My daughter just called to tell me that you nice folks at the Media Center are considering adding my book, THE GODS OF ASPHALT to your shelves to which I say, FANTASTIC!
She also told me that you would be checking out my blog for reviews to which I say,
My blog is a bit irreverent, so you can just skip reading all the posts and go straight to the reviews which you will find here:
Seriously, there is nothing worthy to read on the blog posts. Don’t even waste your time. No need to click. Just don’t.
A Conversation with my mother the day I told her I finished my novel.
ME: “Well Mom, it’s done. I finally finished it.”
MOM: “Finished what?”
ME: “Uh…my novel. The one I’ve been working on for the past year. Yeah, it’s done.”
MOM: “I had no idea you were writing a book! What is it about?”
ME: (sighs) “It’s a young adult novel about a teenager named Sawyer Hayden who–”
MOM: “Sawyer? Oh I don’t like that name.”
ME: ”Well it’s too late to change it now. ANYWAY…he wants a basketball scholarship so he–”
MOM: “Basketball? But you don’t play basketball! And why are you writing about boys anyway? You’re a woman who lives in New Hampshire! I know what you should do. Join a writing group and try to make friends with that woman writer there…
ME: Please don’t say Jodi Picoult.
MOM: …the one who writes all those nice cancer books. You know who I mean.”
ME: (sigh 2x) “Her name’s Jodi Picoult, mom.”
MOM: “No, that’s not it. Well, whoever she is I hear her books are very popular.”
ME: “FINE! WHATEVER! JUST LISTEN!” (deep breath) “In my book Sawyer asks his brother River to help–”
MOM: “RIVER? Oh I don’t like that name either. Why did you pick such ugly American names? With so many nice names in our family to choose from you–”
ME: “HOW ABOUT RAPHAEL? THAT’S WHAT I NAMED THE DAD SO HOW ABOUT THAT?”
MOM: “Finally a name I like! It’s about time you remembered you’re Italian.”
ME: “Ok…but just so you know, I made the dad Spanish.”
MOM: (appalled) “NOW WHY DID YOU DO THAT?! WHY DIDN’T YOU JUST MAKE HIM ITALIAN? HOW AM I GOING TO TELL THE FAMILY IN ITALY THAT MY DAUGHTER WROTE A BOOK ABOUT SPANIARDS AND NOT ITALIANS?!”
ME: “I’M IRISH TOO, MOM! WHY DON’T I JUST MAKE HIM IRISH LIKE MY DAD, HUH? HOW’S THAT SOUND?”
MOM: “Spanish is fine.”
ME: “CAN WE FOCUS NOW? PLEASE?!”
MOM: “Yes, yes. Continue.”
ME: (sighs, molto frustrato) “So SAWYER leaves his father and moves to Nebraska–”
MOM: Bites lip.
ME: “NOW what’s wrong?”
MOM: “Well…why does he have to live in Nebraska? It’s a land locked state.”
ME: (rubbing temples) “What does Nebraska being a land locked state have to do with anything?”
MOM: “I don’t trust the seafood in land locked states. It’s too expensive. What you’re really paying for is the truck to have it delivered. They don’t fool me.”
ME: “Fine. You know what? I’ll change it to a coastal state–”
MOM: “OOH! You should make it Hawaii! I’ve always wanted to go there. You know they filmed that show LOST in Hawaii. But then you couldn’t use the name Sawyer. Hey! Now you can change that too! I always liked that doctor Jack–”
ME: “MOM! It can’t be Hawaii because Raphael is a long haul truck driver and that’s how Sawyer gets to Nebraska to live with his grandfather so he can get a basketball scholarship.”
MOM: “Well why does he even need a scholarship? With the price of seafood nowadays the father should have no problem paying for–”
ME: “You know what? Forget it. I didn’t write a book. I made a quilt.”
MOM: “Oh don’t be so sensitive. Tell me what the grandfather’s name is. Something good I hope.”
MOM: (flinches, thinks and then says) “So SAYWER leaves a man named RAPHAEL to live with a man named GUS?”
ME: “Yes but mom, Gus is awesome. He’s a biker and a southern rock roadie with…bad…ass…tattoos…”
MOM: (near tears) “What happened to my dainty daughter who used to love to read books and write stories and listen to music?!”
ME: “She changed her name to Sawyer.”
FOR MORE MIND-NUMBING MATERNAL MASOCHISM VISIT:
Every so often there comes a moment when we see ourselves through another person’s eyes. Determining whether that’s good or bad depends entirely on what we see. Most of my epiphanies are delivered in the form of my sister telling me my ass looks fat in my jeans, whether I ask for her opinion or not.
Commentary on my fat ass or bad breath I can handle, but what I wasn’t prepared for was the reality of personal feedback in the form of reviews for my novella, Reapers With Issues.
Before I begin I’d like to state that every reader who reviewed my work negatively did not condemn me personally for what I’d written, despite not particularly enjoying the book. I’ve read reviews of other books where the reviewer took the author to task, and I am happy to say I’ve been blessed with a classy group of readers who didn’t feel the need to blast me.
I guess what confounds me most is that I expected there to be more blow back for subject matter. Portraying Jesus as a closet homosexual and writing a scene where Genghis Khan violates a shi-tzu wasn’t going to win me an audience with the Pope, and I knew that going in. I also prepared myself for a critique of the quality of the writing itself, which as it turns out I didn’t receive much of. What I did get was essentially the same question, asked in so many words, of what kind of person could conceive of the Reapers idea at all. Again, good or bad depends entirely on what we see.
[enter the dreaded introspection process]
The first thing I did was try to answer the question of what kind of person I am. Despite an obscene amount of navel-gazing I am no closer to that answer now than I was when I began. My motivation to write Reapers With Issues was just as strong and the subject matter just as easy to conceptualize as Gods of Asphalt’s was, so identifying a specific default in thinking didn’t pan out. The truth is that I’ve got a hundred different stories buzzing around in my head; everything from harmless children’s stories to British comedies to even more Reapers sequels (oddly there’s nothing milling around in there that remotely smacks of Erotica, but that’s a post for another day after an hour on a couch).
So after an even more shameless bought of self-contemplation I began to ask myself a different question, “Why do any of us write what we write?”
Do we choose our genre or subject matter because of who we are, or because of what we make of the world around us? I imagine it’s no coincidence that Reapers With Issues was written during the darkest hours of a friend’s battle with cancer, or that Gods of Asphalt was written while stuck in bed, listening to my two teenaged sons bicker amongst themselves and argue with their father.
It is also not lost on me that I wrote Reapers With Issues from a third-person point-of-view, allowing me to observe at a distance the story of a Reaper whose best efforts to gather souls are thwarted by a Savior, or that the overall theme of Gods of Asphalt is how brothers cope when their mother isn’t around.
I suppose in the end what we choose to write comes from the harmony of both who we are and what we see. I’ve learned that whether my writing is received as harmony or dischord depends entirely on who’s doing the reading, and no amount of alteration of my “music” will accommodate everyone.
For the record, I’m fine with that. I am a Jazz fan, after all.
Now that I’ve got your attention I’d like to make you aware of an ongoing project I’ve been spearheading that I am hoping you’ll want to be a part of. It’s a project to benefit a cause that’s close to my heart called LIBSTRONG, a community of friends who have gathered together in support of Libby, a dear young friend who is battling cancer.
We’ve put together a surprise project called WRISTS AROUND THE WORLD not only to raise money but to raise her spirits as she battles her illness. Keep reading to find out what it’s all about and to learn how you too can be involved:
From the WATW site:
Our latest endeavor is called WRISTS AROUND THE WORLD- a fun global project designed for people everywhere to show their support for Libby and her battle against cancer. Bloggers and non-bloggers alike are invited to purchase her LIBSTRONG wristbands and then snap pictures of their wrists against an iconic landmark of their city, state or hometown. Once the photo is taken it is emailed to us and then posted to our GALLERY.
The message behind our project is to show the world how Libby’s strength and determination touch more than just those around her. Her positivity reaches around the world!
When sending a picture please include information noting where the picture was taken. We would be happy to post your name or a link to your blog, although that is not necessary and we will respect all wishes for anonymity. We are requesting snapshots be of wrists wearing wristbands only, so even the most camera shy supporter feels comfortable enough to be involved.
LIBSTRONG wristbands are available for sale individually or in package deals combined with items donated from various blog supporters. Visit our MAKE A DIFFERENCE page for information on how to purchase the package that’s right for you!
To be a part of WRISTS AROUND THE WORLD send your snapshot to:
I am asking my fellow bloggers everywhere to purchase at least one wristband not only to raise some much needed money for Libby’s cause, but to show her your support from your very own hometown. Package prices include shipping within the United States only. Since I would like the wristbands to actually go around the world, I would be willing to donate both of my ebooks for free to anyone outside of the United States who purchases even just one LIBSTRONG wristband to offset the cost of shipping which would be the responsibility of the purchaser.
As of the writing of this post, Libby doesn’t know about this project. We’d like to get as many pics around the world as possible and then reveal her site as a gift.
As for my part in the WRISTS AROUND THE WORLD project I’ve decided to donate both my REAPERS WITH ISSUES and THE GODS OF ASPHALT ebooks and paperbacks to be included in wristband package deals. I am also including the blog compilation project F*CKED UP FAIRY TALES for donation once it is completed. Each contributing author’s name of that work will receive an honorary mention on the FRIENDS OF LIBSTRONG page with links to their blogs.
Additionally, if you are an author you can contribute by donating your own books for package deals to be included on their site. For ebooks simply donate a free coupon for your book that others may purchase to raise money for our cause. For information on paperback donations, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more details.
Thank you everyone for taking the time to stop by Wrists Around The World!
TODAY IS THE FIRST ANNIVERSARY OF MY BLOG! TO COMMEMORATE THIS AUSPICIOUS OCCASION I HAVE DECIDED TO RERUN MY VERY FIRST BLOG POST.
PLEASE TO ENJOY…
So yeah, I wrote a book.
I must have been high when I wrote it because there’s no other explanation I can give for my 120,000 word upper YA novel where the only noun I used more than “boner” was “blood.” It goes without saying that I’m self-published. I didn’t even try to submit it traditionally. Can you just imagine the poor agent who gets my query letter?
“My novel, THE GODS OF ASPHALT is complete at 120,000 words and is the first in a series of five books that for some reason I’ve decided to write out-of-order. Each one is told from the point of view of a teenage male protagonist who has exactly zero supernatural powers (unless you consider perpetual erections a superpower). Oh, and it also has Spanish subtitles.”
On the good side, if you’re like me and are just a little too into music, motorcycles and all around badassery this is the book for you. If you’re not, I’m sure Jodi Picoult’s got a blog somewhere. You can find the opening to chapter one at the top of the page under the tab GOA REVIEWS and you can find my book on line at:
When I set out to write The Gods of Asphalt it occurred to me that I would need to choose a town for the character of Sawyer to live in. Since I had already decided that Sawyer would be extremely tall, I thought the place he’d choose to call home should not be a metropolis, but a wide open town that possessed a classic, mid-western charm.
Call it luck or serendipity that on February 14, 2011 I discovered quite by accident the town of Valentine, Nebraska. Best known as “The Heart City,” Valentine participates in an annual re-mailing program where thousands of pieces of mail flow into the local United States Post Office so that they can be re-mailed with a special Valentine’s Day postmark and verse. The perfect town for a young man who renounces love to then find it, I thought.
Unfortunately Valentine did not escape the wildfires that have plagued the mid-west for the past few weeks. The devastation is wide-spread geographically as well as financially, with their losses reaching into the millions. Since Valentine and its surrounding areas are predominately agricultural, the devastation will be felt well into the future due to the loss of livestock and farming.
Below I have included information on how to make a donation if you choose to. As for my part, I have decided to donate all my proceeds from any Gods of Asphalt book sales for the next thirty days.