The Peacekeeper – Historical Fiction’s Latest Addition

It’s hard to imagine what life might have been like way back when around 50 AD or so, but if we were to try, it might look a little something like Marcellus’s life in The Peacekeeper, the latest novel by author Jess Steven Hughes. Though his life would have been on the more dramatic side, for sure, Hughes’s latest addition to his Brittania Romanus series showcases ancient Romans in a dramatic and captivating way.

Rome during the extremely early years of around 40 AD – 70 AD, Rome is being ruled by a vast array of emperors who were known for their vicious governing styles. The empire had a large army, the Roman army that was one of the largest and most effective killing machines at the time. Deeply organized, trained, and properly equipped, no other military stood any sort of chance against the Romans.

This is where our protagonist, Marcellus, comes into play. He is hidden away in the thick of the Roman army as a Spanish centurion. His thrilling adventures against his main nemesis, Anicius Pedius Gallus, only add to the story. Marcellus even falls in love with Eleyne, a British/Celtic princess. His tales do not end there, however, as Marcellus’s story is truly only just beginning. This story contains everything needed for a riveting adventure, but set in Ancient Rome so as to add a bit of historical education to the mix as well.

Historical fiction is so intriguing because it shows its readers that drama, mystery, and even other daily, relatable events can happen at any point in time, to anyone. People can get so caught up in their own lives and get the idea that history is simply in the past and irrelevant. However, books such as The Peacekeeper, as well as other historical fiction works, remind us that life hit people just as fast back during the days of the Roman Empire just as much as it hits us now. It connects us to a time that is thought of as long gone and insignificant. True readers, though, know that this is not true, of course. We are all human and all connected, no matter where in the world or what time period you live in.

Ketih Rommel Opens Up on His Thanatology

I had a chance to talk with the author of the “Thanatology” series and learned some interesting background about his books. The series came about because of Keith’s fixation with death. I would venture to say that most of us have questions about death we would like answered as well as fear. Many of us might even try to forget about our inevitable fate and refuse to acknowledge it as often as possible. For someone like Keith, who has experienced multiple brushes with death, the ideas of death and dying have become enigmas. He regards his feelings as an ebb and flow of curiosity spattered by fear. On occasion, he asks the question “how bad could it be” not in a suicidal way, but seeking more knowledge. Because it is impossible to know for sure what death is like, he imagines it instead. His novels create a window into what the other side of life could be. Much of the “Thanatology” is surprisingly based on real events and people. The main character in “The Lurking Man,” Cailean, is based on his own alcoholic grandparents and the theme of an abused child mimics his mother’s unfortunate life growing up.

Each of his books is a challenging read, but Keith knows his audience isn’t a bunch of dummies. Readers will figure it out if they pay attention, though these are not the sort of books one can daydream through. You have to stand on your toes or you’ll wind up confused. Keith describes it as “thinking man’s fiction.” The purpose of each book is for readers to stop and reflect on their own lives so that they ultimately lead better lives than the characters.

Finally, the beauty of the series is that the first three books can be read in any order. This allows for flexibility for potential readers to choose which book sounds most intriguing to them so that they can become better immersed in the fictional world. The fourth book in the “Thanatology” pulls pieces from the first three, so it is easier to understand if those ones are read first.

Check out Keith’s books at:

https://www.sunburypressstore.com/searchquick-submit.sc?keywords=keith+rommel

and

http://keithrommel.weebly.com/

or find them on Amazon!

A Modern Hester Prynne for ‘The Year of the Woman’

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Rachel Sims, an indomitable spirit in an intolerant religious community, is rumored to have left her husband for a man driving an expensive car from another state. Like Hester Prynne in Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter, she becomes the symbol of sin and adultery. Years later, another young woman becomes convinced that the true story of what happened to Rachel Sims is trapped in her own early life memories.

Book overview:

Rachel Sims, a young Midwestern farm wife, disappears in 1952 under mysterious circumstances while apparently on her way to a clandestine meeting with a man who is not her husband. Some people in a nearby small town claim they saw her leaving the area “with a well-dressed gentleman driving a car with Iowa license plates.” Others assign various nefarious motives to her disappearance. Only Charlie Flanigan, a cemetery caretaker known to the locals as “Crazy Charlie,” refuses to accept the ugly gossip about Rachel Sims. He insists he still sees her walking the riverbanks on Hodges Island on dark spring evenings when the lilacs are in bloom. After the death of her mother twenty-two years later, Laura Fielding, a graduate student with a bonding disorder and a history of broken relationships, discovers that her family may have been living under stolen identities. She also has vague memories and dreams that are unconnected to anything she remembers from her early childhood experiences. With the help of psychiatrist Ned Finley, an eccentric researcher who studies human memories, she attempts to solve the mystery of her lineage by bringing her early life memories to the surface through regressive hypnosis. They are assisted by Finley’s friend Aurther Schlepler, a retired psychic who once helped police departments solve difficult homicide cases, but who has taken up permanent residence in the Farmington State Mental Hospital. Laura eventually visits Point Tyson, where she learns that her mysterious past may be connected to the disappearance of the young farm wife, who reportedly left the area with a wealthy man. Although the townspeople believe Rachel Sims was an immoral woman who abandoned her husband for a better life, Laura suspects the real reasons for the young farm wife’s disappearance might be found in her own early life memories.

Book review:

"Excellent story line which was gripping from start to finish. Great Characters. I would highly recommend this book"

~ Net Gallery

About the author:

Dennis M. Clausen was born and raised in a Minnesota small town near the South Dakota border. His early years on the prairie provided the inspiration for his novels and other literary works that chronicle the struggles of these small towns to survive in modern America. In addition to writing and publishing since the early 1980s, he has been a professor of American literature and screenwriting at the University of San Diego for forty-six years. Currently, he is working with Sunbury Press on several literary projects. The Search for Judd McCarthy and The Sins of Rachel Sims, novels that feature the fictional character Ned Finley’s research into early-life and other human memories, are scheduled for publication in early summer of 2018. The Accountant’s Apprentice, a novel set in San Diego at a time when the homeless population was increasing dramatically, is scheduled for publication in October of 2018. My Christmas Attic, the story of a young boy struggling with dyslexia and the loss of his father in the Korean War, will be published in late November of 2018.

To purchase:

Sunbury Press Store

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

 

Check out the author's website for more exclusive information:

Dennis Clausen

by Dennis Clausen

BROWN POSEY PRESS

Trade Paperback - 6 x 9 x .7

9781620062074

222 Pages

FICTION / Literary

FICTION / Psychological

FICTION / Small Town & Rural

 

For publicity information, contact:
publicity@sunburypress.com

The American West Portrayed in Atonement

An American era that has continually existed as a time full of mystery and intrigue is the time period following the Civil War, particularly in the Western frontier. During this time, many Americans did not appreciate large industries taking over the eastern part of the country. As a result, many sought after the land west of the Mississippi River for expansive areas to mine, farm, and ranch. However, as well as being prosperous, the West also became a rather dangerous place. The nineteenth-century American West carries a reputation for being corrupt and violent. This premise is the set-up for Kyle Alexander Romine’s latest release, Atonement.

            In this thrilling historical fiction novel, the protagonist, Christian, is a loner who wanders into the small town of Caster, Wyoming and discovers that it has been overtaken by a dangerous gang. The community can do nothing except live under the disastrous conditions. Christian initially wants to simply get some supplies and then be on his way; however, he cannot help but get pulled into the conflicts of this town. Christian also has a mysterious past that he seems keen on running away from, but that cannot be avoided forever. Staying and fighting off these outlaws will force him to confront the problems he has been trying hard to repress.

This novel is not only a historical fiction tale from the American West, but it is also a captivating thriller as well. This time period is extremely useful for writing a suspenseful horror story. Especially in the years following the Civil War, America was a disheveled nation. Trying to rebuild the country after it had been torn to shreds by its own people is not an easy thing to bounce back from. It is no wonder why the years during Reconstruction were difficult and many struggled during this time. Atonement plays off of this period in history to weave together a compelling story about the chaos and disorder of the West. Kyle Alexander Romines takes this historical period to the next level by using his thorough character descriptions and thrilling story to paint a picture of the American West like it has never been seen before.

Journey to the Gotham Graves

What better time to visit New York City’s historical side than this July? The perfect tour to pay your respects to three notable figures from the Big Apple fits in perfectly with the anniversaries of their deaths. You’ll want to bring a copy of “Gotham Graves: Famous Graves Found Around New York City” with you for reference. At each stop, you’ll be about to enjoy the stories of three incredible men. Start on July 11 in Westchester County, where the first stop is George Gershwin, resting in Westchester Hills Cemetery.

Next, on July 12, honor and remember founding father, Alexander Hamilton at his resting place in Trinity Church Cemetery. A few blocks away is Hamilton Grange National Memorial where he used to reside. The war hero commissioned an architect to build the home on his 32 acre estate. Unfortunately, the mansion was completed only two years before Hamilton’s passing, so he was not able to enjoy it for long.

The final stop, on July 13, is the Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx. Though a Tennessee native, Grantland Rice left his mark on New York City as a sportswriter and poet. Sixty-four years after his death, it is time to reminisce on this beloved, upstanding citizen. He is buried beside his wife, Katherine.

The collection of biographies gathered by Joe Farley and Joe Farrell is available in two volumes. Each story is informative and entertaining. These two books are the perfect “travel guides” for New York City. So take off on a trip to NYC and spend some time for an inside look at famous lives. This is a journey that you won’t soon forget.

https://www.sunburypressstore.com/Gotham-Graves-Volume-2-9781620067628.htm?categoryId=-1

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.

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.

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.

 

J Geoffrey Barber’s novel “Three Rogues in Gettysburg” inspired by famous Civil War photo

J Geoffrey Barber’s novel “Three Rogues in Gettysburg” inspired by famous Civil War photo

GETTYSBURG, Pa. – Sunbury Press has released Three Rogues in Gettysburg by J. Geoffrey Barber under its Milford House Press imprint.

About the Book:

There would be no monuments for these Johnnies…just charity from the hand and heart of a Quaker maiden.

A historic photograph of three Rebel prisoners at Gettysburg has long been a familiar icon of the Civil War. Yet we have wondered whatever became of those three soldiers, their identities seemingly lost forever. Inspired by their images captured by an unknown photographer, Three Rogues in Gettysburg is the story of three such prisoners who pose before a box camera while eluding their Yankee captors. Each will make his own discreet departure from the battle-scarred town, but not before first encountering Hannah Strumn, a forsaken Quaker mother of two young sons, Seth 12 and Jonathan 3.

What begins with a charitable cup of water will develop into a prolonged stay for the wayfarer named Vergil. The chemistry between him and the wary Hannah grows fonder with each event-filled day on the Strumn farm. Both have secrets which neither wishes to divulge in spite of circumstances that beg for explanations. Hannah is curious to know something about the dead Yankee whose diary Vergil has placed in her care. Vergil, however, desperately would like to know more about the prize horses the family keeps hidden on the property. There is also the question of Hannah’s marital state—where is the man-of-the-house whom she refers to as Jeduthun, or Mr. Strumn?

Inadvertently Vergil will gleam information from young Jonathan, who happens to mention the nocturnal comings and goings of black people to the house. Vergil surmises that Hannah’s domicile is a mercy station on the Underground Railroad. He will become the family guardian when he fatally fends off a devious Yankee sheriff, who assaults Hannah and threatens to arrest her for aiding the enemy and harboring slaves. Later, with Seth’s help, Vergil will set a trap for a despicable slave owner who arrives, with two baying hounds, to reclaim his fleet-footed property. In the end, Vergil, his thirst quenched and wearing a new suit of clothes sewn by Hannah, rides away on a gleaming black steed. He carries with him provisions from Hannah’s pantry—as well as a piece of her heart and the promise to return.

An epilogue, written in the first-person alleging to be a descendant of Vergil, lends the fiction a sense of reality while exploring themes of ancestry and lost personal identity. For families of Civil War soldiers, news of the death of a family member was heart-wrenching. Worse still, however, was to have never learned the fate of a missing loved one.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

James G. Barber is a historian and curator at the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery. His research interests include the portraiture of the Jacksonian and Civil War eras, and the American presidency. He is the project coordinator for the Smithsonian’s popular Civil War Web site, CivilWar@Smithsonian. In observance of the Civil War’s 150th anniversary, he was an editorial consultant for two Smithsonian books, The Civil War: A Visual History(DK, 2011), and Smithsonian Civil War: Inside the National Collection (Smithsonian, 2013). He is the curator of the Portrait Gallery’s TIME magazine collection of more than 2,000 works of original cover art.

Barber was born in Washington, DC, and is a life-long Alexandrian. With family roots in Carlisle and New Cumberland, Pennsylvania, his early memories include car trips passing through Pickett’s charge on the Emmitsburg Road.

by J. Geoffrey Barber
MILFORD HOUSE PRESS
Trade Paperback – 5.5 x 8.5 x .7
9781620068052
216 Pages
Fiction / Historical

Also available on Kindle

For more information, please see:

http://www.sunburypressstore.com/Three-Rogues-in-Gettysburg-9781620068052.htm

The Joes go Ivy League — appear at Princeton University

Princeton, NJ — Joe Farrell and Joe Farley, collectively known as “The Joes,” the authors of the Keystone Tombstones and Gotham Graves series of biographical histories were in Princeton, NJ on Tuesday May 16th, 2017, researching their upcoming book about the Founders, in preparation for the 250th anniversary of the birth of the USA. Seen here before the statue of patriot John Witherspoon, on the grounds of Princeton University, the two said a few words before those gathered (a huuuuuuge crowd of 1 — the photographer). The pair had been to Witherspoon’s grave in the Princeton Cemetery, very near the graves of patriot Aaron Burr, president Grover Cleveland, and novelist John O’Hara.

Also planned is a special edition entitled Murder, Massacres, and Mayhem in the Mid-Atlantic, for which they visited the graves of Kitty and Jose Menendez.

The Joes are always looking for speaking engagements, providing a humorous and informative program about interesting people and their life stories. Contact us for more information at thejoes@keystonetombstones.com.