Tag Archives: novel

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.

Read more.

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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Exciting Book News Part 1: First Novel, New Look

Hey everyone, The First Annual Grand Prairie Rabbit Festival drops in paperback today! Woohoo!

Wait a minute, Ken. Wasn’t The First Annual Grand Prairie Rabbit Festival originally a paperback? Uh, yes. Yes indeed it was. But now it’s a different paperback. With a brand new cover. And a lower price point. It’s going to be $9.95. (And, uh, $7.73 for ebook version.)

UPDATE: Looks like both Amazon and B&N.com are holding back on the goods until you all completely buy out original stock. Get cracking!

So what’s going on here? Kensington, the book’s publisher, is re-releasing (slightly) older books with new covers at lower price points to give them a second chance at life. A low-risk gamble, I guess, to see what you can make of your backlist. I can’t make sense out of royalty statements, but even if the book did as well as I think it did, that still means there are 299,985,000 Americans who haven’t read the book. So, lots of opportunity there.

I loved the original cover, by Tim O’Brien (the guy what did The Hunger Games covers and that wonderfully creepy Chuck Brown portrait). But I’m digging this one, too, because it almost looks like Grand Prairie in that it has a water tower, a dirt road and some empty fields. The hills, though, not so much.

So, what does this mean for you and me? I don’t know. If you’ve read the book, then thank you. I love you. You can still hit the LIKE button on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. If you haven’t reviewed it yet, feel free to review. If you have reviewed it for Amazon, copy and paste that review to B&N — and vice versa. (Of course, if you have read it and still want to buy a stack of them, far be it from me to stop you.)

If you haven’t read it or know people who haven’t read it, well here’s a fresh opportunity! Go for it. Read it. Buy it for a friend. It’s on sale! Suggest it for your book club. Share it on your vast Twitter and Facebook networks. Here are a bunch of nice things people said about it.

Oh, and walk into your local book store and bug them people to carry it! Etc. Etc.

Hell, rejoin the Facebook Group — since Facebook booted everyone from the original group during one of its 7,000 redesigns.

By the way, you’ll note the headline of this post says Part 1. I’ll holler at you when Part 2 drops. Should be soon. And it should be different.

Hey Ken, What’s Going on With Your Novel?

Glad you asked! Well, things with The First Annual Grand Prairie Rabbit Festival are moving apace. Hopefully January 2010 will get here sooner rather than later and people will still have money left to buy books. Just last week, the editor asked me for my author’s bio for the book’s cover. (He made me cut out my claims of being the real Batman.) Haven’t taken the author’s photo yet — will likely ask Lisa “Homesick Texan” Fain to do those honors. And haven’t picked out cover art.

In other news, it looks like I’ve got a Hollywood-type agent to complement my literary-type agent. So I’m pretty psyched about that. Granted, I don’t know if there’s a huge market for a mildly humorous story about a straight Cajun priest who DOESN’T molest anything, but we shall see. Hell, if Wild Hogs can get made, anything can. I’ll be talking to the Hollywood-type agent this afternoon hopefully.

Meanwhile, my literary-type agent is leaving the agency for exciting new opportunities. I like the guy and aside from, you know, getting me a book deal, he was also a pretty good editor. So hopefully when the second book is done this summer, he’ll either tackle it or send me in the right direction.

So that’s what’s going on with all of that.