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9th of August

The Time Given


Last weekend offered something all of us pray for, whether it’s an audible, breathed prayer or not:

Time with people we love and care for and MISS as the clock pulls us forward

My hometown library hosted a book signing, and Lindsey S. Frantz (a childhood best friend) and I were able to attend, and sign, our newest works. That in itself was a great blessing. To be able to write and share our stories with others. But the best was still yet to come that day.

We had friends and family in attendance, when so many other things were happening in the lake community of Monticello. It meant so much that people chose to stop by and say, “Hello!”

We saw people we hadn’t seen since the days Monticello High School stood three stories high on Cave Street. And that in itself was also like walking into the wonderful past.

I saw teachers I respected and still talk to this day. Vicki York Davis. Carolyn Harris. Betty Hyden. Allyson Upchurch Tucker. Beth Brewerton. And family was there. And best friends. The library gave us a solid 2 hour window. And the reunion saw people staying well beyond that.

Then, the night held more reunions with best friends opening up their home in Somerset and allowing all of us to eat dinner together. And Sunday permitted my wife and I to see my grandparents, for the first time in many years. My brother, sister, and their families were also in town. I was able to see nine-month-old, Henry, for the first time.

Before we left, Mom packed up yellow and green tomatoes from her garden and put them in our car.

We were exhausted arriving in Chattanooga. But the time permitted us to see a microcosm of what I imagine heaven to be. It was worth it.

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3rd of July

Our Nation, July 3rd, 2017


I fear that I’m

falling

out of favor

 

And part of me believes that it’s

okay

to be me

just because

 

Who else understands my mind

better

than this heart

these breaths

 

Apart from God alone

 

Independence from my

atrocities

now and forevermore

 

Rejoicing with the family I

know

In this summertime

while at home

 

The leaves fully green and

alert

to the sun’s perpetual

shine

 

I ought to care for my neighbor

next door

who hurts from hunger

and feels utterly

alone

 

I understand solitude better than

I used to, cousin

It feels dreary and dark allnightlong

 

I pray for you neighbor

your family and yours

 

For we are all connected in

disharmony

 

While it lasts

 

we last

 

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29th of June

2017 Writerly Happenings


Hi, folks!

Here are 3 more exciting “writerly” events happening this summer:

 

“If everybody read Wendell Berry, I believe we’d have a shot at being more decent.”

 

 

Hope to see you at one, or all of these times!

 

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6th of June

Q&A: Brian L. Tucker


Questions

What literary pilgrimages have you gone on?

  • In 3 years I’ve seen 3 distinct stories. I’m never sure where the next one will go. Young adult tone has remained from Wheelman (2016) to Swimming the Echo  (2017).

 

What is the first book that made you cry?

  • Honestly. A Walk to Remember. Please don’t tell anyone. I read it one evening and woke up sick as a dog. I mean, how sad is that.

 

What is the most unethical practice in the publishing industry?

  • I wouldn’t say practice. I don’t want to get into that. But, nepotism probably.

 

Does writing energize or exhaust you?

  • New ideas energize me. But, the editing makes me want to stay away from new projects altogether.

 

What are common traps for aspiring writers?

  • Thinking the MFA (like any degree) is instant success. It prepares you. But, that is the starting point.

 

Does a big ego help or hurt writers?

  • Unless you’re John Cheever, a big ego should be left alone.

 

What is your writing Kryptonite?

  • Seinfeld re-runs

 

Have you ever gotten reader’s block?

  • Sometimes. Reading a string of 3 or 4 great (or awful) works will make me hit the pause button on reading.

 

Did you ever consider writing under a pseudonym?

  • With a common name like mine, I thought about Jumping Jack Flash a few times.

 

Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?

  • Melville said originality was everything (my paraphrase). I think a mighty theme is the way we should all try to write.

 

Do you think someone could be a writer if they don’t feel emotions strongly?

  • Not a satisfied one. Writers who try to sell are never digging as deep as the blood pouring from a poet’s arm.

 

What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?

  • The Bluegrass Writers Studio at EKU was where I learned to share the load. It’s a community. It works best that way.

 

Do you want each book to stand on its own, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?

  • I’d like for them to. Seton, Kentucky is a nice slice of home for me, but I like travel stories and taking that adventure with each set of characters each time.

 

If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?

  • Write outside with a cold drink while overlooking the water. Forget that coffeehouse business.

 

How did publishing your first book change your process of writing?

  • Story collections hardly ever sell. I learned to publish first. Ask questions second.

 

What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?

  • Buying a Macbook to do more writing for the next next and next works.

 

What authors did you dislike at first but grew into?

  • I really don’t have any that come to mind.

 

What did you do with your first advance?

  • If I wrote non-fiction and this happened (an advance), I’d buy a bunch of obscure candy bars and share them with people. Cracker Barrel has a bunch of stuff like Zero bars, Zagnut bars, and Goo Goo Clusters. It’d be fun to do that and watch peoples’ expressions.

 

What was an early experience where you learned that language had power?

  • My third grade teacher, Mrs. Carolyn Harris let us type stories. She sent mine to me just last year. I remember that experience favorably.

 

What are the most important magazines for writers to subscribe to?

  • Poets & Writers and Newpages.com are good ones

 

What’s your favorite under-appreciated novel?

  • The Dollmaker. How that one isn’t required reading is beyond me.

 

How do you balance making demands on the reader with taking care of the reader?

  • Show don’t tell. Everyone benefits from stories like that.

 

As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?

  • Huh?

 

How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?

  • 3 currently.

 

What does literary success look like to you?

  • Thanking God for the chance to do it again tomorrow. Not being a weirdo.

 

What’s the best way to market your books?

  • Be yourself.

 

What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?

  • Research isn’t my thing, but I learn a lot when I give topics the attention they deserve. For example, I learned that the Dark Star cave beneath Uzbekistan might be the world’s deepest cave (after doing research for Swimming the Echo).

 

Do you view writing as a kind of spiritual practice?

  • It can be. Especially if the topic is one of passion and love.

 

What’s the most difficult thing about writing characters from the opposite sex?

  • Getting inside their head and staying put for months on end.

 

How many hours a day do you write?

  • <1. I’m a slow writer. I often don’t write unless the premise is there. Then, I just go with it.

 

What did you edit out of this book?

  • Swimming the Echo saw some large cuts. Getting the story focused on the cave systems in Mammoth. And it still took almost half the novel to get the characters all settled there.

 

Have you read anything that made you think differently about fiction?

  • Anything by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Magical surrealistic fiction is astounding.

 

What are the ethics of writing about historical figures?

  • Don’t slander them. Don’t let them take over. They work best for me as tertiary influences like Lincoln in Doctorow’s Ragtime.

 

How do you select the names of your characters?

  • Not sure. I like names that roll off the tongue. Monk McHorning in The Natural Man is one of my favorites.

 

If you didn’t write, what would you do for work?

  • Haha

 

Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones?

  • As long as their honest, what can I say.

 

Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find?

  • Sure. Hometown references. Childhood nostalgia is there. Friends have called me on it and said Thanks.

 

What was your hardest scene to write?

  • In Swimming the Echo, it was one of betrayal. That is always one of the hardest.

 

Do you Google yourself?

  • Do people do that?

 

What one thing would you give up to become a better writer?

  • Nothing. I think each person is on a journey (life-long) when they write.

 

What is your favorite childhood book?

  • Holes is special.

 

What is the most difficult part of your artistic process?

  • Sitting down in isolation. I’m a space cadet. Being alone in a room, or even outside by myself can be torture.

 

Does your family support your career as a writer?

  • Definitely. And read mushy first, second, and third drafts.

 

If you had to do something differently as a child or teenager to become a better writer as an adult, what would you do?

  • Not listen to so much metal.

 

How long on average does it take you to write a book?

  • If the creative juices are flowing, one month to two.

 

Do you believe in writer’s block?

  • For me – no. I’d call it writer’s laziness. Not wanting to sit in the chair and delve into new ideas is where I reside mostly. Writing makes me feel like a misfit.
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31st of May

New Book – Swimming the Echo


The new book came in a wave of anticipation from my publisher yesterday. Blasting comparisons to summer reads for teens, young adults, and beyond! I was ecstatic to see it go up on their site first yesterday at: ELectioPublishing.

Swimming the Echo is near and dear as it encompasses parts of southern Kentucky, including caves like Mammoth. It makes me appreciate the memories of exploring at a younger age. I hope it does the same for you.

  • With ELectio’s site you get a FREE ebook of Swimming the Echo*

*with every paperback copy ordered

  • Today, Amazon has only the ebook listed for sale. You can find it here. (Reviews are possible to write by scrolling and selecting ‘Write a customer review’ on their page.)
  • Barnes & Noble also has the ebook (Nook book) available online at: B&N.

Other retailers will add the book to their databases in the coming days!

I’m thrilled for those already sharing the book and reading it! Feel free to post pictures online of your travels with this one. Thank you.

-Brian

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24th of May

12 Things I Learned about Paris


  1. Wearing a suit in 90-degree weather is totally acceptable.
  2. English is a common denominator and most Parisians will help you translate
  3. Baguettes are a must – daily. (Especially on the train ride home)
  4. Their motto: work to live
  5. The Metropolitan is both above and below ground
  6. Dinner comes after work but not before a few hours spent socializing
  7. Brasseries are the ONLY way to spend time with friends
  8. They are genuinely kind and love their city deeply
  9. Cigarettes aren’t just in the movies
  10. Wine, cheese, crepes, & boulangeries 24/7
  11. Everyone is outside: young, middle, and old (and together)
  12. PDA is downright encouraged

 

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9th of May

NEW Book, New Cover Design


As promised earlier on social media, my new book cover for Swimming the Echo is available for viewing on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and right here. The actual book will go live on Amazon, eLectio Publishing, and in brick and mortar stores on May 30th. I’m thrilled to share this update.

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8th of May

New Book COVER Reveal, today at 4pm


In March, it was announced that Wheelman would get a facelift.

Today, I shared the NEW Wheelman cover on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram. But, I also wanted to share a brand new image I received from my publisher for my newest work, Swimming the Echo, which launches this month (5.30.17) with eLectio Publishing!

The image for Swimming the Echo will be shared online at 4pm today. I hope you are as excited as I am. These works of fiction are something I look forward to sharing with you.

Currently, Wheelman and Baptisms & Dogs: Stories are both available as Kindle ebooks for $5 total!

Share the love. Take a book on vacation.

Brian

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1st of May

More Aplomb Por Favor


A Good Person with Aplomb is Rare

How many self-confident people in stressful situations do you know?

Now remove Kim Kardashian.

How many people do you have left?

Good people with good intentions. Those who are levelheaded when life presents Amazonian rainforest conditions.

Again, the Kardashians are not the best company.

Think about someone you really, truly respect.

Billy Graham is a good example.

Now, think about how Billy Graham would handle the hardest parts of your Monday.

Calm. Cool. Collected.

These are the people you want to be more like. The people who would hold the door for you and ask about your weekend.

Join me in stepping away from infamy. Even for a day.

The world will take notice, because it’s different. It’s not the same. It’s not popular, but it’s not normal. Do this life with poise, a calm demeanor.

Stop asking the world what it needs and pray about what burns deep inside your core being. What screams for your heart. See it. And do those things.

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10th of April

(re)build us


Reform our minds

And we can

Improve

 

In a day where

The word

change

Sounds made up

Made to cover

Engulf

Swallow

Just as the fires

are used

in a controlled burn

So, too, can we

Refine

Ameliorate

And improve this cycle

time

season of life

Where the winds of change

Seem capable of

bringing anything

but good

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