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July 30, 2021
By PW Staff

This month, we’ve got horses, a treatise on accepting death, a medical memoir, and much more. To submit a first line, email


A Betting Woman: A Novel of Madame Moustache

Jenni L. Walsh

“I had arrived; ready to start anew, with nothing but two trunks, a mouth of deceptions, and my broken memories. Opportunity whistled through San Francisco, where its gold was discovered accidentally, unexpectedly. One could’ve said the same about my coming here.”


Appaloosa Sky

K. Blanton Brenner

“She watched the ground flying beneath them, her heart pounding in rhythm to the thunderous sound of the horse’s hooves on the dirt road.”



Careless Love

Steve Zettler

“At her memorial service, I wanted to believe my mother’s story had something to do with me, that I was in some way a player, that I factored into her bygone scenario—the life that was hers before I was born. A little crazy, a little self-centered, I’ll admit.”


How to Live Forever: A Guide to Writing the Final Chapter of Your Life Story

Kimberly Best and John Trent

“For some people, mostly elite soldiers, police, first responders, or race car drivers going 200 miles per hour into a turn, there is a very real awareness that this could be one’s last day. But for most of us, we push away and ignore any thoughts of our own death.”



Mountain Dream

Wei San Tang

“It all began with my first successful summit of a mountain peak. For me, that was Mount Kinabalu in Sabah, Malaysia. At 4,095 metres, it is the highest peak in Borneo’s Crocker Range, and it is also the highest peak in Malaysia, where I was born.”


Tied with Twine

Pam Records

“Halina shoved the dirty sheet in the tin washtub as quickly as she could. Water splashed over the side, puddling at her feet, then snaking to the drain in the middle of the basement floor.”


Well, Doc, It Seemed Like a Good Idea At The Time! The Unexpected Adventures of a Trauma Surgeon

J. Paul Waymack

“On my first day as a brand-new third-year medical student on rotation in the emergency room at Riverside Hospital, I cheerfully introduced myself to the ER director, the intern, the nurses, the receptionist, and anybody else I passed.”


For the Love of Many

Vivian Dunn

“Nadine thought she was alone. She saw the thing lying on the dresser, right there, out in the open, stumbling upon it as she would an old photograph, locked in place to have a look. Manny never let his gun just sit around anywhere. It wasn’t safe for him, not even in his own home.”