"Steven Manchester has a gift for expressing through his writing the complicated and transcendent beauty of the human experience with poignant clarity," says Yolanda King, eldest daughter of Dr. Martin Luther King. "Steven Manchester writes about life as it really is and really could be," adds Crystal Book Reviews. Steven Manchester’s work has appeared on NBC’s Today Show, CBS’s The Early Show, CNN’s American Morning and BET’s Nightly News. Recently, three of Manchester’s short stories were selected “101 Best” for the Chicken Soup for the Soul series. Manchester writes deeply moving, intensely relatable novels that readers tend to remember and discuss for a long time.
"At turns humorous, biting, poignant, and surprisingly tender, Ashes puts a new spin on family and dysfunction with a story that is at once fresh and timelessly universal."
Tom wheeled his late-model, platinum-colored BMW into Attorney Russell Norman’s freshly paved lot and parked between a brand new Lexus—sporting the license plate JUSTIS4U—and a custom pickup truck. Looks like I’m going after the hillbilly, he thought when he spotted the faded Massachusetts Department of Correction sticker in the rear window. His blood turned cold. “It must be Jason,” he thought aloud. I didn’t think he’d come.
Tom took a few deep breaths, not because he was nervous about his father’s death or talking to any lawyer but because he hadn’t seen his Neanderthal brother—for fifteen years, I think. He paused for a moment to give it more thought.....
"An emotional tale about the strength of family bonds, unconditional love, and the perseverance to do our best with the challenging gifts we receive, Goodnight, Brian is an uplifting tribute to what happens when giving up is not an option."
It was a mild summer evening – the air, warm and sweet. While the world peacefully slumbered away, Joan kept a strict vigilance over her ailing baby. Throughout the night, Brian’s diarrhea had become so severe that she had to change his diapers five times and his bedding twice.
Just before dawn, she laid him on his belly in the crib and patted his backside until he finally drifted off.
It felt like she’d just closed her eyes when she awoke with the late morning sun on her face. Ouch! Her lower back throbbed in pain. It took a moment to realize that her body was contorted in the chair. She sat up straight and stretched her legs to work out the knot in her back. As she yawned, she spotted Brian lying motionless in his crib, a zombie’s expression on his face. “Oh God!” she screamed and leaped to her feet, nearly tripping from the lack of blood in her legs. Her baby was gray, with big, black circles under his eyes....
“I loved this book! Definitely a page-turner! Pressed Pennies is a beautiful romance that was well put together, well-written, and sweet.”
The night was beautiful, unusually mild for the season. “How about a walk along the river?” he asked. “The water fire is tonight.”
“What a coincidence,” she teased, and didn’t think twice about grabbing his hand when he extended it.
Hand in hand, Rick and Abby strolled along the river. Hidden speakers offered the eclectic sounds of primitive chants and tribal drums. Alluring smells of vendor delicacies wafted on unseasonably warm breezes. Side streets were cordoned off and police officers rerouted traffic. Amongst thousands of pedestrians, the walk along the river moved like a stream of warm pudding.
They felt comfortably alone in each other’s company, occasionally stopping to point out something they had spotted and wanted to share.
Although Abby only had two glasses of wine, she felt lightheaded—almost drunk.
As if lovers were sworn to secrecy, other couples offered subtle nods in greeting—with Rick and Abby returning each gesture....
The Thursday Night Club
“If you read one book this Christmas season than it should be The Thursday Night Club by Steven Manchester. It epitomizes the magic that Christmas brings. In this season of giving. Steven Manchester has given us something to cherish and live by.”
Jesse Cabral and three of his friends—Izzy, Ava and Randy—gathered for their weekly Thursday Night Club get-together on Izzy and Ava’s front porch; they waited for the group’s final member, Kevin Robinson, to start playing cards. They’d just settled in after their final college move and were ready to pick up where they’d left off in May.
As college seniors, who’d escaped the dorms the previous year, Jesse and the small crew had quickly grown to love the safe haven. A dim porch light illuminated their late night games, assisted by a gaudy table lamp that sat in their living room. On the interior sill, there was an external speaker that could be accessed when the window was open—which was most of the time. Although the gang was good about keeping their music at a respectable volume, the music was always on—as they took turns running through each of their play lists on their smartphones. An old, wooden table—its green paint worn and chipped—sat near the porch railing and was surrounded by mismatched chairs....
The Changing Season
“If you are human, The Changing Season will burrow deep into your soul as you recall the changing seasons of your own life.”
There was no other way to describe it; they were driving home in the middle of a torrential downpour.
"I can't believe we're actually graduating from high school in a couple days," Billy said, trying to alleviate the anxiety he felt behind the wheel.
"Well, I can believe I'm graduating," Charlie said, "but I'm a little surprised you made it." Besides being his childhood best friend, Billy knew Charlie Philips to be a quick-witted, happy-go-lucky clown who'd had a girlfriend by the seventh grade and three more by the time he and Billy had reached high school. Charlie was also the first to sample beer and the musky taste of cigarette smoke. He was a pioneer of sorts, a frontiersman amongst his peers....
"If you struggle with how war affects so many, read Gooseberry Island by Steven Manchester."
As they walked toward the sound of hissing surf, he asked, “So how are you?”
She grinned. “Life’s better than good,” she said and looked at him. I should have guessed, she thought. “An Army Ranger, huh?”
He nodded. “I’m stationed at Fort Benning, Georgia, Fourth Ranger Battalion.”
“Well, that explains the haircut,” she teased.
“We’re being deployed to Afghanistan for a twelve-month rotation. It’s my first combat tour.”
Afghanistan, she repeated in her head and cringed. “And you’re shipping out…”
“Tomorrow,” he said. “I took all my leave, so I’ve been home for the past four weeks.”
“Wow,” she said, taken aback. “You’ll be away for twelve months?”...
The Rockin' Chair
“In The Rockin’ Chair, Steven Manchester has created a book that can change the world. If only everyone would listen to Grampa John and express their love for each other, what a different world it would be.”
It was a bitterly cold Saturday morning when friends from far and wide came to pay their respects. Everyone who knew Alice adored her and equally loved her grieving husband. The McCarthy’s tiny field of granite was filled with mourners. As the preacher spoke, an eerie silence filled the frozen air.
“The Lord blessed each of our lives with the gift of knowing and loving Alice. Now, He has taken her home to be with Him. Those who remember her, who loved her, walk with heavy hearts today, but we must also remember that Alice has been freed from the heavy chains of this world. She now walks with the Lord and shall dwell peacefully within His house for all eternity. Until the day we meet again...”
The preacher’s kind words were carried on the icy wind and John listened carefully to each one. Amidst them, a thousand memories reminded him of why he felt such loss. A thousand more reminded him of the void which now filled the desolate chambers of his heart. He stood rigid, conscious not to sway, and nearly snickered when the pastor mentioned “forgiveness.”...
“Twelve Months is a beautiful, heart-warming, and necessary read for all, especially those caught up in the monotonous schedule of work, food, TV (or other techno gadgets), et al. Steven Manchester writes about life as it really is and really could be! Terrific!”
As I recall, it was the final days of a long, harsh winter. The wind banged on the window, while the last remnants of a blackened snow bank stood off in the distance. Though Bella was worried sick, she reluctantly agreed to let me return to Doctor Olivier’s alone because Riley needed someone to watch the kids. “But please come straight home after you’re done,” she requested.
As I sat half-naked on the exam table, I couldn’t help but take note of the meaningless details that surrounded me; a water color painting hanging crooked on the wall, a glass container that needed to be refilled with tongue depressors, an extra chair that didn’t belong, making the room feel cluttered.
The door opened and Doctor Olivier walked in, holding a yellow folder under his arm. It was my entire medical history. His face looked somber....
Dad: A Novel
“Steven Manchester's Dad is a poignant portrait of fatherhood and the triumphs and tragedies of being a husband, a father, and a son. A must read for men of all ages.”
How in the hell did I ever end up here? Oliver wondered for the umpteenth time. Recently, it had become his pathetic mantra.
Jonah’s young face suddenly popped into Oliver’s head like a frightened Jack-in-the Box. Oh shit, Ginny asked me to pick him up from school today. He checked his watch. Three minutes ago. Panic struck his heart. And his school’s ten minutes away. He took off at a sprint for his car, feeling for his cell phone on the way. Racing toward the school, he managed to place a call. No answer. With his heart rate now at a dangerous pace, his breathing turned quick and shallow. A bead of sweat formed across his forehead. This one’s on me, he realized, I screwed up big this time. He considered calling Ginny, who was a few miles closer....
Just in Time
“Steven Manchester really knows how to write family . . . I cannot wait to read more by this author!”
The lighting was much too bright, the food overcooked and the waiter—a lethargic man in no risk of suffering a heart attack—had even messed up the order. Yet, sitting in the middle of a hypnotic conversation with Eunice, Bill barely noticed any of it.
As the waiter sauntered back to the table, his tray held two cups of coffee and one caramel pudding for Bill. Awkwardly placing the dessert onto the table, the apathetic server asked, “Will there be anything else?”
“Thank you, no,” Bill answered, without ever averting his attention away from his dinner date. He gestured toward the gooey dessert. “You sure you won’t share this with me?” he asked. “Trust me…it’s not going to last long on that plate.”
Eunice laughed and poured a second spoonful of sugar into her coffee. “It’s all yours,” she said, lifting the cup to take a sip.
Bill smiled. “You had your shot,” he joked.
“All yours,” she repeated, content to watch....
“Three Shoeboxes will force you to ask questions about yourself and about the comfortable life around you. It’s poignant, sensitive, and extremely well written. If you want a book that will make you think and stay with you until long after you’ve set the book down. Grab it immediately.”
Mac jumped up, panting like an obese dog suffering in a heat wave. His heart drummed out of his chest. Startled from a sound sleep, he didn’t know what was wrong. He leapt out of bed and stumbled toward the bathroom. He couldn’t breathe. He couldn’t think. There’s something wrong, he finally thought, I…I need help. He searched frantically for an enemy. There was none. As he stared at the frightened man in the mirror, he considered calling out to his sleeping wife. She has enough to worry about with the kids, he thought, but was already hurrying toward her. “Jen,” he said in a strained whisper.
She stirred but didn’t open her eyes.
The constricted chest, sweaty face and shaking hands made Mac wonder whether he was standing at death’s door, cardiac arrest being his ticket in. I have to do something now, he thought, or I’m a goner. “Jen,” he said louder, shaking her shoulder....
“Steven Manchester has a gift for expressing through his writing the complicated and transcendent beauty of the human experience with poignant clarity.”
Abby loved to hang out at Richard’s house. It’s the coolest place on earth, she thought. Richard’s mom had passed away in a tragic car accident when he was younger and his father and grandmother were raising him. Individually, they were both a bit eccentric. Collectively, though, they provided the most nurturing and loving environment Abby had ever witnessed. Mr. Giles was the quiet one. Eunice Giles—or Grandma—was everything else.
Grandma wore her gray hair in a long braid, complemented by crow’s feet at the corners of her soft green eyes. Though well read and intelligent, Grandma was also very practical. Preferring people to anything trivial, she was great with children and bonded easily with them. She was a gifted cook, enjoyed all types of music, and lived for sunsets curled up under a blanket with a book. In warm weather, she walked around in loose-fitting clothes, with sandals framing her painted toes. When it was cold, heavy sweaters and a cup of hot tea were a given....