A debut book of short stories, My Pulse Is an Earthquake, by Kristin FitzPatrick and published by West Virginia University Press, will kick off with a spoken word performance in Los Angeles.

My Pulse Is an Earthquake will be performed on stage by L.A.’s longest-running spoken word series, The New Short Fiction Series, an event sponsored by Barnes & Noble. The New Short Fiction Series will host a launch party on Sept. 20 as well, which will include a performance by musical guest Lucy Peru. To purchase tickets to this event, visit The New Short Fiction Series.

Margot Livesey, author of The Flight of Gemma Hardy, asserts, “FitzPatrick’s vivid plots and immaculate prose carry her readers to the edge of darkness.”

Steve Yarbrough, author of The Realm of Last Chances, declares, “There’s magic between these covers. I loved every word, and I’ll be reading every word FitzPatrick writes from now on.”

Stephanie G’Schwind, editor of Colorado Review, calls My Pulse Is an Earthquake “A truly masterful debut collection to settle into and savor.”

The nine stories in My Pulse Is an Earthquake take place in the clutches of grief. Characters struggle to make sense of sudden losses of life, love and community. From 1970 to the present day, children and young adults from the Rockies to the Appalachian Mountains guide readers through the valleys of their lives as dog breeders, immigrants, Catholic school delinquents, rookie policewomen, drummers, ballerinas, teenage brides and an accountant who keeps a careful inventory of losses.

In each story, we see the darkness that can surface during the happy moments in life — weddings, births, promotions, the opening night of a director’s favorite play, or the best performance of a dancer’s career, when no one important is there to watch. We enter daydreams and night terrors where the dead are within reach, pointing out how they could have been saved. We wear their clothes and carry their teddy bears or vinyl records everywhere. We crawl around in caves and pound hammers into walls until our own hearts stop beating.

This collection explores how the unexpected harm to young, vibrant loved ones — from murder, kidnapping, battle, accident, natural disaster, swift illness or stillbirth — can rupture families, and how the most unlikely healers can bring together those who remain.

Kristin FitzPatrick grew up in suburban Detroit and earned degrees from Michigan State University, DePaul University in Chicago, and California State University, Fresno. A semifinalist for the 2014 Mary McCarthy Prize in Short Fiction, FitzPatrick is the recipient of residencies from Jentel and The Seven Hills School in Cincinnati. Her work has been chosen for the Thomas Wolfe Fiction Prize and has appeared in publications such as Colorado Review, The Southeast Review, Epiphany and The Best of Gival Press Short Stories, as well as on stage in Sacramento and Los Angeles. FitzPatrick and her husband live in southern California, where she is working on a novel and teaching writing at CSU Channel Islands. Learn more at kristinfitzpatrick.com.

My Pulse Is an Earthquake by Kristin FitzPatrick
September 2015/224pp/PB 978-1-940425-72-6: $16.99/epub 978-1-940425-74-0: $16.99

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