New short fiction up at Pangyrus
January 18, 2023 § Leave a comment
‘Today a flock of crows has gathered. Half a dozen of the birds with their glossy blue-black feathers, come to peck at beetles he supposes, or some other small insect involved in the decomposition of dead matter. He strides up to the crows, brandishing his cane.
“Bugger off, now! This is a burial site, not a feeding place for scavengers!”
The crows tilt their heads to stare up at him. Their obsidian eyes are insolent, almost bored-looking, by the sight of the heavy filigreed cane-head whistling through the air above them.
“Very well, then. But don’t say I didn’t give you fair warning.”
He takes careful aim and swings. The crows flap off, but one wheels, cawing and swooping belligerently back down at him. He aims the cane and swings again, and this time he feels the jolt of an actual connection. The crow lets out a low grunt as it flips to the ground, one black wing jutting out from its broken body as it struggles to get up from the hemlock needles.
He brings the cane-head down on the crow’s skull; it collapses with an audible crunch, like a boiled egg. He draws the blade and skewers the creature’s broken body, walking it up into the forest where he digs a little trench in the sodden ground, kicks some leaves over it, and wipes the blade clean.
That’s more like it now, he says to himself, sheathing the blade as he walks down toward the house. You just have to confront them one by one.“
Read the whole story here. Listen to a brief audio piece about the historical figure who inspired the story here.
Audiobook of Will Poole’s Island, small-group Cuba trips, and other news
September 3, 2020 § Leave a comment
|I’m thrilled to announce the impending release of a new audiobook of Will Poole’s Island—narrated by yours truly! It turns out that recording an audiobook is an exacting, time consuming process—but also a surprisingly enjoyable one. This slightly whimsical fish-eye photo taken by producer and sound engineer Reggie Martell in the spare room of my Vermont house that he converted into a sound studio doesn’t really do justice to how rewarding it was to re-immerse myself in that first published novel, a book that will always hold a special place in my heart.|
|Years had passed since I’d last revisited Will Poole’s Island; there were moments when I felt like I was reading it for the first time. And I’m pleased to report, in my humble opinion, that the story holds up well, offering a rewarding temporary escape from the tense stretch of history we’re currently living. This is especially so thanks to Reggie’s professional expertise and the hauntingly beautiful original musical interludes composed by the talented ETC Kid.|
|The audiobook and Kindle e-book are set to be released on September 15, with a new edition of the paperback to follow in Spring ’21. If your interest is piqued, I encourage you to ORDER THE AUDIOBOOK NOW from Audible or the vendor of your choice. You’ll have my sincere gratitude. And I know you’ll enjoy listening to the novel!|
|The last time I was in Havana was January, 2020, but it feels like fifty years ago! Very much looking forward to getting back next year. Care to join me?|
|As a place to visit Cuba is as interesting as ever, perhaps even more so given the effectiveness of the response to COVID-19. Unlike certain other countries in the world, the country has been used its excellent medical system and organizing capacity to good effect, keeping new cases of the pandemic limited. In fact my Cuban friends are constantly checking in to express their worries about how we’re all doing up north in the U.S.—which says quite a bit about the situations in our respective countries.|
|Depending on how things go, the next year or so looks to be an opportune time to revisit this fascinating country that I know and love so well.|
|I’m considering putting together two or three small-group trips to Cuba, dates TBD, in winter/spring 2021, late fall 2021, and/or winter/spring 2022.|
|I’m also available to set up custom independent trips if you have a small group of family or friends that want to go. If either of these options is of more than casual interest to you, please send me a note with any thoughts on what your interests are in terms of trip content, and if there is a best time frame for you.|
|I’ll keep a careful list and update you specifically as I hear from people and actual trip dates begin to take shape. You can also bookmark this page, on which I keep an updated list of upcoming writing workshops, travel programs, talks, readings, and other events.|
|Meanwhile, I hope you are holding up well, staying safe and healthy, and managing to enjoy life in all its varied moments! Please don’t hesitate to send me a note if you’d like to touch base in a more personal way. |
“Diamondback Mountain” out at Craft Literary
December 14, 2018 § Leave a comment
Happy to report the release of “Diamondback Mountain,” the final previously unpublished story in the fiction collection A Field Guide to Murder & Fly Fishing. The folks at Craft have done a beautiful job and I’m happy that they’re hosting this story, which holds a great deal of personal significance for me, as explained in the author’s note. In the story, a young ski instructor at a remote hotel in 1930s Colorado falls in love with a rising Italian movie star, but fate conspires to keep the couple apart. Read the full story here.
Radio interview: The Round Schoolhouse & the legend of Thunderbolt
December 10, 2018 § 2 Comments
Very enjoyable conversation this morning with Olga Peters of the Green Mountain Mornings radio show on WKVT Radio 100.03 FM about the local landmark and the historical characters that inspired my novel-in-progress, The Confession of Michael Martin, one of fifteen works selected for the 2018 long list of the Historical Novel Society’s New Novel Award. HNS describes it as “A novel of adventure, friendship, and immigrant life inspired by the true story of early American outlaws that is intriguingly different from Hollywood mythologies.”
The history behind the story is also of local interest because it represents a landmark in early Vermont and Brattleboro publishing. It’s of general interest because it’s an early entry in the great American outlaw myth, and because of what it tells us about the power of narrative to grip the human imagination and about the blurred lines between what we call history and what we call fiction. I’ll be presenting the research in a roundtable discussion sponsored by the Brattleboro Words Project at 6pm this Thursday, December 13, at 118 Elliot Street in Brattleboro. If you’re in the neighborhood, please come by!
If you’re interested in the topic but can’t make the discussion, listen to the 10 minute interview here. My heartfelt thanks to Lissa Weinmann of The Brattleboro Words Project and Olga Peters (feel better soon, Olga)!
Novel-in-Progress Long-listed for Historical Novel Society New Novel Award
August 21, 2018 § 4 Comments
Pleased to note that the Historical Novel Society has named my novel-in-progress, The Confession of Michael Martin, to the Long List for their 2018 New Novel Award. This is a great honor, and I take it as a positive sign for the ultimate success of the book, which I’ve been working on for a number of years but very few people have read. The HNS listing reads, in part: “A novel of adventure, friendship, and immigrant life inspired by the true story of early American outlaws, intriguingly different from Hollywood mythologies.”
Will Poole’s Island named to list of Best Young Adult Historical Fiction Books
February 8, 2018 § Leave a comment
Honored to be on this list, which also includes Laurie Halse Anderson’s Fever 1793, Christopher Paul Curtis’ Bud, Not Buddy, and Ann Rinaldi’s Numbering All the Bones. An excerpt of the review on Homeschooling Teen website, the list’s publisher:
“This novel has everything a teen could hope for in a historical fiction book, including elements of magic, a journey across the sea and enough conflict and suspense to keep the pages turning. Moreover, the novel provides excellent, although indirect, commentary on current events.”
Find out everything you need to know about Will Poole’s Island here.
A conversation about writing with James Scott of TK Podcast
August 29, 2017 § Leave a comment
Really enjoyed my conversation with James Scott on the latest episode of his terrific series of literary conversations known as the TK Podcast. James is a bestselling novelist (The Kept) and an excellent interviewer, with a real knack for asking questions about writing and life that lead to interesting places.
We talked about travel, the writing life, the binary nature of solitude, National Geographic, short fiction, how to sequence stories in a short fiction collection, the Cuba Writers Program, Ingmar Bergman, drug writing, Green Writers Press, Denis Johnson, The Grateful Dead, Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, Paul Bowles, and much, much more. Highly recommended if you’re a writer and/or a fan of literary podcasts! Here’s the link.
Collection is a finalist for the International Book Awards
May 23, 2017 § Leave a comment
Honored and very pleased to report that A Field Guide to Murder & Fly Fishing has been chosen as a finalist in the 2017 International Book Awards (Short Story category).
It occurs to me to mention that for a certain kind of person, this collection would make an excellent Father’s Day gift! You can order the beautiful hardcover first edition at IndieBound, Amazon, or Barnes & Noble — or request it from your favorite local bookstore! (ISBN# 978-0997452877). Read all the latest reviews, and check the upcoming events page for a reading or signing near you!
New interview up at Fiction Writers Review
May 8, 2017 § Leave a comment
Really enjoyed this wide-ranging conversation with the perceptive Art Hutchinson at Fiction Writers Review. We discussed, among other things, extreme sports, the supernatural, foreign and historical settings, pushing the boundaries of conscious perception, and why the inner landscape is something fiction can do better than any other art. Read the whole interview here!
LitHub piece on historical fiction featuring WILL POOLE’S ISLAND
April 24, 2017 § Leave a comment
Take a look at Crystal King’s recent article at Literary Hub regarding the relevance of historical fiction to contemporary society. Crystal, the author of Feast of Sorrow, a gripping new novel on ancient Rome, makes some excellent points about the ways in which the visceral experience of history that comes from reading novels based in the past can inform our understanding of the present. The article also presents the perspectives of ten contemporary historical novelists in whose company I’m quite honored to be included, including Jenna Blum, Anjali Mitter Duva, Margaret George, Heather Webb, and Marjan Kamali. Our current political leaders would do well to read this one!
“Historical Fiction is More Important than Ever: 10 Writers Weigh In.”