How Do I Get Paul Rudd?

One thing writers like to do is cast the movie version of their own books. It’s especially fun when you have absolutely no sign of a movie deal on the horizon. At any rate, people have asked me before who I’d see playing various people in The First Annual Grand Prairie Rabbit Festival. And I’ve typically been stumped with the part of Father Steve.

Vicky, I always sort of saw as Jennifer Aniston. Don’t judge me.

But Father Steve? George Clooney’s too old and John Krasinski was too tall (and goofy) for my liking. Then, yesterday, while walking up Third Avenue, I saw a movie poster and Paul Rudd’s face was on it.

It’s totally him. I think. Someone make that happen.

Anyone else who read the book, who’d you cast in the various parts?

Miss Rita’s tough as well. Only person I can kinda come up with is Alfree Woodard. Someone who can play older and pull of comedy as well as gravitas. Problem is I picture Miss Rita as pretty skinny. (One Facebook, someone suggested Wanda Sykes, which I kind of dig. You know how comedians like that crossover dramatic roles)

Brother Paul. Hmmm. Robert Duvall. But he’s getting up in age. Maybe John Goodman?

Cuz The Night Time Is The Right Time

A little joy in your morning. The Huxtables lip-synching Ray Charles’ “The Night Time (Is The Right Time).” This is like getting your chocolate in my peanut butter in someone else’s cocaine. It’s that awesome.

I was listening to Ray Charles on the way into work this morning and as I thought about what this bit of entertainment — one snippet from The Cosby Show — meant to me, I became certain I’d written about it before. And I had. After a similar commute on Jan. 7, 2005, I wrote something for The Subway Chronicles, created by my friend Jacquelin Cangro, who now blogs here. (You’ll have to scroll down as there were no permalinks on the site.)

What I wrote then — I don’t know if I’d be capable of writing it the same way today.
Continue reading “Cuz The Night Time Is The Right Time”

10 Things You Can Do to Make Me Rich!

The First Annual Grand Prairie Rabbit Festival starts shipping in eight (8) days and the nation is just bursting with excitement about it. OK, so maybe a handful of people are bursting with excitement and everyone else is just bursting from too much holiday food and the mental strain of the New Orleans Saints making the playoffs.
Continue reading “10 Things You Can Do to Make Me Rich!”

Snow In Louisiana? Hell Freezing Over?

The New Orleans Saints beat the crap out of the New England Patriots. That very same week it snows in Louisiana. In early December. Coincidence? I think not. Saints fans have been equating Louisiana’s steamy weather and making hell-freezing-over jokes ever since the Saints franchise took to the field and elevated losing to an art form.

That the Saints are undefeated at this point in the season is more miraculous than snow in early December–for the second year in a row. Hell, I don’t even want to write the word Saints in a blog post because I’m sure I’ll jinx them. And don’t even get me started on the Vikings, who happened to knock the Saints out of the playoffs the very first time they made it to post-season play. It’s enough to make me sick.

Funnily enough, in an early draft of The First Annual Grand Prairie Rabbit Festival, I had Father Steve visiting a friend’s house for a Monday Night Football game against division rival Atlanta Falcons. In the scene, they were throwing bottle caps at the TV by the second quarter and just quit watching at halftime, so disgusted were they at the state of play. For various reasons, I cut that scene. Now I kinda wish I had kept it, just to remind all of us Saints fans not to get too ahead of ourselves.
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Most Depressing Sentence of the Week

My income per book always reminds me of how tough it is to make at living at this gig, especially for writers who only produce one book per year.

The quote is from paranormal romance writer Lynn Viehl, whose last book was on the mass paperback bestseller list.

The bolding is mine. Because, really, people who ONLY produce one book a year? ONLY? One a year? Wow. Sure, I could probably crank out one rough draft a year, but one finished book? I don’t know about that.

Early Acclaim for the Novel: Part 4

TFAGPRF“You have to watch these Louisiana boys. They can drink you under the table, and some of them can write you under the table. Ken Wheaton can do both. He’s a wild one, and this is a sparkling debut.” — Luis Alberto Urrea, author of Into the Beautiful North

This particular blurb is 99.9% gold. (I’ll get to the 0.1% later.)
Continue reading “Early Acclaim for the Novel: Part 4”

Early Acclaim for the Novel: Part 3

How about a blurb comparing the book to bourbon? Would you like that?

TFAGPRF“Warmed my chest faster than a double shot of Wild Turkey and kept me laughing through the night. This is a rollicking, wonderfully irreverent debut. It’s also a charming love story with a heart as big as Louisiana. I am a huge Ken Wheaton fan.” –Matthew Quick, author of The Silver Linings Playbook

You all recognize Matthew Quick’s name, right? Because when I told you earlier this summer to go out and buy his amazing book, you immediately did so. Right? (Well, if you didn’t, I suggest you do so now.)

So how did Matthew Quick come to get his grubby paws on a copy of The First Annual Grand Prairie Rabbit Festival?
Continue reading “Early Acclaim for the Novel: Part 3”

Early Anecdotal Field Research on a Book Cover

TFAGPRFSo Saturday afternoon, I stopped by Book Court to drop off an advance copy of The First Annual Grand Prairie Rabbit Festival. I practically live upstairs from the store and it’s known throughout the city as one of the finest independent book shops around. They’re shooting something from Eat, Pray, Love there this week. Lots of big-timers do readings at Book Court … and lots of little-timers, too. I did a reading there from The Subway Chronicles.

So I thought I’d stop in, say hi, drop off an advance copy and beg them to please stock the book. None of the folks who actually do book order were there, but I left a note in the book. (As luck would have it, my friend Peter Melman, who’s book The Landsman came out last year, a) worked at Book Court and b) lived in the exact same apartment I’m living in … so weird coincidence and all).

Anyway, after leaving said book with the counter person, I stood back while I waited for Susan. Counter person was then ringing up someone else, but had left the book on the counter. The someone else picked up the book and said, “Hey, what’s this? It looks interesting.” And then showed it to her friend. She then asked counter person if it was hers. And she said, “No, actually it’s his. He wrote it. But it’s not for sale yet.”

Sadly, all I could think to say was, “Yeah. That would be me. It’s on sale in December.” Ken Wheaton: Brilliant Salesman!

Gladly, I had the presence of mind not to blurt out in Book Court, “You can pre-order it on Amazon right now!” Not exactly the way to win over your friendly independent bookseller.

But, yeah, guess that cover illustration by Tim O’Brien is doing the trick.

Sustainability Is the New Fascist

Watching the news this morning, I heard some wank going on about his project and it sounded like this. “Blah blah blah sustainability blah blah blah urban blah blah blah sustainability blah blah blah buy this.”

The word sustainability, much like the word fascist, seems to have lost all meaning due to overuse by loads of people who, having never even known the original intent of the word, throw it around as a catchall. Perhaps not coincidentally, it seems that the people who ground fascist into a meaningless pulp are the exact same people who like to use sustainability.

As far as I can tell, these are the current definitions of both words.

Fascist: someone who disagrees with my historically ignorant and vaguely progressive world view.

Sustainability: a marketing term implying something environmental; used to sell pretty much anything to green-worshippers. Please view my sustainable water bottles, my sustainable shirts, my sustainable car tires, my sustainable dog-grooming kit, my sustainable art project. (See also: organic)

God, I feel like such a fascist for writing this.

Update on My First Novel

Today, I received the page proofs for The First Annual Grand Prairie Rabbit Festival. While still a stack of unbound pages, it is a stack of unbound pages on which the words, page numbers and other things have been typeset as they will be see once the book is printed.

There is the title. There is my name under the title. And I’m suddenly all nervous. Why? At this stage, it’s too soon to worry about sales. No, what’s been worrying me lately is the prospect of anyone in real life assuming anything in the book is based on them (uh, rather than all of it being based on me).

I guess the “pure” artist would say, “To hell with what other people think and feel. The novel gets what the novel demands.”

Myself, I think “pure” artists are assholes.

Then again, as I didn’t base any of the characters off of real people, I shouldn’t be worried about it. I guess it’s just realizing I’ve crossed the point of no return. There’s the line in the letter accompanying the stack of papers. “Please be aware that only corrections can be made at this time; text cannot be rewritten at this stage of production.”

Dear lord, it’s set in stone. Except on paper.

So that’s that. Okay. End of nerves. No one likes a neurotic. Especially when the neurotic should be celebrating his good fortune rather than nibbling on his nails.