Category Archives: Book Release

Book Release: DARKWATER

Happy publication day to Michael J. Sholtes, author of Darkwater: A Pastor’s Memoir of Depression and Faith.

There is a voice in Michael’s head.

A voice that tells him he is worthless and unlovable. The voice masquerades as his own, wreaking havoc on his friendships and romantic relationships. It keeps him from pursuing his calling—a career as a pastor. It tears his life apart piece by piece, leading him to attempt suicide on more than one occasion. The voice almost defeats him, and yet there is another, more powerful voice—the still, small voice of God always whispering to him, “I love you.”

This is the true story of Michael’s journey from a precocious child in a small town to the spiritual leader of a faith community, and how he slowly and fitfully learns how to listen to the better angels within. Told with brutal honesty and insight into his own mental condition, this is a story of friendship, depression, despair, faith, and a God who refuses to let go.

Darkwater is available worldwide at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and all major retailers as a paperback and e-book. (We recommend ordering it from your favorite local bookstore!)

Praise for Darkwater

“Take a risk and walk alongside Michael as he struggles with devastating self-messages, as he climbs a tree with a noose in his hand and gathers courage to become vulnerable again and again. It is estimated that in the United States, two thirds of all cases of depression are undiagnosed. Michael and all those with the courage to tell their stories are beginning to reduce this number.”

—Deacon Terry Lieb, National Board-Certified Counselor, Licensed PA Mental Health Counselor, Retired Executive Director, Diakon Family Life Services

“Pastor Scholtes has captured the voice of depression, a major mental disorder, through the richness of his metaphors, poetry, and personal narra-tive—a narrative that took courage to write. Anyone who wants to under-stand what depression is like needs to read this book, including pastors and laypersons alike. Through his journey, which is clearly rooted in a deep spiritual struggle, he tells us several crucial things about the illness. First, the negative impact of stigma. He captures elegantly how stigma, the fear of letting others know, compounds the illness leading to isolation. Second, the importance of support. The last thing someone needs is to be abandoned, to fend for oneself. Family, friends, the church family all have an important role in healing. Third, the importance of treatment. Treatment, which does not always “cure” completely, provides an important pathway for hope, a way to manage the dark voices of depression. Finally, even devout religious persons are not immune to mental disorders, and spiritual guidance can be an effective tool toward healing. I highly recommend this book.”

—Dennis E. Schell, Ph.D. Assistant Professor of Psychology, The George Washington University

“Get ready. Darkwater is Michael Scholtes’ authentic, meticulous, and intimate account of his unrelenting confrontation with depression. We get to follow this confrontation from his childhood to middle-age. Michael pulls back the curtain so we see him—son of a minister, floundering adolescent, bright student, restless pastor—stripped of pretension… Darkwater is Michael’s attempt to be honest with the world, with God, and with those in his life. When you put the book down, what makes it a satisfying read is not a happy ending, but the realization that what makes Michael strong against the depression is that he lays claim to and has learned to value the humanity, the honesty, the stubbornness, the pain, the will to persevere, the guilt, and the love that always came his way. It’s clear: while it came at a price, the renewal of his life journey is real.”

—Rev. Dr. Samuel R. Zeiser, Bishop Emeritus, Northeastern PA Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

“Michael Scholtes has given us a gift through this poignant memoir of one pastor’s journey with depression. His writing is evocative, raw, creative, and poetic. If you suffer from depression, his story may give voice to your own struggles. If you want to understand what it looks like to live with depression, Scholtes has opened the door to his soul and invites you inside. Wading into Darkwater will reveal a depth of reflection, faith, and honesty that is rare and needed for those wanting to understand the inner world of mental illness.”

—Rev. Dr. Leah Schade, Assistant Professor of Preaching and Worship, Lexington Theological Seminary

Darkwater artfully captures the reality of an individual living with a mental illness.  Scholtes masterfully highlights the delicate balance that occurs at the intersection of his faith, mental health, and mental illness.  In a society where individuals battling mental illnesses are shunned and highly misunderstood, Scholtes shows great courage in sharing the true nature of his internal struggles. The book captured my curiosity and drew me in with the author’s relatable style and coming-of-age authenticity.  Entertaining and stimulating from cover to cover!”

—F. Dave Williams, licensed clinical social worker

About the Author

Reverend Michael J. Scholtes is an ordained minister in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. He has served as pastor of several congregations in eastern Pennsylvania. Michael currently lives in the Lehigh Valley with his wife Heather and children Alex and Ben.

Audiobook Release: LIES IN BONE

Today is the official release of the audiobook version of LIES IN BONE by Natalie Symons! Natalie partnered with renowned voice actor Tawny Platis to bring this award-winning novel to life for listeners worldwide. Find the audiobook version of LIES IN BONE on Amazon here, or download it from any major audiobook retailer.

We’re so incredibly proud to have Lies in Bone in our catalog of titles. Released less than six months ago, Lies in Bone has already won awards, accumulated over 250 Amazon and Goodreads reviews, garnered media praise, and generated a cult following of readers. Natalie has worked so hard to market this book, and we can’t wait to see her book be exposed to a new subsect of book-lovers with the release of the audiobook version.

If you believe in something don’t take no for an answer, and always do what your gut tells you. IN MY CASE: publish with a small independent press that believes in the book; then work your tail off to market the book so it reaches readers and reviewers

–Natalie Symons

WINNER: 2021 BEST BOOK AWARDS in Fiction: Cross-Genre
1ST PLACE: 2021 ROYAL DRAGONFLY AWARD for Fiction Novel
FINALIST: 2021 BEST BOOK AWARDS in Fiction: Literary
BEST PSYCHOLOGICAL THRILLER OF 2021: Linda McCutcheon Reviews
TOP 10 BOOKS OF 2021: Reading Untamed
BEST MYSTERY/THRILLERS OF 2021: MicheleReader.com
BEST DEBUT NOVELS OF 2021: MicheleReader.com
BEST BOOKS OF 2021: Featzreviews.com


Told by a tart-tongued young woman with a love of Bruce Springsteen, Lies in Bone is at once a mystery and coming-of-age tale fueled by dark secrets involving love, murder, and the truths worth lying for.

On Halloween 1963, eleven-year-old Chuck Coolidge and his brother Danny are lost in a toxic smog covering the steel town of Slippery Elm, Pennsylvania. When the smog lifts, half the town is sick and twenty people are dead. And Danny is missing.


Now, over twenty years later, Chuck’s teenage daughter Frank plots escape from this “busted and disgusted” town. When a murdered child is found in the river, investigators link the crime to the disappearance of Danny in ’63, and Frank’s life is turned upside down. In the face of her worst fears, she must uncover her family’s dark past if she wants to keep her sister Boots from the hands of The State. Led to discover the unimaginable truth about Danny’s disappearance, Lies in Bone culminates in a shocking eleventh-hour reveal and an emotionally charged finale.

Learn more about Natalie on her website here: www.NatalieSymons.com.

Book Release: A Beautiful Land

Congratulations to Susan Beth Miller on the publication of her novel, A Beautiful Land!

A Beautiful Land is a story of menace, the maternal imagination, and the forest primeval.

Raissa, middle daughter of three, watches her family flee their violence-torn homeland.

But she stays behind, bound to her birthplace by memories of a sweet young man.

Driven by danger and grief, Raissa struggles toward a mysterious forest and imagines solace through the unexpected allure of a child. She joins many who have fled their beautiful homeland. Each speaks in turn as they parse their tangled stories and consider whether they dare return to what once was home.

A Beautiful Land is available worldwide at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and all major retailers as a paperback and e-book. (We recommend ordering it from your favorite local bookstore!

Praise for A Beautiful Land

Every genocide is unique, and yet the suffering and endurance of the survivors of each such outbreak of madness transcends both time and place. In A Beautiful Land, Susan Miller has rendered with exquisite compassion the struggles of those who have been exiled from their homes by the unspeakable violence of their former neighbors. Detail by detail, she follows their journeys as they attempt to carry on, to continue breathing, to continue loving, to comprehend what they have been through, to find a new home and perhaps even return to the old one. These characters and their stories are unforgettable.
—Eileen Pollack, author of The Professor of Immortality and Breaking and Entering


Throughout, Miller’s prose is crisp and powerful, with evocative imagery and metaphors that are often stunning … as she develops her expertly crafted characters, she beautifully and compellingly considers pressing human questions regarding evil, motherhood, and the possibility of redemption. A striking, searing work that will linger long in readers’ memories.
—Kirkus Reviews (starred review), Best Indie Fiction List


Miller’s A Beautiful Land is rich in detail, often mythical in nature, timeless in relevance, and beautifully, thoughtfully, written. I feel as if I’ve been on a journey. She takes us into worlds we cannot see and reveals them. As with Indigo Rose, her ability to convey the human condition through character and events is as compelling as it is meaningful. I was drawn deeply into the story.
—James Meyer, author of These Fair Days


Susan Miller’s novel, A Beautiful Land, explores the lethal tension between rival ethnic groups and the resulting destroyed lives. With vivid prose and page-turning suspense, she follows the paths of Raissa and her son as they struggle to survive a deranged world in a mysterious forest and create a new family. Miller’s archetypal fable examines life after the worst has happened as the etched characters reinvent families, heal their humanity, and resurrect community.
—Ann Pearlman, author of the Pulitzer nominated Infidelity and The Christmas Cookie Clubseries


Susan Miller’s A Beautiful Land quickly bonded me with its truthful characters. I became enthralled by the sheer humanness of the heroine, Raissa. Susan Miller expresses a deep solidarity for the hardships her characters suffer, and Raissa shines throughout with an inner resiliency giving hope through whatever hardships life hands us.
—Doug Wheeler, host of the podcast From the Belly

About the Author

Susan Beth Miller lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan. She is the author of Indigo Rose, a novel (Bantam 2004), and a number of psychology books: The Shame Experience; Shame in Context; Disgust: the gatekeeper emotion; When Parents Have Problems: a book for teens and older children who have a disturbed or difficult parent; and Emotions of Menace and Enchantment: horror, disgust, awe, and fascination

Book Release: LIES IN BONE

Happy publication day to Natalie Symons, author of Lies in Bone!

Told by a tart-tongued young woman with a love of Bruce Springsteen, Lies in Bone is at once a mystery and coming-of-age tale fueled by dark secrets involving love, murder, and the truths worth lying for.

On Halloween 1963, eleven-year-old Chuck Coolidge and his brother Danny are lost in a toxic smog covering the steel town of Slippery Elm, Pennsylvania. When the smog lifts, half the town is sick and twenty people are dead. And Danny is missing.

Now, over twenty years later, Chuck’s teenage daughter Frank plots escape from this “busted and disgusted” town. When a murdered child is found in the river, investigators link the crime to the disappearance of Danny in ’63, and Frank’s life is turned upside down. In the face of her worst fears, she must uncover her family’s dark past if she wants to keep her sister Boots from the hands of The State. Led to discover the unimaginable truth about Danny’s disappearance, Lies in Bone culminates in a shocking eleventh-hour reveal and an emotionally charged finale.

Lies in Bone is available worldwide at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and all major retailers as a paperback, hardback, and e-book. (We recommend ordering it from your favorite local bookstore. Click here to order!)

Praise for LIES IN BONE

“The fantastic, fallible characters leap to life in these dialogue-filled pages and draw readers into an immersive world involving mysteries of missing children, mental illness and unsolved murders. A gripping tale of outcasts that keeps you guessing and, more importantly, caring how it will unspool. Mystic River meets Stranger Things in this engrossing debut novel.” —Lane DeGregory, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, The Girl in the Window

“A moody, hard-edged coming-of-age story that keeps the horrors coming until the very end.”—Kirkus Reviews

“…Fierce teen protagonist, Frances “Frank” Coolidge… impolite, foul-mouthed, self-mutilating and rebellious, and she’s loving, loyal and has backbone to spare; a female Steve McQueen, a young Sarah Conner; totally icon-worthy. A heart-stopping work of suspense fiction… a tour de force of friendship, love and redemption. Organically woven and expertly balanced, Lies in Bone lightens the load of its heavy subject matter with quirky northern town humor. Gritty, campy and dark wit and, especially, a keen grasp of family dysfunction and its many varieties, all add to Lies in Bone‘s hypnotically page-turning appeal…” —Julie Garisto, 83 Degrees Media

“Symons’s language crackles and sparks…”—Diane Chiddister, author of One More Day

“This extraordinary story…refused to leave my thoughts for even a moment until I reached its explosive conclusion. Lies in Bone is dark, tough and visceral, and it’s rich with twists, turns and breathless suspense—the very definition of a page-tuner.” —Bill DeYoung, St. Pete Catalyst

“Finally, a heroine of substance growing into her own magnificence, bearing witness to the unspeakable with bravery outpacing her years. A tale told with unapologetic realism and voice crafted with skill and humanity.” —Lori D. Shannon, author of Superwoman Died Tonight

“Dickensian in the best sense of the word, Lies in Bone is a novel that grabs the reader and does not let go.” —Paul Wilborn, author of Cigar City

“Gripping and dark, Lies in Bone so precisely captures the angst of long hidden secrets and dysfunction—the slow, corrosive descents and the hard-won triumphs. To me, the most disturbing thrillers are the ones that are all too plausible—almost familiar. Consider me disturbed.” —Cindy Stovall, Beauty & the ‘Burg Podcast

“Symons displays her adept playwrighting skills with earthy dialogue that flows effortlessly…I’m reminded of the way Joan Didion writes about similar themes…in The Year of Magical Thinking, but in this one, we have an intriguing mystery thriller on our hands…This small-town mystery with family ties is an engaging and at-times humorous literary thriller.” —Frank Pizzori, Independent Book Review

Lies in Bones is a spellbinder…The book just refuses to be put down..” —Readers’ Favorite 5-Star Review

“You will want to read Lies in Bone all in one sitting – but don’t cheat yourself out of moving fully through the evolution of the story in its own time. An extraordinarily satisfying work.” —Roxanne Fay, author of Upon this Rock: The Magdalene Speaks

“A serious new novelist whose work cannot be ignored.” —Greg Fields, author of Through the Waters and the Wild

“The melancholic force of Lies in Bone will hold you hostage. The humor in this gritty, coming-of-age mystery is driven by a whip smart young heroine like none other.” —Hannah Benitez, author of Dike

Book Release – Haldred Chronicles: Alyssa

Congratulations to JG Cully on the release of their new book, Haldred Chronicles: Alyssa!

“They may slay my mortal body, but I am not so easily defeated. Time is on my side, and I will spend it well.”

Alyssa is the last vampire, changed by Igor Regorash himself before his permanent death. With this transformation comes power, but also a terrible loneliness that makes Alyssa long to be human again.

Victoria Haldred is a Council of Peace investigator, charged with maintaining order in a post-war world. Her days are spent combatting murder, assassination, bombings, and blackmail, not to mention dirty politics and double-dealing.

When a local drunk comes down with a bad case of dead, Alyssa and Victoria are set on a collision course that will change their lives (undead as Alyssa’s may be) forever. A dark entity becomes dangerously fixated on the two women. With no one to trust, and an inescapable power looming, Alyssa and Victoria must combine their strengths if they hope to survive a world turned sinister.

Order your copy of Haldred Chronicles: Alyssa today! Don’t forget to leave an honest review on Amazon or Goodreads when you’re finished.


Interested in becoming a published author? We’ve developed a five-step plan that will guide you through the process. For a limited time, download a free copy of The Self-Publishing Handbook here.

Halfway Thru My 20s – Available Now!

We are excited to announce that Halfway Thru My 20s by Chris Sumlin is now available for purchase at book retailers worldwide!

Chris Sumlin thrived in college, and now he’s back to inspire even more young adults with his authentic brand of storytelling.

In his highly anticipated third book, Chris shares highs, lows, lessons and triumphs as he navigates his early twenties. From Morehouse College to working in the entertainment industry, Chris uses the lens of his experiences (and some Beyoncé and Oprah wisdom) to educate, inspire, and guide fellow young people. 

Within these pages you’ll learn:

  • How to deal with peer pressure, haters, and the anxiety that comes with them
  • Actionable advice to help you make connections and get closer to the job you want
  • Stories of finding your purpose, living in faith, and chasing your dreams, even when the stakes get high

Chris Sumlin is a writer, speaker, occasional viral Twitter star, celebrity magnet, and inspirational creative force. He graduated from the historic Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia, majoring in Cinema, Television, and Emerging Media Studies. Chris earned his third college degree, a Masters of Science in Television, from Boston University.  

Order your copy of Halfway Thru My 20s today! Find it at a major retailer or order it from your local bookstore. Don’t forget to leave a review when you’re finished!


Interested in becoming a published author? We’ve developed a five-step plan that will guide you through the process. For a limited time, download a free copy of The Self-Publishing Handbook here.

Ark of the Apocalypse – Book Release!

We are excited to announce that Ark of the Apocalypse by Tobin Marks is now available for purchase worldwide!

In Marks’ new book, Earth is on the verge of becoming a dead planet.

The polar ice caps melted long ago, and it’s been decades since the last raindrop fell. Ocean levels rise a dozen meters, and forest fires rage on a global scale. Eleven billion people dying of thirst wage water wars against each other as extinction looms.

Humanity needs a new planet. As Earth deteriorates, the nation states desperately work together to build a mechanism for recolonization. And so the Magellan II is born, the first starship capable of interstellar travel.

The future of the human race is tasked to ten thousand colonists-now homeless but for the vastness of space and the decks of Magellan II. A distant planet offers hope of survival, but it’s a strange, watery world inhabited by giant reptiles.

Humanity is starting over, but survival isn’t guaranteed.

Grab your copy of Ark of the Apocalypse from a major retailer or find it at your local bookstore today!


Interested in becoming a published author? We’ve developed a five-step plan that will guide you through the process. For a limited time, download a free copy of The Self-Publishing Handbook here.

Serendipity by Neil J Farber, MD – Available Now!

We are excited to congratulate Neil J Farber, MD on the release of his new book Serendipity, which is now available for purchase at retailers worldwide!

By definition, serendipity implies accidental fortuity. But what if those events that seem to be random, spontaneous, and out of our control could be harnessed and used to improve our lives? What if coming across this book right now, wherever you are, is an act of serendipity?


Dr. Neil Farber uses powerful examples of serendipity from history and his own life to show you the skills you need to prepare for, recognize, and ultimately take advantage of everyday unexpected occurrences.


He teaches readers to:

– Practice mindfulness to illuminate the real possibility of serendipity

– Hone observational skills to recognize serendipity even its subtlest forms

– Bring a serendipitous event to a fortuitous conclusion (and recognize when that’s not possible)


There’s a misconception that serendipity only brings fame and fortune to a few lucky individuals. And while monumental results are rare, unexpected events are happening to all of us with a great degree of frequency. Unless we cultivate these skills, the gentle nudges of potential serendipitous events, big and small, will pass us by completely.


This is your moment of serendipity. Capture it.

Grab your copy of Serendipity from a major retailer or find it at your favorite bookstore!