Saturday, June 30, 2007

moving on -- the new project

Whenever editors discover I lived on a farm they always ask for a farm story. I've probably had five editors ask for farm stories over the past twenty years. But they all wanted the romanticized view of a farm, not a dark portrayal of farm life.

So maybe it's time for the real thing.

I think it was good to get away last weekend because my current project really started falling into place this week. One day I was ready to toss it; the next I'd solved a major problem. I'm guessing the book will be about 90% nonfiction, but will be sold as fiction. I found myself getting really depressed because I was spending so much time living in the past. So I started another project, a thriller. Now when I need to get away from the real world I shift to the thriller. I never thought I'd write two books at once, but this might work out.

Here's my little pitch for the farm story:


My one-sentence description:

Bohemian drug addict meets Midwestern farm boy and marries into a rural life of death, repression, mental decay, and environmental destruction.

My plan is to write the whole manuscript before submitting it anywhere. If you're a publisher or editor and would like to see the project, please contact my agent, Steve Axelrod.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Friday, June 08, 2007

Book of the Month and the Dreamin' Demon

PLAY DEAD was chosen as the book of the month at the Dreamin' Demon. This looks like an active and interesting place to spend some time! If you want to check out the Play Dead discussion, go here:

The Demon's Den

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

kool-aid suicide?

I posted this on Crimespace a few days ago, and thought I'd also post it here.

I’m worried. Really worried.

About how self-promotion has become not only expected but required. And the more the better. I recently heard a small-press publicist say their writers should invest more than their advance on promotion. Three years ago I was presented with a verbal list of possible self-promotion ideas:

Start a blog, attend conferences, get involved in more online groups and online events, give talks at libraries, travel to small towns and speak, make a book trailer, have online contests and possibly a writing competition, join more organizations, enter my books in more contests, do a monthly newsletter, put together a mailing list, visit more bookstores.

The argument for all of this is that publishers have no idea if any of it helps, but it certainly can’t hurt.


The few who agree with me about the futility of self promotion usually say it takes away from a writer’s writing time.

It took away all of my free time and left me mentally exhausted.

It wouldn’t be so bad if my efforts had mattered, but we are all just kids at our individual Kool-Aid stands, holding up our signs, begging people to stop and buy. And on every corner is another Kool-Aid stand serving up another version of cherry-flavored anxiety.

Our family and neighbors shuffle over. But mainly we just stand around and drink our own stuff and go check out the other stands to see what flavors they’re selling that day. And while we’re there, delivery trucks go by taking Kool-Aid to stores all over the country.

Is our willingness to wear ten different hats, no matter how poorly, giving publishing houses more of a reason to step back and do less? As a group, are we hurting ourselves? Especially when publishing houses already have a system in place that we can never come close to touching no matter how hard we work or how much money we spend.

The national decline in reading can’t be fixed by opening a Kool-Aid stand.

I’m giving myself permission to write. Just write. And maybe enjoy life a little bit while I’m at it.