Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Justin Holt -- reading live

You may recall Justin Holt from the brief interview I did with him on my blog a while back. In case you don't, he's the author of the fast-paced and striking novel Payday.

Justin will be reading on Thursday, March 2nd at Edinboro University. (That's in northwest Pennsylvania, so any Ohioans, Pennsylvanians, and even some New Yorkers will find it a short trip.) He'll be there will other alumni authors and it should be a pretty cool night with live music and refreshments between readers.

Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

we'll see

Regarding the list below and the "things I cannot do":

It irritated me to write that out, things I can't do. So it's been 36 hours that I've gone without a cigarette. I realize to you nonsmokers, this doesn't sound like a long time. It is. I don't know if it will last, but I'll keep you posted.

Keanu better hope I'm not successful though. Cause if I accomplish this, I'm coming after him next.

I don't care how much the fucker protests. I know kung-fu.

Sunday, February 19, 2006


I have been tagged! How exciting, it's my first time, and it's thanks to the always charming Ellen Meister. (Ellen, btw, is at a very exciting point in her writing career, having just received the ARCs for her upcoming blockbuster novel. Check out her blog for more info.)

So the meme she passed along to me is called 7 things. Here you go:

Seven things to do before I die:
1. do something to improve someone else's life
2. create a beautiful piece of art
3. go to Brazil
4. dance a tango
5. quit smoking
6. kiss Keanu Reeves
7. come up with some better/deeper aspirations in life

Seven things I cannot do:
1. ride a bike
2. dance a tango
3. dress stylishly
4. eat cashews
5. quit smoking
6. probably, kiss Keanu Reeves
7. come up with some better/deeper aspirations in life

Seven things that attract me to my mate:

Seven things I say:
1. Yeah, it's cool
2. Fuck
3. Another round
4. Let's eat
5. Let's drink
6. Whatever you say. But...
7. Right.

Seven books I love:
1. Women (Charles Bukowski)
2. On the Road (Jack Kerouac)
3. Pride & Prejudice (Jane Austen)
4. Jitterbug Perfume (Tom Robbins)
5. Chances (Jackie Collins)
6. Lamb (Christopher Moore)
7. Team Player (Biff Mitchell)

Seven movies that I've loved:
1. Goodfellas
2. It's a Wonderful Life
3. Bull Durham
4. Ocean's 11 (and Ocean's Eleven)
5. The Cooler
6. Moonstruck
7. Scarface

Seven people to tag:
1. Gwendolyn Joyce Mintz
2. Matthew St. Amand
3. Fred Schoeneman
4. Lisa Renee Jones
5. Justin Holt
6. Biff Mitchell
7. Beverly Jackson

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Rauxa Prize for erotic writing

I cribbed the following from GJM's blog. Sounds very cool. All you smut mongerers out there, please feel free to drop me a comment and nudge me toward your story. I'm happy to make a nomination.

The Rauxa Prize for erotic writing carries an award of $1,000, given annually for an erotic short story of exceptional literary quality. An additional prize for erotic poetry carries an award of $300. The awards are judged by a select jury, and chosen from work nominated by editors and writers. All entries are read "blinded" (without author's name available). Publications of any type are encouraged to nominate qualifying material. Each publication may nominate up to five stories and three poems for inclusion; any individual may nominate a single story and/or poem.

The 2005 judges were:
Steve Almond
Leigh Davidson
Bill Noble

Judges for the 2006 prize will be announced soon.

Nomination Guidelines (2006)

The short story award is intended for erotic fiction; therefore any story submitted must have a strong erotic element involved. A short story is defined as a story up to 10,000 words in length. We will consider any original stories which fall within this length limitation, including short-shorts and novel excerpts. Stories nominated for the Rauxa Prize should be from work published in the previous calendar years (August 2005 - July 2006).
The poetry award is intended for erotic poems; therefore any poem submitted must have a strong erotic element involved. Poems up to 100 lines are acceptable. Poems nominated for the Rauxa Prize should be from work published in the previous calendar years (August 2005 - July 2006).

To nominate, e-mail attached .rtf or .doc format files (in standard manuscript format, double-spaced, etc., suitable for print-out) to rauxaprize@yahoo.com. If the work appeared online, you may alternatively simply send us the relevant URL(s).
Work printed out in standard manuscript format, or tear-sheets from publications, may also be mailed to The Rauxa Prize, P.O. Box 4741, Englewood, CO 80155.
For all nominations, please include a statement of where and when it was published, and any copyright or contributor info if you have it.
Nominations must be received by August 15, 2006.
Please note that nomination by a publication also constitutes permission for us to list the publication's name as a participating publication. Please direct any questions to Kate Redfern, Rauxa Prize Administrator, at rauxaprize@yahoo.com.

Eligible Publications

The work may have been published any place, in any form: from the Internet to traditional print, from self-published to mass market. We do not accept unpublished work.

storySouth Million Writers sponsored by Spoiled Ink

The contest is now open and accepting nominations. Good luck short story writers!

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Valentine's with Ruthie's

I'm so jazzed. The always amazing Ruthie's Club has put up a story of mine and given it a killer illustration for their Valentine's edition. They did stories (and illos) about love gone right, and about love gone bad. My story, "Coyote Blues" is about love gone bad. The illustration by Gloklund kicks ass. Ruthie's Club is a member's only site, but they update with lots of top-notch stories (and they're all illustrated) weekly, along with having plenty of special and fun theme issues, flashes, and cartoons. If you're a fan of literary erotica, do yourself a favor and at least swing by and take the free tour if you're not sure about joining.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Mutual Holdings -- buy direct

I was recently able to get some remaindered copies of Mutual Holdings.

So I now have ample copies available, and you can buy directly from me. I'm selling these at a deep discount, so the price is cheaper than it is at B&N and this price includes first class shipping. The total price is $9.75 for US residents, $11.75 for Canadian and international orders. So if you'd like a copy of the book, but you haven't been able to find it at a B&N near you, you can get it this way.

I can't get the little "buy now" button to work properly inside a post here, but if you're going for the US buying option of $9.75, you can click the little button over on the right that says "buy now".

Alternately, for a Canadian or international order, you can visit my webpage here to order.

You can also find several other options on my site, such as how to purchase it along with discounted, signed copies of 24/7 or Trattoria. Again, those buying options are right here on my website.

Million Writers Award

Thanks to the lovely and talented Myfanwy Collins, I realized that this year's storySouth's Million Writers Award for Fiction is about to kick off. Nominations begin on February 15th. This year, the award is being sponsored by Spoiled Ink, which is a terrific writer's community in its own right. As such, first prize gets $300. storySouth does incur some serious expense by putting this on though, so you're also welcome to make a donation to them. The complete Rules can be found here.

Last year, Alicia Gifford took top prize with her phenomenal "Toggling the Switch".

Remember, stories published online in 2005, over 1,000 words are eligible. So if you recall a favorite story of last year, get ready to nominate it on Tuesday the 15th. And if you're looking for suggestions, the aforementioned Ms. Collins is compiling a rather large list for your reading pleasure!

I haven't settled on what story I'm nominating yet. So if you'd like to drop me a note and suggest one, please do.

And thanks to storySouth for doing this. It brings a lot of attention to internet published fiction, and the writers.

Dallas Reunion

Edward Moore can be found in the latest issue of Thirst for Fire with his story Dallas Reunion. Congrats, Edward!

Friday, February 03, 2006

Jody Raffoul profile by Matt St. Amand

The latest issue of The Drive features a terrific profile of musician Jody Raffoul written by Matt St. Amand.

Jody's latest CD is available via Amazon.

And I guarantee you we'll be hearing plenty more from Matt this year. Already multi-pubbed with a brilliant short story collection, book of poetry, and a biting satire, his first novel will be out shortly. You can visit him online at his blog.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Jim Ruland -- Big Lonesome

Since I'm in a pimpin' mood today, I've got one more exciting one. Jim Ruland will be reading in NYC tomorrow night with Sam Lipsyte. The info:

Friday February 3, 2006, from 7-9 PM

The Happy Ending Lounge
302 Broome St.
New York, NY

Jim's debut collection of short stories Big Lonesome is something I've mentioned here before, but in case you missed it, I'm telling you again. It's been getting lots of good press, and if you're into funky/noir/western/sailor-chic/cool mixed with outstanding writing and riveting storytelling, then it's right up your alley. So go hear him read, and pick up the book.

Army Porn -- Fred Schoeneman

My pal, and incredibly talented writer, Fred Schoeneman has put his amazing novel Army Porn up on his website. You can download it and chip him a couple bucks for it. I've read the novel, and it is well worth it.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006


I'd gotten derailed for a while, but I did a little surfing and found another cool writer that I wanted to feature here. I originally found her because we share a publisher, but that led me to her very funny blog. She agreed to a quick interview, so without further ado, meet
Erin O'Brien

Erin O'Brien lives and works in a suburb of Cleveland, Ohio. She's been a mom for nine years and a wife for thirteen. She abandoned her career as an electrical engineer in 1995 to write. She is a contributor to a number of local publications and the editor of the "Broadview Journal." O'Brien contributed a chapter and an afterword to her brother John's posthumously published novel "The Assault on Tony's." John O'Brien authored "Leaving Las Vegas," which was made into an award winning film after his death in 1994.

Erin's debut novel is Harvey & Eck.

From the book jacket:
Harvey is 33. She has a motorcycle, a baby-on-the-way and two troublesome men. Eck has only a parakeet named Dickens--but not for long.

You can find Erin online at her blog, Erin's website, and her novel is available right here: Harvey & Eck on Amazon

1) Who are some of your favorite writers, and how do you think they've influenced you?

I'm always envious of those writers who rattle off names like Proust and Dickens and Tolstoy when it comes to a question like this. I am much more pedestrian. In my younger days, I read all of Fleming's Bond series and all of MacDonald's Travis McGee books.

I love dark work and count "American Pyscho" by Bret Easton Ellis, "Heart of Darkness" by Joseph Conrad, Larry Brown's body of work, and "Clockwork Orange" by Anthony Burgess among my favorites.

That said, I can't say these writers have deeply influenced me, although I do believe the best writers seek truth regardless of genre or style or content.

I am being completely honest when I say that I until I considered this question, it had never before occurred to me that my brother John ("Leaving Las Vegas") has had the greatest influence on my writing.

As I process that revelation, right in this moment, I know that it is one of the tiny gifts that I come upon as I journey along my difficult path of words.

2) What do you think is your greatest strength or asset in your writing? Your biggest weakness or flaw?

Oh hell.

What's next? You ask me if you think I'm fat?

I have a knack for humor, and I am grateful for that. In fiction, I have a devil of a time with plot. I can't tell you how many times I have great characters in wonderful situations sitting there on the page looking at me and saying, "So, O'Brien, what's next?"

3) How'd you come up with epistolary format for Harvey & Eck? Did you ever feel limited by it while you were writing, wishing you hadn't used that format? Or did it work out as you'd envisioned?

There is something voyeuristic about reading someone else's letters. It is a bit naughty and satisfying. I was completely satisfied with the results when I was ensconced in the project as well as when I was trying to place the book. I still would not have the book any other way. The only times I was disgusted about the epistolary format was when I'd get a rejection that blamed the letters as being "too

4) You're very funny on your blog. Is humor something you try to work into your fiction? And what are you working on now?

I rarely try to write humor. Something is either funny or it isn't. When my writing is funny, it's because something humorous grew organically from the text. This is true of both my fiction and non-fiction (and my blog is largely non-fiction).

My blog, which has been my primary resource for the promotion of my book and my writing, has been taking a lot of my time and energy. Other than that, I'm always gunning for a paying market, a teaching gig or newspaper essay. And I'm at work on an emotionally grueling memoir.

5) What do you find to be the most difficult part of writing and/or publishing? What's the greatest reward? Is it worth it? Or is writing something you'd do even if there was zero payoff?

The rejection is very difficult. But when you're gliding on the words, that is beautiful. And then there's all the writer buddies you amass. They're funny and smart. They pick you up when the rejection puts you down.

There is also the personal growth that writing affords. My compassion and capacity for love has never been greater. And it grows every day.

6) Stock question: Dinner with anyone, dead or alive. Who is it?

My brother John, we lost him to suicide in 1994, just two weeks after he signed the film contract.

7) One CD, one book, one DVD and a desert island. What book, CD, and DVD do you take?

Book: The Oxford English Dictionary

CD: The soundtrack from "The Royal Tenenbaums." It's got Nick Drake, Bob Dylan, Nico and the Velvet Underground just to name a few. I listened to this CD when I was grieving my father's death as well as when I was flying around gleefully in my Mini Cooper. It's a wonderful and diverse collection.

DVD: "The Wizard of Oz"

8) When did you first get the feeling not that you wanted to write, but that you could be so successful at it?

That's a pretty ambitious assertion. Actually, my successes thus far in this racket have been very humble, but the ball is starting to roll. Hence, all I can say is that one day I hope to be able to cite the event that pushed me into what I consider my most successful period.

My writing has begun to garner attention and for that I am thankful. This essay that I wrote for the Cleveland Plain Dealer (http://www.erinobrien.us/lbrown.html) got quite a few responses and gave my writing ego a much-needed boost.

9) Suppose you can't have both: Would you rather have respect from your peers and critical acclaim (but not making cash from writing), or would you rather be a bestselling author with the fat coin?

I guess I'd have to take the critical acclaim and depend on selling my body to pull in the big bucks.

*aside to husband, "honey, have you seen my thigh-high boots?"*

All kidding aside, I try to put forth my best possible writing all the time. That is what gives me the most satisfaction and, in the end, it is what garners the most attention.