Archive for May, 2009

What Food Would You Be?: Twittering the Opening of Shimmer

May 28th, 2009 Comments off
Cover of Shimmer I’ll be posting sentences from Shimmer on Twitter this week. A sentence every couple of hours for about three days. As part of that, you can now read the full prologue of Shimmer here or here. And I’ll gather all of the Twitter posts into this Blog post at the end of each day. 29 days. UPDATED Here were the sentences from Thursday (more on Friday):

“If you were a food, what food would you be?”

“A chef’s salad,” said our CFO, Cliff Rees. “No, wait,” Cliff said, “Sorry. I meant a cobb salad.”

“Mousse,” Leonard said thickly. “Because all my life people have thought of me as pudding.”

Julie said flatly, “Cream.”

“I would be a filet,” Whitley was saying. “A filet cooked well with only pepper and salt.”

Cliff really did seem like some sort of salad. Leonard really was pudding on the verge of becoming mousse.

Julie was unquestionably the smoothest, purest cream. Whitley was nothing if not well-done beef.

What food am I?

“He’s salmon cooked rare over an open fire,” Whitley said, and the rest paused. Pictured it. Then all began to nod.

Here were the sentences from Friday:

Our stock price was up. Sales had quadrupled. We’d just bought this building. I now owned this view.

Three years ago there had been just thirty people. Now the five thousand all took direction from us.

“We could announce the creation of electricity,” Whitley said, “and the investors would line up to hand us their cash.”

The process had become known as drawing blood from a mainframe.

Every report, every plan.I took everything in.I remembered it all.Because really this company was my whole life.

The company it described had, from the beginning, formed an extremely intricate, carefully crafted lie.

And although I’d never wanted it to be this way, I was set to walk away with millions.

Because always it was there, the need to find a way.

Somehow, Robbie. Somehow. Keep the company alive.

And from Saturday:

My lie, grown terribly large and impossibly complex in the three years since it had begun.

Each day keeping the company on track toward its demise. Still looking for a way out of the trap I’d created.

My own secret police, unintentionally hunting me down.

A high-tech fraud made up of a thousand interdependent deceptions.

The people who worked here, the companies we acquired, the stock we sold – all of it was an unseen disease.

And still, every day, the lie infected and reinfected each department, each system, each person who was here.

When it did finally kill us, it would do so suddenly. Completely.

The computers would stop working. The mainframes would shut down. The satellites might as well fall from the sky.

And no one would be able to decipher what exactly had happened.

Categories: About Shimmer, Posts Tags:

Blue and White

May 24th, 2009 Comments off
I was working on invitations to readings this week and, for the first time, printed out the cover of Shimmer. I’d seen the cover on the Web, emailed it, even looked at it on my iPhone. But I’d never printed it out. I like the cover even more than I did before. shimmer-pinpoints1The blue, which on the screen sometimes looked vaguely baby blue, isn’t baby blue at all. There’s almost a texture to the blue, a million pinpoints of blue and white. I keep staring at the print. Feeling the card. Coming up with excuses to dig it out of the pile on my desk and look at it again. I’m at a strangely busy yet helpless stage in this process. So many decisions, the cover the least of them, have already been made. Book reviews in some cases have probably been written. Stores have already placed their orders for books. All of that is underway no matter what I do. Yet there is so much to do. Readings, promotions, a summer of travel. Do I have a suitcase that works? Have I updated LibraryThing? How will I update the Web site from the road? Is there one more thing I should do that I haven’t done? This week is Twitter. I’ll be sending out sentences from the first chapter on Twitter for about a week. Link them back to the full chapter online. We’ll see how it goes. In other news, Shimmer was picked as an IndieNext selection for July by IndieBound, the marketing arm of the American Booksellers Association, essentially meaning they’ll also be working to promote and recommend the book, especially in independent bookstores. I have a short story out, in Raritan, a literary journal published by Rutgers University. The story, “Dreams Where I Can Fly”, is in large part the first chapter of Shimmer, though the ending is very different than the book. According to the countdown clock, it’s just 35 days till the book is published. At least officially. In truth, the book will be available a few weeks before that. Book publishing is strange that way. There’s an official publication date, but it’s only a month, not a date. And even then, the books almost always come out in the month before the official publication month. I’m sure there’s a reason for this that goes back to crop cycles or the accessibility of shipping routes through the Rockies. Something. But, I do know that since I’m reading at Rock Point Books in Chattanooga on June 18, the books will at least be in that bookstore on that day. That may be the first place where I see them. I actually think the books have been printed by now, sitting in some warehouse somewhere. Waiting. It makes me a little light-headed. All those covers. All those little pinpoints of blue and white.
Categories: About Shimmer, Posts Tags:

Stories, Drafts & Shimmer: How I Write

May 4th, 2009 Comments off
Sometimes people ask how I write. They want to know about the logistics. Do I write with a plan? An outline? Do I know how the story or the novel will end? It’s usually a little disorienting when I say, “No. I don’t have a plan. I have some vague idea. Maybe a place. A person. And really, for me, it all depends on the first sentence.” And so because I’d been needing to do some sort of video blog post, here’s this post about how I write: Stories, Drafts & Shimmer.
Stories, Drafts and Shimmer

Stories, Drafts and Shimmer

Thanks. (If you have trouble with the version above, try the Windows Media Player version here or here on YouTube.)