Recent Releases


The Disappointment Room
Dee Phelps


The voice coming from the armoire in Charles’ bedroom of the old southern plantation house they had just moved into sent chill bumps all over him.

“Chaulz.” The voice sounded familiar, but he couldn’t place it. It was a man’s voice. Stunned, Charles stayed very still, watching the blackness inside the closet, and waiting for more words.

Finally, his breathing evened, and his heartbeat slowed to normal. He very slowly approached the armoire until he was again standing at the hollow between the open doors.

“You’re not scaring me,” Charles lied to the massive oak furniture.

But the voice didn’t sound threatening. It was a whisper. It was sort of sad and pleading. He swallowed hard, picked up his foot and stepped into the dark.

The past collides with the present in this exciting tale that begins in 1844 on Coffin Point Plantation, Beaufort, South Carolina. Beginning with Charles Knight, locked away in a Disappointment Room, with only Munday, his black nanny, and Helen, her daughter, for companions, the Knight family saga is set in motion.

The Disappointment Room is a gripping story of human bondage and the relentless search for freedom; freedom from the ghosts, secrets, terrors, and atrocities of the past. But the past keeps coming back.

A fast-paced, exciting read infused with the Gullah culture, voodoo, slavery, and the politics of the antebellum and contemporary South. 

(ISBN: 978-1-57966-093-2 Fiction: $26.95)

What Others said about The Disappointment Room…

“Phelps' amazing first novel is a spellbinding saga of a young man imprisoned in a room in a South Carolina plantation where dark family secrets, slavery, and the Gullah culture of superstition come to life on the page. Don't miss this one!”– Cassandra King, bestselling author of The Sunday Wife and Moonrise

"A compelling saga of the past meeting the present, told in the author's distinctive voice." Jeffery Deaver—International number-one best-selling author; most recent novels, The October List, The Kill Room, and XO

“A haunting and fascinating first novel of a boy hidden in an attic room in a Carolina plantation home by a conspiring mother whose personal ambitions outweigh her love for her family.” — Pat Conroy, bestselling author of Prince of Tides, The Great Santini, and South of Broad

“THE DISAPPOINTMENT ROOM is a-paced novel infused with the Gullah culture, slavery, and politics in the antebellum South. A boy from a plantation family is confined by his mother to a secret room in the house on Coffin Point Plantation. His quest for personal freedom parallels those of the slaves who travel with him on a difficult journey . A powerful debut from author Dee Phelps.” –Mary Alice Monroe, NY Times bestselling author of The Summer Girls

“Dee Phelps has captured the essence of the Gullah and Sea Island culture in her vivid novel, The Disappointment Room. She has painstakingly delved into the agony, hopes and aspirations of a people during a challenging era.” –Kenneth F. Hodges, member, SC House of Representatives; owner, LyBensons’ Gallery and Studio, Beaufort, SC; pastor, Tabernacle Baptist Church, Beaufort, SC


deephelpsDee Phelps was inspired to write The Disappointment Room as a result of listening to fascinating and sometimes harrowing stories passed down from her ancestors who once owned a Lowcountry cotton and indigo plantation in Jasper County, South Carolina.

She is the author of the children’s book, The Flower in the Thickets, written under the pen name, Marcella Miller, and has written numerous International travel articles for national magazines. A surgical nurse for over twenty-five years, Dee lives in Beaufort, South Carolina.



Tell Him You Saw Me
Stephen March

The stories are varied in Tell Him You Saw Me and each has a flair and life all its own.

You have three Mississippi fishermen, Earl, Loomis, and Jimmy, walking through the fields to go fishing one summer afternoon and something in the sky gets their attention. The next thing they know it's hours later and they've never made it to the pond. They all swear to never tell that they may have been abducted (by a UFO), but Jimmy gets depressed and just has to tell someone –the sheriff. 

Then there's Dean, a man who saves the weekly allowance he gets from his aunt for beer money while he writes (a horror novel in New Orleans). Dean gets involved with his neighbor, Jacques, who lost his wooden leg in a poker game to some mob characters, and the interest on the $30 to get his leg back keeps going up every day. Dean and Jacques' girlfriend go on a mission to sell their blood, bet on greyhounds, and do anything to get enough money and courage to get Jacques' leg back from Eddie and Rocco.

A young couple go to Key West to visit family in a trailer park and, after smoking a lot of dope and drinking, they decide to go to the quarry to feed an alligator their left over supper.

You don't want any of the stories to end; but when they do, you have to read the next one.



smarchStephen March’s published books include the novels Armadillo, Catbird, Strangers in the Land of Egypt, and Hatteras Moon, as well as a collection of stories, Love to the SpiritsArmadillo won the Texas Review Press Prize in the Novella category. Love to the Spirits won the Independent Publisher Award for Short Fiction in 2005, and Catbird was chosen as a Book Sense Notable by the American Booksellers Association. March’s short stories have been published in New Orleans ReviewCarolina QuarterlyRio Grande Review, Seattle Review, The Oklahoma Review, South Carolina Review, and The Texas Review, among others. He is a graduate of the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and UNC-Greensboro. A singer-songwriter, he has released two CDs, Blue Moon Diner and Twister.


Marie Manilla

Shrapnel explores the legacy of war in three generations of men from the Butler family. Bing Butler, a seventy-seven year-old right-wing widower and WWII veteran from Texas, reluctantly moves in with his feminist, anti-war daughter in West Virginia. Here, he is forced to bury painful family secrets and stifle his tendencies towards racism, classism, and homophobia; but his post-9/11 anxieties equally force him to grapple with these psychological foibles, as his daughter's only son rallies to enlist to serve overseas. Bing had once embraced such patriotic ferver, but after bullying his own son into going to Vietnam he finds he must now muster a kind of emotional bravery he never knew he was capable of in order to keep the family together. At turns funny and at other turns frightening (and frighteningly honest), Shrapnel is always surprising and ultimately greatly rewarding. Manilla is a graduate of the Iowa Writers Workshop. Her story "Crystal City" was one of three finalists for the 2003 Nelson Algren Awards and was published in the Chicago Tribune. Her stories have appeared in the Mississippi Review, Toyon, Timber Creek Review, and in Prairie Schooner, where she received the 1997 Laurence Foundation Award for best short story. Manilla lives in Huntington, West Virginia.



bookOnce a Fighter Pilot: The Story of Korean War Ace Lt. Gen. Charles G. “Chick” Cleveland

Warren A. Trest

In January of 2000, fifty-plus years after the Korean War ended, Lt. Gen. Charles G. “Chick” Cleveland received a phone call. The Secretary of the Air Force’s representative had signed the paper making him an Ace, the fortieth Fighter Jet Ace of the Korean War.  The wait came because until  the Soviet Union released their files on the Korean War,  Lt. Gen. Cleveland’s ‘probable’ kill in 1952 could not be verified.

Cleveland had said of the 1952 incident in question: “I was close to that guy. I know he never got home. I hit him hard from close range, and he went into a vertical dive into the roll cloud of a towering thunderstorm, and MiGs just didn’t do that. I couldn’t follow him and I didn’t see him bail out, explode, or crash, which is necessary for a confirmed ‘kill,’ but I know he never got out of that thing alive.”

His friend and Double Ace, Major General Frederick C. (Boots) Blesse had called him for years, “The Ivory Ace—99 and 44/100 percent pure” after the Ivory soap ads. But when Cleveland’s fifth kill was confirmed, Blesse said it was “a wonderful finish to an outstanding career for as fine an officer as ever put on the blue uniform.”

“A total commitment to Duty, Honor and Country has marked his storied career,” noted author and former USAF senior historian, Warren A. Trest, says of Cleveland.

Lt. Gen. Cleveland first fell in love with aviation when he was just a child and saw two Martin B-10 bombers land in a field up the road from his home.  He “went up to the field and climbed all over the airplanes. The pilots and crews had gone into town; nobody was there guarding the planes.” Then one Sunday morning in September, 1948, at the Cadet Chapel at West Point, he saw Fran. “My God, that’s a lovely girl,” he thought, and she became his wife, the love of his life and the woman who stood by him for over half a century. Trest continues the biography through Cleveland’s West Point days, which he says “was in every way a larger than life experience,” and his decades as an Air Force fighter pilot and commander on the frontlines of defense in the Cold War, Korea and Vietnam wars; through his continued leading role today in community and military affairs. Lt. Gen. Cleveland has definitely led a life to be admired and studied. 

“And unless there is another major war, he might just be the last named Fighter Ace,” says Trest.