(more) Top favorite reads of 2013

LitReactor just posted an end-of-the-year roundup, for which I provided my top five favorite books that were released in 2013. Narrowing it down to five was tough. I did my best. Here’s the list I gave them:

  • The Hard Bounce by Todd Robinson
  • Graphic the Valley by Peter Brown Hoffmeister
  • Country Hardball by Steve Weddle
  • Junkie Love by Joe Clifford
  • Dare Me by Megan Abbott

You can click over to the site to see why I picked these books. Plus, you’ll see the books my LitReactor cohorts picked, and there are some great reads in there.

But there were a lot of other books I read that I really enjoyed and I want to give them their due. So, here are the rest of my favorite reads among books released this year:

And, here are the books I read that were not published this year but I loved the living shit out of anyway:

He still hadn’t looked up, and she had no intention of venturing farther into his territory until he’d seen her and she could assess his reaction. From here she could still make it back to safety before he could get out from behind the wheel and catch her, but going too far would be like misjudging the length of chain by which some dangerous wild animal was secured. She waited, thinking of this and conscious of the incongruity or even the utter madness of the simile. Dangerous? This nice, well-mannered, unbelievably handsome boy who might have stepped right out of a mother’s dream? That was the horror of it, she thought. Conscious evil or malicious intent you could at least communicate with, but Warriner was capable of destroying her with the pointlessness and the perfect innocence of a falling safe, and with its same imperviousness to argument.

And… that’s all I’ve got, folks! Until next year, happy reading.

May updates!

  • I’ve got a piece up at Salon on the cult of self-publishing. I measure my relative success or failure on how long it takes for someone to call me a douchebag. Since it happened in the first comment, I’d call this a success.
  • We’ve got a solid slate of classes coming up at LitReactor, covering query letters, eBook coding, thriller and horror writing, character archetypes, and grammar. Find ’em here.
  • New podcast! We talk about transgressive fiction. Good times all around.

Awesome new review

Got a very nice review of the novella, from fellow zombie-writer Leah Rhyne. She’s the author of Zombie Days, Campfire Nights (Undead America), and is generally a pretty cool person, so I was thrilled to get featured over at her site.

Here’s an excerpt:

This book is something more than your standard zombie-fare, though, at least in my opinion. Stylistically, it’s almost…noir-ish. Noir-zombies? Sure! It follows a hardened cop, the people he protects, and his deathly-ill wife, all dark images and long-shot descriptions of the battered Manhattan skyline.

Zombie noir. Love it.

Check out the entire review here!

Various things have happened

The fourth installment of my column, Adventures in Self-Publishing, is live. In it, I talk about the Amazon KDP program.

Also live: The third episode of Unprintable, the LitReactor podcast. This is our best one yet. Probably because I was a little drunk. Check it out. If you could pop over to iTunes to review/rate it, that would be greatly appreciated.

The LitReactor shop is open for business. We are selling a very handsome t-shirt and a snazzy mug. Just in time for the holidays! Nothing says love like a mug.

Hey, also, I’ve been promoted to Class Director at LitReactor, which means that I’m now in charge of developing all those online writing classes the site hosts. I’m thrilled to be doing it.

We’ve got two classes coming up that are pretty great: One with Suzy Vitello on dialogue, and one with Taylor Houston on grammar and style. Check them out here. And there’s going to be more to share in the coming weeks.

And, on a final note, this week I got my very first check for a piece of fiction—a short story that’ll appear in Kwik Krimes, an anthology of flash fiction edited by Otto Penzler, to be published by Amazon’s Thomas & Mercer imprint.

It is gratifying beyond words to get paid for making something up in my head. Also, there’s a ton of really amazing authors in it. I don’t know why they let me in.

Kwik Krimes will hit in the spring, I believe. Don’t worry, I will tell you when.

Want my novella for free? OK, fine!

As I mentioned last week, I enrolled my novella for Amazon’s KDP Select program. Today, it’s available for free, because I wanted to try on this promotion thing, to see what would happen. Go and get it. I’ll recount how it goes in my column on LitReactor later this month. But not before I write a piece comparing the book and film versions of Anna Karenina, which I am very excited for, even though no one will read it.


As I’ve noted, my venture into self-publishing is an experiment. In order to continue that experiment, I plan to enroll my novella in Amazon’s KDP Select program. That means I have to take it down from Barnes & Noble and Kobo for a period of three months. The Amazon version is DRM-free, if that helps. I don’t like the idea of alienating anyone, but for the sake of this, I want to try it. That, and both sites have posted very slim sales–a dozen at B&N, zero at Kobo.

I’ll expand on all of this in my next column at LitReactor, and as soon as the three months is up, I’ll re-list the novella at the other sites. In the mean time, please accept my apologies if you’re unable to get a copy.

Horrifying Hallowe’en Reads

I’m pretty honored to have my novella picked by Joe Nassise for a feature he’s running over at the Kobo Writing Life blog: Horrifying Hallowe’en Reads. I’m in good company–he’s recommending some really good books. You can see today’s entry, and find the entire series, at this link.

Joe is a fantastic writer, and also the guy who taught me how to code eBooks. He should have another class on that subject coming up at LitReactor soon, so keep an eye out.

Two new zombie-related entries at LitReactor

I’ve got two new columns up at LitReactor!

First is the third installment of my self-publishing column. I didn’t have much time to dedicate to marketing this month, so I’m using this as an opportunity for discussion–namely, on eBook pricing and reviews. Let me know what you think. The input so far has been terrific.

The second column is also zombie-related… we’re now doing television recaps! The Walking Dead seemed like a natural place to start, as it’s based on a comic book, and also incredibly stupid. And it turns out, the third season is starting off really strong. Check out my recap here, and head down to the comments to talk about it.

I’ve got some more stuff coming up soon that I’m excited about–a cool promotion for the novella and a short story I have coming out in a print anthology. More TK…