Shelf Unbound December/January 2015

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comin g of ag e under the khmer ro uge staff

seng t y

Margaret Brown fo u n d e r a n d p u b l i sh e r

What to read next?

Anna Nair edito r i n ch i e f

seng t y

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 Jane Miller ac c o u n t i n g ma n a g e r

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For a dve r tising inqu ir ie s: c al l 2 14.704.4182 or e- mail m a rga ret@ s he l fm e di agrou p.c om For editor ial inqu ir ie s: e- mail m a rga ret@ s he l fm e di agrou p.c om or write to Shelf U nbou nd, P O B ox 852321 R ich ard s on, TX 75085

Photograph: From Years of Zero by Seng Ty

what to read next in independent publishing




winner: Death Never Lies interview with David Grace


Pete Delohery Award: Into the Wind interview with Lou Kasischke


finalist: Three Scenarios in which Hana Sakasi Grows a Tail: Stories interview with Kelly Luce


finalist: Sex, Love and DNA: What Molecular Biology Teaches Us About Being Human by Peter Schattner


finalist: The Years of Zero: Coming of Age Under the Khmer Rouge interview with Seng Ty


finalist: King’s Crusade interview with A.D. Starrling


finalist: Camp Secret interview with Melissa Mahle and Kathryn Dennis


NOTABLE BOOKS 46 favorite covers 52 literary fiction 56 page-turners 66 epic sagas 70 memoirs 74 non-fiction 76 romance 78 instructional 80 graphic novel 86 teen books 88 middle-grade books 90 children’s books 92 poetry DEPARTMENTS 4

a note from the publisher

100 catching up with Jennifer Bresnick 104 last words

What we eat is killing us. The Perfect Food

The electrifying new novel from John Crawley A young man in Hebron, Nebraska mysteriously dies. Then another. And still another. Soon hundreds and then thousands are dying. And doctors do not know what is causing the epidemic, until one young research scientist becomes a whistle blower. His discovery threatens the entire food industry, the White House and even the halls of Congress.

The Perfect Food is about the ability of a very few individuals to buy their way to justice–to power and to opt out of accountability. It is what happens when we allow our government to be run by the rich and powerful with little to no voice for the common person.

w w Available at Amazon, iBooks, BarnesandNoble, and Lulu

a word from the




t has become a tradition at Shelf Unbound that from summer through early fall our days become imbued with a thrilling, electric quality as we receive the entries to our annual writing competition. We had nearly a thousand entries this year from all over the world, and the best of them could stand toe to toe with traditionally published books at the top of the NYT best-seller lists. Anyone who has yet to realize that the independent publishing revolution is producing some of the best books out there need only read the books honored in this issue to see how very much they are missing out. Our overall winner this year is Death Never Lies, a can’t-put-it-down thriller perfectly executed by author David Grace. Our five finalists are Three Scenarios in which Hana Sakasi Grows a Tail: Stories by Kelly Luce, Sex, Love and DNA: What Molecular Biology Teaches Us About Being Human by Peter Schattner, The Years of Zero: Coming of Age Under the Khmer Rouge by Seng Ty, Camp Secret by Melissa Mahle and Kathryn Dennis, and King’s Crusade by A.D. Starrling. We have a new category this year, the Pete Delohery Award for Best Independently Published Sports Book. We created the award in honor of Pete Delohery, whose boxing-themed book Lamb to the Slaughter has been championed by the late Delohery’s wife Pat as a last promise to him. This award means a lot to me personally, as Pat has been a supporter of and advertiser in Shelf Unbound from our beginning four years ago. Pat’s belief in us early on affirmed our vision of bringing the best of independently published books to the attention of a large number of avid readers. The winner of the Delohery award is After the Wind: 1996 Everest Tragedy – One Survivor’s Story by Lou Kasischke, who was on the same ill-fated trip that Jon Krakauer chronicled in Into Thin Air. We found After the Wind every bit as moving and gripping as Krakauer’s account. This issue of Shelf Unbound in particular has my heart, dear readers. Enjoy. Margaret Brown publisher 4


Photograph: Belinda Baldwin

A ROAD TRIP THAT WOULD CHANGE HIS LIFE... Available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and iBookstore.

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.


WINNER of the 2014 Shelf Unbound Writing Competition for Best Independently Published Book

Death Never Lies by David Grace Wildside Press

“The newspapers said they were high on meth or crack or some other drug with a name that sounded like a line from a movie. …” 6


WINNER Shelf Unbound: From the opening scene with two drug-crazed gunmen holding up a corner store, Death Never Lies is a nonstop page-turner that unfolds like a movie. It’s your 15th novel—what have you learned about creating a complex, tight plot in the course of your writing career? David Grace: The question for me always is: From what direction should I approach the construction of the story? You can start from: 1) a character, which is where I began thinking about Death Never Lies (Greg Kane) and Death Never Sleeps (Big Jim Donegan); 2) an emotional situation (someone thought dead is rescued alive), which is where I started with The Concrete Kiss and Stolen Angel. 3) a plot structure, e.g., a chase or search. In Shooting Crows At Dawn I started with the idea of three killers racing across Texas for the Mexican border while relentlessly pursued by an old-fashioned East Texas sheriff. 4) a gimmick of some sort—some dangerous technology is on the loose

(The Forbidden List)—or a dangerous situation—the Secretary of State has learned that the President is a traitor (The Traitor’s Mistress). 5) A shocking crime and an unusual victim or suspect, which is where I started A Death In Beverly Hills. I think John Connolly is a terrific writer and I would urge people to use his Wrath Of Angels as a model of how to construct characters and plot a book. Also, The Godfather and The Silence Of The Lambs are wonderfully plotted and written books. No matter where you start—character, threat, emotional situation or a crime—you need to spend a great deal of time on plotting the story itself. I first write a narrative description of the story from beginning to end. That’s usually five to ten singlespaced pages. Then I build a chapterby-chapter outline consisting of one paragraph for each chapter in the order in which those chapters are to appear in the book. That will easily run ten to fifteen single-spaced pages. Lastly, when all that is done and I actually start writing, I have to let the story evolve; characters appear and disappear and I need to be flex-



WINNER ible in adding or deleting scenes and chapters so that the story grows and evolves and so that it works from an emotional and pacing point of view. Shelf Unbound: Homeland Security detective Greg Kane is a great character with the deductive smarts of Sherlock Holmes and the physical bravado of an action hero. How did you come up with this character? Grace: I’d been thinking about writing a book based on someone like Kane for a long time. I liked the first two or three seasons of the TV show House and I initially thought about writing a novel with an obnoxious but brilliant detective as the main character. More than five years ago I actually wrote the first three chapters of such a book, but I could see that it was turning into a pretty ordinary crime/thriller novel and I didn’t want to write that kind of a book. It was rapidly becoming more about who the villain was and how the hero was going to catch him than about who the hero was. The more I thought about it the more I became convinced that I didn’t want to do a detective version of Dr. House, so I abandoned that idea. Years went by.



“Afghanistan or Iraq?” Kane asked after the girl had taken their order. “Afghanistan—Kunar Province mostly.” Foy’s eyes clouded over for a second then snapped back into focus. “Nothing like this over there,” he said glancing around at the vinyl benches and Formica table tops. “How about you?” “I never served,” Kane said in an almost embarrassed tone. “Then how come you recognized my tattoo?” “In my job you run into a lot of guys with tattoos. It pays to learn what they mean. ...And a lot of guys who claim to have served and never did. You get to learn how to recognize the fakes pretty fast.” “I wish I was a fake. I wish I’d never joined up,” Foy said staring at Kane with sudden heat, then he looked away. “Do you

want to know what happened to me? How I ended up here?” Not knowing the right answer, Kane just shrugged. “Nothing,” Foy said with a sudden, bitter smile. “I didn’t get shot. I didn’t get blown up. Not one damn thing.” Kane started to speak but then the girl brought their food. The way Foy tore into his burger Kane wondered when he had eaten last. When the shake was down to the dregs and all that was left of the fries were broken crumbs Foy looked back across the table and smiled. “Thanks. That’s the best meal I’ve had in a while. Man, I miss those shakes.” “Sure,” Kane said. “My pleasure.” “You want to show me that picture again?” Kane slid it across the table. Foy glanced at it and pushed it back. “Yeah, I saw him. Eleven, eleven-thirty last night. I was up under the heat vent at Burger World. He passed me and went on up the block, away from the titty bar.” “Any idea where he was going? Did you notice if he turned down any of the cross streets?” “Sorry.” “Well, thanks.” “You know,” Foy said as if the idea had just occurred to him, “maybe I could look around for

him. You know, walk the neighborhood, keep a watch out.” “Keep a watch out?” “Sure. Twenty bucks?” Foy asked with a different kind of hunger in his eyes. “I could get you into a program,” Kane said. “Help you get off the sauce.” “Nah,” Foy said, smiling. “That won’t work.” “Why not?” “Because you can’t get straight unless you want to get straight, and I don’t.” “Maybe some counseling—” Foy waved Kane’s words away. “Do you have a pill that will make me forget, something that’ll let me unknow what I know?” Foy’s face grew hard then he forced himself to relax. “It’s not what you think. I didn’t get shot or get blown up, not me, personally.  ...Look,” Foy said, struggling to explain, “you meet a guy, have some beers, find out where he’s from, how he met his girl and then, boom, some asshole blows his arm off and he’s gone and a new guy gets his bunk and he tells these stupid jokes and you find out that he likes olives on his hamburger and the next thing you know they’re shoveling pieces of him into a body bag and then the guy who sleeps in the rack across from you and three down who looks like Opie and can draw like

a son of a bitch goes out one morning and comes back without a face. And it never fucking stops. You just sit there and watch these guys get fed into the meat grinder day after day and pretty soon you don’t want to know them. You don’t want to talk to them. You don’t want to hear about their girlfriends or how their little sister wants to be veterinarian or that their mom makes this great fucking blueberry bread pudding. You don’t want to know anyone, but you can’t shut them out. They just keep coming and they just keep dying, or worse, and it never stops.” Foy covered his face with his hands and shook his head as if that might drive the memories away. A few seconds later he wiped his eyes with a napkin and gave Kane an embarrassed little smile. “So, thanks for the offer and everything, but what I was and what I am...fuck, it’s like loving hot dogs and then taking a tour of the sausage factory. You can never go back to what you were before you knew.” “The booze will kill you, Randy.” “So what?” From Death Never Lies by David Grace, Wild Side Press, Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.



WINNER I knew there was something there but I didn’t know what. The breakthrough came when I realized that Greg Kane didn’t want to be the pain-in-the-butt, angry guy he had become and that his struggle to be a more normal person made him a more compelling and interesting person than just a brilliant jerk who solved crimes. Once I understood not only what skills Kane had and who he was but also who he wanted to become, I was able to turn Greg Kane into a more interesting and more heroic character than I had originally envisioned. Shelf Unbound: In your career as an attorney, you were authorized to argue cases before the Supreme Court. How much of your actual legal experience and knowledge winds up in your novels? Grace: A bit of honesty here—although Chief Justice Warren Burger did admit me to practice before the U.S. Supreme Court I never did so. After trying a few cases in state court I found that I preferred business law to litigation, and I spent the rest of my legal career in the more sedate area of contracts and corporations. However, my legal training, the habits of organization, inventive thinking, un-



derstanding how people acted and reacted in various situations, helped me a great deal in planning and plotting my novels. Shelf Unbound: You’ve written screenplays for a number of your books. Which one of them would you most like to see turned into a movie? Grace: My favorite screenplays based on my books are, in order: True Faith; Daniel; The Concrete Kiss; A Death In Beverly Hills, Shooting Crows At Dawn and Stolen Angel. My good friend’s sister ran into Dean Norris a few weeks ago and I thought: “He would be perfect for Harvey Ingersoll in The Concrete Kiss and the perfect actor to play Sheriff Jubal Dark in Shooting Crows At Dawn.” I told her to tell her sister that if she ever met Dean Norris again to let him know that I had two great scripts for him. Unfortunately, I suspect that he has heard that same boast from waiters, dental assistants and random strangers five or ten thousand times already. Nevertheless, I still get a little emotional when I close my eyes and imagine Dean Norris as Harvey Ingersoll telling a room full of hysterical people: “I told you! I told you Amy is alive!”








Emergence & Evolution Novellas I & II

Outskirts Press Future Prometheus: Emergence & Evolution revives Mary Shelley’s classical warnings in the not too distant, dystopian future. Blending classic themes, modern dilemmas and future science, this science fiction novella series begins with a pandemic and hurtles towards sexual diversity, militant matriarchs, android sapience, and the last man on Earth. “Overall, it’s dystopian literature at its finest...” —Kirkus Review


AIA Publishers Is our existence part of a grand plan or purely an accident? Intelligent Design: Revelations is a science fiction novella that goes back sixty five million years to answer the question “are we alone?” In fact, parallel to our own existence, our cousins are just within our grasp! “This book did not hold back one bit in creating a fast-paced science storyline...” — Feathered Quill Book Reviews

Birds of Flight Book One

Outskirts Press What happens when a counterterrorist specialist survives friendly fire in enemy territory? Injured, memories lost but still intact, what happens when his psychologist and nurse helps him retrieve all of his memories, very dangerous memories? Albatross: Birds of Flight – Book One launches the series of one rouge spy and his team’s mission to regain their lives, or die trying. “...Erickson rolls out his narrative with no-nonsense storytelling and no wasted words. It’s easy to get caught up in the story...” —Blue Ink Review



WINNER of the Pete Delohery Award for Best Sports-Related Book

After the Wind: 1996 Everest Tragedy – One Survivor’s Story by Lou Kasischke Good Hart Publishing

“On May 10, close to noon near the summit of Mount Everest, I gasped for breath.” 12



Shelf Unbound: You write of your experiences on the same ill-fated Everest expedition that Outside magazine writer Jon Krakauer wrote about in the best-seller Into Thin Air. You wrote the book in the two years following the 1996 expedition but decided not to publish it then. Why not? Lou Kasischke: My reasons for writing then were different from my reasons for publishing now. Sixteen years ago, I wrote about what happened and what went wrong in the tragic events, what I called “the big story.” I wrote for two reasons. One was because the events were factually complex and, for me, mixed with many emotions. The aftermath reporting was also like fog rolling in to obscure and distort what actually happened. I wanted to write things down to solidify and preserve my understanding. My perspective and analysis of the events were also different from much of what was written and reported at that time, particularly the relative importance of things. Too much was written by people who were not there about things that were colorful for storytelling, but did not matter and

led readers to reach false conclusions. And so, I wrote to understand and preserve, not to publish. I did not want to publicly express myself in writing at that time. The big story is about mistakes—human failings. I did not want to be one more voice of criticism about people who were my friends and who were dead. It just didn’t feel right. I was happy to have my writing reside in a file cabinet. Shelf Unbound: After the Wind is not just the story of your climb but also about the struggles of your wife, Sandy, back at home, both championing you and worrying, and of the strain that your climbing trips put on your marriage. In your note at the front of the book, you write, “I’m publishing this story now as an expression of my love and thanks to Sandy.” Why publish it now, and how has your perspective on Sandy’s role in this story changed over time? Kasischke: My writing 16 years ago went beyond my living the horror of what went wrong. I also wrote a highly personal story about what went right. This was the most important story for me to understand and




preserve. The big story I wanted to forget. The personal story I wanted to remember. It’s about how I survived and why. It’s about where to go for inner strength when you need it. It’s about my wife Sandy’s part in my survival. A story about the voice of the heart. A love story. In publishing After The Wind, this is the story I now most want to publicly tell. It’s fair to ask, why publish now? In 1996, I almost selfishly and recklessly died on Everest. In 2011, Sandy became seriously ill. We have loved each other 48 years. We have been married 47 years. During Sandy’s illness I have spent many hours reflecting on our life together. Thinking back to the critical life and death decision moments at noon on 10 May 1996, it was Sandy’s love and influence that came with me to Everest that saved my life. That influence included two specific promises. Sandy’s love and influence were a source of inner strength when I needed it to make the right decision. As Sandy’s health makes ugly twists and turns, Sandy now needs me. I regret how close I came to not being here for her today. Just as Sandy’s love saved my life, I like to think today that



my love for Sandy is a force within her to help in her health struggles. After The Wind tells the details of that personal love story, which can only be told in the context of the bigger historic story. And so, I tell both. But I cut down what I have to say about the big story, so that it didn’t completely smother the personal story. I publish now to publicly express my love and thanks to Sandy, to honor her while we are still together, and to thank God for the gift of her love. I tell a story about the voice of the heart. By publishing, I want to give a broader and longer life to the memory of Sandy’s role in saving my life and teaching me about life. I understood from the beginning Sandy’s role in my survival. That perspective has not changed. But its effect on me did change after Sandy became ill. My understanding went deeper. The meaning went deeper. Caring for her, worrying about her is a reversal of our roles. Paradoxically, caring for Sandy is not sacrifice, but personal enrichment. It makes me feel important and full of God’s purpose for me. And perhaps, part of God’s purpose was for me to bear witness to readers about the importance of love and per-

I decided I didn’t care. Being late didn’t matter much at that moment. This was Everest. Climbing past the safety turnaround time I promised to follow didn’t matter at all at that moment. Knowing I would be climbing down in the dark didn’t matter. What mattered was the top. And I was almost there. Others were still going. Me too. If they could, I could. Nothing could stop me. The already high risk of being there just rocketed far beyond recklessness. This, too, I knew. But I was close. I could get to the top. I wanted to keep going. I had to keep going. But it was too late. We were out of time. The frostbitten fingers? I didn’t care about those, either. Go. Keep going. Others are still going. Me too. I can do this. In climbing, there is only one

thing worse than not reaching the summit. And that is when others do, and you don’t. I chipped away ice that had caked over my face so I could breathe what little oxygen there is six miles above sea level. With my head down and gasping for air, I continued to climb. Four or five breaths. Then step. Step by step. That first and only voice I heard within me said — I can do this. Then it happened. A veiled force overpowered me. I jammed my ice axe into the snow directly in front of me. I held tight, as my knees buckled. My heart pounded in my ears. Everything else went quiet. Stone silent. I didn’t know what I would hear — after the wind — when I listened to the sound of sheer silence. But I was about to find out. From After the Wind: 1996 Everest Tragedy – One Survivor’s Story by Lou Kasischke, Good Hart Publishing, Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.



THE PETE DELOHERY AWARD We created the Pete Delohery Award in honor of the late indie author of the boxing-themed novel Lamb to the Slaughter. We’re proud to honor Pete’s creativity and passion for writing with this award. We talked to his wife Pat Delohery about Pete and his writing. Shelf Unbound: Tell us a little bit about Pete Delohery. Pat Delohery: Pete Delohery was born in Washington, D.C. in 1942. He received a B.S. and a M.S. in Civil Engineering from Virginia Tech; taught at Virginia Tech; was Town Engineer of Blacksburg, Virginia (home of Virginia Tech) and an engineering consultant in Atlanta, Georgia. Even though he was successful in engineering, his passion was always writing. Pete’s writing style immediately involves you in the story and the life of all his characters. Shelf Unbound: And how about his novel Lamb to the Slaughter. Delohery: Lamb to the Slaughter is a novel about love and courage, sin and redemption. “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 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. He has won all 22 of his fights by knockout and is said to be a former enforcer for something called The Black Mafia. But 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, has been terrorized by a mob kingpin to sabotage him. O’Connell, who is an alcoholic and a compulsive gambler, blames himself for the ring deaths of two prizefighters. Trapped 16


in a moral crisis, O’Connell 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. Shelf Unbound: How did the idea for the book come to him? How long did it take him to write it? What was his writing routine? Delohery: Pete was very interested in boxing. We attended matches and/or watched boxing on TV. He also was very interested in people and how they handled problems. The two combined to create Lamb to the Slaughter, where three men connected by a championship match were all at a major crossroad in their lives. The novel is about love and courage, sin and redemption. Pete took a sabbatical for one year and wrote two novels as well as short stories. The second novel was Lamb to the Slaughter. He would write all morning and work out with weights three days a week. Sometimes he would write after dinner and on the weekends. Shelf Unbound: You have devoted yourself to promoting Pete’s book following his death in 2011. What does promoting his book mean to you? Delohery: Pete dedicated one year of his life to create this novel. There was a near miss but the novel was not published. One of my last promises to Pete was that I would get his novel published. The publication, translation of the novel into Spanish, and promotion reflect my belief in his novel and his dream.


sonal relationships in everyday life— more worthy of memory. The story I important to prepare you, to influence live is my keepsake. It lives within me. you, and to serve as one of the sources When climbing at extreme high of inner strength when you need it. altitude, the higher you go the more difficult the climbing becomes. In adShelf Unbound: In the weeks on dition to the actual climbing and the the mountain preparing to sum- extreme risks, you face sleep deprivamit Everest, you were miserable— tion, hypoxia, malnourishment, overfreezing, suffering from diarrhea, whelming fatigue, and dehydration. malnourished, exhausted men- You can’t eat much because your tally and physically. What was the body doesn’t digest food very well. appeal of climbing for you, even You are cold and can’t breathe. Medin such tough conditions? ical doctors call it slow death from Kasischke: I set goals in life. I think suffocation and cold exposure. of my goals, and my journey to reach Why would anyone do this? When them, as “living a story.” When my I’m there experiencing the hardships goal is a climbing goal, the main ac- in the final days at the extreme and tors in the story are the people, the fighting the overwhelming desire to place, the mountain, the history, the quit, I have no answer to why. I have rigors of the climb, the obstacles frequently asked myself that quesovercome, the beauty, the wonder, the tion. I can think of no rational reason. physical and mental suffering from I think it can only be for people of the hardships at extreme altitude, and unsound mind. But when it’s over or the feeling of deep satisfaction from when I’m planning or training for the accomplishment. It’s always about next climb, it all makes perfect sense. the accumulation of very specific moBut still, with the right mindset, it’s ments for remembrance. Standing on not that hard to just keep suffering. In top of the mountain, and the physical climbing and in all of life, once I start and mental suffering to get there, is an important goal I cannot quit without only part of the story. And frequently a good reason, such as safety. Serious not even the most important part. In climbers never quit. Just because I’m the story of getting to the top, many suffering in the extreme is not a good moments are more meaningful and enough reason. Once I’m there on the




mountain, what’s more important than standing on top is knowing that I didn’t quit just because it was too hard to do. Suffering is temporary. Quitting is permanent. Quitting just because it’s too hard is one story that I have never had to tell and never want to tell. Shelf Unbound: How has surviving Everest changed your life? Kasischke: Someone famous once said that the true worth of your journey through life lies not in how far or how high you go, but in who you come to be along the way. I went to Everest to live a story. I expected a story of high adventure. Sandy asked me to live a story I could tell. But as it turned out, the Everest story was less about something for me to tell. It was more about something for me to learn. It had everything to do with guiding and influencing me to become the person I then knew I wanted to be. The Everest story has much in it for me to learn about: ambition, pressures to succeed, self-centeredness, ego and pride, leadership, followership, values, love, care and concern for others, looking beyond yourself, faith and life purpose, perseverance, heroism, selflessness, regret, and more. What was especially telling in the big story was



how vulnerable my values and convictions were to becoming subordinated to ambition and pressures to succeed. For me, my personal story today has little to do with what happened in 1996. It’s more about what happened to Sandy and me since then. In After The Wind, I decided to end the story in 1996, a few days after the events. I actually had written a 40,000 word “after story,” rich with personal growth experiences. But I cut it, out of concern that the love story, which is what I most wanted to tell, might get diluted in its intended prominence by after story events. And so, with so much to say about that 18year journey, and with limited space, it seems best I end my answer here. Standing on the summit of Everest never happened to me. But paradoxically, the events of 10 May 1996, the worst experience of my life, would become more important to me as a source of personal growth than the summit of Everest ever could have meant to me in the best of circumstances. God has a purpose for me. He gave me new life, brought me back home, gave me the strength to see my destructive self-centeredness, and gave me a chance to begin again. I can only hope I am worthy of survival.


“The author has the ability to move the reader through the emotions being experienced—from love to anguish to feelings raked raw—the reader has his finger on the pulse of what is going on (said and unsaid) with each character.” —

Amazon review


contemporary fiction novel serialized in six parts, “A Life Singular” follows a successful celebrity while he writes his autobiography after the tragic loss of his wife. In essence a love story, its themes are triumph over mental illness, the choice between right and wrong, and how one affects the other. Using the universal themes of

“There is not a single wasted or excess word or emotion. I read a little each evening and loved the world I was taken to. I will say, one must remember the time frame of this book, young people with voracious “appetites”, all part of the realism of Lorraine Pestell’s masterpiece.” —

Amazon review

“I have to say—this series did not unfold—at all- as I expected. It is that turn of events that made me like this author and her writing style. She thinks outside the box—crafting a series that begins with what thinks is the end of a relationship due to the tragic death of a spouse.” —

Amazon review

love and our endless fascination for celebrity, Lorraine Pestell aims to achieve two main goals through these books: first, to inspire fellow sufferers of mental illness to understand and rise above their symptoms; and second, to encourage non-sufferers to tolerate, support and even love those afflicted in their quest to live a “normal” life.

Lorraine Pestell was born in London and has enjoyed a successful career Information Technology which has taken her from the UK, through the US, Europe, Singapore and more recently to Australia. She currently resides in Melbourne, Victoria, with her 7-year-old Belgian Shepherd. A long-standing sufferer of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Lorraine finds volunteering for several non-profit organizations, spending quality time with her dog and writing contemporary fiction to be effective antidotes to depression and associated symptoms.

Available at UNBOUND



FINALIST of the 2014 Shelf Unbound Writing Competition for Best Independently Published Book

Three Scenarios in which Hana Sasaki Grows a Tail: Stories by Kelly Luce A Strange Object

“At the time, my uncle owned the liquor store and I delivered bottles for him on Mondays, then went back on Fridays and picked up the empties.” 20


FINALIST Shelf Unbound: You tuck fantastical elements into everyday life in these short stories, such as the toaster that can predict how people will die or the donut store worker who grows a tail. How did you come to this approach of writing? Kelly Luce: Sometimes the what-if element of the fantastic can ignite a creative fire that burns a long time. I enjoy forcing characters to react realistically to oddness—whether that oddness is magical or simply the absurdity of the everyday. There’s something about the fantastical that is, for me, a way into reality and deep emotion. Shelf Unbound: Do you start with the fantastical element and then build the story from there? Luce: In general, my story ideas start with a situation, or that what-if question. What if a scientist thought he’d invented a device capable of measuring a person’s capacity to love? (“Amorometer” is the last story in Hana Sasaki.) What if you stumbled upon a place containing everything you’d ever lost? (“Reunion” is also in the book.) Once I have my situation, I can imagine the types of characters who’d be interesting to watch react to

it, and from them, the plot is born. Shelf Unbound: Why did you decide to set all of these stories in Japan? Luce: I lived and worked in Japan for three years, and it’s impossible to overstate how strongly the experience affected me. Later, when I started writing seriously, I found that certain story ideas clicked into place when I set them in Japan. Maybe because that setting felt like it “matched” the themes I was exploring: nostalgia, grief, and the ephemeral. This matchfeeling probably came from spending those years in Japan and observing and/or absorbing a different cultural approach to these ideas. During the period I wrote the stories in Hana Sasaki, I also wrote stories that had nothing to do with Japan. But after I’d written a few Japan stories, I thought it would be fun to try and fill a book with them. At that point I consciously started coming up with Japaninspired ideas. Of course, most of the stories in the book aren’t about Japan, per se, but about people. The big thematic concerns of the book—relationships, loss, memory/nostalgia, ephemerality—arose organically, possibly due to the Japanese connective tissue.



FINALIST Shelf Unbound: Many of the stories deal with loss. What attracts you to that theme? Luce: Loss, and how to handle it, is one of the hardest things we have to navigate in life. Writing was a way to try and make sense of this. Our memories of lost things—relationships, possessions, opportunities--stay with us forever. During my late 20s and early 30s when I was working on this book, I’d been thinking about loss a lot—specifically, two friends who’d passed away, and how screwed up and confusing the world seems when a young person dies. It took a long time to get the stories that center on loss, and death, specifically, to feel right. The theme was so gangly and inelegant and that annoyed me. I finally realized that there is nothing elegant about fierce grief. Shelf Unbound: Will we see more short stories from you in the future, or perhaps a novel? Luce: Yes! I’ve got a few stories coming out this year and next: one piece of sci-fi flash fiction about a movie theater than runs on the collective unconscious of the audience, in an anthology called Gigantic Worlds; a piece about a very special sculpture



in an art museum in Midnight Breakfast; and a story on the theme of surveillance for an anthology coming out from OR Books. I’m also working on a novel. It’s the story of a Japanese-American woman who, as a child, murdered her bully. She’s now an adult, living in Colorado, married with a daughter, and no one (including her husband) knows about her past. When her estranged father dies, she returns to Japan for the first time in almost twenty years, which sets the story in motion. The book doesn’t contain magic or fantastical elements, per se, but perhaps echoes some of the themes of Hana Sasaki: memory vs. reality and the strangeness of the human mind, complicated grief, the tension between being an individual and being part of a family. It’s darker than the stories, though I’m still finding room to play.

(From “Ash”) The year we lived in Japan, the volcano at the edge of town hiccupped, covering everything in six inches of heavy golden dust. The sky turned yellow, with clouds so low they were like ceilings. No one could remember anything like it. Businesses and schools closed that first day; there was no way to handle the ash, no plows on hand in that tropical city. It was a nuisance, we were told, but not dangerous. Children poured outside to play wearing bathing suits and surgical masks. Housewives vacuumed the street. Dust got into the air raid siren, and it blared over the city for the first time since World War II. Our family was freed from obligation—Monte from going into the lab, Alex from a day of second grade, and me from filling

time. We steered our bicycles through the fine dust and joined other families making ash angels in the park. We communicated through exclamations and gestures, and in that bizarre world I felt, for the first time in months, part of something. I got arrested on the way home. A policeman flagged us down and checked the registration numbers on our bicycles; the name on mine did not match the name on my alien registration card, and I was put in the backseat of a police car while my husband and child stared. Monte kept pointing to the bike and repeating the name of his lab. His voice rose. I watched them get smaller from the backseat, half expecting my husband to chase us on his bicycle. From Three Scenarios in which Hana Sakasi Grows a Tail: Stories by Kelly Luce, A Strange Object,




FINALIST of the 2014 Shelf Unbound Writing Competition for Best Independently Published Book

Sex, Love and DNA: What Molecular Biology Teaches Us about Being Human by Peter Schattner

“Can the discoveries of 21st-century molecular biology answer age-old questions about the human experience?” 24


FINALIST Shelf Unbound: You write in your preface that you wrote this book “to help non-biologists appreciate the beauty and profound implications of this exciting new world of molecular biology.” What was your interest in spreading the word to non-scientists? Peter Schattner: I had two motivations. On the one hand, I found these stories of modern biology so compelling and saw how much they also engaged non-scientists, that I simply wanted more people to be able to enjoy them. On a deeper level, I was motivated by my belief that we are all facing profound choices that will affect the future of the planet. I believe that the more scientifically educated we are, the more likely that we will make the best decisions for preserving our precious natural heritage. At the risk of using a much-overused word, my motivation was to foster the empowerment of the non-scientist public. By helping laypeople understand the concepts of modern biology and—even more important—by demonstrating that non-scientists are capable of understanding these concepts, I hope to contribute to making people more comfortable with science. I believe that this will help us

realize that science is a remarkable tool that can be used to make the world a better place. Shelf Unbound: You do a fantastic job of communicating complex subjects in a way the layperson can understand and connect with. How did you approach the writing of this book to make biology approachable for the rest of us? Schattner: I didn’t start out with the idea of writing a book. Rather, this book originated from conversations with my father, several years ago. My dad was an intelligent man, but he hadn’t studied science in over 50 years. When I started working in molecular biology, I began to tell him about the amazing discoveries I was learning about, and how they shed light on fundamental human questions. I discovered that I could explain these ideas in a way so that he completely grasped them. More than that, I saw his excitement and enthusiasm at understanding concepts that he had known were important, but had thought he could never comprehend. Soon I found myself entertaining friends with these stories and learning



FINALIST that my experience with my father was hardly unique. I realized that many laypeople are well aware that biology plays a key role in shaping who we are but think the concepts are just too difficult for them to understand. I discovered that I was able to make learning biology fun and entertaining. I was gratified to see how appreciative my friends were upon being introduced to this amazing new world of knowledge. As I began the actual writing of the book, I continued with the approach of having non-scientists essentially teach me how to explain ideas clearly. I would ask them to read chapters and tell me exactly where they became confused. To give just one example, I initially wrote about “twin studies,” unconsciously assuming everyone would know this referred to scientific studies of twins. However, after one early reader reported not understanding whether I meant “studies of twins” or “a pair of studies on the same topic,” I realized that I needed to be more explicit. In this way, my readers taught me how to write for the non-scientist.

sexual attraction. Where do you stand on the ethics of tinkering with human genes to control outcomes? Schattner: I don’t think this is a black-and-white issue. There are many shades of gray. At one extreme, I am very comfortable with current attempts to treat children with SCID by modifying their genes. (SCID is a severe immunological disease. It is also known as “bubble-baby disease” because afflicted individuals are typically placed in isolation chambers to protect them from bacteria and viruses that are harmless to everyone else.) I also don’t have a problem with the genetic screening of prospective parents to discover if they have genetic variants that could cause their children to be born with a serious disease, such as cystic fibrosis or sickle cell anemia. Similarly I am comfortable with prenatal genetic screening, understanding that such tests may lead to decisions for abortion. At the other end of the ethical spectrum, I am opposed to prospective parents being allowed to selectively abort a fetus simply because the fetus’ genetic test results Shelf Unbound: You cover the ge- suggest that the child-to-be would not netics of kindness, intelligence, be as athletic or intelligent or goodlongevity, athleticism, and even looking as the parents might wish.



ARIZONA TERRITORY, 1878 COCHILLA TOWNSHIP Young Jeff Landry's dead, no question. Mort Lewis is charged with his murder. You decide his guilt or innocence.




Why Are Some People So Smart? Doogie M. is one smart fellow. On just about any intelligence test, Doogie scores significantly higher than his peers, including his identical twin brother, Dewey. Actually, Doogie’s and Dewey’s DNA are not completely identical. Doogie has one more gene than his brother. Could this single gene be the reason that Doogie is so smart? Could this bizarre story possibly be true? Remarkably, the story of Doogie is true. Well, mainly true. As you may have guessed, Doogie isn’t a person but a mouse. Doogie belongs to a strain of genetically altered mice originally developed by Joe Tsien, a professor at Georgia Regents University. Doogie’s DNA includes an additional copy of a single 28


gene called NR2B. And Doogie is smarter on mouse intelligence tests than mice that don’t have an extra copy of NR2B. Wait a second, what does it mean for a mouse to be “smarter” on a “mouse intelligence test?” For that matter, what does it mean for one person to be smarter than another person? Was Einstein smarter than Shakespeare or da Vinci, or did he just have a different kind of intelligence? Actually, for what we’ll be talking about in this chapter, we don’t need to agree precisely on what intelligence is. All we need to accept is that Einstein was different from you and me, and that understanding how Einstein’s biology, his genetic makeup and his environment made him different would be pretty interesting. In other words, rather than tackling the thorny question of defining intelligence, I’ll just paraphrase Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart: Intelligence may be difficult to define, but you know it when you see it. (Actually, Justice Stewart was talking about pornography— but you get the point.) From Sex, Love and DNA: What Molecular Biology Teaches Us about Being Human by Peter Schattner, Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.

“ “ “

What I love about E.R. Barr’s writing is the emotional gravitas, the unmistakable literary quality that is clear right at the get-go. His masterful storytelling reveals ‘Roan’ is not some empty fantasy pap—it is believable and, in certain moments, deeply inspiring. —Meghan, top 500 reviewer for Amazon amazing mix of urban and epic fantasy, shot through with Native American, Irish and Welsh mythology, people with characters who are both filled with human frailties and are larger-than-life. If you are like me and have become somewhat jaded by epic fantasy, you are in for an awesome treat. —Jack Magnus for “Reader’s Favorite” It has been years since I cried whilst reading a book but Roan had me sobbing. E.R. Barr is a storyteller like no other. Within Roan he weaves a magical, mystical story that resembles those told around fires many years ago. Captivating, magical and highly addictive Eric Barr creates a story of love, spiritual being, power, control and good v’s evil —Jennifer Douglas Literary Publicist, Brisbane, Austraila


he ‘dark ones’ of Tinker’s Grove are young folks who manifest shapeshifting powers only to lose them in adolescence. Leaving Chicago at the death of his mother, seventeen year old Conor Archer goes home to the Grove and finds kinship with the ‘dark ones’ and the shadowy beings inhabiting the burial Mound down by the River—they call themselves the Roan, Celtic shapeshifters from across the sea. Caught between two worlds, one of science, the other of myth, Conor finds his little town the center of a battle for humanity’s soul. Available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords FIRST PLACE GOLD MEDAL







FINALIST Although this kind of genetic prediction of physical and mental traits can’t yet be done, in 20 years it may well be possible. So it is entirely appropriate for us to start thinking about (and worrying about) such scenarios. After all, in some parts of the world, at times parents already choose to abort a fetus simply because the child will be a girl (as shown, for example, in an ultrasound image). With the advent of prenatal genetic screening, the potential for such abuses of our biomedical knowledge will only increase. Shelf Unbound: So, what does molecular biology teach us about being human? Schattner: Well, if I could answer that question in a paragraph or two, I wouldn’t have needed to write an entire book! In fact, molecular biology teaches different lessons depending on whether we focus on our bodies, our minds, our emotions, the ways that the environment affects us, or our history as a species. That said, I believe there are unifying themes within the lessons of molecular biology. Perhaps the most striking one for me is the one I describe in the book’s final paragraph. In fact, probably my best answer to your question is simply to quote that paragraph:



“We need to accept that we are biological animals and that our lives are influenced by microscopic events within our bodies and brains. This understanding should not lead us to a fatalistic view of our lives or a desire to remain ignorant of how our biology affects us. That we are born with different genetic potentials does not imply that some people are better than others, and it certainly does not justify discrimination, oppression or violence against those who are different. Genetic diversity does not give any group of people the moral right to take advantage of others who simply were born with a different set of genetic or epigenetic variations in their cells. In fact, biology teaches us that diversity is one of nature’s most effective defenses against environmental change. Hopefully, rather than seeking the illusion that we are unaffected by our biology or that we are all biologically the same, our scientific knowledge will provide us with a more profound understanding of ourselves. If biology has taught us anything, it is that we should celebrate the entire diverse spectrum of humanity that nature has created, and treat all of its members with kindness, tolerance and respect.”



n the summer of 1941, the United States is only months away from being at war. Despite nearly two years of military build-up, America is ill prepared to combat the conflagration that has spread across Europe and onto the Atlantic’s high seas. In Berlin, Admiral Doenitz, head of the Kriegsmarine’s deadly U-Boat force is putting the finishing touches on Operation Neuland which will bottle up America’s merchant fleet as it tries to come o Britain’s aid. Rick Kasten lost the love of his life to Nazi thugs in Lisbon and has been looking to get even. Once an amateur spy now turned professional, Rick is sent back into the heart of Nazi Germany to torpedo the Doenitz’s plans. While he is there, he has a bit of payback to exact. The Last Voyage of the Paramaribo Queen sets a stormy course from New York to Lisbon and across the Atlantic to the tranquil Caribbean. But that tranquility is deceptive and short-lived, U-Boats and spies abound on the lush tropical coast of South America. Once again, Rick Kasten finds himself pitted against modern-day pirates who ply the waters of the Spanish Main in search of the black gold that fuels modern warfare. John Bushby is the author of: SHADOW SOLDIERS A Rick Kasten Novel of World War II THE WARSZAW EXPRESS A Harry Braham Novel THE RHINEMAIDEN’S SONG A Harry Braham Espionage Novel

All titles available at



An IndieBound Affiliate Author and a NAIBA Regional Author UNBOUND



FINALIST of the 2014 Shelf Unbound Writing Competition for Best Independently Published Book

The Years of Zero: Coming of Age under the Khmer Rouge by Seng Ty

“I remember the beauty and peace of Cambodia before the Khmer Rouge.”



FINALIST Shelf Unbound: Your father was killed and your mother was starved to death in a Khmer Rouge labor camp; you barely survived years there and at 13 escaped to a refugee camp. Interviewed there, you told a Time magazine reporter: “My only revenge is to be the best person possible, and to be as good a man as I can be.” How were you, at just 13 and given the atrocities you had experienced and witnessed, able to have and express such grace? Seng Ty: I remember the important things my parents taught me to respect: manner, value of education, and right and wrong. My parents always reminded us to follow our oldest brother’s footstep – he had worked hard to reach his dream of getting an education in France. It was April 17, 1975, henceforth known in Cambodia as the Day of Betrayal -- the day the communist insurgents called the Khmer Krohum (known to Westerners as the Khmer Rouge) finally smashed the last lines of the Cambodian government who was supported by the United States. For three years, eight months, and twenty days, I endured the Khmer

Rouge’s horrific regime that brutalized and murdered my father and my older siblings. My mother died of over-worry and starvation. The experience left many of us who survived with scars we can’t really verbalize to our children. I have seen and witnessed extreme violence and hatred, and I was tortured near death beyond human imagining. I have seen some children brainwashed to betray and kill their families and friends. I would never be one of them. What they did was completely wrong. When I found my way alone to a refugee camp in Thailand at age 13, I thought my life was getting better because I didn’t have to search for food. I was fed two meals a day and no longer starved. I was fortunate to be selected and interviewed by a reporter from Time magazine. He asked me did I want to revenge my family. I never thought my revenge was to pick up a gun and kill the Khmer Rouge who harmed my family. I wanted to take my revenge by being as good a person as I can be and to get a good education so I can succeed in my own life. I have lived through one of the most hateful and violent experiences, and I don’t want to use violence as part of my revenge. I believe the best



FINALIST revenge against ignorance, hatred, war, and violence is through education and by building good moral and spiritual foundations. Through this, human tragedies can be reduced or minimized and children can learn to distinguish between right and wrong.

also can imagine that if I had been adopted by a wrong family, my life would be different. I am one of the luckiest orphans to have such a supportive adoptive family, and I never wanted to disappoint them by not completing my education or being a productive citizen. It’s so wonderful Shelf Unbound: An American to see many of us now succeeding in family read the Time maga- our lives and careers. zine piece and saw your picture and ended up seeking you, spe- Shelf Unbound: You write of cifically you, out for adoption. the difficulties of adjusting to What do you think your life your new life in America, and would have looked like if you of suffering from PTSD. What had not been adopted? were the things that ultimately Ty: My picture inspired my foster healed you? family to work to bring Cambodian Ty: Yes, when I first arrived to my new orphans to America. My being their life, I had difficulties adjusting to a new foster child was the result of great family, culture, food, climate, and langood fortune. I’m so grateful to my guage, all very strange to me. I had to adoptive family who gave me a new keep in mind that my new struggle in life here in America. I can’t imagine life is nothing compared to what I had my life without the support, love, and gone through in Cambodia. I apprecicare they provided for me. I felt like ated having a good home and food on the spirit of my mother handed me the table, and I worked hard to reach to a new adoptive mother who could my American dream. give hope and a future. I imagine that I live my life with many nightmares without my adoptive family, my life and flashbacks, many horrible memowould be a great struggle, hopeless, ries. I tried to put my past behind so and I might not have lived to see my I could focus on my future and fambeautiful children if I didn’t have the ily. I am healing by writing this book, opportunity to come to America. I The Years of Zero, which is a work that



Mother’s Last Words With the coming of the dry season, my mother became very ill. All around us, the New People were dying from overwork and malnutrition. They had never worked so hard in all their lives. They had never before gone a day without a good meal. When I was a boy in Ang Sarey, I was always sure that my mother would prepare something for me as soon as I woke up. Now she was dying. Father had been killed. Reth and Mohm had died. Da was getting sicker and sicker. His belly ballooned like a blowfish, so badly swollen I thought I could take a pin and poke the air out of him. His skin was all blistered, his hands were skin and bones, eyelids swollen, face disfigured. We received just one small bowl of watery rice porridge

a day and a little salt once a week. They gave us the salt only because they needed us to work the fields. A bowl of tasteless rice porridge was never enough … I managed to stay alive by stealing. My mother was getting weaker and weaker, her frail body fading. Still, she was told to work. Late one afternoon, Mother came home so exhausted that she couldn’t even climb the steps to the house. I heard her call for help. “Help me, son, I’ve fallen.” “Da!” I called out to my brother. “Help! Mother is very weak. Please, hurry.” Da was himself very weak. His face was yellowed from lack of salt, and his whole body was swollen from malnutrition. He walked very slowly because of the swelling. The two of us tried to pull our mother up the steps and carry her into the house. We didn’t know what to do. All we did was cry. I shook her slightly, hoping she would open her eyes. She was unconscious. “Mother, please don’t die,”

I begged. Mother did not move. There was no sign of her breathing. “Oh, Buddha, please don’t let her go,” I prayed. We went to one of the neighbors, an old woman, for help. “Our mother is very sick,” we told her. “Please, help us.” The old woman took pity on us. She belonged to one of the Khmer Rouge families. After we cried and begged for her support, she came to our house to check on our mother. She felt Mother’s pulse and told us she would be OK. “Coin her,” she told us. “She’ll be fine.” What Mother really needed, though, was enough to eat and some time to rest. While Da was coining her… I realized that it was time to receive our food ration. The bell had struck three times. From The Years of Zero: Coming of Age under the Khmer Rouge by Seng Ty, Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved. UNBOUND



Seng’s Story Seng Ty was born in the Kampong Speu province of Cambodia, the son of a respected physician who taught him to value life, aspire to humanity, and seek the good in people. He was thirteen when he fled alone to a refugee camp in Thailand in 1981. His story was featured in Time magazine’s article “Children of War” and was read by an American family in Amherst, Massachusetts, who adopted him a year later. He graduated from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst in 1993 and went to work as a guidance counselor in the Lowell, MA school system. Now he is a citizen of the United States, a husband, and a father of two children. Seng will never rid himself of his ghosts nor will he forget the blood-chilling atrocities he has witnessed and experienced. However, he doesn’t crave revenge against those who carried out these atrocities. He desires to share his story of survival and courage only in order to give hope to others. He was on the Children of War tour in the U.S. in early 1984 and he shared his story through the Phil Donahue Show, CBS 60 Minutes, and many major newspapers. Seng’s wish is that The Years of Zero will give him a platform to expand his message beyond the circle of his students in Lowell to people all over the world who are in need of a little hope.



FINALIST spans over 15 years of labor—thinking, remembering, painstakingly reliving what I had experienced during one of the most hateful regimes in our world. Every one of us who have gone through the war and genocide has PTSD that we cope with in different ways. Writing is my way of coping that I wanted to share with my children and other people. I have kept myself busy involved in my Cambodian community and keep in close contact with many of my old orphan friends and families. We keep our strong bond together and help each other in emotional and physical ways. Shelf Unbound: You say that you’ve written this book now because your oldest child has started asking questions about your childhood. And you regularly share the story with middle school students in the Lowell, MA district in which you are a guidance counselor. What do you hope your children and the students will take away from knowing your story? Ty: The story of what happened to me and my family must be remembered, to honor both the survivors and those whose lives were taken, and

to help prevent it from ever happening again. Genocide can happen anywhere and anytime. It’s very important for me to write this story down so I can pass it on to my children and as well as to others who can read it. There aren’t many books written about this subject, and many of the survivors feel it is too painful to share their stories with their children and grandchildren. Many of them knew very little about the history of Cambodia. Thirty years ago, there was only the movie The Killing Fields made into a mainstream motion picture that let millions of people know that genocide happened in Cambodia. It’s important for my children to learn this history of Cambodia. I’m grateful that my son, who is now 8 years old, is asking me what happened to me when I was his age, and about his grandparents. He is beginning to read the book. Besides my regular guidance work in the middle school, I am a regular speaker to students and share my experience and inspire them to appreciate their parents, what they have, and opportunities to get a good education. Some middle and high schools and universities are using the book for their students to read in class.




FINALIST of the 2014 Shelf Unbound Writing Competition for Best Independently Published Book

King’s Crusade by A.D. Starrling

“The little girl stared into the dead man’s eyes, her expression steady and unflinching.” 38


FINALIST Shelf Unbound: King’s Crusade tells the story of two races of Immortals, whose members can survive up to 16 deaths. It starts with characters in 1700 and then flashes forward to 2010, in which two of the Immortals are involved in an exciting and mysterious search for missing artifacts. How did you come up with the idea for the Immortals? A.D. Starrling: The entire concept of immortals who can survive up to sixteen deaths stemmed from a single vivid image. When I was on holiday in Mauritius a few years ago, some friends and I went to a very popular island called Iles aux Cerfs, off the mainland. Our boat was travelling through a lagoon when I spotted a single black marker stone in the middle of a sandbank populated by mangroves. On it was written the number “17” in dripping red paint. It was a startling sight to say the least and I wrote the number down in my notebook. I was looking for a short story idea for the British Fantasy Society Short Story competition a year or so later and stumbled across that number. I decided to write about a man who could die up to seventeen times.

Lucas Soul, the protagonist of the first book, immediately walked into my head and spoke the first three sentences of his story. “17” was a finalist for the BFS competition that year. It was too good a story concept to let go and I decided to expand it into a novel. Initially, I planned to write one to two novels about Lucas Soul. But as the world of the immortals grew and more fascinating characters came to life, I realized the concept would make an amazing, intricate series. I went back to the drawing board at the end of the first novel, built up the backstory further with a timeline spanning several millennia, and started to flesh out the other main characters who would come in the later books. By the time I finished King’s Crusade, I knew there would be six novels in the series and I had written a draft of the last scene of the final one. Shelf Unbound: I love the kickass character Alexa King. Tell us about her. Starrling: Alexa both fascinates and scares me to death. She is one of the coldest characters I have ever written and I did this deliberately. Alexa



FINALIST King represents the ultimate immortal warrior in the group of fascinating protagonists who will come to light as the series progresses. As such, she has to be calculating and ruthless. But as the story of King’s Crusade unfolds, you see her slowly change. She remains the perfect, deadly warrior she was always destined to be but she finally allows herself to “feel” for the first time in her long existence. Shelf Unbound: You’re a practicing medical doctor. Any similarities between practicing medicine and writing novels? Starrling: Long hours, intense focus, and the need to get it right, always. Shelf Unbound: King’s Crusade is the second instalment of the Seventeen series, and you’ve just published the third instalment, Greene’s Calling. Can you tell us a bit about the new novel? Starrling: All the books have been a little bit different thus far and I hope they continue to surprise readers. Soul Meaning has been compared to the film “Speed” in terms of the intensity of the action and “Highlander meets James Bond.” A few reviewers



felt King’s Crusade read like novels by Dan Brown and James Rollins. King’s Crusade remains my readers’ favourite at present. Greene’s Calling, to my great surprise, has been compared to the TV series “24” and has been my editors’ favourite thus far. Greene’s Calling introduces readers to the third special protagonist of the series. Conrad Greene is a highly regarded general in the Bastian Corps until the day he chooses to shun both immortal and human societies alike so as to spend the rest of eternity in the depths of the Amazon. When adventure comes calling in the form of a plane crashing into his house, the jaded immortal gifted with extraordinary healing powers must once more assume the mantle of leadership and head a team of elite human and immortal agents tasked with tracking down an organization determined to shift the power balance of the world. At its core, beyond the exciting, fastpaced action, Greene’s Calling explores the concepts of lost love, sacrifice, and endurance.

Her eyes were a clear gray, the irises wide and almost silvery in their sheen. Her skin, where it was visible beneath the dirty yet elegant ivory dress she wore, was an alabaster white. Thick, dark curls crowned her head and fell in waves to her shoulders, framing a surprisingly slim face and neck. She looked to be about eight years old and was without a doubt the most shockingly beautiful being he had ever seen. Yet it was not her startling appearance that stopped him in his tracks; it was the look on her face that sent a sharp chill through his bones and a shiver down his spine, immobilizing his legs. There was only one word to describe the expression in her eyes: fearlessness. Pure and unadulterated, the feeling seemed to seep through

her pores and emanate from the very core of her being, an almost palpable energy focused in a lance-like beam projected from her dark pupils. That was when Reznak knew she was not human. The little girl blinked. Reznak suddenly found that he could move again. His gaze drifted down to her right hand, where the handle of an ugly knife was clasped firmly between her slender fingers. Red droplets still gleamed wetly on the edge of the blade and dropped into an expanding pool by her bare feet. His eyes followed the crimson trail to the dead man lying inches from where she stood. From King’s Crusade by A.D. Starrling, Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.




FINALIST of the 2014 Shelf Unbound Writing Competition for Best Independently Published Book

Camp Secret (Junior Spy Series, Book 1) by Melissa Mahle and Kathryn Dennis SpyGirls Press

“At first glance, Camp International looked almost normal.”



FINALIST Shelf Unbound: Four middle schoolers attend a special summer camp, unaware at first that it is actually a spy training camp. Melissa—as a former CIA intelligence officer, what insider’s knowledge did you bring to this book? Melissa Mahle and Kathryn Dennis: The camp was based on “The Farm,” the CIA training camp located in a secret location in Virginia where Melissa did her training. We’d tell you where, but we’d have to kill you. The tests, the way the instructors behave, the mind games, all of this comes from her experiences, but with added fun and fictional moments. We packed this story with real spy tips and insights into how real spies think and act, and the different challenges they must confront, including ethical dilemmas. Kids are fascinated by all-things-SPY. We seek to turn that interest in codes, puzzles and intrigue into a love of books that makes them readers for life. Shelf Unbound: How did the two of you connect to write this book, and what was your process of writing it together? Mahle and Dennis: We met in

our 20s in New York. Kathryn was working in advertising and Melissa was finishing her Masters in International Affairs at Columbia. Melissa’s roommate had gone to art school with Kathryn, and we were all new to the big city, finding our way. We stayed in touch over the years as Melissa worked overseas, traveling together...doing what best friends do. In 2004, on a lark, we decided to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro. This was a total mid-life crisis. Eight days on a steep trail with little oxygen, we pretty much talked all the way to the top. Melissa was back living in the U.S. again, writing a non-fiction book about her experiences and volunteering with kids at the International Spy Museum in Washington D.C. Kathryn was in the middle of a fiction writing program at the University of Washington. The idea to create the stories we both loved for kids was birthed on that climb: John LeCarre, but for kids, a modern-day Nancy Drew, notes kept in Harriet the Spy black and white speckled notebooks, red herrings, a flashlight tucked away into a purse in case you need to go down a dark staircase. Starting to write together was



FINALIST messy. We just sort of plowed through it and early on landed a literary agent who had us do multiple revisions. Through revision, we found our common voice. We plot each book together, but because we trade off writing chapters, sometimes one of us will veer off in a new direction or give the other a new idea. We have gotten to the end, surprised ourselves with where the story ended up and had to go back and plant the seeds to make it work. We try to end each chapter with a bit of a cliffhanger, so you need to read just one more page. It makes writing a lot more fun when you open that morning email, and the main character has been locked in a bathroom with no way out and a security guard is banging on the door. Go! Shelf Unbound: I particularly love geeky Lee Wong. How did you go about creating this character? Mahle and Dennis: We love Lee too. We think Lee is a bit of both of us, the kid who for whatever reason doesn’t feel he or she fits in. An introvert yearning to be noticed, but not too much. Most of us go through life like this. He is also the ultimate spy.



He is a keen observer, and he listens. When you are not the life of the party, you are able to watch what others are doing. He has such a good heart. We knew this was going to become his story. Shelf Unbound: The book ends with a memo to the Alpha team: “POTUS in PERIL.” Please tell me that a sequel is coming soon. Mahle and Dennis: Yes. Book 2 of the Junior Spy series is in the works. We are planning for a Fall 2015 release. We can’t tell you the title just yet, but it includes a dik dik, an impossibly cute, tiny antelope found in Africa. Tex and Audrey have deployed to the wilds of Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania to track down an unfolding plot against the President of the United States. Ria and Lee are assigned to a small office space in the White House basement, where they face a different, but equally dangerous environment. They must connect the dots between a weapons heist, the disappearance of a White House intern and a mysterious new puzzle in the daily newspaper. Their story lines will intersect, and the team will reunite to save the day at the end of the book, with a surprising twist.

Lee passed around a new bag of M&M’s as the team sprawled on the king-size bed in his room. Every ops meeting had to have snacks, and he preferred his with peanuts. “How’d you get this room in the tower anyway?” Ria asked. “Audrey and I have to share a basement space the size of a jail cell. It’s even decorated like one. You’ve got a TV too. No fair.” “Not so loud,” Audrey said. “Someone might hear us.” Lee checked his watch. It was after midnight. The regular hotel guests were probably sleeping. MOLECHECK had been caught off guard by Audrey’s question about KUBARK, but not enough that he let them get away with sloppy reports. He had them work well past curfew until the casing reports met his approval,

which meant precise locations for agent meetings, with maps, flowcharts and photos. He actually hollered at them several times. Lee felt lousy they had disappointed their mentor. “It’s okay, I’m the only one on this floor. It’s practically Siberia.” It had been as simple as a few clicks into the master reservations system to get the upgrade for Mr. Todd Splinky. He needed to redirect the conversation. “Why do you think MOLECHECK lied to Audrey about the program’s codename?” “Maybe, it’s only a partial lie. DASH said the best deceptions are built on a kernel of truth,” Ria said. Lee’s jaw dropped. “Sweet Einstein! You mean, you think we’re being trained as assassins?” From Camp Secret (Junior Spy Series, Book 1) by Melissa Mahle and Kathryn Dennis, SpyGirls Press, Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.






I think of a book jacket as being sort of like a visual reminder of the book, but it’s also a souvenir of the reading experience. Reading takes place in this nebulous kind of realm, and in a way, the jacket is part of the thing that you bring back from that experience. It’s the thing that you hold on to. We did not judge books by their covers in our competition, but we had so many favorites that we decided to share some of them with you throughout the rest of the issue. OUR FAVORITE BOOK COVERS







Dawné Dominique’s

The First series delves into biblical beginnings and paranormal fiction, effortlessly blending the two into an exciting reading experience. These entities, termed monsters, are indeed real and were created the same as mortals—but perhaps for a greater purpose. Lose yourself in the dark writing world of best selling, paranormal author, Dawné Dominique. This is definitely not your ordinary vampire series. “The First series moves from strength to strength. There are no “slow moments”...simply too much is going on in some form or fashion throughout the books. New and exciting characters are introduced. Revenge, retribution, and a little humbling, our lovers are pushed to their limits and beyond...rousing action, secrets revealed, and questions answered even while revelations raise new ones.“ —Ivy D., Manic Readers ( In a land that has lost its mage’ic, two souls are destined to meet—and an evil Nongéva Druid is pulling all the strings. But when the need is shall he wake. ... Jerlo has spared not a milligram of her imagination during the construction of this novel. The world she has invented brims with intriguing settings, characters, and themes, which give a reader much to savor in the book’s pages. —Nathrad Sheare, OnLine Book Club AVAILABLE AT




— Kirkus Reviews

— BlueInk Reviews U.S. $XX.XX

“Genuously hilarious...”

E. Rawlins

“A heartfelt and engaging read”

Learning to Live with Fritz

“A thoroughly readable account of a woman, a dog and a spiritual journey.”

Available at Amazon, Barnes+Noble and IUniverse

— Clarion Reviews




Healing Ruby by Jennifer H. Westall

Love Comes Later by Mohanalakshmi Rajakumar

“Ruby Graves, a young girl in Depression-era Alabama, faces the hardships of poverty and loss with as much faith as she can muster, armed with her beloved Scriptures.”

“When newlywed Abdulla loses his wife and unborn child in a car accident, the world seems to crumble beneath his feet. … Rajakumar pulls back the veil on life in Qatar.”

The Stream by A.R. Silverberry Tree Tunnel Press

Out There by Sarah Stark Leaf Storm Press

Five Bullets by Larry Duberstein Brimstone Corner Press

“After a devastating storm kills his parents, five-yearold Wend awakens to the strange world of the Stream. Part coming-of-age tale, part adventure, part spiritual journey.”

“An Army veteran of Native descent returns home to New Mexico after serving in Iraq convinced the book he carried with him (One Hundred Years of Solitude) saved his life.”

“A tragic, hopeful, finely wrought novel about the possibility of possibility even under impossible circumstances. A heartrending examination of the Holocaust and its aftermath.” —Marc Schuster



The Demon Who Peddled Longing by Khanh Ha Underground Voices

“Set in post-war Vietnam, The Demon Who Peddled Longing brings together the damned, the unfit, the brave, who succumb by their own doing to the call of fate.”


Almost Perfect by Diane Daniels Manning

Letters from Paris by John Crawley Lulu Press

Boarding Pass by Paul Cumbo One Lane Bridge Publications

“Meet Clare de Fontroy,—poet, journalist, underground warrior, activist, mother, lover—whose letters comprise a narrative about America’s past, as well as its future.”

“In this coming-of-age novel, a coincidence reunites a young firefighter with his father. Hearing the news launches a schoolmate on a journey that becomes nothing less than a pilgrimage.”

Ten Stories by Paul Cumbo One Lane Bridge Publications

The Blind Eye by Marcia Fine L’Image Press

Dream Singer by Frank O. Smith Artisan Island Press

“Set in varied landscapes, these ten short stories provide glimpses of humanity from a multitude of angles. Each portrays ordinary people at extraordinary moments—both joyful and tragic.”

“In parallel stories set in 15th century Portugal and the 1990s, two women explore their identities. A sweeping narrative about a family expelled from Spain connecting to a modern woman.”

“Dream Singer is the story of Elijah McCloud, a Native American elder who lives reclusively in the mountains of the West. Part love story, tragedy, and mystery.”

“A 13-year-old boy with mild autism and ADHD takes a has-been champion Standard Poodle to Westminster, the world’s greatest dog show, and heals two families.”






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.


The Bleak by Keith Dixon Semiologic Ltd.

Blood Land by R.S. Guthrie

Crop Duster: A Novel of WWII by John D. Beatty

“Sam Dyke is back! The private investigator who never gives up sets himself on a dangerous course to prevent a madman from achieving his ends.”

“When billions in natural gas rights hang in the balance and a law officer’s wife is slain, a reluctant hero must choose between justice, revenge, and duty.”

“After the carnage of WWI, the next war was fought in the air. This is a story of love, courage, survival and mercy in the Bomber War over Europe.”

Fleeting Note, Double Cover, Fleeting Chance, and Fleeting Memory by Sherban Young

Floats the Dark Shadow: A Mystery of Paris by Yves Fey BearCat Press |

Forevermore: A Pat O’Malley Mystery by Jim Musgrave English Majors Publishing

“As 1900 approaches, Paris reigns supreme. But whether deranged mind or demonic passion incites him, the killer who now stalks Paris must be found before he strikes again.”

“In post Civil War New York City, Detective Pat O’Malley decides to prove that Edgar Allan Poe did not die in Baltimore from an alcoholic binge but was murdered.”

“These comedic capers center around a puzzle or brainteaser. It could feature a heist, or even a friendly corpse or two—but never anything gritty.” 56


Death of a Diva

A densely plotted noir mystery from historical novelist Brigitte Goldstein


n internationally renowned star of screen and stage is brutally murdered at a Broadway theater in the summer of 1941. The investigation takes on a riveting tour from the coffeehouse culture of pre-WWI Vienna to the cabaret milieu of 1920s Berlin and ultimately the émigré haven of war-time New York. Available in paperback and ebook at Amazon and KPD

Dina’s Lost Tribe

A historical novel by Brigitte Goldstein


he narrative intertwines the lives of two Jewish women living 700 years apart. In her search for her mystical birthplace in the Pyrenees, an American historian stumbles upon an isolated mountaintop utopia arrested in time. What she finds there is not only love but a mysterious codex written in Hebrew letters. Engaging the help of a fellow scholar, she deciphers the writing which opens up the passionate world of a medieval Jewess. Available at Amazon and other online book vendors in paperback and ebook.




Fractured Trust: A Renee Steele Legal Mystery by R. Barri Flowers

“Assistant prosecuting attorney Renee Steele prosecutes a wealthy businessman accused of raping a young woman during a date. Date rape and prostitution are put under the microscope.”

Glimpse of Sunlight: Jonathan Dickinson Odyssey, Book 1

Havana Lost by Libby Fischer Hellmann The Red Herrings Press by Leona DeRosa Bodie and G.E. Gardiner, illustrated by Steven Witucki WRB Publishing |

“Glimpse of Sunlight brings to life Jamaica’s allure and turbulent history, packing 400 dramatic years into a tale teeming with rebellion and romance.

Khaki = Killer by Connie Corcoran Wilson Quad Cities’ Press

Mosaics: A Track Presius Mystery by E.E. Giorgi Quemazon Publishing

“Escaped serial killer Michael Clay targets Tad McGreevy, the boy with Super Tetrachromatic Vision who “sees” the crimes of those with “the color of evil” (khaki) in his nightmares.”

“Dubbed the Byzantine Strangler because of the mysterious mosaic tiles he leaves at the crime scene, a new serial killer is stalking the streets of Los Angeles.”



“From the troubled streets of Havana to the mean streets of Chicago, Havana Lost spans three generations, revealing the true cost of chasing power instead of love.”

Murder in One Take, Murder: Take Two, and Murder Take Three By April Kelly and Marsha Lyons Flight Risk Books

“When an Oscar-winning star is shot by his ex-lover, Det. Blake Ervansky has motive, weapon, videos, and eyewitnesses, including his brand new partner, Sgt. Maureen O’Brien.”

“Writing from the perspective of her childhood, Breon deals mainly with the lighter side of the issues families were facing, making her book suitable even for younger readers. … Her nostalgia for the humanity and happiness she experienced during those years is both obvious and infectious, making even those who did not live through the Depression almost wish they had.”

“This octogenarian’s fine sense of humor gives readers the opportunity to chuckle along with her and learn more about her generation and the society in which she lived. ... Charmingly candid, Green Gravy, Monster Bread and Other Adventures offers a straightforward, funny account of one woman’s twenty-five year journey. Breon’s readers will want to give her a hug and thank her for sharing.”



HOLES IN MY SHOES IS A HEART-WARMING story of one family’s experiences during the Great Depression, revealing the resilience of the human spirit. Hope, faith, and humor were ever-present as families shared all that they had and fed homeless people at their doorsteps. In an era when computers, television and cell phones didn’t exist, families enjoyed simple pleasures. Breon’s collection of personal childhood experiences would make a perfect gift for those who lived through the nation’s desperate decade and those who want to know what it was like.

ALICE BREON RELATES THE STORY OF coming to age during World War II and her subsequent adventures as an Air Force wife in Green Gravy, Monster Bread and Other Adventures, an engaging autobiography that will make you laugh out loud and shed an occasional tear. The stories include the romance and marriage to Byron, a career Air Force officer. The many places they lived provided material for anecdotes about people who touched their lives, including a close friendship with a Japanese dance teacher. This is the second book of a trilogy, after Holes in my Shoes.

Available from Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Xlibris

Available from Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Xlibris




Norton Road by Carl Purdon

“Pap finds himself accused of murder and about to lose everything. To survive he must destroy an ex-cop obsessed with power, money, and a woman he can’t have.”

Patriot: A Brooke Kinley Adventure by A.S. Bond Castle Books

“A Pentagon staffer tips off reporter Brooke Kinley about a billionaire businessman’s involvement in terrorism. In a dangerous journey, Brooke races to prevent a attack on America.”

Pilate’s Cross by J. Alexander Greenwood

“Pilate’s Cross follows John Pilate, his sardonic imaginary pal Simon and lovely new friend Kate as they investigate the cold case mystery of a murdered college president.”

Red Sky at Morning by Steve Wilson White Feather Press

The Roses Underneath by C.F. Yetmen Ypsilon & Co. Press

Severed Threads by Kaylin McFarren Creative Edge Publishing

“Marine Lt. Michael Neill uncovers a conspiracy of terrorism secretly instigated by the Kremlin. It’s a race against time as he and a beautiful Ukrainian journalist try to thwart the plan.”

“Charged with securing Nazilooted art, American Captain Henry Cooper and his translator Anna Klein search for elusive truth and justice in a world where everyone is hiding something.”

“A hidden treasure under the sea reunites ex-lovers desperate to save the ones they value most in Kaylin McFarren’s award-winning romantic suspense novel Severed Threads.”



While aboard a Dallas commuter train, a contrite Marine persists in searching for the woman he lost four times—despite attending her funeral. rowing up in the Midwest and weaned on the TVglow of the Vietnam War, Brick is driven to join the military. His churchy high school girlfriend, Cameo, follows in his footsteps towards the Air Force Academy. Her vow to remain chaste until graduation is robbed by the medical technician conducting her physical. Brick’s rage at Cameo’s lack of willingness to alert authorities tears them apart as she goes on to become the first woman appointed to the academy.

“Armor of Glass is a gripping and heartrending novel about one man’s war with his memories, his loves, and his life... It’s a skillfully crafted literary read.” FOREWORD CLARION

“...the most compelling parts of the novel are those in which he provides insight into the mindset of a Marine, with deft descriptions such as, “Marines slaughter on command, taking control of the chaos.” KIRKUS

“Armor of Glass is a contemporary novel recounting the chaotic life of a man trying to overcome childhood abuse while searching for his purpose in life...Professionally written, the story has many strengths.” BLUEINK

With his head down, bulling through various global assignments, Brick’s version of the American dream is the salvation of combat. Unfulfilled, the troubled Marine resigns on the eve of Black Monday where he pursues a string of noxious civilian jobs and bristles unsettled in the burbs, supporting his wife, Selma, in nursing school until evidence surfaces of her affair. Unable to think clearly, Brick discovers Cameo is posted back home and haphazardly tumbles face first into a turbulent affair with the high-ranking officer on the fast track to general. What Brick doesn’t know is he will be the spark to ignite a powder keg of her revealing past.

“Five 5-of-5 star reviews from Readers’ Favorite!” Available at Amazon, Barnes&Noble, and Authorhouse R.M.A. Spears




Shall We Not Revenge by D.M. Pirrone Allium Press of Chicago

“In the harsh winter of 1872, with Chicago still smoldering from the Great Fire, Irish Catholic detective Frank Hanley is assigned the case of a murdered Orthodox Jewish rabbi.”

The Vampire Girl Next Door by Richard Arbib

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.”



The Spychip Conspiracy by M.S. Mititch iUniverse

“Trooper Victor Ganin sees the New World Order for what it really is, an evil dictatorship, and must choose between conscience and duty, freedom and servitude, hope and despair.”

Vortex by Matt Carrell Linden Tree and Matt Carrell Books

“Transferred to his firm’s new Bangkok office, Andy Duncan becomes embroiled in a corporate scandal and the disappearance of a teenage girl in this collision of morals and avarice.”

Tempest of Fire by Steve Wilson White Feather Press

“Beijing’s most advanced nuclear submarine is destroyed by a weapon of unimaginable power. Marine Lieutenant Michael Neill must locate the weapon before it is deployed again.”

Winner Takes All by Daniel Clarke Smith

“Bounty hunter Rick Parker has one week to find Michael Norton. To succeed he must conquer his internal demons plus a force more diabolical than he ever imagined.”

Can true love happen twice in a lifetime? Discover the answer in John Fishwick’s debut novel.

Though widower Jeremy Rowlands and widow Stephanie Marks are perfectly content to live their lives as mature singles, a chance meeting during vacation leads to possibilities neither has imagined. When astronomy professor Jeremy Rowlands loses his wife in a tragic car accident, he leaps at the opportunity to spend three weeks in the United Kingdom to clear his head. Meanwhile, widowed retiree Stephanie Marks embarks on a solo trip abroad to visit the historic homes of her favorite British authors.

Available at Amazon, BarnesandNoble, iBookstore, and Smashwords Receive 45% off at Smashwords until January 31, 2105 using code MY24R at checkout.

“Intellectual dialogue adds depth to this love story with two refreshing characters,” says reviewer Julia Ann Charpentier (ForeWord/Clarion Review).

After enjoying long conversations during a shared flight, they decide to become traveling companions. Their adventure together begins upon landing and each excursion deepens the bond, ultimately leading to a tentative friendship that both challenges and electrifies them. As they roam the English countryside each visiting sites on their travel itineraries, they engage in lively debates on the roles of literature, art, and science, as well as Jeremy’s quest to discover how astronomy, geology, and evolution (which he refers to as AGE) fit into the meaning of life. During their travels Jeremy and Stephanie forge an increasingly meaningful bond. But their budding friendship forces them both to confront whether it is truly possible for love to be sweeter the second time around.

Cyrus Webb’s Top 100 Books of 2014!








Paddy Pest is no James Bond or Philip Marlowe but don’t tell that to his many fans, all around the globe. Gerry Burke’s discount detective may have the personality of a pea but he is as cunning as a rat up a drainpipe, and dangerous when aroused.

Paddy’s People won the 2014 IPPY bronze medal for best fiction, Australia and New Zealand.

In this award-winning collection of humorous short stories, Paddy’s People get their time in the sun; and where would Paddy be without faithful companion, Stormy Weathers, CIA double agent Gregoria Killanova and KGB assassin, Nadia Nickoff, the minx from Minsk?



Aranya: Shapeshifter Dragons Book 1 by Marc Secchia

Anvil of God by J. Boyce Gleason iUniverse

By Eastern Windows by Gretta Curran Browne Eighty-Eight Publications

“Aranya is executed for treason. But what if she did not die, and could spread her wings and fly? Evil has a new enemy. Aranya, Princess of Immadia. Dragon Shapeshifter.”

“An exciting tale fraught with love, political intrigue, assassination, military gamesmanship and religious conflict, chronicling a family’s rise to great power.”

“A young British soldier posted to India meets a girl from the Caribbean – beautiful, different and exciting – who becomes the greatest love, and the greatest tragedy, of his life.”

Corr Syl the Warrior by Garry Rogers

Legacy by Ellery A. Kane Balboa Press

“When trouble flares between humans and the ancient multispecies Tsaeb civilization, the Tsaeb send a young warrior descended from rabbits to investigate and recommend a response.”

“The Guardians, members of an elite and mysterious government-appointed military police force, are maintaining order at all costs —thanks to emotion-altering drugs that suppress fear and anxiety.”

Of the Persecuted: Legends of the Woodlands Book One by Angie Brashear 4:13 Publishing



“Escaping near death, Laila seeks the path of a warrior and vows revenge. Clashes of weapons and souls. Brutal loss of lives. Unrequited love. How will Laila survive?”


Shadows of Asphodel by Karen Kincy

“1913. Austria-Hungary. Ardis rescues Wendel on the battlefield not because he’s handsome but because he’s a necromancer, which can be useful in this world on the brink of war.”

The Frailty of Perception: The Asher Bloom Chronicles by Joey Rawlings

The Shining City by Joan Fallon

“Asher never knew that the secrets burned into his skin were anything other than remnants of a trauma he didn’t want to remember. Now he must fight for survival.”

“Madinat al Zahra. 947 AD. When a stranger arrives asking questions about him, Qasim worries his secret will be discovered and everything he has worked for will be destroyed.”

The Circuit: Executor Rising by Rhett C. Bruno Mundania Press

Warrior, Lover, King: The Carolingian Chronicles Book 1 by Acacia Oak At Last Communications

White Seed: The Untold Story of the Lost Colony of Roanoke by Paul Clayton

“Follow the enigmatic Cassius Vale and a cast of characters caught up in his plot to uproot the New Earth Tribute and change the course of mankind forever.”

“The tale of the eighth-century barbarian king, Charlemagne. As a cool-headed soldier; a lustful lover; and a thinking, compassionate king, he is a hero sprung from the Dark Ages.”

“One of the most haunting mysteries in American history—The Lost Colony of Roanoke—comes roaring back to life in White Seed, with a compelling cast of characters.”





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Jan Wat kins’ Books Get a Book; Find a Spot; Be Transported

Jan Watkins has been reading since

and was self-published in 2009. To her surprise, it she was old enough to climb into the apple tree in got rave revues from friends and family, and gave the backyard of her parent’s farmhouse. There, in her enough confidence to continue writing. Two more books followed: Journey to the crotch between two branches, Julissa in 2012 and Stories For My she settled with a book for long Sisters in 2014, both of which are periods of time. Thus began her collections of fictional short stolifelong love of books and the slogan she lives by: Get a book; find a ries. She is currently working on a full-length novel. spot; be transported. Jan resides in Richmond, VirginShe harbored stories in her head ia where she has lived since 1955. for many years, never writing them She received an Associate Degree down. Finally, retiring after fortyin Business Education from Longseven years of working her way up wood University in Farmville, Virfrom a clerk-typist to a Systems Analyst for the Dept of Defense, ginia. Upon her retirement from the Dept of Defense, she received the she had the time to begin writing Defense Logistics Agency Meritorious Civilian Serher stories down. Her first book, Oh, Mama, was plainly and vice Award for exemplary service and was inducted simply a tribute to her mother. It was non-fiction into the Bellwood Hall of Fame in May 2007.



Where Excuses Go to Die by John Espinosa Nelson Highrise Press

The Bicycle Diaries: My 21,000Mile Ride for the Climate by David Kroodsma

Cutted Chicken in Shanghai by Sharon Winters CreateSpace

“Who the hell robs bookstores? For me, a wakeup call as drastic as prison was necessary to shut my mouth and get me listening. In prison, I began to learn.”

“The adventure of a young climate expert as he cycles from his front door to the far end of the world, crossing 16 countries and pedaling 21,000 miles.”

“An American woman takes a cultural fling into China and finds humorous and engaging adventures and new friends who become as unforgettable as the China she comes to love.”

The Randomist: Memories, Tales & Reflections by Ali Al Saeed

Life in a Jar: The Irena Sendler Project by Jack Mayer Long Trail Press

Ask Me Anything: A Memoir by Marie Rudisill with Susan Marg (aka The Fruitcake Lady) Cowgirl Jane Press

“From life in Bahrain as a struggling writer, to the recollections of childhood memories, The Randomist portrays young modern Arabs trying to find themselves in the world.” 70


“High school girls from an economically depressed, rural school in Kansas discover the WWII story of Polish Catholic social worker Irena Sendler and elevate her to a national hero.”

“Known as The Fruitcake Lady from “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno,” well into her nineties Marie Rudisill (the aunt of Truman Capote) became a television celebrity.”


The Awakening of the Desert by Julius C. Birge

“In 1866, Julius Birge took a wagon train trip across the West. Since its publication a century ago, this book has been regarded as a primary source on the West.”

No Tears for my Father: A True Story of Incest by Viga Boland

“No Tears for My Father is a true story of incest suffered by the author from the ages of 11-23 at the hands of her biological father.”

Tei: A Memoir of the End of War and Beginning of Peace by Tei Fujiwara, translated by Nana V. Mizushima Tonnbo Books

Jam Today Too: The

Revolution Will Not Be Catered

by Tod Davies Exterminating Angel Press

“Davies shares new recipes from “Almost 70 years ago in Japan, Tei her home kitchen—and stories Fujiwara wrote a memoir about about her experiences cooking her harrowing experience as a war for herself and her friends, refugee, which became a bestseller family, and pets—during the in a country still in ruins.” best and worst of times.”

Korea, Are You at Peace?: Tales of Two Women Travelers in a Troubled Land by J.A.V. Simson Abbott Press

“The stories of two Western women reveal the transformation of Korea from a culturally and politically united peninsula in the 19th century’s end into today’s dangerously divided land.”




Wa r n e r

“A beautiful and brave book…” —Lee Whitman-Raymond, PhD, MFA, LICSW, poet and psychoanalytic psychotherapist, author of the light on our faces and other poems “Courageous and emotionally riveting…” —Jean Goldberg, LCSW Crime Victims Treatment Center St. Luke’s-Roosevelt, N.Y., N.Y.

ith unflinching honesty and unsinkable spirit, The Year After offers a rare and intimate portrait of trauma. Inspired by original journal entries, the daily challenges of recovery from rape at the restless age of 24 are artfully interwoven with reflections from early childhood and twenty years beyond in the search for understanding so familiar to those who have wrestled with life-changing upheaval. Now a psychoanalyst, Warner subtly brings a forward-looking perspective to the narrative while remaining true to the arduous journey through emotional volatility, interpersonal conflict, and the tasks of criminal prosecution after the rapist is identified in a lineup. The result is an empowering memoir about the courage to heal and the promise of peace. A S H L EY WA R N E R is a writer and psychoanalyst in private practice in New York City.

Cover photo © iStockphoto Author photograph by Hugo Fernandez Cover design by Stefan Killen





A s h l e y Wa r n e r

T h e Ye a r A f t e r A Memoir




t the dawn of Hollywood’s movie industry, Madame Sul-te-wan was a single black woman struggling to raise three young boys. She overcame these harsh realities and forged a place in African American film history through her brash audacious style and unflinching confidence. Her story intersected with that of novice filmmaker Jimmy Johnson, a grandson of slaves. He too had his struggles: first, wanting to make his own independent film, but more importantly hoping to put his far-flung family back together. When his vaudevillian father and brother arrive in Los Angeles while his long-lost mother is working nearby, their unplanned reunion exploded in opening long festering wounds. With Madame’s help, can Jimmy achieve his goals? Find out in Joseph M. Humbert’s novel,

“There’s the Rub.”

“An intriguing novel … [Its] rich detail and the mystery of Jimmy’s mother’s disappearance make for an engrossing read.” —Kirkus Reviews

Read about Madame Sul-te-wan and the other real people and events as depicted in the book at Available in print on Amazon and Barnes & Noble (ebooks for Kindle, iPhone/iPad, Nook and Kobo)


American Boys: The True Story of the Lost 74 of the Vietnam War by Louise Esola

I, Livia: The Counterfeit Criminal by Mary Mudd Trafford Publishing

“Journalist Louise Esola has uncovered and pieced together the long-forgotten story of the ship, the war, the sailors, and the families still affected by tragedy and heart-wrenching injustice.”

“A historical tradition of Roman origin represents Livia Drusilla, the third and much beloved wife of Caesar Augustus, as a conniving criminal. But what if this image is wrong?”

Season of Upsets: Farm Boys, City Kids, Hoosier Basketball, and the Dawn of the 1950s by Matthew A. Werner

Who Says That’s Art?: A Commonsense View of the Visual Arts by Michelle Marder Kahmi Pro Arte Books

“Where else but in Indiana could a person’s quest for family history end up uncovering an incredible untold story about basketball and a remarkable coach?” 74


“Who Says That’s Art? highlights the pleasures and rewards of genuine art, both old and new, and suggests how to restore sanity to the contemporary art world.”

Hope into Practice: Jewish Women Choosing Justice Despite Our Fears by Penny Rosenwasser “Linking personal healing and social justice and anchored in Jewish ethical tradition and community, this book is an activist’s call to create a more just and generous world.”




R 20 14


CORNELIA FUNKE SHANNON MESSENGER JASON CHAN World Around the ss Girls The Godde Publishing Cedar Fort



The Art of Love by A.B. Michaels Red Trumpet Press

Hearts at Play by Melissa Foster World Literary Press

One Chance, One Moment by Judith Kohnen

“Two individuals meet at the dawn of a new century, discovering a passion eclipsing all they’d ever known. Can they overcome the dictates of a cruel and judgmental society?”

“Hearts at Play is a steamy romance with alpha male heroes and sexy, empowered women. They’re flawed, funny, passionate, and relatable for readers who enjoy adult romance.”

“Inspired by Barry Manilow’s ’70s hit song “Mandy” and in commemoration of its 40th anniversary, Judith Kohnen presents her fictional account of the story behind the song.”

Sea of Secrets by Amanda DeWees

Second Destiny by Gloria Silk

“Even as Oriel falls in love with the duke, she begins to fear his grief and suspicion are turning to madness. Can she save him from the darkness in his soul?”

“A beautiful, frustrated wife and artist is reunited with the gorgeous hero with Bollywood-good-looks and charisma. When fate brings them face to face again, can they put their past behind?”

The Land Uncharted by Keely Brooke Keith Edenbrooke Press



“Written like historical fiction, set like sci-fi, and filled with romance, The Land Uncharted weaves adventure and love in this suspenseful story of a hidden land.”





101 Awesome Things to do for Someone Who’s Sick by Elaine Wilkes, PhD

Blaze of Colour: Embracing Creativity by Diane Eastham

“Elaine Wilkes, PhD, shares real heart-warming stories from people in all walks of life, filled with original, caring, and useful ideas that will show you care.”

“The perfect book for anyone wishing to nurture creativity. Blaze of Colour includes 90+ hands-on exercises for developing creativity and 18 colour book plates of original art.”

Beyond Texting: The Fine Art of Face-to-Face Communication for Teenagers by Debra Fine Canon Publishers │ website

Faster as a Master:

“Beyond Texting explains how to be plugged in without neglecting human interaction, offering advice and cheat sheets to help teens balance their digital and real world image and relationships.”

“Bruce Conner is a faster speed skater at 57 than he was as a teenager. He has debunked the commonly held belief about getting slower as we age.”



Breaking Down Barriers,

Journeying Toward Wholeness

by Bruce W. Conner

Avoiding the Dodgeballs…at Work: A Young Woman’s Guide to Succeeding at a First Job

by E. Marie CreateSpace │ website “This career guidance book addresses a variety of subject matters including: project management, team work, managing your boss, performance evaluations, sexual harassment, difficult coworkers and networking.”

Body Signals: Your Face Reveals Your Health

by Elizabeth Jaksa Wardrum, MS, ND

Western Institute for Self Healing

“The face is a map. Every feature is energetically connected to a corresponding organ or tissue. This book assists readers in interpreting facial signals that may impact their health.”


Connecting Happiness and Success: A Guide to Creating Success Through Happiness

by Ray White Xilo Media │ website

“Happiness and success are intertwined in our lives. Through daily habits and practice we can ensure we are both successful and happy every day and in the long term.”

The Graduate’s Guide to Money: Tools for Starting Your

Financial Journey on the Right Foot

by Tana Ackerly Gildea, CFP, CPA

“Dive into the real world with the knowledge to be financially smart. A Certified Financial Planner and CPA, Gildea knows money pitfalls and priorities to consider when starting out.”

An Average Joe’s Pursuit for Financial Freedom by Michael Warren Munsey Xlibris

Discover the Magic of EFT for Bullying by Debby Guddee CreateSpace

“Based on practical concepts, this book discusses the problems most of us face with our personal finances as well as how to make money work to generate passive income.”

“By tapping on points of the face and body, EFT helps take the emotional pain out of bullying and helps children take control of their emotions when feeling vulnerable.”

Self-Publisher’s Legal Handbook by Helen Sedwick Ten Gallon Press

The Rainbow Bridge: Bridge

“A self-published author herself, Sedwick uses 30 years of legal experience to cut through the legalese and help keep you out of court and at your desk writing.”

to Inner Peace and to World Peace

by Brent N. Hunter Spirit Rising Productions

“The book illuminates common ground in the world’s major wisdom traditions, which can be a guide to experiencing inner peace and to creating a bridge to a harmonious world.” UNBOUND



Abomination written by Bragi Schut story by Bragi Schut and Chato Hill illustrated by Maxime Desmettre 80


The book traces a Hungarian family through three generations, linking their lives to the everchanging historical events of the country through the troubled 20th century. The focus is on the courage of the women in the family when confronted with problems beyond individual control, be it the Great War, WWII, or a bloody revolt against the terror-driven Communist regime.




s a young woman, the author fled her native Hungary in 1956 after the defeat of a patriotic nationwide uprising against the country’s totalitarian Soviet-dictated regime. She was granted asylum in the United States to begin a new life free of oppression. Recently retired, she finally found time to write. This is her first novel, which clearly reflects her admiration for her adopted country and everything it stands for. She lives near Palm Springs, California, with her husband, Roger.

WWW.SHARIVESTER.COM Available in print and Kindle at Amazon and in print at Barnes and Noble. UNBOUND


BOOK SHELF The List of Dead Smiths by D.L. Williams


he Uber-Rich Smiths of Naples, Florida are dropping like flies. When Cousin Sheldon suffers death by heavy-set Asian Hookers, and Cousin Sylvie succumbs to death by Orgasm, Sydney Smith gets the feeling she might be next. Can Private Investigator Tate Pendergast solve the puzzle? Or is he just driving Sydney’s Bentley around town, waiting for the last Smith to drop? Available at Amazon. Standing on Principal by Frank Vetro


elding the fictional “Fatal Attraction” with the real life Duke Lacrosse and Penn State scandals, “Standing on Principal” is a first hand, well-documented account of a rogue system that underestimated the tenacious character of its accused as he refused to be intimidated by a political machine. It’s a real story and it will scare the hell out of everyone. Available at,,, Apple, Ingram, Kobo,, Huntington Book Revue, and participating public libraries

Descendent by Douglas Sharp


ll Rebecca wants is to go to college, become a doctor and help people. Her sudden ability to use magic disrupts those plans and throws her into the forefront of a war no human knows is coming. Llyr has been sent to kill Rebecca but chance forces him to stay near her without being able to kill her. Available at Amazon, CreateSpace, Barnes and Noble, and Smashwords. 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.” “The Vampire Girl Next Door is a choice pick for one looking for a romance with a supernatural twist, highly recommended.” —John Burroughs, Midwest Book Review

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

BOOK SHELF Midlife Fairy Tales and Murder: A Happily-Ever-After Disaster by Corky Reed-Watt


hat would happen if “one more thing” happened when you felt that nothing more could go wrong? Beverly’s lost fairy tale includes divorce, sassy teenagers, and finding a murder victim in the ladies restroom at work. This is a great mystery for anyone who aspires to fairy tales (even when reality falls short) and finds new hope in accidental surprises. Available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Createspace, and Kobo. Worst of All Evils by Janet McClintock



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. The Mida by Lyle Ernst and Kimberly Sigafus

oan Bowman joins the Constitution Defense Legion to fight a runaway government in Washington, D.C., but after working her way into a leadership position, she discovers the underground resistance group is as bad as the government it is fighting. Her only way out alive is to become a state’s witness, but betraying the group means betraying her mentor and lover.

he Mida, a mysticallypowerful time-traveling carnival, materializes in Farmingdale, Iowa in 1952. Twenty-one years ago, carnival owner Mesa was forced to leave her baby with his grandmother for his protection. He is now a suspect in a murder. The carnies must use their “special gifts” to prove him innocent, and protect her from the dark spirit that killed her husband. Available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble. or Available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble Nook, and Smashwords



Reichold Street by R.L. Herron


Guarding Shakespeare by Quintin Peterson

hen Albert Parker arrives in the neighborhood, he carries with him the emotional scars of early parental loss, and all the aggressive attitude an abusive stepfather can create. Herron’s debut novel, Reichold Street, a 2012 Readers Favorite Gold Medal Winner—that Kirkus Reviews called “Skillfully written and emotionally charged”—is a powerful, fast-paced story about friendship, bullying, family dysfunction, madness and war in the turbulent 1960s.

obody alive knows the Folger Shakespeare Memorial Library better than Special Police Officer Lt. Norman Blalock; he’s been guarding it for 25 years. That’s why he is the perfect candidate to pull off an inside job and heist from the library’s underground bank vault a priceless artifact that can rock the foundation of English Literature... Available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books A Million, and Indie Bound

Quiver of the Pure Heart by Burnita Bluitt Love, Corruption & Gentrification Collide; as New Novel Uncovers Family ‘Secrets.’


eroine, Blis Dumas, quickly learns that she faces things that are far more complicated than just relocation. The discovery of family secrets reveals that the problems being created by the San Francisco Redevelopment Bureau are chillingly personal, with forgiveness and compassion about to become her weapons of choice. Available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Kobo.


Learning To Love Myself by Viga Boland


t the request of fans of her GoldMedal winning memoir of childhood sexual abuse, “No Tears for my Father”, Viga Boland has written Part 2 of her story, focussing on her recovery and self-discovery through the love of her husband and children. Readers will find themselves alternating between laughing and crying as they read “Learning to Love Myself, a book that gives hope for a better tomorrow to victims of abuse.” Both books are available as either a signed softcover or eBook for all e-readers, including Kindle, directly from the Author’s website.

BOOK SHELF My Father’s Keep by Ed Abell


y Father’s Keep is a heart-warming and remarkable memoir of forgiveness and personal triumph. The book speaks about the difficulties of growing up amid the chaos of alcoholism. It is a book that will evoke a lot of emotions: compassion, pain, love, laughter, tears, joy and forgiveness as the author treks through the Himalaya with his father’s ashes. The book has placed in four writing contests. Available at Amazon and Createspace. Dead in a Dumpster by B.L. Blair


Power and Passion by Kay Tejani


et against the dazzling city of Dubai, “Power and Passion” gives readers an unvarnished look at the lives of three diverse women living and working in a world of extreme wealth and innovation. Friendship, adventure, romance, love, money and making a difference are all weaved into this intriguing and entertaining story that will interest readers of all ages. Available at Amazon and the electronic version at Kindle, iBooksStore, Barnes & Noble, and Nook


hen Leah Norwood finds the body of Isabel Meeks in the dumpster behind her store, she can’t believe the police consider her a suspect. Sure, she didn’t like Isabel, but then again, neither did anyone else. Leah loves a good mystery. Can she find the killer before the police arrest her for murder?

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 Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, Kobo, Smashwords, and Createspace. 214.704.4182.

Contact publisher Margaret Brown to reserve your space.


Whisper: A Lakeview Novel

Hush: A Lakeview Novel

“Obsessed with what she finds in a hidden journal, Halle searches Lakeview Academy for clues that may lead to solving a century-old mystery: the death of the headmaster’s daughter.”

“Aaron is an emotional “From Canada’s most prestigious zombie—grieving the death of boarding school to the University his little brother. Aaron thinks of Saint Andrews’ hallowed he’s found an escape when he grounds, Hush weaves a tale of meets Kim, a girl living on the suspense and romance as addictive streets.” as any real-life royal scandal.”

by Stacey R. Campbell Green Darner Press

Beyond: A Collection of Metaphysical Short Stories

by Ron Teachworth CreateSpace

“Beyond’s Young Adult short stories cross cultures and take place in settings from North America to Europe. A metaphysical/religious motif binds the collection.” 86


by Stacey R. Campbell Green Darner Press


by Hannah Sternberg Istoria Books

“When a knight and a monk spring from the pages of Rosie’s book, the only people more astonished than the reclusive PhD student are her time-traveling visitors.”

After Isaac

by Avra Wing

Jessie: Coastal Chronicles Book 2

by Rebekah Lyn Real Life Books and Media

“The Cole boys suffer abuse at the hands of an alcoholic father. Jessie, the youngest and a dreamer, becomes enamored with US plans for manned space flight.”


Cape Maybe

by Carol Fragale Brill Brilliant Beach Books

“Cape Maybe traces the push and pull of Katie’s conflicting love for her erratic mother and steadfast grandfather and her ever-growing attraction to her best friend, Dennis.”

Miss Mabel’s School for Girls Play With Me: A Grover by Katie Cross Beach Team Book Antebellum Publishing

by Anna Katmore

“Bianca has inherited a deadly curse. Determined to break free before it kills her, she enrolls in Miss Mabel’s School to confront the witch who cast the curse: Miss Mabel.”

“Fighting for her love, Liza gets carried away and makes a stupid decision: Without any talent or passion for the sport, she tries out for the co-ed soccer team.”

The Umpire

by William Francis

“Michael loves baseball but can’t earn a spot on his high school team. Disappointment turns to reward when he discovers another way to get onto the field—being an umpire.”




Blind Servitude

by David Chattaway

“Blind Servitude is the tale of a boy’s journey to find his courage in a world where fear is used as a weapon and love is the only light.”

WhipEye, Book One of the WhipEye Chronicles

by Geoffrey Saign KiraKu Press

“Can a girl grieving her mother, a boy missing his father, and a thousand-year-old wisecracking parrot save two worlds? Can they discover how to use the supernatural staff, WhipEye?” 88


The Girl Who Sang with Whales, Islesong Book 1

Maxwell Parker, P.I.

by Marc Secchia

by Josie Lynn Footeprint Press

“This story will transport you to a beautiful, unspoiled ocean world where people rely on Whales to travel between the islands and where danger can lurk beneath any wave.”

“Twelve-year-old Maxwell Parker is all about what’s going on behind quiet exteriors—which comes in handy in her quiet suburban neighborhood where everyone seems to have something to hide.”

The Magic Shop

Lost in Petra

by Justin Swapp

“When Marcus and his twin sister, Ellie, are asked to tend the family business, a Magic Shop, the children are thrown into a world that they never knew existed.”

by Melissa Mahle & Kathryn Dennis

Spygirls Press

“In a world where djinn play mean tricks and someone’s always watching, Ana and Gordy track tomb robbers, uncover a spy and discover much more than gold and silver.”


The Sixteen: Soul Jumpers Book Two

by Ali B. Dewey Larson Publishing

“Iris and a group of soul jumpers must save Micah. To do so Iris must take on the unscrupulous leaders of the council. Can she save her father? Will she survive?”

Victory on the Home Front by D.S. Grier Windy City Publishers

While his parents aren’t watching, Les finds adventure. After his secret laboratory inquiries lead him to tap phone lines and the FBI arrives, Les decides it’s time for his great escape.

Frankie Dupont and the Mystery of Enderby Manor by Julie Anne Grasso

“When his cousin Kat disappears from Enderby Manor, Frankie Dupont jumps on the case. He follows the evidence trail and finds himself in a desperate race to recover her.”

Teapots, Buttons, Memi and Me

by Lisa Rose Bauer CreateSpace

“How do you let life continue to move on when your grandmother dies? How do you honor her memory without remaining stuck? And how do you let others grieve?” UNBOUND



The Weather Dragons in “Accidental Rainbows” by Wally Felts

“Ramity bumps into Snubble and an accidental rainbow is thrown across the sky. The Weather Dragons delight in the sight, and decide to make rainbows for themselves.”

Chicken Cha Cha: I Have Constipation by Anna Phang Illustrated by Debbi P. Apricott │

“An adorable constipated chicken named Cha Cha learns about digestive health and receives helpful suggestions from friends on how to resolve his issues.”

Let’s Follow Them! written and illustrated by Marla F. Jones

Chuck Yeager Goes Supersonic by Alan W. Biermann illustrated by Yaejin Lim

“As Kip and Tilda race to pick up Grandma, they go from one silly mishap to another, until they realize they are lost. Will they get there in time?”

“Young readers will soar as they discover the life of Chuck Yeager, an American hero whose courage changed the world of flight forever, risking death to break the sound barrier.”



Genevieve and the Moon by Karlene Kay Ryan illustrated by Meredith Johnson

“Where’s the moon? Guided by her teacher, Miss Janice, Genevieve and her friends combine science and imagination to recreate the movements of the sun, moon, and earth.”

No Cell Phone Day by Delfeayo Marsalis illustrated by Reginald William Butler

“No Cell Phone Day follows 6-year-old Jazmine as she gifts her dad a birthday present of spending quality time together without cell phones and they have the best day ever.”


Rosie’s Song by Mary Kate Leming and Deborah LaFogg Docherty

Then Again Said the Hen by Katherine Jansen illustrated by Jeffrey Yeh

A Friend in the End by Katherine Jansen illustrated by Jeffrey Yeh

“Rosie the sea star sets out to find her lost brothers and almost gets lost herself—before ending back where she began, in the loving embrace of her family.”

“Sometimes we don’t feel confident and that can leave us feeling sad and down. This little hen was feeling that way until she realized she has a lot to offer.”

“Come along on this journey with Little Duck as he navigates the school yard, recognizes a bully for who he is, and makes a wonderful new friend.”

The ABC’s of Titles for Tiny Tales: Writing Prompts to Ignite and Excite a Child to Write by Mary Lee

Socks Don’t Bounce by Denise Maggio illustrated by Eric Black

Great Things to Be by Kenin O’Connor

“This book is filled with childfriendly writing prompts that may be used by teachers and parents to challenge children to write or tell stories of their own making.”

“Featuring upbeat rhymes and colorful illustrations, this “Socks Don’t Bounce is a children’s book teaches kids positive story focusing on diversity, characteristics that encourage morals and ethics, showing that and build up their self-esteem it’s OK to be different. It is a and improve their approach to fun and entertaining tool for life.” children.”




For Gregory, Chuck & John by Laurel Blossom

Not like skin cloddishly dripping off the bone Of the A-bomb victim or the unrecognizable man Who’s lost too much weight too fast; Not like the prow of a woman’s face in the wind, Wrinkles splayed back to the blue-black hairline, Mouth clamped in a facelift’s ferocious grin; But so gradual, so slow, so long a degradation The skin had time to scale itself down To thin, to adjust To the daylight shining through the petals Of the white peonies in the bedroom. They were so beautiful, diaphanous as chiffon. One day a breeze came up in the conversation. We turned to speak of it, but they were gone. From The Paper Said: Poems by Laurel Blossom, Greenhouse Review Press, 2001. Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.



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.)


Mine Yours by Gail Sidonie Sobat

you say I’ll never know what you meant to each other that long ago once upon life when you loved a boyman who loved you for all your smalltown hillside ways the flip of your light brown hair his quick brief smile shaped your life to come to this so tell me let me mine your stories From How the Light is Spent by Gail Sidonie Sobat, Wintergreen Studios Press, 2013. Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.




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.


Doing Dishes by Barbara MacKay

gathering plates I scrape them off and hand one to my sister together we hear wash and dry them well I hold a glass to the light and we see her fingers slender—age thick— together we flick soap bubbles into the fluent air rainbows everywhere drying, we slow the process and see the rush we were in to get the dishes done From Footprints by Barbara MacKay, Tenney Press, 2002. Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.



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


The Yearning by Nancy Gerber

First we mourn For things we’ve lost. A pool, a garden The curve of the world. Later we gather Split selves A quilt pieced With love and terror. Today I give you an egg You hand me a ruby. From Fire and Ice: Poetry & Prose by Nancy Gerber, Arseya Publishing, 2014. Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.





February 5, 2015

FOR BEST INDEPENDENTLY PUBLISHED ART OR PHOTOGRAPHY BOOK Foreground art magazine announces the Foreground Competition for Best Independently Published Art or Photography Book, sponsored by Blurb. Any independently published/ self-published art or photography book is eligible for entry. Entry fee is $20 per book. The winning entry will be selected by the editors of Foreground magazine.




e asked Jennifer Bresnick, winner of the first Shelf Unbound Writing Competition with her epic fantasy The Last Death of Tev Chrisini, to share some thoughts on self-publishing today. Bresnick has just published her third book, Dark the Night Descending, which we are thrilled to excerpt here.



espite the growing popularity of self-publishing and the expansion of opportunities to share ideas with audiences larger and more diverse than ever before, selfpublishers still face a tough environment that requires a lot of hard work and even more self-confidence.

Most of that work takes place right between the ears long before a book ever hits the digital shelves. Should I self-publish? Will I be forgotten in a sea of earnest but tragic attempts to be the next best thing? Am I using self-publishing as cheap therapy to sublimate my anger at being shut out of the traditional publishing world? Will readers automatically think I’m no good? Do I need their approval? How much whisky do I need to drink in order to convince myself I don’t care?

100 D E C E M B E R / J A N U A R Y


Self-published authors, as a whole, have had a lot of difficulty when it comes to answering those questions. Independent publishing is a growing, shifting, changing industry that is attempting to invent a new place for itself in the respectable literary world. Plenty of indie authors and advocates have attempted to establish a creed for those of us who have taken the road less traveled. But many of the attempts to codify what self-publishing is all about tend to smack of that desperation for validation that selfpublishers are having a hard time escaping.

I have a right to publish. My writing is valuable and important. I’m not beholden to no stinkin’ traditional publisher with its stinkin’ rules and guidelines and oppressive contracts and cash advances and fast-talking Madison Avenue fat cats. No, sir. Not me. It’s all a sham. Those boxes of rejection letters in the basement only serve to prove how committed I am to sticking it to the man. Should all this anxious defiance really form the core of our guiding principles as a burgeoning industry? Do we really still need to define ourselves as in opposition to traditional publishing? Must we remind ourselves that we’re allowed to say whatever we want to whoever is willing to listen? After all, here we are. And here we are to stay. So here’s my own manifesto, and you’re welcome to give it a try.

I am an author. That’s it. I am a person who has taken time to understand my options, dealt with my doubts, and decided to pursue whatever I want from my publishing career. I respect the choices of others, and I respect the traditional publishing industry for what it has to offer the readers of books, who are my audience, my customers, and my friends. I am an author, and I love what I do. What else does a self-publisher have to say?



Dark the Night Descending by Jennifer Bresnick


rran stood motionless on the deck of the ship, focusing all his attention on the slight rocking of the wood under his heels. Was there the hint of a sideways twist as the vessel bobbed fore and aft, up and down at anchor? It would be magnified a hundredfold in a cross-sea, turning the little vessel into a bucking, braying ass that would not mind its keepers if the wind hit just right. He smiled. He had always liked a girl with an iron will. “She’s got good bones,” Rickarde said, only the slightest hint of doubt creeping into his voice. “Clean as a whistle and twice as fast,” he added when his customer didn’t seem convinced. “She’s a right rotter and you know it,” Arran replied, running his hand over the splintered beam of the rail. “How much?” “Three thousand.” “I’ll give you one and a half.” “You expect me to feed my family on that?” “Feed them on these,” Arran said, shaking a termite from his finger and flicking it into the water. “Two thousand and you can have the sails, too,” Rickarde said.

102 D E C E M B E R / J A N U A R Y


“You were going to charge me extra?” “Think of my –” “I know, I know. Your poor children. Good thing they’re all grown and married off already or I don’t know how you’d live with the anguish in their little faces.” “Shut up,” Rickarde grinned. “You best come in for a cup or my wife will have my hide. Where you taking the old gal, anyway?” “Who? The boat or your wife?” “The boat. I’d give you the wife for free if it would get her out of my hair.” “I’m just going up to Paderborn,” Arran said. “Don’t ask me to find you a crew,” Rickarde warned, putting a kettle onto the stove. “You keep getting them killed.” “Not my fault,” Arran said, rubbing the healing scar on the back of his neck. The falling spar had knocked him out cold, but he had been told that the vessel’s demise had been slow and wallowing as the longboats grimly pulled away from the smoldering wreck. “I don’t know where you get the nerve to keep asking good men to risk their lives.” “Because I pay them. Besides, I’m

only running across the bay. It shouldn’t be too bad.” It wasn’t that bad, he tried to tell himself as he walked down to the marina again. The boat was in the water, and it wasn’t sinking. But he missed his old ship. The Firedrake hadn’t been big or flashy or particularly fast, but it had served him well. “Unbelievable,” he muttered to himself as he took out his knife and pushed it into one of the ship’s knees. The tip of the blade burrowed nearly an inch into the massive beam. They would all need to be replaced. And the budding split in the mainmast needed fixing. And the sails that Rickarde had so generously included in the price were riddled with dry rot. Still, it was cheaper to pay for the all work than it was to snatch a beauty off the market, where a boat that survived six months on the haunted seas was hailed as too lucky to ever abandon. He had almost gotten there with the Firedrake. He had almost gotten a lot of things before the Siheldi took them away. From Dark the Night Descending by Jennifer Bresnick. Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.




And what, you ask, does writing teach us? First and foremost, it reminds us that we are alive… —from Zen in the Art of Writing by Ray Bradbury

104 D E C E M B E R / J A N U A R Y


El cordero al matadero will be displayed at the Combined Book Exhibit in the U.S. Pavilion at the International Guadalajara Book Fair from November 30 – December 8.

Now AVAILABLE on, B& and in e-­‐

book, paperback and hardcopy.

“Set against the vividly rendered backdrop of professional boxing, Pete Delohery’s hard-­‐bitten yet generous-­‐spirited novel focuses on three men at a crossroad in their lives. A moving portrait is created of the men, each damaged by a brutal world, who flee from personal demons toward the only imperfect redemption available to them, victory in a fight.” “This heartfelt tale makes a powerful emotional impact.”

—Blue Ink Starred Review

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