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Your Guide to

The Indie Stars

of 2016

Meet the BookLife

Prize Finalists
Reviews Roundup

74 New Titles Listed


Meet the Indie

Stars of 2016
A look back at the best self-published
books of the year

Feels like
Tammy Falkner. Night
Shift, $3.99 e-book
(320p) ISBN

The freedom of adolescent summer love is

constricted by the complexities of adult life in
loosely linked to
hen Publishers Weekly launched BookLife, a website dedicated
Falkners Reed Brothers series. Suspended
to indie authors and self-publishing, it was with the goal of
New York policeman Jake Jacobson is unexpectedly reunited with Katie Higgins, his
finding and promoting great books by independent authors.
summer love from 18 years before, when he
We wanted to find professional-quality novels and memoirs,
goes home to North Carolina to visit his father,
childrens books, and general nonfictiontitles that would likely
whos had a stroke. Katie, whos very pregnant
and has three kids in tow, is hiding out at the
and unjustly be overlooked because they were self-published.
beach house her family rented from Jakes
As this list of booksand the six titles reaching the finals of the
father all those years ago, hoping her abusive
BookLife Prize in Fiction (see p. 77)illustrates, we have done just
ex wont be able to find her there. This time
around, Jake and Katies romance wont be
that. Below are the 20 self-published works of fiction and nonfiction
simple. Falkners protagonists and secondary
to which Publishers Weekly awarded starred reviews in 2016.
characters, such as Jakes cantankerous but
intuitive father (He was never very nice, but
he was interesting), are fully realized, and their voices are natural
and appealing. The struggle between Jake and Katies reignited
affections and the echoes of their adult lives is beautifully conveyed
Dirty Sexy Saint
through the narratives changing perspectives: Jake and Katies
Carly Phillips and Erika Wilde. CP Publishing,
grown and younger selves take turns providing their unique views,
$3.99 e-book (268p) ASIN B016YIRT9Q
developing the sweetness of young love and summertime joy and
Bestselling authors Phillips (Dare to Take) and
heightening the present-day tensions and conflicts that arise as Jake
Wilde (Playing with Seduction) pack plenty of
and Katie must confront their emotions and their pasts. Ripe with
sizzle into the first in their contemporary Dirty
contemplations on the complexities of love and relationships, this is
Sexy series. Socialite Samantha Jamieson refuses
a tender story that tugs at the heartstrings in any season.
to marry a man she doesnt loveand in reaction her incensed father cuts her off from his
financial support and the only home shes ever
known. Samantha ends up in Clay Saint
Marshall Thornton. CreateSpace, $10.99
Kincaids bar. Clays gotten his nickname from
trade paper (228p) ISBN 978-1-5349his habit of rescuing those who need it, and boy
does Samantha need it. After one too many shots,
Thorntons opposites-attract contemporary
Clay takes Samantha home to ensure her
romp perfectly threads the needle, addressing
safetybut its his heart that is in danger.
internalized homophobia and the heartbreak
When someone from Clays rough past reapof self-denial without ever falling into clich
pears, things abruptly change. Can Clay and
or forgetting to be fun. Lionel is barely
Samantha hold on to their love, or will they lose
scraping by as a waiter at a gay bar in Long
it forever? The bad man/good woman trope is
Beach, Calif. After he enjoys a one-night stand with Dog, a straightused endlessly in romance, but Phillips and
acting athlete whos a regular customer at the bar, both men are
Wilde manage to make it fresh, hot, and endlessly
confused to realize their mutual attraction goes beyond lust, though
appealing. The erotic scenes live up to the dirty
neither is the others usual type. Dog is a closet case; Lionels never
in the title and the heroine is sympathetic and
been able to hide or lie about himself in that way. As they face the
real. Readers will be salivating for the next book
social pressure of the gay scene, needing to stay employed, and forced
in the series.
honesty with family members, each must navigate his disrupted

72 P U B L I S H E R S W E E K L Y D E C E M B E R 1 9 , 2 0 1 6

world and minimize harm to his loved ones.
Thornton (the Boystown Mysteries series) confronts the contradictions of modern homosexuality,
addressing the pressure to conform to mainstream
culture rather than embracing the more flamboyant aspects of gay identity. The instructive
nature of the narrative is obvious, but the delightful
characters and their struggles are engaging and
realistic. The conclusion is satisfying without dismissing the painful aspects of the romantic journey,
a delicate balancing act well executed by a talented
writer who remains in control of the playful chaos
he has created.
Gambled Away
Rose Lerner, Joanna Bourne, Jeannie Lin,
Isabel Cooper, and Molly OKeefe. Amazon
Digital Services, $2.99 e-book (600p)
ISBN 978-0-9937132-2-4

The five captivating historical romances in this

anthology are thematically linked by the idea of
social and personal justice, as well as the stated conceit of gambling. Lerner explores bisexuality and
anti-Semitism in Regency England in All or
Nothing. Bournes Spymaster series gets a prequel
story, Gideon and the Den of Thieves, that
explores the code of the London criminal underworld during the French Revolution. American
history is well represented by Coopers Raising the
Stakes, featuring a Dust Bowl con artist who aims
to bring down a greedy preacher, and OKeefes
Redeemed, which uses drug addiction and the
lingering tensions of the Civil War as background
to the redemption of a Union doctor and a captive
former spy in 1868 Denver. Finally, Lin continues
her Lotus Palace series with the exceptional The
Liars Dice, creating a fascinating mystery around
murder and corruption in Tang Dynasty Chinas
civil service examinations. The tie-in works are
very accessible for new readers and will leave them
eager to hunt down the authors backlists. The
complex characters, intricate relationships, and
sparkling plots showcase each authors strengths,
making this collection a must-have for any historical romance fan.
Song of Blood and Stone:
Earthsinger Chronicles, Book 1
L. Penelope. Heartspell, $14.95 trade paper
(258p) ISBN 978-0-9909228-0-3

Penelope delivers an engrossing story with

delightful characters in this fantastic opening to a
promising series. Jasminda ul-Sarifor inherited

many things from her father, including her magical powers as an

Earthsinger and the features that mark her as a woman of Lagrimaran
descent. Unfortunately, she lives in xenophobic Elsira. Shes reviled
by her neighbors and has every reason to hate Jack, an Elsiran spy
fleeing pursuit from vicious Lagrimaran soldiers; instead, she takes
pity on him. He bears the news that the magical barrier that separates
Elsira and Lagrimara is about to fail, and he must return to his superiors to warn of an impending war that could destroy Elsira and
plunge the world into the despot control of the cruel True-Father.
As Jasminda and Jack work together to protect their home, attraction
turns their pragmatic alliance into a romantic union that wont be
denied, despite the obligations of Jacks social and political position
and the persistent prejudice against Jasmindas mixed heritage. The
tale is infused with optimism but never cloying, and it culminates
in a well-earned and satisfying ending, leaving readers impatient for
the next installment of the series.
Sour Candy
Kealan Patrick Burke. Elderlemon, $2.99
e-book (66p) ASIN B017QCGW24

Horror author Burke (Kin) delivers an excellent terror-filled novella. Philip Pendleton is
an unexceptional man, living a carefree life
with his young son, Adam. No one who
observes them has any idea that Philip has
only known Adam for a short time, and this
carefree life is really a living hell: after the two
randomly meet at a store, Adam decides to make Philip his newest
parent, using his terrible powers to completely rewrite Philips life
so that everyone else thinks hes always been there. Only Philip
remembers the life he used to have, and those memories are no comfort as he becomes a prisoner in his own home, a slave to a demonic
child. Bringing the evil-child trope to its devastating apex, Burke
creates a horrific vision of what might happen if children utterly
controlled their parents. Burkes writing is visceral; Philips descent
into madness is rendered in unnerving terms. Adding in a Lovecraftian
pantheon of monsters, Burke creates a stomach-twisting ride through
the depths of horror, breathing new life into an often-stagnant part
of the genre.
A Spell in the Country
Morgan Smith. Traveling Light, $3.99
e-book (279p) ISBN 978-1-5309-7995-0

This digital reissue of an excellent 1999 fantasy in Smiths Averraine Cycle stars Keridwen
of Orliegh, youngest child of a minor house in
the kingdom of Keraine. While seeking her
fortune, Keri enters into military service with
Lord Uln, who then turns traitor to his prince,
Tirais. After the rebellions defeat and Ulns
flight, Keri is spared and sent to Penvarron, a posting for the kingdoms misfit soldiers, where she earns the respect of her comrades.
Together with the rest of the garrison, she interrupts a ritual by evil
W W W . P U B L I S H E R S W E E K LY. C O M


Camrhyssi priests who have infiltrated Penvarrons
ancient tower, where mystical forces still linger.
Keridwen then finds herself in the company of
powerful figures, including the very prince who
pardoned her, trying to discover where foul magic
may strike next. Though the mythologies differ,
this feels much like Lois Bujolds novels set in the
World of the Five Gods. Keridwen is a wonderful
protagonist to follow: a skilled soldier with something of a stubborn streak and a keen eye but no
great powers. Smiths terrific storytelling and
worldbuilding will thrill fantasy fans.
The Wrath of Con
Daniel Younger. Mutant Panda, $13.99 trade
paper (325p) ISBN 978-1-5334-8836-7

If Terry Pratchett had written a Vegas heist novel,

it might have looked something like this impressive comic fantasy, which finds the pathos at the
heart of humor. Packed with bizarre moments,
deadpan reactions, and hilarious non sequiturs, the
novel follows Josh Harlan and the band of thieves
and cons he assembles as they attempt to rob the
newest casino going up on the Strip. Its impossible
to plan for the interference of the imprisoned goddess who works for their mark, but the team comes
together like a dysfunctional family to pull the job
off, more or less. Younger (Zen and the Art of
Cannibalism) is an experienced comedy writer who
understands the art of the heist novel, providing
just enough information to keep readers intrigued
without giving the game away too early. The characters are entertaining with distinct voices, carrying a plot that, for all its lightheartedness, has a
substantial amount of meat on the bone.


were actually prostitutes. Unfortunately, he never provides conclusive proof of his provocative thesis that, rather than a linear mystery,
the Whitechapel murders were a series of discrete events, with a
quasi-supernatural Jack the Ripper employed as an umbrella device
to explain things away whilst whipping up a diversionary scare as
part of a high-level cover-up. Here, Wood offers intriguing speculation, rather than evidencefor example, he hints at a political
agenda behind the Whitechapel murders, possibly connected with
a judicial inquiry into criminal allegations by the Times against
Charles Stewart Parnell and the Irish Home Rule Party. Serious
students of the crimes can only hope that Wood further develops his
own theories in a future volume.
Grace Period:
My Ordination to the Ordinary
Melinda Worth Popham. iUniverse,
$29.95 (254p) ISBN 978-1-4917-7602-5

In this impeccably written memoir, Popham

(Skywater) recounts a spiritual journey
launched by the dissolution of her unhappy
marriage and her teenage daughters descent
into an intractable depression. Set in the late
1990s, the story moves from Los Angeles to
Yale Divinity School and back again as the author allows herself a
grace period in which to rebuild her sense of self, after having my
interior taken down to the bare studs by the events of the past five
years. She describes at a leisurely pace, with meticulous detail, what
she learns from mundane miracles and minor accidents, those spiritual fender benders that are collisions with grace itself. The struggles of a turtle to get through a fence and cross the road serve as a
metaphor for her own struggles to reach God. She is humble and
honest about her shortcomings, as when she erupts with anger and
foul language at unsuspecting passers-by when she and her dog get
lost, and about achievements as well. When she concludes that her
vocation is ordination to my plain old ordinary sacred self, she
proves herself a highbrow, refined, spiritual sister to Anne Lamott.

Deconstructing Jack: The True History

of the Whitechapel Murders

Missions Unmasked: What I Never

Knew About Missionary Life

Simon Daryl Wood. Marywood, $19.95 trade

paper (580p) ISBN 978-0692582-43-5

Adam Mosley. What I Never Knew,

$13.99 trade paper (216p) ISBN 9780-69245-305-6

Woods thought-provoking reexamination of the

prototypical unsolved murder mystery lives up to
its billing as the Jack the Ripper Conferences 2015
book of the year. With painstaking attention to
detail and warranted skepticism toward previous
accounts, Wood goes a long way toward debunking
dozens of theories of the case and expands on the
work of others who have questioned whether a
single person was responsible for the 1888 murders. Wood plausibly casts doubt on even some of
the most basic facts, asking, for example, whether
the five women widely regarded as Jacks victims
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Mosley, pastor of an international church in

Nakuru, Kenya, skillfully and compassionately debunks myths about the missionary
life. Raised in a traditional Evangelical church
in a rural American community, he remembers the first visiting missionary he met, a red-haired woman who
told of remote jungle adventures. It was the start of his crush on
missions, he says. Over the years, he came to learn that missionaries
are not super-saints but just regular believers trying to live out
their calling in spite of loneliness, culture shock, and frequent emotional crises. Presenting the work as a confession of sorts, Mosley

creates a consciously Rumsfeldian setup, classifying his musings under three headings: what he
thought he knew, what he knew he didnt know,
and what he didnt know he didnt know. Anecdotes
from acquaintances as well as from his own experience enliven his carefully nuanced opinions. He
laments that churches generally fail to offer missionaries adequate support, either financial or
moral. By revealing the life lived on the ground,
among the people, this concise, well-structured
book encourages Christians to rethink stereotypes
and develop true compassion for international

and stepfather when in 1994 a bullet struck and paralyzed him. The
firearm that caused the life-altering injury was a Bryco Model 38,
which had a design defect: the safety needed to be disengaged before
its chamber could be checked to see whether it contained any ammunition. Brandons parents initial attempt to sue the manufacturer
went nowhere, but they get a second chance in 1999 when Brandons
stepfather, Clint Stansberry, seeks out solo law practitioner Richard
Ruggieri. After learning about the family tragedy, Ruggieri launches
a seemingly quixotic lawsuit against the manufacturers of the
weapon, an effort that lasts well over a decade and is complicated by
the manufacturers efforts to evade responsibility by filing for bankruptcy. Harkinss understated recounting makes a powerful argument that the government should have the authority to recall defective firearms.

Move to Fire: A Familys Tragedy, a Lone

Attorney, and a Teenagers Victory over
a Corrupt Gunmaker

PlayDHD: Permission to Play;

A Prescription for Adults with ADHD

Michael W. Harkins. Story and Pictures, $14

trade paper (348p) ISBN 978-0-9965672-0-6

Kirsten Milliken. Bookbaby, $5.99 trade

paper (146p) ISBN 978-0-9970045-0-2

Harkins crafts a taut legal drama reminiscent of

Jonathan Harrs A Civil Action in this story of a
heroic lawyers quest for justice for the victim of a
defective firearm.
seven1years old
1 7/24/15
and living in Northern California with his mother

When psychologist Milliken realized that she

had ADHD, she set out to improve her personal and professional life by observing how
play affected her attention. She incorporated
what she learned into her work with ADHD

Calling all Indie Authors

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Let us help you Prepare, Publish and Promote your books. We show you how to make
indie publishing easier and, yes its true how to make it fun.


clients and now shares these discoveries in this
entertaining guide. She examines studies that indicate symptoms of ADHD may result from low,
premature, or inefficient dopamine transmission in
the brain, resulting in lower engagement in unrewarding activities. While acknowledging that
multiple approaches to alleviating ADHDs symptoms exist, she favors increasing the space for play
in ones life, on the basis that it activates reward
pathways in the brain, enabling people with
ADHD to pay attention for longer periods of time.
Milliken begins by comprehensively addressing
what ADHD is, giving detailed explanations of its
possible causes and known symptoms, before
delving deep into the origins of play and why it is
beneficial. She then breaks down the remaining
chapters into stages of approaching play: cultivating a playful mindset, looking back at key fun
memories from childhood and beyond, understanding what play personality type you are, and
generating a prolific and sustainable playlist for
all realms of life. This book is a must for those with
ADHD and their loved ones.
Simple Rules:
What the Oldtime Builders Knew
Shannon Taylor Scarlett. CreateSpace, $21.49
(126p) ISBN 978-1-4841-5207-2

This thoughtful and thought-provoking little gem

outlines 25 crucial design principles that the
author believes have been jeopardized as
domestic architecture has become dominated by
developers. Scarlett, who runs an architecture firm
in Wellesley, Mass., aims to remind those in the
building community that simple beauty and
meaning... is still reproducible in new homes, and
that many traditional building techniques are still
applicable in todays economy, and within current
construction practices. In this, she succeeds terrifically. Most of this attractively illustrated book consists of quotations taken from original sources published from the 16th to early 20th centuries. These
sources are building manuals such as Palladios
Four Books of Architecture (1570), which inspired
many of Americas greatest public and private
buildings, as well as lesser-known volumes such as
T.F. Hamlins The Enjoyment of Architecture (1921).
The rules are broken down by chapter and include
Genius of the Place, Asymmetry, and
Proportion. Each includes quotations to explain
the concept and several well-chosen illustrations
to graphically demonstrate the idea. The annotated
bibliography at the end is a bonus and provides
76 P U B L I S H E R S W E E K L Y D E C E M B E R 1 9 , 2 0 1 6

direction for those who seek further elaboration. Anyone interested in architectureprofessionals, students, home-improvers,
renovators, home flippers, or anyone who regards suburbia with a
critical eyewill enjoy this useful and well-written compilation.
B&w illus.
This Chair Rocks:
A Manifesto Against Ageism
Ashton Applewhite. Networked Books,
$19.95 (288p) ISBN 978-0-9969347-0-1

In this lively, entertaining book, Applewhite

mixes her personal experiences and opinions
about growing old with an exploration of
societys attitudes about age, debunking
myths and exposing ageism. Author (Cutting
Loose) and blogger (Yo, Is This Ageist?)
Applewhite uses an enormous number of sources, including books,
interviews with experts, and research studies, to examine aging in
America. She uncovers quite a few problemsI see ageism everywhereand tempers them with recommendations for changing
the conversation and inciting social change, suggesting ways to
push back against, for example, antiaging rhetoric. She covers
topics of all kinds, such as isolation (a fertile environment for disease), sex and intimacy, and the role of work and how companies can
better accommodate older workers. She works hard to discuss and
correct common misperceptions about aging. Her humor, highenergy writing, and emphasis on positive ways to view and experience age contribute to making this a valuable resource, an agent for
social change, and an enjoyable read.
To Belm & Back:
Backroads Brazil With My Black Lab
Ben Batchelder. Earthdog, $15.99 trade
paper (264p) ISBN 978-0-99133722-4

Batchelder (Borderlands USA), an American

who lives for part of the year in Brazil, provides an insightful and poignant account of
his long, circuitous roadtrip from his home
in southern Brazil to Belem in the north,
accompanied by his loyal Labrador retriever,
Atlas. As the author notes, travel is often an excuse to accomplish
something else, and his journey had multiple motives. In the wake
of a failed marriage to a Brazilian native, home continues to be the
last place where he feels welcome, and he is plagued by doubts as
to whether he should continue to live in Brazil. Batchelder tells
himself that such a journey, even on a route notorious for its dangers,
could also provide him with a deeper understanding of the countrys
paradoxes. As in the very best travelogues, the author seamlessly
combines the personal, the political, and the cultural. He also adds
the philosophical, via thought-provoking reflections on topics such
as whether countries always get the governments they deserve, and
the nature of his responsibility for the haphazard journey that is
his own life.

Plant-Based Recipes for a Gluten-Free Diet
Theresa Nicassio. D&D Publishing, . $35
ISBN 978-0-9939156-0-4

Refreshingly free of politics and polemics, Nicassios

book strictly focuses on the food, offering thoughtful
and practical recipes such as her Best No MeatMeat, a combination of mushrooms, walnuts,
onions, and herbs used to create shepherds pie, as
well as spaghetti and veggie meatballs. Kid- and
family-friendly food dominates the book, with
vegan versions of mac and cheese, tacos, vanilla ice
cream, and chocolate chip cookies, as well as inventive riffs. She employs baked polenta as a substitute
crust for pizza and collard greens as a stand-in for
tortillas in wrapsall of which are simple and ingenious. A highlight are her chia chips, a crunchy
snack full of healthy ingredients that work well with
all manner of dips. Even carnivores will find dishes
like Rhos Giardiniera Pickled Vegetables and
garlic-infused polenta hard to resist. Most recipes
are as straightforward, though some, such as lemon
cupcakes, call for a painfully specific ingredient (in
this case, a quarter teaspoon of psyllium husk
powder), which may be off-putting to initiates.
That said, once readers have sorted out their preferences and tastes (particularly regarding which sugar
substitute theyll be using), theyre good to go.


100 Years from Now Our Bones

Will Be Different
Lawrence McWilliams and Anand Vedawala,
illus. by McWilliams. 540 Collab, $14.99
ISBN 978-0-692-51743-7

Inspired by Edgar Lee Masters Spoon River Anthology,

this illustrated collection of first-person epitaphs
follows 40 members of a fictional African-American
family from 1915 to 2015. The epitaphs provide
brief but powerful glimpses into the family members lives and personalities, social changes, and a
web of secrets and traumas. Opposite the firstperson epitaphs, McWilliamss expressive sepia
portraits freeze glimmers of hope, pain, uncertainty,
and weariness on each face. Throughout, McWilliams
and Vedawala achieve a haunting beauty through
the voices of the dead: within the first few pages,
readers witness the deaths of Sarah Williams
(18781915) and her newborn son in childbirth
(his epitaph is left blank) and husband Elijahs grief
over those losses, as well as that of son Arthur after
tipsily stumbling in front of a car. Albert Williams
(19111931) was killed by the Klan at age 20

(Take my advice, dont ever go to Portland, he laments), and Alice,

who is trans, is killed at almost the same age in 2008. Alternately
melancholy, raw, and hopeful, its a striking account of a familys
perseverance in the face of recurring injustices, violence, and tragedy.
Ages 12up.
D.E. Vollrath. Wicked Pig, $11.99 paper
(280p) ISBN 978-0-692-44433-7

Evoking a sense of wonder and joy, Vollraths

debut, set in the fictional port city of Flosston
Moor, follows Eleanor Wigton as she starts
her second year at the prestigious Penwick
Academy. Magic is banishedsupposedly
deadafter a fire ripped through part of the
city. Eleanor is a quiet, studious 12-year-old
in fact, shes first in her class. Despite her youth, and perhaps because
of her sterling reputation, she and five older students are chosen to
work on a secret project, with the blessing of the headmistress. What
follows is an adventure like no other, leading Eleanor and friends into
a world of mysterious liquid books, Netherdoors, and dark Dwarven
territories. Page-turning action entwines with familiar struggles,
written in a way that calls to mind similar fantasy novels (students at
Penwick must choose between houses/specializations such as
Numerancy, Navigation, and Barristers). Yet Vollraths story stands
firmly on its own merits as it explores Eleanors internal and external
journeys, friendships, the other (dwarves, namely), and the good and
bad decisions made by young and old alike. Ages 10up.
A Lubbers Guide to Life at Sea
Lucy Bellwood. Toonhound Studios,
$19.99 paper (132p) ISBN 978-09882202-9-4

Bellwoods stints as a deckhand on the Lady

Washington, a modern-day replica of an 18thcentury brig, inform this funny and enlightening
comics collection, which is part memoir, part
breezy overview of nautical history and lore.
In six longer comics and several interludes, she discusses her own
introduction to confusing nautical terminology (So Im guessing
you could easily find me the fortopmstayslhalyrd, jokes a crewmate),
scurvy, the dubious history of plank walking, and a notable voyage of
the original Lady Washington to Japan, more than 60 years before
Commodore Perry showed up. Bellwood is a gifted raconteur, skillfully blending historical anecdotes with irreverent contemporary
humor (So were gonna need like... all of these, two admirals tell a
Sicilian lemon farmer, aiming to curb scurvy). Her artwork, meanwhile, is in line with of-the-moment creators such as Kate Beaton
and Lucy Knisley, and her chunky line work also nods to woodcut
prints and tattoos, the latter getting their own chapter, too. The only
downside to this collection is its brevityheres hoping Bellwood
has more stories on the way, nautical or otherwise. Ages 912.
W W W . P U B L I S H E R S W E E K LY. C O M


Meet the Finalists for the

Prize in Fiction
A variety of talented authors writing and self-publishing in six genres

By Nicole Audrey Spector

rom 750 prize entries, the judges of the BookLife Prize

in Fictionan annual writing contest for unpublished
or self-published novels launched earlier this year
have selected five finalists. As the judges work to determine the winner, PW chats with the finalists about their
writing, their books, and self-publishing.

Kipp Wessel:
The Wilderness of Heartbreak
Wessel, a finalist in the general fiction category for his novel,
First, You Swallow the Moon, has been writing for as long as he
can remember. He earned a fiction fellowship
and an M.F.A. from the University of
Montana, and has taught fiction writing
there, as well as at the Loft Literary Center in
First, You Swallow the Moon is the 51-yearold Minnesotans first novel, and one that he
hopes will attract the attention of a traditional publishing house.
What are some themes and types of
characters and situations that you
tackle in First, You Swallow the Moon?
First, You Swallow the Moon is about a young
man who loses a brother and experiences the
unraveling of his first real love. In response to these compounded
losses, he becomes obsessed with wild bears when he believes
their ability to regulate their winter hearts may offer him a safe
passage through the intense grief immobilizing him. If he can
turn himself into a bear, maybe he can survive. Its a modern
novel about the wilderness of heartbreak.
Its a somewhat eccentric ideaa human wishing to
become a bearyet its quite relatable to anyone who
has been overcome by grief. Did any personal loss
inspire you?
The novel evolved, as all my writing does, from my own life
experience. When I was in my early 20s, I lost my oldest brother.
And that loss, along with the spiral of a love relationship on its
heels, turned my life upside down and pummeled my heart
78 P U B L I S H E R S W E E K L Y D E C E M B E R 1 9 , 2 0 1 6

through an intense period of clinical depression. Through the

worst of it, I was living in Montana, completing my M.F.A. The
novel is set within that wilderness, literally and figuratively. Its
not autobiographical, but drawn from the emotions of my experience surviving intense grief. I know the unrelenting and
extreme bouts of pain and mania my main character attempts
to navigate past.
Writing the novel was my attempt to unearth the tragic,
comic, and transforming experience of significant loss. Its a
novel about the counterpart to attachment: the sometimes
impossible act of letting go. My goal was to transform a deeply
personal, intensely painful life experience into a work of art that
may resonate for others who have survived or
are surviving similar relational losses. Its
pretty much a guarantee of human experiencewe all leave or are left by the ones we
love at some point. My goal was to try to
focus a lens on the survivors reaction to that
Your short fiction has appeared in a
number of magazines, but this is your
first novel. What inspired you to
self-publish it?
The decision to self-publish the novel was not
an easy one. Doing so gave me full creative
control of the end product, and I enjoyed the
hands-on process. But the choice also limits the audience the
novel may reach. So, it was a difficult decision to weigh. But I
had spent nearly a decade writing and revising this novel.
Toward the end of the process, I became inspired with an idea
for my next novel. I wanted to dive into thatnew work. So I
published the novel in order to focus on the novel Im in the
throes of drafting. It was like sending the first child off to school
so I could take care of the newborn.
Other than knocking the judges socks off, what was
your greatest goal when entering the BookLife contest?
With the contest, my main goal was to obtain an unbiased read
by a giant voice in the publishing industry and to find out how
the work would fare against the work of other indie writers. An
added bonus was discovering other great titles for my reading

list. The timing was good: the novel had just been released
about the time the contest opened.
Speaking of reading lists, who are some of the authors
who most inspire you?
In no particular order: J.D. Salinger, Ernest Hemingway, Tom
McGuane, Rick Bass, Karen Russell, Jim Harrison, Antoine de
Saint-Exupry, Lorrie Moore, Nicole Krauss, Leonard Cohen,
Paulette Alden, and Kent Nelson.
Are you shopping your novel around?
Id welcome contact by any publisher who might want to give
this novel a new home within their house. Get in touch! Id love
to see the novel find a wider audience than it has. And, to date,
its only been released in a hardcover edition.

Jane Alvey Harris:

Finding Courage in Her Fiction
Harris started writing her debut novel, Rivena BookLife
finalist in the YA categorya few years ago, when she was in
her most vulnerable state. A newly single mother of three, with
zero marketable skills, as she puts it, Harris turned to writing
fiction as a way to cope with reality.
Now 44 years old, the Coppell, Tex., resident is a full-time
writer and marketer of her own work. Shes presently working
on Secret Keeper, the second book in her My Myth trilogy, which
begins with Riven. In January, Harris will kick off her publicity
tour for the book.
It sounds like Riven began
as a deeply personal
project for you. How did it
evolve into a novel that
you decided to self-publish
on Amazon?
When I was done with the first
draft, I shared it with my therapist and a couple of close
friends who encouraged me to
publish it. Thats when the real
journey began. After googling
how to publish, I quickly realized I had zero idea what I was
doing. I immediately joined the Society of Childrens Book
Writers and Illustrators, a brilliant move on my part. At my
first meeting, which happened to be a peer critique, I realized
how much my writing sucked. I hired a copy editor to help
with commas, but that wasnt nearly enough. Theres so much
more to writing a book than being able to put together a pretty
sentence. So I hired a consultant. Together with my critique
partner and most patient friends, I worked my way through
eight more drafts. It took me four years to learn to write well
enough to tell this story.
W W W . P U B L I S H E R S W E E K LY. C O M


Both the process behind the novel and
the novel itself are intense. How would
you describe Riven?
Riven is a hard-hitting, issue-driven, contemporary account of a
17-year-old girl whose reality and mental health fracture when
her childhood abuser re-enters her life after 10 years. Its a documentation of a survivors journey to make peace with her
wounded ego and achieve self-acceptance.
Its also a high-def psychological fantasy thriller with laughout-loud wit, loads of kick-ass adventure, and yummy romance.
The ultimate purpose of Riven is to spread a message of selfacceptance and empowerment. Victims of any kind of trauma
can do more than survive: they can thrive.
Did you channel any of your own life experiences
when writing this book?
Absolutely! There are several autobiographical components to
Riven. Emily, the protagonist, and I share a maiden name: Alvey.
It means Elf Warrior. Ive always been more than a little
obsessed with it. Also, Emilys siblings in the book are my children in real life: Jacob, Aidan, and Claire.
A few scenes in the book are taken directly from some of my
therapy sessions, including hypnosis and EMDR [eye movement
desensitization and reprocessing]. About the time I started
working with a therapist, I began receiving stories from other
people who were struggling. In fact, over the past few years Ive
had the distinct honor of being an outcry witness for over a
dozen adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse. More than 12
adult men and women entrusted their stories of abuse with me
after decades of keeping them secret and suffering through the
trauma of buried guilt and shame. Their stories, and the courage
it took to share them, inspired me.
You self-published Riven after years of reworking it.
Was self-publishing your first choice? Or did you
query traditional publishers first?
I queried traditional houses, and I absolutely loathed it. Honestly,
I think I suck at queries. My consultant/editor, Emma Dryden,
is the bomb, and she encouraged me to dig deep and tell the real
story. I asked the universe to send the perfect agent to champion
my story, but the responses I received were from agents who
wanted either straight fantasy or straight contemporary, and I
wasnt willing to ditch either. Its difficult to educate strangers
about something so personal and complex in a one-page cover
letter. Ultimately, I did get an offer from a small publishing
house, but it didnt feel right, so I decided to do it myself.
What are some of the rewards and challenges of
One obstacle is not having access to the exposure I might have
with a traditional publishing house. Its also very true that a
prejudice exists in the publishing community that if a manuscript were any good it would get picked up. Obviously, I dont
80 P U B L I S H E R S W E E K L Y D E C E M B E R 1 9 , 2 0 1 6

agree with that.

Though its been challenging, Im grateful for the experience.
Ive become stronger from having to pick myself up after falling
so often. I love that Ive been able to have control over the formatting and cover design. Self-promotion stinks, but I dont
have any qualms about promoting Riven. It feels like the story
was a gift that was given to me. Im just the lucky girl who got
to write it down.

Krys Batts:
Writing the Complicated, Independent,
and Relatable Romantic Heroine
Batts, a BookLife finalist in the romance category with her third
novel, Not Flowers, but Love, has been writing creatively for over
30 years, beginning with poetry when she was a teenager, and
then short stories. In her early 30s, she wrote and self-published
her first novel, Walls Fall Down, on Amazon.
The 46-year-old Dallas
author (also a full-time
senior technical business
analyst) was driven to write
novels for one pointed
reason: to fill a perceived
void in the romance genre
by crafting female protagonists who dont need a man
to be completebut who
can surely benefit from
true love.
How would you describe Not Flowers, but Love?
The central plot of the story is the main characters internal
struggle to overcome past relationship disappointments that
hamper her from opening up her heart again.
What inspired you to write it?
Not Flowers, but Love is a result of my feeling inspired to tell a
story about how strong, successful women can inadvertently trip
themselves up and miss opportunities to share their lives with
wonderful men. Its an angle that Ive come across in other writings, but I havent before come upon a book or movie that treated
the female characters deep-seated inner turmoil in the manner
that Ive done. And, the more I thought about the book plot, I
felt that the book could be special, compelling, relatable.
Jamie, the main character, couldnt be further from the
damsel-in-distress stereotype. Why is this type of heroine important to you?
I specifically began writing novels because, after reading what
seemed like one million books over the course of my life, I felt
that the female protagonists were too often left wanting for such
admirable qualities as acute intellect, fierce independence, and

a clear recognition of their personal self-worth.
This pattern among female characters seemed particularly
characteristic in romance novels. So I eventually decided to
create the strong, nuanced women characters that I yearned to
Not Flowers, but Love was self-published via Amazon
in 2015. What prompted you to enter it in this years
BookLife contest?
One of the greatest challenges before self-published authors is
gaining a readership that trusts you to deliver an enjoyable
journey when they pick up your books. With this in mind, I
entered the BookLife Prize in Fiction contest because I hoped
to obtain positive, critical reviews that new potential readers
could reference when deciding whether to purchase my novels.
As an avid reader myself, I am sometimes persuaded to try out
new authors when an objective reader, whether or not I know
the person, endorses the writers work.
Whats your approach to the business side of self-publishing? What kind of promotional tools do you use?
I have found that advertising directly on Amazon produces the
best results. I have experimented with advertising in a variety
of ways over the past few years, including using Facebook,
Twitter, and popular websites such as Goodreads.
As you noted, another readers endorsement of a
book can go a long way. Who are some writers that
inspire or influence you?
My list of favorite authors is quite extensive, and I honestly love
them all equally. Just a few of the writers who Im sure have
influenced my own style in some way: Tess Gerritsen, John
Grisham, Janet Evanovich, Michael Crichton, Robert Ludlum.
What are you reading right now?
Dying to Be Me by Anita Moorjani.

T.J. Slee:
Espionage, Psychopaths,
and Bad Karma
Slee, a finalist in not one but two of the BookLife contest
categories (in the mystery/thriller
category with the novel Cloister, and
the sci-fi/fantasy/horror sector
with The Vanirim), declines to give
his real name. He also declines to
name his city of origin, share his age,
or show his face. Slee is a man of
mystery, but theres a good reason for
that, he says: he was formerly a security intelligence officer working in

You mentioned off the bat that we cant discuss many

personal details, but can you tell us where youre
writing from and whether you have a job outside of
Im currently based in Copenhagen. Yes, I have a day job, which
pays the bills so that I can donate all the money I earn from my
writing to Doctors without Borders/Mdecins Sans Frontires.
Yep, every cent. Why would I do that? Lets just say I have a lot
of bad karma from my time as an intelligence officer that I am
trying to compensate for. A lot of very bad karma.
Tell us about Cloister and The Vanirim.
Cloister is an espionage thriller laced with dark humor, featuring
a very unorthodox heroine. Sister Charlie Jones is not your typical Mercy Sister nun, but shes doing her best. Thirty years old,
shaved head, pierced and tattooed, shes a year into her novitiate
after quitting the Australian security service to find some inner
peace. Then she gets a call from the archbishop: theres been a
terrorist threat against the papal visit, police have overrun his
office, the Vatican protocol team is threatening to call the whole
tour off, and hes just been told Jones is a decorated former
counterterrorist officer who maybe can step in and help him
regain control. In no time, Charlie Jones finds herself drawn
into a web of Vatican intrigue.
Vanirim is a crime noir story set in a postapocalyptic universe.
Five years after the Pacification, the war in which the old Norse
demigods, the Vanir, returned to reclaim the Earth, 19-year-old
Tully McIntyre stumbles upon the impossible: a dead Vanir.
Nuclear weapons couldnt kill them, but he finds one lying
gutted inside a human house. For investigator Stella Valiente,
McIntyre is the only suspectexcept it cant be him. McIntyre
has been sanctioned, a process by which the Vanir punish
criminals by stripping them of all emotion. He cant love, feel
passion or sorrow, he cant hate, and most of all, he cant kill.
Can he?
Are any of these characters inspired by real people?
Charlie [from Cloister] is loosely based on a real character I
worked with in the security service. She was lazy, annoyingly
self-absorbed, hopelessly disorganized, and unreliable; everyone
loved her. Being who she was, she could move in circles no one
else in the agency could. Tragically, she was fired when they
found drugs in her desk at workbut, if
you ask me, the jury is still out as to
whether they were hers or not.
The character at the center of Vanirim
is not based on any real person, but I
have to admit that McIntyre is a metaphor for the sort of person that intelligence work turns some people into if
they arent careful. McIntyre is the
person I might have become if I didnt
leave when I did.
W W W . P U B L I S H E R S W E E K LY. C O M


You self-published five books this year,
including The Vanirim and Cloister. What
prompted you to go indie?
Last year the refugee crisis in Europe provoked me to look for
ways I could raise some money to help, and I realized I had all
these novels lying around, so I published them this year. I had
no idea if anyone would buy/read my work, so in January I set
a modest fund-raising target, and I hit it by June, which was
fantastic! Now Ive doubled it. Its not much in the big picture,
but every little bit helps these days.
Being able to reap all the royalties of your books must
be particularly rewarding, given your charitable efforts.
Would you ever sign with a traditional publisher?
Id be more than happy to pull the books from Amazon, rebrand,
and relaunch, bringing current and future titles under new
management. I would continue to send my royalties to charity,
but thats just a personal choice. The help of a publisher to reach
a wider audience would be a win-win, and I hope my results in
the BookLife competition so far might give an agent or publisher the confidence to take a chance!

Jennifer Kaplan:
Exploring History
Kaplan, a finalist in BookLifes middle grade
category for the novel Crushing the Red Flowers,
has a specific goal for her unpublished work:
having perceived a need for more educational
and diverse fiction about the Holocaust, she
wants to see it placed in school libraries. The
43-year-old New Jersey author, mother, and
founder of the Public Arts Council is compelled not only to explore the events of the
Holocaust and their effects, but also the factors that led up to
Crushing the Red Flowers is set in prewar Germany.
Why did you choose that period?
Few childrens books cover prewar 1938, even fewer have German
main characters, and none use alternating points of view to
explore Kristallnacht from divergent perspectives. Nineteen
thirty-eight is a curious year because it was the turning point. It
offers a unique vantage point to explore the past, present and
glimpse the future, but, unfortunately, Ive often found this
critical year overlooked by educators. Most books focus on the
40s. Mine starts in summer and stops in December 1938. We
all know what happens after that, but the characters dont.
Your novel has two protagonistsone Jewish, one
notwhom you alternate between every other chapter.
Why did you choose this style?
I wanted to show how each boy experienced the same events
82 P U B L I S H E R S W E E K L Y D E C E M B E R 1 9 , 2 0 1 6

from his own perspective. The German Jewish boys life starts
out with piano lessons and other normal activities, but by end
of book his life is far from normalized. The German boy has his
own problems, including an uncle who is in jail for his antiHitler stance, and being forced to join Jungvolk, and struggle
with an awful leader.
Did any of your familys history help inspire you to
write this book?
Yes, Ive done a lot of research for this book, but my first stop was
conducting interviews with family members: two German Jews
and two German Christians. Theyve been very supportive.
I also get so many questions. From the Jewish perspective, I
hear, Why didnt your family just leave? Ive also felt vilified
for being German. If you look at some of the older Hollywood
movies, all the bad guys are German.
The real question is, how could this happen to the beautiful,
civilized country of Germany? My book tries to show the suffering
and poverty and decline of politics that made it ripe for an
extremist like Hitler to rise to power, though I wonder how many
people saw it coming. There is little discussion as to why it
unfolded, and my book looks to show how complicated this was.
I also have three young children. The two
that are in fifth and seventh grade are old
enough to read it and have had exposure to the
Holocaust as we are raising them Jewish and
they attend Hebrew school.
Who are some of your greatest inspirations in terms of childrens and middle
grade literature?
For childrens literature, Im influenced by and
try to learn from Lynne Rae Perkinss descriptive prose, Christopher Paul Curtiss likable
and complex characters, and Rebecca Steads beautifully subtle
way she weaves a story together. And, of course, I remain
inspired by three writers who helped to first spark my interest
in literature: Kurt Vonnegut, Ray Bradbury, and Margaret
This is your first novel, and you have not published it
yet. Not to be rude, but what are you waiting for?
I have published a few short stories, and, with Crushing the Red
Flowers, I am open to all options. At this point I am looking at
traditional publishers and independent and small publishers
that have a strong focus on historical Holocaust fiction. That
said, Im very open to self-publishing. I dont know what it will
be. Given that my main goal is to get the book into libraries, a
great way to do that is to rack up awards so as to give the book

more credibility.
Nicole Audrey Spector is a Los Angeles writer whose work has appeared
in the Atlantic, the New Yorker, and Vice.


New Titles from Self-Publishers

Booksellers, publishers, librarians, and agents are encouraged to look at the 74
self-published titles 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 for more information.
Darker the Night
Lisa London. Deep River Press. $16.95
paper (280p), ISBN 978-0-9911635-5-7
Amazon, Ingram
A German woman
dodges bombs and
battles hunger. Her
father reminds her,
The darker the night,
the brighter the stars.
Is her star a charming
American? Inspired by actual experiences.
Faraway Green
Jack Young. Lulu. $11.95 paper (220p),
ISBN 978-1-312-78030-9; $3.03 e-book,
ISBN 978-1-312-78687-5
Amazon,, Lulu
Youngs comic
debut novel follows
the inauspicious Slim
the Grassman as he
signs on with a wealthy
eccentric in an
improbable attempt
to develop instant putting greens.
The Kurdish Bike
Alesa Lightbourne. Alesa Lightbourne.
$11.95 paper (324p),
ISBN 978-0-692-75810-6; $9.95
e-book, ASIN B01IOPBT3Y
When an American
goes to teach in
Kurdish Iraq in 2010,
she is engulfed in the
passions, brutality,
and social dilemmas

experienced by village women in this

The Moons of Mars: Short Stories of
Adventure & Romance
Charles E. Jones. Outskirts Press. $26.95
hardcover (394p), ISBN 978-1-47878042-7,
These stories range
from military adventures to everyday life.
Characters endeavor to
excel and succeed with
inviting romance and
action backgrounds.
Out of Time
Patrick Miskella. BookFuel. $18.99 paper
(491p), ISBN 978-1-5356-0236-5
Sean McGowen
searches for the father
he has never met.
Several powerful, lifealtering events induce
him to reconsider his
perceptions of free will,
love, time, and self.
Poplar Place
Ellen Butler. Power to the Pen. $3.89
e-book, ASIN
Amazon, Apple iBooks,
A Pittsburgh lawyer
moves to a small town
to escape her past. But

calls from the FBI threaten her newfound

serenity. Will she ever find the peace and
happiness she craves?
Postmodern Deconstruction
Peter Quinones.
iUniverse. $13.99
paper (136p), ISBN
Among other stories,
the title work contains
98 examples of the
one-sentence short story.
Unexplored Lives: A Collection of
Short Stories
John K. Briscoe. Outskirts Press. $17.95
paper (264p), ISBN 978-1-4787-7740-3,
Life can be complicated. Readers should
be prepared to cringe,
smile, and frown as a
world of individuals
whose uncommon
experiences are uncovered.
Valedictorian: A Story of the Hidden
Glory of a Troubled Life
Constance W. Hall. AuthorHouse. $16.95
paper (192p), ISBN
$3.99 e-book, ISBN
In this final salute
to the life and legacy of
W W W . P U B L I S H E R S W E E K LY. C O M




an unbreakable Marine,
Constance Hall writes a poignant tale of courage and determination
in the midst of lifes vicissitudes.
The Velvet Thorn
Olivia Villa-Real. iUniverse. $18.95 paper
(300p), ISBN 978-1-4502-6798-4; $9.99
e-book, ISBN 978-14502-6799-1
This novel uncovers
the subtle shades of
emotion that forge
their way to escape and
express themselves in
the most wonderful prism of colors that
only love can see and understand.

What the River Knows: Conversations
with the Natural World
Andrea Freeman.
Halcyon Wind Press.
$14.95 paper (110p),
ISBN 978-09890897-1-5
A book of poetic
reflections that honors the beauty and
wisdom of nature, and invites the reader
to open into wonder and gratitude as a
way to help heal the Earth and ourselves.

The Actor? A Thriller and Love
Story at the Height of the Cold War
Lee Welling. Bookstand Publishing.
$24.95 hardcover (269p), ISBN 978-163498-364-8
In the 1950s Cold
War, the biggest
star on Broadway is
recruited by the CIA
to lead a cultural tour
to Russia. But behind
the Iron Curtain,
the job gets more complicated, and lives,
secrets, and countries are put on the

Anamnesis: Ages of Claya, Book 1

Whitney H. Murphy. CreateSpace. $9.99
paper (239p), ISBN 978-0-9976951-1-3;
$2.99 e-book, ASIN B01GGNIKJC
Survivors in a
ruined city fight to
recall their own
namesand the name
of their city, their land,
and their people. The
answers lie buried in
the ruins that crumble all around them.
Becoming The Wolf:
A White Wolf Justice Thriller
R.H. Neil. LEO-Trainer. $14.95 paper
(386p), ISBN 978-0-9979529-0-2;
$2.99 e-book,
Who is J.D. Ward?
Rookie city cop.
Former Army combat
tracker. And the reluctant vigilante known
as the White Wolf. Now whos the prey?
A Conundrum
Pamela Peacock. Xlibris. $36 hardcover
(254p), ISBN 978-1-5245-1754-0;
$24.19 paper (254p), ISBN 978-15245-1753-3, Amazon, Bookdepository.
An unsanctioned murder
in Australia has
caused chaos
in the Family.
A vicious,
unprincipled family dating from the 17th
century, they have homogenized their
holdings. It cannot be allowed.
The Election of 2028: Murder Most
Foul in the Race
for the White House
David Stout. David
Stout. $2.99 e-book,
One presidential

84 P U B L I S H E R S W E E K L Y D E C E M B E R 1 9 , 2 0 1 6

candidate is ahead in the popular vote.

But some members of the Electoral College
are dying in freak accidents. Is there a
plot to steal the White House?
In the Midst of Death...:
A Post-Revolutionary War Mystery
Bev Kaufman. Xlibris. $23.99 paper
(692p), ISBN 978-1-5144-5332-2; $3.99
e-book, ISBN 978-1-5144-5331-5
Set during the
summer of 1787,
Kaufmans fictional
story frequently dives
back into the past,
where we learn of the
old sins that led to the
events now taking place.
Legal Thriller: Carlos the Ant
(Michael Gresham Series, Book 4)
John Ellsworth. John
Ellsworth. $3.99
e-book, ASIN
Carlos the Ant is a
bank robber. His case
is defended by Michael
Gresham. Its going to be the meanest
case of Michaels career.
The Root Cellar
C.A. Thomas. Rosedog
Books. $14 paper
(152p), ISBN 978-14809-7246-9
After a brutal attack,
Candace discovers no one will act against
her rich, white assailant. Alone, she realizes there is no justice. There is only
Time Out of Place
Samantha Wood
Wright. iUniverse.
$13.99 paper (216p),
ISBN 978-1-49179690-0; $3.99 e-book,



ISBN 978-1-4917-9700-6
Sabrina has a dream about a strange
house to which fate leads her years later.
Sabrina/Sabine reveals a haunting journey
as she unravels the story behind her new
house and its century-old mystery.
A Touch of
Peter S. Fischer.
CreateSpace. $12.95
paper (266p), ISBN
Book 12 in the
Hollywood Murder Mysteries series, by
the creator of Murder, She Wrote.

Beyond Every Mirror
Christine Church. Grey Horse Press.
$12.99 paper (370p), ISBN 978-0692-78270-5; $2.99
e-book, ASIN
Dragged into a
world of dreams and
nightmares, his sacrifice means the difference between life and
death for the woman he loves.
The Carnival
Amber Gulley. World
Castle Publishing.
$3.99 e-book,
Amazon, Indigo,
Kobo, Smashwords
The carnival is in town for the All
Hallows Eve celebrations, and the
London fog has plans of its own.
Dark Horizon,
Book 1: Horizons
Eric J. Kumik.
iUniverse. $20.95
paper (216p), ISBN

9960-4; $3.99 e-book, ISBN 978-14917-9961-1

When a team of scientists goes missing
after finding a mysterious ancient relic on
an uncharted planet, a reckless and unpredictable military team is called in to find
S.A. Stitz. Archway Publishing. $24.99
paper (400p), ISBN 978-1-4808-3258-9;
$3.99 e-book, ISBN 978-1-4808-3260-2
In this paranormal
novel, a young woman
with special abilities
becomes embroiled in
a battle of good versus
evil as she attempts to
rescue a world in desperate need of
Welcome to the ApocalypsePandora
D.L. Richardson. CreateSpace. $4.99
e-book, ASIN B01N01QFTQ
When players get
trapped in a virtual
game of apocalypse,
the fight for survival
becomes real, but what
they do to survive may
haunt them forever.
The Wolf of Dorian Gray:
A Werewolf Spawned by the Evil
of Man
Brian S. Ference. Brian S. Ference. $9.99
paper (214p), ISBN 978-0-9983252-0-0;
$2.99 e-book, ISBN 978-0-9983252-1-7, Amazon,
In 19th century
England, Dorian Gray
experiences love and
harrowing escapes
from the werewolf
spawned by the evil
of man.

Dear Heart: The Courting Letters
Judith Pinkerton Josephson, illus. by
Kirsten Elise Josephson. eFrog Press.
$11.99 paper (258p),
ISBN 978-09967199-3-3; $4.99
e-book, ISBN
Lisa finds a box of
love letters penned by writers separated
by an ocean. Distance also conspires
against Lisa in her own romance. This is a
tale of two love stories a century apart.
The Titty Dancer, Her Bitch DJ, and
Their Love of 80s Madonna
Mike James. MJ Publishing. $9.99 paper
(92p), ISBN 978-1-365-30158-2
Amazon, Apple iBooks,,
A Houston
man becomes a
deejay at a strip
club, where he
falls head over
stilettos for a
stripper named Karma.

America Abandoned: The Secret Velvet
Coup That Cost Us Our Democracy
Jill Cody. Writing
Endeavors Press.
$17.95 paper (266p),
ISBN 978-09977962-0-9
The American
people have been abandoned. Corporations and the rich have
withdrawn their support from We, the
People in spite of their duty, allegiance,
or responsibility to America.
Ancient Map for Modern Birth:
Preparation, Passage, and Personal
Growth During Your Childbearing
Pam England with Virginia Bobro. Seven
W W W . P U B L I S H E R S W E E K LY. C O M




Gates Media. $28 e-book,
ISBN 978-0-9981202-0-1
Seven Gates Media,
England presents
research, stories, and
questions to prepare
the savvy health consumer and awaken the
Birth Warrior.
Ancient Wisdoms: Exploring the
Mysteries and Connections
Gayle Redfern. AuthorHouse. $17.50
paper (250p), ISBN
$9.99 e-book, ISBN
AuthorHouse, Amazon
Ponder the mysterious link of Africa,
Mesoamerica, and
Europe. Hear the recent messages from
the Elders of Kogi, Hopi, and Maya
Basic Counseling Techniques:
A Beginning Therapists Toolkit
(Third Edition)
Wayne Perry. AuthorHouse. $18.99
paper (362p), ISBN
$3.99 e-book, ISBN
Geared for counselors and therapists
early in their careers,
this book provides practical suggestions
for setting up the therapy room, conducting interviews, and more.
Break Ground Without Breaking Up:
7 Keys to Securing a Strong
Relationship While Building or
Remodeling Your Home
Sandy Berendes and
Laura Longville. Mill
City Press. $14.99
paper (210p), ISBN
This book was

written by a seasoned interior designer

and a couples therapist.
Chicago Is Not Broke.
Funding the City We Deserve
Edited by Tom Tresser.
The CivicLab. $12
paper (95p), ISBN
Local civic experts
lay out progressive,
sustainable sources of
major revenues for Chicago.
Death by Rental Car:
How the Houck Case Changed the Law
Ben Kelley. Vox
Justitia Books. $18
paper (312p), ISBN
The anatomy of a
six-year court battle
against giant corporate
defendants for causing the fiery deaths of
two sisters in a defective rental car.
Foreword by Ralph Nader.
Dowsing and Ley Lines:
How to Create Ley Lines
Gerald Chatfield. AuthorHouse. $56.45
paper (228p), ISBN 978-1-5246-3164-2;
$4.99 e-book, ISBN 978-1-5246-3165-9
This book contains information
on dowsing for
beginners and
advanced alike. It
also explains how to
find and follow
more than 500 ley marks across the south
of the British Isles.
Female Erasure: What You Need to
Know About Gender Politics War on
Women, the
Female Sex and
Human Rights
Ruth Barrett. Tidal
Time Publishing.
$24.99 paper

86 P U B L I S H E R S W E E K L Y D E C E M B E R 1 9 , 2 0 1 6

(624p), ISBN 978-0-9971467-0-7

This anthology exposes the current
trend of gender identity politics as a continuation of female erasure and silencing.
In the Belly of the Dragon: An Account
of Working as a Foreign Expert Inside
a State Enterprise of
the Peoples
Republic of China
Farquharson. Xlibris.
$23.28 paper (184p),
ISBN 978-1-51446477-9; $4.99 e-book,
ISBN 978-1-5144-6476-2
Farquharson delves into a state-owned
enterprise powering the economy of the
Peoples Republic of China, letting
readers discover what happens inside and
how these companies function.
Inspirational Explosion from Deep
Within: Gods Annointed Touch
Leroy Hubbert. Xlibris. $19.99 paper
(184p), ISBN 978-1-4990-4910-7; $3.99
e-book, ISBN 978-14990-4908-4
This book shows
readers that inspiration comes within oneself and that inside
there is a plan ready to
be executed that would bring one peace in
the midst of troubled storms.
Learning to Fish in the Twenty-First
Century: Navigating the Career Waters
to Find and Land a Choice Position
Donna Chlopak.
iUniverse. $13.95
paper (132p), ISBN
$3.99 e-book, ISBN
Landing that
desired job, building a career, and creating
a personal brand are becoming more complicated in todays global marketplace.


Twenty-five years
ago, my doctors had no
cure for my cancer. So I
went on a quest to find
my own treatment.

Chlopak provides the necessary tools,

strategies, and steps to succeed.
Leslies Party Diaries: Secrets and
Recipes for Entertaining with Style
Leslie Byars Register. Leslie Byars
Register. $39 hardcover (290p),
ISBN 978-0-692-76937-9
com, Amazon
Register reveals
her secrets from
over 30 years of
foolproof entertaining, 85 of her
most-loved recipes,
and over 30 inventive party ideas for all ages.
Making Your Memories with Rock &
Roll and Doo-Wop
J.C. De Ladurantey. iUniverse. $3.99
e-book, ISBN
This book features stories of
the solo artists,
duos, and groups
whose music filled the airwaves in the
1950s and early 1960s.
A Manual on Exposure in Photography:
Reflex and Compact Camera
Ceriel van Arneman. AuthorHouse. $32
paper (113p), ISBN
Prolific photographer van Arneman
explains his craft in a
fun, practical, and
rewarding way. This
book is for anyone who wants to get the
most out their camera.
N of 1: One Mans HarvardDocumented Remission of Incurable
Cancer Using Only Natural Methods
Glenn Sabin, with Dawn Lemanne. Fon
Press. $26.99 hardcover (214p), ISBN
978-0-9975482-2-8; $16.99 paper
(214p), ISBN 978-0-9975482-0-4

This is my story.
No More Magic Wands: Transformative
Cybersecurity Change for Everyone
George Finney. CreateSpace. $8.99 paper
(130p), ISBN
$2.99 e-book, ASIN
Security is everyones job, so everyone
needs to understand
how a business needs to protect itself. You
cant use magic to fix a data breach.
Note to Self: A Seven-Step Path to
Gratitude and Growth
Laurie Buchanan. She Writes Press.
$16.95 paper
(270p), ISBN
Baggage: we all
carry it with us
through life. This
book is designed to
help you offload emotional baggage and
discover a lighter, joy-filled you.
Not Off the Hook at 491:
When Unforgiveness Feels as
Natural as Breathing
Lora Rene Hubbard. Xlibris. $19.99
paper, ISBN 978-1-5245-1269-9; $3.99
e-book, ISBN 978-1-5245-1268-2
Experience the twists and turns of this
emotionally charged
story, where deeprooted bitterness and
unforgiveness fester
behind the curtain of
this affluent New York

An Ordinary Tragedy: A Memoir of

Crimes and Shattered Lives
Lori Hart Beninger. OnTrack Publishing.
$9.99 paper (196p),
ISBN 978-09856897-6-6
The story of the
authors quest to
unlock the mystery of
her brothers life of escalating crime and
depravity, exploring the dynamics of her
perfect family and the secrets they kept.
Residential Solar Energy: Your Guide
to Whether Solar Will Save You Money
Vince Hough. Sunshine Book Publishers.
$4.95 e-book, ISBN
This guide on how
you should go solar
will give you the
confidence to make
the most informed
decision about when to go solar with
your home.
The Success Process Handbook:
A Thinking Persons Guide to
Interpersonal Relationships
Tony Fielek. Xlibris.
$12.99 paper (54p),
ISBN 978-1-49312551-7; $3.99 e-book,
ISBN 978-1-49312553-1
Fielek teaches
readers how they can influence the key
people who are highly important to their
Suddenly Alone: A Practical Guide to
Prepare Yourself and Your Loved
Ones for When You Are Suddenly
Ken and Donna Wright. AuthorHouse.
$16.95 paper (140p), ISBN
978-1-5246-0533-9; $3.99 e-book,
ISBN 978-1-5246-0532-2
W W W . P U B L I S H E R S W E E K LY. C O M




This book presents valuable information and templates to be completed
by you to get your
finances, estate planning, health care
directives, household
procedures, and personal affairs in order
before death.
The Three-Decker
Francis Archdeacon. Francis Archdeacon.
$9.99 e-book, ASIN
The memoir of an
Irish-Catholic striver
growing up under the
spell of Kennedys
Camelot. It contains
depictions of his battle against polio and
of Boston in the sixties.
The Tragedy of Moses
Elliott Kanbar. Elbar Associates. $12
paper (117p), ISBN
This book (mostly
in verse) examines the
questions that have
perplexed biblical
scholars for generations
about Moses, the only human permitted to
know God face-to-face.
The Ultimate Retirement and Estate
Plan for Your Million-Dollar IRA
James Lange. Retire
Secure Press. $12.95
paper (88p), ISBN
Lange details strategies that help individuals grow their IRAs and retirement plans
and massively reduce their tax burdens.
Vagabonding with Kids: Australia
A.K. Turner. Brown Books Publishing
Group. $16.95 paper (224p), ISBN

In the sequel to
Vagabonding with Kids,
the nomadic family of
four continues their
journey with a twomonth trip down under.
Will My Beagle Go with Me in the
Rapture? Hope of Heaven for Dog
Lovers and Their Pets
Don Diehl. iUniverse. $12.95 paper
(116p), ISBN 978-14917-9094-6; $3.99
e-book, ISBN 978-14917-9093-9
Diehl presents the
case for an ongoing
human-animal relationship beyond this life and looks at
real-life issues from the viewpoint of a
dog with humanlike perception.

Buzzy and the Little Critters:
A Curious Tale of a Cicada Invasion
Kenton R. Hill. Luminare Press. $10.95
paper (39p), ISBN
A grandpa (an entomologist) helps a boy
and a girl satisfy their
curiosity about their
own nature and the
nature of the amazing cicada bugs.
Cat Facts: Things
That Cats Like
Ali FitzGerald.
FitzGerald. $10.99
paper (30p), ISBN
Love and friendship conquer all trumpery in this story about embracing differences, playing with others, and cats.
The Elephants of Art:
An Educational Art Story

88 P U B L I S H E R S W E E K L Y D E C E M B E R 1 9 , 2 0 1 6

Jo OMara. Archway Publishing. $19.95

hardcover (42p), ISBN 978-1-48082835-3; $14.95 paper (42p), ISBN 9781-4808-2834-6
When his art
teacher encourages
him to get to know
the elements of art,
a confused mouse
searches for elephants instead. A new series that introduces
art basics to kids.
Elsewhere/Where Else:
Turnabout, Vol. 1
Russ Wood. Russ
Wood Media. $14.95
paper (242p), ISBN
During an interstellar voyage, Joshua discovers a genocidal plot and must find a way to survive
alone. Marai visits a lost tribe and must
discover how to use her spiritual powers.
Emma Has a
Dana Wall and
Amber Wall,
illus. by Phillip
$14.95 paper (26p), ISBN 978-1-5246-4621-9
Emma has a dilemma: she gets an F on
her Easy Grammar test about nouns and
pronouns. Wizard Jake appears and will help.
A genius in grammar, he teaches Emma
the ins and outs.
Finding Moana: Book One
James Halemanu, illus. by Ana Frederick.
Blue Coral Press. $4.99 e-book, ASIN
On a haunted island,
13-year-old Moana
fights the cannibals who
hunt him and the sinister power growing
within him.



I Love Me and
the Skin Im In
Jessica N.
Outskirts Press.
$8.95 paper
(25p), ISBN
978-1-4787-7060-2, Amazon,
Follow Jessica on her journey to understanding what it means to love yourself
despite how others may view you.
My Pet Shop
Kathleen Long
Bostrom, illus.
by Christopher
R. Bostrom.
$9.99 paper
(24p), ISBN 978-1-4782-4755-5
When a little girl goes to the pet shop
to buy her first pet, her imagination runs
wild. A pig that paints? What other pets
will she have?
Our Dog Girl
Pamela Battle,
illus. by Gil
Balbuena Jr.
Xlibris. $21.99
paper (26p),
ISBN 978-1-5144-5678-1; $3.99 e-book,
ISBN 978-1-5144-5677-4
In this whimsical story, Battle shares a
tale based on her family pet. Journey with
Our Dog Girl as she goes on the adventure of a lifetime.
Pablos Pelican
Vincent Marotta,
illus. by Aronna.
Trafford Publishing.
$12.68 paper (12p),
ISBN 978-1-49073189-6
A Hispanic boy must support his
family while his father is away. Helped by
a friendly pelican, he can overcome any

Pauli: The
Musical Pumpkin
Pamela O. Guidry.
$21.99 paper (50p),
ISBN 978-14969-6535-6;
$3.99 e-book, ISBN 978-1-4969-6536-3
This is a story about familial relationships that empowers individualism and
exalts the value of interdependence and
togetherness in a family.
G. Gene Black.
CreateSpace. $18.99
paper (308p), ISBN
$14.95 e-book, ISBN
In the storybook village of Thymes, ca.
1712, orphan siblings grow up in the
wild and battle a witch turned pirate who
hatches a scheme where there can be no
more stories.
Prince Pounce-a-Lot
Fay Lorraine Sueltz.
AuthorHouse. $20.99
paper (50p), ISBN
$3.99 e-book, ISBN
Prince, a loving but selfish puppy,
writes about his true-life adventures as he
grows into a gorgeous standard poodle.
He discovers teamwork, and his occasional leadership makes everyone happy.
Shine Your Light:
Book Three, Paige Maddison Series
Lee Bice-Matheson and J.R. Matheson,
illus. by Nancy Batra and Cindy Slipacoff.
FriesenPress. $15.49
paper (201p), ISBN
FriesenPress, Amazon,
Apple iBooks,
Paige fights for

good versus evil with powerful upperworld allies and friends. She faces the biggest threat to humankind, Beelzebub.
Will Paige prevail?
Snowman Paul at
the Winter Olympics
Yossi Lapid, illus. by
Joanna Pasek. Yosef
Lapid. $9.99 paper
(46p), ISBN 978-09973899-2-0; $2.99 e-book, ASIN
Snowman Paul dreams of becoming a
winter Olympics champion. But is he
competing fairly? Or is he perhaps enjoying
some unfair advantage? If so, what should
his friend Dan do about it?
Starkrimson and
the Egg-Keepers,
Book 3
Deogracias. $3.99
e-book (23p),
Amazon, Apple iBooks,, Kobo
Starkrimson the little demigod keeps
the peace across the universe. How does
he do it? With lots of smarts, a bit of
magic, and a little help from his other
magical friends.
Tripi Takes Flight:
The Amazing
Adventures of
Tripi the Fly
Lori London, illus.
by Heather
Bonnstetter. Lori
London. $12.99
paper (36p), ISBN 978-0-9975368-1-2;
$3.99 e-book ASIN B01LVXUK4Y, Amazon,
This is a story about a fly who cant fly.
He has to take mass transportation to get
around the globe on all his adventures.
At the library, the Great Book inspired
him, and how.

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


Reviews Roundup
In the past month, weve reviewed 27 self-published titles submitted via BookLife,
Publishers Weeklys website dedicated to indie authors, including three that received stars.

The Amazing Adventures of Dashing Prince Dietrich
Igor Ljubuncic. CreateSpace, $9.99 paper (386p) ISBN 978-1-5300-0866-7

Black-Winged Tuesday
A.B. Rayn. CreateSpace, $9.99 trade paper (294p) ISBN 978-1-5336-1728-6

TV: Apocalypse
Kathleen Rovner. Willabby, $2.99 e-book (185p) ASIN B015YBJJIS

The Virtuoso
Virginia Burges. Satin Publishing, $15.99 trade paper (458p) ISBN 978-09930777-1-5

Walking with Shadows

Broken Eagle

Luke Romyn. CreateSpace, $17.99 paper (666p) ISBN 978-1-5304-2926-4

James T. Crouse. Caromount Island, $17.99 trade paper (262p) ISBN 9780-9974712-0-5

With This Curse

Feels like Summertime

Tammy Falkner. Night Shift, $3.99 e-book (320p) ISBN 978-1-5190-0642-4

Find Virgil
Frank Freudberg. Inside Job Media, $3.99 e-book (358p) ASIN B00G5JD8TK

Amanda DeWees. Amanda DeWees, $2.99 e-book (294p) ISBN 978-15030-6674-8

The Zonderling
Kersti Niebruegge. Kersti Niebruegge, $9.99 trade paper (170p)
ISBN 978-0-9908710-3-3

Inside of Me


Hazel McHaffie. VelvetEthics, $10.99 trade paper (244p) ISBN 978-09926231-2-8

Can I Wear My Kippah on Job Interviews?

The Last Wizard of Eneri Clare

Lavie and Rachel Margolin. H. Delilah Business & Career, $16.95 trade
paper (154p) ISBN 978-0-692432-76-1

April L. Lindevald. April L. Lindevald, $34.99 trade paper (674p) ISBN 9781-5043-5446-2

Get Beyond Your Troubled Past

Love on the Sound

Jamie Matthews. Jamie Matthews, $4.99 e-book (361p) ASIN B01HRBUHI4

Must Love Kilts

Angela Quarles. Unsealed Room, $4.99 e-book (242p) ISBN 978-09905400-6-9

John Jeffrey Lundell. CreateSpace, $19.97 trade paper (244p) ISBN 9781-5077-7862-3

Missions Unmasked
Adam Mosley. What I Never Knew, $13.99 trade paper (216p) ISBN 978-069245-305-6

Mr. Nomad: Tales of a Traveling Teacher

Pure Vision: The Magdalene Revelation

Dave Webb. CreateSpace, $12 trade paper (220p) ISBN 978-1-5328-6225-0

Perri Birney. Pure Vision Communications, $28.95 trade paper (586p)

ISBN 978-0-9817482-2-1

The Official Chase n Yur Face Cookbook

Sangama: A Story of the Amazon Jungle

Chase Bailey. Chase n Yur Face Media, $24.95 trade paper (172p)
ISBN 9-780-692-75585-3

Arturo D. Hernndez, trans. from the Spanish by Raymond A. Enstam.

Quaestor, $14.95 trade paper (358p) ISBN 978-0-9786914-0-0

Salmon: From Market to Plate

A Season to Kill
Michael Mucci. Rook, $22.99 paper (310p) ISBN 978-0-692-55682-5

A Spell in the Country

Morgan Smith. Traveling Light, $3.99 e-book (279p) ISBN 978-1-53097995-0

Trusting the Currents

Lynnda Pollio. SageHeart Media, $16.95 trade paper (288p) ISBN 978-09891953-0-0

90 P U B L I S H E R S W E E K L Y D E C E M B E R 1 9 , 2 0 1 6

Maureen C. Berry. Berry Consulting, $12.95 trade paper (210p) ISBN 9780-9973540-0-3

E.X.O.: The Legend of Wale Williams, Part One
Roye Okupe, illus. by Sunkanmi Akinboye. YooNeek Studios, $14.99
trade paper (136p) ISBN 978-0-9966070-0-1

The Great Hot Air Balloon Adventure

Stephen Holmes, illus. by Kev Payne. SDH, $9.99 paper (36p) ISBN 978-15262-0412-7

The Amazing Adventures of
Dashing Prince Dietrich:
Woes & Hose, Book 1
Igor Ljubuncic. CreateSpace, $9.99 paper
(386p) ISBN 978-1-5300-0866-7

Prince Dietrich II (better known as Dick)

of the fantasy land of Monrich has just
turned 18, and his father, King Ulaf, is
determined to marry him off as soon as
possible. Ulaf is grumpy, dictatorial, and
determined to make something out of him;
his feelings for his only son are not in the
least affectionate. Prince Dick doesnt feel
much filial love either. In fact, he constantly
fantasizes about patricide, but he fears
repudiation and a trip to the Black Desert,
so he stifles his hatred in surly acquiescence
while trying to wriggle out of getting
married. This is the only real source of
tension in the book, and it gets old fast.
Ljubuncics odious novel takes the idea of
the fantasy quest to a new low: Prince
Dick is crude, self-involved, greedy, lazy,
and completely dishonorable. He has no
redeeming qualities and never gains any
through his ridiculous attempts to dodge
his royal duties.

Black-Winged Tuesday
A.B. Rayn. CreateSpace, $9.99 trade paper
(294p) ISBN 978-1-5336-1728-6

After an incredibly unlucky life, Herman

Morrie gets another chance for success as a
guardian angel in Ryans fun blend of
quirky humor, supernatural adventures,
and erotic pleasures. Assigned as the good
angel for Charlie, a nervous and suicidal
accountant, Herman pairs up with hedonistic angel Price to help their ward get a
girlfriend, reveal his uncles theft from the
company, and cope with his uncontrollable
changes into a beaver. Their schemes hit
snags when Charlies crush turns out to be
an unrequited flame from Hermans past
with a deeply abusive partner, a sexy archangel takes a serious interest in Herman,

and a fit of rage gives Herman pure-black

wings. Ryan struggles to control the
mythology of her work, with clunky expositions of angel/demon politics and the
odd inclusion of shape-shifting humans
without much connection to the plot. Her
heroes all tend toward sudden bursts of
confidence after years of shyness, and her
villains are rather shallow. A scene of sexual
assault in which the victim is eventually
won over may also perturb some readers.
Despite these flaws, the work opens
intriguing possibilities for the future series
of ordinary angel Herman standing
between God and Lucifer amid more prosaic
assignments of aid.

Broken Eagle
James T. Crouse. Caromount Island, $17.99
trade paper (262p) ISBN 978-0-9974712-0-5

Crusading Raleigh, N.C., attorney Jake

Baird, the hero of Crouses exciting debut
thriller, swore off handling military aircrash cases after nearly being bankrupted
by the last two he handled. But despite the
financial risk and his experience that it
was nearly impossible to take on the military and its big government contractors
and win, Jake agrees to help the widow of
Samuel Thorpe, a Marine pilot who died
during a test flight of the XV-11 (aka the
Sea Eagle), which combines features of airplanes and helicopters. Aided by attractive
attorney Madison Wright (a bulldog, but
a damned sexy one), Jake undertakes an
investigation at great personal risk. A mystery man aids his search for the truth about
the XV-11 by handing him a classified file
containing evidence that the manufacturer
knew of the aircrafts design flaws. Fans of
David-versus-Goliath stories will be

Feels like Summertime

Tammy Falkner. Night Shift, $3.99 e-book
(320p) ISBN 978-1-5190-0642-4

The freedom of adolescent summer love

is constricted by the complexities of adult
life in this heartfelt contemporary loosely
linked to Falkners Reed Brothers series.

90a P U B L I S H E R S W E E K L Y D E C E M B E R 1 9 , 2 0 1 6

Suspended New
York policeman
Jake Jacobson is
reunited with
Katie Higgins,
his summer love
from 18 years
before, when he
goes home to
North Carolina
to visit his
father, whos had a stroke. Katie, whos very
pregnant and has three kids in tow, is hiding
out at the beach house her family rented
from Jakes father all those years ago,
hoping her abusive ex wont be able to find
her there. This time around, Jake and
Katies romance wont be simple. Falkners
protagonists and secondary characters, such
as Jakes cantankerous but intuitive father
(He was never very nice, but he was interesting), are fully realized, and their voices
are natural and appealing. The struggle
between Jake and Katies reignited affections and the echoes of their adult lives is
beautifully conveyed through the narratives changing perspectives: Jake and
Katies grown and younger selves take turns
providing their unique views, developing
the sweetness of young love and summertime joy and heightening the present-day
tensions and conflicts that arise as Jake and
Katie must confront their emotions and
their pasts. Ripe with contemplations on
the complexities of love and relationships,
this is a tender story that tugs at the heartstrings in any season.

Find Virgil
Frank Freudberg. Inside Job Media, $3.99
e-book (358p) ASIN B00G5JD8TK

First published as Gasp in 1996,

Freudbergs predictable debut still fails to
thrill, despite a rewrite. In 1995, journalist
Martin Muntor is diagnosed with terminal lung cancer in Philadelphia. Martin,
who has never smoked, sees himself as a
victim (like an unwilling Christ, made to
pay for the sins of the world, as if all the

damage they had done to themselves had
been visited on him). He dons the persona
of Virgil, a serial killer who targets leaders
in the tobacco industry as well as smokers
by poisoning random cigarette packages.
Meanwhile, W. Nicholas Pratt, the head
of a tobacco company, offers PI Tommy
Rhoads much-needed money if Tommy will
spy on the FBI for him, as Pratt has secrets
he cant have surfacing. An ex-cop with a
drinking problem, Tommy believes the
only way he can save himself from alcoholism is to buy a boat so he can make a
living on the water. Too much backstory for
each character and a sluggish pace doom
this reboot.

Inside of Me
Hazel McHaffie. VelvetEthics, $10.99 trade
paper (244p) ISBN 978-0-9926231-2-8

In this riveting tale, McHaffie (Over My

Dead Body) sends the reader on an agonizing
journey to find out the truth about what
happened to 15-year-old India Graysons
father, Victor. Set in London and the surrounding areas of the U.K., the story
details a daughters search for answers to her
fathers disappearance, who has been
missing and assumed dead since she was
eight years old, and it begins when India
hears his voice at a train station seven years
later. Family members clash, as the relationship between India and her mother, Tonya,
deteriorates. Bottled up feelings and emotions haunt them both as they try to deal
with their grief (You know, some folk are
so lost in their grief, their loss, their pain,
they cant find space for anybody else to feel
bad about whats happened). What Tonya
hasnt revealed to India are the mysterious
disappearances of teenage girls that happened when Victor was around. McHaffie
impressively weaves together the perspectives of multiple characters, while delivering an exquisite story, one that deals with
the struggles people face when it comes to
accepting family members for who they
really are.

Jorelial Rey. When at last they meet, Tvrdik

finds Lady Rey to be exquisitely noble and
principled. After he explains Xaaruss plan,
all good people unite to defeat one obvious
enemy. The world is intricately described,
though not original. The plot is hobbled by
the element of time travel, which is introduced early and limits the protagonists
ability to take agency in his own story; the
characters begin with perfect knowledge
and need only experience to gain victory.
With best intentions, they use magic to
bolster psychological warfare in the name
of nonviolence. The narrative fits a typical
and cartoon-like style and delivers on the
required epic fantasy elements, but its
predictability makes the story a dull one.

Love on the Sound

Jamie Matthews. Jamie Matthews, $4.99
e-book (361p) ASIN B01HRBUHI4

The Last Wizard of Eneri Clare

The first in the Lopez Island contemporary series is competently executed, with
sexy love scenes and tender moments, but
the heart is missing. After a car accident
kills Amys husband, she leaves behind her
old life in Oregon and starts over as the
owner of a bed-and-breakfast in the San
Juan islands near Seattle. Former Hollywood
darling Ben Morrison is floundering in his
career and personal life, and Amys B and
B on Lopez Island is the perfect place to
hide from the paparazzi and straighten
himself out. In a town where everyone
knows everyones business, Amy and Bens
passionate affair is a foregone conclusion.
Many of the best moments in this romance
occur when the protagonists pause their
sheet-scorching to hang out with other
people, including Bens school friends, Amys
former in-laws, kids in the community
theater, and Amys friends in town. Amy
and Ben are painstakingly crafted characters, but they dont have any believable
barriers to their happy ending. A lot happens during the eight weeks Ben is in town,
but he doesnt seem interested in going
back to Los Angeles, so its perplexing both
when the lovers separate and when they
get back together.

April L. Lindevald. April L. Lindevald, $34.99

trade paper (674p) ISBN 978-1-5043-5446-2

Must Love Kilts

Lindevald burdens her flimsy debut with

a cumbersome thesis. The titular hero,
Tvrdik, is sent by his long-lost master,
Xaarus, to help a fantasy kingdoms regent,

Angela Quarles. Unsealed Room, e-book,

$4.99 (242p) ISBN 978-0-9905400-6-9

Quarless third Must Love time-travel

romance (after Must Love Chainmail) teems

with sensuality in the often dangerous

world of late 17th-century Scotland. Traci
Campbell is vacationing with her sister,
Fiona, in present-day Scotland when she
agrees to Fionas scheme to travel back in
time to 1689. Traci wants to prove to Fiona
that hot men in kilts are just a myth. But
that is before Traci meets Iain MacCowen.
Hes definitely hot and thoroughly kilted,
and Traci is intensely attracted to him.
After one passion-filled night made hazy by
alcohol, Traci is forced to return abruptly
to the 21st century, but Fiona has disappeared in the 17th century, and Traci heads
back to rescue her. As Iain helps Traci to
find Fiona, the attraction that begins as a
flirtation deepens into romance, and Traci
must decide whether shes willing to leave
her 21st-century comforts for a chance at
real love. Witty banter and sizzling sex
scenes fill the pages of this fast-paced novel
and will keep readers eager for the final

Pure Vision:
The Magdalene Revelation
Perri Birney. Pure Vision Communications,
$28.95 trade paper (586p) ISBN 978-09817482-2-1

Birneys overstuffed novel weaves

together current global politics, neolithic
energies, and religious artifacts to build a
sprawling international conspiracy that
ultimately strains credibility. When his
mentor is poisoned, Michael Sonada, a
cynical scholar of archaic texts, along with
Maggie Seline, a strong-willed journalist,
flee New York to embark on a journey
spanning multiple countries in order to
find the Spear of Longinus and the Holy
Grail before an ancient order uses them to
ignite worldwide turmoil. While the novel
offers lush descriptions of Nepal and the
Middle East, the writing borders on didactic,
with far more attention paid to delivering
clich moral ideologies, Nazi and Middle
Eastern political history lessons, and religious discourses than to developing wellrounded, memorable characters or a clear,
compelling plot. Dozens of minor characters are given involved backstories, and
most of them are never heard from again.
Meanwhile, key characters are introduced
too late or, as with Michaels ex-girlfriend,
who makes a pivotal discovery, are only
discussed by others and never actually
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appear. The protagonists also
have too few difficulties to
overcome, as they know a
helpful friend in every foreign city they
visit or people with connections to the
ever-widening mythology of the novel.
Despite these shortcomings as a thriller,
Birneys expansive novel does showcase
female empowerment and solidarity and
explore provocative connections between
the worlds most prominent religions.

A Story of the Amazon Jungle
Arturo D. Hernndez, trans. from the Spanish
by Raymond A. Enstam. Quaestor, $14.95
trade paper (358p) ISBN 978-0-9786914-0-0

Enstams translation of Hernndezs

best-known novel, a curricular staple for
Peruvian schoolchildren, is as vibrant and
wild as the jungle it eulogizes. The novel
relates the tale of Abel Barcas, a young man
seeking work in the booming rubber
industry of turn-of-the-century Santa Ins,
a village on a tributary of the Amazon
River called the Ucayali. Latex-rich shiringa trees have made the jungle a gold
mine for some, such as the corrupt governor
Portunduaga, and a snake pit for others,
including local populations ruined by the
slave trade and forced labor. Initially, Barcas
gets entangled in a series of slapstick misadventures, several undertaken with the
books titular jungle savant, creating an
episodic feel until a mission to recover a
missing villager galvanizes the action. A
love story between Barcas and Sangamas
daughter, Chuya, adds intrigue to what is
otherwise an extended ode to an ecosystem
thats been vanishing since the books first
printing in
1942. Readers
hoping for subtle
dialogue and
character depth
will be disappointed; melodrama seems to
be the order of
the day, but the
authors familiarity with the
region establishes the Amazons green
prisonteeming with alligator-swallowing anacondas, malevolent strangler
figs, and man-eating antsas one of the

books most compelling characters, second

only to the capricious monster of the
Ucalayi itself.

A Season to Kill
Michael Mucci. Rook, $22.99 paper (310p)
ISBN 978-0-692-55682-5

In the tense prologue of Muccis predictable debut thriller, a man flees masked
pursuers through snow-whipped woods,
where the encircling trees loom menacingly, giving no comfort and admitting
scant light. Why this man is being chased
with deadly intent doesnt become clear
until later. Fast forward 11 years. The borough of Macon, Pa., has just lost its beloved
sheriff, Clay Holbrook, to a heart attack.
Holbrooks replacement, Christian Chris
DeAngelo, intends to prove himself
worthy of his mentor and follow the letter
of the law. A missing-person report leads
DeAngelo from small-time drug dealing to
arson and murder. City hall pressures the
green sheriff to solve the case quickly as he
grapples with increasingly disturbing clues
through a haze of hangovers. The endearing,
bumbling DeAngelo consistently ignores
the obvious in his quest for the truth. A
conspiracy slowly emerges out of a number
of forgotten Macon residents who have
disappeared over the years. Genre fans will
find nothing they havent seen before.

Second Chance Ranch

Liz Isaacson. AEJ Creative Works, $11.99
trade paper (284p) ASIN B0134Q0106

Isaacson artfully combines disparate

threads in her contemporary Western
Christian romance, the first of seven installments in her Three Rivers Ranch series.
Recently divorced Kelly Russell is living
in her parents house with her four-year-old
son, Finn. When she heads to Three Rivers
Ranch in West Texas to apply for a position
as a financial controller, she runs into
Squire, the younger brother of her childhood friend Chelsea. Squires grown up a
great deal since high school, returning
injured from the Army to help his parents
on the ranch. What he hasnt done is forgiven
Kelly for refusing his invitation to the
prom. Kelly and Squire are forced to spend
a great deal of time together as boss and
employee searching for $1.6 million that is
missing from the ranchs profits. Due to her
wounds from a recent divorce and his from

90c P U B L I S H E R S W E E K L Y D E C E M B E R 1 9 , 2 0 1 6

war (and from her previous rejection), they

are both hesitant to pursue a relationship.
Though this initial offering could have
benefited from additional editing to
tighten the plot and improve dialogue, the
series has potential as a slow-building tale
of healing and redemption. Isaacsons love
of all things cowboy shines through in this
tale of two old acquaintances rediscovering
each other on a welcoming Texas ranch.

Shelter Me: A Shelter Novel

Stephanie Tyler. Stephanie Tyler, $4.99 e-book
(280p) ASIN B01IJL1JTM

Tylers disappointing self-published contemporary romance is an amnesia story

about a 20-something artist whos just beginning to make a name for herself. Cathryn
Taylor has no memory of her life before the
age of 17, when she awoke in a New York
hospital. Despite her hinted-at unlucky and
unknowable past, shes taken in by a generous couple and turns to art. She feels as if
she is driven to paint the sinister themes
that dominate her work, and wonders
whether theyre clues to her past. Lower
East Side gallery owner Brayden, her friend
and benefactor, finds a market for her art.
On the eve of her first solo exhibit, a mysterious stranger comes to the gallery and
Ryn falls for him. Lucas Caine is as enigmatic as Ryns paintings, and his appearance
in her life coincides with inexplicable occurrences in her studio. Tyler leaves the romantic
story unresolved, but readers will have little
reason to continue with this lackluster series.

Spell in the Country

Morgan Smith. Traveling Light, $3.99 e-book
(279p) ISBN 978-1-5309-7995-0

This digital reissue of an excellent 1999

fantasy in Smiths Averraine Cycle stars
Keridwen of Orliegh, youngest child of a
minor house in the kingdom of Keraine.
While seeking
her fortune, Keri
enters into military service with
Lord Uln, who
then turns
traitor to his
prince, Tirais.
After the rebellions defeat and
U l n s f l i g h t ,
Keri is spared

and sent to Penvarron, a posting for the
kingdoms misfit soldiers, where she earns
the respect of her comrades. Together with
the rest of the garrison, she interrupts a
ritual by evil Camrhyssi priests who have
infiltrated Penvarrons ancient tower, where
mystical forces still linger. Keridwen then
finds herself in the company of powerful
figures, including the very prince who
pardoned her, trying to discover where
foul magic may strike next. Though the
mythologies differ, this feels much like Lois
Bujolds novels set in the World of the Five
Gods. Keridwen is a wonderful protagonist
to follow: a skilled soldier with something
of a stubborn streak and a keen eye but no
great powers. Smiths terrific storytelling
and worldbuilding will thrill fantasy fans.

Trusting the Currents

Lynnda Pollio. SageHeart Media, $16.95
trade paper (288p) ISBN 978-0-9891953-0-0

Pollio taps into the hardships of the rural

South during the 1930s in this gripping,
lyrical story about a young girl coming of
age in a region full of prejudice and exploitation. Twelve-year old Addie Mae and her
informally adopted sister, Jenny, are thick
as thieves on their unnamed country farmhouse. Mama watches over the two girls,
who are constantly getting in trouble
sometimes of their own doing, but often the
curious girls are unsuspecting bystanders
to local tragedies. As Mama becomes more
concerned with finding a husband, and
Uncle Jo lazily drinking his days away on
the farm, Addie begins to explore recent
events of child kidnappings. In the prologue, Pollio explains how Addies voice
came to her after the death of her father,
imploring the author to relay her story.
Readers may find Pollios explanation a bit
eccentric, but the simple, affecting tale of
Addies life is engrossing. Religion, culture,
and family blend together seamlessly in this
haunting and refreshing story.

TV: Apocalypse
Kathleen Rovner. Willabby, $2.99 e-book
(185p) ASIN B015YBJJIS

When a virus transmitted into peoples

minds through television hits an unnamed
suburban American town, rendering some
victims irrational and violent, Daisy Danner
taps into a power that gives her the courage
to defend her family. Is it her maternal

strength, or has she also fallen under the

influence of the virus? This novel explores
a womans transformation into a superhero
when she perceives a threat to her children.
Unfortunately, though the opening of the
novel has promise, the plot and characters
arent fleshed out enough to bring out the
potential poignancy of the story. Although
the familys dependency on television is
set up early, and the idea of human virus
transmission through technology is interesting, there is little development in the
world once the state of emergency begins.
Daisys internal struggle with her warrior
self is clearly conveyed, but it too often
relies on a stereotype of a suburban housewife that diminishes the depth of the
protagonist. Scene development is generally based on generic dialogue and driven
by unrealized characters, which makes it
hard to fully invest in the urgency of the
situation and thwarts the efficacy of the
postapocalyptic scene-setting. There could
be some powerful observations on humans
and humanity hidden in here, but theyre
hard to find.

mance halls, and there is much discussion

about a modern attempt to re-create the
Stradivarius violin. A page-turner and
moving journey filled with romance,
Burgess novel shows the possibilities of
moving on beyond tragedy.

Walking with Shadows

Luke Romyn. CreateSpace, $17.99 paper
(666p) ISBN 978-1-5304-2926-4

The Virtuoso

Bestselling author Jonas Drake is one of

two survivors of a plane crash on a flight
from Rio de Janeiro to New York City.
The other is Jeremy, a 10-year-old boy. The
self-absorbed Jonas must learn to tolerate
the boy and find a way through the
Columbian jungle, while escaping FARC
guerillas, drug runners, and various
threats from the natural world. Jonas tells
Jeremy some of his own moralistic fairy
tales to pass the time and quell the boys
fears, and Jeremy believes in the fantastic
protectors that Jonas conjures up. Romyn
struggles with basic scene setting, and poor
prose (Thankfully, they were in the
Amazon and not somewhere less climate.)
makes things worse, keeping this novel
from living up to its intriguing premise.

Virginia Burges. Satin Publishing, $15.99

trade paper (458p) ISBN 978-0-9930777-1-5

With This Curse

Burgess powerful novel is about one

womans struggle to find purpose and love
after a tragic loss. Talented violinist Isabelle
Bryant, known to the critics as Beethovens
Babe, can no longer handle the instrument
after her husband attacks her. With the
support of her good friend Hortense, a
successful jazz musician, and her manager,
Gerry, she embarks on a new life, writing
for a music magazine, and reconnecting
with her estranged sister and father. Along
the way, she uncovers a shocking truth
about her ex-husband and begins a romance
with a successful businessman named Daniel.
Their relationship is tested by Isabelles
trust issues and Daniels location, as well as
a previous girlfriend, but with their friends
help, they work through their problems
and strengthen their bond. Isabelle also
begins to overcome her fear of public
speaking and gives talks about overcoming
obstacles, ultimately finding her purpose
in musical education. The novel is rich in
music and musical history; on a research
trip to write about Beethoven, Isabelle walks
through his former homes and perfor-

Amanda DeWees. Amanda DeWees, e-book

$2.99 (294p) ISBN 978-1-5030-6674-8

DeWees hits all the right notes for

romantic suspense fans in this Victorian-era
gothic romance about an unlikely couple
trapped by a deadly family curse. Clara
Crofton and her widowed mother worked
in Cornwall at Gravesend Hall, the family
seat of Edgar Blackwood, Baron Telford,
and his twin sons, Richard and Atticus.
Seventeen-year-old Clara loved Richard,
but his father sent her away, and Richard
became a soldier and died in battle.
Eighteen years later, Atticus Blackwood is
trying to settle his dying fathers concerns
and wants Clara to become his wife. Theyll
be married in name only, and she will be free
to leavewith a substantial amount of
cashafter the old Baron dies. Clara, whos
just lost her position as a seamstress, thinks
the offer has arrived at the perfect time, and
accepts. But then Clara finds herself falling
for her husband, even as ghostly elements
keep reminding her of Richard and the
curse on Gravesends owners: You shall lose
what you love the most. DeWees effecW W W . P U B L I S H E R S W E E K L Y . C O M 90d

tively recreates the Victorian
era and its claustrophobic
attitudes about women, illuminating Claras intelligence and determination in stark contrast. Readers who enjoy
a little shiver with their romance will
appreciate this historical.

The Zonderling
Kersti Niebruegge. Kersti Niebruegge, $9.99
trade paper (170p) ISBN 978-0-9908710-3-3

Amusing yet clichd, Niebruegges first

novel provides a glimpse into the lives of
those living in a historic New York City
boarding house. Wisconsin transplant
Heather Baumhauer arrives in New York to
find her cousin Christina gone, leaving
Heather stranded with no place to live and
no way to get home. An Internet search
leads her to the Zonderling, a safe and
affordable boarding house for women. The
historic (fictional) Zonderling was a project
for the Altruistic Army, opened as a soup
kitchen for young working women in 1905,
and now it is a dorm-like community where
Heather moves in to begin her new life.
Heathers story is short and predictable;
the other inhabitants of the Zonderling
are introduced and take center stage. A
cartoon portrait of city life with stock
characters fills the pages, including the
naive, wannabe actress from the Midwest,
the jaded, unofficial cruise director of all
things Zonderling, the resident crank with
entitlement issues, and the overprotective
mother who watches too much Dateline.
With an abrupt and unsurprising outcome,
readers are left wanting for more.

Can I Wear My Kippah on Job
Interviews? Career Guidance
for Sabbath Observant Jewish
Lavie and Rachel Margolin. H. Delilah
Business & Career, $16.95 trade paper
(154p) ISBN 978-0-692432-76-1

A serious subject gets a superficial treatment in this slim volume intended to offer
career, and life, advice to Orthodox Jews.
The Margolins (Winning Answers to 500
Interview Questions), husband-and-wife
career coaches, are well intentioned, but
their efforts here will strike many as rudi-

mentary, and thus a missed opportunity. For

example, the authors cover the challenge of
observing the doctrine of negiah, which
requires Orthodox Jewish men to refrain
from physical contact with women to whom
theyre not related, in the workplace.
Though they advocate openness about religious restrictions on occasion, the Margolins
also suggest, in all seriousness, subterfuges
that are not only dishonest but unsustainable, such as wearing a fake splint on ones
right hand, or pretending to have a cold, to
excuse not shaking hands with women.
Often, the guidance is unremarkable:
What is the perfect job? The answer to the
question is unique to the individual.
Readers who need to be told to research companies to which they are applying are most
likely to find this very basic guide of use.

Get Beyond Your Troubled Past:

Youre Not Looking for a Job,
Youre Looking for a Person
John Jeffrey Lundell. CreateSpace, $19.97
trade paper (244p) ISBN 978-1-5077-7862-3

For those who have been incarcerated, in

recovery, or in treatmentor anyone with
a non-linear and challenged career path
this book has an important mission, but its
plain design and dense, rambling text
detract from its potential benefits. The
standard job-hunting bestsellers, with their
focus on technology jobs, interviewing
skills, and high-level self-actualization,
completely neglect this large segment of
job-seekers, a situation Lundell seeks to
remedy. Early chapters focus on planning
and preparation, followed by networking
outside of ones comfort zone. Connecting
with employers prior to any job application
is important for anyone, and absolutely
essential for someone whose background
is less than perfect. Lundell has experience guiding clients through a set of steps
toward real success in the job marketplace and in life. He has a no-nonsense
approach, pulling no punches with his
advice. Unfortunately, a shapeless text and
design-less format fall short for those who
already have to negotiate with [themselves] about whats required to move forward successfully. Self-improvement and
planning activities beg for a workbook
format. Sidebars featuring human-interest
examples of Lundells clients would have
broken up the denser explanations of why

90e P U B L I S H E R S W E E K L Y D E C E M B E R 1 9 , 2 0 1 6

readers need to work methodically toward

their goals.

Missions Unmasked:

What I Never Knew About

Missionary Life

Adam Mosley. What I Never Knew, $13.99

trade paper (216p) ISBN 978-0-69245-305-6

Mosley, pastor of an international church

in Nakuru, Kenya, skillfully and compassionately debunks myths about the missionary life. Raised in a traditional
Evangelical church in a rural American
community, he remembers the first visiting
missionary he met, a red-haired woman who
told of remote
jungle adventures. It was the
start of his
crush on missions, he says.
Over the years,
he came to learn
that missionaries
are not supersaints but just
regular believers
trying to live out their calling in spite of
loneliness, culture shock, and frequent
emotional crises. Presenting the work as a
confession of sorts, Mosley creates a consciously Rumsfeldian setup, classifying his
musings under three headings: what he
thought he knew, what he knew he didnt
know, and what he didnt know he didnt
know. Anecdotes from acquaintances as
well as from his own experience enliven his
carefully nuanced opinions. He laments
that churches generally fail to offer missionaries adequate support, either financial
or moral. By revealing the life lived on the
ground, among the people, this concise,
well-structured book encourages Christians
to rethink stereotypes and develop true
compassion for international missionaries.

Mr. Nomad:
Tales of a Traveling Teacher
Dave Webb. CreateSpace, $12 trade paper
(220p) ISBN 978-1-5328-6225-0

Childrens book writer Webb (the

Slinky Inkermann series) calls himself
Mr. Nomad because he has taught for
nearly thirty years at ten schools in three
states. A former journalist now living in
Pennsylvania, Webb has written an enjoy-

able and enlightening bookpart educational memoir and part resource for
teachersdescribing the range of experiences he has had and the lessons that he has
learned. Any teacher from grammar to high
school will be able to relate to what Webb
describes. Whether at a larger urban school
or a smaller regional school, Webb lives by
his belief that kids are kids, no matter
where you go. As a substitute teacher,
Webb has to decide how badly he needs the
money to accept what in all honesty might
turn out to be a terribly stressful day.
Having to deal with the events of 9/11,
Webb was confronted with the question of
how schools can react to tragedy: We were
a mini-universe trying to cope and reassure
ourselves that everything was going to be
okay, especially in our little patch of the
world. And while he struggles with realizing that you may never really know how
kids turn out after youre through with
them, he never lose sight of the main goal
that he feels all teachers should have with
all students: being as sympathetic and
caring as you can be, and for as long as you
have them in your class.

The Official Chase n Yur Face

Chase Bailey. Chase n Yur Face Media,
$24.95 trade paper (172p) ISBN 9-780-69275585-3

In this enthusiastic, feel-good cookbook,

teen YouTube cooking show host Bailey
encourages others to be themselves and
celebrate life. From early childhood, Bailey
had severe food aversions along with
developmental and physical issues. Some
years later, watching cooking shows with
his grandfather led to the discovery that
he wanted to try different foods and the
dream of doing his own cooking show. Not
one to procrastinate, Bailey started the
Chase n Yur Face show. Caveman kabobs,
spicy double-dipped onion straws, and
fish and chips are pleasingly simple. Baked
tilapia with a Veggie Potato Almighty
(broccoli, potatoes, cauliflower, carrots) a
grilled portobello rice bowl, and vegetable
spaghetti are more sophisticated. This is a
great book to get kids cooking and encourage
those who feel that such things are beyond
their reach, and adults will enjoy some of
the recipes as well.

Salmon: From Market to Plate

Maureen C. Berry. Berry Consulting, $12.95
trade paper (210p) ISBN 978-0-9973540-0-3

Food writer Berry bonded with the

ocean after a trip from her native Pittsburgh
to Maryland. That connection turned into
a lifelong obsession that included a 10-year
stint running a restaurant in the Florida
Keys, where she pursued a love for all
things seafood. But it wasnt until taking
a job as a seafood specialist selling fresh fish
to chefs that she discovered a specific affection for the distinct, rich flavor of salmon,
which led to this unique combination history and cookbook. Starting with a look at
what she calls sustainable salmonfish
that are caught or raised in a manner that
doesnt harm the environment and will provide salmon for future generationsBerry
examines the differences between wild and
farmed salmon, provides tips and shopping
guides for making choices at the supermarket (Bring an insulated bag to transport the salmon home and either ask for a
small bag of ice or bring your own to keep
the fish cool), details the various spices and
oils needed to add to bring out the natural
flavor of the fish, and discusses proper
cooking techniques (One of the most
common errors when cooking salmon is
overcooking. A kitchen timer will solve
that problem). Then, in the heart of the
book, she offers 20 simple recipes (slivers
of fennel-flavored salmon, mandarin
oranges, tangy mustard, and Swiss cheese)
and 10 more challenging ones (baked
ancho chile Verlasso salmon cakes with
lemon and roasted garlic aioli).

E.X.O.: The Legend of Wale
Williams, Part One
Roye Okupe, illus. by Sunkanmi Akinboye.
YooNeek Studios, $14.99 trade paper (136p)
ISBN 978-0-9966070-0-1

Marvels Black Panther gets some competition in this fast-paced first book in the
E.X.O. series. Set in 2025 in Lagoon City,
Nigeria (formerly Lagos), the story opens
with Wale Williams returning after a fiveyear absence, which was spurred by the accidental death of his mother in his fathers
laboratory. Finding Lagoon City threatened
by a powerful gang known as the Creed,

Wale reluctantly dons an Iron Manesque

E.X.O. supersuit created by his father in an
attempt to keep the citizens safe. Fans of
American superhero comics will feel right
at home with Akinboyes explosive, techdriven battle scenes, and Okupe laces the
dialogue with Nigerian street slang that
adds to the storys strong sense of place. Few
readers will be surprised by the secret identities of Oniku, the Creeds masked leader, or
Fury, a speedster hero who comes to E.X.O.s
aid; explanatory exposition gets heavy at
times; and certain scenes (such as the death
of Wales mother) dont land with the
intended emotional impact. Even so, Okupe
leaves plenty of unanswered questions and
knotty family dynamics to unravel in the
second installment of Wales story, also
available. Ages 12up.

The Great Hot Air Balloon

Stephen Holmes, illus. by Kev Payne. SDH,
$9.99 paper (36p) ISBN 978-1-5262-0412-7

In a mild fantasy, two friends are whisked

away on a magical nighttime journey.
Night after night, Jessica and Tom peer
from their neighboring houses at a hot-air
balloon as it soars overhead. One night,
the balloon instead lands in Jessicas garden;
its piloted by the dapperly dressed Mr.
Rabbit, who invites Jessica and Tom on an
expedition. After bouncing around on a
cloud that looked like giant cotton wool
and enjoying mugs of hot chocolate, the
passengers visit Mr. Owl in his tree, delivering the bird his own steaming mug, and
return home to their beds. Paynes smudgyedged artwork features big-eyed, slightly
retro-looking characters and inviting
backdrops of a densely starry night sky.
First-time author Holmess story reads
like the type of meandering tale that a
parent might recount to a child at bedtime,
though the experience is let down by
some oddly constructed sentences ( Time
to get you home adventurers, Mr Rabbit
pulled on the cord and the balloon once
again set sail) and a dense cursive font that
can be hard to read. Ages 35.

W W W . P U B L I S H E R S W E E K L Y . C O M 90f