general: Eye of a doll.
medical: A reflex ocular movement opposing the movement of the head, effectively stabilizing the visual field. This reflex is maintained even in coma as long as the brainstem is intact.
horticultural: Actaea pachypoda (aka white baneberry) Native American woodland wildflower bearing 1/3” white berries with dark blue “pupils” and stiff, red stems. The berries’ toxins have an immediate sedative effect on the human heart.
academic: A one-woman literary press.
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BLOOD SISTERS by Billie Travalini. Paperback, 192pp. $11.84 (15% off cover).
At 10, Betsy Toppin’s life was going fine until the day a Family Court judge ordered her to leave Mama Cope, her foster mother—the only parent she had known—and live with strangers: her biological parents. Before she was able to understand what it all meant she had gone from being safe and loved to unsafe and unloved, and middle class Catholic to lower class Protestant: none of which pleased her. But the heart of Blood Sisters is not the abuse she endured as the result of one bad decision made by one rushed judge. It is the power of sisterhood. It is the story of how Bootsie, a tomboy and their father’s favorite, willingly gave up her favored place in the family to protect Betsy—the sister she never knew she had—from their father’s demons. And how, together, they learned to never give up hope, no matter what.
PRAISE for Blood Sisters
“Billie Travalini’s Blood Sisters is a deeply moving book that explores the essence of family and kinship and delves even deeper to the fundamental human yearning for a self, for an identity. This is one of those rare memoirs that not only shares the author’s life but truly opens the reader to his or her own.” —Robert Olen Butler, author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning A Good Scent from a Strange Mountain
“Memoir holds an uneasy place among the genres. Done poorly, it is easily dismissed as indulgent diary, but done well—and Blood Sisters does it well—the power of skillful memoir can shake a reader to his or her emotional core. Billie Travalini has accomplished that rare feat of joining extraordinary life experience with real-deal writing chops. The result is a stunning exploration of strength and sisterly love, rendered with the tension, suspense, and sure-handed prose of a classic novel. Great struggle doesn’t always deliver great art, but in the case of Blood Sisters, we can rejoice that it has.” —Tom Coyne, New York Times bestselling author of A Course Called Ireland
“Haunted by ‘man-sized shadows’, real and imagined, Betsy is pulled from the safety of Mama Cope’s home and thrust into the brutal, secretive world of her blood family. That house is ruled by a violent father who likes nothing more than to ‘ruin everything all at once’. With pathos and humour, Billie Travalini tracks an unflinching course through abuse, confusion and the power of sister-love. The narrative is as tense as it is compelling and, in Betsy, we have a bold-hearted and beautiful girl with a spirit as wide as America. In Blood Sisters, Miss Travalini achieves what all writers hope to achieve—using beautiful prose she leaves the stirred-up reader longing for more. A brave and generous triumph.” —Nuala Ní Chonchúir, author of The Closet of Savage Mementos
“Blood Sisters is both funny and profoundly sad at the same time. This remarkable memoir shows how child abuse can happen almost in plain sight and how children suffer when those who can help choose to look the other way. For child welfare professionals Blood Sisters should serve as a reminder of our responsibilities. Children like Betsy are counting on us.” —Tim Brandau, Ph.D, Executive Director, Child, Inc.
“Blood Sisters was already a deeply felt, original memoir when Billie Travalini began it at the Temple University graduate program in creative writing and it is even more powerful a story now. Her writing is stunning; her handling of the now familiar themes of incest and child abuse so graceful and haunting it’s as if we have never read about these subjects before. Especially unique is the quality of solidarity among victims, a truth that too few writers have accessed.” —Joan Mellen, author of A Farewell to Justice and The Great Game in Cuba
“Billie Travalini’s story could be told anywhere, and yet she makes it her own. Blood Sisters is a smart and lively read about the power of sisterhood, the resilience of two, and the unbreakable bonds of love.” —Cecilia Galante, author of The Patron Saint of Butterflies
“If Billie Travalini’s expanded memoir, Blood Sisters, tells the reader anything, it’s that an emotionally and sexually abused child is as multidimensional as one lucky enough to have a relatively happy childhood. The story flows effortlessly from the mind of a 12-year-old to create an intense and compellingly detailed world studded with childlike games, southern humor, and relationships with siblings, parents and friends. Travalini portrays the abuse in a wider, richer context—a tribute to both her power as a writer and as a survivor.” —Victor Greto, freelance journalist and professor at Wesley College
“As gripping as it is timeless, Blood Sisters is the story of Betsy Toppin, a precocious 10-year-old physically and sexually abused by her biological father, as society turns a blind eye . . . a must-read for anyone who cares about the rights of children.” —Debra Kirsh, RN, BSN, MJ, PHRN
NO PLACE LIKE HERE, edited by Billie Travalini. Paperback, 230pp. $17.13 (15% off cover).
An anthology of Southern Delaware poetry, prose and photographs. Benefits the Lewes, DE Public Library.
PRAISE for No Place Like Here
“In this extraordinary collection, Southern Delaware comes across as real and powerful as our own memories.” —Jack A. Markell, Governor of Delaware
“I love this collection for its contrasts and myriad textures: austerity and lushness; cold ocean and tumultuous blooming; wildness and domesticity. It is so full of things: gulls and egrets; bees, crabs, cornfields; caskets, clapboard, sea glass, snow. Whether you read it from start to finish or wander randomly, you will feel the pull, the fierce, intimate, irresistible pull of place.” —Marisa de los Santos, New York Times bestselling author of Belong to Me and Falling Together
HAIRWORK by Abby Millager. Paperback, 34pp. $7.15 (10% off cover).
This darkly entertaining and compelling collection of poems eschews the make-nice in the interest of liveliness. Quirky wordplay, commando use of language, and a startling variety of form and content drive this imaginative and original work. In terms chatty and baroque, Hairwork explores the view from inside Medusa’s head, as well as the foibles of the intern at the bedside, toxic flora of suburbia, tickbirds, breakless taxis, and all the specters of light.
BEHIND THE VOICES: Cleveland White Students Speak Out. Paperback, 52pp. $7.15 (10% off cover).
A short anthology of writing and artwork by troubled teens. Accompanied by a lesson plan for soliciting student responses to selected famous quotations.
COMMENTARY on Behind the Voices
“I am always amazed by the skill and clarity of so many young people who are struggling to make sense and make something good of their lives. This booklet is an example of how much sheer talent is there, and how seeing and hearing their voices can enrich all of us.” —Fleda Brown, Poet Laureate of Delaware, 2001-2007
From the INTRODUCTION: What Does Your Voice Tell Others About You?
At the Education Unit of the Department of Services for Children, Youth & Their Families, our goal is to help students find their voices in a safe way, thereby improving their lot in life, the communities in which they live, and the lives of those who will come after them. When given the opportunity to share, our students bravely memorialize their thoughts on paper for all to read. This is something many adults avoid. As educators, our goal is to show students that voice has two aspects (1) what we truly think, and (2) what we are willing to share with others. Moreover, by responding to small exercises such as those included here, our students hear how the tone and speed of their voice and body language—more than words—make a lasting impression. It is the purpose of education and our goal at the Education Unit to teach how sharing one’s voice is a necessary step in recognizing power and using it in a responsible and productive way. —Terry Senio, Supervisor, Education Unit, Delaware Department of Services for Children, Youth and Their Families
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I try to price competitively, but do keep in mind that generally, the jungle steals half of our profits. Whenever you can, please buy directly from authors and publishers!
Abby Millager, Founding Editor
Doll’s Eye Press
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