On my Nightstand


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ON MY NIGHTSTAND - Fifth Anniversary 2017

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MillValleyLit Editor Jeb Harrison wins Independent Press Award.   

The INDEPENDENT PRESS AWARD recognized The Healing of Howard Brown by Jeb Stewart Harrison in the category of Literary Fiction as the winner. The competition is judged by experts from different aspects of the book industry, including publishers, writers, editors, book cover designers and professional copywriters. Selected award Winners and Distinguished Favorites are based on overall excellence.

The Healing of Howard Brown by Jeb Stewart Harrison is the story of a retired high school English teacher’s personal journey to unravel his dysfunctional family history. In the process, discovers the key to his salvation. Themes of family, trust and responsibility to others, the national as well as personal past, and the life of the spirit resound throughout, with a cultural resonance involving class and race, the North (Kentfield, CA) and the South (West Feliciana Parish, LA), the definition of masculine identity, and, centrally, the nature of mature love in a multitude of relationships - husband/wife, brother/sister, father/son - in the face of a debilitating mental illness that runs like a poison vein through the family tree. For additional information, visit the author's website, www.jsh-creative.com .

"In 2017, we had worldwide participation, from London to Australia, from Portugal to Hong Kong, and are so proud to announce the winners and favorites in our annual INDEPENDENT PRESS AWARD.  Independent publishing is alive and well, and continues to gain traction worldwide," said awards sponsor Gabrielle Olczak.


Can Your Your Ears Read?

The Drive Time Readerby Jeb Harrison

Audiobooks: Not the Latest, but Some of the Greatest

The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon, and Gary Shteyngart’s Super Sad True Love Story.

It seems to me that there are at least two types of media consumers: those that are all about “the latest thing,” be it books, TV shows, films, music etc. and those that are generally unaware of buzz of any sort, save for perhaps the buzzing of the bees in the nasturtiums and the steady creep of tinnitus brought on by decades of listening to ear-splitting Stratocasters and Hammond B3s.

I am, and always have been, a card-carrying member of the terminally “unware of the latest thing” group.  But when it comes to digital audiobooks, the whole genre still feels sorta new, so maybe the latest thing isn’t such a big deal. Nonetheless, please forgive me if this is old news. (Beats fake news, I suppose.)

This summer, I listened to a couple of novels that, for me anyway, were very much the latest thing (compared to my ongoing obsession with Dickens, Conrad, Hemingway, and other dead guys): The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon, and Gary Shteyngart’s Super Sad True Love Story.
Stylistically and thematically, these works by Shteyngart and Chabon are at opposite ends of the literary spectrum. A 2001 Pulitzer winner, The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, is almost Doctorow-esque in its weaving together of historical fact and fiction, spanning the dawn of the comic book industry in the mid-thirties through its Golden Age and subsequent demise in the mid-fifties. The storytelling is dense, detailed and capacious (22-hours long) and, through the nimble and varied voices of narrator David Collaci, presents a complex tapestry of memorable characters, from the thick Czech accent of Joe Kavalier to the Brooklyn smart-assery of Sammy Clay and his textbook Jewish mother, to the corn-fed “aw shucks” of Tracy Bacon and the sexy innocence of Rosa Saks.

Super Sad True Love Story chronicles the diary of 39-year old Lenny Abramov, the son of Russian Jewish immigrants, and the “GlobalTeens Account” chats of the object of his affections, 24-year old Eunice Park, daughter of Korean immigrants. Set in NYC in the not-too-distant-future, the novel portrays a satirical, hilarious and terrifying dystopian vision of an American society on a death march driven by materialism, mobile technology, class struggle and an obsession with youth and eternal life.
The male characters are narrated by Adam Grupper, whose portrayal of Lenny, in particular, is reminiscent of a weepy, self-absorbed and neurotic Woody Allen. The female characters are narrated by Ali Ahn, who infuses Eunice with a perfect balance of snarky bravado and crippling self-doubt. While it is unlikely that Schteyngart’s merciless disregard for political correctness would earn him any points with the PC police, his acerbic indictment of an all-too-possible American cultural cesspool is heartbreaking and sidesplitting at the same time.

Also of note:
The Sea (2005), by John Banville and narrated in a luscious brogue by John Lee, is the brooding meditation of a widower and his bitter recollections of his childhood summers in an Irish village by the seaside. Winner of the Man-Booker prize, you can listen to this captivating story on a trip to Tahoe and back.

Avenue of Mysteries (2015), by John Irving and narrated by Armando Duran chronicles the Irving-esque life of novelist Juan Diego, from the dumps of Oaxaca to Iowa City to the Philippines. Classic Irving through and through: gay priests, transgender hookers, a cripple, a Vietnam vet/drunk, a prescient mute and a mother/daughter team of horny succubae will keep your ears tingling throughout.  



Chapala Gardens on rooftop in Santa Barbara, operated by Joy & Sandy Kelly. Green food and edible flowers are distributed to the needy.

Grow 20-36 vegetables in aeroponic vertical tower on your deck!

Kit to garden in weeks! Read more about the numerous advantages of Tower Garden »


Michelle Richmond Latest Novel is a San Francisco Thriller

^ When The Marriage Pact hit shelves, 20th Century Fox kicked up the excitement a notch or two by announcing that they had acquired the feature film rights. The film is set to be produced by Chernin Entertainment. Justin Haythe, who adapted the wonderful Richard Yates novel Revolutionary Road, is writing the screenplay. See our interview with Michelle Richmond in The Salon.


Science fiction incorporating eighties pop culture is dominating with these best sellers.

Ready Player One -The bestselling cult classic--soon to be a major motion picture directed by Steven Spielberg. “The science-fiction writer John Scalzi has aptly referred to READY PLAYER ONE as a 'nerdgasm' [and] there can be no better one-word description of this ardent fantasy artifact about fantasy culture…But Mr. Cline is able to incorporate his favorite toys and games into a perfectly accessible narrative.” —Janet Maslin, The New York Times

There's a reason We Are Legion, We Are Bob was named Audible's Best Sci-Fi Book of 2016. Unique, hilarious, and utterly addictive, Dennis E. Taylor's debut novel kicked off an Audible-wide obsession among sci-fi diehards and new listeners alike.

Bob Johansson has just sold his software company and is looking forward to a life of leisure. There are places to go, books to read, and movies to watch. So it's a little unfair when he gets himself killed crossing the street.

Bob wakes up a century later to find that corpsicles have been declared to be without rights, and he is now the property of the state. He has been uploaded into computer hardware and is slated to be the controlling AI in an interstellar probe looking for habitable planets. ©2016 Dennis E. Taylor (P)2016 Audible, Inc.


By our contributing poet, writer Don Alberts. AN OUTDOOR ACTION ADVENTURE. Sheriff Louis Parker is driven in pursuit of hardened criminal Billy McClain in the death of fellow police officer Lino Crocetti during a bank robbery in Monterey. The pursuit of McClain winds deep into the North Yukon Territory with his guide Sam Getty, a veteran mountain man who believes spiritual powers reside within the mountains. Available at http://www.lulu.com/shop/don-alberts/beyond-the-grand-matoeba/paperback/product-23388177.html


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Old Barn Siding - Cerrillos, N.M. near Sante Fe, by Gary Topper

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On My Nightstand © by J. Macon King

© MillValleyLit. All rights reserved. Reproduction of any material without permission is strictly prohibited.

Uncredited non-ad photos by J. Macon King.

All writing, submissions, and comments are the views of the respective authors and interviewees do not necessarily reflect the views of MillValleyLit or Editorial staff.