Chapter One

Welcome to a big freaking update.

ALPHA HOUSE is complete and by that I mean finished. From start to finish. Linear and done.

Currently, it’s in the hands of several literary agents. The details of my literary agent search will be available if a decision is reached and finalized, but in the mean time I feel you should know that one day whenever I do land a literary agent I hope that he/she looks exactly like the creepy bastard in The Matrix movies.

But I digress.

For those of you who have had an early peek at Chapter One, I thank you for your comments and congratulations. Now that the website it finished, I wanted to finally announce that the first chapter of my novel ALPHA HOUSE is officially up at Hunger Mountain.

Some projects rip out of you like a lion, as Paul Schrader said of his experience writing Taxi Driver. And others are a labor of fucking love. ALPHA HOUSE was a labor of love. I have kept the inner circle for this book small, only allowing a few select individuals inside the city walls for a look around. These individuals have been instrumental in the journey of this novel, offering epic editorial notes, financial and emotional support, beers, beds, therapy sessions, love, medication, and brutal honesty.

To the following five people, I owe more than a blog post can offer, but at least it’s a start, so here I go.


My wife, Kate, has practically been a slave editor over the years, pouring over every page at a rate that would make that Tonka Truck spokesman nervous. She read draft after draft and I’m sure has not seen the last final draft yet either. She was there the night i wrote the very first words and there the morning I wrote the very last. I am lucky to have her in my life. And she is kind of a big deal.


Patricia Volk, who when I told I was planning on abandoning ALPHA HOUSE, said I was insane and should be locked up. She was my first teacher at Bennington and the first real writer to encouraged me to go at the Big Nasty again. She worked on the early chapters. She told me that I needed more dick jokes. Then asked me hard hitting questions about my main character, like was he circumcised.


Joe Stracci, who in a frank and direct way has always told me everything I am doing wrong with my prose and doesn’t sugar coat shit. He says to me, “you don’t need me to tell you you’re a good writer. You need me to tell you why you should be better.” Joe once wrote me a letter, essentially talking me off the metaphorical roof and back onto solid fictional ground. In that letter he writes:

And now, the time has come–time to push through. You’ve been sailing around the world, and up until now, your voyage has been relatively uneventful. Now, you’re in the middle of the Atlantic, and you’re stuck with the sheets up in a squall. You can abandon ship and hope your desalinization tablets really work, or you can batten down the motherfuckering hatches and push on. It would be easy to give up, but I think I know which option you’ll choose.

He did. And I did too.


Kekla Magoon, who read my first chapter submission to Hunger Mountain, accepted it, and then proceeded to re-re-re-re-re-edit the chapter and STILL found ways to make it stronger, bigger and better. She gave a portion of my little novel a home and a life. She counteracted my growing belief that I was, in fact, insane for writing this book. Kekla, an incredible writer herself whose words are far more meaningful than my own, is the consummate professional and one of the hardest working writers I know.


And finally Bret Anthony Johnston, who rode shotgun with me up every peak and down every valley of the Great Reorganization of ALPHA HOUSE. He told me when I was right. He told me when I was wrong. And became a very good and close confidant and friend.

This book’s travels are far from finished, I know, but I am taking this moment to stop, step back and recognize the hard work so many people have put into this book on my behalf.

Keep on.


About J. R. Angelella

J.R. Angelella has an MFA from the Bennington Writing Seminars and his award-winning short fiction has appeared in various literary journals. He teaches writing at the University of Maryland, College Park and lives in Baltimore with his wife, the writer, Kate Angelella. For more information, visit his website at or follow him on twitter: @jrangelella.
This entry was posted in My Girl, My Wife, Nonfiction, Zombie. Bookmark the permalink.

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