Category Archives: Books

New Arrival: The Titanic – Lily’s Story by Jamie Contreras

On April 15, 2012, it will have been 100 years since Titanic sank. Titanic set sail with 2,228 passengers and crew. Only 705 Titanic people survived.

This is the story of one of its passengers, Lily and her family. They are traveling first class with their servants and the family dog, Khloe. Lily is a rambunctious little girl that is always looking for adventure! While on board, Lily meets a little red-haired girl, name Katy Grace. Katy is traveling from Ireland with her aunt’s family to America. Katy recently lost her parents and even though her Aunt took her in, she is not welcome. Lily and Katy become quick friends and enjoy having the run of the ship. Lily’s Father was one of the designers of the Titanic and worked for Harland and Wolff, so Lily knows all about the ship from him.

Will Lily’s family survive the sinking?

Will Katy’s spiteful family survive or will an unfortunate fate place her in the care of a family that she longs for so desperately?



Jamie will be at Barnhill’s on Saturday, April 21st from 11-1 reading from and signing copies of her book.


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Maria McCutchen is coming to Barnhills on Saturday, Jan 21st!!!


Maria McCutchen did not have time to be sick. With a husband who had just lost a job, two young sons, and a cross-country move on the horizon, who had time to be sick? Maria didn’t have time for a common cold, let alone a major medical condition. But one day while shopping in the grocery store where she had shopped hundreds of times before, she couldn’t find the milk. It was then she knew what she was feeling was more than just stress or exhaustion. There was something very wrong.

After consulting a few doctors, Maria discovered she had a rare brain cyst known as a posterior fossa arachnoid cyst—a very large brain cyst. Hearing these cysts were normally asymptomatic was of little comfort, especially because she felt her mind and body slipping away more and more every day. Normal mental and physical functions were becoming harder to control. Even if the doctors didn’t believe the cyst was a problem, she knew it was.

It would take months of living inside a shell of a person that she’d become, months of living in a mental fogginess and sometimes even physical pain, before she would finally get the medical attention she needed. It’s All in Your Head chronicles her harrowing medical odyssey and her attempts to regain some sort of semblance of her old life after treatment.

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Green Gospel by L.C. Fiore

Charles Fiore, author of Green Gospel was recently in the store discussing his debut novel.

Fleeing the FBI, eco-terrorist Edie Aberdeen escapes to the small, rural town of Arcadia, Florida. She hopes to reinvent herself and forget her criminal past. But when she falls in with a mega-church whose pastor preaches a fiery brand of environmental fundamentalism, she must choose between abdication and one final, radical act to save the church from financial ruin.

Several unforgettable characters narrate this vivid debut novel that examines the roots of fundamentalism, the powerful sway of community, and cuts to the heart of the question of whether or not people change.

Here is a brief video taken while he was here describing why he felt compelled to write this book.

Alex Shakar, author of The Savage Girl wrote:  ” A powerfully unfolding story of the changing landscapes of our time – physical, cultural, and personal.  With Green Gospel, L. C. Fiore establishes himself as a writer of extraordinary sensitivity and insight.”

Here is another brief clip of Charles reading from his book.

Autographed copies of this book are still available at Barnhills.

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New Year’s Resolutions

Are you going to make a New Year’s Resolution this year?  I usually don’t (because I can never keep them), but this year I am going to make 2.

The first one is personal in that I am going to try to be more healthy (active) this year.  Not necessarily to lose weight, but to be more healthy.  That means exercising a little more (alright then – start exercising) and try eating a little less at each meal and making better decisions about what to eat.

The second one is for the business.  I am going to try to post at least 2 blogs a week about all the interesting, new & exciting things that are happening at Barnhills.  I will talk about upcoming events, new book or art arrivals or just whatever comes to mind.  Please bear with me – because writing is not my forte, but I will do my best.

Hope that you have a wonderful, healthy and prosperous new year.


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Pitch the Publisher

Mike Simpson
Second Wind Publishing, LLC
Call or email to reserve your time.
You will be given a one hour block, and must be present at the beginning of that time. When your name is called you have ten minutes to pitch the publisher!
Your novel must be complete in order to pitch it. Be prepared to email your full book just in case asked.

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Coming Soon to Barnhills: Green Gospel by I.C. Fiore

Here is a great review that was published in the Greensboro News & Record on Oct.  18th about this book.



Page Turners

Books with a North Carolina accent.

October 18, 2011

Dark green

Image accompanying article

The new novel, “Green Gospel,” the first by Durham resident L.C. Fiore, examines an age-old question: Can people change? The question, this time, is posed in terms that burn and explode. It’s a story so today that the actions that drive it could be online at the Huffington Post right now.

Ecoterrorist Edie Aberdeen, a California college dropout, is on the run from the FBI in the opening scene. She has hooked up with a coyote hauling a truckload of illegal immigrants to harvest crops in Florida. She’s fleeing the botched firebombing of a lab in San Francisco. She’s not sure, but she might have killed her lover in the chaos at the lab.

I’ll pause a minute here so you can check for such a posting. …

Aberdeen winds up in the fictional small town of Arcadia, which seems to be Central Florida, somewhere north of the theme parks. She becomes a live-in nanny with a single mom. The mom is struggling to raise two small boys on a hospital aide’s salary. As Edie emotionally adopts them, they, in turn, almost literally adopt her. The rhythms of their domesticity allow the novel to examine the nature of family and community.

People aren’t born terrorists. It’s a job you learn. Aberdeen’s political development and growing frustrations with situations that seem immune to change are nicely developed. She’s entirely believable.

She isn’t the only well-drawn character. The novel has several. Mae — she’s the hospital aide — is overweight, overworked and unable to keep a clean house and properly feed and clothe her two young sons. Her ne’er-do-well husband, in and out of jail, is mostly absent. But the emotional carnage he left in the household is present every day. One of the boys doesn’t talk since his father left.

The author tagged him with a terrible name, Vester, which I found annoying. It’s one of those Southern backwoods names that reeks of stereotypes. The meanest country boy I ever met was named Roger.

Mae is a member of a fundamentalist church, whose pastor, the Rev. Reginald Dancer, is trying to salvage his career through a gospel-inspired solar farm. He doesn’t think small, but financial machinations and a declining membership are putting the squeeze on him.

Mae is so insistent that Aberdeen becomes involved in the church, too. One of the nicest scenes in the novel is the church Christmas pageant, which centers on what is called the Living Christmas Tree. The choir stands on scaffolding to project a tree effect. At the top of the tree, just under the roof of the church, stands the star, Edie Aberdeen.

What makes the tree such a rich metaphor is that it echoes an earlier scene in the novel. Aberdeen is a true-blue tree hugger. She camped in the branches of a California redwood in an attempt to prevent the tract from being logged. It ended in disaster, further radicalizing her.

So, when she’s in the Christmas tree, a comic situation, the scene is filled with tension as you remember the earlier tree episode. Fiore deserves a congratulations for bringing this off.

Fiore is communications coordinator of the N.C. Writers Network, based in Carrboro. He holds an M.A. in creative writing from Northwestern and has had several short stories published.

His sentences sound forced at times: “She felt the pavement spin as if she were the handle of a Chinese yo-yo — flimsy and brightly colored paper twirling in a child’s hand.” In another instance, “gliding through intersections like the blade of an ice skate glides across a frozen lake.” He was describing a car.

The annoyances and shortcomings are small. This is a well-written, well-structured novel.

So, can people change? Yes, some can. Some do.

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New Arrival at Barnhill’s: Over Her Dead Body by Karen Vaughn

 Over Her Dead Body Author: Karen Vaughan Reviewed by Fran Lewis

Just how far would you go to keep your man? To what lengths would an over the hill, used up pushing forty year old due to keep her hot 84 year old husband of more than 20 years? After all he is rich, gives her all the perks she wants and for that she keeps him relatively happy if you know what I mean. So, why would she be jealous of an octogenarian old woman who is friends with her husband? Ethel Peterson had an untimely death. Well, not really she had some help. Someone came into her apartment and beat her over the head with a bat. From the prologue of the story we learn that someone was paid one million dollars to rid the world of this lovely lady. But, just who and why remains to be seen. From the talented author of Dead On Arrival where our main character Laura comes home and finds a dead coworker in her living room comes another hilarious murder filled with twists, mayhem, wild and zany characters and two building supers that play sleuth to help solve the case. Once again author Karen Vaughan delivers a first rate mystery. Ethel is gone but her family does not seem to care. Or do they? Coming to see her affects and check out what needs to be done, her niece Adrianna shows no emotion and just wants to be done with anything related to poor Ethel. Laura is more than upset at this girls unacceptable behavior and can’t imagine why she treated the incident and Ethel like yesterday’s trash. But, there is much more as we meet Sanford Brown who has a special interest in this case and who adored Ethel. Well, wife Leena who is tons years his junior, does not like and did not like the relationship and who will do anything to keep her rich sugar daddy. But, would she commit murder? Just as Laura and her live in boyfriend Gerry begin cleaning out apartments, dealing with Ethel’s death several incidents happen letting the reader know that someone is not happy that she is snooping around and someone just might get hurt. Her car is vandalized, her boyfriend is injured and someone on the phone verbally threatens her but she thinks she knows who that might be. Added to that to make matters even worse her ex-husband is hired by the owners of the restaurant where she works as the cook. Dealing with that and much more Laura surely needs more than just a hug from Gerry and support from her friends and family. So, what will happen when wife Leena learns that Sandy is about to try and cut her loose? What will be the killer’s next move? Things get complicated as Gerry is injured, Laurie’s car is vandalized, Sandy is shot and one loony tune wife is on the run or just out there causing more havoc than she is worth. Let’s not forget sister Jackie who has issues with Leena of her own. Added to that Jackie and her father are definitely two of a kind and have a borderline personality that tips in the wrong direction when crossed. Did Leena pay someone with her father’s money to off poor Ethel? Just how far would this lunatic go before more bodies are found? If Laura did not have enough trouble she relates to the reader how her ex-husband is having trouble with his parents and his new boyfriend who is pressuring him to make a permanent commitment. Sandy relates how Leena followed him to the Senior Center and demanded his drop poor Ethel? Poor Detective Gibbons never knew what hit him when Laura came to live in his town and poor Gerry is getting fed up with her playing amateur detective. Poor Laura can’t seem to win and she is getting it from all sides. Added to that a star witness is murdered, the sister needs protection, security has to be beefed up at Sandy’s and Laura now needs a police escort. What will happen next? When will the nightmare be over and will they ever be able to prove who killed Ethel and why? Then Laura and Jackie are kidnapped and taken to stand trial. Wait until you find out who the judge is. Threatening to shoot jurors, kill Laura and Jackie will anyone find them before it’s too late? With an ending that will keep you guessing, laughing and definitely in suspense author Karen Vaughn once again delivers a wild and zany mystery with characters that are so unique and different you hope they come back for more. Will poor Laura ever go home and not find herself smack dab in the middle of a murder? Will they remain where they are or will they decide to move? Will Gerry and Laura ever tie the knot? What happens to Leena will endear you not only to the police department but to Sandy, Laura, Jackie and of course Gerry in more ways than one. What happens when a woman decides no one is going to take her man? What really happened to Ethel and how many people were involved in her murder? That is something I promised Gerry, Laura and Office Gibbons I would never divulge. After all: They still have to bring the culprit to trial. What is next for Laura and Gerry? Let’s hope author Karen Vaughan has more mysteries, plots, murders and excitement in store for our two favorite supers, amateur sleuth and of course readers. What happens at the end to prove that Adrianna might not be so cold and that she just might have loved her aunt? Find out for yourself when you read this great book.

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