The Beautiful-Ugly

She’s sixteen. She’s alone. And the world thinks she’s crazy. What could possibly happen next? Well, she’s going to show them…

When sixteen-year-old Connelly Pierce wakes up inside an unknown psychiatric hospital with both her wrists slashed, she begins the arduous task of piecing together the events of her life that led her there. Her own cognitive behavioral therapy (as she had learned so well from them). Beginning with the sudden death of her mother and father when she was six, and the only world she knew disappeared, literally, overnight. That’s when, with no known or, at least, close relatives, she and her nine-year-old brother Eric find themselves cast into the nightmare quagmire of government child protection agencies, and Connelly begins her incredible fourteen-year journey—her dark odyssey—into her own brave new world. A world, she realizes, she must not only quickly adapt, but fight back as well, if she hopes to survive.

Meet James Snyder

James Snyder was born in Memphis, Tennessee and lived in many parts of the United States before settling with his family in Napa Valley. Among a variety of careers and occupations, he was a soldier with a tactical mobile operations unit in Germany, as well as an executive for a Fortune 500 company.

He has published short stories in the Houghton Mifflin Black Mask anthologies, the Ginosko Literary Journal, and was a finalist in the New Letters’ Alexander Patterson Cappon Prize for Fiction. He is the author of the military thriller AMERICAN WARRIOR, the suspense thriller DESOLATION RUN, the literary coming-of-age THE BEAUTIFUL-UGLY, and the short story collection TALES OF THE LATE TWENTIETH CENTURY

His latest novel, the historical thriller FRENCH QUARTERS, was just released by Milford House Press.

He occasionally blogs at and currently lives in Texas where he writes full time.

Finalist for the 2020 Readers’ Favorite Book Award!

“A strong literary fantasy novel about race, family, and time-traveling.” — 
On the morning of her wedding in 1859, West African clan princess Amara wakes to find she is blessed — or cursed — with the power of prophecy. In her visions, she sees the slaver Van Owen, who will soon arrive on her shores. Her father will challenge the invaders, wielding magic against rifles and whips, and setting in motion Amara’s bid for freedom — a quest that will extend for five generations. But no wait is too long, for Amara can see far into the future, and Van Owen is immortal.

From the past, Amara can only watch as Van Owen hunts her descendants in modern day Harlem — Terry, 15, the target of a school bully; Regina, 11, who stopped speaking years ago; Jerome, 17, who seems so well-adjusted; and Warren, 26, a down-on-his-luck drifter. But Amara knows what they all have in common: a power they have not yet fully discovered, a power they inherited from her. What she doesn’t know is how she can help them in their battle against Van Owen. After all, in their time, Amara has been dead for 70 years!

London Oxford Press presents Book One of The Silly Series, Covid Kiss: A Very Silly Very Short Story. Written by number one international bestselling author, Joel Schueler, in this ‘covidy’ — where Covid meets comedy, Danny and Lula must survive Covid at all costs if their love is to stay alive. They go to the forest where they think they will be safe, but will they? Then there’s the rest of the world to consider too…

The Silly Series continues with Book Two, Jim & Martha: A Novel on Eco Living

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Managed Care

Maxy Awards “Book of the Year” 2019

Pencraft Awards “Best Fiction Book of 2019”

Witty, occasionally crass, and an unqualified delight.” –KIRKUS REVIEWS

Is it too much to ask that a managed care facility refund a year’s advance payment when your grandfather dies before he can move in? Frank Johnson doesn’t think so, which is why the thirty-three-year-old now lives in a nursing home, locked in a chess match feud with management that doesn’t occupy nearly enough of his time.

When foster kid Elroy is thrust into his life, Frank decides to turn this forced relationship to his advantage – launching a string of absurd decisions, inappropriate behaviors and unexpected glimpses of tenderness that ultimately turn a New Jersey suburb upside down. A laugh-out-loud celebration of bad choices for good causes, Managed Care is an offbeat story about three misfits on the social fringes of suburbia and their ridiculous campaign to introduce an unfiltered version of intimacy to their stale, impersonal community. Because, according to Frank, it’s probably what Jesus would have wanted.

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While this novel tells the story of the recently widowed Dee Heller, who is now teaching a griefwriting course in the New York City college from which she has recently retired, its central character is really thematic: the idea of grief. It is this which brings together a diverse group of students who seek healing after traumatic loss. They accomplish this – and much more – through therapeutic writing and interactions with one another in the classroom. Exploring the past and, in many instances, acknowledging their mistakes, they gain the self-knowledge and courage necessary to move beyond guilt and despair in order to reclaim their lives after profound loss.

Dee’s students are an eclectic group. The oldest is Dee’s former colleague, a renowned professor against whom she has held a grudge for many years; the youngest, an inner-city teenager whose brother was killed by the police. Despite their diversity, which often divides them, as seen in their heated arguments about racial profiling, affirmative action, and sexual abuse in the military – topics recently debated in the press, Congress, and the Supreme Court – their experience of grief draws them together in unexpected ways.

Against all odds, Dee finds herself attracted to a man she has long despised, believing that he attempted to undermine her efforts to get tenure many years earlier, and a relationship loosely following the narrative arc of Elizabeth Bennet’s romance with Darcy in Pride and Prejudice evolves. There is the possibility of yet another unlikely romantic attachment when the selfless caregiver of three husbands admits she is not the saint she appears to be and learns that a fellow student, who abandoned his demented wife to move in with another woman, is not the scoundrel she has taken him for. Different kinds of bonds, including mentoring, are forged, and still others salvaged, most notably between a young couple whose marriage is disintegrating in the wake of their young daughter’s drowning death.

The story of these griefwriters attests to the resilience of the human spirit. With its universal themes, the book holds appeal for anyone who has ever been a caregiver or lost a loved one, but it is also of interest to readers of academic novels, fans of Jane Austen, anyone following the current debates about social issues in America, and all those who appreciate well-written prose.

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