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.

Don't Mess Up My Block Advances to Second Round of ABNA

My new book, Don’t Mess Up My Block, has advanced to the Second Round of the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award (ABNA).

ABNA brings together talented writers, reviewers, and publishing experts to find and develop new voices in fiction. The 2012 international contest will award two grand prizes: one for General Fiction and one for Young Adult Fiction. Each winner will receive a publishing contract with Penguin, which includes a $15,000 advance.

Finalists will be announced in May with grand prize winners selected in June.

Don’t Mess Up My Block is a novel that satirizes self-help books like Who Moved My Cheese and The Secret. It follows the adventures of an ambitious consultant as he goes from disaster to disaster, believing that success is a matter of just following the right catchphrase.

Read the first chapter and then buy it for yourself!

First Chapter – Don't Mess Up My Block

Here’s the first chapter of my new novel, Don’t Mess Up My Block. This fictional work is a satire of self-help books and is a funny, fast read. Check it out!

A Street Corner Epiphany

All business success rests on something labeled a sale, which at least momentarily weds company and customer.
– Tom Peters

Late one night, I got lost. It is on these unexpected journeys that you sometimes encounter the greatest discoveries. I certainly did.

Was it the 97 Pinch Mountain cabernet? Or perhaps the postprandial mojitos we imbibed at Marquez? It had been a client dinner that had gone long, after a day of business process reinvention. My client (an elderly CEO I cannot name) was garrulous, as many of them are, and wanted to talk and theorize after spending the day planning the next great reorganization of his Fortune 500 company. Continue reading “First Chapter – Don't Mess Up My Block”

My New Novel – Don't Mess Up My Block

Don't Mess Up My Block book cover

I’ve written a second novel. Don’t Mess Up My Block is a funny parody of self-help books like The Secret and Who Moved My Cheese. Here’s the description:

The secret to success is to not let other people “mess up your block.”

Or at least that’s what Laurent Christ thinks, in this satiric novel disguised as a self-help book.

Laurent has pursued 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, providing advice to corporations around the county. Everywhere he goes, comic disaster follows as companies follow his glib counsel.

But failure is not going to stop him as follows the path laid out by his mentor, Esalen McGillicuddy. One man and a story – that’s all you need to make it in America.

As a management expert, he’s inevitably drawn to Washington, DC. But even he is appalled by the incompetent bureaucracy he finds in the city. Maybe he’s been wrong about everything. Maybe you need more than a catchphrase to find success in this country.

Laurent tells the sprawling story of his life in Don’t Mess Up My Block, a literary novel that examines the American faith in gurus and easy solutions. It’s a dark satire that is reminiscent of Catch-22 and Absurdistan.

Don’t Mess Up My Block is available in a variety of formats:

Check it out – the novel is a funny, entertaining read.

"The Really Real World" Published in Thematic Literary

Thematic Literary Magazine, Issue 3
Thematic Literary Magazine, Issue 3

My short story, The Really Real World, has been published in Thematic Literary Magazine. It was in the “smitten” issue and is a darkly comic look at how the quest for fame ruins a budding romance.

I wrote it after The Real World came to DC. They didn’t seem to belong here. We’re not sexy and, as ambivalent as I am about this city, at least it’s composed of people trying to accomplish things rather than just desperately seeking fame, like LA.

Fame distorts everyone, from the people in the spotlight to those in the wings.

"The Happiest Man in Washington" Published in eFiction Magazine

My short story, “The Happiest Man in Washington” has been published in eFiction Magazine. You can read it below. If you roll over the pages, you’ll see backward and forward arrows. Click on the page and it will become a full-screen view.

This story was inspired by a homeless man I used to see daily at 17th and Rhode Island in DC. He was a neighborhood fixture, a happy face greeting commuters every morning. I wondered how he got there and if he ever thought about leaving the streets.

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Like this? Read more of my short fiction and my novel, Murder in Ocean Hall.

(For you WordPress geeks, eFiction is a magazine that was created using Issuu. You can embed and customize the viewer.  I used the Issuu “customize and embed” tool to get the code to paste into my site. I made the embedded viewer one page across (instead of two) and to start on p.67, where my story is, rather than at the beginning of the magazine. The WP Issuu plugin was also necessary to make all this work. It’s not difficult.)

Warning: Novel in Progress

With more than 40,000 words written, I think it’s safe to reveal that I’m working another another book.

It’s not a mystery like my previous novel, Murder in Ocean Hall.

Instead, it’s a satire called Don’t Mess Up My Block. My novel is a parody of self-help tomes like Who Moved My Cheese.

The story is told by Laurent Christ, a management consultant and life coach from the plains of North Dakota. A late-night encounter with a hooker (who tells him to get lost) becomes his core philosophy, one that he applies successfully to life and work.

Aren’t we all afflicted with people or situations that are “messing up our block”? Whether it’s a nagging spouse or an annoying boss, wouldn’t we be more effective without them?

From the swankiest of CEO sanctums to the bowels of government, Laurent leads us in a misfortune-plagued journey through the world of work in America today. A creature of his own invention, he always comes out ahead, while leaving his clients in misery.

The book was inspired by the self-help genre, this popular and peculiarly American phenomena. If Mark Twain were alive today, he’d probably be writing a book on getting organized.

Excerpts from this book have already been published, as stand-alone stories:

Don’t Mess Up My Block
Thirty First Bird Review
Laurent goes to Africa and destabilizes a whole country.

Boom and Bust
SPLIT Quarterly
Shareholders are angry and only Laurent can save a desperate executive.

I’m diligently working on the book right now. Look for it on a Nook or Kindle later this summer!


The National Museum of Women in the Arts – Not Just for Women

The National Museum of Women in the Arts (NMWA) is one of those museums that even long-time Washingtonians aren’t aware of. It’s not on the Mall, it charges admission and with only a small sign marking its location on New York Avenue, it’s easy to overlook.

I had never been inside until invited by Michelle Cragle, the Communications Director at the museum. A former Masonic temple, NMWA is an architectural wonder. And it has some fascinating artistic treasures of interest to any gender. You don’t need to be a woman to visit the museum, as I wrote in a guest post for NMWA.

Cheating at Golf Published in Story Bleed Magazine

The Great Recession has changed the lives of millions. Jobs have been lost, people have been kicked out of their homes, retirement nest eggs have disappeared. Worse than the economic damage, however, has been the loss of hope in the future. Optimism has been replaced by worry and fear.

Which is what my short story, Cheating at Golf, is all about. Published in Story Bleed Magazine, an online literary journal, this is a dark tale set in sunny Florida. In it, an escape to a golf course brings no relief to a man’s troubles.