My Life in Writing 5/14

micMay was a busy month filled with readings, an author discussion, and struggling to string words together for my new novel. I’m no good at lying around, so regardless of how hectic it got I appreciated that the wheels kept turning and the words fell where they wanted to.

At the start of last month I was honored to be invited by Marshall University to be the featured reader at their launch party for their literary journal Et Cetera Magazine. It was great to read my work, and offer advice to so many hopeful young authors in love with language.

During the last weekend of the month I read my from new novella Roller Girls Love Bobby Knight and did a book signing for the students and alumni of Spalding University. I hadn’t been back to visit the program in years, but it was great to see old friends and share. Returning to the program (if only for a short time) made me feel as if I still had a home there.

The following day I took part in a panel discussion dedicated to transitioning from an M.F.A. in Writing to teaching at the college-level, and was fortunate to have the opportunity to offer advice to their current students and new graduates on how to best navigate that difficult transition.

In addition to reading and signing at two universities, in May I was the featured author for The Next Best Book Club on Goodreads where I took part in a week-long question and answer thread with readers. That enabled me to give the story behind some of the stories in my collection Romance for Delinquents as well as discuss global issues related to writing and my process. Though the question and answer period has passed you can still read the thread here.

May 27th brought the release of my novella Roller Girls Love Bobby Knight, which won the 2013 Deerbird Novella Prize, and I was stoked to see my book featured by Barnes and Noble on their May Indie Book Roundup! They gave it the cover of the page, and a great write-up. It was also exciting to find my book promoted along with those from authors I admire.

Quick side note here, and not just due to B&N repping my work, but if you buy books online please do so through Barnes and Noble. Their prices are identical to Amazon, and unlike Amazon (whose book sales only make up around 20% of their business) are dedicated to book selling. Though it’s vital to patronize privately owned bookstores, if you do buy books online please do so through Barnes and Noble as they’re dedicated to books and promoting authors unlike Amazon, who in addition to recent fights with publishers, make the majority of their profits through the sale of electronics.

Now that May is over I’m deep in the process of finishing my punk rock YA novel. Novel writing at times can be like having a bad cold in that in one moment it’s easy to imagine will be over soon, and then in the next feel condemned to struggle through an undetermined length of time until it’s ran its course. This isn’t to say that the writing is grueling or without reward, but only to relate how hard it can be to know when you’ve said everything you want to and covered the stitching so that the narrative flows seamlessly.

I hope to arrange more readings and signings in the next few months and am in the process of doing so now. More than anything though, I want to finish what I started last August. The twelveth and final draft is hopefully only a few weeks away. Until then I’ll be in my basement room, with a laptop and some books, and a beat-up journal to store ideas away. Send dead flowers by the U.S. mail.

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