Thursday, February 29, 2024

Faded: New Novel

Denver, CO 

FADED is now available.

I cranked out a new novel in the summer of 2023 and edited it in January 2024. FADED is the first book that I wrote, edited, and published via the new house in Denver.

Here's the book description:

Jackson McCool is the son of a prominent Beverly Hills psychiatrist, and for three years has quietly impersonated his now-ailing father in his medical and therapeutic practice. His success in this ruse is largely in thanks to his eccentric roster of self-absorbed patients, denizens of the entertainment industry who crave nothing more than a loose prescription pad and someone to listen to their complaints.

While providing an empathetic ear to Hollywood types, Jackson is also slinging (and ingesting) painkillers with his best friend, retired pro football player Mingus Christmas, as well as providing counsel at all hours to Westley Bolinger, the front man of a globally touring emo band. However, when suspicions arise and nefarious outside forces aim to expose him, Jackson must not only prevent his house of cards from falling but reckon with his own reasons for wanting to keep this charade alive.

A story about the ebbs and flows of fame on the fringes of Hollywood, FADED makes us question impermanence, ephemera, and celebrity culture.

FADED is currently available as a paperback and ebook (for those Kindle fans).


And here's a brief podcast with change100 about FADED including some behind the scenes info and Easter eggs.


My recent novels have an accompanying soundtrack which I curated via Spotify playlists. Once again, I created character-specific playlists (similar to GUARD THIS mixtapes). FADED has three playlists... if a character made a mixtape or playlist, what do they listen to?

Jackson McCool: The protagonist who wrote two books on music history/criticism. His playlist includes... Sly and the Family Stone, Steely Dan, Curtis Mayfield, Wilco, New York Dolls, David Bowie, Grateful Dead, Rolling Stones, Phish, Beck, LCD Soundsystem, Tribe Called Quest, Chicago, Circle Jerks, Tom Petty, Edgar Winter, Doobie Brothers.

Ophelia McCool: TV producer and actress who is married to Jackson. Her playlist includes... Jungle, Parcels,Neal Frances, Grizzly Bear, The National, St Vincent, Hole, LCD Soundsystem, Fiona Apple, Phoenix, FLeetwood Mac, Wild Belle, Arcade Fire, The Smile, Mazzy Star, Dua Lipa, Nuetral Milk Hotel, Brittany Howard, Muse, Dandy Warhols, Concrete Blonde, Khruangbin, The Go-Go's.

Mingus Christmas: Former pro football player who breeds exotic cats and Jackson's best friend. His playlist is hip-hop heavy and includes... Sugar Hill Gang, Pharcyde, Warren G, Ice Cube, 2 Pac, Al Green, Cypress Hill, ODB, Run DMC, Snoop, Dr Dre, NWA, Fun Lovin' Criminals, DJ Khaled, Kuris Blow,  Donny Hathaway, Biz Markie, Too $hort.

FADED is currently available as a paperback and Kindle.

Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Faded: FAQs

Denver, CO 

Here's some answers to frequently asked questions that you might have about the new novel. Time for a quickie Q & A and FAQ about FADED....

Q. Is FADED your LA novel? 

A. FADED takes place in LA on the fringes of Hollywood. We spent a decade in LA (2012-22) after a short stint in San Francisco. We moved to Colorado in the summer of 2022 and I wrote this last summer. After spending one year away, the timing was ideal because LA was still somewhat fresh in my mind and my perspective began to shift a bit.

Q. FADED is a comedy and satire?

A. Yes. FADED is a a nod to Billy Wilder films, but the tone is a throwback to some of my favorite comedies from the late 1970s and early 1980s. Jackson McCool, the protagonist in FADED, is a mix of Bill Murray's film characters (Stripes, Meatballs) plus bit of Matthew Broderick (Ferris Bueller, WarGames) and Chevy Chase (Fletch). There's a sliver of Bruce Willis during a short time he was a budding TV star (Moonlighting) before he became a movie star.

Q. One of your characters played pro football, but I don't recognize the team names. Why?

A. Mingus Christmas played linebacker for the Miami Sharks. In my literary universe, the major pro football league is known as GIL or the Grid Iron League. I wanted to avoid any potential legal entanglements with the NFL, which is why the GIL is the stand in from the NFL in both FADED and THE KICKER. The local pro football team in FADED is known as the LA Demons.

Q. I thought you wrote two manuscripts last summer? What happened to the other one?

A. Yes, that's true. I wrote a memoir -- DEBASER (tentative title) -- which takes place in NYC in 1989. It's based on the summer before my senior year in high school. You're only 16 once, and that summer before I turned 17 was a pivotal time. I wrote DEBASER fairly quickly (in less than 3 weeks) in June 2023 after spending nearly six months in NYC helping out with a family illness. The subject matter is a little too personal and I doubt it will get published. I wrote for myself to help make sense of an intense stint in NYC while I stayed in my childhood bedroom for several months. I might revisit it sometime down the line.

Q. So, FADED is the second manuscript you wrote last summer?

A. Yes. I began it in July 2023 and completed the first draft in early August. I tend to write very fast, but edit very slow. FADED took around three weeks to complete the first draft. I completed subsequent drafts in January 2024.

Q. Are all your novels linked in its own literary universe?

A. Yes. In an homage to Kevin Smith's cinematic universe, there are direct references to characters in previous published novels including FRIED PEACHES, GUARD THIS, and JACK TRIPPER STOLE MY DOG. There's also character connections to two unpublished manuscripts for THE KICKER and DEBASER. I also incorporate the fictional world of other authors including Michael Chabon, Jonathan Lethem, Donna Tartt, and Bret Easton Ellis.

Q. What's up with the eye patch? Did you really write FADED with one eye?

A. The rumors are true. I have been experiencing vision problems in my left eye since the summer of 2022. We had a setback in July 2023, and I was sidelined for two weeks when I went blind in my left eye. I wore an eye patch during that time and started FADED. I wrote one chapter per day mostly to keep myself sane and laugh with the characters. As my vision improved, I quickly finished the first draft before a potential surgical date. I essentially wrote FADED because I freaked out that the vision loss would be permanent, and to address the anxiety over the question -- what if surgery doesn't work?

Q. What's up with THE KICKER?

A. It's still marinating. I hope to take another crack at sometime in 2024. I wrote the first draft at the end of 2020. I set aside time to work on a rewrite in April 2021, but I had too many things I wanted to change yet didn't have enough time to pull off a proper rewrite in the time I had allotted. That's why I pivoted and cranked out GUARD THIS instead. I wanted to work on the new draft of THE KICKER in the summer of 2022 when first moved to Colorado, but it got sidetracked when my vision issues began. I planned to work on it in January 2023, but then I had to move back to NYC to help my brother and mother. 

Q. Were you listening to a lot of audiobooks before/during FADED?

A. I was sidelined for two weeks in July with vision problems, and spent that time in total darkness while holed up in our guest bedroom because it's the darkness room in the house. I listened to a dozen audiobooks to keep sane because it was difficult to watch/stream with one eye. I devoured audiobooks and consumed like two per day, so I revisited Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace. The book is over 1,000 pages and the audiobook clocked in at 55 hours. I started/stopped reading the massive tome multiple times in the 1990s. When I finally conquered it, I has spread it out over several months. I listened to the Infinite Jest audiobook at 1.5x speed and it took me a week or so. There's one character in FADED who is a former tennis prodigy, which is my homage to DFW.

I consumed other audiobooks during this stretch that influenced FADED because it was fresh in my mind.

  • Blue Movie by Terry Southern
  • Pappyland by Wright Thompson
  • The Creative Act by Rick Rubin
  • Deliver Me from Nowhere: The Making of Bruce Springsteen's 'Nebraska' Album by Warren Zanes
  • Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin): A Memoir by Sly Stone

 Q. What were some of your other inspirations behind FADED?

A. I listened to the first seven Steely Dan albums (recorded/released between 1972-80) while writing the first draft and it was in heavy rotation during the rewrites.

I revisited two books including Chronic City by Jonathan Lethem and Heat 2 by Michael Mann. 

I also had three books about Hollywood on my mind. Hello, He Lied & Other Tales from the Hollywood Trenches was written by Lynda Obst who produced some big films in the 1980s-90s. I was also heavily inspired by The Devil's Candy by Julie Salamon, which chronicled the insanity behind the film adaptation of Tom Wolfe's novel The Bonfire of the Vanities. Lastly, there's The Day of the Locust by Nathaniel West about Hollywood in the 1930s.

Jon Favreau hosted Dinner for Five on IFC back in the early 2000s. During the show, he ate a meal with four guests who shared funny and strange stories about working in Hollywood. Many of those throwaway stories were an inspiration for this book. 

I love a good show biz story, and the odder the better. I attempted to fictionalize a few I heard over the years. Wil Wheaton told me a few bizarre stories, and Kevin Smith often shared hysterical stories during his Q&As with his legion of fans.

I was not even an hour into watching Quentin Tarantino's Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood when I made a decision to write an LA novel sooner than later.

All of Noah Baumbach films, especially Greenberg, were on my mind during the first draft. 

Paul Thomas Anderson flicks especially his ones set in LA were an inspiration. PTA is heavily influenced by Robert Altman, and his films were a creative beacon. 

Richard Linklater,Whit Stillman, Kelly Reinhardt, Spike Lee, Wes Anderson, and Jim Jarmusch are all excellent filmmakers and their work has always been a massive influence on me.

Damien Chazelle's film Babylon -- about the rough transition from silent films to talking films -- was also an inspiration.Hollywood just survived multiple guild strikes and in the era of streaming wars and the rise of AI, so it felt compelling to write a story about this transition phase almost a century after silent films gave way to talkies.


FADED is available in paperback and as an ebook for Kindle devices.