Monday, February 10, 2014

Where I've Been, What I've Been Doing

So it looks like it's been six months since I've written here.  I'll bring everyone up to date:
I just finished my novel, The Water Tower 5, and have started submitting to agents.  TWT5 is  a cross between Ocean's 11 and The Breakfast Club, so it's a sort of misfit caper novel.  As much as I liked my previous effort, Lucky Town, this novel is much more me.  What this means is that it has a lot more attitude, sarcasm, and pranks.  Mass-induced vomiting?  Check.  Disrespect for authority figures?  Check.  Scheming, scamming, and swindling?  Check, check, check.
I'll try to keep a record of how things go with this one.  Obviously I'm hoping for representation and selling the book, but having been through this before, I'm doing my best to keep my expectations under control.  I have a much better feeling about this novel, I'll say that.  And if you're supposed to "write the book you'd want to read", well, I've certainly done that, too.  Here's to hoping agents think it something people would want to read as well.  While I wait for responses, I'm moving on to the sequel, which I'm excited as hell to start writing.
Now, some short book reviews:
North American Lake Monsters by Nathan Ballingrud.
This debut collection has received an amazing amount of praise, all of it well-earned.  There's a painful and beautiful humanity in his stories that is missing in most genre fiction these days.  Go read "Sunbleached","S.S.", and the title story and just try to tell me this guy isn't the real deal.  Hell, I'll make it easy on you, go HERE and read "The Monsters of Heaven" for free.  Thank me later.
People Still Live at Cashtown Corners by Tony Burgess.Can I be honest?  I didn't fully understand this book.  I mean, I did, and I didn't.  It's not a book for everyone - the summary here should pretty much let you make up your own mind.  I do know this, I finished it and immediately wished I knew Burgess so I could go to his house and talk to him about this novel.  I don't think I can heap higher praise on a novel.
Them, The Psychopath Test, Lost at Sea...all by Jon Ronson.
Ronson pretty much has my dream job.  He investigates odd stories, odd people, odd going's on, and writes about it.  It's my favorite type of non-fiction - clever, intelligent, and a bit odd.  Oh look, he has TED talk on The Psychopath Test.
Anything by John Sanford.
Doesn't everyone have a go-to writer or two they go to when they can't find something to read?  That author who just always delivers, never disappoints?  For me that list is Robert B. Parker and John Sanford.  I've written about Parker on here a bunch, but Sanford hasn't gotten anything from me.  I'm sure it's not 'cool' to like Sanford - his Lucas Davenport books are always best sellers, and he puts out one or two a year, but man they always entertain the hell out of me.  He's like Lee Child in that way.  Joke about that Tom Cruise movie all you want, but Child's Jack Reacher novels are just excellently handled fun.  Sanford's the same way with Lucas Davenport, and his more recent series, Virgil Flowers.  In fact, if I'm being fair, I'm going to say I like the Flowers books even more than the more popular series.
Okay, that's all for now.  If you're feeling up to it, cross your fingers that an agent takes a liking to my novel.  Crossing your toes would be appreciated, too.
Kurt