Didn’t win, but had a great time

Hi, everybody.  I didn’t win the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award contest with Grace Humiston and the Vanishing, but I had a great time.  Congratulations to the General Fiction winner, Alan Averill, and kudos to his novel, The Beautiful Land. Also congrats to Young Adult Fiction winner Regina Sirois for her winning novel, On Little Wings.  I got to hang out with Alan, Regina, finalists Rebecca Phillips, Brian Reeves, and Casey Griffin, and various spouses and friends, in Seattle for the awards dinner weekend.  A bunch of wonderful folks, and we had a lot of fun.  Thom Kephart of Amazon, who coordinated the whole thing, made it all look easy.  All contests should be run this well. My fellow finalists were all very talented, and I’m sure they will find publishing success in the future. I loved the whole ABNA experience, and I highly recommend it to all novelists.

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Thanks for supporting GRACE HUMISTON

Thanks so much to all of you who voted for my novel Grace Humiston and the Vanishing in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award contest.  The best part of the competition was finding out how many friends and well-wishers I have out there who are willing to rally to help me.  The voting is over now, and the winner will be revealed at an awards dinner in Seattle on June 16.  Amazon will fly me up there along with the other finalists.

 This has been a wonderful ride, regardless of the outcome. I’ll let everybody know soon after the awards whether I won or not.

But, in reality, I have already won.  Having you as my friends is better than a literary victory: it’s a life victory.

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FATALE Features Marlowe

The late hard-boiled mystery writer Dan Marlowe is getting a lot of attention this week.  That’s good, because in a few months I’m going to publish a biography: Gunshots in Another Room: The Forgotten Life of Dan J. Marlowe.  As I mentioned below, the Los Angeles Review of Books has published my article about him, called “The Wrong Marlowe.”  And the latest issue of the graphic novel Fatale (Fatale No. 3) is carrying a shorter article I did on Marlowe.  Fatale is the brainchild of writer Ed Brubaker, who has “rock star” status in the world of comics, and rightfully so.  Here’s the cover of Fatale No. 3:



And here are the first two pages of the article (art by Sean Phillips).





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The Wrong Marlowe

The online Los Angeles Review of Books is bringing excellent book reviews back to the American public.  The site caters to a wide array of tastes, and even employs a Noir Editor, Boris Dralyuk.  A couple of months ago, Boris commissioned an article from me on Dan J. Marlowe, focusing on the years Marlowe spent in Los Angeles near the end of his life, living off and on with his bank robber friend Al Nussbaum.  The article ran March 10, 2012. Here’s the link: http://lareviewofbooks.org/


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Thank You, Nettie.

I’ve been writing news articles for decades now, and books for a while, too.  I do it because it gives me satisfaction and puts food on my table, and because I don’t have the ability to do anything else–I can’t be an astronaut or a bridge-builder or a U.S. Senator, because I don’t have the skills. Yes, and I do it to feed my ego, too.   A couple of months ago, I self-published an ebook called Finnegan’s Way: The Secret Power of Doing Things Badly.  Of course, I hoped it would bring me tons of money and loads of glory.  Then, a couple of days ago, a woman in Vancouver named Nettie McClain bought the book and reviewed it on Amazon.  She said, for her, it was “a life-changing gem.”  As I read her review, I realized I don’t need tons of money and loads of glory. This is really what I want out of writing. Thank you, Nettie. 


Nettie McClain (Vancouver, WA USA) –
This review is from: Finnegan’s Way: The Secret Power of Doing Things Badly (Kindle Edition)

This short and sweet little fable has an amazing amount of comforting wisdom in it. I’ve struggled with the fallout from not meeting perfectionistic standards my whole life. This amazing book shows why that approach fails, and how giving myself and others the permission to do things badly works. There are a lot of books out there now about self-compassion, but this little book sums it all up perfectly, as far as I’m concerned, and it’s really entertaining and easy to read, too. I’m so grateful that I discovered it!


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Lots of Free Advice

Well, over a two-day promotion on Amazon, nearly 8,000 people did free downloads of FINNEGAN’S WAY: THE SECRET POWER OF DOING THINGS BADLY. The book made No. 33 overall on the Amazon free download list, and was No. 1 for long periods as the free download in the Self-Help and Motivational categories.  I got three new reviews, and I’m hoping the exposure will lead to sales at its current price of  $2.99.  Thanks, everybody!


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