My collection of forty-six stories and a novella, Rattle of Want, published by Pure Slush Books, is now available . Matt Potter, editor and publisher, did a fabulous job. Here are blurbs for the some of the individual stories followed by comments for the book as a whole. Rattle is available at Amazon and Lulu.
For trade paperback at Amazon: Rattle Paperback
For Kindle version: Rattle Amazon
For the e-book version from Lulu: Rattle e-book
For the trade paperback version from Lulu: Rattle paperback
Blurbs for individual stories:
About “RUBY” in decomP Magazine, “LOSING GROUND” in Tattoo Highway, and “THE WAY IT CAN BE” DOGZPLOT. What impresses me most about Gay Degani’s writing is the ease with which all her characters come to life on the page – story after story – with enough development, no matter the fiction’s length, to give readers a nod to understanding, a true shot of empathy. She makes me believe I’ve known these people, have listened to their voices, have searched their hands and eyes for direction. Degani makes me want to know more, and that strikes me as success. Sam Rasnake, Five-time Pushcart Nominee
About “RUBY” from decamp Magazine: I love a story that lingers with me. “Ruby” both touched my heart and broke it. Such a powerful portrayal of a young lost soul, like so many these days, with only the streets to call home. The vivid imagery and descriptions bring the reader right into this harsh world. There is no looking away. Most heartbreaking is the resignation with which Ruby seems to accept her fate. I wanted to reach into the scene and hold her. Jayne Martin, author of Suitable for Giving: A Collection of Wit with a Side of Wry.
About “LOSING GROUND” from Tattoo Highway. Gay Degani’s story of friendship, love, loss and memory opens with, “It began with hands. Doesn’t it always?”, and hands carry the reader though a woman’s years on the hard life bayou in under 500 heartfelt words. You’ll want to read this story more than once and after each time sit quietly thinking about it. Paul Beckman, author of Peek
About “LOSING GROUND” from Tattoo Highway. Gay Degani is a superbly crafted, touching, and image-filled story of the south. In just a few words, Gay’s descriptions of the bayou, of love found, and of love lost pack powerful emotions. Definitely worth reading. Sue Babcock, Webmaster and Site Administrator, Silver Pen Writers Publisher, publisher of Youth Imagination and Liquid Imagination
About “THE WAY IT CAN BE” from Dogzplot
Sharp like arithmetic. You read it and feel a structure, feel removed, feel like you’re either a pirate or a coincidence. You learn about the feelings of machines and you learn never to smoke dope with some asshole named Josh. Mike Joyce, Publisher of Literary Orphans
About “SOMETHING ABOUT LA” from Litsnack. Exceptional dialogue. An apparition transforms into a twelve-year-old boy driving a truck, “rust eating its way across the hood.” Degani unravels the beauty of storytelling with visceral language and depth of observation. The reader absorbs and exalts in the movement of power between these characters. Every sentence adds to the unveiling of circumstances and who exerts the most influence through need. Don’t miss this collection! It is masterful and unforgettable! Meg Tuite, author of Bound By Blue
About “SOMETHING ABOUT LA” from Litsnack. This story’s subtext, of hope and chance being the fuel to one’s private future, provides such a delicate melody here. Favorite line: “Suddenly I feel lost, seeing what it’s like to belong.” I was right there with this narrator, always looking for an excuse to go to L.A. A.E. Weisgerber, published in Issue 5 of Tahoma Literary Review
About “DOING MR. VELVET” from The Battered Suitcase is the quintessential SoCal murder story, playing out like a minor Manson rehearsal, blood and betrayal and misguided loyalties, a pseudo street Prophet offering accidental salvation, escape from the law in the form of a Mexican weed blowout, “Velvet’s” an elemental Tarantino flick-like crazy romp. Katherine Lopez
About “ISLA VISTA, 1970” from The Foundling Review. With its suburban accidental beauty queen in her gown and tiara and stalling VW drunkenly stumbling from one chaotic scene to the next, through unrest in the streets, a harrowing assault by a police officer, a campus protest that echoes the Vietnam war, and calls to mind Kent State, the burning of a bank and of the beauty queen’s sash signaling her new awareness, this story neatly captures the whole Nixon era and how it created that troubled generation’s unrest and struggles to break free of stifling expectations. Katherine Lopez
About “KINDLING” from Prime Number. Writing noir is hard. Jim Thompson. James M. Cain. Elmore Leonard. Others trying to write like those masters come across as either slavishly aping or else unintentionally funny. Gay Degani’s flash “Kindling” sizzles. Is it an unknown story by Cain? Could be. But no, it’s a Degani. Andrew Stancek, nominated for a Pushcart Prize by THIS Literary Magazine.
About “STARKVILLE.” I’m a sucker for a good diner/waitress story and Degani tells a fine one here. All alone in this small out-of-the-way diner the waitress, is all alone thinking about taking her teenage daughter and moving to a better place when the door opens and her world is shaken like a snow globe. Paul Beckman, author of Peek
About “GUMBO” from JMWW. A mother/daughter story told in food and recipes passed down from way back. Gay Degani’s storytelling is smooth and filled with memories that are all matter-of-fact and make the reader feel he’s in the kitchen listening in and watching this pair share their love and life through food and expecting his dish of Louisiana food to be set down any minute. Paul Beckman, author of Peek
About “RUNNING THE FENCE” from Monkey Bicycle. This childhood dare story runs full-tilt toward its anguished conclusion on Degani’s controlled stream of specific imagery: from childish locked knees and snot, to the hat brims and mantillas of grieving adults. Gay Degani builds a world, gives it wheels, and tells a tale that lures a willing reader to run breathless beside her. A.E. Weisgerber, recent flash appears in The Airgonaut
About “SEDIMENT” from Blue Five Notebook. I’ll never again look at a Pink Pearl eraser without thinking of the struggle between truth and suspicion, reality and imagination, and Gay Degani’s moving depiction of an aging man’s battle against paranoia. – Audra Kerr Brown, published recently inPeople Holding, Easy Street Magazine, and 100 word story.
Blurbs for the Collection:
Award-winning author, Gay Degani, kills it again with this new collection. The stories in Rattle of Want are by turns smart, tender, dark, and always compelling. Degani gives us life in all its skewed realities and does so with finesse and vigor. This book is a knockout. – Kathy Fish, author of Together We Can Bury It
Rattle of Want ranges from brilliant brief experiments (such as “Abbreviated Glossary” and “Appendages”) to a novella-in-flash (“The Old Road”) for the canon in that new genre. Altogether these stories mine the wants and desires in the breakups of families, rebellions of youth, and occasional ascents of the spirit. Often they beautifully, and simply, nail a place, as in “Small Town” (a perfect evocation of the title), report an impending explosion, as in “Kindling” (a quintessential flash), or capture a character (if you haven’t met Blusterfuck … do so at your own peril). Few writers can do all that Gay Degani does. – Robert Shapard, editor of Flash Fiction International: Very Short Stories from Around the World
Short stories are one of the purest forms of storytelling. Luckily for us, Gay Degani is a master at it. Don’t miss Rattle Of Want! – Robert Swartwood, USA Today bestselling author of New Avalon
Short, bittersweet stories from a writer who knows just what makes us tick. Some are heart-stopping, some heart-breaking, but all these stories will make your world wider. – Sarah Hillary, Author of the ‘superbly disturbing’ Someone Else’s Skin, 1st in the DI Marnie Rome trilogy,
Rattle of Want is a narrative road trip across America, driven by memorable characters and prose with muscle. Degani is a consummate storyteller and a virtuosa of short fiction. – Christopher Allen, 2015 GinosokoLiterary Journal’s Flash Fiction Award and the managing editor of SmokeLong Quarterly
If you think of stories as noises, then Gay Degani will sometimes have you clamping your ears and other times leaning forward to soak every detail in. Her stories can be quiet and subtle or loud and bold. She pairs the ugly, imperfect, bumbling pieces of ourselves with the pure, beautiful parts of our souls – and the result is a magnificent symphony you want to replay again and again. – Tara Laskowski, author of Bystanders,2016, and Editor-in-Chief of Smokelong Quarterly
Gay Degani is that rare writer who makes you believe that a book can be a tornado sucking in neon paint, punk rock symphonies, animals burst from cages, oceans of both love, terror and un-dodgeable bliss. Rattle of Want is astounding, a map to the places we wish to discover. – Bud Smith, author of F250 among others
Like a cleansing rain, pithy flashes and a penetrating novella hit the substantial body of Gay Degani’s phenomenal Rattle of Want, causing pools of meaning to ripple out forever. The language is sharp, the characters palpable, the situations exceptional. Read it! – Bonnie ZoBell, author of What Happened Here.
Gay Degani has a talent for the observational narrative. This collection of stories is rich with vivid details and tangible desires. Rattle of Wantleaves you wanting more! – Diane Vallere, bestselling author of the Material Witness Mysteries.
“Gay Degani is a champion of the short form, packing so much emotional punch into each of her pieces that reading her latest collection, Rattle of Want, is like going ten incredible rounds with a flash-fiction heavyweight. From the medical traumas of “Abbreviated Glossary” to the murderous urges of “Complicit” to the natural devastations of “Monsoon,” Degani’s stories unearth the nuggets of humanity from characters in extremis.
–Rachael Warecki’s work has appeared in the Los Angeles Review, the Masters Review, Midwestern Gothic, and elsewhere.
The stories in this book are a masterclass in narrative craftsmanship. From the brief sparks of her microfiction to the meditations of her long stories to the tapestry of her novella-in-flash, Degani displays a mastery for calling forth human characters and conjuring whole lives out of meticulously wrought images and moments. Rattle of Want is a beautiful, smart collection. – Samuel Snoek-Brown, author of Box Cutters and Hagridden