2016 Foreword Reviews INDIES Book of the Year Awards Winner (True Crime) and winner of two 2017 IPPY Awards! This compelling investigation of the gripping true crimes behind American ballads dispels myths and legends and brings to life a cast of characters—both loathsome and innocent—shadowy history, courtroom dramas, murders, mayhem and music.
2018 Independent Publisher Book Award Silver Medal (True Crime) 2017 Foreword Reviews INDIES Book of the Year Awards Finalist (True Crime) A fascinating history of crime and punishment, Gaslight Lawyers paints a serious and entertaining portrait of colorful characters, courtroom drama, and the emerging importance of forensic science and medical-legal jurisprudence.
Springtime for Sophie: Murder and Madness in a Connecticut Mill Town True Crime Author: Richard H. Underwood Publication Date: 2022 More information coming soon!
"Powerful…her poems give voice to emotions most of us hold but cannot express."—Sandra P. Aldrich "A psalm of hope that teaches us to hold hands across the centuries and embolden each other to sing out, to never again be stopped, so that our daughters and granddaughters will always know how loved and how lovely they are." —Rebecca Gayle Howell. No Shroud of Silence, a collection of literary poems and stories that span decades of life in Appalachia (southeast Kentucky), speaks of family, place, loss, grief, domestic violence, prejudice, perseverance, resilience, spirituality, humor, and hope. In the title poem a woman declares her independence and refuses to bend to the wishes of others. I am a force as real as your financial security/and so-called clout./I will not keep mum about injustice,/prejudice, political bigotry, racism, sexism,/or be quiet about the fact that/IN GOD I TRUST. "There is much healing going on here for reader and writer in poems and stories that study old wounds, / then bandage them with those healing words./ Read this book..."—Rob Merritt Reading Group Guide for No Shroud of Silence
INCLUDES COMPLETE SPANISH TRANSLATION"Embrace[s] immigrants, broken people, and people otherwise disillusioned and dispossessed ... at once intimate, poignant, and raw." Foreword Clarion Reviews (4-star review) Cradled by Skeletons: A Life in Poems and Essays (Mecida por Esqueletos: una vida poemas y ensayos) is a raw expression of identity and place. This memoir relates Marta Miranda-Straub’s experience of trauma, resilience, and transformation. The book also portrays how her life’s work as a social worker, educator, leader, activist, advocate, and community organizer has been fueled by discernment, resistance, and transformation of individual, institutional, and societal systems of power. Miranda-Straub has a keen sense of awareness and she questions injustices with intention, compassion, humility, and humor. There is a shared connection with both the victim and the perpetrator in her writings that exalts the grit and grace of humanity. When asked what makes Cradled by Skeletons unique, Marta replied: “I believe the uniqueness is the personal narrative, it is my life. ‘Everyone else’s is already taken,’ Oscar Wilde." Cradled by Skeletons may be similar to other books in this genre; however, every fiber of my thumb print is exposed and every skeleton that has cradled me has been surfaced and adorned with the beading it deserves. It is una Fiesta de los Muertos, a feast of the dead for those of us living due to their generosity of spirit.”
“These poems are at once cerebral, naturalistic, and elegiac. Blessedly free of any dogma, they are a most welcome and refreshing read.” —Chris Holbrook “James Riley has produced an elegiac collection that also celebrates the mystery of existence, reminding us, like the poet H. D., that the mysteries remain.”—Rhonda Pettit “There is a grave tenderness in these poems…a mixture of love and pain and grief and hilarity.”—Mary Ann Taylor-Hall “If as readers we are willing to consider Einstein’s posit that the separation between past, present, and future is only an illusion, although a convincing one, then Broken Frequencies offers proof of this connection and more.” —Audrey Naffziger Broken Frequencies confronts the disconnect between the present and the past in our personal lives. Each poem is a search for meaning in an otherwise random sequence of events which lean always toward the relationships which lend significance to our lives, the connections between those we love and those we have lost, and the many possible futures each moment implies. From “The Heart’s Sad Music,” there is no escaping the realization that We are surrounded by the ghosts of those we love.
Us, in Pieces is a daring and wildly imaginative novel, a coming-of-age story that is both timely and timeless. —Hannah Pittard, author of Visible Empire and Listen to Me Us, in Pieces is a fresh and witty love story that follows two old friends into the unforgiving and wild terrain of the heart. In college, Lilly Jameson and Adin Driscoll were as close as friends could get, until Lilly leaves unexpectedly and without explanation at the end of their sophomore year. Nearly ten years pass without contact until a sudden invitation from her parents brings them back into each other’s lives. Old, unspoken feelings resurface, and they take a gamble on their limited time together: they will be a couple for forty-eight-hours, and then go back to their own separate lives—no strings attached. But when Adin returns to his life in Columbus, Ohio, and Lilly to Denver, Colorado, they find themselves unable to move on. They soon discover that who the other person was and who they’ve each become is as unclear as the sort of life they could build together. Are they really the ones they’ve been waiting for all their lives? Will they each risk the wildly different lives they’ve begun creating for themselves? Can they bridge a lost decade to rekindle a life-long love and share a future they’ve only dreamed of? Told in sparkling prose in the alternating voices of Adin and Lilly, this beautifully crafted, tightly woven, debut novel is an exhilarating roller-coaster ride. Us, in Pieces is an enduring love story across generations. Listen to Tasha Cotter discuss Us, in Pieces with Brian Frye during an interview originally broadcast on 88.1 fm WRFL Lexington, Kentucky, on July 30, 2019. Also, available as an Apple Podcast and on Spotify.
A 2019 Foreword Indies Book of the Year Winner, Bronze, Religious (Adult Fiction) A 2019 Foreword Indies Book of the Year Finalist (Fiction: General Adult and Religious) Finalist in the Fiction: Religious category of the 2020 International Book Awards Grayson Armstrong’s vision for a dying church has everyone in small-town Mercy, Kentucky, talking. The truth is everyone has been talking about Grayson ever since this dark-haired twenty-eight-year-old preacher with shoulder-length hair and an ill-fitting suit drove into town twelve years before in his silver convertible with his pretty wife and two rambunctious boys. It’s his untimely death, though, that has everyone trying to understand who they thought he was. This vivid, poignant, and heart-breaking story is told by multiple characters whose paths intersect with Grayson: a homeless Vietnam veteran haunted by demons of war; the local diner’s young waitress grappling with her family’s dark history; aggrieved and supportive congregants and townspeople confronting change and the power of love and hate; and Grayson’s wife and his coming-of-age gay son, struggling to understand their own feelings about Grayson. During a time when communities and countries are split apart, Robinson’s calming prose and timely story encourages us to put aside our fears, hate, and biases and to open our hearts and challenge our perceptions. Blessed is ultimately a story of hope and of the power of forgiveness.Editor in Chief Matt Sutherland: "By way of introduction to her latest novel, be aware that as vice provost at Eastern Kentucky University as well as a food pantry volunteer in Richmond, Kentucky, Sherry is perfectly positioned to observe the human condition in all its shades. In Blessed, she tells the story of a young, charismatic preacher brought in to revive a struggling church, with tragic results. Susan Waggoner recently reviewed Blessed and called the novel “an appealing, thought-provoking work of contemporary Christian fiction.” Finally, it shouldn’t surprise you to know that Sherry’s father served as a lay preacher when she was young—further establishing her life-experience bonafides."For more insights on Blessed and Sherry's writing, read the full interview.Reading Group Guide
NEW RELEASE!Nine hundred twenty-five Appalachian women have graduated from the life-changing New Opportunity School for Women programs located in Kentucky, North Carolina, and Virginia/West Virginia. In I Am Not a Nobody eleven of these courageous women share their life stories—difficult and painful stories of abuse, poverty, limited education, drugs, and early marriages. They also share their life-changing journeys with the New Opportunity School for Women where they became empowered to believe in themselves and their values and abilities and gained the courage to succeed—for themselves and their families.
Publication Date: July 14, 2020 Limited Number of Hardcover in StockFirst Prize Winner of the North American Academy of Spanish Language Children and Young Adult Award Premio Campoy-Ada for 2020 in the Category Picture Book of Special Cultural Content Bilingual Edition (English and Spanish) "Haunting, beautiful watercolors and pen and ink drawings highlight the proud traditions of the Central American Nahuas. This emotional narrative beseeches everyone, everywhere, to understand why some things are worth dying for." –Foreword Reviews Precious things are worth a thousand-mile walk, mija… Las cosas preciousas valen una caminata de mil millas, mija… "Spoken by a mother to her small daughter as they are detained at a border wall, Under the Ocelot Sun is a powerful account of refugees’ plight. The mother speaks of the beauty of their Honduran homeland and of her abuela’s wisdom. She also touches on the violent forces they are fleeing. She wants her little one to know her heritage and why they have taken this perilous journey. Lyrically told (in English and Spanish) and vibrantly illustrated, this is a picture book for our time." George Ella Lyon Kentucky Poet Laureate 2015–2016 A portion of the net proceeds from the sale of Under the Ocelot Sun will go to support the work of El Futuro of North Carolina, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit outpatient clinic that provides comprehensive mental health services for Latino families in a bilingual environment of healing and hope. Interviews and Blog Posts Foreword Reviews Fanfare Interview “Under the Ocelot Sun: The Making of an illustrated Book”
Meet the Author: Jeremy Paden and Illustrator Annelisa Hermosilla | Durham County Library, North Carolina: a reading and presentation by award-winning author of "Under The Ocelot Sun/Bajo el sol del Ocelote" Jeremy Paden and illustrator Annelisa Hermosilla.
New Release! Silver Medal Winner in the 33rd annual IBPA Benjamin Franklin Award™ program in the following category: Best New Voice: Children's/Young Adult "A rich coming-of-age tale that sheds light on an uncommon Civil War perspective." —Kirkus Reviews "Author Lindsay has thoroughly researched Mennonite history during the Civil War and provides a fascinating and insightful look into how these pacifists risked everything to preserve their beliefs. This novel for young readers is highly recommended." —John Kachuba, Historical Novel Society Fourteen-year-old Manny Weaver, a Mennonite boy living near Harrisonburg, Virginia, in 1861, has a habit of biting off more than he can chew. The Weavers are Unionists and pacifists who do not wish to secede from the Union nor to participate in the fighting. In the past, Manny’s father and uncle have avoided militia service by paying a small fine, but when Virginia secedes from the Union, the payment is no longer accepted. Manny loves his family and would do anything to protect Father and Uncle Davy from being forced to join the Confederate army. That’s when his trouble begins!With his world crumbling into chaos, Manny is forced to deal with issues of honesty, justice, loyalty, and judgment. He must find answers to serious questions. Is it really better to "turn the other cheek," as his Mennonite faith tells him? What actions lead to peace? How does a boy grow into a man?"Manny and his family, their Mennonite community, and how their values shaped their response to the Civil War in Virginia made for a compelling story. Fourteen-year-old Manny had three men for role models—his father, his uncle and his grandfather. While his grandfather was old enough to escape fighting, his father and uncle were tracked down and forced to fight. Historical fiction is the way to make history come alive—The Peacemakers takes us back to Harrisonburg, Virginia, during President Lincoln’s presidency and the recruitment of soldiers in the south to fight for the confederacy. Slavery, religious beliefs, voting rights and gender roles are among the issues that make this story ripe for young readers and a school classroom studying the evolution of America.” CARRIE COOPER, Dean of University Libraries, William & Mary "[The Peacemakers] reads quickly, drawing the reader into the thickets of dilemmas that Mennonites faced during the worst days of the American Civil War in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. Manny Weaver, fourteen, had to watch when both his uncle and father were taken away into the desperate Confederate war efforts. During the war in the Shenandoah Valley, for the peace-minded Mennonites, there were no easy answers of how to respond. They faced excruciating dilemmas of faith and conscience. Manny grew up quickly, growing into a young man in the vortex of war. … The Peacemakers is a book that youth will want to read, to learn from, and to enter into the story of faith and war-time challenges of a terrible war that ripped the country apart in the mid-19th century. I recommend this book for students and adults alike. It's great reading!” ELWOOD E. YODER, History & Bible Teacher at Eastern Mennonite High School, Harrisonburg, Virginia, and Editor, Shenandoah Mennonite Historian
A 2021 Foreword INDIES Book of the Year Award Gold Winner, Adult Fiction Humor
A playful satire of the Great Recession, set in America’s quirkiest town."The novel, like the house, is a claustrophobic den of big personalities, absurd activities, and unlikely objects, all sharply rendered in Davis’ wry prose. …The tale unfolds at an easygoing pace, more interested in developing the characters and their relationships than launching into any complex plot. It’s a story about a certain place at a certain time—an Asheville caught between its past and future—and it’s a fine spot to visit for a while." Kirkus Reviews During the recession, to keep from losing his home—the stately “Carolina Court,” in Asheville, North Carolina—Frank Reed becomes a reluctant landlord to a houseful of misfits. A New Age outpost in the South, Asheville has plenty of eccentrics, and Frank’s elderly tenant, Angus Saxe-Pardee, is the strangest of all. Taking charge of the household, Angus rents the last remaining rooms to two women: Andromeda Megan Bell’s arrival prompts chivalry and brings a stalking ex-lover to Frank’s home; and in Lida Barfield, the elegant enigma, Angus at last meets his match. In the feuding and chaos that follow, feral chihuahuas are captured, poetry is butchered, and love and gardening finally triumph. For anyone grieving what we lose to gentrification, A History of Saints is a comedy of errors to revive memories of when our lives felt harder—yet were somehow richer.
with Foreword by Deni Naffziger
Now Available New Release
“In this collection, Marianne Peel takes a reader on a journey of the heart—from Greece and Turkey to Nepal and China, from Ukraine to the US. With passion, curiosity, and a keen eye for detail, Peel introduces readers to places and lives that seem, on the surface, to be far removed from her own. These are people—loving, shattered, joy-filled, and oh so human—with whom Peel shares the intimacy of story, music, and dance. No Distance Between Us is indeed the message, not just for Peel in her travels, but for all of us who are transported with the poet.”—Laura Apol, author of A Fine Yellow Dust
“Peel’s poems… reflect an astonishing awareness of detail, encompassing empathy and transformation. A haunting poetic accomplishment.”—Jan Freeman, author of Blue Structure and Simon Says
“Peel’s…lyrical tenderness and compassion for humanity reveal a keen eye and an abundance of the heart. Each poem tells a story, and each story tells a truth. Stunning.”—Julie Maloney, founder and director of Women Reading Aloud
“Peel’s pen brings us into a community of wise women and caring men scattered across the globe, in out of the way places. No Distance Between Us is a rich estuary, a houseboat of stories full of heart.”—Jeremy Paden,
“From the beautiful to the unimaginable, compassion radiates from ‘the underbelly of each word’ of No Distance Between Us. [Peel’s] exquisite storytelling voice brings to life vivid characters with their human joys and heartbreaking struggles. … The poetry…opens our hearts ‘to let in the light.’ To hold each other’s hands, and sing.”—Katerina Stoykova, author of Second Skin
Cover art, "Yearning to Roam," by Jana Kappeler; Cover photograph, "Starry Sky," by Wil Stewart; Frontispiece art by Alicia Kon; Interior illustrations by Annelisa Hermosilla
In Leira Clara’s Flowers one little girl, Leira Clara, learns from her grandmother to love gardening and to share the happiness of gardening with others. Grandmother teaches Leira Clara that growing isn’t enough. “Flowers are to share,” Grandmother tells her. Leira Clara takes her advice to heart. When she returns to her flowerless yard at home, Leira Clara discovers that her parents do not garden because they believe they are too busy to grow and care for a garden. Leira Clara decides to take it upon herself to grow her own flowers and to share them with her neighbors and friends.
One of her neighbors, Mr. Thorney, presents a challenge to her plan. Mr. Thorney lives alone and seems to fiercely dislike children. From his window he often yells at the neighborhood children and their dogs. Only grass and bushes grow behind his picket fence—no flowers. Undaunted, Leira Clara is determined to share her joy with Mr. Thorney. The book demonstrates the ability of a child to understand that loneliness can lead to unhappiness and grumpiness and that gardening and flower-sharing have the power to heal and to open one’s heart to kindness, sharing, and happiness.
Leira Clara’s Flowers is a lyrical narrative based on positive psychology and choice theory, essentially about making choices that cultivate kindness. Passing down a love of nature from generation to generation also embeds the idea that multi-age levels work well together. Those familiar with the well-loved classic Miss Rumphius will love the similarities. The book combines social-emotional learning skills with a love of nature. In today’s environmentally challenged and increasingly busy world, fewer and fewer children are spending time outdoors.
Leira Clara’s Flowers is delightfully illustrated in vibrant watercolors.
with foreword by Rebecca Gayle Howell
“The Tillable Land is a heart-racing, heart-breaking lyric, a liberating coming of age for our stunted relationship to all that feeds us. I am changed by this book.”—Rebecca Gayle Howell, Author of American Purgatory and Render/An Apocalypse and Poetry Editor, Oxford American
“Melva Sue Priddy’s The Tillable Land is a double helix of a book. One strand is a story about a family’s life—dairy farming and growing tobacco, and also food for the table—beginning with an initial purchase of an unforgiving seventy-acre plot of land that had been deemed untillable. The other strand concerns the oldest daughter who, from a very young age, bears onerous responsibilities both inside and outside a house ruled by a father who believes that children—and women—should be seen and not heard. Because she ‘could not be silent’ as she matures, her life is marked by the ‘tingling numbness’ of this past. Water runs through this book: falling, flowing, and pooling, it turns manure and silt into slurry, washes off topsoil, threatens to burst pipes and hoses in freezing temperatures, opens sinkholes, and thins menstrual blood. Perhaps this is what throws into relief ‘In the Adjoining Field,’ a poem about fire: ‘You have to burn off all the grease, / girl,’ says a grandmother lighting a skillet hung with ‘barbwire’ on a maple; ‘It’s how you get it clean.’ It’s another metaphor for a book probing one woman’s legacy of land and family, as she moves from her child-self onward to being a grandmother herself. Robert Frost’s ‘The land was ours before we were the land’s’ is a line that maps the trajectory of Melva Sue Priddy’s teeming book. The Tillable Land, often not pretty, formally enacts a winding, unwinding, rewinding journey that leads one woman, buttressed by smarts and beauty, to salvage from memory a place written into her DNA.”—Debra Kang Dean, author of Totem: America
“‘The farm raged with run-down fences,’ Melva Sue Priddy tells us early on in The Tillable Land, and ‘the family had no such boundaries.’ The poet sets those boundaries now, by chronicling a childhood where her father required his small children to do work they had neither the size nor strength to perform. Fear adrenalized her, and at age five, she could drive a diesel tractor by standing on the pedals. She lived on ‘land that god clothed / with rocks’ where ‘[s]ome of those rocks [were her] bones.’ Priddy makes brilliant use of the repetitive, braiding form of the villanelle to convey the relentless cycles of farm work. But somehow, amid this punishing labor, ‘another god spoke with [her]…and words warm songed through [her] veins.’ She never let go of that singing, and now she offers it to us. The next-to-last poem in this stunning collection finds Priddy at the Garden Center where she tells us, ‘Today I get what I want.’ Hallelujah!”—George Ella Lyon, Kentucky Poet Laureate, 2015–2016, author of Back to the Light
Cover art: Julien Dupré
In the Pasture (The Milk Maid) (detail), 1883, Oil on canvas
Collection of the University of Kentucky Art Museum, gift of Mr. and Mrs. Henry H. Knight, 1958; transferred from the Carnahan Conference Center.Enjoy a preview of "What Chose To Be Remembered," one of the poems included in The Tillable Land by Melva Sue Priddy. What Chose To Be Remembered Scored by water frozen in our ponytails from morning wake-up call, scored by the broad hipped holstein walking within hand’s reach, her soiled rump following the soiled rump before her, scored by the wolf moon’s hunger and charm— her predatory eye fixed on us— scored by the unsteady ground, jarring, slowing our steps, bone-cold and familiar, each morning we coaxed the herd. But, too, each cow’s billowing breath, the silver-shimmered pond’s edge, the snowflakes’ images repeated just above the freezing water, and we were scored, too, by life’s tingling numbness.
Copyright © 2022 Melva Sue Priddy
New Release!Selected by Kirkus Reviews for Best Indies Books of August 2022 Booklist "An impressive and thoughtful exploration of the mistakes good people make." Kirkus Reviews (starred review) Sherry Robinson, award-winning author of Blessed, returns with a daring novel about social taboos, secrets, grief, and self-discovery. Shadows Hold Their Breath takes place with the backdrop of the 1970s feminist movement and in the final years of the Vietnam War. It tells the story of Kat Hunter, a woman who decides that the only way she can understand her unresolved grief and discover who she is meant to be is to do the unthinkable—the unforgivable. In October 1979, six years after suffering the loss of Beth, her dear friend and sister-in-law, to enemy mortar fire near the village of Quảng Ngãi, Vietnam, Kat begins to question everything about her traditional life. In the middle of the night, she slips away from her home in Lexington, Kentucky, her husband, and her three young daughters and boards a Greyhound bus with no specific destination in mind. On the bus, she meets Molly, a young woman who reminds her of Beth. With nowhere else to go, Kat follows Molly and Molly’s boyfriend, Jake, to Gatlinburg, Tennessee. Once there, Kat joins the artists community and guards the secret that she is married and has abandoned her children to the care of her husband. Kat’s journey of self-discovery ultimately leads her down an unexpected path—but what is she willing to sacrifice for that journey? Cover art: Annelisa Hermosilla
“A durable love that celebrates resilience fuels Small Acreages, in essays that range from satire to self-reflection, humor to history. Stamper’s clear, graceful style and passion for place bring Wendell Berry's work to mind. But Stamper fills a space that Berry cannot: she writes a woman’s experience of family, community and landscape, as housewife, historian, teacher, daughter, thinker, and mother. The essays in Small Acreages shed light on who we are—all of us—and how we might proceed from here—Leatha Kendrick, author of And Luckier.
Small Acreages completes a trilogy of connected essays told in Georgia Green Stamper’s unique Kentucky voice. In Small Acreages, readers are returned to Stamper’s Eagle Creek world and its colorful characters, but her voice has both deepened with time and widened to include her journey beyond Natlee. Many of the essays in this new collection are reflective or as Stamper phrases it, she hopes “to add a handful of words to the ongoing conversation about what it means to be human.” Her wry humor endures, however, popping into even the most poignant of pieces, grounding her, cutting through the absurd as her daddy taught her to do, reminding her as her mother did that “you might as well laugh.”
Small Acreages introduces new essays to her readers and collects some of Stamper’s most requested and popular essays from her earlier books. Returning readers will not be disappointed as they reconnect with Stamper’s unique world. New readers will delight in discovering this authentic Kentucky voice. Both will find her voice true as she weaves effortlessly between the lyrical to the vernacular, from sublime topics to the mundane. With wisdom and humor and compassion, Stamper reminds all readers that if we strive to unite with the universe, we must pay attention to the “small acreages that have been entrusted to us” for safekeeping.
Cover art: Jana Kappeler