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.
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.
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”
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:
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.
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.
(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.)