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Micro-review: The Four

The premise: Yet another singing competition in a slew of singing competitions. One in which P. Diddy assures us, “This ain’t like those other shows” even though it has judges, and singers, an audience, and flashing visual stimuli JUST LIKE those other shows.

The judges: P. Diddy (I know him from when he wore foil garbageman suits with Ma$e), Khaled (I know him from commercials and probably music), Meghan Trainor (I know two of her songs), and Charlie Walk (Simon Cowel’s American understudy).

How it works: There’s four chairs up on this holier-than-thou platform. If you have a chair, you’re basically a god-like talent and P. Diddy will give you free Ciroc. As a contestant, you perform a song of your choosing in an attempt to impress the judge’s panel. If you win the approval of all four judges, you earn the right to challenge one of The Four. If you win the challenge, you get to take the chair of the person you beat and silently judge other contenders like a jerk as the newest member of The Four.

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AT&T Restricts Websites Hosted by GoDaddy; I Know Because They Admitted to It

It had been a while since I posted on my site. Close to a year. The site had always been functional and regularly visited due to topics such as Princess Syndrome and why people hate E.L. James, but I had not been posting much by way of new content nor visiting much myself.

Come January 1st, I decided to change that. I updated all my WordPress plug-ins and posted a brand-new blog. It went up just fine and everything seemed to be in working order. I checked the post the morning of January 2nd—still good. I left for work and checked my stats a few times that day—still going strong. But then I got home and that all changed. I couldn’t access my site. I was getting a time-out error. Not just on my iMac, but literally every other device I tried (an iPad, an iPhone 6s, a Kindle Fire, and a Samsung Galaxy). I tried Safari, Google Chrome, and Firefox—same result. Time-out errors every time.

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The Top 19 Things We Need to Retire in 2018

1.) Retail websites that make you give them an email before you can look around

You’re lucky I’m even here in the first place. Seriously, why do we need to get personal information involved? Just let me creep your products at my leisure.

2.) The phrase “I’m living my best life”

Anyone who says this is lying to the person they’re saying it to and themselves. I’ve seen your Pontiac Aztec, Karen.

3.) Tapas

You’re going to charge me $18 for this little plate of shit? You kidding me right now?

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March 2016 Update: “366,” “Perfect Girl,” Irvine Welsh, and AWP L.A.

It’s been an obscene amount of time since I’ve made a post, so here’s an update on what’s going on.

First, my latest novel entitled 366 is now complete. It currently clocks in at around 95,000 words and is being beta read by some trustworthy people at the moment. The one-line pitch is that it’s about a young American male who learns how to be a terrorist via an app on his phone consisting of 366 items. The plan at the moment is to get all my beta reader feedback and do another draft. I’ll also be doing a novel swap and critique with an author on the Picador label in the near future as well. Not procrastinating. Just making sure this shit is ready.

In other writing news, “Perfect Girl”–which is a story I’ve had in the pipe for over a year now–is also done and finalized. It will be part of the Dysmorphia anthology, which is a collection of short stories focusing on body horror. The project is being helmed by the folks over at Bloody Disgusting and agented by Jason Yarn. It’s currently still in the editing phase from what I know of.

Oh…I got to interview Irvine Welsh (author of Trainspotting) on the LitReactor podcast. You should go listen to that HERE. And you should also totally subscribe to the podcast on iTunes while you’re at it. Just sayin’.

Finally, it is with a heavy heart that I will be unable to attend AWP out in L.A. this year. I’m sure I’ll be sick with jealousy watching all the photos going up of you bastards running around drinking whiskey and doing your best Hank Moody impersonation. I resolve to be in D.C. next year for sure.

Double Podcast Duty; or: That Time I Was Let Down by the New “Star Wars” Novel















This month I did a couple podcasts. First, the boys from Booked Podcast allowed me to guest review Star Wars: Aftermath with them. Then, my debut episode on the LitReactor Podcast with the talented and lovely Cath Murphy and Renee Pickup dropped. For the sake of being chronological, listen to the LitReactor Podcast first and Booked second. Oh, and you should subscribe to both while you’re at it.

LitReactor: Unprintable: Episode 22

Booked Podcast: Episode 277: Aftermath

Regarding Wendig’s Star Wars, I had a lot of problems with that book. A lot. If you want the long version of that, listen to the Booked Episode. If you want it short and sweet, click THIS to read my review on Goodreads. The thing I want to make clear is that I’m still into Wendig’s fiction. I raved about Blackbirds over a year ago. I’m also convinced that the stuff I had problem’s with in Wendig’s Star Wars might have been beyond his control. Hopefully, there will come a time in which more light is shed on the issue.

Why Everyone (Especially Writers) Hates E.L. James

She writes fan fiction:

The cover band is never better than the original. This is the first chink in the armor when it comes to discussing E.L. James as an author. It’s no big secret that Fifty Shades of Grey and its subsequent sequels started off as Twilight fan fiction, although a hyper-sexualized/BDSM version of Edward and Bella. James took characters that didn’t belong to her and twisted them just enough so there wasn’t any legal recourse. Her big break manifested via the groundwork laid down by another author, hence, why she’s not respected by her industry peers or readers of a more refined palette.

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2015 Preview; 366/Vanity

2015 Preview:

2014 was a release year. That meant readings, promoting, book clubs, trying to get reviews, and just generally anything I could do to increase awareness of Good Sex, Great Prayers.

2015 is a write and sell year. Two projects are currently in the works.


In 2008 I came out with Out of Touch through iUniverse (a vanity press). After an offer from Otherworld Publications to put out the book in a second edition, I cancelled my iUniverse contract and went with them. Not long after the second edition release, Otherworld Publications closed its doors. That meant that no more copies were going to be produced and I officially wasn’t making any royalties on that book anymore. I actually have no fucking clue where the money goes if you buy a copy on Amazon (there’s less than twenty available).

Here’s the thing: I put years into that book, so the last thing I’m going to do is let it rot in “out of print” status. Having said that, I’m completely aware that simply slapping a new cover on this thing and putting it out in the world again will probably not equate to huge sales numbers. That is more or less what happened when I took OOT from iUniverse to Otherworld. They were a start-up press. There was no huge marketing push or major reviews done. Their idea of marketing was for me to leave copies at dentist offices and Jiffy Lube waiting rooms. The principle difference between the two houses is that I was getting less of a royalty cut in order to call myself “traditionally published.”

Recently, a friend and colleague of mine, Fred Venturini, came out with the novel The Heart Does Not Grow Back through Picador. What a lot of people don’t know is that that book originally came out through a small press under the title The Samaritan a couple years previous. Fred took a good book, reworked it, and re-released it through a major publishing house.

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Top 3 Highlights from 2014

Good Sex, Great Prayers releases:

I’ve been writing for a solid twelve years now, so it’s kinda hard to believe that I’m only just now releasing my second full-length novel. 2012/2013 were nose-to-the-grindstone years. 2014 was the year all that hard work paid off and Good Sex, Great Prayers released through Perfect Edge Books. LitReactor gave me a platform to talk about the entire process, which you can read HERE.

Bottom line: I’m proud of this one. Reviewers and casual readers alike are enjoying it, and it’s been a blast to perform at live readings. Most importantly, this was the book no one was expecting from me. I told myself very early on that I want to do something entirely different from my first book…and I couldn’t be more pleased with the results.

Synopsis, author blurbs, and links to reviews can all be found HERE on the information page.

Burnt Tongues releases: 


In 2009, not long after the vanity press version of Out of Touch had released, I had a choice to make: either write a second novel and hope for better results…or, I could enter this anthology contest that Chuck Palahniuk (author of Fight Club) was running on his website.

I decided to go with the contest, and five years later, my story was appearing in Burnt Tongues, the Chuck Palahniuk anthology. Yet again, LitReactor was kind enough to give me a platform to talk about the process of that. To read about the entire affair go HERE.

The short version is that this has been truly life and career-changing, and I owe a great deal of thanks to Chuck, Dennis Widmyer, and Richard Thomas. My inclusion in Burnt Tongues also leads to our third and final highlight.

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Top Reads of 2014

2014 was the first year in a long time I wasn’t constantly strapped behind a computer trying to hammer out a book. If you’ve ever tried to write a 450-page beast in under a year, it doesn’t allow for a lot of free time. I read a lot of books this year: some good ones, some that left me underwhelmed, some nice surprises, and my personal worst book of all time. Let’s begin: 

Top comic book: The Superior Spider-Man (ended run in Aug. 2014):

Holy shit, what a concept. The consciousness of Dr. Octopus winds up in the body of Peter Parker. He then proceeds to prove to himself and the world at large how he is the superior Spider-Man, donning a new costume and new tactics. Doc Ock don’t give a fuck about Parker’s rules. This is one of those runs where you know they’ll eventually hand the mantle back over to Peter, but watching Otto wear the webs is so damn fun. Both the story and art are brilliant.

Top celebrity book: Yes Please by Amy Poehler: 

I love Amy Poehler. I love the shit out of her. And I loved her way before Parks & Rec so my love probably matters more than yours does. You may have watched her older stuff like Upright Citizens Brigade on YouTube; I watched that shit when it was airing on Comedy Central. Because I love Amy, I went into Yes Please wanting/expecting/hoping to love it. I went into it horribly biased, but that’s okay. Poehler deserves it. She’s one of the good ones. Fuck you, Lena Dunham.

Top dark horse novel: Nefarious Twit by Tony McMillan: 

Nefarious Twit was a novel that I expected very little from, and then when I read it, the thing ended up being one of the best debuts I’ve read in a long time. It’s a hyper-imaginative, twisted, drug-addled road trip with just a touch of Shel Silverstein. Not only did Tony write the book, he did the cover art and all the illustrations. I expect great things from this guy in the future.

Top major release: Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer: 

A team of four people explore a fucked up piece of land called Area X. Man, was I ever sucked in. This book was equal parts Lost and House of Leaves. The entire thing carried a sense of dread and horror that makes you not want to put the thing down. Great story, and VanderMeer’s writing style only amps it up. Dude is a fucking surgeon. Annihilation landed on a lot of “best of” lists and rightfully so.

Top of the shit heap: Rich Kids of Instagram by Maya Sloan: 

Rich Kids of Instagram has the distinction of being the worst book I’ve ever read. Not just of 2014, mind you. Ever. It’s the worst book I’ve ever read. Let me put it to you this way: I never believed in burning books until I read this one. It’s that fucking bad. A literary abortion. A poor man’s Gossip Girl rip-off. The result of what happens when you adapt ostentatious photos into a book. There’s only a thin vapor of a plot. The characters are a polio-grade of weak. Maya Sloan’s writing style is dog shit. If you’re truly curious to see how low literature has sunk, then this is the book for you.

The San Francisco Reading with Chuck Palahniuk Round-Up: Pics, Recap, and a Story About a Cold Sore

10.21.2014: I fly to San Francisco to read with Chuck Palahniuk at DNA Lounge as part of his Beautiful You tour.

The club starts out completely empty:

IMG_7604They set the mood with the lights and Chuck starts arranging logistical stuff for the reading:


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