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.