Abandoned Earth



THE BOOK: Abandoned Earth


THE AUTHOR: Linwood Rumney

THE EDITOR: I know it’s a cliche for writers to mention their spouses as editors, but in my case it’s true. My wife, Jessica Rae Hahn, is my first and last and best editor. She read individual poems in the manuscript more times than I could say, and she looked at the manuscript at least a half-dozen times.

THE PUBLISHER: Gival Press (http://www.givalpress.com/)

Linwood D. RumneySUMMARY: Abandoned Earth is informed by my upbringing in a working poor family in rural Maine and the transformation I underwent as a first-generation college graduate. A sense of location features prominently, as do themes of class and labor. The book works to connect local themes with a broader globalizing consciousness, and, as a result, class consciousness and ecological concerns also figure prominently.

THE BACK STORY: When poets put books together, there are two prominent approaches—poet as project developer and poet as curator. Project developer poets generally know beforehand what they want the final book to be about and work to write poems that reflect those considerations. Curator poets, on the other hand, tend to focus on individual poems, shaping the final book from a selection of poems written over a certain period of time.

Most works of poetry probably represent a balance of these two approaches, but I put Abandoned Earth together primarily as a curator, not a project developer. That’s a long way of saying I never really decided to write the book and few of the poems were written into my preconceived notion of what the book would be. It took shape over a long period of writing poems and trying to use those poems to form a manuscript. I wrote the first draft of the oldest poem in the book when I was 19, and I finished the newest poem in the book when I was 32. I am a restless writer, which means my interests tend to vary widely, and as a result I have explored an array of traditions and approaches to writing. In curating Abandoned Earth, the challenge became crafting a book of poetry that was thematically cohesive while reflecting a range of traditions.

WHY THIS TITLE?: The manuscript went through a number of different titles, as most manuscripts do. The other two major contenders were Three Dogs, which primarily calls attention to the eventual structuring of the book through three short lyric poems, and Shells and Strange, which is taken from “Rockland Harbor,” an elegy for my brother. Though I liked both titles, and some friends preferred those titles over Abandoned Earth, neither really seemed to capture the complexity of the work as a whole.

As I cycled through these titles and others, I always came back to Abandoned Earth because it seemed to be the title that could most speak to the many themes mentioned above. In some ways I think of the book as a Bildungsroman in poems. The title comes from the poem “Late Blossoms,” which is about the land of my childhood home–a defunct apple orchard in central Maine. In that sense, the title points toward the ambivalent experience of nostalgia, that we simultaneously yearn for the past even as we recognize, if we are being honest, that the past we yearn for is fantasy. We also have to recognize that our present has been nurtured by and limited by our past, what we are attached to as memory and experience and what we have to abandon in pursuit of what we want to achieve. Likewise, we must always contend with the threat of the past revisiting and destroying us.

So, on the one hand, the title alludes to these deeply personal themes, but I think for many, it also calls attention to the ecological and class themes that run through the book.

WHY WOULD SOMEONE WANT TO READ IT? Regardless of the tradition I am writing into or in response to, I value accessibility and music, and I hope these values are evident in the book as a whole. There’s also enough formal and stylistic variety in the book that there’s likely to be poems it to appeal to just about anyone, regardless of taste. The work includes short, restrained lyrics that play with syntax, as well as expansive narrative poems. There are strictly formal poems as well as absurdist prose poems. There are earnest poems about love, death, and suffering as well as humorous poems. I worked hard to organize the book into a coherent whole, so those who are interested in such things will find various narrative subtexts spanning the book.

REVIEW COMMENTS: “This wonderful first collection reveals Rumney as a poet of great tonal and formal range. It wields a poetics hewn from dull jackknives, unpolished stones, and harsh northeastern winters—as luminous and dangerous as the ice that breaks branches with its weight. Yet it also traverses warmer climates, startling with wry odes and candid wit, transforming every object of the mundane into “a startling and unlikely jewel.” — Danielle Cadena Deulen, author of Our Emotions Get Carried Away from Us,  winner of the Barrow Street Prize

“In Abandoned Earth, Linwood Rumney creates a world both menacing and comforting at once. While wide-eyed with wonder at life’s sorrows, joys and mysteries, he maintains an understated tone that enables him to relate even the strangest events with a measured and convincing voice. This beautifully written collection contains what few books of poetry manage: high spirits, a keen eye and, above all, an embracing wisdom.” —John Skoyles, Ploughshares Poetry Editor and author of Suddenly Its Evening: Selected Poems

“The poems in Linwood Rumney’s Abandoned Earth record a life measured in seasons and the lifespans of dogs. Through a childhood practicing pitches with overripe fruit and leveling water pistols at the sun, to the loves and losses of adulthood, Rumney catalogues the wildness that still has a will. In this book, beauty persists like a love story, a desire you can’t seem to shake or unlearn.” — Traci Brimhall, author of Our Lady of the Ruins, winner of the Barnard Women Poets Prize

AUTHOR PROFILE: I grew up in Maine and completed my undergraduate degree in Upstate New York, and then spent a few years wandering in the wildernesses of Boston before pursuing an MFA at Emerson. Eventually, I made my way to Cincinnati, where I completed a PhD a few years ago. I still live in Cincinnati and work at Union Institute & University, where I teach nontraditional students who are often older than me. One of my recent highlights is receiving a SOCHE Faculty Excellence Award through Union. I am currently working on my second manuscript of poetry, tentatively titled Discrepant Means. The title is taken from an essay by Montaigne about human vanity. The work explores a number of minor historical events and tragedies that have absurdist and tragic elements. I am also working on a translation of Aloysius Bertrand’s Gaspard de la nuit (Gaspard of the Night), often considered one of the first works of modern prose poetry.

SAMPLE POEMS: “Late Blossoms,” the poem the title is taken from, appears on my website, http://www.linwoodrumney.com/reading-room.html. Links to other poems published online, some included in Abandoned Earth and some from other projects, can also be found there, as well as some of my translations of Aloysius Bertrand.

WHERE TO BUY IT: Indiebound.org, and the usual suspects like Amazon and Barnes & Nobles

PRICE: around $15 for paperback or $8 as an ebook

CONTACT THE AUTHOR: http://www.linwoodrumney.com/contact.html



Kirby GannTHE BOOK: Ghosting


THE AUTHOR: Kirby Gann

THE PUBLISHER: Ig Publishing (Brooklyn, NY)

SUMMARY: A dying drug kingpin enslaved to the memory of his dead wife; a young woman torn between a promising future and the hardscrabble world she grew up in; a mother willing to do anything to fuel her addiction to pills; and her youngest son, searching for the truth behind his older brother’s disappearance, are just some of the unforgettable characters that populate Ghosting, Kirby Gann’s lush and lyrical novel of family and community, and the ties that can both bond and betray.

Fleece Skaggs has disappeared, along with drug dealer Lawrence Gruel’s reefer harvest. Deciding that the best way to discover what happened to his older brother is to take his place as a drug runner for Gruel, James Cole plunges into a dark underworld of drugs, violence, and long hidden family secrets, where discovering what happened to his brother could cost him his life.

A genre-subverting literary mystery told from the alternating viewpoint of different characters, Ghosting is both a simple quest for the truth—what exactly happened to Fleece Skaggs?—and a complex consideration of human frailty.

THE BACK STORY: I don’t know if I can rightly say I “decided” to write this novel so much as the characters demanded that I give them a proper stage to present their stories. The novel started from a vivid memory of being on the rooftop of an abandoned building one night when a nearby transformer caught fire, and watching it spark and burn. There seemed to be a certain mood to the image, and surprising details came to me in the writing, and it wasn’t very long before I thought, There’s a good story in this. For many months, I thought that’s what I was working on: a short story. But I kept discovering new facets of my characters, and they seemed to be so clear in my head—much of the writing honestly felt like I was describing people and situations transcribed from real experience. But very little of the book was.

This is the only project in which the voices of characters and their desires and fears presented themselves so clearly to me as I worked at creating them. It felt almost as though I was watching a film. That said, there were many dry spells when nothing seemed to work—as if the film burned out, you could say—and most of the writing I did in those times ended up on the cutting room floor. Then there would be a day in which everything came vividly to me again. I’ve been writing fiction for over twenty-five years, and the composition of Ghosting is the only time I’ve worked in this way. All told, with so many fits and starts and writing around the story rather than the story itself, the process took a bit over five years to complete.

Early on in the writing, my brother—older by a three years, and my only sibling—struggled against an aggressive form of leukemia for the better part of a year. Though there’s no cancer in the novel (not literally), and though our relationship in real life has nearly no crossover with that between the half-brothers Fleece and Cole, the loss of my brother and the painful frustrations of being part of his struggle influenced the tone, mood, even context of Ghosting in profound ways.

WHY THIS TITLE?: For a ready example of my brother’s influence: “ghosting” was a verb he had used, when we were teenagers, for going out at night and exploring abandoned buildings—of which, when I look back on that time, it seems our city had a great number of. “I’m going ghosting with my friends tonight,” he might say, and mention where. And this novel is rife with ghost-like figures and haunting resonances. The dictionary definition of the word describes it as the “faint double image on a screen” or the formulation of one, and this provides a ready metaphor Cole’s identity in relation to Fleece. In slang terms, “ghosting” refers to dropping out of touch with everyone without warning, and not responding to efforts at contact, and this idea fits the novel’s themes as well.

I entertained other titles for a while but kept returning to this one; it felt correct. Interestingly, when the publisher of the French translation was looking for a title that French readers would understand, they couldn’t find one that fit the book as well, either, and they finally ended up keeping this English word.

WHY WOULD SOMEONE WANT TO READ IT? It’s difficult to state what makes one’s own work unique among all the other work out there; it seems to me that should be the reader’s call. But what I tried to do, as I began to get a grasp on the story, was to play with a lot of the conventions and tropes of the mystery genre—even though the novel isn’t a mystery, per se. It lends itself to many of the pleasures you can get from a good mystery yet, hopefully, undoes or subverts many of its expectations. A challenge I stumbled upon: can you create a mystery plot in which the mystery at its heart is never clearly resolved, and still satisfy the reader? The characters are perpetually moving through enigmatic gray areas in which “the right thing to do” is never clear; whether someone is a good person or not isn’t a black-and-white category, either, which to me better reflects the realities of the world. Another challenge in the writing was to place the reader, by the novel’s end, in the same shoes as Cole finds himself in the novel’s beginning—that is, uncertain of the proper path forward, or what to confirm as truth or not.

Reading over that paragraph, I think it makes the novel sound more heady than it is on the page. But it is the kind of stuff I was thinking about while writing that thing.

Finally, what I’d like to believe makes the book unique is its language, from word choice to phrasing to sentence rhythms to metaphor. I work really hard at sentences, while also trying not to allow the style to get too precious. It’s the goal of any author to create a work that only that writer could create.

REVIEW COMMENTS: “Ghosting offers a high-low cocktail of lovely prose and cruel deeds . . . Gann populates his novel with darkly beautiful images: a car set alight in the yard of an abandoned seminary, a lightning strike on a transformer, a fence decorated with bleached bones viewed in day-bright moonlight. [The novel] assumes a strangely alluring ominous quality. Ghosting, fittingly, propels the reader along with a similar sense of anticipation. Its mysteries are its rewards.” —Keith Dixon, The New York Times Book Review

“Hillbilly noir as literary fiction of the first order.” —Kirkus Reviews

“[T]he characters are so fully realized—rooted in the land and veined with bad blood—and their motivations are complex and believable. Violent, bloody, and darkly beautiful, this is a fascinating novel depicting the seedy bottom of an America in decline.”

—Publishers Weekly

AUTHOR PROFILE: Ghosting was included in the “Best of Year” lists from Publishers Weekly and Shelf Awareness and a finalist for the Kentucky Book of the Year. I’ve published two other novels, The Barbarian Parade (2002), and Our Napoleon in Rags (2005). When I committed myself to writing nearly thirty years ago I would have guessed that by this point in my life there would be more than three novels to my name, but I’m just not one of those prolific author types, and can only scratch my head when faced with the work of those who are. Most recently my work has appeared in Ploughshares, Post Road, The Oxford American, and I’ve been focused on writing short stories ever since getting stuck on a novel a couple of years ago. I’d like to finish this story collection before either returning to that stuck-in-mud novel or maybe starting a new one.

For nearly eighteen years I held the position of managing editor at the independent literary press Sarabande Books, and now pursue freelance projects in book design, typesetting, editorial, and production management. I’m also on the fiction faculty in the brief-residency MFA in Writing Program at Spalding University. I live in Louisville, Kentucky, with my wife Stephanie, who is a horticulturist, and three dogs who can be quite demanding of one’s time.

SAMPLE CHAPTER: The first pages of the book can be accessed here:

LOCAL OUTLETS: Carmichaels Bookstore, Louisville, KY

WHERE ELSE TO BUY IT: Powells, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, etc.

PRICE: $13.75 (I think)

CONTACT THE AUTHOR: I’m always pleased to hear from readers. I have a website, kirbygann.net, where one can find links to pretty much everything out there having to do with my work, and there’s a “contact” option one can use to email me

Voyage of the Stingray

The Voyage of the Stingray by [Steinitz, Richard]TITLE: “The Voyage of the Stingray.”

AUTHOR: Richard Steinitz.


SUMMARY: The Voyage of the Stingray is a Nautical Adventure, full of surprises, suspense and intrigue. A new, top-secret type of submarine – USS Stingray (SSL 1001) – is being developed by the US Navy. Commander Jeff Woodbridge is given command of the SSL project after it broke its first captain and killed the next one! Assistance comes in the unlikely form of an MIT dropout sent to help them with their new electronic toys. Slowly the captain and crew learn how to use it and to take advantage of its special talents – small size, stealth and littoral (close to shore) operations.

Richard SteinitzNCIS is sent to investigate the death of the previous captain and discovers it is not an accident. Stingray is dispatched on Sudden Deployment, and sails on two hours’ notice – leaving part of the crew behind. The boat’s medical officer, Dr. Ellyn Gross, sails with her, contrary to Navy regs. In addition, an unintentional stowaway is found.

Stingray heads for the Middle East, takes on a SEAL team and heads for the Iranian coast.

THE BACK STORY: I have had a love affair with ships and the sea ever since I was ten years old! They have constituted a large part of my dreams, and my readings. ​It  took about 3-4 years in total to write the book​.

WHY WOULD SOMEONE WANT TO READ IT? ​ If you liked “Red October”, and if as a young person you liked the “Midshipman Hornblower” series, then you will want to read this book. Submarines, a stowaway, adventure on the high seas, cutting-edge technology,  murder and mayhem along the way — it has everything!


One ‘beta reviewer’ wrote: “Estimates for the coming year’s crop of new books reach as high as 1.7 million in the U.S. Some of these will be unreadable, a few will be authentic and inventive. The Voyage of the Stingray is one of those. A novel of  original concept, suspenseful plot, and compelling characters. I’ve read this novel three times, and I plan to read it again. Readers love surprises and The Voyage of the Stingray is a surprise from beginning to end. So, if you ever took the voyage on Nautilus with Jules Verne, you will love your undersea adventure aboard The Voyage of the Stingray, the new millennium’s stealth submarine. ”

The Voyage of the Stingray presents some interesting ideas on the design of futuristic submarines and how those ships might evolve into concepts of operations. Independent of the technology, the novel has a superlative plot, timely for the challenges of today’s world.” — Retired US Navy Captain and nuclear sub commander.

AUTHOR PROFILE: ​Born in NYC, have been living in Israel for 50 years now. ​I came to writing late in life (after age 50) and can’t seem to stop. This is my third book. My first two books were heavily influenced by where I live, and by who I am in terms of heritage, ancestry and cultural identity. The Voyage of the Stingray is pure fantasy, an attempt at fulfilling my dreams from an early age.

WHERE TO BUY IT: ​All Amazon sites.

PRICE: ​In the US – $3.95 for the Kindle edition, $11.95 for the paperback version​.

CONTACT THE AUTHOR: Amazon author page: https://www.amazon.com/author/richardsteinitzE-mail: Richard.Steinitz@gmail.com.

Website: http://richard0999.wix.com/richardsteinitz.

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/RichardSteinitzBooks

Twitter: https://twitter.com/RichardSteinitz

Weather Report, March 19

Image result for springtime photos free



The above picture is actually just a pleasant dream.

Based on the calendar, we are two days away from the first day of spring. Based on past experience, the folks where I live — the Northeast corner of Upstate New York  — are not only holding their breath, but seeing it in the air. Last night, it was 5 degrees.

With apologies to T.S. Eliot, April is not the cruelest month up here. That distinction belongs to March, where a 60-degree day can be followed by one that buries your car for a week.

And if it isn’t the cruelest, March is at least the most annoying. Around this time of year, winter becomes like an obnoxious drunk who refuses to leave a bar after last call,.

Still, in looking for literary quotes about springtime, I came across one attributed to “Ann of Avenlea” author Lucy Maud Montgomery: “That is one good thing about this world. … there are always sure to be more springs.”

Amen. Call a cab for Old Man Winter.

Meanwhile, we have a poetry collection and two novels — one by an Israeli author — to offer this week on Snowflakes in a Blizzard (snowflakesarise.wordpress.com).



A dying drug kingpin enslaved to the memory of his dead wife; a young woman torn between a promising future and the hardscrabble world she grew up in; a mother willing to do anything to fuel her addiction to pills; and her youngest son, searching for the truth behind his older brother’s disappearance, are just some of the unforgettable characters that populate Ghosting, Kirby Gann’s lush and lyrical novel of family and community, and the ties that can both bond and betray.

Fleece Skaggs has disappeared, along with drug dealer Lawrence Gruel’s reefer harvest. Deciding that the best way to discover what happened to his older brother is to take his place as a drug runner for Gruel, James Cole plunges into a dark underworld of drugs, violence, and long hidden family secrets, where discovering what happened to his brother could cost him his life.

A genre-subverting literary mystery told from the alternating viewpoint of different characters, Ghosting is both a simple quest for the truth—what exactly happened to Fleece Skaggs?—and a complex consideration of human frailty.


Linwood writes: “Regardless of the tradition I am writing into or in response to, I value accessibility and music, and I hope these values are evident in the book as a whole. There’s also enough formal and stylistic variety in the book that there’s likely to be poems in it to appeal to just about anyone, regardless of taste. The work includes short, restrained lyrics that play with syntax, as well as expansive narrative poems. There are strictly formal poems as well as absurdist prose poems. There are earnest poems about love, death, and suffering as well as humorous poems. I worked hard to organize the book into a coherent whole, so those who are interested in such things will find various narrative subtexts spanning the book.”


A new, top-secret type of submarine – USS Stingray (SSL 1001) – is being developed by the US Navy.  Commander Jeff Woodbridge is given command of the SSL project after it broke its first captain and killed the next one! Assistance comes in the unlikely form of an MIT dropout sent to help them with their new electronic toys. Slowly the captain and crew learn how to use it and to take advantage of its special talents – small size, stealth and littoral (close to shore) operations.

NCIS is sent to investigate the death of the previous captain and discovers it is not an accident!

Stingray is dispatched on Sudden Deployment, and sails on two hours’ notice – leaving part of the crew behind. The boat’s medical officer, Dr. Ellyn Gross, sails with her, contrary to Navy regs. In addition, an unintentional stowaway is found.

Stingray heads for the Middle East, takes on a SEAL team and heads for the Iranian coast









The Trench Angel

The Trench Angel by [Gutierrez, Michael Keenan]



THE BOOK: The Trench Angel.


THE AUTHOR: Michael Keenan Gutierrez.

THE EDITOR: Lisa Graziano.

THE PUBLISHER: Leapfrog Press.

SUMMARY: The Trench Angel is set 1919 in Colorado and follows Neal Stephens, a newspaper photographer just back from the War. We follow Neal through a week of coal strikes, a murder, and memories of his long lost wife who was presumed dead during the war. He also has to deal with the re-emergence of his father, an anarchist, who abandoned Neal as a boy. The book is part mystery, part political novel, part dark comedy. It touches on issues of class, race, and how communities shape who we become for good and ill.

THE BACK STORY: The initial spark came from a professor in my grad program, Heather Cox Richardson. She’s a great historian and her books are always worth checking out. In any case, she said, “No one has written a good novel about an anarchist.” That’s what got me started. I saw Neal’s dad pretty early on. He’s one of the few characters from that first draft that stuck around. Eventually the book became less about him and more about his son, but he looms throughout as this trickster figure.

The book took eight years or so to write. At one point it was 450 pages long and had multiple points of view. By the tenth or eleventh draft I switched it first person. That took care of a lot of the book’s problems, namely long sections of pretty boring prose. It also helped me figure out the voice: retrospective, profane, and rooted in a sort of gallows humor that helps temper some of the more horrific events in the novel.

WHY THIS TITLE?: The title refers to the name of a photograph in the book. It ties together the two sections of the novel: the war and its aftermath. It also is used by the narrator as a way to re-construct history. It’s basically a lie, but one that keeps him alive. For a while, the book was called The Anarchist’s Son. It’s probably a better title. It’s certainly sexier. But it also wasn’t honest about what the book was about, since the narrator’s identity has little to do with his father. On the other hand, I sometimes regret not picking it. It might have helped with sales.

WHY WOULD SOMEONE WANT TO READ IT? The book moves, I hope, in the best sense of the term. I wanted to touch on the usual literary goals—well-developed characters and substantive themes—but I also wanted it to be funny and engrossing. If you like mysteries or history or just hanging out with some strange folk trying to make sense of the world coming undone before them, you’ll dig it.

REVIEW COMMENTS: “The novel’s unfiltered lens reveals war’s cost to the human psyche, the amorality of concentrated wealth, the cancer of racial and ethnic hatred, and the nearly unresolvable conflict between familial loyalty and moral responsibility.”—Kirkus

“An inherently absorbing and exceptionally well crafted novel from beginning to end, “The Trench Angel” showcases the extraordinary storytelling talents of author Michael Keenan Gutierrez.”–Midwest Book Review

“As Cormac McCarthy did with his Border Trilogy and Blood Meridian, Gutierrez is remapping the American West as a realm where easy dichotomies are nowhere to be found.”–North Carolina Literary Review

AUTHOR PROFILE: I started out wanting to be a journalist, working at newspapers back home in Los Angeles. This was in 2000, right as the Internet was killing daily papers but before anyone figured out how to make money off the web. From there I wandered the country for a few years, working odd jobs, before turning to fiction. That’s one version of the story. The other is that I was afraid to admit for a long time that I really wanted to be a novelist. I’d always wanted to write. Journalism felt [back then] like a practical way to do that. Writing novels for someone from a working class background seemed too fantastical, the providence of rich people. So I didn’t start seriously writing fiction until I attended the University of New Hampshire for my MFA. I was 26. After graduating I taught at the University of Miami and the University of Houston, before settling for the last six years at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. I also managed to get married and help produce a son along the way. Right now, I’m finishing up a second novel that follows a family-owned bar over fifty years. AUTHOR COMMENTS: I began this book back in 2006 when we were in the midst of the Iraq War. It struck me then—and even more so now—that I had no idea why we were in this war. This is what led me back to World War I, another conflict where the cause was unclear, or at least unclear for the people dying. The people starting a war always know their motives. Like most literary, historical novelists, I use the past to talk to the present: World War I, like the Iraq War, was about greed and folly. I wanted to have that conversation with my readers.

SAMPLE CHAPTER: You can look on Amazon or Goodreads for a sample of the opening chapter: https://www.amazon.com/Trench-Angel-Michael-Keenan-Gutierrez/dp/1935248715/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

LOCAL OUTLETS: Flyleaf Books in Chapel Hill, NC, The Mysterious Bookshop in Manhattan, The Tattered Cover in Denver.

WHERE ELSE TO BUY IT: Amazon, Barnes & Noble PRICE: $16.95 CONTACT THE AUTHOR: People can get in touch via my website: http://www.michaelkeenangutierrez.com

Empire of Glass

Empire of Glass by [Solimine, Kaitlin]THE BOOK: Empire of Glass.


THE AUTHOR: Kaitlin Solimine.

THE EDITOR: Robert Lasner.

THE PUBLISHER: Ig Publishing: A New York-based press devoted to publishing original and award-winning literary fiction and political and cultural nonfiction.

Kaitlin SolimineSUMMARY: Called a “gorgeous experimental work,” by BookRiot, this novel examines the unlikely relationship between an American homestay student in Beijing and her Chinese host family. In the mid-1990s, the American teenager, named Lao K, stands on Coal Hill in Beijing, a loop of rope in her hand. Will she assist her Chinese homestay mother, Li-Ming, in ending her life, or will she choose another path? Twenty years later, Lao K receives a book written by Li-Ming called “Empire of Glass,” a narrative chronicling the lives of Li-Ming and her husband, Wang, in pre and post-revolutionary China. Lao K begins translating the story, which becomes the novel we are reading. But, as translator, how can Lao K separate fact from fiction, and what will her role be in the book’s final chapter?

Chronicling the seismic changes in China over the last half century through the lens of one family’s experiences, Empire of Glass is an investigation into the workings of human memory and the veracity of oral history that pushes the boundaries of language and form.

THE BACK STORY: I lived in China in the mid-90s with a family with whom I grew very close. Over the course of the next decade, and as I became a substitute mother figure to my Chinese host sister, I questioned what this relationship meant personally but also set within the wider context of US-China relations and history. I felt there was a narrative within this worth delving into and examining in a fictional story so I could experiment with both form and point of view. The entire process (from research to book published and on shelves) took just over 10 years (I know!). It was a decade during which I was learning how to write and also, more specifically, how best to write this story and what structure suited the characters and the overall themes of inheritance, translation, cross-cultural communication, and historical memory.

WHY THIS TITLE?: For a long time, the book was called “The Soap Tree,” after a type of tree prevalent in the protagonist Lao Wang’s hometown (and because in an earlier draft, there’s a romantic scene beneath the tree integral to that plot—for anyone curious to read an early draft of the novel, here’s an excerpt published in 2010!). When that plotline was abandoned, the title didn’t fit. About 5 years into the writing of the novel, I was editing a draft when I read this line: “His father: the farmer’s son who learned a trade as best he could, who built from wide country hands a quiet empire of

glass, now living alone, impoverished, in his hometown’s granary, sleeping beside well-fed rats and cockroaches.” I knew immediately that “Empire of Glass” was the new title and that it perfectly summarized so many thematic elements of the novel, not only that of Chinese imperial history, but also the multiple lenses and narrative refractions.

WHY WOULD SOMEONE WANT TO READ IT? I’ve been deeply grateful for the multitude of readers who have shared with me their experiences of reading Empire of Glass, from those reading in English as a second language to those who’ve never left the United States. I think every reader will bring to the work their own lenses and thus will read the book based on their own background—e.g., for a Chinese-American friend who grew up in China, he found the historical sections to be deeply painful to relive; for a book club in upstate New York, the history and setting in China was inspiring and unknown. At its core, I hope that the novel asks readers to question their own relationship with History (capital “H”) as well as with their own cultural and personal biases that impact both their personal and social worlds. At the same time, I was deeply inspired by working with the multiple layers of perspective, as well as researching poetry by the somewhat esoteric Han Shan (Cold Mountain) and histories of the Korean War that are widely unknown by modern day Americans (e.g., that the U.S. ran bombing missions over Northeastern China). I hope that the novel also allows readers to experience fiction in a new way—the ability to read the narrative however they like and thus potentially even experience multiple readings at once. REVIEW COMMENTS:

National Book Award and PEN/Faulkner Finalist, Sarah Shun-Lien Bynum: “A bold and luminous book, a novel that captures the great upheavals of history and the smallest fissures in family life with equal attention, intimacy, and insight.”

An Amazon reviewer: “This was a beautiful – uncomfortable – and ultimately dazzling work. As a Chinese American, I felt at home as I read: inhabiting a home that was at once familiar yet surreal. Beautiful, sad, tragic and sublime. Fantastic work.”

Publisher’s Weekly: “Empire of Glass… is a complex, lyrical, and unsparing revelation about the old and new China and the hardships faced by an ordinary Chinese couple who survived Mao’s cultural revolution.”

Jennifer Cody Epstein, author of The Painter From Shanghai, in Amherst’s The Common: “I remain haunted by the masterpiece I sense lies beneath [the novel’s] glittering reimaginings, reconfigurings, and re-reflections.”

AUTHOR PROFILE: Kaitlin Solimine once performed on Chinese national television in a hideous yellow dress and spent a summer traveling alone throughout China’s Dongbei region as contributor to the formerly-indispensible (now replaced by the Internet) travel guide, Let’s Go: China. Raised in New England, she has considered China a second home for almost two decades. While majoring

in East Asian Studies at Harvard, she was a Harvard-Yenching scholar and, for a season, the youngest member of the Varsity lightweight crew team. She is co-founder of the academic media platform, Hippo Reads, and after spending a few years in Singapore, now resides in San Francisco with her husband and daughter where she was a 2016 SF Writers Grotto Fellow. She is associate producer of the groundbreaking childbirth documentary, These Are My Hours. Her debut novel, Empire of Glass, was named a Finalist for the Center for Fiction’s First Novel Prize. She is grateful to have read sections from the novel at places as critically important as indie bookstores Powell’s and Newtonville Books, as lovely as Madrid’s Desperate Literature and Berkeley Books of Paris, and as far flung as Singapore’s International Literary Festival.

AUTHOR COMMENTS: My novel started with a very small, intimate premise: rewrite my relationship with China and my Chinese host family. But what started small grew into an investigation of cultural inheritance and appropriation, of attempting a new understanding of literary fiction’s potential, and of an unexpected literary career. Writing is often a very solitary pursuit but I was lucky to connect, through the research for this novel, with a number of deeply impactful individuals including the Chinese artist Zhang Dali, as well as a slew of impressive female writers like Xu Xi, Vanessa Hua, Heidi Durrow, Natashia Deon, Kirstin Chen, Yang Huang, Hasanthika Sirisena, Val Wang, Sarah Shun-lien Bynum, and many, many more. In this journey, I’ve lost mentors who were early and avid supporters of my work—Les Plesko and Gene Cooper, you are deeply missed. I’m grateful I can now connect with readers on stories of their own cross-cultural experiences and relationships, as well as travels that have inspired their lives.

SAMPLE CHAPTER: In LitHub and Newfound Review.

LOCAL OUTLETS (SF Area): Green Apple, Booksmith, Napa Bookmine.

WHERE ELSE TO BUY IT: Ig Publishing: http://igpub.com/empire-of-glass/ IndieBound: https://www.indiebound.org/book/9781632460554 Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Empire-Glass-Kaitlin-Solimine/dp/1632460556 Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/empire-of-glass-kaitlin-solimine/1124727043.

PRICE: $16.95 (retail paperback), $10.99 (Kindle).

CONTACT THE AUTHOR: Email: hello@kaitlinsolimine.com Twitter: @letsgokato Facebook:https://www.facebook.com/solimineauthor/ Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/soliminewriter/ Website: kaitlinsolimine.com


Aftershock by [Bentley, Tom]THE BOOK: Aftershock

: 2018

  Tom Bentley

THE EDITOR: (He squirms.) Me. I have been an editor of fiction and nonfiction for many years, and despite knowing better, edited this myself. Many times over.

THE PUBLISHER: The Write Word Publishing. (Me again.)

SUMMARY: A scheming would-be novelist, his prim, closet-alcoholic boss and a discerning homeless veteran have their fates thrown together by the 1989 S.F. earthquake. The distinct first-person voice of the schemer, and that of the homeless veteran and the secret alcoholic make for an at times rollicking, at times sad collision of lives. Their interplay is disastrous, surprising, and richly human. Through the fragile fault lines of these rocky relationships runs humor, loss and longing for connection.

I wrote the story because I lived in San Francisco at the time of the quake, and had quake-related experiences with people who became models for certain aspects of the main characters. Other characters were built out of whole cloth as the story moved. Also, San Francisco itself is a rich setting for fiction. The circumstances called out to be made into a coherent novel.

: The aftershocks of the quake are within and between the main characters.

WHY WOULD SOMEONE WANT TO READ IT? The earthquake and its damages are a frame for the emotional damage of the three primary characters. One is a blithe joker who is insecure in his art, one a respected businesswoman who feels lost to her father, and one a military veteran whose alcoholism lost him to his family and himself. Those all sound like downers (and they are) but the interplay between these characters—characters who never would have come together in these ways without the quake—are often hilarious. Except when they’re not. There’s a lot of San Francisco in the book, including the city’s beauties, and how the AIDS crisis affects a secondary character. Even the Bronte sisters get their moments.

REVIEW COMMENTS: No reviews yet; it was released on March 10

AUTHOR PROFILE: Tom Bentley is a fiction writer, business writer and editor, essayist, and travel writer. (He does not play banjo.) He’s published hundreds of freelance pieces—ranging from first-person essays to travel pieces to more journalistic subjects—in newspapers, magazines, and online. His book on finding and cultivating your writer’s voice, “Think Like a Writer: How to Write the Stories You See” was published in 2015. He would like you to pour him a Manhattan right at five.
AUTHOR COMMENTS: I’m far from a therapist, but there is a lot of “family members cluelessly injuring the psyches of each other” in here, and some elliptical ways that those injuries can be healed. There’s also some awkward sex that might make you laugh out loud. (At least I hope you won’t cringe.)


Chapter 1

 I was thinking about my Studebaker when the quake hit. Though it’s not exactly a showstopper, it’s a ’63 Lark, and pretty sweet. The Studey was on my mind because a moment before the building went bonkers I’d been looking at Diana’s legs. She was wearing one of those napkin-sized skirts she sometimes wears and her legs are all the way up to there anyway. I always try not to stare—I’ve perfected this method of looking off in a fake distracted way and then flicking my eyes back. I can get away with zeroing in on her without getting caught, I think. It was almost quitting time, and I wasn’t paying much actual attention to anything.

So there I was standing in my cubicle holding some papers and Diana was standing at the copy machine in that skirt and I was thinking that maybe if those Nazi mechanics of mine would fix that problem on the Studey, this time I could finally ask Diana out without worrying that my car would stall at a light and maybe leave us in the Tenderloin without wheels and me looking like Doofus Number One. And then the quake hit.

I felt it in my stomach first, a kind of squeezy uncomfortable feeling, like riding on one of those old centrifugal-force carnival rides where you lean against a wall on a spinning, circular platform, and then the floor drops away while you spin faster, pinning you to the wall in an awful, verge-of-nausea way. I never liked those rides, really, but I would always ride ’em when I could. You can’t be smart all the time.

So my stomach did a couple of pirouettes before I really even knew what was going on and then the floor started moving in a real greasy way, a kind of sliding, humping, fucked-up kind of way, and I was finally clued in that it was an earthquake—and that it was a big one. There seemed to be a second wave that had more kick than the first and then the building really stepped onto the dance floor. It swayed big-time, and I mean swayed like you’ve downed ten tequila shooters and slapped yourself in the temple with an unabridged dictionary. My heart was now hammering like a trapped animal was inside.

Now it’s not like I’m a quake virgin or anything. I’m a California boy all the way, and have been through more than a couple shakers in my thirty-plus, including one in the 70s when I was staying in Santa Barbara where I watched a nearby hillside seem to turn to liquid—but that was just my eyes jiggling. And since I’d moved to San Francisco, I’d felt the earth skip a beat more than a couple of times. I’ve always sort of liked it—the land stretching its legs a bit and all. And now it was almost the 90s, and there hadn’t been a real big bumper for a while. But this was different.

Different because Consolidated Leasing—yeah, that’s where I work; could a business name be any more lame?—is on the eighth floor of a new building on the edge of downtown, and it’s built to flex in a quake—and man was it flexing. But different yet, because even with the flex, even with me having rocked and rolled through my share of quakes, this shaker seemed special right from the get-go.

A jolt punched me into the edge of my cubicle, and I hit the corner about armpit height, hard, and then I stumbled to one knee. Though I pretty much forgot about scoping Diana, she was still right in front of me and I saw that she was clutching the sides of the copying machine with both arms, a love-death grip. From my angle it looked like the machine was actually lifting into the air a little, but maybe that’s because I wasn’t exactly the Rock of Gibraltar myself. Also from my angle I saw that her little skirt had hiked up even further so that I could see where the thighs of those fine legs moved right up into that round rump, which was covered by red panties. I filed that away in one of those micro-seconds because it’s really no time for my standard lech act, considering that the office was in a state of total pandemonium, and I’m not completely convinced that the entire building wasn’t going to go kablooey right down onto Market Street. I tried to shout something out to Diana, but it came out like a strangled little bark.

Cubicles playing bumper cars with each other doesn’t give me a lot of confidence. Since our building was getting so loosey-goosey, and we were on the top floor, office goods were really starting to scoot around with each pendulum swing of the building. Two of the tallest filing cabinets toppled with a huge crash, but I could barely hear that because of the shouts and screams that were ricocheting around the office. After I’d righted myself a little using my cubicle wall, the next round of building flexing took my monitor tumbling off my desk, and it exploded on impact. The novel! My novel, the only damn thing that’s seemed real to me in the last year, was on that computer. What if it was trashed too?

When I whirled around to check out the computer itself, another tremor hit that seemed to run sideways from the direction of the first. I was plunked right down in the aisle between the cubicle rows so that I sort of fell on my back and my butt, with my legs a little in the air. That gave me a splendid view of some of the plasterboard roof panels of the acoustic ceiling above, which were now deserting the roof in droves and diving to the floor. I had to get out—fast—but I felt like I was moving in slow motion. The novel, damn. The building—double-damn!

I sprang up, but was staggered by a rolling motion of the building. I was kind of half-crouching, half crab-walking my way across the office because there were so many toppled things on the floor, and so much noise and dust. I couldn’t see or hear anyone who seemed actually injured, but I wasn’t sure. I was scared, very scared, and I could barely focus. I had to jump over the most egregious example of wretched corporate art that the office possessed (on a lease, of all things), which had fallen to its deserved death off the wall. It had been pierced by the weird sharp-edged desk lamp that one of the graphic artists had brought in to try and prove that she wasn’t a corporate drone. I had a fleeting thought that I hadn’t appreciated her creativity before. But no time for thoughts.

At least six people were crowded into the office’s open double-doorway, seeking wall-joint strength like good Californians should. Unfortunately for them, that was also the primary office exit, leading to the elevators and staircases and what seemed now to be an impossibly long flight away from a building that was still rumbling like it was moving to a good belly laugh.

The bulk of the office populace was now pouring toward those open double doors, where that half-dozen of the first mad scramblers had fled. I was moving with the pour, in fact, kind of pulling on the shoulder of a guy in front of me for momentum, as the floors and walls did another little tango. The doorway people were half-crouching, some with arms entangled, all leaning on the person next to them, all wide-eyed and open-mouthed. They looked so scared that I had a new gut-clench of fear.

The doorway crew didn’t intend to abandon their protected place in the doorway, but those intentions had to negotiate with those of the half-crazed stream of souls coming toward them who had no intention of remaining in the building. I glanced back at the cubicles, seeing two people from payroll standing wall-eyed in the aisle, while a rivulet of a toppled Sparkletts bottle trickled between them toward me. When I turned back to continue for the door, my boss Megan was standing in front of me.

In front of me doesn’t quite explain it though. When I turned back toward Megan, I was wearing her like an apron, since I had turned holding both my arms out from my waist and she had moved with her arms up and forward toward me. Since she’s about a foot shorter than me, just in turning around I ended up involuntarily clasping her to my chest, which surprised us both.

I grabbed her by the shoulders and screamed “Megan!” which was all I could manage. My ante was too high for her, however—she couldn’t even speak. We’ve all heard that phrase “white as a ghost.” Just another phrase that’s lost its elastic—but Megan brought a rich new meaning to a poor phrase.

I didn’t have time to think this, but just absorbed it: She was drained of color, paste-white, a fully credible white that would never pretend to be the pallor of a living being. But I did detect a little pinkness in the center of her face: her tongue, usually as discreet as all of Megan’s doings, now blatant because she was unable to engage it to make conversation. It rested limp on the bottom of her widely open mouth. Behind the heavy black horn-rims of her Elvis Costello glasses, Megan’s bright blue eyes shrieked the words her tongue couldn’t manage.

I did a little pas de deux with her in the aisle, spinning her by the shoulders toward the exit. In thinking of it afterward, I longed for a video: my formidable boss, always cordial but always reserved, impenetrable and boss-like, spun like an addled child and pointed toward the door. “I think we should get out,” I said in as manly of a voice I could muster. But I was feeling some panic; my heart hadn’t let up, and for a second the pounding made me think I was having a heart attack.

We were near the tail end of the crowd moving through the doorways. The first human wall of resistance clinging to the entryway had been breached—and like bowling pins, most had scattered, choosing the staircase path preferred by the bulk of those in flight. Probably two minutes, three at most had passed since the initial shock hit, and the building still seemed to be reverberating, though I couldn’t judge time or the trembling with any accuracy.

I shepherded Megan past the lone doorway holdout, Squink from Accounting. He was gripping the doorsill with both hands, his eyes wet and dreamy as we went by. It was lucky I had Megan to tend, because that responsibility calmed my brimming panic.

“Squink, better head down. Maybe the worst of it’s over,” I said as we passed him. I thought I was getting the hang of this whole leadership-in-a-crisis thing, what with Megan acceding to every tiny pressure of my arm, and me feeling like most everything’s in control. It was only when my knees buckled at the first staircase step that I realized that my whole body was slightly quivering, and that I had lost that fine motor control needed for precise movement.

I grabbed the handrail to steady myself, though Megan, in full zombie mode, didn’t notice my stumble. At that moment, she might not have noticed if I had a long scaly tail and flippers. We merged into a mass of semi-orderly building deserters, moving haltingly down the staircases mostly three abreast. I saw Diana ahead of us, looking back with an alarmed look and then lurching forward. My crew, Silvie and Crenshaw, was ahead of her—I could see Silvie throw her arms up while she talked to Crenshaw as they descended. She had a characteristic way of flinging her arms about; she always wore about twenty bangles and wrist bracelets on each arm that clicked and clattered when she jostled them. I was glad to see they were both all right.

The only person I could see that had an injury was Mr. McManus, the portly Vice President, who had a pretty good gash on his forehead, against which he held a bloody handkerchief. There was a lot of tangible tension going down the stairs, which was a process less than brisk. “What if there’s another quake? We’re going to get squashed here!” someone said. “God, I wonder what my house looks like? I just put all this decorative glass on shelves in my living room,” somebody else answered. “Goddamn. I thought the whole goddamn building was going down! The whole damn thing!” said one of the lawyers, who’d just come into the office before it hit. I had a strong urge to push everyone out of my way and rush down the stairs. Calm down, I said to myself. But I was anything but calm.

We came to the seventh-floor landing, where we met a surge of employees from the big insurance firm that worked there. I could see a couple of women who were crying, and several people who looked disheveled and shaken up, but no major injuries. An older man in a suit was standing on the side of the stairwell saying over and over, “Just move slowly and watch out for your neighbor. It’s OK, move slowly down and watch out for your neighbor.”

Just a few steps ahead someone I didn’t know had a portable radio pinned to his ear. “Seven-point five! They’re saying seven-point five, and major damage in the City. Big fires in the Marina. Not certain where it actually hit yet.” We were slowing way down on the stairs as we came in contact with people emptying out of the sixth-floor offices. People were getting more anxious, pushing a little, and I could see a big guy ahead of us trying to force his way through. I felt a strong pressure in my gut, and tried to push back against it. But when I looked down at Megan, she looked weirdly calm. Some color had started to come back into her face.

“Megan, are you feeling better? You OK?”

She turned to me and nodded and softly said, “Yes.” Her eyes still looked as if their owner was off vacationing, but at least she resembled the upright—if not uptight—boss that I reported to that morning. I turned into a bit of a robot myself after that, just moving kind of numbly with the crowd, listening to people speculate on what had happened, the fear squeezing their voices. But I kept jerking a bit as I went down the stairs—as we walked, it felt like there were more aftershocks, but I think my body might have been having little fear spasms. I couldn’t tell.

A picture of my house on fire zipped through my mind. Sure, it was a rental, so it’s not my house, but it had been hard enough finding the place after I left Santa Cruz in such a hurry a year before. It’s a big Victorian, with a huge bay window in the Lower Haight. I hoped Drew, my housemate, hadn’t been standing in front of that window debating his next decorating move. We hadn’t lost any windows in our office, but I was plenty worried that big old house wouldn’t have flexed quite like our spiffy new building.

It might have been thirty, forty minutes to get down to the lobby—it seemed like hours. Then, suddenly, we burst out onto Market Street. The noise was the first shock. The combined sounds—shouts, crashes, horns, machine noises, police sirens—hit with a physical impact, so that I ducked a little when I stepped out onto the street. It was pandemonium. I felt terrified all over again. The street and sidewalks were teeming with people, some milling about, some standing alone, many walking in waves up and down Market.

Traffic was completely stopped, with some cars left at odd angles in the middle of the street. I saw an empty Muni bus almost sideways, straddling both lanes with its door open. There was smashed glass all over the place, much of it from sidewalk-level storefront windows. Police cars were parked or in movement in all directions. I saw water gushing over a low rooftop wall and down the front of a nearby five- or six-story building onto the sidewalk below. Then I watched an ambulance pull up on the sidewalk of the building right next to ours and spill out its attendants, who rushed inside. I could hear sirens near and far. I noticed the big office building right across the street—it had thick white smoke pushing out of broken windows on the third floor. It was madness. I was breathing very fast, in short gulps and gasps.

People from our office had gathered in a loose circle on the sidewalk edge and in the street, trying to decide what to do. One of the sales guys was trying to get people to go to the Gnome’s Hat, a dive bar around the corner, but nobody was listening. I thought I should try to call Drew at the house, but the only phone in sight had six or seven people crowded around it. I spun around in a small circle, looking up and down the street, and at my fellow workers, who didn’t seem to be able to put a plan of action together. Silvie and Crenshaw stood off to the side, Silvie waving her arms and Crenshaw sucking on a cigarette with fierce concentration.

Then I noticed Megan staring at me. Though her complexion was returning to normal, she still looked stricken. She looked at me steadily for a moment and then said, slowly, in a tight-throated way that made her words croak a bit, “Hayden, I would greatly appreciate if you would walk me to my apartment. I’m feeling quite ill.” She fluttered her arm toward my shoulder, and briefly rested it there and then she looked away. I thought I could see her trembling a little.

“Well, that’d probably be OK, Megan. I’ll just try and call my place from your house—I’m a little worried because it’s an old building.” I tried not to smile too broadly when I said, “I’m glad to see you’re getting some blood back—your face was the color of printer paper up there.”

She touched one of her earlobes, covering one of her tiny pearl earrings. “Well, that’s probably true. This is my first earthquake, and I’d like the number to stop there.” She looked out at the crazed street scene and shuddered a little. “At the moment, I think I’d take the peril of Boston drivers over San Francisco earthquakes hands down.”

Megan had come to Consolidated from Boston only two years before. She’d been an editor there, but also (because it was a small company) the Traffic Manager or some such ungodly title at a small boutique publisher in Boston, routing manuscripts, messages, contracts and communications through that office and across that quadrant of the East Coast’s literary world. She did have all kinds of exchanges with agents and name authors, but that didn’t count much at Consolidated. But damn, that contract work did: Now she ensured that leases had signatures, executives had quarterly reports and that meetings had 100% attendance. Consolidated leaned on her small frame with a vengeance, but she never seemed to be caught with a contract—or a sandy-blond hair—out of place.

First things first—get off of Market Street. I knew Megan lived somewhere on Taylor in Russian Hill, so I figured we’d walk up to California and maybe move north on Stockton, skirting Chinatown. I knew that would first take us through some of the big-boy buildings in the financial district, but I didn’t want to flank the Embarcadero—I’d remembered that big waves can follow an earthquake, and though that seemed pretty unlikely in the Bay, I’d always had a strong fear of drowning. Megan still seemed only semi-coherent, so I just gestured the way with a pointing index finger up the street, and we moved through the chaos. I kept looking up at the tops of the buildings, expecting something to fall on us.

We started walking up to where California hits Market and I saw Leg Man, in his usual spot, not far from Consolidated. I saw him almost every morning, since he set up shop near the coffee stand where I regularly fueled up. Leg Man was a homeless guy, or at least he looked like a homeless guy, and like many of the homeless on Market, he had a regular spot where he plied his trade. The ways the homeless folks hit you up for dough on Market Street varied: some would try a story on every passerby, walking with you a bit to fast-talk a dollar. Some had crude or artistic signs with jokes on them—“Homeless man needs money for college and beer,” or sad descriptions of their plight. Others would just sit slumped on the sidewalk, not looking at the masses moving by, maybe with a plastic cup to take any donations.

Leg Man was different. Leg Man had an artificial leg that he set up on the sidewalk, and at the top of the leg, a little above the knee, there was a little platform and connecting bracket. He’d position a small metal can there for people to drop money in. He usually stood stock-still back off the sidewalk from his leg—he didn’t seem to need the leg to stand—looking at everyone passing by, a small scowl on his face. He was late forties, maybe fifty, black, a big, stocky guy with a small afro of wild, graying hair. Today, amidst the madness, his leg was next to him against the storefront wall he normally leaned against. He undoubtedly knew that pickings would be slim on a day when the entire City was upside-down.

I gave him a nod, and his eyes tightened a bit, but otherwise, he gave me no acknowledgment. But he gave Megan a long, sharp look and then gazed down the crowded street. He’d seen me many times, but I never knew if he recognized me or not, though I’d pushed a buck his way a few times. I wondered for a second if he knew Megan, but then we turned up toward California.    


WHERE ELSE TO BUY IT: Amazon, Barnes & noble, etc. 

PRICE: $3.99 Kindle, 12.99 print

CONTACT THE AUTHOR: http://www.tombentley.com