top of page



Bumpy Rides and Soft Landings Book Cover
Feathered Quoll Award Icon

As someone whose innate filter doesn’t always work, Pauley says it exactly as he sees it. Written in his uniquely humorous, poignant, sarcastic, self-deprecating, honest, and mildly outrageous style, he recounts stories of growing up different, while learning important lessons from even the most unlikely of sources: a chili dog, a nasty queen, a cursing coworker, a Porta-Potty, a stranger’s judgment, a sore butt, a new piano, a tiny scar, a grieving widow, and a hateful bully.

With the millions of miles he’s logged in over the years, along with the thousands of diverse and colorful characters he’s met and observed along the way, he knows one thing for certain: On this journey called Life, with no GPS or autopilot to help us navigate, no one truly knows what their final destination will be. And, because the ride will undoubtedly be turbulent at times, it’s best to just fasten your seat belts, learn from the experience, and always hope for a soft landing.

Available in hardcover, paperback and e-book wherever books are sold.

Amazon logo
Barnes and noble logo
Bookshop logo
This is a bookstore and bookbug logo
Glendora Bookstore logo
Bumpy Rides and Soft Landings Book Cover and passport



Author of What Wasn't I Thinking: A Memoir of Rebellion, Madness and My Mother

James Pauley, Jr is quite the charmer -- warm, insightful, and very funny. He leads us from the remote corners of West Virginia to the Taj Mahal (and back), all the while telling the lovely, lively, and finally touching story of a boy growing into a man. A terrific read.


Reader's Favorite

Every story in Bumpy Rides and Soft Landings is told with humor, whether it’s about Pauley’s health challenges, a trip to India, or frustrating encounters with loud, pushy customers. Fans of LGBTQ memoirs will find it relatable and deeply enthralling. James’ generous, heartwarming, and humorous story kept me smiling randomly throughout the day, long after completing it. Everyone should read this book!


Bumpy Rides and Soft Landings is a bright memoir. The author’s recollections are engaging, as tender family memories bolster the narrative, and childhood memories are rendered in charming evocative detail.


Laced with humor, travel commentary, and behavioral insight, Bumpy Rides and Soft Landings: Stories of Coming Out, Flying High, and Not Learning to Play the Piano is a fun and thought-provoking read from start to finish.



A rollicking and sensitive memoir! What a complete pleasure to encounter an author, James Pauley, Jr., who manages to captivate attention, empathy, and entertainment from the first pages of Bumpy Rides and Soft Landings. One aspect of the writing that enhances the prose is Pauley’s polished use of naïveté, especially evident in the early episodes of his childhood and coming out experience, but also maintained in his encounters while airborne and earthbound with personal encounters, including the path to his husband. Tender, poignant, and often hilarious, this book introduces an author of substance and a man whose “memoir” should become a best seller very quickly.

bottom of page