Coming in 2023

Just Keep Pedaling is a fast-paced book about life in a slow-paced town. Connie Ness was the first and only North American to live in the tiny pueblo of Baltasar Brum in Uruguay, the second-smallest country in South America.

Ness writes honestly about her conflicted feelings toward the rewards and disappointments of living and working in a culture with different ideas on time and personal responsibility, and about the frustration and isolation of trying to communicate in a different language. In the end she discovered, as so many Peace Corps volunteers do, that doing service work in a developing country is not a one-way street. Her time in Uruguay was a soft clash of cultures, with a little bit of each rubbing off on the other.

Reading Connie Ness’s generously illustrated and engaging account in Just Keep Pedaling is like listening to a friend who just returned from a two-year adventure.

Fall 2022 Release

“Brand had the bigness of heart to see beyond Mandela ‘the terrorist’, ‘the communist’, the convicted prisoner. Seeing that Mandela treated him with kindness and respect, he responded in kind. Brand may be seen as a milestone in Mandela’s political mission: his first white convert.”

John Carlin, author of Playing the Enemy (made into the film Invictus) and Knowing Mandela

The updated edition of Doing Life with Mandela is already available in South Africa and will be published in the United States by Blue Ear Books on January 1, 2023. Copies can be pre-ordered for $19.95 each plus $3.95 US shipping.

Afrikaner farm boy Christo Brand joined the South African prison service at age 17 to avoid having to serve in the military, as all white males were required to do under the apartheid regime. He found himself guarding men he was told were the country’s most notorious terrorists: Nelson Mandela, Walter Sisulu, Ahmed Kathrada – names that would later become legendary worldwide for moral and political heroism. The lifelong friendship Brand forged with Mandela is the subject of his memoir, first published in 2014. The book’s London launch was presided over by Mandela’s daughter Zindzi, at her late father’s behest. Mandela passed away in December 2013 at age 95.

Doing Life with Mandela: My Prisoner, My Friend has now been updated and republished by Blue Ear Books, edited by Andrew Russell, with a special section of freshly commissioned writings by 16 people who knew both men well: fellow political prisoners, family members, European and North American activists and educators, and a member of South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission. In its new edition Doing Life with Mandela is more timely than ever, showing as it does the difference that personal respect and friendship can make in a racially divided society and under an oppressive regime.

To inquire about in-person or virtual speaking engagements with Christo Brand, contact Andrew Russell at To arrange for a bulk order or learn more about Doing Life with Mandela and related projects, contact Blue Ear Books publisher Ethan Casey at

Spring 2022 Release

In Stories from the Front: Pain, Betrayal, and Resilience on the MST Battlefield, Bronze Star-decorated combat commander Colonel Lisa Carrington Firmin outlines her own experiences with military sexual trauma (MST) and recounts the stories of 13 others: veterans as well as active duty women and men who are bravely sharing their stories of sexual assault and sexual harassment while serving in the United States military. Stories from the Front authentically captures experiences and carefully tells their stories of trauma and the resilience and empowerment they display in their lives.

By including the lived experiences of a diverse group representing all military branches, ranks, eras of service, wars, races and ethnicities, from Vietnam through Iraq and Afghanistan to the present day, Stories from the Front documents how men and women suffered at the hands of their fellow sailors, coasties, airmen, soldiers, and Marines. Eerily similar in the retelling, their experiences with MST range from hazing, bullying, misogyny, and sexual harassment to sexual assault and rape. They recount their most painful experiences and open their hearts and souls to the author and to the world. Many of the book’s participants have never previously shared the full details of their MST experiences or spoken publicly before.

Stories from the Front was published April 22, 2022, the second anniversary of the murder of Vanessa Guillén at Ford Hood. Copies can be ordered for $18.95 each plus $3.95 US shipping.

You can also purchase Stories from the Front from, from Amazon or Lulu, or by sending a check for US$22.90 payable to Blue Ear Books to 7511 Greenwood Ave N, Box 400, Seattle, WA 98103. Please make sure to include a shipping address with your check.

You can contact Colonel Carrington Firmin directly at To arrange for a bulk order or learn more about Stories from the Front and other veterans-related projects, contact Blue Ear Books publisher Ethan Casey at


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Special project in progress

Yuliya Shirokova with her uncle, aunt, and sister, all of whom remain in Ukraine, on a family visit from Seattle to Kyiv, January 2022.

We are proud to enjoy the extraordinary opportunity to work with Yuliya Shirokova on her memoir of growing up in Ukraine and later in the United States. Although Yuliya has been planning a memoir for years, recent events in Ukraine were the final catalyst that spurred her to write it now. Her book, to be titled Light in the Fields, will be published by Blue Ear Books.

We invite you to support both Yuliya’s book and humanitarian relief in Ukraine by pre-purchasing a signed copy. Use the drop-down menu below to choose your preferred level of support.

Drawing on her own memories and interviews with family members and friends, Yuliya’s book will take us through the turbulent times of the USSR’s perestroika, the breakup of the USSR, Ukraine’s first Independence Day, 9/11, and other events through the eyes of the author as she was growing up and becoming an adult.

Although Yuliya has been in the United States for more than 25 years, she has come to understand the impossibility of escaping the political turbulence she left in the Kyiv of 1996.

Read more about Yuliya’s book, and a short excerpt, on her author page. You can also contribute to relief efforts in Ukraine directly via Yuliya’s GoFundMe page.

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