Weather Report, August 12

Our currently featured books, “Known by Salt,” by Tina Mozelle Braziel, and “A Way Out of Nowhere,” by Nancy Gerber, can be found by scrolling down below this post, along with the First Tuesday Replay. Or click the author’s name on our Authors page.




Writes Phil: “In the 1970s, the town of Boston Mills, Ohio was turned into a ghost town practically overnight when the U.S. Department of Interior seized lands and condemned homes and properties in order to expand the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. In the years since, a multitude of mysterious tales and ghost stories have sprung forth concerning the macabre remains, known to the locals as ‘Helltown.’

“While the novel contains many of the actual “fakelore” stories about the true-life ghost town, I’ve woven them into my fictional plot with my protagonists. Hence the title, ‘Helltown Chronicles.'”


What It Might Feel Like to Hope, the second full-length collection from award-winning author Dorene O’Brien, is a masterful and eclectic mix of stories that consider the infinitely powerful, and equally naïve and damning force that is human hope. A couple tries to come to terms with one another as they travel west in the uncomfortable twilight of their youth; a mortician and an idealistic novelist spar about the true nature of death; an aspiring author hopes to impress Tom Hanks with zombies; a tarot reader deals out the future of Detroit. Highlighting her diverse talents, O’Brien offers a panoply of characters and settings that dwell beyond the borders of certainty, in a place where all that has been left to them is an inkling of possibility upon which they must place all their hopes. These stories offer a variety of tones, forms, and themes in which O’Brien displays an amazing range and control of her craft, all while exploring the essential nature of humanity with nuance, empathy, and at times a touch of skepticism.


Wierzbicki successfully challenges the notion of what poetry is as she generously takes us to its core/essence. In this three-part collection, whether they are socio-politically charged poems, odes to the borough she lives in, poems written for her parents & her friends or for music she loves, the brilliant accuracy of her viewpoint, where she stands, & the direct humane manner in which she uses language is her strength & grace. There are plenty of anti-establishment writers who present themselves as wild rebels raging outside the system, or who tell tales about marginalized characters. Wierzbicki’s work offers a more bitter and more accurate takedown of many of the mainstream’s hollow idols and ideas. The deft conclusion of her ruminations is a sense of earned sadness about the tiny shifts people make to preserve a single shred of dignity in the corporate landscape. Wierzbicki constantly puts her finger on the workings of societal insanities so institutionally ingrained they cannot be questioned. The experience of reading this book is crucial for our times. [excerpts from back cover blurbs]





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Recently retired after 35 years with the News & Advance newspaper in Lynchburg, VA, now re-inventing myself as a novelist/nonfiction writer and writing coach in Lake George, NY.

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