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Publication Date: August 2, 2021

Publisher: MindStir Media

A Golden Thread is a human odyssey of redemption, discovery, and revelation. From the beginning, the protagonist, Jonathan, near to rock bottom in his life. He is estranged from his wife and son. He will do anything to reunite his family. As he struggles to cope with his shame and regret, an inexplicable phenomenon has him in its grip; he is slipping back in time at increasing intervals. Along with this experience, there are the vivid nightmares that bring him back to relive recent past lives. Just when it seems there is no way for this situation to get more extraordinary, Jonathan learns the phenomenon is connected to even bigger things than he could have ever imagined, and he, having no memory of his part, is a key part of an epic struggle between two forces that in the end will determine the fate of humanity.

About the Author

Richard Norton grew up in Portland, Maine. He has spent 28 years in social work providing supports to individuals with Intellectual Disabilities. Richard is an artist, musician, and writer. He currently lives in Windham with his wife and son.

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Coming of Age

Date Published: May 5, 2021

Publisher: MindStir Media

How did the first Americans end up last in America?

From Dog to Wolf is the story of Daniel Graywolf, an Oglala Lakota teen struggling to survive on the impoverished Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. Shy and a loner, young Daniel escapes the drama of life there by wandering the creek beds and washed-out roads in search of specimens for his rock collection; a practice that has earned him the regrettable nickname “Rock Dog.” One day he meets Dr. Robert Timberland, a geology professor from the nearby university. Together they solve the mystery of an important find Daniel has made while searching ancestral lands near the reservation. With the help and wisdom of tribal elders, they devise a plan that brings about the long-deserved restitution for his Sioux ancestors. To succeed will require considerably more of Daniel than just human resolve.

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Date Published: November 12, 2021

Publisher: Acorn Publishing

Seven-year-old Leslie has a serious problem: someone is trying to kill her.

She must fight to save herself and her little brother from the stark realities of living with their mother’s raging psychosis. To evade the evil Russian spies her mother believes are after them, they forgo sleep, speak in whispers, and live on the run. Her mother searches for hidden listening devices, writes rambling manifestos about the impending Communist takeover, and attempts to kill herself and her children to protect them from rape, torture, and murder at the hands of the government. Controlling the chaos seems impossible—Leslie rebels, which only angers her mother, but when she obeys, terrible consequences follow.

Eventually, the police place Leslie and her brother in foster care. Freedom from her mother’s paranoia and violent tendencies offers the young girl a glimmer of hope, but she plummets into despair under the oppressive weight of abusive, alienating homes. All seems lost until a teacher intervenes, risking everything to bring Leslie to safety, to show her the redemptive power of trust and patience, and to prove unconditional love is possible, even without the bond of blood.

When I Was Her Daughter is a raw, honest account of one girl’s terrifying childhood journey through madness, loss, and a broken foster care system, where only the lucky and most resilient survive.

About the Author

Leslie Ferguson is an accomplished educator, editor, and writing coach. As a youth in foster care, she dreamed about becoming a teacher. She earned her credential at the University of Redlands and returned to her alma mater to teach advanced English before obtaining a master’s degree in English literature and an MFA in creative writing from Chapman University. Her work has been published in numerous literary magazines and anthologies. A member of the San Diego Memoir Writers Association and the San Diego Writers and Editors Guild, Leslie is a repeat performer at So Say We All’s VAMP! and Poets Underground. She lives in the greater San Diego area with her husband, where she binge-watches coming-of-age character dramas and reminisces about her glory days as an All-American basketball player and collegiate Hall-of-Fame athlete. When I Was Her Daughter is her first book.

Visit the author online at LeslieFergusonAuthor.com.

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Contemporary Fiction, Family Drama,

Published: September 2021

Publisher: Black Rose Writing

Crippling unemployment and a life-threatening illness push Eddy and Gayle toward life’s dark edge where they hope a Statue of Jesus, the IRS, some magical thinking, and family ties will save the day.

Eddy, a supervisor for a cable company, loses his job. Gayle, a tax accountant, is recently diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Unemployment, failed chemotherapy, and no insurance bring them to life’s precipice. Desperate, Eddy turns to a statue of Jesus, seeking a miracle, while Gayle dives deeper into a scheme she has been concocting for twenty-five years. The ‘statue’ responds, but in an unexpected and nearly catastrophic way.

In the meantime, their adult offspring, Rich and Sandy, grapple with the aftershock of a tragic incident that has shadowed their lives since high school. What will happen when their secret is revealed? At the eleventh hour, Gayle re-enters treatment. Will it be too late?

This is a story of resilience in the face of uncertainty, hope in the midst of darkness, and family ties strengthened by life’s vicissitudes.

Praise For Broken Pieces of God

“A sensitive and moving tale of family tragedy and renewal.” – Kirkus Reviews

“A truly lovely book, gentle and humorous, about a couple having to deal with the hard stuff life can throw at you and finding a way through.” –Reedsy Discovery

Chapter 1

The first week off was fine. He fairly flew out of bed each morning, as if he were on vacation, eager to get at the day. He’d brew coffee, read the paper, check the weather forecast, shovel the snow, warm the cars, do the grocery shopping. But after ten days, his once scintillating routine had become drab and lifeless, mirroring his mood.

By then Eddy Kimes was struggling each morning to find an adequate reason to leave the shelter of his cocoon-ish bed. How deliciously soft the mattress was, how sauna-like the comforter. Was it possible that the sheets were lined with an invisible adhesive? So difficult it had become to throw them off, to sit on the edge of the bed and then stand on what felt like a ledge, to face a new day. Now Gayle was the first one up each morning, something that had never happened before. With all that was going on, bed was the last place she wanted to be.

Eddy’s normal routine was to rise at 5:30am to be at work by 7:00am even though he didn’t need to be there until nine. It was the best way to stay on top of things, to make sure his crew was ready to go. You could never tell what might happen and when. An outage somewhere. A storm coming. Pole down from a drunk driver. Always something.

Eddy sat on his bed for several minutes watching the curtains wave in the breeze. Spring was struggling to arrive; the air was still so cold it could have been the dead of winter. Eddy got up, made the bed, showered and finally started to wake up. The house was quiet. He wondered how, or if, Gayle had slept.

He looked in the mirror at his morning shadow and decided he didn’t need to shave today. By dinner he’d look like a fading boxer—pug nose, square teeth, puffy eyes and a dark veil across his jaw. He’d like to grow a beard but Gayle thought it would make him look pudgier. Not pudgy, but pudgier. He leaned closer. He had extra face on every side.

Eddy got dressed, a pair of fire hose work pants, a black T and a flannel shirt.

He had forgotten that Gayle had early appointments. He didn’t like having strangers in the house when he was still waking up, but like she said, “Tax season is tax season; we need every penny.” Truer now than before. Gayle was a hard worker. And a good wife.

Coffee was brewed. He stood in the kitchen admiring March. There was snow in the far corner of the back yard where sunlight couldn’t reach. The garden was thawing. No buds on the trees, but there were daffodils and tulips showing. A wedge of geese overhead, a reticulated woodpecker working the oak, some wrens at the feeder. The sky was blue. Nevertheless, they could easily get ten inches of snow that night. March in western New York.

The door to Gayle’s office was closed. Eddy could hear murmurs inside so he knocked and stuck his head in. Jesse Gordon sat across the table from Gayle.

“Hey, Eddy, how’s it going?” Jesse owned a string of gas stations.

“Good. You?”

“I’ll know in about an hour.” He smiled broadly. “I don’t know what I’d do without Gayle here. And I’m not alone.” He winked.

“C’mon now.” Gayle was hunched over her computer, a legal pad beside her, tax forms stacked all around.

Jesse turned sideways in his chair. “Any final news on Universal and Scope?”

“Nothing,” said Eddy.

“What a mess?”

“How’s the gas business?”

“Prices are holding. Never can tell, though.”

Gayle looked up from her work. Her face was sallow. She smiled.

“Morning, honey. How’s it going?”

Her back now to Jesse, her smile turned into a grimace. “Fine.”

“Can I get you something? Tea, maybe?”

She stuck out her tongue. “No thanks.”

“How about—”

“Nothing, really.” Their eyes locked for a moment.

“Okay. I’m going for a walk. I’ve got my phone if you need anything. From the store or whatever.”

Jesse shifted in his seat, eager to get back to his refunds.

Eddy stood on the front porch for several minutes. White clouds with smoky bottoms had arrived from the west. He breathed deep as a bellows. As the sun emerged from behind a cloud, he could feel a hint of warmth on his face. He unzipped his jacket. Another deep breath and he headed down the sidewalk.

Caroline Kerrigan was digging near her front porch. She wore baggy sweats and a hoody. And gardening knee pads. Her gray hair was tied in a red checked kerchief.

“Getting started already,” said Eddy.

She got up on her hands and knees and then sat back on her heels. “You’re still alive, I see. I don’t think I’ve seen you since December.”

“Decided to come out.”

She got up and met him at the fence.

“We’re like groundhogs, aren’t we?”

“How was winter?”

“The kids came home for the holidays. Then they went back. We’ve been waiting for spring ever since.”


“And you? How are you doing?” She leaned on the fence post. “How’s Gayle?”

“Busy with taxes.”

“Nothing stops that girl.” Caroline leaned across the fence. “I think that’s good.”

Caroline’s face had a pliable quality. Her smile could spread ear to ear, eyebrows up to her hairline. Or it could get small and closed down, eyes narrow and lips curled at the corners, held in place by her ample cheeks. That was the face she used now as she spoke; a face that was trying to say more than her words could tell. “It can be hard.”

“This is true. See you.”

“Okay. My best to your better half.”

When Eddy was growing up, the Park Pharmacy was on the corner across from the village square. A few years ago, it was replaced with a Walgreen’s so big that locals called it the battleship. Eddy wondered why they needed a drug store that sold groceries. The only smart thing they did in this transition was to keep Sam Cunningham as the pharmacist.

Sam was a classmate of Eddy’s in high school. He was a star basketball player. Eddy wasn’t. He had good grades. Eddy didn’t. He went away to school. Eddy stayed home. Eddy was his best man when he married Marianne. And he held Sam’s hand for months after Marianne died.

When you opened the door at Walgreen’s, a tone sounded and someone would say, “Hi, how are you? Can I help you?”

Today, though, Nellie was behind the counter. She turned on her mic. “Oh no, is that Eddy Kimes; quick, tie everything down.”

Eddy grinned and asked Nellie how she was doing.

That son of mine is going to be the death of me. That’s how I’m doing.” She went on from there. It had taken many visits over an extended period of time before Eddy understood that Nellie didn’t want any response, especially any suggestions; she mainly wanted an ear. He stood and nodded.

Is the boss in?”

Where else would he be?” She pointed toward the pharmacy.

Eddy passed row upon row of painkillers, sleep aids, nausea medicine, stool softeners and antacids before he found the condoms. He emptied five boxes into his jacket. He dinged the bell repeatedly when he reached the pharmacy counter.

Sam’s white lab coat was pristine. He had four pens in his pocket protector. He took off his glasses, pulled a wipe from a nearby dispenser and rubbed his lenses with care. He held them up to the light and was dissatisfied, so he huffed on them and wiped again, this time with a tissue.

And what can I do for you today? I can see you are experiencing great discomfort. If I were to guess, I’d say it was hemorrhoids. Wait, no, that’s not it. Incontinence, right? I can see it in your eyes.”

Wow, and you didn’t even go to medical school.”

Sam pointed at Eddy’s jacket. “What’s going on there?”

Eddy unzipped his jacket, leaned over and the condoms filled the counter like so many shrink-wrapped checkers.

An aspirational purchase. Always important to dream.”

Eddy bowed slightly at the waist.

You are becoming a degenerate old fool,” said Sam.

What do you mean, old?”

Another customer approached. Sam picked through the alphabetized prescription bins.

There you go, Mrs. Hollings. Do you have any questions today?”

Mrs. Hollings shifted her cane from one hand to the other so she could manage the card reader better. She was breathing hard and found it difficult to speak. “No.”

Okay. Just click there… That’s it… Now swipe. Let’s try it again… The other way. No, the other other way… Okay, there you go. Just check the upper box. Now all you have to do is sign and you’re free to go.”

Thank God.” Mrs. Hollings’s face was stern. She held up a crooked finger. “Didn’t used to have to do all this. I don’t like it.”

No one does. That’s the beauty part.” Sam folded the top of the bag and handed it to Mrs. Hollings. “There you go. See you next week, Nancy. Take care.”

Mrs. Hollings inched away from the counter, her back arched.

That’s going to be us, Eddy.”

Come on.”

No, really.” They both watched as Mrs. Hollings reached the front door, Nellie helping her out. “You sooner than me, but still.” Sam swept the condoms into a box and put them under the counter.

The phone rang. Someone had questions about statins. Eddy was impressed with how much Sam knew about medicine. He should have been a doctor. But Sam told him it wasn’t the life he wanted. Being on call all the time. Never turning off the light and calling it a day. Eddy didn’t believe him.

Sam hung up and leaned on the counter. “So, have you heard anything yet?”

Heard anything?”


About what?”

“Come on.”

Nothing really.”

Going to call them?”

“They’ll call us, I’m sure.”

Sam shook his head and looked at the register.


Don’t wait too long.”

Eddy nodded at the bins behind Sam. “I think you’ve got something back there for Gayle.”

Sam retrieved a bag. “This should help some with the pain. At least for now.”

“That’s what we want.”

Yeah. Pain is, well, pain.”

Sam’s face got puffy and old right before Eddy’s eyes, like he remembered everything in his life all at once and it wore him out.

Look, Sam, thanks for—”

It’s nothing. Now go on before Gayley thinks you’re lost.”

Sam and Gayle had dated all through high school. They were lab partners in ninth grade biology. She was head of Debate Club. He was president of Key Club. They went to every dance and every sporting event together. If one was seen alone, someone always asked where the other one was. Sam and Eddy hung together on the weekends and some week nights, but Gayle always came first. Eddy and Gayle were friends by association.

Sam and Gayle double-dated to the prom with Eddy and Maggie Dunaway. Sam drove his uncle’s white Caddy. The school had a tradition of couples switching partners for one dance, so Eddy danced with Gayle. He didn’t think anything of it until she was pressed against his chest. Being face-to-face, her eyes so pale, so blue, was overwhelming. When she talked, her voice gently vibrating, she seemed so comfortable. Eddy’s heart skipped beat after beat, though Gayle seemed not to notice. They clapped at the end and thanked each other. She smiled and pressed his arm with her left hand.

Sam left for college in early August. Gayle enrolled in community college near home and Eddy got a job with the cable company. Sam asked Eddy to check on his girl from time to time, which Eddy did, reluctantly at first. He’d call her on the phone or stop by if he saw her on the porch. Once they got together for lunch. Then they started seeing each other regularly.

When Sam came home at Christmas, they told him. He’d wondered why her letters had gotten shorter and shorter and less frequent. “You can punch me out if you want,” Eddy had said. Sam laughed but stayed away until he went back to school in January. When Sam came home in the spring, he had a new girlfriend. He acted like nothing had ever happened. They never spoke of it again.

From time to time, though, he would still call Gayle “Gayley,” his high school pet name for her.

Will do,” said Eddy. He turned to leave, then stopped. “How’s Jamie?”

A frown crossed Sam’s face. “Jamie is Jamie, you know.”

Has he come back from respite care yet?”

Pick him up tomorrow.”

How did he do this time?”

Pretty good, I guess. Less upset. At least that’s what they said.”

It’s hard. But sometimes you have to take a break.”

Yeah, well…” He pursed his lips and raised his eyebrows.

Both men shook their heads and looked at the floor. “If you need anything, Sam…”

Eddy stood at the corner of Park and Main. Grand elms, oaks and horse chestnuts filled the town square, their limbs still bare, some showing green tips. These trees, some over two hundred years old, were a source of pride for the town. Some had metal rods between their heavier, longer branches, and a few were rotting, but their resilience made everyone feel rooted, feel good.

The square had crisscrossing sidewalks that met in the middle at a white gazebo that was trimmed in navy; it had a vaulted roof and a flag on top that was so big you could hear it flapping from almost everywhere on the square. There were swings and slides and sandboxes in the southeast corner. A flower garden. A fountain that soon would be operational sat in the northwest corner. There were benches and picnic tables, all anchored in cement since several had been stolen a few years back. Great mounds of icy, blackened snow were piled in every corner, the only place the DPW could think to put it in the depths of winter. While most of the grass was brown, there were hopeful patches of green here and there.

Clevon Gaddis sat on a bench near the gazebo.

How about this,” said Eddy as he looked up at the trees. “Gives you a good feeling when you can sit on the square again.”

I suppose it does.”

Eddy sat down and both men were quiet for a few moments. Clevon took off his gloves and laid them on the bench. His hands were chunky and raw, work hands.

So,” he said.

Yeah, I know.”

What do you know?”

I’m afraid not much more than you know. I am way outside the loop at this point.”

Damn.” Clevon shook his head hard. “Not fair, not fair at all, plain and simple.”


What’s going to happen to us?”

Well, no one’s closed the doors. Nothing like that. I’ve seen a lot of owners come and go. They all had ‘new ideas’,” he air-quoted. “And then they’d settle down or they’d sell out and we’d start over again. But the work still had to be done by someone. Cable doesn’t lay itself. And that means they need people, people like you and me.”

Clevon had been with Universal for seven years, which made him a newcomer. Eddy had been with the company when they were Minute Cable, Total Cable, Cable Quest, Cable 4U, Everlasting Cable, then Unlimited Cable and, nine years ago, Universal Cable. Every time there were changes, wages dropped, layoffs followed, some jobs were lost, then most people were hired back and, in the end, they went on.

I still don’t like it.” Clevon’s hands were fidgety and he looked back and forth like he was waiting for a train that was never going to come. “How many weeks you been off?”


Eight. I’m ten. Driving me a little crazy. I don’t want to sit; I want to work. That’s what I do.”

Any hobbies?”

“You’re looking at it.”

Well, I’m sure—”

Of what? Did you hear about overtime?”

Eddy had heard rumors that he tried to ignore.

I’ve heard a lot of stuff. Nothing certain.”

Well, this is certain. Ralph was at the meeting this morning and Danvers himself told everyone that unlimited overtime was a thing of the past. Do you believe that?”

Eddy unfolded his arms. “He said what?”

“What I said—no unlimited overtime. Period. End of sentence.”

Now it was Eddy’s hands that were fidgeting. The family room—overtime had helped buy that. The boat—overtime again. College for Rich and Sandy—if it weren’t for overtime, they’d be working at Walmart, or worse, Universal.

Are you sure about this? I mean, are you sure Danvers didn’t say they were thinking about this or were just threatening to do it—”

None of that. Done deal.” Clevon was breathing hard.

Eddy rubbed his palms on his pant legs and leaned forward, his elbows on his knees.

Look, Eddy, I know you been a company man for a long time; and the company’s done good by you. You’re a supervisor and all that. But times have changed. That don’t matter anymore. Then was then. Now is now.”

Clevon opened his mouth but closed it again. He patted Eddy on the back and stood. They shook hands. Then Clevon crossed the street and got into his gray Saturn.

Eddy didn’t think he needed to tell Gayle any of this, at least not now. When you’ve been married as long as they’d been married, you learn when to say things and when to wait. Everyone says ‘being honest’ and ‘always telling the truth’ are what make for a good marriage. Eddy agreed. Up to a point. When it came to being honest, timing was everything. It’s not what you say, but when you say it and how you say it. Or, whether you ever say it at all.

It takes a long time to figure this out, especially with someone you love. When Eddy was laid off the first time, Gayle was pregnant with Richie. It was a hard pregnancy. She was very sick. Eddy got up every morning and ‘went to work’ even though he didn’t have a job, just to keep things normal. It was about three months before new owners settled in and he got his job back. In the end, he never told her. What did it matter? Sometimes you have to keep things to yourself; otherwise, everything might crash into a million pieces on the floor. Then what? Life only seems imperishable.

The park was getting busy. A half dozen squirrels on the run, moms and dads pushing strollers, kids on swings. Cardinals trilling and somewhere a woodpecker was pounding. When winter came, Eddy loved the silence. But he loved the sound of spring even more.

The chimes at the First Presbyterian Church marked the hour. Eddy stopped for a moment to watch city workers clean the fountain and then he headed for the church. A few tiles were missing from its slender spire. There were modest double doors at the entrance. There were stained glass windows on either side of the front door and three larger ones on both sides of the building. Above the entrance was a rose window depicting creation, modeled after the one at the National Cathedral. The sanctuary was lined with oak pews. Wood beams anchored the vaulted ceiling. On the altar there were a small lectern and a larger raised one where the preacher preached. The choir loft was behind the altar and above the loft was a gold cross, probably nine feet tall. At least that’s how Eddy remembered it from when he and Gayle had gotten married.

Eddy headed round back to the meditation garden. It was sequestered behind dense holly bushes surrounding a twelve-foot-tall statue of Jesus. The bronze plaque said—Jesus the Consoler.

In the ‘50s, when the church was going great guns, a rich congregant died and left money for the church, stipulating that it had to be used for an “external adornment of a religious nature.” Church folk say that the marble was quarried in Greece and sculpted in Italy. It arrived on a massive flatbed. Schools closed early so children could watch the fifty-foot crane hoist the gleaming white Jesus into place.

Some whispered that area Baptists, Methodists, Lutherans and Catholics smiled through thinly veiled covetousness when Rev. Cecil Upchurch discovered an imperfection—a chip the size of a man’s thumb near Jesus’s collarbone.

Stunned and embarrassed, church elders wanted to sue. But Rev. Upchurch saved the day. Kind of. He said the “notch,” as it became known, was a sign of Jesus’s identification with human imperfection and a reminder that Christ alone was perfect. Most members accepted this, though several members left for St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, where money matters were handled more deftly.

This opened the door for every arm chair theologian in town to take shots at The Consoler. The biggest complaint was that Jesus’s nose was too large; that it wasn’t “Anglo-Saxon” enough; that it looked, well, “Jewy.” Upchurch explained that Jesus was middle-eastern. And a Jew. Many congregants were aghast. Behind closed doors, some members suggested that it might be time for Rev. Upchurch to consider a new calling. Some even referred to him as “Rev. Upchuck.” Others left to join the Chapel of the End Times out on Town Line Rd.

Finding no one in the garden, Eddy sat on the cool marble bench. He looked up at Jesus’s face, which was tilted down as if looking back at him. “Howdy.” Jesus looked a little sixties-ish, his hair long and his beard thick. There was a faint smile on his lips. His arms were outstretched, billowy sleeves hanging loose, palms up, fingers open and curled slightly. His feet were bare. The years and the winters had replaced his gleam with elephant gray grit.

Eddy came to the garden for the first time when he started getting bad news. He was out for a walk and passed the church. The bushes rustled in the wind and he looked up, noticing Jesus’s face peering over the holly. At first, it seemed funny to Eddy. Notre Dame may have their Touchdown Jesus, but we have Jesus the Voyeur. He kept walking, but on the way back, he went through the opening in the bushes and sat down on the bench. There was nothing out of the ordinary about his visit, except that he enjoyed the aloneness of it. He went back from time to time after that.

When he first told Gayle, she stopped folding the laundry. Her expression said, ‘I don’t know who you are at all’. Not that she was anti-religion. It was more that they had never been church people. Neither of their families had been regular either. They went on holidays, but even then, it didn’t matter which church they went to, just so it wasn’t too far away. Eddy felt uncomfortable under Gayle’s gaze. He tried to explain. “I, it’s, I don’t know what it is…it’s just…”

Gayle seemed to accept his reasoning. “Do you pray or something?”

I don’t know.”


He kept going. Touching the statue’s feet or the robe made him feel different. He couldn’t say why, except that he felt far away and nearby all at the same time. Other times, it felt worrisome to sit there staring at a giant slab of marble made to look like a famous man from old.

Hey, Eddy.” Peter Goff had been the minister for fifteen years. He was tall, slender, a little bent over, perhaps from the burdens of his calling; sinewy; a shock of white hair that made him look like an Old Testament prophet. Gray eyes. Peter was nearing his seventies. He wore black trousers, black shoes, and a long-sleeved white shirt buttoned to the neck.

Mind if I join you?”

Rev. Goff often arrived shortly after Eddy sat down, his office window within sight on the second floor of the education wing.

We could use a coffee machine out here.” His eyes closed and his cheeks swelled when he smiled.

You’re the boss, aren’t you?”

Peter eyed the statue. “Actually, he’s the boss. From what I’ve read, he’d probably favor a wine rack to a coffee maker.”

There was always patter at the beginning, usually about the weather or the need for repairs on the roof, sometimes sports. This was followed by quiet, adjustments to sitting on the stone bench, and then one of them would speak, if only to break the thunderous silence.

You know, I’ve been studying that face for a long time. I think I’ve figured it out.”

Rev. Goff liked to say things that invited a question. “What’s that?”

He pointed up. “Who he looks like.”


I’ve only seen the painting in person once.”


The Mona Lisa.”

Eddy shook his head.

I think his smile is Mona Lisa’s smile.” He waited for Eddy to respond, but he didn’t. “You know, some researchers did a study of her smile. They had people rate whether she was happy or sad or what. And ninety-seven percent said she was happy.” He rubbed his stubbled chin. “As far as I’m concerned, I don’t know if it’s that clear cut. Maybe all those people just wanted her to look happy.” Eddy stole a glance at his watch. “The smile, if you want to call it that, seems more ambiguous, more mysterious to me.”

There was eagerness on Peter’s face. Eddy often didn’t understand what Rev. Goff was talking about, but he liked him anyway. He liked that even though he was a minster, Rev. Goff insisted on being called Peter; he liked how curious he was about everything, like a child. And even though he usually came to the garden to be alone, he appreciated Rev. Goff showing up from time to time.

I just think it’s a nice statue.”

The holly rustled and darker clouds began to assemble.

So, Eddy, how are you doing?”

I’m doing.”

I’m sure you are.” Peter folded his hands in his lap and looked sideways at Eddy.

You have a lot going on.”


Must be hard at times. Carrying so much.”


You’ve been coming here pretty often of late.” He pointed to his office window. “I have an even better view of you than Jesus here.”

That you do.”

Peter shifted and crossed his legs. He licked his lips and took a few breaths before he spoke again.

You know, Eddy, this statue is called Jesus the Consoler for a reason. Everybody needs consolation, comfort, at one time or another.”

Peter, his face aglow, looked up at the Consoler.

Sometimes you need to lift up your burdens. You know, turn them over to a higher power.”

This was the first time that Peter had ever gone religious on Eddy. Eddy understood, though, that Peter didn’t show up so often just for sports talk and the weather. He knew Peter would love to bring him into the fold, to have him sit inside instead of out. Eddy wanted to say something, but he couldn’t find words for the confusion inside.

Well, I should go,” said Rev. Goff. “Do you mind if I pray?”

He took Eddy’s hands in his and bowed his head. His forehead was furrowed and his eyes fluttered, but he didn’t say a thing for a minute or more, just “Amen.”

Eddy stayed a few minutes longer after Rev. Goff had left. The brisk air made him stand. He looked at the stone face of Jesus towering over him. He started to walk away but stopped and turned back. Something was different. He stood on tiptoes to get a closer look. Then he turned away, blinked hard and looked at the face again. He did this several times.

It was the mouth. Something was different about the mouth. He stood back a few feet and squinted. He was sure that if a bunch of researchers asked a thousand people about this smile right now, ninety-seven percent would see sadness. He closed his eyes again and then took another look. Or was it puzzlement?

About the Author

Broken Pieces of God is David B. Seaburn’s eighth novel. He was a Finalist for the National Indie Excellence Award in General Fiction (2011), placed second in the TAZ Awards for Fiction (2017), was short listed for the Somerset Award (2018), was an American Book Fest Finalist for “Best Book” in General Fiction (2019), and a Semi-Finalist in Literary, Contemporary and Satire Fiction for the Somerset Award (2019). Seaburn lives with his wife near Rochester, NY. They have two married daughters and four wonderful grandchildren.

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The Black Origins of Mysticism and Psychology


Date Published: September 14, 2021

Publisher: Inner Traditions; 3rd Edition, Revised Edition of The African Unconscious

Reveals how spirituality and the collective unconscious of all of humanity originated in Africa

Examines the Oldawan, the Ancient Soul of Africa, and its correlation with what modern psychologists have defined as the collective unconscious

Draws on archaeology, DNA research, history, and depth psychology to reveal how the biological and spiritual roots of religion and science came out of Africa

Explores the reflections of our African unconscious in the present confrontation in the Americas, in the work of the Founding Fathers, and in modern psychospirituality

The fossil record confirms that humanity originated in Africa. Yet somehow we have overlooked that Africa is also at the root of all that makes us human–our spirituality, civilization, arts, sciences, philosophy, and our conscious and unconscious minds.

In this African-revisioned look at the unfolding of human history and culture, Edward Bruce Bynum reveals how our collective unconscious is African. Drawing on archaeology, DNA research, history, depth psychology, and the biological and spiritual roots of religion and science, he demonstrates how all modern human beings, regardless of ethnic or racial categorizations, share a common deeper identity, both psychically and genetically, connected with a primordial African unconscious.

Exploring the beginning of early religions, spirituality, and mysticism in Africa, along with philosophy, art, and science, the author looks at the Egyptian Nubian role in the rise of civilization and the emergence of Kemetic Egypt, revealing how and why ancient Egypt was separated from the rest of Africa in the Western mind–despite it being the most sophisticated expression of the Mother Continent. He examines the Oldawan, the Ancient Soul, and its correlation with what modern psychologists have defined as the collective unconscious. Revealing the spiritual and psychological ramifications of our shared African ancestry, the author examines its reflections in the present confrontation in the Americas, in the work of the Founding Fathers, and in modern Black spirituality, which arose from African diaspora religion and philosophy.

By recognizing our shared African unconscious, the matrix that forms the deepest luminous core of human identity, we can learn to see and feel that the differences between one person and another are merely superficial and ultimately there is no real separation between the material and the spiritual

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Women’s Fiction

Date Published: April 20, 2021

Publisher: Wild Quail Publishing

Two women on the run!

After agreeing to enter the New Life Assisted-Living Community outside of Boston, Agatha “Aggie” Robard talks her devoted, serious granddaughter, Blythe, into driving her to Florida, stopping to see old college friends along the way. She particularly needs to speak to Donovan Bailey, the man she’d thought she would marry right after graduating from college. By asking Blythe to go with her, Aggie is hoping to prove to her that life should be about having fun too. Their road trip is a great idea for both of them as long as Aggie’s son and his wife, Blythe’s difficult stepmother, don’t find out.

While the rest of the family is away on vacation, Aggie and Blythe set off on their secret adventure. All goes well until Aggie falls while dancing on the beach with Donovan, breaking a bone in her leg. Then Blythe’s father is seriously injured in an automobile accident. Blythe and Logan Pierce, Donovan’s young assistant, do their best to step in for them at The Robard Company working together, fighting the attraction they feel for one another.

The road trip brings about happy memories, surprises, and love as Aggie and Blythe meet others and discover new possibilities for everything they’ve ever wanted.

About the Author

Judith Keim enjoyed her childhood and young-adult years in Elmira, New York, and now makes her home in Boise, Idaho, with her husband and their two dachshunds, Winston and Wally, and other members of her family.

While growing up, she was drawn to the idea of writing stories from a young age. Books were always present, being read, ready to go back to the library, or about to be discovered. All in her family shared information from the books in general conversation, giving them a wealth of knowledge and vivid imaginations.

A hybrid author who both has a publisher and self-publishes, Ms. Keim writes heart-warming novels about women who face unexpected challenges, meet them with strength, and find love and happiness along the way. Her best-selling books are based, in part, on many of the places she’s lived or visited and on the interesting people she’s met, creating believable characters and realistic settings her many loyal readers love. Ms. Keim loves to hear from her readers and appreciates their enthusiasm for her stories.

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Christian Fiction

Publisher: Outskirts Press

Transformation: 30 Years is an autobiographical yet fictionalized account of a young woman’s journey through many facets, or serious issues, of life such as racism, domestic violence, bullying, eating disorders, lost love, alcoholism, low self esteem, poor self image, overcoming poverty, stereotypes…These are just some of the issues that are addressed in this book. The protagonist resents her “overprotective” mother keeping her from the “fun and mystery” of the darkness. When she finally “escapes” to college and has the power to “live life her own way” she experiences some of the lowest points of her life. Had it not been for the Grace of a Risen Savior, she would have perished. She was, “Saved by Grace.” The book is an easy, quick read that speaks to varying age groups. There is something in the book for anyone who reads it. The book is a ray of hope for those going through various struggles in life to be “tenacious,” and have hope because your Transformation is on the way!!!


The rampant partying continued even after classes had started. Even after a couple of years had passed. Even after it all became unfun. Partying and drinking had become a lifestyle that got in the way of the intended purpose of being there to learn and pursue a degree leading to a career. Jenny had frequent bouts of home sickness and was sinking deeper and deeper into depression. The late nights had become unfun; the hot wings, steamed oysters, and the pitchers of beer had become unfun. The frat parties with their free kegs and anything-goes antics had become unfun. The stories of drunken stupors, hellacious hangovers and promiscuous hook ups had become unfun. Depression was beginning to overtake her to the point of having suicidal thoughts. If life was going to be like this, why live?…

About The Author

Ms. Julie Cull is a born again believer in Jesus Christ. She earned a B.A. in English from the University of Florida and a Master’s in Education from the University of Phoenix. She resides in the Sunshine State, Florida. Ms. Cull loves reading, writing, and going to the beach. She has a daughter and a grandson. She believes in the power of transformation because of the adversities she experienced in her own life. Going through life’s trials can lead you to a personal relationship with Jesus that can forever change your life!!

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Florida Wildlife Warriors, Book 2

Romantic Suspense

Release Date: January 26, 2021

Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca

Sultry romantic suspense set in Florida’s untamed wilderness…

When your heart’s involved…

If you dare venture beyond Disney’s magic and Miami’s high-rises, you’ll find yourself in Florida’s untamed wilderness.

A bush pilot and officer for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Josh Tanner is one of the tough cops needed to manage these rugged areas. And the minute he finds Delilah Atwood deep in the woods without a good explanation, he knows something is very wrong…

All the stakes are raised…

Delilah barely escaped her ultra-fundamental militia family years ago. Now she’s back to save her sixteen-year-old sister, and no government man is going to stop her. Josh isn’t going to stand by and watch Delilah risk her life, but unless he can get her to trust him, she may end up being the next victim.

Other Books in the Florida Wildlife Warriors Series:

Beyond Risk

Florida Wildlife Warriors, Book 1

Release Date: January 2019

Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca

Author Connie Mann delivers clean romance with a side of intrigue and suspense the likes of which you’ve never seen. Florida’s untamed wilderness beckons with its beauty and mystery, but this paradise has a dark side that’s waiting for you to step off the path…

Former Florida Fish & Wildlife Officer Charlotte “Charlee” Tanner still carries the guilt of a tragic drowning accident that occurred on her watch. She hoped moving back home to central Florida would provide a safe haven―until she learns that her beloved wilderness is full of twisted lies and deadly secrets, including the fact that the death that’s haunted her was no accident…and she was the intended target.

Tough and decisive, Lieutenant Hunter Boudreau has just been promoted as a law enforcement officer with the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission, though not everyone on the force is happy about the change. Despite the friction at work, Charlee is his best friend, so when she comes under fire, he’s not letting her out of his sight until the killer is caught. But Hunter has secrets of his own, and Charlee is determined not to let anyone else die for her.

As danger closes in and Charlee and Hunter’s attraction threatens to consume them, Charlee has to decide whether she can trust Hunter. And to save Charlee, Hunter will have to trust her, too.



Delilah raced after Mary, ignoring the gunshots spitting sand up at her. She’d pulled her weapon from her waistband, but she didn’t fire, wouldn’t risk hitting Mary by mistake. She just had to find her, fast.

If Mary disappeared now, Delilah might never see her again. Her family would disappear, and their like-minded friends would make sure no one could find them. She couldn’t bear the idea of her sister going through what she had.

She ran despite the bullets that just kept coming. Some part of her brain was surprised she wasn’t down on the ground, bleeding, but whoever it was knew exactly where they were placing those shots. They were trying to keep her away, not kill her.

The moon slid behind some clouds, and Delilah momentarily lost sight of her sister. One minute, Mary was ahead of her, and the next, she’d disappeared.

Delilah ran farther, heart pounding, until the gunshots stopped and the silence told her Mary was gone. Panting, defeated, she collapsed against a live oak tree and slid down to the ground. Bark scraped her back, but she didn’t notice. “Oh God. Mary.”

She’d hoped once her sister knew she’d come to rescue her, she’d meekly follow and they’d get the heck out of Dodge. Easy-peasy. She snorted at her own naïveté. What had made perfect sense in her Tallahassee apartment she now saw for the same childlike thinking that had gotten her trapped eight years ago.

Frustrated, she climbed to her feet. She wasn’t that scared girl anymore, but she understood Mary’s thinking. Her sister had no doubt been rigorously indoctrinated into the importance of family and sticking together against the outside world. Her reaction tonight said she’d also seen enough to want to protect Mama.

But given the gunshots, Mary’s cooperation was only part of the equation. Either Aaron or John Henry obviously didn’t want her to leave. They didn’t go to that much trouble for a “mere woman” without good reason.

Which meant she not only had to find them, she had to find out exactly what they were planning so she could use that as leverage, too.


When Delilah stopped behind a tree, Josh deliberately made noise as he approached so as not to startle her. He was shocked to his toes when she stepped into view, Glock held in front of her, hands rock steady on the grip, eyes hard. “Hands up and move closer so I can see you,” she ordered.

He froze, stunned. Her confidence hit him square in the gut and made the attraction he felt for her burn even hotter. Damn, she looked good like that.

It’s Josh Tanner, Fish and Wildlife. Please put down the gun, Delilah, for my safety and yours.”

Through his night-vision goggles, he saw her eyes narrow in surprise and suspicion, but she immediately holstered the gun.

He stepped into the small clearing, hands on his utility belt, in reach of his own weapon.

She gave his uniform a quick once-over, then fisted both hands on her hips. “What are you doing here?”

I was going to ask you the same question,” he responded, her attitude fueling his own. He pulled off his goggles. “Why are you sneaking around out here in the middle of the night?”

She huffed out a breath. “Seriously? Since when can’t people go outside at night without being interrogated by Fish and Wildlife?”

He almost laughed at her belligerent tone. Almost. But then he noticed the pain shadowing her features. He softened his voice. “Who were you meeting with?”

Her chin came up, lips pursed. “I’m not sure that’s any of your concern.”

She was dressed in black from head to toe, the fabric of her T-shirt clinging to her curves, her hands propped on a utility belt that looked a lot like his own. He’d thought her beautiful when she was sipping coffee. But whoever the girl was, she’d sent Delilah into full-on protective mode, reminding him of Xena, the warrior princess. He felt the jolt all the way to his toes.

He took a step closer, and she stilled. When he reached out and plucked a leaf from her hair, she captured his wrist, questions swirling in her huge blue eyes. Seconds ticked by as they watched each other, her mix of strength and vulnerability drawing him closer. He ran his thumb along her jaw, and her grip on his arm tightened. He studied her lips, lush and full, and the urge to taste had him inclining his head. Inches before their mouths touched, their eyes met, held. She blinked, effectively breaking the spell as she eased out of reach.

He shook his head to clear his muddled thoughts. Focus, Tanner. “Who was the girl?”

She crossed her arms over her chest and regarded him steadily. “And if I said, again, that it was none of your business?”

I would say I was making it my business, since you are considered a person of interest in a recent death here in the forest.”

Her eyes narrowed right before she huffed out a laugh and called his bluff. “Seriously? You and your FWC buddies have declared me a person of interest because some poor hunter got killed by a bear?”

Josh had to tread lightly. He couldn’t discuss an active investigation, but that death scene wasn’t right, which was why he was out here in the middle of the night to begin with.

Who is she?”

I don’t like being backed into a corner, Officer Tanner.”

Josh propped his fists on his hips. “Are you going to make me drag this information out of you one word at a time?”

Never answer a question you haven’t been asked. And never offer more information than what is required.” She tossed the words out in a way that made Josh think they had been drilled into her from childhood.

He pulled back his irritation. There was something else at play here, something that clearly worried her. “I am not your enemy, Delilah. Talk to me. Let me help.”

By the light of the moon, he saw myriad emotions cross her face. “I appreciate that, but you can’t. This is a family matter, something I have to deal with myself.” She squared her shoulders and set off again.

He easily caught up to her and matched his steps to hers. “You don’t have to say a word to me if you don’t want to, but if you’re heading back toward your camper”—he hitched a thumb over his shoulder—“you’re heading in the wrong direction.”

About The Author

Connie Mann is a licensed boat captain and loves writing romantic suspense stories set in Florida’s small towns and unspoiled wilderness. She is the author of the Florida Wildlife Warriors series and the Safe Harbor series, as well as several stand-alone titles. When she’s not dreaming up plotlines, you’ll find “Captain Connie” on Central Florida’s waterways, introducing boats full of schoolchildren to their first alligator. She is also passionate about helping women and children in developing countries break the poverty cycle and build a better future for themselves and their families. Besides boating, she and her husband enjoy hanging out with family and friends and planning their next adventure. Connect with Connie online at: www.conniemann.com

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How to Renew Your Mind and Grow Your Faith

Christian, Spiritual growth, Christian mentorship

Date Published: Sept 22, 2020

Publisher: Lucid Books Publishing

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Have you ever found yourself doing the same thing over and over again without realizing it? Are you spiritually stuck, wanting a deeper relationship with God but not sure how to get there?


In The Butterfly Blueprint, Stephanie Miller uses each stage of a butterfly-egg, caterpillar, cocoon, and butterfly-to show you five ways to grow your faith. By examining how your past shapes your perspective and understanding of the value of authenticity and accountability in relationships, you will learn how to identify and address your spiritual blind spots that are hindering your growth.


Stephanie opens up her own journey of transformation while providing practical steps you can implement to see real progress in your spiritual life.


●      Your purpose will become clearer.

●      Your relationships will grow deeper.

●      You will create a new perspective to share your story with others.


You were not created to remain a caterpillar your entire life. Let God change your perspective so He can transform you into the beautiful butterfly He made you to be.



About the Author

 Stephanie Miller, M.A., is a certified personal growth coach, writer, and speaker. Currently living in Colorado, she is the wife of a busy Army dentist, and mom to a strong-willed toddler and sweet baby boy. Together they enjoy going on hiking adventures. Her ministry, Butterfly Beginnings, specializes in helping those who are spiritually stuck by catalyzing change through connection with the Holy Spirit. She seeks to encourage women and challenge them to grow closer to God and in community with each other. Her past published works include I Am Enough in Christ, a workbook and devotional. Connect with her at www.butterflybeginnings.net.

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Excerpt 1
Life is all about perspective. We hear all the time that perspective shapes our reality, but I believe our perspective is our reality; we know no other reality than this. We are subject to how our personal biases, beliefs, and emotions influence our perceptions.

In graduate school, I worked under a very well-known cognitive psychologist for my thesis. As a graduate student, I had the opportunity to learn more about cognitive psychology, the study of how our thoughts are influenced by many things and how they lead to our behaviors and actions.

The argument could be this: Do we have a choice when it comes to our reactions or responses, or are they things that happen spontaneously and that we cannot influence?

Excerpt 2
When we operate under a false understanding of ourselves, we act according to that belief. If we believe we are worthless, not good enough, or unlovable, we will act that way. Sometimes, we know we are acting in a way that shows how we feel about ourselves, but more often than not, we are searching for things that match our viewpoint of ourselves. We strive to have our reality match our perception (even if it is a skewed, wrong, and horribly inaccurate perception). So in pursuit of confirming what we believe to be true, we often create the chaos ourselves. That is an example of what happens when we focus too much on the wrong things and let the fallen ways of the world influence us. It would be like a caterpillar eating all the wrong things in preparation to enter the cocoon. Filling ourselves up with the wrong ideas and false teachings will lead to these false perceptions of ourselves. 

Historical Fiction

Date Published: October 6, 2020

Publisher: Morgan James Publishing

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Based on a true story about fighting fascism in 1930s New Jersey, Newark Minutemen tells an unforgettable tale about forbidden love, intrigue and a courageous man’s search for avenge….

During the Great Depression, Jewish boxer Yael Newman meets Krista Brecht, daughter of the German-American Nazi high command. When his affections turn real, his friends warn him against crossing the line. When Krista leaves for American Nazi summer camp in Long Island, New York, he swears to rescue her. But his mission becomes much more when he’s recruited into the Newark Minutemen by the Jewish mob and FBI to go undercover and fight the American Nazis who are taking over America.

Newark Minutemen Optioned first film

 About the Author

Amazon best-selling author, Leslie K. Barry is most recently a screenwriter, author, and executive producer. Her previous professional work includes executive positions with major entertainment companies including Turner Broadcasting, Hasbro/Parker Brothers, Mattel, and Mindscape Video Games. Other areas of business include executive for the first e-shopping platform called eShop and marketing for Lotus Development, the US Post Office, and AOL. She was an Alpha Sigma Tau at JMU (James Madison University) in the heart of the Shenandoah Valley and attended a grad program at Harvard. She has spent the last twenty-five years with her husband, Doug Barry, in Tiburon, CA raising their four kids, Zachary, Brittany, Shaya, and Jackson, and their dog, Kona. On the side, she’s devoted to genealogy where she has uncovered many ideas for developing untold stories that help us appreciate the context of history, preserve lessons of the past, and honor memories through family storybooks. For fun, she likes to travel, ski in Sun Valley, Idaho, play tennis, and visit her family in Maryland, Virginia, and South Carolina, where she most enjoys Maryland hard crabs and hush puppies, Ledo’s pizza, and chocolate horns. You can visit her website at NewarkMinutemen.com.


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