Bart Simpson, Foreign Service Officer

I was driving the boys to a wishing well Sunday morning when good fortune came my way: NPR’s Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me was airing Not My Job. Talented people were supposed to do something without drawing on their talent. The talent in this case was Bill Oakley, who turned a Foreign Service exam cop … Continue reading Bart Simpson, Foreign Service Officer

A Wry Ode to Clusterf***ing

Joyless House posted this generous review of Two Pumps for the Body Man. See what else they're reviewing with a click on the image. "...Two Pumps is a page-turner, baby, and it takes some real balls to satirize the great Christian crusade of our times." Two Pumps is set in the Royal Kingdom of Saudi … Continue reading A Wry Ode to Clusterf***ing

Unity Amid Terror

We can look to the barbarians who call for broad, ignorant hatred in response to the specific ignorant hatred behind the tragedies in San Bernardino, Orlando, Portland. Or we can look for unity. While Two Pumps for the Body Man is foremost a satire of the so-called "War on Terror", it's also rich in other themes (the odd sexual proclivities of protagonist Jeff Mutton, for … Continue reading Unity Amid Terror

Free Pumps!

One week left in the Goodreads giveaway of Two Pumps for the Body Man. Follow the link at left to win a copy. Book reviewers can contact me directly for an electronic copy. The Second World War Had Catch-22. The War on Terror Has 2 Pumps. Jeff Mutton walks the diplomatic beat protecting American officials in Saudi Arabia. An expert with guns and … Continue reading Free Pumps!

Coming Very Soon

The Second World War II had Catch 22. The Global War on Terror will have:

Cheney: still wrong after all these years

Former veep, elegantly cloaked in fiction Crediting Dick Cheney for his rebuke of Donald Trump's bigotry gets no traction with me. Sorry Dick: you can’t make up for decades of reckless decisions and bad policy based on one easy moment of obvious decency. You’re still a modern architect of the very party now on the verge of nominating a racist … Continue reading Cheney: still wrong after all these years

Kingly Reads for the Throne

Eight great books to get you through those lonely moments with the fan on. Presented in no particular order—the right book will depend on your mood, and the size of the job before you. 1. The Onion Ad Nauseum This is closest to reading the old classic: an actual newspaper. It’s a little heavy to … Continue reading Kingly Reads for the Throne

Query Inquiry

In the decade or so that I've been shopping novels around I've noticed a strong downward trajectory in agent response rate. I don't mean passes vs. requests for manuscripts. I mean a high and growing degree of non-response, period. Yes, the query landscape has changed dramatically from paper to electronic in that time, increasing the amount of … Continue reading Query Inquiry

Writers at Rest

Taking a break from producing fiction? A couple of reads that offer ridiculous, pathetic, sad, witty, funny--fun--looks at the fiction-writer's life include The Visiting Writer, a short story from Matthew Vollmer's collection Gateway to Paradise, and Chris Belden's novel, Shriver. The Visiting Writer delivers us into the world of literary aspiration, a lament on the lack of success, a self examination, … Continue reading Writers at Rest

Review: Gateway to Paradise

The six stories in Matthew Vollmer’s Gateway to Paradise (Persea books) plow dark furrows across the landscape, furrows at once unified yet unique, parallel channels promising individual reward. The unifying darkness is subtle, distinct, reassuring in its way. It is a darkness that blooms rather than dooms, mesmerizes rather than terrifies, reveals rather than obscures. As for … Continue reading Review: Gateway to Paradise