Page 1

FEBRUARY/MARCH 2015

KEVIN MORRIS JACK LONDON THE INSTAGRAM BOOK

SHORT STORY

SNAPSHOTS 1

SEPTEMBER 2010

what to read next in independent publishing


N

ear the top of Mount Everest, on 10 May 1996, eight climbers died. It was the worst tragedy in the mountain’s history.

Lou Kasischke was there. Now he tells the harrowing story of what went wrong, as it has never been told before—including why the climbers were desperately late and out of time. His personal story, captured in the title After The Wind, tells about intense moments near the top. The moments that revealed the love story that saved his life.

“A vivid, intimate memoir that, with great clarity and attention to detail, tells an unforgettable survival story.” Kirkus Reviews (starred review) Kirkus’Indie Books of the Month Selection

“A thorough analysis of the 1996 Everest disaster…and the best preparation for my Everest ascent.” Jean Pavillard, IFMGA Swiss Mountain Guide

“After The Wind is a thoughtful, well-written love story of Kasischke’s dedication to his wife and anchor Sandy and his passion for climbing. It delivers an edge-ofyour-seat description of navigating and mountaineering Everest and is punctuated with beautiful illustrations nestled in each chapter. Those new to the story, as well as anyone hooked on Krakauer’s original tale, will find After The Wind an engrossing read.” BlueInk Reviews (starred review)

Available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and at local bookstores in hardcover, ebook, and soft cover (international edition only) formats.

WWW.AFTERTHEWIND.COM


staff

Margaret Brown fo u n d e r a n d p u b l i sh e r Anna Nair edito r i n ch i e f Christina Davidson c re a t i ve d i re c tor Ben Minton circ u l a t i on ma n a g e r Patricia McClain c o py e d i to r Marc Schuster c o n t r i b u t i n g e d i tor Morgan Siem c on su l ta n t , soc i a l me d i a

What to read next? Sign up for a

FREE SUBSCRIPTION

to Shelf Unbound at www.shelfmediagroup.com.

Kasia Piasecka so c i a l me d i a ma n a g e r Jane Miller ac c o u n t i n g ma n a g e r For a dve r tising inqu ir ie s: c al l 2 14.704.4182 or e- mail m a rga ret@ s he l fm e di agrou p.c om For editor ial inqu ir ie s: e- mail m a rga ret@ s he l fm e di agrou p.c om or write to Shelf U nbou nd, P O B ox 852321 R ich ard s on, TX 75085

Photograph: Kyle Steed, @kylesteed, from The Instagram Book, edited by Steve Crist and Megan Shoemaker, Ammo Books, ammobooks.com.

what to read next in independent publishing


february/march

contents

DEPARTMENTS

6

white man’s problems interview with Kevin Morris

12

empty pockets interview with Dale Herd

16

the palace of illusions interview with Kim Addonizio

26

leaving by plane swimming back underwater interview with Lawrence Scott

34 44

refund interview with Karen E. Bender

48

if i knew the way i’d take you home interview with Dave Housley

72

Jack London’s “to build a fire” interview with Earle Labor

4

a note from the publisher

22

global excerpt: Nellie Arcan

40

global excerpt: Alejandro Morales

54

global excerpt: S.J. Naudé

58

photo essay

80

self-published author

82

poetry

84

on our shelf

86

small press reviews

88

last words

89 contributors

On the cover: Photo by Mark Clinton, @markclinton, New South Wales, Australia. From The Instagram Book, edited by Steve Crist and Megan Shoemaker, Ammo Books, ammobooks.com

the business of naming things interview with Michael Coffey

Above Photography: (top) Dan Cole, @dankhole, Washington, USA (bottom) Trashhand, @trashhand, Chicago, USA. From The Instagram Book.


What we eat is killing us. The Perfect Food

The electrifying new novel from John Crawley A young man in Hebron, Nebraska mysteriously dies. Then another. And still another. Soon hundreds and then thousands are dying. And doctors do not know what is causing the epidemic, until one young research scientist becomes a whistle blower. His discovery threatens the entire food industry, the White House and even the halls of Congress.

The Perfect Food is about the ability of a very few individuals to buy their way to justice–to power and to opt out of accountability. It is what happens when we allow our government to be run by the rich and powerful with little to no voice for the common person.

w w w.johncrawleybooks.com Available at Amazon, iBooks, BarnesandNoble, and Lulu.


a word from the

publisher

“I

SNAPSHOTS

t’s the in-between moments that make life beautiful—the way the evening light slips through the blinds; the way the sand feels beneath your feet; the way the world looks when you shut your eyes. To the untrained eye, these moments pass by in a heartbeat. But to the trained eye, these moments are carefully sought out,” says Kyle Steed (@ kylesteed) of her photographs excerpted in this issue from The Instagram Book, a new collection curated from the social media phenomenon that has more than 300 million people worldwide sharing their images. We’ve paired our look at Instagram photos with a dozen “short story snapshots”—interviews with the authors of and excerpts from a wonderful selection of new short story collections that likewise examine the in-between moments of life. One of my favorite short stories is Jack London’s “To Build a Fire,” which from its opening lines—“Day had broken cold and gray, exceedingly cold and gray...”—grips the reader with an almost literal chill. In an extensive interview, Earle Labor, the official biographer of Jack London and curator of the Jack London Museum, discusses the origins of the story, his boyhood discovery of London’s writing, and the reasons why “To Build a Fire” is considered one of the greatest short stories ever written. On the subject of social media, we’ve recently launched a new Facebook presence and hope you will join our community of authors and readers there. You can find us at facebook.com/ShelfIndieReads. Margaret Brown publisher In the first Shelf Media Podcast, publisher Margaret Brown talks to author Matt Bell about his three books and about writing, teaching the craft of writing, and his forthcoming novel. She also talks to book reviewers David Rice and Michele Filgate about Bell’s most recent novel, In the House Upon the Dirt Between the Lake and the Woods. 4

FEBRUARY/MARCH 2015

Photograph: Belinda Baldwin


A ROAD TRIP THAT WOULD CHANGE HIS LIFE...

www.TomWascoe.com Available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and iBookstore.

Michael’s freshman year of college has not gone well either socially or academically. In 1969 failure from college or dropping out of school means the draft and possibly Vietnam. Michael desperately wants success, acceptance and popularity. He believes pledging a campus fraternity can help put him on the right path. As the final hurdle to get into the fraternity he must hitchhike 1500 miles over a weekend; a road trip which could save his freshman year and possibly change his life. The rides he gets, the people he meets and the obstacles he overcomes on his journey do change his lifebut in an unexpected way.


feature

interview

A new collection of short stories from the co-producer of Book of Mormon

Grove Atlantic groveatlantic.com

White Man’s Problems by Kevin Morris

6

FEBRUARY/MARCH 2015


Shelf Unbound: You’re a highly successful Hollywood entertainment attorney, and you won a Tony for coproducing Book of Mormon. Why add writing to the mix at this point in your career? Kevin Morris: I’ve always wanted to write fiction, but have come to it the long way. When I graduated from college, 30 years ago, I made a conscious choice to go to law school to earn a living. I promised myself I would eventually return to writing fiction. Good fortune led me to Los Angeles, and entertainment law and producing have been a terrific way to practice and stay involved with art and the creative process. Though I’ve written non-fiction— articles, book reviews, opinion pieces—finally the time came where I decided I had to dedicate myself to telling stories. That’s what I have been doing for the past five years, at least two full days a week, and beyond that as much as time, representing my clients, and being a dad will permit.

Shelf Unbound: Your father was a refinery worker, and a theme in some of these stories is respect for the capable doers of your parents’ generation compared with today’s hightech button pushers. In “Summer Farmer,” a depressed wealthy movie producer talks about riding the service elevator with “the working guys, the electricians, caulkers, framers and the like. Seeing them made him think of his dad and his uncles, who carried pressure gauges and tape measures and had specks of drywall in the hairs of their forearms at the end of the day.” In “Mulligans Travels,” Jim Mulligan—50 and struggling to make his next big tech deal— accidentally runs over his dog, which then becomes wedged under the rear axle, and Jim struggles ineptly to get the jack to work in time to save him. Are you nostalgic for pre-tech times and a real hard day’s work?

UNBOUND

7


Morris: Not so much. It’s more that I am interested in the American Dream as it exists in today’s world and the relationship that men have with success. The way we live is changing rapidly and success is constantly shape-shifting. We’re busy trying to define it, deal with it, not get jealous about others who have it, what have you. And when we think we have achieved it, we worry that we are deluded or have redefined success just to make ourselves happy. At least the people and characters who interest me do. Stridently successful people without any doubt are pretty one-dimensional. There’s also a technical reason for upper mobility in the characters. Taking someone from poor to rich is a useful vehicle—it adds a layer of alienation and complication to a person’s story. We chase money so much in American life that we risk looking up only after it is too late. I’m hardly the first to observe that. And the over-achievers are especially prone to it.

8

FEBRUARY/MARCH 2015

But, I’m more interested in the pressure not to let life pass you by before it passes you by, and the conundrum that puts my characters in. That’s Jim Mulligan and Eliot Stevens and John Collier from “Rain Comes Down,” even though it’s now too late for him. Is that a white man’s problem exclusively? In some ways, but mainly I think it’s a modern human problem. Shelf Unbound: Many of your characters, despite being privileged, are in a mid-life malaise—depressed, divorced, dissatisfied. You recently turned 50 (as did I)—is there an autobiographical element in these stories? Morris: It’s not on-the-nose autobiographical. More a sense of memory and an attempt to make something creative out of my life experience. The guys I write about share a sort of alienation as they get older. They’ve been hard workers and “succeeded” by society’s standards, but they can’t help feeling


from “Mulligan’s Travels”

B

efore he could get the glasses to his face, Mulligan heard a muscular and garbled noise, almost like the workings of a trash compactor. He slammed the brakes. The sound had been strange—like something being rolled, very low and dense. He sat silent, hoping the coast was clear. He hoped it might have come from across the street. Maybe the gardeners were mulching or something. Or maybe he had run over a branch or Bella’s skateboard or something. He shifted back into drive and started forward. The same low noise shot out, this time punctuated by a higher-pitched yelp. He closed his eyes and lifted his hands off the steering wheel as though it were suddenly ten thousand degrees. He had

run over something. It was bad-muffled, crunching, and violent. He knew the sound of a body getting hit. He threw open the car door and dove to the ground. There was Henry, wedged under the rear axle, staring at him, a purplish mark on his brindled brow. Heartbreak slammed into Mulligan’s chest. He tried to be calm. “Hey, Henry. Hey, buddy,” he said. “C’mon, big boy. Can you come here?” Henry moved his front legs and shoulders, trying to obey, but he got nowhere. Mulligan reached and burned his hand on the exhaust pipe, and when he pulled back in pain, he smashed it again inside the wheel housing. From White Man’s Problems by Kevin Morris, Black Cat 2015. Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.

UNBOUND

9


like they should be happier. So, like Henry, the dog on the cover, you can’t tell if the characters are tough and ready to fight, or about to be run over. (The sadness in Henry’s eyes may be a hint.)

to worry about failing their boss or their family. They don’t have to worry about the responsibilities and fears that come with being a grown-up, a parent, a spouse.

Shelf Unbound: You selfShelf Unbound: A rare exuberant published White Man’s moment in these stories is in Problems in 2014, and then “The Plot to Hold Hands with it was picked up by Grove/ Elizabeth Tremblay,” which ends Atlantic. Why did you initially with high school student Roman choose to self-publish? Budding having indeed just held Morris: The first book I wrote, hands with Liz: “I think about a novel, received good feedback her sweater and her lips. I still in terms of its literary merits but smell her. I start to run. Slowly editors thought it was too hard to at first, kind of a home-run trot. categorize so, ultimately, I couldn’t Then I go faster. Then faster find a traditional publisher. It was still. All the way home.” Do you discouraging but I continued to think that kind of unfettered write. I found myself writing stories, exuberance is only for the young? and after a year had a collection of Morris: They sure seem to be nine that I thought would make a able to access it more easily. When good book. I didn’t even consider we’re young we’re so hyper aware of submitting it to a publisher, knowing ourselves—self-conscious, but also how difficult it is to publish story much more willing to take chances collections. I knew digital publishing and live on the edge. It’s easier for was becoming easier and selfthe young to feel unfettered because publishing more acceptable so I decided to go for it.
 they are unfettered. They don’t have

10

FEBRUARY/MARCH 2015


Will Mike overcome his fears and violent nightmares before he loses the wife he loves!

“Iron” Mike McGann, plagued by fear and violent nightmares, has refused to honor his promise to his wife to quit the ring and start a family. In despair, his wife, Madge, is leaving him. Rufus “Hurricane” Hilliard, Mike’s next opponent, is the most menacing presence in prizefighting. Forced to move to a ghetto when his father died, Rufus refused to join a gang until he was told either you do or your sister will be sexually assaulted. He joined and soon was in prison. Left alone before his bout, Hilliard is forced to confront the past that haunts him and the future he dreads.

A novel about love and courage, sin and redemption. ALSO available in Spanish: El cordero al matadero

Charles “Charliehorse” O’Connell, Rufus’s corner man has been ordered by a mob kingpin to sabotage Hilliard. O’Connell, an alcoholic and compulsive gambler already blames himself for the deaths of two prizefighters. Trapped in a moral crisis, will O’Connell finally confront his “Cardinal Sin?” Rufus “Hurricane” Hilliard vs “Iron” Mike McGann, just another fight shown on The Continuous Sports Network, but by the time it is over the lives of these and many others will be forever different.

“Pete Delohery’s boxing saga Lamb to the Slaughter is a highlight of the self-publishing revolution.” Shelf Unbound publisher Margaret Brown.

See Amazon Customer Reviews

UNBOUND

11


short story

snapshots

Coffee House Press | coffeehousepress.org

12

FEBRUARY/MARCH 2015

Photography: Sopie Calle


shelfunbound What’s a typical starting point for you in writing a story, for example Felicia and David visiting a college friend in New York City, and David’s unease with the friend’s homosexual roommate in “The Big Apple”? daleherd There never is a typical starting point. In this particular story the starting point occurred some years later after the time in which the story is set when the writer’s wife remarked that she was the only woman who ever slept with this man the writer knew. shelfunbound How do you develop your characters, such as the psychic music composer whose daughter is on trial for murder? daleherd You meet them on the street, and you listen.  shelfunbound Do you have a favorite story in this book? daleherd There are no favorites. Each one when you start it you hope will be your favorite and the best one you’ve ever written. Some reach farther than you thought possible when you started, and you find you have had the luck to reach the real story inside of the story you thought you were telling. The Prowler is an example of that, but is no more my favorite than are Rawlins, Captain Baa Baa, Eric, Welfare, Blood, Speed Limit or Beauty, etc. etc. etc.  shelfunbound How do you find the entry point for your short stories, such as the first line of “Darlene”: “She wanted a bond, not a ring.”  daleherd You try to cut to the most salient fact about one of your characters, specifically their emotional core,  then let the story unfold from there. shelfunbound A short story is like   daleherd As a metaphor?  A good short story is a metaphor, a novel distilled down to bedrock. As a simile? A good short story is like an animal running: spontaneous, graceful, and seeming to fly while never losing contact with the ground.

UNBOUND

13


short story

snapshots shelfunbound What is the appeal for you of writing short stories? daleherd The fun of it, the pleasure of it, the desire to see what you can come up with in the shortest amount of space. Often you can’t, and so you go on and on and on, like this sentence, and more often than not you have a bad novella or worse, a bad novel, that no one wants to publish, let alone read. shelfunbound If you were teaching a course on short story writing, what is the primary piece of advice you would offer? daleherd You must have the good fortune to find yourself working in a menial job washing dishes and living in a rooming house for three months where you read every single story written by the thirty best short story writers you know. Then copy out in longhand the ones you most admire, slowing your mind down, learning how the past masters have constructed their story. You will learn how high the bar has been set. shelfunbound What’s a favorite book you read in 2014? daleherd The Friends of Eddie Coyle, The Collected Stories of Issac Babel.   shelfunbound Any books you’re particularly looking forward to in 2015? daleherd The Mad and the Bad by Jean-Patrick Manchette, From Here to Eternity, The Alexandria Quartet, and The Sun Also Rises. 

14

FEBRUARY/MARCH 2015

“Eric” She had a k id asleep in the bedroom. I asked her if she wanted to ball and she said yes. She got her gun six times. I told her I was selling my car and all my belong ings and buying a sailboat and sailing to Australia. I said she could go but she’d have to pay. How much she said. A dollar thirt y­s even I said. She said not bad. Then she said how much for Eric. I said ten thousand dollars. From Empty Pockets by Dale Herd, Coffeehouse Press. Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.


GEMINIDPRESS.COM When former FBI agent William Harrison begins receiving mysterious postcards with the signature “Echo Tango,” he’s alerted to a deadly government cover-up beyond anything he ever thought possible. His informant turns out to be a guilt-ridden ex-operative in the Saint Mary Project, an ultrasecret program engaged in alien contact. The organization is wiping out loose ends, and Echo Tango thinks Harrison is the man he needs to stop the decades-old conspiracy. However, hired guns stand between them and the truth. There are also alien-human hybrids to contend with, but that’s not all. Harrison’s investigation also turns up a powerful secret about him and his family-a secret that may just be what lets him end these unimaginable crimes. Will Harrison discover the truth and reveal the deadly alien contact conspiracy? Find out in Daniel P. Douglas’s conspiracy thriller, Truth Insurrected: The Saint Mary Project.

TWO NEW POWERFUL URBAN FANTASIES...

The Keeper Chronicles: Awakening By Katherine Wynter ISBN: 978-0990737162 Demons are among us. And humanity’s hidden guardians are the Keepers… When Rebekah Lorek’s father is murdered by a demon in disguise, a dark world is revealed that forces her to accept her destiny or see humanity destroyed.

ISBN: 978-0990737100

“A multigenre espionage tale that’s unquestionably entertaining.” —Kirkus Reviews

“Conspiracy theorists and science fiction fans alike will find Truth Insurrected hard to put down.” —Blue Ink Review

“...complete with cliffhanging chapters and heartpounding action.” —Foreword Clarion Reviews

“Highly recommended!” —The Columbia Review of Books & Film

Individual retail purchase of print and e-book editions available through Amazon and other outlets.

The Arrow (Children of Brigid Trilogy, Book 1) By Maureen O’Leary ISBN: 978-0990737148 A powerful young healer, Fynn Kildare, discovers that a pharmaceutical company’s greed threatens humanity and the Divine. To stop it, she must embrace her family’s heroic past and become the Arrow. AND FOR ANY YOUNG READER’S BOOKSHELF...

Ettie Explores Earth: An Ettie the Explorer Adventure Story By Lynn Holland ISBN: 978-0990737124 Hop onto Ettie’s flying saucer for an exciting tour of the globe that’s full of laughter and learning. Zip through the solar system and learn fun facts about what surrounds Earth. Then zoom in for a closer look at your home planet, using your knowledge of animals to answer Ettie’s many questions. Ideal for Pre-School Ages!

All titles available for wholesale and U N B O U N D 15 library purchase through INGRAM.


short story

snapshots

Soft Skull Press | softskull.com

16

FEBRUARY/MARCH 2015


shelfunbound What’s a typical starting point for you in writing a story, for example the troubled little Annabelle with a neglectful mother and a lecherous grandfather in this book’s first story? kimaddonizio I often just start with an image that sticks in my head; in this case it was a little girl and a goldfish. Honestly, I don’t know where that came from. And I never know where a story is going. I feel my way along, asking questions: who is this character? What’s her life like? In the case of “Beautiful Lady of the Snow,” a lot of things changed in revision. The grandfather, for example, started out as a grandmother. I based her loosely on my aunt, who had been a large, clumsy woman. The significant changes came about when I began not just to describe my main character, little Annabelle, but to see the world from her point of view. Then I realized she must have a reason for this odd and kind of awful thing of having her pets die under her care. It’s as though I had to uncover her real story, what made her tick. I have to stop willfully writing the characters at some point. Nabokov said his characters were his “galley slaves,” but the point of greatest excitement, for me, is when they revolt and break their shackles.   shelfunbound How do you develop your characters, such as the woman following a blog chronicling her ex-husband’s recovery from a bike accident in “In the Time of the Byzantine Empire”? kimaddonizio This one was somewhat autobiographical, in that my ex-husband did have a very serious bike accident he was lucky to survive. Writing that story was a way for me to work through some of my own grief over his situation. I still had to find the story, though, and that meant the woman wasn’t me, but a character in a similar situation. My daughter was upset by that story because she felt it represented my true feelings. What I did was take a very fleeting, passing emotion and amplify it so that it seemed the central character’s main concern. It’s like having a bad day and feeling a little blue, then writing a story about suicide. You’re not even close to wanting to kill yourself, but a mood may give you a little glimpse, and you work with that to discover more.

UNBOUND

17


short story

snapshots

shelfunbound Do you have a favorite story in this book, and if so which one and why? kimaddonizio “Cancer Poems” was written in large part to honor a student and friend of mine who died. When she was dying, I read her the poetry of Jack Gilbert. I also wanted to explore what poetry can mean in the face of death. I loved inventing the teacher, Lily Yee, and exploring the dynamics of a poetry workshop. It’s both absurd and moving, what can happen in these classes.   shelfunbound How do you find the entry point for your short stories, such as the first line of “Blown”: “You’re having breakfast with a boy you slept with last night but don’t know very well.” kimaddonizio I think that started with wanting to write about the weird glassware in that diner—drinking tea out of naked women’s bodies! Sometimes there’s one little thing you just have to describe, and you build an entire story around that. Also, I try for first lines that can create a lot of tension right away. The story “Ice” begins with an actual dream I had, and I knew it would make a good opening: “Last night I dreamed I killed my brother.  With an ax.” As a reader, I confess I like instant gratification. If a first paragraph doesn’t grab me, I move on. So I try to write openings that will do the same to readers—make them curious or uncomfortable, and lure them in to the world of the story.   shelfunbound A short story is like kimaddonizio …getting lost in a dark woods where demons and fairies lurk and stones may turn into bread, or vice-versa. At the end there is a small shaft of light through a break in the leaf canopy. Possibly you’re still lost.

18

FEBRUARY/MARCH 2015


While aboard a Dallas commuter train, a contrite Marine persists in searching for the woman he lost four times—despite attending her funeral. rowing up in the Midwest and weaned on the TVglow of the Vietnam War, Brick is driven to join the military. His churchy high school girlfriend, Cameo, follows in his footsteps towards the Air Force Academy. Her vow to remain chaste until graduation is robbed by the medical technician conducting her physical. Brick’s rage at Cameo’s lack of willingness to alert authorities tears them apart as she goes on to become the first woman appointed to the academy.

“Armor of Glass is a gripping and heartrending novel about one man’s war with his memories, his loves, and his life... It’s a skillfully crafted literary read.” FOREWORD CLARION

“...the most compelling parts of the novel are those in which he provides insight into the mindset of a Marine, with deft descriptions such as, “Marines slaughter on command, taking control of the chaos.” KIRKUS

“Armor of Glass is a contemporary novel recounting the chaotic life of a man trying to overcome childhood abuse while searching for his purpose in life...Professionally written, the story has many strengths.” BLUEINK

With his head down, bulling through various global assignments, Brick’s version of the American dream is the salvation of combat. Unfulfilled, the troubled Marine resigns on the eve of Black Monday where he pursues a string of noxious civilian jobs and bristles unsettled in the burbs, supporting his wife, Selma, in nursing school until evidence surfaces of her affair. Unable to think clearly, Brick discovers Cameo is posted back home and haphazardly tumbles face first into a turbulent affair with the high-ranking officer on the fast track to general. What Brick doesn’t know is he will be the spark to ignite a powder keg of her revealing past.

“Five 5-of-5 star reviews from Readers’ Favorite!” Available at Amazon, Barnes&Noble, and Authorhouse R.M.A. Spears

UNBOUND

19


short story

snapshots

shelfunbound What is the appeal for you of writing short stories? kimaddonizio There’s great freedom, for me, in fiction. I write non-fiction as well—I have a memoir, Bukowski in a Sundress, coming out next year—and it can feel limiting having only myself and my experience to write about. The short story is an opportunity not only to invent, but also to get quickly to the heart of the matter, find something meaningful there, and move on. shelfunbound If you were teaching a course on short story writing, what is the primary piece of advice you would offer? kimaddonizio If it’s just one piece of advice, like one piece of pie, it would consist of at least two ingredients: honesty and ruthlessness. Honesty in that you have to confront the truth of the subject and not write around it—the only way out is through. Ruthlessness: be willing to destroy what you’ve done and recreate it from the ground up, if need be. Ice cream with that? shelfunbound What’s a favorite book you read in 2014? kimaddonizio Jo Ann Beard’s The Boys of My Youth, which I just discovered—gorgeous essays that read like short stories. And if I can have a second, I also loved poet Sarah Manguso’s memoir of her autoimmune disorder, The Two Kinds of Decay. shelfunbound Any books you’re particularly looking forward to in 2015? kimaddonizio Charles D’Ambrosio’s Loitering: New and Selected Essays, is just out and I’m dying to read it. I fell in love with him as a short story writer, and never realized he wrote essays. I’m still working on some essays of my own; when it’s time for a change I’ll go back to reading, and writing in, other forms.

20

FEBRUARY/MARCH 2015


What if survival required you to unlearn who you are? How far would you fall to save yourself? Sometimes happiness is a long way down. The Johns family is unraveling. Hollis, a retired Ohio banker, isolates himself in esoteric hobbies and a dangerous flirtation with a colleague’s daughter. Susan, his wife of forty years, risks everything for a second chance at who she might have become. David, their eldest, thrashes to stay afloat as his teaching career capsizes in a storm of accusations involving a missing student and the legacy of Christopher Columbus. And young Tilly, the black sheep, having traded literary promise for an improbable career as a Hollywood starlet, struggles to define herself amid salacious scandal, the demands of a powerful director, and the judgments of an uncompromising writer. By turns comical and poignant, the Johns family is tumbling toward the discovery that sometimes you have to let go of your identity to find out who you are.

Owen Thomas

What happens when you get the life you aim for and it hurts ke hell?

A Novel

a pow RT 1 erful and promising debut.”

THE LION TREES Owen Thomas

A Novel

turns comical and poigna nt, the Johns family is tumbl ing ard the discovery that somet imes you have to let go of your tity to find out who you are.

Owen Thomas

The Johns family is unrave ling. Hollis, a retired Ohio banker, olates himself in esoteric hobbies and a dangerous flirtation th a colleague’s daughter. Susan, his wife of forty years, risks erything for a second chance at who she might have becom avid, their eldest, thrashes e. to stay afloat as his teachi ng career psizes in a storm of accusa tions involving a missing student d the legacy of Christopher Columbus. And young Tilly, the ck sheep, having traded literar y promise for an impro bable eer as a Hollywood starlet , struggles to define hersel f amidst acious scandal, the deman ds of a powerful director, and the gments of an uncompromi sing writer.

rkus Reviews

THE LION TREES

… a powerful, gripping and realistic tory. …Wonderful...Worth every minute…”

Part 1 Unraveling

PART 2

—Kirkus Reviews

“In its structure and nature, [The Lion Trees] reminds me above all of John Updike’s wonderful Harry Rabbit novels and their ability to summarize the essence of change in American society across a decade at a time.” —BookIdeas.com

“[W]onderful… worth every minute… The Lion Trees does what so very few great novels can: it will take a lot out of you, but leave you with much more than you had when you began.” —Pacific Book Reviews.

THE LION TREES

—Pacific Book Reviews

“[A] cerebral page turner…a powerful and promising debut.”

Part 2 Awakening

AWARDS: Honorable Mention – London Book Festival Honorable Mention – Southern California Book Festival Honorable Mention – Great Midwestern Book Festival

Owen Thomas lives and writes in Anchorage, Alaska. His two-volume novel “The Lion Trees” is available in paper and electrons at Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Reviews, excerpts, interviews, discussion guides, as well as other information about the author and his work, are available at

www.OwenThomasFiction.com. UNBOUND

21


translations

Burqa of Skin/Writings by Nelly Arcan translated by Melissa Bull

W

Anvil Press anvilpress.com

22

FEBRUARY/MARCH 2015

hen I was little I often looked at myself in the mirror, but being as small as I was, I couldn’t see myself right away. I showed up only bit by bit, and even when I could see myself I could make out only my head, since the rest of my body was still too low—the mirrors were hung for adults, they were nails as high as balloons that had slipped from a hand and bumped into the ceiling —The mirrors were like changing tableaux in which different angles of walls were projected, depending on where you stood in the room. You have to jump to see yourself in flight when you’re young. When I was little I believed mirrors were as dangerous as vials of pills, and that they came with directions to be kept well out of the reach of children, and you have to agree that nowadays kids are so well-protected by instruction manuals that all adults have to do is read them. This reading lets them feel protected from the

dangers and damages of children, and then parents lose their vigilance; they tuck dangers onto the highest shelves of their cupboards, sometimes so high that even they have to go on tiptoe to touch them. Very soon parents find themselves reaching so high that they become mystics, they detach themselves completely from worldly things, and they may return to their faith. All instruction manuals imply the children will instinctively try to kill themselves by swallowing anything they can grab; apparently at the beginning of life death flows in through the mouth. They say that at the beginning of life, no one is sure they want to live. My mother hit me only once— she slapped me across the face. It’s still a mystery to me why. My mother was a woman of action; she never played cards or gossiped with her sisters over the holidays, and when she was 20 all her hair turned white. To


My mother hit me only once—she slapped me across the face. It’s still a mystery to me why. My mother was a woman of action; she never played cards or gossiped with her sisters over the holidays, and when she was 20 all her hair turned white.


have been on the receiving end of the slap across the face I must have insulted her, and yet at home we were liberal with our insults. When my father found out my mother had slapped me, he wouldn’t let it go. He never hit her, but he threatened to punch her—he only hurt her with his words. He was a sweet talker. Today parents don’t spank their children, not just because they lost their right to do it but because it doesn’t matter how much time has passed, they still want to contradict their own parents who hit them. By not hitting their kids, parents are giving payback to their parents, they’re shaking them up with their abstinence. Today parents talk to their kids like they’re their equals. They talk to them like they’re instruction manuals, explaining everything about life to them, they tell their kids it’s okay to cry, to scream, to hack out their lungs until they lose their voices because it’s a release, it’s an expulsion of negativity, because everything that’s buried has to surface as quick as possible, right away; they encourage their kids to cry big time,

24

FEBRUARY/MARCH 2015

by opening their maws wide, to hell with the neighbours. Instead of punishing their kids by forcing them to kneel in a corner, they use psychology, they listen to their arguments, they allow them to talk back. Sometimes, when faced with their children’s tears, they begin to cry too, they express their dismay at their inability to tame their children like beasts, to shut up sadness with their fists, they express their powerlessness before the legitimate crisis of their children’s cries, and when that happens, when the parents cry, the kids stop crying instantly, they become their parents’ parents. My father cried, once, seeing me cry. Maybe he wasn’t crying for me so much as he was because one of his mistresses had left him. My father had a secret life he had difficulty keeping from us, his indiscretions secreted through the house, my mother and I would see them without ever being able to pin them down. Some days my father exhausted us with his good humour, his laughing fits scorched us; other days he shut up, he observed a silence from which my mother and I were excluded, and she and I knew instinctively that my father’s bursts of laughter or

jags of silence came from outside the home, and we were persecuted by this knowledge. One day my father told me in a trembling voice that I would find inner peace, that I would find this peace when I would no longer wish to cry, when my life’s brusque revelations would end; he told me that day that the imminence of my own death would kill my capricious nature, he said that someone who knows they are dying no longer has any reason to cry. He thought inner peace solved everything and the moment we finally felt this inner peace, nothing could ever touch us, we would detach ourselves from material possessions. This peace was a great estrangement, it was the distance through which we see ourselves as someone else, as another, as a stranger who must be cared for, cajoled, put back on their feet, as an indulgence towards failures of the past, a release of the future. As an adult I often found peace when I did cocaine; since peace was tardy, I made it come by force. From Burqa of Skin/Writings by Nelly Arcan, translated by Melissa Bull, Anvil Press 2015, anvilpress. com. Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.


ARIZONA TERRITORY, 1878 COCHILLA TOWNSHIP Young Jeff Landry's dead, no question. Mort Lewis is charged with his murder. You decide his guilt or innocence.

AMERICAN SPIRIT by John Janda

www.ArizonaTerritory1878.com


short story

snapshots

Papillote Press | papillotepress.co.uk

26

FEBRUARY/MARCH 2015


shelfunbound What’s a typical starting point for you in writing a story, for example the murdered dog in “A Dog is Buried”? lawrencescott With this story, there had been an event of finding a dead dog on a doorstep of a beach house that I had partly experienced. Also, I have always been struck by a Swedish saying: “There’s a dog buried,” much like the saying about skeletons in the cupboard. This got developed within the meaning of the story, the different burials within the story, suggesting that there was a past to be discovered and redressed. But quite soon it was the conversations that take place between Walter and Christian that became my main interest, and out of that grew their characters with their different pasts. Landscape, and what is written on the landscape, the history in the landscape is always a starting point and a point of development for me. Beginnings can be the voice of a character, as in the opening line of Ash on Guavas “This is a darling of an island.” They can be something as concrete as a photograph, as in the story, The Wedding Photograph. A report in a Trinidad newspaper inspired Incident on Rosary Street. The invitation to write about my sense of God stimulated the title story, Leaving by Plane Swimming Back Underwater. shelfunbound How do you develop your characters, such as Archbishop Sorzano and his fake miracle? lawrencescott As I was saying, once I get characters talking I listen to them and begin to find out what they are like. Archbishop Sorzano’s character develops in this way too, but there is also that initial perception told through the consciousness of Sorzano about the African tulip tree and the miracle of its flowering that was the original engine for the story. What can also happen is how another character, Mrs. Goveia, helps to frame Sorzano, who on the one hand is a modest man, driving a Mazda, but is also into his role as an archbishop signified by his ring and attitude to Mrs. Goveia’s serving of the morning mass. Once he starts talking with the prime minister the story takes off. I also draw on how satire develops and functions

UNBOUND

27


short story

snapshots in the Trinidad calypso. That informed the rhythm and tone of the story, both in the dialogue and the description. There is a strong tradition about bringing down the powerful in Trinidadian satire, the mamaguy, which is topical, playful and irreverent. I find that once I’ve found the voice and the tone of the story, it writes itself, as it were. Of course, the hard work is in the editing and the re-writing. shelfunbound Do you have a favorite story in this book? lawrencescott I like a number of them because of the particularly different processes that produced them. Quite a few were commissioned for a BBC short story slot to be read in fourteen and a half minutes, and in a number of cases I read them myself. Reading aloud as I write is a very important part of my process in discovering voice, register and tone. Even though I use Standard English spelling, I often use Trinidadian dialect rhythms created through the syntax, and I need to keep hearing it as I progress through a story. A Little Something is a good example of this, as is Ash on Guavas and Coco’s Last Christmas. But even in stories with less evident dialect rhythms, I would claim that the standard is what I call Trinidadian standard. Trinidadians, even the most educated, speak along a continuum between a very evident dialect of English and Standard English, depending on the social and emotional contexts. I like to use this characteristic of our language. The form of the story interests me. In Tales Told Under the San Fernando Hill, which is a series of interconnected very short stories with their particular characters was an innovative approach for me. Creating fiction out of biography or autobiography is a challenge and at times very moving. The writing of Elspeth’s story in The Wedding Photograph, commissioned initially as a ghost story, is a favourite, partly because of the source of the story and then also because of what it is saying about our colonial history. The challenge of plotting the story grows out of the visits by the narrator to his cousin who is suffering from dementia. I have grown fond of the stories again, particularly while creating the collection with the help

28

FEBRUARY/MARCH 2015


of my editor Polly Pattullo of Papillote Press. Placing the stories so that they speak to each other has been crucial, so that they seem to be bound together by the title Leaving by Plane Swimming Back Underwater, which points to the theme of departures and arrivals in many of the stories and the tension created through the migration between the Caribbean and Europe. shelfunbound How do you find the entry point for your short stories, such as the first line of “The Last Glimpse of the Sun”: “She was one of these, pressing her loss to her breasts, carrying her exile in her heart.”  lawrencescott I think I have covered some of my approaches in my previous answers to your questions, but I will add, that with this particular story, a very challenging story - the first line follows on directly from the epigraph which is taken from a collection of poems Filibustering in Samsara by the English poet Tom Lowenstein: “There are those who belong to their home and these others clinging to their exile.” “She was one of these …” This is one of the previously unpublished stories in the collection. It underwent many drafts and developed through a number of complex shifts both in time and place within the story and for me as I wrote it, as I travelled back from the Caribbean, and travelled between Sweden and England. I am fond of epigraphs and this one suggested itself early on in the writing, dictating that opening line. Location can infiltrate a story, for example using the Anglo-Saxon poem The Dream of the Rood as part of Iseult’s consciousness. This suggested itself because I was in that northern hemisphere at the time and it was indeed on Good Friday when I started writing an early draft, which I finished quite quickly during that visit to Gothenberg. I like the mix of cultural allusions in this story, moving between the Caribbean, 1960s England, South Africa, France, Kenya. This particular literary allusion to an Anglo-Saxon poem speaks to me still from my student days and a time when my religious experience as a Benedictine monk in the 1960s would

UNBOUND

29


have been a powerful influence. It continues to erupt through a vein or seam in the geology and archaeology of my writing. shelfunbound A short story is like lawrencescott A short story is like a poem. What I mean by this is that short stories progress for me much in the same way that the composition of a poem might do. The progress is different to that of a novel, which is what I am mostly involved in writing. Embarked on the long haul, a novel will take me anything up to four years or even more to write, through complex research and several drafts. Poems and short stories have several drafts too, but I find, because the end is within easier reach, I move through the stages of composition as I would a poem, building gradually and holding all within a compact form. I suppose episodes within novels are like this too, but they have then to relate to the greater whole. shelfunbound What is the appeal for you of writing short stories? lawrencescott Well, some of my reply is in the former answer. I began my writing with short stories because they seemed like something that I could finish. I would not have to wait years for it to be completed. But, of course, while an apprenticeship is needed, short stories are not an easy thing to pull off. I have learnt that the skill is a craft all of its own. There is a rich tradition in the Caribbean short story, so I started there, in the footsteps of writers like Jean Rhys, Sam Selvon, Earl Lovelace and Vidia Naipaul. I also discovered in a wider Caribbean, the stories of Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Some of my earliest influences are from that tradition. I like being commissioned to write a short story because it is an opportunity to write about a number of things you want to say but can’t always because you are involved in the ongoing novel. Commissioned to write a story to be published in the anthology Trinidad Noir gave me the opportunity to write Prophet, experimenting with that genre. I want to write about so much more than what I am writing in my current novel. But it is also, what I said earlier, that the short story

30

FEBRUARY/MARCH 2015


2014 NAACP Image Award Winner Outstanding Fiction

Book of the Year

All Things Literary Awards

In the Margin Top 10 List Best Books for At-Risk Teens

Over 700 5-Star Reviews on Amazon! “A fast-paced, well-written thriller that’s grounded in social issues.”

In this cautionary tale for both parents and teens that educates as much as it entertains, 13-year-old Brianna meets her first real boyfriend on Facebook. When she sneaks off to meet him, she is unwittingly drawn into the dark world of human trafficking. WWW.PAMELASAMUELSYOUNG.COM

—Kirkus Reviews

“This is a 5-star read and every parent needs to pick it up!”

—Ella Curry, Black Pearls Magazine and BAN Radio Show

Available at Distributed by Ingram Baker & Taylor

UNBOUND

31


allows you to experiment in form, very different forms. Many stories are begun in notebooks that don’t reach the light of day, and many more poems are filed in the bottom drawer of my desk. shelfunbound If you were teaching a course on short story writing, what is the primary piece of advice you would offer? lawrencescott I am going to facilitate a writing workshop quite soon, and I have sent the students two essays by Flannery O’Connor from her collection Mystery and Manners: The Nature and Aim of Fiction and Writing Short Stories. She has lots of valuable advice in those essays, but I like to quote her particularly on the importance of writing from the senses. And also when she says, “Fiction is an art that calls for the strictest sense of the real – whether the writer is writing a naturalistic story or a fantasy.” Also, I like to emphasize, that writing is re-writing, something inexperienced writers forget. shelfunbound What’s a favorite book you read in 2014? lawrencescott Canada by Richard Ford. What an extraordinary story. Certainly one that has both Mystery and Manners according to Flannery O’Connor’s meaning, a sense of real life in a real community, but also leaves you with “the mystery of personality,” as Flannery O’Connor would call it. shelfunbound Any books you’re particularly looking forward to in 2015? lawrencescott Yes, I’m waiting for the paperback of Arctic Summer by the South African writer Damon Galgut, a story that explores a time in the life of E.M. Forster when “the uncertainties about writing, sexuality, relationships and empire racked Forster’s life.” I have come to enjoy a novel form that takes a historical character and through research and imagination writes a fiction of that character and his times. I did this with my last novel Light Falling on Bamboo imagined from the life and times of Michel Jean Cazabon, Trinidad’s most important 19th century painter.

32

FEBRUARY/MARCH 2015


MY PRISON WITHOUT BARS:

THE JOURNEY OF A DAMAGED WOMAN TO SOMEPLACE NORMAL is a novel based on a true story... Taylor’s story. MY PRISON WITHOUT BARS is a courageous and harrowing journey through the catacombs of hell, from the mind and voice of a little girl living with her own monster underneath her bed. Written in first person, this novel is not a memoir, but more a psychological thriller based on true events, chronicling one woman’s attempt to claw her way out of the darkness of Child Sexual Abuse, while struggling to find normal in a not-so-normal world. It is poignant, dark and graphic; not for the faint of heart. This novel will make you feel... *WARNING* THIS NOVEL IS GRAPHIC AND DISTURBING. IT MAY TRIGGER CSA VICTIMS. IT IS INTENDED FOR 18+ READERS

CLICK HERE to view the trailer.

TAYLORFULKS.COM AVAILABLE IN PRINT, EBOOK, AND AUDIOBOOK.

2014 GLOBAL EBOOK AWARDS GOLD MEDAL WINNER 2014 eLIT AWARD OF EXCELLENCE GOLD MEDAL WINNER 2013 INDIE READERS DISCOVERY AWARD 1ST PLACE WINNER 2013 READERS FAVORITE INTERNATIONAL BOOK AWARDS GOLD MEDAL WINNER


short story

snapshots

Counterpoint Press | counterpointpress.com

34

FEBRUARY/MARCH 2015


shelfunbound What’s a typical starting point for you in writing a story, for example unhappy thirty-something Anna Green, who survives a shooting at her high school reunion only to be defrauded by her first boyfriend? karenebender For me, a story is the collision of something in real life that interests me, and my desire to figure a feeling out. In “Reunion,” I wanted to write about a high school reunion, perhaps because I had been to two of my own, and found them so enormously odd and moving; every ten years, a group of people come together, because they share this incredibly deep bond: they grew up together. I loved it because it was such a unique American ritual, a strange way to measure time. The shooting became part of the story partly because I think fear of random shootings is now, unfortunately, part of the American psyche; it’s something that I believe we all carry, in some way, with us. It came into this particular story, perhaps, because it was a literal way of dramatizing the sense of mortality one feels at high school reunions. The boyfriend, Warren Vance, walked into the story and started talking and wouldn’t stop. He was the past, and seductive because he was the past, and he defrauded Anna because our conceptions of the past are sometimes a way of defrauding our sense of the present. That was what I learned from the story, and I had no idea that it would lead me there. I started with the balloons and the spangled light and that was where I ended up. shelfunbound How do you develop your characters, such as the girl whose younger sister has a “bad hand” in “Refund”? karenebender Each character introduces his/herself in different ways. That story began with the first line: “I loved helping my sister Betsy hide her bad hand.” I wrote it one day and then thought—who is this? Why is her hand “bad?” and I began to write scenes trying to learn about her. Then, by describing the older sister hiding the younger sister’s “bad hand” with a tube top, I learned more about the relationship between the sisters.

UNBOUND

35


short story

snapshots

Each character is a form of theater for the writer. Every day, when I sit down to write, I become a sort of actor. I think, what would this person on the page think or say? It is the freedom to create a persona that is not my own. The character may have thoughts and ideas that are very different from my own, or I can take something from my own thinking and exaggerate it in a dramatic way. Creating a character is both a way of escaping from yourself, and simultaneously deeply inhabiting yourself; both hovering and diving. shelfunbound All of the stories in this book have to do with money—what interested you in this theme? karenebender I didn’t consciously chose money as a theme in the stories. I wrote these stories through two recessions—in 2002 and 2008, and financial struggle and all the emotions that that entails, was active in my mind. I also wrote these stories while my husband (Robert Anthony Siegel, also a writer) and I raised our children and taught and wrote, which is essentially a crazy juggling act of money and time, so issues of money are always prominent. During this time, income inequality was increasing in our country, and jobs more unstable; fear and frustration and envy about money have increased, I think, in recent years, and it has made me consider—how do we deal with this uncertainty and how do we define worth? shelfunbound How do you find the entry point for your short stories, such as the first line of “The Loan Officer’s Visit”: “For the first sixteen years of my life, my father was a vigorous man.” karenebender I tell students that a story should pose a question to the reader. The act of reading is, at its most basic, one of answering questions—and your opening should create a question that creates an urgency, a desire to read on. When a reader reads one of your sentences, the response should be, yes, to the language, the perceptions, but also, more basically—“and then what?”

36

FEBRUARY/MARCH 2015


Skeletal Daina Harrow’s skeletal remains have been cradling a secret for ten long years. Will her coroner’s inquest expose it to the world?

“Skeletal is an intriguing read… with a conclusion that leaves you reeling in wonder. Bravo.” —Readers’ Favorite PURCHASE AT

Found, Near Water A mother’s nightmare. Her daughter, missing. And a woman as shattered as her broken city trying to bring her home.

“Taut and engrossing, with a tough humanity.” —Kirkus Reviews PURCHASE AT

www.kathay1973.com

UNBOUND

37


shelfunbound A short story is like … karenebender … a door into another person. shelfunbound What is the appeal for you of writing short stories? karenebender As someone who has written both novels and short stories, the true and perhaps embarrassing answer is: they are short. For me, novels require ox-like determination and patience over years. They are like running a marathon. Stories require the same diligence and patience, of course, but, well, they are shorter. It’s easier for me to try different characters out, different techniques or voices in a story. The relative brevity of the length is calming for me. For me, when I am writing a novel I feel like a Writer, (capitalized) which can feel like pressure, and when I am writing a story, I feel like a writer, (not capitalized) which sometimes makes me feel freer. I think that aiming to write as a writer instead of a Writer is generally healthier and makes the process more fun. shelfunbound If you were teaching a course on short story writing, what is the primary piece of advice you would offer? karenebender Ha! If I teach any course on writing, I say: Patience is what makes a great writer. Good writing happens over drafts. Let the story get better. Don’t be afraid to throw out. There’s more good stuff inside you.   shelfunbound What’s a favorite book you read in 2014? karenebender I can’t list just one. Eileen Chang’s collection of novellas and stories “Love in a Fallen City,” translated by Karen Kingsbury, has prose that is just extraordinarily beautiful, about love and longing in Hong Kong and Shanghai post World War II; “Archangel” by Andrea Barrett weaves science and human relationships with incredible metaphors; “Rainey Royal” by Dylan Landis is a completely riveting exploration of adolescent girls in New York City in the 1970s.

38

FEBRUARY/MARCH 2015


From Author

DAVID GRACE

DEATH

NEVER LIES

The federal bureaucrat charged with stopping the importation of dangerous materials vanishes only days before approving a new list of prohibited substances. Homicide detective turned Homeland Security Agent Greg Kane suspects that the HHS employee may have been killed to keep the new list from going into effect, but he has no idea who’s behind the crime, which chemical they are so desperate to import, and what they plan to do with it once they’ve gotten their hands on it. David Grace is the author of fifteen novels, two collections of crime short stories and five collections of Science Fiction Short Stories. Brief summaries of each of these volumes are contained on this site as well as links to E-Book sellers who sell these works as downloadable electronic books. Books are available in formats for Kindle, iPhone, Nook, iPad and other readers.

www.DavidGraceAuthor.com

Available at:

David Grace is the author of The Concrete Kiss, a Shelf Unbound Notable Indie Book for 2013 UNBOUND

39


translations

Little Nation and Other Stories by Alejandro Morales from “Little Nation”

B

Arte Público Press artepublicopress.com

40

FEBRUARY/MARCH 2015

y the eighth month of their pregnancy, two more neighborhood teenagers and an elderly couple had died. A young gangster was killed on his way home from school. He died because he was flashing his Hazard signs to a convoy of cars that drove by with shouts of “Maravilla rules!” When they drove past again, the young Hazard kid stood his ground by proudly showing his signs, but this time the Maravilla boys replied by cutting him down in a volley of gunfire. The other death was of a sixteen-year-old girl, known throughout the barrio as La Sacred. Having spent most of her life in and out of different psychiatric wards around Los Angeles and Orange County, La Sacred was a notorious loca. She was visiting her cousins who were celebrating a quinceañera in Geraghty. It was during the reception after mass that the party was interrupted by a gang of homeboys from Jim

Town. One of them respectfully asked to speak to his girlfriend, La Sacred. When she walked out onto the street with him, they shot her and then opened fire on the rest of the crowd. Cars jammed with Geraghty homies sped off in hot pursuit of the invaders, but the lead car crashed into a parked truck, holding up the posse. Old Taíta Fonseca was killed for complaining about a gang of cholos who were parking their lowriders in front of his house. Rigged up with the loudest speakers they could find, the cholos would sit there with their girlfriends, blasting the music. When the bass made everything in his house rattle and vibrate, Don Taíta went out and yelled at them to turn it down, threatening that if they didn’t, he would call the police. The cholos just turned it up louder. Infuriated, Don Taíta got his hose and began spraying water through the window of one of the cars.


The other death was of a sixteen-year-old girl, known throughout the barrio as La Sacred. Having spent most of her life in and out of different psychiatric wards around Los Angeles and Orange County, La Sacred was a notorious loca.


The two homeboys inside got out and immediately shot him down. Old Taíta died in a puddle of water in the middle of his front lawn, where he and his wife had tended their rose garden. She witnessed the whole thing from her wheelchair, peering out of their living room window. The two of them had lived in this four-bedroom house for over fifty years. Mrs. Fonseca wouldn’t let go of her beloved husband’s cold hands. When they lifted his body up into the truck, she lost her breath, letting out a feeble and desperate cry for the man she had known her entire life. That night Micaela, Beatriz and Carmen brought her to the Center where Paca, as always, was waiting with her camera. After two days, Mrs. Fonseca realized that her husband was never going to come home, so she decided to die. She stopped eating and drinking, refusing to allow anything to enter her body. She didn’t speak, cry or sleep. For exactly nine days, enough time to pray a novena, she sat motionless with her eyes open, looking out the window by day and waiting into the night for Don Taíta to come back for her. “It won’t be long now, my

42

FEBRUARY/MARCH 2015

love” were her last words. On the morning of the ninth day, Reina brought her a glass of milk and found her dead in front of the window, still sitting with her eyes open and the hint of a smile on her lips. In the last breaths of her life, somehow Mrs. Fonseca had risen from her bed, opened the window in the living room and sat down to watch the world outside, where she saw the trees, the garden flowers, the rose bushes and, perhaps, an old gentleman walking through the gate to come get her on that sunny morning. Felícitas, Beatriz, Filomena, every woman from the Federation understood the bond of love between the Fonsecas. The two teachers, Mrs. Marbel and Mrs. Kochart, donated money to have the old couple buried at Calvary Cemetery. At the funeral both women confessed that they had known the couple for years, but neither of them had ever learned their names. From Little Nation and Other Stories by Alejandro Morales, Arte Público Press 2014, artepublicopress. com. Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.


TAKING FLIGHT A young man’s journey through the treacherous canyons of New York’s hi-tech corporate culture did not prepare him for two life changing weeks in post- civil war El Salvador. Murder, assassination, betrayal and revenge alter the lives of four seemingly successful couples living ordinary lives in Hempstead, New York. Anthony Bartolo was an up and coming high tech hot shot who measured success by the toys he acquired. His life in Hempstead starts to unravel and he finds himself on a noble mission in post-civil war El Salvador. There, his life and that of Colonel Juan Hernandez, a former officer in the rebel forces become linked forever, facing life and death as Anthony’s mission changes radically. His experience in El Salvador inspires him to change his life, but first he must reconcile the revenge taken in the name of defending his life, his personal history and a disintegrating marriage with his new found values. The characters in Taking Flight are flawed, but the Salvadoran spirit provides hope for survival and possibly even redemption.

For more information: Visit the Author’s Blog at www.trittostephen.blogspot.com For inquiries about the novel, please contact the author at: steve95135@gmail.com Available in digital and print at Amazon.

by Stephen Tritto

Tritto’s sparkling debut novel succeeds as a gripping tale of one man’s self discovery.

—Kirkus Reviews


short story

snapshots

Bellevue Literary Press | blpbooks.org

44

FEBRUARY/MARCH 2015


shelfunbound What’s a typical starting point for you in writing a story, for example rebounding 30-year-old Price Chopper employee Carla in her “transitional phase,” in which “she was and was not a lot of things, and in there, in between things, she felt free.” michaelcoffey In looking back at these eight stories, I find that there are several “starting points.” In some cases, it is a single line, such as in the title story: “He was in the business of naming things, like Adam.” I don’t know where that line came from and in fact had to check Genesis to make sure that, among the biblical Adam’s many activities, one of them was giving names to things— he got to name the cattle and the fowl and the “beasts of the field.” From that, I wrote a story about a modern-day Adam who names liquors and condominium developments. We are after the Fall, after all! Likewise, the final story, “Finishing Ulysses,” had only a first line—“You stand in the mirror.”—and a notion to conjure a story about my birth father, who I never knew but about whom I had learned quite bit. In that first line I was given two things: the second-person voice and the mirror. The rest just flowed. But sometimes, starting points are a little more prosaic. The story “The Inn of the Nations,” about a very bad night for a Catholic priest in a motel in 1963, was prompted by seeing a vintage T-shirt of a now-vanished Adirondack motel, or motor court, as they were often called. It was a Tomahawk Motel T-shirt, I think, and the next thing I knew I had a priest in room 11 with his faith falling apart. I tricked the story out by reading all of the magnificent J.F. Powers, our poet of the priesthood, and visiting an Ursuline convent in Quebec City. As for the story you mention, “I Thought You Were Dale,” about Carla, the single mother working at a Price Chopper, it was seeing a Mike Leigh film and wanting to do as he does—dignify working class citizens as being not only self-sufficient but fully in touch with who they are. shelfunbound How do you develop your characters, such as the troubled product namer William Claimer in the title story?

UNBOUND

45


short story

snapshots

michaelcoffey One of the bits of learning that is baked into this book stems from it having a distant source as a memoir. So such characters as Claimer—the man who names things—have elements that I know from my own life, details about place and local history. His business of naming things—consumer products and such—is very much informed by my life as a poet, where finding the name for something or some feeling is a large part of what it is about. But this book is not memoir, and once I released myself from the little tyrannies of being factual and moved into what might be less factual but somehow, if I could recognize it, more true or honest, that was where I got traction as a fiction writer. So William Claimer developed according to his wiles, which he accumulated as we went along. I think he even turned out to be a Republican. shelfunbound Do you have a favorite story in this book? michaelcoffey All these stories have blemishes, but I love them all regardless, and equally. All are part of a process that I appreciate, so I thank them for their role in it. But I would say that the last story written, “The Newman Boys,” is the one that, in being the last, has in it the most I learned. And, for me, it was the most daring, conceptually. I had two experiences from my childhood—the presence of a calf called a mooley in my father’s little herd, that is, a cow that will never have horns, and the arrival in our small town of a boy with hydrocephaly. I wanted to bring these two things together in one story, which for me was a big challenge, because the two events did not cross in my actual experience, but I made them do so in the story. When I had written through this melding of things successfully, I had a story that had no ending. I thought, let’s finish this story fifty years ahead and see where these people are now. I had to change the voice from third to first, and I gave it over to a character named Michael, a retired gay man in a longtime marriage living in Greenwich Village. That is not me, but I tagged his character because I wanted to claim it, etch my name in it, because I was proud of it. The name Michael worked for other reasons well.

46

FEBRUARY/MARCH 2015


shelfunbound How do you find the entry point for your short stories, such as the first line of “Moon Over Quabbin”: “The woman is in Iowa now, I hear.” michaelcoffey Again, coming from a poetry background, the runs of certain sounds, in this case, a very assonantal line—all those lush vowels—opens the floodgates of speech. And please note that “Moon Over Quabbin” is the only story here that could be called a monologue. It is spoken, and the one I most often read in public because of that, so its sound is paramount. shelfunbound A short story is like michaelcoffey… a day—it has a beginning and a visible end and in between something unique passes through in some fashion and then is over, a part of something larger perhaps, but unknowingly. Some stories are like Sundays—they are longer. Some are like a Saturday night.   shelfunbound What is the appeal for you of writing short stories? michaelcoffey I think it is simply a matter of scale. I don’t think there are any differences in intensity or depth, from poetry to short stories to novels. It is mostly material differences in scale. I have preferred working for most of my writing life on a smaller scale—the poems, now the stories. My day job was at a very busy publishing magazine. Now that I am writing full time, the scale may change.   shelfunbound If you were teaching a course on short story writing, what is the primary piece of advice you would offer? michaelcoffey Write short stories. Malcolm Cowley told John Cheever to write a story a day. He did.   shelfunbound What’s a favorite book you read in 2014? michaelcoffey Believe it or not, Samuel Beckett’s Watt. It is rigorous and hilarious and shames language and its supposed logic, but it does so lovingly.

UNBOUND

47


short story

snapshots

Dance Books | dzancbooks.org

48

FEBRUARY/MARCH 2015


shelf unbound What’s a typical starting point for you in writing a story, for example the guy who hooks up with a celebrity at a party and then finds out she later overdosed in “Pop Star Dead at 22”? davehousley For me, it’s usually a person in a situation. “Pop Star Dead at 22” is a pretty good example. There was a time when Britney Spears really seemed like she was on a downward spiral that was going to end badly. Heath Ledger had just died. I like to think about the people who are around the people in the spotlight, the kids of the rock star on the reality show, the people in the KISS cover band, or the dude who might have hooked up with a celebrity at a party. I thought about those celebrity deaths and the affect it might have on somebody who is kind of celebrity adjacent, somebody who might be invested in the celebrity for maybe stupid reasons, or reasons that might seem stupid but are real to him. He’s the person, that’s the situation. The thing that has to come really quickly after the person in the situation, or the idea of the person in the situation, is the voice. A person in an interesting situation can get me started, and then the voice is the thing that moves the story. shelf unbound How do you develop your characters, such as the guy in the lettuce aisle contemplating the woman who left him and the Taylor Swift CD in his truck? davehousley Really over time and lots of revision. I almost never have a full sense of who the characters are and I never outline anything, so it’s really on the fly. This story is another one that started with a person in a situation—a guy who hasn’t been in a grocery store for a while who notices how many different kinds of lettuce there are now (there really are a lot!). Then as he moves through the store you kind of get a sense for who he is and what’s going on. There’s a whole thing happening with this Taylor Swift album that his girlfriend, who just left him, also left in his truck. I wrote a version of this one without the Taylor Swift thing and I really think the Taylor Swift stuff—the relationship he has with this album he kind of hates but also kind of loves, is really the key to

UNBOUND

49


short story

snapshots

who the guy is. I think it turns him from somebody who is just kind of griping, albeit in an honest way, to a more lovable character. He can’t help himself from liking Taylor Swift and learning her songs and he even knows how he would play them on the guitar. He probably won’t actually play those songs, but he knows how he would. In this case, the Taylor Swift thing was just a throwaway line that then became a bigger and bigger part of the story and I hope it’s something that really helps get at who the character is and what he’s going through. That’s how it works a lot of the time for me—a detail or something that I just added and I’m not sure why, like the guy with the cut-off finger in “The Jerry Garcia Finger,” winds up becoming a really important part of the story. shelfunbound Do you have a favorite story in this book, and if so which one and why? davehousley I have a few, but for different reasons. I think “Death and the Wiggles” has the best version of a lot of the stuff I’m working with—parenting, relationships between men, aging, fathers and sons. I feel like it’s a pretty honest depiction of how parenting can be sometimes for some people, the weird combination of frustration and limitations and expectations and this really immediate love. The feeling like you should be doing better, you should be better, but you’re not. I like the ending because it’s pretty sad and realistic and as close as I’ll probably ever get to writing something that tries to actually say what it’s meaning. I like to say that I can take anything and make it sad, and this is my crack at making a Wiggles concert really super sad. The other one is “Rockabye” and the story of that one really sums up what it’s like to be a writer at my level, because it was rejected forty times and then wound up at exactly the right place (Hobart). I kept on revising and re-reading and considering whether to abandon it, and then kept on sending it out, so the fact that it’s now in a book is rewarding and I think testament to the blind, unfounded confidence you need to stick with writing when mostly what it’s giving you is rejection.

50

FEBRUARY/MARCH 2015


shelfunbound How do you find the entry point for your short stories, such as the first line of “Rock Out, Mate”: “I’m the fat one, the normal-looking one, the one who gives the girls some hope that if they ever got backstage or if DaWestSidaz actually went to their high school, they might have a chance.” davehousley This is another “person in a situation” story: kid in a boy band academy. First lines are really important for me, and almost every story in this collection still has the original first line. That’s where the voice starts and I really think of voice as the engine that moves the reader through the story. Or my stories, at least. Usually the way it works for me is I’ll think of a person in a situation, and then I’ll try to find a first line that will set the thing in motion. Voice comes through a little bit in that first line and builds. Then as I go through and write and revise, I’ll kind of figure out who these people are and write in the character stuff as I go through it again and again. shelfunbound A short story is like davehousley A machine. More details below, in two questions. shelfunbound What is the appeal for you of writing short stories? davehousley First of all, they are manageable. I’m trying to finish a novel right now—it’s maybe seven-eighths complete—and it’s a terrifying prospect that I may have spent a few years on this thing that’s actually going to wind up sucking and never make the transition from word document to thing that’s actually published. One of the wonderful things about stories is you can write one in a few days, a week, a month, spend some time and make it as good as you think you can make it, and then just start another one. That’s on a practical level. I have a full time job and a wife and a son and my work at Barrelhouse, where I’m an editor, so writing stories works for my life and my writing habits a little better than writing a novel. I think writing is kind of like exercise, and I’m used to writing at a short story length right now. I know how it works,

UNBOUND

51


short story

snapshots

or how it works for me. I can feel the gears of a story and I have a sense for how I can make one successfully. That’s kind of selfish answer, I think: I like stories because I know how to make them. I also just love stories and how flexible the genre is – I love that you can do just about anything with a short story. You can take almost any format and make a story out of it: Yelp reviews, Craigslist posts, fundraising letters, just about anything. shelfunbound If you were teaching a course on short story writing, what is the primary piece of advice you would offer? davehousley I think a story should be a perfect little machine. Every single thing should have a purpose. I do lead workshops sometimes for Barrelhouse and that is something I always say: you should be able to tell me what every single thing in your story is doing. What’s the purpose of that joke, that section, that affectation of the narrator or that thing her best friend did when they were out at that bar? If it’s just because it cracked you up or you thought it was interesting or cool, that’s not really good enough for that thing to stay in the story. I revise my stuff a lot like that, as well, because I do throw in a lot of stuff that is just me cracking myself up, so I’ll try to delete anything that isn’t carrying any weight as I go through and revise, and that’s also when I might build on something that does seem like it’s doing something useful, like the Taylor Swift album in “Where We’re Going.” I certainly hope I’ve just set some kind of record for how many times the phrase “Taylor Swift” is mentioned in author interviews. shelfunbound What’s a favorite book you read in 2014? davehousley Tom Williams’ Don’t Start Me Talkin’. Tom is a good friend and it’s so great to be able to say with complete honesty that his book was the best thing I read in 2014. It’s a really smart, nuanced look at identity and authenticity and the blues, which sounds like a kind of boring academic slog, but it’s also just a really fun, great, entertaining read.

52

FEBRUARY/MARCH 2015


Houston Chronicle

“Best Books of 2014”

“In a bracing debut memoir, essayist Dostert chronicles his time working as a guard at the Audy Home, a detention center in Cook County, IL, which houses teenagers waiting to be tried for crimes like murder and rape. We learn about the center’s racial dynamics (one kid lectures Dostert on the obligations that accrue to white Dostert because of the history of slavery), how to identify symptoms of suicidality, and the proper procedure for strip searches. The stories speak for themselves; the book is blessedly free of moralizing.” —Publishers Weekly

mark dostert

“Americans watch news reports and reality TV shows about Chicago’s hard streets and wonder how these tragedies happen. If you want to understand more, if you want to hear the beating heart, the laments, and the hopes of children at the epicenter of these tales, you must read Mark Dostert’s haunting book.”

—Luis Alberto Urrea, author of The Devil’s Highway, a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize

” “

“Utterly unprepared for the Hobbesian world he encounters at Chicago’s juvenile jail, Mark Dostert soon realizes that any hesitation or uncertainty on his part could let all hell break loose. Up in Here is the ruthlessly honest and touching story of his struggle to become the essential male authority that he needs to be to keep himself and the boys safe.”

“Although he begins his yearlong stint with the requisite (for the genre) intention to make a difference as an attendant, he soon learns that “home,” “attendant,” and even “children” are just euphemisms—he’s less a counselor than a prison guard. He is at turns optimistic and defeated in his work, relying upon both his naïveté and physical stature to make it through the eight hour shifts that require him to conduct body searches, monitor despondent inmates, and dispense punishment. And that’s what ultimately helps this book break the “white savior” mold: Dostert admits to failing both the residents and himself.”

” ” —www.literarychicago.com

—Emily Fox Gordon, author of Book of Days: Personal Essays

Mark Dostert grew up in Texas but was an undergraduate student in

Chicago where he volunteered as a counselor at the 500-cell Cook County Juvenile Temporary Detention Center and later became a full-time Children’s Attendant (unarmed guard). His writing has appeared in Ascent, Cimarron Review, Hayden’s Ferry Review Online Content, and Southern Indiana Review, and been cited as Notable in The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2011 and The Best American Essays 2013. 

Available at these fine independent bookstores: Chicago—57th Street Books, Sandmeyer’s Bookstore, Seminary Co-Op Bookstore, City Lit Books; Oak Park, IL—The Book Table; Houston—Brazos Bookstore; Portland, OR—Powell’s City of Books Available online: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Powell’s. Click HERE to read an excerpt in Salon.

UNBOUND

53


translations

The Alphabet of Birds by S.J. Naudé from “War, Blossoms”

L

And Other Stories andotherstories.org

54

FEBRUARY/MARCH 2015

ater on he will see it differently, but it starts out as a kind of war. Or, at least, a series of escalating skirmishes. He is caring for his mother. Cancer is growing in her intestines. She is going to die. The only unknowns are the moment and the precise route. The markers are set out for him, the selfpoisoning body, the distending organs, pain, starvation and farewells. The war, when it begins, is about food. It is a soundless war, a collection of mute battles. She hardly speaks any more. It deprives him too, of speech and breath, the disease. He registers its progression in fragments. The day dawns when she stops eating. The oncologist had explained this would happen. The last phase. It is important for the patient’s psychological state, he had elucidated, not to intervene. Let “the thing” take its course, do not try to coerce.

But when her refusal comes, he does not accept it. He too refuses. He is constantly in front of the stove. He has rarely before had time to cook. He is clumsy, inept. Even so: here he stands, steaming chicken, then shredding the flesh into long strips along the grain. He also cooks pale, watery vegetables. He juices pineapples, adding the pressed juice of limes. He makes toast and thin chicken soup. It is not helping. Nothing helps. He carries the untouched plates back to the kitchen. He leaves his mother on her own for a while. She is calm, she is sleeping. For the first time in a week he goes outside, sits down in the autumn sun. He has forgotten that autumn in the Highveld is so beautiful, even though here it is bounded by a suburban garden surrounded by crime-ridden streets. For many years he has restricted his visits to summer so as to escape the northern winter.


The day dawns when she stops eating. The oncologist had explained this would happen. The last phase. It is important for the patient’s psychological state, he had elucidated, not to intervene. Let “the thing” take its course, do not try to coerce.


Out of the blue he gets a phone call, on his British cellphone, from his Japanese friend Hisashi. How long is it since they’ve spoken? At least a year. “This is unexpected.” “I’m here.” “What do you mean, Hisashi?” “I’ve come to visit.” “Here in South Africa?” “Here in South Africa.” “And you’re here already?” “I’m here. In Johannesburg.” Just before his departure from London, he sent all his friends an email, notifying them that he was on his way here. It contained all of his contact details. He was in a hurry to get to his mother’s bedside, couldn’t take proper leave of anybody. Hisashi had moved back to Tokyo from London the year before, but was still on his list. Typical of Hisashi, to arrive at such an inopportune moment, without warning. The air is moving. The leaves of the pin oak are falling ceaselessly, their stems impaled in the lawn. The tips of the leaves tremble in the breeze like nerve endings. In the course of an afternoon, his mother’s complexion changes from grey and transparent to yellow. The vomiting commences. It doesn’t stop. She has not eaten for days; there is only

56

FEBRUARY/MARCH 2015

bile. It is as if an external force is controlling her, making her shudder to her fingertips. Even her eyes are yellow: the eyes of a devil. Food, when he tries to eat, congeals on his plate. He sits on his own at the kitchen table. Ultimately he has to spit out the gray masticated mush onto the porcelain. The freezer is overflowing. While she had the strength, she spent her days cooking. Baked puddings and loin of lamb, trifle and stuffed shoulder of venison, oven-roasted chicken with a lemon where the bloody intestines used to be. But these are not for her; they’re a legacy. She has now forsworn the body’s banalities, the lower functions. He is standing in front of the freezer, chilly fog billowing onto his feet. There are plastic bags, aluminum dishes and plates serried in rows, the contents unidentifiable, everything furred with frost. Nausea wells up in him. A cupboard full of cadavers. Fossils of the future. He works up a fury against his mother. The ice age has dawned. From The Alphabet of Birds by by S.J. Naudé, And Other Stories 2015, andotherstories.org. Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.


From the same publisher of THE SECRET,

What people are calling the SEQUEL!

Seen on NBC and FOX News WWW.TOTALLAWOFATTRACTION.COM


photo essay snapshots Ammo Books ammobooks.com

e online photography revolution

camera has image making become so revenomenon of instant photography and social nd auteurs alike to share their images with fie to urban life and the beauty of nature, and viewing a seemingly endless archive of ees, would-be and actual photographers are ntless others, creating an online community

expanding movement of social media phofrom photographers around the world who ram. Curated from the software’s millions of mall spectrum of photographers—both proe to this groundbreaking online community.

STEVE CRIST & MEGAN SHOEMAKER

inside the online photography revolution

tists of all kinds have sought to share their iends and family. Today, with the advent of nline photo sharing, photographers have an that of just a few years ago. Photography high-quality cameras built into smartphones, e, and online social media sites providing a

THE INSTAGRAM BOOK

GRAM BOOK

THE INSTAGRAM BOOK inside the online photography revolution

ammobooks.com

THE INSTAGRAM BOOK edited by Steve Crist and Megan Shoemaker

N

ot since Edwin Land invented the Polaroid camera has photography become both redefined and reenergized all at the same moment. Instagram, the smart phone application, has taken today’s phenomenon of instant digital photography and social media to a new zenith, enabling amateurs and professionals alike to share their images with a global audience. From the ubiquitous modern-day self

portrait “selfie” to urban life and the beauty of nature, Instagram has provided a forum for posting and viewing a seemingly endless archive of images of our time. From tweens to retirees, would-be snapshot creators and professional photographers alike are creating their own images and following countless others, creating an online community that is pushing photography forward into a new era.

Text and images from The Instagram Book, edited by Steve Crist and Megan Shoemaker, Ammo Books, ammobooks.com. Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved. 58

FEBRUARY/MARCH 2015


jimmy marble, @jimmy marble, california, USA

UNBOUND

59


clockwise from top left: trashhand, @trashhand, chicago, USA; andrew villalobos, @atvlobos, california, USA; dan cole, @dankhole, washington, USA; adam senatori, @adamsenatori, wisconsin, USA

60

FEBRUARY/MARCH 2015


paulo del valle, @paulodelvalle, rio de janeiro, BRAZIL

UNBOUND

61


kyle steed, @kylesteed, texas, USA

62

FEBRUARY/MARCH 2015


clockwise from top left: skyler mercure, @tatum22, california, USA; chuck anderson, @nopattern, chicago, USA; kirsten rickert, @kirstenrickert, new jersey, USA; marcelo ruduit, @ruduit, rio do sul, BRASIL

UNBOUND

63


BOOK SHELF

Take A Giant Step: A Romance In Radio by Richard Seff Illustrated by Mark Dean

A

lice and Harold arrive in the Big Apple of 1949 with high hopes of success in big time radio. Whether or not you recall the lure of those voices emanating from Philcos throughout the land, you’ll have a wild ride, for distance has lent enchantment to the Disneyish dinasaur called Radio. “Full of warmth, humor and colorful characters” —Michael Riedel, New York Post. www.richardseff.com Available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Theatre Circle, 268 West 44th St., New York City The Ladies in the Pool by Patricia Stanley

H

ow cleverly these career women make mischief! Corporate types and college professors alike show off their verbal skills in these unconnected short stories, proving the value of higher education for, among other topics, revenge. Follow the progress of Sylvia’s plan in “Portrait of a Prodigy,” the manipulative frenzy in “And the Band Played On,” as Emily takes control, and the whispering campaign that ruins a career in “Up in Arms.” www.pstanleybooks.com Available at Amazon.com.

Supporting Player: My Life Upon The Wicked Stage by Richard Seff

F

ollow his entertaining journey through the golden age of Broadway. Listen as he tells it all—the backstage shenanigans and some behind closed door stories. Hit the dressing rooms with him and discover more about Richard Seff, whose colorful life as a Supporting Player will interest all who have a love of live theatre. www.richardseff.com Available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Theatre Circle, 268 West 44th St., New York City The Vampire Girl Next Door by Richard Arbib

M

ark falls in love with Sylvia, the beautiful, but quirky girl next door, not realizing that she’s a vampire who killed his last neighbor. When Mark first meets Sylvia, he tells her, “You’re the girl of my dreams!” Sylvia smiles and responds with a warning—“Be careful what you wish for.” “The Vampire Girl Next Door is a choice pick for one looking for a romance with a supernatural twist, highly recommended.” —John Burroughs, Midwest Book Review www.thevampiregirlnextdoor.com

Available at Amazon.com in paperback and Kindle. Paperback and all e-book formats available on author’s website.


BOOK SHELF Life in a Jar The Irena Sendler Project by Jack Mayer

T

he true story of a Holocaust hero who rescued 2,500 Jewish children from the Warsaw Ghetto, but whose heroism was forgotten. Sixty years later, three Kansas teenagers, each carrying her own burden, “rescue the rescuer” and elevate Irena Sendler to an international hero, championing tolerance and respect for all people. 2014 Shelf Unbound Notable Book │ 2014 Readers’ Favorite Book Award – Gold Medal - Education │ 2014 Benjamin Franklin Digital Award – Silver Honoree │ 2012 IndieReader Discovery Award - Biography │ 2011 Kansas Notable Book Award │ 2011 da Vinci Eye (Eric Hoffer Book Award)

www.longtrailpress.com

Available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and the iBookstore.

Worst of All Evils by Janet McClintock

J

oan Bowman joins the Constitution Defense Legion to fight a runaway government in Washington, D.C., but after working her way into a leadership position, she discovers the underground resistance group is as bad as the government it is fighting. Her only way out alive is to become a state’s witness, but betraying the group means betraying her mentor and lover. Hottest Places In Hell (Series Book #2) will be released in 2015. www.janetmcclintock.com Available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

EXAM ROOM CONFIDENTIAL: The Wellborne Files by Louis Siegel M.D.

C

harles Harper White, M.D.’s ideals are tested by his medically and psychologically complex patient family the Wellbornes, flawed colleagues, and a hospital gone haywire. Embroiled by the Wellbornes in possible murder, suicide, and more, White struggles as he confronts issues of physician aided death, end of life care, gender issues and more. To save his patients, and his soul, White must consider acts contrary to his sworn medical oaths. www.examroomconfidential.com Available at Amazon as paperback and eBook. Family Tree The Novel by Andrea N. Carr

H

er death had become something positive for us. Lady’s death was an awakening; the resurrection of each of us. I felt different. Her death had made me look deeper inside myself and others. Her death reflected the truth in all of us. Her death made me more forgiving, and loving. It made me remember and also forget. I just wanted to be with them in the moment, exactly like this. www.familytreethenovel.com Available at Amazon and Smashwords. Click HERE to read review.


BOOK SHELF Hellfire & Damnation lll by Connie Corcoran Wilson

Three Handed Economist by Mark Flowers

H

T

ellfire & Damnation III: the 3rd tour of the crimes punished at each of the 9 Circles of Hell in Dante’s “Inferno.” As in Book 2, there are illustrations, whether a cave where teenagers are trapped, or a psychopathic minister manipulating a young man of limited intelligence into murder.

he world has enough sectarian problems and we need inspired solutions, not ideological entrenchment. Ideology serves only to limit choice, and by reducing choices growth stimulating accords are sometimes overlooked or simply ignored. Three Handed Economist explains the various sides of each problem, introduces data and analysis, and helps readers escape ideologically cornered motivations in favor of practical, real-world solutions. www.modernsense.net Available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Books A Million.

Books 1 and 2 won the IWPA Silver Feather Award and a Gold Medal E-Lit Award. www.hellfireanddamnationthebook.com Available at Amazon. ou’re a parent of a troubled 16 year old boy. You get a call from your doctor at 3 AM. Your heart stops, fearing the worst. The doctor tells you, “I’m calling you from University Hospital. Sean is in the Emergency Room with a very serious gunshot wound, the result of a bad drug deal. Get here as soon as you can!!!!!!!! ” Your mind racing, you think, is there no end to this insanity in our lives????

T

Another early morning emergency call to a 25 year old women who has

legal custody of her 14 year old sister with a history of violent psychotic episodes. The Police are calling. “We’re holding your sister in the local jail. She just tried to stab a total stranger. Fortunately, this person was not hurt. We need to talk to you about this situation.” The women says to herself, “I don’t know if I can deal with my sister’s emotional stuff anymore. I think I’m going crazy from the stress.”

Think these stories couldn’t happen to you and your family? Think again. They’re happening to good families in our beloved country every moment of every day, and often with fatal results that wound families forever. “The 7 Divine Lessons Of Family Healing” is both the author’s reflection on his own Family’s Healing Journey and a “Toolbox” to help families deal with unpredictable crises and to begin the journey on “God’s Healing Path.” “This is Maya at age 9. She is now age 10. Maya is Michael’s “Joy Angel,” and one of the author’s seven miracle grandchildren. She is very symbolic of his family’s awe-inspiring Healing Journey, a gift available to all families who are willing to embrace God’s Loving Grace and to do His Daily Healing Footwork.”

www.eralidesecabrera.com Available at Amazon, and Barnes & Noble.

Michael Tibbetts

he defense has its hands full in the case of Stave V. Berrazo, Pereira and Lonas. A sect that seems to fester in animal and human sacrifices gets caught in what seems like a sinister crime. But things are not always as they seem. It takes a skilled defense attorney and a relentless investigator to uncover the truth. It’s a spellbound story of intrigue and shocking results. The defense takes a leap in its estimation of the truth and it uncovers it as no one, not even the most diligent detective, would have expected.

THE 7 DIVINE LESSONS OF FAMILY HEALING

The Defense “Y by Eralides E. Cabrera

The 7 Divine Lessons Of Family Healing by Michael Tibbetts M.S.

M

ichael Tibbetts, M.S., author of “The 7 Divine Lessons The 7 Divine Lessons Of Family Healing,” is Of Family Healing a family healer, who by: guided by the Holy Spirit, Michael C. Tibbetts has for 30 years led his own Family’s Healing Journey. This book is both a personal reflection on this same Journey, and a “Toolbox” to assist other families in birthing and nurturing their own restorative pilgrimages. A Reflection On And An Invitation To The Healing Path

Chief Inspirational Officer The Family Center For The Sacred Heart

www.familyhealer.org Available at Amazon.


BOOK SHELF The Sin of Mother Mary by Drew O’Brien

Inkslingers Ball by Sheila Lowe

A

ifted artist Mary Murphy pits herself against the conventions of midAmerica that are bent on shaping her into an ideal mother and wife. The tumultuous family over which she barely maintains control forces her deeper into her converted Catholic faith. In the culmination of her self-denial, she finds herself implicated in a child’s murder, confronting at last her gravest sin.

teenage girl brutally murdered and dumped in the trash; a young man dead in a firebombing; a soccer mom shot in her home; vicious thugs protecting a suspected criminal. For LAPD homicide detective Joel Jovanic it’s all in a week’s rotation...until it becomes personal and he finds a connection between these crimes and his soulmate, handwriting expert Claudia Rose.

Available at Amazon.

www.claudiaroseseries.com Available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords.

G

Do I Know You: Book I of the Sara Series by CJ Vermote

S

ara reunites with a man she knew as a young girl, but he isn’t who she remembers, and she soon finds she is in the fight for her life. “It is so full of suspense that I really didn’t want to put it down. I loved all of the characters,” says Susan Leutheuser of Boulder, CO

www.cjvermote.com Available at Amazon, and Barnes & Noble.

*

Promote your book in Shelf Unbound in our Special Advertising Section for Authors. Each issue of Shelf Unbound is distributed to more than 125,000 people in the U.S. and 62 countries around the globe. Our introductory ad rate for this section is $375/quarter page as seen here. Contact publisher Margaret Brown to reserve your space.

Margaret@shelfmediagroup.com 214.704.4182.


BOOK SHELF

Betrayed by Wodke Hawkinson

I

Beneath the Grid by B. Iver Bertelsen

I

t begins with a carjacking. Brook is taken and held for days by brutal men. Her escape leaves her badly injured, half naked, and hopelessly lost in the snowy Colorado wilderness. Lance lives like a recluse in a rustic cabin far removed from modern society. He prefers a solitary life. But his world is about to be turned upside down.

n this spell-binding environmental thriller, an international conspiracy is seeking EPA approval of a chemical product touted as the solution to global warming. But if used, the product will result in millions dying. An ex-EPA attorney and an unlikely band of misfits seek to unveil the truth. Intrigue, sex, murder, and mayhem follow.

www.wodke-hawkinson.com Available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords.

Available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBookstore, and Lulu.com.

The Abyss of the Mind: A Psychiatrist’s Journey by Alan J. Lifchitz MD

A

rare and ingenious combination of traditional psychiatry and ancient kabbala. Dr. Lifchitz draws you into the world of psychiatry with compassion, sensitivity, and distinctive insights. Easy for the layman, thought provoking case studies that help one to better understand their own human frailties. This deeply felt, probing book is worthwhile, and highly recommended. Outstanding, honest insight into troubled minds. —Amazon reviews Available at Amazon.

*

Promote your book in Shelf Unbound in our Special Advertising Section for Authors. Each issue of Shelf Unbound is distributed to more than 125,000 people in the U.S. and 62 countries around the globe. Our introductory ad rate for this section is $375/quarter page as seen here. Contact publisher Margaret Brown to reserve your space.

Margaret@shelfmediagroup.com 214.704.4182.


BOOK SHELF In His Way by Rebecca Duvall

A

story of the trials and triumphs that come with being married to a Law Enforcement Officer and coming to faith. Several years into her second marriage, her husband became a workaholic while she became a volunteeraholic, too busy to face the fact they had become two strangers under one roof, raising three kids. www.inhisway.net Available at Amazon, and Barnes & Noble. No Place to Call Home by Robin Carrig

A

n Indian boarding school sounds like a wonderful alternative to reservation life, doesn’t it? But the schools are really a nightmare for many native children, including those of Maura and Joseph Walks Alone. When their children are forcibly taken from them, the two will do anything to get them back. www.booksbyrobincarrig.com Available March 1st at Amazon.

Wicked’s Scandal by Kathleen Ayers

A

lexandra Dunforth, a bookish spinster from Hampshire, has no desire to marry despite her uncle holding the fate of her beloved family estate over her head. Sutton “Satan” Reynolds, a wealthy Marquess, is possessed of angelic beauty and a scandalous dragon tattoo. He doesn’t care for the simpering women of the ton and is determined to avoid any entanglements, until a chance meeting with the delectable Miss Dunforth changes his mind. www.kathleenayers.com Available at Amazon.

*

Promote your book in Shelf Unbound in our Special Advertising Section for Authors. Each issue of Shelf Unbound is distributed to more than 125,000 people in the U.S. and 62 countries around the globe. Our introductory ad rate for this section is $375/quarter page as seen here. Contact publisher Margaret Brown to reserve your space.

Margaret@shelfmediagroup.com 214.704.4182.


BOOK SHELF The Gifted Ones The Fairytale by P.G. Shriver

C

The Gifted Ones The Dream by P.G. Shriver

F

heater—on the run and on her own—uses her unusual power to keep Jazz from committing a crime. When the two wanted- poster teens discover they are linked in several ways, such as the tale told by their late mothers, they team up to seek the truth behind their tragic lives, the fairytale location, and the ten like them.

our Gifted Ones collide after the murder of Rebecca’s grandmother. While running from the law, they discover their connections—such as dreams shared through physical contact. They dream of Cheater and Jazz, locked away in darkness, and uncover a secret that points them to the fairytale destination—Paradise. They battle to save two in danger and take back Nathan’s birthright.

www.geanpenny.com Available at Amazon and Smashwords.

www.geanpenny.com Available at Amazon and Smashwords.

The Rainbow Bridge: Bridge to Inner Peace and to World Peace by Brent N. Hunter

W

inner of 15 literary awards, The Rainbow Bridge: Bridge to Inner Peace and to World Peace has been endorsed by H.H. the 14th Dalai Lama, N.Y. Times bestselling authors, doctors, astronauts and a growing chorus of prestigious luminaries. The book illuminates the common ground in the world’s major wisdom traditions, also known as universal principles. These universal principles can be used to help lead us to inner peace and to a peaceful world via a comprehensive 14-Point Road Map to World Peace. www.TheRainbowBridge.org Available at Amazon, and Barnes & Noble.

*

Promote your book in Shelf Unbound in our Special Advertising Section for Authors. Each issue of Shelf Unbound is distributed to more than 125,000 people in the U.S. and 62 countries around the globe. Our introductory ad rate for this section is $375/quarter page as seen here. Contact publisher Margaret Brown to reserve your space.

Margaret@shelfmediagroup.com 214.704.4182.


BOOK SHELF Maybe Baby by Kim Golden

W

hat would you do if you found out you couldn’t have a baby with the man in your life? Laney Halliwell, an expat American living in Stockholm, finds out the hard way when her longterm partner Niklas tells her he had a vasectomy before they met. When Laney decides to explore her options, she ends up meeting someone else in an unxpected way. And it’s not long before she must decide between the man who gives her security and the one who makes her mind and body sing. www.kim-golden.com Available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, iBookstore, and allromanceebooks.com Burnout by Joe Uricchio M.D.

W

hen an R&R vacation to a private island in Belize drops Dr. Jack Burke into a deadly terrorist plot, he is forced to reawaken his concern for humanity and rally a beaten and broken group of resort guests for battle. Innovation has served him well as a surgeon. The clock is ticking and he has to make his beleaguered band understand “no help is coming.”

Available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Look for the Moon in the Morning by Leda Sanford

L

ook for the Moon in the Morning, is a collection of inspirational essays written especially for women by Leda Sanford while she was the editorial director of Get Up & Go!, the magazine for women living anew. The magazine received more than 100,000 requests for a brochure featuring a sampling of these essays—which attests to the widespread appeal of Leda’s message. These essays express her philosophy that it’s never too late to recreate ourselves, to explore new horizons and to enhance the quality of our lives. www.ledasanford.com Available at Amazon.

*

Promote your book in Shelf Unbound in our Special Advertising Section for Authors. Each issue of Shelf Unbound is distributed to more than 125,000 people in the U.S. and 62 countries around the globe. Our introductory ad rate for this section is $375/quarter page as seen here. Contact publisher Margaret Brown to reserve your space.

Margaret@shelfmediagroup.com 214.704.4182.


feature

classics

“Day had broken cold and gray, exceedingly cold and gray, when the man turned aside from the main Yukon trail and climbed the high earth-bank, where a dim and little traveled trail led eastward through the fat spruce timberland.” Thus begins one of the greatest short stories of them all, “To Build a Fire” by Jack London. You can read the story in its entirety HERE. We talked about “To Build a Fire” with Earle Labor—the official biographer of Jack London and curator of the Jack London Museum in Shreveport, whose most recent book is Jack London: An American Life. 72

FEBRUARY/MARCH 2015


Shelf Unbound: How did you become interested in London’s works, and what about his writing most appeals to you? Earle Labor: I first became interested in London’s works when I was a grade-schooler in Tuskahoma, Oklahoma. Ours was a consolidated school for kids who lived on farms in the surrounding area along with the few who lived in the village. There were only six teachers for twelve grades, so each classroom accommodated two classes. I was in the eighth grade, and while our teacher, Mr. Theo Smith, was working with the seventh graders, my class was studying our various lessons in arithmetic, grammar, geography, history, and literature. One afternoon, after finishing my lessons, I decided to check the books in our little closet-sized classroom library. A thick maroon

UNBOUND

73


As he turned to go on, he spat speculatively. There was a sharp, explosive crackle that startled him. He spat again. And again, in the air, before it could fall to the snow, the spittle crackled. He knew that at fifty below spittle crackled on the snow, but this spittle had crackled in the air. book with a bright gilt imprint on the spine caught my attention: Jack London’s Stories for Boys. I pulled it down from the shelf, opened it to the frontispiece, and saw a small native holding a very slender spear in front of a very big Polar bear. The caption read “Then did the bear grow angry, and rise up on his hind legs, and growl!” Naturally I was immediately captivated. I spent the next several days enjoying such won-

74

FEBRUARY/MARCH 2015

derful tales as “The Story of Keesh” (that was the one with the Polar bear), “The Shadow and the Flash,” “Love of Life,” and, most memorably, “To Build a Fire.” However, except for a couple of movies—The Call of the Wild (starring Clark Gable, Loretta Young, and Jack Oakie) and The Sea-Wolf (with Edward G. Robinson, Ida Lupino, and John Garfield), I didn’t hear Jack London’s name mentioned until I was a junior at Southern Methodist University in 1948. My best friend, a WWII veteran named P.B. Lindsey, was taking a course in the modern American novel under Professor George Bond, who had included London’s little-known Martin Eden along with famous works by Hemingway, Faulkner, and Fitzgerald. Lindsey said that was the most powerful novel he’d ever read and urged me to read it, too. Because I was preoccupied with other affairs at the time, mainly extracurricular, I didn’t immediately follow his prompt. Four years later, however, on weekend leave from the U.S. Navy Recruit Training Camp in Bainbridge, Maryland, I spotted a twenty-five-cent paperback of London’s novel. I started reading it on the bus back to the base and was captivated by the hero’s dramatic rise from poverty to success. I stayed up all night finishing the book under a flashlight in my bunk. That’s when I decided I would select Jack London’s literary artistry as the subject for my dissertation when I went to graduate school to work on my doctorate. I think that what most appeals to me about London’s writing is what has appealed to millions of readers throughout the world for more than a century: “universality.” In other words, his works deal with issues that have confronted humanity throughout the world from time immemorial to the present and into the future. I believe that he’s “America’s greatest world author.” (I underscore world because my personal opinion is that Herman Melville is America’s


greatest author.) London’s works have been translated into at least one hundred languages (I recently acquired one of his books in Mongolian, which I hadn’t seen before). Moreover, many foreign critics also rate Jack London most highly. For example, Danish scholar Georg Brandes singled out London as the best of the new twentieth-century American writers with the comment, “He is absolutely original, and his style is singularly forcible and free from all affection.” Beijing University professor Li Shuyan says that “Martin Eden and the many heroes of London’s stories will always be an encouraging force to those who are fighting against adversities, and who believe the worth of man lies in doing, creating, and achieving.” Vil Bykov, the major London scholar in Russia, compares London with Tolstoy and Chekhov in their common pursuit of “the man of noble spirit, adding that “Jack London brought to the Russian reader a world full of romanticism and vigor, and the reader came to love him.” Shelf Unbound: I remember reading “To Build a Fire” for the first time in high school, and the image of the main character’s spittle crackling has always stuck with me. What about this story, do you think, makes it one of the best short stories ever written? Labor: What appealed to me most as a boy has also appealed to readers around the globe: Jack London is a superb teller of tales. Out of two hundred short stories and a score of novels, I can name a dozen or so that are clearly hack work, but I have difficulty citing one that is really boring. He was the consummate craftsman in pacing his narratives, “fleshing them out” with vivid descriptive details, and—most impressively—creating mood or what he called “atmosphere.” He explained the major keys for effective story-telling in an early letter to his friend Cloud-

esley Johns, another aspiring young writer who had sent him a story to critique: “Don’t you tell the reader...But have your characters tell it by their deeds, actions, talk, etc. ... And get the atmosphere. Get the breadth and thickness to your stories, and not only the length (which is the mere

And then it happened. At a place where there were no signs, where the soft, unbroken snow seemed to advertise solidity beneath, the man broke through. It was not deep. He wet himself halfway to the knees before he floundered out to the firm crust. narration).” Anticipating T.S. Eliot’s famous concept of the “Objective Correlative,” he adds, “Atmosphere stands

UNBOUND

75


always for the elimination of the artist [as lecturer].” These major keys are brilliantly on display in his classic story “To Build a Fire.” You mentioned that you still remember “the image of the main character’s spittle crackling” in weather so cold that it froze before hitting the ground. That same image has stayed in my mind’s eye for more than seventy years. I also remember the vivid description of the man running “on feet so frozen that he could not feel them when they struck the earth,” skimming along the surface like “a winged Mercury.” And who can forget the image of the man’s dog, catching the “scent of death” at the end of the story: “That made

The man was shocked. It was as though he had just heard his own sentence of death. For a moment he sat and stared at the spot where the fire had been. Then he grew very calm.

76

FEBRUARY/MARCH 2015

the animal bristle and back away. A little longer it delayed, howling under the stars that leaped and danced and shone brightly in the cold sky. Then it turned and trotted up the trail in the direction of camp it knew, where were the other food-providers and fire-providers.” Little wonder why this story has become a world classic in the mode of literary naturalism! Those heavenly stars could hardly care less about that frozen body in the snow. And the dog thinks of humans as mere “food-providers and fire-providers.” We’re reminded of the similar metaphor in Stephen Crane’s “The Open Boat”: “A high cold star on a winter’s night is the word” Nature tells the correspondent as he faces death on the open sea, making it clear that “she was indifferent, flatly indifferent.” Shelf Unbound: Where did London get his knowledge of this freezing cold weather, minus 75 degrees? Had he experienced anything like that? Labor: He experienced such severe cold during the winter months he spend in the Klondike during the famous Gold Rush of 1897-98. Fortunately he did not freeze, but he did know of a case similar to that in his story: The man was found afterwards frozen stiff as a marble statue on his knees bent over an unlit fire. Those who saw him remarked that it looked almost as if he were praying. It’s a haunting image that surely stayed in Jack’s mind for the following years. Shelf Unbound: London wrote an earlier version of “To Build a Fire” prior to the 1908 version that we are familiar with. How did the 1902 version differ, and why did he choose to write the story again? Labor: In a 1908 letter to R.W. Gilder, editor of Century Magazine, which had recently published the later, now-classic version, London explained that he had written the first ver-


Jack London:

An American Life by Earle Labor

Farrar, Straus and Giroux us.macmillan.com/fsg “What a life. What a man. What a book. Only superlatives can describe this definitive biography of the nation’s most popular and successful novelist of the early 20th century … Earle Labor has devoted much of a lifetime to the study of London and his works and has given us a book so meticulous in its fast-moving detail that the reader feels he is almost at London’s side.” —Pete Hannaford, The Washington Times

UNBOUND

77


sion, which had been published in The Youth’s Companion, “for boys merely” and that he resolved “to take the same motif and handle it for men.” Even a quick glance at the two stories validates his explanation. The 1902 version is an “exemplum:” a short dramatic narrative intended to emphasize the moral lesson in a sermon. The Youth’s Companion (a forerunner of the

In his effort to separate one match from the others, the whole bunch fell in the snow. He tried to pick it out of the snow, but failed. The dead fingers could neither touch nor clutch. He was very careful. He drove the thought of his freezing feet, and nose, and cheeks, out of his mind, devoting his whole soul to the matches.

78

FEBRUARY/MARCH 2015

official Boy Scout magazine, Boy’s Life) preached a regular weekly sermon to America’s strenuous young manhood during the late-nineteenth/early-twentieth century. It was actually a prestigious journal, featuring articles not only by writers like Jack London but also by national leaders like Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson. Remember when London advised his friend Cloudesley Johns not to tell the reader. But that’s exactly what he does in the first version because that’s the purpose of his exemplum: “‘Never travel alone’ is a precept of the north.” He reiterates this warning throughout the story, concluding that his hero, Tom Vincent, who has been properly initiated into the fraternity of Northland veterans, now preaches the sermon: “Never travel alone!” By contrast, London’s theme is dramatized by the actions of the two characters in the later version, which is three times the length of the 1902 story. Note his addition of the dog, whose actions reveal significant insights into the character of the man as well as Nature. And note especially the skillful creation of atmosphere in the opening sentence and throughout the narrative: “Day had broken cold and gray, exceedingly cold and gray, when the man turned aside from the main Yukon trail and climbed the high earth-bank, where a dim and little-travelled trail led eastward through the fat spruce timberland...It was a clear day, and yet there seemed an intangible pall over the face of things, a subtle gloom that made the day dark, and that was due to the absence of sun.” Furthermore, the main character, unlike Tom Vincent, has no name. In an early draft of this story, London named him “John Collins,” but it was another master stroke to portray him as Everyman. Also note the etymology of “Vincent,” derived from the Latin “to conquer”—another nice hint for London’s young readers, most of whom would have studied Latin in school.


These are just a few points I could make in explaining the difference between a story for youths and a classic for all ages. Perhaps I should mention that virtually no one, including myself, realized that these were two very different stories. In the summer of 1966, I accepted an invitation from King Hendricks, Chair of the English Department at Utah State University, to teach a graduate seminar in literary criticism and to initiate a Jack London course. The University had recently been gifted with a massive collection of London archival materials from Irving Shepard, London’s nephew and executor of the London estate. Professor Hendricks also invited me to delve into those materials. That’s when we discovered the issue of Youth’s Companion containing the 1902 story. He and I subsequently published an article in Studies in Short Fiction along with the story itself. Since then it has been reprinted several times. For example, I include both versions my Portable Jack London. If I may, I’d like to speak briefly about something else that has impressed me during my study of London’s works: his extraordinary scope—thematic, cultural, ethnic, geographic, psychological, and stylistic. Many readers, including the critics, don’t realize that out of more than fifty books London produced during his twenty-year professional career, fewer than one-third are set in the Northland. The rest cover much of the globe: England, Ireland, South America, China, Japan, Manchuria, and the South Pacific. Here is a representative handful of the extraordinary range of his topics: “War” is a little gem more relevant now than ever. “Theft” dramatizes the collusion between big business and Washington politics. “A Piece of Steak,” set in Australia, has been called “one of the greatest boxing stories ever written.” “The Red One” (originally titled “The Message”) is a haunting story based upon the motif Stanley Kubrick and Arthur C. Clarke would employ

A certain fear of death, dull and oppressive, came to him. This fear quickly became poignant as he realized that it was no longer a mere matter of freezing his fingers and toes, or of losing his hands and feet, but that it was a matter of life and death with the chances against him. in “2001.” “The Water Baby” is a fascinating amalgamation of Jungian psychology and Polynesian myth. London might well have boasted, like Walt Whitman, “I am large. I contain multitudes.” Information on the Jack London Museum in Shreveport, Louisana, can be found at www.centenary.edu/english/ events/london.

UNBOUND

79


self published author

John Crawley The Perfect Food

E

ISBN: 978-1-312-51390-7 johncrawleybooks.com

ver since I got here, I have been on guard. What I eat, what I drink, what I breathe. It is scary as hell. Panic, I tell you. It was panic. You would have, too. You see you would have been awakened at night by that bump against the house. The dog barking at three in the morning. The sound of the pump action shot gun forcing a shell into the chamber. It was an alarm that we heard. You would have heard it, too. First a neighbor down the street. Or someone you went to church with or the lady who wore the netting around her shortcropped hair at the kids’ school cafeteria. They were dead. Just like that. Then a cop and a minister and the head of public works. Gone. From The Perfect Food by John Crawley, johncrawleybooks. com. Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.

80

FEBRUARY/MARCH 2015

cover story from cover designer Ted Karch

C

over development for The Perfect Food was as much the result of passion as design. Raised in an atmosphere of healthy eating, I’ve always been acutely aware of what’s in the food I eat, paying particular attention to added ingredients and processes that are often unhealthy and— sometimes—even dangerous. So when John approached me about designing the cover, I couldn’t wait to get started. My first objective was to find a photo (or, in this case, a collection of photos) that would convey a seemingly natural environment—a maturing field of corn drenched in sunlight— then incorporate details such as a stormy sky and dying corn stalks to create a final image that foreshadows the darker events revealed in the book. The final touch was to design a typographic solution for the title that would further reflect the book’s twists and turns. Thus the backward “f” in the word “perfect.” From a visual perspective, the modification looks good. But balance and symmetry aside, it’s still a defect.


JUNE/JULY 2012

BEACH READS

SURF, SUN AND

SUMMER

68

JUNE/JULY 2011

what to read next in independent publishing

SEPTEMBER 2010

AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2011

THE

Poetry After 9/11

what to read next in independent publishing

SEPTEMBER 2010

SEPTEMBER 2010

68

Street Photographer

IRAQ THE RETURN OF STEPHEN STARK

GEEK MYTHOLOGY

OCTOBER 2010

68

68

what to read next in independent publishing

SEPTEMBER 2010

NOVEMBER 2010

blows to the head

anti-twitter

speed vegan

SAMANTHA BEE 68

SEPTEMBER 2010

what to read next in independent publishing

68

SEPTEMBER 2010

what to read next in independent publishing

portland, oregon slut lulla bies

FEBRUARY 2011

THE ART OF CHARCUTERIE

KATRINA

THE GREAT FITNESS EXPERIMENT

BEFORE (DURING) AFTER

how they were found

ULYSSES SEEN

what to read next in independent publishing

68

SEPTEMBER 2010

JOA N JETT

TAXI DRIVER

Kael Alford

MIGRATION

SEPTEMBER 2010

what to read next in independent publishing

SEPTEMBER 2010

Canal House Cooking

sharon pomerantz

68

68

JANUARY 2011

PAM GRIER

the end of baseball

Essays on Madonna

DECEMBER 2010

RISING FROM

Detroit Disassembled

Laura Dern

RENAISSANCE READS

what to read next in independent publishing

SEPTEMBER 2010

TOWARDS ZERO ENERGY ARCHITECTURE

IDENTITY

The Enlightened

BOY SCOUT BOOKS

Portlandia’s Indie Bookstore

what to read next in independent publishing

SEPTEMBER 2010

FEBRUARY/MARCH 2012

Vivian Maier

LEGO Lit

Suitcase Books

Orange Prize Finalist Kathleen Winter 68

Novel ties Literary Tattoos

Ed Ruscha The L Life

DECEMBER/JANUARY 2012

INSIDE

AUTO

MOBILE

OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 2011

68

what to read next in independent publishing

máze MERIT BADGES

68

what to read next in independent publishing

SEPTEMBER 2010

what to read next in independent publishing

SEPTEMBER 2010

DECEMBER/JANUARY 2015

OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 2014

DORTHE NORS ELVIRA DONES CARMEN BOULLOSA

SHELF UNBOUND WRITING COMPETITION

AWARD WINNERS

1

SEPTEMBER 2010

what to read next in independent publishing

FEBRUARY/MARCH 2015

1

SEPTEMBER 2010

what to read next in independent publishing

APRIL /MAY 2011

APRIL /MAY 2012

KEVIN MORRIS JACK LONDON THE INSTAGRAM BOOK

SHORT STORY

SNAPSHOTS 1

SEPTEMBER 2010

what to read next in independent publishing

Check us out on Facebook and join the conversation!

JOH JOHNNY NNY CAS CASH H

create dangerously THE WARBLER ROAD

68

SEPTEMBER 2010

Chanel, Astaire, Lindbergh, and other Twenties somethings

what to read next in independent publishing

68

SEPTEMBER 2010

what to read next in independent publishing


poetry

“Gazelle in the House” by Lisa Williams A gazelle in the house means tender, breaking silence. An approach calibrating hesitation. Something held out in the hand. Something bitter, exactly toward a gazelle. You will bring things forward that are not of your world. You will push things back that seemed massive, fundamental—packed away, out of the path of a gazelle. Rooms must be cleared for the strands of her shadow, a thin frame on white walls. Let a gazelle determine it all. Enclosure means trespass. What looks open is. No thoughtless clarity. No space she cannot step into, butt to the width of her animal need. She will stray. Like a clock, her hooves mark crooked shifts on your floor. Her ears quake like tuned strings. From Gazelle in the House by Lisa Williams, New Issues Poetry & Prose. Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.

82

FEBRUARY/MARCH 2015


poetry

Excerpt from “The Red List: A Poem” by Stephen Cushman Endangerment’s foreplay en route to extinction often but not always. Ask the bald eagle, ridiculous nickname for that elegant hood rhymed with its tail, a matched set distinctive against distant spruce, white as the transit of pre-dawn Jupiter’s super-heated drop soldering sky plates to cement a meridian; ask the white hoods about last-minute comebacks, all but erased by really fine pesticide but now off the red list and suddenly nemesis to the gull population, herring or black-backed, whose chicks make good snacks during long days of fishing. Eagles increase, local gulls dwindle, till one day, who knows, Seeing an eagle skim low overhead, no bigger deal than seeing a crow, so what, who cares, the national bird, as in permit me to flip you the. From The Red List: A Poem by Stephen Cushman, Louisiana State University Press, lsupress.org. Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.

UNBOUND

83


on our shelf

HALL OF SMALL MAMMALS

T

R

BACKCHANNEL

ead carefully each word in Backchannel, for you are warned: “Every word in this poem is a dead body.” Doughnuts and young vegetables, couches and tables, heavy artillery, cobblestones, vibrators, swans, semiotics, cash registers, vegan vitamins, male desire, cosmic tulle. Read them, conscientious of their placement next to one another, noting nods of your head, mutterings and sighs. The poems in Backchannel create both call and response through quotidian excess and novelty. —Meagan Wilson, heavyfeatherreview.com Backchannel by Emily Skillings. Poor Claudia, poorclaudia.org. 84

FEBRUARY/MARCH 2015

here are few things I love more than a slightly offkilter short story collection in the vein of Karen Russell, Lucy Wood, and Margaret Atwood. The 12 stories in this collection verge on the surreal in the most delightfully profound ways. Thomas Pierce deftly weaves together the strange and the subtle, telling stories that are both slightly whimsical and deeply meaningful. I highly recommend this collection, and I can’t wait to see what Pierce does next. —Leah Mosher, booksspeakvolumes.com Hall of Small Mammals by Thomas Pierce, Riverbed Books, riverheadbooks.com.

THE OBSERVABLE CHARACTERISTICS OF ORGANISMS

R

yan MacDonald’s somewhat loosely interconnected stories (hello, Havershamp?) capture deceivingly small slices of life that leave rather large impressions on us. Not unlike quick little slaps to the face, the sting of his language is unexpected and his words linger behind like ghosts, filling up the spaces between what we read and what we feel in the hours that follow. —Lori Hettler, thenextbestbookblog. blogspot.com The Observable Characteristics of Organisms by Ryan MacDonald, FC2, fc2.org.


The Association of Independent Authors (AiA) is a global not-for-profit membership organization representing, advancing, supporting and encouraging self-published (independent) authors. Our membership spans five continents, with directors based in the USA, Asia, Australia and South Africa. The role of the AiA is to guide, educate, support, encourage and unite authors who have chosen to self-publish. Our Body of Knowledge (BoK) is a comprehensive resource on all aspects of selfpublishing and running a small business—today’s authors must understand the business side of publishing (sales, marketing, promotion, legal and financial issues) and how to sell a book in a global marketplace.

Our vision is that independent publishing will be the preferred, first choice, for all authors.

Our mission is to create a culture of excellence, teamwork and professionalism in a community environment where sharing and collaboration benefits each individual member and independent authors as a whole. Annual membership subscription (Associate, Member) US$50. Affiliate level is free. Come join us! (Mention promo code SHELF to receive an additional three months membership for the annual subscription of US$50.)

www.independent-authors.org


small press reviews Vs. Death Noises by Marcus Pactor

I

Subito Press subitopress.org

n the final story of Marcus Pactor’s Vs. Death Noises, a man discovers a single hair in his bathroom and obsesses over the shape it has taken. The problem, he realizes, is that geometry can’t solve his conundrum because geometric definitions are “concerned with perfect impossibilities” whereas the world we live in is “a world of approximations.” The human experience, in other words, only translates to “approximate forms, approximate phrasings, approximate feelings.” To put it another way, we’ll never communicate perfectly with one another. Something is always lost in the translation from the lived experienced to the written or spoken word no matter how hard we try. It’s a theme that Pactor explores throughout this collection in a way that allows him to explore the exquisite agony of the human condition. Simultaneously, Pactor strives to uncover the hidden emotions that make us human—and to shed light on species of pain and suffering that are frequently difficult to describe. Hence, perhaps, Pactor’s fondness for the downtrodden. As the stories in Vs. Death Noises all indicate, we’ll never achieve geometric perfection in our efforts at connecting with each other, but Pactor’s fiction offers hope that we can all find solace in trying. —Marc Schuster, www.smallpressreviews.wordpress.com

Shelf Unbound Contributing Editor Marc Schuster is the author of The Grievers, The Singular Exploits of Wonder Mom and Party Girl, Don DeLillo, Jean Baudrillard, and the Consumer Conundrum, and, with Tom Powers, The Greatest Show in the Galaxy: The Discerning Fan’s Guide to Doctor Who. He is the editor of Small Press Reviews, and his work has appeared in numerous magazines and journals. Marc teaches writing and literature courses at Montgomery County Community College in Blue Bell, Pennsylvania.

86

FEBRUARY/MARCH 2015


Self-publishing made simple— with the partner that puts authors first We know how hard it is to take a book all the way from an idea in your mind to a finished product in your readers’ hands. Which is why we believe you should have access to free world-class design tools that make book creation and design accessible to everyone. We think you should be able to publish a print and ebook at the same time, from the same file. And we believe you deserve to have a choice of global distribution options—including one that lets you keep every net dollar you earn.

Make your next book with a partner that puts authors first. Make it with Blurb. blurb.com


INSTA-GRAHAM

Peter Morton woke with a start to face the first light. Rain tapped against the glass. It was January the fifth. —from Graham Greene, in “The End of the Party”

88

FEBRUARY/MARCH 2015


february/march

contributors

KIM ADDONIZIO is the author of a previous story collection, In the Box Called Pleasure; two novels Little Beauties and My Dreams Out in the Street; five poetry collections; and two books on writing poetry. She recently collaborated with woodcut artist Charles D. Jones on My Black Angel: Blues Poems and Portraits. She has received numerous honors for her writing, including a Guggenheim Fellowship and two NEA Fellowships, and was a National Book Award Finalist in 2000. She lives in Oakland, CA and New York City and teaches private writing workshops in person and online. She plays harmonica with the word/ music group Nonstop Beautiful Ladies and volunteers for The Hunger Project, a global organization empowering the poorest people in the world to end their own hunger and poverty.

DAVE HOUSLEY’s work has appeared in Hobart, MidAmerican Review, Nerve, and elsewhere. If I Knew the Way, I Would Take You Home is Dave Housley’s third collection of short fiction. Commercial Fiction was published in 2013, and Ryan Seacrest is Famous was published in 2007. He is one of the co-authors of the book Four Fathers, to which he contributed the novella, “Evertyhing Worse, All the Time.” His work has appeared in Hobart, Mid-American Review, Nerve, Quarterly West, Wigleaf, Dzanc’s Best of the Web, and elsewhere. He’s one of the founding editors and fiction editors at Barrelhouse Magazine, and one of the co-founders and organizers of the Conversations and Connections writers’ conference. He lives with his wife and son in State College, Pennsylvania, where he geeks out about web sites for Penn State.

KAREN E. BENDER is the author of the novels Like Normal People and A Town of Empty Rooms. Her fiction has appeared in The New Yorker, Granta, Zoetrope, Ploughshares, Story, Harvard Review, The Iowa Review, and other magazines. Her stories have been anthologized in Best American Short Stories, Best American Mystery Stories, New Stories from the South: The Year’s Best, and have won two Pushcart prizes. She has won grants from the Rona Jaffe Foundation and the NEA. She is also co-editor of the anthology Choice: True Stories of Birth, Contraception, Infertility, Adoption, Single Parenthood, and Abortion. She has taught creative writing at Antioch University Los Angeles, the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, and Tunghai University in Taiwan. She lives in North Carolina with her husband, novelist Robert Anthony Siegel, and their two children.

EARLE LABOR is the official biographer of novelist Jack London and curator of the Jack London Museum in Shreveport. He is also Emeritus Wilson Professor of American Literature at Centenary College of Louisiana. KEVIN MORRIS’s writing has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, The Wall Street Journal, Filmmaker Magazine, and The Huffington Post. He is the producer of the classic documentary film “Hands on a Hardbody,” and a Tony award-winning co-producer of the Broadway musical “The Book of Mormon.” He is managing partner of the entertainment law firm Morris Yorn, which he founded in 1995.

MICHAEL COFFEY received a B.A. in English from the University of Notre Dame and an M.A. from Leeds University in Anglo-Irish Literature. After university, he moved to New York and began a career in publishing. He has authored three books of poems; a book about baseball’s perfect games; and co-edited a book about Irish immigration to America, which was a companion volume to the PBS documentary series The Irish in America. The former co-editorial director of Publishers Weekly, he divides his time between Manhattan and Bolton Landing, New York. The Business of Naming Things is his first work of fiction.

LAWRENCE SCOTT is a prize-winning Caribbean novelist and short-story writer who was born on a sugar estate in Trinidad. He has been short-listed for Commonwealth Writers’ prizes three times, twice nominated for the International Impac Dublin Literary Award, long-listed for the Whitebread Prize and the Booker Prize and was winner of the TomGallon Short-Story Award. His latest novel is Light Falling on Bamboo about the 19th century painter Jean Michel Cazabon. He has travelled extensively in the Caribbean and North and South America where he has lectured, read and talked about his work. Academic research has included the Golconda Research/Writing Project, a “public history” project which involved the recording and transcribing of oral histories from “The Sugar” in Trinidad. Leaving by Plane Swimming Back Underwater is his second short-story collection.

DALE HERD is the author of three short story collections: Early Morning Wind (The Four Seasons Foundation, 1972), Diamonds (Mudra, 1976), and Wild Cherries (Tombouctou, 1980). He currently lives in California.

Shelf Unbound is published bimonthly by Shelf Media Group LLC, 3322 Greenview Drive, Garland, TX 75044. Copyright 2015 by Shelf Media Group LLC. Subscriptions are FREE, go to www.shelfmediagroup.com to subscribe.

what to read next in independent publishing

Shelf Unbound February/March 2015  

Shelf Unbound indie book review magazine features the best of small press and independently published books. In this issue: Kevin Morris, Ja...

Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you