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About one year ago I stopped writing fiction. Despite being very proud of my output (five books of fiction, dozens of short stories and essays) and despite developing a small but eager audience of readers who looked forward to my work, I stopped. No ceremony. No real reason (that I know of, anyway). One moment I considered myself a writer of fiction. The next moment I did not.

Why is this a problem? I have a collaborative novel (written with the amazing Nik Korpon, Richard Thomas, and Axel Taiari) to be published by Dzanc in 2015. Dzanc is a dream publisher, and the three aforementioned authors are dream collaborators. Luckily, I don’t need to be an active writer in order to promote the hell out of this forthcoming book (which I do plan on doing, so get ready world). However, I can’t help but think that with my dissolved passion for writing fiction, my promotional efforts may seem disingenuous. Imagine Aunt Jemima giving lectures to halls filled with syrup makers decades after she turned syrup warehouse into an airplane hanger. (more…)


Many thanks to Sean P. Ferguson for his write up about my story “The Removal Kind,” which appears in the fantastic The Booked. Anthology.

Sean says:

Ross doesn’t exactly ever do normal. His characters are flawed in ways that everyone really is, but he puts a little extra stank on those flaws. And he addresses those flaws with a blunt honesty that makes the reader just a little more uncomfortable. Like a lover that just won’t quit, when you think you’ve found some equilibrium with his particular brand of weird, he twists the knife just once more.


Yes. That’s a Caleb J Ross story. He’s a weird little man and I love him for it. His stories don’t always fit, but they’re good, in that sore thumb sort of way. Always. He’ll never be Jonathan Franzen, all literary and boring in some classically trained New Yorker bullshit manner, and I appreciate that.

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Okay, the title of this post is a bit misleading. Google isn’t honoring me by proxy or by anything. Google is honoring Franz Kafka, specifically his novella The Metamorphosis. This strange story, about a man who turns into a cockroach, was a huge influence for my novella As a Machine and Parts.

Why is The Metamorphosis Google-doodle worthy? I’m sure there are plenty of cultural and literary reasons, many of which are beyond my contemporary, America-centric grasp. The story of a human man—a traveling salesman—changing into the most reviled household insect pest ever is certainly a commentary on something.

More important to me, though, is how The Metamorphosis affected my reading and writing aesthetic. Specifically, the idea of an un-acknowledged—and in this case, origin-less—change. There’s something magical (Magical Realist, some might say, others might not) about a surreal event that garners the level of non-reaction it does in The Metamorphosis.… Read the rest


Every once-in-a-while one of my novels gets promoted as a FREE Kindle eBook for about a week. That every-once-in-a-while has come again, now. Head over to to get your absolutely FREE copy of I Didn’t Mean to be Kevin. No fine print (except for the super fine ass print that is I Didn’t Mean to be Kevin).

Click to start reading now:

FREE not enough to convince you? Check out some of the wonderful things some wonderful people have said about this wonderful novel:

Publishers Weekly

“A stirring novel, this extraordinary work plays upon the reader’s willingness to suspend disbelief and turns it on its ear…The novel casts a similar spell on its readers…Covering ground similar to the works of Sherman Alexie and Chuck Palahniuk, this is an author worth keeping an eye on.”

Rayo Casablanca, author of 6 Sick Hipsters and Very Mercenary (Kensington)

“Brilliant…one of the most amazing fiction concepts I’ve ever read.”

Joey Goebel, author of Torture the Artist and Commonwealth (MacAdam/Cage)

“In I Didn’t Mean to Be Kevin, Caleb J.

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Am I the Next Big Thing? Up-front honesty: no, I’m not the Next Big Thing. However, I have been asked by Richard Thomas to be a part of this blog Q&A thing called The Next Big Thing. I’d explain what The Next Big Thing blog Q&A is, but really, little explanation is needed. I was asked the following questions, and in turn, I will ask the following questions of a new group of writers (listed below the responses). On to the self-indulgence.

  1. What is the working title of your next book? Technically, it’s Stranger Will, due out January 16th 2013, but that’s a re-release of a novel. As for unpublished work, I’m working on two: The Synapse and The Bettors; I promise neither title will stay, as they both follow an unfulfilled [definite article] [vague noun] pattern that should probably be reserved only for terrible magazine rack thrillers.
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I recently learned of a book called FCJR which seems to be an expose of sorts. While I don’t know for sure what FCJR stands for (Finally, Cancer Just Rebelled, Faulty Car Jams Roadway, Flatus Causes Jocular Resentment), I can only assume it’s something bad. Based on the reviews of this book, I’m starting to think that I’m a pretty shitty guy.

The book, written by someone who calls himself Anonymous (I think it’s Greek) was brought to my attention recently during an episode of Booked Podcast. Starting with minute 47:30, episode 99, you can hear the hosts, Robb Olson and Livius Nedin, describe the book as an expose that elicits some pretty hostile reactions.

I haven’t yet read the book. I’m not sure I want to.

But, for no logical reason, I’m including a bunch of links below to help you find out more about it.

The likely culprits have been narrowed down to those people pictured below.… Read the rest

After more than a few (a few+2) questions regarding the paperback availability of my first story chapbook Charactered Pieces, I’ve decided to do something with the distribution rights I’ve been squatting on for a couple years now. Why the squat? Laziness, mostly.

Re-available for your tactile reading pleasure, Charactered Pieces: stories is now back in print. Right now, it’s only at Amazon, but the rest of the internet stores should catch up within the next couple of weeks.

Spread the word. Tell your friends that the too-orange book with the weird hermaphroditic foot penis thing is now holdable in their very hands. Get the paperback version here: the rest