Thursday, December 31, 2015

The Middle Step

The Middle Step
by Denise Pattiz Bogard

Recently High Hill Press had the privilege of publishing Denise Pattiz Bogard's first novel. Denise isn't new to the world of writing, she has carved out a long and impressive career with her amazing skills, but The Middle Step is her first full-length novel. The setting for this story, the north side of St. Louis, is a strong character on its own. But along with this intriguing and often brutal setting, Denise has created strong characters to tell this often disheartening peak at the lives of the disadvantaged struggling with poverty, lack of education, and a life-style that sometimes pulls even the strongest young person into a culture of drugs and abuse that is often impossible to escape.

The Middle Step is a work of literary fiction, but the story draws on Denise's personal passions and work as a teacher for Lift for Life Academy, where she often became personally entangled with young women trying to overcome impossible odds. 

An image posted by the author.An image posted by the author.

Denise had her book launch at the prestigious Left Bank Books and she will be reading and selling The Middle Step throughout the St. Louis area in 2016. 
Left Bank BooksEmbedded image permalink

Left Bank Books Collective

The Middle Step is available wherever good books are sold. You can also get your Kindle version here

Monday, August 31, 2015

Peeking Under the Covers of High Hill Press

It's true. People really do judge books by their covers, and appealing covers can make or break book sales. But don't just take my word for it.

In a May 30, 2013 online article in the Huffington Post titled “Yes, We Really Do Judge Books by Their Covers,” Terri Giuliano writes, “A book’s cover is the first thing a potential reader sees and it can make a lasting impression.”

Later in the article, Giuliano states, “If a great cover has gut-level emotional appeal and the power to entice readers, a poorly designed cover can be a real turn-off.”

Designing eye-catching covers at High Hill Press is takes hard work, imagination, and a touch of magic to create images that capture the author’s vision while enticing readers to turn the pages.

Here is a sampling of some of our notable book covers, along with a peek behind the curtain at the wizardry that goes into our cover designs.  

Ring of Fire by Cotton Smith

In creating the cover for Ring of Fire, I included a stark landscape, smoke-tinged storm clouds, and a looming mountain in the distance to convey the hardships ahead for protagonist Ring McCollum, a former captain in the Union Army.  

With his cherished three-legged dog at his side and his heirloom family ring in his possession, battle-weary McCollum travels across desolate terrain searching for meaning after the Civil War. To enhance the cover’s impact, I inserted a small ring of fire in the sky and reworked the photo of a four-legged dog to appear that the animal on the cover had only three legs.

Baker Mountain by Doyle Suit

Baker Mountain is a young adult novel set in the heart of the Ozarks area called Baker Mountain during America’s Great Depression. Thereisa Housely did the art work as an oil painting of a simple homestead in the shadow of a mountain. To create the cover, the image of the mountain peak was moved to the background to dovetail with the story. The cover depicts an era where courageous people relied on grit and the bare necessities to scrape by. The images of light shining from the windows, woodsmoke coming out of the chimney, and flowers decorating the garden portray an impression of welcome, comfort, and hope.

Brackeen's Law by Dusty Richards

Thereisa Housley also created the cover for the western novel, Brackeen’s Law. This novel is book three of the Frank Brother series, and it is the story of a man starting a ranch with a heard of longhorn cattle. The images of hardy longhorns and uneven landscape, along with the Texas flag imbedded behind the title, create an impression of strength and rugged individualism and give a hint of a dangerous cattle drive, which is a major scene in the novel.

Cactus Country Anthology Volume III

This is one of my favorite covers. The anthology is a collection of western stories, and like western writers, their visions of cowboys differ from story to story. The graceful cover wraps around to the back in one continuous picture, with the lively cowboys creating a captivating scene. I designed the cover image so readers would wonder what each cowboy is doing while hinting at the variety of stories within the anthology.

Echoes of the Ozarks, Volume IX
For the cover of Echoes of the Ozarks Volume IX, celebrated Ozark photographer and journalist, Brenda Brinkley, shot a photo that ultimately captured a realistic representation of the Ozarks. Out of nine anthologies in this popular western-themed series, Brinkley shot seven covers with photos capturing images of Missouri Mules, brilliant red Cardinals, and picturesque Ozark landscapes.

House on Prytania by Pat Carr
This is a splendid collection of southern gothic short stories, with a cover depicting the mood, feeling, and atmosphere of the Deep South. Moss-draped majestic trees, dappled sidewalks, and stately old mansions are complemented by a dark green background. These images mirror the dark theme of the stories in this impressive collection by renowned writer Pat Carr.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Family Secrets and Maternal Ties that Bind

Maternal Threads by Frances Susanne Brown is a fascinating memoir that reveals one woman’s quest for an answer to the most basic question: Who am I?

Growing up shy, self-conscious, and lacking self-confidence, Frances feels something is missing from her life. When Frances inquires about her mother’s side of the family, her mother claims that her own mother passed away when she was twelve, and her father died when she was an infant. The family story is that Frances' mother was raised by her older half-sister, Charlotte. Yet, Aunt Charlotte is so completely opposite in personality from her mom that it seems unconceivable the two are related.

After her mother's death, Frances feels compelled to discover the truth about her ancestry. With her mother, Aunt Charlotte, and other maternal family members gone, Brown turns to written documents. Adding to the mystery, her research of birth and baptismal certificates reveals some dates, names, and spellings don't match. Refusing to give up, Frances continues her quest, which takes her to New York during the Roaring Twenties, where her aunt Charlotte came of age amid a time of flappers, Prohibition, and speakeasies.

Maternal Threads by Frances Susanne Brown is a compelling story of a daughter's search for the truth about maternal heritage amid an atmosphere of long-held family secrets.

Maternal Threads is available in trade paperback for $15.95 and can be purchased through the link below.

Order Maternal Threads - Frances Susanne Brown

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Secrets, Lies, and Ghostly Encounters in Arizona

Cactus Country is thrilled to announce the release of Patricia Grady Cox's first novel, Chasm Creek. This Southwestern writer finds her inspiration from the rich history and scenic landscapes of Arizona.
In Chasm Creek, ghostly encounters and bloody confrontations expose the secrets of three unlikely friends based on lies.

Morgan Braddock is separated from his family by a noose. Ester Corbin and her children were abandoned by her husband. Rubén Santiago, a kidnapped Navajo, was taken to Mexico as a child and raised Roman Catholic.

Chasm Creek is a dramatic story of love, loss, and finding one's place in the unforgiving Arizona Territory.

Purchase your copy of Chasm Creek through the link provided below.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

A Great Read on the Rise

High Hill Press is pleased to announce that Pulitzer Prize award nominee, David Lee Kirkland's newest novel, Rising Tide, is this month's top-seller. This historical fiction novel takes place in the mountains of Tennessee and North Carolina during the American Civil War. Rising Tide is available in hardback where all good books are sold or online through the link below.