Errors

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This spring they’ve been adding up:

  1. Soooooo many typos. In emails and manuscripts. On Facebook and Twitter. Maybe because I’m left-handed. Perhaps because I’m a four-finger and two-thumbs typist. Probably because I’m forever in a hurry and rushing through things without proof-reading well enough.
  2. There was that bike crash I had right before AWP. The one where I broke my left wrist and pinky finger, got a concussion (which only added to the typos), cracked my mandible, added three manly new scars to my face, and made me miss AWP.
  3. Like, a month ago, my essay “Errors” came out in the journal, Salt Hill, along with a lot of other excellent work (I’m really digging the story “Bald Bear” by Becky Mandelbaum), and I really should have thanked Jacob Collins-Wilson, the nonfiction editor at SH) and mentioned all of this a lot sooner, like, a month ago.

The great Californium pre-sale sale

My first novel, Californium:  a novel of punk rock, growing up, and other dangerous things (Plume-Penguin), won’t be out until July 19. But not only is it on pre-sale right now, it’s also on sale-sale (like 5 bucks off at all the online book sellers). california-bear-flag7

So if you’re thinking about how to look cool on the beach this summer, well, there are a lot of better ways to do it, but having a copy of Californium that you didn’t have to pay full price for won’t hurt.  You’ll look smart . You’ll be smart. And everyone knows smart is the new cool. Kind of.

 

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

A tiny review of The Southern Review

There are always good reasons to read The Southern Review. The Autumn 2015 issue just reminded me of that with the excellent poetry of Charles Rafferty (among many other fine writers). But, the issue kicks off with a real keeper (yes, pun intended): “Nabokov in Goal, Cambridge, 1919” by Floyd Skloot. Just excellent.southern review

How to Sign a Kindle

What’s great about there being a Kindle edition of your first book is that fans and/or friends in far off places can get it without going on some kind of scavenger hunt to find a print edition. I don’t think I’m big in Japan, but I do have some friends in far off places and a few of them bought the book the day it came out, which was neat. (Yes, I mean that in the geeked up way it sounds too because it really is neat).

The thing is, the next time I’m in England or Japan, I can’t sign the book for my friends. Sure, I could give their Kindles each a Sharpie tattoo, but I’m pretty certain my signature isn’t worth that kind of sacrifice for anyone. Not yet, at least.
So here’s what I am doing: If you bought a Kindle version of Delicate Men and you’d like a signed, Delicate Men bookmark that is of no use for your Kindle but perhaps will tuck nicely into a phone book, or a catalogue, or an actual book, I’ll send you one. Free. Just email me your name and address at r_dean_johnson@yahoo.com.

Do you have to prove to me that you bought the book? Well, I don’t need to see a receipt. But, if you want to review it on GoodReads, or Amazon, or elsewhere (I could really use some reviews), that would be super neat (see above). I’ll also accept selfies with the book on the R Dean Johnson Facebook page. Honestly, though, all you have to do is email me.
Okay, so what if you bought the paperback version and really want a bookmark? No problem. Just see the procedures above and I’ll get one in the mail to you as well. And really, thanks for buying the book. I hope you find/found it super-duper neat.IMG_0296

Californium. The novel.

Plume

So, this happened:

My, understands-my-novel-even-better-than-I-do, agent, Mackenzine Brady at New Leaf Literary, sold my novel to Plume – Penguin Books (USA).
There are edits and copy-edits and other things to come, but it will all add up to CALIFORNIUM sliding on to a bookstore shelf not too far from you (almost anywhere you are, they tell me) in May, 2016.

Feeling so very, very thankful.