a weblog for readers and writers

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Nervous Breakdown — Inspired … Refreshing … Natural Storyteller

The Nervous Breakdown recently published Nik Korpon’s review of Tracks: A Novel in Stories. Here are some key excerpts from the stellar review …

…another nice touch by Goodman [is] this constant reevaluation of characters after being observed in later stories. In the same way trains cars rock and sway, our perception of earlier characters—the old and rigid Prewitt, the immature Malcolm and Tina, the woman (Demi) whose tattoo snares the lascivious attention of most men on the train—sways with each successive story. Who we thought the characters were from observation isn’t exactly who they are once we’re inside their head.

Goodman’s prose feels inspired by this same romance of trains that tinges the book. He is a natural storyteller, one who takes time in unfurling these lives, showing us things we wouldn’t see from the highway of grocery-store fiction. In an age of high-speed internet, Facebook lives and thoughts that only last 140 characters, it’s refreshing to see a book with such unhurried attention to character. In the same way that train rides make time seem liquid, maybe non-existent, the narrative-time of Tracks bends and contorts to encompass large swatches of the characters’ lives. In Live Cargo, Helen, an older women returning from a visit the Holocaust museum in Washington, DC, slips between her childhood experience of trains—a stockade car full of people on the way to a Nazi death camp—and her time in the museum. She tries to swipe away visions from her childhood, “charred piles of bodies, blackened flesh clinging to faces like the burnt skin of overcooked marshmallows.” Reset features Gene Silverman, the reinvented persona of Eugene Beckett, an identity-theft wiz-kid who now speaks as an activist for the legalization of recreational drugs, prostitution and gambling. The story shifts between his rise through the criminal ranks and his quick flight from the life. Goodman’s steady hand lets the reader move between these potentially jarring shifts with ease, swaying through time like a car on the rails.

Like a train-ride itself, it’s not the arrival at the other station that’s the important part. It’s all of the things you see, people like the characters in Tracks who you meet along the way. They stay in your head, long after the final page is turned.

Read the entire review at The Nervous Breakdown:


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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Sun Also Rises on Lit & Art’s 2012 Season

The sun has risen on the new year. This weekend, the sun also rises on the 2012 Lit & Art Reading Series. The next Lit & Art takes place on Sunday, January 29 from 2 to 5 p.m. at the Watermark Gallery.

Featured readers include Toby Devens, Charles Rammelkamp, and Nik Korpon. Returning readers include Lauren Beth Eisenberg and Meg Adams.

The original works of resident artist Manzar will be on display and available for purchase. Books by the authors will be available. Complimentary wine and refreshments will be served, and audience members will have a chance to share their own work during the open mic session.

The event takes place from 2 to 5 p.m. on Sunday, January 29 at The Watermark Gallery, located in the Bank of America Center Skywalk Level, right across from the Inner Harbor, at 100 S. Charles Street, Baltimore, Maryland. The phone number is (410) 547-0452.

Started in October 2007, the Lit and Art series provides a unique opportunity to sample a wide variety of artistic sensibilities in one sitting. Hosted by authors Eric D. Goodman and Nitin Jagdish and the Watermark Gallery’s resident artist, Manzar, the events are free and open to the public.

Come experience “the best excuse to get lit in Baltimore on a Sunday afternoon.”


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Monday, January 23, 2012

Washington Review of Books: “Gripping”

Every review Tracks has garnered has been a positive one. The one exception is a mixed review that came from Washington Independent Review of Books.

The reviewer compares Tracks to Sherwood Anderson’s Winesburg, Ohio, Elizabeth Strout’s Pulitzer-prize winning Olive Kitteridge, and Jennifer Eagen’s A Visit from the Goon Squad, which won every literary prize from the Pulitzer to the National Book Critics Circle Award. Some tough comparables.

Although she has a bone to pick with what she considers to be one story’s “happy ending” (most readers and reviewers considered it sad and bittersweet), she had a number of good things to say about the book.

Goodman writes with an appealing directness and attention to detail. The strongest vignettes drew me into the characters’ experiences even when they happened long in the past. In one, an elderly woman is overwhelmed by memories of an earlier train ride when, as a child, she was taken in a packed boxcar, fouled by human waste, to a Nazi prison camp. Goodman brings the boxcar scene to vivid and horrifying life …”

“The best vignette … is that of a young soldier on leave from fighting in Afghanistan. He has just lost his girlfriend because he refused her pleas to leave the Army and repudiate the war. Now he is filled with sadness and confusion about the country and the cause for which he is fighting. Goodman’s war scenes, including the deaths of the soldier’s two closest friends, are gripping …”

Read more at Washington Independent Review of Books:


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Friday, January 20, 2012

Five Stars from Booked Up

Tracks has sailed across the Atlantic, picking up a five star review from the popular British book blog, Booked Up!

Tracks received the highest rating offered by the blog: “5* - I loved it - a brilliant book that for me has it all.”

Here’s some of what Booked Up had to say about Tracks:

“The passengers represent a real cross-section of society, from the soldier who is questioning the morality of the war he has fought and the widowed Holocaust survivor to the computer nerd turned criminal and the hit man with a job to carry out on board. There are couples looking for lifelong happiness and wondering how to achieve it, and others cheating on their partners.”

“I was so drawn to some of the characters and could entirely identify with the situations they were dealing with. Others who fall way outside anything I know were well depicted ... I felt I could picture them all. It was interesting to see how different travelers were dealing with similar situations in very different ways, and to see how brief encounters could impact on their lives.”

“I loved this book, the subject matter and the style, unfussy yet beautiful. Well worth a read!”

Read the whole review at Booked Up:


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Tuesday, January 17, 2012

New eReader? Get Tracks!

The Kindle Fire — not eReaders in general but the Kindle Fire on its own — was the #1 best-selling, most gifted, and most wished for product across the millions of items available on Amazon since its introduction more than 15 weeks ago. More than a million Kindles were purchased per week in December. Add to that all of the other eReaders out there, from the Nook to the iPad, and we’re talking a lot of devices!

With so many eReaders sold over the holidays, just imagine how many eBooks are selling now. Everyone’s looking for content for their new devices!

Look no further! If you’re looking for a good book to load to your new eReader, get Tracks! Tracks was designed to be easy to read both in print and electronically. What’s more, if you buy Tracks as an ebook, you can get it for about half the retail price of the printed version!

It’s only $7.69 at Amazon (http://www.amazon.com/Tracks-ebook/dp/B005AZV8RO/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1326814483&sr=1-1).

And only $7.99 directly from the publisher at the Atticus Online Bookstore (http://atticusbooksonline.com/online-bookstore/ebooks/tracks-a-novel-in-stories-epub).

While you’re at the Atticus bookstore, you’ll want to stock up on some other great titles too.

So add Tracks to your eReader, and enjoy the ride!

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Friday, January 13, 2012

Ready to Reset?

For many, the new year is a time for renewal. But for Gene Silverman, resetting his life is something he sometimes needs to do out of necessity — whether to avoid the mob or dodge a hit man.

Get a taste of Gene Silverman, one of the characters from Tracks: A Novel in Stories, by tuning into The Signal tonight at 7 or Saturday at 1 p.m.

The program airs on Baltimore’s NPR station, WYPR on 88.1 FM. For those further afield or with conflicting schedules, it is also available online at

I’m closing out this week’s program with a reading of an abridged version of “Reset” from Tracks.

As WYPR puts it: “Novelist Eric D Goodman brings us the story of a computer-geek-turned-criminal who finds himself on the run from the mafia.”

Check it out at

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Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Get Your Year's First Fiction Fix on NPR

In the mood for a little audio fiction? Tune into Baltimore’s NPR station, WYPR on 88.1 FM or online at www.wypr.org to listen to my first fiction reading of 2012.

I’ll be reading an abridged version of “Reset,” a story from Tracks, on The Signal.

The Signal is a weekly radio magazine that explores Maryland’s thriving artistic and cultural scene. It airs on Friday at 7 p.m. and again Saturday at 1 p.m. It’s also available online at
www.wypr.org, where you can listen live or to a podcast.

Check it out at

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Monday, January 09, 2012

Broken Pencil Brakes for Tracks

Another positive review for Tracks, this one from Broken Pencil.

The reviewer describes Tracks as “a collection of stories set on an overnight train heading west from Baltimore to Chicago, filled with a mix of young and old passengers who feel optimistic for the expedition ahead and hardened by the past left behind.”

Here’s a bit more of what the reviewer had to say:

Once everyone's introduced, the real fun begins. Two characters drunkenly end up in a cabin together, while on the other end of the train a cat-and-mouse game breaks out between a runaway mob member and his pursuing hit man. At times, Tracks feels like an episode of The Sopranos on VIA Rail, particularly since the mafia story arc - the one Goodman spends most of the novel crafting - is by far the highlight.

The review concludes: “…the writing makes for a great ride.”

Read more: http://readperiodicals.com/201110/2498768471.html#ixzz1iy03EnC2

Enjoy the ride at www.TracksNovel.com

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Friday, January 06, 2012

Baltimore Looms Large in Debut Novel

Sometimes if you blink, you miss some good ink! Did you happen to see the press release at Online PR Media about Tracks? It was released late last year and is all about the Baltimore presence in Tracks: A Novel in Stories.

From the release:

John Waters might be Baltimore’s most famous resident and “The Wire” may serve well as a seedy introduction to outsiders, but Baltimore was noteworthy long before “Hairspray” and David Simon. Creative types have used Baltimore’s rich literary history and colorful characters in their work for years. Now local writer Eric D. Goodman gives the city’s homes and haunts a moment in the spotlight.

Read the press release and see the portrait of an anguished author on the tracks at Online PR Media.


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Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Writing Resolutions in Writers Weekly

For my first post of 2012, a rerun! But an appropriate one, given the time of year.

Writers Weekly is the highest-circulation freelance writing ezine in the world. This time last year, they started the year by featuring my story, “Resolutions Worth Writing About.” The article focuses on writing-related new years resolutions and how to increase your chances of accomplishing them.

In the story, I gave my own writing resolutions for 2011. How did I do?

1. To actively promote my novel, TRACKS, which is being published by Atticus Books this summer. CHECK PLUS!

2. To actively promote my children's book, Flightless Goose, which is in stores now. CHECK

3. To allow myself a couple writing retreats during which my main focus is writing fiction. CHECK

4. To send out at least one short fiction submission each month. Well ... I'll work on that in 2012.

Read the story in the most recent issue of Writers Weekly, at the link below.


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