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Veronica's Grave: A Daughter's Memoir Book Cover Veronica's Grave: A Daughter's Memoir
Barbara Kracht Donsky
She Writes Press
May 10, 2016
Kindle, paperback Audible



From beyond the grave came a cry for help she could not ignore. Reminiscent in style to Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird and to Betty Smith's A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, Veronica's Grave is the story of a young girl whose mother vanishes one night. No one tells her that  her mother has died. She is left a confused child whose father is intent upon erasing any memory of the mother. Forced to keep the secret of their mother's existence from her younger brother, Eddie, Barbara struggles to keep from being crushed under the weight of family secrets as she comes of age and tries to educate herself, despite her father's stance against women's education.

A story of loss and resilience, Veronica's Grave shows the power of literature―from Orphan Annie and  Prince Valiant to the incomparable Nancy Drew―to offer hope where there is little. This is a story--painful too remember, too important to forget-- that will make you laugh, make you cry, and linger on in the left-side brain for many a year.

Told with true literary sensibility, this captivating memoir asks us to consider what it is that parents owe their children, and how far a child need go to make things right for her family.

Author Barbara Kracht Donsky transcends the expected pathos when she writes of the loss of the loss of her mother in VERONICA’S GRAVE: A DAUGHTER’S MEMOIR. When Donsky was only three, her mother dies. The death is never explained. The child only knows her vibrant mother is missing from her life. Her father is distant and somewhat cold. Donsky does a superb job in capturing the voice of a bewildered young girl who doesn’t understand how the most important person in her life has vanished. As Donsky learns the truth, she then conspires with her family to keep her mother’s death from her younger brother. The voice matures as Donsky grows into a young then a married woman. As a woman not so far in age from Ms. Donsky, I enjoyed the cultural references and celebrated her escape from her father, her resilience, and her ability to forge her own life at a time when such steps were difficult for young women.

Half Blood Blues by Esi Edugyan

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Esi Edugyan
Literary fiction
February 28, 2012
Kindle, hardcover, paperback, audio CD

From Amazon:

Berlin, 1939. The Hot Time Swingers, a popular jazz band, has been forbidden to play by the Nazis. Their young trumpet-player Hieronymus Falk, declared a musical genius by none other than Louis Armstrong, is arrested in a Paris café. He is never heard from again. He was twenty years old, a German citizen. And he was black.

Berlin, 1952. Falk is a jazz legend. Hot Time Swingers band members Sid Griffiths and Chip Jones, both African Americans from Baltimore, have appeared in a documentary about Falk. When they are invited to attend the film's premier, Sid's role in Falk's fate will be questioned and the two old musicians set off on a surprising and strange journey.
From the smoky bars of pre-war Berlin to the salons of Paris, Sid leads the reader through a fascinating, little-known world as he describes the friendships, love affairs and treacheries that led to Falk's incarceration in Sachsenhausen. Half-Blood Blues is a story about music and race, love and loyalty, and the sacrifices we ask of ourselves, and demand of others, in the name of art.

In anticipation of the next Empty Sink Publishing’s short story due out soon (“Automatically Hip” by John McCaffrey), I’d like to recommend HALF BLOOD BLUES by Esi Edugyan.
Winner of the Scotiabank Giller Prize
Man Booker Prize Finalist 2011
An Oprah Magazine Best Book of the Year
A book with gorgeous dialogue that begins with the preWWII jazz scene in Berlin and follows a group of jazz muscians through WWII Paris through to their old age.

166 Palms, a new anthology

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166 Palms Book Cover 166 Palms
James Burnham (editor)
fiction anthology
March 9, 2017
paperback, ebook
139 pages


One of my favorite stories, “Suite for the Lady in Red” is included in 166 Palms, a new anthology containing a collection of short stories by faculty and graduates of the Stanford University Certificate in Novel Writing Program. 166 Palms features the exiting voices of my professors and colleagues: James Burnham, Diane Byington, Luanne Castle, Victoria Grant, Kristine Mietzner, Linda Moore, Suanne Schafer, Stacey Swann, Robin Taylor, Wendy Nelson Tokunaga, Kenton Yee

Book Review: The Ropes that Bind by Tracy Stopler,

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The Ropes that Bind Book Cover The Ropes that Bind
Tracy Stopler
Binah Books
1 edition (December 24, 2016)
electronic books
336 pages

Tracy Stopler’s debut novel, The Ropes that Bind, deals with the under-reported crime of child sexual abuse and how it affects her protagonist, Tali Stark. Tali’s abuse is deftly and sensitively handled in this well-written story. The reader watches nine-year-old Tali grow into a functioning woman while holding her emotional trauma within her. Through her personal strength and determination—and the help of family, friends, mentors, and lovers, Tali becomes an integrated soul.

2016 Gival Press Novel Award

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My novel, A Different Kind of Fire, was a finalist for the 2016 Gival Press Novel Award, judged by author John Domini. Mr. Domini has won awards in all genres, publishing fiction in Paris Review, Ploughshares, and anthologies, and non-fiction in GQ, The New York Times, and elsewhere. His 2007 novel, Earthquake I.D., was nominated for a Pulitzer

The winner:

Dream of Another America by Tyler McMahon

The finalists were:

A Different Kind of Fire by Suanne Schafer

A Kind of Paradise by Bev Jafek.

Wild Girl by Rita Ciresi

Water by Nagueyatti Warren


Graveyard: A Collective Work

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Graveyard: a collective work
SEZ Publication's Second Anthology
Erin Sweeney (Editor), Samantha Blackwell (Editor), Kate Wilde (Photographer), Elijah O'Mara-Mezzano (Illustrator)
SEZ Publications
August 16, 2016

My short story, “Morrigan,” the first short story I ever wrote and the first I ever sold, is reprinted in this anthology compiled by SEZ Publishing. It includes “Morrigan” along with short stories and poems about graveyards written by over twenty creative writers .



Brain, Child Magazine article

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My first non-fiction piece, a brief review of raising an interracial son, appeared today in Brain, Child Magazine. Take a look at it.

Raising My Black Son

News Update: A Different Kind of Fire

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News from the WisRWA Fab Five contest: A Different Kind of Fire placed third in the Wisconsin Romance Writers in the women’s fiction category. Fire is set in the 1890s and involves a young Texan who dreams of becoming a famous artist. Along the way, Ruby’s various trial and tribulations change her, her perception of sexuality, and her definition of fame.

Texas Women Authors: Elizabeth Forsythe Hailey

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Elizabeth Forsythe Hailey

“I know now one must plan one’s old age as surely as one plans any other stage of life. The tragedy of Cousin Josie’s life is that she never knew what she wanted at any age—only what she did not want. She never wanted to marry nor to pursue a career, and in life, unlike grammar, double negatives do not produce an affirmative.” Elizabeth Forsythe Hailey, A Woman Of Independent Means 

Elizabeth started her writing career as a reporter for the Dallas Morning News. Later, while her husband was getting an MFA from Yale in drama, she was an assistant editor at Yale University Press. She collaborated with him on plays produced in New York and later in Hollywood on the soap opera Love of Life.

When her youngest daughter began school, she began writing in earnest, first Letters from a Runaway Wife, a novel abandoned to write about her grandmother. Her epistolary novel, A Woman of Independent Means, was based on her grandmother’s travel diaries and sold over a million copies. Published in 1978, the year she turned forty, it received the Silver Medal from the Commonwealth Club of California for best debut novel and nominated by the Texas Institute of Arts and Letters for best work of fiction.

Her second book, Life Sentences, received mixed reviews but remained on the New York Times best-seller list for fourteen weeks. It looked at the choices a forty-two year old woman makes when she decides to not to terminate a high-risk pregnancy, the result of being raped.

Joanna’s Husband and David’s Wife, Hailey’s third novel, explores one of Hailey’s favorite topics: marriage and its effects on each partner. On the day she meets David, Joanna begins a journal that she keeps until she leaves David twenty-five years later. To help her daughter understand her decisions, Joanna leaves the journal behind. David finds the journal before the daughter does, and not wishing his wife’s version of their marriage to be the sole input, he reads the journal and adds his input.

News update: A Different Kind of Fire

Posted by on 7:26 pm in My Writing | 0 comments

News from the WisRWA Fab Five contest: A Different Kind of Fire is a finalist in the Wisconsin Romance Writers in the women’s fiction category. Fire is set in the 1890s and involves a young Texan who dreams of becoming a famous artist. Along the way, Ruby’s various trial and tribulations change her, her perception of sexuality, and her definition of fame.

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