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A Lovely Leave: If love is ever-enduring, can it matter much if the face changes? The heart sees differently from the eyes.
Over the Rainbow: Youthful adventures and emerald cities and friends wearing tin – it’s all great fun, but sometimes what is over the rainbow is just…real life. And maybe that’s where the adventure really begins.
Every family is dysfunctional in one way or another, but mostly the Blankenships get along in spite of themselves.
Cecile, the family matriarch, has invited (read commanded) everyone to a family reunion at the ancestral ranch near Yellowstone. Annie brings inconsolable sorrow, Hetty dreads her parents’ reaction to her latest lover, Evan has a secret, and Serhilda wants to be anywhere else. With four generations living in each others’ pockets, everyone expects bickering, spats, hurt feelings, and perhaps a few secrets finally revealed. When the week is over, even Cecile wonders if the reunion brought the family closer together, as she had hoped, or created rifts so great that they’ll never be mended.
Karla, 22, is thrilled to be hired as an entertainer on the Sound of Music cruise ship—where the rum punch is 80 percent Kool-Aid, the ice sculptures are plastic, and her “fake it till you make it” M.O. seems adventuresome. Karla is less thrilled when new beau Jack suggests they form a singing duo on land, but by now false enthusiasm has become second nature. They embark on a not-as-glamorous-as-it-should-be career performing in the luxury hotel bars of the Middle East and China. After a thousand and one nights on the road, Karla and Jack find themselves struggling to keep their act—both personal and professional—together.
“Both an off-kilter take on the conventional coming-of-age tale and a sly commentary on the underbelly of celebrity culture, this truly original book is basically uncategorizable—blissfully so.” – Elle.com
Kerri Ellen lives each day with the haunting memory of the day her sister Kimmi disappeared on her way to work. Every night, she lights a candle in the hopes that her lost sister will somehow, miraculously, find her way home.
When fellow college student Burke’s little sister goes missing, Kerri teams up with her sorority sisters to help comb the area to try to find her. As she makes her way through the woods and eventually back to Burke’s house, all she can hope for is an outcome that’s better than the one she’s anticipating for her own sibling. When the investigation takes an odd turn, Kerri soon realizes there are some mysteries in life where finding the solution doesn’t necessarily mean closure.
A short story.
Nathan Gray has trouble making friends, his alcoholic father ran out on him, his mother is preoccupied with work and finding a new husband and his dog Chewy has just died. So perhaps it’s not surprising that Nate comes to believe that his beloved Chewy has returned from the dead to once again be his best friend. His mother is alarmed, but the therapist predicts that Nate will grow out of his habit of “seeing things” once he comes to grips with his emotional traumas.
But then, on his way to school, Nate stumbles upon what he can only describe as a miracle – a man seemingly healed of a fatal head wound by a smudge on an old, dingy concrete wall. Nate might be on to something that can’t be attributed to his imagination, as many in his small industrial Pennsylvania town, quickly ascribe spiritual significance to the smudge, and healing powers too.
Some of the town’s leading citizens decide to capitalize on the sudden influx of tourists by turning the smudge into a shrine and charging admission. Not everybody is on board with the notion that the miraculous has somehow intruded into their mundane routine, and Nathan soon finds himself at the center of a raging controversy. AN IMPERFECT MIRACLE is a moving piece of literary fiction dealing with love, loss and one boy’s attempts to find substance and clarity in a chaotic world.
The end of segregation made little difference in the daily lives of old Miss Minnie and her day-helper, Lula. But when a figment of Miss Minnie’s addled imagination threatens Lula’s long-held job security, Lula uses the old, entrenched rules of segregation to dispel that figment — with surprising results. A short story.
Sixth-grader Adam Krasner wishes every family decision wasn’t based on his brother Jeremy and Jeremy’s problems. The Krasners have even moved to a new town because it has a great school system for kids with disabilities. If only Jeremy didn’t always act so goofy. And if only their mother didn’t insist that both brothers be placed on the same Little League team, especially since Jeremy couldn’t catch a fly ball if his life depended on it.
Making friends in a new school isn’t easy, which is why Adam’s excited when Eddie, his coach’s son, starts spending time with him. Eddie’s the best player on their team and in seventh grade, like Jeremy. Eddie invites Adam to join some of the team for pizza before Saturday’s game. Adam’s about to ask if Jeremy can come, too,, when Eddie tells him, “And don’t bring Jeremy.”
Adam becomes friendly with some of the members of the team. Eddie, he soon learns, often lies and makes fun of Jeremy every chance he can. Still, when Eddie comes to apologize, Adam agrees to be friends again. Issues continue to escalate between Jeremy and Eddie. And then Jeremy’s accused of doing something truly awful, forcing Adam to take a stand and support his brother.
Nora’s grandchild is due to be born any minute. The occasion is marred by her son’s mother-in-law, who never accepted Nora’s partner, Jacki, as his other parent. Jacki tells Nora to stop dwelling in the past and dismisses her fears for the future. Can Nora forgive and forget? Should she? What will a mother do to hold onto her family? A short story from our Nibs short story line.
And who has a more perfect life than Olivio and Edwin Butler? So gorgeous and popular, they don’t really have friends, just hangers-on. And though Rachel doesn’t remember ever having spoken a word to them, her resolve becomes clear. She must find a way into the Butlers’ home and into their family.
In this marvelously compassionate first novel, Penny Jackson deftly depicts a young girl’s search for family – and her discovery that family is a state of mind.
Nick Novaczek is a cautious soul, a 17-year old with a boring life, a predictable future, and a quiet thirst for danger. On the eve of his beloved grandmother’s funeral, danger finds him by the motel swimming pool. Her name is Celia and she’s everything he’s not. This foul-mouthed beauty is hitchhiking across the country to make amends with her estranged father and doesn’t carry an ounce of fear or hesitation in her tattered suitcase. She’s bad news all around, but for a rule-follower like Nick, she’s intoxicating.
Twenty-four hours after speaking to Celia for the very first time, following one extremely lucky night, Nick is hopelessly hooked and “borrows” his parents’ car to join her cross-country mission, even though her story is full of holes. It’s the mistake he’s been waiting his whole life to make. Together, they dodge a train, jump off a bridge, and scam everyone in their path. Nick is blossoming into a teenage fugitive, just like Celia, and he’s never been happier. She may not be who she says she is, but she’s got his vulnerable heart.
After weeks of detours, with hundreds of miles left to go, their wild adventure starts to unravel. The money dries up, Celia’s dark secrets begin to surface, and it’s clear they both want vastly different things out of this partnership. Celia is all about no strings attached and severing whatever they may have between them once they reach their destination, while Nick is head over heels in love and wanting a future with the girl in his passenger seat. They seem to reach a new low on a daily basis, but she won’t turn back, no matter how desperate things get. After all, this is her trip and Nick is just the driver. Celia’s got a charming smile to pay her way, a willing accomplice, a hidden agenda, and an endless supply of lies. Not to mention a gun.
It’s Christmas Eve morning, 1957, and John wakes up to find his parents are missing. When he realizes they never came home from a holiday party they attended the night before, John calls his estranged uncle, a man he barely remembers and hasn’t seen in nearly 14 years. Together, they face a life-changing tragedy and John discovers a family secret that’s been tucked away like the Christmas presents hidden in his parent’s coat closet.
A short work of fiction from our Nibs literary line.
Gary and Don are looking forward to celebrating the holidays: party planning, tree trimming, and getting ready for a visit from their son Josh. For Gary, however, the memories of past Christmases are beginning to fade, falling casualty to a cruel twist of fate. It’s up to Don to fill in the gaps…and hopefully make this Christmas another one to remember.
All author proceeds this quarter will go to Golden Horizons, an adult day care program in Bay City, Michigan that serves both seniors with Alzheimers or dementia and their families.
A SUMMER WEDDING
In the Summer of Love, one young man discovers both love and heartbreak. Flash Fiction.
Rufus thinks he’s received a desperate plea to rescue a pants inspector who is being held hostage in a garment factory. Upon discovery of the truth, it may be Rufus’ own life that needs alterations.
A group of friends/co-workers take advantage of being moved offsite, from their company’s main building to an abandoned annex, as an opportunity to relax and put in very little time doing actual work. The good times seem to have no end until a sudden revelation about one member of the group has them realizing that the starkness of reality has a way of intruding on the fun.
Excessive drinking. Chain-smoking. Methamphetamine addiction.
Such is the life of Wilma Burrows, a woman whose lifetime has been marred by an inexplicable string of bad decisions. Scarred and shattered, she tries to manage each day as it comes, desperate to keep herself from plunging into the abyss, but the demons are always a few short steps behind her. Sixteen years ago, one of her many indiscretions resulted in the birth of pure and untainted innocence. But that shining glimmer of decency was whisked away, only to fade away as a distant memory. But some days, even the most faded memories have a way of reemerging in unexpected ways. And for Wilma, that day is today.
Lewis Grafton lives a life of routine and isolation. His days are spent in front of a computer, shut out from the rest of the world, except for his late night order of “the usual” at Manuel’s Serrano Bar & Grill. But, tonight, an encounter at Manuel’s will be anything BUT “the usual.
Apart from running the family farm, Jake’s daily routine is simple: Late every afternoon he searches his son Joey’s room to make sure Joey didn’t bring something unwelcome or alien into their house. Joey doesn’t appreciate his father’s intrusions, but it’s Jake’s house, Jake’s rules, right? Besides, Joey has nothing to hide. Nothing at all. A short story.
Aged Henry Lassiter knows well the temporal nature of life because his has ended.
In that moment between life and death, a time when the mind struggles to maintain contact with the physical world as forces from the spiritual realm tug, Henry sees clearly the reason for the overwhelming desire to reach back through the veil – to hold onto the world he’s known for seventy-six years-Josephine; his sweet Jojo.
In seemingly the blink of an eye, Henry and Jojo play together as children in the old neighborhood, move beyond the years of prepubescent games to teenage courtship and then to the stormy years of young marriage.
As the arc of life tilts to the downhill side, problems of a different sort test them. It’s in these times that the rhythm of life leads to the ultimate dance – of love.
A short story from our Candlelight line.
Ein bolivianischer Arzt muss nachts auf der Straße als Schuhputzer arbeiten, um über die Runden zu kommen. Wird er überleben und sich und seiner Familie eine bessere Zukunft schaffen? Eine Kurzgeschichte aus unserer Literaturreihe Nibs.
This title is available in English as A DOCTOR IN LA PAZ.
In bleak, frigid Western Montana, a high school on a poverty-stricken Indian reservation is the scene of a crime: a valuable pocket watch has disappeared. The owner of the watch, a young white English teacher, plays detective attempting to reveal the culprit. His investigation yields unexpected results. A short story from our Nibs literary line.
Recommended for grades 6-8.
What happens when a Jewish mother from Brooklyn moves in with her lesbian daughter and partner in small town, Delaware? Of course, Mother never acknowledges their relationship and the partner decides either she or the mother has got to go. What does a good daughter do? Maybe her and her mother’s shared love of film, and especially Bette Davis, will help them save the day. A short story.
During the 1950s, young Jessica – Southern born but “being Yankee raised” — spends Christmas in the small town of Galilee, Georgia, in the company of her Great-Aunt Kate, two other aunts, and a cousin. During this relatively brief visit, Jessica is subjected to full “Southernization” by the entire family.
As one means of teaching Jessica “who she is,” they tell her the family story of the J.P. Stevens Percale sheet, a singular present that has circulated back and forth between Great-Aunt Kate and her late husband’s Aunt Frances in Dallas for over forty years. The story of how that tradition began and why it continued for so long provides Jessica with her greatest lesson in the crash-course of Southern culture and manners. Conversely, she is also initiated into the brutal burden of Southern history.
Of all the family, only Aunt Cana, an African-American woman who has “been with” the family for as long as anyone can remember (and whose church-going, God-fearing Mama named her in honor of Christ’s miracle at the wedding in Cana of Galilee), knows the real secret behind the story of the cyclic gift. Of all the women who try to influence Jessica, Cana is the one who finally leads the child into an acceptance and then a somewhat reluctant celebration of Family — “no matter how crazy it is!”
A light-hearted story on the surface, Gifts also portrays the full range of that era’s Southern history and culture: rigid racial and social stratification, a veritable worship of the past, an eternal honoring of Ancestors, an iron-clad adherence to good manners, and most of all, the restructuring of memory – the art of making a good story even better.
It doesn’t matter if a cat is an Alley Cat or a Turkish Van or anything in between, all cats have traits in common. They’re in turn, annoying and endearing, maddening and loving, where they shouldn’t be and purring on your lap. A cat will put a smile on your face when it’s most needed, cuddle up when you’re sad, and just when you think you can’t take one more thing, they’ll make you laugh out loud. Who could ask for a better companion?
Bestselling author and editor Sandra Murphy (Peace, Love, and Crime: Crime Fiction Inspired by the Songs of the 60s, From Hay to Eternity) has compiled a collection of quotes celebrating all things cat; our furry friends who bring so much joy to our lives. Some quotes will be familiar, many will be new, but all remind us how wonderful it is to have cats in our lives.
From Afghans and Akitas to Yakutians and Yorkies, and everything in between, there’s a very special connection between dogs and their owners. Our four-legged friends put smiles on our faces, comfort us when we’re down and make us laugh with their antics. They aren’t just “man’s best friend” but a terrific companion to women, children and anyone in need of the perfect companion.
Bestselling author and editor Sandra Murphy (Peace, Love, and Crime: Crime Fiction Inspired by the Songs of the 60s, From Hay to Eternity) has compiled a collection of quotes celebrating canines; our furry friends who bring so much joy to our lives. Some quotes will be familiar, many will be new, but all remind us how wonderful it is to have dogs in our lives.
Completed shortly before her untimely death from breast cancer, Goldmark’s Her Wild Oats is a honky-tonk road story about two unlikely pals: A smart young woman, Arizona Rosenblatt, leaves home and her role as assistant to a high-powered Hollywood executive when she discovers her husband is having an affair with a woman from Jews for Jesus; and thirteen-year-old Otis Ray “Wild Oats” Pixlie, boy genius harmonica player. In the end, Otis Ray learns what it means to be an adult, Arizona discovers the life she wants, and they both figure out the true meaning of love and family.
In high school, Sam Conner is a star quarterback and an artist. He dates a pretty cheerleader and seems to have it all. Behind the scenes of his school life, Sam lives in an unconventional family with two gay fathers, and lately he’s been having some thoughts that disturb him. When Sam presents his problem to his fathers, can their advice set Sam on the right path?A short story from our Nibs literary line.
Their mother dead early, their father uninterested, the Wallace twins had grown up in the care of an ever-changing succession of housekeepers, with no one close but one another. Fortunately, they had always been content with that company and had almost never been apart.
Now, Adam has met someone and, without preamble, married her. Robert is bereft, and the stage is set for a Christmas nobody is likely to forget.
A short story from our Nibs literary line.
Ever wonder how contemporary singing divas protect their voice boxes? Well, wonder no more! In the satirical short story, How to Become a Bodyguard for Celine Dion’s Larynx by Kathleen Gerard, an over-achieving nine-year-old unknowingly embarks on an unlikely career path en route to working for Celine Dion, the popular singing sensation. You’ll laugh and you’ll cry as the narrator of the story, a gifted child with a MENSA I.Q., navigates through a journey of a lifetime. This short story is a clever, comedic read for adults and teenagers, who just might learn a thing or two about how the heartbreak of youth can become a gateway into living an unimaginable future!
[hyssop (his′ ep) n. 1. A fragrant, blue-flowered plant (Hyssopus officianalus) of the mint family, used in folk medicine as a tonic, stimulant, etc. 2. A plant used in purifactory sprinkling rites by the ancient Hebrews]
Red Greet, the narrator of Hyssop, is in jail again, as he has been often in his eighty-seven years. As he gives his jailer a dance lesson, Red begins to share with him his life story. Struggling to learn the simple steps, the jailer listens to Red’s outrageous, incredible, yet utterly convincing accounts of the miracles he has witnessed and sometimes participated in directly.
Red’s stories center around several constants: his impoverished life as a guilelessly honest thief and grifter in Las Almas, New Mexico; his love for Recita Holguin; and, the miracle story dearest to him, his seventy-two-year friendship with Bishop Francisco Velasco.
Frank and Red met in 1924 as Red’s mother, a healer, worked her folk magic to help Frank’s family survive violence and devastating turmoil. The boys immediately formed a deep and abiding bond. Frank, who becomes a Catholic priest and eventually a bishop, remains Red’s lifelong confessor because he is the keeper of Red’s secrets, and Red the keeper of his.
The men are not only friends, but unlikely accomplices: they argue over Frank’s car, a Monte Carlo with cathedral windows airbrushed on the hood; they promenade, naked, through the middle of the Hatch Chile Festival; they work to restore a statue of the beloved Virgen de Guadalupe, which “miraculously” begins to perspire blood—blood that bears a suspicious likeness to red paint. Through it all, Red confesses his many sins to Frank, always returning to the mysteries of a sin he feels he cannot be absolved of: his courtship of Recita during his wife Cecila’s long illness.
In telling how he has loved and been loved, in confessing how he has sinned and inspired others to sin, Red Greet seeks hyssop, the substance that might wash his soul clean. Hyssop is a stunning novel full of magic; it is an inquiry into the nature of religious faith and belief and into the power of moral dilemmas embedded in loving friendships and in spiritually rich but materially impoverished lives. Reading Hyssop, you will believe again in miracles of healing and in the haunting power of memories of the past.
“Hyssop is a wonderful gift of faith to a cynical age. Only a book this smart, tough-minded, funny, beautiful and, yes, humble could burrow so deeply into both the doubting mind and the yearning heart.”
—Richard Russo, author of Straight Man
“A radiant, mysterious novel, brilliantly lit by hard-won faith. Hyssop reminds us that we are all part of the last tribe of the unchosen: and that despite that we can be saved by the language of love.”
—Andrea Barrett, author of Ship Fever: Stories
Even in the minor leagues, baseball is a cutthroat business. There are only so many places on team rosters for successful players, coaches and managers. The competition is fierce, because everybody’s looking to move up, to make it as a pro in the major leagues where fame and fortune await. On the diamond or off, winning is everything, and some people will go to extreme lengths to gain an edge…
A short story.
Hedy is recovering from her devastating breakup with Robert. She likes her new job and the people she works with. Then, Robert calls to say he’s getting married and wants to see her before he ties the knot. Flummoxed by the announcement, she refuses and tells Robert she’s getting married, too. Robert’s not one to be put off, and insists that he come to see her. Hedy’s boss, Allen, offers to pretend to be her fiancée to get Robert to go away. The situation gets even more complicated after Allen kisses her and Hedy accepts a date with Robert. Finally realizing what’s best for her, Hedy decides to firmly take her future in her hands. A short story.
Jack of Hearts is a novel of literary fiction told from the point of view of a small, aristocratic dog named Shimoni. This imaginative first novel explores themes of fidelity and honor and offers a fresh perspective of Italian culture and amore.
Shimoni’s passion for Italian cuisine and Elvis are rivaled only by his devotion to his masters, a Roman Count and Countess. However, his discovery that Il Conte is having an affair imperils his comfortable life and plunges Shimoni into a quest to rekindle his masters’ love and preserve his home.
The path to reconciliation leads Shimoni from the bustling streets of Rome to his owners’ rustic villa in the Italian countryside, where he outwits man and beast to save his family, all while making time to fall in love and sample the local Chianti. Shimoni’s (mis)adventures yield poignant observations about the nature of love and longing, and the soul’s ability to find satisfaction.
An intoxicating blend of adventure, romance, and joi de vivre, Jack of Hearts will appeal to literary devotees, Italophiles and dog-lovers. Author, Robin F. Gainey dishes up a sensuous story with plenty of heart, and empathy for the human, as well as the canine condition.
“A wonderful, funny and touching novel. Shimoni is not simply a dog, he is our guide; he is our friend. Stay by his side, stay with his heart, and he will take you places you haven’t been, and show you things you haven’t seen: after reading Jack Of Hearts you will understand the true depths of love and devotion.
–Garth Stein, The Art Of Racing In The Rain
“This novel has freshness, originality and a huge heart of gold. Shimoni is one of the most unforgettable narrators I’ve ever read, and does he have a story to tell! I loved everything about this book.”
–Susan Wiggs, NY Times Best-Selling Romance Novelist, Just Breathe
“This is a most heartfelt and extraordinary work for a first novel. Ms. Gainey moves easily out of the realities of our everyday lives into an unexpected turn of canine spirit. It is an intriguing and wonderful read.”
–Lynn Andrews, NY Times Best-Selling Author of Medicine Woman
A short story.
In this collection of award-winning short stories, men, women and teenagers from London to Boston to Hiroshima to India grapple with the unpredictability of their lives. A teenager receives a gun from his best friend when he finds out his girlfriend has been unfaithful. A teacher in Hiroshima finds herself acting in a live sex show. A young man fakes an act of heroism at the George Washington Bridge so he can be famous. A hostess in a Wonderland-themed amusement park loses her identity to become the “perfect” Alice. And, in the Pushcart Prize-awarded title story, a group of disenfranchised young adults try to make sense of the artificial world that is Los Angeles.
Fiery aristocrat, Eden Rose, uprooted from her native Scotland, has tended a foundering marriage and failing ranch at the corner of Crazy Woman Creek and the Powder River for a decade. Best friend, backwoods spitfire Maddie True, has her own woes a few miles away: widowed with a passel of young children, and caretaker to her addled father. Abandoned by her husband during the height of Wyoming Territory’s worst drought in history, Eden depends on her inept brother, Aiden, to see her through the coming winter. But when he disappears into the wild Bighorn mountains, she shuns Maddie’s fearful cautions, teaming with enigmatic Lakota holy man, Intah, to find her brother before the wicked snow holds them all hostage.
“Light of the Northern Dancers is a powerful novel of a woman’s journey, thought-provoking and unsettling in its authenticity and unflinching honesty.” — Susan Wiggs, NYT Bestselling Romance Author
“Half of what happens to us may have reason, the rest is chaos. Robin F. Gainey’s second novel, Light of the Northern Dancers, has this brand of existentialism. It’ real and it doesn’t let go!” — Tom Skerritt, Award Winning Actor, Writer, Director
For almost seven decades, ten ladies have met for lunch on May 8, to celebrate their friendship and shared history. Over the last few years the annual lunch has been fractured and interrupted, and Lily is convinced that modern technology is to blame. But “Lily the Luddite” as her friends call her, comes to recognize that we have to embrace the time were living in, before we can dial up the past. A short story.
Peg O’Crerieh is a wife, mother, creative writing instructor, and occasional resident of the Everview Residential Treatment Center, which she is once again preparing to leave. Awaiting Peg at home are her devoted family; the normal pressures of daily life; and, most important, the students in her Nontraditional English class, where the assignment is always to write about Peg.
As Peg struggles to find her place in the outside world, she finds herself drawn into her students’ stories. Usurping their material, revising their facts, Peg slowly inches toward the truth until she is finally able to leave the worst behind. By turns brilliantly comic and achingly sad, Little Peg is a portrait of a single woman, in extremis and in exultation, and of a life transformed by the retrospective powers of a gifted writer.
Shirley Hartman, at twenty-eight, was the star of Madison Avenue, a woman who’d made it to the top in the male-dominated advertising game. Beauty, brains, fame, love…yet there she was, standing on a lonely rooftop, contemplating suicide. Had Shirley pushed too hard and reached too far—or can this extraordinary woman break out to some living room beyond career success and the usual arrangements with a man?
“Shirley Hartman is as much a feminist as Portia, Becky Sharp or Scarlett O’Hara. In her, Stein has created a heroine yearning for that living space that men and women need after social and financial triumph. The kind of novel one keeps on ready.”
“A roller coaster reader ride. Shirley Hartman is a ball of fire you are not likely to forget.”
—John Barkham Reviews
Welcome to Clover, Kansas, a small town sitting in the middle of America’s Heartland. It’s a peaceful community, until the night that high school student Jeremy Rogers accepts an invitation to party with the “cool” older kids. After things go irreparably wrong, and Clover is thrust into the national spotlight, Jeremy keeps his involvement a secret. As the town heals from the tragedy, Jeremy falls into a psychological abyss from which he cannot escape, until he encounters the monster from his past and has an opportunity to redeem himself. A novella.
On the run from “broken promises, cocaine and gin, wounds inflicted,” Terry Manescu turns to Alcoholics Anonymous for help. Abstinence alone fails to reform her, though; she resents the meetings, makes every effort to antagonize other AA members, and continues to chase the buzz by substituting sex for booze and drugs. She’s charming, bright, athletic, and not at all shy with the ladies, but also relentlessly self-destructive. Eventually she finds a lesbian AA group of women who’ve faced down their own demons and with their support, Terry learns to tame her rebellious streak and live with integrity.
Sexually charged, by turns harrowing and hopeful, Minus One: A Twelve-Step Journey is a tribute to the meetings and members of Alcoholics Anonymous.
Included in this collection are these short stories to make your holidays more fun:
A Mobster’s Recipe for Cupcakes: A Valentine’s Day Story
A Mobster’s Toast to St. Patrick’s Day
A Mobster’s Menu for Mother’s Day Brunch
A Mobster’s Gift on Father’s Day
A Mobster’s Independence Day Picnic
A Mobster’s Guide to Cranberry Sauce
“A son is a son until he takes him a wife,” the old adage says, and Winifred, unwilling to give up her precious son at all, goes to outrageous means for preventing his wedding. A new short story from the acclaimed Southern author of Gifts, Flood! and Jesus Is Already Here.
A cardigan of a different colour, a cup of tea and a card game prompt Polly to confront problems in one of her most important relationships. She has to consider the feelings of her mother, her girlfriend and her little sister—but is there someone she’s forgotten? A short story.
My Daughter’s Boyfriends is a short story collection from the Pushcart Prize–winning writer Penny Jackson. Her female narrators explore the loss of love and innocence, as well as the strength to overcome adversity and the need for redemption. The setting of these stories ranges from a hotel in Jamaica to New York City during the terror reign of Son of Sam to a summer camp for teenage girls in New Hampshire. Original, entertaining, thought-provoking, My Daughter’s Boyfriends will prove to be of special appeal to readers with an interest in coming-of-age stories about women.
My Father is a universal narrative of a relationship between parent and child.
As a young gay man struggles to find common ground with his conservative father, he inadvertently discovers a friend in the man who raised him. Through two experiences shared decades apart, these two men of different generations and ideals forge a friendship by the simplest means. Opening their minds.
A short story from our Nibs literary line.
Cynthia felt the time had come to tell the young boy the truth of his name, and of the fateful day of his birth. Time to tell the story of her beloved Olivia, a beautiful and vibrant woman full of love and happiness. Friend, lover, wife, savior – she would have been a great mother had she survived. So, Cynthia pulls her little boy onto her lap and recalls the day ten years ago; of Cynthia’s pain, Olivia’s parting words, and a baby’s powerful will to live despite his small and frail body. Today, the boy will learn why Mother’s Day means so much to Cynthia.
A short story from our Nibs literary line.
Ally desperately wants “normal” for her half-sister Kayly, something she never had herself thanks to her liberated mom. First on her list of to-dos is contacting Kayly’s dad, who promised he’d stay out of Kayly’s life just as Ally’s own dad once did. When Kat leaves the country on assignment, Ally drops in on the guy to introduce him to his baby daughter. But Kayly’s dad doesn’t live there–her half brother, Zach, does. And his shocking offer to help Ally find “normal” is nothing compared to what happens next.
This title releases on April 18th, 2023. All efforts will be made to have print editions reach you by that date.
From her very first day at Willard College for Women in the late seventies, Elizabeth Breedlove is trapped. The school’s motto promises an oasis “where a woman chooses her own destination,” but so many faculty members and students have already decided what Breedlove’s destiny should be—based solely on her small-town high school picture in the frosh photo pamphlet, Mugs and Plugs.
She magically gets a choice room in Fey House, the upper-class dorm, and a gorgeous “Big Sister” keen to help her navigate the social world of Willard. And even though she’s an English major, her assigned advisor is the notorious feminist psychology professor Jojo Crews—who immediately makes her feel she is part of some double-blind gender clinical trial. That’s especially true after her new late-night poker buddies warn that everyone at Willard is instantly branded either “a Virgin, a Debutante or a Lesbian Vampire.” And she struggles to explore her own identity in a thick web of academic rivalry, secret codes of domination, all manner of swordplay, and the constant threat of long-ticking secrets about to explode. Everyone wants a piece, or a bite, of her.
Which makes her story an intensely dark and witty saga of friendship, lust and, at long last, love.
Originally published in the early 2000s, Other Girls was decades ahead of its time in its exploration of women’s friendships, gender fluidity and feminist satire.
When the two meet at Sunday Breakfast, Packer takes an interest. On the street, he is the more capable of the two, having created out of a chaotic world his own peaceable kingdom. Jack is so frightened she can’t even admit to her gender. After several years of self-pity, Jack cleans up but must own her current reality before she can claim her future. Both Packer and Jack reveal secrets, strategies, internal pain, true goodness, and love. The understanding and acceptance that permit both Packer and Jack to let go and grow―those lessons are universal.
When her husband comes home from work one day to announce he’s moving out, Samantha Rutgers thinks it’s a joke. She hopes it’s a joke.
It’s not. He packs his suitcase and moves out.
For twenty-five years, Sam was a corporate wife, a stay-at-home mom. Now she’s divorced, adrift, and alienated from her daughter who blames her for the divorce. Ill equipped to be a single woman in a whole new dating culture, she would have foundered without help from an old friend who challenges her to finish up the art degree she put on hold when she married. Her classes open the door to a job at an advertising agency, where Sam makes several new friends and one enemy. There she meets Frank Reynolds, who invites her to take that first step into new love. Gradually, as she slowly builds a new life for herself, Sam learns how to stand strong in the face of adversity, personal and professional.
Project Gus is a personal short story exploring how we see ourselves and the often inhibited guise brought out in social situations by how we believe others perceive us. It is also about friendship and lessons learned. For one middle-aged man, his memories of being bullied as an adolescent sometimes cause him to automatically modify his public behavior. While spending time with Gus, the young son of a close friend, his suppressed insecurities surface. But nine-year-old Gus sees things very clearly – and Gus just wants to play football. A new, personal essay from the author of the emotional nonfiction short My Father.
Poet T. S. Eliot once noted that when it came to cats, naming them was quite the difficult matter. At the Haven for Life Animal Rescue, worker Xenia knows this all to well. Glad to have a position, regardless of the fact that she suffers from paranoia, developmental retardation and depression, Xenia wants only to give the best care to the rescued cats that live in the shelter. When Xenia realizes that the kittens are being adopted shortly after she gives them new names, she discovers a new mission for her own life, and a realization about what it really means to take care of something that may not be able to take care of itself. A short story.
Mother’s Day is an unhappy time for Stella, who is approaching mid-life and is grieving the loss of her mother and her job. After reminiscing on the history of her larger-than-life mum, Stella looks to find the courage to believe her ‘season for singing’ has finally arrived. A work of short fiction from our Nibs literary line.
Julie is a woman on the edge. The strain of raising a handicapped child and the pressures a small town rumor mill creates have taken their toll.
All her life she has been ridiculed or, even worse, ignored.
But that stops today.
A new novelette from the author of Man Falls Down.
Lambda-nominated author Dorien Grey (The Dick Hardesty Mysteries, The Elliott Smith Mysteries) knows more than just how to write a great murder novel. He’s also had amazing life experiences in the military and around the world. Here, for the first time, are the collected blog and journal writings of this prolific author. As Grey notes, “Sometimes things are more clearly seen through the eyes of others.” The hope is that the reader will see similarities to his/her own life, and recognize the commonality of the human condition.
Tony Dalby finds himself on the wrong end of his 80s, confined to a nursing home, with his days as a dancer a thing of the past. The appearance of Drew into his life brings a welcome distraction, as well as a bit of mystery as to why Drew constantly visits the wheelchair-bound, comatose Jesse. As secrets are revealed, Dalby finds he may have a renewed purpose for living after all.
When Tom and Fiona Garner visit their father on his fiftieth birthday, they find that his new girlfriend is a lot more than they bargained for. Squalling Brats is a story about prejudice, parental relationships and the difficulty in washing up sieves.
A short story from our Nibs literary line.
When Elderly Miss Allie sees her new great-grandbaby for the first time, she discovers a shocking truth about her own past, a truth that causes Miss Allie to sneak away into the woods with the baby — who, in Miss Allie’s memory-addled mind, is only a heavy doll, one she can carry no longer.
The tale begins with Donald Bowie’s discovery of Howdy Doody, and ends as he bids farewell to television after the last episode of the Mary Tyler Moore Show. In the span of Donald’s young life, he trades reality for the better life on the tube. TV becomes Donald’s family, his friends, his classroom and, ultimately, his undoing. Station Identification is his hilarious confession of that beautiful friendship.
Grappling with the urges of puberty, he finds that “the whole business of womanhood seemed easiest to understand when it was jammed into Elly May Clampett’s jeans.” Years later, after a wonderful night on the town, Donald brings his date home to watch TV—something close to having her meet the folks. “She fell asleep during a rerun of The Honeymooners,” he writes. “I knew the relationship wouldn’t last.”
Time takes its toll on Donald Bowie and television. Hoping to recapture the ecstasy of Howdy Doody, he watches Sesame Street, “Something about the Sesame Street gang suggested that after the show they have white wine in stemware from Bloomingdale’s. Buffalo Bob always drank milk out of jelly glasses. He was one of us.” This becomes the beginning of the end.
If television was once believed to be a vast wasteland, Donald Bowie has come back to tell us that it is a place where dreams are born.
The Randalls are “the nice family down the street”: close-knit, resilient, facing day-to-day conflicts and gradual change, with the shared love and deep understanding that has seen them through the years.
Laura Randall and her professor husband, Trace, are proud of their accomplishments, even as they try to balance their own identities with increasingly independent children and while caring for their aging parents. Their college-age sons, Bart and Philip, see the family as a reassuring touchstone as they begin building their adult lives. And for independent, vivacious, sixteen-year-old Annie, the Randalls’ only daughter, the family is both a much-loved support, and an obstacle, as she struggles to discover her own awakening dreams and needs.
Then Annie dies in an unforeseeable accident—and their family’s world is turned upside down.
A young writer travels to Mexico for inspiration, where he meets an elderly American couple with a colorful history. He has no idea how colorful until the wife excuses herself and her husband tells the writer a shocking secret about his wife. But is it true? Supreme Reflections is a short story of how people replace the real world with fantasy, then spend their lives trying to make their fantasies real.
After twenty-seven years of marriage – and twenty-seven years spent with an artificial Christmas tree – Edward and Annie finally purchase a fresh pine. When they bring the tree home, however, the presence of the ample Scotch pine suddenly stirs a range of emotions in this long-married couple.
Tangled is a powerfully moving, compact short story from our Nibs line that captures the deeper essence of the Christmas spirit.
Publisher’s Weekly has said that Victor J. Banis has “the master’s touch in storytelling,” and nowhere is this more true than in this collection. From horror to literary fiction, from contemporary characters to older settings, Banis continues to show why he is widely heralded for his talent and style.
Compiled here for the first time in one volume are Banis’ Untreed Reads short story releases. These include:
Tell Them Katy Did
The Kiss of Death
The Princess of the Andes
“It’s good to be ambitious. Only remember, the nearer you get to the front of the line, the more people with knives can see your back.”
That’s Louie Riller giving advice to his son, Ben, who happens to be the most successful producer on Broadway. Louie Riller himself happens to be long dead.
“Joan of Arc heard voices,” Ben Riller’s secretary tells him. “Why shouldn’t you?” But Ben isn’t just hearing voices; he’s having a running argument with the late Louie about life, love, and Ben’s newest production, The Best Revenge, a play that has already gobbled up too much of other people’s money and is in danger of closing before it opens.
When, on Louie’s advice, Ben visits his father’s master shylock, Aldo Manucci, we are suddenly involved with two generations of wonderful underworld characters. One of them pulls the trapdoor under Ben’s feet, forcing him to choose between his moral and financial ruin.
In turn hilarious, poignant, and profound, The Best Revenge takes us on a vastly entertaining excursion behind the scenes of the Great White Way, where the drama is often more suspenseful than anything that happens onstage and where the best revenge is, of course, success.
In The Best Revenge, the author of the million-copy seller The Magician, out-triumphs all his previous work. Saul Bellow has said of The Best Revenge, “It reads itself.” And The New York Times affirms, “If you bury yourself in a Sol Stein novel while walking, you’ll walk into a wall.”
In this sentimental, didactic fable, Masson imagines how the lone, nonsocial, domesticated animal came to share hearth and home.
Billi, an Asian leopard cat, lives in a mango forest in ancient India. He enjoys his independence, but he feels pangs of loneliness and curiosity about the “two-foots.” He learns their languages – Hindi, Malayam and Sanskrit – and he can “see the appeal of south India’s three major religions.”
Billi embarks on a quest to learn more about humans by discovering what their animals think of them. A water buffalo mourns being underappreciated; a parrot bemoans his cage; a mongoose tells a chilling story about human ingratitude. Billi reminds a cow that it’s worshipped by humans. “Oh, great,” the cow says. “That and five rupees will get you a chapati.”
Nine months of travel and no truly good word for humans leaves Billi undeterred and, back home, he seeks out a young girl he’d often watched. It’s not easy proving his good intentions or trying to be “the only animal to have a mutually satisfying relationship with humans,” but Billi makes it happen in a story that’s heartwarming not only for the passionate cat fan but for all readers.
A novelette from the author of Raising the Peaceable Kingdom.
The Anderson twins had asked for a pony for Christmas since they were five. At the age of twelve their dream comes true. They get their pony, and are two of the happiest kids on earth!
Their joy is short-lived, however, when their precious pony wanders off into the wilderness. The children’s sadness turns to horror when they try to find their beloved colt, only to become lost themselves, wandering in the mountains with a frigid Montana winter night bearing down on them.
Are the kids savvy enough to survive the December night? Can their parents endure the night, not knowing what’s happened to their children? Will the pony be found, or fall victim to some mountain predator?
The Christmas Pony is a heartwarming story, filled with excitement, danger, and adventure
The Drunk Logs is a narrative of life within the walls of Stone River, an addiction treatment center found among a picturesque countryside. The serene setting belies the frenzied mindsets of those who, for a short time, call it home.
Matt Hoffman is the newest arrival at Stone River. In a state of denial and with his defenses on high, Matt comes to realize that he has been a longtime member of society’s outcasts, though he never wanted to admit it. Alleviating the pain of his situation, Matt focuses on the darkly comical side of addiction as he is befriended by an odd assortment of patients, resulting in funny, pathetic, and surreal experiences.
Through this last chance at recovery, and indeed life, Matt discovers that in the end, it is the experiences he both learns and shares from the other patients that transform his life.
In The Fifth Station, Matthew, the youngest of three brothers, has died at nineteen, inside a foundry smokestack in Illinois. The surviving brothers take their grief and misfortune to the desert landscape of New Mexico. There, one brother indulges the family failing…alcoholism. The other settles for life on the bum. The two compelling narratives–one by each of the surviving brothers–describe the process of making new lives from the ashes of the old ones.
There is no doubt in Liz Dolan’s mind where her urge to write came from. Her old man never shut up. He had the Irish gift of the gab which often drove her nuts. Sometimes he was hysterically funny, sometimes deliberately cruel. In hindsight, Liz believes all of the bluster was a cover up for loss, especially that of three infant girls and a son at five years old. Still, her father’s voice haunts her reverie; still she laughs and cries. Collected here are the anecdotes that not only bring either laughter or a tear to the eye, but also help to paint a portrait of perhaps one of the most important and influential people in a young woman’s life: her father.
This is the first in the new Untreed Reads Essay Series, giving a voice to authors for short commentaries on all categories of nonfiction.
Edgy. Controversial. Thoughtful. Brilliant.
There are a lot of adjectives that have been used over the decades to describe the writings of Victor J. Banis. From his start in gay fiction, to forays into other genres such as mystery and horror, Banis’ unique voice has brought to life a myriad of characters and creatures, excitement and entertainment, as well as the trials and tribulations of love between both gay and straight couples. Gathered here are stories spanning more than five decades of Banis’ incredible career, including “Broken Record,” his first story to ever be published.
From start to finish, this collection demonstrates why Publisher’s Weekly declared that Victor Banis has “the master’s touch in storytelling.”
“The really top-notch writers are rare birds indeed, but their works merit rereading again and again. Victor Banis is definitely a member of this exclusive club…” author Robert Reginald
In this first outing of a new short story series by Staff Sergeant Robert Evans, Sergeant O’Quinn finds himself battling in an underground mixed martial arts fight in Iraq. Is the fight really just two men battling, or is it a setup for something far more dangerous for the American soldiers involved?
Things go awry from the moment Staff Sergeant Mickey O’Quinn arrives in Qatar. SSG O’Quinn, the brawling mixed martial arts fighter from the 4th Infantry Division, finds himself going from rescuing a frightened young American woman to landing in the middle of the toughest and deadliest underground MMA bout of his life. Will O’Quinn win the fight and the girl? Or has he finally taken on too much?
This is the second in THE O’QUINN FIGHTS series.
The Scent of Her is a story about redemption, forgiveness and longing as
told by a young girl who needed to mother her own mother. It is a
poignant reflection of childhood images and desires within one of the
most important of relationships, that of a mother and her daughter. The
journey continues for the daughter as she becomes a mother herself, and
she reaches toward extraordinary acceptance and understanding of the
woman she loves; the woman who has loved her in the only way she could.
It is a story of survival and it becomes an inspiring and heartwarming message of hope for relationships of all kinds.
Whenever Luke Clayton rides in on his horse, the townspeople scatter and disappear. But there is always an exception: a young, brash kid who wants to lay claim to the title “the fastest gun in the west.” When Clayton arrives in a new spot, everyone suspects that this fateful day will be no different. Can there finally be a meeting in a wild west town that doesn’t end in killing? Will Clayton ride out of town the way he came in, alone and friendless, or will this encounter change the course of his life forever?
What starts as a typical day for self-described arts nerd Brad Litwack is soon altered by a woman who stops a car in the middle of traffic and begins to paint poetry all over it. Brad is immediately intrigued, particularly by the phrase “Dario Fuentes,” something his police officer father seems particularly outraged about when he arrives on the scene to take the woman to jail. Although his father insists Brad keep his nose out of the situation, Brad can’t help but do some research to find out what message the woman was trying to convey. What Brad uncovers is a dark family secret, every bit as intriguing as the poetry-covered car itself. A short story.
Two swimmers, close friends and archrivals, chase after the same Olympic gold medal. Archie Hayes is the best swimmer in the world. Talent and luck have brought him Olympic medals, fame, money and women. Doyle Wilson has reached the end of his career with dreams unfulfilled, but he has a final chance in the 400 freestyle, in which Archie owns the world record. Doyle bets that hard work will enable him to beat Archie just once. He burns all his bridges to focus on his lone goal.
But Doyle can’t be single-minded. Archie is not just his nemesis – they’re best friends. Danger lurks around every corner for Archie, a celebrity athlete with a reckless streak. On a training trip to Hawaii, when Archie is mauled by a wave while bodysurfing, Doyle sees his duty – a purpose in life that transcends self-interest and even friendship. Archie’s incomparable talent must be preserved and nurtured, and only Doyle can do it. Though Archie’s demise would liquidate the main obstacle in Doyle’s path to greatness, Doyle rescues him. Repeatedly.
Doyle’s odyssey to the Olympics teaches him about true friendship and love, the meaning of sacrifice and overcoming obstacles.
As a child, Leini stands ready to do anything to win her mother Mira’s love. This effort costs her the sight in one eye and as a result, causes her to endure bullying from kids her own age. As a teenager, with her Grandpa’s help, she undergoes one more surgery to straighten her eye, but the psychological scar of the events of her childhood remain.
Leini struggles to break free of Mira’s tyranny by leaving her native Helsinki to study psychology at Geneva University. A few years later, married, herself about to become a mother, she is determined with her own children not to repeat Mira’s behavior. With the help of a psychiatrist, she labors through the pains of past hurts to become a nurturing and loving mother and wife, as well as a successful professional, as she grows from victim to victor over adversity. Can her efforts lead her to the one thing she needs to discover the most – the ability to forgive her mother?
Two weeks–that’s all the time Ed Winters has with his son Danny before Ed’s ex-wife and her new husband move with the boy to Paris. Those days, filled with fly fishing, camping, and an unplanned cross-country road trip, grow ever more desperate as Ed struggles to face the reality of losing the boy, and Danny of losing his home. Set amid the streams and backroads of Michigan and Montana, THREATENED SPECIES is a harsh but beautiful ode to fathers and sons.
The novella is collected here with five other Michigan short stories by Jeff Vande Zande.
Leigh Burton is a disgraced journalist who was stripped of a Pulitzer for fabricating details in a few newspaper stories. In the years since, Leigh has been scratching out a living as a freelancer, and has arrived in Pepin to assist an aged former vice president of the United States with his memoirs. Because no publisher will buy any nonfiction with her fingerprints on it, Leigh has to keep her past under wraps, which becomes a challenge when she’s gently blackmailed by a Pepin local, and Leigh’s sixteen-year-old daughter arrives unexpectedly and threatens to tell everyone Mom’s secret. Making things even more difficult is that Leigh is living in Ida May Turnbull’s long-shuttered childhood home, which puts her in the bulls-eye of the Little Girls’ obsession. It’s a position that jeopardizes her secret, her work, a budding romance, and her fragile relationship with her daughter.
With her beloved husband, Mark, terminally ill and under the care of the hospice, Sally struggles to maintain a normal life for their three children. Her days are spent working long hours to keep the roof over their heads and protecting them from the awful truth of just how ill their father really is. Opportunities to visit Mark are few and far between, coming only when time and money allow, making every one a moment to be savored.
On her latest visit, Sally is alarmed to see just how much Mark has deteriorated and vows to make the most of the time they have left. But, when the doctors tell her of a new miracle drug that will slow the progression of his illness, her hope is rekindled. Can love be stronger than medicine? A short story from our Candlelight literary romance line.
Christmas 1983 at the last porno theater in St. Louis: You’d think the atmosphere would be sordid with a miasma of stale popcorn and dank upholstery. You’d be right. Yet, behind the crumbling facade and flickering marquee, even the staff of the Lyceum have holiday plans — and they’re not going to let a little distraction like a customer get in their way.
A short work of humorous holiday fiction from our Nibs literary line.
Dina is searching for a special angel to top her Christmas tree, one that looks like her Japanese, Irish, German, and Mexican sons. Her husband Julio struggles with his disdain of holiday hype.
Can this family and their friends come to rediscover what makes the Christmas season a time worth treasuring?
And will a fruitcake nobody wants find a home?