World According to Narnia Now Available (Limited Quantity)

The World According to Narnia, my 2005 examination of C.S. Lewis’s Narnia books, is out of print, but I recently found twenty or so copies that I am making available here on the website. Like all the books sold here, these will be signed by the author–which is to say, me.

You may remember

Continue reading this post

An Encounter with a Phrenologist

If you’ve read The Charlatan’s Boy, you know that phrenology–the “science” of reading a person’s character by the shape of his or her skull–plays a significant role. A blogger brought to my attention the following account of one person’s run-in with a phrenologist. It comes from The History of Phrenology on the Web, which is interesting if you like that sort of thing. And I do.

A recollection of the Rev. G.C. Rankin, looking back on his school days in the eastern United States, circa 1870:

“Among the students was a bright young fellow who had been under the tuition of the old teacher three or four years and he had been making a specialty of phrenology, and occasionally the boys would congregate in one of the rooms and Bob Rutherford would examine their heads, especially the new boys. He would take the boy, measure his head, place his hand upon the several bumps and call them by name and then decide whether or not he had any aptitude for study or any outlook for development. I had to submit to this ordeal. It was not exactly hazing, but it was on that order. I was somewhat credulous and disposed to believe what was ordinarily told me and, in some sense, this was a serious matter to me. It was made such by those who witnessed the proceeding. The fellow proceeded to measure my head from the forehead to the back, and from one ear to the other, and then he pressed his hands upon the protuberances carefully and called them by name. He felt my pulse, looked carefully at my complexion and defined it, and then retired to make his calculations in order to reveal my destiny.

Read the rest of this entry…

A Charlatan's Review of The Charlatan's Boy

The CSFF Blog Tour is featuring The Charlatan’s Boy this week. The long-come-short: a loose confederation of book bloggers read the same book and review it the same week as a way of building internet traffic for said book, as well as for one another’s blogs. If you’re interested, a good place to start

Continue reading this post

How Sally Apokedak Rescued The Charlatan's Boy

Sally Apokedak saves the day.

The Charlatan’s Boy was an exceedingly difficult book for me to write. Before writing this book, I had never experienced writer’s block. I didn’t, in fact, believe it existed. “Writer’s block” conjures up images of the tortured artist, misunderstood by the world. Me, I’ve always been a plain procrastinator. I thought it would be distinctly unhelpful to dignify my procrastination with the term “writer’s block.”

But in the writing of The Charlatan’s Boy, I experienced something that went beyond procrastination. I don’t know any word for it besides writer’s block. I had set a task for myself that I wasn’t at all sure I could accomplish. I’ve always been comfortable writing raucous, whoop-it-up stories, but The Charlatan’s Boy, for all its robustiousness is really a story about a boy’s inner life. It’s one thing to write about alligator wrestling; it’s quite another to write about a boy’s wrestling with his loneliness, his hurt, his ugliness. Writers often talk about how terrifying it is to write; I usually dismissed that as mostly self-indulgence. But I was pretty terrified by the thought of trying to go deeper into a character’s inner life. I literally pictured readers saying, “Really? That’s what you call insight into the human condition? Why don’t you stick to alligator wrestling?”

Read the rest of this entry…

Facebook Book Club for Charlatan’s Boy

It occurs to me that some of you may not be aware of the Charlatan’s Boy Book Club that is happening on Facebook. If you’re interested in discussing the book with other readers (and me), it’s happening there…

Click here to join the discussion.

Charlatan’s Boy Reviewed in WORLD Magazine

This week’s WORLD magazine features The Charlatan’s Boy among its notable books. Reviewer Susan Olasky does a great job of getting to the heart of the book. You can read her review here.

Review in NY Journal of Books

Here’s a nice review of The Charlatan’s Boy in a publication called The New York Journal of Books.

The Charlatan's Boy in Publishers Weekly

The nice people at Publishers Weekly gave The Charlatan’s Boy a favorable review in their September 13 issue. You can get your own signed copy (of the book, not the review) here.

Here’s that notice from Publishers Weekly:

A couple of misfits get more than they bargain for in this comical fantasy. The peddler

Continue reading this post

Last Minute Film Festival Entry: Feechie Book Release

I have a very cool family. They made this movie to celebrate the release of The Charlatan’s Boy:

The Charlatan’s Boy Release Day! Feechie Film Festival Finalists!

It’s finally here: release day for The Charlatan’s Boy. How does one celebrate a book release? At, we celebrate with a film festival. A gratifying seventeen entries came in, each a different take on the same question: ‘Do you believe in feechies?’ These seventeen shorts (all but a few come in at less than

Continue reading this post