Archive for February, 2009

Review & The Louisville Review

February 21st, 2009 Comments off
My new favorite person in the world wrote a great review (or would it be a preview?) of Shimmer on her blog. Rene Kirkpatrick is a book buyer at Third Place Books and wrote a review after receiving an advance copy. You do this, writing, and you write and write and write in the deep darkness of your little office and some part of you hopes that there will be one person out there that you don’t know who you can touch, in some way, but there you are in your dark office, hundreds of pages from done and years from having an agent or a publisher and so often it feels like, no, no one is ever going to read this. But someone did. I should mention that I’m signing books at Third Place Books on July 14th. More info later. I also had a short story accepted this week, in The Louisville Review, which is, of course, now my favorite journal in the world. It’s coming out this spring, which is shocking for me, since usually with stories I’ve had published there was a year or more between acceptance and publication. The story, “The Arsons,” is very short, about a reporter covering a series of arsons in a small Connecticut town. It’s actually part of an as-yet-unpublished novel I wrote, Powdered Milk, about a reporter covering a series of arsons in Connecticut. It’s great to get a story accepted, for many reasons, but one — the most juvenile of them — is that I get to write the other places that have are looking at the story and tell them it’s been accepted elsewhere. (You have to do this, it’s not an arrogant thing. They don’t want to waste time on a story that’s going to get published elsewhere.) But for someone who has received hundreds and hundreds of story rejections over the years — “The Arsons” was rejected by 45 other journals before being accepted — it’s just so great to be able to write the other publications and say a polite, Sorry. I shouldn’t get such juvenile joy out of it. But I do.
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Bookstores and Other Updates on Shimmer

February 2nd, 2009 Comments off
[Every month or so, I send a ridiculously self-promotional update about Shimmer to friends, family, and various other people who can’t really reject my emails. Here’s the one I sent today, Feb. 2, 2009.] An update on the book. I was in Salt Lake City this weekend meeting with independent bookstores from around the country. Picture any conference or tradeshow you’ve ever attended − hotel ballrooms, plastic name tags, etc. Except this one is all about books. I signed galleys for booksellers, shook hands, and generally tried not to do anything stupid.

According to the people from Unbridled, which is publishing Shimmer, it went very well. They we were also meeting with bookstore owners, buyers, and so on, trying to sell them on Shimmer and Unbridled’s other books. It’s all very foreign to me, but good. Having someone walk up to me and say, “I loved your book − will you come to my bookstore and sign copies?” is, to say the least, strange. And great.

Also, people brought me wine without my asking. Can’t go wrong with that.

Other updates:

– The cover changed. You can see it here:

– I have a Web site. It is, as you can imagine at this point, all about me. (Note that it’s a small site.).

– As of this moment, it’s fairly certain that I’ll do book signings in Memphis, Seattle, Tacoma, Portland, and Washington, D.C. this summer. There will be other places − Nashville, St. Louis and New Orleans are likely, as well as other places around the cities mentioned above. The dates and places will become more settled through the spring. As I told a friend today, I’d appreciate it if you’d set aside every weekend between June and August and I’ll get back to you with some specifics later. Thanks.

– I’ve become vaguely obsessed with Facebook. This is not just a matter of my using Facebook to shamelessly and obnoxiously promote Shimmer whenever possible, but is also a result of getting in touch with a whole bunch of people I haven’t been in touch with in forever. Which is great.

– I’m on MySpace,, but feel like I’m doing something illicit every time I go there. So I don’t go there very often.

– I’m on Twitter,, but I’ll admit that I can’t quite figure out what I’m supposed to be doing. Help me if you have any guidance.

As always, here’s a brief synopsis of the book.

In just three years, CEO Robbie Case has led Core Communications from 30 people to over 5,000. Now a $20 billion company made legendary by its sudden success, Core is based on a technology no other company can come close to copying. And Robbie, its 35-year-old CEO, is acclaimed worldwide for his vision, leadership and wealth. Except that all of it is built on a lie. Robbie’s lie. The technology does not work, the finances are built on a Ponzi scheme of stock sales and shell corporations, and Robbie is struggling, every day, to keep the company alive. Struggling to protect the friends who work for him and all that they’ve built. Struggling to fight the secret relief he might find if, finally, he simply lets the company fail. Relief from the fight to undo his lie. Relief from the responsibility for all the people around him. And relief from the women, at night, who come to him alone. Dark music and gin, faceless women who don’t know him, just bodies and time in the darkness. Shimmer is the story of a high-tech crusade nearing its end. The shell game Robbie has created is finally running out of room. Finally his lie is nearing its end, marking everyone it has touched, leaving each of them breathless and exhausted as they move through another day at Core.

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