Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Publication day from a hotel room with weird decor.





Hello. 
I am in a hotel room. 
It's in New York City so it's a very small hotel room. 
Cozy. 
It's cozy, not small. 
I am centering
my text
so you can
get a feel
for how
cozy
it
is.

I've been writing a lot of things. 
This makes me happy and makes me a very bad blogger. 
You will like the things I've been writing. 
You will have to wait a little while before you get to see them, though. 
You know how this train is slow. 
But wait. 
There's something else. 

Today marks the release of two books of mine. 

Still Life with Tornado is now available in paperback. 





And The Dust of 100 Dogs is being re-released into the world today 
via Dutton and its original editor, Andrew Karre. 
I've written about Andrew here before 
so you should know who he is. 

Rad wallpaper, but it's the silver star-shaped thingy that really pulls the room together.
Oh, and this book.

I started The Dust of 100 Dogs
in 1999 and wrote about half of it
in the years 2000/2001. 
At the time,
I was also
building
a house
from 
scratch.

Then I had a kid. 
Then I came back to the book 
and I finished it. 
It was
my
6th
novel.

This is the book that earned me 
the most rejection letters.
From the UK first. 
Then the US. 
Probably 140 or so, in all. 
Maybe more.
I rewrote and
re-queried it
three 
times.

Ten years ago, 2007, around now-ish
I got a call from Andrew Karre. 
I had a brand new kid again.
I'd written a few more books
that got rejected. 

Andrew bought the book. 

Photo credit: Michella Domenici

Last night I spoke at Fordham University.
I met and chatted with 
Mary Higgins Clark,
who has sponsored my
writing-centered week in NYC. 
She talked about how 
her first deal,
one that only brought in $3,000,
was her most memorable. 

I
had
just
spoken
about
how
a career
in writing,
no matter how
good you get at it,
doesn't guarantee
making
a real 
living.

The Dust of 100 Dogs was my first deal. 
I got paid less than Mary did. 
And it's still the best memory--
that feeling
of having
sold 
a
book
after
fifteen
years
of
writing.

The Dust of 100 Dogs
has a lot of stories
attached to it. 

There's one about
pitching it to 
an agent
at
a
conference
and hearing
 how stupid I was
to
write
about
dogs.
I told her it wasn't
really about dogs.
She said I was
stupid
all
the
same.

There's the
weirdo
stalker guy
who
thought
rape
shouldn't
be
written
about.
Um.
Irony.

There's the American psychological 
litmus test, still in place:
Letter-writers
angry
about a character beating 
a dog
in a book which includes
 nearly every type of violence
against 
human 
beings.

Ten years of stories. 

I don't know what to say about the last ten years. 
It's hard to sum up ten years of a career that went by so quickly.

But ten years ago, I know I cried.
I sat and cried on my red couch. 
I had a piece of paper
in front of me.
I was supposed to take notes
during the 
phone call. 
I took one note. 
(It read: "Octavian Nothing.")

My 4-year-old
asked
me
why
I
was
crying.

I said,
"I sold a book."

From the blog, 2008. First galleys.
Arrrrrrr.

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