Two New Releases from Twisted Road

A story of race, class, and the meaning of family.

When sixteen-year-old Lakisha White gives up her biracial twin daughters, she has no idea that eighteen years later she’ll be desperate for their help to save her son’s life. Echoed in My Bones is rife with loss, hidden truths, and, ultimately, redemption.

After Lakisha surrenders her newborns, Jasmine who looks black, and Tessa who looks white, are raised in neighboring New Jersey towns, but worlds apart. Jasmine scrapes through a harrowing childhood in the foster-care system while Tessa struggles with her perfectionist mother and the the pressures of being the youngest child in a high-achieving family of physicians and attorneys. Neither Jasmine nor Tessa know of each other’s existence until Lakisha’s son is diagnosed with leukemia. In order to find a compatible bone-marrow donor, Lakisha is forced to choose between keeping her traumatic history hidden from her longtime boyfriend, or searching for the daughters she abandoned, a decision that could change everything. How Lakisha, Jasmine, and Tessa come together again is the story of the mistakes that threaten to destroy us and the injuries that echo in our bones; the ones that only love can heal.
(Scheduled for release August 15. Available for pre-order now)


Lisa Sturm’s short stories have been published in literary journals such as Tulane Review, Serving House Journal, Mom Egg Review, Willow Review, and Turk’s Head Review, and in an anthology entitled SISTERS BORN, SISTERS FOUND (Wordforest Press, 2015)She received the Willow Review Fiction Award and the Writer’s Relief Peter K. Hixson Wild Card/Fiction Award for selections from her debut novel, ECHOED IN MY BONES, a story inspired by her work as an inner-city psychotherapist. She has degrees from Barnard College and New York University School of Social Work, and is now in private practice in Mountainside, New Jersey. A former fitness/dance instructor, she’ll use any excuse to sneak out to a Zumba class or grab a good novel and find a shady spot beneath a leafy tree.

An Environmental Fable

Mother Nature has had enough and a day of reckoning is coming, foretold by words that mysteriously appear on the side of a shiny new building. When the reckoning arrives, in the form of a giant sinkhole that swallows the site of a planned development, a large lake, and several miles of interstate highway, the citizens of Opakulla, Florida struggle to understand what is happening. A geologist wants to study it, the developers relish its wild beauty, and the mayor plans to stop it. Only the owner of a local café, who speaks with the Ancients, understands it, and she isn’t telling.
(Scheduled for release September 10. Available for pre-order now)

About the Author: Elizabeth McCulloch was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and lived in New England, the Midwest, Canada, and the South, before putting down roots and finding her home in Gainesville, Florida, almost forty years ago. Previously a lawyer, then a teacher, she has had children of various stripes: one born, two foster, one step, and the granddaughter she is now raising with her husband. She has been writing fiction for thirty years, and her blog, The Feminist Grandma, for eight. This is her first published novel.

The Reformed Queen of Plastic Wrap

I love to cook – always have. One of the joys of being able to set my own schedule is that I can make time to keep up with old friends, make new friends, and cook food for every occasion that presents itself, even if it means editing until the wee hours of the morning and then putting a casserole in the oven  at dawn. I love potluck dinners. I might have called myself the Queen of Potlucks, but I have too many friends with a much stronger claim to the title. But I was, for a while, the Queen of Plastic Wrap.

Transporting food in glass containers works fine, but unless they have snap-on lids (and most of mine are nearly as old as I am, so they don’t), those glass tops just don’t do the job. They slide off. Plastic containers with plastic lids? I never had many of those, probably because the ones I did have kept going off to picnics and never coming home. So, it was pyrex bowls covered in plastic wrap for me!! Two layers, so nothing leaks!!

Plastic wrap is not reusable, not recyclable, and not biodegradable. This stuff is terrible, which slowly dawned on me as I watched the news feeds showing ginormous islands of plastic floating in our oceans. Fortunately, the other thing I  saw was savvy manufacturers starting to market alternatives. I began working toward eliminating as much plastic from my kitchen as I could.

I still don’t have those lovely new glass containers with snap-on lids – I would never be able to stuff them in the cabinets around my beloved pyrex. But now I have beeswax wraps (reusable and biodegradable) and still sometimes use aluminum foil (reusable and recyclable, aluminum being one of the most valuable things in the recycling stream). I have several sizes of silicone bags to replace plastic bags.

Recently, I bought some reusable straws that I can wave around in restaurants while telling the waiter/waitress “no straw please!” to head off the tossing of fistfuls of plastic onto our table anyway, because they seem to think I’m incapable of lifting a glass to my lips. (Do I really look THAT old?) And, over time,  I’ve developed strategies to remember to take my reusable grocery bags and mesh produce bags with me when I go shopping. One of the disappointments of this private little campaign of mine is the fact that, except for the aluminum foil and reusable grocery bags, I had to buy all of the plastic alternatives online. So, my current project is lobbying our local supermarkets to stock these things

When I started Twisted Road with the aim of giving voice to the marginalized, one of the things I realized – urged on by some really talented writers – is that some of the most marginalized creatures on the planet live in rivers and oceans. Hundreds of thousands of sea turtles, whales, and other marine mammals, and more than 1 million seabirds die each year from ocean pollution and ingestion or entanglement in marine debris. Meanwhile, we continue construct off-shore drilling rigs, and every day I hear people say “sure” when the bagger at the supermarket asks “Is plastic okay?”

I’ve published books and stories with environmental themes. I’ve published books and stories about people who can’t find jobs and the devastation that unemployment can inflict on families. The petroleum industry and the plastics manufacturers provide millions of jobs worldwide, but it’s also making a mess no one knows how to clean up. I don’t claim to know how we’ll find the balance between all the competing priorities, but I urge us all to work harder at finding it.

Coming Soon From Twisted Road Publications

August 2019: Echoed in My Bones, a story of race, class, and family by Lisa Sturm

September 2019: Dreaming the Marsh, an environmental fable by Elizabeth McCulloch

Writing “Timely” Fiction: Reflections from the Author

When I first set out to write Acts of Assumption, back in 2014, I had no intention of producing something “timely.”  I had no plan to provide what one Haitian friend called “a much-needed, eye-opening and affectionate introduction to three ‘outsider’ cultures—Jewish, Latina and gay—that are so often misjudged in this country.”

My idea was simply to write a short story about a fervently-Orthodox little boy who finds himself dealing with a very odd affliction.

As things turned out, however, that little boy needed an older sister who could narrate and translate his story to a readership who might not be familiar with “sitting shiva” or ritual circumcisions or mincha ma-ariv prayer services.  And no sooner than that sister began taking shape, she began whispering: “I don’t fit in with my family.  I’m different. I’m gay. Tell my story.”  And then, of course, that sister needed a partner—and that partner turned out to be Latina.  And then, WHOOSH, the novel began taking off in all sorts of new directions—inspired and fueled by my lucky and beloved ties to all three of those “outsider” worlds.

And now, four years later—tragically—we have a white nationalist who opens fire on a Jewish synagogue because Jewish organizations dare to support refugees who are fleeing war and famine.  We have a powerful segment of the country shouting for a wall against Latinos and increasing attacks on LGBTQI individuals—and against anyone else deemed to be “other” in a nation that is actually largely comprised of “other.”

So, it seems I have written a “timely” novel.

That being the case—I offer the book up with the prayer that it will somehow, in some small way, advance the idea that in every culture (as in every family) there exists both beauty and strengths and difficulties and dysfunctions.  And that—therefore—it is our duty to try to learn from one another and bear with one another and support one another and try to find our way together.   ~ S. W. Leicher

Acts of Assumption will be released on November 30th. It is available for pre-order

Pre-Order Here