One of the most important ways an aspiring writer can improve his or her work is simple: read good books. Here are a few power reads from local authors worth checking out:

Don Foxe“Contact and Conflict: Book One in the Space Fleet Sagas”  By Don Foxe

Space Fleet’s first battle-worthy spaceship, SFPT-109, is on her maiden voyage when first contact occurs. An alien ship of refugees from a galactic conflict has arrived. Chased, low on supplies, and huddled aboard a damaged vessel, they seek sanctuary —but at what cost to Space Fleet? The decision is in the hands of no-nonsense Capt. Cooper.

Brian Thiem“Thrill Kill: A Matt Sinclair Mystery”  By Brian Thiem

Cops in Oakland seldom meet people whose lives are going well. That's certainly the case when homicide sergeant Matt Sinclair recognizes the dead woman hanging from a tree as a teenage runaway named Dawn he arrested 10 years ago. And as Sinclair and his partner, Cathy Braddock, soon learn, many of Dawn’s clients — not to mention the local and federal officials who protect them — will go to any length to keep the police from digging too deep into her past. Then the killer goes public, and Sinclair and Braddock must race to uncover the secrets Dawn was killed to protect before her killer unleashes a major attack on a scale the city has never seen before.

Nina Leipold“The Mermaid of Hilton Head”  By Nina Leipold

The mermaid of Hilton Head Island didn’t always live around the island; she used to travel up and down the East Coast with her mermaid pod. When passing by Hilton Head, she often noticed that the sea turtles seem stressed. The mermaid set out to investigate the problem and find a way to save the turtles. After discovering a simple solution to the turtles’ problem, the mermaid dedicates her life to protecting and caring for the island’s sea turtles.

Lawrence Colby“The Devil Dragon Pilot: A Ford Stevens Military-Aviation Thriller”  By Lawrence Colby

Concealed deep within China’s inland borders is one of the most secretive airplanes ever flown, known as Devil Dragon. She’s sleek, unbelievably fast, and mysterious — her test pilots have one mission in mind: make her operational use as soon as possible. But when strange transmissions of pilots are recorded without an aircraft appearing on radar, and bizarre cellphone signals are detected at towers hundreds of miles apart, the intelligence community team is set in motion, and U.S. Air Force Reserve pilot Ford Stevens is asked to take on the most dangerous assignment of his life.

Angela WWilliams“Hush Now, Baby”  By Angela W. Williams

“Hush Now, Baby” is the story of how a little white girl climbed out of an uneasy childhood in the segregated South on the backbone of a black woman who loved her. A host of African-American women permeated Southern families. One of those stalwart women was Eva Aiken, a central figure in the author’s life from her birth — until Eva staged a sit-in at the girl’s wedding. The story captures the glorious early years of a Lowcountry family, then graphically depicts its unraveling.

Defense Mechanisms“Defense Mechanisms”  By Jessica Goody

Highly observant and deeply moving, the 75 poems in this collection from award-winning poet Jessica Goody offer themes of difference and affinity for a look into the nature of reality. Whether describing the confines of an iron lung or the liberty of the open sea, Goody’s nuanced language delivers unforgettable images of a world that holds more questions than answers. There is pain and loss, but also joy and freedom in which the fetters of physicality become the means to explore what it means to be fully human.

Elizabeth Robin“Silk Purses and Lemonade”  By Elizabeth Robin

“Silk Purses and Lemonade” emerges from a comment that Elizabeth Robin “start seeing the glass as half-full.” Turbulent months watching her brother fight and succumb to acute myeloid leukemia makes finding a positive outlook difficult. A world callous to the challenges faced by refugees, a sensitive ecosystem, true democracy and human rights teases at her ability to find hope. And yet she does, in poems that mark a journey through a tangle of grief, los, and witness. Here she offers a steadfast belief in human will, the integrity to shed pasts and persevere through that jungle.

Big Ma“Big Ma and Me on the Bayou”  By Gwendolyn Ste. Marie

With colorful language and vividly portrayed characters, “Big Man and Me” will grab you from the first sentence and not let you go. Gwendolyn Ste. Marie has crafted a literary memoir that takes one to the Cajun country of south Louisiana and gives the reader a sense of every aspect of that land and those French people. Add to that snippets of the Cajun language and the recipes that are indigenous to that region, and you have a read that is difficult to put down.

Thomas ARuck“Murder on the Mon Wharf”  By Thomas A. Ruck

This action-packed murder mystery takes place in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, with intriguing detours to the Washington, D.C., area and the Lowcountry of South Carolina while exploring the life of a wonderful woman.



Fast Track“Fast Track Networking: Turning Conversations into Contacts”  By Lucy Rosen

Whether you are looking to secure a new deal — or land a new job — Fast Track Networking gives you the tools you'll need to put the power of networking to work for you. You'll be amazed at the opportunities that will unfold once you begin to network correctly — and unconditionally. Through hundreds of valuable tips and dozens of networking success stories, you'll learn the tricks of the trade from the woman dubbed “the Queen of Networking.”