Karamesines’ Pictograph Murders, and the Dilemma of LDS Literary Fiction Writers

The way I see it, In the world of LDS arts, we are a small family, and we have to take on multiple roles. Artist, critic, reviewer, publicity-generator, awareness-raiser… sometimes it can feel a little self-indulgent, or even dangerous, taking on these multiple roles.

Those who review books (influencing sales and ratings) often are those who choose which books are finalists in the Whitneys or AMV awards, for instance. And we all know each other. We’re all friends. It can be tricky. For instance, I have not yet had the courage to review Love Letters of the Angel of Death, even though I loved the book and feel it is an important work on the frontier of LDS literary fiction, simply because it was a finalist with my own novel in contest for an LDS arts award.

But, you see, we all need to do it. Review, create art, be friends, advocate for each other, etc. This often means putting on hats very carefully.

So here’s me, very self-consciously putting on my critiquer’s hat. I’m not speaking from a place of wisdom and skill as a novelist. Patricia Karamsesines is a consummate writer, far more developed than I am. My own novels are fluff in comparison. It’s true–they’re fluff. Though I do aspire to sell the sort of writing Patricia has had published, I’m a bit more mercenary, willing to collect an audience through the means of writing more commercial kinds of fiction for a while. So my skills and development as a writer have been directed toward things like plotting, keeping a pulse on the market and trying to come up with a story that might sell while still (sometimes clumsily) spoon-feeding unusual ideas and philosophy and things important to me. My focus has been not so much what I have wanted to focus on: , making an important theme a central message and refining flow and word choice, and continually making my writing more spare and beautiful… all the things that just make you have to stop and breathe for a moment when you read a poem (or novel) of Karamesines’.

I’m sure that The Pictograph Murders has been reviewed in the LDS arts community. Released 12 years ago, and a favorite with many of those I associate with, probably another review here might be seen as redundant or unnecessary. But I feel that there are very relevant themes to be brought out here… themes that apply to our current struggle as writers of LDS fiction, trying to find an audience, trying to be published. I’m going to just start with a straight-up review, then devolve (as usual) into the rest.

The Pictograph Murders is difficult to categorize, if that is important to you (and in the LDS and general Market, this seems to be increasingly vital if you are trying to sell books to an editor or publisher). The closest I can come up with is, it’s a hybrid of supernatural thriller and nature writing, very definitely and firmly in the category of what people call “literary fiction,” which to me, means writing that is done very well, writing that challenges genre.

In other words, writing that is hard to sell, and therefore, hard to place. Back to that in a moment.

Karamesines’ story is in my top three, if I listed all the LDS novels I’ve read and ranged them from most beautifully-written/most evocative and life-changing. The other two would be Angela Hallstrom’s book Bound on Earth and Jenn Quist’s previously-mentioned book, Love Letters of the Angel of Death.

Pictograph Murders was poetry with a hook, plot, and compelling character development. As with her poetry and creative non-fiction and nature writing, Karamesines takes nature writing beyond esoteric beauty of language and musing on her natural surroundings. She renders it, somehow, accessible and exciting and funny and frustrated and somehow, perfect in the human imperfection of herself as observer. In this way, she reminds me of my favorite nature writer, David Quammen. It is a consummate skill, bringing nature writing and poetry to the level where everybody who reads it (not just those who are into science and animals and nature and poetry), understands it and finds delight in the experience. It’s a skill that I believe is born in the mind and not easily acquired–a capacity to see the connection between humans and their surroundings, and to find humor and humanity in the natural world. It’s a rare mind that sees those connections as clearly as Karamesines and Quammen. It requires xenophilia, I think, and an openness of perception, a readiness to absorb any experience with humans, animals, or nature, and leave them uncategorized and un-judged… just perceived. I’m getting off-track, sorry.

Patricia’s voice is compelling, intelligent, warm, and honed to linguistic perfection. Like staring down into a beautifully clear desert pool the reading experience was un-muddied by poor word choice or extraneous descriptors. She chooses words that are just the right amount powerful and accessible, and so the reader will have an utterly immersive, powerful experience.

In addition, this is a story with a compelling plot, engaging and real characters, and dialog that flows naturally and often contains the sort of sly humor and wordplay (highbrow and low-brow, not just the sort of wordplay Karamesines herself would use, but true to all the characters), that is deft and satisfying. She creates a world and a situation that I want to immerse myself in because it is so different from anything I have experienced, and yet real… I feel, after reading this book, that I really have a feeling for what it would be like to spend time at an archeology dig in southern Utah.

The mystical elements of her story raised my eyebrow at first, but I soon found them perfect for the story. When the POV changes and we start reading about Coyote and his inner world it is a little jarring, but we soon sense the application to the story, and it drives the plot, while being wonderfully mysterious and fantastical. The sense of danger builds well through those passages, so that when we actually meet Coyote, we are well-primed to react to him just as the author intended. As a fantasy writer, I can tell you that this is very difficult to do–incorporate mysticism and fantasy into an utterly down-to-earth story with down-to-earth characters.

I loved the inclusion of Native American lore and mythology. It was not too heavy-handed, but left me with a feeling of having learned a lot about it.

The fact that this was a thriller, that Karamesines, a poet and nature writer, would choose this genre to write, makes me very happy for some reason. That she would choose a genre given usually to a lot of commercialism and make it her own, make it literary, is just miraculous to me. This is, I think, what we need in books right now. We need literary fiction to cross over into genres enjoyed by the general public. We need consumate writers who are willing to write the things that people are willing to read.

I’ll state the one or two things I did see that seemed a little rough. One is the characters–there were a lot of them, and I lost track of names. I feel like a few of them were under-developed for the story and the way they figured in later. I had to think hard and be like, “Oh, that’s right. He’s the cook’s assistant.” And I got the two women on the dig (other than the main character) mixed up sometimes.

The other is the dialog (with all its wordplay) did get a bit cutesy here and there. A little bit contrived in its linguistic cleverness. I still enjoyed it, but it did take me out of the story a bit.

Overall, I think this book should be one of those on Oprah’s book list, so that a much, much wider audience can read and appreciate. Because this book deserves that audience. You do not read very many stories like this in your lifetime–tightly written, consistent, literary while accessible to readers, funny, poetic, and frightening.

Which brings me to what I want to talk about. What does a writer of LDS literary fiction do these days?

In order to publish with one of the big 3 (Deseret, Covenant, Cedar Fort), you pretty much need to write a formulaic novel–the big sellers are historical fiction, historical romance, contemporary romance. There’s been a bit of YA fantasy and cozy mystery as well, but mostly the previously stated categories are what seem to sell in LDS bookstores. What if you’d like to write something that isn’t exactly a romance and isn’t exactly contemporary fiction? If it falls *enough* into a category, a publisher will take it and market it as such, and you’ll find an audience. Like my book, Mile 21. (The cover makes this explicit.) You’ll see, though, in reviews of my book, that while a lot of readers liked Mile 21, some who picked up my book hoping for a romance were a bit disgruntled.

Some writers have just gone ahead and done it–written the stuff the audience wants. I could too, if I wanted. I’m fairly certain, also, that Karamesines, Quist, and Hallstrom, with their command of language and character development and their scholarly tendencies, could write fabulous, bestselling historical romances as well, if they were willing to do that.

But we don’t want to. We want to write the stories that compel us. Which (not to dis romance or feel-good historical fiction–these are actually enjoyable for me to read) aren’t marketable to the general LDS market.

So where do we go? There are a couple, very selective independent publishers who specialize in LDS fiction that breaks the mold. This is where we got Bound on Earth and The Pictograph Murders from. But there, we have the problem of audience. The reach of these publishers is limited; mostly the people reading these books are us, the LDS arts community. Possibly the Whitney Committee, if one of them is nominated for an award, which can generate a good amount of reviews and press, but ultimately, if your LDS fiction isn’t on an LDS bookstore’s bookshelf, your readership is limited.

I suppose some writers might not be bothered by this. But I AM.

When I read a book like The Pictograph Murders, I feel kind of mad. I feel like the LDS population *should* all read this book. They would love it, if they would just pick it up. If they thought of LDS fiction as beyond romances and pioneer stories.

If LDS people who love reading literary fiction were to venture into an LDS bookstore and find several shelves filled with LDS literary fiction, they might be more likely to make trips to the bookstore and to think of LDS fiction in a less derisive light (I have several friends who say they don’t read LDS fiction because it is all romance or pioneer stories… tame, unchallenging… smug, even.)

If LDS people who love reading romances and pioneer stories could go into an LDS bookstore and find several shelves filled with LDS literary fiction, they might become immersed in questions, new viewpoints, redeeming ideas… they might find that they love books about archeological digs and the different facets of death and family relationships that mirror, very closely, pain and tragedy they experience in their own life, and give them comfort and new perspective.

I feel like the market is narrowing right now, as publishers struggle… there is not much room for what publishers aren’t *sure* they can sell. So where do we go, those of us who want to write a squirrely, non-conformist, genre-octopus of an LDS novel?

My husband has said a few times that he think things are ripe in the general market for a Mormon perspective. I’m not so sure. We’re not looked on yet, by the general public, as anything more than sort of quirky, I think. Sell a memoir as a Muslim–you’ll find an eager audience if your story is compelling enough. As a Mormon? At best you’ll find someone who might take a chance on your book as a quirky, offbeat take on American culture, lightly influenced by your odd, somewhat narrow, slightly delusional Mormon roots.

As LDS literary novelists, our primary audience right now is other LDS literary novelists, and the small collection of followers we might have gleaned on our own. Unfortunately.

Maybe I’m being really pessimistic. Sorry about that. And if I’ve offended people (I probably have,) just chalk this up to the musings of a frustrated writer/reader. And correct me if you think I’m wrong. I’d love to be wrong.

My point is, Patricia’s book needs to be read by more people than it has been read by, and that there need to be more books like hers, but I don’t see a lot of people with the chops to do so being willing to give it a try, given the current state of the LDS market.

Maybe my husband is right. Maybe the right direction is to take Mormon stories to a general market, and I need to overcome my pessimism and have faith that a general audience would find value in a Mormon perspective (that doesn’t have to do with presidential candidates or expository rhetoric on the subject of polygamy and other hot-button topics.)

In any case, I’m keeping this book on my shelf, and I’m buying a hard copy of Love Letters and Bound on Earth. I’m going to read some Doug Thayer. It will be my own personal collection of a genre that I treasure and hope will grow in numbers and authors.

45 thoughts on “Karamesines’ Pictograph Murders, and the Dilemma of LDS Literary Fiction Writers”

  1. .

    You know, Sarah, I woke up today with the worst case of new-year blues I’ve ever had. This didn’t help….

  2. Sorry, THeric. Yeah… kinda negative. I’m sorry. But I’d like to think of it as the beginning of a brainstorm. And I need advice 🙂

  3. .

    I think it will take an insider to change things. An Oscar-winning active Mormon actor who mentions such MoLit on Jimmy Fallon. An apostle quoting such MoLit in Conference. Deseret Book dedicating a shelf to books published by others merely to let people see them.

  4. hm. I’ve been thinking about #3. Do you think it would be possible to lobby at our local LDS bookstores….come up with a book list & get people to sponsor a special display/shelf or something?

  5. Though I’m pretty sure THeric is using the sarcasm font (if cleverly disguised) with his Three Solutions to the Marketing of MOLIT Problem, my special Font-Discerning Reading Spectacles appear to be smudged when I read Sarah’s response to THeric’s solution. Just in case she is not using the sarcasm font, I will venture an answer: No.

    This is why DB bought up all the competition. Heck’s-afire, even number two on your list of the Big Three is owned by the Big(gest) One!

    There is a fourth option that I think might create possibly just a bit of a mildish sort of somewhat moderate stir toward a blossoming of interest in LDS literary fiction: If nationally — or even INTERnationally — (in)famous LDS authors of popular genres were to actively promote such books on their websites and/or blogs, something might could happen..a little.


    I dunno.

  6. “Maybe the right direction is to take Mormon stories to a general market”

    The general market–just like the Mormon market–only wants a few particular types of Mormon stories.

  7. Which of the three? Love letters is punk oily shed by a Canadian press, bound on earth by an independent, small publisher & Pictograph Murders, signature books. Right?

    ….You don’t think that locals could lobby for a shelf dedicated to LDS literary works? I am not sure DB does what they do to have a stranglehold on the market, as much as they simply don’t want to risk losing money. I can tell you, having worked with & known editors at two of the three, that they oftentimes turn down manuscripts they love & enjoy &wish they could make a case for, but because the LDS market is such a narrow niche, they simply can’t risk the cost to print.

    One friend spoke of an author who wrote a fabulous, literary historical novel. They asked her to write a few romances first so she could gain an audience, so that they could ultimately risk on a non-niche book. This was Covenant,btw.

    I also know that they get disgruntled at some of the stuff they have to put through the process. Someone else behind the scenes told me that the editorial staff had an uncomplimentary nickname for the latest manuscript from an author who was one of their top sellers. (She got in trouble when she accidentally let this nickname slip in front of the author.)

    People at DB and all these other places love a good literary novel, too.

    Anyway. Thoughts.

  8. I think Scott meant that DB owns Covenant, which leaves Cedar Fort as the only independent mid-sized Mormon publisher.

    I also now want someone to work the phrase punk oily shed into a poem or story.

  9. I realized that was what he meant last night, musing over this while falling asleep.

    Punk oily shed is a poem to itself. A three word haiku. A Thraiku.

  10. Literary fiction is niche in the first place. The country can turn a handful of literary novels into bookclub bestsellers each year, while the vast majority of literary novels sell less than 2,000 copies in their lifetimes. Just the way it is right now.

    LDS Literary fiction is particularly niche to begin with, and has the added problem of potentially turning off first time readers with the author’s brand of activism. You mention that many mainstream Mormon readers don’t care for the bread and butter genres of the Mormon publishing industry (which is built around a distinctive audience made up of a subset of married women over 35 living along the Wasatch front), Many of the same Mormon readers won’t care for many of the stories published in Sunstone or novels that do comparable partisan cultural critique work.

    I suspect the trick to building an audience for Mormon literary fiction is to give readers short, easily accessible work they can check out for a minimal amount of effort and then link it to longer work with matching literary quality and implied author positioning relative to the community until you earn their trust. With the Lit Blitz and other contests, we’ve worked on step 1. We haven’t been as consistent about steps 2 and 3.

    I also think self-publishing is a viable path for people who are willing to accept niche audiences for what they are. We should probably start writing more literary novellas to get a better return on our efforts while still keeping costs for readers competitive. I think there’s probably a model out there that can make Mormon literary writing at least a sustainable hobby.

  11. I think you are mostly right, James. But there are wonderfully written novel length stories out there that would have broad appeal (I think) if a Mormon audience were better exposed to them. I feel like the niche of LDS fiction causes its own problem….for as long as the market is focused on only these few genres, the audience will only be people interested in these few genres.

    …. Self publishing is where I’m slowly coming to, I think. I wonder about that bookshelf idea. What if the LDS arts community pit together a list of literary works they felt would appeal to a General LDS audience. What if we got people to sponsor shelf space/a small display/ featured book/ a reading in their local Deseret Book? Has anyone tried? Normally, bookstores support local authors enthusiastically.

    The angle you are taking it from is very important too, James. I think you are right about all that, too.

  12. .

    It’s also worth mentioning that James’s novel is unquestionably literary fiction but it has awesome crossover potential being, as it is, also historical fiction.

    The trick maybe is to stop thinking of of literary fiction as “literary fiction but as “literary fiction and.”

  13. At Storymakers last spring Sara Zarr taught a great intensive. She said (and I paraphrase) that we needed to tell the stories we wanted to tell as well as we could, and not just submit them to local publishers. There are people in New York who want to hear our stories.

    That was not part of her original discussion, but she said she felt like she needed to say it.

    She’s not LDS, but she knows the Utah writing community well (and she’s a fantastic writer and teacher. I love her book _How to Save a Life_. So, so much. And I thought it was an interesting thing for someone well-connected with both the Mormon writing community and the New York writing community to say. Don’t sell yourself and your story short–you might end up local, but it’s okay to aim higher.

    She was very diplomatic, and “aim higher” is my phrase, not hers. She wasn’t intending to put down local publishers, just to say that Mormon writers do have other options. But since then I’ve thought that maybe there is a wider place for literary Mormon writing than I thought there was.

  14. Sarah: I think the first step would be figuring out what goes on the shelf and making sure there’s some sort of meaningful overlap in audience angle / rhetorical positioning. Maybe Goodreads lists are the place to start on the way to physical bookshelves.

    What books would you bundle together as having good overlapping appeal to the same audience?

  15. In addition to the above three, I would add yours, Theric Jeppson’s “Byuck,” Susan Downing Jarvis’s stuff, Gale Seares’ stuff, probably Thayer’s stuff (though I haven’t read any yet, so just speculating), Steven Peck’s Scholar of Moab. & I would want opinions from others….They would be literary fiction from a Mormon perspective that isn’t going to alienate the general LDS audience.

  16. Maybe some books of poetry as well. Yours, Fire In the Pasture, Harvest. Maybe Wilderness Interface Zone could eventually come out with a collection as well.

  17. Thinking some more…I might add Luisa Perkins in there, too. Speculative fiction usually isn’t categorized as literary, but we are blurring genres here 🙂 Her book is very well written with deep implications in LDS philosophy, etc.

  18. .

    Such a shelf should be leavened by some classics eg the better books of Nephi Anderson. I think that’s part of getting people to look in the first place.

  19. Well, we should put together a shelf. & perhaps a blog with cultivated titles, reviews & such, like the LDS fiction blog. We should do: LDSliterary, LDSpoetry, and LDSindependent. Something like that. I would be willing to start it if others, wiser and more steeped in knowledge than I, would be willing to help with gathering books for lists, scour the lads arts world for new releases, and contribute, reviews & promote on social media.

    Seriously, guys. I’m tired of sitting around complaining.

  20. .

    Moriah suggested that Peculiar Pages could host it at a subdomain such as ldsshelf.peculiarpages.com. I’m all for it. I can be like Santa in Miracle on 34th Street, sending customers to the competition. It’s a brilliant idea.

    Really, we have enough posts from writers on places like here that wouldn’t take much adaptation to become a Buy This post. I would just have to ask writers if they are willing to that adaptation.

  21. I think that’s a good idea. What about some goodreads shelves? I am thinking, too, we’d have to be looking for indie/ literary fiction everywhere, and reviewing it often. Blogs are only successful if there are a couple posts a week at least. Also, if we were trying to do the same kinds of things that have succeeded…hosting giveaways, maybe doing a book club with a bimonthly choice by one of the members & discussions online, etc….Anyway. kind of Ambitious. But usually only ambitious things make the kind of difference I’m hoping for :/

  22. “I come from a world where you get the film [book] done, that’s a success. I ain’t worried about what it does on opening weekend in ****ing Topeka or Phoenix, you know what I mean?”
    Abel Ferrara AV CLUB Nov 27 2002

    2666 Roberto Bolaño
    Something to be Desired Thomas McGuane
    Dispatches Michael Herr
    Angels in America Tony Kushner
    The Cloud Corporation Timothy Donnelly
    Narcopolis Jeet Thayil



  23. – which is to say, Sarah, write for the world or forget it, nobody cares, you should be submitting to Farrar, Straus & Giroux instead of … Deseret Book?!?! Really? Makes me want to leap & cuss

    The general public reads literary fiction that is #1 honest, #2 daring, #3 intelligent, #4 beautiful – i.e., impossible to write if you’re worried what the Brethren will think, or feel compelled to, for instance, edit out the obscene even if the obscene is part of the world you depict.

    Until The Year of Living Dangerously in 1978 (and the film in 1982) few people paid any attention to Australian fiction, either. One great book can change everything.

    Less-than-orthodoxl LDS writers also write literary fiction. Like it or not, you are part of that community, and there should be more connections for the sake of both camps.

    http://www.macdowellcolony.org/ All-expenses-paid fellowship, including transportation and lost wages. Stay two weeks to three months. Meet writers and artists from all over the world, working IN the real world, struggling those same struggles, a deep rich heritage of writers James Baldwin to Michael Chabon. I was there during Prop 8, and, as the designated Mormon, involved in many intense and intensely interesting conversations w/ writers-artists from all over the USA and world. (Quite coincidentally, I was also in-residence w/ Brian Evenson, who, by then, was no longer a member. More discussions.)

    MacDowell is illuminating, expanding, especially for those who have been long-cloistered as the LDS writers community seems to be. And yes, arts colonies can be quite Bohemian, but my standards were completely respected, no pressure. Please apply.

  24. Writing literary fiction for an LDS audience, particularly one composed primarily of other LDS fiction writers, releases the author from an ethnographic responsibility/opportunity – which ostensibly is one of the reasons a gentile might read Mormon lit in the first place (see Whipple’s The Giant Joshua 1942). The best lit fiction of our day is generally 50% ethnographic, and this is one reason a Mormon, hypothetically, might read Marlon James’ A Brief History of Seven Killings, or Thayil’s Narcopolis or even Ellroy’s The Cold Six-Thousand – worlds as different from his/her own as Mars, an awareness/knowledge of which facilitates an expansion of consciousness. Perhaps in stretching out like this, writing with pure honesty and great intensity about the LDS world for the larger world, you will also lure away certain of the predominate number of Mormon readers addicted to puerile fantasies. In fact, this phenomenon, the LDS readerships’ preference for the infantile, has the makings of a novel in its own right, in capable hands it could be extraordinary, sui generis.

    Maybe those hands are your hands.

    (Ethnography: http://dontdoitmag.co.uk/issue-6/ )

  25. Repent!

    Set the bar higher. Much higher.

    The inheritors of a vibrant literary tradition, not to mention the most optimistic theology on earth, should not cede a square inch of such rich & promising territory (“Anderson wrote of the Mormon experience- ‘What a field is here for the pen of the novelist.'”).

    At this point, not only have Mormon writers lost control of the narrative, they’ve actually lost the narrative. To make matters worse, they stand completely outside the intense creative electricity of the American and world literary communities.

    This can’t continue; any attempt to pry your way onto the bottom shelf of a some godforsaken Deseret Bookstore is not only counterproductive but a mortal sin. We’re talking about the literature of a chosen people.

    Fearlessness and audacity are all you’ve got. Pull out the stops. It’s time.

  26. Hi, P 🙂

    Who are you? Just out of curiosity. You sure have a lot of ads in your signature!

    That having been said. I do (as any writer & lover of LDS fiction does) want to be bold, as you say, and write the Great Mormon Novel, and make the NYT bestsellers list & also I would like to write a sellout fantasy series that one day becomes a full length film starring Lupita Nyongo and Dan Stevens and Hugh Laurie and Kate Winslet.
    The thing is, I also want to write for a *Mormon* audience. & I want the Mormon audience to find books like PK’s. Have you read it, btw? Or any of the others I mention above?

    Ooh. Have you read any of *mine?* 🙂 I don’t have then in my signature, but you can look me up on Amazon or Goodreads.

  27. All I’m saying, Sarah, is think bigger.

    Writing, or attempting to write (presumably “faithful”) literary prose for a (nonexistent) LDS readership is the very definition of futility. It will grind you down to nothing. (Judging from your post, you’re already halfway there.) Mormon fantasy writing is an abomination. Why would you waste your time with these?

    Good work, informed by a Mormon sensibility, is a different animal altogether, whether that influence in a given story is positive or negative. Attempts to portray the unalloyed goodness of Mormon culture will always fail, as will the opposite. Prose is powerful to the degree that it is honest, clear and unafraid.

    “As a child of the 50s—the Age of Conformity as Irving Howe called it—Roth tells us (in
    an interview with himself) that he first saw writing ‘as a religious calling and literature as a sort
    of sacrament.’ In the self-celebrating 60s, that demythologizing decade, he would break with
    literary decorum and piety.” … “Even should you choose to write in the simplest way, à la Hemingway, the task remains to impart the nuance, to elucidate the complication, to imply the contradiction. Not to erase the contradiction, not to deny the contradiction, but to see where, within the contradiction, lies the tormented human being. To allow for the chaos, to let it in.” http://www.laviedesidees.fr/IMG/pdf/20140505_roth_balint.pdf

    Join the community of American writers. You are one of them.

    Please apply to MacDowell.

    You, too, Th.

  28. Dear PD Mallamo,

    You make a lot of assumptions. Since I’m 39 weeks pregnant & therefore hormonal & therefore, probably not in a state for genteel debate, & feel kind of like you’re just venting anyway, I’ll leave you to them 🙂

  29. Faith in you and in several others. There are large talents in Mormondom, it’s just getting them pointed in the right direction & convincing them that the pro game is better than pick-up at the YMCA. Obviously you won’t be applying to MacDowell any time soon, but keep it in mind for the future & encourage AMV regulars to consider, it can be a game-changer. All best wishes on your soon-to-be new arrival.

  30. At this point, not only have Mormon writers lost control of the narrative, they’ve actually lost the narrative. To make matters worse, they stand completely outside the intense creative electricity of the American and world literary communities.

    I have no problems controlling the narrative in my work. What I DO have a problem with is marketing. If you can’t do that, you can’t set the world on fire. If nobody knows about it, did it really happen?

    (Pix or it didn’t happen.)

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