OUR CURRENTLY FEATURED BOOKS, “SOMEONE NOT REALLY HER MOTHER,” BY HARRIET CHESSMAN, “COLORADO MANDALA,” BY BRIAN HEFFRON AND “FAIRY AND BLOOD: LILAC,” BY WILLIAM CRISEL, CAN BE FOUND BY SCROLLING DOWN BELOW THIS POST.
A CHRISTMAS LIST, CHECKED TWICE
This is not, and never will be, a bargain book site.
Not that there’s anything wrong with that – this is, after all, America – but we prefer to let the books we feature speak for themselves, quietly and persuasively. We won’t shout at you about incredible deals and offers you can’t refuse. Ever.
You can get that from Amazon, and other places.
Having said all that, though, it is now the Christmas season — and, I understand, Cyber Monday. Moreover, by virtue of your status as a Snowflakes in a Blizzard blog follower, or the fact that you’re even looking at this post out of curiosity, it’s safe to assume that you a) like to read books and b) have at least some interest in what we’re trying to do here. Plus, of course, books make long-lasting, low-cost Christmas gifts.
Therefore, down below the information about this week’s featured authors (whom we never want to upstage), you will find a list of books, grouped loosely by genre. Besides author and title, you will find a suggested price, established by the author, and a short description of the book. You will also find the author’s e-mail, so you can deal directly with him or her.
We have a wide (and I do mean wide) selection of both fiction and non-fiction, and the price will include having a personalized signed copy mailed to you. The signing, along with the direct connection, makes it special.
So here’s how it works. Go to snowflakesarise.wordpress.com. If any of the teasers we present interests you, summon up the Author page (listed to the left on the opening post) and click on the appropriate name. You will then see the Snowflakes post that describes each book in detail.
This post will remain on our site throughout Christmas – and, indeed, far beyond that, although you’ll need to scroll down to find it. If you have any questions about or problems with the process, you can e-mail Darrell Laurant at email@example.com.
THIS WEEK ON SNOWFLAKES IN A BLIZZARD
Robin’s Blue, Pam Alster’s debut novel, is an epic coming-of-age story set against the disco 70’s through the Reagan-era 80’s, when divorce was the norm and casual sex and recreational drugs were ubiquitous. Robin Daniels, a runaway from a violent and emotionally desolate upper middle-class home, repeatedly navigates her world without guidance. After a failed marriage, she discounts love as an option and moves through a series of jobs and men. A futile attempt to live as a kept woman compels her to become a high-class call girl. She searches unsuccessfully through the resulting transient experiences and escalating drug use for the one lesson that will resolve her omnipresent question of purpose. Before AIDS and addiction became household words, Robin’s Blue speaks to a generation that basically raised itself. Robin’s journey takes her from suburban Philadelphia to Miami to the South of France and ultimately to New York City where she is obliged to make peace with the girl inside she left dormant at sixteen.
Robin’s Blue was a finalist in the 2014 Indie Excellence Awards.
“PAISLEY MEMORIES,” BY ZELLE ANDREWS.
At seventeen, Tess Cooper was a high school drop-out, an orphan, and a single mom to a baby girl with Down syndrome. The next two years didn’t turn out like she thought it would. After her dad’s death, she flees Brooksville, Alabama, in his beloved 1957 Thunderbird before the red clay on his grave can settle. A year of traveling from place to place brings Tess and Paisley to the deep-fried, southern town of Panacea, Florida, where her money runs out. A stranger, named Butterball, takes them in and gives Tess a job taking pictures at Wakulla Springs State Park and the annual Sopchoppy Worm Grunting Festival. Afraid to trust these people, Tess plans to leave, but the T-Bird is stolen and she is forced to stay. Paisley is thriving on all the attention. Tess weighs her options. Can she give her baby what she needs? Should she put down roots in this place where she has found friends? Or should she give Paisley up for adoption and head out on a life of her own?
“WALKING ACROSS EGGSHELLS,” BY LUCINDA E. CLARKE
An intriguing memoir gleaned from a rich and tumultuous life. Writes Lucinda: “I’ve had a roller coaster life. Lived in eight different countries, had too many jobs to remember, was headhunted and fired, lived in a mansion and on a boat. I’ve had a million and been below the poverty line. The highlights include meeting Prince Charles, heads of state and Nelson Mandela, the low points, crawling over rubbish dumps and cleaning other people’s toilets. If I went to the big study in the sky tomorrow, I would have no regrets. My biggest fear is that I won’t live long enough to write all the stories which are still jumping around in my head. My other worry is whether they will put up a shelf in my room in the old age home so as I lie helplessly in bed I can gaze at them, and read them to remember who I was and what I’ve done.”
OUR CHRISTMAS LIST (NOTE: ALL THE PRICES INCLUDE SIGNING AND POSTAGE).
Donald Ford, “Floyd the Dog.” $10. Children’s tales that focus on animals the world over. The purpose of the writing was to create awareness for endangered animals all over the globe. firstname.lastname@example.org.
Peggy Frezon, “Faithfully Yours.” $18.99. Heartwarming true stories about amazing animals and the people who love them, with chapters on devotion, acceptance, compassion, guidance, and more.
Joe Broadmeadow. “Collision Course.” $12. Ambition, murder, politics — elements in the tragic collision of two lives. In this novel by a real-life cop, Anthony “JoJo” Machado, decorated marine combat veteran, and Detective Sergeant Josh Williams, East Providence Police Department become inextricably linked by circumstances beyond their control. email@example.com.
Diane Fanning, “Scandal in the Secret City.” $20 for trade paperback, $30 for hard cover. Libby Clark, a gutsy Bryn Mawr graduate, is determined to find her place as a scientist in the male bastion of Oak Ridge, TN, known as “The Secret City.” What she didn’t count on, however, is being confronted with a murder.
Scott Archer Jones. “The Big Wheel.” $15. Robko Zlata is sprinting across America on a hot red motorycle, on the run with his ex-wife, now a call girl. Robko is a thief, and he has stolen the wrong thing, a device that can guarantee firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Insights From Inside,” by Tom Gerdy. $10. This book is aimed at a specific audience — young people who may be on the verge on finding themselves swept up into the criminal justice system. Toward that end, it features stories of life experiences from current prisoners who tell them why that’s a very bad idea. email@example.com.
Matt Dojny. “The Festival of Earthly Delights.” $10. The Festival of Taang Lôke Kwaam Banterng Sumitchanani is a 24-hour water balloon blitzkrieg, a ruthless talent competition, and an earth-scorching, take-no-prisoners bacchanalia. It’s the one day of the year when everyone has a shot at finding true love — even a rapacious, over-sexed turtle god. It’s a celebration of hobos and heartbreak, Lionel Richie impersonators and banana-brandy-flavored rice wine. It’s The Festival of Earthly Delights. firstname.lastname@example.org.
Katya Mills. “Girl Without Borders.” $6. Follow the paths of three young lovers — working-class punks and degenerate-labelled youth — as they move across the urban landscape of West Side Chicago. Vivid and imaginative prose from a long-time poet. email@example.com.
Elizabeth Jarrett Andrew. “Hannah, Delivered.” $23. To deliver healthy babies, nurse-midwife Hannah Larson risks jail time, her community’s respect, and her career. The key to unlocking her fear rests in one birth—her own. “Hannah, Delivered” tells the story of how inexplicable passion, buried strength, and professional skill delivers one woman from fear into a rich and risk-filled life. firstname.lastname@example.org.
Paul Castellani. “Sputnik Summer.” $15. It’s only a month into the Adirondack summer of 1958, and 17-year-old Kevin Boyle is already in trouble with an older girl and a priest who seems way too interested in his sex life. When he thinks nothing else can go wrong, he sees his best friend’s brother shove a tourist to his death at a lakeside hangout. Or did he? email@example.com
John Chaplick. “The Rivergrass Legacy.” $15. Set in the Rivergrass area near the Florida Everglades, this riveting novel holds the reader on edge from start to finish as what begins as a routine business acquisition analysis of a tropical fish hatchery turns into the discovery of an international money-laundering plot. firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bill Delorey, “Shuffle an Impulse.” $10 for paperback, E-book for sale for $2.99 on Amazon. Incarcerated within a high security facility, Walter Ferguson serves out four life terms for murders he committed protecting himself from imaginary demons. Miles distant, a young Olympic contender sprints ever faster along a forest trail in a fruitless attempt to still the malicious voices in his head. A riveting, eye-opening journey through the devastation wrought by delusional minds. email@example.com.
Kate Kort. “Glass.” $13. After a grim but revelatory trip to Las Vegas in his late twenties, Menashe Everett decided to open up a “glass museum,” an underground safe place where clients can vent their anguish by destroying rooms filled with clear glass art. The museum brings hope to those who have not responded to traditional therapy, but also gives Menashe a sense of purpose he desperately needs. firstname.lastname@example.org.
Andrea McKenzie Raine. “Turnstiles.” $12. In this novel, Canadian author Raine brings together an unlikely trio — Martin Sourdough, a homeless man who rejects the material world; Willis Hancocks Jr., an alcoholic, philandering lawyer, and Evelyn, a prostitute. Through some mysterious alchemy, they become far more than the sum of their parts. email@example.com.
Kate Sebeny. “The Last Best Thing.” $15. Sam and Sarah are the elderly owners of a farm in central Iowa that turns into a private retirement community when it also becomes home to a disabled friend, a destitute neighbor and her daughter, and an expatriate artist. Together, this close-knit group confronts the hardships and disappointments of age and infirmity with courage, humanity and humor. But beneath the surface, this rustic “home away from the old folks’ home” is not everything it seems. One of its inhabitants is a killer. Another is her victim. firstname.lastname@example.org.
Susan Coryell, “Beneath the Stones.” $18 before Dec. 20. Mystery, suspense and romance flourish against a backdrop of Civil War turmoil and ancestral strife, where immortality (and a vengeful spirit) infiltrates the ancient air breathed by all who inhabit Overhome Estate. coryel.susan@gmailcom.
Deborah Lincoln. “Agnes Canon’s War.” $10. Agnes Canon is tired of being a spectator in life, a small-town schoolmarm and an invisible daughter among seven sisters, meat for the marriage market. The rivers of her Pennsylvania countryside flow west, and she yearns to flow with them, explore new lands, know the independence that is the usual sphere of men. This is a story of a woman’s quest for freedom, both social and intellectual, and her education on that journey, set against the backdrop of the Civil War. email@example.com.
Elizabeth Moore. “The Truth and the Life.” $10.99. (Limited number available). Set in an imagined, yet historically believable rising paper-making industrial village in the New Jersey Pinelands, this novel is truly worth a read. The author combines her knowledge of the region’s geography and old-time culture and language with the travails of a modern woman seeking answers about her ancestral past. firstname.lastname@example.org.
Camille Cusamano. “Tango: An Argentine Love Story.” $10 through PayPal (email@example.com).
Tango is a memoir by a woman who loved, lost, got mad, re-located to Buenos Aires, and decided to dance. The book traces the author’s fall, redemption, and renewal through tango. ocaramia.me.com.
John Maberry. “Waiting for Westmoreland.” 9.99. Surviving poverty and the deaths of loved ones, the author remains hopeful as he exits childhood. then comes the draft that sends him to Vietnam. With innocence lost and illusions shattered, he seeks answers. College courses are intriguing but offer no solutions. Eventually, hope returns in the form of a life philosophy that comes from a chance encounter at a party. This knowledge comes in the nick of time. firstname.lastname@example.org.
Karen Swallow Prior, “Booked.” $15. A life of books. A life of soul. Professor Karen Swallow Prior poignantly and humorously weaves the two, until you can’t tell one life from the other. Booked draws on classics like Great Expectations, delights such as Charlotte’s Web, the poetry of Hopkins and Donne, and more. This thoughtful, straight-up memoir will be pure pleasure for book-lovers, teachers, and anyone who has struggled to find a way to articulate the inexpressible through a love of story. email@example.com.
Claudia Taller. “30 Perfect Days.” $14. “30 Perfect Days, Finding Abundance in Ordinary Life,” is a story about the author’s quest to live in the moment, make connections, and pay attention to what life has to offer. firstname.lastname@example.org.
RELIGIOUS OR SPIRITUAL
Linda Shaylor Cooper. “Embracing the Spirit of Nature.” $16.25. “Embracing the Spirit of Nature” will invite you into a world of magic few have experienced by sharing actual raw photography of fairies, gnomes, and more. Meanwhile, the text may well alter how its readers experience nature and reveal how they directly impact the life of all of nature’s elements. email@example.com.
Burl Hall. “Sophia’s Web.” $10. Sophia, the Spirit of Wisdom, has woven the multi-dimensional aspects of our lives—personal, relational, cultural, intellectual, scientific, philosophical, and spiritual—into a cosmic web. Burl Hall follows the thread within this web that connects his research in these fields to his personal mystical experience. In Sophia’s Web: A Passionate Call to Heal Our Wounded Nature, he takes the reader with him ever deeper into the heart of divine Wisdom. firstname.lastname@example.org.
Melinda Inman. “Refuge.” $12. A different twist on the dark story of Cain and Abel. With Satan hounding his every move and no idea of the forces arrayed against him, can Cain ever find God after he’s committed a sin of such magnitude? Can he ever be forgiven? email@example.com.
Suzanne McMillen-Fallon. “Mommy, Would You Like a Sandwich?” $24.50. At age nineteen, MaryAnne McMillen severed two vital nerves at the base of her skull when she suffered a near fatal fall. This was followed by an out-of-body experience, life after death, in which she heard the words, “It’s not your time.” After fourteen years of agony, doctors were finally able to perform a unique surgery known as intraspinal rhizotomy. This story weaves together the idea of family and faith, while also creating a sense of longing in the reader’s own life for something bigger than themselves. firstname.lastname@example.org.
Patricia Dean Robertson. “Looking for Lydia, Looking for God.” $10. This book is about the study of the Bible that began in the Lydia H. Roper Home, in Norfolk, Virginia and has grown outward from there in the most unexpected ways. It is rooted on every page in the concrete details of the Roper Home and in the lives of the family that built and chartered it. It is, finally, a story about growing older for everyone, everywhere. email@example.com.
Monica Sharman. “Behold the Beauty.” $10.50. A painting in an art museum. A young boy building a light-bulb circuit. A migraine headache. Searching for thimbleberries. Family rituals, like reading stories aloud. Cooking from a friend’s recipe. Reading a much-loved story from your childhood. It is in those simple familiar things that writer Monica Sharman finds beauty, and more than beauty. In the beauty of the ordinary she finds metaphors for Bible reading, and has collected those metaphors in “Behold the Beauty: An Invitation to Bible Reading.” firstname.lastname@example.org.
Roberta Burton. “The Burgundy Briefcase.” $12. After the death of her husband, Lee moves forward with her life—or, so she thinks. Instead, she finds herself repeating the same mistakes with Frank that she made in past relationships. While working on her doctorate, she learns about those old patterns and begins to understand her relationship is a sham. Her progression through the doctoral program is threatened by double messages and false promises. She must respond by confronting her professor and Frank’s bizarre behavior. Are they connected? What does it all mean? Will she get what she wants or what she needs? email@example.com.
Harriet Scott Chessman, “Someone Not Really Her Mother.” $12. As Hannah Pearl’s memory of the present begins to fade, she increasingly inhabits the world of her ardent and frightened youth in war-torn France and England, while her memories of life in America with her daughter and granddaughters have almost been erased. Throughout the book each character must negotiate the fraught intricacies of memory, geography, and motherhood. firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dawn LaJeunesse. “In Her Mother’s Shoes.” $12. Author Meredith Fields’ formerly placid suburban existence is shattering, and she’s not entirely unhappy about it. She feels guilty over placing her mother, Katherine, in a nursing home. Her husband, Keith, wants a divorce. She’s emotionally estranged from her children. And her next book is overdue. As she sorts through her mother’s house before selling, she finds clues to Katherine’s shadowy past. She begins to understand why her mother related so poorly to her children and is shaken by parallels in her relationships with her own children. email@example.com.
Gina Roitman. “Tell Me a Story, Tell Me the Truth.” $20. Leah lives in a world trapped between two solitudes. She belongs neither to her parent’s painful generation nor to her own, freshly minted in the freedoms and contradictions of Montreal in the 1950s and 60s. Growing up in a community of immigrants forever bound to the past, Leah tests the boundaries of her independence, explored in nine linked stories that take the reader from Leah’s early childhood to middle age. firstname.lastname@example.org.
SCI/FI OR FANTASY
Nicki Brandon. “The Solarbus Legacy.” $10. Farms had become dry and barren outside the city without power that had been deserted after the economic and social collapse brought about by the depletion of the world’s oil reserves. Nevertheless, a thriving dystopian society had formed, leaving the rest of the survivors — called Terfs — as wandering scavengers. But when the 18-year-old daughter of Privileged Solarbus Society members Jeff and Eva Parke is kidnapped, they are lured to the Terf’s mountain encampment. There they uncover a sinister plot for revenge and justice. email@example.com.
Kate Hasbrouck, “Homecoming.” $12. Kerana is being sent to Earth to begin her duty as an Eldurian. Hers are a perfect people, without flaw and without sin, never experiencing the fall of man. Created by God to shepherd His people on Earth, they remain in the shadows, unnoticed. Kerana looks human, speaks like them, and has been taught to act like them. Arriving on Earth, Kerana meets Eli at school, and they find themselves intertwined in a connection that neither can quite explain. When this connection puts the two of them in danger, they find comfort and protection from each other. firstname.lastname@example.org.
Darrell Laurant, “The Kudzu Kid.” $10. After hotshot investigative reporter Eddie Fogarty overreaches on a story and is fired by his large metropolitan daily, the only bounce-back job he can find is editing a weekly newspaper in backwater Southside Virginia. In that unlikely and alien setting, he finds culture shock, redemption, romance, and the biggest story of his life. email@example.com.
SHORT STORY COLLECTIONS
Margaret Hermes, “Relative Strangers.” $15. “Relative Strangers” presents 14 stories that feature a keen understanding of what makes people tick, but not click, in a dysfunctional America. Her stories, set in various places and times, are sprinkled with tender and provocative examinations of familial relationships. firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ava Homa, “Echoes From the Other Land.” $15. These haunting stories beautifully evoke the oppressive lives of modern women in the Islamic Republic of Iran. Ranging across regions, ethnicities, genders, sexualities and political dispositions, Homa’s characters give us a prismatic portrait of Iran that resists both internal tyrannies and Western demonization. Her style is elegantly spare yet gem-solid. email@example.com.
Margaret McMullan, “Aftermath Lounge.” $15. In “Aftermath Lounge,” each short story, like a homing pigeon, returns to the Gulf Coast to explore how its people struggle with the ghost of Hurricane Katrina. With riveting prose, Margaret McMullan tracks the weblike connections of family and friends haunted by the storm from Pass Christian, Mississippi, to Chicago.” firstname.lastname@example.org.
Deirdre Thurston. “Caught.” $20. This is a collection of short stories, literary sketches and vignettes from a New Zealand writer. Each story delves into human themes and is filled with subtle irony, humor and touching observations. The stories also highlight our era of increasing civil disconnection, in which technology is replacing intimacy. email@example.com.
Tom Bentley. “Think Like a Writer.” $2.99 (e-book). If language is, as Tom puts it, “a bright bird, uncatchable, but worth every attempt,” this book is the lovingly prepared gilded cage, the single perfect feather caught in the net. If you have wondered what voice is, how to master it, how to free the storyteller within, this is your book. You will come away from it feeling a bright bird yourself, ready for flight. firstname.lastname@example.org.
Barbara Trainin Blank. “What To do About Mama?” $20.Fifty-four million Americans already serve as unpaid caregivers to family members, and that number is likely to grow as the population continues to age. Two-thirds of these caregivers are women—many of them in the “sandwich generation,” simultaneously caring for both children and older family members.
This book offers guidance to present and future caregivers—based on the real-life experiences of the authors and other caregivers who have openly and honestly shared their joys and heartaches. email@example.com.
Jenifer Caloyeras. “Strays.” $16.95. In addition to summer school, dog-phobic Iris is sentenced to an entire summer of community service, rehabilitating troubled dogs. Iris believes she is nothing like Roman, the three-legged pit bull who is struggling to overcome his own dark past, not to mention the other humans in the program. But when Roman’s life is on the line, Iris learns that counting on the help of others may be the only way to save him. With sparkling prose and delightful humor, Jennifer Caloyeras’s novel beautifully portrays the human-animal bond. firstname.lastname@example.org.