We’ve received nearly 300 submissions in the past year–the vast majority of them appeared to be painstakingly crafted, the obvious result of years and years of work. In the end, the books I decided to accept for publication were ones that I felt were in my wheelhouse as an editor. Namely: contemporary, adult, funny, even absurd, and perhaps most importantly, moving. When I received New York Times bestselling indie icon Beth Lisick’s first novel, my initial impulse was to not bend my own rule about taking on first books only (she’s published five). But her novel about my hometown–like everything she does–is hilarious, weird, suffused with great empathy, and simply too irresistible to pass up. (And if you start an indie press and get the chance to work with someone as cool as Beth Lisick, you have to take it–my 25-year-old tech-bro-hiding-an-indie-heart self is especially excited.)
Few places are as ripe for humor as an educational institution. Rose Servis’s novel reminds me of some of the classics of the genre (Decline and Fall, Lucky Jim, and more recently the novels of Julie Schumacher). Ross Wilcox’s story collection was rushed to my attention by my summer intern Nathan Newbold, and I was hooked by the title story about an actual support group of bridge jumpers in San Francisco. The rest of the collection delivers the mordant, the strange, and the absurd with an expert hand.
Read on about these terrific books-to-be below. If you’re a submitting writer and your submission is in the queue, it is still being consider for publication in 2021.
EDIE ON THE GREEN SCREEN, a novel by Beth Lisick
Edie Wunderlich was an twenty-eight year-old It Girl in late ‘90s San Francisco, on the cover of the city’s alt-weekly, repping the freak party scene on the eve of the first dotcom boom. Fast-forward twenty years, and Edie hasn’t changed, but the city has. Still a bartender in the Mission, Edie now serves a seemingly never-ending stream of tech bros while the punk rock parties of the millennium’s end are long gone. When her mother dies, leaving Edie her Silicon Valley home, Edie finds herself mourning in the center of the Bay Area’s tech monoculture, and embarks on perhaps a last-ditch quest to hold on to her rebel heart.
Like the work of Diablo Cody and Miranda July, New York Times bestseller Beth Lisick’s first novel Edie On The Green Screen effortlessly mixes biting observational humor with disarming pathos, while asking, “What comes after It?”
Beth Lisick is a writer and actor. She is the author of five books, including the New York Times bestseller Everybody Into the Pool and Yokohama Threeway and Other Small Shames (City Lights). Her work has been published in various anthologies, including Best American Poetry and Santa Cruz Noir. She co-founded Porchlight, San Francisco’s longest-running storytelling series, traveled the country with the Sister Spit performance tours, and received a grant from the Creative Work Fund for a chapbook series with Creativity Explored, a studio for artists with developmental disabilities. Beth has appeared in films that have screened at Cannes, Sundance, and the San Francisco International Film Festival. Edie On The Green Screen is her first novel.
MISERY BOY, a novel by Rose Servis
At a liberal arts college in Michigan in 1980, the strange, perplexing poems by Roger Ackroyd have won him a cult following. But who is Roger Ackroyd? Just about the only person on campus not asking that question is Edward, Roger Ackroyd’s secret creator. Instead, Edward is flunking his girlfriend’s psych class, fighting with his family, and suffering writer’s block. Enter Jonathan, a rival artist pretending to be Roger Ackroyd. Jonathan is everything Edward hates—phony, pretentious, narcissistic, and self-serving. In his last week of college, Edward’s obsession with exposing Jonathan leads to a series of comically unwise decisions that threaten to reveal his true identity.
A hilarious college novel in the tradition of Evelyn Waugh and Kingsley Amis, Misery Boy skewers the nature of youth, friendship, and ambition, while making us feel for the lovable, but hapless Edward.
Rose Servis’ short stories have appeared in Trop, Entropy Magazine, and Phantom Drift. She lives in San Francisco.
GOLDEN GATE JUMPERS SURVIVORS SOCIETY, stories by Ross Wilcox
A battle of wills emerges when one of the suicide survivors in the Golden Gate Jumper Survivors Society turns the meetings into a yoga class. A small town is gripped by a lawn ornamentation craze. A woman dresses up as Paul Bunyan to rob banks to pay her ailing mother’s exorbitant nursing home bills. A married couple decides to 3-D print a son…and his entire childhood.
Golden Gate Jumper Survivors Society is a funny and poignant story collection about everyday people confronting everyday challenges with escalating absurdity. Reminiscent of the work of Aimee Bender, Ross Wilcox’s stories will make you view the mundane in an entirely new way.
Ross Wilcox is from Elk Point, South Dakota. He has attended Morningside College, the University of South Dakota, and is now finishing the last year of his PhD at the University of North Texas, where he teaches writing and composition. His stories have appeared in numerous literary journals. Golden Gate Jumper Survivors Society: Stories is his debut book-length work. He is currently at work on a novel. In addition to writing and fiction, Ross is a huge lover of basketball and a full-on disciple of LeBron James. He lives in Forth Worth, Texas with his wife and two cats. You can follow him on Twitter @rossofthewilcox.