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New Reads for May/June

New Reads by Local Authors

The Supervisor’s Companion (Create Space, 2012)

by Jeanne Thomas Hugg

It’s not easy being a supervisor of other employees, especially when one is thrust into the role with little or no preparation — or as Jeanne likes to say: “lightly trained.” She calls it “the most difficult job in any organization.” To help, she provides practical examples — composite stories of people she has known trying to learn the art of supervision.

The two most important qualities are communication and listening. Next would come delegating —a team tossed around is not always to the benefit of either supervisor or employee.

Fortunately, Jeanne decided this rather dry subject needed some levity and it is written in a familiar tone, and is a bit tongue-in-cheek. The charming vignettes named “Fred” add a bit of whimsy. The main points are reprised in bullet-point outlines and there is room for notes. “This is written for the majority of people who get promoted because they are good in their field, but really don’t know what to do when it comes to management,” says Jeanne, from her new home in St. Augustine, Fla.

“I’m not sure if I have another book in me. This one took me almost a year to write and that included going to the library for four hours daily trying to do a chapter a day.”

Readership often comes in batches with multiple copies being purchased at a time to be used as training tools, she says, adding that the book is also selling well in Europe. 

Available at: the Washington County Arts Council, amazon.com, and barnesandnoble.com


The Ornament (Create Space, 2012)

by Zeke Changuris

Set in the fast-paced world of television news, the characters move not only from city to city as they climb the ladder to national recognition, but also from romance to romance. However, one relationship remains steadfast through the worst of conditions: Amy and Sam. It is Sam’s unrequited love for her, under the guise of a constant friendship, which fuels this tale.

Forest fires and wars draw them together, marriages come and go putting only a temporary glitch in their lives, but they are always drawn back together. The culmination of this is never fully defined; it is left to the reader to fill in the blanks that unknowingly begin on page one.

A gentle aura of suspense hangs over the entire story, told between the parentheses of two holidays many years apart.

“This is a romantic novel, not a romance novel,” says Zeke. “I’ve always been a storyteller whether for a newspaper or television. It derives from the days when I was reading Jane Austen and Anne of Green Gables.”

Now working for ABC News, Channel 7 in Rosslyn, Va., Zeke developed the character of Amy as an amalgam of reporters he has known. “As a photojournalist, I am behind the camera and I have become an observer who can sit back and watch as things unfold.”

Ten years of work went into this book. “I did some seven drafts,” he says. “The number one question I am asked is if Amy is my wife. She is not,” says Zeke, “although she has a cameo appearance toward the end of the book.”

He is now 30,000 words into another book, but is not yet ready to reveal the subject. So readers will have to exercise as much patience as the character Sam does in the book!

Available at: amazon.com, the curiousiguana.com, and Turn the Page Bookstore in Boonsboro.


Precious Words (iUniverse, 2013)

by Leigh Fleming

What happens when a modest young lady falls for an Italian tennis superstar? How does a life spent jet-setting from match to match fit into the more prosaic life of the law? It took just one look at a London pub where Emberly was vacationing with her two roommates for her to connect with Nico. Resisting at first — based on a bad family experience — she found that she couldn’t use the past to guide her into a future with Nico and his clan.

Despite a few set backs, everything seems to be proceeding along at a steady pace for the two lovers, until the threats start coming. At first, Emberly ignores them, but when accidents start to happen the situation becomes more tense. As much as she tries to protect Nico from negative thoughts as he concentrates on working to the top in the world of tennis, he must face his worst fear.

“I dreamed this story,” says Leigh, “it came to me as clear as a movie and I just sat down and wrote it.” It helped that she is an avid tennis player, who follows the sport, the players and the life they lead. “The book follows the tennis tour with many of its various stops,” she adds. And although her first inclination was to focus on a Spanish player, she decided to change the player to Italian to avoid any recognition of actual players.

The book deals with Emberly, but it forms the first in a trilogy, which revolves around her two roommates. Annie will be featured in the second book and Kate in the third. “I had never written before and the first draft took four months,” she says. Despite that dream, she worked with an editor and did a lot of rewriting.

Available at: amazon.com and barnesandnoble.com


South of Surrender (Entangled Publishing, LLC, 2013)

by Laura Kaye

A battle between two brothers rages in the skies over the Chesapeake Bay. The consequences of this dramatically affect the weather, as these men are the Greek Gods of the winds. Cut quickly to a young woman, isolated by a growing blindness, who in seeking to ensure the safety of her horses finds a Pegasus who falls through the ceiling of her barn. But, he is more than a horse with wings. He is human. She sacrifices herself in the face of her own fears to heal his wounds.

Out of this encounter comes a graphically passionate love story between the two — human and god — as they reach out to understand each other and the worlds they have joined together.

Setting the background for a story that shifts constantly between these two worlds, the gods fight to retain their supremacy while confronting an evil brother. The plot may remain close to home with references to local sites, but it also reaches back to the Rock of Gibraltar where the young gods were once imprisoned.

Laura’s first fantasy novel was on a snow god who takes on the physical body to assist a widow overcoming her grief. “I started researching the mythology of different cultures,” she says. “The wind gods opened up a world to me. I have done four books on this, each dealing with a different wind direction. There is so much rich material in these Greek tales.” 

Although Laura enjoys writing about the paranormal and vampires, she is also in the midst of a romantic suspense series that will encompass four novels and three novellas based on an Army Special Forces Team. One book in this series, “Hard As You Can,” made it to the New York TimesBestseller List.

Available at: barnesandnoble.com, amazon.com, and Books A Million.