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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GET NOT EVERYONE IS SPECIAL AT AMAZON
GET NOT EVERYONE IS SPECIAL AT INDIEBOUND

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.

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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.

Willie Davis’s novel NIGHTWOLF is available now!

Set in Lexington, Kentucky, Nightwolf is Willie Davis’s gritty, but affectionate portrayal of the new South, where around every dark and harrowing corner, there is a tender and redemptive path forward.

“Davis, a master of wit, one-liners and dead on observations, has done everything right. Nightwolf, often funny and always smart, is told through the eyes of Milo, a devastatingly funny and keen social critic. And through him, this story of Kentucky and youth and angst and self-discovery gleams.”
—Natashia Deón, author of Grace

Order at Amazon or here.

7.13 up at Small Press Points on Poets & Writers

“July 13 holds special importance for writer and publisher Leland Cheuk. Not only is it the day that, in 2014, he found out his life had been saved by a successful bone marrow transplant from a stranger, but it’s also the day that his first novel, The Misadventures of Sulliver Pong, was picked up by the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography. Two years later, on the same day, Thought Catalog sent him an offer for his first story collection, Letters From Dinosaurs. So when Cheuk decided to start his own small press in 2016, he didn’t hesitate to name it 7.13 Books (713books.com).”

Read the rest here. 

Joe Ponepinto’s MR. NEUTRON Available Now!

 

GET MR. NEUTRON AT AMAZON

ISBN: 978-0-9984092-4-5
Distributor: Ingram

In the smallish American city of Grand River, things are not so grand. The river is hopelessly polluted. City officials are in the pockets of oligarchs. And its best hope for meaningful change is a platitude-spouting eight-foot giant named Reason Wilder running for mayor.

Gray Davenport, a veteran political operative, isn’t faring much better than his hometown. His wife is about to leave him. He’s working for a mayoral candidate who has no chance to win and who can’t even pay for Gray’s services. When Gray notices that Reason may not be human, Gray embarks on a quest to uncover the truth about Reason’s mysterious origins, and the truth promises to change Grand River and Gray forever.

A satirical mashup of Frankenstein and Veep, Mr. Neutron is a hilarious genre-bender that speaks to the unpredictable nature of American politics today.

PRAISE FOR MR. NEUTRON

“Joe Ponepinto’s Mr. Neutron offers a hilarious and biting romp across the American political landscape through the eyes of beleaguered campaign operative Gray Davenport. Gray is a man accustomed to living a “slow-lane life” as an aide to a perennial office seeker, while conjuring up an imaginary alter ego, Monterey Jack, a tough hombre who bubbles with testosterone. Yet Gray’s existence picks up unexpected speed when his own wife signs on to manage the mayoral campaign of an eight-foot-tall opponent, Reason Wilder—a nemesis who seems hardly human. Soon several mysterious old men have hired Gray to investigate this monstrous neophyte…and what ensues is a mad escapade that perfectly captures the ongoing derangement of our current electoral order. Mr. Neutron is satire at its best: sharp, clever and unsettling. Ponepinto has penned the defining political comedy for our own tragicomic democracy.”
—Jacob M. Appel, author of Millard Salter’s Last Day

“Mr. Neutron is pure fun, satire at its best, skewering American government, politics, and society with delicious humor and insight. This is a book you’ll press on your friends, a book full of quotable gems and characters you won’t soon forget.”
—Kathy Anderson, author of Bull and Other Stories

“Just when you thought politics couldn’t get any stranger, Joe Ponepinto gives us this–a madcap, comedic tale of politics as usual–or unusual, rather. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll read, you’ll vote. And then you’ll read again.”
—B.J. Hollars, author of Flock Together