Happy Hour is for Amateurs

The Philadelphia Lawyer

Book Cover: Happy Hour is for Amateurs

Welcome to the world of the Philadelphia Lawyer-a man of two identities. By day he is a mild-mannered attorney, one who has practiced in a wide variety of legal fields from criminal to corporate to personal injury, earning himself a stellar reputation in the Philadelphia legal community as a hardnosed and astute litigator. By night, his drunken and drug induced escapades are all that keep him going, as he moves from bar to party to bed in the hopes that somehow he can escape the boredom and mental inertia of his job.

Based on the anonymous blog called the Philadelphia Lawyer, HAPPY HOUR IS FOR AMATEURS is a juvenile, raucous, and entertaining memoir that follows the antics of one lawyer in Philadelphia from law school to law practice as he devotes 10 years of his life to one of our country′s most popular yet unsavory professions. Satirizing office culture like never before, his story offers a wry and hilarious look into the monotony of the nine to five workplace and the debauched release that goes on when the sun goes down. Whether it′s dabbling in S&M with buttoned-down career woman, chasing nitrous balloons with shots of Jim Beam, or overdosing on anti-nausea medication for cancer patients to stave off his hangover, HAPPY HOUR IS FOR AMATEURS is episodic escapism in its most enjoyable form, as one man does whatever he can to avoid the unfortunate realities of the law and excruciating tedium of office life.

The Sasquatch Hunter’s Almanac

Sharma Shields

Book Cover: The Sasquatch Hunter's Almanac

A dark, fantastical, multi-generational tale about a family whose patriarch is consumed by the hunt for the mythical, elusive sasquatch he encountered in his youth


Eli Roebuck was nine years old when his mother walked off into the woods with "Mr. Krantz," a large, strange, hairy man who may or may not be a sasquatch. What Eli knows for certain is that his mother went willingly, leaving her only son behind. For the rest of his life, Eli is obsessed with the hunt for the bizarre creature his mother chose over him, and we watch it affect every relationship he has in his long life--with his father, with both of his wives, his children, grandchildren, and colleagues. We follow all of the Roebuck family members, witnessing through each of them the painful, isolating effects of Eli's maniacal hunt, and find that each Roebuck is battling a monster of his or her own, sometimes literally. The magical world Shields has created is one of unicorns and lake monsters, ghosts and reincarnations, tricksters and hexes. At times charming, as when young Eli meets the eccentric, extraordinary Mr. Krantz, and downright horrifying at others, The Sasquatch Hunter's Almanac is boldly imaginative throughout, and proves to be a devastatingly real portrait of the demons that we as human beings all face.


Listen to the Author talk about writing Sasquatch Here




“Sharma Shields’ new novel, THE SASQUATCH HUNTER'S ALMANAC is deeply strange and strangely moving.  Like Kafka's "The Metamorphosis," it demands and rewards surrender.” – Richard Russo, winner of the Pulitzer Prize


“What a wonderful world Sharma Shields has created in THE SASQUATCH HUNTER'S ALMANAC, this epic of Northwest weirdness, this tense, funny tale of obsession, the terrific introduction to her fierce and inventive talent. ” – Jess Walter, New York Times bestselling author of BEAUTIFUL RUINS


“With her trademark mix of humor and darkness, Sharma Shields weaves one man's childhood trauma into a weird and wonderful fairytale. Brimming with flesh-and-blood characters, deft prose, and astonishing insights into love and family, The Sasquatch Hunter's Almanac is a novel you'll retain like a beautiful memory; you'll run your fingers over it whenever you pass your bookshelf. Truly a tour de force.” – Diana Spechler, author of WHO BY FIRE and SKINNY


“This novel hunted me, tore out my heart, and left it by the side of a dark fairy-tale road. THE SASQUATCH HUNTER'S ALMANAC is the most startling and beautiful book I've read all year.” --Kate Bernheimer, author of HOW A MOTHER WEANED HER GIRL FROM FAIRY TALES


"A story that easily qualifies as one of the most wonderfully weird debuts of the new year . . .At heart it's a family saga, and a cautionary tale about frailties--greed, mania, ego, anger--that make us much too human. A-" (Entertainment Weekly)


"Shields's engaging, surreal tale is equal parts David Lynch and Harry and the Hendersons." (Marie Claire)


"Bizarre, quirky, wonderful. Shields' characters inhabit a world where the protagonist's mother elopes with a sasquatch and, while that's a tad unreal, the strange life occurrences and relationships that develop are somehow believable and wise." (San Francisco Chronicle)


"Magic realism abounds in this coming-of-age story about battling monsters, real and symbolic." (Most Anticipated Books of 2015, Entertainment Weekly)


"Spooky and whimsical . . . Roebuck's search for the monster turns into an examination of what is wild--and potentially monstrous--within us all."(VanityFair.com)


"Shields's audacious bundling of so many characters and their accompanying plights into one supernaturally tinged story results in a veritable reading roller coaster -- peaks and valleys of psychological terror, allegorical whimsy, satire and gross-out humor flash by in dizzying turn."(The Seattle Times)


"[An] expansive new novel…In a style that's darkly comic, spellbinding and at times quite creepy." (Seattle Magazine)


"A hell of a book . . . A mosaic, a narrative game of spin the bottle that accrues meaning by focusing on one perspective at a time" (The Stranger)


"An interesting novel about childhood abandonment, teenage rebellion, first and second marriages, and the chaos that love wreaks on families -- human subjects that, in the case of this novel, revolve around an unusual version of Sasquatch, with a cyclone of extracurricular supernaturalia thrown in, including unicorns, ghosts and other paranormal creatures of Shields's own invention that genuinely tingle the spine...Worth reading for its sheer weirdness."(Washington Post)


"The Sasquatch Hunter's Almanac thrills and satisfies on a variety of levels. It will surprise readers at every turn, formally and as a narrative, and will serve as a glimmering reminder of worlds around us unseen and beckoning. In its closing pages, the novel comes together with a powerful, surprising inevitability, like a hand closing around ones heart and squeezing. It's an unforgettable, utterly unique novel, and one well-deserving of your attention." (The Vancouver Sun)


"On this clever, absurdist magic-carpet ride of Eli's long-running search for Mr. Krantz (and his mom), Shields introduces a hole with no bottom (where Eli's dog, Mother, is buried), Eli's two wives, his daughters, unicorns that bleed silver blood, lake monsters and more. A lesser writer would lose control of all this, but Shields proves her acuity with a smart narrative, great characters and an ending to die for." (Tom Lavoie, Shelf Awareness (starred review))


"Shields has written a monster of a book about monsters . . . The Sasquatch Hunter's Almanac spans more than 60 years and four generations over the course of 383 pages of storytelling that warps reality and rewards those willing to believe in its magic." (Inlander)


"Shields is capable of the best kind of magic realism: unexplained, unexpected, totally convincing…It must also be said that Shields perfectly captures the tenor of the scientifically-inclined cryptozoologist…The claims, analysis, and internal debates of contemporary Sasquatch-searchers are all perfectly characterized and dramatized without seeming didactic…The Sasquatch Hunter's Almanac is concerned with what it means to be human, how we build and break our allegiances to others, what we are capable of living through and imagining we have. After all, imagination, like the Sasquatch, may be shorn, mostly-tamed, and shoe-horned into society, but why would you want it that way? As Sheilds's novel shows us, we see best from the fringes. You just have to be willing to go there." (National Post)


"Moments of enchantment…Ambitious in scope…When Shields matter-of-factly sees life from Mr. Krantz's point of view, the effect is close to magical." (The Oregonian)


"Worth the suspension of disbelief." (BookPage)


"This debut novel chronicles the life of a man obsessed by a childhood encounter with the mythical creature, which may be related to the disappearance of his mother. Just shut up - you had me at 'sasquatch.'" (Globe and Mail, 50 most anticipated books of 2015)


"A whimsical and weird meditation on fairy tales, myths and obsessions, Shields tells the story of a boy who watches his mother run off with a Sasquatch named Mr. Krantz. The boy grows up into a dedicated cryptozoologist who wants to prove Bigfoot is real. How weird? On page 5, we meet a Sasquatch dressed in an ill-fitting pinstripe suit. Swoon." (The Spokesman-Review, Best books of 2014)


"Imagine a mash up of Moby-Dick and Kafka's Metamorphosis (with a hearty dash of Twin Peaks thrown in), and you'll begin to get an idea of what Shields's ambitious tale of disenchantment sets out to do." (Kirkus)


"Sparkling…Eli's quest is not unlike Ahab's, and Shields writes with piercing insight about the monsters that keep us from connecting with one another in this funny and wise first novel."(Booklist)


"Imaginative, unpredictable, and endearing." (Library Journal)


Speed Dreaming

Nicole Haroutunian

Book Cover: Speed Dreaming

From a captivating new author comes twelve piercing stories in which young women negotiate friendship and marriage, art and commerce, and the possibility their lives might not work out as planned. After the house of the young couple in “A Cane, an Anchor” goes up in flames, they’re unsure of what they lost in the fire and what they’d lost long before it. “The Living” asks, how would you arrange your life if you had only six months left? In “Youse,” two teenage girls are the targets of an attempted kidnapping. A trio of linked stories—including the title track—follows Meg and Dax, a curator and a butcher who married impulsively, from their eerie honeymoon in rural Wales through Meg’s identity crisis when the museum where she works is destroyed, to early parenthood, when a coyote’s spectral presence at their child’s birthday party in a Brooklyn park suggests deeper threats.


Praise for SPEED DREAMING by Nicole Haroutunian

"The characters who appear (and reappear) in Speed Dreaming are full of intelligence, wit, imagination, and empathy—as well as regret, fickleness, and occasional selfishness. In other words, they are wholly human. With unbelievable precision and grace, Nicole Haroutunian examines the exquisite, transcendent, and inexplicably eerie moments of her character’s everyday lives and gives meaning to the smallest details of their worlds. Speed Dreaming is unforgettable." – Nelly Reifler, author of Elect H. Mouse State Judge


“These passionate stories of women and their half disasters, half-rotten men, and fully open hearts are written so nimbly and with such energy and momentum and compassion that I found myself carrying the book from room to room, brushing my teeth and feeding the dog while reading, unwilling to put them down.” –Deb Olin Unferth, author of Revolution: The Year I Fell in Love and Went to Join the War


“From troubled relationships to burned-down apartments to wild animals on the loose, Nicole Haroutunian has created an unforgettable portrait of what it's like to be a young woman in contemporary America. This is a beautiful, funny, poignant, unflinching collection.” –Saïd Sayrafiezadeh, author of Brief Encounters With the Enemy


"A bowler hat, a volleyball net, a pig tattoo: Nicole Haroutunian’s stories all have unexpected details that attract the eye and alert the mind. Those details glitter on the surface while something else entirely goes on underneath: dark tides of life, death, illness, and love, and people who are carried away by them during the course of otherwise normal lives." –Ben Greenman, author of The Slippage and Mo Meta Blues


“Nicole Haroutunian is a master of excavating what is ominous and therefore worthy of examination in our everyday lives -- sleepover games, damaged bodies, dying cities, Brooklyn parrots, and the prosaic catastrophes of love. I loved reading these perfectly formed stories about thoughtful urbanites and their search for meaning in the mundane.” –Amy Shearn, author of The Mermaid of Brooklyn and How Far Is The Ocean from Here


“Fire, car and truck accidents, mysterious disease and a coyote at a child’s birthday party are only some of the calamities that these protagonists must confront along with the minor indignities and incongruities of romance and work. Haroutunian brings her complicated young women to life with intelligence, wit and utter literary confidence. Her book is a splendid debut. –Melvin Jules Bukiet, author of Undertown and A Faker’s Dozen


“Speed Dreaming is a book spilling over with talent. How enticing and accurately drawn these stories are, with their bright touches and ominous edges, their smart young characters blocked by what they can’t see yet. A wonderful debut.”-Joan Silber, author of Fools and Ideas of Heaven


“Nicole Haroutunian's stories are precise little gems. I know I'll return to them again and again, since there's something new and beautiful to find in them every time I open this collection.” -Lauren Grodstein, author of The Explanation for Everything


“These honest and perceptive stories contend with the painful contradictions of modern love; that it is precious as it is quotidian; inadequate as it is essential.” -Julie Sarkissian, author of Dear Lucy


“Haroutunian’s breezy prose, and her characters’ humor and relatability — even when dealing with a recently-paralyzed boyfriend, a rocky new marriage, or a father’s recent death — makes reading this captivating collection a true joy.” -Bustle


Check out these glowing reviews:

Amazon Book Review

The Paris Review

Library Journal