Black Lawrence Press

Every Bitter Thing

Every Bitter Thing

Wesley Royal Jr. is twelve years old and he wants to believe. He wants to believe that most people in the world are better than his abusive, tyrannical father. He wants to believe that he can be stronger than his mother who quivers under this tyranny. His father wants him to be stronger as well, in body rather than in mind. So Wesley is sent to a local dojo to learn Tae Kwon Do. A predator within the dojo quickly identifies Wesley as a child raised on domestic terror—an easy mark. So begins a coming of age story that is marked by molestation and the ways in which this molestation alters the already troubled father-son relationship.


  • "Every Bitter Thing is a very readable, intense, and compelling addition to the literature of difficult, harrowing childhoods...I am sure it will affect you deeply."
    —Moira Crone

    "Hardy Jones writes with admirable clarity and directness about growing up under an overbearing and unapologetic father."
    —Thomas Russell

    "In Every Bitter Thing, Hardy Jones offers us, in all-too-human detail, a diorama of a dysfunctional family. His portrait of adolescent Wesley Royal, Jr. is especially stunning, and almost painful, in its honesty. Hardy Jones writes about what he knows, intimately. This narrative has what Henry James called "the odor of truth."
    —Tom Carlson

Hardy Jones

Hardy Jones holds an MFA from the University of Memphis in Creative Nonfiction and a Ph, D. in Fiction and American Literature from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. He has published thirty pieces of creative nonfiction and short fiction in journals, and he has been awarded two grants. He is an online mentor in flash fiction, short stories, and nonfiction for the Dzanc Creative Writing Sessions as well as a reader for Memoir (and). He is on the Peer Review Board of the Louisiana Folk Life Journal. His novel Every Bitter Thing was published by Black Lawrence Press in 2010. His story "Snow" appeared in the 2009 Dogzplot Flash Fiction Anthology, and his story "Bunk Beds But No Chairs" was in The Best of Clapboard House Literary Journal in 2013. His stories "A New Bike for Little Mike" and "Visitin' Cormierville" are forthcoming in the Southern Gothic e-anthology from New Lit Salon Press. He is the co-founder and Executive Editor of the online journal Cybersoleil ( He is the Guest Editor of an all prose issue (#44) of the online journal Sugar Mule, themed “Family Secrets” ( His memoir People of the Good God is forthcoming from Mongrel Empire Press. He is an Associate Professor of English and the Director of Creative Writing at Cameron University. His website is  

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