Path to Publication 2.2: On Being A Writer And Having Poor Impulse Control

My first novel is the start of a series. In my last column, I talked a bit about the process of researching the sequel, City of Rose. You’d think, in the month since that column ran, I would have gotten a lot of work done. And you would be wrong!

If I were a smart person, I would have used my impending purchase of an XBox One as an incentive to work harder. I should have said: “Self, you can buy the XBox One only when you finish the first draft of your next book. Then you can play a straight week of Titanfall as a palate cleanser, before you have to get into the editing process.”

But I have poor impulse control. So I bought it. And really, it’s the definition of a catch-22: I wanted to use my advance to treat myself to something, and in the process turfed my chances of having the free time to write another book. And you know what? I’m fine with that. Titanfall, man. There is something so viscerally satisfying about being pinned down by enemy fire and then summoning a giant robot from the sky and then climbing inside it to fire rockets at people. Especially after a long day…

Read the rest here!

News roundup!

The second round of Path to Publication ran at LitReactor yesterday. I wrote about AWP and readings and book trailers and a bunch of other stuff. You can read that here.

The LitReactor podcast is back! That’s exciting, considering how long it’s been since we recorded an episode. I spend a little bit of it talking about my book deal with Exhibit A. We also talk to Anne Jamison about fan fiction. It’s a good time. Give it a listen.

Finally, newsletter! I figure, for the two or three times a year I have something worth announcing, it might not be a bad idea to start one up. So you can click here… or click on that super-fancy envelope icon in the right-hand column, if you’re into that kind of thing.

(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.

Guest post on crime fiction cliches

The nice folks over at Mulholland Books—one of today’s best crime fiction publishers, from my view (you know, outside my imprint)–invited me to do a guest blog post for them. So I wrote about the top 10 cliches in crime fiction.

Here are the top three:

1. The deep and intense relationship with alcohol.

Has there ever been a private investigator or a hard-boiled protagonist who didn’t drown his or her feelings in a bottle? Bonus points if that alcohol is amber and smoky. Vices are fun, but too often, they’re overused as a defining characteristic.

2. The deep and intense relationship with music.

A lot of authors name-check musicians. In crime fiction it’s almost always jazz or the blues. Again, amber and smoky. Where’s the polka? The Norwegian death metal? It would be great to see some characters with a little range.

3. The uptight female character as potential sex toy.

If a prudish but pretty woman meets the male protagonist in the first 50 pages of a story, you know they’ll end up having sex. It’ll be liberating for her, a moment of vulnerability for him—and the author will get to work out some deep-seated sexual fantasy. Everyone wins!

Go here to find the rest!

9/9: KWIK KRIMES signing

This Monday, September 9, I’ll be signing Kwik Krimes at The Mysterious Bookshop, along with a number of the anthology’s contributors.

This is the first time that I’ll be signing books for actual people, so I’m super excited but also a little nervous and wondering if I should change my signature for signing books so no one can forge checks in my name. Is this the kind I’m supposed to think about? I don’t even know.

Also appearing at the event are:

Otto Penzler, Erik Arneson, Albert Ashforth, N.J. Ayers, Peter Blauner, William Chambers, Reed Farrel Coleman, Bruce DeSilva, Gerald Elias, James Grady, Lyndsay Faye, Jim Fusilli, Chris Grabenstein, and Parnell Hall.

So it’s a stacked lineup. And it’s going to be fun. And there will be booze, in case you needed that added incentive.

Festivities kick off at 6 p.m. The bookshop is located at 58 Warren Street in Manhattan. Be there!

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.