Fiction

Mojo Rising

Masters of the Art

James L. Dickerson, Editor

Fiction | Short Stories

“With perennial favorites such as Faulkner’s “A Rose for Emily” and a previously unpublished story by Ellen Gilchrist, this anthology is a little treasure trove from a region which constitutes a veritable gold mine of literature. Mojo Rising is as valuable to the neophyte as to the connoisseur.” – Peter Cooley, Professor of English, Director of Creative Writing, Tulane University

“Mojo Rising: Masters of the Art: An outstanding collection of stories by some of the most renowned Southern writers. Highly recommended.” – Robert W. Hamblin, Professor Emeritus of English and Founding Director, Center for Faulkner Studies. Southeast Missouri State University

“Mojo Rising” is a short story anthology that includes stories by Nobel and Pulitzer Prize-winning author William Faulkner, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Eudora Welty, Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Tennessee Williams, Richard Wright (generally regarded as one of the top three African American writers in American history), noted Civil War historian and novelist Shelby Foote, author Willie Morris (legendary editor of Harper’s Magazine in the 1960s, novelist, and journalist), American Book Award winner Ellen Gilchrist (who contributed a previously unpublished story), Elizabeth Spencer (graduate of Belhaven College and Vanderbilt University; University of Mississippi creative writing instructor; five-time winner of the O. Henry Award for short fiction), Stark Young, former drama critic for the New York Times and author of bestselling novel “So Red the Rose,” and novelist and short writer Ellen Douglas, whose work has appeared in The New Yorker and in the O. Henry collection of prize stories.

Available formats: Hardcover, paperback, and eBook

Mojo Rising

Contemporary Writers

Joseph Atkins, Editor

Fiction | Short Stories

Short stories by some of the South’s most talented contemporary writers, including New York Times bestselling author Ace Atkins, Sheree Renee Thomas, William Boyle, Julie Smith, Steven Barthelme, Maurice Carlos Ruffin, Jere Hoar, Corey Mesler, James L. Dickerson, Margaret Skinner, and the editor of this book, Joseph B. Atkins, a journalism professor at the University of Mississippi and author of a novel, Casey’s Last Chance.

Available formats: Hardcover, paperback, and eBook

Dog Stories for the Soul

An Anthology

Mardi Allen, Editor

Fiction & Non-Fiction | Dog Stories

A collection of heart-warming dog stories written by some of America’s most talented writers, including Nobel Prize-winning John Steinbeck, Mark Twain, Willie Morris, Outdoor Life editor Andrew McKean, Memphis magazine managing editor Frank Murtaugh, who writes about his childhood pet, Susie, who made him into the man that he is today, and others. Psychologist, Mardi Allen, has written five books.

“If you have a soft spot in your heart for the canine species, this moving anthology of dog stories will leave you alternately in tears, in awe of their heroism and dedication, bowled over with unexpected laughter, and, probably, deeply sighing in your sleep. Nobel Prize winner John Steinbeck leads off the collection with an all-Charley compilation culled from his bestselling travel book, Travels with Charley. There is even a celebrity dog or two in the mix. A great gift for anyone, except perhaps confirmed cat lovers.” – Michael Levine, acclaimed Hollywood publicist and author

Available formats: Hard cover, paperback and eBook

Cold Eye

A Short Story Collection

By Margaret Skinner

Fiction | Short Stories

The characters face emotional mishaps, soulful sorrow and sucker-punch surprises in the City of Memphis, alternately known over the years as the murder capital of America, the home of the blues, and the birthplace of rock ‘n’ roll. With a backdrop like that, it figures that the stories told in the bars, barbecue joints, and churches of such a gritty city would offer a unique perspective on life.

Margaret Skinner has published two novels. She lives in Memphis, Tennessee.

Available Formats: Paperback and eBook

Where Do They All Come From?

By Patty Friedmann

Fiction | Short Stories

“Walker Percy once wrote that ‘the next Southern literary revival will be led by a Jewish mother, which is to say, a shrewd self-possessed woman with a sharp eye and a cunning retentive mind who sees the small triumphs and tragedies around her and has her own secret method of rendering it, with an art all her own.’ And that is totally Patty Friedmann.” – Anne Gisleson, author of The Futilitarians

Patty Friedmann lives in New Orleans.

Available formats: Paperback and eBook

The Coming Woman

By Karen Hicks

Fiction | Historical Biography

Victoria Woodhull was the first woman to run for U.S. President, 50 years before women could even vote. Victoria was also the first woman to own a successful Wall Street firm, the first to publish a successful national newspaper, the first to head the two-million-member Spiritualist Association, and the first to petition the Senate Judiciary Committee, advocating for woman’s suffrage. She spoke boldly on the great social issues of her day, which led to her persecution and imprisonment and the longest, most infamous trial of the 19th century.

Available formats: Paperback and eBook

Legend of the Soul Eater

By James L. Dickerson

Fiction | Religious Fantasy

This is a fictional interpretation of Jesus’s mythical visit to the Mississippi Valley in search of the Lost Tribes of Israel.
“The force of evil cannot be deterred so easily. The Legend of the Soul Eater is a novel set two thousand years among [the Native Americans who inhabited] the Mississippi Valley. Miko, son of the chief, encounters the force known as the Soul Eater, and he learns about its nature and finds that he and his father must stand against them and learn the rules of mortality. The Legend of the Soul Eater is riveting fantasy of pre-colonial America, a strong pick for those looking for something different.” – Mid-West Book Review

Available formats: Paperback and eBook

Trey’s Company

By Frank Murtaugh

Fiction | Coming of Age

Love a little, die a little, and break the law. Trey Milligan did them all in one summer, and before his 14th birthday. Trey lives in Southern California with his parents and younger sister, but is spending the summer after 7th grade with his widowed grandmother in a small Tennessee town. The South becomes home to Trey, but also represents the freedom every child associates with the summer months. Three of Trey’s friends — Wendy, Devon, and Larry — come to personify love, death, and the criminal element, challenges every child must, at some point, confront. Together, the trio builds an unasked-for bridge to adulthood for Trey. The warmth and comforts of a “summer at Grandma’s” becomes a life-changing season of internal growth. Murtaugh is well known in Memphis as an editor at Memphis magazine.

 

Available formats: Paperback and eBook

Memphis Hoodoo Murders

By Kathryn Rogers

Fiction | Mystery | Occult

People have been hunting down Addie Jackson’s family her entire life. Now the people who have targeted her grandparents, Pop and Grandma, have their wicked sights on her. The Memphis police have been unable to stop them because they have been bewitched to stay away by practitioners of a virulent strain of Memphis Hoodoo. To make matters worse, Addie is disturbed to discover she is being stalked by a witch doctor named Hoodoo Helen. The more secrets Addie uncovers, the more danger she finds.

Available formats: Paperback and eBook

Vampire Defense

By James D. Bell

Fiction | Mystery

With its unforgettable cast of characters, mesmerizing plot, and pulse-racing storyline, Vampire Defense bristles with suspense, courtroom drama, action, and intrigue. An inventive, imaginative, and spellbinding tale, Vampire Defense is a sensational and captivating debut.
Vampire Defense features protagonist John Brooks. A brilliant young trial lawyer, John Brooks is working hard—but hardly getting any notice. Admired for his work ethic, integrity, and intellect, Brooks’ friends think he needs one big case that will show off his talents and help him make a name for himself. Defending Hal Boyd might be just the case. Charged with arson and four counts of murder, Hal Boyd, known as the Butcher of Belhaven, is the central figure in a grisly murder mystery that has gripped the nation. Eager to cover the case, media from the world over descend on Jackson, Mississippi, and it looks like the Butcher of Belhaven case might be the one to put John Brooks on the map. But this case may well turn into a career-ender when Brooks announces his unorthodox, and highly unusual, defense: Not guilty by reason of insanity, as his client actually believed the person he killed was a vampire.

James D. Bell is a retired Judge who received the highest bar association approval ratings ever given to a Mississippi Circuit or County Judge. Bell has been involved in some of the most significant cases in Mississippi, and drew on actual experiences in writing Vampire Defense.

Available formats: Paperback and eBook

Maximilian’s Treasure

By James D. Bell

Fiction | Suspense

Mississippi lawyers John Brooks and Jackson Bradley find themselves embroiled in an explosive legal case when the respected patriarch of a Choctaw family is murdered in a drive-by shooting during a family gathering on their farm. His grandson pursues the murderers. Three “rednecks” suspected in the drive-by shooting are found on the farm, dead. The grandson is charged with their murder. The sensational news that the victims were scalped grips the attention and imagination of the public. Expecting a resumption of the Wild West range wars, the world press descends upon Philadelphia, Mississippi. The fate of nations, tribes and individuals will be decided in battles fought simultaneously in a Central American jungle, in a courtroom in Mississippi and in the hearts of the people involved in this briskly-paced epic adventure.

Author James D. Bell is a retired judge who lives near Jackson, Mississippi, with his wife, Joanne.

Available formats: Paperback and eBook

Casey’s Last Chance

By Joseph B. Atkins

Fiction | Suspense Thriller

Written in a hardboiled, noir style, Casey’s Last Chance takes you back to the days of Raymond Chandler, when characters knew only one direction—straight ahead, their fedoras tilted into the wind. Author Joseph B. Atkins writes fiction the way Jimi Hendrix played guitar, with delicate fingering that explodes into soaring, lyrical riffs when least expected. Casey Eubanks is a small-time North Carolina hustler on the run after angrily firing a shot over the head of his girlfriend Orella during an argument and accidentally killing his cousin. He seeks refuge with a crony, Clyde Point, who steers him to a big operator in Memphis, Max Duren, a shadowy former Nazi with a wide financial network across the South. The story takes place in July 1960.

“Joe Atkins’s Casey’s Last Chance is such pitch-perfect vintage noir, you can almost smell the cigarette burning in the ashtray, a woman’s perfume drifting past. With a twisty plot, vibrant characters, and hardboiled grit to burn, it’s everything you want in a crime novel.” – Megan Abbott, Edgar-award-winning author of Dare Me and The Fever

Available formats: Paperback and eBook

Love on the Rocks

By James L. Dickerson

Fiction | Romance

Katherine Summer had everything in life that she wanted—a loving husband, a beautiful daughter, an incredible island home in the Thousand Island region of the St. Lawrence River, an incredibly bright cocker spaniel named Bessie, and a wildly successful career as a landscape artist. All that changed in an instant, when a boating accident seemingly took the lives of her husband and daughter, leaving Katherine alone and heartbroken on the idyllic island that previously had provided her with so much joy and inspiration.

Love on the Rocks takes place in the picturesque, castle-populated Thousand Islands region of Ontario/New York State. It follows Katherine through the process of sorting out her emotions as she overcomes her grief and seeks a meaningful new relationship, only to discover that the path to happiness requires her to choose between two men—an American psychologist who may lose his license because of his love for her, and a millionaire, “bad boy” Member of the Canadian Parliament being groomed for prime minister, who dazzles her with his charm. The surprise ending will take your breath away.

Available formats: Paperback and eBook

Wiggle Room

By Darden North

Fiction | Thriller

Returning from overseas deployment, Air Force surgeon Major Brad Cummins resumes surgical practice with his twin brother in Mississippi and soon discovers him shot to death in a suspected robbery. When he finds their name tags mistakenly switched, Brad cannot forget an anonymous text he received that cryptically read, “I will give you a little wiggle room.”
The message leaves him convinced that he was the intended target, not his brother. He wondered if it was from an Iraqi national whose life he saved, thus depriving him of martyrdom and honor in Allah’s eyes. But there are others who seek death for Dr. Brad Cummins and for different reasons.

“Darden North writes vividly, with strong pace, action and emotion, counterbalanced with sharp observations and wry humor.” – Peter James, bestselling author of Not Dead Yet

Available formats: Paperback and eBook

Michael’s Black Dress

By James Thibeault

Fiction | Cross-Dresser Comes of Age

“Cross-dressing involves dressing as the other gender for entertainment or pleasure. Cross-dressing isn’t necessarily a sign of a person’s gender identity or sexual orientation.” – Mayo Clinic

Seventeen-year-old Michael has a secret: he likes to cross-dress. For years, this Black star of the wrestling team has kept this to himself. When his twin sister Shah walks in on him trying on her clothes, he finally confides to her that he wants to wear dresses in public. Understandably, Michael is terrified how his suburban peers will treat him. No one besides Shah knows the truth–not even Michael’s best friend, Jacob. Shah agrees to keep it a secret, but Michael’s eagerness to express himself in dress becomes stronger each day.

Available formats: Paperback and eBook

Someone is Trying to Kill Me

By James L. Dickerson

Fiction | Psychological Thriller

Upset about the government reading your emails or listening to your telephone calls? If so, you will be fascinated by the insight on snooping offered in this suspense novel.
Doe Peterson is a 26-year-old Asian-American who turns to Memphis psychologist Rivers Mann for help after she concludes that someone is trying to kill her. Her excuse for visiting Dr. Mann is that the attempts on her life are driving her crazy. “That’s what psychologists do, isn’t it? Stop people from going crazy!” Reluctant to believe her story, Dr. Mann concludes that she has a borderline personality disorder. Not until he escapes an attempt on his own life does he believe her story. As the plot unfolds, it becomes clear that someone wants to kill Doe and Dr. Mann.

Available formats: Paperback and eBook

Thursday Morning Breakfast (and Murder) Club

By Liz Stauffer

Fiction | Mystery

When Clare Ballard sports a new bruise on her right cheek the day after a contentious town meeting, the ladies of the Thursday Morning Breakfast Club suspect her husband Roger of abusing her. That same day Hester Franklin, another breakfast club lady, is called to rescue her grandson Patrick after he is arrested for transporting drugs. Proclaiming his innocence, Patrick threatens that those who set him up will pay. Roger Ballard is high on his list.
But it’s when Lillie Mae Harris, the club’s leader, discovers the body of the local drug dealer on the nearby hiking trail, that the community is upended. Roger Ballard, the primary suspect, goes missing, and when his body turns up in his own backyard, Clare Ballard confesses to his murder. No one believes she did it, but Clare insists she’s guilty and mysteriously refuses to talk to her lawyer, the police, or her family and friends. The Thursday Morning Breakfast Club ladies believe she’s protecting someone, and they vow to find out who it is.

Available formats: Paperback and eBook

Killer Comedy

Is Murder a Laughing Matter?

By James L. Dickerson

Fiction | Crime Thriller

Standup comic Lonnie Lester, with his shaved head and goatee, presents a menacing appearance that seems to run counter to his goal of making people laugh as he travels from city to city, hitting every comedy club on the circuit, always beginning his bit with the line, “Naked women say the funniest things . . .!”
The trouble is, with his gritty comedy that makes women the butt of every joke, he makes as many people angry as he makes laugh. Soon it becomes clear that someone out there doesn’t like Lonnie Lester. After a string of brutal murders occur in cities in which Lester performs, his act attracts the attention of FBI special agent Julee Anderson, a serial killer profiler who quickly picks up on the similarities among the homicides.

All of the victims are women, beautiful women whose lives intersect with Lester.
Why is someone following the comic from city to city, committing murders that leave the local police stumped? Or is it Lester, who definitely has issues with women, who is America’s most dangerous serial killer? If not, who would want to frame him?

Julee Anderson is perfect for the case. Not only is she the most beautiful agent in the bureau, she is the smartest—and the most determined to take down the killer. The only problem is her young daughter. For reasons beyond her control, Anderson must take the child with her out on the road, hiding her not only from her stuffy bosses at the FBI but from the killer as well. Will the last laugh be on her?

Creature from Reelfoot Lake

By James L. Dickerson

Fiction | Psychological Thriller

Lake monster targets college coeds. The Creature from Reelfoot Lake: The Merman Who Loved Women is a literary horror novel that it is reminiscent of the classic cinemas of the 1950s. But with one major difference: The Reelfoot creature is half-human, a merman who has been on an obsessive search for his birth mother that has lasted more than 200 years.

At the heart of the story are three former college roommates—two male, one female—who all have childhood and relationship issues that dominate their lives. The roommates converge at Reelfoot Lake, Tennessee, where the creature is inflicting a reign of terror that makes it difficult for them to locate a treasure that has been buried since the New Madrid earthquake of 1811.

The plot is complicated by the fact that the female roommate is being stalked by her ex-husband at the same time that she is stalked by the creature. It is a sophisticated, multi-layered psychological thriller in which all the main characters are forced to deal with their individual issues. The creature cannot speak, but he has a distinctive voice that will touch the hearts of readers as he searches for the meaning of his tormented life.

Available formats: Paperback and eBook

Retarded Girl Raised in Dog Pen

By Lauren Leigh

Fiction | Psychological Thriller

A spellbinding murder mystery that offers a sympathetic look at the struggles faced by individuals with disabilities.

Baby is every adoptive parent’s nightmare—blind, paralyzed from the waist down, unable to speak, and diagnosed with developmental and intellectual disabilities. For the first 10 years of her life she is raised outside in a dog pen by a cruel adoptive father, a Mississippi deputy sheriff who values his bird dogs more than his daughter. This the story of Baby’s abusive childhood and her placement in a Mississippi mental institution for individuals with severe intellectual disabilities after the brutal murder of her father and the arrest of her mother, and her desperate attempt to escape the institution. Once the mother is convicted of murder and sentenced to death, the story takes a heart-stopping twist as mental health professionals discover that Baby is capable of communication, despite being trapped inside a body that holds her prisoner.
Some individuals expressing comments about the book have used hateful language to denounce the use of the word “retarded” in the title. The publisher stands by that usage because it is representative of how the media and the public in general have retained the outdated diagnostic term of “mental retardation” and continue to apply it to individuals diagnosed with intellectual disabilities. The book clearly reflects that change and individuals who use the old term are corrected throughout the book by others who are more enlightened.

Available formats: Paperback and eBook

Poster Girl

By Joni McPherron

Fiction | Erotic Romance

CJ Jones has it all. The perfect life. The letters M.D. behind her name, the Chief, Emergency Services embroidered on her white coat. Her home on the water seems designed for yoga and biking, and her vintage poster collection fits in perfectly with the decor. Life is good. Until she wakes up as a patient in her own Emergency Room with the hand of the hottest surgeon in town on bare skin and dangerously close to parts she’d rather keep private.
This energetic, first-time novel is much more than a sexy romance. It offers a fascinating look at one woman’s struggle to merge her desire for independence with her equally strong desire for a loving relationship with a man.

Available formats: Paperback and eBook

Deacon’s Folly

By James Thibeault

Fiction | Mature Coming of Age

“James Thibeault’s The Deacon’s Folly is a bleak but strangely engaging Brothers Grimm sort of fable, tottering precariously between both the reality and the dream-memory of young Devon, the story’s hero. Devon is trapped in the terrifying landscape of his own uncertain perceptions and the cruel distortions imposed on him by those who should have been his caretakers. But once nudged to it by the story’s obese and hapless Deacon, Devon enters onto a violent quest for the truth. He pursues that quest relentlessly, seeking both what is monstrously real and what might just possibly yield some small measure of hope and love…if he doesn’t destroy it himself along the way.” – Fr. Barry Bercier, Assumption College

Available formats: Paperback

Tractor

By Ryan Uytdewilligen

Fiction | Coming of Age

Set in Oklahoma in 1961, a small town teen named John gets a spur-of-the-moment job driving an old tractor across Arkansas to Oklahoma for a crotchety old farmer. John is about to enter his senior year of high school and has doubts about his future and the kind of man he wants to be. Unbeknownst to him, this trip will be just what he needs to figure all that out.

We follow John as he picks up the tractor in Arkansas, then makes his way across hot, crowded Southern highways, on which he experiences breakdowns, fights, mishaps, and even love. It is no easy task to complete this job, but the pitfalls and chance meetings along the way might just take him where he’s destined to go.

Available formats: Paperback and eBook

Seven Turns

By Bill Smith

Fiction | Historical Mystery

Ancient books in a monastery … a code left by Nazi soldiers … a deep fjord … and a mysterious stainless steel cylinder—all lead to a fantastic war-time discovery.

The one hundred thousand ancient books in the Great Library of the Benedictine monastery were just part of the majestic beauty of Austria’s 12th century Melk Abbey. But that beauty was marred when the monks discovered that scores of valuable books had been marked and disfigured by persons unknown.

Wilhelm Gerhard was retained to find the cause. With help from his friend Wolf and 100 monks in black habits, they examined every volume in all 12 rooms of the library and even searched the rock catacombs deep under the 900-year-old abbey where the screaming Will-o’-the-Wisp lived. They discovered that the marks were a code left by Nazi soldiers during the Second World War.

Available formats: Paperback and eBook

Confession

By Richard Freis

Fiction | Psychological Suspense

An intense and engrossing novel of psychological suspense set on the Mississippi Gulf Coast—and reminiscent of the darkly tangled familial relationships brought into prominence by Mississippi-born writer Tennessee Williams—Confession features protagonist George Burden, a distinguished attorney who finds himself at a crossroads as he approaches his 55th birthday.

From outward appearances, it seems George is living an enviable life. But even with his devoted wife, affluent lifestyle, social prominence, successful career, and beautiful family, George is dogged by the worry that the choices he made were too easy and too safe.

“A taut psychological thriller, focused on a mid-life crisis and arriving at a stunning conclusion.” – Suzanne Marrs, author of What There Is to Say We Have Said: The Correspondence of Eudora Welty and William Maxwell

Available formats: Paperback and eBook

Secrets of the Spiral Tower

By Joe Woods

Fiction | Mystery

As the murky waters of the Mississippi River at Port Gibson part at the end of a tow line, a personalized license plate with the letters Wil K MC is revealed on the rear of a sunken car. Instantly, Connor realizes authorities have discovered the remains of his girlfriend, Willow Kingston McKenzie. Driving away for the recovery scene, Connor’s mind drifts back to his adolescent years when he and Willow were inseparable. But, with time, Willow outgrew him, even though they shared secrets hidden in a cave in the National Military Park, near one of the spiral observation towers.

Available formats: Paperback and eBook