Finalists for IBPA Benjamin Franklin Awards:
Skyler Kratofil’s design cover, Philurius College Blues
Sharon Krasney’s Iceman Awakens, Best New Voice in Fiction
James Ballard’s Poisoned Jungle, Best New Voice in Fiction
Mary Elizabeth Ames’ H’Ilgraith, Fiction: Science Fiction and Fantasy
Charles Gomez, Cuban Son Rising, LGBTQ
Dr. Vic Sawyer, the newly appointed director of Academic Affairs for the Philurius College Programs for the Military in Europe, encounters a nemesis of the highest order in the persona of his dean, retired lieutenant colonel Gio Malfatto. Malfatto, aided by the alluring and ambitious Assistant Dean Doris Kink, intends to make Vic’s life miserable. Unfortunately for the two puppet masters, Vic joins the fray with abandon, and the normally staid college is embroiled in the ensuing battle, which fosters surprising alliances and strange bedfellows. Philurius College Blues explores a clash of cultures between an American academic subculture and a US military environment in Germany, and throws in some true love and indiscriminate erotic intrigue to boot. For those whose lives have touched this educational system, both military students and faculty, this satirical tale will bring both laughter and some head shaking, and perhaps a tear or two.
“Nine strikes and a few sparks. Thirteen strikes and a spark caught a little smoke, but I hurried and blew too much while jostling the needles. Focus Gaspare. I felt the call deep within where my blood retreated to stay close to my heart. Focus. My head felt sluggish and my movements dragged with effort. Slowing my breathing I rearranged the needles on the bark and struck again–five strikes and the little spark became an ember.
Gaspare, in the role of a young Ötzi the Iceman, desperate to confront his fate and honor his father, receives the ultimate sacrifice. At thirteen with a gifted calling and promise of prophecy, he must face his failures, fight the oppression from his brothers, and learn to live in a society that deemed him a curse. This is Gaspare, the reborn Iceman found murdered on the Ötzal mountains as he begins his tale that led him to that fateful day. From questions surrounding the mystery of Ötzi’s mummy preserved from the Neolithic Era, this debut novel explores how he got some of his sixty-one tattoos, found his life’s purpose in his copper axe, and how he lived. Iceman Awakens speaks of the timeless voices of love, destiny, and betrayal.
“The napalmed children peered at him, uncomprehending, not understanding what happened, and asked him to fix their burns, alleviate their pain. He tried to explain- such a terrible mistake. No words came out of his mouth.”
Poisoned Jungle speaks to the long psychological tentacles war has on the lives it touches, and the difficulty of breaking free of them. Realizing changes have occurred deep within, Vietnam War medic Andy Parks must reconcile his new reality to establish a life worth living-not an easy task. How will Andy Parks ever dispel the images he brought home with him? He can’t live with them-or outrun them. Even in sleep he finds no rest.
In a powerful human saga, Andy teeters on the chasm of survivor’s guilt, desperate to find equilibrium in his life. Deep down, he wants to live but doesn’t know how. Poisoned Jungle is an intimate glimpse into one veteran’s struggle for meaning after experiencing the despair of war.
When homo transformans, a species of human able to transform into animals, first appears, those affected do not know what is happening to them or how to control it. As the world becomes divided into factions seeking to either exploit or protect this new species, an orphaned girl named Ruwena finds a mentor in the mysterious old woman known only as H’Ilgraith. But who is H’Ilgraith? Why is she so dour and taciturn toward her ward, and how did she acquire her extensive knowledge about dragons, potions and hybrids?
Witness H’Ilgraith’s adventures as a young woman, forging her personality and abilities as a homo transformans in an unfriendly world.
CBS News reporter Charles Gomez was fearless when facing down dictators. Earning an Emmy and an Edward R. Murrow Award, the Latin correspondent and son of a Cuban immigrant seemed on top of the world. But the terror of exposing his sexuality and AIDS diagnosis led him down a dark path of drugs and depression that nearly destroyed him. Cuban Son Rising is an honest and raw memoir detailing Gomez’s lifelong battle to overcome stigma and self-loathing. Meticulously researched, Gomez’s story takes you from interviews with despots and the front lines of civil wars to the silent struggles he faced seeking his father’s acceptance. And after a lifetime of anxiety and regret, Gomez embarks on an emotional journey with his father to his homeland. Will Gomez finally reconcile with the man he’s looked up to for his whole life? Or will disclosing his sexuality and the shame and stigma of AIDS cause his father to reject him? Cuban Son Rising is a testament to survival and the triumph of hope over fear.