Thursday, August 30, 2018

Contract signed with WVU Press for a book focusing on Breece D'J Pancake


Big news on the writing front

I signed a contract yesterday to write a book on Breece D'J Pancake for West Virginia University Press. Is there any real way for me to explain how incredibly excited I am? Well, I usually use words to express thoughts, but I might come up short on this one. Let's just review the facts:

1. I'm contracted to write a book for West Virginia's largest press.

2. It's the home state of the writer I'm writing a book about.

3. The writer is my favorite writer.

Seriously, there's more, but it would start resembling full on brag time if I went into it. It's enough to say those above three facts result in what is just about the coolest thing that's happened to me since I started writing thirty years ago.


A call out

There's going to be a section in which I take various author interviews (from folks who were influenced by Pancake in one way or the other) and hybrid it all up nicely. That being said, I'd love to get some responses from anyone who might be interested in writing up a little something or answer at length a few basic questions for a form I'll use to incorporate it all later. In particular, I'm hoping to get something from David Joy, Bonnie Jo Campbell, Scott McClanahan, Karen McElmurray, Chris Offutt, well the list goes on and on, really, but that's a start. I'll be sending out emails to solicit all these folks at some point (likely sooner than later).

There's another pot on the fire, writing-wise. I can't mention any specifics yet, but there's a fairly good chance I'll have a great indie press pick up my recent short story collection Sway at some point later in the year. Nothing is at all definite about that, though. I'm only going on some early impressions. It looks okay, though.


On the events front

I'll be reading at Taylor Books in Charleston, West Virginia on September 14. It'll be my third time reading at Taylor Books and I have Jay Hill to thank for every single one of them. Jay is a magician you will be hearing a lot from in the not too distant future. He's a champion.

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Interview with Writer's Bone

Daniel Ford interviewed me today for Writer's Bone. I feel like I rambled and answered too briefly and took everything too serious. That's part of my anxiety - taking things seriously, worrying about them until I make myself sick, wishing I was someone smarter, etc. But he seemed pleased, so that's good.

Topics covered in the interview: the MFA debate; my novel Brown Bottle; advice for writers; writing about Eastern Kentucky

The interview may appear about a week from today, Dan said.

Monday, August 20, 2018

Infinite Jest: A Failed Entertainment

Infinite JestInfinite Jest by David Foster Wallace
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

There are about seven sections (long sections, though) that stand out as some of the best writing I've ever encountered. Unfortunately, the vast majority of the novel seems more of a platform for Wallace to expound upon various philosophies and personal ideas. Nothing wrong with that, but let's not confuse that with a novel that works as an "entertainment" as he would say. But then I'm immediately reminded that the book originally had a subtitle, which was - "A Failed Entertainment". I don't think it failed, but I do think it was only occasionally entertaining.


View all my reviews

Thursday, August 9, 2018

"The House in the Northwest Corner" picked as story of the year @ Vestal Review

Assistant Editor Gillian Walker and Managing Editor Mark Budman, the folks at Vestal Review, picked my short story "The House in the Northwest Corner" as their story of the year for 2017.

That pleases me a great deal. Vestal Review is the oldest journal publishing flash fiction, celebrating its 18th year this year. So to have my story recognized in this way at this particular journal adds to the gratification factor.

Here's the announcement and link to the story if you'd be interested at all in reading it. It's short and doesn't take much time to get through. 

Sunday, August 5, 2018

Two reviews and a talk with Chris Offutt

I'll have a really good interview with Chris Offutt up at Enclave within the next week, along with my review of his last two books - My Father, the Pornographer and Country Dark. The interview and reviews will also appear later at Plumb - A journal of Appalachian concerns. Look for all of it.


"Victory Party" published @ X-R-A-Y Literary Magazine



A new short story of mine called "Victory Party" was published recently at XRAY Literary Magazine. I'm thankful to James, who liked the story when so many others rejected it on its way to him. Good eye, sir. Good eye.

Read the story 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...