OKD Books

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DEATH, DESIRE, AND OTHER DESTINATIONS, Tara Isabel Zambrano’s debut short story collection, explores the rocky terrain of relationships and their fault lines, and unearths the boundaries between love, longing, and loss. Both real and surreal, lyrical and magical, sci-fi and speculative, these small stories shine a light in the darkness of seeking a human connection across space and time.

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Advanced praise for DEATH, DESIRE, AND OTHER DESTINATIONS:

“Sharply cut, glowing, hallucinatory prose—alive, sensual, and dangerous.” – Ben Loory, author of TALES OF FALLING AND FLYING

“’As the spaceship crash lands in our backyard,’ matter-of-factly begins one story in Tara Isabel Zambrano’s sexy and strange DEATH, DESIRE, AND OTHER DESTINATIONS. This collection is likewise an otherworldly force, with startling impact. Lesbians have destination weddings on the moon, hearts leap from their bodies, dead girls share cigarettes while contemplating their lost lives, women suffer temporary sex-induced blindness, lovers swallow each other whole, harem girls kill their master’s enemies with poisonous kisses. This is a vivid, wild, captivating book.” – Kim Magowan, author of UNDOING and THE LIGHT SOURCE

“DEATH, DESIRE, AND OTHER DESTINATIONS is the long-awaited debut collection by one of my favorite writers of the short form working today. Tara Isabel Zambrano is an artist of singular voice and vision, a master of image, language, and character. These stories are vivid, captivating, unforgettable. I can’t exactly say how Zambrano works her magic, only that her stories leave me awestruck. DEATH, DESIRE, AND OTHER DESTINATIONS is not to be missed.” – Kathy Fish, author of WILD LIFE: COLLECTED WORKS, 2003-2018

“From the first gripping story ‘Alligators’ onward, we know we are in the hands of a confident, subtle prose stylist unafraid to face and describe some of the darkest and most difficult moments of our lives in language that is redeeming and utterly beautiful. Please go out and get this collection and read it. Marvel at the emergence of a new and distinctive talent in fiction.” – Chaya Bhuvaneswar, author of WHITE DANCING ELEPHANTS

“Possessing both an unflinching eye for detail and an uncanny ear for poetic juxtaposition, Zambrano simultaneously shocks and comforts, builds and destroys, condemns and redeems as she slices to the center of the human experience. DEATH, DESIRE, AND OTHER DESTINATIONS is written with sharp intelligence and scorching prose; the book is an astonishing achievement, and Zambrano is clearly a modern master of the short form.” – Audra Kerr Brown, Managing Editor of NEW FLASH FICTION REVIEW

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WAYS WE VANISH, Todd Dillard’s debut poetry collection, navigates the grief following the loss of a loved one while also starting a new life and becoming a parent. It peels back the layers of everyday living to reveal the impossible landscape flourishing underneath —one fraught with sorrow, want, and pain, but also filled with hope, joy, and flight.

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Advanced Praise for WAYS WE VANISH:

“WAYS WE VANISH is a book of astounding grief that leaves us grateful for the ability to acknowledge the fact of absence and the presence of loss. Todd Dillard is a lyric poet of family—of brotherhood, of fatherhood—whose poems mean to keep these ties alive in memory and word: ‘There is a beautiful thing / I should be able to speak, / my tongue a rope to drag him back.’ This is a brilliant debut.” – Jericho Brown, author of THE TRADITION and THE NEW TESTAMENT

“Each poem in WAYS WE VANISH is an answer to a question—what if this is the best way to say this? What if this is the only way to say this? These honest, kind-hearted, and generous poems about family (motherhood, fatherhood, sonhood, brotherhood) are also about war, snakes, bees, dancing, graves, marriage, and the moon—in short, life on Earth, and poetry as a way of understanding it. ‘You look until / you become looking.'” – Elisa Gabbert, author of THE WORD PRETTY and THE UNREALITY OF MEMORY

“To read Todd Dillard’s work is to make an extraordinary journey to the edges of human experience and imagination: across the surface of Mars, through a door in the woods, into a room in which young monsters learn how adulthood will change them. However far we travel, Dillard returns us – deftly, gloriously, devastatingly – to that most familiar yet least understood landscape: the place in the heart from which we seek to make sense of, or at least come to some sense of peace with, our pasts. In this stunning debut collection, Dillard struggles with grief for his mother as he rejoices over becoming a father, showing us that within every joy lies sorrow, and vice versa. Though we live in a world where those we love are ‘there and just as / suddenly not there,’ we move forward to find ‘every step had become a door’ behind which we may find peace.” – Emma Bolden, author of MEDI(T)ATIONS and HOUSE IS AN ENIGMA

“Stepping into conversation with such collections as Kevin Young’s BOOK OF HOURS and Maggie Smith’s GOOD BONES, Todd Dillard’s beautiful, elegiac book explores a son’s complex grief over the death of his mother, even as he becomes a parent himself. There is such care in Dillard’s language, such clarity of image and thought; these poems left me choked up at their tenderness, their urgency, their heartfelt exploration of the territory between loss and love.” – Amorak Huey, author of BOOM BOX and POETRY: A WRITER’S GUIDE

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GHOSTS OF YOU, Cathy Ulrich’s debut short story collection, is about seeking the lost and finding the person behind the sensationalism. It examines the tropes of mystery and crime storytelling in which the narrative always begins with the body of another murdered woman. They are mothers and daughters, teachers and students, lovers and wives, actresses and extras. They have been taken, but their stories still remain. This is how they set the plot in motion.

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Advanced Praise for GHOSTS OF YOU:

“‘The thing about being the murdered girl,’ writes Cathy Ulrich, ‘is you set the plot in motion.’ But, of course, it’s Ulrich who brilliantly constructs the plot around, in, before, through, and after a violent crime – making fully realized gems of stories in the most unlikely of spaces.” – Amber Sparks, author of THE UNFINISHED WORLD and AND I DO NOT FORGIVE YOU

“GHOSTS OF YOU, the eagerly anticipated compilation of Cathy Ulrich’s brilliantly original ‘Murdered Ladies’ stories, is by turns a haunted and haunting literary work. This book left me deeply moved, shaken, and forever changed. Read these stories, then seek out everything else Ulrich has written, for she is a writer of singular voice and vision and this is only the beginning.” – Kathy Fish, author of WILD LIFE: COLLECTED WORKS, 2003-2018

“Cathy Ulrich gives voice to the romanticized murdered darlings – wives, prom queens, babysitters, cheerleaders – lying unquestioned at the heart of American media. GHOSTS OF YOU is a powerful meditation restoring their lives anew, and more: a lyrical and fiercely human howl.” – Kendra Fortmeyer, author of HOLE IN THE MIDDLE

“In a dazzling, richly detailed series of second-person narratives addressed to ghostly girls and women, Cathy Ulrich unearths their buried lives and the afterlives of those around them. Every single one of them becomes unforgettable. In a culture increasingly inured to violence against women, at a time when women are being systematically disempowered, their bodies and voices erased, stories like these take on particular urgency and importance. GHOSTS OF YOU will haunt you. Don’t miss this stunning debut collection.” – Jacqueline Doyle, author of THE MISSING GIRL