Never Retreat

ArtsMart

BOOKS, ART, TRAVEL AND MORE


Are you looking for perfect gifts for all the special people on your holiday gift list? Well, here they are! Scroll through ArtsMart, and you’ll find a dozen or more super gift ideas - fascinating books on every subject, music for Christmas and for the rest of the year, too - something for everyone on your list! And they all come with the wish that you have a joyous holiday season and a peaceful - and healthy - new year.

The Unforgotten

The Unforgotten
A Novella and Other Stories
by Julia Ballerini

 

Stories in The Unforgotten, ranging from a novella to flash narratives of merely a paragraph, are populated by a variety of characters. Among them: Luisa, a beloved childhood servant in Peru, who disappears inexplicably. A child writes that her mom has a lover, a grownup word for boyfriend. Gertrude, whose lifelong collection of sophisticated words fades into dementia. Charles, a grandfather in a white nightgown and bobbing nightcap, chases a bull away from his wife’s beloved rose garden. A mother tells her child a story of a joyous snail with a will to live. Adrianna, now a grandmother, reminiscences about a college year in Paris with her best friend who later committed suicide. Henry, working in a research lab, befriends a rat he names Eloise.

 

To order, CLICK HERE.

Ulken_image Silent Sisters
Profiles of the Short Lives of Karen Carpenter, Patsy Cline, Cass Elliot, Ruby Elzy, Janis Joplin and Selena Quintanilla-Perez

By Ellen Hunter Ulken

With raging talent and heartfelt bonhomie, these twentieth-century American women sang their way to stardom. All died before the age of 36. Within separate chapters, one for each celebrity, the book reveals their triumphs and tragedies, the details of their final hours, and explores the notion that frantic, constant, touring schedules may have contributed to the anxieties and dramas surrounding their early deaths. Through these illustrated pages, the reader will become familiar with these outstanding singers and their music. Endnotes, bibliography and discography are given for each subject.

Ellen Ulken began writing later in life as a retired person. In 2005, she wrote Beautiful Dreamer, The Life of Stephen Collins Foster. Through Arcadia Publishing, in 2009, along with Rebecca Watts and Clarence Lyons, she contributed to a history with pictures and captions of Peachtree City, Georgia, where she lives with her companion, Jerry Watts, MD. Silent Sisters: Profiles of the Short Lives of Karen Carpenter, Patsy Cline, Cass Elliot, Ruby Elzy, Janis Joplin and Selena Quintanilla Perez was published in 2014.

She and Jerry are members of The Peachtree City Writer’s Circle, The Friends of the Peachtree City Library, The Peachtree City Garden Club, and three historical societies.

To order, CLICK HERE.

Beautiful Dreamer
The Life of Stephen Collins Foster

By Ellen Hunter Ulken

While East Coast composers of the mid-1800s continued to imitate the music of their European forebears, Pittsburgh native Stephen Foster infused his compositions with the rich and diverse flavors of river life. By mixing this “western” essence with the style of traditional English folk songs, he created an original American sound.

“Oh! Susannah,” his first hit, became the banner song of forty-niners during the California gold rush. “Old Kentucky Home,” “Old Folks at Home,” “Camptown Races” and “Jeannie with the Light Brown Hair” are still sung a century and a half later. But despite the popularity of his music, the pioneer of American songwriting died in poverty. Beautiful Dreamer is his story.

As a child in northern Florida, Ellen Ulken used to swim in the Suwannee River, made famous by the song “Old Folks at Home.” Later, in her travels – first growing up on far-flung Army posts and then as a flight attendant – she found the music of Stephen Foster a comforting reminder of her rural Southern roots. Beautiful Dreamer is her tribute to Foster, whose songs explore the range of human emotion – from the melancholy of “Gentle Annie” to the merriment of “Ring, Ring the Banjo!”

Ellen lives in Peachtree City, Georgia with her companion Jerry Watts and his English setter, Scout.

To order, CLICK HERE.

Plague Take It: A Covid Almanac By And About Elders

Plague Take It
A Covid Almanac By And About Elders
by Jon Peirce and Ann McMillan

 

The COVID-19 pandemic, which has resulted in so much pain, suffering, and sadness around the world, has nonetheless proven to be an extraordinarily rich source of material for writers. This collection of works by and about elders contains something for readers of all ages and of almost every conceivable literary taste. A majority of the book’s contributors are women. Here you will find poems (including a performance poem), short stories, plays, memoirs, and essays. You will find works written in French as well as in English, and you will find works written by Americans as well as by Canadians. And you will experience the full gamut of moods, from despondency to defiance, and from stoic acceptance to sly cynicism. As you read, you will almost certainly shed a few tears. But you will also laugh out loud more than once, and experience moments of sheer awe at the insight and inspiration provided by our more than 50 authors. Here is a COVID collection unlike any other, a book to keep on your shelves and treasure for years after the pandemic is finally over.

Buy now at Amazon.com

Ballroom
By Alice Simpson

Told in interconnecting stories, BALLROOM is a beautifully crafted debut novel about a group of strangers united by a desire to escape their complicated lives in a faded New York City dance hall. Time has eroded the glamour of the Ballroom, but at the end of the1990s, a small crowd of loyal patrons still makes its way past the floor-to-ceiling columns which frame the once grand hall each Sunday evening. Sweeping across the worn parquet floor under a peeling indigo ceiling, these men and women succumb to the magic of the music, looking for love and connection, eager to erase the drab reality of their complicated lives. As the rhythms of the Ballroom ebb and flow through these characters’ hearts, their fates come together in touching, unexpected ways.

 

“From start to finish, “Ballroom” is a perfectly choreographed dance, where the reader and the story meet, connect and then finally, part. It tells the tale of six independent yet interdependent characters who all share a deep love for ballroom dance. And while the language itself is not particularly theatrical, “Ballroom” reads much like a play, where these six lives unfold on a large stage, or in this case, the dance floor.”

– Heather Desaulniers, dance commentary

 

“Simpson is a master at creating realistic characters who are flawed, a bit unappealing and yet sympathetic.”

– KIRKUS REVIEWS

 

To order, HarperCollinsPublishers

A Place Like This

A Place Like This
Finding Myself in a Cape Cod Cottage
by Sally W. Buffington

 

A wonderful nostalgic gift for the holidays:
A book for anyone who’s ever loved a house.

When newly engaged Sally Buffington is introduced to Craigville, she meets an expansive Cape Cod cottage that is virtually a family member itself. She quickly finds herself competing for airtime among the talkative, assured band of brothers—and her new mother-in-law, the cottage’s lively and confounding matriarch.

Sally, a Cape Cod local, soon wonders how she’ll ever maintain her independence, let alone her sense of self when the day’s agenda and every detail is already set in stone. But she navigates her new life with quiet persistence and a boundless curiosity that guides her to explore life through the creative lens of her camera and her pen.

Sally writes with a whimsical candor that is both honest and humorous. Through poetic prose and heartfelt reflection, A Place Like This reveals the beauty of Cape Cod and shows us that sometimes the simplest of moments brings us the most lasting joy.

Sally Buffington is a writer and photographer, also a classically trained musician. From her home in southern California, she migrates back to native ground in Massachusetts, especially her spiritual homeland of Cape Cod. Writing lyrically and imaginatively, ever aware of sensory experience and memory, Buffington takes the reader into her thoughts wherever she finds herself.

Buffington can “see things other people don’t see” in everyday scenes and find them beautiful. But her prose is where that ability most shines through. This memoir paints a vivid and lasting memory of a home with as much personality as the family who lived there.

– Book Life

“Punctuated by sensory delights, the author’s prose can prove particularly mouthwatering” …. “An elegantly observant account that transports readers to a beloved place.”

Kirkus

To learn more, and order the book, go to www.sallybuffington.com

Miami in Virgo

Miami in Virgo
A Feminist, Mystical Novel
by Sally Mansfield Abbott

 

A disturbing encounter with a hermaphrodite at a county fair presages teenage Miami’s loss of innocence in 1970’s California. MIAMI IN VIRGO is a literary fiction coming-of-age novel narrated by precocious seventeen-year-old Miami.

She and her friends form a tight-knit circle practicing feminist Wiccan ritual, as her childhood fundamentalism casts a long shadow.

Conflicts with her friends over boys threaten their newfound feminist solidarity. An anticipated trip to a women’s demonstration devolves into a nightmarish questioning of her sexuality, further fracturing her friendships. An ill-fated romance at a Halloween party becomes thoroughly spooked when Miami winds up exiled in her new family after her mother’s remarriage.

Her peccadilloes take on a spiritual dimension and she goes through a soul-searing scrutiny which eventually leads to the resolution of her conflicts through the deepening of her character. The twists and turns of her fast-paced story make a compelling read.
 

Order the book, https://www.amazon.com/Miami-Virgo-Sally-Mansfield-Abbott/dp/1733377107.

Learn more about the book and its author: https://miamiinvirgo.com/

The Wright Sister

The Wright Sister
By Patty Dann

 

 

When Katharine Wright, sister to the famous Wright Brothers, married for the first and only time at 52, her brother, Orville, refused to speak to her ever again. The Wright Sister is a historical novel made up of imagined letters from Katharine to Orville, as well as what she calls her Marriage Diary.

 

“The Wright Sister is a marvel—a perfect, very dear and brilliant novel whose characters are now stored in my heart like favorite, absent friends. Long live the remarkable Katharine Wright, her famous brothers, and author Patty Dann, who brought them back to life for this gobsmacked, grateful reader.”
 

— Elinor Lipman, author of Good Riddance and On Turpentine Lane

 

To order, CLICK HERE.

Counter Point

Counter Point
Poems of the Whydah
by Laura Rodley

 


Learn more at laurarodley.com.

Laura Rodley’s remarkable poems transport you to the North Atlantic in the early 1700s. Novelistic in scope, Counter Point uses scene, dialogue, and action-driven narrative. And like any good novel, this book introduces an unforgettable character, Marie, an ordinary girl (“A laundress wears no jewelry on her / hands, only the roses of chapped skin”) who navigates the world with extraordinary fortitude. Artful language and sensual detail–whether evoking love’s first desires (“and here we splice open our shirts / like oysters after plucking / and just as lush”) or describing the malodors of a pirate ship (“even the smell of their feet / had a noise called squelching”)—bring to life a briny world, both intimate and writ large. It’s not often a poetry book is described as a page-turner, but Counter Point is that book: a heroine’s adventure lyrically told.

– Ellen Wade Beals, Publisher/Editor of Solace in So Many Words.

 

To order online, click here or also available on Amazon.

Modern Women: 21st Century DANCE, A Coloring Book

Modern Women: 21st Century Dance, A Coloring Book
by Julie Lemberger, edited by Elizabeth Zimmer

 

Women, the largest and yet most unrecognized population of the dance arts community are spotlighted in renown dance photographer Julie Lemberger’s Modern Women: 21st Century Dance, a coloring book. Using her more than two decades of dance images Lemberger transformed them into illustrations almost ready to color and then added psychedelic, floral and abstract backgrounds for the figures “to dance in.”

Featured are today’s leading dance innovators and interpreters, and celebrates their diverse genres and perspectives. In the 92 page volume more than 60 women participated including Wendy Whelan, Annie-B Parson, Merian Soto, Eiko Otake, Francesca Harper, Jinju Song-Begin and choreographers Pam Tanowitz, Andrea Miller and many more. Additionally, read about these women’s accomplishments with their quotes, biographies, and a glossary of 21st Century dance terms.

Dance Magazine’s Lisa Traiger wrote the first preview, stating:

“Get out the crayons, markers or colored pencils. Modern Women: 21st-Century Dance, feels like the antidote to a COVID-19 winter. Created by Brooklyn-based dance photographer Julie Lemberger, the book pays tribute to this generation of powerful and creative women dancers.”

 

Modern Women: 21st Century Dance is a perfect holiday gift for children-of-all-ages including grandparents and their grandchildren, especially those who love women, dance and art!

For $20 + $5 each s/h (within U.S./please contact for International shipping rates), it is available at:
etsy.com/shop/dancecoloringbook or julielemberger.com

When You Lose Someone You Love

When You Lose Someone You Love
… a journey through the heart of grief
by Susan Squellati Florence

 


 

When someone we love dies, a part of our own self dies too. I had a dream after my father died, that I was shot in the dark by a stranger. I lay on the ground on my stomach, not knowing what had happened. I didn’t know if I would live or die. We are physically hurt when someone we love dies, and don’t know how we can go on. 
 
   
It takes time and a thousand tears to accept the death of someone you love. Stay with this sadness. Your tears are holy water from the deep place of your loving. You will receive great comfort from people who have been in the place of sadness, where you are now.  They will be friends, family and even people you have not known before. In our sorrow, we are all connected.
     

I hope this book of few words and soft watercolors will be a way to offer sympathy and comfort to the ones who are traveling this journey through the heart of grief. 

 

Available at your favorite indie bookshop through Bookshop.org https://bit.ly/3i9Laqs

Amazon https://amzn.to/2S7OxDJ

Barnes & Noble https://bit.ly/34Hv7bC

As You Write It: Lucky 7

As You Write It: Lucky 7
featuring Estelle Cade, Joan Hopkins Coughlin, Sally Fairfield, Lillian Fiske, Penny Jordan, Noreen O’Brien, Ellen Brucker Marshall, Ann Marie Meltzer, Laura Rodley, Alice Thomas, Barbara Waters

 

The As You Write It series is a great gift to our community: a page-turning read, a window into our local past, and a platform for brilliant storytellers, all in one. In turns reflective, touching, and funny, this anthology is a reminder of the worlds that can open up when we take the time to listen to the voices already among us.

Mike Jackson, Managing Editor, The Montague Reporter

 

With its seventh gift to our community, the As You Write It group once again reminds and encourages us: Everyone should write! And when talent is fostered, it blossoms. Lucky 7‘s eleven writers pull a deep spectrum of living color through the prism of the short memoir, leaving something new and different shining on every page: poetry and portals into our local history, childhood sense-memories returning, reveries and touching reflections. Place this little volume on your bedside table. You’ll be grateful.

Jean Varda, poet

 

To place an order, send a check
for $16 plus $3 shipping and handling to
Laura Rodley
P.O. Box 63
Shelburne Falls MA 01370

“In a steady, approachable voice, Ellen Gerneaux Woods explores both the tenderness and tension woven into the mother/daughter bond. She roots her poems in the natural world, beginning this graceful collection with primordial jellyfish and ending with a backyard’s damp grass. In the quietly profound poems of The Watchful Heart Recedes, Ellen Gerneaux Woods engages with the beauty and wisdom of our earth and our hearts.”

 

— Kathleen McClung, author of A Juror Must Fold in on Herself and Temporary Kin.

 

Can be ordered at https:www.finishinglinepress.com/product/the-watchful-heart-recedes-by-ellen-gerneaux-woods/

Reclaiming the Sacred Source

Reclaiming the Sacred Source
by Lynn Creighton

Reclaiming the Sacred Source: The Ancient Power and Wisdom of Women’s Sexuality

Arguing for the return of celebrating the life-force with orgasm, Reclaiming the Sacred Source explores the sexual imbalance that disturbs the lives of millions. Some have been abused. Some believe it their right to take sexual gratification. Most have forgotten the purpose of sexuality: to celebrate life. Five thousand years ago the invading and over-powering Indo-Europeans disrupted sexuality as a sacrament in the celebration of the ancient Goddess. Modern religions perpetuate the false story of sexuality as evil. This book provides insight into this historical occurrence and offers suggestions for healing that can restore memory and practice of high-level orgasm as a celebration of life and all that is sacred in the highest vibratory peak of our pleasure.

Available on-line everywhere www.lynncreighton.com

The Topography of Hidden Stories

The Topography of Hidden Stories
By Julia MacDonnell

A National Indie Excellence Awards Finalist 2021

The stories in Julia MacDonnell’s first collection, The Topography of Hidden Stories create a shining tapestry of women’s lives in the late 20th and the early 21st centuries. Her characters, among them women trapped in a pious patriarchy that has yet to loosen its control of women’s lives, grapple with doubt and disquiet in their search for love and connection. However difficult their situations, they confront experience with sharp eyes, ironic wit, and a sense of their own historical matrix.

Kirkus Reviews:
MacDonnell’s writing is frequently elegant, full of vivid metaphors…and descriptive language. The plots are both familiar and unpredictable, drawing readers in while challenging their preconceptions…. A strong collection of stories connected by deep Irish American roots.

Midwest Book Review, D. Donovan, Senior Reviewer:
The Topography of Hidden Stories holds many hidden gems…Dissimilar, evocative, and compelling, these snapshots freeze pivotal moments in time. They will captivate readers looking for literary examples of women trapped by circumstance and fate, their choices, their commitments to family, and their illusions and realities about the world and their place in it.

Readers seeking stories of growth and change and women’s evolving lives will find The Topography of Hidden Stories hard-hitting and thought-provokingly unexpected in its diversity and impact.

Indie Reader, Stephani Hren:
Julia MacDonnell …can cut to the quick of a character with a single sentence, or …stretch her exploration through an entire story…There’s an element of yearning to MacDonnell’s writing that makes her stories utterly entrancing and the characters, conflicts, and relationships that she’s crafted are deeply insightful.

 

To order, CLICK HERE.

Over 50’s Singles Night

Over 50’s Singles Night
by Ellyn Bache
Madcap Award for Romantic Comedy

In this lighthearted novel, 62-year-old BJ is enjoying a successful career, a nice house, and a pleasant life… until her younger sister, Iris, moves in with her.

At 55. Iris is the recent widow of a philanderer – attractive (thanks partly to skillful plastic surgery), sweet, helpful — and so comfortable that BJ fears she’ll never move out.

So BJ starts an Over 50’s Singles Night to help find her a new husband. But when only a few elderly ladies and one gay man show up, BJ has to regroup. She introduces Iris to a retired neighbor. They dislike each other at once — though the neighbor likes BJ quite a bit.

Then Iris reveals a long-held secret that keeps the sisters avoiding each other for weeks. Will they ever make up? Will sisterly love prevail? Romantic love? Will Over 50’s Singles Night be a failure — or more powerful than anyone thought?

Ellyn Bache is the award-winning author of nine novels, including Safe Passage, which was made into a movie starring Susan Sarandon.

 

To Order, Click Here

The Full Moon Herald

The Full Moon Herald
By Phyllis Klein

The Full Moon Herald By Phyllis Klein is a book of poetry in newspaper format filled with real news stories, and personal news stories. It travels the ground of trauma, grief, empathy, and hope.

The Full Moon Herald has just received an honorable mention for poetry in the Eric Hoffer Poetry Book Award Competition for 2021. For a link to the announcement of the award and the judges’ comments, CLICK HERE.

From Minder-Binder Review of Books:
This exceptional first book of poems should be required reading for anyone who 1) appreciates poetry as a meaningful way to explore who we are in this beautiful and troubling world; 2) is willing to open themselves to the honesty and intimacy of our shared and connected lives; and/or 3) wishes to mine the deeper nature of the news without the noise and nonsense of talking heads. 


”Phyllis Klein’s remarkable poems make hidden wounds visible as she digs into the Breaking News. Entering this world, you breathe in the fresh air of honesty. You fume, you weep with her along the treacherous paths she travels, to finally understand we are ‘relatives in the fields of trees, beauty and devastation we call home.’ Such good news.”

— Perie Longo, author of Baggage Claim

 

“Phyllis Klein is a poet of great courage. She brings what Ezra Pound called poetry: ’the news that stays news.’ Her determination to see and name what we are afraid to face powers the headlines of this startling debut collection.”

— Jack Ridl, author of Saint Peter and the Goldfinch

 

To order, CLICK HERE

In the Company of Rebels

In the Company of Rebels
A Generational Memoir of Bohemians, Deep Heads, and History Makers
By Chellis Glendinning

From Berkeley to Bolivia, from New York to New Mexico, our social-change movements have textured the 1950s through the present. The history makers presented in this “generational memoir” transformed the political/spiritual landscape of the U.S. and beyond, laying the foundation for contemporary thinking about equality and democracy.

 

 

Chellis Glendinning has written a memoir evoking the lives of women and men she has known. From Susan Griffin to Daniel and Patricia Ellsberg, Suzan Harjo to John Ross, they are some the most creative and courageous geniuses of a generation…. In the Company of Rebels is one of the most profoundly moving books I’ve read in years.

—Margaret Randall, Exporting Revolution

 

Psychologist/writer Chellis Glendinning has penned eight nonfiction books exploring psychological interfaces with social issues, as well as hundreds of essays in newspapers and magazines, a poetry book, and a bilingual opera. Off the Map and Chiva both won the National Federation of Press Women Book Award in nonfiction. She lives now in Bolivia where she wrote her first novel, Objetos, and is working on a second about three women in the Chaco War (1932-35). Chellis Glendinning’s most recent novel is TEA CUPS AND MACHINE GUNS.

To order, CLICK HERE.