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june/july 2014


dreams 2

september 2010

what to read next in independent publishing

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

w w Available at Amazon, Lulu and iBooks.


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

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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: From Hoop: The American Dream by Robin Layton

what to read next in independent publishing




a note from the publisher

26 excerpt 28

american art


roses are read book club


indie spotlight


novel thinking




staff picks


all the happiness you deserve interview with Michael Piafsky

12 18

you animal machine (the golden greek) 70 small press reviews interview with Eleni Sikelianos 72 last words jam today too 73 contributors interview with Tod Davies


future american president the photography of Matthew Jordan Smith


hoop: the american dream the photography of Robin Layton


migration the photography of Donald McCrea


portraits of the american craftsman the photography of Tadd Myers

On the cover: HIGHWAY #1 ©2014 Edward Burtynsky Nicholas Metivier Gallery / Toronto Bryce Wolkowitz Gallery / New York (from “MIGRATION / lost and found in america” ©2014 Donald McCrea)

Photography: (top) by Tadd Meyers from Portraits of the American Craftsman (bottom) by Donald McCrea from Migration: Lost and Found in America






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

- ForeWord Reviews, Clarion Review

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

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

–Kirkus Review


n be deadly

...secrets ca




a word from the




aya Angelou said, “The American Dream, whether attainable or not, is to have freedom, freedom in all things. To go as far as ambition impels us, in work, in play, and religion and even in love.” In this issue we’re looking at the American Dream, and American dreams, from a variety of perspectives. Our cover photographer Matthew Jordan Smith traveled to every state in the country shooting portraits for his Future President book. “Future President is a photography project that aims to inspire children of all races and backgrounds to embrace their dreams by expressing what they would do as President of the United States,” Smith says. To go as far as ambition impels us. The self-publishing revolution of the last several years has allowed the ambition of hundreds of thousands of independent authors to come to fruition. I have the privilege of reading some of the finest of these works each year as a judge of the annual Shelf Unbound Writing Competition for Best Independently Published Book. We’ve just launched our third annual competition and are honored to have Bowker ( as our sponsor. The competition is open to writers around the world who have books and/ or e-books in any genre, in any year. Details and competition rules can be found here: The winner and more than 100 notable books entered in the competition will be featured in the December/January 2015 issue of Shelf Unbound. I can’t wait to start reading entries and will look forward to sharing the best of them with you. Margaret Brown publisher



Photograph: Belinda Baldwin

Follow the adventures of Tad McGreevy, the boy who “sees” auras, reliving the crimes of those with THE COLOR OF EVIL. KHAKI = KILLER, Book #3 in THE COLOR OF EVIL series, resumes where Book #2, RED IS FOR RAGE, left off. Tad McGreevy and his high school classmates at Cedar Falls’ Sky High Lab School once again grapple with life and death issues as high school graduation looms at the end of their senior year. “Connie Corcoran Wilson weaves a deftly fine scalpel in an age where a crude blade is more the norm. Her work is a smooth, subtle hybrid mix of science fiction, thriller, and horror that realizes a unique and pointed version in the great tradition of Phillip K. Dick and Ray Bradbury.” John Land, bestselling author of the Caitlin Strong Series

“The Color of Evil series is old-school psychological horror, artfully blended with new-school shocks and twists...Bravo!”

“Wilson’s characters come alive on the page. Comparisons to Stephen King, Dean Koontz and Phillip K. Dick aside, Wilson has spent 33 years teaching students in this age range. She knows what she is talking about.”

Jonathan Maberry, New York Times best-selling author, multiple Bram Stoker winner

Gary Braver, author of “Flashback” and 8 other thrillers

Book #2, RED IS FOR RAGE, free on Kindle June 26-30.



All the Happiness You Deserve by Michael Piafsky Prospect Park Books | 6


Michael Piafsky’s debut novel is a beautifully rendered character study following the life of a Midwesterner from boyhood on. Piafsky writes with precision, finding meaning, and even beauty, in both the mundane and dramatic elements of an ordinary life. Shelf Unbound: You follow the main character from childhood to middle age. What was the starting point? Michael Piafsky: The earliest we see the character is at 7 years old, although in those early scenes he is even less reflective than in later chapters. In terms of the writing, the earliest chapters

written had him at various stages—but mainly in that border-town between 30 and 40, bookending what Dante called the midpoint of life. Shelf: Why did you choose to write this novel in the second person? Piafsky: The second person is a double-



edged sword. I’d gotten into the habit over the years of writing these multisectioned, anatomical short stories in second person, and this one began as an anatomy of movement. I loved how the second person established voice and immediacy, and it felt very right.  When the piece expanded into a novel, the perspective came along with it, and it was really only about 20,000 words in that I started noticing some specific mechanical problems with it.  Namely, we have two words in first person (I and me), more in third person (name, he and him) but in second it’s just you all the time.  So getting away from starting sentences with the word, and limiting its exposure in other ways became the specific problem of this novel. Luckily, I only had 80,000 more

reading of your own life. As it happens, it also makes the protagonist feel rather passive (since the effect is a narrator being pushed through the narrative), and this was an added bonus.  Shelf: I believe the only time you step out of second person is in the middle of the book at the end of a chapter with the incredibly moving and sad lines: “For Meg. Who was mine until she wasn’t.” What is the significance of this line and why did you decide to shift to first person? Piafsky: Yeah, the only other possible time I can think the narrative might break is the father’s dramatic monologue about wrestling early on, producing another kind of second person altogether.  The line you reference comes after a particu-

The second person is a double-edged sword. I’d gotten into the habit over the years of writing these multi-sectioned, anatomical short stories in second person, and this one began as an anatomy of movement. I loved how the second person established voice and immediacy, and it felt very right.  words when I realized that so at least it didn’t come too late in the game. In order for the second person not to feel like a gimmick, the first thing you need is some sort of rationale for why the form would be appropriate to the story’s function. In my case, the idea is that a fortuneteller is providing you this



larly wrenching break-up, at a moment where our character is very wounded. I think he has some sense (as perhaps we all do) that in this moment of fragility he has been temporarily endowed with prophetic, poetic powers, and that for a brief window people are going to listen to him. And, of course, he chokes on his

people do derive fulfillment from their high- (or low-) paying jobs and some, God love them, even derive these from their house and the things inside it. The problem with this guy is that he mistakes nouns for verbs. He acquires a shiny red sports car and wants to retrofit a feeling of fulfillment and belonging from its presence rather than allowing those desires to find fulfillment in its acquisition.  He wants a job that will give him answers when it should be a job that provides the method for him to seek out answers.  And even when he reaches out to his family, he assigns meaning to Shelf: The main character chases the his wife and daughter because of their stereotypical American dream: mar- identity markers rather than deriving riage, kid, house, big-money career. comfort from them as living, breathing But for him it all ends in loss. Is this your people. So it ends in loss, but that isn’t commentary on the American dream? necessarily the American Dream’s fault. toast because he’s the kind of guy who fumbles when it counts.  So that line, which isn’t dialogue, comes as a coda to the scene and maybe represents an opportunity for a second chance—to articulate if only obliquely the depth of his sadness over losing Meg. And since it’s told in coda, it might be outside the purview of the narrative and its perspectival demands. It may be that he never said it at all, or that he only said it when he knew no one was listening, or that he only said it when he knew it could no longer do any good.

Well, I definitely do have my doubts about the American dream and those get more pronounced every month. But I think perhaps the problem with the protagonist isn’t these goals but his manner of chasing them. Piafsky: Well, I definitely do have my doubts about the American dream and those get more pronounced every month. But I think perhaps the problem with the protagonist isn’t these goals but his manner of chasing them.  You can derive meaning and substance and fulfillment from marriage and kids.  Some

Shelf: I love the realness of your dialogue. How do you go about constructing lines such as this: “Debra shrugs. ‘We had a plan? What the hell did we know, anyway? You say that word like it’s some goddamned scroll of wisdom.’” Piafsky: Thank you. Actually, that’s par-



(this one took about 10) and that the only way to start a new novel is to forget the pain of the last one. I’ve been told that a woman’s body releases certain chemicals that block the memory of childbirth so that the woman will actually willingly undergo pregnancy again. I think writing novels requires the same chemical amnesia, so I’m going to think twice about passing this bit of knowledge along to my students. I learned that it’s very hard to sell a book but that publishers and editors Shelf: You teach creative writing. are very kind people with very difficult What did you learn in writing this jobs and there are an awful lot of very novel, your first, that you will pass good manuscripts out there looking for a home. And I learned that it’s relatively along to your students? Piafsky: I learned a lot, so many things easy to get your friends to buy your that narrowing it down is impossible. I book but nearly impossible to convince ticularly nice to hear because I’ve always thought dialogue was my weakest point.  In fact, my first few short stories seem constructed with the purpose of avoiding it. It took me a while to figure out that the secret to dialogue is that characters can never respond to each other. Narrative shouldn’t necessarily be purely figurative but dialogue should often read as though it is. Never answer a direct question: true in both police interrogations and short fiction writing.

It took me a while to figure out that the secret to dialogue is that characters can never respond to each other. Narrative shouldn’t necessarily be purely figurative but dialogue should often read as though it is. learned that people who tell you, as I have done for near a decade, not to write in second person are smart and you should listen to them.  I learned that it is very, very difficult to write a novel and that people don’t want to hear that.  They really don’t want to hear how many years it took



a stranger to do so. Much more than what I’ve learned, the mere existence of this book might encourage my students to listen, at least until the novel is remaindered, where, like the protagonist in the Meg chapter above, my window of credibility will have closed.

the battle between science and religion is about to end... “A lively mystery with a number of plot twists and peculiar characters, this will keep the reader amused and entertained until the final moments.” Catherine Lengrehr, Indie Reader

“Just when the reader thinks they have figured out what’s going on, a twist, a turn, a revelation happens…mysteries inside mysteries and subplots become main plots and then change into something else altogether.” D. Ann Williams, Portland Book Review

Available at Amazon and BarnesandNoble “Excellent character development and realistic dialogue…A clever story that will keep readers guessing.”

“Fascinating…A fast-paced, suspenseful, and entertaining read...Just when one has figured out a piece of the puzzle, the author introduces another facet that keeps the audience reading. Nothing in this book is a red herring.”

Sacramento Book Review

Jill Allen, Clarion Foreword Reviews UNBOUND




You Animal Machine (The Golden Greek) by Eleni Sikelianos Coffee House Press | 12


Sikelianos tells the story of her immigrant grandmother, Melena, a burlesque dancer she describes as “the toughest, hardest-assed woman to ever eat wood and bite nails.� It’s a moving story told in an inventive form that is part fiction, part memoir, part poetry. Shelf Unbound: You Animal Machine (The Golden Greek) tells the story of your immigrant grandmother, Melena, through a mix of poetry, prose, memory, anecdote, dreams, newspaper clippings, and photos. Why did you choose this format to tell her story?

Eleni Sikelianos: I think the format chose itself more than I chose it. I wish I had more control in the matter, but I have found in this book and the one I wrote about my father, which is also hybrid in form, that I am doing a dance between imposing my will on the material, and the material imposing its own will



on how it manifests. These family stories are not straightforward, and I have never felt like it would be right to force them into a shape not native to them. What we experienced and know of my grandmother was contradictory, difficult (often brutal), fragmented, hard to piece together. The main legacy we have, besides our memories and stories of her, are her showgirl scrapbooks and the way she impacted my mother and her sisters’ lives. Perhaps there are some people whose narratives fit neatly into traditional forms, but those people are not in my family! I wanted the book to have at least in part the feel of her scrapbook, with the torn edges and gaps. The form also reflects the jagged edges of her life, a hardassed woman inventing and reinventing herself over and over again, trying again

my editor wanted to keep The Golden Greek, which I felt didn’t take into account her primary stage persona (a leopard). You Animal Machine comes from the last line at the end of a sequence in which I quote extensively from accounts of encounters with “wild children,” children purported to have been raised by animals or in the wilds. In that section (and in others) I was exploring the ways in which my grandmother had remained feral—had never really fully domesticated to the human world. Of course, there was also her nearly nightly transformation into a leopard girl. On both sides of my family, some key steps in the socialization process seem to have been missed, and that engendered both beautiful and difficult habits. So, there’s the ani-

Part of my work has been to find the forms these narratives take, to let them arise of their own accord. In both family projects, I’ve felt like I have to keep turning the crystal, to get at another facet of possibility and truth. mal part. The machine part is both the machinery of the social—the wild children dressed up in suits and asked to Shelf: What does the title mean? Sikelianos: Good question! We had perform, or given, as if they were obsuch a hard time finding a title for this jects, as gifts, or the burlesque dancbook. It had been going under a few er’s daughters trying to function in state different working titles for quite a while homes and orphanages—but also the (The Golden Greek, or Melena), and body itself, and how it keeps moving and again to find her place in the world.



(in conjunction with the mind) through was how to find in the brutality of her its necessities and habits, often with- story what was bright and rich, so that out questioning its repetitive gestures. it didn’t become a tale of victimhood. My mother and her sisters lived much Shelf: You previously wrote of your of their lives with that feeling. How to father’s tragic life as a heroin addict change that narrative in my lifetime? in The Book of Jon. Was it easier to I’m not interested in the victim posifind empathy for the struggles of tion as a long-term posture—it freezes your grandmother, an exotic dancer, consciousness. But obviously there are who put her daughters in and out of some situations from which it is very bad foster homes and orphanages? hard to recover. There is a recent book I’m thinking of these lines: “Who about Aribert Heim, the Nazi “doctor” said hoochie-coochie means a drunk at Mauthausen, who did things like woman’s genitals. It means a single inject gasoline into victims’ hearts to see what would happen. How would mother’s rent.” Sikelianos: In some ways it was hard- we garner empathy for such a person? er to find empathy for her, because she And yet his son did, and protected could be so brutal, and I found her fright- him from discovery. Can or should we ening, both through my own experienc- recover from institutional savagery? es of her (she died when I was 15) but Some questions running around for me

My experience is that when we try to understand someone difficult, though, we gather empathy. We can understand now how hard it must have been for a single mother on the burlesque circuit with three girls in tow. also through her daughters’ stories and scars. My experience is that when we try to understand someone difficult, though, we gather empathy. We can understand now how hard it must have been for a single mother on the burlesque circuit with three girls in tow. One of my challenges in this book

in writing this were the relationship and order of magnitude between individual and collective brutality, and of ways to gather empathy. My father, on the other hand, was an extremely charismatic person, someone who was bathed in love and talent, whom everyone was drawn to, but who allowed



himself terrible habits and the skewed judgment and solipsism that comes with addiction. He did horrible things, but he had a kind of light of the gods about him. It was easier to feel empathetic, but there’s also a kind of blinding luminous quality that can make it harder to assess the damage he did. (I am thinking here of my siblings, who have suffered in various ways from his legacy.) Nonetheless, he also left us all with a lot of gifts, and I don’t think that was the case with my grandmother—the gifts were not obvious but had to be dug for. Shelf: We’re talking about American Dreams in this issue. As hard as Melena’s life was, she pulled herself through it. Her granddaughter is an accomplished poet. What does her

“success” over centuries, and also how volatile, within a few generations, that success can be. It’s hard for me to answer that question, though, because I don’t have much faith in the process of the American Dream. I am, more and more, for a radical, global redistribution of wealth. I can’t have faith in something called the American Dream, which seems to be linked to buying and owning things, the production of which is often detrimental to our planet, when so many people are homeless and go hungry in this and other nations, when we buy clothes made by people living and working in dangerous, subsistence conditions. Yet, in terms of my own story—the gap between how I live and how my grandmother lived and how I live now is

Some questions running around for me in writing this were the relationship and order of magnitude between individual and collective brutality, and of ways to gather empathy. story say about the American Dream? Sikelianos: Yes, my mother feels this particularly—that through me some kind of realization was accomplished. I’m interested in the rise and fall of family lines, and there have been some thought-provoking studies recently both about the genetic inheritance of



pretty astounding. Sometimes it seems insurmountable. What made this shift possible? I ask myself that question a lot, and the answer is complex. But I think part of it lies in the feral—in the way I was allowed the freedom to invent myself rather than follow a course already hewn out by society.


Edward M. Krauss Author of Here On Moon and Solomon The Accountant The relationship between the police and the media has always been a strange one, but it turning romantic certainly raises some questions. “A Story of Bad” is the tale of a cop and reporter entering into a controversial romance, where they both try to stay loyal to each other and their employers while respecting business ethics and trying to both solve and cover the murder mystery that brought them together in the first place as other chaos erupts all around the them. “A Story of Bad” is a highly recommended and deftly composed mystery and romance blend, for fans of either. —Midwest Book Review


nvestigating the murder of the owner of a sportswear factory in Queens, New York, Detective Terry Stans determines that the victim knew his assailant. The dead man’s workers and bereaved family are all suspects. June Replyn, a reporter covering the business side of the fashion world, is assigned to write how a small company survives the death of its inspirational leader. During interviews at the factory June is slipped a note from someone claiming to know the identify of the murderer. The reporter meets the detective. Stans is stuck. The case is going nowhere, and he believes the fashion writer has a better view inside the company. Terry encourages June to share information with him, hoping fresh eyes will see something he hasn’t. But she doesn’t tell him about the note. In the midst of his investigating and her reporting they start dating. Their relationship raises questions about confidentiality, loyalty to one’s employer, professional ethics. Both of their bosses caution them about the dangers to their careers raised by this situation. And there they are, in bed. The tale is designed to intrigue the reader with two intertwining stories, the mystery of the murders and the unexpected love affair. During the course of the novel the reader visits the worlds of police investigations, newspapers and their editorial policies, drug smuggling, and the Cambodian experience in America. Note: The novel contains no graphic sex or graphic violence.

A three-minute video, including an excerpt, is available at




Jam Today Too:

The Revolution Will Not Be Catered

by Tod Davies Exterminating Angel Press | 18


Whether making pizza in an RV due to a flooded kitchen or a steak dinner for herself following the death of her father, Tod Davies entwines food and cooking with love and life. This engaging literary memoir will inspire you to find your inner Julia Child. Shelf Unbound: Jam Today Too is a food memoir celebrating the pleasures of home cooking. Tell us about the title, which comes from one of Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland books. Tod Davies: It’s from Through the Looking Glass. One of my favorite books. The Queen says to Alice, “The rule is, jam to-

morrow and jam yesterday—but never jam to-day.” And Alice says, “It must come sometimes to ‘jam today’.” Well, that always impressed me. It does seem to me that too much of our modern life is the memory of jam yesterday or the hope of jam tomorrow. And food— thinking about it, preparing it, eating it,



the end, a way of sharing. But when I’m writing, I’m sharing back, if that makes any sense, with voices that have spoken before, sometimes a long time before I was born. I think I’m unconsciously sharing forward, too, with voices who’ll come after. But when I’m Shelf: You describe cooking at home cooking, even it’s only for myself, I’m as a creative act. What similarities here, now, enjoying myself right in the present. Which brings us back to “jam do you find in writing and cooking? Davies: All creative activity comes from today.” Cooking is jam today for me! the same place, or it should, anyway. This means writing, sculpting, cooking, Shelf: You write about the meal you gardening, knitting, painting—all of it made for yourself when your father that’s worth doing. It all expresses an died: salad, rib steak, red wine. What individual voice that adds to the gener- is it about grief that requires a speal conversation. It’s like birdsong: In its cific form of nourishment? loveliest manifestations it spreads joy. Davies: Grief hits you in the body. Which of course makes sense, since we are Cooking does that. Writing does that. I do have to say I’m a bit more free partners with our body, body and soul, sharing—is kind of my entry into concentrating on jam today. I really think we all need more of that: slowing down and enjoying all the small, everyday things we can with our loved ones and neighbors. Not to mention ourselves.

I do have to say I’m a bit more free form in my cooking than in my writing, and I forgive myself an awful lot more in the kitchen than at the desk. It’s the place where I allow myself a free playground, and give myself points for trying. form in my cooking than in my writing, and I forgive myself an awful lot more in the kitchen than at the desk. It’s the place where I allow myself a free playground, and give myself points for trying. I don’t do that in my writing. I’m much stricter there. And much, much more solitary. Both activities are, in



and what hurts the soul hurts the body. You need to treat both gently when death tears a hole in your reality—and that is what the death of a loved one does. It literally tears a hole in your relationship to the world. You need to knit back up that raveled sleeve of care. Food and wine do that for me. I suspect they do that for a

DECEMBER 1938. Moscow. Josef Stalin has lost some gold. He is not a happy man. He asks his henchman Beria to track it down. SEPTEMBER 1940. London. Above the city the Battle of Britain rages and the bombs rain down. On the streets below, DCI Frank Merlin and his officers investigate the sudden disappearance of Polish RAF pilot Ziggy Kilinski while also battling an epidemic of looting unleashed by the chaos and destruction of the Blitz. Kilinski’s fellow pilots, a disgraced Cambridge don, Stalin’s spies in London, members of the Polish government in exile and a ruthless Russian gangster are amongst those caught up in Merlin’s enquiries. Sweeping from Stalin’s Russia to Civil War Spain, from Aztec Mexico to pre-war Poland, and from Hitler’s Berlin to Churchill’s London a compelling story of treasure, grand larceny, treachery, torture and murder unfolds. Eventually as Hitler reluctantly accepts that the defiance of the RAF has destroyed his chances of invasion for the moment, a violent shoot-out in Hampstead leads Merlin to the final truth... and Stalin to his gold.

“Atmospheric and wonderfully written.” “Nostalgia, sex and intrigue all rolled into one-great!” “Stalin’s Gold another winner”

Mark Ellis is a former barrister and entrepreneur. Stalin’s Gold is the second in his Frank Merlin series set in WW2 London.

“A real treasure”




of you eating garlic is a bonding rather than a repelling activity! So I add lots of garlic. I mash as many garlic cloves as I feel like—never less than five— in my little mortar with some coarse salt, spritz on a little lemon, and then add it to a mayonnaise I make with the freshest, yellowest, best eggs I can find, as well as the deepest tasting olive oil. The Beloved Husband will eat literally anything as long as it has aioli dolloped on top. And if I make it with Spanish olive oil, I generally can count on a romantic evening after. So you can imagine how often it gets made in our household. Especially in spring and summer, when the Shelf: Like you, I am in a “mixed mar- garlic is rosy and at its best. riage,” which you refer to as “the one joining two wildly diverse sides: the Shelf: What’s your favorite descripvegetarian and the carnivore.” What’s tion of a meal in literature? lot of people, though everyone will have their own version of comfort foods. For me: full fat blue cheese, chicken liver pate, rare beef, and a knockout red wine. Macaroni and cheese. Popcorn with butter and garlic salt and grated parmesan cheese. Not to mention sourdough bread spread lavishly with unsalted butter. But then, look at my Beloved Vegetarian Husband. When he’s grieving, he just doesn’t eat. I have to tempt him with his comfort foods. Baked potatoes. Vegetable hash with eggs poached on top. Chile relleno casserole. And a very, very, very dark beer.

Grief hits you in the body. Which of course makes sense, since we are partners with our body, body and soul, and what hurts the soul hurts the body. You need to treat both gently when death tears a hole in your reality—and that is what the death of a loved one does. your favorite meal that satisfies both? Davies: Really, any meal that makes us both happy. But one particular favorite is Roasted Vegetables with Aioli (aka Garlic Mayonnaise). It smells terrific while you’re sitting with your loved one and chosen aperitifs before dinner. Tastes great. And if you’re truly in love, both



Davies: Oh, definitely in Brideshead Revisted. Charles Ryder having dinner in Paris with the ghastly Rex Mottram. Waugh has Charles describe that meal lyrically, as a counterpoint to Rex’s greedy monologue. Just reading about the preparation of the caviar, the folding of the blinis, the pressing of the duck,

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


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

Author Fritz H. Schroeder

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

and the red wine poured throughout! In a former life, I would think about that meal defensively whenever I felt I had to have a particularly depressing meal for business reasons. Fortunately, there aren’t any of those these days. If I’m serious about having jam today, I really can’t waste time not enjoying my dinner. For any reason. Shelf: We’re talking about American Dreams in this issue. In your essay “Feminism and the Baked Potato,” you cite Michael Pollan’s New York Times article about “the rise in fascination with watching others cook… and the decline in home cooking.” How do you think home cooking fits into the American Dream today? Davies: Home cooking—the prepara-

get in there and create yourself. And you can start at home. Delicious! Healthy! Fun! Do it today! Think of how easy. Take the wonder of the Baked Potato. First you buy your potato. This should be an organic one, not treated with sprouticide, which is a particularly hard to get rid of pesticide. Scrub until clinging dirt unclings. Stick a knife into it in a few places so it doesn’t explode when you cook it. Put in oven (toaster oven ideal for this) at 400 degrees for about forty-five minutes to an hour, depending on its size and how done you like it. Squeeze it gently or poke with a fork to test doneness. It won’t hurt to leave it in the oven for longer (just makes the skin even crispier), or turn off the oven and leave it warm till you want to eat it. Then EAT IT. Split it in half, mash with

And the American Dream says that everyone deserves to have a full and engaged life. How can you have a full life if you’re only watching, wistfully, from the sidelines while others create? tion, sharing, and savoring of food—is one of the prime elements that make up a truly full and human life. It’s basic. And the American Dream says that everyone deserves to have a full and engaged life. How can you have a full life if you’re only watching, wistfully, from the sidelines while others create? You need to



a fork, top with topping of your choice: unsalted butter, sour cream, hot sauce, garlic mayonnaise. You make the call. With a salad and a piece of corn, this makes a pretty darn good meal.   Now that, in my opinion, is the American Dream. Or at least, nourishment for said dream.



pop tops

Formica Forever Published by Formica Corporation With Metropolis Books


Metropolis Books



hile the intelligentsia condemned plastics for imitating everything from marble to lacquer, for replacing the old “authentic” materials with new factory-fresh surfaces, an overwhelming majority of Americans took them into their hearts and their homes. The kitchen table, clad with Formica laminate, for instance, is a shared memory for baby-boomer Americans right across all income levels. Andy Warhol famously said, “What’s great about this country is that America started the tradition where the richest consumers buy essentially the same things as the poorest. You can be watching TV and see Coca-Cola, and you know that the President drinks Coke, Liz Taylor drinks Coke, and just think, you can drink Coke, too. A Coke is a Coke and no amount of money can get you a better Coke. …” The Formica-laminate topped

table has that same democratic universality. The 1950s urge to clad as many surfaces as possible in Formica was only partly driven by the company’s marketing. Any reading of the postwar zeitgeist — popular DIY magazines, for instance — suggests that consumers were thinking up new ways to replace every old surface with something new that signaled modernity. Smooth, bright, shiny surfaces that wiped clean became a global obsession. By applying them almost everywhere, postwar homeowners  —  born in the 1920s and 1930s — could wipe out the horrors of the recent past and mark their participation in the modern mainstream — they could “Live the Dream.” From Formica Forever, published by the Formica Corporation with Metropolis Books, Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.

Paddy Pest is the garrulous gumshoe/secret agent from Down-Under. He is completely indestructible, totally irresistible to women and generally a horse’s ass. Gerry Burke completes a four-volume series of hilarious short stories with a biographical focus on Paddy’s ever-suffering associates and adversaries such as Stormy Weathers, Yvette Baguette, Gregoria Killanova and Nadia Nickoff, the minx from Minsk.

Is he the most awarded crime-buster of our day? With two USA Best Book Awards and an IPPY on the shelf, Gerry Burke is on a roll.




the americans

Yale University and The Phillips Collection Made in the U.S.A. is on view at The Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C. through August 31




ecades before the United States was recognized as the world’s center for contemporary art, Duncan Phillips (1886-1966) sought out and celebrated the work of America’s living artists. For over forty years, Phillips was a major force in promoting American modernism, through acquisitions, exhibitions, and the presentation of American art in his museum, as well as through his writing. Unconstrained by conventions of museum display,

works of art from different countries and epochs hang side by side at The Phillips Collection. In part, this practice reflects the early concerns of the collection’s founder to show that the art of the United States could hold its own with that of Europe. The earliest photographs of installations at The Phillips Collection date from 1923. They show how Phillips hung the work of contemporary Americans, such as Ernest Lawson, Julian Alden Weir, Robert Spencer, and John Henry Twacht-

(LEFT) Maurice Sterne, Benares, 1912, Oil on canvas 39 3/4 x 30 1/2 in. The Phillips Collection, Washington, DC. Aquired 1946. (CENTER) Karl Knaths, Maritime, 1931, Oil on canvas 40 x 32 in. The Phillips Collection, Washington, DC, Aquired 1931. (RIGHT) Thomas Eakins, Miss Amelia Van Buren, c. 1891, Oil on canvas, 45 x 32 in. The Phillips Collection, Washington, DC, Aquired 1927. 28


the Weather to a Sea e t o u Q Never mon tales from the founder of the Big Lion

com her un t o d an

l Binder u a P y B

Apple C irc

Foreword by Glenn C



A celebration of Paul Binder’s life in and around the circus. Street juggler, talent booker for Merv Griffin, floor manager for Julia Child, Sesame Street regular, and founder of Big Apple Circus, Binder has lived and worked with the finest circus artists. He shows the nuts and bolts of a little-understood life that touches the dreamer in all of us. Copies signed and personalized by the author available from Available at Author House and Amazon.



“Our most enthusiastic purpose will be to reveal a richness of the art created in the United States, to stimulate our native artists and afford them show how our American artists maintain their equality with, if not indeed their superiority to, their better-known foreign contemporaries.” —Duncan Phillips, 1921 (LEFT) Bradley Walker Tomlin, No. 9, 1952. Oil on canvas, 84 x 79 in. The Phillips Collection, Washington, DC, Aquired 1957. (RIGHT) Duncan Phillips on a transatlantic journey, 1920s. Courtesy of The Phillips Collection, Washington, DC




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


man, alongside the work of European artists Gustave Courbet, Alessandro Magnasco, and El Greco, for example. In this approach, Phillips affirmed his belief that American artists were the equals of European masters of any period, simultaneously expressing the idea of temperamental affinities connecting artists of different times and nations. American artists were enthusiastic from the outset about having their work incorporated into a collection that included paintings by European masters. Georgia O’Keefe, for example, conveyed her excitement to Alfred Stieglitz shortly after her visit to the Phillips in March 1926, where she saw her work and that of Arthur Dove included with pictures by protomodern masters such as Courbet, Honoré Daumier, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, and El Greco. Born into a wealthy Pittsburgh family, Phillips was the second son and namesake of a glass manufacturer and his wife, Liza Irwin Laughlin, who was an heir to the Jones and Laughlin Steel Company in Pittsburgh. They moved to Washington, D.C., in 1896, building themselves

a mansion near Dupont Circle. The young Phillips attended private schools and moved easily among the city’s political and social elite as an adult. After graduating from Yale, he set out to make his way as an art critic in New York, where he and his older brother, James, began visiting galleries, buying paintings for their own pleasure, and advising their parents on acquisitions for the family’s small collection of American art. Throughout his life, Phillips gave American artists his patronage and encouragement. In 1929, he wrote that “the true artist needs a friend and a true patron of art has nothing better to give the world than the helping hand he extends to the lonely, lofty spirits. It was the maxim that guided him in his lifelong quest to assemble a collection of the best of American art for all to see and enjoy. From Made in the U.S.A.: American Art from the Phillips Collection, edited by Susan Behrends Frank, Yale University and The Phillips Collection, Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.

(LEFT) Childe Hassam, Washington Arch, Spring c. 1893, Oil on canvas, 26 1/8 x 21 5/8 in. The Phillips Collection, Washington, DC, Aquired 1921. (CENTER) Charles Sheeler, Skyscrapers, 1922. Oil on canvas, 20 x 13 in. The Phillips Collection, Washington, DC, Acquired 1926. (RIGHT) Walt Kuhn, Plumes, 1931. Oil on canvas, 40 x 30 in. The Phillips Collection, Washington, DC, Acquired 1932. 32




“Mark Conkling has written a doggone good tale about animals and the people who love (and abuse) them. This is a nicely written novel that keeps you jumping and engages the reader in the lives of the main characters as well as the animals. It’s written with a spirituality that doesn’t beat you over the head. If you are looking for a feel good tale invest in Dog Shelter Blues.” John Crudele, Columnist for the New York Post and dog lover

“Mark Conkling offers the reader a wonderful way to explore the northern seas and those most mysterious creatures of the deep, cold waters, the whales. You will enjoy every moment of this book and come away with a newfound respect for both the researchers who spend their lives pursuing whales, and the writer whose imagination weaves a tale that is part mystery, part call to action, and part love story. “ Brent Spencer, author of Rattlesnake Daddy (2011)

A portion of the proceeds from Dog Shelter Blues and Prairie Dog Blues go to the charities we support. Click HERE to find out how you can help.

“Prairie Dog Blues ignited feelings and emotions that are always simmering on the back burner of my mind. The Corley family is like so many if not most families. Striving for perfection that will never be achieved, and going through the motions of what the perfect family should be. What appealed to me was the spiritual discussions between Mom and Pastor June, the very real and painful issues of addiction, and having to cope with the illness and loss of someone who you love deeply. Like with any good book, Prairie Dog Blues left me wondering: What’s going to happen next?” Vicky Chavez, Bibliophie


  ses are read book club



o while my other book club was reading a depressing book on the state of world affairs, I skipped that and went straight to the second selection for the Roses are Read Book Club: A Shot of Red by Tracy March, which turned out to be one of the most entertaining page-turners I’ve ever read. Interesting female lead character, gripping plot, compelling romance, and some very steamy sex scenes — plus a surprise ending. World affairs may be depressing, but the electric affair between our heroine Mia Moncure and hot hunk with a brain Gio Lorenzo is anything but. Ladies, start your Kindles. I invite you to join me in the second the Roses are Read Book Club by reading A Shot of Red and emailing me your short reviews to We’ll include some of them in an upcoming issue. Read a brief excerpt from A Shot of Red below.


ia? Gio’s heart skidded to a stop, then took off twice as fast. Mia had come back from Haiti? Because of Brent’s death, the early vaccine launch, or both? Whatever the reason, she was back. Maybe now he’d finally get answers to all the questions he’d been guessing at for months. The space in the large room seemed to tighten, and Gio needed some air. He opened one of the massive French



doors, stepped out onto the colonnaded portico, and inhaled deeply. At the edge of the rotunda, he stopped. He shoved his hands in his pockets and gazed at the view, a chilly breeze blowing open his suit jacket. From A Shot of Red by Tracy March, Entangled Publishing 2013, Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.

PERFECTION COMES AT A PRICE. “For fans of Keira Cass’s Selection series and Lauren DeStefano’s Chemical Garden series, Perfected is a chilling look at what it means to be human, and a stunning celebration of the power of love to set us free, wrapped in a glamorous— and dangerous—bow.”

On Sale Everywhere July 1





Two travelers uncove treasure, but their r could awaken muc

ISBN: 978-0615836515 The Spoil of Zanuth-Karun by Jennifer Bresnick Aenetlif Press |

Legend claims that bloodthirsty treasure behind after his death. harbingers of this treasure: ring on St. George’s Eve. The woodc has kept weaker souls away and

Ben Florand and Manda Murro spring break. On the second da come upon a young girl lying a and she claims to have seen the to abandon the tour and enlist effort to discover the hidden tre

Jennifer Bresnick won the inaugural Shelf Unbound Writing While Ben and Manda hope to mind. Although their initial sea Competition for Best Independently Published Book with her debut begins to realize they are on mu the woodcut is capable of m novel The Last Death of Tev Chrisini, with our judges citing her that long-dead prince back from the “assured, literary tale-spinning.” Bresnick’s next offering, The Spoil of Jacqueline Courtyard Zanuth-Karun, is a prequel that is every bit as engaging. Here’s a brief Ezrah’s Pla October o excerpt from the prologue.

Chester, N


ime meant nothing to Serdaro. A day, a year, an age: they all blended seamlessly into the shadowy darkness, the long grasses of the field where he barely existed bending and waving in a breeze he couldn’t feel. There was nothing to do but think, and dream, and wait — and regret. If he focused his mind’s eye and concentrated, sometimes he could catch glimpses of the world outside his prison, where men and women laughed, lived, fought, and died in flashes of

bright, familiar warmth that only caused him pain. It seemed like an eternity, as the little trials of humanity played themselves out around him, half seen and unfelt as they rippled like the current of a deep, nameless river around him as he stood there, cut off from his kin. It would be an eternity more. From The Spoil of Zanuth-Karun by Jennifer Bresnick, Aenetlif Press,, Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.

Learn more about Bowker at Self 36


Two travelers uncover the legend of Prince Dracula’s treasure, but their rever the legend of Prince Dracula’s search into the Romanian past could researchawaken into the Romanian pastjust royal riches. much more than

ch more than just royal riches.

Legend claims that bloodthirsty Romanian prince Vlad “Dracula” left a treasure y Romanian prince Vlad “Dracula” left a A fifteenth-century woodcut reveals the behind after his death. A fifteenth-century gs of blue flame that rise from the ground only woodcut reveals the harbingers of this cut is also believed to harbor an evil curse that treasure: rings of blue flame that rise from d the treasure as yet uncovered. the ground only on St. George’s Eve. The ow are on woodcut holiday in Romania theirto harbor an evil is also during believed ay of the Dracula Tour through Bucharest, they curse that has kept weaker souls away and at the edge the forest. Her name is Gina Marin, theoftreasure asand yetManda uncovered. e blue flames legend. Ben decide

the help of local librarian Dinu Varmas in an easure. Ben Florand and Manda Murrow are on

holiday in Romania during their spring

o uncover history, Varmas has something else in Onpositive the second of the Dracula arch seemsbreak. to produce results, day the team uch more than a treasureBucharest, hunt. It is possible Tourjust through they come upon more thanarevealing it might bring a of the forest. young treasure; girl lying at the edge e dead.

Jacqueline Mahan

Her name is Gina Marin, and she claims bluebooks, flames e Mahan isto thehave author seen of two the children’s The of legend. d Duck and Ben The Courage of Violet Hue. Her fi rst and Manda decide tonovel, abandon the ateau: Legend of the Cemetery Witch, was published in tour and enlist the help of librarian of 2011. She is an artist and educator and resides local in New York. Dinu Varmus in an effort to discover the hidden treasure.

While Ben and Manda hope to uncover history, Varmas has something else in $XX.XX mind. US Although their initial search seems to produce positive results, the team begins to realize they are on much more than just a treasure hunt. It is possible that the woodcut is capable of more than revealing treasure; it might bring a longdead prince back from the dead.

Jacqueline “It must be challengingMahan to come up with Author of Th e Courtyard Duck, Th e VioletMahan Hue, a newandtwist on the DraculaCourage story.ofMs. Ezrah’s Plateau: Legend of the Cemetery Witch has done it…a pleasant surprise from a generous talent.” “This plot was different from any other I have read…original…” “I would recommend it as a vacation book and, of course, to anyone who loves to read about Vlad Tepes…”


Author of The Courtyard Duck, The Courage of Violet Hue, and Ezrah’s Plateau: Legend of the Cemetery Witch

novel thinking

An interview with

Win Charles Author of I, Win and The View from My Heels Shelf Unbound: Your first book, I, Win, is an autobiography about living with Cerebral Palsy. Your new novel’s main character has CP. Did fiction give you more freedom in writing about the challenges of disability? Win Charles: I do feel that fiction gave me more freedom to express my true feelings. I had gotten tired of writing about my own experiences with cerebral palsy and felt like I needed a new avenue of release. Plus I wanted to have a vehicle to reach teens. Shelf Unbound: Both of your books are inspirational for people facing any challenges. As a writer, what do you hope your books deliver to the reader? Charles: That they can accomplish any dreams they set their minds to. Shelf Unbound: What book can we expect next from you? Charles: Because I use Apple’s Siri for dictation, it usually takes me about a year from concept to full finished manuscript. Then I send it to editors that make it absolutely fantastic. I have two manuscripts already in the works, and I’ve also contributed to another book.

Learn more at 38



A novel about love and courage, sin and redemption. “Set against the vividly rendered backdrop of professional boxing, Pete Delohery’s hard-bitten yet generous spirited novel focuses on three men at a crossroad in their lives. A moving portrait is created of the men, each damaged by a brutal world, who flee from prsonal demons toward the only



imperfect redemption available to

S l au g h t e R

them, victory in a fight.” “Pete Delohery’s boxing saga Lamb to the Slaughter is a highlight of the self-publishing revolution.” —Shelf Unbound publisher Margaret Brown

ALSO available in Spanish: El cordero al matadero 

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



photo essay american dreams Goff Books

Future American President: 50 States, 100 Families, Infinite Dreams

by Matthew Jordan Smith The idea of Future American President was born in 2007/2008 from a book I worked on during that time. The book project was called Joy 44, but died in 2008 when the economy fell apart and publishers ran for cover. In that book I had a special section of three children as future Presidents. I also wanted to inspire my 5-year-old step-son in a way that would have a lasting impression on him throughout his life. Joy 44 was a failure but the photograph I took of my stepson, Jayden, still hung on his wall and he would always make comments about it. 40


In January 2012 I decided to revisit the idea but make my special section the theme of the entire book. My stepson was now 8 years old and he became the first person I photographed and interviewed for the book. At first I wasn’t sure if it was possible to travel to every state in America, but I knew the most important thing was to start, even if you can’t figure out how to finish. I started out on faith and a strong belief that anything is possible if you simply believe. The hard part wouldn’t be the traveling to every state in America -- the hard part would be walking up to strangers and asking parents if I can photograph their children. However, that’s exactly what I did. UNBOUND



ith a project like this it’s hard to select one favorite picture, but I do have an image that really stands out in my mind. It’s of the little boy in Monument Valley. It was very important to me to include children from as many different backgrounds as possible. I was looking to photograph a Native American child and wanted to find a child in Monument Valley, but I first needed permission from the tribal leaders. I arranged a meeting to plead my case. The morning of my meeting, I walked in and asked one simple question. How proud would you be to see a child from this area grow up to become the President of the United States? The tribal leaders understood right away and gave me permission and their blessings. It was a magical moment to see the affect that one question had and it spoke to the idea and possibility of this project.



I knew parents would have reservations, so I brought my first two books along with me to show my background. My first book was Sepia Dreams, published by St. Martins Press in 2001, and the second book was Lost and Found, sponsored by Microsoft and endorsed by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Doing a book like this is a huge undertaking and can’t be done alone, so my wife became my travel partner, producer, advisor and much more. We started out driving all over the West Coast since we are based in California. We decided to do the project in separate trips, two weeks at a time. I was self-funding the project the first year, so we had to be smart and use our time wisely. The second year, we ran a Kickstarter campaign to complete the remaining states and Future American President came to life. —Matthew Jordan Smith UNBOUND


photo essay american dreams Powerhouse Books

hoop the american dream

by Robin Layton about 10 years ago, a friend and I used to send each other cards of photos we took as a way to keep in touch. One year, he sent me about five different cards he shot, all of different hoops. For years after, I told him that he should do a book, cards, calendars, etc., but he had no interest in doing so. Then I saw a hoop in the snow while out shooting another assignment and decided to take a photo of it. I was hooked. I immediately called my friend and asked if he still had any interest in doing a book and would he mind if I did it.  He said, “Go for it! Show me how it’s done!” 44


When I returned home, I called another one of my best friends and said, “i’m about to ask you a crazy idea. How would you like to drive across the country for about four weeks with me, looking for unique basketball hoops and childhood hoops of some of the most revered players of our time?” She answered, “I might be able to go for two weeks.” Her husband—who was listening in the background and is a huge basketball fan and extremely knowledgeable about the game—yelled out, “Go for the whole time!”   So we flew to New York, rented a van, and started our journey; zigzagging across this beautiful country of ours. The photos in my book show altars upon which players and coaches laid their dreams, honed their skills and made a first splash in the game. The photos illuminate their often-lowly origins and the rugged hours they spent making their dreams come true. Basketball is the only game invented in America that we actually have the docuUNBOUND



have so many favorite photos in the book, but if I have to pick one, it would be the one that looks like an American flag.  It was hanging on the side of a garage in Crow Agency Indian Reservation, Crow Agency, Montana. My mouth dropped open as we passed it driving through back roads of a neighborhood. We got out of the van and all I could remember is praying that the owners were home, as we needed releases from every hoop that would be published in the book. After a couple of barking dogs almost scared us away, the owners answered the door. When we explained to the husband and wife what we were doing and asked to photograph their hoop, they were thrilled.  They explained that their sons made it when they were younger, the paint had faded and some of the white plastic stars had been broken. To me, nothing said Americana more than that hoop.



mentation of. I had the honor of photographing the original rules of 1891 that just sold for approximately $4.3 million; the photos became the end sheets of the book. we are so fortunate that we live in a country that allows us the freedom to follow our dreams. If you have an idea/dream and believe in yourself and that dream, it can come true. It will take hard work, perseverance, and patience, but you can do it. —Robin Layton UNBOUND


photo essay american dreams Michael Wiese Productions

Migration: Lost and Found in America

by Donald McCrea Migration explores America through music and photography. We start in New Orleans and The Delta, wander around the South; then head west and into the Old West, and wind up in Los Angeles. I’ve spent my life rambling around America...thumbing twice across the country as a teenager, then touring for 20 years in bands, followed by making cross-country photo expeditions in my van in search of the everelusive iconic image. It’s a long and winding road. 48


“Migration/Lost and Found in America” front cover w/ King of the Fins ©2014 Donald McCrea

My father, J. William Kennedy, was an American Scene painter before he evolved into an Abstract Expressionist. He would paint with classical music cranked up and rattling the windows. I seem to be the opposite, as I construct songs as if they are screenplays, trying to paint a picture with a beat to it. Having also spent most of my life as a professional photographer, Migration was born out of my desire to merge the visuals with these soundscapes and take everyone on a cross-country trip. Repent ©2014 Mark Indig, Amadeo Sandoval’s Kitchen and Bedroom ©2014 Alex Harris, Closed Due to Tummy-Ache ©2014 Susana Raab



Donald McCrea has recently added video and music to the Migration experience. Click on these videos to sample the scenes and tunes; the album Migration is available on iTunes:



In the quest to mix and match various classic American musical genres and forge new forms, I needed to expand the palette. So I put together a four-piece horn section and a three-piece string section. Alas, the string section was the first thing to jettison, as I soon realized that this Spruce Goose would never get off the ground with so many players aboard. Out of the music emerged the photography book. By networking with photographers who have made documenting America their life’s work, I rounded up images that would flow together and get us from coast to coast. Migration attempts to document the American Dream through the evolution of our culture. This melting pot has taken the best elements of the world’s art forms and made some cool new stuff out of it: blues, jazz, rock, folk, country, hip-hop music … Hollywood films, baseball, drag racing, rodeos – you name it. It’s quite the three-ring circus and I’m proud to be a part of it. My humble contributions include four shots of the barn that used to be part of the old ranch where I live, just north of San Francisco. The barn was known as the “Sack House” as it had housed a burlap bag business for 70 years. —Donald McCrea Highway #1 ©2014 Edward Burtynsky



photo essay american dreams Lyons Press

portraits of the american craftsman by Tadd Myers the project began from a couple of assignments in the summer of 2008 where we photographed a saddle maker in Fort Worth and Brent Hull of Hull Historical Millworks in Fort Worth as well. After photographing Brent Hull and his company crafting beautiful moldings for residential and commercial clients all over the country, I was curious as to what other companies are still handcrafting beautiful products here in America. So we started researching it and photographed five additional companies/craftsman over 52


that summer. Over the next five years we continued to photograph different companies and individuals as we moved around the country on various commercial assignments. My producer at the time and I worked hard to keep the companies diverse as far as what they produce, the material that they produce it out of (i.e., leather, wood, metal, etc.), and their geographic location. There are 30 companies featured in the book and 17 states represented.  When someone says to me “American Dream” I think of the ability of a person to start a company, work hard, and realize their dream of creating something unique and selling it. the many individuals in the book use their talents to create a truly unique item that is not just art, but is useful as well. I often say they create “functional art.” I always wanted the UNBOUND



ut of the over 300 images in the book my favorites are probably from the carousel maker in Ohio. Carousel Works in Mansfield, OH, was very interesting to me because of the uniqueness of what they create. Also, the scale of the animals gives them an interest that is very different from the other companies featured. Another interesting fact about Carousel Works is that they craft and engineer every piece that goes into their carousels. Â



book to be about this idea as well as about beautiful photography. In my introduction of the book I discuss how these individuals have recognized the importance of “success” in ways outside of their financial success: “the most valuable lesson was that money is but one sliver of what motivates these craftsmen. They have made many conscious decisions in their lives in order to reach their destination. It is these decisions that afford them many less-tangible benefits, such as being their own bosses, creating their own schedules, and being more in control of their own futures. They have found that this type of work contributes to their quality of life, creates a personal legacy, and provides a sense of accomplishment in a much more fulfilling way. They have also realized that if they put a piece of themselves into what they create, part of it stays in the work and yet another very important part continues to live inside themselves.” —Tadd Myers UNBOUND


BOOK SHELF Other Side of the Wormhole by Celia Mai


idnapped or arrested? It all depends on your point of view. For the bounty hunter, it’s a good collar. For Daphne Morrow, it’s a disaster. She’s transported across dimensions and dragged into court to stand trial for another’s crimes. She swears they’ve got it wrong. And prison is the least of her worries. How is she to survive in a world full of magic, when she has none?

Available at Amazon. Protecting Lyndley (U.S. Marshal Series Book 1) by Amanda Bennett

Earth Sentinels: The Storm Creators by Shaman Elizabeth Herrera “Riveting! A must read!”


haman Elizabeth Herrera’s personal experiences deeply influenced this poignant adventure featuring a group of shamans, a fallen angel and indigenous peoples who use supernatural powers to save the planet from mankind’s greed, corruption and indifference. Inspired by current events, Earth Sentinels leads you through the world’s most pressing issues, offering amazing insights while instilling hope. Available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Quackers Wants to Fly by Susan Wolff


y name is Lyndley, or Sarah, depending on who you ask. My once amazing dream of a life had all been taken away from me one tragic night. Now I was trapped in a never-ending nightmare and living a life that was no longer my own. At least I wasn’t completely alone, but Ky Wakely was the kind of man that made you wish you were.

his is one of those stories that little ones will ask for again and again. Loveable Quackers wants something all young children want, “to be like the big guys.” With help from his Friends at the Pond, Quackers finds a way to be patient just long enough for his wish to come true. Parents and grandparents will want to add this title to their collection of favorite bedtime stories. Available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Kobo.

Available at Amazon.


BOOK SHELF Counting Coup, The Odyssey of Captain Tom Adams by Bob Stockton



Amazon Top 100 Author

TAG Publishers 2012 Next Great American Novel.

by George A. Bernstein,

any stories of Kit Carson’s bravery in the early western frontier years, often wildly exaggerated, filled the eastern bookshelves of Carson’s day. In Bob Stockton’s exciting new novel Counting Coup, The Odyssey Of Captain Tom Adams, the author retraces the life and legend of Christopher “Kit” Carson and comes up with outstanding fiction of the historical Old West.

surgical accident leaves Jackee Maren totally paralyzed, able to move only her eyes. Her physical therapist teaches her to “talk” by blinking. Then she begins sensing others’ thoughts, and learns her accident was no accident. Seeking retribution, Jackee embarks on a psychic plan of revenge on her would-be murderer, but she must hurry, with only months left to live. Over fifty 5* & 4* reviews on Amazon.

Autographed copies available at Available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and

20 Autographed 1st Edition soft covers available at 25% off, at: Available at Amazon, Nook, and Smashwords.

Poe: Rest in Peace by Rachel M. Martens


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


Keepers of the Fields by Ross Hostetter Join us for a Spiritual Adventure and meet your soul friend at the Free Summer Book Club reading the award-winning novel that calls to the spark of the Divine within us all. Starting Online Tuesday, July 8 Wilderness Adventure + Coming of Age + The Hero’s Journey + Mystical Experience + Connection to the Creative Power of the Divine Feminine Available at Amazon.




ROM THE ASHES OF the Great War of 1914-1918 arose a brotherhood of the air made of intrepid flyers in delicate machines who braved the odds and the skies. Between Germany and America there arose two different ideas of air power, and what it might mean to fight and win wars in the air, and how peace might be preserved. From these ideas arose the new breed of air warriors: flyers of bombers that devastated cities, and flyers of fighters that tried to stop them. Still the odds and the laws of physics were against both. But still there was the brotherhood of the air, the kinship between flyers that united them against outsiders. This is the story of two such men caught up in the First Bomber War; a war not of their making, but theirs to fight, and to survive if they could.

John D. Beatty, author of The Devil’s Own Day and What Were They Thinking: A Fresh Look at Japan at War 1941-45 is a professional writer with more than forty years’ experience in military science and in industry. He retired from the US Army Reserve after 27 years of service. He holds both BA and MA degrees in military history, and specializes in the middle period (1860-1960) of American military history. He lives and works in Wisconsin.

Cover images: © (B17); FW 190 courtesy USAAF [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Available at Amazon. How to Abolish Child Sexual Abuse by Steve A. Mizera


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


aul Kolbe is anything but a perfect hero. He’s in dire need of a liver transplant and his friends are his bartender, two ladies, and the ghost of long-dead Triple Crown winner Joe Fisher. But just when Paul seems destined for failure, he gets the opportunity of a lifetime. Can he overcome his issues, or will he miss his only shot at one last hurrah?


One Last Hurrah by Patrick G. McLean

Crop Duster: A Novel of World War II by John D. Beatty


rom the ashes of JOHN D. BEATTY WWI arose the new breed of air warriors: flyers of bombers and flyers of fighters. This is the story of two men caught up in this Bomber War of WWII; a war not of their making, but theirs to fight, and to survive if they could. From the author of The Devil’s Own Day.

Available at Booklocker.


Promote your book in Shelf Unbound in our Special Advertising Section for Authors. Each issue of Shelf Unbound is distributed to more than 125,000 people in the U.S. and 62 countries around the globe. Our introductory ad rate for this section is $375/quarter page as seen here. Contact publisher Margaret Brown to reserve your space. 214.704.4182.

BOOK SHELF Avoiding the Dodgeballs ... At Work: A Young Woman’s Guide to Succeeding at a First Job by E. Marie


s you climb up the ladder, watch out for the dodgeballs! Dodgeballs are hard-hitting, nerveracking, and sometimes lifechanging events that can

occur on the job. Here’s a guide for entry-level women employees or supervisors on how to duck, dip or dive to avoid dodgeballs. Straight-to-the-point advice—with a touch of humor—on how to handle potential workrelated drama…along with some helpful tips on how to smoothly move up the ladder. Available May 2014 on Amazon in Kindle and paperback.

The Esoteric Design written and illustrated by A. R. Crebs


hen elite soldiers, Aria and Troy, stumble across violent creatures at a destroyed military base, they quickly discover fighting against humans is one thing, fighting against monsters is a whole different challenge. Can humanity save itself, or will their fate rely on the sole survivor of the ancient Sorcēarian race? The Esoteric Design is a sci-fi/fantasy novel coupled with illustrations. FACEBOOK LINK Available at Amazon and CreateSpace.

Dancing in the Dark by Bob Strauss


novel of love, loss, and redemption taking you on an emotional roller coaster that will bring laughter, heartbreak, and finally make you want to cheer.

“This journey of the spirit, involving both the loss of love and the gift of love, takes one on an exploration of human motivation...” —Foreword Reviews “Hilarious dating and sex scenes...” —Kirkus Reviews YOUTUBE VIDEOS Available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Ruby Silver by Randall Reneau


eologist Trace Brandon is cashed-up and looking for a new venture. This time the quarry is the silver-rich ore of the old Ruby Mining District. And this time he’ll not only have the Pantelli crime family to deal with, but also lumberman Autry Ollinger— three hundred pounds of obnoxiousness whose preferred method of negotiation is a right hook. Available at Amazon.

BOOK SHELF The Age of Divinity by B. William Ball

... clear and straightforward notion of God’s love and lack of judgment is reflected in The Age of Divinity. ... the facts that we learn greatly enhance our lives; the truth that we learn teaches us how to live our lives,” and that’s where personal ethics and spiritual development can grow.  Here’s a vision of heaven readers can work toward, and attain, while still living, set on an foundation of belief in a loving God” —BlueInk Review For more information, search The Age of Divinity Available at Amazon.


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.

The Xidoran Prophecy by Elaine Bassett


harles discovers his grandparents have a secret. They belong to an elite society of time travelers. Over the summer, they teach him to Sojourn. He travels to other worlds and learns that he is destined for greatness. This story “succeeds in creating a place that is unlike those found in other stories… Imaginative in its construction of a fantastical world.” —Kirkus Reviews, December 2013 Available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and the iBookstore. Joshua 1:9 by Kevin C. Martin


elease the struggle between fear and bravery. It is time to be strong, it is time to be courageous, it is time to be brave. Take the leap of faith, of hope, of love. Joshua 1:9: The first collection of inspirational poetry by Kevin C. Martin. Available now at Thank you sincerely. May God bless you always! 

Contact publisher Margaret Brown to reserve your space. 214.704.4182.

FACEBOOK LINK Available at

BOOK SHELF The Vampire Girl Next Door by Richard Arbib


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

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

Ripping the Veil by Jan Smolders

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medical mafia. “Sex, money and politics drive this thriller about a corrupt network designed to exploit wealthy AIDS patients in the Dominican Republic. The thriller’s plot delivers. The story is fast-paced, engaging and complex enough to keep readers guessing who the real bad guys are. Lots of action, an international cast of characters and a socially conscious theme make this book a good beach read.” —Kirkus Review Available at Amazon.

Lines Along the Wall: The Beginning by Dave Moore


plane crash survivor, former alcoholic and sufferer of post-traumatic stress disorder, Dave Moore is sharing his story of tragedy and triumph in his book, Lines Along the Wall. According to Tom Riddell, of The Writers’ Lounge, “Lines Along the Wall: The Beginning is a true story of perseverance, bringing home the message of ‘never give up.’” FACEBOOK LINK Available in paperback and Kindle at Amazon.


Promote your book in Shelf Unbound in our Special Advertising Section for Authors. Each issue of Shelf Unbound is distributed to more than 125,000 people in the U.S. and 62 countries around the globe. Our introductory ad rate for this section is $375/quarter page as seen here. Contact publisher Margaret Brown to reserve your space. 214.704.4182.



Promote your book in Shelf Unbound in our Special Advertising Section for Authors. Each issue of Shelf Unbound is distributed to more than 125,000 people in the U.S. and 62 countries around the globe. Our introductory ad rate for this section is $375/quarter page as seen here. Contact publisher Margaret Brown to reserve your space. 214.704.4182.

I Take Thee, Angela: A Life in Poetry by Guglielmo


his poetry is not the classic poetry of a Longfellow or Dickinson, rather, the feelings of a man that knows only one way to process his grief... putting them into words. Heartbroken...angry at cancer, his wonderful wife taken from him in a painful way.  This is a hard book to read, but is well worth the time and effort to read it.

Available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Xlibris.

On the Edge of Wishing By Danette Key YA Fiction


n this warm-hearted journey in finding gratitude, Peter and his star soccer player, Mary Ellen, find themselves mixed up in a strange phenomenon that challenges everything they knew to be true about life! As they both approach this anomaly in their own way; they are “on the edge of wishing” for a second chance to make up for past mistakes. Available at Amazon. The Seventh Treasure by Len Camarda


his thriller follows the travails of Secret Service agent Gene Cerone, who travels to Spain to investigate the mysterious circumstances surrounding his sister’s death. Teaming up with Lieutenant Mercedes Garcia of the National Police Force, their investigation unwittingly uncovers an unfathomable conspiracy that dates back to the time the Moors surrendered their kingdom in Granada in 1492. All royalties donated to The Wounded Warrior’s Project and the Hilton Head Humane Association. Available as e-book, soft and hard cover at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and AuthorHouse.

BOOK SHELF Laura Denfer by Anne-Marie Bernard


aura Denfer, who is half Korean and half French, has been incarcerated for almost two years in a North Korean prison, where she has endured unspeakable tortures. When British Marines storm the prison and free her, she finds that she is still not in control of her own destiny. “Brutal, erotic, and breakneck paced, Laura Denfer is a dark little gem of a novel.” —BlueInk Review Available at Amazon. A Call to Prayer by M. Jules Bevans


One Tear at a Time by Andrea Reid


his book shares the life of a mother holding on to hope for her autistic twin sons. With life trials and tribulations she prepared to give up. As society offered little support, she reached deep within herself for strength to carry on. She’s a mom of autistic twins whose hands are full, but if you think her hands are full, you should see her heart. Available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble. For Whom the Shofar Blows by Marvin J. Wolf

icin, unmanned drones, Al Qaeda operatives and suicide bombers are distilled into the pages of this character-driven spy thriller. Based on the modern war on terror, yet set in the ancient backdrops of Istanbul, Athens and Cairo, and following an unlikely protagonist—an English teacher—who is thrust into the company of CIA spooks and jihadists, this tale is a kinetic page turner.

ntroducing Rabbi Ben, master of Torah, Talmud and Taekwondo. Hired to find mysterious millions washed through a school’s bank account, Ben soon finds himself digging by moonlight in a strange cemetery while its murderous management plots to bury him alive. A fast-paced thriller that’s hard to put down—you don’t have to be Jewish to love Rabbi Ben.

Available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Xlibris.

Available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Kobo Books.


BOOK SHELF Degrees of Courage by Shari Vester


he book traces a Hungarian family through three generations, linking their lives to the everchanging historical events of the country through the troubled 20th century. The focus is on the courage of the women in the family when confronted with problems beyond individual control, be it the Great War, WWII, or a bloody revolt against the terror-driven Communist regime. Available in print and Kindle at Amazon and in print at Barnes and Noble. The Estrogen Chronicles Circle of Friends by Cynthia Kumanchik


Promote your book in Shelf Unbound in our Special Advertising Section for Authors. Each issue of Shelf Unbound is distributed to more than 125,000 people in the U.S. and 62 countries around the globe. Our introductory ad rate for this section is $375/quarter page as seen here. Contact publisher Margaret Brown to reserve your space. 214.704.4182.

Holes in My Shoes by Alice Breon


t the heart of the story is Lucinda, who moves to Sierra to escape her troubled past, but now struggles with her sick daughter, the return of her ex-husband and increasing hospital demands. The Estrogen Chronicles, Circle of Friends, a novel of friendship, love, courage, and compassion, gives an inside view of the inner workings of hospital operations under desperate times.

oles in My Shoes is a heart-warming story of one family’s experiences during the Great Depression that reveals the resilience of the human spirit. Hope, faith and humor were ever-present as families shared all that they had and fed homeless people at their doorsteps. Breon’s collection of personal childhood experiences embodies the power of love, family and friendship Published by BookBaby, the book is available at the Flintridge Bookstore & Coffeehouse in Pasadena and on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble online and in stores, and Xlibris.



life & times of persimmon wilson the

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

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


Two-Lane Blacktop “It’s best to keep a hunger on.” The Mechanic by Ernest Loesser Tailspins and mid-air collisions spread a special texture across the windshield — a flickering grit to the silence of uncombed pastures that will not show themselves until the morning. No thoughts when high beams catch four dark limbs moving in a horsey cadence towards the far shoulder. I do not break or breath; there is nothing in the rearview mirror. We are racing tonight, alone running beneath a sallow moon suspended by a fishing line.

From Road Film by Ernest Loesser, Emergency Press, Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.




Becoming a Man by Jennica Harper Father hopes I will become a realboy because realboys become men. Good men take over the family business or learn a new trade, bringing in goldpieces for their families. Money’s good. Money’s traded for food, money keeps the rain out. I’ve tried to carve wood. Father showed me the schwick! of the knife, but I’m scared of the knife, and to me the wood looked fine as it was.

From Wood by Jennica Harper, Anvil Press, anvilpress. com. Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.



on our shelf





s an asteroid hurtles toward Earth, Detective Hank Palace tries to maintain law and order. When a corpse turns up in a public restroom, he’s off on an investigation that pits him against survivalists, corrupt opportunists, and a wide range of conspiracy theories. Yet the real mystery at the heart of The Last Policeman is existential: What’s the point solving murders—or even being good—when the end is near? —Marc Schuster The Last Policeman by Ben H. Winters, Quirk Books, 68


wrote ‘I love you’ a thousand times on the walls, but you were too deep in a romance novel to notice I wanted to be more than roommates.” Or: “It was the moment that changed Sam’s life. Mary said yes to prom. It led to kissing, marriage, two kids, divorce, alimony, and loneliness.” Originally composed on Twitter, these stories demonstrate that entire worlds can dwell in the space of 140 characters. —Marc Schuster Very Short Stories: 300 Bite-Size Works of Fiction by Sean Hill, Ulysses Press,



don’t want to jump out any window. I just want to breathe something that makes me feel like living. They pump the air in here out of machines. It stinks like PlayDoh. Open a window, please – I won’t jump – I’m not a suicide patient. I just don’t eat.” So begins Paula Bomer’s collection of short stories, and every sentence that follows is as much a gem as these. Highly recommended. —Margaret Brown Inside Madeleine: Stories by Paula Bomer, Soho Press,



ubslush is a global crowdfunding and analytics platform for the literary world. Our niche platform allows authors to raise money and gauge audience response for new book ideas while readers pledge their financial support, democratically bringing books to life. By offering publishers and industry professionals their own unique pages, Pubslush gives these innovators the power of customized crowdfunding. Pubslush’s highly-rated personalized service and focus on user education helps to ensure our authors are as successful as possible. Our community bridges the gap between writers, readers and industry leaders, facilitating a more open and comprehensive publishing process. While our philanthropic cause,  The Pubslush Foundation  serves to aid in the fight against illiteracy by providing books to children with limited access to literature.

small press reviews Shoplandia by Jim Breslin


Oermead Press

ith a tone and style reminiscent of George Saunders and situations that would feel right at home in a Don DeLillo novel, the stories collected in Jim Breslin’s Shoplandia offer an engaging and informed behind-the-scenes look at the home shopping industry. Drawing on 17 years of experience as a producer at QVC, Breslin gives readers an intimate view of everything that goes into producing a live television broadcast day in and day out, and he excels at bringing the lives behind the endeavor to life. Indeed, while the stories in Shoplandia are all ostensibly about home shopping, they’re also about humanity’s search for meaning in a consumer-driven world that’s more interested in appearances than substance. Many of Breslin’s characters are jaded with respect to their jobs, but they still go about them with workmanlike dignity. The sense is that if they believe in the work they do, the viewers at home will buy into the illusion that what Shoplandia has to offer will make a difference in their lives. Ultimately, however, it’s the author’s talent for using intimate portraits of his characters to interrogate contemporary values that makes Shoplandia so engaging. As in life, meaning emerges—often unexpectedly—in the minutia of the little picture even as the chaos of the big picture threatens to overwhelm Breslin’s characters with its apparent emptiness. To put it another way, Shoplandia insists that there’s a point to it all, even if it’s a different point than the one we’ve been sold. —Marc Schuster, Shelf Unbound Contributing Editor Marc Schuster is the author of The Grievers, The Singular Exploits of Wonder Mom and Party Girl, Don DeLillo, Jean Baudrillard, and the Consumer Conundrum, and, with Tom Powers, The Greatest Show in the Galaxy: The Discerning Fan’s Guide to Doctor Who. He is the editor of Small Press Reviews, and his work has appeared in numerous magazines and journals. Marc teaches writing and literature courses at Montgomery County Community College in Blue Bell, Pennsylvania.



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

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

serious reviews of self-published books


Because on top of those old wood and cement grain silos, we found narrow places to lie on our backs and stare at the stars, to drink beer, to talk big, to dream. —from Shotgun Lovesongs by Nickolas Butler



june/july WIN CHARLES was born in 1987 in Aspen, Colorado, where she still lives. She is a self-taught artist who became interested in art as a way to cope with cerebral palsy. The medium she uses most often is digital art. She has written an autobiography and most recently her debut novel. TOD DAVIES is the author of Jam Today: A Diary of Cooking With What You’ve Got, and Snotty Saves the Day: The History of Arcadia. Her attitude toward literature is the same as her attitude toward cooking—it’s all about working with what you have to find new ways of looking and new ways of being, and in doing so, to rediscover the best of our humanity and work toward a better world. Davies lives with her husband Alex, and her two dogs, in the alpine valley of Colestin, Oregon. JENNICA HARPER is the author of Wood (Anvil Press, 2013). Her previous book of poetry, What It Feels Like for a Girl, was published as an e-book for Kindle and Kobo, and was adapted into one-third of the critically acclaimed theatrical experience Initiation Trilogy at the Vancouver International Writers Festival. Her poems have been awarded a Silver National Magazine Award, and have been twice selected for the Poetry in Transit project. Jennica lives in Vancouver, where she also writes for film and television. ROBIN LAYTON is an artist and filmmaker and has been a photojournalist for the past 25 years. She is also a Nikon Ambassador. At age 24, she was named one of the eight most talented photographers in America by LIFE magazine. Her documentary images have been featured by the Smithsonian and nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. After an awardwinning career in newspapers, including key positions with The Virginian-Pilot and the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Robin embarked on a freelance career that has taken her on documentary assignments around the world—photographing everything from street people to presidents. She is the co-author and photographer of A Letter to My Dog: Notes to Our Best Friends (Chronicle, 2012). ERNEST LOESSER is the author of Touched by Lightning, a collection of obituaries, news reports, and other prose poems. He earned his B.A. in Journalism at NYU and an M.A. in English at Texas A&M University. He lives in Wisconsin.


DONALD MCCREA has been a working musician and songwriter for the past fifty years. He has also been a professional photographer for three decades, serving as a staff photographer for film directors, as well as shooting fashion, architectural, and product photography. His work has been published in: Rolling Stone, American Cinematographer, Photographic, and the French edition of Photo. TADD MYERS is an award-winning photographer who specializes in advertising, corporate, and editorial projects. Tadd Myers Photography’s clients include advertising agencies such as The Richards Group, Tribal DDB, TM Advertising, and companies such as MD Anderson, Dr. Pepper, American Airlines, Titleist, Apple, Harvard University, Verizon and Frito Lay, among others. MICHAEL PIAFSKY is the director of creative writing at Spring Hill College in Alabama and a former editor of the Missouri Review. All the Happiness You Deserve is his first novel. ELENI SIKELIANOS is the author of six books of poetry, most recently The Loving Detail of the Living and the Dead, as well as a hybrid memoir, The Book of Jon. Sikelianos directs the creative writing program at the University of Denver. MATTHEW JORDAN SMITH has worked with some of the top names in entertainment today and many international clients have used his artistry to showcase their vision. He has appeared as guest photographer and surprise judge on the hit TV show America’s Next Top Model numerous times and has appeared on The View, Good Day New York, and BET. He counts among his many magazine interviews InStyle, Essence, Photo District News, Rangefinder, and Professional Photographer. An active volunteer with several art schools including Pratt Institute, Parsons School of Design, and RIT, as well as a board member of Kids with a Cause Europe and APA/LA, he lives in Los Angeles. Shelf Unbound is published bimonthly by Shelf Media Group LLC, 3322 Greenview Drive, Garland, TX 75044. Copyright 2014 by Shelf Media Group LLC. Subscriptions are FREE, go to to subscribe.

what to read next in independent publishing

Shelf Unbound June/July 2014  

Shelf Unbound book review magazine features the best of small press and independently published books. In this issue: Michael Piafsky, Eleni...

Shelf Unbound June/July 2014  

Shelf Unbound book review magazine features the best of small press and independently published books. In this issue: Michael Piafsky, Eleni...