Carol Es – Press Kit

For queries, contact: Michael Phillips at Desert Dog Books.


Artist, writer and musician, Carol Es is primarily known for creating personal narratives within a wide spectrum of media. A native Los Angelina, she often uses past experience as fuel for her subject matter.  Writing on art, her articles have appeared in Huffington Post, Whitehot Magazine, and Coagula Art Journal; her prose published with small presses — Bottle of Smoke Press, Islands Fold, and Chance Press among them. Additionally, she makes handmade Artist’s books which have been acquired for such collections as the Getty and the National Museum of Women in the Arts.

Carol is a two-time recipient of the ARC Grant from the Durfee Foundation, the Pollock-Krasner, and a Wynn Newhouse Award for her art. She’s also earned grants from Asylum Arts and the National Arts and Disability Center/California Arts Council for writing. In 2019, she won the Bruce Geller Memorial Prize (WORD Grant) from the American Jewish University.

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Book Cover:

Title: Shrapnel in the San Fernando Valley
Author: Carol Es
Genre: Autobiography/Memoir
Publication Date: April 6, 2019, Second Edition: August 29, 2019
Publisher: Desert Dog Books, LLC.
ISBN: 978-1-7335208-8-1
Available in: Paperback | eBook | Hardcover
Retail Price: $19.99 – $10.99 – $29.99
Trim Size: 9 x 6 inches
Printed Pages: 372

Download Sell Sheet (PDF)

Short Synopsis:

Six houses, five apartments, three motels, a Hollywood mansion (with mom’s latest fling), and a small vegetable farm in Pennsylvania. Moving 16 times before age nine is enough to screw with any kid’s head. Having a mentally abusive mother and an unstable family, Carol Es grew up believing she was inherently bad. But after years of neglect, mental abuse, and sexual molestation, she decided at 14 to leave her rootless dysfunctional family circus.

A self-taught artist, writer and seasoned drummer, she’d survive it all through creative endeavors, yet soon found herself trapped in Scientology. For 20 years, she’d deny her own mental illness in order to stay true to the doctrine of L. Ron Hubbard, whose doctrine wholly rejected the psychiatric field.

Throughout constant disappointments, traumas, and betrayals, Carol managed to keep pieces of her authentic self and maintained her unbreakable bond with her passions. Now she shares her unexpected, humorous perspective through moments of true vulnerability by laying bare her most raw and intimate revelations.

Illustrated with original sketches throughout, Shrapnel in the San Fernando Valley is not just another survivor’s tale or misery memoir. It’s a relatable story about embracing embarrassments while slowly building a sense of self-worth. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry–you may even feel sick at times–but you won’t be able to stop turning the pages.

Read an excerpt.

Advance Praise:

“…simultaneously acerbic, warm, and funny.

“A captivating account filled with sharp perspectives on mental illness, childhood trauma, Scientology, and art.”

-Kirkus Reviews

_  _  _  _  _  _

“Carol’s deeply moving and inspiring story sheds light on the resiliency of the human spirit to overcome profound childhood sexual abuse and neglect.  With her raw, truthful, and at times humorous voice, she illustrates the insidiousness of unquestioned authority and takes us on her harrowing journey towards the restoration of her reality and emotional freedom.” 

—Magen Todd, Ph.D., CSAT, Trauma Specialist


Why did you write Shrapnel in the San Fernando Valley? 

I’ve been writing since my teens, and interestingly enough, I always knew I’d write a book like this. All the books I’ve read throughout my life have had great impact on me. Books were my escape and have molded me into who I am. Each author’s narrative reflected the world as I would see it, and often held a mirror up to my authentic self. I began connecting to the things that resonated between reader and writer: the relatable human condition. Since I was already compelled to write, this motivated me to open wide and express the stories of my life.

Did you intend to publish it when you started?

I tried not to think about it as it went through many transitions, and I wavered back and forth whenever I did think about it. Like most of my stories, it was more of an autobiographical fiction piece. Fiction, because I really didn’t think anyone would believe it was true. It was my partner that talked me into rewriting it as nonfiction. He encouraged me to see that it being a true story made it stronger, and in turn that made me stronger.

Now that the book is completed, do you think it was a cathartic experience, like therapy?

The answer to this is all over the map. Writing about things relating to Scientology were very healing for me, while reliving the sexual assaults felt anywhere from uncomfortable to unbearable, especially having to go back over the work to edit, and re-edit. Extremely difficult. I didn’t feel like I’d purged much until the book was fully done. I feel like I can possibly move on now that I don’t necessarily have to rehash it. Other than that, I do feel a kind of reconciliation among my relationships, even if it’s only one sided.

You went through a lot of hard times as a child, but still managed to create your art and play music. Do you have any advice for young artists or musicians starting out?

I wish I had a hotline, because I’d love to help and encourage everyone. That is, anyone that wants it bad enough. I’d tell them not to give up and really commit. But being dedicated means making sacrifices. And if you’re young, that’s the best time to make them. I lived art and music like my life depended on it, because it did. That doesn’t mean everyone must suffer though. My biggest piece of advice is, no matter how much time you can spend on your artistic endeavors, it must always be about the work and not other people. Treat it like your royal child. Don’t make things, or play music you don’t like. Take a stand and protect the integrity of the work.

What do you hope your reader is going to get out of reading this book?

Just as I apply this philosophy to my art, I want people to have their own experience and don’t want to make suggestions about how they should or shouldn’t feel about my work. That being said, of course, I’d hope they will relate to my story in some way at some point. If I can make even one person feel not so alone in their pain, I’d make it rain in Los Angeles with my biggest, happiest tears.