Behold! My fourth novel!

Makes an excellent gift!

Hi there. Is this thing on? It’s been a while since I’ve given you anything other than wildlife videos and poodle stories, but have I got some news for you.

My fourth novel, DUCK DUCK GATOR, is being released Oct. 20 in print and as an e-book. You can pre-order it right this very minute. If you shop at your local indie bookstore, drop in or give them a call. The book is being distributed by Ingram, so it should be in their catalogs now.

If you’re an online shopper, go directly to these links: Amazon. Kobo. Barnes & Noble. And however the hell you do such things with Apple’s bookstore. If you want to support a local indie bookstore but don’t know where to start, IndieBound can help you out.

In fact, I’m begging you to pre-order it. Because we’re all just servants of the algorithms, pre-ordering is one of the best things you can do for a book.

A tiny little bit about the book:

When Tony Battaglia wakes up in a Brooklyn hospital after a successful heart transplant, he’s expecting a new lease on life. But after a decade of stitching together the most ridiculous footage on the most outrageous reality shows, the TV editor never would have guessed he’d be on one. It turns out that his new heart belonged to “Gator Guys” star Lonnie Lalonde Junior—and Tony’s business partner has signed him up for a dramatic surprise appearance on the show. And things are about to get even more complicated. Tony travels to Blackwater, Louisiana, only to discover that Lonnie’s death was no accident and the main suspect is one of the stars of competing reality show “Mallard Men.” In South Louisiana, reality is stranger than reality TV. 

Kirkus Reviews calls it a “witty whodunit with heartfelt characters.” A.R. Moxon, author of The Revisionaries, says “Ken Wheaton conjures Elmore Leonard, yet delivers his own brand of magnificently entertaining character-driven colorful criminal pulp.” Sally Kilpatrick, author of The Happy Hour Choir and Oh My Stars, calls it “every bit as addictive as the reality shows it revolves around.” 

Read a little more about it here.

If you have any questions, drop them in the comments. (But no, I don’t have a giant box of free books.)

Fidgety fingers and internet addiction

I wrote the first drafts of my first three novels with pen on paper. I did it not because I’m in love with ink and notebooks, value them over all the wonders of modern technology. No, it was partly so I could focus, partly to force an extra round of self-editing. I’ve got nothing against computers. I think they’re wonderful. In fact, the most recent novel, the unpublished one, I wrote almost completely on a computer. Why? Seemed to make sense at the time. And the tone and style I was aiming for was punchier, shorter, so it felt okay.

But I might have to go back to pen and paper. For fiction at any rate. I’ve been working on a short story this week, in the morning hours before I sign on for work. The first half of it I wrote in a notebook. But I’ve typed that up and am forging ahead on the keyboard. This isn’t affecting the writing style or the tone.

But there is a matter of distraction. We all know we’re addicted to the interwebs, etc. And it mostly happens these days on our phone. You’re always looking at the thing, even on the toilet, even when you’ve got two other screens going. Even if you’re watching a commercial-free Netflix program.

And I’ve been embarrassed this week at my behavior. It’s not even that I NEED to check Twitter and Facebook every five minutes. I CAN walk away. (Sure, Ken. Sure you can.) But I noticed that every time I ended a paragraph or written thought and paused to figure out what would happen next, my hands almost automatically started the process of switching to a new tab. It didn’t even matter which tab. They just wanted to open something. My mind wanted to look at something. To keep things flowing into it. Disgusting.

I got that urge somewhat under control. Yes, it can be done. You simply have to put some effort into it. But just when I got the desktop urges under control, my hand went and grabbed the phone and opened Twitter–which is also open in one of those tabs on the desktop. Like I said. Embarrassing. And scary!

So it’s either back to the notebook. Or I sit on my hands between paragraphs.

A Thousand Words on Patricia Lockwood’s ‘Priestdaddy’

On one hand, we have a female character who’s dad is, somehow, a Catholic priest. On the other hand, we have Patricia Lockwood’s “Priestdaddy,” billed as a memoir about growing up as the daughter of a Catholic priest.

Screen Shot 2017-07-18 at 7.46.19 AMIf you know me at all or if you’ve read “The First Annual Grand Prairie Rabbit Festival,” it’s pretty damn clear why I’d be drawn to Lockwood’s book. In my precious little baby of a first published novel, Father Steve meets and befriends Vicky, the daughter of the priest he’s come to Grand Prairie to replace.

On the surface, that’s where the similarities end. Vicky’s fictional father and mother were never married. We don’t see any of her dad in the book, in fact. Vicky is more of a no-nonsense sort, a nurse rather than a wandering poet. She’s also firmly Gen-X rather than Millennial. Oh, and obviously, she’s a character in a work of fiction.

Continue reading “A Thousand Words on Patricia Lockwood’s ‘Priestdaddy’”

Reading and Speaking: A Brief Trip to Atlanta

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High-tech communications equipment at Ivy Hall. I should have done the reading through this.

Last week, I went down to Atlanta. I’d been invited by SCAD Atlanta to talk to a couple of classes, do a reading and a book signing.

(If, for some reason, you’ve never bought my books drop dead you can check them out here or bug your local bookstore.)

I couldn’t tell you the last time I’ve been to Atlanta other than for airport transfers.

I was only in town for a couple of days, so I didn’t get to experience much except The Georgian Terrace (nice hotel; I got a suite), Empire State South (refined Southern cooking), and, of course, Atlanta traffic. Oh, and I obviously enjoyed a few jokes at the expense of the local football team.

Continue reading “Reading and Speaking: A Brief Trip to Atlanta”

RESCHEDULED: Reading/Book Signing in Atlanta: April 27

SCADIvyHall

NOTE: Because the weather prevented me from making it to Atlanta on time earlier in the month, this is now happening on April 27. 

I’d say pardon the self-promotion, but if you think a blog isn’t anything other than nonstop self-promotion, you’re delusional. But anyway, some undisguised self-promotion:

The good folks at the SCAD in Atlanta have invited me down to talk to a couple of classes and do a reading. So if you’re in the Atlanta area or simply feel like flying to Atlanta to listen to me jibber-jabber, come on down!

The reading will be Thursday, April 27 at 6:30 p.m. It will be held at Ivy Hall.

Here’s a link to the event page.

Ivy Hall is at 179 Ponce de Leon Ave. Here it is on the map.

It’s a Major Award!

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Last Friday, the annual Jesse H. Neal Awards Ceremony was held in Manhattan. According to the folks who run the awards, the Neals “are the most prestigious editorial honors in the field of specialized journalism.” I always describe it as the Oscars of B2B journalism.

I wasn’t there last Friday. I don’t work at Ad Age any longer and while the Ad Age family was kind enough to invite me to the ceremony, Cara and I were on our way to Philadelphia. Thankfully, you don’t have to be present to win. Because I finally won. Yours truly took home the award for Best Commentary.

This year’s work included me screaming at the media about their lack of Louisiana flood coverage, me pointing out the absurdity of pharmaceutical advertising, and me noting that gender diversity isn’t the ad industry’s biggest diversity problem.

I was a finalist the previous year and was, indeed, bummed not to win. But the previous year, Ad Age took home so many Neals — and, for its first time in history, The Grand Neal — it didn’t get me too down. Hard to be sad, when you’re forced to go on stage to give an acceptance speech for The Grand Neal and you’re completely unprepared.

So this year, I won for my brilliant commentary on this and that via my Last Word Column in Ad Age. Go me. And congrats to the other folks at Ad Age who won and all the winners I may or may not know.

Why Twitter Hearts Are Like Bull Nipples

twitterheartSo yesterday, I spent upwards of 45 minutes scheduling social-media posts to promote my novels. To say it’s not one of my favorite things to do is an understatement.

It’s boring and it also makes me feel cheap and desperate. “Please, please buy my books. Won’t someone please buy my books?!? They’re old but they’re still good!”

There are companies who provide these services. They charge money, of course. The money, however, isn’t the issue. It’s that these companies seem to be followed mostly by other desperate authors who number in the tens of thousands. And the social-media promotion these companies provide is basically: “Here’s a tweet of this author’s book and an off-center picture of the author and/or his book cover.” This tweet is immediately followed by similar tweets for about a hundred other authors. If I’m gonna get tied up with a pimp, I expect more than that. Continue reading “Why Twitter Hearts Are Like Bull Nipples”

“I Don’t Care What They Think” and Other Lies Writers Tell

SweetasCaneThere’s a moment that’s hard to describe, when you receive an email with a subject line that includes your name, the title of your next book and the words “Booklist Review.”

For my third novel, Sweet as Cane, Salty as Tears — which is being released next week — the thought process was a three-step one that went something like this.

1. “Hmmmmm. Booklist Review.”

2. “Sweet! Someone reviewed the thing!”

3. “Oh shit. Someone reviewed the thing.”

And then my finger just hung there over the phone. Do I open it? I’m at work. What if it’s bad? What if it shatters my fragile writer’s ego? Equally bad, what if it sends me into a panic the entire three weeks leading up to release?

Continue reading ““I Don’t Care What They Think” and Other Lies Writers Tell”

Thanks for Making My First Time Great

We’re coming up on the one-year mark since the release of my very first book, The First Annual Grand Prairie Rabbit Festival. And i just want to take a moment to thank every single person out there who read it, bought it, borrowed it, used it in book clubs, talked about it, and gave it to others as gifts (hey, there’s still time for that!). Thanks too for the help on Twitter and Facebook, for taking photos of my baby in places like California and Ohio and Georgia and the Carolinas and Brooklyn and Ireland and even Manhattan.
Continue reading “Thanks for Making My First Time Great”

Kindness, The Clap and Calvin and Hobbes

Way back in my freshman year in college, I was so stupid I didn’t realize how stupid I was. And to be honest, so were my friends. But we all were. We were, 17, 18, 19 and didn’t know any better. And that wasn’t necessarily a bad thing. Startling insight, I know. How did I ever come up with that? And why am I boring you with it now.
Continue reading “Kindness, The Clap and Calvin and Hobbes”