Always and Always: Poems by Sandra S. Wayne 

alwaysandalwayscoverAlways and Always is a collection of short poems that remind us of the basic beauty of time and place, love and loss – keen, playful, poignant and life-inspiring.

Sandra Wayne, also an award-winning photographer, uses language to capture moments and feelings like images that are appropriate for all ages.

Always and Always is Sandra’s second collection for Sweetgum Press and contains over 90 poems and ten black and white photographs.

Sleeping Life and Other Stories by James Henry Taylor

SleepingLifeFiction, like dreams, reflects our reality- past, present, and future- opening our minds and our hearts to new possibilities and understanding.

In his third collection, physicist, educator, and author James Henry Taylor explores the rich, haunting life of the human imagination with precise, believable, and vivid language.

Including illustrations by artist Andrea Badger, Sleeping Life and Other Stories is beautiful and thought-provoking short fiction.

Gossip in the Leaves by Sandra Wayne

GILFrontCover (524x800)Gossip in the Leaves is a collection of short poems that capture life in its many forms, juxtaposing the simplicity of youth and nature with the realities of aging and fond remembrances.


Left Behind
Silence can stare and wait for
movement –
the awkward goodbye,
the scratch behind the ears,
the thud of a tail –
stopped in a wag.
The door is shut,
and the house
whines in emptiness.

Everyday Wonder or the Quick Brown Fox Jumps Over the Lazy Dog by James Henry Taylor

EverydayWonderThe Missouri State Teachers Association (MSTA) selected James Henry Taylor’s Everyday Wonder or The Quick Brown Fox Jumps Over the Lazy Dog for its 2011 recommended reading list for grades 9-12.

Comments: Like an intrepid guide, Taylor escorts readers on a delightful stroll through nature, both wild and human. These twenty-six amusing stories demonstrate how the abecediary form is less a writing constraint than literary liberation from the predictable. From aardvarks to fish, toads to zebras, grownups to children, and so much in between, Taylor’s world is indeed a wonder as he cleverly reminds us again and again that it is often the ordinary that makes life extraordinary. A pleasure to read!
Debra Di Blasi, author of Drought, Prayers of an Accidental Nature, What the Body Requires, and The Jiri Chronicles.

James Henry Taylor’s love of language and passion for words shiine through on every page of this unique collection.
David Lubar, author of Hidden Talents,, an ALA Best Book for Young Adults, Flip, Dunk, True Talents, and more.

Using the simplicity of the alphabet to delve into the complexity of the natural world, the mind and the heart, James Henry Taylor gives us short, charming and diverting fiction. Do you ever wonder if wanting will work wonders? Or what your cats do all day long? Like modern Aesop’s Fables–appropriate for a broad audience–Everyday Wonder educates and engages.–Editors.

Delta Pearls by Judith Bader Jones


Delta Pearls won the 2007 William Rockhill Nelson Award in fiction. Margot Livesey, noted fiction writer and writer in residence at Emerson College, judged the fiction category. She stated that Jones’ stories “had a hard-edged tenderness and a feeling for the past that I found both moving and engaging.”

Written by Judith Bader Jones, Delta Pearls is an anthology of very brief stories—most only a few pages long—set in the Missouri Delta. Ordinary men and women facing challenges from poverty, racism, loss, and their own personal demons populate the pages, and Jones’ capture of the Missouri Delta dialogue, as well as Southern culture, atmosphere, and daily life, is exquisite. A treasury of prose gems to savor one at a time or all at once. Midwest Review

Jones views life through a positive lens–an unusual posture in our overly ironic, even cynical age. Through the course of the collection, we discern that this nonjudgmental view of life fits her interpretation of the mid-century period and the resilience of her characters–farm and small town folk, dealing with material losses and spiritual gains, while the Great River rolls by. Catherine Browder “Tales from Missouri Bayou Country,” New Letters 73.3, 159. (visit

The people of Delta Pearls are as real as members of your own family, as thoroughly fascinating as only real people can be. The author . . . gently reminds us that even the worst of us has redeeming qualities, even the best of us carries sins we’d prefer buried. Judith Bader Jones is a master storyteller and this is an eloquent collection of her work. —Jacqueline Guidry, author of The Year the Colored Sisters Came to Town

Delta Pearls is a quiet jewel, rich with a lyrical magic . . . these stories sink into you, rich, sweet, and true. They beguile your spirit and fill your heart. —Deborah Shouse, author, editor and motivational speaker

These characters meet life head on and cope in ways that resonate with the most fundamental fears and strengths in all of us. —Sally Whitney, author and editor of Best’s Review

In a world where technological innovation and mass media are homogenizing American English, Judith Bader Jones preserves the beauty of the vernacular language distinctive to the Missouri Delta–that “mosquito infested backdrop of civilization”–and captures the heart of people in the process of loving and losing, being and becoming. —Editors.

At the Masthead by Jim Boan

AtTheMastheadThis charming book is no longer available through Sweetgum Press. The remaining copies were donated to the Stoddard County Historical Society and are available through them. Proceeds from sales through the Society belong to the Society.

At the Masthead is the recollections of a newspaper editor who ran his own weekly newspaper for a small town in Stoddard County, Missouri. Offering a unique viewpoint … [the book] is well worth the read to embrace this little piece of Americana that is so often overlooked. THE MIDWEST BOOK REVIEW, October 2009.

An engaging memoir by the past editor of the Vindicator, a small town newspaper in Southeast Missouri. It’s a richly detailed story of small town publishing, and a warm tribute to the people and place the paper served. Editors

Through Eyes of Stone by Michael Hobbs

mikecov2This short memoir by a Missouri Vietnam veteran is no longer available through Sweetgum Press. The remaining copies were donated to and are available from the Stars and Stripes Museum. All proceeds go to the Museum.


An excellent book that gives a true picture of a soldier’s combat experience. Without blood, guts, and gore, it is “safe” for the combat veteran and also allows his significant others a glimpse of what he felt in a close combat situation. Many Vietnam vets have said the book gives a glimpse of what they felt in a foreign territory with vastly different values than their own. Dr. H. V. Bray, Jr. posted on

In Through Eyes of Stone, the humor and sensitivity of young Michael Hobbs is captivating, and undoubtedly the book’s strong point. His image of war is real, not heroic. It is the farthest one could get from a Hollywood movie. There’s no poetic justice, only the painful loss of innocence, as the writer conveys in the book’s opening poem, “In my eyes there is nothing. . . I have lost my soul.”

The unapologetic, sometimes bitter, and often perplexing older Hobbs is seen through the book’s preface and appendix. I found him somewhat less intriguing than the younger (perhaps because his humor and confusion are replaced by so much certainty), yet the contradictions, rationalizations and angry outbursts of this complex person (both young and old) can’t help but draw in the reader and make him contemplate his own humanity… There is nothing fancy about Through Eyes of Stone, just a raw look at a hostile world from the point of view of a compelling and dynamic narrator. [Amy Thilges, Warrensburg Free Press 3.1, April 3-21, 2004: 14.]

The Spring Branch by Tony Schaffer


As a metaphorical journey through the mind of a fisherman over the course of one year, The Spring Branch clearly references Edmund Spenser (an English Renaissance poet whose Shepherd’s Calendar like The Spring Branch is cyclical and structured in the form of a calendar).

As Shaffer points out in one telling line, however, this narrator is wholly American “never to be construed or confused as being/related to the anglophile.” He is clearly inspired by the American Romantic poet Walt Whitman, and one can see Whitman’s influence in Shaffer’s emphasis on the senses, nature, and his depiction of the poet as philosopher. . . .

Like the pastoral and romantic poets who precede him, Shaffer is clearly concerned with the natural world. His mistrust of advancement, both technological and economical, is in keeping with his role as philosopher-poet. In order to remind us that “The true gold in the creek is not the soft metal/but the glorious reflection of the sun from the flanks,” we need the Tony Shaffers of this world. [Amy Thilges, Warrensburg Free Press 3.l,April 8-21, 2004: 15-16.]

Excerpts from “After 20 years of thought, a book is born” by Chuck Orman.

“His [Shaffer’s] book is not one you will read straight through, but will dip into from time to time and come out feeling better.”

[Quoting Leroy Van Dyke] “‘Tony is multi-talented–a musician, a teacher, a philosopher and he has studied the human animal. He has a sage comment for everyone.'”

(Sedalia Deomocrat, Friday Jan. 21, 2005, p.7)

Cover design by Tony Shaffer

A Horse Named Kat by Lucy S. Lauer

AHorseNamedKatAvailable from Cave Hollow Press

Sweetgum Press partially funded the publication (by Cave Hollow Press) of this middle reader by Lucy S. Lauer.

From the cover: Filled with exciting details about barrel and flag racing, pole bending, and bare-back riding, A Horse Named Kat is about horses, friends, family and fitting in

Waters Run Wild by Andrea Fekete   OUT OF PRINT

WatersRunWildPraise for Waters Run Wild:

Andrea Fekete has a gift. Her debut novel, Waters Run Wild, reads more like poetry than prose and left this reader wanting more of her lyrical brand of storytelling.
James E. Casto Sunday Gazette-Mail

Waters Run Wild is a vivid and enchanting portrait of the large struggles and small triumphs of life in the coalfields in an earlier and rougher era, a literary tour de force by a talented new author worthy of being compared to Davis Grubb, another great West Virginia author. It’s one of the best accounts of life in rural Appalachia I have read.
J.D. Charles, Logan Banner

Filled with poetic language that reads like my grandparents’ dreams, Waters Run Wild, Andi Fekete’s first novel, pays homage to such great southern and Appalachian works as Their Eyes Were Watching God and Storming Heaven. Her characters are at once fresh and traditional, the details of setting authentic yet original; and her protagonist is both naive and wise. The plot moves spontaneously and guilelessly like life in West Virginia’s hills during the days of coal company stores, scrip and early union activity. Here’s one to rival the classics of Appalachian literature.
–Ron Houchin, author of Among Wordless Things, the Appalachian Writers’ Association Poetry Book-of-the-Year, 2005

Waters Run Wild is a smooth ride over rough terrain: mine disasters, union busting, racially motivated violence, hunger and anger and deep-seated grief. Fekete’s fiction marks the place where nature and human suffering meet, the voices of coal dust and rain joining with the general chorus of hard-pressed characters to create some of the most memorable mountain music this side of Lee Smith.
–Trudy Lewis, author of The Bones of Garbo, for which she was awarded the Sandstone Prize in Short Fiction, and Private Correspondences, winner of the William Goyen Award for Fiction.

With language of a poet and surety of an experienced storyteller, Andrea Fekete steps forth with a beautiful debut novel in the tradition of Lee Smith and James Still. Waters Run Wild is a rich and moving novel that reaches beyond its time and place to capture readers’ hearts and imaginations. How exciting to have this powerful new voice among us.
–Darnell Arnoult, author of Sufficient Grace and What Travels With Us.

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