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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Sharing the Thrill of Release

The Potomac Review recently asked me to share the thrill of my first novel’s release day with their readers. The editors weren’t the first people to ask me about it. As I explained in the piece:

“A good number of people have asked me: what was it like? To finally have my first novel released after years—decades—of pitching to agents and publishers? To have a traditional publisher release my baby to the world.

The short answer: somewhat surreal.”

At the link below, you can find the long answer.

Enjoy “Tracks Day: An Author Shares the Thrill of Release Day” at Potomac Review.

And by all means, share your own release day experience!


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Monday, February 27, 2012

And the Oscar Goes To …

Last night, the 84th annual Academy Awards was a throwback to classic Hollywood. From tried and true host Billy Crystal to industry faves reminiscing about how they fell in love with movies, even the fashions seemed out of yesteryear. Not to mention Oscar wins for Meryl Streep and the first win for Christopher Plummer, 82, making him the oldest person to ever receive an Oscar. He is only two years younger than the Oscars, after all.

May we suggest a new category? The Oscar for best use of word trains in a book trailer goes to …


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Friday, February 24, 2012

A Savvy Review: Excellent Novel in Stories

The first Tracks book review for 2012 comes from the popular DC-based book blog, Savvy Verse & Wit: a blog dedicated to all literary and poetic works, critiques, reviews, editorial hints, and insights.

Here are some highlights from the review …

“Goodman is adept at ensuring readers care about his characters in just a few pages … It does not matter where these characters come from; what matters is that the rails provide them with hope and a time out from their hustle of their daily lives. The train and the rails are an escape, a quiet place to contemplate their lives as the undulating sway of the cars lulls them into deep meditation. Paralleling their actual lives, the trip on the train has each member making contact with strangers, and like the conscience that guides their decision making, the conductor on the train whispers advice and nuggets of observation/wisdom to those with whom he speaks. Beyond the characters, the city of Baltimore and the rail line itself loom large in the story, almost becoming characters themselves …”

Tracks by Eric D. Goodman demonstrates how we are all traveling the same line and how we have similar fears and failings, but also similar hopes and dreams. In spite of that, we all end up in different places. Even with the characters who seem unsavory or hard to like, they offer a lesson to readers — seize the moment because in the next, it could be gone. Opportunity arises and disappears just as quickly, and life on the train ride of life is quick and unrelenting. There’s not much time for reflection and a deeper examination of pros and cons when living life at full tilt, but stepping back for a few hours on a train ride can be enough to reassess and rejoin life’s journey with a new purpose. Excellent novel in stories.”

Read the entire review here:


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Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Almost a Presidential Blurb

This week started with a Federal Holiday: Presidents’ Day.

In the introduction to Tracks, the conductor quotes President Truman: “You get a real feeling of this country and the people in it when you are on a train.”

Tracks can’t boast a presidential blurb … but here’s one from the CEO and founding father of the CityLit Project!

“In an age of commuter rush, virtual friends, and novels written in 140-character bursts, Eric D. Goodman reminds us of the richness of train travel or a good book: when the pace is slower, you never know what sort of souls will greet you.”

Learn more about Gregg Wilhelm and CityLit Project.


Learn about Harry Truman at The White House.


Hop aboard Tracks.


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Friday, February 17, 2012

San Francisco Book Review Lets Me Change My Ending

A couple Fridays ago I shared the last story I had published in 2011: Slow Trains Literary Journal published my short story “Late Lunch” from Tracks.

Now, I’d like to share my first story to be published in 2012. This one is a work of non-fiction published in the San Francisco Book Review: “Let Them Change Your Ending.”

The article tackles a question writers often struggle with: “what do I do if my agent or publisher likes my work, but wants me to make changes. Or, more drastically, wants me to … change my ending?”

It’s not a simple answer, unless you have a good sense of your novel and your characters as well as a good agent and publisher who understands what you’re intent is.

In my case, my agent loved Tracks, but offered some advice that didn’t just change the book—it improved it.

The dreaded editorial changes are easy to embrace if you can truthfully examine them and come to the conclusion that they are true to your story and your characters.

As I say in the article, “When I cut old stories, wrote new ones, and came up with an entirely new conclusion to the book, I saw that my agent understood the truth of my book even better than I did.”

Go ahead and let them change your ending. Learn how by reading my article published on the San Francisco Book Review’s “Back Page.”


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Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Love is On the Air

It’s Valentine’s Day; Love is in the air. But Love, actually, is on the air as well.

Tune in to Baltimore’s NPR station for a love story set on a train. Enjoy “The Silences,” a story about a young couple in love on the heart-red Cardinal line from Baltimore to Chicago. “The Silences” is a story from Tracks: A Novel in Stories.


You’re also welcome to read “The Silences” online. An early version of the story was published by Slow Trains Literary Journal and can be found here.


To celebrate the publication of Tracks, Atticus Books shared “The Silences” on their website too.


Here’s to the romance of trains and couples in love.


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Monday, February 13, 2012

One Monday, Two Mailboxes

It seems like a new tradition for book bloggers to announce their “mailbox Monday.” And once in awhile Tracks ends up in one of those weekly roundups.

Today, Tracks was in two of them!

Savvy Verse & Wit, a blog dedicated to all literary and poetic works, critiques, reviews, editorial hints, and websites, mentioned Tracks in reference to yesterday’s reading at The Writer’s Center.


Another book blog, CaribousMom, featured Tracks at the top of it’s list this week, including links and even a podcast of my reading of “Prewit’s Plans” from Tracks on NPR.


Hop aboard!

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Friday, February 10, 2012

Writer’s Center This Weekend

Join me and author Eric Dezenhall this Sunday at The Writer’s Center in Bethesda. The fiction reading, signing, and reception for The Devil Himself and Tracks is free, open to the public, and begins at 2 p.m.

For more than 35 years, The Writer’s Center has been been a home for writers from all over the Washington metropolitan area. It is one of the premier centers of its kind in the United States.

Eric Dezenhall is an author and C.E.O. of Dezenhall Resources, a nationally recognized high stakes communications firm. He has written for The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Business Week, the Los Angeles Times, and USA Today and is a regular contributor to the Daily Beast and Huffington Post. Eric is the author of eight books, including two nonfiction texts on crisis communications and corporate witch hunts, entitled Damage Control: How to Get the Upper Hand When Your Business Is Under Attack and Nail 'Em/Paper , both of which have been widely cited in business, media and academic circles. He is also the author of six novels: Money Wanders , Jackie Disaster , Shakedown Beach ,Turnpike Flameout , and Spinning Dixie . His sixth novel, The Devil Himself , deals with the collaboration between the U.S. Navy and organized crime during World War II to secure American ports from Nazi attack.

If you’re reading this, you probably already know me. But here’s the bio posted on the Writer’s Center website:

“Eric D. Goodman is a full-time writer and editor. His novel in stories, Tracks , was published this summer. He’s also the author of the children's book, Flightless Goose . Eric's work has appeared in The Baltimore Review, The Pedestal Magazine, Writers Weekly, The Potomac, Barrelhouse, JMWW, Scribble, and New Lines from the Old Line State: An Anthology of Maryland Writers, among others. Visit Eric on Facebook, Twitter, and at his literary blog, Writeful.”

Learn more about the event—and register to attend—at the link below. (You’re also welcome to show up unannounced.)


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Wednesday, February 08, 2012

2011 Review in Reviews

Many blogs and websites share a “year in review,” and others share reviews. But how about an annual review of reviews?

Tracks gathered a few reviews in 2011, and has even started the new year off with one.

Here is a look back at some of the reviews and coverage Tracks received in 2011 …

New York Journal of Books:“… Goodman is a born storyteller who weaves his tales of each individual character, and then ties them together to create a finely patterned cloth … you have the more transcendent experience of seeing each of the characters from many perspectives, at times understanding not only their “now” but something of their past and future. “Many of the reviews written of this book point out that it’s a great summer read. This is true. It’s the kind of book that you can read best at a leisurely pace, enjoying the slower rhythms of this literary ‘people watching.’”

ForeWord Magazine:“Like a collection of one-act plays, each scene is a tightly scripted vignette highlighting the life of a single character. And while each chapter of the novel is a standalone story, characters have roles to play in several. “The author has a knack for easily and quickly evoking a sense of place, here deftly describing the seasonal life in Baltimore's Inner Harbor: "In the humid days of summer, descending from the hill into the harbor was like sinking into a familiar hot tub."“The literary device of having the principal characters launched on a journey is well established, calling to mind examples as divergent as Chaucer and Zane Gray. If not done well it can be a cliche. Goodman handles the device deftly and the result is a compelling novel.”

Broken Pencil:“Each brief chapter explores the perspective of a different passenger, while a major character in one story might reappear as a bit player in the next. One woman's back tattoo is gawked at by the male passengers on board and, seen through their lustful eyes, she acquires an unflattering reputation for most of the book until her own tale is told. Another character deals with the sudden death of a nearby rider, who moments earlier (as only the reader knows) experienced a major change of heart."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 writing makes for a great ride."_

JMWW:“… a fascinating cast of characters … Goodman’s voice is gentle as he explores motivations and interactions. The scenes in these stories expand to include all kinds of human fears and sorrows, regrets and grateful joys.“Managing a large cast of characters is not an easy task, but one that Goodman accomplishes with ease. The characters interact throughout, creating a seamless narrative out of their different tales.“Tensions mount as inner and outer conflicts come into play. Incidents from each story increasingly affect the outcome of the others, as the connections between the characters, however transitory, become stronger."

Midwest Book Review"The overarching story of life is forged by many stories. "Tracks" is a series of short stories crafted by Eric D. Goodman as he brings together a novel forged from these smaller tales. With a unique concept and entertaining writing about a passenger train going to Chicago from Baltimore, "Tracks" is quite a fascinating and recommended read."

The Writer Magazine:“... irresistible … Count me in.”

Baltimore Jewish Times:Must Read Section"Goodman’s break-out novel, follows a group of eclectic characters on a long train ride from Baltimore to Chicago. Goodman expertly weaves the characters in and out of each story. "In addition to its structural genius, “Tracks” boasts a creative cast of characters, including a young American soldier, a woman mourning her parents, a computer-geek-turned-activist and his would-be assassin, an elderly Holocaust survivor, a sleazy traveling salesman, a young woman distracted by a recent breakup, and an adulterous woman with a prominent tattoo."... Goodman manages to work plenty of action into the slow-moving train ..."Throughout, Goodman’s voice is observant and authoritative. He draws the reader’s attention to rich details, providing a glimpse into the lives of each character. Baltimore natives will especially love Goodman’s descriptions of local scenery and architecture, but the story can captivate any interested reader."

The Nervous Breakdown:“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."... another nice touch by Goodman, 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."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."_

Washington Independent Review of Books:“… 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. "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 ..."

Erin Reads:"I've never read anything quite like Tracks."The way Goodman subtly shifts back a few hours or jumps ahead a little in time has the neat effect of creating that sort of discombobulated feeling you get while traveling on long-distance public transportation, that sense that you’re somehow apart from the outside world, in transition, as you make your way from one place to another. Very effective. "Goodman also lets his characters observe one another. With each new story the reader experiences, another piece of the puzzle falls into place. The next time a character visits the lounge car or passes someone in the aisle, there is an ever greater chance of it being someone we’ve already met, one of the stories we’ve already read. This casual layering of perspectives is extremely well done and rather delightful to experience."... my favorite part of Tracks was how it makes you realize everyone has a story. Each story would have worked on its own, but together, linked by the thin thread of the train, they amount to something bigger than the sum of the parts. Goodman accomplished this masterfully in Tracks."

Booked Up:“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 ..."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!"

San Francisco Book Review:The author shares his experience of working with an agent and publisher on changes to Tracks.

Three Guys One Book “The novel follows the stories of the passengers on a train from Baltimore to Chicago, breaking into their lives, both real and as imagined by the other passengers, skillfully and subtly intertwining their tales. It’s good stuff and you can read two of the chapters here."

Portsmouth Daily Times:“Goodman’s novel-in-stories has been described as a “Tarantino-style ‘Love Actually’ meets literary fiction.” The book follows a group of characters on a train from Baltimore to Chicago, interweaving their experiences as each story spotlights the viewpoint of a character. The major character in one story becoming a minor character in another, almost like living in a small town. Goodman said that, in a way, his experiences here in Portsmouth helped to influence his latest book."Read more: Portsmouth Daily Times - Author gets his start at Shawnee State

York Daily Record / Sunday News:“When Goodman watches a movie or reads a book, he always wants to know more about the side characters. Writing a novel in intertwined stories seemed like the ideal way to learn more about different characters. Gathering an eclectic group of passengers -- which includes a salesman, a soldier, a former mobster and a Holocaust survivor -- also meant Goodman could have darker and lighter stories mixed together in one book."Read more: York Daily Record / Sunday News - Train passengers' stories become a novel

Maryland Life:Summer Reading List "Climb aboard this compilation of stories set on a train from Baltimore to Chicago."

Baltimore Jewish Times:(Interview in the "Exclusively in Print" section)"BJT: Why did you choose to include a Holocaust survivor as one of your characters?"Goodman: Five or six years ago, I went to the National Holocaust Memorial Museum in D.C., and I just remember it was such an emotional experience. I had read a lot of books and seen a lot of movies about the Holocaust, but this had such an effect on me. Riding home on the MARC train, I was already writing notes and thinking about how I could include this in a story. I visited the museum several more times to really submerge myself in it as I was writing. I think "Live Cargo," the story that came out of it, is probably one of the more powerful stories in the book."

Potomac Review:"Potomac Review: The characters in Tracks don’t take predictable paths through their lives. Which story in Tracks surprised you the most when you finished writing it? "Eric D. Goodman: As many writers will tell you, a character often takes on a life of his or her own and sometimes leads you in directions you don’t expect. When I began writing each story, I knew what they were about and who the characters were, but not always where they’d end up."

Towson Times:“Many of us know this Rodgers Forge resident's wonderful first book, "Flightless Goose," a children's story … now adults can thrill to Eric's work.”(This photo took up nearly a full page of the print edition.)

Talent in Motion Magazine:"The tales are as diverse as the characters on the train ... The one thing they have in commonis a train, a conductor and time. Each of their chance encounters shed a closer understanding to ...why we are stronger by the stories we share ..."

Madam Mayo:In this guest blog, Eric D. Goodman shares five train stories worth riding. C.M. Mayo writes of Tracks:"It has been garnering effusive praise, including from Madison Smartt Bell who calls it "a most cunningly crafted tale -- a perfect read for trains, planes, and automobiles... or even your armchair." Hop aboard at www.TracksNovel.com."

Potomac Review : Author Eric D. Goodman shares the thrill of release day."A good number of people have asked me: what was it like? To finally have my first novel released after years—decades—of pitching to agents and publishers? To have a traditional publisher release my baby to the world. The short answer: somewhat surreal. What follows is the long answer."__

Potomac Review:Author Eric D. Goodman blogs about what happens after release day and how exhaustion is a good thing."My debut novel in stories, Tracks, was published by Atticus Books on June 30 of this year. The release date was a whirlwind, so much going on that it left my head spinning. But that doesn’t mean I’m standing still now, a season later ... it doesn’t end with release day."_

Lexington Herald LeaderTracks makes the Bluegrass Bookshelf list.

Ally E. Peltier Newsletter:Success Story about going from rough draft to published novel."Be sure to check out the book, Tracks: A Novel in Stories, by Eric D. Goodman, published by Atticus Books."_

Bear Tracks:"Eric Goodman sees release of Tracks, a novel in stories ..."

Interview with Atticus Books:"... our tete-a-tete with the author himself, who shares everything from his original inspiration to John Waters’ plans for the movie ..."

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Monday, February 06, 2012

Did You Get Your Writer’s Center Guide?

Did you receive the latest issue of The Writer’s Center Workshop & Event Guide? The Winter/Spring 2012 issue has been printed and posted.

For more than 35 years, The Writer’s Center has been been a home for writers from all over the Washington metropolitan area. It is one of the premier centers of its kind in the United States.

The latest issue of the Guide includes an interview with Stanley Plumly as well as information on upcoming workshops and literary events.

You’ll find one such event on page 26:

“Open Door Readings: SUN, FEB 12, 2:00 P.M.—Author and C.E.O. Denzenhall Resources Eric Denzenhall reads from his new novel, The Devil Himself. He is joined by author Eric D. Goodman, who reads from his collection of short stories, Tracks: A Novel in Stories.”

The event is free and open to the public. Join us for a reading, book signing, and reception.

Learn more about The Writer’s Center at their website.


Learn more about the reading here.


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Friday, February 03, 2012

Late Lunch on a Slow Train

What could be more delightful than a late lunch on a slow train? How about reading the story, “Late Lunch,” in the literary journal, Slow Trains?

“Late Lunch” was the last story I had published in 2011. It appeared in the Fall 2011 issue of Slow Trains.

Slow Trains is a celebration of great writing, with an emphasis on fiction, essays, and poetry that reflect the spirit of adventure, the exploration of the soul, the energies of imagination, and the experience of Big Fun. Slow Trains is honored to have fiction included in the "Best of the Web" award anthology,
E2Ink-1, guest edited by Pam Houston, and also to be listed as a recommended fiction resource in The Best American Short Stories. Slow Trains regularly submits exceptional writing to all the "Best American" book series, along with Pushcart nominations.

“Late Lunch” is a story from Tracks. It is the second of my Tracks stories to be published in Slow Trains; the journal published an earlier version of “The Silences” in 2008.

Hop aboard the current issue of Slow Trains here:

Or go directly to today’s Friday Fiction Fix! Enjoy a late lunch on a slow train here:

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