Tag Archives: Shenanigans!

My Writing Process Blog Tour: Bro, Do You Even Write?!

Hungary Toxic WasteBig thanks for Nate Tower for tagging me to join this literary blog tour about the writing process. Basically/ostensibly, I answer four questions and then pass those same four questions to a few more writers. We do this until every writer in the known cosmos and at least four contiguous parallel universes has had a turn (past four and the rules of spacetime get a little dicey*).

Nate Tower is the managing and founding editor of Bartleby Snopes Literary Magazine and Press. His short fiction has appeared in over 200 online and print publications. In 2014, Martian Lit released his first short story collection, Nagging Wives, Foolish Husbands. He is a former high school English teacher and the former world record holder for the fastest mile running backwards while juggling. He currently lives in Minneapolis with his wife and daughter. Visit him at nathanieltower.wordpress.com.

As for me, well, here we go:

1. What are you working on?

Like Nate who went before me, I currently have three main projects I’m working on right now.

The first thing is a novel called Human Services. It’s a sort of spin-off of Benji Palko’s character in my story collection, Shenanigans! where it focuses on the people who work at The Agency and all of the insanity that occurs in a professional office setting. I would say it’s pretty much solidly in the literary fiction camp. I’m still in the earlier stages of this project, sitting at around 16,000 words (as of typing this). Other pieces of Human Services have appeared online though, like this chapter over at InDigest called “Mr. Twitchy.”

The second project is more genre-flavored, and it’s sort of . . . massive. I’ve been kicking it around in my mind for a few years now, which is a sort of literary epic sci-fi/fantasy novel tentatively called Deorum et Viri: “Of Gods and Men.” I grew up reading lots of sci-fi and fantasy—especially the latter—and always kind of wanted to do something in the genre that originally inspired me to be a writer. It wasn’t until recently, with the popularity of the A Song and Ice and Fire series (aka Game of Thrones) that I sort of realized that this was a viable option for me, like, right now. That is to say, I’d really been wanting to use the skills I’d picked up writing literary fiction the past seven or eight years and apply it to something more genre-related. Perhaps the work most responsible for this epiphany, even more so than Game of Thrones, is M. John Harrison’s unbelievably impressive Viriconium omnibus. The prose is awe-inspiring and the way he includes elements of surrealism tinged with bits of magical realism is something I can’t begin to do justice here. You’d simply have to read it yourself.

The final project is a new short story collection called Irrational Attachments to Inanimate Objects. You can actually read the first story from this collection called “Now You See Me” over at Bartleby Snopes! There isn’t a whole lot to say about this collection yet other than the title will be a running theme throughout the book; I think the first story sort of gives that impression, or at least I hope it does!

2. How does your work differ from others’ work in the same genre?

Genre is so hard to talk about when you really don’t want to be constrained by it. Just ask one of my all time favorite writers, Ursula K. Le Guin. I just want to write books that at least a few people really like. It’s an incredibly humbling thing when someone tells you that your work really resonated with him/her. It makes you want to write a special book just for that person because he or she took the time to read your work that they could’ve spent doing any number of other things. Perhaps that’s what’s different about my work, how personal I want it to be for a select few. Or maybe it’s just that I want to write the stories that are in my head without thinking about what genre they are or should be. I’m probably not the best person to ask since I’m honestly not sure; it seems like a discerning reader could give a better answer here!

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My 2013 is Going Out With a Bang!

awesome

Well, this has certainly been a pretty kickass year overall for Cat13, despite not writing too many new things — especially when factoring in the second half of the year! Is it a coincidence w/r/t the number 13 and its sheer awesomeness? The moon’s gravitational pull on the tides? Swamp gas? You’ll have to decide. . . .

I found out around June that my “collectio[novel]la” Shenanigans! was a Finalist for a Next Generation Indie Book Award.

My newest short story, “Now You See Me” was published over at Bartleby Snopes, which then managed to snag “Story of the Month” honors for October!

InDigest Magazine had a killer relaunch recently and “Mr. Twitchy,” a chapter excerpt from my forthcoming novel Human Services is featured in the latest issue (and live online).

There rumblings on the music front too. Without too much build up, here we go guys/gals: some remixes I did a long time ago (1999*) before it was easy to do using Traktor or Serato [yes, I know I’m old]: A Gravitaas Playlist: “SDK Sampler Ninety-Nine,” in all its (pseudo-)glory!

More news on the music front, the extraordinarily- and multi-talented Peter Tieryas Liu used a few of my tracks in some new video reviews, which is both awesome and humbling! I’ve listed two below:

HTML Giant featured Peter’s review of The Natural Dissolution of Fleeting Improvised Men by Gabriel Blackwell.

— And inspired by his review for The Lit Pub, Peter created a video for Janice Lee’s Damnation.

I’m working on a collaboration essay for The Good Men Project. More details to follow!

There is also some big news/a possible killer opportunity brewing for something on the horizon — but even I have to wait ’til Monday for more news.

Stay tuned (and bring on 2014!)!!

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Some Good News for Grey Sparrow Press

My publisher, Grey Sparrow Press, got some good news I definitely needed to share!
[n.b. line breaks mine]:

“We have received a request for subscription from Yale University for our journal.

“I owe a large debt of gratitude to our volunteer editors [all of whom survived a year with the Sparrow] Annam Manthiram, Joseph Michael Owens, Timothy Stobierski, Amanda Casolo, Townsend Walker, whom I have worked with since the beginning, our amazing writers and I can’t list them all but surely everyone here, Sita Bhaskar, Marko Fong, David Atkinson; Joe after he retired from the Sparrow, Samartha Vashishtha, Bhisma Upreti, Marie Williams, Thomas Smith, Angela Ellis, Julie Mark Cohentruly so many more, and our artists and photographers — BIG BIG Hugs. Love to you all.

“And Professor John Roche, thank you for that fabulous Snow Jewel issue that actually was the one that determined purchases… Incredible poetry and more.

“I don’t know how UC-Berkeley had a copy, but that was why they contacted Grey Sparrow!”

–Diane Smith Fuller

Also, this news is in addition to The University of California – Berekley Rare Books & Manuscripts requesting copies of all Snow Jewel and Grey Sparrow publications (including Shenanigans!), and the University of New York – Buffalo, which is taking our journals too!!

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peterbd says I am the G.o.a.T. — How could I not repost this?

Random things are random (obvi.), but they’re also often awesome. Tonight I got a random email from the elusive peterbd and it managed to redefine the term “awesomeness.”

There were/are “lols” aplenty!

20. joe is greater at creating electronic music than most people.

19. joe is better at creating electronic music than this guy: http://www.blackbookmag.com/polopoly_fs/1.54529.1352141269!/image/image.png_gen/derivatives/landscape_411/image.png

18. joe became the g.o.a.t without selling out and moving to new york

17. joe michael owens > terrell owens and his relatives

16. joe’s writing can be found in multiple places and none of it sucks because it’s impossible for joe to write anything shitty as evidenced by his non shitty writing resume

15. joe is the only man on earth that could wear overalls and still look smooth

14. if you type ‘joe michael owens’ into netflix, a documentary titled g.o.a.t: the true story of joseph michael owens will be your only result. this is an unofficial documentary that chronicles joe’s life as a young prodigy on his way to being the g.o.a.t. interviews include his friends, family, and those who witnessed his incredible rise to fame. the documentary currently has 4 1/2 stars on netflix. it was directed by steven spielberg

13. joe wrote ‘we always trust each other, except for when we don’t’ which didn’t win a pulitzer prize, but when you’re as good a writer as joe and you wrote the awesomeness that is ‘we always trust each other, except for when we don’t’ you don’t need no goddamn pulitzer prize to validate your genius

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Goodreads Shenanigans! Giveaway Winners

I just wanted to take a quick minute to say congrats to the winners of the 2013 Goodreads Shenanigans! giveaway (which ended March 4th):

Smily H.
Athina S.
Aaron L.
Carl G.
Eliza B.
Rhonda F.
Chris P.

The press review copies all went out in the mail this morning (one is even headed to Canada).

I know it was a giveaway and just about everyone likes stuff, but I still can’t help being incredibly humbled that 589 people entered the giveaway!

In the end, I hope you all enjoy this short collection!

Shenanigans Goodreads cover

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Year(s)-in-Review // Year-in-Preview

I’ve been feeling contemplative lately. I’ve been reminiscing about 2011 and 2012, to be specific. Truthfully, they were pretty damn good years (aside from an almost crippling case of writer’s block toward the end of 2012). They were pretty good, but I think I can top both of them in 2013.

In 2011, I became the blog editor at InDigest Magazine; I did a reading at The Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis, MN; and I had a short story accepted in [PANK] Magazine, which was- and is- certainly one of the highlights of my writing career thus far. I also got to do an interview with the magazine, which was truthfully almost as cool/fun as getting a story published.

And as great as 2011 was, 2012 turned out to be even better!

My collectio[novella] Shenanigans! was published by Grey Sparrow Press on the 50th anniversary of one of my all-time favorite books, Ken Kesey’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest; I became the blog editor at The Lit Pub; I got to do an interview with the lovely, talented, and wonderful J.E. Reich at Art Faccia; and I got to play the kickass literary text-based adventure game, EXITS ARE, with Best American Short Stories author, Mike Meginnis!

So how could I possibly top the past two years?

My ultra-top-secret epic collaboration project is finally gaining some traction.

I found a way to push through a prickly plateau in the novel I’d previously shelved in 2010 (Human Services).

But most importantly, I think I have a much firmer grasp on who I am as a writer and on what I’m capable of producing. I’m not making any unrealistic New Year’s resolutions, unless you count “read more” and “write more,” but I just look at those as rededicating myself to my craft.

It’s a prevailing sense of optimism I feel about 2013. The apocalypse happened and no one noticed. It probably just means we need to get our asses back to work.

That’s what I’ll be doing.

You know where to find me.

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A New Year & “The Next Big Thing” Blog Hop

dawn breakingSo, holy shit! It’s a new year already and the world didn’t end in 2012, much to the chagrin of a few Doomsday preppers. It’s a new year and my only resolution is to write more — to write well, often and, of course, like a motherfucker!

Also, there’s this thing going around the Internets, “The Next Big Thing” actually. It’s a blog hop where writers talk about what they’re currently working on and tag other writers to participate. I’m both incredibly humbled and excited to be tagged by Nate Tower, the man with the plan behind Bartleby Snopes (easily one of the best indie lit. mags on the web). Here’s Nate’s own post. Once you check it out, hop back over here (if you want, of course) and see what I’m working on!

What is your working title of your book (or story)?

I’m actually working on two totally different projects right now. One is a novel called Human Services populated with eccentric characters that work for a kooky social work agency.

The other is (ostensibly) an epic sci-fi/fantasy collaboration I dreamed up, of which my novel will be but one in a series tentatively titled Deorum et Viri (Of Gods and Men, working title). The project — at least as it’s sketched out on paper — is so big, I’d never be able to finish it on my own!

Where did the idea come from for the book?

The driving idea behind Human Services more or less comes from my family’s eponymous business. The field of human services/social work can be pretty insane, and since the business started, I’ve seen countless — truly countless — situations play out that were almost too preposterous to believe, let alone describe . . . almost.

Deorum et Viri’s life was probably honestly (for better or worse) most inspired by Game of Thrones. I only just got into George R.R. Martin’s fantasy series this year (after watching season one of the HBO series), but suffice it to say, I’m all caught up through book five. The books were infectious, incapacitating. I felt like I couldn’t possibly function unless I knew what happened next. The series rekindled my long dormant love for the fantasy genre, as well as sci-fi by-proxy.

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New Stuff On the Web!

It goes without saying that things have been pretty busy lately, and by that I mean life, in general.

The good news is that there are some new Shenanigans!-related items on the web available for your personal perusal!

First, the lovely J.E. Reich from Art Faccia was kind enough to interview me (hooray!!). And honestly, my only real goal was to not make a complete ass of myself — the jury is still out as to whether or not I succeeded there.

I also got to participate in (recently-announced) Best American Short Stories author, Mike Meginnis’s interactive literary text-based role-playing feature, “Exits Are” over at the Artifice Books‘ site! Click here to read “I Was a Dead Red-Shirted Ensign“. It was awesome!

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Free Shenanigans!(!!)

 

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Shenanigans! by Joseph Michael Owens

Shenanigans!

by Joseph Michael Owens

Giveaway ends April 15, 2012.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win

 

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Shenanigans! Now Live On Amazon

Well, the day has finally arrived! Shenanigans! is available for order from Amazon.com for $9.99!!

Initial reviews are indeed favorable. Here are a few of the blurbs:

“The voice in Shenanigans! is muscular, rhythmic, and full of whizz-bang linguistic energy. The stories view the world with the kind of self-deprecating humor that makes you want to spend an afternoon just wandering around in Benjamin’s mind. Read Shenanigans! You’ll laugh, you’ll think…you’ll have a great time.” — Amy Hassinger, author of Nina Adolescence

“Shenanigans! is the textual photo-album of Anna and Ben, language made to Polaroid the gentle tangle of coupling and maturation. This is a collection wonderfully tinged with humor, beautifully tempered with landscape, and soaked in the genuine.”
– J. A. Tyler, author of Girl With Oars & Man Dying

“The charm of Joseph Michael Owens’s debut collection, Shenanigans! can be found in his voice. At heart, these are a young man‟s stories of love and loss, of life and death. There‟s a sincerity that flirts with retro yet feels like innovation. Each one reads like a conversation … unscathed by the unsentimental tone that too often passes for hipness in this day and age, yet clearly of his own time. These are honest stories.” – Karen Gettert Shoemaker author of Night Sounds and Other Stories

“Between Hunter S. Thompson and David Foster Wallace‟s essays, Joseph Owens‟s stories will take you through a caffeinated romp through his life, its exciting highs and frightening lows. Dogs, horses, bicycles come alive with as much love and empathy as the people he holds dear. Owens’s voice, spirited, crackling with energy, is too fierce, and engaging to be ignored.” – Catherine Texier, author of Russian Lessons, The Breakup

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