Friday, April 29, 2011

End of April Roundup

Some random thoughts, written randomly. Apologies ahead of time for my overuse of the pronoun "I," it's just been a busy spring. (How'd that stab at faux e-humility go?):

- The book tour for the paperback went very well. Saw New England in all its rugged beauty. Liked: teenage red fox on the side of the road eating a rabbit lunch, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's childhood home, local NE brews, mountain lakes, awesome people, clam chowder. Disliked: Maine weather. These desert bones still chill easily, apparently. Thank Allah for layers.

- City Girl liked the outlet malls, as well. I may or may not have given her the MasterCard and the green light to pick me up some new work clothes and something for her while I escaped to a coffee shop for the morning. Can't confirm or deny.

- Thank you to the management and staff of White Birch Books, RiverRun Bookstore, Longfellow Books, and the Toadstool Bookshop - they couldn't have been nicer or more welcoming. (Double props go to Longfellow Books in Portland, Maine, for providing free wine and delicious macaroons.) Public service reminder: support your local indy bookstore. There's so much they offer a local community, even in a post-Amazon era.

- (The photo to the left is from RiverRun Bookstore, in Portsmouth, NH. How about that frat shag! Kevlar helmet survivor here, and my hairline lived to tell the tale. Some of my brothers in arms weren't so lucky.)

- My sincere thanks to the following people at Da Capo Press and Perseus Books for their hard work and dedication to Kaboom: the publisher John Radziewicz, my editor Bob Pigeon, Jonathan Crowe, Lissa Warren and her publicity team, and Kevin Hanover, Sean Maher and the marketing gurus. I can't tell you how many pestering emails I sent them all over the past 20ish months, but they answered each and every one, as professionally and friendly as possible.

- Reading at Strand Bookstore this past Tuesday was a dream come true. Mad props to all involved in making it happen, and yes, props are best when angry. Also, mucho gratitude to all my friends who made it out, including my literary agent, William Clark.

- Go Oklahoma City Thunder! This is how basketball is supposed to be played - fluid, athletic, and team ball not dependent on getting a foul call on a drive to the hoop. Reminds me of the best basketball team of the decade - the 2002 Sacramento Kings.

- Check out the latest issue of The Nevada Review here. It includes my short story "Brothers in Arms." The editors of NVR, Caleb Cage and Joe McCoy, are working tirelessly to establish this biannual journal in my home state, and are doing an amazing job. One of the earlier issues contained a selection from Willy Vlautin's novel Lean on Pete, which just won the Ken Kesey Fiction Award at the 2011 Oregon Book Awards. Further, this latest issue contains an intriguing essay on Mark Twain and an excellent book review of Gregory Martin's memoir Mountain City. I'm going to stop now, all this Nevada talk is making me miss home - where there are pinecones one way, miles upon miles of desert the other way, and good ole' fashioned pioneer spirit every which way.

- If you haven't read the essay "My Lost City," by F. Scott Fitzgerald before, do so now. I just stumbled across it myself. What a brilliant writer. His ability to capture the simultaneous sadness and joy of the human experience is simply unparalleled.

- I'll post a review of the play "Black Watch" sometime this weekend.

- Sales of Kaboom across the pond seem to be going along swimmingly, no doubt due to the crack squad at Transworld. I recorded an interview last night with the BBC program "Up All Night," which will air this Sunday.

- Speaking of the UK, I'm no Royalist, and didn't watch any part of the wedding, but good for William. I think he outkicked his coverage, if you get what I'm saying. Nothing wrong with that, either, I did the same w/ City Girl.

 - The Wake Forest basketball coach, Jeff Bzdelik, is such a clown. I'm not going to bore anyone, but no way he lasts another two seasons. He's as prickly as a porcupine, and half as media savvy. That matters nowadays, especially when you're coming off a 8-24 season. We miss you, Skip!

- I've decided on a title for that novel I'm working on: In the Meantime. I'm about a third of the way done with the first version. It could be really good, if I remember to stay out of the story's way.

- In case you missed it, here's some video from my appearance on the Maine news show "207." Linkasaurus 

- Wish I could be with my milblogging peeps this weekend at the Milblogging Conference in DC, as I'm sure it'll be an excellent and informative time. Wonder who wins the Milbloggies this year?

- I start my job as senior writing manager with IAVA on Monday. I'm excited/nervous/anxious; all normal things, I think. As I understand it, I'll be writing op-eds and blog pieces, and helping craft speeches for our movers and shakers - a really awesome opportunity, all for an organization I believe in wholeheartedly. What does that mean for this blog? To be honest, I don't really know. I'll try and post over here as much as I can, though, at best, it'll be as infrequent as it's been in the past year. But I always love hearing from my e-pals, be it on here, Twitter, or email, so don't be a stranger. Hope everyone is well, catch you on the flip side.

Hugs, not drugs,


Saturday, April 16, 2011

Farewell, Self-Employment

I wanted to let you all know I'll be starting a big person job in May, at IAVA (Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America), as their senior writing manager. If you're not familiar with IAVA, it's a non-profit, non-partisan veterans advocacy organization that is very rapidly becoming a sort of postmodern VFW. I'm incredibly excited for the opportunity, and can't wait to get started - the work for our generation of vets is only beginning, and I'm eager to do my part.

The flexibility of the position will also allow me to pursue my MFA in creative writing uptown, which is pure awesomesauce. The combination of these duties definitely means I'll be spending a lot of hours and brain output on the computer, which is a good thing. I think. I hope some of you will remind me to go outside once in a while. Birds and sunshine and fresh air are also good things.

Also, the paperback tour for Kaboom kicks off on Monday, and maybe I'll see some of you along the way - New England, here we come! In the meantime, I'm going to spend the rest of the weekend searching for the ties I threw in the back of my closet last year, so certain I'd never need them again ... oops.