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Duplicity

Description Dispatched by their mother to learn why his estranged twin brother Gregory (or “Brock Jones, PhD,” as he’s known to fans of his bestselling self-help book Coffee, Black) has disappeared, Stewart Detweiler drives 1,500 miles to find his twin hanging from a ceiling beam in their deceased father’s lakeside A-frame. But instead of reporting him dead, Stewart decides to become him. As he sees it, he’s not taking his brother’s life; he’s saving it. In turn he will at last gain an audience for his novel-in-perpetual-progress the plot of which bears an uncanny resemblance to this one. At first Stewart’s plan goes smoothly. But before long the motives behind his brother’s suicide emerge, pointing to intrigue, extortion, and desperate measures taken with disastrous results. The bonds of family; success and failure; philosophy and quantum mechanics; the ways in which we can — and cannot — rewrite our own lives: DUPLICITY weaves all of these together while vivisecting its own genre. DUPLICITY was a semi-finalist for this year’s Elixir Book Prize and has also been short-listed for the 2020 Steel Toe Book Books 2021 Prize. It was also a finalist for the 2019 Craft First Chapter Contest. About the Author Peter Selgin is the author of Drowning Lessons, winner of the 2007 Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction. He has written a novel, three books on the craft of writing, two essay collections, plays, 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. His essays have appeared in the Colorado Review, Missouri Review, Gettysburg Review, The Sun, Best American Essays and Best American Travel Writing. His illustrations and paintings have been featured in The New Yorker, Forbes, Gourmet, Outside, Boston Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, and elsewhere. He is Associate Professor of Creative Writing at Georgia College and State University in Milledgeville, Georgia, where he is nonfiction editor and art director of Arts & Letters, the international journal of poetry and prose. Praise “Duplicity is a hall-of-mirrors metafictional masterpiece in which everything has its equal opposite and nothing is quite what it seems. Read more…

If Winter Comes

Description When Fanny Kemble, an acclaimed nineteenth-century British actress, marries Pierce Butler, a Philadelphia aristocrat, she is yoked to a philanderer, a liar, and, as she soon learns, a slaver. She must deal with a husband who expects her absolute obedience, as though she were one of his slaves. As an abolitionist, she feels compelled to go down to Georgia, to Butler Plantation, to witness, firsthand, her coerced complicity in this vile institution. An unwanted presence, Fanny soon becomes a force to be reckoned with not only for herself but for her husband’s mistreated slaves. About the Author Jack Smith has published five novels: Run (2020), 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; Penguin Random House) and Inventing the World: The Fiction Writer’s Guidebook 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 From the outset, the reader of this luminous novel becomes Fanny Kemble’s rapt audience-of-one, consciously attuned to how her marriage to Pierce Butler, a Philadelphia aristocrat, will fail. At her husband’s slave plantation, where she identifies with the plight of the slaves, it’s as if the utter depravity of what she encounters transforms the Fanny we knew up to this point. It is the rare reader who won’t find herself gripped by the pulse-quickening chapters of this beautifully written book. Read more…

Robert Day: The Collected Short Stories

Description The stories in this collection represent about six decades of writing. Over time some of them have grown the “claws and wings” of novels as Vladimir Nabokov put it. But they were stories first. At the University of Kansas I took a course titled “Narration and Description.” Not that I knew what those terms meant but I was curious to find out. It was taught by “Staff.”What I found out was that I could not contain myself with those two categories and in an early submission I branched out into scenes. My teacher (a Miss Staff) did not reprimand me for this, but pointed that “scenes” typically had two “unities”: one of time and one of place. I had no idea what she meant. But since I had not been scolded, in my next submission, I not only had a scene but I introduced two characters who talked. Meanwhile the other students were dutifully writing narration and description: We walked from our dorm to Strong Hall where our class met and along the way we saw the cars on Jayhawk boulevard. About the Author Robert Day’s novel The Last Cattle Drive was a Book-of-the-Month Club selection. His short fiction has won a number of awards and citations, including two Seaton Prizes, a Pen Faulkner/NEA prize, and Best American Short Story and Pushcart citations. His fiction has been published by Tri-Quarterly, Black Warrior Review, Kansas Quarterly, North Dakota Quarterly, Summerset Review, and New Letters, among other belles-lettres magazines. He is the author of two novellas, In My Stead and The Four Wheel Drive Quartet, as well as three collections of short fiction: Speaking French in Kansas, Where I Am Now, and The Billion Dollar Dream. His nonfiction has been published in the Washington Post Magazine, Smithsonian Magazine, Forbes FYI, Modern Maturity, World Literature Today, American Scholar, and Numero Cinq. As a member of the Prairie Writers Circle, his essays have been reprinted in numerous newspapers and journals nationwide and on such Internet sites as Counterpunch and Arts and Letters Daily. Recent book publications include We Should Have Come by Water (poems), The Committee to Save the World (literary nonfiction), and Chance Encounters of a Literary Kind (memoir). Other publications include the novel Let Us Imagine Lost Love and Robert Day for President: An Embellished Campaign Autobiography. Read more…

Have a Heart

Description Have a Heart will be released on November 17, 2020 It is the month of May, the year, 1998, the place, Lincoln Center. Ali and his mother attend the premiere of the ballet Swan Lake at the Metropolitan Opera House, where Anna, the Russian ballerina, is making her American Ballet Theatre debut as Odette/Odile. While dancing in the ballet, suddenly and unexpectedly, Anna, the Swan Queen, collapses, and the story begins. The next day, Dr. Ali is called to consult on Anna. He finds her in heart failure due to weakness of her heart muscle. Anna undergoes a barrage of tests and is crushed that her dancing days are over. During Anna’s hospital stay, and subsequently, Anna and Ali, take a liking to each other and when her heart condition improves, they became lovers. Several months later, Ali meets Nancy, an investment analyst who works at the World Trade Center. He remains torn for his concern for Anna’s health and his blossoming relationship with Nancy. In Have A Heart, Gomes explores the intertwined romantic and professional lives of three individuals, a torpid romance between a patient, Anna, and her doctor, Ali, the clash of cultures, the political upheavals of our times, the tribulations of waiting for a heart transplant, and the search for inner truth. About the Author António Gomes, also known as J. Anthony Gomes, is a Professor of Medicine at The Mount Sinai Medical Center, NYC. He has published extensively in Medicine including two textbooks of Cardiology, Signal Averaged Electrocardiography: Basic Concepts Methods and Application (Kluwer Academic Press, London/Amsterdam, 1993) and Heart Rhythm Disorders: History, Mechanisms and Management Perspectives (Springer-Nature, 2020). He has also published articles in the humanities in anthologies, books, newspapers, and magazines; two books of poetry entitled Visions from Grymes Hill (Turn of River Press, Stanford, Connecticut, USA, 1994) and Mirrored Reflections (GOA 1556 and Fundacão Oriente, 2013); and a novel, The Sting of Peppercorns (GOA, 1556 & Broadway Books, 2010); 2nd edition, Amaryllis, New Delhi, India, 2017) and Nas Garras Do Destino, published in Portugal and Brazil in May 2019 by Chiado Editora, Brake Media, Lisbon, Portugal. Praise Have a Heart by Antonio Gomes is a dazzling story of Anna, an elegant ballerina who succumbs to a heart ailment, and of Ali, the young doctor who is smitten while treating her. Read more…

Loving Modigliani: The Afterlife of Jeanne Hébuterne

Description LOVING MODIGLIANI will be released on December 15, 2020 Amedeo Modigliani, embittered and unrecognized genius, dies of meningitis on a cold January day in Montparnasse in 1920. Jeanne Hébuterne, his young wife and muse, follows 48 hours later, falling backwards through a window. Now a ghost, Jeanne drifts about the studio she shared with Modigliani—for she was not only his favorite model, but also an artist whose works were later shut away from public view after her demise. Enraged, she watches as her belongings are removed from the studio and her identity as an artist seemingly effaced for posterity, carried off in a suitcase by her brother. She then sets off to rejoin Modigliani in the underworld. Thus begins Loving Modigliani, retelling the story of Jeanne Hébuterne’s fate as a woman and an artist through three timelines and three precious objects stolen from the studio: a notebook, a bangle, and a self-portrait of Jeanne depicted together with Modi and their daughter. Decades later, an art history student will discover Jeanne’s diary and rescue her artwork from oblivion, after a search leading from Paris to Nice, Rome, and Venice, where Jeanne’s own quest will find its joyful reward. Video trailer for Loving Modigliani About the Author Linda Lappin is the prize-winning author of four novels: The Etruscan (Wynkin deWorde, 2004), Katherine’s Wish (Wordcraft, 2008), Signatures in Stone: A Bomarzo Mystery (Pleasureboat Studio, 2013), and Loving Modigliani: The Afterlife of Jeanne Hébuterne (Serving House Books, 2020). Signatures in Stone was the overall winner of the Daphne DuMaurier prize for best mystery novel of 2013. She is also the author of The Soul of Place: Ideas and Exercises for Conjuring the Genius Loci (Travelers Tales, 2015), which won a Nautilus Award in the category of creativity in 2015. A former Fulbright scholar to Italy, she has lived mainly in Rome for over thirty years. Her websiteis www.lindalappin.net. 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…

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…

Daddy Dead

Description Zoe King is an independent girl growing up in a family of strong, damaged women and a cheating, frequently absent, father. Despite the odds, and with the help of her doll, Knife, and her learning-different brother, Willy, Zoe takes on the challenges of the world with imagination, even when her life is threatened by her father and an abusive juvenile justice system. Readers who loved Scout in To Kill a Mockingbird or the tough individualism of Kya of Where the Crawdads Sing will want to read Zoe’s story. About the Author Julia Van Middlesworth earned a BA and MFA from Fairleigh Dickinson University. She’s the recipient of the New Jersey Council on the Arts fellowship, the winner of the Fish Anthology short story prize, the Sean O’Faolain short story prize and has been published in The Literary Review, Southword, The Horizon Review, Fish Anthology, Sean O’Faolain Anthology, Long Story Short, Broadside, Hibiscus, Bottomfish and The Plains Poetry Journal. Julia is a founding member of The Sourland Mountain Workshop and editor of The Sourland Mountain Review. Julia lives in Somerville, NJ, with her husband Lawrence, rescue cat Barnabus Collins and rescue dog Horatio. Praise “You’re in for a major brilliant read with Julia van Middelsworth’s Daddy Dead – right from the first paragraph. With strikingly original characters – Aunt Oink, Mother Blind, Knife, King Car, Brother Willy, Toro of the red bow-tie, the first-person narrator spins an entire world of language and imaginative wonder that is breath-taking. The linguistic vitality and imagination compels you to keep reading in dazzlement and makes you regret coming to the end lest you leave that world behind: Encore, Ms. van Middelsworth! Encore!” -Thomas E. Kennedy, author of the four novels of The Copenhagen Quartet “Daddy Dead is the astonishing first-person account of Zoe King, an eight-year-old girl with a vivid imagination whose family is coming apart. Julia Van Middlesworth brings us Zoe’s secret world–full of vision, hijinks, and dark humor. This is an unusually beautiful and unforgettable novel.” -Rene Steinke, author of: The Fires, Holy Skirts, Friendswood “You might think the precocious, luminous little girl making rough poetry out of a rotten life is all too familiar–but meet Zoe King, narrator of Julia Van Middlesworth’s Daddy Dead, and think again. She wears Knife, her punk Barbie and closest confidante, in a holster. She knows damn well what her Aunt Oink is up to. Read more…

Scenes from the Heartland: Stories Based on Lithographs by Thomas Hart Benton

Description When a contemporary writer turns her imagination loose inside the images of an iconicartist of the past, the result is storytelling magic at its best. Here are nine tales that bring to vivid life the early decades of the 20th century as witnessed by one of America’s most well-known painters. Thomas Hart Benton sketched fiddlers and farm wives, preachers and soldiers, folks gathering in dance halls and tent meetings. Though his lithographs depict the past, the real-life people he portrayed face issues that are front and center today: corruption, women’s rights, racial inequality. In these stories we enter the imagined lives of Midwesterners in the late 1930s and early 1940s. A mysterious woman dancing to fiddle music makes one small gesture of kindness that helps heal the rift of racial tensions in her small town. A man leaves his childhood home after a tragic accident and becomes involved with the big-time gamblers who have made Hot Springs, Arkansas, their summer playground. After watching her mother being sent to an insane asylum simply for grieving over a miscarriage, a girl determines to never let any man have any say over her body. Then as now, Americans have struggled with poverty, illness, and betrayal. Thesefictions reveal our fellow countrymen and women living with grace and strong leanings toward virtue, despite the troubles that face them. About the Author Donna Baier Stein is the author of The Silver Baron’s Wife (PEN/New England Discovery Award, Bronze winner in Foreword Reviews 2017 Book of the Year Award, more), Sympathetic People (Iowa Fiction Award Finalist, IndieBook Awards Finalist), Sometimes You Sense the Difference (poetry), and Letting Rain Have Its Say (poetry). She was a Founding Editor of Bellevue Literary Review and founded and publishes Tiferet Journal. Her work has been published in Virginia Quarterly Review, Writer’s Digest, Saturday Evening Post, New York Quarterly, Prairie Schooner, and many other journals and anthologies. Praise Scenes from the Heartland is an unforgettable collection, as lovely as it is honest, refusing to sentimentalize, transcending nostalgia, and looking directly at the riven, triumphant, glorious hearts of its characters. Donna Baier Stein provides a necessary reminder of everything we share, no matter how distant we may be in time or place. Read more…