Wednesday, October 28, 2009

American Vampire

I promised myself that I wouldn't write another post about comic books after I made a pathetic request for a comic-book-pal and netted not a single response. My wife said that it was brutal to read the post and she felt very bad for me.
However, I wanted to mention that an amazing fiction writer, Scott Snyder, has landed a ongoing series with Vertigo called American Vampire. Snyder wrote the really, really awesome story collection Voodoo Heart and when I started my subscription to One Story back in 2002, the first story I got was Snyder's story "Happy Fish, Plus Coin" which is still one of my favorite stories from that journal.
Snyder wrote a Human Torch one-shot for Marvel, and is doing some work on an X-Men series, but this American Vampire series is going to be a huge deal. Stephen King is co-writing the first five issues. So, yes, this is going to be big.

Monday, October 19, 2009


The National Book Award Finalists were announced last week and when I met with my students on Thursday, I read them the first paragraphs of each book and had them vote on their favorite. We're going to see if, based on just the first few sentences, we can predict the winner.

The winner was Marcel Theroux's Far North. The first few lines for that book are:

Every day I buckle on my guns and go out to patrol this dingy city.
I've been doing it so long that I'm shaped to it, like a hand that's been carrying buckets in the cold.
The winters are the worst, struggling up out of a haunted sleep, fumbling for my boots in the dark. Summer is better. The place feels almost drunk on the endless light and time skids by for a week or two. We don't get much spring or fall to speak of. Up here, for ten months a year, the weather has teeth in it.

Two books tied for second with my students, American Salvage by Bonnie Jo Campbell and Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Louisiana Book Festival

If you live in Louisiana, near Baton Rouge, or if you were thinking of heading that way this weekend, I'm going to be at the Louisiana Book Festival. On Saturday morning, I'm on a panel with Juyanne James and Geoff Wyss about New Stories From the South 2009 and then I'm giving a reading at 1:00 pm by myself. And I have a real concern that I will be reading by myself, that not a single person will be there. And then I'd have to walk to the signing pavilion and sit there for thirty minutes. While I am there, I plan to eat many, many roast beef and gravy po' boys. And there's a place near my hotel that has boudin pizza. Oh, yes.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009


I've been happy to see some more of my stories appear in the last month in some great journals. A year and a half ago, some friends and I started a monthly writing contest where we each wrote a 1,000-word story based on a prompt. Because I've been focusing on the novel, this has turned out to be a great way for me to feel somewhat productive. Even if I didn't get anything else written, I had a 1,000-word story at the end of the month. Here are the prompts that led to the stories that got published.

Morass: "A Pile of Shirts, Ripped from the Body" in Clapboard House
Rickshaw: "Blue-Suited Henchman, Kicked Into Shark Tank" in SmokeLong Quarterly

You can read another story from our group (The tar prompt that made me write the story in Juked) here at Pindeldyboz from P. Terrence McGovern.