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Showing posts from February, 2015

I feel like a 20 year old! (My firstborn book keeps evolving.)

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20 years ago this week, I got the life-changing call every writer works and waits for. Fred Ramey​ of MacMurray & Beck (which later morphed into MacAdam-Cage) pulled my first novel out of the slush pile and offered to publish it. His belief in the book and in me as an author changed my life. He also changed the title from Last Chance Gulch to Crazy for Trying.

I was just coming out of a long stretch of cancer treatment, which had left Gary and me bankrupt, so we did the responsible thing and used the advance to take our kids to DisneyWorld. And 18 months later, we used the first royalty check to make a down payment on a house. This book and I have both come a long way, as you can see. I adored the hardcover design. Gary had it blown up into a poster for my office. The paperback, I felt was a bit, um... phallic (Gary promptly dubbed it "the blow job cover"), but I gotta love MacAdam-Cage -- they graciously reverted the rights back to me in 2010 so I could indie pub an …

It's about the stories. (Why I LOVE the Women Writing Women box set)

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Two things I'm quite jazzed about this month: 1) BoxOcto, which has been patiently snoozing on the seafloor the past few years is reawakening. And 2) I was invited to collaborate with six other authors in Outside the Box: Women Writing Women, a limited edition box set of top tier, genre-busting novels featuring strong, idiosyncratic women protagonists. Et voila! The digital box set launches today and will be available worldwide until May 24.

At the risk of sounding all infomercial ("Save 75% off the total price of individual ebooks and up to 90% off original hardcover prices!"), if you're a book-a-week consumer like me, this is a fantastic deal: seven full-length novels for $9.99, which is why we're offering it for only 90 days. If you're a book club, it's an amazing deal, because we're talking three seasons of beefy issues for knock-down-drag-out discussions.

The novels are all what you'd call general fiction or accessible literary fiction, but t…

"Eventually, fires go out:" 3 Q's with David Gionfriddo (part two)

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In part two of our 3 Q's with The Good Worlds are all Taken author David Gionfriddo, David discusses the breakdown of communication, the concealing of information, and the delicate balance between pathos and comedy.


BtO:  In several of your stories, the theme of communication -- or lack thereof -- comes up. Is that a theme you were playing with intentionally, or is that something that evolved organically? DG: I think every story, at some level, is about communication and, in particular, the breakdown of communication. Those breakdowns cause the tensions and frictions and conflicts that end up driving most plots; that is, unless your story is set on the Titanic or at the foot of Mt. Vesuvius or somewhere
like that. Some of the themes I seem to use a lot, like religion and art, are about trying to express the inexplicable, so there you have enormous, built-in, insoluble problems of communication. How do I explain the mysteries of creation and existence in a believable way? How do I pu…

"Just a guy keeping himself amused:" 3 Q's for Short Fiction writer David Gionfriddo

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And now for something completely different . . . 

I am thrilled to introduce to this space short fiction writer David Gionfriddo, whose debut collection The Good Worlds are All Taken is destined to become a cult classic, particularly among his devoted Internet fans. What I like about David's work is that it is reminiscent in some ways of Donald Barthelme's 40 Stories -- it's quirky, theatrical, and has a touch (okay, more than a touch) of the absurd.  David was gracious enough to take a break from his postmodern musings and stop by BtO and answer a few questions for us.

His answers, in fact, are so meaty that it was obvious from question one that this would definitely be a two-part interview.  In this part, David discusses the influence of the theatre upon his work, and in the next one, he will talk about how his stories grapple with the breakdown of communication in the modern world and the walk between dark and light.


BtO: When reading The Good Worlds are All Taken, I notic…