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Happy Birthday, Ray

Today would have been Ray Bradbury’s 94th birthday. The man wanted desperately to live to 100. I wish that could have happened. He had so much he still wanted to do. I have never known anyone more appreciate of life, than Ray. He lived his days with soaring gratitude.

In our twelve-years working together on three books, over countless dinners and long car rides and laughter through a thousand hours of conversation, the man taught me many, many life-lessons. As I reflect on the multitude of these wisdoms, one thing stands out.

Love.

Love completely. Love fully. Be reckless in your passion for those things that make you feel alive and good. Write about them. Celebrate them. Hold them. Cherish them. Pick them up. Twirl them. Imagine them. Dream them. Let your loves consume you. Let your loves become you. Allow yourself to be madly and totally and completely in love. With life, with ideas, with art, with stories, with people.

“Do what you love, and love what you do,” he always said to me. “If you do that, success and happiness will have no choice but to follow.”

He has been gone now over two years. That’s almost unthinkable to me. It was 94-years ago today that he came into this world and changed it forever. If he were still here, I would have but one thing to say to him, immediately:

I Love You.

Thank you for all you gave to me Ray. Happy Birthday.

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Newcity Chicago Lit 50

Happy to once again make the prestigious “Lit 50″ list published by the Chicago alt. weekly, Newcity. The “Lit 50″ is a round-up of the 50 people “who really book in Chicago.” I landed at #28 on the list–a list that includes Stuart Dybek, Gillian Flynn, and my friend Audrey Niffenegger among others. What an honor! Great photos, too, by the phenomenal Joe Mazza of BraveLux.
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Posted in Media, Writing

Roadside Cross

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My new short story, “Roadside Cross” was published by Amazon.com’s new digital publishing imprint, Story Front, on March 12. The story is available for Kindles and iPads (Amazon for ipad app). “Roadside Cross” is steeped in the tradition of Ray Bradbury’s classic collection, The October Country. It’s a modern, Midwest gothic tale of mystery and melancholy that poses the question, do ghosts mourn the dead?

If you read the story and enjoy it, please do me a quick favor and leave a review.

I have two more short stories slated for publication in the Chicago Tribune Printer’s Row Journal on May 25. “Weird” is about a little boy who becomes obsessed with the 1970s cult film, Harold and Maude, and “A Song for My Father” is about a once popular jazz musician who gets a chance to redeem his fading career in a ballroom in the middle of 1953 Iowa. I hope you will pick these stories up.

Posted in Digital Publishing, Fiction, October Country, Short Stories

The Bradbury Chronicles updated

It’s been eight years since the publication of my first biography of Ray Bradbury. The Bradbury Chronicles: The Life of Ray Bradbury is finally available as an ebook. The new edition features ten new photographs, some never-before-seen, as well as a new epilogue chapter.

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Brand Spankin’ New Short Story

I recently wrote a short story for the punk rock literary journal, Criminal Class Review. I have always had great admiration for the ethos and aesthetic of the magazine’s Editor, Kevin Whiteley, so it was cool to be able to partner up with the man for a story in Volume 6.

“The Peephole” is a 1970s New York punk rock thriller. I have always had a secret attraction to the scuzzy side of ‘70s-era New York—all Ed Koch graffiti slathered dirty triple XXX birth place of glam and punk and rat infested Times Square. I was deeply honored when a reader called the story “Bradbury meets Hitchcock meets Chandler,” because this is what I set out to write all wrapped up in the Bronx, circa 1974.

Even cooler: the print edition of Criminal Class Review Volume 6 sold out in very short order. The issue was guest edited by the great George Tabb, writer for Maximum Rock n Roll, founding member of the punk/hardcore band Roach Motel, and tireless voice behind the health issues plaguing those who lived in lower Manhattan on September 11, 2001.

I was listening to a lot of old ‘70s New York punk and new wave when I wrote “The Peephole” and I hope that some of the vibe of that time comes through in the story.

And while the print edition for the collectors market is already gone, the good news is that volume 6 of Criminal Class is available here:

Posted in Fiction