Monday, November 17, 2014

Books and Authors at Siren & Muse Publishing

Mark Beyer
MAX, the blind guy (June 2015) ... Maximilian Ruth, aging artist and now blind, is led by his wife, Greta, as they travel Europe on a swan song holiday with a tour group of recalcitrant retirees. Here they recount their 40-year marriage of love and infidelity and estrangement, but through all of that, they remain together. This story is a dark anti-romance. “Max, the blind guy” is also the story of choices that a husband and wife make, which, apart from their ardor and honor, erode trust but leave the fibers that do not allow them to pull away so easily; they must therefore feel their way toward some shared middle-ground,

WHAT BEAUTY (2012) ... "I want to read this book. I must read this book." — Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award  "Minus Orth's eccentricities ... make him the iconoclast he is intended to be." — Publishers Weekly

Minus Orth walks dogs for a living and sculpts for his life. He’s ready to create a unique sculpture cycle — Mythical Gods in Their Twilight. Meanwhile, he has a girlfriend, Belinda, who’s itching to get married. His friend, Peter N, has reaped artistic success that’s both inspirational and a thorn. He plays poker with a quartet of exiled aristocrats. And at Minus’s art co-op, the residents live on the fringe of society.

One day Minus crosses paths with Karen Kosek, best remembered as a culture critic of the 1960s. Karen dropped out of sight years ago. Now she dresses as a bag lady — ragged clothes, a garbage smell, and bulging plastic bags she carries as if they hold the secrets to the good life. Minus orchestrates a tenuous relationship with Karen, and discovers in her a woman who has not been trampled underfoot, but is burrowed deeper in society’s crust than anyone could imagine. Thus begins an odyssey in which Minus becomes obsessed with Karen’s past and present, obsessed with creating his sculpture cycle, and with the role artists play in society’s split personality.

“Do you have what it takes to make something beautiful?” is a question that comes to the minds of many characters in this story. Their answers are hilarious, confused, self-delusional, virtuous, or simply truthful, because the people who create beauty are different from those who value beauty, and far afield from the powers able to help it flourish … or destroy it. 

THE VILLAGE WIT (2010) ... American Richard Bentley settles in rural England, looking for the contented life of a bookshop keeper and some fun with the local women. His wife of fourteen years left him out of “marital boredom,” so Heath-on-the-Wold seems the ideal place to get lost in work and forget the past. Bentley then hires Peggy White, a mid-forties townswoman who seems his match in sass and intellect. Soon, the rules of attraction open a new chapter in their lives. THE VILLAGE WIT follows Richard and Peggy’s often humorous and sometimes dark odyssey through village life, love’s fall, sexual politics, and that place where memory and modern love intersect. This novel explores, from the male point of view, the acts of love and its betrayal, loss and longing, and the steps one makes to find love again.

In the tradition of Iris Murdoch, Richard Ford, Margaret Atwood, and Norman Rush, THE VILLAGE WIT delves deeply into the effects of loss, and the shadows found in love’s corners.

Tristan Crabb
FOR EVER (2011) ... Ethan Smith is a shy guy, a Chicagoan, and has an eye for beauty. When he meets Jack's girlfriend, Mia, his love of beauty overcomes his shyness. All a part of love & war, right? Except Jack is Ethan's cousin, and the family is a bit messed up with their infighting anyway. So when the romance and counter-romance moves like armies in a summer campaign, the fabric of a family is at risk of unraveling.

Tristan Crabb has found a voice for his novel from the ghosts of Hemingway, Lawrence, and Joyce. There is richness in story and character, and the themes of love and betrayal are universal.

Jake Otten
A MATTER OF TASTE (2013) ... In 1920s Paris, American couple Mattie & Wayne Harper arrive for a belated honeymoon, where they meet Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and the "Lost Generation" crowd. Wayne and Mattie are Hollywood writers and up-and-coming socialites, but little in America (or their Midwest backgrounds) could prepare them for what The City of Light has in store for them: Jazz bars, liquor galore, cheating husbands and wives, and women & men on the make.

When Fitzgerald and Hemingway make a play for the young Americans' souls in exchange for thrills, the novice socialites learn something about European manners, American expatriates, and each other.