Saturday, March 4, 2017

I Will Read from City of Weird Saturday, 3/11, at Another Read Through!!!

I was going to tell you all about this great event coming up next Saturday, 3/11, at Another Read Through in Portland, where I will get to read with a fabulous collection of other authors from Forest Avenue Press's City of Weird anthology. Then Gigi Little comes along and, as ever, does all the heavy lifting.

Take it away, Gigi, and I hope to see you all at Another Read Through next Saturday.

Yours in laying down the law,


Watch the Book Trailer for Badge.

Buy Badge.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

AWPers: Come See Our Panel "Beyond Free Books: the Surprising Perks of Book Reviewing" On Saturday!!!

I'm thrilled to share the stage with some serious publishing hotshots next Saturday 2/11 at 4:30 PM at AWP in Washington, D.C. 

The panel is called "Beyond Free Books: the Surprising Perks of Book Reviewing," and we will be discussing all things good about the book review writing and publishing process, from participating in the writing community to beefing up your pub credits to helping to shape the public discussion of books to getting paid. Sharing the stage with me will be Steph Cha, Louis Bayard, David Gutowski, and Ben Tanzer, each offering their own take on the advantages of book reviewing and answering your questions. It's going be a fun, informative, beneficial way to close out your AWP experience, and I hope we get to see you there.

Shoot me an email if you have questions (, or just show up!


AWP Conference
Feb. 8-11, 2017
Washington, D.C.
Washington Convention Center

Saturday, November 26, 2016

My Review of Mo Daviau's Every Anxious Wave up at Barrelhouse!!!

It is my pleasure to be the first to tell you--or the latest to remind you--of the new rock novel by Portlander Mo Daviau, Every Anxious Wave, which I reviewed for Barrelhouse this week!

Yours in laying down the law,


Watch the Book Trailer for Badge.

Buy Badge.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

The Undisputed Top 20 Rock Novels of All Time - 2016

It is my pleasure once again to bring you the top 20 rock novels of all time, 2016 style!

Our esteemed panel of judges found it fit to add one title to the illustrious Top 20 this year, Vexation Lullaby by Justin Tussing, which clocks in at Number 10. Read my review of Vexation Lullaby here.

For his efforts, Justin will receive an all-expenses-paid trip to Sweden, where he will take Bob Dylan's place in the Nobel Prize ceremony in Stockholm on Dec. 10th. He will also get Bob Dylan's check from the Nobel Academy, and half Dylan's song publishing royalties in perpetuity. It's the least we can do.

Check it!

20 The Cost of Living by Rob Roberge

19 The Last Rock Star Book, Or: Liz Phair, a Rant by Camden Joy

18 Big in Japan by M. Thomas Gammarino 

17 You Don’t Love Me Yet by Jonathan Lethem

16 A and R by Bill Flanagan

15 Saguaro: The Life and Adventures of Bobby Allen Bird by Carson Mell

14 Wise Young Fool by Sean Beaudoin

13 A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan

12 Wonderland by Stacey D'Erasmo 

11 Great Jones Street by Don DeLillo

10 Vexation Lullaby by Justin Tussing

How the Mistakes Were Made by Tyler McMahon

8 Losing in Gainesville by Brian Costello 

The Blue Bourbon Orchestra by Carson Mell

The Wishbones by Tom Perrotta

5 Never Mind the Pollacks by Neal Pollack

Stone Arabia by Dana Spiotta

High Fidelity by Nick Hornby 

The Commitments by Roddy Doyle

Banned for Life by D. R. Haney

Yours in laying down the law,


Watch the Book Trailer for Badge.

Buy Badge.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Come See (and Hear) me Read on Monday, 11/14, at Annie Bloom's Books!!!

I'm very pleased to be reading from my short story "Waiting for the Question" at the best bookstore in Southwest Portland Annie Bloom's Books this Monday.

The reading is in conjunction with Forest Avenue Press's City of Weird anthology, in which "Waiting for the Question" is published, and it's been a highlight of my year to be involved with such a great project. Really. These people have worked hard to bring you a great book. Check it out.

The event on Monday (11/14) will feature other fab City of Weird contributors Justin Hocking, Suzy Vitello, and Doug Chase, and the show starts at 7 PM. Come say hi and have your reading thirst sated.

Oh yeah! Here's a short piece I wrote on the writing and acceptance of "Waiting for the Question," which is also known as my Alex Trebek Story.

Yours in laying down the law,


Buy Forest Avenue Press's City of Weird anthology.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

My Piece on the Writing and Publication of my Story "Waiting for the Answer" (City of Weird) up at Necessary Fiction!!!

I'm always fascinated by the elements that make a story go--whether it be a book, a film, a TV show, an essay, or something else--and I'm at least as fascinated by what's missing when it doesn't quite.

The latter was the case with my story "Waiting for the Question," also known as my Alex Trebek story, which I worked on for years until it finally came together and was published in the brand new anthology City of Weird, brought to you by Portland publisher Forest Avenue Press.

Necessary Fiction has done me the honor of publishing my short essay on the process of writing and publishing "Waiting for the Question," which includes details of how Forest Avenue's Laura Stanfill and Gigi Little emailed Alex Trebek to get his permission to publish the story in the anthology. Yeah, that's gonna work, right? Read on, my friend, and be amazed.

Yours in laying down the law,


Buy Forest Avenue Press's City of Weird anthology.

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Because What's Weirder than Alex Trebek?

About five years ago, I sat down to write a story about Alex Trebek.

This story would be different from so many of my other short stories because it would come from an idea.

I didn't write from ideas. I didn't like ideas. Everyone had ideas. I wanted to be different.

My idea was I wanted Alex Trebek to show up to an apartment complex, squat down, and sort of study the distance from this position. Think of it as a contemplative pose. He'd grab his lip, absent-mindedly pinch it, look off into the distance, and stay there for a long time. I just wanted his presence in this pose in this story, kind of like the old man in "A Very Old Man With Enormous Wings," but I wanted it to be Alex Trebek, and I wanted him to be squatting, and I wanted to see what would happen.

This is why writing is so wonderful. You decide you want things a certain way, and that's the way they are. At one point, the story was called "A Very Old Game Show Host with Enormous Wings." I just wanted it that way, and it was so.

So, I wrote the story, and I liked much of it, and didn't like other parts of it, so I rewrote the other parts several times over the course of about five years, and eventually I had a story, now called "Waiting for the Question."

That was when I heard about Forest Avenue Press's City of Weird anthology.

(There's a whole section that should go here about the acceptance of this story by City of Weird, but that portion of the tale is coming out later this month at Necessary Fiction, so you'll just have to understand it's coming down the pipe, and I will check back in here when it's up.)

What you need to know now is Forest Avenue Press's City of Weird anthology is available for sale, and it's where you can read my Alex Trebek story "Waiting for the Question" and 29 other stories all set in Portland, and by some very respect fiction writers. It's a real honor to be included, and I think, somewhere, Alex Trebek is happy about it too.

So, please buy the anthology and read my Alex Trebek story and get 29 other Portland stories to boot.

Also, there is a series of readings coming up to celebrate this offering, and I'm participating in two of them. However, the official launch party is this Wednesday at Powell's on Burnside, where my writing compatriot Mark Russell is reading with three other City of Weird contributors. I won't go into all of the revelry scheduled for the event, but let's just say it feels very much like you won't want to miss it.

So, don't miss it!

Yours in laying down the law,


Buy Forest Avenue Press's City of Weird anthology.