Wednesday, September 19, 2018

OUTLINING YOUR NOVEL

Hi folks

From time to time, I rerun the following material in hope of reaching new audience members. This is basic material, but I've found that oftentimes new writers have never been exposed to some of the material.

This is the exact handout all new members of my online novel-writing class receive and are required to adhere to. It works, as evidenced by the fact that nearly three dozen writers have had their novels published or gained good agents after writing their novels with us.

I hope that you gain value from it. A lot of it may seem like old wine in new bottles and it is, but it sometimes pays off when reviewing material we may have forgotten.

One thing I've noticed is that sometimes writers feel they don't want to outline. Been there, done that. However, please read the following with an open mind. It may help that I don't believe in those outlines Missus Gundy used to have us write back in PS 101--those ten-page long monstrosities with Roman Numerals. The outline described here consists of five statements and 15-25 words. Period. You can write it on a postcard or a napkin. Those who've given it a try though  swear by it.

Okay. Sales spiel over...


Once I convinced our beagle Buddy to use an outline, he was able to finish his book. True story...



OUTLINING A STORY
Les Edgerton

            Like a lot of writers, I wasted a lot of time in my writing career simply because I ignored what is probably the biggest "secret" in creating short stories and novels. I didn't outline.
            Outlines were a particular type of hell English teachers visited upon you - those horrid things with Roman numerals and topics and subtopics and all that junk. Yuch! Outlining took all the fun out of reading a book.
            I also read interviews with writers who said they never outlined. It would destroy their "creativity" many claimed. The way to write a story was to create a character, start them out in trouble and kind of follow them around as they had neat adventures. What it took years to realize was that my characters had great adventures and it was kind of fun following them around...until somewhere between pages eight and twenty when they would peter out. I had a drawerful of some of the best starts of stories you ever saw. Problem was, they never went anywhere. And most of them never came close to an ending. Oh, a few did, the really short ones. There were even one or two that came to a respectable length...after rewriting them twenty times.
            What I didn't realize for the longest time was that writing involves the processing and integration of large blocks of trivial bits of information. As the length of my stories grew, so did the complexity. All of a sudden, I was on page thirteen and I suddenly remembered I couldn't have my character chase the bad guy...because on page two I'd given him bronchia asthma. I had to go back and "cure" him. What I didn't realize was something pretty obvious. A story, like the life it represents, is basically complex. Stories aren't built like a line of dominoes, it more resembles a web, and when you tug a bit harder on one of its many strands, the whole business vibrates. And changes shape. Not only did I have to remember the many details and their connections, I had to keep them in a logical order. Virtually impossible.
            I even managed to write several books in this manner. Looking back on those days I cringe. What an awful lot of energy I needlessly wasted!
            Here was my typical process. I bet at least some of you have gone through the same procedure. I'd get a great idea, so great that I'd have to drop the baby if I was holding him, and fly to my typewriter. (Remember - this was in the days of yore when they had those ancient artifacts...) As fast as my fingers could fly, I'd write. A hundred words would accumulate. Then, two hundred. Then...well, then I began to run into problems.
            Something I did in the first hundred words didn't quite fit with the three hundredth, but I wasn't quite sure what it was. Something was just "off". It would bother and confuse me, but I didn't want to deal with it. So, I'd push on, fix it later, whatever it was. Just get the stuff out, in the white heat of creativity. That's what rewriting was for, right? To fix stuff that didn't fit.
            Only now the writing really slowed. The next fifty words were the hardest. I was running out of steam. The idea I'd begun with seemed stale, trite. If I could even remember the original idea. Crap! I'd say, finally, slamming shut the typewriter case. Maybe tomorrow the Muse would redescend...
            Hardly ever happened. On the morrow, a new idea would strike, with the same kind of heat as the first one and I'd be off and running with that one.
            With the same results.
            In no time at all, I had boxes of unfinished stories. Sound familiar?
            Well, I learned a trick. I won't go through the whole sorry history of how I wasted time and learned, little by little, to work smarter. What happened, after many centuries (well, it seems like that now) was that I began kind of jotting down a half page of notes. I even began figuring out my endings before I began.
            Now I began to finish stories. Not a lot, but a lot more than I had previously. After a couple of years of this, I began to expand my notes. Never once did I think of what I was doing as "outlining." There weren't any Roman numeral. How could that be an outline?
            And then...one day I got one of those Joycean epiphanies. What I was doing was an outline! But, these weren't outlines like Missus Grundy had us doing back in P.S. 121. These were just notes. Notes kind of organized. And I discovered something else. Those old writers were liars. Hemingway, Steinbeck and Shakespeare - they all claimed they didn't outline, but they had to. Their stuff all held the kind of integrity that only comes in thinking through a project first before you pick up the saw. They just said they didn't outline. All of a sudden, I knew better. Those guys probably didn't think they outlined either. I doubt if any of them had Roman numerals on their notes either. I'd bet money they had notes, though, and copious notes...and copious notes organized into some kind of system. Before they ever picked up the ol' writing quill and wrote "Chapter One". Probably what a lot of them did was write a first draft...and then used that for their "outline". Without calling it that, of course, or even thinking of it in that way. I bet that's what they did though. They weren't any different than I was. Or you. If any writer begins their story without knowing precisely where they're going, any mistakes they make at first, any tiny omissions, take on added significance as he or she proceeds. As length grows linearly, complexity expands exponentially. Fact of life. The writing life anyway.
            If one is muleheaded enough, a story can be bulled through without outlining. Even fairly long stories. It's kind of a masochistic exercise though. It may take twenty, even thirty rewrites to get a decent story that way.
            Don't ask me how I know this. I'll begin crying. I'll have to. My wife knows I recall experiences like this and keeps all the sharp instruments locked up.
            Novels are the worst experience in the world without an outline. After you spend several years learning to juggle thousands of details in your head - you can get pretty good at it - you can write longer and longer material. Except, that no matter how good you get at retaining all this stuff in your head, you'll probably end up stuck on about page ninety. That seems to be the magic length for novels. Not quite long enough by about threee hundred pages. Short stories seem to peter out around between pages six to eight.
            If you've got an outline you just don't have these problems. Stuck? Glance up at your outline and instantly you'll be reminded where you are in the story and your perspective will return. The dizzy feeling will recede.
            Okay. Sales pitch for outlines over. I learned my technique from taking screenplay writing classes. Those guys always outline. That's how they can write scripts so quickly. I took a class in this program with Martin Goldstein and I wrote a 108-page script in two days. And Mr. Goldstein says it's a great script - has attached himself to it as the producer and not only that - this "two-day" script was just named a semifinalist in the Academy Foundation's Nicholl’s Fellowships in Screenwriting awards. Not bad for two days work! I wrote the first 64 pages in about eight hours and the remaining 44 pages in about ten hours. Piece of cake. Of course, I spent about a week and a half on the outline. I do write quickly, so don't use my times as a model. Without an outline, I'd still be writing...
            Let's get to these puppies. Here's how you create an outline for your story. Ready?
            1. You make notes to yourself as you imagine the story played out.
            2. You arrange those notes.
            3. As the writing proceeds, you refer to them.
            That's it.
            There's a bit more to it, but really, that's 90% of outlining. First, you have to remember that a short story or a novel is drama. Knowing that, know also that nothing destroys drama more than logic. The dramatic story, because its purpose is to represent life (not mirror it), is not logical at all. It is, instead, psychological, and the outline must match this. It must be a complication-resolution outline. That's the way stories are written.

            The outline I propose you try consists of five simple statements that describe the major actions through which the story will be told. One statement for each major focus. And each statement will be short, consisting only of two to three words. A human noun, a strong, concrete action verb, and (most of the time) a direct object. (We won't count articles such as "a", "an", and "the" as words.) The simpler an outline is the more it focuses on the important relationships in your story. Words actually count for more in an outline than in the story. An outline like I'm proposing will probably have no more than fifteen words in it. In a story, the almost-right word can sometimes suffice, but in an outline, it has to be the perfect word. Another difference between this version of an outline and the ones Missus Grundy had you do is that the statements in her outlines represented topic sentences and as such specify what comes at the beginning of the section they represent. That's because in logical writing, the writer states her premise first and then develops it.
            In dramatic stories, however, the dramatic action that makes your point comes at the end of each section - where climaxes belong. What this means is that your outline statements represent endings, not beginnings. This is an important point to keep in mind.
            I'm going to use my own story I Shoulda Seen a Credit Arranger in my collection titled "Monday's Meal" to illustrate a typical outline. I also wrote a novel with the same story as well as a screenplay, both titled THE GENUINE, IMITATION, PLASTIC KIDNAPPING. The same outline for all three forms. The first statement will be:
            Complication or inciting incident:
                        Debt endangers Pete (This is the complication that provides the occasion for the story. Every story must have an inciting incident to kick-start it. Something must happen that changes the protagonist's world and by doing so, creates a problem/goal. This is where stories must begin - not with setting or backstory. Act I, as it were.)
            Development: (This is the second part of the outline. The development steps that lead to the resolution. Act II, as it were, following Aristotle's Poetics)
                        1.Pete agrees to kidnapping
                        2. Pete and Tommy botch kidnapping
                        3. Pete escapes
            Resolution: (This is the third and final step. Act III.)
                        Pete loses everything but matures

            This came to sixteen words, two over the optimim. (Remember, we don’t count articles as words in this exercise.) If you're under twenty, you're fine. Once I have this outline, the rest is just filling in the blanks. But, everything in the story must contribute to the outline. I can't, for instance, begin the story by talking about Pete's childhood in New Orleans, for example.
            Now. Look at the elements. There's each of the three things I said should be in the outline. A human noun, a strong, concrete action verb, and a direct object. I didn't, for instance, say "Pete is in debt" for my complication. Why? Because is is a static verb. Always think in straightforward active terms.
            You might also notice I didn't have a happy-sappy "Hollywood" ending. Those don't work in literature. They work (I guess) in direct-to-video movies (and more than a few that we see at the theater) and in self-published novels, but not in quality fiction, and that's what we're interested in here, I assume. A good ending has both a win and a loss for the protagonist.
            Doesn't look much like Missus Grundy's Roman numeral outline, does it? But, if you read the story and then compare it to the outline, you'll see it's all there. And it allows for you to roam and be creative within the story. You just have to remain within the strictures of the outline. But, there's a heck of a lot of freedom there! I have three forms of this story—a short story, a novel, and a screenplay which was a finalist in the Nicholl’s Awards. I used the same outline for all three forms, which were all different in length and in material.
            What this kind of outline does is force you to think through the story before you write it. You spot problems before you waste two hundred or two thousand (or more) words on them. Suddenly, writing becomes a breeze. It really does.
            In the story above, the definition of a story is adhered to. A story consists of a character in trouble - has a need, wants something, etc. A story always begins with the inciting incident--whatever happens to drastically change the protagonist's world and create a problem for him or her (it has to be the biggest problem in his/her life at that point and one the reader will deem worthy enough to follow him in solving it, reaching his/her goal). Pete's in trouble--he owes a lot of money to a nasty bookie who has just issued him an ultimatum. He has to do something about it. He does get tricked by Tommy into an ill-fated kidnapping, but once he's in it, he begins to take his own action. You can have coincidence or fate in a story, but it should never be a coincidence that helps the main character. It can appear at first to do so, but it never really can. It must always hinder the character. And stories are drama, which means you must create scenes, not wander around inside the head of the character, and scenes are by definition, action. There must be dramatic action. Also, a protagonist may be reactive at first to the inciting incident, but very quickly he or she must become proactive, acting on his or her own behalf to solve the problem, gain the goal, etc. Reactive characters (characters to whom things "happen" in which they spend their time on stage reacting to those things) are boring and don't belong in good fiction. That represents episodic stories and there’s no market for those. And lastly, because of an action the protagonist takes, there must come a reversal and a change in the character. What Joyce called an "epiphany.” Characters in fiction, must, as a result of the actions of the story, become profoundly changed from the person they were at the beginning of the story. Also, the character can't just think through the problem, although obviously, that can be a part of his epiphany, but it has to be occasioned by an action that he can then process internally. The epiphany also cannot be attained through a conversation with another character. There has to be an actual action which changes him and turns the story. Once that happens, the story is over. Get out. Start a new story. But first create an outline for it. You'll thank yourself.
            Once you've created an outline, it's almost impossible to stray in the wrong direction. If you find yourself doing that, just glance at the outline and get back on the right road. If the story takes a turn you didn’t expect and that you feel will make a better story, no problem. Simply take a few minutes and create a new outline. You’ll be glad you did.

            For the first week, part of your assignment is to create an outline for your story, using the example above. No more than twenty words. Use human nouns, strong action verbs and a direct object (direct object optional). Then, begin your story, following the outline (which means to begin with the inciting incident and that written as a scene). Send us 2-5 pages of the story.

Can’t wait to see your work!

Blue skies,
Les



PROPER FORMAT
            It’s extremely important to follow proper formatting whenever you’re presenting work to a professional. A writer may be the rankest beginner in the world and have a long way to go before producing publishable quality work, but there’s simply no excuse for not at least looking professional. Work presented with improper formatting is the first thing that will force the teacher, editor, agent or any professional to dismiss the writing. The thing is, it’s extremely easy to use proper formatting that follows accepted usages by professionals, so there’s really no reason not to employ it, right?

It’s very simple. Here are the basic rules:

1. Double-space. Manuscripts are always double-spaced. One of the reasons is, it’s easier for the people who read millions of words each year to read work that has plenty of white space. It also leaves room for editors to make comments on the mss itself. Finally, it tells the reader how many words are in the mss.

2. Margins. All four margins should be set at at least 1 inch. This is usually the default setting of most word processing programs. This creates attractive white space, gives the editor a clear idea of how many words are in the mss, and leaves room for notations.

3. Font. It used to be that there were two acceptable fonts, Courier New and Times New Roman. Both set at 12 pt. While there are still a few publishers who will accept Courier New, most now insist on TNR. (Plus, CN is one ugly font!). There are several logical reasons for this. One, again—along with the proper margins, and line spacing, by using TNR set at 12 pts, this instantly tells the editor how many words are in the document. For those who think they look at computer word counts… wrong-o! Those are notoriously wrong for editor’s purposes. In fact, never put a word count or an estimated word count on the mss—it’s a sure sign that here’s an amateur at work. (Same with copyright symbols.). Different fonts will deliver differing numbers of words per page. TNR tells the editor that there will be an average of 250 words per page. They can instantly look at page count and know how many words there are in the entire mss. And, this is important! All editors have space requirements for their publications, whether it’s a short story magazine or a novel publisher. They need to know up front how many words are in the mss as the first requirement in their decision to publish or not.

Often, the writer still using Courier New is a screenwriter and that’s the only font allowed in screenplays. That writer is used to it and it feels and looks comfortable and most know that it’s one of the two fonts stated as allowable in fiction, so they use it. While it’s still technically okay to use it, I’d strongly urge even the screenwriters not to use it in their fiction. More and more publishers are stating they don’t want to see work in it any longer.

The primary reason editors insist on a particular font however, is simply because of the amount of reading they do in their job. Many fonts are extremely hard on the eyes and create headaches and eyestrain. The culprit usually is the serifs in some fonts. Serifs are those descenders in the letters y, g, j, p, q. In many fonts, the descenders are truncated and stubby, causing the eye to kind of “bump along” when reading the text. This causes eyestrain and even severe headaches to professionals who read all day long. The descenders in TNR are long and reading work in that font allows the eye to travel smoothly, avoiding those problems. Makes sense, eh?

4. Unjustified right margins. Do not send in work with justified right margins! It’s the job of the editor to create a justified margin for print—not the author’s. Again, a mss with justified margins throws off accurate word counts. Plus, it’s a sure sign of an amateur at work and you don’t want to ever give that impression.

5. One space between sentences. About 40-50 years ago, it was proper to use two spaces between sentences. That was in the typewriter days. Since computers came on the scene, it’s now one space. The kernaling is different for computer-generated material than it is for typewriters. This is a glaring amateur mistake and all editors cringe when they see a mss with two spaces between sentences. (And, it’s easy to spot.) This signals strongly that this is a writer who hasn’t kept up with current usages. A writer who hasn’t learned that two spaces between sentences went away many decades ago, is going to be assumed to be a writer who hasn’t kept up with the even more important conventions of fiction and his/her work is probably going to receive short shrift when encountered. Remember, even if you are a beginner, there’s no reason to look like one! Strive always to appear professional even if you haven’t yet published. It shows respect for both the professional you’re submitting to and it also shows respect for yourself and your work.

6. No bolding in manuscripts.

7. No underlining in manuscripts. Back before computers, underlining indicated to the typesetter that the underlined material was to be set in italics. Well, today we have… italics… right on our ‘puters, so you simply use… italics.

8. No ALL CAPS for emphasis. This is considered email language and isn’t acceptable. Use italics to show emphasis. This is slowly changing as younger, less well-educated (okay, so that was my own editorial comment…) editors come into the picture and grew up with email language. But, use it at your own peril, for if your work comes before a traditionalist, which it likely will, a red flag will go up and you don’t want that.

9. Mark space breaks. The accepted method is to mark them with stars, centered. Like
***
this… Space breaks are only used to signal significant changes in the narrative, such as a major break in time or a pov change. One mistake I see commonly is that writers provide extra spaces before and after the space break. Like

***

this… There aren’t any extra line spaces. When you finish the material to be separated, simply hit “Enter,” center the stars, and hit Enter and begin typing the next paragraph. It’s very important to mark space breaks since if you don’t, during ensuing edits, an unmarked break can easily “disappear” if it ends up at the top or bottom of a page. Even if that doesn’t happen in your own copy, since today we usually send electronic files of our work to editors, they’ll often work on it and it can disappear for them since it wasn’t marked.

One usage is totally verboten! The practice seen sometimes of separating each paragraph by a space break. The famous writer Lorrie Moore began using this as her stylistic “footprint” and that means that now no one else can do the same or else they’ll come across as imitative or derivative of Ms. Moore. Just like one can’t use no caps, ala e.e. cummings, or else be viewed as unimaginative and basically a bad copycat. Although, Charles Bukowski exchewed capitalization in much of his work and no one accused him of copyitis, but then perhaps they’d seen the movie Barfly and just didn’t want to anger him…

Some ebooks are formatted lazily or incorrectly and you’ll see paragraphs separated like this and it drives me nuts! Just sloppiness on the part of the publisher. It’s fine in a blog or a handout like this, but not in fiction.

10. Don’t use drop caps or other stylistic elements you see in printed work. These are editor’s choices and not the author’s. Don’t try to imitate what you see in published work. Simply create documents according to the guidelines set out here. I’ve had writers send me work where the first three or four words were in all caps, and I asked them what in the heck were they thinking and they said they’d seen a novel that way in the bookstore. They didn’t understand that’s an editor’s purview and never the writer’s. Don’t make those amateurish mistakes!

11. There are some usages you may not be aware of that have changed. For a big one, today there are two punctuations that are frowned upon in fiction. Colons and semicolons. These days, they’re considered archaic punctuations. That’s because fiction is becoming more and more informal and colons and semicolons are fairly formal punctuations—especially colons. They have the effect of slightly interrupting the fictive dream by drawing attention to themselves. Today, we use the em dash instead. It’s less formal and therefore less intrusive on the read. About the only people still using colons and semicolons (an occasional semicolon is still okay), are brand names, some journalists, and writers from a different culture (such as Canadians, for example). And, older writers who haven’t kept up with current usages. They’re still used in nonfiction writing—just not in fiction much these days. Many times people resist these changes. It’s often difficult to change. But, a professional writer has to adapt. We work in the English language, which is a living, mutating language and things change constantly. It’s to our benefit to keep up with those changes and be able to adapt.

12. Multiple punctuations. As a rule (there are exceptions) it’s considered amateurish to use multiple punctuation, such as more than one exclamation point for emphasis—like this!!!! Or, to use two different ending punctuations, like this!? They’re considered “cutesy” and too precious to be believed… Although, there are occasionally exceptions to this.

13. Other punctuations. An ellipsis in dialog signals a pause or a trailing off in the speech. An em dash ending dialog signals an interruption in the speech, usually by another speaker.

There are a few other usages but I’ll wait to point them out as and if they occur. Hope this helps! The main point is to always submit your work in a professional format. Please. It shows you respect your work as well as the reader and that invites the professional to respect it also.

Blue skies,
Les

Available for preorder--Comes out November 17.

Saturday, September 8, 2018

MORE BLURBS FOR ADRENALINE JUNKIE

Hi folks,

Still have more blurbs coming in for my forthcoming memoir, ADRENALINE JUNKIE.

And some disturbing news... I had enjoyed a wonderful response to presales on Amazon, when all of a sudden, I received an email from them that my own preorder was being cancelled. No reason given. When I went to Amazon's site, I discovered it had been taken down. No reason given. I contacted my publisher, Down & Out Books, and they were unaware of this. After several days, they told me they'd talked to Amazon and it was reinstated, but Amazon claimed not to know why it had been taken down, that it was just kind of a "mistake." But, all the presales were gone. I reordered, but have no idea if anyone else who had preordered it had also reordered it. I hope so! If you were one of those who'd preordered it and got an email from Amazon that it was cancelled, I'd really appreciate it if you'd reorder it. And, let me know if you receive any more emails from them.

I was kind of suspicious about the whole thing and now am really suspicious after being contacted by good friend and fellow writer, Elaine Ash, that this same thing had happened to a dozen other authors and that she was investigating it. Check out her post at

The common denominator seems to be that each writer is a conservative or libertarian. I'm pretty upfront that I'm a libertarian--my political belief is that I want the government pretty much out of my life. No big deal--at least in my mind--but it seems to matter to some, and perhaps to Amazon. If so, that's a fairly blatant case of censorship. We'll see...

Anyway, here are the new blurbs with more to come:

"Les Edgerton is a back-alley Kerouac. Walk away from this knowing that your life-defining moments were his slow Tuesdays."

Liam Sweeny, author of "Presiding Over the Damned."


...Sometimes shocking, often poignant, occasionally distasteful, frequently funny, and always brutally honest, Adrenaline Junkie tells the story of one man’s harrowing yet ultimately successful quest for redemption. Written with razor-sharp clarity, Adrenaline Junkie is a triumph.
~ Robert Rotstein, author of We the Jury


Edgerton's prose hits with the force of a hammer--as does his recollection of an America, both deeply flawed and wonderful, that is now more important than ever to keep in our sights. A Hillbilly Elegy with a deep, pulsing heart, Adrenaline Junkie makes sense of one man's life while showing us all new aspects of our own.
--Jenny Milchman, USA Today bestselling and Mary Higgins Clark award-winning author of Cover of Snow and Wicked River

A tryst with Brit Ecklund, a shoot out in a deserted grade school, robbing a laundromat in front of a patrol car. Those are just a few moments is Les Edgerton's checkered past. He went from a Huck Finn-like childhood in Texas, the swinging sixties as a criminal, time in Indiana's Pendleton prison, and eighties excess in New Orleans, with little slowing him down until a good woman found a way. Funny, harrowing, and poignant in spots, reading Adrenaline Junkie is like being lucky enough to sit at the bar next to that guy who has lived a lot of stories and knows how to tell them. Yes, Les Edgerton was an adrenaline junkie and he always knew where to get a fix. 

-- 
Scott Montgomery
MysteryPeople Crime Fiction Coordinator
BookPeople


I'm pretty sure these folks were commenting on the book's material and not whether I swing to the right or left... and that's as it should be. 

I hope some of you will preorder my book or get a copy when it's officially released. For the paperback edition, you can preorder at the photo of the cover on the column to the right. Thank you so much, in advance!

Blue skies,
Les



Thursday, August 23, 2018

Thursday, August 2, 2018

PREORDERING AVAILABLE FOR ADRENALINE JUNKIE

Hi folks,

Just learned that my memoir, ADRENALINE JUNKIE, is available for preordering (paperback edition) on Amazon.

Some early blurbs:

Having survived an American Gothic horror story of a childhood, unrepentant former thief, dope dealer, hedonist, Navy hellraiser, and porn actor Les Edgerton—now a writer and teacher—tells a tale of many tales: If  Scheherazade were an old pirate who got  away with the gold, this would be his opus.

Earl Javorsky, Author, Down to No Good and others.

"Where to start with Les Edgerton's memoir, ADRENALINE JUNKIE ...? I once said, if there's a book in everyone, then there's a library in Les - now I may need to revise that estimation, upwards. No one can accuse Les of being a 'crime tourist'. He's lived the life, done the bird, and now he's written the book. ADRENALINE JUNKIE should be on any prospective (or established) crime writer's list. An entertaining, darkly-rendered tale of one man's adventures in the very belly of the beast."
-Tony Black, author of HER COLD EYES

"In a way, Edgerton already wrote ADRENALIN JUNKIE in his crime novels. With the veneer of fiction removed, his always entertaining, often enlightening, sometimes infuriating and unapologetic stories hit even harder. Without any doubt, Edgerton is one of the great storytellers of fiction - and now non-fiction."

Benjamin Sobieck, author of the Writer's Digest Guide to Firearms and Knives and the Maynard Soloman crime humor series


Les Edgerton's Adrenaline Junkie is the compelling, beautifully written story of an extraordinary man who has lived on both sides of the tracks, seen through the bullshit and the hypocrisies, and come out saner and stronger for it. From the opening jail house scene to the end, this is a ride of heartache and passion, of tempest and brilliance, like a cross between Genet and Steinbeck, like a chorus celebrating the underdog, the downtrodden, the criminal, and the inspired, a chorus that only keeps getting louder and rising in melody, as Edgerton achieves a sort of sainthood among sinners, an apotheosis of rebellion and force, much like Harcamone at Fontrevault, or a hero in a Johnny Cash song, a huge, Promethean work of major significance and scale.



'How often is a memoir genuinely astounding? A reformed outlaw takes us through his harsh rural childhood, working harder before he was twelve than most of us ever will.  
There follows armed robbery, pimping, drug dealing, rape in prison, narrowly avoiding a hellcat's castration attempt, suicide foiled by the rope breaking, a walk on part for Charles Manson and his creepy serial killer mate - who got short shrift from our host. And so much more... So many startling sentences:' She was going to be his last fuck before the operation and I was going to be his first after he became a woman.' 'It was then Charles Manson started to contact me...' There's a satisfying twist late on after he becomes a family man so this fascinating book has just the right ending.' 

'Essential reading. Makes Bukowski seem like Donny Osmond.'

Mark Ramsden, Author, The Dark Magus and the Sacred Whore, The Dungeon Master's Apprentice,  Dread - The Art of Serial Killing, Radical Desire: Kink and Magical Sex, War School 


Les is a real, honest-to-God writer in a world full of wannabes. So it goes without saying, his memoir Adrenaline Junkie is better than most novels you’ll read in your life - largely because his real life is more interesting than most novels. Buy it. Read it. If you don’t like it that’s your fault, you stick in the mud.

Damien Seaman, Author, The Killing of Emma Gross


Adrenaline Junkie is like no memoir I have read. Filled with stories of knifings, armed robberies, brutal prison fights, and Charles Manson (yes, that Charles Manson!), Edgerton proves that life can be stranger (and certainly more violent) than fiction. But Edgerton isn’t just a guy with a tough story to tell. He’s a poet who startles you with sentences both stark and darkly beautiful. An astonishing accomplishment.
Jon Bassoff, Author, Corrosion and others



“I’ve known Les Edgerton for going on 25 years. I immediately took to him in writing school, not because he was funny as shit and talented, but because he was the real thing. But it wasn’t until reading his memoir that I realized the extent to which he lived the things he wrote about. Adrenaline Junkie is at once heartbreaking, as it is funny, and just plain sick. I worked up a sweat reading it. It’s sort of like a witnessing a plane crash. You don’t really want to look at the carnage, but you can’t help but stare. A masterful work that will be lauded by both writers and the general reading public alike.”
Vincent Zandri, New York Times and USA Today bestselling Thriller Award winner of Moonlight Weeps and The Remains.  



Adrenaline Junkie by Les Edgerton will be required reading for crime writers one day, a bible for future authors to study rebellion and the human spirit, that smart-ass spark inside us all that doesn’t like taking orders from parents, teachers, and even the law. Author of The Rapist and The Bitch, two of the most profound noir novels published this decade, an ex-criminal and former prison inmate, Edgerton knows what makes all of us tick, and how, with not much of a shove, any one of us could end up behind bars. One of the most fascinating autobiographies you will ever read: From professional thief and pimp to award-winning author and teacher.
 --Jack Getze, Author of the Award-Winning Austin Carr Mysteries 


Friday, July 27, 2018

CHEF GORDON RAMSEY'S WRITING CLASSES


(This is a rerun, but thought it might be helpful to anyone who hadn't read it originally.)

Hi folks,

What? You didn’t realize Chef Gordon Ramsey taught writing? The fact is, he’s one of the best writing teachers in the world.

He disguises it by claiming to reach cooking, but if you understand the code he’s using in his presentations on his show, KITCHEN NIGHTMARES, it’s all about writing.

Actually, it’s about any art form. The rules are pretty much the same, whether it’s in cooking, painting, writing, sculpting or music or anything else in the art world.

Let’s take a look at his shows and see how that works, okay?

First, what’s almost always the chief reason the restaurant he’s called in to help out is failing? While there are a variety of problems, without fail the primary one is that the food the restaurant is serving sucks. Let’s look at that one first and see how it relates to writing.

When he walks into a failing restaurant, the very first thing he does is order a meal. The food he wants to look at and taste is the same as the writing teacher looking at the student’s manuscript. To paraphrase a famous Presidential slogan: “It’s the food, stupid.” Or, in our case as writers: “It’s the writing, stupid.”

The quality of the food is the single biggest obstacle to success for any restaurant. The quality of the writing is the single biggest obstacle to success for any author.

See where we’re going? See how the comparison starts to make sense?

He begins with the food because the truth is, if the food’s good, just about everything else can be wrong and the restaurant still has a chance of succeeding. Conversely, if everything else is perfect—the service, the décor, the location, et al—but the food sucks—all the restaurant owner is going to have is a place that has a great waitstaff, an amazing décor, a prime location… and stands largely empty with those talented waiters and waitresses standing around picking their noses….

It’s the same with writing. The manuscript can be perfectly presented with proper formatting and delivered to the right gatekeepers—agents/publishers—but if the writing sucks, it won’t matter. Two bites into the mss “meal” and if it doesn’t taste good, it’s headed for the circular file, just like the food Ramsey sends back on that initial tasting is headed for the same circular file. What us literary types refer to as being “shitcanned.”

What are the responses of the restaurant owners and chefs when Ramsey tells them their food sucks? It’s predictable. Most are in denial. Most are in way-huge denial. Almost to a person, they feel their food is amazing. They’re convinced that the reasons they’re not rich yet is something else other than the food. The usual response before he delivers his judgment on their menu is that he’ll come in, deliver a few “secrets” that will get them on their way to becoming a four-star establishment. Does this remind you of anything? A new writer in your class or writer’s group, perhaps? Who, before the critique begins is clearly there to glean a few “inside” writing or publishing tips so they can be on their way to the bestseller lists or at least to be signed by an agent or sell their novel?

Look at the responses he gets when he tells them he wouldn’t serve their food to a dog. Many (most?) get angry. It never dawned on them that they couldn’t cook well. In their minds, it was always something else that prevented them from achieving a sold-out restaurant every night. How dare Gordon criticize their work! See any correlation to a writer receiving criticism from a teacher or agent or editor or the writer’s group?

The writer who is also righteously irate, thinks about all those people who told him his writing was “better than Joyce Carol Oates.” Folks like his family, his friends, the friendly faces in his writing group, his English teacher, his workmates. How could they all be wrong and this pretender (teacher/agent/editor) have such a different opinion? Maybe it’s because… this teacher isn’t connected to them emotionally and only judges the product? And has higher standards? A better knowledge of what good writing consists of? And a version of Hemingway’s “built-in bullshit detector?” Maybe…

There’s a supercilious teaching “method” some schools and venues want their writing teachers to adhere to, called by some the “sandwich” method. Start with a piece of praise bread, slip in a bit of criticism, and then finish it off with another piece of praise bread. Does this strike anyone else as perhaps a great example of mollycoddling? Of treating writers less than adults? Schools do this for two reasons. One, they want return customers (students). People who are told bluntly that their work is bad often don’t return. Especially when there are plenty of places who will tell them they’re great. Two, they’ve bought into this New Agey crap where teachers aren’t supposed to let their little charges know that among them are winners and losers. (Kind of like real life…) It’s the mindset that awards “participation trophies” and bullshit like that. Like the school recently in the news that cancelled their annual Honor Days because the ones who didn’t achieve that level would “feel bad.” Well… so frickin’ what… When do you suppose that kids are going to learn that some people are smarter than others, some have gifts others don’t share, some just work harder, and there are even some folks who are smarter, more gifted and also work harder? That just seems more of an USSR attitude than an American one, but I may feel that way just because I’m not up on my Karl Marx reading… And don’t plan to be…

That “sandwich” method of teaching. Two pieces of praise, one piece of criticism. That kind of implies that everybody has two great things they’re doing in writing and only one bad. My experience is that often it’s the reverse ratio and I’ve had more than one beginning writer in class who did nine bad things and only one good one. The “good one” was showing up on time and that was about it. If that’s the case, then I guess the teacher should make up things to praise them about. Wouldn’t that devalue honest praise? I mean, if a person is terrible at writing dialog and you’re out of praiseworthy pieces of bread, should I tell him the only one writing better dialog these days is Elmore Leonard?

Can you imagine Gordon walking into a restaurant and telling them, “Well, the third waitress on the left is doing a great job. The food is atrocious. The bartender served me a perfect Gibson.” Don’t think so. My guess is that Gordon wasn’t lucky enough to have gone to a contemporary American public school… Poor guy. He probably went to a school that was still in the real world. That’s kind of tragic… Wonder how he worked through all those negative things he must have had said to him…

There’s a reason writers don’t have a writer’s union. Well, not one that many people belong to, anyway. It’s because most of us know you succeed by merit and hard work. An organization that’s predicated on the concept of “more money for less work and fewer hours at the expense of others” just isn’t suited for our temperaments as a rule.

Okay. I’m off my soapbox now…

Another correlation Ramsey has with good writing instruction is that he doesn’t differentiate between kinds or even levels of restaurants. He puts as much work into correcting a neighborhood bar and grill in a Midwestern town as he does a pricey French restaurant in NYC. He doesn’t try to make the neighborhood restaurant into the French restaurant or vice versa. No such thing as “literary” restaurants and “genre” restaurants. The only commonality in his mind is that they be the best they can be within their parameters. He knows what constitutes great pub food just as he knows what great Japanese or Italian cuisines requires. Whether it’s a hamburger he’s creating or a soufflé, it’s all about the quality of the individual dish. He thinks like Nabokov who said he didn’t acknowledge any genres other than “good writing and bad writing.”

He also insists the menu be contemporary. That dated dishes, even when prepared well, aren’t going to draw diners. The same thing exists in literature. The writer who insists on creating stories considered archaic or out of fashion, even if written well (within the standards of that day) aren’t going to draw many readers. A writer who absolutely loves the “Dear Reader” style of Victorian literature may write a similar book, but it just isn’t going to sell, any more than an epistolary novel ala Samuel Richardson’s “Pamela” is going to be crowding anyone off the shelves at B&N. Time and again, Gordon encounters these dinosaurs who are trapped in the past and spends days trying to dissuade them of the value of their effort.

Watch his shows and see how often he tells his charges to keep it simple, use fresh ingredients and don’t overcomplicate the recipes. Sounds kind of like Hemingway and Carver, doesn’t it? Or any number of brilliant writers. The first precept I give writers is that one of the biggest keys to becoming a good writer is to pay attention to two things: Make it clear and make it interesting. Kind of what Gordon says about good cooking…

There are no synonyms for the following words in either cooking or in writing:

1. Bad
2. Stupid
3.Crap
4. Dull

They state plainly what they mean. There are words that mean the opposite and if a writer works hard enough and pays attention, they can change those descriptions of their writing to:

1. Good
2. Intelligent
3. Entertaining
4. Brilliant

… but to change those words to the positive ones takes hard work, not unearned, empty words of praise. Just about every writer starts out with the former words as being accurately descriptive of their writing. That’s no sin. What’s a sin is believing when people tell you it’s the latter that describe the work when it doesn’t. When your writing is consistently praised, I’d turn on the b.s. detector and trust it’s in working order.

Watch Gordon Ramsey when he turns around a failing restaurant and imagine he’s instructing you as a writer. The lessons he imparts are exactly the same.

Hope this helps your own writing! BTW, we have a new session of our online writing class beginning on Aug. 5 that has a couple of openings. Our class uses the same principles as Mr. Ramsey does in his... If interested, give me a yell at butchedgerton@comcast.net and I'll be happy to answer any and all questions.

Blue skies,
Les

Me and several of our classmates in Scottsdale, AZ


Monday, July 23, 2018

COVER REVEALED FOR ADRENALINE JUNKIE

Hi folks,

Eric Campbell my publisher at Down & Out Books, just sent me this photo of the ARC copies of my memoir, Adrenaline Junkie. These get mailed out to reviewers and places like the NY Times, Washington Post, Publisher's Weekly and a bunch of others. It will be released for sale in November.

Hope you like it!



Here are some early blurbs with more to come:


‘Les Edgerton’s expertly told memoir is in turns tragic, thrilling, funny and heart-breaking. Adrenalin Junkie is a powerful blend of coming-of-age story, family drama and low-life crime thriller.’
 – Paul D. Brazill, author of Last Year’s Man, A Case Of Noir, and Kill Me Quick!

Having survived an American Gothic horror story of a childhood, unrepentant former thief, dope dealer, hedonist, Navy hellraiser, and porn actor Les Edgerton—now a writer and teacher—tells a tale of many tales: If  Scheherazade were an old pirate who got  away with the gold, this would be his opus.

Earl Javorsky, Author, Down to No Good and others.

"Where to start with Les Edgerton's memoir, ADRENALINE JUNKIE ...? I once said, if there's a book in everyone, then there's a library in Les - now I may need to revise that estimation, upwards. No one can accuse Les of being a 'crime tourist'. He's lived the life, done the bird, and now he's written the book. ADRENALINE JUNKIE should be on any prospective (or established) crime writer's list. An entertaining, darkly-rendered tale of one man's adventures in the very belly of the beast."
-Tony Black, author of HER COLD EYES

"In a way, Edgerton already wrote ADRENALIN JUNKIE in his crime novels. With the veneer of fiction removed, his always entertaining, often enlightening, sometimes infuriating and unapologetic stories hit even harder. Without any doubt, Edgerton is one of the great storytellers of fiction - and now non-fiction."

Benjamin Sobieck, author of the Writer's Digest Guide to Firearms and Knives and the Maynard Soloman crime humor series


Les Edgerton's Adrenaline Junkie is the compelling, beautifully written story of an extraordinary man who has lived on both sides of the tracks, seen through the bullshit and the hypocrisies, and come out saner and stronger for it. From the opening jail house scene to the end, this is a ride of heartache and passion, of tempest and brilliance, like a cross between Genet and Steinbeck, like a chorus celebrating the underdog, the downtrodden, the criminal, and the inspired, a chorus that only keeps getting louder and rising in melody, as Edgerton achieves a sort of sainthood among sinners, an apotheosis of rebellion and force, much like Harcamone at Fontrevault, or a hero in a Johnny Cash song, a huge, Promethean work of major significance and scale.



'How often is a memoir genuinely astounding? A reformed outlaw takes us through his harsh rural childhood, working harder before he was twelve than most of us ever will.  
There follows armed robbery, pimping, drug dealing, rape in prison, narrowly avoiding a hellcat's castration attempt, suicide foiled by the rope breaking, a walk on part for Charles Manson and his creepy serial killer mate - who got short shrift from our host. And so much more... So many startling sentences:' She was going to be his last fuck before the operation and I was going to be his first after he became a woman.' 'It was then Charles Manson started to contact me...' There's a satisfying twist late on after he becomes a family man so this fascinating book has just the right ending.' 

'Essential reading. Makes Bukowski seem like Donny Osmond.'

Mark Ramsden, Author, The Dark Magus and the Sacred Whore, The Dungeon Master's Apprentice,  Dread - The Art of Serial Killing, Radical Desire: Kink and Magical Sex, War School 


Les is a real, honest-to-God writer in a world full of wannabes. So it goes without saying, his memoir Adrenaline Junkie is better than most novels you’ll read in your life - largely because his real life is more interesting than most novels. Buy it. Read it. If you don’t like it that’s your fault, you stick in the mud.

Damien Seaman, Author and Interviewer


Adrenaline Junkie is like no memoir I have read. Filled with stories of knifings, armed robberies, brutal prison fights, and Charles Manson (yes, that Charles Manson!), Edgerton proves that life can be stranger (and certainly more violent) than fiction. But Edgerton isn’t just a guy with a tough story to tell. He’s a poet who startles you with sentences both stark and darkly beautiful. An astonishing accomplishment.
Jon Bassoff, Author, Corrosion and others



Blue skies,
Les

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

NEW CLASS SESSION TO BEGIN - TAKING NEW STUDENTS


Hi folks,

Well, we’re just finishing up our final week on the current session of my online novel-writing class, “Les Edgerton’s Bootcamp for Writers,” and find ourselves a couple of openings. Our next session will begin on Aug 5 and consists of a ten-week session, with the probability of taking a week off sometime during the term to recharge batteries.

This is a call for new class members. Not sure how many openings we’ll have as we offer vacancies first to our auditors.

The basics are the course costs $400 and it’s limited to ten people. The $400 is nonrefundable, as if a person quits during the session it would be impossible to fill that vacancy. As this is my primary source of income, it would be detrimental for myself and my family. It’s very rare that anyone opts out once begun, however. In over five years, there have only been three.

We’ve had a remarkable history of success. Nearly three dozen writers over the past ten years who has become a part of our class or whom I’ve coached privately has gone on to being legitimately published and/or secured a good literary agent. In fact, that is our only goal—to become legitimately published.


I try to warn people who are thinking of joining us, how tough the class is, but I know from past experience that even so forewarned, at least some are going to be in for a shock when they see that we really don’t hold hands, pat people on the back for minimum efforts, or overlook writing that doesn’t work. I’m not cruel (at least I don’t think so) nor are any of the oldtimers in class, but most new folks haven’t been exposed to a class like ours. The truth is, most writers who haven’t had a class like ours have been praised in other classes or most likely, have been in classes that use the “sandwich” method of teaching. You know—that deal where the teach applies a bit of praise, then a bit of criticism, and then a bit of praise. Well, that ain’t our shtick. Not even close. The comments we all provide on everyone’s work fit one definition only.

They’re honest.

This isn’t to be mean or to act like we’re the only folks around who know what good writing is. Except… we do. I’m not aware of any other class out there with the kind of track record ours enjoys. Virtually every writer who stays the course with us ends up with a top agent and/or a book deal. That doesn’t happen in a single ten-week session. About the earliest anyone has earned an agent or book deal in our class has been about a year. And, that’s reasonable.
The thing is, our writers don’t expect things to be easy.

I figured I’d let some of the class members give you their take on our class. They don’t hold back and they all have tough skins. They will all tell you the same thing. It isn’t a class for sissies or for those who need their hands held or lots of pats on the back. Becoming published is hard, hard work and isn’t an undertaking for sissies. To get there, our students know they have to put on their Big Boy and Big Girl pants and expect to work harder than they ever have in their lives—and to never, ever “settle” their standards of excellence.

From a student several years ago:
Hi ________. Since Les opened the floor for comments from the "class veterans" I'm chipping in with my two cents. I have a file cabinet filled with stuff I sent Les and then needed asbestos gloves to take the paper off the printer. When I started this journey, I'd never taken an English class past high school. (I was pre-med in college) I figured I love to read, so how hard can it be? Okay, quit laughing at me. Clearly, when I wrote my first version of my first novel, I had no idea about story structure, POV, any of that. I figured I'm pretty articulate and therefore I can write?
Les quickly set me straight. All of this is to point out that we've all been on the receiving end of Les' brutal honesty. I will find some of the comments he made on my work and post them but phrases like "throwing up in my mouth now" and "bury this so deep in the yard no one ever finds it" are seared into my brain and I don't have to look to find those!!! The point is, I took other classes before I met Les and the teachers were kind and gentle and never told me I sucked. If it weren't for Les, I'd still be churning out awful drivel that makes people want to throw up instead of trying not to throw up while I wait to see if my agent is able to sell my book. I would never have gotten an agent without Les. So hang in there. Listen to everything he says and if it doesn't make sense, ask away.

From another student:
The novel that I am currently trying to sell has been a work in progress for several years. The first time Les saw it he sent it back and told me to re-write the WHOLE thing!!! My character was a wimp. She sat back and let things happen to her. I argued a little, rewrote a little and then moved on to another book. After a year, I went back and reread it and saw the truth. It was awful. So I took a deep breath and started over. Page one. First sentence. Re-wrote the entire thing. It took a full year and then I revised it again. It's definitely a process. But once you get the inciting incident and the outline steps down pat, it's a whole lot easier. Trust me!!! And you'll never graduate completely. A few months ago, Les and I went head-to-head on one single passage. I was trying to be lazy and take the easy way out. He called me on it and I resubmitted three or four weeks in a row, revisions on the same passage. I was sure my classmates were so sick of it they were going to stick needles in their eyes rather than read it again! But in the end, the passage rocked!! So hang in there!!!! It'll get better. (Note: This novel sold and the writer is currently working on her fifth novel.)

Class members come from all over the globe. We’ve had students from the UK, Ireland, Taiwan, Spain, all parts of the U.S., Canada, Australia, Luxembourg and many other places. We work with writers in virtually every genre on the bookshelves.

The way class works is that the class is divided into two equal groups. We used to have just one group, but it got to be too much for many students. In the past, everybody in the class was required to read everybody else’s work each week and provide in-depth comments on everyone’s work. That meant they had to read nine other class members’ work and deliver intelligent commentary on each one. We’ve since evolved to a more manageable number where now each class member reads and delivers comments on just four other classmates’ work. I provide comments on everybody’s work and that’s why the class is limited to only ten. With ten writers, I can give each person the quality of time and analysis each deserves.

Each week begins on Sunday evening, when people can begin submitting their weekly pages from Sunday until Thursday. If it’s a new writer to the class, they are allowed to submit their first five pages of their novel, plus an outline which consists of five statements and a total of 15-20 words. Oldtimers in class call this “inciting incident hell.” If the outline isn’t working and their beginning doesn’t represent the inciting incident as provided in their outline, they are required to keep submitting each week until it does. Our feeling is if they haven’t thought through their novels sufficiently and provided a publishable novel structure (evidenced by the outline), then they most likely don’t have a novel ready to be written and to simply plunge ahead will almost invariably lead to an unfinished novel. We don’t want that.

Once they’ve been okayed for the beginning, from thereafter they can submit up to eight pages per week, along with the others in class.

Time zones don’t matter. Everybody’s work, including everyone’s comments and my own comments on each person’s work each week is posted on the class site and folks can go to it any time of the day or night. Class members can begin sending back their comments on each others’ in their group from Sunday through the following Sunday, when it begins again. Although, in practicality, most members send in their work each week on Wednesdays and Thursdays. It’s like being in an “on-ground” class in that everything said or done in class is seen by everybody.

We do have a chat function and people use it all the time, even though they’re in different time zones. One of the best things about this class is that we have lots of oldtimers who know from their own experience what works in a novel and what doesn’t and more importantly… why it works or doesn’t work. It’s like having a group of seven or eight other professionals helping you with your own novel. Probably at any given time in class, there will be four or five who already have had a novel or several published as a result of being in class, so it’s a really rarified group. And, if you think that you couldn’t operate in a situation like this because you’re a beginner, that simply isn’t the case here at all. Nearly every single person in each class began just the way you did, as a rank beginner. And, they remember and they have complete empathy for your situation, if you’re a beginning writer.

It’s not a situation of simply saying, “This doesn’t work.” Myself and others in class will surely say that, but we then let you know why it didn’t work and give you solid suggestions on how to make it work. We collectively have a nurturing nature and all of us want the newcomer to succeed just about as badly as that writer wants to.

If you are still interested but still feel intimidated, I think if you simply look at how the class works, you’ll quickly see how you’ll fit in comfortably. Since we’ve got a couple of weeks left in class, for anyone who would like to see up close and personal how we work as a class, I’d be delighted to give you auditor status for our last week. Besides class members, we also have an auditor function which works the same as it does in a “regular” college class. You’re admitted to class and can view every single thing we’re doing and the entire class session is archived and easy to access. Normally, the cost of auditing the class is $50, but for our last week, for those interested in simply getting a look at how we work, just email me at butchedgerton@comcast.net and let me know and I’ll have our class administrator, Holly, get you on board asap.

I know there are no doubt a lot of questions you may have. Please feel free to contact me at any time and ask me anything you’d like.

From past experience, when we’ve had openings like this, they go quickly, so if you are interested, please get in touch, okay?

For those interested in such things, here are a few of my own qualifications to teach writing.

MFA in Writing from Vermont College
Taught writing for the UCLA Writer’s Program
Taught writing via Skype for the New York Writer’s Workshop
Writer-in-Residence for three years for the University of Toledo
Writer-in-Residence for one year for Trine University
Taught writing classes for St. Francis University
Taught writing classes for Phoenix College
Taught writing for Writer’s Digest Online Classes
Taught writing classes for Vermont College
Published 20 books, including craft books on writing, novels, sports books, YA novel, historical nonfiction book, humor nonfiction, black comedy novel, noir, thrillers, literary and existential fiction.
Dozens of short stories published in such publications as The South Carolina Review, High Plains Literary Review, Aethlon, Flatmancrooked, Murdaland, Best American Mystery Stories and many others.
A lot of living… much of it as an outlaw…

Blue skies,
Les



Some of our classmates meet up in Denver