Distilled Stories: California Artisans Behind The Spirits is a book about the spirit makers; 30 distillers tell their personal stories about their journey to the still. Some came from generations of distilling families from the old country and others left high tech or corporate careers to pursue a new venture into the world of distilled spirits.Each backstory is different and engaging. Gritty, funny and informative. The one common denominator is the hard work, tenacity and sacrifice each distiller makes as he/she navigates their own path to the still. The style of each Distilled Story is also different, just like each hand-crafted distilled spirit is different. No two gins or whiskies are alike. There was no attempt to create a template for the distillers to follow to tell their backstories. They were given complete “literary freedom.” The result is their own words, unfiltered.

This is a book about the distillers and distilleries that have in very recent years emerged on the California landscape. New post prohibition laws are finally acquiescing to the distillery and giving their blessings to tasting rooms and sales. Cocktails are becoming fashionable once again. As such, distilled spirits are all the rage and cocktail bars feature hand-crafted spirits for their specialty drinks.

Available on Amazon and by request at local bookstores

ISBN-13: 978-1592661060:

Organs2 copy

The eight stories and the novella that make up The Man Who Gave Away His Organs: Tales of Love and Obsession at Midlife have the cultural scope, time span, and in-depth character development usually found only in novels. Their mostly middle-aged protagonists have reached some crisis in their lives, when an unexpected turn of events or twist of fate leads them in new, unanticipated directions. The situations are often both hilarious and tragic. The locations—a holiday party for celebrity lookalikes, a college senior’s graduating performance arts piece, a support group for people named Irving Horowitz, a liver transplant ward—are intriguing and unique. The prose is at once lyrical and prickly, tender and sardonic, and always, sentence by sentence, read-aloud beautiful. Above all, this short story collection will entertain you throughout as few others have.

Richard Michael Levine has written magazine articles for many national publications, including Harper’s, Atlantic Monthly, Rolling Stone, New York, The New York Times Magazine and Esquire, where he was a contributing editor and wrote a monthly column on the media for a number of years. His poetry has been widely published in literary magazines and anthologies and collected in Catch and Other Poems. His bestselling non-fiction book, Bad Blood: A Family Murder in Marin County, was published by Random House and New American Library and has been translated into several languages. Will be available on Amazon: ISBN:  978-1-59266-104-6

Publication Date:  July 10, 2015

A Cuban Summer  A Cuban Summer is a humorous coming of age story, built on the premise that it was complicated to grow up a boy in the Havana of the Fifties.  Tony de la Torre, the main character, is thirteen when the story starts. He is somewhat shy with girls, he’s obsessed with sex, and at the same time, he has a very romantic inclination. He listens to love songs on the radio and can’t wait to start his romantic history. He is interested in Carmen, a girl from his social class whom he admires from a distance. Meanwhile, Gonzalo, his family’s chauffeur, wants to take him to a brothel, an ageless Havana coming-of-age tradition. Tony resists at first, but eventually he goes to the Mambo Club, Havana’s most elegant brothel, and quickly falls in love with one of the women.

Tony Mendoza is the author of three photography books that combine personal stories with photographs. (Ernie: A Photographer’s Memoir, Stories, Cuba: Going Back). He was also a professor in the Art Department at the Ohio State University for 25 years and retired this year. Capra Press is publishing Tony’s first novel, A Cuban Summer, a coming of age story that takes place in Havana and Varadero Beach during the summer of 1954. Available on Amazon: ISBN: 978-1592661022  September 2, 2013

GoodLife_c11  Not really a memoir, I Never Expected This Good Life is a collection of poems, essays, and stories about Jennifer’s life. Divided into seven sections — family (parents and siblings), marriage, children, body, faith, the outside world, and work — each focuses on such diverse subjects as loss, kinship, trust, and how we choose to remember and tell our personal stories. Above all, I Never Expected This Good Life is about love—its sorrows and elusiveness, incomparable joys, and the surprise one feels when love eventually shows up and is mutually sustained. Jennifer notes the myriad ways that the heart extends its influence into every touch, look, thought, and reply, something that has surprised this exuberant and zestful author, especially because she was certain at age seventeen that she would never have a good life. Her joy at being proved wrong finds expression in the thankfulness that infuses this volume.

Jennifer Futernick holds a BA in Humanities from Berkeley and a Masters in Library Science from San Jose State. Having attended Berkeley in the late ’60s during People’s Park, she’s surprised to have worked for many years at the management consulting company, McKinsey, where one of her roles was secondary editor of the best-selling business book, In Search of Excellence. She was one of eight poets in the letterpress edition of A Small Box of Poets (Protean Press) and is author of the poetry chapbook, One Curve of Sugar.     Available on Amazon ISBN: 978-1592661015  May 11, 2012