Weather Report, Jan. 4



Katrina II



WEEK OF JAN. 5-11:


This book, a collection of short stories, is a wonderful example of how larger-than-live events sometimes meld fact and fiction together.

Margaret writes: “Katrina hit my parents’ home in Pass Christian, almost destroying it, but not quite. Immediately following the storm, my father was among the first to rebuild. During this time, we witnessed so many unusual and small acts of heroism that inspired me to write about the community and its people, and how tragedy shapes our character. In 2010, I was awarded a National Endowment of the Arts Fellowship to complete the project.

One of the first temporary buildings that went up in Pass Christian after the storm was a restaurant to feed volunteers and any locals still there. It was called Kafé Katrina. Many folks wanted a bar as well, so the owner of Kafé Katrina added on a Karaoke bar called The Aftermath Lounge.”

That brave attempt to return to normal is the incubator for Margaret’s story collection. The author of six previous novels, she obviously did her work well, based on this review:

“Each entry is a shot to the chest…Writing a good short story is no easy feat. Writing one consisting of a few paragraphs that not only fills the frame but paints a heartbreaking picture is an awe-inspiring talent.”


In this era of copycat plots — romance, vampires, serial killers, international spies — it’s always refreshing to come across something as original as “Glass,” Kate Kort’s debut novel.  And my first question, as always, was: “Where in the world did this idea come from?”

Kate explains: “This book began as a short story for a creative writing class in college. Every day on my way to class, I would walk through the student art gallery, which always seemed so still and peaceful. Elements of the story began to form in my mind. I wondered what it would feel like to destroy something so perfect. Could someone get relief that way? Would it be a catharsis and a pathway to healing, or would it feed those negative impulses? After graduation I knew I wanted to expand the story and develop those ideas. The story itself came quickly and easily, in a matter of a few months, but revising and polishing took considerably longer. I put the manuscript away for a few years after a couple of rounds of rejections (mostly by agents). But I found the motivation once again, completed the final revisions I had been putting off, and placed it with the right publisher.”

This is a story about mental health and the struggle some people go through to maintain it. I applaud her publisher for taking a chance on it and for the cover, which in my humble opinion is one of the coolest I’ve seen.


I skipped the December edition of this feature because we were already listing all the Snowflakes books as part of our Christmas promotion.

This week, we’ll revisit “Things Unsaid,” by Diana V. Paul, “Think Like a Writer,” by Tom Bentley, “The Skeleton Crew,” by Deborah Halber, “The Solarbus Legacy,’ by Nicki Brandon), “Mercedes Wore Black,” by Andrea Brunais and “Homecoming,”by Kate Hasbrouck.”



I’m not much for ranking books, because the process is so subjective. If 10 of us read the same dozen books and were asked to list them in order of preference, we would probably come up with 10 different rankings.

Moreover, how much attention a book receives can be attributed to a number of factors, not the least of which is the author’s skill in using social media to draw potential readers.

Having said all that, though, I recently received my season-ending “scoreboard” from Word Press on this blog, and these were the five Snowflakes books that received the most Internet clicks. If your book was one of them, congratulate yourself for having done something right. If it’s not, nothing to worry about.

Here they are, in order of appearance (not rank):

“Island Dogs,”by Brian Simpson. “The River Caught Sunlight,” by Katie Andraski; Mercedes Wore Black,” by Andrea Brunais; “Dead in a Ditch,” by Heather Osting, and “Clemenceau’s Daughters,” by Rocky Porch Moore.











Tango: An Argentine Love Story



THE BOOK: Tango, An Argentine Love Story.


THE AUTHOR: Camille Cusumano

THE EDITOR: Brooke Warner (formerly at Seal, now at She Writes press)


SUMMARY: Tango is a travel memoir, the story of a woman who loved, lost, got mad, and decided to dance. She went to Buenos Aires intending to stay three months and stayed for nearly four years. The book traces her fall from grace, hero’s journey, and ultimate transformation.

THE BACK STORY: Camille Cusumano was well-paid editor on a travel magazine and in a long, rewarding relationship when tango upset her universe, at first for the worst, then for the best.

Camille CusamanoWHY THIS TITLE: Tango is more than a memoir about a dance. It has a universal message best expressed in the author’s TEDx Talk in Manhattan, 2013: Tango, the Dance, the Journey, the Transformation. [ ] It’s the story of every woman’s and every man who is looking for happiness outside her/himself.

WHY SOMEONE WOULD WANT TO READ IT: It’s an enjoyable read, a feelgood read, according to the many men and women who have read it and written to me. It might appeal most to baby boomers who have always led the charge toward a more expansive spirituality and who have considered feeding the soul as important as feeding the body and mind. It’s also a great travel companion for anyone considering going to Buenos Aires.

REVIEW COMMENTS: “Tango is a remarkable addition to contemporary dharma literature. It reads like a thriller, a romance, and above all it shows the redemptive potential of a sincere spiritual practice.”

— Sylvia Boorstein, author of Happiness is an Inside Job.

“The transformative power of the tango embrace beautifully captured. Bravo!”

—Marina Palmer, author of Kiss & Tango

Camille Cusumano has lived out many a mid-life woman’s fantasy: packing her bags, slit skirts, and tango shoes and spending a year in Argentina. The result is a memoir that is like the dance itself: smooth, absorbing, and erotically charged.

—Laura Fraser, author of An Italian Affair

AUTHOR PROFILE: Camille Cusumano is the author of Tango, an Argentine Love Story (Seal Press, 2008), memoir of a woman who loved, lost, got mad, and decided to dance. She has written for numerous publications, including National Geographic Traveler, Islands, Country Living, the San Francisco Chronicle, Los Angeles Times, Christian Science Monitor, the New York Times, and the Washington Post. She is the author of several cookbooks and one novel, The Last Cannoli (Legas) and the editor of the literary travel anthologies on France, Italy, Mexico, and Greece. She was a senior staff editor at VIA Magazine in San Francisco, where she covered travel around the world. She has a new book coming in 2016, Wilderness Begins at Home, Travels With My Big Sicilian Family.

AUTHOR COMMENTS: Tango was a great experience for me before, during, and after the writing. I had been editing anthologies on France, Italy, Mexico, and Greece for Seal Press, when they decided they wanted a single-author book and the universe provided this experience covered in the book.

SAMPLE CHAPTER: See Amazon, or

LOCAL OUTLETS: Tango is at all online book sellers. Any chain or indie bookstore can order it. Here is the ISBN: 13-978-1-58005-250-4

Seal Press would also sell it:

PRICE: about $15 – but much cheaper used and you can get it on Kindle or e-readers.

CONTACT THE AUTHOR: or thru my website

Shuffle an Impulse

THE BOOK: Shuffle an Impulse


ABill DeloreyUTHOR: William (Bill) Delorey

EDITORS: J Lacy Coughlan and Susan Carr

PUBLISHER: WordWizard Publications – Green Cove Springs, Florida

SUMMARY: A world-class athlete confronts the Mind Games!

This gritty and fascinating journey follows the struggles of a world-class athlete resisting the brain chemistry dysfunction that provokes violent behavior. He fights for control of his mind while he trains relentlessly in pursuit of Olympic Gold.

Shuffle an ImpulseSonny Bones awakens each morning locked in battle – good on one side, evil on the other. An imaginary voice screams in his brain while his tortured mind struggles with ethical and moral choices only he can make. “Kill a friend,” it whispers, “and we’ll release you from all this pain.”

Unable to dilute the hormone invasion that triggers rage in his mind, his life spirals downward and out of control. Homelessness, drug abuse, jail cells and treatment centers punctuate his journey. With help from a quirky Russian psychiatrist and her unique high-tech treatment plan, Sonny defies the maddening impulse to execute his friends, and never once loses sight of his goal. An extraordinary tale, illustrating one young athlete’s dedication and perseverance, and his will to win.

BACK STORY: Several wartime veterans, myself included, developed and founded a program that worked with the VA clinic in Los Angeles for several years, counseling combat veterans with violent mental and social rehabilitation issues. I’ve also experienced the tragedy of mental disorders in family members and friends as well.

Years later, my companion and I took off across the United States on a camping trip to write about and photograph our national parks and wilderness areas for a nature travel book. While sitting by the campfire one night, I decided to write a short story about violence, and the way a brain controls its chemical and behavioral triggers.

At that time, we were camping in the southeast near the Great Smoky Mountains, and I figured three or four thousand words would tell the story nicely. It didn’t come close. The word count rose every time I opened the laptop as our journey continued cross-country and through more states and in more campgrounds than I can remember. The first draft of a one hundred thousand word novel “Shuffle on Impulse” emerged somewhere in Vermont almost a year later. I simply could not stop writing.:)

WHY THIS TITLE: The title fits the story – Mental impulses control our behavior, and a dysfunctional brain shuffles those impulses into more random physical actions over which our minds have less control.

WHY SHOULD SOMEONE READ IT? Readers grow to love the character, Sonny Bones, his naivety, his struggles and revelations, his sense of self, and his sense of humor in the face of tragedy. And, anyone who has a family member or a friend touched by mental illness in this country will better understand the torture of brain dysfunction, and an individual’s ability to adapt and enjoy life and pursue goals regardless. It also illustrates how one can better assist those individuals to cope in a society that often scorns ‘real folks’ born with an imperfect brain, folks that often lack social skills due to brain biology.


“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 that grabs you by the seat of your pants and never lets go!!” J. Lacy Coughlan, Author-Editor

“A heart-rending and compelling story of a promising athlete besieged with mental anguish. An imaginary but demanding demonic voice thrives in his mind. Sonny spirals downward into violence, drug abuse and treatment centers. William Delorey paints a poignant picture of a life filled with confusion and delusions that leaves you an intimate connection with a young man and his struggles.” – Susan W. Carr, Librarian

AUTHOR PROFILE: Born in Massachusetts, Bill grew up in California, served in the US Navy on Hawaii and in the Far East, then settled in the Sierra foothills gold rush country. He returned to Cape Cod in 1992, where he lived until relocating to Florida in 2010.

Bill holds a Bachelors degree in behavior from UCLA and a Masters degree in writing from UMass-Dartmouth. He’s worked as a freelance photo-journalist and editor since 1990. He’s published primarily sports, wildlife behavior and protection, nature articles, and images locally, regionally and nationally. He’s also edited numerous books and journals in the natural history and science disciplines.

Current non-fiction project: “A Light in Darkness” – a mental health investigation [2016]

He recently turned his writing efforts to fiction, and has one short fiction collection, “Predators: a six-pack of short fiction” 2015, a novel titled “Shuffle an Impulse” – a psyche thriller 2015, a second novel titled “Operation Crossbow” – a military/espionage thriller 2015, a third novel titled “A Hobo’s Revenge” – a financial thriller due 2016, a fourth novel titled “Paper Cuts” – a medical fraud thriller due 2016.

Throughout his professional life, Bill remains an advocate for wildlife and wilderness conservation and protection. He also supports veteran’s issues and mental health reform.

AUTHOR COMMENTS: As fiction writers, we exercise the purest form of creativity in our artistic works. The expression of our imagination gives birth to characters that live and breathe in worlds we invent. We then can only hope our readers find as much enjoyment and delight in our presentations as we do in bringing our stories to life.

SAMPLE CHAPTER: E-book available at Amazon-Print version due release Dec 1st*Version*=1&*entries*=0

LOCAL OUTLETS: Amazon only —or personal contact thru website

PRICE: E-book = $2.99 / Print = $8.75 (327 pages)

AUTHOR CONTACT: – ail contact available at website.

Clemenceau’s Daughters

PUBLRocky Porch MooreISHED IN: 2015 (Dec. 11 release date).

THE AUTHOR: Rocky Porch Moore

THE EDITOR: Melisa Taylor

THE PUBLISHER: Southern Yellow Pine Publishing

SUMMARY: The Ballards live in the shadow of July Mountain, one step shy of overcoming the taint of poverty dogging their family since the Great Depression. Even on the cusp of the excess of the 1980s, the Tennessee Valley harbors a passing respect for the unexplainable and superstition. Roots still cling to family trees like tendrils, tangling and tearing to claim not just birthrights, but bloodrights.

FoClemenceau's Daughterslks tend to die around Little Debbie Ballard. She struggles to make sense of a world where an unspoken past and prejudice collide, where truth is no longer as simple as Daddy’s word, and cruel intentions transcend generations. Debbie discovers the insidious legacy that haunts the women of her family one by one.

Tracing the roots of Debbie’s ancestry back to pre-revolutionary France, past and present are interspersed to show how the will of a vindictive woman rots a family tree from within.

THE BACK STORY: As far back as I can remember, I ‘ve always been told I’m the “spittin’ image” of my mother. I was thumbing through my great-grandmother’s picture album searching for some WWI era photos when I found myself looking at what appeared to be my daughter. The resemblance was uncanny and got me to thinking about how not just physical characteristics, but psychological characteristics are passed from generation to generation.

I decided I wanted to write a family saga where the past has a direct and sinister impact on the present, and consequently, on the future. I wanted to juxtapose the beginning of a line of women with the end of the line, having them interact. So, that’s how the concept for Clemenceau’s Daughters was born.

WHY THIS TITLE?: At its heart, the family tree traces its roots to a battle for bloodrights. It’s about the importance of establishing a strong family name. I have always been fascinated by how names and their derivatives seem to “fit” families. I wanted to find a name that would ride the tides of time, changing and progressing, but remaining rooted to the original. The novel traces those connections from daughter to mother to grandmother ageless. Each, at some point, is a daughter moving from innocence to recognition.

WHY WOULD SOMEONE WANT TO READ IT?: Clemenceau’s Daughters is an exhilarating romp through the psyche of a young girl trying to figure out if those fears that haunt her are real or imagined. At the same time, she’s growing up in an area where the prejudices of the past are piled up in the corners like old keepsakes. Readers who enjoy southern gothic as well as readers who don’t mind taking a stroll into the macabre aspects of southern life will find the book to be “worth a count”.


AUTHOR PROFILE: I chose my childhood home of July Mountain, overlooking Scottsboro, Alabama as the primary setting for Clemenceau’s Daughters. Much like the Ballards struggle to escape the past in the novel, Scottsboro’s own past has a way of churning up mud on occasion. The novel was particularly challenging in that I wanted to make the setting as autobiographically accurate as possible while keeping the characters and action fictional. Folks will want to assign parallels to the characters because the family framework is markedly similar. The family dynamic, however, is my creation. If anyone’s part can be “based on the true story”, I reckon the dog comes closest.

I have been living, teaching, and putting down roots in South Alabama for over 20 years. It’s a different climate than where I grew up, and I’m not just referring to the salted gulf breezes as opposed to the pungent backwater bottoms. I consider myself lucky because I have not one hometown, but two.

AUTHOR COMMENTS: “In Clemenceau’s Daughters, I tried to capture the feel of growing up in the South on the cusp of the technological boom while familial and societal constraints firmly cling to the past. I wanted Debbie’s story to be anything but nostalgic. I wanted her observations to be unapologetic; while at the same time, I wanted her to begin to recognize the incongruities of what was presented to her as fact. I wanted her to be haunted on multiple levels.


The tree was old, Mommy said, older than even Mama’s mama, which was about as old as Debbie could imagine. It might even be as old as America, but it was hard to believe something like a tree could have lived that long. Debbie knew trees

themselves were as old as the earth. They grew even before people were God-breathed into the living world. She was five years old and could read whole books all by herself. Her favorites were a set of children’s Bible stories she had received from Aunt Edna, the schoolteacher. Mommy had said Aunt Edna’s gifts would always have to do with school, and that suited Debbie just fine. She would get to go to school when summer ended. She’d be younger than the other first graders, but Daddy told her it would be okay because she would be smarter anyhow.

The Bible stories had beautiful, colored pictures that Debbie pretended she could walk around inside. Some of the pictures were scary, but Debbie would pretend inside them just the same. There was a picture of a beautiful tree in the garden, even more beautiful than her tree in the back yard, a ball’s throw from the porch steps. This was the illustration she loved most.

Debbie remembered things. She remembered things that Daddy said and things that Mommy said. She remembered things she heard other grownups say. But, most of all, she remembered things she read. When she closed her eyes, the stories unfolded like a movie inside her head. She sat down in the well of her tree, where the heat of the Alabama summer couldn’t quite stretch its fingers, and she watched her stories.

Fat Sarah, the woman who kept Debbie while Mommy and Daddy were away at work, watched her stories on the TV every afternoon. They were silly and full of kissing doctors and nurses. Debbie was always glad when Fat Sarah sent her out the back door with a cheese sandwich and orders to stay out of the road.

If Debbie hugged her knees up to her chest, she could disappear into the embrace of the tree. The hollow of the oak was just the right size for a little girl, and she traced patterns in the cool dirt as

she sat. Mommy and Daddy were too big to fit and too old to feel the magic of the tree. Debbie didn’t really believe in magic. She knew most, if not all of it, was just tricks, but there was something about the tree that made her feel safe.

“Why you want to sit in that musty old tree is beyond me,” Mommy fussed. “You’d better watch out for snakes and spiders up in that hollow. They want to get out of the heat just as much as anybody else. If you get bit, you’re going to get a whipping to boot.”

It was when she was sweeping about the hollow with a big stick to make sure no spiders were creeping in the shadows that Debbie found the cache. She almost lost her stick when it plunged into a hole in the upper shaded recesses. She’d never noticed it before, but then again, she’d never really poked all around the higher parts of the hollow. She threw down the stick and ran back into the house to grab Daddy’s flashlight. Up the back steps she flew and was in such a hurry, she let the screen door slam behind her.

“You get back outside and play!” called Fat Sarah from the living room. “My story’s still on. And stay out of that road!”

“Yes, Miss Sarah,” called Debbie dutifully. She had enough sense to know that calling her babysitter Fat Sarah to her face would get her a whipping for sure, even if Mommy and Daddy both called the sitter Fat Sarah any time she was out of hearing.

Fat Sarah was poor white trash. Debbie figured that meant she didn’t have enough money for a car. Every morning before work, Daddy drove across town to pick up Fat Sarah. He brought her

back to the house so that she could cook breakfast for the family before the grownups had to leave.

What Mommy and Daddy didn’t know was that Fat Sarah cooked another breakfast for herself once they were on their way, only she called it snack time. Fat Sarah would set Debbie to looking at her Bible story books or watching Captain Kangaroo while she fried up potatoes and onions, bacon, and eggs. She’d play the radio while she cooked, singing along to the Gospel Hour in a voice that sounded a lot like Daddy’s Patsy Cline vinyl record–mostly clear with scratchy spots here and there–while she dished up a hearty snack for herself. All traces of Fat Sarah’s morning snack went in either her belly or to GodLutherYouStink the Saint Bernard.

“You need to always be on good terms with the family dog, Debbie,” advised Fat Sarah, “even one as godforsaken as that beast. That way the dog will help you if you ever come calling in a time of need.”

Debbie didn’t really mind the dog getting a plate because she abhorred breakfast. She didn’t even like the smell of it. Fat Sarah knew this and handed Debbie a chocolate bar from the recesses of her black patent pocketbook. “You need to always be on good terms with little girls, too,” she simpered. “That way the little girl will love you and keep your secrets. After all, a secret loses half its power if it isn’t shared.”

Debbie knew Fat Sarah’s secret was that she was eating the family’s food, but the chocolate bars seemed to make it okay. She didn’t love Fat Sarah but tolerated her well enough on account of they were both naughty, but it was worse when a grownup was naughty. Who could blame a little girl for liking candy? Plus, she believed Fat Sarah when she bent down low and looked Debbie straight in the eyes. Fat Sarah’s voice was barely above a whisper, but Debbie knew she was speaking the truth. Her eyes looked inside her with an intensity that made Debbie believe Fat Sarah could see her every fear and share her every secret whether Debbie wanted to or not.

“Debbie, I give you the chocolate to shut your mouth. If you tell your mommy and daddy what I cook and what I do, I will tell the Man on the Mountain to come down here. I will tell him to eat your baby brother…, and he will, because the Man on the Mountain is my kin.”

Debbie’s eyes grew big as she glanced at the bassinet where Brent lay sleeping. But Fat Sarah didn’t stop there. Her words dripped sweet as honey from her mouth, but what she said was poison.

“Yes, you know about the Man on the Mountain. Don’t you? He comes into your dreams. I can summon him to come down off the mountain like a shadow or like an angry wind. I can call him. He can take whoever he chooses. It could be that babe sleeping over there. It could be your daddy or your mommy. It could be you. Just you remember that, Little Debbie, and you keep our secrets sealed up sweetly inside. Now, take this candy bar and go sit in that tree of yours for a while.” Fat Sarah’s mouth smiled, but her eyes did not, even when she started singing “One Day at a Time, Sweet Jesus” along with the Gospel Hour.

Debbie was shaking but obediently took the candy bar and wobbled unsteadily down the back steps. She glanced to her left, past the road and up to the mountain rising beside the little green house that had been pleasant until now. A large cloud cast its shadow on the mountainside, and as it floated across the sky, its shadow crept down the mountain toward her. She squealed and made for the cranny in her oak tree trunk. Debbie slid in and pulled up her knees to hug her legs tightly to her. And she cried.

It seemed like a long time before she heard the scrape of the screen door and Fat Sarah call out, “Debbie, come on in, and get your lunch,” just as sweet as you please with no hint of the evil that had come out minutes before. Or was it hours? She wasn’t sure. She might have been sleeping. She wanted to believe she had dreamt Fat Sarah’s words, but the threat was just as real as the candy bar in her lap. Somehow, sitting in the cool of the tree’s embrace had comforted her, though. Shadow can’t swallow shadow, child. I stand sentinel. The Mountain has eyes. The Mountain has eyes. Shadow can’t swallow shadow.

Whether it was a thought or a voice or a feeling, Debbie really couldn’t tell, but she rose and walked resolutely to the back steps with only a furtive glance at the mountain rising over her like a green ocean wave. The chocolate bar lay like a forgotten offering in the cool of the oak tree.

LOCAL OUTLETS: Forthcoming


PRICE: $14.95

CONTACT THE AUTHOR: Rocky welcomes you to the following:

Follow me on Facebook:

Follow me on Pinterest:

Follow me on Twitter: @RockyPorchMoore

Weather Report, Dec. 28

Tango duo


Our first three books of 2016 offer something for almost everyone.

Camille Cusamano’s “Tango: An Argentine Love Story” is not only a peek into another culture and way of life, but with a memoir tucked inside. It is best read with Latin, salsa or waltz music playing in the background.

With all the grim reports of mass shootings carried out by obviously deranged individuals, Bill Delorey’s novel “Shuffle an Impulse” goes beyond the sensational and into the tortured mind of one mentally ill person struggling not to become front page news.

I hereby nominate our next contributor for the best Snowflakes author name so far — “Clemenceau’s Daughters creator Rocky Porch Moore. As a longtime teacher in south Alabama, she has immersed herself in the southern mountain culture and artfully bends that knowledge around the story of a young girl struggling to balance the onrushing modern world with the gravitational tug of old myths.




From the Amazon  blurb:

“Tango is a memoir by a woman who loved, lost, got mad, and decided to dance. The book traces the author’s fall, redemption, and renewal through tango.

“After a violent encounter with her ex’s new girlfriend, Camille Cusumano decided she had some serious soul-searching to do. She took off for Buenos Aires intending to stay a few short weeks, but when her search for inner peace met with her true passion for tango, she realized she’d need to stay in Argentina indefinitely. Tango chronicles Camille’s experience falling in love with a country through the dance that embodies intensity, freedom, and passion—all pivotal to her own process of self-discovery.

“From the charm of local barrios to savory empanadas, Camille whole-heartedly embraces the ardent culture of Argentina, and soon a month-long escape turns into a year-long personal odyssey. Slowly letting go of her anger through a blend of tango, Zen, and a burgeoning group of friends, she discovers that her fierceness and patience can exist in harmony as she learns how to survive in style when love falls apart.”


Writes Bill:

“Several wartime veterans, myself included, developed and founded a program that worked with the VA clinic in Los Angeles for several years, counseling combat veterans with violent mental and social rehabilitation issues. I’ve also experienced the tragedy of mental disorders in family members and friends as well.

“Years later, my companion and I took off across the United States on a camping trip to write about and photograph our national parks and wilderness areas for a nature travel book. While sitting by the campfire one night, I decided to write a short story about violence, and the way a brain controls its chemical and behavioral triggers.

“At that time, we were camping in the southeast near the Great Smoky Mountains, and I figured three or four thousand words would tell the story nicely. It didn’t come close. The word count rose every time I opened the laptop as our journey continued cross-country and through more states and in more campgrounds than I can remember. The first draft of a one hundred thousand word novel “Shuffle on Impulse” emerged somewhere in Vermont almost a year later. I simply could not stop writing.” 🙂


From Rocky’s description:

“Folks tend to die around Little Debbie Ballard. She struggles to make sense of a world where an unspoken past and prejudice collide, where truth is no longer as simple as Daddy’s word, and cruel intentions transcend generations. Debbie discovers the insidious legacy that haunts the women of her family one by one.

“Tracing the roots of Debbie’s ancestry back to pre-revolutionary France, past and present are interspersed to show how the will of a vindictive woman rots a family tree from within.


Larry Hewitt 2NEWS AND NOTES:

I’m always happy to pass along marketing tips and/or experiences from Snowflakes authors. This comes from Larry Hewitt, whose “The Juno Letters” was featured on this site last Sept. 25.

“Like many independent writers I have struggled finding the right mix of media to promote my books. Lately I have finally found a good use for my private mailing list — promoting my story draft.

“I call my first draft a story draft —  the story is basically complete but the editing and fine tuning have not yet begun. I started inviting readers from my private email list to read the story draft and discovered I hit a responsive chord. I have a couple of rules: 1) I explicitly state I am NOT looking for free editors; 2) while I will always appreciate feedback I ask them NOT to send me information about typos by explaining I have not yet started serious editing; and 3) I do not ask them to buy anything.

“The response has been exciting. I had about a 15% download rate on the first mailing for the V1 story draft. A week later I sent a second email offering version 2 and a briefing on the changes I made through a link to my blog. My blog traffic surprised me and I had almost as many downloads of v2 as I did the first version. I have received an encouraging number of emails and several of my local readers have visited me in my “office” at the Oly Club restaurant in Centralia, WA and told me they appreciated being given a look “under the sheets” so to speak.

“I think this works because it brings readers into the inner circle and helps them feel like a part of the series as it moves forward. I am planning at least a third email before announcing the completed story.”

Weather report, Dec. 22



For the first time since the end of May, we won’t be featuring any new books this week. That’s because I’m afraid that potential readers and book buyers will be so distracted by the final headlong dash to Christmas that they might not even think to check their e-mail.  At least, that grave danger does exist.

Darrell LaurantTherefore, rather than asking three authors to risk being upstaged by the Three Wise Men and that fat guy in red, I’d like use this space to take a look back on the first six months of the “Snowflakes in a Blizzard” project and where it may be going in 2016.

Since its inception, Snowflakes has featured 90 books — 64 novels, five memoirs, three collections of stories and 18 general works of non-fiction. Beyond that, we’re booked up almost into March.

While most of our authors have come from the U.S., we’ve also included work from Canada, France, Spain, the UK, Australia, New Zealand and Israel.

How successful has this been in terms of selling books? That’s hard to say. The point is, all of these authors have had the opportunity to make a one-on-one pitch to our blog followers and anyone else who might be drawn here through social media or word-of-mouse. These are baby steps, aimed at circumventing the current randomness of book marketing, but important ones.

On the flip side, Snowflakes also gives readers an opportunity to hear about books they may never have realized existed. Every week, I’ve tried to find fresh writing that goes beyond the latest fads.

Toward that end, our authors have varied widely, from self-published newbies to successful veterans trying to resuscitate one particular book out of many. I welcome books from outside the U.S., and those published long enough ago to have been pushed out of view, despite being still relevant.

Every once in awhile, I will include a piece of work with some rough edges, but one that I think shows promise or offers a new and compelling viewpoint. That, to me, is also part of our mission.

Publishers used to base their decisions on whether a submitted work was well-written and broke new ground. Now, all too often, it’s only about “Will it sell?” even if that means embracing copycats wrapped in a popular genre. This makes it especially hard for first-time authors who have yet to build a following.

I believe that the natural allies in our efforts are small publishers and independent bookstores, and next year I’m going to intensify our efforts at finding common ground and collaborative projects with them.

And now, since its the end of our first year, I’d like to list the books that we highlighted in 2015. All of them, in their own way, were special. The cast, in order of appearance:

“Island Dogs,” by Brian Simpson, May 26.
“Waiting for Westmoreland,” by John Maberry, May 29;  “Death of a Cabman,” by Nina Boyd, June 2.
“The River Caught Sunlight,” by Katie Andraski, June 5.
“What To Do About Mama?” by Barbara Trainin Blank, June 9.
“Turnstiles,”by Andrea Raine, June 12.
Betrayal,” by Sharon Brownlie, June 16.
How Not to Avoid Jet Lag,” by Joshua Brown, June 19.
 “Caught,” by Deirdre Thurston, June 23.
“Thirty Perfect Days” by Claudia Taller, June 26. 
Downfall,” by Deborah Teller Scott, June 30.
“Boiling Point,” by Karen Dionne, June 30.
Secret Corps,” by Peter Telep,  July 3.
“When Clouds Gather,” by Ryan Jo Summers, July 7.
“Did Ancient Chinese Discover America?”  by Charlotte Rees,  July 7.
Beneath the Stones,” by Susan Coryell, July 10.
 “Black Tide Rising,” by Kelvin Singleton, July 10.
“Collision Course,” by Joe Broadmeadow, July 14.
 “Consciously Connecting,” by Holland Haiis, July 14.
 “Things Unsaid,” by Diana V. Paul, July 17.
 “Think Like a Writer,” by Tom Bentley,  July 17.
 “The Skeleton Crew,” by Deborah Halber, July 21.
 “The Solarbus Legacy,’ by Nicki Brandon, July 21.
“Mercedes Wore Black,” by Andrea Brunais, July 24.
 “Homecoming,” by Kate Hasbrouck, July 24.
 “Clog!” by Dan Smith, July 28.
  “Refuge,” by Melinda Inman, July 28.
  “Hannah, Delivered,” by Elizabeth Jarrett Andrew, July 31.
 “The Last Best Thing,” by Kate Sebeny, July 31.
 “Showing Up,” by Eric West, August 7.
 “Mad Max: Uncharted Territory,” by Betsy Ashton, august 11.
“A Reaper Made,” by Liz Long, August 11.
“Gap Year Girl,” by Marianne Bohr, August 13.
“Road Gang,” by H.V. Traywick, August 14.
“Sophia’s Web,” by Burl Hall, August 18.
“Two Ways to Sunday,” by Tom Starita, August 18.
“Murder Across the Border,” by Richard Steinitz, August 21.
“Insights From Inside,” by Tom Gerdy, August 21.
“Booked,” by Karen Swallow Prior, AQug. 25.
“Scandal in the Secret City,” by Diane Fanning,” Aug. 25.
“Looking for Lydia, Looking for God,” by Patricia Dean Robertson, August 28.
“Tales From a Madman’s Wife,” by Marilyn Miller Skylar,  August 28.
Oklahoma Ghost Dance,” by Jeff Wilson, Sept. 4.
“Whispers in the Attic,” by Cheryl Alsippi, Sept. 4.
“The Burgundy Briefcase,” by Roberta Burton,  Sept. 8.
“Banana Sandwich,” by Steve Bargdill, Sept. 8.
“Echoes From the Other Land,” by Ava Homa, Sept. 11.
“Into Shadow,” by Tara Shields, Sept. 11
“Waving Backwards,” by V.L. Brunskill, Sept. 15.
Chase,” by Sydney Scrogham, Sept. 15.
The Rivergrass Legacy,” by John Chaplick, Sept. 18.
“Love, Loss & Longing in the Age of Reagan,” by Iris Dorbian, Sept. 18.
“The Other Side of the Blue Line,” by William Mark, Sept. 22.
“The Passion Thief,” by Anne McCarthy Strauss. Tuesday, Sept. 22.
“The Juno Letters,” by Larry Hewitt, Sept. 25.
“Heart, Soul and Rock and Roll,” by Janet Stafford, Sept. 25.
“Discernment,” by Lacy Sereduk, Sept. 29.
“Shari’s Shot,” by James Ross, Sept. 29.
“Patchwork Man,” by Debrah Martin, Oct. 2.
“The End of Men,” by C.B. Murphy,  Oct. 2
“The Big Wheel,” by Scott Archer Jones. Oct. 9.
 “The Other Side of Midnight,” by Karen Rivello. Oct. 9.
“Enchanting the Swan,” by John Schwartz, Oct. 13.
 “Rare Atmosphere,” by Rachelle Rogers, Oct. 13.
“The Shark Curtain,” by Chris Scofield, Oct. 16.
 “Tell Me a Story, Tell Me the Truth,” by Gina Roitman, Ocdt. 16.
“Your Boss Is Not Your Mother,” by Debra Mandel, Oct. 20.
“Sputnik Summer,” by Paul Castellani, Oct. 20.
“Embracing the Spirit of Nature,” by Linda Shaylor Cooper, Oct. 20.
“Fail,” by Rick Skwiot, Oct. 27.
“Convert This,” by D.W. Finton, Oct. 27.
Dead in a Ditch,” by Heather Osting, Oct. 27.
“The Hysterectomy Waltz,” by Merrill Joan Gerber, Nov. 3.
“Girl Without Borders,” by Katya Mills, Nov. 3.
“Ocean City Coverup,” by Kim Kash, Nov. 10.
“Lost Sister,” by Jean Ryan, Nov. 10.
“It Happened in a Lutheran Church,” by Rebecca Moatz,  Nov. 10.
“Rejection,” by Mark Davis, Nov. 17.
“Agnes Canon’s War,” by Deborah Lincoln, Nov. 17.
“Teamster,” by Quorena Sbrocca, Nov. 17.
“Someone Not Really Her Mother,” by Harriet Chessman, Nov. 24.
Colorado Mandala,” by Brian Heffron, Nov. 24.
“Fairy and Blood: Lilac,” by William Crisel, Nov. 24.
“Robin’s Blue,” by Pam Alster, Dec. 1.
Walking Over Egg Shells,” by Lucinda Clarke, Dec. 1.
“Paisley Memories,” by Zelle Andrews, Dec. 1.
The Festival of Earthly Delights,” by Matt Dojny, Dec. 8.
“The Truth and the Life,” by Elizabeth Moore, Dec. 8.
“Behold the Beauty,” by Monica Sharman. Dec. 8.
“Strays,” by Jennifer Caloyeras, Dec. 15.
“Faithfully Yours,” by Peggy Frezon, Dec. 15.
“Floyd the Dog,” by Donald Ford, Dec. 15.



Jennifer CaloyerasPUBLISHED IN: 2015

 Jennifer Caloyeras

: Midge Raymond

: Ashland Creek Press   Ashland Creek Press is dedicated to publishing books with a world view. We’re passionate about the environment, animal protection, ecology, and wildlife, and our goal is to publish books that combine these themes with compelling stories.

SUMMARY: Sometimes, life becomes unleashed. Sixteen-year-old Iris Moody has a problem controlling her temper — but then, she has a lot to be angry about. Dead mother. Workaholic father. Dumped by her boyfriend. Failing English.

When a note in Iris’s journal is mistaken as a threat against her English teacher, she finds herself in trouble not only with school authorities but with the law.

StraysIn 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.

: I have been the dog columnist at The Los Feliz Ledger (a local, Los Angeles paper) for over ten years. While I was researching a column I came across a non-profit organization called k-9 Connection in Santa Monica that places at-risk youth alongside shelter dogs. I thought this would make a great premise for a novel. I also had some personal experience with a pit bull that suffered from redirected aggression, like the dog, Roman, deals with in my novel.

WHY THIS TITLE?: As I got further in to writing the story about Iris and the shelter dog, Roman, I came to the realization that Iris, even though a human, is in many ways a “stray” like Roman. I wanted to explore the ways in which “connecting” can take us from strays status to being part of a community.

I think my story touches on the animal-human bond. Iris overcomes a lot throughout the course of the story. She is by no means perfect by the end, but she does grow. I think that her capacity for change can be inspirational.


“One doesn’t expect humor to evolve from such a serious theme; but, it does. One doesn’t expect Strays to use the intersection of two fearful personalities to explore positive change and courage – yet, it does. And any who anticipate Strays to be a dog story alone may be disappointed only because it’s so much more; it focuses equally on pet and person, and the situations that get them into trouble.

“Young adults who want a story of more than an animal rescue or a sixteen-year-old’s angst will find Strays a compelling saga.” — — D. Donovan, Senior Book Reviewer, Midwest Book Review.

 “…an engaging book about a journey of self-discovery that should inspire readers of all ages” – The Bark magazine.

Strays is a quietly moving story about starting over, and the powerful bond that can form betwen animals and humans. Caloyeras’ prose is instantly captivating, and readers will feel for Iris’s agony and her pain. Iris is a multi-faceted character — as are the others we are introduced to throughout the story. T ese fully realized individuals, both people and dogs, are what really bring Strays to life.”  — Novel Novice.

Strays is so much more than a story about a young, angry girl who learns to trust others and accept their help. It’s about grief, compassion, understanding and forgiveness….Strays touched my heart and I would be willing to bet it will do the same for most people who read it.” – Susan Barton, eBook Review Gal

E:  Jennifer Caloyeras is a novelist and short fiction writer living in Los Angeles. She holds a B.A. In English from the University of California at Santa Cruz, a M.A. in English Literature from California State University Los Angeles and a M.F.A. in creative writing through the University of British Columbia. She is the author of two young adult novels: Strays (2015) and Urban Falcon (2009). Her short stories have been published in Monday Night Literary, Wilde Magazine, Storm Cellar and Booth. She has been a college instructor, elementary school teacher and camp counselor. She is the dog columnist for the Los Feliz Ledger and the Larchmont Ledger. She is the proud owner of two rescue dogs: Reba, a 12-year old Jack-Russell mutt and Dingo, a feisty 1 1/2 year old corgi / Australian Shepherd mix.
I think that anger can manifest itself in many different ways. In this case, she keeps her angeer buried deep. And she has a lot to be angery about. I think that all readers have dealt with anger and siappointment at some point in their lives. It’s important to know that it’s okay and normal to have these feelings. What’s telling is how you cfhoose to express them.”

SAMPLE CHAPTER: You can download a PDF sample here:

LOCAL OUTLETS: order at your local bookstore!

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PRICE: $16.95

CONTACT THE AUTHOR: Facebook author Page:
Twitter: @Jencaloyeras

For educators or reading groups, please follow the link for a set of reading group discussion questions!