A Free Chapbook for Your Thoughts.

So I have this chapbook, Something L.A., and I’d love to see it actually get a review or FullSizeRenderten on GoodReads. (Yes, I’m giving away at least 10). If you’re up for a true, funny story about a modeling agency party in Hollywood that also features two famous people making cameos (no spoilers, but one’s an actor and one’s a musician), and you wouldn’t mind writing a short review (like, 2-5 sentences) and posting it, I’ll send you the chapbook for free. Just message me with your address from my website (rdeanwriter.com), Facebook (R Dean Johnson), Instagram or Twitter (both @rdeanwriter), or good old-fashioned email (r-dean.johnson@eku.edu). I’ve even sign it to you (unless you plan to re-gift or sell it, then I won’t; just let me know).

 

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Where I’m Going. Where I’ve Been.

DM_Trinity CollegeThis is supposed to be my 2015 writerly wrap-up. It probably should have posted a month ago. But that’s kind of what 2015 was all about. My story collection, DELICATE MEN, came out so late in 2014 (December 29) it felt more like 2015. And so, the year began with things arriving late and that never really went away.
I finished my MFA in 2003, and here it was, just twelve short years later, and I was giving readings with my brand new book. My first book. Better late than… well, it was just really great to see it arrive, and then to see where it went—those readings with me, into the hands of people I’ve never met but who were kind enough to email me their impressions, and to far-flung places like Brasil, England, and Scotland. DELICATE MEN even visited, courtesy of my old college roommate whom I hadn’t heard from in years, its distant cousins at Trinity College Library in Dublin.

Delicate Men_ScotlandAlso in 2015, my agent, Mackenzie Brady Watson, sold my first novel, CALIFORNIUM, to Plume-Penguin. I’d taken long gaps in working on the novel and taken a long time revising it. In fact, technically it’s the first book I ever wrote, but it will be the third book published with my name on it. (There’s a collection of pedagogical essays I edited, TEACHABLE MOMENTS, floating around this world too).

Late in 2015, my essay, “Something L.A.” was published as a chapbook through Blue Cubicle Press’s Overtime Series. I’d written the early drafts of that essay four years earlier.
At first glance, it may look like 2015 was this extraordinarily productive year for me. And it was in terms of publishing. But I spent most of the year revising the manuscripts of Something L.A. and Californium for my editors, another big chunk of the year it reading from and promoting DELICATE MEN, and far too little of it writing.
Apollo Reading 1

I’m not complaining. In discussing where to start a story, I ask my beginning writing students all the time: When is the best time to arrive at a party? There’s usually one polite, attentive, pleasant student who says, “On time” or “When it’s scheduled to start.” And there’s usually one mostly polite, fairly attentive, slightly unpredictable student who says, “Late” or “When things are really getting good.” Yep.

My essay, “Errors,” will be out in the Spring 2016 issue of Salt Hill. CALIFORNIUM, now with the subtitle: A Novel of Punk Rock, Growing Up, and Other Dangerous Things, will be out July 19, 2016. I’ve got a few readings planned already, and I get to spend three weeks with my MFA students in Lisbon this coming July too. (I’ll be getting some selfies with both books). If 2015 was the year of Late, I’d like to think 2016 is the year of things really getting good. Californium_WSub

What November Really Means in Publishing

BlueCubiclePressSo when your editor says your chapbook will most likely be out in November, you figure there’s a 75% chance that will actually happen, a 20% chance it will be out in December, and a 5% chance it will be some other time, like January or February, or maybe part of a two-year backlog. What you don’t expect, or at least I didn’t, is that the chapbook would be out in early September, a full two months early, and both look and read with the quality you expected it would when you expected it to be out in November.
I can’t say enough how much I appreciate Blue Cubicle Press and its publisher, David LaBounty. And even if you couldn’t care less about some chapbook titled, Something L.A., the press has a great collection of work-themed books, chapbooks, and journals. All worth reading unless, of course, you’re Paris Hilton and you’ve never actually worked a day in your life. Then, all that stuff about work and the various comedies and dramas that play out in that world may just seem alien to you.

So, if you’re not Paris Hilton, here’s the link to the press: Blue Cubicle Press

And if you’re not averse to a chapbook about interning at an advertising agency in L.A. and meeting a few famous people in a rather awkward way, here’s the link to that: Something L.A.

Something Nonfiction This Way Comes

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The proof for my creative nonfiction chapbook, Something L.A., arrived on Monday. (It will be out in November 2015 as part of Blue Cubicle Press’s, Overtime Chapbook Series). I was excited to see it, then worried about line editing, then excited again when I started the edits because I really love this essay.

Today the line edits are complete and on their way back to the editor, David LaBounty, and I’m still excited about this project. Hooray writing!