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AWARD WINNING NEW FICTION - April 2014!


Two stories from Carla Maria Verdino-Süllwold’s debut short story collection Bookends: Stories Of Love, Loss, And Renewal have won honorable mentions in the American Short Story Contest, sponsored by Grey Wolfe Publishing in Michigan. The stories “A Grain of Sand” and “Leonardo…on the Beach” will be included in Grey Wolfe Publishing’s annual anthology of short stories to be published later this year.

http://www.greywolfepublishing.com/




Available directly from Weiala Press or on www.amazon.com or www.barnesandnoble.com
See author & ordering information below!
cover
 

BOOKENDS
Stories of Love, Loss, and Renewal


 by
Carla Maria Verdino-Süllwold

 

Paper; perfect bound

 132 pp.


Weiala Press

An Imprint of Mannahatta M.C.

ISBN 978-1-4675-9785-2

 

                      $17.95

        

cms 


 


BOOKENDS Stories of Love, Loss, and Renewal is award-winning author, Carla Maria Verdino-Süllwold's third work of fiction.

The wedding that turns feast into fiasco; the childhood games that foreshadow life’s realities; dreams of romance shattered and reborn; professional and creative identities forged, challenged, and affirmed; farewells presaged and paid - these eight poetic and poignant stories, reflected through the prism of love and loss, ultimately offer the reader epiphanies of renewal.


New fiction by  the award-winning  author of Raising Rufus: A Maine Love Story & The Whaler’s Bride

 

. . . A fine collection, her best so far with a command of dialogue, flashbacks handled gracefully and seamlessly, and stream-of-consciousness very un-self-conscious.

 (Donna Pucciani, Hanging Like Hope on the Equinox & other volumes)


BOOKENDS Stories of Love, Loss, and Renewal


Donna Pucciani, award-winning Chicago poet, writes of Bookends on Amazon.com (March 20, 2014):

Bookends, the new volume of stories by master storyteller Verdino-Sullwold, leads the reader through the best and the worst of life in the Baby-Boomer generation and beyond, summoning vintage Americana and ethnic nostalgia in the form of weddings, funerals, and romances in all their complexity. The tales evoke the political trauma of Civil Rights activism and peace demonstrations against a backdrop of the Beatles, Wagnerian opera, and other fascinating cultural elements. Memories blend the stuff of first love, remorse and regret, distant liasons, proposals and rejections, cats and cantos, and a teacher reunited with a former student years later.

 

At the heart of each story, a protagonist faces conflicts with a domineering mother, a past or present lover, or the interior terrors of panic and grief. These emotional journeys often involve the physical act of traveling, whether by air to Milan or by train to New York, symbolizing the inner turmoil of the characters.

 

Perhaps the strongest element of Verdino-Sullwold's book is her command of the theatrical, her ability to draw the reader into intense scenes wrought with emotional dialogue, characters both tragic and semi-comedic, and the sense of being onstage at a particular moment in time, reflecting the author's professional background in the performing arts as director and critic. Readers will lose, then find themselves in these intimately-drawn family and romantic dramas.


First Review.com


Valerie Porter (March 24, 2014):

The women whose stories are told in Bookends Stories of Love, Loss, and Renewal are seen at various stages of their lives.

There’s a hesitant young bride, a disenchanted career woman, a woman who thinks she sees a former love with a surprising partner, and there are those who mourn the loss of a friend, husband or relationship.

Author Carla Verdino Sullwold’s idea to weave eight individual short stories of love, loss and starting over into a book is an intriguing one. It’s enhanced even more with the addition of hauntingly simple but beautiful photographs by Lisa Miglietta and Michelle Seacord, setting the mood at each story’s beginning.

In “The Wedding”, Olivia is attending the funeral of her friend Cesca and thinking how in death her friend’s face wears the same sad expression as on her wedding day 35 years ago. In “Brave Ladies”, three longtime friends reunite to discuss their lives and realize that their childhood game of “Brave Ladies” has an ironic relevance to their lives today. In “Abschied”, a widow named Maya is on a trip to honor what would have been her 41st wedding anniversary. She’s brought along her dog and cat, who are her closest companions since her husband’s recent passing.

In “Goodbye”, another widow named Chantal is heading to New York City. She and her late husband had been involved in the theatre for many years and she’s writing a book about him. She attends a play to witness her former drama student’s outstanding, breakout performance on Broadway. A career ends as another begins, she realizes.

Such is the nature of all the stories. They promise an emotional tidal wave an opportunity to love, cry and hope along with the fascinating characters the author has created. Unfortunately, the promise is never quite realized. The stories are enchanting and thought-provoking, yet time and again, the author stops just short of any truly satisfying conclusion. The abrupt endings leave the reader feeling cheated of an emotional release that was almost there, but not quite. A few more pages a little more resolution to each story could have taken the book to great heights. Bookends...leaves readers wanting more.



Self Publishing Review
March 14, 2014 

 

This slim volume of short stories works as something of a fugue on grief and loss, featuring fragile women at both ends of their adult lives. Strangely, the two stages are not that different, at least not for these women, and that is perhaps the saddest thing in these rather sad stories.

 

The characters in these stories are, for the most part, weak, wispy women,widows adrift, and vaporous young women with overbearing mothers (more than once called dragons)who seem not so much unable to cope as unable to navigate when the men in their lives abandon them or, more often, die (treadmills are dangerous places for Verdino-Süllwold's male characters).

 

My favorite story of the lot featured one of the least appealing of the young women, yet it resolved into a nice take on the Elizabeth Barrett-Robert Browning romance (featuring a dragon mother rather than Barrett's dragon father). The reader does not get to see the young woman blossom, but the seed of hope is planted. She has been rescued, though, by her Browning, and it is clear that he is the strong character here, not she.

 

The tone of the collection is melancholy and wistful with little, if any, resolution. These aren't fully-wrought stories, but are more like vignettes, and as such may be a bit too elliptical for most tastes. However, taken as a whole, the stories do offer something approaching a motif, if not much in the way of narrative. A line from the last story in the book (oddly enough describing a young man rather than a woman) not only reflects the theme of endings that bookend our lives but also offers a bit of relief from the lassitude that permeates the rest of the stories. . . . .

 

 Those who enjoy elliptical fiction that does not nudge the reader in any particular direction will like this short, easy-to-read collection.



To order:

To order your copy of BOOKENDS  just fill out this form, print it, and mail it to: Carla Maria Sullwold, Weiala Press,
12 Tamarack Drive, Brunswick, ME 04011, or fax it to 207-373-0471, or email your request to mannahattamainecoons@mac.com.  Faxed or emailed orders will be processed upon receipt of payment. Make checks payable to Carla Maria Sullwold.

 


    NAME: ______________________________________________________________
   ADDRESS: ___________________________________________________________
   PHONE: (day) ______________________________(eve)____________________
   Email: _______________________________________________________________
BOOKENDS                 Quantity 
List Price
                                        
Subtotal

$17.95
Less any discount



Shipping/Handling                   
$4.00


ME Sales Tax @ 5%
(if applicable)                    
$0.89


Total Due:

 
           Books will be sent by U.S. First Class Mail, unless otherwise specified. 
      
If another form of shipment is desired, please request at time of ordering.  Additional charges will be billed. 
To receive a shipping estimate at time of order, please email us at mannahattamainecoons@mac.com.

About the Author

Born and raised in the metropolitan New York area, Carla Maria Verdino-Süllwold took her degrees at Sarah Lawrence College and Fairleigh Dickinson University.  She began her career as a teacher and arts administrator before becoming a journalist, critic, and author.  Her music and visual arts reviews and features appeared regularly in Opera News, Gramophone, Opéra International, Opera, Music Magazine, Beaux Arts, and The Crisis, and her byline headed numerous program essays and record liner notes. Among her scholarly works, the best known is We Need A Hero! Heldentenors from Wagner’s Time to the Present: A Critical History. She helped to create several television projects, serving as associate producer and content consultant/writer, among them I Hear America Singing for WNET/PBS and Voices of the Heart: Stephen Foster for German television.  She is also the author of Top Cat Tails of Mannahatta, a fictional account of her and husband Gregory’s adventures in breeding Maine Coons.  In 2009 the Süllwolds realized a lifelong dream to move to coastal Maine.   Her first novel, Raising Rufus: A Maine Love Story was a fictionalized account of the couple’s last year together with their beloved Newfoundland, Rufus, before Gregory Süllwold’s fatal heart attack in February 2010.  The author's screen play version of the same title won the 2011 GRAND PRIZE at the Rhode Island International Film Festival.  The Whaler's Bride was her second novel.  Now semi-retired,  Ms. Verdino-Süllwold continues to work as a journalist and arts critic, as well as writing fiction.  She shares her home in Brunswick, Maine, with her kitties and a new Newfoundland puppy, Ruffian. 



NEW NOVEL - January 2013!


Available directly from Weiala Press or on www.amazon.com or www.barnesandnoble.com
See author & ordering information below!
cover
 


The Whaler's Bride


A Novel

 by
Carla Maria Verdino-Süllwold

 

Paper; perfect bound

 120 pp.


Weiala Press

An Imprint of Mannahatta M.C.

ISBN 978-1-4675-4535-8

 

                      $17.95

 

rear cover

The Whaler's Bride is award-winning author, Carla Maria Verdino-Süllwold's second novel. Obsessed by a scrimshaw carving given to her by her late husband on their honeymoon, a middle-aged widow, accompanied by her faithful Newfoundland dog, sets out on a quest to discover the origins of the piece, only to embark on a journey  that takes her across several lifetimes to another dimension.  Spanning  almost two hundred years, this touching and mystical tale travels from Midcoast Maine to New Bedford and Cape Cod in search of the answers to the questions of transcience and timelessness, art and life, and the indestructible power of love.
Part metaphysical mystery, part paranormal adventure, this love story continues the author's quest to understand the human journey.


The prose and plot swell like a Bach cantata.  – Albert H. Black, playwright (Boot Camp & other plays)

The Whaler's Bride - Self Publishing Review  1/4/13
**** 1/2

Love isn't always perfect, but those who have felt it know its power. Carla Maria Verdino-Süllwold’s novel, The Whaler’s Bride, is a love story that conquers all, even death. Mary Lee and Lucas had a marriage most people would envy. When they were together all could see how much they loved each other. Once when they stayed at the Billingsgate Motel for their fifth wedding anniversary they forgot to pack up their clothes and left them. All that mattered when they were together was being together. Everyday life didn't matter. Love mattered.

After forty years of marriage, Lucas succumbs to a sudden heart attack. She lives in their cottage with two Maine Coon cats and their Newfoundland, Ruffian. One day Mary Lee examines a scrimshaw that Lucas purchased for her during their honeymoon. At the time the couple couldn't afford the piece, but Lucas had to buy it for Mary Lee. Over the years she has treasured it.

During a visit to the Whaling Museum in New Bedford, Mary Lee stumbles upon a scrimshaw exhibit. One piece by Lars Lindquist catches her eye. Not only is the detail astounding but it’s the spitting image of her dead husband, Lucas. This discovery sparks a fire to seek out information about Lindquist and the two scrimshaws. Oddly enough, the scrimshaw that Lucas purchased years ago looks like it was made by the same hands. Is there a connection? And are Mary Lee and Lucas connected to Lindquist and his bride? She sets out with Ruffian to seek answers. What she uncovers will warm your heart.

This is my second novel by Verdino-Süllwold. I feel lucky to have discovered her talent. This novel, like her first, is quite short. However, it is not short on story and entertainment. The opening pages tugged on my heart. Losing her husband after four decades and having to endure life alone seems cruel. I felt Mary Lee’s anguish as she recounted trips taken together and their love for each other.

While I enjoyed the story, what I loved most is Verdino-Süllwold’s love of language. She doesn't just write Mary Lee loved to watch the ocean. She pens descriptions that immerse me in the story and I feel like I’m seeing it all first-hand. For example, Mary Lee “feared the anger of the surf in a storm, yet she reveled in the peace that the sea and sand brought on a clear day when she would stare for hours at the water as it met the sky and would drink in the rhythm of the tides.” Her use of language amazed me in her first novel and this novel does not disappoint.

If I had to name a complaint it would be that I wanted more. The love and mystery in this story, for me, demanded more attention. She’s a talented writer and selfishly I wanted to read more of her words. She dangled just enough of the story in front of me, but I sense that there’s more. Or maybe I just want there to be more so I can continue to discover words and images through her writing.

The Whaler’s Bride is a delightful story that will make you smile and believe in love. While I wanted more, I can’t fault the writer’s skill. Read her words and let her whisk you away into another realm. I give this novel 4.5 stars out of 5.


To order:

To order your copy of The Whaler's Bride just fill out this form, print it, and mail it to: Carla Maria Sullwold, Weiala Press,
12 Tamarack Drive, Brunswick, ME 04011, or fax it to 207-373-0471, or email your request to mannahattamainecoons@mac.com.  Faxed or emailed orders will be processed upon receipt of payment. Make checks payable to Carla Maria Sullwold.

 


    NAME: ______________________________________________________________
   ADDRESS: ___________________________________________________________
   PHONE: (day) ______________________________(eve)____________________
   Email: _______________________________________________________________
 THE WHALER'S BRIDE                    Quantity 
List Price
                                        
Subtotal

$17.95
Less any discount



Shipping/Handling                   
$4.00


ME Sales Tax @ 5%
(if applicable)                    
$0.89


Total Due:

 
           Books will be sent by U.S.First Class Mail, unless otherwise specified. 
      
If another form of shipment is desired, please request at time of ordering.  Additional charges will be billed. 
To receive a shipping estimate at time of order, please email us at mannahattamainecoons@mac.com.


AWARD-WINNING NOVEL- November 2011!

Available directly from Weiala Press or on www.amazon.com or www.barnesandnoble.com
See author & ordering information below!
rufuscover
 


Raising Rufus
A Maine Love Story


A Novel

 by
Carla Maria Verdino-Süllwold

 

Paper; perfect bound

 131 pp.
$17.95

ISBN 978-1-4507-8463-4

author, husband & rufus

Raising Rufus: A Maine Love Story by Carla Maria Verdino-Süllwold is a tender and tragic love story about an older couple, their Newfoundland dog, and their passion for the coast of Maine.  A romantic drama with a live action animal subplot, Raising Rufus is the tale of Gus and Maria Sundergaard, who realize their dream of building their retirement home in Midcoast Maine.  Though deeply devoted to each other, their forty-year marriage has been sometimes plagued by demons and discord and by secrets hidden deep in Gus’ heart.  Childless, they adopt a Newfoundland puppy, Rufus, and embark on a series of hilarious and heartwarming adventures together.  Discovering Rufus’ extraordinary talent for water rescue, Gus and Maria train and compete with their dog at the national breed water trials, where Rufus becomes a true hero when he rescues Gus, who suffers a heart attack in the midst of the competition.  Though tragedy looms ahead, Rufus helps to heal his family, celebrating with them a renewed love for each other and for the place they call their home.  Written after the sudden death of the author’s husband of forty years, this poignant novel will speak to anyone who has ever loved and lost a soul mate, to readers who cherish the bond between man and dog, and to all those captivated by Maine’s rugged beauty.

A love story for the ages, the beautiful vistas of Maine and a boisterous Newfoundland puppy named Rufus - who could ask for a better tale?  - Newfoundland Club of America, April 2012 Newsletter

The story unfolds with a beautiful and poetic lyricism. 
– Albert H. Black, playwright (Boot Camp & other plays)

A seamless novella evoking the woods and sea of Maine, the bond between a dog and his humans, and the happy and tragic scenes of a long and loving marriage.
-  Donna Puccini, poet, (To Sip Darjeeling Tea & other volumes)

Self Publishing Review  1/10/12
****

Raising Rufus: A Maine Love Story by Carla Maria Verdino-Sullwold is about a couple in their sixties who choose to leave their hectic lives behind in New York to live in their dream retirement home in Maine along the coast.  Gus and Maria Sundergaard have survived forty years of marriage and their relationship has been full of love and devotion.  However, Gus has kept a couple of secrets that cause discord in the relationship and Maria senses that there are issues but is fearful to push for answers.  To complicate matters, Gus struggles with depression, which frightens Maria.

The couple never had children and when they settle into their new home in Maine they adopt Rufus, a Newfoundland puppy that is boisterous and full of love.  Once they learn that Rufus loves the ocean the couple decides to train Rufus to become a water rescue dog.  The raising and training of Rufus brings the couple closer to each other.  Not only do they start to air out their problems, but their love for each other is reinforced.   People who have been in a relationship will be able to relate too many of the couple’s issues.  Marriage is not always easy, but Gus and Maria’s story shows just how rewarding a relationship can be as long as both people are willing to work at it.

The writer’s use of flashbacks helps aid the reader to understand the complexities of the couple’s relationship.  And as you read more about the couple’s past you begin to understand how they reached the point they are at and the motivations for the move to Maine and the adoption of Rufus.

Verdino-Sullwold wrote this touching novel after her husband of forty years died suddenly.  If you have ever suffered the loss of your soul mate and best friend, this story will touch your heart.  And many readers will fall in love with the adorable Rufus.

As I read the novel, I realized that the author has a love for the English language.  I suggest having a dictionary close by.  This is not to say that her writing is pretentious.  In fact, her writing is beautiful and poetic at times.  As I read the first sentence, “A ribbon of undulating cerulean divides sky and land” I thought I was in for a tough read.  Instead I fell in love with her descriptions of Maine and I pictured myself frolicking on the beach with the couple and Rufus.  For those who have been to Maine, this tale will make you miss the landscape.  And for those who have never been, you’ll want to visit by the time you finish the novel.

The novel is only 134 pages long, so instead of being immersed in Gus and Maria’s story you are given glimpses into their lives.  At times I wanted to know more and to feel more.  However, given that this novel was written soon after Verdino-Sullwold husband’s death, giving more might have been too painful.  This begs the question, will the author explore this subject again.  If she does, I would love to read it.  I give the book four out of five stars.




AUTHOR WINS GRAND PRIZE for SCREENPLAY BASED on NOVEL

Carla Maria Verdino-Süllwold was awarded the GRAND Prize in the Rhode Island International Film Screenplay Competition for 2011.  The screenplay, Raising Rufus: A Maine Love Story will be the focus of the screenplay component of RIFF's August 2012 Festival in Providence, RI. The press releases are attached.  Ms. Verdino-Süllwold is now represented by Matthew Valentinas Law, who is helping to develop the script for submission to the TV and film industry.

RIIFF ANNOUNCES 2011 SCREENPLAY COMPETITION WINNERS
.... 364 submissions received from throughout the United States and across the globe
 

(PROVIDENCE, RI) • Carla Maria Verdino-Süllwold from Brunswick, Maine was the Grand Prize Winner for this year's 2011 FLICKERS: Rhode Island International Film Festival (RIIFF) Screenplay Competition. The awards announcement was made Tuesday by George T. Marshall, RIIFF Executive Director. The winning screenplay “Raising Rufus: A Maine Love Story” is a tender and tragic love story about a childless older couple, their Newfoundland dog, and their passion for the coast of Maine. After forty years of a devoted, but troubled marriage, they adopt Rufus and embark on a series of heartwarming, heroic and ultimately healing adventures.
 
“This screenplay is something that should be made. Reading it, you can literally envision the actual film,” said J. Scott Oberacker, RIIFF Educational Outreach Director.
“The outstanding quality of this year's submissions and the level of creativity, made for difficult decision-making on the part of our international group of judges,” added Oberacker. “Our adjudication team read 364 screenplay entries this year, the largest entry base in the competition’s history. Each submission was analyzed and scored according to a set of criteria, including Character, Dialogue, Setting, Plot and Technique.
 
“After extensive reading and deliberation among the judges, prizewinners were chosen in five different categories: Main Competition, Gay and Lesbian (GLBT), Local (New England) Focus, Horror, and Short Screenplay,” she added. “Each will come with its own set of awards.”
 
“We could not be more pleased with the selection of this year’s winners,” noted George T. Marshall. “As this competition continues to grow and expand, we have access to some of the world’s brightest and most talented writers in the craft.”
 


PORTLAND PRESS HERALD  Friday, November 4, 2011


Maine woman wins R.I. screenplay competition

The Associated Press

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — A Maine woman has won the Rhode Island International Film Festival screenplay competition with a story about a childless older couple and their adopted Newfoundland dog.


The screenplay "Raising Rufus: A Maine Love Story" by Carla Maria Verdino-Sullwold of Brunswick was selected as the winner in the main competition category. The Flickers film festival calls it a tender, tragic story about a couple in a troubled marriage of 40 years who adopt a dog named Rufus and set out on a series of adventures that help them heal.
Winners were also chosen from among the 364 entries in several other categories, including New England Focus, Horror, and Gay and Lesbian. Officials said the number of screenplays entered was the largest in the competition's history.




To order:

To order your copy of Raising Rufus: A Maine Love Story just fill out this form, print it, and mail it to: Carla Maria Sullwold, Weiala Press,
12 Tamarack Drive, Brunswick, ME 04011, or fax it to 207-373-0471, or email your request to mannahattamainecoons@mac.com.  Faxed or emailed orders will be processed upon receipt of payment. Make checks payable to Carla Maria Sullwold.

 


    NAME: ______________________________________________________________
   ADDRESS: ___________________________________________________________
   PHONE: (day) ______________________________(eve)____________________
   Email: _______________________________________________________________
 RAISING RUFUS                    Quantity 
List Price
                                        
Subtotal

$17.95
Less any discount



Shipping/Handling                   
$4.00


ME Sales Tax @ 5%
(if applicable)                    
$0.89


Total Due:

 
           Books will be sent by U.S. First Class Mail, unless otherwise specified. 
      
If another form of shipment is desired, please request at time of ordering.  Additional charges will be billed. 
To receive a shipping estimate at time of order, please email us at mannahattamainecoons@mac.com.




RELEASED JUNE 2008!
Available directly from Weiala Press


 
topcatcover
 


TOP CAT

Tails of Mannahatta

 

By Carla Maria Verdino-Süllwold

 

Paper; perfect bound

 185 pp.
$16.95

ISBN 978-1-60530-487-8

author&cats


Confessions from the Cattery!

Candid diaries of twenty-one felines who have made their home at Mannahatta, the national award-winning Maine Coon cattery,
and at Friskie's Feline Finishing School, its rescue component.........

 

In a series of dramatic monologues these colorful characters tell their heartwarming tales, both funny and sad,
with spice, wit, and more than a little wisdom.  Through the eyes and voices of these "tribesman," four-legged folks can
enter the magical,  metaphysical world of the feline mind.



 

Prose and poetry for the ultimate cat-lover,
based on the true-life experiences of a Maine Coon breeder. 
Curl up with a kitten or two under each arm, a cup of tea in hand,
and this book on your lap. You won't regret it!

Donna Pucciani, poet/author Jumping off the Train, The Other Side of Thunder & Chasing the Saints

 



To order:

To order your copy of TOP CAT  Tails of Mannahatta, just fill out this form, print it, and mail it to: Carla Maria Sullwold, Weiala Press, 
12 Tamarack Drive, Brunswick, ME 04011, or fax it to 207-373-0471, or email your request to mannahattamainecoons@mac.com.  Faxed or emailed orders will be processed upon receipt of payment. Make checks payable to Carlla Maria Sullwold.

 


    NAME: ______________________________________________________________
   ADDRESS: ___________________________________________________________
   PHONE: (day) ______________________________(eve)____________________
   Email: _______________________________________________________________
 TOP CAT                      Quantity 
List Price
                                        
Subtotal

$16.95
Less any discount



Shipping/Handling                   
$4.90


ME Sales Tax @ 5%
(if applicable)                    
$0.85


Total Due:

 

           Books will be sent by U.S. Priority Mail, unless otherwise specified. 
      
If another form of shipment is desired, please request at time of ordering.  Additional charges will be billed. 
To receive a shipping estimate at time of order, please email us at mannahattamainecoons@mac.com.


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