Pepper's Ghost novel cover

William Auten

Author of the novel Pepper's Ghost

Black Rose Writing | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

William Auten is the author of the novel Pepper's Ghost. Recent work has appeared in District Lit, East Bay Review, Origins, Oxford Magazine, Canada’s Saturday Night Reader, Sequestrum, Sliver of Stone, SunStruck, and elsewhere; he read at the 2015 bicentennial celebration for North American Review. Having lived up and down the Midwest and in Virginia, he now calls California home with his wife.

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2017 January 6

"Further north, then, my Love, my Honeycomb Drip? Say, the Arctic—or close to its blue-green edge that science and movie stars claim is melting under the heat that makes travel to and photographs of such places possible these days. But we won’t be able to tell if anything is missing or slumping like drunken shoulders or a house built on a canal; we’ve never been there before. At least, you haven’t. I was there once, many years ago. Aurora Borealis dragged its watercolors across the black sky like fireworks in Hell. Actually, I was on my way to meet the Devil." Read more >

"Retire to the Netherlands" is now available at Panoply, and at less than 500 words, you’d be done reading it by now. Yes, really.

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Pepper's Ghost cover William Auten
Pepper's Ghost (Black Rose Writing, 2016, ISBN 978-1-61296-652-6)
Charlotte Alexandra Long is determined to create her own life, but severe reverberations await her at the crossroads of each decision and always the possibility that the very thing she put in place on her own terms could be wiped away by an uncertain future. As Pepper’s Ghost weaves in and out of her experiences as a teen and young adult, and locations in the South and Midwest, Alex emerges from the remains of young Charlotte, but her evolving identity will never escape being an outsider in society’s eyes. After a series of ill-fitting jobs, Alex joins a traveling amusement company as a sideshow performer, where illusion and reality interplay through the metaphor of an old theater trick. She faces challenges from her troubled but devoted father, her self-absorbed mother, a spectrum of circus employees, and emotional ties to memories and places that give solace in times of ambiguity and loneliness.
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Short Fiction

"Ruben Vasquez wanted to kill his own father. He had waited all day, the morning dampness and coolness dissolving into mid-day warmth, for his father to drift away from the rest of them. When he watched his father walk alone to the Porta John, he leaned forward from the gate of the water truck and wiped his upper lip with the back of his hand, smearing sweat and dirt. Their break over, the other workers stopped talking and laughing and rolled back on their bandanas, hoodies, and hats; no gloves."

"Out There in the Sunlight (after a line by Larry Levis)" Red Earth Review, summer 2016

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