Category Archives: BOOKS

Cardoza to sign latest book

Next Chapter Books in downtown New Bern hosts local author Brian Cordoza for a book signing Saturday, Feb. 11 from noon until 3 p.m. Cardoza recently produced ‘Chasing Immortality,’ a two-hour production in which he and other victims of abuse share their compelling stories real-time before a rapt audience.

Author donates portion of book sales to Foundation

Special to the County Compass

2-NEWS-anywhere-Heather-photoORIENTAL — Heather Coban, a new author, will be reading from her first book “Hungry Mother Creek” Saturday, May 17th at 3 p.m. at a wine tasting hosted by Nautical Wheelers on Broad Street.

Coban is a nom de plume – most locals know the author by her married name of Brewer.

Hungry Mother Creek is a story of love, loss, and the healing power of speaking your truth. The main character comes to live in the Town of Oriental after Hurricane Katrina destroyed her life on the Gulf Coast.

hungry-mother-creek-224x300Heather is a true supporter of non-profit organizations that support Oriental and the surrounding towns in Pamlico County. Heather attended the Chowder Cook Off in Oriental and at that time — after talking with member of the Pamlico County Community Foundation — she agreed to donate a portion of her May book sale proceeds to support the Foundation.

The Pamlico County Community Foundation is a charitable entity seeking to connect caring people with causes that matter. Our goal is to establish and grow the Pamlico County Unrestricted “Community” Fund so that we may continue to offer grants annually to non-profits in the Pamlico County while growing charitable assets to support community needs. Some of the nonprofit programs we have supported include Eight Days of Hope (to help recovery efforts from Hurricane Irene), The Old Theater Corporation, American Red Cross, Coastal Woman’s Shelter, Hodges Education Foundation, Boy Scouts of America, PAWS, Christian Aid Services, Craven Literacy Council, Heart Works, Oriental History Museum, Pamlico County 4H and Habitat for Humanity.

The Board of Directors for Pamlico County Community Foundation are: Flora Moorman, President; Julia Mobley, Vice President;
Wayne Brackin, Secretary-Treasurer; and members Sally T. Belangia, Tim Buck, Ann A. Holton, Pat Prescott, Mary Skinner, Cynthia Lee McBain Mayo. Kim Ball is the Foundation administrator, e-mail:

New Bern physician three for three

By Penny Zibula | Staff Writer

NEW BERN- When Zack Kitchen was growing up in Holly, Michigan, he set three goals for himself: Join the military, become a doctor, and write books. At the age of 17, he began his journey.

The third of 10 children, Kitchen and his siblings were all home-schooled by their mother, a former Registered Nurse. It may have been a result of his schooling, that Kitchen scored an impressive 1360 on his Scholastic Aptitude Test.

 “We had some rough times growing up,” he recalls. “Sometimes you had to decide between groceries and heat, and Michigan gets pretty damned cold in the winter.”

Kitchen remembers the influences that set him on the path he would eventually follow. His father had been in the military, and had majored in English Literature. Kitchen also greatly admired General Dwight D. Eisenhower as a military genius who had a passion for reading and writing. Then, there was Ernest Hemmingway, who drove an ambulance during World War I, and used many of his experiences in some of his most famous novels.

In 1986, Kitchen enlisted in the Marines as a rifleman, and a year later, entered the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis. Following his graduation in 1991, he went to flight school and flew for the Navy for five years.

 “From California to the Persian Gulf and everywhere in between,” Kitchen said, “the Navy certainly fulfilled anyone’s worst wanderlust.”

With the help of a Navy scholarship to medical school, Kitchen embarked on his next goal.  He trained at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, then went on to do his internship residency, and fellowship at NNMC Bethesda and Walter Reed Army Hospital.

Throughout most of 2006, Kitchen served as one of a small handful of physicians in Ramadi, Iraq, at a time when it “was referred to by the news media as the most dangerous town in the world.”  

Kitchen recalls his experience:  “We saw all comers – kids, adults, civilians, military, our guys, their guys.  It was very challenging as a person and as well as a physician.  At times it made you doubt everything — God, country, and your fellow man. At times it gave you a secure sense that in fact there are decent people in the world.  Most of the time it just made you tired.”

By 2009, Kitchen and his wife, Sims, a retired military intelligence officer, were more than ready to settle down somewhere quiet and watch their two daughters, Sidney, 13 and Paden, 12, grow up. “I haven’t regretted it,” Kitchen said emphatically.

 “Now in private practice in New Bern, Kitchen has realized the third of his life-long ambitions. His first self-published novel, “The Unbeliever,” is now available from Amazon as well as for the Kindle electronic reader.

In the book, a disabled Marine veteran “takes on the forces of darkness,” according to Kitchen.  He describes it as science-fiction fantasy, which has some romance thrown in for good measure.

His latest effort is “Nine Line,” about doctors in Iraq, which he is currently pitching to prospective publishers. 

“Hey, write what you know, right?”

Mission accomplished? No, not quite. Life has handed Kitchen what can be described as the most formidable challenge thus far. Recently, he was diagnosed with a genetic defect — Idiopathic Hypertrophic Sub-aortic Stenosis, a rare condition that involves an enlargement of the heart muscle.

 “I’m one of Duke’s pet projects,” he quipped. “The meds make it better and I’ve a good chance of being around for a while, but also a good chance of biting the big one any day now. Having a sword of Damocles hanging over your head like that does put things into perspective.”

Perhaps it is Kitchen’s devout Catholic upbringing; perhaps it is his wealth of experiences; perhaps it is a combination of factors that have made Kitchen the positive and grounded individual he is. As with every other challenge he has faced, he is facing this one with dignity, humor and compassion for others. 

“I guess,” he concluded, “I’ll keep playing with my kids and going to work and writing my little stories and see what happens.”


Author tackles books after stressful film career

Author Les Pendleton with Treasure, the first of his six books.

Author Les Pendleton with Treasure, the first of his six books.

By Penny Zibula | Staff Writer

FAIRFIELD HARBOUR – At a recent signing event, Les Pendleton, launched Treasure, which is the author’s first of six books to be published by DeerHalk Publishing. The book describes high seas adventures of five people.

“They all found treasure,” Pendleton divulged, “and none of it was the same treasure. They just discovered what the treasures were in their individual lives.”

The Newport News, Va. native always wanted to write, but for practical reasons, Pendleton turned his talent to working in films.

“The film business fulfilled the creative side of me,” he said, “but I always wanted to be writing.”

During his 20-year career, Pendleton worked on over 50 films, including Last of the Mohicans and Coming to America.

But the long hours and stress of working in the film industry began to take a heavy toll.

“I realized that I couldn’t continue on at that pace without having a heart attack,” Pendleton recalled.

That was when he decided to make a change, and turned to his first love. A break came when Pendleton wrote an autobiography for Linda Gail Lewis, sister of Jerry Lee Lewis. The Devil, Me and Jerry Lee was a success, and he carved out a respectable niche in that particular genre. But Pendleton had always wanted to write fiction.

After nine unpublished books, literary agent Jeanie Pantelakis of Loiacono Literary Agency arrived on the scene, and within 90 days, had arranged to have six of Pendleton’s books published.

Describing his feelings regarding the fulfillment of a life-long dream, Pendleton joked, “I’m very happy that, after all this work, I’ll be an overnight sensation.”