Tag Archives: novel

The New E-Book Is Here! The New E-Book Is Here!

SweetasCaneAs an author, there’s nothing quite as exciting as publication day, when … well, nothing tangible really happens, because the print book hasn’t shipped yet. But the e-book has. And, let’s be real, if you’re like me, 95% of your reading is done on an e-reader anyway.

So e-reader people activate! Sweet as Cane, Salty as Tears is now available for your devices and for purchase via these fine outlets.

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

Apple

Indiebound

Kobo

I’d much rather you get it, read it and review it on the web. But just in case you were wondering what other people might be saying about it, here are a couple of early reviews.

“Ken Wheaton’s got his Cajun on. His book is funny, raw, wrenching, a heartfelt tale of the complexities of family, love and that place we call home—and, at the end of it all, how stories help heal and restore the wounded spirit in us all.” —Ken Wells, author of Meely LaBauve and Crawfish Mountain

“One of the best novels I’ll read this year. Under all the little ruptures in our lives is a mud fight for the soul. For Wheaton the balm for it all is the story and storytelling, an essential inquiry in search of the flashes of angelism embedded in the dirt and grit of our human passage.” —Darrell Bourque, author of Megan’s Guitar and Other Poems from Acadie and former Louisiana poet laureate

“An absorbing and delightful read.” — Booklist

“I Don’t Care What They Think” and Other Lies Writers Tell

SweetasCaneThere’s a moment that’s hard to describe, when you receive an email with a subject line that includes your name, the title of your next book and the words “Booklist Review.”

For my third novel, Sweet as Cane, Salty as Tears — which is being released next week — the thought process was a three-step one that went something like this.

1. “Hmmmmm. Booklist Review.”

2. “Sweet! Someone reviewed the thing!”

3. “Oh shit. Someone reviewed the thing.”

And then my finger just hung there over the phone. Do I open it? I’m at work. What if it’s bad? What if it shatters my fragile writer’s ego? Equally bad, what if it sends me into a panic the entire three weeks leading up to release?

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Little Something to Read on a Louisiana Snow Day

Since it’s snowing (kind of) in South Louisiana, I thought I’d offer a little taste of something that’s dropping in July. 

(And, no, there aren’t ‘free copies’ floating around, so don’t ask.)

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* * *

“Yall get out here,” Daddy shouted from the front door, freezing us all in mid action, stopping our very thoughts. “C’mon. Yall missing the snow.”

With that, we tried to get all six of our bodies through the bedroom door at once and stormed out onto the porch, where we stopped short. Breathing heavily in our excitement, we looked like overworked horses, steam puffing from our nostrils.

I don’t know how long it had been snowing before he called us out, but the ground was covered and it was still coming down. Silence reigned, our breathing the only sound to be heard. The lighting was strange, a gray dusk in the middle of the day serving as backdrop to the white flakes falling from the sky. I stuck my hand out from under the porch’s overhang, hoping to catch some of the magic, but it only melted.

“Can we go play in it?” Kurt Junior asked.

“Not enough to play in yet,” Daddy said. “Let’s give it a little time.”

That seemed about like asking pigs to wait a few minutes before eating the slop right in front of them, but we all said, “Okay, Daddy,” and deferred to his wisdom. Obviously he knew a thing or two about snow. Even if he knew only one thing about snow, it was one thing more than the rest of us.

“Come on,” he said. “Let’s go eat some gumbo.”

We usually ate like a pack of wild animals, tearing through what food we had and hoping beyond the realm of all experience that there would somehow be more. But that day we were too nervous to eat, worrying that the snow would stop or that it would melt by the time we were allowed out to play.

An hour later, when we were let outside bundled up in what clothes we could find, there was a full inch on the ground. It wasn’t much, but to us it might as well have been the North Pole. After working as a team to build a two-foot tall snowman that was as much dirt and sticks as it was snow, we declared war on each other, practically scraping every inch of snow off of the ground and fence rails and the truck and low-hanging tree limbs to arm ourselves.

Since Baby Joey was too small to stay out for long, the warring factions broke down as they often did, Kendra-Sue and me against the other three. Fight like cats and dogs as often as we did, together we were an unstoppable force. Or, an alternate reason, given by Kurt Junior: “Yall too hateful to separate.” Meaning that if we were on opposing teams, the play fighting would at some point turn into real violence—and we’d all get a switching from Mama.

Still, Kurt Junior probably wished he could have both of us on his team. As Kendra-Sue and I worked silently to build our arsenal, we could hear Karla-Jean nagging him.

“We need a plan and we need to build a fort.”

“Mais, what you gonna build a fort with? Just pack some snowballs before Kendra-Sue and Katie-Lee come get us.”

I listened not so much to the words as to the way they carried in the cold air. Kurt Junior, Karla-Jean and Karen-Anne were on the other side of the house, but sounded like they were in the same room. Karen-Anne whined that her fingers hurt from the cold.

Mine burned too. Red and raw. It was the most disappointing thing about the reality of snow. I don’t know what I’d expected. Something soft? Clouds that could be packed into solid form? It hadn’t occurred to me that I’d basically be sticking my hands in cold water for an hour or more. But I held my tongue. For all I knew, this was a once-in-a-lifetime event.

I stuck my head around the side of the house to spy on the enemy.

“Kurt Junior’s sneaking off behind the barn,” I reported.

“Good. We’ll get Karla-Jean first.”

She didn’t need to explain to me why. Swooping down on Karen-Anne might prompt Kurt Junior to counter-attack with force. He’d do nothing to protect Karla-Jean. If we hit her hard enough, she’d give up immediately.

When we stormed around the house, Karen-Anne bolted away from Karla-Jean, who was bent over a bare patch of ground trying to coax a fort out of mud and what was left of the snow. It looked more like a snake. Whatever it was, the three-inch mound did nothing to protect her from the four snowballs we hurled at her face from point-blank range, knocking her onto her butt. In a second, she was back on her feet, red-faced, blood streaming from her nose. She was a sight. Tall for her age, topped with flaming red hair that apparently struck at least one Fontenot in every generation. And so mad she couldn’t speak or make up her mind which one of us to kill first. Not that either of us were going to stick around to make her decision easier. We took off in separate directions and rendezvoused on the other side of the house.

Karla-Jean’s voice split the air. “I quit! Yall hear me? I quit. I’m going inside. Stupid. That’s what yall are. I hope yall freeze to death out here.”

“That was probably the best thing ever in my life,” Kendra-Sue said. She looked like a dog that had just eaten a week-old opossum.

“You think she’s gonna tell?” I asked.

“Let her. The only person gonna listen to her crybabying is Jesus.”

That was true. And Karla-Jean was smart enough not to ruin Mama’s mood by tattling.

“Who’s next?” I asked.

“I don’t know. What do you think?”

We sat for a bit, mulling it over, sticking our tongues out to catch the snow. We made more snow balls. Kept an ear out for the approaching enemy. If past war experience—and we had plenty of it, waging pitched battles with china-berries, rotten eggs, acorns and, yes, on occasion, hardened cow pies—was an indicator, Kurt Junior would lie in wait like a sniper. He could out-wait any of us. Sooner or later, we’d go looking for him and, from some tree limb or barn rafter, he’d rain death from above. And just like death, it didn’t matter that we were expecting him, he always caught us by surprise. But what was he going to do with Karen-Anne?

We found out soon enough when she poked her head around the corner. He’d sent her to spy. Big mistake.

Without even discussing it, Kendra-Sue and I said at the same time, “Wanna be on our team?”

Not five minutes later, we’d completely turned her with a promise that she’d be the key to our first victory over that stupid, smelly boy we called our brother.

***

The Soundtrack to My Novel-Writing? Funny You Should Ask

GuitarDudeRiffraf asked me to write a little something for their Writers and Music series, in which writers discuss the music included in their work or the music that influenced their work.

You’ve got a picture in your mind, I’m sure. The writer enters his special writing place and, before settling in front of the computer or typewriter, he fires up the iPod or turntable. Music fills the room—or his ears. A scratchy jazz record. Sweeping classical. Maybe some down-with-the-system rock or fuck-the-police rap. He sits down, closes his eyes for a minute, takes a couple of deep breaths. Then he starts writing.

Three songs later, he sends his manuscript to a publisher, is offered a six-figure contract, multiple subsidiary rights and a seven-figure movie option. He—or she (Hi, Jennifer Weiner!)—goes back to the writing corner, picks another album, rinse, lather, repeat. Life is good!

For me, this is largely a fantasy. And I’m not only talking about the huge book deals or the quaint little writing office.

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Excerpt: How About a Taste of Bacon and Egg Man?

BaconEggPublishedCoverI’ve been badgering you all to rush out and buy a copy of Bacon and Egg Man. More accurately, I’ve been pushing you to rush to your computer or Nook or Kindle to grab a copy because it’s not in actual stores yet.

But maybe you’d like to sample the goods, right? So here’s Chapter 2. I’m not going to bother you with too much set-up other than to say it’s set 50 years in the future and while he no longer walks the earth, the legacy of Mike Bloomberg quickly becomes clear. And our hero Wes Montgomery is in police custody.
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Bacon and Egg Man: Paper or Plastic?

Mmmmmmm, bacon.How should you read my new novel, Bacon and Egg Man? Obviously, with a work of art this layered and so thematically complicated, one must approach it carefully. After all, what do we mean when we say “bacon”?

Mmmmmmmm, bacon.

Where was I? Oh, how should you read my book?

With your eyes!

(Buy the book at Amazon or Barnes & Noble.)

But seriously, some folks seem to get a little confused or ashamed or something when it comes to ebook vs. paper books. In general, I don’t care how you read the book as long as you read the damn thing. Specifically, in the case of Bacon and Egg Man, it’s actually in my financial interest if you read the ebook. Put simply, I get a bigger cut of the price off of ebook sales. And the money shows up faster, too. Instead of waiting over a year to get a convoluted royalty statement that requires deciphering by a high priest, ebook sales will be reported on a monthly basis.

That’s right. If you pay for an ebook, I can convert your money into bourbon before Easter!
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Bacon and Egg Man — The Cover

Oh. Hi. Happy New Year. Fancy seeing you here. There’s something I’ve been meaning to show you. Look at this. It’s a cover for a novel.

Mmmmmmm, bacon.

Bacon and Egg Man — February 2013

Bacon and Egg Man. It’s being released next month by the good folks at Premier Digital Publishing (more on them later). As you can see, my name is scribbled across the top of this cover. That’s because I wrote it. Yay for me, etc.

Let me tell you about this cover.
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