Friday, May 30, 2008


A great story has come to light. It's been developing over the course of the last couple of months, I guess, but I only became aware of it a few weeks ago, when it became public knowledge. Stuart Neville, up until recently another one of us aspiring novelists who frequent a popular circuit of blogs for writers, agents, editors, and hopefully a few marketing people, has landed not only an agent but one of the preeminent agents in the business. A guy by the name of Nat Sobel. What this means, essentially, is that Stuart, who also goes by the blog handle Conduit, is about to experience the Big Time. In a big way.

I got my first taste of Stuart's writing when he posted a story on the Crapometer, titled The Last Dance. I liked his style right away. He tells a compelling story in an engaging voice, his use of imagery is tight, and his dialogue rings true. I had my suspicions then that he would make it to publication, and soon, but the magnitude of the breakthrough, I don't think anyone could have foreseen. Not to say it isn't deserved, because I believe it is, but for it to happen to someone who I consider an "internet friend", right here in my own circle, so to speak, is truly inspiring.

The cool part about Stuart's story is that The Last Dance played a significant role in his good fortune in landing the uber (pretend you see the little accent things) agent. Stuart submitted the story to, an online magazine, and it was published in Feb/March 2008 edition. Nat Sobel happened to read the story on the net, contacted Stuart, asked for pages, and the rest is history. Nat initiated the contact, not Stuart. Go to Conduit's, blog and read it in his own words. It is an awesome story, and well told, as you would expect.

Stuart made one of the first comments about my writing when I submitted chapters to the Crapometer. In fact, it was his first comment, and Sex Scenes at Starbucks' comment, that made me truly believe in my writing and really want to get better and write good stories. I owe him more than he'll ever know. I owe lots of people, really, but when you get compliments from people whose opinion you've come to respect after months of lurking and reading comments, it truly boosts the confidence. That's what makes it so cool to watch Stuart's success, sort of from the ground floor. I don't claim to be part of his inner circle, he'll probably have lots of new friends, but it thrills me to be able to know the whole story and watch it evolve. And to know it's happening to a cool guy builds faith in The Good.

It's the kind of story that motivates me to get on with my own writing. Get this first draft finished, polish the sumbitch up, and start sending queries.

Get busy on the next story.

Polish up the short story I wrote last year; it would make good material for Who knows, maybe lightning can strike twice.

Cheers, Stuart. Here's to Hope and Inspiration.

Friday, May 16, 2008


Okay, so here's the thing. Blogless Troll, he of the dolphin paranoia, has tagged me. The way it works is, I have to answer a series of questions about myself. And then choose five others to tag, and they have to do the same.

Sounds innocent enough, right? Not so. The questions are designed to elicit personal facts that can later be used for extortion. I'm not so naive as you think, Blogless, my friend. No suh.

But, since I don't plan on running for public office in this life time, I'll play along. I'll answer the questions as though you and I, BT, are on the golf course and we're talking between shots, riding along in the golf cart, standing around the green and waiting on the tee.

What were you doing ten years ago?

That would be 1998. That was an interesting year for me. I lost my job in May of that year, my best friend died that August, and I went into rehab in November.

The job loss was due to alcoholism. It was 1998 when I hit my first real low, what the drunks in recovery refer to as a “bottom”. It was a severe personal crisis. I was an alcoholic and had pretty much lost control of my life at that point.

My friend that died, well, he wasn’t just any old friend. There were five of us that pretty much grew up together, met in elementary school and little league baseball, went through high school together. Went our separate ways after high school but always stayed in touch, some of us staying maybe a little closer than others, but still all very tight. We were pretty much like brothers, all the way into adulthood. I didn’t have any brothers in my family, but I was closer to these guys than their own brothers were, the two that had them. I'd known Wayne for almost thirty years, and when he died it shook me up pretty bad. I didn’t handle it well at all. I fell into an uncontrollable downward spiral, and I landed in rehab.

I didn’t stay sober that time around. I had to beat myself up for five more years and experience many more dark hours, but that year was the beginning of the end of that phase of my life.

Thanks for asking, I’m in a swell mood now.

Just messin’ with you, man. Life is truly good today. A vast improvement over where I was ten years ago. Like another life.

What are five things on your to-do list for today?

Drink coffee
Go to work
Try to stay focused at work
Go to the gym and get at least 20 minutes in the steam room
Go to an AA meeting

What are some snacks you enjoy?

I’m with you,dude, on the Dove minis. I get the smooth milk chocolate with caramel. Yummy. Ditto the Reese’s miniatures.

Ice cream. Pretty much any kind, but pralines n cream, in particular.

Toaster Strudels.

What would you do if you were a billionaire?

I’m in with the boat crowd. Definitely, I would have a big ass boat. I would also have houses in a few choice locations. I’d have to travel around a bit to decide where to put down, but you can believe there would be a big ass house near a very large body of water, and one on a very large mountain.

Travel. I would travel. I’d see whatever struck my fancy, and I would fly there in my jet if it was too far to drive or ride a donkey.

I would also fund the most kick ass adult literacy programs in the nearest cities to my big ass houses. I would hire good people to run them, and I would pay them very well, and I would help the people who came in and stuck with the program and wanted to learn to read and write. They would have to read one of my novels in order to complete the program, of course. And then I would help them find jobs as editors.

That's a joke, just in case anyone tells EE on me.

What are three of your bad habits?

I’m too quick to assume someone is a stone cold stupid son of a bitch when they cut me off in traffic because I left enough space between me and the car in front of me not to be tailgating. They obviously don’t know who I am.

On occasion, not all the time but occasionally, I’ll sulk a little when things don’t go my way.

Might as well say it. Procrastination.

What are five places you have lived?

Stone Mountain, GA
Athens, GA
Macon, GA
Johnson City, TN
Greensboro, NC
Atlantic Beach, FL

That’s six, but what the hell. I’m a southeast gypsy.

What are five jobs you have had?

Peach Picker
Bus Boy
Used Car Salesman
Techno Pimp

What were the last five books you read?

Killing Floor Lee Child
The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test Tom Wolfe
Soul Circus George Pelecanos
Hard Revolution George Pelecanos
Shoedog George Pelecanos

Can you tell I’m studying Pelecanos? I started reading his books out of order, but I’m going to read them all and I’ll fall in line with the next trip to the library.

What’s playing on your ipod right now?

No ipod, but on the CD player is Freddy Jones Band

What five people do you want to tag?

I can’t think of five likely suspects that haven’t already been tagged. Robin would be one. She doesn’t have a blog but tough shit, she can start one with this. Gutterball. Bunnygirl. How about Brenda Bradshaw, has anyone tagged her yet? If I ask that question in Texas I'm sure I'd get a response. Ha, just messin' with you, Brenda. I think all my other blogger friends have already been tagged.

I don't know the code for putting links into my blog. I'm technically retarded. I'm sure y'all can find them, I have confidence in you. I'll drop by their blogs and let them know they've been tagged.

Now, hit it straight, BT.