Gift-givers in the market for literature and hoping to keep it local this holiday season are in luck. With recently published titles in a range of genres — some naughty, some nice — these seven Atlanta-area authors help make shopping a breeze for nearby book lovers.

Historical fiction

Jessica Handler’s new novel, “The Magnetic Girl,” takes place in rural North Georgia two decades after the Civil War. Based on a true story, Handler’s latest book is “a unique portrait of a forgotten period in history, seen through the story of one young woman’s power over her family, her community and, ultimately, herself.”

Connect with Handler, a lecturer in English at Oglethorpe University, at

“High Cotton and Magnolias” completes Katie Hart Smith’s Sacred Heart trilogy. Set in the maze of mounting social strain and growing pains that was early 20th century Atlanta, Smith’s new book “is an immensely satisfying finale to ‘Aspirations of the Heart’ and ‘Hope Never Rests,’ novels that have received a place of honor in Georgia's Governor's Mansion library.”

Smith, a Lawrenceville resident originally from Dunwoody, is available to speak to groups. Contact her at

Suspense thriller

“Watch What You Say” is the latest award-winning novel from Roswell’s George Weinstein. 

Weinstein, president of the Atlanta Writers Club, weaves the plot of his fifth book around a colorful phenomenon called chromesthesia, experienced by web-radio personality Bo Riccardi. Bo is pushed beyond her mental and physical limits when her husband, Oscar, is kidnapped by a man from her dark past who demands a live interview on her show.

“Bo’s secret asset is chromesthesia, seeing colorful shapes that reveal the intentions behind anyone’s speech,” Weinstein said. “She can literally watch what they say. But relying too much on this gift renders her vulnerable to the madman’s purpose, making her even less likely to rescue Oscar — and escape the guilt and shame that binds her to the kidnapper.” 

For a list of Weinstein’s December book signings, go to

Narrative nonfiction

"King of the Southern Diamond" by Bradsher Hayes spotlights Arthur Bradsher, nicknamed the “King of the Southern Diamond” by the legendary John Heisman after he started the 1904 Trinity College baseball season hurling 25 consecutive no-hit innings. 

“Bradsher had pinpoint control, movie-star looks and cum laude intelligence,” Hayes said. “One newspaper reported, ‘Every woman in the South wanted to marry him, and every baseball boss in the country wanted to own him.’” The creative nonfiction work depicts Bradsher’s escapades on the field and his romance with fellow Trinity student Lizzie Muse, written by a grandson about the grandfather he never met. 

Go to for more information. 


“Coffee Hour in Flensburg: Stories of War and Peace, of Adventure and Love” by Erika Passantino, a retired art historian, is “a memoir, a love story and a tale of adventure, written by the only child of a German-American couple.”

Detailing wars, migration and loss played out over three continents by a family who survives through strength and love, the Canton resident’s book “explores the questions and reasons surrounding a return to Germany in the early 1930s. This decision exacted a toll and now demands reflection, including the painful question of what it means to be German. The tale is a warning from the past.”

Go to for more details.


“Beau’s Bayou Treasure” is the latest title from mother-daughter writing duo Rosalind and Maggie Bunn. Rosalind, a teacher at Marietta’s East Side Elementary School, is the author of seven children’s books. The title is the second for Maggie, 30.

In their new release, Beau receives a treasure map from his grandfather to explore the bayou. He meets and talks with animals along the way, who tell him "There is treasure to be found” and “Keep rowing, Beau. Look all around.” At the end of the day, Beau returns home and realizes that just maybe what he has found on his adventure is more valuable than gold.

For a list of December events, go to

“The Adventures of PhilAnThropy,” written by Linda Wise McNay, Del Martin and Ailena Parramore, may be “the first-ever children’s book on philanthropy,” McNay said. 

The trio, all metro-area fundraisers for nonprofits by trade, decided to pen the story “because there was not a kid’s book on the topic,” McNay said. “I observed this when I was helping my niece raise money for her school. I taught her to raise money in about five minutes. It made me think we could do that with other kids as well.”

The result, McNay said, is a book about young friends Phil, An and Thropy as they embark on an adventure in philanthropy after realizing their new friend needs a special chairlift to enjoy the neighborhood pool. “During their journey, the friends learn that, while each may only be able to contribute a little, they can make a big impact when combining their time, talents and treasure.”

For more information, go to 

Contributing journalist Kathy Des Jardins Cioffi, owner of Johns Creek’s KRC Communications. Connect with her at

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