FICTION | FRANCIS DUFFY
Rubbish is a short story about Joe Nickerson’s cross-country hitchhiking adventure as he’s on his way to serve in the Vietnam war. As Joe waits for rides, holding a sign that reads “TO WAR – VIA L.A. – U.S. Marine Corps,” he recalls his draft-dodging father, his lioness of a mother, and how his youth in Catholic schools with hard-knuckle nuns made his transition to boot camp easier. Then, when the draft from a GTO passing at 70 mph spins his sign, he has an unexpected encounter with a raven-haired woman named Rita.
FICTION | PATTY SOMLO
A former dancer and about-to-retire choreographer is surprised to receive a letter from a foreign country. The short, handwritten note rekindles memories of a love affair, and a separate friendship, decades before in Nicaragua. Her recollections spark insights that hadn’t been apparent to her so long ago.
FICTION | FRANCIS DUFFY
In this beautifully told story, Francis Duffy’s main character reflects on a boyhood steeped in dogma, patriarchy, and racism. His alcoholic father is often absent, and his admiration is for his “lioness” of a mother who never missed work, and put three kids through parochial schools. Before welfare, Ms. Magazine, and #MeToo.
This humorous story is about all of the masks we wear to fit in with people whose masks look a little bit shinier than ours under the library lights at a PTA meeting in the affluent neighborhood of Encino, California. And it’s a story about how, deep down, we are all insecure middle-schoolers. This is a fictionalized version of true events.
Adrian’s Affinity is a lush and lyrical story about a sensitive and intelligent boy with a special affinity — he can attract birds. It’s not a power, because he can’t control it. And it’s not an ability he wants, as it makes others — even his own mother — suspicious of him. Both a bittersweet coming-of-age tale and a haunting mystery, we’re reminded that we are all shaped by beautiful and mysterious forces as we struggle to fit in and understand ourselves. This story is dramatized.
This touching story brings us into the life of William, a young boy who must deal with some unexpected circumstances after WWII. After being evicted from their home, his family finds a new place to live in a resort community on Lake Michigan. There, William makes a special new friend and faces some dramatic events.
Marjorie signs up for a writing retreat and finds herself an outcast amidst a gaggle of young, eager authors. But one evening, over a few drinks with the group, she has an unexpected “fifteen minutes of fame” in the micro spotlight of the writing workshop. As she shares a secret talent with the group, she flashes back to an encounter she once had with Truman Capote.
Art and business collide in this tale of a hapless artist and a very shrewd, if not entirely scrupulous, marketing executive. A struggling creator of sculptures made from pieces he’s foraged from dumpsters, is just barely getting by when he receives a mind-boggling offer that he can neither believe nor refuse. Will he or won’t he accept it? Art “gets the business” in a story that begs the question: What makes a piece of art worth anything?
A writer of thrillers encounters a woman who claims to be the clever central character from his first novel. He plays along for a while, enjoying her witty company and the social boost she gives to his fading renown, but when she demands his involvement in a scheme to steal millions, he starts to wonder if she has, in fact, emerged from his fiction. As the situation becomes increasingly dire, he struggles to outwit her double-crossing skills.
When Kilauea Volcano erupts in May 2018, back-to-the-land farmers June and Lani must decide whether to stay and protect their Big Island homestead against everyday threats like feral pigs and potential looters, or evacuate and flee the dangers they cannot control. In the process, they learn where the fault lines are in their own relationship, and whether they can survive a disaster that may be immediate and cataclysmic.
Spending a solitary Christmas Eve after a recent break-up, David Silver stops in a neighborhood bar for a drink. There he encounters a cat and a stranger who asks him to deliver a cryptic message to someone he’s never heard of. This is just the first of many odd things he will experience on a night that becomes increasingly surreal. Just who the cryptic is for and what it means is the mystery revealed in this enigmatic tale in which our protagonist comes under the sway of some old Celtic magic.