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(part of my ongoing Unexpected Literary References series)

Last night’s The Simpsons struck me as especially coincidental. Not only have I posted about the show twice in the past week (11/26/10 and 11/24/10), but the episode shares subject matter with my upcoming novel, Stranger Will. Of all things, messenger pigeons. Random.

What makes it even stranger (no pun intended…unless you laughed; then, pun intended) is that literally ten minutes before the episode aired, I was doing some messenger pigeon related research online.

Fingers crossed that The Simpsons starts a cultural demand for messenger pigeon paraphernalia.

UPDATE: Making this an official night of stringed coincidences, I happened upon a Science channel show called Oddities, which features a museum/store full of specimens meant for the morbid (mummified cats, taxidermied two-headed cows, and so much more). This could possibly be my new favorite show.

But the coincidental part; the shop featured in this show has the same morbid interest factor as the World of Human Oddities featured in my forthcoming novel I Didn’t Mean to Be Kevin.… Read the rest

Most of you have liars for parents. Most of you were probably given the stork spiel when asked age-inappropriate questions about the origins of things. Some of you may have been told the truth, in graphic detail, from honest, though morally disinterested, parents. I’m here to tell you the truth. Birds and bees have nothing to do with it. Rémi Carreiro is responsible. Rémi Carreiro gives birth to book covers. Also, he may have some kids; I don’t know.

When mocking up cover designs for Stranger Will, I began by searching for some seed images. Quickly, and thankfully, I found Rémi Carreiro’s Flickr gallery. While I ultimately chose his Park Bench image for the cover (well, actually readers of this blog chose the image, via a vote), this guy has some amazing images, many of which feel so perfect for book covers. See what I mean:

NOTE: The images captioned as “original” are the untouched amazing Carreiro photos.Read the rest

(part of my ongoing Unexpected Literary References series)

I caught a rerun of The Simpsons a few days ago, one in which the author of Tuesdays with Morrie, Mitch Albom, makes a cameo. I wish for less popular books and authors to get The Simpsons treatment, but I say that only because I am a less popular author with a less popular book. Hint, hint, The Simpsons. Trust me, Matt Groening, you’ll need my mediocre grasp of pop culture and my general irrelevance to stay alive for another 20 years. Also, you’ll need miracle medicine. What are you, like 70 years old?

Season 21 Episode 9 "Thursdays With Abie"

In this same episode, Grandpa Abe tells a story about how he introduced the book Gone With The Wind to an ungrateful Clark Gable. Unfortunately, I could not come across a good screenshot of the book itself, so this image will have to suffice.… Read the rest

(part of my ongoing Unexpected Literary References series)

In yet another The Simpsons (un)expected literary reference, Stephen King’s novel, Under the Dome is called out for its similarities to the 2007 The Simpsons Movie, both stories incorporating a town-sized dome to seal people off from the outside world. The overt commentary may be a further play on the South Park episode,  “The Simpsons Already Did it,” which explores the degree to which The Simpsons has embedded itself into our collective consciousness.

The screenshot below appears in Season 22 : Ep. 6, “The Fool Monty.”

burnesunderthedomeRead the rest

Another Roxane Gay® observation gets the Caleb jumping-on-board treatment. In her post over at HTML Giant, Gay talks about the James Frey writing factory, and how its existence speaks to the strange desperation of writers (particularly MFA-pursuing writers) to be published, even when facing little to no financial or celebrity gain. The following line caught me, and while powerful in its own right, my mis-reading is what really got me thinking. Brackets: MINE ( I had to insert something of myself into this statement as a meta-nod to the topic)

“The desire to be published, for some [reason], is so desperate and so intense they will do whatever it takes.”


Answer: We are trained to be ego maniacs.

The loudest, most boastful vainglorious attitude gets applauded while humility gets ignored. This is not surprising, as the very act of braggadocia is a stimuli. It doesn’t matter that silence (which implies humility) is the very nature of books.… Read the rest

Episode #009 of The Velvet Podcast is now live!

Authors Gordon Highland (Major Inversions), Brandon Tietz (Out of Touch), and Caleb J Ross (Stranger Will) have a spirited conversation about self- and vanity-publishing, debating its legitimacy, logistics, and financial aspects, as well as insights from their own experiences in this oft-scorned segment of the industry.

Please, give it a listen. Subscribe via Feedburner, Podcast Alley, or iTunes.… Read the rest

My wife told me that today was prematurity awareness day. Alright, alright, I get it. You could have been a little more subtle with the suggestion, but I get it.

Hey, this problem is no picnic for me either…



What I mean is, boooooo premature birth.

My boy was five weeks premature. He had a few health issues, but he’s perfect now. He’s one of the lucky ones. Nobody knows why so many babies are born premature, but with continued education, awareness, and funding, maybe we’ll find out soon. Please, take a few moments to peruse the March of Dimes site. Shed a few tears. Pretend you had something in your eye. Then smooth everything over with your friends by talking about football and fantasy leagues.… Read the rest