Welcome to Amika Press, an independent book publisher in Northfield, IL. Browse our recent releases here.

The Mystery at Black Partridge Woods

#2 Cora Tozzi Historical Mystery Series

by Pat Camalliere

Wawetseka, a Potawatomi woman, is shocked when a body washes up near her village, but events soon turn worse: her only son is arrested for murder. To free him she must track down the real killer. Her investigation takes her through the wilderness of 1817 northern Illinois and to Fort Dearborn as she races desperately, fighting the harsh terrain and the realities of vigilante justice. 

Two centuries later, Wawetseka’s descendent, Nick Pokagon, a charismatic young scientist, partners with Cora Tozzi, Cisco, and Frannie to publish Wawetseka’s adventures. But then Cora and her friends are attacked. What does Wawetseka’s story have to do with the present? How can the mysterious assailant be stopped? 

The Mystery at Black Partridge Woods tells two related stories with unexpected parallels. It is both a fast-paced adventure and a mystery that paints a picture of the little-known earliest days of what is now Lemont, Illinois. Readers who enjoy amateur sleuths and adventure will find it hard to put down.

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Malachy’s Gloriam

by C.M. Martello

Malachy Madden, disbarred criminal defense lawyer and manager of the Shamrock bar, is well known throughout Chicago for successfully undertaking unusual projects. When John Bari, a handsome, charismatic, and immensely popular Italian-American priest, is accused of years of sexual abuse of a young boy, he is suspended from his role as pastor-rector of the Saint Shrine located in the heart of an old Italian neighborhood.

A committee of parishioners dedicated to finding justice for the well-liked priest hires Malachy to prove Fr. Bari innocent in a manner that will allow for his full reinstatement at the Shrine. Is the abuse victim telling the truth? Is Fr. Bari innocent? Can the criminal abuser be identified and stopped? How is Chicago’s Cardinal O’Grady involved?

Malachy’s Gloriam is the story of Malachy’s quest to answer these questions. With the assistance of his two long-time colleagues—Kevin, fellow Vietnam vet, and Count Leon, retired professional thief and former client—Malachy uncovers the truth about what happened years ago in the church basement.

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52 Poems for Men

compiled by Jay Amberg

Every poem in this collection speaks directly to men, capturing powerful moments, deep insights, and honest glimpses of life. The themes are universal: birth, death, love, loss, war, beauty, and family. Both classic and contemporary poetic masters are represented, including William Shakespeare, Robert Frost, Gwendolyn Brooks, Robert Pinsky, Langston Hughes, and Dylan Thomas. Each poet speaks to men in a voice and language they trust and understand, without using contrived poetic forms, avant-garde imagery, or esoteric references. This anthology will leave no reader unmoved.

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The Ambitious Madame Bonaparte

A Novel

by Ruth Hull Chatlien

As a clever girl in stodgy, mercantile Baltimore, Betsy Patterson dreams of a marriage that will transport her to cultured Europe. When she falls in love with and marries Jerome Bonaparte, she believes her dream has come true—until Jerome’s older brother Napoleon becomes an implacable enemy.

Based on a true story, The Ambitious Madame Bonaparte is a historical novel that portrays this woman’s tumultuous life. Elizabeth Patterson Bonaparte, known to history as Betsy Bonaparte, scandalized Washington with her daring French fashions; visited Niagara Falls when it was an unsettled wilderness; survived a shipwreck and run-ins with British and French warships; dined with presidents and danced with dukes; and lived through the 1814 Battle of Baltimore. Yet through it all, Betsy never lost sight of her primary goal—to win recognition of her marriage. 

Gold Medal Winner, Historical Fiction Personage, 2014 Readers’ Favorite Awards
First Place Winner, Turn of the 19th Century, 2014 Chaucer Awards for Historical Fiction
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America’s Fool

Las Vegas & The End of the World

by Jay Amberg

The most lethal poison ever concocted is about to be loosed on Las Vegas. TV reporter Andrew Wright is the only one who can stop the apocalypse. Confronted by madness on all sides, he stumbles into a conspiracy of racial, religious and military fanatics. His only allies are a beautiful Iranian doctor and a mysterious desert wanderer. But who can he really trust? While lunatics on the fringes receive so much media attention, Wright must resist the spotlight and somehow do the right thing. He must make the decisions that truly patriotic Americans now face.

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Back to Forest High


by Bob Boone

Bob Boone returns to Forest High School in his new book. With his distinctive voice, he gives us another glimpse into the characters that people the school landscape. Back to Forest High tells of new beginnings, youthful mistakes, failed marriages, and uncertain retirements. Each story is told with humor and tenderness as the characters make their way through the rhythms of everyday life.

Honorable Mention, Anthology, 2016 Readers’ Favorite Book Awards
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Bone Box

by Jay Amberg

On a hill overlooking the Aegean Sea in Turkey, an international team of archeologists discovers a stone box that first-century Jews used to rebury their dead. The box’s Aramaic inscription: Jesus of Nazareth, the Christ. Sophia Altay, the beautiful French-Turkish archeologist who heads the team, tries to keep the discovery secret until she can authenticate the ossuary. She knows that people will kill to obtain the relics—and to suppress the box’s other contents, documents that could alter Western history.

Joseph Travers, an American sent to Turkey to evaluate the archeological dig, soon finds himself pulled into the web of betrayal, reprisal, and violence. In his journey through Istanbul’s mosques and palaces, the archeological sites around ancient Ephesus, and, ultimately, the strange and mystical terrain of Cappadocia, he comes to understand the epochal meaning of the bone box.

Award-Winning Finalist, Thriller, 2015 Readers’ Favorite Book Awards
Award-Winning Finalist, Thriller, 2015 National Indie Excellence Awards
Award-Winning Finalist, Thriller/Adventure, 2015 International Book Awards
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The 1983 Election that Rocked Chicago

by Peter Nolan

In Campaign!, veteran newsman Peter Nolan, who covered all the players in the 1983 contest, has written a first-hand account of not only the key participants, the candidates and their top supporters, but also of relatively unknown election workers who invested their time and passions in a way not seen since in Chicago politics.

Nolan does not shy from inserting himself into the story where it warrants. His tale of being recruited by Epton as potential City Hall press secretary is only one of the anecdotes that reflects on how unusual the campaign seemed…This is a book that every Chicago politician ought to keep under his pillow…There is never enough history, and this is a nice slice of it. From the Foreword by F. Richard Ciccone, former Managing Editor of the Chicago Tribune

Part of The Special Collections and Preservation Division at the Harold Washington Library Center, Chicago Public Library
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Chicago Sketches

by Richard Reeder, illustrations by Leonid Osseny

In Chicago Sketches, we visit places as diverse as Maxwell Street, Riverview, Wrigley Field, the old Clark Theater, and the National Bohemian Cemetery. We meet the famous—Nelson Algren and Yevgeny Yevtushenko—and the other people who have touched Reeder’s life—Bubbie Gussie, Rabbi Mendel, and the Big Klu. We also witness moments in Reeder’s life that echo through history—November 4, 1960 and November 22, 1963. Leonid Osseny’s vivid illustrations make all these Chicago sketches come even more alive.

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by Jay Amberg

Redwoods thrive for centuries in the coastal regions of America’s Pacific Northwest. A monarch butterfly takes the amazing journey from the Northern meadow of its birth to its winter roost in the mountains of Central Mexico. The mother of four wolf pups leads her family through the Arctic’s stark terrain and bitter storms. One of the greatest seagoing mammals roams the Pacific Ocean from the Gulf of Alaska to the Galapagos. All of these voices speak to us of the meaning we seek in our lives.

Gold Medal Winner, Environmental Issues, 2014 Literary Classics Awards
Bronze Medal Winner, Nature Conservation, 2013 Living Now Evergreen Book Awards
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Dialogues of a Crime

A Novel

by John K. Manos

1972. The Chicago Mob stands unchallenged, and college students with drugs provide fodder for political point-making. Michael Pollitz, a nineteen-year-old with connections to the Outfit, becomes one of those political pawns.

1994. Job-weary CPD Detective Larry Klinger becomes obsessed with a cold case from that pivotal moment twenty-two years ago. In the course of his investigation, he encounters questions of ethics, guilt, and justice that make him doubt certainties that have sustained him for decades.

Dialogues of a Crime examines guilt, innocence and the long-term ramifications of crime and punishment in a gray area where the personal lives of perpetrators, victims and law officers overlap.

Silver Medal Winner, Realistic Fiction, 2016 Readers’ Favorite Book Awards
Ranked #20, Amazon Best Sellers, 14 October 2014
Named to Kirkus Reviews’ Best Books of 2013
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Forest High

Short Stories

by Bob Boone

In a time when the importance of teachers has been unfairly challenged, Bob Boone gives us a collection of simply told, hard-edged tales from the lives of educators and their students. These rich, multifaceted stories ring true with details gleaned over the course of a full life. Reading them, one feels as if they are entering another version of our familiar reality, where secrets thrive in quiet classrooms and a passionate love of the pitfalls and victories of teaching motivates the creation of narrative. Lisa Locascio, University of Southern California, Recipient of the 2011 John Steinbeck Award for Fiction

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A History of Surgery at Cook County Hospital

edited by Patrick D. Guinan, Kenneth J. Printen, James L. Stone, & James S. T. Yao

From 1866 until the end of the 1950s, almost all of the attending staff at Cook County Hospital—and thus the instructors who prepared physicians for their life’s work—were unpaid volunteers. As was the case at all other large public teaching hospitals, appointment at County was an honor, public recognition of the doctor’s professional reputation. Before all-fulltime salaried positions were introduced in the 1970s and 1980s, the surgery teachers at County were drawn from a “Who’s Who” of Chicago surgeons.

Over time, their students came to recognize how remarkably good these surgical teachers were. This book looks at a unique and unparalleled collection of individuals who together achieved something noteworthy. It is more than a history of a building on Chicago’s west side—it is an inside look at the people who made Cook County Hospital a center of top-flight medical education and world-class care through the years.

Visit the Photo Memoir website by James S. T. Yao.
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by Ronald L. Ruiz

Jesusita is the story of immigrants—legal and illegal—trying to survive in California in the years after World War II. Jesusita, alone and impoverished, struggles to keep her four young children together. Though she finds support from Padre Montes at St. Teresa’s Catholic Church, her faith won’t solve her problems, especially those with her daughter, Paulina. Far from home, Filipino laborers are denied by law any contact with white women. Angie, the young daughter of an illiterate and unmarried mother, knows only one way to make money. And Felix, abandoned by his mother and separated from his only brother, is placed in a foster home on an isolated ranch. The interrelated lives of these people provide a complex, sometimes violent, and often tragic image of American poverty within the nation’s postwar boom.

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Justice Perverted

How The Innocence Project at Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism Sent an Innocent Man to Prison

by William B. Crawford

In 1983, Anthony Porter was convicted of the brutal double murder of Marilyn Green and Jerry Hillard. While sitting in the bleachers near Chicago’s Washington Park swimming pool, the victims were shot multiple times at point-blank range. Porter was sentenced to death.

In 1998, within fifty hours of Porter’s scheduled execution, the Illinois Supreme Court granted a stay, pending a hearing on Porter’s mental competency. At this point, journalism professor David Protess and his Northwestern University Innocence Project students took up Porter’s cause. Soon, Porter was released from prison, and Alstory Simon, then a Milwaukee resident, was convicted of the Washington Park homicides.

But that’s not the end of the story. Nor is it all of the story. Simon himself has now been exonerated and is suing Northwestern University, David Protess, and two other individuals for more than $40 million in punitive damages. This is the true story of how and why Alstory Simon replaced Anthony Porter in prison.

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Monster City

A Hardboiled Horror Mystery

by John Cowlin

Life ain’t easy for a regular guy in this town.

Just ask Vic Brahm, workaday investigator in a city of monsters. Vic’s new client? A three-thousand-year-old Egyptian who suspects his wife is messing around with a manwolf. Vic’s neighbor? A beautiful dame being stalked by some thing with claws. Vic’s partner Shelley? Murdered, with no suspects or leads. And the vampire syndicate? Breathing down Vic’s neck because who knows why.

Zombies. Voodoo priests. Inbred cannibal hillbillies from The Village. It’s all in a night’s work for Vic Brahm, P.I.

Welcome To San Monstruo…Where Raymond Chandler meets Boris Karloff.

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My Name is Luke

A Novel

by Jim Ruddle

On a quiet day in 1858, two desperate men hijack a schooner from the Marblehead, Massachusetts harbor. Trapped aboard his grandfather’s boat is fifteen-year-old Luke Constance. He is a normal kid who plays pranks on the townsfolk and has a crush on Agatha, his classmate. But Luke is not ordinary—very well versed himself, he reads aloud to workers in small, local shoemaking shops. And he knows more about sailing schooners than most seasoned seamen. Told by Luke with wry humor and a teenager’s sense of fun, this extraordinary adventure confronts the sea’s wrath and men’s foibles and the violent rage of both. In the end, Luke needs every bit of his wit, learning, and resourcefulness to survive.

Silver Medal Winner, Historic Fiction YA, 2014 Literary Classics Awards
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The Mystery at Sag Bridge

#1 Cora Tozzi Historical Mystery Series

by Pat Camalliere

Cora Tozzi is a retired businesswoman who, after nursing her mother through her final illness, wishes only for a peaceful orderly world in her suburban Chicago home. When an angry spirit begins to leave cryptic messages on her computer and threatens those around her, Cora is forced to dig into the town’s notorious past to uncover secrets that will free the bonds that tie her and the spirit. With the help of her husband and their friend, Frannie, Cora uses her skills as an amateur historian in a search that takes them into unexpected terrain including subterranean passages, an eerie graveyard, and shadowy paths in isolated forests where a sinister predator is awakened. As they battle unpredictable supernatural powers, the story takes a poignant turn: the spirit’s life is revealed, and both women, a century apart, examine threads into the past and the future, their loss and longing linked across the generations. 

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Object Permanence


by Jim Davis

Jim Davis’ Object Permanence seems a life’s work, but one realizes that Davis is a poet who finds poetry in every second of his life—this collection is just the beginning. This is poetry of image and story that transcends the ordinary with extraordinary insight. Despite an unmistakable Midwestern sensibility echoing Sandburg through farm, fields, and railroads, Davis has a keen sense of the contemporary condition: homelessness, lost dreams, empty loves. Davis expresses where his poetry comes from and why this book should be read with his poem ‘Ephemera:’ The best and worst things are often unforeseen. / There are those we cannot name or will not, swirling in / varied pockets of deep night or no-one-looking. Albert DeGenova, Editor, After Hours, Chicago

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Peace Breathing

Lessons on Achieving Peace in Everyday Life

by Charles H.C. Kim

Through Peace Breathing you discover what you’re capable of—something beautiful.

Originally given by Charles H.C. Kim at The Peace School, this book’s 31 talks offer practical yet profound insight into becoming a person of peace amid the challenges we face in today’s world. Peace Breathing combines the vital energy of breath with the powerful energy of thought to calm your mind, reduce stress, and open your heart to your true self. Kim draws on more than 45 years of meditation practice & uses vivid stories and examples from nature and everyday life to show how we can bring peace to ourselves and the world.

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Peoria Stories

Tales from the Illinois Heartland

by Ken Zurski

From the author of The Wreck of the Columbia comes a collection of stories about people and events which helped shape a city and region. Included are profiles of Theodore Roosevelt, Abraham Lincoln, Charles Lindbergh and many other famous and not so famous figures who played a part in the rich history of Peoria and Central Illinois. Incorporating important historical milestones like the first flights, the rise of the automobile, and radio’s early days, Zurski skillfully intertwines local and national perspectives into each story for a captivating trip back to the past. Peoria Stories will both enlighten and entertain.

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Ryan’s Woods

A South Side Boyhood Fifty Years Ago

by Patrick Creevy

The year is 1962. The family of fourteen-year-old Kevin Collins, caught in white flight, has moved from Beverly, its South Side of Chicago neighborhood, to the city’s northern suburbs. The field of Kevin’s most formative boyhood adventures was Ryan’s Woods, the great South Side forest preserve, mysterious, beautiful, running along the city’s western edge a full mile from 83rd Street to 91st. It now serves as the frame for his memories. Memories of a villain enemy, of games hard-fought as wars, of moments of fear or courage, of moments that transcend racial division, and of first love in all the pure strength of its innocence. Memories, still fresh, of best friendships that Kevin now feels will be forever unrecoverable. And memories especially of his greatest friend, Jackie Leonard, whose death at age thirteen has moved Kevin to turn memory into story.

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Two-Seven Remainder

A Novel

by Matt Hader

Jakub “Pies” Jakubowski is an expert at what he does, so good that he maintains a clean criminal record. Twenty-eight-year-old Pies is a member of a Chicago Outfit-sanctioned burglary crew run by Northwest-Side-based boss Stan Zielinski and his son Sebastian, “Bast.” Because Pies is arrest-free, he’s ordered to take a position in a newly opened suburban 9-1-1 communications center. The plan calls for Pies to supply his accomplices with information about alarm systems that are currently out of service. A non-functioning alarm equals an easy payday for him and his bosses. 

But Pies is fed up with the criminal life, and he loathes being placed in the dangerous position of working so closely with the police. He knows at any moment he could be arrested while stealing information. Pies moves to take down his crew, so they’ll be locked up and no longer a threat to him, and he’ll start anew in a foreign country. The true challenge in Pies’s risky plan, however, rests on him somehow persuading the troubled and artistic woman he loves—who also happens to be Bast’s girlfriend—to go away with him.

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Whale Song

by Jay Amberg

Each of our lives is a voyage of discovery. In Whale Song, we hear the voice of a fellow traveler, an albino sperm whale. We hear of life in his words—the joys of family, the pain of loss, the confusion and frustrations of a changing environment—familiar aspects of life even in the ocean. His observations and insights give us much to consider. If we listen, we may better understand how we affect the global society, and what we now need to do.

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The Women’s Center

A Novel

by Michele Fitzpatrick

Award-winning journalist Michele Fitzpatrick’s engaging debut novel introduces four unlikely heroines in their fifties who navigate extraordinary challenges as ordinary people do: rarely smoothly, often treading water, sometimes barely afloat.

Ruth Fortune is a trustworthy CEO who trusts no one, ever. Artist Pat Conelli considers her seven children her masterpieces but wonders where she mislaid herself. June Magee is a master craftswoman who can’t craft a single love match. And Diane Jonasen? Her news career is solid. Her sanity? Not so much.

They have reunited thirty-five years after they were students at Shorelake College for Women to fulfill a promise to the woman who was their college president. They set out to transform an aging Chicago mansion into a twenty-first-century women’s center, un-aware the process will transform them.

What can you do when loss obliterates your faith, duty blurs hope, self-doubt trumps love or guilt denies you forgiveness? Flawed, funny, occasionally furious, they are about to find out.

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The Wreck of the Columbia

A Broken Boat, a Town’s Sorrow & the End of the Steamboat Era on the Illinois River

by Ken Zurski

On the night of July 5, 1918, a steamboat named Columbia, returning from a moonlight excursion, collapsed and sank in the middle of the Illinois River. Of the nearly 500 passengers on board that night, most were from the town of Pekin. Eighty-seven people lost their lives in the disaster. The rest were left to tell their stories of fortitude and survival.

The worst maritime accident in the history of the Illinois River, the wreck of the Columbia is a mostly forgotten tragedy today. Ken Zurski’s gripping account follows the compelling true story from the moment the captain sensed a problem, to the horror of the cries and screams in the night, to the courageous actions of the rescue and recovery workers, and ultimately to the pursuit by law enforcement officials to find truth and justice.

One town in particular found itself reeling from a sudden and devastating loss of life, an immense communal grief, and a frustrating search for answers that never truly came.

Part of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library research collection, Springfield
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Write Through Chicago

Learn About a City by Writing About a City

by Mark Henry Larson & Bob Boone

Write Through Chicago offers both teachers and students a unique opportunity to connect with Chicago and its remarkable history. Young writers will mourn at Lincoln’s Chicago Funeral, marvel at the Columbian Exposition, gather with the crowd at the Haymarket Riot, drive to Riverview Amusement Park, chomp down on the first McDonald’s Burger, and celebrate at Grant Park as Barack Obama delivers his presidential acceptance speech. They’ll craft a wide range of written forms, from stories and poems to polemics, monologues, diaries, letters and more. All Write Through Chicago writing activities align to NCTE & Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts and are supported by a website that provides students with ready access to specifically selected research materials. This unique design leaves teachers free to concentrate on helping students truly “learn about a city by writing about a city.”

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More to read from associates of Amika Press.

Abscission Layer

by Bob Glassman

“A book unread, many books unread, leaves of many books torn away, loose, falling like the leaves of trees, falling infinitely with no landing, a book unread.…A book unread, the great tragedy of a man’s life, to add to the accumulated sorrows, the collected disappointments, the losses.”

Abscission Layer is a riff on time and loss, a lamentation on aging and death, gathering images and impressions together, trying to form understanding and meaning. A family patriarch, a union organizer, reflecting on his immigration to America, the progress of the union and the family through hard times, and the principles by which he lived. An old botanist remembering minute details of trips to remote places long ago, but foggy about chronology. An old man in a nursing home, half-conscious, shouting a kind of demented poetry. And another narrator, deliberately undefined and amorphous, relating memories of a friend, and recollecting a young love lost and romanticized. The intentional repetition of images and thoughts, inspired by narratives originating in oral tradition, helps to illuminate and glaze the interior worlds of the characters in this novella-length prose poem. 


Broken Girls

by Tess Ballis

I’m seven years old, and he has just done something bad. He has left me, and I stare at the stained sheets, too stunned to speak.

I’m nine years old, and I no longer wear pigtails because he loves innocence. It doesn’t stop him.

I’m twelve, and I scream for help. Make so much noise that the neighbors are bound to hear. He holds me down and teaches me not to scream. 

Eden Wright’s parents have both verbally and physically abused her for years. Her best friend, Lacey, is facing problems of her own. When Lacey’s boyfriend commits a horrible act, it is all too familiar to something Eden has suffered herself. Desperate to escape the memories that have been haunting her, she has to face the frightening truth that she has spent her whole life trying to forget.


Darlene’s Silver Streak and The Bradford Model T Girls

by John G. Butte

Bill and Daisy Dorgan ran the popular Dorgan’s Café on Main Street in Bradford, Illinois, for almost 50 years. Legend has it that Bill bought a six-year-old 1926 Ford Model T for his daughter Darlene, who immediately organized a summer vacation, inviting several girlfriends to join her camping in Devil’s Lake, Wisconsin. Seven more summer trips, from 1936 through 1942, took these “twenty-something” girls through 44 states, Canada, and Mexico in an era when such travel by a group of coeds was not common. These gals seemed to find adventure at every turn, attending World’s Fairs in New York and San Francisco and traveling to Canada to see the Dionne Quintuplets. Los Angeles, New Orleans, Atlanta, Washington, D.C., Toronto, and Montreal were all visited. They slept in jails and schoolyards along the way. They made the acquaintance of movies stars and moguls, as well as dignitaries and corporate leaders. There was a special, enduring relationship that developed between the girls and Henry Ford, who met with them twice.

Read more…

Girl in the Mirror

Three Generations of Black Women in Motion

by Natasha Tarpley

Some say our story begins in the middle of an ocean, in the belly of a monster, at the mercy of demons. Others say that we began with a hammer and a nail; that we laid our bodies down and raised cities along our spines. But I say it goes deeper than that, deeper than cotton fields and human cargoes, the thick and heavy links of a history we’re constantly trying to break, to desire. The urge that stirs you in the middle of the night, grabs you by the spine and jerks your head upright. The story begins here, when we realize that we are no longer asleep, and the beat of our hearts sounds just like the beat of a faraway drum. And it is at this moment of unrest, when our hearts refuse to allow us to he still, that we realize what we must do, which is to gather ourselves up & move.

Girl in the Mirror is the story of the lives, loves and migrations of three generations of African-American women: a grandmother, mother and daughter—on a journey in search of self.

My Dad’s Best Day Fishing.…Ever!

by Dan Paschen

Based on a true story of a father and daughter fishing in the Northwoods.

Notes of Valor

by Bryan Meeker

In the relative calm before World War II, a young musician finds love and fulfillment. He is wounded by the war in every sense, and his long recovery is dealt a devastating blow, leaving him a broken man aged beyond his years. His despair is only abated by a chance event, one that reacquaints him with an old love, and leads him to find redemption through the greatest of humanity’s creations—music.


Contact Amika Press for more information.


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