A rougarou is loose in Columbus, Ohio!

black_rougarouThere are rumors. Stories of a strange creatures roaming the nighttime streets of Columbus, Ohio. At least one appears to be doglike — some say it resembles a wolf — but it walks upright like a man.

But there are also reports of a second creature, the rougarou, a swamp werewolf of Cajun legend. And yet here it is, lurking in the Ohio dark.

Readers of Hagridden will, of course, be familiar with the rougarou. But how did a Cajun werewolf get from the bayou of Louisiana all the way up to Columbus, Ohio?

I wrote the answer.


For other stories related to the events and characters in Hagridden, see “The Voices Captain Brewster Heard” in WhiskeyPaper and “What Have You Done to Deserve Such a Halo” in Bartleby Snopes. And stay tuned for at least one more story later this fall!

The Midwest Tour is one week away!

Second verse, same as the first!

After my Southern book tour for Hagridden, I came home to Portland for a release party here, but since then I’ve been enjoying a little breather. But gang, vacation’s over!

A week from now, I’ll be in Ohio to start the Midwest leg of the Hagridden book tour!

Rougarou_PosterWe’re talking meet-and-greets, workshops, readings, book signings — even a game of tag with werewolves! Seven events over six days in five cities in two states!

In Columbus, I’ll hang out with the locals during the Indianola Stroll, hold workshops at Columbus State Community College and the public library in the nearby town of Bexley, and run from werewolves (recently sighted in town!) before signing books, watching werewolf movies, and drinking with fans.

I’m also joining some other Ohio writers for a hip reading down in Cincinnati.

And over in Indiana, I’ll be hanging out with college students and doing readings at Ivy Tech Community College in Indianapolis and at Indiana University Southeast down in New Albany.

All the details are on the Book Tour page of the Hagridden website.

It’s going to be a wild ride, friends, and I’m going to need all the help I can get to keep my energy up, so if you’re in the area from September 19 through September 25, come out to something, bring three friends, and let’s party!

Thirteen years ago today

I was driving a two-hour commute to teach a college class. I listened to the news on the radio. At one point I had to pull over on the side of the road just to catch my breath. Later, I passed others who had done the same. When I got to school, I spent half an hour trying to figure out how to break the news to my students, because none of them had heard yet. I canceled the day’s lessons. I told them they could leave to call family or friends if they needed to, or they could stay and talk about how they were feeling. I asked them to try and not react with anger, because it was almost certainly anger that caused the attacks in the first place. Thirteen years later, I am still asking people to remember that.

People eating and drinking and snuggling with cats while reading Hagridden

More Hagridden pix! This edition features coffee and burgers and bells and cats — and the first-ever photo of the Hagridden e-book!:

Bri P

From Brianna P

FYI: I’ll be seeing my friend Bri in a couple of weeks, when I visit her creative writing classes and give a reading at Ivy Tech Community College. Hope to see you all there!

Trevor D

From Trevor D

PS: Trevor and I swapped books — his book, The Laws of Average, came out this year, too, and I encourage you all to buy a copy!

From the Franklin County Genealogical Society in Mt. Vernon, TX (photo by Sue Bolin)

From the Franklin County Genealogical Society in Mt. Vernon, TX (photo by Sue Bolin)

The Franklin County Genealogical Society, where my mother-in-law volunteers and for which my wife is webmaster, has set up a cool display of the novel — and if you’re in northeast Texas, you can actually stop by and order a copy through them!

Heather W (and Sparkle)

From Heather W (and Sparkle, the cat)

Hagridden on a Kindle on a cat! I think your day is now complete.

Have you ordered Hagridden? Take a photo of it and share it with me! And I’m still happy to share photos of Box Cutters, too!

The Portland release party: photos!

Portland, Oregon, is my home, a city I love like no other. And last night, my city loved me back.

We had the Hagridden release party at the Independent Publishing Resource Center, a very cool DIY printing workshop/zine library/classroom/event space/living museum of all things indie publishing.

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And yes, we had the books by the bar and we had my mother’s guestbook, which has become the official record of my book tour.

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By the way, that rougarou print I had out on display (bottom-right of the photo above) was a big hit! It’s by illustrator Shaleigh Westphall, a graduate of Pacific Northwest College of Art, where I teach. It was part of her thesis project on regional cryptozoology last year– I loved the rougarou print so much I bought one!

It was an amazing evening full of area friends and teaching colleagues. We also had a lot of fellow writers — in addition to Monica Drake and Mark Russell, who read with me, we also had Kassten Alonzo, Hobie Anthony, Trevor Dodge, and Todd McNamee in the audience, as well as Sally K. Lehman and Jessica Standifird from Blue Skirt Productions!

And, of course, my beautiful wife, to whom the novel is dedicated.

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And yes, I did the now-requisite reading selfie:

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Only in Portland would I get an audience member throwing the cunnilingus sign in my selfie. I love it!

Mark Russell and Monica Drake killed it with their readings, which were both hilarious and both about sex — perhaps to lighten the mood before all the murder in my book? ;)

For my reading, I tried something new: a “live book trailer,” in which I played background sound effects timed to coincide with moments in the passage I was reading. It was a different experience — I can usually breeze through a reading, and I know how to cover mistakes when I make them, but this thing was dependent on timing, so I had to have a well-practiced pace so I could hit all the right marks, and there was no room for mistakes or even clearing my throat! I think it went over well, though, and my wife tells me lots of people were talking about it afterward.

We got video, but there’s a break in the video, so it’s in two parts. But if I can splice it together in good enough quality, I’ll share it here!

Afterward, I signed a few books and we all hung out and talked shop — writing, reading, reviews. It was a wonderful evening, and I’m so grateful to everyone who came out!

And now I get to take it easy for a week or so — and then it’s off to Ohio and Indiana for the Midwest leg of my book tour, and then I’m back in Oregon for more events in October!

As the Cajuns say, laissez les bon temps roulez!

New publication

Photo Credit: Elisabeth Cox

Photo Credit: Elisabeth Cox

This summer, one of my primary writing projects has been composing new short stories related to my Civil War novel, Hagridden. Each story involves a minor character or two from the novel, people who have some important moments in the book but are definitely supporting characters to the main narrative; in these stories, those folks get their own narrative.

Today, WhiskeyPaper published the second of those stories, “The Voices Captain Brewster Heard.”

It tells the story of the captain whose wrecked ship was meant to carry “the girl” and her family to Galveston, Texas, but instead stranded them in Leesburg, Louisiana. Captain Brewster, like the girl, is stranded, and he travels the coastal towns looking for a new ship to hire onto — but what he finds will haunt him!

I wrote this story in honor of my grandfather, Captain Ted Snoek, who is a retired merchant mariner. When I showed him the story on my Texas book tour, he took one look at the title and said, “You know, we’re related to a Brewster! He was in the Civil War.”

I said, “I know, Grandpa. It’s why I named the character that. I remember all your stories.” Those stories, by the way, make their way into Captain Brewster’s stories for the children of Leesburg. Fighting off a gang of armed Cubans, detecting enemy ships — versions of those events actually happened to my grandfather (if you believe his stories . . .).

With my grandfather in Boerne, TX.

With my grandfather in Boerne, TX.

(FYI: There’s also a reference to “Negro Island” in the story. That, sadly, is based on a true story.)

You can read the first of these supplemental stories, “What Have You Done to Deserve Such a Halo,” in Bartleby Snopes. And more Hagridden-related fiction is coming soon! And the novel itself is out and doing well! Don’t own a copy yet? Find one in a bookstore near you! Or order one online!

Portland release party for Hagridden

Today’s the day, gang!

I’ve only been back in my home city of Portland for a few days, but it’s been enough to rest up from my big Southern book tour, and now it’s PDX’s turn for a Hagridden party!

And folks, this one’s gonna be a doozy.

We’re at the Independent Publishing Resource Center, one of the most popular gathering places for Portland’s literati! We’ll have beer and wine — of course! — and food and friends. And among those friends will be Portland’s own Mark Russell, author of God Is Disappointed in You, and Monica Drake, author of Clown Girl and The Stud Book– they’ll be reading from their work alongside me and my novel!

Monica Drake

Monica Drake

Mark Russell

Mark Russell

I couldn’t ask for cooler — or kinder — partners in my big release party, gang. And special thanks to Mark Russell, who actually spearheaded this whole thing so I could just relax and enjoy the party. He’s a hell of a guy, and if you’re close enough to come out to the reading, I want you all to buy his book, and Monica’s.

Buy all the books!

Oh, and it’s not just a reading, y’all. I’m going to attempt something like a “live book trailer,” with sound effects and whatnot. And Mark’s going to have background music (possibly because he’s so cool that he actually has a soundtrack that follows him around through his life). I don’t know yet what Monica’s up to, but bear in mind that she’s in on the whole “Bedtime Stories” adult pajama party thing with none other than Chuck Palahniuk, so she’s someone you want to hear read in person!

Of course, I’ll also have that guestbook my mom made me, so I expect everyone there to sign it and say hi to me. And I’ll have copies of Hagridden as well as copies of Box Cutters (buy both and you can claim you own every book I ever published!).

Seriously, this is going to be a fun night, gang. Just ask The Rumpus or Willamette Week. They know what’s up. :)

And if you can’t make it there, that’s cool, too. I’ll post photos from the party later this weekend, and I’ll be reading again in Portland at a handful of other venues through October and maybe November. Just as soon as I get back from the Midwest later this month!

More people reading Hagridden

Here we are again! Some of the folks reading Hagridden are being super cool and sending me pics of their copy — on bookshelves, with booze, in the bayou. Basically, places that begin with B. (Not really — I made that up.)

So here are a few more photos of Hagridden that people have been posting to social media (as always, reposted with their permission):

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From my wife, Jennifer.

This is the first one of these photos ever. Before the official release day, even! My wife started reading it on the plane to Texas. :)

Sally F

From Sally F.

(Bonus: can you play “spot the chapbook”? Yep — that’s Box Cutters there next to the Gita!)

Rob Willl2

From Rob W.

You might know Rob from his generous review of Hagridden a few weeks back. Thanks, Rob!

Have you ordered Hagridden? Take a photo of it and share it with me! And I’m still happy to share photos of Box Cutters, too!

There she blows! A head like a billy goat! It is the Jersey Devil!

JDP cover sept 14Over at Jersey Devil Press, we’re famously fond of dick jokes. So of course I’ve been making Moby Dick jokes all day.

Because the September Jersey Devil Press is a whale of an issue!

(Groan all you want — there’s more where that came from.)

The issue itself is a bit of a guppy, all flash fiction and poetry (even a couple of dirty haiku!), but you guys, we have Dutch artist Telmo Pieper on the cover! You might recognize his work from an article in the Guardian a couple of months ago. He’s amazing, and we feel so fortunate to have hooked him!

And the content is, as usual, fantastic, with women growing pasta in their hair and death in the circus and chicken babies and revenge on a barber and even a bit of porn.

So all in all, we think this issue will blow you out of the water!

(Okay, I’m done. You can go read the issue now.)

People reading Hagridden

Back when my chapbook, Box Cutters, came out, I did a thing where I posted photos of people reading the book. It was awesome, because the people who bought and read Box Cutters are awesome.

So are the people who are buying and reading Hagridden, because they’re doing the same thing and I didn’t even ask them to!

So here they are, the first few photos of Hagridden people have been posting to social media (reposted with their permission):

From Jaretta R. in Washington.

From Jaretta R. in Washington.

From Andrea F. in Texas.

From Andrea F. in Texas.

From Stephanie D. in Oregon.

From Stephanie D. in Oregon.

Have you ordered Hagridden? Take a photo of it and share it with me! And I’m still happy to share photos of Box Cutters, too!