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Minding the Muse: A Handbook for Painters, Composers, Writers, and Other Creators, by Priscilla Long
Minding the Muse is a practical handbook for the artist or writer—highly experienced, aspiring, or somewhere in between. Long draws from her extensive background as a poet, writer, and master teacher, but also gathers the insights and practices of a wide range of high-achieving artists, including mystery writer Raymond Chandler, choreographer Twyla Tharp, poet and performance artist Patti Smith, and the painter Joan Miró.
Beginning with the first sparks of artistic creation—“Gathering, Hoarding, Conceptualizing”—Long moves through the various stages to “Completing Works” and “Poet as Peddler, Painter as Pusher: Marketing.”
Every creative worker will find something here to take to heart and into the studio or workroom.
Beauty and the Breast: A Tale of Breast Cancer, Love, and Friendship, by Merrill Joan Gerber
When Merrill Joan Gerber was diagnosed breast cancer, she set out on a journey familiar to too many women. It began with denial that her precious breasts, those shining birthrights that appear in adolescence and promise beauty, sex and the love of men, could become the agents of terror and even death. What followed was a parade of doctors and their treatments, of surgery, the debilitating side effects of chemotherapy, and the dangerous but life-saving beams of radiation to her breast. She found new friends in her cancer support group but lost three to the disease. Merrill recorded intimate conversations with her husband and daughters, took photographs of her breast in various stages of treatment, and also of the machinery that dispensed the treatments.
Merrill faced the complicated day-to-day topics—where do I get a wig, what can I eat, how will I sleep? She found a new appreciation for the blessings in her life, her beloved husband, their daughters, and their daughters’ children. As she recalled her parents’ illnesses, her childhood in Brooklyn, and her complicated relationship with her own breasts, she reflected on long-held notions of fear and death.
Merrill Joan Gerber is the author of thirty books and many short stories. She is the winner of an O. Henry Prize and the Ribalow Award from Hadassah magazine. In Beauty and the Breast, she bares her soul and her breasts as she navigates the terrors of cancer and learns with courage and gratitude what it means to be a survivor.
Many have reported on the cancer wars, but Merrill’s memoir delivers a special contribution of humor, passion, candor, real-life photos, and a poetic gift to the reader.
Enter by the Narrow Gate, by David Carlson
A teenage girl has vanished in Santa Fe. Nearby, in the Trappist monastery of St. Mary of the Snows, a beautiful young nun is stabbed to death. Father Nicholas Fortis is on sabbatical at St. Mary’s, and when Lieutenant Christopher Worthy of the Detroit Police Department is flown in to help find the missing teenager, the Orthodox monk asks his friend to delve into the nun’s murder as well. The two men make a perfect team: the monk’s gregarious manner opens hearts and the detective’s keen intuition infiltrates psyches.
The Book of Matthew refers to the “narrow gate” that leads to heaven. Each of the key players in these two cases was rattling heaven’s gate in a frantic and even dangerous quest for salvation. Lieutenant Sera Lacey of the Santa Fe Police, with her captivating looks and insight into the Native Americans and cultures of the Southwest, proves both a boon and a distraction for Worthy. As Father Fortis navigates the social hierarchy of the monks of St. Mary’s, he begins to fear their secret agendas. Bowing to the pressure to solve both cases, the investigators let the clues lead them in opposite directions. At the end of one of those paths, Death awaits.
Book one in a new detective series featuring Christopher Worthy and Father Fortis.
From the Devil’s Farm, by Leta Serafim
A Greek American tourist, Lydia Pappas, stumbles upon a child’s body in the ruins of an ancient temple, well hidden on the top of a cliff. The boy has been bled dry, though no blood is in evidence, leading the Greek police investigator, Yiannis Patronas, to believe the killer must have collected it. Greece’s financial crisis has reduced the police force on Sifnos to one officer, Petros Nikolaidis, so Patronas has been summoned from his home base of Chios to aid in the case. Accompanying him are his colleagues, Giorgos Tembelos and Evangelos Demos, as well as Papa Michalis, an ancient Orthodox priest with a vast knowledge of detective fiction and an uncanny ability to ferret out the truth. Though eccentric and often irritating, Michalis has been an asset to Patronas over the years in a land where homicide was, until recently, a rare occurrence. But Greece is changing daily, with a tide of migrants straining the country’s already diminished resources and occasionally bringing out the worst in her people.
The child appears to have been sacrificed according to the rules of a pagan religious ritual. Is someone on Sifnos reviving the old ways? Or is there a thrill killer loose on the island? Is the culprit a Greek national or one of the many foreign migrants crowding its refugee camps?
Book 3 in the Greek Islands Mystery series.