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Archives: A Star in the Face of the Sky

Let’s Get This Done

Let’s Get This Done

Visiting Facebook these days is like trying to walk around downtown: Everybody’s got their hands out. Like you, I tend to avert my eyes from the beggars (and the posts) and scan the block ahead for something less guilt-inducing to focus on.

Here’s the thing: Some people really need the money, and not just for a beer. But how do you know that unless somebody tells you? That’s why I’m here.

The high quality and constantly underfunded New Rivers Press, publisher of A STAR IN THE FACE OF THE SKY, has launched an Indiegogo campaign in support of the publication of its 45th anniversary anthology. This is going to be a terrific book, and not only because it has an essay by ME in it.

Ironically enough, the essay concerns this very subject–the ongoing and constant struggle to keep our arts institutions afloat. You want to read it? The ONLY way that will happen is if you step up and send in a few dollars to get this thing on the press.

Click on the image below to go to the Indiegogo site and to make your donation today.  There’s some great swag available and it’s for a great cause.

Tell them “Dave” sent you.  Seriously.  Do.  They may send me a free bookmark.

The Kimbilio Interview

The Kimbilio Interview

Here’s a nice interview I did with Hope Wabuke for the Kimbilio website.  While you’re there, also check out the bios of our 2014 Fellows.  I can’t wait to meet them in person.

KCAAF: Where did you grow up?

David Haynes: I grew up outside of St. Louis, in a small community of working class black folks surrounded on all sides by working class white folks.

KCAAF: What was that like? How did it influence you?

David Haynes: Our little “pocket” community was stable and wonderfully nurturing. Same families in the same houses for half a century or more. It’s also true that that kind of insularity can also be stifling at times. This community will be the subject of the novella and stories I’m working on now.

KCAAF: Please tell us some of the books/writers you love.

David Haynes: I read widely and learn from everything I read. This past year, like much of the rest of the literary world, I’ve been celebrating Alice Munro. I’m a writer who thinks structurally, and Munro’s work continues to teach me to think rigorously about the importance of narrative design in storytelling.

Read the rest of the interview here:

The E-Book Has Landed

The E-Book Has Landed

AStar in the Face of the Sky is now an e-book.  Resolving (slowly) to an electronic book retailer near you.

Turns out there’s a lot more to converting a print book to an e-book than simply pushing a few buttons.  Lots of behind the scenes business related to formatting and margins and the fact that some readers allow you to do things such as “stretch” the screen and change fonts and font size.  Also, as it happens, we’re still in the “VHS vs Betamax” days of electronic books.   Different readers require different conversion formats.  

This is already more than  you or I needed or wanted to know about this subject.  For those of you who have been waiting, the kindle edition is up and other formats will appear over the next few hours/days.    Of course, you can’t sign an ebook, but I would be happy to deface your Nook with my Sharpie.

What Is It Called When a Star Births a Star?

What Is It Called When a Star Births a Star?

Because I had been too literal in my own imaginings of what the cover of A Star in the Face of the Sky should look like, it took me a minute to fall in love with it.  But only minute, and I have remained smitten ever since and brag more shamelessly about the cover than I ever would about what lies between. (I get my picture taken with it and everything!)


BIG congratulations to Rachel Brixius for being a finalist for the prestigious da Vinci Eye Award, an annual prize awarded to independent and small press books with outstanding cover art.  Eternal gratitude to Rachel for wrapping A Star in such beauty.

Pictured above: Rachel schooling us on the art of great cover design.

The Dallas Morning News Weighs In

The Dallas Morning News Weighs In

Book review: ‘A Star in the Face of the Sky,’ by David Haynes

“A Star in the Face of the Sky,” by David Haynes

Published: 17 January 2014 06:39 PM

Updated: 17 January 2014 06:39 PM

It’s a macabre headline: Keisha Davis murders her preacher husband and three of her children to save them from the devil. “They’re like angels, Mama,” she reports in a phone call to her mother. “Wrapped in white, that He may receive them.”

Keisha’s oldest son, Daniel, was in his grandmother’s care when she killed the rest of the family, and the grandmother’s efforts to give him a full, normal life are the foundation for this beautifully scripted novel.

David Haynes’ story is a study in resilience and strength; it’s about coming to terms with the past. But mostly, it’s about love — between friends, family, lovers, even between those who love and the ones who fail to reciprocate that love. It’s about how this force pulls us through dark times and buoys us in good.

Haynes, author of six other novels and several children’s books, is Southern Methodist University’s creative writing director. His prose is rich, multilayered and often lyrical with lines worthy of re-reading. But his greatest strength is the depth he gives his characters. Man, woman, black, Jewish — all are nuanced and believable.


I Hate Prologues

I Hate Prologues

For various reasons I was reminded this week that I said exactly that or something close to that or something related to that during a class discussion at the MFA Program.  It’s a good thing there is no record of those Warren Wilson classes.

In fact, what I said was likely closer to the idea that most prologues were a really bad idea.  The subject of the class was narrative engines, and I argued against the kind of narrative that offers you a brief moment of heightened narrative energy only to have you turn the page and discover chapter one, which circles back to the build up to what you have just read.  What you have just read shows up again somewhere around Chapter Four.  Chapters One, Two and Three contain all the stuff the novelist believes (falsely) that you need to know before you get to Chapter Four.  Which (if he/she would just give up all that wonderfully written but unnecessary exposition) should be the actual opening of the book.

The Prologue!   In Four Way Review!

The Prologue! In Four Way Review!


That Janet Williams hadn’t liked children all that much she blamed on the boy’s mother. Children annoyed her, frankly—all that incessant energy, the enthusiasm for obnoxious music and inedible food, their general and relentless neediness. When pressed, however, she would admit there was something special about this one, this Danny, her five-year-old grandson. On that day—that god-awful day—he’d mostly amused himself, trying out all of the chairs in the living room, plopping himself on the new loveseat and scootching his little bottom around, testing it for comfort, twisting his face around like a bad actor portraying a food critic. Goldilocks with nappy hair.


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