Co-Author Spotlight – Dumpster Doll: The Early Years

January 24, 2020

Dumpster Doll: The Early Years is a co-authored memoir by Michelle Mays and Michelle Moone that details the life of Mays, who was born into an abusive family in the Midwest. As Mays and her siblings cling to survival, the balance of family ties is weighed against alcoholism, drug abuse, abandonment, and despair. Hope dawns in the form of foster care, only to be deferred by multiple placements and a system not equipped to support the children it’s meant to protect.

Michelle Mays’ inspiration to write Dumpster Doll: The Early Years originated in high school when her AP Literature teacher, Mr. Seward, told her to stay after class one day and asked if the essay assignment she had turned in was her life’s story. She said yes, and Mr. Steward told her, “You have to write a book and tell your stories. These can help people.”

She heard similar encouragement from Dr. Kline, her college psychology professor. Dr. Kline even offered to help Michelle write her story, and they often met over lunch and dinner to workshop one chapter at a time. During one of the workshop sessions, Dr. Kline brought up the term ‘dumpster doll’ during the chapter “Nelly.”

“I drove home that night and could not get that term out of my head,” Michelle said. “That night forward, ‘Dumpster Doll’ has been the title. My life has been forever molded by wonderful mentors such as [Mr. Seward and Dr. Kline].”

The modern iteration of the book didn’t begin until Michelle Moone went through a difficult layoff. By then, the Michelles were already best friends and would often call each other just to talk.

Michelle Mays was driving back from an upsetting visit with her family, and she decided to call “her bestie” Michelle Moone to lighten the mood. “[Moone] has wonderful advice and is very wise,” said Mays.

During the call, Moone said “you know Michelle since I have known you, I have wanted to write your story. Can I take a stab at it?”

Mays liked the idea and said yes, thinking it was a great way to distract her friend from the recent layoff and an excuse for them to hang out.

“I honestly thought we would have a few girls’ nights and some bottles of wine and [the plan to write the book] would fizzle. But she is such a beautiful writer and made the act of rehashing these horrible facts a lot less painful than I anticipated. I never would have done this by myself. Sometimes we would be so engrossed in a story that it would be 5:30 am before we looked at a clock.”

Mays has always been open about telling small, isolated pieces of her story to help others feel better, but it was difficult for her to tell her full, uncensored experiences.

“It was honestly like letting go of a weight I have been holding for over 40 years. We would sit, and I would reveal one story at a time, and then Moone would type. She would then read what she wrote to me, and I would close my eyes while she was reading. I always said, ‘if I can’t picture it, then it’s not detailed enough.’ We re-wrote so many stories together—over and over—to add more emotion and substance because I wanted the reader to feel like they were there.’”

Moone said that if Mays cried at what was written, then they knew they had gotten it right.

They took several breaks from writing Dumpster Doll, such as when Mays starred in a musical, performed DJ gigs, and went through a death in the family. They kept going though, and largely in part due to both of them working together.

One of the biggest barriers Mays faced when trying to tell her story in the past was the judgment or pity written on other people’s faces.

Michelle Mays

“I hate the pity look. If someone gives me that look, I think to myself, ‘why do you think I need pity? I am stronger than you will ever be able to comprehend.’”

Mays recommends writing your own story with a trusted friend, especially if you’re struggling to get it down on the page.

“I wrote the preface all by myself and dehydrated my body crying so much,” said Mays. “Michelle Moone is my best friend and has a degree in psychology, so I felt comfortable revealing things that I could not admit to anyone else.”

They finalized Dumpster Doll in the cabin where Mays would go as a child with the Lariscys, and she did it with her chosen family, her best friend.

Like Mr. Seward suggested many years ago, Mays wanted Dumpster Doll to be “a story for those who need hope when this world seems like too much to handle.” She hopes anyone who’s gone through similar atrocities finds strength from reading her stories, and she wants them to know that they’re not alone.

On the opposite side of the spectrum, Mays wants bullies, parents with addictions, and sexual predators to also read her book. “I hope it heals their hearts and helps them see life in a different light,” she said. “Maybe if people see how bad it can get, they will think twice before making those mistakes at the expense of a child’s innocence.”

The positive feedback the Michelles have received for Dumpster Doll has been amazing, and word of the book has spread at a shocking speed.

“It is everything that I had hoped would happen,” said Mays. “My husband told me I am not allowed to read the reviews in public anymore because I keep crying, and he doesn’t want people to get the impression we are fighting.”

They’ve been contacted by multiple organizations since the book has gone on sale. Mays was in the early stages of creating a foundation to support foster children who age out of the system when a Vice President of a company in Columbus, Ohio approached her and offered to help her start the organization.

This new foundation will provide transitional support to aging foster children, whose numbers can range around 20,000. Many of them become addicted to drugs, homeless, or commit suicide.

“Having been there myself, I can relate [to their] mentality and [overwhelming] lack of self-esteem once the system drops them due to age,” Mays said.

An employee of CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) also reached out to them after reading Dumpster Doll, saying how impactful the book was and that they (the CASA member) would take it to their superior to add to the national recommended reading list.

CASA is a giant organization that spans the entire country and helps out foster children, so the Michelles were ecstatic to hear that Dumpster Doll would be nominated for the reading list. Mays exclaimed, “That is exactly what I shared my story for!”

Another piece of exciting news for the Michelles was when Dumpster Doll attracted the attention of the NY Times Bestselling Author, Caroline Leavitt. Leavitt interviewed Jacob Marquez, the creator of a large book club named The Reading Corner, for her blog. When Leavitt asked, “What book is on your radar that people might not know?” Jacob answered Dumpster Doll, and Leavitt included a picture of the book on her site.  

The most recent bit of news came from Mays’ cousin Ben, who does sound and production work for gospel singers and has been nominated fifteen times for a Grammy. Ben offered to produce an audiobook version of Dumpster Doll in his studio with Mays as the narrator. The recording is scheduled to begin in March.

A sequel to Dumpster Doll is in the works, which will focus on the period of Mays’ life when she was aged out of the foster system and faced homelessness. So far, the Michelles have finished half of the second book, but haven’t decided on a title yet.

They hope their story is picked up for a TV series, which would “spread the word faster and farther.”

“I had a recurring dream (like watching a movie) of this part of my life every night until we were finished with my early years,” said Mays. Now the recurring dream is of my teenage years. I’m hoping once I finish the adult years, all the demons will be put to rest.”

Dumpster Doll is a phenomenal story that deserves to be heard and should be shared in order to help others who are going through similar circumstances. We’re proud to publish Dumpster Doll, and don’t be afraid to share your story.


Do you have a story that needs to be heard? We’re always seeking excellent manuscripts.  Learn more here.

Chasing the Dream by Norman Walters — Worldwide Release

January 1, 2020

We’re happy to announce that Chasing the Dream: Ten Years in the Upper Amazon by Norman Walters is now available at retailers worldwide.

Grab a copy at a major retailer or request it from your favorite bookstore!

Chasing the Dream is the second installment of Norman’s travels through the Peruvian Upper Amazon. After reaching Iquitos, one of the world’s largest cities not accessible by roads, he traveled 110 miles farther up the Amazon River by boat and into the untamed wilds of the jungle.

These are his experiences during the ten years he spent in the jungle, where a single mistake could be deadly. Norman’s stories reflect the universal experiences of blending cultures, following your dreams, and facing brutal hardships–along with the joy of overcoming them.

Norman Walters is the co-founder of Yacumama Lodge in Iquitos, a city that straddles the fine line between uncontrolled jungle and civilization. He built this eco-tourism lodge for other adventure-seekers like him in the hopes that others can share the experience of living in the jungle.

Grab your copy of the book today, and don’t forget to support independent literature by leaving a review on Goodreads when you’re finished.


Do you have a book that deserves to be published? We’re always seeking excellent manuscripts.  Learn more here.

Dumpster Doll: The Early Years – Worldwide Release

December 19, 2019

We’re pleased to announce that Dumpster Doll: The Early Years by Michelle Mays and Michelle Moone is now available at retailers worldwide.

Find a copy at any major retailer as a paperback, hardback, or e-book, or ask for it at your favorite bookstore!

Michelle Mays was born into an abusive family in the Midwest. As she and her siblings cling to survival, the balance of family ties is weighed against alcoholism, drug abuse, abandonment, and despair. Hope dawns in the form of foster care, only to be deferred by multiple placements and a system not equipped to support the children it’s meant to protect.

Through powerful vignettes of a life disjointed, Mays’s story is a journey of hope that is echoed in the experiences of thousands of children in the court and foster care systems today.

“Dumpster Doll gives you a chance to open your eyes and glimpse what children in the system go through and how they got there. You may be uncomfortable, and I hope that you are. It is my sincere hope that Dumpster Doll provokes you to do something in your own community to help children.”

            –Crystal Morgan, founder of Fostering Love

Dumpster Doll is brave not because it is unique, but because it unflinchingly shines a light on family turmoil, flaws in judicial systems, and ultimately, the grit and tenacity that thousands of children exhibit each day just to make it through.

Grab your copy of the book today, and don’t forget to support independent literature by leaving a review on Goodreads and your favorite retailer.


Do you have a book that deserves to be published? We’re always seeking excellent manuscripts.  Learn more here.

 

323 Days, NOW AVAILABLE WORLDWIDE

October 6, 2019

323 Days transcribed and edited by John Harris is now available in print and digital editions from retailers worldwide.
Find it from major retailers here, or ask for it at your favorite bookstore.

Albert Harris was a hometown hero in the small east Texas town of Greenville.  He was captain and quarterback of the high school football team and married Mary Alice Norwood, the pretty daughter of the local county judge, in 1945. Trained as an artillery officer in the Marines, Lieutenant Harris joined the reserves shortly after his marriage.

When the Korean War broke out in the summer of 1950, Lieutenant Harris knew he would be leaving his wife and one-year-old son for the hills of North Korea.  There was no more practice—it was going to be the real thing.

In 323 Days, we travel back in time to 1951-1952 and the early stages of the Cold War.  The United States was battling international communism and there was the ever-present danger of World War III. The Marine Corps had already suffered significant losses in the first year of the Korean War and Lieutenant Harris knew his tour of duty would not be easy.

During the war, Albert Harris wrote over 50 letters to Mary Alice detailing a wide variety of subjects, most direct from the battlefield.  The letters are packed with information and reveal both a love story and a brutal war story. They are an important and unique viewing window to a critical segment of the Korean War and are published here for the first time.

John Harris was born on July 29, 1949, one year before the start of the Korean War. He is the son of Albert and Mary Alice Harris and has many fond childhood memories growing up with them and his grandparents in the small east Texas town of Greenville.

John’s father was transferred to Corpus Christi, where John graduated from high school in 1967. He was an all-around athlete and president of his senior class.  John then enrolled at the University of Texas at Austin, where he met his future wife, Joan.

John spent the majority of his business career in the computer numerically controlled (CNC) machinery industry. In 1993, he founded his own CNC machinery manufacturing company and later (2001) sold his interest in it.

John and Joan have one son, Ryan, who attended Vanderbilt University.  Ryan met his wife, Tiffany, at the University of Kentucky College of Dentistry. They both completed their periodontal residencies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Currently, they have two periodontal practices in the Cincinnati, Ohio area. They are the parents of four children, the only grandchildren of John and Joan. After retirement, John and Joan moved near them in 2014.

John and Joan stay busy with their grandchildren’s activities. John especially likes to attend their many sporting events.  He also enjoys fishing and reading. Transcribing and editing this book have been extremely rewarding for him. 323 Days will be a lasting tribute to his father’s service in the Korean War.

Grab your copy of the book today, and don’t forget to support independent literature by leaving a review on Goodreads and your favorite retailer.

Proving Press is actively seeking excellent manuscripts for publication. Writers and agents can learn more here.

Cover Reveal for 323 Days, Transcribed and Edited by John Harris

September 6, 2019

323 Days is a poignant look at the Korean War through the eyes of a soldier.

Albert Harris was a hometown hero in the small east Texas town of Greenville.  He was captain and quarterback of the high school football team and married Mary Alice Norwood, the pretty daughter of the local county judge, in 1945. Trained as an artillery officer in the Marines, Lieutenant Harris joined the reserves shortly after his marriage.

When the Korean War broke out in the summer of 1950, Lieutenant Harris knew he would be leaving his wife and one-year-old son for the hills of North Korea.  There was no more practice—it was going to be the real thing.

In 323 Days, we travel back in time to 1951-1952 and the early stages of the Cold War.  The United States was battling international communism and there was the ever-present danger of World War III. The Marine Corps had already suffered significant losses in the first year of the Korean War and Lieutenant Harris knew his tour of duty would not be easy.

During the war, Albert Harris wrote over 50 letters to Mary Alice detailing a wide variety of subjects, most direct from the battlefield.  The letters are packed with information and reveal both a love story and a brutal war story. They are an important and unique viewing window to a critical segment of the Korean War and are published here for the first time.

Follow Boyle Proving Press on Facebook or Twitter to stay in the loop as this book is released! 

 We are actively seeking new authors for publication. Submit your work today.

Eight Acres and a Cow, Now Available Worldwide

June 10, 2019

Part memoir, part historical fiction, Eight Acres and a Cow is a story of family, Ohio, and the perseverance of working-class people during the Great Depression.

Find it from major retailers here, or ask for it at your favorite bookstore.

Carol was a mountain girl and wanted to stay that way, but Daddy had to find work. So, despite misgivings, the Richardson family cranked up the 1936 Dodge and headed for Ohio where the jobs were. They camped overnight by the side of the road and peed in the woods in every state they crossed. After two days and 500 miles, they pulled in front of a sorry-looking brick house on Leap Road in Hilliard, Ohio. It seemed even worse than they’d feared.

But Ohio had surprises — many good, some mysterious, a few scary, and a couple sad. The family bumped along in the Leap Road house and life got smoother and better as they went. Then Mom and Daddy started whispering secrets, and that brought the biggest surprise of all.

Carol Richardson grew up in Ohio and worked nearly twenty-five years in Washington, DC, as a lead grass-roots organizer for peace and justice groups. As an ordained pastor in the United Methodist Church, she also served congregations both in Ohio and Maryland. Currently, she is retired and living in Columbus, Ohio. 

Grab your copy of the book today, and don’t forget to support independent literature by leaving a review on Goodreads and your favorite retailer.

Proving Press is actively seeking excellent manuscripts for publication. Writers and agents can learn more here.

Cover Reveal — Eight Acres and a Cow by Carol Patricia Richardson

May 10, 2019

Part memoir, part historical fiction, Eight Acres and a Cow is a story of family, Ohio, and the perseverance of working-class people during the Great Depression.

Carol was a mountain girl and wanted to stay that way, but Daddy had to find work. So, despite misgivings, the Richardson family cranked up the 1936 Dodge and headed for Ohio where the jobs were. They camped overnight by the side of the road and peed in the woods in every state they crossed. After two days and 500 miles, they pulled in front of a sorry-looking brick house on Leap Road in Hilliard, Ohio. It seemed even worse than they’d feared.

But Ohio had surprises — many good, some mysterious, a few scary, and a couple sad. The family bumped along in the Leap Road house and life got smoother and better as they went. Then Mom and Daddy started whispering secrets, and that brought the biggest surprise of all.

Follow Proving Press on Facebook or Twitter to stay in the loop as this book is released!

We are actively seeking new authors for publication. Submit your work today.

Publishing Announcements — Welcome to the Army

April 24, 2019

Congratulations to Dennis Schulze on the release of his memoir, Welcome to the Army. This honest look at life during a turbulent period in our nation’s history is available in print and digital editions from fine book retailers around the world.

Dennis Schulze spent thirty years of his life in service to the United States Army. His story begins in 1968 at the height of the war in Vietnam. A recent law school graduate, Dennis is preparing to take the bar exam when he’s drafted. With one letter, the trajectory of Dennis’s life changes forever.

Welcome to the Army is unique not only for its inside look at protocol and procedures of the JAG division of our military, but for Dennis’s unfailing optimism and perseverance despite seemingly insurmountable obstacles.

My publisher has been so patient and professional in guiding a novice author to the completion of his goal. I couldn’t have done it without you!

It was a pleasure working with Dennis, and we congratulate him on this achievement. Look for Welcome to the Army from these retailers, or ask for it from your favorite bookshop!

Publishing Announcements — Dream of a Lifetime: Ten Years in the Upper Amazon

January 24, 2019

Musician, songwriter, artist, and adventurer, Norman Walters has filled his life with fascinating stories. He shares these tales in his book Dream of a Lifetime: Ten Years in the Upper Amazon, as he recounts the highs and lows of starting a business in the Peruvian rain forest.

Norman Walters and his longtime business partner Larry have sought out and experienced what most souls are terrified of or can only dream of: The Precipice of Life. From playing music in Greenwich Village in the 1960s to building a touristic paradise in Peru’s deepest, darkest, Amazon rainforest in the 1990s, they have consistently gone against the odds, winning…losing…and calling it even. You can find out more about the author here.

“Interspersed with tales of his gloriously misspent youth, one of the hardest-working hippies of his generation recounts the genesis of his remarkable achievement–the creation of an eco-sensitive tourist lodge in Peru’s Amazon jungle.”
Amazon reviewer

Travel to the banks of the Amazon with Dream of a Lifetime: Ten Years in the Upper Amazon, available from these retailers or ask for it from your local bookstore.

Who Could Have Imagined! by Michele Moore

February 16, 2018

Who Could Have Imagined!: My Stevens-Johnson Syndrome Experience, an inspiring book by Michele Moore, is now available in print and digital editions from fine book retailers around the world!

Michele Moore wanted a unique relationship with God. She found a church family and a pastor to lead her down a spiritual path, but longed for a deeper relationship with the Father. Even as God worked alongside her through her life, a lack of focus kept Him hidden from her sight. She prayed that His presence would be revealed.

Be careful what you ask of God, because He might give you exactly what you desire.

Michele never could have imagined that the close relationship with God she’d prayed so hard for would come through Stevens-Johnson Syndrome—a condition that took her to the brink of death and through a difficult recovery.

In this book Michele shares her pain and suffering as she travels through this illness and arrives victorious with God on the other side. Through telling her own experiences she hopes others will learn to be still and listen when God speaks, to hold fast to their faith when life seems impossible, and to celebrate the miraculous ways He works to fulfil His promises.

Will you trust God?

Look for it from these retailers, or ask/search for it from your favorite bookshop!

This touching book will be a welcome addition to your reading library.

Early readers love Who Could Have Imagined! Here’s what one of them has to say:

Although I’ve never heard of SJS, I not only received a true educational understanding on the syndrome but more importantly the true power of God’s love and healing power. The key (which I received, praise God) is to be steadfast on your faith and prayers, and trust in the Lord. This book has truly blessed me and will undoubtedly bless others as well…

-Amazon Reviewer

We had a great time working with Michele to produce this amazing book.

We’re actively seeking new authors. Do you have a great book idea? Let’s talk today.