not exactly. His name was Granger …" “Granger? Jeez, Kotler, where do these guys get these names?” “He said it was his call sign. Like Scope,” Kotler replied. “Call sign,” Denzel said. “Like maybe ex-military?” “I think these guys do have military training, but I think it goes deeper than that. The Knights of the Jani are a secret order, kind of like the Templars. In fact, Granger indicated they’re an offshoot of the Templars. They’ve been operating in secret for centuries, gathering artifacts and objects that could have some influence on the world stage. They store them in a vault, in the Temple of Jani.” “And what do they do with them?” Denzel asked. “Protect them,” Kotler said. “From the people who might use them to take control of the world.” “People like Scope?” Denzel asked, dubious. “People like Hitler,” Kotler replied. “During World War II, Hitler was obsessed with retrieving artifacts that

he perceived as items of great power. He employed historians and other experts, and sent teams to all points on the globe, with orders to retrieve anything they could find.” “Teams like the Blue Division,” Denzel nodded, putting it together. “He sent them here, to find something.” “That’s what I think,” Kotler agreed. “Something hidden in these caves. Something we definitely do not want Scope and his men to find.”  55


03

LONG-LISTED

CONTINUED

The Weight of a Moment. The Weight of a Moment is a beautiful story about the fragility of life and the redemptive power of friendship. Nick Sterling, a Fenwick Prize winning journalist, can't move beyond a tragedy caused by one of his articles. Tom Corbett, a successful antiques dealer, is humiliated and shamed by an internet video that damages his business, marriage, and family. After their blunders, one shameful and one fatal, the two men run from their pasts, meet in a small Pennsylvania town, and, despite—or because of—the most unusual circumstances, help each other find redemption. Together, they make an unusual discovery that changes everything, one that unwittingly puts them back onto the national stage. Joined by fate, each man's journey is remarkable in its own right and only exceeded by their shared journey. In a profound final scene, Nick confronts his tragic mistake, asks for forgiveness, and the novel's title, The Weight of a Moment, is fully realized. Contrasting elements: big cities and small towns, modern and historic, priceless and valuable, compassion and condemnation, add to the richness of the tale. Critically acclaimed, this second novel from the author of Skyscraper of a Man is a brilliant sophomore effort.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

MICHAEL BOWE Michael Bowe is a graduate of Georgetown University and a recipient of a Masters in Business Administration (MBA). He is an accomplished businessman, entrepreneur, investor, writer, novelist, and poet, and a resident of Vashon Island, WA, a short ferry ride from Seattle. His first novel, Skyscraper of a Man, was heralded as "a stunning and inimitable debut with Silver Screen potential" by the San Francisco Book Review. His second novel, The Weight of a Moment, was called "a beautifully written and inspiring story that is filled with realism and pathos" by Readers' Favorite. In closing their review, RF added, "[The novel] is emotionally rich, psychologically exciting and inspiring." Both Mr. Bowe's novels have been wellreceived by both literary critics and the reading public alike.

56

DECEMBER / JANUARY 2020


CONTINUED

03

LONG-LISTED

The Weight of a Moment. BY MICHAEL BOWE

Whenever I thought about having a conversation with [the widow], my words felt like confederate currency to me—worthless, ineffectual, meaningless, and of no use to anyone in the present day.

READ AN EXCERPT

No matter how many portraits of Jefferson Davis I placed on the table before her, she would never feel like my debt was paid, my obligation met. [The widow] and I could never be even. No matter how fast I talked or how eloquently I crafted the English language, my words couldn’t turn back the clock, reverse the bullets, and reunite her with her husband, the only actions that would truly right my mistake. I was a writer and I’d always believed in the power of words, but my words were as useless now as the defunct currency of the old South. Even in the broadest definition of currency—something given to settle a debt—there was simply no currency known to man that could ever satisfy this debt, no words that could ever make things better. Whenever a man finds himself doubting the one thing he wholeheartedly believes in, he is in a pitiful predicament, a miserable state. For me, that one thing had always been words. In all the time that has passed, I had not been able to bring myself to have a conversation with the widow. I’d lost my faith. 

57


03

LONG-LISTED

CONTINUED

On Life and Meaning: 100 Essays Inspired by 100 Guests. In On Life and Meaning: 100 Essays Inspired by 100 Guests, Mark Peres profiles one hundred guests who have appeared on the On Life and Meaning podcast. Each profile collects personal remarks by the author shared at the end of each podcast episode and “final thoughts� about the journey of life we are on. The book is for readers who are interested in the stories of other people and in the big questions of life. It inspires readers to more fully examine their own lives and to connect with other people in new and meaningful ways. We want the true, the good, and the beautiful. We want a world in which we can flourish. We can make more of this life when we reveal our essential selves.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR MARK PERES Mark Peres is a professor of leadership studies at Johnson & Wales University and host of the On Life and Meaning podcast. He loves helping students realize their potential as learners and leaders. He enjoys a variety of hobbies, including blues guitar, art and photography, reading and writing, and the company of friends. He graduated from Florida State University College of Law and Rollins College, where he studied history and the philosophy of religion. Mark is the recipient of the 2019 Davey Award. He is a husband and a father. 58

DECEMBER / JANUARY 2020


CONTINUED

03

LONG-LISTED

On Life and Meaning: 100 Essays Inspired by 100 Guests. BY MARK PERES

At the heart of this project is the notion we all want to know and be known. We want to connect with other people in ways that affirm who we are. We want to know that we are loved. In the kinetic world we live in, intimacy does not come easy. It takes intention and design, and all sorts of trust, to reveal ourselves to other people. In sharing who we are we risk not being liked. But only in telling the truth do we gain the acceptance we seek.

READ AN EXCERPT

The guests of this series shared who they are. I’ve sat with them as they considered my questions, talked about the most personal concerns, laughed, and cried. My appreciation for it expands every moment. What prompted On Life and Meaning? Like many ideas, it came to me in the night with an impulse to do something about it during the day. Here is what was in the mix: I teach courses on ethics. I earn my living discussing the choices we make. I read philosophy and theology and history and literature, and I am fascinated by the piece of work we are. I’m a fan of Krista Tippet and her On Being radio show that I have woken up to on Sunday mornings for years. Her conversations give room for her guests to explore hearts and minds. I get a kick watching old Dick Cavett shows and watching recordings of interviews Mike Wallace conducted in the late 1950s. The

interviews hold up decades later. I have running conversations with friends in coffeeshops that are spirited and fun and informed, and each time I’ve thought, wow, that would have been fun to capture. I live in this city on the make, being made by residents who are contributing their talents in countless ways worthy of far more recognition than they receive. And, if not finally, certainly urging me on is wanting to bring people together and to create something lasting and of value for my family and friends. 

59


Who is Titus? A chicken farmer at 12 years of age, US Army Paratrooper in Japan at 17, All-Scholastic Football player, Football Coach, Biology Teacher, Professional Photographer, Bank Incorporator, Presidential Confidant, Chiropractor and a critic’s quote,  

“TITUS OUT GUMPS FORREST!!” The story of a young mill town sports hero. Grit, focus and an ability to weave through all obstacles dominated his life game on the field .......... and off !!!!! Ensuing years finds the sports hero hanging up the cleats and one day dining with a US president and going on to professional brilliance and international acclaim. Never far from hometown yet lightyears from his humble beginnings. This engaging tale will inspire others in pursuit of their own distant personal goal posts!!!! Available at 60

DECEMBER / JANUARY 2020

Titus & Senator Marco Rubio, exchanging books, two great examples of the “American Dream”


Reimer’s book is true to its title, offering clear how-to tips on everything from mixing colors and stretching canvases, to experimenting with new methods and finding inspiration. —ForeWord Clarion Review

This is a book about art, but it’s far from abstract in its approach to creating your own masterpiece. —Hollywood Book Festival Critique An educational, eye-catching primer on how to look at art and “see as an artist. —Kirkus Review

W

hile many art how-to books offer explicit step-by-step instructions, Abstract Painting: A Practical Approach uses a less stringent strategy to teach you how to paint, which not only leaves ample room for your own creativity but also frees you to have plenty of fun with the process.

Next Generation Indie Book Awards Finalist 2012 New York Book Festival Honorable Mention 2012 Hollywood Book Festival Honorable Mention 2012 San Francisco Book Festival Honorable Mention 2012

Priming the canvas with a brief philosophy of art and overview of colors and the ways they relate, author and lifelong artist Hennie Reimer then invites you on a journey of observation and experimentation. As she presents different techniques and styles that are available, she shares examples from her own work to illustrate how a certain idea paired with a particular approach may appear in its final painted form. But this is only one possibility and rather than just copy it, she encourages you to discover your unique version.

Are you ready to sidestep formulas and search the depths of your own creativity?

www.henniereimerwebsite.com

61


g a cowb n i m o c e B Can't be that hard, oy

Can it?

It certainly looks easy to Franklyn “Frank” Ellington Seton IV. Smothered by both his overbearing mother and stuffy Maryland Society, Frank escapes to the vistas of his childhood. He will soon learn, however, that the one thing the movies left out was the smell. And the dirt. And the horses. As Frank makes his way through mid-twentieth century America, he searches for a place he truly belongs. And if being an actual cowboy is too difficult, why not try Hollywood?

“With a mixture of nostalgia, melancholy, and heaps of humor, The True Life of a Singing Cowboy will lasso you from the first note.”

AVAILABLE


AWARD-WINNING BOXED SET OVER 40% OFF! Amazon & Kindle

.

CRIME’S AN UGLY CONSTANT IN THE BIG CITIES. L.A. CHICAGO. NEW YORK. BUT WHEN A SAVAGE MURDER BRUTALIZES A SMALL TOWN AND NEIGHBOR TURNS ON NEIGHBOR, A TOUGH-AS-NAILS COP IS ESSENTIAL TO RESTORING ORDER. BLOOD LAND IS A GRITTY, EMOTIONAL SAGA SET IN THE CONTEMPORARY WYOMING BADLANDS WITH BOTH GREED AND VENGEANCE AT ITS CORE.

END OF SUMMER SPECIAL: BOX-SET ON SALE FOR ONLY $9.99 GET YOUR COPY Author R.S. Guthrie himself has been voted by The Author Show as one of “Fifty Great Writers You Should Be Reading”. Guthrie is a fresh voice in a cacophony of writers; a welcome talent who creates complex, engaging characters; heroes with fierce pride and unflinching bravery meshed with real, flawed selves; real men and women facing the challenges of all humans. 63


BOOK SHELF BS

SHELF UNBOUND’S

Book Shelf What to read next in independent publishing

SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION

64

DECEMBER / JANUARY 2020


BOOK SHELF

SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION

Two Tickets to Dubrovnik BY ANGUS KENNEDY

A View From The Languedoc BY ANGUS KENNEDY

Australian wine writer, Andrew Johnston, goes to Dubrovnik to prepare an article for his editor on the wines and wineries of southern Rhône. He meets up with an old Bordelaise wine making acquaintance, Lucien Delasalles, and his step-sister, Niki Menčetić. He becomes embroiled in the murky affairs of Niki and her family and the local police, which leads to his sad departure from the ancient city.

Australian wine writer, Andrew Johnston, is again staying in Europe, this time with his brother, Adrian, for both work and a holiday. During an extensive new wine project from his publisher, he meets up again with a number of his old acquaintances from both France and Dubrovnik, including Niki Menčetić. Whether he can resolve his difficulties with Niki’s life is uncertain.

www.anguskennedybooks.com Available at Amazon, Amazon UK, and Barnes & Noble.

www.anguskennedybooks.com Available at Amazon, Amazon UK, and Barnes & Noble.

To The East

The Final Programme

The book gives a composite picture of what heaven is like based on the eyewitness testimony of nineteen separate accounts. As a result it gives a more complete picture than any other single book does. All of Scripture’s testimony about heaven is confirmed and many more details God never revealed in His Word. Many readers say it’s a great blessing and have bought extra copies to give away.

In this final novel of the Out of Solitude tetralogy, Australian wine writer, Andrew Johnston, is comatose in a hospital in Sydney, Australia after the events of Međjugorje in Bosnia and Herzegovina. His Croatian lover, Niki Menčetić, believes him gone, the victim of a cruel deception by Andrew’s brother, Adrian, and has returned to Dubrovnik. Andrew now has to try to re-establish the rest of his life.

www.anguskennedybooks.com Available at Amazon, Amazon UK, and Barnes & Noble.

www.anguskennedybooks.com Available at Amazon, Amazon UK, and Barnes & Noble.

BY ANGUS KENNEDY

BY ANGUS KENNEDY

65


BOOK SHELF

SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION

Moustache & Macintosh

SHADOWS FALLING

BY D.L. GRASER

BY CARMEN

The night was calm as we floated across the ocean. “Land's not too far away,” I heard the captain tell Short Leg Louie after dinner. I had not heard anymore cries from the princess in the last couple of nights. I wondered why. I just have a gut feeling that tonight is the night I take her off this ship with me. I have to leave because Short Leg Louie said he will make sure there are no witnesses and I am the only witness aboard this vessel.

Elena, a Jewish orphan, is subjected to invasive acts of pedophilia as a youth and later by her father. One night she invites Ernst, a friend and member of the Nazi Youth Corps, into her bedroom. Acting upon her imprinted bizarre lifestyle, she teaches him all of the intimate and invasive actions she is now addicted to. Thus, their spirits bind in a manner that soon transcends into their next lifetime. Elena is sent to the Ravensbruck Concentration Camp for women. Ernst, now an SS officer, transfers there, where they both meet their demise and thrust into this present world. Upon meeting, she says. “I know you. You’ve come back to me again, and just in time.” www.outskirtspress.com Available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

www.pagepublishing.com Available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Feast of Fates

A SUMMER OF GOOD-BYES

BY CHRISTIAN A. BROWN

BY FRED MISURELLA

Morigan lives a quiet life as the handmaiden to a fatherly old sorcerer named Thackery. But when she crosses paths with Caenith, a not wholly mortal man, her world changes forever. Their meeting sparks long buried magical powers deep within Morigan. As she attempts to understand her newfound abilities, unbidden visions begin to plague her—visions that show a devastating madness descending on one of the Immortal Kings who rules the land.

Passion in Provence: Ben and Lee Alto follow Van Gogh's 19th century path to Provence, hoping to find inspiration for their own lives and give their adopted son, Misha, insight into a world completely different from their own. They find art, of course, and a world of beautiful landscapes, warm temperatures, and, yes, wonderful food. But they also find a ghost from the past, and it's not Vincent Van Gogh, but a woman Ben once loved and a man, Zach, a well-known jazz musician, who teaches them hard lessons about art and life, as well as the art of life. A Summer of Good-Byes is a vital, romantic story, filled with the tensions of love and marriage, sexual longing and family loyalty, and the struggle to live in the face of impending death and loss.

www.christianadrianbrown.com Available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble. 66

DECEMBER / JANUARY 2020

Available at Amazon or www.fredmisurella.com.


OK COULD BE H O B ER UR E! O Y Promote your book in Shelf Unbound in our Special Advertising Section for Authors.

Each issue of Shelf Unbound is distributed to more than 125,000 people in the U.S. and 62 countries around the globe. Our introductory ad rate for this section is $350/quarter page as seen here. Contact publisher Sarah Kloth to reserve your space. sarah@shelfmediagroup.com

67


CHECK OUT THIS YEAR’S

TOP NOTABLES. 68

DECEMBER / JANUARY 2020


2 0 1 9 TO P N O TA B L E I N D I E S N O TA B L E # 1

N O TA B L E # 2

A PLACE CALLED JUBILEE

A THREAD SO FINE

by Timothy J. Garrett

by Susan Welch

Deception, witchcraft, and the secrets of a long-dead former slave churn the life of ambitious young clergyman Coleman Hightower – even as fear, bombings, and riots rock the nation. Timothy J. Garrett’s historical novel A PLACE CALLED JUBILEE tells Coleman’s story as he leaves his mountain home and arrives in Washington D.C. in 1961 as the Civil Rights movement explodes across America. Coleman’s plans for a prestigious life are torn apart by his forbidden longing for beautiful and fiery activist Rosalee. His search for meaning turns into a desperate journey that takes him and the woman of his dreams all the way to Jubilee, Alabama – a place where intrigue, betrayal, and murder combine to make Coleman wonder if he will win Rosalee’s love or even leave the tiny town alive. It’s as if ALL THE LIGHT WE CANNOT SEE was dropped into the world of THE HELP.

Introspective Shannon Malone admires but is sometimes overshadowed by her overachieving younger sister, Eliza. At 18, Shannon is quarantined with tuberculosis. Meanwhile, Eliza enters college and begins dating the young David Whitaker. After Eliza is attacked by a local ‘war hero’ and becomes pregnant, she’s destined for the Catholic Home for Unwed Mothers. Feeling betrayed and ashamed, she plans to put the baby up for adoption and to transfer to Cornell University with encouragement from Frances Perkins, a prominent feminist. Shannon, left infertile after multiple surgeries, is heartbroken when her sister abruptly leaves, possibly forever. But she finds new meaning--and romantic love--when she discovers an infant whom she believes to be her niece. Certain her actions will somehow bring Eliza home, Shannon chronicles the years in un-sent letters--that are eventually found.

From The Author:

From The Author:

Timothy J. Garrett lives with his wife Cynthia near Athens, Georgia. He spent 16 years working as an E.R. physician and is now a healthcare executive. He also finds time to play bass guitar, both electric and upright, and is learning to play the banjo. History and historical fiction is his writing passion, with his favorite authors including Anthony Doerr and Doris Kearns Goodwin. Visit Tim's website at www.timothyjgarrett.com and follow him on Twitter at @drtimjgarrett.

69

DECEMBER / JANUARY 2020

As a girl, I listened to my mother’s stories about her year in quarantine as a 19-year-old TB patient in the mid1940s. As a middle-aged adult, upon my mom’s death, I discovered my own secret adoption story: I’d spent the first six months of my life in 1962 as an orphan before being placed with my family. To stop my mind from reeling with new revelations—and questions—about my origins, I turned to my imagination. I began to ponder the lives of both my cherished adoptive mother and my thenunknown birth mother as young Catholic women—perhaps sisters— in mid-20th century America’s heartland. Writing A THREAD SO FINE was both cathartic and revealing - allowing me to place my own story into the historical perspective of the times in which women such as my two mothers came of age.


2 0 1 9 TO P N O TA B L E I N D I E S N O TA B L E # 3

N O TA B L E # 4

A VEIL REMOVED

ANGELS AND PATRIOTS

by Michelle Cox

by Salina B Baker

Their honeymoon abruptly ended by the untimely death of Alcott Howard, Clive and Henrietta return to Highbury, where Clive discovers all is not as it should be. Increasingly convinced that his father’s death was not an accident, Clive launches his own investigation, despite his mother’s belief that he has become “mentally disturbed” with grief. As Clive and Henrietta uncover the truth behind Alcott’s troubled affairs, the case becomes darker than they ever imagined.

As the Revolutionary War stretches into 1776, John Adams beseeches Archangel Colm Bohannon and his brotherhood of fallen angels to return to fight for the Patriots. But millenniums of battling demons have done damage to the brotherhood. After killing the demons in a fit of rage, Colm is left to grapple with his distressed angels and the impact of losing his friend, Dr. Joseph Warren.

Meanwhile, Henrietta’s sister, Elsie, begins to take classes at a women’s college—an attempt to evade her troubles and prevent any further romantic temptations. When she meets a bookish German custodian at the school, however, he challenges her to think for herself . . . even as she discovers some shocking secrets about his past life.

From The Author:

When the angels join the new Continental Army, Colm, an experienced leader and warrior, finds himself at odds with the indecisive, amateur General George Washington. Washington’s belief in Providence leads him to ponder whether the angels’ presence is of any benefit to his army. In the violent struggle for liberty and loyalty through the fog of war, can he find faith?

From The Author:

This was a challenging book to write because, in terms of Henrietta and Clive, there was a decided shift in focus from “will they/won’t they?” get together to “should we/shouldn’t we?” launch a detective agency. Also, Elsie’s storyline has grown from being an amusing subplot to a full-blown dual narrative, which took a bit of effort to successfully weave throughout while keeping the pacing even.

This is the second book in my Revolutionary War series. From the start, learning and writing about the war and its effects on the people on both sides of the conflict opened my world. Angels and Patriots Book Two was no different as the war moved into 1776. New people and challenges arrived, like George Washington, who received command of the fledgling Continental Army, and the war moved from Massachusetts to New York.

One thing I really did enjoy writing about, however, was my alma mater, Mundelein College, which would have been a brand new school at the time the story takes place. It was immensely fun to dig up old school newspapers in the archives and try to imagine it as it might have been in those early days—a women’s-only school on the shore of Lake Michigan.

The challenge of blending historical figures and historically authentic events with fantasy was exhilarating. With the Americans and fallen angels allied to fight for their intertwined liberty against multifarious enemies, I reveled in writing about the uncertainties of the Revolutionary War when loyalties and faith were tenuous; and about the power of love and the ultimate sacrifice. 70


2 0 1 9 TO P N O TA B L E I N D I E S N O TA B L E # 5

N O TA B L E # 6

ANNA

AT THE CROSSROADS

by Colm Herron

by Olfet Agrama

Set in the riot-torn city of Derry, Northern Ireland in 1968, the story follows Robert, a respectable young teacher. Robert is the product of a strict Catholic upbringing in a strict Catholic country and has faithfully followed the rules on sexual morality as laid down by his Church. In fact, he has held onto his virginity like a crazed shopper at a Black Friday sale holds onto the last Xbox in the store. Until he meets Anna that is. Anna, a beautiful bisexual revolutionary who turns his world upside down. Protests and riots consume the city of Derry, but that’s nothing compared to the inner turmoil consuming Robert as he tries to reconcile his love for Anna with all he has been taught about personal morality. The civil rights marchers are after justice and freedom but constantly in the foreground is Anna and Robert’s search for personal freedom.

The decisions we take at every crossroad in our lives shape our destiny. Egypt, after the Second World War, was torn between the East and West. Occupied by the British and ruled by a corrupt King, it was inevitable that by 1952 the country would be convulsed by a military revolution. We follow four young people born during the occupation and learn how their lives and loves intertwine with the political events of their country. Nadia lives a western lifestyle, but suffers the intellectual and physical repressions imposed upon her by a conservative Moslem father. Melanie, whose mother is British, enjoys the semblance of a free and emancipated life in a world that never completely accepts her. Sammy, brought up in England, is still a product of the Middle East. He succeeds in escaping from the political restrictions of the military regime, but cannot escape his macho culture. Hassan is the victim of his ideals. His belief in the revolution is shattered when he perceives the corruption of the new government and when the Egyptian Army is defeated in the Suez Canal War. Through the adventure, romance, joy, and tragedy of our four protagonists, we get a glimpse of life in the Middle East in the fifties and sixties.

From The Author:

I began writing this novel after reading the copy of a letter sent by civil rights activist Pauli Murray to A. Phillip Randolph, one of the two main organizers of the March on Washington in 1963. Pauli wrote: “I have been increasingly perturbed over the blatant disparity between the major role which Negro women have played and are playing in the crucial grass-roots levels of our struggle and the minor role of leadership they have been assigned in the national policy-making decisions. The time has come to say to you quite candidly, Mr. Randolph, that ‘tokenism’ is as offensive when applied to women as when applied to Negroes.” For me there was a terrible irony in a movement for equality refusing to give equal treatment to its women activists. And this knowledge informed my writing of ‘ANNA’. 71

DECEMBER / JANUARY 2020

From The Author:

I was born in Egypt to a very conservative Muslim family. When I immigrated to the United States, I felt a strong urge to write about my roots and especially about the struggle of women in a male-dominated society. My book, At the Crossroad, is not really a memoire. The main characters are a composite of various people and friends I knew growing up in Cairo in the fifties. I still love my native land and as the years go by, the nostalgia mingles with both fond and painful memories. My life was a sheltered life, but full of love, literature, and the enriching experience of immigration. It was also a fast-moving life.


2 0 1 9 TO P N O TA B L E I N D I E S N O TA B L E # 7

BECOMING HERSELF

N O TA B L E # 8

BREAST CANCER MEETS MINDFULNESS

by Maureen Reid

SURRENDERING TO LIFE

What if … you were told you won’t be accepted because you don’t sound like everyone else… you want more choices than your world offers… you love a man you can never have ?

by Cheryl Wilfong

In an era when she loses the corset and gains the vote, Margaret struggles with balancing the roles of wife and mother with her longing to do more with her life. She embraces a world that’s experiencing airplanes in the skies, radios in the parlor and women asserting their independence. Margaret yearns to find the Maggie who’s been lost by returning to Ireland, the land of her birth. In Becoming Herself, Margaret shares her dreams, conflicts, and never- to- be-told secrets. It is the story of a woman searching to become all she is capable of being.

From The Author:

Following a career that led me from managing colleges to Fortune 500 companies, to major international law firms, I had the time to begin writing the kind of novels I love to read. Blending fiction with historical facts is both challenging and rewarding. There is a new world to explore, one that is exciting and is mine to create and share. My characters take on a life of their own and I grow increasingly fond of them. The story becomes their own awhile I serve as both the creator and the audience. It is magical. I think of myself as a story-teller but take great pride in now being a published author. It is the perfect encore career.

Surprised by breast cancer, Cheryl responds from the depth of her meditation practice. Friends offer worry and chicken soup, fear and support, unwanted advice and helpful suggestions. Accepting life-as-it-is leads, one mindful moment at a time, to peace of mind.

From The Author:

The idea for Breast Cancer Meets Mindfulness arose two months after I finished treatment, from an inspiration during a ten-day meditation retreat. A five-day writing retreat soon followed where I wrote the first drafts of many of the essays. The women in my writing support group encourage me to keep going. They listen deeply and prod me into new possibilities. They help me brainstorm, and they offer opinions about which cover design to use, what the name of my website should be, and many other small decisions along the way. Cheryl Wilfong teaches mindfulness meditation at Vermont Insight Meditation Center when she isn’t rearranging one of her 28 flower beds or tending her out-of-control vegetable garden. Master Gardener and mistress of metaphor, she delivers the Dharma into daily life in the garden. She holds a Master’s degree in Counseling Psychology from Antioch New England, with a concentration in Mindfulness and completed an internship with Jon Kabat-Zinn’s Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction program. She has completed the Community Dharma Leader training program at Spirit Rock Meditation Center and the Independent Study and Practice Program at the Barre Center for Buddhist Studies. She is currently studying Matt Flickstein's two-year curriculum. 72


C ATA L OG

SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION

BULWARK

Clay Finnes is the sheriff of a small town in Georgia called Bulwark. Recently separated from his wife, all he can think about is what went wrong, and will Jenna ever come back to him. He's troubled by a bothersome reporter trying to build a story from what he thinks is a normal day in his life. Clay has to admit that the fantastical stories, told by an accident victim as well as unusual sightings of wolves, things are getting a bit strange. A visit to the ominous Gingerbread House makes him realize that his life as he knows it will never be the same.

THE KNOWING: A BULWARK ANTHOLOGY

Bulwark- a wall or stockade that protects or sometimes hides the truth from the outside world. Bulwark, Georgia, isolated, hidden. Who knows what strange things can happen when the rest of the world can't see you? JB Stratton is alone in the world, and all he has left are the memories of his beloved Ellie. Dirt poor JB and wealthy Ellie feel an instant connection that is as intense and primal as the blood red earth of their home. Unseen roots connect them, pulling them into an impossible relationship. Will the memories of past lives help or hinder the path of their love? Based on the original novella Bulwark, by Brit Lunden, The Knowing continues the story of a town isolated from the rest of the world where the impossible becomes plausible, and logic is determined by reality. ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Brit Lunden is a prolific author who’s written over 50 books in assorted genres under different pen names. Bulwark was her first effort in adult fiction and was chosen by several of her fellow authors as the basis for a new series, A Bulwark Anthology. Using her characters, they are creating new denizens in spin-off stories to this bizarre town. Brit Lunden lives on Long Island in a house full of helpful ghosts.

73

DECEMBER / JANUARY 2020


2 0 1 9 TO P N O TA B L E I N D I E S N O TA B L E # 9

N O TA B L E # 1 0

BULWARK

BURNING NIGHT

by Brit Lunden

by Nikki Broadwell

Bulwark, Georgia is a close-knit community. Everybody knows their neighbor's business, whether they like it or not. Sheriff Clay Finnes is a regular guy, patient, brave, despite his personal life being in shambles. His child has mysteriously disappeared, his marriage derailed and fell apart. The town is experiencing weird situations, extinct wolves appearing out of nowhere, kidnapped teens, unexplained deaths. No one has answers but somehow the entire town is connected by the strange events. People are acting strangely. Clay must confront a member of the town to get to the bottom of the mystery. In the process, he learns things are not what they seem and the area has a strange history uniting the population in a horrible way. The book has a choice of two endings to ponder.

This is the turning point…

From The Author:

I was asked to participate in an anthology scheduled to come in for Halloween. It was to be my first effort as an adult fiction author. I changed my pen name from Carole P. Roman to the more sexy Brit Lunden so it would not be confused with the 56 children's books I had published and began writing my story. One week later, I created the fictional town of Bulwark, Georgia where any kind of strange thing could happen. I centered the story around a stalwart sheriff with a passel of personal things going on in his life. The book went on to win silver in Reader's Favorite. No one else completed their part and I thought it was finished until a new group approached creating an anthology of ten!

When Collie flees an abusive husband she’s also escaping her sordid past. But when her money is stolen, the only way to earn it back in time for her trip to Alaska, is to do the very thing she hoped she left behind. Burning Night festival is only a month away and she simply has to be there. Exotic dancing at her age seems laughable, but the woman who owns the bar thinks differently. Meanwhile she’s met a much younger man who is undermining all her good intentions. As the past catches up with the present, terrible memories rise to the surface. Can she untangle the threads of her life before it’s too late, or will her dreams be lost forever in the web closing in around her?

From The Author:

I was raised by fairies in a sylvan glade under a massive oak tree. My early life was spent wandering fields and woods searching for acorns and berries and staring at the cloud shadows racing across the landscape while listening to the whispers on the wind. Magic and the mystical are alive and well in all my books. Celtic and Norse fantasy, time travel, murder mixed up with ghosts, humor and steamy romance, and a shapeshifting coyote, inhabit my 19 novels. If confused about where to begin--start with Moonstone, book 1 of Wolfmoon. My books are not what you would call literature, and yet they are not mere entertainment either. They are unique--humorous at times, sad at times, and page-turners that take the reader into a world separate from this one. I do not write to market, I write from my heart. 74


C ATA L OG

SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION

CAMPARI CRIMSON

BY TRACI ANDRIGHETTI

Halloween is looming large in New Orleans, and Private Investigator Franki Amato’s in a gloomy mood. Her boyfriend Bradley has to leave on an extended business trip, and her slacker brother is coming to town with her matchmaker nonna who’s determined to see a Sicilian lemon superstition bear fruit. Meanwhile, the entire city is spooked because a caped figure is targeting its blood banks. Things turn macabre when a psychic makes a dark prediction about Franki’s brother and a frat boy is found in a cemetery crypt with his blood drained. As bad luck would have it, Franki is hired to investigate the murder by the number one police suspect, an eighteenth-century vampire impersonator. A detective acquaintance offers to team up to find the killer, but he’s interested in more than Franki’s professional input. To solve the case, she goes solo into NOLA’s vampire community and immerses herself in local vampire legends. Can Franki prevent another bloodletting? Or will the next blood spilled be her own?

Where to Buy: Amazon | B&N |

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Traci Andrighetti is the USA TODAY bestselling author of the Franki Amato Mysteries and the Danger Cove Hair Salon Mysteries. In her previous life, she was an awardwinning literary translator and a Lecturer of Italian at the University of Texas at Austin, where she earned a PhD in Applied Linguistics. But then she got wise and ditched that academic stuff for a life of crime--writing, that is. Her latest capers are teaching mystery writing for Savvy Authors and taking aspiring and established authors on intensive writing retreats to Italy with LemonLit.

75

DECEMBER / JANUARY 2020


2 0 1 9 TO P N O TA B L E I N D I E S N O TA B L E # 1 1

N O TA B L E # 1 2

CAMPARI CRIMSON

CARRYING INDEPENDENCE

by Traci Andrighetti

by Karen A. Chase

Halloween is looming in New Orleans, and Private Investigator Franki Amato is in a mood. Her boyfriend is going on an extended business trip, and her matchmaker nonna is determined to see a Sicilian lemon tradition bear fruit. Meanwhile, the entire city is spooked because a caped figure is targeting its blood banks. Things turn macabre when a psychic makes a sinister prediction about Franki’s brother and a frat boy is found in a cemetery crypt sans blood. As bad luck would have it, Franki is hired to investigate the murder by the main suspect, an eighteenth-century vampire impersonator. To solve the case, she goes solo into NOLA’s vampire community and immerses herself in its legends. Can Franki prevent another bloodletting? Or will the next blood spilled be her own?

In 1776, with pressure mounting to join the American Revolution, an intrepid young Post rider, Nathaniel Marten, accepts the task of carrying the sole copy of the Declaration of Independence to seven congressmen unable to attend the formal signing. British generals and double-crossing spies are eager to capture both him and the document so they can divide the colonies already weakened by war. Through encounters with well-known original founding fathers and mothers, and by witnessing the effects of the Revolution on ordinary Americans, Nathaniel must learn that independence—for himself, for those he loves, and for the country­­—is not granted, it's chosen. “Chase’s incredibly well-researched historical details deepen the narrative and the characters, transporting the reader to walk with them.” –Kathleen Grissom, author of the Kitchen House.

From The Author:

From The Author:

The Franki Amato mysteries are cozyish comedies set in New Orleans, and Campari Crimson (#4) was especially fun to write. Two guys I used to work with asked to be werewolves in a Franki book, an intentionally absurd suggestion that gave me the idea to write about local vampire legends. For research, I took a French Quarter vampire tour where I learned why NOLA’s founding matriarchs are called “Casket Girls” and met a tourist who lives as a vampire. I wasn’t sure that a mystery about “real vampires” could be funny, but two things changed my mind. First, in reaction to the “sexy vampires” of Twilight and True Blood, the Vatican beefed up its exorcist ranks. And second, the largest vampire populations live in New Orleans and Buffalo. That’s comedy!

Writing and researching CARRYING INDEPENDENCE took over ten years. In addition to learning about the document and the war, I traveled to almost all the places featured in the novel. I did not journey alone as historians, museum docents, reenactors, and editors helped me craft an authentic view of the period. However, it was the holes in history—including how those seven congressmen affixed their signatures—that enabled me to insert fiction. What I hope readers will come to understand is that the Revolution wasn’t just a war. They’ll see, through empathy with the characters, how nuanced ideals and positions could be. This is book one of a three-part Founding-Documents Series. The next, already in progress, entitled A LETTER OF INTRODUCTION, is about the US Constitution.

76


C ATA L OG

SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION

Carrying Independence BY KAREN A. CHASE

July, 1776. The Congress has agreed to assemble on August 2nd to sign a single copy of the Declaration of Independence that would show they stand unanimous in their desire to separate from British rule. But the struggle to bring all the congressmen to Philadelphia seems as insurmountable as the fight for independence against the world’s greatest army… With cries of war spreading across the colonies, an intrepid young Post Rider, Nathaniel Marten, is reluctant to raise a rifle for the Cause. His heart is pulled by sympathy for his mother, English-born and loyal to her homeland; concern for his father, whose artisanal gun shop is being converted into an armory for the newly formed Continental army; and fear for the peaceful Shawnee tribe he has long considered his second family. In a chance encounter with Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson, Nathaniel is asked to secure the remaining seven signatures by carrying the sole copy of the Declaration across the colonies by land and by sea. “Chase’s fast-paced and panoramic narrative captures the drama of declaring and fighting for—and against— American independence. Her sharply-observed scenes bring abstract principles to vivid life, reminding readers of the human dimensions of making a nation at a time of radical change and revolutionary uncertainty.” (Peter Onuf, historian and co-author of Thomas Jefferson and the Empire of the Imagination.)

Where to Buy: Amazon | B&N | iBooks | Chapters | IndieBound ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Karen A. Chase is an award-winning author, and a Daughter of the American Revolution (DAR). Her first book, Bonjour 40: A Paris Travel Log, garnered seven independent publishing awards. In 2017 she was a visiting scholar at the American Antiquarian Society, and is now a 2019-2020 Virginia Humanities fellow at the Library of Virginia. A member of the Historical Novel Society and James River Writers, she also provides presentations to lineage groups and historical organizations, as well as book clubs. Discover more #ChasingHistories at KarenAChase.com. 77

DECEMBER / JANUARY 2020


2 0 1 9 TO P N O TA B L E I N D I E S N O TA B L E # 1 3

N O TA B L E # 1 4

CELEBRITY CAST

CELTIC KNOT A CLARA SWIFT TALE

by Harry Groome

by Ann Shortell

American billionaire Jeb Caldwell, who has recently been diagnosed with lung cancer, hosts a group of celebrity anglers on a fishing expedition to Russia’s unforgiving Kola Peninsula where he is kidnapped. Narrated by one of the main characters, the bestselling author E. E. Zachary, Celebrity Cast takes place in September 1991 shortly after the failed coup of the Soviet Union—a historic event that mired the country in political turmoil and gave rise to the ruthless Russian mafia. Jeb views the trip as a oncein-a-lifetime opportunity to fish this newly discovered anglers’ paradise with two of his closest friends. When his wife refuses to meet the kidnappers’ demands, the odds are low that he will be returned at all, let alone in time for a last-ditch chemo infusion that may save his life. The kidnappers’ demand of a ransom of $75 million is only part of their story. In addition, one kidnapper is driven to right a family wrong that dates back to Stalin’s reign of terror while another is desperate to prove he is smarter than his Muscovite comrades.

This twist of history reimagines Canada’s great unsolved mystery—the 1868 assassination of poet-politician D’Arcy McGee—through the eyes of bright young housemaid Clara. CELTIC KNOT, a series debut, won Canada’s answer to the Rubery Award: the 2019 Whistler Independent Book Award for Fiction. It was a finalist in eight other awards, including the Sarton Women’s Book Awards and the IPPY. "Clara is an appealing protagonist in this skillfully constructed historical mystery,” said Whistler judge Evelyn Lau. “In addition to its compelling heroine . . . I was engaged by the polished writing and the finely chosen details . . . breathtaking revelations . . . made for a satisfying, wholly unexpected conclusion to this engrossing mystery." Clara is now off having more misadventures, in the sequel-in-progress An Irish Goodbye.

Jeb’s situation is further complicated by President Yeltsin’s dismantling the KGB, leaving the FBI without an ally in its attempts to apprehend the kidnappers. What follows is a frustrating, and at times surprising, effort by the FBI, the State Department and President Bush himself, to bring a prominent American home safely.

78

DECEMBER / JANUARY 2020

From The Author:

I dreamed of a girl, writing, by candlelight, the words ‘I was on the other side of the door when Mr. D’Arcy was shot.’ She meant D’Arcy McGee. When I was but a girl myself, my father told me how our fellow Irish-Canadian had been shot in the back of the head in the middle of the night—right at the spot on Sparks St. in Ottawa on which we were standing that long-ago day. Irish rebels were suspected, and one was hanged for the murder. The condemned man claimed he didn’t pull the trigger; the man’s descendants still believe in his innocence. What really could have happened, in this history with a mystery? Clara Swift, the Irish maid of my imagination, had her own ideas. Therein lies the tale.


2 0 1 9 TO P N O TA B L E I N D I E S N O TA B L E # 1 5

N O TA B L E # 1 6

CHILD OF DUST

CONFESSIONS OF A BAREFACED WOMAN

by Tom Wascoe

by Allison Joseph

An American soldier (Richie) falls in love with and has a baby with a Vietnamese woman during the war in Vietnam. He attempts to marry her but fails to get permission from the Army and is then pulled out of Vietnam. Linh and her son make an incredible journey to potential safety and security in Hong Kong. Meanwhile Richie builds his career and raises a family in the United States. They meet again in Hong Kong two decades later and achieve their ultimate destiny.

Confessions of a Barefaced Woman is the latest collection of poems from Allison Joseph, whose work is readily accessible, musical, full of hard-earned wisdom, sass, and courage. Joseph writes about everyday situations in deft, heartfelt poems that span the spectrum of poetic ambition-free verse narrative, short lyrics, traditional rhyming forms and topical meditations. She is a poet of song and strut, an ambassador for the written word's deviations and variations, a conversationalist who just happens to speak in rhyme and meter. Readers of this book will encounter a woman who's not afraid to be herself--even if that self is ever-changing, ever-evolving.

From The Author:

It was based on two stories. My friend in Vietnam fell in love (Vietnamese) and they had a baby. They tried to get married. I do not know if they got married. We all were celebrating our anniversary but a couple who, in their 80's, were married 5 years. It was during WWII. She was German and sent by her father to Vienna (safety). When the war ended, she hitchhiked back to Germany. Four GI's picked her up. She got married and was a professor in both Germany and the UK. She got divorced. Michael, who was one of the GI's, wrote her throughout the years. He went back home got married and raised a family. When his wife died, he went back to Germany and married the woman.

From The Author:

With a book of poems, the experience of writing is an organic one. I write a lot of poems on the subjects that have consistently captivated and engaged me. Some of those poems made it into Confessions of a Barefaced Woman; some didn't. It's quite an adventure shaping a coherent manuscript from poems that all may have been written at various times, with me--the poet--in various moods. But a consistent thread carries throughout the poems in this book--they are frank, funny, accessible and, dare I say it--upbeat. For me as a poet, it's important that I dispel the notion that all poems are moribund and miserable. Certainly poems run the gamut of emotions, and despair is part of that gamut. But I wanted to have a book that poked fun at my own failures and foibles, even as I took on such difficult topics as racism and sexism. It's a book of poems from a forthright and steadfast woman--whose bare face tells always her truth.

79


2 0 1 9 TO P N O TA B L E I N D I E S N O TA B L E # 1 7

N O TA B L E # 1 8

COUNTDOWN AMERICA

COUNTING ON YOU

by M.C. Fox

by Laura Chapman

CIA agent Isabella Bendel accepts a promotion to Chief Supervisor—a less dangerous position, so she can raise her two children without fear. In the years since Isabella had the twins, she never imagined having to think the worst. Now she was living it. Her family has been abducted as she learns of a plot against America.

Haleigh Parde has no desire to change her single status until she receives an invitation to her high school reunion. With her ex spreading rumors, she needs a date fast. After watching Haleigh crash and burn on a blind date, app developer Ian Henning makes her a proposition. If she’ll provide honest feedback on his new dating app, he’ll guarantee her a date to knock the socks off her former classmates. Even better, he will coach her through the rocky road of dating. Through setups ranging from awkward to absurd, Haleigh discovers her matchmaker might just be better than the matches. And Ian wonders if she’s the answer to everything he’s worked for professionally or something much, much more . . .

Thoughts of safety are shattered when Isabella survives two brutal assassination attempts. With both gunmen dead, she can’t get the information she needs to figure out the plot against America and find her family. Pushed to the brink, Isabella calls on her training and deadly skills. During this mission, she fights her way through assassins, cyber-terrorists, and duplicitous fellow agents, leading her to uncover a Russian threat that is hellbent on destroying America.

From The Author:

Time was not a luxury as I work a 9:00 - 5:00 job and all of my free time went to the novel. I spent nights, weekends and vacations writing the manuscript. When I first learned about the Russian attacks on the former countries of the soviet republic, the exposure of the Russian spies in US corporations, meddling in the US elections as well as the political affairs of other countries and the cyber-hackings in the US - I looked at all that was happening around me. From the unstable political climate, to crazy international scandals and powerful women stepping up – I realized I had the perfect ingredients for a novel. From there, Countdown America was born, a whirlwind of a spy story set in the world of political cyber-espionage.

80

DECEMBER / JANUARY 2020

From The Author:

I’d wanted to tell a Cinderella-like story for a while—one where instead of Cinderella finding her Prince Charming, she ends up falling for the Fairy Godmother of sorts. With the rise of online dating—and new apps springing up all the time—having Haleigh and Ian begin a partnership of convenience seemed like a fun and fresh way to spin this story. I brainstormed the story with friends from Romance Authors of the Heartland. I plotted the book in a workshop with Gwen Hayes based on her book “Romancing the Beat.” I wrote the first draft of this book during National Novel Writing Month in November 2017. This marked my eighth consecutive year participating in and passing the 50,000word mark for NaNoWriMo. It’s my favorite way to spend Novembers.


2 0 1 9 TO P N O TA B L E I N D I E S N O TA B L E # 1 9

N O TA B L E # 2 0

CYCLES OF HATRED

DEAR JOHN

by Linda Heavner Gerald

by Linda Heavner Gerald

What is wrong with some men? They believe they love women while they say inappropriate things. Maybe in their mind, there are thoughts of violence or depravity. These individuals are misogynists. Misogyny is the hatred of, contempt for, or prejudice against women or girls. Misogyny is manifest in numerous ways, including social exclusion, sex discrimination, hostility, androcentrism, patriarchy, ... Wikipedia Laura’s twin brother was one. The family knew for years that he harbored mean feelings toward his sister. Lars’ father had talks with him as he begged that he change his ways, but the boy couldn’t do it. Eventually, he was sent away to Phillips Academy. Keeping the twins apart helped but when they were together, the same behavior surfaced. What was the answer? Laura loved Lars deeply even though he treated her with disrespect. Eventually, his actions demonstrated the most depraved and extreme misogyny on record. How could a twin brother hate his sister this much?

Becky Connors lived in the same place for most of her life. An old southern town, one of the oldest in her home state of Florida. Even though she traveled extensively and lived in many places, Becky returned home to her "slice of Heaven" located on the beautiful Gulf Of Mexico in the Forgotten Coast. All of her group had remained close since elementary school and later in their university days at Auburn University. Now, this group of beloved friends faced growing older. This tale of life is told with humor and tears as conditions change for each one as they age. True to reality, many decisions faced the devoted ensemble. Share in their joys and sorrows. Things never remain the same for long. Now, these friends face the countdown together.

From The Author:

This book was an inspiration from God. I wrote it early in my career. Later, I received the rights back from a different publisher. It is a gut-wrenching tale. If you enjoy Italy and history, you’ll love it.

From The Author:

This book was a great deal of fun to write. It nails getting older and the shock most of us feel when we suddenly realize that we are no longer so young. Someone said that it makes you laugh and cry, which is what a good read should do.

Linda Heavner Gerald has received much acclaim for her books. She has been writing for over six years and published seventeen novels. Her work includes all genres. Linda writes each day with the goal of publishing books of substance. She draws from her medical background to alert her readers of current medical problems as well as providing inspiration through her many travels. 81


2 0 1 9 TO P N O TA B L E I N D I E S N O TA B L E # 2 1

N O TA B L E # 2 2

DIGIT ROBOT DOG STOPS BULLYING AT

DRAGON RACER, BOOK 1

SCHOOL

by M. R. Mathias

by Sophia Z. Domogala

A world of steam and springs. A breakneck race for power. Will one woman's defiance topple a kingdom?

The story is about a robotic dog named Digit. Digit, the robotic dog, helps to stop bullying at the Zipper Elementary School by rolling down the hallways in the school, monitoring the children. Digit is a special dog because he teaches children not to bully each other in school. Digit carries a red toolbox kit that teaches children about positive behavior, role models, rules and discipline, being kind and helpful to each other, and he teaches children how to deal with problems about bullying in school. Digit teaches children to be friendly, to share, and to say please and thank you. But most of all, he teaches them to have a positive outlook on life. Digits red toolbox kit also contains special rewards for those children who are well behaved in and out of school. Digit says, Bullying hurts! It hurts us all. Stop bullying now!

From The Author:

Dr. Sophia Z. Domogala, (Doctorate in Education) , grew up on Long Island, attended Uniondale High school, New York and a resident of Eatontown, New Jersey for over 40 years. Served as a banking business consultant and pursued a career in the public education field for over twenty years as a special education teacher, elementary school teacher, middle school teacher, principal, curriculum coordinator, and Director of Pre-School. Enjoys challenging and engaging students in creative school and community projects, the arts, music, theater, traveling, cooking, and enjoys drawing, oil painting, and sketching.

82

DECEMBER / JANUARY 2020

Sharrah wants to watch the dragon racers. But the orphan's first chance ends in heartache when a betrayal turns her into a wizard’s prize... Taken under wing by a strange new master, Sharrah enters the cutthroat world of circuit racing. But when a vengeful king commands her to throw a competition, she must make impossible choices. Will she contend for a chance at untold riches even if disobedience could cost her life? Can Sharrah find the courage to defy a king and the speed to outfly her enemies or will her first race be her last? If you like feisty heroines, fearsome dragons, and fast-paced action, then you'll savor this steam-powered thrill-ride.

From The Author:

M. R. Mathias lives on five wooded acres. Like the wizards of old, he tends to the animals who share that space and inspire the creatures in his works. He likes to deep sea fish, to attend sporting events, and genre/cosplay conventions. He has sold well over a million eBooks. His work is critically acclaimed, and he has won multiple literary awards, including a coveted Locus Poll nomination. Mathias is currently working on several audiobook projects, including the newly completed bestselling audio anthology, "Fantastica: The Complete Four Book Collection." You can follow him @DahgMahn on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, or at www.mrmathias.com


2 0 1 9 TO P N O TA B L E I N D I E S N O TA B L E # 2 3

N O TA B L E # 2 4

END OF LIES

FACEMATE

by Bradley West

by Steven M. Greenberg

To safeguard his family, he must become a murderer. The hunted turns on his pursuers when they kidnap his family in this 2016 election spy thriller.

Ben Atherton, the legendary finance capitalist, lived through an unspeakable tragedy in his college years. The love of his life--the love, truthfully, of a thousand lifetimes--was taken from him by a senseless act of violence. Since that time of grief he has turned his overwhelming sorrow into a success in business beyond anyone's wildest dreams, amassing untold billions in the process. When childhood best friend and now business partner Eddie Parker comes to him with a new investment opportunity, Ben, with his tons of cash on hand, decides to opt in. Well, turns out it's a start-up website developed by an autistic genius that matches photos of people with their identical duplicates--By analytically breaking down the structure of the face into flesh, skin texture, and underlying bone, he can come up with, not mere resemblances, but veritable, actual mind-blowing clone-like twins. With seven billion people on the planet, he is convinced he can do this with uncanny accuracy. The autistic genius, Alex Daugherty, is grateful to Ben for helping him finance his lifelong dream, and in gratitude, he decides to put Ben's youthful photo into his hopper--for fun. And the shocking 'fun' that comes out of that magical hopper will change Ben's life and the lives of all the people around him in weird and wonderful, ecstatic and tragic ways.

Russia interferes in the run-up to the 2016 presidential election. A North Korea nuke is on the loose in the US compliments of China. The right wing deep state plots a coup d'etat under the direction of an anonymous emperorin-waiting. Burned out CIA cryptanalyst Bob Nolan is on the trail of Higher Love and its sinister leader, but the conspiracists kidnap his family and two arch nemeses—one ex-KGB and one ex-CIA—aim to kill them all. Nolan’s small team battles formidable opponents, but with victory within sight he is forced to choose between family and country one last time.

From The Author:

The previous novels in the Countless Lies series had been Asia-focused, but I decided to shift the focus to the US with the unfolding story of Putin's attempts to subvert the 2016 election. Tying in a North Korea-sourced EMP helped briing one of the key characters from Asia to the US. I also reduced the number of plot threads to simplify the reader experience and accelerate the pace.

From The Author:

This is my fifth novel. All were critical successes, but my second novel, Incantation, was a finalist for general fiction in the 2005 IPPY awards. In FaceMate and each of my other literary efforts, I have endeavored to accomplish two tasks: First, to tell a compelling and unpredictable story with believable and evolving characters who speak in authentic voices. Characters, that is, who are not caricatures, who possess qualities that are both good and bad, as all real individuals do. 83


2 0 1 9 TO P N O TA B L E I N D I E S N O TA B L E # 2 5

N O TA B L E # 2 6

BEFORE WE DIED

FINDING JAMES

by Joan Schweighardt

by Nancy Blaha

Two young men battle corruption, the forces of nature, and their own weaknesses (including the issue of their love for the same woman) in the deepest part of the Brazilian jungle:

It's been over eight years since Karen suffered the tragic loss of her brother, a death for which she still blames herself. Since then, she's managed to shove away the pain and guilt, somehow slowly building a new life far from Easley.

In 1908 two Irish American brothers leave their jobs on the docks of Hoboken, NJ to make their fortune tapping rubber trees in the South American rainforest. They expect to encounter floods, snakes, malaria, extreme hunger and unfriendly competitors, but nothing prepares them for the psychological hurdles that will befall them. BEFORE WE DIED, the first in a three-book "rivers" series, is a literary adventure novel set against the background of the South American rubber boom, a fascinating but little known historical moment.

From The Author:

Joan Schweighardt is the award-winning author of THE ACCIDENTAL ART THIEF, THE LAST WIFE OF ATTILA THE HUN, VIRTUAL SILENCE and other novels. BEFORE WE DIED and GIFTS FOR THE DEAD, the first two novels in her 3-book "rivers" series, are available now, with the third book to follow soon. Collectively the stories unfold against an early 20th century backdrop that includes the South American rubber boom, WWI (as experienced from the docks of Hoboken, NJ) and the beginnings of the Great Depression. The stories deal with themes of grief, loss, love, immigration, assimilation and more.

84

DECEMBER / JANUARY 2020

But she always knew the time would come when she'd be forced to leave Southern California and go back to her hometown, staring truth in the face again. Could Karen have prevented James’ death? Was it truly her fault, and could she ever forgive herself, all the while living in the shadow of her mother's and father's own mistakes? Finding James is a heart-wrenching story about love, loss, addiction, faith and hope with a twist that will touch every reader.

From The Author:

I am an avid reader and always admired writers who had the ability to not only create a story and transport the reader to another place and time but at the same time inspire the reader. I dreamt of one day doing the same with a novel of my own and that’s how Finding James started to take shape several years ago. While Finding James is a fictional story with fictional characters, many of the experiences and emotions were taken from my own life. Like the books I have read, I wanted to not only intrigue and entertain, but to hopefully pass on some important messages to the readers. And by the responses received so far, I am thrilled to say that Finding James has been able to do just that.


2 0 1 9 TO P N O TA B L E I N D I E S N O TA B L E # 2 7

N O TA B L E # 2 8

FORGED UNDER FIRE

GANGSTER IN OUR MIDST

by Kyra Anderson

by Betty Brandt Passick

She was born the day America declared the Second Revolutionary War over, but for Amelia Grant, the war was far from over. At eighteen years of age, she decides to answer her call to Mandatory Civil Service with her best friend Bethany. But rather than be thrilled to be working with Bethany every day, Amelia is terrified that her secret crush for her best friend will be discovered--after all, in post-revolution America, such a relationship is grounds for arrest.

Gangster in our Midst tells (2017) the neglected true story of an Italian American man who came to a small Midwestern town in the 1920s. Marshal Sweeney Delaney was just a rookie when Congress ratified the 18th Amendment. Prohibition threw the whole nation into a tailspin. Even teetotaling Christians jumped on the bandwagon and began making panther piss in a still behind the barn. Then, a Chicago gangster came to town. His name: Louie La Cava. Sweeney followed the adage: Keep your friends close; your enemies closer. Two old friends are part of his inner circle: Walter Bierkoff, a farmer and man of keen curiosity, and the perspicacious Father John Halpin, priest at the I. C. Catholic Church.

A chance meeting changes Amelia’s life when she comes into contact with the newest American domestic terrorist group, the Coalition. Startled to learn that her sister is already a member, and eager to meet others like her who are considered “undesirable” by the Central Government, she seeks out the group. Enraptured by the charismatic leader, Amelia finds herself pulled easily toward the Coalition. However, her involvement puts a larger target on her back, and she soon finds herself at the center of scandals and nefarious dealings. Amelia must decide if she wants to live a lie, or fight to dismantle the corruption in the new government.

From The Author:

Kyra Anderson is a born and raised Northern Nevadan with a passion for languages, animals, art, and writing. Challenging herself with each new project, Kyra is devoted to developing stories in such detail that her readers live the journey themselves. She has a penchant for creating stories that will engulf her readers and never let go.

From The Author:

I was just a young girl when my primary family moved into the small Iowa town of Fairbank in the mid-1950s and first heard of the town’s ‘gangster’. Fast forward to 2015 when I was interviewing locals for my second book. Our conversations often veered to talk of Louie La Cava-though 90 years had passed since the Italian American man first showed his face on Main Street. “He worked for Chicago Kingpin Al Capone,” these octogenarians said— yet no one seemed to have proof. I thought the idea of writing a book about a gangster very appealing, and ‘giddy’ best described me as I began to find Louie La Cava in FBI and police reports and newspaper accounts, linking him to Capone. The interviews with locals who knew the gangster best, well, those became ‘icing on the cake’.

85


2 0 1 9 TO P N O TA B L E I N D I E S N O TA B L E # 2 9

N O TA B L E # 3 0

GIMME THE FAMILIARS

GIVE THEM UNQUIET DREAMS

by Jessica Mehta

by James Mulhern

Gimme the Familiars is a connected short story collection steeped in memoir. Each chapter begins with a “mini chapter” that’s a re-telling of a Native American myth. As a Cherokee writer, I included mostly Cherokee myths which were first told to me as a child. However, all are completely re-imagined, original work, and placed in a modern setting. The mini chapters are connected closely to each of the matching chapters, with the animals in the myths correlating to the monsters, heroes, and forgotten everyones we know in in our daily lives. (Ourselves included).

Fourteen-year-old Aiden wants to free his mother from McCall's, a psychiatric institute outside of Boston. He's certain she's not schizophrenic because he also sees ghosts. His grandpa, whose spirit visits at night, tells him he must rescue his mom from "that shower of savages" at the hospital. "Like you, she has second sight. Your grandmother's ma also had the gift. She was demonized, and we can't let that happen to your mother.” Aiden enlists the help of his nana's friends, his brother Martin, and a cat named Arthur. Aiden has the foresight to know that everything will turn out okay, even though bad things may happen. They always do. Nana's advice that life demands we "keep calm and carry on" propels him as he is challenged by tragedies, unexpected twists of fate, and the spirit world.

From The Author:

Jessica (Tyner) Mehta, born and raised in Oregon and a citizen of the Cherokee Nation, is the author of numerous books including poetry, fiction, short story collections, and creative non-fiction. Her novel The Wrong Kind of Indian won gold at the 2019 Independent Book Publisher Awards (IPPYs). She’s received several writer-in-residency posts around the world, including the Hosking Houses Trust post with an appointment at The Shakespeare Birthplace (Stratford-Upon-Avon, UK), Paris Lit Up (Paris, France), the Women’s International Study Center (WISC) Acequia Madre House (Santa Fe, NM), the Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts (Nebraska City, NE), the National Parks Art Foundation at Gettysburg National Military Park, and a Writer in the Schools (WITS) residency at Literary Arts (Portland, OR).

86

DECEMBER / JANUARY 2020

From The Author:

I began writing Give Them Unquiet Dreams as a reaction to the negative rhetoric about immigrants. My grandparents, both immigrants from Ireland, taught me about the importance of family, hard work, and the American Dream. I learned to appreciate family bonds, literature, and Irish folklore. This novel is an homage to Irish immigrants and all immigrants who have made this country great. Writing is a cycle of imagining, putting thoughts on paper, reflection, analysis, and revision. The process is recursive. As I read what I’ve written, I always get new ideas. My consciousness expands, my faith increases, and my excited wonder about the lives of my ancestors grows. For me, the imagined world enhances the real world. Writing makes me grateful for the blessing of my time on this earth.


2 0 1 9 TO P N O TA B L E I N D I E S N O TA B L E # 3 1

N O TA B L E # 3 2

HAVE YOUR WISHES READY

HITMAN-BAKER-CASKETMAKER AFTERMATH

by Jennie Tudor

OF AN AMERICAN'S CLASH WITH ICE POEMS

One hundred years of mystery, adventure, romance and family love fill this novel as it picks up and deposits the 'life-baggage' of a strangely blended, prominent old southern Alabama family. It ventures into 1918 Chicago, bawdy cabarets of Paris, France in 1920, a big game African safari in 1934, glimpses of World War II as well as the ongoing workings of their California ranch. Each chapter, like an essay or short story, keeps you involved but wondering. Just at the apex of their lives, a tragedy of monumental and mysterious circumstances strikes like a fierce bolt of lightning, ripping the family apart with unimaginable heartbreak and uncertainty. That mishap, relentlessly and continuously dictates and consumes the family's everyday existences for the next thirty-plus years.

From The Author:

First time author, other than some short stories, wanna be novelist Jennie Trudor lives dually in Loxly and Gulf Shores, Alabama. She and her husband, a retired Los Angeles Police Officer, have four children who were born in Los Angeles and now reside across the United States.

BY KLECKO by Klecko

Hitman-Baker-Casketmaker: Aftermath of an American's Clash with ICE spotlights loss, change and resurrection. In this book, master bread baker and poet Klecko reveals the circumstances behind the 2018 demise of St. Agnes Baking Company. The bakery, a fixture in St. Paul, Minnesota for decades, was scheduled to be a primary vendor for the Super Bowl. In this compelling book of poems, Klecko writes not of financial loss, but of the emotional fall-out of disbanding the bakery's loyal and talented crew, most of whom are Mexican immigrants. Hitman-Baker-Casketmaker also focuses on the relationships Klecko developed as a young man with people who were connected to the underworld and on the life-changing decisions he was forced to make at a young age - decisions which have had far-reaching implications. Additionally, Klecko writes eloquently about art, family, and his storied career as a baker. These poems are the reflections of a man who has lived an extraordinary life.

From The Author:

The shuttering of St. Agnes Baking Company, a place where Klecko, the CEO, had worked for more than 20 years, provoked a time of introspection, and reaction. The year 2020 will mark Klecko's 40th year as a working baker, and for so many of those years, minding an oven overnight provided an opportunity for Klecko to spend time writing. So in the months following the bakery's closing, Klecko worked on this book as he became determined to "fight ICE with poetry," as he says. As Klecko explains in a November interview with The Washington Post, "In my industry, we have a saying that 'evil won't beat evil,' but sometimes grace does." HitmanBaker-Casketmaker is a reflection of what happens when that perspective is put into action, and shared with the world. 87


2 0 1 9 TO P N O TA B L E I N D I E S N O TA B L E # 3 3

N O TA B L E # 3 4

JANIE & BLANCHE: HOW TO MOVE PAST

JANUARY

YOUR ORIGINS AND NOT KILL YOUR

by M.L. Hamilton

MOTHER IN THE PROCESS

Madelyn Yates dreamed of opening her own inn, but as the middle daughter, she found herself trying to hold everything together for her family after her father died, even giving up the idea of going to college. When her oldest sister dies of breast cancer in her thirties, leaving behind a husband and two young children, Madelyn’s life is thrown into turmoil, but as always she ignores her own goals to care for her family.

by Lucy Beam

Janie is a small-town southern girl who deeply wants more out of life than working for a man who lives to humiliate his employees. Her mama prefers that Janie stay cooped up in the small southern town and appreciate everything Blanche (mama) ever did for her. Janie must choose between her uneducated mama and beautiful (but dumb) friend, Mercy, or Janie's pursuit of an education. Blanche and Mercy exist in a mind-numbing sameness day after day. Choosing to stay with the ones she loves or leave them behind as she seeks more for herself is precarious and lonely.

From The Author:

Lucy is one of five children - smack in the middle. She grew up in the country of North Carolina, married at 17, dropped out of high school, got married, had two wonderful boys, had thyroid cancer, got divorced, and moved - in the space of 5 years. She later worked at various jobs, married again to an amazingly supportive man, had one more son (wow -what she would have missed without him), became a business owner together with her husband, which they still own. (Big breath) She returned to college at the age of 47, majored in history (with a focus on the Holocaust), taught History at the community college level for one year and got booted because THE THESIS wasn't completed. Now done, she believes if she can write that, she can write anything. She DEEPLY appreciates your interest in her writing.

88

DECEMBER / JANUARY 2020

Fearing for her youngest sister’s health, she sees the future extending before her where she’s caught in a never ending struggle between what she wants and what everyone else needs. However, a gift from Meredith changes that and Madelyn finds herself thinking she just might heed her dying sister’s wish to “live the dream.”

From The Author:

As 2018 ended, I had this idea to write a short novella once a month about women con-nected through tragedy that face their own life-altering crises. I wasn’t sure I could write one book a month, but after completing this series, I’m delighted to say I did. I’ll never do it again, but what’s a challenge without some blood, sweat and tears? January is the first novella about Madelyn Yates, who is coping with the death of her sister. Meredith dies of breast cancer, and I conceived of Madelyn’s story because so many have lost family members to that disease. Unfortunately cancer is the one disease that has impacted everyone on the planet. I hope through Madelyn’s story people realize there is life after loss and dreams can be ful-filled.


2 0 1 9 TO P N O TA B L E I N D I E S N O TA B L E # 3 5

N O TA B L E # 3 6

JUST LIKE THAT: POEMS, PAINTINGS, AND

KAURLIN'S DISCIPLES

PRACTICES

by Michael J. Decicco

by Gisela Stromeyer

Propelled by another failed attempt at confronting her badgering, domineering father, Madelyn Judson runs from her parents' lakeside cottage in tears. It is the turbulent summer of 1969, and Madelyn, a seventeen-year-old high school senior, is indecisive about her future and incapable of standing up to her demanding and demeaning father. That is until she stops to catch her breath and meets young dynamic high school English teacher, Mark Kaurlin. She struggles to resist the unrequited 'crush' she develops on him and to reach a stronger belief in herself as she becomes one of the Kaurlin's student 'disciples'. Kaurlin's own struggle becomes his battle against the school administrators, led by Madelyn's own father, the mayor, who are bent on firing him because of his rebellious ways.

Just Like That is a gift to the soul, a key to the fickle path of light as it makes its way through the cracks of human journey towards love. The book is honest to a fault, so it wakes you up like a fresh brewed cup of coffee, shakes you, like an earth tremor, cracks you open, and rebuilds the pieces with love glue, compassion composite, it makes love to you like the most delicious lover. Most importantly it shines bright light on the dark crevasse of our being. These words are the ginger and mint in your tea, they are fresh, tasty, and quench your thirst; to understanding what makes our human journey so profound.

From The Author:

Gisela Stromeyer is an internationally well-known artist. She has been trained as a dancer, architect, healer, and teacher. She completed and taught at Barbara Brennan School of Healing, completed the School of Enlightenment and Healing and the School of Intentional Living and studied Continuum Movement with Emily Conrad since 1995. She loves moving expression of her inner world and making the unseen world visible. She is a Kundalini Yoga teacher and studied the power of sound with Don Campbell and many other sound healing methods. For the last 25 years she has explored different modalities of healing that include shiatsu, channeling, trance states, shamanism in the form of vision quests, the Bon Religion of Tibet, Singalese Shamans in Sri Lanka, the Shipibo Indians in Peru and the Path of Pollen, a Mystery School based in England. She is making her own herbal remedies and likes to communicate with the elements, animals and plants-and, yes, with humans too-to create a sacred and blessed world.

From The Author:

Author Michael J. DeCicco said the title character Mark Kaurlin is a fictionalization of the teacher that inspired him when he was a budding writer and high school student in the late 1960s. The words of wisdom that Kaurlin gives his students will inspire readers of any age, but especially today's teenagers. Michael J. DeCicco's credentials include wining a "Shelf Unbound" Best Indie Book Runner-Up Award in 2016 for his coming-of-age Young Adult novel "The Kid Mobster". He's served as a reader of Young Adult Books for "The Boston Globe" and has worked over 30 years as a freelance writer and news correspondent in Southern New England. He lives with his wife Cynthia in New Bedford. He earned his BA in Creative Writing at Roger Williams University, Bristol, RI in 1977.

89


C ATA L OG

SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION

KILLING PAT GARRETT, THE

WILD WEST’S MOST FAMOUS LAWMAN – MURDER OR SELF-DEFENSE? BY DAVID G. THOMAS

Pat Garrett, the Wild West's most famous lawman the man who killed Billy the Kid - was killed himself February 29, 1908. Who killed him? Was it murder? Was it self-defense? No Garrett biographer has been able to answer these questions. All have expressed opinions. None have presented evidence that would stand up in a court of law. Here, for the first time is the definitive answer to the Wild West's most famous unsolved killing. Supplementing the text are 102 images, including six of Garrett and his family which have never been published before. The author was able to uncover an enormous amount of new information concerning Garrett's killing, the events surrounding it, and the personal life of the man who was placed on trial for killing Garrett. Where to Buy: Amazon | B&N ABOUT THE AUTHOR David G. Thomas is an author, historian, filmmaker, producer, actor, screenwriter and travel writer. He is the Associate Producer of the 2019 documentary film "The Wonder of the Century," based on the author’s book on Giovanni Maria de Agostini, an Eighteenth Century world traveler. David is also the co-founder of the Pat Garrett Western Heritage Festival and the Friends of Pat Garrett. He won the 2015 Pasajero Del Camino Real Award for Vols. 1 and 2 of the Mesilla Valley History Series “in which the life and times of La Posta and Giovanni Maria de Agostini emerge in rich detail.” He also won the 2017 Pasajero Del Camino Real Award for "Screen With A Voice," “A significant, comprehensive account bringing 110 years of theater to life.” 90

DECEMBER / JANUARY 2020


2 0 1 9 TO P N O TA B L E I N D I E S N O TA B L E # 3 7

It’s Never Too Anything Where God is Concerned

“A riveting must-read for those who need a divinely-inspired dose of trust, hope and patience … and need it right now!”

N O TA B L E # 3 8

Florence Littauer Author of Personality Plus and Silver Boxes

Trusting God and sharing Jesus with aging parents can be difficult. As Trish Porter Topmiller watched her father’s casket be lowered into the ground, she knew the complicated jigsaw puzzle of his life finally held the missing piece—Jesus. But for years his life seemed as far away from grace, and a believing faith in God, as a person can be. A multimillionaire entrepreneur who believed his financial fortress (and business acumen) was invincible, he turned into a workaholic adrenal junkie—and ultimate opioid statistic who had given up on life. Even then, grace found him. King Here is the eye-opening true story of God’s unfolding plan to bring a rich man through the “eye of the needle”. For the ones who seem:

Too old - Too rich - Too addicted Too hardened by life’s “slings and arrows” Too cynical - Too anything King Here offers hope that no matter how old, how rich or how addicted someone is, it’s never too late to meet Jesus. In this moving tribute to her father, Trish encourages readers to never give up on loved ones who seem “too far gone” for God to reach. “Topmiller kept me engaged and had me wanting to know more. To me, this life story inspires with a hope that it’s never too late for anyone… but the time to connect with people is now. King Here’s message is as compelling as I’ve heard and lends thought to the question of all questions: what is the meaning of life?” TRENT DIMAS, Esq.; Olympic Champion, XV Olympiad, Gymnastics

RELIGION / Christian Life / Inspirational

102 min.

KILLING PAT GARRETT, THE WILD WEST'S MOST FAMOUS LAWMAN - MURDER OR SELFDEFENSE? by David G. Thomas

Pat Garrett, the Wild West's most famous lawman - the man who killed Billy the Kid - was killed himself February 29, 1908. Who killed him? Was it murder? Was it self-defense? No Garrett biographer has been able to answer these questions. All have expressed opinions. None have presented evidence that would stand up in a court of law. Here, for the first time is the definitive answer to the Wild West's most famous unsolved killing. Supplementing the text are 102 images, including six of Garrett and his family which have never been published before. The author was able to uncover an enormous amount of new information concerning Garrett's killing, the events surrounding it, and the personal life of the man who was placed on trial for killing Garrett.

From The Author:

Pat Garrett was killed a few miles from where I live. About 18 years ago I was invited to join a secret society devoted to protecting and preserving the location where Garrett was killed. The site was marked shortly after Garrett's death in 1908 with a small stone with a cross carved in it. In the early 1960s a cement monument was put around the stone to hold it in place. About 12 years ago it looked like the monument site was going to be built on by a real estate developer, so the society decided to go public. We formed the Friends of Pat Garrett (friendsofpatgarrett.com) and made the site public on the internet. Being invited to join the society is what started my passion for Garrett. I write about the monument in my book, "Killing Pat Garrett, the Wild West's Most Famous Lawman - Murder or Self-Defense?"

USD $14.99

KING HERE NEVER TOO OLD, TOO RICH OR TOO ANYTHING TO MEET JESUS by Trish Porter Topmiller

Trusting God and sharing Jesus with aging parents can be difficult. Trish Porter Topmiller’s Dad was a multimillionaire entrepreneur who believed his financial fortress (and business acumen) was invincible. He turned into a workaholic, adrenal junkie—and ultimate opioid statistic who had given up on life. Even then, grace found him. King Here is the eye-opening true story of God’s unfolding plan to bring a rich man through the “eye of the needle”. King Here offers hope that no matter how old, rich, addicted or anything someone is, it’s never too late to meet Jesus. In this moving tribute to her father, Trish encourages readers to never give up on loved ones who seem “too far gone” for God to reach.

From The Author:

I did not set out to write a book. I was preparing to talk at my Dad’s funeral and I looked at his life; the outrageous adventures, his business success, all the tragedies, and then the miracles. I realized his life was like an amazing puzzle and only God knew the puzzle box top. That’s when the outline came to me. He affected so many people and generations. Once home, I was com-pelled to continue writing and it began to take shape and grow. At times the emotions were overwhelming as I penned both my Dad’s stories and mine. I loved seeing God really can work things for His good. A friend in the publishing business said I needed to share my story with people beyond my family.

91


2 0 1 9 TO P N O TA B L E I N D I E S N O TA B L E # 3 9

LATE SHOW

N O TA B L E # 4 0

LET ME KNOW WHEN YOU'RE FAMOUS,

by L Z Smith

CHRIS!

It seemed Norte del Sur would be swept away like the shifting sands of the South-Western Arizona desert, burying the once legendary border town forever. Only old Sid still believes the once thriving tourist destination will come back to life while the other old folks simple wait for the inevitable end, burying their lives in the black and white images of Hollywood westerns on the old TV set in the Pass Time Restaurant and Tourist lodging. But Waco has another idea. After he accidentally kills his grandmother’s cow; the only live stock they owned that made it worthwhile calling their small spread a ranch, the handsome young Waco finds his grandmother dead. It was not unexpected. After all, she was nearly a hundred. Waco, grandson of the legendary Sheriff Lemuel Merkens, hatches a plan to bring the town back to life. And what better way to grab the headlines than a resurgence of the Wild West with its bold highwaymen and wild Indians. With his Grandfather’s old six shooter Waco sets to his task, soon joined by Joe, the Indian boy from the reservation, and Sarah, the only other resident of Norte del Sur under sixty-five years old. Each has their own motivation: Waco to bring prosperity back to the town his grandfather made famous; Joe, to wreck revenge on the “white man”, and Sarah, whose feelings for Waco are becoming more than sisterly. They are joined by the boy Jesus, who lives across the border with his older sister, Maria, in the small Mexican border town, also called Norte del Sur, and known only because the famous Pancho Villa once stopped at Mama Lo’s Cantina. As the fame of Norte del Sur grows with every more daring holdup, the law begins closing in on the youthful gang.

by Chris Clark

92

DECEMBER / JANUARY 2020

Clearly, this is the story of me. A lifetime of adventures through Cardiff, Nottingham, France, Africa and the Middle East. But my memories may evoke yours. Rapidly flipped cameos, shifts to the immediacy of the present tense and a poetic prism hopefully produce a moving image of all our lives. … pointless pebbles, piling them up just to throw more pointless pebbles at them… when she played cello both our thighs groaned… nostalgia was a lame actor always fluffing his lines after months of rehearsals… I sense all the feelings she once reserved for me… Haven't we all been there? Metaphorically, it's not just about me; it's about all of us.

From The Author:

It was very late in the process before I decided to do an autobiography. It's not as if I'm a household name whose every pavement trip adoring fans are dying to read about. (The title is whimsical). There were no secret diaries. At first it was just a desire to collate all the scribblings I had tucked away here, there and everywhere, a retirement urge to get my papers in order. But as I wrote, I recalled how many people had told me I should. It became an owning-up to whatever literary talent I might or might not possess. Honesty was paramount; putting it out must not lead to putting it on. Most memoirs are thinly veiled egotism. Prune hard, I thought - for better apples! Months of work went up the spout when I forgot to keep a DOC copy. Every word is meticulously chosen and proof-read, every photo text-wrapped, every page just so. It was timeconsuming, but very therapeutic.


2 0 1 9 TO P N O TA B L E I N D I E S N O TA B L E # 4 1

LIAM'S TOWN

N O TA B L E # 4 2

LIGHT IN THE MOURNING. MEMOIRS OF AN

by Marissa Dike

UNDERTAKER'S DAUGHTER

Liam lives in a town where nothing ever changes. Every day he wakes up, goes to work in his Grandfather’s shop, and spends time with his friends: fiery Trinity, loud-mouthed Fender, and lovable Jenny. But one day, a terrible storm hits his town, bringing a stranger along with it who threatens everything - and everyone - that Liam has grown to love. Slowly, and much to his horror, Liam realizes that his town and the people inside of it are not everything that they seem to be on the surface, and he is eventually faced with a choice: does he want to remain in blissful ignorance, or does he want to learn about the terrible secrets hiding in his town?

by Margo Lenmark

From The Author:

From The Author:

Marissa Dike is a classical musician, composer, teacher, a Lord of the Rings nerd, and dog lover. She lives in Cincinnati, Ohio, in a house built in 1890 with her husband, Jacob, and a ghost named Randy.

Death speaks to me. Being the daughter of an Undertaker and growing up around a funeral home has given me quite a perspective on death. Many people who have died gave me very clear messages about life, unusual gifts of insight and cognition, as their departing gift to me. Isn’t that exactly what we want?? To know what is important in life and how to live our life on this earth? Every message I received is completely different, and each changed how I live my life. This book is my account of how these messages were revealed and the indescribable gift that was given. They are important instructions for living from those who have died. By revealing what’s beyond the veil, they show the interwoven beauty between life and death. This book took 12 years to write. To express the exhilaration of meeting someone on the astral plane after they’ve died and to experience their physical presence even though they are not in the physical anymore is very difficult to explain in words. To express the unfathomable experience of the loss a loved one, and to recall every detail of receiving the messages that I received from these beloveds after they passed, is very difficult to express in words. To add to the difficulty is the fact that I am not trained in creative writing. I majored in journalism who, what, where, when and why. To write this type of description was not easy for me. So I just wrote as if I was talking to you. Because I am!

93


C ATA L OG

SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION

Light in the Mourning: Memoirs of an Undertaker's Daughter BY MARGO LENMARK

“Death speaks to me” says the author and man, does it! Margo’s father was a funeral director which gave her an amazing perspective on death…and therefore life. The stories she has to tell about the messages the departed gave her is the most alluring and compelling read. Many deceased loved ones gave her clear messages about life, unusual gifts of insight and cognition as their departing gift to her. Isn’t that exactly what we want? For loved ones to come back and tell us what is important in life? Every message is completely different, and each changed how she lives her life. They are important instructions for the living from those who have died. This book is her account of how these messages were revealed and the indescribable gift that was given. The author takes us beyond the thin veil that separates this world from the next and shows the interwoven beauty between life and death. Where to Buy: Amazon | B&N ABOUT THE AUTHOR

This is Margo’s first book. It took her 12 years to write, but it was worth the wait. It’s a fascinating read with glowing reviews from best-selling authors Deepak Chopra and Marci Shimoff. She has a BS in journalism from the University of Wisconsin - Oshkosh and has been a motivational speaker since high school. Traveling far from her midwestern roots, she now lectures on how death speaks to her through the voices of the dearly departed.

94

DECEMBER / JANUARY 2020


2 0 1 9 TO P N O TA B L E I N D I E S N O TA B L E # 4 3 Living Waters

FICTION

$16.95

“I enjoyed the emotional ride of Living Waters. It was wonderful to have alternating chapters of April’s life and Andrea’s life. Ms. Hirshfeld-Flores has had years of experience as a therapist and exposes her characters very skillfully. By the end of the book I felt like I had become friends with the two main characters. A must read!” —Jeane Slone, author of historical fiction Alissa is a psychotherapist, former hospice bereavement coordinator, certified spiritual director, freelance blogger, artist, and mother. She was a consultant on the movie “Up.” She is the author of This Whole Wide World is Just a Narrow Bridge, a memoir about grief and loss. She lives in Sonoma county with her husband and daughter, where she enjoys the natural beauty of Northern California as well as hot springs, when she chances upon them.  

Living

N O TA B L E # 4 4

Waters From Harvard Halls to Sacred Falls

ALISSA HIRSHFELD-FLORES

"I fell in love with the people and the place in Alissa HirshfeldFlores' Living Waters, as the two women wrestled with very different passages into the next stages of their lives. This book is a beautiful affirmation that growth comes from unexpected places." —Rabbi Anne Brener, LCSW, author of Mourning and Mitzvah

Living Waters

When April is suspended from college at Harvard University, she moves to a Northern California commune to contemplate her next step. But when she becomes friends with Andrea, a middle-aged psychotherapist who's just received a cancer diagnosis, the direction of her life takes an unexpected turn. Interweaving themes of soul-searching, sexual awakening, family, friendship, loss, and faith, this book will make you laugh and cry in turn. It's been described by readers as cathartic and healing.

ALISSA HIRSHFELD-FLORES

ppp

LIPS OF AN ANGEL

LIVING WATERS FROM HARVARD HALLS TO

by Adam Alexander

SACRED FALLS

Riley saves lives every day. Ethan mourns his brother’s murder and seeks justice. Neither of them plans to fall in love, but when they do, it’s as if their love is their destiny. But Riley’s fascination with angels leads her to discover that the angel watching over her can reveal the future, and in an instant, everything changes. Unless Riley can breach the chasm between this life and the next, her longing to see the future will be her downfall. Riley finds herself in a desperate race against time to save the only man she will ever love. Can she change her destiny?

by Alissa Hirshfeld-Flores

Lips of an Angel takes you on a riveting emotional journey that is as moving as it is nail biting.

From The Author:

I almost abandoned this book midway through believing it wasn’t going to be a great story, but after a total rewrite of the opening scenes and reinventing some characters, the story came to life. I usually combine two elements in my stories – a theme, and a what if. My wife told me about a near-death experience she’d had, which prompted me to write about angels and the afterlife. The what if came one night when I thought about the future, and asked the question, “what if you knew when and how you were going to die – would you try to change anything?” This was a challenging book to write because I had to dig deep into the characters, to touch the emotions of the audience.

“Living Waters: From Harvard Halls to Sacred Falls” features two strong women characters and their intersecting stories. The younger woman, April, is suspended from Harvard University for plagiarizing, having not yet found her own voice. She moves to a Northern California commune to contemplate her beliefs, relationships, and goals for her life. There, she crosses paths with Andrea, a middle-aged psychotherapist, who's just received a cancer diagnosis. Andrea is coping with issues of illness, mortality, and forgiveness in her own life. The story interweaves themes of soul-searching, sexual awakening, family, friendship, loss, and faith. It will make you laugh and cry, in turn. It's been described by readers as cathartic and healing.

From The Author:

The idea for this book occurred to me when I was in my mid-20’s and living in a new age community, very much like the setting of the book. I had already graduated from Harvard; but I had left a PhD program and was sorting out my next steps in life. Having worked for 12 years at hospice, I wanted to include ideas about loss, grief and beliefs about life after death that I’d contemplated in my work. I also wanted to write about a search for an authentic faith--and my own experience of making the Judaism I was raised with personally meaningful. Because at the time of its writing I had a young daughter and was working fulltime, I wrote and edited this story over a period of 5 years, in fits and starts. I applauded working mothers who can find time to write!

95


2 0 1 9 TO P N O TA B L E I N D I E S N O TA B L E # 4 5

N O TA B L E # 4 6

MARTHA

MARY MONSTER

by Maggie St. Claire

by Matt Ingwalson

Martha is desperate to maintain her image as a cultured middle-class retiree. So desperate that she pilfers--small items at first, but her overwhelming need to protect her covert lifestyle escalates when she steals the emerald ring belonging to a friend and justifies her actions by believing life “owes” her.

Manchester, 1976. A small boy finds a body in an alley behind a legendary music hall. Forty-one years later, he hears reports of another murder, the victim covered in the same ritualistic markings. Is it the work of a cult? A coincidence? Or is Otis Oliver's memory playing tricks on him? His investigation will lead him away from his comfortable life into a devilish world ruled by a woman he will come to know as Mary.

Martha’s choices transport her into the world of illegal opiates, drug cartels, and a police investigation. Her life becomes a teetering tower of self-delusion, misjudgment, fear, and loss. One reader wrote, “The entire scenario is frightening. What choices would any of us make to survive?” Throughout, Martha has opportunities to avert disaster, connect with others and even find love, but will she? Can she? Or will she walk out of the story to invent a new self?

From The Author:

As I approached my 75th birthday in 2017, and after nearly 45 years as a journalist, I realized that despite a couple of children’s picture books, I had never attempted fiction. So, Martha, who had been bouncing around in my head for years became reality. She took over my life for 18 months and as much as I wanted her to be more likable and honest with herself, each time she came to a crossroads, she again made and justified a bad and/or dangerous decision. She was too damaged by feelings of desertion to change her core being. While the book is fiction, it mirrors the circumstances of many elderly single women. Few would take the extreme actions Martha did, but their futures are uncertain and often frightening. 96

DECEMBER / JANUARY 2020

From The Author:

I’ve published three series of genre thrillers. But Mary Monster is a book I wrote for myself. Its theme is memory, and the way our personal and cultural histories overwrite each other. Mary Monster is a self-conscious mashup of Gothic horror and noir mystery, with obscure references to Romantic poetry and New Wave music. It features cameos from real musicians, painters and poets. It's written in an artificial combination of Mancunian, Manhattan and Elizabethan slang. And while it has protagonists and antagonists, there are no heroes. Moralizing is pretty much left up to the reader. Halfway through, it’s revealed that Mary is the zombie reincarnation of Mary. That’s a turn of the screw I tried to hide at first. But most of the online reviews online give it away. Nonetheless, Mary Monster hasn’t sold very well. I suspected that would be the case. And I try to be OK with it. But I can’t help but hope it finds an audience.


2 0 1 9 TO P N O TA B L E I N D I E S N O TA B L E # 4 7

N O TA B L E # 4 8

MCDOWELL

ME & MOE

by William H. Coles

by Michaela Johnson

McDowell, the novel, portrays soul-searching repentance of a life lived to the fullest without ever fully living. A finalist in the William Faulkner Creative Writing Competition, it is being hailed by critics as a “masterpiece in literary fiction by a top-notch artist” filled with family angst, love, lust, power, and introspection. Coles takes readers on a quest for the meaning to life and we are left believing that the only right answer is not what the author wants us to think, but instead, that which is found inside ourselves.

Alex Swanson planned to be a serious journalist until her stepping-stone-into-the-business talk radio position became a path to nowhere. Now the Suits in charge are offering up her dream job on a platter—if only she’ll help them out with one little project: an endorsement deal for CreateADate’s online dating service. All they’re asking is for her to broadcast her personal life for listeners’ entertainment. Never mind that she lives with her grandparents and hasn’t been on a date since high school prom. Still, Alex finds a way to put her own spin on the assignment and enlists the help of her conspiracy-theorist Grampa and reality-television-loving grandma Moe as she tries to figure out the dating world. Along the way, she must evaluate her objectives in life and love and finally face demons she’d thought long buried.

You will walk away from this read a deeper person.

From The Author:

McDowell is William Coles’s fifth novel; he’s published thirty-nine works of short fiction, and three books on the creative writing process. A student of the literary fictional story, he created the web site StoryInLiteraryFiction.com with essays, interviews with famous authors and editors, a workshop and examples for writers. His anticipated book on writing, The Art of Creating Stories, is in press.

From The Author:

I had the greatest time writing Me & Moe. I really wanted to write a book that pulled in some hilarious stories I’ve heard over the years regarding online dating but also throwback to the old school Audrey Hepburn era. It was a lot of fun tying in the few years I had working for CBS radio and telling a story that is sarcastic and witty with an emotional twist. The best part was diving into the minds of Alex’s grandma and grandpa, this book really plays out like a RomCom.

97


2 0 1 9 TO P N O TA B L E I N D I E S N O TA B L E # 4 9

N O TA B L E # 5 0

MOTHER LOVE, WILLOW LANE, BOOK 2

MRS. ROSSIS DREAM

by Ann McCauley

by Khanh Ha

By age 52, Barbara Malone had endured a bad marriage, raised four children and then lost her husband to a sudden heart attack. She shocks her family, friends and neighbors on Willow lane with her decision to join the Peace Corps. This sets in motion an intense story of family ties that are threatened by distance, doubt and antagonism. It is a parallel story of her family back home in Lewiston, Pa. and her new unpredictable one in Central America.

Arriving in the Mekong Delta, Mrs. Rossi wants to find the remains of her son Nicola, a lieutenant during the Vietnam War who went missing after a deadly firefight in 1967.

Honduras proves to be a challenging adventure as she balances drug-running rebels, corrupt military officers and the peace-loving villagers caught in the middle. Her life in the mountain village, where phone service is sporadic and electricity a rare luxury, proves to be exciting, though exhausting. Barbara grows to love her work with the Hondurans and a dash of romance helps her feel more alive than she has felt in years. But after a short visit stateside, she realizes Willow Lane no longer feels like home and wonders where she really belongs.

From The Author:

I enjoyed writing Mother Love, the characters became almost real to me.

Mrs. Rossi’s Dream tells the stories of two men in parallel: Giang, the thirty-nine-year-old war veteran, and Nicola Rossi, a deceased lieutenant in the United States Army—the voice of a spirit. From the haunting ugliness of the Vietnam War, the stories of these two men shout, cry, and whisper to us the voices of love and loneliness, barbarity and longing, lived and felt by a multitude of people from all walks of life.

From The Author:

It’s a story that needs to be told and we, the public, ought to know about regardless of what side we’re on, philosophically or politically. I didn’t want to write it so it be-came another “Paco’s Story” or “The Things We Carried.” I have read novels written by American authors as well as Vietnamese authors about the war, and though the books they wrote are informative—and good—I never feel that they are adequately addressed about the psyches that I want to know and feel. Perhaps as a journalism ma-jor I always desire to hear both sides of a story. So the novel I set out to write did just that. A story about a mother’s love for her son and the lengths that she will go to find him. But, above all, it is compassion and moral principles at the heart of the story when one human being has retrieved his soul from the chaos of the past.

98

DECEMBER / JANUARY 2020


2 0 1 9 TO P N O TA B L E I N D I E S N O TA B L E # 5 1

N O TA B L E # 5 2

NO-ACCOUNTS

OH SUSANNAH THINGS THAT GO BUMP

by Tom Glenn

by Carole P. Roman

No-Accounts is a story of two men who learn from one another how to accept loss, including, in the end, life itself. The story is set in Washington, D.C., in the mid-1980s: Peter, a gay dancer dying of AIDS, thirsts for forgiveness for causing the death of a young man with whom he had sex. Martin, a straight college professor, grieves over the loss of his favorite student, killed by AIDS. He volunteers to act as a buddy to an AIDS patient and is assigned Peter. When they discover that Peter infected Martin’s student, both are forced to rethink their life views.

Susannah is an eight-year-old girl and an avid observer of life. Her curious nature questions all sorts of things that others take for granted. She is brave with a bright mind that is able to work out challenges faced every day. Oh Susannah Things that Go Bump acknowledges fears and how they affect us. The story is filled with various scenarios where characters are confronted with things that scare them and Susannah observes and learns assorted coping mechanisms. It begins when Susannah is invited to her best friend's house but struggles with the notion it may be haunted. She loves her friend and doesn't want to disappoint her. All day, she sees other people wrestle with different fears and learns that sometimes you have to face it to overcome it.

From The Author:

I suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Injury, a consequence of my years in combat in Vietnam. I found that when I devoted myself to caring for people in need, my unbearable memories faded into the background. I worked with the homeless, dying people in a hospice, and, for five years, men dying of AIDS. I had seven AIDS patients. They all died. The experience moved me so deeply that I had to write to cope with my feelings. As a result, No-Accounts is fiction in name only. Everything in the book really happened.

From The Author:

Oh Susannah- It's in the Bag, is a nod to today's busy lives. I wrote it with one mother in mind that was struggling with the many hats she was wearing. I wanted to show how our crazy schedules affect kids. Sometimes we just accept too much and our expectations are unrealistic. I fell in love with the family in the book, so the second book was written the next day. Oh Susannah Things that Go Bump acknowledges fears and how they affect us. It was important for me to explain to the reader that everyone has fears. The story is filled with various scenarios where characters are confronted with things that scare them and Sussanah learns assorted coping mechanisms. I followed with a beautiful coloring book by Mateya Arkova.

99


C ATA L OG

SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION

OH SUSANNAH: THINGS THAT GO BUMP: AN OH SUSANNAH STORY

BY CAROLE P. ROMAN

Susannah Maya Logan is not having a good day. She doesn't want to go to her best friend, Lola's sleepover. Susannah thinks the house is big and spooky, not to mention the ghost that is said to live there. Lola's big brother, Kai, loves to tease Susannah with scary stories. Throughout her day, she sees people deal with things that scare them. Her sight-impaired friend, Macy, is terrified of unicorns, of all things. She sees a boy at a party who's frightened of clowns. Her teacher is afraid of getting a cold. Susannah realizes everybody is scared of something. She wishes she was more like Lola, who is not afraid of anything, or so it seems. Susannah discovers people have different ideas of what is scary and what is not, and only they can determine the difference. Join Susannah as she learns to confront her fears and not let her imagination prevent her from having fun.

Where to Buy: Amazon | B&N | IndeBound

ABOUT THE AUTHOR Carole P. Roman is the award-winning author of over fifty children's books. Whether it's pirates, princesses, or discovering the world around us, her books have enchanted educators, parents, and her diverse audience of children. She hosts a blog radio program called Indie Authors Roundtable and is one of the founders of the magazine, Indie Author's Monthly. She's been interviewed twice by Forbes Magazine. Carole has co-authored two self-help books. Navigating Indieworld: A Beginners Guide to Self-Publishing and Marketing with Julie A. Gerber, and Marketing Indieworld with both Julie A. Gerber and Angela Hausman. She published Mindfulness for Kids with J. Robin Albertson-Wren and a new joke book called The Big Book of Silly Jokes for Kids: 800+ Jokes! She writes adult fiction under the name Brit Lunden and is currently helping to create an anthology with her mythical town of Bulwark, Georgia with a group of indie authors. She lives on Long Island near her children and grandchildren. 100

DECEMBER / JANUARY 2020


2 0 1 9 TO P N O TA B L E I N D I E S N O TA B L E # 5 3

OUTLANDER CHRONICLES PEGASUS

N O TA B L E # 5 4

PEACE IN THE VALLEY A QUEST FOR

by C. H. Cobb

REDEMPTION IN THE OLD WEST

Pegasus is set in the future in a devastated world eighty years after a smallpox pandemic wipes out the global population. Led by Jacen Chester, the tiny Phoenix community is migrating west, hoping to replant civilization and seeking safety from the brutal Anarchs. After crossing the Mississippi they are racing the calendar to set up winter quarters before the fierce Iowa winter strikes. The Anarch threat is thought to have been eliminated, but it’s an assumption that proves unwarranted.

by John Eric Vining with Raymond Refoen

Phoenix receives several new members, personalities whose past histories and current problems create new challenges. Internal conflict threatens to unravel the fellowship. The Phoenix community must survive another eight hundred miles of dangerous travel—and each other—if they they are to reach their Colorado destination.

From The Author:

Writing Pegasus was a great experience: my wife and I drove portions of the route Phoenix took as it traveled. I wanted to absorb the ambiance and beauty of the terrain so I could paint it in words. I’ve been inside some of the buildings they camped in. Researching how materials and items would age during eighty years of neglect was fascinating. The reader and the author share the joy of discovery. For the reader it happens as they turn the page. For me it happens as the story unfolds on my keyboard—I don’t know what’s going to happen next, until it does! My characters provide another joy: experiencing the exuberance of their victories and the pain of their grief. It makes me look forward to continuing their saga!

In the Civil War, Mark Gamble is among the greatest Confederate sharpshooters. He fears that his soul is lost forever, as a lust for killing takes over his entire being. Mark is severely wounded at the Battle of Lookout Mountain on November 24, 1863. He is nursed back to health by Ruth Taylor, a devout Quaker nurse/volunteer at the hospital. Falling in love, Mark eventually wins her hand in marriage. The war ends, and Mark & Ruth settle into what would seem to be a “happily-ever-after” life of farming in the lush valleys of the Appalachian Moun-tains. But Ruth feels a call in her life to serve as a missionary to the Sioux in Western Nebraska. Mark agrees to accompany her, and the couple moves West to answer Ruth’s calling.

From The Author:

My brother, Bob, who went by the pen name “Raymond Refoen,” passed away at the age of 59 on October 17, 2006. Among other things, he left behind a box full of this-andthat. When sifting through the box, I found about ten short stories, a draft of a book manuscript, and a few pages which started a second manuscript. I read the manuscript draft entitled “Peace in the Valley.” Wow! It was rough and somewhat crude, but it was really good! Perhaps I could smooth and hone it, and make it acceptable to a mass market. Out of a substantial rewrite came “Peace in the Valley: A Quest for Redemption in the Old West.” I think the manuscript told an outstanding story; but then again, maybe I’m a little biased!

101


2 0 1 9 TO P N O TA B L E I N D I E S N O TA B L E # 5 5

N O TA B L E # 5 6

PERSIANALITY

READY FOR THE PEOPLE

by Michael Benzehabe

by Mike Langan

Public flirtation is a crime in Iran, with predictable consequences. Jamileh Delkash has a teen crush, and she’s only fifteen (almost fifteen). She can only dodge the Basij (Moral Police) for so long, and she’s already floundering in Islamic propriety.

Still reeling from his last case and the carnage it caused for him personally—his law practice and his status as a lawyer in jeopardy—Hank Fisher makes a choice. He’ll investigate white collar crimes, using his law background to navigate the cases. Great idea—he’s always liked the investigation of the case more than the prosecution which is why his old law partner Mac gave him the nickname, Sherlock. His new venture includes teaming with a former cop—Roger Lynch—who left the force due to his sometimes overly aggressive style of policing. Unfortunately, due to Hank’s damaged reputation they have been limited to serving warrants and subpoenas on members of the community who usually don’t appreciate that aspect of the legal system. Not only does the job involve personal danger—it doesn’t pay the bills. That’s why Hank finds himself in line at a FAST Center applying for a business loan to prevent total financial disaster for his team. One thing leads to another and Hank is approached by an old nemesis, an assistant U.S. attorney who has a proposition that Hank literally can’t refuse. His mission is to go undercover to investigate a suspected terrorist and expose his network of militants. Of course, if things go sideways, they will disavow any connection to Hank and his team.

Her budding independence stems from distasteful odious abominable visits to the Monkey Bar, where local teens gamble on monkey bicycle races. Here, she attempts to fan the flames of love with Armand Ducasse, the son of Iran’s Ambassador to France. Being good and being happy proves difficult to reconcile. The ever-watchful Basij and Armand’s call to war, triggers their flight to Paris. But so-called friends, caprice, and Afghan slavers threatens their midnight escapade.

From The Author:

My first novel was published in 2016 as a 90,000-word Thriller titled UNASSIMILATED. It won: Beverly Hills Book Awards—Unassimilated/New Adult Fiction/Winner, Hollywood Book Festival Awards—Unassimilated/ General Fiction/Winner, Florida Authors & Publishers Association—Unassimilated/New Adult Fiction/Silver Medalist, eLit Book Awards—Unassimilated/Literary Fiction/Bronze, INDIE Book Awards—Unassimilated/First Novel/Finalist, New Apple Book Awards—Unassimilated/ Psychological Suspense/Official Selection. Prior to writing fiction, I spent decades in dusty libraries translating Hebrew, counting letters, counting words, analyzing context, prior word use, and the number-value of every letter. Whew! Fiction was a liberation I never dreamed possible. 102

DECEMBER / JANUARY 2020

From The Author:

Mike Langan writes novels that draw on his experience as a former litigator in Washington, D.C., and Syracuse, N.Y. He received his J.D. from George Mason University School of Law, where he was notes editor of the Law Review. Before becoming a lawyer, Mike received his M.F.A. in creative writing from George Mason University, where he was a graduate fellow, and his B.A. in philosophy from Colgate University, from which he graduated cum laude.


2 0 1 9 TO P N O TA B L E I N D I E S N O TA B L E # 5 7

N O TA B L E # 5 8

REMEMBERING SHANGHAI

RENEGADE PAWN

by Claire Chao

by Craig S. Wilson

A high position bestowed by China’s empress dowager grants power and wealth to the Sun family. For Isabel, growing up in glamorous 1930s and ’40s Shanghai, it is a life of utmost privilege. But while her scholar father and fashionable mother shelter her from civil war and Japanese occupation, they cannot shield the family forever. When Mao comes to power, eighteen-year-old Isabel journeys to Hong Kong, not realizing that she will make it her home—and that she will never see her father again. Meanwhile, the family she has left behind struggles to survive, only to have their world shattered by the Cultural Revolution. Isabel returns to Shanghai fifty years later with her daughter, Claire, to confront their family’s past—one they discover is filled with love and betrayal, kidnappers and concubines, glittering pleasure palaces and underworld crime bosses. Lavishly illustrated and meticulously researched, Remembering Shanghai follows five generations from a hardscrabble village to vibrant Shanghai to the bright lights of Hong Kong. By turns harrowing and heartwarming, this vivid memoir explores identity, loss and the unpredictable nature of life against the epic backdrop of China in turmoil.

Lucas Rocha never meant to become a drug dealer. But when he picks the wallet of vacationing DEA Agent Daniel Burke, Lucas becomes a pawn in the battle between Rio's drug cartel and lawmakers' attempts to bring them to justice. The lives of these two strangers quickly become permanently—and dangerously—intertwined when Lucas is asked to infiltrate the cartel and navigate the deathly politics of its powerful drug lords. Hell-bent on beating the odds and escaping alive, Lucas not only survives but begins to rise in the cartel's ranks. Life on the inside is dangerous, but the tradeoff is that he can gain power, protection and money. The temptation is great for one who comes from so little and also has two little sisters he must protect as they have no one else but him.

From The Author:

CLAIRE CHAO, Isabel’s daughter, was born and raised in Hong Kong. Although unaware of it at the time, as a youth she continually sought connections to her parents' Shanghai homeland. She spent a decade creating Remembering Shanghai after thirty years in luxury brand management. While researching her family stories, she uncovered an uncanny link with the grandfather she'd never met.

Nor does Lucas know that his many years as a street kid will now offer him the perfect path to power. Renegade Pawn is Book #1 in the Lucas Rocha Thriller series. Someday Lucas Rocha will find independence as well, but not without a battle! If you love a pageturning, action-adventure novel with mystery, humor, and plenty of romance, pick up Renegade Pawn today! From The Author:

Craig S Wilson is a serial creative, who has written 300 songs, three musicals, and five books. He published Dating for Life in 2013, a book describing the four keys to maintaining successful relationships. He is also the author of Gig, a historical fiction that explores the wonderment of teenage romance during the exploding music scene of the 60's. 103


2 0 1 9 TO P N O TA B L E I N D I E S N O TA B L E # 5 9

N O TA B L E # 6 0

ROSALIND

SAINT ILLUMINATOR'S DAUGHTER

by Judith Deborah

by Michael Ippen

There’s everyone else in the world. And then there is you.

It is late winter, 1950, and Safir Turan is a thirty-two year old woman who works at the Brooklyn Museum and lives a solitary life with only her cat, Mustafa, for company. She receives a telegram from her sister of their father’s death in distant Istanbul. Still grieving, she is suddenly contacted by an American Senator who tells Safir that he was present in Ottoman Turkey during the First World War and that he has knowledge of her parents’ history.

World-class heart surgeon Dr. Peter Sutter runs his life with the instinctive precision of a master of the universe. But when he leaves the operating room, the only living thing waiting for him is a golden retriever. Then a chance encounter with an enigmatic woman changes everything. Rosalind is a sensual, witty, moving story about the joy of real love, the surprise and delight of unexpected passion, and the transcendent power of human connection.

From The Author:

Rosalind is very close to my heart. I wrote it free-fall, without a net, after writing a long, complicated mystery that required cathedral-like design, planning and preparation. Seeing Rosalind take shape in midair was exhilarating, surprising, and deeply pleasurable in a whole new way for me as a writer. The experience changed the way I've written everything since. Rosalind is the story of a love affair: a genuine meeting of minds and temperaments together with intense mutual attraction and sexual compatibility. I was interested in exploring this from the viewpoint of the man – middle-aged, successful, but with no expectation of ever experiencing such love and desire. It was powerful and moving to write Peter’s and Rosalind’s story, both its highs and lows. I’m glad to be able to share it.

Through the senator, Safir discovers a world she never knew; revealing an identity she never imagined possible. Entwined with intrigue and betrayal, hers is a story of faith memory, and belonging despite harsh physical and emotional torment. It is, simply put, a story of survival.

From The Author:

Saint Illuminator’s Daughter began when I learned that my grandfather, an Austrian mining engineer, witnessed first-hand not one, but two, horrific genocides. He traveled to Ottoman Turkey in 1915 and saw Armenians sent to their deaths. After the Anschluss his Jewish ancestry was discovered and he was detained by the Nazis. I wanted to use the arc of his life to tell a story about identity and survival; about the importance of memory. At the same time I have tried to set the novel on an individual, personal scale. In times of colossal upheaval there are so many compelling human stories taking place, they resonate with all of us. The novel takes its name from St. Gregorius of Armenia, known as the Founder of the Armenian Diocese.

104

DECEMBER / JANUARY 2020


2 0 1 9 TO P N O TA B L E I N D I E S N O TA B L E # 6 1

N O TA B L E # 6 2

SATURDAY'S CHILD

SEDUCTION OF A WANTON DREAMER

by Deborah Burns

by Richard Beeson

An only child, Deborah Burns grew up in the shadow of her beautiful, unconventional, rule-breaking mother, Dorothy—a red-haired beauty who looked like Rita Hayworth and skirted norms with style and flair. As a child, Deborah revered her charismatic mother, but Dorothy fervently eschewed motherhood and domesticity, and was a woman full of secrets with a troubled past—a mistress of illusion whose love seemed just out of her daughter’s grasp.

Follow the Wanton Dreamer as he embarks on a mesmerizing journey through the cracks between time and space, where past, present, and future coexist.

In vivid, lyrical prose, Saturday’s Child tells the story of Deborah’s eccentric upbringing and her quest in midlife, long after her parents’ death, to uncover the truth about her mother and their complex relationship. Still caught in a wrenching cycle of love and longing, Deborah must finally confront the reality of her mother’s legacy—and finally claim her own.

From The Author:

As I stared at portraits of maverick women from history, I suddenly knew that I had to write my unconventional mother’s story. The notion struck at a challenging time. Digital was unraveling the media world that had sustained me I would need to transform. But I was stuck, still wrestling with something unresolved years after my mother’s death. It was time to finally reconcile the complex relationship that had shaped me; to tell her story and understand my own. Writing was an emotionally torturous process, but one that was full of serendipitous revelation. My life now looks nothing like the media one that I left behind. It is now a writer’s life, a creative one that finally aligns with what was always pulsing underneath. The book set me free.

This book is a riff on life, love, and death, the dangerous honey traps of sex, and the fuzzy boundary between dreams and reality. Tony Fellows, the narrator, is prompted by a personal crisis to leave New York City for Sag Harbor, hoping to restart a stalled life. Instead he finds himself in unknown territory, enrolled in a multi-step program of new awakenings: first sexual, then psychological, and finally spiritual. His journey ultimately takes him into a parallel universe inhabited by the ghosts of his ancestors and the mythical creatures of the Collective Unconscious.

From The Author:

When I began this book I was the Orchestra Manager for the New York City Opera at Lincoln Center, where I discovered, to paraphrase Tom Clancy, that I was being given the gift of a great database of human behavior. During that time I also began to have highly unusual dreams that were so vivid I felt compelled to log them for future use in the novel. I retired from the opera company in the year 2000 to work on the book in earnest, and finished the first version in 2009. I spent another ten years fine tuning and refining it, and have now come out with this Tenth Anniversary Edition. As I rewrote Seduction of a Wanton Dreamer it rewrote me. I hope readers will have a similar experience. 105


C ATA L OG

SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION

SEDUCTION OF A WANTON DREAMER

BY RICHARD BEESON

The image on the cover is a modern carving of the Mayan goddess Ix Chel. To quote a passage from this book, “She is goddess of the moon, childbirth, death, the endless cycle…The rattlesnakes stand for nobility, reincarnation, and eternity. Nobility, because they are polite: they warn you with their rattles when you get too close. Reincarnation, because they shed their skins and grow new ones; eternity, because birth, death, the shedding of skin, go on for all time. Ix Chel is goddess of the moon, because the cycles of the moon are the cycles of fertility, the cycles that create our crops and our children. She is the goddess of death, because death is the other side of birth. There can be no birth without death.” I purchased the carving in the photograph from the man who carved it, a Mayan guard outside Loltun cave, in Yucatán, in May 1980. He spoke no English, but I managed to carry on a conversation with him using my rudimentary Spanish (with the help of a pocket dictionary) for several hours. Now, almost forty years later, I have come to realize how deeply what he told me informed my subsequent thinking, and that Ix Chel represents the spirit of magic and mystery that I wanted to convey. I have therefore put her on the cover.

Where to Buy: Amazon | B&N | IndeBound ABOUT THE AUTHOR Richard Beeson graduated from the Lakeside School in Seattle (where the young Bill Gates and Paul Allen first encountered computers), before attending Columbia University and the Juilliard School of Music. After graduating from Juilliard he enjoyed a successful career as an orchestral musician at Lincoln Center, performing alongside Beverly Sills, Luciano Pavarotti, and Placido Domingo, among others. In 1987 Beverly Sills appointed him to the position of Orchestra Manager at the New York City Opera. In the year 2000, he left the performing arts so he could return to an earlier passion: writing fiction. Since then he has completed the trilogy Seduction of a Wanton Dreamer (Learning to Dream, Dreaming in the Afterjoint, and Dreams of a Dying Shaman), the thriller Stonewall’s Head, and a play titled Ball of Plutonium. He lives in New York City with his wife, the songwriter Elli Frye. To see his other books, visit his website at www.richardbeeson.com 106

DECEMBER / JANUARY 2020


2 0 1 9 TO P N O TA B L E I N D I E S N O TA B L E # 6 3

SENSITIVE MY JOURNEY THROUGH A TOXIC

N O TA B L E # 6 4

SHACKLED A JOURNEY FROM POLITICAL

WORLD

IMPRISONMENT TO FREEDOM

by Pookie Sekmet

by Adam Siddiq

Sensitive urges caution about the effects of fragrances and other common chemical toxins, and it also tells a moving and layered personal narrative of loss and redemption with clarity and humor. Many ambitious themes and stories are interwoven and resolved: why two advantaged people would deliberately disadvantage their child; finding your way past sexual bias and assault; taking back power and achieving righteous retribution against a corrupt corporate employer; addressing the truth of a misunderstood medical condition in the face of mistreatment and denial from doctors; building a new life after becoming disabled; and accepting what remains after unusual degrees of trauma and bad luck. Interwoven is the author's medical case history which will increase awareness about chemical intolerance, also called Multiple Chemical Sensitivities (MCS).

Khaled Siddiq "Charkhi" is only six years old when he and his entire extended family are imprisoned. Following a grand betrayal, Khaled's father and uncles, the respected right-hand men to the King of Afghanistan, become targets of the new regime. Khaled's father is exiled, his uncles are executed, and their families are locked away in a forgotten corner of Kabul.

From The Author:

I saw myself as a major prophet when I was working on this story. That is how true and important it felt to try to warn others about the effects of toxic products on their health and the health of their loved ones. I hoped that my own suffering, were I skilled enough to render it well, would serve to inspire others to see their environments clearly. Now that some time has passed and the book has been published, I’ve calmed down a bit. I no longer believe that I am a major prophet. I’m either a minor prophet, or I’m only a middle-aged woman with bad hair and a bit of wisdom that I have been lucky and determined enough to articulate fully and then get published!

So begins a decades-long struggle in captivity where Khaled faces the hardship of prison life while enduring tragedies as more of his loved ones are executed and succumb to diseases. Despite the tribulations he experiences, Khaled never gives up hope, choosing to make the most of his time by studying five different languages, advanced literature, and philosophy. Eventually, Khaled and his family are released from prison, but are they truly free? Forbidden from leaving the country, one thing continues to haunt Khaled: a longing to reunite with his father. SHACKLED is a raw, heart-opening story about resilience. It follows the Charkhi family from the 1932 coup to the 1979 Soviet invasion. Amidst national and personal upheaval, Khaled finds his freedom by choosing to lead a life of optimism, kindness, joy, and love. Adam Siddiq is the grandson of Khaled Siddiq. Adam wrote SHACKLED alongside his grandfather, Khaled—a shared journey they hope will inspire others to become more involved in the sacred bond between the youth and their elders. 107


C ATA L OG

SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION

SHADOWS FALLING

BY CARMEN

Elena, a young Jewish orphan, is subjected to cruel and invasive acts of pedophilia as a youth and by her father. One night she invites Ernst a friend and member of the Nazi Jungen Corps into her bedroom. Acting upon her imprinted bizarre lifestyle, she teaches him all of the intimate actions she is now addicted to. Thus, their spirits bind in a manner that will soon transcend into their next lifetime. Elena is sent to the Ravensbruck Concentration Camp for women. Ernst now an SS officer, transfers there where they both meet their demise and are thrust into this present world. Upon meeting, she says. “Yes I know who you are. You’ve come back to me again… and just in time.” Where to Buy: Amazon | B&N

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dr. Somma, a former Law Enforcement Officer of 28 years, investigated, arrested and testified in the trial of pedophiles, and the defense of the very young victims hopelessly entrapped in the abomination of sex trafficking. These mere young innocent girls are offered to the local military population with no hope of escape and often in fear of their lives. While their owners profit greatly from this nefarious form of slave trade. The author choses to remain anonymous in the hope of continuing his work, and hopes “Shadows Falling”, although labelled as fiction, will lend some insight into the horrors these victims endure, and to 108

DECEMBER / JANUARY 2020


2 0 1 9 TO P N O TA B L E I N D I E S N O TA B L E # 6 5

N O TA B L E # 6 6

SHADOWS FALLING

SISTER OF SAIDNAYA

by Carmen

by Rose Ann Kalister

Elena, a young Jewish orphan, is subjected to cruel and invasive acts of pedophilia as a youth and by her father. One night she invites Ernst a friend and member of the Nazi Jungen Corps into her bedroom. Acting upon her imprinted bizarre lifestyle, she teaches him all of the intimate actions she is now addicted to. Thus, their spirits bind in a manner that will soon transcend into their next lifetime.

In 1922, a young Nadra traveled by boat from the small Christian village of Saidnaya, Syria, to the ports of Boston, and on to Hedley, West Virginia. With little education, Nadra navigates an industrialized nation as a young, immigrant woman. She must delicately balance the expectations of her heritage with the temptation of independence in the new world.

Elena is sent to the Ravensbruck Concentration Camp for women. Ernst now an SS officer, transfers there where they both meet their demise and are thrust into this present world.

From The Author:

Upon meeting, she says. “Yes I know who you are. You’ve come back to me again… and just in time.”

From The Author:

Although classified as fiction, this book was based upon the actual events of someone I knew. She had been groomed by her biological father, a Deacon in the Church, from the age of 5 until 17 into the most vile acts of pedophilia as described in my book.

Rose Ann Kalister first began writing short stories then concentrated on playwriting. She was awarded a Playwright Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts for Silk Pongee, a three-act comedy. The comedy was produced by the Ohio University School of Theatre. Sister of Saidnaya: A Syrian Immigrant’s Tale is her debut novel. Rose Ann Kalister lives in Columbus, OH.

The proof was in photos she showed me which he took of her after every sexual encounter. How sad to view such an innocent girl denied the normal maturation into proper adulthood. As a Law officer, I did intervene with her father, who was too old and senile, so to no avail. Fortunately, she has gone through a difficult healing phase, but is now happily married. She is not aware of this book. 109


2 0 1 9 TO P N O TA B L E I N D I E S N O TA B L E # 6 7

N O TA B L E # 6 8

SKIN DEEP

SKINNY HOUSE

by JW Grodt

by Julie L. Seely

Beth Walker is sexy, smart, successful—and she knows it. When she is not working at the prestigious Casper, Wyoming, law firm where she is a partner, Beth and her girlfriend, Jen Blackford, are femme fatales who love preying on men after hours. But when Beth accepts an invitation to a weekend getaway in the mountains with a ruggedly handsome journalism professor, she has no idea that her life is about to be altered forever.

Skinny House-A Memoir of Family is a true story of perseverance in the face of ruin and a glimpse into the past of the inventive, remarkable people who gracefully ‘made it’ despite overwhelming societal and financial hurdles. It is a granddaughter’s story about the grandfather she never met. The author weaves the legacy of Nathan Seely—an ambitious carpenter who establishes a company in 1923 for the purpose of “building homes for colored people” taking part in The Great Migration. Nathan is well on his way to becoming a successful entrepreneur. He has everything a man could want…a beautiful wife, smart children and a custom-built house in the Village of Mamaroneck, along the picturesque Long Island Sound. Nathan’s success is short lived when the Depression of 1929 leaves him bankrupt and threatens to make his family homeless. Desperate to keep his family together, Nathan has to rebuild his life, literally, brick by brick. The skinny house he built still stands in Mamaroneck. The author poses some intriguing questions: What do we really know about the dreams and aspirations of our ancestors? How do the decisions our grandparents and parents made generations ago, influence our lives today?

While on her way to meet the professor at his cabin, Beth’s car slides off an icy mountain road and plunges over a cliff. Although she miraculously survives the crash, she is paralyzed and has lost one leg below the knee. Now faced with self-examination beyond the physical, Beth becomes bitter and suicidal, until a controversial physician/ scientist responds to her email. Desperate to return to her former life, Beth embarks on a transformative journey that promises what had once been impossible. But can she really return to the woman she was after learning so much about the woman she wasn’t? In this science fiction thriller, a young attorney left disabled after a car accident must determine the value of beauty as she considers a previously unimaginable possibility.

110

DECEMBER / JANUARY 2020

From The Author:

Julie Seely is a graduate of Wellesley College and the Tufts University School of Medicine. Her early writing career focused on developing educational health materials for women. In 2010, she began a second career writing about the legacy of her grandfather, Nathan T. Seely Sr. and the famous skinny house he built in Mamaroneck, New York. Her screenplay, Skinny House, was shortlisted at the 2011 Gotham Screen International Film Festival.


2 0 1 9 TO P N O TA B L E I N D I E S N O TA B L E # 6 9

N O TA B L E # 7 0

SOAR! ...LOSER

SPIRIT OF GONZALES

by Ross A. Phelps

by Betsy Wagner

Number three in the Lleyellyn Shay series. After setting the scene by describing Lleyellyn’s past, and the suspicion pointing to him as one of the vigilantes taking the law into their own hands, the plot of Soar! …Loser thickens.

The story of a young pioneer girl who settled in Gonzales, Texas, just in time for the revolution. There is a spirit of vigor and courage in Texas. It inspired the early settlers, and it unified them during rough times. That spirit of determination rallied the men who defended the Alamo and fortified the volunteers who followed Sam Houston to San Jacinto. In 1831, Sydnie Gaston’s family had that spirit. Like many other families, they left the comforts of their home in the United States to brave the wilds in what was then Mexico. They settled in a village on the Guadalupe River and were soon swept up in the hardships of pioneer life. They overcame Indians and nature, and they helped to fight in a war against a deceitful government. Sydnie was one of many authentic women who fought for a better life in what became the Republic of Texas. And it all started with the Spirit of Gonzales.

Manuel Montoya, Lleyellyn’s boss, and he are summoned to La Vegas to complete sound studio filming for the motion picture began on location at the ranch where they both worked. Montoya’s role in the movie expands. Lleyellyn lands a small speaking part. His girlfriend reconnects with an old friend from her go-go dancing days. There is a murder. Then a curious reporter starts digging into Montoya’s past – and Lleyellyn’s. Will Lleyellyn be exposed? Will the murder be avenged? What happens to Montoya’s movie career? And Lleyellyn’s? The conclusion is both satisfying and unexpected.

From The Author:

I suppose there are writers who agonize over plot lines and scene scenarios for their books before even attempting the opening sentence. My stories are character driven. I only have a general idea about how a book will end up, but the characters somehow tell me what happens to them, who they meet, what they say, and how they interact. In Soar! …Loser, I wanted an important scene to take place in the Grand Canyon. When I started writing, I had no idea how my characters would end up in the Grand Canyon, or what they would do when they got there. The details evolved as I got closer to the scene. My job was to describe what I saw in my mind as clearly as I could.

From The Author: Betsy Wagner is a native Texan. She retired from public education in Texas after a career that also took her to schools in Louisiana, Hawaii, and Germany. She became interested in her family history after a discussion with her cousin, Steven, at a reunion. After years of research, Betsy created a story blending historical and fictional characters with events drawn from early Texas times. Today she lives with her husband in San Antonio, where she enjoys visiting with her son. 111


2 0 1 9 TO P N O TA B L E I N D I E S N O TA B L E # 7 1

N O TA B L E # 7 2

STONE OF MATTER

SUBMERGED

by B.L. Barkey

by Janice Hisle

"Curious, is it not? How we all imagine ourselves to be the hero of our own story."

A young bride drowns in her bathtub. Her husband of four months is accused of murder. What happened in their tiny suburban bathroom--and why--was never resolved. A gripping true-crime drama, based on exclusive new information, SUBMERGED exposes hidden angles of a case that divided an American community, tore apart two families and tested the criminal justice system. Compelled by conscience and curiosity, former Cincinnati Enquirer reporter Janice Hisle--who covered the saga of Ryan and Sarah Widmer from the start--dug deep to tell the untold story. Ten years later, new questions and answers surfaced in dozens of interviews, 6,000 pages of trial transcripts and previously unrevealed records such as:*Ryan's first statement about Sarah's death *attorneys' notes and trialpreparation documents *Ryan's personal journal, notes and correspondence *More than a thousand pages of police records SUBMERGED will draw you into the depths of a stranger-than-fiction story that you will ponder long after turning the final page.

Titans wage war over the Creation Stones, seeking the final hidden Stone of Matter, whilst revealing glimpses of the Greater War. Ammon walks through dreams, witnessing the powers of light and dark. He realizes who are his true friends and who are Hooded. After experiencing the true nature of these Stones, he must choose which paths he will tread. Only one thing remains clear. The world of Proelum, and life as Ammon knows it, is about to change. Perhaps for the last time.

From The Author:

B. L. BARKEY is a habitual adventurer. He is also a dogowner, home-owner, Civil Engineer with Masters of Science, marathon-runner, wakeboarder, snowboarder, cliff jumper, world traveler, eldest of seven siblings, reader, and a writer. Among other things. He loves to explore the world, while constantly seeking to live in the moment. Through his own life experiences, he has learned that there are true powers given to accomplish all things from healthy and righteous living. He loves to write about these powers, as well as incorporating his own first-hand experiences through heart-pounding and marvelous detail. Join him in his adventures through his books!

112

DECEMBER / JANUARY 2020

From The Author:

During more than two decades as a news reporter, Janice Hisle focused mostly on crime and courts, covering hundreds of death investigations--including the chilling bathtub drowning case explored in her debut book,"Submerged: Ryan Widmer, his drowned bride and the justice system." Janice and "SUBMERGED" have been featured on national and local TV shows, radio programs and podcasts. She also has been a guest speaker for numerous community groups, book clubs and bookstores.


2 0 1 9 TO P N O TA B L E I N D I E S N O TA B L E # 7 3

THE ARCH

N O TA B L E # 7 4

THE CODE HUNTERS - A NICHOLAS FOXE

by Gary Crask

ADVENTURE

"The Arch", a work of historical fiction, is the dramatic life story of an Austrian immigrant, Charlie Wilhelm. Charlie was born in 1918 in Vienna near the end of World War I, and died in 2016 some 97 ½ years later. He was born when the transition from the horse to the automobile was not complete, commercial air travel did not exist, the radio was yet to be invented and electricity along with indoor plumbing were mostly available only in cities. He lived through two world wars, a Great Depression, and that was in just the first twenty-seven years of his life. He would go on to witness many other wars, space travel, a man walk on the moon and the internet with all its ramifications. It is doubtful that any generation, past or future, ever did or ever will experience more change. His amazing life, filled with excitement, adventure, love and tragedy, makes for an entertaining and compelling story. But it is, mostly, a story about HOPE.

by Jackson Coppley

From The Author:

Gary grew up in Noblesville, IN and now resides in Bloomington, MN where he raised his family and has lived for most of his adult life. Gary is the co-writer/producer/ director and actor for the award winning feature film, Spirits of St. Paul. Spirits is a dramatic depiction of the Gangster Era in the 1920's and 30's in St. Paul, Minnesota. He is also the author of the humorous memoir, Stories From Riverwood. Sarah's Sound is his second book and first novel. His latest book, The Arch, is a work of ‘historical fiction’.

A discovery made deep in a New Mexico cave is tenthousand years old, but appears to be from the future. Rich adventurer Nicholas Foxe joins his friend Tom, who has made the discovery of a metal, coded tablet. Together they try to solve the code with the assistance of Rachael, an MIT professor, and Tanner, a former Army Ranger. The code, once solved, leads the team to a castle in Italy and grottos along the Adriatic in search of an advanced device that will change the future. During their search, they encounter people who will kill for the device.

From The Author:

The idea behind The Code Hunters is one that I’ve kicked around for a long time. What if we discovered a sophisticated code buried for thousands of years, a code that appears more like computer code than hieroglyphics? How would that shake up our concept of what came before us. I added experiences from my travel. When I visited Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico and learned about unexplored caves there, I knew that location would be a perfect place to bury the code. From my time in southern Italy, the mysterious Castel di Monte became another location for clues. Add to this the people who live in my imagination and you have a cast of characters who travel the world to locate a futuristic device promising to solve many challenges of today. 113


2 0 1 9 TO P N O TA B L E I N D I E S N O TA B L E # 7 5

N O TA B L E # 7 6

THE EMANCIPATION OF EVAN WALLS

THE DARK WEB MURDERS

by Jeffrey Blount

by Brian O'Hare

EVAN WALLS IS TERRIFIED by the birth of his first child because he doesn’t want her to suffer the isolation he had as a child. Seeing his torment, his wife, Izzy, prods him to explain. He tells of being a black child growing up in the racially charged 1960s. Inspired to overcome the racism and class status imposed on blacks, he dreams of a life bigger than that lived by most everyone he knows in the small Virginia town of Canaan. He is resented by friends and family for desiring a life better than theirs. Among the smartest in his class, Evan becomes a target of white kids threatened by the forced integration of their schools. Caught in a crossfire of hate from whites and his own people, who question whether he is black enough, Evan is often alone and bewildered. Only the love of his great grandmother, Mama Jennie, and his mentor, Bojack, keeps him on track. Together, they help Evan find perspective and peace.

I am Nemein. I am not a murderer. I am emotionally detached from my killings. I am, therefore, an instrument of Nemesis, a punisher. This theme runs through a number of blogs on the Dark Web, written by a serial killer. He is highly intelligent and employs philosophical argument to justify a series of gruesome murders. However, he describes the killings with such gloating relish that he utterly negates his delusion of detachment and reveals himself to be a cold-blooded, narcissistic psychopath who tests Sheehan's famed intuition to the limit. Indeed, Sheehan only learns the truth during a horrific climax when some members of the team experience a most harrowing ‘laceration of the soul’ they will never be able to forget. It is unlikely that the reader will either.

From The Author:

Jeffrey Blount is the author of Almost Snow White, winner of the 2013 USA Best Book Awards and Hating Heidi Foster, winner of the 2013 Readers Favorite Book Award for YA literature. He has been a contributor to HuffPost, published op-eds in The Washington Post, TheGrio.com and other publications. He has also written scripts for films and interactives that are now on display in the Smithsonian Museum of African American History and Culture, the Muhammad Ali Center, the Newseum, America I AM: The African American Imprint" at the National Constitution Center, The Museum at Bethel Woods, at the site of the 1969 Woodstock Music and Arts Fair, and others. These projects have won Cine Golden Eagle Awards, Muse Awards and a Thea Award. 114

DECEMBER / JANUARY 2020

From The Author:

Since The Dark Web Murders is the fourth in the Inspector Sheehan Mysteries series, characterisation was not a problem for me. I know the regular characters intimately. The plot, however, dragged me into a world I knew nothing about. I found myself repulsed by the gruesome details that emerged as I researched the Dark Web and, indeed, as I sought real life examples on which to model my Fulfillment for the Enlightened Club. The depths of depravity to which the decadent will sink horrified me. As I wrote about the unnatural and perverted desires of the dissolute rich in this book, I could not but wonder how the details might affect my readers. But some books take on a life of their own. The writer can do little but follow.


2 0 1 9 TO P N O TA B L E I N D I E S N O TA B L E # 7 7

N O TA B L E # 7 8

THE EXPERIMENT

THE FINAL FLAG

by Robin Lamont

by John E. Nevola

When a young investigator suddenly vanishes from an undercover assignment, his mentor Jude Brannock risks blowing both his and the agency’s cover to look for him. Jude’s investigation takes her to a small farming town in Vermont where she is faced with evidence that her trusted pupil might have perpetrated an elaborate con job on her and is, in fact, working for the target of their undercover operation – a biopharmaceutical company testing on animals. She soon learns that she’s not the only one furious at the young man.

An old soldier’s last request spirals into a worldwide search to recover the remains of seven missing GIs from World War II. A four-person team of both military and civilian volunteers conduct the investigation. All they have to work with is a list of names. Their only motivation is to honor the fallen and give closure to their families. Or is there some other unknown purpose at play?

Determined to get to the truth, Jude takes increasingly dangerous risks, failing to see the deadly secret that’s festering in the town as well as the self-destructive secret she keeps from herself.

From The Author:

An animal advocate as a main character is unique to the suspense/thriller genre, offering a glimpse into the world of animal activism and the powerful forces that are trying to shut it down. In The Experiment, Jude Brannock is driven by a strong moral compass and her empathy for animals. She relates more to animals than she does to people, and her intensity can veer into recklessness which puts her in uniquely difficult and dangerous positions. At the same time, I’ve tried to bring to life my own experience as an undercover investigator and the hum of constant fear that your criminal targets will find out who you really are. I can honestly say that writing about being an undercover is more fun that actually being one.

What seems like an impossible task becomes fraught with bombshell surprises. The Department of Defense refuses to cooperate. The investigators also unexpectedly uncover likely evidence of a conspiracy and cover-up at the highest echelons of the Army. The taint of ethnic discrimination becomes more evident as they delve into the investigation. Most of the names on the list were of Italian-American descent at a time when non-citizen Italian-American immigrants were considered enemy aliens. While some were arrested or detained in internment camps, others were forcibly displaced, had private property seized and suffered the degradation and humiliation of being targeted by the American government. All this while their sons served and died overseas. However, it turns out some of these seven men actually survived the War. It was a place to start. The four eventually narrow the search to two bastard independent parachute infantry battalions with troubled reputations. As they unravel the mystery, they also uncover scandalous indications of the contemptible mis-treatment of these two battalions at the hands of higher commands. Both units were annihilated at the Battle of the Bulge, ignominiously disbanded and their records burned. What was the Army hiding? 115


2 0 1 9 TO P N O TA B L E I N D I E S N O TA B L E # 7 9

N O TA B L E # 8 0

THE FIRE INSIDE US

THE HAND IN THE WINDOW

by Mylisa Anderson

by Elizabeth Young

It’s been ten years since high school sweethearts Alexa Tate and Ben Harris have seen or spoken to each other. Ten years since a serious accident changed the course of both their lives. TV journalist Alexa thinks time has healed all her wounds, until an assignment to cover a destructive wildfire sends her back to her hometown where she inevitably crosses paths with Ben, now a sheriff ’s deputy. In his presence, old questions surface and new emotions burn within her heart. When the fire inquiry reveals an additional crime, Alexa follows the story, which also means following Ben as he investigates. In the process, she delves into their past and discovers that while it may be too late for love, it’s never too late for the truth

Jay Berg’s life felt upended. He was separated from his wife after losing his factory job.

From The Author:

In THE FIRE INSIDE US Alexa Tate and Ben Harris uncover a mystery, examine their previous relationship, and grapple with a decade-old tragedy. The story is set in the Texas Panhandle, where I lived for many years. There, I experienced the devastating wildfire season of 2006 which burned over a million acres of grassland, killed thousands of cattle, and took twelve human lives. The circumstances of this disaster never left me, and eventually, it became the backdrop for the emotional disaster of these characters' lives. The fire rages not only across the prairie but inside each of them as well. I’ve never been able to limit myself to one genre. In this book, readers can have a little mystery with their romance and a little romance with their mystery.

116

DECEMBER / JANUARY 2020

She was seeing another man, and Jay was living in a friend’s apartment. He now worked holding a traffic sign at a road construction site. Then one afternoon Jay looked at a vacant house nearby and saw a hand in the window. Could Jay convince his brother-in-law, the assistant sheriff, that there was something going on at the vacant house? Jay decided to investigate first by himself. What he found led to a double kidnapping, a murder with plenty of suspects, including his own brother-in-law, and a new romance. Jay had to solve the puzzle but most of all, find his son.

From The Author:

Driving in a rural county in Virginia a couple of years ago, I was waiting in traffic and observed the workers holding the “stop” and “go” signs. How boring! But then I wondered what could happen if they saw something unusual. I looked to my right and saw an old, vacant house with dirty windows. What if a worker saw something in the window of that house? That was how “Jay Berg”, the hero of “Hand”, was born. I rushed home and began roughing out the plot. I wanted the story to be a mystery, yes, but also the tale of how a man in crisis still bonds with his children and is motivated by that love.


2 0 1 9 TO P N O TA B L E I N D I E S N O TA B L E # 8 1

N O TA B L E # 8 2

THE HUBLEY CASE

THE KNOWING A BULWARK ANTHOLOGY

by J. Lee

by Brit Lunden

American businessman Peter Hubley lays sprawled across the floor of a Brazilian airport, cappuccino dripping down what remains of his forehead. Within an hour, his killers are dead and their bodies stolen. When an organized crime syndicate claims responsibility for the savage murder of the seemingly innocuous Hubley, questions are raised and the case is assigned to Special Agent Nikki Benton. For Benton, a straight-laced FBI veteran, the Hubley case is an unusual and much-anticipated opportunity to prove herself and get out from under the thumb of her misogynistic boss. She quickly realizes that nothing about the murders adds up and she might be in over her head. Benton’s instincts prove true when the investigation leads to Ben Siebert, a rebellious former Marine with a questionable past, and his Glock 27 pressed to her temple.

When I created the town of Bulwark, I didn't anticipate falling in love with all the characters. JB Straton plays a minor role in the first book and is only in the second and third chapters. The ex-football champ is mourning the death of his beloved wife, Ellie. He shelters victims of an accident in his home and they accuse his wife of being a witch. When I was asked by a group of authors to expand the story in an anthology, I knew the first book had to be about JB and his romance. I sprinkled in some paranormal and voila, it became a sweet romance that spanned over a hundred years. It tells of kindred souls finding each other time and time again fulfilling, satisfying lives.

From The Author:

I was actually sitting in the Sao Paulo airport where the book begins when the central concept for the story first struck me. What if a seemingly normal guy was shot and the killers died on the scene, preventing any further investigation? What if he was posthumously framed to cover something much bigger up? Perhaps someone orchestrated the whole thing, pulling the strings from a distance to serve a completely unrelated purpose. The idea intrigued me, so from there I tried to frame a story that revolved around solving that mystery and incorporated a series of other subplots. From there, I forced myself to outline the entire book before I begin writing Chapter One. To be honest, that’s out of necessity. I wish I had the ability to start with a blank page, but that always seems to result in a lot of re-work and backtracking. Having the outline upfront helps me map out the twists, red herrings and character development at a high level. That said, once the pages are written, I definitely switch their order around as part of the editing process.

From The Author:

I finished Bulwark and was satisfied with the glowing reviews. You can't imagine my pride and delight when a group of authors approached and asked if they could expand the Bulwark universe. I had created many hooks for the first group of authors to pull the thread of potential stories. None of them finished, and I thought it would be a stand-alone book. DJ Cooper, RL Jackson, EH Graham, Kay MacLeod, Kate Kelley, Del Henderson, and my own assistant Brittney Leigh have added spooky stories to the series. I have added both The Knowing and The Devil and Dayna Dalton to the anthology. I love this town and the many storylines we've developed. For a bunch of strangers, it feels that we are as connected as the townsfolk of Bulwark.

117


C ATA L OG

SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION

THE HUBLEY CASE American businessman Peter Hubley lays sprawled across the floor of a Brazilian airport, cappuccino dripping down what remains of his forehead. Within an hour, his killers are dead and their bodies stolen. When an organized crime syndicate claims responsibility for the savage murder, questions are raised and the case is assigned to Special Agent Nikki Benton. To Benton, a straight-laced FBI veteran, the Hubley case is an unusual and much-anticipated opportunity to prove herself and get out from under the thumb of her misogynistic boss. But she quickly realizes that nothing about it adds up and she may be in over her head. Her instincts prove true when her prime suspect Ben Siebert, a rebellious ex-Marine with a questionable past, is pressing a Glock 27 to her temple. The two are forced to work together when they learn that everything - the death of the killers, the public's assumption Hubley was hiding something, even the case being assigned to Benton - was part of a carefully orchestrated plan...and that they are the next targets. But to stop a formidable perpetrator intent on killing thousands of innocent people, they must risk everything and reveal the shocking truth behind the Hubley case. Where to Buy: Amazon | B&N ABOUT THE AUTHOR

J. Lee lives in the suburbs of Chicago. He graduated from Duke University with degrees in Engineering and Sociology and a minor in Business. In his spare time, he can usually be found playing Frisbee Golf or reading in his La-Z-Boy. The Hubley Case is his first novel. To learn more about or contact him, please visit www.jleethrillers.com

118

DECEMBER / JANUARY 2020


2 0 1 9 TO P N O TA B L E I N D I E S N O TA B L E # 8 3

N O TA B L E # 8 4

THE MOUNTAIN'S MORNING SONG

THE NINTH SESSION

by William Graney

by Deborah Serani

In the year 2052, a secret society in the small, remote town of Mountaintop has been meeting and evaluating the nature of their origins since the society initially formed during Prohibition. Based on a divine message, they believe an apocalypse is imminent, but it will not occur until the next century.

"The Ninth Session" is fast-paced suspense thriller where psychoanalyst, Dr. Alicia Reese, begins working with a secretive new patient, Lucas Ferro. During the first session, Ferro suffers a crippling anxiety attack. But as sessions progress, he begins to share the reasons why he's struggling - with details that reveal disturbing psychopathology. As Ferro's narrative becomes more menacing, Reese finds herself wedged between the cold hard frame of professional ethics and the integrity of personal truth. Finally, when Ferro reveals his secrets, Reese learns how far she's willing to go, willing to risk and willing to lose to do the right thing.

Their mission is altered when a rising tide of hate and violence accelerates the projected arrival of prophesied events. The members of La Société de la Frontière Ouverte are instructed to prepare for departure from the earthly realm through a crystal portal in a nearby cave. The only hope for restoring the original timeline is for the presidential candidate from the obscure Science Party to pull off an election day miracle and lead the country toward an enlightened future.

From The Author:

The Mountain’s Morning Song follows a path set in my previous novels Mountain Time and Mountaintop USA. The Mountain series has led me on a journey that includes some of my favorite writing experiences and most interesting characters. Learning to let the characters chart their lives and listening to their demands has led to significant improvement in my writing (seven novels to date). Several of the characters in The Mountain’s Morning Song have been friends for decades and saying goodbye to some of them was difficult. Writing this novel led to sadness in this regard, but observing characters as they suffered, loved, and grew was an incredibly uplifting experience and even though I’m not completely done with the Mountaintop series, this book marks the end of a generation.

From The Author:

"The Ninth Session" was a labor of love for a decade. As a full time psychologist and professor, I had to make time to craft this novel. It took me several years to write the manuscipt. And then it took several more to have "The Ninth Session" find a publishing home. My goal as an author was to tell a compelling and thrilling story that featured the healing power of psychoanalysis. While I also added the textures of American Sign Language and Coda culture to the story, my hope is that "The Ninth Session" offers a unique reading experience about trauma, loss and love.

119


C ATA L OG

SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION

THE NINTH SESSION

BY DEBORAH SERANI

An edge-of-your-seat psychological thriller that brings a unique mix of psychotherapy and Sign Language and Coda Culture. Just when you think you have it figured out, think again! Dr. Alicia Reese takes on a new patient. Lucas Ferro suffers with crippling anxiety, and as sessions progress, he begins to share the reasons why he's struggling. As Ferro's narrative becomes more menacing, Reese finds herself wedged between the cold hard frame of professional ethics and the integrity of personal truth. And, finally, when Ferro reveals his secrets, Reese learns how far she's willing to go, willing to risk and willing to lose to do the right thing. Where to Buy: Amazon | B&N

ABOUT THE AUTHOR Deborah Serani, Psy.D. is psychologist in practice 30 years. She is also a senior professor at Adelphi University and has been published in academic journals on the subjects of depression and trauma. Dr. Serani is a go-to expert for psychological issues. Her interviews can be found at ABC News, CNN, The New York Times, The Chicago Tribune, Forbes, Reader's Digest, The Washington Post and USA Today, and affiliate radio station programs at CBS and NPR, just to name a few. She is also a TEDx speaker and has lectured nationally and internationally. Dr. Serani has worked as a technical advisor for the NBC television show, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit - where a recurring character, Judge D. Serani, was named for her. Dr. Serani is an award-winning author, writing about psychological topics in many genres. 120

DECEMBER / JANUARY 2020


2 0 1 9 TO P N O TA B L E I N D I E S N O TA B L E # 8 5

N O TA B L E # 8 6

THE PORTAL TO THENITIWAN: THE

THE PRICE OF COMPASSION

GATEWAY

by A.B. Michaels

by Ada M. Stone

It’s 1907 and former surgeon Tom Justice sits in a San Francisco jail cell accused of murder. The attorney hired to defend him is puzzled: the doctor hasn’t confessed to the crime—if there even was a crime—but why won’t he declare his innocence? The reasons are complex, reaching back to Tom’s youth and influencing the decisions he makes about his career, friends, and loved ones. In one soul-defining moment during the city’s 1906 earthquake and fire, he makes a choice that will change his life forever.

7,500 years ago, a former Sagerowan Soldier makes an agreement with the Sagerowan Organization S.O court. The S.O seeks to hunt the spirit’s human host, as they are believed to threaten the existence era of Thenitiwan. He set out to preserve an ancient spiritual essence that roamed the land long before the humans of Thenitiwan and is granted permission to bring it to the present world. In 2009 A.D, A teen named Joie Salle, pronounced (ZhoAye Sal), tries to run away from her troubles, by leaving town one morning. She however is confronted with an even greater conflict after accidently crossing over into an era called Thenitiwan. The stranded visitor soon places her trust in a warrior named Xuca who promises to protect and see her home to era.

From The Author:

I began writing the book series in 2009 while I was in High School and continue until this day today to perfect it. It was a long gradual process through my bachelor’s and took a great deal of exploring my creativity without limits of what time travel can bring. It took a lot of world building and imagination as a teen growing into adulthood. The relationships of characters made ideas flow with reason and purpose as one action lead to another action and need for the next idea. Many key characters wouldn’t have been added without individualizing every character. I had several different titles before settling with The Portal to Thenitiwan. I made the Lulu cover early in the writing process, capturing what was inside the heart of the story.

An absorbing tale of medicine and morality in Gilded Age America, The Price of Compassion is Book Four in A.B. Michaels’ historical fiction series “The Golden City.” It is a stand-alone read.

From The Author:

While conducting research for my historical fiction series “The Golden City,” I came across references to an event that reportedly occurred during San Francisco’s devastating 1906 fire. The incident both horrified me and made me wonder what I would do under similar circumstances. I knew that my main character, young surgeon Tom Justice, would feel the same ambivalence I did, so I began to develop his story, laying the groundwork for his decision based on experiences dating back to his childhood. As I chronicled Tom’s path in life, including his medical career, I was also able to explore several aspects of late nineteenth century medicine, which more than once had me thanking my lucky stars that I wasn’t born back then.

121


2 0 1 9 TO P N O TA B L E I N D I E S N O TA B L E # 8 7

N O TA B L E # 8 8

THE UNITY A PREDICTIVE FANTASY

THE GREEN SOLDIER

by H. Barton Wilson

by J. Edward Gore

We each have a "map" or theory that explains everything in life. We note the things and events that don't fit our expectations and, when that happens, we adjust our model. In this book, I create a world that operates from a different rule set. As a theory, it works! It explains both spiritual and material events. However, it's just theory -- one of many possible models. A very ordinary young man meets a girl who turns out to be anything but ordinary. Strangely, she always wears the same clothes: camouflage military issue slacks, a dark blue work shirt and green & white running shoes. Yet her beauty and mysterious charm compel him to fall in love with her. The story quickly turns in an increasingly strange and shocking direction that ends in catastrophe. Yet she transforms into a different person and they meet again. Unfortunately, their relationship ends once more in even greater tragedy. Finally, they meet in another life which leads them to pass through the singularity into an era of consummate goodness. There they are empowered by their own souls' ascendant and return to this age to seal the victory of good over evil.

122

DECEMBER / JANUARY 2020

Edward purposely avoided history classes in college because he felt they were boring. Years later he read the Shaara trilogy, opening his eyes to how fascinating the Civil War could be. He recalled as a boy his grandmother telling him of his ancestor, John Gore, who fought for the Union. Visiting battle sites and participating in reenactments has made the Civil War more than just pictures and words. Instead he could feel the fear, excitement, grief and anger. As a Kentucky native, he never understood why Kentucky sympathized more with the South as the war progressed, until he learned of the relationship between soldiers and civilians in the Bluegrass State. He wrote The Green Soldier as an epistolary novel between three characters, telling the story of common folk living on the dark and bloody ground.

From The Author:

John Gore is eighteen years old in 1862 rural Kentucky. He has struggled his entire life with stut-tering and the ridicule associated with it. Unable to speak well, he has focused on writing. Seeing the opportunity for advancement in the military--and with it, respect--John joins the Union army. Unfortunately, his stuttering prevents him from warning a friend of an enemy attack and John watches his friend die. He is racked with guilt and the fear that others saw him fail at the key moment . . . a fear that proves prescient. John soon meets a girl, but they must forge a friend-ship and then courtship through letters, allowing him to express to her what he can't say in per-son. Meanwhile at home, John's impetuous younger brother causes trouble with garrisoned Un-ion troops angry at Southern sympathizers.


2 0 1 9 TO P N O TA B L E I N D I E S N O TA B L E # 8 9

N O TA B L E # 9 0

THANKSGIVING T H A N KS G I V I N G

THE POWER OF THANKSGIVING

THYLACINE DREAMS 6 TALES OF SCIENCE

by Dr. Joyce Addo-Atuah

FICTION, HORROR AND FANTASY

The Power of Thanksgiving: A Blueprint for Contentment, Fulfillment, and Well-Being through Gratitude is a compelling testament to a lifestyle of gratitude to God and the people who make your life better daily. Drawing from science, scripture, and personal experience, Dr. AddoAtuah demonstrates the dramatic benefits of appreciating the little things. With this treasure trove of spiritual guidance, you’ll learn to recognize everyday blessings and consequently attract more blessings.

by Jonathan Maas

In The Power of Thanksgiving, you’ll discover:

• Easy-to-follow methods to help you see God’s hand in your daily activities • Bible passages and hymns to inspire your journey toward contentment • How giving thanks positively impacts your mental and physical health and relationships • Advice for staying grateful even when faced with adversity • Actionable steps, inspiring quotes, motivational stories, and much, much more!

From The Author:

Dr. Joyce Addo-Atuah’s journey to the publishing of her book, The Power of Thanksgiving: A Blueprint for Contentment, Fulfillment, and Well-Being through Gratitude, started in 2013 with a strong urge to write a book to publicly thank God and all the people He has used to bless her on her life course thus far. However, as a college professor in New York City, the busyness of life was standing in Joyce’s way and she describes her enrolling in the Self-Publishing School in 2017 as the best investment she has made in herself for a long time. The daily sharing of accomplishments and milestones by published and aspiring authors in the mastermind community of the school was exactly the boost she needed to finally “give birth” to her book in November 2018.

Thylacine Dreams: 6 Tales of Science Fiction, Horror and Fantasy is a collection of five short stories and one novella. In Time Capsel, we encounter a woman who sleeps for centuries at a time to keep track of humanity, and in Dead Moon we find a man who crash lands on a seemingly deserted moon—only to find out that something is hunting him at night. The Diggers explores a very different take on the undead, Rest Home details a monstrous retirement community, and The Web tells us about a very, very strange Craigslist hookup. And finally, we end with the Time-Travel Romance novella, -100, in which a couple finds out just why you should never go back in time.

From The Author:

I’ve always loved short stories and short story collections. They bring you small worlds of emotion, conflict and ideas, with a fraction of a full-length novel’s time commitment. To name a few of my recent favorites: You Think It, I’ll Say It by Curtis Sittenfeld, Dog Run Moon by Callan Wink, The Pier Falls: And Other Stories by Mark Haddon – and both Last Car Over Sagamore Bridge and Maggie Brown and Others by Peter Orner. Over the years I wrote a few of my own short tales and decided to collect them in Thylacine Dreams. The challenge? Bringing a fully-realized world to the reader in just a few pages. It was a lot of fun, and I’m honored to bring Thylacine Dreamsto Shelf Unbound. 123


2 0 1 9 TO P N O TA B L E I N D I E S N O TA B L E # 9 1

N O TA B L E # 9 2

TRIAL OF A WARRIOR

VIEVIE LAFONTAINE

by R. H. Pfeiffer

by Linda Heavner Gerald

The true life stories of four people recovering from addiction, intermingled with their search for a higher power, helped along the way by a lovable dog named Rosie. Addiction does not discriminate, evidenced in the characters who battle addiction in this touching story, veterans, child abuse victims, and domestic abuse sufferers. As a registered nurse working in the field of addiction treatment, I find R.H. Pfeiffer s work to be authentic and true-to-life, heart-wrenching yet hopeful and optimistic. I highly recommend Trail of the Warrior for anyonelooking for an insightful, heart-warming, compelling book to read; one that will touch the lives of many. An amazing book!

VieVie La Fontaine begins with an encapsulated history of the rise of Adolf Hitler in post World War I Germany. At the same time he starts his ascent, a beautiful and talented young woman, VieVie La Fontaine, continues to enjoy her life of wealth inside of Paris. This haunting story demonstrates the terror, denial, and depravity of Europe as a madman rises to control most of Europe. Told by a young Jewish man, Mark Lichter, the irony of the entire situation cries from the pages. Security, comfort and safety are ripped from his hands just as almost every Jew in Germany experienced.

From The Author:

Trail of the Warrior is the third book the author has written, and the author's first published work; earlier works include the manuscripts Love Against Love and Candles Fire and Flame. The story in Trail of the Warrior was written over the past three years and is based on a fictional blend of the author's life, friends, and colleagues. The core concept of Trail of the Warrior is a stream of consciousness from R.H.'s life in recovery and service from the last forty-two years. Written with the inspiration of a dog, the seeking of a restless soul for a higher power, and the love and support of colleagues. As a storyteller R.H. believes the highest level of truths are the lessons our lives express by the heart to each other as human spirits. We are the most powerful when we have a teaching that captures our voice as it heals. This book is that voice that illuminates the trail of a warrior.

124

DECEMBER / JANUARY 2020

The reader discovers the best of Paris such as the Ritz Carlton and the life of wealthy Americans living there only later to read of the horrors hiding beneath the bright lights and glamour. It is difficult not to become angry as Mark and VieVie betray her husband and all whom they love. Much too soon, they are forced to deal with the nightmare of events starting in Berlin and spreading at last into Paris. At this point, the two young people decide to take a stand. The brave and heroic actions of the French Resistance Fighters inspired me to research and make this novel more than a work of fiction. Facts peppered into the pages of a book which will tug at the heart of anyone who loves history and the psychological thrill of war and romance. Linda Heavner Gerald is an award-winning author. Recently, she received the prestigious FAPA award for her book, Confessions Of An Assassin, as well as international recognition for her work.


2 0 1 9 TO P N O TA B L E I N D I E S N O TA B L E # 9 3

N O TA B L E # 9 4

WATERS PLANTATION

GRIT & GRANITE

by Myra Hargrave McIlvian

by Katherine Johnson

It is 1875 in Texas, and Albert Waters takes pride in his image––prosperous merchant and plantation owner who freed his wife’s slaves before the Civil War and gave then land after her death. Then his son Toby, ready to depart for Harvard Medical College, demands answers. Was his mother a slave?

This novel is a fictionalized account of a real life event that set my father and his partner against one of the largest and most powerful corporations in the United States. This story tells of my father’s fight against corporate greed and ambition to protect his client’s legacy and his widow’s fortune. This battle also created collateral damage of despair, disappointment, and disillusionment in his own family. Was the fight worth the cost or did he win the battle but lose the most important treasure of all- his family?

Al and the Waters plantation co-operative of former slaves organize against political forces reclaiming control through rape, lynchings, and the rise of the KKK. Al believes he has been given a new life when Amelia, his long-ago lover arrives in the midst of the turmoil. He will have to confront the image he has held of himself if he wants to keep the two people he loves most.

From The Author:

I like to pick a period in Texas history and create characters who live in and struggle with the turmoil surging around them. I hesitated to write WATERS PLANTATION, which is a stand-along sequel to THE DOCTOR’S WIFE and STEIN HOUSE because I wasn’t aware until I began my research that Washington County was a hotbed of upheaval during the period after Reconstruction and before Jim Crow. Researchers found that the freedmen in Washington County were the best informed and most determined of any group in Texas to hold onto political power, educate their children and maintain their personhood.

From The Author: Katherine Johnson started writing her first stories not long after finishing "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer." Her first novel captures both real life events and her recollections of her family's own adventures with corporate America. She splits her time between rural Maryland, Central Florida, and Western Colorado. She enjoys spending time with her family, friends and beloved dogs- Bonnie and Bailey.

125


2 0 1 9 TO P N O TA B L E I N D I E S N O TA B L E # 9 5

N O TA B L E # 9 6

WHEN GRANDMA TEACHES YOU TO LIE

WHEN TIME STANDS STILL

by Jenny Prevatte

by Sara Furlong-Burr

When Grandma Teaches You to Lie is a collection of colorful tales from Jenny Prevatte's childhood in rural North Carolina, a time and place ruled by the cycles of farm life and the grace of God. A pivotal figure in Jenny's life, Grandma was a conventional Southern woman in many ways but unconventional in all the best ways. She instilled in Jenny a mischievous sense of humor, fierce independence, and good common sense--lessons we can all use today.

When Time Stands Still is an award-winning contemporary romance that follows Elle Sloan and Luke Hutchins, who are unexpectedly reunited after ten years apart when Luke is in a horrific car accident. After awakening from a coma, Luke is unable to remember the last ten years of his life, including his breakup with Elle. Believing they are still together, Luke becomes despondent when Elle isn’t by his side after he wakes up. When Luke’s family contacts her, Elle, guilt-ridden over how their relationship ended, agrees to return to Roanoke and help them cushion the blow when they tell Luke the truth. Along the way, Elle finds herself transported back in time with Luke to the life they once shared and the future they could have had together.

From The Author: What inspired me to write this book? Grandma! It’s funny—the older I get, the more I realize how much she taught me and how often I use those lessons. I still think of things she did and said, helping me through decisions and choices, helping me be the best me I can be. I want to share her with the people in my world.

126

DECEMBER / JANUARY 2020

From The Author:

Writing When Time Stands Still was a cathartic experience for me. For starters, it’s more than a romance novel, as it addresses issues such as substance abuse, sexual assault, and what happens to people when they stop believing in themselves and give weight to the words of toxic people in their lives. It’s the story of a woman who is just beginning to see her own self-worth, and armed with this realization, she works to reclaim her life. In short, it was a very personal and liberating novel for me to write, and I’m beyond thrilled by the reception it has received. Originally, it was meant to be a standalone, but I fell so in love with the characters that I’m in the process of finishing a followup to it that will be available next year.


2 0 1 9 TO P N O TA B L E I N D I E S N O TA B L E # 9 7

N O TA B L E # 9 8

WHERE THOUGHTS AND STORIES END

THE RED HAND: A FRANK NAGLER MYSTERY

VERSES ON ETERNAL TRUTH

by Michael Stephen Daigle

by Solomon Katz

Someone is experimenting with...Death!Rookie detective Frank Nagler has barely had time to arrange his desk, when a new homicide case is assigned to him. Could a serial killer be stalking his hometown of Ironton, N.J.?One by one the bodies pile up. Nine victims are killed over several months, all from different walks of life and different parts of Ironton. Each killed in a different way, forming no clear pattern, as might be expected from a single killer.The Red Hand is the prequel to The Swamps of Jersey, the book that launched the Frank Nagler Mysteries. This investigation takes place before economic hard times, political corruption and a government money scandal hit the former industrial center of Ironton, N.J.This story is atmospheric, moody, dark and thrilling.

"Only the fullness that lacks for nothing in all times and in all places is the truth" - Muruganar. When the Eternal Light first conjures dreams of creation, it is said, it emerges from Oneness into the two manifest principles of truth and beauty. This book traces truth back to its source in the grandeur of the Eternal Light - your own source - where all search comes to fulfillment, and all travail comes to peace.

From The Author: I hold degrees in philosophy, religion, and psychology. This book places the three disciplines into the overarching context that contains, and is the source for all - call it “truth” or the “unconditioned mind.” The mind, when unconditioned, when empty of contents, leaves the substratum of eternal consciousness.

From The Author:

Navy brat, with roots in both New England and Deep South. First story I ever wrote was about a rock band based on my high school band formed with three friends. Oh, that early touch of fame (Ha!). Long career in newspapers, a great place to learn how to write and observe. Working on stories that reflect the places I've lived, populated with characters I invent.

127


2 0 1 9 TO P N O TA B L E I N D I E S N O TA B L E # 9 9

N O TA B L E # 1 0 0

MY REAL NAME IS HANNA

28 DAYS: WHAT YOUR CYCLE REVEALS

by Tara Lynn Masih

ABOUT YOUR MOODS, HEALTH AND

Hanna Slivka is on the cusp of fourteen when Hitler’s army crosses the border into Soviet-occupied Ukraine. Soon, the Gestapo closes in, determined to make the shtetele she lives in “free of Jews,” forcing Hanna’s family and friends to flee and hide in the dense forest outside their shtetele—and then in dark underground caves, rumored to harbor evil spirits. They battle sickness and starvation, while the hunt continues above. Inspired by real Holocaust events, this poignant, multi-award-winning debut novel is a powerful coming-of-age story that’s been described as “a work of art” and as “a brilliantly rendered memorial to survivors of the Holocaust” (School Library Journal). An extensive, free Reader’s/Teacher’s Guide is available both at TaraMasih. com and at Mandel Vilar Press’s website.

From The Author:

Immersing myself into horrific events of the Holocaust was a difficult writing experience. It was almost a decade ago, and I was challenged by the lack of transparent research on Ukraine and personally challenged by brutal facts I did find on the country that’s been named the “Bloodlands.” What made me determined to continue writing was the inspiring true story of the Stermer family, who managed to stay a step ahead of the Gestapo through the leadership of their powerful matriarch, Esther Stermer. I was also heartened by the stories of upstanders who helped save neighbors despite the threat to their own lives, the lives of their families, and the lives of their fellow villagers. I hope I was able to infuse Hanna’s story with my great admiration for all survivors of genocide.

128

DECEMBER / JANUARY 2020

POTENTIAL--UPDATED AND EXPANDED by Gabrielle Lichterman

8 Days is back with an all-new updated and expanded edition! Each daily Hormone Horoscope® shows you what to expect from your mood, energy, love life, shopping habits and much more every day of your menstrual cycle. It will immediately change the way you plan your day, week and month ahead. Written by Hormonology founder and women’s health journalist Gabrielle Lichterman, 28 Days is the book that launched the growing cycle-syncing movement among women worldwide. Based on thousands of scientific studies, this book is the definitive guide to understanding how the hormones in your cycle impact you in virtually every way. If you enjoy Gabrielle's popular Hormone Horoscope Apps, you’ll love the depth of information she gives you about your hormones in her new edition of 28 Days. Plus, the book is full of study-backed tips that help make every day of your cycle better!

From The Author:

Gabrielle Lichterman pioneered the growing movement to live in sync with your cycle. She launched this lifechanging concept in 2005 with the first edition of her groundbreaking book, 28 Days: What Your Cycle Reveals About Your Moods, Health and Potential.


Never miss an issue! SIGN UP FOR A FREE SUBSCRIPTION TO SHELF UNBOUND MAGAZINE. SUBSCRIBE

129

DECEMBER / JANUARY 2020


A D E D I C AT I O N TO O U R F O U N D E R

Remembering

Our Founder. Lessons f rom Margaret L. Brown by Jonathan Maas, author of Thylacine Dreams

What I loved about Margaret L. Brown is how she was always about 5-10 years ahead, yet still placed one foot firmly in what the world of writing and publishing has always been—a place of content. 5-10 years ahead; she wasn’t a bleeding edge futurist hoping to cast off printed paper for the latest in digital technology—we have enough of those already—but she wasn’t afraid of what lies ahead in publishing either. Her online magazine and its printed counterpart arrived with an ultra-modern feel, and they still have one. If there was a new trend in publishing, her magazine would have an article exploring it.

130

But it wasn’t all about the future; she always began from the most important part of writing and publishing: content. Start with what it is you have to say, and then embrace new methodologies of expressing it. And that’s the style we should all emulate. We’re writers and publishers, and everything begins with our content. But when a new trend emerges, we should explore it. When new styles emerge, we should explore them as well. We should be like Margaret, with one foot firmly in the present, and one unflinching eye 5-10 years ahead. That’s what she brought to this world, and it’s up to us to keep it going.

DECEMBER / JANUARY 2020


CHECK OUT

J O N AT H A N ' S NEWEST BOOK

THE LITTER This tale is different from most. The main character of ‘The Litter’ is a strong female lead – albeit a friendless one – and her last year of high school turns out to be quite difficult. She becomes pregnant, with seven children who she soon finds out aren’t quite human. And that’s only the beginning of her troubles. I won’t spoil the rest of it for you, but let’s just say that there has never been an antagonist as diabolical as Charles Silk. Though there’s a love story reminiscent of the ‘Twilight’ series, I also found some parts of this reminded me of the TV series ‘The Wire.' And while the philosophy makes you think, the action and plot pull you along to its outsized conclusion. And oh that conclusion – in true Jonathan Maas style, there’s an underlying mystery behind everything that happens, one that makes our protagonist realize she is part of something bigger than she could ever have imagined. 131


Never miss an issue! SIGN UP FOR A FREE SUBSCRIPTION TO SHELF UNBOUND MAGAZINE. SUBSCRIBE

132

DECEMBER / JANUARY 2020


If there's a book that you want to read, but it hasn't been written yet, then you must write it.” —

TONI MORRISON, THE AUTHOR OF

BELOVED, SONG OF SOLOMON, AND JAZZ

133

DECEMBER / JANUARY 2020


DECEMBER / JANUARY 2020

SHELF UNBOUND WHAT TO READ NEXT IN INDEPENDENT PUBLISHING

WWW.SHELFMEDIAGROUP.COM

Profile for Shelf Media Group

2019 Indie Best Award Winners - December/January 2020 - Shelf Unbound Magazine  

We receive book after book as entries in our annual Shelf Unbound Best Indie Book Competition. We received hundreds of entries this year in...

2019 Indie Best Award Winners - December/January 2020 - Shelf Unbound Magazine  

We receive book after book as entries in our annual Shelf Unbound Best Indie Book Competition. We received hundreds of entries this year in...