The Sky Is Always Falling in This West Texas Town!
These tales explore the humor, drama, secrets, and scandals of a small town.
From romantic comedy to razor-sharp satire to moments of quiet reflection, Duane Simolke’s award-winning tales transform a fictional West Texas town into a tapestry of human experiences.
˃˃˃ The Individual Stories:
“Acorn”: When we arrive at the fictional West Texas town of Acorn, the narrative keeps shifting between Regina and Dirk, who both seek control over their relationship.
“Flip, Turn”: A different scene from the narrator’s amusing but unproductive life comes to him every time he turns to swim in the opposite direction.
“Keeping A Secret”: A little boy wants to shield his mother and his little brother from a dangerous situation.
“Survival”: A young high school teacher, deaf and gay, clashes with a popular football coach.
“Paying The Rent”: In this politically incorrect tale, an inarticulate young man hopes to marry a rich woman so he can pay the rent, but he finds her repulsive.
“Morgana Le Fay”: A widow finds her new romance disrupted by her Siamese cat’s strange behavior.
“Your Daughter”: Gretchen’s approach to raising a daughter and maintaining a marriage requires ignoring problems and carefully orchestrating conversations.
“Knock”: A father sees his daughter abandon her Mexican heritage, and he now fears other types of abandonment.
“Come With Me”: The conflicting influence of her overbearing sister and her supportive husband forces Becky to re-evaluate her ambitions.
“Dead Enough”: Farcical look at English departments, tabloid TV, the publishing industry, and America’s superstar culture.
“Mae”: Standing by her husband’s grave, an elderly woman looks back at the joys and challenges of marriage and motherhood.
“Timothy Fast”: In this satirical retelling of the Faustian myth, a Jewish businessman finds himself pulled into small-town politics.
“Mirrors: A Blackmail Letter”: The owner of an art gallery becomes the target of a “family values” witch-hunt, spear-headed by Acorn’s closeted (and supposedly “ex-gay”) mayor.
“Echoes”: A time of unexpected changes for Becky and her husband.
“Oak”: Julie Briggs can only talk to her mother by leaving messages on her answering machine, but she refuses to give up her voice.
“Acorn Pie”: An unusual weekend in the life of an unusual town.
“A lush tangle of small-town life branches out in this engrossing collection of short stories.” -Kirkus Reviews
“The ability to depict such a wide cross section of humanity, including details of each character’s breadth of knowledge and experience, takes a talented, insightful author, and Duane Simolke is such a writer.” -E. Conley, Betty’s Books
“There are people that you like, some that you can’t wait to see if they get theirs.” -Joe Wright, StoneWall Society
“When you finish, when you put the book aside, Acorn will still be with you.” -E. Carter Jones, author of Absence of Faith
Duane Simolke (pronounced “Dwain Smoky”). Education: Belmont University (B.A., ’89, Nashville, TN), Hardin-Simmons University (M.A., ’91, Abilene, TX), and Texas Tech University (Ph.D., ’96, Lubbock, TX), all with a major in English.
Writing published in nightFire, Mesquite, Caprock Sun, Midwest Poetry Review, International Journal on World Peace, and many other publications. Author or co-author of the following books. The Acorn Stories. Stein, Gender, Isolation, and Industrialism: New Readings of Winesburg, Ohio. Holding Me Together. Degranon: A Science Fiction Adventure. The Acorn Gathering: Writers Uniting Against Cancer. The Return of Innocence: A Fantasy Adventure.
Winner, Allbooks Reviewers Choice Award and four StoneWall Society Pride in the Arts Awards.