Category Archives: Blog

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.

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.

Continue reading “Why Everyone (Especially Writers) Hates E.L. James” »

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.

Continue reading “Top 3 Highlights from 2014” »

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:

IMG_7606

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

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.

If You Can’t Beat Them, Ask Them to Quit; A Response to Lynn Shepherd

lynn_shepherdI don’t know Lynn Shepherd. I’ve never read any of her novels and only became aware of her via her piece published on The Huffington Post UK entitled, “If JK Rowling Cares About Writing, She Should Stop Doing It” which I will be citing throughout. Let’s start with her opening sentence:

When I told a friend the title of this piece she looked at me in horror and said, “You can’t say that, everyone will just put it down to sour grapes!”

No Lynn, I don’t think you’re sour grapes. I think it makes you come off like a pussy, because your entire thesis here is when someone gets too good at something, they should quit. And yeah, maybe I’m hyper-elaborating here, but I don’t think I’d like to live in a world where Michael Jordan only played until he won his first championship or Steve Jobs resigned after he came out with the initial iteration of the iPhone. You’re operating under the pretense that when someone gets too good at something it fucks everyone else over, and that’s simply not true. Then there’s this little gem:

I didn’t much mind Rowling when she was Pottering about. I’ve never read a word (or seen a minute) so I can’t comment on whether the books were good, bad or indifferent.

Really, Lynn? Really?! So lemme get this straight, you self-appoint yourself the authority to tell someone to resign without having read a lick of their work? That’s golden. Hey, you know what…I’ve never seen Jimmie Johnson drive a NASCAR race but from what I hear he’s really fucking good and filthy rich. I think he should quit. That’s the logic we’re using here, right? Because when the competition is too stiff it’s only natural that we make the game easier for the other kids to play.

Continue reading “If You Can’t Beat Them, Ask Them to Quit; A Response to Lynn Shepherd” »

Five Signs You’re Dealing With Princess Syndrome

Princess1.)   She’ll actually say, “I deserve to be treated like a princess.”

Wow, really?! Are you Kate Middleton? Have you been performing your royal duties without reasonable compensation? Is this the part where I bow down and pledge my allegiance to the throne (which is actually a loveseat from Nebraska Furniture Mart in your studio apartment)?

Here’s the deal, guys. Not every girl with princess syndrome actually says this, but some of them will. Some of them will be so passive about it they won’t know any better.  If that happens, thank her. Show heaps of gratitude for the fair warning. If the North Korea of dating scenarios was about to fire a nuke at your wallet, wouldn’t you want to advance notice? Isn’t it better that she’s straight up telling you, “I’m a vapid, materialistic person who only cares about myself and my own needs.” What you have to understand is that this relationship isn’t even a relationship; it’s you (the suitor) catering to this person’s every desire and whim. You are a servant, a wallet with legs and exceptional verbal skills. Better to know that up front than find it out the hard way…on a credit card statement.

Continue reading “Five Signs You’re Dealing With Princess Syndrome” »

Own the Night: Anatomy of the Club Scene

AuraStuart Salomon has been in the nightlife business for over twenty years, serving as owner of such clubs as: Fallout, Coliseum, Atlantis, XO, The Beaumont, Karma, Zen, Grand Emporium, and most recently, Aura. He also has a seventeen-year background in law enforcement, now serving as a part-time deputy sheriff.

Own the Night chronicles the events of May 10th, 2013.

10:30 p.m. – I arrive at Aura and hang out front with the door guys while smoking a cigarette. There’s a poster-sized digital sign on either side of the entryway explaining that—yes—the paint does wash off, and that you only need to worry about being sprayed if you’re on the dance floor. Everywhere else is a safe zone.  Enter at your own risk, it says. Then I spot Stu parked curbside and rounding the back corner his SUV; he’s wearing a white button-up and jeans, black shoes. He pops the trunk, which is more or less a mobile version of his home office and just as messy. It’s crammed with bags, security supplies, and stuff for the club.

I approach and he tells me, “This whole thing has been an absolute clusterfuck. I was figuring this shit out until 9:00 or so.”

Stu’s holding a paint party at the club tonight. The problem is that the idea was conceived before the method. Last time I saw him (on May 8th), he was trying to modify a handheld paint gun for recreational needs. That meant getting the paint at a consistency to actually be able to course through the mechanism. Also, the PSI of the gun had to be enough to squirt it across the room, but not so much that it would sting or cut someone’s skin. Unfortunately, the guys at Home Depot were of very little help in this arena.

“We don’t know much about painting people,” they said.

Continue reading “Own the Night: Anatomy of the Club Scene” »

2014 Resolutions (in no particular order)

xmas books1.) Read more books: Yeah, I know, I know. Everyone’s saying this, but last year I only managed to knock out a couple books over the year because most of it was spent writing the 517-page monster that is GOOD SEX, GREAT PRAYERS. The time just simply wasn’t there, however, I’m currently in the middle of Dora: a Headcase by Lidia Yuknavitch and Nefarious Twit by Tony McMillen and loving both of them. Santa was good to me in the book-giving department.

2.) Read less horseshit: Richie Incognito, Trayvon Martin, the lesbian tip scandal…I’m sorry to admit that these stories along with many others ate up a ton of my time. This isn’t to say that these aren’t important issues in their own respective ways. The problem is I fell for the fucking click-bait on the latest development of the Anthony Weiner scandal or whatever else was hot that week, and I was no better off for it. No one was. News, I’m finding out, is more about inspiring outrage than giving information…and there was a lot of outrage this year. Having said that, it’s okay to have an opinion, but I found it interesting how when George Zimmerman got the “not guilty” verdict, every motherfucker on Facebook suddenly had a law degree.

3.) Write less: I can’t do another year like last year. No way. Anyone who’s every written a 500+ page novel in under a year can attest to the degree of difficulty. 2014 is going to be about promotion–not just for GOOD SEX, GREAT PRAYERS–but for the Chuck Palahniuk anthology as well as a few other things I have in the pipe. Expect more readings, interviews, and book club stuff. I’m still going to be writing, but in a less demanding sense…mostly short stories and columns.

4.) Obtain better trolls: THIS isn’t going to cut it anymore, but I do appreciate the fact that at 5:37a.m. Christmas Eve I was the first thing on your mind.

5.) Keep widening my readership: I’m hesitant to use the term “fan base” as it seems a little presumptuous, but I do happen to be in the unique situation that from time to time a total stranger will contact me through Facebook or Twitter saying how much they liked something I wrote. I like that…never gets old, and I’m hoping with these next couple projects coming out in 2014 I can build upon what’s already there.