Category Archives: Author Spotlight

Jews who Helped Settle the Wild West

Jews who Helped Settle the Wild West by Edwin Radin is available at retailers worldwide!

Find it at your favorite bookstore

Jews who Helped Settle the Wild West is a historical overview of the brave men and women who helped found America. Using profiles of important people and places in this exciting period in our nation’s history, author Edwin Radin sheds light on the important role that Judaism played in the taming of the United States.

Get your copy today and leave a review when you’re finished!

Interested in becoming a published author? We’ve developed a five-step plan that will guide you through the process. For a limited time, download a free copy of The Self-Publishing Handbook here.

In the Shadows: A Story About Standing Strong Together

We are happy to announce that In the Shadows: A Story About Standing Together by Carol Patricia Richardson is now available for purchase at retailers worldwide!

Find your copy at a major retailer or request it from your favorite bookstore!

Blue Baxter turns twelve in 1954 just as the school year ends, and she settles in for a long, lazy summer vacation.

But when backyard garden vegetables begin to mysteriously disappear in the night, Blue’s investigation leads to the discovery of three “illegal” migrant worker kids hiding in a tool shed. They’re on the run from border patrol agents and fearful of taking help from strangers who might turn them in.

Determined to do what’s right, Blue enlists the help of her GramZees, the one person Blue trusts to speak her mind, even when it means facing down hate and prejudice.

But doing the right thing means hard choices are ahead for Blue and her family. Going against the law, their neighbors, and white supremacists puts everyone in jeopardy as they race against time to find the migrant children’s grandmother in hopes of giving them a haven from deportation.

As tensions rise in town, border patrol agents and white supremacist vigilantes close in. Blue finds herself coming of age in the midst of a historic moment, caught between what is right and what is safe.

Grab your copy of In the Shadows today and leave a review when you’re finished!

Interested in becoming a published author? We’ve developed a five-step plan that will guide you through the process. For a limited time, download a free copy of The Self-Publishing Handbook here.

Something’s Brewing by Jillian Ober and Tom Fish

Congratulations to authors Jillian Ober and Tom Fish for the release of their new book, Something’s Brewing: Short Stories and Plays for Everyone.

This book is full of delightful stories about navigating the ups and downs of adulthood while living with a disability. The characters’ perspectives are fresh and honest as they overcome heartbreak, face disappointments, renew friendships and celebrate triumphs. An informative read for anyone who is curious about what it is like to live with a disability, or just wants a feel good tale about the power of friendship and belonging.

Tom and Jillian have done it again – engaging their audience in stories that speak to the lived experience of individuals with developmental disabilities. Being able to see and hear oneself in the characters of a story or play is empowering

The characters in Something’s Brewing are sure to be a hit with readers around the world.

Find your copy of Something’s Brewing on Amazon for just $14.99 today! Don’t forget to leave a review to let us know what you think.

Interested in becoming a published author? We’ve developed a five-step plan that will guide you through the process. For a limited time, download a free copy of The Self-Publishing Handbook here.

Intentional Manhood: A Coach’s Perspective by Mike Stanley

Mike Stanley’s new book, Intentional Manhood: A Coach’s Perspective is now available for purchase!

Although we hear repeatedly that we should live as Godly men, rarely are we taught what actionable steps we can take to honor Jesus, or frankly, what “manhood” even means. So we drift through life and never reach our full potential.

Intentional Manhood is told with the authority and no-excuses attitude that come from Coach Mike Stanley’s 50 years as a coach, combined with the compassion and relatability of his perspective as a man acutely aware of his own flaws. Within these pages Coach Stanley will:

• Encourage you to find your Goal, Guide, and Game Plan for life.
• Inspire you to fulfill your Unique Calling to provide for and protect your family.
• Help you See Clearly the Sacred Mission you have been entrusted with by Almighty God Himself.
• Reinforce the truth that no one can live as an Intentional Man without the power of the Holy Spirit.

Find Intentional Manhood on Amazon or request it from your favorite bookstore. Don’t forget to leave a review to let us know what you think!

Interested in becoming a published author? We’ve developed a five-step plan that will guide you through the process. For a limited time, download a free copy of The Self-Publishing Handbook here.

Co-Author Spotlight — Dumpster Doll: The Early Years

Dumpster Doll: The Early Years is a co-authored memoir by Michelle Mays and Michelle Moone that details the life of Mays, who was born into an abusive family in the Midwest. As Mays and her siblings cling to survival, the balance of family ties is weighed against alcoholism, drug abuse, abandonment, and despair. Hope dawns in the form of foster care, only to be deferred by multiple placements and a system not equipped to support the children it’s meant to protect.

Michelle Mays’ inspiration to write Dumpster Doll: The Early Years originated in high school when her AP Literature teacher, Mr. Seward, told her to stay after class one day and asked if the essay assignment she had turned in was her life’s story. She said yes, and Mr. Steward told her, “You have to write a book and tell your stories. These can help people.”

She heard similar encouragement from Dr. Kline, her college psychology professor. Dr. Kline even offered to help Michelle write her story, and they often met over lunch and dinner to workshop one chapter at a time. During one of the workshop sessions, Dr. Kline brought up the term ‘dumpster doll’ during the chapter “Nelly.”

“I drove home that night and could not get that term out of my head,” Michelle said. “That night forward, ‘Dumpster Doll’ has been the title. My life has been forever molded by wonderful mentors such as [Mr. Seward and Dr. Kline].”

The modern iteration of the book didn’t begin until Michelle Moone went through a difficult layoff. By then, the Michelles were already best friends and would often call each other just to talk.

Michelle Mays was driving back from an upsetting visit with her family, and she decided to call “her bestie” Michelle Moone to lighten the mood. “[Moone] has wonderful advice and is very wise,” said Mays.

During the call, Moone said “you know Michelle since I have known you, I have wanted to write your story. Can I take a stab at it?”

Mays liked the idea and said yes, thinking it was a great way to distract her friend from the recent layoff and an excuse for them to hang out.

“I honestly thought we would have a few girls’ nights and some bottles of wine and [the plan to write the book] would fizzle. But she is such a beautiful writer and made the act of rehashing these horrible facts a lot less painful than I anticipated. I never would have done this by myself. Sometimes we would be so engrossed in a story that it would be 5:30 am before we looked at a clock.”

Mays has always been open about telling small, isolated pieces of her story to help others feel better, but it was difficult for her to tell her full, uncensored experiences.

“It was honestly like letting go of a weight I have been holding for over 40 years. We would sit, and I would reveal one story at a time, and then Moone would type. She would then read what she wrote to me, and I would close my eyes while she was reading. I always said, ‘if I can’t picture it, then it’s not detailed enough.’ We re-wrote so many stories together—over and over—to add more emotion and substance because I wanted the reader to feel like they were there.’”

Moone said that if Mays cried at what was written, then they knew they had gotten it right.

They took several breaks from writing Dumpster Doll, such as when Mays starred in a musical, performed DJ gigs, and went through a death in the family. They kept going though, and largely in part due to both of them working together.

One of the biggest barriers Mays faced when trying to tell her story in the past was the judgment or pity written on other people’s faces.

Michelle Mays

“I hate the pity look. If someone gives me that look, I think to myself, ‘why do you think I need pity? I am stronger than you will ever be able to comprehend.’”

Mays recommends writing your own story with a trusted friend, especially if you’re struggling to get it down on the page.

“I wrote the preface all by myself and dehydrated my body crying so much,” said Mays. “Michelle Moone is my best friend and has a degree in psychology, so I felt comfortable revealing things that I could not admit to anyone else.”

They finalized Dumpster Doll in the cabin where Mays would go as a child with the Lariscys, and she did it with her chosen family, her best friend.

Like Mr. Seward suggested many years ago, Mays wanted Dumpster Doll to be “a story for those who need hope when this world seems like too much to handle.” She hopes anyone who’s gone through similar atrocities finds strength from reading her stories, and she wants them to know that they’re not alone.

On the opposite side of the spectrum, Mays wants bullies, parents with addictions, and sexual predators to also read her book. “I hope it heals their hearts and helps them see life in a different light,” she said. “Maybe if people see how bad it can get, they will think twice before making those mistakes at the expense of a child’s innocence.”

The positive feedback the Michelles have received for Dumpster Doll has been amazing, and word of the book has spread at a shocking speed.

“It is everything that I had hoped would happen,” said Mays. “My husband told me I am not allowed to read the reviews in public anymore because I keep crying, and he doesn’t want people to get the impression we are fighting.”

They’ve been contacted by multiple organizations since the book has gone on sale. Mays was in the early stages of creating a foundation to support foster children who age out of the system when a Vice President of a company in Columbus, Ohio approached her and offered to help her start the organization.

This new foundation will provide transitional support to aging foster children, whose numbers can range around 20,000. Many of them become addicted to drugs, homeless, or commit suicide.

“Having been there myself, I can relate [to their] mentality and [overwhelming] lack of self-esteem once the system drops them due to age,” Mays said.

An employee of CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) also reached out to them after reading Dumpster Doll, saying how impactful the book was and that they (the CASA member) would take it to their superior to add to the national recommended reading list.

CASA is a giant organization that spans the entire country and helps out foster children, so the Michelles were ecstatic to hear that Dumpster Doll would be nominated for the reading list. Mays exclaimed, “That is exactly what I shared my story for!”

Another piece of exciting news for the Michelles was when Dumpster Doll attracted the attention of the NY Times Bestselling Author, Caroline Leavitt. Leavitt interviewed Jacob Marquez, the creator of a large book club named The Reading Corner, for her blog. When Leavitt asked, “What book is on your radar that people might not know?” Jacob answered Dumpster Doll, and Leavitt included a picture of the book on her site.  

The most recent bit of news came from Mays’ cousin Ben, who does sound and production work for gospel singers and has been nominated fifteen times for a Grammy. Ben offered to produce an audiobook version of Dumpster Doll in his studio with Mays as the narrator. The recording is scheduled to begin in March.

A sequel to Dumpster Doll is in the works, which will focus on the period of Mays’ life when she was aged out of the foster system and faced homelessness. So far, the Michelles have finished half of the second book, but haven’t decided on a title yet.

They hope their story is picked up for a TV series, which would “spread the word faster and farther.”

“I had a recurring dream (like watching a movie) of this part of my life every night until we were finished with my early years,” said Mays. Now the recurring dream is of my teenage years. I’m hoping once I finish the adult years, all the demons will be put to rest.”

Dumpster Doll is a phenomenal story that deserves to be heard and should be shared to help others who are going through similar circumstances. We’re proud to publish Dumpster Doll, and don’t be afraid to share your story.


Columbus Publishing Lab FaviconDo you have a story that needs to be heard? Learn more about our quality publishing packages here.

Bode Gets a Job — Proving Press

Dr. Bobby Moore returned to Proving Press to produce the sequel to his work The Book of Bode. In the new release, Bode Gets a Job, Bode tries out many different jobs, including work as a rescue dog, a show dog, and a guide dog.

Dr. Bobby Moore brought his own illustrations to the project.  Columbus Publishing Lab took those illustrations and created a flawlessly formatted interior layout and cover.  

With a keen eye for detail, the Columbus Publishing Lab team copyedited, proofed and created an e-book version of Bode Gets a Job. Once the final product was executed to perfection, we distributed the book as a paperback, hardback and e-book, so that children can get excited about reading, and of course, dogs.

Find Bode Gets a Job at these retailers or ask for the book at your local bookstore.

 

Dream of a Lifetime: Ten Years in the Upper Amazon — Proving Press

Norman Walters brought a wealth of life experiences to Columbus Publishing Lab in Dream of a Lifetime: Ten Years in the Upper Amazon.  Musician, songwriter, artist, and the owner of a tourist destination along the Amazon river in the heart of the Peruvian jungle, Norman Walters had adventures to share, and he trusted Columbus Publishing Lab to produce his memoir.

The Columbus Publishing Lab team edited the manuscript, designed the interior and the cover, proofread it, and distributed Dream of a Lifetime: Ten Years in the Upper Amazon to all major retailers in paperback and e-book editions.  The end result?  Norman’s escapades can now be read by a worldwide audience in an attractive, professionally published book.

“Interspersed with tales of his gloriously misspent youth, one of the hardest-working hippies of his generation recounts the genesis of his remarkable achievement–the creation of an eco-sensitive tourist lodge in Peru’s Amazon jungle.”  — Amazon reviewer

Find Dream of a Lifetime: Ten Years in the Upper Amazon at these retailers or ask for the book at your local bookstore.

Author Spotlight: Katie Barron

If you live in the Columbus, Ohio area and you’ve picked up a local paper or walked into a cbuscoloringlocal shop, you’ve most likely come across The Columbus Ohio Coloring and Activity Book by Katie Barron. Katie has been interviewed by 614 Magazine and The Columbus Dispatch, and her coloring book has also appeared in Columbus Alive.

The Columbus Ohio Coloring and Activity Book features hand-drawn illustrations of the most recognizable neighborhoods in Columbus. From German Village to the Short North, Katie’s illustrations showcase some of the best parts of Columbus.

Find The Columbus Ohio Coloring and Activity Book here.

We recently had a chat with Katie to talk about how her coloring book came to be, and what’s in store for her next.

CPL: Why did you decide to create The Columbus Ohio Coloring and Activity Book?

Katie: I love drawing cityscapes and I love Columbus, so this was a perfect combination. I was really surprised it hasn’t already been done! People are are really proud of this city now, everyone’s wearing Ohio T-shirts and we’re seeing things like WOSU’s Columbus Neighborhoods. If there was ever a good time to release a book like this, it’s now!

CPL: What was the creation process like?

Katie: First I took a ton of photographs of each neighborhood. Then I looked through all the photographs I took and mapped out the entire book. Then I drew everything with Rapidograph pens, scanned each drawing, and touched it up in Photoshop.

CPL: Why did you decide to self-publish vs. going the traditional route?

Katie: I like having control over the creative process and retaining the rights to all the images, but honestly I didn’t think there was another option! I also felt like it was important to publish locally, especially since it’s a book about Columbus.

CPL: Your book has received a ton of positive press around Columbus. Did you expect it to be this successful when you first decided to make the book a reality?

Katie: I hoped it would, I definitely believed in this book while I was making it. I didn’t expect it though, so I’ve been really excited about all the good press!

CPL: How does it feel when you pick up a newspaper or walk into a local shop and see your book?

Katie: I still get really excited! I always take photos on my phone and text my mom or boyfriend, they’ve got to be getting sick of it by now but I can’t help it! My favorite part though is these amazing emails and Facebook messages I’ve been getting from people who bought the book. They take the time to write these incredibly sweet messages about how they, their kids, their relatives or their friends enjoy my book. Sometimes people even send photos of them holding the book!

CPL: Besides Amazon.com, where can people pick up a copy of your coloring book?

Katie: Bink Davies, State & Third, The Wexner Store, Sean Christopher Gallery, What the Rock!?, Wholly Craft, Mary B’s Gift Shop and Celebrate Local.

CPL: Do you have any advice for illustrators who are interested in making their book ideas a reality?

Katie: Use the Internet! Any question you may have about publishing (or almost anything), someone has probably already answered online. This is how I did it. I just read about other people’s experiences and different opinions, and then decided for myself what the best plan/strategy was for me. It was a lot of reading and it was kind of boring, but I think that’s the best way to do it.

CPL: What’s next for you?

Katie: Right now I’m halfway through working on The Columbus Ohio Coloring and Activity Book Part II. The title is even longer this time! This book will feature Olde Towne East, Victorian Village, Italian Village, and The University District. I have a couple other exciting projects that have come from The Columbus Ohio Coloring and Activity Book, but unfortunately I can’t talk about them yet.

Katie is a great author to work with, and we can’t wait to see her next project. If you’re interested in making your book a reality, we invite you to contact us by clicking here. Our editors and designers work closely with each author to ensure each project is a success.

Author Spotlight: R.K. Blessing

Maybe we’re a little biased, but we think Columbus Publishing Lab authors are pretty clare r coverawesome. We recently had a chat with R.K. Blessing, author of Clare R., to talk about his self-publishing experience.

Find Clare R. on Amazon.com here.

Like every author who has finished a manuscript, Blessing had to make a decision. Self-publish, or seek out a traditional publisher? For Blessing, self-publishing made the most sense.

Blessing said he first learned about Columbus Publishing Lab after attending a self-publishing seminar. “It was very informative and really got me thinking about the route of self-publishing. It seemed much more viable, and made the idea of publishing seem that much more possible. In other words, I could make a dream become a reality,” Blessing said.

After doing researching on self-publishing companies, Blessing decided to stop into our office and see if Columbus Publishing Lab would be a good fit for his project. “Being able to meet with a group of people in-person and discuss the hard copy of my work was a no-brainer,” Blessing said.

Blessing knew his novel wasn’t ready to go to print right away, and he was dedicated to improving it before handing it over to his readers. After choosing Columbus Publishing Lab,  he commissioned a developmental edit to ensure he received detailed, professional feedback on his manuscript. Blessing said he was nervous to place his first novel into the hands of an editor. “That book contained a lot of emotion, good and bad… I wanted to write something personal, something folks could relate to. To do this you have to become vulnerable and open up [to your readers], as well as open yourself up to criticism and critique. This is what makes your work better,” Blessing said.

Blessing had an idea for the cover, but was willing to let the cover designer take the reins. Being so close to the story, Blessing said it was nerve-wracking to entrust someone else with his idea. “The cover I thought of initially seemed romantic and dramatic to me, but I knew it was dry. It needed more. When I saw what the designer came up with I laughed. I knew it was perfect. It had the flare to draw people in, and…it also maintained qualities I was hoping to use. I couldn’t have been more pleased,” Blessing said.

As an author who has successfully published his first book, Blessing said he would highly recommend the self-publishing experience to other authors. “Writing is not easy by any means. It takes a lot of work and reworking. The thought of going to a big publisher and having them shut you down is very discouraging. Working with Columbus Publishing Lab allows you room to grow during the writing process,” Blessing said.

Learn more about Columbus Publishing Lab packages and services here. 

Blessing said his favorite part of self-publishing so far has been seeing his writing improve along the way. He also enjoyed watching the different parts of his book come together. “Everything got smoother and smoother, and then CPL sent me an email telling me my book was on its way. Hooray!”

“In the end I had a finished product to be proud of, and one that is available for people to read. Self-publishing allows writers to get past that initial hurdle, and from there, the sky’s the limit.”

Blessing currently has a novel and a children’s book about fly fishing in the works. He plans to self-publish both with Columbus Publishing Lab.

We love working with talented, passionate authors like R.K. Blessing. If you’re interested in self-publishing, we invite you to contact us here. A real, live person is on the other end.