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 ofAbsence of Faith
Like Simolke’s books Degranon and Holding Me Together, The Acorn Stories received a StoneWall Society Pride in the Arts Award.
” A Wide Variety of Personalities Awaits You”
Five Star Review on Amazon By Mark Ian Kendrick
It was a real pleasure to read about the fictional town of Acorn, TX and get to meet all the different and varied people that Mr. Simolke so eloquently fleshed out. The many and varied voices with which he was able to assume to bring these characters to life made me wonder at times if he’d even transcribed recordings! He was successful in making me believe he was young, old, White, Black, Hispanic, straight, gay, male, and female. It is the mark of a truly talented author who has the ability to listen and look at a wide variety of people, then translate what he hears and sees of them onto paper–and successfully make me believe. And even though each of the vignettes was relatively short, I had a sense that I really knew each of the characters who was speaking or thinking. Mr. Simolke is an author one shouldn’t ignore.
About the Author
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.