Western tale of retribution
in running for national prize
Karen J. Hasley says she has one novel left in her historical Laramie Series, to follow the first five books about the Davis family and their strong-minded women. Those books were impressive, but Hasley has rung the bell with The Dangerous Thaw of Etta Capstone, a stand-alone Western in the classic style with a despicable villain and a worthy hero, narrated by a resolute Ohio-born woman.
Etta starts her story in the spring of 1877 in Compassion, Texas, where she owns a café and serves as the postmistress. Etta lives with a childlike woman named Sissy, whose faculties have been impaired by a traumatic event in her past; Etta, too, has suffered a monstrous outrage. The townspeople know her as an exemplary cook, dependable neighbor and determined spinster. They don’t know her as the woman who has been biding her time for nine years while she ponders her revenge against a man who just needs killin’.
When a stranger comes to town, Etta believes she has found the man who can help her deliver retribution. It will take her a while to notice that the man she really needs has been there all along. The novel doesn’t have a grand, epic scope, but believable characters and a satisfying resolution.
The Dangerous Thaw of Etta Capstone (328 pages, softcover) costs $13.95 from online retailers. It has been named as one of 100 quarterfinalists in the romance category of Amazon’s Breakthrough Novel Award for 2013, though it likely landed in the romance category by default. Hasley will learn Tuesday if her novel is one of five that has advanced into the semifinals, for an ultimate prize of $50,000.
Financial advice from expert
If Your Money Talked … What Secrets Would It Tell? Canton financial adviser Gary Sirak has some ideas about that, and shares them in his common-sense little book of advice. The secrets aren’t that mysterious; in fact, you probably already know them. Sirak reminds you not to spend more than you earn, not to abuse credit cards and not to invest in ventures you haven’t thoroughly researched (he did it once, and got burned).
Sirak doesn’t tell you what investments to make, or what fund to invest in. Rather, keep this book by your computer if you have a weak spot for late-night online shopping sprees.
If Your Money Talked (95 pages, hardcover) costs $14.95 from the author’s website, www.ifyourmoneytalked.com. Gary Sirak is an alumnus of Miami University.
Hasley and Sirak are among some 40 authors who will appear from 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday at the Ohio Author and Book Fair at the Hudson Library and Historical Society, which will also include a “Where Fiction Comes From” panel discussion from 10 to 11:30 a.m. See Page E1 for details and a list of participants.
Akron-Summit County Public Library (Tallmadge branch, 90 Community Road, Tallmadge) — Tallmadge author Amanda Flower talks about A Plain Scandal, second in her Appleseed Creek mystery series, 7 to 8 p.m. Monday.
Hudson Library & Historical Society (96 Library St.) — Kevin P. Keating discusses his book The Natural Order of Things, 7 p.m. Tuesday; Andrew Thomas and Paul Thomarios, authors of The Final Journey of the Saturn V, about the restoration of the Saturn V SA-514 rocket, talk at 7 p.m. Wednesday.
Akron-Summit County Public Library (Portage Lakes branch, 4261 Manchester Road) — Carolyn Vogenitz gives a presentation and signs her book Images of America: Portage Lakes, 2 to 3 p.m. Wednesday.
Loganberry Books (13015 Larchmere Blvd., Shaker Heights) — Shaker Heights activist and author Loung Ung signs Lulu in the Sky: A Daughter of Cambodia Finds Love, Healing, and Double Happiness, 7 p.m. Wednesday.
Cuyahoga County Public Library (Beachwood branch, 25501 Shaker Blvd.) — Doug Saunders, author of The Myth of the Muslim Tide, participates in a panel discussion, 7 to 8:45 p.m. Wednesday; novelist Tara Conklin, author of The House Girl, which combines the story of an escaped slave from 1852 with that of a modern lawyer, talks about and signs her book from 2 to 3:30 p.m. Saturday. Registration requested; call 216-831-6868.
E.J. Thomas Performing Arts Hall (198 Hill St., Akron) — Former Akron resident John Lithgow, whose memoir Drama: An Actor’s Education includes chapters about his time living at Stan Hywet Hall, where his father was director, presents The Power of Storytelling, 7:30 p.m. Thursday. $10; call 330-972-7570.
Kent State University (Student Center Ballroom) — In observation of National Poetry Month, former U.S. Poet Laureate Billy Collins reads from his work, including Questions About Angels, 7:30 p.m. Thursday.
Cleveland Public Library (325 Superior Ave. NE) — Maria Isabella gives a cooking demonstration and talks about her book In the Kitchen with Cleveland’s Favorite Chefs, noon Friday.
Akron-Summit County Public Library (Highland Square branch, 807 W. Market St.) — West Side Leader columnist Craig Marks reads from and signs his book On the Mark: A Compilation of Columns and Cartoons 1992-2012, 2 to 3 p.m. Saturday. Registration requested; call 330-376-2927.
Cleveland Public Library (West Park branch, 3805 W. 157th St.) — North Olmsted author Marty Gitlin talks about and signs The Great American Cereal Book: How Breakfast Got Its Crunch, 2 p.m. Saturday.
Visible Voice Books (1023 Kenilworth Ave., Cleveland) — Strongsville author Brian D. Gale signs Good Job, Airplane: Life, Loss and Business Through the Eyes of My Son, 6 to 9 p.m. Saturday.
“Cleveland Rocks Romance” — Registration has opened for the conference, sponsored by the Northeast Ohio Romance Writers of America, at the Strongsville Holiday Inn on May 17-18. Panels and workshops feature agents, authors and editors from national publishers, and a book signing May 18. Registration is $85 for nonmembers; see www.neorwa.com for the schedule.
— Barbara McIntyre
Special to the Beacon Journal
Send information about books of local interest to Lynne Sherwin, Features Department, Akron Beacon Journal, P.O. Box 640, Akron, OH 44309 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Event notices should be sent at least two weeks in advance.