Weather Report, Feb. 25

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Our currently featured books, “Lovely, Raspberry,” by Aaron Belz, “If You Lived Here, You’d Already Be Home,” by John Jodzio and “Petroleum Transfer Engineer,” by Richard Klin, can be found by scrolling down below this post, or by clicking the author’s name on our Author’s page.


It’s a mantra that all fiction writers have heard a hundred times, hurled at them by everyone from high school teachers to seasoned editors: “Write about what you know.”

Or, in the case of John Biscello and Jenny Shank — two of the authors featured this week on Snowflakes in a Blizzard ( — where you know.

According to John, his novel “Raking the Dust” provides “a personal and idiosyncratic sneak peek into the high-desert grunge wonderland that is Taos, New Mexico, as experienced by a Brooklyn boy and urban transplant.”

Not coincidentally, John moved to Taos in 2001 — from Brooklyn.

Meanwhile, Jenny Shank set her first novel, “The Ringer,” in her hometown of Denver.

The story is fiction,” she writes, “but it was inspired by two strands of my upbringing. I grew up in Denver during the city’s era of court-ordered busing for racial integration. I attended schools that were either predominantly Mexican-American or predominantly black, and I draw on that experience for my characters and setting.”

She was also an All-Denver catcher on her high school softball team.

Finally, the poems in Katherine Riegel’s “What the Mouth Was Made For” were drawn from several familiar places. She explains:

“I’m a Midwesterner, through and through, having grown up on a horse farm in central Illinois. But I lived in Florida for six years, and fell in love with it as well. Now, because of marriage, I live in Memphis, Tennessee. So my heart is divided, dwelling in three places.”



In this rogue’s tale, full of sound, fury, and surrealism, we meet Alex Fillameno, a writer who has traded in the machine-grind of New York for a bare bones existence in the high desert town of Taos, New Mexico. Recently divorced and jobless, Fillameno has become a regular at The End of the Road, the bar where he first encounters the alluring and enigmatic D.J., a singer and musician. Drawn to her mutable sense of reality, the two begin a romance that starts off relatively normal. When D.J. initiates Alex into the realm of sexual transfiguration, however, their lives turn inside-out, and what follows is an anti-hero’s journey into a nesting doll world of masks and fragments, multiples and parallels, time-locks and trauma; a world in which reality is celluloid and what you see is never what you get.


The Ringer tells the story of Patricia Maestas, the Mexican-American wife of a Mexican immigrant killed by police, and Ed O’Fallon, the officer who shot her husband, whose sons end up playing in the same competitive youth baseball league in Denver.

Says Jenny: “I wanted to write a book that would capture my hometown, Denver, and that would respond to a police shooting that divided the community. I tried to write a story that didn’t cast blame, but instead treated everyone involved in the situation with love, respect, and generosity.”


“The poems in this collection,” Katherine writes, “are lyric, full of yearning, grief, and desire. They rely on images of landscape and nature, set in both Florida and Illinois, to reach towards some understanding of the human condition and towards understanding, acceptance, and ultimately hope.”









Published by


Recently retired after 35 years with the News & Advance newspaper in Lynchburg, VA, now re-inventing myself as a novelist/nonfiction writer and writing coach in Lake George, NY.

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