Author Archive


Singled Out

Singled Out

In 1917, the senior mistress of Bournemouth High School for Girls in Dorset in the United Kingdom spoke to the sixth form class: “I have come to tell you a terrible fact. Only one out of ten of you girls can ever hope to marry. This is not a guess of mine. It is a [...]

On Writing by Stephen King

On Writing by Stephen King

If you ask me for a list of my favorite authors, Stephen King won’t be on it. This isn’t because I don’t like his novels. I can’t even read them. I’ve tried, but I’m never able to get past a few pages because the guy is so good at what he does. “Wimp,” you say, [...]

What Do You Want to Do Before You Die?

What Do You Want to Do Before You Die?

By the Buried Life (Jonnie Penn, Dave Lingwood, Duncan Penn, and Ben Mentin) When my middle-aged friend gave middle-aged me a copy of What Do You Want To Do Before You Die? I thought, “this is a bunch of boys running around on road trips. It sounds like fun, but I don’t have time for [...]

Swamplandia!

Swamplandia!

Swamplandia! by Karen Russell explores family, peer pressure, hell and the occult. But what struck me most is how the story speaks of ignorance and innocence. Throughout Swamplandia!, author Karen Russell leads the reader along the fine line between fantasy and reality. The Bigtree family has created their own history (they’re not Native Americans, but their [...]

Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout

Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout

I picked up a copy of Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout several months ago, read about twenty pages, and put it down. I didn’t like it. It seemed cold and sad. But it won a Pulitzer, for god’s sake, so I put it on the shelf, thinking there must be something worthwhile in it and maybe [...]

Black Water Rising

Black Water Rising

There’s a place somewhere between the overdone, show-off prose of some “literary” fiction, and the merely serviceable, pulp genre stuff. In either case, the language can kick you out of the story. “That’s a beautiful sentence!” you think. Or “This is godawful stuff.” It doesn’t matter which, because the same thing happens. For a moment, [...]

Americashire

Americashire

Lately I’ve been reading memoirs. It surprises me that I like them so much because I tend to read novels, and because I write fiction. I can’t imagine writing my own memoir. Too many people are still around to find out about it and hate me for it. I suppose I could sugarcoat it but [...]

Running With Scissors

Running With Scissors

A memoir by Augusten Burroughs Born into an already troubled family— —wait. Let’s tell it like it is. Because in Augusten Burroughs’ memoir, Running With Scissors, he tells it like it was. And it was weird. Born into a totally screwed-up family, with an alcoholic father and a psychotic mother who fought raging battles on [...]

Royalist Rebel

Royalist Rebel

Regardless of the story inside, recent covers of historical novels are all about the bodice. A hint of cleavage indicates a hint of romance, maybe even lust. These books are obviously aimed at women, but when the character’s head is cut out of the picture, I wonder what kind of women those cover designers are [...]

Belinda’s Birthday by Petrea Burchard

Belinda’s Birthday by Petrea Burchard

Damn hot flashes. Belinda Marvel rolled over onto the empty Cheetos bag, causing orange dust to blow in her face. Her pajama pants pinched at the waist. Her stomach growled. She allowed her sock feet to flop to the floor, the motion propelling her to sit up. On the silent TV screen a skinny girl [...]

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Maude Woods - Opening October 22nd in Pasadena

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Camelot and Vine

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