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COVER STORIES Keith Hayes Eimear McBride John Brandon Elizabeth McCracken 1


what to read next in independent publishing



KAYLIN MCFARREN SUSPENSE SERIES McFarren, author of the novel “Flaherty's Crossing, has raised the bar for the erotic thriller. ”

- ForeWord Reviews, Clarion Review



Plenty at stake…erotic chemistry, “ dastardly villains, a lost relic, an

unusual setting and a touch of the supernatural. The full package of thrills and romance.

–Kirkus Review


n be deadly

...secrets ca





Margaret Brown fo u n d e r a n d p u b l i sh e r Anna Nair edito r i n ch i e f Christina Davidson c re a t i ve d i re c tor Ben Minton circ u l a t i on ma n a g e r Patricia McClain c o py e d i to r Marc Schuster c o n t r i b u t i n g e d i tor Kelly Bergh yo u n g a d u l t / ch i l d re n ’s rev i ewe r

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what to read next in independent publishing




a note from the publisher

38 excerpt


keith hayes interview with the cover designer of Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch


a girl is a half-formed thing interview with author Eimear McBride and cover designer W.H. Chong


further joy interview with author John Brandon and cover designer Dan McKinley


thunderstruck interview with Elizabeth McCracken and cover designer Laura Klynstra


short story excerpt from Come Here Often: 53 Writers Raise a Glass to Their Favorite Bar


roses are read book club


indie spotlight


photo essay: cover


under the covers




on our shelf


small press reviews


last words

71 contributors

On the cover: The Goldfinch by Carel Fabritius

I am writing you today concerning... Letters from Paris The new novel from John Crawley is about the life and times of Clare de Fontroy From slavery to Jazz—from Nazi’s to McCarthy, Clare de Fontroy observed it and lived it, fought it and wrote about it. Over four decades, Clare kept a running dialog with her old friend, John Dos Passos. It is their letters that capture the spirit, the history and the class struggle of the world between 1927 and 1970. She was a journalist. Poet. Teacher. Mother. Daughter, And killer. She was in the Harlem Renaissance, in the Lost Generation and in the French Underground. But most importantly, she was in the middle of almost every human rights fight she could find. Follow her colorful life in the new breath-taking novel from John Crawley, Letters from Paris.

w w Available at, and

a word from the




main character in Donna Tartt’s Pulitzer-winning The Goldfinch is the painting of the same name by Carel Fabritius (1622-54). At an art museum, young Theo and his mother contemplate the work: “’Anyway, if you ask me,’ my mother was saying, ‘this is the most extraordinary picture in the whole show. Fabritius is making clear something that he discovered all on his own, that no painter in the world knew before him—not even Rembrandt.’” The popularity of the book has led to renewed interest in Fabritius, such that an exhibit of the painting at the Frick Collection in New York City last fall drew record crowds to the museum. Book jacket designer Keith Hayes used the image in creating The Goldfinch’s cover, which elegantly and cleverly veils a painting of a chained bird, hinting at secrets, drama, and beauty. “After reading the manuscript, it was the one singular image that kept coming back to me. The painting wrapped in paper, coveted by its new owner,” says Hayes in our interview. We also talk to a few other book cover designers in this issue to uncover, if you will, how they go about their work. I also want to note that we’ve added a new sponsor, Blurb, and additional prizes to our Third Annual Writing Competition for Best Independently Published Book, sponsored by Bowker and Blurb. If you’ve self-published or independently published a book, I hope you will consider entering. We look forward to featuring the winner, five finalists, and more than 100 notable books from the competition in our December/January 2015 issue. Details are here: Margaret Brown publisher



Photograph: Belinda Baldwin

In the first Shelf Media Podcast, publisher

Margaret Brown talks to author Matt Bell about his three books and about writing, teaching the craft of writing, and his

forthcoming novel. She also talks to book reviewers David Rice and Michele Filgate about Bell’s most recent novel, In the House Upon the Dirt Between the Lake and the Woods.




cover stories


Keith Hayes 6


The most talked about book of the year, and winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, is Donna Tartt’s glorious, sprawling The Goldfinch. Central to the plot is an actual painting, The Goldfinch (1654) by Carel Fabritius, partially seen on the book’s cover and shown in full on an opening page. Dutch painter Fabritius (self-portrait above) was a student of Rembrandt who met a tragic death at age 32, the year he painted The Goldfinch. Learn more about the painting in a Frick museum AUDIO CLIP.

We talked to Keith Hayes about designing the cover of The Goldfinch. UNBOUND




Shelf Unbound: How do you approach designing a book cover? Keith Hayes: It usually starts with a presentation from the editor working on the book. I am given a synopsis of the story, and also a small collection of comparative titles. The editor conveys a wish for what they want the book to look like. Most of their choices are derived from books that were very successful. Putting requests aside, the manuscript is paramount in my process of coming up with a design. The words on the page dictate what the cover should feel like. Whether I am using an image or just type, the final cover should be true to the story. There are many people with great stakes in any one of the books that I happen to be working on. It’s increasingly a tricky balancing act. I need to satisfy myself and also everyone else that is fixated on the commercial viability of the end design. Shelf Unbound: How did you arrive at the design for the cover of The Goldfinch? Hayes: It can take quite a while to come up with a design that meets approval. Sometimes a book can see three or more rounds in a jacket meeting. This is where I present my designs to an approval committee made up of the editor, publisher, marketing and sales. Of course, after everyone agrees, it will go to the author for final approval. My design for Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch was spared this drawnout process. I realized that the cover needed to have a “BIG” feel to it. My design was well received from the beginning, thankfully. This was a project that I approached with much trepidation. The name Donna Tartt had me shaking in my shoes. Add the world’s most famous book cover designer, Chip Kidd, into the mix, and I was more than a bit unnerved.
 The only request that I received from Donna was that she did not want the painting on the cover. It’s funny that it actually became part of the cover. I was originally happy for her request. Why would I put a Goldfinch on a cover that reads The Goldfinch? It’s just too obvious, but in this case it just worked. After reading the manuscript, it was the one singular image that kept coming back to me. The painting wrapped in paper, coveted by its new owner.





Eimear McBride’s novel is difficult to read but rewards the adventuresome reader with its genius and the heartbreaking story of a troubled young girl with an abusive mother, a disabled brother, and an uncle who molests her. I urge readers to step outside their literary boxes and experience this remarkable book.

Coffee House Press

A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing by Eimear McBride 10


Photography: Jemma Mickleburgh

Shelf Unbound: You begin the novel with these lines: “For you. You’ll soon. You’ll give her name. In the stitches of her skin she’ll wear your say.” And you keep going like that for the next 226 pages. How did you invent this unconventional style of writing, and what were you trying to achieve with it? Eimear McBride: The starting point for the style was reading Ulysses. The effect it had on me was so profound that, after the first five pages, I understood everything I had written before had to go in the bin and I had to start again. More conventionally composed prose felt rather bloodless in the light of it

and I realised that there are great swathes of existence which cannot be adequately described or explored within those traditional, grammatical frameworks. What I hoped to achieve was an unmediated experience for the reader whereby the writer becomes completely invisible and the reader feels so closely implicated in the protagonist’s experience as to almost be experiencing it within themselves. Shelf Unbound: Was writing in this style constraining or liberating or both? McBride: I think it was both. As a writer, to decide to cut all ties with everything you have



ever been taught to believe is not only important, but necessary, in order to make your work communicable, is extremely liberating, and terrifying, but mostly liberating. Technically it was very difficult though because I then had to invent my own conventions and work out how to stick to them. Shelf Unbound: I’ve read that it took you nine years to find a publisher for this book, which last year won the Goldsmith Prize and recently won the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction. What do you think it says about the state of publishing today that publishers were reluctant to take a chance on it?



McBride: Obviously the experience of being unpublished for nine years was hugely dispiriting for me personally and all the more so because I very quickly realised that the problem was far greater than mine. Somewhere along the line— doubtless in pursuit of greater profit margins—publishers decided to stop taking chances on writers, which means they also stopped believing in readers and their desire for work which examines aspects of life that cannot reasonably be explored within the confines of a 350 page whodunnit. It seems to me that many publishers have forgotten that the intrinsic nature of the reader is to be adventurous, interested and open to being engaged by different forms.

interview with book cover designer

W.H. Chong Shelf Unbound: How do you approach designing a book cover? W.H. Chong: Mostly I deal with fiction, and I have found that it is necessary to read the manuscript. If time and patience are short and thin, I scan or hop-read, which is what it sounds like. My hope is that the idea or image arises as I read; that’s how the best covers arrive. Otherwise it is a matter of going through logical and illogical associations with subject matter and title, a process too long and obvious to elaborate on here.

Shelf Unbound: How did you arrive at the design for the cover of A Girl Is a Half-Formed Thing? Chong: I read the manuscript—the writing is as great as all the reviews say, and extraordinarily affecting—and early on it connected with a series of ink drawings I had been making for myself. And then I “saw” the title integrated into one of those, and the cover was finished in my mind before touching paper or mouse.

Shelf Unbound: Do you have a favorite among the covers you’ve designed? Chong: As it happens I am very fond of A Girl is a HalfFormed Thing (it’s a genius title); it is my current favourite. Another favourite is Maria Takolander’s The Double—a collection of literary short stories. I struggled with the cover and then one sleepless night it came like a dream. I made sure to write it down before I nodded off. It’s precious because of the way it arrived, but also because it feels like such an exact correspondence to the tone of the stories: cool and uncanny Also, I had been working on a series of classics for a couple of years and we did Kenneth Mackenzie’s lost masterpiece, The Young Desire It. My first design, which I liked, was rejected by the publisher; then he mentioned, How about that art you did for another cover and never used? The penny dropped: I ripped it up, reworked the bird and the colours, the flowers and the background, and there it was. Incidentally, Michael Dirda in the Washington Post recently gave it a stunning review, saying, “It is the best novel I’ve read in a long, long time.”



Shelf Unbound: One thing I love about this book is that it requires the reader to float along in a state of incomprehension that then develops into partial comprehension and then into complete comprehension, if not of every moment but of the story as a whole. Were you concerned at any point that readers would struggle with it? McBride: I was always aware that I was making a big ask of readers. I knew, chances were, when they opened the first page and saw all those short, oddly punctuated sentences, it might alarm them a little. But, communicating the story was always central to my plan so I knew that, if I did my job properly, readers who were



willing to go through that period of adjustment to the style would hopefully find a compelling story there to make their initial extra effort seem worthwhile. Shelf Unbound: A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing is your debut novel. Will your next one be in a similar style or perhaps more traditional? Or do you plan a whole other form of invention?  McBride: I’m still interested in language and what it can be cajoled into doing, so I won’t be returning to the traditional any time soon. That said, I built the language of A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing around that particular story and next time I’ll do the same, which means it will be different again.

2014 NAACP Image Award Winner Outstanding Fiction

In the Margin Top 10 List Best Books for At-Risk Teens

Over 500 5-Star Reviews on Amazon! “A fast-paced, well-written thriller that’s grounded in social issues.”

—Kirkus Reviews

In this cautionary tale for both parents and teens that educates as much as it entertains, 13-year-old Brianna meets her first real boyfriend on Facebook. When she sneaks off to meet him, she is unwittingly drawn into the dark world of child sex trafficking. WWW.PAMELASAMUELSYOUNG.COM

“One of the best thrillers I have read in a long time.”

—Digna Dreibelbis, Autumn Reviews

“This is a 5-star read and every parent needs to pick it up!”

—Ella Curry, Black Pearls Magazine and BAN Radio Show

Available at Distributed by Ingram Baker & Taylor



Quirky, inventive characters populate John Brandon’s first short story collection, from a down-on-his-luck former high school football star to a little league player obsessed with entrepreneurship. Each of the 11 stories is a winner.

Further Joy by John Brandon 16



Shelf Unbound: You’ve written three novels, and this is your first collection of short stories. What does the short story afford you as a writer that a novel does not? John Brandon: Stories are harder in so many ways. In a story, you have to get somewhere that feels meaningful, or at least pointedly and thoroughly imagined, in such a short distance. You have to do a magic trick, sort of, one that hasn’t been done before, you hope. Every word counts. You have to think like a poet—every image is either helping the cause or it has to go. There’s more pressure than when you sit down to work on your novel. In a novel, there’s

no rush. It’s enough to keep figuring out what happens next. Magic isn’t really required— just a lot of work. What the short form does afford you is a space to do things that would be tedious over hundreds of pages. Certain types of comedy. Dizzying sweet little trips like, say, Barthelme did. Or in the case of my collection, I felt more comfortable using odd points of view. I’ve got third and first person plural in there. Shelf Unbound: What’s your process for finding and then developing your characters, like Little Leaguer Marky Sessions, obsessed with getting his entrepreneurial ideas into play?



Lamb to the Slaughter is a novel about love and courage, sin and redemption.

Brandon: No method. Catch as catch can. Marky was a very minor character in a failed novel I wrote in grad school. A couple years after I’d put the thing in a drawer and left it behind, I found myself thinking about Marky. I write a lot of dark characters and dark situations, so it was refreshing to write a kid like Marky, to imagine noble motivations for him. Toby, the main character in my novel Citrus County, is the opposite of Marky—he’s a prodigy at evil. I don’t think I could’ve written a novel about Marky, because he’s too good, but I thought it might be interesting to follow him around for a day. Maybe that’s another thing the short story affords you—the chance to be upbeat.



“Iron” Mike McGann, 32 years old, is facing the twilight of his prizefighting career. Desperate for his future, he has refused to honor his promise to his

Shelf Unbound: Your wife to quit the ring and start a family. In despair, his wife, Madge, is leaving charactershim. are mostly Rufus “Hurricane” Hilliard, Mike’s next opponent, is the most menacing in prizefighting. has won all 22 of his fights by knockout and struggling presence through lifeHe on is said to be a former enforcer for something called The Black Mafia. But their own,behind oneRufusorHilliard’s twomenacing steps ring presence lives a man nobody knows, a complex man who despises his own image. Unexpectedly left alone before away fromhissomething bout with McGann, Rufus “Hurricane” Hilliard is forced to confront the past that haunts him and the future he dreads. really bad happening. Is Rufus’s cornerman, has been terrorized Charles “Charliehorse” O’Connell, by a mob kingpin to sabotage him. O’Connell, who is an alcoholic and a that a theme you developed compulsive gambler, blames himself for the ring deaths of two prizefighters. Trapped in a moral crisis, Charles “Charliehorse” O’Connell must finally consciously, or is that just confront his “Cardinal Sin.” “Hurricane”ended Hilliard vs “Iron” Mike McGann, just another fight where these Rufus stories shown on The Continuous Sports Network, but by the time it is over the up going? lives of these and many others will be forever different. Brandon: That’s just where they ended up. They were written over a span of fifteen years, and I didn’t have a collection in mind while I was writing any of them. I tend to write about people with money problems. People with talents they can’t profit from. It’s not a conscious choice, but I think all writers have territory they’re comfortable on, and they gravitate toward it. ISBN: 978-1-4653-3927-0

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Lamb to the Slaughter is a novel about love and courage, sin and redemption. “Iron” Mike McGann is facing the twilight of his prizefighting career and has refused to honor his promise to his wife to quit the ring and start a family. In despair, his wife, Madge, is leaving him. Rufus “Hurricane” Hilliard, Mike’s next opponent, is the most menacing presence in prizefighting. Behind Rufus Hilliard’s menacing ring presence lives a man nobody knows, a complex man who despises his own image. Unexpectedly left alone before his bout with McGann, Rufus “Hurricane” Hilliard is forced to confront the past that haunts him and the future he dreads. Charles “Charliehorse” O’Connell, Rufus’s cornerman an alcoholic and a compulsive gambler, blames himself for the ring deaths of two prizefighters. Trapped in a moral crisis, he must finally confront his “Cardinal Sin.” 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..”



S l au g h t e R

ALSO available in Spanish: El cordero al matadero 

“This heartfelt tale makes a powerful emotional impact.” —Blue Ink Starred Review



interview with book cover designer

Dan McKinley



Shelf Unbound: How do you approach designing a book cover? Dan McKinley: I don’t have one set approach. Much depends on the author (alive or dead, hands-on or laidback, etc.), the circumstances (crash project, long lead), and the book itself (fiction, nonfiction, short stories, translation). I always start by reading the most recent draft of the manuscript I can get my hands on. I take notes while I’m reading, marking sections that have especially striking imagery or themes. Sometimes our covers reference a specific

moment in a book (like Further Joy), but other times they build off a more abstract connection. We sketch out as many ideas as we have time for to see which approach best suits a particular book.   Shelf Unbound: How did you arrive at the design for the cover of Further Joy? McKinley: My first step was to reach out to Keith Shore, who has illustrated all of John’s covers for McSweeney’s. Keith is a versatile and talented artist, so I threw him a list of rough possible ideas to see if any got his juices flowing. After some early back and forth we settled on the bee scooter, which is referenced in the story “Prospectus” (one of my favorites in Further Joy). It felt like a striking image that we could have some fun with and I think we did just that.   Shelf Unbound: Do you have a favorite among the covers you have designed? McKinley: Nope! I’m proud of all of the covers we’ve done at McSweeney’s. 


We are all staring into the abyss: climate change, ecosystem and financial collapse, nuclear breakdown, corruption, terrorism and anarchy. Instead of being eaten up by it all I say, “Awaken Spiritually,” as that transforms everything. We have made our world an unpredictable beast because we fail to work with it intelligently. We have to take back control of ourselves and this is a spiritual matter. Turning on the switch of awakening is a good idea right now.

Read the review by BlueInk HERE Watch the book trailer HERE

Trailing Sky Six Feathers sheds light on issues that will affect our world for generations to come. This exciting Hero’s Journey is like Indiana Jones meets the Buddha with a dash of Celestine Prophecy. The stor y told shines light on the darkest elements of the human condition, including my own. This challenging journey has me stumbling through the first part of life, Available at then standing strong in my own sovereignty Xlibris, Amazon, in the latter part. In India, Arizona, France Barnes & Noble, and and Canada’s wilderness, I go to extraordinar y lengths to transform four centuries of karma.

Shelf Unbound: I particularly love your approach to the title story, referring to the characters as either “the girls” or “the fathers” in a seemingly detached manner: “One of the fathers followed a Mexican soap opera. The women were huge-eyed and single-minded, and the story would never end. It would outlive the father and maybe even his daughter.” But layer upon layer these snippets build on each other and develop into an emotionally deep story. How did your approach to “Further Joy” come about? Brandon: That story started as notes for something longer—



maybe a novella, I was thinking. It was going to be about this gaggle of high school girls, and I sat and wrote down anything I could about their lives. Then I got distracted from the project for a while, as will happen. When I pulled the notes back out a year later or something, my wife happened to be pregnant with our first child. She didn’t want to find out whether it was a boy or a girl, and I was secretly terrified at having a girl. So with that in my blood, the notes took on an edge, and I liked the way it sounded if I read straight through all these snippets. Next thing I knew, I had the first half of the story. Then the fathers followed naturally from that.

by Fritz H. Schroeder A Story You Will Never Forget A Book You Will Always Remember


hile much of Europe engages in a fierce struggle for its existence, the idyllic town of Zuarin, Germany remains untouched and almost encapsulated from the effects of the war raging outside its country borders….at least for a while. The East, part fiction, part autobiography, allows its readers to look at World War II from the inside out – through the eyes of a young German boy, just barely of school age at the war’s beginning, and totally unprepared for the changes that are about to come marching into his innocent and carefree world, both during the war and after Germany‘s division into east and west. He survived nearly daily bombings, loss of home and family and friends, hunger, disease and the revenge of occupying Russians. More importantly, will he survive in the end? How? Available at Amazon Books | Create Space | Barnes & Noble

Author Fritz H. Schroeder

is a retired businessman and former one term American soldier. He grew up as a German national during WWII, and remained there through the American and British occupation; and then lived under Russian Communist occupation for five years before he escaped. He later immigrated to the United States after which he joined the American Armed Forces. While in retirement, the author decided to write the story of witnessing history being made through a young boy’s eyes in the form of a biographical-novel.



The Dial Press

In her first short story collection in 20 years, Elizabeth McCracken returns with a book well worth the wait.

Thunderstruck and Other Stories by Elizabeth McCracken 24


Photography: Jemma Mickleburgh

Shelf Unbound: What is usually the starting point for you with a story, for instance in “Something Amazing,” which starts with neighborhood lore of the ghost of young Missy Goodby, meanders through the decimated life of her grieving mother, and then brings in two young brothers, with the abusive elder brother meeting a tragic end. Elizabeth McCracken: A story can start nearly any place for me, though often the earliest germ is something very old, as it was here. The ghost of Missy Goodby was the first thing I had in that story—or maybe I just mean children obsessing over the death of a child. In 5th grade,

one of my classmates died, and we were sent in a school bus to her funeral, including—this now strikes me as incredibly odd— to the graveside service, where her mother (if I remember correctly) threw herself on the coffin (though it hadn’t yet been lowered, as it is in the story). I also had the idea of a mother who develops chemical sensitivities/agoraphobia after the death of her child. The very last thing that I came up with was Santos’s end. That was quite late in the revision process.    Shelf Unbound: Loss, misfortune, tragedy, bad decisions, and characters’ sudden realizations that they’ve gotten it all wrong run throughout these



stories. What draws you to these themes? McCracken: I feel like stubbornly saying, Why is life drawn to these themes? Though I’m pretty sure that my next book will be cheerier. And I suppose I’ve always been obsessed with characters getting things all wrong, particularly about other human beings. I don’t know why I’m so taken with that notion, but I am, perhaps because I’m aware of how often I get things wrong about other people.    Shelf Unbound: The short story “Juliet” takes place in a public library, reminding me of the library setting of your 1996 debut novel The Giant’s



interview with book cover designer

Laura Klynstra Shelf Unbound: How do you approach designing a book cover? Laura Klynstra: Every book is different. Some books have very specific instructions and straightforward descriptions. I seldom read these; I simply follow the art direction provided. When I get assigned a literary novel or story collection I do read the manuscript. I love working on fiction, because I started working in cover design as a lover of books, not as a lover of design. (I was an English major in my undergrad.) Reading a manuscript with the intent

to design a cover is much different from reading it for pleasure. While I read, I comb it for visual details and create a list. A novel may have a variety of plants, a frequently mentioned color, or perhaps an aptly described setting. I use these visual cues to begin my image research, and the images I find in turn drive the design. A novel or story with lots of visual details will frequently turn into a collage in my mind. I love intricate, layered designs, but I sometimes have to hold myself back and keep things simple and modern. Shelf Unbound: How did you arrive at the design for the cover of Thunderstruck? Klynstra: I focused on the title story. With most of it set in Paris there are many visuals to pull from, but the most striking visual element for me was the watercolor

paintings that Helen creates in the hospital. Her father, Wes, hangs all his hope for her on these paintings, and the ambiguity of who is actually painting them— Helen, or Wes guiding her arm— is central to the whole story. I found many watercolor pieces to work with. I wanted the beauty of the paint, but I also wanted to show the wrongness of the situation. Having the paint drip up instead of down gives the viewer the sense that there’s something wrong here, beautiful but off. My type choice was largely dictated by the length of the word thunderstruck. I used a condensed face, which helped make the word larger and have more impact. Shelf Unbound: Do you have a favorite among the covers you’ve designed? Klynstra: I will probably always go back to The Known World as the favorite of my cover designs. It was my most challenging and also my most rewarding cover. I was transitioning into covers at the time and still had a lot to prove. When I read the manuscript, I knew it was an important book and that I owed it an amazing cover. We went through so many rounds and nothing worked; I knew my publisher was becoming frustrated and worried. I was fortunate at the time to have

Roberto de Vicq as my boss, and he sent me to the American Folk Art Museum and let me use his extensive library of photography books. I found the cover image in Roberto’s copy of Eudora Welty’s photographs. The image nearly perfectly illustrated one of the most emotional scenes in the novel. I couldn’t believe my luck, but when I showed my comps with the photograph in its original black and white, sales was unmoved and I thought I was back to the drawing board. Inspired by the colors and patchwork of the folk art I was looking at, I worked up the bottom panel and layered in some texture and color over the photo. When the novel ended up winning the Pulitzer Prize it validated the many months of work. As challenging as it was I know I was truly lucky to have had even a small part in its production. On a personal note, I will also always remember the Thunderstruck design process. The story is so impactful in its portrayal of how swiftly and violently life can change. I designed the cover late nights after spending the daytime at the hospital to see my dad, who was suffering from an illness that we expected him to recover from. The cover’s approval came in on the day of his funeral.



House, which I loved. Do you have a particular fondness for libraries? McCracken: Oh, yes, and particularly public libraries. I worked at the Newton Free Library in Newton, Massachusetts, from the time I was 15 until I left for graduate school, when I was 22, and I have an MLIS and worked at the Somerville Public Library (also in Massachusetts) after my first story collection came out. I love public libraries: they are chockful of readers and weirdos, my two favorite demographics.   Shelf Unbound: You’ve written two novels, a memoir, and two collections of short stories. How do you approach a short story



as opposed to a longer work? McCracken: Well, I’ve just spent the day wrestling in vain with a novel, so at the moment I want to run, weeping, into the arms of a short story—though I suspect if I were writing a short story it would be just the opposite. There’s more wrestling with a novel, I find, than with a short story—I can write a lot of a novel without understanding where I’m going, and without having made my mind up about things; in fact, I need to. With a short story I do a lot more thinking about what I’m going to write before I write it, and if I do a particularly bad job in the first draft, I walk away from it almost instantly, or at least put it away for a long time.

All royalties donated to The Wounded Warrior's Project and the Hilton Head Humane Association.

The Seventh Treasure by Len Camarda


his thriller follows the travails of Secret Service agent Gene Cerone, who travels to Spain to investigate the mysterious circumstances surrounding his sister's death. Teaming up with Lieutenant Mercedes Garcia of the National Police Force, their investigation unwittingly uncovers an unfathomable conspiracy that dates back to the time the Moors surrendered their kingdom in Granada in 1492.

Available as e-book, soft and hard cover at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and AuthorHouse. U N B O U N D 29

short story

cover charge

Black Balloon Publishing | Available October 2014




Michael’s freshman year of college has not gone well either socially or academically. In 1969 failure from college or dropping out of school means the draft and possibly Vietnam. Michael desperately wants success, acceptance and popularity. He believes pledging a campus fraternity can help put him on the right path. As the final hurdle to get into the fraternity he must hitchhike 1500 miles over a weekend; a road trip which could save his freshman year and possibly change his life. The rides he gets, the people he meets and the obstacles he overcomes on his journey do change his lifebut in an unexpected way. Available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and iBookstore. UNBOUND


short story

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Shay’s Wine Bar 58 JFK Street, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138 by Edith Zimmerman


his girl walks into a bar, in Harvard Square. She’s there to meet her friends, because it’s where they always go to meet up when they’re all at home, usually for the holidays. It’s a low- key bar, sort of on the outskirts of the square. She sits down at one of the tables and waits for the waitress to come over. She is the only customer at the bar. It is maybe 1:30 or so, and she thinks to herself that it’s too early to be in a bar. But it’s the day before Christmas, so whatever. But not whatever. When another customer lingers on the patio area out front—it looks like she’s tying up a dog, although the dog is out of eyeshot and it’s taking a weirdly long time—the girl thinks, Lady, please come inside and be a customer at this bar so I feel less disgusting even though technically I don’t care. The girl orders a glass of pinot grigio while she waits for her friends, who are slightly late. She sort of stares out at the middle distance, also at the Christmas tree that they have outside on the patio, trying to look comfortable and normal, like it would not even occur to her that it is weird to be drinking alone at 1:30 in the afternoon. Except that she is preoccupied with the amount of time she spends in bars, and



she knows it should be reduced, or, more accurately, that she definitely needs to drink less. It is a problem that she needs to solve, and it’s no longer something that she can pretend isn’t a problem, except she still doesn’t know when she’s going to deal with it or how it’s going to happen, because as soon as she starts thinking of the things she has to do—anything she has to do— they seem impossible and she knows she can’t or won’t yet do them. It’s terrifying and humiliating and sad and alienating and she doesn’t know what the fuck is wrong with her. Her pinot grigio comes. Yaaay. Pinot grigio is amazing, especially in the afternoon. Yes, it’s “vacation.” But this girl also doesn’t have a job. She had one but then she left it, and although it was probably the “right” decision—not that there are technically right or wrong decisions, really, because there is only the decision that gets made, and it’s the only one that ever could happen, meaning the other decision fundamentally doesn’t exist— she has no job and she recently had to pay so much money in taxes that she is now broke and has to get a job again, which is probably a good thing, because her life


“The Scarlet Crane is a thriller in every sense of the word, but it’s also so much more. J. E. Hopkins tells a great story, delves into the humanity of strong and believable characters, and builds a world where transition, a brief and deadly time in every pubescent child’s life when magic is possible, threatens not only to kill the young, but to overturn the world order itself.” –Shelley Singer, author of “Blackjack” and the Jake Samson mystery series. Available in paperback and ebook on



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Talking Covers In addition to being the editor of Come Here Often, Sean Manning edits the blog Talking Covers (, “where authors, designers, and artists join to discuss a particular book cover.” Click here to find Manning and cover designer Nupoor Gordon discussing the cover of Manning’s memoir The Things That Need Doing. “Sean provided us with a childhood photo depicting him and his mother during a seaside outing. Upon receiving the photo, I decided to really saturate the colors and give the overall cover a nostalgic feel and sense of wistfulness,” says Gordon. “The result, in my opinion, was a cover that captured a happy childhood memory, and the searing love between the author and his mother.”



feels kind of miserable and meaningless without a job, or a boyfriend, or whatever it is. She’s also probably depressed. Which is sort of a frustrating word. Because if there were no such word as “depressed,” she’d probably be like, Okay, I am not feeling so great because of some choices I made; time to make some other choices and try to turn this thing around. But instead the word “depressed” does exist and it’s all “I’m depressed. She’s depressed. We’re depressed.” And it’s just like, Can’t people just be sad? Anyway, L. is the first of her friends to show up. They hug, and L. orders tea, and by the time it comes, the girl is done with her first pinot grigio, which is also when their friend A. shows up. They all also hug, and then A. orders a hot toddy, which is made with warm port, because the bar only serves beer and wine. It’s sort of a joke-order because it is a strange drink, but A. orders it all the time there, when they meet up, so maybe it’s not a joke anymore. Maybe it never was a joke. It’s also really tasty. One time when the girl was there about six years earlier, Ben Affleck walked in. He was radiant but low-key, basically perfect. He was with a guy who the girl chose to believe was his friend from high school, just like how she meets up there with her friends from high school. Just a bunch of regular old Cambridge people.

‘She was afraid that fermented pain would pour from his damaged mouth and eyes and ears and drown them both’

Pegasus to Paradise is based on a true story of both the extraordinary efforts of ordinary men and women in World War II and a moving portrait of duty, survival, humour and the power of love in post-war Britain

“I was dubious about all the (fifteen) five star critiques of this book, but having read this beautifully written book it genuinely deserves the rave reviews.’’

“Tappenden creates some beautiful descriptions, even in the midst of tragedy...’’ KIRKUS

Amazon Kindle reviewer

“This story is written with great depth and emotion. I loved this book and words cannot do it justice. This is a book everybody should read.’’ Goodreads reviewer

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Except the girl couldn’t stop staring at him or focusing on anything other than the fact that Ben Affleck was there, right there, right over there, and eventually she and her friend—who was also kind of stunned silent in his “presence”— left because they couldn’t keep their conversation up, or have a conversation that wasn’t about Ben Affleck.

front of her friends because she wants to seem more together than she is, and she gets too drunk in front of her friends too much. So she doesn’t order one. Then things kind of wrap up and they all part ways for the day. The girl is tempted to go to the liquor store to buy a bottle of vodka to keep in her bureau in her childhood home (beside the other empty bottles of vodka), because drinking all day sort of takes the corners off being home, or whatever it is that she tells herself. But she tells herself that she can handle not having vodka in the drawer for ONE day. Plus there’s plenty of wine at home.

There was also the time she was there alone, reading a book because she thought she didn’t want to talk to anyone, but then this guy kept asking questions about the book and about her life, so she told him she was only in town because her dad was dying, which was true, but then he told her his own father had died a Weeks later, she has an epiphany about couple months earlier, and they ended up her weaknesses and shames and secrets, talking for a long time. and she makes some hard choices and sticks with them, and at one point when The girl orders a second pinot grigio. she’s on the other side of all this shit, she When it’s time for a third, she’s like thinks to herself that she’s really glad she ahhhhhhh (inwardly). Because although did it all because life’s even better than she wants one, and although she just she could have imagined, and she’s proud wants to drizzle her head into the ground and relieved that she wasn’t as weak as and make the day swish away—she she’d been afraid she was, that she isn’t doesn’t want to think; she doesn’t want to so lonely anymore, that she’s finally really be trapped with herself; she doesn’t want connecting with people. to have to be herself around other people; she doesn’t want to be around other From Come Here Often: 53 Writers Raise people; she has no idea; she feels like one a Glass to Their Favorite Bar, edited and of these is the answer, the thing that’s introduction by Sean Manning, Black Balloon true, although she really has no idea— Publishing, Reprintshe also doesn’t want to get too drunk in ed with permission. All rights reserved.




ACCELER ATING LIFE A ND HOW W E IN T HE Y E A R 22025 V IE W OUR PA S T A strange dream allowed the writer to know the truth behind life and its most guarded secrets through dialogue that contains many subjects that answer the most important questions people need to know before the Third World War and how the graduation class can be awakened without dangers or difficulty from the current status. Twelve dreams covered with enlightening dialogue… The Story Behind the Accelerating Life allows readers to find the answers to the mysteries of the world and many more.


“In sum, as with the rest of this series, this book will leave readers puzzled from the first page to the last” — BlueInk Review “A marriage of science fiction and philosophical dialoque” — ForeWord Clarion Review “A strange tale that may be better understood in the future.” — Kirkus


cover songs

Who Did it First?

Great Pop Cover Songs and Their Original Artists by Bob Leszczak “Daydream Believer” Composer: John Stewart

Rowman & Littlefield Publishers



Original Artist: the Monkees Label: Colgems Records Release Year: 1967; Chart: #1 Billboard Hot 100

Cover Artist: Anne Murray Label: Capitol Records Release Year: 1979; Chart: #12 Billboard Hot 100


spend,” but in Murray’s, the line is changed to or misinterpreted as “With a dollar one to spend.” In 1986 when the Monkees reunited, a remixed version of “Daydream Believer” was issued—this time on Arista Records—and this time it peaked at number 79 on the Pop charts. Davy Jones died on leap day, February 29, 2012, at the age of sixty-six.

aydream Believer” was written by former Kingston Trio member John Stewart and presented to the Monkees. Davy Jones was selected for lead vocals on this cut released late in 1967. Numerous takes and retakes of the song caused some dissension in the recording studio. The song hit number 1 and was included on The Birds, the Bees and the Monkees album (Colgems #109) in 1968. A dozen years later, Anne Murray revived the song and made it a Top 20 hit all over again. There is a lyrical difference between the two renditions. In the Monkees’ version, the line is “Without dollar one to

From Who Did it First?: Great Pop Cover Songs and Their Original Artists by Bob Leszczak, Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.

A blood-curdling whodunit set against the backdrop of "small town" America titled "Scream for Me." At the heart of this imposing work of fiction is the cat and mouse chase of a female detective and a rampaging serial killer. This intriguing, race-againsttime thriller that integrates grisly crime, law and order, and suspense will keep even the most reluctant readers at the edge of their seat. "Scream for Me" keeps the intensity high from start to finish with an excellent mix blood and guts and brains and violence.


  ses are read book club



aised on fairy tales of Prince Charmings and true love, Darby Quinn has had one disappointing romance after another. So she’s sworn off getting serious ever again, until she meets handsome, suave, sexy Jake. Will she? Won’t she? Should she? Cinderella Screwed Me Over is a breezy read perfect for summer. Read an excerpt below.


t was on my twenty-sixth birthday that it finally hit me: Love is bullshit. There was no happily ever after. I swore off men and threw myself into work. I started spending lots of money on shoes. A pair of great heels was much more satisfying than a man. They lasted longer, and better yet, they didn’t leave me for someone prettier. Sure, there were some lonely nights when I wished I had someone to talk to. So I’d stroll past the pet shop and wonder exactly how much that kitty in the window was. On more than one occasion I’d been tempted to buy myself a furry companion. But I wasn’t quite ready to be the crazy cat lady. I was saving that for my forties. At twenty-eight, I had a relapse. I fell in love; I was sure it was meant to be. But then it ended and I was left brokenhearted. Again. You’d think, after all the disastrous relationships I’d been through,



I’d know better. That I wouldn’t be crushed in the end. But as all history teachers say, those who don’t learn from history are doomed to repeat it. So right then and there I recommitted to my previous decision that two people couldn’t really work it out. I also watched a few of the friends who’d gotten married in their early twenties get divorced, which only reaffirmed my decision. That’s why, at thirty years old, I’m a year sober from love, fairy tales, and happy endings. And it’s not so bad. Really. From Cinderella Screwed Me Over by Cindi Madsen, Entangled Publishing 2013, Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.

Available now from USA TODAY best-selling author


“Once in a while, right in the middle of an ordinary life, love gives us a fairy tale.” @CindiMadsen



ISBN: 978-1783067-503 Stalin’s Gold by Mark Ellis Matador |

Set among the London Blitz, Stalin’s Gold is a gripping crime thriller following detective Frank Merlin’s investigation of a Polish RAF pilot. This second in Mark Ellis’ series featuring Merlin is a page-turning piece of historical fiction. Here’s a brief excerpt.

Moscow, December 1938 than not, exterminate the enemies of the state. Since, Lavrentiy Pavlovich Beria in the mind of his boss, this was not used to feeling category of “enemies of the intimidated. It was rather state” often appeared to his job in life to intimidate embrace the majority of the others. Some might say Russian population, this was that “intimidate” was quite no easy task. However, as a polite word for what he when he had run Georgia did. One month ago he with blood-soaked efficiency, had been appointed head he approached it with of the NKVD, the state ruthless determination. A security service, by his powerful, self-confident and Georgian compatriot, Josef brilliant man nevertheless, Vissarionovich Dzhugashvili, as he sat in the leather otherwise known as Stalin. armchair beside Stalin’s In this position it was his surprisingly modest task to hunt down, terrorise, desk, Beria was feeling torture and, more often intimidated.

Learn more about Bowker at Self 42


Enter the delightful world of CHRISTMASTIME

A six-book series set in New York City during the World War II years. Christmastime 1940: A Love Story The threat of war hovers in the background. After years of stagnation, the beautiful and artistic Lillian Hapsey has decided to change her life. She and her two young sons, Tommy and Gabriel, have just moved down the hall from the enigmatic Charles Drooms. Though he does his best to come across as curmudgeonly and aloof, Lillian nevertheless finds him mysteriously compelling. Though they try to fight the powerful attraction between them, the magic of the Christmas season soon sets things to right. Christmastime 1941 opens two days after Pearl Harbor has been attacked, and war has just been declared. It follows the love story of Lillian and Charles, the adventures of Tommy and Gabriel, the bittersweet romance of Lillian’s friend Izzy, and the wholly unexpected encounter of Mrs. Murphy, office manager at Drooms Accounting, with the love of her life from forty years ago.

Charming and heartwarming….whimsical and pleasingly old-fashioned throughout. —Kirkus Review

Available at

Agnes Irene writes about the celebration of the day-to-day and the search for beauty and meaning. Her stories are sometimes whimsical, sometimes wistful, but always uplifting and hopeful. Most of her tales are set in the places she has lived and loved: small town Illinois, the San Francisco Bay area, Seattle, and New York City. She has a PhD in English, specializing in Victorian Literature.

photo essay design powerHouse Books


by Peter Mendelsund


Cover celebrates the book cover designs of Peter Mendelsund, creator of such jackets as those for The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and the contemporary works of Martin Amis, Tom McCarthy, Ben Marcus, Jo Nesbø, and James Gleick.

can remember the exact moment it dawned on me that book jackets needed to be designed. I had been investigating graphic design as an alternate career to music, and by some great chance an interview had been set up for me at Knopf with a designer there (Chip Kidd). Not wanting to go into the meeting blind, I ventured out to the local independent bookstore in order to investigate

these newfangled “jackets” everyone was on about, and lit upon two appealing examples instantly. “Why,” I thought, “these jackets are beautiful—they stand out amongst their more prosaic neighbors, evoke a special atmosphere, communicate something particular about the author’s work, and awaken in me the desire to own these books and investigate them further.” —Peter Mendelsund

Text and images from Cover by Peter Mendelsund, powerHouse Books 2014, Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved. 44




A companion publication from Vintage is What We See When We Read by Peter Mendelsund, who says, “WWSWWR is a little book to Cover’s large, art book trimsize. WWSWWR is mostly words, with some pictures; Cover is the opposite. WWSWWR describes what I see when I read; Cover shows what I saw when I read. They are siblings, these two books. And I hope they represent, together, a more holistic view of my professional interests.”





cover stories When I first spoke with Peter, after he’d begun work on the jacket for The Flame Alphabet, I was struck by how carefully he’d read the book. He fucking seemed to have studied it. This is the kind of close reading one longs for from an editor. To have it from a designer is unnerving and, of course, a piece of very good luck. When he asked me if there was anything I had in mind for the jacket, I knew by that point that I did not want to get in his way or even to put my voice in his head. I think I just said I’d prefer a cover without burning letters, which would seem to be the obvious bad design choice the title was just begging for (and would get, with one of its foreign editions). Which makes it kind of funny that Peter did end up designing fire for the jacket, although he seems to have done it by accident. As he tells it, he was cutting up paper to make birds, which figure in the novel, and when he flipped his design over, he discovered fire. This seems to perfectly illustrate the complex, thoughtful routes he takes in order to achieve sublimely simple and beautiful cover designs. When I first saw the cover it was a revelation to realize that it could be unburdened from saying very much at all about the book—it could simply be stunning to look at, and people would want to pick it up. —Ben Marcus





BOOK SHELF Another Exciting Escapade Begins

Once again, these loveable, four-footed detectives are up to their noses in a mystery. The stakes are higher than ever—a dear friend is in serious trouble.

Spunky and her felines-extraordinaire begin sniffing out the truth, but soon the trail becomes muddled with secrets and lies. The more they dig, the greater the danger. They need help! In fact, they need An Army of Noses to track down the truth. But—what will happen when they must confront a killer?

An Army of Noses

AnA Spunky Average Joe’s Murder Mystery Pursuit An ArmyFor of Noses Financial Freedom by Michael Warren Munsey



n Average Joe’s Pursuit For Financial Freedom Holly L. Lewitas offers a different perspective on money than what is traditionally taught to us. It is based on practical concepts and discusses the problems that the majority of us face with our personal finances. “Mystery readers who want a cozy mystery with a bite (pun intended) and humor will love An Army of Noses.” —Hollywood Book Reviews

is a registered nurse and animal lover. A transplanted Yankee, she now lives in the South, surrounded by her beloved rescued critters —the stars of her books. They’re all busy working on the next mystery! Visit

Holly L. Lewitas


“An Army of Noses is a delightful mystery. Lewitas is an impeccable storyteller … a treat of a read not only for animal lovers but mystery lovers as well.” —Pacific Book Review

Holly L. Lewitas

An Army of Noses by Holly L. Lewitas


punky, the adorable crime-solving terriermutt and her feline cohorts are again up to their noses in a mystery. In this third book of highly acclaimed Spunky Murder Mystery series, a human friend is in A Spunky Murder Mystery serious trouble. This twisty-turney, engrossing, cozy mystery told from the animals’ wise, quirky, heartwarming, and often funny perspective will keep you guessing! The adventure awaits! Available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Goodreads. Available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble, and Createspace.

Two Shakes of a Dead Lamb’s Tail by Noreen Reeves

A Song, a Prayer, a Free Spirit by Janet York Marquez



n engrossing true life tale littered with humour about a young Australian woman who faces the trials and tribulations of living in isolation on Bougainville Island PNG. It is an experience which brings ingenuity to the fore and facilitates courage and determination which moulds her character for the challenging life on a dust-encrusted isolated sheep station in outback Western Australia.

fter tragedy struck in 1960, the York children were double orphaned from Valparaiso, Indiana. Janet and eight others were awarded to the child institution Mooseheart, Illinois sponsored by the Loyal Order of the Moose. Despite her suffering a traumatic experience, she was greatly influenced in her love of music by dedicated and caring teachers. She was given a music scholarship upon graduating. She later discovers a spiritual freedom.

Available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Xlibris.

Available at Amazon.

BOOK SHELF Climbing the Coliseum by Bill Percy



limbing the Coliseum (no, it’s not Rome!) is the compelling story of people in a small town in Montana—or anywhere!—grappling with our contemporary world’s threats. If you like rich, flawed characters; political conspiracy; tough police work; a kid fighting abandonment; and a hint of romance—not to mention action set amid breathtaking Montana mountains—you’ll love this book.

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 $375/quarter page as seen here. Available at XLibris, Amazon, and Barnes and Noble. 214.704.4182.

Deadly Lies by Chris Patchell Do you like your heroines smart and deadly?


n the hunt for revenge, Jill Shannon lives out her teenage vow to never again play the victim. Will her web of lies deceive even those closest to her? “Chris Patchell’s debut novel, DEADLY LIES, is a taut, fast-paced thriller that grabs you from the start and doesn’t let go.” —Kevin O’Brien, New York Times Bestselling author of TELL ME YOU’RE SORRY BOOK TRAILER LINK Available at Amazon.

Contact publisher Margaret Brown to reserve your space.

Death Song by Jeff W. Manship


n his debut novel, Jeff W. Manship weaves history and fiction into a masterful portrayal of the bloody conflict between Mormon settlers in 19th century Utah and the region’s native inhabitants. Seeking their stolen children, the Mormons follow their abductors’ trail into previously unexplored canyons, discovering a mysterious, ancient people and their centuries-old secret.

Available at Barnes and Noble and Amazon.

BOOK SHELF As Is: New and Selected Poems by Joseph Dorazio

ph Dorazio hat explores for vintage

one of his hops. Here, poetic and

ined with a

poet whose line literary etry Review . His first Press’ 2009 es in Wayne,


mythologies, al warming, ve American ate science.

As Is

oems from Bright Hill e artistry of e whimsical nsight.

Brilliant! Each poem is like a small, polished gem. —C. Sibley This collection is like Beethoven’s Bagatelles. —J. Brandon Joseph’s poems are like classical compositions. He plays with language, taunting and teasing his words. —J. Fischer Dorazio has a discerning eye for the anomalies in our culture and the quirks in our language. —J. Steinwedel Available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Almost Perfect by Diane Daniels Manning


enny, a 13-year-old boy with mild autism and ADHD, spends his days dreaming up ways to please his neglectful mother. He falls in love with McCreery, a has-been champion Standard Poodle, and dreams the dog could be the Westminster Best in Show, but McCreery belongs to 70-year-old Bess Rutherford. Can these two unlikely friends win the world’s biggest dog show and heal their broken families? Available at Amazon.

High Seas Darkness by Burr B Anderson


vicious sex crime on a luxury cruise liner brings private maritime investigator Brick Morgan faceto-face with an old flame—and a deadly terrorist plot that threatens an entire fleet of cruise ships. Morgan must stop the radical fundamentalists, but his attempts to alert the FBI and Homeland Security run up against a political battle. Provocative - A very timely thriller. Available on e-books, Nook and Kindle and at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Outskirts Press.


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 $375/quarter page as seen here. Contact publisher Margaret Brown to reserve your space. 214.704.4182.


Poultry veterinarian Robert C. Hargreaves got a firsthand look at the real Vietnam from 1965 to 1967 as an agricultural volunteer with the International Voluntary Services, which was the predecessor to the Peace Corps. He returned to the country several times.


eologist Trace Brandon is cashed-up and looking for a new venture. This time the quarry is the silver-rich ore of the old Ruby Mining District. And this time he’ll not only have the Pantelli crime family to deal with, but also lumberman Autry Ollinger— three hundred pounds of obnoxiousness whose preferred method of negotiation is a right hook. The closest expression that the Vietnamese had for poultry specialist was “chicken engineer,” so everywhere he went, Hargreaves was introduced as “Mr. Bob, the chicken engineer.” The phrase sounds just as funny in Vietnamese as it does in English, and as a result, he was not easily forgotten.

Mr. Bob, the Chicken Engineer

When people outside of Vietnam hear the name of this country, they often automatically think of war, politics, and lives lost. Little attention is given to the people who live there and the rich history of the country itself.


Mr. Bob,

the Chicken Engineer

Throughout the countryside, he developed chicken projects and other agricultural endeavors. Selling eggs was big business, and it brought in an important source of income for the Vietnamese people; his help sometimes meant the difference between starvation and survival.

Toward Understanding the Real Vietnam

In Mr. Bob, the Chicken Engineer, Hargreaves reveals close details of that period in Vietnam that are not often heard about in the Western world—beggars in the streets, soldiers giving away their paychecks to help children, the everyday kindness of peasants, and growing anti-American sentiments as the war dragged on.

Robert C. Hargreaves

Robert C. Hargreaves is a retired poultry veterinarian who formerly worked with the California Department of Food and Agriculture. He was also an agricultural volunteer with the International Voluntary Services during the Vietnam War and later.

U.S. $XX.XX Available at Amazon. Return of the Clonsayee by Elaine Bassett


harles is granted an opportunity of a lifetime by becoming the apprentice to the prime minister of Bridgeiro. During his travels, he learns about other-world politics and about his remarkable destiny. BlueInk Review stated this book would appeal to young readers and adults. The principled characters and imaginative storyline are compared to C. S. Lewis’ The Chronicles of Narnia. Available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and the iBookstore.

Vietnamese history.

Mr. Bob, the Chicken Engineer by Robert C. Hargreaves


or most Americans, the name Vietnam brings up memories of war and politics: An American war and American politics. Little attention is given to the country itself, its people, and 1,000 years of

This same blind spot has led us into Iraq and Afghanistan, but my own personal story is of Vietnam, and chickens. Available at Abbott Press or through leading bookstores. The Alibi Store by James J. Isaacs


n May, 1965, Johnny Bidler helps set up booths for a carnival at his local fairgrounds. The last man for whom he works, Max Thompson, asks him to work as an agent in his milk-bottle joint. During the week, Max convinces him he’ll make all the college money he needs working the game through the summer. Johnny accepts Max’s offer. Available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble.


TAG Publishers 2012 Next Great American Novel.

by George A. Bernstein, Amazon Top 100 Author


surgical accident leaves Jackee Maren totally paralyzed, able to move only her eyes. Her physical therapist teaches her to “talk” by blinking. Then she begins sensing others’ thoughts, and learns her accident was no accident. Seeking retribution, Jackee embarks on a psychic plan of revenge on her would-be murderer, but she must hurry, with only months left to live. Over fifty 5* & 4* reviews on Amazon. 20 Autographed 1st Edition soft covers available at 25% off, at: Available at Amazon, Nook, and Smashwords.


The Humanitarian Code by Jeff Thomsen


he Humanitarian Code is the sum, direction and intent of essentially all New Age writers on earth. Freedom lovers, Intelligent early adopters, students of Consciousness, aware individuals and everyone desiring time proven answers, this is your book. It is your very existence that created this book. Welcome to Human Teleology my friends; it is the future worth living in. Available at Xlibris. The Performance by Ellys Phox


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 $375/quarter page as seen here.

etective Maxine Ferrari didn’t have a clue, until it was too late, that the bombshell about to land in her lap was going to destroy everything she believed to be true about her investigation. More than that, it would call into question Max’s beliefs about herself.

Contact publisher Margaret Brown to reserve your space.

This extremely well written novel is…a thought provoking story… presented with consistent clues and challenges to keep the reader engaged. 214.704.4182.

5 STAR Amazon review: Murder Mystery with Thoughtful Twist Available at Amazon.

BOOK SHELF The Vampire Girl Next Door by Richard Arbib


ark falls in love with Sylvia, the beautiful, but quirky girl next door, not realizing that she’s a vampire who killed his last neighbor. When Mark first meets Sylvia, he tells her, “You’re the girl of my dreams!” Sylvia smiles and responds with a warning—“Be careful what you wish for.” “Alternately eerie and funny, the novel blends horror, romance, and humor.” —from the publisher’s press release.

Available at in paperback and Kindle. Paperback and all e-book formats available on author’s website.

Take a Dive for Murder by Millie Mack


hat do you do when you receive a letter from a dead man asking you to investigate his death? Carrie Kingsford can’t refuse this request from her friend. As Carrie sorts through the clues, the murderer is watching her every move. Join Carrie in this fast-paced mystery as she races to find the solution before someone else is murdered. Print and Kindle versions available at Amazon. com or

The Awakening of the Desert by Julius Birge, with introduction by Barbara Birge


ake an adventurefilled1866 wagontrain trip into the Old West! Native Americans on the warpath, early settlers, Civil War veterans, herds of buffalo and breathtaking nature along the Oregon Trail come to life in this first-hand account. In paperback, e-book and an audiobook perfect for family travel. Hear a sample or look inside the book. Available at Amazon, Audible, and the iTunes Store.


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 $375/quarter page as seen here. Contact publisher Margaret Brown to reserve your space. 214.704.4182.



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 $375/quarter page as seen here. Contact publisher Margaret Brown to reserve your space. 214.704.4182.

Shopping for the Real You by Andrea Pflaumer


practical, entertaining and highly informative primer about a subject every woman faces: what should I wear? Author Andrea Pflaumer distills the wisdom of some of the pre-eminent authorities in the fields of color, style and fashion. This easy-to-read and beautifully illustrated book will become a reference you will return to over the years. Available at Amazon.

How to Abolish Child Sexual Abuse by Steve A. Mizera


omeone you trust is ready to sexually abuse your child! What you must do to prevent it. This book has been authored by an ex-sex offender and is based on his experiences of 73 years. He believes he has the answer to the question: How can child sex abuse be abolished? The author offers recommendations on what must be done. Available at Amazon, CreateSpace, and Poe: Rest in Peace by Rachel M. Martens


he second installment in the Edgar Allan Poeinspired paranormal thriller series in which a woman must battle a horrific curse to save those she loves while struggling with depression and a new relationship complicated by her past. Rest in Peace, due out on June 13, pits the tragic heroine face-to-face against the man who plunged her into a PTSD-fueled nightmare. Available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, the iBookstore, Sony and Scribd.


life & times of persimmon wilson the

This extraordinary novel, part Cold Mountain, part Dances With Wolves, is a love story, a thriller, an epic adventure tale, and impossible to put down. Nancy Peacock writes with power and lyricism, creating characters who come to vivid life and whose struggles grip the soul. Deeply in the American grain, The Life and Times of Persimmon Wilson is a tour de force of historical fiction. — Henry Wiencek, author of Master of the Mountain: Thomas Jefferson and His Slaves “I have been to hangings before, but never my own…” From this riveting beginning to the last perfect word, Nancy Peacock grabs her reader by the throat and forces him to hang on for dear life as the action moves from a Louisiana sugar plantation to life among the western Comanches, bringing to blazing life her themes of race and true love caught in the throes of history. The Life and Times of Persimmon Wilson is as deeply moving and exciting an American saga as has ever been penned. — Lee Smith - author of Guest on Earth NANCY PEACOCK is the author of two previous novels and a memoir, including the New York Times Editor’s Choice Life Without Water. You may read the first chapters of all her books on her website

Available in print and as an ebook through Amazon and Barnes and Noble, or ordered through your independent bookstore.


COVERS with Brandon Dorman


ou may not have heard his name, but chances are you know his work. Like many artists, Brandon Dorman’s interest in art began when he was young. After studying Fine Arts at Brigham Young University, he went on to illustrate hundreds of magazine and book covers including Goosebumps, the Newbery Award honor book Saavy, and James Dashner’s The 13th Reality series. Come with us Under the Covers and discover Brandon’s creations.



The Janitors cover art is 100% digital, like most of my artwork these days. I use a Mac computer, Adobe Photoshop with a Wacom Intuos tablet. The tablet allows me to draw straight onto the computer. Even though my work is done on the computer, I still have to draw every stoke. That’s right, even nose hairs! UNBOUND


Most of the time I do not have a final image in my mind. I start with a rough sketch (approved by the publishing company) and work from there. Almost like building a castle with hundreds of blocks. Starting with the foundation and gradually adding pieces where I think it would be cool. And just like building the castle, I will rework certain areas and remove pieces if they don’t seem to fit right. I keep working this way until I get to the top and add the top piece! In painting, most of the time the “top piece� is the highlight to the eyes or sparkles to the magic dust.


AU M AG YU /J SU TN /S E E2 P0 T1 E4 MBER 2014

Rarely do I collaborate directly with the author. The art director at the publishing company usually is my main contact and sounding board. He/she is usually getting direction from the book’s editor.Â



I have done covers for Goosebumps, Fablehaven, Savvy, Axel the Truck, Cragbridge Hall, The Land of Stories and many, many others. I have illustrated 18 picture books, two of which I have authored: Santa’s Stowaway and Pirates of the Sea. Also, Janitors Book 4: Strike of the Sweepers, comes out in September.

I drew constantly as a kid. Largely due to my parents great efforts. They spared no expense when it came to art supplies and books. They were very supportive, coaxing anyone who would agree to give me a lesson. I even started a holiday window painting business at the age of 10, of course, once again strongly supported and watched over by my parents. Members of our church also reached out and gave me opportunities to do logos and small art jobs. In high school I sent out fliers and held art classes in my home for elementary age kids. I’ve had a ton of support from so many family and friends. In school, I had a few teachers who did cover art and really inspired me to run in that direction. I think it is a perfect fit and I am very blessed to do what I love! 62


ss le d a h rs e sh li b u -p lf se , e Once upon a tim d e w ie v re s k o o b ir e th g in of a chance gett ked ic w r e h g n si a le p d a h a ll than Cindere . d e g n a h c s a h y r o st t a Th stepmother. BlueInk Review: because every book

might not be a princess, but they all deserve a shot at the ball.

serious reviews of self-published books


How to Stop Being in Love with a Person You’ll Never Meet by Carol Guess and Daniela Olszewska

Tell the birds nesting in the eaves that it’s over. Tell them to flutter tall grass in Ohio. She is all Ohio now, wind lifting the cuffs of her sleeves. You imagine her wrists rubbed red from washing, doctor or mother or cutter or saint. Your no is a note tied to nothing and no one, easy to swallow with thimbles of gin. Absence is a promise best kept to oneself. A paradigm, the paradigm of numbed planning. She is still needlessly equidistant between the coasts. O, say it’s for the best three times fast then put on your housecoat and spin till the birds fling south for what’s going to seem like a very long time. The rubbed red will get everywhere soon enough.

From How to Feel Confident with Your Special Talents by Carol Guess and Daniela Olszewska, Black Lawrence Press 2014, Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.




Da Vinci’s Proportions by Margaret Randall Anti-Vitruvian, we revel in the messy leftovers after Leonardo’s circle and square conquer millennial thinking. When life is no longer made to fit well-oiled principles, all maps can be redrawn all joys are possible.

From About Little Charlie Lindbergh and other poems by Margaret Randall, Wings Press 2014, Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.



on our shelf





hese stories display a colossal range of imagination and emotional depth. The author is as comfortable depicting the end of the world (as in the apocalyptic “No Sun”) as he is following the burgeoning passions of a teenage girl (as in the coming-of-age tale “The Wildlife Biologist”). What’s more, the cover of the book can be converted into a model of the solar system. —Marc Schuster The Universe in Miniature in Miniature by Patrick Somerville, Featherproof Books, 66


riginally published in 1912, this brilliant historical account of the postCivil War American wilderness is as relevant and enjoyable today as it was a century ago. Having traveled by wagon train across the undeveloped prairies of the western territories in the 1860s, Birge provides first hand insight into early American wildlife and native peoples. I loved every page of this magnificent tale! The Awakening of the Desert deserves to be read. —Laurisa White Reyes The Awakening of the Desert by Julius C. Birge, introduction by Barbara B. Birge,



ow out in paperback, Paul Harding’s Enon includes our interview with the author from the February/ March issue of Shelf Unbound as a reader bonus (you can read the interview here: http:// docs/shelf_unbound_februarymarch_2014). Our review: “Paul Harding is on our short list of favorite authors. His debut novel, Tinkers, won the Pulitzer, and his latest, Enon, is another literary gem.” —Margaret Brown Enon by Paul Harding, Random House,

small press reviews Five Bullets by Larry Duberstein


Brimstone Corner Press

tragic, hopeful, finely wrought novel about the possibility of possibility even under impossible circumstances, Larry Duberstein’s Five Bullets offers a heartrending examination of the Holocaust and its aftermath. The book consists of two intertwined novellas. In one, Karel Bondy is a family man who watches helplessly as everyone he loves is murdered by the Nazi war machine. In the other, Karel reinvents himself as Carl Barry and gradually builds a new life for himself in America. Yet even as his new life comes together, Carl is haunted by the memories of those he lost as well as by everything he did to survive and, perhaps more to the point, to take revenge upon the officer who oversaw the systematic murder of his family. Throughout the narrative, Carl emerges as a curious creature, a man with a clearly delineated past and present that are at once wholly separate yet simultaneously inseparable. Early in the narrative, Carl reflects, “When millions are killed, when an entire race of widows and widowers is created—such a time might call for a brand new category, and a new word to define those few who were not killed.” In essence, Five Bullets sheds light on the struggle to define that category, and Carl’s ceaseless effort to suppress his own memories of the past speaks in large part to everybody’s fraught relationship with history. We are made of memories both joyful and tragic, Carl’s story suggests, and we can only find ourselves when we pay due respect to the full emotional range of our experiences. Haunting as it is compelling, Five Bullets offers an engaging, intelligent meditation on memory, hope, and survival.  —Marc Schuster, Shelf Unbound Contributing Editor Marc Schuster is the author of The Grievers, The Singular Exploits of Wonder Mom and Party Girl, Don DeLillo, Jean Baudrillard, and the Consumer Conundrum, and, with Tom Powers, The Greatest Show in the Galaxy: The Discerning Fan’s Guide to Doctor Who. He is the editor of Small Press Reviews, and his work has appeared in numerous magazines and journals. Marc teaches writing and literature courses at Montgomery County Community College in Blue Bell, Pennsylvania.



The Association of Independent Authors (AiA) is a global not-for-profit membership organization representing, advancing, supporting and encouraging self-published (independent) authors. Our membership spans five continents, with directors based in the USA, Asia, Australia and South Africa. The role of the AiA is to guide, educate, support, encourage and unite authors who have chosen to self-publish. Our Body of Knowledge (BoK) is a comprehensive resource on all aspects of selfpublishing and running a small business—today’s authors must understand the business side of publishing (sales, marketing, promotion, legal and financial issues) and how to sell a book in a global marketplace.

Our vision is that independent publishing will be the preferred, first choice, for all authors.

Our mission is to create a culture of excellence, teamwork and professionalism in a community environment where sharing and collaboration benefits each individual member and independent authors as a whole. Annual membership subscription (Associate, Member) US$50. Affiliate level is free. Come join us! (Mention promo code SHELF to receive an additional three months membership for the annual subscription of US$50.)


Pass the lampposts. Out of sight where the trees are. Cover me. Turn the corner spread before. What I want to. I go down.

—from A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing by Eimear McBride



august/september JOHN BRANDON’s three novels are Arkansas, Citrus County, and A Million Heavens. He has spent time as the Grisham Fellow in Creative Writing at the University of Mississippi, and the Tickner Writing Fellow at Gilman School, in Baltimore. His work has appeared in Oxford American, GQ, Grantland, ESPN the Magazine, The New York Times Magazine, McSweeney’s Quarterly Concern, The Believer, and numerous literary journals. He now lives in St. Paul, and teaches at Hamline University. W.H. CHONG was inducted into the Australian Book Designers Hall of Fame in 2013. He is a multi-award winning book designer and also known for his print portraits of authors which have been collected by the National Library of Australia, the Victorian State Library and the Wheeler Centre for Books, Writing & Ideas in Melbourne which has a permanent display of his portrait drawings. He writes the Culture Mulcher blog for the alt news site BRANDON DORMAN lives in Puyallup, Washington, and is the creator of Pirates of the Sea! and Santa’s Stowaway, and the illustrator of Jack Prelutsky’s Be Glad Your Nose Is on Your Face, as well as Halloween Night, by Marjorie Dennis Murray. CAROL GUESS is the author of three novels, Seeing Dell, Switch, and Homeschooling; a memoir, Gaslight; and three poetry collections, Femme’s Dictionary, Tinderbox Lawn, and Love Is A Map I Must Not Set On Fire. Forthcoming books include a poetry collection, Doll Studies: Forensics; a flash fiction collection, Darling Endangered; an essay collection, My Father In Water; and a novella, Willful Machine. She is Associate Professor of English at Western Washington University, where she teaches Creative Writing and Queer Studies. KEITH HAYES is art director at Little, Brown and Company. LAURA KLYNSTRA traded her cubicle behind a billboard in Times Square for a multi-windowed space in the woods of Michigan. She is now a freelance designer full time, focusing on book covers and illustrated book interiors. She also shoots photos for books; her photography can be viewed here: BOB LESZCZAK was born in Elizabeth, New Jersey, and graduated from Seton Hall University. A long career as a radio personality has taken him on a journey through great cities like Washington, D. C., Boston, New York City, Tampa


and Orlando. Leszczak now resides in Southern New Jersey and writes about his passions—early television and the history of rock and roll and rhythm and blues music. EIMEAR MCBRIDE grew up in the west of Ireland and studied acting at Drama Centre London. She wrote her first novel ‘A Girl is a Half-formed Thing’ at 27 and spent most of the next decade trying to have it published. It was eventually taken up by a small UK publisher, Galley Beggar Press, in 2013 and went on to win the inaugural Goldsmiths Prize, the Kerry Group Irish Novel of the Year and the Bailey’s Prize for Women’s Fiction. She currently lives in Norwich with her husband and daughter and is working on her second novel. ELIZABETH MCCRACKEN is the author of An Exact Replica of a Figment of My Imagination, The Giant’s House, Here’s Your Hat What’s Your Hurry, and Niagara Falls All Over Again. A former public librarian, she is now a faculty member at the University of Texas, Austin. DAN MCKINLEY is Art Director at McSweeney’s. CINDI MADSEN is the author of YA books All the Broken Pieces, Cipher, Rift, Resolution, and Demons of the Sun, and adult romances Falling for Her Fiancé, Act Like You Love Me, Resisting the Hero, Cinderella Screwed Me Over and Ready to Wed. PETER MENDELSUND is the associate art director of Alfred A. Knopf Books, and a recovering classical pianist. MARGARET RANDALL is a feminist poet, writer, photographer, and social activist. She is the author of more than 100 books and the cofounder and coeditor of El Corno Emplumado/The Plumed Horn, a bilingual literary journal. She is also the first recipient of the PEN New Mexico’s Dorothy Doyle Lifetime Achievement Award for Writing and Human Rights Activism. EDITH ZIMMERMAN is the founding editor of The Hairpin and a contributing writer to The New York Times Magazine. She’s also written for GQ, Elle, The Awl, and This American Life. Shelf Unbound is published bimonthly by Shelf Media Group LLC, 3322 Greenview Drive, Garland, TX 75044. Copyright 2014 by Shelf Media Group LLC. Subscriptions are FREE, go to to subscribe.

what to read next in independent publishing

Shelf Unbound August/September 2014  

Find your next favorite book in Shelf Unbound indie book review magazine. In this issue: Keith Hayes, cover designer of Donna Tartt's The Go...