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July 2015

Childrens
& YA Books

Your Guide to
Self-Publishing
Marketing Indie
Kids Books
Hugh Howey on
Hard Work
57 New Titles Listed
Reviews Roundup

INDIE CHILDRENS BOOKS

Not Childs Play


Marketing self-published childrens books requires appealing to both kids and adults
BY ALEX PALMER

ocial media and other online


tools have made it easier
than ever for authors to connect with readers, but
theyve also made it more
difficult for self-published titles to stand
out. Authors of self-published childrens
books, in particular, have their marketing work cut out for them. Promotions
for these titles have to appeal to two distinct groups: kids and the adults, such as
parents and grandparents, who might
buy books for them.

You must market to both the child


who will be at the library picking out his
or her book and the adult who will ultimately be the one to buy the book for the
child, says Tiffany Papageorge, who
self-published the childrens book My
Yellow Balloon. Marketing an adult book
is not nearly as complicated.
Papageorges efforts to connect with
these buyers have included an active social media presence and outreach to
mommy blogs, as well as live events at
schools and bookstores. This combination of marketing efforts and steady sales
attracted the interest of the independent
publisher Sourcebooks, which reached
out to her about setting up a traditional
publishing deal and distributing the
book. But after reviewing the costs and
benefits of a more traditional route,
Papageorge opted to continue her indie
approach.
Authors can engage parents and groups

Young readers and fans interact with models of the characters from Sharyn Shieldss book The Wisdom
of Dr. Soles, at a promotional event at the Serenbe Farmers Market outside Atlanta.

20 P U B L I S H E R S W E E K L Y J U L Y 2 7 , 2 0 1 5

on social media using the topics in their


books to start or join relevant conversations. If parents are discussing ways to
deal with bullying or making friends at
a new school, an author whose book
addresses these topics can chime in.
Full-color print editions are the norm
for childrens books, which can mean a
significant cost for each book ordered via
print-on-demand. An author can arrange
for distribution through a company like
Baker & Taylor, which will also allow
books to be advertised in its catalogs.
And services like Lulu and Amazons
CreateSpace allow for authors to print
and sell books as they are ordered.

Fan Involvement

A book often gets its most important


endorsements from fans, and that is
especially true of childrens books:
enthusiastic parents and their kids become near evangelists for the characters

INDIE CHILDRENS BOOKS

Kevin Christofora
marketed his Hometown
All Stars series to youth
sports leagues.

they love. Tapping these resources can


begin in the books planning stages, by
spreading the word through a Kickstarter or Indiegogo campaign, for example.
This helps increase awareness of an
authors project while raising money for
production and distribution, and testing
whether there is strong enough interest
to proceed.Services like Inkshares combine the crowdfunding approach with
publishing services, providing design,
printing, and distribution (and 50%
royalties) to books that meet their preorder goals.
Authors can also find more personal
ways to connect fans with their books.
Alonda Williams wrote Penny and the
Magic Puffballs, in part, to help give her
African-American daughter confidence
about wearing her hair differently from
other girls in her class. Williams connected with potential fans online by
creating a Facebook page for the character and holding a contest for parents to
take a photo of their daughters wearing
their hair in puffballs. Williams then
included some of these photos in the
back of the book, getting more interest
from followers. She then gave away a free
copy of the book each day for the 15 days
leading up to its launch.
I was able to get over 1,000 fans in
the first three days and have leveled off
at around 11,000 fans, Williams says.

The book has since sold more than 5,000


copies and she has a follow-up coming
out in a few weeks.

Create Memorable Events


Events can be a major opportunity for
childrens book authors, but a straightforward reading usually wont be
enough to keep kids attention and open
their parents pocketbooks. We have
authors that write in other genres as
well, but we find that childrens books
can be the most effective for self-pubbed
authors to get events, says
Julie Schoerke, founder of
JKS Communications, a literary publicity firm that
worked with traditionally
published authors for years
before adding self-published authors to its stable.
Childrens books lend
themselves to high-energy
interactions with young
readers. Authors looking to
make events part of their marketing
plans might want to consider ways to add
extra fun and games. For example, Sharyn
Shields recently held an event for her
book The Wisdom of Dr. Soles, about a
plain shoe who learns to accept herself for
what she is.
Shields created life-size models of the
shoe characters from her bookwith

names like Plain Jane,


Miss Diva, and Road
Runnerand performed
selections at a farmers market at the
mixed-use Serenbe urban community
outside of Atlanta. The models were
very successful in drawing children
to my table at the Serenbe Farmers Market from a distance so that I could interact with them further and get them
involved with the book, Shields says.
Reporters were also interested in
the 3-D visual display. Ive been
contacted for an interview for a
local magazine by the editor who
was impressed with the crowd
response to the life-sized models
from the book.

Distribution Challenges

Indie authors continue to face difficulties


when it comes to getting access to schools
and libraries. Its virtually impossible to
get statewide library awards that launch
an author onto summer or school reading
lists like traditionally published books,
Schoerke says.
With so many writers already struggling to get their titles noticed, indie
authors need to put extra effort into getting schools interested in hosting their
events. Kristy Shortwhose Zanda
Humphrey series includes
Operation Nice, about a fourth
grader who creates a robot to
fight bullyinggot creative
in marketing her book to
schools and parents for educational events.
What finally got me
into schools was developing
a one-hour antibullying
assembly/workshop around
[Operation Nice], Short
says. The story resonated with the
kids and the assembly was a success.
Over the years, she has spoken before
some 5,000 kids and sold a lot of
books in the process.
Kevin Christofora took a similar
approach in marketing The Hometown All
Stars, which offers instructions on the
basics of Little League baseball and aims
W W W . P U B L I S H E R S W E E K LY. C O M

21

INDIE CHILDRENS BOOKS


to both entertain kids
and offer guidance to
coaches. This means a
built-in audience, and Christofora
reached out to regional and state Little
League groups, not just to advertise the
book but to suggest ways that it could be
incorporated into the organizations
fund-raising efforts.
I offered the book at cost, so the
groups could add $5 to the registration
fee so every kid gets a free book, Christofora says. It helps to start driving education before they start their first day and
makes it easy for parents.
Shields has also found success in partnering with organizations on events and
gatherings for The Wisdom of Dr. Soles. She
offers presentations at schools, asking
teachers or administrators to recommend
students to help play characters or narrate the story in front of other students,
making the experience more engaging
for everyone. Ive also had event book-

You must market to both the


child who will be at the library
picking out his or her book
and the adult who will
ultimately be the one to
buy the book for the child.
Tiffany Papageorge,
author of My Yellow Balloon

ings with youth organizations like the


Girl Scouts and Diamond in the Rough,
Shields says. The Wisdom of Dr. Soles
gives me a fun way to teach young children that everyone has their own unique
talents and inherent value.
Papageorge urges authors to get as
much face time with the leaders of such
organizations as possible. Most organizations have their own conferences. Find
out where they are and get a booth, she
says. As much as social media can bring
about mass awareness, there truly isnt
anything as impactful or meaningful as
human-to-human contact, because presence fosters an authentic experience for
both sides.

Laura Barta made her My China Travel Journal part of a full set of interactive educational toys.

Expand the Network

Of course, authors dont have to host


actual live events to achieve marketing
success. There is an extensive community of childrens book writers worth
tapping. For example, the Society of
Childrens Book Writers and Illustrators
boasts more than 22,000
members and 70 regional
chapters, hosting conferences throughout the year
at which writers, illustrators, editors, publishers,
and agents can meet and
interact.
Authors should also never
underestimate the power of
Laura Barta
their own friends and families. My theory was to follow the money, says Mary
Stern, who self-published
her Cowboy Dog series,
about a boy, his grandmother, and the eponymous canine. I called former CEOs and executives
that I worked with during
my corporate days. They
bought hundreds of books.
Many gave books to their
employees; others donated
books to childrens hospitals.
Williams has found targeted Facebook
ads to be a crucial ingredient in building
a following and generating interest in
Penny and the Magic Puffballs. The key to
success is intimately knowing your audience before you start marketing, she
says. Social media, especially advanced

22 P U B L I S H E R S W E E K L Y J U L Y 2 7 , 2 0 1 5

analytics on Facebook, allows you to target your audience very effectively. Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram have all
been very helpful. However, Facebook
offers the best campaign targeting.
Childrens titles also lend themselves
to merchandise and giveawaysand
authors should consider
offering bookmarks, posters, or other items featuring
the books characters as
sales incentives. Laura Barta
took this approach even
further with her 2011 selfpublished book, My China
Travel Journal, which follows a pair of American
children as they visit China
and learn about its culture
and cuisine. Barta founded
Whole World Wide Toys,
a toy company, to include
the book as a learning tool
in its World Village Playset
China. The set also includes
color story cards for reading
comprehension, a fabric
play mat, and standup puzzle pieces.
I created World Village
Playsets to add an element
of creative play to the reading experience. The play mat features
several artistic details that are culturally
accurate and featured prominently in
the story line to help children become
more familiar with China, Barta says. I
believe that kids can learn in many different ways, and they can have fun while

they learn.

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INDIE SUCCESS

A+ for College Romance


An indie author hits the New York Times bestseller list with a new adult series
BY JENNIFER MCCARTNEY

fter 42 traditionally
published novels with
companies like Harlequin and NAL, Canadian
author Elle Kennedy has
found new successNew York Times
bestseller successwith her self-published romance series Off-Campus. Initially I wanted to publish it traditionally, Kennedy says of The Deal, the first
book in the series. But I kept hearing
how the new adult market was slowing
down, and how traditional pubs werent
doing enough with the genre, and that
only a select few authors were finding
success with new adult.
So, Kennedy made the decision to selfpublish, and the novel went on to hit the
USA Today bestseller list and was a top100 Kindle bestseller. The second book,
The Mistake, hit the New York Times digital bestseller list at #8 in May, as well as
the bestseller lists of the Wall Street Journal
and USA Today.
Before she began writing full-time,
Kennedy earned a degree in English literature from York University and then
worked as an English tutor and for a film
distribution company, driving to different movie theaters around Toronto,
where she lives, and making sure that
they were playing the right trailers
before the features.
I sold my first book to Silhouette
Romantic Suspense (now Harlequin
Romantic Suspense) in 2008, Kennedy
says. And at the same time also sold a
book to Harlequin Blaze and a novella to
Samhain Publishing. But this publishing hat trick didnt come without a struggle: I have stacks of rejection letters from
agents and editors, she says. Kennedy
says she enjoyed the freedom that traditional publishing offerednot having to
worry about the production process or the

business of publishing and


promoting a book. But, as
her desire to test the new
adult waters emerged, she
ventured into self-publishing with no expectations and
the feeling that she had
nothing to lose. My goal
was simply to pay off my expenses, she says, which included editing and cover
Elle Kennedy
design.
Kennedy says she chose
Kindle Direct Publishing and Draft2Digital to publish the books for both
monetary and practical reasons. Amazon, because thats where I see the most
sales with my other titles; and D2D
because I was told it was easy to use and
it allowed me to load the books to various
retailers all at once instead of publishing
individually on each site, she says. Im
not a business-minded person. I dont
like numbers and I rip my hair out if Im
trying to navigate a website thats too
complicated, so I just wanted something
that was easy. The biggest challenge of
self-publishing was the added stress of
being 100% responsible for the finished
product, she says. My brain hurts when
I have to consider pricing or go over every word before I hit publish because
Im afraid Ill do something wrong, she
says. I found the experience stressful,
not just the business stuff, but the promo
and marketing as well. To ease the
workload of promoting and marketing
the book herself, Kennedy hired a publicist for the series, which helped get the
book in front of bloggers and reviewers
and create a bit of buzz. With this series,
it was so great to see peoples thoughts
on Twitter or see them recommending
the book to their friends.
The Off-Campus series isnt as steamy

24 P U B L I S H E R S W E E K L Y J U L Y 2 7 , 2 0 1 5

as Kennedys other books


she says she considered using
a pen name so that fans of her
very dirty adult romances
or romantic suspense titles
wouldnt be disappointed. I
was worried they might not
respond well to a college
romance with younger characters and not as much sex/
suspense, she explains. In
the end, however, she says
her longtime fans enjoyed
the new book, and she gained additional
new adult readers who were unfamiliar
with her other works. The story line follows Hannah, a student who agrees to
tutor the obnoxious captain of the college
hockey team in exchange for a pretend
date, which she hopes will make her crush
jealous. While the alpha-male hockey
player may seem like a classic Canadian
character, Kennedy says most of her readers are American, and her books are mostly set in the U.S. I love doing research,
so whenever I set a book somewhere outside Canada, I get to research the heck out
of it and oftentimes visit that place,
which is a ton of fun, she says.
As for self-publishing, Kennedy says
that while its not for everyone, it is
something that authors should try if
theyre considering it. I know other authors who love the experience and the
freedom it gives them, and theyve had
great success with self-publishing, she
says. If youre like me and youre only
interested in the creative side, then doing
all that extra work might not be fun for
you. Kennedy says that writing is still
the part of the process that brings her the
most joy: Honestly, for me, a success is
getting positive feedback from readers.
It doesnt matter if a book sells 10 copies

or 1,000 copies.

THE WORK OF WRITING

The Myth of
The Lazy Writer
Its all hard workwhether you do it yourself or with a publishers help
BY HUGH HOWEY

he hardest part of getting a book published is the


actual writing. All it takes to see this is the number of people who dream of publishing a book but
never manage to hammer out a rough draft. I
spent 20 years trying to write my first novel before I finally pulled it off. Its not unusual for an aspiring writer to struggle for years and never produce a finished product to
submit to agents or editors.
Once the hard part is done and a draft is written, there are
two basic routes a writer can take. Much ink has been spilled
over the past few years about the rise of self-publishingeven
though the route predates Mark Twain and Benjamin Franklin.
To self-publish requires hiring cover artists, editors, and typesetters or learning to do these things on ones own. The difficult task of emailing a cover artist to hire her services is
often used to frighten authors away from self-publishing. Thats because theres a myth that authors are
lazy, and a myth that some authors merely write for
a living. No such creature has ever existed.
The alternative to self-publishing is to sign over
your work to a traditional press. It sources the cover
artist, editor, and typesetter for you. In exchange, it
takes most of the income. This is sold as a fair deal,
especially since it is said that publishers support
authors while they write their novels by providing a livable advance. This is yet another
myth: authors produce their first works
while working another job; they are not
given a years salary because they have an
idea.
What is being sold with these myths is
the notion that the self-published author
works extra hard beyond the writing, while all
other writers simply craft their drafts and FedEx
the results to agents in New York. Having published along both routes, I can attest that the
amount of work either way is roughly equal.
Learning to query agents took me longer than
learning how to self-publish.

Successful authors work their butts off either


way. There is no such thing as a lazy successful
author. With a publisher or not, the author will
be expected to market themselves. They will do interviews and
go on grueling book tours, or they will be asked to write blog
posts, to read and blurb other books from the publisher, and so
on. Both sets of authors will be expected to engage with their
readers on Twitter and Facebook. They will do signings at bookstores, or they will sit at craft fairs. The ones who eke out even
a part-time living will outwork their colleagues who dont.
Forty hours of writing on top of a full-time job and caring for a
family is the norm.
The real difference between self-publishing and signing with
a traditional publisher comes down not to the amount of work
involved, or the risk incurred, but to the amount of confidence
an author has in her work. There is enormous risk either way.
Copious amounts of time can be spent writing a novel and submitting it to agents, only to see the draft die in a drawer, never
to sell a single copy. The same risk is taken when self-publishing, except that you know your mom will buy one copy. No, the
real difference is whether or not a writer wants to punch a clock
or strike out on her own.
Self-publishing is the difference between owning and renting. If it seems like self-published authors work harder than
other authors, this is merely a function of the reward mechanisms of ownership, rather than the rigors required of one path
over the other. Owners of small businesses understand this.
Rather than clock out at the end of their shift, they know that
if they put in more time, the rewards will stay with them
and their family. Anyone who has owned a home understands the allure and thrill of sweat equity. Its not work
when its for yourself. Renters are happy to do as little
as possible to get by. Why pour sweat into someone
elses bucket?
There is no such thing as a lazy author. To have finished the work, all authors have taken the most grueling
of steps. What comes after is not a question of
what is required of them for success along
their path, but what is compelled by the
psychological rewards of ownership over
non-ownership. We shouldnt confuse the
gleeful impetus to knuckle down as
anything other than pride. That
writer who strikes out on her own
knows she might fail, but she
knows that she might lose her old
job anyway. And, if she goes
down, shes going to go down

swingingher way.
Hugh Howey is the New York Times bestselling author of Wool, Sand, and The Shell Collector. He is
currently building a boat to sail around the world.
W W W . P U B L I S H E R S W E E K LY. C O M

25

NEW SELFPUBLISHED TITLES

New Titles
from Self-Publishers
Booksellers, publishers, librarians, and agents are encouraged to look at the
57 self-published titles listed below, with descriptions provided by their authors.
Some of these writers are waiting to be discovered; others have a track record and
a following and are doing it on their own. If you are a self-published author interested in listing titles in this section, please visit publishersweekly.com/pw-select
for more information.
FICTION
Cold Havana Tomb
Mark A. Dean. Aspy Press. $9.95 paper
(256p), ISBN 978-151430411-2;
$3.95 e-book,
ASIN B00Z85CEH4
Amazon
Burying Uncle
Manolos ashes in Havana
was not supposed to end in
a searing examination of
Martha Warrens life choices. But staring
down into his tomb, she learns a terrifying truth.
The Dark Side of Glory
Richard McMahon. Telemachus Press.
$14 paper (360p), ISBN 978-1-94074574-9; $2.99 e-book,
ISBN 978-1-93992746-0
Amazon, BN.com,
Ingram, Smashwords
The biographer of a
respected Army general
discovers a concealed murder, a secret
mistress, a baffling mystery, and a tragic
love in a world of surprises where nothing
is as it seems.
Forgotten Soldiers
Warren Martin. Little Elephant
Publishing. $16.99 paper (360p),
ISBN 978-0-9854727-0-2; $2.99
e-book, ISBN 978-0-9854727-1-9

Amazon
A cold war POW/MIA
mystery surrounding an
Air Force captain shot
down in Vietnam and the
untold story of why he
never returned home.
Hiatus
Belangela G. Tarazona. CreateSpace. $10
paper (188p), ISBN 978-87-93239-12-8;
$2.50 e-book, ASIN
B00WWUQXA2
Amazon, BN.com
A moving tale of
repression, regret, and
redemption.
Hot Box in the Pizza District
Thomas Keech. Real Nice Books. $24.95
hardcover (272p), ISBN 978-0-98369902-6; $2.99 e-book, ISBN 978-09836990-7-1
Amazon, Apple iBooks,
BN.com, Kobo
Tim and his two
20-year-old housemates
search for sex and love and
meaningful work, but their
search is distorted by the aftereffects of
wrenching betrayals, past and present.
Men Against Women
Laura McKinny. Stones Throw Press.
$19.95 paper (349p), ISBN 978-0-

26 P U B L I S H E R S W E E K L Y J U L Y 2 7 , 2 0 1 5

9962351-0-5
Amazon
The year 1984: Morgan,
a cop and single mom,
transfers to Los Angeless
77th District, where she
finds animosity on the
force due to a secret club called Men
Against Women.
Tub of Spiders
Jennifer Patterson and David Rowell
Workman. Lemon Press Publishing.
$15.99 paper (246p), ISBN 978-1936617-26-5
Amazon, BN.com,
Powells
Sara has become the
object of Russs obsession
after a horrible event, one
more that contributes to
the psychopathic behavior that makes
him into the killer he is.
Waiting and Other Stories
Joseph Richardson. CreateSpace. $9.95
paper (190p), ISBN 978-1-5121-9609-2;
$2.99 e-book, ASIN B00XZ6M08Q
Amazon, BN.com, BooksA-Million
A collection of short stories that range from the life
of a young inner-city boy to
stories from the early
1930s, when the writer

NEW SELFPUBLISHED TITLES


lived on a small central Florida farm.

MYSTERY/THRILLER
Cathedral of Salt
Anthony LaRose. CreateSpace.
$7.99 paper (197p),
ISBN 978-1-5120-7684-4;
99 e-book,
ASIN B00XIFFDOM
Amazon, BN.com
Hungover and fresh
from the floor of a
Colombian jail, an FBI forensic pathologist must invoke all of his expertise to
help solve a mysterious murder in the
Cathedral of Salt.
Double Identity
Jaye C. Blakemore. Outskirts Press.
$29.95 hardcover (360p), ISBN 978-14787-5393-3; $21.95
paper (502p), ISBN 978-14787-5380-3; $3.99
e-book
Amazon, Apple iBooks,
BN.com, Flipkart, Kobo,
Oyster, Scribd,
Smashwords, Txtr
Identical twins and secret lives...
Romance, deceit, murder, and revenge...
After bizarre twists of circumstances, the
twins finally experience dual lives come
together as one.
Here After
Sean Costello. Red Tower Publications.
99 e-book, ASIN B00QBA31V8
Amazon, Apple iBooks,
BN.com, Kobo, Page
Foundry, Scribd
Following the death of
his 10-year-old son, physician Peter Croft embarks
on a search for a missing
child, pitting himself against an adversary whose own obsession defies all
reason.
Illusion of Splendor
J.D. Easley. Waterton Publishing. $17
paper (350p), ISBN 978-0-615-68604-2;
$5.99 e-book, ASIN B00L2LLKUK
Amazon, BN.com, Ingram

A thriller that takes the


reader on a journey from
the illusion to the heart of
splendor.
The Italian Rose
Christina Mitchell.
Papillon Publishing. $9.99 e-book,
ISBN 978-0-9961282-0-9
Amazon, BN.com,
Smashwords
Angelina witnesses a
brutal massacre.
Compelled to avenge the
dead, she enters the killers
home and finds she has
only a few options to prevent her own death or something far
worse.
The Mountain Place of Knowledge
Marshall Chamberlain. The Grace
Publishing Group. $22.99 paper (404p),
ISBN 978-1-4935-5435-5; $1.99 e-book
Amazon, Apple iBooks, BN.com, Kobo,
Smashwords
The burial chamber of a Mayan sorceress
is uncovered atop a sacrificial pyramid in
western Belize. Ancient
texts in the chamber reveal
a secret entrance to the
inside of a mountain. A
flash of mysterious blue
light brings death to a
U.N. official, and investigators are sent to Belize to discover the
source and locate the secret mountain
entrance. An adventure into plausible
reality.

Fernando Fernandez, PI.


Psycho-Tropics
Dorian Box. Friction Press. $15.99 paper
(462p), ISBN 978-0-692-37135-0;
$2.99 e-book, ASIN B00T10KNL6
Amazon, BN.com
A high school reunion
unburies the past,
launching a laidback surfer
on a twisted journey of
mayhem and mystery
through the Sunshine State
in search of a missing woman.
Sahara
Angella Ricot.
AuthorHouse. $19.99
paper, ISBN 978-1-49692415-5; $3.99 e-book,
ISBN 978-1-4969-2414-8
Amazon, BN.com
Saharas entanglements trigger a

Paradise Undercover:
The Adventures of the Caribbeans
Top Private Investigator
Fernando Fernandez, PI Covert
Intelligence. $15.95 paper (348p),
ISBN 978-0-9861059-0-6
Amazon, BN.com
Dressing up as a priest,
chasing a phantom airplane across the Caribbean,
tracking down the family
of a mysterious foreigner
its all in a days work for
W W W . P U B L I S H E R S W E E K LY. C O M

27

NEW SELFPUBLISHED TITLES


domino effect of political
games and dangerous liaisons that will turn the White House
upside down.
Seared
Sandra Gustafsson.
CreateSpace. $12 paper
(310p), ISBN 978-15119-4431-1;
$2.99 e-book,
ASIN B00VDJQ0DS
Amazon, BN.com
Helena is incarcerated, but what has
she done? A psychological thriller that
depicts a broken womans desperate
attempts to create a life worth living.
Window of Exposure
Roccie Hill. CreateSpace. $20 paper
(238p), 978-1-5053-4409-7;
$4.99 e-book,
ASIN B00VVHPU8I
Rocciehill.com, Amazon,
BN.com
When terrorists capture
an American CEO in
France, former F-16 pilot
Kate Cardenas leads the Defense
Intelligence Agency team in a covert
operation to rescue the businessman.
Witches Protection Program
Michael Phillip Cash. Chelshire.
$11.99 paper (238p), ISBN 978-151141134-9; 99 e-book,
ASIN B00YANTA4K
Amazon, BN.com
In a tongue-in-cheek
alternate reality, witches
cast spells and wreak havoc
in modern-day New York
City.

SF/FANTASY/HORROR
Artificial Absolutes:
A Jane Colt Novel
Mary Fan. Red Adept
Publishing. $16.99
paper (376p), ISBN 978-1940215-03-7; $5.99 e-book,
ASIN B00BJBW5B6
Amazon, Apple iBooks, BN.com, Kobo

A friends kidnapping and a murderous


plot targeting her brother send Jane Colt
on a search for the truth that takes her
across the stars, through cyberspace, and
into the Fringe.
The Bleeding Heart
Amy Giuffrida.
CreateSpace. $12.99 paper
(316p), ISBN 978-1-51192782-6; $4.99 e-book,
ISBN 978-1-311-87371-2
Amazon, BN.com, Smashwords
Brooklyn is a talented artist with an
obsession for blood, one that she satiates
at her uncles tattoo shop. Then Daniel
comes into her life, bringing desire of a
different kind.
The Caloris Rim Project
Glenn P. MacDonald. FriesenPress.
$17.99 paper (352p), ISBN 978-1-46024685-6; $5.99 e-book, ISBN 978-14602-4686-3
Friesen Press, Abebooks,
Alibris, Amazon, Apple
iBooks, BN.com, Indigo,
Kobo
Maj. Frank Rawdon is a
pawn in a power struggle
full of riddles, alien prophecy, and forbidden ambition out of the Tower of
Babel. In 2250 C.E., the future of the past
is unstoppable.

Cornwall, England,
1193. A woman defends
the manor during Prince
Johns rebellion and discovers she is rumored to be
the heir to King Arthurs
sword, Caliburn.
A Light Within
Dana Alexander. Dana Alexander. $11.95
paper (228p), ISBN 978-0-692-20512-9;
$3.99 e-book, ASIN B00O2N43N6
Amazon, Apple iBooks, BN.com, Kobo,
Page Foundry, Scribd
Loyalty beyond life
itself... Desire that whispers to defy an oath... At
risk is all theyve ever
shared and a future they
hope to keep.
Lux et Tenebrae:
The Three Siblings, Vol. 1
Jesse Wolfe. CreateSpace. $13.95 paper
(192p), ISBN 978-1-5087-2009-6;
$4.99 e-book, ASIN B00UB7IFO0
Theurbanwriter3.com,
Amazon
A supernatural thriller
about three siblings, their
ties to one another, those
they meet, and their supernatural heritage.

February 29th
Frank McCaughey. CreateSpace. $10.49
paper (278p), ISBN 978-1-5087-2856-6;
$3.99 e-book, ASIN B00U00DE8K
Amazon
A quirky and chaotic
tale of twin brothers Frank
and Jimmy, whose simple
lives start to unravel when
Franks big mouth gets
them in trouble with a
mysterious shopkeeper.

Night of the Fae


(Ana Martin Series, Vol. 1)
Lyneal Jenkins. Jenton Publishing.
$13.99 paper (370p), ISBN 978-150047689-2; $2.99 e-book,
ASIN B00A5S66N2
Amazon, BN.com, Smashwords
After being saved from
certain death, Ana is drawn
into the secret world of the
Siis. Can she survive? More
importantly, can she do it
with her mind intact?

Gwendolyns Sword
E.A. Haltom. E.A. Haltom. $13.99 paper
(354p), ISBN 978-0-9963073-0-7;
$3.99 e-book, ASIN B00KBAK6H6
Amazon, BN.com, BookBaby, Ingram

Beyond a Darkened Sky


Dana Alexander. Dana Alexander. $11.95
paper (282p), ISBN 978-0-615-93844-8;
$2.99 e-book

28 P U B L I S H E R S W E E K L Y J U L Y 2 7 , 2 0 1 5

ROMANCE/EROTICA

NEW SELFPUBLISHED TITLES


Dragons Guide to Slaying Virgins
Isabelle Saint-Michael. Otherworld
Romance. $16.99 paper (452p),
ISBN 978-0-9908665-9-6; $2.99
e-book, ISBN 978-09908665-8-9
Amazon, Apple iBooks,
BN.com, Powells,
Smashwords
Half romance, half fantasy, this novel with a
female lead has humor, tragedy, love,
revenge, betrayal, and loyalty. Contains
steamy love scenes and rousing battle
scenes.

Amazon, Apple iBooks,


BN.com, Kobo, Page
Foundry, Scribd
What if the life you live
were only a facade, your
dreams a true reflection of
your identity, and what if
those worlds collided?

901-5; $9.99 e-book


Estherspina.com, Amazon,
BN.com, Readerslegacy.com
Contemporary illustrations of women
who have lived ambitious lives and what
we can learn from them. Women with
passion, confidence, and consistency in
their everyday lives.
Before, Afdre, and After
(My Stroke...
Oh What Fun)
Maureen Twomey.
Maureen Twomey.
$16.95 paper (316p),
ISBN 978-0-9863315-0-3;
$8.95 e-book
Amazon, BN.com, IndieBound
When Twomey was only 33 years old,
she had a huge strokeone that took
away her ability to read, write, walk, and
even speak. But she wasnt about to go
down without a fight.

Candidate:
A Love Story
Tracy Ewens. Tracy Ewens.
$11.05 paper (276p),
ISBN 978-0-99085713-6; $2.99 e-book,
ASIN B00XTJGGPW
Amazon, BN.com,
NONFICTION
NetGalley
The Ambitious Woman:
Kate is doing public relations for
What It Takes and Why
Gradys father, a U.S. senator. Tensions
You Want to Be One
between Kate and Grady grow until there
Esther Spina. Next
is no denying they are falling in love
Century Publishing.
behind the facade they both need to keep
$21.95 hardcover (222p),
BOOKWORKS_HALF_H_0715_Layout
1 7/24/15 10:12 AM
1
in place.
ISBNPage
978-1-62903-

Calling all Indie Authors


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Help You Find Your Reader

Chat With Our Experts

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for Your Book

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Let us help you Prepare, Publish and Promote your books. We show you how to make
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W W W . P U B L I S H E R S W E E K LY. C O M

29

NEW SELFPUBLISHED TITLES


Catching the Wind
Norman Yee. Xlibris.
$48.38 hardcover (726p), ISBN 978-14990-1882-0; $32.25 paper
(726p), ISBN 978-1-49901883-7
Amazon. BN.com, Devia
Bookshop, USP Book Centre,
Xlibris
An inspiring and humorous
memoir of a civil
aviation veterans family,
work, and spirtual life after
his dramatic encounter
with God. Yee hopes the
book helps readers catch
the wind of success.
The Crazy and the Damned: An OCD
Memoir; A Story of Hope and Victory
Robert Lanni. Robert Lanni. $13.95
paper (146p), ISBN 9780-9963715-0-6
Ocdmemoir.com, Amazon
This memoir chronicles
the authors victory over
obsessive-compulsive disorder.
Offended:
Be Offended Not Offensive,
a Blog to Book
Nicholas Andrew Stewart. Blurb. $15.63
paper (26p), ISBN 978-1-320-12105-7
Amazon
A self-help book that
aims to provide people
with helpful thoughts
when dealing with the
effects of offensive communication.
YHWH Exists
Jodell Onstott. Emmanuel Academic
Publishing. $59 hardcover (1,184p),
ISBN 978-0-9753375-0-9
Amazon
Onstott uses scientific and
archaeological evidence to
prove the events in the Bible
valid while demonstrating
that ancient Israels constitution provides solutions to
modern political issues.

CHILDRENS/YA FICTION
The Adventures of Daniel:
Introduction
Rene Ghazarian, illus. by
Sebastian Schug.
AuthorHouse. $19.99 paper
(30p), ISBN 978-1-50490895-5
Amazon, AuthorHouse,
BN.com
Would you like to make a new friend?
His name is Daniel. Daniel has a cute dog
named Sparky. Lets meet Daniel, Sparky,
and Daniels family. First in a series of five
books.
Alex and the Messy Monster
Vanessa Newman, illus. by Sarah Masse.
Blurb. $29.95 paper (32p), ISBN 978-1320-66226-0
Blurb
Five-year-old
Alex does not think
that messes amount
to anything. Yet he
must meet, negotiate, and tame a monster
to have peace and happiness.
Ascendant
(Book One of the Ascendant Trilogy)
Rebecca Taylor. Ophelia House. $11.99
paper (452p), ISBN 978-0-9797353-1-8;
$2.99 e-book, ASIN
B00VFDC0QS
Amazon, Apple iBooks,
BN.com, Books-AMillion, Kobo, Powells,
Tattered Cover
Winner of the 2014
Colorado Book Award (for young adult
literature). Charlotte must try to solve a
stone puzzle boxa clue to her familys
strange past and her mothers disappearance.
The Battle for Darracia
Michael Phillip Cash. Chelshire.
$19.99 paper (542p),
ISBN 978-1-5118-3154-3
Amazon
Struggling with his identity, 19-year-old Prince
Vsair must harness the

30 P U B L I S H E R S W E E K L Y J U L Y 2 7 , 2 0 1 5

power of the secret to a warriors heart in


order to overcome his uncle Staf Nuens
lust for supremacy. This volume combines
the first three books in the series.
Crossbone Children
and the Orphans of
Avalon
Greg Ellis. G.J. Ellis.
$2.99 e-book,
ASIN B00UE9IBB2
Amazon
In the 17th and 18th centuries,
England sent orphans to the countrys colonies because of labor shortages. This
group became feared pirates.
The Desire for a New Beginning
Norma Liza Olivas. Norma Liza Olivas.
$13.99 paper (238p), ISBN 978-1-49513224-7
Normalolivas.com
After a tragedy,
Katherine is desperate to
restart her life. Suddenly
drawn into a vampire war,
Katherine discovers her
true strength as she fights to protect her
mother and boyfriend.
Elvis the Penguin
Kara Casanova, illus. by Anne Lipscomb.
The Casanova Group.
$12.95 paper (44p),
ISBN 978-0-98617630-2
Elvisthepenguin.com,
Amazon, BN.com
A penguin with a
pompadour wants to sing and perform
like his famous namesake, Elvis Presley.
Emerge: The Awakening
Melissa A. Craven. Midnight Hour
Studio. $12.99 paper (424p),
ISBN 978-0-9909819-9-2; $4.99 e-book,
ISBN 978-0-9909819-7-8
Amazon
Allie Carmichael has
always believed life is
simple: youre born, you
live, you die. After the violent Awakening of her

NEW SELFPUBLISHED TITLES


immortality, she discovers those rules
have never applied to her.
Kobee Manatee:
A Wild Weather Adventure
Robert Scott Thayer, illus. by Lauren
Gallegos. Thompson
Mill Press. $16.99
hardcover (32p), ISBN
978-0-9883269-4-1
Amazon, BN.com
Kobee Manatee
wants to surprise his sister Kim on her
birthday. But he and his friends Tess and
Pablo must travel through the mighty
Atlantic Ocean. Will they have a safe
trip?
Kung Fu Kitty: Laying Down the Law
Lauri Bortz, illus. by Michael Gentile.
Abaton Book Co. $9.99 paper (80p),
ISBN 978-0-9816550-1-7
Abatonbookcompany.com,
Amazon
A retelling of Exodus
set in ancient China,
where formerly enslaved
cats attain a homeland and
learn to live peaceably under the guidance
of a wise and loving kung fu master.
The Lethian
Rufi Angel. Rufi Angel.
$11.99 e-book,
ASIN B00ZY4JU80
Thelethian.com, Amazon
In seeking a way to
avenge her family, Sharie becomes the
first disciple of Jeremiah, a Lethian
martial artist. In her pursuit, she learns
what it means to be truly strong.
Mind Over Bullies: A MOB Forms
D.K. Smith. Khamicom. $13.50 paper
(378p), ISBN 978-1-5118-2563-4;
$3.99 e-book, ASIN B00ZMCBQEK
Amazon
A group of unlikely
heroes will try to solve a
citywide mystery and teach
a few bullies a lesson or two
along the way.

The Oak Tree


J. Steven Spires, illus. by Jonathan Caron.
Inspired Books. $18.99 hardcover (32p),
ISBN 978-0-9858469-4-7; $12.99 paper
(32p), ISBN 978-0-9858469-5-4
Jstevenspires.com, Amazon
A timely story of love
and family in the midst of
a storm that tells of resilience in the face of total
disaster.
The Pharaohs Cat
Maria Luisa Lang. Maria Luisa Lang.
$7.99 paper (184p), ISBN 978-09963352-0-1; $3.99
e-book, ASIN
B00ZYJUONU
Amazon, BN.com
A stray cat in ancient
Egypt suddenly finds himself with human powers
joined to his feline nature and becomes
the pharaohs constant companion.
Picture of Grace
Josh Armstrong, illus. by Taylor Bills.
Josh Armstrong. $17.09 hardcover (34p),
ISBN 978-0-9862370-0-3; $1.99
e-book, ISBN 978-0-9862370-2-7
Amazon, BN.com
Six-year-old Grace
honors her grandfather in
a special way, and in
doing so, learns an
incredible secret about
his final painting.

CreateSpace. $10.99 paper


(42p), ISBN 978-1-50094121-5
Amazon, BN.com
What does it mean to be an
Earthling in a vast universe? In
this picture book, a brother
and sisterEarthlingsintroduce the reader to their world.
33 Degrees
Vincent Robert Annunziato. CreateSpace.
$3.49 e-book, ASIN B00VXACR1Q;
$12.99 paper (226p),
ISBN 978-1-51415406-9
Amazon
Cast down a hole by his
parents, Javin cannot figure
out why. Surviving alone on
wit, strength, and guile is not easy in a
world where it is too warm to die and too
cold to live.
The Thirsty Camel
Peter McDonald, illus. by Lore Ruttan.
Dog Ear Publishing. $14.95 paper
(284p), ISBN 978-1-4575-3240-5
AbeBooks, Alibris, Amazon, Biblio,
BN.com, Books-A-Million, Powells
The Thirsty Camel thought he had seen
everything on the caravan trails from Cairo
to Juba to Isfahan. But
after he met the darkeyed boy, he acquired
all sorts of uncamel-like skills.

CHILDRENS/YA NONFICTION
Saving Annies Mountain
Children of Wind Dance Farm, illus. by
ORyan. Cold Run Books. $18.99 hardcover (38p), ISBN 978-0-9790808-1-4
Amazon
A protest in West
Virginia coal
country takes on
new meaning when
four children meet a feisty old woman
who witnessed the original battle for
miners rights in 1921.
Space Creatures
Barbara Weisberg, illus. by Kate Arnold.

E Is for Election Day


Gloria M. Gavris, illus. by Shawn
McCann. Checkers Book Press. $17.95
hardcover (32p), ISBN 978-0-99628810-1; $8.95 paper (32p), ISBN 978-09962881-2-5
Eisforelectionday.com, Amazon, Follett
School Solutions
An educational A-to-Z tour of the
sights and sounds of the
American electoral process to engage children
in the excitement of politics, voting, and democracy. For grades 35.
W W W . P U B L I S H E R S W E E K LY. C O M

31

Reviews Roundup
This month, we reviewed 25 self-published titles submitted via BookLife,
Publishers Weeklys website dedicated to indie authors. Among the latest highlights are Ruth Kaufmans Follow Your Heart, KaraLynne Mackrorys Haunting
Mr. Darcy, and Chip Wagars The Carpathlan Assignment.

Fiction
The 228 Legacy
Jennifer J. Chow. Martin Sisters, $16.95 trade paper (322p)
ISBN 978-1-62553-039-4

Aundy
Shanna Hatfield. Shanna Hatfield, $2.99 e-book (3,304p)
ASIN B00D1FYKUM

The Automation (The Circo Del Herrero Series, Book 1)


G.B. Gabbler. SOB, $14.99 trade paper (376p) ISBN 978-0-692-25971-9

Haunting Mr. Darcy:


A Spirited Courtship
KaraLynne Mackrory. Meryton, $12.95 trade paper (286p)
ISBN 978-1-936009-35-0

ackrorys affinity for the works


of Jane Austen shines in her
tender and touching haunted
rendition of Pride and Prejudice.
Elizabeth and Jane Bennett attend a
New Years Eve assembly at Meryton,
where Elizabeth cruelly wishes for Mr.
Darcy to want something [he] cannot
have. Shortly after the sisters leave,
their carriage is wrecked, and Elizabeth is knocked into a
coma. But Darcys New Years wish to see Elizabeth once
again is answered when her spirit appears in his library.
As they develop a mutual affection and Darcy clears up
Elizabeths misconceptions regarding Mr. Wickham, they
realize that despite their inability to touch each other,
their admiration is turning into a much deeper emotion.
But Darcy cant have a future with Elizabeth the ghost and
must determine how to reunite her with her physical body
and revive her. Mackrorys lilting prose is pleasantly reminiscent of Austens, and readers will enjoy this unique
twist to the familiar tale.

32

P U B L I S H E R S W E E K LY J U LY 2 7 , 2 0 1 5

The Carpathian Assignment:


The True History of the Apprehension and Death
of Dracula Vlad Tepes, Count and Voivode of the
Principality of Transylvania
Chip Wagar. CreateSpace, $11.85 trade paper (326p)
ISBN 978-1-495498-90-9

The Flip
Michael Phillip Cash. CreateSpace, $12 trade paper (200p)
ASIN B00KDOZY6I

Follow Your Heart


Ruth Kaufman. Ruth Kaufman, $2.99 e-book (246p) ASIN B00TYM7XBE

Middle Waters
John Clarke. Wet Street, $12.95 trade paper (374p)
ISBN 978-0-9863749-1-3

Mythborn II: Bane of the Warforged


Vijay Lakshman. Vijay Lakshman, $24.99 trade paper (625p)
ISBN 978-0-9850620-2-6

Neverending Beginnings
Mary Chris Escobar. CreateSpace, $10.99 trade paper (100p)
ISBN 978-1-5119-0220-5

A Pledge of Better Times


Margaret Porter. Gallica Press, $14.95 trade paper (414p)
ISBN 978-0-9907420-4-3

Quiver of the Pure Heart


Burnita Bluitt. Bookstand Publishing, $2.99 e-book (274p)
ISBN 978-1-5028-3527-7

Stillwell: A Haunting on Long Island


Michael Phillip Cash. CreateSpace, $12 trade paper (192p)
ASIN B00DGYLHQ8

The Time Slip Girl


Elizabeth Andre. Tulabella Ruby, $3.99 e-book (238p)
ASIN B00WAUWB8C

reviews roundup

A Truth Stranger than Fiction:


A Dakota Stevens Mystery
Chris Orcutt. Have Pen, Will Travel, $16 trade paper (396p)
ISBN 978-0-692352-57-1

Where Shadows Linger


Mary D. Brooks. Ausxip $5.50 e-book (639p) ASIN B00VQHFO5M

Zen and the Art of Cannibalism


Daniel Younger. Mutant Panda, $13.99 trade paper (317p)
ISBN 978-1-5117-9407-7

Nonfiction
Dare to Be Your Own Boss:
Follow Your Passion, Create a Niche
Maya Sullivan. Synergy, $22.99 trade paper (344p)
ISBN 978-0-9907-5420-6

A Long Way from Paris


E.C. Murray. Plicata, $16 trade paper (280p) ISBN 978-0-9903102-1-1

Ohana
Theia Mey. Theia Mey, $3.99 e-book (224p) ASIN B00O85KY2M

The Perpetual Paycheck:


5 Secrets to Getting a Job, Keeping a Job, and
Earning Income for Life in the Loyalty-Free Workplace
Lori B. Rassas. CreateSpace, $18.99 trade paper (194p)
ISBN 978-1-5087-9352-6

Uprise:
Back Pain Liberation, by Tuning Your Body Guitar

Get one.

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Sean Wheeler. Body Guitar, $24.95 (209p) ISBN 978-0-692-29649-3

A Year Unplugged:
A Familys Life Without Technology
Sharael Kolberg. Sharael Kolberg, $15.99 trade paper (390p)
ISBN 978-0-9889610-4-3

Childrens/YA
Into a Million Pieces
Angela V. Cook. Red Adept, $11.99 paper (202p)
ISBN 978-1-940215-38-9

Jala and the Wolves


Marti Dumas. Yes, Mam Creations/Plum Street Press, $5.99 paper
(98p) ISBN 978-1-943169-00-9

Support for

INDIE AUTHORS
from Publishers Weekly

Simon
Michael Mullin. Gemiknight Press, $12.99 paper (254p)
ISBN 978-0-9851884-7-4

booklife.com

W W W . P U B L I S H E R S W E E K LY. C O M

33

Reviews
Fiction
The 228 Legacy
Jennifer J. Chow. Martin Sisters, $16.95 trade
paper (322p) ISBN 978-1-62553-039-4

Members of three generations of a


Taiwanese familywidow Silk, her
daughter, Lisa, and her granddaughter,
Abbeyare embroiled in their own personal struggles, but the three of them
come together as Silks difficult battle
with breast cancer upends her life and
forces her to open up to a daughter with
whom she has little in common. Set in Los
Angeles in 1980, Chow depicts how each
woman must face
the parts of their
lives that do not
measure up, from
Silks stony reserve
and refusal to
address past hurts,
to Lisas unwillingness to commit
herself to any particular path, to
Abbeys struggle to fit in with peers who
see her as an outsider. As the three face
their own personal demons, their growth
also allows them to open up more fully to
one another, changing the way that they
see one another even as their separate
worldviews begin to evolve. While this
story is touching in its depiction of the
characters changing relationships, the
language of the narrative is literal and
spare, favoring simplicity and precision
over metaphor and elegance, which makes
the dialogue seem stilted, formal, and
sometimes awkward. Still, this is a
pleasant read.

Aundy
Shanna Hatfield. Shanna Hatfield, $2.99
e-book (3304p) ASIN B00D1FYKUM

This insipid historical romance from


Hatfield (the Pendleton Petticoats series)
lacks the development that would let the
reader connect to the characters. In 1899,

Aundy Thorsen arrives in Pendleton,


Ore., after answering an ad for a mailorder bride. When an accident leaves her a
widow on her wedding day, she sets out to
run the farm left to her by her husband,
despite her lack of farm knowledgebut
shes rejected by
farmhands and
neighbors who
dont feel its
appropriate for a
woman to be in
charge. Aundys
neighbor,
Garrett Nash,
knows the obstacles Aundy will face, and he does all he
can to assist her, despite her claims that
she can fend for herself. When danger
becomes apparent, and her attraction to
the handsome rancher becomes too great
to ignore, Aundy must swallow her pride
and let go of her past, in order to grab
hold of a brighter future. The chemistry
between Aundy and Garrett is drowned
out by lengthy descriptions of farm
chores, and the slow pace and dull narrative will fail to hold the readers interest.

The Automation
(The Circo Del Herrero Series,
Book 1)
G.B. Gabbler. SOB, $14.99 trade paper
(376p) ISBN 978-0-692-25971-9

Naggingly self-conscious but somehow


charming, this urban fantasy revolves
around a fast and furious updating of
Greek myth. In
the distant past,
the god Vulcan
created a handful
of Automatons
metallic but
malleable beings
capable of soulsharing with a
human being
to serve as protectors of humanity. Now
the Automatons are distributed among an
eclectic and decidedly eccentric bunch

33a P U B L I S H E R S W E E K L Y J U L Y 2 7 , 2 0 1 5

known as the Masters, some of whom are


actively plotting against the others. All
this is explained later in the book, long
after ignorant protagonist Odys Odelyn
receives the gift of a sexy copper
Automaton and becomes the focus of the
other Masters suspicions and schemes.
Its obvious that many games are being
played at different levels. Unfortunately,
the writer is so determined to be clever
that interjections and footnotes keep mercilessly pulling readers away from the
action. Nevertheless, the complicated
story is amusing, and interesting characters do peek out through gaps in the archsupercilious writing.

The Carpathian Assignment:


The True History of the Apprehension and Death of Dracula Vlad
Tepes, Count and Voivode of the
Principality of Transylvania
Chip Wagar. CreateSpace, $11.85 trade
paper (326p) ISBN 978-1-495498-90-9

Wagar effectively introduces pioneering sexual pathology expert Richard,


Baron von Krafft-Ebing into the Dracula
story, in whats
billed as an
unabridged version of Bram
Stokers tale. In
1896, Kalvary
Istvanrecently
retired from the
Austrian army,
depressed, and at
loose endsgets a
new lease on life when hes appointed the
chief of police of Transylvanias Bistritz
district. On taking up his new post,
Istvan is alarmed to learn that his predecessor has disappeared without trace and
that the authorities suspect a serial killer,
who has slaughtered on a massive scale, is
at work in the region. Word of Istvans
investigation reaches Vienna, where
Krafft-Ebing has partnered with Sigmund
Freud on a government grant to apply
their breakthroughs into the human mind

REVIEWS
to studying criminal behavior. Readers
looking for a different angle on a classic
will be rewarded.

The Flip
Michael Phillip Cash. CreateSpace, $12 trade
paper (200p) ASIN B00KDOZY6I

Cash (Stilwell) again succeeds in setting


an engaging supernatural thriller in the
world of Long Island real estate, though
hes stronger at depicting human relationships than he is at generating scares. Julie
and Brad Evans
have hinged their
hopes of financial
security on house
flipping, a workintensive strategy
that offers them
few opportunities
for relaxation.
Brad has misgivings about their
latest acquisition, a creepy Victorian mansion, ominously situated on Bedlam Street
in Cold Spring Harbor. Those feelings are
validated when hes victimized by Tessa, a
voracious female ghost with very carnal
appetites. Cash is effective at creating his
version of the afterlife, where ghosts like
Tessa exist in fear of more powerful entities known as the Sentinels. His best work
comes, however, in his plausible portrayal
of a marriage under stress from the need to
hustle to stay solvent.

Follow Your Heart


Ruth Kaufman. Ruth Kaufman, $2.99 e-book
(246p) ASIN B00TYM7XBE

Kaufmans strong second Wars of the


Roses Brides romance (after At His
Command) is set in York, England, in
1460, against the backdrop of the Yorkist
bid for the English throne. Sir Adrian
Bedford is determined to reclaim his
ancestral home
and restore his
familys good
name and fortune.
Joanna Peyntor,
the only female
member of the
glass painters
guild, inherited
her fathers passion and glass

workshop but faces frequent prejudice.


Both the appealing protagonists have significant financial woes, siblings willing to
ruin them, and hostile acquaintances
wishing to use their bodies. When Joanna
proposes a marriage of convenience,
admitting that a mans protection would
be valuable, Adrian eventually accepts,
insisting on a rigid contract, as this marriage is a business. Adrian desires to protect Joanna from the knowledge that he
inherited psychic abilities from his grandmother, who was burned at the stake.
Despite an upsetting wedding night,
their passionate lovemaking slowly draws
them closer, making Joannas discovery of
Adrians secrets especially painful. The
only major flaw is the inclusion of a onenote gay character who is evil and
depraved. Otherwise this installment
thoroughly surpasses the first, maintaining suspense and building the readers
hope that Joanna and Adrians mutual
respect will grow into love.

Haunting Mr. Darcy:


A Spirited Courtship
KaraLynne Mackrory. Meryton, $12.95 trade
paper (286p) ISBN 978-1-936009-35-0

Mackrorys affinity for the works of


Jane Austen shines in her tender and
touching haunted rendition of Pride and
Prejudice. Elizabeth and Jane Bennett
attend a New
Years Eve
assembly at
Meryton, where
Elizabeth cruelly
wishes for Mr.
Darcy to want
something [he]
cannot have.
Shortly after the
sisters leave, their
carriage is wrecked, and Elizabeth is
knocked into a coma. But Darcys New
Years wish to see Elizabeth once again
is answered when her spirit appears in his
library. As they develop a mutual affection
and Darcy clears up Elizabeths misconceptions regarding Mr. Wickham, they
realize that despite their inability to touch
each other, their admiration is turning
into a much deeper emotion. But Darcy
cant have a future with Elizabeth the
ghost and must determine how to reunite

her with her physical body


and revive her. Mackrorys
lilting prose is pleasantly
reminiscent of Austens, and readers will
enjoy this unique twist to the familiar
tale.

Middle Waters
John Clarke. Wet Street, $12.95 trade paper
(374p) ISBN 978-0-9863749-1-3

This SF thriller starts out well and displays some nice touches of humor, but the
resolution may disappoint genre readers.
Clarke, a veteran Navy diving scientist,
is especially effective in translating his
expertise into fiction in the gripping
opening chapter,
as an unusual
incident claims
the lives of two
divers off the
coast of Alabama.
Someone, or something, ripped the
helmet off one of
the men; the other
died of the bends
after he saw some bizarre, bright orange
geometric figures who conveyed a
cryptic apology. The mystery of the
divers deaths, and a slew of other odditiesa patch of cold dark water that kills
everything in its path, an extraterrestrial
unidentified submerged objectengage
scientist Jason Parker. He begins to experience some anomalies himself, including
hearing voices advising him to stay alert.
There are some light moments; Jason
cant believe that a colleague is from
another planet, especially not a planet of
telepathic frogs. But the suspense of the
opening isnt sustained, and the ending
will divide readers along political lines.

Mythborn II:
Bane of the Warforged
Vijay Lakshman. Vijay Lakshman, $24.99
trade paper (625p) ISBN 978-0-9850620-2-6

This sprawling adventure from writer


and software designer Lakshman continues the saga of Arek Winterthorn
begun in Mythborn: Rise of the Adepts.
Arek, his mentors Silbane Petracles and
Kisan Talaris, nobles Yetteje Tir and Niall
Galadine, and soldier Ash Rillaran race
through their mundane world of Edyn
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REVIEWS
and the magical world of
Arcadia. Their goal is to save
Edyn from the machinations
of the demon Lilyth, archmage Valarius
Galadine, and a force known as Sovereign,
all of whom have plans for Arek and his
dark power. The plot is inventive, but the
world is filled in
mainly by a clich
pub scene and an
implausible semidemocratic system
surrounded by codmedieval monarchies. The characters change
motivations easily,
and the magical
entities, drawn from several different
mythologies, seem arbitrarily chosen and
carry no cultural background or context.
New readers will struggle with the storys
sheer complexity. This epic has a wellcrafted plot but lacks the deeper characterization and background details needed
for emotional investment.

Neverending Beginnings
Mary Chris Escobar. CreateSpace, $10.99
trade paper (100p) ISBN 978-1-5119-0220-5

A promising premise and a cast of


entertaining, albeit somewhat underdeveloped, characters make for a light,
happy contemporary romance with a
chick-lit feel. When bridesmaid Kate
Crenshaw botches the toast to the happy
couple, she wishes she could get a do-over
of the whole thing. Luckily for her, she
gets to rewrite the whole week la
Groundhog Daynot just once, but six
more times before everything goes just
right. Though
Kates reactions
can be a bit overwhelming and
melodramatic,
shes a vulnerable,
likable protagonist. She endearingly fumbles her
way through
admitting her
attraction to best man Ben while dealing
with her grief over the recent death of her
mother. There are more than a few clichd
descriptions and redundancies, and

stilted, superficial dialogue interrupts a


lively flow. Though Escobar tends to
hammer her points home, she also creates
several extremely effective lump-in-yourthroat moments, such as Kate eating dessert for breakfast as a tribute to her
mother, that bring depth to the characters
and add sweet sentimentality to the story.

A Pledge of Better Times


Margaret Porter. Gallica Press, $14.95 trade
paper (414p) ISBN 978-0-9907420-4-3

Porters ambitious novel of 17th-century England is brimming with vivid


historical figures and events connected
through Charles, Duke of St. Albans and
illegitimate son of King Charles II, and
his wife, Lady Diana de Vere, renowned
for her beauty, charity and religious
devotion. Teenage Charles and the
strong-willed Diana become enamored
through hawking,
and they marry.
The years bring a
dramatic change
to the monarchy
when King
Charles II dies
suddenly and the
rigid James II
assumes the
crown; many are
opposed to King James, including Diana
and Charles, and there is tremendous
unrest at home and abroad. Battles of will
and war ensueon the field, in
Parliament, and in the royal courtover
politics, religion, and privilege. The year
1689 brings a new coronation, of King
William III, who has seized the throne
from his father-in-law, King James; he
rules with his wife, Queen Mary, who
Diana serves as maid of honor and trusted
confidante. Charles and Diana weather
two minor betrayals and a tragic loss in a
long, loving, faithful marriage with many
children. Porters palace plots, jealousy,
betrayals, infidelities, and beheadings are
rigorously researched and are faithfully
portrayed.

Quiver of the Pure Heart


Burnita Bluitt. Bookstand Publishing, $2.99
e-book (274p) ISBN 978-1-5028-3527-7

Bluitt spins a tale of intrigue set in San


Francisco during 1989. Blis Dumas faces

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eviction from the Victorian home she


inherited from her grandfather.
Determined not to go down without a
fight, Blis finds herself not only fighting
the development board, and its insensitive
director, but also dodging a mysterious
stranger hell-bent
on scaring her into
selling the house.
With friends
willing to cross
the lines of
legality to help
her, Blis discovers
a conspiracy
involving corrupt
government officials that puts her in imminent danger.
Still, she forges ahead, even after her
elderly neighbor is murdered. Bluitt provides a few interesting history lessons, and
she touches on the social disparities that
have checkered San Franciscos past. She
also does a commendable job of keeping
much of the dramatic plot revelations
secret until the final chapters. The diverse
cast of characters is notably one-dimensional, but the sheer number of plot twists
makes this an engaging read for those who
enjoy suspense.

Stillwell:
A Haunting on Long Island
Michael Phillip Cash. CreateSpace, $12 trade
paper (192p) ASIN B00DGYLHQ8

Cash makes the pain of a man who lost


the love of his life palpable in this supernatural thriller with a genuinely surprising resolution. Long Island realtor
Paul Russo met his wife, Allison, when
they were young, and their happy marriage produced three children. His world
falls apart, however, after shes
diagnosed with
brain cancer and
dies soon after,
leaving him to
struggle with his
devastating loss
and his deficiencies as a parent.
Pauls crises are
only exacerbated when his daughter
insists that she sees her mothers ghost,
and he begins to have strange visions

REVIEWS
himself. His encounters are connected
somehow with Stillwell Manor, a home
he visited as a child. Desperate to make
some money after the time he lost
tending to Allison, Paul is determined to
sell the manor, despite the horrific images
he experiences. The paranormal plot
developments are more creepy than scary,
and one of the reveals is disappointing,
but the moving account of Pauls effort to
deal with the tragedy compensates.

The Time Slip Girl


Elizabeth Andre. Tulabella Ruby, $3.99 e-book
(238p) ASIN B00WAUWB8C

This fluffy time travel romance gives an


adorable tip of the hat to Jules Verne but
falls entirely flat in its simplistic attempts
to explore cultural differences around race
and sexual identity. In the present day,
Dara Gillard, a black woman from
Chicago, vacations in London while
thinking longingly of her fiance, Jenny,
who died in a car accident a year earlier.
Then Dara drops
through a rip in
time into the
1908 home of
Agnes Cartwright,
a white English
shop girl who
dares not imagine
that her prayers
for someone to
love have at last
been answered. Andre (Taijiku) brings up
Daras race frequently but without subtlety. Villainous characters, such as
Agness violent brother, Ted, hate Dara for
her skin tone; noble characters, such as
Agnes, enjoy Daras exotic looks but still
need her to provide 21st-century explanations of why minstrel shows are bad.
Culture-shock choices seem haphazard;
Dara is disturbed by smoking in pubs but
not by the stench of early-20th-century
streets. The prose of sex scenes is embarrassingly awkward (She hit the button
along with the rest of Agnes lady bits),
ruining the reward of the womens mutual
confession of love.

A Truth Stranger than Fiction:


A Dakota Stevens Mystery
Chris Orcutt. Have Pen, Will Travel, $16 trade
paper (396p) ISBN 978-0-692352-57-1

Fans of Mickey Spillanes more overthe-top Mike Hammer adventures will


welcome Orcutts third Dakota Stevens
outing (after 2014s The Rich Are
Different). The PI
has just moved
into a new
Manhattan office
when a desperate
prospective client,
18-year-old
Kelsey Wright,
asks him to find
her missing
brother, Conover,
a famous science fiction writer who was
working on a mysterious new work of
nonfiction. But even before Dakota can
agree to help Kelsey, whos also upset
that shes being tailed, a string of
intruders to his office, including FBI
agents, thugs from Nebraska, and two
mobsters, insist on learning what Kelsey
knows about Conovers whereabouts.
Dakota and Kelsey later go on the lam,
aided by an eccentric group of allies
headed by Svetlana Krsh, a former U.S.
chess champion, who plays the role of
Velda (Mike Hammers secretary) to
Dakota. Readers should expect plenty of
bloodshed and action en route to an
unexpected resolution of the mystery.

Where Shadows Linger


Mary D. Brooks. Ausxip, $5.50 e-book (639p)
ASIN B00VQHFO5M

The second installment of Intertwined


Souls (after In the Blood of the Greeks) finds
series protagonists Eva Muller and Zoe
Lambros living in a migrant hostel in
Sydney, Australia, in 1947. Eva is
German and Zoe
is Greek; both are
emotionally
scarred by the
deaths of
numerous loved
ones during
WWII. Eva is
seeking work so
Zoe can quit her
own job and go to
art school. Their erotic relationship
remains stalled by Evas PTSD, which
stems from aversion treatments for lesbianism that were inflicted by her stepfa-

thers brother. A job, an


apartment, and the easy
friendship of a gay coworker
help to restore Evas confidence, but her
gains are threatened when a German
friend brings word that Evas sadistic
stepfather has survived a wartime bomb
and is in Australiaand once that conflict is resolved, nearly the same thing
happens all over again with a different
villain. Readers will be baffled by
Brookss decision to follow one complete
plot with a second. The book is effectively a standalone, since volume one is
recapped exhaustively in a series of
lengthy flashbacks. The characters are
vital and the era appealing, but the
sprawl of redundancy makes the storytelling tedious.

Zen and the Art of Cannibalism


Daniel Younger. Mutant Panda, $13.99 trade
paper (317p) ISBN 978-1-5117-9407-7

Younger (Delirious) turns the smalltown horror story on its head in this
madcap zomedy set in Oak Falls, Calif.,
during a rare Cerulean Moon. Thats
when the bonds that bind the underworld
are at their slipperiest, allowing
Seth, an ancient
hellhound, to
sneak through.
Seth begins resurrecting the dead
as shock troops
while plotting to
open the cosmic
portal to the
underworld that the town is perched on.
Meanwhile, the oblivious townspeople go
about their usual shenanigans: Wizard
Kowalski, a stoner drug runner, is chased
by a Russian mobster angry about a bungled delivery, while Ava Elridge, the local
cafe owner, plays an unexpectedly important role in the unfolding cosmic comedy.
The novels plot zings along with Rube
Goldberg precision that becomes increasingly antic as the locals gradually wake
up to the weirdness. Though the tale goes
on a little too long, Younger finds great
comic grist in the stuff that screams are
made of.

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REVIEWS

Nonfiction
Dare to Be Your Own Boss:
Follow Your Passion, Create a Niche
Maya Sullivan. Synergy, $22.99 trade paper
(344p) ISBN 978-0-9907-5420-6

Many people dream about starting their


own businesses and working for themselves, but few are confident enough to
forgo a steady paycheck and leap into the
unknown. Sullivan, a self-admitted serial
career reinventor, seeks to increase the
odds of success in this in-depth informative guide. The key, she states, is to discover what excites your passion and then
match it with a venture. The book consists of three sections, namely Becoming
Your Own Boss,
12 Areas of
Opportunity, and
Moving
Forward. Sullivan
begins with the
basics, identifying
six benefits and six
drawbacks of
being the boss,
with expanded
income potential and enhanced wellbeing on the upside, and financial uncertainty and no subsidized benefits on the
downside. She also explores options for
financing that range from traditional
investors to crowdfunding. Sullivan goes
on to list 14 Keys to Ignite Your Passion
and Enthusiasm. Part Two focuses on
categories of industries to explore, such as
business-to-business, and goods and services. The last section is perhaps the most
crucial, exploring the all-important concept of viability, followed by a lengthy list
of resources for new business owners.
While Sullivan doesnt claim to have a
roadmap to success, she does arm readers
with knowledge that will be handy in getting there.

A Long Way From Paris


E.C. Murray. Plicata, $16 trade paper (280p)
ISBN 978-0-9903102-1-1

Murrays debut memoir updates the


American-abroad story with amusing and
philosophical reflections on a winter
spent herding goats in the south of
France. The concerns of a young, city-

bred, privileged American dabbling as a


goatherd are not subsistence, like the
back to nature family with whom she
lives, but rather self-improvement: getting over an ex, adjusting to significant
weight loss, and learning to believe in
myself. Though her lack of facility with
the French language leaves many
of her interactions
with the locals as
opaque to the
reader as they
were to Murray
then, her sweetly
energetic prose,
blending poetic
description with
American slang (Spain? Yahoo!), brings
to vivid, eye-popping life the rural landscape, the cold weather and the animals
with whom she spends her days. As she
learns how to milk a goat, darn a sock,
ride a horse, and midwife farm animal
babies, Murray grows in confidence and
maturity, eventually coming to terms
with painful relationships, her own past,
and the loss that shadows both human
and animal life. Rich with history,
Murrays literary and philosophical
reflections give the memoir substance,
and the journey of achieving peace with
oneself is relatable even for those who
dont know where their goat cheese comes
from. Photos.

Ohana
Theia Mey. Theia Mey, $3.99 e-book (224p)
ISBN ASINB00O85KY2M

Mey tells of substance use, struggles


with cancer, and domestic abuse in this
uneven memoir. Mey grew up in a small
village in Spain where little was expected
of her beyond
marriage and
childbirth. She
decided to leave
school and her village and go to
London to learn
English. Much of
the book chronicles her connections with men: a
brief marriage to an Englishman, after
which she moved to the U.S.; two

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romances that left her with two children


and a drug addiction; and finally a
lengthier relationship with Peter, by
whom she had a third child. Peter was
financially and emotionally withholding,
abusive, and chronically unfaithful.
When she finally got up the courage to
leave him, he dragged her into a protracted custody battle that finally ended
in her losing contact with her youngest
child. Mey glosses over the negative
results of her drug use or choices and
instead focuses on the actions of others.
Her narrative sometimes jumps around,
making it difficult for readers to follow
her statements.

The Perpetual Paycheck:


5 Secrets to Getting a Job, Keeping
a Job, and Earning Income for Life
in the Loyalty-Free Workplace
Lori B. Rassas. CreateSpace, $18.99 trade
paper (194p) ISBN 978-1-5087-9352-6

With a culture of at-will employment


having replaced one of 40 years of faithful
service and a gold watch at the end,
employment
attorney, career
coach, and negotiator Rassas selects
five secrets to
help readers find
and keep jobs.
There has never
been a better time
to be an employee
or a job hunter,
she claims, which is a cheerful sentiment,
if not substantiated by any facts. Rassas
urges readers to get used to the idea of
their jobs as temporary relationships, and
not to expect to like them very much. She
goes on to cover boss/employee relationships, mistakes in job-seeking, avoiding
the axe, what to do when one is passed
over for an internal candidate, and effective networking. Its an interesting take,
given the glut of books urging readers to
go the entrepreneurial route and remove
the threat of job loss altogether. The
problem, however, is that the professed
secrets can be found in any Top Five
Rules for Job-Seekers listsicle, and the
slim, filler-packed presentation is less
than convincing.

REVIEWS
Uprise: Back Pain Liberation,
by Tuning Your Body Guitar
Sean Wheeler. Body Guitar, $24.95 (209p)
ISBN 978-0-692-29649-3

Wheeler, a physician specializing in


sports medicine and pain management,
brings readers what he describes as a revolution in back pain management in this
informative and encouraging book.
During Wheelers 20 years in practice, he
has often seen patients with chronic back
pain, something that, quite literally,
ruins lives. He has also observed a lack of
progress in developing effective treatment, for which he identifies three underlying causes: slowness in treating back
pain when it first develops; failure to treat
it as a systemic problem; and inattention
to the issue of bracing muscle weakness,
which develops over time. To treat these
issues, hes created the Tune Me Method,
which he presents
as a paradigm
shift. Stressing
the importance of
a good medical
team and of early
pain management,
Wheeler lays out a
step-by-step program, telling
readers to be
[your] own advocates when talking to
doctors. He is frank, however, that success
will demand both patience and discipline.
Wheelers avuncular method of doling out
information a bit at a time may remind
readers of their own physician relaying
newand not always welcomeinformation. His zealous conclusion, in which he
encourages readers to speak out to other
patients, doctors, and even the insurance
industry, should strike an inspiring chord
for back pain sufferers.

A Year Unplugged:
A Familys Life Without Technology
Sharael Kolberg. Sharael Kolberg, $15.99
trade paper (390p) ISBN 978-0-9889610-4-3

Kolbergs (Building a Lasting Marriage)


fourth book, an account of the year her
family stopped using electronic media
and communications, fails to engage the
reader. After Kolbergs six-year-old
daughter, Katelyn, devoted her time
recuperating from a cold to binge-

watching Hannah Montana, Kolberg and


(somewhat reluctantly) her husband,
Jeff, decided to initiate an electronics
fast. Kolberg gives a day-by-day account,
though some days
hardly seem
worth the ink
expended on
them. Moreover,
her story doesnt
show that the
benefits of
unplugging ever
truly outweighed
the costs.
Kolbergs relationship with her daughter
does improve, but her husbands deteriorates, since he spends more time at the
office, where he is allowed to search the
Internet and check email. Meanwhile,
the familys ban on cell phones, except in
the case of emergency, frustrates Jeffs
relatives, who have trouble reaching
them. Kolbergs conclusions tend toward
the narrow and convenient, and her tone
can be off-puttingly judgmental.
Kolberg devotes some time to discussing
the costs and benefits of technology, but
despite the extensive use of quotes from
sources that include parenting columnists, newspaper stories, and J.K.
Rowling, she never truly reaches beyond
her own experiences.

Childrens/YA
Into a Million Pieces
Angela V. Cook. Red Adept, $11.99 paper
(202p) ISBN 978-1-940215-38-9

In this series opener, first-time author


Cook introduces Allison McKready, a
teenager whose female family members
have been born succubi, with the power to
sap energy from men or kill them with
sex, ever since
their ancestor was
cursed by the
devil. While
Allisons Aunt
Sarah uses religion
to resist temptation, and her
sister, Jade, dabbles in energydraining kisses,

Allison turns to black


clothing and goth makeup to
keep the boys away. It doesnt
completely work as Ren, a fellow classmate, breaches the walls she puts up.
Though Allison is determined to keep
Ren in the friend zone, tragedy throws her
into his arms. Now, Allison has to resist
the temptation to sleep with Ren or risk
killing him. The development of Allison
and Rens relationship feels rushed, especially considering how much time Allison
has spent pushing people away, and some
of the dialogue is stilted (Im not
scared.... Well, I am but my fear has to do
more with the emotions than anything
else). But Cook creates a cast of realistic
characters, including sympathetic
Allison, who will have readers looking
forward to the next book. Ages 14up.

Simon
Michael Mullin. Gemiknight Press, $12.99
paper (254p) ISBN 978-0-9851884-7-4

Set in an affluent Massachusetts community, Mullins contemporary update of


Hamlet opens with news reports of a multiple homicide, dubbed the Mansion
Murders. The
narrative, tinged
with cynicism
over country club
culture and media
sensationalism,
shifts between the
present day and
the events leading
up to the murders. Nineteenyear-old Simon is a film student in New
York City who, saddened by the death of
his father and chagrined by his mothers
remarriage to her uncle, distances himself
from them both. When viewing a video of
the wedding, he spots the ghost of his
father in the film. The key pieces of
Shakespeares play are all presentan
increasingly aberrant Hamlet in cinemaobsessed Simon; Ophelia in the form of
Simons smart, yet quick to unravel ex,
Juliana; and the off-putting relationship
between Simons mother and his uncle
and those fascinated by the machinations
of the original play will be intrigued to
learn how Mullin manipulates the plot.
His positioning of the plays tragic conW W W . P U B L I S H E R S W E E K L Y . C O M 33f

REVIEWS
clusion as a headline-grabbing mass murder should
hook readers from the start.
Ages 12up.

Jala and the Wolves


Marti Dumas. Yes, Mam Creations/Plum
Street Press, $5.99 paper (98p) ISBN 978-1943169-00-9

In a chapter book fantasy laced with


references to fiction and food, when sixyear-old spitfire Jalawho has untamed
hair, dark eyes,
and a preference
for eating out of
the dog bowl
annoys her mother
after she complains about being
hungry for breakfast one morning,
she is promptly
sent back to her
room. After noticing that a strange mirror
has appeared there, Jala is magically
transported to a woodland world, where
she has been transformed into her favorite
animal, a wolf. She promptly meets a wolf
named Milo, who believes that she is a
legend incarnate, an alpha wolf that has
been sent from the sky (She didnt have
the heart to tell him that she was only a
girl from New Orleans who got sucked
into a mirror and not the Great Dog come
to life at all). Though the story is slow to
get underway and relies on an overused
clich to bring Jala back home at books
end, Jalas independent streak and her
tender relationship with her mother help
smooth over the storys rougher moments.
Ages 510.

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