Announcements

Announcing Our 2021 List

We’re very excited to announce that we will be publishing these five books of debut fiction (from over 300 submissions) in 2021. If your work is still in the queue, it’s still being considered for 2022.

Thanks,
L
7.13 Books

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Dionne Irving’s QUINT
(Feb 2021)

In the vein of Zadie Smith’s NW and Valeria Luiselli’s Lost Children Archives, Dionne Irving’s novel QUINT is based on a real-life family of quintuplets who rise to celebrity and fame in Canada in the 1940s.

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Dionne Irving has published fiction and nonfiction in The Missouri Review, Boulevard Magazine, The Crab Orchard Review, and other places. Her essay “Living with Racial Fatigue” was chosen as a 2017 Notable Essay in the Best American Essays collection.

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Shawn Rubenfeld’s THE EGGPLANT CURSE AND THE WARP ZONE
(March 2021)

A literary comedy in the vein of Howard Jacobson, Shawn Rubenfeld’s novel THE EGGPLANT CURSE AND THE WARP ZONE follow a hapless retro game collector who bumbles and lies his way into an instructorship at a Midwestern prep school where he finds himself pursuing and trying not to pursue a married member of the faculty.

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Shawn Rubenfeld has had short fiction appear in journals such as Columbia Journal and Portland Review. He is a PhD Candidate in Creative Writing at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, where he received the Vreeland Award for fiction and teaches courses in literature and creative writing. He lives in Omaha.

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Caitlin Vance’s THE PAPER GARDEN
(April 2021)

University of Louisiana in Lafayette Ph.D candidate Caitlin Vance’s THE PAPER GARDEN is a darkly humorous, gothic and speculative story collection that explores contemporary queer romances, mother-daughter relationships and mental illness by reimagining fairy tales or myths.

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Caitlin Vance is the author of the poetry book Think of the World as a Mirror Maze (Stubborn Mule Press, 2019) and the chapbook The Little Cloud (dancing girl press, 2018). Her stories and poems have appeared in Tin House, The Southern Review, The Rupture, Washington Square Review, and others.

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Jim Nawrocki’s HOUSE FIRE
(Sept 2021)

Winner of the 2009 James White Poetry Prize, the late Jim Nawrocki’s HOUSE FIRE will include his award-winning poetry collection as well as his collected stories with a foreword co-written by authors Michael Carroll and Edmund White.

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Jim Nawrocki’s fiction and essays have appeared in The Molotov CocktailChelsea Station, and the Gay & Lesbian Review Worldwide, where he was a regular contributor. His poetry has appeared in PoetryNimrod, and other journals. After struggling with cancer, Jim passed away in 2018 at his home in San Francisco.

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Joann Smith’s A HEAVEN OF THEIR CHOOSING
(Oct 2021)

Joann Smith’s story collection A HEAVEN OF THEIR CHOOSING meditates on issues ranging from fidelity to faith and mortality in the vein of Grace Paley and Alice Munro.

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Joann Smith has published stories in many literary journals. Her work has been anthologized and selected as notable stories of the year by Best American Short Stories. She lives and writes in the Bronx and is most drawn to characters who find the extraordinary in their ordinary lives.

 

Check out our new titles THE LIGHT SOURCE by Kim Magowan and KANSASTAN by Farooq Ahmed

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ISBN: 978-1-7328686-8-7
Distribution: Ingram

Inspired by the American Civil War, Kansastan takes place in a dystopic Kansas that is besieged by its neighboring state, Missouri. Close to the state line, an orphaned and disabled goatherd lives atop a minaret and is relegated to custodial work by the mosque’s imam while the threat of occupation looms. When his aunt and cousin arrive, the mosque’s congregants believe that the cousin, Faisal, is a young prophet. Faisal comes to also believe in his divinity, stoking the goatherd’s envy and hatred. When the cousins fall in love with the same woman, the goatherd hatches a plan to supplant Faisal in all ways possible—as suitor and the mosque’s savior.

Kansastan is a singular work, infused with Islamic folklore, Quranic lyricism, and Old Testament tales, as American as Cormac McCarthy, and most importantly—viciously funny.

PRAISE FOR KANSASTAN

“Halal fiction, blessed with an intensely stylized, lyrical syntax. The narrator’s voice summons the faithful more clearly than a muezzin’s call. Kansastan offers us the pure truth of divinity—or, closer to reality, a wildly intelligent caper.”
—Amitava Kumar, author of Immigrant, Montana

“Holy shit, we are definitely not in Kansas anymore. And Farooq Ahmed is like no novelist this world has seen. Brutally funny and disruptive, Kansastan is a work of alternative history that finally seems more true, more real, and more painfully strange and sad, than the world it replaces.”
—Ben Marcus, author of Notes from the Fog

“Imagine Kansas as a state with a grand mosque and a powerful Islamic tradition. Imagine a border war against the ruffian Missourians. A questionable savior. A group of zealous, devout Muslim fighters led by a man named Brown. That’s the world of Farooq Ahmed’s outstanding novel Kansastan. From the first line, Ahmed’s extraordinary literary and political mind makes this book feel inevitable, moving, and American in every way. Prepare to be amazed.”
—Whitney Terrell, author of The Good Lieutenant

“In an America with a white supremacist president, where every day brings a previously unimaginable piece of news, I can think of no more fitting a novel than Kansastan, in which a young Muslim plots to take over his mosque and lead the parishioners into battle against Missouri. This is historical fiction/dystopian fantasy with a sense of humor as dry as a summer prairie wind.”
—Michael Noll, author of The Writer’s Field Guide to the Craft of Fiction

“Exhale as you say it: this is a book “for those who contemplate.” Bristling with mysterious blimps, six-legged steers, warlike Missourians, fields strewn with meat, and worm-lipped loves, Kansastan is part holy book, part slapstick fable, and wholly original. Prepare yourself for a world in which miracles beget murder, in which grandiose delusions bloom from decrepitude, in which cousin is pitted against cousin, Jayhawker against Bushwacker: prepare yourself for Kansastan. It is a joyful and deranged read.”
—Nina Shope, author of Hangings

“Farooq Ahmed’s epic yet intimate yarn about bloody border wars, false prophets, and the little mosque on the prairie is at once wholly believable and reminiscent of a new American myth. By slyly reimagining our nation’s darkest conflict, Ahmed has made everything I thought I knew about the U.S. of A. wildly, thrillingly new. When our Republic finally falls, a book will be plucked from the ashes, and its name will be Kansastan.
—Mike Harvkey, author of In the Course of Human Events

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ISBN: 978-1-7328686-6-3
Distribution: Ingram

The relationship between Heather Katchadourian and Julie Howe is complicated. Over the past two decades, they’ve been just about everything to each other: boarding school roommates, best friends, lovers, rivals, even co-parents—both together and estranged. Will they find their way back to each other, or have they inflicted too much damage along the way? Reminiscent of the work of Meg Wolitzer, and narrated by Heather, Julie, their lifelong friends, partners, and children, The Light Source is a prismatic portrayal of what everlasting modern love truly looks like and reminds us that what’s meant-to-be becomes harder to define with age.

PRAISE FOR THE LIGHT SOURCE

“. . . these delicate, thoughtful stories are devoted to unpacking the intricacies of infidelity. . .”
—Kristen Roupenian, The New York Times Book Review on Undoing

The Light Source so exquisitely illuminates the elusive natures of both love and truth. I was riveted by Magowan’s storytelling from the opening pages to the last, as each successive character both built their own narrative and also placed little charges of dynamite in the ones that had come before. An endlessly wise and devastatingly human book.”
—Robin Black, author of Life Drawing

“A deeply honest, emotional powerhouse of a debut by Kim Magowan, The Light Source is told through the individual voices of boarding school friends whose lives and relationships interweave and unravel by turns. At its core, two women share a fragile, complicated love marred by denial and betrayal. It is because Magowan’s people are so real, so flawed and funny and smart and hurting, that they compel us so. This novel brilliantly and movingly demonstrates the power of forgiveness and self-acceptance, and that which we so often forget: How by opening the one door we’ve always stubbornly refused to, we are at last rewarded with light.”
—Kathy Fish, author of Wild Life: Collected Works from 2003-2018

“In stunning prose that renders time’s passage with the fluidity of sand slipping between hourglass chambers, Magowan follows smoldering affairs over several decades, moving seamlessly between different characters’ lives to explore the conflicting demands made by love in its many forms—familial, sexual, sororal. Indulging in neither cynicism nor sentimentality, Magowan explores the sacrifices, even the price, demanded by relationships confronting social sanctions and past hurts; and the ways we flourish when we are willing to grow and change, and, above all else, to take risks.”
—Alice Hatcher, author of The Wonder That Was Ours

“With a cast of friends who have known each other intimately since prep school days, Kim Magowan creates a smart and intricate drama about love and friendship, loyalty and betrayal, and the knife edges that separate them. Mastering a range of authentic voices (male and female) and time periods (post graduate and midlife), Magowan artfully weaves together episodes that capture in large ways and small the decisions we make that will shape our lives and hearts—and our families.”
—Sylvia Brownrigg, author of Pages for Her

“Kim Magowan writes some of the most exquisite sentences out there and her metaphors flash at you like eyes in the dark. To me she is a literary equivalent of the renowned psychotherapist Esther Perel, for all the wisdom, candor, and wit she shines on human relationships. The story of Julie and Heather is told in a composition of seven voices. As in a chiaroscuro painting, each voice is a stab of light that creates stark contrasts with the voices around it. The Light Source is a wicked smart, sexy, and devastatingly tender portrait of love in all its muddy glory.”
—Michelle Ross, author of There’s So Much They Haven’t Told You

7.13 Books in the Publisher Spotlight at Kenyon Review Online

A MacDowell Colony and Hawthornden Castle Fellow, Leland Cheuk is the author of three books, most recently, NO GOOD VERY BAD ASIAN, forthcoming from C&R Press in September 2019. His novel THE MISADVENTURES OF SULLIVER PONG (2015) was also published in translation in China (2018). He is the founder of the indie press 7.13 Books, lives in Brooklyn, and teaches at the Sarah Lawrence College Writing Institute. You can follow him on Twitter @lcheuk and at lelandcheuk.com.

Kristina Marie Darling:  How did you come to editing as a career path?

Leland Cheuk:  Five years ago, I was a largely unpublished writer who’d just quit my day job to do a residency. Then I was diagnosed with cancer, eventually had a stem cell transplant, and on the day the transplant engrafted, July 13, a small press took my first novel, which had been roundly rejected by New York publishers. Two years later, I was sending my story collection around, and a small press took it on July 13. After a stranger saved my life and strangers working at small presses saved my books, I felt like starting 7.13 Books, which only publishes first books of fiction, was the absolute least I could do. Today, my third book is coming out in September, also on a small press, and 7.13 Books has published nine books. I’ve been extremely lucky on many fronts, and I never want to forget that getting any book published is a minor miracle.

Read the rest here.

7.13 Books #9 is out: Josh Denslow’s collection NOT EVERYONE IS SPECIAL, which Kirkus calls “sharp and cutting” and “heartfelt”

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ISBN: 978-1-7328686-2-5
Distribution: Ingram

A teen who can teleport just wants to make his mom happy. A midget working as an elf in a year-round Christmas-themed amusement park battles his archrival: a condescending Santa. You’ve heard of Fight Club, but have you been to the Underground Punch Market? Like the work of George Saunders crossed with Richard Linklater, Not Everyone Is Special is a collection of slacker fabulist stories that are at once speculative, hilarious, and poignant.

PRAISE FOR NOT EVERYONE IS SPECIAL

“…sharp and cutting…A collection of heartfelt, deftly composed stories about the human condition.”
—Kirkus Reviews

“Josh Denslow’s stories are intricate, fun, and beautiful, though always about heartbreak and loss. They’re like perfect little castles made of jewels and lego bricks that rise out of a howling abyss.”
—Ben Loory, author of Tales of Falling and Flying

“Josh Denslow’s Not Everyone is Special is truly irresistible. Subversive, hilarious, and profoundly moving, these stories should come with a warning label to clear your schedule before you begin because you’ll find yourself binge reading the entire book. A sensational debut.”
—Kirstin Chen, author of Bury What We Cannot Take

“Denslow makes his cast of outsiders, six-time losers, and lovelorn loners both heartbreaking and unforgettable. This debut collection sparkles with heart, bitter satire, and irresistible aplomb.”
—J. Ryan Stradal, author of Kitchens of the Great Midwest

“Denslow does something here that’s refreshing and unique in the literary landscape: he skips the cynicism and heads right for the emotional honesty, producing some of the best dialogue (internal and external) that I’ve read in ages. This book is a genuinely warm and funny book about what it means to be a human in the modern world.”
—Amber Sparks, author of The Unfinished World

“When we meet the characters in Josh Denslow’s stories, they’re almost always already in trouble, and then they go looking for even more—but they do so with such heart and humor that you’ll inevitably fall in love with them, even (or especially) when they’re behaving their well-meaning worst. Not Everyone is Special is a smart and funny debut, often satirical and always generous, perfect for fans of George Saunders or Sam Lipsyte.”
—Matt Bell, author of Scrapper

Check out our latest release PORTRAIT OF SEBASTIAN KHAN, a novel by Aatif Rashid

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ISBN: 978-1-7328686-0-1
Distribution: Ingram

Sebastian Khan is 380 days away from the end of college. An art history major with a fondness for the Pre-Raphaelites and a dislike of long-term commitments (romantic and otherwise), Sebastian starts dating Fatima, who’s determined to transition smoothly from campus life to a stable white-collar professional career. Sebastian’s membership in Model United Nations, though, takes him to colleges across North America, foisting upon him all manner of temptations and testing his commitment to Fatima and his readiness for adulthood.

Part satire of college life circa 2011 and part serious exploration of art’s fundamental unreality, Portrait of Sebastian Khan is a humorous coming-of-age novel about a charismatic but emotionally stunted Muslim American Don Draper, who wins as many hearts as he breaks.

PRAISE FOR PORTRAIT OF SEBASTIAN KHAN

“The true star of this piece is the expat community that Duclos has perfectly drawn. Any expat who has spent an amount of time in Asia will find at least something in there that speaks to their own experience. The worldbuilding is excellent.”
—Kirkus Reviews

“In Aatif Rashid’s witty and dissolute Portrait of Sebastian Khan…Sebastian is a flawed but compelling character, and his romances are detailed with rushes of color and sensation. This sensuality alternates with undertones of humor and even subtle splendor, so that Trader Joe’s vodka becomes a vessel of magical spirits, or the ‘mermaid’s song’ scent of a beachy shampoo transports him from the ‘dull pop music of the Walgreen’s.’
Foreword Reviews

“A smart, thoughtfully constructed, and propulsive coming-of-age story.”
—J. Ryan Stradal, author of Kitchens of the Great Midwest

 

Check out our latest release BESOTTED, a novel by Melissa Duclos!

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ISBN: 978-1-7328686-4-9
Distribution: Ingram

Besotted is the ballad of Sasha and Liz, American expats in Shanghai. Both have moved abroad to escape—Sasha from her father’s disapproval, Liz from the predictability of her hometown. When they move in together, Sasha falls in love, but the sudden attention from a charming architect threatens the relationship. Meanwhile, Liz struggles to be both a good girlfriend to Sasha and a good friend to Sam, her Shanghainese language partner who needs more from her than grammar lessons. For fans of Prague by Arthur Phillips and The Expatriates by Janice Y.K. Lee, Besotted is an expat novel that explores what it means to love someone while running away from yourself.

Melissa Duclos received her MFA in creative writing from Columbia University, where she was awarded the Guston Fellowship. Her work has been published in The Washington Post, Salon, Bustle, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, and Electric Literature among other venues. She lives with her two children in Portland, Oregon, where she works in communications for a non-profit organization. She is the founder of Magnify: Small Presses, Bigger, a monthly newsletter celebrating small press books, and is at work on her second novel and a collection of humorous journals.

“The true star of this piece is the expat community that Duclos has perfectly drawn. Any expat who has spent an amount of time in Asia will find at least something in there that speaks to their own experience. The worldbuilding is excellent.”
—Kirkus Reviews

Besotted is an absorbing, nuanced debut about belonging, desire, and the frustrations that surface in an atmosphere of isolation. Set mostly in tiny apartments, ridiculous happy hour bars, and Starbucks—all Western attempts to recreate home—Duclos’s expatriate Shanghai is wholly unique and beautifully composed. Alive with keenly observed, vibrant detail, Besotted is a love story that pulses with heat and light, glitter and grit.”
—Kimberly King Parsons, author of Black Light

In Besotted, Melissa Duclos debuts a beautiful, bruising love story that fully inhabits the world’s disquieting spaces in between. Her tender, vital community of Shanghai expats are—sometimes in the space of a single, lyric sentence—both impulsive and calculating, passionate and standoffish, at home and as far from home as they possibly can be. The result is an exuberant, sexy tango of a novel, at turns playful and wrenching, that unpacks the ways desire and reality are both closer together and farther apart than they ever initially seem.
—Tracy Manaster, author of The Done Thing 

“Readers of Besotted should be alert as Melissa Duclos slips in and out of the different points of view, jump cutting from one consciousness to the next with boldness and precision; her snarky slings land on target and slice deep. This novel about what country, friendship, work, and above all love mean to a generation of American expats also touches on what life in China is like for its cosmopolitan masses. But Loneliness, capitalized by Duclos, is the main theme. The clueless characters of Besotted try to hide their vulnerabilities under layers of coolness, clever remarks, and disaffection. They are very much like the people we know; they are us at the end of the day, when we remove our make up and can’t any longer disguise how much love and the lack of it can hurt.”
—Jaime Manrique, author of Cervantes Street 

Besotted is an exquisite tale of desire, longing, love, and reinvention. Duclos’s brilliance lies in her painstaking renderings of heartaches large and small, and the particular pain of struggling to find connection on the other side of the world. Besotted is a head rush—a sexier, smarter, more genuine coming-of-age story you will not find.”
—Mo Daviau, author of Every Anxious Wave

 

 

 

THE OTHER ONE Author Hasanthika Sirisena joins 7.13 Books as Editor

Hasanthika Sirisena’s essays and stories have appeared in The Globe and MailWSQ, NarrativeThe Kenyon ReviewGlimmer TrainEpochStoryQuarterlyNarrative and other magazines. Her work has been anthologized in Best New American Voices, and named a distinguished story by Best American Short Stories in 2011 and 2012. She is a recipient of fellowships from the MacDowell Colony and Yaddo. In 2008 she received a Rona Jaffe Writers’ Award. She is currently an associate fiction editor at West Branch magazine and a Visiting Assistant Professor at Susquehanna University.

Her short story collection, THE OTHER ONE, won of the 2015 Juniper Prize for Fiction and was published in 2016.

You can read more about her work here.

Kirkus Reviews loves NOT EVERYONE IS SPECIAL, stories by Josh Denslow and BESOTTED, a novel by Melissa Duclos

“Denslow opens his debut collection by quoting a Tom Waits song, so it’s no surprise the characters within resemble the kinds of affable, sometimes-laughable sad sacks and beautiful losers you find in American fiction from Steinbeck to Bukowski.”

Read the rest of the NOT EVERYONE IS SPECIAL review at Kirkus Reviews

“Sasha moved to Shanghai a few years ago to get away from her overbearing father. Liz arrives in China looking for something to shake up the predictability of her life. Both working at the same international school, Liz gratefully moves into Sasha’s spare room and the two become roommates, friends, and eventually lovers. They explore the expat community of Shanghai, a raucous group of English speakers that meet in bars every week to party and remind themselves they’re not alone, including Dorian, an architect and longtime acquaintance of Sasha’s who wants to put down roots.”

Read the rest of the BESOTTED review at Kirkus Reviews  

Our 2020 Authors

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.

L

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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?”

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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.

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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.

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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.