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Contemporary Fiction

Chestnut Springs

Chestnut springs
Will her second chance cost her everything?

Brenda Maxwell's successful career vanished in one disastrous day. Now she's traded her L. A. condo for a new life, settling in an off-the-grid cabin in rural West Virginia.

But the seeming tranquility of Chestnut Springs is more of a challenge than she ever expected. Brenda's self-reliance is p ut to the test as she faces savage weather, a hungry bear, a jealous rival, and a false arrest.

Independence only goes so far. Can Brenda find help among her new friends?

Chestnut Springs is an upbeat story of love and friendship that will keep you turning pages until dawn.

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The Disappearance of Bobo Blando


One mysterious man's stories both divide and unite a small community of immigrants as they struggle with isolation and misunderstanding in their new home. Under the simple tale of Simón's search for Bobo Blando's true identity and Karen Salazar's quest for purpose lies a religious allegory for modern times.

Print books are available directly from the author or on Amazon.

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Jt hine emily   hilda rule num one  emily hard to kill

by JT Hine

 I call my books “cozy coming-of-age crime novels” because according to Sisters in Crime, they are crime novels.

My coming-of-age crime novels come in two series, each named for the first book in the trilogy.

Emily & Hilda 
Cycling was already an adventure, but then…Teenage bicycle racing phenom Emily Hampstead is training for a major race. Retired Army nurse Hilda Paisley is traveling the USA on her bicycle. They meet by chance on a deserted road in Kansas, not suspecting that they’ll ever cross paths again.Emily continues to win races to the delight and surprise of bicycle racing fans in the US and abroad. Her family moves to Virginia, where she attracts unexpected and deadly attention.Meanwhile, after witnessing a terrorist attack, Hilda helps the police make arrests – and the terrorists add her name to their hit list. After escaping the immediate threat, Hilda reports to a temporary nursing job in a Southern hospital.When Emily accepts Hilda's offer to ride to Canada – with Hilda's friend Jack – it promises to be a fun adventure.If they can survive it.

In the sequel to Emily & Hilda, Rule Number One
When you don't know who your enemies are, how do you defeat them?
Emily Hampstead is a teenage phenom on the American bicycle road racing circuit, and a first-year student at the University of Virginia. Emily's mother, Katherine, has become a popular teacher at the university in her first full year on board. They hope that Emily's adventures touring in Canada the summer before are behind them, but there are still enemies out there…
After a terrorist bombing decimates the USA under-twenty-three racing team, Emily takes a year from school to determine her future. Meanwhile, Katherine survives an assassination attempt and joins her daughter traveling off the grid. They hope to give the FBI time to find and arrest the man behind the violence over the last two years.
If they can stay alive that long…

Emily Is Hard to Kill, 
After escaping her kidnappers and would-be murderers, Emily Hampstead is called to Québec with her friends Jack Rathburn and Hilda Paisley to testify in the trial of a terrorist bomber. The bomber's associates attack Emily in the woods. The terrorists die, but so does Jean-Pierre, her lover. As COVID begins closing borders, the three friends fly to Germany in time to wait out the pandemic there. Jack and Hilda are recalled to active duty, and Emily is hired as an ambulance driver and EMT. Struggling with the death of Jean-Pierre, she is grateful for the lockdown. She resumes her studies at UVA online. After vaccines come out and the pandemic eases off, Emily returns to the US to attend the National Park Service Law Enforcement Academy in Flagstaff, Arizona. She plans to become a seasonal ranger and earn her nursing degree at UVA. Mid-way through the course, an extremist militia, led by an ex-MP who has sworn to kill Emily and her friends, attacks the school. After recovering from her wounds, Emily hides in the desert with the Navajo, where she faces her ghosts and learns to move on. To finish reconciling with her grief and doubts, she must stop her enemy, finish the academy at Temple University and serve her first assignment at Saguaro National Park. Only then can she begin nursing school and move forward.
Jt hine lockhart enemies art to die for

by JT Hine

 I call my books “cozy coming-of-age crime novels” because according to Sisters in Crime, they are crime novels.

My coming-of-age crime novels come in two series, each named for the first book in the trilogy.

Lockhart (2020)
It's just a translation, right? Maybe not …Joe Lockhart can barely remember a time before his mother, Nancy, a drug company executive, brought him to Italy to escape her grief after the death of Joe's father. Now, against a background of escalating political violence and Nancy’s concerns for his safety, Joe wants to finish high school before returning to the US. He begins translating confidential company files for his mother and Luke, her colleague.The work seems straightforward and harmless. While Nancy and Luke are in Germany on business, Joe uncovers a plot to overthrow the Italian government. Soon, he finds himself kidnapped, wanted by the military police, and racing to help head off a coup d'état. Lockhart is a tale of personal and political conflict, of recovery from grief, and finding new meaning in the idea of home.

As political violence continues to roil Italy and racial violence grows in the USA, Sandra and Joe come back to the US to attend different schools. In Italy, a vicious public hate campaign targets Joe's mother, Nancy. In Virginia, Joe is learning brutal lessons about race relations in the United States, having grown up in Italy. In Washington DC, Sandra uncovers an international art forgery scheme. The two lovers meet again in Rome, where they discover that they and Nancy have a common enemy. Working with the FBI and the Italian police, they might be able to stop him, if they can stay alive that long.

Art to Die For wraps
A badge is not bullet-proof.
In the conclusion of the Lockhart trilogy, Sandra and Joe come back to the US to finish their studies. The historic art recovery has made Sandra a target to prevent her helping Interpol with a new international art crime case. Meanwhile, Joe remains a target of revenge. Surviving bombs and snipers, the two lovers must determine what they truly value and learn to make a life together – if they can stay alive to do that...

I'll Get By

Patti procopi i'll get by

Starting over means figuring out where you are, how you got there, and where to go from here.

When Jane's life falls apart in a most spectacular fashion, she questions how she got to this point. How did she manage to choose a best friend who would do the most clichéd thing ever and run off with her husband? What blinded her to the abuse her husband, Frank, heaped upon her over decades of marriage?
The answers to her life's questions might be found in the generations before her. From her grandmother, Mamere, who threw away her family heritage to marry a baseball player, to her mother, Evangeline, who knew within moments of meeting John during WWII that he was the love of her life.
The choices the women in her family made alter Jane's outlook on love and life, but she learns that ultimately, strong women survive and love is cultivated in unexpected places.

Available from Amazon 

Please Tell Me More

Patti procopi book please tell me more

This heartfelt story about sisters, family and the tenuous connections we forge in life will stay with you long after you turn the last page.

Rose was a child when the worst possible thing happened.  Her baby sister Lily drowned while Rose was supposed to be watching her. This tragedy eventually destroys the family while Rose struggles to go on despite her guilt and sorrow. 

At times whimsical, always genuine, this story looks at the bonds of sisters and how family can become our foundation even when we don’t expect it.

Available from Amazon and Barnes and Noble. 

Stop Talking

Patti gaustan procopi stop talking

From the author of Please... Tell Me More comes the highly anticipated sequel!Finally, Rose has found her soulmate, Jack, and is ready to live her best happily-ever-after life. But tragedy strikes in Alaska, where Rose's brother and family live, and soon her world is turned upside down... again. Rose and Jack do the only thing they can: they take their niece, Fern, who has suffered a tremendous loss, home to Virginia.

Fern is adrift, grieving in a strange place with only her wolf-dog for a companion. Her mother is dead and her father is missing. Nothing will ever be the same again, but Rose is doing the best she can for young Fern, even as the temptation of addiction lingers at the edge of her world. Can Fern find her way in this new environment, moving from the wilds of Alaska to the wilds of suburban middle school? And will Rose and Jack survive too, or will they be casualties of an upheaval neither expected?

A deeply moving novel that speaks of the strength of family and the cycle of life, Patti Gaustad Procopi has managed to weave heartfelt emotion into a sweeping family saga that reminds us all of how much we yearn for home.

Available on Amazon 

Like a Mask Dancing: A Tanzanian Story

Like a mast dancing sally stiles
By Sally Stiles

Aaron Chadwick's job is to save Tanzania's largest industrial complex. After three weeks in this vast, alluring country, his wife, Anna, has met missionaries and Muslims, Maasai herders, expatriates both indifferent and committed. She's slept among lions and giraffes and learned of men who chewed off cats' heads. She's seen a pleasure ground for the wealthy and a garbage dump which serves as a playground for the poorest of the poor. She's seen her husband angry and determined to save what may be impossible to save. She's seen all these things through the long lens of a visitor and now resolves to zoom in closer. She resolves to make Africa her home.

Available on Amazon 

Bennett Falls

Peter stipe   bennett falls
By Peter Stipe

A place where families came. Homes were built. Children grew, left for war, and returned.
Through it all, the river runs, as it always has.
But people change and dreams shift and towns grow, and nothing good ever lasts…
For years, Jack and Keira Sullivan discussed a future where they escaped the harsh urban realities in Boston. Instead, they would run a bed and breakfast in New Hampshire. When Keira’s mother dies, they use her inheritance to purchase a historically significant old house in Bennett Falls to pursue their dream.
What was once an ideal future soon becomes rife with problems: the isolation Keira experiences as Jack divides his time between Boston and Bennett Falls; the withdrawn attitude of the townspeople who do not want change; and the choices Keira must face in order to move forward with her life.
Can friendship and one small kitten turn things around for Keira and Jack, or will they find that their dreams are not what they once thought them to be?

Available on Amazon 

Finding Our Way

Peter stipe finding our way
By Peter Stipe

The eight short stories in Peter Stipe’s first book Finding Our Way investigate the complex connections between people, particularly between the lead characters in the stories and those who are closest to them as their relationships evolve.  Even though these eight stories are drawn from Peter’s personal experiences and from those of his friends, they are fiction.  Peter writes about the way the stories might have occurred rather than being constrained to tell the stories as they actually happened.  Sometimes the stories’ characters change as they struggle to find better connections in their lives; sometimes they don’t.

Two of the stories, Finding Our Way and Running Home, draw on Peter’s extensive experience as a marathon runner.  In his prime Peter was one of America’s top distance runners, winning many races, placing in the top fifty in the Boston Marathon on six occasions and competing in the 1972 U.S. Olympic Trials.  These two stories are semi-autobiographical, detailing the lifestyle of a competitive distance runner.

Sky City looks at the clash of two cultures, the ancient and traditional culture of Native Americans at Acoma Pueblo in New Mexico and the dawn of the nuclear age with the nuclear test at nearby Alamogordo, New Mexico.  Peter’s father was a part of the Manhattan Project that developed the first bomb.  Peter read an account of the first test in his father’s papers.  Peter also has studied Native culture and art.  He was struck by the contrast of these two cultures several years ago when he visited Acoma Pueblo.

Peter’s inspiration for his stories comes from many sources.  A woman who worked with him in New Hampshire came to work on a Monday morning in the fall telling the story of her first deer hunting trip.  Her tale led to The Deer Slayer.  An experience Peter had one night when he worked the third shift at a hospital in New Hampshire inspired Anna.  His story Seasons investigates his and his mother’s responses to the death of Peter’s father.  A childhood memory of an incident in a small Virginia town in the 1950’s is the foundation for the story Lawrence.  A mathematical game in Scientific American magazine led to the bizarre tale Moebius Trip.  The sources of inspiration are as varied as the types of stories in Peter’s book.

Author's Website
Facebook: PeterGStipe

Remember Me

By Peter Stipe

Family heirlooms and stories are passed along through the generations and very often become embellished over time. The history of family characters and events becomes fluid, and sometimes stories are deliberately hushed, stories of people and events that families are not proud of, black sheep who must be hidden. Heirlooms are kept but not always preserved.

What then is the truth of a family?

This is the unfolding story of the author’s great-grandparents, Oscar and Maggie McMurray. When Peter Stipe discovers heirlooms and old books that contain clues to the truth about the McMurray’s, his curiosity is piqued. As he researches his family history, the stories his mother told him begin to unravel. Who were Oscar and Maggie? How did their story get lost? Why was it changed? What is the truth about this, or any other family story?

Author's website
Facebook: PeterGStipe

The Art of Love

By Peter Stipe
Chamberlain has enrolled as a graduate student at the Rhode Island School of Design, leaving his secluded life on the coast of Maine and his home with an overbearing mother and his academic father.  Mary Flynn has come to Providence from New York City to study at Brown University.  She comes from a proud family with traditional values and brings with her a strict interpretation of her Catholic faith.  It is the first time both of them have lived on their own.  They meet and fall in love.

Patrick is guided by his artistic Uncle Win.  Mary’s mentor is her old professor, Sister Catherine.  Both Patrick and Mary are inspired by the lifestyle of their two artist friends, Aaron, a sculptor and free-spirited Melanie who works with glass.  Can Patrick and Mary reconcile the traditional values they have brought with them to Providence with the temptations of the life they seek together?  This is their story.

The Art of Love considers different types of love and relationships.  At the center is that of Mary and Patrick, built on a natural chemistry, but challenged by their inhibitions and conservative values.  In contrast there is the uninhibited relationship between Aaron and Melanie.  Perhaps Aaron and Melanie’s relationship is doomed.  Other relationships are also in play:  Mary’s sister Margie and her boyfriend Javier who are living together, Mary’s tradition-bound parents, Patrick’s uncommunicative parents, Uncle Win and his partner.

This is not a standard classic love story; boy and girl meet, fall in love, move in together, and live happily ever after.  Patrick and Mary are both so repressed that they struggle with even the most commonplace aspects of their love.  They both want more and neither knows what to do about it.  In the end that is what destroys their relationship.  As Uncle Win advises, “Sometimes no matter how much love you have, it’s still not enough to overcome whatever issues come up.”

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The Fairy Garden

Tfg bookcover ebook
By Peter Stipe

A whimsical story about facing our deepest fears and greatest loves, and what we all must do to grow into the life we were meant to experience.
Elizabeth’s secret began when she was five years old, a secret she held close her entire life. As far as she knew, she was the only person who could see the fairies living in her grandfather’s garden. They play with her and show her their world, and as she grows older, they guide her through the important moments of her life. The fairies, and especially Olivia, were her closest friends.
But where were they when everything fell apart? Why didn’t they save her grandfather when he needed help, and why didn’t they warn her about the things she had to endure? Surely the fairies, who seemed to have a prescience about the future, knew what Elizabeth would have to tolerate.
After the death of her grandfather, Elizabeth moves into his house to begin the process of healing. But when her daughter begins to see and play with the fairies, Elizabeth has a choice to make. Will she accept her daughter’s new friends or will she find a way to banish them from her life forever?

"Fairy Garden is an entertaining coming of age story with a whimsical twist; life coaching delivered via fairies. Peter’s descriptive writing beautifully blends a bit of magic with the realities of life making the narrative relatable, engaging, and at times, a bit self-reflective for the reader."  - Caterina Novelliere, author of Mark of the Night and When the Moon Bleeds.

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