Title: A Season Without Rain
Author: Joe Schwartz
Genre: General Fiction
Length: 348 pages
Release Date: November 2013
Imprint: Enigma Press
Summary: Jacob Miller is angry with himself, the world, and God. Life seems so unfair, so cruel, that he can’t imagine why anyone even tries. After having a nervous breakdown, selling his business, filing for bankruptcy, having a baby, and finding out he owes over twenty grand in taxes, he is hardly happy to be alive.
In the span of a year, Jacob will discover three very important things about life. Things can always be worse. There really is a God. And if you wait long enough anything can change.
A Season Without Rain explores that gray area between poverty and middle class life, the struggling underclass for whom there are no advocates. A powerful story told in a modern, everyday voice that will entrench readers in Jacob Miller’s black world of anger, hate, resentment, lies, and violence.
A Season Without Rain is Joe Schwartz’s first novel. His previous short story collections Joe’s Black T-Shirt, The Games Men Play, and The Veiled Prophet of St. Louis have been acclaimed vulgar as Bukowski and visceral as Carver. Joe lives and works in St. Louis happily writing stories exclusively about the Gateway City.
A St. Louis native, I write exclusively about the Gateway City. I prefer the style of fiction deemed transgressive fiction. That is my stories protagonists generally find a solution to their problems through either illicit or illegal means. I personally prefer stories told through a criminal's point-of-view. It is never the crime that fascinates me so much as the motivation to do it and the terrible, almost predictable outcomes to such actions. Just as I have an expectation of writing to be read I believe that it is as important, if not more so, that you as a reader should have the expectation of being entertained as you read. Anything less is such a disappointment.
Life is short. Stories are forever. -Joe
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Three Reasons to Write
Guest Post by Joe Schwartz
1. There is only one you.
This is self-evident yet it is the most under rated quality that popular writers fully understand. The trick is to find your niche, that quality of writing that first entertains you as creator and then organically finds an audience. Mark Twain and Stephen King couldn’t be two more different writers. While Twain is a snake charmer with words and Uncle Stevie is doing his damndest to scare the bejesus out you the thing they have in common is that they both have their own, unique writing voice. There are many imitators but there is only one original.
2. You can speak English.
I didn’t know I was writer until someone finally told me, explained it to me. My theory was anybody could write. You can speak English, so why can’t you write it? The thing is writing is like dancing, or acting, or singing – everybody thinks they can do it. That is why I subscribe to the theory that a writer without readers is worthless. You must open yourself up to the world that is criticism by the most important, valuable critics a writer can ever have, readers. The greatest novel ever written will perish with its author if he fails to publish it. With a few clicks of a mouse anyone’s work can be in print today. The question is, do you have the guts to do it?
3. A story can change the world.
Sounds so simple, that it is almost cliché, but it is the truth. Revolutions have begun and wars have ended because writers have dared to put down their thoughts, an explanation of the world as they see it without trying to condone or excuse the conditions. I think immediately of George Orwell, a writer with unmatched vision penning manifestos like Animal Farm and 1984, that still reach into our social consciousness as a guide post warning of what is all too possible when, as Edmund Burke said, “Evil flourishes when good men do nothing.”
When I was a boy my mother used to tell me the bedtime story of Georgie the Monkey, in hindsight a blatant rip-off of Margret and H.A. Rey’s beloved Curious George. Still, it was the best thing my five-year-old mind had ever heard. To this day she laughs that I remember it, but despite its obvious foolishness, she can recall it word for word. The thing is her story lit the fire in me that burns today, to tell a story that will never be forgotten. And isn’t that what every writer wants, not to be a celebrity, but to be remembered always for writing one hell of a story?