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what to read next in independent publishing

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

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

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


Margaret Brown fo u n d e r a n d p u b l i sh e r Anna Nair edito r i n ch i e f Christina Davidson c re a t i ve d i re c tor Ben Minton circ u l a t i on ma n a g e r Patricia McClain c o py e d i to r Marc Schuster c o n t r i b u t i n g e d i tor Barbara Pflaumer so c i a l me d i a d i re c tor

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to Shelf Unbound at www.shelfmediagroup.com.

Sarah Kloth s o c i a l me d i a st ra te g i st Jane Miller ac c o u n t i n g ma n a g e r

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: Pure Quill, photographs by Barbara Van Cleve by Susan Hallsten McGarry; preface by B. Byron Price

what to read next in independent publishing




Publisher’s Note


Excerpt: The Western Star by Craig Johnson


Review: Huck Out West by Robert Coover

78 Discoveries


Pure Quill: Photographs by Barbara Van Cleve Interview with Susan Hallsten McGarry


The Last Cowboys of San Geronimo Interview with Ian Stansel


Big Lonesome Interview with Joseph Scapellato


Sin Walks Into the Desert Interview with Matt Ingwalson


Titus Interview with Titus Plomaritis


Monsterland Interview with Michael Okon

110 Western Spur Awards: Winners


Recommended Reading


Small Press Reviews


Last Words

On the cover: Cup of Soup and Grilled Cheese: Back to Work, Gretchen Sammis, 1986. From Pure Quill, photographs by Barbara Van Cleve by Susan Hallsten McGarry; preface by B. Byron Price

Above Photography: (top) The Apache Wars: The Hunt for Geronimo, The Apache Kid, and the Captive Boy Who Started the Longest War in American History by Paul Andrew Hutton. (bottom) from Off the Grid: A Joe Pickett Novel by C.J. Box.



A PHOTOGRAPHIC JOURNEY THROUGH THE EVERDAY LIFE IN HAVANA, CUBA. These captured shots within Split Seconds Havana occur smack in the midst of the pre-normalization of Cuban/US relations followed by the signing of the accord between the 2 nations, President Obama’s visit, and Fidel Castro’s death. This collection of black and white photos situates Havana inside of the dying embers of its 57 year relationship with orthodox communism. But now with its feet firmly planted in the pre-post Castro dance of modernity and change, bets are on that Havana is set to change and in a big way. The author is not sure how much change is in the cards. Nor how quickly it will manifest. Havana will reinvent itself regardless of change, rates of change, confluences or conflicts of influences he says. The shots presented here cut through the politics and the gossip of endless predictions spun by the international and local rumor mills. They portray a timeless face of Havana. A captivating and repeating humanity. “Generational Generalities” as he likes to say. Devoid of its powerful tropical flavors via his cancelation of color, landscapes and seascapes, Havana is stripped bare and reveals its inner city urban pulse. The metronome of its Habaneros.

Introducing a present-day La Bohème—a must-read novel for all opera lovers.

by Yorker Keith The Other La Bohème is literary fiction that depicts a group of four opera singers, named the Dolci Quattro, who are to perform the nearlyforgotten opera La Bohème by Leoncavallo, also known as “the other La Bohème.” Set in the rich artistic backdrop of New York City, the Dolci Quattro’s lives and loves go through ups and downs in joy and despair, while they give one another much-needed moral support. As the opening night nears, the Dolci Quattro make their utmost efforts to perfect their singing for the opera that will determine their future.




Book 1 OPAL RIDGE “A modern romance with shades of Pride and Prejudice set in the Australian outback.” —Jill Allen Forword Clarion Review

Book 2 THE GOVERNESS “I don’t often review books, because I am not a writer.
This story deserves someone to say some thing good about it though.
I really loved reading the whole book.” —Kindle customer  



Coming Soon!

This book is about Tony, the most dashing, colourful, exciting of the three friends.

Look out for it!

Michael Stanley introduces you to

DETECTIVE KUBU “A wonderful, original voice— McCall Smith with a dark edge and even darker underbelly” —Peter James

“Under the African sun, Michael Stanley’s Detective Kubu investigates crimes as dark as the darkest of Nordic Noir. Call it Sunshine Noir, if you will—a must read” —Yrsa Sigurðardóttir

The latest and 6th book in the series, Dying to Live is a chilling insight into a world of false hope, selfishness, and greed, with tentacles that spread across the globe. Kubu has difficulty focussing on the case when his adopted daughter lands in hospital and he and his wife can’t agree on a way forward. When a suspect offers him a chance to cure his daughter’s illness, Kubu is faced with a terrible choice. “Best yet. Intriguing plot twists.” —Publishers Weekly Starred and Boxed Review

“International police procedural with heart and soul.” —Library Journal Starred Review

“DYING TO LIVE is beautifully constructed and wonderfully told.” —Bookreporter

Set amidst the dark beauty of modern Botswana, A Death in the Family (Book 5), is a thrilling insight into a world of riots, corruption and greed, as a complex series of murders presents the operaloving, wine connoisseur detective with his most challenging case yet.


In a small sleepy town in North Carolina, thirteen year old Jake Winston discovered he carries a unique genetic trait; one that a covert government agency will stop at nothing to obtain. After the tragic death of his father, a local firefighting hero, Jake’s absent grandfather returns and sends the boy off on a journey into the gated forest at the edge of town, bringing him face-to-face with a family of dragons thought long extinct. Determined to grasp the power of the blood flowing through Jake’s veins, an agent from the secret ONX facility begins killing every dragon in his path. This forces Jake in the middle of a battle between the government and the dragons of Asheville, where the true potential of his power is revealed.

“Wonderfully descriptive, delightfully quirky. Reminds me of the movie Super 8!” BlueInk Review

“Finely wrought, well-crafted with wonderful humor...anyone can get easily wrapped up in Jake’s improbable quest.” Publishers Daily Reviews

“Inventive and never predictable. I was immersed.” Paula Stewart sweetsouthernsavings.com


Available at

a word from the




highlight of my summer was the opportunity to meet 87-year-old author Titus Plomaritis while my family was on Cape Cod celebrating my mother’s 80th birthday. Titus by chance was not far from us signing copies of his memoir Titus: Immigrant Son, Football Legend, Presidential Confidant, Highly Honored Chiropractor at a Market Basket grocery store—appropriate as the family who built the Market Basket from a corner store to a large, respected chain plays a role in his life and in his book. Having spoken to Titus a few times on the phone and interviewed him, I was eager to meet this larger-than-life 5’6” dynamo who had already impressed me with his love of life, devotion to his recently deceased wife, and deep gratitude for everyone who has impacted him along the way. I highly recommend his book—it’s an inspiring, feel-good read. Learn more in the first part of my interview with Titus in this issue. The open range of the American West as myth, icon, memory, and reality are explored by storytellers in these pages from photographer Barbara Van Cleve, whose award-winning Pure Quill by Susan Hallsten McGarry spotlights contemporary ranch life, to writers Ian Stansel (The Last Cowboys of San Geronimo) and Joseph Scapellato (Big Lonesome), who are both forging a modern approach in fiction to the West, old and new. As always, enjoy the issue. Margaret Brown publisher




Photograph: Debra Pandak

Lamb to the

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

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

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


A deeply thoughtful Christian reading of the Song of Solomon that will furnish students and experts alike with plenty of fuel for discussion. -Kirkus Reviews-


Available at

Unlock the mystery surrounding the Song of Solomon. The Bible is a spiritual book that can even be viewed from a historical viewpoint, and it’s full of allegories to help people visualize and understand God’s Word. Using the keys of understanding found in the Bible, Song of Solomon Revealed sheds light on the often misunderstood book of Song of Solomon, a book of allegories that takes the natural to explain the spiritual; it’s an allegory of Jesus and His bride, and a book of significant spiritual value. Song of Solomon Revealed eloquently explains the spiritual meaning of this book, backed up by scripture, and reveals how the Song of Solomon applies to your life today.


Bless Me, Mother: “A life-long Catholic, who served in the priesthood for 28 years, I believed I HOW CHURCH LEADERS FAIL WOMEN would learn nothing new about the role of women in the Church. I thought that


the conflict between the Church’s male hierarchy and women religious was something that began less than fifty years ago…WRONG.

rn in County Cavan, o John Francis Corr ed the local public ms, two teachers and priest. He attended St. ears, followed by six years ge Carlow. He was oremigrated to New Jersey 1960. June 1988 and Married wn Marriage and Family ers in Change, providing ies from parishes and Catholic high schools. He ves on Cape Cod with his n Fort Meyers Fl.

Bless Me, Mother:

Secondly, I thought that none of the leadership positions in the international HOW CHURCHwere LEADERS FAIL WOMEN church organizations led by a woman…WRONG.”

es…Whatever Happened oesn’t the male hierarchy the Church? He decided w book was born. rr has combined thorough allenging text. It is truly

king a tremendous n his team approach and the Family Life agency in e women who served as

eat heights and assume ore recent times, women s President of the Irish n currency. nderstanding of the role




Finbarr M. Corr, Ed.D


e is

d y d

“Based on his own history as a priest and psychotherapist, Dr. Corr has combined thorough research with scholarship and wit to provide a thoughtful and challenging text. It is truly an inspiring piece of literature.”

FINBARR M. CORR Ed.D was born in County Cavan, Ireland. He attended St. Patrick’s College Cavan for five years, followed by six years at the seminary, St Patrick’s College Carlow. He was ordained a priest in June 1960 and emigrated to New Jersey as a ‘missionary’ priest in August 1960. He resigned the priesthood in June 1988 and married Laurie Hutton. He initiated his own Marriage and Family counseling program called Partners in Change, providing counseling for couples and families from parishes and student assistance programs for Catholic high schools. He is the author of eight books and lives on Cape Cod, MA with his wife Laurie and spends winters in Fort Meyers Fl.

Finbarr M. Corr, Ed.D



B.A. Boston College; M.A. Boston University, Irish storyteller and author of Power, Politics and Propaganda

d in

TO ORDER: Send order request + $18 (which includes mailing) to Finbarr M. Corr Ed. D 8918 Cranes Nest Court, Fort Myers, Fl 33908.

Erotic, emotionally sensitive and provocative, THE SECRET AND THE BUTTERFLY

will speak to your heart, absorb your soul and cause your thoughts to flutter in wonderment.

The people hurt. They look to President Orangejob to ease their burdens, but entrenched powers oppose him. A renegade general, a devious banker and their fellow conspirators plot to take advantage of the situation. Sheila, a genius mathematician, accepts two top secret assignments. She must improve the accuracy of America’s missile defenses and also invent a way to defeat drone attacks. She sees a weird phenomenon and wonders if it is the solution key.

DEZ REVIEW FOR THE SECRET AND THE BUTTERFLY This and other reviews on Amazon.com I loved this story! It’s intensely romantic and wildly erotic. The beginning is not about naughty stuff girls do, not at all what author Rosemary sets you up to experience. No, it’s about dark pernicious evil that is bound and determined to suffocate true innocent passionate love. The revelations just keep on coming in this masterful tale. Analogies and metaphors are cleverly used to give your mind front flips and back flips. Plots are layered within plots as you see how the evil master, David, harnesses the talents of a nymphomaniac to do his bidding for profit; then how he cleverly manipulates the three lovers within a love triangle to channel events to his liking. I felt the frustrations of Barbara while she holds her passions in check. I felt the carnal lusts of Marty while she seduced her lovers and demolished their significant others. My Kindle was on fire with her hot love scenes. This book totally engrossed me and I found myself thinking about it while I was at work, eager to get back to reading it. I felt a gamut of emotions: frustration, hatred, compassion, apprehension, desire. The way the author develops the characters is masterful. She pulls you in and you get lost in the story and the characters. There were so many parts that made my heart race wondering how it was all going to turn out. I kept turning the pages, fascinated by the twists and turns of this wonderful story. Totally a 5 star story all the way! I must say I’ve learned more about devious evil behaviors, financial crime methods, seduction and simple wisdom than I ever thought possible. I totally loved it. I recommend it highly.

On her journey of discovery she meets the loves of her life and four romance minded bank interns. Joined by a rugged mountain man and a secret keeping woman, her multitalented group seeks to unmask the conspirators. President Orangejob’s focus is suddenly interrupted. Could the group’s suggestions win him a second term landslide victory? Will the kiss of the Crimson Mariposa inspire him to act? Can the conspirators be stopped? A million NFL fans are pouring into their stadiums.

McDowell A Novel An admired and lauded surgeon climbs to the top of his profession. But his callous and questionably moral determination angers colleagues and friends who vow to destroy him.

“This worthy tale delivers an epic feel and strong characters.” —Kirkus Reviews Check out other works by William H. Coles here: WWW.STORYINLITERARYFICTION.COM

photo essay on the range

Winner of the 2017 IPPY Bronze Medal (Photography), the Best Photography Book from the Independent Press Awards, and the Western Heritage Award for Outstanding Photography Book at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, Pure Quill is a compelling view of the American West and its habitants as well as a closer look at photographer Van Cleve herself. Fresco Books | frescobooks.com Images and text reprinted with permission. All rights reserved. 14


Trailing Cattle, Damn the Wind, Karen Farr, 1988.

Shelf Unbound: Tell us about the book’s title, Pure Quill. Susan Hallsten McGarry: According to Barbara’s father, Spike Van Cleve, who authored two books of ranching short stories, the phrase pure quill means “authentic, real through and through.” As a Montana rancher and horsewoman, Barbara photographs the nitty-gritty of the world she knows. The phrase was also in sync with a book she wrote titled Hard Twist: Western Ranch Women (1995). The phrase hard twist refers to both a resilient rope as well as a small but strong person.



Arranging Irons: Old Time Branding, c.1955.

Shelf Unbound: As you mention in your prologue, you’ve followed Barbara Van Cleve’s work for decades. What do you find most intriguing about her photographs? SHM: Unlike many contemporary western photographers, Barbara’s photos come from a lifelong working ranch perspective that includes being a rodeo rider in her younger years and an accomplished horsewoman to this day. Her photographs are documentary, and she’s chosen to make her statements in black-and-white. On average the photos are not posed. Rather, she watches or shadows her subjects engaged in daily activities and she’s often shooting on horseback. Her sophisticated eye for composition is a result of understanding what is happening (or about to happen) and then putting herself in place to capture it. 16


Dude Boy, Open or Close the Gate?, c. 1955.

Shelf Unbound: You were the longtime editor in chief of Southwest Art magazine, writing primarily about paintings and sculpture. As a viewer, what do you experience from photographs that is different? SHM: Considering today’s plethora of selfies and endless mundane moments forever frozen, I’ve had to question the value of photography. In fact, I imagine 100 years from now when people look back at the early 21st century and ask, What was their fixation on photographing what they ate for dinner? However, I’ve learned from Barbara that documentary photographs help keep traditions alive. Whether its clothing, family values, landscapes or animal husbandry, the history of a place or lifeway is perpetuated through images that seem even more “historical” when they are black-and-white. But Barbara is not a Luddite when it comes to technology. Throughout her seven-plus decades she has stepped up to the next best camera, and in 2004 she switched to high-tech digital cameras. Today, she also uses her smartphone camera (with a DSLR-like manual control app) to document her world. UNBOUND


Big Corral, 70 miles from Asphalt, Sandy Cook Rosenlund, 1985.

Shelf Unbound: Do you have a favorite photograph in the book? SHM: I relate to many of them, but if actions speak louder than words, I’d have to say it is Big Corral: 70 Miles from Asphalt, Sandy Cook Rosenlund, which I placed upfront, across from the dedication. I love the zigzag composition of the shadows of the woman and open gate, as well as the tension created by dirt, tumbleweed, and fence rails crowding the margins of the image. It represents to me the reality of many working ranches that are in the middle of nowhere, forcing ranch women to survive on native intelligence. They don’t just call in a doctor or vet or “run over” to the grocery store. Challenges to body, mind, and spirit are dealt with through stamina and a belief in oneself—qualities that ring true for all of us, whatever the lifestyle. 18


Zopilotes on Cardons: Vultures, 1979.

Easy Winter: Hay of the Ground, 1973.

Shelf Unbound: In interviewing Van Cleve for this book, what did you learn about her that you did not previously know that is particularly interesting to you? SHM: Barbara has called herself a self-taught photographer. This is certainly true of her childhood when at age 11, she was given a Brownie box camera and then darkroom equipment that she taught herself to use. Later in life, she also devised unique methods for printing her heroic-scaled silver gelatin prints. What gets less coverage are her two decades as an academic and dean of women at colleges in Chicago. Although she spent summers in Montana, the rest of the year she was a professor of Victorian literature and photography, as well as founding a stock photography business. When at age 45 she decided to abandon academia and focus on fine-art photography, her acumen as both a photographer and business person allowed her to quickly position herself in the 1980s western art marketplace in Santa Fe, NM. I was also unfamiliar with several of her other series, including pure landscapes, nudes on horseback, and documentation of Baja, which was done over two decades of traveling the Spanish Mission Trail by mule. Although she is best known for ranching imagery, her photographic oeuvre and technical abilities are broad, including her most current series made using only the full moon as a light source.

Barbara Van Cleve, Storyteller

Barbara Van Cleve has been telling stories about what she knows since she was an adolescent. Born and raised on a working Montana cattle and horse ranch, she found inspiration in the land and sky, animals and people that were a part of her daily life. Rather than using nouns and verbs, however, Van Cleve’s storytelling tool has been the camera lens. For seven decades, she has focused that lens on subjects that have enriched her life, everything from the vastness of her homeland, to a line of cattle paralleling the lay of the land, working ranchers, running horses, and more intimate slices of life pursued through her endless curiosity. —from Pure Quill, Photographs by Barbara Van Cleve UNBOUND


CHECK OUT THESE READS from Author James A. Gauthier, J.D.

Emily and Emily 2

Amy’s Kourt

What would you do to bring hope to your dying son or daughter afflicted with leukemia? Would you permit your son or daughter to experience life while facing their expected death?

Amy’s Kourt is an excellent book to teach young people about the court system from understanding the roles of judges and bailiffs to identifying plaintiffs and defendants. Terminology is presented to better understand the role that attorneys and jurors play on the judicial stage. Amy’s Kourt is a fun book to read for all ages.

Emily is a love story about a twelve year old girl that was dying from leukemia when she met Jeremy, a seventeen year old that would become her life anchor. This story is about how Emily decided that she wanted to experience life while facing the uncertainty of death.

Interstitial Beings Have you seen someone that looks like someone you know, but it is not them? How about things you believe you see and feel that lack an explanation? A new race of beings, called Tolasians, have been existing within the interstitial spaces of homes, and throughout our world for more than 500 years. They have existed in a gas stasis form until now. Meet Jari and Deri, the first Tolasian beings to make physical contact with humans. Learn about travelers and trappers and the sporting event of boxing that existed on Tolas before the migration to Earth.

Ian and Eli’s birth may be unique, but each is equally gifted with 160+ IQs making them some of the smartest people in the world. Their intellect is tied to their special cognitive abilities of remote viewing, premonitions, clairaudience, clairvoyance, healing and telekinesis.

Unacceptable Expectations


Ian and Eli Gehardi are ‘near identical’ boy/girl twins. Only ten known births of such twins has been recorded and no such births in the past one-hundred years.

Rachel Sinclair had one goal of becoming an outstanding teacher. She didn’t believe in limits on what a student could learn and she refused to accept that when she became a teacher that she would become another link in the education chain of life. Rachel became the object of union hatred. The union became her nemesis causing Rachel to lose a leg; get accused of abusing a student; selling drugs; and outright threats. Ultimately Rachel formed her own school system and teaching method. Follow her realistic approach to education that ignores the current system of mediocrity.

Ian and Eli’s lives from birth to present are documented from personal journals and medical records maintained by their parents. Because Ian and Eli are near identical twins, they were subjected to medical testing and psychological evaluations at different stages of development since birth. The tests and outcomes are all outlined in their story and will surprise the readers. Ian and Eli graduated from college by challenging all their undergraduate premed courses. They graduated with a 4.0 GPA without taking a single college course. They graduated from medical school and began practicing medicine before they were old enough to drive a car.

I am pleased to present Ian and Eli’s story. I am their friend rst and their personal attorney. Their story is fascinating to read. I have changed names, places and other identifying information to secure my clients’ privacy. Read their story and understand why.

James A. Gauthier

Ian and Eli chose to be partners in life. A young woman told the medical center admission’s personnel that she was there to deliver a child. The mother died instantly when anesthesia was administered for a caesarian birth. Learn how Eli bonded with Hayden and learn how Hayden’s heart rhythm is matched identically to Ian and Eli’s hearts. Learn how Eli and Hayden are cognitively connected and can experience each other with skills beyond those of ordinary human development. Learn why Ian and Eli believe Hayden was delivered to them as a gift from God.

Surrealeum Dreams Ian & Eli Surrealeum Dreams is a dreamscape of adventure between the world of being awake and asleep. It is a place where children go in their sleep to find light in the darkness of the night. The existence of being awake or asleep becomes non-distinguishable as Arianne reaches maturity and learns that she will become the Keeper of Surrealeum Dreams and coexist with Michael, her consort.

Until Tomorrow Brad promised his wife Kendra that he would love her unconditionally until there are no more tomorrows. His promise would be tested over and over as newly commissioned FBI Analyst; Kendra Deacon uses her youthful appearance to embed herself undercover into the criminal world of child trafficking and child exploitation. Follow Agent Deacon as she becomes an exploited child herself. Learn how Agent Deacon single handedly brings down much of the criminal enterprise and why there is so much more to do in our own communities; but at what cost to her marriage and promise of unconditional love until there are no more tomorrows?

Ian and Eli Gehardi are ‘near identical’ boy/girl twins. Only ten known births of such twins has been recorded and no such births in the past one-hundred years. Learn how Eli bonded with a newborn and how the baby’s heart rhythm is matched identically to Ian and Eli’s hearts. Learn how Eli and the baby are cognitively connected and can experience each other with skills beyond those of ordinary humans.

This volume gives the reader the entire scope of Kirk’s work.

Fifteen mysteries.

Fifteen steps in Kirk’s search for himself. Jonas Kirk has solved a lot of murders, gradually integrating himself into the social network of Woodland Park, MN. Fifteen times he has set his knowledge, interest and curiosity up against murder, near death and accidental homicide. He finds answers, but not always justice and when that happens he willingly places his weight upon Mister Scales, balancing the bar with Lady Justice.

Available in softcover and digital formats. Find both at Amazon.com. Search for Jonas Kirk Mysteries.

If you haven’t read any of Jack Cohen’s works you are really missing something...


“Discovering America”

(2009) Autobiographical novel of growing up Jewish in the East End of London and then going to Cambridge University

(2009) Short stories that will surprise you with their range

“Zionism: A Love Story”

“Of Gods and Lemurs”

(2015) The true story of an Anglo-Chilean Christian who became an Israeli through love

(2015) Including “The Tolerant Atheist” and “Discovering Humanity”

Available on


(2009) Long stories, including detective stories in the US and UK

“Life on Planet Alz”

(2017) The reality of coping with a spouse with Alzheimer’s

“Confessions of a Jewish Activist” (2010) Experiences in the Soviet Jewry movement

“Invisible Jews” (2017) Surviving the Holocaust in Poland (with Eddie Bielowski)

and most in Kindle format.


(2014) A true story of discovery and intrigue in scientific research

“The Reawakening”

(2017) The re-emergence of Jews after 500 years of SpanishPortuguese Catholic persecution



The Last Cowboys of San Geronimo

by Ian Stansel

Ian Stansel writes a modern Western classic with his Cain and Abel story.



Houghton Mifflin Harcourt houghtonmifflinbooks.com

Shelf Unbound: The Last Cowboys of San Geronimo is a gorgeously written contemporary Western about the lives of two brothers, beginning with one shooting the other and the widow setting off on horseback to follow her brotherin-law and exact revenge. How did you come to the idea of writing a Western? Ian Stansel: It was a bit accidental, I think. I set out to write about the contemporary equestrian world, which I’d written about a bit before in my first book. I had the idea of feuding brothers—an idea that in one form or another came from my sister, who taught horse riding her whole life. The initial situation of one brother having gunned down the other happened rather quickly, as I remember. But even though I was writing a chase-on-horseback book, it didn’t really occur to me that it was a sort of Western until I was at least a few chapters in. As soon as I had that realization, though, the book took off. So much of the fun of the book was finding moments for the full Western-ness of it to rise to the surface.

Shelf Unbound: You take the reins from Larry McMurtry, Annie Proulx’ Westerns, and Cormac McCarthy and bring the genre forward in a manner that feels both classic and modern. Were you influenced in particular by any earlier authors of Westerns? Stansel: I love all of the authors you mention. I was also influenced by Charles Portis’s True Grit and Patrick DeWitt’s The Sisters Brothers, as well as Paulette Jiles’s News of the World (which I read after I’d finished the initial composing of the book). As far as the earlier Western writers, I certainly know the work of Louis L’Amour, and obviously he had fun with a chase or two. But when I’m asked this question I feel the need to point out some of the authors who directly influenced the book who have nothing to do with the Western genre. I thought a lot about James Salter’s Light Years and how that book moves between present action and backstory. I also thought about The Great Gatsby, particularly the idea of a person (in the case of my book, two people—the brothers) reinventing themselves. There’s something so wonderfully American about that notion, and I thought it worked well within the Western genre.



Shelf Unbound: The widow Lena and her stable hand Rain, who joins her on the trek, are as integral in this story as the two men. Were you consciously wanting to bring out this female element or did that just happen? Stansel: Both, really. It just happened, yes, but when I saw those female characters come alive on the page I made a conscious effort to allow them and their relationship to develop. I realized fairly early on in the composition process that I could do something a bit different by having a couple of strong independent women riding across the wilds of California. Of course there are plenty of women in Westerns, but a lot of the time (not all, but a lot) they are dependent on men to help them in their cause. Think of Mattie Ross in True Grit. Of course my book does not take place in the 1880s. It takes place now, and that makes a huge difference. But I did want the two main female characters to be completely capable, never in need of rescuing, at least not by a man. There are a couple other moments in the book when women help each other. This was something I wanted to have happening in the background of the book. In the foreground you have these two brothers dead set on destroying each other, all blustering and violent. Meanwhile, far



more quietly, you have women, often strangers, going out of their way to help one another for no other reason than it is the right thing to do in the moment. Shelf Unbound: On the run, Silas ends up spending the night at a ranch owned by two lesbians and a bi-sexual man, and despite being warmly welcomed by them (until they see a news report and learn his identity) he leaves with a vicious tirade against them. How did this part of the novel come about? Stansel: I’m actually surprised I haven’t been asked about this more often. It is the moment I struggled with more than any other. This is when we see Silas at his worst. All his worst instincts come rushing out in, as you say, a nasty and completely unwarranted tirade against people who’ve been nothing but welcoming to him. He uses at least one particularly awful homophobic slur, but the whole message of his dialogue there is that they are not as legitimate or American as he is. The thing is, I don’t believe Silas actually thinks these things. Or at least not most of him (obviously it is in him in some ways, or it wouldn’t have come out). What I was trying to show is how a person, when he feels cornered or threatened will lash out at anyone or anything nearby with whatever

An entrepreneur’s debut memoir takes him from the

wilds of Ethiopia to the neon lights of


A high-speed, energetic tale of a sometimes-bumpy ride from rags to riches. [Kirkus Review]


THE GREATEST SUCCESS STORIES can spring from the humblest of beginnings. Such is the case with Tariku Bogale. From his early days raised in poverty to funding his own education and becoming the CEO of numerous companies, Unstoppable: Challenge Accepted tells Bogale’s story of success, struggle, and determination. Sprinkled with a dash of international intrigue and high stakes risk, Unstoppable: Challenge Accepted details Bogale’s journey through South Africa to Switzerland, New York, Hollywood, and beyond. Bogale’s foray into diverse fields of business and his social entrepreneurship will inspire any reader, seeking innovative and fresh ideas while giving back to their community. UNBOUND


weapons he can come up with. He is mad about his situation in general, and he is mad at having been caught, and though he knows everything going on is due to choices he has made, in the moment, he attacks and tries to blame this woman and her family. The other thing this moment does is provide a stepping stone in Silas’s violence. Not too long after this, he is physically violent against another set of relatively innocent people. I felt I needed the verbal/ psychological abuse to come first, as going straight to the physical violence would have felt like too much of a jump. But with the two scenes we see a pattern emerging. We see a progression. I remember emailing my editor about the scene with the homophobic slur and asking if she thought we should cut it. I knew it made sense on a character level, but I also imagined people reading it and feeling like the book was attacking them, that the book was condoning such views and such language. I hope it is clear to readers that this is not the case, or at least it was never meant to condone such thinking. In the end we decided that the scene was important to the character and so we kept it. Even though I know it is true to the character and the story, I do feel uneasy about it. But that’s probably a good thing.



Shelf Unbound: Do you think you will write another Western? Stansel: My next project won’t be, and maybe not the next. But I could see myself revisiting the genre in the not-too-distant future. I’d need to have the right story, of course, and the right idea for something to do with the genre. I’m a bit restless by nature, and want to do many very different things writing-wise. But I do love horses and I love the West, so it is probably just a matter of time. Shelf Unbound: You teach Creative Writing at the University of Louisville. What lessons or skills do you most try to impart to your students? Stansel: It’s easy in a creative writing workshop to get caught up in the technicalities of the craft. And I spend a lot of time on those technicalities. But every once in a while I like to take a moment to remind them of what all that talk is for: to learn to tell good stories.



“Fiona Ingram’s middle-grade series is dead-on: the plot is crisp, the characters are relatable, and they leave the reader wanting more.” Terry Doherty, CEO, The Reading Tub, Inc. (USA) THE SECRET OF THE SACRED SCARAB BOOK I A 5000-year-old mystery comes to life when a scruffy peddler gives Adam and Justin Sinclair an old Egyptian scarab on their very first day in Egypt. The cousins are plunged into a whirlpool of hazardous and mysterious events when the evil Dr. Khalid kidnaps them. They learn more about the ancient Seven Stones of Power and the mysterious Shemsu-Hor. They must translate the hieroglyphic clues on the underside of the scarab, as well as rescue the missing archaeologist James Kinnaird, and their friend, the Egyptologist Ebrahim Faza, before time runs out!


THE SEARCH FOR THE STONE OF EXCALIBUR BOOK II Continuing the adventure that began in Egypt a few months prior in The Secret of the Sacred Scarab, cousins Adam and Justin Sinclair are hot on the trail of the second Stone of Power, one of seven ancient stones lost centuries ago. This stone might be embedded in the hilt of a newly discovered sword that archaeologists believe belonged to King Arthur: Excalibur. However, their longstanding enemy, Dr. Khalid, is following them as they travel to Scotland to investigate an old castle. Little do they know there is another deadly force, the Eaters of Poison, who have their own mission to complete. Time is running out as the confluence of the planets draws closer. Can Justin and Adam find the second Stone of Power and survive? And why did Aunt Isabel send a girl with them?



Continuing the adventure that ended in Britain just a short while ago, cousins Adam and Justin Sinclair, with their friend Kim Maleka, are now hunting for the third Stone of Power, one of seven mysterious stones lost centuries ago. The third stone might be located in an ancient city, hidden in the depths of the Mexican jungle. When their small plane crashes in the jungle, Adam, Justin, Kim, and James are rescued by an uncontacted tribe. James, who is wounded, must stay behind as the kids, with only a young boy, Tukum, as their guide, make their way through the dense and dangerous jungle to find the city. River rafting on a crocodile-infested river and evading predators are just part of this hazardous task.

A fictional journey into a future America. This series examines the human condition by exploring society’s intersecting dichotomies: politics and organized crime, technology and nature, and medicine and mysticism.

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A Police Action is a gripping coming-of-age Vietnam War-era romantic novel. It is the story of two lost and confused young adults. It is love at first sight when nineteen-year-old Samantha Powers meets James Coppi at the Country Honky Tonk in Colorado Springs. There are just two problems to a storybook ending for Samantha’s passion. She is pregnant with someone else’s child and James, a young solider, is heading for a war in Vietnam. Will this instant attraction be enough to form a lasting bond? What will happen after James is deployed? Will he return home safely, and, if so, will it be to Samantha? Follow along as the young lovers mature through their individual hardships and those that they share. WWW.AAFREDA.COM

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“The Verdict is in—


Attorney Christopher Leibig offers a legal thriller for the ages. Realistic yet unpredictable, with a clever metaphysical twist, Almost Mortal is a thrilling roller coaster ride.”

Can Sam solve the “Rosslyn Ripper” case before the killer strikes again?

Robert Dugoni, New York Times and Amazon number one bestselling author of “My Sister’s Grave.” “A poised protagonist leads this serpentine but engaging legal tale.” —Kirkus Reviews

“A page-turner that you’ll probably want to read twice.” – Patricia McCardle, author of Amazon’s awardwinning novel, Farishta.

Camille shares an old journal anonymously mailed to the Church, which she believes may have been authored by the killer/confessor. The journal purports to tell the life story of a man with mind control and other special powers who claims to be a descendant of the fallen angels cast of out Heaven by God. As he learns more about the murders, the mystery author, and Camille, Sam begins to realize the so called “Rosslyn Ripper” case may have implications beyond his imagination—including his own past.

Christopher Leibig is a novelist and criminal defense lawyer who lives and works in Alexandria, Virginia. His first two published books, Saving Saddam (2008), and Montanamo (2010) were published by Artnik Books in London. Saving Saddam was released in 2014 in the United States under the title Black Rabbit. Chris also has several published short stories – Secret Admirer (The Cynic on-line magazine 2004) Coldcocked (Skyline magazine FICTION: Thrillers/Legal 2004), Fly (The Cynic on-line magazine 2009), Intervention (Traveller’s Playground Press 2014), and Paradise City (Traveller’s Playground Press 2014). Chris has also published numerous articles on criminal defense and related topics – including in the Huffington Post and The Examiner – and appeared as a legal expert regularly since 2009 in print and television media – including Fox News, CNN, The Washington Post, $15.95 The New York Times, and Sports Illustrated. He and his colleagues regularly lecture at law schools throughout Europe and the Caribbean.









“The verdict is in–Attorney Christopher Leibig offers a legal thriller for the ages. Realistic yet unpredictable, with a clever metaphysical twist, Almost Mortal is a thrilling roller coaster ride!” —Robert Dugoni, #1 Amazon, New York Times and Wall Street Journal Best Selling Author of My Sister’s Grave

christopher Leibig

emerging criminal defense attorney Sam Young has always known he had a gift. Or a curse. He thinks of them as minor psychic abilities. When Sam is hired by an attractive young nun named Camille Paradisi, he agrees to help discover the identity of a serial killer in order to prevent Camille’s pastor from being exposed for not reporting the man after a confession – thereby allowing another murder to occur. While Sam’s psychic abilities increase as he investigates the case and gets closer to Camille, he realizes that the enigmatic nun is not revealing the complete truth. Camille shares an old journal anonymously mailed to the church, which she believes may have been authored by the killer/ confessor. The journal, which begins in Argentina in the 1940’s, purports to tell the life story of a man with mind control and other special powers who claims to be a descendant of the fallen angels cast out of heaven by God. As Sam learns more about the murders, the journal author, and Camille, he begins to realize the so called “Rosslyn Ripper” case may have ancient implications beyond his imagination.


Emerging criminal defense attorney Sam Young has always known he had a gift. Or a curse. He thinks of them as just minor psychic abilities. When Sam is hired by an attractive young nun named Camille Paradisi, he must discover the identity of a serial killer. Otherwise Camille’s Pastor will be exposed for not having turned in the man after a confession—thereby allowing another murder to occur. While Sam’s psychic abilities increase as he investigates the case, he quickly learns that the enigmatic Camille is not revealing the complete truth.



Winner 2016 Next Generation Indie Book Award

köehlerbooks 2016 Chanticleer Grand Prize Winner—Fiction: Paranormal TM







Christopher Leibig is a novelist and criminal defense lawyer who lives and works in Alexandria, Virginia.




Fiercely inventive and bringing classic themes of the American West into a modern literary mindset, Joseph Scapellato’s stories will chew you up and spit you out in the best possible way.



Big Lonesome by Joseph Scapellato Mariner Books hmhco.com

Shelf Unbound: Big Lonesome is filled with a nameless cast of drifters beaten up by life. What interests you in writing from such a grim outlook? Joseph Scapellato: This grim outlook, I think, is a result of my attempt to write about two things: 1.) the West that I imagined as a kid—the West of cinema, the West that’s a crucial part of our national American imagination, and 2.) the contemporary West that I saw when I lived in New Mexico and Texas. Here’s a little background: In 2005, I moved to Las Cruces, New Mexico, to earn an MFA in Fiction at New Mexico State University. As a Midwesterner (I’m from Illinois), I was wowed by the high desert’s dramatic landscapes. I spent as much time outside as I could, hiking and staring and meeting strangers. After I finished my MFA in 2008, I moved to Central Pennsylvania with my now-wife, where I found that every story that I was working on wanted to be set in the West. I began to feel a preservative urgency, a need to get something of the experiences I’d had in the Southwest into my work. I wanted to hang onto what I’d felt when there, the big feelings you get in a big landscape.

This was when a bunch of beaten-upby-life cowboys drifted into my stories. I welcomed them. I tried to figure out what they meant. And because the cowboy is a vehicle for American mythology, the stories started to want to be about certain myths of American identity—the “When America Was Great” myths that encourage us to tell simple stories about complex issues. To challenge these myths, I tried to write about characters who’d been damaged by them, knowingly or not, like the hard-luck cowboy in “Thataway” who destroys his memory, or the muttface cowboy in “Muttface” who wants to be bigger than he is, who shrinks himself with the lies he tells himself. And I guess that I was drawn to these kinds of characters while writing Big Lonesome because I’ve known these people—people who are “drifters,” metaphorically, who can’t connect to who they are, whose painful lived experience doesn’t square up with the stories they were raised on.



Shelf Unbound: The cowboy icon is prominent in these stories, but instead of a hero, he is largely an insignificant failure. Why create this twist? Scapellato: The cowboy has consistently been portrayed as a “tough guy” who might be a “little rough around the edges,” but who, when presented with a crisis, “does the right thing.” This is the quietly noble figure immortalized by the “Golden Age” Western serials and films of the 1940s and 1950s. The cowboy hero is competent and moral. But these values that are so central to our national hero—competence and morality—are at odds with horrifying realities of American history: the systemic genocide of Native Americans, the systemic enslavement of Africans. My attempt to complicate the cowboy-ashero-stereotype, particularly in stories like “Horseman Cowboy” and “Five Episodes of White-Hat Black-Hat,” is part of Big Lonesome’s larger effort to turn American mythology inside out. I’m certainly not the first person to try to do this! The figure of the cowboy has been challenged many times, brilliantly—in film, some of my favorites are Robert Altman’s McCabe and Mrs. Miller and Clint Eastwood’s Unforgiven, and in literature, Michael Ondaatje’s The Complete Works of Billy the Kid and Larry Watson’s novel As Good as Gone.



Shelf Unbound: You write about the American West as a place, and about masculinity. Can you talk about the association of these two in your stories? Scapellato: One of my goals was to critique a certain type of choked-tight hypermasculinity, the kind that thrives in Western films but that’s still present, today, in our everyday lives as Americans. The man who feels that it’s unmanly to talk about his feelings. The man who thinks that it’s unmanly to think. The man who’s sure that it’s unmanly to listen to anyone who suggests that his behavior is damaging to women, other men, and himself. This dangerous brand of hypermasculinity—so central to how we’re encouraged to think about the West—is a myth that American believers work to embody every day. Look at Donald Trump. Look at how every one of his many lies is an attempt to preserve his image of himself as the toughest and manliest man around. And look at how his whiniest verbal attacks and counterattacks are enthusiastically applauded by (at the time of this interview) 38% of Americans. I was specifically trying to explore these issues through the raging centaur cowboy in “Horseman Cowboy,” the wandering born-of-a-cow girl in “Cowgirl,” and the lonely repressed Chicagoan in the contemporary/realist “Dead Dogs.”

a cowb g n i m o c e B can©t be that hard, oy

can it?

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

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




Shelf Unbound: Did you grow up reading Western writers/novels and if so who were some of your influences? Scapellato: I didn’t read many Western novels growing up, but I watched plenty of Western films and serials, especially the “Golden Age” productions from the 1940s and 1950s: Roy Rogers, Gene Autry, Hopalong Cassidy. I watched them with my mom, who has always loved them. When I got older, I discovered the gritty, sweaty, and morally complex Westerns of the 1960s and beyond, and was absolutely enthralled—there was a 10- year period when I watched Sergio Leone’s The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly once a year. That film has marked me, aesthetically, in ways that I don’t think that I can track. Since then, I’ve been catching up on Western writers. I just started Thomas McGuane’s Crow Fair. And I was utterly floored by Claire Vaye Watkins’ incredible story collection, Battleborn, and incredible novel, Gold, Fame, Citrus. Shelf Unbound: You teach Creative Writing at Bucknell University. What lessons or skills do you most try to impart to your students? 
 Scapellato: Thanks so much for this question. I want to teach my students to teach themselves to write the sort of fiction



that they actually want to write—not the sort of fiction that they think they ought to write. As a young writer, I spent more time than I should have (form-wise and content-wise) writing what I thought I was supposed to write. I try to do this by providing as much variety in the readings as possible, and by encouraging my students to follow the “story’s intention”—what the story “wants” to be about—instead of sticking closely to the “writer’s intention”—what the writer initially wants the story to be/be about. If discovery and surprise and delight are part of the process, I believe, then it’s more likely that discovery and surprise and delight will be in the product.

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




A fast-paced, paranormal adventure, Angel Blade is a series that follows Nikka, a young woman who was dying of cancer until a stranger provided a cure in exchange for becoming a demon hunter. As the seraph, Nikka now wields the power to exorcise and destroy demons, but she must face the most powerful forces of Hell that will try to bring about the End of Days.






El Viejo saved Sin’s life back when the boy was a 12-yearold punk hellbent on shooting up the school bus with his daddy’s .357. And now the old man’s gone missing. So Sin straps on his guns, grabs his go-bag, and hikes into the desert to find him, only to uncover a nest of killers with ancient vendettas waiting out there with the king snakes and coyotes. —MW



Sin Walks Into the Desert by Matt Ingwalson


Shelf Unbound: You’ve created a modern minimalist Western noir style, with a Breaking Bad kind of cool bad guy protagonist. How did you develop your style and what influenced it? Matt Ingwalson: My characters tell me how to write their stories. The Owl & Raccoon books are all clipped cop talk. Regret Things was as unrestrained and ambitious as its heroine, Nicki. And Sin Walks Into the Desert is empty and haunting because the main character is an empty, haunted human being. There are Western plains where the horizon is so far away it’s meaningless. The world is a flat surface without any walls to hold you. That sense of infiniteness, that’s what I wanted to achieve with the language in Sin Walks Into the Desert. It’s a story about scary men searching vast spaces, trying to decide what their humanity is worth.

send him off to live with his uncle, who teaches him an old school “law of the West” good guy/bad guy moral code. What is the reader to make of Sin’s obsession with guns? Ingwalson: It’s a good question. I purposefully resisted giving easy answers in the book. On the one hand Sin just has a lot of normal teenage angst but without any buddies to help him through. But on the other hand, something is seriously broken inside him. His idolization of his big sister borders on obsession. And he was born with a homicidal urge he doesn’t have the social skills to repress or the mental dexterity to understand. He’s constantly suppressing his nature, and as a result he’s a bit of a shadow, living right on the edge of something terrifying. Guns are the only things that give Sin a sense of control. And he’s not just good with them. He’s a natural killer.

Shelf Unbound: The young Sin is similar to the archetypal shooters we see in the news today—a bullied, disaffected kid who gains access to a gun. But his parents take action and

Shelf Unbound: In addition to Sin Walks Into the Desert and its prequel Regret Things, you’ve written a series of police procedurals. What interests you about crime?



Ingwalson: David Byrne once said singing is a trick to get people to spend more time with music. And I think that’s part of it. The crime genre is a trick to get people to spend more time with characters, more time in uncomfortable situations. But part of it is that genre fiction is just cool. The real world is artificial and stupid. I’ve seen enough genuine tragedy that trumped-up literary drama makes me want to go around punching people. I write crime, noir and horror because they’re fucking cool. Sue me. Shelf Unbound: By day you’re a copywriter for an agency. How has being a copywriter influenced your fiction writing? Ingwalson: I wrote three novels when I was in college. They were awful—navel gazing and whiny. So I shoved them in a drawer and spent the next 15 years working as a copywriter. But as I got promoted to creative director and then executive creative director, I found myself writing less and less. So I went back to fiction as a creative outlet, and my style had changed without me even realizing it.




he voice on the other end of the phone sounded like sandpaper would sound if it whispered and was a woman. Every other word, she had to pause and breathe, shallow breaths that took forever to happen. Sin was used to it, waited patiently for her to get the words out. “Thanks.” Wait. “For calling.” Wait. “Kiddo.” To which Sin said nothing. “Seen el Viejo recently?” “About a week.” When Sin spoke, it was at some volume just barely above silent. Catrina waited a bit to make sure he’d actually finished before she went on. “Not since he went to the place?” “No.” “He’s AWOL.” “No, he’s at that Denzhone place for a few days still.” “He’s got a situation.”

Anybody else, Sin would’ve laughed. El Viejo didn’t have situations, except the arthritis that kept him in his rocking chair and off the streets where he belonged. But the voice on the other end of the phone, the voice that talked instead of texted, it belonged to la Calavera. Catrina Limon. Special Agent Catrina Limon. Special Agent is one of those titles like Senator. Once you have it, you get to keep it forever. El Viejo’d met Catrina when she moved out to do border security with the ATF many years ago. He’d consulted with her unit on strategy, tactics and local customs, and eventually they got around to pulling triggers. Anybody el Viejo pulled triggers with didn’t screw around much. That went double for la Calavera, even if she, like el Viejo, was stuck in a chair these days. She was one of the first and best female agents the federal government ever had training anti-terrorist units along the Mexican border. She was old even then, older than el Viejo, but they both had family in the same area of Wyoming so they shared that in common. Or maybe el Viejo fell in love with the idea of an elderly female out in the desert commanding a tactical team. He’d taken her under his wing, taken her drinking, taken her out to the desert to show her how the cartels set up mobile staging sites to get guns, drugs, workers and slaves across the border.

Turned out she’d chalked up three kills as a sniper back in her time someplace she couldn’t really talk about or maybe didn’t want to. Nicaragua? Cambodia? She wouldn’t say. But three. No shit. Most guys couldn’t say that, could they? El Viejo could say it a few times over, but he was a different topic altogether. “Why do you say that?” Sin said. “We got.” Wait. “A photo.” “OK,” he said and he hung up his phone. No need to be polite or say goodbye. You couldn’t offend someone like la Calavera. Sin stood up and slipped his phone back in his pocket. Even though it was just about fall, it was still seventy degrees at night and he had no jacket. He shook his shoulders a bit and let his t-shirt arrange itself over his belt. “You going?” Sindy asked. He nodded. “You coming back?” Sin didn’t know how to say goodbye, especially since he’d just got there. Finally he leaned down and kissed Sindy where she’d kissed him, on the skin up underneath her ear. She had a little rose there that trailed down the back of her neck, the stem ending somewhere near her spine. He didn’t really make eye contact with her as he slouched towards the door. From Sin Walks Into the Desert by Matt Ingwalson. Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.

I actually wrote a blog post about what authors can learn from copywriters and I’m going to crib from that here:

of published authors whose dialogue wouldn’t survive the first creative review in any agency in America.

Shelf Unbound: You recently 1. Know the end. When you write published the third book in the an ad, it only ends one way. The Sin & Nicki series, To Guns. reader buys what you’re selling. You What’s it about, and what do work backwards from that point you like about writing books as to build gripping copy. This is the a series? opposite of the inverted pyramid Ingwalson: A reviewer called Sin technique journalists are trained in. Walks Into The Desert a neo-Western and I thought, “Yeah, that sounds 2. Inhabit a voice. Writing is not cool. I’m going to write another the linear assembly of grammatically one of those!” To Guns was all correct and accurately spelled about getting Nicki and Sin stuck sentences. The best ad writers are in a showdown in the middle of method actors, slipping completely the mountains and watching them inside a brand and effortlessly Bonnie-and-Clyde their way out. adopting its tone. To Guns is a fun book, but like Sin Walks Into the Desert, it has some pretty 3. Have an idea. People hate edgy themes. Nicki’s flaw is narcissism; advertising. So to be noticed, no matter how much attention she copywriters have to grasp for big, gets, it’s never enough. And Sin original ideas. (Or if not completely doesn’t have the skills to get out of original, at least charmingly anything without resorting to violence. unexpected.) And copywriters learn Neither one of these characters is to communicate those ideas fast. finished, either. The fourth book will be mostly Sin and it will massacre 4. Learn to write dialogue. You anything else I’ve published. The want to write how people talk, go bust fifth book, if I get there, is going to out a few dozen radio spots. Your skip a decade and involve Nicki’s ears will guide you. There are a lot daughters. Get stoked.




“An unrelenting portrayal of a strong female character driven to dark deeds in a foreign land— and the heart-pounding search to find her.” Publishers Daily Reviews

Tokyo—a great place to live, a frightening place to die Detective Hiroshi Shimizu investigates white collar crime in Tokyo. When an American businessman turns up dead, he’s called out to the site of a grisly murder—or is it just suicide? A slip or jump off the train platform? A security camera video suggests the killer was a woman, but in Japan, that seems unlikely. Hiroshi and ex-sumo wrestler-turned-detective Sakaguchi scour Tokyo’s sacred temples, skyscraper offices and industrial wastelands to find out what was in the past of one Tokyo woman that drove her to murder.

“An absorbing investigation and memorable backdrop put this series launch on the right track.” Kirkus Reviews “For anyone who loves crime and cop novels, or Japanophiles in general, this is a terrific thriller. Fans of Barry Eisler’s early novels will find the same satisfactions here.” BlueInk Starred Review



— Kirkus Reviews

— BlueInk Reviews U.S. $XX.XX

“Genuously hilarious...”

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“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

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Immigrant Son, Football Legend, Presidential Confidant, Highly Honored Chiropractor

The Life of Dr. Titus Plomaritis by Titus Plomaritis



Titus Pomaritis is a 5’5” powerhouse of a human being—and his inspiring memoir covers everything from his early days delivering chickens to a small grocer, to his still-talked-about high school football career, to his romance and long marriage. Through it all, he expresses gratitude and wonder to the people along the way. Shelf Unbound: You started writing this book in your 80s. How did the book come about? Titus Plomaritis: I was a professional photographer—one of my many occupations. And I had thousands of negatives, 35mm slides, and photographs, and they were in containers in my basement. My daughter, Lynn, who was a retired school teacher in Alaska, came home one day and said to me, “Dad, I want you to come with me. We are going to go to the Apple store and we are going to buy a computer and you are going to put all those precious negatives and the photographs that you have on the computer so that they’ll be available forever, not just for you but for us and our grandchildren.” So we went to the Apple store, just like she would take one of her students like

a 2nd grade kid. We bought a computer. And with the computer they told me that I would have a one-to-one program where I could go in there and have one of their instructors—I call them professors because they are really skilled at what they do—in a one-to-one lesson once a week. I did that for six straight years, never missed a lesson. It took me almost three years to get all my negatives and my photographs uploaded because I played football in high school and college, we did some traveling, we went to several parts of Europe and to the Virgin Islands, we did a lot of traveling with my affiliation with the National Board of Private Examiners. As I was putting all these photographs and negatives in there, some of the people at the store, my instructors, would say, “Hey Doc, could I tell a story with each



picture? And they’d say, Doc, those stories you have, you should write a book. I figured they were blowing smoke, I didn’t pay much attention to them. But my kids and even my grandchildren would say, “Papa tell me the story about the time you jumped off the roof, or tell me this story, tell me that story.” Now the kids are on my back and they are saying, “Dad, I think you should write a book. Write a memoir because these are nice stories, we’ll have them and we can pass them on to the children and grandchildren.” And that’s how it all started. So when I was at the Apple store, and I’m typing with one finger at a time, typing each story, these guys said, “He is so dedicated to this cause, why don’t we pitch in and buy him the Mavis Beacon Typing Class, so they did. And I typed every single word in that book, I was typing 25 words a minute, so I typed every word that it’s in that book. That’s how it all started.

about the Lowell-Lawrence Game, every once in a while, maybe every 10 years, the Lowell Sun Newspaper puts that picture on the front page, around Thanksgiving time, and they relate it as the most exciting and the most interesting football game in the 100-year history rivalry is that 1948 LowellLawrence Game in which Titus scored all 20 points and it took 40 minutes to play that last four seconds.

Shelf Unbound: Tell us about the end of that game. TP: Let me go back a week before that because this is a very interesting component of the whole story. Lowell High School was playing this rival team, way back in 1890 they started, and Lowell High School never had an undefeated team, so the 1948 team we had won the first seven games, and we’re playing our eighth game against North Quincy. It was raining, and I fumbled with the ball two or three times in the front Shelf Unbound: Great! One of half; we were losing 9 to nothing and it your early claims to fame was that looked like we were doomed—it would be you scored all 20 points to win the the first defeat of the season. So we’re in Lowell High School 1948 football the dressing room and the coach gives us a game against rival Lawrence. big pep talk and he has everybody running TP: One of the local TV stations wrote two out. Our coach played for the Green Bay 30-minute videos and they played them on Packers—he weighed 268 pounds and he TV, actually it’s on demand and people have was big—6’4”—and he put one of his paws watched it from Australia and New Zealand on my shoulder. I was sitting on the bench and they contacted me to tell me they’ve inside the locker room and he’s telling seen it. The name of the series is Titus, the everybody okay let’s go and I couldn’t get 5 Foot 5 Inch Giant. And they of course they up from the bench because he had me always relate that story because that story pinned to the chair, to the bench.




After hearing family stories handed down over the generations, I decided that once I retired I would conduct a thorough search of my family roots. Our family tree branches out across the world; from the Spanish conquistadors to our Native Americans and the eventful history of our American southwest. My first book, The Adventurers, chronicles the history of the southwest by exploring where it all began, in the sixteenth century. This timeline continues to evolve in Always North. A fresh historical perspective paired with little known historical facts is woven seamlessly throughout both books.


And he said to me, “Titus, hang on to the f-ckin’ football.” Because I fumbled three times in the first half. So we went out in the second half and I must have caught two or three punts, what do they say, Kamikaze style, like the Japanese pilots there, they commit suicides. I went after those punts full speed, and we won—we played the second half, we shut them out. We scored 28 points, and I scored two touchdowns. I threw a touchdown pass, I set up the fourth touchdown and I kicked four points after, so we won the game 28 to 9. I remember that game actually more importantly than I do the Lawrence game, but the Lawrence game was so important. It was so exciting—honest to goodness, I bump into people today that were alive in that era, and they tell me that was the most exciting game they ever saw. So in the Lowell-Lawrence game, we were down but we came from behind twice and now we’re going on the drive right down to the goal line and the climax of the story is we’re on the four yard line, fourth down and four seconds on the clock. The coach calls my number and I said to the fullback, “Brian, I said Brian, I’m going to be on your tail so take me in.” Then somebody hit me on the one or twoyard line and with my driving force, which is the big component of the book—I did a little spin and ended up going into the end zone and when I got in there, that tied the score 19-19. It took the police 20 minutes to clear the people off the field. They were six



deep on the track. Every game was like that, we had everywhere from 16 to 20 thousand people at every single game. In the interim, somebody took my helmet. Somebody took the football, so we had to get a new helmet for me and a new football, and now we’re getting ready to kick the point after and I’m also the placekicker. We’re in a huddle and Jimmy, the quarterback, said, “Okay, let’s give Titus a chance to get the ball back—let’s keep him out of the backfield and give Titus a chance to kick it.” Way back early in the book I tell how when I was 7 years old, I was trying to kick a ball over a 20-foot baseball backstop and the desire and the driving force in Titus at that time was ridiculous, because the backdrop is 20 feet and the cross on the football field is only 10 feet. I’m only 7 or 8 years old and it took me three solid years before I could kick that ball over that backstop, the baseball backstop. Now I’m envisioning that kick at this game. Very crucial part of the game. They show that picture in the book, you can see the elevation of the height of the ball was way up high, way up to the very top of the goalpost. You can see the ball going way up in the air and there was no question at all. So people would classify that as the most exciting point after a touchdown in the history, the most exciting football game in the 100 year rivalry of the Lowell-Lawrence high school football rivalry.

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ADAM ALEXANDER The Saviors appeared in the sky on Judgment Day and created the Kingdom of Heaven on Earth—by force. Under the Saviors’ forbidding guidance, no one starves and no one dies of disease and angels keep the peace. But when 16-year old Yasmeen Robertson fishes a drowning boy out of the Chicago River, peace is the last thing she finds. Yaz and the boy have stumbled upon a yatsa drev, a piece of Savior-tech that makes them the subject of unwanted—and deadly—attention. Demons, whose hatred of the Saviors knows no bounds, are determined to have it for themselves. The Saviors, who have dispatched an archangel for the purpose, are determined to have it back. Neither are known for their mercy or understanding. If Yaz and the boy surrender to the archangel, they run the risk of being executed. If they throw their lot in with demons, there’s a good chance of being murdered. On the run, they struggle to unravel the yatsa drev’s mysteries. But Yaz has another problem: whether to trust the boy, whose uncle is the archangel pursuing them.

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Her love for Montana and her desire to share the story of her unique and wonderful family prompted Mary Ellen Connelly to write a witty and candid memoir.

Window To The Big Sky

vividly depicts a variety of events that shaped Mary’s life and the lives of her children. Set against the sweet and beautiful backdrop of the Big Sky Country, this journey depicts what life is like growing up and living in a place close to one’s heart. Delightful,..... JUM & MUZ I Forget - A Caregivers View of Alzheimers There are many things we cannot understand; fathomless questions that confront and confuse us, but the most baffling is the human mind. With that thought, I have tried to show my observation of the twenty years dealing with my husbands battle with Alzheimers. I hope this book will remind us what a kind, sweet, considerate and compassionate person Jim was. Thank you to my family for being the thoughtful, caring people you are. And to Jim’s friends, a special thank you. I could not have survived without.....




Monsterland by Michael Okon

A fun, fast-paced YA read chock full of zombies, werewolves, vampires—and a crew of misfit kids.



WordFire Press wordfirepress.com

Shelf Unbound: Monsterland is an amusement park featuring real vampires, zombies, and werewolves. How did you get the idea for Monsterland? Michael Okon: I was binge watching a movie marathon with my son, the classics—Goonies, Gremlins, Back to the Future, Jurassic Park. I’ve always wanted to write a monster book but could never settle on the monster I wanted to write about. While watching those movies, it hit me like a ton of bricks: why isn’t there a theme park with monsters? I called my brother immediately and told him about a theme park with zombies. He said no, it has to be werewolves, vampires AND zombies. I started beating out the storyline that night.   Shelf Unbound: You have teenage protagonists—why choose teenagers rather than adults?  MO: I loved and hated being a teenager. A lot of the emotions I felt when I was a teen carried over into my adult life. I learned how to sort through them and learned how to control my emotions. I identify with teens more than adults, even though I’m turning 40 next year. I understand teens and the angst they go through. All the teens in the book have a little bit of me in them when I was 17.    Shelf Unbound: How did you develop the character of the theme park owner Dr. Vincent Konrad?  MO: That’s a great question. My favorite

type of character to write is the antagonist. I always like to give my hero a real baddie. Someone who is larger than life. I will always think to myself when writing, how is the hero going to get out of this? I want Dr. Vincent Konrad to be the epitome of evil, but the whole world doesn’t see it. He is a façade. Monsterland is just the first step in his evil plan, that actually goes over quite well for him. I took antagonists from old movies and some businessmen who have a flair for the theatrics and stirred them into Vincent’s soul.  He was, by far, the most fun villain I’ve ever written.   Shelf Unbound: You are a prolific writer, primarily of thrillers. What interests you about writing thrillers? MO: I love creating a universe for my story, and keeping people on the edge of their seats. I know the end to every story that I have mapped out—even Monsterland is a planned seven-book series, and I know the ending to it as well. Writing thrillers, I believe, captures the audience’s attention. I want people to forget about their world when they enter mine. I feel thrillers can easily accomplish that.   Shelf Unbound: What book will we see from you next?  MO: Monsterland 2 is coming out on my 40th birthday, May 26th, 2018. I’m already knee-deep in Monsterland 3. Plus, I’ve already started beating out Monsterland 4 & 5. It seems I’m going to be writing about monsters for the foreseeable future.



“Science fiction fans, particularly those who question violence in its many forms, will appreciate Aftermath.” Foreword Clarion Review

“Author Ferreira put together a story that I found to be creative, entertaining and skillfully inclusive of successful science fiction elements.” Pacific Book Review

A hypokinetic alien attack tale sets a nonstandard pace for the sci-fi genre. Kirkus Reviews

NOMADS, PIRATES, AND FROGFACES It has been two years since the earth was invaded by the aliens that humans refer to as frogfaces. The majority of the human race has either been killed or abducted, and those who remain wander with little direction or hope, forming nomadic groups who stay on the run to keep themselves out of the hands of the invaders. Albert is a former biology teacher who does his best to keep his friends fed, sheltered, and safe not only from the aliens but also from lawless gangs of nomads who call themselves pirates and who raid other human survivors. When his small band is saved from pirates by another collection of survivors, however, it soon becomes clear that change is in the air. The new group is large, and their leader, Julia, is working to make life better for humanity. But what are they really after—and what is it that the frogfaces ultimately want from earth? Only time will tell whether there is any hope left for humankind.

“...this story features some of the stylistic flair common to Romance language authors, lending a nice touch to magic realism...” BlueInk Review


What if one political party decided to change the numbers in an

equally-divided United States Senate? What if they decided to make that change—not through an election—but

one of the other side’s senators?

Book #5 in the



by eliminating

What if the trial had to be conducted in Washington, D.C.,

the proverbial political swamp?

W W W. M A R C R A I N E R . C O M

Could even the best federal prosecutor in the DC U.S. Attorney’s Office, working with the best investigative team, secure a conviction before all the witnesses—and even more victims—

ended up in the morgue?

Viking Books penguin.com

The Western Star by Craig Johnson

I’ve been following Craig Johnson’s Western mysteries since his “Old Indian Trick” won the 2005 Tony Hillerman/ PEN USA Mystery Short Story Contest sponsored and judged by Cowboys & Indians magazine back when I was an editor there. I remember being captivated by his characters, settings, and masterful storytelling. Johnson’s gone on to earn New York Times best-seller status, and his Walt Longmire series launched the highly successful drama Longmire starring Robert Taylor, Lou Diamond Phillips, and Katee Sackoff (now on Netflix). Johnson’s newest Longmire novel is The Western Star, and we are pleased to excerpt it here. —Margaret Brown


pressed in on the knurled end of my Colt 1911A1 with my thumb at the same time rotating the barrel bushing a quarter turn clockwise to free the plug and recoil assembly, my hands working from rote. “Business.” Joe Iron Cloud, the young Arapaho sheriff, held up my silhouette target, the fluorescent light beaming through the holes tightly grouped at the center



with only one high and slightly off to the right. “I guess business was good.” I removed the mechanism, rotating the plug in a counter- clockwise direction to free it from the spring. “I suppose.” Some of the other sheriffs came over to join Joe, who chewed his gum like a masticating machine. “When did you start carrying that thing?”

LINDA COLLISON Fifteen-year-old James McCafferty is an unwilling sailor aboard a traditional Chinese junk operated as adventure-therapy for troubled teens. Once at sea, James believes the ship is being taken over by the spirits of courtiers who fled the Imperial palace during the Ming Dynasty, more than 600 years ago, and sailing to its doom. WWW.LINDACOLLISON.COM

“A witty YA voyage with plenty of narrative power” —Kirkus Reviews

“An ancient Chinese junk packed with delinquent teens and ghosts alike sets off on a dangerous voyage in this fantastic book” —Susan Waggoner, Foreword Reviews

Concentrating on the work in an attempt to try to get out of the mood into which I was descending, I rotated the barrel bushing counterclockwise, disengaging it from the slide. “Vietnam.” Steve Wolf, the Wyoming Law Enforcement Academy’s range manager, approached and handed me a clipboard. “Walt, I need you to sign off on these.” The younger sheriffs drifted away as I signed the forms, and the silver-haired man studied me. “Mind if I ask why you do this?” Steve watched me continue to disassemble my weapon. “Come all the way down here every four years and requalify?” I handed the paperwork back, shrugged, and leaned against the green felt bench. “A lot of these larger departments have facilities where they can do this stuff, but we’re kind of small. The only range we’ve got is outdoors, and come November, my undersheriff really doesn’t care for that.” The range manager smiled and glanced at Victoria Moret-



ti, who was in the process of cleaning her own weapon. “I’d imagine.” He was silent for a moment. “That, and the academy happens to be on the way to Cheyenne, where you go for a four-year parole hearing.” I glanced at him and then went back to working on my weapon. “Yep.” He waited a moment. “Lot of controversy surrounding that case.” “Yep.” “Lots of rumors.” “Yep.” Smiling, he pushed off the bench and started for his office, but then stopped to call back, “Hey, I heard a rumor that your daughter is working for Joe Meyer and that collection of out- laws down there in the attorney general’s office.” Having reassembled the Colt, I finally turned to look at him. “Yep.” “She living in Cheyenne?” “Yep.” “Well, maybe we’ll see you more often?” “Nope.” He shook his head and then turned away. “Really good talking with you, Walt.” As I took my time to carefully oil the exterior of my side- arm, I found myself star-

ing at the forest-green felt, stained with the oil from thousands of weapons that had been taken apart and put back together on its surface. I wondered how many men had been taken apart and put back together in the process. “You keep playing with that thing and you’re going to wear it out.” Iron Cloud barked a laugh. “At least, that’s what my mother used to tell me.” I turned and looked at him, his broad grin splitting his suntanned face like a shearing glacier. “How ’bout having a beer with us?” I reloaded the one round in the pipe, filled the magazine, slipped it between the ancient, yellowed stag grips, and placed the Colt into the pancake holster at the small of my back. “Sorry, Joe, I have to get to Cheyenne. Besides, Lucian is waiting on us back at the hotel.” Excerpt from The Western Star by Craig Johnson, published on September 5, 2017 by Viking, an imprint of Penguin Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House LLC. Copyright by Craig Johnson, 2017.

Hollywood made him a blacksmith; Arab chronicles said he was like a king. He served a leper but defied Richard the Lionheart. He was a warrior and a diplomat both: Balian d’Ibelin Balian has walked away a free man after the surrender of Jerusalem, but he is baron of nothing in a kingdom that no longer exists. Haunted by the tens of thousands of Christians enslaved by the Saracens, he is determined to regain what has been lost. The arrival of a crusading army under the legendary Richard the Lionheart offers hope—but also conflict as crusaders and natives clash and French and English quarrel.

“...a literary oeuvre constructed in keeping with the highest academic principles for research and verifiable accuracy.” REAL CRUSADES HISTORY

“Schrader, a career diplomat with a PhD in history, delivers a meticulous historical drama full of telling details... [T]he story presents both Christian and Muslim points of view, so there is no facile stereotyping of villains....[R]eaders are sure to find the author’s enthusiasm...infectious.” BLUE INK

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Check out Schrader’s first two award winning books in the series. WWW.HELENAPSCHRADER.COM

O’Connell has woven art history, art conservation and mystery into a fascinating multi-layered story. The novel is like touring the Uffizi with a passionately informed docent who explains the paintings as well as the artists behind them. The plot is contemporary with flashbacks through time to Renaissance Italy and gives a sense of the artists as flesh and blood men. Art history has never been so alive.

Those who enjoy historical fiction and a good mystery with a touch of romance, especially if they are artists or lovers of art, will find much to enjoy in O’Connell’s well-crafted book.This is an enchanting mystery, full of intrigue, romance, and time travel.

Foreward Reviews

Suzanne M. Wolfe, author of The Confessions of X


ronx born and bred, Mackenzie Ferrara is both nervous and excited to begin her career as a restorer of fine art at the prestigious Cloisters in New York City. The star of the restoration team is a handsome Italian named Anthony Bataglia, world renowned for his ability to bring pre-Renaissance treasures back to life. Despite a rocky start, the two form a close working relationship, which Mackenzie hopes will blossom into something more. But the more she works with him the more she notices peculiar patterns and unexplainable similarities in all of his restorations. Is Anthony really who he claims to be? Too many strange coincidences lead Mackenzie and her father, a retired detective, to think otherwise. Something is clearly not what it seems to be with the dashing Mr. Bataglia, and the resourceful Mackenzie is determined to get to the bottom of it. What she finds is even more incredible — and shocking — than she could ever imagine. Weaving its way between the dawn of the Renaissance and modern day New York, The Painter of Time deftly weaves together art, history, romance and the agony of keeping a dark secret hidden.

Contemporary/Historical Suspense

set amid the“Matthew art world modern NYC and and O’Connellof has woven art history,day art conservation mystery into a fascinating multi-layered story. Reading this novel is like being taken the dawn of theon Renaissance in Italy Bronx born a tour of the Uffizi by a passionately informed docent who introduces us, not only to the paintings, but to the nervous artists who painted them. and bred, Mackenzie Ferrara is both and O’Connell weaves a contemporary plot with flashbacks through time to excited to begin her as ofatherestorer Renaissance Italy career and gives a sense artists as fleshof andfine blood men and not just famous names in catalogues. Art history has never been so alive.” art at the prestigious Cloisters in New York City. —SUZANNE M. WOLFE, author of The Confessions of X   The star of the restoration team is a handsome is an award-winning entrepreneur and and reserved MATTHEW Italian,O’CONNELL Anthony Bataglia. On loan consultant, and holds a Ph.D. in psychology. He splits his time between San Diego and Lake Tahoe with his wife Mari, two dogs and three cats. from the Ufizzi, he is renowned for his ability to bring pre-Renaissance treasures back to MatthewOConnellAuthor.com life. Despite a rocky start, the two form a close Cover design: working relationship, which Mackenzie hopes Kathi Dunn, dunn-design.com will blossom into something more. But as she works with him she begins to notice peculiar patterns and unexplainable similarities in all of his restorations. Something is clearly not what it seems to be with the dashing Mr. Bataglia. Proof #4 for “The Painter of Time” for Station Square Media Mackenzie—with help from her father, a retired Available in paperback and ebook at 6 x 9” with .614” spine, 4-color process, IngramSpark © Dunn+Associates Design, www.dunn-design.com (OCN104) 12/11/15 detective—is determined to uncover the truth, regardless of the consequences. FICTION

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As a child, Kit’s twin sister Cat disappeared, never to be heard from again. Until one dark, twisted Halloween night. But is it really Cat? Or is it someone else playing a sinister and deadly game? “Well-written and gripping from beginning to end, The Stolen Twin is a must read mystery.” —US Review of Books

It’s taken six months, but Linda has finally gotten her life back together after her sister, Elizabeth, killed herself. Or has she? There’s a killer on the loose—a killer who resembles Elizabeth. But, it can’t be her. Could it? “Best psychological thriller since Gone Girl.” —Confessions of the Perfect Mom


REVIEW by Edwin Turner, bibioklept.org

Huck Out West

by Robert Coover W.W. Norton & Co. books.wwnorton.com


n the final lines of Mark Twain’s 1884 novel Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, our narrator-hero declares: “I reckon I got to light out for the Territory ahead of the rest, because Aunt Sally she’s going to adopt me and sivilize me and I can’t stand it. I been there before.” We have here the signal trope of so much American literature—escape. Escape into the wild, the unknown, the expanse: the Territory. Ishmael goes to sea, Young Goodman



Brown wanders into the woods, Rip Van Winkle retreats into the mountains. American literature loves to posit Transcendental escape, and with that escape, a utopian promise, a chance to reinvent “sivilization.” As the poet-critic Charles Olson puts it in the beginning of Call Me Ishmael, “I take SPACE to be the central fact to man born in America. I spell it large because it comes large here.” The other side of the utopian facade is

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REVIEW by Edwin Turner, bibioklept.org much darker: westward expansion, continentalism, war, violence, extinction agendas, and the exploitation of all things mineral, vegetable, animal, and human. Manifest Destiny. Olson noted that American space might be large, but it was “Large, and without mercy.” Manifest Destiny offered nineteenth-century Americans an illusion of mercy, a mimesis of meaning, a rhetorical gloss to cover over predation, violence, and genocide. Manifest Destiny was a story to stick to, a story with a purpose, good guys and bad guys, and an ethos to drive a narrative. Through such a narrative, Americans might come to see their nation allegorically maturing, coming of age, expanding freedom. Manifest Destiny offered a narrative of a nation growing, a narrative that made space for itself via the violent erasure of native peoples. Robert Coover’s new novel Huck Out West is very much about storytelling and maturation—about how we attempt to give meaning to the passing of time. Sure, it’s a yarn, an adventure tale that answers happens to Huckleberry Finn after he’s lit out into the Territory. But it’s also a story of what it means to grow up, essentially asking whether such a thing is even possible. “It was almost like there was something wicked about growing up,” Huck remarks in the novel’s second chapter. Ever the misfit, Huck cannot square the evil around him with the dominant social narratives that would try to justify injustice. He can’t stick out a story. This is a character who has always preferred immediate truth. Consider a few early lines:



“Tom is always living in a story he’s read in a book so he knows what happens next, and sometimes it does. For me it ain’t like that. Something happens and then something else happens, and I’m in trouble again.” Like Twain’s original novel, Huck Out West is also a picaresque, albeit one in which the main character repeatedly wonders how to stitch together the seemingly random episodes of his life into a meaningful narrative. Huck’s life is essentially picaresque, and without Tom Sawyer around to rein the episodes together into a story, Huck’s left with “something happens and then something else happens.” Here’s a picaresque passage that summarizes Huck’s “adventures” in his new milieu: “I wrangled horses, rode shotgun on coaches and wagon trains, murdered some buffalos, worked with one or t’other army, fought some Indian wars, shooting and getting shot at, and didn’t think too much about any of it. I reckoned if I could earn some money, I could try to buy Jim’s freedom back, but I warn’t never nothing but stone broke. The war was still on, each side chasing and killing t’other at a brisk pace clean across the Territory, and they both needed a body like me to scout ahead for them, watch over their stock at night, pony messages to the far side of the fighting, clean their muddy boots and help bury the dead, of which there warn’t never no scarcity, nuther boots nor dead.” Variations of these scenarios, as well as flashbacks to earlier episodes mentioned here, play out as the early plot in Huck Out West; Huck’s only real aim is to “buy Jim’s freedom

a tale of

intrigue, murder, and life on the frontier...


Arizona Territory 1887…

An immigrant Irish girl and a veteran lawman battle for their lives when they stand between one man’s obsession and the Lost Adams gold. RECENT PRAISE FOR DESPERATE STRAITS:

“If you like westerns filled with terrific character development and gripping action scenes, believable dialogue and touches of humour, then, like me, I’m sure you’ll enjoy reading this book.”

“... A well-developed romance wrapped in an engaging and fast-paced Western, complete with strong protagonists, colorful settings, and superb historical details.”

—Steve M, Western Fiction Review, UK

—Kirkus Reviews, March, 2016.


Available in print and ebook formats.

REVIEW by Edwin Turner, bibioklept.org back.” Jim’s been cruelly sold as a slave to a tribe of Indians by Tom Sawyer. Tom Sawyer is a fucking asshole. But Tom is Huck’s main partner, or “pard” in Coover’s Twain’s vernacular. And don’t worry, Jim (Huck’s other pard) ends up okay. We meet him again, along with other members of the old gang, including Becky Thatcher, who’s fallen on harder times, and Ben Rogers. Ben has graduated from his youthful playacting in Tom Sawyers’ Gang to armed robbery as a member of a real gang. Huck Finn accidentally joins up. The scene plays out as one of many dark repetitions of Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, and ends in violence. Huck Out West is a violent novel, and reading it helps to foreground the violence of Twain’s original novel. In his 1960 study Love and Death in the American Novel, critic Leslie Fiedler highlighted the horror of Twain’s novel, horror which hides in plain sight: Huckleberry Finn, that euphoric boys’ book, begins with its protagonist holding off at gun point his father driven half mad by the D.T.’s and ends (after a lynching, a disinterment, and a series of violent deaths relieved by such humorous incidents as soaking a dog in kerosene and setting him on fire) with the revelation of that father’s sordid death. Nothing is spared; Pap, horrible enough in life, is found murdered brutally, abandoned to float down the river in a decaying house scrawled with obscenities. But it is all “humor,” of course, a last desperate attempt to convince us of the innocence of violence, the good clean fun of horror.



Tom pops in and out of Huck Out West with a jolting, picaresque force, and in some ways the central plot of the novel revolves around his partnership with Huck—a partnership that requires Huck to buy into Tom’s nihilism. “Ain’t nothing fair, starting with getting born and having to die,” Tom scolds Huck. Huck is right though: It isn’t fair. In this case, Huck is protesting the “largest mass hanging in U.S. history,” the execution of over three dozen Sioux Indians in Minnesota in 1862. Tom dresses up his core nihilism in any number of narratives. The great lie of all these narratives is, of course, the idea that Tom’s various predatory schemes are actually founded in justice, in some kind of manifestation of destiny. Tom sells the narrative to the people he’s conning. For him, maturation is nothing more than progressing, perfecting, and extending the long con on any rubes he can sucker. He dresses up the tribalist demagoguery he uses to sway the herd in romantic legalese, but at heart he’s a brute. Huck’s maturation is more profound. He understands, spiritually if not intellectually, that he needs to get away from Tom Sawyer and his tribe “sivilzation.” Huck addresses Tom late in the book: “Tribes,” I says. “They’re a powerful curse laid on you when you get born. They ruin you, but you can’t get away from them. They’re a nightmare a body’s got to live with in the daytime.” Coover provides a salient contrast to Tom Sawyer in a character of his own invention, a young Lakota Huck calls Eeteh (he can’t pro-



for Best Indie/Self-Published Books.

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REVIEW by Edwin Turner, bibioklept.org nounce the full name). Eeteh is a holy fool who tells (and perhaps invents) stories of Snake, Raven, and Coyote—trickster tales and origin stories. Eeteh’s storytelling seems to point in a different direction than Tom’s tall tales. Eeteh describes the trickster and hides a kernel of wisdom in his tales; Tom’s stories are tricks on fools, signifying nothing. Significantly, Eeteh is something of an outcast among the Lakota. He understands Huck in ways Huck doesn’t understand himself: “Eeteh says that both of us growed up too early and missed a lot, so really didn’t grow up at all, just only got older. I says that’s probably better’n growing up and Eeteh was of the same opinion.” Huck and Eeteh have both, through their unique early upbringings (or lack-there-of), missed the “sivilizing” influences that would bind them into a dominant social narrative. Coover’s insight here is that “growing up” doesn’t necessarily mean “growing wise,” and that the old often hide their foolishness and venality behind empty stories. But Coover’s storytelling is marvelous, rich, full. He colors brightly Huck’s moments of epiphany. In one prominent example, Huck Finn the horsebreaker takes (what I’m pretty sure was) mescaline at the behest of the Lakota tribe that temporarily adopts him. He breaks a wild horse, his metaphorical trip literalized in a wild gallop through American history and geography: “We was pounding over a desert, but when I peeked again we was suddenly splashing through a river, then tromping a wheat field,



and next on the grasslands, scattering herds a buffalos and yelping coyotes. I had to scrouch down when he run through a low forest, not to get scraped off, then pull my knees up as we raced through a narrow gorge. We hammered in and out a mining and cow towns, Indian camps and army forts.” Huck’s apotheosis is real—for him, anyway—but the Lakota still enjoy a laugh at his expense, just as they have with inside outsider Eeteh. Tribes of any stripe are a nightmare to try to escape from. And hence the final moments of Huck Out West recapitulate the final lines of Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Huck and Eeteh—do I give away too much, dear reader? Very well, I give away too much—Huck and Eeteh dream of new frontiers and new freedoms. On the eve of the American centennial anniversary, the pards venture to fresh Territory. As they set out, Eeteh spins a final tale. In this tale, Fox and Coyote create a new being with “two members” made from pre-existing elements:  “So they made a new cretur out a parts borrowed from Whooping Crane, Prairie Dog, Mountain Goat, Rainbow Trout, Turkey Vulture, Jack Rabbit, and Porkypine. “That must a been something to see!” I says. “A cretur with two members, joined up from a crane, prairie dog, goat and trout, plain stops me cold in my tracks, never mind the rest!” Eeteh says he’s really glad he didn’t try to tell me about Coyote in the Land of the Dead. “Ain’t that a story about afterlife soul creturs? I thought you don’t take no stock in souls.”

This is the story of the assassination whose perpetrators were hidden for 150 years. The meticulous preparations of the conspirators are brought to light by the documents and evidence that was collected at the time, but obscured from public view in the national archives. “The colored people believe Mr. Lincoln to be the best friend that we had. I would go to the point of my life to find the murderers.” This lament was expressed by John Morris, an African American worker in Ford’s theater, and it showed the affection that the African American community had for Abraham Lincoln. Mr. Morris and the other African American employees of Ford’s theater were particularly distressed because the had seen the meticulous preparations that the Ford’s and their employees had successfully made to ensure that Lincoln would be murdered and Booth escape. They believed that he was killed because he had worked tirelessly to win their freedom and had been killed because of it. They did their best to catch the murderers but were thwarted by the individuals conducting the search. Joseph Holt, the Judge Advocate General of the Army,who conducted the investigation would not release any of the information that The African Americans gave him to the press and those who knew too much were arrested and put in prison to prevent any leaking of incriminating evidence, and seven African Americans were arrested. The effort by the African American community to catch Booth has never been made public before. This book is the only one ever published that gives them credit and names names using actual testimony in the archives. This is a part of history that has been hidden too long.

Available in print at

Available in ebook at

Captain Robert Arnold is a retired Naval Surgeon who was an Instructor in Advanced Trauma Life Support for the Department of Defense. He was a member of Fleet Surgical Team Four as well. He was deployed several times and served all over the world – from the Arctic Circle to the Indian Ocean. As a civilian, Dr. Arnold practiced General Surgery and was the Assistant Coroner for Jefferson County for five years. He currently lives in Louisville, KY with Betty, his wife of 60 years.

REVIEW by Edwin Turner, bibioklept.org Eeteh sighed and says that’s just what he means.” The final moments of Huck Out West reinvent Huck’s dream of synthesis at the beginning of Twain’s Adventures: “In a barrel of odds and ends it is different; things get mixed up, and the juice kind of swaps around, and the things go better,” Huck tells us in that much older novel. And even if Huck digs the swap and the flow of the new, he still can’t fully puzzle out Eeteh’s headscratcher. Our boy Huck never was one for narrative. “I was plumb lost,” he admits in the next line, before signaling the new Territory all storytelling opens: “I reckoned we could start over at the campfire tonight.” Tell the story again, tell it new. So what does Eeteh’s story mean? Is there a rejection here of metaphysical meaning, of, like, a soul? I don’t know but I don’t think so. Perhaps Eeteh’s evoking here something closer to what Emerson called the Over-Soul (“We live in succession, in division, in parts, in particles…but the whole, of which these are shining parts, is the soul”). But is “Over-Soul” just another simple gloss, a sturdy but rusty nail to hang a narrative on—like “Manifest Destiny”? Coover’s Huck ends his narrative by admitting, “I was lost again,” which seems like a more than fair metaphor for America, if that’s how we’re to take the novel. (There are plenty of other ways to take it: It’s very funny, and the prose is amazing—I mean, here’s a novel that could’ve fallen into the trap of becoming some bizarre bad fanfiction, but Coover’s too good. The



novel is aesthetically marvelous. I hope I’ve shared enough samples here to convey that to you, reader). If Huck is lost again, he has a few solutions, the first one being to “muddytate” on the problem (with some whiskey, some fish, and the company of his pard). And so Huck the escape artist recalls here at the end of his narrative the other paradigm of American literature: the lazing loafer, the shirker, the dreamer. And what is dreaming but the richest form of escape? I think of Walt Whitman leaning and loafing at his ease observing a spear of summer grass, Ishmael’s sea-dreams, Rip Van Winkle dozing through the Revolutionary War… If Huck Out West posits a utopian escape, it’s an escape through imagination, and it’s an escape utopian only in its rejection of all social order outside of a single “pard.” But ultimately, I don’t think Huck Out West wants its readers to escape from history, from American history, from the ugly awful violence of Manifest Destiny. Rather, I think the novel calls its reader to look anew through the eyes of our naive experienced insider outsider paradox of a hero, Huckleberry Finn—to look afresh at the Big Narrative that has dominated our society, and to decide whether or not it’s something we want to recapitulate—or something we’d be better off reimagining. Huck and his one pard—there is no utopia outside of a pair, it seems—might get to escape into the sunset, but the rest of us are stuck here. Let us all muddytate and then do better. https://biblioklept.org/2017/02/06/a-reviewof-robert-coovers-huck-out-west/







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READING Take a bite from your next favorite book.



The Other La Bohème by Yorker Keith

Overture Begin your song, oh Muses. Let me join the zesty tune. My heart needs no more sorrow, Neither discord nor despair. Induce me to embrace love, Peace, and hope in harmony. Lift, lift me up, oh Muses. Let us sing a song of joy. Act I Scene 1


uses were singing in glory in the fine October sky—the image Henry saw in the clouds as he strolled along Broadway near 72nd Street, several blocks from the Metropolitan Opera House. He even recognized the Muses’ sweet song. His chest swelled in anticipation as he continued a few blocks to the Café Momus, where his friend Stephanie was working as a waitress. The restaurant attracted a loyal clientele among connoisseurs of opera and classical music, who appreciated the authentic French cuisine at reasonable prices, especially before or

after a performance at one of the many nearby theaters. Henry paused outside the window and peered in. Since it was not yet five o’clock, patrons occupied fewer than half of the thirty-odd tables. Stephanie stood before the bar in her black uniform, casually watching the customers. Henry fished a digital pitch-maker from his pocket and found C-sharp. He cleared his throat and inhaled, assuming the role of Marcello. Then he burst through the door and began singing, extending his hand toward Stephanie. “O Musette, o gioconda sorridente!” (“Oh Musette, oh radiant smile!”) Stephanie broke into just such a smile as Henry continued his serenade in his burning tenor voice, praising her charms. His rich tones reverberated in the intimate restaurant. Stephanie immediately replied to his aria in her coloratura mezzosoprano, wagging her right index finger. “Badate! I miei difetti non

nascondo.” (“Mind you! I don’t hide my defects.”) She cautioned Marcello that she was a capricious vagrant, living day to day. When she completed her aria, both joined in a duet: Marcello, adoring her, and Musette, warning him. The music entwined to a dramatic climax with a soaring high A, then descended slowly, ending with their simultaneous murmur: “Musette!”…“Badate!” “Bravo!” Waiters and waitresses shouted their kudos while the patrons applauded. Henry bowed and Stephanie curtsied. As they rose, they met each other’s eyes and laughed. …



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he blacked-out sedan slid to a stop outside the storefront with the four service logos that indicated it was a U.S. Armed Forces Recruiting Station. The car’s passenger guessed the desk light was left on by accident by one of the recruiters when he left for the day. Despite the all black attire, a passerby would have easily identified the figure as a woman. She had a mason jar in each hand and a brick under her armpit. Each jar had a rag sticking out of the lid and was carefully put down on the cement. The woman stopped about five feet from the large picture window where the light from inside the recruiting station faded out and the shadows began. She hurled the brick underhand like a softball pitcher. The plate glass window made a satisfying crack before the shattering glass left a gaping hole. With a butane lighter, the woman lit the first mason jar and

lobbed it into the recruiting center. It shattered on one of the steel desks, spreading an exploding mixture of soap and gasoline. The second jar landed to the left of where the first one hit. By the time the woman got back in the car, the recruiting station was a blazing inferno. Fifteen minutes later, the stolen Ford Fairlane slid to a stop in a shopping mall parking lot, well away from the stores. In one practiced movement, the bomber pulled a .45 caliber pistol out of a shoulder holster and put it to the temple of the driver. Brain, blood and bone splattered the driver’s side window. Satisfied, the bomber (and now the shooter), walked across the lot to another car, a steel gray Volvo 123S with red leather seats, unlocked it, and drove away. … After her alarm went off at seven, Julia watched a breathless TV commentator’s

top of the hour story on the firebombing of a military recruiting station in Northbrook, Illinois. His report said two Marines sergeants, both Vietnam veterans, were burned to death. .... Satisfied with her night’s work, Julia Amy Lucas turned off the TV. She just turned twenty-one and this was her first act as a member of the Revolutionary Wing of the Students for A Democratic Society. What surprised her was how much she liked the killing.


The Governess by Victoria Capper www.victoriacapper.com


ne night, Bruce walked in to the doorway of the room where Thea was curled up in a chair, quietly reading a book. She looked up. He didn’t say a word, just grinned at her and crooked his finger. Thea was puzzled, “What is it?” He just stood there for a moment just watching her, smiling all the while, then said. “Follow me.” Thea followed him into his office and there, along the window ledge outside the office was a python. It was a beautiful creature, blue and black and grey diamond pattern about as thick as your wrist and four or five feet long. Thea didn’t notice or appreciate its beauty. She just stared at it, horrified, frozen on the spot. Then she gasped and turned to Bruce and threw her arms around him and

buried her head into his chest. Bruce instinctively responded by folding his arms around her, cradling her protectively. How long they stood there wrapped in their embrace neither ever knew—a few moments— all the time in the world. She felt safe and comforted and strangely warm. Bruce, for his part wanted to deepen their engagement but he felt protective and knew he couldn’t take advantage of this wonderful woman who had turned to him for protection and care. Slowly Thea realized what she had just done and hesitantly turned to move out of his arms and looked at the window again. Bruce jolted out of his trance thought, Ooooops what had just happened here? Thea couldn’t believe she was now calmly looking at

the biggest snake she had ever seen. She’d come a long way in learning to live in the bush. Just the same she didn’t really want it to be around the house where she was living. Bruce couldn’t always be there to take her in his arms. She hoped big pythons had to be moved away for their own safety. “Yes” Bruce said, “I’ll take her straight down to the wool shed. She’ll be safe from the cats and can eat the mice down there.”



Titus The Life Story of Dr. Titus Plomaritis by Titus Plomaritis http://amzn.to/2qljkNn

RIDE TO THE HOSPITAL (A short story on page 40)


his would be the appropriate time to relate my one bad experience related to splitting wood. It was a hot summer day and I was home alone when I decided to surprise my brothers and split a pile of wood. I was 12 years of age at that time. As I was splitting the wood at a fairly good clip, the axe apparently was getting dull and needed sharpening, but I just ignored the warning and kept chopping away. This one time the axe got stuck and I was having a difficult time separating it from the block of wood. I pulled real hard on the long handle—and it released

suddenly. Losing my balance, I fell to the ground and landed on a broken bottle. Then I noticed blood squirting out of my left upper thigh.  I ran into the house and jumped into the bathtub with a bottle of peroxide and a towel. I kept pouring the peroxide on the wound until the bottle was empty, keeping the towel pressed on the wound. I then took one of my father’s neckties and tied it around my leg, ran down the stairs jumped on my bicycle and rode it to Lowell General Hospital, which was located one and a half miles from our house. I ran into someone’s office, and that someone in turn took me to the emergency room. After explaining the details

of the accident to the doctor, he cleaned up the messy necktie bandage ensemble, added a few stitches and sent me off. I don’t remember if the hospital ever sent my father a bill, if so I’m sure it was deducted from my shoe shine account, as was the necktie.


The Way I See IT

Joseph Chan was born with two rather restrictive birth defects. One of them is a genetic eye disease known as retinitis pigmentosa (RP), which is progressive with age. The other is paroxysmal kinesigenic dyskinesia (PKD), an involuntary muscular spasm brought on by other sudden movements such as standing up from a sitting position; a condition that actually lessened after age forty. In The Way I See It, Mr. Chan talks candidly about the challenges of growing up with these two birth defects. Despite facing the fear and frustration of falling behind in school as a little child, and stigma for being different, this is a story of love, faith, and personal triumph over fate. The Way I See It is Joseph Chan’s spiritual journey to discover his life’s purpose and to share the hope and inspiration that he has found with those who might also bene t from it.


s e . n y


f h a n t y e , l o s

“In a book filled with wisdom, one of the most remarkable lessons is the way in which the author views his physical limitations.” By Foreword Reviews

4 stars out of 5

by Foreword Reviews


The Way I See It A Candid Review of Lessons From Life So Far by Joseph K. Chan



people to look beyond my obvious handicaps. One person who noticed my real potential was a woman I met at a workplace. We got married and had thirteen wonderful years together. She gave me understanding, encouragement, and patience. But our relationship did not last as long as I wanted; her life was cut short by breast cancer. On the surface, this is a sad story, but one big lesson I have learned from this opera is that I am the one who decides whether it is a sad story or not. If I were to let the events in my life make me a sad person, then I would lose the chance to harvest all other fruits that JOSEPH K. CHAN can be realized. My story is one of perseverance, love, and personal triumph over fate. It is from pain and suffering I learned the most valuable lessons. This process not only has led to insights about the physical aspects

of life but also has enticed me to develop my personal views of the spiritual purpose of human life, the question of God, and faith. I have learned that where I stand in these existential questions is the guiding light and sets the course for the remainder of my time on Earth.


Joseph Chan was born with two rather restrictive birth defects. One of them is a genetic eye disease known as retinitis pigmentosa (RP), which is progressive with age. The other is paroxysmal kinesigenic dyskinesia (PKD), an involuntary muscular spasm brought on by other sudden movements such as standing up from a sitting position; a condition that actually lessened after age forty. In The Way I See It, Mr. Chan talks candidly about the challenges of growing up with these two birth defects. Despite facing the fear and frustration of falling behind in school as a little child, and stigma for being different, this is a story of love, faith, and personal triumph over fate. The Way I See It is Joseph Chan’s spiritual journey to discover his life’s purpose and to share the hope and inspiration that he has found with those who might also benefit from it.


“In a book filled with wisdom, one of the most remarkable lessons is the way in which the author views his physical limitations.” By Foreword Reviews

The Way I See IT

“The Way I See It will be appreciated by anyone with either retinitis pigmentosa or paroxysmal kinesigenic dyskinesia and may offer inspiration to readers with other challenges as well.” By BlueInk Reviews In his memoir, first-time author Chan recounts a life of “perseverance, love and personal triumph over fate.” By Kirkus Reviews

, being legally blind, is now a volunteer who provides management services to non-profit organizations. He retired from the Association of Bay Area Governments after twenty-six years as CFO. Mr. Chan is a CPA and holds an MBA from the University of Wisconsin at Madison. Now widowed, he has a daughter, a son, and three lovely grandchildren. U.S. $18.95


was born with two rather restrictive birth defects. As soon as I was old enough to notice that I could not do some of the things other people could, I started asking why I had been given these obstacles. To have one of these defects was unfortunate; to carry the burden of two seemed very unfair. As a little child, I didn’t have an answer for myself. The family and the school system that I grew up in did not provide adequate support and guidance for children with special needs. I was only encouraged to “measure up” with my peers. That put a lot of stress on me. I worked hard to keep up, but no matter what I did, I was always below average in school, and the feeling of inferiority made me socially shy. After I graduated from college and stepped into the workplace, my low self-esteem was a stumbling block. It was difficult to convince


Blind Spot by Laura Ellen

www.lauraellenbooks.com Revelation Winter stopped hiding Tricia Farni on Good Friday. A truck driver, anxious to shave forty minutes off his commute, ventured across the shallow section of the Birch river used as an ice bridge all winter. His truck plunged into the frigid water, and as rescuers worked to save him and his semi, Tricia’s body floated to the surface. She’d been missing since the incident in the loft six months ago. But honestly, she didn’t come to mind when I heard that a girl’s body had been found. I was that sure she was alive somewhere, making someone else’s life miserable. Maybe she was shacking up with some drug dealer, or hooking her way across the state, or whatever. But she was definitely alive. on Easter morning, that changed. The body of seventeen-year-old Tricia Farni was pulled from the Birch River Friday night. A junior

at Chance High School, Tricia disappeared October 6 after leaving a homecoming party at Birch Hill. Police believe her body has been in the water since the night she disappeared. I couldn’t wrap my brain around it. Tricia was a lot of things, a drug addict, a bitch, a freak. But dead? No. She was a survivor. Something— the only thing—I admired about her. I stared at my clock radio, disbelieving the news reporter. Ninety percent talk, AM 760 was supposed to provide refuge from my own wrecked life that weekend. I thought all those old songs with their sha-lalalas and da-doo-run-runs couldn’t possibly trigger any painful memories. I guess when a dead girl is found in Birch, Alaska, and you were the last one to see her alive, even AM 760 can’t save you from bad memories. While the rest of Chance High spent Easter Sunday shopping for bargains on

prom dresses and making meals of pink marshmallow chicks, I lay on my bed, images of Tricia flooding my brain. I tried to cling to the macabre ones—the way I imagined her when she was found: her body stiff and lifeless, her brown cloak spread like wings, her black, kohl-rimmed eyes staring up through the cracks in the ice that had been her coffin all winter. These images made me feel sad and sympathetic, how one should feel about a dead girl.



Jake & the Dragons of Asheville by Brian Kacica



s the Krill wound their way through the ancient passages, getting closer to the earth’s surface, the quakes grew in strength. The state-of-the-art engineering that went into building the ONX facility was no match. The titanium welds were beginning to crack at their weaker points. The first Krill to break through the lower floor of the building, stopped abruptly when he slammed his head into the ceiling of a holding cage. Three soldiers were positioned outside the massive titanium bars. The men laughed, thinking it was trapped, but their chuckles quickly turned to screams of horror when the sinister looking beast bent back the bars, skewered the men on one talon and barbecued the three to a crisp. ~ Not too far from the ONX, Jake was maneuvering

Mort and the others to a large flat area at the top of a neighboring mountain. Once he felt safe, he stepped out of the orb and walked over to Mort, who was lying in a patch of tall dry grass overlooking the forest with Asheville in the distance. The old dragon looked weak from battle, his eyes bloodshot and skin horribly scarred. Jake placed his hand on the force field, changing its energy. It wasn’t long before Mort was on his feet and speaking again. “Jake Winston—” “Mortayvious, King of the Dragons.” There was a prolonged silence between the two. Jake’s eyes watered out of joy. Mort swung his right wing around him in a protective position. The winds kicked up, blowing Jake’s hair into his face and forcing a large sneeze from Mort. The two shared a laugh, before Jake returned to the business at hand.

Spread out in the open field, the other dragons were now healed. One after the other, they nodded their heads to the king, then took flight, heading in the direction of their cave. Instinctively they knew it was time to return to a safe haven and wait out the Krill. “The sepulchral stones,” Mort said, as he handed Jake the luminous green rocks, “You will use them to return the Krill.”


BOOK SHELF The Vampire Girl Next Door by Richard Arbib


The Vampire Girl in London 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.”

n this sequel to The Vampire Girl Next Door, Mark and Sylvia must deal with terrorists, a CIA agent, a vampire-hunting cult, and a mansion full of Sylvia’s vampire friends— some of whom she can’t really trust. Will Mark and Sylvia’s love be enough to survive it all?

“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

“The Vampire Girl in London would satisfy supernatural fans and I’m once again entertained by Arbib’s fascinating couple, Sylvia and Mark.” —Lit Amri, Readers’ Favorite Book Reviews



Available at Amazon.com in paperback and Kindle.

Available at Amazon.com in paperback and Kindle.

Paperback and all e-book formats available on author’s website.

Paperback and all e-book formats available on author’s website.

Blood Lake By R.L. Herron

Toru: Wayfarer Returns by Stephanie R. Sorensen

A Japan that might have been…

“The paths of sword and steam cross brilliantly.” —Awesome Indies 5 Stars “Cool alternative-history of yester-century Nippon.” —Kirkus Reviews “A terrifically vivid historical novel set in an 1852 Japan re-imagined along Steampunk lines.” —Historical Novel Society FINALIST, Fantasy, 2016 Next Generation Indie Book Awards

BRONZE MEDAL, Multicultural Fiction, 2016 eLit Book Awards

Honorable Mention, Commercial Fiction, 2017 Eric Hoffer Book Awards

www.stephaniersorensen.com Available through bookstores and at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and iTunes.


ward-winning author R.L. Herron has created a spine-tingling modern horror thriller based on the curse of a Cherokee prophet executed for defying the forced migration of the Cherokee people in 1838 known as “The Trail of Tears.” As John Burnett is about to discover, Tsali’s bitter curse has followed the only sons of the Burnett family for eight generations. Readers’ Favorite Bronze Medal Winner ● ● Foreword INDIE Book-of-the-Year Finalist ● ● Shelf Unbound Notable 100 for 2016 ● ●

www.ronaldherron.com Available at Amazon, and Barnes & Noble.

BOOK SHELF Term Limits by Paul Holbert


new crime fiction perfect for today. The political atmosphere in America is poisoned with acrimony and partisan bickering. A cry for change echoes from every corner of the land. One person steps forward and begins a lethal campaign to eliminate the sitting members of Congress. Follow the twists and turns of the case as investigators try to catch him while he imposes his own deadly form of term limits.

www.theliteraryvet.net Available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Mistress Suffragette by Diana Forbes


ex and suffrage collide in Mistress Suffragette. At the Memorial Day Ball during the Panic of 1893, impoverished but feisty Penelope Stanton quickly draws the unwanted advances of a villainous millionaire banker who preys on distressed women. During a glittering age where a woman’s reputation is her most valuable possession, Penelope must decide whether to compromise her principles for love.

www.DianaForbesNovels.com Available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, iTunes, and Smashwords.

You Shall Know Our Names by Ezekiel Nieto Benzion

I Livia, the Counterfeit Criminal by Mary Mudd

FINALIST National Jewish Book Award, 2014

I Livia, the Counterfeit Criminal proves false the popular notion that Caesar Augustus’ beloved third wife was a conniving dynastic murderess.


s my grandfather gave me the 200-year-old journals, he pleaded, “I must know what is hidden here. You read the ancient language. Who were these men? What did they do? Why did the family preserve these books for centuries?” So my journey began. By its end I had discovered my history and the secrets in my name. www.tellingourtales.net Available at Amazon.

A much-needed corrective to a long tradition of Livia-bashing, this highly readable text belongs in the hands of history students and general readers interested in the foundations of our society alike. —The U.S. Review of Books www.trafford.com/bookstore Available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and orders@trafford.com.

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eaches you how to heal yourself without medicine by changing your attitudes, feelings and beliefs from negative to positive. Helps you discover the specific positive words that will heal your illness. Shows you how to control the pure spirit energy you are made of. Includes specific words to think to change your blood chemistry for health. Helps you get well.

$14.95 ISBN 978-0-9815-0464-3 www.GodSpiritsUnited.com Available at author’s website, Amazon, and Baker & Taylor.

R alph Mosgrove


Miracles Master the Art by Nancy Lynne Harris, M.A.

Saying Thanks and Beyond

alph r hip ebra. ness



hanks Tand

Saying Thanks and Beyond by Ralph Mosgrove

Ralph leads the reader into what is beyond saying “Thank You.” Using anecdotes and Is Saying Thank You illustrations, he opens Enough? up the powerful words, to show gratitude and R alph Mosgrove appreciation. Since our words have the power of life or death, words of encouragement bring satisfaction to both parties. It goes beyond doing only what is expected. You are a better person for it.


www.mosgroveschoice.com Price, $9.99 ISBN: 978-1-4808-4352-3 Available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Google Play.

Fronting Onlys My 2-1/2 Cents Worth of Henry David Thoreau (as adjusted for inflation, taxes, and mishandling fees) by Tom Beattie Woodchucks, girl scouts, and gangsters?!!! Transcendentalism with a modern twist. “Hilariously funny... Highly entertaining and curiously informative... A creative gem.” —Readers’ Favorite

Available at Amazon. Paperback $6.73 | Kindle $0.99 Making a Living Making a Life by Daniel Rose


real estate developer and philanthropist presents a masterful debut collection of exceptionally cogent and timely speeches and essays. “Ever the stylist, his succinct, well-cadenced prose shows an engaged mind, sharply tuned wit, and compassion and intellect that provide a model for civic engagement.” “A wise, well-honed collection of speeches that address vital issues with fresh, penetrating insight.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred review) Available at Amazon.

BOOK SHELF My Nazi Nemesis by Rich DiSilvio

A Blazing Gilded Age by Rich DiSilvio

RF International Gold Award Winner

“What a Great Book!” —Jennifer P., HISTORY/A+E

“DiSilvio’s plot is cunning and ingenious…” —Jack Magnus, Readers’ Favorite “Rich DiSilvio’s novel is an action-packed thriller that is best read with your seat belt buckled. His descriptive style is so vivid that the atrocities in Auschwitz seem to jump out of the novel’s pages.” —Maria Beltran, Readers’ Favorite www.RichDiSilvio.com Available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

DiSilvio’s award-winning novel is a rags to riches saga poised to be an American Classic. Witness the Wozniak family’s harrowing struggles to achieve the elusive American dream, as a thrilling and chilling image of 19th century America springs to life. Featuring Teddy Roosevelt, JP Morgan, Mark Twain and many more. www.RichDiSilvio.com Available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

A Bitter Wind by Anita Merrick

Return of the Convict by William Alan Thomas


A space cadet’s coming of age in 2143 in Vancouver, B.C.

hen Alexander ‘Ramses’ Smith is assigned to decipher hieroglyphs at Temple of Khnum—all heka breaks loose. A strange darkness cloaks everything: the temple, spirits and supernatural beings, all seemingly conspiring to reawaken his clairvoyance over logic/scholarship. Lex goes on an emotional rollercoaster ride where a time entanglement shatters all sense of reality, putting him dangerously susceptible to ancient secrets infused in stone; re-defining the lines between imagination and reality—or losing a battle for sanity.—Read: Kirkus Recommendation (Website) www.anitamerrickauthor.com Available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Friesen Press, Google Play, iTunes, Kindle, and Kobo.

Named to Kirkus Reviews’ Best Books of 2016. “A crackling, well-told story…” —Kirkus Reviews (starred review) “...should more than satisfy anyone who enjoys cerebral sci-fi...” —Blueink review (starred review) “...has the makings of a powerful sci-fi franchise.” —Foreword Reviews (Clarion review, 5 stars)

www.williamalanthomas.com Available at Amazon and Smashwords.

BOOK SHELF First Responder by James Summers


entrally located between Malibu Creek and Topanga state parks is a lonely stretch of road the locals refer to as the ‘Mulholland Dieway’. Here first responders frequently rally to save those unfortunate enough to find themselves stranded and in need of assistance. For years Karen thought that section of road was unusually treacherous tonight would be no different. www.peggylanders.com www.firstrespondernovel.com FACEBOOK LINK | TWITTER LINK Available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Xlibris. Gullible’s Travels Raw & Uncut by J. Lee Webster

“...This author proves racy reading can be done funny, without the S&M, whips and chains.” (Full page ad in Dec/Jan Shelf Unbound issue) @JLeeWebster


llie Morton encounters, a ghost from over a hundred years before, with Ollie's name, and whose past life mirrors Ollie's present. The story shifts to Pittsfield in 1861 where two brothers, Oliver and Ben Morton, are heading off to war, and dealing with their own growing rivalry, played out on the battlefields of the Civil War. As Ollie's own problems with Ben head to their climax, is he doomed to repeat the mistakes of his family's past? Will the ghosts of his family's past lead Ollie to safety, or push him into a fight that echoes down the generations? Available at Amazon. A Game Called Dead by Michael Stephen Daigle

Based on the story of a true 1st Placed USA team that the US media ignored. “Gullible’s Travels: Raw & Uncut” follows the naughty and humorous antics of two friends on a USA ladies sports team and their 1st Place stretch both domestically and internationally. Go USA! Find out what countries were destroyed in their path, on and off the field.


Ghosts of War by David Kerr Chivers

@ j.leewebster

www.gulliblestravelsraw.com Available at fine bookstores everywhere.

“(I) Loved A GAME CALLED DEAD. I was so enthralled I literally could not stop reading until I finished it.”


ronton, N.J., Detective Frank Nagler faces a wise-cracking, spooky killer and Internet terrorist who challenges Nagler to play the so-called Game Called Dead with deadly consequences. Coming April 2017: The Third Frank Nagler Mystery: THE WEIGHT OF LIVING. “God has given me many tasks. This is the last:” Sister Katherine Marie. www.michaelstephendaigle.com Available at Amazon, Kobo, Nook, and Wal-Mart.

BOOK SHELF Two Tickets to Dubrovnik by Angus Kennedy


ustralian wine writer, Andrew Johnston, goes to Dubrovnik to prepare an article for his editor on the wines and wineries of southern Rhône. He meets up with an old Bordelaise wine making acquaintance, Lucien Delasalles, and his step-sister, Niki Menčetić. He becomes embroiled in the murky affairs of Niki and her family and the local police, which leads to his sad departure from the ancient city. www.anguskennedybooks.com Available at Amazon, Amazon UK, and Barnes & Noble. To The East by Angus Kennedy


ustralian wine writer, Andrew Johnston, has had to leave Niki Menčetić in Dubrovnik while he returns to Australia to provide support for his brother, Adrian, during the illness of his wife. Determined to maintain his renewed relationship with Niki Menčetić, he returns to Europe after a new project in the wine producing regions of California, but with calamitous results. www.anguskennedybooks.com Available at Amazon, Amazon UK, and Barnes & Noble.

A View from the Languedoc by Angus Kennedy


ustralian wine writer, Andrew Johnston, is again staying in Europe, this time with his brother, Adrian, for both work and a holiday. During an extensive new wine project from his publisher, he meets up again with a number of his old acquaintances from both France and Dubrovnik, including Niki Menčetić. Whether he can resolve his difficulties with Niki’s life is uncertain. www.anguskennedybooks.com Available at Amazon, Amazon UK, and Barnes & Noble. The Final Programme by Angus Kennedy


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

BOOK SHELF Jockey Hollow, Where a Forgotten Army Persevered to Win America’s Freedom by Rosalie Lauerman Jockey Hollow has all the makings of fiction—treason, mutiny, enemy attacks, extreme weather, supply shortages—but the riveting story is entirely and monumentally true. This book spotlights a little-known Continental Army encampment in a wilderness called Jockey Hollow, near Morristown, New Jersey. Jockey Hollow earned 2016 IPPY and Moonbeam awards for nonfiction.

www.rosalielauerman.com Available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Indie bookstores. Escaping Viet Nam– H’Yoanh’s Story: A Memoir of Determination, Defiance and Deliverance

by Harriet T. Hill and H’Yoanh K. Buonya

“A must read for everyone! The will to live through such atrocities gives new meaning to freedom.” —K. Gerry, Artist, Editor “Absolutely gripping story of survival! The narrative is compelling...was difficult to put this book down. Highly recommended!” —The Rev. J. A. Hill, Lima Peru After Saigon falls in 1975, a 16-year-old girl follows other Montagnards into the jungles of the Central Highlands to flee persecution by the North Viet Nam Communist Regime. For the next 11 years, danger, starvation, death and faith are her constant companions.

www.harriethillbooks.com Available at Amazon.

Breathe... Just Steps to Breathtaking Speeches by Brenda C. Smith 7 Steps to Putting Your Best Voice Forward: Discover the Techniques of Voiceover Speakers, Actors, and Professional Presenters * Featured on ABC, FOX, as LIBRARYBUB’s BEST BOOK (Business) June 2017; Mentioned on FORBES


peech and Drama Coach, Brenda C. Smith, unlocks the secret to gaining a powerful voice, your breathing, to help speakers deliver their message loud and clear every time with her expert system. www.brendacsmith.com Available at Amazon and http://bit.ly/2h5K9fL The Friday Edition by Betta Ferrendelli


beautiful, young DA falls from her balcony to her death on Christmas Eve. Police suspect suicide, but the DA’s sister, Samantha Church isn’t buying it. Can she write the biggest story of her career before it’s too late and she’s targeted herself? A compelling and suspenseful read for those who love James Patterson, David Baldacci and Sue Grafton. “The Friday Edition is a page-turner from start to finish.” —Readers’ Favorite, 2014 Readers’ Favorite Gold Medal Winner www.bettaferrendellibooks.com Available at Amazon.

BOOK SHELF Cozy Cat Shorts edited by Patricia Rockwell.


n anthology of 25 short stories from the mystery authors at Cozy Cat Press, including Amy Beth Arkawy, Allen B. Boyer, Sally Carpenter, C.F. Carter, Linda Crowder, Glen Ebisch, Bart J. Gilbertson, Helen Grochmal, Lorrie Holmgren, Bret Jones, Mary Koppel, Elizabeth Lanham, Owen Magruder, Jane O’Brien, Joyce Oroz, David Pauwels, Emma Pivato, Joe and Pam Reese, Megan Rivers, Patricia Rockwell, Rita Gard Seedorf, Rae Sanders and Annie Irvin, Margaret Verhoef, and Carmen Will. www.cozycatpress.com Available at Amazon in both print and e-book. If You Were Me and Lived in... Colonial America by Carole P. Roman


Love in the Cretaceous by Howard W. Robertson Dawn McCarra Bass, Seattle Review of Books: “Love in the Cretaceous runs on a mix of narrative energy and metaphysical consideration. What happens to the human heart when it simultaneously faces devastating personal loss and a threat with global implications?” The novel is a love story set a hundred years in the future in a dinosaur park in Oregon. Ted Beebe has lost the love of his life and is suddenly alone in old age. He keeps alive his wife’s memory while creating a new family to guide the dinosaur park through the challenges of humanity’s uncertain future. www.howardwrobertson.com Available at Amazon and Anaphora Literary Press. Shopping for the Real You by Andrea Pflaumer “The chapter on the LBD (little black dress) alone is worth the price!”

oin Carole P. Roman and travel through time to visit the most interesting civilizations throughout history. Learn what Colonial American children did for fun. If You Were Me and Lived in... Colonial America does for history what her other award-winning series did for culture. So come and discover the world through the eyes of a young person just like you.

“It is loaded with information, all clearly explained. Definitely the best book I have read on the subject.”

www.caroleproman.com FACEBOOK LINK | TWITTER LINK Available at Amazon.

www.shoppingfortherealyou.com Available at Amazon and the author’s website.

“I found this to be the best book for advice on color and style, easy to read and understand.”

BOOK SHELF A m e m o i r b y lo r e l e i

ctrine ors?

pelling memoir hines a burning er-day Saints, a wer.

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ndy Lee Eickhoff nd The Renegade

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- Maggie Rayner a Life of Choice


y—and named ernal salvation. adult scripture to the Book of uld go wrong? rinal rocks, she hich she’s based


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From Mormon to Mermaid by Lorelei Kay


rom Mormon to Mermaid is a compelling memoir of FROM MORMON TO a woman’s five-decade search for value and truth. The awardwinning tale shines a burning light into the rarely disclosed corners of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latterday Saints, a religion that keeps women bound to the will of the men who wield all the power.


one woman’s voyage from oppression to freedom Born into a devout Mormon family—and named after a mermaid— a woman searches through tangles of Mormon doctrine to discover the deepest truths lie within.

“While I loved the humor throughout, From Mormon to Mermaid was painful, enraging, and griefproducing to read, yet in the end, redemptive.” —Maggie Rayner, Author, In Polygamy’s Shadow

Nasty Women’s Almanac— Poetry Edition by Lorelei Kay


his insightful book of feminine poetry celebrates the many-faceted sides of being a woman. These poets blend their poetic voices with the hearts of the five million women from all seven continents around the world who participated in the largest recorded single-day protest in US history—after the presidential inauguration in 2017.

Presented an”Award of Literary Excellence” by Dog Ear Publishing

“Lorelei Kay has brought some fine ‘Nasty Women’ together to create a poetic masterpiece. If you believe in equality for all and enjoy a bit of rhythm and rhyme, you’re going to appreciate reading and sharing this book with others.” —Amazon Customer Review

www.FromMomronToMermaid.com Available at Amazon and other fine bookstores.

NastyWomensAlmanac@gmail.com Available at Amazon and other fine bookstores.

Chasing Mercury by September Williams


hasing Mercury is a lyrical, erotic, embodied prose of resistance and resilience. A Black Ballerina and a Powwow dancer meet in the Montreal Airport, their love evolving during the transatlantic crossing. Ripped apart by the war against industrial pollution, and the mangling of human life by mercury poisoning, their duty is their downfall—until they rise again.

“Amazon Best Seller” Chasing Mercury a Romance-Suspense-Memoir

www.septemberwilliams.com Available at Amazon, Amazon UK, Amazon India, Barnes & Noble, IBooks, Google Play, and Kobo.


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.

Margaret@shelfmediagroup.com 214.704.4182.

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The Altar Boy by Phil Stephens


lack-robed nuns, powerful priests, bishops, the select fraternity of Altar Boys, and the ancient ceremonies of the Catholic Church. Set in the socially and politically tumultuous period of the 1960s, The Altar Boy is the fictionalized memoir of Carl Sanders, a funny, sensitive kid, who’s caught in the middle when his family is fractured by the intrusions of a priest. We follow Carl’s confusion and pain as he watches the pious façade of the Church fall away to reveal unholy carte blanche, cover-ups, and collusion. 2016 International Publishers Award Winner for Best Contemporary Novel www.independentauthornetwork.com/ phil-stephens.html Available at Amazon and barnesandnoble.com

The Rebel Son by Guy Quigley


hen Jake Fallon, a Vietnam vet embarks on a hunting trip to the politically unstable Rhodesia of the 1970s terrorists shoot down his commercial aircraft. This launches events leading to his friend’s brutal death, the loss of his memory and a most unlikely love affair with a mysterious African girl Sarah Malumbo. Hunted by terrorists and the authorities alike and facing the ever visual prejudice of their cross-culture love affair they are forced to make many choices searching for their lost baby that will determine their undying love, life, death and liberty. www.guyquigley.com Available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Ebay, Scribd, Kobo, ABE Books, and Jet.

Scapegoat—A Flight Crew’s Journey from Heroes to Villains to Redemption by Emilio Corsetti lll


he true story of a flight crew wrongly blamed for causing a near-fatal accident and the captain’s decades-long battle to clear his name. “Fasten your seatbelt for an incredible story of injustice.” —Karlene Petitt, international airline pilot, safety consultant, and best-selling author www.emiliocorsetti.com www.facebook.com/Scapegoatbook Available everywhere in eBook, print, and audio download Snifter of Death by Chris Karlsen


he summer of 1889 was proving to be a strange one for Detective Rudyard Bloodstone and his partner. They had a series of murder victims killed by arsenic poison with little workable evidence. Plus, the rivalry between he and his detective nemesis at London’s other police department was intensifying. His nemesis also has a scandalous photograph of the woman Rudyard adores. www.chriskarlsen.com Available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks, Kobo, and Smashwords.









“They called him Mickey Free. His kidnapping started the longest war in American history, and both sides—the Apaches and the white invaders— blamed him for it. A mixed-blood warrior who moved uneasily between the worlds of the Apaches and the American soldiers, he was never trusted by either but desperately needed by both. He was the only man Geronimo ever feared. He played a pivotal role in this long war for the desert Southwest from its beginning in 1861 until its end in 1890 with his pursuit of the renegade scout, Apache Kid. In this sprawling, monumental work, Paul Hutton unfolds over two decades of the last war for

the West through the eyes of the men and women who lived it. This is Mickey Free’s story, but also the story of his contemporaries: the great Apache leaders Mangas Coloradas, Cochise, and Victorio; the soldiers Kit Carson, O. O. Howard, George Crook,

and Nelson Miles; the scouts and frontiersmen Al Sieber, Tom Horn, Tom Jeffords, and Texas John Slaughter; the great White Mountain scout Alchesay and the Apache female warrior Lozen; the fierce Apache warrior Geronimo; and the Apache Kid. These lives



shaped the violent history of the deserts and mountains of the Southwestern borderlands--a bleak and unforgiving world where a people would make a final, bloody stand against an American war machine bent on their destruction.”


“Black Elk, the Native American holy man, is known to millions of readers around the world from his 1932 testimonial Black Elk Speaks. Adapted by the poet John G.

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


Neihardt from a series of interviews with Black Elk and other elders at the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota, Black Elk Speaks is one of the most widely read and admired works of American Indian literature. Cryptic and deeply personal, it has been read as a spiritual guide, a philosophical manifesto, and a text to be deconstructed—while the historical Black Elk has faded from view. In this sweeping book, Joe Jackson provides the definitive biographical account of a figure whose dramatic life converged with some of the most momentous events in the history of the American West. Born in an era of rising violence between the Sioux, white settlers, and U.S. government troops, Black Elk killed his first man at the Little Bighorn, witnessed the death of his second cousin Crazy Horse, and traveled to Europe with Buffalo Bill’s Wild West show. Upon his return, he was swept up in the traditionalist Ghost Dance movement and shaken by the Massacre at Wounded Knee. But Black Elk was not a warrior, instead accepting

the path of a healer and holy man, motivated by a powerful prophetic vision that he struggled to understand. Although Black Elk embraced Catholicism in his later years, he continued to practice the old ways clandestinely and never refrained from seeking meaning in the visions that both haunted and inspired him. In Black Elk, Jackson has crafted a true American epic, restoring to its subject the richness of his times and gorgeously portraying a life of heroism and tragedy, adaptation and endurance, in an era of permanent crisis on the Great Plains.”


(University of Oklahoma Press)

“Best known to Americans as the “singing cowboy,” beloved entertainer Gene Autry (1907–1998) appeared in countless films, radio broadcasts,

television shows, and other venues. While Autry’s name and a few of his hit songs are still widely known today, his commitment to political causes and public diplomacy deserves greater appreciation. In this innovative examination of Autry’s influence on public opinion, Michael

Autry gained popularity in the 1930s by developing a persona that appealed to rural, small-town, and newly urban fans. It was during this same time, Duchemin explains, that Autry threw his support behind the thirty-second president of the United States. Drawing on a wealth of primary sources, Duchemin demonstrates how Autry popularized Roosevelt’s New Deal policies and made them more attractive to the American public. In turn, the president used the emerging motion picture industry as an instrument of public diplomacy to enhance his policy agendas, which Autry’s films, backed by Republic Pictures, unabashedly endorsed. As the United States inched toward entry into World War II, the Duchemin explores the president’s focus shifted various platforms this toward foreign policy. cowboy crooner used to Autry responded by support important causes, promoting Americanism, notably Franklin D. war preparedness, Roosevelt’s New Deal and and friendly relations foreign policy initiatives with Latin America. leading up to World War II. As a result, Duchemin As a prolific performer argues, “Sergeant Gene of western folk songs and Autry” played a unique country-western music, role in making FDR’s



internationalist policies more palatable for American citizens reluctant to engage in another foreign war. New Deal Cowboy enhances our understanding of Gene Autry as a western folk hero who, during critical times of economic recovery and international crisis, readily assumed the role of public diplomat, skillfully using his talents to persuade a marginalized populace to embrace a nationalist agenda. By drawing connections between western popular culture and American political history, the book also offers valuable insight concerning the development of leisure and western tourism, the information industry, public diplomacy, and foreign policy in twentieth-century America.”


“Vince is a mustanger with a solitary camp high in the Hondo Mountains, where he works his operation

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


alone. He likes it that way. Then, on a trip back from selling some mustangs, he comes across Julie, a saloon girl on the run from some pretty bad hombres. Vince takes her back to his camp with the idea that, as soon as her horse heals up, he’ll send her on her way. But then he falls in love with her. Before he knows it, her fight is his fight, and he’s looking forward to a life with her. They just have to survive a small war first.”


“Nate is off the grid,

recuperating from wounds and trying to deal with past crimes, when he is suddenly surrounded by a small team of elite professional special operators. They’re not there to threaten him, but to make a deal. They need help destroying a domestic terror cell in Wyoming’s Red Desert, and in return they’ll make Nate’s criminal record disappear.

But they are not what they seem, as Nate’s friend Joe Pickett discovers. They have a much different plan in mind, and it just might be something that takes them all down—including Nate and Joe.”

cattle drive from Texas to Dodge City, the new queen of frontier cattle towns. While the deadly dangers of storms and rustlers gather around them, an act of passion and violence from within the drive—and from within the Garth family—leaves Matt fighting for his life, close to where his father was buried by the Red River. When Matt gets back up, he must finish the drive—and fight his worst enemies and even his own blood kin before it ends in a battle of guns, tears, and justice.”


“Matthew Garth was orphaned in a savage wagon train ambush and adopted JUVENILE by Red River hero Thomas NONFICTION
 Dunson. Twenty years later Matt has two strapping THE WOLVES OF CURRUMPAW sons of his own and is by William Grill undertaking a desperate (Flying Eye Books)



“The Wolves of Currumpaw is a beautifully illustrated modern re-telling of Ernest Thompson Seton’s epic wilderness drama Lobo, the King of Currumpaw, originally published in 1898. Set in the dying days of the old west, Seton’s drama unfolds in the vast planes of New Mexico, at a time when man’s relationship with nature was often marked by exploitations and misunderstanding. This is the first graphic adaptation of a massively influential piece of writing by one of the men who went on to form the Boy Scouts of America.”


“Eleven-year-old Ruby is in an unbelievable amount of trouble. Trouble in school, trouble with the Sisters of Mercy, trouble with her cat named Trouble, and trouble with Pa after he proposes to the school principal. In 1896 Cripple Creek, Colorado, Ruby

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


narrowly escapes death, and her donkey, Maude, steals the story with an unexpected surprise

set out to experience their world. Spring turns to summer, and the bears roam Tuolumne Meadows, munching tall grasses and keeping a safe distance from park visitors. But not all of the bears’ time is spent searching for food: Mama bear must remain on alert for danger and rush her cubs to safety when a forest fire rages close by or another bear threatens them. In the fall, they will fatten up on acorns before returning to their den for the winter

 SEASONS OF THE BEAR: A YOSEMITE STORY by author Ginger Wadsworth and illustrator Daniel San Souci (Yosemite Conservancy)

“This lovely picture book opens on a mother bear and her newborn cubs in their cozy den as a blanket of snow settles over Yosemite National Park. Her newborn cubs grow quickly and soon three furry, hungry black bears

Ginger Wadsworth and Daniel San Souci give readers the bear’s eye view and a tour of the seasons in Yosemite’s high country with these fascinating and mighty creatures.”

drunkard and a coward, who carries a dark secret.”



ODELL’S BONES by Troy D. Smith

(Cane Hollow Press)

“Alona Roberts lost her husband Odell five years ago to the Civil War, and now she has lost her children to fever. She has buried the young ones on their South Texas farm,

but she cannot bear the thought of them resting there alone. Their father’s bones are buried where he fell, on a distant battlefield in Indian Territory. Alona has made up her mind: she must find the site, and bring Odell’s bones home to rest with their children. The problem is that Odell’s best friend Tarry Leonard is the only person who knows exactly where those bones rest—and he is a hopeless

“When a bolt of lightning ignited a hilltop in the sleepy town of Yarnell, Arizona, in June of 2013, setting off a blaze that would grow into one of the deadliest fires in American history, the twenty men who made up the Granite Mountain Hotshots sprang into action. An elite crew trained to combat the most challenging



wildfires, the Granite Mountain Hotshots were a ragtag family, crisscrossing the American West and wherever else the fires took them. The Hotshots were loyal to one another and dedicated to the tough job they had. There’s Eric Marsh, their devoted and demanding superintendent who turned his own personal demons into lessons he used to mold, train and guide his crew; Jesse Steed, their captain, a former Marine, a beast on the fire line and a family man who wasn’t afraid to say “I love you” to the firemen he led; Andrew Ashcraft, a team leader still in his 20s who struggled to balance his love for his beautiful wife and four children and his passion for fighting wildfires. We see this band of brothers at work, at play and at home, until a fire that burned in their own backyards leads to a national tragedy. Impeccably researched, drawing upon more than a hundred hours of interviews with the firefighters’ families, colleagues, state and federal officials, and fire historians and researchers, New York Times Phoenix Bureau Chief Fernanda Santos has written

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a riveting, pulse-pounding narrative of an unthinkable disaster, a remarkable group of men and the raging wildfires that threaten our country’s treasured wild lands.”

 JASPER SPRING by James T. Hughes (Dog Ear Publishing)

“This first novel tells the story of Alice and Tucker, the young stewards of Jasper Spring. Tucker’s family has lived on the ranch for generations, and the two look forward to filling the homestead with children of their own. After two miscarriages, their hope of a family is fading quickly

and they feel farther apart than ever before. The only living thing that either one of them feels truly connected with is their border collie, Tommie, a dog with an uncanny sense of their needs. Enter Ray—an ill dressed 11-year-old boy sorely neglected by his single mother. Ray stumbles across the gorgeous and isolated valley while out on an aimless spin with his dilapidated bicycle. When Tommie finds Ray, the boy is transfixed by the beautiful dog, and the collie’s natural instinct to herd spurs him to drive the boy into Tucker and Alice’s empty arms. The couple develops affection for the forsaken boy, and he feels truly at home for the first time in his young life. As their relationship deepens, shocking twists and turns are presented by the boy’s peripheral mother—with one that leads to catastrophe. The close trio is drawn into battle to preserve the land they love. Additional outside forces loom (drought and development). Though they have the help of two horses and a heroic dog, the struggle is intense and not without loss.

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small press reviews Do the Dead Dream? by F.P. Dorchak


f you’re looking for a good scare (or several dozen good scares), then look no further than F.P. Dorchak’s anthology of short horror fiction Do the Dead Dream? Collected here are forty-five short stories spanning the entirety of Dorchak’s writing career, many of which originally appeared in publications like Black Sheep, Apollo’s Lyre, and The Waking Muse. In each story, Dorchak’s skills as a storyteller with a penchant for considering not just alternate realities but alternate ways of thinking about reality are on full display. In other words, Do the Dead Dream? isn’t just scary … It’s also deep. In fact, things get deep pretty quickly (and literally) with a piece titled “The Wreck,” in which a diver is inexplicably and undeniably drawn to a mysterious shipwreck at the bottom of the sea. This story gets at the heart of human desire—particularly that brand of desire that is rife with conflict: The diver in question knows that his oxygen supply is limited, yet he keeps pushing, keeps going deeper and deeper in search of the truth behind the mysterious wreck. The theme of searching for truth continues in the following story, “The Walkers,” which finds the member of a mysterious tribe of—well— walkers sent to the rear flank of a long march to check on rumors of death and destruction. Once again, the truth is out there, but it certainly isn’t pleasant.  Not surprisingly, Dorchak’s search for truth raises more questions than it answers throughout Do the Dead Dream?, but for my money, that’s always a sign of good art. Additionally, this is a substantial volume—forty-five stories spanning nearly 500 pages—so the creepiness and intrigue will certainly carry you well into the new year. —Marc Schuster, www.smallpressreviews.wordpress.com


Shelf Unbound Contributing Editor Marc Schuster is the author of The Grievers, The Singular Exploits of Wonder Mom and Party Girl, Don DeLillo, Jean Baudrillard, and the Consumer Conundrum, and, with Tom Powers, The Greatest Show in the Galaxy: The Discerning Fan’s Guide to Doctor Who. He is the editor of Small Press Reviews, and his work has appeared in numerous magazines and journals. Marc teaches writing and literature courses at Montgomery County Community College in Blue Bell, Pennsylvania. 120 D E C E M B E R / J A N U A R Y



 A writer, like

a sheriff, is the embodiment of a group of people and without their support both are in a tight spot. ―from Another Man’s Moccasins by Craig Johnson



Profile for Shelf Media Group

Shelf Unbound December-January 2018  

What to Read Next in Independent Publishing.

Shelf Unbound December-January 2018  

What to Read Next in Independent Publishing.

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