Book deals, raw deals, and notable upcoming events of interest

Recent word from the Texas State University creative-writing program: Master of fine arts student Daniel Homan – who just finished up his first year workshopping with the likes of faculty member Tim O'Brien – has signed a book deal with Wildside Press' Prime imprint. Described in a university release as "allegorical and politically charged," Queen of Hearts will be Homan's debut. It is said to address the war in Iraq in a science-fiction sort of way. "Daniel's one of the most driven young writers I've ever known," says program director Tom Grimes, "and what's amazing is that his work covers a range of genres, from detective to speculative fiction to 'literary.'"

For his part, Grimes will be taking a well-deserved leave of absence starting July 1. "You can say that I'm fleeing Texas and will be unreachable until January 15," he says. Grimes, whose "Bring Out Your Dead" was named a Notable Essay of 2006 by the Best American series and whose novella Redemption Song was named a Notable Story of 2006 by same, is working on a "long novel."

Also on the San Marcos campus: The second issue of the Front Porch Journal is online (, featuring an extraordinary essay from a hero of mine, Barry Hannah, along with work from Zdravka Evtimova, Judy Wilson, C.D. Wright, Jenny Gillespie, and many more.

Elsewhere, small presses across America are dreading a U.S. Postal Service mailing-rate change for magazines set to go into effect on July 15. The new structure – reportedly drafted and proposed by Time Warner and approved by postal regulators without congressional or public input – could see "smaller periodicals … hit with a much larger increase than the big magazines, as much as 30 percent. Some of the largest circulation magazines will face hikes of less than 10 percent," according to media critic Robert McChesney. For more information and to sign a letter of objection, go to

Notable Upcoming Events of Interest

At BookPeople on Sunday, May 13, 3pm: Jim Chastain (I Survived Cancer, but Never Won the Tour de France) and poet Nathan Brown (Suffer the Little Voices)… At Barnes & Noble West Lake in May: the likes of David Liss (The Coffee Trader) on Wednesday, 10am; Ben Rehder (Gun Shy) on the 29th, 7pm; and Robert Utley (Lone Star Lawmen) on the 31st, 7:30pm, as part of the Discovery Speaker Series.

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Texas State University creative writing program, Daniel Homan, Wildside Press, Tom Grimes, Front Porch Journal, Barry Hannah, postal rate hike for magazines, Jim Chastain

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