How Not to Drown

by (Jaimee Wriston Colbert) writing as – Jaimee Wriston

On Sale: May 11, 2021

Pages: 336

ISBN: 9781643855578

Available from: Publisher Alcove Press (Penguin Random House Distribution),, Barnes &,,,, and



How Not to drown synopsis:

How Not to Drown explores generations of the MacQueen family, born out of the violence and uprooting of “The Clearances” in 1850s Isle of Skye. Beached on the Massachusetts shores, they survive on multiple transgressions and respect for the untamable sea. Chapter One begins in the 21st century after Amelia MacQueen loses beloved son Gavin to a suspicious drowning (for which her daughter-in-law is convicted) and is awarded custody of granddaughter Heaven, whose name and behavior make Amelia cringe. Heaven doesn’t appreciate her grandmother’s reproaches, and bonds with Daniel, Amelia’s agoraphobic son. Through the wall between their rooms, Daniel spins Celtic tales for Heaven, while pining for the diner waitress next door. This inventive portrait of family dysfunction alternates with the story of Scottish ancestor Maggie, who drowned in a shipwreck while emigrating to America. Told with stunning moments of magical realism, the novel is about inheritance, the transformative power of storytelling, and how the present bears the weight of its violent, fantastical past.

Vanishing Acts by Jaimee Wriston Colbert
Available from: Fomite Press, Amazon and Independent Bookstores
Publisher: Fomite Press (March 1, 2018)ISBN-10: (paper) 978-1-942515-76-0(ebook) 978-1-942515-98-2Library of Congress: 2016961039Fiction, 322 pagesRetail Price: $15.95 paperback; $9.99 ebook
Vanishing Acts is the story of three generations of a troubled family, in the shadow of the Vietnam War to the 21st century perils of climate change and addiction, set in a Hawaii that is both fantastical and gritty in its portrayal of life down under the tropical dream. There was a time when sixteen year old Buddy’s life felt normal. Then an affair derails his parents marriage and his mother, with Buddy in tow, uproots their life in Maine to return to her childhood home in Volcano, Hawaii and care for her aging mother. Madge, a former 1960’s go-go dancer, is losing her grip on reality, as is Gwen, Buddy’s mother, who indulges in a steady cocktail of wine, Xanax, and Jesus. Meanwhile Buddy has become obsessed with one of his classmates, Marnie, whose fervent dream is to escape her broken family (and a damaging secret) to pursue a modeling career. She convinces Buddy to run away with her to Honolulu and live with her drug-dealer uncle. To find her son, Gwen grapples with the ghosts of her past and present, including her father, whose love of surfing and obsession with Houdini allowed him to become the ultimate escape artist.
Wild Things by Jaimee Wriston Colbert
Available from:BkMk Press, Amazon, SPD Books and Independent BookstoresPublisher Link
Paperback: 249 pagesPublisher: BkMk Press; 1 edition (October 15, 2016)Language: EnglishISBN-10: 1943491054ISBN-13: 978-1943491056
Fiction. This collection of "linked, rural-noir" stories depicts endangered humans in endangered environment. Jaimee Wriston Colbert has given us a story collection for our times. In WILD THINGS, Colbert's human characters face displacement, just like the tropical alligator who appears in New York's Susquehanna River. They face sheer desperation, like that of an ohia tree clinging to solid lava on a Hawaiian volcano. In an environment where good-paying factory jobs are an endangered species, Colbert's protagonists confront such post- industrial predations as meth, homelessness, and the ghosts of lost dreams. Their survival is their triumph.
Publicist promo for Wild Things and Q and A interview...
Shark Girls by Jaimee Wriston Colbert
November 2009Livingston PressPublisher Link
ISBN: 978-1-60489-044-0 Trade Paper $16.95ISBN: 978-1-60489-043-3 Library Binding $27360 PagesShark Girls Press Kit
In Shark Girls two women's lives are transformed by a shark attack that amputates a child's leg. It is alternately narrated by "Scat," the older sister of the victim, now a reformed drunk and a "disaster photographer," and "Gracie," a casualty of a disfiguring accident, who becomes obsessed with "Shark Girl," as Scat's younger sister is known. In the media and popular belief, "Shark Girl" is rumored to have supernatural powers.
Dream Lives of Butterflies STORIES by Jaimee Wriston Colbert
PDF Excerpt from BookAvailable from: SPD Books, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Powells BooksPublisher Link
ISBN 978-1-886157-59-0 Trade Paper $16.95 286 Pages
2007 Gold Medalist, Independent Publisher Book Awards (IPPY)Top 100 Books of the Year pick, Kansas City Star Finalist, Best Books 2007 Finalist, ForeWord Magazine Book of the Year
Evocative images of specimen butterflies, their broken bodies permanently suspended in time and pinned in place, suffuse Colbert's inventively interconnected stories of fragile yet defiant people whose lives immutably sway in a limbo between uncertainty and endurance. From Oahu's jade green hills and Honolulu's faded glamour to the psychological confinement of the Midwest's open spaces, Colbert's vivid array of characters are mired in place and desperate for escape that, once attained, is ephemeral...
Climbing the God Tree by Jaimee Wriston Colbert
PDF Excerpt from BookAvailable from: Helicon Nine Editions amd AmazonPublisher Link
1998 Winner of the Willa Cather Fiction Prize
The repercussions of a murder, a fatal accident and a stillbirth sound through the 24 interlocking stories of this haunted novel. Rendering an intimate portrait of small-town Rock Harbor, Maine, and a handful of its inhabitants, Colbert (Sex, Salvation, and the Automobile) approaches the three central tragedies--each of which takes place before the novel's opening--by examining the lives of the perpetrators and the bereaved. Eli Hyde has lost her baby due to complications caused by the automobile accident that killed her teenage sister Melissa some years earlier. Made miserable by her adulterous husband, Dallas, Eli begins teaching art therapy at a maximum security prison, where she meets lifer Morton Salvitore, incarcerated for the seemingly motiveless and extremely violent murder of Jenna Pierce. His personality strangely seduces Eli, even as Morton begins an ominous courtship. The novel spirals outward from Morton, Dallas and Eli to include Eli's older sister Henri--indirectly responsible for and still tortured by Melissa's death--and her friend, the awkward, lonely Stella Dubois. Colbert's characters practice a kind of gritty, close-mouthed survivalism that struggles to coexist with their eagerness to feel "something you might even call hope." While her narrative choices can be clumsy (a number of the protagonists have improbably moved from Hawaii to coastal Maine), Colbert has a knack for creating vivid characters and handles well the novel's recurring themes of loss and retribution.Publisher's Weekly
Sex, Salvation & the Automobile by Jaimee Wriston Colbert
Softcover, Zephyr Pub Corp, ISBN 0962709921 (0-9627099-2-1)(Out of Print. Limited availability on various Internet Websites)
1994 Winner of the 1993 Zephyr Publishing Literary Competition in Fiction
"Jaimee Wriston Colbert's stories are composed with a lovely and delicate lyric touch, with elegant and unusual turns of plot, and with a spine of surprising psychological toughness. This is an excellent collection."—Madison Smartt Bell, author, All Souls Rising
"...Jaimee Wriston Colbert writes stories of real women and men engaged in real ways with the real world. Her characters are people we know, living in our neighborhood, their words as close as can be to our own. Colbert sees to it that we feel for these individuals, recognize our own loves and fears in theirs, and as a result know ourselves just a little better. This is a wise and wonderful book of stories." —David Citino, author, The Eye of the Poet