Literary Newsletter by Jeff Richards, Vol. 2, No. 1 May, 2 2021
My next book, Everyone Worth Knowing: A Short Story Collection, published by Circuit Breaker Books, is scheduled for release on June 1, 2021. You can pre-order the book on Amazon. In this newsletter, I include the book cover, a short description of the collection, three blurbs that will appear on the back cover, and a John Prine song that inspired one of my stories, “Happiness.” At some point, I plan to do a launch party, probably via Zoom. I’ll keep you posted.
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT
A remarried man dreams of his dead wife. A widowed preacher seeks out guilt and inspiration in a brothel. A man who refuses to wear a mask in the spring of 2020 faces the consequences of his choice. Through the eyes of these and other flawed men, Jeff Richards explores childhood, parenthood, love, life, and toxic masculinity.
The men in these stories struggle in relationships and mourn the loves of their past as they search for meaning. Often hoping to find clarity through work, they are instead left questioning their preconceived ideas of what being a man truly means.
Approaching his flawed characters without judgment in these tightly woven stories, Richards shows men who have brief violent urges against themselves and others. They drink too much. They have crushes and get divorced and watch their lives fall apart. And finally, they attempt to overcome their directionless yearning and shame to understand their place in society.
Jeff Richards has presented us with a cavalcade of lonely laughable losers. Most of the men in these 17 stories are ruined by circumstance, parental units, lovers, bullies, or disastrous decisions. Others are Toxic Masculinity squared. The women are stronger, wiser, and better off alone. Part train wreck, part sinking of the Titanic, you can’t stop watching their decline and fall.
—Richard Peabody, ed. Gargoyle Magazine
Everyone Worth Knowing takes a hard look at the down-and-out, the depressed, the dilapidated, and the destitute. In these seventeen stories, we meet men broken by their own hardness, turned upside down by their own self-destruction, their own misguided efforts to seem unbreakable. What Jeff Richards offers us is a raw and unflinching collection that asks us to see the ugly truth about how some men are and how, despite that, there might just be one small sliver of a thing inside them that makes them worthy of something like redemption.”
—Jon Chopan, author of Veterans Crisis Hotline
Such a wealth of characters in so many very different circumstances — Everyone Worth Knowing covers a lot of ground. Stories like “Fine Art” are absolute diamonds, but all of these tales resonate, reflecting on the broken and the broken-hearted. They show people dealing with what life has dealt them in the best way that they can. Jeff Richards paints vivid pictures, rich in person and place. These stories will get to you — guaranteed.
–Pierce Koslosky, Jr. author of A Week at Surfside Beach
Click on below for John Prine’s “All the Best”
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