I'm honored to be part of the Sunday Salon-Chicago lineup this Sunday, 6/25, at 6:00 PM CDT. It's a virtual reading so you don't have to leave the confines of your own home. And, as Phil Collins might say, no jacket required. To register, just click on the following link: https://sundaysalon-chicago.com/
I'll be reading from my forthcoming novel, American Mythology. It would be lovely to see you there!
On December 2 and 3, I'll be attempting the seldom-seen, possibly-dangerous, definitely-foolhardy literary biathlon. Fortunately, I'll be accompanied by one of my writing friends and heroes, Joseph Peterson, for both events.
The first event will kick off on Friday December 2 at 6:00 PM at the Seminary Co-Op Bookstore in Hyde Park. This event will commemorate the official release of Joe's newest book Memorandum from the Iowa Cloud Appreciation Society. Joe will give a reading from his new book and I'll get the chance to ask him questions about it. I've read this already, folks, and it's one of his best. I can't wait to pick his brain about it.
The second leg of the biathlon will take place on Saturday December 3 at 3:00 PM and it promises to be a less buttoned-up affair -- a joint reading by Joe and me at our favorite Southside watering hole, Jimmy's Woodlawn Tap. We'll read from our new novels, sign a few books, and tip a few beverages while we do it. It'd be great to have you as company.
I'm hoping you'll have a chance to join us for any or all of this odyssey!
I'm honored to announce that I'll be appearing at this year's Printers Row Lit Fest. If you'd like to see me, I'll be there Sunday September 11 at 5:00 on the Main Stage, talking YA fiction with the authors Skyler Schrempp and Michelle Falkoff.
The Printers Row Lit Fest is always such a great event, with so many amazing authors, so you should plan to spend a good chunk of time there (and walk home with a lot of books). Here are the details on my event:
Date: Sunday, September 11
Location: Main Stage (on Polk, between Dearborn and Federal)
I'm excited to say that the launch party for my forthcoming novel, The Prince of Infinite Space, will take place at my hometown bookstore, on August 3 at 6:00 PM MST. This is a thrill for me because Billings is so much a part of the fabric of this book. It's also thrilling because This House of Books is an awesome bookstore, and the folks there really know how to throw a literary shindig.
Since this is a hometown reading, I'm hoping it'll be a more intimate, living room conversation about the book and writing, followed by a reading, and if anyone's game, we could slip off to a nearby bar afterwards to continue the discussion.
If you happen to be in Billings around that time, I'd love to see you there. For those who won't, we're going to try to have a streaming option available, so keep the date marked either way.
More details to follow.
Enough time has passed since signing the contract that it's probably safe to post this...
I have a new novel coming out!
Here's the title: The Prince of Infinite Space.
Here's the opening line: The peace was uneasy, but the treaty between my demons and me held. It has held.
Here's the premise: The year is 1990 and, while the country stands on the brink of war with Iraq, Kirby Russo is finally making some headway in life. At seventeen years old, he's figured out some important lessons: how to stay out of trouble with the authorities; how to write muck-raking articles that expose the hypocrisy of said authorities; and, most importantly, how to avoid obsessing about his long lost girlfriend Izzy (who has run away and may be in trouble in Chicago). But when a rich classmate snags the editorship of the school newspaper out from under him, Kirby knows his brief career as a conformist is over. An opportunity to reestablish his hell-raising bona fides arises when his long-lost father shows up with a shady past and a half-baked scheme. Together, they embark on a cross-country road trip to connect with a family he never knew, and maybe even track down Izzy. Kirby soon realizes, however, that life's biggest lessons – the ones that really matter – never happen according to plan.
It's a voice-driven story, narrated by Kirby himself. My guess is you'll either hate it so much you won't be able to finish it, or you'll love it so much that you'll want to fight anyone who doesn't love it as much as you. For this reason (among many others) this book is near and dear to my heart, and I'm incredibly grateful that the amazing Propertius Press wants the world to read it. Publication date is looking like early 2022. Don't worry, you'll be hearing much more from me as that time nears.
Got some fun readings coming up this month, and it'd be boss if you could join me!
First one will be at my favorite all-time reading venue: Jimmy's Woodlawn Tap. In addition to being right in my hood, this is a historic Hyde Park bar with a lot of friendly faces and a great room for spitting some words. The lineup will include Joe Peterson who's launching his new short story collection, 99 Bottles, and Stuart Ross who's got a brand new novel coming out with Tortoise Books, called Jenny in Corona. Here are the details:
Date: November 9
Time: 2:00 PM
Location: Jimmy's Woodlawn Tap, 1172 E. 55th Street, Chicago
The second event is one I'm incredibly excited to be part of. It's a fundraiser/book launch for Hypertext Review. For those who don't know, Hypertext Review -- in addition to being a kick-ass literary magazine -- is a studio that brings story-telling classes to underserved populations throughout Chicago. This event will be a launch for the new issue of the magazine, but it'll be also be a fundraiser so they can continue to support their incredible mission. The bonus here is that the event will be at the Hideout, which I've never read at before, but have always wanted to. Kind of a dream come true for me. Here are the details:
Date: November 13
Location: The Hideout, 1354 W. Wabansia, Chicago
Hope to see you at either or both of these events!
It is with great sadness that we let friends and family know that our good boy Tanka has transitioned into the next plane.
Tanka became a part of our family in 2012, when we adopted him from the Great Pyrenees Rescue of Central Illinois. They estimate he was at least five years old at the time, and his adoptive name was Buzz, due to the fact that he was found wandering around downstate Illinois with his hair shaved. Buzz, soon be known as Tanka, was chosen to live with us by his sister, Kaiya, who, like most who would come to know him, was drawn to his gentle energy and calm presence.
Tanka was very much a stereotype of his breed. First of all, he was stubborn. Probably the thing he was most adamant about was getting his walks. We could take the most winding, circuitous route imaginable, but as soon as we turned a corner headed for home, he'd recognize it, and immediately start sniffing at every little thing in order to prolong the excursion.
Second of all, he had an inordinate amount of patience. He could be nipped at by little dogs, beset upon by strangers, photographed by tourists, yet he took it all with a calm, generous and humble spirit. There is a lesson here for all of us, should we care to recognize it.
And finally, true to his breed, Tanka was strong. When it came time to chase ducks or geese or squirrels, we came to know the full power of his strength. On more than one occasion, we were dragged by the leash that was attached to him. He was also strong in other ways. When his body began to fail him, when it could no longer keep up with his indomitable spirit, he bore that affront with a strength and dignity we all could only hope to possess.
The last thing people should know about Tanka (and if you were lucky enough to meet him you already know this) is that he was incredibly loved by anyone and everyone who met him. People would pet him one time on the street and forever after they would ask about him. He had the kind of soul that makes you feel better just to be around it.
Tanka has moved on now, and the hole in our hearts is gigantic. But he's joined his sister, Kaiya, and his brother, Niko, and all the other good cousin and friend pups who have been waiting for him. Where he is now, his legs once again work, his bladder is full, and he's marking this new and exciting territory the best way he knows how. We love you, boy, so much.
My short story collection, What We Build Upon the Ruins, was named a finalist for the 2018 High Plains Book Award in the category of short fiction. I am incredibly honored and grateful and honored to receive this distinction -- mostly because it means I get to take part in the High Plains Book Festival, which runs from October 18-20. Follow the above link to check out the entire festival schedule. But if you want to know what I'll be doing, I can confirm that I'll be reading at 11:00 AM on Saturday, October 20, at the Yellowstone Art Museum. Local bookstore, This House of Books, will have copies of my book on hand and I'll have my signing pen with me. I hope you can make it!
I'm thrilled to let folks know that I'll be putting on a workshop at the upcoming Conversations & Connections writers' conference in Arlington, VA, on May 12. This is a one-day conference that focuses on practical advice for writers and is put on the by the good folks at Barrelhouse Magazine.
My workshop will focus specifically on how to get more out of your dialogue, both story-wise and character-wise. I'm super excited about this workshop, and I've even put together a PowerPoint for it. So, yeah, it's pretty serious.
If you're in the DC area, they still have a few more tickets left, so be sure to sign up and show up!