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Small Press Bookwatch

Volume 4, Number 4 April 2005 Home | SPBW Index

Table of Contents

Reviewer's Choice Women's Studies Shelf Poetry Shelf
Self-Help Shelf Mystery/Suspense Shelf Biography Shelf
Philosophy Shelf Religion/Spirituality Shelf Business Shelf
Fiction Shelf Health/Medicine Shelf Journalism Shelf
Civil War Shelf Children's Shelf  

Reviewer's Choice

Life Lessons Before "I Do"
Cynthia M. Little
Sleepless Warrior Publishing
14989 Grassy Knoll Court, Woodridge, VA 22193
0974770787 $12.95

Written by a mother of two daughters, "Life Lessons Before 'I Do'" is a reflective guide upon life lessons from parents with true stories. A must-read for anyone in a serious relationship or looking for someone to tie the knot with, chapters address such critical matters as why it is important to check a potential mate's credit report, why the question "Do you want children?" must be discussed before meeting at the altar (because you can't return kids like you return merchandise!), why sex is not a weapon and must never be used as a bargaining chip, the importance of balancing time for oneself with time for husband and family, and more. Though written largely from a women's point of view, the fundamental truths herein apply to both genders. In an era with a 50% divorce rate "Life Lessons Before 'I Do'" is a singularly valuable read and a highly recommended fortification against failing to think things through.

The Women's Studies Shelf

Garden Voices
Carolyn Freas Rapp
Water Dance Press
PO Box 645, McLean, VA 22101
0975889133 $14.95

In Garden Voices: Stories Of Women And Their Gardens is a compendium of twelve stories in which Carolyn Rap explores the relationships of women with their gardens, discovering that gardens can grow a lot more than flowers, herbs, and vegetables. Susan's garden led her from breast cancer back to health. Carol finds inspiration for her watercolors. Francie's garden transports her imagination to Elizabethan England. Judy's garden nourishes her friendships. Nancy's garden (which she shares with her husband) is an ongoing experiment to learn if men and women can find common ground. Garden Voices is especially commended to the attention of gardening enthusiasts as well as Women's Studies reference collections and supplemental reading lists.

Kiss Me Goodnight
Ann O'Fallon and Margaret Vaillancourt, editors
Syren Book Company
5120 Cedar Lake Road, Minneapolis, MN 55416
0929636333 $16.95 1-800-901-3480

Kiss Me Goodnight is an anthology of stories, poems, and essays by various women, all of who experienced the loss of their mothers at an early age - to accidents, suicide, cancer, or murder. The pages recount vivid and wistful memories, taking the bad and the good, sweetness and pain. Black-and-white photographs of the authors and their mothers illustrate this profoundly powerful and moving testimony, which embraces memory as the first step to healing. "Mother's Motto: It Was Just Meant to Be": Oh, Mother, do not say / it was meant to be. // Once more it is Easter / and you are not here. // My heart still shrinks / when I see the empty rocker // face the kitchen silence / hear only a faint echo // of your laughter as we chopped / hazelnuts and golden raisins // to knead into the risen dough / for the humped-back panetone. // The dogwood tree, heavy with blossoms / still wears the yellow and blue ribbons // tied around its trunk in remembrance / of that spring's shattered promise. // The steps where you fell, split / your bones, scarred my life, have memories // hard as the dried blood halo around / your head when I found you. // Oh Mother, do not say / it was just meant to be.

Release Your Inner Bitch
Rose Stadler, MSW
Author House
1663 Liberty Drive, Suite 200, Bloomington, IN 47403-5161
1418498432 $13.50 1-800-839-8640

Rose Stadler draws upon her years of experience and expertise as a social worker and therapist helping women to deal with domestic violence in their lives. But Release Your Inner Bitch: Women Empowering Women isn't just another self-help book for battered women. Rather its message is that women of all ages, races, religions, occupations, and backgrounds can come forward and change the concept of the assertive woman as a "bitch" in the pejorative sense of that word. Indeed, this is a word that has come to be a derogatory or denigrating descriptive that permeates our gender biased culture. In Release Your Inner Bitch the reader will encounter the "robo bitch", the supreme bitch, PMS Bitch, and a whole spectrum of other bitch classifications that will enable the reader to have a new and healthier perspective about themselves, their lives, and their possibilities. Exceptionally well written by an especially articulate and knowledgeable author, Release Your Inner Bitch is a life-affirming, life-altering, life-enhancing, life-illuminating read. Also very highly recommended is Rose Stadler's historical novel, The Confederate (1413701914, $19.95).

The Poetry Shelf

White Feather
Suzanne Stutman
Manor House Publications
3501 Newberry Road, Philadelphia, PA 19154
0964826143 $21.95 1-800-343-8464

To put it simply, Suzanne Stutman is a truly gifted poet whose verse reveals universal stories of trauma and empowerment . These are poems especially commended to the attention of those who have suffered abuse, as well as for those who have simply lost their way. With an economy of words and with an ultimate sense of celebration and self-discovery, this is a compendium of poetry that is hardship descriptive, life-affirming and heart-healing. My Song: I am a child.//I know only/the sky and/the earth and/the sun.//My world is/the people who/love me,/Or who do not.//When I cry,/the world/does not listen.//It thinks/that/my cries/are not important,/that my tears/are in/a/Different language.//I know only/that/I am hungry.//I am frightened.//I am cold.//I am weary/beyond my years.//I may die,/never knowing/the/Joy/of life.//When you sanction/my country,/you sanction me.//You tell me/that/I don't exist.//That/I am worth /nothing./ That my song, sailing/like a kite/over blue waters/will never be/heard.

Sunbathing on the Bottom of the Atlantic
Anthony Taylor Dunn
MK Publishing
PO Box 945, St. Cloud, MN 56301
0976053470 $14.95

Sunbathing on the Bottom of the Atlantic is a debut collection of dark poetry with an undercurrent of ruthless realism. Matter-of-factly addressing the complex pressures on human life from birth to death, Sunbathing on the Bottom of the Atlantic draws attention to the impermanence of life itself and strips away illusions used to shield oneself from harsh truths. An unforgettable compilation. "Making Plans": Some of us are hard at work making plans / before Death appears in our foyers / tapping the crystal of his watch with a bony finger.

The Self-Help Shelf

Stop When You See Red, revised edition
Carol M. Welsh
519 West Lancaster Avenue, Haverford, PA 194041-1413
0741422344 $19.95

Now in a newly revised edition, Stop When You See Red is a self-help book that teaches the reader why one's actions or reactions to people are motivated by how one perceives them. Focusing on the four main perceptions - audio perception, feeler perception, visual perception, and wholistic perception - Stop When You See Red reveals how to recognize their influence on oneself and make the best possible impression on others. Chapters focus especially on dealing with the perceptions of children and defusing one's own "hot buttons", especially when life just hurts too much. A superb tool for gaining greater insight in how one's own and other's minds and feelings work, and recognizing how best to balance one's interactions.

Nam Vet, revised edition
Chuck Dean
WordSmith Publishing
c/o Creative Resources (publicity)
PO Box 1665, Sandpoint, Idaho 83864
0967937108 $10.99 1-866-301-7323

Since 1975, nearly three times as many Vietnam veterans have committed suicide than were killed in the war, the divorce rate among Vietnam veterans is above 90 percent, and between 40 and 60 percent of Vietnam combatants have persistent problems related to the war. What is the cause of these terrible statistics, and how can Vietnam veterans cope with flashbacks, depression, fits of rage and worse? Written by a Vietnam veteran, and now in a newly revised and expanded edition, Nam Vet: Making Peace with Your Past is a self-help guide that helps survivors identify the origins of self-destructive behavior with roots in the war, and make lasting peace with the past. Chapters address how to deal with recurring nightmares, survival guilt, PTSD, the dangers of "self-medication" and much more. A profound, earnest and helpful book grounded in realistic appraisal of lasting personal problems relating to the war, strongly recommended for the families of veterans as well as veterans themselves.

The Mystery/Suspense Shelf

David D. Nolta
Quality Words In Print, LLC
PO Box 2704, Costa Mesa, CA 92628-2704
0971316058 $23.95

Set in an ancient and wealthy English estate, Lostlindens: An Ivory Tower Mystery is a suspenseful and deliciously written tale by award-winning author David D. Nolta. When a group of American college students investigae the claim that an ancient boot in the Lostlinden estate once belonged to William Shakespeare, they come to spend the night and two of them are dead by morning. Hiawatha Musing, full-time English professor and part-time detective, must solve another mystery; this time, he is accompanied by his sister Antigone. Told with wit, dark humor, and a flair for the dramatic, Lostlindens: An Ivory Tower Mystery resists being put down until the last page. Also highly recommended is Hiawatha Musing's debut appearance, "Grave Circle."

The Biography Shelf

A Passion for Africa
Stanley Wally Hoffman
Vantage Press Inc.
419 Park Avenue South, 18th floor, New York, NY 10016
0533149479 $14.95 1-212-736-1767

A Passion for Africa is a missionary's memoir of his final travels into the interior of Zambia, as well as visits to Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Malawi, and Angola. Presenting a vivid picture of bustling nations with their fair share of problems, including floods, famines, fuel shortages and roaming so-called war veterans, A Passion for Africa tells of one man's striving with his soul, his unheeded call for more missionaries to come and assist his work, and the day when he must tell all the African people he has come to know and love goodbye. Black-and-white photographs illustrate this compelling firsthand testimony.

The Philosophy Shelf

Moral And Political Philosophy
James H. Rutherford
Top 20 Publishing
285 East State Street, #610, Columbus, Ohio 43215
097630970X $12.00

Written for students of Western civilization as well as teachers of ethics, law, history, and government, Moral And Political Philosophy is an anthology of essays by orthopedic surgeon and Harvard graduate James H. Rutherford: "The Moral Foundations of United States Constitutional Democracy", "An Ecological Organic Paradigm", "What Medical Ethics Has to Offer the Larger Fields of Moral and Political Philosophy", and "A Tribute to my Father, Judge Leland Rutherford". Meticulously delineating ideas point by point, Moral and Political Philosophy grounds itself in a thorough understanding of all facets of human nature, and forming frameworks of reference with which to confront the toughest ethical problems, whether in the medical practice or the halls of government. A sobering, candidly written reservoir of ideas for the betterment of man.

The Religion/Spirituality Shelf

Muraqaba: The Art And Science Of Sufi Meditation
Khwaja Shamsuddin Azeemi
Plato Publishing, Inc.
3262 Westheimer Rd. 258, Houston, TX 77098
0975887548 $19.95 1-713-598-6003

Muraqaba: The Art And Science Of Sufi Meditation is an introduction to the healing practice of Muraqaba, Sufi meditation. Presenting a 16-week program that the novice can follow to improve memory and general well-being, and offer a guideline to enlightenment, author Shaykh Khwaja Shamsuddin Azeemi, the Patriarch of the Sufi Order of Azeemia and renowned spiritual scholar, walks the reader through both the techniques and the underlying ideas behind them, with sample exercises each step of the way. A profoundly written and moving guide, as much about God and human's place in the cosmos as about mental relaxation, Muraqaba is especially recommended to broaden the experience of novice and experienced practitioners of meditation, yet also a welcome addition to religious reference and studies shelves.

The Business Shelf

Smooth Sailing To Venture Capital Funding
Ronald J. Carlini and Therese Carlini Moss
Venture Capital Strategies
1685 Branham Lane Suite 270, San Jose, CA 95118
0976090856 $19.95

In Smooth Sailing To Venture Capital Funding: A Real World Guide For Entrepreneurs and Investors, authors and executive management experts Ronald Carlini and Therese Moss use sea metaphors to drive home its lessons in fundraising. From identifying the most likely prospects for venture capital, to charting the barriers to market entry, to creating a business plan, common obstacles to avoid (such as insufficient commitment of time and resources), and much more, Smooth Sailing To Venture Capital Funding is a "must-read" for anyone looking to start their own business, or just learn about what it takes and what to expect. A solid go-to book written in plain terms that the lay reader can quickly grasp, highlighting key points and taking full advantage of the nautical metaphors to make its warnings memorable.

The Fiction Shelf

Auspicious Dreams
Shelia Bolt Rudesill
PO Box 151, Frederick, MD 21705-0151
141374477X $24.95

Set in the mid-1800's America, Auspicious Dreams is a novel about three high-spirited young people who pin their hopes on the promise of the government urging them to settle the West. Yet the savage greed of a white, male-dominated society that relegates women, Native Americans, Blacks, Spaniards, and Mexicans to second-class citizenship at best threatens to tear each of the youth's lives and hopes apart. Strong passions, courage, and relentless oppression fill the pages of this tautly written saga, that unashamedly reveals the dishonorable side of Frontier America as surely as the patriotic side presented all too blandly in school textbooks.

The Health/Medicine Shelf

Surviving Healthcare
Pamela Armstrong, MPH, MBA
Chestnut Ridge Books
2269 Chestnut Street, #119, San Francisco, CA 94123-2600
0975456059 $19.95

Surviving Healthcare is a no-nonsense guide to dealing with financial, medical, and personal quandaries in the complex and confusing modern healthcare system. Author Pam Armstrong has been professionally involved with the U.S. healthcare system since 1978; her passion, insight, and experience allow her to make keen-edged observations about what constitutes medical quality, the pros and cons of chosing various plans such as HMOs, PPOs, EPOs, Indemnity Plans and more, where to find additional resources to make hard choices, and common myths that can mislead one when selecting between doctors and health plans, all of which are not created equal. A must-have for every American, but especially for those who need to balance medical costs and quality on a tight budget.

The Journalism Shelf

A Life In Print
James P. Gannon
Blackwater Publications
80 Laurel Oaks Lane, Castleton, VA 22716
0976452804 $14.95

A Life In Print is an anthology of columns from reporter, columnist, and editor James P. Gannon. Collected from the pages of The Wall Street Journal, The Des Moines Register, and The Detroit News, the author's heartfelt and candid opinions touch upon the highlights of his life, his passion for journalism, and his views of both America and the world. Flavored with Gannon's Midwestern charm and Irish hard-hitting honesty, A Life In Print is unafraid to level scathing criticsm against individuals or societies - whether decrying presidential canditate John Kerry's professed Catholicism when Kerry has repeatedly voted against pro-life platforms, or lamenting that the factionalized modern-day America is such a far cry away from the unified nation that came together and gave everything it had to support the war effort during World War II. Skillfully written, each short column offers a new slice of insight, both in the author and in the world that surrounds us all. An extremely readable book that captures one's attention in bite-sized morsels.

The Civil War Shelf

Capital Navy
John M. Coski
Savas Beatie, LLC
521 Fifth Avenue, Suite 3400, New York, NY 10175
1932714154 $18.95

Capital Navy: The Men, Ships and Operations of the James River Squadron is an in-depth scrutiny of the role that Confederate naval operations on the James River and their impact on the war in Virginia had in the American Civil War. Written by the Librarian of the Museum of the Confederacy in Richmond, Capital Navy discusses Richmond as a naval center, the makings of a navy capital, and events leading up to and during the Battle of Trent's Reach. Black-and-white photographs and diagrams enhance this well-researched and smoothly narrated history, especially recommended for Civil War scholars and library collections.

The Children's Shelf

More Comfy Cozy Tales
Luaren K. Young
Trafford Publishing
2333 Government Street, Suite 6E, Victoria, BC, Canada, V8T 4P4
1412039681 $10.95 1-888-232-4444

Children are special, smart, and a gift both to their families and to their communities. Children are not little adults, but they will grow up to be adults one day. That's why the are important, needing to be loved, to know they are both cared about and cared for. Being children for only a little while, they need guidelines, they need play, they need to have fun. Children most especially need to learn and experience the fun of reading books. Written by Lauren L. Young and illustrated in a simple, primitive, colorful images, More Comfy Cozy Tales is an entertaining story of seven-year-old Alec and his adventures while at play -- and recommended reading for a child seeking to pass a pleasant bit of time with an engaging, 14-page picture book.

The Thrift Store Bears
Olive Evans, Patricia Wooley, Jim Furmston
Teddy Traveler Company
PO Box 3223, 156h Street, Manhattan Beach, CA 90266
0974895407 $20.00

With colorful illustrations by Patricia Wooley visually enhancing the charming poetry of Olive Evans, and an accompanying CD featuring the music of Jim Furmston, The Thrift Store Bears tells the stories of all sorts teddy bears found in a thrift store. From Fred the Fix-It Bear to Amanda the Dancing Bear to Danny the Very Shy Bear and more, each teddy bear has its own distinct personality. The verses are singsong and roll off the tongue in this delightful compendium for young and old teddy bear fans. "Danny the Very Shy Bear": I'm very, very shy. / Nobody's told me why. / I sometimes want to cry. // I hate to be alone / Like a leaf the wind has blown / And left beneath a stone. // I'm frightened of the dark, / Dogs scare me when they bark. / I wish I were a shark. // I've always been this way. / Excuse me, did you say / You'll play with me today? // You did? Oh, what a treat! / I'm very pleased to meet / Some-one so kind and sweet. // Shall we play at let's pretend? It's fun to have a friend. / That's how happy stories end."

Parties With Pizzazz
Marci Mohan, et al.
Pizzazz Publishing
PO Box 415, Victoria, MN 55386
0974493600 $19.95 1-952-368-1903

The collaborative effort of Marci Mohan, Jeanne Palmer, and Peggy Simenson (three mothers with active children and elementary school teaching careers), Parties With Pizzazz is a highly useful resource for classroom parties. Filled cover to cover with games, activities, artistic projects, and more suitable for parties with a wide variety of holiday and other themes, as well as party planning worksheets, reproduceable patterns for cut-out fun, mazes and word games, simple recipes, and much more. Although designed especially for classroom teachers, Parties With Pizzazz is superb for adding spice to kids' birthday, Christmas, and other parties at home, too.

The Earth & Me
Sandra Robbins, author; Joan Alpers, illustrator; Jeff Olmsted, musical arrangements
See-More's Workshop
325 West End Avenue, #12-B, New York, NY 10023
1882601491 $23.95

Written by Sandra Robbins and featuring the illustrations of Joan Alpers, The Earth & Me is based on a puppet and dance musical performed by New York's Shadow Box Theatre, and stresses the importance of life's delicate balance. Accompanied by a 48-minute music CD, the rhyming verse traces the cosmic origins of the Earth and life upon it, and embodies themes of hope and renewal. "And this is the story / That the Earth told the Child // In the beginning / There was stillness // In the beginning / There was motion // My blazing ball of fire quieted // The stars in the night / Called me their sister // The shafts of sunlight split / Framing colored mirrors // The Rainbow encircled me with its embrace."

Jake Conzemius
Freeverse Publishing
425 East First Street, Tucson, AZ 85705
0974378909 $19.95

Enhanced with 44 black ink sketch illustrations, Jake Conzemius' Stoneskipper offers a delightful story for young readers that teaches the value of conserving and respecting the environment, differentiating between right and wrong, returning what is borrowed, and listening to the heart. A young boy watches people skip stones across the water, and postulates that his island home is shrinking. He tries to spread his warning with limited success, but after he begins to feel like giving up, he meets a crane returning a pebble to the island. Black-and-white line drawings perfectly embody the charm of this gentle and thoughtful tale.

The Butterpop Cafe
Jill Johson, Allen Jonnson, authors
Christiane Cassan Wiese, illustrator
Premium Press America
2606 Eugenia Avenue, Suite C, Nashville, TN 37211-2177
1887654089 $12.95

Intricately illustrated by Christiane Cassan Wiese, The Butterpop Cafe by Jill and Allen Johnson is a riotously funny picturebook story of the romance between two happy-hearted, yet lonely, neighbors, the widowed bakery operator Mrs. Butterfield and Greek restauranteur Mr. Stephanapopolis. They share many a pleasant meal and enjoy each other's compnay until one day they begin to see each other a little differently. A joyful story, with a little more text than the average picturebook and ideal for young readers learning to sound out increasingly complex sentences and stories.

It's Me!
Eric Drachman & Isabelle Decenciere
Kidwick Books
363 South Saltair Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90049
0970380925 $18.95 1-866-KIDWICK

Appropriate for children ages 3 to 7, Eric Drachman's It's Me! is exuberantly illustrated by Isabelle Decenciere and comes accompanied by a special audio CD by Drachman. It's Me! is about a very young girl named Patricia who loves to play creatively and take on different roles, including a beautiful princess, a wicked witch, and "Little Mommy", to her family's amazement - but who is the last character? "It's me!" Patricia insists, in this ebullient simple story about the differences between play and reality. The audio CD narration has sound effects and various sparkling voices, with audible page turns to help children follow along as they read. A bubbly, enthusiastic picturebook.

The All Animal Band
Jim Moore & Norris Hall
The Animal Band Productions, Inc.
1011 Singing Springs Road, Mt. Juliet, TN 37122
0975261908 $16.00 1-888-289-2137

With a genuine flair for original storytelling, Jim Moore's The All Animal Band is livened even more for young readers age 4 to 8 with Norris Hall's brightly colored cartoon style illustrations. A squirrel as lead guitar, an owl playing bass, Slick the Snake beating the drums with his face (he has no hands to hold drumsticks with), and Fredi the Frog and Dan the Dog singing vocals make for one unforgettable animal band - one whose talent is waiting to be discovered! Based on Jim Moore's song "All Animal Band", The All Animal Band is an enthusiastic antidote to the doldrums.

Girls Can!
Rick Kupchella, et al.
Tristan Publishing, Inc.
2300 Louisana Avenue North, Suite B, Golden Valley, MN 55427
0972650411 $16.95 1-866-545-1383

In Girls Can!: Make It Happen, Rick Kupchella (with contributions by U.S. Supreme Court Justic Sandra Day O'Connor, Olympic Gold Medalist Jackie Joyner-Kersee, and American astronaut Sally Ride), has written a children's picturebook (feautring brilliant full-color artwork by Marilyn Brown) that will inspire young girls ages four to eight in what their future possibilities might be. Enthusiastically reinforcing positive messages - find your passion! You decide what you will be! - Girls Can! draws upon the success stories of great women as inspiration for the heights any young girl can one day achieve. A strongly positive story featuring a message that can never be imparted to early or too strongly.

A Child's ABCs Of Praise
Patti Wiens
2775 Jade Street, Mora, MN 55051
0976140802 $14.99 1-866-379-1160

Patti Wien's A Child's ABCs Of Praise is a 60-page, 8 1/2" by 11", "family keepsake" book in which children will discover the character of God through the defining of twenty-six descriptive words ranging from All-Ruler and Creator, to Deliverer and Friend. Captivating photographic collages offer imagery that defines the terms and catches the eye. Written by an active participant in children's and women's ministry, A Child's ABCs Of Praise is a deeply spiritual book that skillfully blends learning the alphabet to with learning how to love and praise God. A collection of prayer-starters at the end, such as "Dear Jesus, A rose is beautiful and so is a smile, but I know that You are the most beautiful of all. Amen." is designed to help young folks learn how to talk to God.

The Boy Who Loved To Shim-Sham Shimmy
M. D. Osborne
Wooden Shoe Press
N3566 County Road GG, Hancock, WI 54943
0976285207 $14.95 1-715-213-8144

The Boy Who Loved To Shim-Sham Shimmy by author/illustrator M. D. Osborne is the story of a young African-American boy who loves to tap dance for his grandfather. The grandfather encourages his love of dancing with a special gift, but when the boy falls down during his dance at school he is embarrassed. His grandfather teaches him that it's important to dance the way the feels right (and promises him real, appropriately balanced tap shoes instead of the makeshift shoes the boy was using!) The boy learns the importance of expressing his heart and doing what he most loves to do in this toe-tapping friendly tale.

James A. Cox
Midwest Book Review
278 Orchard Drive
Oregon, WI 53575-1129
phone: 1-608-835-7937

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