Jeffrey Penn May


Jeffrey Penn May has won several short fiction awards. His story “The Wells Creek Route” received a Pushcart Prize nomination, and his novel Where the River Splits, an excellent review in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Merging his outdoor interests with his writing, Jeff has published mountain climbing articles, short stories and poems. He has also written education articles and technical writing guides. His work has appeared in the US, UK, and Canada. He wrote and performed a short story for Washington University Radio and was a consultant to a St. Louis theatre company.

After earning his a B.A. in English and Psychology, a Masters in Secondary Education, and a Writer’s Certificate from the University of Missouri, Jeff worked as a waiter, hotel security officer, credit manager, deck hand, technical data engineer, creative writing instructor, and English teacher. He was the principal of a small alternative school where he organized a fund-raising, climbing expedition and appeared in television and radio spotlights.

Born at Fort Ord near Monterey, California, and raised in St. Louis, Jeff comes from a family of all boys and has always been compelled to explore the outdoors, leading to many questionable “vacations.” His adventures include, but are not limited to the following: floated a home-built wood and barrel raft from St. Louis to Memphis, navigated a John boat to New Orleans, drove an old Volkswagen alone 8000 miles around the west, spent a month in a dirt floor shack in west-central Mexico digging for Pre-Colombian artifacts, climbed mountains from Alaska to South America, and spent several days in the Amazon jungle. Jeff teaches writing and fly-fishing and so far, he has survived more than twenty years of marriage and two teenagers.

Smashwords Interview

Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Yes. Long before schools started assigning creative writing projects. I was nine or ten; it was a typical story about a young WWI pilot and his adventures, but turned by the time I reached the end, the pilot dying and the last line a question: "What was it all for?"
1. Many of the scenes in Where the River Splits are in St. Louis. How important was it for you to use St. Louis as a setting for the novel?
Extremely important, I’ve lived in St. Louis for most of my life, know its streets, parks, its feel, the smell of hops wafting up Pestalozzi street from the brewery, the small corner taverns, the airport expansion leveling and paving over the streets of my childhood, all of it serves as a backdrop to the novel, especially the homes being torn down .
Read more of this interview.

Where to find Jeffrey Penn May online


Eight Billion Steps: My Impossible Quest For Cancer Comedy
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 76,900. Language: English. Published: April 28, 2013. Category: Nonfiction » Health, wellbeing, & medicine » Cancer
"Eight Billion Steps: My Impossible Quest For Cancer Comedy" is about (as may seem obvious) finding humor in cancer. After Jeff was diagnosed with an extremely large and rare salivary gland tumor on the back of his tongue, throat and jaw, he and his wife began their fun-filled search for treatment.
The Wells Creek Route and Other Stories
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 24,200. Language: English. Published: February 18, 2013. Category: Fiction » Literary collections » American / General
The Wells Creek Route explores mountains and randomness. In Pluggin’ Leaks, a deckhand deflects his future. In Desolation Peaks, he seeks solace in mountains. In The Deaf Woman’s TV, he dates while empathizing with an old woman. Hazards of Bat Guano is about fly-fishing, bats, and streams. Sunfish is about you and fish. Cynthia's Currents looks at decades flown by and Cynthia who refused to go.
Cynthia and the Blue Cat's Last Meow
Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 18,900. Language: English. Published: July 16, 2012. Category: Fiction » Literature » Literary
Written in a poetic style reminiscent of Richard Brautigan, "Cynthia and the Blue Cat’s Last Meow" is a story of red berries and howling caverns, fury and fishing, moonlight and candlelight, where we dream of blue cats and idyllic sensuality. The offbeat natural setting progresses into a rich ménage of unusual happenings and vivid colors, a land where many of us would like to visit.
Roobala Take Me Home
You set the price! Words: 126,660. Language: English. Published: May 20, 2012. Category: Fiction » Science fiction » Adventure
ROOBALA TAKE ME HOME is a grand comedic novel applying western themes to a futuristic Earth and space frontier, written in the tradition of Kurt Vonnegut, Richard Brautigan, and Douglas Adams, full of romance, sex, adventure, mystery, literary and cultural allusions, and financial crisis.
No Teacher Left Standing
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 97,330. Language: English. Published: March 10, 2011. Category: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » General
Are public sector workers, including teachers, overpaid? Do they have “cushy” jobs? "No Teacher Left Standing" is a novel energized by current educational debates. While the characters are entirely fictional, the events are based on true stories. Suspense in an unusual setting, an elementary school. Think you know about teaching? Think again.
Where the River Splits
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 80,220. Language: English. Published: July 1, 2010. Category: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » General
Relationship suspense for wilderness lovers. David and Susan Brooks canoe white water trying to save their marriage. The canoe capsizes and strands them on opposite sides, believing the other dead. David discovers his wife has survived. Satisfied she is okay, he decides not to reveal himself. As Susan copes with his "death," David begins a new life. But can he start over?

Jeffrey Penn May’s tag cloud

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