Roland Little is our publishing manager. Fresh out the United States Air Force at age 21, Roland began his first real job writing obituaries for a daily newspaper in northeast Ohio. His apprenticeship expanded with action-filled prose at the sports desk. Eventually, political and crime reporting would feature his byline. With journalistic talent listed on his résumé, Roland launched his career along a 40-year pathway through airline public relations, cruise line marketing, and eventually through the uncharted fields of online enterprise; all required intrepid typing skill and an unwavering respect for English grammar and syntax. Today he helps promote new book titles using the tools of social networking, along with movie-style trailers that quickly focus reader imagery into the tale penned by a new storyteller.
As a winter storm bears down on the Texas Panhandle, seventy-four-year-old Willa Jackson embarks on a plan to maintain her independence and fully realize her artistic talent. Her daughter, Melanie, is determined to take charge of her mother, although her hands are full of her own problems. Willa’s past, and that of Jackson’s Pond, Texas, the dying town named for the pond on their ranch, provides a backdrop for Willa’s determination to secure her own future and the future of her grandchildren. Willa challenges resistance from several directions, including from her own doubts, as she follows her creative heart.
Jackson’s Pond reminds me of why I started reading in the first place, to be enchanted, to be swept up and carried away from my world and dropped into a world at once more vivid and incandescent. The prose is luminous and compassionate, the characters are riveting and heroic, the themes complex and resonant. Teddy Jones loves her characters and makes us love them, too. Jackson’s Pond is a heartfelt, redemptive, and irresistible family saga. Teddy knows that every story is many stories, and she handles the complex tales of romance, family, art, and secrets with intelligence, grace, and tenderness.
— John Dufresne, author of No Regrets, Coyote.
“As a writer, Teddy Jones is a straight shooter, and her multi-generational novel offers up women characters as strong as their creator (the men don’t fare badly either). Jackson’s Pond, Texas is riddled with heart, guts, and talent—a bull’s eye for readers!”
— Robin Lippincott, author of In the Meantime, and Blue Territory: A Meditation on the Life and Work of Joan Mitchell (forthcoming)
John Dufresne started “Friday Night Writers” twenty-three years ago. It’s still going strong. John is a distinguished professor of the MFA Creative Writing program at Florida International University in Miami. His books on the subject, The Lie That Tells a Truth andIs Life Like This?, are used in many university writing programs. He displays his literary talents through numerous works of fiction. His latest, No Regrets, Coyote received a favorable review in the New York Times Sunday Book Review of August 2, 2013. John is a frequent speaker at industry seminars, book fairs, writer retreats, and other author events.
John’s ability to inspire his students is legendary. Some of his better known students who are published authors include Dennis Lehane, Christine Kling, Preston Allen, and Barbara Parker.
John Dufresne has won the Yankee Magazine award for fiction, the Transatlantic Review/Henfield Foundation Award, a PEN Syndicated Fiction award. His novel Louisiana Power & Light (Norton) was a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers selection and a New York Times Notable Book of the Year, 1994. He is also the author of two short story collections, The Way That Water Enters Stone (Norton) and Johnny Too Bad (Norton) ,three chapbooks, Lethe, Cupid, Time and Love; Well Enough Alone; and I Will Eat a Piece of the Roof and You Can Eat the Window and the novels, Love Warps the Mind a Little(Norton), also a New York Times Notable Book of the Year, 1997, Deep in the Shade of Paradise (Norton), and Requiem, Mass (Norton). He is one of the thirteen authors of the mystery novel, Naked Came the Manatee. His monologue, The Freezer Jesus was produced as part of Native Tongues at Le Chat Noir Theater in New Orleans. He wrote the screenplay for the short film, “The Freezer Jesus” and, with Donald Papy, the feature film To Live and Die in Dixie, both directed by Harper Philbin. His story “Johnny Too Bad,” which originally appeared in Triquarterly, was included in New Stories from the South: The Year’s Best, 2003.His story “The Timing of Unfelt Smiles” which originally appeared in Miami Noir, was included in Best American Mystery Stories of 2007. His story “The Cross-Eyed Bear, which originally appeared in Boston Noir,” was selected to appear in Best American Mystery Stories of 2010. He edited the short story anthologyBlue Christmas. His latest book on writing, What would Chekhov do? (Madison Avenue Press) was published by a MidTown Publishing affiliated company.
Tim Curtis wrote his first complete sentence seven years ago. He was so excited he immediately signed up for evening classes at Miami-Dade College. Two years later he joined John Dufresne’s Friday Night Writers group. Thanks to spell check, and the feedback he received from the group, Tim was accepted into Florida International University’s Creative Writing Program the following year. This fall marks his sixth year attending Friday Night Writers and his fourth year in FIU’s three year MFA program. When Tim isn’t busy rewriting his awesome comedic novel Live Is Good—If But Briefly, he dabbles in short stories and poetry. Tim never shies away from a chance to share his writing, and is available for bedside readings from his tome of early missives he modestly refers to as “sedative literature.”
Tim’s story in the upcoming book Everything Is Broken is entitled Asset Management.
David Beaty has lived and worked in Greece, England and Brazil. A graduate of Columbia College, he earned an MFA in Creative Writing from Florida International University, where he was a recipient of the Josephine Friedman Award For Fiction. His stories have appeared in Miami Noir, Unbound Press, Having A Wonderful Time, Tigertail, and other anthologies and literary journals. His short story, “Ghosts,” was chosen for The Best American Mystery Stories 2000, and his story, The Last of Lord Jitters, received honorable mention in The Best American Mystery Stories 2007.
David’s story in the upcoming book Everything Is Broken is entitled Swimming Against the Weimaraner.
Before moving to South Florida from Chicago in 1993, Lizabeth Solomon planted the first seeds of a novel on paper. In 2001, upon leaving her job, she dedicated herself to trying to finish that book. After sending perhaps the fifth (or fiftieth) revision to her longtime friend and editor, her friend replied with a book from the slush pile at work: Love Warps the Mind a Little. “It’s really good, and in the author’s notes, he thanks this writers group,” her friend noted. Lizabeth has been a devoted member of John Dufresne’s Friday Night Writers since.
Lucky grew from an observation while shopping at the Publix at Hollywood Circle (Florida), though the story takes place in Chicago. If not an active participant of the Friday Night Writers, Lizabeth doubts that Lucky ever would have been more than a passing pondering or unfinished rendering, attesting that the telling of this tale was both inspired and improved by the writings and feedback of her peers.
Lizabeth has written articles for local Chicago and South Florida publications as well as the Chicago Tribune and its syndicate. She continues to work on rewrites to her many-times-revised novel. This is her first published short story.
Lizabeth’s story in the upcoming book Everything Is Broken is entitled Lucky.
A former firefighter, Louis K. Lowy is the author of Die Laughing, a humorously dark sci-fi novel set in the 1950’s of flying saucers, communist paranoia, and live television. He is the recipient of a State of Florida Individual Artist Fellowship. His work has appeared in, among others, Coral Living Magazine, New Plains Review, Pushing Out the Boat, The MacGuffin Magazine, and The Chaffey Review. His poem “Poetry Workshop” was the second place winner of Winning Writers Wergle Flomp Humor Poetry Contest. He can be reached at www.louisklowy.com and on Facebook.
Louis has been involved with Friday Night Writers for six years. He originally joined as a means to connect with other writers—not really sure what it was, exactly, that connect meant. Over the years he’s come to realize that it means an opportunity to learn from its leader, John Dufresne; a safe ground to be criticized and praised; a forum to share in the insecurities and triumphs that come with writing; and a network of friendship, support, and encouragement.
Louis’ story in the upcoming book Everything Is Broken is entitled A Hole in the Night.
Ingrid wrote her first tragedy at age seven on a Soviet typewriter she says was “roughly the size of a family sedan.” She soon discovered that writing was the perfect loophole for lying without getting in trouble. “As long as I typed it up and called it ‘fiction’ my mother never threatened to break out the dreaded Chancleta—that’s a flip-flop for those of you uninitiated in the art of Cuban child-rearing. It is a truth universally acknowledged that all Cuban children quiver and pale at the mere mention of The Chancleta.”
Ingrid has been a member of Friday Night Writers for about four years. “There’s nothing like a captive audience to improve the craft,” she says. “It’s nice to bask in the warmth of glowing reviews by your best friend and your dog, but ultimately, constructive criticism is the only way to get better at anything. With the exception of skydiving.
Ingrid’s story in the upcoming book Everything Is Broken is entitled Semper Fi.
Michael Creeden was born in Fall River, Massachusetts. After graduating from Southeastern Massachusetts University, he worked for fifteen years as a technical writer in the software and biotech industries. He began attending Friday Night Writers in 2005, when he was a student in the Florida International University MFA program. He has been a semi-regular attendee since then, coming for inspiration, camaraderie, and the quality feedback that John and the group provide. His short stories and non-fiction have appeared in Miami Living, The Florida Book Review, and Tigertail. He lives in Miami, where he teaches writing at Florida International University.
Michael’s story in the upcoming book Everything Is Broken is entitled Fervor.