I plan on giving it to Glenn of Glenn Hates Books at the end of next week. Please don’t let his review (as awesome as it will be) be the first/only one posted.
“Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”
May God add His blessing to the hearing, reading, and doing of his most holy word.
With Glenn Hates Books: Brutally Honest Book Reviews – Vol. 1 Conley, unbeknownst to him, reveals himself to be a fervent follower of Saint Paul’s advice. In fact, it is difficult to imagine that a critic such as Conley could even exist if it wasn’t for a childhood diet rich in God’s word. The trouble, however, is young Conley (the boy sitting in the pew who couldn’t get phrases such as “Fuck this shit in the ass!” out of his head no matter how hard he tried) thought that this indoctrination was a matter of the mind, when in fact it is a matter of the heart. And then somehow, despite this mass confusion, he became an adult, got a job, and so on and so forth. Which brings us to the present, where Glenn Conley writes book reviews for fun.
Sticking to the timeless advice that is clearly stamped upon his heart, he writes reviews that are true, reviews that are honest, reviews that are just, reviews that are pure. He claims that he writes these reviews because he hates books. But that’s just a silly marketing ploy to get suckers like me to notice him. The truth is that I know of no one who loves books more than Glenn Conley. He tears through them. A friend once labeled me a “word volcano”. Sticking with the naturalistic theme, if that’s the case, Conley is a “word black hole”. Nothing escapes him. He ingests books at a rate of nearly one a day, and also takes time to consider them and report back to the author–and the world–whether the book had any truth to it. And *big surprise* most do not. Well, most of the books that Conley reads anyway.
We’re here, however, to assess his book. Should anyone read it? To do this, we turn again to the words of Saint Paul. In his second letter to the Corinthians, Chapter 4, Verse 17-18, the King James version has recorded:
“For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.”
That is to say, Conley’s book includes swears and graphic depictions–not just depictions, but longings for–rape, incest, and death. So if the temporal, seen world is the only one that matters, then he has contributed no value and his book is a public nuisance. But if we are all awaiting an eternal, unseen world, then his book is hilarious and well-worth reading. (Follow his blog here.) It is best read and appreciated while taking a shit or doing some other activity whose accomplishment is more prudently advanced the more one is distracted from doing it. Just when you think you’ve read all the possible combinations of his “Green Eggs and Ham” sized vocabulary, a fit of uncontrolled laughter signals he knows no bounds.
Lastly, whatever your stance on the time-space universe, keep this book away from literate children.
The biggest reason you should know the answer is “no” is that the book isn’t topping any best seller list.
Lesson learned, okay? After seeing The Divorce and Doom of Simon Pastor not sell, I figured this whole writing books thing was going to be about doing it my way. So I asked my friend, the same one who drew Simon’s cover, to do an oil painting this time. He told me, “Sure, but I don’t usually work with oil.” I replied, “I don’t normally write books. Let’s stretch ourselves.”
I happen to think the painting is great. But I can also admit that formatting it for the book cover took away a little bit, okay a lot, of the greatness. What I will never admit is that two men hugging in a forest are necessarily having sex together that night. Yet nearly everyone that I have talked to in person, not to mention Glenn and one other blogger on his review, have expressed that they expected Buried Within to have something to do with gay men or Brokeback Mountain based on the book cover.
What I really want to say to you all is thank you. For a long time I have feared that it would come out that I’m homophobic. What with my fundamental Christian upbringing, my military background, my having been married and having a child, my love of Michael Mann and Tom Cruise, I mean all these things are classic symptoms of homophobia. But then I heard these rumblings about the book cover and felt an immense swelling of pride. It really is a sign of the times, I think, that you think I have it in me to write a story centered on two gay men. (It also seems like you would prefer to read that book ((which is itself fascinating to me–and noted)) over a simple story of male friendship.)
So thank you.
But, unfortunately for my bank account, Buried Within is an exploration into a pair of men’s hearts that reveals a love that transcends sexuality. It is not about burying anything within anybody–forest or no forest.
Now take your mouse or finger and click here to buy the book. Pick up my other two while you’re there. Do it out of pity. Do it out of the acute feeling of guilt you should have for judging a book by its cover. But do it in any case. And remember, buying a book doesn’t mean you have to read it, neither do you need a Kindle to buy the Kindle version for the low, low price of $1.99.
When I quit the oil fields, I told myself I would write two books (in addition to posting Mon-Fri) and that they would be on sale by March 1st. Well, without a moment to spare, my new (and second) short novel Buried Within is now available in paperback for purchase on Amazon (kindle version within the day). Here is the back cover text. Hope you enjoy.
Rick and Mark are friends, but they have lots of friends. After Mark’s wife Rebecca is murdered, he does the unthinkable–twice. Would you? Could you?
Pete Deakon lightens the mood, at least a shade, with his second short novel, Buried Within. The story explores friendship, hope, guilt, and ultimately, love.
At times laugh-out-loud funny, through an easy-going style and brisk pace, this contemporary thriller pleasantly affirms and challenges some of Mid-America’s most cherished notions.
If you’d like to do a review of the book (that you’d post on your blog and Amazon at least), I’ll email you a pdf. Just let me know. Glenn of Glenn Hates Books has it in his queue already. I’m skerred. Ha.
Simon was no saint. It will become abundantly clear that he had a nasty brutish side. And we must never forget, of course, that he was first and above-all human. I say this to introduce the idea that he found himself approaching his twenty-fourth year of virginity with a tiresome weariness. It had been years since he attended a church service and despite plowing through books on religion, the memory of the why of it all was fading.
The fall after he turned twenty-four Simon learned that his friend Kurt was getting married. Kurt asked him to be his best man and Simon figured he may as well learn how to dance for the occasion. He first heard Kerri’s name as the dance studio’s receptionist told him who his instructor would be.
“We do private lessons on Wednesdays, so Wednesday night at 8pm you’ll be with,” the woman paused as she checked the instructor availabilities, “you’ll be with Kerri.”
“Kerri. Got it. Great. See you then,” Simon said. “I hope she’s hot,” he thought, after hanging up the phone.
He had scheduled lessons with high hopes of impressing the bride’s single friends. Simon happily admitted to anyone who would listen that the many ballroom scenes within the recently finished epic War and Peace had a hand as well.
For some men a woman’s smile is the most visible memory of first seeing her. Others can’t forget her eyes. Many find themselves drawn to a woman’s unadulterated laugh. Simon never forgot Kerri’s posture. Arriving a few minutes early for the lesson, he saw a woman who he hoped would be Kerri. She was walking from left to right when their eyes first met. She was expecting him, but didn’t expect him. The way Simon recounted it, she froze solid upon sight of him—her slender neck almost breaking in the violence—though Kerri would coyly never admit to being overly impressed with her future husband that day. He confided to me that he knew in that moment that she was the one. When I pressed him to explain how he knew, he admitted it was very primal. He said that he could just tell that she would give herself to him. Kerri was like that. Her body housed her spirit but was never very good at concealing it.
Too soon, Kurt’s wedding had come and gone and the dance lessons lost their relevance to Simon’s ambitions. Over the duration, however, Simon and Kerri had become quite close. As is often the case with new love, neither of them wanted to stop being around the other. Simon simply couldn’t believe he had found a female that he’d like to have as a friend.
Simon had an uncanny ability to focus on a goal. Since signing that blue oversized “True Love Waits” index card, he viewed all available women as potential wives. Despite viewing marriage as an undesirable institution, he saw no value in befriending a woman who would someday choose another man. If he was going to spend time with a woman, he concluded, it had to be one he wanted to marry. And here she was, slightly tipsy, leaning against his car outside of the restaurant that he had taken her to after his last lesson. Not having any experience to aid his assessment of the unfolding drama, he returned to his safe place—honesty.
“Well, unless we’re going to go somewhere else, I think this is it, Kerri,” he struggled to say.
“Nope, I have no place to be,” she said.
“Oh. It just seems like you’re,” he paused, searching for the most accurate word, “waiting for something.”
“I guess-,” she began.
“Plus, aren’t you cold just standing out here?” he interrupted.
“-I was going to say we could go make out in your car,” she said, laughing at his genuinely surprised reaction to her suggestion, “if that’s okay with you.”
“Hmm,” said Simon as fear swept over him. Simon had never really made out before. But it sounded fun.
“Okay. Give me a second to open your door though. It doesn’t work from the outside,” he said, consciously moving as slow as humanly possible so as to not give away his excitement. Any restaurant staff still cleaning up inside who by happenchance had been peeking out at the scene would have thought Kerri had put a time limit on the offer Simon moved so fast.
Once inside the car, it didn’t take Kerri long to conclude Simon was in uncharted territory, and she laughed as she told him as much. He, in turn, loved both parts of that. She was perceptive and unafraid. Only later did he remember she was also a little drunk. By the end, Simon had told me a hundred times if he told me one time that he always wondered how the relationship would’ve played out if it wasn’t so late, if they weren’t far from both their homes, and if it hadn’t have been that time of the month.
As amazing as the evening had been, Simon was too much a boy scout to not regain control and come up for air.
“Call me when you get to your place. Drive safe,” he said.
Playfully pulling him towards her car, she managed to convince him that just a few more shivering kisses wouldn’t hurt.
Continue reading on your kindle here for $3.99. 🙂
Okay. Here it is. The Author’s Preface and Chapter One are below. Tomorrow’s post will be Chapter Two, but then you gotta buy it. Enjoy! (Click on the image to go to Amazon. Or here.)
Looking back, I am certain that in his last months with us Simon Pastor was aware that his journey’s end was nearing. Those of us closest to him have since discussed the sadness his eyes betrayed no matter how large his smile during those last few months. And I, especially, feel a heavy burden because he once told me that when I tell his story (“and tell it you must!” he’d implore) that I need to get it right, that I need to share everything. In honor, then, of Simon Pastor’s wishes I have chosen to write this book. His will granted me access to everything of his, including his laptop and phone. I have, of course, taken dramatic license with some parts of his story, but when you read a text exchange or email exchange, know that it is verbatim, typos and all.
Men get stuck. Simon Pastor was no different. Like every man he reached a turning point which defined all actions thereafter. Unlike some men, however, Simon fell prey to this moment. It overwhelmed him. It consumed him. And eventually it killed him.
Trauma is usually found within these turning points. I say trauma to emphasize the sheer shock of the event and its aftermath. Combat is the trigger for some, the senseless unexpected death of a loved one for others. For Simon, the event was his divorce.
When men are confronted by these moments, they respond in one of two ways. Either they grow or they get stuck. And I don’t mean to imply that men have an equal chance of responding in either of the two ways, not at all. Most men get stuck. Most are not equipped with the skills and tools necessary to deal with the trauma. Poor Simon wasn’t.
“Simon, here, is a virgin,” said Brian. “He’s holding out for his one true love.”
Simon was, in fact, a virgin. But this did not make him any different from the rest of the eighteen year old college freshmen in the dorm room. The dorm room’s dominant feature was the two twin beds lofted into the air by homemade wooden stands, which made the shape of an L in the corner. The room’s current tenants each hung bed sheets from the ceiling in order to conceal any co-ed sports that may or may not occur on the beds. This was standard practice among the dorm’s residents. The beds being in the air also created more space for the young men to come together for intimate conversations. In the case of Brian’s room, this room, a love seat was under one of the beds. Two more 1950s style wooden desk chairs and one crummy bean bag chair completed the room’s seating arrangement.
“You laugh,” Simon replied, “but I actually did sign a ‘True Love Waits’ card once. With others, I walked it up to the front of the church during a special service and everything. A public vow between God and I. You ever made a commitment to anything higher than yourself before? Any of you?”
It’s what we loved about Simon. He was honest to a fault and all heart.
“That depends on your definition of high, Simon,” Chris offered to a general laughter among the guys.
Rolling his eyes and shaking his head, Simon took a breath.
“Is it on my back? My forehead?” he asked, pretending to wipe off a mark. “Why is it everywhere I go this is the most frequently discussed thing? No, I haven’t had sex. Yes, I’d like to save myself for marriage. And yes, I’m proud of this and could not care less who knows. But I do hope that we can someday talk about something, anything, else,” he lamented. “How about Josh? He was so drunk he pissed on his own computer the other night. Isn’t that interesting?”
General merriment accompanied Josh’s inadequate rebuttal.
For Simon, college was infinitely better than high school in every way save this one. In high school, while every boy talked about having sex, only a select few had actually gained carnal knowledge. In college, however, Simon soon found himself in the minority. And given the general lack of responsibilities that come with attending American universities, everyone soon knew.
He once shared with me, though, that almost to a man, when in a one-on-one conversation, the guys would admit that they respected him for his decision. I knew I did. It was not difficult to see why. Simon believed in principles. He believed in virtue. And that is rare.
Buy it today. Chapter Two tomorrow.
Simon Pastor believed he had never been hurt before. By the time he found himself in an uncontrolled cycle of hurting his wife, he realized that was not true. He felt his wife had hurt him. Then he hurt her. And hurt her. And hurt her. Finally, he divorced her. But that didn’t stop the hurt.
The Divorce and Doom of Simon Pastor is an explicit look at innocence and hurt. It is not about innocence lost, but about innocence never had. It is about the most destructive kind of hurt. A shameful tale of his descent into madness, The Divorce and Doom of Simon Pastor offers an unencumbered look into one man’s failed marriage and failed divorce.
I started writing the posts that make up this book April 20, 2012 after serving for eight years as an Air Force Captain and pilot. The most common response readers give is a smiling, head-shaking look of disbelief that is sometimes sprinkled with joy. What no one has said–but I’m confident all feel–is that after reading these posts, after reading this book, they know they are not alone. And that’s the truth. You are not alone. And the only way to get there is together.
For practice with independent publishing, and because I wanted my own tangible copy of everything I’ve written in the last two years, I published a paperback version of this blog. You can click here to buy it from CreateSpace. Click here to buy it from Amazon. There is no ebook available, as that format just seems wrong for this project for some reason.
I’ve asked myself why anyone would buy something that they can read for free, and there’s only one acceptable reason: because they want to. For me, it was a need more than a want, but I think you get the picture. Buy it because you want (need) to. It begins with “Why a log?” and ends with “A Jaw Dropping Woman.”
Now that this little experiment is complete, expect new books in the future. And, of course, I’ll still be publishing as many posts as I can while I’m not away at work.
Oh, and the book makes a great gift. (I’m pretty sure H- would’ve been mad if I didn’t include that last little bit.)