The Really Great Chinese Food Tour

Tour Dates Updated 7/23/15

Yes, the Kindle version came out on St. Patrick’s Day. Yes, the paper version has been available for over a month. But I’ve been sidelined by various and sundry catastrophes that, if I bothered to chronicle them here, might leave you in a fetal position under your dining table.

JCF workshopping with the Utica Writer's Club

JCF workshopping with the Utica Writer’s Club

What matters now is that I’m finally able to start a promotional tour for Drawing Down the Moon. Things have changed since I last hit the road to hawk a book, and now we have the whole virtual side of things. So not only will I be appearing with the usual suspects – bookstores and libraries – I will also be doing guest blogging stints and interviews out in the blogosphere.

Tour dates are listed below. Bookmark this page, as it will be updated with new dates as they’re booked.

Stay tuned. I’m getting ready to fire up my own blogging muscles once more, in pursuit of this blog’s theme of chronicling the creative process. One of the ways I plan to do that is by interviewing other authors about their way of doing things. It should be fun.

And yes, there may even be a tour T-shirt…

2015

June 25Utica Writer’s Club, Utica NY – (workshop, Q & A) – See photos

July 7My Two Cents Worth (Before Inflation), Blogosphere – Blog Interview – Read it here

August 10Secret Life of a Townie, Blogosphere – Blog Interview

August 12LindaSands.com, Blogosphere – Blog Interview

JoeFaust promo

A Peek at the Process

Here’s a peek at something I’m cooking up. I just sent off a proposal for my first non-fiction project, a book about one of my favorite albums. 33 1/3 is a line of books about just that. I hope it’s a fit. And yes, if they green light it, you’ll hear all about The Making Of on this very blog.

proposal

Go Set A Watchman  Catastrophe

Really? Really?

There’s been a lot of hand wringing going on in the media – last night on PBS, today on CNN – about the effect that the release of Harper Lee’s Go Set A Watchman is going to have on her classic (and only other novel), To Kill A Mockingbird.

“Will this change the way Mockingbird is viewed?” they are asking, with the same anguish as if they had just seen The Phantom Menace or the second and third Matrix movies. “Will this change what it means to us? Will it keep its impact on us?”

US_cover_of_Go_Set_a_WatchmanPeople, this is a novel. And an unedited draft at that. Before the wheels of publication began to turn, Lee was offered the chance to have the novel edited and she declined. Today, that’s only afforded to massively bestselling authors like Stephen King, Tom Clancy and Jean Auel, whom editors are either too afraid or too busy to edit — okay, maybe that’s not such a big deal right now.

To catch you up if you haven’t been following the story. Once upon a time, a young Nelle Harper Lee wrote a novel called Go Set A Watchman about a young woman looking back on her relationship with her lawyer father. It made the rounds and one interested editor – or maybe it was an agent – suggested the story would be better if it was narrated by the protagonist at the age she was at the time the events in book took place, as opposed to looking back after a decade or so. She did some rewrites and the book we know as To Kill A Mockingbird was born.

And something likely happened to the story line along the way. The perception of the relationship passed from a knowing one, from the view of a young woman who was a newly minted adult. It became more idealistic, a view from a little girl who worshiped her Daddy.

Meantime, the first draft of the book disappeared, thought lost by the author, who was busy not writing other novels. Until it was recently discovered and put into motion as a real book, to much excitement… until folks found out what it was about.

Apparently Watchman shows a view of Attacus Finch as a separatist and possibly even a racist – perhaps a less idealistic view of a man as seen through the eyes of a now-adult daughter. This the cause of all that angst in the literati – like the release is going to undo all of the advances in civil rights and race relations that have been made since Mockingbird was released. Welcome back, lynching and Jim Crow laws! Like the first book was single-handedly responsible for all of that to begin with.

Is there nothing else going on in the world right now worth losing sleep over? Is it a slow news week?

Or am I the only one who understands the concept of a first draft?

Just in case I am – here’s the answer to this non-story:

No.

Go Set A Watchman will not change To Kill A Mockingbird. Mockingbird will be the same book, the beloved classic it deserves to be.

If you don’t believe me, photocopy a random page of the book, put it in envelope, and check it after Watchman comes out. I’ll bet a large amount of cash or chocolate pudding that none of the words will have changed. Or better yet, open up that favorite novel of yours that was made into a wretched, forgettable waste of a movie and read a random chapter. It hasn’t changed. Just like The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn wasn’t changed by Tom Sawyer Abroad or Tom Sawyer, Detective, two cash-in novels written by Mark Twain, both of which were written in the voice of Huck Finn.

And as far as I know, Lee isn’t pulling a George Lucas and issuing a revised director’s cut of Mockingbird where, among other things, the rabid dog shoots at Attacus first.

If Harper Lee made any mistake in issuing Watchman, perhaps it was in leaving the names of the first draft intact, not understanding the attachment we’ve developed over the years to the version that was published. It would have been an easy thing, once the book was put into a word processor, to do a global search and replace to change the names from the revered ones to something a little more generic. Nobody would have been the wiser.

Yeah. As if something like that would ever become a best-seller.

Drawing Down the Moon Gets Physical

DDtM PaperFor those of you who prefer your reading experience to be literal instead of virtual, your wishes have figuratively come true. Drawing Down the Moon is at long last available in a trade paper edition that is guaranteed to have mass and take up physical space. If you let it, it may also take up some space in your brain, at least for a time.

DDtM – The Paper Edition is available at all of the usual online suspects:

Amazon.com

Create Space

In a month or two you should also be able to order it through your favorite bookstore, if such a thing still exists.

No word on a spoken word version yet, but it may be in the works. Figureatively. I mean, virtually. Um, that should be literally.

House of the Rising Sun – The Opera

I’ve taken sick with some kind of stomach bug, and when I crashed out on the couch, I left the TV on PBS, where I was exposed to Berlioz’s grand opera, Les Troyens… all 4 1/2 hours of it. While I was in and out of a fitful sleep, I learned that opera is all about taking a story that could be told in 20 minutes and stretching it out to three hours in song.

With that in mind, I have begun my first opera, based on the popular folk song House of the Rising Sun. It’s a little rough, but keep in mind this is only the beginning, and if sung in another language it will probably rhyme.

Cast
DIABETES, an adventurer (Tenor)
CORICIDIN, his best friend (Bass)
UVULA, lover of DIABETES (Soprano)
VELVEETA, the maid (Alto)
WOMEN’S CHORUS
MEN’S CHORUS

The scene is the house of UVULA. The time is any time period for which you can rent cool costumes on the cheap. UVULA sits on one of those half-couch things reading a scroll.

VELVEETA (entering)
My mistress! I bring you news of great joy! Diabetes returns!

UVULA
He returns?

VELVEETA
He returns!

WOMEN
Oh, weep for joy! Joy of joys! Diabetes returns!

UVULA
Diabetes my love returns!
And he has been gone a really long time!

WOMEN
Forever, it seems.
And don’t say we didn’t warn you, girlfriend.

UVULA
Where is he now?

VELVEETA
He comes down the lane by your house
And now he is opening your gate.

UVULA
He will soon open the gate of my heart!

WOMEN
Tee hee!

VELVEETA
And now he comes up the sidewalk
And he is nearing the door
I think he will just walk right in
Because he usually doesn’t bother knocking.

WOMEN
No, he never knocks.

UVULA
Diabetes! Diabetes! My love returns!

WOMEN
Her love returns!

(DIABETES enters with CORICIDIN and the MEN)

UVULA
Diabetes! Can it be?

DIABETES
Uvula! My little grommet of love!

UVULA
My love!

DIABETES
My love!

UVULA
My love! My love!

DIABETES
I love to love my love!

UVULA
And I love to be in love with my love, my love!

DIABETES
That’s nice.
I missed you, too.

UVULA
Now tell me of your adventures
Of all the things you’ve seen
But maybe not everything at once
Save a bit for later, for my attention span is short.

DIABETES
I have traveled all across this world
And I have seen many things
Polar bears and narwhals
And devices that let you vote straight ticket
I have seen our enemies weep in big tears
And I watched as my bosun’s mate
Choked to death on a toothpick
But there was one thing I saw
A thing more tragic and terrible than anything else
I wish to forget it
But oh, my heart, my heart will not allow.

UVULA
Tell me about it.

WOMEN
Tell us.

VELVEETA
Yes, tell us.

CORICIDIN
I really don’t think you want to hear this.

WOMEN
Shut up. Who asked you, anyway?

MEN
You’ll be sorry!

DIABETES
I saw… this house.

UVULA
A house?

VELVEETA
What kind of house?

WOMEN
Yes, what kind of house?
We really don’t have anything better to do.

MEN
We’re heard this before.
A lot.
So we’re going for pizza, then.
We’ll be back later.

(The MEN exit. CORICIDIN tries to follow, but DIABETES pulls him back)

CORICIDIN
I haven’t had pizza in many days.

DIABETES
Nor have I, old friend.

UVULA
I will make you a nice quiche or something
If you only stay
And tell me of this house.

DIABETES
The house… the house.

WOMEN
Tell us of the house.

DIABETES
It is a house in the new town of Orleans
Not the old Orleans in France
And not the band that sang “Amy”
It is a loud town of high water
And food that makes your mouth hurt
The music there is amazing
And they do interesting things with beads.

CORICIDIN
I spent many beads there!

VELVEETA
And I have many beads from there!

WOMEN
You naughty persons!

DIABETES
Can I go get pizza now?

UVULA
Tell me more of this house!

DIABETES
The house takes its name
From the first rays of the morning
But rather than a metaphor of hope
It’s the opposite, really
For it has drawn in the poorest of young men
And dropped them down
Grinding them into the filth with cruel heels.

WOMEN
You might say they were brought to ruin.

CORICIDIN
You might say that, yes,
But he didn’t.

WOMEN
Tell me more, tell me more, tell me more!

CORICIDIN
Wrong show!

DIABETES
As I considered the denizens of this house
I could not help feel
I was no better than they
And perhaps I was one of them.

CORICIDIN
He was one of them a lot.

UVULA
What does Coricidin mean by this, my love?

DIABETES
He’s only speaking in jest, my love
Ha, ha, forever the kidder
Good old Coricidin!
Besides, I entreated the mothers of my crew
All except for the bosun’s mate, that is
Not to allow their sons
To befall the fate that befell others.

MEN
We have returned!
And the pizza, it was mightily good.
We saved you a slice.

DIABETES
Whoa, look at the time!
I need to go and debrief these men
I owe them many ales for their service
See you soon, my love!

(He departs with CORICIDIN and the MEN)

UVULA
Not again!

VELVEETA
Do not worry, mistress!
I will step lively
And fetch a box of Klondike bars
And we can watch ‘Pride and Prejudice’ again.

END OF ACT ONE, SCENE ONE

The Company Man In Trade Paperback

TD-TCMI know the focus is on Drawing Down the Moon right now, but I should mention that a new edition of The Company Man – in trade paperback – is now available on Amazon… and elsewhere for order as time goes on.

The trade paper version of DDtM is in the works. Hoping for something tangible by the end of April.

Uncle Joe Wants You… To Review

As of yesterday1Drawing Down the Moon is officially available as a Kindle Book.

And now, my good, dear friends (yeah, you know… here it comes) I’m begging you – literally (not figuratively – see photo below) on bended knee – to post your review of the book on Amazon. Because we all know that the two things books live and die on in this modern age are reviews and word of mouth. Put ’em both together, and they spell buzz.

Now here’s the trick: it needs to be an honest review. Because if you write something like It’s a wondermous book and I gave it five stars because I can’t give it ten and I’d probably give it a hundred stars if I’d actually bothered to read it, but just owning it cleared up my hemorrhoids and doubled the value of my stock portfolio, Amazon is going to catch on. So will the readers.

So flex your fingers and fire up those keyboards. Please?

(If you can throw in some word of mouth, too, that would be great.)

JCF begging for reviews

Check this out. I’m literally on my knees begging you.

Once more, a huge thanks to you all of you who helped choose this book. I appreciate your faith in the project and your participation.

And yes, a paper version is forthcoming. I’m shooting for sometime in April.

Thank you!

1 St. Paddy’s day is an important date for me. On April 17, 1986, I went to my mailbox in Gillette, Wyoming and pulled out a short note from Del Rey Books asking me to call. When I did, I was told they wanted to buy my novel Amendment XXXI, which in the editorial process was renamed A Death of Honor.

Published: Drawing Down the Moon

DDtM-2I just received notice that Drawing Down the Moon is now available for Pre-Order. If you voted for it during the Kindle Scout campaign, you should have an invitation to claim your free copy in your email.

The official release date is March 17th, which is ultra cool for me: It was March 17th, 1986 when I got a note from Del Rey books letting me know that I’d sold them my first novel.

If you voted for DDtM, the important thing to do now is to claim your copy, read it and leave an honest review on Amazon – the higher the number of reviews, the better.

If you didn’t get a chance to vote for it, now’s your chance to snag a copy.

And to everyone involved… tell a friend!

Again, thanks to everyone who voted to make this happen! It’s been a really cool experience having you all in this with me!

Selected for Publication!

DDtM SelectedDrawing Down the Moon has been selected for publication by the Kindle Scout team. It will appear sometime in 2015, hopefully sooner than later.

I want to give my most heartfelt thanks to everyone who clicked through to the Drawing Down the Moon page, nominated the book, twisted friends’ arms to do the same, and used precious electrons and your more precious time to share my incessant posts about this. Your enthusiasm, along with God’s grace, has launched this project and you’ll soon get to see the fruits of your labors. And then it will be time to bug you for reviews!

It really is the last minute…

to vote/recommend Drawing Down the Moon. Stragglers welcome.

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