(Credentials & Goals in the Highly Subjective World of Literature)
Giving a quick rundown of who I am and what I'm doing seems like a perfectly adequate launch point. As this blog post, and those that follow, will focus primarily on writing (my own personal experience in this most highly subjective of fields, that is), let’s narrow it down to that.
My debut novel (what I consider to be a “literary thriller”), Thieves Beasts & Men, was released in hardcover on Oct 5, 2021. It was published by Skyhorse/Arcade. If interested, you can read the publisher’s synopsis on the back cover, or on Amazon. You can also read the author’s synopsis on my website, which differs slightly, bending toward my own personal preference.
I’ve been really fortunate with Thieves. Many years ago, I was asked what defines success for me, and here's my answer: I wanted stickers on my book cover. Awards. They were my ultimate currency. The pinnacle, I thought at the time, of “making it”. As I write this, Thieves has three stickers on the cover. (Or, they would be on the cover had the printing not already concluded by the time I received the notifications!)
But still, I do not feel as though I’ve “made it”. Maybe there is no such thing if you do it out of love. To “make it” implies there’s nowhere higher to aim for, and that’s never really the case in any situation. Thank god. How boring that would be.
And by the most common definition of “making it” (money), well, you’d be shocked to discover how little your financial situation changes after your first book…even with stickers on the cover.
I’m proud to say that Thieves Beasts & Men was honored as a Finalist for The American Fiction Awards, Best New Fiction 2021; a Finalist in the Shelf Unbound Awards for Best Fiction 2021; and is currently long listed for the Chanticleer Intl’ Book Awards/Somerset Prize for Best Contemporary & Literary Fiction 2021.
I feel this is a good definition of an embarrassment of riches, and I am humbled every time I look at my little book. Not too shabby for a high school dropout.
Thieves may have been the first released, but it’s actually my second completed novel. The first, A Stranger Piece Of Fiction (originally called, Soliloquies), was completed about four years ago. I shopped it to many an agent, and received one manuscript request. That agent ultimately passed on it, but she offered stellar advice for revision that I appreciated, though couldn’t wrap my head around at the time. After stewing on it for a very long time, I finally figured out what I need to do to make it work, and this is the project I am actively involved in right now. Synopsis and sample chapter are here.
My third completed novel is called Bands Of A Small Hurricane. It is, quite simply, the best thing I’ve ever done creatively (or likely will in my entire life), though I may be the only one to think this way. Currently, Hurricane is in a state of disarray as my agent is trying to figure out how to make it work. The original version has been sliced and diced, tossed out, reorganized, swung around by its hair and spanked a few times. As it stands now…where I’m at with it…what I think about this new potential version…well, I just don’t know. Right now, Hurricane is swirling around my brain, flinging debris in its wake, as I place pins on the preverbal map, trying to predict where it might land. I’ve got something truly great w/ Hurricane, and I hope by the time it lands in your hands, you think so as well. More info to come (at some point), though you can find the synopsis and sample chapter here.
In the past, I’ve concentrated on writing just one book at a time, from notes to completion. But I’ve had this other book knocking around my skull for a while now. It’s called Sex For Poets, and I’m currently writing it alongside A Stranger Piece Of Fiction, because I’m mildly insane and have no sense of self-preservation. I’m keeping the details of Poets a bit under wraps, so you won’t find a synopsis or sample chapter on my site. But I’ll give you a hint: The Power (Naomi Alderman) meets Nymphomaniac (Lars von Trier).
In my spare time, I’m also illustrating three children books (The Box, Ella’s Chickens, and Sleeping In The Forest Is Precarious) that I wrote about 14 years ago, when my own kid was 2 years old. They’ve been sitting on my hard drive for way too long, collecting dust, and they’re just too damn awesome to let rot away. My goal this year is to see them completed and on some semblance of autopilot. Traditionally published? Self published? Undecided. I never considered self publishing for my novels, but the picture books may be a fun way to experiment w/ a new outlet. As a fine artist, as well as the author, of said picture books, I may not have the heart to compromise on the vision. They may be worth the risk and extra work. I guess you could call these books a hobby of mine.
So, who am I?
Very, very busy. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.