After working at repairing my GPA (which I obliterated in my teenage years), and penning some particularly careful pleads, I managed to get myself accepted to the University of Iowa, and will begin school there Fall Term. My family and I are relocating at the end of June (in three weeks), and hopefully will not find ourselves homeless. That aside, things are going well. My aim is to take part in the Writer's Workshop and doctorate programs, though none of that is certain, at this point, and much can change in the next year.
On to the reason for this post: In an effort to shore up any loose ends before the move, and because school takes all of my time, I've decided to put all of my novels online for free. The idea is that you or anyone you know can read them at your leisure, if you'd like, for free, while I'm off doing the English track shuffle. As an author, and a fairly driven one, my largest impetus for publishing is simply to get you to read a few books. They're free for all, now, and I'll catch up with you later with a few more. Miel, my fifth book (a stories-as-novel book about small towns, isolation, and Narcissistic Rage, involving thirty-plus storylines), will be out near the end of Summer. It needs a few more drafts before I'll show it to anyone.
So, here you have it: All four of my published novels are free, indefinitely, and you can download them in whatever format you need, for whatever reading device you might have. I've done this through Smashwords, and after review, these books will also be available through the Sony store, Apple, Barnes and Noble, and a bunch of other places. Kindle, Nook, .pdf, .rtf, html... it's all there. Have some books, on me.
You won't need any accounts or anything like that. Just click a link and pick your format. Done. The following are the links to each download, with a short nudge of genre and description. The descriptions are more of my own personal thoughts, and what these books meant to me when they were made. Actual back matter and synopses can be found by clicking any of the links (and trailers, too).
My first novel, originally published in print through Cauliay (and still available in that mode). With a heavy dose of humor and self-deprecation, Tatterdemalion follows our protagonist through a quest adventure in modern day Boston, and then into his own mind. If I have to place it in genres, the closest I can get is in calling it a contemporary thriller, surreal quest fiction, and definitely a psychological comedy. There's some DeLillo and Palahniuk in there, I'm certain. A large part of the book is the interplay between reality and fantasy, and our protagonist's warped sense of both. This one had many great reviews and it's the book I receive the most fan mail about (honestly, it's about six pieces of fan mail at this point, but that's six more than the other books so...). A synopsis of the actual story can be found when you click the link. 110k.
My second novel, also originally published in print through Cauliay (and still available in print). Amphisbaena is a unique one. I decided I wanted to write a romance novel, though much more experimental in tone. The result was Amphisbaena, which follows Bill Sherman, failing calendarist, through his affectionate though bizarre relationship with two women, who are actually the human incarnated heads of an ancient, two-headed serpent. This is the book that seems to get the most downloads, and had the most favorable of the reviews. It is definitely a comedy, with a lot of dark humor, dark romance, and a lot of exposition on modern dating and relationships. Man-meets-woman, man-falls-in-love-with-woman, woman-is-actually-two-women, women-are-a-giant-snake, problems arise. There are some dark moments in this one, but overall, it's my surreal take on what people call a "romcom". For my research, I read quite a few Harlequin romance novels and quite a few of Vonnegut's more comedic books. These two ways of writing mixed in a peculiar and fun way, I think. I never thought this book would get much attention, and I mostly wrote it for myself, but it has proven to be the one people hone in on and download the most. Click the link and the full synopsis/back matter will be visible, as well. 120k.
My third novel. A Fine Young Day branches away from the more humorous approach I tend to use, and is my take on a horror novel. There is no light-heartedness here, and it does not let up. I wrote it with an ear I typically reserve for poetry, and it is quite line-intensive. It is the shortest (and richest) of my novels. Tight, dense, and experimental in tone, A Fine Young Day is a surreal journey through some very dark modes. Those of you who know me are aware that I began my writing life as a horror writer (or tried to be one, at the start), but gave it up after discovering poetry. This book was a way for me to return to that mode and see what fifteen years of studying and writing poetry and literature could bring to my horror table. It's riddled with fragments and run-ons, is highly description-based, and I formatted it in block with indented dialogue... all an experiment, and one that I feel worked quite well. My inspirations (and research reading) for this one came from Videodrome (a great movie), Kafka's Metamorphosis, and Through the Looking Glass. Actual synopsis can be found by clicking the link. Warning: It's as pretty as it is disturbing, and there are some truly gruesome scenes. They stick with you. When you finish the last page, I sort-of want you to wish you hadn't read it. 60k.
My fourth novel. This is what I call a faux-biography. The book is based very closely on the life of Rod Serling, creator of The Twilight Zone and many other productions. I wanted to write a biography of Serling, but rather than use the documentary approach, which can be somewhat encyclopedic, I wanted to convey all of it by using Serling as protagonist. In short, I wanted the book to feel like fiction, like a novel, but be accurate and biographical. The result is Thank You and Good Night. Think "Based on a true story", as you see at the beginning of certain movies. We follow Emery Asher, my Serling, through forty years of his career, from his early childhood in the 1930's to his death in 1975. Along the way, we learn a great amount of information on the early days of television, its particularly unique form of celebrity, and a whole lot about ego, hubris, arrogance, luck, family, New York and Los Angeles in the 50's and 60's, passion, and drive. It has the feel of a biopic, but with a very internalized narrative. We also learn much about that strange place in which failure and success can be indistinguishable. This book takes place in quite a few modes. It is written in novel format, script format (including commercials), and contains other formats, including news articles, an introduction from the protagonist to his own book, interviews, trailers, letters... Drama, comedy, horror, a lot of speculative elements (many of Asher's own tales infest the book, taking him from scene to scene as if on a sort-of metaphor/allegory train). Script and narrative separate metaphor and imagination from reality. The scripting is in 1st present, the novel portions are in third, and the commercials and interviews are in the obvious second narrative. This book is just larger than the final Harry Potter book. Why that large? Because I liked writing it, there were some great and long-running things to cover (five Emmies and some great television shows) and I think you'll like reading it. It's a lot of fun, and despite all I have mentioned above, is quite clean and neat. I have yet to see if anyone is interested much in this one, as it has only been available for two weeks now. 210k.
A book of poetry, for those of you out there who know me primarily as a poet in the small press mags (it's my mainstay, after all). This collection was published by Felino A. Soriano, through Differentia Press, in the Issuu format, for free online. This was the first book for which I received emails from strangers giving me compliments (despite my awkardness, I have an ego and I love getting mail like that). Several people emailed asking if either Felino or I were going to make it available on the Kindle. I've spoken with Felino, and we agreed I could put out a second edition with a few changes to the line-up, and then I'd publish it through Smashwords. Other Cruel Things is a collection of about 50 published poems that span two years of my life, with a couple of extras thrown in to round out the collection. Like the above novels, this one is available in all the various formats you'd want (though the Kindle makes formatting poetry a nightmare, and that version looks half-assed, despite my spending the most time on it). Blame the Kindle and its brick-wall limitations on doing anything other than block print. I'll likely place more poetry online over the Summer, or between terms of school. 8k.
That's all. I wanted to make sure these were available, and that anyone could download them for free and read them however anyone might prefer. I'll be posting here off-and-on, but won't be around as much as in the past. For those of you who want to hear from me more often, hit me up on Facebook. I post there daily: http://www.facebook.com/#!/raysuccre