Back in 2013 I had this wild idea to start a podcast. I thought it might be fun to get together with a friend and discuss and dissect terrible movies and pop culture. Over the next three years it evolved and shifted into something much more intricate than that. We had guests from all over the country coming in to talk about different aspects of pop culture and media and while I loved doing it, circumstances in each of the hosts’ lives meant that production had to shut down around the tail end of 2016.
Today I am proud to officially announce the return of the show. But things have evolved further still, and now what started as a discussion taped through an iPhone speaker will be a full-fledged live radio show on KPFT 90.1 Houston Public Radio. We are part of a digital streaming initiative that they are trying to put together and we are humbled and honored to be a part of the great tradition that station has championed for decades.
We will be airing every Thursday night at 8PM central time. I’ll be sure to give out ways to listen and support the show in the coming weeks. I am hugely excited to see what this year has in store.
There are many writers who make me feel like a chump when I read their work. Luckily, I don’t end up meeting most of them so I don’t ever have that feeling of humility hanging over my head every time I sit down to write. But I had the pleasure of attending a book signing with Greg Rucka, the writer of the Tara Chase and Atticus Kodiak novels as well as a bevy of comics that I would hold as some of the best in the business, and it was the same way I imagine athletes would feel playing on the same field as their heroes in their prime. Mr. Rucka took the time to discuss his method and his outlooks on writing on multiple arenas. He explained what sort of research he does and how he compiles it all into the finished products he releases for public consumption. His words resonated with a deep affection for the things he writes and the work he does.
It forced me to reflect on my own work in a way that I don’t often like to. I’m my own harshest critic and looking back at my own work all I can see are the flaws. I have been praised for my work numerous times. People have told me how much they’ve enjoyed certain parts of The Song Before Nightfall and assured me that I have a style that speaks to them as a reader and that they would happily read the next book I release. That doesn’t mean that I don’t look at what I have done and wish I could have done better. When you are in the presence of someone like Greg Rucka, who I will unabashedly say is one of my modern literary heroes, you can’t help but compare yourself to them. I’m proud of every one of my books. They represent something very important to me. Each one of them is very different and there is an underlying current that runs through them and I would argue that my literary voice is very defined in them. Reading The Song Before Nightfall and Grave Danger back to back won’t leave you doubting that I wrote both of them. I have quirks and tendencies that transcend genre. What I don’t have, in my mind’s eye, is the ability to write in such a precise, scientific manner. I don’t truly have a method. I suppose that will come over time.
What I’m trying to say is that moments like these are what inspire me to get a little better at what I do. I want to tell stories that people want to read. I want to tell them with my own voice. I want people to like what that voice is. People like Greg Rucka inspire me to find the time to write every day and make sure that that voice is heard. What this post is, is essentially a thank you note. A 500 word thank you note that he’ll probably never read. Unless Greg Rucka is also a telepath…which would make a lot of sense.
We Both Have Blogs, But Only One Of Us Has Readers
I would imagine most people know about Jenny Lawson aka The Bloggess and her amazing treasure-trove of a blog. If not, I suggest you check it out immediately because she is one of the funniest people on the internet hands down. People from Texas, like myself, will relate to a lot of her humor. Outsiders and Yankee city folk will likely find themselves stupefied by the things she writes. It’s fun for the whole family. Except for children. There’s lots of cursing and disturbing material there, so unless you’re looking for a reason to warp their minds it’s probably best to wait a while before exposing them to the greatness of Jenny’s ramblings.
Anyhow, last night I ventured out into the Memorial City section of Houston down to Blue Willow Books to attend a reading/q&a/signing/excuse to drink wine with Jenny as part of her traveling book tour. Every bit as funny and charming as you would expect from her readings she drew quite the crowd, with hundreds of folks turning out to hear her speak and get their book inscribed thus making me feel immediately humble in realizing that at my last book signing I managed to get perhaps 1/10th that number to even say hello. Maybe I need more amusing stories about fake nipples and an assortment of frightening taxidermist animals that look like they belong on the set of a Rob Zombie/Cronenberg collabo.
Anyhow, she did a short twenty minute presentation with a Q&A filled with inside jokes that got big laughs from her fans and eventually the signing started. It went by quickly but I was able to snag a picture with her, thus adding another entry into my “Me With More Talented Authors” photo scrapbook. I also suggested a new t-shirt for her merch booth based off a story in her book that I read a few chapters of while waiting in line for the signing. I hope she makes that shirt. Because I would buy it.