The Klan comes to the Langdon plantation in this Reconstruction-era novel by C. James Gilbert

MECHANICSBURG, Pa. — Sunbury Press has released C. James Gilbert’s second novel “A Darker Shade of Freedom.”

adsof_fcAbout the Book:

The sequel to “A Deeper Sense of Loyalty”…

When the Confederate States of America was defeated in 1865, the masses of oppressed and impoverished blacks were freed; that is to say that the practice of slavery was forever outlawed by the U.S. Constitution. But James Langdon of Macon, Georgia knew before the war ended that it would be a very long time before the black race would be accepted as social equals.

Having seen a slave beaten for trying to escape from his father’s plantation, James was then, there and forevermore pitted against the evils of bigotry. However, in the immediate years after the war; an enemy, a most formidable foe was born in Nashville, Tennessee and was called the Ku Klux Klan.

To ignite the inferno which would rage between Langdon Plantation and the Klan, a secret that only James’s wife, parents, and sisters knew about became public knowledge. Once the secret was revealed the conflict began; a very devastating conflict.

adsol_pubA true believer in God’s will, James joins forces with his black neighbors to stand against tyranny and those who would try to exercise power over them. He would never be satisfied until America recognized all Americans as equal; both black and white.

A Darker Shade of Freedom

Authored by C. James Gilbert

List Price: $16.95
5.5″ x 8.5″ (13.97 x 21.59 cm)
Black & White on White paper
280 pages
Sunbury Press, Inc.
ISBN-13: 978-1620063859
ISBN-10: 1620063859
BISAC: Fiction / Historical
Soon to be available on Kindle and Nook

For more information, please see:

http://www.sunburypressstore.com/A-Darker-Shade-of-Freedo…

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An Interview with Joe Farley, author of “Song Poems in Search of Music”

 

farleyJoe Farley is best known for partnering in the Keystone Tombstones biography series about famous and noteworthy people buried in Pennsylvania. Recently, Joe has released his first poetry volume: Song Poems in Search of Music, published by Sunbury Press. Following is an interview of Joe conducted for the Ernest and Edgar Literary Blog:

EE: For your Keystone Tombstones fans, a Joe Farley poetry book will appear to be somewhat of a diversion. Have you been a poet, and they didn’t know it? How do you hope they react?

JF: I would hope they would react favorably. As a matter of fact I’ve already received positive feedback on some of the poems.

EE: The poems span many decades. What is your reason for compiling them at this time?

JF: A couple of reasons, first after along period where I had stopped writing poetry I started again and that got me thinking about some of the older poems. When I dug those out and looked at them the thought occurred to me that maybe it was time to do something with them.

EE: Is there a favorite poem among the lot?

JF: I’m not sure I have a favorite but I do like Perfectly Pennswood and Burning Ash (Sharon’s Song). The latter is an old poem while the former is a new one.

EE: How did your work evolve over the years?

JF: I think the newer poems are more straight forward than the older ones. I’m pretty sure That I couldn’t write some of the older ones today, like The Degradation Inn for example.

spisom_fcEE: Do you plan to continue writing poetry?

JF: I’ll probably give it a rest for a time, but sure, I’ll write some more in the future.

EE: You have included a couple poems by your son Corrigan. Tells us a little about him.

JF: Corrigan’s my oldest son. He graduated from the University of Pittsburgh a year ago, got married last summer and is currently living in Vancouver and working for Amazon.

EE: Did he want to be included, or was this your choice?

JF: It was my choice but I cleared it with him first.

EE: Regarding On the Lost Legends — which legends have been lost? Are you referring to a particular person or group of people?

JF:Lost Legends isn’t only about people, it includes ideas, inventions and theories.

EE: The Dark-Eyed Girl seems to have left quite an impression. Was this a real person in your life?

JF:The Dark-Eyed Girl is about several women, some are still around and some have passed away.

EE: Anthracite is one of my favorites. But, it sounds very bitter. What happened to your father?

JF:Anthracite will probably rile some of the folks back home. The reference in the poem to fathers is talking about grandfathers as well as my dad. My dad did pass away at a very young age.

EE: Some of your best lines are in The View From Oblivion’s Corner. I really liked this portion:

The drunkard at the river’s edge duels a maze of misconception;

I guess he never found a bargain when he bartered for affection.

There’s a note inside a bottle, but it breaks not far from shore.

Your sailor sweeps the waters clean, while the drunkard drinks some more.

What would I find on that note in the bottle?

JF: It’s up to the reader to decide what message was contained in the bottle.

EE: The Degradation Inn reads like an assignment from a Philosophy class in college. What was the origin of this?

JF:The Degradation Inn was written in the 1970s and was heavily influenced by Bob Dylan. Like I pointed out earlier I don’t believe I could write one like that today.

EE:The Stubborn Memory Blues is probably most ready to be put to music. The refrain makes it a potential country or R&B tune:

I’m not saying that I remember;

It’s more like I can’t forget.

Do you have tunes in your head when you write some of these?

JF: I had a tune in my head when I wrote that one but that is generally not the case.

EE: Anything else you want to leave us with?

JF: Well I’d like to thank my wife Sharon who took the photos that are included in the book, she really supported me on this project. In addition I hope that the readers enjoy the song poems.

 

Joe Farley’s verses are “Song Poems in Search of Music”

MECHANICSBURG, Pa. — Sunbury Press has released Joe Farley’s poetry collection “Song Poems in Search of Music.”

spisom_fc

About the book:
Joe Farley is best known as one of “The Joes” who have written the “Keystone Tombstone” series of biography books, about famous or noteworthy people buried in Pennsylvania. He and his partner, Joe Farrell, have appeared on numerous television and radio interviews and programs, as well as dozens of news columns and magazines regarding this work. The two have traveled the Commonwealth in search of interesting tales to tell, interesting tombstones to honor, and interesting taverns in which to discuss their findings.

Joe Farley’s poetry spans his adult life, from the 1970s to the present, lamenting opportunities lost in the Anthracite Region of his birth, as well as his conquests and travels as he settled in the Susquehanna Valley of Pennsylvania. Farley is a fan of Shakespeare’s sonnets, Wordsworth, Poe and William Butler Yeats, but his lyric style calls to mind his Irish roots. Regardless, these are verses in search of music. Hopefully a few musicians will do them justice. In the meantime, enjoy these lines by Joe Farley, an Irish bard at heart.

Song Poems in Search of Music

Authored by Joe Farley

List Price: $9.99
6″ x 9″ (15.24 x 22.86 cm)
Black & White on Cream paper
64 pages
Sunbury Press, Inc.
ISBN-13: 978-1620064191
ISBN-10: 1620064197
BISAC: Poetry / American / General

For more information about the book, please see:

http://www.sunburypressstore.com/Song-Poems-in-Search-of-…

An Interview with Dr. John Cressler on Shadows in the Shining City, the latest novel in his Anthems of al-Andalus series

Whether you’ve already fallen in love with medieval Spain or you have yet to meet the characters in Emeralds of the Alhambra, get ready for Dr. John Cressler’s newest book in the Anthems of al-Andalus series, Shadows in the Shining City. Book two of the ongoing series is a prequel to the story in Emeralds, but still explores and revives that special, peaceful time in history when religious and social coexistence was not only possible, but actually happening. Shadows in the Shining City is scheduled for a summer 2014 release, but meanwhile, check out the interview with the author, below.
Sunbury Press: Thank you for taking the time to answer some questions about your Anthems of al-Andalus series and specifically your newest book, Shadows in the Shining City. Apart from the “official” summary for book one, Emeralds of the Alhambra, can you give us a recap in your own words?

Dr. John Cressler: First, a bit of preamble. My historical fiction is intended to introduce readers to a remarkable, and for the most part, little-appreciated period of history: medieval Muslim Spain, a place known today as al-Andalus (Andalusia). This rich history, a Muslim history, spans almost 800 years, from 711 CE to 1492 CE, and had profound influence on the development of Europe and even America. The goal of my historical series, Anthems of al-Andalus, is to break open the rich history of al-Andalus for the modern reader by using compelling love stories.
Emeralds of the Alhambra, book one in the series, takes place towards the end of this 800 year history, between 1367-1369, a pivotal period in Spanish history known as the Castilian Civil War. This was a time when, remarkably, Muslims fought beside Christians against other Christians. The events of Emeralds unfold around the love story between a strong-willed Muslim princess of court, Layla al-Khatib, and a famous English knight, William Chandon. Their love story is set in the glorious Alhambra Palace in Granada, Spain. The Alhambra, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is the best preserved medieval Islamic palace in world (it still largely exists in its 14th century form), and is one of the most visited tourist sites in Europe. It is a magical place and was front and center in the 14th century Castilian Civil War . . . and it is a terrific location to set a love story! Chandon is seriously wounded and brought to the Alhambra to be used by the sultan as a political pawn. There he meets Layla. It is a forbidden love. Among other things, their love story explores the complexities of interfaith relationships (she is Muslim, he is Christian). In the end, there will be difficult choices to make, ones that not only affect their own relationship, but also the future of Muslim Spain. In my humble opinion, it’s a really great read.

Emeralds of the AlhambraSP: And for readers who are still unfamiliar with Emeralds of the Alhambra, here’s an excerpt , book trailer , and where to buy. Now, the same for your latest Anthems of al-Andalus book, Shadows in the Shining City, if you please . . .

JC: Again, some preamble. One of the most remarkable aspects of the 800 year history of Muslim Spain, al-Andalus, is that for a long stretch of time (a couple of centuries), Muslims, Jews, and Christians lived together in relative harmony and collectively helped launch one of the greatest intellectual and cultural flowerings of human history. That period of religious and cultural harmony is known today as convivencia (Spanish for ‘coexistence’). A casual glance at our world today, with its religious tensions and conflict, suggests that peace never was and never will be possible among Muslims, Jews, and Christians. However, peaceful coexistence did happen, for a long time, and I view it as vital for us as a global community in the 21st century to recall that fact. One of the central themes of my fiction is this rediscovery of convivencia as it unfolded in al-Andalus.
Shadows in the Shining City is a prequel to Emeralds of the Alhambra, and is set in late 10th century Córdoba (975 CE – 977 CE). It was a remarkable place and period. Muslim Córdoba was the largest, richest, cleanest, and most cultured city in Europe—by far. The Muslim Caliphs were collectors and lovers of books and knowledge, literature and art, and that diverse, multicultural society made pioneering contributions to medicine, science, agriculture, literature, and the arts. Jews, even today, consider this period of living in a Muslim kingdom to be their Golden Age. Jews and Christians were valued and welcomed members of that society. Like Emeralds, Shadows breaks open this rich history using love stories—in this case three running in parallel! The central love story involves Rayhana Abi Abir (a young Muslim woman of standing at court) and Zafir Saffar (a freed slave). In Shadows, I use this central love story to explore class differences in this fascinating society. I also show how one ambitious man orchestrated the unraveling of this great society; it is an archetypal tale of power and greed. Shadows is also a GREAT read!

Shadows in the Shining City

SP: And for readers who can’t wait to peek at your newest book, check out this excerpt and the Shadows in the Shining City book trailer . Now, Shadows is a prequel to Emeralds . . . was it part of your intended series structure all along to write one love story first and then follow up with its prequel or does your series structure evolve in response to each book? Please go on about your intentions for the structure for the remainder of the series.

JC: Actually, making book two a prequel was always the plan. So Anthems of al-Andalus is not a classical (sequential) trilogy. As I said, my aim is to break open 800 years of history. I started in 1367, but wanted then to go back and contrast that time period with this Golden Age in the late 10th century. I knew this before I began book one. I also wanted to show where my characters in Emeralds came from and how they ended up in Granada. The setting for book three in the series was also decided up front. I will jump back over Emeralds and into the future to 1492, to witness the fall of Granada and the Alhambra and show how the 800 history of al-Andalus ends. The descendants of the characters in Emeralds will figure in book three. I will say that this is a series, not a trilogy, so I do intend on writing books four through six, but the settings for those have not been decided yet. There are many fascinating options!

SP: Both books focus on central love stories set during historically significant times that highlight relationships among practitioners of Islam, Judaism, and Christianity. Why is it important to you to use a romantic love story as the central focus of the books? What do you think the element of romance lends to the broader history? What do you hope the reader draws from the romantic relationships and the other types of relationships in the books?

JC: The two central themes of my fiction include: 1) re-awakening the dynamic interaction among the three Abrahamic faith traditions in medieval Muslim Spain, and hopefully through that experience inviting readers to imagine a different future for our modern world (i.e., can convivencia be resurrected today, and if so, how?); and 2) exploring the nature of love. If you stop and think about it, these two themes are strongly connected, since at the deepest level, all religion has love at its core: the love of self, love of the other, and love of God. I believe the history of medieval Spain is fascinating in its own right, but rather than create a history book (I began my writing career with five non-fiction books), I wanted to awaken those memories using fiction, which, if well-executed, can much more easily bring history alive for most folks, allowing readers to literally step into events and see for themselves what it must have been like. Centering my fiction on love stories, especially love stories that cross religious and class boundaries, serves as an ideal vehicle for exploring these broader themes while simultaneously producing a compelling must-read. Truth be told, love knows no artificial boundaries; religious, cultural, class, or race, and hence is the ideal plot device to explore my basic themes. As a side note, I have been greatly blessed in my life with a 31+ year romance with my wife and soul mate, Maria. So, tapping into that experience was easy for me. I have found that writing love stories is a very satisfying way to reawaken that flood of memories from our early days together. Ahhh, young love! And simply put, writing romance is a ton of fun! But, even though my novels have some serious romance in them, it is history first, romance second, and hence I consider my novels historical fiction, not historical romance.

SP: An important distinction. What, if any, are the contemporary connections you have tried to make in terms of the relationships among the peoples/religions/cultures depicted in your book (and now)? What are the modern implications in your historical fiction?

JC: I am very much concerned with interfaith dialogue and inter-religious dynamics in our broken modern world, which so often seems to spawn conflict and shameful atrocities (e.g., Syria, Israel, Gaza, etc.). So, yes, my fiction is intended to help folks remember that the conflict we see today was not always so, and that a different future is indeed possible if we desire another answer. That is not to say that we can necessarily recreate what existed in medieval Spain, but it does mean that what we see today is not mandated; it can be different if we dare to imagine it. In my mind, remembering the simple fact of convivencia in al-Andalus is a powerful incentive to try and create a different future. Imagine for a moment a world without religious conflict. Seems hard, but that is the invitation in my fiction.

SP: So you approach each book with a moral/lesson/goal in mind? How do you go about weaving your opinions and ideals into the narratives?

JC: The broader themes—inter-religious dynamics and the nature of romantic relationships—were present in my fiction from day one and manifest in each of my novels. But, these are obviously VERY broad and complex themes and can be explored in so many ways. So, each novel will attack this problem from different angles. For instance, in Emeralds the love story is across religious boundaries (Muslim woman, Christian man); in Shadows, the central love story is across class boundaries (they are both Muslim, but one is high-born, the other a freed slave). I would say that my themes are not overt in my plot or characters; I am first and foremost trying to bring a period of history alive in front of the reader and invite them to step into that history. Second, I am trying to make it a compelling page-turner. But, the reader will always be able to discern my two themes at work, weaving in and out of the characters and plot.

SP: Excellent. What are your overall goals for the Anthems of al-Andalus series? What inspires you to write these books about these topics? Could you sum up the whole series (so far)? I know that’s probably difficult, so bonus points for answering.

JC: Ultimately, I want to show how medieval Muslim Spain came to be, how it flourished and what that means to our modern world, and how it then fell apart and why. It is an 800 year history with tremendous nuance and fascinating complexity. Plus, it is a history largely unknown to most readers. So, that is the goal: revive this history in a way that makes it fun to read.

SP: What should we expect from your next book?

JC: I am already working on my research for book three and beginning to mull over plot lines. It will be set around 1492, back in Granada during the fall of the Muslim kingdom. It is a riveting time period with MANY interesting topics to address: the conquest of the Muslim kingdom and the Alhambra Palace by Ferdinand and Isabella (lots of battles and conspiracy), the launch of Columbus’ discovery of the New World (he received his commission in Granada in 1492 at the fall), the Inquisition (which is launched to address the issues with the Jews in the Muslim kingdom), the ultimate decision (it was largely political) leading to the great Diaspora of the Sephardic Jews, and the collapse and expulsion of all Muslims from Spain. The list is long. I am still mulling over what kind of love story(-ies) I will unfold along the way. But the descendants of the first two books will be front and center. Trust me: it will be a roller coaster ride!

SP: Looking forward to it. Is there anything else you’d like to add?

JC: Sure, here’s something. As a professor for 22 years now, I have done a tremendous amount of research and teaching and mentoring of young people, as well as my fair share of writing (five non-fiction books and over 500 scientific papers). I have found, however, that my fiction is the single most creatively satisfying thing I have ever done in my life. It has become my lifeblood and will be with me from now until I die! And I am grateful to Lawrence Knorr and Sunbury Press for helping me bring my vision to the world. It has been a fantastic ride thus far!

SP: Thanks again for the insights to your latest book, Shadows in the Shining City (pre-order a copy!) and your series as a whole.

 

Never-before-published interview with Major Hugo Stockburger in “The Lindbergh Baby Kidnapping”

MECHANICSBURG, Pa. — Sunbury Press has released William A. Cook’s definitive work The Lindbergh Baby Kidnapping, including new information about this tragedy.

About the book:

tlbk_fcWhen Charles A. Lindbergh landed outside of Paris on May 21, 1927, completing the first successful solo trans-Atlantic fight, he immediately became the most famous person in the world.  But his celebrity would lead to tragedy.  In the dark of the night on March 1, 1932 without warning, the unthinkable happened. Twenty month old Charles Augustus Lindbergh, Jr., the first born son of the famed aviator and his wife, author Anne Morrow Lindbergh, was taken from his crib in the family home near Hopewell, New Jersey.  On May 12, 1932 the baby boy was found lying in a shallow grave in the woods five miles from home, hideously murdered.  The global outrage that resulted was overwhelming.

Following a two year investigation, on September 19, 1934, an illegal German immigrant and unemployed carpenter with a criminal past, Bruno Richard Hauptmann, was arrested in New York and charged with the crime. A spectacular trial followed in the sleepy little rural town of Flemington, New Jersey that resulted with the conviction and execution of Hauptmann in New Jersey’s electric chair on April 3, 1936. However until this very day a debate has endured over the verdict in the trial. The debate is based in part, on the fact Hauptmann was convicted on circumstantial evidence.

Following the trial and execution of Hauptmann, Col. Lindbergh and his wife Anne relocated to Great Britain. However with the war drums of Nazi Germany starting to beat across Europe, the Lindberghs returned to the United States. Immediately, Col. Lindbergh became involved in the anti-war movement, while his wife wrote a controversial anti-war book. Consequently, the legacy of Charles Lindbergh one of America’s greatest heroes becomes forever tainted.

William Cook’s recounting of these historical events is written with laser-like accuracy using actual police reports and actual trial transcripts and personal documents of Charles and Anne Lindbergh. Also the last surviving member of the investigating team, Major Hugo Stockburger (NJSP) was interviewed for the work and his private papers reviewed.

Cook has exercised great care through-out to present the facts of the case as they were known and reported in order to ensure that the reader will reach their own conclusion on the guilt or innocence of Bruno Richard Hauptmann. In previous published works on the Lindbergh case, Hauptmann is never portrayed as anything less than a cold blooded killer and the moment he is arrested, the author convicts him. While this work is not sympathetic to Hauptmann, the reader can detect a human quality in him that fuels the fire of doubt on his guilt.

This book is different than previously published works on the Lindbergh case for several reasons.

couple smFirst, Cook’s work on the Lindbergh case is different because it contains access to the private files and information obtained from a personal interview with Major Hugo Stockburger, the last surviving member of the Lindbergh investigation conducted by the New Jersey State Police. Major Stockburger passed away at the age of 100 on June 21, 2007, nearly six months following his meeting with the author on January 5, 2007. Major Stockburger was a rather private person who inherently mistrusted writers and members of the press. Their meeting was the first time he ever consented to being interviewed in regard to the Lindbergh case by a writer not associated with the press. So there is new, never before published information in regard to the investigation in our book. For example; the Lindbergh case historians will quickly notice the never before detailed Flemington jail house meeting conversation between Dr. John Condon and Hauptmann. While this event has been noted by other authors in the past, they could not provide any actual dialog of record for the conservation. The notes were kept by Major Stockburger and they remain in his private collection, now in the custody of his son.

Second, this work contains information obtained in an interview with Major Stockburger’s friend of 60 years, fellow New Jersey State Police trooper George Soriano, who was 87 years old when we discussed the Lindbergh case on several occasions. As brother troopers, Stockburger told Soriano many things about the case that he would never have mentioned publicly. Mr. Soriano passed away on July 2, 2009.

Lastly, this work presents a much more detailed profile of Anne Morrow Lindbergh than previously published works on the Lindbergh case. In other books on the crime, Anne Lindbergh, an extremely talented lady in her own right, is presented as a shadow to her famous husband in the chronicle of the crime. But Cook has taken the time to present her as a principle character that can stand alone in the story. Furthermore her emotions are an important aspect for the reader in understanding the brutality of the crime. In fact, this historical and factual portrayal of Anne Morrow Lindbergh might even be considered controversial.

It should also be noted that the author took the initiative to review the Charles and Anne Lindbergh papers archived at Princeton University. No other author writing about the case has ever taken the time to research these documents for the inclusion of human qualities in defining both Charles and Anne Lindbergh in their works.

Research for this work on the Lindbergh case comes from multiple sources:

Access to the private files and a personal interview with Major Hugo Stockburger.

An interview with Major Stockburger’s friend of 60 years and fellow NJ State Police trooper George Soriano.

The New Jersey State Police Museum and Archives, West Trenton, NJ.

The Ann and Charles A. Lindbergh collection of Princeton University

The New York Public Library

The Carnegie Free Library of New Brunswick, New Jersey

Several previously published works

The Lindbergh Baby Kidnapping

Authored by William A. Cook

List Price: $19.95
6″ x 9″ (15.24 x 22.86 cm)
Black & White on White paper
388 pages
Sunbury Press, Inc.
ISBN-13: 978-1620063392
ISBN-10: 1620063395
BISAC: History / United States / 20th Century

For more information about the book, please see:
http://www.sunburypressstore.com/The-Lindbergh-Baby-Kidna…