Thursday, December 31, 2009

Toast to a New Decade

When I woke up January 1st of 2009 I really hadn’t planned on being a published author. My main concern was tying the knot on my MFA in Creative Writing at Pacific University. This by itself was going to be a heck of fete to pull off. I had the stories in mind I wanted to iron the kinks out of plus the idea to write some fresh material that hopefully would be my best stuff to date.

I had also hoped to get back into a routine whereby I would send out multiple short story submissions to various important literary journals still looming out there. I had been lagging behind in my diligent efforts of the past primarily because I had become so obsessed with a few short pieces.

I hadn’t gotten around to Shades of Luz in maybe seven or eight months. Honestly, I cannot say for sure why I decided to pick it back up, but I decided it needed more polishing before I sent it off. I guess it was March or a little bit before that when I had started sending it off in what I would call a kamikaze-type mission.

I’ll spare you the gory details of how it got picked up and all that jazz. The main thing I wanted to say with this final post of the year is that I am really looking forward to 2010. A new decade of possibility. It’s funny but I was terrified of 2000. Not because I was worried about Y2K, but because I felt like a new millennium was upon us and I didn’t know where I fit into it. Back then I was a writing the novel that would get pleasantly rejected by a myriad of top publishing houses.

I toast them all. I really didn’t like that novel very much and I am glad it didn’t see the light of the lit world. Here’s to Shades of Luz. Now begins the wild-eyed quest for write the sophomore follow-up.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Cornelia Street

What does Woody Allen say? Eighty percent of life is showing up. Something like that. It turns out I was going to support George Wallace, a poet buddy I know, by attending his reading in the West Village. Running late as usual, I bumped into him heading to the cafe.

"Hey Johnny," George said. "What's shaking?"

"Good to see you too Frank," I said.

I've always likened George to Frank O'Hara. George is a damn good poet, a hell of a reader, and a hell of a guy.

"What's this the first time we've bumped into each other in the city?"

And it was. For the past two years we've been running into each other out in Oregon. Both of us are New Yorkers, but we've never shaken hands on our home turf. this was our tipping point.

It was an amazing lineup of poets. Some paid tribute to the late great Kerouac. Ah, my Kingdom for a Beatnik! George called out before the night was said and done and made me get on stage to read from Shades of Luz. Boy, was I shocked.

You think this guy, hosting the event, would want to read. But, no. He gave me his final slot so that I could share with the packed house my Sven Bergstrom thumb-wrestling scene from the novel.

I had to give him an autographed postcard. It was the least I could do. He has a big reading lined up for the penultimate day of the year. I have a big surprise for him. And I'm not telling.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Gorman Rocks The Cell

Forget the near monsoon that opened on Gotham City yesterday the turnout for my Shades of Luz reading at The Cell Theater was peachy keen.

This time around I read a thumb-wrestling scene. Why not? Frankly, I've grown a bit tired of the wine snobbery, love scenes, and whatnot. I wanted to share the coolness of hand to hand combat. Jen Ochs of NY Book Cafe and the Examiner recently described the thumb-wrestling in"Shades of Luz" as comparable to an MMA competition. Maybe so. The crowd got a kick out of Bald Bull, Glass Joe, Slippery Slim, and Benny dodging, parrying, and sneak-attacking.

Benny Fluke victorious at least for this chapter.

New stuff on the horizon. I will be putting together some reading lists for online book catalogs and web zines.

"Bones Brigade" which was originally published by Mississippi Review back in 2006 will be re-released by Shalla Magazine.

Friday, November 20, 2009

St. Mark's Bookshop Now Carries Shades of Luz

I was beginning to think I’d never get it into a book shop. Now maybe I didn’t bumrush enough of them but I did make a number of appearances. I won’t get into all the details about it right now. After a week of having little of any success even getting independent bookshops to consider my book let alone carry it I finally hit pay dirt.

And you would think with it being NYC Independent Bookstore Week I would’ve had a better shot. Not the case. The moral of the story is to never make assumptions. And, more importantly, not to give up.

Yesterday, I was bushed by the end of the day. I’d been pounding the pavement searching for a happy home to carry Shades of Luz. I’d visited few shops and the last one on my itinerary, Bluestockings, seemed to have gone pretty well. I had a very good conversation with one of the staffers. I really respect their shop. They have a great selection of interesting reads: culture, gender studies, non-partisan politics, fiction (both on and off the grid). They’re also in an awesome location off Allen Street in the Lower East Side. As great as my drop-in chat went we ended things at still in the talking phase which is fine.

I must add however that I was directed to St. Mark’s Bookshop which I of course already knew about, but hadn’t pursued. Yeah, I’m a procrastinator, but I get overwhelmed. I could put my book on any shelf throughout the country. Who’s shelf should I hit first? It would be great to stumble upon the ordered list of where I should turn to first. Truth is, it doesn’t matter you just got to get it out there.

For some reason, I had it in my head that St. Mark’s Bookshop was closer to Tompkins Square Park and though I walked back and forth up the block and around the block, grabbed a slice of pizza, scratched my head and was ready to pack it in I decided to swing it up 9th Street, poked my head in Solas for a minute a had a beer to wind down. I should count my blessings I told myself. The hell with them my feet were sore. I was tired. I was in that woozy state where I wasn’t sure if I wanted to take a nap or do an Irish jig. I don’t know if you ever have the mood to do the Irish jig when you are bushed, but sometimes it comes to me. I also trip over the same song in my head. “Ninety-nine Luft Balloons” was playing in mine, not on the stereo.

So anyway I got myself onto my feet, declined the jig, paid for beer and sluffed off. When I crossed onto 3rd Avenue I noticed from my peripheral view that St. Mark’s Bookshop was to my left. Unbelievable. After all that galumphing. So I went in and perused the mags and books for a bit. I never go straight up to anybody. I need to kill more time. Go over the rejection in my head a little, let it stew.

I went to the back and made my little spiel, in a voice that was in desperate need of Darjeeling and honey. I don’t remember when exactly I pulled out my copy of Shades of Luz from my backpack, but somehow it made its way onto the counter. The guy didn’t even look at it and I’m thinking “What the hell?” and I’m ready to leave when he says. “We’ll give it a shot.”

I didn’t jump through my skin, but I wanted to. He let me put a couple of my postcards in the front of the shop. “Three months,” he said. “If it doesn’t sell in three months you know the deal.”

Indeed I did.

I left the shop with my leather jacket unbuttoned and did my version of the Irish jig until I made it to the Astor Place station.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Shades of Luz Earns Most Gifted in Fiction

I woke up to realize I hit 4 new Amazon categories. After a week on the Mover and Shakers list, a couple of Days on Best Seller List in Fiction, I discovered that I had hit the Most Gifted in Books, Fiction, Contemporary Writing, and General Fiction categories.

I reached a high of #13 in Contemporary Fiction, #16 in General Fiction, #20 in Literature and Fiction, and #51 in Books.

The upshot of this is that I am a list that tracks discussions about John Gorman and Shades of Luz pitted against Pat Conroy's "South of Broad", E.L Doctorow's "Homer and Langley", Stephenie Meyer's "Host" and "Eclipse" (Twilight Saga Book 3), Dan Brown, Patrica Cornwell, Paulo Coehlo, and a host of other heavy hitter best sellers.

International fame is a bit off on the horizon, but this is certainly a fantastic and unexpected start. I like to play things down. That's my nature. but, it is high time I start tooting my horn.

If I don't then who will.

Next Stop NY Times.

Shades of Luz Website Gets Facelift

At the behest of some astute marketing and PR folks I decided to change the background color and font on my website. It a thousand times more readable now. In fact, the color scheme much better too. I don't know if you can talk in terms on Feng Shui with regards to cyber furniture, but there's this way better vibe.

Also, included is a excerpt from the chapter "A Girl Named Luz, A Hippo Named Cyclopes." This should draw readers in or turn them off. Who knows? But, I want to share a bit of the book before people plunk down their hard-earned ducats for the libro.

Might alternate excerpts every so often. To make it more fun.

Check back for new gadgets and webfetti and of course- Author on the Loose scoop.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Shades of Luz is A Best Seller

We had a pretty solid run yesterday. Shades of Luz hit the Best Seller list in Fiction rising as high as #80 at one point one spot behind Paulo Coelho's "The Alchemist. I was ahead of Stephanie Meyer's [The Twilight Saga]"Eclipse", James Patterson, Orphan Pamuk's "The Museum of Innocence", Danielle Steele, 2 Anne Rice Books, the Kindle releases of "Three Musketeers" and "Gulliver's Travels", Mark Haddon's "The Curious Incident with the Dog", "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies" and "Zombie Survival Guide" "Rainwater" by Sandra Brown and "Atlas Shrugged" by Ayn Rand.

I still feel pretty much the same. I don't think it has fully hit me yet. To tell you the truth I have some books on my own TBR that I'd like to get to and an unprecedented number of emails and facebook messages that I need to answer. I think it's time I put a professional on board. Somebody who can keep me organized.

Thank you to everybody who offered kind words and so much support. I will always remember.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Shades of Luz on its Run Toward Best Seller

For a brief moment yesterday we cracked 1200. Shades of Luz was ranked as high as 1134 on Amazon before it dropped back to 1737 by day end.

Overnight I woke up to find out it had dipped down to 2443 on the chart. Had to shuffle over to a BNI meeting. My buddy Erik is the president of the Midtown Manhattan chapter. I have to say they were a super impressive group of individuals. They all seemed so focused and dedicated to their respective professions.

I had the great opportunity to deliver two 40 second commercials, one for buddy's A-1 First Class Moving company and the other for my book. Truthfully, I think my book spiel sucked, but I gave a stellar commercial for Erik.

I'm going to change my format of this blog a smidgens by giving an update everyday, at least for as long as "Shades of Luz" is on its run to become a best seller. God knows how long it will last. But, I know there a re a lot of folks pulling for me.

Shades of Luz, The Little Engine That Could

I woke up this morning and Shades of Luz had risen 2000 spots and right now it's ranked #263 on Amazon. It's nerve-racking the higher it climbs. I keep wondering when it will finally stop. Is it just teasing me. I see it trundling along to #101 and then a slow slip back into midlist and then into oblivion.

It's hard to imagine my novel went into print a little over two months ago. I think I've mentioned the mix of emotion I felt both joyous and spent. This is why I was happy to see NaNo come on November first as it always does. Indeed, it is something to look forward too. But, of course I can hardly concentrate on it until my novel place is settled. Best Seller, no-seller, or some-seller, which is it going to be.

I've never taken it much to heart because I never dreamed it would be possible. A Pushcart maybe. I still would like one of those. If I wasn't addicted to the internet before with Tweeting, blogging, and perusing the latest scoop from the over abundance of web content then I must be hyper-addicted, uber-addicted.

Surprisingly though I have been pretty cool about drinking coffee. In fact, I've only had a cup in the past three days combined. Something's up.

Hopefully all of this will be settled one way or not by tomorrow.

If it's going to be then it going to be.

Fingers crossed.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

NaNo Write-in

It's great to get the creative juices going. When you are hopped up on book promoting you sometimes feel like a stale baguette.

Yesterday at a NaNo write-in in Astoria the aspiring novelists shared a great vibe. I can't thank them enough for the quick sprints, the positive energy, it's the writer's lifeblood.

I didn't take home any of the sprints. I'm a marathon man. Well, that might even be a stretch too, but I'm definitely all about the distance. I don't mean that strictly in a word count sense, but in the sculpturing aspect of writing when you take the pay the utmost attention to shaping words.

I do have an inner editor, more so than ever before and that of course slows me down, but I truck on. I love to click keys. It's such a delightful sound creating nuggets of meaning.

Tomorrow will be another hectic day, but with all the progress Shades of Luz is making climbing the Amazon ladder I think it is worth it.

Happy writing.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

John Gorman, A Word Juggler

Okay Sportsfans I was never really circus material when it came to juggling, but I knew how to keep a few tennis balls in the air. I did mainly to keep my pre-teens enthused during water breaks during tennis lessons.

Now I find myself in a game of word juggling. I'm stretching the metaphor a bit, but when I'm wearing as many hats as I am now I think I'm entitled to the poetic license. I logged in 1098 words for NaNo which is an respectable start. I'm a prolific writer. When I get on a tear I let it rip. During my Wednesday Q and A I racked up 5000 plus words of what I tallied. I also had to retype part of it do to an accidental erase. Oops. I'll make my 50K don't you worry.

When I first tried NaNo in 2006 I was one week late into it and I cleared my hurdle and then some. Why would I put through myself through this added pressure while I'm on my book tour. Well, I tell you I'm itching to get back into the novel swing. I've been at my story collection for a while and I love it. The big advantage of short stories is the narrative focus. If you bring your lens that close to the POV character you can cause a rift of emotion, eke out a moment of transcendence.

There goes that poetic waxing.

Tomorrow I'll be making a NaNo appearance at Panera in Astoria.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Student Filmmakers Digs Shades of Luz

Yesterday, somebody from Student Filmmakers Makers magazine reached out to me because they found my story interesting. When I say story I mean what's been going on with "Shades of Luz" that has been garnering a lot of media attention. They have an article posted on their site

Screenwriters Basics also piggybacked on this idea. Yes, it's exciting to get more film people interested in the book, but I know it can take an army to get it where it needs to be.

Film has that collaborative aspect that novels don't. The writer needs to make peace with the crew, producers, and so on. Heard horror stories from the E.L Doctorows, Irvings, and other big writers who have had to fight tooth and nail to keep the integrity of their vision.

As for me I will keep plugging at this. It will get to the point where I will focus more on the film buzz, but it seems it's happening whether I want it to or not as I am still very much on Book Tour

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Shalla Magazine Q and A Huge Success

Yesterday, Shalla de Guzman from Shalla Magazine invited me for a round-table-style Q and A. It was an amazing experience and a little overwhelming. There were so many brilliant questions passed my way that I really needed to keep on my toes. There was a also a brief snafu where my answers didn't get posted right away so when I sent them they disappeared into the black hole of cyberspace. Yikes. I literally had to rewrite my answers to approximately 8 questions. And, let me just say they weren't yes or no.

I did a brief tally afterward on MS Word because I wanted to make sure I was saving my responses. I had 5000 plus words logged. That's 3 days worth of writing by Stephen Kings standards. But, I was game. I was juked. And I wanted to share every bit of micro-knowledge I've learned yet far. I'm sure I passed the neonatal stage of author development, but I have a long way to go. Plumbing the inner writer has both an uplifting and a exhaustive element. The deeper the introspection helps you learn more about yourself in the process. It was truly great fun.

One of the promising young writers, a college student, told me she was majoring in sociology but her passion was for creative writing and she wrote stories on the side. Boy, did that remind me of me way back when I was an Anthropology student at Hunter College. I too called what I did writing on the side. I was quick to point out to the student that writing is writing. It's a calling and when we discuss the craft with others we shouldn't be afraid to call ourselves writers. There's no harm in that. We are all in different stages of development.

It's funny too because shortly after "Shades of Luz" went into print I went into my own kind of Postpartum depression. Writers give birth to their works. We share a piece of our soul. I felt exhilarated, exhausted and a little afraid that I didn't didn't deserve to be out there yet even though 3 different publishers had accepted my novel. Colleagues from my MFA program and former professors raved about my book. None of it seemed to matter. I had to come to grips with it myself.

I stumbled out of the gate. Somebody had immediately asked me to do a reading and I didn't even respond. I was that despondent. I had to convince myself what I did mattered. A good friend and a terrific writer, editor, literary shaman of sorts Nannette Croce invited me to guest blog on her Zine Writer about my experience publishing my novel and I did. She had published an essay of mine last year called "Boba Fett Blues" when she was with The Rose & Thorn.

I learned so much about myself writing that blog about my spiritual growth writing "Shades of Luz" that I think was OK with myself afterward because I realized it is all a process and not a product. My novel might come and go, but I will always grow as a writer.

Thank you Nannette

Thank you Shalla

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

NANO Kickoff Big Success

Went to the NANO Kickoff last night at No Idea Bar. Great stuff. For those of you not familiar with NANO and National Novel Writing Month it is the shiznit, it's awesome! Chris Baty some years back made the writing marathon into a colossal community experience. You have 30 days to write a 50,000 word novel that's the whole kit and caboodle. It's all run on the honor system so don't think about cutting and pasting stuff into the system. Big brother is keeping his eye on you.

I participated and won back in 2006. I'm making my second appearance and I'm way psyched. I met a lot of cool people yesterday who are planning on writing all different kinds of novels running the gamut from dead-on-balls literary to retro zombie, swords and dragon fantasy sci-fi romance and futuristic cowboy.

Shades of Luz didn't come out of my 2006 NANOfest, but I think I will craft something snazzy this time around. Keep tuning in to my posts. I will have some NANO writers on Paper Cut soon, including 3-time NANO champ Katherine Gilraine, author of The Index Series.

Off to the Behind the Book charity event tonight. Paparazzi welcome.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Shades of Luz Reaches India

(Read the Main Scoop)

What does Shades of Luz and Slumdog Millionaire have in common? Nothing yet, but oddly enough Benny has some curious similarities with Slumdog's Jamal. Both of them take to the streets and connect with wonky underworld type bosses. Jamal isn't a chess whiz, but he's got an incredible memory. So does Bennys.

There's an interesting article by Anubhav Bharadwaj posted today in Read It India about Shades of Luz. In the article, Bharadwaj goes on to say that should Oprah or Ryan Seacrest put the question to Adam Lambert- whether or not he's interested in the role of Benny when Shades of Luz goes film- this will make a Slumdog Millionaire success for Shades of Luz.

So let's see it hit the Middle East and India. Maybe Luz will next find its way into London, Paris, or Monte Carlo.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Shades of Luz is on Twitter

You can now follow Shades of Luz on Twitter.

Some other exciting things have been happening including the new accolade best author on the block.

Somebody recognized the "must love dogs" element in my novel. Apparently, I've been tagged by dog lovers. Wondering when there is going to be more of a monkey following.

Prepping for my Q and A on Wednesday.

Will have more about a potential Luz for the film in a bit.

Anybody who has any suggestions please feel free to drop them in my comment box. We love hearing from you.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

The Week Ahead

Wild week lined up. On Tuesday I will be at the NANO NYC kickoff party. Wednesday afternoon I am being interviewed by Shalla Magazine. Wednesday night I'm attending the Behind the Book Benefit at the William Bennett Gallery. Shades of Luz will be at the Dirty Laundry Reading Series and Opium's Literary Death Math on Thursday at the Bowery Poetry Club.

I think I'll bring along my Luke Skywalker light saber for added protection at the Literary Death Match.

Still have a few more days to pick an outfit for Halloween. Not going to go as Dorian Gray as I did last year.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Please Don't Stop the Music

(Legendary Poet Marvin Bell Collaborating with globetrotting bassist Glenn Moore)

I'm not an anniversary guy, but I love how oxymoronic one-week anniversary sounds. Last week I got up to find out some Adam Lambert fans had taken a liken to my novel Shades of Luz. I have to admit it surprised me a bit. For those of you in the loop, Benny is a Grad school dropout selling stuffed animals on the street. He's the furthest thing in the world from a celeb who sings mega pop songs, but an interesting thing I noted from much of buzz was that fans of Adam kept saying "Adam can do anything" "he's versatile" "He's the modern day Don Quixote".

If you're familiar with the blurb on the back of my book it says that "Shades of Luz" is a modern day Don Quixote. You never know what strands, what memes get picked up on.

Nonetheless, I am thrilled to have people taking an interest. In fact, if you'll recall, a few weeks back I went to Opium Live's party where Anya Ulinich was interviewed by Todd Zuniga which was then followed by a rad performance by Zee Avi the Malaysian wunderkind. I think it hit me then how awesome the mixing of music and words are.

Well, that's not completely true. Actually, I've seen Marvin Bell, the legendary Dead Man Poet, jam with Glenn Moore. It's like watching Lou Reed rif with Les Paul. Jimi Hendrix strum along with Walt Whitman. Something like that.

But, what I'm driving at is this deep sense of musicality that comes alive in some prose. I'm not tooting my horn so to speak, but if there is a certain music in my prose I want it to echo green.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Hit the Road Jack

Today was a pounding pavement day. I know I'm supposed to be hitting the cyberlane, but I'd like to throw some of the old-fashioned brick and mortar into the mix. I reached out, in-person, to Word, 192 Books, Posman, and St. Martins Bookstore. It took forever to get to Word in Greenpoint. The G train is perpetually MIA. But did I quibble? No. Good thing I had my trusty retro Paris Review on my person. Been prepping for interviews. The one I was reading from has interviews with Malamud, Vonnegut, Tennessee Williams, Garcia Marquez and much much more. I would've been fierce pissed if I only had my thumbs to twiddle waiting on the lousy subway platform.

A southern author who had grown up in Queens NY, like yours truly, gave me some advice about what's what. I think I am going to go Kindle ASAP. Got to build the readership. It's never too early to start.

I noticed a heavy boost or readers added on to my hitometer from yesterday to today. By my standards. I think it has something to do with my Paper Cut blog on Lethem. Mazel Tov to that.

Timothy McSweeney became a Facebook buddy. It's a all about building one brick at a time. I'm not leaving you with a bricklaying analogy, but trying to clue you in to my introspective gestalt.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Tuesday with Johnny

Just what is Coming of Age? Follow the discussion posted on Amazon

Need to give my website a facelift.

Working on a new story for Plots with Guns.

Later out to Brooklyn to see Fortress of Solitude scribe Jonathan Lethem.

Then it's over to Floyd's for Midnight Bocce.

Oh yeah, and sorry to hear that Cameron Diaz and Mike Myers got banned from Twitter. Guess that means I get more plug time.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Looking For Luz

The time has come for us to find the right Luz. I'm always a few steps ahead, the way the chesswonk Brig thinks. The book is doing pretty well, but I'm thinking movie. Always loved movies and had the good fortune of winning NY International Independent Film and Video Festival a few years back. I want to take that know-how and transform my book into an award-winning screenplay.

Of course you know it helps to have the cast in mind. The Studio has their way of twisting your work the way they see fit, but I'm not going to stop that from letting my opinions matter.

Right now I am seriously considering Luz's role. I have to. Duh. Shades of Luz is the title.

So much speculation has been brewing for the male parts, particularly Benny. It's amazing that I see fans interested and involved in this process. And believe me I am listening with eager ears for thoughts on Luz while I consider who i think would be the perfect star or maybe it's an unknown or a rising star.


Sunday, October 18, 2009

Hunter College Hall of Fame Dinner

My friend Jocelyn Cruz was a most gracious nominee and recipient at this year's Hunter College Athletic Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony. She'd been a stellar tennis player, fencer, and then later a star coach who led her team to many championships.

Cruz, I'm very proud of you.

No lamb chops to report about. They served up salmon which was probably for the best since I don't get enough fish.

On the book front, my buddy Tony put me in touch with a former TV Guide executive. A big shout out to you my man.

Hustling like crazy with some local news to show the relevance of Shades of Luz. As if I really need to make the point.

Check out The New Book Review.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Thumbs Up For Luz

(Photo by Deb E. Tenney)

Carolyn Howard has posted "Literary Novel Finds Publisher and High Approval" about Shades of Luz on The New Book Review.

Though I'm trying to keep a low profile on the part of Luz when we take Shades of Luz to the screen, Twitter and a host of blogs have been doing mad speculating about Benny. Almost all of them are fanatically behind Adam Lambert to play the part. Still haven't heard anything about Bret McKenzie and whether or not he's interested in Brig or Charlie. There are a few other people that might be good for Charlie's role. Giovanni Ribisi for one. Loved him in Boiler Room.

Jason Swartzman from Bored to Death is another really good choice for Charlie. He already has the bookish quirkiness playing Jonathan Ames real life character.

Will be at the Hunter College Hall of Fame Dinner tonight. Hope they serve lamb chops. I've had a craving for a while now.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Adam or Bret for Benny's Role

So you wondering about Adam Lambert as Benny when the film Shades of Luz busts out. Now I know some confidants have also been whispering Bret McKenzie to me co-producer and folk-pop strummer from Flight of the Concords. Here's what I have to say about Bret for Benny. I think he'd make a better Brig. Brig the sidekick of Benny who informs about the whole crazy underworld he gets himself into.

The trouble is once we get in Luz's role we also want to consider who looks good paired up. We're still very much in the neonatal stage of development, but it's exciting.

I want to be clear that I dig Bret McKenzie. I just think he would be better for Brig or possibility Charlie. And neither of those parts are anything to scoff at.

Check out the Official Adam Lambert site to see how fans feel about it.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Trumpet Fiction

I will be doing a Shades of Luz reading at the Trumpet Reading Series at KGB Bar in February thanks to Jonathan Kravetz.

It seems like each day there's a new reading lined up, but I'm mainly interested now in getting some blog radio going. I have an interview with Shalla from Blog with Shalla coming up. She has a large presence on the net. I'm really forward to that.

NANO is coming up too. There kickoff will be in less than two weeks and I'm slated to give some pep talks as I'm a 2006 Winner.

Dirty Laundry reading is set for the end of the month. I'm going to make sure I bring the liquid Tide this time.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Letting the Monkeys Loose at The Cell

I just signed onto a reading at The Cell for December. I've personally been asked to read a section from where Benny trains his monkeys to through darts. I love Thelonius's character (AKA Benny's favorite snow monkey). If you check out my website I even posted a picture of a real snow monkey on my Praise tab.

Anybody who didn't get to see me read on Monday night then drop by The Cell, in Chelsea on December 13th. I'll be reading from Shades of Luz again. Karen Heuler, author of Soft Room and Wah-Ming Chang, host of the Page Reading Series will be hosting the event. I should be a blast.

On a side note I just joined on Shelfari, book lover and author networking site. Den Tenney gave me a huge reading list and Jen Knox, author of Musical Chairs added on to my friend list.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Doing the Rounds

Forget-me-nots from Telephone Bar Reading

Today I hit up both McNally Robinson and Housing Works. Housing Works has always been a prime spot. I've had a lot of good experiences there. I met George Saunders,Gary Shteyngart, Etgar Karat, and Mary Gordon there. George Saunders is a heck of writer and a heck of a guy.

Housing Works took my book. It's a non-profit so it's totally pro bono, but has great exposure. I gave them autographed copies too, but I'll be following up.

Next stop Half-King.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Telephone Bar Reading Tonight

Drop by Telephone Bar tonight to get better acquainted with Benny, Brig, Luz, and all the other wild and crazy cast of characters from Shades of Luz. Reading starts at 8pm. Telephone Bar is on Second Avenue and 9th Street a block from St. Mark's church. A bunch of us will be chilling out by the bar before and after so come on down.

One lucky attendee will win a three-month supply of Inca Cola, the Peruvian Golden Cola. Thumb-wrestling permitting only after the performance.

A special shout out to Tony and the posse he is bringing out. Hope to see you all there.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Gorman Stops By Mad Hatter's Review

Dropped in at Carol Novack's Mad Hatter's Review reading at KGB Bar. I never noticed before but the stained glass behind the bar reminded me of Humpty Dumpties in green overalls. Just a simple observation.

Said a few hellos, stayed for the first part of the reading then scooted on over to St. Mark's Bookstore.

Came up with the idea for my Bandito story.

Shades of Luz is one-month old.

Shades of Luz is a Hybrid

I've got say that there isn't a single category I'd put Shades of Luz. To call it a fast-past coming-of-age-story, urban adventure would be to miss the point. It's about finding love and meaning. It's about aimless dreams and letting them go. Sometimes our lives feel as is they are without any direction and sometimes it feels like we cannot find the right path.

I wrote Shades of Luz so that the protagonist Benny Fluke could find his way. With that in mind I really had no idea where he would end up and after a few aborted attempts found where he needed to go. There were a few characters too who once were foils, but were removed in order to keep the focus of the story.

Killing your darlings, as many writers already know, is a bit like killing off a part of you. But, often it is necessary for the betterment of the work.

When I was sending out my manuscript, I sent a number out to different presses. Some strictly literary, others mainstream, slipstream, hard-boiled, sci-fi, fantasy, multi-genre, and a number of them said Shades of Luz defied all categories. In other words, there was no neatly-packed genre it would fit into.

What do you do if you get good feedback, but nobody wants to publish your book? Well, I wasn't going to hide under a rock or cut my throat, but it did annoy me that nobody seemed to want to take the chance with it. Self-publishing did cross my mind, but as I got closer to finishing up my MFA program I thought of the things my professors would say or what would universities say when I applied to teach at them and I only had one novel, self-published to my credit.

There seems to be a double standard when it comes to non-fiction. Fiction writers go through a lot more scrutiny. I'm not exactly sure why that is the case, but it is a reality nevertheless. X-libris used to hound me. Somehow I'd gotten on their marketing list and believe me I thought long and hard about it.

When I got word from All Things That Matter Press that they wanted to publish Shades of Luz I was ecstatic, but also petrified. The whole world was going to see my words and would be able to judge them. Because I'd been nursing my novel for so many years this naturally scared me. It took me a about a month to settle down and then with all the edits we needed to do before the book went live I was on the verge of hyperventilation. I stress the hyperbole because it is true that bringing a book into the world is a lot like giving birth. A bit cliche perhaps, but nevertheless true.

Now that the book is out there whenever I am asked by critics what it's about I have to be a quick thinker because it's still an undefinable hybrid.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Wu-Tang Clan Redux

I'm not sure what Shades of Luz has in common with the Wu-Tang Clan, but I'm going to take it as a compliment. I know RZA, the founder and mastermind behind the legendary group is into chess and his prophetic in many ways. Benny certainly has some of those qualities and his sidekick Brig does too, for that matter Luz is super-platinum.

Aside from that I've working diligently to partner up with other writers and artists to spread the word. Nannette Croce wrote a review of Shades of Luz on Cross Reference. If you get a second check it out. She's an awesome editor, critic, and writer and has a killer site called Zine Writer which carries on some deep discussion on literature.

Off to the art galleries today. No stone left unturned.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

A Little Honey for Shades of Luz

Beez and Honey got on board and has spread about Shades of Luz on their blog

I've also been asked to visit a local senior center which is totally cool. I think they will relate to Luz. There's also my unsung Heroine Rose who I'm thinking about reading from.

Somebody said Brig reminded them a bit of Rza's The Tao of Wu.

I'm down with a comparison to the Wu-Tang Clan.

Shades of Luz Listed on NY Writer's Workshop

Thanks Dan for the plug. That's big. Well, after NY Writer's Workshop listed me on their board I logged a few more attendees for my upcoming Telephone Bar Reading/Book Signing.

Yesterday, Bonnie Jo Campbell rocked the house at Center for the Book Arts in Chelsea. She read from her winning chapbook Love Letters from Sons of Bitches.

Today I will be at Behind the Book reading at KGB Bar.

Tomorrow at Opium Live!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

John's at Center for Book Arts

Today we're on the go go go. Lot's of exciting news and not enough time to report it all in. Two of my aunts picked up copies which, frankly I'm surprised about. Wait until they get to the racy part- A Spoonful of Indiscretion. Also, one of my writer buddies Douglas Light, author of "East Street Bliss" is going to do a Q and A. Actually, I'm going to Q and A him, but he will be visiting my site. Details to follow shortly. His book is soon to become a feature film.

Gearing up for the Telephone Bar reading. That should be off-the-hook. I have quite a few pre-vites already RSVPed. Hope there's enough seats.

Tomorrow will be stopping by KGB Bar.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Finding the Right Target

Somebody asked me this weekend if my book was available at Target. It had never occurred to me that Target was a viable book chain. It's easy to lose track with B & N, Borders, Amazon, and Powells. There are so many classy indie bookstores. I'm smitten with the idea of a new reader pulling a copy of my book from a quaint, local shop that maybe I have neglected the Bulls' eye logo Department store where I happen to pick up many containers and other household odds and ends.

The long of short of it is this, I'm willing to test my luck wherever it fits. A few years back, I found a writer friend's book in a dollar bin at the Strand on Fulton. I called her up to let her know she'd made it into the afterlife of the book chain. Used books is that last channel, a testament to the book's will to live or the erstwhile owner's willingness to let the book live on.

I haven't seen any Shades of Luz in half-priced bins yet, but I won't frown if I do. To me, it will a sign that my book has a survival gene built in its DNA, much like its author.

Next stop on this Book Tour-- Target!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Shades of Luz Website Goes Live

Without further ado Shades of Luz is shelved in Cyberspace. More on the Book Tour Coming Soon. Pick up your copy on Amazon.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Bookmark the Shades of Luz Website

Okay, I've been tinkering with it for days, but the website is finally, almost nifty. I've noodled with a few styles, content, and so on. I have now come to the indubitable conclusion that it needs to be a working-model.

Ever see those art installations where a zillion things are going on and you really aren't sure what the deal is? I have. If you wait there long enough, you'll see it loop back and then it will all start to make sense.

There's a lot of websites to choose from. If I studied all of them the next ice age would have already slid by. Basically, I made an executive decision and stuck by it. How could I not?

I feel the neurons swimming, and this only phase one.


Friday, September 18, 2009

Red Room

I read an unsettling post about an author who had the day from hell when her book launched. Her Facebook froze, her laptop battery died, and she couldn’t find her Blackberry. Yikes. Oh, the trials and tribulations of these Twitter Times.

My qualm of the day is on a much smaller scale, but goes to show the metamorphosis that has taken place in me since I’ve minted a book. Recently, I’ve joined a slew of networks to get better connected with literary circles. Some I’ve been active in some I haven’t been. One in particular called the Red Room I have tried to make the effort, but my bio page and book influences have a bunch of HTML gobbledygook spitting out in my profile. Today I made my first blog post on their site. When I’d submitted it I went back to see what it looked like, but of course I couldn’t find it. It appeared to have been lost in a cyber black hole. I was uber-frustrated as I tried posting it 4 more times. Nothing. I later realized there was a pending category that stored a queue of posts requiring approval. All four of my posts waited patiently while I mourned the loss of my sensibility. It then struck me I have become more of an instant gratification whore than I’d like to admit.

Is there a moral to this story? Probably not. But, I find I am more antsy now that I've published my novel than before I had. When I couldn't get Shades of Luz published I skulk in a corner for a while and lament the slings and arrows of outrageous misfortune. I napped more. Now, I juked with energy. Nervous energy. Francine Prose says that to be a great writer is to put each word on the trial of it's life. I'm putting each move I make on the trial of its life. I'm looking for skapegoats in case my paper moon gets lost in the shuffle.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

To Raise an Author

I've been reaching out to journals I've published in to see if I can sniff up interest in my novel. Sometimes editors will let you share an excerpt or post a link back to your website or your page on Amazon.

I had a rather fortuitous email from University of Texas Pan American who publishes a print journal called RiverSedge. I was trying to track down a short story I'd thought was published by them, but wasn't sure since I never received a copy. My story "A Miner Frame" about a Fireman who burns with the passion of being an artist has a fabulist experience when he's visiting an art gallery. He escapes a room brimming with philistines and cozies up to a particularly odd painting. He is so engrossed by it that it sucks him into the canvas and all at once the fireman becomes part of the painting. The rest is a dialectic on the enterprise on aesthetics and craftsmanship.

Here's the good thing that happened to me. I was informed by the assistant of the English Department that indeed my story "A Miner Frame" appeared in issue 18:1 -- back in 2005. Some postal snafu must have botched things up. Nonetheless, I will finally be getting my two free author copies.

Alas, I am plugging away trying to get to word out there. It takes a village to raise a child. It takes a miracle to raise an author.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

No, Just Feel like Plastic Man

Today's book tours, in their own peculiar way, are like A Movable Feast. Sort of. I don't know but, my days seem to be getting shorter and shorter. At the moment, I am in the neonatal stages of development on an article for Nannette Croce from Cross Reference. She was kind enough to publish my essay "Boba Fett Blues" in The Rose & Thorn last fall. Let's see if I can wow her again.

The trick is to either be Plastic Man or have and army of well-oiled, java-juked publicists. I'm working on both. Anybody who can spare some of the latter you know where you can reach me