The Titan Strain: Dystopian literature’s newest addition

Why has the dystopian genre for young adults seem to have blown up in recent years? While this genre has been around for decades, it certainly seems to have blown up and taken the world by storm throughout the past ten years or so. It seems as if there are new additions to this genre rising up every single day. But what is it about this genre that has its readers fascinated and entangled in these foreign worlds? Maybe it’s because the world these novels paint aren’t so foreign after all.

In many dystopian novels, they showcase the protagonist fighting against a corrupt government or other societal power. Skipping over all the details that vary from book to book, this is general overview of dystopian literature. Any society anywhere in the world at any point in time can relate to corruption and disagreements with general authoritarian power. Despite dystopian literature being sometimes fantastical in nature, the basics are always something that readers can have a relation with.

The Titan Strain by Virginia Soenksen is a prime example of the Science Fiction/Dystopian literature that has taken over the young adult genre. The book’s the protagonist, Liane, is a young woman who has been trained by the government to be a genetically trained assassin. She is the perfect secret agent to help carry out the oppressive laws created by the government. However, when she saves the life of and forms an unexpected friendship with a police officer, Seth, they join forces to investigate the dark, underground organizations in their society. The closer they get to uncovering the dark truth about their world, they increasingly become closer to incredible danger.

Perhaps the most prevalent characteristic of dystopian young adult literature is the pervasive concept of young people rising up against authoritarian evil. This is so uplifting and brings hope to many of its readers, who are young people themselves. This type of literature gives its readers strong examples of what people can really do when they are up against problematic forces of control.

Another tremendous aspect of this novel is that the protagonist happens to be a female, which is so uplifting for young female readers. Girls and the heroic roles they play in many dystopian novels are so important because they teach young women that they can change the world too. Strong female protagonists such as Katniss in The Hunger Games series, Tris in the Divergent series, and now Liane in The Titan Strain (part one in the Genetics Chronicles series) are all examples of young women who take power into their own hands and strive for more out of their lives. Dystopian literature is so popular and so important in the young adult genre because it promotes the youth of society standing up for what they believe in and knowing that the power to make positive changes in the world is in their hands.

Virginia Soenksen’s first novel, The Titan Strain, is such an accomplishment and a beautiful accompaniment in the realm of dystopian young adult literature. Any fans of this genre will greatly appreciate this novel on their bookshelf as another addition to this intriguing and inspiring genre.

Bohner and Gronsky’s “A Short Season” returns as the Sunbury Press bestseller for May

Bohner and Gronsky’s “A Short Season” returns as the Sunbury Press bestseller for May

MECHANICSBURG, Pa. —  Sunbury Press has released the bestsellers list for May. A Short Season, recounting the life of Josiah Viera, a baseball-loving youth battling progeria, climbed back to the top spot. Recently released The Most Hated Man in America: Jerry Sandusky and the Rush to Judgment by Mark Pendergrast took the 2nd spot. The biography of Eddie Plank, Gettysburg Eddie, was 3rd. Lawrence Knorr (and Bang) also took the 24th spot with The BANG Story. Doug Beed’s Vietnam memoir Chasing Understanding in the Jungles of Vietnam was 4th. Michael Hawley nabbed 5th place with his exceptional investigation of Jack the Ripper: Jack the Ripper Suspect Dr. Francis Tumblety.  Joe Regenbogen’s The Boys from Brookdale, about a group of WW2 veterans at the same nursing home, was #6. Cheryl Brooks’ Chicken Bone Beach grabbed 7th.  Sheldon Munn moved up to 8th place with his Freemasons at Gettysburg. Former Congressman Jason Altmire fell to 9th with his political book Dead Center, seeking to end the partisan divide in US politics. Mike Campbell’s mainstay Amelia Earhart: The Truth at Last rounded out the top ten. John L. Moore took ten of the fifteen lower positions with his Frontier Pennsylvania series and Revolutionary Pennsylvania series books.

SUNBURY PRESS – Bestsellers for May 2018 (by Revenue)
Rank Prior Title Author Category
1 2 A Short Season Jake Gronsky & David Bohner Sports Memoir
2 6 The Most Hated Man in America: Jerry Sandusky and the Rush to Judgment Mark Pendergrast Legal History
3 4 Gettysburg Eddie Lawrence Knorr Baseball
4 13 Chasing Understanding in the Jungles of Vietnam Doug Beed Military Memoir
5 12 Jack the Ripper Suspect Dr. Francis Tumblety Michael Hawley True Crime
6 5 The Boys from Brookdale Joe Regenbogen Biography
7 15 Chicken Bone Beach Cheryl Woodruff-Brooks History
8 11 Freemasons at Gettysburg Sheldon Munn History
9 1 Dead Center Jason Altmire Politics
10 10 Amelia Earhart: The Truth at Last, 2nd Ed. Mike Campbell History
11 7 Call Sign Dracula Joe Fair Military Memoir
12 8 Fifty Years in a Fox Hole Charles Kniffen Military Memoir
13 Scorched Earth: General Sullivan and the Senecas John L. Moore History
14 24 Tories, Terror, and Tea John L. Moore History
15 20 Dreams of My Comrades: The Story of MM1C Murray Jacobs Scott Zuckerman Military Memoir
16 21 Cannons, Cattle, and Campfires John L. Moore History
17 18 Bows, Bullets, and Bears John L. Moore History
18 19 Forts, Forests, and Flintlocks John L. Moore History
19 22 Pioneers, Prisoners, and Peacepipes John L. Moore History
20 23 Rivers, Raiders, and Renegades John L. Moore History
21 Settlers, Soldiers, and Scalps John L. Moore History
22 Traders, Travelers, and Tomahawks John L. Moore History
23 Warriors, Wampum, and Wolves John L. Moore History
24 The BANG Story Lawrence Knorr & BANG Music History
25 Pit Bulls Anthony Julian History

A Short Season was helped by broad interest across the country. Pendergrast’s book was boosted by ongoing interest. Knorr’s baseball books were helped by seasonal interest and recent promotions by the band. The rest were helped by online search, local bookstore sales, and author activities.

Virginia Soenksen’s debut novel “The Titan Strain” tops Milford House Press bestsellers for May

Virginia Soenksen’s debut novel “The Titan Strain” tops Milford House Press bestsellers for May

MECHANICSBURG, Pa. —  Sunbury Press has released the bestsellers list for May for its Milford House Press fiction imprint. Debut author Virginia Soenksen was in the top spot with the first novel in her Genetics Chronicles series entitled The Titan Strain.  Jess Steven Hughes took the second spot with his historical novel set in Ancient Rome. The Sign of the Eagle, the first book of the Britannia Romanus series. Robert Miller’s Pennsylvania murder mystery from the 19th century The Cogan Legend returned to the rankings in 3rd place. Donald Dewey’s novels in the Paul Finley Mysteries series took 4th, 5th, 7th, 8th, and 9th with The Bolivian Sailor, Wake Up and Smell the Bees, Green Triangles, The Fantasy League Murders, and Who’s Killing the Brooklyn Dodgers?.  John Cressler’s recently-released Fortune’s Lament slipped to 9th. Cressler took one other spot with his first book of the Anthems of al-Andalus Series, Emeralds of the Alhambra at 6th place. Marie Sontag charted with her YA novels Rising Hope in 12th, The Silver Coin in 14th, The Bronze Dagger in 17th, and The Alabaster Jar in 20th. Bridget Smith slipped in the rankings to #18 with Where Elephants Fought.  Joan West’s third book in the Carlisle Crime Cases series, Darkness at First Light was 19th.  Wade Fowler also had two entries in the top 20 with Rising Sun Descending and The Compass Island Incident.

MILFORD HOUSE PRESS – Bestsellers for May 2018 (by Revenue)
Rank Prior Title Author Category
1 NEW The Titan Strain Virginia Soenksen Dystopian Thriller
2 12 The Sign of the Eagle Jess Steven Hughes Historical
3 The Cogan Legend Robert Miller Historical
4 20 The Bolivian Sailor Donald Dewey Detective Thriller
5 NEW Wake Up and Smell the Bees Donald Dewey Detective Thriller
6 16 Emeralds of the Alhambra John Cressler Historical
7 NEW Green Triangles Donald Dewey Detective Thriller
8 NEW The Fantasy League Murders Donald Dewey Detective Thriller
9 1 Fortune’s Lament John Cressler Historical
10 NEW Who’s Killing the Brooklyn Dodgers? Donald Dewey Detective Thriller
11 Taking Lady Gibraltar Dick Schwirian Historical
12 4 Rising Hope Marie Sontag YA – Historical
13 Plain and Deadly Barbara Workinger Murder Mystery
14 The Silver Coin Marie Sontag YA – Historical
15 Rising Sun Descending Wade Fowler Historical Thriller
16 The Compass Island Incident Wade Fowler Historical Thriller
17 The Bronze Dagger Marie Sontag YA – Historical
18 5 Where Elephants Fought Bridget Smith Historical
19 14 Darkness at First Light Joan West Detective Thriller
20 The Alabaster Jar Marie Sontag YA – Historical

Soenksen’s novel was boosted by release activity and its sensational cover. Hughes’ books continue to sell well through bookstore events in the Pacific Northwest. Dewey was helped by interest in his native New York City. West’s books were helped by author activities, as were most of the others.

Koscienski and Pisano’s “The Devil’s Influence” debuts to #1 at Hellbender Books for May

Koscienski and Pisano’s “The Devil’s Influence” debuts to #1 at Hellbender Books for May

MECHANICSBURG, Pa. —  Sunbury Press has released the bestsellers list for May for its horror/thriller imprint, HELLBENDER BOOKS. Brian Koscienski and Chris Pisano took the first and fifth spots with the two books in the Vengeful Prince Saga trilogy: The Devil’s Influence (book 2 – just released) and The Devil’s Grasp (book 1). Kyle Alexander Romine’s The Keeper of the Crows was bumped to 2nd.  Keith Rommel claimed the rest of the list with his supernatural thriller White River Monster in 3rd followed by recently-released crime thriller Southside Sinners in the 4th.


HELLBENDER BOOKS – Bestsellers for May 2018 (by Revenue)
Rank Prior Title Author Category
1 NEW The Devil’s Influence Brian Koscienski & Chris Pisano Dark Fantasy
2 1 The Keeper of the Crows Kyle Alexander Romines Supernatural Thriller
3 White River Monster Keith Rommel Supernatural Thriller
4 3 Southside Sinners Keith Rommel Crime Thriller
5 The Devil’s Grasp Brian Koscienski & Chris Pisano Dark Fantasy

Koscienski & Pisano were supported by author events at conventions. Romine’s book was supported by author activities.  Rommel was helped by recent movie releases and social media outreach.

“Messages from Beyond” by Michele Livingston returns as the Ars Metaphysica bestseller for May

“Messages from Beyond” by Michele Livingston returns as the Ars Metaphysica bestseller for May

MECHANICSBURG, Pa. —  Sunbury Press has released the bestsellers list for May for its spiritual/metaphysical imprint, ARS METAPHYSICA.  First place went to “The People’s Medium” Michele Livingston with her long-time hit Messages from Beyond. She also took the second spot with her visionary Living in the Afterlife, revealing her channeling of information from the other side.  Michelle Hoffer joined the top ten with her recent release of Soaring Minds Journal and Workbook, meant to help women in abusive relationships. Karim El Koussa took 4th, 5th, and 10th places with his popular well-researched alternative history of the life of Jesus Christ entitled Jesus the Phoenician, the nonfiction novel about Pythagoras the Mathemagician and his metaphysical fiction novel The Phoenician Code for which movie rights are being discussed. Anna-Karin Bjorklund’s The Dream Alchemist, as a travel memoir, slipped on the list to #6.  Terry Ray’s investigation into The Worldwide Invasion of the Orange Orbs was #8. Susan Kiskis ’s new travel memoir Let Me Carry You Home recounting her recent trips to India was #9. The late John George Hohman’s Der Lange Verborgene Freund a guide to Pennsylvania Dutch Powwow moved up to #7.

ARS METAPHYSICA – Bestsellers for May 2018 (by Revenue)
Rank Prior Title Author Category
1 8 Messages from Beyond Michele Livingston Metaphysical
2 6 Living in the Afterlife Michele Livingston Metaphysical
3 NEW Soaring Minds Journal & Workbook Michelle Hoffer Self-Help
4 2 Jesus the Phoenician Karim el Koussa Religious History
5 1 Pythagoras the Mathemagician Karim el Koussa Historical Fiction
6 5 The Dream Alchemist Anna-Karin Bjorklund Travel Memoir
7 9 Der Lange Verborgene Freund John George Hohman Folk Magic
8 3 The Complete Story of the Worldwide Invasion of the Orange Orbs Terry Ray Paranormal/UFOs
9 7 Let Me Carry You Home Susan Kiskis Travel Memoir
10 4 The Phoenician Code Karim el Koussa Metaphysical Fiction

Livingston’s books have sold steadily throughout the US and overseas due to the subject matter and were boosted recently by author activities. El Koussa’s books continue to sell well internationally. Kiskis’ success is tied to the release activity of her book and her ongoing podcast series on the BookSpeak Network entitled Zen Up. Bjorklund was helped by author appearances in California and on Kiskis’s show. Ray’s book continues to sell well due to interest in the subject matter.

PCCA’s artistic “Downtown Details” repeats as Brown Posey Press bestseller for May

PCCA’s artistic “Downtown Details” repeats as Brown Posey Press bestseller for May

MECHANICSBURG, Pa. —  Sunbury Press has released the bestsellers list for May for its literary fiction imprint, BROWN POSEY PRESS. The Perry County Council of the Arts architectural exhibition guide Downtown Details: An Artful Perspective of Newport, Pennsylvania repeated in the top spot. San Diego’s Dennis Clausen grabbed the next two spots with his novels The Search for Judd McCarthy and The Sins of Rachel Simms. Michael Barton’s humorous fictional ethnography of the Shipoke, aka Shitepoke, a neighborhood of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, was #4.  Sharon Marchisello’s Going Home was #4.

BROWN POSEY PRESS – Bestsellers for May 2018 (by Revenue)
Rank Prior Title Author Category
1 1 Downtown Details: An Artful Perspective of Newport, Pennsy… PCCA Architecture
2 NEW The Search for Judd McCarthy Dennis Clausen Literary Fiction
3 NEW The Sins of Rachel Simms Dennis Clausen Literary Fiction
4 3 Shitepoke Michael Barton Literary Fiction
5 4 Going Home Sharon Marchisello Murder Mystery

PCCA’s book was boosted by ongoing sales at the associated photography exhibition in Newport, Pennsylvania. Clausen’s books were helped by author activities.  Barton’s book was boosted by sales to local bookstores in the Harrisburg area. Marchisello’s title received activity due to social media mentions.

Jack the Ripper suspect discussed in Hawley’s latest release

Jack the Ripper has been an object of fascination for well over a century. The legacy of this premier serial killer has inspired many works of fiction, art, and media coverage. The murders he committed in the Whitechapel district of London in 1888 were unlike no other. While the exact number of murders are unknown, there were a series of five women (“the canonical five”) who are said to be linked, as their deaths have compelling similarities. These murders are characterized by deep throat and abdominal lacerations with their internal organs taken out, leading officials to believe that Jack the Ripper must have had some experience with anatomy and/or the practice of surgery.

As a result of this, many Jack the Ripper suspects are doctors. Going back to the canonical five, all the victims were attacked at night, around the end of a week, and also around the end of a month or the very beginning of the next month, which also links the murders together. Again, while they very well may have been other murders done by the Ripper, these five women are the most similar, making them the most widely-accepted and known victims. Whoever the identity of the Ripper was, it was clear he had a strong prejudice against women.

The real terror of the infamous Jack the Ripper is that he got away with every murder and his identity remains a mystery to this day. While there have been hundreds of suspects for who supposedly carried the true identity of the Ripper, none have ever been confirmed. An American doctor, Dr. Francis Tumblety is an extremely likely suspect for the Ripper, though he was not a true medical doctor; he was a fraud who claimed to have expertise in medicine and anatomy, selling his patients herbal-based medications and performing surgical techniques. Tumblety was quite the man of criminality in many aspects of his life, being arrested for pick-pocketing at one time and even thought to have been an accomplice in the assassination of Abraham Lincoln.

There are many suspicions that connect Tumblety to the Ripper murders. For one, he had a strong misogyny against women based off of a failed marriage to a prostitute. He was also traveling Europe and staying in a boarding house in the Whitechapel district during the time of the Ripper murders. Tumblety was arrested for an unrelated crime in November 1888 and this was the first time police officials considered him as a real suspect for the Ripper murders. However, Tumblety was able to escape to France and then back to the United States in avoidance of these accusations. Other evidence for Tumblety’s relation to the Whitechapel murders is extensive, intricate, and can be found in Mr. Michael Hawley’s book, Jack the Ripper Suspect Dr. Francis Tumblety.

In his latest release, Jack the Ripper author and enthusiast, Michael Hawley, discusses one of the most prominent suspects for the identity of the heinous murderer. Hawley is considered a “ripperologist”, an informal term used to describe those who intensely study and analyze the Ripper murders and possibly identities. While the identity of the infamous Ripper may never be truly known, the prominent and pervasive legacy he left behind will never be forgotten, especially not by authors such as Michael Hawley who have dedicated an exuberant amount of time and research into spreading this historical awareness.

Life on the front lines in Vietnam — 50 years ago

"What you read in these pages is what I remember-- every day."

~ Charles Kniffen, author


Charles Kniffen's true story reveals the lasting hardships and struggles of combat, even fifty years later. Seven months of combat in Vietnam transformed to hurtful, unforgettable effects for Kniffen and his loved ones. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, PTSD, can rule Kniffen's life. Now, he reveals this unfair ruling through Fifty Years in a Foxhole.

Book overview:

Fifty Years in a Foxhole is an episodic account of the author's seven months in combat in Vietnam. He and his platoon were in several major engagements including the Battle of the Hills and Operation Utah. The main focus of these operations are the lives of the marines and attrition through action and "friendly fire" as they endure these pointless dangers.

Each chapter contains two parts, and the second part is about the author's fifty years of living with undiagnosed PTSD. He struggled to find a way to live in the thrall of the existential elan he developed in combat while insisting that this edgy verve could be enjoyed without the constant threat of fear, violence, and death. It explores PTSD from a new perspective, more as a shared betrayal with many other people in our society.

Book review:

"Charles Kniffen is a natural writer - the words just flow. Intense, to be sure, but also compelling. He tells the story of his time in Vietnam, and what followed that time. They say "war is hell" but just because the war ends does not mean the warriors can ever come home, at least not as the same person. If I say any more I'll say too much, and not as well as Kniffen does."

~ John D. Rule, Amazon Customer


About the author:

Charles Kniffen is a combat wounded veteran of the Vietnam war. He obtained a GED while serving in the Marine Corps and earned a Master's Degree in Philosophy from Uconn. Previous to his college education, Charles worked as a truck driver, a milkman, and a herdsman on a New England dairy farm. He was employed as a Mental Health Worker, a Licensed Social Worker, and a Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor in Albuquerque, NM. The uncontested high point in his job-hopping, entry-level career was working with autistic children to write, develop, and produce a series of puppet plays.

Charles attends a Combat Veteran's group in Machias, ME and has been an all-season solo kayaker for two decades, plying the North Atlantic from Spring Point to the Bay of Fundy. He and his wife, Rhonda Welcome are the co-owners of Turtle Dance Totems, a sea-junk assemblage art studio and they are leading a community project to recover and re-articulate the skeleton of a 55' finback whale buried in the mud flats of Mowry Beach, Lubec, Maine.

To purchase:

Sunbury Press Store


Barnes & Noble

by Charles Kniffen


Trade paperback - 6 x 9 x .8


265 Pages


HISTORY / Military / Vietnam War

HISTORY / United States / 20th Century

For publicity information, contact:

The Legacy of Chef Paul Bocuse in Alberoni’s Latest Release

The art of cooking and presenting beautiful dishes has been a topic on the minds of many. One reason for this could be the loss of some amazing chefs this year, with Mr. Anthony Bourdain being the most recent. Another legendary chef who passed away not too long ago was Mr. Paul Bocuse, a world-famous french chef who passed away this past January.

Bocuse was an extremely esteemed chef, winning numerous awards and teaching other admirable chefs. He transformed cooking culture by further popularizing the cooking style nouvelle cuisine, which is essentially a type of cooking characterized by delicate-looking dishes that focus on pristine, beautiful presentation. It shies away from heavy, rich ingredients and instead focuses on lighter, fresh dishes. So, while this type of cooking has a distinct fresh taste, there is also a visual aesthetic that is a focal point for this style as well. This movement piqued during the 60s and 70s because it was a modern version of traditional french cooking.

Bocuse created many signature dishes such as his Soupe V.G.E., which is a truffle soup and foie gras in chicken broth which is then covered in puff pastry. His innovation in the kitchen is what granted him his celebrity status as a renowned french chef who was, and still continues to be, revered by cooking experts around the world.

As well as this, Bocuse was incessant about self-promotion. He felt it was significantly important to make sure his presence was known in the media and news so that himself and his cooking stayed relevant in a fast-moving world. His focus on promoting his art and his efforts in the realm of cooking are what helped modern chefs be seen as celebrity figures in today’s society. Bucose truly shaped the way we look at chefs and how cooking is viewed as an art form. He was even named “chef of the century” by the Culinary Institute of America. While he became widely known and was a prominent figurehead in the realm of cooking, he remained grounded in his french roots and stayed consistent with his placement near Lyon, France.

Anthony Bourdain, celebrated American chef, said of Bocuse: Paul Bocuse. A hero to me from my earliest days as a cook. A great, great chef who was very kind to me. To have spent time with him was an honor and a dream come true.”

The cooking biography, Happiness is in the Kitchen by Giulio Albertoni, is not only a biography of the nouvelle cuisine style of cooking, but also of one of its main champions, Mr. Paul Bocuse. This is the last interview Bocuse did before his passing in January, making this biography even more special. Published under the imprint Brown Posey Press, this biography discusses the art of modern french cooking and the cultural phenomenon the movement turned into while also showcasing the story of one of France’s (and the world’s) greatest chefs of all time.


Rommel’s Lurking Man

What if you died and were given a choice? Face to face with Death, he offers you a chance to right your wrongs with one more day on Earth, but for a steep price. This is the decision Cailean struggles with on an internal journey of repentence. She must wrestle with the reality of her many sins as she is forced to uncover her own dark memories. She is trapped beneath figurative and literal lights in a space unknown to man.

“The Lurking Man” is the second book in the page turning Thanatology by Keith Rommel. This thriller will have you guessing alongside Cailean as she tries to piece together a life she does not remember. Truly, it’s a psychological roller coaster.

Keith Rommel is a Florida author of horror and thriller. Each of the books in the Thanatology is based in truth and inspired by real people. “The Lurking Man” is imbued with themes of alcohol abuse, the trials of losing love, and battles against demons and addiction. Mr. Rommel says it is his hope that each reader will be able to identify with his characters for themselves or someone they know. His books are about making audiences pause and reflect on their own lifestyles.

To get a copy of “The Lurking Man” visit:

or listen to the audiobook on Audible