Book Deal!!!

deal
The listing in Publishers Marketplace!

I’m very excited to share that my next novel will be coming out with Little A in the Spring of 2020! It’s a pleasure and a privilege to again work with editor Vivian Lee on the book.

This is the novel I started working on in 2014 when on fellowship that summer at Akademie Schloss Solitude. I began with the basic idea that I wanted to tell a story from the perspective of an NSA spying investigation after reading about how government contractors became so acquainted with some targets of surveillance that it became like a reality TV show for them, except surreptitiously through a web cam, and without consent. And not just the vulgar things they witnessed, but when relationships started and ended, when siblings or children died, jobs were lost, etc. I’d just read Uwe Johnson’s Speculations About Jakob, a novel that features a Stasi detective who becomes enmeshed with the lives of the East German family that’s the object of his surveillance, and the premise seemed so alive and relevant that I had to try my hand at the contemporary American equivalent. My novel didn’t exactly end up like Johnson’s, and it was turned by dozens of additional influences, but Speculations made for an invigorating model, particularly as I wrote that first draft of the book in Germany.

A much-deserved thanks goes to my agent Stephanie Delman for her tireless work in helping me get to the heart of this story and working out a deal to have the book published with Little A, my second with them, of course, after Kings of Broken Things. Many thanks to those who helped this book along with notes and emotional support, including Nicole Wheeler, Amy O’Reilly, Drew Justice, Kassandra Montag, CCB, Ryan Borchers, Felicity White, Bob Churchill, Ryan Norris, Doug Rice, Jean-Baptiste Joly, Jeff Alessandrelli, Trey Moody, Brent Spencer, Dave Mullins, the creative writing program at Creighton University, and many others I’m surely forgetting. More soon!

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A Few Updates, Plus Photos from the Durham Museum

SAMSUNG CSCHey, loyal readers. I hope you’re doing well. Things have been busy here around the Wheeler homestead, what with a few more readings to promote Kings of Broken Things, I spoke with Mary Hartnett on Siouxland Public Radio about Tom Dennison’s legacy in Omaha, saw Kings named as having one of the best book covers of the year by Book Riot, and most recently appeared on the Writing Fun YouTube channel to talk about the process of writing historical fiction and whether or not I’m into the MLB post-season even though the Royals didn’t make it this year. (Meh.) Along with teaching fiction writing at UNO again this fall, starting Dundee Book Company, and that whole full-time job and family thing, I’ve been busy.

A couple more things.

First, I’d like to point out that the hardcover edition of Kings of Broken Things is now 49% off at Amazon. I know many of you already have the book, but if you don’t yet have a copy, or don’t yet have the beautiful hardcover version, and have been waiting for the price to drop online, here you go.

Lastly, Carrie Meyer from the Durham Museum was kind enough to send along some images from our awesome Objects of Inspiration event at the museum a few weeks ago with my fellow Omaha historical novelists Timothy Schaffert and Andrew Hilleman. It was such a fun event, made even more special by the select artifacts that Carrie had pulled from the Durham’s archive. Specifically related to Kings, there was a WWI-era doughboy uniform and an amazing zither. See below for the full gallery. (All photos were taken by Dawn Myron and appear courtesy of the Durham Museum.)

Now we’re all caught up.

More Photos from August Events

Here are a few more photos from my events this month. Between the release of Kings of Broken Things and the launch of our “roving” bookstore (Dundee Book Company) I took part in an even ten events this month, ranging from traditional readings to launch parties to street fairs, radio spots, a cocktail party, and finally setting up last Sunday at my grandparents church. It’s been exhausting and exhilarating to talk to so many people about the book, and the events start up again this Friday when touring-author Zachary Schomburg and I will read from our debut novels at Solid Jackson Books. See you soon!

Kings Makes Book Riot Best Covers List

wheeler-kings-of-broken-things-final-front-coverSome exciting news for a Tuesday, as Kings of Broken Things was recognized by Book Riot as having one of the best book covers of the year! Check out the full list for what look like some great books, and kudos to Book Riot for going there and judging a bunch of books by their covers. As I mentioned last week, it’s a beautiful cover, so I’m glad to see it get some much deserved recognition.

Some other news:

-An excerpt from Kings was posted this morning on Schloss-Post. Thanks to Akademie Schloss Solitude and online coordinator Clara Herrmann for putting together the post. Most all the promotion for the novel has focused on the race riot, so it’s nice to bring a little focus to one of the more character-driven elements. In this case, the chapter introduces Evie Chambers, the female lead in the novel, and sets up her life as a kept woman on Omaha’s Capitol Avenue.

-I have a few events in Omaha and Lincoln coming up in the next week or so, which includes being on a panel of historical novelists at Oak View Barnes & Noble on Sat Aug 19, a reading at Indigo Bridge Books in Lincoln on Tue Aug 22, and a cocktail reception with the 1877 Society and Omaha Public Library Foundation at Mercury Lounge on Wed Aug 23. If you’re in the area, come on out and say hi.

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. !!! !!!

Photos from the Road: Bad Faith Book Tour ’16

The summer photo dump spectacular continues! Here are a bunch of photos from the bookstore readings I was a party to this summer while out promoting Bad Faith, my debut collection of short fiction.

On to the photos in a second, but first, thanks to all the booksellers, book buyers, and bookstores along the way for your hospitality and hard work. And a special thanks to Dave Madden, Amina Gautier, and Tyrone Jaeger, my compatriots out on the road. This was such an amazing experience and I couldn’t have found any better people to share it with.

March Updates

bad faithThings are coming along as the July release of Bad Faith gets closer. After a few rounds of edits and cover design meetings and inside design meetings and proofreading and proofreading, we’re almost to the galley stage. Then, some proofreading! The process has actually been pretty cool, and I’ve really enjoyed working with editor Erin McKnight. That the book ended up with Queen’s Ferry Press was a real stroke of luck. More on the book soon, including a preview of the cover in a few weeks.

-My short story “The Missing” (published in The Southern Review last year, and in Bad Faith) was featured on a new book podcast called Story Buds. The series has an interesting premise: the hosts re-imagine the plot of a published story going off of only three sentences from the beginning, middle, and end of the piece in question. (NSFW)

-Last month I mentioned how Julie Iromuanya’s novel Mr. and Mrs. Doctor was named a finalist for the PEN/Bingham Prize for debut writers. Not satisfied with only one major nomination, Julie’s novel was recently named a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award! Pretty cool stuff for a Lincoln native and UNL creative writing program grad. If you haven’t yet picked up a copy of Mr. and Mrs. Doctor, do so soon.

-Michael Catherwood has a new collection of poems coming out later this spring, If You Turn Around Quickly, that’s currently up for pre-order at the discount price of $8 at this link. Mike writes the best poems about Omaha going (not to play favorites) and his previous collection (Dare) is one I’ve gone back to many times.

-Richard Burgin’s newest short story collection, Don’t Think, came out from Johns Hopkins University Press a couple weeks ago and continues a solid run of Burgin books the last few years. Be sure to check it out!

41sm3ftriyl-_sx322_bo1204203200_In Don’t Think, his ninth collection of short fiction, Burgin offers us his most daring and imaginatively varied work to date. The stories explore universal themes of love, family, and time, examining relationships and memory―both often troubled, fragmented, and pieced back together only when shared between characters. In the title story, written in propulsive, musical prose, a divorced father struggles to cling to reality through his searing love for his highly imaginative son, who has been diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome. In “Of Course He Wanted to Be Remembered,” two young women meet to commemorate the death of a former college professor with whom they were both unusually close―though in very different ways. In “V.I.N.,” a charismatic drug dealer tries to gain control of a bizarre cult devoted to rethinking life’s meaning in relation to infinite time, while in “The Intruder,” an elderly art dealer befriends a homeless young woman who has been sleeping in his basement.

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.

Ma Vie à Stuttgart, Week 1

No worries. It's all uphill from here.
It’s all uphill from here.

I’ve been settling in after arriving for my fellowship at Akademie Schloss Solitude in Stuttgart.

Some things from the first week:

-First and foremost, they take their foosball very seriously here. If you’re going to step up to the futbol table, you better bring it.

-Lots of weddings at the castle. This is my sixth day here and I’ve spotted four brides so far–including two this morning. Besides all the art and music and interesting collaboration going on, this place would be a wedding crasher’s dream. Free champagne four times weekly! On the other hand, it seems like a lot of the wedding parties merely come here for pictures and have the reception elsewhere. So far, four brides, but only one beer delivery truck. Caveat emptor, wedding crashers.

-TSA took my toothpaste, so one of my first tasks in Germany was picking out a new tube of toothpaste. I probably should have made more of an effort to learn functional German. Seems to have worked out okay, on the toothpaste score at least. My teeth are intact, and only a little gritty.

-Really enjoying all the courtyard cafes. I’ve noticed a few biergarten, but haven’t stopped in yet. Mostly I’ve been getting by on bread rolls, salami, and granola bars. There’s lunch here for fellows during the week, which is something to take advantage of whenever possible. A bus runs right by the Akademie, but it’s kind of expensive to make a bunch of casual trips. Otherwise it’s at least a thirty minute hike down to the village supermarket. Maybe double that coming back, as Solitude sits at the top of a pretty heady incline. I get the feeling that not many of the other fellows are hiking as much as I’ve been, as I haven’t seen anyone else drenched in sweat all the time, huddled over with shin splints. Oh, well. With my spartan diet and all that hiking, hopefully I won’t be so doughy by the end of summer. Or I could act like a normal person and just take the bus.

-I haven’t done a ton of writing so far. One short story is drafted, a story I’ve been trying to write in some form or another for nearly a decade–I think I found the right form and voice this time around. That seems like good production for what’s been a pretty fraught week. Been doing a lot of thinking about the new novel I’m starting, while hiking, before and after napping. I’ve been reading a lot too, which usually precedes writing output. Anyway, nothing comes easy when mostly I’ve been moping around feeling bad about what an asshole I am for being here in the first place. It was very hard to leave home.

-I’m thinking of doing a little side trip, maybe next week. Friedrichshafen sounds nice. It’s the home of Zeppelin University, which I will repeatedly mispronounce as Led Zeppelin University. Imagine how different my life could have been if, when deciding on colleges while in high school, I’d known (mistakenly) there was a Led Zeppelin University. Anyway. Lake Constance is there. There’s a company that does Zeppelin elevations and rides. It’s pretty close and would be an easy way to test myself on the regional trains. I should do it, right?

-Enjoy these photos.

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