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Nick Holmberg

Nick Holmberg

Des Moines, Iowa

Nick has lived, learned, taught, and traveled in major metropolitan areas on both sides of the Pacific. These experiences inform the unique perspectives from which he writes.

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About the author

It could be said that Nick's entire life has been lived to write this book.

While growing up in the Central Valley of California, he spent a fair bit of time in what is now known as the Silicon Valley; it was the first major American city that he was steeped in. Santa Clara Valley—and its nearby mountains and ocean—captured his imagination long before the advent of the internet era. The people’s history of the bygone agrarian and canning industries in the area intrigued him so much that he ended up moving there in 1995 for undergrad at SJSU—just north of Steinbeck Country. Nick read various world literatures with guidance from a wide variety of scholars, but studying Steinbeck—a master of empathy—under Susan Shillinglaw was key to his development as a student and a writer of fiction.

Though it was in San Jose that Nick explored and observed his first adult influences in literature, art, music, and diversity, it was a gap semester at the age of 20 that informed his writing in a way university could not. He traveled solo for the first time, surviving on about $2,000 in busser/waiter cash and meeting people from all over the world; writing in earnest over those two months; staying in hostels; and traveling by bus and train. Ultimately, he produced what would later become material for the now-completed second volume: pain that cannot forget.

Before he moved to New York City in 2003 to pursue an M.A. in literature and creative writing, Nick wrote his first successful short story. It was part of his application to CCNY and was a short story that tested the bounds of his empathy. Someone whom he was close with at the time was attempting to figure out issues related to sexuality. He processed this by writing from a perspective that, in some ways, resembled this person's perspective. What he wrote for his CCNY application morphed into the early pages of the forthcoming toil & sound.

If Nick's social consciousness was still in a somewhat nascent stage when he moved to New York City, living for a year in the Washington Heights neighborhood of Manhattan opened his eyes. It gave him a real sense (however limited) of being an outsider: he may have been the only white person in a half mile radius. This and other cultural experiences in NYC entwined fortuitously with his courses. And these factors dramatically affected creative choices he made in Toil & Sound. He studied in depth the work of the South American and Caribbean magic realists; beyond the early slave narratives, he dove deep into the African-American canon.

Nick moved to South Korea in 2006. Among other things, he was fortunate to find new experiences and people. His lifestyle also allowed him the solitude needed to write. He expanded his book ideas over the course of four and a half years; he completed the first draft of his two novels. Since then, he has continued to read widely and write online about intercultural and social issues.

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Pre-orders

260

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$5,388

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Success! Toil & Sound sold 260 pre-orders by May 15, 2018, was pitched to 116 publishers, and will be self published.

$9 digital Kat

32 readers

You are modern and mobile. You'll get:

--your name listed in the acknowledgements if you so choose
--invite to a launch party

Ebook included

$19 Kat

60 readers

You are modern and mobile, but you like the weight of a book in your hands and the pages between your fingers. You'll get:

--one hard copy
--your name listed in the acknowledgements if you so choose
--invite to a launch party

1 copy + ebook included

$3 shipping

$29 Kat & Alma (EARLY ADOPTER-LIMITED) Sold out

15 readers

You and a significant other are avid readers. If you purchase this limited package, you'll get:

--two hard copies (at a discount) so you and your friend can read and discuss as you make your way through Kat's journey
--your name listed in the acknowledgements if you so choose
--invite to a launch party

2 copies + ebook included

$5 shipping

0 of 15 left

$59 Kat & Nick

4 readers

You and a couple chums sit around discussing books. This could be the beginning of a new book club. You'll get:

--three hard copies
--your name listed in the acknowledgements if you so choose
--half-hour virtual hangout with me
--invite to a launch party

3 copies + ebook included

$7 shipping

$89 Kat in Café Matisse

6 readers

You could be accused of being sentimental because you long for the day when your café and the people in it were as eclectic as the conversations you had with your friends. You'll get:

--four SIGNED hard copies
--sneak peek at Chapter 1 in its entirety
--prominent mention of your name in the acknowledgements if you so choose
--your choice:
one-hour virtual hangout with me
OR
2 hours at a coffee shop with me and three friends (travel and lodging would be extra)
--invite to a launch party

4 copies + ebook included

$7 shipping

$99 Kat & Nick book club

4 readers

You and your fellow bookworms are a tight group, and you take your literature seriously. You'll get:

--five SIGNED hard copies
--one-hour virtual or in-person book club meeting with me (travel and lodging would be extra)
--prominent mention of your name (or your book club's name) in the acknowledgements if you so choose
--invite to a launch party

5 copies + ebook included

$12 shipping

$119 Kat at 3rd & Santa Clara

2 readers

You are a person about town. Everyone knows you and you want to share this book with them. Help spread the word! You'll get:

--six SIGNED hard copies to share with friends
--sneak peek at Chapter 1 in its entirety
--prominent mention of your name in the acknowledgements if you so choose
--your choice:
an hour of WA or WI macrobeer and rail liquor at a dive/neighborhood bar of your choice with me (travel and lodging would be extra)
OR
a similar virtual sitdown with me
-- poster of the cover art
--invite to a launch party

6 copies + ebook included

$9 shipping

$175 Kat in San Jose book club (LIMITED)

0 readers

You want to expand your book club or give extra copies to other important people in your life who may not be in your book club. Help spread the word. You'll get:

--ten SIGNED hard copies
--90-minute virtual or in-person book club meeting with me (travel and lodging would be extra)
--prominent mention of your name (or your book club's name) in the acknowledgements if you so choose
-- poster of the cover art
--invite to a launch party
--FREE SHIPPING

10 copies + ebook included

Free shipping

5 of 5 left

$210 Kat in Caravan Lounge

4 readers

You have several literature geeks in your orbit and you would like to share these pages with them and brag that you know the writer. Help spread the word. You'll get:

--ten SIGNED hard copies to share with friends
--sneak peek at Chapter 1 in its entirety
--prominent mention of your name in the acknowledgements if you so choose
--your choice:
--an hour and a half of WA or WI macrobrew and rail liquor in a dive/neighborhood bar of your choice with me and one of your friends (travel and lodging would be extra)
OR
--a similar virtual sitdown with me
-- poster of the cover art
--invite to a launch party
--FREE SHIPPING

10 copies + ebook included

Free shipping

$449 Kat & The Long Valley

0 readers

You are entrenched in your community and would love to share and discuss the perspective in the book with others. Help spread the word.

--twenty SIGNED hard copies to share with friends
--sneak peek at Chapter 1 in its entirety
--prominent mention of your name in the acknowledgements if you so choose
--drinks and appetizers for you and a friend with me (travel and lodging would be extra)
-- poster of the cover art
--invite to a launch party
--FREE SHIPPING

20 copies + ebook included

Free shipping

$899 Kat at San Jose State University

1 reader

You could have paid a large portion of a semester's worth of full tuition in the mid-90s at SJSU. But here you are: an incredible patron (and librarian? or an agent?) with many friends who like to read and discuss literature. Help spread the word.

We will discuss additional details for your package, but your package will include:

--thirty SIGNED hard copies to share with friends
--sneak peek at Chapter 1 in its entirety
--prominent mention of your name in the acknowledgements if you so choose
-- poster of the cover art
--invite to a launch party
--FREE SHIPPING

30 copies + ebook included

Free shipping

Toil & Sound

-- the revisionist

It's mid-1990s Silicon Valley. 19-year-old Kat has lost her entire family. She confronts an identity crisis unique to that era. Social media algorithms cannot define her—but her family mythology might.

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Literary Fiction Coming-of-Age, Family Saga
84,000 words
100% complete
15 publishers interested

Synopsis

 

The novel begins in the mid-1990s with the aftermath of Kat (the 19-year-old narrator native to San Jose, California) losing track of her lifelong friend, Alma. Though Kat suspects Alma's boyfriend is the reason for the disappearance, Kat begins to wonder if her own actions over the course of their lives have driven Alma away. 

Kat then ends up in New York City under mysterious circumstances. Over the course of a year, she tells her life story to two different lovers, interlacing histories that are not necessarily her own.

Be assured, however, this is not another New York City novel—the last thing this world needs. Kat’s narrative is set in places like the shores of Oakland after the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and Depression-era farming communities of California’s Central Valley. Most of Kat’s story of her own up-bringing takes place in and around the south Bay Area, nearby coastal areas, and San Francisco.

This is the first of a two-part series that explores the very nature of identity formation before the internet era changed it forever.

Outline

Available upon request (in order to avoid spoilers).

Audience

ages 19-55

While there are elements of fiction in the novel that adult readers of all ages will appreciate, my target audiences are Gen X-ers, Millennials, and older Gen Z-ers. These demographic groups read far more than any other adult demographic (Pew Research Center). Having said that, there is a case to be made for gearing the marketing of my book toward women simply because they read more than men (Penguin-Random House). Most importantly, regardless of gender, these generations--given the time in social and cultural history in which they have lived--would be particularly interested in the theme of identity, a topic so frequently a part of modern public, as well as literary, discourse. 

It is worth noting that several successful contemporary books about identity (e.g. Ko’s The Leavers and Bulawayo’s We Need New Names) were simply designated as “Adult Fiction” even though they share many characteristics of "New Adult." The reason for this is likely that books marketed as "Adult Fiction" sell far more than other genres; also, "New Adult" often is linked to explicit sexual and romantic content, aspects that are not the focus of Ko's, Bulawayo's, or my work. Though there may be an advantage to simultaneously marketing a book in two different genres, my novel would be most appropriate if sold as “Adult Fiction."

Promotion

Since I started putting my campaign together in October 2017, I have been engaging my social media friends (Facebook friends = 500+) in order to build awareness of the project. But, given the current uncertain future of Facebook, I have also diversified my strategy by using Twitter, Linked-In, YouTube, and good old-fashioned email. Goodreads has been another great way to see what books people are reading and to engage these people in conversations. 

For several months, I drew attention to my archives from 12 years of online writing through my most recent writing. Currently, I am sharing more about myself as a writer, a reader, and a first-time book promoter. This platform specifically has helped me establish myself as a serious writer among the potential readers in my general internet orbit. I am currently in the early development phases with a colleague in order to update my author website.

Given that I have a background in literature and a fondness for the art of conversation about the social contexts in which books live, I have included virtual and in-person sit-downs in certain packages of my campaign. To that same promotional end, I plan to do readings and signings in several of the metropolitan areas I have lived and therefore have readers: San Jose, New York, Chicago, and Houston. The fans in each of these cities also will act as my regional promotional ambassadors.

Finally, I maintain relationships with several published writers who could write promotional blurbs for the book.

Competition

We Need New Names (Regan Arthur Books, 2013) by NoViolet Bulawayo

Told from the perspective of an adolescent girl from Zimbabwe who eventually comes to America, We Need New Names is a coming-of-age story for this era of hyper-globalization. While I do not deal with the effects of moving across the world in Toil & Sound, I examine comparable neither-nor identity issues. Though in a much different practical approach, I use a similar narrative structure as Bulawayo that includes short sub-chapters with a voice that may or may not not be attributed to one individual.

The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao (Riverhead Books, 2007) by Junot Díaz

This is the story of a bookish, lonely, over-weight Dominican teenager in urban New Jersey. Díaz looks at the revolutionary actions against the Dominican dictator Trujillo and the resulting curses on Oscar Wao’s family due to their involvement in that revolution. The scope of Toil & Sound contains several brief historical accounts, but it does not deal in depth with any particular one like Oscar Wao does. However, the use of history to extend themes like love and isolation are resonant in both books.

The Vegetarian (Portobello Books, 2015) by Han Kang

Kang takes the reader on an exploration of the physical, emotional, and familial consequences of what amounts to the main character Young-hye’s act of revolution against the mores of Korean society. Young-hye makes a decision to completely alter her lifestyle based on a violent dream she has. Similarly, my main character, Kat, may or may not be influenced by often disturbing visions. Unlike Kang, I more closely examine how a person's upbringing may influence the actions she takes while growing up and how that influences her coming-of-age at 19 years old.

One Hundred Years of Solitude (Harper & Row, 1970) by Gabriel García Marquez

One Hundred Years of Solitude is a sweeping family saga that follows seven generations of the Buendía family in Columbia. The novel blends history and myth in a way that indicates a unique reality of many Latin-American cultures in which magical realism genre originated. Though not nearly as broad in scope or disorienting in presentation, Toil & Sound contains some structural and thematic magical realist elements present in One Hundred Years of Solitude, a book that forever changed Latin-American literature and holds sway in the multicultural literature of America today.

East of Eden (The Viking Press, 1952) by John Steinbeck

In John Steinbeck’s opus, we are told a family saga of the intertwining stories of two families (the Hamiltons and the Trasks) in the Salinas Valley; I also use the Northern California agrarian scene of the 1930s-1950s Central Valley as a backdrop to tell how two characters’ families meet. Steinbeck uses Biblical lore and actual family history to explore the theme of free will. Conversely, organized religion plays a minor role as a foil against which I examine the consequences of action and inaction.

15 publishers interested Express interest
Black Rose Writing logo Black Rose Writing

Innovative - Self-reliant - Nimble - Forward Thinking - Subject Experts - Entrepreneurial - Engaged

Black Rose Writing is an independent publishing house that strongly believes in developing a personal relationship with their authors. The Texas-based publishing company doesn't see authors as clients or just another number on a page, but rather as individual people... people who deserve an honest review of their material and to be paid traditional royalties without ever paying any fees to be published.

Black Rose Writing, established in 2006, features books from an array of fiction, non-fiction, and children's book genres, all having one thing in common, an individual's originality and hardship. It can take endless hours to finish a deserving manuscript, and Black Rose Writing applauds each and every author, giving them a chance at their dream. Because Black Rose Writing takes full advantage of modern printing technology, the company has an infinite print run via print-on-demand services.

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Koehler Books logo Koehler Books

Koehler Books is an Indie publisher based in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Our team of dedicated professionals promises you a holistic publishing experience where you'll receive our full attention, collaboration and coaching every step of the way. We offer two publishing models: a traditional non-fee model for the highest quality work, as well as a co-publishing model that includes creative development fees for emerging authors.

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Odyssey Books logo Odyssey Books

Odyssey Books is committed to publishing engaging and beautifully written books. Books that stretch the imagination, challenge pre-existing attitudes and beliefs, or take readers to far-flung climes. Books are always a journey. And as our name suggests, we invest in epic journeys, adventurous voyages and intellectual or spiritual quests. Readers are sure to find a book within our range of titles to challenge, inspire, and entertain.

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Pennsylvania

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Hybrid publisher

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i2i Publishing logo i2i Publishing

i2i Publishing was founded by Lionel Ross who is himself the published author of eight books. He knows, only too well, the almost impossible task confronting a new author when he seeks to find a book publishing company. Writers devote months and years of their lives to crafting and creating books devoted to the education and entertainment of unseen others. They then discover that their beloved manuscript is just a piece of often worthless merchandise in the eyes of the vast majority of book publishing companies. New authors receive countless numbers of rejection letters from the mainstream publishers who prefer to play it safe with either established authors or celebrity authored books. Finally new writers turn in desperation to the so-called Vanity market. There they are promised, in return for vast sums of money, that their book will be published.

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Prodigy Gold Books logo Prodigy Gold Books

The History
Prodigy Publishing Group was founded in 2009 and has been steadily publishing distinguishable trade paperback fiction since. Its flagship imprint Prodigy Gold Books is spearheading its journey with a fall 2017 line up that includes four novels by four authors sure to delight readers. Prodigy Gold Books is dedicated to publishing a variety of must-read books on a wide array of topics and genres.

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Our mission is to showcase established voices and to introduce emerging new ones—both fiction and nonfiction genres.

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Children Fiction, Literary Fiction, Mind & Body, Mystery, Thriller, Horror & Suspense, Science Fiction & Fantasy, YA Fiction, Biography & Memoir, Business & Money, Career & Success, Cookbooks, Food & Wine, Health, Fitness & Dieting, History, Journalism, Personal Growth & Self-Improvement, Politics & Social Sciences, Religion & Spirituality, Science, Society & Culture, Sports & Outdoors, Technology & the Future, Travel

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Atmosphere Press logo Atmosphere Press

Atmosphere Press is an independent full-service publisher for books in genres ranging from non-fiction to fiction to poetry to children's picturebooks, with a special emphasis on being an author-friendly approach to getting a book into the world. We're professional, honest, and kind.

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Headless chickens and fingerless hands, vines and a screaming child, dark glasses and grease and sweat—theft. Vinyl-recorded symphonies and the roar of busses and trucks do not stifle these things. The world and the music entwine themselves deep.

This is a birth or some fleeting pleasure.

Wake. Run.

Tell this to anyone.

No one notices. No one listens.

Burrow in tunnels under towers.

An old man looks at the darkness, a young man reads a book, a young woman rubs her bruised thighs. An old woman looks at her passport and pulls her luggage closer.

And the tunnels become oceans. The oceans are people, and the people are obscured.

This is a birth and some abject horror.

Wake. Swim. Feel the salt sting scrapes and bruises and cuts and burns.

Tell this to anyone.

Notice. Listen.

-----


There were reassuring whispers. When they stopped, I went searching for them. I wandered the streets and avenues for a week and stayed on the subways at night. Back and forth, over and over between the Bronx and Brooklyn or Queens and the Bronx or Northern Manhattan and South Ferry. I found the whispers, but they weren’t calm any more. So that’s why I got off the train here in Marble Hill.

Okay, fine, Lilly. I needed a job and a place to stay, so I answered your ad.

**

I don’t know why I’m here in New York. The last thing I remember clearly is that my friend, Alma, disappeared. After that, it’s been like walking through a dream where not even half of what happened can be recalled.

It was about six weeks ago. I strode through downtown San José, rubbing the newsprint off my fingers, listening to a new CD on my battered Discman. I tried to think about anything to settle my nervous stomach. Oddly, I wondered if Richard Jewell had really planted the bombs at the Olympics a few weeks ago, if Fiona Apple’s “Sleep to Dream” would make sense if I kept listening to it, if the scenery always changed so quickly from one side of downtown to the other. On one side of campus, new and old business towers stand beside giant cranes. It’s a confused mass—the angular library looks like a hospital, a vine-covered lecture hall impersonates a church, brick-arched faculty offices resemble classrooms, a white-stuccoed classroom building seems like a Spanish-mission, and red brick dorms loom like prison cell blocks. On the other side of campus, old Victorians clash with Craftsmans, and square apartment complexes—all in various states of disrepair.

I waited at an intersection as the detoured evening rush hour traffic bottle-necked along the road. I felt my stubbly scalp; even after a few months, I wasn’t used to it. I took off my earphones; over the grinding gears and idling engines, there was a long guitar solo from the little white house across the street where I’d lived until a few months before. The odor of charcoal and lighter fluid mingled with the traffic vapors.

Alma sat on the front steps. Her navy-blue tank top, loose blue jeans, and black Doc Martens made her white skin glow. Shoulder-length, platinum hair caught the light of the late-summer afternoon sun. She was talking with a young woman in a pale sundress. After I crossed the street, a dirty-blonde hellion careened on her trike through some well-worn tracks on the corner of the lawn of Alma’s rented house. Dress flapping, the little girl belted a wicked laugh tore off down the sidewalk.

“Ella!” the woman yelled. She started running after the little girl, stopping for a second to shrug a sorry. I waved and smiled. The woman turned and ran off to catch Ella.

“That Ella’s mom?” I asked Alma.

“Adopted, but yeah,” Alma said, her black eyes following the pursuit. “Name’s Coral. Nice lady. She’s moving soon to be with her sick grandfather.”

“New hair?” I asked, wondering if she’d notice mine. I kissed her on the cheek, smelling sandalwood and cigarettes.

She said, “Yeah. Cut it out of boredom. Besides, my natural shade was dirty-looking. Thought I’d brighten things up a bit.”

“It worked,” I said as I sat down next to her. “What are you doing out here?”

“Place is crawling with people. And Loskie.” Her face twisted. She lit a cigarette. “Has he always treated me like this?”

I opened my mouth, took a quick breath, pressed my lips together.

Alma continued, “I must have gone five or six times to the corner store for him today—beer, wine, wine-opener, ice, garlic. Fifteen minutes ago he demanded another bottle of Jack. I’ve been sitting out here ever since.” She paused. “Enough of my goddamned drama. Where have you been all summer? Why didn’t you drive here?”

“In this traffic? I wouldn’t have driven even if I still had the car.”

She gasped, “You sold the ’66? What the hell?”

“Yeah...I just couldn’t afford it anymore.” I took a drag off Alma’s cigarette.

“Hey, cool hair. It highlights your ears.” She turned to watch the traffic. “So where’d you go?”

I gave back the cigarette and watched a beat-up Datsun pickup lurch and stall in traffic. “Traveled up and down the coast, spent time in San Francisco. I wanted to go to New York City but it’d be too tough to find a job.”

Alma scratched her shoulders until dry skin flaked. “Do you really hate yourself that much to want to live in the filth of all those people.”

“You’ve never been to New York.”

“Neither have you. And I don’t know why you’d want to. I can hardly stand San José. I wanted to escape this city, escape the people. Instead, I got busted.”

“Jesus, Alma,” I groaned. “Again?”

She hung her head, bangs covering her face. “Just after you moved out.”

A man’s voice rose above the music, “Yaaaa, you’re damn right!”

Alma sighed. “I had two shots and a beer. It’s not like I was drunk.”

“They’re never gonna let you drive again.”

Alma stared at the brick steps. “I just got out of jail. Ten days. That’s why Loskie’s throwing this party. But I gotta say, spending one night in the drunk tank should have counted for four days in jail. The women in the tank were dirty and mean from their oncoming hangovers.”

Again, the man’s voice pierced the music, “Haaaaa!  Yer goddamn right!”

 I rolled my eyes. “Well, should we go in?”

“Sure.” Alma pressed her cigarette into the steps. “They’re all his friends, though. Nobody really knows me.”

But we watched the traffic inch along. Around the corner came Coral carrying the trike and the screaming Ella. Coral threw the trike on the lawn. Struggling up the steps to the house next door, Coral shrugged her shoulders and smiled at us. Alma and I laughed. Ella bit Coral’s shoulder, and Coral yelped. They disappeared into the house.

I followed Alma and her sandalwood-cigarette scent. In the living room, we made our way around three huddled folding chairs and a makeshift coffee table—a plank laid across two empty blue milk crates. From the top of a small TV-VCR combo, a stern-looking couple glared at us from the cover of an empty VHS box, a fighter jet streaking under their faces. Holes ravaged the doors. Music and yelling from the backyard echoed off the hardwood floors.  

“Walls are bare,” I said. Only scuffed smudges—some of boot soles, most of handprints—decorated the white walls.

“Yeah,” Alma said, scratching her chest below her collarbone. “My sketches came down when you left. But I won’t let Loskie put his stuff up. Airplanes would cover the walls. He really wanted to fly.”

“Jesus. Can you imagine him at Top Gun? ‘That’s right, Ice…man. I am dangerous.’”

“How many times did we watch that damn movie?”

We laughed and walked into the kitchen where the back door was open. Noise became louder. Barbecue smoke rolled inside in slow, regular waves as we sat down at the table. The music stopped. The yelling outside wound down to a murmur, the room continued to fill with smoke. I bumped the kitchen table and knocked over an empty beer can as I opened a window. Alma got a couple of Keystones from the fridge and popped the tops. We both took long swigs from the silver aluminum.

“So where exactly did you go this summer?” Alma asked, red marks appearing near her collarbone where she’d just scratched.

“Did some traveling before I sold my car.” I thought for a moment about the woman I’d met late in the spring. A silence persisted and the smoke continued to flow into the kitchen. The walls were moving closer and I looked around for a way out of the room. I found Alma’s big dark eyes.

I smiled and said, “Sorry about that.”

“About what?” She rubbed the raised red scratches on her chest.

“I was just spacing out for a second,” I chuckled. Then I lied, “I…I went up to Oregon and down to L.A.”

**

Red and purple saturated a large cutting board. A foil tent perched on top of the board. Congealed fat and blood ran onto the off-white formica.

“Rare!” a man yelled, moving near the back door. “The only way to have it. Sear it super hot, trap those good flavors.” A distant voice responded.

Alma snatched her copy of Metro magazine and walked to the stove. The distant voice kept speaking; I stared at Alma, but her blonde bob guarded her from my gaze. She crossed her arms and started scratching her shoulders again.

“Yeah,” the man squawked, “I got two types and I won’t cook ‘em any other way. What? This is my house. You don’t like the way I cook, don’t eat. Hell. More for me. What?”

The distant voice asked another question. Alma leafed through the weekly, turned it over and started again, pretending to read about restaurants and upcoming downtown shows. I opened my mouth but didn’t say anything.

“Like I said,” the man shouted. “There are two types of meat at my parties: blue and red.” The man stumbled over the threshold and spilled meat-juice and Jack Daniel’s on the light-blue linoleum. Drab brown hair matted with sweat, he stood barefoot in jeans and a barbeque-stained Hawaiian shirt. Light blue eyes stared at me. After a brief pause, Loskie said, “Speaking of rare. Holy shit.” He smiled crookedly at me. “Where the hell’ve you been?”

“Away.”

Loskie set the platter of steak down and lurched toward me. I moved toward the door, but he wrapped his arms around me from behind, cold whiskey splashing onto my arm. He rested his head on mine.

“Well,” Loskie said. “We missed you.”

I stood still in the damp-boozy embrace. He let go and I wiped the liquor off my arm.  Alma stared at the magazine, her arms looking as if they would bleed soon. Loskie gulped a long drink and eyed his knife rack.

“Goddammit!” he exploded. Alma jumped, and I retreated. He stomped around, opening and slamming every drawer in the kitchen.

“What’s the matter, honey?” Alma whispered, now rubbing the raised red-streaks on her shoulders.

“I told you,” he said, pulling out a chef’s knife from a narrow drawer. “Put the goddamned knives back where they belong or they’ll get dull. You’re such a…” he trailed off and took a deep breath and faced Alma. He went toward her. But he embraced her, said, “I yuve you” and kissed her with a loud smack. Alma stroked his cheek and gave him a weak smile. I sat again, keeping my eyes on the knife in Loskie’s hand.

After taking another swallow from his cup, Loskie drew a sharpening steel out of the knife rack. He paced the kitchen, running the long blade of the knife across the steel rod with surprising speed and precision. Then he stopped and glared at me. “Where’ve you been?”

[...]



  • Update #7 - updates on re-writes and contracts July 6, 2018

    Hello, all.

    A fiction writer’s job is to walk a line between telling a good story and unsettling readers to the point that they ...


  • Update #6 - ahh...the joys of typos May 25, 2018

    "I have been enjoyed email correspondence..." should have read, "I have enjoyed email correspondence..."


  • Update #5 - Brief update May 25, 2018

    Hey, all.

    Quick note: I have now been contacted by three independent publishers. There are several more who have been queried by Publishizer and have yet ...


  • Update #4 - 104% of the goal May 15, 2018

    Good afternoon, everyone.

    We've reached the end of the official Publishizer campaign...and have exceeded the goal. The contribution you have made will allow me more ...


  • Update #3 - 68% of the way to 250 preorders May 3, 2018

    Happy day before Friday, all!

    I am looking forward to a good weekend of work. I will continue reading through the manuscript (how many times ...


  • Update #2 - First traditional publisher expresses interest April 24, 2018

    I was contacted today by Morgan James, a traditional publisher. They have expressed interest in my "timely and compelling story" and have asked to see ...


  • Update #1 - Update title April 19, 2018

    Well, we're cruising along here. Looking pretty good for five days in and already 43% toward the goal. Thanks so much for your help ...


cancel
  • Kyle Murdock
    on April 15, 2018, 3:55 p.m.

    You're the man! Looking forward to reading and sharing with friends.

  • Lynsey Miron
    on April 16, 2018, 4:08 p.m.

    so exciting to see this coming together - congrats friend!

  • Anne Kemp
    on April 16, 2018, 4:34 p.m.

    Go Nick! Making room in my bookshelf just for you!

  • Jeanne Anderson
    on April 16, 2018, 4:45 p.m.

    Big supporter - and I went with the option that aligned with my previously promised amount. Just make sure the $ goes to the best use you can, so if you want to hold onto 8 of the 10 books to gift elsewhere or whatever, I have no problems with that - just make sure I get 2!

  • Marta Holmberg
    on April 17, 2018, 4:04 a.m.

    Love you! Excited that you're following your dreams. <3

  • Melissa London
    on April 18, 2018, 12:59 a.m.

    GET IT. Also "Be assured, however, this is not another New York City novel—the last thing this world needs. " Love you anyway.

  • Tara Serrato
    on April 18, 2018, 3:13 a.m.

    Brita’s family is my family and thank you for including me in the opportunity to participate in your journey as a writer. I wish you the very best and can’t wait to read.... and read many more to come.

  • Emily Padgett
    on April 18, 2018, 2:09 p.m.

    Stoked for this read and for your accomplishment! Cheers!

  • Erin Pitman
    on April 18, 2018, 2:27 p.m.

    Excited to read this, Nick. What an accomplishment!

  • Kimberly Halsey
    on April 18, 2018, 4:17 p.m.

    I'm so excited for you, Nick and can't wait to read this. I've ordered a couple of extra copies; one to donate to the library I currently work for and another for the Sycamore Public Library back in IL. Wishing you all the best. Hugs to you, Nic and Frank.

  • J. Dan Lee
    on April 19, 2018, 2:18 p.m.

    Awesome work Nick! Always great to see more of your writing. Looking forward to more.

  • Meg and Adam Hoog
    on April 19, 2018, 7:39 p.m.

    I remember you talking about publishing a book as we sat, eating shabu-shabu in Anyang. I’m excited that your dream is becoming a reality, and I’m excited to read the novel. Best of luck!

    -Meg

  • Kelly Siefering
    on April 19, 2018, 7:58 p.m.

    What an achievement, Nick! I'm looking forward to reading "Toil and Sound". I went to grad school for history at SJSU. I have some great memories of my younger self in San Jose.

  • Neil Buettner
    on April 19, 2018, 8:16 p.m.

    Can't wait to plan a hike or trip to the beach to read your upcoming book when it gets released!! When we follow our passion and true calling, the world gets a little better... I'm stoked for you, bro!! 🤙

  • Jason Ramirez
    on April 21, 2018, 8:38 p.m.

    What an accomplishment, Nick... Congratulations to you and the very best of wishes!

  • Dayle Johnson
    on April 22, 2018, 2:38 a.m.

    Wishing you well on your dream to publish your book. So proud of you. Your Aunt Dayle

  • Amber Sims
    on April 22, 2018, 3:29 a.m.

    What an exciting season for you! In much anticipation for your success!!! - Team Sims

  • Pam & Lars Holmberg
    on April 22, 2018, 6:34 p.m.

    We're so proud of you Nick! We can't wait to read the book! Love you! Pam & Lars

  • Dawn Miller
    on April 23, 2018, 12:43 a.m.

    Best of luck!!!! I will enjoy the read. Aunt Dawn

  • Julie Ann O'Connell
    on April 24, 2018, 1:35 p.m.

    So thrilled for you, and excited to read about Kat and Alma. Perhaps a Feed 'Em Soup -inspired book might be next. Think of the interesting characters you'd have to write about!! I saw Nellie walking downtown the other day :-)

  • Eunjoo LEE
    on April 26, 2018, 8:42 a.m.

    So proud of you! from your Korean sister;)

  • Marissa Moser
    on April 26, 2018, 8:24 p.m.

    I love that you are pursuing your dreams! Big hugs to you. Marissa (Venn)

  • Shelley Shirkey
    on April 29, 2018, 11:30 p.m.

    Congratulations Nick! Can’t wait to read this Book.
    Wishing you all the best in this process.

  • John Campos
    on May 4, 2018, 1:30 a.m.

    Hey Buddy! Very proud of you taking a chance and believing in yourself....

  • Elena Niola
    on May 4, 2018, 8:46 p.m.

    My friend, Heidy from Ecuador, recommended this book to me. She was your student at Norhtern Illinois University. So far, I enjoyed watching the promo video; the story seems very engaging; so I'm looking forward to reading it!!!

  • Susan Shirley
    on May 5, 2018, 5:04 p.m.

    Nick, your dedication to your writing inspires me, and from the looks of it, many others. Keep meeting new people, keep making keen observations, keep stepping into different or uncomfortable shoes, and know that you have had a lasting impact on my life. I'm so proud of you!

  • tamara wade
    on May 5, 2018, 5:04 p.m.

    Great job Nick. So proud of you for following your dream.

  • Nancy Monday
    on May 5, 2018, 8:25 p.m.

    We wish you great success, Nick, on this and future endeavors! Looking forward to a good read!

  • Andrew Murphy
    on May 6, 2018, 2:29 p.m.

    To my first friend in the ROK, Congrats!!! This dream of yours has taken many twists and turns, ups and downs, and I'm sure even a few loop de loops!!! Mia and I feel privileged to be a part of making your dream become a reality.

    Can't wait to change your name in my Rolodex from aspiring writer to PUBLISHED AUTHOR!!!

    Cheers,
    Murph

  • Alex DAnna
    on May 7, 2018, 7:29 p.m.

    Go Nick, you can do it! Best Wishes Alex Peri Salma & Farida

  • Osama Alharthi
    on May 7, 2018, 8:03 p.m.

    Dear Nick, thank you very much for making me part of your campaign even with my humble help. But, I hope I can help more in the future campaigns.

    Sincerly,

    Osama

  • Heather Winnan
    on May 9, 2018, 12:05 p.m.

    I wish you the best of luck in your writing endeavor, and I look forward to reading your work. I'm so excited for you!

  • stamata Dreliozis
    on May 11, 2018, 4:20 p.m.

    It has been a pleasure being your colleague and friend. The best to you.

  • Jack Lelko
    on May 13, 2018, 5:44 p.m.

    Best of luck, from one writer to another. I'm excited to read the world and characters that you have imagined.

  • Kristen Redding
    on May 15, 2018, 6:01 a.m.

    You got this! Love you bro. Always in your corner. xoxoxox