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Cloudbreak, California

Cloudbreak, California

by Kelly Daniels.
ISBN: 978-0-9834764-5-0
Release Date: May 1, 2013

Price: $16.95

Pages: 230

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Also available for the Kindle and Nook


One day during his ninth-grade Speech class Kelly Daniels' outlaw, soul-surfer father appears at school unannounced and pulls the boy from class. Speeding down the freeway, Daniels' father admits that he has been involved in a crime, but he does not remember how it happened. He’d been up for days on cocaine and booze, he explains, and the next thing he knew he woke up in jail with a bad feeling. It was almost a relief when the guard told him he’d killed his cousin Barkley, a drug kingpin of sorts. “I’m sorry to lay this on you,” he tells the stunned boy, “but I’m not going to be around to watch your back. Barkley has a son your age…and this kid might come after you someday. You’re going to have to learn to look after yourself.” A few days later, the father skips bail and flees the country. “Forget about him,” everybody says. But the boy doesn’t forget. Someday, he believes, they’ll find each other, the fugitive father and the dreamy son, and together they’ll surf perfect, far-away waves. The reality, he learns when his father is captured a decade later, is less glamorous.

Hard-hitting and off-beat, Cloudbreak, California is a coming-of-age story, a father and son drama, a cautionary tale, and a travel adventure. At its core, Daniels has created an admirable reflection on the power of imagination to transform us into who we are meant to be.


Click here to listen to an excerpt from the audio book, now available from Amazon, Audible and iTunes.

About the Author
Kelly Daniels Kelly Daniels grew up on the road, living for stints with his parents in a Hawaiian commune, a waterless, powerless cabin in the desert, and in an old step-van outfitted with bunks. As an adult, he set off on his own, traveling extensively through Europe, Mexico and Central America. Along the way, he picked up odd jobs when he could find them, jobs such as production manager of a furniture factory (Guatemala), newspaper reporter (Mexico), and bartender (all over). For additional information about Kelly, please visit his website at www.authorkellydaniels.com.

His short fiction and nonfiction has appeared in Puerto del Sol, Cimarron Review, Third Coast, Sonora Review, South Dakota Review, Santa Clara Review, GSU Review, Orange Coast Review, Eyeshot and other journals. Among other awards, he recently won first prize in Creative Nonfiction at the San Miguel Writers’ Conference. He lives with his wife and young son in Rock Island, Illinois, where he teaches creative writing at Augustana College.

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Praise for

Cloudbreak, California



"Kelly Daniels has written the story of his life—so far—with courage and conviction."
--Paul Wilner, Buffeted in His Father’s Wake: Kelly Daniels’ ‘Cloudbreak, California’.

"...an entertaining and well-crafted memoir...." Publishers Weekly

“'The whole father-son thing' drifts into focus in memoir of killer’s son."
--Karen Mulvahill, ForeWord Reviews

"Daniels asks, and tries to answer, the question all of us have pondered at one point or another: What am I to do with my life?"
--June Sawyers, Booklist Online

...Daniels’s sure-handed demotic prose shimmers into poetry in the scenes where he finally learns to surf with his aging father. We see how, in the end, after long travels, writing saves him – a happy ending for which this fine book is both testament and reward.

--Jaimy Gordon, Winner of the National Book Award for Lord of Misrule

To go from aimless, boozy wanderer to the author of a memoir as open-hearted and beautifully written as Cloudbreak, California, is a remarkable accomplishment. Kelly Daniels is living proof that life really does provide second chances if one has the guts and raw talent to go after them.

--Donald Ray Pollock, author of The Devil All The Time

Kelly Daniels's Cloudbreak, California comes at you like breakers on the shore. It's a memoir that reads like a Beat novel, but with more heart and more guts. A story about family and love and finding your way, it's also a manual on how to become a writer. And how to become a man.

--Peter Geye, author of The Lighthouse Road

The opening chapter of Cloudbreak, California is a grabber, and once it’s got you, the book that follows, hurtling off on a happenstance journey through Central America and back, won't let go. Kelly Daniels has written a memoir built for speed, but also one wise enough to know not to outpace its artfully understated emotion.

--Stuart Dybek, MacArthur Fellow and author of I Sailed with Magellan