My Books

Christina Norlin

The Talker   March, 2017    

If you ever wondered what life is like for the down and out, the remarkable Sojourner lays it out in precise and unsparing prose in her latest collection of short stories. The author grabs you with an irresistible first line in each tale that leads into a singular world in the Southwest where desperate individuals grapple with getting by day to day. “Great Blue,” about life behind the scenes in a restaurant, showcases a transformative love story gone terribly wrong when addiction rears its ugly head. “Fat Jacks” delves into the life of a divorced father who barely makes ends meet with a night-shift job and lives for visits with his son. In “Kashmir,” a teenager coping with her father’s death finds an unlikely kindred spirit in a patient in the nursing home where she works to help her mother pay the bills. —-Publishers Weekly 

“Sojourner is a weaver of the heart. She adds perfect threads, creating lives and moments so absolutely real and human you feel them in your own self, whether you want to or not. There is a sting beneath everything she writes.” —CRAIG CHILDS, author of Apocalyptic Planet

“The heart in these stories beats out of its chest. Sojourner is the voice of the luckless, the rejected, and the defiantly free. Reading this collection will give you blisters in tender places, and you’ll be proud of them.” —BRADEN HEPNER, author of Pale Harvest

“Some construct fences around themselves and blame the fence, others find comfort in acceptance, and some do not. They are, like their creator, sojourners. In every case Mary Sojourner brings candlelight to their struggles.”—H. LEE BARNES, author of The Gambler’s Apprentice
 Torrey House Press

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"29" - A Novel by Mary Sojourner29

A Novel by Mary Sojourner

Nell Walker, a woman suddenly dispossessed of her high powered Los Angeles job, love and home, flees to the hardscrabble Mojave town of Twentynine Palms. Monkey Barnett, owner of Monkey Biz, a maverick car repair shop, has been wondering why his abundant life feels so empty. They find not just what answers their longings, but a place among people fighting for the integrity of an ancient trail and a land that too many define as “There’s nothing out there.”

(available August, 2014, Torrey House Press)
Torrey House

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"Going Through Ghosts" - A Literary Novel by Mary SojournerGoing Through Ghosts

A Novel by Mary Sojourner

A love letter to the neon-dazzled Colorado River, the little casinos that sit on its shores and the women and men who make change, deal cards, bring the players drinks and eke out a bare living. Maggie Foltz finds herself haunted by Sarah Four, a smart-mouthed ghost. They set out to find out who murdered Sarah and free her spirit to move on. (University of Nevada Press, 2010)

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"She Bets Her Life" - A Memoir by Mary SojournerShe Bets Her Life: A True Story of Gambling Addiction

A Memoir by Mary Sojourner

Both a memoir and self-help guide for women gambling addicts. I weave my own battle with gambling with practical psychological, recovery and scientific information for the woman gambling addict. (Seal Press, 2010)

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Solace - Rituals of Loss and Desire - A Book by Mary SojournerSolace: Rituals of Loss and Desire

A Memoir by Mary Sojourner

A memoir of growing up with a brilliant bi-polar mother and an overwhelmed father in the mid-Forties and Fifties; and of my work in the real heart of the Sixties, the sexual revolution of the Seventies, the roots of women’s awakening, all while being the divorced mom of three children. Solace is a slam bang and sometimes harrowing solo road trip that brings me to my deep home in the Southwest. (Scribner, 2004)

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"Delicate" - A Book by Mary SojournerDelicate: Stories of Light & Desire

Short Stories by Mary Sojourner

A collection of short stories set in the Southwest, each emerging from the western landscape, each about real people, women and men who often live on the edge of happiness – and the edge of the sorrow that can sometimes be alchemized to joy. (Nevermore Press, 2001,2004)

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"Bonelight" - A Novel by Mary SojournerBonelight: Ruin and Grace in the New Southwest

A Novel by Mary Sojourner

Deeply passionate and personal reflections about damage, loss, and renewal—of the earth and of the writer herself. When upstate New Yorker Mary Sojourner reluctantly agreed to visit the Grand Canyon of Arizona, she little suspected that she was about to lose her heart to the beauty of the Southwest, or that she would shortly find a passion for the land, and a cause in protecting it. (University of Nevada Press, 2004)

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"Sisters of the Dream" - A Novel by Mary SojournerSisters of the Dream

A Novel by Mary Sojourner

Two women, Liz Morrigan, newly arrived in a Northern Arizona mountain town, the other, Talasi, a 12th century Hopi healer, meet in dreams. In the company of a burly river runner, a grass-roots lawyer, a divorced mom, an old woman who was a trading post owner, they work to restore a collection of Native American artifacts to its rightful owners. (Northland Press, 1989)

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On Writing

Up Near Pasco

It happened up near Pasco, Washington. My aunt calls from Burns to tell me. “Jinella, I got some sad news. Kyrin laid himself down on the railroad tracks up near Pasco and got hit. Far as the cops could tell, he had his music plugged in his ears, you know how the kids do…and his… … more >>>

The Map of How to Write

The Map of How to Write

I FINISH MY READING at a Southwestern Writers’ Conference. I have spoken about crippling pain from a hiking fall and seeing a dust cloud from the Gobi Desert turn the sun moon-silver over the Black Rock, and how a volcanic out-cropping seen against sunset can become figures from a Javanese shadow play. A woman in… … more >>>

Recent Postings

Breakthrough Writing for June 28, 2022

Breakthrough from the Past: First you listen. Then you write out the clues.  “What kinds of things do you write?” asked Martha…          ”I’m not exactly a writer,” Sam corrected her.  “I’m a listener.  I’m listening for clues about day-to-day life on the planet.” “But do you write things down?” asked Jessie. “Of course,” said… … more >>>

Breakthroughwriting: week of 5/23/2022: Thank you, James Carpenter

I recently invited you, my readers, to send in your takes on breaking through into your writing. James Carpenter responded. While Japan is known, in part, for its shrines and temples, these ancient places are emblematic of only one aspect of the culture; others can be gleaned from how the Japanese buy and sell land. If… … more >>>

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