Another New Book Announcement

Hot on the heels of my announcement about the new book deal with St. Martin’s Press, I have another new book to tell you about, and this one is available even as we speak!

I am delighted to announce the publication of Still Life: Nine Stories, a new collection of short fiction, and my first e-book exclusive, published by the good folks at Necon E-Books, the new publishing arm of the Northeastern Writers Conference, one of the longest-running writers conferences in the country. (Cover painting courtesy of the ghost of Paul Cézanne.) My first collection, Walk In Shadows, went out of print a whopping seven years ago, and now, finally, a new collection is available. Still Life includes:

  • Four previously published stories that have never been collected before: “Under the Skin,” “Toad Lily,” “Comeback,” and “Mysteries of the Cure”
  • By popular demand, three fan favorites from Walk In Shadows: “Go,” “Street Cred,” and “The Jew of Prague”
  • Two brand new, never-before-seen stories: “The Beat of Her Wings” and “(F)Earless”
  • All topped off with an Introduction by Bram Stoker Award-nominated author James A. Moore (Serenity FallsBloodstained Oz)

You can order Still Life directly from Necon E-Books here. When you do, you will automatically be supplied with both a MOBI file of the book for the Kindle and an EPUB file for everything else, including iPad, iPod, iPhone, Sony, Nook, etc. Click here for more information on the different files, if you’re as confused by this stuff as I am.

If you’d rather order from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or any other e-book retailer, hang tight. Still Life will be available through those sites soon. I’ll be sure to let you know as soon as it is.

Victor LaValle and Kelly Link at the Greenlight Bookstore

One of the things I love about living in New York City is that it often feels like the literary capital of the world.  There’s always a book event going on somewhere, and since I’ve been in the business a while now, odds are I’ve met the author involved somewhere along the way. In the case of Victor LaValle, who read from his new novel The Devil In Silver last night at the Greenlight Bookstore in Brooklyn, I’m proud to call him a personal friend, too. Here’s a picture of Victor wowing the crowd — and what a crowd it was! The place was packed! (Sorry about the fuzziness of the photos. My cellphone camera isn’t the best.)

Afterward, Victor and special guest star Kelly Link engaged in a very enjoyable discussion about horror, monsters, literature, and the imagination. I could have listened for another hour!

I went out for drinks with some folks afterward, and then came home to this, a present from my wife in celebration of my new book deal with St. Martin’s Press!

Best. Night. Ever.

 

 

Major New Book Announcement

If you subscribe to Publishers Lunch or have access to Publishers Marketplace, this is probably already old news to you. But because it’s been officially announced, it means I can finally talk about it! So, here’s the news I’ve been sitting on, as it showed up on Publishers Marketplace:

August 20, 2012

Fiction: Thriller 

Bram Stoker nominee Nicholas Kaufmann’s NOT DEAD YET, in which the felonious protagonist’s inability to stay dead wreaks mayhem over the five boroughs of New York, to Michael Homler at St. Martin’s, in a two-book deal, by Richard Curtis at Richard Curtis Associates (NA).

Foreign rights: Baror Agency danny@barorint.com

rcurtis@curtisagency.com

Needless to say, I’m absolutely thrilled! St. Martin’s Press is top notch, and just from our short email conversations I can already tell Michael Homler will be a great editor to work with. So, roughly, here is the plan. Not Dead Yet will come out in the fall of 2013. The sequel, All the Cities of the Dead, will come out in the fall of 2014. Both will be trade paperback. If those sell well enough, readers will have more novels in the series to look forward to. So let’s make sure they sell well!

More news as it develops.

Bossypants

Let me get this out of the way right up front: I love Tina Fey. Her brand of smart, absurd humor is right up my alley, and I happen to think 30 Rock isn’t just one of the best TV comedies currently on the air, it’s one of the best TV comedies ever. There are times when I think it would be unbelievably hard to choose between 30 Rock and Arrested Development for the title of my all-time favorite.

So, as a huge fan, I devoured Fey’s hilarious memoir, Bossypants, the way Liz Lemon eats an entire pizza. By folding it in half and shoving it all in my mouth. And then, after that, I read it. And damn, is it a fun book! Fey’s voice comes through so loud and clear in the prose (I suspect that as a writer herself she didn’t have any need to employ a ghost writer) that it’s almost like sitting down to dinner with her and listening to her tell anecdote after anecdote about her life, only with her sense of humor tinging everything. (By the way, that’s something I’d like to do one day, have dinner with Tina Fey and just listen to her talk while I blink at her admiringly. I’m a little smitten. Sorry, Alexa!)

Bossypants is not a deep book. Fey barely dips below the surface and doesn’t share too much of herself with the reader. The only time I felt like I was seeing more deeply into who she is was when she briefly, and without much detail, mentions the awful, terrifying event behind the scar on her chin. It’s a rare moment of openness — and darkness — in an otherwise breezy book. But one of the things I love most about Fey, other than her unabashed willingness to make herself the butt of her own jokes, is that she and I seem to have many neuroses in common. Here’s one example, taken from the chapter about her honeymoon cruise, where a fire breaks out in the engine room and everyone has to gather on deck to possibly board the lifeboats. The fire is put out before that happens, but Fey is now convinced the ship is about the explode:

While people around me start to relax, I keep my eyes on the sea, waiting to be rocketed into it on a wave of fire. I’ll be ready for it to happen, and that way it won’t happen. It’s a burden, being able to control situations with my hyper-vigilance, but it’s my lot in life.

The next time people ask me why I can’t sleep on airplanes, I should just point to that paragraph rather than trying to explain that I can’t sleep because I need to keep the plane in the air. I’m so happy to see I’m not the only one, too. I think together we, the hyper-vigilant, are secretly keeping this world operating as smoothly as possible. Fey’s anecdote goes on, resulting in one of my many favorite passages from the book:

Some crew members come around with coolers of cold drinks. A nearby woman takes a soda and hands it back, saying, “Do you have diet?” If God had a sense of humor, the ship would have exploded then.

Fey also describes her time at Second City in Chicago, where she discovered institutional sexism at work in the world of improv comedy. There, she was told nobody wanted to see a sketch between two female characters. Later, as she and Amy Poehler rocked Saturday Night Live‘s “Weekend Update” together week after week, or did sketches as Hilary Clinton and Sarah Palin that went instantly viral, she realized she’d not only proved the Second City patriarchy wrong, she’d proved it wrong for all time. It’s impossible not to share in that feeling of triumph.

Fey goes on to share a prescription for dealing with workplace sexism that I don’t agree with, though, namely that a woman should simply work harder, become the boss, and then not hire the people who were assholes to her. As great as that sounds, that’s not going to work for everyone. First of all, institutionalized workplace sexism often prevents women from advancing to become the boss. Also, what about the women who don’t have Fey’s talent, or aren’t lucky enough to work for someone like Lorne Michaels, or who simply aren’t on track to become the boss? Surely they deserve a workplace environment free of sexism as well. While I’m certain Fey would agree, her “just work harder and become the boss” prescription comes off as rather privileged.

Aside from that, I loved the book. Loved it, loved it, loved it. In fact, I loved it so much, I wish it were longer. I wish Fey had spent some time talking about Mean Girls, which she wrote, or Baby Mama, which reunited her with her good friend and SNL co-star Amy Poehler. Maybe in the next memoir. In the meantime, though, Bossypants is to be treasured. It’s only August, but I’m already sure it’s my favorite read of the year.

 

 

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