Friday, December 4, 2009

Phun Filled Philly Fiction weekend

Don Ron Books will be out in force this weekend, promoting Philly Fiction and Philly Fiction 2, ideal gift books for the holiday season.

On Friday night, editor Josh McIlvain will be at the seasonal sale at Lynnewood Elementary School located at 1400 Lawrence Rd in Havertown from 6pm to 9pm, while Christopher Munden heads to Fishtown/Kensington for the Rocket Cat Cafe holiday craft fair, also 6-9pm. Rocket Cat is a hip coffee shop located just blocks from the Berks el stop and the fair promises to be a great place for holiday gift shopping. On Saturday, December 5th, Josh and Chris will be at the Trinity Memorial Church Holiday Bazaar and Café Noel at 22nd and Spruce from 10am to 3pm.

Stop by one of these great seasonal events to stock up on holiday gifts. What could be better for the Philly reader in your life than Philly Fiction, stories set in Philadelphia written by local writers!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Don't Forget: Philly Fiction 2 reading this Saturday

Mark your calendars. Don Ron Books is hosting another reading of stories from their acclaimed new anthology. Philly Fiction 2 authors Susan Balée, Marc Bookman, John Carroll, and Rachel Toliver read selections from their stories and reveal their favorite "strange" Philadelphia spots. Come out and hear tales from the book Philadelphia Magazine calls, "A bunch of great short stories from local talent."

See post below or our press release for more information.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Reading at Double Shots Espresso Bar

Enjoy a Saturday afternoon of coffee, stories, and good Philly fun. Come to the hip Double Shots Espresso Bar in Old City Philadelphia on Saturday, November 14th, 2009, at 3pm to hear three authors from the critically acclaimed Philly Fiction 2 anthology read from their stories. Double Shots Espresso Bar is a large, comfortable coffee shop in the heart of Old City. It is home to numerous writers groups and three-time winner of the City Paper Reader's Choice award.

The night will be hosted by Don Ron Books editors Josh McIlvain and Christopher Munden. Four Philly Fiction 2 writers will read from their stories: Susan Balée from "Ineffable," Marc Bookman from "A Transcript of Auden Hope's Last Request Before Being Shot by the Police," John Carroll from "Baby Blue," and Rachel Toliver from "Soup's Last Stand."

Susan Balée Philly Fiction 2Susan Balée reviews books for the Hudson Review and the Philadelphia Inquirer and has published articles in the Times Literary Supplement, the Weekly Standard, the Women’s Review of Books, and the Oxford Encyclopedia of American Literature, among other publications. She appears on audio programs for the National Endowment of the Arts’ Big Read and has published short stories in Silent Voices and the Wild River Review. She has a PhD in literature from Columbia University and teaches in the intellectual heritage program at Temple University. In her story "Ineffable," Norton's Ph.D. in classics has yet to get him beyond an assistant's job in the office of English Department at the University of Pennsylvania. When the hopelessly shy Norton gains the affections of a much younger Marc Bookman and copand seemingly sexually adventurous grad student, he's convinced he will lose his spoils to his older, conquering boss.

Marc Bookman has published stories in various literary magazines and journals over the past twenty years. He has been a public defender in Philadelphia since 1983, and lives in Wyndmoor. In his story "A Transcript of Auden Hope's Last Request Before Being Shot by the Police," a hostage stand off is transpiring in Center City, but the hostage-taker is duping the police and the crowd with taped screams from old movies, and neither his child nor his ex-wife are with him.

John Carroll Philly Fiction 2John Carroll was born and raised in Philadelphia, lives in the East Passyunk Crossing area, and works at the Kelly Writers House. John's work has appeared in the Battered Suitcase, 34th Street Magazine, and Dragonfire, as well as the websites Phillyist and CHUD. In 2006 John won the Kelly Writers House Junior Fellows Award, which funded his yearlong experimental mail project, A Place to Stand Productions. In his story "Baby Blue," Phil bumps into his old high school American lit teacher in a Northeast bar watching an Eagles game. The teacher begins to force a bond between them over sports, and despite Phil's wariness, the two go to a Phillies game, where the teacher's uncomfortable antics fuel Phil's desire to escape.

Rachel Toliver photoRachel Toliver's work has been published in Cutthroat, Night Train, Alligator Juniper, Literal Latte, the King’s English, Thieves Jargon, and Geez. Toliver teaches English at the same Philadelphia public high school from which she graduated. She lives in West Philadel¬phia (though not in a squat) and disagrees with all the nasty things people say about Philly. Soup, a squatter in West Philly and the "hero" of her story "Soup's Last Stand," tries to get his sorry sac of a dog back from his ex-girlfriend so he can split the city. But when he gets the dog, his anger subsides and he starts to see the city as his home, while others see his presence in an entirely different light.

Philly Fiction 2 reading
Double Shots Espresso Bar
211 Chestnut Street, Phila. 19106
Saturday, November 14, 2009, 3pm

Email or visit for more information.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Latest list of stores selling Philly Fiction 2

The critically acclaimed Philly Fiction 2 is now available at stores all across the city. Check out this list to find a store near you:

  • Artist and Craftsman, 307 Market St
  • Bookcorner, 311 N. 20th St
  • Brickbat Books, 709 S. 4th St
  • Curiosity Shop, 529 S. 4th St
  • Head House Books, 619 S. 2nd St
  • Joseph Fox Bookshop, 1724 Sansom St
  • UArts Bookstore, 13th St between Spruce and Pine sts
  • Avril 50, 3406 Baltimore Ave (West Philly)
  • House of Our Own, 3920 Spruce St (West Philly)
  • Penn Book Center, 130 S. 34th St (West Philly)
  • Vix Emporium, 5009 Baltimore Ave (West Philly)
  • Germ Books, 2005 Frankford Ave (Fishtown)
  • Port Richmond Books, 3037 Richmond St (Port Richmond)
  • Jean-Jacques Gallery, 7118 Germantown Ave (Mount Airy)
  • Big Blue Marble Bookstore, 551 Carpenter Lane (Mount Airy)
  • Carman's Shoe Repair, 8111 Germantown Ave (Chestnut Hill)
  • Hideaway Music, 8612 Germantown Ave (Chestnut Hill)

  • Or visit to purchase online or view other purchase options.

    Wednesday, October 21, 2009

    Photos from the Chestnut Hill Arts Festival

    Philly Fiction editors took to the streets of Chestnut Hill (er, Germantown Avenue) to sell the Philly Fiction books at the annual Chestnut Hill Arts Festival. Here is Josh McIlvain with our gorgeous book tables.
    Josh McIlvain Philly FictionJosh McIlvain Philly Fiction

    Monday, September 28, 2009

    Another glowing review for Philly Fiction 2

    Charles Loudon of the Fox Chase Review has given his two cents on Philly Fiction 2, a second collection of short stories highlighting Philadelphia as a city of literary inspiration. He calls the anthology of short stories set in Philadelphia “a fast read that will keep you turning the pages,” picking out local writer Liz Kerr’s “The Summer of Dark Shadows” and its “stunning detail” about family divisions in wartime for particular praise. Click here to read the full review or go to the Philly Fiction site to see more praise for the book.
    These writers bring us into the stories to witness homelessness and discrimination, complex family relationships and generational lines, mental illness, geographical discrimination and neglect. The volume is a fast read that will keep you turning the pages.
    —Charles Loudon,

    Friday, September 25, 2009

    Photos from the Reading at Moonstone

    The first event of the Philly Fiction 2 reading series was a resounding success. Held above the old Robin’s Bookstore at the Moonstone Arts Center, the reading featured four authors from Philly Fiction 2 reading excerpts of their stories. Hosted by Don Ron Books editors Josh McIlvain and Christopher Munden, the event began with Beth Goldner reading from her piece “Ambrosia.” Jan Kargulewicz shared an anecdote about his favorite strange Philadelphia place, Harry’s Occult Shop on South St., then read a well-edited excerpt from “A Cormorant Dries its Wings.” Liz Kerr gave us a sampling from her “The Summer of Dark Shadows” before Annie Wilson closed out the evening with a selection from her hilariously raunchy love story, “Hoagie.”

    Come out November 14 when Philly Fiction returns for its second reading at Double Shots Coffeeshop in Old City. Details to follow right here!
    Beth Goldner

    Beth Goldner

    Jan Kargulewicz

    Jan Kargulewicz

    Christopher Munden

    Christopher Munden

    Liz Kerr

    Kiz Kerr

    Annie Wilson

    Annie Wilson

    Monday, September 14, 2009

    "Baby Blue" featured on UPenn alumni website

    The story “Baby Blue” by John Carroll from Philly Fiction 2 was featured on UPenn’s (I think unofficial) alumni website, Dueling Tampons. John graduated from Philly’s Ivy in ’05 and worked at the university’s Kelly Writer’s House before going to pursue an MFA at American University. His story in Philly Fiction 2, “Baby Blue,” takes place in the bars of Northeast Philadelphia, on the SEPTA orange and blue lines, and at a Phillies game. The main character, Phil bumps into his old high school American lit teacher during an Eagles game. The teacher begins to force a bond between them over sports, and despite Phil's wariness, they take an uncomfortable trip to see the Phillies.

    Read an excerpt of John’s story on the Penn blog, then go to to purchase the acclaimed anthology.

    Wednesday, September 9, 2009

    Philly Fiction 2 in Philadelphia magazine

    Praise continues to come in for Philly Fiction 2!
    Page 20 of the September issue of Philadelphia magazine features a photo and mention of Philly Fiction 2, the latest from Don Ron Books. The anthology is described as "a bunch of great short stories from local talent." Click here to read the complete article, which also recommends Wine Secrets from great Philly publisher Quirk Books and Fading Echoes by Bucks County Courier Times sportswriter Mike Sielski.

    Another second of note: a bunch of great short stories from local talent in Philly Fiction 2 (Don Ron Books; $12).
    —Victor Fiorillo, Philadelphia magazine

    Praise for the first Philly Fiction in Philadelphia mag:
    "The writing sings; in 'The Shanghai Ship to Love,' Edward P. Clapp hilariously describes a trip on the Chinatown Express. There’s genuine emotion in Michael Aronovitz’s 'The Big Picture' …. In Greg November’s 'Dinnertime at 42B,' a loser pays a hooker for her company, but the woman isn’t pretty, and the ending isn’t Hollywood. Welcome to Philadelphia."

    Tuesday, September 1, 2009

    Philly Fiction 2 Authors to Read at Moonstone Arts Center

    On Wednesday, September 23rd, 2009, Don Ron Books will host the first in a series of Fall/Winter Philly readings at the Moonstone Arts Center in Philadelphia. Moonstone Arts Center is the book-centered space on the second floor of the old Robin’s Books and run by Larry Robin, owner of the venerable but now sadly defunct store.

    The night will be hosted by Philly Fiction editors Josh McIlvain and Christopher Munden. Four authors featured in Philly Fiction 2 will read selections from their stories: Beth Goldner, author of “Ambrosia”; Jan Kargulewicz, author of “A Comorant Dries its Wings”; Liz Kerr, author of “The Summer of Dark Shadows”; and Annie Wilson, author of “Hoagie.”

    Beth Goldner was born and raised in King of Prussia, when Woolworth’s still sold parakeets and shotguns. Her fondest memories are of going to the Franklin Institute with her dad. She loved running through the worn-out giant heart that smelled of bacteria, urine, and candy wrappers. As a true filly from Philly, she still has her elephant key from the zoo. She is the author of Wake: Stories (Counterpoint Press, 2003) and The Number We End Up With (Counterpoint Press, 2005). In her story, “Ambrosia,” a Main Line car salesman finds his wife dead from a fall in the bathroom. Instead of calling the police, he joins the local block party. He wants to see his neighbors try his wife's ambrosia one last time and to confront the man who had been sleeping with his wife.

    Jan Kargulewicz is a full-time sociology student and a resident of Roxborough. Before returning to school Jan worked as a bartender, television salesman, math tutor, freelance journalist, and reggae musician and wrote fiction in his spare time. An amateur urban geographer, he is available for free walking tours of center city. Jan is currently at work on his first nonfiction book. In his “A Cormorant Dries its Wings” a young slacker couple spend their days acting as prospective buyers of condos when they should be out looking for jobs. When the girl realizes she's pregnant it becomes clear just how lost and helpless the pair are.

    Liz Kerr, a Philadelphia native, holds dual Irish and American citizenship. She is a registered nurse on the Heart Transplant Team at a Philadelphia hospital and is pursuing a master’s degree in English. She is a cofounder of Franklin’s Paine Skatepark Fund, a non-profit dedicated to building public skateboard parks in Philadelphia, and is an officer in the Ancient Order of Hibernians. She lives with her family in Jenkintown. In “The Summer of Dark Shadows,” set during the Vietnam War, Kerr portrays a large family leaving the city for the shore and trying to survive the tensions of having a son in the war, a rebellious daughter who often indulges in the vices she criticizes, a father who sells illegal cigarettes to help pay the family’s bills, and a young girl who sees life through the lens of bubble gum music and the vampire soap opera, Dark Shadows.

    Annie Wilson came to Philly in 2004 to study dance and three-dollar hoagies. Since attending University of the Arts, she has performed in the Fringe and Live Arts festivals, and has directed an evening-length site-specific performance, in memory of the deathtrap. She is delighted to be living in the Italian Market section of a city she loves to bits. “Hoagie” is a modern love story about a hoagie-loving plumber who discovers a South Philly corner deli that makes an orgasmically good Italian hoagie. The hoagies take over his life, and his attempts to break his sexual sandwich fixation only end up unleashing all of his life's unhappiness.

    Since its recent release, Philly Fiction 2 has already received some rave reviews, and this event is sure to be a great Philadelphia-themed time. In addition to the story excerpts, authors will reveal their favorite "strange" Philadelphia spots and be on-hand to sign copies of the acclaimed anthology.

    Philly Fiction 2 reading
    Moonstone Arts Center (Robins Books)
    110A South 13th Street, Phila., 19127
    Wednesday, September 23, 7pm

    Email or call 215-735-9600 for more information.

    Monday, August 31, 2009

    Featured Book

    Don Ron Books has been happy to use the expertise of local book publisher Keystone Press, located just outside Philadelphia in West Chester. This week their website features our latest book, Philly Fiction 2, with a link to our company website and some glowing reviews of the book.

    Friday, August 28, 2009

    Tonight at the Curiosity Shoppe

    Tonight is book night at the Curiosity Shoppe, a cool boutique on 4th Street just north of South Street. Several local authors will be there to read from their work and talk about the books. Don Ron Books will be there in the guise of Christopher Munden, editor and publisher of the Philly Fiction series. Come for some free literature, free drinks, and good people, plus take a second to browse the shelves and clothing racks and find out why the City Paper called the Curiosity Shoppe "the best place for last minute gifts."

    Curiosity Shoppe
    525 South 4th Street (4th and South)
    Philadelphia, PA 19147
    Friday, August 28th,
    7pm to 8:30pm

    Monday, August 10, 2009

    Philly Fiction 2 plug on

    Cornslaw Industries is a cool web project dedicated to the inimitable task of "putting stuff on the web that wasn't there before." It has had some crazy writings, video, and forums in time, but is now mainly dedicated to releasing music of varied quality. A low-fi digital single release by Philly Fiction editor Chris Munden provided an excuse to promote Philly Fiction 2. Thanks to Colin and everyone (?) at

    Look out for the new seven-inch vinyl release by the related Uncle Nicky Records featuring two great Philly acts, Chris Kasper and Mason Porter. For now it's only available at the performers' concerts, but plans are underway for a digital store.

    Thursday, August 6, 2009

    Philly Fiction at the Piazza

    Why go to Florence when Northern Liberties is so close? The new Piazza at Schmidt’s is getting a lot of press, for its old world-inspired layout; assortment of cool galleries, restaurants, and stores; and drug killings. It is home to all sorts of events — live music, Phillies screenings, movies, LOCALS Only parties — and it’s a pretty cool place to stroll through every weekend, when crafters and the like sell all sorts of stuff. This Saturday, August 8th, Don Ron Books will be out in force, selling Philly Fiction and Philly Fiction 2 and soaking the summer sun. Stop by, buy us a drink, watch some NoLibs hipsters, and get your own copy of these great anthologies.

    Piazza at Schmidt’s Marketplace
    North Second St., at Germantown Ave
    August 8th, beginning 11am.

    Philly Fiction First Friday

    First Fridays in Old City are one of the great modern traditions of Philadelphia. The galleries and boutiques stay open late, giving away or selling beer and wine and showing artwork of interest though perhaps mixed quality. The sidewalks are packed. Sounds from bands of musicians accompany the hum of conversation. Local artists, jewelry-makers, and clothiers hawk their wares. And tomorrow, as in months past, the publishers of Philly Fiction and Philly Fiction 2 will hit the streets to promote and discuss the books. Come find us somewhere around Second or Third streets, around Market, Arch, or Race. Great weather expected; great fiction assured.

    Friday, July 31, 2009

    LOVE Park by Jim Zervanos

    Don Ron Books has been very fortunate to publish 36 talented writers in the two Philly Fiction anthologies. A number of our authors are also out on the marketplace with published novels or short story collections of their own. Elise Juska, who contributed great stories to both Philly Fiction ("The Stoop-Sitters) and Philly Fiction 2 ("Northeast Philly Girls"), has several critically acclaimed novels. Beth Goldner, who wrote the closing piece of PF2, wrote a great novel set in Philadelphia and also has a short story collection out. Among other Philly Fiction authors Phyllis Carol Agins (“Black and White,” PF1) has published several post-modern reimaginings of fairy tales, Michael Aronowitz (“The Big Picture,” PF1) has released two collections of fireside tales, and Sandra Novack (“Memphis,” PF2) recently had a novel published by Random House.

    Jim Zervanos is the newest Philly Fiction alum to gain independent critical success as a novelist. His story “Georgie” in the first Philly Fiction is a great tale about a Greek-American lawyer torn between his parent-approved “nice Greek girlfriend” and his attractive and fun blond bartender mistress. Jim’s first novel, LOVE Park (Cable Publishing, 2009), is also from the point of view of a young Greek-American whose parents would like him to find a nice Greek girl. The novel brilliantly portrays a Greek-American family living just outside Philadelphia, adeptly exploring their inner dynamics and family secrets. Philadelphia plays a major role as the backdrop to the story as Jim brings to life its streets and public art (this reader learned one or two things about the city from this book, adding to an already considerable trivial knowledge). Highly recommended to anyone who enjoyed “Georgie,” and to any fans of Philly Fiction in general.

    You can learn more about Jim Zervanos and his new novel at

    Wednesday, July 29, 2009

    PF2 Review on Philadelphia Stories website

    The good press continues to come in for Philly Fiction 2, the recently released second collection of short stories highlighting Philadelphia as a city of literary inspiration (Don Ron Books, 2009). Our comrades-in-arms over at Philadelphia Stories, the top regional literary mag, have posted a review of the new book. The reviewer, John Drain, is impressed, picking out “Piece of Mind” by Benjamin Matvey ("a wickedly bizarre and entertaining story"), “Northeast Philly Girls” by Elise Juska, “A Cormorant Dries its Wings” by Jan Kargulewicz ("a moving tale"), and “Return to Ithaca” by Christine Flanagan ("a well-told story"} for particular praise. You can read the full review here.

    "Each story represents how the people, the buildings, and the spirit of Philadelphia have aroused the creative energy in all kinds of storytellers – but the reader does not have to be familiar with the city in order to enjoy the stories in Philly Fiction 2."
    —John Drain, Philadelphia Stories

    "Well worth the reasonable $12 price."
    —John Drain, Philadelphia Stories

    Friday, July 24, 2009

    Selling at the Memphis Taproom

    Don Ron Books will be out in force (look for a possible appearance by Philly-bred but San Francisco-based editor Tracy Parker; it’s rumored Don Ron himself might even show up!) for the first Handmade Market at the Memphis Taproom, in Fishtown/Kensington. The market will feature over 50 other vendors selling everything from little book jewelry to stuffed bacteria toys. Read more about it here and come out for a drink at a cool neighborhood bar and a chance to pick up a copy of the acclaimed Philly Fiction 2.

    Handmade Market at Memphis Taproom
    Saturday, July 25th, 10am to 3pm
    2331 E. Cumberland Street, Philly
    (Corner of Memphis + Cumberland)

    Thursday, July 23, 2009

    PMZ at the Philly Fiction 2 Book Launch

    The launch party for Philly Fiction 2 at Skylight 307 was a great time, and beautiful society reporter Kerri Schmanek was just one of several Philly media types in attendance. She was starstruck by the many talented editors and authors and had a generally good time, despite some complaints about the heat. Read her account of the evening on the PMZ website.

    "If you want to feel connected to your city in a nostalgic way then I suggest you pick yourself up a copy of Philly Fiction or Philly Fiction 2. Hell, pick up both!"
    ---Kerri Schmanek, PMZ

    Great Launch Party / City Paper Coverage

    Thanks to everyone who came out last night and made the Philly Fiction 2 launch party such a success. It was great mingling with the authors, editors, designers, and readers who made this book and Philly Fiction possible. Thanks for your support: we sold dozens of books and drank all the Philadelphia Brewing Company–subsidized beer (thanks PBC!). Keep an eye out here and on our events page for more great Philly Fiction events.

    The launch party was featured on the Philadelphia City Paper’s blog yesterday. Writer Holly Otterbein laments “Philly just isn't the setting of enough short stories, books or movies.” and hails the stories in the Philly Fiction books for combating this. She picks out one story, “Northeast Philly Girls” by Elise Juska, for particular praise, excerpting the entire (wonderful) first paragraph. Thanks to Holly and the City Paper for their coverage and support. You can read the full blog post here.

    Tuesday, July 21, 2009

    Philly Fiction 2 review on

    Philly Fiction 2 got a book review from the new online newsmagazine, They just started a month or so ago, but they seem committed to covering a variety of events, groups, and people of interest in the city. Writing book (or play, or album, etc.) reviews is a good way for a fledgling publication to get its name out, as organizations (like Don Ron Books, for example!), will use an attributed quote from the article.

    Like this:
    “I’m generally apprehensive about writing focused on Philadelphia. It takes a skillful writer who really “gets” the city—deep down, under the surface and the stereotypes—to get it right. I am extremely impressed at the number of such writers collected in Philly Fiction 2.”—

    or this:
    “What I love about all of these stories is that they could be happening to anyone, anywhere. But there is also something uniquely Philadelphia about them and the fact that their stories take place here make them that much richer.” —

    The author, local poet Autumn Konopka, has a lot more good things to say about Philly Fiction 2. She picks out a few stories for particular praise: “Erasing Sonny” by Kelly McQuain, of which she says “this story alone is worth the price of admission”; “Atlantic City” by Justin St. Germain, which she says is “full of wonder and surprise”; and “Memphis” by Sandra Novack which “delivers believable, sympathetic characters.”

    The great thing about Philly Fiction and Philly Fiction 2 is the variety of stories reviewers picked out for praise. A piece one reader hates may be another reader’s favorite. So it is that Konopka slams one of my favorite tales, “Give and Take” by Bruce Langfeld, a brilliant hard-boiled story reminiscent of Philadelphia writer David Goodess and Philly-raised Dashiell Hammett. I guess you get it or you don’t. Read this excerpt and make up your own mind.

    More peculiar are the comments by this “life-long Philly girl” that she’s never heard anyone call Northeast Philadelphia “the Northeast” or the Philly suburbs “the suburbs.” Ah well, she nitpicked and so am I. Many thanks to Autumn and for their kind and positive coverage. You can read the full review here.

    Philly Fiction 2 in today's Metro

    Philadelphia METRO, the city’s favorite free daily, had an article on Philly Fiction 2 today. We were above an article on Paula Abdul and American Idol, which I think is a fair and just editorial decision. It’s written by Monica Weymouth, METRO’s entertainment editor and a former City Paper writer.
    Read the full text here:

    Excerpt: ‘A collection of 19 tales, “Philly Fiction 2” is as varied as the city it’s set in: Elise Juska pays quiet tribute to some of the most exotic residents in “Northeast Philly Girls”; Kelly McQuain’s “Erasing Sonny” explores sexuality in South Philly; and Justin St. Germain rightfully claims the Shore in “Atlantic City.” ’

    The article also makes note of our launch party, which is tomorrow, July 22nd, 7-9pm, at Skylight 307 (307 Market Street). Should be fun.

    Wednesday, July 15, 2009

    Philly Fiction 2 Review on Small Press Books

    The first Philly Fiction received rave reviews, and we expect the second volume to garner a similar response. Media response has started to trickle in --- Philly Fiction 2 is going to be featured in next Tuesday's (7/21) Metro, and we've had calls from a couple of other outlets. Our first review comes courtesy of Marc Schuster (author of The Singular Exploits of Wonder Mom & Party Girl [PS Books, 2009]) on his blog Small Press Books.

    "The good folks at Don Ron Books have recently followed up their highly-praised Philly Fiction anthology with a sequel: Philly Fiction 2. This collection does a wonderful job of gathering some of the area’s finest writers to conjure a vision of Philadelphia that is both realistic and touching. . . . These stories are all told with loving attention to the details that make Philadelphia all that it is — a city, a people, a home, and a character in its own right. A must-read for anyone who loves the City of Brotherly Love."
    Click here to read to full review

    Tuesday, July 14, 2009

    Philly Fiction on Facebook

    Become a friend or fan of Don Ron Books (we have our own facebook and myspace pages) and interact with us via the internets.

    Philly Fiction on Facebook

    Sunday, July 12, 2009

    Philly Fiction 2 Launch Party!

    Please come out to the Philly Fiction 2 launch party on Wednesday July 22 from 7 to 9 pm at Skylight 307 (307 Market St, 2nd Floor, above Artist and Craftsman Art Supply Store). Philly Fiction 2 is a collection of short stories all set in Philadelphia by 19 Philly writers.

    Meet the authors, buy a book, drink a complimentary beer, listen to the sounds of Philly music through the ages. Free. Bring your friends.

    Thursday, July 2, 2009

    Philly Fiction 2 is now out!

    Don Ron Books is excited to announce the release of our second publication, Philly Fiction 2. This is the second volume of stories, all by writers affiliated with Philadelphia, which draw upon the city for inspiration, showing it in all its grit and glory. We were very fortunate to receive such a positive response to the first Philly Fiction—from writers, from critics, and from Philadelphians in general. Thanks to everyone who made a second Philly Fiction possible.

    Our deepest gratitude goes to the writers who contributed to Philly Fiction 2, both those whose works are published within and those whose stories we were unable to publish. The 19 authors range from first-time writers fresh out of Philadelphia colleges to established authors with several novels in their catalogue. The stories are equally diverse, set in neighborhoods across the city and touching and topics both uniquely Philadelphian (Italian hoagies, the Phillies) and intrinsically universal (love, alienation, the Philllies).

    Two authors from the first Philly Fiction return with contributions to the second: celebrated local novelist Elise Juska revisits the Great Northeast with her story “Northeast Philly Girls,” the setting of Jon Petruschke’s “560 Degrees” is a little more sinister—most of the action takes place at the old Byberry mental hospital. We welcome the following authors to the Don Ron Books family: Benjamin Matvey, Marc Bookman, Jan Kargulewicz, Christine Flanagan, April Dobbins, Susan Balee, Kelly McQuain, Lizz Kerr, Annie Wilson, John Carroll, Joshua Roberts, Emily Brochin, Sandra Novack, Rachel Toliver, Justin St. Germain, and Beth Goldner. See or click on the names for bios of all the authors and more on their stories.

    We are particularly honored by the presence of Bruce Langfeld’s story, “Give and Take,” which kicks of the collection. Bruce passed away in 2007 before we had a chance to tell him we had accepted his wonderful—and wonderfully Philly—tale. Philly Fiction 2 is dedicated to Bruce. Although he lives on in his stories and songs and in our memories, his presence his sorely missed by anyone who had the pleasure to meet this generous-hearted Philly stalwart.

    Amazing local artist Theron Warren is back with another great cover. The cover of the first Philly Fiction depicted artistic representations of Ben Franklin and a Septa train, the new volume displays some more Philadelphia icons in the Rocky statue and the LOVE sculpture. Local graphic designer Bill Horan contributed little Liberty Bells as section breaks and story markers to bring even more Philly to your fiction. Freelance designer Jeff McKay assisted with layout.

    Thanks to the crack editorial team: Josh McIlvain, Christopher Munden, Greg November, and Tracy Parker. They were assisted by Christine Ma, who gave valuable insights as we selected the stories for this volume. Proofreader Scott Wiser gave the manuscript his close attention and language wiz Savannah Cooper-Ramsey shared her unique knowledge with the editors.

    Philly Fiction 2 is on sale at the following establishments:
    Joseph Fox Booksellers, 1724 Sansom St (
    Penn Book Center , 34th & Sansom, (
    Head House Books, 619 South 2nd St (
    Artist and Craftsman, 307 Market St. (
    Book Corner, 311 North 20th St (next to the Free Library and Whole Foods) (
    Germ Books, 2005 Frankford Ave (Fishtown) (
    Hideaway Music, 8612 Germantown Ave (Chestnut Hill)
    and others, just ask at your favorite store.

    Pick up a copy of Philly Fiction 2 at one of these great stores or online at We hope you enjoy this book even more than the first.

    Friday, June 26, 2009

    Hair of the Dog Craft Sunday

    Don Ron Books will be out in force this Sunday at the Hair of the Dog Craft Market, sponsored by the Philadelphia Independent Craft Market. There are over 30 other vendors, great music by Bevin Caulfield and others, and free beer courtesy of PBR. Entrance is just $2. We'll be there selling pre-publication copies of the brilliant new Philly Fiction 2.

    Sunday, June 21, 2009

    Rain won't stop Philly Fiction

    After the Clark Park Festival was rained off, Don Ron Books switched neighborhoods and headed to the 2nd Street Festival in Northern Liberties to check out some music, drink a beer or two, and promote the new Philly Fiction 2. Weather did not cooperate, but even before the rain broke and it turned into a pretty nice day, we were there, with a borrowed umbrella from 2nd Street Pizza. Here is a Channel 29 news report featuring Don Ron Books' own Josh McIlvain.

    Tuesday, June 16, 2009

    What the reviewers said about Philly Fiction

    With the release of Philly Fiction 2 fast approaching, we look back at what the reviews said about the first Philly Fiction. Taken from:

    "I liked every one of the tales in this anthology... Philly Fiction rocks: Buy your own copy and see." —Philadelphia Inquirer

    "[t]he writing sings; in 'The Shanghai Ship to Love,' Edward P. Clapp hilariously describes a trip on the Chinatown Express. There’s genuine emotion in Michael Aronovitz’s 'The Big Picture' …. In Greg November’s 'Dinnertime at 42B,' a loser pays a hooker for her company, but the woman isn’t pretty, and the ending isn’t Hollywood. Welcome to Philadelphia." —Philadelphia Magazine, Best of Philly issue

    "Delish"—Philadelphia City Paper

    "If you feel that indescribable sense of Philly pride, then this book is a must read. If others, maybe living outside the city, don’t understand your feelings, then this book is a must gift." —Play magazine
    Read the entire Play article here.

    "Stories that use the Philadelphia landscape, not only to highlight Philly’s literary talent … but also for the enjoyment of Philadelphians." —Chestnut Hill Local

    "Philadelphia stories, themes, and concerns can only be told by local writers." —Gloucester County Times

    "I recommend this book to both Philadelphia residents and people who don't live in Philadelphia."—Zoe Strass,

    "Philly Fiction covers all the bases in an eclectic collection that exposes the city at its worst and its best. A friend of mine recently said that Philadelphia hasn’t found its soul. I will send him this collection as Philly Fiction reveals the city's soul with all its bumps and bruises."—G. Emil Reutter, blog360

    Wednesday, June 10, 2009

    Philly Fiction 1

    "Their first volume was delish!"
    ---Philadelphia City Paper

    Philly Fiction, a collection of nineteen short stories set in Philadelphia written by Philadelphia authors, was the first publication from Don Ron Books.

    Whimsical, inventive, and profound, the tales are as vibrant and diverse as the city whose stories they tell.

    These must read pieces from established and up-and-coming writers will captivate and delight you, whether you grew up in Philadelphia or have yet to make your first visit.
    Buy Philly Fiction 1 now

    Monday, June 8, 2009

    A Brief History of Early Publishing in Philadelphia

    by Philly Fiction editor Christopher Munden
    taken from:

    Early publishing in Philadelphia has a rich and storied history. William Penn founded Philadelphia in 1682; within three years the nascent town had its first printing press. The first American publication was printed in Massachusetts in 1639, so in publishing — unlike in many other endeavors in America — Philadelphia cannot claim precedence. Nevertheless, it did not take long for the city to establish itself as a major printing center.

    Publishing in Philadelphia began as an enterprise of Quaker meetinghouses, which printed mainly religious texts. The city’s first printer, William Bradford, was forced out of town when he published a tract critical of the Quakers. Bradford relocated to New York and began a successful printing career there, but sent his son Andrew back to Philadelphia in 1713 to set up the city’s first independent press. At first, the younger Bradford printed theological works using equipment rented from the Quakers, but he soon acquired his own press and began to publish secular works. The American Weekly Mercury, the newspaper Andrew Bradford began in 1719, was Philadelphia’s first and the third in the colonies. The Bradford family continued to publish newspapers and other texts for generations, and their operations in New York and Philadelphia made them one of the most distinctive and influential families of printers on the continent, but it was a young printer and editor from Boston who established Philadelphia as the premier city for publishing. . . .
    to read more go to

    Saturday, June 6, 2009

    Rich in History, Rich in Stories: An Introduction to Philly Fiction

    Taken from

    From the correct viewpoint at the corner of Fifteenth and Market streets you can see Claes Oldenburg’s forty-five-foot tall pop art sculpture of a clothespin against the backdrop of City Hall, an elaborate building in the architectural style of the French Second Empire. This unapologetic juxtaposition typifies Philadelphia, a city with both a shadow and a pulse. We still walk the streets mapped out by William Penn—along cobblestone alleys, past Georgian-style homes, through lively public squares—but we do so to get to the latest BYOB restaurant, our office in a towering Center City skyscraper, or a pumping hip hop club. The city’s history contributes to its vitality, but its people and their stories bring Philadelphia to life.

    The first novel printed in North America came from the printing press of Philadelphia’s most famous resident, Benjamin Franklin. Franklin is best known as a scientist and Founding Father so it may seem unusual for a fiction book to put his much-seen visage on the cover, but it was the printed word that enabled him to retire at forty-two and dedicate his remaining years to the science and public activism that helped make this city great.

    Philadelphia was once the center of American publishing, and many famous authors spent all or part of their lives in the area. Edgar Allen Poe wrote many of his best works here. Louisa May Alcott and the father of the American novel, Charles Brockden Brown, called Philadelphia home. James Michener and John O’Hara, two of the twentieth century’s best American novelists, lived little more than a stone’s throw from the City of Brotherly Love.

    In literature and publishing, as in so much else, Philadelphia has a proud and storied history. But a newcomer to the city may well ask: “If it stopped commemorating events that occurred more than two-hundred years ago, what would Philadelphia celebrate?” We put together these collections because we believe the answer is: “Much.”

    Philadelphia’s beautiful streets are rich in history but also ripe with life. The stories in this book draw their inspiration from the city and its diverse inhabitations, highlighting the metropolis in all its grit and glory. Our deepest gratitude goes to the Philadelphia-affiliated writers who contributed to Philly Fiction and Philly Fiction 2, both those whose stories are featured in the book and those whose stories we were unable to publish. We would also like to thank everyone who supported this project, and everyone who read the book.---The editors.