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The Female Complaint: Tales of Unruly Women

A Short Story Anthology
Edited by Rosalie Morales Kearns

ISBN 978-0-9913555-5-6, paperback, 329 pp., $24.95, November 1, 2015

Finalist, INDIEFAB Book of the Year.

The thirty-six stories in this anthology, all by women authors, center around female characters who follow their own paths and tell the powers-that-be what they don’t want to hear, women who stand up for themselves, for each other, for their beliefs.

The characters include housewives and high school students, a stand-up comedian, an artist, an attendant at a nursing home, several scientists. There’s a woman who turns into a leopard; a chemist who comes to the rescue of a resuscitated Isaac Newton; and a female giant who metes out rough justice in a futuristic penal colony for male criminals.

Navigating a fine line between anger and laughter, these are raucous stories of solidarity, resistance, transformation, and joy.

Contributors: Kathleen Alcalá, Beth Alvarado, Jennifer Baker, Megan Rahija Bush, Cathleen Calbert, Glendaliz Camacho, Kim Chinquee, Liz Dougherty Dolan, E.A. Fow, Heather Fowler, Tracy Gold, Theodora Goss, Laura Hart, Catherine Haustein, Janis Butler Holm, Judy Juanita, Soniah Kamal, Rosalie Morales Kearns, Elizabeth Kerlikowske, Ellie Knightsbridge, Dawn Knox, Joanna Lesher, Sharanya Manivannan, Teresa Milbrodt, Alison Newall, Gina Ochsner, Maureen O’Leary, Jay O’Shea, Sarah Marian Seltzer, Enid Shomer, SJ Sindu, Karen Stromberg, Katherine Vaz, and Hilary Zaid.

ROSALIE MORALES KEARNS is the author of the magic realist story collection Virgins & Tricksters (Aqueous, 2012) and founder of Shade Mountain Press.

Cover art: Copper Vessel, © 2012 by Elsa Muñoz,

Reviews and Honors

Reviews: Kirkus; Small Press Picks; Fiction Writers Review; Foreword Reviews

Awards/“Best of” Lists: Indiefab 2015 Book of the Year finalist; Book Riot’s 6 Small Press Books to Read in November; Foreword Reviews’ Short Story Collections We Loved; Book Riot’s Best Books We Read in November; Best Small Fictions 2016 finalist (story “Reading Maps” by Elizabeth Kerlikowske)

Praise for The Female Complaint

Thirty-six spellbinding stories about the active, spirited lives of women…. Throughout each is the common denominator of an active female character who embarks on her own hero’s journey…. With prose that ranges from the humorous to the lyric and forms that range from the real to the magical, here is a vital addition to contemporary literature. —Kirkus Reviews

This page-turner of a story collection artfully blends the light and the dark, the bitter and the sweet, with a delightful infusion of the strange and surreal. —Small Press Picks

These new, contemporary stories continue in the tradition of feminist literature: spotlighting, challenging, and protesting the status quo. —Fiction Writers Review

Compelling and unafraid, these exquisite stories express women’s power. —Foreword Reviews

This is more than women being unruly: this is women being courageous, outrageous, brutally honest, and more than anything, talented. The stories sing off the page—and then turn into a howl of rage, delight and hope. The Female Complaint is a collection that deserves to be taught, and read, for years to come. —Rene Denfeld, author of The Enchanted

Forty years ago when women blazed literary trails, they were paths through the woods where no one heard the trees falling. This time on a paved road through landscapes urban, suburban, exurban, and rural, these women are still throwing themselves and their lives out into new thematic territory. —Cris Mazza, author of Various Men Who Knew Us as Girls and co-editor of Chick-Lit: Postfeminist Fiction

“Often unsettling in the best sense, these stories cross cultures and mental states. . . . Compelling and ambitious stories dedicated to honoring the more turbulent desires.”
—Lee Upton, author of The Tao of Humiliation: Stories and Bottle the Bottles the Bottles the Bottles: Poems