Tag Archives: Literary Fiction
Publisher: Story in Literary Fiction (Ingram)
A finalist in the William Faulkner Creative Writing Competition.
McDowell, an arrogant, selfish, uncaring surgeon–except with his three children whom he ineptly tries to council as they come of age–loses his career, wealth, respect, and fame when his grandson goes on a killing spree and then fails in a suicide attempt living in a vegetative, brain-dead state. When the boy dies under suspicious circumstances, McDowell is convicted and jailed for second-degree murder. He escapes to become a fugitive pursued by authorities, an investigative TV reporter eager to interview him before capture, and his daughter who is trying for a retrial. McDowell’s family members struggle to find meaning in their lives but each is thwarted at every turn by their father’s reputation. McDowell keeps on the move to prevent his capture and establish a new life. He is forced to gingerly reenter society at the lowest levels and with each new acquaintance, he must learn a new sense of humanity to survive.
The sky cleared briefly before daybreak. The sharp bitter winds eased somewhat, but the negative forty-degree temperatures penetrated to the bone. Hiram McDowell lifted the flap of a one-man tent to look in on Erick Woolf, who turned his head, his beard tinged in frost-white from his labored breathing; Woolf lifted his goggles, his pale blue eyes opaque with fatigue.
“You ready?” Hiram asked.
Woolf shook his head “no,” trying to smile but his face remained motionless.
Hiram took off his outer gloves, freed up an oxygen tank from Woolf ’s backpack, and placed the mask on Woolf ’s face. Woolf rallied after a few minutes of oxygen.
Within half an hour, with four other climbers, Hiram and Woolf started for the summit. Woolf ’s fatigue slowed progress and after an hour they soon fell behind the others. The wind gusts increased. Woolf sank into a sitting position a few yards from a slope of snow and ice.
Hiram steadied himself on a steep vertical. For a few seconds, the visibility improved, but he saw no one.
“Go,” Woolf called to him, his voice husky dry. “I can’t do it.”
With only slight hesitation, Hiram waved his agreement. He had only two hours or less to summit before their oxygen supply ran low. And Woolf was too weak to go on; the rest would strengthen him. At the summit, Hiram took photos and, for a few minutes, absorbed the satisfaction of his achievement and the awe of the view from the highest point on earth.
Winds picked up and snow and haze decreased visibility as he began his descent. He pressed on. After an hour, he stumbled onto Woolf a few feet from where he had left him.
“Get up,” Hiram yelled over the howling wind.
“Help me. In the name of God,” Woolf pleaded.
Hiram gripped Woolf ’s parka to help him stand, but Hiram was too weak to lift, and Woolf fell back.
“Rescue,” Woolf moaned, drifting off into semi-consciousness. Rescue from base camp was impossible until the weather improved. And they were in the dead zone, too high for helicopters.
Hiram freed Woolf ’s remaining oxygen supply and attached it to his own pack.
“Don’t leave me, Hiram.” Woolf coughed.
Hiram backed away and started down. Climbing ropes aided him for a few hundred yards. Near a rock crevice familiar to him, he stumbled on the half-buried lifeless body of a facedown climber. A candy bar and water were in the inner jacket pocket. Near the corpse’s outstretched arm, a glint of silver stopped Hiram. From hard snow and the ice-solid fabric of a frozen glove-hand, he freed a silver crucifix that he pocketed for identification and to send to family. He plodded ahead. The storm abated and he felt the muted exhilaration at knowing he would not die.
On return home after his miracle survival, Hiram dreamed of immortality. He determined to climb every peak above 8000 meters in Nepal.
About the Author
William H. Coles is a literary fiction writer, winner of multiple awards including the William Faulkner Creative Writing Competition, The Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction, and others. To learned the art of writing fiction in courses and workshops from more than seventy-five authors, editors, and teachers. He and created storyinliteraryfiction.com, a website with resources for fiction writers, illustrators, and avid fiction readers and works of fiction. The site has had over two million visits in the last three years. He was an ophthalmic surgeon specializing in ocular-injury repair and reconstruction, a professor and chairman at SUNY Buffalo School of Medicine, a Regent for The American College of Surgeons, president of the Association of University Professors in Ophthalmology. He plays jazz piano, was former President of the Gibbes Art Museum in Charleston, SC, and has lectured internationally on mechanistic biologic ophthalmic research, ophthalmic surgery, jazz, and valuing antique Georgian and federal furniture and art at Emory University. He won a Mayor’s award for contributions to historic preservation in Charleston, SC. and the Conrad Berens Award for best film on a medical subject. He lives and writes in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Literary Fiction, Satire
Date Published: June 2017
Publisher: Black Letter Editions
F*ck You, Your Honor is a satirical literary novel about a low-end attorney and real estate broker who is ordered by a judge to write a book to save his law license.
Attorney Darwyn “Wyn” VanWye is down on his luck. He squats in a foreclosed government-owned HUD home and conducts his law practice over his smart phone from a sports bar.
While attempting to reconcile with Amalia, his Argentine ex-wife, so his excessive alimony payments can be terminated, Judge Solomon arbitrarily sanctions him for misconduct. Instead of a fine or jail time, the judge sentences him to write a sixty-five thousand word book about the “dignity and integrity” of the legal system. Wyn believes the judge is out to get him.
After resisting the order, F*ck You, Your Honor is the book Wyn writes to hopefully save his law license. Will he succeed in placating the judge and winning back his ex-wife?
The book is loosely inspired by an article in the Wall Street Journal about a pharmaceutical executive who was sentenced by a Federal judge to write a book to show penance for lying to the Federal Trade Commission. The executive wrote the book, but instead of writing the reflective work the judge ordered, he denounced the unfairness of the legal system.
What if a lawyer was ordered to write a book like this? His first instinct would be to try to argue his way out of it.
Another day, I met a new prospective client at The Overtime who wanted to retain me to file for a divorce. I was talking to Cora who was busy with the lunch crowd when the prospect arrived thirty minutes early. I hate clients who are too punctual; it shows they are controlling. It’s rude. Here am I busy working on another case, and a prospective client comes in, and I feel the pressure of her waiting for me across The Overtime. But I immediately forgave her as soon as I saw her.
I must say, if ever I was tempted to start a sexual relationship with a client, this would be the one. After the case was over, of course. I could easily see myself ridding my new client of her soon-to-be ex-husband, and, maybe months later, after enough time had passed… my thoughts wandered off for a second and then wandered back to the case. Although she was probably in her late thirties, she had aged well; beautiful lips, a sensual curved neck. She had a rich, Southern drawl.
As I introduced myself, she let out this warm vibe. I made her fill out the questionnaire while she waited. Questions about the date and history of the marriage, names and addresses, the number of children, any instances of domestic violence. All based on statutes and precedent that I would need to file her case.
I noticed by her questionnaire she lived in a prestigious area of overpriced bungalows and Tudors that surrounded a big park near downtown. The park had a lake and a boathouse. Amalia and I used to go down there some afternoons in the summers for picnics and free concerts. I think part of my attraction to her, however, subconsciously, she reminded me of Amalia.
I never really thought that I had a type. I guess I do. I never liked the competitive career women, and just as important, they never liked me.
This woman was warm and kind. She was of Spanish or Mexican origin, but unlike Amalia, she had been totally Americanized. She spoke perfect English, ate bland food at The Overtime, though she dressed flamboyantly. She worked as a branch manager in a bank. She complained about the inflated prices of real estate and the ridiculous number of Starbucks. On street corners. In grocery stores. In strip malls. Being a banker, I guess she did the math, and $6 a cup is a lot for a cup of coffee.
She confided her husband had not touched her in a year. Unbelievable! I wanted to leap out of my chair and kiss her. I hadn’t touched Amalia in over a year, either.
The first thing I did, I asked her if she and her husband could reconcile. There’s a ninety-one day waiting period for a divorce, to give the couple time to cool off, maybe go to counseling.
If the parties went through a divorce, I could make thousands of dollars. If the couple can’t get along in the divorce, and both get lawyers, a couple can blow through their life savings. If the parties reconcile, the divorce is either dismissed or never filed, and I earn, well, nothing. Amalia called this “chewing my paw.”
I thought again about my divorce. Some of the arguments with Amalia were just silly.
One time, we fought over a banana. I had left a banana on the kitchen counter the night before court to pack with my exhibit books. I usually brought a snack to help me through a whole day trial. Some judges allowed you to bring food into the courtroom to eat on the breaks; others didn’t. Without even telling me, she ate the last banana.
I have to admit, at the time, I was furious.
Another time, she packed me a lunch, put it in my briefcase, and took out my notebook with all my notes for a hearing. I appeared in court, totally unprepared. Sabotaged by Amalia. Lucky for me the case was continued. We went round and round as to who was at fault on this one.
My arguments with Amalia were passionate; never violent. They almost always ended in laughter. For a few years, we had a dog, Knuckles, though the dog eventually died. One day we took him to the vet. She wrote the dog’s name down on a form at the vet’s office: ‘Nuckles’. I informed her the word began with a silent K. The word didn’t register with her, and she had a hard time believing me. I can still hear her making the K sound, trying to pronounce it, trying to make sense of the word.
The English language mystified her. The next time she wrote out a grocery list, along with the milk and some more bananas, she asked me to pick up a package of ‘knoodles’.
I may not be the best one to give a guy marital advice, but still, here goes: Sleep with your wife from time to time. Be nice to her. Otherwise, keep your penis in your pants. These, along with financial difficulties, are the main causes of a divorce.
I explained the essence of a dissolution of marriage, showing off my knowledge with citations of statutes and case law. The first step after a divorce is filed—the parties exchange financial statements and supply the supporting documentation. I call this making the pie. Once you make the pie, you divide the pie, calculating how to fairly distribute the personal property, the assets and debts between the parties. Every asset is taken into account. From the smallest savings bond to the parties’ coin collection, each coin valued and divided coin by coin. The court will even divide the porn.
A divorce works like this: most lawyers review the financial documents, and based on the factors in the statute, calculate what their client is reasonably entitled to. Then they double it. So they will stay employed.
The most accurate definition of a divorce I copied from a well-respected, influential, and prestigious legal journal.
“A divorce is a domestic legal proceeding which takes a highly dysfunctional family, and legally divides it into two highly dysfunctional families.” That was the best definition I ever heard.
I gave her advice about the fundamentals of a divorce. There were statutes about temporary orders, how child support was calculated, parenting time was determined, alimony figured, property, pensions, and debts divided. Hopefully, there’s not much to fight about. If there are no children, thank God. That’s where people fight the most. They also fight about money, until they see how much money they will have to spend to fight about the money. First, a couple doesn’t need to agree to get a divorce. That hardly makes sense. If a couple cannot agree on who will pay the sewer bill, they cannot agree on the divorce. Second, if one party says the marriage is broken, it’s broken. End of story. Agreements of the parties or other court orders are enforced through contempt proceedings, which is an allegation of a deliberate violation of a court order under Rule 107. There are two types of contempt: punitive and remedial.
Remedial contempt is when the judge is mad enough at a party for violating a court order, he or she can put you in jail until you comply. Punitive contempt is when a judge is real mad, he or she can simply put you in jail. (Amazing, though, how a deadbeat dad who owes back child support, has no money, no job, no savings, and no prospects—through some miracle of math or accounting is able to purge a remedial contempt by coughing up ten thousand dollars after spending only one night in jail.)
The smartest thing any divorcing couple can do is sit down and work out a compromise. Settle some of the divorce or all of it ahead of getting the lawyers involved. Write it on a napkin and sign it. It doesn’t matter what form it is in.
A guy usually knows he has to share the assets of the marriage with his wife, especially if the wife is a housewife. A woman thinks differently. She doesn’t like to share. All of the assets are hers; all of the debts are his. That was the story of my divorce.
I gave my prospective client some good advice: “Empty all the bank accounts,” I suggested. “If you don’t, your husband certainly will. Once he finds out you are thinking about filing the divorce.”
This was sound legal reasoning. Before a divorce is filed, there are no court orders in place to protect the assets so the court can divide them fairly. One parent can run off with the children. Or abscond with all the assets and gamble them away in Las Vegas. Once the divorce is filed or if the money disappears in contemplation of the divorce, you will have to fully account for yourself and your finances.
About the Author
In his junior year in college, Craig Chambers attended the University of Leeds in England. He did not attend a single class, traveled around Europe instead. He came back and took the final exams, only to be disappointed that he got a 1 in English. He later learned that “First Honors” was the highest grade.
In the ‘80s he became a real estate broker while he worked on developing his writing style. Chambers attended law school in the ‘90’s because he observed a real estate closing where the lawyer messed up the deal, but still charged a fee of $1,000. He figured he could mess up a real estate deal for a lot less than that. His literary satire on the legal system, F*ck You, Your Honor, was released in June, 2017. He resides in Littleton, CO.
American River Trilogy, Book One
Historical Fiction, Literary Fiction
Publisher: Archway Publishing
Published: June 2017
In the mid-1800s, three immigrant families—Irish, Mexican, and Japanese—settled along the banks of the American River in Northern California. A century later only one family remains. The Morales family lost their land when California became a state. The Japanese colony collapsed. But Cormac McPhalan’s Mockingbird Valley Ranch, now managed by his grandson, Owen, is still a thriving family business.
Then, in the politically- charged year of 1959, Owen’s wife, Marian, leaves the ranch to follow her dream of becoming a professional artist. Her twelve-year-old daughter, Alex, a musical prodigy, goes with her, while fifteen-year-old Kate stays behind and tries to hold the family together despite the growing rift between her father, Owen, and her older brother, Julian. But Kate shocks and angers her father when she falls in love with the ranch foreman’s son, Japanese internment camp survivor, Tommy Ashida. And Marian’s summer love affair with with a talented young musician, Carl Morales, ignites a firestorm that will later impact all three families.
From the concert halls of Europe to Kyoto’s ancient avenues, and Manhattan’s artist’s lofts to San Francisco’s North Beach, the members of a new generation— artists, musicians, poets and politicians, the inheritors of their immigrant ancestors’ hopes and dreams— make their way through the turbulent decade of the sixties. But when an unexpected tragedy brings the three families together, they find that they are torn apart by conflicting opinions, dangerous secrets, engrained prejudices, and their own lofty ambitions.
Set against the natural beauty of Northern California, O’Connor weaves a complex tapestry of interrelationships and betrayals that captures the mood and resonance of a decade that began in innocence and ended in despair.
Other Books in the American River Trilogy
American River: Currents
American River Trilogy, Book Two
Publisher: Archway Publishing
Published: March 2018
In the second book of the American River trilogy, a cavalcade of disasters both personal and public threatens to overwhelm the scattered members of the McPhalan, Ashida, and Morales clans during the tumultuous 1960s.
Katestill mourning the death of her brother, Julian finds herself torn between her love for Carl, now a celebrated conductor who is looking for career opportunities on the East Coast, and her devotion to the West and especially the family ranch at Mockingbird. Also, while attending a music festival in Venice, Italy, she meets Stefan Molnar, a renowned concert pianist, who has become her sister Alex’s mentor (and lover). As Kate and Stefan’s unintentional relationship grows, complications multiply.
Meanwhile, Tommy Ashida, now studying in Japan, falls in love with Emiko Namura, the beautiful, sheltered daughter of a Tokyo businessman. He hopes she holds the key to understanding his Japanese heritage, but will that knowledge lead to happiness or something darker?
Determined to make her mark in the male-dominated art world, Kate’s mother, Marian, decides to move to New York while Kate’s father, Owen, becomes involved in local politics. When he is elected to the California Assembly, he finds himself in direct opposition to Jorge Morales, Carl’s father.
Alliances fray, relationships dissolve, divisive secrets are revealed, and promises are broken as the members of three California families struggle to salvage their shattered dreams.
Set against the natural beauty of Northern California, O’Connor weaves a complex tapestry of interrelationships and betrayals that captures the mood and resonance of a decade that began in innocence and ended in despair.
American River: Currents, Book Two of the American River Trilogy, is filled with passionate and resolute characters who refuse to let go of their unique visions of success even as life’s tumultuous currents threaten to sweep them all away.
American River: Confluence
American River Trilogy, Book Three
By Mallory M. O’Connor
Coming November 2018
Book three of the American River Trilogy begins with the three families—the McPhalans, the Morales, and the Ashidas—in turmoil. Following Owen McPhalan’s death, his daughter Kate has inherited Mockingbird Valley Ranch only to discover that the once profitable family business is no longer sustainable. Desperate to find a way to save Mockingbird, she struggles to formulate a plan. But she hasn’t counted on the wrath of Dan Papadakis, Owen’s former campaign manager, who is working behind the scenes to undermine her efforts.
Excerpt from American River: Tributaries
Part I: The Ancestors
Mockingbird Valley Ranch
Near Auburn, California
Cormac McPhalan paused at the top of the bluff and stood for a moment admiring the view. To the east he could see the peaks of the High Sierra that John Muir would later call the “Range of Light,” lonely granite spires capped even in summer with a mantle of snow. Cormac studied the mountains, his spirits, as always, lifted by their grandeur.
Turning, he looked toward the west where the Central Valley of California spread out wide and flat, a violet lake bordered by the Coast Range, a wavy, blue line on the far western horizon.
A hawk swept past, screaming its warning, and Cormac’s eyes followed it into the still dark canyon where the North Fork of the American River had carved a rock-strewn channel. Although he couldn’t see the river, he could hear its wild, cascading song, a husky roar fueled by snowmelt from the spring thaw. The river had been like that—high and wild—when he first laid eyes on the land that would become Mockingbird Valley Ranch.
About the Author
Award-winning author Mallory M. O’Connor is a writer, art historian, musician, and professor emerita at Santa Fe College where she taught art history and served as director of the Santa Fe Art Gallery. O’Connor holds master’s degrees in both American history and art history from Ohio University, and has also lived in California, Florida, Mexico and Tennessee. She is the author of two non-fiction art history books, both published by the University Press of Florida. Since retiring from her position at SFC, Mallory has written three novels, the American River Trilogy. Book One, American River: Tributaries, was published in 2017 and recently won First Prize in the Fiction Category from Northern California Publishers and Authors. The book also won the President’s Award for Fiction from the Florida Authors and Publishers Association. Book two of the trilogy, American River: Currents, was published in 2018. Book three, American River: Confluence, is scheduled for a November 2018 release.
Literary Fiction / Military Fiction
Molly Monroe had her future planned out for her. When she makes an impulsive decision to join the Marine Corps, her boyfriend breaks up with her, her brother bears the burden of guilt, and her mother feels betrayed. The people in Molly’s life have always tried to protect her, but she wants to protect herself.
As a Combat Camera Marine, Molly observes and records her environment from behind the lens, where image shapes day-to-day life. After she is wounded during a combat deployment, her dreams are frightening, and her memories are a kaleidoscope of scattered and chaotic scenes; a collision of past and present, real and unreal. Snapshots in time. Glimpses of war. Fragments of love: lost and found.
This story unfolds through multiple perspectives and as the negatives and positives develop, an image of the Model Marine is sharpened into focus.
About the Author
Sondra Sykes Meek is originally from Florida, but she has lived in several locations in the United States and abroad. She is a wife and mother of two, a retired Marine Corps Master Sergeant, and a Project Manager in the Defense Industry. She earned a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing, and has several stories in various stages of progress. She hopes to write full-time one day, but for now, she writes in the spare, quiet moments of her life.
Sondra wrote and published Model Marine: A Novel to reveal the courage and sacrifices of Marines and their families. She wanted to offer readers another kind of hero: someone who is not supernatural, immortal, or from the future. Although the events of this story are fiction, the setting and characters are influenced by her experiences as a Marine. The narrative is as authentic as it can be without excluding civilian readers. The protagonist is named after a Marine Corps icon, “Molly Marine.” This is especially relevant now, as 2018 marks 100 years since the first woman joined the United States Marine Corps.
Sondra hopes all readers enjoy this emotional journey of love, loss, and sacrifice. There are real heroes hidden within the pages of her debut novel. She invites you to meet them, love them, and remember them.
North of the Tension Line, Book Three
Date Published: May 23, 2018
As the new Chairman of the Town Board, Fiona Campbell finds that life has become a series of petty squabbles, dull meetings, and papers everywhere, all complicated by her guardianship of the as yet unidentified screaming goat. In desperation, she hires an unknown newcomer, the compulsively orderly Oliver Robert, to run her office and keep her organized.
Roger’s fame as an idiosyncratic yoga practitioner continues to spread, and he and Elisabeth are looking for a new location to accommodate the growing crowds at their tiny coffee shop. Ferry Captain and poet Pali has an offer to leave the Island, and wonders whether it is time to introduce his son, Ben, to the larger world. Meanwhile, the Fire Chief is threatening to quit, and Fiona finds herself faced with an Island controversy and an unwanted set of new responsibilities.
As Pete Landry prepares to leave for one of his regular journeys, Fiona begins to suspect that his life may be more than it seems. His secrecy raises doubts in her mind about whether he can be trusted, and their breakup plunges her into grief. The reliable Jim, always nearby, is all too ready to offer comfort.
Robert’s Rules is Book Three in the award-winning North of the Tension Line series, set on a remote island in the Great Lakes. Called a modern-day Jane Austen, author J.F. Riordan creates wry, engaging tales and vivid characters that celebrate the well-lived life of the ordinary man and woman.
Other Books in the North of the Tension Line Series:
North of the Tension Line
Published: May 2016
Fiona Campbell is a newcomer to tiny Ephraim, Wisconsin. Populated with artists and summer tourists, Ephraim has just enough going on to satisfy her city tastes. But she is fascinated and repelled by the furthest tip of Door County peninsula, Washington Island, utterly removed from the hubbub of modern life. Fiona’s visits there leave her refreshed in spirit, but convinced that only lunatics and hermits could survive a winter in its frigid isolation.
In a moment of weakness, Fiona is goaded into accepting a dare that she cannot survive the winter on the island in a decrepit, old house. Armed with some very fine single malt scotch and a copy of Meditations by Marcus Aurelius, Fiona sets out to win the dare, and discovers that small town life is not nearly as dull as she had foreseen. Abandoning the things she has always thought important, she encounters the vicious politics of small town life, a ruthless neighbor, persistent animals, a haunted ferry captain, and the peculiar spiritual renewal of life north of the tension line.
North of the Tension Line, Book Two
Release Date: May 23, 2018
Publisher: Beaufort Books
All is not well north of the tension line. A series of unsettling nighttime incidents have left the islanders uncertain whether to be nervous or annoyed. Are they victims of an elaborate teenage prank, or is there a malevolent stranger lurking on the island? Meanwhile, out-of-state owners of a new goat farm seem to consider themselves the self-proclaimed leaders of the island; Pali, the ferry captain, is troubled by his own unique version of writer’s block; and Ben, the captain’s ten year-old son, appears to be hiding something. But it is only when the imperturbable Lars Olafsen announces his retirement, and Stella declares her candidacy for office, that the islanders realize trouble is brewing. Fiona must decide whether it is time to leave the island for good, or to make another reckless gamble.
Book two in the award-winning North of the Tension Line series, The Audacity of Goats is the continuing tale of Fiona Campbell, and her reluctant adventures among the pleasures, mysteries, and exasperations of small town life
Pete looked over at Fiona. “That stop sign…I’m sure it was only a suggestion.”
“Never mind,” said Fiona blithely. “There was no one around.”
“I’m here,” said Pete.
She glanced at him briefly and returned her eyes to the road.
Pete sighed pointedly, but continued the conversation.
“It’s never occurred to me that books should match,” he said.
“That’s because you read. Well, also probably because you’re male,” Fiona conceded. “But serious people. I mean, people who care about ideas, and about actually reading, don’t have matching books. If anything, their books are a haphazard reflection of the search for knowledge, reflecting the wanderings of a person’s curiosity. There’s nothing matching about that.”
“I don’t think I’ve ever been to a house with matching books.”
“How about a house with just one set of encyclopedias and not one other book? Have you been to one of those?
“Encyclopedias? Who has encyclopedias anymore?”
“Well, you know what I mean.”
“You have thought a great deal about this.”
Fiona looked sheepish. “Yes. Because it’s a form of pretention, and I detest pretention.” She pulled into a parking space that had been more or less invented between the cedar trees and pulled on the brake, continuing the conversation without turning off the engine.
“It’s showing off that you have books, even while it’s clear that the books are only props. And, also,” she confessed, “it bothers me because their houses are so beautiful, and mine is full of haphazardly unmatching books.”
“And stacked everywhere, by the way. We need to get you some more bookcases. But if it’s clear that the books are props,” he said, returning to the main point, “isn’t it also clear that the person doesn’t actually read them? In which case, I would argue that it’s not pretension, it’s actually the opposite: no pretense whatsoever, just, perhaps, shallowness. Now, if an unserious person were to have lots of unmatching books that he had never read and were trying to make people believe that he’s read them, that would be pretentious. So, you should shift the focus of your wrath to owners of never-read, unmatching books. Leave the poor matching people alone. They don’t know what they’re missing.”
Laughing, Fiona looked at him and shook her head. “Stop looking so pleased with yourself.”
“I am pleased, though. I have unmatching books, and I read them. Q.E.D. I feel smug.”
“If you were the kind of person who felt smug, I wouldn’t like you.”
Pete smiled. “I feel smug about that, too.”
Laughing and shaking her head, Fiona turned off the engine. They gathered their things from the trunk of the car and headed off toward the water and its rocky beach. “How would you even find the book you wanted if they were all wrapped in matching paper?” asked Pete, slinging the straps of the beach chair bags over his shoulder.
“Exactly,” said Fiona.
About the Author
J.F. Riordan was born in New Jersey and first moved to Michigan, then Wisconsin as a child. At the age of 14 she decided to become an opera singer, and was fortunate in the aftermath to have been able to sing. At 16, after two years of high school, she went to the University of New Mexico to study voice, continued her music studies in Chicago and Milwaukee, and ultimately became a professional singer. Homesick after years of travel, she came home to the Midwest, finished her college degree, and became certified to teach high school. She taught for three years in the inner city before taking a position as a program officer for a foundation. She lives in exile from Washington Island with her husband and two dogs. North of the Tension Line is her first novel.