37 Years of Making Things


Today is my birthday, and I am celebrating in many ways: pancakes, a hike, an Indian buffet, and an evening with friends in one of my favorite pubs. Mostly I’m relishing a sunny Saturday in Phoenix with my wife and son.

From friends and colleagues, there is one thing I would like – to share the writing, films, and recordings I’ve made these past few years.

Compared to other creative people, I am surprisingly bashful about publicizing my work. I release an audiobook, I post on Facebook, I dispatch a few tweets, and that’s pretty much it. I’ll often send a press release to a few dozen press contacts, but that is hit-or-miss.

Birthdays are often a time for reflection, especially as one approaches middle age, and there is nothing I reflect on more than my creative endeavors. In the end, I am what I do. And nothing would make me happier than to know that people are taking a gander at the things already done.

So, for your reading, viewing, and listening pleasure, here are some diversions [while you wait for the next episode of Westworld]:

Airmail Podcast

I have loved this first foray into podcasting, and friends have been very encouraging. Humble as it is, I would like to expand this podcast into something longterm and robust.

My New Times Videos

This summer, I started producing short videos for The Phoenix New Times. As a viewer and videographer, these short, guerilla-style documentaries have become my favorite medium on the Internet. I’ve gotten to meet some truly fascinating people these past few months, and I hope to produce a lot more. (Note: One video is missing from that archive, but you can access it here).

My “Heart of the Arts” Interviews

One of the highlights of my time in Phoenix was when K-BACH’s Jane Hilton asked me to host four segments about writers on the station’s arts program, “Heart of the Arts.” I have always yearned to work for public radio, and this experience was nothing short of life-changing. Also, my guests were awesome – eloquent, thoughtful, and good-humored.

Book: The Mysterious Tongue of Dr. Vermillion

Truly, I love writing pulp fiction. If someone said, “You will make a living wage for the rest of your life, but you can only write Elizabeth Crowne mysteries and nothing else,” I would say, “Deal.” I am obsessed with these macabre little stories, and I plan to write many, many more. If you’ve never heard of this, here’s an essay that explains it. Also, the book is available as an ebook.

Audiobook: The Green Season

The Green Season is my magnum opus, the exact book I had hoped to write about my two years in Costa Rica. I am very pleased with how the audiobook turned out, especially as someone who rarely “reads” books anymore. And hey, five stars!

Audiobook: The Iron Mountain

Technically, this audiobook isn’t a masterpiece. I was still learning how to do basic recordings, and my equipment and environment were rather primitive. But once you adapt to its weaknesses, I honestly think the audiobook of The Iron Mountain is a far more fulfilling experience than the origin book – and writers I admire have spoken very highly of it, which is more praise than I could possibly have hoped for.

Documentary: The Mountain

This feature-length documentary about climbing Mt. Whitney didn’t earn much attention when it was first released. I enjoyed myself at its premiere at Pittsburgh Filmmakers, but The Mountain wasn’t nearly as successful as its thematic predecessor, The Trail. But The Mountain has been gaining popularity in recent months, with more purchases on Vimeo than ever before. The trailer alone makes me smile, every time.

Surprise! “The Woman in the Sky”

If you have read this far, here’s a happy birthday surprise: “The Woman in the Sky,” my top-secret serial podcast, is scheduled to go live on Oct. 24th (in celebration of Halloween). This Elizabeth Crowne “origin story” is one of my proudest achievements as both a fiction writer and amateur audio producer. It’s also creepy as hell.