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Review of The Egret by Ed Harkness

On Goodreads, Edward Harkness gives The Egret *****

 The Egret by Russell Hill 

It was amazing

In his novella, The Egret, science fiction writer turns to realistic—all too realistic—fiction. In this suspense tale, Hill writes in a lean, mean prose style that I associate with some of my favorite writers, including those household names of fame, Chandler and Hemingway. The Egret literally snatches the reader–me–like its first and central metaphor, the egret, described in the opening paragraph as patient, waiting in the shallows for just the right moment to snatch its minnow. By the end of the second chapter, I realized I was the happy minnow.

I also admire Hill’s use of a daring device–1st person POV, where it becomes ominously more and more clear the narrator, who has suffered what he believes is a terrible injustice, may not survive his obsession with revenge, that his elaborate plans to get even may end in ways he did not foresee.

I won’t give away too much here other than to say the 1st person device works as well in the film Sunset Boulevard, with its voice-over narrator spoken by a man floating lifelessly in a swimming pool. It also works in Randall Jarrell’s famous short poem, “The Death of the Ball Turret Gunner” (“…when I died they washed me out of the turret with a hose.”). And it works in The Egret.

As an earlier reviewer said, The Egret is a “page turner.” That’s almost an understatement.

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Twilight in Danzig by Siegfried Kra officially sent into the world this 10.15.18

Pleasure Boat Studio is honored and grateful to release this significant, cinematic-beauty:

Twilight in Danzig by Siegfried Kra

Based on Siegfried Kra’s own childhood, Twilight in Danzig is an important addition to pre-Holocaust literature and a unique chronicle of European Jewish culture that reads like a thriller.

Young Jonas Kruger’s parents. are scions of Danzig society, his father a coal merchant, his mother a lovely socialite. But the rise of Hitler in 1933 forces them to examine their identity and make difficult moral choices: Jonas’ governess secretly enrolls him in the Nazi Youth; Mr. Kruger buys open tickets on the Queen Mary, but keeps his family in Danzig, hoping the madness will blow over.

But soon the anti-Jewish laws will reach Danzig and the Krugers will face the most difficult decision of their lives: whether to try to reform and resist from within, or to flee penniless to a country that doesn’t want them, leaving their larger family to an unspeakable fate.

~ The story of this family is unique due to the great wealth they had and lost. It adds another dimension to the personal hardships and loss suffered by many at the hands of the Third Reich. No Jew was safe during this period. They finally attempt to leave Danzig and their privileged life. It is a very personal story and one that recounts the hopelessness of coping in a world controlled by a treacherous leader. I highly recommend this book. If you don’t read it you are missing a treasure.” – Gary A. Wilson, Ph.D.

~ “…a stunning portrait of a city under seig at the birth of the Nazi regime in 1932 and 1933.” – Rick Zitter

SIEGFRIED KRA emigrated, with his family, from Danzig, Germany to New York in 1939. He attended CCNY, then went to medical school in France and Switzerland before completing his training at Yale. In his practice as a cardiologist, he has treated tens of thousands of patients. Kra has published over a dozen books, both fiction and non-fiction. In addition to medicine and writing, his passions include his passions include opera, growing orchids, and tennis, which he still plays weekly at age eighty-six. He also still teaches as an Associate Professor of Medicine at Yale University School of Medicine and Quininipac University Netter School of Medicine.

$22.95 – on sale now through the end of November for $18.95 when you order at:

We really appreciate any little review or comment you might provide on Amazon, Goodreads or this site to help spread the word and boost knowledge of our titles. Thank you for your support!

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Jeanette Winterson’s 10 tips on writing

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Brain Pickings

Jeanette Winterson’s 10 Tips on Writing

winterson.jpg?w=680In 2010, inspired by Elmore Leonard’s classic 10 Rules of Writing published nearly a decade earlier, The Guardianinvited some of the world’s most celebrated living authors to share their own dicta of the craft. “Resign yourself to the lifelong sadness that comes from never ­being satisfied,”Zadie Smith counseled in the last of her ten. Midway through her list, Margaret Atwood grounded the psychological dimensions of the craft in the pragmatic and the physical: “Do back exercises. Pain is distracting.” Neil Gaiman thought eight rather than ten tenets would be sufficient — a meta-testament to his sixth: “Perfection is like chasing the horizon. Keep moving.”

Among the contributors was Jeanette Winterson — a writer of exquisite prose and keen insight into the deepest strata of the human experience: time and languageour elemental need for belongingthe power of arthow storytelling transforms us.


Jeanette Winterson (Photograph: Polly Borland)

Winterson offers:

  1. Turn up for work. Discipline allows creative freedom. No discipline equals no freedom.
  2. Never stop when you are stuck. You may not be able to solve the problem, but turn aside and write something else. Do not stop altogether.
  3. Love what you do.
  4. Be honest with yourself. If you are no good, accept it. If the work you are ­doing is no good, accept it.
  5. Don’t hold on to poor work. If it was bad when it went in the drawer it will be just as bad when it comes out.
  6. Take no notice of anyone you don’t respect.
  7. Take no notice of anyone with a ­gender agenda. A lot of men still think that women lack imagination of the fiery kind.
  8. Be ambitious for the work and not for the reward.
  9. Trust your creativity.
  10. Enjoy this work!

For more hard-earned guidance on the writing process from other titans of literature, see Henry Miller’s eleven commandments of writing, Eudora Welty on the art of narrative, Susan Sontag’s advice to writers, and T.S. Eliot’s warm, wry letter of advice to a sixteen-year-old girl aspiring to be a writer.

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If you love indie books, we could use your help!

Do you love indie books? So do we, and we wouldn’t be here without all of you wonderful readers! There are so many treasures here at Pleasure Boat Studio written by an array of stunning talent.

Unfortunately, the piggy bank to effectively support the press, is pretty dry, too dry to buy the necessary books that are needed right now, to send for review, for inventory to fulfill orders, for a few big SPD orders that pay back every few months through consignment sales.

We would be ever so grateful for your community support and help in meeting the financial demands of the press, in any way you might be able to extend a hand. To show this gratitude, and to compensate you for your generosity, I am offering several options of goods and services that you can choose from, as well as by giving 10% to

The options to treat yourself, or to gift others:

* Surprise Bag: Get 3 surprise books of your preferred genre(s) for $30!

* $100 Club: Prepay for $100 worth of new releases &/or books of your choice. We will send the books to you as you request them.

* Bulk Orders: If you would like to order in bulk for a book club or other reason, you will receive a 30% discount when you order from this site.

Live in Seattle?

* Pet sitting or dog walking, if you live in West Seattle – $25/day

* One Reiki Treatment ~ $65 or a 4-Session Reiki package ~ $200. Info:

Please email me your contribution amount and address after donating through the donate button, and I will send you a certificate and/or package of books immediately, whichever your choice(s) may be. There is no exp date. If you would like to be on a list of names for supporters or not, please let me know. Thank you so much!

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Featured Author/Artist Everett Aison

Everett Aison’s art and writing styles continue to be captivating.He is a co-founder of the School of Visual Arts Film School in New York and the former art director of Grossman Publishers. He has written several produced screenplays and designed the opening titles for numerous films, including Akira  Kurosawa’s Yojimbo and Roman Polanski’s Knife in the Water. In addition to Arthur he has illustrated the children’s book The American Movie and in 2006 published his first novel, Artrage.

From the review tab of the Artrage page,

Molly Haskell says, I thoroughly enjoyed Everett Aison’s novel about a regular guy who commits an acte gratuite, the desecration of an art world treasure, and its wildly snowballing consequences. Mace is a funny, slightly sex-obsessed, and not always sympathetic protagonist, for this story of a provocation is itself a provocation. Humane at its core, though, this novel takes a bead on the obscene mix of art, money and the media with the best possible humor.”

Irving Sandler, Art critic and author of Goodbye to Tenth StreetThe fictional art world that Artrage conjures up has a discomfiting edge of reality. The novel, to use a much-overused phrase, is a page-turner.”

Everett designed the Opening Titles for films like

A BOWL OF CHERRIES, the first title he ever designed which can be seen here and


FILM COMMENT Magazine, Sept/Oct 2018, GRAPHIC DETAIL/The art of the movie poster/ EVERETT AISON, article by Adrian Curry

A filmmaker, novelist, screenwriter, title designer, children’s book illustrator, art director, and teacher, Everett Aison has worn many hats in his 83 years. In the early ’60s, he created a handful of posters for the burgeoning foreign film scene that were as bracingly spare and unique as anything being made at the time. Aison’s career began in 1959, after service in Korea, when he studied typography at New York City’s School of Visual Arts. Mentored by co-founder Silas H. Rhodes, he was soon asked to teach graphic design and later start a film school within the college (which he ran for nearly 40 years). During his early years at SVA, Aison started designing titles for his friends’ short films, such as William Kronick’s A Bowl of Cherries. Kronick was a partner in the new distribution firm Seneca Productions, one of whose first releases was Akira Kurosawa’s Yojimbo, and he hired Aison to design not only the iconic three-color silkscreened poster for the film (only 12 were screen-printed by hand and Kurosawa and Toshiro Mifune each owned one), but also a whole raft of flyers, cards, ads, and letterheads using his strikingly austere yet wonderfully expressive design. He created similarly emblematic posters for Louis Malle’s Zazie dans le métro and Roman Polanski’s Knife in the Water, and he designed the film titles for the American versions of many of these imports. He and Milton Glaser were flown out to L.A. together to be the first to screen Zabriskie Point (in Antonioni’s presence), and both designed posters that were never used. (Aison considers his, for which he photographed burning dollar bills soaked in Vaseline, to be his finest poster work.) What makes Aison’s early ’60s designs so notable, and so different from American movie posters of the time, is the way they presage the minimalist fan art that has come into vogue in the past decade without being as coyly inside-baseball as many of those pieces can be. With nods to Polish graphics and to Saul Bass, Aison created posters that spoke directly to what was so exciting and novel about the foreign film scene in early ’60s New York. He directed short films himself, and one of these, So Much in Common, played for more than two years in front of Five Easy Pieces in the early ’70s.

My site will not allow me to upload pics (that show up anyway at this time), to view his poster designs featured in this article, please visit:

NYT Book Review Children’s Collection, Bookshelf: Back Again 

This gem of a Manhattan tale from the early 1960s should be better known, especially given Aison’s astounding charcoal and watercolor art, so simple and bold in black, smudgy gray and a perfect dark green. Arthur, a self-absorbed little bird who lives in Central Park, is caught up in his own affairs and misses his flock as they fly south for the winter. Left to tough it out on his own, he learns some deep life lessons, and emerges glad to have “lived through a strange and a cold and a wonderful time.”

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Find us at the Pacific NW Booksellers Association 9.29

This Saturday, 9.29, 11:30am-1:30pm, Ed Harkness will be signing books, at booth 15, where I’ll be volunteering at this year’s PNBA Fall’s Trade Show, which includes authors, publishers, bookstores and libraries from WA, OR, ID, MT. Drop on by if you’re going! @ Hotel Morano, Tacoma.

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Happy Launch Day!

The Law of the Unforeseen
Poetry by Edward Harkness

Edward Harkness writes about family, history, family history, the natural world-its beauty, its degradation-the strange miracle of consciousness. Nothing is off the table. In fact, everything is on the table, including the kitchen sink.

$15 through October 15th

Order directly by clicking this link:

Join Ed and NW friends at upcoming readings:

Oct. 10, 2018: Jefferson County Library, Port Hadlock, south of Port Townsend, 7 p.m. I’ll be reading with Holly Hughes.

Oct. 11, 2018: Peninsula College, Port Angeles, 7 p.m. Reading with Holly Hughes.

Oct. 18, 2018: Third Place Books, Lake Forest Park, 7 p.m. Reading with Alicia Hokanson.

Jan. 25, 2019: Pelican Bay Books, Anacortes, 7 p.m. Reading with Elizabeth Austin.

Apr. 12, 2019: Immanuel Presbyterian Church, Tacoma, 7 p.m. Reading with Alicia Hokanson.

Happy reading this cozy fall, and if you can, please write a few words on Amazon or Goodreads to help build steam for more readers. Thank you for supporting this small literary press and its authors!

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Supporting friends of PBS, Valerie Trueblood, with a well deserved review in NYT

New and Selected Stories
By Valerie Trueblood
386 pp. Counterpoint. $26.

Trueblood’s stories are like the Tardis in “Dr. Who.” They’re small on the outside, but once you’ve stepped through the door they expand in all directions until, by the end, surely it’s a novel you just finished reading. Part of that effect comes from her tightly packed opening lines, which fling the reader directly into the middle of the action. Consider the first sentence of “Beloved, You Looked Into Space”: “Our father married a woman who took an ax to a bear.” Or this, from “You Would Be Good”: “The burglar was stoned when he cut his way in.” Sometimes it takes a while for the story to catch up, but it always does.

There’s a change, though, when you reach Trueblood’s new material, which comprises 30 of this collection’s 49 stories. Amid these hard-to-categorize observations, essays and reminiscences (perhaps) is writing that’s much more urgent and unnerving, as in “Helen of Troy,” about a woman murdered by her husband “in a land of guns. Men with guns, attacks, death, attacks in broad daylight, attacks called domestic, death, clouds of sulfur, children’s heads exploded.” Dogs and human violence recur: people saved by dogs, dogs saved by people, the ubiquity of war and loss. But all isn’t dark; there really is a story, called “Stay,” both sad and beautiful, that ends with “They lived happily ever after.” And there are lots of dogs in it.

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Ed Harkness: The Law of the Unforeseen upcoming launch and book reading events

THE LAW OF THE UNFORESEEN by Edward Harkness PUBLISHES this 9.15.18!

Join Ed and NW friends at upcoming readings:

Already past – Aug. 19, 2018: Oak Harbor Library, north end of Whidbey Island, 3-4:30 p.m.

Oct. 10, 2018: Jefferson County Library, Port Hadlock, south of Port Townsend, 7 p.m. I’ll be reading with Holly Hughes.

Oct. 11, 2018: Peninsula College, Port Angeles, 7 p.m. Reading with Holly Hughes.

Oct. 18, 2018: Third Place Books, Lake Forest Park, 7 p.m. Reading with Alicia Hokanson.

Jan. 25, 2019: Pelican Bay Books, Anacortes, 7 p.m. Reading with Elizabeth Austin.

Apr. 12, 2019: Immanuel Presbyterian Church, Tacoma, 7 p.m. Reading with Alicia Hokanson.



The Unfocused Eyes of Drones

They’re dream wrens in the clear lake of day,

like toys, a slightly larger replica

of those model planes men play with

at the park on weekends to escape the house.

One of them, Chuck, lives near me.

I see him summer afternoons, alone

on the baseball diamond’s pitcher’s mound.

He flies a delicate Sopwith Camel biplane,

then a screaming Spitfire that frightens a park dog.

He barrel-rolls his planes, gliding on some

unnamed emotion wired to his remote control.

You could say Chuck, the operator,

is well-rounded in his “Beer Beats Sex” tee shirt.

He’s got Santa’s beard and Trotsky’s glasses.

He wouldn’t harm a soul, though he lives

in a country that harms souls every day.

He may well know drones have been taught to think,

to beam down and detect human auras.

When its blue brain glows red, darts fly out,

quieter than starlight aimed at desert flowers.

The operator sits in a quiet room

playing the controls somewhere deep inside

the American Heartland—Ohio,

say, or Nebraska. He does not ask

who the girl in the red headscarf might be,

seen moving across his monitor

in what appears to be a courtyard filled

with trees, most likely lemon. She waters

a bed of eggplants with a plastic bottle

that could in his mind be a bomb

she plans to plant by the nearby roadside.

Crickets fill the air with their raspy chorus.

The operator can’t hear them, nor does he

know her scarf is red. He sees only

the flash of light on his screen, sees

an opened rose made of pieces of the girl’s house:

brick, rock, glass, iron, paper, threads

from her headscarf, seen on the screen

in various tones of gray and sepia,

a roiling miasma seeping outward

from the courtyard. When the last

chunk of mortar has fallen, the last

of the seared leaves flutters down,

the mist of lemons hovers in the air.


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2 Poems by Louis Phillips

American Life in Poetry: Column 691


I’ve arrived at an age at which I avoid looking into my old address books, although I’ve kept them all. Too many of those addresses are those of people no longer among us. Louis Phillips, a New Yorker, catches that feeling of loss in this poem from The Domain of Silence; The Domain of Absence: New & Selected Poems, from Pleasure Boat Studio.

The Address Book

How could I predict
That my life wd become whatever,
So many people
Passing thru—address books

Filled with names & numbers
I no longer recognize,
Pages torn loose,
Addresses crossed out,

Lives badly smudged,
Decades of earnest grief,
Missed opportunities,
Phones disconnected.

What am I now?
Just another old man
Among old men.
Turn the calendar upside down

& let the days fall out.



A Clark there was of Kent also

 That unto comic strips longe ygo

 Made a byggen splash, tho lene was his readers’ brains

As if they didn’t knowen to come out of rain.

This Clark was a reporter, mild and just,

Who for Lois Lane hungered with great lust,

But this meek carl –and this is God’s own truth –

Could change himself in any payphone booth

Into a hero faster than a speeding duck

(Some folks haven all the luck!)

& flew villains toward Lawe’s iron reche

For gladly would he learn and gladly teche

That Crime payeth not & is not too sound

When Superman leapeth over tall buildings

   with a single bound.

 Louis Phillips



What’s a reader like you

Doing with a poem like this?


 Louis Phillips

from ROWING TO THE SILLY ISLANDS (World Audience Books)