‘Short Skirts and Shorter?Stories’ isn’t a memoir

Some of the stories in Short Skirts and Shorter Stories by Tallmadge native Lisa DeBenedictis are very short indeed, but the book is not intended to be a memoir. It is excerpts from the author’s life, from a sad remembrance of a teen romance that ended in tragedy to teaching people how to ice skate at the Kent State rink.

After graduating from the University of Akron, DeBenedictis moved to New York and began working in a job she doesn’t say much about, but it seems to have been in public relations. DeBenedictis became a television writer, working on the sitcoms Mad About You and Ellen. In brief anecdotes, she drops names like Warren Beatty, Bruce Willis, a gracious Nancy Reagan, Arnold Schwarzenegger, an outspoken Patricia Heaton and a disdainful Helen Hunt.

There is little about her marriage and divorce, or about returning to Ohio with her two children; a later romance with a surgeon she met at the Cleveland Museum of Art and accompanied to the Virgin Islands is one of the most detailed stories. Among the most enjoyable are DeBenedictis’ reflections on the changing of the seasons, weather and nature.

Short Skirts and Shorter Stories (94 pages, softcover) costs $8.95 from online retailers. Lisa DeBenedictis will discuss and sign her book from 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday at the Learned Owl Book Shop, 204 N. Main St., Hudson.

‘Impending Love’ series sequel

Cuyahoga Falls writer Laura Freeman returns to her fictional Western Reserve town of Darrow Falls for Impending Love and Death, second in her “Impending Love” series set around the time of the Civil War.

In the first book, Impending Love and War, schoolteacher Courtney “Cory” Beecher and Tyler Montgomery went to great lengths to help a free black man who was being chased by slave catchers. In Love and Death, Cory and Tyler are married and expecting, and Cory’s sister Jennifer “Jem” Collins meets up with Logan Pierce. Actually, she almost runs him down in the street with her buggy.

Logan works for Salmon P. Chase, secretary of the Treasury in the Lincoln Administration and future face of the $10,000 bill. He has come from Washington to ask Tyler, a lawyer, to write letters to newspapers to build support for making a new state out of western Virginia.

Jem is a newlywed, nervous because she hasn’t received a letter from her husband, Ben. They’d been married only a month when he and two friends volunteered for a 90-day enlistment period. She learns that one of the friends, John, was wounded, but there is no news of Ben or Herman.

Jem decides waiting around is senseless, so she decides to go to Washington City herself to find out what has become of Ben.

She asks Logan to recommend a boarding house, and he refuses, telling her to stay home. Still, he does assist her, despite his reservations about associating with a married woman, and together and separately they go to the battlefield and behind enemy lines to learn the truth.

The romance isn’t as spicy as in Love and War, and there isn’t as much joking around, but the scenes where Logan talks to young veterans of the First Battle of Bull Run, and Jem organizes the cleaning of an entire makeshift hospital ward in an afternoon, are powerful and convincing.

Impending Love and Death (360 pages) costs $16.99 from Wild Rose Press. Laura Freeman works for the Record Publishing Co.

Events

Mac’s Backs (1820 Coventry Road, Cleveland Heights) — Poets Laurel Blossom (Longevity) and Kathleen Cerveny read from their work, 7 p.m. Tuesday.

Market Garden Brewery (1947 W. 25th St., Cleveland) — The Brews & Prose series continues with writer Michael Garriga, author of The Book of Duels, and Mark Winegardner, author of Crooked River Blues and The Godfather’s Revenge, 7 p.m. Tuesday.

Learned Owl Book Shop (204 N. Main St., Hudson) — Michael Sears signs his books, including his newest, Saving Jason, about an ex-con financial investigator who gets sent into witness protection, at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, then moves next door to Peachtree Southern Kitchen for the “Book Club in a Bar” discussion; Lisa DeBenedictis signs Short Skirts and Shorter Stories, 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday; Christine Williams, author of The Listening Project, talks about becoming a better spiritual listener, 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday.

Cuyahoga County Public Library (South Euclid-Lyndhurst branch, 1876 S. Green Road) — A Self-Publishing Roundtable conducted by children’s authors Regina Geither (Wandering with Will o’ the Wisp) and Eric VanRaepenbusch and nonfiction writer Lizalyn Smith (Calculate Your Savings), 7 to 8:30 p.m. Wednesday. Register at 216-382-4880.

— 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 lsherwin@thebeaconjournal.com. Event notices should be sent at least two weeks in advance.