7 Indie Book Recommendations 2016 (+ my projects)

While 2016 may have sucked death and destruction wise (from David Bowie to Leonard Cohen dying to everything in between–and I’m not even touching the election), there was also hope and beauty.

This summer in our quiet little town, boxes upon boxes were delivered of books for our defunct school library. With donations from around the world, we filled our library and gave to seven area libraries and to the local foster care agency for the kids they see. I now keep a box of books in my car (of duplicates and older books) to give out as I see a need.

This year also gave me the opportunity to check out YA titles and other books I was unfamiliar with. I’ve also known some authors who had books come out as well. From tiny books , to books published on a large scale–we had a good deal of great words this year if you knew where to look.  Here’s my quick list of books to check out by independent or small press authors (because the mainstream good ones you can find at Costco–I don’t have to help you with that).


    I first saw V. Kali perform her poetry when we were on the same bill at Beyond Baroque in Venice, CA back in 2013? 2012? It was the summer and I was reading poems from my chapbook Alzheimer’s Cul de Sac (my grandfather had just died from Alzheimer’s the year before) and she was reading from a slim volume of pieces that a friend had put together for her. She was phenomenal. Her work blew me away. So much truth in it. And I thought I hope there’s a book by her somewhere. FINALLY THERE IS! Just published by World’s Stage Press (where you can find her reading her work sometimes). GET IT.


    2.  Another Los Angeles poet par excellence, Xochitl-Julisa Bermejo’s much anticipated first book of poetry Posadas has been released. Posada: Offerings of Witness and Refuge is a feminist collection of poetry straddling borders, and arose when daughter of Mexican immigrants, Xochitl-Julisa Bermejo, traveled from Los Angeles to the Tucson-Sector of the U.S.-Mexico border in August 2011 to volunteer with the humanitarian aid organization, No More Deaths. She hoped to gain a concrete understanding of the “wall,” and the result was a book illustrating a speaker driven to activism by a need to honor her family’s journey.” Posadas!

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  3. Alicia Young is just an absolute treasure to read to read. Hard-hitting and truth-telling. She gives you a window into a world that probably didn’t vote the way you did–and she delivers empathy with her meticulous eye. Schmussy
  4. !.51eyr-zhyil-_sx322_bo1204203200_Totally biased on this one, but have you read Michelle Gonzales’ book yet?! It went into a second printing. Such a great time capsule into the early 90s Bay Area punk rock scene. Can’t recommend this one enough. Spitboy Rule


5. I started getting interested in Lasara Firefox Allen’s work after reading Sexy Witch. Now I realize Jailbreaking is probably more my speed. “Jailbreaking the Goddess is a revolutionary revisioning of the feminine divine. Where the maiden, mother, crone archetypal system is tied to female biology and physical stages of life, the fivefold model liberates the female experience from the shackles of the reproductive model.” This book has gotten me into some really great conversations.


6. Bruja by Wendy C. Ortiz–my favorite of anything she’s published so far.  Dream meets reality and back again sort of thing. “Dreamnoir” it’s being called. Worth reading. Bruja!


7. Pauline Campos’ new journal “Be Your Own Fucking Sunshine” is just some great silly fun. A blank journal with inspirational swears like a drunken sailor messages. Why the fuck not? Fucking Sunshine…

There are many more worthy books of 2016 to read, to be sure, but often the small and indie go undiscovered, and they NEED discovering.

Here are three projects I was involved in this year that could benefit from some patronage as well!


Mary of the Chance Encounters is an audiobook CD or a download comprised of me, yours truly, reading eight short stories from this manuscript of erotica, disturbing, noirish short stories. Produced by Wretched Productions and Ms. Heidi Moore—-who made its first full-length feature film

51uik1w8nrl-_sx425_DOLLY DEADLY–Which my daughter, son, and I are all in at one point or another. I was location scout on this venture, did some sound effects, AND creative services for a vegan crew. If ever I demonstrated an ability to be a jack of all trades, it’s on this project. Thanks, Heidi!

And last but not least, I rounded out the year being art director (and model) for the Pin-ups for Plumas Community Radio Calendar!

il_570xn-1089417800_31cnTwelve women from my neck of the woods–two of us DJs at the station–(that’s DJ Tina Terrazas on the cover), posed for a fundraising calendar for our radio station KQNY . We would absolutely love your support by purchasing a calendar Here.


Wayward Writer Retreat

I am bone tired and weary. I have biceps I haven’t had since my kids were toddlers. I am happy to say we have only 20 more boxes to open at the library–and hopefully none will come tomorrow. We are few people and we need to catch up. The generosity is overwhelming.  Thank you. Thank you cards have begun and imagine they will take the better part of the fall semester to complete. I hope a thank you here is also enough as some boxes came in damaged in parts and addresses were not always readable. Please be patient. I’ve had a few emails from people thinking perhaps that we have 200 people and a sophisticated technology set up to respond. Alas we have a couple dozen people who donate time when they can. And we have one very exhausted me who has some reinforcements coming this week thank goodness.

I also have something wonderful to look forward to. The 5th Annual Wayward Writers Retreat begins on July 29th to July 31st. Writers I know and their children hang out and share food and writing prompts and talk writing for three days. There’s no cost except to get here and share what you can. One just has to be part of the community (pitch in with food, camp stuff, booze–etc). All of us at one point or another took online classes at at Ariel Gore’s Literary Kitchen.

Ours is a different sort of retreat….so many workshops and retreats for writers are really based on the premise that writers remain childless with disposable income. There are very few conferences with options for childcare  ( I can’t think of any actually). We bring our kids. And they hang out –these children of writers (honestly, my daughter has quipped before that it’s pretty much a support group for children of writers).


This was taken at the 4th Annual Wayward Writers Retreat.

This year the lovely and wonderful Michelle Gonzales will be doing a reading and book signing at Musicland in downtown Greenville on Friday, July 30th at 6 pm. Her book The Spitboy Rule came out this Spring on PM PRESS. Musicland is located in downtown Greenville on Main Street.

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Then on Saturday, July 30th, Lasara Firefox Allen will be doing a book signing and reading at Epilog Books in Quincy, CA.


Fresh off the presses! Lasara Firefox Allen’s Jailbreaking the Goddess.

Then on Saturday night at 7 p.m. all the writers from the retreat get together for a public reading at the Main Street Lounge in downtown Quincy. It’s open to the public and free and always a treat! And afterwards a swanky mid-century loving band called The Glides all the way from Phoenix is playing in the Sports bar downstairs.13502068_1035695323185494_8744355131614990132_nIMG_7974 Doesn’t this just look divine?



And of course when we aren’t reading and writing we’ll be immersed in all things beautiful Plumas County. I’m hoping for a trip to Indian Falls and one to the hot springs in Twain if it isn’t too hot. And of course there’s promise of a ride on a private carousel.


We may be a tiny town in the mountains without many amenities–but we do know how to put on a decent little retreat for some amazing writers who really need more people reading them. If you’re in town, come to the reading on July 30th. It will be quite a treat.