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Mockery Alert

October 21, 2010

Wandering away momentarily from the Buffalo Arts Council scandal, I’d like to talk about my next book.  Code named ‘Mockery’, I’m planning on throwing a curve ball right past home base.  So to speak.

With three years of new material in the can and nine books (including the Voices From The Herd anthology), I’m in no hurry to release or promote something new.  Unless it’s something special. 

The idea hit me like a ton of bricks and after doing a million promotions, in-store appearances and readings over the last ten years, it was time for a change.  I thought about what I enjoyed reading, what made sense and honestly (after both Breathing Rooms), how the content naturally fit.  It’s time for a book devoted to what I do best: comedy.

Over the course of a weekend, I took about 300 pages of essays and picked out my favorites.  The lean, mean beasts of the pack.  Out of all of the available material, I harvested 130 choice pages of concentrated hilarity and lined them up to mirror the pacing, timing and structure of a standup comedy routine, with light laughs and superficial material at the beginning leading in to the crux of my angst and closing out with a strong, steady finish that brings it all back around. 

I’m a slow learner.  We’ve been over this.  But personally, as a reader, I’ve always enjoyed reading essay collections that top out at around 130 pages.  I love Andy Rooney, but he runs too long for his own good.  The funniest book I’ve ever read (or in all likelihood, will ever read) is Steve Martin’s Pure Drivel, which closes out at 130 tight, well constructed pages.  It’s high time to follow the path that Hemingway and Fitzgerald carved out.  Less is more, and economy of line packs more of a wallop than a whopper of a book in weight.

The material I’ve chosen has a flow that’s refreshing compared to my previous collections.  I’m very excited, and it’s been a long time since I’ve gotten worked up over my own work.  With a new direction and a vastly evolved battle plan, I’ve got a fresh start.  I’ll be hammering out a lower price point, too, which will attract a larger base of readers.

Slapstick & Superego was a beautiful project and a great book, and I’m proud of the material, the appearance and the layout.  I jumped ship on the promotions though simply because I was exhausted from promoting.  With Mockery, I feel energized because everything feels new again, so Slapstick will get the readings and signings it deserved right alongside Mockery

I’m proud to note that graphic designer Evangeline Barbour is heading up the cover design and interior of the book.  We’ve got a very specific look for this book that appeal to my vintage graphic novel sensibilities.  Fan favorite Mike Hilliard (better known as Intentionally Bald Mike) will be penning the intro.  I’m also in the midst of discussions with web/graphic designer Brian Platter (Six Shot Studios) for a brand new web site due out before or at the same time as the book launch that wows, informs and titillates.

            The sad news is that you’re just going to have to be patient for the new book, as I’m taking my time with this one.  Tentatively slated for a spring of ’11 release, I’m going to make sure this baby is perfect before we deliver it to the rest of the world.  Trust me when I say it’ll be worth the wait.  Throw your preconceived expectations out the window and strap yourself in for a reading experience that’ll make you laugh yourself into a brain aneurysm.  I’m not even kidding.         

Stay tuned,

Tom Waters

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