Shelf Unbound June/July 2016

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what to read next in independent publishing

“1918” is a rigorously researched historical novel about the influenza pandemic that killed 100 million people…humanity’s worst natural disaster. The actual medical literature and terminology of the time are used to put the reader in the mind of an early 20th century physician.

Winner of the Independent Publishers of New England Book Award, and the Readers’ Favorite International Book Award.



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 Hayley Whitehead e d i to r i a l i n te r n

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Morgan Siem c on su l ta n t , soc i a l me d i a Kasia Piasecka so c i a l me d i a ma n a g e r 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: by Ryann Ford, from The Last Stop: Vanishing Rest Stops of the American Roadside, published by powerHouse Books.

what to read next in independent publishing




a note from the publisher


shelf media podcast


photo essay


dystopian fangirl




on our shelf


small press reviews


last words


Ball: Stories interview with Tara Ison


Dog Run Moon: Stories interview with Callan Wink


You Should Pity Us Instead: Stories interview with Amy Gustine


Reading John Cheever’s “The Swimmer” essay by Charles May


Short Story: “Tin Man” by Tom Lisowski


Short Story: “Man and Wife” by Katie Chase

Above Photography: (top) Serpentine Loop poems by Elee Kraljii Gardiner. (bottom) Pirate Talk or Mermalade by Terese Svoboda.

a memoir by

david black

FALLING OFF BROADWAY Falling off Broadway is a witty, entertaining memoir by Tony Award-winning producer David Black of his adventures on Broadway. “David Black is unabashed enough to own up to his life-lapses with a wry, dry humour. I enjoyed his show for the glimpses it gave of Broadway and one of its victims: himself.” —Benedict Nightingale, The Times, London

“A toast to Broadway! The

show’s humour revolves around the bombast both of Black’s successes and failures. Black is an amiable raconteur.

Stories are looped together like pearls on a superstar’s necklace.” —Evening Standard, London

“David Black draws in his audience with a lighthearted joie de vivre, like a Mr. Rogers with flair.” —Variety

“You couldn’t make this stuff up. Black is an

engaging performer ... a remarkable character ... he does it all with plenty of wit. The show is pure pleasure.” —Time Out, London

Lamb to the

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

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

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

a word from the




t was said that a new person had appeared on the sea-front: a lady with a little dog. Dmitri Dmitritch Gurov, who had by then been a fortnight at Yalta, and so was fairly at home there, had begun to take an interest in new arrivals. Sitting in Verney’s pavilion, he saw, walking on the sea-front, a fair-haired young lady of medium height, wearing a béret; a white Pomeranian dog was running behind her.” Thus opens Anton Chekov’s famed 1899 short story “The Lady with the Dog,” in which a Russian banker has an affair with a woman he meets while on vacation. Vladimir Nabokov praised it as “one of the greatest stories ever written,” and it is indeed a superb example of the depth and breadth of what can be accomplished by a skilled writer in just a handful of pages. You can read the entire text HERE. In this issue, we interview three contemporary short story writers. Of her stories of human depravity and cruelty, Tara Ison says, “I’m interested in our in-the-dark, undercover, not-for-public-display emotions, the messy, ugly, ignoble feelings we suppress, or tell ourselves we don’t feel, or chastise ourselves for: envy, hatred, resentment, bitterness, fear.” Callan Wink, the American West’s newest storyteller, says of living and writing in Montana: “Montana is full of outlaws, eccentrics and anti-socials. Good character material in other words.” And Amy Gustine, who writes of failed familiar love, says, “The conflicts from childhood follow us into adulthood like burrs caught in our hearts. All of that just keeps bringing me back, over and over.” You’re sure to find a new favorite short story among their works. Enjoy the issue. Margaret Brown publisher



Photograph: Debra Pandak

Literary fiction debut weaves elegant, exciting tale of friendship, love, and international intrigue. Remembrance of Blue Roses follows a man and a married couple in New York City, whose intricate relationship oscillates among friendship, love, love-triangle, and even obsession. Its romantic ambience is interwoven with classical music, opera, art, family legend, and international affairs. Readers’ Favorite book reviewer Tracy Slowiak proclaims, “Remembrance of Blue Roses is a stellar read by a new novelist. I was engaged from the very beginning and read obsessively to the end. … Readers who enjoy a sophisticated and wellwritten book about the complexity of human relationships will definitely enjoy Remembrance of Blue Roses.”

Now Available on

In the first Shelf Media Podcast, publisher

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

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



Kathryn Buckley Cowan

Caught in the swirling momentum of the early 1970’s unrest—the Vietnam war protests, the advent of feminism, birth control, and a culture that questions all authority, the naive Meredith Byrne becomes entangled in an illicit relationship from which she’s desperate to escape. When she meets the dazzling Robert Baird, she believes he’s her way out. One night, Robert shares a dangerous secret—one that makes Meredith doubt the wisdom of her attraction. But she chooses to bury these fears, and the pair jump into a marriage for which neither is prepared.

“A beautifully written tale of loss of innocence and life renewed...” —Jennifer Lee Carrell, Author of The Speckled Monster, Haunt Me Still, and Interred in Their Bones



“Tara Ison’s stories locate the pleasure in pain, the victory in betrayal, the beauty in depravity—they walk the line between love and debasement.” —Sarah Gerard, author of Binary Star



Ball: Stories by Tara Ison Soft Skull Press

Shelf Unbound: What’s the starting point for your stories, such as the title story in which a woman sets strict emotional boundaries with her boyfriend but not her dog? Tara Ison: First, I love how you’ve focused the core of the story, “Ball”— that’s exactly what I was trying to capture, a character who is so terrified of revealing any kind of vulnerability that she shuts down around people while investing her entire emotional life in her dog. (With horrible results, of course...) This story came about when I woke up in the middle of the night with the first two sentences in my head, and I couldn’t fall back asleep. So I finally got up, wrote them down, and then went back to bed—and in the morning was, well, a little disturbed by this beginning to a story. But I felt it immediately established a character whose emotional focus is off-kilter. And then the ending came to me, and I decided to write toward that. I was intrigued by how to get the character from that opening paragraph to the final one.

That “waking up in the middle of the night” experience had never happened before, and hasn’t since. But the starting point for my stories in general is a sentence, or sometimes an image, that I can’t shake. And then I want to know why that sentence or image has gotten under my skin, is disturbing me, and I have to write the story in order to find out. Shelf Unbound: These stories contain depravity and cruelty, much of it shocking. What interests you in exploring these themes? Ison: I’m interested in our in-thedark, undercover, not-for-publicdisplay emotions, the messy, ugly, ignoble feelings we suppress, or tell ourselves we don’t feel, or chastise ourselves for: envy, hatred, resentment, bitterness, fear. My characters think they know what they “need” in life, because they aren’t willing to take an honest look at what is driving them or why they behave or feel the way they do, and it’s my job as a writer to force them to a reckoning, to slowly increase the pressure until



there is a kind of psychological eruption—I call it the emotional aneurysm—that drives the character to one of those acts of depravity, or cruelty. I’m not looking to shock just for the sake of shocking—it’s too easy to use violence or explicit sexuality in a “shocking” way. I’m far more interested in the gradual building of inner tension the reader can identify with. I want to carry the reader along so when that “eruption” finally happens, the reader is shocked at herself, at her emotional complicity, as well as by the character. Even if the character’s actions are extreme, I think we can all identify, on some level, with the emotional pressures the character faces. And perhaps better understand ourselves ...? Shelf Unbound: In “Multiple Choice,” constructed as a series of multiple choice plot points, you ratchet up the creep factor bit by bit with Hitchcock-like stealth. How did you come up with this story format? Ison: Wow, “Hitchcock-like,” thank



you! When it comes to form, I’m not a very experimental writer—“Multiple Choice” is quite a departure for me. (“The Knitting Story” is the only other story in the collection that could be called experimental.) I’m always worried some kind of obvious structural device will feel imposed on the story, or gimmicky, that the story will become about its form, rather than about the authentic experience of a relatable character. But when the device is used to illuminate the emotional truth of a character, it feels earned—which is what I was aiming for here. In the relationship with an older, wealthy, powerful man, the young woman initially feels empowered, that she is the one making all the choices, the decisions about where their “story” will go. The man turns out to be a manipulative sociopath, which I hope is revealed to the reader at the same pace the character discovers this ... but by then it’s too late. She realizes the question of “choice,” or agency, has been an illusion—that she is an interchangeable “option” for this man, one of many. I

kenneth g. old & patty old west


OF WOZZLE “The Wizard of Wozzle is book one in a series of twelve detailing the ongoing battle between a wicked wizard and seven Twith (Little People only half-a-thumb high). Grizwold, a young boy in Cornwall, England grows up to be a master magician. Because his intentions are evil, he develops a twitchy eye. He can change himself into different animals or birds, but his twitchy eye always gives him away. The Little People can talk to the birds and animals and always tell the truth. The wizard, believing they have a cure for his twitchy eye, shrinks himself, conquers the village of Wozzle, and becomes the Wizard of Wozzle. Then he conquers the kingdom of Gyminge. Seven of the Little People escape on the back of an eagle with their precious Book of Lore that contains the cure for a twitch.” Available for purchase by Tate Publishing and Amazon.

began with that relationship dynamic, and the “multiple choice” form grew out of that—so I decided to take a chance with it, because I felt the story created the form, rather than my imposing the form on a story. Shelf Unbound: You wrote a nonfiction book, Reeling Through Life: How I Learned to Live, Love, and Die at the Movies. How has watching and studying movies influenced your writing style? Ison: I’ve always been a movie freak—and I worked as a screenwriter for seven years before I wrote my first novel, so both movie-watching and movie-studying/writing have had a huge influence on my work as a fiction writer. I don’t think I could have written that first novel without my background in story structure—screenwriting is all about structure!—and my “training” in how to develop, sustain, and build narrative momentum, the critical importance of conflict to fuel the story. The importance of environment and atmosphere, too—while I love the



interiority of fiction, every now and then it’s good to “show” the reader where we are, what we are “seeing.” And the function of dialogue—when I began as a screenwriter, I thought a screenplay was a story told in dialogue, but no, that’s a radio play. A screenplay is a story told in image, and so I learned that dialogue is actually very precious, something to be used sparingly, and only when the character has a very clear agenda that can only be advanced through speech rather than action. Which leads to the creation of scene, and when we choose to bring the reader in to an actual moment, rather than sweep past events in narrative summary. I don’t consciously think of these things as I write, at least not in a first draft— but I’m aware of these principles in revision.


! S D I K , S E M O C

! O R E H T EX


His name is Sly the Fly. He loves to go on adventures everywhere. He likes to have fun and see new places. Coming out this year are an adventure to the mountains, the circus, to the big city, and to see Santa Claus at the North Pole in a winter adventure. Sly will also be going to school, and he will go trick or treating at Halloween time. Come and enjoy not only how fun it is to read, but to go along with Sly on these adventures.

Sly the Fly Goes To The Big

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HAMILTON WILLIAMS lives in both Englewood, CO and Tucson, AZ. He has six children and seven grandchildren. He has always liked the outdoors, and this is where he came up with the Sly the Fly adventures.


Alexander Gray is an ex-Navy Seal with an impossible assignment.

Air Force One is shot down over the Mediterranean Sea with no survivors. The new president secretly orders the U.S. Navy to prepare the Sigonella Naval Air Station on Sicily for a clandestine and experimental operation to save the life of the Russian president, the man most Americans believe responsible for the downing of Air Force One. Antagonistic forces within the U.S. and Russian governments are determined to prevent that operation from taking place. From the U.S. to Sigonella, Gray must evade and outwit those working against the president. Will Gray survive to bring the traitors to justice and execute the daring operation?

“A gripping story I did not want to put down!” —Judy W Murphy, Amazon

“Riveting Read!”

—Carleen Markivitch, Amazon

Number 10 on the Goodreads Best Political Novels list. High on Goodreads Best Political Thrillers List. Available at


“Being on the edge is always worse than going through.”



ong ago, the guinea pig race lived together in a city on the coast. But when a storm came from the sea, that way of life ended. Now a nomadic culture, they’ve become experts at finding the best places to live, gather, and thrive. They follow their curiosity to find new lands each season, and those wanderings bring them to an area of rich farmland too enticing to ever leave. They call it Guiniloupay. A few years after they build their new settlement, strangers-a band of penguins from the east-come to their fields with dire news. The penguins have been driven from their home and need help and refuge. Fearing the worst, the guinea pigs form an alliance with the penguins, naming their leader, King Penjay,

ruler of Guiniloupay. Soon after the alliance is formed between the two races, a new era of prosperity begins. Guiniloupay starts to expand, and word soon spreads. It is only a matter of time before the good news of their success inspires jealousy and fear in others, including the warlike Mouse Empire in the West. Emperor Bandit calls for the immediate destruction of Guiniloupay, sending five thousand of his most viscous mouse knights to attack the penguins and guinea pigs. For two years, the enslaved residents of Guiniloupay labor to rebuild their former home to suit the whims of their new emperor. But the time is coming soon when they will rise up to defend their home and way of life. | Amazon | Barnes &Noble | iUniverse



Following in the steps of Richard Ford and Annie Proulx, Wink is the American West’s newest star storyteller.



Dog Run Moon: Short Stories by Callan Wink

Random House

Shelf Unbound: The title story, “Dog Run Moon,” was published by the New Yorker when you were at the University of Wyoming working on your MFA. Did this early accolade make you more serious about writing or were you already fully committed to it? Callan Wink: Getting that first story in the New Yorker was definitely a big deal in my life. I’m not sure that it made me any more serious about writing, but all of a sudden people wanted to see more of my work, and so I did feel some pressure to produce. I think before going to Wyoming to get my MFA I was more inclined to only write when I felt like I had something good to say. Spending two years with writing as the main focus made me take the whole endeavor a little more seriously, more so, I think, than the New Yorker acceptance. I was around other writers for the first time and I came to understand that part of the job is doing it when you don’t feel inspired. Getting words on paper is the important part. At least for me, inspirations are few and far between.

Shelf Unbound: Running figures into these stories, such as Sid running from men chasing him on an ATV because he stole a dog or Dale running daily as an escape. You are a long-distance trail runner and racer. What interests you about incorporating running into your stories? Wink: I do enjoy running. It’s an activity that reminds me of writing— often not especially pleasurable during the actual act of doing it, but usually worth the discomfort when it’s over for the day. Over the years running has allowed me to think about writing in a productive way. A while ago someone asked me if I meditate, and I don’t, but I think running produces some of that same effect. It occupies your body in such a way that your mind allows itself to roam. Kind of a disassociation, I guess. Like that moment right before you fall asleep. I always get ideas at that point and I have to roll over in bed to write them down. When everything is going well running has that same effect.



Shelf Unbound: You spend your summers on the Yellowstone River as a fishing guide and recently wrote in Men’s Journal about fishing with the late writer Jim Harrison. Other than writing and fishing, did you have anything in common with him? Wink: Jim was pretty much one of a kind but we did both grow up in Michigan. His family farm was less than a half hour’s drive from where I was born and raised. So, I guess that made us both Midwesterners of the Garrison Keillor, Prairie Home Companion variety. Other than that, we shared a common love of dogs, held the aesthetic particulars of the female form in high esteem, and enjoyed the occasional post-fishing bar session. I will definitely miss him and his, sometimes outrageous, presence in my life. Shelf Unbound: Jim Harrison described your writing as “rich and juicy.” Indeed. Case in point, the last sentence of “Breatharians”: “She held a



card in her hand, raised, as if she were deciding her next move but August could see that the cards in front of her were scattered across the table in disarray, a jumbled mess, as if they’d been thrown there.” How do you approach writing a scene like this? Wink: I’ve always liked that scene myself and I really wish I had a definite approach to creating something like this, because then I could replicate it at will. Unfortunately, it seems that every story is a unique organism that grows and develops in unexpected ways. This is a fairly unsettling feeling because, as a writer, I can never get comfortable or be confident in my own abilities to produce. At this point I’ve written a few decent stories. Will I continue to do so in the future? That remains to be seen.

Available at








M O .C s5 e g a For


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

The Brainstem Brainwaves of Atman-Brahman The Synthesis of Science and Spirituality —Sutapas Bhattacharya In 2 Vols.

Published by:


ISBN: 978-81-212-1221-2 (Set) Price: ` 1850 (Set) US$ 29 (Set) Vol. 1: ISBN: 978-81-212-1282-3 Vol. 2: ISBN: 978-81-212-1283-0 (Price: ` 925) (Price: ` 925)

This remarkable book undermines both the Physicalist-Materialist ontology of Science which imagines Consciousness to be a latecomer in material evolution as well the Theistic mythology of most religions which imagine a man-like God distinct from Nature and Humanity. It also resolves definitively the central problems of Eastern and Western philosophy. It makes fools of many of the most famous Western scientists and philosophers who have tried to reduce Consciousness and Spirituality to fit in with their Materialist preconceptions using magical notions such as 'Emergence'. It explores the 'Politics of Knowledge' exposing how Western academics and New Agers continue to peddle White Supremacist myths which conflate 'European' with 'Scientific' and give false credit to 'Ancient Greeks' and modern Westerners for Indian inventions. It shows how Western scholars of Religion fear the threat of a Universal Spiritual Philosophy based on Hindu-Buddhist NonDualism and thus peddle false myths denying a common core Universal Mysticism (or 'Perennial Philosophy') that underlies the myths of seemingly divergent religious traditions. It also shows how the metaphysical interpretation of Quantum Theory leads to the same Transcendental Reality & Nonlocal Wave Structure underlying Matter (and the so-called 'Laws of Physics') revealed by Yoga.

The Author: Sutapas Bhattacharya ( was born in India in 1964 but has lived in London since 1967. In 1986 he graduated with a First in Molecular Biology (London University) with prizes for top student in Biology. Having published a metaphysical paper arguing for Panpsychism in 1983, his real ambition was to explain Consciousness as Science could not do so. In 1994 he identified the physical correlate of the Divine Light (a.k.a. Pure Consciousness, Atman, Godhead etc.) with the brainwaves of the Reticular Activating System. This epoch-making discovery undermines both the PhysicalistMaterialist ontology of Science as well as all Theistic religions. It also resolves definitively the central problems of Eastern and Western philosophy; i.e. the real meaning of Mystical Union and the Ontological Status of Consciousness. His 1999 book showed how the physical phenomena of Science as well as Consciousness and mystical phenomena, inexplicable to Physicalist science, can be integrated by grounding Science in a truly universal metaphysics based on Universal Consciousness and its energetic vibrations. It received remarkable plaudits from scholars familiar with Science-Mysticism interrelations (See quotes on page 3 of ) For the full evidence confirming RAS correlation see The Book: The Divine Light (Pure Consciousness) is central to Hinduism, Buddhism, Christianity, Islam/Sufism, Platonism/ Neoplatonism, Gnosticism and Hermeticism. It is the Universal Spirit within us. With masses of evidence drawn from scholarly sources, this book demonstrates how the archetypal spiritual experiences underlying religious myths are explained scientifically based on the true scientific explanation of The Light and of enlightenment. This overwhelming evidence provides the 'Authority of Evidence' which, combined with rigorous argument, allows the author to repudiate famous Western thinkers including Nobel laureate scientists in regard to Consciousness and Spirituality. Dominant Western academic myths denying the possibility of unmediated, mystical knowledge of the Transcendental Realm underlying natural phenomena are undermined along with the West's false pretensions to Universality. In so doing the author exposes the Institutional Racism of Western Academia which peddles Eurocentric and White Supremacist myths about 'Ancient Greeks' and the History of Science and refuses to take seriously non-European metaphysics. In establishing the One True Ontology, not only does this book truly integrate Science and Spirituality, Eastern and Western philosophies etc. but it also demonstrates that 21st Century Science actually resembles Ancient Indian metaphysics rather than the invalid, Anthropocentric myths of 'Ancient Greek' and Modern Western philosophers. For full contents see: Distributed by:



To order the book visit: or

GYAN KUNJ, 23 MAIN ANSARI ROAD, DARYA GANJ, NEW DELHI - 110002 PH.: 23282060, 23261060 E-mail:

a tale of

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


Arizona Territory 1887…

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

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

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

—Steve M, Western Fiction Review, UK

—Kirkus Reviews, March, 2016.


Available in print and ebook formats.



Buzzfeed called You Should Pity Us Instead one of the “most exciting new books of 2016.” We totally concur.



You Should Pity Us Instead by Amy Gustine

Sarabande Books

Shelf Unbound: These stories are intense and gut-wrenching, frequently looking at failed familial love. What interests you in writing about this subject? Amy Gustine: Maybe I’m not a romantic by nature. I have never found it particularly interesting to write about burgeoning love between adults, for example. I do however find the subject of spousal connection, keeping that love alive, interesting to explore, and of course my focus the last ten years especially has been on the parent-child relationship. It’s unique. Your child is the one person in the world who you can’t cut from your life, emotionally speaking. You cannot harden your heart to your child, even when the situation may warrant it. The sacrifices a parent will make for a sick child or one who is deeply troubled, for example, are unlike any we would be willing to make for someone else. And yet they still crush us. As much as we love our children, and children love their parents, the relationship is

often so very fraught. For children, the approval of a parent is more important, typically, than approval from anyone else. The failure to get it can cripple our sense of self in a unique way. The conflicts from childhood follow us into adulthood like burrs caught in our hearts. All of that just keeps bringing me back, over and over. No story can catch the infinite complexities of life, and so there’s always another angle from which to write about the parent-child relationship. Shelf Unbound: You create your characters with empathy and nuance, like the neglectful mother Joanne, whose own mother was critical and neglectful. How do you approach writing a character like Joanne? Gustine: Empathy is in fact the word for it. I had a colicky baby. It wasn’t that hard to imagine what it would have been like if she’d continued to cry like that for a whole year. One of the things that interests



me is how much we are capable of forgiving and how in maturity we must face the imperfection of the love that we once felt should, or could, be pure: that of parents for children. This is the thing that’s most interesting about Joanne. She occupies the spot in life from which our vision changes, from child to parent. We are suddenly able to be both at once, and to understand things from this new dual vantage point that we would likely never have understood before. Not all those things we newly understand are pleasant, but some are. Shelf Unbound: What’s the starting point for you in a story like “All the Sons of Cain,” about an Israeli woman on a risky mission to find her captured son? Gustine: This story is like a lot of what I write. It started with speculation about an effaced person in the news, in this case Gilad Shalit’s mother. Shalit is a real person who was taken prisoner by Hamas in a



border skirmish in Israel, where it meets the Gaza Strip. I was reading an article in The New Yorker about the debate in Israel about whether it was appropriate to exchange Palestinian prisoners to free Shalit, and began to reflect on the mothers of soldiers around the world. One of the concerns in doing a prisoner exchange was that it would encourage Hamas to try to capture more members of the IDF in order to trade them. Hence, the plot of “All the Sons of Cain.” Shelf Unbound: I was particularly mesmerized by “Half-Life,” in which Sarah is nanny to two kids whose grandfather, a judge, put her in foster care as a child. How did you develop this story and what were you trying to do with it? Gustine: I had been interested for some time in writing a story about a person who ages out of the foster care system. I was interested in that because children who grow up in foster care must



by Chris Thomas

When does good end and evil begin?

A tale of conflict and moral dilemmas arising from the best of intentions, Until Philosophers Become Kings explores the gray and blurred lines of morality.

Available at

“An intense crime thriller from debut author Thomas that follows an undercover agent embedded deep within a Mexican drug cartel...the dynamic tale takes the reader along for one harrowing journey.” —Kirkus Reviews

launch themselves into the world in a way that is fundamentally different from most of us, who slowly wade out, always tethered to our parents and other family on shore. The story was an extension of my interest in parenthood in that sense. I’m also fascinated by moral dilemmas, situations in which there is no clear right or wrong, in the fundamentally uncertain nature of the world and thus the uncertain nature of every choice we make. The bigger your choices, the more heavily such uncertainty weighs on you. For a judge who must decide to terminate someone’s parental rights and put a child in foster care, that responsibility is formidable. Thus it was important for the story to make clear that even in hindsight it is not possible to say whether it was better or worse to take Sarah from her home. It is a choice the judge had to make—one or the other, he couldn’t do both or neither—and he must live with that choice and bear its outcome, but he typically doesn’t know its outcome. Here, the



outcome stands in front of him, the caretaker of his own grandchildren. Another significant thing I explored in the story is strength and resiliency. While I would never advocate for neglecting a child, there is a sense in which children with neglectful parents can have experiences that build self-reliance and toughness that children with more typically attentive parents do not. That kind of thing, the sort of unorthodox nature of that recognition, interested me and I really enjoyed exploring Sarah’s tough-minded, independent nature and how it informed her caring for Bea. Shelf Unbound: What appeals to you about writing short stories? Gustine: I feel out of control when it comes to selecting my own material. Instead, I feel it selects me. There have been times when I so wanted to write a story about a particular person or situation and it has simply not started, like a corroded engine. It looks okay, but


Gerry Burke’s new thriller goes where no

other crime writer has ventured—the multilayered, brown envelope contract killing. As if the CIA, FBI and Secret Service didn’t have enough on their plate; enter the fearless Aussie detective, Paddy Pest. Paddy causes havoc wherever he goes, and no one is immune to his charm, charisma and individual type of sleuthing. You’ll meet his new friends, Saffron Splendido and Manfred Knuth, and some old flames, Nadia Nickoff and Gregoria Killanova. This is humorous crime fiction at its best. Order your copy now.

Follow Paddy Pest in his other award-winning adventures.


It is this kind of fear and trepidation that has high profile politicians continually looking over their shoulder.

all the parts have rusted and it won’t turn over. Other times something sparks and it seems evident to me that the nature of the material either demands a novel-length treatment or a story-length treatment. I do what the material tells me to do. The benefit of a story is that you can get to a finished product so much faster, and the commitment to the character, that person, that way of thinking, is much less. This allows for more experimentation, more risktaking. When I’m thinking about material for a novel, I get pretty stressed out trying to decide if it’s really worth three, four, maybe seven years of my life, if I can live with the character and the situation that long. If readers will find the material compelling enough for me to justify that time commitment. A collection of stories allows me to cover so much more ground, to keep putting on a new hat and pair of glasses as it were. To look at one thing, like the parentchild relationship, from so many different, even opposing angles, and I like that opposition. A novel is a lot



more restrictive, demanding one set of characters and a cohesiveness to the voice and the plot arc. Shelf Unbound: Will you ever write a novel? Gustine: I am just finishing edits on one right now in fact. Novels and stories have their own charms and I like them both equally. I enjoy the extended-time commitment and space a novel provides. Every day when I sit down at my desk, I know what I’m working on. I have a framework. The terrifying thing about stories is the same thing that makes them wonderful: you have to keep starting over.





JONAS KIRK emerged from the sudden death of his parents as a bit of

a wanderer, traveling widely but settling into his home town, Woodland Park, MN. Uninterested in circulating with the movers and shakers of his community, he remains footloose until he becomes interested in murder, studying forensic evidence at Hamline University. Seeking to prove himself valuable to local Detective Chester Devlin, Kirk tries to provide thoughtful resolutions to homicide, guiding Devlin’s view of the evidence and offering summaries with a quip. Devlin can’t complain much. Kirk is good for his career.








BOOK lll


Amazon Review: “Jonas Kirk keeps us unaware of important clues until the right moment. I felt a bit like a fish nibbling away at the worm on the hook knowing I was about to be caught by the skillful landing—and ending. Just enough of a twist to surprise us without being outlandish or unbelievable. Well done!”

Jonas Kirk discovers murder on the Empire Builder, as quiet a train death as one might imagine. Even Kirk’s notable sense of a murder scene becomes muddled amidst his dreams and his new resolve to redefine himself. Lieutenant Chester Devlin becomes skeptical of Kirk’s cues, even as they seem to solve a homicide.

Woodland Park loves the acreage attached to the home of Miss Jane Oswald. Children explore it, play games on its turf. Their parents picnic on it and watch caretaker Arne Arneson manage it. When Miss Jane decides to sell the Acres, it sets off a chain reaction which leads to a deadly surprise.

In a casual visit to St. Mark’s Catholic Church, Kirk finds a corpse. The clues to solve murder in the pews lie in the confessional. Blocked by the conscience of a priest and the bluster of a bishop, Kirk and Lieutenant Devlin use both theology and civic seduction to find a killer.

Available at Amazon.

Available at Amazon.

Available at Amazon.

Available at Amazon.


Reading John Cheever’s “The Swimmer” by Charles May


wo of John Cheever’s best known early stories, “Torch Song” and “The Enormous Radio,” are outright fantasies. Later stories, such as “O Youth and Beauty” and “The Country Husband,” are more realistic treatments of middle-aged men trying to hold on to youth and some meaningful place in life. “The Swimmer” combines this typical realistic Cheever theme with his penchant for the fantastic. The basic problem in reading “The Swimmer” is determining the nature of



the reality of the events at any given point in the story. As suggested by Hal Blythe and Charlie Sweet (Blythe, Hal, and Charlie Sweet. “Man-Made versus. Natural Cycles: What Really Happens in ‘The Swimmer’.” Studies in Short Fiction 27 (1990): 415-18), the reader must decide if the first part is fantasy, as Neddy thinks of earlier and happier times, or if the last part is a fantasy that Neddy projects of his future as he waits in the gazebo for the storm to pass.

“Reminiscent of Hitchcock Thrillers! Fascinating read with wide audience appeal.” Five Star Rating by Pacific Book Review

By Gregory E. Seller

A wealthy Beverly Hills hedge fund manager and his wife become entangled in a deadly battle with China’s Red Nobility over control of billions of dollars in hidden assets. Like a Hitchcock thriller, the events ensnare a collection of interesting and unsuspecting characters in a battle for survival, revenge and redemption. An exciting story taken from actual current events!

“…sharply written, fast moving thriller.This is an involving and fun yarn that will keep you wanting to know what happens next. As one shock leads to another, readers won’t necessarily be sure where this runaway train is going, but they’ll be happy to be along for the ride. RECOMMENDED by US Review. US Review of Books

“Brimming with action, this intricate novel should attract followers of contemporary international affairs” Kirkus Reviews “This is a highly entertaining story that works well in part because of several interesting and layered characters.” Four Star Rating by Clarion Review “…an undeniable page turner...well-written and highly entertaining read.” Blue Ink Review


Available at UNBOUND



Clues to the time distortion are: the tree that is losing its leaves in summer; Neddy’s wondering if his memory is failing him; the references to misfortunes he seems to know nothing about; his loss of weight that makes his trunks feel loose; his increasing sense of fatigue and age. This story is a reversal in some ways of Ambrose Bierce’s experimentation with the distortion of time in his famous “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge.” Whereas in Bierce’s story, a short period of “real time” seems to be unnaturally lengthened, in Cheever’s fantasy, a long period of “real time” seems unnaturally foreshortened. Clues are given to this distortion in both stories, because in Bierce’s story the central character must be convinced that what he thinks is happening is “really happening,” whereas in Cheever’s story the central character must be allowed to believe that his metaphoric swim through future or past time (depending on your perspective) is actually a swim in present time through space. The metaphoric nature of the swim is suggested at various points in the story. For example the idea that he is an explorer, a legendary figure, prepares the reader for the tragic nature of his experience; the fact that he thinks of the pool as a river suggests the conventional fabulistic metaphor of “the river of life”; and the fact that near the end of the story he feels he has been

“immersed too long” suggests a basic flaw in his character for which his fantasy experience is a symbolic embodiment. An interesting full-length film version of this story was released in 1968. Directed by Frank Perry and starring Burt Lancaster as Neddy, the film represents an effort rare among Hollywood films to remain true to the ambiguous dream/reality status of the original story. Although the film necessarily invents additional scenes -- the most cliched being a series of corny and predictable scenes between Lancaster and a young girl who once was a baby-sitter for his children -- for the most part the film does an excellent job of presenting Neddy’s movement through space as actually a movement through time. The basic difference between the story and the film is that whereas Cheever’s original story has a dream-like fable nature, Perry’s film focuses more on the character of Neddy as a man who, although growing older and wishing to hang on to young, has neglected his family and allowed his life to pass him by. The final scene when, tired and worn, he hammers on the door of his deserted house, is shocking and powerful, even tragic. A brief footnote: In one of the scenes where Neddy stops at a pool party, John Cheever can be seen in a bit part walk-on. Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.





Did the legendary King Arthur really exist? Joe and Jemima Lancelot uncover the truth behind the myth when they find themselves in Camelot, as they continue the quest to find their missing parents. Together with friend Charlie and their endearing cat Max, they are plunged into yet another life-threatening adventure. Luckily they have Lancelot, who is convinced the twins must be distant relatives, to protect them when danger looms. Meanwhile, Max has a mystery of his own to solve. Will he finally discover why Midnight has been haunting his dreams?

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

Three friends. Three quests. Three mysterious predictions. In medieval Wales, eleven-year-old Prince Gavin, thirteen-year-old orphan Philip, and fifteen-year-old blacksmith’s apprentice Bryan are brought together in friendship by one they call the Wild Man. When an advisor to the king is killed and a jewelled medallion is stolen from the king’s treasury, the Wild Man is accused of the theft and murder. Filled with disbelief at the arrest of the Wild Man, the three friends embark upon a knight’s quest to save their friend’s life. To succeed, the three must confront their fears and insecurities, and one of them will have to disclose the biggest secret of all. Join Gavin, Philip, and Bryan on their quest and share the adventures that await them in the land of King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table.


Tin Man by Tom Lisowski




aught myself thinking life was not so bad. I’m sitting on a plane wearing silk shorts instead of pants. I have a tinfoil helmet on, with the eyes cut out. Some green slippers from Bali. None of this is illegal. Either that, or no one in the airline industry cares anymore. When I turn my head I’m always a little afraid part of my helmet will fall off- the construction is rather flimsy. Now- is someone going to tell me to put my shirt back on? Apparently not. Even the professor in the seat next to me is not looking- he’s too focused on his little tablet world over there. Why is no one else laughing at this movie? When I see something funny I laugh—out loud. Sometimes I’ll like hit the seat in front of me if it’s really funny. Is no one allowed to laugh at something? The first thing you have to

do when you get on a plane is take your shoes off. I’m doing that right now. Try to grip the carpet with your toes. Look, I’m going to take a walk. We’ll see how well this goes over. What, are they going to arrest me for wearing a tin helmet? Listen, professor, I’m going to need to step over your little tablet party. Something’s wrong though. I think I forgot my cell phone back in the airport bathroom. Otherwise I’d be taking a selfie right now with my lovely fellow flyers. Oh, it’s so quiet now without my headphones plugged in. Cable just swinging as I navigate down the aisle. I think these big headphones are helping to keep the helmet on actually. Okay let me interview some of these people. Hello, miss, is this seat taken? Yes? Well maybe your “husband” won’t mind if I ask you a few questions. Did you just say


Fate, in the form of a mysterious bracelet, brings Ray Willis face to face with a past life. Its origins are unknown to Ray, but the bracelet renders the power to bridge time and space bringing him to an amazing partnership with his former life as Jason Schindler. Ray and his alter ego are not the only ones to know of the mysterious properties the bracelet. The Brotherhood seeks out its power also, and the knowledge of all who have come to it - transferred interdimensionally through parallel worlds. Who, or what, is the source of this amazing power? What controls Ray’s destiny in a cosmic quest for control and power?

About the Author:

S. Alan Schweitzer is the author of six science fiction novels. He resides in Ohio with his wife, Barbara. Dr. Schweitzer loves to read science fiction and play the piano. He has been a frequent reader of sci-fi and fantasy literature since childhood. Favorite authors include Arthur C. Clarke, Isaac Asimov, George Orwell, Ray Bradbury, and Frank Herbert.

Available at

Tin Man

you were going to pepper-spray my face? Well I know you’re not because we’re on an AIRPLANE. You don’t pepper-spray in close quarters. Plus I have a HELMET on. And that— AAEEEIIIIEEEEE!!! My fucking eyes!! You’re killin’ me! Stop spraying that! Stop spraying that! …MAN!! Okay, I’m in pain but I’m calming down. Calming down. Where did she go? I close my eyes for a second and she’s gone. Now wait a second, where is everyone else from this part of the plane? Where did they all go? Okay, well watch this. I’m pressing the flight attendant button repeatedly. When someone gets here I’m going to ask for some coffee and a slice of pie. All I need is some coffee and pie to enjoy my life for once. Now this started out as a good day. Actually no, I’m lying. It started out as a terrible day. I kind of had a fit. Let’s just say I did a lot of things I’ll pretty much regret the rest of my life. So yes, started bad then turned good when I found this tinfoil. You know, I’m just going to sit here and wait. Sooner or later someone is going to have



to bring me some coffee. If not, I’ll demand a refund. You know, I’m kind of coming down now. First I was up here, then I was plateauing, then I started coming down. This helmet is sweaty and it’s cutting into my face. It’s these headphones that are so annoying. Get these headphones off me! That’s better. Listen, it’s getting a little creepy. I think I just saw someone peek from behind that curtain. They’re leaving it kind of dark over here –I know why. Silver headgear looks way better in the dark. Especially if you just had to throw it together the day of. Why do I feel like we’re landing? Why do I feel like I’m being surrounded by a bunch of cops? Maybe because I am. Well, it’s been nice talking to you. We’ll have to get together at some other juncture- some time when I’m not being dragged down the aisle by a bunch of pimplefaced teenagers in SWAT gear. Look, let’s talk then –okay? Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.

by Helene Andreu This book highlights both verbally and visually the development of today’s dances—ballet, modern, jazz, modern— as well as the influence of peoples’ beliefs, cultures, and lifestyles, and the functions of dance in various societies.

Richly illustrated with 300 images related to dance— paintings,

sculptures, sheet music covers, and photographs.

Man & Wife by Katie Chase


A Strange Object



on’t you want to hear what the big news is?” said Dad. My mother turned her back on us to the cutting board, where she was chopping a fresh salad. I a small voice I said, “Yes.” I tried to smile, but that feeling was in my stomach, made more fluttery by drink. I recognize the feeling now as a kind of knowledge. “Well, do you remember Mr. Middleton? From Mommy and Daddy’s New Year’s party?” At the party I’d been positioned, in scratchy lace tights and a crinoline-skirted dress, at the punch bowl to ladle mimosas for their guests. Many of their friends introduced themselves to me that night: Mr. Baker, Mr. Silverstein, Mr. Weir. Some bent to my height and shook my hand. Mr. Woodward scolded me for insufficiently filling his cup, and his young

wife, Esmerelda, my former babysitter, led him away. “Mr. Middleton—that nice man with the moustache? You talked together for quite some time.” Then I remembered. As I served other guests, he lingered with a glass of sweating ice water, talking about his business. He directed his words to the entire room, looking out over it rather than at me, but he spoke quietly, so only I could hear. He offered figures: annual revenue, percentages, the number of loyal clients. And then: “My business is everything. It is my whole life.” I looked up at him curiously, and his face reddened; his moustache twitched. When he finally left, patting my shoulder and thanking me for indulging him, I was relieved. I’d had little to say in return—no adult had ever spoken to me that way—and I’d felt the whole


The regiments and their histories in these stories are real, the events did happen.

Man & Wife

time, on the tip of my tongue, the remark that might have satisfied and gotten rid of him sooner. “That’s the good news,” Dad said. “He’s gone ahead and asked for your hand. And we’ve agreed to it.” My mother put down the knife and finished off her champagne. I wanted no more of mine. “Well, don’t be so excited,” said Dad. “Do you understand what I’m saying? You’re going to be a wife. You’re going to live with Mr. Middleton, and he’s going to take care of you, for the rest of your life. And, one day, when we’re very old, he’ll help out your mother and me too. “Yep.” He smiled. “It’s all settled. Just signed the contract this afternoon. You’ll really like him, I think. Nice man. You seemed to like him at the party, anyhow.” “He was okay,” I managed. It was as I’d feared, somewhere, all along: the toast, the party, everything. Now it was real: my future was just the same as any other girl’s. Yet none of my friends had become wives



yet, and it didn’t seem fair that I should be the first taken. For one thing, I was too skinny. They say men first look for strength in a wife. Next they look for beauty, and even with braces and glasses yet to come, I was a homely little girl. It’s last that men look for brains. You may notice that I skipped over wealth. While rumors of sex spread freely at school, it wasn’t clear to me then just how money fit in. It was discussed only in negotiations, when lawyers were present and we were not. It was best that way, for our parents, who tried to keep such things separate. A girl shouldn’t have to worry over what a number said of her promise or worth. From Man & Wife by Katie Chase, A Strange Object, Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.

Remembrance of Blue Roses by Yorker Keith


have heard a wise man say that love is a form of friendship, and friendship a form of love; the line between the two is misty. I happen to know that this holds true because I have roamed that misty line. Time has passed since then, but I cherish the memory of the blue roses in grace and perpetuity—our blue roses. It all began with a fortuitous encounter. *** On a fine day in early April 1999, I was sketching in the sculpture court at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. I felt hesitant working in such a public space, but this was a homework assignment for the art class I was taking. The object of my sketch was a sculpture of an adorable young woman, a nude, reclining on a mosscovered rock surrounded by an abundance of flowers. The smooth texture of the white marble sensually expressed her lively body, which shone with bright

sunlight beneath the glass ceiling of the court. I had almost completed sketching the woman’s body and was working on the rock and flowers. I was not doing badly, I thought, for a small crowd of museum visitors had gathered around me, showing approving faces and nods. “Ah, this is excellent!” one man exclaimed. I recognized the voice and turned to see Hans Schmidt, standing amid the crowd wearing a big grin. “What a surprise!” he continued. “I didn’t know you had such an artistic talent, Mark. How are you?” He came forward and firmly shook my hand. I greeted him, then pointed to my drawing. “I’ve been working on this for a while. I wasn’t sure how it would come out. But it’s coming along all right, I guess.” “I don’t know much about drawing, but this looks great.” He gestured enthusiastically to a young

woman next to him. “What do you think?” “It’s pretty.” Her voice sounded like a bell. “This is Yukari, my wife.” He guided her toward me, his hand lingering at the small of her back. I swallowed. I knew Hans was married, but this was my first time to meet his wife. Hans’s wife is Japanese? How lovely she is. Hans, you devil, you’re a lucky man! “Pleased to meet you.” I gently shook her small refined hand. “I’m Mark Sanders. Hans and I are good friends.”




AUTHOR Almost Mortal by Christopher Leibig

Shelf Unbound: You’re a criminal defense attorney, as is your main character Sam Young. What aspects of this character and story are based on real-life experiences? Chris Leibig: A lot of Sam’s work comes from having been a public defender and later a private defense attorney. But like with all fiction the characters have to be more interesting than real life. For example, I cannot read minds, or if I can I get it wrong so often that it is not all that useful. Sam usually gets it right. Shelf Unbound: Sam is hired by a nun to help track down a serial killer. What interested you in writing about a serial killer? Leibig: I have represented several alleged serial killers in my career, but the inspiration for the Sam/ Camille plot line really comes more from religion than from any real cases. Shelf Unbound: How does the writing you do as an attorney differ from your fiction writing? Leibig: Fiction writing does have some similarities to working on cases. For example, both things involve narratives that have to make sense and hold together. Of course, with a case, you are stuck with the facts as they are. With a TV show or a novel, you can change the facts to make it work!



The Battle for Guiniloupay Through the Ages of Guiniloupay, Book One

by Joseph Brown


uc led his guinea pigs southeast through the tall grasses. He looked around everywhere in front of him, only seeing the tall grass dancing in the wind. He then looked up at the sky and saw that the sun was directly above them. “The air gets hotter every day,” he said to himself. He looked back at his clan and saw everyone slowing down in the heat. “We need to find some shade or food.” Buc continued looking around the fields in front of him before he heard someone shout behind him. “Look! There’s corn!” the voice shouted. Buc looked back and saw everyone looking and pointing to their left. When he looked in the direction, he saw a small field of tall stalks of corn standing above the grass. He started walking toward the stalks as the rest of the clan ran around him and into the

field. The guinea pigs started pulling the corn off the stalks. “I can’t wait to eat this corn,” said a female as she picked an ear of corn from a stalk. “Oh, I know. My young’ns love boiled corn,” said another female. Buc walked up to the edge of the field and looked at the smiles on everyone’s faces as they filled their baskets and bags with corn. A younger, white guinea pig ran toward Buc with a couple ears of corn. “Here, Buc, these are for you!” the young’n said. Buc smiled at the little one. “Thank you, young’n,” he said, taking the corn. “I’ll be back with some more!” the young’n said before he ran back off. Buc dropped the corn into his bag that hung from his side and watched the little one run back into the field.

“Everyone!” he shouted. “Let’s gather these ears quickly so we can keep moving!” The guinea pigs pulled the ears of corn off the stalks as fast as they could. After three hours they had the field cleared and all of the stalks knocked down. Buc stood in the tall grass in the heat of the sun and waited for everyone to pick their huts and bags up. Once everyone was ready, they continued into the east.



photo essay



he Last Stop does far more than capture the remarkable, effective design of our nation’s road stops. It preserves a moment in time that is quickly fading, a unique period in the American travel experience when the journey was just as important as the destination. It’s clear these modest structures did far more than provide picnic tables, they shaped our collective experience of golden-age car travel across the vast United States.” — powerHouse Books Photographs by Ryann Ford, from The Last Stop: Vanishing Rest Stops of the American Roadside, published by powerHouse Books. 48


Whitesands, NM





Bonneville, UT





Monument Valley, AZ



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.” “The Vampire Girl Next Door is a choice pick for one looking for a romance with a supernatural twist, highly recommended.” —John Burroughs, Midwest Book Review

Girls Like Us, Season 4 by Anike Bay


he fourth book [season] of a continuing story about four friends (Keisha, Zoi’, Diane, and AJ). Keisha and Zoi make passionate love on the kitchen counter top, and living room floor. Meanwhile, AJ tries to redeem herself after getting caught cheating on Diane her wife of ten years. Later, Diane pays AJ back further when Diane and her long-time friend Boston enjoy a sexual “moment”...Hmmm. How does that work?

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



Justice According to Brown Betty by George Henry Furze


George Henry Furze

his is a bold new novel of human determination and endurance, honor and Part I JUSTICE ACCORDING TO commitment, struggle BROWN BETTY and peace with some George Henry Furze focus on politics and our system of government, world events such as immigration, empire building, globalization, and foreign takeover. Told with a little humor, emotion and colored language. Praised by male and female readers in several countries. An unusual read from start to end. A must read. Buy as hard copy or as Ebook book at Available at Createspace and Lulu.

Available at Amazon. The Real Matrix by Michael Evans


he Real Matrix is a high impact selfhelp resource for people who want to see the truth and heal their lives. The Real Matrix focuses on what is and is not real in your life. You may be shocked by what you read in this book. All proceeds from this book are being donated directly to a children’s charity. Available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and iBooks.

BOOK SHELF Isabella’s Heart by Diane Merrill Wigginton

Angelina’s Secret by Diane Merrill Wigginton


orn in a time when women were valued for their beauty and titles but little else, Lady Angelina Stewart is ahead of her time. She is strong willed, witty and sharp. Determined never to be owned by any man. Angelina shuns societal rules and lives life by her own terms. That is until she meets a certain French privateer Captain, who also lives life by his own terms. Jude Deveraux is the Duke of Bayonne and he is living a duel life. Can he trust Angelina with his secret and his life? “Starred review by BlueInk Reviews” Available at Amazon.


hen a disturbing dream wakes Isabella Deveraux from a deep sleep, she must do whatever it takes to rescue her twin brother, Charlie and his two school chums from the clutches of the devil incarnated—even if that means that she must reconcile with her estranged family and place her faith and life in the hands of an intimidating Irish mercenary. Captain Aiden Townsend is willing to save the lives of three privileged school boys, for the right price. But first he must break through the walls that surround Isabella’s heart and win her trust. “Favorably reviewed by Kirkus, Foreword & BlueInk” Available at Amazon.

Angel Blade by Carrie Merrill


ikka is dying of cancer when a stranger approaches her with a cure, but it comes at a steep cost: she must become a seraph, an angelic being with the power to exorcise and destroy demons. Available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and

Abbey by Gary Hope


bbey” is a story of love you didn’t think possible…a story you wish had happened to you. It’s a story of love that is so overwhelming that hearing the sound of her voice in your ear fills your senses with her completely. You inhale her, you taste her. Your life begins with her and without her, it must surely end. The pessimist in you is certain a love this fulfilling and unending is improbable at best, except in your dreams. But Abbey lives this dream for us. He enables us to imagine what love could be. Available at Amazon, and Barnes & Noble.

BOOK SHELF Cole’s Perfect Puppy by Frances Crossno


Island Adventure by Cath and Michael Murphy

ole’s Perfect Puppy is the first in a series of “Perfect Puppy” novels filled with action, moral concepts, and, of course—puppies! Book one revolves around a boy named “Cole”, his brother “Caleb”, their friend “Rachel”, and a golden retriever puppy named “Scarlet”. As the story progresses, they learn about friendship, sacrifice, and God’s perfect love.

he book starts with the end of storm season. The island and under the sea is ready for the celebration to begin. Then the celebration, both on the islands and sea life style. The book celebrates family, friends, team work and community. The sea creatures also celebrate Holiday Time under the sea. At Christmas time the sea creatures have an adventure interacting with Santa who is lost, lands on the sandy beach. Can the sea life help? It will take team work to solve this problem. Available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Google Play, and Book Depository.

Available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books A Million, and Tate Publishing.


the Star

by Michele Breza

The Magic of Childhood Remembered Through Edible Ingredients by Yen Hoang


he 154-page book gives you more than 80 stunningly—beautiful creative food art pictures and several beautiful childhood quotes that would blow your mind in the most soothing way. It makes a great gift for both kids and adults as well—a gift that brings you back to the happy days of your childhood. Available at Amazon

“Journey with this tiny star as it seeks its purpose in the Milky Way Galaxy and discovers that it is destined to participate in a wonderful Christmas event.”

Vivid illustrations complement this spectacular and unique re-telling of the birth of Baby Jesus.

This book is a SILVER MEDAL WINNER in the 2016 Illumination Awards! Available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Alibris. Published and Distributed by Diamanda Publishing.

BOOK SHELF Swift Enough to Endure by Dr. Andronica S.M. Handie


very child has dreams and aspirations to achieve success.” However, making those dreams a reality can often seem far fetched and distant for some children due to early childhood circumstances. Swift Enough to Endure delivers a compelling message to today’s youth and adults alike that early less than favorable demographics have no determination on an individual’s ability to pursue a destiny of success. This book chronicles the life of a boy from the Delta who defied the odds and reached unimaginable educational goals through unwavering faith, confidence and support from his grandmother who raised him. Gold Boys: High School Ignition by Ruby Wicked “Let us not defy instinct—when evil borders normal”


nfold the mystery of two high school senior boys, “G” the rich kid, and “Scholls” the poor kid, who unknowingly spark the insanity of Dr. Berg, a seemingly respected neurologist that marries G’s mother. Will the doctor’s madness by avenged, or will it end… in tragedy? Available at Amazon, and Barnes & Noble.

The Medinandi License by Randall Reneau


n the two months geologist Trace Brandon has been in Mali, he’s nearly been killed twice and his friend Gordon Watson has been kidnapped. Running out of time to meet the ransom demands, Trace turns to a Malian arms dealer and a French-Canadian ex-mobster for help. If their risky plan goes south, they could all end up dead... Available at Amazon. Destiny’s Forge by Theresa M. Moore


onor and duty, loyalty and betrayal, murder and revenge, espionage, adventure and vampire romance. In the 23rd century, a stranger from another planet comes to Earth in search of an ancient enemy. Through a quirky twist of fortune she winds up serving on the military starship Destiny’s Forge, where the crew is haunted by murder and sabotage. But as she is faced with a series of monumental challenges, she finds her course changed by destiny when the fate of two worlds is placed in her hands. Available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Powell’s, Books A Million, and VRomans Bookstore.

BOOK SHELF Essential Guide to Treat Diabetes and to Lower Cholesterol by Howard T. Joe, M.S., Ph.D.


he book descrbes a common natural food methods to treat (pre)diabetes with and without medication and to lower cholesterol without medication. Using these methods, I lowered my pre-diabetic fasting blood glucose to good 90s/100s without medication and total fasting cholesterol from 210s to 159/160s. For diabetes, Metformin ER and/ or other medication are used in combination with common natural foods to lower fasting blood glucose from about 170s to 100s/110s. Two 5 star book reviews. Three 2015 health letters’ confirmation of correct treatment methods. Available at Amazon.

k, and orting ce me e and being widow these e, and



Elaine Hodge Marze

two, so the ok of ancer k and and a A.


years, hadn’t hysical g, but hopes,

Widowhood I Didn't Ask for This!

Widowhood: I Didn’t Ask for This by Elaine Hodge Marze I am officially a widow...


fter being married to the same man for nearly 40 years, I found myself at a place Elaine Hodge Marze I hadn’t wanted to be, hadn’t asked to be, and hadn’t planned to be. The physical loss of my love, my hero, my best friend, was devastating, but the fear of a future without him is terrifying. All our hopes, dreams, and plans are gone! This is my journey. Widowhood: I Didn’t Ask for This is being used in numerous grief share groups. Order from Elaine Marze, PO Box 234, Huntsville, AR 72740. $12 includes mailing costs.

From the Streets to the Pulpit: The Rise and Fall of a Powerful Minister by Leonard D. Jackson, Sr.


his is the story of the journey of Apostle- Elect, Leonard D. Jackson Sr. Born and raised in St. Louis MO., on the Northside, a very rough side of town, he sold drugs throughout the 80’s and 90’s and escaped death many, many times. Several deaths of friends, as well as a cousin, occurred during this time. This was a very dark period for him. It also was a turning point, pushing him to pray and God showed up. He began to walk in a new direction, one appointed by the Holy Spirit. Available at Amazon. Nigeria: A Failed State by Robert Nwadiaru


ountries change for better after going through upheavals. The reason is that those countries’ leadership learn from the crises and position their countries on progressive lane. This hypothesis has failed in Nigeria. Crises mushroom daily. Some tribes even threaten to separate from the country and become independent. The president once elected turns a tribal and religious representative. The new President operated for five months without cabinet. After strong national outcry, he recycled the old brigade that has ruled the country for the past 40 years without significant progress or peace to show for their persistent grip on public office.

Available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Tate Publishing.

BOOK SHELF The Shepherd by Lela K. King

Escaping Viet Nam– H’Yoanh’s Story:


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

rom the moment the angel of GOD appeared to them in the field, Demas, a young shepherd, wanted to see Jesus. Will his dream be fulfilled before Jesus’s death? The stars are so bright tonight, he thought. Suddenly, a radiant light danced above the horizon. It crept closer and Demas slid to his feet as he gazed upward in awe. The air about him had changed. It was soft and gentle, yet exciting. It was a star, brilliant and glorious, hovering over the nearby town. It grew in size and brightness. Frightened, Demas turned and ran toward the sleeping men. Available at Amazon, and Barnes & Noble, and Christian Book. Seven Days to Goodbye by Sheri S. Levy


rina, a trainer for service dogs, sadly, must return her first dog, Sydney, to be matched with his forever companion. Her best friend, Sarah, isn’t helping because of her new interest in guys. When Sydney connects with a young boy with autism, the girls meet his older brothers and jealousy develops. This story has humor, growing pains, and puppy love-of both varieties. Available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble Barking Rain Press.

A Memoir of Determination, Defiance and Deliverance


riveting story relating the journey of a young Montagnard, orphaned at four months, taken to an orphanage/school at five years and who, at age 16, after Saigon fell in 1975, followed other Montagnards into the Central Highlands. She spent eleven years escaping the North Vietnamese Communist Regime, while danger, starvation and death were constant companions. She was brought to NC in 1986 as a refugee. Available at bookstores and Amazon. Solaris Seethes by Janet McNulty Every myth has a beginning.


fter escaping the destruction of her home planet, Lanyr, with the help of the mysterious Solaris, Rynah is forced to unite with four unlikely heroes from an unknown planet (the philosopher, the warrior, the lover, the inventor) in order to save her people and embarks on an adventure that will shatter everything Rynah once believed. Available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks, and Kobo

BOOK SHELF The Legend of Borach by Nickolas Urpi


he Legend of Borach is a tale of two commanders, Isclinondas and Borach, who take the field against each other in a pit of intelligence, strength, and virtue. Entrusted with a sacred task from a dying hero, Isclinondas, the Norentine, must take command of a struggling army of men and prove to them he is worthy to lead them. His efforts, however, are frustrated by Lord Borach of Osthexis, the undisputed general of the goblins, whose virtuous abilities and leadership go unquestioned as the greatest on Noranos. It is up to Isclinondas, however, to surpass them or die trying. Available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Tate Publishing. The Unforgiven by A. Katie Rose “Behind familiar fantasy trappings await a marvelous adventure and a vibrant love story.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)


When the Moon and the Sun Are Joined as One.

wo nations divided by war and magic. Two men seeking redemption. One woman in search of a child. Both men want her, but can she choose between them? Which one will win her heart and find the child prophesized to unite two warring kingdoms? Available at Amazon, and Barnes & Noble.

Making a Living Making a Life by Daniel Rose


real estate developer and philanthropist presents a masterful debut collection of exceptionally cogent and timely speeches and essays.

“Ever the stylist, his succinct, well-cadenced prose shows an engaged mind, sharply tuned wit, and compassion and intellect that provide a model for civic engagement.” “A wise, well-honed collection of speeches that address vital issues with fresh, penetrating insight.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred review) Available at Amazon. Jump Cut by Libby Fischer Hellmann


or the first time in 10 years, Chicago video producer Ellie Foreman is back, producing a video for Chicago’s Delcroft Aviation. However, she is soon entangled in a web of espionage, drones, file encryption, and spies... all of which threaten those she holds dear. “Exceptional...” —Publishers Weekly Starred Review Available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, and Kobo in print, ebook, and audio.

BOOK SHELF Undermining the U.S. Constitution by Diane S. Vann A book about Extremist Socialism, also known as Communism, and its threat to the Constitution. From the book: ...In brief, the prescription is for Communists of the working class to first take over a political party, gain control of the government, and then bring the ruling middle class and government down with the help of trade unions and socialists. The desired outcome of the prescription is that no class will oppress another and everyone’s status will be equal, even though only the Communists will know the ultimate plan for the worldwide government. Available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Authorhouse. Mind Games by Al tair Charron Bey


...Can you be a good parent and “not know” what goes into your children’s educational material? Or, can you be a better parent if you did know what goes into it?...

ome say that love, nurturing, and the ability to nurture, religion, and education all start at home. Parenting, education, and nurturing are some of the most important aspects of family life that a family with school-aged children can experience. We as parents spend millions of dollars and thousands of hours teaching our children; yet, many still do not know what goes into our children’s educational make-up. Available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Tate Publishing

Socialcide: How America is Loving Itself to Death by Leo J. Battenhausen


n his ground-breaking and controversial book, Leo J. Battenhausen shows the other side of the American Dream—one where individuals are so obsessed with themselves that emotional and social problems have taken on a destructive new aggression. By exposing the problem through a unique fusion of social and psychological observations, Battenhausen hopes that citizens will stop committing ‘Socialcide’ and rebuild themselves into a race that is a model for global dignity and respect. Available at Amazon, and Barnes & Noble. Western Crossing by Fred Hensley


riends, disillusioned with life, set out on a quest to discover the truth behind everything and, as fate allowed, found it. A true story from the mid-1970s, three young men from North Carolina, all from different backgrounds, forged a friendship and took a journey that led them to the Avatar and spiritual secrets known only to a few. Available at Amazon.

BOOK SHELF Blood Lake By R.L. Herron


ward-winning author R.L. Herron has created a spinetingling modern thriller based on the 1838 curse of a Cherokee prophet named Tsali, executed for defying the forced migration of the Cherokee people known as “The Trail of Tears.” As John Burnett is about to discover, Tsali’s bitter curse has followed the only sons of the Burnett family for eight generations.

A Shade of Darkness J.A. Klassen


ronwyn is a successful author who has just finished her second book. She is now thinking of her third one. She might as well enjoy herself while she is working, so she decides to go on a working holiday. She flies to all the old pirate haunts in the Caribbean to do some research. When she gets there she runs into a very unlikely character who just happens to be a pirate from the 16th century. But, of course, he has some baggage from living so long. Then she meets his maker and really finds out what kind of baggage he has. Available at Amazon, and Barnes & Noble.

Available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and iUnivers.

Clara’s Return by Suzanna J. Linton


lara, lost and disillusioned, goes in search of answers about her past and her abilities. A traitor enacts careful plans of sabotage, playing on people’s fears of the monsters left behind

by sorcerer-king Marduk. Emmerich struggles to hold onto power as he battles ever-present nightmares. Will the kingdom of Lorst finally fall?

Woe for a Faerie by B. Brumley


ne spellbound night, nine award-winning and Amazon best-selling authors joined together to bring you a collection of tales featuring our favorite otherworldly creatures, fairies. This collection will seduce you into the wondrous world of the fae with magic, romance, fantasy, adventure, fairy tales, and folklore. Woe for a Faerie in Enchanted: The Fairy Revels Collection

To be released May 13, 2016

Coming to Amazon April 2016

BOOK SHELF Claims of Family by Ezekiel Nieto Benzion


n Vienna, 1803, Antonio performs nightly as “Miss Nancy” in a male brothel, lashing out at the repressive society that torments gay men. He seethes with anger at those who robbed him of all he could be. When dangerous men offer to get him his revenge, he doesn’t ask the price. But then the bill comes due.... A Judah Halevi Tale 2015 Honors Received National Indie Excellence Book Award Finalist Notable 100 Books, Off the Shelf Unbound Winner, New England Book Festival Available at Amazon. Ghosts of War by David Kerr Chivers


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

Take a Byte Out of Murder by Millie Mack


he New Year bells have barely finished tolling before Carrie and Charles Faraday discover a dead body on the beach near their vacation home in the quiet resort of Pear Cove. Murders, blackmail, computer espionage— there are lots of clues. Can the Faradays’ detecting skills put all the puzzle pieces together before the wrong person is charged with murder? Available at Amazon. Universal Spiritual Philosophy and Practice by David B. Low, MS, PhD


ith 48 illustrations and lively, wordballoon graphics, this 200-page book systematically presents the central insights of mysticism, imparting experience to the reader and offering perspectives on the nature of belief and religion, rebuttals of orthodoxy, cosmologies and theories of enlightenment, over 20 spiritual practices, teachers and groups, the mechanics of dreams, affirmations and more. Available in print at Amazon and Barnes & Noble, and in ebook at Smashwords.

BOOK SHELF The Collection of Heng Souk by S.R. Wilsher


he words he had heard in the chapel had been well chosen, gleaned from listening to those who had known the man. But they were not enough. To understand what one person meant to another it can only be heard directly. The truth was not in the words; it was in the catches of emotion and the breath of remembrance.” Available at Amazon.

Raf i ki An Unlikely Friendship with a Mountain Gorilla

RAFIKI by David Minier “a touching book” —Kirkus Review “an enjoyable but also informative...story” —Blue Ink Review


n inspirational adventure story set DAVID D. MINIER in the heart of Africa, by the author of The Ararat Illusion. Rich in detail, this novel follows a medical mission to Uganda, where a grieving professor finds solace in an incredible encounter, and ultimate friendship, with a silverback mountain gorilla. Available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble. LITERARY AGENT WANTED

Letters to the Editor that were never published: (And some other stuff) by Alex Caemmerer Jr. M.D. Professor of Psychiatry, Ret., Columbia Medical School


ver the decades of his career, Dr. Caemmerer has written well over one hundred letters to the editors of the New York Times, the Record (of Bergen County, New Jersey), and Psychiatric News. The letters represent his response to articles on a variety of topics, including psychiatry, psychoanalysis, religion, priests and bishops, depression, violence, homosexuality, and miscellaneous subjects of general interest. These letters capture his unique perspective and his creative solutions to get things back on track. BLUEINK REVIEW LINK Available at Amazon. Dominion of Man by Francesco Ficarra


y breathing slows as I feel the effects of the cool breeze enter the courtyard lifting the sand gently across my face. Each particle firing my nervous system alive bombarding me. So close to death, I have never felt so alive. The beast brushes aside two men approaching without breaking stride, its eyes wanting, until without notice it stops suddenly, almost falling over its own weight as the booming call of another creature fills the valley.

Available at Amazon and iTunes.

BOOK SHELF Lei Crime Series by Toby Neal

Make Us Say WOW! Waldorf Publishing Manuscript Contest


awaii is palm trees, black sand and blue water—but for policewoman Lei Texeira, there’s a dark side to paradise. Lei has overcome a scarred past to make a life for herself as a cop, but often the cases she works activate wounds and complications from her tangled family history. Available at Amazon,Barnes & Noble, Audible, iBooks, Inktera, and Kobo. The Seduction of Paradise by Kevin J. Ward


he Seduction of Paradise is an intriguing mystery with twists and turns that are totally unexpected. Kevin Ward takes the reader through a rollercoaster of suspense that is sure to capture the interest of anyone, whether a fan of mystery or not. The Seduction of Paradise is an exiting tale of an average person who becomes absorbed in a dangerous encounter. Available at Amazon, and Barnes & Noble.

Want to see your book PUBLISHED! Enter the “Make us say WOW” Waldorf Publishing Manuscript Contest. Open to all Authors & All genres. Your book printed in: Paperback, eBook and Audiobook Contest #1:

Entries are open from March 13, 2016 until April 30, 2016

Contest #2:

Entries are open from May 1, 2016 until August 31, 2016

The entrance fee is $45.00 USD per manuscript and you may enter as many manuscripts as you wish.


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.

dystopian fangirl Flawed by Cecelia Ahern Feiwel & Friends

What to read next in YA dystopian fiction? Our intrepid fangirl Sarah Kloth reviews some of her favorites.

Cecelia Ahern’s young adult debut Flawed takes readers to a dystopian future where society looks at perfection as essential and punishes any flaws. If found flawed, the person’s flaws are publicly named and their skin branded with an F in one of five places: For bad decisions, it’s their temple; for lying, their tongue; for stealing, their right palm; for disloyalty, their chest; for stepping out of line, the sole of their right foot. If found flawed you are despised and isolated by society, left to live under different rules and treated as a criminal. But what if your flaw is ethically and morally right? “I am a girl of definitions, of logic, of black and white. Remember this.” Ahern makes you think about our society’s ethics and values today. She states in the book’s acknowledgements, “If there is one message that I hope this book portrays, it’s this: None of us are perfect. Let us not pretend that we are not the same. Let us all know that to be human is to be flawed, and let us learn from every mistake made so we don’t make them again.” From the very first line to the very last word, Flawed grabs you and keeps needing more right until the very end, where you are sure to be wishing for the story to continue. But no worry—there is a sequel on the way! If you are one of the many YA dystopian fans who have been in a slump due to the now oversaturated market of clichéd dystopia, Flawed is sure to revive your interest in the genre. Synopsis: “Celestine North lives a perfect life. She’s a model daughter and sister, she’s well-liked by her classmates and teachers, and she’s dating the impossibly charming Art Crevan. But then Celestine encounters a situation in which she makes an instinctive decision. She breaks a rule and now faces life-changing repercussions. She could be imprisoned. She could be branded. She could be found flawed.”






Oh, Vancouver by Elee Kraljii Gardiner

The city is one big in-law suite, Crowded by natural beauty, and lonely. My friend feels bad about being depressed. A woman I met sends me one line: I’m lonely. Statuesque, articulate, she is the city, yet also the forest bruised by developments. Hear us tapping on the stucco too afraid of direct contact. From Serpentine Loop by Elee Kraljii Gardiner, Anvil Press, Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.









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ALMOST EVERYTHING VERY FAST Christopher Kloeble’s Almost Everything Very Fast follows orphan Albert on a journey to find the identity of his birth mother. Kloeble’s profound character studies reveal complex histories that are as real as they are haunting. Filled with both broken dreams and determined hope, it reminds you how tragic and joyful each life is. In short, this novel will stay with you. —Hayley Whitehead Almost Everything Very Fast by Christopher Kloeble, Graywolf Press, 70


THE STORY OF MY TEETH Valeria Luiselli’s The Story of My Teeth introduces us to the weird world of Gustavo ‘Highway’ Sanchez Sanchez, who will tell you he can imitate Janis Joplin after two rums, interpret Chinese fortune cookies, and stand an egg upright on a table. He is affable and delusional and entirely unlike anything you’ve ever read. Written collaboratively with workers at the real Jumex juice factory in Mexico City, the novel plays artfully with storytelling, leaving you happy and wondering what actually just happened. —Hayley Whitehead The Story of My Teeth by Valeria Luiselli, Coffee House Press,

PIRATE TALK OR MERMALADE Terese Svoboda’s depiction of two brothers who become ensnared in a life of piracy in Pirate Talk or Mermalade is both entertaining and grisly. Written entirely in dialogue, simply a script with no names, locations, or descriptions, this novella forces you to crank your imagination into over drive and shape their wayward sea adventure as you best see fit. Magnificently strange and abstract, it provides an excellent guide should you ever need to pose as a Pilgrim or sing your way out of prison. —Hayley Whitehead Pirate Talk or Mermalade by Terese Svoboda, Dzanc Books,

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small press reviews Bookmarked: Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse-Five By Curtis Smith


Ig Publishing

he Bookmarked series is a new line of books from IG Publishing in which lesser-known authors meditate on the impact that various works of literature by better-known authors have had an impact on their lives. Tackling Kurt Vonnegut’s SlaughterhouseFive in the second volume of the series, Curtis Smith takes a cue from the subject of his investigation and offers what might best be termed an “unstuck in time” reading of the novel. Bouncing from point to point and theme to theme throughout Vonnegut’s novel gives Smith the opportunity to touch on a wide range of topics, including (but not limited to) Ayn Rand, Genghis Khan, SpongeBob SquarePants, PTSD, Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle, and the ancient Stoic theory of Ekpyrosis, which holds that the universe is destined to be consumed in flames only to recreate itself from the ashes. Yet even as Smith’s musings careen from one topic to the next, he never loses sight of the thread that holds them all together. Indeed, if the central question of Vonnegut’s novel was how to write about a massacre, the central question of Smith’s extended essay is how to write about a book about a massacre. The big difference, of course, is that where Vonnegut could only conclude that there’s nothing sensible to say about a massacre—nothing, that is, beyond the plaintive Poo-teeweet? of singing birds—Smith finds that there’s plenty to say not only about Vonnegut’s novel in particular, but also about writing in general, and its place in our efforts to make sense of the chaotic world around us. We are capable of great savagery, it turns out, but our saving grace is that we’re ultimately a kind, compassionate, caring species. —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.




A short story is a love affair; a novel is a marriage. ―Lorrie Moore