Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Where Alligators Sleep ARCs Available

I have digital ARC copies available for those interested in reviewing my upcoming second fiction collection WHERE ALLIGATORS SLEEP.  Email me at if interested in receiving and reviewing, good people.  And thanks in advance.

Jason Donnelly's desk (maybe?) only moments after asking for his ARC.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Reading Notes Since the Big One

Been doing some good reading lately, ever since my heart attack about a month ago.  Sometimes it goes that way. Other times I read books and hit a run I don't really care for, but read them because I can learn from bad writing, too.  At those times, it really is work, the reading - the way the writing is work every day.

I swear I think the surge in reading interest is because of the newly unblocked blood flow to my brain. Leading up to having a stent placed in my right coronary artery, my reading list had been stuck in the mud. I'm actually embarrassed to say how few books I read in the last year.

But that's not been the case lately.  Not at all.

It started with Michael Kimball's GALAGA, which I linked to here a couple posts back or so.  Fine book. Then it was Rob McClennan's THE UNCERTAINTY PRINCIPLE.  I reviewed both of these, with Kimball's appearing at The Small Press Book Review.  McClennan's review will be published July 28 or thereabouts at Necessary Fiction.

Then it was on to Shane Jones's CRYSTAL EATERS.  My review of this book (built like a brick cigar house and without wasting a single word) will be published in American Book Review in August.

In the past week, I've had the great pleasure of reading Christine Schutt's NIGHTWORK, a reread of Chris Offutt's OUT OF THE WOODS, George Saunders's TENTH OF DECEMBER, and Ben Marcus's THE AGE OF WIRE AND STRING. All of these very good reads, especially TENTH OF DECEMBER and the reread of Chris's best collection, in my opinion. In fact, I would firmly place TOD in the great category. Best use of voice I've come across in maybe forever. Saunders is pretty much a genius.

Now I'm reading MAGIC FOR BEGINNERS by Kelly Link and CRIMES IN SOUTHERN INDIANA by Frank Bill.  These two go together nicely - Link with her magical worlds in this collection and Bill keeping things beautifully grounded with some gritty realism set not far from the place and culture I write about most days.  Both are good at what they do.

On tap for reading in the next month or so: CODE FOR FAILURE by Ryan W. Bradley; COLLECTED STORIES of Amy Hempel; COAST OF CHICAGO by Stuart Dybek; TOWNIE: A MEMOIR by Andre Dubus III; BASTARD OUT OF CAROLINA by Dorothy Allison; THE FAST RED ROAD: A PLAINSONG by Stephen Graham Jones.

Read hard.

Friday, July 11, 2014


It’s almost like there’s a little valve in my head and if I can throw it on a given day, something will come out. It’s never planned. It’s just kind of a blurt. So in a sense my whole life as a writer is trying to find structural ways, or formal ways, to permit that outflowing so it doesn’t just look like crazy output. In other words, if it turns out that you can do a given voice, that’s just kind of inclination. But then if you can find a way to put that voice in a story so that the voice serves a purpose, then I would say that’s being a writer.

                                                                                                                     – GEORGE SAUNDERS

Sunday, July 6, 2014

My Review of Michael Kimball's GALAGA

The review of this fine book is up now at The Small Press Book Review.  You can read it here


Yes, I googled myself. But look what I found!

I googled myself yesterday. It wasn't the first time and it won't be the last. I have a busy online life and so I like to see what...