Veterans Day Honors Those Who Served

November 11th is Veterans Day in the US, and is celebrated in other countries worldwide as Armistice Day or Remembrance Day. It recognizes the moment when major hostilities ceased, marking the end of the Great War, or World War I.

Today, we honor the service and the life of everyone who served honorably in any branch of the military. For the curious, some handy facts are posted at

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All of us know a Veteran. Please be sure to let these persons know their service is acknowledged and appreciated today. The Veterans Administration has this list of nationwide deals exclusive to Veterans, including free or reduced prices at restaurants, retail outlets, museums, and services such as haircuts and flu shots:

More are listed at this website:

In addition, many of your local indie and small-scale retail and service outfits are also offering Veterans deals. Check for deals in an internet search using your locality + the search terms “Veterans deals” and they’ll come up for you!

Today, we are announcing that

EVERY DAY IS VETERANS DAY at Propertius Press!

If you are a Veteran, contact us through the Military and Veteran link at the top of the page, and we will send you a discount code good for 25% off the retail price of any of our books, including ebooks and print, when purchased through the Shopping Cart in our Bookstore.

From our own catalogue, we love the story told in Acropolis, by Howard Winn (Veteran), DSCN0336adjustabout a small group of soldiers who enter university courtesy

Click to order!

of the GI Bill, as each attempts to settle in to a civilian life. The clash of cultures between privileged and working classes combined with personal struggles with PTSD, survivor’s guilt, and simple real-world adjustment battles amid the creative intellectual world of higher education makes for an engaging read. This book helped us to better understand the everyday challenges returning Veterans can face upon returning home.


Finally, in soon to be released…

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Some may not be aware of the actor Marlon Brando’s own work with Veterans, which stems all the way back to his very first movie, The Men, in which he portrays a soldier who has to adapt to the loss of the use of his legs. In preparing for the role, Brando actually lived for several weeks at the Veteran’s Hospital near the filming location. He insisted on being put through the exact same rigors as the paraplegic men in the wards, having great sympathy for what these men experienced. As noted by several friends and biographers, Brando felt the best way he could help them was to make them laugh, maybe forget their troubles for awhile. Here’s an excerpt from the upcoming book, “The Impish Humor of Marlon Brando,” by Aubrey Malone:

…he was looking forward to his cinematic maiden voyage, being an admirer of Kramer’s social dramas. When he first met the director, he was dressed in his standard jeans and torn T-shirt. A number of paraplegics from Birmingham Veterans Hospital were also there. They expected an “actor’s actor,” so were pleasantly surprised at the offbeat man they encountered in his place. They were even more surprised when he expressed an interest in moving into their hospital with them full-time.

In fact, Brando stayed in the institution, which was located in the neighborhood of Van Nuys, in Los Angeles, for several weeks. In what would become typical Method, he wanted the experience of living as one of the injured and told his relations, “You can visit me there, but don’t be surprised if you find me in a wheelchair with a urine bottle.”

He even managed to convince a therapist that he was a paraplegic. As he was being fitted for leg braces, the man in question informed an attendant that he was “paralyzed from the tenth dorsal vertebra down.”

One day near the end of his sojourn, he was eating in a restaurant with the paraplegics when a wild-eyed woman entered. She started talking to them about Jesus, about how they might be able to walk again if they believed enough in him. They weren’t interested in her ramblings but Brando pretended to be. He gazed at her with rapt attention. He said, “I believe in the Lord.”

The woman said, “You should believe, soldier, because I know that with the Lord’s work you can recover.”

With that, Brando started to rise from his wheelchair. “I do believe!” he roared, “I do believe!” He gripped the sides of his wheelchair until his knuckles whitened. “I feel the Lord has come right into this room,” he said, “and into my body. The Lord is in my body. I feel it.” He walked to the bar and started dancing and leaping. The woman shrieked and fled the room to hoots of laughter from the veterans.


Launch Day! Anthology – Metamorphosis

Today, July 21, 2019, our newest release became available for purchase at major online and brick-and-mortar retailers. Metamorphosis: A Collection of Stories is available at pre-order pricing exclusively on our website through the end of July. Our first short-story anthology is a full 300 pages, with 26 stories by 23 new and established writers. The complete list includes:

Metamorphosis, An Anthology edited by Propertius Press
Metamorphosis, a Collection of Stories

How to be a Bad Boy in Four Easy Steps, by Paul Mills
A Tale of Nantucket, by Steve Carr
Diverted, by Kevin Keegan
A Ball of String Called a Clew, by Fionnuala Cook
Sleeper Cell, by Harvey Havel
The Clinic, by Donald Delver
A Girl Like Me, by Sara Confino
Obsoletism, by Aaron Weddle
The Looks of It, by Scott Pedersen
The Baroque Brothers, by Jeffrey Duchene
Freedom Bridge, by Sara Confino
The Burning of Nellie’s Mountain, by Susannah Eanes
Shady Lane, by Jimmy Hicks
Muse, by Jack Coey
The Reverend Broderick Sloan MacDougal, by Rebecca Redshaw
Cassandra’s Trump, by Stephen Bloom
If I Can’t Have You, by Mandy Nachampassack-Maloney
The Turning of Annie Riley, by Sandra M. Shaw
Pedestrian, by Aaron Weddle
As are We, by Sean Padraic McCarthy
The Sponge Society, by Lance Minnite
The Day I Cried Eyes, by Fionnuala Cook
Rainbow Bridge, by Joe DiBuduo
Fear is a Gentle Teacher, by Ted Garvin
Rosary Beads and Fioricet, by Stephen Young
Sugar Cane, by Sharon LaCour

Pick up your copy today, in our bookstore at reduced pricing, or at your favorite online retailer, and join us at Goodreads with a review!

Watch this space for more about our next Anthology, Whispers from the Universe.

A New Anthology

Yes, we have decided to do it again… a new Anthology on the heels of the one we just completed. Metamorphosis: A Collection of Stories will be out in our Bookstore and at online retailers on July 21st, and in print soon after, but writers continue to pelt us with amazing, wonderful stories  – and pre-orders for our current Anthology are exceeding expectations. So we are offering the opportunity to do it again!

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Tentatively planned for Summer 2020, Whispers from the Universe will explore the connections between the real and unseen worlds. Where hidden miracles turn expectation on its head, and perception and reality collide with the unknowable. What do we really know about the physical world, and is physics more understandable than we think? What opportunities present themselves when we let down our guard and explore behind the obvious?

Sharpen your pens, and let us know what inspirations come to you in this latest venture into storytelling. Visit our Submittable platform to send us your best work. Good luck!

Photo by Anni Roenkae on


Meet the Publisher

Hi, I’m Susannah Smith, the publisher here at Propertius Press. I recently did an interview with Duotrope, a subscription-based service for writers and artists that offers an extensive, searchable 072207_003database of current fiction, poetry, nonfiction, and visual art markets and other benefits. Propertius Press has been listed with Duotrope since January 2018, and we know several successful authors found us this way.

It was really helpful to have the opportunity to clarify and expand on the information you can find here on our website. The questions the interviewer posed gave me insight into the types of things people want to know when considering whether to submit their work to a publisher. A writer’s work is precious and meaningful not only to oneself, but to the publisher who makes the decision to print the work and add it to their catalogue. With every offer of publication we fully realize that our reputation hinges on the success of that decision – both yours and ours.

For that reason, I hope you’ll take time to read the interview, and let us know your thoughts. This is our seventh year of bringing unique, polished treasures to the literary world. It’s a labour of love, certainly, but we hope that not only our readers, but all you diverse, talented writers out there can continue to find promising outcomes with us.

Wishing you the best in your journey.

Beach Reads & Summer Savings


Just in time to stock up on all of our wonderful beach reads!

For the best price on all print books, take advantage of the great deals throughout the month of July in our Bookstorefrom July 6 through the 31st, shipping on all print books is completely free – but only if you purchase directly from us!

Ebooks on sale too!

Prefer reading on your tablet or e-reader? By purchasing directly through our eBook distributor, Smashwords, you can save a full 50% off the retail price during the entire month of July. Simply enter the coupon code YQ77G at checkout.

Happy Reading!

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The Invention of the “Beach Read” The New Yorker

Beach Reads at Barnes & Noble

6 Hacks for Reading on the Beach, Because There’s Nothing Worse Than a Wet Book Bustle

6 Amazing Reasons to Read Books Right Now  Natural Beach Living


Arthenia Bates Millican, American Author

imageThe writing of Arthenia Bates Millican opens a window to a world that is hidden from many, unless you were alive in the southern United States in the mid-twentieth century, and even then, you may not have experienced it. The lives of “Black folk” were the subjects of her creative, yet authentic pen, as she faithfully transcribed into fiction the unique stories that she observed and heard among some of her friends, relatives, and neighbors. Raised in a family that valued education and standing in the community, as she grew into adulthood, Dr. Millican found that listening to, and learning about, the values, work, and passions of the laboring classes revealed a stronger fabric of community and spirit than perhaps some had realized. For many first-time readers of her work, the voices of the people may initially appear quaint, perhaps even unintelligible, but the earnestness and fragility of their everyday circumstance is unmistakable. You are drawn in, you hear the click of knives chopping vegetables, you smell wood smoke, feel the sweat of a dusty walk to town in the heat of a summer day, hear the swish-swish softness of taffeta as your neighbor settles into the adjacent pew at church. And the most troubling of circumstances can be ringed with a wry observation amid laughter in spite of heartbreak.

These are happenings that all but the most jaded can feel, and to which most can relate at least on some level. The value that Dr. Millican placed on the black experience is one of authentic realism, and few capture it with the deft selection of words that she has. She has been compared, rightly, to Zora Neale Hurston, Paul Lawrence Dunbar, and Thomas Hardy, in the way each has given a microphone to voices of the everyday experience of folk who may be forgotten in the faster, more urban places of civilization. Dr. Millican knew and recognized that these experiences are a vital part of our human language and understanding, and to ignore them would be a grave injustice – not only to them, but to us. Her stories cut right to the heart of what it is to be a part of a family, a neighborhood, a village. Her characters care about one another even when they are at odds; they pierce directly to the point without artifice or “beating around the bush.” Life is short and precious; people can be mean or sordid, but that doesn’t make them worthless; beliefs can be hard to bear but sometimes they are the “warp and woof” of a community, the very thing that brings people together, in spirit and reality.

The latest collection of stories published by Propertius Press is The Bottoms and Hills: Virginia Tales, by Arthenia Bates Millican, to be released on the occasion of the author’s 99th birthday, June 1, 2019. We are proud to be a part of this project, in conjunction with the Arthenia J. Bates Millican Literary Foundation. Pre-order your copy today at and check the Facebook page frequently for updates at


Pre-Orders for Upcoming Releases!

We are excited to offer five new books set to be released in 2019 that are available for Pre-Order! These books are available, or soon will be, for pre-orders at your favorite online book merchants (Amazon,, iStore, etc.) – However, you will get the best prices, and delivery on the day of release, by purchasing directly from us through our website.

For a limited time: FREE SHIPPING on all orders when you use our Shopping Cart!



When Grammar and Style Don’t Agree

shakespeare-wordsLanguage evolves. If it did not, we would all still be conversant in Chaucerian English. These changes often begin as stylistic exceptions that come from an individual or cultural difference to accepted written speech. The British Library has a wonderful resource that catalogues the changes in written English over time.

All that said, we still take our editing seriously around here. (More about that on our Submissions page.)

But we DO publish works that remain faithful to the voice and style of our writers.

Sometimes it is a bit challenging to strike a balance between style and being understood. When we send back an edited manuscript, there can be a bit of tug and pull about comma placement, word choice, and even spelling. Some writers honestly do not react well to being edited. I hope folks understand that we are committed to putting out the best work that reveals the essays, stories, and non-fiction narratives in their best light. No one wants to have their* book put back on the shelf because a reader is less than impressed with the language. A reader who gets the impression that a book was published while bypassing the editing process may not come back to that publisher for another read, which hurts all of our authors.

And yet, even those who are called experts in the field do not always agree these days.research

When style and language are a bit different from the norm, we will sometimes ask our authors to write a style note, or put a few words in the introduction or preface to the work that explains what’s going on here. This will alert our readers – your readers! – that your voice, while perhaps different, is to be respected in its uniqueness. That uniqueness should not be seen as a flaw, but neither should it stand in the way to understanding.

Because language is all about communication; otherwise, what is the point?

*This is a plural pronoun, used as singular – one of the evolving language choices we will use – as it is now commonly accepted correct grammar, in addition to the other examples used in this post. Did you find them?

Six Old Grammar Rules That Are Finally Going Out of Style

For Whom the Bell Tolls

Most of What You Think You Know About Grammar is Wrong

The Virginia Tales

AJBM FoundationPropertius Press and the Arthenia J. Bates Millican Foundation are proud to announce an exciting reprint of a collection of tales hinged upon “a way of life” in Southside Virginia, the “Old Dominion,” in the authentic language as heard by the author and originally written down in the late 1950s. Entitled The Bottoms and Hills: Virginia Tales, this treasure is re-published posthumously in cooperation with the Arthenia J. Bates Literary Foundation. Beautiful original illustrations by Ansar Muhammad enhance the work. News of the book was carried to the Women of the World Conference in March 2019, and it has received praise and attention from members of the College Language Association. Proceeds from the volume will benefit the Arthenia J. Bates Millican Literary Foundation, whose mission is to promote literary arts and culture. The release is set for what would have been Mrs. Millican’s 99th birthday, June 1, 2019, with an event at her home in Sumter, South Carolina.

An author and lifelong educator, Arthenia Bates Millican (1920-2012) has been described during her career as a writer, poet, professor, researcher, humanitarian and “humanist of rural Southern folk.” She has received worldwide recognition for her work. Much of Millican’s substantial literary reputation is based on Seeds Beneath the Snow: Vignettes from the South. Her work has been compared to that of Paul Laurence Dunbar, Charles Waddell Chesnutt, Zora Neale Hurston and Thomas Hardy.

More updates to follow soon!


Editing the Manuscript

Image from Shutterstock

You’ve written your story, and now comes the time to dig in, to sift through the words, to pare back and refine and polish. Or do you? Would you send a raw manuscript out to potential publishers?

I hope the answer is a resounding “no.” Although an exceptional plot and engaging, well-developed characters can sometimes redeem a poorly penned story, and likewise, a unique take on an unexplored, fascinating and relevant subject can make a nonfiction work ring with meaning that survives ratty presentation, it’s never a good idea to skip using the grammar reference, dictionary, and thesaurus.

You want your work to shine above the others, and unfortunately many publishers simply won’t bother with a poorly-worded submission. In order to give your work the attention it deserves on the publisher’s side of the desk, give it the attention it deserves prior to sending it out.

If grammar and spelling are challenging for you, engage a friend to help, or the services of a professional editor. Look for recommendations, or read through some examples before hiring someone.  Honestly, some manuscripts that were stated to be professionally edited appeared to us to be anything but. Be careful about sending your work to the lowest-priced or most expedient service available, such as those offered through popular self-publishing packages. Some of the most poorly-written submissions we’ve received were unfortunately the results of poor writers paying for these kinds of services.

As in all things, you do get what you pay for. However, as it is with some of the best things in life, excellent help is available for free!

Consult with some of the resources available at local community colleges, libraries, and writer’s groups. Honest and accurate feedback is essential to making your best work. Try not to argue over suggestions about word choice and clarity. The end result is up to you, but helpful advice can ensure your work is not only read, but recommended. And that will increase the popularity and enthusiasm surrounding your book!

Happy writing, and editing!

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The Death of Literature by the Digital Age