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Miss Manners for War Criminals

Description Dean Troost is working on his master’s thesis in history and can’t seem—even though he realizes he must—to get beyond counting the war dead from the present war and innumerable past wars. The novel turns on the question of whether or not war is a crime itself, and whether the rationalizations offered for it are not dodges and deceptions to put a smiling face on an ugly truth. About the Author Jack Smith’s satirical novel Hog to Hog won the 2007 George Garrett Fiction Prize and was published by Texas Review Press in 2008. His novel Icon was published by Serving House Books in 2014. His novel Being was also published by Serving House Books, in 2015. He has published stories in a number of literary magazines, including Southern Review, North American Review, Texas Review, X-Connect, In Posse Review, 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 a few dozen articles in both Novel & Short Story Writer’s Market and The Writer magazine. His creative writing book, Write and Revise for Publication: A 6-Month Plan for Crafting an Exceptional Novel and Other Works of Fiction, was published in 2013 by Writer’s Digest Books. His coauthored nonfiction environmental book entitled Killing Me Softly was published by Monthly Review Press in 2002. 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. Praise Miss Manners is a work of exuberant genius.  Jack Smith is fully in stride, from Dean’s decent and muddled voice, and his gropings of conscience, to the intellectual bite of his anti-war theme, to the wonderfully distinct voices of his crowd of characters. —DeWitt Henry, author of The Marriage of Anna Maye Potts and Safe Suicide Jack Smith has written a darkly comic novella, in equal measures poignant and surreal. The extended dialogue at his hellish family reunion reminds me of the opening scenes of The Graduate, with characters we may wish we didn’t recognize from our own lives: the overbearing uncles, the soldier who, returned from the war, is on the verge of a spontaneous combustion, the graduate student who can’t find a topic for his master’s thesis. Read more…

Jungle: Stories from The Sewanee Review

Description Among Gladys Swan’s many short story publications, a number of the most significant have appeared in The Sewanee Review, the oldest, continuously published literary magazine in America. Now they are collected for the first time, together with the prize-winning story, “Jungle.” About the Author Gladys Swan has published four novels—Carnival for the Gods (Vintage Contemporaries Series) and a trilogy set in New Mexico, where she grew up—A Dark Gamble; Ghost Dance: A Play of Voices (LSU Press) and Ancestors.  She has also published seven books of short fiction, including The Tiger’s Eye: New & Selected Stories. Her poetry and essays have appeared in many literary magazines and anthologies.  Though she has spent most of her career as a writer, she has spent much of her time during the last two decades to painting and exploring the creative process. Praise I have long thought that Gladys Swan is one of the best short story writers in the country, and this fabulous collection serves to confirm my belief.  Her stories are beautifully textured, infinitely mysterious and, above all, elegantly written.  The only thing more impressive than her prose may be her knowledge of the human heart. —Steve Yarborough, author of The Realm of Last Chances It’s a joyful gift to have this collection. Every year, my students savor “Carnival for the Gods,” the perfect introduction to how, throughout her long writing life, Swan has done what Chekhov asked, to “tirelessly apprentice yourself to your strongest narrative instincts.” Each of these splendid stories puts on high exhibit Gladys Swan’s devotion to that very thing. Read more…

The Miscreant: Selected Stories 1949-2016

Description Having lived under and outlasted two globe-girdling empires, the Portuguese and the British, Victor Rangel-Ribeiro considers himself to be a pre-postcolonial writer, one of the last survivors of a dying breed. His new volume of short fiction includes 15 stories plucked from a long and illustrious career that began in the early 1940s, and is still ongoing. Seven stories deal with life in India; seven with the immigrant experience in New York. The fifteenth, “Dear J.C.,” takes us back twenty one centuries, to a Roman colony at the time of Cesar Augustus and Herod the Great. The collection thus spans continents and lifestyles as well as centuries. Although several stories share a common thread, no two stories are alike. Love features in some—from lust to self-delusion to poignant loss in the novella, “Loving Ayesha.” Other stories contrast the innocence of youth with the problems of old age. A number are very funny. In this collection, Victor Rangel-Ribeiro embraces a unique range of subjects, moods, and emotions, a diversity that reveals a master of story telling. About the Author Victor Rangel-Ribeiro was born in Goa, India, in 1925, when it was still a Portuguese colony, but he moved to Bombay in British India to complete his university studies, before moving to the United States in 1956 and becoming an American citizen. Having outlived two empires, the Portuguese and the British, at age 91 he now claims to be one of a vanishing breed of pre-postcolonial writers: His earliest stories appeared in print in colonial Bombay in the 1940s; he is still writing today, often far into the night. Rangel-Ribeiro’s short fiction has appeared in such prestigious literary magazines as the Iowa Review, the North American Review, and The Literary Review, and also in his native India. His debut novel, Tivolem, set in Goa in 1933, won Milkweed’s National Fiction Prize and was declared by Booklist to be one of the twenty best first novels of 1997-98. Loving Ayesha, a short story collection, was published by Harper Collins (India) in 2003. Both Tivolem and Loving Ayesha made that country’s best seller list. Rangel-Ribeiro writes with equal facility of life in colonial times in India, and life in the United States from the immigrant point of view. Read more…

The Fifth Eye: A Collection of Fiction and Creative Nonfiction

Description This debut story collection depicts a wide range of compelling characters and their worlds: a hermaphrodite falling in love, a veteran Marine’s “piercing” attempt to cope with PTSD, preparations for the anticipated destruction of a hurricane, aging and the aftermath of breast cancer, immigrants fleeing famine, a mother’s worst fear, and the mystifications of love versus simple desire. As a tone painting, as well as an artwork painted with words, the final story “Galatea” offers a mind-bending, multimedia experience of the complex relationship between two artists and the workings of their minds. The book is not a linked story collection, yet some settings, subjects, phrases, styles, and themes weave throughout the collection, bringing to each stand-alone story a broad resonance and perspective. About the Author Roisin McLean writes fiction and creative nonfiction. She received her B.A. in English (both Writing & Editing, and Language & Literature) from The Pennsylvania State University, and received her MFA in Creative Writing, Fiction, from Fairleigh Dickinson University. She has been nominated four times for the Pushcart Prize and was a semifinalist for The Katherine Anne Porter Prize in Fiction (Nimrod/Hardman). McLean’s fiction (under various pen names) appears in or has been accepted for publication by Perigee: Publication for the Arts, Fiction Week Literary Review, Serving House: A Journal of Literary Arts, Pithead Chapel, and the FDU MFA Alumni Anthology, Inaugural Issue (forthcoming). Her creative nonfiction appears in Winter Tales II: Women on the Art of Aging, in OH SANDY! A Humorous Anthology with a Serious Purpose (all profits of which benefit survivors of Hurricane Sandy), and in Runnin’ Around: The Serving House Book of Infidelity.  Her interviews with ex-pat author Thomas E. Kennedy appear in The McNeese Review and Ecotone. McLean worked as Managing Editor for Macmillan Publishing Company and in hands-on book production for other publishing houses, both on staff and freelance, for over thirty years. She currently writes, revises, updates homes, and serves as Associate Editor for Serving House Books. Praise “Roisin McLean’s The Fifth Eye [is] an illuminating story collection displaying a dazzling, virtuoso style of writing full of unique images and observations that are at times not only gorgeously humorous but also ironically crushing.” —Duff Brenna, author of Too Cool and  The Holy Book of the Beard “Compassionate portrayals of a wide range of characters … All are frail. Read more…

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Road to the Sea

Description In this poignant story of new found love and love discarded, reminiscent of some of Graham Greene’s novels, Tim Schell takes us to Central Africa where a young American, an African prostitute and the seventeen-year-old daughter of American Baptist missionaries are on the run from the police and other threats. The American, Jack Burke, has stabbed to death a Frenchman in the act of raping Mari, the prostitute and Jack’s former lover. She is the one arrested, but Jack confesses, then flees because of extreme fear of confinement, the result of childhood trauma. The daughter, Faith, joins their flight in her love for Jack. While the novel dramatizes a suspenseful adventure of danger, escape and death, the intense action engages questions of love, loyalty and belief. About the Author Tim Schell is the winner of the 2004 Mammoth Book Award for Prose for his novel The Drums of Africa which was published in the fall of 2007. In 2010, Tim’s novel The Memoir of Jake Weedsong was The Finalist in the AWP novel competition, and in 2011 it was published by Serving House Books. Tim is the co-author of Mooring Against the Tide: Writing Fiction and Poetry (Prentice Hall, 2nd edition, 2006) and the co-editor of the anthology A Writer’s Country (Prentice Hall, 2001). Currently, he is the Chair of the Writing, Literature and Foreign Language Department at Columbia Gorge Community College in Hood River, Oregon. Praise Sometimes a book just comes along and knocks down the door and grabs your sleeve with its big story and you read breathlessly for a couple of days, miss work, hide your phone, honest to god, to find out what happened.  Road to the Sea is one of those books; I am thrilled at its appearance.  Seriously: thrilled.  Tim Schell is a sure-footed, fine writer, and this is his best. Just a warning to my friends: a book is coming to your house. —R Ron Carlson, author of Five Skies Road to the Sea, Tim Schell’s latest novel, though set in the Dark Continent, is not a journey into the heart of darkness but into the human spirit to endure and rise. Read more…

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The Silver Baron’s Wife

Description The Silver Baron’s Wife traces the rags-to-riches-to-rags life of Colorado’s Baby Doe Tabor (Lizzie). This fascinating heroine worked in the silver mines and had two scandalous marriages, one to a philandering opium addict and one to a Senator and silver baron worth $24 million in the late 19th century.   A divorcée shunned by Denver society, Lizzie raised two daughters in a villa where 100 peacocks roamed the lawns, entertained Sarah Bernhardt when the actress performed at Tabor’s Opera House, and after her second husband’s death, moved to a one-room shack at the Matchless Mine in Leadville. She lived the last 35 years of her life there, writing down thousands of her dreams and noting visitations of spirits on her calendar.   Hers is the tale of a fiercely independent woman who bucked all social expectations by working where 19thcentury women didn’t work, becoming the key figure in one of the West’s most scandalous love triangles, and, after a devastating stock market crash destroyed Tabor’s vast fortune, living in eccentric isolation at the Matchless Mine. An earlier version of this novel won the PEN/New England Discovery Award in Fiction. Author Information DONNA BAIER STEIN is the author of Sympathetic People (Iowa Fiction Award Finalist and 2015 IndieBook Awards Finalist) and Sometimes You Sense the Difference (Finishing Line Press Poetry Chapbook). Her work has appeared in Virginia Quarterly Review, Prairie Schooner, Puerto del Sol, New York Quarterly, Writer’s Digest, and elsewhere. She was a founding Poetry Editor at Bellevue Literary Review and now publishes Tiferet Journal. She has received prizes from the Allen Ginsberg Awards, a Bread Loaf Scholarship, a PEN/New England Discovery Award, a Johns Hopkins Writing Seminars Fellowship, a grant from the New Jersey Council for the Arts, three Pushcart nominations and more. www.donnabaierstein.com. Praise At long last we get to hear Baby Doe’s compelling side of the hurtful tale that made her the most hated woman in the West. Donna Baier Stein has captured young Lizzie’s Doe’s agency in her first marriage, as well as older Lizzie’s Tabor’s deep spiritual resilience during her decades of isolation. Through Stein’s artistry, Baby Doe’s story makes the heart ache. Read more…

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All the Dark We Will Not See

Description The place is Washington, D.C., and the year,1984. The ruthless dictatorship envisioned by George Orwell has not come to pass. Or has it? Under the presidency of a former Hollywood actor, the struggle for America’s soul has begun-a trial of conscience and idealism versus idolatry and political dictatorship. The White House and its minions intend to shield the government from real public scrutiny, and with hundreds of billions at stake, any means necessary will be used to protect the corporate mobsters who now pull strings and triggers in every agency from the “Star Wars” Pentagon down to the to the trash collecting GSA. But it won’t be easy. A resistance movement composed of rebellious government workers has formed, and they call themselves, The American Watch. Their leader, Laney Dracos, is a powerful government insider with strong ties to Capitol Hill. Like her partisan companions in the Watch, she rejects cooperation with the regime and plans for Its demise with the help of the fourth estate. However, when a naive new co-worker, Edison Eden, becomes an overly enthusiastic sidekick in her war on corporate Washington, she is inevitably forced to choose between her honor or her life. Author Information Michael B. Neff worked in Washington, D.C. during the Carter, Reagan, Bush and Clinton administrations, leaving shortly after George W. became president. He has lobbied the Senate for greater whistleblower protections and in 2002 joined with the ACLU to successfully defeat Internet censorship laws in Michigan and Arizona. As a government worker, he held jobs in managerial and budget-analyst job series from NASA to GSA. Always an avid writer, his work has appeared in such literary journals as North American Review, Quarterly West, The Literary Review, and Conjunctions. He now directs the Algonkian Conferences, helping new writers get published. Praise All The Dark We Will Not See accurately portrays an important period in American political history wherein the struggle for democracy took a wrong turn … —Thomas Devine, Chief Counsel, Government Accountability Project All The Dark We Will Not See is a compelling, utterly original novel that savagely and hilariously explores what went wrong in this country a couple of decades ago, and that keeps going wrong even now. Neff is a raucous new voice in American literature. Read more…

Nine Facts That Can Change Your Life

Description In this stirring new collection, Ronna Wineberg explores our essential bonds to partners, children, parents, and friends. Intimacy, marriage, parenthood, adultery, divorce, and the legacies left by the past unfold in these beautifully written stories. Men and women search for happiness and love, yet face longing, disappointment, and loss. The characters in Nine Facts That Can Change Your Life struggle with unexpected changes in their own lives but discover the power of kindness, the joy of connection, and the ways in which we can be renewed. Author Information Ronna Wineberg is the author of On Bittersweet Place, her first novel, and a debut collection, Second Language, which won the New Rivers Press Many Voices Project Literary Competition, and was the runner-up for the 2006 Reform Judaism Prize for Jewish Fiction. Her stories have appeared in American Way, Colorado Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, South Dakota Review and elsewhere, and been broadcast on National Public Radio. She is the recipient of a scholarship in fiction to the Bread Loaf Writers Conference and residencies to the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts and the Ragdale Foundation. She has been awarded a fellowship in fiction from the New York Foundation for the Arts. She is the founding fiction editor of the Bellevue Literary Review, and lives in New York. www.ronnawineberg.com Praise Nine Facts That Can Change your Life is a richly imagined, deeply felt and unusually fully realized collection. In story after story Ronna Wineberg shows her characters making surprising swerves and connections, reaching from the past into the present. I marvel at how much she can accomplish in a relatively small number of pages, and at how these stories stay with me. Wineberg is a writer of lovely generosity. – Margot Livesey, author of The Flight of Gemma Hardy Ronna Wineberg has written lovely stories, threaded through with the themes of American Jewishness: self hate, self-love, apartness, the urgent need to belong. As well as a wisdom and compassion that come only from deep experience–of writing and of life.” – John Benditt, author of The Boatmaker, winner of the Goldberg Prize, the National Jewish Book Award for debut fiction As Ronna Wineberg notes in Nine Facts That Can Change Your Life, “The human eye is always more than enough.” Her own perceptive eye lands on people in the Midwest, Manhattan, Poland, and German, as they maneuver their way through love and loss. Read more…

Ancestors

Description In Ancestors, Hawkins, a man adrift, finds himself in a Native American homeland called Chaco Canyon, a place of relics haunted by history. He is besieged by voices revealing memories of other lives, including those of his immediate family, truths he had never known: “Like something out of a dream. He could see it, those stone dwellings high on the cliff, speaking of those who had been there who knows when. And who were they? Ancestors, the voice said . . .” Hawkins learns the painful histories of the generations of his origins, who he is, and the quest he must fulfill in spite of the obstacles in his path and temptation to give in and run from the challenges facing him. Ancestors completes Gladys Swan’s Southwestern trilogy, following Ghost Dance and A Dark Gamble, novels also available from Serving House Books. Author Information Gladys Swan has published three novels, Carnival for the Gods, (Vintage Contemporaries Series), Ghost Dance: A Play of Voices, (LSU Press, nominated for the PEN/Faulkner Award), and A Dark Gamble, as well as seven collections of short fiction. Her poetry and essays, and short stories have appeared in many literary magazines and anthologies. Much of her work is set in New Mexico, where she grew up. Though she has spent most of her career as a writer, she has devoted much of her time during the last two decades to painting and exploring the creative process. Read more…

Being

It’s a winter of snow of mythic proportions. Caught in Kierkegaard’s aesthetic stage, Philip Fellows is meanwhile happy to be immured inside with his lover—free to dodge undesirable work—as he seeks continual sensual pleasure. All the while he is being tracked by a mysterious man in black, who eventually informs him he’s in despair. If Philip isn’t ready for Kierkegaard’s second stage, the ethical, he nonetheless becomes captivated by the beauty of a woman who is given to ramping up an ultra-rational, principled approach to the sexual. Read more…