A selection of publications from our members

A Canopy of Stars: Poems

Jennifer Read Hawthorne

A Canopy of Stars is a kind of processional through a poet’s life, written both retrospectively and in anticipation of things to come, beheld in the prism of both ordinary and celestial incidence. There is travelogue in notably privileged experiences, and extraordinary vision given from far-off places and saints encountered there. The course of the volume is mediated throughout with a very appealing use of the haibun form, offering certain emblematic ‘nodes’ of revelation through its inherent device. As the text is cast in sections, an inner portion of the book, ‘Holy Love,’ embeds in the text like a golden yolk in the body of an egg. I found myself returning to it time and again for its wise and profound delight as I read through this lovely collection.” —Sean Sexton, author of Portals and May Darkness Restore; Poet Laureate of Indian River County, Florida, 2016–2024

Jennifer is an an award-winning author and poet. She is the author/coauthor of nine books, including the #1 New York Times best sellers “Chicken Soup for the Woman’s Soul” and “Chicken Soup for the Mother’s Soul,” as well as two books of poems, “Life As a Prayer” and “A Canopy of Stars.” Together, Jennifer’s books have sold more than 14 million copies and been translated into 35 languages. Jennifer lives in Vero Beach, Florida, where she enjoys writing, spiritual practice, and swimming in the wild Atlantic.

  • Publisher: High Tea Press
  • ISBN: 979-8218443412
  • Published: May 2024

The (Imperfect) Web of Crime

Detective Quinn Isaacs Series

Jacque Jacobs

Detective Quinn Isaacs finds herself untangling an imperfect web of crime as she tries to identify a young woman she and Billy Williams, lead detective in an adjoining community, found struggling for her life on the top of a mountain near Indian Flats Falls, Tennessee. In her fourth month as lead detective in the Round City Police, Quinn is caught up in the challenges of building a team among the detectives, sorting out her own insecurities about her new role, and learning to trust her personal feelings for Billy. In a case that spans multiple counties, and potentially an international murder, the evolving web uncovers illicit drug manufacturing and its improbable link to the young woman on the mountain—in a place where people take care of each other except when they don’t.

Jacque Jacobs is a retired university professor from Western Carolina University Her novels are rooted in the tradition of storytellers from the Smoky Mountains. She is spreading her writing wings into poetry. Jacque is a U.S. Navy veteran, and in April of 2023, had a poem selected by Long Leaf Press for inclusion in a military anthology on the theme of healing. Currently, she is the Board President of the Laura (Riding) Jackson Foundation: “The Literary Hub of Indian River County, FL.”

  • Publisher: Drellag Press, LLC
  • ISBN: 979-8-9873453-4-4
  • Published: May 2024

The Impeded Stream

Michael R. Howard

This book is the second collection of poems from a former Naval Officer and Navy SEAL. His work speaks to the vibrancy of life across a myriad of landscapes, lives, and experiences. The Impeded Stream extends Michael’s reputation as a gifted poet and storyteller. His attention to detail and adventurous sense lifts the reader to new worlds, ones that Michael knows well.

Michael is a former Naval Officer and Navy SEAL who served over 26 years on active duty. Much of his career was spent overseas in the Western Pacific and Southwest Asia. He draws from this adventurous career as well from his colorful southern upbringing to flavor much of his poetic work. His voice is unique, colorful , and visceral. His work might well be described as attractive to those not inclined to pursue poetry yet discover his work very appealing.

  • Publisher: La Maison Publishing
  • ISBN: 978-1-970153-44-6
  • Published: January 2024

The Almost Perfect Crime

Detective Quinn Isaacs Series

Jacque Jacobs

Serendipity brings joy yet it can also lead life into never imagined directions. Detective Quinn Isaacs entered law enforcement after the worst trauma a high school student can experience—an active shooter on campus. In the Smoky Mountains in her second week on the job, the deaths of two women and a complicated web of family connections swirl through the mountains like the winter wind. Building a team of detectives and facing her own demons, Quinn begins to understand the long-held belief about mountain life: it’s a place where people take care of each other—except when they don’t.

Jacque wrote her first novel, High on a Mountain, in 2020. It was a finalist in the mystery category for the Royal Palm Literary Award, the American Writing Award in 2022, and received the Gold Award from Literary Titans in 2023. Her debut into fiction is rooted in the tradition of storytellers from the Smoky Mountains. Her new series Detective Quinn Isaacs launched in January 2024: The Almost Perfect Crime. She is the Board President of the Laura (Riding) Jackson Foundation: “The Literary Hub of Indian River County, FL.”

  • Publisher: Drellag Press, LLC
  • ISBN: 979-8-9873453-2-0
  • Published: January 2024

The Last Floridian

Pete Clements

Drawn on the same model and proportions as classical journeys of a hero, this is the story of Clayton Ian McIver. His father worked in the citrus industry before Greening Disease, a bacteria plague —like that of “scorpions of the Earth”—obliterated citrus in Florida, leaving many citizens with no work and less future. Exploding population and out-of-control construction were annihilating Florida’s wild, now no longer vast, natural resources. Worse, the water, that elixir of life itself, was poisoned by pollution. Florida became an endangered species. Clayt McIver and his father knew the water of Florida was poisoned. This is the story of how Clayt and his lady friend, Joleen, became the young heroes who accepted the mission to save the natural environment of Florida.

A graduate of the University of Michigan, Pete Clements worked in advertising and documentary film production. His 2020, novel, The Latitude, was the recipient of many honors, including the Eric Hoffer Award. Pete has lived in Vero Beach, Florida since 1970 and is writing a new Florida-based novel.

  • Publisher: Black Rose Publishing
  • ISBN: 13-978-1685133733
  • Published: December 2023

Family Planet

Jim Scutti

Jim Scutti’s “Family Planet” is a medley of poems on family matters, observations of people and nature and lyrics that express the disappointments, sadness, joy and surprises of a long life. Learn how his mother copes with the death of a young son and how later she becomes the most popular person in her church. Smile at his father’s many failed ventures to get rich because he wanted to be smart–like Rockefeller. Meet an old man who in his prime could drive a nail through a two-by- four with his hand but now enjoys simply sitting in his garden, a pleasure “that only God could match and worth every nail.” In the book’s final poem enjoy his light-hearted approach to death. Like a simple gravestone, just enough for birds to perch. So bring seed.

Jim Scutti’s poetry and fiction has appeared in numerous literary magazines, including Comstock Review, The MainStreet Rag, FutureCycle Poetry, Common Ground Review, The Rattling Wall and Slant. He practiced law prior to retiring and now devotes most of his time to writing, reading and running. He lives on the Indian River in Vero Beach, Florida.

  • Publisher: Finishing Line Press
  • ISBN: 979-8-88838-356-8
  • Published: September 2023

Something Terrible About Love

Bonnie MacDougall

Bonnie MacDougall’s protagonist, Helen Baird, loves her only child, Kristen, with her whole heart, yet Kristen is a runaway. Helen desperately tries to track Kristen down. Years have accumulated with no leads about Kristen’s whereabouts. Guardedly, Helen allows her own life to unfold as her estranged brother, a boss with personal information, and her high school boyfriend all resurface.

  • Publisher: Austin MacCauly
  • ISBN: 978-1638298786
  • Published: November 2022

The cover of Bonnie MacDougall's novel, Something Terrible About Love.

After Pyre

P.M. Draper

P.M.Draper’s poems in ‘After Pyre’ explore change, loss and unfathomable heartache, while offering the reader respite with her skillful verse that is not only refreshing but achingly funny when you least expect it. From a tragic tale of questionable suicide by fire to poems about squirrel sex and the Kung Fu Nuns of Kathmandu, ‘After Pyre’ takes the reader on quite a ride.

P.M.Draper is a baby boomer who semi-retired during the pandemic. Her previous book of verse,’The Tao of Hibiscus’ was published in 2020. She won second place in the CoVid competition for her poem “A Time Like This” which appears here in ‘After Pyre’. She’s been a closet-poet for years, coming out in 2018 when she joined the Porch Poets, of the Laura Riding Jackson Foundation, in Vero Beach. She lives in Vero Beach with her husband Tom and Boston Terrier, Oreo.

  • Publisher: The Poetry Box
  • ISBN: 978-1-956285-20-8
  • Published: September 2022

The Lightning and the Gale

Michael R. Howard

This book is an engaging and colorful collection of poems from a former Navy SEAL Officer, drawn from his vast operational experience and travel the world over, and from his deep Southern upbringing and heritage. There is a unique vibrancy and immediacy to his work. His imagery is vivid, powerful and both lively and unconventional at times. You can travel the world through his fertile and imaginative mind reliving lost memories and loves. More than a collection of poetry, this is life.

Michael is a former Naval Officer and Navy SEAL who served over twenty six years in active service. Following retirement as a Navy Captain, he served eight years as the first Executive Director of the National Navy SEAL Museum, significantly improving and expanding the museum’s facilities, presentation and its reputation. The design and construction of the only memorial to fallen Navy SEALs was completed during his watch. The 2007 Congressional Record of the 110th Congress specifically records his efforts.

  • Publisher: La Maison Publishing
  • ISBN: 978-1-970153-36-1
  • Published: June 2022

High on a Mountain

Jacque Jacobs

High on a Mountain is the first in Jacque Jacobs’ six-book series “Love is a Cabin,.” It was selected as a Royal Palm Literary Award Finalist, an American Writing Award Finalist, and has a five-star rating from Readers Favorites.

Jacque Jacobs masterfully employs the vernacular of oral storytelling to weave the tale of a young widow and newly retired English professor, Dr. Bella Anderson. A myriad of criminal activities combined with unexpected romance jolts Bella’s peaceful solitude and has her life sharply twisting like the dangerous switchbacks up the mountain to her eighty acres.

  • Publisher: Drellag Press, LLC
  • ISBN: 978-1737339809
  • Published: August 2021
The cover of foundation member Jacque Jacobs' novel, High on a Mountain, part of her Love is a Cabin series.

Outside the Spotlights

Elaine Spooner

Outside the Spotlights: Conversations with Unsung Creatoers Behind the Screens in Hollywood features behind-the-scenes insights from 37 innovators in a business everyone knows, written to encourage and enterain readers dreaming of succeeding in entertainment or who just want to know more about how the business really works.

Elaine Spooner is an entertainment industry insider who worked behind the the screens to imange entertainment websites, and in technology roles at internet startups, 20th Century Fox, Warner Bros., Disney and Universal during the firte decades of Hollywood’s digital revolution.

  • Publisher: Elaine Writes Media
  • ISBN: 978-1735791128
  • Published: May 2021
The cover of Outside the Spotlight, by Elaine Spooner. The cover's subtitle reads, "Conversations with unsung creators behind the screens in Hollywood."

The Tao of Hibiscus

P.M. Draper

P.M. Draper’s poetry considers the American condition, in all its glorious and sometimes horrifying diversity. A semi-retired nurse-practitioner who’s finally coming out as the writer she always knew she’d be. Pat Draper, alias P.M. Draper, has crafted an excellent compilation of her poetry. You’ll want to recite some of these to your friends and family. “Wow, listen to this. This is perfect!” A delightful read that you will come back to many times.

  • Publisher: RebelMagic Books
  • ISBN: 978-1713494454
  • Published: December 2019

The cover of Pat Draper's poetry compilation, the Tao of Hibiscus. The cover is an acrylic painting of a hibiscus flower.