A Theory of Expanded Love Takes Bronze at INDIEFAB

Caitlin Hicks' Debut Novel Named Foreword Reviews' 2015 INDIEFAB Book of the Year Awards Bronze Winner

cover theory indiefabwebWe are ecstatic to announce A Theory of Expanded Love by Caitlin Hicks has been recognized as a Bronze winner in the 18th annual Foreword Reviews’ INDIEFAB Book of the Year Awards! 

A Theory of Expanded Love is Ms. Hicks' debut novel. Caitlin Hicks and Annie Shea, the novel's heroine, have taken the literary world by storm, receiving many awards, reviews and accolades since it was published in June 2015. Winning Bronze at the INDIEFAB Book of the Year Awards is one of the most prestigious recognitions for independently published books. 

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NC Small Press Celebrates INDIEFAB Finalists

INDIEFAB Finalists 2015NC Small Press Celebrates INDIEFAB Finalists

Three titles from Light Messages Publishing have been named Foreword Reviews' 18th annual INDIEFAB Book of the Year Awards Finalists: The Particular Appeal of Gillian Pugsley by Susan Örnbratt, Relentless Savage by Dave Edlund, and A Theory of Expanded Love by Caitlin Hicks. To see the complete list, click here.

Each year, Foreword Reviews shines a light on a select group of indie publishers, university presses, and self-published authors whose work stands out from the crowd. Over the next three months, a panel of more than 100 volunteer librarians and booksellers will determine the winners in 63 categories based on their experience with readers and patrons.

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Top 50 Must Read Books of 2015

A big congratulations to two of our authors, Caitlin Hicks and Susan Örnbratt. The two authors have been named to Judith D. Collins' Top 50 Must Read Books of 2015! 

Caitlin Hicks is the author of A Theory of Expanded Love. With a debut novel that is at once hilarious and moving, celebrated playwright Caitlin Hicks takes readers inside the malleable mind of a quirky adolescent in 1963 as Annie Shea tests her family’s strict boundaries and her own Theory of Expanded Love. Ms. Hicks' novel has been an iBooks Best New Fiction pick. Kirkus Reviews praised the book saying, "Annie's disarming voice evokes nostalgia for a bygone era and hope for humanity in a weary, modern world."

Susan Örnbratt is the author of The Particular Appeal of Gillian Pugsley. Ms. Örnbratt's debut novel takes readers from the shores of The Great Lakes to the slums of Bombay and a tiny island in between. This love story brings the reader on an intimate journey to unravel a family secret that’s lain hidden for generations. The Particular Appeal of Gillian Pugsley has been praised by many readers and reviwers. The Historical Novel Society calls Ms. Örnbratt's novel "exuberantly readable... with a delicious twist at the endrecommended."

Both books are available at your favorite bookstore, or online at Amazon.com, iBooks, and Barnes & Noble. 



Light Messages Senior Editor Elected to IBPA Board of Directors

EJT-AuthorPhoto-WebLight Messages is excited and proud to announce that our very own Elizabeth Turnbull has been elected to serve on the board of directors of the Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA), beginning in July of this year.

The IBPA is a not-for-profit membership organization serving and leading the indie publishing community through advocacy, education, and tools for success. With nearly 3,000 members, the IBPA is the largest publishing trade association in the United States.

The board members regularly meet to discuss and plan the association’s business while reflecting the IBPA’s core values and goals. The board members may serve two- to four-year terms where they will serve on committees representing the interests of the independent publishing association’s members.

“I’m beyond thrilled at the opportunity to serve, to influence our book culture, and, most of all, to learn from the best and brightest minds in the industry,” Elizabeth said upon hearing the news of her election to the board.

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Silverwood by Betsy Streeter makes a Splash in Sci Fi, Fantasy

Cover-Web-SilverwoodBetsy Streeter, a Bay Area author, is celebrating the release of her riveting science fiction, young adult novel Silverwood. The eBook edition was released March 15, as an iBooks “Best New Fantasy” pick, and the paperback edition will be available everywhere books are sold April 1.

The Silverwoods are a clan with a messy history and an uncertain future, and are responsible for protecting humanity from the shape-shifting Tromindox. Silverwood follows the life of fourteen-year-old Helen Silverwood and her mother and brother as they live life on the run. Helen knows that she will never have a normal life, from her mother’s unusual work habits, her father’s absence, her brother’s strange abilities with a pencil and paper, and her own recurring dreams and hacker tendencies.

Silverwood has gold-star amazing characters...and the Tromindox are one of the most original species that I have read in a while,” raves the Scarlet Nerded book blog.

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Light Messages Publishing Celebrates Two Titles named Foreword Reviews’ 2014 INDIEFAB Book of the Year Awards Finalists

INDIEFAB-finalistsLight Messages Publishing is pleased to announce Anung’s Journey by Carl Nordgren and Crossing Savage by Dave Edlund have been recognized as finalists in the 17th annual Foreword Reviews’ INDIEFAB Book of the Year Awards.

Carl Nordgren is a Durham-based author and professor at Duke University. Anung’s Journey was previously named one of the Top 10 Middle Grade Novels of 2014 by Foreword Reviews and is now a finalist for the INDIEFAB Book of the Year Award in both Multicultural Fiction and Juvenile Fiction.

Dave Edlund is an author from Eugene, Oregon, and a leading expert in hydrogen energy. His novel Crossing Savage is an international political thriller that asks the question: What would happen if energy independence really were within our reach? Edlund's second novel, Relentless Savage, will be released April 2015.

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Foreword Reviews Names Anung’s Journey by Carl Nordgren Among Best Middle Grade Books of 2014

CarlNordgren-webDURHAM, NC – Foreword Reviews, the celebrated indie press trade review journal, has named Anung’s Journey by Durham author Carl Nordgren amongs its Top 10 Indie Middle Grade Books of 2014:

“In clear, unadorned language, Carl Nordgren tells the story of Anung, an orphaned Ojibway boy who traverses the land to share with the greatest chief of the nations how all the men and women of his tribe cared for him when his parents died. This story gently proffers a message of cooperation and harmony with nature, community members, and all the world’s people. The surprising ending ties together Eastern and Western legends to reveal the unity of all people, despite cultural, physical, or geographical differences.”

The complete post, “From Goddesses to Zombies, 10 Best Indie Middle Grade Novels of 2014,” can be viewed on the Foreword Reviews blog.

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Duke Professor Celebrates Release of Native American Holiday Legend

Anung's Journey by Duke Professor Carl Nordgren Celebrates Ancient Ojibway Holiday Legend

AnungCover-webLight Messages Publishing is proud to announce the release of Anung's Journey, an ancient Ojibway legend retold by author Carl Nordgren and illustrated by paper cut artist Brita Wolf. The book is distributed by Ingram and is available anywhere books are sold. The release is timed to coincide with Native American Heritage Month, which begins November 1.

Nordgren will be on a tour of bookstores and cultural centers throughout the winter. In August, he was a featured author at History Week for the Museum of Ojibwa Culture in Michigan where attendees had the exclusive option to purchase the book early.

This detailed retelling of a winter holiday legend follows the young Anung on a journey to find the greatest chief who ever lived. On his quest, Anung travels through the 13 tribes of the First Nations, across forests, plains, water, and desert. Along the way, he is accompanied by Turtle, the interpreter of all languages. He finds friends in the most unlikely of places—a squirrel's nest, a mother bear's den, and a city filled with people from every tribe. What Anung discovers at the end of his journey will both surprise and thrill readers of all ages. This legend, told in the beautifully poetic style of Nordgren and accompanied by 10 paper cut illustrations by Wolf, begs to be read aloud and savored.

Though the novella for young readers and families isn't officially released for sale until October 27, Nordgren is already receiving praise for his retelling of the legend. "[Nordgren's] storytelling is compelling and rich in images. A fascinating look at the melding of North American cultures," Kirkus Reviews wrote.

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Doctor's Futuristic Medical Thriller Based on Ebola-Like Virus Tops Charts

NewRealityCover-webNEW JERSEY – When Dr. Stephen Martino set out to write his futuristic medical thriller The New Reality, he based it on every doctor's biggest fear. What if a global pandemic of hemorrhagic fever broke out while the world's best medical facilities were facing a systemic collapse? The answer to that provides the plot for his debut novel The New Reality, which recently ranked as the #1 Thriller at Amazon, the world's largest book retailer.

Martino takes readers to the year 2080 when a deadly retrovirus is inadvertently released upon the planet. Facing financial ruin and catastrophic loss of life, the world's nations turn to acclaimed neuroscientist Alex Pella and NIH expert Marissa Ambrosia. Assembling a team of experts, the scientists begin an international search for the cure while fighting off a foreign elite military unit sent to stop them at all costs. Guided by a code concealed within the Hebrew text of the Old Testament, the scientists must traverse ancient lands and solve a biblical riddle in their quest to save humanity from its eminent destruction.

Drawing from both our nation's politically charged environment and the worldwide economic crisis, The New Reality follows Alex Pella on a journey that projects a frightening path for human existence in the twenty-first century––a path that seems uncomfortably close to reality with the latest outbreak of Ebola.

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Acclaimed Playwright Caitlin Hicks Signs with Light Messages Publishing for Debut Novel

Acclaimed Playwright Caitlin Hicks Signs with Light Messages Publishing for Debut Novel

CaitlinHicksLight Messages Publishing is thrilled to announce that Caitlin Hicks, an acclaimed playwright from Vancouver, Canada, will be publishing her debut novel with the press in May 2015.

Ms. Hicks’ novel A Theory of Expanded Love is a coming-of-age story featuring a feisty yet gullible adolescent, trapped in her enormous, devout Catholic family in 1963. Surrounded by twelve brothers and sisters, and desperate for attention, Annie creates a hilarious campaign of lies when the pope dies and their family friend, Cardinal Stefanucci, is unexpectedly on the short list to be elected the first American pope. Driven to elevate her family to the holiest of holy rollers in the parish, Annie is tortured by her own dishonesty. But when one of her brothers gets left behind at Disneyland and ‘The Hands’ visit her in her bed, when her sister becomes pregnant “out of wedlock,” Annie discovers her parents will do almost anything to uphold their Catholic reputation. Questioning all she has believed, and torn between her own gut instinct and years of Catholic guilt, Annie takes courageous risks to wrest salvation from the tragic sequence of events set in motion by her parents’ betrayal.

While A Theory of Expanded Love is Ms. Hicks’ first novel, she has published several short stories, including That Rescue Feeling, which was shortlisted for the John Spencer Hill Fiction Award. Monologues from several of her plays were featured in Smith & Kraus’ series ‘Best Women’s Stage Monologues’ (New York).  She also wrote the play, later adapted for the screen, Singing the Bones, which debuted at the Montreal World Film Festival to stellar reviews and screened around the world. 

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A Sinner in Paradise wins 2 National Awards

Durham, NC—Light Messages Publishing is proud to announce author Deborah Hining as an IndieFab Book of the Year Bronze Medal winner in Romance from Foreword Reviews for her charismatic novel A Sinner in Paradise.

Foreword's IndieFab Book of the Year Awards program was created to discover distinctive books from the indie publishing community across a number of genres. What sets the awards apart is that real judges— composed of a panel of over 100 working librarians and booksellers—determine the winners, based on their experience with patron and customers, make final selections.

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American Book Fest selects 3 Light Messages Publishing Titles in its search for the best books of 2014.

Durham, NC, May 21, 2014 — American Book Fest has announced the results of the 2014 International Book Awards. Each year, the International Book Awards selects the top books from authors and publishers around the world in more than 80 categories.

Three titles by Durham-based publisher Light Messages were named finalists for the 2014 International Book Awards. A Sinner in Paradise by Deborah Hining is a finalist in the Fiction/Romance category. A Sinner in Paradise is also a finalist for the prestigious Benjamin Franklin Award from the Independent Book Publisher’s Association; the results will be announced in New York City on May 28. The Megalith Union (Celtic Mythos, #2) by Brad A. LaMar is a finalist in the Fiction/Young Adult category. A Sergeant in the House by Betty Turnbull is a finalist in the Children’s Picture Book/Softcover Fiction category. Earlier this year, A Sergeant in the House earned the Stars and Flags Gold Medal for Best Children’s Book 2013 and is a finalist for the Foreword Reviews Book of the Year Award, announced at the American Library Association Annual Conference on June 27, 2014.

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Carl Nordgren Appearances & Media

Find Carl Nordgren on the radio, on popular blogs and websites, and in person.


Invited Guest - Thursday-Friday, August 21-22


The Museum of Ojibwa Culture
500 N. State Street
St. Ignace, Michigan 49781


Carl has been invited to participate in the museum's History Week in conjunction with his novella Anung's Journey, an ancient Ojibway legend as told by Steve Fobister (an Ojibway Elder). He will do a reading and tell stories throughout the day. He will also participate in a drum making workshop led by an Ojibwa elder and will attend a dance presentation led by a young Ojibway. These are activities that tie directly to Anung, the young hero of the legend. The Museum of Ojibwa Culture is located at the center of the Ojibway universe, and Carl is thrilled to be participating. He hopes you'll attend, too!

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Visiting Associate Professor at Duke Celebrates Release of Debut Novel

The 53rd Parallel by Carl Nordgren

Durham, NC––Light Messages Publishing is proud to announce the release of The 53rd Parallel (River of Lakes, Book One) by Carl Nordgren. In this evocative debut novel spanning mid-century Ireland and Canada, Nordgren weaves an ambitious tale about the power of dreams, the hope of new beginnings, and the dangers of ghosts who haunt our past.

In The 53rd Parallel, Brian Burke emigrates from 1950s West Ireland to the wilderness of Northwest Ontario with his partner Maureen O'Toole. He's been exiled from his village, and she is running from her IRA past. The dreams of an Ojibway clan elder bring the Irish to the sacred place on the River, where they build The Great Lodge of Innish Cove. The dreams tell of a white man who will destroy the River and another who will protect it. While the Ojibway believe Brian and Maureen are the River's guardians, Maureen's IRA connections and the construction of a pulp mill upstream threaten to destroy the newly created Eden before it even begins.

Under the watchful eye of a warrior spirit, the clan and their Irish companions risk all they love to protect the River and the promises it holds for their future. The fates of the two groups will intertwine as both seek to ward off the encroachment of the modern world.

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A Sinner in Paradise Named a Benjamin Franklin Awards 2014 Finalist


Durham, NC, April 30, 2014 — The Independent Book Publisher’s Association Benjamin Franklin Awards, regarded as one of the highest national honors for independent publishers, has named A Sinner in Paradise by Deborah Hining (Light Messages Publishing, August 2013) as finalist for Best Cover Design – Fiction. The book, which was Ms. Hining’s debut novel, is in the running for a gold medal given at an awards ceremony on May 28 at the NYU Kimmel Center's Rosenthal Pavilion in New York, NY.

            “As a growing publisher working with emerging authors, this honor is especially meaningful to us,” commented Elizabeth Turnbull, Light Messages Publishing Senior Editor. “There is stiff competition in the book industry, and it’s gratifying to know that we are putting our creative resources to good use. It has been a magical experience to watch Deborah’s book develop from a rough manuscript to a polished novel receiving national recognition.”

A Sinner in Paradiseis also a finalist for the Foreword Reviews Book of the Year Award in Romance. The winner will be announced during the American Library Association Annual Conference in Las Vegas on Friday, June 27 at 6 p.m.

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Energy Expert's Novel Offers Chilling Foreshadow of Crimean Conflict


CrossingSavageCover-webApril 8 2014 – When one by one the world's leading experts on alternative energy are assassinated, a trail of deadly clues winds through DC, Moscow, and Caracas. With Russia's recent invasion of Crimea, the plot to author Dave Edlund's latest political thriller reads less like fiction and more like a chilling echo of world events. In Crossing Savage (Light Messages, March 2014), Edlund, a leading expert in alternative energy, brings readers face to face with the promise of energy independence––and its true cost.

In this edge-of-your-seat thriller, Peter Savage and his friend Jim Nicolaou race against the clock to preserve the energy secret that promises to change the landscape of the world... or start a global war. With a plot that seems ripped from today's headlines, Edlund presents the theory of abiogenic oil production and the terrifying array of consequences that accompany the pursuit of energy independence.

Dave Edlund isn't just writing from an active imagination. He's a leading expert in hydrogen energy and an inventor on 90 US Patents and more than 120 foreign patents. He has published in excess of 100 technical articles and presentations, and has been an invited author of several technical books on alternative energy. Edlund currently resides in Bend, Oregon with his wife, son, and three dogs.

In Crossing Savage Edlund applies his expertise in alternative energy to create a meticulously researched, action-packed thriller that takes readers to the heart of the Kremlin, the White House, and the Miraflores Palace.

"It should be absolutely clear to Western Governments that Russia and other major exporters of oil and gas (OPEC countries) will use this trade as a weapon––it's happened before and will happen again," Edlund says. "In the case of Russia, as long as Europe relies on Russia for oil and gas, Putin has no reason to fear military or economic reprisals."

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National magazine selects 3 Light Messages Publishing Titles in its search for the best indie books of 2013.

sinner in paradise SergeantCover01 bonnwit kabrit

Durham, NC, March 13, 2014 — Today, Foreword Reviews, the only review magazine solely dedicated to discovering new indie books, announced the finalists for its 16th Annual Book of the Year Awards. Each year, Foreword shines a light on a small group of indie authors and publishers whose groundbreaking work stands out from the crowd. Foreword's awards are more than just a shiny sticker on the front of a book; they help connect the best indie books to readers eager to discover new stories written by previously unknown authors.

Three titles by Durham-based publisher Light Messages were named finalists for the 2013 Book of the Year Awards. A Sinner in Paradise by Deborah Hining is a finalist in the Romance category. A Sergeant in the House by Betty Turnbull and Bonnwit Kabrit by Elizabeth Turnbull (Betty’s daughter) are both finalists in the Picture Book category. 

In the next two months, a panel of over 100 librarians and booksellers will determine the winners of these prestigious awards. A celebration of the winners will take place during the American Library Association Annual Conference in Las Vegas on Friday, June 27 at 6 p.m. with awards in over 60 categories, cash prizes for the best in fiction and nonfiction, and widespread recognition.

Here is the complete list of Foreword Reviews' 2013 Book of the Year Award Finalists.

About Foreword Reviews: Foreword Reviews loves indie books and the art of great storytelling. They discover, curate, critique, and share reviews and feature articles exclusively on indie-publishing trends in their. Their website features a daily stream of reviews of indie books written by a team of professional, objective writers.

About Light Messages Publishing: We were founded in 1998 by a group of authors who believed that there had to be a better model than vanity or self-publishing for emerging authors. Today, Light Messages is a full-service general trade publisher located in Durham, NC.

For more information please contact: Elizabeth Turnbull, Senior Editor, Light Messages Publishing, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., 919-886-5498.

Download the press release in pdf format.

2013 Best Sellers

At Light Messages, we might be small, but we’re good at what we do.

In 2013, over 50% of our titles hit the bestseller list at Amazon.com:

  • Five Days of Fear by David Kovach
  • The Obsidian Dagger by Brad A. LaMar
  • Can't Buy Me Love by Summer Kinard
  • A Sinner in Paradise by Deborah Hining
  • Autobiography of a Baby Boomer by Robert Schultz
  • Janjak and Freda Go to the Iron Market by Elizabeth Turnbull

How did we do it? Certainly not alone.

  • We have a strong team and industry-leading distributors who help us get the right titles into the right hands.
  • We work hard to create attractive, compelling books that speak to readers.
  • We coach authors on how to build a strong audience.
  • We select books with quality, meaningful stories to tell. And readers are catching on!

Preview our “next bestsellers.”

A Sergeant in the House wins Stars and Flags Gold Medal

SergeantCover-AwardDURHAM, NC -- Light Messages Publishing is thrilled to announce that A Sergeant in the House by children's author Betty Turnbull has won the Stars and Flags Gold Medal in the Children's Book category.

The Stars and Flags book awards seek to honor worthy, meaningful books with content about the military. In fact, Stars and Flags is the only national contest where the book content is required to have a military connection.

A Sergeant in the House, this year's gold medal winner for children's books (early childhood) tells the story of Lenny who desperately wants a puppy. His father is in the military, the family must move frequently, and Lenny is still very young to care for an animal, so Lenny strikes a bargain: When his daddy becomes a sergeant, Lenny can have a puppy. When his father is deployed to war, Lenny learns what it means to be responsible, to care for his family, and to help around the house. A dreaded phone call brings the news that Lenny's father has been injured and is being sent home. When Lenny's father explains that this means he'll never become a sergeant, Lenny realizes that what he truly wants is his daddy--puppy or no puppy.

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