BERNADETTE MURPHY WRITES ABOUT KNITTING, SPIRITUALITY AND CREATIVITY

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This book explores what, arguably, everyone’s grandmother always knew, that when passionate knitters become one with the craft, amazing things can happen. In Zen and the Art of Knitting, Bernadette Murphy explores how knitting fits into the larger scheme of life itself as meditation, creative expression, a gift to express love, a way to connect, and much, much more.

“Zen and the Art of Knitting is crafted like a handmade sweater, with great texture and beauty and love. Bernadette Murphy knits together creativity, spirituality, and daily life, letting us see the rich and wondrous fabric that connects all of it, all of us, ‘in a piece.’ This is a book readers will want to wrap themselves up in for comfort, for inspiration, for affirmation of the healing, centering, power of the art.”—Gayle Brandeis, author of Fruitflesh: Seeds of Inspiration for Women Who Write and The Book of Dead Birds: A Novel

“Bernadette Murphy explores the now-radical notion that in the smallest, most mundane gestures, we may find a kind of grace. This book traces her discovery with openness and faith.” —David L. Ulin, author of The Lost Art of Reading: Why Books Matter in a Distracted Time, Labyrinth and The Myth of Solid Ground: Earthquakes, Prediction, and the Fault Line Between Reason and Faith.

“The book is full of lore, technical tips, colorful needle-wielding characters, and, ahem, plain old good yarns. Knitting, in Murphy’s hands, is more than a metaphor; it is tangible, proof of the inner-connectedness of all living things.” —Michelle Huneven, author of Off Course, Blame and Jamesland

”A wise, illuminating book, for knitters and non-knitters alike.” —Tara Ison, author of Reeling Through Life: How I Learned to Live, Love and Die at the Movies, Rockaway, and A Child Out Of Alcatraz

 

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A Brand New Foreverland First from Elizabeth A. Havey

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“I’ve long been a fan of Elizabeth A. Havey. I’ve followed and welcomed her writings on Boomer Highway.org, an exceptional blog of perceptive and stylish essays. Now with the publication of A Mother’s Time Capsule, Havey gives us an important collection of powerful and beautifully crafted short stories, and begins to take her place as an important American writer. The stories capture her unique, almost mystical connection with the complex realities of the American family, as she explores a tremendous range of emotions and actions that permeate family life. Read these polished and beautifully crafted stories and accept Elizabeth A. Havey’s gift of experience and insight. Embrace and be embraced by the power of her work as it opens up your own emotions and memories, leading you back to your own family story.” —James Wagenvoord, author

Mothers. We all have one and we all have memories of our mothers. The word elicits strong feelings, mostly positive. But mothers are diverse and so is their mothering and the circumstances in which they’ve raised, loved, cared for or failed a child. Each story in Elizabeth A. Havey’s collection, A MOTHER’S TIME CAPSULE, presents a different journey, a varied view of this life-changing responsibility. Here you’ll meet aging mothers, fearful mothers, single and divorced moms, a mother deprived of her child, another dealing with the attempted suicide of a daughter. Motherhood is love and caring, complete joy and devastating sorrow. It can fill the heart with sweet moments, or trouble the mind with conflict and thorny choice. And though some women may never have children of their own, as our mothers age the role often reverses, and like it or not we will know many of the challenges of motherhood then.

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Tara Ison goes to the movies

And we can go with her!

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Reeling Through Life: How I Learned to Live, Love, and Die at the Movies looks at how film shapes identity. Through ten cleverly constructed essays, Ison explores how a lifetime of movie-watching has, for better or worse, taught her how to navigate the world and how to grapple with issues of career, family, faith, illness, sex, and love.

Cinema is a universal cultural experience, one that floods our senses with images and sounds, a powerful force that influences our perspective on the world around us. Ison discusses the universal aspects of film as she makes them personal, looking at how certain films across time shaped and molded who she has become. Drawing on a wide ranging catalog of films, both cult and classic, popular and art-house, Reeling Through Life examines how cinema shapes our views on how to make love, how to deal with mental illness, how to be Jewish, how to be a woman, how to be a drunk, and how to die with style.

Rather than being a means of escape or object of mere entertainment, Ison posits that cinema is a more engaging form of art, a way to slip into other identities and inhabit other realities. A way to orient oneself into the world. Reeling Though Life is a compelling look at one popular art form and how it has influenced our identities in provocative and important ways.

 

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Mark Smith on his NBA nominated bestseller, The Death of the Detective

I think it was Heywood Hale Broun who said, “When a professional man is doing the best work of his life, he will be reading only detective novels,” or words similar. I hope, even at my age, I have my best work ahead of me, but when I was writing The Death of the Detective, in my leisure hours I was exhausting the classic English who-dun-its written between the Wars, favoring Dorothy Sayers and Freeman Wills Croft, while also re-reading Raymond Chandler and re-discovering Nero Wolfe. In this regard I shared the addiction with the likes of William Butler Yeats, William Faulkner and FDR, among others.

My first two novels, the companion novels, Toyland and House Across the White (original title, The Middleman), were psychological thrillers and a modern retelling of a fairy tale. Before taking on the ghost story, my fourth novel, The Moon Lamp, I settled on my favorite genre, the detective story. Originally sketched out as something of a short story in which the detective in his quest of a killer discovers only his victims, with each murder leading both men to the next, the book became seriously ambitious when I added the moral and ironic complication of the detective himself being somehow responsible for the deaths by reason of his continued pursuit of the killer. This seemed to me a wonderful metaphor for the America of my time and place. And the detective as my representative American—or hero, if you wish. So much better for an urban environment than a cowboy. The novel became enlarged when I added an interwoven subplot of young people and a minor plot of gangsters and made the killer’s victims believable round characters who were either sympathetic or interesting, so that, in a departure from the genre and the movies, the reader would be emotionally effected when their deaths occurred. After all, the tradition in Chicago writing, from Dreiser to Bellow, is compassion. Adding to the novel’s length was my recreation of each particular setting where the corpses were found strewn across the landscape of what is now called “Chicagoland”, thereby involving as many varied localities as I could in the crimes. Many readers would say Chicago was the main character in the book, a response that surprised and disappointed me. Only years later did I come to find there was some justification for this observation. In my day, Chicago, for guys like me, was pretty much an open city, and I felt free to venture where I pleased. After high school, I worked as a mucker (sandhog) digging the subway extension beneath the post office, was a tariff clerk for the CBQ Railroad, the timekeeper on the foundation work for the Inland Steel Building and a merchant seaman on the Great Lakes before graduating from Northwestern University and living on the Gold Coast– across from the Ambassador East, no less.

Some readers, including allegedly mafioso and their children, have claimed the gangster plot is the best piece of the book, and that the gangsters are entirely believable, recognizable characters, perhaps something of a first in American fiction. The question asked then, is how did I come by my insights and knowledge? Henry James said writers should “receive straight impressions from life”, a piece of advice I find irrefutable for a naturalistic writer. Lo and behold, at the age of sixteen I worked as a busboy one summer at a nightclub-restaurant on the outskirts of Chicago owned by a former Capone mobster that was frequented by his fellows in the trade, alone (sometimes to play cards in a closed-off dining room), or with their families. These people not only became human to me, they became ordinary, and for a writer, now accessible to the play of his imagination. For example, I witnessed the tipsy top mobster in Chicago at closing time fail miserably in his attempt to pick up a not-so-exciting waitress, while my boss, a rather comic character who reminded me of Lou Costello (a new restaurant in the area that threatened to be competition for his restaurant was bombed that summer every time it tried to open) would show up at the restaurant furious after losing a bundle at the track and order the help to drain all the nearly empty catsup bottles into new bottles. Without these contacts I suppose I would have had to take my gangsters from the clichés of movies and television (pre-Sopranos) and yes, probably from crime novels, also.

I have a couple of regrets about the novel. I notice a reviewer claimed I had predicted the practice of criminal profiling. If so, I’m not sure where that occurs in the novel. However I did make two predictions that came true that I cut from the book when I reduced its original text by some twenty percent which included not only blubber but the author’s commentary, prophecies and missteps into outright fantasy. One was the prediction that we would suffer from some new and deadly sexually transmitted disease which I changed to suggest old-fashioned syphilis. It seemed to me that given our new libertine sexual proclivities with limitless partners that such was likely to occur. Hence, soon thereafter, AIDS. The other was my direct assertion that the mindless violence on film and television not only deadened us to the pain of violence, but encouraged violence, making it a centerpiece of our culture, a notion that was dismissed as hogwash at the time, but seemed an obvious cause and effect to me. Today this observation is pretty much accepted. So much for my career as Nostradamus.

A final admission. Although the Viet Nam war is never mentioned in this novel, and occurred after the time this novel takes place, it occurred during the time I was writing it with the nightly death count on the news. I like to tell myself my rage against that misadventure, along with my nostalgic love-hate relationship with the lost Chicago of my childhood and youth, were the energy sources behind the novel’s composition. It could even be said, with some hyperbole, that I wrote this book alone in my study in place of publicly marching with the thousands demonstrating in the street.

One of my great pleasures of publishing this book, along with receiving a nomination for the National Book Award and seeing the novel on the New York Times paperback bestseller list, were the invitations to join the Mystery Writers of America and the British Crime Writers Association.

The Death of the Detective is available from Brash Books; Toyland, House Across the White, The Delphinium Girl, and Doctor Blues are available from Foreverland Press.

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ANOTHER FOREVERLAND FIRST

FROM DEBUT AUTHOR LORIE ADAIR

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In Spider Woman’s Loom, Lorie Adair weaves a tale both lyrical and deeply relatable, a story of family, spirituality, and womanhood. Such beautiful language and images to savor, and yet the story is so compelling you can’t wait to turn the page. —Tara Ison, author of Rockaway, A Novel

Spider Woman’s Loom is an exquisitely woven tale by debut novelist Lorie Adair. Set on the vast and starkly beautiful Navajo reservation in the aftermath of Indian agents exploiting the land and sending children to faraway boarding schools for assimilation, Spider Woman’s Loom is narrated by Noni Lee, an old Navajo weaver whose instinct for survival and fierce resistance drives away even those she loves most.

When her estranged niece Shi’yazhi returns to Sweet Canyon pregnant and utterly alone, Noni Lee is forced to face memories of her own innocence and beauty as well as the haunting traumas that stripped them away. Weaving a traditional rug, Noni Lee reconstructs a history and sense of family for herself and Shi’yazhi—the legacy of Spider Woman, whose gifts of creation and resiliency are a rite passed mother to child, woman to woman, as it was in the beginning, the surest path to hozho, the Beauty within each woman and the transcendence of circumstances most dire.

 

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Three Books! Free Books!

FREE! from July 25-27… get em while they’re HOT!

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OFFSIDES

TOYLAND

 THE GREAT DISAPPOINTMENT, A CONFESSION

“Kerry Madden-Lunsford’s fresh, often hilarious, novel presents a bittersweet and unforgettable view of adolescence. The heroine is young Liz Donegal, the oldest daughter in an Irish Catholic family, who must endure the injustices of growing up misunderstood. When she’s not busy transforming herself into Helen Keller or Anne Frank, Liz is falling in love, making new friends, and learning that life has some painful lessons.” —Mademoiselle

“[Toyland is] a brilliantly-told brutal fairy tale. Sure to evoke varied responses among readers, the story effectively explores evil and the condition of man, through horrible fantasies and explorations of characters lead to an intensely-awaited climax.” —Boston Globe

“[Chehak’s] ambitiously imaginative novel questions the very nature of reality… [a] diverting exploration of metaphysical concepts. Winsome and smartly playful.” —Kirkus Reviews

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Book Two of the Mantz Trilogy is Available Now

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The Mantz Trilogy, particularly The Road Returns, documents a time of great change in America. During this period, young people began to move away from farming as a life choice. The once rare automobile could be found—in almost every barn. The boom and bust of the economy as a result of the war and advances in automation forever changed our way of life.

Yet, when we read the story of the Mantz family of almost a century ago, we can find many things to identify with—the nasty and manipulative neighbor who has his own sorrows, the joys and heartaches of raising children, the economic and political factors whose impact on our lives seem out of our control, right down to the drunk driving accident, unplanned pregnancy, and even suicide.

We hope you enjoy this second volume of Paul Corey’s The Mantz Trilogy for what it is: a story primarily of the trials and tribulations that come of the interaction and interconnection of a few families at a pivotal time in our collective history.

Author Paul Corey was born and raised on a 160 acre farm in western Iowa. He was the youngest of seven children. His father died when Paul was not yet two years old, leaving older brothers and sisters to carry on with the farm work until the place was sold in 1917, at which point the Corey’s moved to Atlantic. This family history would become the autobiographical basis for the Mantz trilogy, the chronicle of one family and their neighbors on a journey through the nation’s tumultuous agricultural history.

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