2017 SoCo Writers in Print

Sonoma County Writers Published in 2017

Kenneth Nugent—Petaluma Slough (A Novel)

Petaluma Slough. A Novel by Kenneth NugentThis saga takes us from Frontera del Norte valleys of Alta California to modern-day San Francisco. Mexican frontier commander, Mariano Guadalupe Vallejo, offers a sham land grant of a modest-sized rancho. His intent is to save the neck of his mayordomo-henchman; instead, he ignites a wildfire of duplicity. The tainted bribe becomes the focal point for generations of conflicts. Fates of Indians, Californios, Kanakas, and Americans entwine in ways mysterious and shocking. Their legacies course through years of wars, bigotries, and betrayals until they collide in the Presidio Cemetery, near the Golden Gate Bridge. A jaundiced New York reporter—while resisting the pull of his own destiny—happens there that night. He uncovers sins and secrets that had been buried in the past. Readers interested in forgotten yesteryears, what might have been, and what still might be, will find this haunting blend of well-researched history, fiction, and magical realism deeply moving.

Available on Amazon.

Natalie Korman—Heliotropics

Heliotropics by Natalie KormanInspired by music, history, and the tenuous, often terrifying relationship humans have with the natural world, Natalie Korman explores worlds real and imagined throughout the poems of Heliotropics.

While her work has previously appeared in print and online, this is the poet’s first chapbook. An alumna of Barnard College, Natalie is the 2012 first-place winner of the college’s Prescott Prize for Prose Writing. Born in New York City and raised in the Hudson Valley of New York, she now lives in Sonoma County with her husband.

November, 2017 ~ $7.00
Available solely through the publisher. Visit dancing girl press + studio to order.

Pat Nolan—Exile In Paradise

Exile in Paradise by Pat NolanThe poems of Exile In Paradise are derived from a lifelong appreciation of classical Chinese poetry. This selection by Pat Nolan marks an almost fifty year creative engagement with Asian literature in translation. Chinese poetry is image rich and largely dependent for its overall effect on the juxtaposition of these images in a discontinuous thread that is not unlike the successive frames of a film. Each of the poems finds its origin in a line translated from an ancient Chinese poet. Although removed by degrees of separation from the originals in time and language, their impulse remains the same: to call up the perceptual as a song of celebration in sacred engagement with the world.

November, 2017~$16.00~paper~100 pages~ISBN 978-0-9840310-5-4
Available exclusively through the publisher.
Go to Nualláin House, Publishers for details and how to order

Iris Jamahl Dunkle—Interrupted Geographies

Interrupted GeographiesInterrupted Geographies explores the forgotten history of Pithole, Pennsylvania: America’s first oil boom town that legend has it survived only 500 days before it burned to the ground. With wells grossing $1,000,000 a day, Pithole was a place of great wealth and great destitution, a place where girls, some as young as eleven, were forced into sexual slavery. The poems of this collection ask what it costs to build a community without a foundation.

“With bright attention, these poems map geographies of land and history and heart. While Iris Jamahl Dunkle writes specifically about particular places and people—some famous and some little known—there is no way to read these poems without understanding the ways she is always writing about you and also about me.”
—Camille T. Dungy, Trophic Cascade

Paperback / ISBN 978-0-9965864-7-4/ Pages: 90 / October 2017, Trio House Press/ $16.00

Jonah Raskin—Dark Land, Dark Mirror

Dark Land, Dark MirrorMurder, suicide, incest and environmental disaster: they all play a big part in Jonah Raskin’s new noir, murder mystery, Dark Land, Dark Mirror, that’s set in Sonoma, California and features a woman private investigator named Tioga Vignetta who solves the crimes by getting up-close and personal with criminals and suspects. There’s humor, too, and food and wine and characters from nearly all walks of Sonoma life, including lawyers, judges, a district attorney and a Mexican-born corrido singer named Kiko Martinez who might or might not be guilty of a crime or two. Dark Land, Dark Mirror is published by Santa Rosa’s McCaa Books. It’s available on Amazon and in some local bookstores including Treehorn on Fourth Street in Santa Rosa and Readers on East Napa in the town of Sonoma. The cover is by Mark Mazziottil. Moira Hill designed the map that shows the key places in the narrative.

Barbara L. Baer—The Ballet Lover

The Ballet Lover by Barbara BaerThe Ballet Lover exposes the beauty and cruelty of ballet, the performances, the back stage moments, and the personal dramas of the famous ballet dancers Rudolf Nureyev and Natalia Makarova as seen through the eyes of an American female journalist.

Paris, 1970s: the orchestra plays the first ominous note of Swan Lake. In the audience sits Geneva, an American journalist and ballet lover, waiting for the heart-stopping beauty and seduction of the romantic duet to start, but instead she witnesses Rudolf Nureyev failing to catch his Russian partner Natalia Makarova, allowing her to fall with a crash upon the stage.

Geneva interprets the fall as an act of cruelty, a man with all the fame and power in the world brutally letting fall his delicate, wraith-like artistic partner. When other critics defend Nureyev and accuse Makarova of causing her own tumble, Geneva vows revenge on the page, creating havoc in her own career and discovering surprising parallels between herself and the fallen ballerina.

The Ballet Lover is a refined, mesmerizing, fictional account of two of the most celebrated dancers in the dance world, how one compromised the other, and how the drama on the stage often mirrors those played out in real life.

ISBN-13: 978-0615722863 / ISBN-10: 0615722865
SRP (Paperback) $15.95 / SRP (eBook) $6.99

Skye Blaine—Unleashed

Unleashed, a novel by Skye BlaineA novel: After her father’s death, eleven-year-old Rowan Graham wrestles with depression. Carolina, her mother, looks for a way to ease her daughter’s grief and decides to adopt another dog. Rowan chooses a wolfhound-deerhound mix and believes she and the pup, Zephyr, communicate through mind-pictures, a phenomenon that her mom rejects.

While vacationing, the family is embroiled in a multi-car accident; Zephyr is pitched from the van and bolts into the wilds of central Oregon. Medics airlift comatose Rowan to Portland for head trauma care.

Best-selling author Moss Westbury is haunted by devastating nightmares. A veteran of the Afghanistan conflict, he writes to expunge his demons. When his nightmares are fueled by unfamiliar howling on his isolated land, he sets out to find the culprit.

Unleashed is a story of devastation, courage, and love, told through the eyes of Moss, Rowan, Carolyn, and Zephyr—each struggling to resolve challenges and fears.

USA: http://amzn.to/2xsapwq

Eve Goldberg—Hollywood Hang Ten

Hollywood Hang Ten by Eve GoldbergLos Angeles, 1963. John F. Kennedy is President, and Jan & Dean’s “Surf City” is at the top of the charts. Ryan Zorn, a 23-year-old Venice Beach surfer working in his uncle’s detective agency, lands his first solo case when a divorced mother with plenty to hide hires him to find her missing son. The investigation turns into a case of blackmail and murder as Ryan is drawn deep into Hollywood’s hidden past — a past that involves the anti-Communist witch-hunts of the 1950s, and closeted gay stars. From the decaying piers of Santa Monica bay, to the posh mansions of Beverly Hills, to a mysterious rustic retreat, Ryan navigates a city on the brink of change. The conservative era of blacklisting and conformity is in its dying days, and a new culture of experimentation and openness is just emerging. To solve the case, Ryan must confront his own personal demons, preconceptions, and homophobia as he untangles a deadly web of behind-the-scenes movie secrets.

Thistle Publishing, London. Available on Amazon.

The Write Spot to Jumpstart Your Writing: Discoveries, edited by Marlene Cullen

The Write Spot to Jumpstart Your Writing: Discoveries, edited by Marlene CullenWant to write but don’t know how to get started? Don’t know where to begin writing your memoir? Stuck in the middle of your novel? Maybe you need a jumpstart to recharge your creative battery. The Write Spot to Jumpstart Your Writing: Discoveries reveals techniques Marlene Cullen uses in her Jumpstart Writing Workshops to ignite imagination. Whether you want to write fiction, memoir, non-fiction, or poetry, or if you are experiencing writers block, Discoveries will inspire your writing and open doors for self-discovery and transformational writing.

$12. Available through Amazon.com.

2017 Redwood Writers Anthology—Sonoma: Stories of a region and its people

Redwood Writers 2017 anthology: SonomaDelight yourself in this intriguing mix of stories from Sonoma County, California. Take in glimpses of little-known history: the Sebastopol temple that became a touchstone for the Japanese community here before and after World War II; the pioneering women’s rights advocate who fought the forced retirement at age 32 of airline stewardesses; the county’s lone lesbian bar in the early 1980s; and the daring race car driver and aviator who made the nation’s first airmail flight here in 1911. This anthology from award winning local writers includes nearly 50 works of nonfiction, fiction and poetry. Each piece is set in a wondrous land of rugged coastline, river valleys, hillside vineyards, and redwood forests. And each tells a distinctly Sonoma story: the crestfallen young grape grower who learned his land wasn’t right for the “King” of the vines; author Jack London’s dream to develop a new kind of farming operation in the Valley of the Moon; and the Santa Rosa ice skating rink where early morning practitioners could routinely catch a glimpse of “Peanuts” comic strip creator Charles Schulz.

Price: $12
Purchase at Redwood Writers meetings or Amazon.com.

Janis Lasky Couvreux — Sail Cowabunga! A Family’s Ten Years at Sea

Sail CowabungaSail Cowabunga! A Family’s Ten Years at Sea, Janis Lasky Couvreux’s adventure memoir of her family living and sailing on a sailboat with two small children from Bordeaux, France to San Francisco will be released on October 14, by Filles Vertes Publishing, and is now available for pre-orders. Janis chronicles their adventures, misadventures, tragedies, and glories across four continents all while recounting how they accomplished daily routines of cooking, schooling, sleeping at sea, and raising two boys from infancy to adolescence. An award-winning writer, journalist, Franco-American, lover of languages, travel and adventure addict, sailor, mom, and grandmom, Janis won the first place Adult Nonfiction award at the 2017 San Francisco Writers Conference for a segment of this debut book.

More information: http://janiscouvreux.com/book
Available at: www.fillesvertespublishing.com/product/sail-cowabunga-janis-lasky-couvreux

Tom Walsh — Bless Me Father

Bless Me Father is a new mystery thriller by Sonoma County author Tom Walsh. The novel is published by Melange Books and more info is available at www.bless-me-father.com.

“When the darkest sins, are brought to the light of day.”

There is no place as intimate as where you go to confess your sins. Bless Me Father is a classic “who done it?” A story of love lost and love found in the midst of contemporary social issues of homelessness, addiction, and bringing the untouchable to justice. Cloistered conversations in the confessional are sometimes tragic, sometimes humorous. It is a modern day crime mystery with character depth, a forbidden love, and a resurrected cold case.

Available on Amazon: http://amzn.to/2uJdULW

Voyeur, Poems by Jodi Hottel

Voyeur Poems / Jodi HottelWordTech Editions, imprint of WordTech Communications, published June 2017

Voyeur by Jodi Hottel is the result of an ongoing interest in ekphrastic poetry related not just to visual art but many artistic forms, including literature and film. When a work of art creates heightened emotion, she responds with poems as varied in style as the works of art themselves.

“When I shared Hottel’s ekphrastic poem, ‘Crossing,’ after the painting Boat People, with its creator, painter and poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti, one of his responses was ‘She really got it.’ Now, as I read one page after another of Voyeur, this sentiment is repeated again and again. Gifted with indispensable detail and deep imagery, these poems invite us to concentrate on history, mythology and our own responses to the world.”
—Katherine Hastings, author of Shakespeare & Stein Walk Into a Bar

More details on WordTech Communications website (www.wordtechweb.com/hottel.html). Order through Amazon or email: hottel@sonic.net.

Land of My Father’s War, Poems by Phyllis Meshulam

Cherry Grove Collections, imprint of WordTech Communications, available late July 2017

In poetry that ranges from formal to experimental, Phyllis Meshulam chronicles her parents’ journey through separation during World War II, her own history, and the search for the lands of our roots and redemption.

“In this book, the literal ‘land of my father’s war’ is Italy, where the poet’s father served in World War II, and where he took his young family to live for a while in the aftermath, a place to which the poet has sometimes returned as an adult. However, the landscape of these beautifully crafted poems is wider than any one country, and deeper than any one moment in time. Phyllis Meshulam maps the landscape of consciousness in our time, and though it is scarred profoundly by the wars we’ve inherited and that never seem to end, it is also, as these poems teach us, a landscape where love, caring, and insight can in fact be nourished, where a wholeness of spirit is still possible, where one can and perhaps must fervently speak ‘in favor / of a constancy of kindness.'” — Fred Marchant, author of Said Not Said

The Need to ReadThe Need to Read! Or My BLF, My Best Literary Friend — The Sitting Room’s 2017 anthology

The Sitting Room’s 2017 anthology, THE NEED TO READ! or MY BLF, MY BEST LITERARY FRIEND is now available for a suggested donation of $5. Over 30 local writers/readers contributed. For more information, see our website: SittingRoom.org or email sittingroomlibrary@gmail.com

Kay Mehl Miller — Ring Around Reality: A Novel

Ring Around Reality: A NovelMiller’s character-driven narrative, based on her own alcoholism, focuses on Diana Lossen who drinks with the confidence that she’ll never be an alcoholic. Alcohol makes its entrance early in her life as she sees its miraculous power to bring peace to her incessantly quarreling parents. It follows her on a trip to New Jersey where she gets into her first trouble because she steps out for a drink with the lover of her hostess who she later learns is her older sister’s boyfriend. In college she is vilified by students protesting an editorial she wrote deploring the behavior of drunken frat brothers. She finds her future husband in a dance hall attached to a liquor store. Once married, she discovers how lonely it is to be left with two children as her naval aviator husband is gone for months at a time. Drinking becomes her consolation until she loses control and the ability to forestall consequences that bring remorse and threaten her sanity.

Available on Amazon.

Anne Cummings Jacopetti—What Are We Going to Learn Today? How All Children Can Become Enthusiastic Lifelong Learners

What Are We Going To Learn Today?: How All Children Can Become Enthusiastic Lifelong LearnersAnne Cummings Jacopetti’s engaging book, based on five decades of teaching experience, is a clarion call for parents, teachers, and everyone concerned about the future and the way we educate our children. In What Are We Going to Learn Today? How All Children Can Become Enthusiastic Lifelong Learners, she describes the necessary conditions for full development of our children’s capacities and the natural ways that they learn best. She demonstrates how our current textbook-driven, high-stakes-testing system limits development of capacities such as empathy, curiosity, creativity, patience, perseverance and courage, damaging not only children, but also our prospects for a just and sustainable future. Through stories and the words of her students, Jacopetti reclaims the essential roles of relationship, play, the arts, community, the natural world and hands-on, project-based learning in healthy whole child development. For further information visit www.howchildrenlearn.org. What Are We Going to Learn Today? can be purchased locally at Copperfield’s bookstores, through Anne’s website and at www.amazon.com in print and Kindle editions.

how Her a Flower, A Bird, A ShadowPeg Alford Pursell—Show Her a Flower, A Bird, A Shadow

The newly published book, Show Her a Flower, A Bird, A Shadow (ELJ Editions, March 1, 2017) is a collection of hybrid prose and microfictions by Sonoma County author Peg Alford Pursell, with advance praise from Margot Livesey, Joan Silber, Antonya Nelson, Peter Orner, and others. The book is available for order at ELJ at www.booknook-eljpublications.com/store/p92/Show_Her_a_Flower,_a_Bird,_a_Shadow.html, or from Amazon or Small Press Distribution. You can learn more at Peg’s website at www.pegalfordpursell.com

No Walls Now: New Poems for the Trump EraJonah Raskin—No Walls Now: New Poems for the Trump Era

The author “wrote these seventeen poems between 21 November 2016 and 12 January 2017. The date of composition is at the end of each one. In some ways they’re responses to the presidential election and to the news of the day. They also track my own inner landscape and move back and forth from past to present and back to past. Readers might see here reflections of my childhood and my adult selves.”

To order books, contact: jonah.raskin@sonoma.edu
$5 a copy includes shipping and handling.

Gary Brandt—The Vault Apocalyptia

The Vault Apocalyptia BrandtSet in Albuquerque, The Vault Apocalyptia imagines a tour through the city’s National Museum of Nuclear Science and History on the day of the apocalypse. Led by docent, readers meet an unruly assortment of displays, each illuminating a chapter of America’s nuclear story. Exhibits stage musicals, plunder sets, plot against and usurp other exhibits, while museum benefactors and industry shills interrupt with assurance that the collection poses no threat. Over the course of the novel, and along a path never strictly chronological, the atomic century is rebuilt, from its hopeful past to its grim present. At its center, and ever looming, is the main attraction, the Bomb, with its stark warning that we may yet end up where we’re headed.

Each chapter takes on a different style or is written through a different voice, giving separate shape to the exhibits and likening the book to moving through a museum’s themed spaces. A chapter on the Manhattan Project’s work in Los Alamos, for instance, reads as a series of panels that echo the idiom of a midcentury newsreel. Also, mimicking the bomb’s insinuation into American consciousness, and embedded throughout the text, are countless Cold War allusions, buried jargon, and fragments of atomic culture. Kick up a corner of carpet, and you might catch a glimpse of the gravestones paving the museum’s corridors. See more at http://stormydaypub.com

Joan Frank—All the News I Need

All the News I NeedAll the News I Need probes the modern American response to inevitable, ancient riddles—of love and sex and mortality.

Frances Ferguson is a lonely, sharp-tongued widow who lives in the wine country. Oliver Gaffney is a painfully shy gay man who guards a secret and lives out equally lonely days in San Francisco. Friends by default, Fran and Ollie nurse the deep anomie of loss and the creeping, animal betrayal of aging. Each loves routine but is anxious that life might be passing by. To crack open this stalemate, Fran insists the two travel together to Paris. The aftermath of their funny, bittersweet journey suggests those small changes, within our reach, that may help us save ourselves—somewhere toward the end.

All the News I Need has won the 2016 Juniper Prize for Fiction, under the auspices of the University of Massachusetts Press.
The book may be ordered through your local independent bookstore.
$ 19.95 / ISBN: 978-1-62534-262-1

More information at: www.umass.edu/umpress/title/all-news-i-need or www.joanfrank.org

Raphael Block—Strings of Shining Silence: Earth-Love Poems

Strings of Shining Silence: Earth-Love Poems by Raphael Block

“The Earth speaks and the heart listens. Here are words that nourish the soul with the ancient music of creation, the songs that are all around us but so easily unnoticed. These poems sing the remembrance of life itself, simple, unadorned, deeply felt. Let them take you back to where you belong.”
~ LLEWELLYN VAUGHAN-LEE, Sufi Teacher and Author, Editor of Spiritual Ecology—The Cry of the Earth.

“Never far from the living earth or the heart of wonder, part nature seer, part mystic weaver, Raphael Block pulls the Seen and the Unseen together with shining strings of imagination Wonderful!”
~ MICHAEL MEADE, Author of Fate and Destiny and Why the World Doesn’t End.

“This luminous collection of poetry is a love song to the Holy. Each piece is a droplet of dew reflecting the rising sun and radiating through the heart, awakening wonder.”
~ MIRABAI STARR, Author of God of Love: A Guide to the Heart of Judaism, Christianity and Islam and Caravan of No Despair.

Available at http://raphaelblock.com and all independent bookstores.

Jean Wong — Hurtling Jade and Other Tales of Personal Folly

Hurtling Jade by Jean Wong“A rebellious woman’s memoir delivers amusing vignettes of an intriguing life— belonging and exclusion; tradition and rebellion—run through the 27 stories in Wong’s collection…plenty of fodder here for an insightful memoir.”
—Kirkus Review

“Ms. Wong has brought you into her life with vignettes that are funny, daring, sometimes shocking, but always fascinating. Whether it’s about friends, family or lovers, she is able to craft scenes with words that place you in the center of her life, merging her universe with yours. Don’t miss this chance to share her fully lived life with its open areas as well as its dark corners.”
—Charles Markee, Award-winning local author & Sonoma County SCBWI coordinator

Available on Amazon: www.amazon.com/dp/0989238415

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