Friday, September 11, 2020

New page for my new stories, essays, and poetry

I've added a page here at Bent Country called "New Writing." It will feature a list of my new stories, essays, and poetry - pieces that will be included in books coming out from my fantastic publisher Cowboy Jamboree Press. These pieces will be samplings from each of the forthcoming books. The first story has been posted. Either visit the new page or follow the link below.

Triumph of the Young Man Against a Pagan God 

Monday, August 24, 2020

If it ain't not broken

 I've done a lot of reading in the past several days. Finished Amelia Gray's first book, AM PM. It's really very much like a Lydia Davis book. I wouldn't be surprised to find that Gray was influenced by Davis quite a bit. AM PM was a good book though. The Featherproof copy has text that is waaaaaay too small. I don't know why they did that, and I don't think it's just that I'm older and my eyesight is worse. This text was TINY.

I finished up John Langan's Sefira and Other Betrayals. The opening novel, Sefira, was just too long. It might have worked as a short story but not as a novel or, as this is referred to, a novella. A lot of the main character traveling and thinking that could have been cut out. But I like Langan's work a lot. The rest of the book was filled with good, solid short stories.

I also finished reading the Berkley lecture book of Julio Cortazar. I can't figure out why Latin American writers always have to talk about politics. I mean I get that Latin America is messed up and there are a lot of political problems there, or at least there was during Cortazar's time, but my gosh don't let it paint everything about your work. I'm definitely more into his short stories than his novels or lectures.

I'm trying to kick up my reading again. I've been neglectful of it for the past year because I've focused so much on Orchard. I might as well read because I've found out in the past week that my writing mind has shut down. I know enough about all this to know that it's not permanent, but it's still no fun.

Saturday, August 22, 2020

I am a poor boy too

For eleven years I've been opening new posts here and then sort of talking to myself. But that's only when I don't have something to say about other things, other people. Today is one of those talking to myself days.

I can't seem to get motivated to work on any pieces. I sent in my latest draft of The Orchard Is Full of Sound last week and since then I've managed to write about two paragraphs on a story I realized I needed to write differently. 

I have a new approach to stories that I want to keep using, resisting the reflexive path to a traditional narrative. I like the new way. There have been some of these put out into the world and I've gotten a little bit of feedback. Positive feedback. 

Going to close this post out. I thought maybe if I came in and talked for a bit I might get jarred into writing some worthy fiction. Still not feeling it, though. It seems just mean-spirited to have nothing else to say and to be trying to say it only to get my fiction brain going. I wish I was keeping up with the lit scene enough that I could recommend some stories here and leave posts to them, but I've been out of the loop for so long. I don't even know if many of my friends have books newly out right now. I wish I did. But I can correct that. 

Watch this spot for future plugs for friends with new books discussions.

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

I finished a sixth draft of Orchard, YES!

Finished it last night. I may have another draft to go through, though. I won't know until I hear back from the press. I'm sure they'll have some thoughts for tweaking, etc. no matter what. But I hope the big stuff is behind me. I started this book in July of 2018 and handed in the first draft November of 2019. Since then it's been redrafting, editing, adding and taking away, leaving in, leaving out. Combing, turning this way and that, longer chapters, shorter chapters, less hillbilly, more hillbilly. The feedback from one of the peer review readers was incredibly helpful and sent me back to the drawing board on drafts five and six. But I think it's really close. Really, really close.

Sunday, July 19, 2020

I'm still working on Orchard, yes.

I should be writing new material for Orchard. I've spent the last three weeks combing and editing and rearranging and polishing about 140 pages of the manuscript to have it ready for submission as a new draft, a fourth draft. Now I'm to the harder part - writing new material for the last section, the last five or so chapters, which could become, under an alternate five draft, ten to fifteen shorter chapters. 

I've been polishing and rewriting and editing so long for so many hours a day that I think I've forgotten how to write new material. And this new material, these final chapters, are the most important under my new vision for the book as a whole. I've switched focus in part to hone in on the question of his suicide. I'm trying to make part of the book about my trying to understand it and come to terms with it, something that I will not manage, to be candid about it. 

This makes the final section - which is entirely about the suicide - much, much more important than before.

Long story short, I have to kick everything up a notch, and I'm tired. I'm worn out. I want to write short stories so bad right now. 

But I should stop whining. I'm lucky to be writing the book and even more lucky to have it accepted for publication at WVU Press. I'm just venting, to be honest about it. A release valve is something I can't usually find all that well. I woke this morning and remembered that I have you, select few readers, who are more or less okay with lending me an ear. I thank you all for that, and I'll finish this damn book. I will. I promise. 

Saturday, June 20, 2020

First review of SWAY, Sheldon Birnie calls it "dark as a moonless Appalachian night"

Author Sheldon Birnie offered his thoughts and they were fantastic. Among other good points he discussed he mentioned that my short story "Pepper" was "one of the finest baseball stories" he'd ever read. It's one of my favorites from the collection, so that was very pleasing to hear. 
The first review of my new short story collection out recently from Cowboy Jamboree Press was sent my way this past week. 

In addition to this, Birnie (a fine writer himself with a great first name) found several of the stories that worried me the most among the best in the collection. What a relief, seriously. I've been taking my short fiction into some different places over the past year or so and it's great to hear good things about those risks. 

Hey don't take my word for it, just go read his review here.

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

My new short story collection SWAY published today by Cowboy Jamboree Press

It's publication day for my new short story collection Sway from Cowboy Jamboree Press. This one is my favorite collection so far.

Below is the link to buy it at Amazon, which I would greatly appreciate, and a link to add it at Goodreads, which I would also greatly appreciate.



New page for my new stories, essays, and poetry

I've added a page here at Bent Country called "New Writing." It will feature a list of my new stories, essays, and poetry - pi...