You can get it through my createspace estore. I was going to wait until May 11, but I have decided to do a “soft opening.” The ebook is not yet done and won’t be available for at least a week or more.
As I’ve mentioned, this was a short story I wrote about 22 years ago when I was in college. A year or so ago I dug it out of a box, dusted it off and started typing it in. I thought maybe I’d publish it, maybe with some other old short stories I have lying around, but I wasn’t really sure what I wanted to do with it.
But as I was typing it in, I decided Iron Curling Ale was not nearly as good as I remembered it being. The story was good, I thought, but the writing was poor. Not just poor in the way that I look back at something I’ve written and think, “Well, I could have rephrased that.” No, the writing was really poor.
So I stopped retyping Iron Curling Ale and I started rewriting.
While I wrote I put on my ear phones and pumped 1990s music straight into my head at ridiculously loud volumes, and I dug down deep into my memories and really tried to put myself back in the frame of mind of the 20-year-old who wrote the original story.
I won’t say the experience was magical, but it was mystical.
I’ll give you fair warning: This story is a little rough. If you know me from church or if you’re a fan of my newspaper columns about raising sons, I would encourage you to skip on by this story.
Iron Curling Ale is like nothing else I’ve published (except that the protagonist of the story is a sort of anti-hero, which seems to be the thing I enjoy writing best). The language goes beyond the drunken sailor scale. The plot of the story involves a lot of drinking and drug abuse and themes such as that, so it’s not the story I would read to my kids at bedtime.
Ultimately, for me, it’s a love story, and that’s also not something I would typically write.
Regardless of the rough language, the drinking and the drugs, I absolutely love this story. Iron Curling Ale, sitting ignored but not forgotten in a box all these years, has always been with me. This story is deeply, intimately personal to me, and I think a lot of what made it into this version is the result of the story sitting with me for so long.
Over the years, a 4000-word story grew flesh. It now totals out to about 20,000 words, so it’s still very short. And as a printed paperback, it’s ridiculously small. It’s like a fun-size candy bar. But I love it.
This rewritten version of Iron Curling Ale is what I wanted the story to be when I wrote it two decades ago. Honestly, I think it’s beautiful.
Here’s the back cover description:
All confidence, sex driven and alcohol fueled, Green has flunked out of college and lost his job as a pizza delivery boy. About all he has left is his 1979 Pontiac Grand Prix. But when he wakes next to a beautiful woman whose name he cannot remember, Green’s disposition turns hopeful. Somewhere in his subconscious, through a cloudy haze of dope smoke and a pool of beer, he remembers a sign with a missing letter S, and when Kim’s pregnancy test shows negative, the two embark on a cross-country quest to find something better, something stronger, something memorable. They’re looking for an ale that can curl iron. In the end, it’s never more than a moment.
Part angst, part tragedy, all love story, Iron Curling Ale has a back beat and should be read like a rock song.