Book club questions: If You Have to Ask

Last week I was delighted to discuss (actually, listen to others discuss) If You Have to Ask, as the featured author at a local book club. While it was invigorating to hear smart, thoughtful women discuss the characters and their (often not-so-smart) choices, it was also nerve-wracking. It takes a solid stomach to put your work out there, as most authors and artists agree. Luckily someone brought some pinot.

Here are the questions we discussed, below. I was also asked if the book is autobiographical. The short answer is no (which is ultimately the long answer, too). But of course, all writers borrow from life. Trying to parse that is a losing battle though.

Warning! There are a couple spoilers here…

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A ten minute walk through the imaginary woods

Photo of new growth on redwood treeIf you walk through the woods in your mind, woods that you have walked through before, in reality, in real time, are you imagining those woods? Or are you simply remembering them?

What if I’m walking through those woods, the woods with towering redwoods and the sweet summer smell of dust and needles, as an itty bitty person? I’m still me, just a teeny tiny me. What would I see?

It’s the new growth I like the most. The bright green of new needles that could make for a gently curved bed. I could lie down on the little tree arm and take a nap. It would smell so sweet. So pine-y.

But I like the clover too. The clover that looks like a ground blanket to big people, to usually sized people, but that is a series of umbrellas to me, providing dappled shade at the height of the day. It’s true that the sun doesn’t often get through the canopy, which I can barely see since it’s never-ending. It nearly touches the moon, I think. But when a little light does come through, it makes the clover umbrellas seem like a resort on the shore of the sea in the South of France.

Instead, I am a tiny me in Big Sur, revisiting paths I have walked before, but from a new perspective.

Thanks, Daily Post + photo library.

Chick lit is for dudes, too

I know, I know, tracking your reviews isn’t healthy. Still. This afternoon I discovered a new review for my coming of age novel, If You Have to Ask. It brought me nutty delight. As in, so much delight that I’m going nuts. Don’t read it if you’re allergic. Do read it if you have nuts.
5.0 out of 5 stars Chick lit that even the dudeliest dude can enjoy
September 14, 2014
This review is from: If You Have to Ask (Paperback)

Let me preface this by saying–I am a dude.Not only that, but I am the sort of dude who normally never reads this genre. This is “chick lit” at its very chickiest. I am totally not the target audience for this. But that being said…I loved it!Kells is truly a skilled writer. The prose itself is beautiful, a treat to read on its own merit. The metanarrative of the story, as well, is finely crafted. A real master-planned story with a very nice arc to it, developing several themes with poise and dexterity. Very real, flesh-and-blood characters in here. Even for me–the most dudeliest of dudes–the main character was extremely relatable. I can easily see this story being made into a movie someday, and all I ask of Providence is that when the time comes, the lead role gets cast by someone hot, because there are some very sexy sexytimes in the novel.I feel I should add in a helpful comment for my fellow bros out there, as this book may come in handy for you all someday. Ladies, if you’re still reading, I’d kindly ask you to stop here.


Heads up, brochacho–this book will give you an eye-opening glimpse into the mind of a woman, like few books out there ever will.

Can you imagine if the U.S. had ever gotten hold of a military strategic manual from the U.S.S.R. during the Cold War? Or vice versa? That is exactly what reading the internal monologue of the main character is like for us bros. If you ever wondered what went on inside the inscrutable mind of the fairer sex–what she’s thinking on that first date, what she daydreams about between your phone calls, why she suddenly got all quiet after you took her out to a four-course dinner at KFC–this book is for you.

Seriously though, and I say this without any sarcasm, it really is a fascinating look into a female perspective. Any fellow dudes who are interesting in understanding their mates a bit better and maybe, just maybe, becoming slightly less dense as men, this book is for you.

Muchas Gracias, Señor Khui! Order now to eat with your fried chicken.

Curb your entitlement

Photo of sun coming through trees

What do you think about adding entitlement to the list, big guy?

Thou shalt not be entitled. Wait, I think I’m referencing ten commandments language for the seven deadly sins? I’m an atheist, please forgive me. Actually, it doesn’t have much to do with atheism, just ignorance.

That aside, based on yesterday’s t-shirt fiasco and ensuing existential breakdown, I’d like to suggest we all curb our entitlement. It’s getting gross.

Seriously, if we stop thinking about life in terms of what we deserve and start considering that we’re in this together, this would be a more peaceful place. Do you agree? United States, I’m looking at you.

Inspired by the Daily Post.

Free short story on figuring out first times: Bea’s Notes, May 29-31

Featured on Freebooksy

Bea’s Notes was selected!

Bea, a university bio student, is approaching her new love life methodically. Want to know more about her quest to have a fulfilling experience with her maybe boyfriend?

Find out free! Bea’s Notes is free to download May 29-31. I’d love to know what you think of the story, so please let me know.

I’m delighted that Bea’s Notes was featured today on Freebooksy!

Hooray for reading and for discovering new authors!

More about the story: Bea is a transfer student at a mid-tier public university in California. She’s happy to have left home to study biology and live in a dorm with four girls crammed into one tiny room. She is even happier to finally be doing it. Unknown to Peter, her maybe boyfriend, she is keeping notes, just like she does for biology class, so that she has a baseline for their new experiment in getting it on.