New works by local authors worth cheering about
Sharon Short Literary Life

This week, I’m cheering for writers in our area who have new books out, or will have in the near future!

I’m hoping to explore these books in chats with their authors in more depth in future columns, but first, here’s an introduction to each of them:

■ Christina Consolino — Consolino, known in the greater-Dayton area for her editorial services and for leading classes at Word’s Worth Writing Connections, has just had her debut novel, “Rewrite the Stars,” accepted for publication by Black Rose Writing.

It will be released March 18. Learn more about Consolino, her writing and her forthcoming novel at christinaconsolino. com.

■ David Lee Garrison — Professor emeritus of Spanish and Portuguese at Wright State University, Garrison has a long and deep publishing list as a poet. His newest poetry collection is entitled “Light in the River,” just out from Dos Madres Press. Garrison was Ohio Poet of the Year in 2014. Learn more about Garrison, his new collection, and read a sample poem at www.dosmadres. com/shop/light-in-the-riverby-david-lee-garrison/.

■ Scott Geisel — Geisel is a senior lecturer in the Department of English Language & Literatures at Wright State University, and has published short fiction in a variety of literary magazines. His debut novel is a mystery set in the town where he lives, Yellow Springs. The novel is entitled “Fair Game.” It’s available online as well as at Dark Star Books in Yellow Springs. Learn more about Geisel and his debut novel at

Another First Reader experience

Amy Jones is the new editor in chief of “Writer’s Digest” magazine, which has an international reach and is headquartered just down the road in Cincinnati.

Prior to taking the helm of the magazine, she was the managing editor of Writer’s Digest Books.

She also serves as a First Reader for the Dayton Literary Peace Prize. This year, she was a First Reader for fiction; the past two years, she read for nonfiction.

In addition to her work as an editor, Jones pursues her own creative writing.

She shared the impact serving as a First Reader has had on her own creative work: “At this point, I mostly write nonfiction and am actively studying the craft of writing fiction.

The nonfiction I write is mostly interviews and articles about books and the craft of writing and reading for this prize has introduced me to new authors/ books to interview and write about. It’s also made me more actively consider the idea of writing as a means for change in the world and how that is most effectively achieved in fiction and nonfiction. For fiction, it’s all about the characters and finding ways to make the characters relatable to the reader. Even if the circumstances are so far removed from the reader’s life as to seem unrelatable, the emotions and desires of the characters are the connection point.

For nonfiction, I find that narrative nonfiction which weaves the facts of a situation into a story is far more effective if the goal is advocating for a change. Nonfiction that’s prescriptive or a recitation of facts and research is hard to relate to. As I consider the kind of fiction I hope to write, reading for the DLPP has offered new insight into what possibilities are open for me. My life has, thankfully, been very peaceful but that also meant I didn’t think I had much to write about. This prize has helped reframe the idea of peace in that its opposite isn’t always war — it’s conflict.

And everyone’s experienced conflict so everyone has a story to tell — myself included.”

Writing classes

Word’s Worth Writing Connections is offering up a new slate of classes starting in July. All are held online via Zoom:

■ Wednesday, July 22, 6:30-8 p.m. — Edit Your Own Work 101, led by Christina Consolino, focusing on how to objectively review your own writing, in any genre, from big picture issues to detailed items.

■ Wednesday, July 29, 6:30-8 p.m. — Embrace Your Literary Mama, led by Christina Consolino, one of the senior editors of the online magazine, “Literary Mama.” The class will focus on how to create your own story or essay about your experience as a mama, or your experience with a mama or a mama-figure in your life. You do not need to have a work in progress for this class.

■ Save the date — Starting in September, you can sign up for the 2020/21 “Writer’s 12-Step Program: Write Your Novel in a Year,” a series of monthly classes over the course of a year to help you write a first draft of a novel in one year’s time.

Led by experienced creative writing instructor and published novelist Katrina Kittle.

Check the organization’s website,, for details about and registration links for all of the above classes.

Sharon Short writes historical mysteries under the pen name Jess Montgomery (www. jessmontgomeryauthor. com). Send her column ideas, book club news, or literary events at sharonshort1983@