American Tumbleweeds

Advance review copies of American Tumbleweeds, by Marta Elva, are already drawing testimony on this compelling and timely story:

Remember Maria from Sesame Street? Actress Sonia Manzano, who describes the role in her acclaimed memoir Becoming Maria: Love and Chaos in the South Bronx, says: “The aptly named American Tumbleweeds depicts the balancing act some bi-cultural families must undertake to live in America. The characters indeed “tumble” back and forth over our southernmost border, forced to live in two worlds at once. This is an experience all Americans should know about.”

John Sayles, film maker, author, and MacArthur fellow, sent us word: “With American Tumbleweeds Marta Elva pulls us into the minds of a half-dozen members of a border family in crisis, dramatizing the state of living ni aqui, ni alla—neither here nor there geographically and emotionally.  A moving first novel.”

Would you like to help spread the word on American Tumbleweeds by reviewing it on Amazon, Goodreads, or other outlets? Contact me and I’ll add you to a special list to receive free e-galleys as we draw closer to the launch date.

We give thanks for advice on genre from Cary Meltzer Frostick, former Youth Services librarian in Fairfax, Virginia, and Utica, NY, and reviewer for School Library Journal, and from Deanna Evans, Youth Services associate at the Pine Island Public Library, Florida. Thanks also to A.B. Westrick, author of Brotherhood, who helped develop the book club discussion guide for American Tumbleweeds. Visit A.B. Westrick.

Visit American Tumbleweeds at Circling Rivers

With Walt Whitman: Himself

A print version of With Walt Whitman: Himself, by Jean Huets, is in the works! Lovers of Walt’s poetry and readers intrigued by the United States as it was in the 19th century will discover in With Walt Whitman: Himself a tumultuous life, a  nation whose growing pains nearly tore it apart, and a man who struggled over decades to frame it all in prose and poetry. Publication of the print version will be in late 2016. If you have an iPad or Mac, you can purchase the ebook now on iTunes.

Friends of Circling Rivers

Thanks to Eric Reynolds of Hadley Rille Books for sharing his insights on independent publishing.

Congratulations to Lenore Gay, whose novel Shelter of Leaves is forthcoming from She Writes Press later this year. Visit Lenore Gay.

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WITH WALT WHITMAN: HIMSELF, a multi-touch book by Jean Huets, is now available at iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/with-walt-whitman-himself/id1012512825

With over 300 period images, WITH WALT WHITMAN: HIMSELF will appeal not only to Walt’s followers, but to people intrigued by the United States as it was in the 19th century. Those who love Walt’s poetry will discover fascinating aspects of his life and the beauty of his prose works.

Cover reveal! The front cover of AMERICAN TUMBLEWEEDS is posted on the front page of our website. The white strip at the top is reserved for praise — which is already flowing in:

Marta Elva’s AMERICAN TUMBLEWEEDS is both a moving coming-of-age story and a compelling tale of border intrigue that goes back in time to give a human face to some of the most divisive and hotly debated issues facing contemporary America. Elva shows an uncanny knack for dialogue and plot as in each chapter she moves back and forth among her characters, unrolling the narrative through each individual’s unique point of view. — Michael Winship, senior writer for Moyers & Company, PBS

Set along the border between El Paso and Ciudad Juárez, AMERICAN TUMBLEWEEDS tells the bittersweet story of a Mexican-American family’s struggle to stay together as tradition collides with the social upheaval of 1960s America. It will be available in Spring 2016, in print and digital editions.


A deep bow of gratitude to Mark Teppo of Resurrection House, an independent publisher of speculative fiction. Mark talked with me on the phone for over an hour, answering a zillion questions on the unglamorous but essential side of publishing, from returns to print runs.

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JULY 2015

WITH WALT WHITMAN: HIMSELF, a multi-touch book by Jean Huets, is available to pre-order at the iTunes store. You can also download a free (beta) sample. Kathryn Jones is now copyediting and testing the complete book. A double background as editor and graphic designer makes her ideal to help launch the book. Her other clients include Penguin Random House and Maggie L. Walker National Historic Site. WITH WALT WHITMAN: HIMSELF will be released on iTunes for iPad/Mac readers in September 2015.

The manuscript for AMERICAN TUMBLEWEEDS, by Marta Elva, is now in the editorial process. The challenge of editing AMERICAN TUMBLEWEEDS is that it is so easy to forget the red pen and get caught up in Marta’s story, people, and setting. She captures poignantly the struggle of an extended family trying to stay together as events internal and external threaten to rip it apart. Straddling the border at Ciudad Juarez and El Paso, each grandparent, aunt, uncle, mother, father, daughter, son bears a different cultural identity—Mexican, American, or an emerging blend—imbuing the family with both strength and stress. AMERICAN TUMBLEWEEDS will be available digitally and in print in 2016.

We are growing our list. Some possibilities fall through; others ripen. It’s hard to keep the lid on potential books, but once a deal is sealed, you’ll be among the first to know. Thank you for being with us!

Other News: Friends of Circling Rivers

Roberto Christiano’s collection of poetry, Port of Leaving (2015, Finishing Line Press), tells an American story with a Portuguese flavor. Anne Becker, Poet Laureate Emerita of City of Takoma Park, MD, says, “It is the drama of a Portuguese immigrant who barely escapes war-torn Europe and arrives in America with nothing, and a son whose artistic sensibility takes him down an entirely opposite path into the theatre.… In this small book, Roberto “James” Christiano tells a deep truth: love—like faith—fails and sustains, fails and sustains, over and over again.” Order at Finishing Line Press

Mark Havlik’s prose poem, “Tale of Cities,” appeared in Passing Through. Reading it made me ponder the various cities I know: what kind of soul do they possess? Read it here

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JUNE 2015

Circling Rivers is very pleased to announce our first acquisition: AMERICAN TUMBLEWEEDS, by Marta Elva. Marta’s novel tells the bittersweet story of a Mexican-American family’s struggle to stay together as tradition collides with the social upheaval of 1960s America, set along the border between Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, and El Paso, Texas. AMERICAN TUMBLEWEEDS is set for publication in 2016.

Also in the works: WALT WHITMAN: HIMSELF In the Nineteenth Century, in America, by Jean Huets, a multi-touch book for iPad/Mac. WALT WHITMAN: HIMSELF is slated for publication in Fall 2015. 


Jean Huets’ article “A Black Correspondent at the Front” was published in New York Times: Disunion. Read it here. Jean’s book review on Steve Scafidi’s book of poems, TO THE BRAMBLE AND THE BRIAR is on Civil War Monitor on-line. Read it here. (CR people who have been with us for a while may remember that I tried to get Steve’s book, but U of Arkansa beat me to it! Never mind… It’s a beautiful work.)

Five of Whitman’s early notebooks are now available on The Walt Whitman Archive as part of their work on the NEH-funded project “Walt Whitman as an Author before Leaves of Grass.” Includes transcriptions as well as images of the original pages. See them here. The notebook titled “In his presence” includes the seeds of the haunting Whitman poem, “The Sleepers.”

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