A few items of summer

It’s been a while since I last posted the picture of my cat screaming, and various things have occurred both before and after that, which I am aiming to catch up with and report here, in this dusty corner of the internet.

Item One:  As of this summer, I have new literary representation in the very fancy domain of the Barry Goldblatt Literary Agency , with Barry Goldblatt taking up the cause of furthering the publication of books by Christopher Barzak.  For years, Barry and I had circulated among a lot of the same folks, and occasionally I would hear through those same folks about how much he loved my writing, and in particular my debut novel, One for Sorrow, at which I would always blush like a school girl and wonder how could he possibly?  And though we seemed to always be missing each other at conventions, when the opportunity arose for a change of representation, Barry was one of the first people to come to mind.  Very happy to finally have had the chance to hang out with Barry in person at length over the past weekend, when I spent four days with him and twenty-some of his other clients at an agency retreat in southern Illinois.  If you follow me on Twitter or Facebook, you might have caught me talking about owls and cats and cicadas, all of which were aplenty in that wilderness.  Along with many taxidermied creatures peering out from walls and corners of the lodge.

Along with that, I had the pleasure of a guest in the writer Richard Bowes for a week or so in June, when we explored the city of Pittsburgh a bit, and also further south of Pittsburgh, went on a pilgrimage to the Frank Lloyd Wright House called Fallingwater.  Here are some pictures of a.) Pittsburgh (from the very cool installation art museum called the Mattress Factory), and b.) installations within the Mattress Factory, and c.) Fallingwater:

a.) Pittsburgh








b.) Me, in an installation








b.) creepy masked musician installation








b.) cubes!








c.) Fallingwater








Another venture this summer was doing new things to the house.  If you’re someone who used to be a regular reader of this blog (back when I was an actual blogger and not just a irregular updater), you’ll know I purchased a home several years back, and have been restoring it slowly but surely, as I can afford it.  Here are some photo updates from various places in and around le maison:

Front patio








Front walk (patio hiding behind bushes)








Back patio (and new stone garden)








Various pots of things we’re growing, like asparagus and onions, and purple fountain grass!





A side garden








And another of the side gardens








Front gardens (this keeps changing, depending on the month and season)








And the front of the house (new trim as of last year)








Lots of other things are afoot:  novel writing, novel rewriting, story drafting, etc.  One thing that I wrote this summer was a blog post for the literary journal, Tin House, which features a series of articles on independent book stores throughout the country.  When asked to write one, I had few choices, as Youngstown only has one indie bookstore left in existence (as far as I know, that is, and I’m fairly certain at this point).  So I wrote about Dorian Books, a place near and dear to me, which I also featured as a set piece in my novel One for Sorrow.  You can click here to read my article in full.

And lastly, because I know how much so many of you like cat stuffs, I am including a short video of my cats upon receiving fish-shaped catnip holders from their grandma in Japan.  Clearly, they are crazy:

Until next time, which may be a while, as August is in gear.  Time to prep for classes which start in a few weeks, and to get as much writing done as possible in what’s left of the summer.  Cheers.  I hope everyone out there is staying cool



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