Books by CommuterLit contributors
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Short Story Collections
A Perfect Day to Die
by Yoko Morgenstern
A widower meets a man who can change the weather. A middle-aged woman attempts to freeze to death; A young man attempts to starve to death. A young woman navigates in a foreign city, constructing a new identity. A dancer is forced to accept a ride home from a bar comedian. A divorcee meets an elderly Japanese woman… From the sombre offices of Tokyo to the ESL classrooms of Toronto, see how they find their own therapeutic ways to reconcile with their loss, agony, and despair.
“These wary newcomers with their jagged stories won my heart. Yoko Morgenstern offers a glimpse of the Toronto you don’t see.” — Katherine Govier, author of The Ghost Brush and founder of The Shoe Project.
In the Shade of a Lightning Rod
by John Satriano
It’s the spring of 1970. Bobby Rand is a nine-year-old boy, growing up in Roseland, on Chicago’s south side. One of his third-grade classmates has lost his mother and lives alone with his twenty-year-old sister, toward whom he bears a pathological hatred: he lures Bobby into a plot to murder her. What happens as a result causes Bobby to suffer a nervous breakdown, and leads to his confinement in a mental hospital. He recovers, but things will never be the same again. He leaves Roseland with his family for another Chicago neighborhood, Marquette Park. In high school, he is an honor student, a star baseball player, and a serious abuser of drugs. The past continues to haunt his life into adulthood. He marries and has two children, and seems to have found redemption. But the past is implacable. In the autumn of 1999, on the eve of the new millennium, he discovers that he is still unable to escape it.
The Art of Saying Goodbye
by Ellyn Bache
As four women in a close-knit suburban development grapple with the illness of a long-time neighbour, each of them also looks closely at the pressing issues in her own life — a marriage put on hold because of a difficult child . . . a nurse’s eerie and unwanted gift of diagnosis. . . a widow’s destructive bitterness . . . the price of a successful career. A SIBA Okra Pick and book award nominee.
Moonlight — The Journey Begins
by Purabi Sinha Das
E-book: $5.83 (also available in hardcover and paperback)
When Chandni Rai turned 13, her father died suddenly. And, she discovered a clue to the mystery of her missing grandmother who had been a child bride. Spanning a period between early to mid-20th century, and moving from eastern to central India, to Manchester, England, Moonlight — The Journey Begins is a story of a woman’s search for both her ancestral heritage and her independence as a woman, Christian missionary influence on colonial India, and familial love willing to forgive.
“A moving story about family and fortitude . . . the author presents a tale of sadness and hope in an admirable fashion.” — Kirkus Reviews
Fifty-Four Holly Lane
by Christine C. Heuner
Ashleigh and Tommy Gallagher are fully fledged members of the “Sandwich Generation” who move in with Tommy’s aging parents, John and Peggy, to rescue them from bankruptcy. At the same time, they’re also raising their two teenagers, Emily and Troy. Ashleigh’s crush on a much younger colleague, John’s hoarding, Peggy’s denial of past wrongs, and Tommy’s work stress divide the family. When a major crisis occurs, will the Gallaghers be able to overcome their grievances and support one another, or will the family fall apart?
Old Broad Road
by Phyllis L. Humby
Sylvia Kramer flees two thousand miles from home and switches out her Jimmy Choos for rubber boots. She stubbornly adapts to the unique culture and dialect of Newfoundland embracing diverse friends and east coast delicacies. In a psychological roller coaster of events, she finally reconciles with her estranged family when a brutal assault shatters her spirit and plunges her back into depression. Unorthodox coping mechanisms aid her recovery, but it will take more than out-of-body experiences and superstitious tattoos to heal the damage.
On the Rock
by Phyllis Humby
It’s been five years since Sylvia Kramer abandoned the turmoil of her former life in Toronto and found refuge in Newfoundland. During her attempt to make a fresh start, Sylvia experienced a brutal home assault, suffered the loss of her newfound soul mate, and developed a disquieting suspicion about a friend’s newborn baby. Now, having finally settled into a peaceful and accepting existence on Old Broad Road, her calm is shattered when she’s informed of an ominous scheme instigated by her desperate ex-husband. Sylvia’s life is further disrupted when her neighbour Jamie invites a disgraced lawyer from Boston to stay with him On The Rock.
Rhubard, Strawberries and Willows
by Sylvia Barnard
Hurtling up Highway 69 toward Sudbury in her VW bug, Kate Dumont Walker decides she’s going to keep her baby. After all, it’s the 1980s. That is, until she is unexpectedly plunged 100 years into the past, without her Amelia, to the early days of her Northern Ontario community. Unable to return to her own time, she eventually learns to stop living as a visitor and settles into life with Claude, the devoted single father who lives in a log cabin that stands on the same property as her present-day family home. And yet, she is caught between two times and the fear she will lose everything again if she is drawn back to the future. Still knowledge of another tragedy consumes her — the Spanish River Train Disaster of 1910. Just a few miles from Nairn Centre, the train jumped its tracks, telescoped in the middle of the bridge, and sent the second and third cars over the edge and through the ice like a bullet. Almost all of the passengers were lost. Was it the screeching of the train she heard ringing in her ears as she travelled back in time? Puzzled by the connection between her family and the devastating derailment, she tries to shift the proposed Trans-Canada Railway route west of Sudbury. Will she be able to change history to prevent the tragedy, and at the same time save her family?
Dead Eyes in Late Summer
by Renee Ebert
Late summer 1931 and twenty-seven-year-old Adelyn Crawford is lying in a hammock in Tulip Junction, Georgia, when suddenly her former lover Innis Crawford begins to make love to her. Two things mar this perfect picture; Innis is dead and Adelyn is married to his brother, Garnett. Innis died in a suspicious auto accident and Adelyn fell into Garnett’s waiting arms. The courtship with Garnett has an equally inevitable storminess, first in New York City, then Flapper era Paris
and the South of France where Adelyn meets famous people, we all know. Adelyn is the key to Innis getting back into the world. A tug of war over Adelyn begins. Who will win this battle?
Father (a novella)
by Allan Hudson
In 1942 everything is going good for Tanner Hill. He has a good job, two healthy sons and a wife who loves him. As he makes lots of extra cash with his moonshine, he can afford many luxuries his neighbours cannot. And he’s not worried about conscription. However, he soon realizes good things do not last forever. One argument after church with a disgruntled man with revenge on his mind and Tanner’s world is turned upside down. Forced into making a choice, Tanner chooses to follow his brothers and enlists. He leaves for the fighting so far away as a private in the Royal Canadian Engineers.
It will be three years until Tanner returns home. It won’t be the same.
by Michael Joll
Gabrielle was born to a Jewish mother in a concentration camp late in 1944 and raised Catholic in a Prague orphanage. In the course of discovering her roots and deciding who she is, she has three affairs, two of which end tragically. Set mostly in Paris, Israel and The Netherlands in the 1960s and 1970s, “Gabrielle” is more than a genre romance, although it does have a few twists and turns and the necessary satisfying ending.
The Lost Girl & Spindleshanks (two novellas)
by Alyson Faye
The Lost Girl
A nailed-up door. An inheritance which comes with a ghost. A missing girl. A fifty-year-old mystery. Parapsychologist Berkley Osgood is hired to investigate. What he uncovers reveals secrets the living want to hide and the dead will never forgive.
Adam is having nightmares about a skeletal shadow figure, who he calls Spindleshanks. Soon his whole class are sharing the same nightmare. Adam’s dad, Rob, knows that Spindleshanks can’t be real. But is he? One terrible night Rob has to face his son’s nightmare creature and fight for his son’s life. What would you sacrifice to have your child back safe?
Love and the Hidden Hockey Clues
by Linda O’Connor
When she was younger, Dr. Abigail Clark dreamed of playing professional hockey, but the world wasn’t ready for a female player. That stung. She skated as far away from hockey as possible — until she lands a job in the emergency department of a hockey-crazy town and buys the house of the late beloved Zamboni driver. A tin box is discovered during the renovation of her new home, and Abigail brushes it off as a time capsule left by the previous owner — that is until someone tries to steal it. Turns out, the odd collection is more than just sentimental hockey memorabilia. Abigail inadvertently embroils Del Braebury, captain of the local pro hockey team, into helping her sort it out. Her history with hockey players is rocky at best, but he comes in handy when she needs to access parts of the rink that are off limits. Del is happy to be tangled up in the clues of the hidden hockey loot. In the process of solving the mystery, he hopes to win Abigail’s heart.
Immurdered: Some Time to Kill
by Wesley Payton
As if being a new father wasn’t challenging enough, Weston decides to collaborate with his friend, and sometimes rival, H.P. to write a mystery featuring their two most stalwart characters — the Spinster and the Pirate Hunter. However, when members of an enigmatic organization return to Weston’s small town to exact their revenge, he and H.P. become embroiled in a mystery of their own, and if they don’t solve it soon they could end up paying the ultimate price. Can Weston keep those closest to him out of harm’s way? Will H.P. survive their partnership with his sanity intact?
The Prince of Sudland: Escape from the Palace
by Nancy Kay Clark
Eleven-year-old Prince Argus of Sudland, known as Gus the Fuss, suspects the “accident” that left him with terrible scars, was no accident. Someone is trying to kill off the royal family. But he can’t get the new king (his older brother Rudy), or his sister Willa, or anyone at the palace to believe him. His scars are so bad, they won’t even look at him anymore — never mind listen to him. Another attack from the shadows forces Gus to flee the palace. In disguise and with the help of his one trusted friend, a housemaid named Anna, Gus sets out into the wide world to find out who’s behind the attacks. Now Gus is an ex-prince, hiding his scarred face, dressed in rags, mucking out barns, rescuing telepathic birds and being chased through a deep dark forest. Can he make his way back to the palace in time to save Rudy and Willa from the culprit, who is determined to steal the throne of Sudland?
The Price of Loyalty
by Gail Copeland
In 1787, everything changes for 13-year-old Jake Cooper. He’s angry when he learns his home in New Jersey has been seized by the government because his family supported the King during the American Revolution. His mother tells him that he and his 17-year-old brother must leave for the British Colonies and build a new home. They trek for months through dense forests, crossing dangerous rivers and encountering wild animals. Efforts to build a homestead are hampered by tornadoes, drought, illness, and back-breaking work. Jake must grow up fast when it seems he may lose his brother to typhoid. Will everything be completed before his mother and sister are forced to leave their home?
On the Third Path
by Julie Johnson
KOBO Ebook: CAN$5.99
What is on the third path?
Dance, abundance, fugitive hearts, full moons and ringing bells . . . are a few things you might find on the third path. But where can you find the third path when it seems like there are always only two? These 23 short, playful poems will point you “there” . . . and it may not be what you expect!
Of Ether and Earth
by Nolo Segundo
As with Nolo’s first book in 2020, The Enormity of Existence, Of Ether and Earth focuses on three primary themes: The not so brave new world of aging; that truly inscrutable emotion that greeting cards trivialize as “love”; and the awareness Nolo has had since having had an near death experience, when Nolo almost drowned in a Vermont river at age 24. Nolo went into that river believing only matter was real, and death meant extinction; Nolo came out knowing he has and is a consciousness that predates birth and survives death, what poets once call a soul.
All royalties (modest as they might be) go to Doctors Without Borders.