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The Mussolini Diaries

Description [The book is available for pre-order at Barnes & Noble (Buy Now button) in advance its September 7, 2020 release date.] Moving at surprising angles between the personal and the public world, Gary Fincke’s poems lead to discoveries that are both exhilarating and unsettling. In long sequences and precisely observed shorter poems, he explores terrorism, mass hysteria, climate change, political calamity, and the necessity of sustaining belief. He references science and history as well as myth. He grounds his poems in experience. Gary Fincke’s poems speak to the reader with an urgency driven by the elusiveness of truth. About the Author Gary Fincke’s latest collection of poems, The Infinity Room, won the Wheelbarrow Books Prize for Established Poets (Michigan State, 2019). Winner of Poetry Magazine’s Bess Hokin Prize, two Pushcart Prizes, and Ohio State’s Wheeler Prize, he has published fourteen collections of poetry. His fiction and nonfiction collections have won the Flannery O’Connor Prize for Short Fiction and the Robert C. Jones Prize for Short Prose. He recently retired after founding and then directing the Writers Institute at Susquehanna University for decades. Praise Gary Fincke’s The Mussolini Diaries is a masterful collection of poems, particularly relevant for these difficult times, but like all great poetry, timeless in its own way. Fincke drills home what so many of us feel about the current state of our country with sharp insights grounded in complex imagery and spiced with wit and anger, empathy and loss. You too may find yourself nodding as you read, thinking, “yes, yes, this is how it is.” Jim Daniels With an unflinching gaze, Gary Fincke’s The Mussolini Diaries grapples with our collective failure at good stewardship—of our planet, ourselves, and each other “…as if ruin were a handsome prince.” In poems with themes as disparate as trepanning, climate change, suicide bombers, pandemics, clever forgeries, or the theft of one hundred brains from a hospital lab, our iniquities are laid bare and we are refused easy answers or hollow consolation. But Fincke adamantly eschews condemnation. In work by turns solemn and humorous, he manages to master a seemingly impossible paradox: despite the knowledge that “the world ripens without us…and we are sorely unmissed,” though “we carry the memory of comfort like a congenital hump,” there is still a chance at ultimate redemption where our “futures will have beauty and flight. Read more…

River Town Girl: A Memoir

Description [The book is available for pre-order at Barnes & Noble (Buy Now button) in advance its September 7, 2020 release date.] River Town Girl: A Memoir is about growing up in a small, working-class town on the Hudson River in the 1950s, ‘60s, and early ‘70s. One mile away across the river is New York City, but it might just as well be a thousand miles away. The town, Edgewater, has 4,000 people. Cut off by the river, which runs along it on the east, and the Palisades cliffs, which run along it on the west, it is rich in eccentric characters, and its life is shaped by the rhythms of the Hudson. The town is fertile ground for the delights and the powers of story telling. Today that version of the town is gone, buried under New Jersey’s high-rise Gold Coast. This story is about how a child of the 1950s becomes an adolescent of the 1960s and gradually but finally finds the strength to finish growing up. A bookish only child, the power of words to make sense of the world is life saving for her. In her books as a child and in her mother’s stories and her father’s journals, she comes to know a self both damaged and resilient. Later stories told in psychotherapy make sense of the overwhelming anxiety that threatens her. Then the stories she writes as a newspaper reporter lead her into city rooms that become her second home and into assignments that usher her into a larger world. The author treats memory as more episodic and fluctuating than traditional narratives do. Written in prose, poetry, lists, fragments, and dialogue and in both facts and imaginings, this patchwork creates a complex, coming-of-age story about a girl, a family, a town, a river, and a time now gone. It does so in carefully crafted language that seeks to delight readers. What many people know about the lower Hudson Valley may begin and end with the Clearwater sloop, but the full breadth of these lives lived along the river goes well beyond. About the Author Lynn Litterine has been a journalist and a writing teacher. Praise This is an exquisite book, an intelligent and thoughtful look into a woman’s life that will reward any reader, not just those close to the Hudson Valley. Read more…

Run

Description Billy Horn is on the run with serious mob money in a satchel. He has crossed a threshold, inhabiting an alternate existence, a heavy dream filled with menace and deception. Meanwhile, driven by Schopenhauer’s will to live, he’s caught up in his sexual fantasies and his continual need to protect that satchel, which he sees as his ticket to somewhere good. About the Author Jack Smith has published four novels: Miss Manners for War Criminals (2017), Being (2016), Icon (2014), and Hog to Hog, which won the 2007 George Garrett Fiction Prize and was published by Texas Review Press in 2008. He has published stories in a number of literary magazines, including Southern Review, North American Review, Texas Review, In Posse Review, Word Riot, and Night Train. His reviews have appeared widely in such publications as Ploughshares, Georgia Review, American Book Review, Prairie Schooner, Mid-American Review, Pleiades, The Missouri Review, and Environment magazine. He has published numerous articles in Novel & Short Story Writer’s Market and is a regular contributor to The Writer magazine. He has published two books on creative writing: Write and Revise for Publication: A 6-Month Plan for Crafting an Exceptional Novel and Other Works of Fiction (Writer’s Digest Books, 2013) and Inventing the World: The Fiction Writer’s Guide to Craft and Process (Serving House Books, 2018). Besides his writing, Smith was fiction editor of The Green Hills Literary Lantern, an online literary magazine published by Truman State University, for 25 years. He presently teaches for Writers.com. Praise Run is vintage Jack Smith. Billy Horn, a young loan collector in New York City, witnesses a mob shootout and grabs a satchel of cash tossed in his direction—the curse of materialism—which sends him running across America from mobsters who want their money back. He tries to live off the grid and dreams of his girlfriend and of freedom to study and write, but is haunted by protean types; a beefy cop, unbearably beautiful women and their menacing boyfriends, predatory matrons, and assassins dressed in black. Such figures are always there, no matter where. Smith is a master of present tense narration, inventive complications, and witty, disconcerting dialogue; and Billy’s experiences prove at once surreal and hilarious, much as Alice’s in Wonderland or K’s in The Trial. Read more…

Our Literary Travels

Description Our literary travels have taken us to Miami, Prague, the West of Ireland, Bruges/Brugge, Copenhagen, Broughton Castle, Bath, Haut-Koenigsbourg, Stockholm, Danish Prisons, Buonconvento, Paris, London, South Africa, Iceland, the Virgin Islands, and the Isle of Mull. Once there, we walked in the footsteps of Jane Austen, Ernest Hemingway, Fyodor Dostoevsky, James Boswell and Samuel Johnson, Charles Dickens, Virginia Woolf, George Bernard Shaw, William Butler Yeats, Knut Hamsun, Halldór Laxness, Giovanni Boccaccio, William Burroughs, Georges Rodenbach, Heinrich Böll, Hyam Plutzik, Franz Kafka, and many others. These twenty essays reveal our discoveries. About the Authors Walter Cummins has published seven short story collections-Witness, Where We Live, Local Music, The End of the Circle, The Lost Ones, Habitat: stories of bent realism, Telling Stories: Old and New. He also has two collections of essays and reviews-Knowing Writers and Death Cancer Madness and Meaning. More than one hundred of his stories, as well as memoirs, essays, and reviews, have appeared in magazines such as New Letters, Kansas Quarterly, Virginia Quarterly Review, Under the Sun, Arts & Letters, Confrontation, Bellevue Literary Review, Connecticut Review, in book collections, and on the Web. With Thomas E. Kennedy, he is founding co-publisher of Serving House Books, an outlet for novels, mnd eamoirs, and story, poetry, and essay collections. For more than twenty years, he was editor of The Literary Review. He teaches in the graduate creative writing programs at Fairleigh Dickinson University. Thomas E. Kennedy’s many books include novels, story and essay collections, literary criticism, anthologies, and translations. The four novels of the Copenhagen Quartet were published by Bloomsbury in the U.S. and the U.K. (In the Company of Angels, 2010; Falling Sideways, 2011; Kerrigan in Copenhagen, A Love Story, 2013; and Beneath the Neon Egg, 2014). His two collections from New American Press are Last Night My Bed a Boat of Whiskey Going Down (2010) and Riding the Dog: A Look Back at America (2008). His stories, essays, travel pieces, interviews, poems, and translations appear regularly in American and European periodicals. His writing has won an O. Henry Award, a Pushcart Prize, a National Magazine Award, a Charles Angoff Award, and other prizes. With Walter Cummins, he is founding co-publisher of Serving House Books. Read more…

A Screenwriter’s Notebook: Reflections, Analyses, and Chalk Talks on the Craft and Business of Writing for the Movies

Description Of all the creative elements that go into making a movie, probably none is more misunderstood by those outside the industry than the role of the screenwriter. A writer but not an author, indispensable yet utterly disposable, the screenwriter exists in an unwieldy blend of creative and write-to-order mercenary functions. A Screenwriter’s Notebook is one insider’s explanation of the ways screenwriters and screenplays actually work (and don’t work) in moviemaking. About the Author Bill Mesce, Jr. is a screenwriter as well as an award-winning author and playwright. He is currently an adjunct instructor at several colleges and universities in New Jersey where he lives with his family. Among his many books are several respected works about film and television, including Overkill: The Rise and Fall of Thriller Cinema, Inside the Rise of HBO: A Personal History of the Company that Transformed Television, The Rules of Screenwriting and Why You Should Break Them, and most recently, The Wild Bunch:The American Classic that Changed Westerns Forever. Read more…

Enjoy Yourself

Description Solonche is productive and prolific, but that doesn’t water down his poetry… He can compress a philosophical treatise into three lines… His epigrammatic tidy poems are philosophic gems. Solonche sees humor and encapsulates it; he frames a thought in perfect verse… He’s playful and profound – the more he writes, the more he seems to know. Beneath the Solonche simplicity are significant social comments, and his goodwill reinforces the best in us. About the Author J.R. Solonche is the author of 17 books of poetry and coauthor of another. He lives in the Hudson Valley. Praise Abandon all bullshit ye who enter here. J. R. Solonche’s new collection is Enjoy Yourself. and he means it. Here is where the questions lead not to a comforting mystery but to the courage needed to live not with the questions but with no answers. Look into the abyss with Solonche and be amazed at all he doesn’t see. As he declares in the poem “Testimony,” “I want to prove a poet can do this without telling it slant.” Lest you are thinking, “Oh no, not another poet savoring his despair,” know that in poem after poem you will welcome a wry smile. And in the end, after all the bullshit has been has been cleared away, enters his daughter evoking his love and a father’s sigh, and the anything but slant yet nuanced assurance that “And now, when they ask me, I will answer,/with passion of my own, and with my own/audacious authority. Go out and listen to the moon./It speaks for you. Jack Ridl is the author of Saint Peter and the Goldfinch and Practicing to Walk Like a Heron, named best collection of poetry by ForeWord/Indie Press Review. According to Lord Polonius in Hamlet, “brevity is the soul of wit.” In the poetry of J. R. Solonche, brevity, soul and wit co-exist superbly. Start with any of his poems. You’ll find, unlike much of what is written these days, the wit is never far from the surface. As for the brevity, imagine an appetizer that’s as filling as a main course. And, after the meal, after the laughter, the soul will be what lingers. Read more…

Do You Know What I’m Not Telling You? and Other Stories

Description Do You Know What I’m Not Telling You? is a collection of stories about New Yorkers—a wannabe cabaret singer, a dermatologist attracted to a frustrated poet, a single man trying to adopt a baby, a lonely stay-at-home dad. They struggle with careers and family as they fall in and out of love in a city that can be frustrating—but is also romantic and alluring. About the Author Karen Wunsch has published stories and essays in Epoch, The Literary Review, Columbia Journal, the Michigan Quarterly Review, and other journals. She taught writing and literature at Queensborough Community College. She lives in New York City. Praise Do You Know What I’m Not Telling You? is a collection of stories about New Yorkers—a wannabe cabaret singer, a dermatologist attracted to a frustrated poet, a single man trying to adopt a baby, a lonely stay-at-home dad. They struggle with careers and family as they fall in and out of love in a city that can be frustrating—but is also romantic and alluring. In her brilliant new collection of stories, Do You Know What I’m Not Telling You?, Karen Wunsch writes with uncommon lucidity about the longing that goes unseen within New York City apartments, the secret solaces of lonely women on playgrounds and at work, and the loves of the lucky few. Her disarming observations of daily life— the absurd moment, the unpredicted gesture—have a wholly original charm. Like a classic song full of wit and heart, these stories will stick with you. —René Steinke, author of Friendswood Witty, poignant, and often surprising, this delightful collection is a rueful meditation on the many forms of romantic love—and a love letter to New York City. —Elisabeth Gitter, author of The Imprisoned Guest Do You Know What I’m Not Telling You? is a wonderful and perfectly titled book. The characters here all orbit each other, circle around each other and their desires, their histories, their hopes and losses and loves, as if each story were a literary pas de deux. Elegantly written, every story is finally a love story, an expression of hope, both elegant and spare, completely surprising and completely true. —W. Scott Olsen, author of A Moment with Stranger Even if you don’t live in New York, Karen Wunsch’s collection of intimate short stories will make you feel like a native. Read more…

Carnival for the Gods

Description A small rag-tag circus/carnival breaks down in the desert in southern New Mexico after a dust storm. Various members of the troupe begin to pull out—this latest disaster the last straw. Those now left have been faithful followers of Dusty, the owner, together with his long-suffering wife, Alta, former trapeze artists, with their dream of creating a show greater than The Greatest Show on Earth, a giant celebration at the heart of the city. Those left have nowhere else to go: Donovan, a giant; Curran, a midget: Billy Bigelow, a magician-cum-handyman and electrician. Into this scene of general disarray, Dusty brings Amazing Grace, who dances with snakes, and the Kid, who might be her brother. She is the one, Dusty is convinced, who will change their luck. This novel is the first of Gladys Swan’s Carnival Quintet. All five novels are available from Serving House Books: Small Wonder, Dancing with Snakes, The Dream Seekers, and Down to Earth. In addition to the Quintet, she has also published a Western Trilogy with Serving House Books: Ancestors, A Dark Gamble, and Ghost Dance. About the Author In her efforts to explore what the imagination can offer as a way of knowing, Gladys Swan has published The Carnival Quintet, a trilogy of novels set in New Mexico, and eight collections of short fiction. The two most recent collections are The Tiger’s Eye—New & Selected Stories, and Jungle, ten stories from the Sewanee Review. Her efforts extend to creating the cover paintings for a number of her books, as well as exhibiting her art work. Her fiction, poetry, and essays have been published in various literary publications here and in Europe. Praise The glimmer of hope cherished by Dusty, the leader of the carnival, and his wife Alta, fades early in this gentle allegory when the troupe becomes stranded on a New Mexico highway. Even when Dusty breaks through his normally cool reserve and backhands Alta for the first time, though, members of the moribund company only fathom their fate for moments at a time; taking their stage illusions home, they deceive themselves with uncharacteristic professionalism. Happiest are troupe members like Billy, who invariably returns to the ground after flirting with grandeur. In one chapter, Billy hopes to defy gravity and become the “Master of Up”; in the next, he confesses, “I’m a now you see it now you don’t man–coins and cards and scarfs. Read more…

The Kuhreihen Melody

Description The Kuhreihen Melody will be released on December 3, 2019. It may be pre-ordered by clicking Buy Now. Once considered a disease, nostalgia has been described as a yearning to return to “a past that never was, “a place that can only be reached through the imagination. In its fifteen essays, The Kuhreihen Melody examines nostalgia from various angles through an array of lenses. In the title essay, the author revisits his ghost-ridden hometown. “Swimming with Oliver” presents a mosaic of memories of his watery friendship with author-neurologist Oliver Sacks .”The Strange Case of Arthur Silz “investigates the six¬ty-year-old murder of a Greenwich Village artist on a mountain in Mexico, while “The Opening Credits of Rebel Without a Cause” conducts a granular dissection of the first minute and twenty-three seconds of that iconic American film. From barbershops to stripes to a boy’s drowning death blamed on the author, The Kuhreihen Melody turns a wistful eye on bygone people, places, and things, and finally on nostalgia itself. About the Author Peter Selgin is the author of Drowning Lessons, winner of the 2007 Flannery O’Connor Award for Fiction. He has written a novel, three books on the craft of writing, and several children’s books. Confessions of a Left-Handed Man, his memoir-in-essays, was a finalist for the William Saroyan International Prize. His memoir, The Inventors, won the 2017 Housatonic Book Award and was voted one of the best nonfiction books of the year by Library Journal, whose reviewer called it “an instant classic.” His full-length drama, A God in the House, based on Dr. Jack Kevorkian and his “suicide machine,” premiered at the Eugene O’Neill National Playwrights Conference and was optioned for Off-Broadway. A visual artist as well as a writer, Selgin’s paintings and illustrations have been featured in The New Yorker, Forbes, Gourmet, Outside, and other publications. He is an Associate Professor of Creative Writing at Georgia College and State University in Milledgeville, Georgia, where he is the nonfiction editor of Arts & Letters, an international journal of poetry and prose. Praise “The riveting quality of this startling collection of essays strips it of even awhiff of sentimentality. Selgin understands that nostalgia means ‘the return of pain’; that it is in longing that we discover the existential grief of being human. Desire weaves its way through this book like a river. Read more…

Labyrinth

Description These poems consider everything from the most transformative moments of childhood to the intense hold that mythological and literary history have on the poetic imagination. They examine the enduring complexity of our relationship with nature and suggest that a deep engagement with the life of the senses and the force of memory can create a kind of contentment. About the Author Rita Signorelli-Pappas’ poems have been widely published in such journals as Poetry, Shenandoah, Southwest Review, Prairie Schooner, The Literary Review, Poet Lore, The Women’s Review of Books, and Southern Poetry Review, and also in such online publications as Poetry Daily and Verse Daily. Her first poetry collection,Satyr’s Wife, was published in 2010 by Serving House Books. It was favorably reviewed in Italian Americana. Her fiction has appeared in Helicon Nine, Crosscurrents, Italian Americana, Farmer’s Market, and VIA. One of her short stories was nominated for a Pushcart Prize and another received the fiction award in Italian Americana. Her other poetry activities include her having been a regular poetry reviewer for World Literature Today and having given a number of poetry readings at places like the (now defunct) Cornelia Street Café in New York City; Queensborough Community College in New York; Arcadia University, Valparaiso University; The Michigan City Public Library in Michigan City, Indiana; Barnes and Noble in Princeton, New Jersey; and The Writer’s Room in Doylestown, Pennsylvania. She has also been a featured reader in the Poetry Night series at the Highland Park Public Library in New Jersey. Praise In Rita Signorelli-Pappas’s latest poems, a man walks the streets of a distant city with holy salt in his pocket; an observer of a waterfall frozen in place bequeaths a craving for touch; Orpheus walks a familiar yet freshly seen path; tulips lean out sinuously in open space; and, amidst lyrics of insight and lament flies “the circling bee of thought.” These well-wrought poems come from an attentive traveler who knows darkness and yet perseveres towards light and song. Intimate with the difficult world, its ruptures and its raptures, her moving lyrics, in their negotiations with history, myth, and quotidian imagery, never lose their impulse to embrace. Michael Morse, author of Void and Compensation A “weightless radiance,” ancient and lovely, air-lifts the poems through the maze that is experience in Rita Signorelli-Pappas’ Labyrinth. The poems are quietly gorgeous. Read more…