Friday, February 27, 2009

A Book Tour. Really?!?

There are a few harsh realities that a debut novelist has to come to grips with, or so I've been told. The sooner you realize these things, the faster you can move on with producing your second book, and/or scouring the job listings for a comp. teaching job to help support you while you write that second book.
What are these realities, you ask?

1) Your family won't quite have the reaction to your newfound author status that you hoped for. By this I mean, they will continue to see you as a five-year-old child, albeit a child holding a freshly published novel. When you stand before them -- and before a room full of beautiful Barnes & Noble patrons -- their eyes won't mist over, and they won't be staggered by your brilliant prose. It'll be more like "Looky, me make pretty thing."
* An addendum to this is what reactions you will inspire, and that is (mark my words), every person you've ever known or met will think they are in your book. Even your dentist. And even if you are writing about a chicken coop.

2) You won't be chosen by Oprah. Just get used to it. Maybe it's karma for your mixed feelings about her "Favorite Things," which has always sounded to you like a confusing cross between The Sound of Music and sex toys. Whatever the case, she won't choose you. You won't make it to her couch, no matter what. Instead, patiently observe and catalog every author she does anoint, and vow to kiss up to them should you ever encounter them at the airport.

3) In the category of "Things I Thought I Knew About Authors From Movies," forget as well the notion of a book tour, unless of course you're writing about Jesus, vampires, or sick dogs, in which case, well, you'll be going home to one of your three houses, so does it matter, really? Book tours have gone the way of the dodo -- for debut novelists, at least. After all, we're in a recession. For that matter, nobody knows who you are. Besides, I don't look nearly as scruffily sexy as Ethan Hawke in Before Sunset.

And yet, here I am, blogging about the possibility of a book tour for Bone Worship. Granted, at this moment, it's months away. It's like a little spark that I, my agent, and my editor all have to fan with Tom Hanksian vigor. It's creatively financed, meaning that I will be spending most of my nights on friends' and family members' collective futons instead of sleeping in four star hotels or above Parisian bookstores with French cats, a la Mr. Hawke. (At least that's what I imagine once I tell them that I'm coming with a box full of books to sign.) Indeed, it's a speck on the horizon, but it's in the works, and you should know about it. Heck, if you ask nicely, maybe I'll come to your city and sleep on your couch. But only if there's the promise of a cosmopolitan pet of some sort.

** Tentative book tour locations include: Seattle WA, Portland/Salem/Eugene OR, San Diego/Los Angeles CA, Missoula/Bozeman/Butte MT, Louisville/Lexington KY, Chicago, New York City, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Charlotte/Asheville NC, and Greenville/Spartanburg/Gaffney SC.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Winter Reading

I don't know about the rest of you, but outside my window, it's cold, rainy, moss-covered, and Bleak House bleak. In other words, it's Oregon in February -- enough to make you crave sunburns, pray for sand in your bathing suit, and even brave possible pirate attacks. Well, maybe not pirates, but you get the picture. Winter's beginning to wear on me. And this from a person who used to celebrate -28 degree weather in Montana, so you know I'm not kidding around.

How to endure? Read good fiction, for starters. Better yet, read it in struggling literary journals. You think the newly downsized New York Times has it rough? Imagine being a tiny lit mag produced by a staff of volunteer students. Now that's tough. They can only endure if you subscribe and keep reading. They're cheap, they're chockablock full of great literary fiction, and they'll get you through to May, I promise. Here are a few I highly recommend -- and not just because they've been gracious enough to publish my work.

1) Bat City Review. Straight out of The University of Texas at Austin, this journal is known for its excellent roster of poets and fiction writers, including Dean Young and Steve Almond, just to name a few. You can find my story, "Inheritance," in Issue 4 (2008).
Here's their website:

2) The G.W. Review is George Washington University's literary magazine. It boasts an international list of contributors. My story, "Softy," appears in Vol. XXIX (Fall 2007), along with powerful work from Polish and German writers, among others. Jean Valentine and Gloria Naylor have had pieces published in The G.W. Review, along with lots of heavy-hitters who intimidate and awe me.

3) Beeswax Magazine. Last but not least is this gorgeous, handmade magazine produced by Oakland, CA editors John Peck & Laureen Mahler. If you think I'm waxing hyperbolic when I say "gorgeous," you have another thing coming. Issue 5 -- with my story "The Cougar in the Lilac Bush"-- is linen covered with hand-sewn Japanese block binding, people. I don't even know what Japanese block binding is, but it's dang pretty.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

An Interview and Story in Neon Magazine

If you're interested in watching me narrowly avoid an international incident while discussing robots, cyber sex, and dead ants in short fiction, check out my story and interview in the exceedingly edgy British literary journal, Neon. I still feel guilty about making fun of celebrities' kids' names. I don't, however, regret pioneering the renaissance of the word "meathead." Enjoy!

Bone Worship...The Cover!!!

In January 2010, Bone Worship: A Novel will appear in print! In the meantime, gazing meaningfully at this lovely cover will have to suffice.
That is one gorgeous eyebrow, no?