Death in the World

I’m reading tomorrow at Off Square Books in Oxford. Signing starts at 5, reading at 5:30. I won’t go long and then we can head to the bar and get hammered flat as elephant shit. Folks who aren’t in Oxford: You can also get Death Don’t Have No Mercy online via Square Books.

Thanks to Lori Jakiela for inviting me to read at the Pitt-Greensburg Writers Festival and to Lori and Dave Newman for setting up the East End Book Exchange event. I had the best damn time. Hung out with and met some great folks and was honored as hell to read with Stewart O’Nan, Lori, Dave, and Bob Pajich. I’m sure folks had a swell time at AWP, but I was really glad to be in Pittsburgh with new pals.

Also, Record Store Day is Saturday. We’ve got a lot of great stuff going on at The End of All Music (where I work part-time). Don’t miss it.


Upcoming Readings

Really excited to be reading at the Pitt-Greensburg Writers Festival with Stewart O’Nan on Thursday and at the East End Book Exchange with Dave Newman, Lori Jakiela, and Bob Pajich on Saturday. Thanks to Lori for inviting me. Rege Behe interviewed me for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review in advance of the events. Thanks, Rege.

I’m reading in Oxford at Off Square Books on Wednesday, April 15 at 5PM. To hell with Tax Day! Come hear me read about rotten people on the ropes. I won’t go long! 10-15 minutes tops! And then we can go get drunk!

Also, Noir at the Bar 2 is happening in Oxford on Wednesday, May 6th. 9PM at Proud Larry’s. Mary Miller! Lisa Howorth! Melissa Ginsburg! Chris Offutt! Tom Franklin! Ace Atkins! Jack Pendarvis! Derrick Harriell! Tyler Keith! Jedidiah Ayres! Jimmy Cajoleas! Me!


Writing Process Blog Tour

Well, I’m almost a full week behind on this. My friend Abigail Greenbaum invited to take part in this writing process blog tour (she billed it as a literary internet chain letter, which I like). Our good friend Anya Groner did it the week before. They’re two of my favorite writers and they responded to these questions with their typical genius. Here I am, late, fucking the whole show up. After my answers, I’ll pass the baton to two other writers I greatly admire.

1) What are you working on?
I just finished a draft of my second novel. I’ve spent the last several months pretty immersed in it. I finished it yesterday, so I need some distance from it before I can really talk about it in more detail. It’s out with three of my most trusted readers right now, so I’ll know if it’s worth anything soon.

2) How does your work differ from others’ work in the same genre?
It’s sadder.

3) Why do you write what you do?
Everything’s shaped by where I’m from and my family and the stuff I read and watch and listen to. I was lucky enough to find James Ellroy, Jim Thompson, and Elmore Leonard really young. I watched a ton of movies as a kid, too. I was never censored. I got obsessed with David Lynch when I was about thirteen and that changed the way I see things.

4) How does your writing process work?
I write whenever the fuck I can, to be honest. I need a lot of coffee. When I’m working on a novel, I’m drinking a lot of espresso. Maybe two or three pots a day. Short stories are different. They come when they come. I don’t seem to need coffee with them. I’m influenced by everything I’m reading and listening to and watching. I need to take long walks. I have good ideas when I’m out walking. I’ll write in a notebook if I have one with me; otherwise, I’ll write in my phone. When I’m working on a novel, I’m pretty happy if I get a page or two a day. I like it when I’m hitting solid singles. I work best in the mornings, but it all depends on my job and my family and commitments. I seem to work better the busier I am. Give me two hours in the morning before work and I’ll get more done than if I have all day to sit at my desk. I don’t really have an office. I have a desk in our bedroom. My computer’s on a desk with all my son’s toys. I like to work in coffee shops. I like noise.

Next up:

Lori Jakiela, who wrote one of my favorite books from last year, a memoir called The Bridge to Take When Things Get Serious.

And my old friend Irene McGarrity. We went to college and grad school together, and I’ve always loved her stories.