We’re six months from the paperback release of The Far Empty… (Read more…)
I’m thrilled to release the jacket copy for High White Sun… (Read more…)
To celebrate the one-year anniversary of The Far Empty’s release… (Read more…)
About a year ago, my debut novel – The Far Empty—hit shelves… (Read more…)
Just a quick year-end note… (Read more…)
It’s been a bit since I’ve had an update… (Read more…)
It has been an amazing month!
With the release of THE FAR EMPTY, I’ve finally taken my first step forward as a “professional author,” and realized a life-long dream.
It’s been everything I could have imagined and more.
Now, however, the real work begins. The reception so far to the book has been generous: I’ve had great reviews, steady sales, and plenty of interest in the world I’m creating in the Big Bend. But I came back from the book tour to find the first pass pages for HIGH WHITE SUN, the sequel, all ready for me to review, and I’ve been buried under the last few days getting that done. Similarly, I’ve been working steadily away on the third book. The secret to real success is not publishing a book, but publishing the next one, and the one after that.
That’s why I said I’ve only taken the first step, and there are many, many more to go.
For the next few months, I’m going to focus on getting Books 2 and 3 out the door, and I hope to be mercifully quiet (although based on a blog post I wrote for a national book club, there’s some serious interest in my “whale music”). If you’ve signed up for my newsletter, I will be getting out something there, and any huge updates in the coming months I’ll post up here; otherwise, it’s simply back to the grindstone. If you’ve read and enjoyed THE FAR EMPTY, please let me know – I love to hear it – and please throw up a review on Amazon or Goodreads. If you didn’t like it, well that’s fine, too…
I appreciate everyone who has helped, supported, and cheered me on along the way. I’ve tried to thank each of you personally, but if I’ve left someone out, the fault is all mine. As eager as I was to get THE FAR EMPTY out into the world, I’m equally eager to share HIGH WHITE SUN with you. In some ways, I think it’s a better book (it’s definitely a different one), and that’s really what being a serious author is all about: making each book better than your last.
That’s what I’m trying to do.
All the best, and I’ll see you on the trail – JTS
This time next week, my debut novel will be out. This has been a dream a lifetime in the making. And although the last few weeks have been stressful worrying about how the book will be received, if it will sell, and doubting whether I’m actually good at this writing thing, I have to remind myself that I AM HAVING A BOOK PUBLISHED.
Nothing else matters. Because next Tuesday I’m going to be able to walk into a bookstore and see MY book sitting on a shelf.
I am incredibly fortunate…there are many deserving writers who just haven’t had their lucky break yet. And the truth is, luck plays a huge role in all of this: right story, right agent, right editor/publisher, right time. Over the past year, I’ve met writers who have been generous with their time and support, and I hope that in another couple of years I’ll be able to do the same for someone else when they finally get their break.
It’s been an amazing ride, and there are a thousand people I can thank: my agent, the fantastic folks at Putnam who’ve put their hearts into making me and THE FAR EMPTY a success, and my family and friends who’ve been riding shotgun the whole way. The great thing about this dream coming true is that it’s been every bit as wonderful as I imagined.
So, although I’ve been anxious and nervous lately, I don’t have a single damn complaint. I’m having the time of life.
I’ll see you around the bookstore…
I thought I would take a minute and catch up on the news that came out last week: I’ll be writing some more books for Putnam! Obviously, I’m thrilled, and the credit goes both to my amazing agent Carlie Webber and Sara Minnich, my wonderful editor at Putnam who wanted to keep working with me.
So what does that actually mean? Here’s the schedule:
THE FAR EMPTY (June 7, 2016 – Book 1 of the Big Bend)
HIGH WHITE SUN (June/July 2017 – Book 2 of the Big Bend)
THIS SIDE OF NIGHT (June/July 2018 – Book 3 of the Big Bend)
THIRTEEN DAYS (2019 – standalone novel)
Remember that all titles are tentative, but that’s where they stand now. HIGH WHITE SUN is all wrapped up and we’re just in the copy edit and galley page stages. I’m well into THIS SIDE OF NIGHT right now, and THIRTEEN DAYS is simply a proposal and a bunch of notes in a folder, but here (in all its glory), is the original THIRTEEN DAYS proposal:
Thirteen days before long-time Garland County Sheriff TERRY LEE is set to retire, prominent citizen DONNIE WISE DALE is murdered in his bedroom – the apparent victim of a violent home invasion. He’s survived by his badly injured wife, a young daughter, and his older son.
To those who knew him, DALE’s death was a long time coming. For over three decades, DONNIE DALE was Garland County’s most notorious and feared citizen, a cruel and dangerous man who terrorized his community and his family the same way he did his numerous enemies. And during most of those long, violent years, Sheriff LEE was not only DALE’s bitterest rival, but also his only friend: a complex relationship forged decades earlier during their turbulent childhoods.
LEE also has plenty of troubles of his own. Two failed marriages, an estranged daughter, and a grandchild he doesn’t know. He’s also the target of an on-going state corruption probe, and secrets he hoped were long buried now threaten to come to light in the aftermath of DALE’s shooting.
But at the urging of DALE’s wounded wife, MARIN – the only woman LEE has ever truly loved and could never have – the aged sheriff has his final thirteen days behind a badge and a gun to protect another man’s family and find his killer…
A crime a lifetime in the making.
Set against the arid and desperate backdrop of West Texas oil country, THIRTEEN DAYS asks just how high the cost of redemption really is, and if it’s ever too late to pay it. It’s the ambitious, violent story of two men and the one woman they’ve both loved, told across fifty years and thirteen final, desperate days.
I’m excited by all the books coming down the line. I’d love to return to Big Bend books, and slide in some standalone novels like THIRTEEN DAYS. As a matter of fact, I just sketched out the idea for another one, tentatively called THE NIGHT ROOM.
It’s been a dream come true to have even one book published; I still haven’t quite wrapped my head around the idea that I’ll have four on bookshelves in the coming years. I appreciate everyone who’s followed along on this journey with me. THE FAR EMPTY was my first real book, a labor of love, and for all its flaws (and there are more than enough), I wouldn’t change a word of it. I went “big” with that novel and don’t regret it. But I hope HIGH WHITE SUN and the other books show me growing and improving as a writer and a story-teller. They all feel different, which I think is a good thing.
I hope you stick around to judge for yourself!
Thanks – JTS
So, we’re about two months out from THE FAR EMPTY’S release. The publicity wheel is starting to turn, and we’re really at the point of no return. This book is finally is going to be out in the world.
Some of my friends, jokers that they are, have asked me if THE FAR EMPTY is actually any good. They’ve made it abundantly clear they don’t want to waste their time reading a “bad” book. They’re being funny (and trust me, they have all the time in the world), but the question has some truth and merit: is it any good? By what criteria, what measurement? Honestly, I don’t know. What I do know is that it’s a book I’m tremendously proud of it, and it’s the best book I could write at the time. In the end, that’s all any novel is: a snapshot of the writer’s life, a time capsule full of words and ideas, and by now THE FAR EMPTY is a capsule I sealed up over two year years ago. The truth is, if I were to write it now, it might be a very different book. I also think it’s difficult, and probably futile, for any writer to really defend or explain all their choices and the stories they tell, but there are some observations I can make about it with the benefit of some hindsight.
So that’s the book I wrote. And pretty soon, I guess we will have some objective criteria on that very subjective good/bad question – we’ll have some sales data, we’ll have a few reviews. But even if it doesn’t sell all that well, and even if the reviews are a mixed bag, I’m not sure I’ll ever believe the book is “bad,” whatever that means. A recent, early critique took me to task for trying to be too “epic,” and actually I’m fine with that…I mean, after all, who wants to be average? I’d rather fail spectacularly than settle for timid. But when all is said and done, after all the books are sold and the reviews are filed away, THE FAR EMPTY is mine — it’s me — and even if I’m only an audience of one, I’m pretty damn happy with the company…
Maybe you will be too.
THE FAR EMPTY goes on sale June 7.