Author Archives: Joan Leggitt

Coming Soon – Birdhouse Jesus

Birdhouse Jesus – a novel by Terri Chastain

At six years old, Mary Alice Lydell is consumed by fear. No one can protect her from the monster she cannot name. Even if she understood the monster, she couldn’t tell Momma or Aunt Jean or her best friend Carolyn, because if she did, they would know she was bad and wouldn’t love her. She sits inside her closet, talking to Birdhouse Jesus, a crucifix she stole from Aunt Jean, hoping he will make Daddy be nice to her and not behave in ways that terrify her.

In her teens, filled with self-loathing, Mary Alice falls quickly and deeply in love with a man who touches her gently and makes her feel worthy. Soon, she has another secret – and a baby on the way. The baby’s father also has a secret: he’s married to someone else.

Family ties – the ones that bind and nurture, and the ones that strangle and suffocate – shape Mary Alice’s life in profound ways. Although Birdhouse Jesus is a story of trauma and betrayal, it is also one of resilience and hope, as Mary Alice struggles to become the woman that a part of her has always known she could be.

About the Author:

Terri Chastain 1957 – 2022

Terri was born on February 27, 1957 in Rome, Georgia. She received her bachelor’s degree from Berry College in Rome in 1979. She and her husband, Joseph Wayne Chastain, raised three children: Brian, Michelle, and Winter.

Terri was passionate about her work in the nonprofit community. She spent twenty-five years in the Orlando area fundraising and teaching fundraising. Terri also was active in the creative writing community for over thirty years with several poems published. Terri loved Central Florida and had a passion for the Canadian Rockies and her special place, St. Augustine, Florida

Birdhouse Jesus is her first novel.

New for Pride Month – Acts of Atonement

 

Acts of Atonement
by S. W. Leicher

ISBN # 978-1-940189-30-7
$19.95

 

Ten years have passed since Paloma Rodriguez—bold, seductive daughter of the Latin South Bronx, and Serach Gottesman—quietly iconoclastic daughter of Haredi Jewish Brooklyn, first broke with the painful constrictions of their cultures to seek healing within an artfully blended household of their own.  Six years have passed since Serach’s little brother Shmuely fled New York altogether for a life of well-supported scholarship in Jerusalem.

Convinced of the success of their escapes, they are all totally unprepared for the upending series of events that force them to re-examine what they’ve built, what they’ve left behind—and what it means to have a heart in conflict with itself.

About the Author

S.W. Leicher grew up in the Bronx in a bi-cultural (Latina and Jewish) home. She moved to Manhattan after graduate school and raised her family on the Upper West Side, where she still lives with her husband and two black cats. When not dreaming up fiction, she writes about social justice issues for nonprofit organizations.

 

Praise for Acts of Atonement

“From Jewish synagogues and rites to the foundations of faith and love, S.W. Leicher deftly crafts a landscape in which kindness and forgiveness too often only emerge after violence and loss…. Replete with images of these transformation moments and the challenges which overlay them, Acts of Atonement is filled with powerful insights and revelations… highly recommended.”  ~ D. Donovan, Senior Reviewer, Midwest Book Review

“The core beauty of Ms. Leicher’s brilliantly written Acts of Atonement lies in how deftly it draws us into the pain, irrationality, and joy of family, captures the nuances of love between two women, and tests our personal capacity for tolerance, acceptance, and empathy.” ~ Michael J. Coffino, author of the multi-award-winning novel Truth Is in the House

A Tragic But Beautiful Love Story Born of the Turbulent 60’s


Take a Left at Tomorrow

Released November 15, 2021

“Something had gone seriously wrong in the land where everyone was supposed to be equal and free. These days, all we had to do to lose our rights and become the enemy was speak out against the war.”

To Joey Dean, Kit Griffith is everything—every possibility and joy in the whole wide world. And then he is gone, to a place no one can pronounce and a war no one can understand. When he returns, he is changed in every way, is a man at war with his memories, his wounds, and his government. But Joey, who now has her own mission, believes love is all they need. She has yet to realize that in a world where cities, draft cards, and bras are burning, dreams as well as tear gas are in the wind.

On the frontlines of America’s social revolution during the Vietnam war era, Joey must learn the truth about love, changing times, and her own dreams.

Set amidst the social and political tumult of the late sixties, this novel depicts the complicated love shared by Kit Griffith and Joey Dean, two mid-western kids on the cusp of adulthood, each carrying wounds and ambitions that both propel and hobble their relationship.  Renee Anduze tells their story in a well-wrought narrative, filled with beautiful language, stunning imagery, and an array of characters right out of the Sixties.  If you lived through this dramatic history of our country, you will be impressed with her deft portrayal of the times.  The chapter on the Woodstock Festival alone is well worth the price of admission.  If you missed those times (for better or for worse), you will be wisely instructed in the challenges, paradoxes, and hopes they gave us.  ~ Lezlie Laws, Ph.D.—Twelve Doors: Writing for Pleasure, Self-Expression, and Insight; TIA Journal; Shifting Gears, Editor

About the Author:
Renée Anduze holds an MFA in Writing from Spalding University and a BA in English from Rollins College (summa cum laude). She has worked as a professional writer and editor for nearly 20 years—five of them at Rollins College. Her work has appeared in national magazines, newspapers, newsletters, and online. She has won several writing awards, including three Royal Palm Literary Awards. Her poetry is published in Rollins Book of Verse 1885–2010. Renée has taught and tutored upper-level English and participated in Bread Loaf and many other major workshop conferences. She is a member of the Association of Writers & Writing Programs, Florida Writers Association, Sigma Tau Delta International English Honor Society, and Alpha Sigma Lambda National Honor Society. Find her at ReneeAnduze.com.

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