Book Release: Fresh Scars by Donna Mumma

Fresh Scars by [Donna Mumma]

Time heals all wounds. . . or does it?

 Asia Butler and her sister, Ivy Butler Morelli, have not spoken in fifteen years. The two endured brutal emotional abuse from their mother, Veronica, and want only to forget the past . . . and each other.

But the past comes calling when they each receive a letter from Veronica’s attorney promising much needed cash if they will fulfill her dying wish and consent to cleaning out their childhood home. Asia and Ivy reluctantly return to their hometown of Emerson, Florida, only to discover the house is a hoarder’s nightmare filled with strange mementos and clues hinting that they were not the only victims of Veronica’s sadistic nature. Can this new pain be the path to their healing? Will they be able to choose forgiveness over resentment?


Editorial Reviews

Review

“A powerful story about the wounds we carry, and the courage it takes to let them go.” –Zena Dell Lowe, The Storytellers Mission

Donna Mumma’s debut novel, Fresh Scars, is a moving and poignant tale that shows just how strong the human spirit can be. “This one touches all the emotions, and readers may very well find the courage to face a few of their own difficulties after reading it! Don’t miss this well-crafted and redemptive story!”
–Jennifer Uhlarik
2020 Will Rogers Medallion Award Finalist, Sand Creek Serenade

Fresh Scars immerses readers in the skin of characters who battle the trauma of childhood abuse and discover the spiritual strength to overcome it. Author Donna Mumma crafts an authentic depiction of anxiety, sibling rivalry among survivors, and the triggers which draw each sister back to relive the past. The tangles of psychological realism weave themselves around a compelling mystery while the drama proves equally captivating. I felt entwined with the characters until reaching the perfect and satisfying ending. I couldn’t recommend Mumma’s novel more highly.”
–Tina Yeager, LMHC, Life Coach, Author, Speaker, and Host of the Flourish-Meant Podcast –This text refers to the paperback edition.

About the Author

Meet Donna

I am a native Floridian, farm kid and dreamer. I was blessed with two wonderful parents who taught me how stories enable us to learn, escape, connect and be inspired.

My writing inspiration also comes from the folks I knew in my growing up years. I came from a small town in Central Florida filled with some of the greatest storytellers. Tales of hunting trips gone awry, flipped airboats, eccentric relatives and beloved dogs seasoned my childhood.

From the stories of my parents and neighbors, I learned two important lessons. First, life comes with sunshine and hurricanes. Second, with God’s help, we can flourish in both.

My parents had a saying. It’s not important that you get knocked down but that you get back up. I write stories about people who fall, stand and press forward with God’s help.

I invite you to come with me on this writing journey. My hope is somewhere along the way we can discover all the Good Lord intended when He set us on this path.

Donna Mumma has been writing since age eight.  She has won awards for speculative and women’s fiction as well as devotions. An avid believer in education, she holds a BAE and M.Ed. in Elementary Education. She serves as a chapter mentor for Word Weavers International. Donna now lives on the West Coast of Florida with her husband. She is the mom of two college boys and one energetic collie named Duke. Her favorite things are faith, family, alligators, a warm cup of tea and sunflowers

Blog – Donna Mumma

https://www.instagram.com/dmumma748/

Donna Mumma (Author of Fresh Scars) | Goodreads

Congratulations to Donna Mumma on the release of her debut novel with Firefly Southern Fiction!

Dreaming in a Time of Dragons by G. Claire

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Congratulations to Author/Artist G. Claire on Dreaming in a Time of Dragons!

Book Description:

-When is a dragon not a dragon?-When is a prince not a prince?-When do you burn evidence of your royalty and run, disguised as a boy? Eva finds her royal birthright has come at a high price, one that could cost her life. In the middle of dark intrigue, she must decide what to do: Trust the words of a mysterious traveler; or stay in the castle, hoping to restore the ruined Kingdom of Dunmoor. She knows one day she must face a danger sprung to life from the most frightening tale she knows . . . or forever be looking over her shoulder. Her choice means everything. For her. For the Kingdom. This story is stitched between the lines of supernatural realism, with medieval fairytale underpinnings.

I Love This Photograph of G. Claire at work!

May be an illustration of text that says '"A fable for the Annie Mcdonnell ages...' World of the Write Review మ Voa 'Dreaming in a Time of Dragons' G. Claire'

Born and raised in Florida, I have loved writing and drawing since I held the first crayon and decorated our living room wall. My parents quickly realized I would need large paper and supervision – and lots of both.

I grew up, married, and moved to Atlanta. There, working as an artist/illustrator, my work was published and bought by private and corporate collectors.

Later, during my career as an art teacher for middle-grade and high school students, I felt the tug to write. After going to seminars and devouring books on the craft of writing, I took the plunge and joined a writers’ group. Creating new worlds and characters to inhabit them is now my place of bliss.

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Claire currently lives in the metro Atlanta area with her husband, and is working on Dreaming in a Time of Dragons, an epic adventure.

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Home – G. Claire (gclaire.com)

Reviews: I cannot remember my kids not I bring this enthralled in a book as much as we were this one. Ever. We struggled to stop reading every night and go to bed at a decent time, we couldn’t put it down. My daughter says she’s never envisioned anything in her imagination like she did while listening to me read this aloud. The author isn’t only an artist with images but also with words, invoking such beautiful imagery in the imagination. The good messages learned through this adventure are so beautifully and powerfully interwoven into the story. Learning to trust God, listen to intuition/the voice, bravery and forgiveness…there’s so much I could say but don’t want to spoil it. We are EAGERLY awaiting the next book and will probably reread this one while we wait. My daughter has been telling all her friends about it and how they HAVE to read it.

I loved this book! It was a great escape from all that’s going on in our world today. This book spans generations where pre-teen, teen, and adults alike will all enjoy this book! You can even read it to your children! It’s worth your time! Plus, I love the fact that the author also did the drawings and cover! She is multi-talented! Don’t hesitate to buy and read it!

I loved this book!! It was recommended to me, and now my niece is reading it. The chapters are short and story moves quickly. I liked the mystery and than the discovery of plot line. It was so clever. The drawings in it were also very well done.
I could easily see this been made into a movie…I really look forward to that!

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Daydreaming while holding colored pencils.
Thinking this might be a real place. . . Somewhere.

Follow G. Claire on Facebook:

(1) Gaylen Brainard | Facebook

Dreaming in a Time of Dragons is Available Where Books are Sold!

An Irish Story

Every March, I look forward to St. Patrick’s Day because it triggers the memory of when I lived on the west coast of Ireland. As an American with 48% Irish DNA, I felt right at home in Inverin, which is a small village in Connemara, 2.7. miles up the road from the village of Spiddal, the next significant town being Clifden, fifty miles or so up the same road.

I lived in Ireland for more than a year and loved every minute of it.. Connemara is a land separated into geometric prisms by grey-stone walls leading down to the rock encrusted shores of the Atlantic on one side of the coast road and bog-land that stretches out forever on the other. Alongside the novelty of discovering Ireland was a curious sense of familiarity that gave way to a sense of belonging. Between the time I arrived in Ireland and the time I left, I managed to ingratiate myself into the rhythm of a land that has more soul and character than any place I’d ever imagined.

In an Inverin field.

Inverin really isn’t much more than a stretch of the coast road at the gateway to the Gaeltacht, which is an area on the west coast of Ireland where Irish is spoken as a first language. Inverin is moody, pastoral, a bit desolate, and those that reside there have deep generational ties. Inverin is 13 miles up the coast road from Galway City. Here are some photographs to give you an idea of Inverin’s atmosphere:

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I lived within a short walk of this graveyard. It’s down a gravel road not far from The Centra, which, for all intent and purposes, is the lone gas station/grocery store in Inverin. I have a thing about graveyards that’s hard to explain. They speak to me of the significance of human existence–of love and life and history, with indelible, reverential resonance indicative of a region’s culture. Ireland takes its cemeteries seriously, and walking through an Irish graveyard has always given me an anchored sense of place. They are lonely, haunting, and beautiful, and what I love about the graveyard pictured above is that the headstones all face the sea.

Inverin was my home base, and during the week, I took the bus from Inverin into Galway, where I worked on New Road at the Galway Music Centre. Galway is a college town, which makes it feel youthful and vibrant. Here are some photographs that illustrate my point:

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Shop Street.
Taaffes is a 150-year-old pub in a 400-year-old building on Galway’s Shop Street.
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St. Nicholas Cathedral, Galway.

The Claddagh, Galway, a port for anglers on Galway Bay.

As a writer by nature, I walk through life with a running commentary in my head, and keep a journal. I took the experience of living in Ireland and used it as a basis to write a novel about a single American female who leaves the record business in Los Angeles and relocates to rural Ireland, where she meets an Irish traditional musician who won’t come closer nor completely go away. The novel is titled “Dancing to an Irish Reel.” I went out of my way not to patronize anything about Ireland, particularly its people. I wanted to refrain from bringing an American frame of reference to the book because I felt it had been done before and somehow cheated what I wanted to be the point of the story, which concerns the ambiguity of a budding love relationship, with its attendant excitement, hope and doubt. On the one hand, this story could have happened anywhere (I know of very few people who haven’t been thrown into confusion as they navigate the minefield of new found attraction) but because this story takes place in Ireland, I had the opportunity to highlight a setting in possession of unfathomable beauty, with a history of cultural nuances worth the singing of deep praise. In writing “Dancing to an Irish Reel,” I did what all novelists do: tell about how they find the world through the vehicle of one painstakingly crafted case in point story.

In anticipation of St. Patrick’s Day, there is a Goodreads Giveaway running until March 20 of Dancing to an Irish Reel.

The Goodreads Give Away Link for Dancing to an Irish Reel is here: https://bit.ly/38aOEDm

There’s another link to the giveaway as well as my social media platforms, and I’d love to align with you there!

https://linktr.ee/cffullerton

And this will be fun, as well as unprecedented! On Sunday, March 14, I’ll have the immense pleasure of being a part of a Facebook, multiple book page St. Patrick’s Day Parade. I’ll be in conversation with Irish author, Billy O’Callaghan, at noon, Eastern Standard Time on the Facebook page, The Write Review. We plan to talk about Irish culture, the influence of Ireland on our writing, and whatever else comes to mind. I hope to see you there! You can find all the book pages involved in this celebration on the graphic below, so if you’re on Facebook, simply go to the book pages to join in the fun!

A Mariner’s Tale by Joe Palmer

My Book Review:

Sixty-four-year-old, tattooed, and ponytailed Jack Merkel is haunted by past tragedies, ten years gone. A retired career merchant seaman, he’s a seasoned mariner, with “a physical presence as sturdy as an oak” and “the hard-bitten look of an old salt.” Jack lives and works on Morgan’s Island in Ocean County Florida, with his Great Dane, Pogey. A third generation local, he owns a combined North Florida boatyard/marina, with a view of the Intracoastal Waterway. Used to salt air and capricious weather, his life is defined by the accoutrements that make up a mariner’s life. His is a simple life, and looking through his old, Jeep Wagoneer’s window, Jack is spellbound by “the spartina grass, the color of emeralds and worn like a monarch’s cloak in spring and summer, as well as the dull brown peasant’s rags that clad it in the winter.” Appreciative of, and in rhythm with his environment where the marsh’s fragrance is “a distillation that reminded him of the smell of fresh oysters,” and he hears “the maniacal laughter of marsh hens,” Jack can’t imagine living anywhere else.

When an indigent youth vandalizes the cherished sailboat Jack’s been building for the past ten years, Jack’s life takes a twist when he takes the high road. Rather than pressing charges, he reconsiders, when he “looked into the boy’s eyes and saw someone who’d never had a break.”  

Local Circuit Court Judge, J. Harlan Kicklighter is Jack’s good friend, and when Jack makes a plea to personally rehabilitate eighteen-year-old Doug Eleazer, who is charged with resisting arrest, criminal mischief, and petty theft for what he’s done to Jack’s boat, the judge agrees to implement a part-time, work-release program. Bringing Doug out of his shell is a process, but Jack is determined to bring out the good in him, for reasons having everything to do with the tragedy of his family’s past.

Margie Waller is a forty-something, recent divorcee with an athletic figure and audacious laugh. The mother of the two teenage boys on board, she owns and captains her forty-foot, custom-made sailboat named Starshine, which she docks with its damaged rudder at Jack’s marina shortly before Hurricane Brenda is expected to wreak havoc on the area.  

 Unreconciled with and haunted by the ghosts of his past, Jack Merkel is hesitant to let down his guard with Margie, but when Hurricane Brenda lands, the two are thrown together and, in conjunction with Doug and Margie’s two sons, the framework is laid for the possibilities of a blended family.

Author Joe Palmer’s clear knowledge of all things pertaining to mariner life shines throughout this seafaring story, as does his great gift for character development and distinct world-building. Hope lures the reader through this well-paced, humanistic story of characters trying to connect, while seeking triumph over the unlucky parts of their personal narratives. In a wonderfully descriptive setting so finely part and parcel to the story as to exemplify the idea of character as place, Joe Palmer’s A Mariner’s Tale will appeal to readers of Nicholas Sparks and Robert James Waller, in that the beautiful water-front story touches the heart in a way that resonates.  

Available where books are sold: Publisher : Koehler Books (October 25, 2020)

Photographs courtesy of Joe Palmer.

Praise for A Mariner’s Tale:

A Mariner’s Tale is a stunning debut: a seafaring novel rich with lush imagery and colorful characters from an exciting new voice in Southern fiction. With deft narrative skill, the author takes the protagonist, a cynical middle-aged mariner, and his protege, a troubled young man, on a voyage of self-discovery that begins on an island in Florida and ends in an Irish fishing village. You don’t want to miss this beautifully crafted page-turner!”

– Cassandra King, bestselling author of Tell Me a Story: My Life with Pat Conroy

“Hard-edged and gripping.  An intriguing mix of hope and fear.  Fans of Pat Conroy’s evocative novels are going to love this stirring debut.”

– Steve Berry, New York Times bestselling author of The Warsaw Protocol

“A Mariner’s Tale is a richly rendered story scented with sea spray and filled with salty characters seeking grace, mercy and second chances. Palmer writes with heart and authenticity, bringing to life an unfortgettable crew worthy of the love and redemption we each hope to find in this life.” –

Nicole Seitz, author of The Cage-Maker

The Author!

Meet Joe Palmer

A native of Waycross, Georgia, Joe Palmer is an award winning former newspaper reporter and longtime columnist, whose folksy newspaper column, Cup of Joe, ran for ten years in the Fernandina Beach News-Leader with a large and enthusiastic following.

He’s written investigative reporting and feature stories for the Bradenton Herald, Macon Telegraph and News and the Florida Times-Union, where he wrote a long series of articles about a plague that was killing massive numbers of Atlantic bottlenose dolphins on the East coast in 1987.

A Navy veteran and medical corpsman, Joe went on to work as a surgeon’s assistant at a major medical center in Jacksonville, Florida, while attending college for his BA in English with an emphasis on literature. He parlayed his investigative reporting skills into a 20-year career as an investigator for the Federal Public Defender’s Office.

A sailor, he got the inspiration for his debut novel, A Mariner’s Tale, while doing sweat labor one scorching August afternoon on an antique sailboat he and his wife painstakingly restored.

Retired since 2012, he spends his days writing, sailing, beach bumming and traveling. He credits his love of writing to his high school English and Creative Writing teacher, Elaine Stephens nee Thomas, whom he says woke his muse. He lives in Fernandina Beach, Florida with his wife, Pam and a room-sized Great Dane named Harley.

Joe Palmer’s Website: Bookstores/Libraries – Joe Palmer (joepalmerauthor.com)

https://linktr.ee/cffullerton

Release Day: A Dance in Donegal by Jennifer Deibel!

A Dance in Donegal
Coming Febrauary 2, 2021 from Revell

All of her life, Irish-American Moira Doherty has relished her Irish mother’s descriptions of her homeland. When her mother dies unexpectedly in the summer of 1920, Moira accepts the challenge to fulfill her mother’s wish that she become the teacher in Ballymann, the homeland village in Donegal, Ireland.

After an arduous voyage, Moira arrives to a new home and a new job in an ancient country. Though a few locals offer a warm welcome, others are distanced by superstition and suspicion. Rumors about Moira’s mother are unspoken in her presence, but threaten to derail everything she’s journeyed to Ballymann to do. Moira must rely on the kindness of a handful of friends—and the strength of an unsettlingly handsome thatcher who keeps popping up unannounced. While Moira learns to trust Sean and his intentions, she struggles to navigate a life she’d never dreamed of . . . but perhaps was meant to live.

Dance in Donegal

About The Author:

I’m your typical American mom, working, raising kids, and loving my hubby…I’ve just been blessed to do some of it in Vienna, Austria and the west of Ireland. However, after a decade of life overseas, we have settled back in America–in sunny Arizona!

I currently teach middle school English, and when I’m not working on school things, I’m spending time with my incredible family–my husband Seth and our 3 awesome kids–and writing.

My debut novel, A Dance in Donegal, releases from Revell February 2, 2021. You can read more about that here.

I write stories that explore home through the lens of faith, family, and culture–with the beauty and depth of Ireland coloring much of it.

ADD A DANCE IN DONEGAL ON GOODREADS!

Reader Review:

5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book: Reviewed in the United States on February 2, 2021

A Dance in Donegal by Jennifer Deibel is a great historical fiction that has a wonderful plot, romance, a stunning backdrop with a dash of mystery thrown in to create an enjoyable read.

The book starts off in Boston during the 1920s where we meet Moira whom has just graduated from school to become a teacher. She ends up on a quest to her mother’s hometown village of Ballymann in Donegal, Ireland. Here Moira encounters so many new things: a different culture, societal culture and customs, the local inhabitants (some more welcoming then others), mystery surrounding her mother’s past presence here that is shrouded in questions and whispers, and possibly even love.

I love the awakening of Moira throughout this novel. Learning her profession, making friends, finding a partner/romance, facing questions of where she came from, who that makes her, what is her purpose in life, where does she fit in, and where is her home. I really enjoyed her finding herself, her place, path, and solidifying her faith. I also loved how the author was able to draw the reader in with the MC on her journey to the end of the novel. I really wanted to see how it would all wrap up.

I enjoyed the complex and rich array of characters. They were well thought out and added perfectly to my favorite part of the novel:

The location: Ireland. It was wonderful to be able to read and visualize such a beautiful place. Taking a peak into this rich culture, the people, customs, religion, daily lives, the food (oh my the food!), and the stunning landscapes at times took my breath away. The inclusion of the wonderful Irish Gaelic really added to the story as well. It is such a beautiful language. The author has a real talent in being able to give the reader a fully immersive experience to make one feel as if they were actually there right along with her, experiencing it all for the first time together. I absolutely loved imagining life within the villages of this gorgeous country within the early part of the 20th century. I learned so much about this time period there just from reading this novel.

An excellent book that has me yearning to travel to Ireland myself to find out where my own Grandmother is from.

Order A Dance in Donegal here:

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Walmart

The Pulpwood Queens 2021 Zoomathon!

All hail The Pulpwood Queens, the largest book club in the world! The International Pulpwood Queens and Timber Guys Book Club is more than its 800 book club chapters, it’s a literary culture populated by avid readers and enthusiastic authors who fraternize under the Pulpwood Queens literary umbrella to share the love of books!

In existence for more than twenty years, The Pulpwood Queens hold an annual, book club conference experienced more like a party. Featured authors and attendees dress up in the Pulpwood Queens’ signature leopard print and tiaras for three days, in what becomes the ultimate meet and greet between authors and readers. Featured authors are panel guests in the most unique forum imaginable. Nothing staid and stuffy about the proceedings, rather, the panels are conducted as a celebration, where authors share more than the synopsis of the books they’ve written– they tell their background story: where they’re from, their writing process, and what inspired them to embark upon the craft of writing in the first place.

Since a picture tells a thousand words, here are some photographs from the Pulpwood Queens previous, annual event billed as Girlfriend Weekend:

This past Pulpwood Queens Girlfriend Weekend was different. What made the January 14-17th’s Girlfriend Weekend unique was that it was a Zoomathon fueled by the power of its good intention! Hundreds of us fretted over a possible Girlfriend Weekend cancellation due to Covid restrictions, but Kathy L. Murphy, the Pulpwood Queen herself, the visionary mastermind and rallying point of the largest book club in the world fit the needs to the moment and conducted the entire weekend on line! It was billed as The Pulpwood Queen and Timber Guy’s Reading Nation Slumber Party, and its aim was all about connections. Authors met readers, readers watched authors introduce themselves and their books, panel discussions were followed by keynote speakers, a popular audiobook narrator with a gorgeous British accent read excerpts from featured books and there was great audience participation! You can see a little about it here:

Here are highlights from the Pulpwood Queens January 14-17 Zoomathon:

Kathy L. Murphy holding court
Oxford, Mississippi author, Michael Farris Smith enchanting us all by talking about his latest release, Nick: the prequel to the Great Gatsby that is currently all the rage!
Annie McDonnell of the Facebook Live Interview program, The Write Review, accepting the Doug Marlette Lifetime Achievement Award for Promoting Literary.
Cassandra King Conroy, a multiple award-winning author and literary force who gave a talk about her memoir, Tell Me a Story: My Life with Pat Conroy
Keynote Speaker Julie Cantrell of the books, Into the Free, Perennials, and Crescendo: The True Story of a Musical Genius who Forever Changed a Southern Town.





Actor, Author, and Audiobook narrator, Chris Humphries reading a book excerpt during The Write Review’s Panel: Hearing Voices and Matchgame!

I had the immense pleasure of being a part of the Pulpwood Queens’s Virtual Weekend by interviewing illustrious literary agent, Marly Rusoff, who shed light on the mysteries of the publishing world, past, present and future. Marly was fascinating, and we all were honored by her presence!

You can see the interview here: 2021 Girlfriend Weekend Author, Claire Fullerton in Conversion with Literary Agent Marly Rusoff – YouTube

You can read more about the Pulpwood Queens on the website here: https://www.thepulpwoodqueens.com/

And there’s a delightful YouTube Chanel under the name Kathy L. Murphy with fascinating book-related author interviews here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCRY0gmHXWfdLWAe7yMjp5bA

All told, the 2021 Pulpwood Queens Book Club Zoomathon was a rollicking success and an enthralling series of firsts, in that it essentially set the standard of excellence for online, book-related events!

https://linktr.ee/cffullerton

Sharp as a Serpent’s Tooth by Mandy Haynes.

In Mandy Haynes’s collection of Southern tinged short stories, Sharp as a Serpent’s Tooth, characters are as different as Jayhawks and Starlings, they grin like possums, and, if in need while in someone’s bad graces, are told they can go get what they want “their own dang self.” Throughout the assembly of Haynes’s five, compelling stories, her character-intensive narrative is urgent and breathless, so regionally pitch-perfect as to feel indiscreet:

“Now don’t roll your eyes at me,” the narrator of short story, Junebug Fischer says. “You know dang good and well Rita’s daughter did not get pregnant on her honeymoon. And you know same as me that she shouldn’t have married that no count Tucker, pregnant or not.”

Sharp as a Serpent’s Tooth is laser-sharp, finely wrought fiction in each stand alone story. In “Eva,” the abused daughter of a con-artist preacher is depicted with such Southern Gothic surrealism as to make her seem other-worldly. In “Plans for Sweet Lorraine,” a fearlessly headstrong mother is led by gut-intuition to rescue her innocent daughter from the clutches of a smooth-talking charlatan posing as a man of God.

In each story, the narrator’s voice is chock full of gumption– the sure-footed kind grown and fostered in the hollows of the rural South. They are all unique, memorable narrators. In “The Day I threw the Rock,” the young, red-haired narrator prefers to go barefoot in overalls, in whose pocket she keeps a garden snake as she unfurls the high-drama of events that lead to her throwing the eponymous rock. In “Cussing Snakes and Candy Cigarettes,” a young girl defies common, local opinion of her dead mother’s twin sister, in an eye-opening summer that impacts her coming of age.

Author Mandy Haynes approaches her craft with an uncanny grasp on pace in perfect measure. Her authentic voice is beyond comparison. Her high-stakes stories are layered with utter unpredictability. I cannot recommend this Southern to the core collection of short stories emphatically enough. Each of the five stories in Sharp as a Serpent’s Tooth is the perfect combination of riveting story and character as place.

Mandy Haynes has spent hours on barstools, at backstage venues, and riding in vans listening to some of the best songwriters and storytellers in Nashville, Tennessee. She now lives in Fernandina Beach, Florida with her three dogs, one turtle, and a grateful liver. Her first collection, Walking the Wrong Way Home was a finalist for the Tartt Fiction Award, and selected as a bonus pick for The Pulpwood Queens’ 2020 Reading List.

About me – Mandy Haynes, author of literary fiction with a southern drawl

Mandy Haynes’s Blog http://www.the runawaywriter.com

Book Review: A Crooked Tree

Image of A Crooked Tree: A Novel

A Crooked Tree: Una Mannion, Release Date: January 5, 2021, Publisher/Imprint: Harper, Reviewed by: Claire Fullerton

A Crooked Tree is a sonorous ode to youth with all its innocence, angst, disillusionment, and unfiltered honesty. Author Una Mannion tells a coming-of-age story in its full expression as told by clear-eyed, 15-year-old Libby Gallagher, the third of five siblings born to a family most would call dysfunctional, yet with Mannion’s deft handling, we experience the family as normal; we accept as plausible the frame of reference in this heart-tugging cause and effect story.

 It is the early 1980s. The five Gallagher siblings, whose ages span a decade, jostle, and spar with each other in the back seat, while their distracted mother is behind the wheel, on the eve of summer vacation. It is coming dusk as they drive home to bucolic Pennsylvania’s Valley Forge Mountain, and divorced mother, Faye, has had enough. Twelve-year-old Ellen tests Faye’s last nerve by giving her lip, and in a stunning fit of pique, Faye stops the car and demands that Ellen get out. Libby recounts what becomes the pivotal, repercussive scene, “We were still five or six miles from home. I hadn’t said anything to make my mother stop. We careened down the road, went through the covered bridge, past farmland, and fences. Beside us, the shadows of dogwoods blurred in the dark as my mother kept driving.”

See Full Review Here:

a book review by Claire Fullerton: A Crooked Tree: A Novel (nyjournalofbooks.com)

Una Mannion’s debut novel A Crooked Tree will be published by Faber and Faber in the UK and Ireland and by Harper Collins in the US in 2021. It will also be published in Germany with Steidl publishing house and in Italy by Astoria.

Una has won numerous prizes for her short fiction and poetry including The Hennessy New Irish Writing Poetry Award, The Cúirt International Short Fiction Award, Doolin short story prize, Ambit fiction award, Allingham short fiction prize among others.

Her work has been published in numerous journals such as Crannóg, The Lonely Crowd, Bare Fiction, Ambit and her stories have been included in recent collections: Galway Stories: 2020 edited by Lisa Frank and Alan McMonagle (April 2020) and The Art of the Glimpse: 100 Irish Short Stories edited by Sinéad Gleeson, (autumn 2020).

Along with writers Louise Kennedy and Eoin McNamee, Una edits The Cormorant, a broadsheet of poetry and prose. She curates The Word, a monthly author series hosted by Sligo Central Library and the BA Writing + Literature at IT Sligo. 

Una is represented by Peter Straus at Rogers, Coleridge & White

Una Mannion

Nick by Michael Farris Smith

Happy Release day to author Michael Farris Smith! I enjoyed Nick immensely!

“The story of Nick is the story of one lost soul on automatic pilot written in four compelling parts that dovetail to weave a psychic template of a WWI survivor. Its impact is profound, its resonance subterranean.”

It will take hours to wipe the awestruck look off your face after reading the last line of the anxiously anticipated Nick by Michael Farris Smith, a writer with a wildly enthusiastic fan base that fancies itself insiders to Farris Smith’s gritty esotericism. You’re cool if you follow this Oxford, Mississippi author. You are in-crowd if you’re hip to this writer who seemed to inherit the tool kit of the great Southern writers before him. Referred to as MFS by those who take his work personally because his stories do the talking for a certain strata of a particular region, in some ways Farris Smith’s clear, direct, and economic voice is an acquired taste even as his career prospers. But the publication of Nick will change all that, and wider readership will understand the attraction of this fearless writer who transcends literary limits and boundaries and plays by his own rules.

Full Review in the New York Journal of Books: a book review by Claire Fullerton: Nick (nyjournalofbooks.com)

Michael Farris Smith

Michael Farris Smith

Michael Farris Smith is the author of Blackwood, The Fighter, Desperation Road, Rivers, and The Hands of Strangers. His novels have appeared on Best of the Year lists with Esquire, Southern Living, Book Riot, and numerous others, and have been named Indie Next List, Barnes & Noble Discover, and Amazon Best of the Month selections. He has been a finalist for the Southern Book Prize, the Gold Dagger Award in the UK, and the Grand Prix des Lectrices in France. He lives in Oxford, Mississippi, with his wife and daughters.

The Author Reads from Nick! Go to YouTube: Michael Farris Smith: Nick


AUTHOR INTERVIEWS

How ‘Gatsby’ Went From A Moldering Flop To A Great American Novel

On how timely Gatsby feels today

When I sat down to give it a revision last year, the thing that really struck me and surprised me about it was how timely the novel felt. … I mean, it’s a country that was coming off World War I. It was a country in a great state of transition — which is what we are fully immersed in right now, the greedy and the rich getting richer. … [There are] characters in the novel who are coming off the war, who are very disillusioned with their own country. And it’s a country coming off a pandemic. I mean, I was just blown away like how strangely timely the novel feels now compared to, you know, 100 years ago. And if this novel would have been published in 2015, that would have all been lost. But here we are now.

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The Chanel Sisters by Judithe Little.

Today is release day for the greatly anticipated The Chanel Sisters by Judithe Little!

“A lovely, gorgeously set, romantic story sure to charm lovers of historical fiction with its joie de vivre and savoir faire.”

I had the pleasure of reviewing this gorgeous novel for the New York Journal of Books:

“In Judithe Little’s beguiling The Chanel Sisters, the road to personal fulfillment starts with a dream. Sisters Gabrielle, Julia-Berthe, and Antoinette have much to overcome. They are left to fend for themselves pre-pubescence, when their mother dies and their father, known widely as a rootless “seducteur,” deposits them at an Aubazine, France, orphanage with false promises but never looks back.”

Full Review Here in the New Yok Journal of Books: a book review by Claire Fullerton: The Chanel Sisters: A Novel (nyjournalofbooks.com)

THE CHANEL SISTERS: Picked by Good Morning America and Zibby Owens as “One of 13 books to cozy up to over the holidays.”

Photo by Traci Ling
Author Judithe Little

Judithe is the author of two novels, The Chanel Sisters, released December 29, 2020, and Wickwythe Hall, award-winning historical fiction set during World War II.

She grew up in Virginia and earned a Bachelor of Arts in Foreign Affairs from the University of Virginia. After studying at the Institute of European Studies and the Institut Catholique in Paris, France, and interning at the U.S. Department of State, she earned a law degree from the University of Virginia School of Law where she was on the Editorial Board of the Journal of International Law and a Dillard Fellow. She lives in Houston, Texas, with her husband and three children, where she is working on her third novel. When she’s not writing or practicing law, Judithe enjoys riding horses, reading, scouring the fields during Round Top Antiques Week, and volunteering. 

High praise for The Chanel Sisters:

“Admirable…Consistently fascinating. Little’s story of two indomitable women offers an eye-opening account of the unsung Antoinette and her pivotal role in her famed sister’s success. Fashion aficionados in particular will appreciate this take on the life of a legend.”

— PUBLISHERS WEEKLY

The Chanel Sisters is available here!

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Judithe Little : The Author’s website!

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