Monday, July 25, 2011

The Return of Drawing Dead

Original Cover Design

Most of you who visit this blog know me as the author of several "young adult" novels, but I’ve also written eight novels for "old adults." The first five of these are now officially out of print (boo-hoo), so I’m reissuing them as ebooks, beginning with my first published novel, Drawing Dead.

I began writing Drawing Dead while I was taking a writing class from Mary Logue, to whom the book is dedicated. In fact, I’ve dedicated several of my books to Mary, which says nothing good about my number of close personal friends, but a great deal of good about my relationship with Mary.

Drawing Dead was a critical success. It got a bunch of good reviews. Marilyn Stasio, in the New York Times Book Review, opened her piece with, “Whatever Pete Hautman was doing before he wrote Drawing Dead, he was wasting his time.” It was selected as a NYT Notable Book for 1993, and I thought I was gonna be the next Stephen King. 

I wrote four more books in the Joe Crow/Sam O’Gara/Axel Speeter series. Those books were also kindly reviewed, but sales were modest.  I became interested in other varieties of literary experience, and eventually they went out of print, to be consigned to the backwaters of eBay and your friendly neighborhood used bookstore curmudgeon.

Now, thanks to the miracles of digital technology, you can read Drawing Dead on your kindle, Nook, iPad, or other device.  For the Kindle version, click here.  For the Nook version, click here.  The other four books in the series will be available soon—assuming I sell enough copies of Drawing Dead to justify the expense of converting them.

My Hack-job e-Cover
For those of you who have read only my YA work, I should mention that in Drawing Dead the “f-word” and its variations occur 159 times. There are other discourteous words as well. Just so you know.

If you’d like to check out what sort of literary conceit you might be subjecting yourself to, Amazon lets you download the first four chapters to your device for free.

*Right now it’s only available on Kindle and Nook, but the other e-formats will be available soon.

Monday, July 18, 2011

About once every ten or twenty years, I write a poem.

A Note From the Dog*

When the freezer died
And all that meat
had to be eaten quickly
I was delirious with joy.

When you lost your job
And stayed home all the time
I could not have been happier.

When you had your cardiac event
And the doctor told you to go for a walk
every single day
I was ecstatic.

What ever would you do without me?

*FYI, I write fiction.  My freezer works fine, I haven't had a job in 25 years, and I have experienced no cardiac events.

Monday, July 11, 2011

About Mr. Was

Mr. Was, published in 1996, was my first “young adult” novel. Although not conceived as a novel for teens, when I finished writing the book I discovered that the main character, Jack Lund, was a teenager for most (but not all) of the story. This happened more or less by accident. Mr. Was is a time travel story. It covers much of Jack Lund’s life, and it happened that his experiences as a teen made for better storytelling.

Since then, Mr. Was has been through several editions. At this time, it is available in mass market paperback for $6.99. That is about to change. In a few months, a new trade paperback (large format) edition of Mr. Was will become available for $8.99, replacing the smaller mass market version. It will have a cool new cover design, and will include several minor corrections to the original text.

The timing of this reissue is fortuitous. The Obsidian Blade, the first book in my sci-fi trilogy, The Klaatu Diskos, will be released in April, 2012. The Obsidian Blade employs several of the concepts first developed for Mr. Was, and although it is not a “sequel” in the usual sense (the characters and settings are all different), I nevertheless think of it as a continuation.

Some people say that Mr. Was is my best book.  I do not agree, but I will say that during the writing process, Mr. Was surprised me in ways that none of my other books have.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Green Magic and Solid Objects

In a perhaps doomed effort to stimulate myself to post more regularly, I am going to undertake to enrich the lives of those hapless few who find themselves dallying here, by suggesting certain nourishing literary endeavors. 

Hrrumph. Sorry. I have been reading Jack Vance again. It is, of course, impossible for anyone who is not Jack Vance to write like Jack Vance, but it is also impossible to resist attempting to do so. Clearly, I have failed on both counts. 

Those of you who have read more than a few of my books may have noticed that one of the recurring themes in my work is the careful examination of my own navel.* That is, I like to write about the thing I am writing about in a manner analogous to a painter painting an image of a painter painting. Allow me to avoid making myself clear. 

Two short stories that I love, and revisit often, are “Green Magic,” by Jack Vance, the tale of an ambitious magician who seeks to expand himself beyond his mortal capabilities, and “Solid Objects,” by Virginia Woolf, a story about a young politician whose life is changed by the discovery of a lovely lump of driftglass. Essentially, they are the same story seen through different ends of the telescope. 

Both are allegories concerning the creative process—at least as I read them. Both are brilliant. Both are available free online: 

Green Magic 

Solid Objects

 *Speaking of navels…on the morning after after our first date, Mary Logue called her sister to make a report. “He has an Audi,” she mentioned, referring to my car. Mary’s sister, hearing the word outie, said, “You learned that on your first date?”