PORCELAIN MOTHS by Joe Ricker (March 2021)

• Trade Paperback (ISBN-13: 978-1-64396-133-0) — $15.95 includes FREE digital formats!
• eBook Formats — $5.99

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Maggie Remick has a secret.

When Maggie gets pregnant as a teenager, she’s regarded as just another statistic in her hometown of Limington, New York—a small town in the Finger Lakes Region that has the highest teen pregnancy rate (per capita) in the country. Estranged from her devotedly religious mother, Maggie has spent nearly twenty years struggling to give her life meaning. After she meets a much younger man who shows promise for all of that to change and provides a chance for her to reclaim some part of her youth, her son Harley returns home after serving a two-year sentence for arson.

Harley, recently released from a juvenile detention center for setting fire to a motorcycle, tries to establish a relationship with Maggie, despite the years of her supreme neglect. Harley is reintroduced to the frustration and torment of trying to make real human connection with his mother. Seeing himself as nothing more than a burden to her, and the new romantic relationship she’s established, Harley makes an attempt to go his own way and exit Maggie’s life for good.

Harley takes a job as a janitor at his former high school and distances himself from Maggie by accepting a living arrangement with a former high school mentor. Harley also tries desperately to win the affection of a young woman who has more than her fair share of struggles. But things begin to unravel as his affections are rejected, and the mentor’s darker motives for helping him are revealed.

Maggie’s romantic relationship begins to deteriorate when she reveals to her new lover that she’s pregnant with his child. For both Maggie and Harley, things start to spiral into chaos, and as Harley tries fervently to keep his antisocial impulses contained. In the clutch of emotional turmoil, Harley again tries to establish some kind of relationship with his mother. His attempt triggers a significant emotional downturn for Maggie. The secret she has been keeping from him is finally brought to light, and Harley’s response is nothing short of apocalyptic.

Porcelain Moths examines the harsh realities of a world where people are fighting to find meaning in their existence. There, Ricker offers some insight into this arena with a combination of prose that is reminiscent of Cormac McCarthy, and starkly flawed characters evocative of Chuck Palahniuk’s. Porcelain Moths is a portal to a world that is chillingly genuine but rarely acknowledged.

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