Monthly Archives: August 2014

Chicago Reading Hosted by Booked. Podcast

Screen shot 2014-08-16 at 12.12.46 PM

Chicago reading is on! Join us at City Lit Books (2523 N. Kedzie Blvd.) on Sept. 6th at 5:00PM for a live reading hosted by the award-winning Booked. Podcast, feating myself, Richard Thomas, Jac Jemc, and the infamous Ben Tanzer.

RSVP on the official Facebook event HERE.

About the authors:

Richard Thomas is the author of five books: Disintegration, Transubstantiate, Herniated Roots, Staring Into the Abyss and Four Corners. His over 100 stories in print include Cemetery Dance, PANK, Gargoyle, Weird Fiction Review, Midwestern Gothic, Arcadia, Pear Noir, Chiral Mad 2, and Shivers VI. Visit www.whatdoesnotkillme.com for more information. He is also the editor of The New Black, a collection of twenty neo-noir stories exemplifying the best authors currently writing in this dark sub-genre.

Jac Jemc’s first collection of stories, A Different Bed Every Time, is forthcoming from Dzanc Books in October 2014. Her novel, My Only Wife was named a finalist for the 2013 PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize for Debut Fiction and winner of the Paula Anderson Book Award. She is also the author of a chapbook of stories, These Strangers She’d Invited In (Greying Ghost Press). She is the poetry editor at decomP and web nonfiction editor for Hobart. She’ll be reading from her new story collection, A Different Bed Everytime.

Ben Tanzer is the author of the books My Father’s House, You Can Make Him Like You, Lost in Space, Four Fathers, which he co-authored with Dave Housley, BL Pawelek, and Tom Williams, and Orphans, which won the 24th Annual Midwest Book Award in Fantasy/SciFi/Horror/Paranormal, among others. He also directs Publicity and Content Strategy for Curbside Splendor and can be found online at This Blog Will Change Your Life, the center of his vast, albeit faux, lifestyle empire. He will be reading from Four Fathers, a collection of thought-provoking, heartfelt essays on fatherhood. 

Brandon Tietz is the author of Out of Touch and Good Sex, Great Prayers. His short stories have been widely published, appearing as such print works as Warmed & Bound, Spark, and most recently, the Burnt Tongues anthology, which was co-edited by Richard Thomas and Chuck Palahniuk, author of Fight Club. Tietz also serves as a regular contributor for LitReactor.com. He lives in Kansas City. He will be reading from his new novel, Good Sex, Great Prayers and “Dietary”, his story featured in Burnt Tongues.

About Booked. Podcast:

Established in April of 2011, Booked. is a weekly podcast where two avid readers review and discuss books, conduct author interviews, and make recommendations for good books they’ve read. Our goal is to deliver book reviews by everyday readers, for everyday readers.
*Diverse*
We strike a balance between reviewing books with large readership, and independent or small press books that don’t benefit from the amount of promotion that comes with a large publishing house.
*Fresh and New*
We review timely books. We’re always looking for recent or soon-to-be released books to review. We consider books of any genre a possible review – as long as our listeners can find and buy them.
*Interaction and Community*
In addition to reviews we do author interview episodes, open format episodes where we discuss topics our listeners suggest online, and “Intro to genre” episodes where we explore genre fiction with a guest ‘genre expert’. Using social media, we do book giveaways and share interesting book-related articles and discussions.

Just an FYI…there will probably be some sort of post-reading after-party involving lots of booze.

Five Easy Ways to Help an Author Out

kim-kardashian-crying-face-2-zap2itI have a plan, and the plan is to get people talking about books more than Kardashians. The plan is broken down into five easy steps as they relate to authors and their books. Thank you for taking part in “Operation: Stop Giving This Talentless Family Attention”. I appreciate your patronage.

  1. Buy their books: Pretty obvious, I know, but this really is the best way to support an author. Of course, Amazon is always going to be the most cost-effective avenue for this…but if you really care about royalties and the like, consider buying directly from the publisher. You’re cutting out the middle man (Amazon), which means more money is going towards the author and the publishing house. The best thing you can though–and authors fucking love this–is request a signed copy. Seriously, don’t be shy. Chances are the author has a small stack of copies sitting around specifically for this reason.
  2. Read and review: Reading isn’t the problem. Reviewing, on the other hand, is about as impossible as Stephen Hawking trying to breakdance for some people. They just don’t (or can’t) do it, and that’s unfortunate because this is one of the biggest ways in which to support (or take down) an author. Second only to the author blurb, reviews serve as an endorsement…and we can never get enough of those. Honestly, I don’t base my book-buying decisions based on reviews, but some people do…and for that demographic, every review matters. So, please…pretty please…if you read a book, try to review. Doesn’t have to be fancy or particularly long. A paragraph or even a couple sentences can make all the difference. Having said that, the more places you post your review the better. I’m talking Amazon, Goodreads, your blog, etc. Spread that shit around.
  3. Connect online: Facebook, Twitter, Google+, tumblr, LinkedIn, Goodreads, Pinterest…all that shit. If you like an author, feel free to stalk their ass. Chances are if you dug their book you’ll dig their social media feeds.
  4. Sharing is caring: Authors–especially the independent ones–don’t just benefit from word of mouth…they depend on it. Not very many authors have an advertising budget. We can’t afford ad space on Goodreads and Amazon. And we typically don’t get big reviewers like Kirkus or Publisher’s Weekly because they want some ungodly amount of money to review the thing. That means we end up leaning on the reader pretty hard to talk us up, and all things considered, it’s really not that difficult. Share an Amazon link, share quotes, share pictures of the book. Spread the word. This is how one sale becomes three…becomes twenty-six…becomes nine-hundred-and-eighty-four. The last nine out of ten books I picked up where all because I kept hearing about them, either through social media or writers’ forums or a friend. Word of mouth is actually more powerful than advertising, but it’s the readers that make it happen.
  5. Connect in real life: Sometimes authors have readings, and sometimes they just so happen to be in or around your location. In the event that that happens–fucking go. Show up, cheer, clap, drink, buy the author drinks, get your book(s) signed, take pictures. All that shit.

BURNT TONGUES release day!!

Burnt Tongues double coverHoly shit, did it take a long time to get here. A very long time. But now the wait is over and Burnt Tongues is officially live, shipping, and on bookstore shelves. Yep, that’s right…I finally made the brick and mortar stores. Look at me now, dad!!

Anyway…this journey started for me way back in 2009 when the only credit I had to my name was the self-published edition of Out of Touch. I joined the Chuck Palahniuk writers’ workshop, competed to get in this thing, and after many years of heartbreak and delays, we finally got a deal. For the full five-year affair, go check out the column I wrote for LitReactor…Burnt Tongues: A Behind the Scenes Chronicle.

Also, the boys over at Booked Podcast recently did a review of Burnt Tongues. If you’ve never listened to Booked before, these guys do a wonderful job of breaking shit down over the course of an hour and keeping it pretty free of spoilers. You can check that episode out HERE.

In another first, I’ve got my first official mention from Kirkus…so that’s kinda neat. Read their review of Burnt Tongues HERE.

Also on Kirkus, the man himself, Mr. Chuck Palahniuk, talks about the book and short story writing. You can read that interview HERE.

Don’t forget to “like” the official Burnt Tongues Facebook page.

Finally, make sure to buy the damn book and give it some review love on Amazon and Goodreads.