Penina’s Letters: Excerpt at Berfrois

A short excerpt from the “Separation” chapter of “Penina’s Letters” appeared on Berfrois this morning. Swim on over and have a look.

Below, some pics from the period and locale of the book’s setting:

“The airport was jamming, very jazzy…”

Over at тнє ѕυℓтαη’ѕ ѕєαℓ, Youssef Rakha, Egyptian novelist, journalist and photographer, has posted an excerpt from “Penina’s Letters.” Penina has just picked up Salty at the airport, and they are driving to the beach and up into Refugio. Fly on over to Youssef’s “Cairo’s Coolest Cosmoplitan Hotel” and check out the the excerpt.

“Penina’s Letters” has turned up in some interesting places the past few weeks:

Book Review: Penina’s Letters

Over at the It Kind of Got Away From You blog, Dan Hennessy has posted a thumb’s up review of my novel, Penina’s Letters. Paddle on over and check it out!

First Week Sales: Penina’s Letters

Amazon has reduced the paperback price of Penina’s Letters to $10.23. The e-Version is still $4.99. The photo on the left above is the e-Version cover, to the right the paperback front cover version.

I’ve had no control or input into the pricing changes of the paperback. Initially, Amazon suggested a price in the range of $9.99 to $19.99, and I chose $14.50 (I could not go below or above their suggested range). I might have given shipping and sales tax (which we don’t have here in Oregon) more thought.

Below might be too much information for the casual reader, but if you’re considering an indie project of some kind, you might be interested.

The most recent Create/Space sales report is showing 22 copies sold, all paperback. There could be a few more in the hopper, since sales information appears in the reports at different times depending on where orders are placed:

  • eStore royalty information is available within two to three days after a product has been manufactured (but I think this pertains to the Create/Space eStore). I’ve no idea why no Amazon e-Version copies are showing. Some readers might think they need a Kindle device, but the Amazon e-Version can be downloaded to other devices.
  • royalty information for books, DVDs, and CDs is available within two to three days after a product has been manufactured (There is no stock or inventory of Penina’s Letters – it’s printed “on demand,” i.e. when an order is received).
  • Amazon Europe royalty information for books is available within two to three days after a product has been manufactured.
  • Expanded Distribution royalties appear within 30 days after the end of the month in which the book is manufactured.

I’ll continue to update information as time goes on, and I’ll also be providing more background information on the book here on the blog, maybe weekly or so.

Thanks to everyone purchasing a copy! If you have any questions, comments, suggestions, please let me know. Feel free to post a review on Amazon after you’ve completed the book. You can do so “anonymously,” if you like. Please keep in mind that I am not Salty Persequi. Sal, my first person narrator, is, like all the other characters in the book, imagined – it’s fiction. Well, if you’ve been reading, you probably have already come to that conclusion, anyway.

Penina’s Letters, a Novel by Joe Linker

Ocean Surfing Love Letters War Epistolary Bildungsroman Santa Monica Bay Beach Cities School Work Family Friendship Self-deception Literary Fiction Folk Song Narrative…

“Penina’s Letters” takes place in the beach cities along Santa Monica Bay, with a fictionalized beach town named Refugio squeezed in between El Porto and Grand Avenue. The town of Refugio takes the place of the iconic towers and power plant between the water and the dunes of El Segundo.

The style includes epistolary writing, bildungsroman, and satire and irony. The time of the setting is not explicitly stated, nor is the war involved given a specific name, but readers may argue the story takes place in the 1960s and the early 1970s – in any case, it’s not a history book.

The main characters include Salvador (Sal or Salty) Persequi, the first person narrator, just returned from the war; his girlfriend, Penina Seablouse; and their two friends Puck Malone and Henry Killknot – all of whom have known one another since high school, and in the present time of the story are in their twenties.

“Penina’s Letters” is intended to be literary fiction, however off it might fall for some readers of that target.

The paperback version of “Penina’s Letters” is 290 pages (around 70,000 words) in length. It was designed for publication using the CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform – that means I self-published it.

Draft segments of “Penina’s Letters” appeared in The Boulevard (Summer 2012), a publication of the Attic Institute of Arts and Letters. Parts of the “How to Surf” chapter appeared in different form on Berfrois on September 29, 2015.

“Penina’s Letters” is now available in e-copy or paperback.

Errata: The proofreading eye often sees only what it expects to see. I tried reading the whole thing backwards, to avoid that phenom, but soon got pretty dizzy, so it didn’t seem to help much. Of course, some changes will simply never suggest themselves until you hit the send button. It’s like some mistakes hide back, waiting in the shadows, and as soon as you hit the send button, they jump out and scare you, yelling, “Ha, ha! You missed me! You missed me!” If one scares you, or anything seems amiss, please let me know! Meantime, I hope you enjoy “Penina’s Letters.”

My beautiful picture

At typewriter at Susan’s place, mid 70s.

Dinner Walk & Theatre

The Willamette River flows north through the Valley roughly parallel I-5, and after making the turns near the Falls at Oregon City, moves through Portland before joining the Columbia on its way to the Pacific Ocean, but no worries, this isn’t going to be a geography lesson.


Ross Island, from the west bank of the Willamette River, south of Portland (Mar 2016)

After passing under the Sellwood Bridges (there are two currently, the old one and the new one, side by side), the river wraps around Ross Island, across from the Old Spaghetti Factory’s rococo restaurant – where we met friends last night for dinner before heading up river to the Headlee Mainstage of the Lakewood Center for the Arts, tickets waiting at the Will-call window, to see Spencer Conway play Hugh in a live production of BULLSHOT CRUMMOND: THE EVIL EYE of JABAR and THE INVISIBLE BRIDE of DEATH.IMG_20160320_172520

The four of us shared a carafe of house Chianti and ate lasagna, pasta with clam and tomato sauces, fresh oven hot bread, salads and minestrone soup. We sat upstairs, at a booth in the bar area, paying scant attention to the river slooming below about sixty feet to the east. After dinner, we took a short, giddy walk along the river and paused for a few silly, group selfies with the island in the background.

After the short, after dinner walk, we hopped into one car and drove upriver to the theatre and picked up the tickets with still time to lengthen our river walk down to the local historical park to check out the 19th Century iron smelter.

We had seen Spencer Conway a couple of years ago in NOISES OFF at Portland’s downtown Newmark Theatre. All acting is, in a sense, a physical activity, and Spencer excels at employing his entire body in his work. When, for example, as Hugh ‘Bullshot’ Crummond, Spencer is hexed by a magnetic trance and becomes a human magnet, or slips into a parachute prop of sand, or rides the magic carpet, and more, he’s as good at physical acting antics as the great Jerry Lewis.IMG_20160321_093427I had not heard of Bullshot before last night. The form is satire, not quite farce, since there are targets – a causal argument of British colonialism reduced to buffoonery via the vehicle of a B movie on stage. Using inventive props in what seemed a record number of scene changes, the cast and production hands succeeded in creating the stage magic that allows the audience to suspend for a couple of hours and float effortlessly down the drama river. Rick Warren was perfectly cast as the evil Otto Von Bruno. Stephanie Heuston and Kelley Stewart each created original replays of B film vixen and heroine. Andrew Harris and Burl Ross filled out the cast, each frequently quick changing costumes to play multiple characters throughout the laugh-out-loud play.


All the world is a smelter.

Out on a Limb, and Text Mess Age

Out on a Limb

Out, out

legged three,

Eye on
far off

All that fall must
spring from this
stretch sketch.

Text Mess Age

  1. time u off?
    eta u gt hm?
    Udu 2
    yr so techy
    U WATY?
  1. dry clothes pinned
    drift aloft couple
    leaning from window
    two squirrels wrestle
    in grass & chase
    after one another
    across clothesline,
    hopping over
    upside down
    stick figures,
    cell phone lost below
    in rampant weeds.