Tuesday, January 8, 2019

After 20 years, my novel Jesus Just Left Chicago is a reality and is now available. I hope you love it.

Life is so short and fleeting. We run through this world so fast that sometimes we don't appreciate those special moments enough.

Today is one of those days I will savor. After almost 20 years of fits and starts, Jesus Just Left Chicago is now available in both print and audio. 

You can get the print version on Amazon here. The audio version is available here.  

Oh, and I have this puppy...

Yes, she is amazing. We named her Dynamo. But back to the book. It is not just the best thing I have ever written, it is one of the best things I have ever read. I am extremely proud of how it turned out. I will be doing a release party and book signing soon, and will be doing signings all over during the next several months. If you like gambling, the mafia, mysticism and mythology, hopefully you will love this.

Now is your chance to get both versions before the official launch. And yes, there will be a sequel at some point later this year and a movie down the road. If you buy the print version online and bring it to any Blitz road show I will be happy to sign it.

It will be available on Apple Books, Kindle, and all over the place any day now. 

I also highly endorse the audio version. Jermaine Every, John Granato, Holly Seymour, Cody Stoots and a kid named Will Faour did an amazing job. I actually got goose bumps listening. 

There are millions of people to thank, and I do that in the acknowledgments, which I have placed at the bottom of this post. But for the most part I just wanted to share this amazing moment with my friends. I appreciate all of you more than you will ever know, and I look forward to us being able to discuss the book once you have read it or listened to it. 

Thank you all for making this dream possible. 

Here are the acknowledgments from the book itself: 


This novel has been in the works for a long, long time. I first wrote it in 1995, had a deal to publish, but it all fell apart for a lot of silly reasons. Then it was supposed to be a movie. Then a book again. So the project went into mothballs for a while. When I picked it back up in 2013, I updated the timeline to include the events of Hurricane Ike and its impact on the Gulf Coast. The result is a better story, and hopefully one you enjoyed.

The concept came to me one night while listening to one of my go-to bands, ZZ Top. The song Jesus Just Left Chicago is one of my all-time favorites. In it, Jesus just left Chicago and is on his way to New Orleans. I might have been drinking at the time, but I was listening one night and wondered where he would go in between and decided he would show up at Sam Houston Race Park and make everyone money, and suddenly the idea came together.

I had written several short stories for my Masters Thesis at the University of Houston-Clear Lake in 1989. When I put them together, the themes were all similar -- Houston/Galveston, characters seeking redemption, religion, music, the mafia and of course, gambling. Most of the characters in this novel were born from those stories, as well as a few others I have written over the years. 

Some were published, but many I just wrote for friends while I was grinding away at an 80-hour a week job at the Houston Chronicle. Michael, for instance, was from a short story called “31,” about a hit man who heard music with each kill and associated the two. It was written on an old computer and there were a few printouts for friends, but like most of the others, it is probably lost forever.

So he was reborn in this novel, along with a lot of the other characters. Jesse made appearances in a couple of the earlier stories, and the racetrack theme brought it all together. In the mid-90s, I would spend days at the track with the same table of people, and the concept of the disciples came from there. While none of the characters are based on real life, many of them are compilations of people I have met or stories I have heard.

As far as reality, all of the devastation of Crystal Beach by Hurricane Ike is real, as is Mine That Bird’s win in the Kentucky Derby.

You might have noticed the story moves fast. My writing style was born from 20 years in journalism and heavy influences from the late, incomparable Douglas Adams and Elmore Leonard as well as Michael Moorcock, Dick Francis and Stephen King. I have always tried to live by Leonard’s words: “Try to leave out the part that the readers tend to skip.” I don’t do a lot of deep descriptions, instead allowing for the reader to use imagination to fill in the blanks. The exceptions are the poker and horse racing scenes, where hopefully I was able to paint a picture for those of you who do not participate in either.

Discerning readers will notice some inconsistencies and mistakes. Those are by design, as Louis’ story was written under a haze of alcohol and weed.

I have several new titles in the works, including a sequel (that’s a radio tease). But this story has haunted me and had to be told before I could move on. So now we shall, and look for several new releases soon.

There are too many people to thank, and I don’t want to turn this into an Academy Award acceptance speech, so I will do my best to keep it short.

Thanks to the following:

Cris Rodriguez, a former student of mine and a talented filmmaker whose interest in the film version forced me to finish the novel.

Scott Scully, one of my all time favorite gambling partners who will recognize a lot of the characters.

John McClain, who wrote the foreword for this. He is one of my oldest friends and helped keep me almost sane for 20 years at the Houston Chronicle.

Curt Meyer, a brilliant artist who did the cover work for Acing Racing as well as Jesus.

My father, the late Fred B. Faour, the greatest, funniest man who ever lived. An unbelievably talented journalist and an even better friend. The world is a darker place without him. Not a day goes by where I don’t think about him.

Jeff Sotman, the best gambler I ever knew and a man who was as close to me as my brothers. We lost Jeff way too young. He was always there and helped me through some bleak times. I wished he had lived to see the final version of this.

Eunice Munoz and Big Fish Marketing. She has always believed in me and promoted me, even when I had serious doubts about myself.

David Gow, CEO of Gow Media, for being a great business partner, boss and friend who has always trusted my ideas for the company (including this) and has supported me through thick and thin.

And my family. My mom, Patricia, who could have been the one writing novels if things had gone a little differently; my grandmother, Lucille, who has kept everything I have ever written and every trophy I ever won; my brothers Patrick and John, who have always been there through every success and failure any of us had.

Of course, my son Will, who is a talented writer in his own right, and my daughter Katie, who vows to be more famous than me (she will be).

My awesome in-laws in Canada, Carl and Lois, who have become like an extra set of parents for me, and accepted me even after their daughter married an American.

And finally, most importantly, my wife Valerie, who has always pushed me, believed in me, but also chopped me down if I got too full of myself. So much of my success has been because she convinced me I could actually do it. I doubt this project would have ever happened without her.

Thanks to all of them, as well as those of you who read this book and for some reason are still reading now. I hope you enjoyed it, and hopefully this is just the beginning.

1 comment:

Cory DLG said...

Congrats man, just restarting my focus on writing again this year and I know how hard it is to get back on it and finish things. I look forward to checking this out!!!