I’ve finally landed a literary agent! Paula Munier at Talcott Notch.

I’m thrilled to announce that I have finally secured a literary agent—Paula Munier at Talcott Notch Literary Agency. Paula has over twenty years of experience in the business and has been a real pleasure to talk to as we discussed my second novel, the neo-noir, transgressive thriller Disintegration.

I can’t explain how exciting it is to talk to an agent who understands my  work—my voice, the settings, the plot—and can see a place for this novel (and other projects down the road) at major publishing houses. So not only do we want to land a big press, but we have also been talking about film rights and foreign book sales as well.

Keep your eyes and ears open, and I hope to have more great news for you all real soon. Thank you all for your support, everyone who has read and critiqued and supported this book, Disintegration, as well as all of my writer friends who have been so instrumental in helping me to get my work published. My success is contingent of a tight-knit community of writers, friends and family, and I’m happy to welcome Paula into my  literary family.

Storyville Column Six is Now Up at Lit Reactor: Getting an Agent

And, now my sixth column is live up at Lit Reactor. It’s about how to get an agent. Now, I don’t HAVE an agent, so keep that in mind, but I’ve gotten very close, and I’m very familiar with the process. Heck, if you have any new ideas, let me know. It’s a slow, painful process and the odds are against you, but it’s certainly possible. Let me know what you think.

 

AWP Chicago 2012 – My Schedule

I know you all are just waiting for me to release my schedule for the exciting 2012 Chicago AWP. So, here you go. Tentative, of course.

Wednesday, 2/29
8:00 pm   Kick-Off Party @ The Empty Bottle (1035 N. Western Ave.)
Readings by xTx, Jesus Angel Garcia, Ben Tanzer , Mary Miller, Lindsay Hunter, Sam Pink, Amber Sparks. Live music from Guided by Voices vocalist Robert Pollard.

Thursday, 3/1
8:00 pm    The Wrong Kind of Reading @ The Galway Arms (2442 N. Clark St.)
Plots with Guns. Readings by Anthony Neal Smith, Kyle Minor, Seth Harwood, etc.

Friday, 3/2
7:00 pm   Beautiful, Words @ Beauty Bar (1444 W. Chicago)
Sponsored by The Nervous Breakdown, Bookslut, Dzanc Books, Curbside Splendor et. al. Live music by Rob Roberge.

Saturday, 3/3
9 am Hilton S104. Midwest Gothic: Dark Fiction of the Heartland (Dan Chaon)
10:30 am Palmer S143. Vampire by Vampire: Genre Writing and the Creative Writing Workshop (Alissa Nutting)
12-3 Lunch and bookfair
3 pm Palmer S215. Men from Venus, Women from Mars: Writing from the Perspective of the Opposite Sex (Kyle Minor)
3 pm Hilton S195. An MFA, huh? What Are You Going to Do With That?
4:30 pm Hilton S233. The Art of the Short Story Collection. (Richard Bausch, Laura van den Berg)

6:00 pm   Ear Eater #13: The Impossible, The Extraordinary @ Beef & Brandy (127 S. State St.)
Readings by Amelia Gray, Kevin Sampsell et. al.

SEE YOU THERE!

Storyville Column Five is Now Up at Lit Reactor: Ideas

And, now my fifth column is live up at Lit Reactor. It’s all about how to get ideas when you’re blocked, and where I’ve gotten some of my ideas in the past. Really it comes down to your process and what interests you. If you like to plot, then it may be a much more complicated process, but if you just like to chase an emotion, a setting, or a character in a particular circumstance, how you get from a glimmer of an idea to a full developed story (or novel) may be a very different process. Hope it helps!

New Column – Storyville up at Litreactor.com

Litreactor.com has launched, and man is this site taking off. It’s an offshoot of The Cult, taking all of the publishing, craft, and literature conversations as well as workshops, classes, lectures, reviews and columns away from what was essentially the Chuck Palahniuk fan club, and moving it all to a new base.

I’m thrilled that I will be writing a column, called Storyville, and my first column is now up, about Finding Your Voice. I’ll have a column every month, maybe more often. I’ll also do book reviews now and then, and maybe some interviews sporadically as well.

The people in charge of this, Kirk Clawes, Dennis Widmyer, Joshua Chaplinsky, Mark Vanderpool and Phil Jourdan, they’re amazing people, very hard working, and so smart. I’m honored to be a part of it. And the writers? Wow, where to even start, so much talent joining me, Brandon Tietz, Erin Reel, Keith Rawson, Kasey Carpenter, Rob W. Hart, really you just need to head over and check it all out. So much to absorb.

I’ve been awarded a residency at Writers in the Heartland for this October!


Exciting news. I just confirmed today that I’ll be one of a handful of authors that will be attending a residency at Writers in the Heartland this October. They only take ten authors a year. I’ll have a week in a house out in the middle of Illinois, three square meals a day and nothing but time to write.

Now the hard part, what to write? Do I get a bunch of stories started, play around with some steampunk, neo-noir, edgy lit, horror, magical realism, and aim high with journals and magazines? Or do I start my third novel? I have an idea for the third one (I’m shopping my second, Disintegration right now) that might be steampunkish, in the Stephen King, Dark Tower kind of way, with a tentative title of Incarnate. I was abe to write 40,000 words in one week for Disintegration, over four days, can I keep up that 10k word pace over seven days? Time to do some research and re-read some books that have inspired me in the past.

Whatever I write, don’t worry, it’ll be dark, sexy and strange. In other words, the usual.

My time at FOCUS On the Arts at Highland Park High School.

Richard Thomas, Emma Van Akkeren

So a couple of weeks ago I went to Highland Park High School to be a part of their FOCUS On the Arts program. I was thrilled to speak to a full room of high school students about writing, publishing, and what the future holds for all of us. In other words, I faked it.

How did this happen? What is FOCUS?

Well, last year I was approached by one of the members of the parent liasons, Jane Roberti. She had read some of my work, and saw my influence over at The Cult as a writer and workshop moderator, and wanted me to come speak to the students. She said that they had a lot of fans of Chuck’s work, and my writing, publishing alongside Stephen King and Peter Straub, my novel Transubstantiate have just come out, all of these things appealed to her and the students. I was thrilled and honored, so of course I said yes.

When I made it to the event, I was greeted by Emma, a very nice, patient and sweet girl who showed me around, and took me to the artist’s lounge. But of course, I was too nervous to eat anything. But what a spread! WOW. We talked about her plans for college, HPHS, the FOCUS program, all kinds of things. Then we went up to the room. The halls were buzzing with teachers, students, parents and artists.

The class was very attentive, they asked a lot of really intelligent questions, seemed very interested in what I had to say, nobody fell asleep, and I even got a handful of laughs. Overall, a great crowd. I held up Shivers VI and Transubstantiate, talked about how I got my work out there, my influences, how the percentage/royalty system works, writing conferences, you name it. I think I lost about five pounds in sweat. The bell went off, they darted out of the room, but a couple kids came up and shook my hand, took some promotional materials and said thanks.

It was a rewarding day. I hope to go back. And who knows, maybe I’ll work with HPHS in the future to help expand their art programs. They need somebody to teach creative writing there, and this group of intelligent, inspired young adults was a great audience.

More about FOCUS: Presented every other year, FOCUS explores the many facets of art; not as distant, esoteric disciplines, but as the day-to-day creativity of truly gifted, diverse people. The goal of FOCUS is to educate and communicate the universal arts language to HPHS students, as well as surrounding communities including Highland Park, Highwood, Fort Sheridan and the entire (underserved) Chicago Metropolitan area. Participating students will experience many forms of art themselves, thus expanding and enriching their lives forever.