Books We Love this Spring

We highly recommend Truth Poker by Mark Brazaitis:


“Phantom girls appearing on dark, lonely highways, Guatemalan cops with hand painted playing cards brokered as bribes, a man who fixes people’s eyes without the benefit of a medical degree–these strange events set off the Rube Goldberg-like plot lines in Mark Brazaitis’ new collection of short stories. The dominoes are falling–one after another–and the characters, guided by guilt, confusion, and mistakes, can’t stop their worlds from tumbling down around them. These innovative stories capture characters doing exactly the wrong thing at exactly the wrong moment. Exquisite! (Sharon Dilworth)

Mark Brazaitis is the author of six books of fiction, including The River of Lost Voices: Stories from Guatemala, winner of the 1998 Iowa Short Fiction Award, and The Incurables: Stories, winner of the 2012 Richard Sullivan Prize and the 2013 Devil’s Kitchen Reading Award in Prose, and a book of poems, The Other Language, which won the 2008 ABZ Poetry Prize. His writing has been featured on The Diane Rehm Show as well as on public radio in Cleveland, Iowa City, New York City, and Pittsburgh. A former Peace Corps Volunteer and technical trainer, Brazaitis is a professor of English and directs the West Virginia Writers’ Workshop at West Virginia University.


We also like Brandel France de Bravo’s Mother, Loose.

“Throughout Mother, Loose, [Brandel France de Bravo] borrows characters from nursery rhymes and fairy tales; she also invents characters within those worlds. And in doing so, she gives what are often considered old children’s stories a more mature, modern context. Readers will encounter Mary and her lamb skipping school to go to the mall, and find that the dish and the spoon are only a small part of a larger utensil community full of fulfilled and spurned loves.” (Accents Publishing)


Brandel France de Bravo is the author of two books of poetry, Provenance, (winner of the Washington Writers’ Publishing House prize, 2008) and Mother, Loose (Accents Publishing’s Chapbook prize, 2015).  She is also co-author of Trees Make the Best Mobiles: Simple Ways to Raise your Child in a Complex World and the editor of Mexican Poetry Today: 20/20 Voices. Her poetry and essays have appeared in various anthologies and magazines, including Alaska Quarterly Review, theBellingham Review, Cimarron Review, the Cincinnati Review, Gulf Coast, Poet Lore, and Seneca Review. She has received the Larry Neal Writers’ prize in poetry and two artist fellowships from Washington, D.C.’s Commission on the Arts. She works for a public health nonprofit dedicated to consumer health and safety.

Brandel April 2014 cherry blossoms


Read an excerpt from Sofrito, a novel authored by Phillippe Diederich and due out in May 2015 from Cinco Puntos Press.

“In this entertaining debut novel, Frank Delgado tries to save his failing restaurant by returning to Cuba, his dead father’s homeland, to get ahold of a top-secret chicken recipe. But there is more than delicious chicken at stake here. Food is the road home—geographically, emotionally, metaphorically. Peppered with cooking advice from chefs, ordinary folks, and celebrities including Fidel Castro himself (an advocate of pork), Phillippe Diederich’s Sofrito is a love letter to the deepest recesses of nostalgia’s heart.”
Cristina Garcia, author of Dreaming in Cuban and King of Cuba

Sofrito by Phillippe Diederich

Phillippe Diederich is the author of the novel, “Sofrito” due out in May 2015 from Cinco Puntos Press. His short fiction has been published in over a dozen national literary journals. He has been awarded the Chris O’Malley Prize for Fiction from the Madison Review and received an Elizabeth George Foundation grant, a Florida Individual Artist Fellowship in Literature from the Florida Department of Cultural Affairs and a John Ringling Towers Grant in Literature from the Sarasota County Artist Alliance.

Phillippe Diederich

Phillippe Diederich

Before turning to fiction, Diederich worked as a photojournalist, covering news and feature assignments in the U.S. and Latin America for major national publications including The New York Times, TIME, Newsweek, U.S. News and World Report and many others. His photographs have been exhibited widely in the U.S. including shows at the Southeast Museum of Photography in Daytona, FL, the Center of Contemporary Art in Miami, and the El Paso Art Museum in El Paso, TX.

He holds an MFA from the University of South Florida. He teaches writing at Ringling College and is the editor-in-chief of Viva Fifty, a bilingual web-magazine that celebrates midlife.


At Sliver of Stone, we’re big fans of author Ben Parzybok who’s working on a new novel titled Asleep in the Streets of the First City. You can read an excerpt from the book here.

Ben Parzybok

Ben Parzybok

Benjamin Parzybok is the author of the novels Couch and Sherwood Nation. He has been the creator/co-creator of many other projects, including Gumball Poetry (literary journal published in capsule machines), The Black Magic Insurance Agency (city-wide, one night alternate reality game), and Project Hamad (an effort to free a Guantanamo inmate and shed light on Habeas Corpus). He lives in Portland with the artist Laura Moulton and their two kids. He blogs at His twitter handle is @sparkwatson.


  1. […] by Maria Alejandra Barbery Zanutti and Gabriel Chávez Casazola. New/upcoming publications by Mark Brazaitis, Brandel France de Bravo, Philippe Diederich, and Ben […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: