Mental illness disrupts a Spanish family in New Mexico until a brave father steps forward

LAS VEGAS, N.M. — Sunbury Press has released Mela Suse Vigil Duran Carvalko’s memoir of her childhood titled Maybe Tomorrow.

About the Book:
A FAMILY THAT CONFRONTS THE FORCES OF MENTAL ILLNESS, AND LEARNS THAT NO BURDEN IS SO HEAVY AS TO DEFEAT AN ETERNAL LOVE.

mt_fcQuite apart from other memoirs, the author captivates the reader’s attention, by painting a portrait of  mental illness through the eyes of a child.  As a child growing up during the 40s and 50s, in the rural Spanish farming communities of New Mexico/Colorado, she recounts her father’s courage and refusal to accept the finality of his wife’s mental illness,  and how he single-handedly raised four daughters, teaching them what it means to survive, drawing strength from the pride of self-worth, and the humility of self-reliance.

Excerpt:
I have come full circle to the land of my father’s birth, Rociada, New Mexico, where I breathe in the aspirations of my ancestors, where I hear the swish of their scythe against the wheat, their plough turning a stubborn, bounteous earth, where I see the rutted and hooved reliefs of wagons and beasts, burdens, which led directly to a remarkable life, one guided by a dream of an angel sitting on my shoulder, watching over me.

The screams frightened me beyond verbal description, but this fright was quickly supplanted by the even greater one of not knowing where I was going and what waited for me at the top. We climbed the metal grated stairs, each step causing vibrations that made me feel they would collapse at any moment. The higher we climbed, the louder the screams became. I was afraid to go on, but afraid of what was behind me. As we ascended, my heart beat faster with each step. I felt sick to my stomach wondering what evil waited for me, but I never complained, and did what was expected of me. By the age of three I had learned to control my emotions, and as I grew older, I found that self-control in the face of the unknown would help me survive.

As we neared the top, I could hear doors creak open in front of us and slam shut behind us. When we reached the final step, we came to a lobby with a long hallway. The door closings reverberated off the high ceiling and masonry walls; harsh lights overhead reflected off shiny, off-white, dirty-beige, and pea-green walls. The floors were covered with hard linoleum squares, worn, scuffed, and cracked, and though polished to a high sheen, every square was embedded with the dirt of half a century.

About the Author:
MELA SUŚE VIGIL DURAN CARVALKO has spent many years investigating the genealogy of Spanish families that settled in San Miguel/Mora counties, New Mexico. In addition to documenting her accounts of the life and times during the mid-twentieth century, she devotes time as an artist and musician. She studied art at Sacred Heart University and mentored under impressionist artist Albert Werner.  Currently she lives between New Mexico and the east coast with her husband, three cats and dog Leila.

Maybe Tomorrow
Authored by Mela Suse Vigil Duran Carvalko
List Price: $19.95
6″ x 9″ (15.24 x 22.86 cm)
Black & White on Cream paper
280 pages
Sunbury Press, Inc.
ISBN-13: 978-1620067079
ISBN-10: 1620067072
BISAC: Family & Relationships / Dysfunctional Families

Also available on Kindle

For more information, please see:
http://www.sunburypressstore.com/Maybe-Tomorrow-978162006…

John Timmerman's latest novel is a classic Western

MECHANICSBURG, Pa. — Sunbury Press has released High Passes, John Timmerman’s latest novel, set in the American West.

Ben McCallister returns to the peaceful valley where he grew up, only to find it torn apart in a range war. With lies and deceit on every side, who can he trust?

hp_fcEXCERPT:
Snow swirled through the mountain passes, pushed by every contrary wind. At first a heavy wet thing, it hung between snow and rain—the kind of snow that holds to the jacket like a wet hand and drips from the hat brim in sad gray drops.

The drops hardened to ice, and the leather jacket stiffened and snapped with the horse’s gait. The wind rose and howled across rocky passages, drifting snow quickly on the leeward side of rocks.

The sky closed, white sheeting out peak, forest, and valley. By the time the snow rose hock high on the horse, gathering well over an inch an hour, cold settled in like a pick axe’s bite.

Ben McAllister felt that bite deep between his shoulder blades. He also felt his chances of making the ranch sink to near zero. After a week straight of hard pushing, it was tragic to quit this close. That’s the only word he could think of: tragic. The snow was tragic. He had once sworn he would never return. Now maybe he wouldn’t. Not without shelter soon. He and the stallion he rode would be one more icy sculpture against the cold rock of the high passes.

The wind-packed snow an inch deep across his broad back. The traditional rounded and peaked cowboy hat, wonderful for shedding rain, now lay nearly caved in under the weight of ice. From the crown of that hat, over the high, up-turned sheepskin coat collar, and down to the long, muscular tapering of his back, man and animal seemed one desolate being tossed in nature’s grip.

For a time Ben had not named the black stallion. He’d just never thought of a name fitting for the magnificent animal. Then one day, out of the blue as it were, Ben named him Treasure. Mostly, though, they communicated by a series of whistles, finger snaps, and other sounds. Right now Ben let the stallion have its way, hooves skittering on icy rock as it slowly found a trail. Ben scanned the sides: up, down, right, left. Any spot out of the howling wind. He felt the stallion’s muscles tremble anxiously under his thighs, its breath heaving in white, wet clouds that immediately became one with the air.

He felt the horse veer to the right, pause at some tumbled rocks, then slowly pick its way through and Ben had no idea why the animal had gone off the trail. He let it go. Suddenly they stepped into the lee of an enormous rock outcropping, rimmed around by a stand of stunted jack pine. Ben lowered himself and led the stallion well into the shelter of the rocks.

He expected to feel exhilaration to get out of the blasting storm. He didn’t feel that. He felt exhausted. He barely had strength to wrestle the saddle off, his arms trembling with tension and weariness. Well, he told himself, it’s heavy. But it was just the usual: the tooled saddle, the scabbard with Oliver F. Winchester’s finest 30-30, the emptying panniers, and his bedroll. There were things still to be done. He hunted among the jack pine for some firewood. He found small branches he could break over his knee, but they’d do for tonight. He didn’t see any larger ones.

With the hot eye of fire watching, Ben removed the horse’s halter and let him forage. The horse hooved aside the icy snow that had drifted into the clearing and grazed on sparse tufts of grass. From one of the nearly empty panniers Ben scooped a handful of oats. The horse licked his palms clean like a dishrag and then went back to foraging. He deserves much more than that, Ben thought. He made promises of what he would do if they ever got out.

High Passes
Authored by John Timmerman
List Price: $14.95
5.5″ x 8.5″ (13.97 x 21.59 cm)
Black & White on Cream paper
158 pages
Sunbury Press, Inc.
ISBN-13: 978-1620066140
ISBN-10: 1620066149
BISAC: Fiction / Westerns / General

For more information, please see:
http://www.sunburypressstore.com/High-Passes-978162006614…

Pastor finds meaning in his beloved old oak chair

BEULAH, Colo.Sunbury Press has released Rev. James A. Campbell’s visionary memoir The Chair. Road trip photographs were provided by Vernon J. LaBau.

tc_fcAbout the Book:
Sometimes, one needs a special mentor to find life and its wonder. Sometimes, that mentor is a chair.

The Chair is Pastor James Campbell’s spiritual odyssey that leads us through the night of emptiness and then emerges into the light of compassion, intervention, and redemption.  Through his renovation of a simple chair, reverence for worn out sewing needles in the Japanese celebration of Hari-Kuyo, and reflection upon how stress to the Diamond Willows of Alaska produces works of art, this parable describes Campbell’s own epiphanies during the course of his life travels ministering to the forgotten and broken.

“For members of the helping profession, caregivers, or those looking for meaning in meaningless times, Campbell is a valuable read.   He will guide you, literally and figuratively, out of the ruins of the great dust bowl to a peaceful Colorado valley.  And he will show you how all these things remain part of your soul.” — Steve Schoenmakers, M.S., Superintendent, Retired, Colorado Mental Health Institute at Pueblo.

With warmth and wit, James Campbell explores one of life’s mysteries:  the way ordinary objects acquire meaning in our lives.  In literal and symbolic journeys with him across the country and through the years, his old oak chair becomes a catalyst for new discoveries, comic revelations, daydreams, and finally, of blessing.   He shares his wisdom, borne of rich experience, and leads us to think about what the things we treasure and what they might mean to us. — Margaret M. Barber, Ph.D.  Professor Emeritus of English, Colorado State University-Pueblo.

The Chair is a metaphor, at first puzzling, then intriguing and then a reference to “life.” The book hooked me into experiences of my own life. This was enjoyable, enlightening. I ended the book wanting to know more, unwilling to have to say, “the end.” — Taylor McConnell, Professor Emeritus,  Garrett-Evangelical Seminary

Vernon J. LaBau (left) and Rev. James A. Campbell (right).

Vernon J. LaBau (left) and Rev. James A. Campbell (right).

Excerpt:
A life by that one thing.

How many funerals through the years were planned around that thought? Show me something that is your father, his spirit, distilled into that one thing: a coffee cup, a favorite chair, a fishing rod, a photograph.

Life in that one thing.

For me, that one thing is the old oak chair and that one thing is this story. I wish I had one picture, just one, of when it all began. I doubt the chair, a captain’s chair, would be the center of any photo. Most likely the chair would be in the picture’s corner, out of focus, perhaps cut off in partial disclosure. Still, hopefully, there would be enough of the chair in the photo to witness to its original humbled condition and its overlooked place in the backyard. Overlooked is a good word for forgotten. That is what the old chair was, forgotten in plain sight, overlooked. Its once caned seat was missing the caning and the seat was now a piece of makeshift plywood. Its weathered layers of green, beige, orange, and turquoise paint were peeling like diseased skin.

In fairness, the chair had some utility. The family cat claimed it as a lounge. By knotting the garden hose around its arm, the chair could be posed to point the hose nozzle across the lawn or garden. Looking back, I wish I had had the wisdom to capture such mundane moments with a camera. Photography was my one art. I earned money selling photos of my valley. I knew what was appealing. Yet, I missed what would become a centerpiece of my life.
When that revelation came, it was not a dramatic epiphany, but rather quiet bemusement. It was a joke. Joke can be another word for “dismissed”, as “dismissed” is another word for forgotten.

A joke was how I remember first seeing it through the kitchen window, really seeing it. Even then it was a subtle joke… not a funny grab-the-camera joke, only a reason to pause as pause turns to passing wonder and passing wonder to “what if?” Wouldn’t it be something if, under all that paint, there was still enough integrity of wood to both bear a luster and, if reinforced, to even serve its purpose as a chair?

Christmas was two months off. With no money for gifts, I wondered if, with considerable effort, I might give the old chair a new face, well, as much a new face as the chair would allow. Certainly, I had no idea that the joke of that old chair before me was sacred, as ironic humor sometimes is. That chair was the essence of my calling, my door to the kingdom of God. It was to be the parable of hope with which I would relate and come to bless others. Eventually, the chair became a mentor, as it inspired taking the camera into the sacredness of forgotten places. If only I had thought to take just one picture through the kitchen window.

One October day, 1971, with no one watching, I removed the old chair to the garage of Hugh Reed down in the village. In the two months of the chair’s renovation, not one mention was made in the family that the old chair was gone from the backyard, a true test of the meaning of forgotten.

jcampbellAbout the Author:
Rev. James A. Campbell, D. Min. is a retired clergy living in Beulah Valley, Colorado.  His writings and paintings culminate thirty-nine years of ministry in Iowa and Alaska. Much of the emphasis of his work in Alaska was as Director of Humanitarian Aid to the Russian Far East during the desperate years from 1995-2003. Rev. Campbell is the author of seven books. He spends these years discovering multiple ways of knowing, the wonder unto beauty of each venue of discovery, and the doors that then open to the sacred.

The Chair
Authored by James A. Campbell, Photographs by Vernon J. LaBau
List Price: $19.95
6″ x 9″ (15.24 x 22.86 cm)
Full Color on White paper
82 pages
Sunbury Press, Inc.
ISBN-13: 978-1620064955
ISBN-10: 1620064952
BISAC: Biography & Autobiography / Religious

Coming soon on Kindle
For more information, please see:
http://www.sunburypressstore.com/The-Chair-9781620064955.htm

Middle-schoolers investigate haunting in their Pueblo, Colorado school

PUEBLO, Colo.Sunbury Press has released Patricia Santos Marcantonio’s latest young adult paranormal novelThe Ghost Sisters and the Girl in Hallway B.

tgsagihbAbout the Book:
Meet the Ghost Sisters: Kat and Marie Bench.

They love anything to do with ghosts and the supernatural. When their divorced mom moves them to her hometown in Colorado, the sisters discover a real ghost haunts their school—that of a young girl who cries, slams lockers, and leaves mysterious messages as floors writhe, walls weep, and a terrible accident is replayed. Armed with resourcefulness and ghost-hunting tricks they picked up from books and TV, the sisters set out to find the identity of the student apparition. Meanwhile, one of their friends is being bullied. Kat and Marie will need bravery and determination to help their friend and solve the mystery of the girl in Hallway B.

littlegirlExcerpt:
Mr. Castanza stomped to the north end of Hallway B, glanced both ways, and down the stairs. Then he walked to the other end. Nothing. He tried a few classroom doors, but remembered he had locked them all earlier in his shift.

“This place is showing its age again—moaning and creaking. Ain’t nobody here.” He hoped he was right. He briefly wondered if a cat or squirrel had sneaked inside.

With a rumble, his stomach signaled dinner and time for the turkey and provolone sandwich his wife had packed for him. Unplugging the waxer, the janitor felt the temperature drop within seconds.

“The air conditioning must be acting up again,” Mr. Castanza muttered. He didn’t mind talking to himself because night cleaning could be a lonely job. “Middle of the summer, and I can see my breath.” When he blew out air, a white cloud formed and crystallized.

He shivered. “Sure doesn’t feel like air conditioning.” A chill hugged his bones and surrounded his spirit with gloom. Mr. Castanza glanced up at the ceiling. No air conditioning duct was anywhere around. His nose wrinkled. The frigid air smelled like a giant wad of fruity bubble gum that had been chewed by a hundred different kids, all with bad breath.

“What in the blazes?”

A girl stood in front of Room 214. About the size of a seventh-grader, she had straight shoulder-length red hair with bangs. She wore big wire-framed glasses over a thin face. Dressed in a white blouse, red plaid skirt, and blue sweater, the girl held a blue notebook in one hand. Her other hand covered her eyes. Her body shook with heavy sobs, although she made no sound.

“The school is closed, honey,” Mr. Castanza said gently. “We need to call your parents to take you home.”

The girl didn’t answer and continued her silent crying.

The Ghost Sisters and the Girl in Hallway B
Authored by Patricia Santos Marcantonio
List Price: $14.95
5″ x 8″ (12.7 x 20.32 cm)
Black & White on White paper
182 pages
Sunbury Press, Inc.
ISBN-13: 978-1620064733
ISBN-10: 1620064731
BISAC: Juvenile Fiction / Paranormal

Also available on Kindle

For more information, please see:
http://www.sunburypressstore.com/The-Ghost-Sisters-and-th…

Texas Ranger seeks revenge for his murdered parents

rtrl_fcDENVER — Sunbury Press has released R. C. Reynolds’ western novel “Return to Red Lodge,” about a young Texas Ranger who seeks to avenge the murder of his parents.

About the Book:
Rick Morgan had witnessed the horrific murders of his mother and father by a band of hooded riders when he was fifteen years old. He escaped from the killers and fled south to Arizona, where he eventually became a very noted and respected Texas Ranger. However, the memories of that day were never very far away. The day after his 25th birthday, he decided it was time to head back to Montana and square accounts with the masked riders who had destroyed life as he had known and loved it. He was respected as a Ranger who was tough, but also for being fair and impartial–a man who followed the letter of the law. Every man was considered innocent until proven otherwise. He never let his emotions overrun his actions and he knew well this was one of the most important things that separated him from the men he hunted. But … the closer he got to Red Lodge and the reopening of the old wounds he had run from ten years ago, the more he felt a fiery rebirth of the old rage he had tried to suppress. The strength of this strange, new darkness frightened and confused him and he quickly became aware of a battle which was forming deep within him that was every bit as dangerous as the battle he faced with his parents’ murderers. He quickly realized that this time, in his quest for justice, he might very well be destroying himself.

About the Author:

R.C. Reynolds was raised in northern Wisconsin and moved to Colorado after college. He has worked as a ski instructor, hunting and fishing guide, outdoor writer and a high school and college Language Arts teacher. He has had several articles, essays and short stories placed in state and national magazines and has had three novels published.

Reynolds has lived in the Rocky Mountains for thirty-five years and has spent some of the best hours of his life hunting, fishing and wandering in their unique splendor. He has also worked on cattle ranches from Colorado to Montana and has had the opportunity to have known and worked with some of the few remaining individuals who still light up the modern day camp fires with the same strength, wisdom, values and free spirit as their half-tamed nineteenth century counterparts—and still deserve to bear the name “Cowboy.”

Return to Red Lodge

Authored by R. C. Reynolds

List Price: $12.95
5.5″ x 8.5″ (13.97 x 21.59 cm)
Black & White on Cream paper
126 pages
Sunbury Press, Inc.
ISBN-13: 978-1620063767
ISBN-10: 162006376X
BISAC: Fiction / Westerns

Also available on Nook and Kindle

For more information, please see:
http://www.sunburypressstore.com/Return-to-Red-Lodge-9781…

Mark Mitten's "Sipping Whiskey in a Shallow Grave" nominated for a Peacemaker Award

Mechanicsburg, PA – Western Fictioneers (WF) is pleased to announce the NOMINEES for the third annual (2013) Peacemaker Awards. Mark Mitten’s “Sipping Whiskey in a Shallow Grave” is a finalist in the Best Western First Novel category.

Sipping Whiskey in a Shallow Grave

Sipping Whiskey in a Shallow Grave

About Western Fictioneers:
Western Fictioneers is the only professional writers organization composed entirely of authors who have written Western fiction, the classic American genre.

Western Fictioneers is comprised of writers who love what they’re doing and who believe in the literature of the old west–devoted to keeping the traditional western alive.

Stories of the west have been entertaining readers since the days of James Fenimore Cooper, and Western Fictioneers believe that western fiction is just as compelling ever. They have already produced a fine anthology of western tales. There’s a lot more to come in 2012, so look for some exciting announcements in the months ahead.

Membership in Western Fictioneers is open to professional authors who have written Westerns, as well as fans of the genre who can join as patron members. If you’d like to join the group and be a part of the fun, you can find the requirements at the website below. They welcome everyone who shares their love of traditional western fiction.

About this year’s nominees:
Western Fictioneers (WF) is pleased to announce the NOMINEES for the third annual (2013) Peacemaker Awards

** Nominees are in no particular order.

The Lifetime Achievement Peacemaker will be presented to Robert Vaughan

2013 BEST WESTERN NOVEL:
City of Rocks (Five Star Publishing — Cengage) by Michael Zimmer
Unbroke Horses (Goldminds Publishing, LLC) by D.B. Jackson
Apache Lawman (AmazonEncore) by Phil Dunlap
Wide Open (Berkley Publishing Group) by Larry Bjornson

2013 BEST WESTERN SHORT STORY:
“Christmas Comes to Freedom Hill” (Christmas Campfire Companion — Port Yonder Press) by Troy Smith
“Christmas For Evangeline”  (Slay Bells and Six Guns — WF ) by C. Courtney Joyner
“Keepers of Camelot” (Slay Bells and Six Guns — WF) by Cheryl Pierson
“The Toys” (Slay Bells and Six Guns — WF) by James J. Griffin
“Adeline” (Protectors: Stories to Benefit PROTECT — Goombah Gumbo Press ) by Wayne Dundee

2013 BEST WESTERN FIRST NOVEL:
High Stakes (Musa Publishing) by Chad Strong
Wide Open (Berkley Publishing Group) by Larry Bjornson
Red Lands Outlaw, the Ballad of Henry Starr (AWOC.com Publishing) by Phil Truman
Last Stand At Bitter Creek (Western Trail Blazer) by Tom Rizzo
Sipping Whiskey in a Shallow Grave (Sunbury Press) by Mark Mitten

Congratulations to all the nominees.  Winners will be announced on June 1, 2013 on the WF website (www.westernfictioneers.com)

Western Fictioneers (WF) was formed in 2010 by Robert J. Randisi, James Reasoner, Frank Roderus, and other professional Western writers, to preserve, honor, and promote traditional Western writing in the 21st century.  Entries were accepted in both print and electronic forms.  The Peacemaker Awards are given out annually.  Submissions for the Peacemaker Awards for books published in 2013 will be open in July, 2013. Submission guidelines will be posted on the WF web site.  For more information about Western Fictioneers (WF) please visit:  http://www.westernfictioneers.com/ or  http://westernfictioneers.blogspot.com/

About “Sipping Whiskey in a Shallow Grave”
It is 1887. Snow is falling in the high country of Colorado. Bill Ewing led a bank heist in the small mountain town of Kinsey City — but just woke up tied to the back of a mule. “Sipping Whiskey in a Shallow Grave” is an epic novel chronicling Bill Ewing’s gang of thieves and the posse that takes after them, the cowhands of the B-Cross-C, and the unexpected turns of life which bring them all together.

Following the Great Die-Up, the harshest winter to ever hit the West, LG Pendleton and Casey Pruitt lead a mixed herd of Polangus and Durham cattle down the stage road in Lefthand Canyon. Their way of life is fading with the changing times. Fences cross what once was open range, locomotives are eliminating the trail drive, and both Casey and LG must learn to change with it — or fade away themselves.

At once both personal and immutable, “Sipping Whiskey in a Shallow Grave” is a sweeping tale of randomness and destiny, reminding us of the power of the human spirit in the face of adversity.

Sipping Whiskey in a Shallow Grave
Authored by Mark Mitten
List Price: $16.95
6″ x 9″ (15.24 x 22.86 cm)
Black & White on Cream paper
338 pages
Sunbury Press, Inc.
ISBN-13: 978-1620061466
ISBN-10: 1620061465
BISAC: Fiction / Westerns

Also available on Kindle and Nook

For more information, please see:
http://www.sunburypressstore.com/Sipping-Whiskey-in-a-Sha…