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Reviews of A Lesson in Manners

Starred review from Publisher’s Weekly:

Urban takes readers on an amazing journey in this exceptional collection of short stories. She travels from a nameless hospital in the title story, where a young woman is trying to understand how her once perfectly healthy younger sister could be slowly dying of a tumor, to a Tennessee bar, where an up-and-coming country western singer yearns to make a baby with her unsuspecting boyfriend (“The Memoirs of Sam Wesson”), to an Evanston, Ill., center for healing, where an emotionally damaged employee is on the cusp of recovering from the death of her beloved adopted sister (“Planet Joy”). The author has an uncanny ability to explore relationships, love, and loss in a fresh and original way. In “Trying to Find a Corndog in Tompkins County,” an Arkansas woman, pregnant with her first child, contemplates fleeing the husband who raped her in order to claim the future she was meant to have. In “Welcome to the Holy Land,” an exotic dancer seeks redemption in a Tampa religious theme park, having fallen in love with the actor who plays Jesus in one of the exhibits. These are powerful stories told by a strong voice and written with vivid precision, leaving readers wondering what happens to the characters after their stories end.

Review by Amy Lipke at Beyond Bliss and Chaos, June 2016

. . . a collection of short-stories that have similarities and yet are wildly different. Recurring themes are love, loss of loved ones, and a search for something more. Walking with these characters, you will feel their loss and loneliness. You will cheer them on as they pursue their dreams. Urban gets to the heart of life, submerging you beneath the superficial layers of grime.

“Tales of Longing:” Cedar Rapids Gazette, May 29, 2016

A Lesson in Manners is the work of a sure-handed storyteller with insight into the heart and its deepest desires.


“How to Be a Novelist in 10 Easy Steps” at Innate Plethora, September 2016

4. Cultivate family and friends. Have an active social life. This will provide you with great material for your stories.

Carla Sarrett’s Blog, September 2016

I like stories that are about subtle shifts, usually the realization that there’s no way out—or there’s only one way out, and it’s not pretty.

“Wrestling with Every Word” at, August 6, 2016

If you could inhabit the setting of one book, where would you live and why?

The fairy wood in Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

Author Spotlight at Wordsy Woman Author Services, July 7, 2016

In which the author shares some lessons she’s learned from marketing—things to steal, and things not to try.

“Friday Five” series by author E.D. Martin, June 10, 2016

What are three things on your bucket list?

Wear the Crown Jewels, swim with sharks, and breathe fire.

Write Up June Newsletter from author Teresa LaBella

I am that unfortunate type of person who processes the world through writing; it’s how I make sense of my experiences and get a handle on my emotions. Most of my short stories come from an emotional tangle I want to pursue, an impossible situation I want to explore.

“Writing to Distraction:” Cedar Rapids Gazette, May 29, 2016

Writers tend to have their favorite themes and obsessions, and mine is grief. The grief of losing someone, the grief of not having something you want, or the grief of not feeling like you belong in your own skin . . .Grief is so interesting, in all its layers, its complexity, its power to haunt or ennoble us.