Today's Featured Books— Spotlight

New release: Saving Raine by Marian L. Thomas

Literary Fiction and Poetry Romance Spotlight

New release! Congratulations to author Marian L. Thomas on the release of Saving Raine, a profound tale of resilience and redemption. Read on to learn more!

"Thomas's potent voice and unique perspective have solidified her place in the literary world." ~Midwest Book Review

Bonus: Saving Raine includes discussion questions for book clubs!

Saving Raine

New release: April 16, 2024
Genres: Literary Fiction, Coming of Age Fiction, Family Life Fiction, Women's Domestic Life Fiction, Black & African American Literary Fiction, Contemporary Literary Fiction, Clean & Wholesome Romance
Hardcover: $24.99
Paperback: $15.99
Ebook: $3.99  

Raine Reynolds stands at the crossroads of despair and opportunity.
When the life you've built crumbles and the past refuses to release its grip, sometimes you need a fresh start—a new beginning that promises hope and redemption.
Once a celebrated author, Raine's life unraveled, sending her fleeing to the picturesque streets of Paris to escape the tormenting heartache that threatened to consume her. Yet, no matter how far she traveled, the pain remained her unwelcome companion.
Returning to bustling Atlanta as a senior VP for an ad agency, Raine is forced to confront a city steeped in memories she'd rather forget. But as life would have it, an old friend resurfaces, offering a glimmer of healing in the midst of her turmoil. Can she summon the courage to trust once more?
In a world where everyone yearns for the saving grace of love, Raine is no exception. Her story is a testament to the enduring human spirit, a reminder that a path to love can be found even in the face of the darkest storms.

Praise for Saving Raine

  • "Thomas delivers smooth, evocative storytelling, portraying the raw realities of challenging experiences while also capturing the healing power of love." ~Kirkus Reviews
  • "The author holds the reader's attention right to the last page of this book, with an unexpected ending. It was a joy to read this inspirational story. This book is well worth more than one read." ~B. Longu, Readers' Favorite
  • "A powerful tale that follows one woman's journey as she faces a difficult crossroad, unsure of which path to take. Through determination, perseverance, and a little luck, she discovers her true purpose and the strength to overcome any obstacle. Marian L. Thomas is a fantastic author who has created a story that shows one woman's hardships. This book is a testament to her talent as a writer. You'll be captivated from the first page and taken on a ride full of intense emotions that will leave you breathless.." ~Midwest Book Review

About the Author
Marian L. Thomas wouldn’t say that her first career choice was writing novels. She saw herself working as a journalist for a local newspaper. In college, she served as a sports editor for the student paper, and later as the news editor. But Marian’s writing path took a detour when she drafted her first completed manuscript. Now, she can’t imagine not crafting stories for women that bring characters to life—characters who face real obstacles, cross difficult barriers to find love, and discover all the wonderful possibilities that life can offer.

Marian has been featured on NBC, CBS and Fox television, and in many print and online publications, including USA Today. Originally from Illinois, Marian currently resides in Atlanta with her husband, enjoys a big bowl of popcorn every night, and believes that pasta should be a vegetable. Learn more at, and be sure to also follow her online:

New Release: Ashes, Ashes from author Fredrick Soukup & Vine Leaves Press


Congratulations to Fredrick Soukup and Vine Leaves Press on the release of Ashes, Ashes, a heartbreaking murder mystery for readers who enjoyed Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, There, There by Tommy Orange, or Nightcrawling by Leila Mottley.
★★★★★ "Unflinching acknowledgement of society's unseen. You may be uncomfortable watching, but you won't look away." ~David R. Roth, author of The Femme Fatale Hypothesis

Ashes, Ashes

NEW RELEASE: April 16, 2024
Genre: Psychological Thriller
Paperback: From $17.99
Ebook: From $5.99  

Dorian is carving a life for himself in Minnesota’s Northwoods. White-knuckle sober, haunted by the memories of his tumultuous childhood and adolescence. He owes his reformation to the wisdom and love of Miss Bonnie, a foster mother to him and so many others—though shame and painful memories have kept him from returning to thank her. After learning of her sudden passing, he resolves to pay his respects. However, what he discovers back home will alter the course of his life forever.

Upon returning to his childhood home, Dorian reunites with Heath, a brother bound to Dorian not by blood, but by the years they spent together under Miss Bonnie’s roof. When Heath unburdens himself of a horrifying secret—that the local police covered up her murder—Dorian sets out to discover the truth and bring the killer to justice.

Laying bare the struggles foster children experience in their pursuit of identity, belonging, and love, Ashes, Ashes a unique and essential tale.

Praise for Ashes, Ashes
★★★★★ "Edgy. Smart. Exhilarating. This breathtaking thriller of small town intrigue demonstrates the heartbreak and redemption that can rise from the ashes of a pillaged youth." ~Martha Engber, author of Winter Light

★★★★★ "Soukup perfectly captures how growing up with trauma leads to harsh choices and, ultimately, a kind of grace." ~Dan Kopcow, author of Prior Futures and Madcap Serenade

★★★★★ "Fredrick Soukup returns to familiar territory—rural Minnesota and its disenfranchised—capturing the abject despair of foster care youth while at the same time offering up a heartbreaking murder mystery." ~Janet Goldberg, author of The Proprietor's Song

★★★★★ "Soukup offers up a heartfelt and genuine slice of life. His characters jump from the page with crackling dialog that transports the reader into an intoxicating, though often terrifying, world. Truly gripping." ~Steve Zettler, author of Two for the Money and Careless Love

★★★★★ "Soukup conducts a chorus of seductively unreliable first-person voices to relate a heartbreaking coming-of-age parable that delves into the depths of human despair and celebrates the redeeming power of compassion." ~David R. Roth, author of The Femme Fatale Hypothesis

About the Author
Fredrick Soukup’s works include Bliss (2020) and Blood Up North (2022). He’s been named an IPPY Bronze Medalist, a semifinalist for the American Short Fiction Prize, and a finalist for both the Erik Hoffer Book Award and the Minnesota Book Award. Blood Up North won the NYC Big Book Award for Literary Fiction and Ashes, Ashes was longlisted for the Petrichor Prize. He lives in Saint Paul with his brilliant wife, Ashley, and daughters/muses, Clare and Nora. To learn more, visit
About the Publisher
Vine Leaves Press likes to blur the line between commercial and experimental works. They publish book-length vignette collections, writing reference books, short story collections, memoir/autobiography, and character-driven novels with a literary bent.​ Subscribe to the Vine Leaves Press newsletter to receive FREE advanced review copies of upcoming new releases, news about their authors and subscribers, and/or to read the monthly opinion column, SPILL IT! or a daily dose of 50-word stories. Learn more at

Spotlight on Romantic Comedy & Cozy Mystery from Valerie Taylor


Today, LitNuts is shining a spotlight on the work of Valerie Taylor, author of the What's Not series of romantic comedies and A Whale of a Murder, a new cozy mystery coming April 23. Read on to learn more!

"Valerie Taylor’s characters face a tangle of events and emotions that keep the reader turning pages!” ~Joan Cohen, author of Land of Last Chances

What's Not Said

Genre: Romantic Comedy
4.2 stars, 240 ratings
Paperback: From $11.59
Ebook: From $0.99  

Kassie O’Callaghan’s meticulous plans to divorce her emotionally abusive husband, Mike, and move in with Chris, a younger man she met five years ago on a solo vacation in Venice, are disrupted when she finds out Mike has chronic kidney disease—something he’s concealed from her for years. Once again, she postpones her path to freedom—at least, until she pokes around his pajama drawer and discovers his illness is the least of his deceits.

But Kassie is no angel, either. As she struggles to justify her own indiscretions, the secret lives she and Mike have led collide head-on, revealing a tangled web of sex, lies, and DNA. Still, mindful of her vows, Kassie commits to helping her husband find an organ donor. In the process, she uncovers a life-changing secret. Problem is, if she reveals it, her own immorality will be exposed, which means she has an impossible decision to make: Whose life will she save—her husband’s or her own?

Praise for What's Not Said

  • “In this dramatic tale of love, lust, and lies, author Valerie Taylor crafts an entertaining and gripping story...a shocking novel full of secrets, twists, and turns, but it also has elements of pure humor and deep love.” ~Readers' Favorite
  • “Highly recommended for women who look for not just stories of marital relationships, but the unexpected revelations that revolve around life purpose and the immortality of love.” ~Midwest Book Review
  • “Taylor’s dialogue is snappy and contemporary... A witty and often amusing marriage drama.” ~Kirkus Reviews
  • 2021 CIBA Chatelaine Book Awards First Place Winner
  • 2021 Firebird Book Awards Winner in Romantic Comedy, Chick Lit, Contemporary Novel, & Marriage
  • 2021 Literary Titan Book Awards Silver Winner
  • 2021 Best Book Awards Finalist in Fiction: Literary & Women’s Fiction
  • 2021 American Fiction Awards Finalist in Women's Fiction
  • 2021 International Book Awards Finalist in Fiction: Women’s Fiction
  • 2020 Canadian Book Club Awards Finalist in Fiction

What's Not True

Genre: Romantic Comedy
4.3 stars, 93 ratings
Paperback: From $12.70
Ebook: From $2.99  

With the court date set for her divorce and the future she’d planned with a younger man presumably kaput, Kassie O’Callaghan shifts attention to reviving her stalled marketing career. But that goal gets complicated when she unexpectedly rendezvous with her former lover in Paris. After a chance meeting with a colleague and a stroll along Pont Neuf, Kassie receives two compelling proposals. Can she possibly accept them both?

Kassie’s decision process screeches to a halt when her soon-to-be ex-husband has a heart attack, forcing her to fly home to Boston. There, she confronts his conniving and deceitful fiancée—a woman who wants not just a ring on her finger but everything that belongs to Kassie. In the ensuing battle to protect what’s legally and rightfully hers, Kassie discovers that sometimes it’s what’s not true that can set you free.

Praise for What's Not True

  • “Compelling, real, and utterly enjoyable.” ~Readers’ Favorite 5-star review
  • “An engaging story of love, honesty, tangled family relationships, jealousy, and ambition.” ~Midwest Book Review
  • “A dramatic, comedic telenovela of a women’s fiction about infidelity and fickle hearts...with spicy characters and drama galore.” ~Reedsy
  • 2022 Best Book Awards Finalist in Fiction: Literary & Women's Fiction
  • 2022 Maxy Awards Winner in Romance & Women's Fiction
  • 2022 Literary Titan Book Awards Gold Winner
  • 2022 Independent Press Awards Distinguished Favorite in Romantic Comedy
  • 2021 Firebird Book Awards First Place Winner in Series, Chick-Lit, Contemporary Fiction, & Marriage

What's Not Lost

Genre: Romantic Comedy
4.3 stars, 124 ratings
Paperback: From $14.06
Ebook: From $4.99 (Free via Kindle Unlimited)  

What would you do if you discovered your fiancé's ex-girlfriend is having his baby?

Kassie O'Callaghan is searching...for herself and for answers. With her husband six feet under and an engagement ring on her finger, Kassie is convinced managing a company merger in Paris will complete her quest for recognition on her own terms. When she learns her fiancé's ex-girlfriend is pregnant, Kassie's dreams come tumbling down. At least for the moment.

Through the eyes of an overachiever, the schemes of a homewrecker, the magic of a bottle of wine, and a cat, award-winning author Valerie Taylor propels this captivating and heart-warming romance to an unpredictable and delightful conclusion.

Praise for What's Not Lost

  • "Juicy, gripping, and so much more than a simple romance. It's about self-discovery, complicated modern family relationships, redefining happiness, and conflicting roles. The writing is fantastic, incredibly sharp, and realistic." ~Readers' Favorite, 5-star Review
  • "A story of growth, acceptance, and evolution. Book club readers will find plenty of entertainment value alongside numerous topics of debate." ~Midwest Book Review
  • 2023 Literary Titan Book Gold Award Winner
  • 2023 International Book Awards Finalist in Fiction: Romance
  • 2023 Next Generation Indie Book Awards in Chick Lit Fiction
  • 2022 Firebird Book Awards Winner in Romantic Comedy, Chick Lit, Contemporary Novel, & Series

A Whale of a Murder: A Venus Bixby Mystery

Genre: Cozy Mystery
New release: Coming April 23, 2024
Book 1 in the new Venus Bixby Mystery series
Paperback: From $16.69
Ebook: From $4.99  

Sea breezes and fireworks fill the air in cozy Chatham Crossing, the peaceful and historic whaling town situated between Providence and Cape Cod. 

Venus Bixby, owner of the forever popular music store Oldies & Goodies, is counting on the festivities over the Fourth of July weekend to propel her to a position on the prestigious Town Committee. After years of living in the shadow of her late husband, Venus will finally be the center of attention this holiday weekend: starting with her fiftieth birthday celebration and ending as the parade’s Grand Marshal.

Faster than a cookie crumbles, her dream collapses on the morning of her party when she trips over orange platform shoes in the gardens of the Sofia Silva Whaling Museum and breaks her thumb. When it’s discovered the shoes are attached to the body of the manager of the museum’s gift shop, Venus becomes both a suspect and a sleuth in Chatham Crossing’s first murder in decades.

Perfect for fans of Richard Osman, Katie Gayle, or Ellery Adams.

About the Author
Valerie Taylor is a novelist and book reviewer who was born and raised in Stamford, Connecticut. She had a thirty-year career in the financial services industry as a marketer and writer, including stints in Boston and Seattle. When she retired, she resettled in her home state to be near her two grown children and granddaughter.

Valerie is a published book reviewer with and a member of the Westport Writers’ Workshop. She enjoys practicing tai chi and being an expert sports spectator. Learn more about Valerie and her work at, sign up for email updates from Valerie, and be sure to follow her online:

New release! Working on Me: A Memoir by Nikki Patin


Congratulations to Nikki Patin and Vine Leaves Press on the release of Working on Me, a memoir that explores what it means to work on oneself to heal and break patterns of harm and violence.

★★★★★ "A book about everything—transcendent creativity and generational hurt, relentless pain and effervescent joy, elusive trauma and remorseless triumph... This book is a fearless, voiceful, middle finger of joy." ~Jaed Coffin, author of A Chant to Soothe Wild Elephants

Working on Me: A Memoir

NEW RELEASE: April 9, 2024
Genre: Memoir
Paperback: From $17.99
Ebook: From $6.49  

Working on Me chronicles the dysfunction and lore of a Black Russian Jewish interracial family on the far south side of Chicago, and the resulting trajectory of its prodigal child: multifaceted, multidisciplinary artist, performer, and sexual and domestic violence survivor Nikki Patin.  

A meditation on the biomythography genre defined by Audre Lorde, Maxine Hong Kingston, and Joy Harjo, Working on Me lyrically dances in and out of different voices and perspectives in order to get to something like the truth. Patin’s prowess as a poet and a songwriter is reflected in prose that is brutal, beautiful, and brave. 

Working on Me is about what it means to work on oneself to heal and break patterns of harm and violence and what makes the healing necessary in the first place: all the forces beyond our control that work on us.

Praise for Working on Me
★★★★★ “World-splitting. Fast, crucial, intimate, high, deep, it has the undeniable shine of a brilliant being finding her way in a world that cannot handle her shine.” ~cin salach, author of When I Am Yes

★★★★★ “A captivating blend of humor, wisdom, depth, and beauty, offering readers a profound exploration of bravery and self-acceptance. Nikki Patin’s words resonate as a guiding beacon, illuminating the path toward a stronger, more authentic self.” ~Dr. Ni’Cola Mitchell, Entrepreneur, Author, Executive Producer for Lifetime Movie Network, Giving Hope: The Ni’Cola Mitchell Story

★★★★★ “If writing is emotional excavation, then Working On Me is like the unearthing of the Roman city of Pompeii. Even covered with dust, dirt, and grime, this gem of a book can’t help but shine.” ~Tracy Baim, Cofounder, Windy City Times and former Publisher, Chicago Reader

★★★★★ “Nikki Patin sings into the darkest corners of her story, infusing her trauma with a vibrant, urgent light. She refuses to be invisible—every inch of her, every word of this book, demands to be fully seen.” ~Penny Guisinger, author of Postcards from Here

About the Author
Featured in The Guardian, Chicago Tribune, Chicago Reader, on WBEZ, WTTW, FoxSoul, and on international television and radio, Nikki Patin has been writing, performing, educating, and advocating for more than two decades throughout the United States, New Zealand, and Australia. Patin is the Executive Director of Calling All Crows and the founder of Surviving the Mic, a trauma-informed, survivor-led organization that holds brave and affirming space to support the writing and performances of survivors of sexual harm. Nikki Patin holds an MFA in Creative Nonfiction from the University of Southern Maine. Learn more at
About the Publisher
Vine Leaves Press likes to blur the line between commercial and experimental works. They publish book-length vignette collections, writing reference books, short story collections, memoir/autobiography, and character-driven novels with a literary bent.​ Subscribe to the Vine Leaves Press newsletter to receive FREE advanced review copies of upcoming new releases, news about their authors and subscribers, and/or to read the monthly opinion column, SPILL IT! or a daily dose of 50-word stories. Learn more at

20th Anniversary Sale: Swimming with Maya


Today is the 20th anniversary of the publication of Swimming with Maya by Eleanor Vincent, a memoir that has twice earned recognition as a Best Seller by The New York Times.  

Swimming with Maya has been hailed by booklovers and professional reviewers alike, with nearly 500 reader reviews on Amazon, more than 600 on Goodreads, and dozens of reviews from authors and industry publications, including Booklist and Creative Nonfiction Magazine:

  • "Vincent's poignant decision to donate Maya's organs will resonate with even hard-boiled readers." ~Booklist 
  • "Powerful prose with a meaningful and memorable message." ~Lee Gutkind, Founder, Creative Nonfiction Magazine 
Today is also the 32nd anniversary of the death of the eponymous Maya. Read on for a special message from author Eleanor Vincent and for more information about Swimming with Maya.

Swimming with Maya Turns 20: Celebrating Grief Recovery and Organ Donation 

By Eleanor Vincent

When my 19-year-old daughter Maya died after a freak fall from a horse she was riding bareback, the universe handed me the biggest writing assignment of my life. That was on April 6, 1992. Twelve years later I published Swimming with Maya: A Mother’s Story (Capital Books, 2004), a memoir about love, loss, and organ donation. 

Like Maya herself, the book has exceeded my expectations. Republished by Dream of Things in 2013, the memoir has sold more than 20,000 copies and made The New York Times Best Sellers list twice. Nearly 500 people have reviewed it on Amazon and countless more have become organ donors because of our story.

My decision to donate allowed us to navigate through grief knowing that a miracle had emerged from a tragedy. April is National Donate Life Month. Each year, I write about the importance of choosing to become an organ and tissue donor. I do this to honor Maya, to help others experience the miracle of donation, and to celebrate the recipients of our gift. Please sign a donor card and tell your loved ones about your decision. Visit Donate Life America to learn more about organ donation and to register to become a donor..

For the next week, Swimming with Maya will be on sale. Help increase awareness of organ donation and grief recovery by buying a copy for yourself or a friend and reviewing the book on Amazon, Goodreads, or your Substack or website. To learn more about my work, please visit

Swimming with Maya

Genre: Memoir, Creative Nonfiction
Print edition sale price: $12.50
Ebook sale price: $0.99

Swimming with Maya demonstrates the remarkable process of healing after the traumatic death of a loved one. Eleanor Vincent raised her two daughters, Maya and Meghan, virtually as a single-parent. Maya, the eldest, was a high-spirited and gifted young woman. As a toddler, Maya was an angelic tow-head, full of life and curiosity. As a teenager, Maya was energetic and independent - and often butted heads with her mother. But Eleanor and Maya were always close and connected, like best friends or sisters, but always also mother and daughter. 

​Then at age 19, Maya mounts a horse bareback as a dare and, in a crushing cantilever fall, is left in a coma from which she will never recover. Eleanor's life is turned upside down as she struggles to make the painful decision about Maya's fate. 

Ultimately Eleanor chooses to donate Maya's organs. Years later, she is able to hear Maya's heart beat in the chest of the heart recipient. Along the way, Eleanor re-examines her relationship with her daughter, as well as Eleanor's traumatic life as a child and young woman. In a story that has been called "heartbreaking and heart-healing," Eleanor Vincent illuminates the kind of courage, creativity, faith, and sheer tenacity it takes to find one's balance after unthinkable tragedy. 

Praise for Swimming with Maya

​"An important addition to the literature of loss and restoration." ~Maxine Kumin, Pulitzer Prize-winning poet and author of Inside the Halo and Beyond: The Anatomy of a Recovery 

​"Heartbreaking and heart healing, this compelling story of surviving the death of a child will stay with you long after you've closed the book." ~Ellen Bass, author of The Courage to Heal and The Human Line 

"Every reader who has had to deal with traumatic loss will find wisdom and healing in these brave pages.'' ~Chana Bloch, author of Mrs. Dumpty and Blood Honey 

"Riveting, poignant, and utterly honest... It shows that one can recover from the loss of a child.'' ~Judy Tatelbaum, author of The Courage to Grieve and You Don't Have to Suffer 

"Eleanor Vincent chronicles her grief and the healing that came with helping others." ~Carol Lin, CNN 

"Blows the reader away with its clarity, its unstinting honesty, and the searing accuracy of its vision of the medical and emotional complexity surrounding the tragic death of a young woman. Highly recommended.'' ~John Ruark, MD, FACP, author of Dying Dignified 

"Thoughtful, honest and beautifully written... a fabulous story about what it means to be a mother.'' ~Wendy Lichtman, author of Blew and the Death of the Mag and Secrets, Lies and Algebra 

"Life trumps death in this beautiful memoir." ~Linda Joy Myers, author of Don't Call Me Mother--A Daughter's Journey from Abandonment to Forgiveness and Power of Memoir

Cover reveal! The Second Life of Jonathan Sendel


Best-selling author Jonathan Sendel has been murdered.
Now, his clone must solve the mystery.

Today, LitNuts is happy to be participating in the "cover reveal" of The Second Life of Jonathan Sendel, a new release coming soon from author Jeffrey Ashkin and Ink Smith Publishing. Read on to learn more!

The Second Life of Jonathan Sendel

Coming soon!

In the near future when someone is murdered, a clone of the victim can be commissioned to help police solve the crime. This process is costly, tedious, and not always successful. Memory lapses, mental implosions, and rouge clones are not uncommon. It's risky, but Jonathan has the money, the fans, and the means, and so his clone must navigate a treacherous labyrinth of secrets to reclaim the life stolen from him and put his murderer behind bars.

Before his untimely death, Jonathan was stuck in a rut. His marriage was failing, writer's block had his Jim Starlight series at a deadend, and his affair with a college student was about to go public. When his charred remains are found inside his remote cabin, it's clear that the murderer is someone in his inner circle.

His clone only has a few days to unravel the mystery before he loses the vast fortune he spent his entire life, the first one, building. As he uncovers his previous life's transgressions, the people he trusted most may have some unsavory opinions about clones. Jonathan must take his investigation into his own hands to have a chance at life.

The Second Life of Jonathan Sendel is a twist-filled murder mystery that examines the life of a beloved celebrity tarnished by scandal and the painful process of coming to terms with one’s own demons.

Follow author Jeffrey Ashkin and Ink Smith Publishing via the links below to be the first to hear when this new novel is released! 

About the Author
Jeffrey Ashkin’s literary journey began with penning plays for local and state competitions. Even before college, he had seen two of his plays come to life on stage.

After college, Jeffrey segued into writing films and short stories. He dove into science fiction and wrote and directed the sci-fi/mystery film Technical Support, which screened at San Diego Comic-Con in 2012. His subsequent films continued to captivate audiences at San Diego Comic-Con in both 2022 and 2023.

In addition to writing, Jeffrey enjoys hosting convention panels that delve into storytelling. He also likes playing trivia at O’Brien’s Pub in Santa Monica. During the week, he teaches special education in Los Angeles. Learn more by following Jeffrey online:

About the Publisher
Established in 2012, Ink Smith Publishing is a small, independent publishing house that works closely with authors to develop their books, marketing plans, and sales. Ink Smith has published works in multiple genres, including horror, mystery, thriller, young adult, science fiction, fantasy, and more. Learn more at, and be sure to follow them online: 

New Release! Building a Team: A Baseball Buddies Story


Today, LitNuts is shining a spotlight on Building a Team: A Baseball Buddies Story, an award-winning new release for young readers from author Aaron Derr, illustrator Gary LaCoste, and Red Chair Press.

"Readers follow Luis as he learns leadership skills in a smooth, well-paced narrative that models good communication and perseverance. A wonderful narrative for readers who love baseball that also offers valuable lessons to those who don’t." ~Kirkus Reviews

Get the free discussion guide on topics like moving to a new town, being the new kid at school or on a team, leadership, teamwork, peer pressure, self-esteem, and more! 

Building a Team: A Baseball Buddies Story

NEW RELEASE: April 2, 2024
Genre: Juvenile Fiction, Children's Books on Peer Pressure, Children's Baseball Books
Reading age: 8 - 12
Hardcover: From $15.80
Audiobook: From $4.77
Ebook: From $9.99

When Luis joins his new baseball team, the Manatees, things seem hopeless at first. Some of his new teammates—including "loud and obnoxious" home-run slugger Jimmie—are mean to him or to each other.

The new coach doesn’t tell the players everything to do like the old coach did. And some of the Manatees seem more interested in goofing off than in sportsmanship or working hard.

Then Coach Joe makes Luis team captain. Will Luis rise to the challenge? Can he get the Manatees to balance working hard and having fun? Will he help his teammates learn to be friends rather than compete with each other?

Baseball Buddies explores the power of working together, what it takes to build a team, and the lasting friendships that form on the baseball field.

Praise for Baseball Buddies

  • 2024 Mom's Choice Gold Award
  • Readers' Choice Silver Award & 5-Star Rating
  • Parent and Teacher Choice Award Winner 2024
  • "An uplifting story of accepting differences, coming together, and learning the value of cooperation and competition." ~Midwest Book Review
  • "A heartwarming story that will make even older readers long to take their glove out and find the nearest baseball diamond." ~Independent Book Review
  • "If your child loves baseball, they will want to read this book. It shows perfectly how a team grows, how friendships are formed, and the proper way to behave in the sport—or any sport for that matter! Great images, too!" ~Kameron Brook, Reedsy Discovery

About the Author & Illustrator
Author Aaron Derr is a writer based just outside of Dallas, Texas. He has more than 20 years of experience writing and editing magazines and books for kids of all ages for Red Chair Press, Time For Kids, Sports Illustrated for Kids, and the Boy Scouts of America. When he’s not reading or writing, Aaron enjoys watching and playing sports with his wife and two kids. He’s learned a lot from his home team about being a good sport and building teams.

Illustrator Gary LaCoste started his career 20+ years ago working on game board and toy designs for clients including Hasbro, Nickelodeon, and LEGO. About 10 years ago his focus shifted to include children's publishing. Gary has since illustrated more than 25 books and is a regular contributor to many kids' magazines, including Highlights, Time for Kids, Jack and Jill, and Clubhouse Jr. He lives in Western Massachusetts with his wife and daughter. 
About the Publisher
Red Chair Press is committed to learning and literacy (and laughter!). Founded in 2009, Red Chair Press has been dedicated to publishing series to engage children in stories that provide models for strong character and good behavior. By working with only the highest-quality artists from around the world, Red Chair Press ensures that their books will appeal to a wide range of readers. Learn more at, and be sure to follow them online:

Spotlight on Ten Easy Steps to Becoming a Writer by Randall Silvis


Today, LitNuts is shining a spotlight on Ten Easy Steps to Becoming a Writer by Randall Silvis, a book for writers everywhere and at every point in their careers.

If you are a writer, this book belongs on your desktop alongside On Writing by Stephen King, The Art of Fiction by John Gardner, and Becoming a Writer by Dorothea Brande. If there is an aspiring writer in your life, this book would be a much-appreciated (and quite possibly, a much-needed) gift. 

"Randall Silvis is an author's author. Those who write for a living (or aspire to do so) could hardly do better than to study his significant body of work, which has been critically acclaimed and recognized throughout the world." ~BookReporter

Ten Easy Steps to Becoming a Writer

New release: February 2024
Paperback: $16.39

The Art, Craft, Business, and Teaching of Creative Writing

Every year, thousands of aspiring writers are duped by how-to-write books and MFA Creative Writing programs into sacrificing time and money in pursuit of the secret path to bestsellerdom. Ten Easy Steps to Becoming a Writer was written as an antidote to those false promises. Bestselling author Randall Silvis pulls no punches in his assessment of creative writing programs, the American educational system in general, and the publishing industry.

This is not some slim volume of writing tips; this is 350+ pages of insights and advice based on a successful writer's personal experience. In a series of essays chronicling his forty years as a critically acclaimed writer, Silvis explores a wide range of topics, including:
  • Why Write
  • Ten Easy Steps to Becoming a Writer
  • Ten Writer's Rules Begging to be Broken
  • A Writer's Life
  • Profit and Loss
  • When Less is More
  • The Writer's Obligation
  • Act Like a Professional Writer Now
  • Financial Planning for Adjuncts
  • A Writer's Education
  • Reading, Writing, & Teaching Fiction
  • And much more.
“Randall Silvis seems to have an innate understanding of writing that marks him as a true original, and, to my mind, a true visionary. He is this country’s most pitch-perfect stylist, and one of a few writers of his generation who will make a difference.” ~William Allen, founder and director emeritus of the Ohio State University Creative Writing Program

“Randall Silvis is a masterful storyteller.” ~The New York Times Book Review

Additional works by Randall Silvis:

The Ryan DeMarco Mystery Series

The literary and emotionally propulsive Ryan DeMarco Mystery novels, including Hammett Prize Nominee Two Days Gone, plus Walking the Bones, A Long Way Down, No Woods so Dark as These, and When All Light Fails

"Hard-edged and smartly plotted...DeMarco is an interesting character: not just your typical ex-cop-with-a-past, but rather a vividly realized, robust, and abundantly human character." ~Booklist

The Deepest Black

A crime novel unlike any you've ever read―based on true events. Where does the line blur between fact and fiction? Author Randall Silvis is looking for a story―any story to follow up the books of The Ryan DeMarco Mystery Series that catapulted him to success. But when a stranger tips him off about a series of murders in a small Pennsylvania town, Silvis finds himself embroiled in a world of corruption that shatters his sense of reality. A profoundly thoughtful, unsettling read.

From the Mirror

The first installment of what is to be a four-part autobiography, this book contains more than three hundred brief reflections and observations, none longer than a single typed page, on creative writing, fatherhood, academia, politicians, introversion, the afterlife, solitude, romantic love, and more. A must-read for lovers of life, literature, and the pursuit of happiness.
About the Author
Randall Silvis is the multi-genre author of two dozen books, including critically acclaimed novels, short story collections, and works of creative nonfiction. He is a past winner of the prestigious Drue Heinz Literature Prize, and his work has been published in more than a hundred editions in several languages. Learn more at, and be sure to follow Randall online:

Spotlight on Hearts of the Hall series of Georgian, Regency, and Victorian Romance!



Today, LitNuts is shining a spotlight on the Hearts of the Hall series, three books by three authors spanning the Georgian, Regency, and Victorian generations of the Derringer family:

Get swept away in the romance, misunderstandings, secrets, and happily-ever-afters in the Hearts of the Hall series as you follow the women who capture the hearts of the Derringer gentlemen.

Bonus: Get free book club discussion questions for all three books at

Finding Miss Giles by Philippa Jane Keyworth

Book 1 in the Hearts of the Hall series
Genre: Regency Romance, Christian Romance, Clean & Wholesome Romance
4.4 stars, 57 ratings on Goodreads
Paperback: $8.31  
E-book: $2.99

Bath, 1780: Without family or fortune, Miss Araminta Giles must rely on her wit alone.

Engaged by Mr. Derringer to be companion to his sister for the Bath Season, Ary views this position as merely another in a line of employments necessary to her survival.

So when she finds herself warming to Charlotte, and shivering under the intense gaze of Mr. Derringer, she is surprised to find herself hoping for more than just a roof over her head. But a series of intriguing encounters in polite Society cause Ary to realise her position with the Derringers may not be the fruit of her own labours after all. As she tries to make sense of the revelations, she is forced to consider what she really wants. 

Will she keep going through life relying only on herself? Or is she willing to take a chance on a home, family and…love?

★★★★★ "A delightful tale about the subtle love between hero and heroine." ~Goodreads Review 

Engaging Miss Shaw by Rachel Knowles

Book 2 in the Hearts of the Hall series
Genre: Regency Romance, Christian Romance, Clean & Wholesome Romance
4.5 stars, 65 ratings on Amazon
Paperback: $7.12
E-book: $2.99

He’s desperate for a governess. She needs to escape her matchmaking sister.

Bath 1815: John Derringer doesn’t need a wife, and he certainly doesn’t need children. Devoted to studying ancient Rome, all he wants after the death of his brother is to disappear into his research. But now he must take on the family estate and care for his orphaned nephew.

Unable to see past his grief, John cannot face the boy, and leaves him to a succession of governesses who fail to tame the unruly youngster.

Evelina Shaw is resigned to staying unmarried. With no dowry and little beauty, the only men she has attracted are widowers wanting a capable woman to look after their children—and she refuses to settle for that.

When she hears of Mr. Derringer’s desperate need for a governess, Evelina seizes the opportunity to escape from her sister’s futile matchmaking.

But on arriving at Duriel Hall, Evelina can see hurt and misunderstanding everywhere she looks. As she helps bring healing to the Derringer family, her life becomes entwined with theirs, and neither John nor Evelina can predict the consequences…

★★★★★ "A fabulous storyline with twists, transformations and tender romance." ~Amazon Review 

Restoring Miss Hastings by Edwina Kiernan

Book 3 in the Hearts of the Hall series
Genre: Regency Romance, Christian Romance, Clean & Wholesome Romance
4.2 stars, 46 ratings on Goodreads
Paperback: $12.99
E-book: $2.99

Devastated by loss…a stranger takes her in. But will her presence ruin his plans to restore all he’s lost?

Harriet Hastings has nowhere left to turn: after losing both her parents within a few months of each other, she is penniless and alone. So when a distant relative makes arrangements for her future, Harriet faces another loss—leaving the place she calls home to go and live with strangers.

Edmund Derringer’s on a mission: to restore the family heirlooms he pawned to cover the debts of his failed speculation. The last thing he needs is to be saddled with his cousin’s ward—a friendly chatterbox who intrudes on his time, distracting him from the task at hand.

But when outside forces threaten their burgeoning fondness, each will be compelled to re-examine what they really believe about one another, and what their most important goal for the future truly is… 

Immersed in faith and intrigue, this Christian Victorian romance from award-winning author Edwina Kiernan will encourage and delight you long after you turn the last page.

★★★★★ "An amazing story of two people struggling to make their lives better." ~Goodreads Review 

About the Authors
The Hearts of the Hall books were written by three authors who are also friends:

Philippa Jane Keyworth, also known as P. J. Keyworth, writes historical romance and fantasy novels. She loves strong heroines, challenging heroes, and backdrops that read like you’re watching a movie. She creates complex, believable characters you want to get to know and worlds that are as dramatic as they are beautiful. Learn more at and get a free copy of A Dangerous Deal, a Georgian Romance, when you sign up for Philippa's mailing list. 

Rachel Knowles writes faith-based Regency romance. She first read Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice at the age of thirteen and fell in love, not only with Mr. Darcy, but with the entire Regency period. Since 2011, she has been blogging about her research on her website, She also writes historical non-fiction based on her extensive research. Rachel lives in the beautiful Georgian seaside town of Weymouth in Dorset, on the south coast of England, with her husband, Andrew. Learn more at

Edwina Kiernan is the Christian author of the award-winning novel Ruby’s Redemption. An enthusiast of classic novels and history, Edwina combines her faith, imagination, and research in hope-infused tales set in times past. A lifelong word admirer, with Welsh and Irish heritage, she started writing stories early in childhood. Learn more at and get a free copy of first chapter of Ruby's Redemption when you sign up for Edwina's mailing list. 

New release: Houdini's Last Handcuffs


Congratulations to Charlie and Cheryl Young and Vine Leaves Press on the release of Houdini's Last Handcuffs, a mesmerizing blend of historical fiction and fantasy set in 1950s Manhattan.

★★★★★ "The great Houdini book the world has been waiting for. A perfect escape." ~John Kelly, Detroit Free Press

Houdini's Last Handcuffs

NEW RELEASE: March 26, 2024
Genre: Historical Fantasy
Hardcover: $24.99
Paperback: $17.99
Ebook: $5.99  

A riveting journey into a world where magic meets science, tantalizing readers with every twist and turn.

On the 30th anniversary of Houdini's death, three young friends who were gifted a mystical Ouija Board by the enigmatic writer Walter Gibson, find themselves thrust into a world of wonder.

While adults attempt to reach Houdini in a séance at his former residence, the children unknowingly call upon the great magician, not through the Ouija board or séance but via an enigmatic pair of handcuffs from their father's magic collection.

Houdini, in dire need of their aid, reveals a hidden notebook filled with scientific formulas coveted by both benevolent and malevolent secret circles. This notebook is a puzzle, locked behind Houdini's cryptic code.

The unexpected unfolds, setting off a thrilling chase, where the pursuit of Houdini's notebook holds the key to secrets, mystique, and adventure.

Praise for Houdini’s Last Handcuffs
★★★★★ “A lovingly crafted mix of fact and fantasy featuring famous faces from the 1958 New York magic scene, including Houdini himself! Part reminiscence and part high adventure, this is a tale that will make you believe.” ~John Cox, author of the "Wild About Harry" blog

★★★★★ “A compelling historical novel with a strong cast of characters. Highly recommended!” ~The Wishing Shelf

★★★★★ “A rewarding work of fervid and fertile imagination” ~Joseph Caldwell, author of In the Shadow of the Bridge

★★★★★ “There are few authors more qualified to craft a story about Houdini than the Youngs, who quite literally grew up amidst the lore and legends surrounding the world's most famous magician.” ~Gabe Fajuri, Founder of Potter and Potter Auctions, author of Mysterio's Encyclopedia of Magic and Conjuring

About the Authors
Charlie Young has been active as a physician/eye surgeon, writer, artist, vice president of the music company Denton and Haskins, creator of the radio podcast series Unheard of Jazz, and most recently writer of the historical fiction Houdini's Last Handcuffs which he co-authored with his sister.

Houdini’s Last Handcuffs is Cheryl Young's debut novel co-authored with her brother. Raised and educated in Manhattan, she earned an MBA from Columbia University. In addition to a career in finance, Cheryl is also a board member of the Finch College Alumni Foundation Trust, which focuses on awarding grants to tri-state area community college women continuing on for a four-year degree. Cheryl divides time between the cosmopolitan life of Miami and rural life in Essex Connecticut.

Visit them at
About the Publisher
Vine Leaves Press likes to blur the line between commercial and experimental works. They publish book-length vignette collections, writing reference books, short story collections, memoir/autobiography, and character-driven novels with a literary bent.​ Subscribe to the Vine Leaves Press newsletter to receive FREE advanced review copies of upcoming new releases, news about their authors and subscribers, and/or to read the monthly opinion column, SPILL IT! or a daily dose of 50-word stories. Learn more at

New Release! Age of Rust: Retribution by Thaddeus Yeiser and Conrad Bair


New release! Congratulations to authors Thaddeus Yeiser and Conrad Bair and to Ink Smith Publishing on the release of Age of Rust: Retribution

It has been 700 years since the end of the Golden Age of Man. Now a medieval war ravages the land once known as America. The story began with Age of Rust and continues with Age of Rust: Retribution

★★★★★ "A gripping tale set in a post-apocalyptic world where a medieval war rages." ~Goodreads Review

Age of Rust: Retribution

New Release: March 22, 2024
Book 2 in the Age of Rust series
Genre: Dystopian Fiction, War Fiction, Military Fantasy
Paperback: $16.99  
E-book: $5.99 (free via Kindle Unlimited)

Having survived a battle with the Western warlord Kayzitt, Seneca and Tavin lead the survivors South out of the thawing northern wilds. They must seek out the Chancellor of the East, who has been directing their campaigns from a distance, and determine the future direction of the war and thus, their lives.

Meanwhile, Kayzitt and Oil’ib play cat-and-mouse in the desolate wilds, their survival unbeknownst to their friends. Oil’ib longs for revenge at any cost, but Kayzitt will not allow himself to be beaten so easily.

Chiara tries to maintain the hospital that Seneca was forced to leave for the service—all while patients pile in and physicians continue to be drafted away. When the situation reaches a harrowing breaking point, she will put her life on the line to save her home.

When the Agents of the Chancellor finally meet their leader, they learn that there may be a way out of the war: a long lost tool or the Golden Age of man, which may give them the advantage needed to dispel the invaders from their land. But the mission will require a high-risk journey to the New England territories, where the influence of the Eastern Republic is weak and their enemies closer than they could have dreamed.

Age of Rust

Book 1 in the Age of Rust series
Genre: Dystopian Fiction, War Fiction, Military Fantasy
4.6 stars, 29 ratings
Hardcover: $24.99
Paperback: $15.99  
E-book: $3.99 (free via Kindle Unlimited)

No records show how it happened, though everyone has their beliefs as to why the golden age of man fell seven hundred years ago. Since, humanity has managed to rebuild a modest civilization from the ruins. Now a medieval war begins to ravage the land once known as America.

The lives of six young men become ensnared in the violence as they serve the Eastern army. Chief among them are Tavin, the son of a respected general, and Seneca, a physician drafted away from his studies. Loved ones left at home are threatened when Kayzitt, the zealot Western officer, leads his marauders behind enemy lines. His cruel methods devastate every community he encounters, and the East seems doomed to fall under its own weight as he makes a name for himself in the legends of the militaristic West.

But the six heroes notice that something has changed inside themselves. Their minds are subtly connected in a way that cannot be explained but lends them increased prowess on the battlefield. Inevitably, their skills place them on a collision course with Kayzitt that will shape the future of the nation.

Age of Rust is a tale of displaced youth, the struggle for life, and the peril of love in war-time. It is an ode to masculine vainglory and the valor in conflict as it bridges with the feminine witness of human corruption and loss of innocence.

★★★★★ "A thought-provoking take of wartime woes." ~Amazon Review

★★★★★ "Beautifully explores themes of displacement, the struggle for survival, and the complexities of love in times of war." ~Goodreads Review 

About the Publisher
Established in 2012, Ink Smith Publishing is a small, independent publishing house that works closely with authors to develop their books, marketing plans, and sales. Ink Smith has published works in multiple genres, including horror, mystery, thriller, young adult, science fiction, fantasy, and more. Learn more at, and be sure to follow them online: 

Spotlight on Crime, Action & Adventure from author Michael Cardwell


Today, LitNuts is shining a spotlight on the work of Michael Cardwell, author of the “Frontier” books, a best-selling series following Game Warden Danny Coogan in Montana, and The Rough Stuff, a powerful collection of short stories. Read on to learn more!

Frontier Justice: A Coogan Mystery

Genres: Mystery, Crime, Action, Adventure
4.4 stars, 1339 ratings
Paperback: $9.99
Ebook: $2.99 (Free via Kindle Unlimited)

Danny Coogan, a freshly minted Montana Fish and Game Officer and recent Afghanistan veteran, hopes to bury his demons in a simple life in the wilderness around the small town of Darwin. But his life becomes a nightmare when he is shot and left injured and alone in the freezing countryside to struggle for survival. His assailant? Edmund Goodrunner, a local Native American Danny had considered a friend.

Thus begins a brutal battle of lies, deception, and revenge with drug runners, weapons dealers, kidnappers, and killers. Danny finds himself thrust into an FBI investigation and forced to juggle the threats of a dangerous domestic terrorist group that threatens every aspect of the community he loves and has vowed to protect.

Danny, along with his surrogate father, Senior Game Warden Ben Whitetail, and the local Tribal Police Chief, instill the rich flavor of rural America through poignancy and down-home humor as they struggle, each in their own way, to bring peace back to their snowy town.

Fans of Craig Johnson and CJ Box will love this outstanding first novel as the author draws on his military experience and deep love of rural America to produce this action/adventure. If you like mysteries and crime stories with resilient heroes, slam-bang conflict, and nail-biting suspense seasoned with a splash of wilderness humor, then you’ll love Frontier Justice.

★★★★★ "Great start to a new series." ~Goodreads Review

★★★★★ "Modern Western with action and heart." ~Amazon Review

Frontier Outlaws: A Coogan Mystery

New Release!
Genres: Crime, Action, Mystery, Adventure
4.6 stars, 155 ratings
Paperback: $14.99
Ebook: $2.99 (Free via Kindle Unlimited)

Eight months after the showdown with the domestic terrorist group that nearly cost him his life, Danny Coogan, a Montana Fish and Game Officer, faces a new threat to his community—and his career. It starts with a dead steer. Which happens to be near the body of a dead rancher. Both of which are on the Dead Horse Indian Reservation.

Soon, Danny, the Tribal Police, the local Sheriff’s Department, and a U.S. Marshal are pressed into action. Danny’s connections to the Rez draw him into the murder case and plant him firmly in the crosshairs of the killers. Another victim is discovered, tortured, and murdered—but why? What secret painted a target on these locals?

Along with fellow Afghanistan veteran Matt Bringloe from the Tribal Police, Danny is determined to uncover the truth. Then, a connection is made to a decades-old cold case, revealing hidden motives and secret agendas. Now, Danny must pull together the clues before someone else dies.

Cattle rustling, a magic mushroom drug operation, and unsolved murders result in a shoot-out at a remote ranch, a race against time to a ghost town, and a final stand in the most unlikely location.

With the flavor of a down-home yarn and the intensity of a high adventure, Frontier Outlaws offers Craig Johnson and CJ Box fans a thrilling ride that delivers a bronco-busting punch.

★★★★★ "The humor and realistic action make for a rip-roaring story." ~Amazon Review

★★★★★ "An excellent sequel to Frontier Justice." ~Goodreads Review

The Rough Stuff: Stories of Men in Hard Circumstance

Genres: Action & Adventure Short Stories, War & Military Action Fiction
Paperback: $7.99
Ebook: $0.99 (Free via Kindle Unlimited)

The Rough Stuff is a powerful collection of short stories. Filled with unforgettable characters, it is a mix of action-filled fiction and reflective morality tales about the truisms of life, its spectacle, its inherent dangers, and its frustrating uncertainty. Whether in the mountains of Afghanistan, on a farm in Indiana, or in a lake cabin in Idaho, Cardwell tells brutally honest stories about the lives of decent, hard men in America.

★★★★★ "Short stories about struggles in life that our true heroes face every day." ~Amazon Review

About the Author
Michael Cardwell retired after thirty-two years in the U.S. Army. Along the way, he studied creative writing at Indiana University and published poetry and prose in reviews, journals, and magazines.

In retirement, he lives with his wife Roni in the Midwest and spends time brewing coffee, writing short stories and novels, chasing dogs, and enjoying his eight grandchildren.

Learn more at Michael's website, sign up for free e-mail updates, and be sure to follow him online: 

Free eBook: Bridge of Kings by Logan D. Irons


Today, LitNuts is shining a spotlight on a free novella from author Logan D. Irons:

Bridge of Kings, an Oaths of Blood Saga novella

The Oaths of Blood Saga is a dark historical fantasy series. Book 1 is coming in May with more books in the series to follow. Get started on this new series with the free Bridge of Kings novella! 

Bridge of Kings

Genre: Dark Historical Fantasy
Ebook price: FREE download!

Two Kings. Two Warriors. A single crown.

Some men hold secrets that are far darker than war. An old oath obligates Ulf Bodvarsson to join King Harald Hardrada’s army of Norsemen, seeking to assert his claim to the English crown. Yet near Stamford Bridge, enemies await, seeking to fulfill their own oaths of blood. The struggle that awaits them all will decide who rules the isles and who dies.

The Oaths of Blood Saga promises to be perfect for fans of George R.R. Martin, Bernard Cornwell, Joe Abercrombie, John Gwynne, and Mark Lawrence. The free Bridge of Kings novella will whet their palette for the release of Oaths of Blood, Book 1 of The Oaths of Blood Saga, coming in May 2024.

“Akin to acclaimed grimdark author Joe Abercrombie's The Heroes, Irons' Bridge of Kings covers an entire skirmish between two forces, presenting a grim and bloody view of war through the perspective of an anti-hero berserker hell-bent on destroying anything and everything he comes across.” ~Readers’ Favorite 5-star review

"Thoroughly imaginative and visceral. Five stars." ~Eric Schumacher, author of God’s Hammer

Coming Soon
Watch for Oaths of Blood, Book 1 of The Oaths of Blood Saga, coming May 7, 2024 (pre-order now!), and for Sands of Bone and City of Wolves, coming soon!


About the Author
Logan D. Irons has traveled to more than 50 countries for both work and pleasure. He lifted weights in Arnold’s childhood gym in Austria, asked his wife to marry him in an abandoned castle in Ireland, bartered for jewelry in a Kuwaiti souk, drank beers and sang quite poorly German songs at Oktoberfest in Munich, and burned a Viking ship during Hogmanay in Edinburgh. 

Fantasy, historical fiction, and history novels dominate his library. In particular, the works of George R.R. Martin, Steven Pressfield, Bernard Cornwell, and Robert Jordan inspire his work. He currently resides in Virginia, a place with enough history to keep him busy until the end of time, with his wife, son, and a dog named Ronin the Barbarian. 

If he has free time, which is rare, Logan throws axes (usually at targets), is physically active, and loves taking his family on adventures. And he’s convinced his nieces he’s a werewolf…

Learn more at, sign up for his free newsletter, and be sure to follow him online: 

Books to enrich your personal, community & spiritual lives from Rev. Dr. Anne Hays Egan


Today, LitNuts is shining a spotlight on the work of Rev. Dr. Anne Hays Egan, author of books that can help enrich your personal, family, community, and spiritual lives. 

"Hope is real. In these times, we can and we must find ways to fuel our belief in one another and make positive change together."
~Rev. Dr. Anne Hays Egan

Meet the Author
Anne is a high energy community building consultant and retired Presbyterian Minister and mindfulness practitioner. She has lived and traveled all over the world, and has found something special in the many cultures she has experienced. 

Anne’s books have received many rave reviews from readers, Gold Star Awards, and excellent editorial reviews. They have been called "a great read," "compelling," "inspiring and motivational," and "eye opening."  

Reviewers say reading Anne’s books is like having a conversation with her in her living room. Anne welcomes those conversations. Her books are about hope and making a positive difference in the world.

"Together, we can make a difference," says Anne—and that sentiment comes through loud-and-clear in her books:
  • Moving Mama is about how she and her family cared for her mother with Alzheimer’s. It took a village.
  • Building Communities of Hope is full of stories about how people can and do make positive change.
  • God’s Eyes is about a series of visions and God’s loving gift of pathways for all of us. "No matter where we live or our religious or spiritual practice, God has a path home for each of us," says Anne.  
Learn more about Anne and her work at and via her Amazon Author Page.

Read on to learn more about each of Anne's books.

Moving Mama: Taking Care of Mother During Her Final Years with Alzheimer's

Genres:  Eldercare, Aging Parents, Gerontology Social Sciences, Memoir
4.6 stars, 43 ratings
Paperback: $9.99
Ebook: ON SALE FOR $2.99 FOR A LIMITED TIME (Free via Kindle Unlimited)

Did you know 6.7 million people in the United States are living with Alzheimer's? Most of us need help, and this book has a lot to offer. Readers call it an excellent, practical resource for those of us who are caring for a loved one. Reviewers say the book is "a must for someone caring for an elder," "a page-turner," and "a compelling story that touched me deeply." They also said the book was "something I could not put down." It's a book that at its core speaks of hope. Add this to your toolkit! 

★★★★★ "A compassionate guide through Alzheimer's." ~Amazon Vine Voice Review 

★★★★★ "Valuable advice and strategies for navigating the complexities of elder care." ~Amazon Review

Building Communities of Hope: How People are Making Positive Change

Genres: Spiritual Self-Help, Happiness Self-Help, Religion & Spirituality
4.8 stars, 73 ratings
Paperback: $11.99
Ebook: ON SALE FOR $2.99 FOR A LIMITED TIME (Free via Kindle Unlimited)

Hope? You gotta be kidding me! Are you tired of all the bad news, violence, and stress? There are positive alternatives—practical ways people bring more hope to energize themselves and others. Each of us, deep down, has the spirit and fire within to live in joy. This book is filled with real-life stories about people who are doing just that—living large and making a huge difference. Rave reviews from more than 70 readers and editorial reviewers. Given a Gold Award from Literary Titan, and called one of the 20 Best Community Building Books of All Time by Book Authority. 

★★★★★ "A great book that guides readers toward building a strong community through good deeds. It is also a much-needed resource for self-healing from life’s challenges and advocating compassion, kindness, and love to support one another." ~Literary Titan, Gold Award

God's Eyes - A Vision for Us: Presence, Promise, and Power

Genres: Spiritual Self-Help, Motivational Self-Help, Religion & Spirituality
New Release: November 21, 2023
4.8 stars, 14 ratings
Paperback: $9.99
Ebook: ON SALE FOR $2.99 FOR A LIMITED TIME (Free via Kindle Unlimited)

Considered a transformative guide, God’s Eyes shares the author’s experience of a powerful vision in which she saw the world and its promise through God’s perspective. Great for seekers, those on a spiritual path, out-of-the-box thinkers, and all who want greater focus and purpose in their lives. This award-winning new release already has rave reader and editorial reviews. It is called a “great work,” “much needed in our world,” and “inspirational and enjoyable!"  

★★★★★ "A thought-provoking book that invites us to embrace the mystery of divine encounters, live in the slipstream of divine guidance, and contribute to a more compassionate world through small acts of kindness." ~Goodreads Review

★★★★★ "Tremendous help on my journey." ~Amazon Review

New release: Saving Face from Effy Redman and Vine Leaves Press


Congratulations to Effy Redman and Vine Leaves Press on the release of Saving Face, a memoir that pays tribute to anybody who has ever felt like an outsider

★★★★★ “When you own this book, you acquire the miracle that is both the human who embodies it and her art.” ~Catherine Filloux, award-winning playwright

Saving Face

NEW RELEASE: March 19, 2024
Genre: Memoir
Paperback: $17.99
Ebook: From $6.99  

What's in a smile? Or the absent smile? Saving Face is Effy Redman's thought-provoking answer.

Born with a rare condition of facial paralysis called Moebius Syndrome, Redman's grit and eye for beauty help her survive childhood bullying and adolescent doldrums. Her physical transformation at age thirteen via plastic surgery eviscerates her concept of image, just in time for her and her family to immigrate from hardscrabble Manchester, England to America's disorientingly scenic upstate New York. Not until diagnosis in young adulthood with bipolar disorder does Redman come out of the closet as a lesbian, finally claiming her most inherent identity.

Saving Face is a searing personal tribute to anybody who has ever felt like an outsider. This memoir honors the grace of a face that stands out in a crowd, defying societal beauty norms. Disability meets transcendence, suffering becomes hope, and the individual expands into community. The inability to smile, in Redman’s book, lights a window onto the human capacity for redemption.

Praise for Saving Face
★★★★★ "The unfurling of a highly entertaining and shocking memoir in which we are asked to face what happens when we are deprived of what we take most for granted." ~Catherine Filloux, award-winning playwright

★★★★★ "A profoundly beautiful, enthralling, and emotionally stirring tale." ~Goodreads Review

About the Author
Effy Redman’s writing investigates the intersection of disability and identity. She has work published in The New York Times, Vice, Ravishly, Chronogram, Berkeley Poetry Review, and Iron Horse Literary Review, among other places. She holds an MFA in Memoir from CUNY: Hunter College, where she received an Honorable Mention for the Helen Gray Cone Fellowship, and a BA in Literature/Drama from Bennington College, where she was an Ellen Knowles Harcourt Scholar and a Bennington Scholar. Learn more at
About the Publisher
Vine Leaves Press likes to blur the line between commercial and experimental works. They publish book-length vignette collections, writing reference books, short story collections, memoir/autobiography, and character-driven novels with a literary bent.​ Subscribe to the Vine Leaves Press newsletter to receive FREE advanced review copies of upcoming new releases, news about their authors and subscribers, and/or to read the monthly opinion column, SPILL IT! or a daily dose of 50-word stories. Learn more at

"Writing for the Soul" from author Susan Grant


Today, LitNuts is shining a spotlight on the work of author Susan Grant, whose focus on "writing for the soul" has led to books that inspire and motivate readers of all ages. Read on to learn more!

Sweet Dreams, Boone

Genre: Children's Inspirational Books
4.8 stars, 17 ratings
Paperback: From $13.99
Ebook: From $6.99 (Free via Kindle Unlimited) 

Boone is a sad and lonely little dog. He doesn’t like to be left alone when Mom goes to work.

To help him feel better, Mom buys him a special basket for his bed. When he sleeps, he dreams of a long-ago time and meets a man who is sad and lonely too, until he meets Jesus.

Perfect for young readers age 5 - 8. 

Praise for Sweet Dreams, Boone
★★★★★ "Children will be immediately drawn to the pet theme and beautiful illustrations." ~Amazon Review

★★★★★ "An adorable picture book with a beautiful message." ~Goodreads Review

The Bottle House

Genre: Faith & Spirituality; Psychology & Christianity; Death, Grief & Spirituality
4.5 stars, 48 ratings
Paperback: From $15.24
Ebook: From $5.99 (Free via Kindle Unlimited) 

Where is God in the midst of tragedy and suffering? Is it possible to surrender to God's will during times of despair?

At Bethany R&L Behavioral Healthcare Center, Stacy Meadows, Stefan Krause, and Debbie Young are deeply wounded people struggling to find emotional healing. When they encounter Chaplain Joseph Miller's mysterious bottles labeled for each of them, they are curious: How will a collection of bottles help with their healing—especially when they are feeling angry with God? It is only when these three individuals discover the real purpose behind these mysterious bottles that they discover a deep spiritual reawakening.

Praise for The Bottle House
"A spiritual revelation of how past regrets affect our mental health and cause individuals to lose faith. The Bottle House teaches us that no matter how low we feel, Jesus can forgive us, restore us, and comfort us in every situation we go through." ~LuGina Dumas, Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor

"The Bottle House offers an ongoing vision of hope and comfort when we are tempted to retreat into despair and loneliness." ~Ann W. Roach, Psychologist

100 Minutes with God

Genre: Christian Meditations, Christian Bible Meditations, Christian Meditation Worship & Devotion
4.5 stars, 73 ratings
Paperback: From $8.54
Ebook: From $6.99 

1-Minute Daily Devotions of Timeless Inspirations

God longs to spend time with you, even for a minute. Why don’t you join Him today? 100 Minutes with God is written for those who struggle with finding time to spend with Him. These individual minutes make it possible to connect with our Creator and provide you with material you can contemplate throughout your day. The Scriptures listed on each page allow you to further reflect and meditate on God’s word.

Praise for 100 Minutes with God
★★★★★ "Perfect devotions for busy families, youth groups, working moms and so much more!" ~Goodreads Review

★★★★★ "A great book of daily devotions." ~Amazon Review

About the Author
Susan Grant is a graduate of Columbia International University and a former Bible teacher in the public schools of North Carolina. Susan has written for devotional magazines such as Unlocked: Daily Readings for Teens and Upper Room Magazine. She has also been published in The Bangor Daily News, The Chattanooga Writers’ Guild, and Re:Fiction Magazine. Susan teaches language arts and lives on the coast of Maine with her husband, Randy, and her little red dachshund, Boone. Learn more at and sign up for her free newsletters, Writing for the Soul and Minute Devotions. Be sure to follow Susan online, too!

Inspiring children's books from James DiNanno


Today, LitNuts is shining a spotlight on two inspiring children's books from author James DiNanno:

  • The First Rock Star On Mars: The book that teaches kids to shoot for the stars. And follow their wildest dreams on Earth...or even Mars.
  • President Camila: The book that teaches kids compassionate traits. And that one day they could be President of the United States.

"I loved Shel Silverstein growing up...and just started thinking, 'What would Shel Silverstein write today?'" ~James DiNanno

The First Rock Star On Mars

Genres: Literature & Fiction for Children, Children's Humorous Poetry, Children's Rock Music
4.9 stars, 70 ratings
Paperback: $8.99

Audiobook: $3.95
Ebook: $2.99 (Free via Kindle Unlimited) 

A modern day classic!

The book that teaches kids to shoot for the stars. And follow their wildest dreams on Earth...or even Mars.

"A delightful and inspirational story for anyone with big dreams and even bigger imaginations." ~Reedsy Discovery

"A very inspirational book for not only children but for anyone who wants to pursue their dreams." ~Goodreads Review

Bonus: The audiobook edition is narrated by Kellin Quinn, the lead singer of rock band Sleeping with Sirens. This audiobook features an exclusive surprise song at the end, "The First Rock Star On Mars," performed by the band The First Rock Band on Mars, which includes Kellin Quinn, Howi Spangler of Ballyhoo!, William Ryan Key of Yellowcard, and the author of this book, James DiNanno.

President Camila

Genres: Children's Poetry, Children's Jobs & Careers Books
5.0 stars, 4 ratings
Paperback: $7.99

Ebook: $2.99 (Free via Kindle Unlimited) 

The book that teaches kids compassionate traits. And that one day they could be President of the United States. 

A great book for encouraging your little stars to follow their dreams. The illustrations and rhymes make this story as fun for parents and grandparents as it is for the child. A perfect gift for new parents, baby showers, holidays, birthdays, or just because.

About the Author
James DiNanno is a proud family man, creative force, and serial entrepreneur. After spending his 20s touring with the band Silhouette Rising, with the goal of finding happiness...he found it! Along the way, James, a self-made millionaire, established and now owns businesses including the multi-award winning wedding company Meritage Entertainment, Boston GIF, Ambient Force, and PlaybookU. He is also the drummer for bands Callisto and various other acts.

These days, James is passionate about sharing his experience and energy and empowering others. Each of his books are meant to empower the entrepreneurial spirit in children and adults. In addition to The First Rock Star On Mars and President Camila, he is author of The Networking Playbook and Entrepreneur: The Secret Playbook

James lives in Exeter, NH, with his wife, son, and two standard poodles. You can follow him online at @JamesDiNanno or

New Release: Your Story Starts Here from Jim Zervanos & Vine Leaves Press


Congratulations to Jim Zervanos and Vine Leaves Press on the release of Your Story Starts Here: A Year on the Brink with Generation Z, a memoir from a high school English teacher who sees that today's youth are thrust into a tumultuous world and simultaneously burdened with saving it.

★★★★★ “Packed with empathy as well as literary lessons, we have a front row seat to watch the world fall apart as these kids come of age. This book is insightful, heartfelt, and authentic." ~Kelly Simmons, author of Not My Boy

Your Story Starts Here

NEW RELEASE: March 12, 2024
Genre: Memoir
Paperback: $17.99
Ebook: From $6.49  

Jim Zervanos, a seasoned high-school English teacher and father of two, embarks on a mission at the cusp of a new school year. He realizes that today's youth are thrust into a tumultuous world and burdened with saving it. To chronicle this extraordinary period in America, he assigns himself a unique task: keeping a journal.
Within its pages, we witness “his kids” grappling with pressing issues like identity politics, gun violence, and political uncertainty. A sophomore prodigy wrestles his demons onto the pages of his fiction before entering a psychiatric hospital. An estranged junior posts ominous threats on Snapchat, while a principal sabotages a student walkout. Meanwhile, in his classroom, Jim prepares a hiding space for an active shooter event and, back home, finds solace in the eulogy of his young sons’ pet fish, sent on its final journey with a flush.
By year's end, Jim, unwavering in his determination to inspire hope in his students, discovers that it's the youth who inspire hope in him. Their creativity and ideals paint a vivid portrait of an evolving America, seen through the kaleidoscope of Generation Z. Your Story Starts Here: A Year on the Brink with Generation Z is an intimate exploration of the challenges, resilience, and unwavering hope of today's youth in a turbulent world.

Praise for Your Story Starts Here
★★★★★ “Watching Zervanos stay steady in unsteady waters, with good humor and strength, is the central pleasure of this moving, engaging book.” ~Debra Spark, author of Discipline

★★★★★ “This book is as rich in humor and compassion as it is in dismay at the reality of school shootings and children ushered, sometimes forcefully and prematurely, into adulthood.” ~Peter Turchi, author of Maps of the Imagination

★★★★★ “Masterfully paced and wonderfully rendered... a book that should be required reading for parents, for teachers, for artists…for anyone who’s wondered what it means to be human in a world that daily challenges our humanity.” ~Scott Gould, author of The Hammerhead Chronicles and Idiot Men

★★★★★ “The world needs more teachers, and more writers, like Jim Zervanos.” ~Kelly Simmons, author of Not My Boy

About the Author
Jim Zervanos is the author of the memoir That Time I Got Cancer: A Love Story and the novel LOVE Park. His award-winning essays and short stories have been published in numerous literary journals, magazines, and anthologies. He is a graduate of the MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College and Bucknell University, where he won the William Bucknell Prize for English and was an Academic All-American baseball player. He teaches at a high school in the suburbs of Philadelphia, where he lives with his wife and two sons, and has risen in the baseball pantheon as coach of two Little League teams. Learn more at
About the Publisher
Vine Leaves Press likes to blur the line between commercial and experimental works. They publish book-length vignette collections, writing reference books, short story collections, memoir/autobiography, and character-driven novels with a literary bent.​ Subscribe to the Vine Leaves Press newsletter to receive FREE advanced review copies of upcoming new releases, news about their authors and subscribers, and/or to read the monthly opinion column, SPILL IT! or a daily dose of 50-word stories. Learn more at

Be a part of The Chimera Snare: Fragments Kickstarter Campaign!


Today, LitNuts is inviting booklovers to be a part of a unique publishing project by participating in The Chimera Snare: Fragments Kickstarter campaign

The Chimera Snare is a new dark fantasy series, and readers who participate in the Kickstarter campaign can choose from a variety of rewards, including specially curated goods from a selection of independent artisans. Backers will also be acknowledged in the book's credits

Read on to learn more!

The Chimera Snare: Fragments

Book 1 in a Dark Fantasy Series

High school chaos clashes with an other-worldly feud as two earthbound teenagers work together to thwart a reality-bending showdown.

The Chimera Snare: Fragments plunges the reader into the middle of an otherworldly feud between the distant realms of Celestine and Daeva. Notable characters from each realm are vying for the possession of a powerful set of artifacts known as The Order of Existence that grants the user control over all reality. While the Celestines have established themselves as the guardians of The Order, a sect within the persecuted realm of Daeva aims to assume control of it and exact a long-awaited vengeance.

When two Celestine guardians are expelled from their realm and trapped within the bodies of two earthbound teenagers, a race begins between the feuding realms: Will the Celestines find a way to free their guardians, or will the Daeva succeed in their quest to alter the fabric of existence?

Meanwhile on Earth, high schoolers and best friends Rayshell and Trish are thrust into the story when they realize that they are living vessels in this realm for the two banished Celestine guardians, putting Rayshell and Trish in a race against time to connect with the Celestines before the Daeva find them. 
About the Kickstarter Campaign
The Chimera Snare: Fragments Kickstarter campaign aims to bring this new dark fantasy series to life while offering backers unique rewards, exclusive merchandise, and the promise of an unforgettable literary journey.

You can become a backer of this exciting project for as little as $5 and earn exciting rewards in the process...ranging from an eBook edition to a signed paperback copy to a lavish first-edition hardcover version, and much more, including a Triple Moon Pendant, hand-painted artwork, fragrances in the form of artisan candles, soaps, and incense, and other curated goods, many of which can be had in rewards bundles.

Visit The Chimera Snare: Fragments Kickstarter campaign now to learn more!


About the Authors
Shannon Vierra is an urban gardener and avid seed collector—last clocked in with over 3500 different varieties. In the makeup community, Shannon goes by zoomzoommacaron where she collaborates with fellow MUAS across the world. She hosts a monthly zombie-themed makeup group called the #zombabescollab and adores SFX and other creative makeup. Shannon is also the owner of ShopCorpsicle which specializes in handmade props, fake food, miniatures, prosthetics, and other accessories. She uses the alias Silence In Shadows for her traditional art. 

Edward Ayllon first discovered the joys of creative writing through his early high school studies, and has spent many years exploring and developing a deep appreciation for the arts. Since first collaborating with his wife, Shannon, he has sprouted a passion and true affinity for storytelling and crafting literature. In addition to refining his skill in creating written works, his other interests include playing bass guitar, listening to music, and dabbling in photography.

Shannon and Edward write together as S&E Black. Both are originally from California and now live in the Chicago area with an a clowder of rescue cats. Learn more at
About Clay Urn Publishing
Clay Urn Publishing LLC, co-founded in 2023 by Edward Ayllon and Shannon Vierra, is home to The Chimera Snare series and is open to other imaginative and captivating literary works. Committed to supporting independent voices, this publishing house seeks to create a platform where unique stories can flourish. Learn more at and follow Clay Urn online:

New Release: When the Ocean Flies from Heather G. Marshall and Vine Leaves Press


Congratulations to Heather G. Marshall and Vine Leaves Press on the release of When the Ocean Flies, a novel that explores the pain of separation and abuse, and the power of love to heal even over huge gaps in time and geographical distance. 

★★★★★ "A layered narrative of a woman discovering herself...written with such clarity and powerful imagery that even in its most heartbreaking moments, we are held in its grace. A tale eloquently told." ~Shelly Milliron Drancik, author of The Distance of Mercy

When the Ocean Flies

NEW RELEASE: February 27, 2024
Genre: Literary Fiction
Paperback: $17.99
Ebook: $5.99  

An email from a stranger tells Alison Earley that her natural father, whom she has known for only six years, has died suddenly. What begins as a short trip back to Scotland for a funeral soon becomes a journey that puts adoption, sexuality, and identity on a collision course as Alison finds herself caught between the life and family she has so carefully constructed on one continent and the family from which she was taken on another.

Shunned by her father’s family, reunited with her natural mother, and reconnected with a long-lost love, Alison finds herself trying to shepherd her youngest child towards college while questioning everything she thought she knew about herself.

When her natural mother uncovers a series of letters written to Alison from the grandmother she never knew, resurrecting the stories of generations of women—stories long buried by patriarchal rule—Alison realizes that she must find the courage to face and reveal the secrets of her own past. At what cost, though? And who and what will be left in the aftermath?

Praise for When the Ocean Flies
★★★★★ “A highly emotive tale with strong characterization. Highly recommended!” ~The Wishing Shelf

★★★★★ “In When the Ocean Flies, Heather Marshall uses braided narratives to reveal the many layers of Alison, a woman searching for identity, belonging, and a real sense of family... a complex, sometimes difficult, emotional journey. You will feel profound empathy for Alison, and you’ll relish Marshall’s lush narrative in this beautifully told story.” ~Carla Damron, author of The Orchid Tattoo

★★★★★ “A gorgeous story transporting us over the ocean, continent to continent, during one woman’s lifelong search for true self and the warmth of her birth mother’s love. Like messages found in wave-washed bottles, ancestral letters surface, filled with the pain and power of being female. This book brought me to tears and a greater understanding of my own possibilities.” ~Terresa Cooper Haskew, author of Winston’s Book of Souls

About the Author
Heather G. Marshall is adoptee, author, mother, speaker, teacher, coach, and traveler. Her short fiction has been published in a variety of journals, including Black Middens: New Writing Scotland, and Quarried, an anthology of the best of three decades of Pine Mountain Sand and Gravel. Her first novel, The Thorn Tree, released in 2014 (MP Publishing). Her TED talk, “Letting Go of Expectations,” centers around her adoption and reunion. Originally from Scotland, Heather  is currently based in Massachusetts. You can find out more about her at
About the Publisher
Vine Leaves Press likes to blur the line between commercial and experimental works. They publish book-length vignette collections, writing reference books, short story collections, memoir/autobiography, and character-driven novels with a literary bent.​ Subscribe to the Vine Leaves Press newsletter to receive FREE advanced review copies of upcoming new releases, news about their authors and subscribers, and/or to read the monthly opinion column, SPILL IT! or a daily dose of 50-word stories. Learn more at

Spotlight on Look 'N Up Invasion, YA Sci-Fi/Fantasy from Janice Carr Smith


Today, LitNuts is shining a spotlight on Look 'N Up Invasion by Janice Carr Smith, an award-winning work of science fiction/fantasy for young adults and readers of all ages. 

"A cleverly plotted mix of fantasy, family drama, and cultural debate. Highly recommended!" ~Wishing Shelf Book Review

Look 'N Up Invasion

New release!
Genres: Coming of Age Fiction, Coming of Age Fantasy
Paperback: $20.99
Ebook: $0.99 

It's Baput's 12th birthday. The battle begins today.

While fighting the circadian predators that decimate their population every three years, the green-skinned royal family of a tiny, primitive world are accidentally transported to the Look ’N Up Pomegranate Ranch in present-day California, where they are hired as immigrant farm workers by a particularly empathetic family who were once penniless farm workers themselves, carry a hideous genetic deformity, and believe in the Look ’N Up Way: As the farmer, Elmer, puts it, “It means you pull your head out of wherever you like to tuck it and look around at the people around you. Feel them. Think about them. Consider them. How do these green people feel?”

Warm friendships form as the two families work to understand their vast differences. When they discover that the predators have followed their prey and are hibernating on the Look ‘N Up Ranch waiting to attack Earth, it will take the diverse capabilities of both worlds to defeat them. But can they do it quietly, while the beasts sleep, or will a battle erupt, exposing Earth to the ravenous monsters, and the gentile, green-skinned aliens to a hostile world?

Learn more and read an excerpt on

Praise for Look 'N Up Invasion

  • Finalist! 2023 The Wishing Shelf Book Awards
  • Royal Dragonfly Award
  • Honorable Mention in three categories (Novel, Sci-FI/Fantasy, Young Adult) from Story Monsters Ink
  • "Entertaining and enlightening." ~Book Trib
  • "A thrilling book with lots of plot twists, drama, and action." ~Hollywood Book Reviews
  • "An amazing job of both world building and character development." ~Pacific Book Review

About the Author
Janice Carr was raised by liberal parents in ’60s in Cambridge, Massachusetts, but was orphaned at fourteen and ended up living with relatives who had a very different world view. Jan rebelled and returned home to live with a family friend during high school, then left campus-rich Boston for a Radio-TV-Film major at Northwestern University. The college Outing Club opened her city-born eyes to the natural world with hiking, rock-climbing and spelunking trips, and she switched to a Geology major.

Jan settled in northern California where she married John Smith and made a career of shepherding projects through California’s rigorous environmental compliance process. After retirement, realized her lifelong dream of writing. She is now a member of: The Author's Guild, the Women's Fiction Writer's Association, The Wishing Shelf, and the Alliance of Independent Authors. Learn more at

Spotlight on Bibliotherapy, The Healing Power of Reading


Today, LitNuts is shining a spotlight on Bibliotherapy, The Healing Power of Reading, and on the Book Therapy website, created by book curator and bibliotherapist Bijal Shah. 

As a booklover and subscriber to the LitNuts newsletter, you already make books and reading an integral part of your life. Read on to learn more about Bijal's work and the life-changing magic of books.


Bonus: Receive free bibliotherapy resources and book recommendations when you sign up for the free Bibilotherapy Newsletter
About Bijal Shah and Book Therapy Services
Bijal Shah is a UK-based book curator and bibliotherapist. She is also a freelance journalist, writer, poet, counsellor, publisher, and a voracious reader. After a decade-plus career in Investment Banking and having completed post-graduate work in Psychodynamic Counselling and Psychotherapy, she launched Book Therapy, a bibliotherapy and literary curation practice. (Be sure to check out her book, Bibliotherapy, The Healing Power of Reading, below.)

Bibliotherapy is "an art therapy that leverages the power of stories to heal." Via Book Therapy, Bijal offers bibliotherapy training and bibliotherapy sessions (for individuals and couples, which includes unlimited email or text support for two weeks following your session). She also creates personalized book prescriptions for therapeutic or personal interest purposes.

Bijal's book recommendations have been featured in the Guardian, BBC Culture, Marie Claire, NBC News, Sydney Telegraph, Reader's Digest, Asian Voice, The New York Observer, and elsewhere. 

"Time is precious," says Bijal. "We may only read 2000 books in our lifetime, and for some people it might be a fraction of that. Book Therapy's reading service focuses on creating a truly personalized book prescription (detailed, tailored book recommendations) for clients based on questions that explore your interests, needs and circumstances, and your reading habits." The book prescriptions and book boxes can be gifted and make a great gift for any book lover.

You can learn more on the Book Therapy website, including an online course on the practice of bibliotherapy, A-Z Book Prescriptions for Adults and Children. and more. You can also follow Book Therapy on social media: 

Bibliotherapy, The Healing Power of Reading

Hardcover: From $25.12 (via Amazon USA)
Other editions: From £9.99 (via

In this unique and transformational guide to healing, bibliotherapist and counsellor Bijal Shah explores the restorative power of reading. Bibliotherapy traces the history of how therapeutic reading evolved - including the important role played by the best writers such as the Stoics, Montaigne, Eliot, and Wordsworth. In doing so, Bijal offers first-hand stories from clients who have found solace in great works of literature when struggling with grief, relationships, or illness.

Full of practical advice and insights into how bibliotherapy really works, Bijal offers an A to Z reading list of books for every mood and need. A much-needed reminder of how comforting and life-changing reading can be, Bibliotherapy is a sumptuous celebration of books that will invite you to see them as more than just an escape, but a legitimate form of self-care.

Praise for Bibliotherapy
"Utterly fascinating. I have long felt that books can be medicine. Now I understand why. Read this book. Feel better." ~Beth Kempton, bestselling author of Wabi Sabi: Japanese wisdom for a perfectly imperfect life

"One of the most fascinating books that I have read in years! Beautifully written and full of insights, this book demonstrates the healing power of stories and how you can transform your life through bibliotherapy." ~Simon Alexander Ong, bestselling author of Energize

Spotlight on YA Fantasy/Adventure from Frances Ellen


Today, LitNuts is shining a spotlight on the work of author Frances Ellen, creator of the Asters Original Series, a found family, YA fantasy adventure. If you like diverse characters, found family, and magical/dangerous adventures that criss-cross the globe, this is the series for you:

"An utterly enthralling saga of magic and subterfuge, highly recommended" ~Midwest Book Review

Bonus: Sign up for the author's monthly newsletter and get a free sneak peek at A Queen to Come!

From Fury Reborn

Genres: Teen & Young Adult Fantasy
4.3 stars, 24 ratings on Goodreads
Paperback: $19.99
Ebook: $4.99 (Free via Kindle Unlimited) 

Five magical warriors. One dangerous mission. Two fearsome enemies. When they all converge in a deadly jungle, who will come out alive?

Protecting humans from the seven Dark Kings is the duty of the Affinite race, led by the Asters, five people each with a unique form of magic.

Charged with investigating sinister events in the Amazon Rainforest, Nathan and his fellow Asters prepare themselves to face the smartest and deadliest King ever. But there is more than one monster roaming the jungle, and Nathan’s magic holds the key to its identity.

As the shocking revelations mount, Nathan fears that the fatal mistakes of the past have come back to haunt them. Can Nathan harness his unique connection to the Asters’ newest enemy and form an alliance against the Dark King? Or will that put them in more danger than ever?

A Crown Denied

Genres: Teen & Young Adult Fantasy
4.4 stars on Amazon
Paperback: $21.99
Ebook: $4.99 (Free via Kindle Unlimited) 

Their deadliest enemy always one step ahead. Can the Asters unmask the spy before critical secrets are exposed and lives are lost?

After a grueling mission in the Amazon Rainforest, Sky and his fellow Asters have succeeded in bringing their reluctant new Queen back to their island home.

While Sky prepares for the mission that should bring the King of the South American Underworld to their knees, he finds himself drawn to his Queen’s extraordinary powers and beauty, despite her ruthless reputation. And when a trusted ally turns foe, his divided loyalties could threaten everything he holds dear.

A Crown Denied is the second book in the Asters Original Series, which follows the adventures of the five magical Asters: Lian, Sophie, Matu, Nathan, and Sky. Discover whose betrayal will draw the Asters and their Queen into another fatal reckoning with the most powerful Dark King of all time.

A Queen To Come: The Complete Prequel Trilogy

Genres: Teen & Young Adult Fantasy
4.4 stars on Amazon
Ebook: $4.99 (Free via Kindle Unlimited) 

Meet the Asters, five members of a found family, each with a unique magic.

They have trained together all their lives. They have deep bonds of friendship. They will lay down their lives for themselves, their Queen, and their people. With Dark Kings stirring into deadly action, they will be put to the ultimate test. 

The prequel trilogy includes:

  • A Queen to Come: An ancient power reincarnated in their new Queen. Can the Asters thwart a Dark King's plan to capture it for himself?
  • A World to Lose: A newly emboldened King makes his move. Tasked with assessing his threat, the Asters uncover more than they bargained for. And it's not just their lives at stake.
  • A Threat to Remain: The Asters are facing their deadliest test yet. Can they use their magic in unique ways to succeed in their mission?

About the Author
Frances Ellen writes YA fantasy stories full of magic and adventure, action and jeopardy, sacrifice and betrayal, deep bonds of friendship, and a light touch of romance. Her first series describes a world where humans with exceptional affinities for specific traits, the Affinites, led by a magical elite known as the Asters, protect humans from the ever-present threat from Dark Kings. Learn more at, sign up for her newsletter, and be sure to follow her online: 

Spotlight on the Will Harper Mystery Series from author David Crosby


Today, LitNuts is shining a spotlight on the work of author David Crosby, creator of the Will Harper Mysteriesa series in the grand tradition of marina-living private investigators like John D. McDonald’s Travis McGee and Randy Wayne White’s Doc Ford. 

Sanibel Wind (new release!): the calm before the storm...and an island's fate hangs in the balance...

Will Harper Florida Thrillers: Vol. 1-4 (FREE!): 4.6 stars, 1800+ ratings

Sanibel Wind

NEW RELEASE: February 14, 2024
Genres: Mystery, Thriller, Action, Adventure
Paperback: $14.95
Ebook: $2.99 

In the explosive tenth chapter of the Will Harper Mystery Series, the tranquil retreat of Florida sleuth Will Harper and his love, Luna, turns into a tempest's epicenter when fugitives Birdie and Rufus unwittingly enter the eye of the storm.

As Hurricane Ian wreaks havoc on Sanibel Island, Harper must navigate treacherous waters to rescue the stranded. For fans of John D. MacDonald and aficionados of crime mysteries by Dawn McKenna and Wayne Stinnett, Sanibel Wind is a seafaring odyssey where Harper races against time, unraveling the unpredictable currents of love, deception, and Florida's tumultuous underworld.

In this electrifying adventure, the winds of justice and chaos converge, testing Harper's resilience and determining the fate of an island. Can Will weather this storm, or will the secrets of Sanibel be forever lost to the winds? Dive into this tropical thriller, where suspense surges like a tidal wave, and the pulse of danger beats with every turn of the page.

Will Harper Florida Thrillers: Vol. 1-4

Genres: Mystery, Thriller, Action, Adventure
4.6 stars, 1800+ ratings
Ebook: FREE

“Start the boat. We've gotta get rid of this body!"

The Will Harper Mystery Series opens with a bang and never stops thanks to the protagonist, a semi-retired reporter and burgeoning sleuth who lives aboard his yacht in the Florida Keys when he’s not solving hard-boiled murder mysteries. This box set includes four complete novels: 

  • Million Dollar Staircase: Will thinks fast when he discovers his girlfriend is the victim of a frame-up. He sees instantly why they can’t go to the cops—the mayor, the city manager, and for all Will knows, every official in town could be in on it.
  • Guilty Money: The Grove County police department is arresting citizens for minor charges and then driving up their bail when a search of the citizen’s home too conveniently turns up drugs. When Will finds out crooked cops are behind the scam, it seems every cop in town is out to get him.
  • Florida Burning: A toxic algae bloom in Lake Okeechobee... a deadly pollutant from a cane field...and a dead environmentalist. Coincidence? Florida PI Will Harper knows damn well it’s not.
  • The Florida Shuffle: A Florida "sober" home has lost three of its patients to “accidental” overdoses in the past four months. When WiIl investigates, he finds it's just the tip of the iceberg.

About the Author
David Crosby is a bestselling author who creates unputdownable Florida-based thrillers. His books feature strong social justice themes in tropical settings. David brings extensive knowledge and love of boats to crafting his own compelling characters and settings, tackling topics such as eminent domain abuse, jail/bail scams, opioids, human trafficking, pollution, and senior citizen rip-offs as his protagonist cruises the Florida Gulf coast. Learn more at his website, sign up for his newsletter, and be sure to follow him online: 

Spotlight on YA Fiction from Rebecca Rook


Today, LitNuts is shining a spotlight on two young adult fiction titles from author Rebecca Rook: 

False Haven (new release!) - a chilling YA horror novel where Holes meets The Haunting of Hill House

The Penance of Valentine Cash
Neil Gaiman’s American Gods meets Jennifer Mason-Black’s Devil and the Bluebird in this modern adaptation of the Greek legend The Twelve Labors of Hercules for YA fantasy readers

False Haven

NEW RELEASE: February 13, 2024
Genres: Teen & Young Adult Horror, Teen & Young Adult Ghost Stories, Teen & Young Adult Fantasy & Supernatural Mystery
Ebook: $4.99  

A young adult horror novel for fans of Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake, Asylum by Madeleine Roux, and Fiendish by Brenna Yovanoff.

Seventeen-year-old Vivienne Barston’s life has fallen apart.

With her mother recently dead, her father disappears into his grief – leaving Viv to deal with her sadness and anger alone. Viv turns to destructive behaviors like petty vandalism, but after a disturbing stint in a juvenile detention center frightens her, Viv agrees to a court mandated service opportunity designed to expunge her record. The deal: work for six weeks with a trail conservation crew in the rural woods of southern Oregon, and she’ll be free with a clean slate.

She knows it’s her last chance to fix her life.

When Viv arrives at the small town of Hard Luck, Oregon, she meets her motley crewmates, all with troubles of their own. The unusual group travels to Grafton Stake, a remote and derelict former asylum with a haunted history–and now Viv must face the ghosts of the past while fighting for her future.

The Penance of Valentine Cash

Recent Release: January 16, 2024
Genres: Teen & Young Adult Fantasy, Teen & Young Adult Mythical Creatures, Teen & Young Adult Greek & Roman Myths & Legends
Paperback: $16.00
Ebook: $4.99 (Free via Kindle Unlimited)

The young and the ancient, the tangible and the mythical, collide in this tale of redemption, connection, and the enduring power of the human spirit.

Valentine Cash is dead.

When she dies in an accidental collision she caused on the cusp of musical fame, Valentine is offered a deal: Complete a series of difficult tasks to get her life back. Fail, and she dies a final, everlasting death. Guided by Route 66 the Mother Road of America on her quest, she tackles one herculean task after another, giving up a piece of herself with each trial.

Valentine begins to understand that the fame she once sought won’t bring her happiness or belonging – and if she fulfills the penance, she must decide what’s more important: Her old life or restoring the lives of the strangers who died alongside her.

Praise for The Penance of Valentine Cash

"A unique and wonderful book." ~Amazon Review

"Incredible storytelling." ~Goodreads Review

"The gods would be pleased." ~Amazon Review

About the Author
Rebecca Rook is a hard of hearing person who designs tabletop games, manages a little free library dedicated to sequential art and comics, and lives in the Pacific Northwest with two wonderful dogs. A 2021-2022 Hugo House Fellow in Seattle, WA, she also attended the 2021 Tin House YA Fiction Workshop in Portland, OR. Prior to this, she completed the wonderful Yearlong Workshop for Young Adult and Middle Grade Fiction at Hugo House. She writes young adult fiction in the fantasy, thriller, and horror genres. Learn more at, and follow Rebecca online: