Maxine Clair tops today’s Buffet with Rattlebone, first published in 1994 and is perhaps her most well-known work. It’s a collection of interrelated stories revolving around the life of a young African-American girl coming of age in a small Black neighborhood in Kansas City, Kansas. Clair got the name of her book from Rattlebone Hollow, a North Kansas City, Kansas, neighborhood.

Maxine was born and raised in Kansas City in the 1950s. She is a poet, short story writer, and novelist. She attended the University of Kansas in Lawrence, where she studied science. She went on to a career in medical technology as chief technologist at a children’s hospital in Washington, D.C. It was while working there that Clair became interested in writing. She pursued and achieved her M.F.A. at George Washington University. In 1989 she became an associate professor of English at GWU, retiring from the position in 2008.

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Rattlebone

 Fiction > African American > Historical

Rattlebone

In Rattlebone, a “fictional” black community north of Kansas City, the smell of manure and bacon from Armour’s Packing House is everywhere; Shady Maurice’s roadhouse plays the latest jazz; the best eggs are sold by the Red Quanders; and gospel rules at the Strangers Rest Baptist Church.

This is the black Midwest of the 1950s, when towns could count their white folks on one hand—the years before the Civil Rights movement came along and changed everything. In perfectly cadenced vernacular, Maxine Clair speaks to us through the voices of Rattlebone’s citizens: October Brown, the new schoolteacher with a camel’s walk and shoulder-padded, to-the-nines dresses; Irene Wilson, naive and wise, who must grapple with her parent’s failing marriage as she steps eagerly into adulthood; and Thomas Pemberton, owner of the local rooming house, an old man with a young heart.

Sparkling with lyricism, Clair’s interconnected stories celebrate the natural beauty of the Midwest and the dignity and vitality of these most ordinary lives. Rattlebone, winner of the Heartland Prize for fiction, is a tremendous work by a supremely talented writer, now available for the first time in digital form.

Deadly Blessings (Alex St. James Mystery series Book 1)

 Mystery, Thriller & Suspense > Detective

Deadly Blessings (Alex St. James Mystery series Book 1)

Chicago news researcher Alex St. James is preparing to interview a young Polish immigrant – pregnant by a Catholic priest – when the woman is found murdered. Alex investigates, making enemies of powerful people in the Chicago Archdiocese.

Unless she backs away from the story, the next thing Alex might hear are her own Last Rites.

Heirs & Spares (The Realm Book 1)

 Historical Romance > Medieval

Heirs & Spares (The Realm Book 1)

It’s 1569. Elizabeth I sits on the English throne, the Reformation inflames the Continent, and whispers of war abound.

But in Troixden, just north of France, the Lady Annelore isn’t interested in politics. Times are hard, taxes are high, and the people in her duchy need her help just to survive. Her widowed father is a good man easily distracted by horses, and her newly knighted childhood friend…well, he has plans of his own.

Then Annelore receives a call she can’t ignore.

When Troixden’s sadistic king died childless, his younger brother William returns from exile to find his beloved country on the brink of civil war. He’s in desperate need of the stability that comes with a bride and heirs. But Annelore, his chosen queen, won’t come quietly.

Now the future of Troixden lies in the hands of two people who never wanted the power they’ve received and never dreamed that from duty and honor they might find love and a path to peace.

The Dead Celeb (Evie Preston/Grey Tier Book 1)

 Romance > Paranormal

The Dead Celeb (Evie Preston/Grey Tier Book 1)

What happens when a small town girl moves to Hollywood to pursue her dreams and winds up smack dab in the middle of a murder investigation, haunted by famous dead celebs, and working for the biggest pop star in the music industry?

Introducing Evie Preston: Small-town girl and under-the-radar healer, currently trapped in a po-dunk Texas town but yearning for something more. When fate gives her the opportunity to move to Hollywood to follow her dreams, Evie finds herself navigating through the land of glitz and glamour, and the realm of (dead) celebrities…

Raised in Brady, Texas by her minister father and her beauty shop-owner mother, Evie has been trying to get out of town for years. When an old family friend gives her an unexpected gift on her birthday, Evie finally gets the chance to start fresh out west. Against her father’s wishes, she packs up her guitar, her dog, Mama Cass, and heads for California.

Once in L.A., Evie finds a singing gig at a local dive bar where she meets a slew of interesting characters including the owner himself, a former child star with a hidden past. She also scores a day job doing make-up for a famous and foul-mouthed pop diva. One of the job perks includes house sitting at a Hollywood Hills mansion. But what Evie doesn’t know is the house is also home to some famous celebrity spirits, including the essence of former Grunge rocker, Lucas Minx.

As if things weren’t complicated enough, Evie finds herself in the middle of a murder mystery and discovers she’s being targeted by some nasty spirits. And to top things off, she’s developed a Texas-sized crush on her hot, but very dead, roommate, Lucas.

SURLY BONDS

 Suspense > Spies & Politics

SURLY BONDS    (Political Thriller)

It was the highest of highs and the lowest of lows . . . Jason Conrad is an Air Force student pilot, struggling to graduate pilot training. Rebuilding his personal life, he quickly finds the friends he relies on have bigger secrets than his own. On the other side of the world, a former KGB leader is plotting to overthrow the Russian government. While the ‘Cold War’ is believed to be over, a renegade group of Russian officers launch a plan that could possibly ignite World War Three! As these two vastly different worlds weave together, they accelerate into an action packed roller coaster ride from the skies over Enid, Oklahoma, to the streets of Moscow, to the steps of the Alamo.

Identity Thief

 Thrillers > Crime

Identity Thief

Out of work, down on your luck, desperate for cash. What if you could get rich with a few strokes of the keyboard? All you have to do is become someone else.

But nothing’s that simple in this fast-paced, psychological thriller. As the story dangerously snowballs downhill, the characters discover how losing themselves can lead to duplicity, blackmail, and sometimes murder.

An Inconvenient Year

 Biographies & Memoirs > Journalists

An Inconvenient Year

It is a book that deals with the social side of cancer, as a parent, a lover and a friend. It is a story of coping with uncertainty, the reactions of others and living with them too. It documents the total shock and utter fear that a diagnosis brings and the hopelessness of surrendering to a treatment that brings its own baggage yet ultimately insures life. It talks about confronting hair loss along with discovering the more covert assault on all things feminine. Yet at the very root of the book, ahead of the fear and anger, there is humour and laughter. Though the story of cancer has been told before, it has not been told like this”

Kick Chemicals To The Curb!: How To Make Natural, Healthy Cleaners For Your Home

 How-to & Home Improvements > Cleaning, Caretaking & Relocating

Kick Chemicals To The Curb!: How To Make Natural, Healthy Cleaners For Your Home

Are you ready to kick chemicals to the curb and make your very own natural cleaners?

Tired of spending a fortune on chemical cleaners that don’t work?
Need to squeeze a little more out of your budget?
Does doing laundry for pennies a load sound good to you?
Facing health issues due to pollution in your home?

Claire Bowman makes it easy to do-it-yourself with this step-by-step quick-start guide to natural household cleaners! Skip all the noise online and learn the principles of clean from the queen of hard water herself.

This concise guide uses simple everyday ingredients and clear instructions to get you started off fast.

  • Use inexpensive ingredients from the grocery store
  • No exotic dried herbs needed
  • Start saving with as little as $10
  • Learn new uses for items already in your home
  • Easy 2 & 3 ingredient recipes
  • Complete buying guide included
  • Tons of cleaning tips to make your life easier
TODAY’S BARGAINS……………What’s this?

My Year as a Clown: A Novel

 Humor & Satire > Dark Comedy

My Year as a Clown: A Novel

With My Year as a Clown, Williams introduces us to the Philadelphia Eagles-obsessed Chuck Morgan, reeling after being blindsided by the abrupt collapse of his 20-year marriage. Morgan is a new kind of male hero, imperfect and uncertain, who—like his favorite football team—is fumbling forward into uncertainty. The 2013 Silver Medal Winner for Popular Fiction from the Independent Publisher Book Awards.

Initially, Chuck worries he’ll never have a relationship again, that he could stand in the lobby of a brothel with a hundred dollar bill plastered to his forehead and still not get lucky. But as his emotionally raw, 365-day odyssey unfolds, Chuck gradually relearns to live on his own, navigating the minefield of issues faced by the suddenly single—new routines, awkward dates, and even more awkward sex.

Clown will attract fans of the new breed of novelists that includes Nick Hornby, Jonathan Tropper and Tom Perrotta. Like others in that distinguished group, Robert Steven Williams delivers a painfully honest glimpses into the modern male psyche while writing about both sexes with equal ease and grace in a way that’s both hilarious and heartbreaking at the same time.

A Match Made in Heaven

 Romance > Contemporary

A Match Made in Heaven

As a successful interior designer, Callie’s tired of men who pursue her for her money…so she’s said good-bye to love. But Grandma insists she go on just one date with a particular architect – after all, he doesn’t like “hard-headed” businesswomen! Will love unexpectedly enter their plans? A sweet novella you’ll love.

Aranya (Shapeshifter Dragons Book 1)

 Fantasy > Epic

Aranya (Shapeshifter Dragons Book 1)

Chained to a rock and tossed off a cliff by her boyfriend, Aranya is executed for high treason against the Sylakian Empire. Falling a league into the deadly Cloudlands is not a fate she ever envisaged. But what if she did not die? What if she could spread her wings and fly?

Long ago, Dragons ruled the Island-World above the Cloudlands. But their Human slaves cast off the chains of Dragonish tyranny. Humans spread across the Islands in their flying Dragonships, colonising, building and warring. Now, the all-conquering Sylakians have defeated the last bastion of freedom–the Island-Kingdom of Immadia.

Evil has a new enemy. Aranya, Princess of Immadia. Dragon Shapeshifter.

Fosse

 Biographies & Memoirs > Theatre

Fosse

The only person ever to win Oscar, Emmy, and Tony awards in the same year, Bob Fosse revolutionized nearly every facet of American entertainment. His signature style would influence generations of performing artists. Yet in spite of Fosse’s innumerable—including Cabaret, Pippin, All That Jazz, and Chicago, one of the longest-running Broadway musicals ever—his offstage life was shadowed by deep wounds and insatiable appetites.

To craft this richly detailed account, best-selling author Sam Wasson has drawn on a wealth of unpublished material and hundreds of sources: friends, enemies, lovers, and collaborators, many of them speaking publicly about Fosse for the first time. With propulsive energy and stylish prose, Fosse is the definitive biography of one of Broadway and Hollywood’s most complex and dynamic icons.

Forging Zero (The Legend of ZERO Book 1)

 Science Fiction > Adventure

Forging Zero (The Legend of ZERO Book 1)

The Legend of ZERO begins the epic journey of 14-year-old Joe Dobbs in a post-apocalyptic universe following a massive alien invasion of Earth. The oldest of the children drafted from humanity’s devastated planet, Joe is impressed into service by the alien Congressional Ground Force—and becomes the unwitting centerpiece in a millennia-long alien struggle for independence. Once his training begins, one of the elusive and prophetic Trith appears to give Joe a spine chilling prophecy that the universe has been anticipating for millions of years: Joe will be the one to finally shatter the vast alien government known as Congress. And the Trith cannot lie.…

But first Joe has to make it through bootcamp.

… See the rest of today’s Editor’s Picks here on page 2