The Uninitiated’s Very Early 2017 Holiday Shopping Guide

Getting an early start on your 2017 holiday shopping list? Lucky for you, my novel Kings of Broken Things is now available for pre-order on Amazon at 25-40% off! The book really will make the perfect gift for family, friends, spouses, speed-daters, and any other folks you might become close with over the next thirteen months. Whether you’re celebrating Christmas or Hanukkah or X-Mas, or even Labor Day or Veterans Day or National Model Railroad Month–Kings of Broken Things will make the perfect gift for that special someone (or hobby enthusiast) in your life.

And if for some reason your didn’t finish shopping for the 2016 season yet, there are still copies of Bad Faith for sale too! BUY NOW!!!

Omaha’s Armistice Day Parade, 1918

I found this photo of the Armistice Day parade in Omaha on the awesome web site Influenza Encyclopedia, which has an extensive archive that details how the Spanish Flu epidemic decimated the US during the height of World War I. It’s really an impressive archive and is beautifully put together. Given that it’s Veterans Day today, it seemed appropriate to share a glimpse of what Omaha’s streets would have looked like about 98 years ago.omaha001


Solid Jackson Reading on Nov 4; More News

14606434_2126155184276951_2120107325737057729_nHi, all. A few notes to update, including that I’ll be reading on Friday November 4 at the new Solid Jackson Books location at 3925 Farnam Street in Omaha, starting at 7pm sharp. (See here for more info.) Joining me on the bill are poets Trey Moody (author of Thought That Nature) and Jeff Alessandrelli (author of This Last Time Will Be the First). The three of us were senior readers together for Prairie Schooner a few years back–more than a few now, I guess–so it will be great to share work from our first books and a special night all around, as Jeff and Trey recently moved back to Nebraska, and are new to Omaha.

In other Bad Faith news, a strong review of the book recently appeared on Necessary Fiction. Many thanks to Greg Walklin for his analysis here and excellent riffs off of the Nebraska Nice ad campaign. “Most of the characters in Bad Faith aren’t nice, and Wheeler plumbs that not-niceness throughout. The Pythagoreans talked of good as definite and finite, and evil and indefinite and infinite. Niceness may make for a slogan, and a friendly face to provide directions, but it is often just a veneer.”

Check out the Bad Faith book page here on the site for links to all the reviews and press the collection has received to date. I’ve been pleased with the reception the book has received, especially as a small press book, and am very grateful for the coverage. The book has been out for three months now, with a couple events still on the agenda. In addition to the November 4 Solid Jackson reading, I’ll also be reading at East City Books in Washington DC on Wednesday February 8, 2017, an off-site during the AWP Conference. This is the Key West Literary Seminar Workshop Alumni reading with Amina Gautier, Paula Whyman, Jay Desphande, and Sam Slaughter, something I’m thrilled to be a part of.

Also, if you check out my events page you’ll notice that I’ve already booked the first appearance to help launch my debut novel next year, as I’m scheduled to read from Kings of Broken Things on Friday, September 15, 2017, at the Writers Place in Kansas City.

Speaking of Kings of Broken Things, there’s been a lot of activity behind the scenes to get the book ready for publication next year. You can pre-order the Kindle edition for one thing, if you’re so inclined, with the bones of the page coming along over there. The publication date is set for mid August, and an audio edition of the novel is going into production too. How cool is that?! Copyedits were finished up last week and the process is moving along apace, with a cover and galley editions not too far off. !!! !!!

Bad Faith Now on Kindle (Plus a Request)

Bad Faith, my collection of short fiction, is now available in digital form via the Kindle format! And at the bargain price of $4.95. Click here if you’re interested.

The print version is still for sale, of course, at the still reasonable $15.14 for such a collector’s item, also over at Amazon. If you’d like to buy the book in person, check out the book page here for a listing of independent bookstores who have Bad Faith in stock. Many of these stores should have signed copies, fyi. (Or, if you’re tight on cash, you can always request that your local library purchase a copy. Or enter my currently open Goodreads Giveaway contest.)

If you can, please rate and review Bad Faith on Amazon and Goodreads. It may not seem like much, but having the book rated on these forums really does help a lot with the algorithm that suggests books to others and how much attention my novel will get next summer when it comes out. I’d really appreciate the help.

Thanks so much to everyone who has bought a copy of the book, either online or in person, and to those who stopped by at an event this summer. It’s been an exciting first month for Bad Faith. Traveling 17 out of 30 days, to 12 different cities, in 10 different states, for 11 lit events and readings. I had so much fun seeing old friends and meeting new ones, all while learning the ropes of what it’s like to be on book tour. Thanks for sharing the experience!

Bad Faith Book Party is this Month!

box o booksIf you’re in the area of Omaha, Nebraska on the evening of June 30 your presence is requested at Pageturners Lounge to help celebrate the release of Bad Faith, my debut collection of short fiction!

Here’s the Facebook event page. If you’re planning on coming and can RSVP that would help immensely with planning.

There will be a short reading, donuts, and ample celebration. Have a drink or two, buy a book, and get a personalized inscription. Omaha poet and writing-group-buddy Felicity White will emcee. Copies of Bad Faith will be available for purchase courtesy of The Bookworm, weeks before it is available for purchase in stores, by the way.

I hope to see you there!

Bad Faith Early Release Party
Thu June 30, 7pm
Pageturners Lounge (5004 Dodge St)

Miscellany on a Snowy Day

12633710_423636127833827_391863279269080749_oSince it’s a slow, blizzardy day here in Omaha, and I’ve got a few minutes before the girls wake up from their naps, here’s some miscellany of interest to the blog.

-First off, happy book birthday to Amina Gautier, who’s third collection of short fiction The Loss of All Lost Things was officially released from Exilir Press! Here’s what Christine Schutt had to say about the book: “Loss, loss of home, family, love–the freighted loss of children themselves–these are Amina Gautier’s subjects but prepare for enthrallment and surprise: These unexpectedly comforting stories of loss mend loss with reminders of our heroic inadequacies to love well. The Loss of All Lost Things is a touching collection of limpidly composed, irresistible stories,tempting to read in a sitting.” Make sure you pick up a copy, either from Amazon or SPD.

-Congrats to Julie Iromuanya, whose debut novel Mr. and Mrs. Doctor made the shortlist for the PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize! The Bingham Prize honors “an exceptionally talented fiction writer whose debut work—a novel or collection of short stories—represents distinguished literary achievement and suggests great promise. The winner receives a cash award of $25,000, a stipend intended to permit a significant degree of leisure in which to pursue a second work of literary fiction.” Just announced today, this is quite an honor, and very much deserved. Way to go, Julie!

-Yet more congrats are in order, as a couple weeks ago Jaquira Díaz was awarded one of two 2016-2018 Kenyon Review Fellowships! KR fellows are supported for two years while they complete a significant book project and teach one class a semester at Kenyon College. It’s a pretty cool thing. I met Jaquira at the 2012 Key West Literary Seminar as part of what turned out to be an exceptionally talented class of scholarship winners. She’s definitely a writer to watch.41q8ajkcfal-_sx322_bo1204203200_

-This is a couple weeks of an early happy book birthday, but check out (and pre-order) So Many True Believers by Tyrone Jaeger, a short story collection that’s due out on February 16 from Queen’s Ferry Press. While still in the planning stages, it looks like I’ll be getting out and doing a few readings/signings with Ty this summer. More on that later, of course, but for now… “So Many True Believers gives voice to the wanton, the restless, and those hellbent on self-destruction. The Nat Mota School for at-risk youth is the nexus of Tyrone Jaeger’s spiraling narrative; loosed from it is an array of characters yearning, raging, and chasing down their misguided dreams. There is Jeremy, mourning the loss of his girlfriend to a UFO cult; Harold, the betrayed husband exploring intimacy in unfamiliar waters; and Ginny, the teenage runaway hiding out with a band of video-obsessed squatters. Mystery, magic, and gritty realism are coiled against a backdrop of failed relationships and addictions in this darkly humorous debut collection depicting the frayed edges of the American psyche.”
-Finally, be sure to check out this interview with Alexander Chee, “Maybe It Was Worth It,” on The Millions this week. In addition to talking about his second novel, The Queen of the Night, which also releases today, Chee addresses at length the issues that confront novelists working in the age of omnipresent social media presence. Here’s a longish excerpt from the interview, and be sure to check out the whole thing over at The Millions:

TM: Did you feel commercial pressure, or worry about your own livelihood?

AC: This is a constant under capitalism though, right? But nothing in the book is there to make it more commercial or I would have used quotation marks around the dialogue. Other people may be able to write cynically, but when I do I want to die. Which was never the point of writing.0618663029-01-lzzzzzzz

The biggest pressure was when I had run out of the money. I was paid for this book, everything else was essentially unpaid work during which time I also had to work to pay bills. And the longer the novel wasn’t published, the more it seemed to endanger everything in my life — my ability to get teaching work, to successfully apply for grants, my relationship, future projects. Each small delay, each mistake, each wrong turn in the writing became enormous as a result and it was unendurable in the last two years.

The novel also ruined every family holiday vacation for a decade, too — typically the down time between semesters when you can get writing done.

Right near the end, I had a student write a story about the workshop, in which she was unkind to everyone in the class except herself, who she portrayed as a talented writer and a great beauty. This is something that happens at least once in every writing teacher’s life — the student who thinks it is brilliant to write about the class and make everyone talk about what she thinks of them. Me? She portrayed me as a failed writer who couldn’t sell his new book.

All I can say is, I look forward to when this happens to her.


January Pub Updates

ptl back doorSince it’s been a while since I offered a general state of the blog type post, here’s the latest in the world of the uninitiated.

-A pub date has been set for Bad Faith! My short story collection will drop on July 12, 2016. And while you’re hurriedly marking your calendars, I’ve also set up a pre-release party at Pageturners Lounge for Thursday, June 30, which will the first opportunity to purchase the book, have it signed, and toast with the author.

Between working through final edits on the book, the first blurbs coming in, and setting up events for later this year, it’s been an exciting, sometimes nerve-wracking experience. There will even be a cover before long. It’s happening!

-A few of my short stories will be coming out in the next couple months. “Violate the Leaves” in the spring issue of Boulevard, in March; “The Hyphenates of Jackson County” in Artful Dodge, by the end of February; and “On a Train from the Place Called Valentine” in New Stories form the Midwest.

-You may have noticed a few updates around the site. The last year I’ve slowly been transitioning this space from its blog roots to more of a proper web site befitting a published author with multiple books to his name. Or something. The process should be finished shortly, with a static front page and all that. I’ll still be blogging here every once in a while, maybe even a little more frequently. The whole “travel” part of the blog kind of took a backseat the last couple years, as I wasn’t traveling much, saving up money for potential book tours and bigger trips. Posting the same photos of me at Royals games over and over didn’t quite have the same panache as the posts from my summer touring Europe.

-One last thing, I want to include a note about the success we’ve seen with the literary pub quiz I’ve been putting on at Pageturners with buddies Ryan Borchers and Drew Justice. The turnout has been great, and it seems like the enthusiasm grows each month. The next edition is in a week, on February 3 with guest host Wendy Townley of the 1877 Society. We’re getting some great guest stars lined up for the spring/summer season, and I can’t wait to share the lineup. But I will wait, and hope to have that posted here soon. The series has been a lot of fun and I’m psyched to keep this going through the rest of the year. If you’re around Omaha the first Wednesday of the month, stop on in and talk some literature with a copacetic group of bookish folks.

Wheeler Schedules Book Signing at AWP Conference in Minneapolis

The proof edition of On the River, Down Where They Found Willy Brown.

As the headline tells, I’ll be signing copies of my chapbook On the River, Down Where They Found Willy Brown on Saturday, April 11 at the 2015 AWP Conference & Bookfair in Minneapolis from 10:30 am to 11:30 am. You can find me hanging out with Boulevard in the bookfair at table 1924.

If you’re using the schedule builder on the AWP website, be sure to add it to your itinerary with just a click at this page.

I’ll have copies available for purchase for $3. Boulevard will also be bringing a few copies of their four back issues that feature my work, which is pretty cool. If you’re looking to build up your Wheeler archive–who isn’t, these days?–this would be a good place to start.

Thanks so much to Jessica Rogen and Boulevard for sharing their exhibition space with me!

AWP Book Signing / AWP Conference & Bookfair / Minneapolis Convention Center

Saturday, April 11 / 1030a-1130a / Boulevard Table (1924)