Books & Excerpts

Ten Photos

When widowed Fern Randall dies, she leaves behind a lifetime of unlabeled photos and two bitterly estranged daughters. Claire, a university librarian, is happily married and the mother of two grown sons. Maya is divorced and bouncing between bad boyfriends, low-paying jobs and bouts with alcohol.

But when a fatal car accident thrusts them together, communication is nearly impossible. Claire has just suffered a brain stem stroke resulting in Locked-in Syndrome and lies paralyzed and speechless in a rehab hospital, leaving her husband Brian, a gifted violinist, in charge. Thus begins a volatile triangle, exacerbated by the reappearance of Maya’s ex-husband and the fact that Fern put Claire in control of Maya’s inheritance.

With Maya struggling to stay sober and Claire weighing whether to continue her locked-in life, their mother’s photos may be their last chance to reconcile.

The Passion of Hubert

When Hubert and Felicia Lamb retire to Florida, they think they’ve found their own private paradise—until an act of God leaves a body floating face down in their swimming pool. The dead man is a dead ringer for Jesus, and soon Hubert acquires a halo and “miracles” begin to occur, thanks to the water in his pool.

Now Hubert must contend with faith healings, a megachurch led by the charismatic Pastor Brad Light, a pregnant teenaged runaway named Genie, and the glare of worldwide publicity, all while struggling with the shock and grief of a personal tragedy.

It’s all a bit much, especially for a man who knows in his heart he’s never been special in any way.

The Coloring Scroll

As a young boy living above his parents’ small-town grocery store, D.S. Maxwell dreams of becoming a sorcerer. He plans to make his parents rich, banish his meddlesome Grandma, and turn over his spoiled little brother Critter to a band of demons.

But for his sister, Emily Grace, a tall, homely genius of a girl, D.S. will make everything wonderful. He hones his artistic talent and sets off to San Francisco, where Emily Grace lives, to become a great artist. Yet he also seeks one thing more: a love he’s always wanted, a love he intends to keep.

A book about children that’s not for children.


Quarter-finalist in the 2014 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Awards

As the newly hired caretaker of a rundown New England estate, Jane Avery becomes caught up in the tangled history of Charlotte Deerfield, the temperamental artist/owner, and her enigmatic secretary, Bella.

Drafted to lead nature walks on the estate, Jane finds herself in the company of avid birders, aspiring artists, actors from the local theater, and a group of conservationists who don’t think she’s up to the job.

But Jane, Charlotte and Bella are each harboring a secret, and as their stories are revealed, they must find a way to emerge from their sanctuary and reclaim a place in the world.


“[Sanctuary] is about far more than just feathered creatures; it is an exploration of the human experience by a skillful and talented writer. Ryan’s intriguing plot offers many twists and turns all the way to its spellbinding conclusion.”

“…the author knocked me out with her rich description of both the house and the land, so much so, I felt like I was a guest at a mansion in West Egg. The author continues with the detailed descriptions of the women with such finesse…that I felt as if I were in the mansion with her… Beautiful descriptive language throughout.”

The Secret Confessions of Anne Shakespeare

In 1623, in Stratford-upon-Avon, William Shakespeare’s widow Anne lies dying in her second-best bed. But as her granddaughter Lizbeth reads aloud to her from the famous plays, Anne breaks a lifetime of silence to reveal the truth.

“William Shakespeare,” she whispers to Lizbeth, “did not write the plays that appear in his name.”

Often dismissed as a homely country spinster who seduced an innocent boy, Anne Shakespeare emerges in my novel as a smart, witty, resourceful woman who discovers she has a mind and talents of her own.


“This story is a fantastic view of life in the theatre, and one woman’s struggle to maintain her family; her attempt to keep the love for her selfish husband; and, understand the remarkable stories that are piling up inside her own head….After reading this, you’ll not only applaud Anne Shakespeare, but you’ll also give Arliss Ryan a standing ovation for a job well done.”

“An entertaining and admirable novel that offers a surprising reinterpretation of Will Shakespeare’s wife, Anne Hathaway, who shares, and helps shape, his dream.”

“This is a book to savor! The cover screams ‘young adult’ but looks are deceiving in this case, as it is a very mature, well-written story and absolutely plausible…”

How (Not) to Have a Perfect Wedding

“My, what a boring job you have!” was a comment I heard often when I worked as a wedding hostess at one of the famous Newport mansions. Oh no, it was fascinating to stand on duty, observing the interactions of everyone from the caterers in the kitchen to the well-heeled guests.

By telling the story of a society wedding from multiple viewpoints – bride and groom, wedding party and mansion staff – my novel takes the reader behind the scenes at a wickedly funny affair.


“OMG! This book just blew my socks off! Not because it was full of heaving bosoms and step-by-step sex scenes (it wasn’t), but because it was chock full of wit, insight, humor, pathos, and wicked social commentary on the foibles of the human condition.”

“The skillful use of multiple narratives elevates this novel above the usual women’s wedding fiction…[the author] uses distinctive viewpoints to great advantage, building tension and developing characters from the very first page…A worthy addition to the genre.”

“…a sharply written, deliciously gossipy slice-of-life novel, guaranteed to be enjoyed by readers…”

The Kingsley House

A runaway slave on the Underground Railroad, a pair of scheming Spiritualists, a deadly diphtheria epidemic and a high-flying love affair are just a few of the adventures to overtake the five generations of family in this seemingly ordinary house.

Built by my ancestor Nathan Kingsley in 1843, the real Kingsley House is now preserved in Greenmead Historical Village in Livonia, Michigan. The novel was inspired by a family history album created by my mother, to whom I am deeply grateful for her research and support.


“In The Kingsley House, Arliss Ryan gives us wars, the Ford assembly line, the Depression, the spread of the auto industry through southeastern Michigan and modern commercial development, but most importantly, she makes us see the past through the lives of good people we can’t help but care about.”

“[A] charming, old-fashioned, heart-warming family chronicle…Ryan’s buoyant, spritely prose does not turn away from death and evil, but her style is so life-affirming that we know they cannot possibly lie at the ultimate center of the universe.”

“All family members are true-to-life individuals, with plenty of flaws and foibles, and as with every family, there’s the occasional black sheep. It’s remarkable that in a tale of over 400 pages, the story never drags: the action-filled storyline and the personalities of the characters keep it alive. I enjoyed every minute.”