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Roundup of the latest books from around the region
To those who still believe there's an automatic stigma that comes with self-publishing a book, well, there are about 300,000 authors out there who don't agree with you.
According to a report in Publishers Weekly last October, the number of writers choosing to self-publish titles has almost tripled in the last five years - including several who've attained New York Times bestseller status. This is also reflected in the e'er-increasing number of locally written or connected books that cross this desk.
Of course, we also have a fine roster of area folks who are signed to deals with major publishing houses, as with Daniel Waters, and writers going through small or indie presses.
Herewith is a survey of recently published works:
• "Break My Heart a 1,000 Times" (Hyperion, 352 pages, $16.95 hardcover, $9.99 eBook) by Daniel Waters. The first stand-alone novel from Young Adult author Waters (of the very successful "Generation Dead" series). Since the calamitous "Event" instantly killed millions of people, ghosts are a big part of everyday life. Naturally, this exacts a significant toll amongst the living in a variety of ways. Heroine Veronica, for example, has become targeted by her increasingly unhinged history teacher, who lost his own daughter in the Event and plans a most diabolical ritual. A film is in the works.
• "How to Create Stunning Digital Photography" by Tony Northrup" (Mason Press, 219 pages, $24.99). If Northrup tells you "how to" do something, it's best to listen. He's authored more than 30 "how to" books - on topics ranging from plumbing to "home-hacking projects for geeks" - sold millions, and several of the Microsoft Press Training Kits are regularly displayed on Leonard and Sheldon's "Big Bang Theory" bookshelf. Northrup's photographry has been published in such periodicals as National Geographic, Scientific American, Publishers Weekly. He lives in Waterford with his partner, Chelsea, who runs their Mason Press.
• "Senior Prom ... Or Why I Never Owned a Goat" by Jack Fones (Peppertree Press, 214 pages, $20 paper). This is a collection of humor columns the author wrote over the years for the Anna Maria Island Sun (Florida) and the Keene Sentinel in New Hampshire. Foles was born in New London (1917!) and was a member of the Bulkeley High School class of '35. His sister was Alma Foles Eshenfelder - and her family is revered locally as the owners of Captain Scott's Lobster Dock. By the way, Fones can still bring it. On Feb. 6, at the age of 95, he spoke and signed copies of his book for a Keene writers group.
• "The Night the Music Ended" by Marilyn Bellemore (Merry Blacksmith Press, 126 pages, $15). First-person accounts of the night of Warwick's deadly Station nightclub fire, but also a look back at the history of the venue and the touring bands that regularly performed there. Bellemore will read and sign copies at 7 p.m. on Feb. 22 at the Monte Cristo Bookshop, 13 Washington St., New London.
• "The Dead Boy's Legacy" by Cassius Shuman (Booktrope, 304 pages, $15.95 paperback, $4.99 eBook). The author is a Massachusetts native who was once the sports director at WTWS-TV, a defunct New London station. This first novel, about an abduction of a boy, is part-thriller and part family saga.
• "May I Return the Flowers" by Michael Moss (Joshua Tree, 106 pages, $12.95). Moss is a New London native (NLHS '61), and this autobiographical collection includes anecdotes from his years as a teacher, a cashier, an Electric Boat employee and as a serviceman in Vietnam.
• "Beyond John Dann" by Thurman P. Banks., Jr. (Lulu.com, 256 pages, $31.39 hardcover, $19.99 paper, $5.99 eBook). A look-back coming-of-age novel about growing up in the '70s, the loss of a sibling and, ultimately, acceptance and compassion. Banks, who lives in Groton, will read and sign copies of "Beyond John Dann" at 7 p.m. on March 1 at the Monte Cristo Bookshop, 13 Washington St., New London.
• "Slipping the Cable" by Bill Schweigart (Martin Sisters Publishing, 338 pages, $16.95 paper, $6.99 eBook). Written by a graduate of the United States Coast Guard Academy in New London, this nautical thriller involved an earnest junior officer who runs afoul of a vengeful captain on a Coast Guard cutter in the waters off the Florida Keys.
• "The Narrow Way: A Memoir of Coming Out, Getting Clean and Finding Buddha" by Chris Lemig (John Hunt Publishing, 193 pages, $19.95 paper, $7.69 eBook). After 23 years of addiction and self-loathing, Lemig sobered up, became a Buddhist and embraced his sexuality. The book's official release date is Feb. 22 and the author, a Waterford native, appears at 7 p.m. March 29 in the Monte Cristo Bookshop, 13 Washington St., New London, and at 1 p.m. March 30 in Bank Square Books, 53 West Main St., Mystic.
• "Loose Ends" by Anastasia Goodman (Ocean Breeze Press, 372 pages, $17.99 paper, $5.99 eBook). Ocean Breeze is based in Westerly, and publisher Harriet Grayson is also the host and producer of "Community Culture Showcase," a cable television show seen on Channel 12 in the Groton/Mystic/Stonington area. "Loose Ends," the first in a proposed series starring Russian-American NYPD detective Sasha Perlov, is the first novel from Ocean Breeze. The author is a Russian-born New York resident, and much of the action takes place in Brighton Beach in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.
• "Hidden Mirrors - The Looking Glass of the Soul" by DonnaMarie (Hidden Gem Press, 216 pages, $19.95 paper, $15.95 eBook). Though currently a Florida resident, the author grew up and lived for years in Groton and Mystic - and this first novel is largely set in around here and Watch Hill. When Anna Marie is confronted by the ultimate betrayal, she returns home after two decades to uncover and fight a series of increasingly dark realities.
• "The Fourth of July" by Kevin Dowd (Roundabout Press, 149 pages, $9.95 paper). A new Connecticut publisher presents a comic first novel by Dowd, a West Hartford resident who regularly sails in Niantic. It's 1974, and all Jack Smith wants is a relaxing summer on the shore. His estranged wife, the local police, and an enticing Lolita conspire, though, to impede his progress. The solution may well lie in rum!
• "America's Answer to the Tiger Mother -How to Raise Successful, Happy Children" by Carol Cooke (CreateSpace, 322 pages, $15.95 paper). A Western parenting guide written in response to Amy Chua's controversial and decidedly Eastern "The Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother." Cooke is a long-time educator who lives Mystic, and in the book she focuses on how we should teach our children rather than how to treat them.
• "Fleeting Moments of Fierce Clarity - Journal of a New England Poet" by L.M. Browning (Homebound Publications, 92 pages, $14.95 paper). A lifelong Stonington resident, Browning is the author of a novel and several poetry collections, and has been a nominee for the Pushcart Poetry Prize. This reflective journal combines essays, poems and anecdotes.
• "Common Senseless" by Ashley Glenn Miller (CreateSpace, 171 pages, $14.95 paper, $4.99 eBook). A comedic memoir by Miller, an Old Lyme resident based on the life-lessons she learned to her recent matriculation at the College of Charleston.
• "The Winters" by Betty J. Cotter (eBook Bakery, 312 pages, $14.97 paper, $5.95 eBook). Second novel by Cotter, a Rhode Island native who teaches as an adjunct professor at Three Rivers College. A three-generation saga about a coastal Rhody family staggered by the suicide of their patriarch and torn over whether to sell their seaside property - which would provide financial salvation even as it shreds their family dynamic.
• "For Mischief Done" by Jan Schenk Grosskopf (Andres & Blanton, 258 pages, $12 paper, $2.99 eBook). A historical novel set in post-Revolutionary New London details how a community explodes in racial and class tension after an 11-year-old girl is blamed for the murder of a 6-year-old. Grosskopf received her B.A. in history from Connecticut College and a masters and PhD in history from the University of Connecticut. Andres & Blanton is an independent publishing house based in Niantic.
• Linda Tremer's "Food to Die For" (CreateSpace, 192 pages, $8.57 paper, $5.99 eBook) and "The Persistent Ghost" (CreateSpace, 92 pages, $7.99 paper, $5.99 eBook). After chairing the math department at Three Rivers Community College in Norwich for 31 years, Tremer retired to write - and is clearly having no problem. These two books - the former about a biotech company that might be murdering children with breakfast cereal and the latter a lighthearted tale of a spirit trying to communicate with the Taylor family - were published within months of each other. Tremer lives in Canterbury.
• "To Say Goodbye" by Beth Lapin (Wings ePress, 340 pages, $16.95 paper, $7.95 eBook). A first novel by a Middletown resident who graduated from New London High School in 1971. Two lost souls, Maia and Ben, "introduced" by their dogs, hope for a relationship.