New Releases

Summer 2016

Kerry Forrestal ’86, MBA ’92, and John Fracchia ’87, MBA ’90
Kerry Forrestal ’86, MBA ’92, and John Fracchia ’87, MBA ’90
Cataclysm: The Myst Clipper Shicaine
(Bedlam Boys Publishing, 2016)

More than 30 years after they first met at Binghamton, Forrestal and Fracchia have released their first full-length novel — a sci-fi/fantasy thriller.

T’Amorach was a thriving world until the Cataclysm rendered it almost uninhabitable. Centuries later, it finds itself on the eve of a war it can ill afford. The surviving cultures maintain a fragile peace, protected within large, domed zones, separated by badlands.

Forrestal is an emergency medical physician and Fracchia is a career development educator. They’ve been classmates, business partners and playwrights who met while working for Harpur’s Ferry. After graduating, they formed an advertising firm called The Idea Mill, which led to their first writing collaboration, a play titled Club Hell. Eventually they went their separate ways, but continued to write, eventually producing Cataclysm.

 
Alan Robert Ginsberg ’77
Alan Robert Ginsberg ’77
The Salome Ensemble
(Syracuse University Press, 2016)

Rose Pastor Stokes, Anzia Yezierska, Sonya Levien and Jetta Goudal were poor, Jewish immigrants in New York City in the 1920s who created Salome of the Tenements, a popular novel and Hollywood movie. Their individual stories have been documented by scholars, but Ginsberg explores the relationship of the four women and how their friendship influenced their work.

 
Barry M. Prizant ’72
Barry M. Prizant ’72
Uniquely Human
(Simon & Schuster, 2015)

Autism therapy has typically focused on ridding individuals of symptoms such as difficulties interacting socially, problems in communicating and repetitive-behavior patterns. Prizant, a psycholinguist and speech-language pathologist who began his work with autistic children while a student at Binghamton in 1969, offers a new and compelling paradigm. The most successful approaches to autism don’t aim to fix a person by eliminating symptoms, but rather seek to understand the individual’s experience and what underlies the behavior.

Chicago Tribune called Prizant’s work a groundbreaking book on autism — and one that is required reading.

 
Karen Halvorsen Schreck, MA ’87
Karen Halvorsen Schreck, MA ’87
Broken Ground
(Simon & Schuster/Howard Books, 2016)

Shreck’s fourth novel is a lyrical romance focusing on a young woman who finds herself a widow when her husband is killed in an oil rig accident. To pursue her dream of becoming a teacher, she moves from the Dust Bowl to suburban Los Angeles where a college scholarship awaits her. In her new surroundings, protagonist Ruth Warren is exposed to how the other half lives — migrant workers who scrape by while hoping not to be deported back to Mexico.

In addition to writing novels, Schreck is a frequent visiting professor of English at Wheaton College in Wheaton, Ill.

 
Kimberly D. Schmidt, MA ’87, PhD ’95
Kimberly D. Schmidt, MA ’87, PhD ’95
Magpie's Blanket
(University of New Mexico Press, 2016)

Schmidt, director of the Washington Community Scholars’ Center and professor of history at Eastern Mennonite University, has created a novel that brings to life the history of Plains Indian women and the white invasion. The book is not simply an account of violence; it tells a story of healing and forgiveness. These narratives were woven together from the memories of three generations of Cheyenne people.

 
Chris Mackowski, PhD ’12
Chris Mackowski, PhD ’12
Seizing Destiny: The Army of Potomac’s “Valley Forge”
(Savas Beatie, 2016)

With Albert Z. Conner, Mackowski wrote the first in-depth examination of the critical turning point of the Civil War. The book is grounded in a multitude of primary sources that let the soldiers — at almost all levels of the chain of command — speak in their own voices. Readers can see how the citizen-soldiers of the Army of the Potomac overcame adversity, seized their destiny and saved the nation.

Mackowski, professor in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at St. Bonaventure University in Western New York, also wrote Hell Itself: The Battle of the Wilderness, May 5–7, 1864 (Savas Beatie, 2016).

 

Spring 2016

David Martinez ’94 
David Martinez ’94 
Mr. P.’s Fabulous Piñata Factory
(Friesen Press, 2015)

As a child, Martinez broke countless piñatas. As a grownup, he went in the opposite direction and crafted piñatas for friends and family. Now he has written a book about the pleasures of the piñata. Mr. P.’s Fabulous Piñata Factory is a whimsical take on an old-fashioned assembly-line facility. A group of children tours the factory where Mr. P., the owner, and his creative team teach the kids about each step that goes into making a piñata.

 
Stacy (Werner) Hoff ’91
Stacy (Werner) Hoff ’91
Desire in the Arctic
(Soul Mate Publishing, 2016)

Desire in the Arctic is an action/adventure romance set in Alaska’s Gates of the Arctic National Park. It is a sequel to Desire in the Everglades and the third novel from Werner, who is a lawyer by day and a romance writer (writing under the name Hoff) by night. stacyhoff.com

 
John Smelcer, PhD ’11
John Smelcer, PhD ’11
Indian Giver
(Leapfrog, 2016)

Smelcer wrote many of the poems included in Indian Giver while he was a graduate student at Binghamton University. Smelcer is an Alaskan native of the Ahtna tribe and is now the last tribal member who reads and writes in Ahtna. He is the former chair of the Alaska Native Studies program at the University of Alaska in Anchorage, poetry editor of Rosebud magazine and the author of more than 40 books. Maria Mazziotti Gillan, director of Binghamton University’s Creative Writing Program and the Binghamton Center for Writers, says Indian Giver is “an exploration of what it means to be Native American in the 21st century, replete with irony and wit.” The book includes a foreword by the late poet Ruth Stone, who taught at Binghamton.

 
Elana (Epstein) Reiser ’00, MA ’02
Elana (Epstein) Reiser ’00, MA ’02
Teaching Mathematics Using Popular Culture
(McFarland, 2015)

Reiser, who teaches mathematics at St. Joseph’s College on Long Island, says teachers can more effectively motivate students by incorporating popular media into their methodology. Her book is organized on the subject strands of Common Core and explores math concepts featured in recent films and TV shows, offering examples that educators can use to design lessons using pop culture references that will resonate with students.

 
Laura Lynne (Osvald) Jackson ’94
Laura Lynne (Osvald) Jackson ’94
The Light Between Us
(Spiegel & Grau, 2015)

Jackson, a high school English teacher, wife and mother of three children, and a psychic medium, converses with souls from the other side. In her memoir, The Light Between Us, Jackson shares what she’s learned about the universe from the psychic readings she has performed for people who have lost loved ones. Her book is intended to teach us to embrace our own intuitive abilities and transform how we see our world. Gary E. Schwartz, author of The Afterlife Experiments and The Sacred Promise, says Jackson’s book is, “one of the most insightful and inspiring books about mediumship I have ever read ... destined to become a classic.”

 
Mary Waters-Sayer ’89
Mary Waters-Sayer ’89
The Blue Bath
(St. Martin’s Press, May 2016)

Kat Lind, an American expat living in London with her husband and their young son, attends an art gallery opening and is astonished to see her own face on the walls. Through the 20 years since her affair with the artist, Daniel Blake, he has continued to paint her. When Daniel appears in London, Kat is drawn back into the sins and solace of a past that is no longer far away. When the portraits catch the attention of the public, threatening to reveal her identity and all that lies beyond the edges of the canvases, Kat comes face to face with all that she now stands to lose.

 
Alexander Barnes, MA ’83
Alexander Barnes, MA ’83
To Hell with the Kaiser: America Prepares for War 1916–1918
Schiffer Publishing Ltd., 2015)

To Hell with the Kaiser is a two-volume series about America’s entry into the “Great War.” It discusses how the U.S. military and civilian leadership assembled and trained the doughboys for combat in France. In less than a year and a half, the U.S. Army grew from training a small force to deploying more than a million soldiers in the Meuse-Argonne campaign. Barnes’ book addresses the complex nature of building an Army almost from scratch, the use of African-American soldiers, the integration of immigrants into the force and the terrible effects of Spanish Flu.

 
Barbara Solomon Josselsohn ’81
Barbara Solomon Josselsohn ’81
The Last Dreamer
(Lake Union Publishing, 2015)

Josselsohn, a writer for publications such as The New York Times, Consumers Digest and Parents, has written her first novel. The Last Dreamer focuses on a former acclaimed journalist who put her career aside to start a family. Although she deeply loves her husband and kids, she can’t help wondering — more than a decade later — how life became little more than carpooling and errands. Kirkus Reviews calls the book an engaging look at “the anxieties and insecurities of modern womanhood as well as the whims of celebrity-obsessed culture.”

 

Fall 2015

Michael Blumenthal ’65
Michael Blumenthal ’65
Because They Needed Me: The Incredible Struggle of Rita Miljo to Save the Orphaned Baboons of South Africa
(Aequitas Books, November 2015)

In 1980, a 50-year-old former member of the Hitler Youth spirited a battered young baboon from a national park in Angola. That woman, Rita Miljo, created the Centre for Animal Rehabilitation and Education in South Africa and spent the next several decades nursing orphaned and injured baboons back to health and finding ways to reintroduce them into their natural habitat. Miljo entrusted Blumenthal with 30 years of her journals, from which he produced this book. He is formerly director of creative writing at Harvard University and is now visiting professor and co-director of the Immigration Clinic at the West Virginia University College of Law.

 
Michael Laser ’75
Michael Laser ’75
My Impending Death
(The Permanent Press, 2015)

Cynical, obese misanthrope Angus Truax profiles victims of misfortune for a New Jersey newspaper. His articles touch hearts and inspire charity. Unfortunately for Angus, he loathes his job, his subjects and his life — so much that he decides to end it. Before he can make his exit, one last unlucky soul comes knocking at his door, pleading for help. To his astonishment, he finds himself falling into what he calls the world’s oldest trap. Kirkus Reviews says: “Laser works writing magic … The novel becomes a seesaw of tender moments, total screw-ups and a suspense that becomes unbearable.”

 

Fall 2015

Russ Miller ’80, MA ’82, PhD ’84, and Brian Miller
Russ Miller ’80, MA ’82, PhD ’84, and Brian Miller
Escher’s Enigma
Russ Miller ’80, MA ’82, PhD ’84, and Brian Miller

Russ and his son, Brian, provide introspective songwriting, covering a contiguous set of adult contemporary musical styles. The 2015 disc contains eight original songs and interpretations of two popular tunes by well-known artists. eschersenigma.com