Saturday, October 29, 2011

Just Who Is Amy Krout-Horn

The latest in the "Just Who Series," in her own words:
Amy Krout-Horn (Oieihake Win, Last Word Woman) has resided in two worlds; the world of the sighted and the world of the blind. She has been a writer in both of them. She spent time in Washington DC acting as a political lobbyist for the disabled, worked as the first blind teaching assistant at the University of Minnesota’s American Indian Studies program, and holds degrees in American Indian studies and psychology. She is a regular contributor to Slate and Style magazine and, in 2008, was awarded their top fiction prize for War Pony. Amy, with her life-partner, Gabriel Horn, co-authored the novella, Transcendence (All Things That Matter Press, 2009). Her creative non-fiction was featured in the spring 2010 issue of Breath and Shadow, and Talking Stick Native Arts Quarterly published her essay, “Bleeding Black,” in their fall 2010 issue. Her latest book is an autobiographical novel, My Father’s Blood (All Things That Matter Press, 2011). Currently, she is at work on her third novel, Dancing in Concrete Moccasins. 
A staunch advocate for social and environmental justice, she writes and lectures on native history and culture, diabetes and disability, and humanity’s connection and commitment to the natural world. For more information, to purchase books, or to contact Amy, please visit her official web site.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Just Who Is Jeff Gephart, Anyway?

Just as my wanderlust has kept me moving from place to place and working in diverse capacities, my writing defies strict categorization, from the satirical humor blog I post on my website ( to the poignant drama of my first two novels—2006’s The Second Life and Out of Dark Places, published in 2011 by All Things That Matter Press.  The settings and characters can change, but one theme that ties most of my writing together is the examination of the human spirit.  I find people fascinating, and I want to understand what motivates and inspires them, so that’s what I write about.  Most of the kids my age loved Star Wars for the space battles and memorable aliens, but what drew me in was the battle raging within Luke Skywalker’s soul and his ultimate decision to reject the Dark Side.  To me, nothing is more compelling than a story of someone finding the resources within themselves to overcome life’s staggering obstacles.  The Second Life deals with a man who rejects society’s definition of religion and struggles to find the truth within himself, while Out of Dark Places features a protagonist who learns that the connections we make with others might be enough to redeem his tattered soul. 
While my next project will be a more light-hearted, comedic look at a character finding his way through a confusing world, I’m sure you’ll notice those same themes of self-discovery and the evolution of the human spirit.  If you’re a reader that enjoys having your empathy awakened and discovering that the similarities of our life experiences is what binds us all together, I have a feeling you’ll find it as rewarding to read my books as it was for me to write them.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Elizabeth Cunningham and the Red-Robed Priestess

Tomorrow night I have the great honor of interviewing Elizabeth Cunningham, one of the most fearless and authentic writers alive today. Cunningham is the author of the famed Maeve Chronicles, as well as many individual books, such as The Wild Mother; The Return of the Goddess, a Divine Comedy; How to Spin Gold, a Woman’s Tale; Small Bird, and Wild Mercy. She is the direct descendant of nine generations of Episcopal priests, and she grew up hearing rich liturgical and biblical language, which, among other literary and personal influences, strongly informs her writing. The novel Red-Robed Priestess, the fourth of The Maeve Chronicles will be released in mid-November, and tomorrow night, Cunningham will read a preview from this much anticipated book.

The interview will take place at Tiferet Talk at 7 pm EST, tomorrow night, 11/17/11.

Cunningham has stated that both The Maeve Chronicles and her interfaith ministry express her profound desire to reconcile her Christian roots with her call to explore the divine feminine. For more information about Elizabeth Cunningham, please visit:

Click here to see the Publishers Weekly review of the forthcoming Red-Robed Priestess.

Below see an excerpt from Magdalen Rising : The Beginning by Elizabeth Cunningham, published 2007 by Monkfish Book Publishing. Copyright © 2007 Elizabeth Cunningham
Chapter One

The Birth of Brightness

You have all heard of his birth in Bethlehem in a stable -- though his mother told me it was really a cave, and she's vague about the location. You know the story of the attendant animals, the bedazzled shepherds, and the Magi who followed the long-tailed star. But did you know that the star had a twin? The sister star chose a tiny island in a northern sea. Its long tail lashed cold waters. Far from that holy birth in the hills, brightness rose from beneath the wave.

That was me.

I had a full head of red hair exclaimed upon, as I crowned, by the seven midwives, my foster mothers all. I had no need of awe-struck shepherds. My mothers kept sheep and pigs and goats besides. And listen, even though it's midnight, the mourning doves lift their heads to make soft, wondering noises, almost obscured by the raucous chorus of ravens in the wood and the cry of seabirds from their nests in the cliffs. And yes, if you pay attention, you can hear the walrus and seals barking for joy on the rocks. Wild horses answer, and a she-bear roused from sleep adds low, grumbling praise. Now if you look very carefully at the island's heart between mountain breasts, you can glimpse a moonlit flash of gold as the salmon of wisdom leaps from its pool.

And what need had I of visiting wise men when I was already surrounded by the Warrior Witches of Tir na mBan, the Land of Women? Ah, see that name stirs some forgotten memory. Just as everyone is a little bit Irish, who has not dreamed of the Shining Isles always to the West? The Summer Land. The Apple Isle. The Isle of Women. The Land of Youth. The Isles of the Blest. Dangerous, paradisiacal places where a hero could be made or undone. The greatest heroes -- Cuchulain and Fionn MacCumhail -- received their training in the arts of war and the mysteries of love at the hands of women who dwelled in island strongholds of ancient, female power.

At least, that's how it was in what my mothers called "the good old days," lamenting the lack of heroes in these slack modern times. Maybe it was the times. Though none of us knew it then, that pivotal moment, when he and I were born, was the meeting place of history and myth, of time and time out of time.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Just Who is Elizaveta Ristrova, Anyway?

I'm excited to join All Things That Matter Press in a blog tour (the "Just Who" Series) to introduce its authors to the world. This post is the first of many to come:

With her balance of misanthropy and anthropological curiosity, author Elizaveta Ristrova travels around the world in search of interesting material. Her books consider the significance of religion, clashes between races and culture, the relationships between humans and the environment, and the creation and unravelling of human relationships. She keeps a day-job as a lawyer, focusing on environmental and international development issues.

We in Pieces, Tales from Arctic Alaska, arose from her years living 500 kilometers north of the Arctic Circle. There, she interviewed community leaders regarding traditional knowledge, cut and served whale despite being vegetarian, and read every issue of the local newspaper dating back to the 1960s. Writing was a great way to fill the three months of darkness each year.

Ristrova hails from south Louisiana and currently finds herself in Makati City, the Manhattan of the Philippines. She likes singing the blues, dancing tango, making soy brownies, creating kindergarten-style art, and proselytizing about the environment. Her previous books include Taking off My Sweater, Something Short of Salvation, and Small Fish in a Small Pond.

We in Pieces is available at Pictures of the nineteen characters in the book and a diagram of the relationships between them are at