Coming Soon

happy icing

Photo courtesy of GillyFace


I’ve been working hard on a novel that I started several years ago, called Happy:

Frank just turned 25… or did he? After his father passes away, he discovers he’s been celebrating the wrong birthday his entire life. His new friend Lucy insists he re-celebrate them all over again before he really turns 25 in a month. Cramming 25 birthdays in 25 days is the most fun Frank’s ever had and can’t help but wish for the same thing with every blown-out candle: to win Lucy over. Together, they re-live moon bounces, Shakey’s pizza parties, and getting to second base while Frank digs into the family history to discover why his parents changed it in the first place–and the bombshell of a secret behind it all.

It’s a fun romp (are any romps not fun?). It should be finished and have you laughing through the tears in early 2015. Be sure to sign up for my newsletter to be notified when it’s available!

Publisher’s Weekly review of The Junior Arsonist’s Club

I was very excited to learn this morning of the excellent (and starred!) review of The Junior Arsonist’s Club in Publisher’s Weekly:

redstar“Zhanna wanted to burn the couch. I watched the TV. She watched the couch. It was like that every night.” So begins Tollifson’s (Mother) hilarious dark comedy about a 12-year-old girl hell-bent on setting the living room seating aflame and the woman who’s become her unwilling sentinel. Zhanna, adopted at age nine from a Russian orphanage, has never bonded with Marilyn, and with a glibly unconcerned father/husband away from home more often than not, the two have established an uneasy détente, aided by night vision cameras, motion sensor alarms, and a wholly inept and inappropriate therapist who can’t seem to grasp the gravity of Marilyn’s situation: “I felt heat coming from the door and worried if the window in Dr. Gary’s office would open, and if we could safely get out,” Marilyn narrates. “We were two floors up and I had no memory of whether or not the building had a fire escape…. My throat was closing. These could be the last few moments of my life.” An arresting narrative from beginning to end, Tollifson’s short novel introduces a cast of characters you’ll remember for some time.