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Archive for September, 2009

Don Mitchell

Tsunami

September 30th, 2009
by Don Mitchell

COLDEN, NY-

I wrote this some time ago and had no thought of posting it, but because the tsunami that hit the Samoas has been in the news and in my thoughts today, I dragged it out, made cuts, and offer it as a first-person tsunami account.

On Monday, May 23, 1960, in Hilo, Hawai’i, I was nearly killed through my own foolishness, and then, not an hour later, I began rescuing people who were already dead. I was 16.
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Brin Friesen

Loot II

September 30th, 2009
by Brin Friesen

HAVANA-

Somebody once said that at the end of the world there’s always a tourist and a whore fucking in a cheap hotel. If that’s here, that whore’s mother probably made the bed and had coffee ready for them after.

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Tony DuShane

With Love, Nick Cave

September 29th, 2009
by Tony DuShane

SAN FRANCISCO, CA-

Does Nick Cave know about my love life?

I found out my wife was cheating on me. Not the greatest feeling in the world after a decade of marriage. I admit, there were times when I met another attractive woman and thought, wouldn’t it be cool if I could just…but I put that thought right out of my mind and went home a committed guy.

Not that sex was the only thing to the petit mess that our marriage was. There was me, the writer, and what she thought the writing life style would bring her.

When we dated, I was the quirky artist guy. She thought listening to Nirvana made her alternative and Nora Roberts was literature. (more…)


Slade Ham

Dear James

September 29th, 2009
by Slade Ham

OTTAWA, ONTARIO -

Dear Jameson,

I know this going to be as hard for you to read as it is for me to write. You really are amazing. You were there for me right after I went through my break up without questioning anything. You said you loved me no matter what I had been through. Even though I didn’t want to jump right into another relationship, I thought it might be cool to hang out with you every once in a while. I mean, let’s admit it, I’ve liked you for a long time.

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Tyler Stoddard Smith

Some Thoughts on a “New Literacy” While Remembering Patrick Swayze

September 29th, 2009
by Tyler Stoddard Smith

HOUSTON, TX-

Pierre Bayard’s ode to philistinism, Comment Parler des Livres que l’on n’a pas Lus, or How to Talk About Books That You Haven’t Read is a unique experience. Upon completion of Bayard’s work (one wonders if Bayard himself ever read his own book), I found myself first outraged, then confused, and finally, a little constipated. I thought to myself, “How does this boorish Frenchman claim that a perfunctory flip-through of Anna Karenina should suffice for an understanding of St. Petersburg’s high society during that time—or Jasper, Missouri’s, home to the Double Deuce for that matter?” Can this Bayard be serious? Can we really talk—intelligently—about books we’ve never read?

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Irene Zion

TNB’s Literary Experience in Chicago, and How People Don’t Look Like You Thought They Would

September 29th, 2009
by Irene Zion

MIAMI BEACH, FL-

Tuesday, September 22, 2009 we had WAY more fun than you did, unless you were at the Whistler Bar at 2421 N. Milwaukee Ave in Chicago. TNB was hosted by The Orange Alert Reading Series, which allowed us to use their favorite awesome bar. The people who run the place make some atypical, kick-ass drinks. There was a lot of drinking.  That kind of thing happens in a bar.

The place was packed with people. There were easily four thousand people there, and it is not that big a place.  Probably Gina counted the people in the audience, so she might know the exact number, but seriously, who would keep counting after three thousand?  We had an accomplished videographer filming the whole thing. He is a Chicago native named Mike Weldon. He’s really hot, but I don’t know if he’s tied up with a significant other, or else I’d tell you.  He is also a filmmaker.  This is his website: http://www.youtube.com/MichaelJWeldon Mike shoots films, beheadings, weddings, live events, Irish funerals, just use your imagination!

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Mary Richert

A Thousand Words: Pretty Doesn’t Cut It

September 29th, 2009
by Mary Richert

COLUMBIA, MD -

Here they are in Disney World with matching princess-mouse hats. The sun shines warmly on their painted faces this November afternoon.

Grace, eight years old, loud mouthed, freckled, athletic, proud, and protective, stretches her arms across the railing behind her. Her chin is high, and the blue sky stretches into eternity behind her as she gazes thoughtfully into the distance, but out of the corner of her eye, she checks you out and sizes you up. The star on her forehead marks her as a visionary.

Little sister Leah smiles sweetly into the camera. Her dark wavy hair falls around her shoulders, her head tilts with affection for the photographer, their silly Uncle John. She is a butterfly to be sure, lovely and elusive, flitting past and becoming something new every second.

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Matthew Gavin Frank

The Truffle of the Barn

September 29th, 2009
by Matthew Gavin Frank

TORINO, ITALY-

The fluorescence of one room bleeds into another with only minor differences: a blinking flicker here, a snoring hum there. I sit again beneath these flickers and hums, just past 9:00 pm, in the salamina da sugo workshop, ready for the gentle myth, ready for some anarchy. This is the Salone del Gusto, the Slow Food Movement’s Salon of Taste and, while this is also Torino, Italy, the rest of the world, via its respective culinary delights, trickles in through the cracks in the mortar.

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TNB Photo of the Day

Totally Killer, by Greg Olear

September 29th, 2009
by TNB Photo of the Day


Greg Olear’s Novel Drops 
Behold! Greg Olear’s debut novel Totally Killer is now in print and available for purchase. Says Jonathan Evison: “Olear has created a veritable almanac of the 90s. Totally Killer is, well, totally killer. You’ll laugh. You’ll cringe. You’ll weep. You may even find yourself humming Whitney Houston.” Go forth and read.


TNB TV

Greg Olear’s Totally Killer Book Trailer Redux

September 29th, 2009
by TNB TV

TNB TV 
The official book trailer for Greg Olear’s debut novel, Totally Killer, available now for purchase RIGHT HERE. Directed by the lovely Kimberly M. Wetherell.


Greg Olear

This Is My First Novel

September 29th, 2009
by Greg Olear

NEW PALTZ, N.Y.-

Today is the official release date of Totally Killer, my first novel.

That’s what my oh-so-brief bio leads you to believe, anyway. “This is his first novel,” it says, as if I’d suddenly decided, after floundering about for the first thirty-five years of my life, to bang out a book, and a few months later, voilà.

As Hemingway concluded in his first novel, “Isn’t it pretty to think so?” (more…)


Rachel Zients Schinderman

My Fathers’ Daughter

September 28th, 2009
by Rachel Zients Schinderman

SANTA MONICA, CA-

I sit in my white Reem Acra duchess satin gown in a room on the second floor of The Metropolitan Club with everyone I know just downstairs waiting for me, the bride.

Down those great big stairs is Jay, my future husband.  My mother flutters about.  I am sure waiters are about to trip and spill green apple martinis all over me and ruin 13 months of planning.  I take a breath. 

My father is not by my side, not here to give me away.  He is dead.  A suicide when I was four.  This is the fact of my life I expect people to know about me instantly.  My defining layer.

Then there is Stanley, sitting right next to me, our knees almost touching, like a protector from errant waiters, his tuxedo jacket almost like a superhero’s cape.  He was once my step-father, now my adopted father.  I still feel a little like a liar, like alarms will blare and the truth police will arrive when I refer to him as my “father” though.

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Zara Potts

So Like Totally Awesome

September 28th, 2009
by Zara Potts

AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - 

I’m a black and white kind of person. I either like things or I don’t. I love them or hate them. It’s one or the other. Hot or cold. Black or white. Get it? There’s not much grey in my life.

So, just to be totally clear that there’s no sitting on the fence here…

I love LA.

I totally heart it.

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Thomas Wood

The Overnight from Lisbon

September 28th, 2009
by Thomas Wood

SAN FRANCISCO, CA-

The story of ‘my most-memorable train ride’ is often elicited, and appropriately renamed, by many differing topics of conversation.  Sometimes it’s somebody talking about how drunk they got one night, or how paranoid.  Occasionally, it’s just a mention of hash, or how hash is more prevalent in Europe than it is in America.  On these occasions I sometimes change the tale to include words like devilish or exotic, giving it a more melodramatic air, and am sure to mention the many strange smells that passed by my nose that night.  My favorite point of entry is when somebody brings up chardonnay, or languages, or anything to do with translation, because it always gives me warrant to start the story early enough to really set up the wonder and horror of the night.

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Peter Gajdics

Running After the Hands

September 28th, 2009
by Peter Gajdics

VANCOUVER, BC-

Flipping through a recent issue of the local gay newspaper, I noticed two advertisements on facing pages. On the left was an ad for the local gay bathhouse with a picture of three young, hairless (at least clipped), muscled, and implicitly virile men tangled like weeds in each other’s sweaty but greedy arms; on the opposite page was a picture of another (young) man—blue-eyed, with three-day stubble, in a flaming red shirt—advertising the latest AIDS medication. The message, whether the marketers were aware of it or not, was powerful: have fun, and if (when) you get sick, buy our medication. Sex sells, even with illness looming offstage. (more…)


Suzanne Burns

Diary of a First Book, Entry 3: Voodoo Doughnuts and First Loves

September 28th, 2009
by Suzanne Burns

BEND, OR-

I have learned many things over the past few months of book touring. Number one, grabbing a book-buying audience’s attention in the summer months is like convincing me that Dan Brown, or Stephen King, is a good writer. Number two, if you read in a venue where they make maple-bacon doughnuts, they will come. Number three, there is no other bookstore like Powell’s City of Books in Portland, Oregon. (more…)


Simon Smithson

Leaving (for) Los Angeles

September 28th, 2009
by Simon Smithson

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA-

I stopped into Los Angeles recently; I wanted to get a new guitar strap and there was also this minor literary thing that I figured I could go to while I was there. It was a good trip, and one that I will cheerfully blog about at some length. There are some stories that must be told, and moments that I fear will haunt me forever unless I sobbingly confess them to the internet at large. Like the point over dinner when I suddenly realised that the twinkle in Brad Listi’s eye wasn’t pleasantly welcoming bonhomie at all, but rather a deep and unforgiving madness (the two look remarkably similar).  Or the time I first heard Greg Olear’s voice, and I knew in my bones that terror had a new favourite uncle. Even now, I can’t close my eyes without seeing Rachel Pollon laugh and laugh and tie Ben Loory to a railroad track (the story of how he survived is one of incredible heroism, skull-shattering evil, and one man’s surprisingly aerodynamic straw hat).

But these are things that will have to wait until my next post, as I have other things to say first. (more…)


Paul Clayton

More Publishing Marketing Tips, Advice, and Considerations for the Serious Modern Writer

September 27th, 2009
by Paul Clayton

SAN FRANCISCO-

What if you were lucky enough to be a fly on the wall at a publishing house marketing meeting?  Or, barring that, a junior intern seated not at the table, but in the second tier of chairs, where your job was to serve coffee to the big boys and girls.  Well then, you’d be privy to some really good insider information on what was hot and what was not, wouldn’t you?  Well I know such a person and she called this in to me the other night, so I thought I’d share. 

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Kristen Elde

Filling In

September 26th, 2009
by Kristen Elde

NEW YORK CITY-

April 2007

“This isn’t spackle, it’s caulk,” he says, rolling his eyes as I hand over the plastic cylinder. But my oversight has brought him relief, clear in the quick release of his breath, the immediacy of his smile. It’s an error he might have predicted, which brings with it some comfort, and neither of us knows how long we have before these sorts of things stop registering.

As I meet his eyes, comfort is exceeded by disorientation. I can’t navigate my misstep. I don’t want it to mean anything, but I can’t help worrying that it’s somehow prophetic. I scan his face for explanation (I knew what I needed; what happened?) and think I read doubt. Quick, recover: “God, dumb. I’ll run back.”

Looking down at his hand: “No, it’s fine–toothpaste should work okay.” (more…)


TNB Photo of the Day

Simon Smithson - TNB Literary Experience - Los Angeles - 09.20.09

September 24th, 2009
by TNB Photo of the Day


TNB’s Literary Experience 
Simon Smithson reads his piece entitled “The Letters I Wrote That Did Not Convince Janeane Garofalo to Have Sex with Me.” Photo by Jason Lashever.