Category Archives: Uncategorized


I’ve come back to Dostoyevsky’s The Idiot after more than 20 years away. It’s a total pain in the ass to read. I’ve read his other big ones more recently and found them riveting. I suppose my problem with this one is I don’t find Petersburg’s interpersonal intrigues among its 19th-century elites as intriguing as I once did. I find them frustrating, like adolescents. Still, there’s something in The Idiot that makes me keep going, and it’s the Prince, who’s at the center of it all but who’s also the book’s main observer. He’s presented as the pure-of-heart innocent, “the idiot” who’s not really an idiot at all. What’s the most interesting to me now, after all this time away, is the insight into the Prince’s mind’s workings written sometimes across several pages. This is something that influenced me, and stayed with me for a few years after the initial reading, but I guess I’d forgotten. Now, it reappears like an old friend reminding me: You can go in-depth into a character’s consciousness, and it can be more interesting than the physical action around him.

Also I’m reminded of this masterpiece, maybe not as pure of heart:

A Red-Tailed Hawk in Brooklyn

A red-tailed hawk
Mark Bohn of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Northeast Region – Red-tailed Hawk (from Wikipedia)

Yesterday I spotted a red-tailed hawk perched on a tree near Marcy Playground, Myrtle Ave. in Brooklyn. The bird was a few feet long and at least a foot wide. I thought, from the back, it was an owl, until I looked at its face. I also wondered why an owl would be out in the daylight. I’ve become more interested in the birds around town since being at home for most of the past two years. I had no idea a hawk would reside in my neighborhood. I also thought, at first, it was clutching a rat in its talons. I’m told rat poison can kill the birds inadvertently.

The Vibrojets, Live at Pete’s Candy Store

Last night in Williamsburg, I went to see live music for the first time since March 2020. My friend Tommy Mattioli was in town from Wisconsin to play vibes. The band had about eight gigs scheduled for this week, but all but two were cancelled. Their next is at An Beal Bocht in the Bronx on 10/29. The Vibrojets at LIC Bar was the last show I saw before the pandemic hit, so I was glad to get back into it with them. Pete’s is a vaxx-only space, and the back door to the garden was open. The sound, I have to say, was excellent.

The Savage Detectives Redux

Have you read this one, yet? I’m on my third reading of it since 2016. It’s long, and this is unusual for me to re-read anything. But there’s something about it that’s so compelling. His other books are great, too, but I had a hard time with his other big one, 2666. I made it through the violence of its midsection. I enjoyed The Third Reich, especially, and most of the others. But The Savage Detectives is still my favorite Bolaño. I know many others have said the same.

Some Unruly Sax-Playing

This comes from the most recent Twin Peaks soundtrack, and I think the trio came together as a one-off. I like the sax here from Alex Zhang Huntai of Dirty Beaches and Last Lizard. It goes off and come comes back to a percussive line, then goes off again. The studio effect on it is cool, too. The guitar sound (from David Lynch’s son Riley Lynch) is heavy, and Dean Hurley’s drums keep it all grounded.

Julia Fierro’s New Novel, Santa Monica, and New Pen Name, Shared With Caeli Wolfson Widger

Lifted from Julia’s newsletter:

  • My new novel, SANTA MONICA, goes on sale on October 6th! 
     Santa Monica is a collaboration with my literary BFF, Caeli Wolfson Widger, under our shared pen name, Cassidy Lucas. When movie-star-handsome fitness coach Zack Doheny is found dead on the floor of his gym, it quickly becomes clear that things in the coastal paradise are not as glittering as they seem.  As the sun-kissed, wealthy residents of Santa Monica begin to crack under the stress of their dark secrets, one question hangs above it all: what really happened to Zack Doheny? 
    Reviewers say Santa Monica is “perfect for fans of Big Little Lies,” “propulsively readable,” and “a perfect escape, and four out of six reviewers (including my mom) call the novel “juicy.”

    Read an excerpt here.

    Pre-sales are immensely helpful to a book’s life.  All three of usme, Caeli, and even Cassidywill be very grateful if you pre-order a copy.

    Option 1:
    Pre-order a copy by clicking one of the links below (or order at any store online):
    Option 2: 
    Pre-order at your local independent bookstorean extra bonus because the book will then be stocked on their shelves, and independent bookstores really need extra support right now.

    Option 3:
    Signed & personalized copies can be pre-ordered at my local indie, Diesel, and you can request to have your book dedicated to a special book-loving someone.

    October 6th 6:30pm PST
    hosted by DIESEL
    The event is free on Crowdcast and you’ll get to hear about how fun, crazy, illuminating, exhausting, and ultimately, amazing, it is to write and publish a novel with your best friend.

    Sending you healthy vibes & oodles of gratitude,
    Julia (1/2 of Cassidy Lucas)

    Santa Monica-glam photo by Rubidium WuIf
    If you have read Santa Monica and have something nice to say about, it would be fantastic if you could leave a review on GoodReads or Amazon.

     “Part riveting mystery, part incisive domestic drama, Santa Monica is a sharp look at the lives of the pretending-to-be-perfect in gorgeous seaside California, expertly walking the line between satire, suspense and biting social commentary.”
    –Kimberly McCreight, NYT-bestselling author of Reconstructing Amelia and A Good Marriage

    “While delivering a propulsively readable escapist tale, Lucas vividly, humorously, and poignantly captures the stark contrasts between the haves, the have-nots, and those teetering on the edge; between faith in a higher power and the secular religion of fitness; between the selfish and the unselfish; and between those awash in vanities and those living in constant fear.” —Booklist

    “A vibrant cast faces a broad range of California problems—marriage and money troubles, poor body image for the haves, deportation for the have nots.”
    –Steph Cha, author of Your House Will Pay

    “Oh, how this smart, juicy thriller—Cassidy Lucas’ salacious Santa Monica—sucked me in. A perfect escape.”
    –Marcy Dermansky, author of Very Nice

    A  deft page turner and a topical mystery that’s fully three dimensional in every way, Santa Monica is a juicy yet profound thriller that seamlessly glides between the sun-kissed beaches and the long shadows of Southern California”.
    –Ivy Pochoda, author of These Women

    Santa Monica is a deep dive into the extremes of human desire and a page-turning exploration of class, love, friendship, and marriage.”
    –Elizabeth L. Silver, author of The Execution of Noa P. Singleton

    Santa Monica is one juicy read! Cassidy Lucas brings a rarified beach town to life with verve and tenderness, and she isn’t afraid to show its dark side. Compelling, sassy, and warmhearted, this book is a thrill.”
    –Edan Lepucki, author of NYT-bestselling California

    “Lucas (the pen name of Julia Fierro and Caeli Wolfson Widger) succeeds in satirizing the gilded enclave of Santa Monica while also tugging at readers’ heartstrings.”
    Publisher’s Weekly

    BOOK CLUBS! Click here to set up a visit.  
    Listen to an excerpt of the AUDIOBOOK narrated by award-winning actress Alma Cuervo
    Preorder the audiobook here
    Follow Cassidy Lucas on social media for giveaways & upcoming events
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    Julia & Caeli, Winter 2003, Brooklyn || photo by Kris Widger

    – Caeli and I met in 2003 in my Brooklyn brownstone kitchen when she answered an ad I placed on Craigslist for writing workshops, making her one of the very first Sackett Street writers (today there are more than 8,000)
    – In 2014, my family moved from Brooklyn to Santa Monica, in part to be near Caeli and her family
    – In 2017, in a yellow cab somewhere in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, during the book tour for my novel The Gypsy Moth Summer, Caeli said, “Wouldn’t it be fun to write a thriller together?” I said, “Sure!”
    – It was fun… and crazy and comforting and exhausting and incredibly illuminating, and, ultimately, the greatest lesson in writing I’ve ever experienced, even after twenty years of teaching novel-writing
    – Our agents and editor (and even our husbands) cannot tell which chapter was written by which half of Cassidy Lucas so complete was our mindmeld. 
    – Santa Monica was the last book my mom read. I read excerpts to her by her bedside in the last weeks of her life (she passed in June), and she agrees. “It is juicy! Very sexy!” Which is the best blurb any of my books have received. 
    – Caeli means heaven in Latin and is pronounced chay-lee

    Copyright © 2020 Julia Fierro, All rights reserved.