Background Noise, a new novel by Peter DeMarco

My old pal Peter DeMarco has published his first novel/novella, and it’s a really strong piece of work. My over-the-top blurb (you might think) has been ratified by the nomination of one of the chapters for a Pushcart Prize (the novella unfolds in not-quite-discrete stories or story fragments), and for my money, the annual Pushcart Prize anthology is one of the best ways anyone serious about reading good writing can get just oodles of it.

But back to Pete’s book, which you can find on Amazon here:

(You can read more about it by downloading this pdf flyer from the publisher, Pangea Books.) Continue reading

Great Reading Tonight at PEN/Faulkner, Hill Center

Saw Alan Cheuse and Alyson Foster reading tonight At the Hill Center, a terrific new (old) space for the arts on Capitol Hill. Foster is a “new” writer, and Cheuse is, of course, the voice of books on NPR. Foster read from a new novel she’s sold but hasn’t published (or finished) yet, GOD IS AN ASTRONAUT, and it was terrific. Wisely, she read from the beginning and I can’t wait to read this novel. She got an amazing introduction from Cheuse from this first in a series of local readings that PEN/Faulkner is hosting, which will feature writers who know each other and admire each other’s work.

alyson foster reading at the hill center 12-02-2012

Alyson Foster reading from GOD IS AN ASTRONAUT at the Hill Center on Capitol Hill.

Continue reading

NaNoWriMo Progress Report

Not much, really.

  • Nov. 1 — Totally blazed. Got off to a good start, if not a great, fantabulous one.
  • Nov. 2 — Totally blazed, and then lost it all.
  • Nov. 3 — Recovered/reconstituted the lost work on Nov. 2, add some decent stuff, but of course got behind.
  • Nov. 4 — Between yard work and Sandy-related cleanup, and getting my son where he needed to be, didn’t write a word.
  • Nov. 5 — It’s not like I don’t have anything else to do. So we shall see what happens.

Let’s see where this goes…

Just shoot me, please

Browser locked up. Lost 1400 or so words and all the edits I made to my NaNoWriMo novel today. Just shoot me.

If anyone can tell me what’s the deal with Safari and why it just keeps locking up on me—and how I can make it never happen again, I’ll give you an autographed copy of one of my novels.

Wish I had known that wordpress pages don’t save draft copy the same way as post pages.

Go ahead. Just shoot me.

NaNoWriMo 2

A couple of days ago, I was walking home from the grocery store. It was after school had let out, and it was Halloween. In front of me, on the sidewalk, around the corner from my house, a couple of kids were walking, a boy and a girl, and the girl was carrying a single red rose. Maybe early teens. I liked that image, the boy and girl walking together, the girl carrying a rose, the sky overcast, the rose the only real color on a gray day. About them? Nothing particularly interesting or noteworthy, except while they were together, it was clear they weren’t together. Continue reading

Welcome to National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo

For anyone who didn’t know, today marks the beginning of NaNoWriMo, or National Novel Writing Month. The idea is to write 50.000 words during the month of November. My former professor and member of my personal pantheon of interesting minds, Roger Lathbury, did it a couple of years ago.

But what about this, then? To actually write 50,000 words in 30 days? Let’s break that down: it’s about 1700 words a day. Can I do it? Sure, I can write 1700 words a day.

In reality, I’ve probably written 5000 or more words in a day many times – but then likely spent the next several weeks marveling at where the heck that came from. Continue reading

My Own “Fringe Festival”

Thanks to a reviewer of The Final Appearance of America’s Favorite Girl Next Door on Amazon, who compared my novel to Fringe, I’m now a stupidly avid Fringe  fan.

For fans of Portlandia, you may remember the episode where the couple gets a DVD of—I think—Battlestar Galactica and spends a whole “Euphio Question“-like weekend watching EVERY episode.

Not quite there yet, but close.

(If you don’t know about “The Euphio Question,” I urge you to run out and get yourself a copy of Kurt Vonnegut’s masterful Welcome to the Monkey House, a collection of short stories that are still among the best I’ve read.)

If you haven’t watched Fringe, well. Whatever. If you have read The Final Appearance of America’s Favorite Girl Next Door, then get yourself a copy and see.

House of Fun/Horrors

I live in an older house that was originally a Cape Cod style. One of the previous tenants/owners was a musician who, I am informed, took his own life. But before he did so, he undertook a lot of alterations, modifications and up- down- or side-grades to the house, including raising the back portion of the roof so that the attic could be a useful space. The chief problem with this is that the insulative protection the house might have got from a real attic with fans, etc., is lost when you no longer have one. Plus, the roof has only a slight grade, which makes it ineligible for traditional shingle roofing. It has a membrane roof, which is black, and during the summer months, or even warm, sunny spring months, that roof transforms the lovely, radiant energy of the sun into heat, causing the upstairs to get very hot very fast.

I had thought of buying a window air conditioner with the idea that it might help supplement the (older) central air, but that would have been an experiment that could have been costly if it had just resulted in a higher electric bill.

And then I read an article in the Times about green roofs—which included some interesting information on white roofs. So I did a little research and found that for about the cost of a very small “window shaker” AC unit, I could get 5 gallons of “elastomeric roof coating.” So I made a trip to Home Depot and spent some money on a 4.75 gallon bucket (which weighs about 800 pounds) of white roof coating.

So, now, the first step will be to power wash the roof. The second will be to put on some sunglasses and paint. Apparently the stuff is such a bright white that you will go blind if you don’t wear sunglasses.

There are many other little and large things that the house needs. But right now, as June closes in, money is tight and this seems like a smallish thing I can do to make a largish difference.

More when I actually get this in gear.

A Very Special One-Time Offer

In honor of the really fun reading at KGB Bar, I’ve got a special promotion going today and tomorrow on Amazon. You can get Second Son for free. Give it a shot. If you don’t have a kindle, you can still read it with the Kindle app for your mac, pc, iPhone, android device or iPad.

And while you’re there, why not go on and pick up a copy of The Final Appearance of America’s Favorite Girl Next Door.


Also, check out Carter Sickels‘s work. He read with me last night. Really good, finely observed stuff. Can’t wait to read the whole novel.

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