Thursday, December 31, 2009

Free Reading at The Bazaar!

Mark your calendars, friends: on Friday, February 5th, at 7:00PM in the year of our Lord 2010, I will be giving a reading at The Bazaar (675 Brandon Avenue SW, Roanoke, VA, across from Kroger at Towers and right next door to Henry's Memphis BBQ, in case you forgot). I will be reading some selections from Hard Times for Ugly Men, along with a few pieces that didn't make the cut because they were either self-incriminating or libelous. There will definitely be copies of Hard Times for Ugly Men for sale, and there may also be copies of Something Else, and depending upon the nature of that Something Else, the copies in question may be extremely limited and for sale only at the reading. Perhaps they will one day become collectibles! Oh, what a glorious future that would be!
Anyway, it's going to be a lot of fun, and I hope to see you there. And even if you can't make it out for my thing, check out The Bazaar anyway, because it's a great little shop that deserves your support. Until next time!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Big Nasty Heartbreaker, The Bazaar, and Other Sundries

Hello again! First off, thanks to everyone who bought a copy of Hard Times for Ugly Men. I hope you found it enjoyable, or at the very least, found it useful for bolstering the short leg on the kitchen table. In either case, my deepest thanks.
But what if you read the book cover to cover and found yourself yearning for more? Well friend, you're in luck, as I have just put together a downloadable copy of my first 3 Day Novel, Big Nasty Heartbreaker, which you can read absolutely free of charge. This is the one that got shortlisted for the 2007 contest. 9 out of 10 Canadian literary judges agree, it's OK. I will offer some forewarning, however: this novel was, in fact, written in three days, so it's rough around the edges. My usual fiction style is more flowery and full of symbolism and allusions and shit, so, you know, please bear it in mind.
In other news, do you live in the Roanoke, VA area, want to buy a copy of Hard Times for Ugly Men, yet hate the cold impersonality of internet commerce? Well my picky friend, you are in luck. Head on down to The Bazaar, located at 675 Brandon Avenue SW, across from Towers and right next to Henry's Memphis BBQ. It's a great little consignment shop/music venue, and unlike most consignment shops, the atmosphere is hip and friendly as opposed to sad and creepy. Go check it out.
Speaking of music and hipness, you may have noticed some links over on the little sidebar thing. Notes on the State of Virginia is a frequently updated literary humor blog by a good friend of mine, and it is absolutely brilliant. I'm not just saying that because he's a friend of mine, it really is brilliant. In fact, it sort of pisses me off how good it is. But check it out anyway. As for the other two links, I shall put it this way. There are a handful of living musicians/bands that I go out of my way to seek out. These include, in no particular order, John Fogerty, John Kay, Randy Newman, 3AM Friday, and The Bastards of Fate (the Randy Newman thing isn't a joke, I really like Randy Newman). The guys in 3AM Friday actually dedicated a song to me (Father's Delicate Condition in Honor of Ben R. Williams, because I kept trying to get them to call the band Father's Delicate Condition), and I have never missed one of their shows. They are awesome. The Bastards of Fate, meanwhile, defy any kind of rational description, and are also most excellent. Check them both out, and if you'd like me to add your website to my list of links, just shoot me an e-mail. Or shoot me an e-mail apropos of nothing. I'd like to hear from you.
Until then, I remain, your friend,
Ben R. Williams

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Hard Times for Ugly Men: Revised and Expanded

Hello! I've finally finished tweaking the new version of Hard Times for Ugly Men, and it is now available for your reading pleasure. Click here to order a copy of the paperback ($16.99) or click here to download the e-book version ($8.99). And, as always, if you'd like a preview before laying down your cash, you can still go here to download the original version free of charge. Thanks!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Hard Times for Ugly Men

Back in April of 2008, I decided to self-publish a collection of my No Shame Theater pieces in a volume called Hard Times for Ugly Men. Since then, I've accumulated a bunch more No Shame pieces, so rather than do a sequel, I figured I'd take the Leaves of Grass route and make a revised and expanded version of the original book. The new Hard Times for Ugly Men should be available to order online very soon. It contains about forty new No Shame pieces and is over a hundred pages longer than the original. However, if you want a sample of what the book is all about, you can download the entire 160-page original version in a FREE E-BOOK suitable for reading on your computer or cellular telephone or something.
In addition, I'm hoping to make some more stuff available soon in the free e-book format, starting with my first 3-Day Novel Big Nasty Heartbreaker. After that, maybe some short stories.
Keep watching the skies!
Ben R. Williams


In an exciting and remarkable twist of fate, I was recently asked to speak before a writer's group about Writing. This is because I'm a writer, but more on that later. The nice lady who e-mailed me regarding the speaking engagement asked me a series of questions, and only one stymied me: "What is the address of your website?" Not "Do you have a website?" but "What is the address?" It occurred to me then that I've been slacking off. I've been doing this whole writing deal for a pretty decent length of time now, and I've never made the effort to create some kind of Professional Online Web Presence where people interested in my writing can go and follow my work and chuckle over my various bon mots. That sort of thing is expected in this modern age of ours. So anyway, here's my blog, and I hope you enjoy it.
As I mentioned in the previous paragraph, I am a writer. I always feel weird saying that, because it sounds simultaneously pretentious and obvious. It's obvious because nearly everyone is a writer in some way. If you write a grocery list or a letter telling your ex-boyfriend to stop driving slowly past your house every night, you are a writer. And it's pretentious because we all know the sorts of people who frequently identify themselves as writers. They shake your hand, tell you that they write, and then squint off into the distance in a very deep fashion, leaving you wishing your hand was free so you could deliver a swift rabbit punch to their solar plexus. Bearing all that in mind, I will now offer five reasons why I think I qualify as a Writer, listed in no particular order.
1. In May of 2009, I had a play (Ant Farm) produced at a new theatre called Studio Roanoke in downtown Roanoke, Virginia. Three out of the eight performances sold out, no one walked out during the middle of it, and if anyone demanded a refund, the staff didn't tell me.
2. I've done the 3 Day Novel Contest three years in a row, and the first novel I submitted (Big Nasty Heartbreaker) was a shortlisted entry for 2007, which basically meant it was in the top twenty out of nearly 500 submitted novels. So that's pretty neat. In case you were wondering, my 2008 novel (Nightjars) didn't receive any kind of mention because it was sort of terrible, and I just submitted my 2009 novel (Cat Killer) a few weeks ago, so I have to wait until January to find out how I did.
3. I've been attending No Shame Theater in Roanoke, VA since May 2006. I've attempted to do a piece nearly every week, which has resulted in a truly staggering number of five minute long sketches, monologues, and poems. I self-published a bunch of these in April 2008 in a collection called Hard Times for Ugly Men, which has proven fairly popular among both the ugly AND the attractive.
4. I placed second in a short story contest at my college back in 2007. My story (The Legend of Asshole Jones) won me fifty bucks, which I think I used towards a new pair of boots.
5. I recently spoke at a private all-girls high school about The Art of Writing. Everyone seemed to have a pretty good time.
Anyway, I hope I've proven I'm not some kind of pretentious charlatan. I hope to update this blog fairly frequently with updates on what I am writing and where I am going. I will also post things I have written so that you can post comments about how great I am (no constructive criticism, please, as I am a delicate flower).
In fact, I'm going to go ahead and post something now. Here's a YouTube clip of one of the coolest moments of my entire life. Through a series of awesome events which I may further explain at a later date, professional actor Toby Huss was in Roanoke last summer, and not only did I get to "act" alongside him in a staged reading of Jeff Goode's hilarious play Love Loves a Pornographer, he was kind enough to appear in my No Shame piece that Friday. It's called "The Boojum Mountain Yarn-Spinning Competition," featuring myself as Senator Jubal P. Mackeroy (a recurring character I play at No Shame Theater), Toby Huss as Dr. Savoy Calhoun, and the ever-talented Mr. Todd Ristau as the moderator of the event. I cannot stress enough how awesome it is to have one of your childhood heroes sitting beside you on a stage reading words you have written (and even cracking up at one particular point). I hope you enjoy it, and I'll see you soon, my friend!
Your pal,
Ben R. Williams