Tag Archives: Foleytown

Reminder: Read My Book

3 Apr

My book, Foleytown: Comic Tales of Growing Up in Various Unfashionable Parts of California, contains nineteen humorous (at least I hope people find them humorous) tales about growing up in inland California–the part that most people outside of the state have never heard of (or even many people inside the state).

foleytown

Foleytown is available in print and e-book formats. I painted the cover illustration, of course. 

If you liked the movie Lady Bird, concerning a girl who grew up in a scrubby working-class part of Sacramento, you may very well like my book also. The most recent review notes:

“These stories are charming, well-paced, and exhibit the author’s craft very nicely. The universal appeal of the folks-ey tales appealed to me, struck a familiar chord, and caused me to yearn for simpler times. I hope that S.K. Cole plans another publication soon.”

Update on Literary Progress

22 Jul

My second book of short stories, Sutton County Line: Seven Supernatural Tales, In Homage to Ray Bradbury’s Greentown Stories, is done and I’m just doing line edits on the print-outs. As the title indicates, it’s a collection of loosely connected, fantasy/supernatural short stories inspired by Bradbury’s Greentown stories, but based in a facsimile of my own hometown in the North Central Valley of California. The first story is a novella entitled The Drowning Game and then following are six stories using the same setting and several of the same characters. I’ve been reliably informed that the novella is the hardest of all literary formats to sell to traditional publishers, so I will be self-publishing, most likely through Kindle Direct/Create Space instead.

I also started a new novel, which, like Sutton County Line, is in the literary supernatural/fantasy genre, with the working title of Herba Clepta. This started out as just a short story of about 5,000 words, and then it just grew into something more. I frequently do that, usually because I like to do deeper character development than most shorter formats allow.

 

First Reviews of My Book Posted

9 Sep

Two reviews have so far been posted at Amazon for my recently published book, Foleytown. I’m pleased to say they are both five-star reviews!

A couple of quotes:

 

“I found this book, as the author hoped it would be, entertaining, humorous and with warmth embedded in its pages.”

“A wistful, nostalgic delight.”

 

I hope to get many more reviews, although I’m sure they won’t all be five stars!

Thanks to the reviewers for their input.

E-Book is Out

1 Jul

The issues surrounding the publication of my book, Foleytown, have been resolved, and both the e-book and the print versions are available at Authorhouse, Amazon, and Barnes and Noble. The e-book is only $3.99, so I expect all five of my regular readers to buy one (just kidding!)foleytown

From the book’s blurb:

Foleytown is a special place…a place where there is always a shortage of money but never a shortage of laughs. Follow the children of the large, financially struggling Foley clan as they navigate through “bloody” pomegranate fights, epic games of Christmas Card War, homemade bridesmaid dresses, fears of itinerant serial killers, and the cherished summer tradition they called “Prune-Why-Oh” – all while learning how to grow up in a very unfashionable part of California.

As Jack Lord would have said in 1969, “Be there — Aloha!”

One of My Books is Live!

14 Jun

My book Foleytown  is finally on sale online, although the ebook hasn’t shown up at Amazon yet and I’m trying to iron that out with the publisher. But you can order the physical book for $13.99 and the ebook for $3.99 at Authorhouse; the dead-tree version is also $13.99 Amazon. Note: If you buy it from Authorhouse I get a few more shekels than if you buy it from Amazon.

Here’s a description of the book:

Foleytown is a special place…a place where there is always a shortage of money but never a shortage of laughs. Follow the children of the large, financially struggling Foley clan as they navigate through “bloody” pomegranate fights, epic games of Christmas Card War, homemade bridesmaid dresses, fears of itinerant serial killers, and the cherished summer tradition they called “Prune-Why-Oh” – all while learning how to grow up in a very unfashionable part of California.

If you order it, please leave me a review at either Authorhouse or Amazon. Thanks!

Poem

9 Jun

I wrote this poem many years ago in tribute to the great early 19th Century English landscape and seascape painter, J. M. W. Turner, classified as a Romantic painter but who could also be termed one of the fathers of Impressionism, Expressionism and Abstract Expressionism, if not the father. The poem references one of Turner’s most famous watercolor paintings, called “Pink Sky Above a Grey Sea” , painted in 1822 but looking very much like it belongs in a mid-20th Century Gallery next to a painting by Mark Rothko:

Pink Sky (After Turner)

Thin paste of rosepetals
Sticks fast  a new sky
Pale sun creeping over the sludged waters
Pale moon fading, blind, a drowned eye
Lost in the lonely dawn. 

No bird speaks, yet an unheard song
Trills over the steely sea
Through which dank prison no flailing oar
Nor silver fin has flashed
To break the still of the lonely dawn

What great regard that God has shown
To have made for us this perfect Eye
This perfect Hand that limns the Earth’s great mould
And envies not His creation’s dazzled reply
To the birth of the lonely dawn. 

Looking at this poem after all these years, I realize that I didn’t know at the time whether it was a depiction of the horizon at dawn or at sunset; I assumed dawn. But the Tate Museum, which owns the painting, says it’s sunset, rendering my poem useless. But I still like it! I guess I could find another Turner painting about dawn and change the title.

Here’s some background on Turner from Biography.com.

 

 

New Follower

7 Jun

Thanks to my latest follower, Sabiscuit, who blogs at an extremely cool site. I’m humbled to be followed by somebody with a much cooler blog than mine. Go check out the site!

Quick Estimate

16 Mar

Sutton County Line is now at 37,000 words. Foleytown is around 60,000 words. Western Waste is about 100,000 words. Gatsby’s Ghost (unfinished) is about 25,000 words.

In the last six years, I’ve written nearly 250,000 words of fiction. That doesn’t include blog posts, an unfinished play, a couple of unfinished short stories, etc. Hard to believe!

Snow Time

14 Dec

Not exactly Christmassy, but relevant for those who live in four-season climates. Here is an excerpt from a story in my book Foleytown, which is about the first time I encountered snow. It’s called The Religion of California: 

“I’ve decided that we’re going to the mountains,” my father grumbled, one early Saturday morning in late winter. “So, today, we’re all taking a car trip to see the snow.”

“Finally I will get to see and feel what snow is really like,” I told myself, gleeful beyond description. “Finally!”

We all packed into the car, my four sisters and my brother Bobby and I and my mother, and then my father drove us northward, up into the Sierra Nevada foothills, until we saw pine and fir forests and then, later, little patches of white on the ground. As we drove into higher elevations, we saw it frosting the tops of various large rocks and pine branches, and then, eventually we saw it everywhere.

The whiteness was almost blinding.

“Snow,” my father grumped. “Kids, kids—here it is, look out the window. We’ve come to the snow!”

“Oh, it’s so beautiful,” I said, excitedly pressing my face against the cold glass of the car window. “Just so, so beautiful.”

My father turned off the main highway into some small hamlet or other, and we found a little clearing with a small parking lot; it was a public park, completely buried in snow. A forlorn-looking merry-go-round and a steel jungle-gym jutted starkly out of the white snow blanket on the ground, some yards in the distance.

My mother had made us all dress in numerous layers of uncomfortable clothing and heavy rubber galoshes. She was sure that someone would come down with pneumonia, or at least a very bad cold, and she had not really approved of our trip to the snow. But she went along, resignedly.

“At least we have penicillin now,” she lectured. “When I was your age, Liz, if you got pneumonia from being out in the snow, you could die, like my poor Cousin Loppy, who passed on when he was only fourteen,” she added gloomily.

My mother was like that; she loved to look on the dark side of nearly everything. And she also had an inexhaustible supply of stories about relatives and in-laws and neighbors who had experienced dire misfortunes back there in Kentucky, usually because they did something or other that she disapproved of.

That would be things like staying out too long in the rain or snow, touching something that was infested with Germs and Disease, or playing with sharp sticks.

“Why did they call him Loppy?” I wondered aloud; I could never get my mother’s Kentucky relatives straight. It didn’t help that many of them seemed to have peculiar, scarcely human nicknames like Loppy, Bippy, Aunt Mag, and Meedge.

“Well, we called him that because he had long ears that drooped down, like a lop-eared rabbit,” my mother said. “I think that’s why he got pneumonia—his ear muffs didn’t cover them, and he got frostbite. Your Great Aunt Mag never recovered from it, poor thing—she later died from choking on a fishbone. That’s why I never let you kids eat any kind of fish, except fish sticks.”

That was another thing my mother disapproved of: eating fish. I started thinking about how often she said the bones were just too dangerous to justify eating it, as Great Aunt Mag could have clearly testified. That is, if the poor woman had lived to tell about it.

Now, for folks who didn’t approve of eating fish, it was rather hard to be a Catholic, because we were supposed to eat it every Friday. Fortunately, by the Sixties, there were frozen fish sticks easily available from the grocery store, even in a small, backwater town like Ulloa City.

Frozen fish sticks had made it possible for Mary Foley to fulfill her Friday religious obligations with an untroubled mind.

“The fish stick factory has machines that sift out all of the bones,” she’d once said, duly impressed. She had actually written a letter to the company to make sure, and they had written back to explain patiently how they de-boned all of their fish before squishing it into fish sticks.

“Thank God for Gorton’s of Gloucester, is all I can say,” my mother added.

Christmas Story Time

13 Dec

In honor of the advancing season, here is an excerpt from my upcoming book of short stories, Foleytown, which I hope to publish in its entirety sometime after the New Year. This excerpt is from a story called “Christmas in Foleytown.”

I usually got the honor of arranging the nativity set on the mantelpiece of our tiny living room. Our plaster dime store figures were cheap, common and, in retrospect, rather ugly, but I cherished them all—the Three Kings, the camel, the Holy Family, the cow and the sheep, the wandering shepherd, the donkey, and the two blonde-haired angels with Shirley Temple curls crowned by gilt-painted halos.

There was, however, one glaringly obvious flaw in our nativity set-up.

“There are not enough camels here,” I noted to my mother one year, while arranging our nativity set in what I hoped was an artful and clever way. “Three Kings and only one camel. How did they make it all the way to Bethlehem with just one camel?”

“Well, camels are big, Lizzie; they can carry a lot of things and people,” my mother answered absently.

I tried to position the figurines of all three kings on top of the camel to verify her claim, but it didn’t really work.  None of our Three Kings could fit astride the beast of burden, because each of them had plaster legs that were molded together into a solid block.

“We need two more camels,” I said, decisively. “Even if the Three Kings’ legs weren’t stuck together like that, I don’t think they could all fit on the back of just one camel.”

“I’ll look into getting two more camels at the dime store next time I go shopping on Plumas Street,” my mother replied, soothingly. But she never did actually get around to it—that year or any other.

Still trying to reason the Three Kings dilemma through, I concluded that one King rode the camel while the other two walked beside it.

“Maybe they took turns riding the camel, to be fair,” I told myself.  “That would be the Christian thing to do.”

I worried about things like that when I was small. I tucked my toys and dolls under scraps of old blankets so they would stay warm at night; I wore clothes I didn’t like because I didn’t want them to feel unwanted; I worried that coffee cups with broken handles would be abandoned to the trash heap. It was a rather unique world view, I realize now.”