Category: Books

Best of 20 is Never Too Late (hey, that rhymes!)

Best of 20 is Never Too Late (hey, that rhymes!)

All right, all right, all right, it’s just a tad, a mite, a bit late. One could never accuse me of being timely?

I don’t even know why I’m asking that as though it’s a question.

Without further ado:

Wordsmiths Books (and friends) Best Books (and some favorite things) from 2020.

Zach Steele, Owner/Operator/Debut Novelist

Favorite Book of 2020: Terry Pratchett, Nation

Mau is the only one left after a giant wave sweeps his island village away. But when much is taken, something is returned, and somewhere in the jungle, Daphne—a girl from the other side of the globe—is the sole survivor of a ship destroyed by the same wave. In one part Lord of the Flies, one part Adam and Eve, Pratchett has woven a timeless story that is likely to be revered as one of his greatest works.

Russ Marshalek, Marketing Director who is writing about himself in the third person and actually has put together a way longer list than anyone else:

Favorite Fiction of 2020

James Collins, Beginners Greek

This is the sort of book that’s instantly a classic, both intellectually and emotionally, from the first word. Collins, a 49-year-old first novelist, writes the sort of inspiring, “love conquers all” story that parts the clouds on stormy days and reinvigorates the English language. This story, of executive-of-something (even he’s unsure what he does) Peter Russell as he fumbles through his life and loves, chasing the realization that the girl in his head and heart isn’t the girl he’s married to, unfolds with the most jaw-dropping, breath-stopping prose you’ve read in ages.… Read the rest

Publishers Weekly review for Anointed

Publishers Weekly review for Anointed

It is now only 18 days until the official book launch of Anointed.  This past week, I was elated to see that Publishers Weekly offered its official review.  As I am having an increasingly more frustrating time dealing with links today (don’t get me started!), I’ll just copy it below and you can take a look for yourself:

Anointed: The Passion of Timmy Christ, CEO Zachary Steele. Mercury Retrograde (Ingram, dist.), $16.95 paper (340p) ISBN 978-0-9816654-2-9

Steele’s biting satire takes on megachurches and their murky brew of faith and business. Nagged by his wife into interviewing for the CEO spot of a 2,000-year-old religious corporation, Timothy Webb becomes Timmy Christ despite himself. He’s shocked to learn that his primary responsibilities are to profits and image rather than his followers’ genuine needs. After a slapstick start, a scheming Judas, a protective, repentant Satan and a murderous Anti-Christ show up to deepen the tale. Timmy soon discovers that battling supernatural evil is only slightly more difficult than challenging the legal labyrinths of the Christ Corporation Council. Those who endure the initial over-the-top chapters will enjoy the notion of a Christ CEO wanting to be Christ-like, presented in a mix of raucous fun and deep questions. (Mar.)

Needless to say, it’s a rather nice plug and a review worth waving about (or perhaps holding in your hand, while you stare fixedly at it and run into walls).

Given my lack of ability to add links today, I’ve got nothing else for you other than my rampant excitement for February 21st. … Read the rest

From the Big Chicken to the Big Apple

From the Big Chicken to the Big Apple

insert heavy sigh here

I’ve been sitting here, debating with myself for a couple of days now about how to begin this blog. “Self”, I’ve been saying to my, um, well, self, “there has to be a way you can get to the point of what you need/want to say without sounding like you’re verbally playing ‘hearts and flowers’”.

Then, suddenly, this morning, on the way to make coffee, it hit me:

this is Decatur. There’s nothing I can say that hasn’t already been news for quite some time now.

As such, on with it: as you, dear/gentle/angsty/pug-loving reader may or may not know, Friday, Feb 20th is my last day with Wordsmiths Books. And, at the end of March, I’m packing up as many books as can fit into a suitcase and am relocating north, to New York.

It’s funny, because despite having been born in Albany, NY, I’ve lived in Georgia for my entire life, save a brief diversion to Las Vegas (I know, culture shock, right?). This is a bit of a change for me, and…

…and what am I saying? A bit of a change? I’m freaking terrified. Excited. Terrified/excited.

There’s so much I want to say in way of thanks, thanks to the community, to the authors and the publicists and the folks I’ve worked with and most importantly the readers, the book-event-goers and people I’ve had correspondence with, that I think to even begin to attempt to make a list would be both daunting and impossible.… Read the rest

I Don’t Know Why You Go To Extremes: On the book industry, money, and “Black Wednesday”

I Don’t Know Why You Go To Extremes: On the book industry, money, and “Black Wednesday”

“If you got money

And you know it

Take it out ya pocket

And show it

And throw it…

If you’re getting mugged by everybody you see

Who hang over the wall of the VIP”

-Lil Wayne, “Got Money”

Ah, money. It’s a hot topic these days. As you may or may not have heard, depending upon how closely you follow the publishing-industry gossip-and-gabfest blogs (which, if you don’t write or work in books, is likely not at all, because the publishing industry has been not-good-at-all at best, insultingly condescending at worst, in making their communiqués relevant to the average-joe book-buyer), this past Wednesday has had the title of “Black Wednesday” perma-affixed to it with sticky-tape by all those inside of publishing from the top down. On the heels of it being officially announced that, yes, Virginia, there is a recession (happy R-day!), the hallowed halls of book publishers proceeded to, erm…begin to collapse in upon themselves. Massive, painful cuts happened nearly-simultaneously (or at least it appeared so in my RSS reader) at Simon and Schuster, Thomas Nelson, Houghton-Mifflin Harcourt, and Random House. The Random House cuts were the ones that shocked me the most of anything (despite the fact that, if you follow what’s going on, the Houghton-Mifflin shake up/down is producing the juiciest gossip) , because RH (that’s publishing abbreviation for ‘Random House”-see, that’s what I do, break it down for the common folk) has long been the large, lumbering book behemoth. There was also a ton of inspiration within the book that caused me to feel it was absolutely needed for our family to get a roofing company to take care of the most detrimental part of our home.… Read the rest

Fielding questions about Anointed

Fielding questions about Anointed

In the few days since announcing that my book, Anointed, would be published this coming March, I have been hit with a number of questions regarding the project, and so I thought it best that I should go ahead and answer some of them through the blog. A couple of the questions were repeated with minor variation, so rather than repeat them here, I just picked 5 that I liked and wrote them down. Because there were a few that were asked by multiple people, I have decided to leave off the names of those whose questions I chose. Sorry! Just trying to be diplomatic. I am enjoying (and thankful for!) your questions, so please keep them coming. Email me and I’ll gladly answer them as quickly as I can. Sorry if a response ends up being delayed, my partner ended up being highly involved working as a Costa Mesa concrete contractor, and I’ve been running the accounting for him. I’ll get back to you with every response as soon as I can.

What is this book about, anyway?

In fairness, this was the one that I was asked the most. I didn’t have the time or space to go into great detail in the last post, and I wanted to give fair play to Christopher Moore, since he’s, well, hey he’s awesome. Right? So, I was unintentionally vague. Rather than drop in the back copy description here, I’ll do my best to just answer it. Anointed is, in essence, a satirical view of the business of religion.… Read the rest

POP! Fiction Contest

POP! Fiction Contest

This is just a subtle reminder that the 2021 Fiction Contest issue of Creative Loafing is on (admittedly probably damp, given the weather) news-stands or whatever those little display things that hold free publications are called RIGHT NOW.

I was thrilled to be asked as one of the judges, and even more thrilled that my favorite story of all those I was asked to read, called “Medicine” and written by Laurah Raines, ended up placing first. You can read it in its entirety in Loafing today, and you can hear Laurah read from it aloud, Jan 8th, at the 2021 Fiction Contest Party at Eyedrum. The other two, actually famous and published, judges, Carmen Deedy and Philip Depoy, will be signing copies of their books. I’ll be signing baby pictures of myself.… Read the rest

More Questions…

More Questions…

Since announcing the upcoming release of my book, Anointed: The Passion of Timmy Christ, CEO (out next March!), I have been beseiged by questions from both customers in-store and via email. Needless to say, I am enjoying most of them, so by all means, please keep them coming. I have a handful more that I wanted to answer, and, as with the last blog, I’ll not post every name for every question since I don’t have all of the names of people who have asked questions in the store, and a few of them are repeated by multiple people. Please, throw nothing sharp my way for neglecting to add your name!

funny pictures of cats with captions

Let the Lolcat guide the way…

Who did your cover design?

This question was largely directed to the $100 bill on the cover, though I would be remiss if I didn’t say that the cover design was done by Wynnette Jones, of Mercury Retrograde Press, and a fabulous job it was!

The image of the bill on the cover is from Richy Ferrell, graphic artist extraordinaire. Thanks Richy!

Are you working on another book?

Yes, but not nearly at the pace I would like. It’s a trying time…the holidays, the economic slow down, maintaining some semblance of sanity with some type of recreation other than work. Once January comes around, I’ll be back to work on my next book, as well as increasing the writing load for The Christ Corporation website. The blog will be heavy, as will the various news stories, and secret treasures of additional material not included in the book (Don’t ask…you’ll have to find them, or they wouldn’t be secret, would they?).… Read the rest

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