THREE QUESTIONS: Keith Snyder asks Jon Billman

Where to get RIDE 2

Kobo Nook iBooks Kindle Print version at Amazon Print version at IndieBound

Introduction to

Jon Billman’s story in RIDE 2:


One of the things I like about RIDE, and intend to continue, is its broad depiction of cycling. I’d love to get a terrific racing story—so far, in the first two anthologies: no racing—but no more than I’d love to get a knockout noir tale about a Chinese restaurant deliveryman, or a Regency romance on dandy horses.

Jon Billman’s “Dert” is about a missionary with a lousy attitude.

The Oklahoma Mission was a bicycle mission. The other missionaries called Oklahoma the devil’s snake farm, an annexed, lower-calorie Hell. Kim said, Of course it’s where the not-so-good missionaries went, oh well. “Anyone can witness Hawaii.”

Dad had pulled some strings just to get me here; I wasn’t married, wasn’t twenty one, wasn’t a model Sister if you dwelled on that cigarette-theft business, which some people did. “Dert is pointed down a rough road to the military if something doesn’t change,” I heard him tell my mother. What changed is that Dad made a sizeable donation to the Church.…




Keith Snyder (“The Rambler, Part 1”)

asks three questions of

Jon Billman

Keith: A Liahona bicycle figures prominently in “Dert.” Where’d that come from?

Jon: I have quite a few friends who are returned missionaries and most have bike stories and tricks–like covering your frame in duct tape to camouflage the bike’s value and make it less likely to get stolen. I love this entrepreneurial endeavor: There’s a bike company in Salt Lake called Liahona. They spec bikes for missions in the way that clothiers out there offer packages–two suits, three shirts, two ties, socks, etc. The bikes are decent but not exceptional, but are available at Missionary Depot for one-stop shopping on your way out of town. And they come standard with chain guards so they don’t eat your slacks. The Liahona is a powerful, magical compass in the Book of Mormon so it’s the perfect name for a missionary bike.

Keith: How does writing Westerns and sports literature compare to all the articles you’ve written for OUTSIDE magazine?

Jon: Well, speaking of Utah, I’m currently writing a magazine feature about a fugitive/survivalist living in the high country near Zion. The catch is that he breaks into cabins and eats from the pantry, helps himself to the liquor cabinet and burns the firewood. He’s still up there, eluding the authorities, so there’s a sober energy to the project that I like. Current events appeal to me. In fiction I like the 19th Century more.

Keith: If you had to pick one, what’s your favorite piece of outdoor gear?

Jon: Right now it’s cold and I just rode in on my bike so I’m gonna say my Jet Boil stove. That thing can make any situation bearable. It saved me and my buddy from hypothermia on a tour in Sweden last spring when it turned an envelope of powdered asparagus soup into the most exquisite meal on the planet. That’s magic.

Next week: Jon’s three questions for Jan Maher.


THREE QUESTIONS: Barb Goffman asks Keith Snyder

Where to get RIDE 2

Kobo Nook iBooks Kindle Print version at Amazon Print version at IndieBound

Introduction to

Keith Snyder’s story in RIDE 2:

“The Rambler, Part 1”

It didn’t occur to me, when I decided to use this “Three Questions” game to say what I liked about each story, or why I’d chosen it, that I would eventually come to my own. Instead of telling you how great it is, I’ll tell you something I learned.

The first RIDE anthology (mumble mumble purchase mumble) was my first stab at being an editor and publisher. One of my mistakes was in sending Advance Reading Copies to reviewers when everything was almost perfect—except for my own story, a novelette called “Night Ride.” The cover did say UNCORRECTED PROOFS, after all, which people would know meant there was still some hammering and sawing going on, and I was thinking of the book as a team effort, which implied there was a team for me to take one for. People were trusting me, and if tasks had to fall undone before the ARCs had to go, it was only fair if most of them fell into the bucket with my own name on it. So I sent the ARCs out.

And then I minded.

Not as much, though, as I’d have minded being that guy who sends a string of “Wait, I uploaded a new version!” emails.. So I stuck Don’t ship the ARC before your story is as polished as all the other ones in the “lessons learned for next time” column, along with Don’t publish the ebook and the print book at different times and Don’t miss the holiday sales window.

Those last two…well, RIDE 3, I’ll do better. But “The Rambler, Part 1” was nice and shiny before the first review copies of RIDE 2 went out. And—yeah, it’s a poem. It rhymes. I was reading Chaucer in the tub on my iPad, and I saw that he was heavy on the plot and light on the closely observed moment, and I went I can do that! I can not observe stuff!

…up through Harlem, onto Broadway; picking
out his silhouette, they weave to follow,
sticking tight past Jimmy Jazz, Apollo,
Duane Reade, Rite Aid, Popeye’s Chicken,
toward the river, tires quicken
toward the bridge that goes to Jersey.
If he’s caught—there’ll be no mercy.




Barb Goffman (“Ulterior Motives”)

asks three questions of

Keith Snyder (“The Rambler, Part 1”)

Barb: In “The Rambler, Part I,” your rider is using his bike as a means of escape, literally. Have you ever raced away from someone on a bike, trying to avoid them?

Keith: I like to do these things called brevets, which are long-distance rides with proscribed routes and time limits. I’m also the CEO and OGH (Only Guy Here) of a book design company that grew from a fledgling business that sucked up all my time in 2011 to a big workload that sucked up all my time in 2012. So my last ride that went all night was in 2010.

Whaddayagonnado—I been busy.

But in 2010, I was severely underemployed and emotionally shredded, so I was riding longer distances. One was a 400K that went through the Pine Barrens at night.

The overnight portion of a brevet can be physically and emotionally difficult; you’re fatigued, it may have been a while since your last real food, you’ve had several imaginary but not entirely silent confrontations with the most obtuse people of your acquaintance, and your metabolic thermostat has sprung its coil. You can’t remember why you thought this was a good idea, your car is fifty miles away, and there’s no train and zero bars on your phone.

Brevet routes tend to be designed to put you on smaller highways and mountain roads as much as possible, both to reduce the number of cars you’ll encounter and because stoplights bleed your average speed more than you’d think. (Well, stopping at them does, anyway.) So depending on route, season, weather, and velocity—I’m slow—you can end up in unlit desolation for long stretches of time, able to see only as far as your headlight beam, utterly blind to the sides and rear. 4am isn’t just the best time for an army to attack, because the other army is at its worst; it’s also when a dirty, discouraged randonneur (or frozen, or drenched; we do this in all weather) can’t see the point of this anymore.

The Pine Barrens are a forest shot through with cranberry bogs. There are no streetlights because there is almost no night traffic, and there are no stars except those directly overhead, because the pine trees snuff them out on both sides of the highway. On this night there was no moon, either, and an overcoat of clouds over whatever stars had escaped the pine trees. I could see the highway in front of me well enough to think every stretching shadow was a pothole, but the portion of beam higher than the road didn’t do anything but collude with every reflective highway sign to blow out my vision and hint at an ever-moving wedge of distant black foliage.

But you can hear things in the cranberry bogs.

I don’t know species, so I classify them all by size. That soft crackling and crunching, very soft, everywhere, is the the local insect biomass stumbling over thousands of tiny twigs, falling off leaves, dropping into ponds. Briefer, more directional little snaps and dull creaks are your beefier bugs and possible birds. Next larger: definite birds—woodpeckers, the occasional confused rooster—and continuing up the size scale are your random small mammals, trotting coyote, bored, leaping deer, the isolated shapeless thing skulking across the highway.

And to my left, the deep, leathery flap of something huge in the air, rising off a dirty water surface. There’s a creek, or a bog, or a flooded ditch off the highway there, because the rising thing’s feet drag on liquid as its wings beat. It gains altitude ponderously, amassing momentum, its hot weight coming even with me, then rising above eye level—and my panic has flooded me with so much strength, I can barely get my fumbling fingers on the shifters.

Once identifiable as little rocks, gravel has become dim streaks beneath my pedals. I’m maintaining barely enough self-mastery to not flub a shift and grind my non-precision budget drivetrain. Hair surges on my neck and forearms—the luxurious wingbeat is closer, the dense black body gliding in the humid black air; my butt’s bouncing because I just outran my gearing. The highway floats ahead in a few dozen feet of bulbous gray light. A few inches behind my saddle, the floating glow of a deep red coal—the brightest taillight on the Internet—is beacon and rangefinder for anything that wants to strip my nerves from my meat.

There’s a deep bovine growl three feet from my ear, a hot snort on my cheek. I’ve just whimpered and my legs are spinning faster than the gears can accept, and I don’t know what gear I’m in, so I shove a shift lever in my blind panic, and there’s a cling! and a thrrrrrip!; my pedaling legs flail against nothing, and I understand that the chain has come off.

A single blast of warm air into my face and through my helmet vents, and thick leather wings and a whip tail clip the topmost antumbra of my headlight, as I grab my handlebars and fight to keep from crashing; I stutter-step with one foot a few times because I can’t remember how to unclip the other one and I stand alone shaking, the flashbulb impression of a massive bat ray still fading in my retinas, and up in the depth of night, something smashes the tops of the invisible pines.

Barb: Is there anywhere in the world you would like to explore on a bicycle but haven’t been able to? If so, where and why? And what’s holding you back?

Keith: There aren’t that many places I wouldn’t like to. In some alternate universe, I have no family and one of these. In that same universe, its bushings never fail, and my witty, self-deprecating accounts of adventures through a smorgasbord of terrains and cultures are the most fascinating things that happen near the onion dip at parties of A-list literati; but this never happens. So let’s just keep things as they are.

Barb: What’s your most embarrassing or funny biking story?

Keith: FCO (Failure to Clip Out) in front of Princess Grace of Monaco. She pretended not to see, but we both knew.

Like you’ve never read Chaucer in the tub on your iPad.

THREE QUESTIONS: Eric Neuenfeldt asks Barb Goffman

Where to get RIDE 2

Kobo Nook iBooks Kindle Print version at Amazon Print version at IndieBound

Intro: Barb Goffman’s “Ulterior Motives”

I like different things about each story in RIDE 2. “Ulterior Motives” is the one that will feel the most classically constructed to readers of mystery fiction—which makes it hard for me to say much about, since those succeed or fail on their plots, which are the kind of plots that succeed or fail on their endings. There’s a mystery in this small-town story, and a secret, and a teenaged girl at the middle of it all who doesn’t think the adults around her understand much.

Which maybe they don’t.

Eric Neuenfedlt (“Polo”)
asks three questions of
Barb Goffman (“Ulterior Motives”)

Eric: 1. Do you have a favorite bike?

Barb: This probably won’t help with my credibility for this anthology, but I haven’t been on a bike in more than twenty years, except for an exercise bicycle. I like the recumbent exercise bikes best. I find them much more comfortable.

This confession shows that you don’t have to do something regularly (or at all), such as bicycle riding, to be able to write about it accurately. Research, research, research. In fact, I met Keith Snyder, our editor, while I was doing research to get the biking details in my story “Ulterior Motives” right. (I originally wrote the story for a different anthology but decided to submit it to Ride 2 because Ride 2 was a better fit.) You never know where research will take you.

Going back to the original question, thinking back to all the bikes I’ve owned (maybe three or four growing up), I had a blue one when I was in elementary school. It had a white basket with flowers on it, a bell, streamers coming out of the handlebars (or was that an earlier bike? My memory fails), and my Dad put a rainbow of bright, fluorescent covers on the spokes. It was way cool.

Eric: 2. In your story in RIDE 2 your narrator notes that her bike ride slows things down and allows her to observe her surroundings. Do you think bikes have other advantages in fiction?

Barb: Sure. Bikes could be very helpful plot-wise. A bicycle can increase the mobility of a character who can’t drive, such as my main character, Jessie, in “Ulterior Motives,” who at fifteen is below driving age. If you want your bad guy to escape from the cops, let them get stuck in a traffic jam while the rider gets away, weaving in and out. Want your character to spy on people out in the open? Have him pretend to be checking out a problem with a tire or the bike chain. It’s probably easier to hide a getaway bike than a getaway car. A bike could make an on-the-move character more vulnerable to the weather or to violence, since the character would be out in the open, pedaling along, rather than protected by the body of a car. Finally, taking another tack, it would probably be easier for a bike rider to sneak up on someone, or to surreptitiously overhear something, on a bike than in a car, with its noisy engine.

Bikes also can be used to show character. For instance, a reader can surmise that someone who rides regularly is in good physical shape and knows his/her neighborhood well. I imagine a bike could add a touch of romance, too, to a story. Anyone could elope in a car, but imagine riding off into the sunset with your honey, pedaling away together on a tandem bike.

Eric: 3. Are you planning to use bikes in future stories?

Barb: Yes, if it serves the plot/characterization. I have an idea for a story now that involves a bike, but I’ll have to wait and see if I can pin the plot down a bit more before I put fingers to keyboard.

I’ll add that I’ve used a bike in a story before. In “The Contest,” a man is injured in a bicycle accident. Well, it looks like an accident, at least at first. “The Contest” appeared in the 2010 Deadly Ink Short Story Collection, published by Deadly Ink Press. The bike in that story played a much smaller role than the bike does in my Ride 2 story. For those of you who haven’t read the story yet (what are you waiting for?), I won’t go into details of what happens in “Ulterior Motives,” but I will say that I’m glad I haven’t experienced what I put my poor main character through. She’s a trooper.

Here are the places where you can buy RIDE 2, and here are Barb’s three questions for me, which I’ll answer in a week, completely honestly, I swear:

  1. In your Ride 2 story, “The Rambler, Part I,” your rider is using his bike as a means of escape, literally. Have you ever raced away from someone on a bike, trying to avoid them? If so, what happened? If not, what prompted you to write about biking as means of physical escape?
  2. Is there anywhere in the world you would like to explore on a bicycle but haven’t been able to? If so, where and why? And what’s holding you back?
  3. What’s your most embarrassing or funny biking story?

The RIDE “Three Questions” Game

  • In story order, each RIDE 2 author asks the next RIDE 2 author three questions about anything, bikey or not.
  • The answers go on the the answerer’s blog, and I mirror them here on the RIDE blog.
  • I take the opportunity to say something about that author’s story.

Where to get RIDE 2

Kobo Nook iBooks Kindle Print version at Amazon Print version at IndieBound

THREE QUESTIONS: Kent Peterson asks Eric Neuenfeldt

Where to get RIDE 2

Kobo Nook iBooks Kindle Print version at Amazon Print version at IndieBound

Intro: Eric Neuenfeldt’s “Polo”

I don’t have many hard-and-fast rules about RIDE stories, but one thing I’m sure of is that a little bike talk doesn’t hurt anything, even if the reader doesn’t know what all of it means. The point-of-view character in “Polo” is a bike mechanic and bike polo player.

The bike is the ultimate all-arounder—twenty-six-inch wheels, lugged frame and fork that accommodate fat mountain bike tires, old-school Mafac cantilevers, moustache bars with bar-con shifters.

Depending on how you count, that’s nine bike terms in one sentence. But it comes after this—

The XO-1 is his only functional bike and he needs it to ride to work at the shop the next day. That and the bike was gifted to him by his mentor-mechanic, Rick.

And it comes before this:

Rick and Chase took long rides up in the Oakland hills after work, stopping periodically for Rick’s smoke breaks. But Rick smoked rollies for the better part of twenty years and had started coughing up blood on their evening rides. Six months later he was dead and his sister brought Chase the bike with a short note from him: “Shut up and ride.”

It’s a special bike, given to the point-of-view bike mechanic by another bike mechanic who was important to him. You have to have the bike terms. You can’t not have them. Without the lugged frame and the cantilevers and bar-cons, it’s less true.

While I was waiting for story submissions for this edition of RIDE, I was also reading Tim Krabbé’s The Rider again. A classic of bike literature that deserves the title, it never worries whether the reader knows what a col is, or a bidon, or exactly what Fourteen-fifteen-seventeen-eighteen-nineteen-twenty means in response to “What gears you using?” You can’t write about that world without using those terms—but more critically (and less obviously): in a story that’s a story, that has context and structure and characters who love certain things and hate others, not knowing the precise terms won’t slow anybody down. This is a guy who misses his mentor, and he’s thinking about his bike the way that guy would. Any reader can gloss the jargon without slowing down in her comprehension of the part that matters to the story.

But it’s also nice to know what unfamiliar words mean, so there’s a “Bike Terms You’ll Encounter in the Stories” glossary at the beginning of the book. Inside knowledge is a pleasure, too.

Kent Peterson (“Made With Extra Love”)
asks three questions of
Eric Neuenfeldt (“Polo”)

Kent:You’ve got a day to show someone around your part of the world by bicycle. Where do you go riding and what do you show them?

Eric: I just moved to the Sierras in Northern California for a new job, so I haven’t explored too much. I would probably ask the person if they would like to explore some singletrack in the mountains.

Kent: You can add one more bike to whatever fleet of bikes you have now. What do you get?

Eric: In my story in RIDE, the narrator rides a 1993 Bridgestone XO-1, which is a bike I’ve always wanted. I’ve never been able to find one in my size. I think it’s the ideal all purpose bike—clearance for wider tires, cantilever brakes, moustache bars. I love the orange paint with cream panels. The XO-1 seems like every bike I’ve owned rolled into one. Rivendell makes the Atlantis, which is pretty close to the XO-1, so that’s probably what I would get.

Kent: Pick a movie or a book and explain how it would be so much better when you rework the plot to include bicycles.

Kent: I can’t really think of one, but I would really like to see a TV show set in a bike shop. Maybe a future season of Breaking Bad can be set in a bike shop. Instead of a commercial laundromat, they could use a bike shop as a cover. I would like to see Walter White adjusting the derailleur on a Pinarello as Jesse struggles with a flat repair on a dumpster-picked Huffy.

Here are the places where you can buy RIDE2, and here are Eric’s three questions for Barb Goffman:

  1. Do you have a favorite bike?
  2. In your story in RIDE your narrator notes that her bike ride slows things down and allows her to observe her surroundings. Do you think bikes have other advantages in fiction?
  3. Are you planning to use bikes in future stories?

Answers in about a week!

The RIDE “Three Questions” Game

  • In story order, each RIDE 2 author asks the next RIDE 2 author three questions about anything, bikey or not.
  • The answers go on the the answerer’s blog, and I mirror them here on the RIDE blog.
  • I take the opportunity to say something about that author’s story.

Where to get RIDE 2

Kobo Nook iBooks Kindle Print version at Amazon Print version at IndieBound

THREE QUESTIONS: SJ Rozan asks Kent Peterson

Where to get RIDE 2

Kobo Nook iBooks Kindle Print version at Amazon Print version at IndieBound

I had this idea for promoting RIDE 2: MORE SHORT
without being totally obnoxious.

  • In story order, each RIDE 2 author asks the next RIDE 2 author three questions about anything, bikey or not.
  • The answers go on the the answerer’s blog, and I mirror them here on the RIDE blog.

Hopefully fun for both us and you. After everybody said they were in for the question game, it also occurred to me that I could add a little comment of my own about each story. I didn’t do it in the book itself because I hate when editors introduce stories—who cares about the editor? shut up and get out of the way!—but it doesn’t bother me here at the blog.


SJ Rozan‘s “Escape Velocity” is the first story, so the first questions are from her, aimed at Kent Peterson. Coincidentally, they’re probably the best-known fiction writer and best-known bike blogger in the book. (SJ has won every crime fiction award there is, and remains one of the coolest people I know despite it; and I don’t know many hits Kent gets, but it seems like everybody who owns more than one bike knows him.) I first read Kent’s fiction when he sent me a story called “Bob’s Bike Shop” for consideration in the first RIDE (which I didn’t know wasn’t going to be the only RIDE). I liked it, I bought it, I looked at his blog and found out he was a randonneur and a popular bike blogger. As of this moment, he’s helping to make my decision about what bike to buy more complicated, and I might get these pedals he likes for my folder. I chose “Made With Extra Love,” Kent’s story in RIDE 2, for a few reasons. One was simply that I enjoy his writing, but I also appreciated the older protagonist and the way the bike is just part of her life. I’ll buy a racing story when somebody submits one that works for me, but a woman riding over to her husband’s grave site to tend a little garden is a more interesting setup to me than who’s in the lead on lap three.

Well, I say that now. Watch, after I post the call for submissions for RIDE 3, somebody will knock me out with exactly that story.

Here are SJ’s questions and Kent’s answers:

SJ: When did you get your first bike and how did you feel about it?

Kent: Not counting my trike, which I got when I was three and used to try and escape and follow my older
sister to school, my first bike was blue hand-me-down that used to be my sister’s. I got it when she got a new bike. It was a kind of bike you don’t see anymore, with a top tube that could bolt in lower position to make it a step-thru or a higher position to make it a “boy’s” bike. I still thought it was girly and avoided it until I was about six years old. My dad won me over to the bike by adding these super cool Tiger hand grips to it. Esso was using those to promote their “Tiger in your Tank” slogan. I thought they were “Gr-r-reat!” ’cause they looked just like Tony the Tiger.

SJ: What’s the weirdest thing that ever happened to you on a ride?

Kent: This is a toss-up, so I’m going to list two things. The first was in 1982 when I was biking from Minnesota to California. I had a series of flats, which turned out to be caused by slightly long spokes and a flimsy rim strip. On my final flat (it had to be my final flat, I was out of patches), in the middle of nowhere Wyoming, I figured out the problem. And as I looked down at the side of the road, there was a nearly used up roll of duct tape. There were no towns for miles, no reason for that duct tape to be there, but there it was. There was just enough tape for me to make a thick rim strip and ride the many miles to the next town where I bought a new patch kit.

The second weird thing happened in 2003 when I was racing from San Francisco to Portland in the Raid Californie-Oregon. I was riding at dusk, in northern California among the redwoods. It was just getting dark and the bugs were coming out and bats were swooping after them. It was astoundingly beautiful and just as I was thinking how amazing it is that the bats don’t smash into anything, a bat, intent on dive bombing a bug, slams into my left hand and brake lever. I felt the bat convulse and die right on my hand.

SJ: What’s your indoor sport?

Kent: When Christine, my wife, read this question she said “You don’t have an indoor sport.” “Yeah,” I replied, “the only answer I can come up with for this one is Twitter.” So that’s what I’m going with.

Kent’s three questions for Eric Neuenfeldt:

  1. You’ve got a day to show someone around your part of the world by bicycle. Where do you go riding and what do you show them?
  2. You can add one more bike to whatever fleet of bikes you have now. What do you get?
  3. Pick a movie or a book and explain how it would be so much better when you rework the plot to include bicycles.

Where to get RIDE 2

Kobo Nook iBooks Kindle Print version at Amazon Print version at IndieBound

The Next Big Thing: RIDE 2

Barb Goffman—whose story “Ulterior Motives,” appears in RIDE 2—tagged me in the Next Big Thing blog chain, which is authors answering ten specific questions about their books. I said SURE! and set a calendar alarm to write my blog entry, because I am responsible like that. (Also because with twins and jobs and RIDE and stuff, if it doesn’t have an iCal alarm, it doesn’t exist.)

So today the alarm went off, and I wrote about RIDE 2, which will be out in a week if people will just stop paying me to design other books for a few hours.


RIDE 2 cover

Where did the idea come from for the book?

I wanted to read a book of short stories about bicycles, but there wasn’t one. So I posted a call for submissions on my blog, and at the end of 2011, I published RIDE. I design books and produce ebooks for a living, so except for making time for all the work, I didn’t need to worry about that part of it.

It didn’t sell a zillion copies, but people in bicycling were enthusiastic about it, and I wanted to read another one, so I posted another call for submissions at my blog…

What genre does your book fall under?

From the beginning, I wanted a mix of genres. I mostly listen to music in shuffle mode; I like the chance juxtapositions and weird contrasts. Nine Inch Nails followed by Floyd Cramer? Nice. Floyd opens for Congotronics? And then Youssou N’Dour sings something Egyptian, followed by a cut from the new Ethel album, a cue from Ry Cooder’s Crossroads soundtrack, and a Danny Kaye and Jimmy Durante novelty number? Lovely. Jarring. Pleasurable.

Some of my favorite moments are when I can’t tell whether some cool piece of sound is a study in tone that’s going to slowly mutate for a while, or the introduction to something in pop form, so the drums are about to start whacking away in 4/4. Not knowing forces me to withhold judgment, and to take each moment of the piece in on its own terms, not the terms of the genre I’ve been told to judge it by, or previous things I’ve heard the same artist do.

RIDE 2 has crime; it has non-crime written by a crime author; it has poetry masquerading as prose; it has story disguised as poetry; it has visions, crashes, love, death, and gloating. Each story is what it is, and I don’t care if a reader thinks it’s one thing and then finds out it’s another. I don’t have an anti-genre stance, but I also think it’s nice not to know what’s coming all the time, and a collection of short stories is a perfect place for that.

That said, I’d love to see a Western for RIDE 3. Or science fiction. Or something based around feminism and the Arab Spring, or…I dunno, you tell me. I’m just the editor.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

My piece is an epic poem about an eternal cyclist chased by monsters, so it would have to be somebody who does tough, lean, dirty, and scared pretty well. Who’s that? I have no idea. I didn’t pay attention to movie stars when I was in my twenties; I definitely don’t know who’s who now.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

The second collection of short fiction about bicycles.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

I’m the publisher of RIDE 2. I guess that means my own story in it is self-published, but no one else’s is. (And this isn’t a collection of free stories by pals; I solicit, I edit, I publish, I pay.)

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

Cumulative time between all authors, all stories? Oh, boy, I don’t know. 0.003 epochs?

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

As near as I can tell, as far as bike fiction, we’re it. We are the genre.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

Impatience, probably.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

If I didn’t really like everything about RIDE 2, I wouldn’t be publishing it, with my name on it as editor. That’s what piques my interest: All the great stuff. Crime fiction or bike people who want names they recognize might be drawn in by SJ Rozan, Barb Goffman, or Kent Peterson. People who hate poetry will be interested in the stories. People who hate bicycles or short stories won’t be piqued—or anyway, their interests won’t be—and should buy something else from Amazon instead. Canned pears, maybe. Bamboo manicure sticks. Don’t buy RIDE 2; you won’t like it.

In fact, here’s the whole lineup:

Escape Velocity—S.J. Rozan
Made with Extra Love—Kent Peterson
Polo—Eric Neuenfeldt
Ulterior Motives—Barb Goffman
The Rambler, Part 1—Keith Snyder
I’ve Begun to See Things—Jan Maher
Dert—Jon Billman
The Persistence of Memory—Jan Maher
Beat the Devil Home—K.I. Hope
Passing Thoughts—Nigel Greene

RIDE 2 will be available in ebook and print, just in time for holiday ordering. Subscribe to this blog or follow @ridebikefiction on Twitter if you want to know when it happens.

So as I mentioned, the alarm went off for me to write this, which was this morning, and I’d already been thinking about what to write, so it was going to be pretty quick–but then when I pulled up the questions–

I’d somehow blown right past the part where I needed to have found more authors to tag already.

Luckily, when I said UH OH and went googling to see how other people had fared, in case maybe I wasn’t the only one who’d messed that part up, the first two intros I read were about how they hadn’t realized they needed to tag people.

And even more luckily, after it turned out most of my mystery friends had either already done it, or had just emailed me to find out if I was interested in being one of their five tagged authors, I realized that this coming to me through Women of Mystery was appropriate: I had not just a woman of mystery I could pull into the vortex, but a woman of Mystery. After all, who knows more about Mystery than clergy?

So next Friday will be MaryAnn McKibben Dana, who blogs about…well, kind of everything at The Blue Room Blog, and recently told Presbyterians they’re pregnant, answering these questions about her new book SABBATH IN THE SUBURBS. Which I have a cameo in. I play a funny secular Jew at a playground. I’m great. You should buy it.

I swear, these are the easiest front covers to design…

…because (and you designers know what I mean) when you have great art, really all you’re trying to do after that is stay out of its way.

I am thrilled to present both the jacket design of RIDE 2 and the return of Taliah Lempert to the RIDE series!

Stay tuned—more to come!

Announcing the authors of RIDE 2!

…which, unless I think of an even more splendiferous title, will be called

RIDE 2: More short fiction about bicycles

(Though that won’t be the cover design.)

I thought about breaking this list into STORIES and POEMS, but Beat the Devil Home is a poem masquerading as a story, and The Rambler is a story decked out as a poem, so I got confused.

Here they all are, sans genre labels, in the same order as they happened to come out of this manila folder with the word YES on it.

RIDE 2 will be available in Kindle, Nook, iBooks and print after Thanksgiving. Maybe before. Indie presses laugh at calendars.

(And now that I’ve had a moment to take a step back and look at it fresh—I love this book.)

The authors of

SJ Rozan
Escape Velocity

K.I. Hope
Beat the Devil Home

Nigel Greene
Passing Thoughts

Jon Billman

Eric Neuenfeldt

Kent Peterson
Made with Extra Love

Jan Maher
The Persistence of Memory
I’ve Begun to See Things

Barb Goffman
Ulterior Motives

Keith Snyder
The Rambler, Part I

If you’re interested in RIDE reviews, announcements, and excerpts, follow this RIDE blog and the Twitter feed. (If you’re a bike blog or magazine and want a review copy, drop me a line on Twitter.)


Updated August 20, 2012

Extended deadline: September 7, 2012

RIDE 2 will be published in print, as well as Kindle, Nook, and iBooks.

The only requirement is that a bicycle (or bicycle subculture) must feature significantly in the story.

Any genre, any length up to about 12,000 words, any setting, any time period, any kind of cycling. The more diversity—of locations, cycling cultures, story genres—the better. Don’t look at RIDE (the original) to give you an idea of what I’m looking for—all I’m interested in is the best eight or ten stories I can find, regardless of genre or style.

PAYMENT: Authors and artist receive equal splits after any I recoup any hard costs, which I’ll state clearly on the first royalty statement. This will be a flat fee for limited rights, details TBA around the same time as acceptances. The royalty split would be nice, but Amazon, B&N, et al make it too difficult. Royalties are paid via PayPal only, so author/artist must have a PayPal account.

Previously published OK. World rights must be available. Fiction only; no essays or memoir. Submit in Word, Pages, or RTF, using standard manuscript formatting.

Questions and submissions: noteon | at | mac | dot | com

September 7, 2012