Marc Schuster

More Mail for My Dearly Departed Dog

Apparently my dog Pete — gone from us now for over a year — had a life I knew nothing about. My first clue about his secret life was a letter from Strayer University mentioning that he’d earned a bachelor’s degree at some point in his past. Now Pete has received another letter, this one from Miller Chrysler Dodge Jeep of Springfield, Pennsylvania. As the executor of his estate, I had no choice but to open it.

Apparently, Miller Chrysler Dodge Jeep has been presented with the rare opportunity of making record sales this year, and they want Pete’s help to make it happen. Here’s a line directly from the letter:

So Pete, it turns out, not only earned a bachelor’s degree, but he was also a preferred customer at Miller Chryseler Dodge Jeep. At the very least, this explains the Dodge Charger that’s been moldering by the curb in front of my house for the past two years.* But it raises a series of significant issues, not the least of which is how Pete managed to get the line of credit he needed to procure the car.

My best guess at this point is that someone at Miller Chrysler Dodge Jeep somehow saw the following picture I painted and figured that there was no way such a classy dog could pose any kind of credit risk.

"Lord of the Manor" (painting by Marc Schuster)

The sad thing about all of this is that the letter also included a scratch-and-win game — and Pete loved scratching things! According to the letter, if Pete played the game, he had a chance of winning one of the following prizes: a 2011 Dodge Caliber, a three day/two night vacation, $10,000 cash, or five golden coins.** Even though Pete never got a chance to scratch the silver dot, he’ll always be a winner in my book.

* Note to my neighbors: Sorry for giving you the evil eye while pointing out said Dodge Charger. I thought it was your car!

** This last prize had me mystified until my friend, colleague, and fellow blogger Monica D’Antonio pointed out that 95 more gold coins would have earned Pete an extra life a la Super Mario Brothers. If only he’d gotten the letter sooner!

Thanks to Robin Black!

A quick word of thanks today to Robin Black, author of the wonderful short story collection If I Loved You I Would Tell You This, for providing my forthcoming novel, The Grievers, with the following blurb:

“The Grievers is a an extraordinary weave of humor, insight and intelligence. Marc Schuster has written a perfect comic novel, one that never strays far from either poignance or hilarity. You will read it with the grateful sense of being in on the discovery of an exciting new literary voice.” – Robin Black, author of If I Loved You, I Would Tell You This

Robin’s collection has received acclaim from all quarters, including being named the top book of 2010 by the San Francisco Chronicle as well as the Irish Times, being shortlisted for the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Prize, winning the Athenaeum of Philadelphia Literary Prize, and being named a summer reading pick by O: The Oprah Magazine. Needless to say, I’m extremely delighted by this endorsement from an author whose work I admire so greatly!

The Grievers: Available for Preorder

Though it won’t be in print until May 1, I wanted to share the news that my second novel, The Grievers, is now available for pre-order at Amazon. I’m especially excited that a handful of my favorite writers have offered some highly flattering advance praise for the novel. I’m also looking forward to setting up a few readings this Spring. If you’re interested in learning more, please feel free to visit the WordPress site I put together to promote the novel.

And speaking of promotion, I’m looking for advice on marketing my novel on a very tight budget.* If anyone has any experience with book publicity, I’m all ears. Please feel free to drop me a line or share your tips in response to this blog post.

*By “very tight,” I actually mean “zero,” as I just spent my last dime on a new furnace for my home, my goal being to survive winter so that I might live to see The Grievers in print.