Monday, December 27, 2021

Page 69: The Reeking Hegs

Disclaimer: The Page 69 Test is not mine. It has been around since 2007, asking authors to compare page 69 against the meat of the actual story it is a part of. I loved the whole idea of it and so I'm stealing it specifically to showcase small press titles - novels, novellas, short story collections, the works! So until the founder of The Page 69 Test calls a cease and desist, let's do this thing....

In this installment of Page 69, 
we put Pete Keaveny's The Reeking Hegs to the test.  

For what you are about to read, may Bog make you truly thankful:

 Page 69 forms part of Canto 4 of The Reeking Hegs. Canto 4 deals, for the most part, with the doings of the Pujguk family; an Inuit/Eskimo clan whose stationery business, set up by Ugpujguk the elder, had hit the big time on being commissioned by autocrat Solid King Solid Fume III to produce a map of the dreaded Hegs. Some strange when not horrific events take place in that regard, but on page 69 we witness the wondrous transformation of Vincenta, the lover of proto-democrat Atiqtalik, into a volcano. Back in Solid Fume's capital city of Ugzcyk the eruption is taken as a sign from on high by rival religious sects. As they settle their dogmatic differences in the time honored fashion Vincenta's end is complete.


What is The Reeking Hegs about?

 Part hardboiled mystery, part arctic adventure, part satire and totally a high celebration of just how many contortions of  a mere 26 symbols are possible while maintaining a narrative that will delight the adventurous reader while arousing nought but dismay among those accustomed to a more traditional style of fiction.

The Reeking Hegs is a sort of mangled modern-age Odyssey. There are no gods encountered along the way but many of the leading characters have the hint of the mythical about them. The narrator – private dick Nick Seighton -  is sent forth to search for The Hegs and so he does. He is not the first to have done so. Along the ways he meets several who have also attempted to unravel the horror of The Hegs with results that are always entertaining if somewhat grotesque.

The Reeking Hegs is about making the reader the active protagonist rather than the passive receiver of the ready-made omniscient author's dictates with regard to who to what to whom and why. The Reeking Hegs is about making you laugh out loud, making you recoil and cringe, boldly challenging each and every reader to venture into places few if any have ever been before.


 Does P69 give readers an accurate sense...?

 It does; but no more than would P208 or any other page. It is in alignment with the book's overall themes in that the events depicted are purely fictional in a way that most other fictions are not – the plausibility of motive or action or setting are secondary. Perhaps it is in some sense comparable to, say, Lewis Carol's 'The Snark' or Monty Python's anarchic, delirious comedy. It also provides a taste of the plasticity of language employed as the medium selected to convey the reader into the world of The Hegs, and this wordplay is a constant theme throughout the book. This, and not the usual dictates of grammatical correctness and linear narrative are the the most important in terms of theme.



In distant Ugzcyk burghers came out of their shacks to die before the glowering horizon upon which a line such as ants make appeared visible to their straining weepy peepers. The Krabstick cell of the Brothers of the Black Eyed Nipple, replete in their black eyed nipple masks and regalia, convinced that Vincenta’s end heralded the dawn of a new and even fouler age, prepared to scale its heights and utter the correct incantations with appropriate gestures that would ensure a propitious reaction that Vincenta would do well to endure. They gathered their sop buckets and everlasting scorpions and proceeded in a line such as ants make through time towards the disaster. Halfway up they ran into a contingent of the heretical Moluscular Evangelists heading in the same direction and struck at them with their pruning knives.

“My pestilence! Your pestilences! Beat the crows!” cried Vincenta, as if sensing the battle, remote from her own immediate predicament. These cries rippled through the sulphurous atmosphere, distorted in their ashen passage so that, to the Brothers of the Black Eyed Nipple they sounded like “Eat at Joe’s!” and were taken as an exhortation to sacrifice from Boggon High. Their hour was nigh! It was a mighty portent. They drilled a fishing hole and waited. Thus they ended their days in a rain of pumice boulders and burning faggots which fell like hellish caricatures of a goblin snow-crusted Hansel and Gretel fantasy.

Vincenta struggled, but still redemption did not come. She had been given strange powers. Burning icicles protruded from her forehead like the very horns of Ugpujguk the Elder himself.


Pete Peru was born mid 20th Century in a small town in England. He left school at age 16 and worked as the whim took him: farm laborer: assembly line operative; rescue service radio operator; postman; civil engineering (shit shoveling); milkman; bus driver; taxi driver. He spent a year in Art College. Inspired by Marcel Duchamp's example he abandoned art school. Instead he wrote stories or songs or poems set to music in his free time. He took a B.A. at the University of Portsmouth in Latin American Studies, and spent 18 months traveling alone in South America. For his M.A. he researched the psychology of art with special reference to the Moche culture of Peru. He met Lord Tupelo Ca. 1987 and it was Tupelo who coined the name Pete Peru. Soon after meeting they began experimenting with spontaneous writing; an experiment which blossomed into The Reeking Hegs. Progress on the manuscript was slowed by Pete's decision to move to Spain in 1989. They posted chunks of text to each other in the old-fashioned way – envelopes, postage stamps etc. The Reeking Hegs was finally published in 2020. Pete Peru still lives near Barcelona. He is very happily retired, writing a new novel and playing guitar in a punk band.

Friday, December 24, 2021

Tis the Season for Salamat Sa Intersectionality


Dani Putney's debut poetry collection released this past May with Okay Donkey Press. 

Go and grab yourself a copy here!

While Pabst Blue Ribbon isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, I have a deep sense of nostalgia associated with it. Some of my earliest drinking memories come from bonfires in the middle of the Nevada desert, PBR in hand, smoke in my face, all while surrounded by chatter and laughter to pierce the starless night sky. To this day, if I’m in a pinch for a good beer at a bar, I’ll order a PBR because I know I’ll like it—and it’s usually dirt cheap as well.


In the following poem from my book, imagine the speaker drinking a PBR while hanging out in the desert:


A Practical Guide to Confronting Racism


I can’t take my eyes off:

You clasp a chilled Coors Light,

shuffle Ariat boots,

adjust your rodeo hat.

The woman to your left tells a story,

maybe about her day at work,

maybe about nothing at all.

Your crush is obvious despite

the flames in my eyes,

the bonfire between us,

the smoke engulfing my brain.


It’s possible she doesn’t know

what you’re hiding behind

a hazel gaze and one-step-above-

peach-fuzz on your upper lip:

Confederate flag waves

from your old pickup,

slurs bark—windows down—

as desert donuts bake,

an unquestioning pal

howling in the passenger seat.


I stride past partygoers,

make a beeline to your

compensation-times-five truck,

navigate to the rear tire.

I piss, steam rising

from unexpected warmth,

moon’s penumbra my witness.

I cackle, marvel

as abominable mixed DNA decorates

your American-made chick magnet.


"In their debut poetry collection SALAMAT SA INTERSECTIONALITYDani Putney kicks down your door to announce that they have arrived. With familiars of scorpions, rattlesnakes, and bees (and tattoos of Plath and Woolf on their thighs), Putney sets fire to all boundaries and borders as they navigate multiple identities in a harsh desert landscape.  As I read this collection I found myself unable to put it aside for fear that the pages were burning behind me, as I raced to the end where the speaker “sidewinds into the universe.” Putney’s language is as fearless as the subject matter: they move with craft and audacity through the intersections of tenderness and violence, violence and lust, lust and rage, rage and family, and family and love. Read this book with a fire-extinguisher in hand and a bucket of ice water at your feet." - Beth Gordon, author of Morning Walk with Dead Possum, Breakfast and Parallel Universe


Dani Putney is a queer, non-binary, mixed-race Filipinx, and neurodivergent writer originally from Sacramento, California. Their poems appear in outlets such as Empty Mirror, Ghost City Review,  Glass: A Journal of Poetry, Juke Joint Magazine, and trampset, while their personal essays can be found in journals such as Cold Mountain Review and Glassworks Magazine, among others. They received their MFA in Creative Writing from Mississippi University for Women. While not always (physically) there, they permanently reside in the middle of the Nevada desert. Salamat sa Intersectionality is their first poetry collection.

Thursday, December 23, 2021

Tis the Season for Stalker Stalked


Lee Matthew Goldberg's Stalker Stalked released this September. 

Go and grab yourself a copy here.

Lee recommends mixing up a drink when cracking open this reality thriller. Check out the deets on the cocktail below: 

Blood and Sand Cocktail


·        3/4 ounce scotch

·        3/4 ounce sweet vermouth

·        3/4 ounce Heering cherry liqueur

·        3/4 ounce orange juice, freshly squeezed

·        Garnish: orange peel



Check out Chapter one: 

I am being watched.

 This is not the first time. My stalker is smart, just like I would be. He or she finds the shadows. Shows up when I’m wasted or popped too many little blue pills. So I’ll be far enough away from reality to believe they are real. When I’m sleeping, they’re at the foot of my bed, exhaling in the dark. When I turn on the light, they scatter like a cockroach. I pick up the phone and hear their crackle on the other end. Both of us playing chicken, refusing to hang up while we breathe in each other’s pain. They left a DIE BITCH message on my door, written in blood, or at least syrup that looks like blood. They will ramp up their pursuit and attack when I least expect. I know this because that is what I would do.

 As I get to my door, I check to the left and the right to locate my watcher. Sometimes when I don’t feel their presence, it makes me sad. Like I’ve done something wrong, become unworthy of their watching. Years of little blue pills make me muddy and the few vodka crans I drank toss me from side to side like I’m on a boat. I jam my key into the door and turn the lock.

 My cat Sammi greets me with her marshmallow fur and drawn-out meows. Her admonishing ways. Maybe I hadn’t refilled her food bowl or scooped out the shit from her litter box. I’m sorry, Sammi, I’ve been busy trying not to die. She curls around my leg and gives an electric shock. My one true friend starting to turn because of my negligence. As I flick on the light, my eyes shut in case my watcher has gotten inside. But when I open them, only my sad apartment stares back. A bed in the corner with messed sheets. A couch facing the TV where I spend most of my time. Cheese-It crumbs and Oreo smears. Cat hair and balled-up Kleenex. I grab a pint of peanut butter swirl, take off my high heels, and flop down, fixing my skirt.

 I put my tired dogs on the coffee table between the TV and the couch that holds a bowl with loose change, keys, a sooty pipe, and an old bag of cool ranch. I dig a spoon into the ice cream and observe my toes that look like Vienna sausages. I’d painted them lavender but it was a while ago and the polish started to chip like a little girl’s toenails. I turn on the TV to the latest episode of Socialites, where Magnolia Artois is hosting a charity event for furless dogs. Her friend Taylor RSVP’d that she’s coming, but hasn’t showed. The drama! It turns out that Nikki says Taylor is going to Bella’s dog event that night, who’s Magnolia’s rival from last season and had been kicked off of the show because of the abortion she lied about. (The baby never even existed.) As the opening credits roll, I hear a streaking sound from behind like someone’s cleaning my window. I’d left it open a crack, and I peer outside to see the leaves of the tree swaying in a light breeze.

 I go to shut the window when a crash booms from my kitchen. A glass knocked over, shattering on the floor.

 “Sammi,” I yell, but the cat is right beside me, her tail batting against the cushion, warning me.

My throat closes up. I wrench the spoon from the melting Ben & Jerry’s and thrust it at my pursuer. I’ll scoop their eyes out if need be. A car drives by casting its headlights over the TV where Magnolia and her frenemies are entering into a war of choosing sides between Bella and her. Sammi doesn’t bother protecting me and darts off into a corner.

 Another glass shatters.

 The kitchen bathed in darkness, but a shadow takes shape. Tall and imposing, although that could be my little blue pills making me see things.

Get it together. Get it together.

 “Lexi, Lexi,” the shadow coos. A long finger beckons me toward the kitchen. In the other hand, a gleaming knife. My hair stands on end as I dash for the front door, my bare feet picking up glass shards and creating a bloody streak toward my escape.

 I fling open the door but the watcher bangs it closed. Collects my tears as I collapse in its arms, the knife at my neck ready to end me for good.

 My stalker with all the power.

 Even I would’ve never gone this far.


Tuesday, December 21, 2021

Tis the Season for Out Front The Following Sea


Leah Angstaman's debut novel Out Front the Following Sea releases January 11, 2022. 

Go and pre-order your copy here

Holiday Rum

Unless you want to drink some flat beer or stale wine from a leaking, poorly sealed cask or far-too-potent aqua vitae—or brackish river water that’ll give you cholera, malaria, typhoid, giardia, dysentery, E. coli, hepatitis A, salmonella, or a combination of all 8—then your only choice as a colonist in the 1600s was rum. Luckily, there’s something tastier than plain ol’ grog, and since it’s the holidays, here’s a tried and true colonial favorite: hot buttered rum.


Rum drinks are an essential part of colonial history, and hot rum drinks, especially, since the colonists spent more than half of any given year staving off the cold. In the 1650s, Jamaica began steadily importing molasses to pre-America. New England opened distilleries where colonists added distilled rums to hot beverages, thus first creating toddies, nogs, buttered rums, and more. Egg nog and hot buttered rum are two winter traditions that started back in the 1600s on American soil, and we still enjoy them today. (January 17th is the annual National Hot Buttered Rum Day!) I’m going to be using an authentic colonial recipe to make about 8 servings, but I recommend a slow cooker to do your simmering … because it’s not actually the 1600s anymore.



2 c brown sugar (Do not use any sugar substitutes.)

½ c unsalted butter (Do not use any butter substitutes.)

1 pinch salt

2 qt hot water

3 cinnamon sticks

6 whole cloves

2 c rum (Dark rum is best.)

1 c sweetened whipped cream

Ground nutmeg, to taste


Directions: Combine brown sugar, butter, salt, and hot water in 5-quart slow cooker. Add cinnamon sticks and cloves. Cover and cook on High for 30 minutes, then Low for 5 hours. Stir in well any butter that is sitting on top of the mixture. (If there are lumps of butter still visible, then your CrockPot isn’t hot enough, or you need to let it simmer longer because it’s not ready. Likewise, if you plan on having the drink in less than the 5 or 6 suggested hours of heating, then turn your cooker to High, OR: boil the ingredients on the stove, let simmer for 15 minutes, and then move the mixture to a slow cooker on High for 2 ½ hours or so. Make sure you keep your cooker covered. Simmering is the key, so don’t rush it if you don’t have to.) When the crock is steaming, and the butter is glistening, then your drink is ready. Stir in rum. Ladle from the slow cooker into mugs, and top each mug with whipped cream and a dusting of nutmeg. Before you ladle, every time, make sure you’ve stirred up the butter that may float on the top of the mixture, so it isn’t floating on the top of the mug. If you are sensitive to the rich buttery taste, you can scale back on the butter, or let it simmer longer. If you’d prefer to control your amount of rum, or you have some friends who are more or less sensitive to it (there’s no such thing as “underage” in colonial times!), you can leave the rum out of the slow cooker, and just add it to the bottom of each mug individually before adding the batter on top, then give it a quick stir before you add whipped cream. Dabs of nutmeg, allspice, and vanilla can be added to the mixture for more flavor, to taste. (Adapted from an authentic colonial recipe, and modified by yours truly.)


Out Front the Following Sea is a historical epic of one woman's survival in a time when the wilderness is still wild, heresy is publicly punishable, and being independent is worse than scorned--it is a death sentence. At the onset of King William's War between French and English settlers in 1689 New England, Ruth Miner is accused of witchcraft for the murder of her parents and must flee the brutality of her town. She stows away on the ship of the only other person who knows her innocence: an audacious sailor--Owen--bound to her by years of attraction, friendship, and shared secrets. But when Owen's French ancestry finds him at odds with a violent English commander, the turmoil becomes life-or-death for the sailor, the headstrong Ruth, and the cast of Quakers, Pequot Indians, soldiers, highwaymen, and townsfolk dragged into the fray. Now Ruth must choose between sending Owen to the gallows or keeping her own neck from the noose.


Sneak Peak Inside: 

The sails creaked and clanked above them, and the windlass turned with a clicking rhythm like Shrewsbury’s old windmill. Owen peered out over the blue-green ocean water. Women traveling alone on a ship seldom ended up where they set out to go.

 “You told me to get out of Shrewsbury,” Ruth said. “I got out of Shrewsbury.”

 “I told you to go get married, too. All the hundreds of brilliant ideas I’ve had, and you have to listen to the one terrible one. It does me good to see you, though, even knowing the trouble you’ll cause here. An unmarried woman sans escort. Between the hungry men on this ship, the Metoac on that island,” he pointed across the Devil’s Belt, “and the pirates off this bay, a pretty lady be in trouble.” He cleared his throat and muttered, “I need a stiffener.”

 “A mite early, no?”

 “A stiff never hurt anyone. It’s either flip or saltwater out here, so make your pick and make it wise. Keeps you from the scurvy.” The pipe turned to lead in his mouth when her lip twitched into the tease of a smile.

Monday, December 20, 2021

Audio Series: A Dead Cat Christmas


Our audio series "The Authors Read. We Listen."  was originally hatched in a NYC club during BEA back in 2012. It's a fun little series, where authors record themselves reading an excerpt from their own novels, in their own voices, the way their stories were meant to be heard.

Today, Lee Rozelle reads a  stand alone story for us. Lee’s debut novel Ballad of Jasmine Wills is forthcoming from Montag Press. Lee is the author of nonfiction books Zombiescapes & Phantom Zones and Ecosublime. He has published short stories in Cosmic Horror MonthlyHellBound Books‘ Anthology of BizarroShadowy Natures by Dark Ink Books, If I Die Before I Wake Volume 3, and the Scare You to Sleep podcast. Learn more on his website.

To hear Lee read A Dead Cat Christmas, click on the soundcloud link below: 

Friday, December 17, 2021

Tis the Season for River Weather


Cameron Mackenzie just released River Weather with Alternating Current Press last week.

Go and grab yourself a copy here

The book goes great with: 

Evan Williams, straight, has a lot in common with River Weather. Both are spicy, perhaps a little bracing, but in the end surprisingly smooth. Both punch above their weight class. And they are both without question by the people and for the people--not a high-falutin' air to be found.




As the D.C. city sprawl moved west along the banks of the Potomac in the late 1990s, what had once been a rural backwater was rapidly transformed into a dystopian suburbia of suspicion, greed, and naked self-interest. This collection examines the resulting blends of money, race, and class that have come to define the ongoing metamorphosis of Northern Virginia. In “Kalim Mansour,” a boy trying to understand his father fixates on a mysterious Saudi car salesman. In “Rowdy,” a man who was sexually assaulted by his high school football team still romanticizes their masculine code of behavior. In “A Non-Smoking House,” two contractors battle the realtors who control their livelihood as the ties that bind civil behavior pull tight, and then snap. Each of MacKenzie’s stories explores the incommensurable moments that lie at the heart of shared experience, the yawning gaps that separate us, and our desperate attempts to close them.


A peek inside: 

"When I was in seventh grade or thereabouts, I had a suicide scenario, the particulars of it representative of the age and time. My plan was, so I would tell friends after school by the bike path, to strap a large speaker to my chest connected to a Walkman in my pocket, and jump out of a plane. On the way down as I tore through the clouds, I'd play "Fade to Black" from Metallica's Ride the Lightning album."


What makes the collection so effective and absorbing is MacKenzie's relentless pursuit of verisimilitude in his dialogue and characters, to the degree that he’s willing to make readers uncomfortable. Written in direct, engaging prose, pared down to essences, with dialogue that rings true, these stories dig into the rich dirt of this particular time and place, examining discomfiting truths with a remarkable lack of judgement. - Booklife Review

Resonant, spare, intense, and perfectly voiced, this book won’t back down.  Cameron MacKenzie’s stories come straight at you, empowered by their perceptive humor and a steel-eyed acknowledgement of human wickedness, human hurt. No matter where you’re coming from, these tales of how men teach each other certain kinds of manhood—and what that means for all of us—will move you. River Weather sends its readers sliding down a zipline to damage, guilt, and unavoidable revelation. - Jeanne Larsen, author of What Penelope Chooses

Cameron MacKenzie's River Weather is a triumph of voice and place. Anchored in geographic and emotional circumstance, the writing shimmers with energy. The voice sits next to you, beer or coffee in hand, and tells you stories that remind you of Chekhov and Carver and Johnson but are indelibly unique, passionate and intelligent at once. This is a book you will return to time and again. -Pablo Medina, author of The Cuban Comedy


Cameron MacKenzie’s work has appeared in Salmagundi, The Michigan Quarterly Review, The Rumpus, and CutBank, among other places. His novel, The Beginning of His Excellent and Eventful Career, was called “poignant, brutal, and beautiful” by Kirkus Reviews, and “visionary” by Rain Taxi. River Weather is his first collection of short stories. He lives in Roanoke, Virginia.


Thursday, December 16, 2021

Tis the Season for The Rivers Trilogy


Joan Schweighardt celebrated the one-year anniversary of the completion of her Rivers Trilogy.

You can purchase the three books individually, beginning with Before We Died here,

Or you can buy all three at once in a Kindle boxed set here.




The people of Manaus, Brazil, where much of the Rivers Trilogy takes place, are poor, but they knew how to party. Their drink of preference is Caipirinha, which is made with cachaça, a Brazilian spirit extracted from sugarcane juice. Here’s the recipe:


·       Lots of limes, halved and squeezed by hand

·       Lots of white sugar

·       Lots of cachaça

·       Ice

·       Put it all in an oversized jar and shake well.


When the characters in the trilogy are not in Brazil, they are in New York—during Prohibition! One of them finds work in a speakeasy. Bootleggers thought nothing of selling watered-down whiskey—or even moonshine or industrial alcohol mixed with fruit juices or Coca-Cola to disguise the taste. Some of that stuff could kill you! Really! If you wanted to stay safe, you asked for Dewar’s.



The Rivers Trilogy includes the novels Before We Died, Gifts for the Dead and River Aria. All three books work as standalone novels, but to sum them up collectively, In 1908, two Irish American brothers leave their jobs on the Hudson River docks of Hoboken, New Jersey, to seek their fortunes tapping rubber trees in the Brazilian rainforest. They expect to encounter floods, snakes, and unfriendly competitors, but nothing prepares them for the fact that the Amazonian jungle will take most of their crew and that saving the life of one brother will require leaving the other behind. The trilogy follows Henry Ford’s plot to desecrate the rainforests and own the rubber trade, the impacts of World War I and prohibition on daily American life, and, finally, the journey of a talented young soprano who travels in the latter part of the 1920s from her birthplace in Brazil to New York City, where she struggles to make peace with her Irish American father, while establishing herself in the world of metropolitan opera.


Before We Died is an exciting fictional account that explores the very real issues around the consequences of greed and misunderstanding between cultures. Schweighardt’s story happened with rubber tappers a century ago; it continues today around oil, lumber, cattle, soy, and the mining of crystals and other resources. This book, besides being a good read, is a wake-up call!"

John PerkinsNew York Times Bestselling Author 


"Joan Schweighardt is a master of historical fiction. Gifts for the Dead maintains a deep sense of reference for the natural world, for non-western forms of knowledge that are being lost, and for the enduring mystery and beauty of love.”

—Magdalena Ball,


In River Aria, “Schweighardt brings to life an exquisitely-detailed personal yet universal tale of the struggles of mixed-race immigrants to the United States, post-WWI…Evocative, heartrending, and not to be missed." 
Paula Coomer, author of Jagged Edge of the Sky and Somebody Should Have Scolded the Girl


Joan Schweighardt is the author of novels, memoirs, children’s books and various magazine articles. In addition to her own projects, she has worked as an editor and ghostwriter for private and corporate clients for more than 25 years.

Tuesday, December 14, 2021

Audio Series: Hitchhiking Across America: 1963


Our audio series "The Authors Read. We Listen."  was originally hatched in a NYC club during BEA back in 2012. It's a fun little series, where authors record themselves reading an excerpt from their own novels, in their own voices, the way their stories were meant to be heard.

Today, Daniel Robinson reads an excerpt from his book Hitchhicking Across America: 1963. Daniel Robinson is a retired lawyer from California. He has a BA from UC Riverside, an MA from Stanford, and a JD from McGeorge Law School. He was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Venezuela from 1966 to 1968. He’s married with two children and two grandchildren. In August of 1963, he hitchhiked from Lake Tahoe to Los Angeles, Miami, Washington DC, New York City, and back to LA. This book is a fictionalized version of that trip.

Click on the soundcloud link below to hear Daniel read a section from this book. 

What it's about: 

Nick is a nineteen-year-old college student at UC Berkeley who quits his Lake Tahoe summer job to see America and meet Americans, face-to-face, hitching rides from Tahoe to Los Angeles, New Orleans, Miami, New York City, and points in-between. He witnesses Jim Crow segregation in the South. He meets Yvonne, the daughter of a Palm Beach socialite. He learns something unexpected about his mother from his Aunt Rose's family photo album. World War II vets pick him up and tell him about their war experience and how it affects their current lives. He meets Oliver, a civil rights activist in Mississippi, and Gina, an aspiring Olympic swimmer, and Lorena, an aging silent film star in Palm Springs. He consoles Rosa, a young Mexican woman who has committed a mortal sin. Hitchhiking Across America: 1963 by Daniel Robinson is about how America is changing. World War II, Civil rights, Vietnam, social mores, McCarthyism...all these things play a role.

Monday, December 6, 2021

Aimee Parkinson's Guide to Books & Books


Time to grab a book and get tipsy!!!

Books & Booze challenges participating authors to make up their own drinks, name and all, or create a drink list for their characters and/or readers using drinks that already exist. 

Today we have Aimee Parkison on the blog, sharing a few drinks influenced by her book Sister SéanceAimee is the author of six books, including Refrigerated Music for a Gleaming Woman, winner of the FC2 Catherine Doctorow Innovative Fiction Prize.  Parkison is Professor of English at Oklahoma State University and serves on the FC2 Board of Directors. More information about Parkison’s writing is available at

Blue Séance and Red Séance  

(Cocktail Recipes and Nonalcoholic Options) 

When researching my historical novel, Sister Séance, at the American Antiquarian Society Library, I read accounts of people who had attended séances during the 1800s.  Many of these accounts alleged evidence of a spirit encounter through the sense of smell.  In particular, a floral scent often announced the presence of a ghost or spirit during a séance.

Taking inspiration from the floral scent of spirits at historical seances, I’ve created two colorful cocktails with cold-brewed floral tea. 


To get started, cold brew your flower teas:

  •  Cold-Brew Hibiscus Tea (for Red Séance): Place 1-3 tablespoons of pure dried hibiscus petal tea into a large glass jar (3-4 cup size) and fill with cold water.  Place lid on jar, shake gently to agitate, and then refrigerate for 1-2 days.  Then, strain.  You should end up with a lovely, tart scarlet tea.
  • Cold-Brew Butterfly Pea Flower Tea (for Blue Séance): 1-3 tablespoons of pure dried butterfly pea flower petal tea into a large glass jar (3-4 cup size) and fill with cold water.  Place lid on jar, shake gently to agitate, and then refrigerate for 1-2 days.  Then, strain.  You should end up with a lovely, delicately flavored blue tea.

Either one of the teas above can be served iced as is for a nonalcoholic cocktail (Red or Blue Séance).  (Optional: a dash of lime juice and simple syrup or ecoStick sweetener, if desired.)


For boozy options, which are much like blue or red margaritas:

  • Blue Séance Cocktail: Combine 1 cup cold-brewed butterfly pea flower tea with 1.5 shots tequila and 1 shot triple sec in a cocktail shaker filled with ice.  (Optional: Add lime juice and sweeten with simple syrup or ecoStick).  Shake with ice, strain into cocktail glass, and serve at your next séance.
  •  Red Séance Cocktail: Combine 1 cup cold-brewed hibiscus tea with 1.5 shots tequila and 1 shot triple sec in a cocktail shaker filled with ice.  (Optional: Add lime juice and sweeten with simple syrup or ecoStick).  Shake with ice, strain into cocktail glass, and serve at your next séance.



Description of Novel:

Sister Séance is set in Concord, Massachusetts, just after the Civil War. Spiritualism is sweeping the nation when a Halloween celebration calls for a traditional “dumb supper,” a dinner party where no guest may speak but must convey needs and desires through nonverbal communication. After the dumb supper, mysterious intruders shock the guests into confronting their pasts, uniting abolitionists, freed people, former slaveholders, a matchmaker, the single women who are her boarders, wounded Civil War veterans, and a female photographer pregnant with the child of her former slave.

This project was supported by an American Antiquarian Society William Randolph Hearst Creative Artist Fellowship.


Publisher Website: Sister Séance by Aimee Parkison (