Posts Tagged ‘jeffrey hickey’

bats

 

 

 

 

 

Author:  Jeffrey Hickey

Paperback, 39 pages

Re-published in 201 by Big-n-Boo Productions

Genres:  Middle School Ghost Stories

Synopsis: Bats and Bones is IPPY award winning author Jeffrey Hickey’s second work for children. This collection of spooky tales for middle school aged children and above is a subtle masterpiece of fright and emotion. Hickey wrote all the stories, the lush music, and does all the voices for the audio book. His wife, Karen Kiser, contributes the cover art, along with some penny whistle and a little piano. The inside illustrations, layout and design are by Rachel Betz, who also designed Hickey’s first work for children, Wages Creek.

This was originally released as a CD only. This is the first edition in print.

My Review: This is a fun book even though it is full of spooky stories.  I say that because the audio is so well done, that I couldn’t help but smile all the way through! If you can use headphones to listen, it makes it even better. My favorite story is Eye on Five, mostly because of the fast pace and excitement that is caused by the accompanying sound effects.

I am a huge Hickey fan and am delighted that he published this in print so that my children can look through it and read it at their leisure for years to come.

The writing is without fail as I would expect from Mr. Hickey.  This would be a fun book to listen to while camping, or during a children’s sleepover.  Well done!

Did I say I love the cover?  I do!

Disclaimer:  I received this book from the author free of charge in exchange for an honest review.

wagesAuthor:  Jeffrey Hickey

Paperback, 40 pages

2nd Edition Published in 2014 by Big-n-Boo Productions

Genres:  Children (All ages really)

Synopsis:  Dercum Audio is pleased to invite you on a camping trip with the Hickey Family, where everything is going great until Dad catches a cold. That’s when the real fun begins. The story takes place at Wages Creek, a magical place where the grasses are tall, the creek bubbles lullabies, and the local ducks are not like any ducks you’ve met before.

My Review:  It is no secret that Jeffrey Hickey is a great storyteller.  It should also come as no surprise that his talents are not limited to books geared toward adults.  This very charming and often laugh-out-loud book is where Hickey shines.  I say this because it comes with an audio version read by Hickey accompanied by music that he scored.  To fully enjoy the experience of this book, you must listen to the audio while reading.  Not to say that the book alone isn’t worth the read because it is, but the audio vaults it to another level. 

As Hickey’s family leaves him behind in the campground with a bad cold, hilarity ensues with the arrival of three ducks.  Able to understand and talk to the ducks, Hickey offends Gilbert, the patriarch of the group and an intense game of horseshoes begins.  With a wager that he must win, this tale is both funny and heartwarming rolled into one.

Kudos must also be given to Hickey’s wife Karen Kiser for her lovely illustrations.

Disclaimer:  I received this book from the author free of charge in exchange for an honest review.

WWW_Wednesdays4

W.W.W. Wednesdays is a weekly event brought to you by MizB from Should Be Reading.  To play along, answer the following questions:

  • What are you currently reading?
  • What did you recently finish reading?
  • What do you think you are going to read next?

Here is my WWW for today:

What are you currently reading?  I am reading When It Comes to Spooning I’m a Fork by Marc L. Prey.  Check it out:

spooning

Synopsis:  No one writes about relationships and parenting quite like humorist Marc Prey.  Now comes his first book, a laugh-out-loud funny, brutally honest and deeply touching collection of personal stories about one man’s relationship with his spouse and offspring.  In When It Comes to Spooning I’m a Fork, Prey takes readers on a journey from first awkward date to raising teenagers, all the while exposing moments that seemingly shift from the hilarious to the poignant in the beat of a heart.  And when it’s over, reader may discover they’ve learned something about themselves along the way.

What did you recently finish reading?  I just finished reading The Coach’s Son and Morehead both by Jeffrey Hickey.  You can see my reviews here (The Coach’s Son/Morehead).

What do you think you are going to read next?   I am going to read The Wronged Sons by John Marrs.  Check it out below.

sons

Synopsis:  What would you do if the person you loved suddenly vanished into thin air?

Catherine’s cosy life as a housewife and mum-of-three is quickly thrown into disarray when husband Simon disappears without explanation. She is convinced he hasn’t left by choice as confusion and spiraling debts threaten to tear her family apart.

Meanwhile Simon has begun a carefree new life traveling the world. And he’s determined not to disclose his past to all he meets, even if it means resorting to extreme and violent measures.
But why did he leave?

Catherine only gets her answer 25 years later when Simon suddenly reappears on her doorstep.

During their furious final confrontation, they discover the secrets, lies and misunderstandings that tore them apart, then brought them face-to-face one last time.

morehead

Author:  Jeffrey Hickey

Paperback, 241 pages

Published in 2012 by CreateSpace

Reader Category:  Adult

Synopsis: San Francisco in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s.  It was a time of sexual, evolutionary, and political change with both glorious and nearly catastrophic consequences.  It was also a great time to be a straight young man in a gay old city.

It was a time for Morehead.

My Review:  Let me caution you that this is a very explicit book.  But once I accepted the language and visual images rolling around in my head, the story is quite good.  Dave Morehead is trying to find his own identity during a time of great change in San Francisco.  At first struggling to accept the lifestyle choices of those around him, he eventually gains great respect and friendship from those he formerly judged. 

Dave is not an easy character to like in the beginning.  He is crude, brash and self absorbed.  But as he grew and changed, so did my feelings toward him.  I began to like him and hold out hope that he would find his happiness.

Another great book from Jeffrey Hickey.  His humor is limitless and his story telling is thoroughly enjoyable.  Some of my favorite chapters are the ones titled “Work In The Eighties”.  I won’t tell you about them here, you need to read them for yourselves.

Disclaimer:  I received this book from the author free of charge in exchange for an honest review.

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme hosted by MizB of Should be Reading.  Everyone is invited to play along.  Just do the following:

  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • Be careful not to include spoilers!
  • Share the title and author as well so that others can add the book to their To Be Read list!

Right now I am reading Morehead by Jeffrey Hickey.  Check out the teaser and synopsis below:

Maureen was a student in Recreation and Leisure Studies, which is still my favorite name for a major.  Essentially, that meant she wanted to become a park ranger – and she had the pit hair to prove it.  Page 29

morehead

SynopsisSan Francisco in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s.  It was a time of sexual, evolutionary, and political change with both glorious and nearly catastrophic consequences.  It was also a great time to be a straight guy in a gay old city.

It was a time for Morehead.

coach

Author:  Jeffrey Hickey

Paperback, 275 pages

Published in 2012 by CreateSpace

Reader Category:  Adult

Synopsis:  Have you ever felt that your presence at a sporting event influenced the result?  Are you certain your team could not possibly succeed without you at the game?  Do you believe your adherence to a precise routine on game day, whether at the stadium or in your own home, is the key to winning and losing?  And if you don’t hold to these rituals exactly, do you believe in your heart that your team is doomed?

If you are a sports fan, you know about superstitions, curses and hexes.  The sporting world is littered with these legends.  Some, like the Curse of the Bambino, the Curse of they Billy Goat, or being on the cover of Sports Illustrated, are well known and documented.  More recently, there has been a rising swell of evidence supporting the Madden Curse.

There are other legends similar to these that have never been told.  This is one of those stories, about a boy named Mark O’Bern.

My Review:  Master storyteller Jeffrey Hickey does not disappoint.  Although Mark O’Bern is a completely fictional character, Mr. Hickey’s own father was head coach for the San Francisco 49ers as well as an assistant coach and then scouter for the Dallas Cowboys.  And yes, he did invent the shotgun formation.  But this story is so much more than football games and superstition.  It is the coming of age story of young Mark and his struggles to gain his own identity during the late 1960’s and 1970’s.  A protective, narrow-minded mother, Mark’s not always internal clash with the Catholic faith, and his grappling to understand the family “gift” make for great reading.  The humor infused here is truly delightful.

It may seem odd for a woman to like a male coming of age story, but it actually gave me a lot of insight into what men go through when puberty strikes, and I feel more educated for it.

A delight to read from beginning to end whether you are a sports fan or not.

Disclaimer:  I received this book from the author free of charge in exchange for an honest review.

WWW_Wednesdays4

W.W.W. Wednesdays is a weekly event brought to you by MizB from Should Be Reading.  To play along, answer the following questions:

  • What are you currently reading?
  • What did you recently finish reading?
  • What do you think you are going to read next?

Here is my WWW for today:

What are you currently reading?  I literally just picked up The Coach’s Son by Jeffrey Hickey.  Can’t wait to get started.  Check it out:

coach

Synopsis:  Have you ever felt that your presence at a sporting event influenced the result? Are you certain your team could not possibly succeed without you at the game? Do you believe your adherence to a precise routine on game day, whether at the stadium or in your own home, is the key to winning or losing? And if you don’t hold to these rituals exactly, do you believe in your heart that your team is doomed? If you are a sports fan, you know about superstitions, curses and hexes. The sporting world is littered with these legends. Some, like the Curse of the Bambino, the Curse of the Billy Goat, or being on the cover of Sports Illustrated, are well known and documented. More recently, there has been a rising swell of evidence supporting the Madden Curse. But there are other stories similar to these that have never been told. This is one of those stories. It is the story of a boy named Mark O’Bern.

What did you recently finish reading?  I just finished reading Intermission: A Place In Time by Glenda Lee Vollmecke, Four Seasons of Patrick by Susan Hughes, and Upload by Mark McClelland.  My reviews of Intermission and Four Seasons of Patrick will be up shortly.  You can see my review of Upload here.

intermissionpatrickupload

What do you think you are going to read next?   I am going to read Morehead by Jeffrey Hickey.

morehead

Synopsis:  Morehead is an explicitly adult novel, about Dave Morehead, a young man living in San Francisco during the height of the sexual revolution, in the late 1970’s to mid-1980’s. It was a time of sexual, evolutionary, and political change, with both glorious and nearly catastrophic consequences. San Francisco was teeming with diversity, and an evolving political base that forever changed the landscape of what had always been a progressive city. Harvey Milk, Halloween in the Castro, college classes where heterosexuals are in the minority, the first Gay Games, and spiritual cults comprise just part of the terrain Dave must traverse in order to get from where he was, to what he will become. Along the way, he is challenged, assaulted, and forced to defend himself, while relying on an expanding and surprising variety of friends. At the same time, a mysterious “gay cancer” is beginning to afflict some of his new friends and the community at large. Dave has to grow up, and he has to make choices. Will he be there for his friends, or will he let them go? Morehead is a coming of age story in the first person. It is told from the perspective of journals, classroom assignments, and transcribed audio recordings. Morehead comically, bluntly, graphically, and poignantly tells the tale of a straight young man living in a gay old city.

Friday Finds is a weekly event hosted by Should Be Reading, where you can discuss books that you’ve discovered over the course of the week and added to your To Be Read (TBR) list. They can be books that are new or used.  They can be ones that you’ve borrowed (library or friend), found online, heard about from a friend, etc.

Check out these new reads that have found their way to me!

coach

From Goodreads:  Have you ever felt that your presence at a sporting event influenced the result? Are you certain your team could not possibly succeed without you at the game? Do you believe your adherence to a precise routine on game day, whether at the stadium or in your own home, is the key to winning or losing? And if you don’t hold to these rituals exactly, do you believe in your heart that your team is doomed? If you are a sports fan, you know about superstitions, curses and hexes. The sporting world is littered with these legends. Some, like the Curse of the Bambino, the Curse of the Billy Goat, or being on the cover of Sports Illustrated, are well known and documented. More recently, there has been a rising swell of evidence supporting the Madden Curse. But there are other stories similar to these that have never been told. This is one of those stories. It is the story of a boy named Mark O’Bern.

morehead

From Goodreads:  Morehead is an explicitly adult novel, about Dave Morehead, a young man living in San Francisco during the height of the sexual revolution, in the late 1970’s to mid-1980’s. It was a time of sexual, evolutionary, and political change, with both glorious and nearly catastrophic consequences. San Francisco was teeming with diversity, and an evolving political base that forever changed the landscape of what had always been a progressive city. Harvey Milk, Halloween in the Castro, college classes where heterosexuals are in the minority, the first Gay Games, and spiritual cults comprise just part of the terrain Dave must traverse in order to get from where he was, to what he will become. Along the way, he is challenged, assaulted, and forced to defend himself, while relying on an expanding and surprising variety of friends. At the same time, a mysterious “gay cancer” is beginning to afflict some of his new friends and the community at large. Dave has to grow up, and he has to make choices. Will he be there for his friends, or will he let them go? Morehead is a coming of age story in the first person. It is told from the perspective of journals, classroom assignments, and transcribed audio recordings. Morehead comically, bluntly, graphically, and poignantly tells the tale of a straight young man living in a gay old city.

sons

From Goodreads:  What would you do if the person you loved suddenly vanished into thin air?Catherine’s cosy life as a housewife and mum-of-three is quickly thrown into disarray when husband Simon disappears without explanation. She is convinced he hasn’t left by choice as confusion and spiraling debts threaten to tear her family apart.

Meanwhile Simon has begun a carefree new life travelling the world. And he’s determined not to disclose his past to all he meets, even if it means resorting to extreme and violent measures.

But why did he leave?

Catherine only gets her answer 25 years later when Simon suddenly reappears on her doorstep.

During their furious final confrontation, they discover the secrets, lies and misunderstandings that tore them apart, then brought them face-to-face one last time.

WWW_Wednesdays4

W.W.W. Wednesdays is a weekly event brought to you by MizB from Should Be Reading.  To play along, answer the following questions:

  • What are you currently reading?
  • What did you recently finish reading?
  • What do you think you are going to read next?

Wow.  I can’t believe that October is almost at an end.  It feels like fall outside and I am loving it.  Perfect time to grab your read and a cup of tea.  Enjoy!  Here is my WWW for today:

What are you currently reading?  I am reading Upload by Mark McClelland.  So far it’s really good.  Check it out:

upload

Synopsis:  His criminal past catching up with him, a troubled young man seeks escape into digital utopia by uploading his consciousness into a computer – just as first love casts his life in a new light.  In this thrilling near-future science-fiction novel, Mark McClelland explores the immense potential of computer-based consciousness and the philosophical perils of simulated society.

What did you recently finish reading?  I just finished reading Marcel Proust in Taos by Jon Foyt and The Hanging Tree by Michael Phillip Cash.  See my review of The Hanging Tree here.  I am waiting for interview question responses from Jon Foyt before I post my review for Marcel Proust in Taos, so stay tuned.

hangingproust

What do you think you are going to read next?   I am going to read Intermission by Glenda Lee Vollmecke.  It’s a pretty short read so hoping to read The Coach’s Son by Jeffrey Hickey right after.  Check them out below:

intermission

Synopsis:  Who would have thought that a young girl like Glen born in the aftermath of WWII, whose family lived on a fixed income would be present at Rock-n-Roll’s most memorable events when the Beatles took Liverpool and the world, by storm. Glen who at seven years old lost her adored father, and adapted to boarders taken in to help with the bills. Subsequently, she endured the selfish antics of her stepfather who even tried to dispatch her to Scotland at the age of eight, by placing her on the wrong train.

Amazing vivid descriptions of this era, her associations with the Beatles and other Liverpool musicians bring to life an incredible period. The Liverpool lads knew she was there, and during their initial appearances, she recalls fond memories of her favorite Beatle Ringo, who was quite a clown. She shares her life from age six until sixteen, and it is an overwhelming journey. You will not put this book down! Take a break, and enjoy this ‘place in time’ and feel the ambiance, familiarity, and awareness of the past.

coach

From Goodreads:  Have you ever felt that your presence at a sporting event influenced the result? Are you certain your team could not possibly succeed without you at the game? Do you believe your adherence to a precise routine on game day, whether at the stadium or in your own home, is the key to winning or losing? And if you don’t hold to these rituals exactly, do you believe in your heart that your team is doomed? If you are a sports fan, you know about superstitions, curses and hexes. The sporting world is littered with these legends. Some, like the Curse of the Bambino, the Curse of the Billy Goat, or being on the cover of Sports Illustrated, are well known and documented. More recently, there has been a rising swell of evidence supporting the Madden Curse. But there are other stories similar to these that have never been told. This is one of those stories. It is the story of a boy named Mark O’Bern.

Tell me about your WWW’s!

Related articles:

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WWW Wednesday #42 Chrissi Reads

WWW Wednesday (October 30)  Ceopatra Loves Books

When I first started this blog I was stuck on mainstream literature.  Books that you could get at your local bookstore, fully believing that I was helping these brick and mortar stores survive in this highly technical environment.  I even refuse (so far) to get an e-reader.  I like the feel and smell of a book.  I don’t have anything against those who use them, they are just not my cup of tea.

I have recently discovered indie authors.  I know that this is not a new concept, but I really didn’t realize what I was missing.  My first indie book was scary, man by Jeffrey Hickey (see my review of scary, man and interview with Jeffrey Hickey here).   If you read my review, you would know that I loved it.  During my interactions with Mr. Hickey, it came to light that because he uses CreatSpace (owned and governed by Amazon) to publish his books, he is being turned away from brick and mortar bookstores.  This not only includes shelf space but readings of his work.   Because of their hatred for Amazon, they have turned their backs on him, choosing to punish him for Amazon’s impending destruction of the traditional bookstore.   I am truly saddened by this information as I feel it is a no-win situation.  At a time when small businesses should be supporting each other, bookstores have chosen to dig their heels in and in turn contribute to the downfall of the CreateSpace author.

Please  be aware that this is one man’s struggles.  I have not heard first hand of any others, but have done research and found that this is a common theme for CreateSpace authors.  Bookstores are unhappy with the discount they are receiving as well as the return policy.

Having gotten that off of my chest, I would like to challenge you to pick up an indie book (whether the author uses CreateSpace or not) and experience one for yourself.  On my left sidebar I have a list of indie authors’ names that include links to their websites.  These authors are worth checking out.  I am still on the indie path for now and will continue to add to that list as I find authors and books that you should know about.

signature

WWW_Wednesdays4

W.W.W. Wednesdays is a weekly event brought to you by MizB from Should Be Reading.  To play along, answer the following questions:

  • What are you currently reading?
  • What did you recently finish reading?
  • What do you think you are going to read next?

Here is my WWW for today:

What are you currently reading?  I am on an indie author roll!  I am currently reading Marcel Proust in Taos by Jon Foyt.

proust

Synopsis:  A Los Alamos physicist, Christopher, retires to Taos, New Mexico to write a novel about nuclear terrorism. There he meets aspiring artist Marlene, and the two fall in love. Together they open a microbrewery and find themselves confronting terrorism of a new sort—in unmapped emotional territory.

What did you recently finish reading?  I just finished reading scary, man by Jeffrey Hickey.  See my review and an interview with the author here.

scary

Synopsis:  Droll and dead-on in its sizing up of contemporary culture scary, man is author Jeffrey Hickey’s wry and singular story of one man, his wife, and their daughter. Together, they embrace a new normal at the turn of the twenty-first century in America, while trying their hardest in the land of the free, and the home of the afraid. As Griffin shuffles from one appearance to the next as a man working in the world of children, he becomes increasingly vulnerable to the fears and suspicions of others. He also has plenty of his own well-earned, obvious flaws that feed into the small-town gum-flapping. At the same time, his wife Samantha, who runs a home day care, is on the brink of her own existential malaise. This propels her to follow her calling as a teacher, going back to school to do so and creating some distance between herself and her family. To add further complexity to family life, their canny, candid daughter Clare is nursing her own identity crisis that’s just about ready to bubble to the surface.

scary, man is an absorbing work of literary fiction peppered with gay themes and social commentary, this humor-inflected take on small towns, small minds, rumor mills, and rampant paranoia will strike an all-too-familiar chord with readers trying to make their way through the shaky American landscape, while keeping marriage and morals intact, and mayhem at bay. It will leave readers nodding in queasy recognition, while at the same time scratching their heads at the plight of the protagonist who is plenty bright, but who just can’t seem to get it right.

What do you think you are going to read next?   I just received Upload by mark McClelland.  Check out the synopsis below:

upload

Synopsis:  His criminal past catching up with him, a troubled young man seeks escape into digital utopia by uploading his consciousness into a computer – just as first love casts his life in a new light.  In this thrilling near-future science-fiction novel, Mark McClelland explores the immense potential of computer-based consciousness and the philosophical perils of simulated society.

Tell me about your WWW’s!

Related articles:

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W…W…W… Wednesday #4 Reviews from a Bookworm

WWW Wednesday (October 23)  Ceopatra Loves Books

This is going to be a rather long post, but I implore you to stick with it as I think this book is worth it.  Below you will find my review of scary, man by Jeffrey Hickey followed by an interview with the author himself.   Through my correspondence with him, I find him to be very insightful, gracious and an asset to the literary world.  Enjoy!

scary

Author:  Jeffrey Hickey

Paperback, 447 pages

Published in 2013 by CreatSpace Independent Publishing Platform.  The audio book just went live audible.com.  It should be available iTunes soon.  Here is the link.

Reader Category:  Adult

Disclaimer:  I received this book for free from the author in exchange for an honest review

Synopsis:  Droll and dead-on in its sizing up of contemporary culture scary, man is author Jeffrey Hickey’s wry and singular story of one man, his wife, and their daughter. Together, they embrace a new normal at the turn of the twenty-first century in America, while trying their hardest in the land of the free, and the home of the afraid. As Griffin shuffles from one appearance to the next as a man working in the world of children, he becomes increasingly vulnerable to the fears and suspicions of others. He also has plenty of his own well-earned, obvious flaws that feed into the small-town gum-flapping. At the same time, his wife Samantha, who runs a home day care, is on the brink of her own existential malaise. This propels her to follow her calling as a teacher, going back to school to do so and creating some distance between herself and her family. To add further complexity to family life, their canny, candid daughter Clare is nursing her own identity crisis that’s just about ready to bubble to the surface.

scary, man is an absorbing work of literary fiction peppered with gay themes and social commentary, this humor-inflected take on small towns, small minds, rumor mills, and rampant paranoia will strike an all-too-familiar chord with readers trying to make their way through the shaky American landscape, while keeping marriage and morals intact, and mayhem at bay. It will leave readers nodding in queasy recognition, while at the same time scratching their heads at the plight of the protagonist who is plenty bright, but who just can’t seem to get it right.

My Review:  I can honestly say that this is one of the most relate-able books that I have read in a long time.  Set in small towns in Northern California, scary, man explores the pitfalls of living where everyone knows your business, and they are all too happy to pass it along to others.  If you have not been the direct target of rumors or bullying, you may at least know someone who has.  Or have you been the perpetrator of such rumors?  If so, watch out, Griffin Donnelley has had enough.  It may have taken him most of this story to get up the courage to face his foes, but when he does, be prepared to grab a tissue.

I really enjoyed the whole book, but I must say that my favorite part of the book is where Griffin rediscovers his voice.  It was written so well that I felt like it was my moment as well as his.  Yes, I have read books that have moved me and brought me to tears, no doubt.  But this book caused me to actually weep.  I am not talking about one tear at-a-time trickle.  I am talking about a flow of tears that couldn’t be stopped.  My eyes seemed to have sprung leaks and it actually felt really good.

If you are looking for a well-written book that is pulled right out of modern times, then scary, man is for you.  It will make you laugh, make you cry, and most of all make you think about how gossip and rumors can bring out the worst and sometimes the best in people.

Interview:

Question #1.  Are Griffin’s experiences based on someone you know or events in your own life?

Response:  One of my favorite writing axioms over the years has been, “Write what you know, and turn it into something new.” In all three of my novels, I can point to a specific chapter, or sequence and say that it is at least somewhat autobiographical. In the case of Scary, Man, I was a traveling story teller and teacher, and I also spent many years (13 in fact) working on a non-fiction project called My Blood, that was to chronicle the meetings I had with recipients of my blood donations. Sadly, that project had the plug pulled and I was left with a lot of material, but no book. I wanted to do something with what I’d done, but while I was working on that project, I was also planning a novel about someone trying to find a unique career in these challenging contemporary times. I’ve never seen times this difficult for someone who wants to do original artistic work, or work that doesn’t follow corporate or traditional guidelines. Once the My Blood project collapsed, I saw the opportunity to adapt it and incorporate it into Scary, Man. It was fun writing sections of that story from Griffin’s perspective, and not mine. It allowed for a level of creativity and latitude that would not have been there in a non-fiction book. Beyond that, whatever experiences I had that I chose to utilize for this text, have been changed to fit this story.

Question #2.   How are you the same/different from Griffin?

Response:  Griffin and I are both writers, and we’ve both been teachers, and we’ve worked with, and performed for children. Beyond that, he is darker in mood than I am.  We have different personal issues.  Griffin was probably clinically depressed, and I, while certainly capable of a bad mood, am pretty upbeat. He has an only child, a daughter, and we have fraternal twin sons. He is not close to his parents, and I was. His marriage, while happy, has some issues. I am ridiculously in love and have been for 31 years. My wife is not an orphan. Griffin and Samantha’s problems are not what my wife and I have experienced. My wife is not a teacher.

Question #3.  I became very emotional during the town hall meeting.  Was that part difficult to write?

Response:  I was so nervous writing the town hall meeting. I knew what that scene would mean for everyone on the stage. I’d been writing a novel with one shattered dream after another, and I wanted Griffin, and everyone, to finally have some healing, meaning, and at least partial resolution. As I wrote it, I also became very emotional. Like many of us, I’ve had moments with people who treated me with something less than respect. So for Griffin to finally “find his voice” again was deeply moving and satisfying. I felt healing throughout that room. It was a wonderful scene to write, and rewarding that a simple gesture from earlier in the story would return with such kindness and validation for Griffin. I wish I could read it live, but it would give too much away for those who haven’t read the novel.

Question #4.  When you are writing, do you read other fiction?  Or do you find this distracting?

Response:  Sadly, my days of pleasure reading are probably over, at least until this creative roll I’m on decides to vacate for a bit. I have read very little fiction in the last ten years. I’ve tried, but I feel guilty almost immediately because I’m not working. Everything I read now is research for either the novel I’m writing, or the novel I’m writing next. I am driven by a distinct goal–I want my wife to retire from her job and be home with me all the time. I’m working for the Karen Hickey retirement fund.

Question #5.  Where do you get your ideas for your books?  Do your ideas come to you quickly, or do you think them over for a long period of time?

Response:  My ideas usually come to me quickly, but brew for a long time, and I have a wonderful, serendipitous litmus test for a project. In all three of my novels to date, (The Coach’s Son, Morehead, and Scary, Man) I knew the last line of the story before I wrote the first line. I knew exactly where the story ended. I already know the last line in the next novel. Ideas come from everywhere and help develop plot and details, but up to this point, I start with something I know, or have experienced, and go from there. I always work from inspiration, not a marketing plan. I spend time with a project, finish it and let it go. The next novel will be my first large scale piece of historical fiction, starting over 400 years ago, so obviously, I’m veering from my formula. But the idea is good, and the research I’ve done to date is compelling. The ideas are already becoming clear and the story is taking shape. Of the three novels, and the fourth I’ve begun, all the ideas have taken a period of years before that final line has come to me and the process of writing the novel has begun. However, once I’ve begun writing the book, I work without pause until it is finished, and it usually doesn’t take too long. For example, Scary, Man is my longest novel so far, and it took the shortest amount of time to write, just under six months until I turned it over to an editor. One tip some of your readers and writers might find interesting, is how much editing I do based on reading the work aloud. It comes from the story telling. I also do all my own audio books, recording them in my home studio. If a text doesn’t sound right being read aloud, it gets changed. I still work with a professional editor (a different one for every project) but before I turn it over to them, I read the work aloud over and over. This is not only good for editing, it’s great rehearsal for when I record the audio book. I get inside every character by knowing their voices.

Question #6.  If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in scary, man?

Response:  I see you saved the hardest question for last . . . Boy, this is a tough one. Even though I knew the last line of the story, I wrestled with the ending. Not the town meeting, but what happens after. I can’t really write about it, because it gives too much away. Let’s just say it was difficult for me to do what I felt I had to do. I’d been setting it up, as discretely as possible, from early in the book. Even so, as I wrote the story, the ending I knew I needed to write became increasingly difficult for me. Again, without giving too much away, I will say that it changed after working with my editor. Not the last line, but what happens before.  I hope I haven’t said too much here. Maybe I’ve created a great teaser. But readers, DON’T YOU DARE READ THE ENDING FIRST!

WWW_Wednesdays4

W.W.W. Wednesdays is a weekly event brought to you by MizB from Should Be Reading.  To play along, answer the following questions:

  • What are you currently reading?
  • What did you recently finish reading?
  • What do you think you are going to read next?

Here is my WWW for today:

What are you currently reading?  I am currently reading Marcel Proust in Taos by Jon Foyt.

proust

Synopsis:  A Los Alamos physicist, Christopher, retires to Taos, New Mexico to write a novel about nuclear terrorism. There he meets aspiring artist Marlene, and the two fall in love. Together they open a microbrewery and find themselves confronting terrorism of a new sort—in unmapped emotional territory.

What did you recently finish reading?  I just finished reading scary, man by Jeffrey Hickey.  My review will be up shortly.

scary

Synopsis:  Droll and dead-on in its sizing up of contemporary culture scary, man is author Jeffrey Hickey’s wry and singular story of one man, his wife, and their daughter. Together, they embrace a new normal at the turn of the twenty-first century in America, while trying their hardest in the land of the free, and the home of the afraid. As Griffin shuffles from one appearance to the next as a man working in the world of children, he becomes increasingly vulnerable to the fears and suspicions of others. He also has plenty of his own well-earned, obvious flaws that feed into the small-town gum-flapping. At the same time, his wife Samantha, who runs a home day care, is on the brink of her own existential malaise. This propels her to follow her calling as a teacher, going back to school to do so and creating some distance between herself and her family. To add further complexity to family life, their canny, candid daughter Clare is nursing her own identity crisis that’s just about ready to bubble to the surface.

scary, man is an absorbing work of literary fiction peppered with gay themes and social commentary, this humor-inflected take on small towns, small minds, rumor mills, and rampant paranoia will strike an all-too-familiar chord with readers trying to make their way through the shaky American landscape, while keeping marriage and morals intact, and mayhem at bay. It will leave readers nodding in queasy recognition, while at the same time scratching their heads at the plight of the protagonist who is plenty bright, but who just can’t seem to get it right.

What do you think you are going to read next?   I really am not sure.  I have quite a few books coming my way.  Who know, the mailbox today may decide for me!

Tell me about your WWW’s!

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