Weather Report, July 25

(Photo from VOX)

Our currently featured books, “The Train to Orveido,” by Rebecca J. Novelli, “Manhattan Seeds of the Big Apple,” by Gloria Waldron Hukle and “Lucy & the Lake Monster,” by Richard Rossi and Kelly Ann Tabor, can be found by scrolling down below this post, or by clicking the author’s name on our Authors page.




“The High Price of Freeways” consists of stories, most set in California, that explore the oddity of living in a place where freedom is touted, but its costs are often hidden. Abortion, rape, and childbirth form the backdrop for several stories; a pan-sexual comic gets perilously intimate with her handsome acupuncturist; three long-separated triplets reunite and somebody ends up the odd one out; militants establish a black cultural clearinghouse in San Francisco where new identities are forged. Oakland, Berkeley, S.F., Sacramento, Los Angeles — all are crisscrossed with freeways, migrants from the South, and class contradictions. When the locale shifts to New Jersey and Harlem, highways, traffic, bridges and waterways take their toll too. 


A young girl circumnavigates the world on a thirty-foot sailboat with her father who loves adventure, woman and extremes. This is the story of my childhood: A young girl raised by the sea, by men and by literature. They spend weeks at a time on the open ocean surviving storms and also visiting uncharted Islands and villages. They get arrested in Cuba. She befriends ‘working girls’ as they are often the only other females present in the bars that they end up in. On the boat she falls in love with her crewmate and learns to live like the men around her. But through reading literature and her driven spirit, she is determined to be a lady, continue her education, begin a career, live in a real home, and begin a family of her own that is not dysfunctional. Once she finally gets away from the boat and her dad, and embarks upon her own dream, she begins to realize life is not what she thought it would be. But then her father dies in a tragic accident and she must return to her old life, without him, to sift through the mess and magic he has left behind.


Writes Robin: “As a little girl, I loved Little Women by Louisa May Alcott, and I always wondered what they would be like if they had been born in the 60s, like me. The older I got, the more I wondered! So after I graduated from college, I decided to write that story: four sisters coming of age in the 1980s, beginning with the assassination of John Lennon, and dealing with issues like anorexia, AIDS, pregnancy scares, bi-racial relationships, sexual harassment at the workplace, and coming out. Over the years I workshopped it, revised it, abandoned it, took it up again, revised it again, and gave up — so many times I thought I WILL NEVER GET THIS RIGHT. But as the years went by and I matured as a writer, I kept going back to it with a new attitude… on and off I kept working, and not only did I finish it in the year 2020, but I wrote the final installation which tells the story of what became of the girls, now in their 50s. ” 


Writes one reviewer: “I always turn to Robert Vaughan whenever I need a good kick in the language pants, a waft of ‘salacious breeze’ cut with ‘a swallow’s shriek.’ In his latest collection, ASKEW, Vaughan continues to honor the ‘small madness where senses reel behind the eyes.’ Ache runs rampant, fractured by longing: for places and people, arrested moments, former selves, fleeting lovers. These may be compact poems and microfictions, but don’t underestimate their size: Vaughan approaches the page with an honest, elastic and heartfelt expansiveness that holds space for us all.”

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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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