Woodlawn Miscellany

The struggle itself towards the heights is enough to fill a man's heart

Posts tagged fiction

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It’s Official: Book Launch Party Set

The official launch party for The Last Good Halloween is now set for Saturday November 9th, at 7:00 PM. The location will be Uncharted Books, in Logan Square. (That’s in Chicago, y’all.)

Since this is my first launch party, I’m a little unfamiliar with what exactly is supposed to happen at one, but my operating assumption is that there’ll be a reading (by me, I guess, unless we can book James Earl Jones) followed by a book signing and a general breeze-shooting. Maybe some wine and vittles will be consumed on site. If not, we’ll certainly book a bar nearby in order to do that shortly thereafter. Anyone and everyone are invited to attend, as my understanding is that there’ll be plenty of space and it would certainly gladden me to see some friendly faces in the room.

The address for Uncharted Books is: 2630 N. Milwaukee Avenue, Chicago, IL. I seriously hope to see as many of you as can make it!

Filed under Book Launch The Last Good Halloween Chicago Literature Novel Writer Tortoise Books Indie Press Book Debut Fiction Giano Cromley Uncharted Books

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Best Birthday Present Ever…

I recently passed one of those milestone birthdays and, much to my chagrin, my old DC crew was hell bent on commemorating it. I was adamant they would do no such thing. 

We had our annual spring weekend in New Orleans this year, far enough after my actual birthday that I thought I’d safely dodged their good cheer. Mercifully, they made little noise about it until Saturday afternoon, when they told me they’d gotten me a gift.

But not just any gift…

Fans of this blog and those who know me are aware of the fact that one of my favorite bands in the world is Cloud Cult. If you’re not familiar with the band, you need to know that whenever they do a concert they have two artists who paint canvases during the show. At the end, they auction off the paintings. It’s an amazing visual complement to the audio experience, and it’s part of what makes every Cloud Cult show a unique and memorable event.

Anyway, as my friends snooped around for a gift, they stumbled across the Cloud Cult website and noticed that the artists are available for commissions. Unbeknownst to me, they contacted one of the artists, Scott West, and arranged for him to create a painting based on any concept I had in mind. 

They told me this as we sat around a bar with a balmy New Orleans breeze wafting through the open windows. Then they looked at me and asked if I had any idea what concept I’d want him to paint for me.

All at once, it hit me…

I’ve got a novel manuscript that’s right now looking for a home with publishers. Why not give Scott the manuscript, have him read it, and create a painting based on whatever ideas it brings to mind? When I told the crew my plan, they were speechless. They knew they’d gotten me a great gift, but I think in that moment it struck them just how amazing it was.

Later that next week, when I proposed the manuscript-based painting to Scott West, he loved the idea. He told me he’d always had a narrative element in his work and this should play right to that strength. 

While Cloud Cult did a west coast tour swing last week, Scott read the manuscript. This week, he’s going to work up some concept sketches. If he agrees, I’ll share some of them here. 

It was an amazing present. Unexpected and incredibly thoughtful. Old friends really do know us best.

Filed under Cloud Cult Scott West Birthday present Fiction Novel The Last Good Halloween Art Painting

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Thank you, Chinua Achebe

Not much to say here, other than Things Fall Apart is one of those rare books that sticks with me years (decades?!) after I first read it. In honor of the passing of a great writer, I pass along here my favorite quote from TFA, the words of which are terrifying, mysterious and true all at once:

"I am Evil Forest. I kill a man on the day that his life is sweetest to him."

Filed under Chinua Achebe Evil Forest Things Fall Apart Writing Writers Fiction Novel

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New Audio Story Is Up

The audio lit journal WordPlaySound has come out with a new short story of mine in its June issue. It’s a bit of an unorthodox piece for me, in the sense that the story is told from the first person perspective of a non-human narrator. Though it’s never explicitly stated in the piece, the narrator is, in fact, a bigfoot.

Now, I know it might come off sounding like kind of a stunt to write a story like that, and it certainly leaves open the possibility for jokiness and goofballery. But the approach I decided to take was to write it with absolutely no irony — the feelings and emotions of the narrator are as true as those that anyone else might have. My goal was to, at a certain point, have the listener forget that they’re listening to someone non-human and simply allow themselves to immerse in this slightly foreign perspective.

Go here to give it a listen.

Filed under Fiction Short Story Audio Fiction Audio Lit Journal WordPlaySound Bigfoot The Writing Process

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Newsflash: A Spot of Good News

I just got word that the audio short story I recorded for WordPlaySound has been accepted for publication next month. Actually, I’m not sure if publication is the proper term for a recording… Maybe I should say my audio short story drops next month. Anyway, the upshot is that people will be subjected my superfluously enunciated podcast diction and my nascent audio mixing skills. Should make for an interesting listen.

Filed under Audio Literary Journal Fiction short stories writing writing process

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The Fifth FloorThe ImperfectionistsThe AskThe Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao

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