Author’s Corner

We treat the recent works of local authors from independent publishers like national bestsellers by spotlighting them across all our programming and through community collaborations.

Our Spotlighted

April Author

Rumi Ryan

Author of thoughts + pieces

Rumi's Bio

Rumi thinks. ryan speaks. so you’re engaging with two personalities. i surrender to both of them to express + heal. i’m not new to writing, just new to expressing thoughts out loud + in view. rumi is short for ruminating, “to think deeply about something”.

I write with words + symbols. it matters to me how words look + feel. sound is important too. as a kid, reading always made me drift off so i write to engage your mind; open, stimulate the imagination + sit in that space with you.

Synopsis

This book is a collection of ideas, art, emotions, and truth. I wrote it for myself, and I wrote it for you. It is meant to be seen, heard, felt, and even understood through connection, fostering healing together in shared introspection. Broken down into chunks and pieces, filled with words and symbols, it invites conversation, revelation, and exploration of dreams and alternate realities. Rumi thinks, Ryan speaks, so you’re engaging with two personalities as you read. Remember to breathe, as I hope you see things in thoughts and pieces.

Excerpt

Where is the machine? Where’s the machine that constructs dreams amidst systems failing, amidst the songs of ailing people witnessing injustice? It’s elusive, three miles away from Whole Foods, hidden in the act of using coupons, in the discounted living tearing at the seams of society. Where’s the machine that builds dreams over the bodies left in the streets, amidst yellow lines marking homicide scenes, where cases are dropped like shells from police-issued pistols, under the protocol for skin, overlooked by a conveniently blinded government and policy makers sheltered from the reality of sanctioned murder? Where’s the machine that builds dreams through identities lost on ships, beaten down to microscopic pieces with whips, entangled in chains that keep us scrolling and comfortable, posting and posing for cameras, hosting parties instead of tending to gardens, feasting on screens while producing broken humans? Where’s the machine that builds dreams amid doubt, alongside the struggle of “figuring it out,” within minds conscious, aware, and streaming, grappling with truth and scheming an algorithm to erase and replace outdated mechanisms with something greater, a machine that cultivates dreams out of everything, composting prejudice and distraction with self-love and interactions, with new people, new places, new scenes, by all means necessary? It’s imperative to code swiftly, temper glass, and close ads, to watch reels real fast, digitally feeding on real trash, with side effects loading, coasting, covering ears, strengthening gears with limited exposure, learning to think in dreams, confronting the seemingly impossible with faith, questions, and the courage to fuel investigation, becoming a sophisticated machine of imagination, the brilliance beneath unseen pain, an innovation of hope, becoming the machine that builds dreams. 

Blurbs

I instantly formed a connection with this book. After reading it through, I developed this habit of picking it up everyday only to be led to the perfect piece to read. It’s cathartic. It never misses in giving me exactly what I need. I read a lot, so I am not easily impressed, but Rumi’s thoughts + pieces is one of the finest reads I’ve experienced in a long time. – Dr. Kenny Jones, Published Author

Rumi’s mind is so creative. It’s seen all throughout the book, and for me I needed that level of engagement. I couldn’t put it down. I love the cover, the layout, and the codes included that take you on visual journeys. I’ve never experienced a book like this. – Louis Roberts, Published Author

This book has opened my eyes to so much in my life. Rumi shares in such a way that you feel a connection with her words. Every piece resonates. I see so much of myself in how she expresses. It’s bold, insightful. It’s different. Her approach to writing is unique. Feels like she leaves space for you to think and feel with her. – Kathryn Scurry, Mental Health

Our Spotlighted

March Author

Len Kruger

Author of Bad Questions

Len's Bio

Len Kruger lives in Washington, D.C. His novel, Bad Questions, was the winner of the 2023 Washington Writers’ Publishing House Fiction Prize. His short fiction has appeared in Zoetrope-All Story, The Barcelona Review, The Potomac Review, Gargoyle, Splonk, and the anthology, This is What America Looks Like: Fiction and Poetry from DC, Maryland, and Virginia. He is a graduate of the MFA Program at the University of Maryland. Bad Questions is his debut novel.

Synopsis

Humorous and heartbreaking, Bad Questions is a coming-of-age journey toward redemption and self-awareness, skirting the lines between spirituality, skepticism, and faith—and asking the big questions. From the light of the memorial candle back to 1971 in suburban Washington D.C., Bad Questions is the story of Billy Blumberg, who carries guilt over the recent death of his father, a Hebrew school principal. After Billy and his mother move across Montgomery County, he encounters Ms. Marvin, a former teacher notorious for her macabre eccentricity. A séance in her apartment veers out of control, leading to a deadly “hex list” and Billy’s discovery of his father’s fatal secret.

Excerpt

I’m not a believer.

I don’t believe in numerology or horoscopes or spiritual apparitions twisting our fates. I have no faith in psychics bending spoons or predicting the future. I reject the proposition that we can summon the dead and pester them with questions about the buried past.

Today is the fiftieth anniversary of my father’s suicide.

He was a believer. I can sense him within me, just as I can feel the presence of my twelve-and-a-half-year-old self wondering how the universe works, struggling to understand why bad things happen to the good and the not-so-good.

I light my father’s yahrzeit, the candle in memory of the dead. It will burn for twenty-four hours in the kitchen sink. My wife doesn’t understand—why put it there? You can’t be too careful, I always tell her. I make a joke about the imaginary headline in the Washington Post: “Woodley Park Man Dies in Fire Set by Memorial Candle.”

My father would find that funny. My mother would not.

My father was the believer, my mother the skeptic.

Somewhere, the battle is raging.

Blurbs

Tender and raw, intimate and universal, Len Kruger’s Bad Questions evokes a loss-haunted boyhood in a voice as warm-hearted as it is stark.  I love this novel, and so will you:  an unforgettable gift from a wonderful writer. — Joyce Kornblatt, novelist, author of Mother Tongue and The Reason for Wings.

Insightful and poignant, Len Kruger’s writing glitters with keen observations of suburban Maryland in the early ‘70s. An adult’s story seen from a young boy’s point of view, Bad Questions rings with emotional truths that resonate vividly and viscerally today. — Suzanne Feldman, 2022 winner of the WWPH Fiction Award for The Witch Bottle and Other Stories.

Remember adolescence, when life was an alphabet soup of questions? Some goofy, some embarrassing and some so painful and profound that adults no longer dare to ask them. In Bad Questions, Len Kruger evokes that time perfectly with a story that is funny and deeply moving. I’ll never forget it. — Corey Flintoff, former foreign correspondent, National Public Radio.

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