In her acclaimed debut novel, CATALINA, Liska Jacobs takes us into the tortured mind of Elsa Fisher as she retreats to Los Angeles, jobless after an intense affair in the heart of Manhattan’s art world. A journey of drinking, destruction and discovery follows as Elsa unravels in a seeming paradise: Catalina Island. An excerpt from the perfect beach (or island) read for hot summer days and nights, and a revealing Q&A between AFLW’s Jian Huang and the author on the evergreen question of New York vs. L.A. and, as a native Angeleno, how the character of Los Angeles as place influences her writing.
In Jessica Shoemaker’s “Mia Is Going to Mars,” Mia has survivor’s guilt. She wants to make good. But what’s lined up against her stands firm.
In “Panels,” inspired by small oil portraits on wood, Jonathan Blum sketches glimpses of people from diverse backgrounds, capturing the essence of lives lived.
In THE LAST TO SEE ME, M. Dressler blurs the boundaries between the living and the dead, showing us that otherness is a matter of not seeing and not knowing how to communicate, and that evil resides not either in the world of ghosts or men, but in one’s own heart. An excerpt and fascinating conversation between AFLW fiction editor Shilpa Agarwal and the author, on the heels of her winning this year’s $10,000 Book Pipeline Award book-to-film project for the novel.
In TRIPLE CROSS KILLER, crime writer Rosemarie Aquilina, who recently made headlines in the courtroom for her historic judgment for survivor rights, takes us into the dark, shadowy life of a serial killer and those who hunt him out. We are honored to feature an excerpt from the book and a conversation between AFLW fiction editor Shilpa Agarwal and Judge Aquilina, in which she speaks about what inspired her to write her novel focused on children, voice and power, and her vision for creating real change in society.
“They’d fought so loudly that their terrified daughter stomped on his foot to make him stop screaming.” Flash fiction in collaboration with Flash Flash Click.
“It’s a very L.A. story, surely, but you needs must own that it’s the sort of thing that could happen anywhere, to anyone.” New, fanciful fiction, a love story, by THE BLACK WATCH indie rock band founder and author John Andrew Fredrick.
“There is a story of two Simbirsk landlords who used to meet regularly for hunting, card games, and vodka-drinking bouts.” Flash fiction in collaboration with Flash Flash Click.
“My love was obese, all bent out of shape. White flesh in low-riders.” Flash fiction in collaboration with Flash Flash Click.
“Every winter river rocks shatter in place. Vulnerable when saturated, a frost shears them at every seam.” Flash fiction in collaboration with Flash Flash Click.
“Meeting under twilight skies, talking for hours, and then lying together, purrs and soft breath.” Flash fiction in collaboration with Flash Flash Click.
Sgt. Hector Gallegos of the LAPD reads his cheap, plastic Bible backward. This is a secret, as is the holy book’s presence in his patrol car, a tool – like his gun – to combat evil. When tragedy visits his home, he understands it’s not just faith, but something more that wields the power to protect his family. New fiction set in the City of Angels.
“Not yet men and women and no longer boys and girls, they may have believed in fairy tales still but wouldn’t dare confess. That summer, after the black-bristled gypsy moth caterpillars hatched, Avalon’s youth surrendered the woods reluctantly. What more was there to fear?” A beautiful yet foreboding prelude excerpt from Julia Fierro’s heralded coming-of-age novel.
Julia Fierro on how her new novel, THE GYPSY MOTH SUMMER, is an “anti-revenge revenge story” and more.
On a precarious journey down a twisting mountain road, a singer-songwriter finds herself on a crash-course with her heart. Her husband awaits at the bottom, but the loops and turns of her life are pointing her elsewhere, a burning for change, a fiery want, a flame.
Inside the dreamscape of the Hollywood sign, a love story unfolds, but as in all fairy tales, a villainess appears, and the stars begin to fall.
“And I know he isn’t talking to the hummingbird zippering the air just behind his left ear.” Flash fiction in collaboration with Flash Flash Click.
“Seven weeks had passed since she’d discovered the infidelity. First the email messages, then the bank statements.” Flash fiction in collaboration with Flash Flash Click.
“The scream queen shakes her head. She watches Frank’s boxers fall from his pale ass like a raggedy Band-Aid from a wound.” Flash fiction in collaboration with Flash Flash Click.
“Having a level twenty-one paladin with a +3 sword of sharpness does not impress girls even though the sword of sharpness is really cool.” Flash fiction in collaboration with Flash Flash Click.
“His face, sharp with twitching whiskers, is close to what was once her shoulder …” Flash fiction in collaboration with Flash Flash Click.
“The water is clear and as it rises up it shimmers, until the waves crash on the pier.” Flash fiction in collaboration with Flash Flash Click.
“Because of the steps, your mouth was eye-level so I kissed you, not hard, no tongue, just a warm friendly kiss for no reason I’ve ever known.” Flash fiction in collaboration with Flash Flash Click.
“Your pool man might dream about retiring or finishing school or impregnating his wife or getting divorced or saving enough for his daughter’s college.” Flash fiction in collaboration with Flash Flash Click.
“The rock star opens his mouth and you tumble out, with the dead-leaves scent of your hair I remember.” Flash fiction in collaboration with Flash Flash Click.
“Fat rain fell like intention on the side of the road where the life had left, fat rain on my cheeks, benediction to a girl who was suddenly wrestling with religion …” Flash fiction in collaboration with Flash Flash Click.
“Dash of the sea in his honey-blue eyes, bones carved by angels …” We’re honored to debut publishing flash fiction in collaboration with Flash Flash Click.
“He was only a ghost in the technical sense of the term, in that he was dead and haunting the Earth.” Flash fiction in collaboration with Flash Flash Click.
“I drink from the hipflask and, even before the alcohol fills my mouth, it is delicious—the coldness of the metal against my lips, my teeth, the roundness of it, the O.” Flash fiction in collaboration with Flash Flash Click.
“Where are those skies, those seas, that earth of my blood memory?” Flash fiction in collaboration with Flash Flash Click.
“In the middle of the night, Jeff had a heart attack and Shayla rode in the ambulance next to him, holding his gray hand, adrenaline surging through her body … ” Flash fiction in collaboration with Flash Flash Click.
In GENEVIEVES, Henry Hoke proves himself a master illusionist, slipping us through veils of reality to meet an echo of who we might be in our deepest selves. An excerpt from the just-released book of surreal, gender-bending fiction and a Q&A with the author.
In THE EDUCATION OF MARGOT SANCHEZ, by Lilliam Rivera, a Puerto Rican-American family does everything it can to maintain a veneer of perfection for their teenage daughter, Margot. But when she’s caught stealing money, she winds up working in her father’s South Bronx grocery store, and that’s where her education truly begins. A riveting excerpt and Q&A with the author.
In CAKE TIME, Siel Ju’s protagonist has no illusions about family or perfection. She’s left that all behind long ago. A compelling excerpt and Q&A with AFLW Fiction Editor Shilpa Agarwal.
“You are the interloper now, like the unwelcome snow flurry in late March, when the world wants nothing but to see the leaves and has no patience for flakes blowing across the pavement.”
“Many people ask me why I started dating a Martian and my first response is that I didn’t plan it. It was just one of those things that happen. One minute I was standing at the Eat Right health food store minding my own business and the next I was dating a Martian.”
A sweet summer’s beach trip, two girls and some filth washed in along the shore. A story of the pound and fury of an unexpected encounter, and the refusal to break.
A heart-pounding-in-ears exploration of the fleeting possibility of a razor-sharp death, a grand, fiery death, in a wearisome and worn-out life. And what a thrill it could be.
“Together you sneak those tiny conversation hearts from a bowl at the librarian’s desk. You leave only a single heart behind. You sit beneath a table and read them to each other. Chalky dye covers your fingers, coats your tongues.”
In her latest acclaimed novel, LITTLE NOTHING, Marisa Silver compels us to look, and look deeply, at how hatred distorts not only those we fear, but ourselves. An excerpt and conversation with HAUNTING BOMBAY author Shilpa Agarwal examining the meaning of “other” and more within and without this extraordinary work.
We have been honored to feature an array of tremendous titles from incredibly talented and diverse writers of fiction, non-fiction and poetry. Here are some of our favorites published in the year we now leave behind.
Read an excerpt from “Wedding Bush Road,” a new novel by David Francis on the complexities of the journey “home,” and a Q&A with the author exploring the freeing power of distance and how the change of regime now challenges writers to “be more aware of the ‘political'” in their work.
An excerpt from the fiery, acclaimed debut novel by Jade Chang, “The Wangs Vs. the World,” and a frank Q&A with the author post-11/9.
A glimpse into the whimsical, weird and compelling debut collection of crafted and surreal stories by Meredith Alling.
Henry Hoke’s dazzling and daring new fiction challenges the concepts of memoir and dreamscape, reality and surrealism, literature and sexuality.
A glimpse into Dana Johnson’s acclaimed new collection of stories set in the heart of Los Angeles that explore love, class and race in intimate and daring ways.
An L.A. story in every sense of it, Gina Frangello’s latest, heralded novel also is a portrait of the modern family in America, examining assimilation, the legacy of secrets and the morality of desire, across ethnicities, nationalities and sexualities.
A window into Rich Ferguson’s visceral and poetic debut coming-of-age novel, NEW JERSEY ME, plus excerpts of the audiobook with music and a Q&A with the author about his inspirations and literary L.A.
Read a haunting excerpt from GRACE, the debut novel by Natashia Deón universally hailed as a new, essential slave novel, and a revealing Q&A with the author on how her work delving into our country’s dark past relates to Black Lives Matter, sex and love.
“Southern California was the perfect place for show business to sink its shallow roots in the era of silent film. Of course, at the time they weren’t actually known as ‘silent films,’ since there was no other kind of film. They were instead called ‘no-talkies.’”