Here’s the link to the publisher site so you can get the book in your preferred format and from your preferred storefront.
I’m both excited and terrified as always. You never quite know how a project is going to land until there’s no going back and I really hope folks enjoy the latest ridiculous Fantine Park story.
That said, I’ve been a little more low key about promotion. That’s a mix of being busier than normal and realizing that a few avenues I once believed were in a sense, golden, weren’t actually as fruitful as I hoped. There’s potential to try new things out there but there’s also the potential to continue chasing my own tail as the same set of people watch or ignore me.
Like everything else in the writing biz, there’s no clue answer or path. What probably counts is not losing sight of the goal – to write things in my brain for the people who will read them. The need to get past the immediate sense of gratification that can come with a nice ego boost has to become tertiary – though, hey, let’s face it: that’s a tough fucking endeavor.
What matters is the forward momentum. Not so much the goal or the feeling of fulfillment we all seem to chase as writers but just the act of writing itself. I’ll admit that I forgot how much I love that feeling and how fulfilling it is to me.
If you pick up PULL & PRAY, I really hope you like it. If you don’t, that’s cool too. Just try not to lie to my face about it or whatever.
Fantine Park has gas in the tank (in both ways) and this will absolutely not be the last you read of her, well, so long as Eric Campbell will have me, so scratch that other stuff from before GO BUY MY GODDAMN BOOK!
Had a great – and exhausting – weekend in Rhode Island for NECON 2018. It was my first time at the event and certainly won’t be my last. I had a lot of fun chatting with folks new and familiar. It’s always good to be reminded I’m not alone as a writer or a person.
I’m tired as hell – physically and mentally.
But it’s back to work. Back to day job and back to parenting and back to partnering and back to writing and back to podcasting and back to questioning my place in the world as a writer and back to questioning my worth as a human every time I put myself out there in front of people who’ve never had to feel that way.
That exhaustion shows no sign of ending.
If you listen to this week’s episode of the bastard title, there’s a lengthy talk about positivity; about working through the current climate and trying to be the change you want to see in the world. It’s a difficult discussion because everyone has a distinct idea of what positivity is and clearly everyone has a different idea of what change should be. It’s a difficult concept because sometimes change and positive action aren’t entirely something people respond to with open arms. It’s especially difficult to figure out what constitutes positivity as a writer of color since I’m sometimes at odds with very cold truths about the world around me.
I often wonder if folks who roll their eyes at the criticisms voiced by marginalized authors realize that those authors are just as tired – if not more tired – of having to raise their voices constantly. I wonder if there’s any awareness that imposter syndrome coupled with the knowledge of many people looking at you as a lesser for merely existing can drain everything away from you. Is it even feasible that what looks like being “difficult” is actually struggling to maintain one’s authenticity in the face of being viewed as a fucking circus act?
I’m not fishing for anything here. This has all been on my mind for a long time and I can accept I’m not always the best at conveying those thoughts. It’s easy for anger and passion – righteous as those emotions can be – to get in the way. Doesn’t help that social media provides a refreshing and easy dose of dopamine.
Ultimately, those easy actions are hollow. Easy doesn’t pay the fucking bills and dopamine hits fade out with every dose.
I’m not sure what the most positive path to change could be. I know it won’t be easy and I certainly know it can’t be comfortable for everyone.
A while back I wrote a little piece about treating my writing like project management (heavily informed by my own project management experience (Six Sigma and Agile Lean, yo).
That said, I think it’s still an important part of the way I treat my work – to break out the major milestones and try to parse out the work in a way that makes it very “readable” to me.
So, in the spirit of that article, I wanted to talk about something else that I’ve started to implement into my workstyle from my own corporate life – walking the talk.
You can have as many rules, guidelines, metrics, and roadmaps anyone can ever ask for (and nobody really asks for these) but none of it will EVER give you a whiff of satisfaction if you don’t execute in a meaningful way. Execution in a meaningful way doesn’t mean just doing the work too. Anyone can do the work but not many will apply principles to future work until it becomes standard operating procedure; until the principle begins dictating how you plan and execute.
An example to place this mess into a nice little pen: I started a podcast. This is nothing unique. There are a billion sources of advice on how to start and execute a project like this and at the end of the day, it’s super easy to follow every step and “launch”. Unfortunately, my brain does not work like that. If I follow a recipe I will deviate and I will inevitably stall out. I need to step back and consider how I learn and how I execute before I commit to action in meaningful way.
This meant taking a step back and finding a path towards the goal. That goal wasn’t merely to launch. That goal was to launch with a volume of prepared content ready, a process defined, and a meaningful first year goal already set. This also meant learning and I needed time to learn, so I did. I tried video blogging out. I played around with audio/video software and attempted other methods of how I approached subject matter. I also listened/watched a TON of content. I read articles on hardware and best options for exposure. I considered what I enjoyed and what I felt I can do. I acknowledged trends and thought about what I wasn’t seeing or hearing. I wasn’t going to reinvent the wheel but if I wanted to do this, I needed to do it right—for me.
There is a danger in going all in like this, even with proper planning and solution analysis: overthinking.
Once you’ve collected data points and start really working, you can easily find yourself in that loop of doubt that casts its ugly shadow when you’re trying to implement any new idea. When it comes to creative endeavors like writing or even a podcast, a lot of that doubt comes from wondering whether an audience will respond or if others will agree with your intent. This is an obstacle with any stakeholder driven project and can place you at odds with yourself (or others) while leaving the work in limbo—not a fun result.
What do you do in those cases? Well, you stick to your guns. My favorite part of taking my corporate brain and running a creative project through it is not having to worry about the hindrances of executive level hard stops, budget constraints that weren’t already defined, and ultimately, needing to give a flying fuck about anyone else. The last part is most important: you’re in a special place where the stakeholders (as loosely defined as they are) aren’t important in the short-term decision-making process. This is art, man, the only person you should answer to is you. If it flops, then your stakeholder(s) and audience have given you feedback. It’s learning for the next endeavor (when it’s time to get there, not like, right then. Stay on target).
Back on track. You plan, you study, you experiment, you fail, you plan some more, and then you execute. None of this should be new to you but it’s something we don’t normally externalize. We also never necessarily think about post-execution, or a control phase of sorts. You may launch and be effectively “done” but there is always room for improvement. You patch, you refine, and you examine efforts. You see where the wall is weak and derive next actions from there. You keep moving because you’re a shark and there’s not much room for stopping in this kiddie pool. You walk the fucking talk. You approach your endeavors in this way and win or lose you accomplish.
After all of that, you end up with a shiny new project you write a bunch of articles to get people to check out.
My next novella PULL & PRAY goes on sale July 30th, 2018 but you can preorder NOW.
Angel Luis Colón is the Anthony and Derringer Award-nominated author of PULL & PRAY (July 2018), NO HAPPY ENDINGS, the BLACKY JAGUAR series of novellas, and the collection MEAT CITY ON FIRE (AND OTHER ASSORTED DEBACLES). His fiction has appeared in multiple web and print publications including Thuglit, Literary Orphans, and Great Jones Street. He currently hosts a podcast called the bastard title where he and other creatives talk shop and other nonsense.
His debut novel, HELL CHOSE ME, is due for release in 2019 from Down & Out Books.
30 writers. 2 beloved mainstays of the crime community. 1 victim. An AWESOME cause.
A few months ago I got an FB message from Dan & Kate Malmon – I screamed “YES” at my scream before I finished reading what they sent (and promptly realized I’d need to type a response, but that’s neither here nor there).
I’ll explain a little better. A scant three years ago I was hitting up a family wedding in a town called Roseville near the Twin Cities. Hearing I’d be around, these two absolutely wonderful, generous, and uber-nerdy (a great thing) souls contacted me to say they literally lived right there.
We went out for tots and I’ve loved them since.
Obviously, I’d drop everything to kill one of them on paper.
That said, my story is not the best in this collection BY FAR. I mean, look at this god damn list:
Hector Acosta, Eric Beetner, Dana Cameron, Sarah M. Chen, Matthew Clemens, Angel Colón, Hilary Davidson, Cory Funk, Danny Gardner, Paul J. Garth, Rob Hart, Ed Kurtz, Steve W. Lauden, Russel McLean, Jeff Macfee, Erin Mitchell, Erica Ruth Neubauer, Brad Parks, Thomas Pluck, Bryon Quertermous, Todd Robinson, Jeff Shelby, Nathan Singer, Josh Stallings, Jay Stringer, R.D. Sullivan, Bryan VanMeter, Holly West and Dave White.
Seriously, this is totally worth your time. Bonus? Proceeds go to the MS Society (speaking of which, if you feel the need to give them money straight up; click HERE).
MS sucks and if takes killing a Dan Malmon to help rid the world of it, hey, I’ll kill a Dan Malmon.
Oh, uh, sure, ON PAPER. I should add that in case “accidents” happen.
So, a little fun for the three of ya’ll reading. Back on Augist 31st, the Malmons invaded Manhattan! We threw a surprise Noir at The Bar to celebrate and since I take advice from some of the best at heart (thanks, Johnny Shaw) I wrote a short piece just for the event. I wanted to class things up and read a eulogy to the dearly, 30-time departed Dan Malmon.
Since a lot of you weren’t there (shame), here’s Dan’s eulogy. The poor, poor bastard.
While I’m glad we’re here to celebrate the life and many, many deaths of Dan Malmon. I think I should take some time to clear the air and admit my complicity in his 100% actual, untimely, yet unsurprising death a few weeks ago – even if he is currently tweeting about comics, use your fucking imagination.
I don’t think I need to get into the details regarding that awful Tuesday afternoon where Dan was discovered face-down in a ball pit at a Chuck E Cheese in Little Laos by a group of fourth grade students on a field trip—the medical examiner would say he somehow drowned—or that he was found wearing only a Chuck Knoblauch Yankees jersey that was two sizes too small.
It’s difficult, but I have to confess to how Dan was led into that shallow ball pit. About how he was dressed in that baseball jersey. I have to talk about the hunger I helped start in him; that insatiable appetite so many treated so lightly.
I am of course, talking about the Kit Kat problem.
I shouldn’t have mailed Dan those off-market Japanese Kit Kats. It was a joke, I figured, there’d be no way he’d even eat the damn things—they were sweet potato-flavored for fuck’s sake but eat them he did. Then he asked for any leads on online orders—seemed innocent enough—but apparently it wasn’t bringing him the satisfaction he craved after being exposed to so many flavors added in factories that clearly did not follow guidelines meant to protect humans and/or livestock.
I remember seeing him a few weeks before everything went sour. Dan was up to his ears in debt with the Laotian mob—who were selling him white chocolate Kit Kats dipped in cheap colored stevia; a common black market tactic. He was jittery. Kept asking me if I could ‘give him a break’. I didn’t know what else to do but give him a few dollars and the URL for a Japanese site that shipped to the states.
He did not accept the hug I offered, though. I felt like that was a good sign, that maybe he was down in the dumps but not enough to accept the physical embrace he so very much despised.
Everything after that is hearsay, but Dan may have fallen into a spiral of refined sugars, palm oil, and whey powder. He was getting heavily involved in the dodge ball gambling scene based out of a downtown YWCA in order to get access to their vending machines.
I guess I’m in the reeds. I’m sorry for enabling Dan to follow such a dark path. For giving him the address of that Chuck E Cheese after hearing the guy who does the voice of the animatronic bear had a line on cough syrup-flavored Kit Kats without confirmation. It’s a damn shame and I’ll always be sort of sorry for that.
That said, I intend to honor Dan’s final wishes—as detailed in the strange, broken English-riddled note found conspicuously next to his body that instructed us to cremate him without question and to leave any and all of his valuable belongings in front of the Chuck E Cheese he was found in. We are also, and I add this was a stipulation that was firmly requested to be read out loud tonight, we are also VERY MUCH CERTAIN THIS UNTIMELY AND ACCIDENTAL DEATH HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH THE KIND, GENEROUS Mr. Keophoxai (“K-op-A-sigh”), WHO IS NOT AT ALL CONNECTED WITH THE LAOTIAN MAFIA, black market candy scene, animatronic voice over artist union. He is only a DJ at Jizzney Land Gentleman’s Club and he was working a double shift the night of Dan’s death who he actually did not really know at all when he thought about it.
So, thanks for coming out tonight and thanks to the readers. We burn the body tomorrow. It’s BYOB, by the way. Also, bring some extra cash. We’ll be collecting to help pay off Dan’s dodge ball debt.
Click all the links above. Go read. Be a better person.
A lot of folks have written of their love of the source material and plenty of reviews admit the show deviates, and honestly, fine, I can live with that. We all saw what being TOO faithful can do to a new property based on a comic *coughWatchmencough*.
So, I’m not going to whine about changes. That’s what social media is for. Instead, I’m just going to share a little something about what makes Preacher so deeply personal to me.
When I was 3 my parents divorced. I have no memory of it, so I’m spared that trauma, but in many ways it fostered a deep sense of abandonment. For the years I couldn’t understand divorce or how people can fall out of love, I was pretty much convinced my dad up and ditched. Blown to the motherfucking wind.
Bonus fun fact: I was born in San Antonio, Texas…
Maybe you see where this is going, but I’ll make it even clearer.
My mom, in the throes of guilt only single motherhood could bring, decided to give me the best she could. This meant all sorts of cool toys, constant attention (when she actually had a day off), and a private school education.
13 fucking years of Catholic school.
And then Preacher happened. A story deeply rooted in Christian myth and ultimately, about sons searching for their fathers.
Holy fucking shit. It was a western. It was violent. It was blasphemous. It was funny.
And somehow, it was about me.
I decided I wanted to be a writer by the last issue of the UNTIL THE END OF THE WORLD arc. That something could be conveyed in writing and art that was so deeply emotional, raw, funny, and potent blew my goddamn mind.
Yes, I’ll always have my trades – they’re literally to my left as I write this, all 9, but I really hope the show manages to do what the books did for me to others. I really do want folks to get the heart of this story. Past the humor and violence. Past the iconography and insanity; there’s something incredibly sentimental to this story.
Hopefully folks will get to understand what it means to try acting like a man.