Coming Soon – THE SWAMP

When an errant drone crashes into the White House, it triggers a chain of events that leads to the end of the country as we know it.

Welcome to THE SWAMP, my new novel mocks the city that America has come to hate.

THE SWAMP begins on Christmas Eve, when a drone crash causes a security scare at the White House. Fox News screams, “How can we keep the President safe?” A crackpot idea from a cynical TV correspondent – let’s move the nation’s capital to an underground bunker – becomes an uncontrollable political movement. Can the President and the rest of official Washington contain this red state rebellion or will it swamp them all?

From mommy bloggers to scheming bureaucrats, THE SWAMP is a love letter to this city – and a wish for its destruction – packaged together in a black comedy reminiscent of Christopher Buckley and Evelyn Waugh.

Read the first chapter to get a taste of THE SWAMP.

Murder in Ocean Hall – Free on Kindle! Black Friday Special!

Murder in Ocean HallBlack Friday Special!

Why wait in line to buy some giant piece of electronics that you don’t need? Instead, stay at home and download my novel Murder in Ocean Hall for free on the Kindle.

Starting at the Smithsonian, the book is a tour of DC that one reviewer called, “A profile of the nation’s capital city from the inside out.” Another reviewer said Murder in Ocean Hall was, “A thoughtful and discerning first novel by an author with something to say.” Another said, “Joe Flood is a find.” (That was my favorite.)

And look for a sequel to this book coming next year!

Books, Blogs and Biking: The Year in Writing

While I did all sort of fascinating freelance work in 2012, I couldn’t survive another year like that. Thankfully, 2013 was different as I settled into a job as  Communications Manager for government. This meant regular paychecks, but less time for writing, which is exactly what I needed.

The Wallace Line coverDespite this, I still managed to do some interesting work. The big news from 2013 was the publication of The Wallace Line. My short story of a fundraising trip that goes horribly wrong was a finalist for the Nelson Algren Award. It was beautifully printed as a custom booklet that appeared in the Chicago Tribune’s Printers Row. And I got $1000, the most I’ve ever made in literary fiction.

But what made the experience invaluable was the opportunity to work with top editors from the Tribune. Seeing how closely they edited my short story was instructive. I learned a lot watching them. Their editorial diligence demonstrated how you edit fiction.

I blogged all year long, on joeflood.com and other sites. I did a couple a guest posts for Digital Book Today, blogging about how reading novels is good for you and that coffee shops are ideal for writing. And I wrote about government communications at GovLoop with posts on storytelling and Steve Jobs for govies.

Coffeeneuring (where you bike to seven coffee shops over seven weekends) became an obsession, combining my love of writing, photography and cycling into one irresistible package. I blogged a lot about biking, including the memorable moment WABA Ambassador Pete Beers gently educated a driver about not running him over.

In March, I was on a DC Shorts Mentors panel on screenwriting, discussing my work as a judge for this film festival and my award-winning screenplay Mount Pleasant. I also worked on a screenplay adaptation of my novel Don’t Mess Up My Block – I’m not sure it’s ready for prime-time. And in May, I got to judge the AU Visions contest once again.

DC Shorts (now in its tenth year!) returned in September, and I provided my advice on where to eat, drink and chill in the Penn Quarter during the festival, as well as the best films to watch online. One of the great things about DC Shorts is its screenplay competition. The winner, Five Days in Calcutta, was selected after a live reading at the Atlas Theater. Look for it next year at DC Shorts.

What’s next? I’m working on another novel! Murder on U Street examines Washington’s art scene, as Detective Jefferson investigates a suspicious death at a hip gallery. It’s a sequel to Murder in Ocean Hall. Look for it later this year.

Guest Blog on Digital Book Today: Reading Novels is Good for You

I have a guest post on Digital Book Today on how reading novels is good for you. Novels teach essential skills, such as concentration, careful reading (not skimming web pages) and the ability to frame and express a story. Novels are more than just entertainment. Immersing yourself in words on a regular basis will improve your writing ability, something that is vital for business success. You’d be surprised at the number of college grads I’ve met that can’t write a sentence. Being able to craft blog posts, articles, reports and other kinds of communication is a way to differentiate yourself from your ADD-afflicted peers.

Digital Book Today was founded by a book industry veteran. Its mission is to help readers find new authors in the digital world. It focuses on e-books and provides a great list of free new e-books every week.

V/H/S: A Horror Flick for the YouTube Generation

vhsIn the latest issue of On Tap, I have an article on V/H/S, a new horror anthology that opens this week. In this bloody collection of short films, a group of thieves come across a stack of mysterious videocassettes, each more disturbing than the last.

Lots o’ blood, gore, genital removal, sex, nudity, impaling, screaming, running and shakycam. But if you’re into that kind of thing, then this is the movie for you.

I screened the movie on a laptop and had the chance to interview Joe Swanberg, one of the directors of V/H/S. His short film is pretty interesting – it’s a horror flick told by Skype, where you watch a guy and his girlfriend chat online, as things steadily go wrong. Directing two actors who were both on the screen for the entire movie was a real challenge, according to Swanberg.

It’s always interesting talking to directors – Swanberg shared the thrill of seeing his flick on the screen at Sundance. When he heard the shocked gasps of 800 people in a theater, he knew he had succeeded.

Interview with Morgan Spurlock, Director of Mansome

Morgan Spurlock
Morgan Spurlock

What makes a man?

I had a chance to interview Morgan Spurlock for On Tap magazine. The director of Super Size Me discusses his new documentary Mansome, which explores male vanity in modern America.

From beard contests to the epidemic of manscaping, being a dude has become a lot more complicated.

No Fooling – Don't Mess Up My Block Free on Kindle

Don't Mess Up My Block book coverIt’s no April Fool’s joke. Get my novel Don’t Mess Up My Block for free on the Kindle.

This offer is just for April 1 so act quickly.

Don’t Mess Up My Block is a parody of self-help books. This funny and cynical tale follows the adventures of Laurent Christ, a man who pursues self-improvement to its logical conclusion – he reinvents himself with a brand-new name and history. He drops a hundred pounds, shaves his head and goes on the road as a management consultant. Everywhere he goes, comic disaster follows as companies follow his glib counsel.

It’s a fast and funny read so download it today!

Free Kindle Books – All Weekend Long

In honor of my Irish heritage, you can get Kindle versions of both of my books for free all this weekend.

Don’t Mess Up My Block is my newest novel. It’s a funny parody of self-help books that examines the American faith in gurus and easy solutions.

Murder in Ocean Hall is my first book. It’s a mystery and is ideal for anyone who wants to learn about Washington beyond the monuments.

And you don’t even need a Kindle to read them for free. You can also read them for free using the Kindle app on the iPad, iPhone or computer.