September book reviews: Little Nothing, The Lonely City, and 8 more

September book reviews: Little Nothing, The Lonely City, and 8 more

Brief reviews of books by contemporary authors I read this month — along with photos of what I ate while reading. The list is ordered by the level my enjoyment: Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer (Houghton Mifflin, 2005) “So many people enter and leave your life!...
12 Literary journals for Los Angeles writers

12 Literary journals for Los Angeles writers

Get to know your local literary journals, and you’ll get to know your local literary community. Literary journals not only publish the work of local writers, but also hold readings where you can meet the readers, authors, and editors — as well as offer opportunities to get involved. Here are...
5 important resources for women writers

5 important resources for women writers

Every year we see articles bemoaning the dearth of women writers — on award lists, bestseller lists, magazine bylines, and more. But feminist lit groups are working to change that! Here are five moving things forward to get involved with: Bindercon. Described as “the conference and community for women and...
Vermin on the Mount: An irreverent reading series in LA and San Diego

Vermin on the Mount: An irreverent reading series in LA and San Diego

A reading series should surprise you, challenge you, entertain you — maybe sometimes even offend you. And the Vermin on the Mount series has been doing that in SoCal for 12 years now, thanks to the series host Jim Ruland! In celebration of the series’ 12th anniversary, I wrote my...
7 big annual literary events in Los Angeles to put on your calendar now

7 big annual literary events in Los Angeles to put on your calendar now

From lit crawls to book festivals, L.A’s got a lot of events that bring together writers and bibliophiles. Here are seven big literary fetes not to miss: Lit Crawl LA. The North Hollywood Arts District becomes the hub of Literary LA for one night each year, when irreverent readings and...
Vaseline: My new text-collage collaboration for 7x7 LA

Vaseline: My new text-collage collaboration for 7×7 LA

Up on lit zine 7×7 LA now is “Vaseline,” an experimental text-collage story I co-created with Kevin Sampsell. The piece is about shady sleep studies and sinister experiments and sexy dreams. It was created following 7×7 LA’s surrealism-inspired artistic constraints: Kevin and I went back and forth seven times, reacting...
Best juice shop for writers in Los Angeles

Best juice shop for writers in Los Angeles

Once, writers haunted coffee shops. Now, they seek out raw, cold pressed green juice — or at least they do in L.A. Or at least I do! And my favorite spot is Juice Served Here — specifically, the Venice location. A breezy, open spot with lots of natural light, free...
Five Firsts: Jillian Lauren on fear, risk, and sexuality

Five Firsts: Jillian Lauren on fear, risk, and sexuality

Every month, I interview an author I admire on her literary firsts. September’s featured author is Jillian Lauren, author of New York Times bestseller Some Girls: My Life in a Harem, her first memoir. Jillian’s also authored the novel Pretty and a second memoir, Everything You Ever Wanted, about the process she and her...
September Giveaway: Jillian Lauren's Some Girls

September Giveaway: Jillian Lauren’s Some Girls

Memoirs don’t get much more riveting than Jillian Lauren’s Some Girls: My Life in a Harem. That’s right — Jillian once worked as a call girl and stripper in New York before agreeing to fly out to Borneo — to join the harem of Prince Jefri Bolkiah, youngest brother of...
5 must-read self-help books for writers that aren't about writing

5 must-read self-help books for writers that aren’t about writing

There are hundreds of books out there about improving your writing — but if you’re like me, the challenge comes a little before that, in getting yourself to write in the first place. It is strange: Why do I so often resist doing that which I say I really want...
Five Firsts: Edan Lepucki on giving up and getting lucky

Five Firsts: Edan Lepucki on giving up and getting lucky

Every month, I interview an author I admire on her literary firsts. August’s featured author is Edan Lepucki, author of New York Times bestseller California, her first novel, as well as the novella If You’re Not Yet Like Me. She’s also a staff writer for The Millions and the founder and co-director of ...
7 Steps I took to find my literary agent

7 Steps I took to find my literary agent

It’s gotten a bit better now, but I used to be a really terrible procrastinator. I did everything I didn’t need to do while procrastinating on the one thing I purportedly really, really wanted to do: write. Then I complained about how I had no time to write. Best way...

Hi! I’m Siel, a writer and reader.

Each month I interview an author who inspires me about the pleasures, perils, and practical hows of writing a first book — to help you forge your own creative path.

I also blog about living a literary life in Los Angeles, and give away a book I love each month! Sign up for my monthly newsletter to get entered into the drawing.

My novel-in-stories Cake Time will be published April 2017! Preorder links will be available soon.

Cake TimeDaring yet aimless, smart but slightly strange, Cake Time’s young female protagonist keeps making slippery choices, sliding into the dangerous space where curiosity melds with fear and desires turn into dirty messes.

In “How Not to Have an Abortion,” the teenaged narrator looks for a ride from the clinic between her AP exams. In “Easy Target,” the now-college-grad agrees to go to a swingers party with a handsome stranger. A decade later, in “Glow,” she is suddenly confronted by the disturbing and thrilling fact of her lover’s secret daughter.

Ultimately, Cake Time grapples with urgent, timeless questions: why intelligent girls make terrible choices, where to negotiate a private self in an increasingly public world, and how to love madly without losing a sense of self.

*

Praise for Cake Time

Cake Time is a delicious indulgence. Treat yourself to its dark, seductive intimacies and savor the gritty sugar of its unsentimental humor.”

— Jillian Lauren, NY Times bestselling author of Some Girls: My Life in a Harem, andEverything You Ever Wanted

*

“Siel Ju’s Cake Time is an astonishing debut. Ju’s novel in stories is unsettling and fierce and full of loneliness, sadness, and humor. Her voice is so alive, and her candor—particularly about men and sex—is keenly astute, intimate, and startling. The prose is precise and poetic and Los Angeles vibrates on the page. Wry and heartfelt and uniquely defiant, Cake Time is like a hard slap I didn’t expect or see coming.”

— Victoria Patterson, author of The Little Brother and Drift

*

“Siel Ju’s Cake Time is sharply observed and wonderfully contemporary: these complex, flawed, and real characters live in our current world, with all its confusions and opportunity to connect–or disconnect. It’s about the perils and pleasures of intimacy, and its heroine feels as alive as you and I. A compelling and unflinching debut.”

— Edan Lepucki, author of California

*

“Siel Ju writes with refreshing candor about sexual appetite and the treacherous difficulty of finding love. There is cruelty in the search and tenderness and a lot of honest fumbling around. Cake Time is our time—a provocative debut.”

— Noy Holland, author of Bird

*

“Siel Ju’s stories are not boring because they are about not-boring things, like swingers’ parties and organic fashion company beauty pageants and high school sex and breakups and hook ups. Lots and lots of breakups and hook ups. I worried for Siel Ju reading about all these breakups and hook ups. Then I reminded myself these are fictions Siel Ju is telling us, and Siel Ju is fine. We are all fine, even after all these breakups and hook ups.”

— Elizabeth Ellen, author of Fast Machine and Bridget Fonda

*

Preorder links will be available soon.

Save