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!
Things here have finally started to slow down, after the rush of excitement and activity surrounding the launch of the collection (in addition to about a hundred other things that were going on this past fall.) As such, I'm going to run a couple posts here compiling some of the various press thingies that I had the opportunity to do. First off, here is a list of the print interviews I got to do. These were a ton of fun and made me think a LOT. I also go to meet some really cool literary folks in the process. So here they are:
"Go Down to the River": Courtney Harler Interviews Author Giano Cromley, in Chicago Literati
'Microscopic gaze' is key to Cromley's literary approach, in Billings Gazette
Writer's to Watch: Giano Cromley, in Origins Journal
One Question: Giano Cromley, in Hypertext Magazine.
Book Notes - Giano Cromley "What We Build Upon the Ruins," on Largehearted Boy (This isn't a traditional interview, but I wasn't sure where else to put this one.)
Putting the Fractured Pieces Back Together: An Interview with Giano Cromley, author of What We Build Upon the Ruins, on Cease, Cows
Interview with Giano Cromley, author of What We Build Upon the Ruins, on Steph Post's author page
The Writer's Handful with Giano Cromley, on Patricia Ann McNair's Things Writerly and Readerly
My First Time: Giano Cromley, on The Quivering Pen
If My Book: What We Build Upon the Ruins, on Monkey Bicycle
I'm delighted to be reading at the 2017 Lit Crawl in San Francisco on October 14 at 5:00 PM at Casanova Lounge. The reading is sponsored by Identity Theory, which is one of the more kickass literary journals out there.
If you live in the Bay Area (or if you have a wad of spare cash and a desire to travel to the Bay Area), you should come on out for the festivities. It's an incredible lineup of readers, some of whom I know quite well, and some of whom I'm looking forward to meeting and hearing the day of. As an extra incentive, there will be advance copies of my new short story collection available for under-the-table sale from shady dudes hanging out at the merch table.
This weekend I'll be emceeing the 5 year anniversary party of Chicago's premier indie book publisher, Tortoise Books. The celebration will be Saturday, August 5, from 5:00 pm to 7:00 at Bookends & Beginnings in Evanston (address: 1712 Sherman Avenue, Alley 1).
It's going to be a stellar lineup of writers on tap: Alex Higley, Christine Maul Rice, Zoe Zolbrod, and Gerald (also known as Jerry) Brennan. Each one of these writers is worth a listen on their own, but together? All in one place? Come on, man, that's a monopoly of talent that's patently unfair to the competition. Frankly, there ought to be a law against that kind of deck-stacking.
In short, here are just a few of the reasons you might want to stop by and check out this event:
1. You want to help celebrate the enfant terrible of Chicago indie publishing
2. You want to see some great writers read great work
3. You're a huge fan of Evanston and gosh darnit you just don't get up there often enough.
4. You love checking out new independent bookstores and you've never been to Bookends & Beginnings before.
5. You're an aficionado of superb emceeing.
So many reasons to go. So few excuses not to.
Here at last is the final version of the cover for my forthcoming short story collection. (Big thanks to Daniela Campos for her creativity and patience.) I've debated about whether to go into a lengthy explanation for why I settled on this image for the cover, but I think maybe it's best to just let it speak for itself. So here it is:
The designer is putting the finishing touches on the book cover, so I'll be sharing that soon. Plus, my editor is making the last few adjustments to the interior text, which means the book itself is getting close to being a reality. Thus far, I've gotten some incredibly generous blurbs from some writers I admire immensely. If you'd like to see those, follow this link to The Story Collection page.
In this post, I wanted to share the verbiage my editor came up with to describe the collection:
Like an arrowhead, the title story in this collection pierces through our tough skin to what’s delicate within. It’s the first piece in a triptych that elegantly holds together this stunning collection about love and loss and longing—our feeble human institutions and fragile relationships broken down and rusting; our tender hearts shot through with tragedy and dysfunction but still struggling to find wholeness and healing, or just to keep beating as long as possible in the face of overwhelming sorrow.
I'm pleased as punch to hear someone I respect that much pay my writing such an awesome compliment. So I'll just leave it at that.
Stay tuned for the cover image, which should be good to go sometime this week.
Though I've already spilled the beans on Facebook, I wanted to formally post here that the ink on the contract for my next book is dry. Here are some particulars you can use to keep yourself in the know:
Here's what a couple early readers had to say:
"To touch the heart without even a hint of sentimentality is a tough trick for any fiction writer, and most of us never quite get it right. Giano Cromley not only pulls off this trick, he establishes touching the heart as his own particular genius that distinguishes him from other writers of talent and serious purpose. He makes you feel the depths of your own humanity. These stories are not only great reads, they are an enduring contribution to our literature."
Ernest Hebert -- author of The Dogs of March, The Old American, and ten other novels
"Giano Cromley’s powerful stories feature blue collar characters who make mistakes, race blindly toward disaster, and frequently plunge over the rim into darkness. These are the folks Tom Waits and Lucinda Williams capture in their songs. Survival in the aftermath is the key. "
Richard Peabody -- editor, Gargoyle Magazine
So that's it for now, I will be using this page to provide future updates regarding the official release date, cover info, more early reviews, reading venues and dates, and any other worthwhile announcements, so stay tuned!
I'm pleased to let gentle readers know that I'll be reading at the iO Theater this coming Wednesday (1/25) at 10:30 PM as part of their Fictious Improv series. The way I see it, there are two really good reasons you should consider going.
First off, it's at the goddamn iO Theater! For those who don't know, the iO Theater (formerly known at Improv Olympics, but no longer called that due to the assholishness of the actual International Olympic Committee) is considered by insiders to be Chicago's best improv theater. so if you haven't been there yet, you're really missing out. I am, incidentally, hugely honored to be part of a show there.
Secondly, the Fictitious series is a cool-ass series. Basically, a writer gets up and reads a short story, and then the team of improvisers proceeds to improvise within that story's literary universe. The universe of my story involves a vacuum cleaner, giant pet cats, and a relationship collapsing under the weight of both. In short, it should be a pretty good improvisational universe.
The show will be held at the Jason Chin Harold Cabaret. I highly recommend that you find your way over there for the show. Hope to see you then...
Last night, I had the pleasure of reading with an awesome lineup of writers at one of the coolest new bookstores in Chicago -- Volumes Bookcafe in Wicker Park. The occasion was the launch of Tortoise Books' new anthology entitled "The Pleasure You Suffer: A Saudade Anthology." For those of you who are unfamiliar with the word Saudade (as I was), here is the definition cribbed from the preface:
Saudade reportedly has no direct English translation; it’s a Portuguese word describing the nostalgic longing for something that may never return, or may not exist. This feeling can be strangely comforting; author Manuel de Mello calls it “A pleasure you suffer, an ailment you enjoy.” It permeates the music of Brazil, another nation steeped in slavery and sadness and the hope for a better life. Yet this heartsick yearning’s actually very familiar to those of us born and raised in North America; we often call it “the blues.”
Choosing a story to submit for this anthology was a challenge -- one that first required me to ponder what saudade really is. In my mind, the past colors the present, and the present clouds the past. Like two lovers trying to communicate but who more often than not wind up with crossed signals. Those crossed signals, between the past and present, for me, are what saudade is. And my story, "Homefront," tries to give voice to that.
When I found out my story was accepted, I was thrilled. Now, after getting a chance to hear some of the other authors from the anthology read, I'm positively giddy. It's a veritable all-star lineup of writers I admire (which, like any good all-star lineup, means all offense and no defense, i.e. lots o' fun!).
If you're looking for an interesting mix of stories and poems that strives to interpret this omnipresent itch-you-can't-scratch, you really ought to pick it up. Right now, the best place to get a copy in a brick-and-mortar store is Volumes Bookcafe. For those looking to order one you can do so through Amazon, or through Tortoise Books' website. Buy it!
This is a repository for all my semi-filtered thoughts on... blah, blah, blah.