Bourbon Cowboy

The adventures of an urbane bar-hopping transplant to New York.

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Location: New York, New York, United States

I'm a storyteller in the New York area who is a regular on NPR's "This American Life" and at shows around the city. Moved to New York in 2006 and am working on selling a memoir of my years as a greeting card writer, and (as a personal, noncommercial obsession) a nonfiction book called "How to Love God Without Being a Jerk." My agent is Adam Chromy at Artists and Artisans. If you came here after hearing about my book on "This American Life" and Googling my name, the "How to Love God" book itself isn't in print yet, and may not even see print in its current form (I'm focusing on humorous memoir), but here's a sample I've posted in case you're curious anyway: Sample How To Love God Introduction, Pt. 1 of 3. Or just look through the archives for September 18, 2007.) The book you should be expecting is the greeting card book, about which more information is pending. Keep checking back!

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Great Moments In Blurbing

We get a lot of books where I work, because a part of the company is involved in mystery and sci-fi magazines, and they're always getting free books to critique. More than they need or want, so there's an overflow shelf filled with unloved and unreviewed books that (as I understand it) are open to anyone who wants to take one. A perfect setup for an inveterate book-stealer such as myself.

Most of them are pretty standard sci-fi and fantasy. (A few sample titles: A Fistful of Data; Rogue Clone; The Day of the Klesh; Swordbird; The Becoming; Infoquake; and, in what must take some kind of over-the-topness award, Dragonfrigate Wizard Halcyon Blithe.) I borrow them to get me the twenty minutes to the subway after work (I like to just take the A up instead of futzing around shifting stations on the S train, so there's a bit of a hike involved). I used to return them, but no one cared. So my area is starting to collect amusing-looking pulp.

But every so often we get misfires--books that aren't sci-fi or mystery and never had a chance at a review, such as A Christmas Wedding by Andrew Greeley, which is a sprawling multicharacter romance set in the 1950s. And then, most recently, Randall ("author of Braveheart") Wallace's Love and Honor, which promises a kind of Winds of War vibe from its very cover, featuring two men on horseback riding furiously in period costume while framed by stars and red-and-white bunting. ("One patriot. One fledgling nation. One dramatic quest.") Let me just quote the back copy:

"Virginia cavalryman Kieran Selkirk is summoned to a slandestine meeting in the winter of 174. There he finds none other than Benamin Franklin, who reveals the brilliant soldier's assignment: He is to travel to Russia disguised as a British mercenary and convince Catheing the Great not to join the British in their war with America. It is not a quest for the weak of heart, for to succeed, Selkirk must survive savage terrain, starving wolves, secret assassins, marauding Cossacks, a court of seductive young women, and even a dramatic romantic face-off with the legendary Tsarina herself. " Good thing he brought his own horse.

But this is what actually caught my eye, and I offer it here without further comment. At the bottom of the page is the following blurb of praise, which I swear I am not making up:

"Wallace's perfectly chosen words weave spell upon spell, rising to give images so romantic, stories so enthralling and characters so compelling that one is utterly transported."
---Mel Gibson

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