Books by People You May Know

Support-your-fellow-poets alert! Looking for a new book with which to dive into the new year? Need to refresh your bookshelf? Check out these new & coming titles by your friends and fellow writers in our very own community. Support for local writers starts right at home! 
(* denotes local Richmond booksellers)
passiflora, Kathy Davis

(poetry) Available locally at Chop Suey*, Fountain*, and Book People*

In this gorgeous debut collection, Kathy Davis announces, “I’ve no illusions of control”—yet even as this book celebrates profusion, it manifests aesthetic control, unsentimental intelligence, and tightly leashed feeling. In fields of fleabane and wiregrass, women are taught to suppress their own wildness but burst out anyway in appetite and laughter. Cancer grows inside, jasmine tangles outside, yet this ecopoetic book cultivates restoration and consolation. Reading it is to imagine healing.

—Lesley Wheeler, author of The State She’s In

Driving with Poppi, J. Thomas Brown

(memoir) Released January 12 2021. Amazon, B&N, Fountain*

“My father had the wanderlust and moved our family every year and a half. We lived up and down the U.S. East Coast, in Sweden, and in England during the American Golden Age of Capitalism. The plot is woven around the places we lived. A common thread in the story is his driving, at times humorous, and sometimes scary. The truth is he is loved as much for his faults as for his accomplishments. My father had a mind like a steel trap, but his braininess also got him into trouble. He loved life – perhaps too much.”

The book is a patremoir novelette available for pre-order at most independents and major chains through Ingram distribution channels. 

Death to the Nice Guy, Vernon Wildy, Jr.

(novel). Released January 2021. Available at B&N, Amazon, Fountain*, and Book People*.

Chris Wheeler didn’t have any success in Nice Guys Finish Last and yet another rejection has come his way. But after an exercise conducted by one of his friends and a chance encounter, his luck changes and the “nice guy” is no more. He then finds himself playing the field and attracting a company of women that he could hardly imagine. But when one stands out from the rest, can he put aside the others and be the “nice guy” once more? 

PushBack, Richard Rose

(poetry). Release date 2021. Available for pre-order at Amazon, B&N, Book Depository, and Indiebound

he says i’m fierce, Debbie Collins

(poetry). Available for pre-order directly through publisher; release date March 2021. 

Reading Debbie Collins‘ debut, he says i’m fierce, is like passing a car wreck; it’s hard to turn away. Her characters are struggling, if not completely broken. It rings true with both autobiographical and speculative emotions, and readers are bound to find fragments of their own humanity within.

Eleanor, Speak, Nan Ottenritter

(poetry). Available for pre-order directly through publisher; release date June 2021. 

Eleanor, Speak celebrates women, among other things—from Camille Claudel to a greasy-spoon waitress, from an oncology nurse in Boston to Notre-Dame de Paris herself. Nan Ottenritter roams history and observes life with equal parts intelligence, compassion, and restless curiosity. In her acknowledgments she thanks “the written and spoken word,” noting “what an excellent puzzle it is to translate life into symbol and sound.” Indeed—and how exciting it is to watch this poet emerge from her chrysalis, stretch her new wings, and take dazzling flight.
–Douglas Jones, author of Songs from Bedlam

Malcolm and Me, Robin Farmer

(novel). Released Nov 2020. Available at Chop Suey*, B&N, Books-A-Million, Amazon

After clashing with her Catholic school teacher over Thomas Jefferson’s enslavement of people, thirteen-year-old Roberta Forest questions religion and adult hypocrisy at school, home, within her Philadelphia parish, and nationwide as the Watergate scandal unfolds. Young, gifted, Black and Catholic, Roberta is unsure about the Catholic part. Fixated on winning an essay contest to solve all her problems, setbacks teach the aspiring writer that solutions, like truth, can be complex. Gradually, Roberta learns to change course, embraces the power of forgiveness, and becomes a budding social justice activist with the help of the best teacher she never had: Malcolm X. Capturing the explosive and elusive nature of truth, Malcolm and Me is a gritty and graceful coming-of-age tale about truth, race, family and faith.