A Novel Finished, A Novel Started

Well, friends, I’m proud to announce that my debut novel The Fire Eaters is finally finished, edited, and off to the slush piles of several different literary agents, awaiting their thoughts and judgement. The work as a whole took me longer than I’d hoped, but only as long as it needed. (Though I’m sure any agent/publisher who decides they like it will have their own editorial suggestions; anything to better serve the story, I say—just lay it on me!)

But really, what I’m most excited about isn’t hearing back from agents and publishers (though I am excited about this, of course; obviously; duh). No—what I’m most excited about now is the ability and opportunity to get started on new projects.

I’ve been doing a lot of short story writing since completing the novel edits, and the work of these new stories and voices has felt something like relearning that I don’t have to eat pizza every night (curry’s a thing too, y’know! and crab cakes!—and oysters!). I’m starting to also realize (re-realize?) that short story writing may be my favorite type of writing, from both a writer and reader’s perspective. There’s just something about the constant motion and newness of short stories that grips me by the heart and keeps me going.

Of course, this isn’t to say that I haven’t also already started sketching out the beginnings of a new novel. (No, not a sequel or anything like that; I need new—I need fresh air!) But, while I’ve got the plot fairly well decided on, the voices of these new novel characters are still being played with and dreamed up.

To help me get restarted and reinvigorated for all this New, I’ve been turning to some of my favorite authors for help and inspiration. If you’re ever feeling low or lost in a sea of dreaded sameness, just give these authors a few minutes of your day. They’ll make all the difference.the-girl-in-the-flammable-skirt

Aimee Bender, The Girl in the Flammable Skirt

Here’s a Bender short story that’s available online for free; a great teaser for Flammable Skirt: “Quiet Please.”

Russell Edson, Assorted Poems

Here are a few Edson poems available free online thanks to The Poetry Foundation: “Let Us Consider,” “The Fight in the Meadow,” and “The Difficulty with a Tree.

Jeff VanderMeer, Annihilation

In Annihilation, the first part of an imaginatively marketed and beautifully produced trilogy (the other parts are out in May and September), the novelist and publishing entrepreneur Jeff VanderMeer sets out to create a lasting monument to the uncanny by revisiting – without embellishment, and with a pitiless focus on physical and psychological detail – some very old ground. An alien invasion site. Assimilative spores. An unfurling of promiscuous alien biology. 

–Simon Ings, The Guardian

Happy Reading & Happy Writing!


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