Tag Archives: Spree

New Books

Well, I finally have a new book out. Two, in fact: Startup, the first in my Rural Empires setting, and A Temporary Thing, which I wrote as a prequel to Startup (it’s complicated).

How do I feel? About the same as before. I don’t expect overnight greatness from this. I didn’t get it with my first novel, Spree, and I highly doubt it’ll happen with these two books. Just being pragmatic here. The so-called overnight success stories are exceptions to the rule, and are generally no as sudden as they might seem at first glance.

Take Stephen King. His first novel, Carrie, took off like a shot and catapulted him to fame and fortune. It was a novel he threw away and only gave a second chance because his wife urged him to. And he’s stated he still doesn’t really like the book.

Understandable. But he’s also cognizant of what it did for him, so he doesn’t exactly disown it, either.

Either way, Carrie was not his first published work. It was just his breakthrough work. He’d published short stories—a favorite medium of his and one I can’t do well at all—in magazines, most of them men’s magazines such as Cavalier. By the time Carrie came out, he’d been slaving away getting low pay for his work. And all this had honed his craft so that the success Carrie had was well-deserved.

And I’m sure if you read the back story of pretty much any successful author who’s worth reading, you’ll find the same narrative. We may be born with the talent to write—an arguable position—but we still have to work at it to make it better, and we have to keep working at it our whole lives.
And then we have to get noticed.

That’s never been easy. Back when Mr. King was first published, there were gatekeepers—i.e. editors and publishers—who decided whether or not you got noticed. And, quite often, despite the fact they might decide to publish your work, that didn’t necessarily mean they’d do their best to make sure it sold well. One of the many reasons the New York model is falling flat on its face.

Even still, there were lots of books published, and I find them in used bookstores all the time: books by authors I’ve never heard of, and when I crack them open, I see why. These days of self-publishing don’t have a corner on the market of bad writers, necessarily, it’s just that it’s easier for them to see the light of day.

But even when you’re good—and I’ve been told by several people that I am, so I suppose it’s true, at least to an extent—getting noticed is hard. It’s a big sea, and there are a lot of fish in it. Being the one who rises to the top isn’t an easy thing.

So. I have two new books out. They’re available on Amazon. And from me, if you happen to see me. It’s not like I sold out at my release party this past Sunday. That’s the reality of publishing these days, and I’m not looking to quit my day job anytime soon.

But it still feels good to finally have more books out, because that means I’m a bit closer to being able to quit my day job.

And that’s the goal: to tell that day job goodbye.




(This week, as part of the publising process, I’m offering you an excerpt from Spree. They’ve just robbed a Vons grocery store in West Los Angeles the day before, made good on their escape, and spent the night in a Loma Linda Motel 6. This takes place early in the novel, so there aren’t any spoilers here. Hope you enjoy!)

“Wake up.”

Steve cracked an eye open, saw muted sunlight, closed his eye.

“C’mon, man. Get up.”

The light got brighter. He opened his eye again, just the one, and saw that Eddie had opened the drapes on the front window.

“What time is it?” he said.

“Time to go. C’mon. We gotta roll.”

He sat up. Something was off. Eddie’s tone of voice was wrong somehow. “What’s up?”

“We gotta go! Get dressed. Hurry. I’ll be in the car.”

Damn, what was homie’s problem? It felt like he’d just went to sleep. He was pretty sure he could still smell the In-N-Out burgers they’d had. He rubbed his eyes as Eddie slammed the door. A moment later, the Cutlass’s engine fired up. Steve looked out the window and Eddie made frantic come on motions.

Shit. Eddie’d done something. He was always pulling stupid shit, and it seemed like maybe it was getting worse. Or maybe he was just showing his true colors.

Steve dressed as quickly as he could. Eddie raced the engine a couple times while he was at it.

“Chill, dude,” he muttered as he tied his shoes. There, done. He looked around, made sure he wasn’t forgetting anything. He sniffed. Damn, his pits reeked. He fell asleep without taking a shower, and now Toxic Eddie was in a hurry for something. Well, whatever. Time to bail.

He got into the car and barely had the door shut when Eddie backed out and took off like his ass was on fire. He barely slowed when they reached the street, weaving around sluggish commuter traffic and blasting back on the freeway like a rocket heading for orbit.

That’s about the time Steve heard the sirens. And noticed there was an In-N-Out bag on the console. He stared at it for a minute, then looked at Eddie. When he saw the grin on his buddy’s face, something inside clenched up. No, it wasn’t inside. It was his shoulders and back muscles. Tension, dude.

“What’d you do, Eddie?”

Eddie chuckled. No, it was more like a snicker. “We got our rooms for free, man.”


“Close your mouth. You’ll draw flies.” Eddie snickered again.

Steve stared at Eddie a few seconds more, then looked back down at the fast food bag. After a few moments, he opened it and peered inside.


“You stupid fuck,” he said. “You robbed our motel.”

Eddie nodded and gave that stupid snicker once more. It made him sound nuts. Maybe he was.

“Dude, you robbed our motel in broad daylight? What the fuck, man?”

Eddie shrugged, gaze still on the road. “They charged too much for a room anyway, man. And this was what we was gonna do, so who gives a shit?”

I do, asshat! You coulda told me, at least.”

“I was just gettin’ a candy bar, you know? Nobody there but me and the clerk, so I figured what the fuck. I got a refund.”