Never Retreat

ArtsMart

BOOKS, ART, TRAVEL AND MORE


Take a minute to scroll through the delightful offerings in ArtsMart, and you’ll find fascinating books on every subject, for every taste, and from every genre--poetry, memoirs, history and biography, children’s books, essays, mysteries, fiction both speculative and historical. You’ll also find writing workshops and retreats, note cards, prints and paintings, even grownup coloring books - something for each and every taste and hour and mood.



Persimmon Tree is an Amazon and Bookshop.org associate, which means our journal receives a small royalty every time you make a purchase by clicking through to Amazon or Bookshop.org. The price to you is no higher, but your purchase helps Persimmon Tree continue its vital work.

September 12

September 12
by Andrea Carter Brown

 
On 9/11, Andrea Carter Brown was a resident of downtown Manhattan living just a block from the World Trade Center. September 12 chronicles her up close and all too personal experience of the attack, but, even more, the continuing horror and eventual healing of the months and years afterward.

September 12 won the 2022 IPPY Silver Medal in Poetry, the James Dickey Prize from Five Points, the River Styx International Poetry Prize, the Puddinghouse Press Chapbook Competition, The MacGuffin National Poet Hunt, and is cited in the Library of Congress Online Research Guide to the Poetry of 9/11.

“A more haunting memorial to 9/11 than this book will be hard to find. Reading September 12 is a wrenching but restorative experience you won’t soon forget”. 
— Martha Collins, poet, author of Casualty Reports and Blue Front

“… detail by detail, we watch the process of innocence captured by absolutely unpredicted trauma, and how the experience lives on and on, through shock and terror, through the kindness of strangers, through the heart of a beloved, through grief and elegy, through normality that will never again be normal.” 
— Alicia Ostriker, New York State Poet Laureate

“This brave book documents great loss, but also hard-won psychic resilience in poems of astonishing beauty and wisdom. September 12 is necessary poetry.”
— Cynthia Hogue, Poetry Editor, Persimmon Tree

Available from Amazon and Word Works.

A Place Like This

A Place Like This
Finding Myself in a Cape Cod Cottage
by Sally W. Buffington
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 Amazon, Bookshop.org, www.sallybuffington.com, or your local bookstore.

Tiny Tin House

In the Christian States of America, where religion rules, one woman discovers the only rules are about survival.

Although she’s legally an adult, eighteen-year-old Meryn Flint must live at home until her stepfather, Ray, finds her a husband. That’s the law.

But when Ray kills her mother and Meryn must flee for her own safety, she quickly discovers there’s no safe place for a woman on the run. Unless she’s willing to marry her former boyfriend—a man who’s already demonstrated his capacity for violence—she’ll be forced to live on the street. And that’s a dangerous option for a woman alone.

As time runs out, Meryn is offered a third path: build herself a tiny house, a safe place to call home. Even though it’s a violation of her Family Duty as well as every moral law on the books, Meryn seizes the chance.

But even a tiny tin house might not be enough to save her . . .

“A dystopian science fiction novel that is a believable extrapolation of current social, cultural, and religious attempts to restrict and roll back the rights and freedoms of women, Tiny Tin House is a masterfully crafted and riveting novel populated throughout by memorable characters.” ~ Midwest Book Review

L Maristatter has published poetry in the web journal Defunct and fiction in The Saturday Evening Post online. She is on Facebook and Twitter (regularly), and Instagram and TikTok (when she’s feeling brave).

Support independent booksellers by finding Tiny Tin House on Bookshop.org or in your local bookstore. It’s also available on Amazon.

Resurrecting Jack

Resurrecting Jack
by Tua Laine

 
It took me forty years to write my story. Hundreds of drafts in desk drawers, computers and even in my dreams. The beginning I knew, but the end was lost with my first husband. And I just couldn’t make it up.

After a book deal was offered, I drove my editor crazy with changes. I told her the albatross wasn’t letting go till I got the story right. She threatened to come and tear off the bird’s legs if I touched the copy one more time.

And when it was all done, the book on display in the window of a downtown Helsinki bookstore, my former stepson called for the first time ever.

We need to talk, Niko said, and I learned how wrong I’d been about the things that really mattered.

This is the final, final version of my story.
Unless, of course, Mariam decides to get in touch.

More on www.tualaine.com

Available from Amazon and Bookshop.org.

Coloratura On A Silence Found In Many Expressive Systems

Coloratura On A Silence Found In Many Expressive Systems
by Alice Fulton


Coloratura On A Silence Found In Many Expressive Systems extends tactile mysteries to existential questions of invisible miracles, connection, and faith in the face of silence: “By praying you, I create you,” Fulton informs an elusive God. Reveling in the stunning possibilities of language, she seeks joy to counteract trauma and grief, empathizes with the silent pathos of animals, and finds solace in art, friendship, and the mysterious power of gifts. Without denying suffering, this enthralling volume extends a fervent prayer for gratitude and healing.

Fulton borrows tropes and theories from science, linguistics, visual art, [and] mathematics…It is this kind of sonic and imaginative range—which puts into conversation the music of what is voiced with what is silent, invisible—that makes it almost impossible to talk about the powerful hold of these poems…Perhaps more than any poet writing today, Fulton takes to heart John Keats’s belief that writing poetry is a ‘vale of soul-making.’…‘You have to listen,’ she admonishes, ‘louder than you sing.’ Is there a more attentive listener than Alice Fulton? A more haunted and haunting singer?
— Lisa Russ Spaar, On the Seawall
 

Alice Fulton is the featured poet in the spring 2024 issue of Persimmon Tree.

Available from W.W. Norton, Amazon, or Bookshop.org.

Sixty-Something and Flying Solo

Sixty-Something and Flying Solo: A Retiree Sorts It Out in Iowa
by Marian Mathews Clark

 
Sixty-Something and Flying Solo: A Retiree Sorts It Out in Iowa is an edgy, humorous memoir with serious ponderings. An Oregon transplant with no kids and no significant other, the author is someone about whom readers could say, “I wouldn’t want to be in her shoes, but if she can make it, I can, too.” Pieces such as ‘What Not to Say at a Funeral’ and ‘Dusting and Other Insanities’ provide a backdrop for monthly accounts of her fall into retirement’s abyss where she clings to her to-do lists while she alters her diet, her wardrobe and her vow to become more domestic. When she resurfaces a year later, she’s surprised at the landscape and what has saved her.

Marian Mathews Clark grew up among loggers in Mist, Oregon (pop 50), then caught the Union Pacific to Iowa to attend Graceland College. In the ensuing years, she capped perfume bottles on Coty’s assembly line in New York, was stranded on Loveland Pass during a blizzard, ironed costumes for Polynesian dancers at the Calgary Stampede, tried to shear a sheep in Australia, earned an MFA in Fiction from The Iowa Writers’ Workshop, and with co-writer Patricia Stevens was a finalist at O’jai’s Film Festival for their feature script Timber.

Bart Yates, author of The Distance Between Us, said of her memoir, “Clark is a sly writer; she lured me in with…broken garbage disposals and mysteriously disappearing walls; only later did I realize she was…writing about mortality, loss, joy, and love. Great stuff.”

2015 edition available from Amazon, Culicidae Press, and from your local independent bookseller.

Helen Bar-Lev

Recent Paintings
by Helen Bar-Lev

Helen Bar-Lev has traveled extensively – especially in Africa and throughout the Middle East – and has come away with exquisite “pencil paintings” (as she calls them) from each journey. The painting here is of a town in Israel to which she has recently been evacuated, and, like all of her paintings, is a miniature, measuring approximately 11cm by 15cm (4.5” x 6”).

To view more of her paintings of Egypt, Ghana and beyond – and purchase them either as originals (for $350) or as signed and numbered prints ($20) – go to her website.

Old Stranger: Poems

Old Stranger: Poems
by Joan Larkin
Poem after poem, Old Stranger unearths moments that shape a woman’s life. The poet’s eye is unflinching as she sees the past folded into the present. Her body is the ground of deep soul hunger. Her language is music.

“To discover the ‘old stranger’ is a knife, not quite, it’s an old piano. No, it’s a book about mortality and the debt of flesh, about love, rot, relationship, smiles that cut like knives through every seeing moment. It’s about painting. It’s a beaut. There’s so much masterpiece here. I mean, wow, this is why one is a poet all their life. To make this.” — Eileen Myles, author of a “Working Life”
 
“Joan Larkin’s much-awaited Old Stranger: Poems is a miracle of compression, mystery, and innuendo. Here is a poet for whom craft is an extension of wisdom. Whether revealing the archetype secreted within an object, or the elemental, persistent grief within a memory, Larkin expertly hones the edges of poems like a luthier shapes a violin.” — Diane Seuss, author of Modern Poetry
 
“Engaging with curiosity and often startled affection, this poet tells of how it feels to be both enamored and shaken with what connections reveal. Quiet and absorbed, one reads this most graceful of books until pow and one is alerted!” — Jody Stewart, author of This Momentary World: Selected Poems

 
 
More about Joan Larkin: www.alicejamesbooks.org/bookstore/old-stranger

Available from Alice James Books, Bookshop, and Amazon.

Wild Irish Yenta

Wild Irish Yenta
by Joyce Sanderly

Set against a backdrop of a suburban Maryland synagogue, Wild Irish Yenta dishes on interfaith marriage, misbehaving clergy, Biblical myth, and the beauty of religious traditions.

When the body of custodian Roberto Gomez is found in Temple Israel’s parking lot, Patricia Weiss, nee Reilly, exchanges her suburban-mom sneakers for gumshoes to investigate the hit-and-run. An ardent new convert to Judaism, Patricia is grappling with her outsider status at the upscale Reform congregation. Inspired by her detective dad, Patricia is compelled to find out who-dun-it and why.

While poking fun at cultural stereotypes, the novel interweaves biblical stories with questions of contemporary concern. Can a nice Catholic girl find happiness with a Jewish cardiologist even if she converts? Can Patricia’s yenta patrol detect a connection between a custodian’s death and other troubling happenings at the Temple?

Joyce Sanderly is a Pushcart-nominated poet and an attorney retired from her position as Senior Counsel, U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Her collection, The Shomer (published under Ellen Sazzman) was a finalist for the Blue Lynx Prize and semifinalist for the Elixir Press Antivenom Award and for the Codhill Press Poetry Award.

“In Wild Irish Yenta, Philip Roth meets Agatha Christie, and the result is a page-turner that also explores the interlocking dynamics that exist within an interfaith marriage, a family and a Maryland synagogue.”
— Michelle Brafman, author of Swimming With Ghosts

“This keenly observed, funny mystery … combines an insightful look at interfaith marriage, the complexities of friendship, and the politics of religious institutions.”
— Susan Coll, author of Bookish People

Available from Bookshop and Amazon.

Art by Janice Lynch Schuster

Art by Janice Lynch Schuster


 

Janice Lynch Schuster is a writer, poet, and visual artist whose work is inspired and informed by her home near the wetlands of the Maryland portion of the Chesapeake Bay. Working with inks, she creates abstract images that reflect the marshes and creeks of her regions and explore the intersection and interplay of line and color. Sometimes she writes with pens on the images, which gives her the sensation of creating a story. A member of the Muddy Creek Artists Guild, her artwork has appeared in Persimmon Tree and Months to Years.

The pieces are 8”x 8”. If you are interested in learning more, please contact her via Instagram, Janice Lynch Schuster (@jls827) where you can also see more of her images.

Art is available framed and unframed.

SPIRIT CAPTIVE, Jerusalem in Poetry, Prose and Paintings

SPIRIT CAPTIVE, Jerusalem in Poetry, Prose and Paintings
by Helen Bar-Lev

 

Spirit Captive is the impressive collection of poems, short stories, memories and artworks that Helen Bar-Lev presents to us as a declaration of her love for Jerusalem, a city harboring as much pain as pleasure. Through Helen’s eyes, we see contested Jerusalem through the seasons and the hours, a city of exquisite beauty. To appreciate the real spirit of this work we should start from the end: reading the poem Spirit Captive, we can feel the bond that exists between the poet and her chosen city. We can also sense the universality of Jerusalem – the painful, sometimes suffering, beauty that permeates it.

In A Love Poem to Jerusalem, Helen wonders if God created the sweet air of the city just to intoxicate her and if every stone or gate or flower may have been created as a source of inspiration for her paintings. This book is Helen’s masterpiece, where her poems, prose and paintings pay magnificent tribute to Jerusalem.

— from the review by Lidia Chiarelli, President, Immagine & Poesia, Italy

 
Available from BookBaby and Bookshop.org, shipping now.

See the Desert and Die

See the Desert and Die
by Ann Saxton Reh


August, 1980. When Anthropologist Layne Darius comes to Arabia to study a nomadic tribe in the Rub-Al-Khali desert, she also has a personal mission—to find out why her mother vanished here eight years ago.

Falling in love with diplomat David Markam complicates her search, but her sympathy with a group fighting for social reform makes her the target of someone desperate enough to kill.

“Ethnographer Layne Darius challenges… the repressive Saudi government and the country’s unforgiving cultural restrictions… to discover deeply troubling truths about the disappearance of her mother. A sinuous, compelling novel.”
— Anne Da Vigo, award-winning author of Bakersfield Boys Club

“With great sensitivity and nuance, Reh . . . deftly weaves political turmoil with emotional tumult.”
— Kirkus Reviews

Available from Amazon or from your independent bookstore.

Other books in the David Markam Mystery Series include Meditating Murder and the forthcoming A Killing in Kasauli. Read more about them at www.annsaxtonreh.com

Rabbit Sun, Lotus Moon

Rabbit Sun, Lotus Moon
by Andrea Millenson Penner


Andrea [Andi] Millenson Penner’s second collection of poetry, Rabbit Sun, Lotus Moon (Mercury HeartLink), invites the reader to experience the soulful nourishment of “this one precarious life between earth and sky.”

Poems arrive like handwritten letters—unexpected, delicious—from the territory of the poet’s heart. Much like the desert Southwest of the United States, these poems evoke a stark landscape of longing, the promise of rain after grief, and both the expanse and immediacy of human experience.

With cover art by New Mexico artist Meg Leonard, Rabbit Sun, Lotus Moon was named a finalist for the 2017 New Mexico/Arizona Book Award in poetry.

Andi is currently working on a chap book, a third book of poetry, and a memoir, with recent work published in literary magazines, blogs, and anthologies. You can follow her on In Our Own Ink.

Available from Amazon and Bookshop.org.

Scribbly

Scribbly
A Gentle Writing Program
by Kim Duke

Imagine calling yourself a writer. Now it’s time to make it real. Let Scribbly help you become the writer you’ve always wanted to be…without the pressure.

My name is Kim Duke and I’m a full-time writer, Amazon best-selling author and my work has been featured on NBC News, the Globe and Mail and other international media.

My mission is simple. To get more women writing with intention, fun and freedom!

My gentle writing program is mailed to your home every 30 days. Each Scribbly is loaded with quirky writing tips, prompts and examples. My team and I devote over 100 hours into each issue. Gorgeous illustrations, research, art, science and writing that reach out from the pages to inspire you. I can’t wait for you to see your Scribbly!

Scribbly is a gentle writing program that encourages your creativity and gets you writing in five minutes. If you want to explore creative nonfiction writing (without pressure) – you’ll love Scribbly! The best part? When you’re a Scribbly member, you get a chance to submit your writing for publication in Scribbly.

Hooray for Snail Mail!

More about the Scribbly Program can be found at www.kimdukewrites.com/Scribbly

Ndalla’s World

Ndalla’s World
by Beth Franz

One part love story, one part mystical journey, and one part exploration of what is required of a leader who deeply cares about the well-being of her people.

When Julia travels to Ndalla’s World with a woman she barely knows, she risks much. But what she finds there is more than she imagined. There she discovers the power of true love, learns about the spirit realm that has always surrounded her, and comes to understand the very real sacrifices that a leader is willing to make for the people that she loves.

In Ndalla’s World, Beth Franz has given us the kind of characters we need to help us rediscover the very real possibilities that surround us in these very challenging times.

“Beth Franz has crafted a compelling new world and even though it is certainly a fantasy romance novel, it flirts with some pretty solid literary fiction elements as well.”
— Rated 5 stars by Jamie Michele for Readers’ Favorite
 
“Beth Franz proves without a doubt that Ndalla’s World is worth exploring, leaving fans longing for the sequel implied in the book’s concluding pages.” — Barbara Bamberger Scott for Feathered Quill
 
“Readers anticipating an adventure or a work of fantasy will find that Beth Franz creates so much more in Ndalla’s World. Herein lays the opportunity for revelations of the heart that probe avenues of not just love and adventure, but forgiveness and higher-level spiritual and social thinking. These elements coalesce into a moving story that involves readers on many different levels, creating a speculative work that revolves around political, social, and personal transformation.”
— Diane Donovan at Midwest Book Review

Available from Amazon and Bookshop.org.

One Small Step

One Small Step
Roberta Schultz


 

One Small Step is the latest recording by Roberta Schultz, who describes herself as a moon-influenced 20th Century singer/songwriter treading lightly on a spiritual soundscape of keys and strings.

Cover artwork is by folk artist Jefferson Ross.

Go to her website, https://robertaschultz.com, to download songs, purchase the album
and to see examples of her other work.

The Carousel Carver

The Carousel Carver
by Perdita Buchan

Arriving in Philadelphia from Trieste, Italy in 1912, Giacinto, a young carver of church icons, becomes a carousel carver during the golden age of that craft in America. He works hard to build a life for himself and Anna, the fiancee he left behind. When she writes to say that she is marrying the gypsy violinist who played each day in the plaza of Trieste, he is left with only the magical animals he carves.

In 1939, with war looming, few new carousels are being built. Giacinto moves from Philadelphia to the New Jersey shore to maintain its many carousels. Another letter arrives from Anna: she is sending Rosa, her orphaned granddaughter, to him. Rosa’s gypsy heritage has put her in danger from the Nazi round ups, and her grandmother knows no other way to save her. Eight-year-old Rosa upends Giacinto’s solitary, predictable middle-aged existence. Discovery, adventure and danger are all met: youthful imagination brings carved stallions to life and love blossoms in unexpected places.

“Overall, The Carousel Carver is a beautiful little book about carving a niche for oneself in the world and finding love in unexpected places. Recommended.”
–American Historical Novel Society Review

Available from Amazon.

Joy Falls

Joy Falls
by Barbara Allen
Published by Crooked Hearts Press

 
 
Crooked Hearts Press publishes forgotten, overlooked, and thus disappeared women writers over the age of 55, alongside veteran writers we recognize for their excellence.

In Barbara Allen’s Joy Falls, the most recent Crooked Hearts Press publication, a traumatized family has an elusive desire for normalcy that is found in lyrical moments and humorous problem-solving. The novel is filled with characters who have the stamina for the chaotic present even as their personal histories invade. Joy Falls helps us, not in a self-help way, but in the way fiction helps through storytelling, interesting characters, and laughter. It is about the profoundness of children, the importance of humor, and what happens when we show up for our own lives.

“Barbara Allen’s gorgeous debut novel, Joy Falls, is a true knockout. Allen has created a vibrating—more than vibrant!—world in this comic-tragedy of family madness and love. That she can be so laugh-out-loud funny and heart-breaking and wise all at once never ceases to amaze me. As soon as I finished the book, I had to read it again. I so look forward to more work from her in the future!” — Elizabeth Evans, As Good As Dead

Go to the Crooked Hearts Press website to purchase Joy Falls and other Crooked Hearts books.

Available from Amazon and Bookshop.org.

That Pinson Girl

That Pinson Girl
Gerry Wilson

Set in the harsh landscape of rural north Mississippi during World War I, Gerry Wilson’s debut novel, That Pinson Girl, pits a white teenage mother against betrayal, hatred, and violence. Seventeen-year-old Leona Pinson gives birth to a son and refuses to name the child’s father. Luther Biggs, a biracial sharecropper with deep ties to the Pinson family, is Leona’s only ally against her brother, Raymond, who inhabits a world of nightriders and violence. As the secrets that haunt these characters come to light, Leona must rely on her own courage and cunning to save herself and her little son. In prose that has been called both lyrical and unflinching, this dark historical novel engages timeless issues of racism, sexism, and poverty.

“Devastating and beautifully written, Gerry Wilson’s That Pinson Girl is at once a heart-rending tragedy and a testament to the indomitable human spirit.” — Clifford Garstang, author of The Last Bird of Paradise and Oliver’s Travels

“In Gerry Wilson’s gripping debut novel, 1918 in North Mississippi becomes tangible again; here are the red hills, the suck of winter mud, the scrabble of subsistence living, and the intricately crossed lines of race and kin.” — Katy Simpson Smith, author of The Weeds, The Everlasting, and Free Men

That Pinson Girl is a beautiful novel about the destructive power of dark secrets.” — Tiffany Tyson, author of The Past Is Never and Three Rivers

To learn more about Gerry, visit www.gerrygwilson.com.

That Pinson Girl is available from Regal House Publishing, Bookshop, and Amazon.

The Blossoming of Women

The Blossoming of Women
A Workbook on Growing from Older to Elder
by Karen Roberts with Dana Jaffe

Through her search for newfound purpose in her seventies, author Karen Roberts discovered that voices of encouragement were difficult to find among the popular paradigms of aging: decline, withdrawal, and disengagement, among them.

This workbook presents a remarkable opportunity to unlock a fulfilling and purposeful later life stage.

What’s Included:

  • Thought-provoking discussions on aging, gender, and culture
  • Interviews with eight inspiring women who overcame challenges and pursued their passions later in life
  • Engaging questions to help you reflect and grow on your journey.
  • Unique experiences and wisdom that women bring to the later years

Filled with inspirational and educational opportunities, The Blossoming of Women promotes a different vision of elder years and retirement that translates not to retiring from life but entering another phase of efficiency and meaningful thoughts, actions, and choices. Beautiful nature images throughout support the gentle feel and uplifting spirit of these stories. — D. Donovan, Sr. Reviewer, Midwest Book Review

Karen Marie Roberts received an MS degree in human development after being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1990. Her interests moved from alternative healing to gerontology and stages of aging. In graduate school, this became a concentration in creative longevity and phenomenology. She attended Wellesley College, UC Berkeley, and Fielding Graduate School.

Available from Amazon, Bookshop.org, and other major retailers.

For more information, visit https://www.theblossomingofwomen.com

Dancing Between the Raindrops: A Daughter’s Reflections on Love and Loss

Dancing Between the Raindrops: A Daughter’s Reflections on Love and Loss
by Lisa Braxton

 
Dancing Between the Raindrops: A Daughter’s Reflections on Love and Loss, is a powerful meditation on grief, a deeply personal mosaic of a daughter’s remembrances of beautiful, challenging and heartbreaking moments of life with her family. It speaks to anyone who has lost a loved one and is trying to navigate the world without them while coming to terms with complicated emotions.

Lisa Braxton’s parents died within two years of each other—her mother from ovarian cancer, her father from prostate cancer. While caring for her mother she was stunned to find out that she, herself, had a life-threatening illness—breast cancer.

In this intimate, lyrical memoir-in-essays, Lisa Braxton takes us to the core of her loss and extends a lifeline of comfort to anyone who needs to be reminded that in their grief they are not alone.

Dancing Between the Raindrops is a heartfelt homage to Braxton’s parents in the wake of their passing. She touches the soul of every adult child’s mourning in ways poignant, nostalgic, aching, and funny with a clever patchwork of writing styles. A must read!

— E. Dolores Johnson, author of Say I’m Dead, A Family Memoir of Race, Secrets and Love

Available from Amazon and Bookshop.org.

For more information see https://lisabraxton.com/.

Lying Down with Dogs

Lying Down with Dogs
by Linda Caradine

Lying Down with Dogs is a memoir told in interrelated essays about the years Caradine spent starting and running Other Mothers Animal Rescue. As in any worthwhile endeavor, life has a way of intervening, and she includes some of those non-animal adventures in her tale, as it is all a part of the Other Mothers saga. From rescuing kittens under a house to finding a farm sanctuary that would take in a pig, from birthing puppies to cats in the freezer, she tells the inside – often crazy – story of what is involved in managing such an enterprise.

But Lying Down with Dogs is first and foremost a story of the animals and the impact they have had on the author’s life through its many ups and downs. Sometimes, they’ve provided love, sometimes diversion and, always, they have prepared her for what comes next. Ultimately, her love of animals is the story of her own redemption.

Available from Amazon and Bookshop.org.

In Any Given Room

In Any Given Room
Stories on the Indian Experience
by I. D. Kapur


“Indra Kapur’s writing is illuminating, entertaining, and perceptive, gracing each topic with beauty and wit that leaves you both completely satisfied and wanting more.” Katherine Longshore, author of the Gilt series

“Indra Kapur’s courage in embracing and committing her life to another culture is clear. Her stories delight, break our hearts, and show us an India most of us have never seen before.” Ann Saxton Reh, author of the David Markam mysteries.

“These stories deftly capture the nuances and contradictions of their well-drawn characters, many from India, in a range of intriguing and dramatic situations.” Jack Adler, author of The Tides of Faith and other novels.

Available on Amazon and from you independent book store.

Understanding Moonseed

Understanding Moonseed
by Mary Pacifico Curtis

In Understanding Moonseed, we meet the big city girl with a precocious interest in politics, have brushes with pivotal historic moments in the 60’s and 70’s, and continue her journey with her as she falls in love with a man who becomes famous in the music industry, moves with him to Silicon Valley, where she founds what would become one of the region’s largest independent PR/branding firms. She settles into roles as wife, mother and executive, working 60-hours a week, until cancer takes the man who had become husband, father, and soulmate. The family’s grief and devastation give way to trying to understand how life will continue without this column of the family. The arc of the story bends back to love.

Curtis’ sixth sense for what makes words ring– hollow, hallowed, or haunted–inside the walls of her personal architecture informs the themes of Understanding Moonseed. In this essay collection, “a love supreme” guides Curtis from Chicago’s Gold Coast to Silicon Valley branding executive, through reinvention as a memoirist and poet, to her second marriage with Michael, a union that interweaves the felt presences of their deceased spouses who haunt and steward them from grief’s unknowing to new births and epiphanies. In Understanding Moonseed, Curtis invites us with signature courage to grow rather than to retreat after loss in response to love’s call.
— Lise Goett, author of Leprosarium (Tupelo Press)

Available from Amazon and Bookshop.org.

Night at the Musée d’Orsay: Poems of Paris & Other Great European Cities

Night at the Musée d’Orsay: Poems of Paris & Other Great European Cities
by Judy Wells

Night at the Musée d’Orsay: Poems of Paris & Other Great European Cities is a vibrant memoir of travel poems centering on Judy Wells’ appreciation of well-known European painters, architects, writers, and musicians associated with great European cities. Her poems explore artists in France, Italy, Austria, the Czech Republic, and Spain, from Van Gogh, Chagall, Matisse, and Balzac in Paris, to Velázquez and Goya in Madrid, and Gaudí in Barcelona.

Wells interweaves her own personal life into her poems, which illustrate her creative responses to her travels at different times—from young adult in France to older woman confronting aging in Barcelona. Her poetry encompasses various poetic styles—lyric, narrative, and surprisingly for a book on European travels, haiku.

Night at the Musée d’Orsay
 
If the curators knew
I, a moth, was in the Van Gogh room
they’d be shocked!
But what do they expect—
I love light and I’m particularly
attracted to a painting
of stars—globs of light
reflected in a river.
 
I’ve sat on top of these yellow blobs
and survived though I can feel
the heat of these stars
right through the paint.
Light bulbs are cold by comparison
though I’m not singed by Van Gogh.
I’m transformed and waves of ecstasy
wander through my wings.
 
I rest on Van Gogh’s stars all night.
In the morning I flit to a cottage
and settle on a deep blue iris.
The tourists think I’m part of the painting.
I laugh. I’m just a moth
with grand taste.

Available from Amazon, Bookshop.org, and www.regentpress.net

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.
 

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

Available from Amazon or from your independent bookstore.

Modern Women: 21st Century Dance, A Coloring Book – Dec2023

by Julie Lemberger, edited by Elizabeth Zimmer

Women, the largest and yet most unrecognized population of the dance arts community, are spotlighted in renowned dance photographer Julie Lemberger’s Modern Women: 21st Century Dance, a coloring book, edited by Elizabeth Zimmer.

Lemberger, who has been photographing dance for almost two decades, transformed her photographs into illustrations almost ready to color and then added psychedelic, floral and abstract backgrounds for the figures “to dance in.”

The 92 page volume features today’s leading dance innovators and interpreters, and celebrates their diverse genres and perspectives.

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

Two options available:
Coloring book for $20

Shipping & handling is $5 each for U.S. addresses. Please contact for International shipping costs.

Available at etsy.com/shop/dancecoloringbook or julielemberger.com

A Year Without Men

A Year Without Men
Stories of Experience and Imagination.
by I.D. Kapur

It’s 2054 A.D., and the world needs a rest from men. Women have developed a novel solution, and the men can’t wait to leave. When my taxi driver tells me he has bullet wounds from the Russian police, speaks five languages, and is teaching at Harvard, I start taking notes. After the funeral, a widow loses all her married friends. Then karma sends flowers.

“Indra Kapur writes with clear insight and an acute sense of humor. The stories in A Year Without Men are varied, clever, and often delightfully surprising! Cue me rubbing my hands together with glee.” — Katherine Longshore, author of the Gilt series.

“The stories in A Year Without Men create a powerful sense of place with rich sensory and emotional detail. Characters are appealing in their humor and the compassion they inspire. I want to meet these people and be there with them! Some endings surprise us, and others give us a satisfying sense of the inevitable playing out. The stories have a depth of reality that makes them unforgettable.” — Ann Saxton Reh, author of the David Markam Mysteries

“Mickee Voodoo is a very entertaining parody of a “hardboiled” detective story in the mode of Chandler, Hammett, and, more recently, Robert B. Parker…witty banter ensues with the detective cracking wise in a colorful idiom both in dialogue and narrative…delights in wordplay…very clever, and is quite funny…Kapur is a talented and skillful fiction writer.” — John DeChancie, author of The Skyway Trilogy and The Castle Perilous series.

Available from Amazon or on order from your independent bookstore.

The Secrets of Still Waters Chasm

The Secrets of Still Waters Chasm
by Patricia Crisafulli

The Secrets of Still Waters Chasm by award-winning, bestselling author Patricia Crisafulli is the eagerly awaited second book in the Ohnita Harbor Mystery Series from Woodhall Press.

A hike through pristine wilderness suddenly enters much darker territory…

The Secrets of Still Waters Chasm opens with the discovery of two people on the beach of a secluded lake—one dead, one dying. Gabriela Domenici runs back up the trail for help and returns to find the bodies are gone. Soon, from suspected poisoning deaths to a nefarious development that threatens to destroy the chasm, Gabriela is caught in a web of danger.

If Crisafulli keeps setting her mystery thrillers in Ohnita Harbor (and I hope she will), that fictional little Upstate New York town will not only have as many bodies to bury as Midsomer County, but will be as famous as Louise Penny’s Three Pines or even Agatha Christie’s St. Mary Mead – and justifiably so. – Jean Zorn, Publisher, Persimmon Tree

Available from Amazon, Bookshop.org, Barnes & Noble or your favorite independent bookstore.

When Life Speaks Listen

When Life Speaks Listen
by Linda Piotrowski

 
 
Our lives are filled with moments so fleeting that it can be easy to miss the great impact they may have on us. That is, unless we learn to listen when life speaks, even if only in a whisper.

Author Linda F. Piotrowski is a master of listening and learning from all life has to offer. She is a retired board certified chaplain with a master’s degree in theological studies as well as advanced study in palliative care and being with the dying. She ministered as a chaplain for over 40 years. In her retirement she serves as a Stephen Minister.

Always an avid reader she loves reflecting on the rich gifts of ordinary life. She lives in Green Valley, Arizona with her Maine Coon cat, O’Malley. This is her first book. Through reflections,  beautiful photographs, questions for reflection, and suggestions for journaling Linda unpacks many of life’s lessons, as learned through events from childhood through the adult years, and shows you how to do the same.

You will start with learning to honor your origins, teasing out the minute day-to-day moments as well as major events that have shaped you.From there you will explore what makes you all you are today—your little rituals, what feeds your soul, what makes you ache, and who or what guides you. Finally, you will explore what will move you forward and ready you for what lies ahead in your life. Learn to embrace what serves you, and release the rest.

As Piotrowski says, this book will guide you to, “Find your way to the ‘holy and hidden’ heart of your life.”

Available from Amazon.

Leaving Tristan de Cunha

Leaving Tristan de Cunha
by Margaret Joan Swanson

 
 
Tristan da Cunha in the South Atlantic Ocean is the most remote inhabited island in the world.

Henry, Lizzy, and Starchy are among the many children of Tristan da Cunha who lose their fathers to the sea in 1885. Their friendship endures over eighty years on an island that is both an egalitarian utopia and an unrelenting challenge to its people.

Based on the history of the island – documented by missionaries, whalers, explorers, shipwrecked travelers, and the islanders themselves – Leaving Tristan da Cunha follows the trio’s fortunes as ships come and go, providing their only connection to the “h’outside warld.”

When the 1961 eruption of Tristan’s volcano forces the evacuation of the islanders to England, they are determined to return as soon as the ashes cool. But the Colonial Office stands in the way.

This is the story of the love the people of Tristan have for their “hi-land” and of their determination to live out their lives there – on the narrow green apron of the volcano – in spite of being relentlessly urged by authorities to abandon Tristan to its rightful inhabitants: “the wild birds of the ocean.”

Margaret is a retired community planner. Her story Two Goddesses and a Child: An imagined incident on ancient Crete appeared in the Fall 2023 of Persimmon Tree.

Available from Amazon.

The Zen of Art

The Zen of Art
by Carolyn Schlam

 
Carolyn Schlam invites artists and non-artists alike to engage their imaginations and explore a pathway to affirmative living and joyously creative art making. This is a book that can be read and reread and would make a wonderful gift for a contemplative person or for anyone who enjoys making or appreciating art.

Carolyn is the author of THE CREATIVE PATH: A VIEW FROM THE STUDIO, ON THE MAKING OF ART and THE JOY OF ART: HOW TO LOOK AT, APPRECIATE, AND TALK ABOUT ART, and the forthcoming sequel MORE JOY OF ART. She is a working painter and sculptor. Learn more about her at http://www.carolynschlam.com.

A captivating exploration of the intersection between creativity and self-discovery. Each chapter delves into different facets of life and art, offering profound insights into acceptance, non-attachment, imperfection, and gratitude . . . Whether you’re an artist or someone seeking inspiration and wisdom, The Zen of Art is a treasure trove that resonates with the soul, fostering a newfound appreciation for the art of living.
— Mark Reid, host of the podcast Zen Sammich
Available from https://www.shantiarts.co/, Amazon, Bookshop.org, and other major booksellers.

Writing the Past Workshops

Writing the Past Workshops
Everyone Has a Story to Tell

Using the Amherst Writers & Artists method of timed prompts and strengths-based feedback, give yourself the space to mine your memories in one or more workshops:
 
Write in Your Own Backyard
What’s in your own backyard–your hometown, the town where you once lived or now live, or a place you’ve visited and know well–that you can bring into your writing? Draw on the sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and touches of those settings to construct a world that transports both you and your readers. All genres welcome.
We’ll be using Linda Lappin’s The Soul of Place for inspiration and prompts.
$160 for four weeks, starting Tuesday, July 9, 7-9 pm ET via Zoom
 
Artist’s Palette, Writer’s Pen | Ekphrastic Writing
Unleash your creativity by gaining inspiration from visual art. We’ll use a variety of artwork from French impressionists, Flemish and Dutch masters, American painters, and sculptors from all over the globe to write in whatever genre calls to you. No experience necessary.
$160 for four weeks, starting Monday, July 8, 7-9 pm ET via Zoom
 
AWA-certified facilitator Barbara Krasner holds an MFA from the Vermont College of Fine Arts and is a former literary agent. Her poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction have appeared in numerous journals, including Cimarron Review, Nimrod, Michigan Quarterly Review, Folio Literary Journal, and Consequence.
 

Learn more and register at: https://www.barbarakrasner.com/writing-the-past/

Journey to Everland Bay

Journey to Everland Bay
by Lynne Shaner

 
 
Jemma Avalon is an unconventional mage-in-training, longing to return to Everland Bay, her ancestral homeland, and find a way to join the renowned magical research institute there, like the women in her family before her.

Daughter of a gentle part elf-fae mother and a father with fiery dragon blood, an unusual combination even in the magical world, ten years after her mother’s sudden death, she is working at a major museum in DC, where magic is all but outlawed. Her father wants her to assimilate and live without magic, but Jemma is determined to fully embrace her heritage.

When an ordinary day at the museum takes an extraordinary turn, Jemma is rocketed to an Everland Bay Institute under violent siege, where dark-arts mages threaten everything important to her. She joins forces with her companions, working feverishly to save Everland Bay from crumbling under enemy attack. In so doing, she finds a path to her own strength and mastery, and her heart’s true home

A Heroine’s Journey tale for our times.

“A beautifully engaging fantasy teeming with dragons, fae, magic, and the importance of family and friendship. A joy to read from beginning to end.”
— Julie Boglisch, The Elifer Chronicles

Available from Amazon and Bookshop.org.