Danny is left to live alone in a trailer. That's when the coyotes start coming around. Coyotes are tricksters. Coyotes are clever survivors. So is Danny as he learns who he is -- and who he ain't.
"A finely crafted story. The characters are enormously appealing." — School Library Journal
"The author of The Adventures of Boone Barnaby returns to the small town of San Puerco for another engaging, well-told tale." — Kirkus Reviews
"Brave, compassionate Danny, who embraces his incorrect grammar as symbolic of his identity, is worth cheering for." —Publishers Weekly
Winner of the BABRA award (Bay Area Book Reviewers Association) for Best Children's Book of 1992.
Danny Ain't, the e-book, can be found at Amazon Kindle, Apple iBook store, Barnes & Noble, Sony, Smashwords, and just about everywhere e-books are sold. The audiobook podcast can be downloaded from iTunes like any other podcast. You can also hear it on YouTube, starting here.
Based on true events: Franny, a fourteen-year-old living near the epicenter, experiences the Loma Prieta earthquake of 1989, also known as the World Series Quake. Houses collapse, Franny's next-door neighbor is trapped beneath a car, her parents are gone, gas tanks are exploding, her best friend is acting weird, and even her dog is missing. Has the world fallen apart?
"Fascinating detail . . . grippingly told." —Booklist
"Cottonwood spins his tale with great immediacy and power. Characters and relationships are multidimensional and convincing. Inspiring and thought-provoking." —School Library Journal
"Cottonwood presents a terrifying geological phenomenon in accessible you-are-there terms." —Publishers Weekly
What I'm working on now:
365 Jobs, and the book will be called 99 Jobs or 49 Jobs or whatever number of episodes make the cut. You, too, can be an editor! Check out the blog, tell me what you like. I'd love to hear from you.I'm now writing my next book one episode at a time in the form of a blog. It's sort of open-source editing as I make adjustments based on feedback from readers. The blog (and book) are about the human side of construction, the people I've encountered, the joy and frustration of manual labor, mixed with the dynamics of family life. The blog is called
My newest book:
ebook from smashwords.com (Kindle, Sony, epub, iPad, PDF, any and all formats) or an audio podcast from iTunes.It's available as an
Here's a nice review from Smashwords:
Review by: Paul Swearingen on July 31, 2011 : 5 stars!
Joe Cottonwood gets it - that new teens, those who have just turned 13 and 14, can skip a couple of decades at the speed of a Hair Galaxy and pop right into their 40's.
And yet they can be light years apart - like Mimi, who harbors a deep, dark secret inside her but radiates power and manipulative ability, and tiny Jaz, who has yet to find out who she really is. Or little Hoot, who is mostly clueless about life and couldn't harm a fly, and big Bowie, who has known the rough side of humanity nearly all his life and knows how to protect himself and his home, even if it involves using a priceless triple-ought-forty-five C. F. Martin guitar as a weapon.
Cottonwood has captured all the emotions that are possible to run through teens, and his characters are almost larger than life in this novel, which is as masterful as those penned by Walter Dean Myers, Gary Soto, Paul Zindel, and S. E. Hinton. It's a powerful piece, and I recommend it without reservation.
It's back: Famous Potatoes is an ebook and a podcast
smashwords.com.Out of print for years, Famous Potatoes returns from underground. You can buy the ebook (Kindle, Sony, epub, iPad, PDF, any and all formats) from
The podcast is on iTunes. It's free!
Available now: A podcast of Babcock.
Both the Babcock and the Boone Barnaby podcasts won the 2009 Founder's Choice Award presented annually by podiobooks.com for the best audiobook podcasts of the year.
To get the podcast from iTunes, go to the iTunes store and search for the title "Babcock." Then click on the "subscribe" button. If you have a Mac, the podcast will start downloading to your iTunes folder, from which you can load it on your ipod or listen directly. If you have a Windows machine, I don't know how it works, but if you're under the age of 30, you know all this already.
If you'd rather read than listen, or if you want to read along while listening, you can download an e-book of Babcock to your computer, cell phone, Kindle, Sony e-reader, iPad, or whatever electronic device using this link to smashwords.com.
I like this new review, which appeared recently on Smashwords: "Babcock explores the final frontier of boyhood - how to make friends with a girl. His family is real and engaging. As a grown-up I couldn't put it down."
Available now: a podcast or ebook of Boone Barnaby.
Both the Babcock and the Boone Barnaby podcasts won the 2009 Founder's Choice Award presented annually by podiobooks.com for the best audiobook podcasts of the year.
To get the podcast from iTunes, go to the iTunes store and search for the title "Boone Barnaby." Then click on the "subscribe" button.
In addition, you can download the e-book using this link to smashwords.com
If you want to buy a printed copy of the original book, follow this link to where Amazon is selling Adventures of Boone Barnaby (Apple Paperbacks) for one penny! If the supply runs low (and the price goes up), I'll reprint it myself and make printed books available, but right now I can't compete with that price.
There's a nice review of Boone Barnaby on Book Nut.
here from amazon.comClear Heart is a novel for adults containing crude language and other material not suitable for children. It's now in print and can be ordered
"It's funny, very tender, and enormously, tremendously human. In fact, Clear Heart just might be one of the most human books I've read in a long time." —Colleen Mondor, Bookslut
Besides the print version, you can download Clear Heart as an e-book to your computer, cell phone, Kindle, Sony e-reader, or maybe even your wristwatch using this link to smashwords.com.
And it gets even better! You can also listen to Clear Heart as an audiobook which can be downloaded as a podcast. The reading is by the author, Joe Cottonwood, assisted by the very talented voice of Susan Walker and the wonderful singing of Will Fourt.
The podcast of Clear Heart has appeared on the iTunes Top 20 from time to time (for literature, not music). It won the 2008 Founders Choice Award, given to the 5 best podiobooks of the year, for "excellence in serialized audiobook production" and "impeccable quality."
Comments posted on the web say:
"Great!! refreshingly down to earth."
"I like your characters and I like your reading! Thanks! I’m getting worried about Wally’s arm, though. Will he get it taken care of? Who is sleeping in the new house? I could keep going, but you get the idea - I’m enjoying the book and hoping for more soon! And Joe? I love the title."
"Great job Joe! I love the reading and the book keeps me coming back."
"Hi, Joe - I’ve listened through Chapter 37 and this story keeps getting better! Keep it coming! The characters constantly surprise me. I love it."
"I’ve really been enjoying all of the details specific to the Bay Area, the insights about the construction trade, and most of all, the characters of this book. You’ve been posting the chapters quickly, but not quickly enough to keep up with my appetite to “read” them! =) Your characters have me hooked; it’s hard to wait between uploads to hear how it will all work out… looking forward to hearing how the story unfolds."
"Mr Cottonwood, I LOVE your podiobook, Clear Heart. I’m up to chapter 45 and I’m afraid the story is about to end… but I don’t want it to! EVER! I find myself thinking about these characters throughout the day. Sounds obsessive, huh? Can’t help it. The quality of recording and the story itself is just THAT good. Thank you for stepping out on this limb and providing such an awesome product. I hope you continue with other stories in the future… and I hope you end up pioneering a new venue for the other talented authors out there to follow suit."
"Fantastic podcast novel. How about the rest of your writing coming to the podcast format?"
"Absolutely loved the book. The characters were great. Really fell into their lives and wanted to know what happened to them. The voices were great and I agree they felt very warm. I really hope that you podcast another novel because this is your first attempt and you’ve set the bar so high."
"I loved this more with each episode. Very good work. The presence of blood on the cover graphic clashes with the essentially joyful nature of the book."
"Your podcast “Clearheart” was excellent and very engaging. I enjoyed listening to it very much, and am looking forward to more of your work in this format."
"I like the use of “joyful” as a description, too. Thanks for the extra episode. I’m glad to know you enjoyed the podcasting as much as we did, especially if it means you will do more! I encourage you to make your old titles available, my library didn’t have them. :) And, yes, there are plenty of directions you can go with these characters, and Juke and his family and friends top the list for me - most of them are Characters! You done good, Joe."
"wow!! i hope we are going to hear more from a talented and heart felt pen/voice..outstanding, one of a kind story and characters… we all need more tales of what it takes to really build something in the world. Something with simple, honest integrity and worth. Bravo!!! to the author and his co-star. true talent all around. Intriguing and down to earth characters/situations I want to hear more from/about. Please.."
"Complete! and it was awesome. Many thinks to the author for a great story and podcast."
"I've just started listening to Clear Heart and want to thank you for an excellent story. I'm renovating a house over in England and though the tools I use are different the sentiments are the same and I've been chuckling along to the story. Clear Heart makes me feel good about my day! Listening to an episode or two while walking the dog at 6 in the morning sets my mind in the right frame for laying some deck. I'll be listening to the end and if you do some more I'll be listening too. Thanks."
"So well written and such well rounded out characters that even with no knowledge of the trade you get caught up in their lives. I look forward to more from Joe as this is a wonderful book."
"What a “forking” good read!! Joe really knows how to develop a character, and a story!"
"Joe, I rarely read outside my favorite genres (fantasy, sci-fi and forensic crime). But then I would have missed out on meeting Juke and Wally. Two wonderful characters that Dickens would have loved. I would have missed out on all the time spent rolling my eyes at Opal's dithering and worrying whether Abe would ever go to college. I would have missed out on a good, heart-felt story told by a sincere writer."
"Joe does some really great voices in this podcast, and it makes the whole experience more enjoyable. I have to say, though, that the voice that really makes the story come alive is from Susan Walker, who does the women's voices. I never remembered that Opal and Frog were performed by the same person. Offhand, I can't think of anybody who made voices of different ages. Gruffer, higher pitched, softer, louder - but not younger and older. Susan is so good she makes it look (sound?) easy. That becomes evident in the extra episode, where she tries out several readings to see what is wanted. Now. How do we persuade Susan to help Joe out, next time he wants to perform a book?"
"Your stories have that interesting mix of pathos and humor that make them snap with honesty. And your reading - it suits the mood of your pieces so well. The pacing is elegant. Thanks so much for putting them out where I could find them. You can count me as another one of your growing fan base!"
"Great book. All the characters had their own personality which was portrayed nicely by the voices. I especially liked the relationship Wally had with Ronnie. It was sweet and completely different than any of his other relationships. I hope to see more from this author in the future. Thanks!"
"I LOved this BOOk!! I loved the characters and good romance from a man’s point of view. I thought the title was wonderful too I love the idea of “Clear Heart” awesome book Joe are there going to be anymore soon? oh and are you single by any chance? ;)"
"I have just finished listening to the book and I must say it has been some time since I last smiled that much. You (and Susan, and all your fascinating characters) made those last weeks pure bliss. I have been working on the restoration of my old French farmhouse for six years now, and I have found the house construction backdrop totally gripping. And I was immensely flattered when you mentioned my Milwaukee Sawzall among the tools that count - it was the first expensive tool I invested in when I started working on my house."
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Comments posted on iTunes say:
"Forking great story, Boss! The characters are well-developed and very believable. The story line is compelling with enough subplots along the way to keep it interesting and true to life."
"Plumb and true. The characters are well-drawn and authentic. The story is extremely enjoyable. Clear Heart is a title that works on many levels, but first means the knot-free (clear) center (heart) of a tree, which makes the best lumber for building. Now you are ready - go and listen, you won't regret it. 'Permission to swear, Sir!' still makes me laugh!"
"Read some more! Can't wait until the story is finished!"
"Warm and Strong Life Story! The warmth and pacing of this very natural story took over immediately when I started listening to this podcast. Joe and Susan Walker read the story in voices that are authentic and true without gimmicks or effects. The combination makes a remarkable podcast."
Comments received by email say:
"I've only just discovered your novel, Clear Heart, and am enjoying it immensely. You have a wonderfully warm realistic writing method."
"I was sorry to have your story end, as it was wonderful. I enjoyed your voice and characters voices. Its too bad that so much media focuses on blood and gore - I almost missed your delightful rendition of humans learning life lessons because of the blood on the podiobooks cover. That may have been the outset for the contractor and a source of transformation for Juke too - but it certainly wasn't the clear heart of the tale. Thank you for the story, the humor, warmth, love and heart healing of it."
"I'm a pretty good carpenter/plumber/electrician as well and your book has hit a sweet spot with me. I am among those that have nailed a body part to wood. Unlike Wally I did it to myself but you had me from the first chapter. So far the story has been great, I keep checking for the next chapter. People wonder why I get up from my computer singing "I am a carpenter.." Wally and Opal have enough baggage to keep the love side of the story going for ever. I'd be happy to follow this for years. My favorite character, Steamboat, needs more air time. Everyone in the book has color and life and I'm rooting for all. Take care, tell Susan she does a great read, and Thanks."
"I am on an airplane and still have my ipod earplugs stuck in my ears and have just heard the last bits of Clear Heart. Wow! Thank you so much for dreaming up such a great story. I thoroughly enjoyed it and couldn't wait to tune into the next episode as the story progressed. And thank you for the music. Although I think I listened to the "I am a carpenter..." over 100 times, I still did not wish to skip it to get to the next episode. I have been making candles for the last week (answering the phone and receiving the UPS man, etc.) and listening to you. And now I am on the plane on my way to a trade show to show the very candles that I made while listening to Wally, Juke, Opal, FrogGirl and everyone else who populated my life for the last week. Thank you."
Here's a review from Time Well Wasted:
There is something about a story – I don’t care if it’s a movie, book, podcast or song – that makes it a better story when you want to crawl through your copy and slug one of the characters. Okay, I admit, I wanted to strangle a few of them throughout more than one chapter but this is a good thing! If you care enough about the characters and care what happens to them then the author has done their job. They’ve created something endearing, meaningful and memorable.
This is how I feel about Joe Cottonwood’s Clear Heart. About ten minutes into the story you start caring when Juke nails Wally to a roof with a nail gun to the wrist. The whole thing is witnessed and photographed by Opal. And what went through my head as I backed up the feed was “Oh holy cow did I hear that right?!” Lo and behold I sure as hell did. To me that meant Joe Cottonwood wasn’t going to be pulling any punches, physical or emotional, in this story. I was completely hooked.
Your main characters are the aforementioned Wally, Juke and Opal. Additionally you get Opal’s eldest son Abe and the runaway FrogGirl. These five people and the entwining of their lives are what keep you engaged. You want to know what happens next, you need to know why FrogGirl ran away and how Wally is going to manage to pay his construction crew. Staying away from this story is next to impossible!
I’m not even getting into the production value of the story yet! The tale is well written and paced, it even has a few cliffhangering moments. The podcast is simple, with only Joe Cottonwood and Susan Walker providing voices – to which there is absolutely no confusion as to who’s speaking when, even while Opal and FrogGirl are conversing with one another. There are no special effects and no music excepting for the bumpers.
Clear Heart is character driven and made more enjoyable for the three primary characters being approximately middle aged. It has key plot elements, but they are there for the growth and progression of the characters and not for the plots themselves. Its been a splendid change of pace from what I’ve been listening to.
Clear Heart is among the chosen few podcasts that have earned permanent placement on my hard drive and in my playlists. My only wish is that it was available in print so I could at it to my collection. If we gave six penguins, you would see them below.
Please, take a listen. You’ll learn a bit about love, life, and even carpentry.
Here's a review from SFF Audio:
"I’d call this a good companion piece to Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, except it’s about building houses. I do love a good story where heroes don’t always fit the mold Hollywood creates for us. And the voice acting of the female roles is superb."
And here's a review from Mandarine:
The story is a wide human saga woven around the construction of a bilionnaire’s ‘perfect house’ in the Silicon Valley, and the life of Wally, the widowed contractor on the brink of retirement. The reading is perfect, the story is gripping, the construction backdrop is something new and worth discovering, and the characters are very very … endearing. As far as narration and humour are concerned, the book reminded me of a blend of P.G. Wodehouse and Mark Twain.
In the three weeks it took me to listen to the whole novel, I think I have smiled more while riding to work than in the three years before that.
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