Personville Press

Publisher info

Robert Nagle is editor and publisher of Personville Press, a company dedicated to producing quality literary ebooks at an affordable price. He is a frequent advocate for indie authors, copyright reform and environmental issues. He frequently reviews literary fiction. To contact him by email, write idiotprogrammer AT

Starting in Fall 2018 Mr. Nagle's literary blog will have a regular monthly column featuring Smashwords authors and deals. To submit your promotions, read this:

The Books in Print URL actually contains a link to the most recent coupon codes for Personville titles.

Personville is the name of an actual town in Texas (population: 8). It also was the name of the city where Dashiel Hammett's first novel "Red Harvest" took place.

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Hanger Stout, Awake! (50th Anniversary Edition)
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 43,830. Language: English. Published: November 20, 2018 by Personville Press. Categories: Fiction » Coming of age, Fiction » Young adult or teen » Literary
Clyde Stout is a high school graduate in a small Ohio town; he loves tinkering with cars and dreaming about his girlfriend. He is coasting ... until he discovers he has a new talent: the ability to hang from a metal bar longer than anybody! The 50 year anniversary of this coming-of-age novella was described by TIME MAGAZINE as a “gentle first novel told with a fine ear for adolescent patois.”
Abruptions: 3 Minute Stories to Awaken the Mind
Price: $2.25 USD. Words: 22,560. Language: English. Published: October 7, 2017 by Personville Press. Categories: Fiction » Literature » Literary, Fiction » Visionary & metaphysical
Poetic and fable-like tales about quirky people from small towns. Written by master storyteller Jack Matthews during his last decade of life, they are told with simple language, flashes of humor and a sage's sense of wonder and irony.
Soldier Boys: Tales of the Civil War
Price: $2.25 USD. Words: 57,400. Language: English. Published: April 5, 2016 by Personville Press. Categories: Fiction » Literary collections » American / General, Fiction » Historical » USA
Philosophical author Jack Matthews takes snapshots of Civil War soldiers as they cheat death and mess around between battles. Without dwelling on the war's tragic dimension, these old-fashioned (and historically accurate) yarns are infused with irony and a youthful sense of adventure. They also ask you to ponder the human condition as people of that time might have done.
Interview with the Sphinx
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 36,880. Language: English. Published: February 28, 2013 by Personville Press. Categories: Plays » American / African American, Plays » Ancient & Classical
This witty philosophical comedy imagines the ancient Sphinx being interviewed today -- as though she were another pop celebrity. She is a talkative, flirty & mysterious person who likes to talk about anything -- except the question being asked! Part Tom Stoppard, part Monty Python, part Oscar Wilde, this play by Jack Matthews combines philosophical paradoxes with fast-paced verbal pyrotechnics.
Three Times Time
Price: Free! Words: 26,980. Language: American English. Published: September 24, 2012 by Personville Press. Categories: Fiction » Literature » Literary, Fiction » Anthologies » Short stories - single author
A year before he died, Jack Matthews (author of 10 story collections and over 30 books) was asked to suggest his 3 favorite stories from all his books for this story sampler. "Matthews stories are like friends from small towns: They are honest, warm, occasionally lyrical and as strange and idiosyncratic as the rest of us." (Arthur Sabatini)

Personville Press' tag cloud

Personville Press' favorite authors on Smashwords

Alex Stone
Latest book: Hauling Checks. Published November 11, 2009. (4.50 from 2 reviews)
April Rencher
Latest book: Pain Love & Ecstasy. Published November 3, 2016.
Barbara G.Tarn
Latest book: Airships (Future Earth Chronicles Book 5). Pre-release—available April 2, 2019.
Barry Rachin
Latest book: Sheldon Guberman's Two-state Solution. Published December 3, 2018.
C. D. Stowell
Latest book: New Old World. Published December 5, 2016. (5.00 from 2 reviews)
Charles Rocha
Latest book: Very Long Nights. Published October 26, 2017.
Chris Ludovici
Latest book: The Minors. Published June 3, 2017.
Dan Ward
Latest book: The Beginning and End of Flight. Published December 6, 2011.
David Antonelli
Latest book: The Black Tide. Published April 26, 2016. (5.00 from 1 review)
David Widlan
Latest book: I Walk On Gilded Splendors. Published June 23, 2018.
Dory Codington
Latest book: Beside Turning Water. Published September 22, 2015.
Edward Mc Whinney
Latest book: Short Stories Volume IV. Published November 21, 2018.
Erik Tarloff
Latest book: The Man Who Wrote the Book. Published May 12, 2014.
Gary J. Davies
Latest book: Global Warming Fun 7: Space Rendezvous. Published August 8, 2018. (5.00 from 1 review)
Gert Loveday
Latest book: The Art of the Possible. Published November 25, 2015. (5.00 from 1 review)
Gracie L. Chandler
Latest book: Free to Be. Published May 23, 2018.
Marilyn Katz
Latest book: A Few Small Stones. Published March 1, 2018.
Nicola Vallera
Latest book: The Hot Summer of 1990. Published November 14, 2018.
Rose Maru
Latest book: Rose Artless. Published December 18, 2018.
Samuel Vargo
Latest book: A Stranger In This Town. Published March 28, 2018.
Tag Cavello
Latest book: Ice In The Firelands. Published December 14, 2018. (5.00 from 1 review)

Smashwords book reviews by Personville Press

  • Tales from Indies: Smashwords Forum Writers Anthology 2015 on April 10, 2016

    A Strong Eclectic Collection. A good way to be introduced to other SW authors.
  • The Other Shore: Two Stories of Love and Death on March 03, 2018

    In the novella "The Other Shore" Paul Hina captures romance and domestic drama with psychological nuance. He writes incredibly well and with tenderness about unique relationship situations and flawed but complex characters. The first novella in the volume is remarkable: a son of a famous poet returns home to mend his relationship with his dying dad and deal with his sexual attractions to a grad student at his dad's department while dealing with his own rocky marriage. The story may have ended in a predictable place, but I really enjoyed getting to know all the people. My only"complaint" (maybe it's a lament?) is that everybody is so rational and well-spoken that it's hard to imagine them really fighting for long. This book is a beautifully told tale; it's both a multi-faceted love story and an exploration of the protagonist's ambivalence about marriage. Compare to DH Lawrence or possibly some realistic writer like Anne Tyler or Somerset Maugham..
  • Cats on Film on July 11, 2018
    (no rating)
    CATS ON FILM gives a delightful and irreverent tour through world cinema from the standpoint of the cats who appear in it. This book grew out of a blog with the same name and does not take itself too seriously. The book introduces various cat archetypes: CATAGONIST, HEROPUSS, CAPANION, CATZILLA, PUSILLA, CATRIFICE, CATGUFFIN and many more. To be honest, I am not particularly a cat lover (they’re ok, but…), and I had hardly given a second thought about cats in film until picking up this book. Probably the only movie I could think of with a cat theme would be CAT PEOPLE, and this book doesn’t talk about it at all except parenthetically. What a shock it was to see discussions of so many movies with significant cat cameos. THIRD MAN, NYMPHOMANIAC (!), Kieslowski’s BLUE, the GODFATHER, the original POSTMAN ALWAYS RINGS TWICE, the original FLY, LA DOLCE VITA, STRAW DOGS, CLOCKWORK ORANGE (!) 1900, PROOF, TRUE GRIT, DAY FOR NIGHT, AWFUL TRUTH, GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL, BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY’S (!), THE LEOPARD, and many, many more. My first reaction was, wow, there are cats in all these movies? Aside from HARRY AND TONTO, I had hardly noticed them! This is a logical and well-organized work — you can find a list of film discussed at the logical Table of Contents at the beginning (though it would have been better to have hyperlinks). It can be fun to stumble upon the unexpected, and the book itself has glorious color photographs and helpful labels like “Major Cat Movie.” Clearly Ms. Billson writes with an encyclopedic knowledge of cinema (she has also published several movie guides and writes about movies regularly for the “Guardian”). I found new insights about movies I thought I already knew (or at least, I thought I did!) I now know about a lot of obscure films simply because of the odd fact that it has a cat in it. Because Billson already is an accomplished novelist (specifically in horror, mystery, vampires and other things), the book has unexpected bonuses. For the movie ALIEN she does a brilliant interior monologue of the same story from the cat’s point of view. (You remembered that there was a cat in that movie, right? I didn’t!) For the movie INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS, the book has a nice extended piece (The Moggyssey) teasing out the Homeric aspects to the plot. (By the way, I totally did not remember the movie having a cat in it!) For STUART LITTLE, she makes a tongue-in-cheek proposal to change the title of the movie to “Snowbell” (because the cat character is more interesting and complex). Billson writes: **** Since Hollywood is largely run by dog people, cats are often relegated to secondary characters with bad attitudes, typified by animated propaganda such as LADY AND THE TRAMP, CINDERELLA, TOM AND JERRY or MERRY MELODIES shorts featuring Tweetie Pie and Sylvester, which try to brainwash children into thinking cats are evil or stupid, while dogs, rodents and birds are virtuous and should be given carte blanche to torment the felines. **** These creative takes are fun, clever and interesting. The book spends a lot of time on cats in genres like horror, James Bond and kid’s movies (which is to be expected). I particularly appreciated Billson’s speculation about the cats themselves as opposed to the role they are expected to play in the movie. She guesses when more than one cat is used for the same cat character in a movie (like THIRD MAN) and provides horrifying backstory about how cats were actually mistreated during the shooting of the film (as in ADVENTURES OF MILO AND OTIS). This clever book is based on a conceit that cats are more than story props. It’s an intriguing (though now obvious) idea. Fake soliloquys notwithstanding, I don’t get the impression that the book is trying to anthropomorphize the cat characters; it is just suggesting an alternate and yes, a more compassionate way to read movies. The book is a celebration of cats for what they naturally are in mainstream movies; At the same time, there’s more than enough enough obscure Japanese, European, animation and old genre movies described here to make the ardent film buff happy.