"The Street Martyr is a book with balls. Great big brass balls. It's tough and gritty, unflinchingly brutal and honest, and a wild ride from start to finish. And yet, the book's thrills are only part of the reason Dunham left me feeling like I'd just been flattened by a literary steamroller. For me, the real appeal of this book is in its heart. Dunham has painted a mean picture of those scrabbling for survival on the fringes of society, but he's done it with genuine empathy and class."

Joe McKinney, Bram Stoker Award-winning author of Inheritance and The Savage Dead

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

DOCTOR KEVORKIAN GOES TO HEAVEN PUBLISHED


Cover by Susie Fear
“But what if things stopped changing? Stasis? Static life? There’s nothing to look forward to here. Just oblivion.”


“I’ll install that pool, then,” God said. Doctor Kevorkian sighed. “You’re . . . just . . . not seeing it.”

“I’ve got other problems on my mind,” God said.

“I’m sure you have the whole universe on your mind.”


“No one is dying?”

          
“And it’s your fault. You found the infinity song.”
           

 
--Doctor Kevorkian Goes to Heaven by T. Fox Dunham
            Artwork by the artist Susie Fear

            NOW AVAILABLE!!!

           

Without death or sickness to strive against, humanity would cease to grow. Death is change, transformation. It is the motivation that has compelled me to write—and live deep into the fabric of the universe. This is my commentary on life, physician-assisted suicide in this life and the next, stasis, humanity, heaven and time—all on the back of Doctor Jack Kevorkian


Perpetual Motion Machine Publishing has had the wisdom—madness and self-destructive motivation—to release my novella, Doctor Kevorkian Goes to Heaven. I wrote this story out of love and admiration for one of the great egotists and humanists of the current era; and already since his death, most of the humans he sought to help have forgotten about the man or his work. I have a proclivity of writing about forgotten eccentrics; ergo, my upcoming book from PMMP: Destroying the Tangible Illusion of Reality or Searching for Andy Kaufman. I like the obscure.

Let me tell you about writing this novella. As with all my long-fiction, I wrote it on a fathomed and personal level; indeed, finishing the narrative cost my health and energy. It will take me several months to recover. I am of poor physique, as many of my fans and critics are aware, and writing a lengthy narrative costs me in a finite currency that will never be replenished. I’m an isotope throwing off neutrons, and I can only radiate my readers for so long. I have a limited number of books in me, and once they’re written, I will deflate and collapse. I convert my body and spirit into tomes as if I feed my limbs and organs to hungry animals. So far, it has been a success, and this is the only kind of writing I could ever have foreseen myself doing. I don’t see the purpose of writing with any less passion or conviction. We all suffer diminishing and winding-down time.

            Fill your pen with your arterial blood and write your soul to its dissipation.

Anything less is not worthy of the gift of life you have been given, the same gift that is taken from so many everyday. Can you write this deeply? Can you create something with such passion that it kills you a little each time? Commit to that. Strive for it.

And so I release Doctor Kevorkian, and like all parents, I have no perception of how these words will change the world.



About Doctor Kevorkian (Because most of you have forgotten or could give a damn)




Doctor Jack Kevorkian
Time on Earth: 
May 26, 1928 – June 3, 2011

His family fled from the Armenian Genocide of 1915 to Pontiac, Michigan where they remade themselves as Americans. This little man never married, never had children, and as his life declined, he sought immortality, some kind of continuance in human regard. The thought of obscurity, of being forgotten as though he’d never lived terrified him.


American pathologist, euthanasia activist, painter, author, composer and instrumentalist. Doctor Jack Kevorkian was a veteran of the Korean war and later in life became the most famous and successful proponent of physician assisted suicide and a patient’s right to die. He claimed that during the years1990 to 1998, he assisted in the removal of 130 patients from this world into the next world, much like a cosmic train conductor punching passes—though he didn’t punch his patients. He injected or gassed them with industrial chemicals to stop their hearts. He built his Mercitron—I feature the Mercitron II in my book—from an Erector set he bought at a church rummage sale.

The state of Michigan labored several times to convict him of murder, and Jack sought out the services of the illustrious attorney Geoffrey Fieger to defend him, who became his Sancho through his homicidal medical career. Geoffrey also appears as a character in this book, though I must remind that this is fiction; and I write with appreciation and admiration for their work.

Then the state inflicted upon Doctor Kevorkian the most punitive punishment: they stopped persecuting him. For a man with a messiah complex, this is a sword through the chest. Where would Jesus be without the Romans? Modern Christianity owes its symbolism, the crucifix and faith, more to Pontius Pilate than it does to their prophet. In previous cases, Kevorkian setup the apparatus and gave the patient the means to end their own suffering. He understood what all effective civil resistors know: you have to provoke a response. Thus, on September 17, 1998, Kevorkian himself administered a lethal substance to Thomas Youk, 52, who was in the final stages of Lou Gehrig's Disease, which he recorded and then showed on CBS News’ 60 Minutes, daring the state to stop him. He refused proper representation at trial, and after a two day trial, the Michigan jury found Kevorkian guilty of second-degree homicide. The judge threw his skinny bum into prison. After spending eight years in prison, he was granted parole for good behavior and bad health. He then ran for Governor, continued his art and music and died of thrombosis.


               And so it came to be that before his death—tired of going to court for his noble work for responsible euthanasia and failing a run for governor—Doctor Kevorkian began work on inventing an immortality machine. He decided it would be of great value to society to obviate the question of mortality, so civilization would no longer be pestered by such antagonizing questions such as when is death death? And what is quality of life? And thus, with such questions no longer relevant, the world could go on happily buying consumer products and watching the latest episode of American Idol. These questions forced humans to exercise their frontal lobes. Humans went to places such as bars or pubs or churches to actively block stimulation of their frontal lobes, and for that reason so many brilliant men and women in history were locked away, often burned alive or poked with sticks or bullets.

--Doctor Kevorkian Goes to Heaven by T. Fox Dunham


For you to really understand the nature of this novella, you must know my story. This morning, I awoke in near-agony. My leg muscles twisted off my bone. My spine screeched the high notes on a knotted harp. It won’t let me sleep at night. Morphine makes it bearable, but it won’t indefinitely. Five months of radiation daily burned my neck and spine in an attack on lymphoma, and the damage left me crippled and continues to wreck my nervous system. The pain and damage may reach a unending and churning storm that never alleviates, removing any quality of life.



            You are not choosing to die. It doesn’t feel like that. No one chooses to die. It’s not in your head to make that choice. It’s always something else. For me, it was choosing to stop the constant agony. I felt so tired. I didn’t care to be laid in wormy earth. I longed to turn the page, to see what came next. Curiosity desired my stay in the world. Still, I couldn’t endure the pain any longer. I refused any more treatment. I refused respirators and feeding tubes. I was done. No one could stop me.
       You don’t ask to die.  
       You need the pain to stop.
   
--Doctor Kevorkian Goes to Heaven by T. Fox Dunham



This book—a fusion of my love for both Mark Twain & Kurt Vonnegut—is a commentary on my experience and my explanation. This is my suicide note, though not yet, and I hope it doesn’t become necessary. I have the right to end my life with dignity and the right to free myself of pain. Society will not be injured. Wars happen all the time and people are murdered yet Burger King keeps slinging meat and Target sells cheap Asian-slave-labor woven jeans. As an individual right and in the hands of responsible doctors, this can be handled with rights protected and without disabled people becoming expendable. I believe life is to be cherished, valued and guarded, which is all the more reason why we must preserve it and not mutilate it. It will be tricky, and great wisdom will have to be discerned in the procedures and guidelines, but I believe humans are capable of it. This is about compassion.

When the capacity to live is gone, when the body is destroyed beyond anyway to function in the world, what is life?



Doctor Kevorkian Goes to Heaven is now available through E-book format. Susie Fear has done a stunning cover and artwork for the book in the spirit of Vonnegut yet ensnaring the dark sensibilities of the book.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

WRITING EROTICA



WRITING EROTICA 
T. Fox Dunham

  
A few days ago, Bitten Press sent me the contract to obtain the rights to my novel, Professional Detachment or The Eternal. It is to be my second published book. The second written is a horror still under consideration, and the fourth is my book about the lost son of Andy Kaufman for PMMP. The Eternal may be my first long erotica—though I’d call it more a literary romance with erotic elements. I have sold erotica before, including a popular story included in Cleius Press’ Big Book of Orgasms, now on the shelves at Barnes and Nobles (That was a thrill.) Yes. My porn is on the shelves of a major book store.


http://www.amazon.com/Big-Book-Orgasms-Sexy-Stories-ebook/dp/B00E257UUW/ref=sr_1_sc_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1384944577&sr=1-1-spell&keywords=Cleius+Press+Big+Big+of+Orgasm
From Cleius Press

)O(

Professional Detachment 
or 
The Eternal
 by T. Fox Dunham
Soon Published by Bitten Press

Doctor Cindy Rosethorn is a young oncologist whose world just ended. She married one of her professors at Johns Hopkins, and he dominated her life—twice her age. He took a job at the Hospital of the University of Penn, where he get her onto the oncology staff. After moving, he decided to trade up for a younger model, a nurse, divorces Cindy and is now looking for an excuse to fire her, constantly scrutinizing her actions. She has no home. She’s living in her office, and she’s suffering an ulcer. He comes around and terrorizes her.

She takes on a new patient, a young man full life named Timothy Fox, who is suffering from lymphoma. His prognosis is poor. Timothy reaches out to his new oncologist. He can’t tolerate the distance doctors create between themselves and their patients. I understand this well, and as a lymphoma patient at Penn, I labored to shatter that distance, to become friends with my doctors. Timothy enchants her, brings her out, and she falls in love with him. Now she suffers an ethical dilemma. She’s too close to her patient, but she knows, though denies it, that they don’t have much time together. And if her husband finds out about her relationship to Timothy, it’ll be enough to destroy the last element of her life, her job.

The Cover for my new book
Writing erotica came naturally to me. I wasn’t trying to write a sex story. I just wrote a literary piece and spent a larger percentage of narrative on the acts of sex. I wrote a literary romance with the same plot capacity—conflict, character, growth of spirit—that I would on any fiction piece. The theme or erotica, horror, science fiction plays secondary to the main elements of fiction, and this is one of the reasons for my success. I’m a literary author writing in genres. Character and conflict come first in my crafting. If it so happens to be a demon or a lonely doctor, then that’s the genre element. Hemingway, Salinger, Capote are my primary gods.

However, there is a tricky element to writing erotica. The goal is to solicit the same biological and emotional reaction that the act of arousal and even sex does in person. Sex itself is a completely mental act. Physical arousal is just late stage and not always even necessary. Sex ravishes the mind, and this is where I good storyteller can master the lust and the love. With my words, I can take your body and mind to new heights of physical pleasure and love that could not be possible with the body. I have practiced this in the past by telling merely stories to previous partners with no physical contact yet achieving climax. (That be a bit personal, but I’m making a point.) If one of my previous partners is reading this and remembers what I did . . . Cheers. (And I know you miss it!)

It is a dance. Summoning sex in the mind with narration is a sophisticated art and requires an understanding how the mind processes sex. A careful and observant person, not completely self-absorbed, can learn this process through watching and communication. It has different outcomes, but the paradigm of mental sex I’ve found is quite often the same in humans. Psychologists will tell you the same.

So how does one narrate arousal and sex without the element of physical closeness, sans the body connection? Most of sex is about seeing, tasting, listening, breathing? Some of the narrative is going to be reference to the reader’s previous sex acts, what they’ve learned and experienced. Part of the sexual response to the narrative is going to be a replay like dreams. However, there is a plenty of room for new experiences also—the script to fantasies. In good fiction, we become the characters. We feel what they feel, so a conduit is already created.

Now, it’s a matter of ceremony, of arousal and buildup, just like any plot or compelling scene. I gained much of experience while engaged in long-distance relationships, employing chat to pursue mutual acts of making love with a distant partner. Some of those experiences were more powerful than the actual physical act. It is a buildup of need and even desperation. Both partners are responsible for narrating their own bodies and how they interact with your body. You respond and engage back, building a circuit, arousing the other, building up those wonderful hormones. The narrative begins with the early acts of arrosual, such as kissing, touching, removing of clothing. Descriptions of the body then follow, taking the place of the eye. Other senses are replaced by those words. This is vital to building the narrated sexual act. This is held in the mind’s eye, and concrete details empower these lines. We describe the response of our aroused bodies, quite different between men and women. We proceed with foreplay then engage in an interactive act. Each side usually takes turns, describing their actions and response. This builds, and there are key code words to represent real corresponding elements such as climaxing. Timing is vital.

This process can be best learned in engaging in line by line cyber sex with an enthusiastic partner. This is where I learned the art, and I’ve applied my literary passion and style to the narrative with great success. Study and watch what your partner says, and hopefully they have some acumen. Many steady relationships in the physical world depend on sort of role-played sexual connection online with distant relations, so you will see many varieties of prose employed.

The book will be out soon, and I hope you’ll yield something I wish I knew at the time of writing an erotica: don’t write erotica in a public place like a coffee house. Your own erotica should be stimulating you, and it can become obvious. 

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
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THE STREET MARTYR NOW AVAILABLE FOR KINDLE
& SOON
BOOK STORIES AND ONLINE FOR PRINT EDITION



After much gnawing and gnashing of teeth, we my editor defeated our distributor and discovered what the delay with the release of the Street Martyr. I am relieved to announce that it is now available for download on kindle and will soon be available online and through book stores as a paperback.



---> My Next Reading Event:


I am doing my next reading at the Water Gallery Art Showroom in Lansdale, at Amy Rim's Spoken Word Night this Friday, November 22nd. 6PM.



We are collecting food for manna's, The Lansdale Food Pantry. 

http://www.mannaonmain.org/

We are inviting local authors, comedians, actors, poets and spoken word performers of all kinds to come read their words. There will be refreshments provided and some live music. This event is free and uncensored in a respectful atmosphere. We will be collecting canned goods for Manna to help stock their food pantry.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Sreet Martyr East Coast Release Party


28th September 2013 – Saturday from 3PM - ??


The East Coast Release Party of The Street Martyr by T. Fox Dunham

In book stores and online October 1st

Meeting VIncent and Louie at Molly's:


These last few weeks, I’ve grown so ill. My doctors are using scary terms like malignancy and platelets, and I lay on the couch with my head pushed deep away, and I consider what I’ve given to the world—what would be my gift, my legacy if I am overcome. I grant you Vincent and Louie—the two old unforgettable morons that represent the best in the human species. 

They’re sitting here with me now at Molly’s. Vincent is hung over the bar, pushing back his greasy dark hair. He’s wearing an old blazer that reeks of pot smoke and mildew. The fall air still warms, and he’d sweat in his leather jacket; however, winter is coming with a promise of a Nor’easter that will sweep away predatory priests and mob kings. His old companion and bane Louie sits next to him on the barstool, except he has to lean up on his elbows to keep eye level with Misty, the blond chemistry student that slings whiskey sours to the lads as they drink and try to figure out how they’re going to stay alive for another week. Vincent’s mom dies of cancer, and Louie’s mom took off years ago, leaving him to fend for himself.

I’m sitting in the corner of the bar, eating chicken gumbo and sipping on a screwdriver. I can’t take too much liquor. My body would never suffer it; and I keep spying on the guys. Misty brings them another shot. Louie grins like a fucking idiot.

“Thanks Baby,” Louie says. Most of his hair has fallen out. 

“You call me baby one more time, I’m going to drive that shotglass up your ass and catch it when it falls out of your pug nose.”

Louie grins. “That’s sexy.”

Vincent roles his eyes. If Louie keeps it up, they’ll be thrown out of another bar. They’ve run out of dives on South Street, so today they drove down to Lansdale to scout out a Rite Aid that’s said to have a shitload of pills. I can’t help but watch, catching glances while sipping from my screwdriver. Finally, Louie spots me. He looks self-conscious, pulling back the few strands of hair he has left down over his bald spot.

“You some kind of queer?” he yells over Vincent at me.

“Take it easy,” Vincent says.

“Don’t you two wankers let me down,” I say back.

“What the fuck is he talking about?” Louie asks Vincent.

“I put my life into you,” I tell them. “If I’m dying—and it will come sooner than later, then you are what I leave the world. You two dumb asses."

“Hey,” Vincent says, breaking his usually calm demeanor, which surprises me. “I make do with what God gave me. He sent my soul to the gutter, and now my mother is sick. This is what I’ve got. Don’t feed me any of that shit about the American dream, about making myself a better person. I don’t take care of my mom, she dies.”

“But you’re a drug dealer,” I say.

“I’m a noble hero. I live in the real world, not your Greek Tragedy shit.”

“Hey,” Louie says. “Lay off of him. He does the best we can. We all do. Fucker.”
             
Louie fists the metal bars he’s known for. They’ll pack his punch to make up for his small size. He looks like a smurf, but Louie’s a killer. That’s how I wrote him.

Vincent eyes me good, like he’s checking out my ass. I flush a bit, then he cracks a grin. He scratches at the chains hanging from the piercings in his face. “Nah Louie. Lay off the guy. Don’t you get it?”

“I get that I’m going to pulp his damn skull,” Louie says, rolling his shit in his fist.

Vincent’s face burns red, and he laughs until he’s gasping. He even knocks over his empty glass, dumping ice on Misty’s feet. She growls at him, ready to smack his head. “Don’t you get this shit?” Vincent asks.

Louie drops his weight in his pocket, and I’m spared a good thrashing. “You’re fucking drunk, dude.” Vincent cracks up. 

“What?”

“We’re all he’s got! Shit! He doesn’t know how much time he’s got left, and we’re going to represent his soul when we’re gone. Oh shit. This is too fucking funny.”

I finish my screwdriver, drinking the last of the bitter liquor off the ice. It’s all my stomach can handle, and I’m letting down my legendary title—Long Island Fox. That was me and Max in New Orleans. He was Hurricane Max, and I was Long Island Fox. Those memories comfort me so.

I start to laugh with my boys. I’ve given them life, and they’ve returned it; perhaps, it’ll be enough to carry me through. “Buy this asshole a drink!” Vincent yells. “He needs it.”

Misty sets me up with another screwdriver. It’s on the house. “The House always wins,” I say, quoting from the book I’d just finished for Bitten Press—a romance-literary-erotica fox specialty.

“So what the fuck are you worried about?”

I laugh with them and drink down my vodka-and-orange juice. I’m a lightweight drunk, so I’m already pretty buzzed. Before leaving, Vincent kisses my check, and his silver chains strike my skin. Louie comes up to give me a hug, but then he switches his arms then punches my head—light. It’s a love tap. I know, because he hasn’t used his weights. I toppled over on the floor, and Vincent drops some narcotics in a white envelope on me.

“Oh the . . . House,” he says. “You’re going to need them.”

“Shit,” I say, thinking of what’s coming, what I’m facing. “Thanks, you couple of beautiful fuckups.”



(I don’t use profanity in my speech. I’m just talking to my lads.)

 * * *




The Street Martyr
East Coast Release Party –
 

Tabora Café – Lansdale Store
209 West Main Street, Lansdale, Pennsylvania 19446

http://www.taborafarmandorchard.com/store/






The party officially starts at 3PM, where I’ll be opening ceremonies with a bit of poetry and some fox-thoughts. Tabora Café is a wonderful coffeehouse and bakery. Also, it sports some of the best local wines and even lavender ice cream! It’s quite tasty, like eating a sweet bar of soap.

**I’ll be reading from The Street Martyr periodically through the event, along with some of my other work, short stories.


**Local and upcoming artist, Amy Rims will be live painting work from our new project together with Hazardous Press.

**Local young musician Becca will be playing her guitar and singing for us for a few sets. I discovered her on the streets of Lansdale, playing her heart out.

**And Zack M comes with some stories and masks. He’s a talented storyteller.

It’s going to be quite a day. The Street Martyr will be on sale for 13.95. I do have a square, so I can accept cards. We come prepared! I’ve already sold a ton of pre-orders and early reader copies. Several five star reviews have been posted on Amazon, and I’d love it if you posted a review for me—as long as it’s honest.

PRE-ORDER THE STREET MARTYR, JUST CLICK BELOW:  
THE STREET MARTYR

At the end of July, Gutter Books flew me out to San Francisco for the West Coast Release party for the Street Martyr and Will Viharo’s Love Stories Are Too Violent For Me. I hit that city like a comet, seeing everything I could. The party was amazing, and Will and I blew the roof off the place with our readings.

Artist depiction of T. Fox Dunham reading from The Street Martyr while on stage.
On the day after the party, Tom Pitts picked me up and took me into his family. Tom will always be a brother, now. He showed me the heart of the city, and I am grateful to him. We’ve become close friends.

                                     * * *

Cellar Door released through James Kirk Ward Publishing.
Editor Sydney Leigh
 


Late in the summer, I had the good fortune to be included in an anthology edited by Sydney Leigh—Cellar Door. What attracted me to this anthology was the involvement and enthusiasm of Rose Blackthorn. She and I have moved in similar circles for some time. Sydney had a mission to try to include many new authors, even giving them their first publication in this book, and I admired how she worked with them, helping to get their stories edited. This is why I choose to support the project. This is a fine and spirited collection of short stories, flash fiction, photographs and artwork, including my short story that finishes the collection. I am pleased to be a part of this collection and to support so many new authors. They’re the lifeblood of the industry. I am happy to announce that my story was picked for one of two editor's choice awards, and I am donating my to the Children's Cancer Fund.

BUY THIS COLLECTION AT AMAZON!


So I hope to see many of you at the party!!!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

STREET MARTYR SLAMS SAN FRANCISCO THIS SATURDAY!!


On Friday, I get on a plane and fly across the continent to the city of San Francisco. I join there Will Viharo, for our book release party. It’s this Saturday, July 27th 2013, 7PM at The 50s Mason Social House. It’s an incredible venue, and I am thrilled to be reading my first novel there.


Pretty cool, huh?

I’ll be reading from my book, The Street Martyr, and Will Viharo will be reading from his book, Love Stories are too Violent for Me, A Pulp Novel. I couldn’t have asked for better companions in this journey. Matthew Louis has been a wise and patient editor at Gutter Books, and he’s given me so much. You must understand, I never expected any of this. This was my first novel, a learning experience, and I wrote it to practice and perhaps earn the admiration of such hard-boiled greats as Joe Clifford, Paul D. Brazil, Tom Pitts, and the rest of those bums whom I admire so. Then, if it got accepted by Gutter Books, I figured it would be a nice POD, something I could point at, sell a few copies, then move on. Little did I realize that Matthew Louis was lurking in the water, ready to take the bait. I thought I was fishing for him. He was fishing for me.

For all you authors out there hoping to emulate my experience, I say this. And I can’t stress this enough. Work hard. Learn your craft. Practice. Finish your work, even if you hate it. Overcome obstacles and move beyond defeat and disappointment. This is vital to your work and success. But most of all:

 
RIGHT PLACE AT THE . . .:

So much of this is luck. Being at the right place at the right time. It just so happened that Matthew Louis was ready to take Gutter Books to the next level. I had published a flash fiction piece with them, Kid Louie, which they called one of their best in eight years, so I decided to base a novel off of it. So, I work for two months, figuring out long fiction. I do some reading edits. Max Booth III gives me a good read. I edit. I submit. I plan patience. I figure they’ll get back to me in 4-6 months. 4 days later, Matthew accepted. He waited. He watched. He searched for the right book, the right voice, something different, literary, a new scope in a stale genre. Like two free flying protons in a great universe, randomly we collided. Now, Gutter Books is flying me out to San Francisco, and we’re engaged in promotion. It’s happening. And it’ll be in book stores, not just POD. It’s beyond any of my expectations.


YOU MUST HAVE THIS KIND OF RELATIONSHIP WITH YOUR EDITOR FOR YOUR BOOK TO SUCCEED:

I didn’t know Matthew. I thought I’d end up in the hands of Joe Clifford. I was unsure. I was handing him one of the most important works of my life—and it’s not going to be a long life. He began edit strategies, and I had no clue at that point that he would be asking miracles of me in the next few months. He wanted to make some changes, and I appreciated that. What the hell do I know? It’s my first book. I’m considered a horror author, and I’d only had a few stories published in crime lit. Still, I didn’t know him. And then I read some early dialogue and description he wrote for Louie, based on my character synopsis. Gods. He nailed it. He knew the character. He loved him a little. He had it down, and I realized then how much he loved and was committed to this legend. That’s when I knew we were going to create something beautiful and repugnant, and that if I jumped off a cliff, he’d be going down with me. This kind of relationship between an editor an author is vital to creating a masterpiece. We had it. I knew that when I was reading his notes while riding to Peace Valley Park to fish that night.

Treat and love your editor like a family member. Trust them to the bitter repugnant end. If you don’t, then something isn’t working.

You have to trust your editor to see what you can’t see, to give you the distance you can never have with your book. Matthew began to slaughter my book, and I gave him my blessing. He knew the market, the genre, the theme. I was an upstart, a stranger, an imposter. Yet, it was vital to him that we preserve the literary element to the novel. He said that’s what made it so special, so unique and brilliant. I had taken a stale genre and given it literary life. He said my descriptions alone captured a dark and decaying spirit of Philly. Horror and crime merged in atmosphere and character. Yet, it was too literary for the audience. I had internalized too much. This is my weakness. I’m chronically ill. I overcompensate. It’s my greatest writing weakness. I’m sure many authors understand this: the fear we’ve not been clear or we’ve not emphasized a point. Matthew trusted me to be a professional and cut the material. And we did. We worked out each issue. Matthew always explained that he was OCD, far more than other editors. I worshiped him for it. I was so grateful to have an editor that would got hung up over a single detail or nuance. I was blessed.

If an editor has not hacked your book to shreds and argued with you over the salient points . . . if the editor has not inflicted agony on your writing soul . . . if you’ve not been compelled to debate most lines and writing choices . . . and if you’re not missing at least a fifth of your narrative after the first editor read . . . then . . . there’s something wrong with your editor-author relationship. I get worried when an editor hands me back a story and says, "Oh. It’s fine Fox. Going right in." That’s just not part of the process. 

We require editors to look outside the vision, to bridge our creative vision and the reader’s world.

So then Matthew decides we need to extend the plot. He wants to exploit more drama with one of the characters, and I see the potential. As a literary novel, The Street Martyr’s ending worked well, but we were writing for Hardboiled crime audience as well. He had some brilliant thoughts on extending the ending, and to do so, we had to cut the last few chapters and write new ones. After we worked out the new plot, I framed the new material at about 13,000 words. That’s a fifth of novel at least. Oh. I had two days to write it, since I was going to New Orleans for the WHC in June. You see, we had to fill in a slot for the release party and with the distributor. What Matthew was asking me to do was unheard of, impossible, fecking nutz! It couldn’t be done! That’s all he had to say to me. Remember, I’m the fox that beat an unbeatable cancer for the first time, defied death and built a career from nothing. Matthew knew just what to say to me.

A good editor can play you like a master musician on a violin. He or she knows how to motivate you, how to walk you to the edge of the cliff then walk you back. They are part reader, worker, editor, promoter, wet nurse, and psychologist. If you don’t have this relationship, re-evaluate.

It was insane. And I had to calm myself down a bit. I walked back and forth in front of Taboras Café in Lansdale where I was writing that Saturday. That Monday, I started at Barnes and Nobles in North Wales, PA. I had to lock myself down. I had a flowchart for the plot, and I went to work. I knew I could do it. And I did. 13,000 words down in two days. The book was complete. I’d be doing reading edits on the plane and in New Orleans, but the hard part was done.

Matthew has been diligent and brilliant taking care of all the production work. He has foreseen every problem and managed the development. We have been partners. I’m told this book was his baby. He’s taught me a great deal. My priest. My father. My brother. My Editor.



So here is the press for the Release Party:






Pretty spiffy huh? Again, I thank Matthew Louis. Editing-God.



Here’s a quick synopsis of the book and the cover:


Vincent Grant lives on the edge. He gets by pushing stolen prescription drugs to high school kids, his mother is dying of cancer, and his business partner, the diminutive "King Louie," may up and kill him, or anyone else, at any moment.

When Vincent is enlisted to throw a scare into a deviant priest, he does it dutifully, leaving the man bleeding on the floor of a seedy apartment. But when the priest is found brutally murdered, life as Vincent knew it ends and he has to flee as killers on both sides of the law make him the target of a city-wide manhunt.
   
   
In an increasingly desperate struggle against increasingly long odds, Vincent begins to think his only hope lies not in fighting to live, but in resigning himself to dying—and killing—for a cause.


And Links to an interview with Will Viharo, my partner in this. Will’s been amazing, and he’s worked so hard through his life, keeping the faith. He’s just the right man I want standing with me.




Saturday, June 15, 2013

Lori Michelle Signing

It's a slow evening at the convention as every prepares for the banquet. Not me. I'm out for a night and the tour. Lori Michelle is signing books at the Hazardous Press table.


Good Afternoon on Saturday at New Orleans-WHC

The day is speeding by, and we're talking to many authors and editors at the table. Some great panels today, and we're looking forward to seeing the city tonight. Such a gorgeous city, alive with music.

LE. White is signing books right now with us at the Hazardous Press Table.

L.E. White at the Hazardous Press table.

Saturday Morning at the WHC in New Orleans

Today is really the heart of the convention. Tonight is the famed Bram Stoker's awards dinner to name some truly deserve people in the industry. Today, many of the people who couldn't come in during the work are riding in today, so it's been a fun day meeting and greeting. We had Dane Hatchell signing this morning, and he's an amazing guy. His book, Mind Hemorrhages, is out now from Hazardous Press.

Dane Hatchell signing at the table. Jay Wilburn next to him.
I got to spend some time with Joe McKinney, a great author. I was thrilled to meet him. It turns out he released a book with Gutter Books, who is publishing the Street Martyr in the summer and has worked with my editor Matthew Lewis. We're publisher buddies! Joe is one of the amazing people I've come to know here in New Orleans.



And later, The Voodoo museum and the vampire tour with Max Booth III and Lori Michelle. I'll be updating more later.