Books and Short Stories

Joan Spilman’s, Silver Bottle, is an acclaimed multi-generational novel set in the Appalachian town of Harshbarger Mills, West Virginia. Abandoned as children on Easter by their alcoholic mother, Lorraine Rhodes, and her siblings must overcome the trials of a rural town and its conservative bias. But, when a letter from her mother arrives a quarter of a century later, the questions Lorraine faces from her childhood begin to unravel. Lorraine, now a mother, must reflect on the challenges of her past and how they cause a rift between her and her daughter. Silver Bottle follows four generations of West Virginia women, their struggles, and the unique bloodline that stretches over a century with the curious connection to a family heirloom.

Available on Amazon for Kindle and Paperback.

Sansablatt Head is a blast, exploding all over the page in the shape of richly textured characters, plot, and landscape. Imagine a King—Sansablatt—trapped in his own giant wooden head. Imagine his Queen-to-Be Claudine. She loves him so much she almost kills him (an axe to that head is just what he needs to be free, she thinks). And don’t forget Eugenia (who stops this disaster before it starts), an outrageous Big Mama General who rules with an iron hand (and a smart one). She insists that Claudine’s short cut cannot dispel the spell that keeps the King from attaining histrue height and claiming his Kingdom, that only the long cut can—the intricate route through dangerous woods (described with a T for terror) to the top of a mountain where inside a cave, but I’m treading on dangerous ground here myself because I don’t want to give away anything about this marvelous journey and its surprising adventures. That’s for me to remember with pleasure and for you to find pleasure in yourself. But I can tell you one thing: Imagine first and last, longest and hardest about the main character—Alec—who doesn’t have a friend on earth except Sansablatt, the Head: a lucky friendship for an unlucky boy because it carries him out of our world (where he’s always been out-of-place) into a parallel one called Quelle where, from the moment he and the Head flip down into it by way of a mud pit, he slowly discovers what it means and what it takes to become part of the right place at the right time. Wouldn’t we all like to learn that lesson? Well, you will, and have a lot of fun on the way,when you accompany Alec all the way from the first to last page of Sansablatt Head, a fantastic fantasy written by Joan Spilman.

What happens when a prophecy goes wrong? The prophet proclaims it louder, or at least that’s the case with Grandma Vernie, the self-appointed Sybil of Nine Mile Creek and a zealous watcher of retributions, small signs and wonders, and looming catastrophes. She has help along the way from her long-suffering son, devious granddaughter, and a thoroughly befuddled minister from the Methodist Church. And, of course, the dead body in her living room. Her grandson, commonly known as the halfwit, touchstone to them all.

“Establishing Witness” won the Mikrokosmos award at Wichita State University, judged by Janet Peery. It won . . . for its resonant and powerful storytelling, its ambition and vision and wisdom, textural depth, integrity to form, its adept characterization of Grandma Vernie, and attention to the realized consequences of doing wrong things that seem so right, but most of all for its allegiance to the idea expressed by Flannery O’Connor’s mother’s neighbor lady, who said, when trying to figure out O’Conner’s fiction, “That just goes to show what some people will go on and do,” the winner of this year’s

Mikrocosmos fiction prize is “Establishing Witness.”

“Establishing Witness” also won the George Garret Prize for Best Prose at West Washington University and was published in The Willow Springs Review.

To read “Establishing Witness” for free, click here!

The Waddling Dead Series

King and Queen Duckworthy are in a dither! The royal eggs have hatched, but the ducks are zombies. Do they belong to Queen Esmerelda or to Purple Rage, the terrible zombie from the Forbidden Bog? Will they live in the castle, where they love to tear things apart, or will they live in the Bog, swallowing bullfrogs whole? Enter the wonderful World of Waddle and find out! Coming soon: Megachomp D.D.S., Waddlepedia, and Heart Stealer.

Second in the Waddling Dead series by Joan Spillman, MegaChomp, D.D.S. continues the saga of the zombie ducklings. Each was born with a special gift and MegaChomp was born with teeth! That’s right, a full set of chompers, glistening white and perfectly aligned. Will he answer his higher call and become a dentist? Will he tackle Crunch the Crocodile, the dreaded enemy who lives in the castle moat? Come join the fun that lurks in the Kingdom of Waddle.

Book Three in the Waddling Dead Series has arrived and with it a young duck with an unusual power. Tight Squeeze is a contortionist, but he changes his mind as often as he changes his shape. Will he be a duck lamppost, a duck violin (without the strings), or a duck porcupine? Will he save the Kingdom of Waddle when the orchard catches fire? Can any of his shapes command the Volunteer Feather Department or guide the driver of a fire truck who can’t drive? Share the suspense in Waddleland with this out-of-proportion adventure!

Grab your crayons and splash into the world of the zombie ducks, the zaniest series for young zombie lovers of all time. With text highlights by Joan Spilman and delightful illustrations by artist Ashley Teets, children will fall in love with the story of Megachomp, D.D.S., the first duck dentist. But, beware! This book holds not only coloring pages, but activities, a Dr. Squawk advice column, and a zombie songbook for the beginning piano student. Titles range from “What Do You Do When a Zombie Loves You?” to “We Are the Zombie Ducks!” composed by Janet Heck. So jump in webfeet-first, and don t forget to write to Dr. Squawk! Between treating zombie mishaps, he does answer mail!