DUCKWORTH COVER REVEAL!

Cover Reveal!

 

Here’s the brilliant cover for my new picture book–DUCKWORTH, THE DIFFICULT CHILD–to be published in June by Atheneum Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Simon & Schuster. My illustrator, Júlia Sardà Portabella, is based in Barcelona and has done an astounding job on the artwork. Thanks also to art director extraordinaire, Sonia Chaghatzbanian, and my fantabulous editor, Emma Ledbetter! 

Duckworth’s parents think he is a difficult child, so when a snake slides right up and swallows him whole, his parents don’t believe him! What’s poor Duckworth to do?

 

DUCKWORTH, THE DIFFICULT CHILD is available for pre-order at Amazon.

 

Enter your email address:
Delivered by FeedBurner

Subscribe in a reader

Incognolio Has Launched!

I’m beyond thrilled to announce that my novel, Incognolio, has launched and is now available as a paperback and eBook. For four years I poured my heart, soul, wit, and considerable bile into this book and I can assure you that it is unlike any novel you’ve ever read. For the launch, the eBook is priced at 99 cents and is free to those enrolled in Kindle Unlimited.

So far, Incognolio has received exclusively 5-star reviews at Amazon & Goodreads! I’m also giving away five copies of the paperback in a Goodreads giveaway running through August 18th.

I call Incognolio a psychological thriller. But it’s also a comic novel with elements of mystery, fantasy, and science fiction. Most importantly, it’s a real page-turner! And as Professor Solomon Von Pizzle of the Ludicrous Review observed: “Incognolio exudes so much pathos, it’s pathological!”

Special thanks to Karl Monger, Rebecca Faith, and Sione Aeschliman for their invaluable assistance in editing my manuscript and bringing the story to fruition. Sione understood the novel way better than I did myself—having written most of it in something of a trance—and enabled me to do a final rewrite and to, at long last, craft a satisfying ending.

I also want to thank my son Ollie who served as my creative consultant, contributing some inspired ideas, rejecting my duds, and helping me to generate a long list of unusual character names, including: Yiddle, Mr. & Mrs. Yankerhausen, Floreska, Greazly, J.R. Cosmipolitano, Quodon, and the inimitable Dr. Schmendrick.

 

Enter your email address:
Delivered by FeedBurner

Subscribe in a reader

INCOGNOLIO Pre-Orders Go Live!

Incognolio will be released by Janx Press as a paperback and eBook on August 9th. You can pre-order the eBook now for a special price of 99 cents at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and Google Play. 

Here is an excellent 5-star review from Readers’ Favorite:

Entering the pages of Michael Sussman’s inexplicable – category-wise – brilliantly-executed experimental novel, Incognolio is less like walking through a dream than it is like mentally traversing the ingenious daydreaming path of a highly imaginative, psychologically aware writer who is creating an inner epic from the images produced by streams of self-conscious meditation. Yes, it is that immediate. The book itself is crazy; crazy cool. Need an example? ‘“Because I possess the Faloosh,” she replies, employing what is in all likelihood another of my made-up words. “It enables me to intuit the entire backstory of any novel in which I appear as a character.”’ Any attempt to describe the plot line of this book would be arbitrary at best. Still, it is a miracle of inspired effort that Sussman creates such a marvelous coherency to his story – as fractured, unstable, and tenuous as it is. And there is humor. Lots of funny stuff delivered with the offhand manner of a master comic’s best throw-away lines.

Incognolio is intelligent and wry, and securely at home in the surreal insecurity of the self-reflective mind. Dreams do not make good books. Insanity, however, does. Especially the insanity of a writer like Michael Sussman, who seemingly retains a most convivial relationship with the madness of the normal mind. Because that is what Mr. Sussman makes the reader feel: that all those sudden reality shifts, those changes of incidental characters, those displacements of locale and occupation – all are nothing more than the powerful experiences of one who pays attention to this little thing called life. But it is the author’s genuine creative skills that make his through-the-looking-glass words so entangled and enticing, and makes of his wonderful experiment such a grand success. 

—Joel R. Dennstedt, Readers’ Favorite

Enter your email address:
Delivered by FeedBurner

Subscribe in a reader

Atheneum to Publish My New Picture Book: Duckworth, the Difficult Child

I haven’t posted for quite some time, as I’ve been hard at work on a novel. But I’m back with three exciting announcements:

La Gran Cadena by Júlia Sardà

The story, my homage to Florence Parry Heide’s The Shrinking of Treehorn, is about a boy with misguided parents who remain untroubled when he gets eaten by a snake.

This is my first picture book to be published since my debut—Otto Grows Down—was released by Sterling with illustrations by Scott Magoon.

 

Special thanks to Harold Underdown and Karl Monger—as well as Emma Ledbetter at Atheneum—for their expertise in editing the manuscript.

 

 

 

Enter your email address:
Delivered by FeedBurner

Subscribe in a reader

OTTO GROWS DOWN Goes Out of Print

 

 

 

My debut picture book, Otto Grows Down, was published by Sterling in 2009. I was lucky to be paired with the illustrator, Scott Magoon, a fabulous artist who has gone on to illustrate a bunch of wonderful books, including Spoon, Mostly Monsterly, and Chopsticks. Scott was a delight to work with, and Otto turned into a true collaboration.

Otto may not have won any awards, but it sold well, and it won the hearts and minds of many children and parents across the country. It has been gratifying to hear from parents, booksellers, and librarians that kids adore the story. In her blog post titled “What is Your Kid’s Favorite Book?”, Carissa Rogers wrote:

“I hope I can say this clearly enough. My little boy LOVES this book.
No. That was pathetic. Let me try again.
–He sprinkles this book on his cereal for breakfast.
–He sleeps with it.
–His older sister likes it just as much and often BEGS to read it to him!
–I’m not exaggerating. He would forgo a trip to the park, for an extra reading of Otto Grows Down.
–It travels on vacation with us.

–He plans to name his firstborn child Otto, regardless of gender.”

A college student was so taken with the story that she wrote a song about it and performed her creation on YouTube.

For those who never read the book, it’s the story of a boy who becomes trapped in backward time after making a birthday wish that his baby sister was never born. Like Crashing Eden, the central theme involves guilt and remorse over mistreating a sibling, and the wish to repair the damage.

Both stories probably emerged from my own remorse for having teased and harassed my younger brother. This theme of having harmed a sibling is such an abiding part of my psyche that at times I’ve wondered whether I’m a “womb twin survivor.” That’s someone who started life as a twin but was born alone, perhaps resulting in unconscious survivor guilt. (Yes, I realize that sounds bizarre, but who knows?)

Anyhow, it’s with some sadness that I announce that Otto Grows Down has gone out of print. Yet I take some comfort from Einstein’s belief that the past, present, and future coexist simultaneously, and that “the separation between past, present, and future is only an illusion, although a convincing one.” If this is the case, then as Otto bows out he simultaneously arrives, and will exist eternally.

Here’s a poem I wrote that never quite made it into the book:

 

What Is Time?

 

What is Time? What is Time?

Can anybody say?

Can you go to sleep tomorrow night

And wake up yesterday?

 

Will last Tuesday ever come again?

Or next year come round twice?

If summer never went away,

Now wouldn’t that be nice?

 

What is Time? What is Time?

Have you solved the riddle yet?

Can you stuff Time in your pocket?

Can you catch it with a net?

 

The Past is now behind us

And the Future’s yet to show.

Let’s celebrate the Present—

It’s the only time we know!

 

 

 

Enter your email address:
Delivered by FeedBurner

Subscribe in a reader

My Inaugural Post!

I’m still building the site, but thought I’d take a crack at my first post. Look, Ma, I’m blogging!

The impetus for starting this website is the imminent release of my first novel, Crashing Eden. For me there are few satisfactions in life that compare to publishing a book. And though the release of each of my books has been exciting, publishing a novel is the ultimate thrill.

What makes a novel so special? Well, as anyone who has managed to complete one can attest, there is probably no other literary feat that is quite so difficult, nor so gratifying. Writing this novel has tested me to the limit on every level: artistically, intellectually, emotionally, and spiritually. To be able to share what I’ve created with others is truly exhilarating.

And terrifying.

What if readers hate it? A novel is so personal, it’s as if you’re exposing your deepest, darkest self for all to see. How humiliating! Damn, is it too late to release the thing under a pen name?

Ah, well. Courage!

Now, the other reason that Crashing Eden is particularly close to my heart is that it’s written primarily for and about teenagers. As everyone knows, adolescence can be a time of great confusion and upheaval. Mine certainly was. To write this book I was forced to revisit those years, which proved painful and disturbing, but ultimately healing. It’s my hope that this story will not only entertain, but also provide some degree of solace to the teenager in us all.

 

Enter your email address:
Delivered by FeedBurner

Subscribe in a reader