Today I received two deliveries. The first delivery was a piece of mail from the IRS that said I owed $12,000 for my 2015 federal income taxes. Based on my income (or the general lack thereof), I suspected this had to be an error, a mistake compounded on on top of another mistake. Nonetheless, I pooped my metaphorical pants.
After chewing off some fingernails and stress-chugging my coffee, I dug through a couple of adequately maintained file drawers to retrieve my tax paperwork: 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010...can you see where this is going? Every year present and accounted for, except 2015. More metaphorical pooping. But okay, I keep electronic records, too.
I booted up my laptop and opened my "Taxes" folder. And there it was, right there where I left it —my trusty 2015 Federal Income Tax .pdf file. Thanks, TurboTax. I reviewed my 1040 form, did a bit of online research, and chomped on my remaining fingernails. Son-of-a-bitch, I had, indeed, made a reporting error related to some (not shady, I swear) investment decisions in late 2015. Next, I called the Merrill Lynch 800 number and spoke to my finance guy, the recent college grad who answered the phone at the call center. After a few minutes of blame avoidance, he said something like, "It's probably okay. But you know, check with your tax guy because that's not my expertise." So I called my tax guy. "Dad," I said, "you aren't going to believe this shit."
My dad, who was at lunch with my mom, empathized with my frustration and angst, and patiently listened to the full story. He asked all the right questions and reassured me. Now I won't bore you with more minutiae about my 2015 tax filing, but suffice it to say, my dad ultimately agreed with the Merrill Lynch guy, and then said something like, "It's probably okay. But you should call the IRS." So, I did.
I dialed the number provided on IRS Notice CP2000 and, not surprisingly, encountered a hellish phone tree. I muttered under my breath and anger-mashed buttons as I navigated my way through a maze of insufficient choices, until at last, I found Bob. His voice was a summer breeze, warm and pleasant, and he brimmed with competence. I explained my situation to Bob who quickly grasped the nuance of each detail. "It's okay," he said. "Just send us that 1099-B and we'll re-calculate. Capital loss, something, something, something. You'll get a check for $300-400 in a few weeks from the IRS."
I'll get a check...I'll get a check...I'll...get...a...check. The words swirled in my head like a feather, then floated to a quiet gentle rest in my consciousness. "Bob,"I said, "I think I love you."
It was after noon and I had only just gotten off the phone with Bob when the doorbell rang. Another delivery. I ran to the closet and snatched a pair of jeans from a clothes hanger (don't judge...I was "working"). I pulled on the jeans and raced to the front door. No one was there, but a medium-sized padded envelope had been left on the mat. I remembered what day it was. My heart raced.
You've likely figured it out by now, probably saw it coming just like that missing 2015 tax file. I carried the package inside, placed it on the kitchen counter, and stared at it. This moment had been a long time in the making, and I considered waiting for someone else to come home before I opened the package. After all, getting published is a group effort. But writing is lonely work. I gently unsealed the envelope, slid out the contents, and held in my hand for the first time ever, a printed copy of my book.
Solid Ground is available in print and ebook
at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other online retailers.
UPDATE (April 20): The print book is here! You can now order a paperback copy of Solid Ground from Amazon for $14.99. The print version will also be available for order from B&N and other online retailers tomorrow!
Solid Ground will be officially published on Monday, April 24th and I’m so excited about sharing the book with the world that I’ve decided to give it away. Well, not to everyone, but to three of you.
Register HERE for a chance to get an electronic copy of the book (free!) a full weekend before anyone else gets theirs.
This Friday, I’ll randomly draw three winners who will each receive a digital Advanced Reading Copy. If you’re interested, be
sure to sign up before midnight (Pacific) on Thursday,
PS: In case I haven't shilled enough yet...you can also pre-order a digital copy of Solid Ground now at Amazon, B&N, iBooks, and lots of other places online. Oh yeah, and here's a reminder of how you can get your copy signed.
UPDATE (April 20): The print book is here! You can now order a print copy of Solid Ground from Amazon for $14.99. The print version will also be available for order from B&N and other online retailers tomorrow!
On Monday, April 24th, you’ll finally be able to see what I’ve been doing since I left the bookselling business and fully immersed myself in the book writing business. In choosing a plot and theme for Solid Ground, I took the advice of Toni Morrison and others, who essentially say, write the book you want to read. I like to read books about how human beings struggle, how imperfect we are, how much we get in our own way and screw up our own lives, but within all that, despite all that, how we also find moments, even years, of enlightenment, happiness, and love. So, that's what I endeavored to write. I hope you find my efforts to be a worthwhile investment of your reading time. Honestly, I did my best not to write a shitty book.
Digital versions of Solid Ground can be pre-ordered now for $6.99 in most of the places you can buy ebooks, including: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks, etc. You'll get the ebook on April 24th.
Print copies will be available for order for $14.99 on Thursday, April 20th at Amazon and from B&N and other sites on Friday, April 21st. If you order by Thursday, you’ll likely have it in your hand when it releases Monday, and possibly even a day or two earlier.
I was amazed (and genuinely thrilled) that more than a hundred people responded when I asked who’d be interested in getting a signed copy of the book. If you weren’t just being kind, look for details soon on how to get your signed copy. And if you were just being kind, thanks for that too.
(But buy a copy anyway. Seriously. Buy it. Even if you don’t read it. Buy it. It's big, use it as a doorstop. And if your doors don't need stopping, stash it in the attic, you know, like a keepsake.) Giving It Away (the book, not the ending)
One last note, I have three digital Advanced Reading Copies I’m GIVING AWAY next week BEFORE the RELEASE DAY. Stay tuned!
Holy crap, I'm almost published! On Monday, April 24th, my book Solid Ground will be released by NineStar Press.
I've shared the cover photo and a few details about the book on Goodreads, but many of you have asked for more information. Well, alright... About the Novel Solid Ground is the story of Conor McLeish, a middle-aged guy with a kind heart and an unfortunate Jameson habit, who simply wants to be a better man. He has a steady job, a Buddhist boyfriend, and a published debut novel, but he's weighed down by a secret and a truckload of emotional baggage he's carried from his youth.
As his fortieth birthday nears, Conor wants nothing more than to move ahead, to stop sabotaging his life and finally gain his footing. Life's not perfect though, and neither is Conor. He is his own worst enemy, and he continues to stumble over his hard-earned dysfunction.
Much of the novel is set in central Florida, where both literal and metaphorical alligators roam the riverbanks. Solid Ground is an intimate human story, a tale of personal evolution, that a wide audience can connect with and enjoy. The book is both dark and humorous, similar in tone to the works of Jonathan Tropper or John Irving.
Solid Ground is a work of literary fiction, and if I've done it right (and I think I have), it will feel like real life – full of smiles, dreams, tears, laughs, regrets, loss, dysfunction, love, and maybe, a bottle or two of decent whiskey.
There you go. Now, if you want more details, you'll have to buy the book and read it for yourself!
Next week, I'll sharelinks to Amazon, B&N, and other online retailers where you can pre-order/ buy the book in eBook format for $6.99 or in paperback for $14.99 (it's not published in hardcover).
For those who are interested, I'm also standardizing a process for getting signed copies!