You, the uncultured American reader, don’t deserve my novel.

I learned Sumerian and Coptic languages, just so I could write alternating chapters in the ancient dialects. I studied Ulysses for structure and Arabic prison literature for tone and included references to forgotten Gaelic Gods. I wore a hairshirt for six months to get into the appropriate frame of mind.

I immersed myself in alcoholism till my family disowned me; my “doctor” said my liver looked a burned pork chop. But after all my sacrifice, my masterpiece sold only sixty-three copies, fifty of which I pawned my furniture to buy. I now eat, sleep, and play solitaire on stacks of my unread novels, while contemplating the futility of it all.

What I’m saying is, I’d really like to sell a few more books, so I’ll be signing copies at the Barnes & Noble Book Jamboree on Court Street from noon till 3 PM this Saturday. Hope to see you all there!

What I won’t see at Barnes & Noble is any other book as darkly authentic as mine. I wanted you to feel the inexorable torment of existence with every word, so I had the pages engineered to increase the chance of papercuts. Suffering was integral to the production of the novel itself. Hairs from chest and bikini waxes were intertwined with the fibers of the paper.

I should have known better then to have even a modicum of faith in humanity, though. Of course you would choose to throw your money, instead, at sexy books with cheap gimmicks like action, entertainment, and plotlines. Bestsellers don’t reflect the real anguish of existence. Since when does life have a plot and a happy ending? Life ends in death 100% of the time, my friend.

Speaking of friends, bring them all down to this Saturday’s Book Jamboree! Besides my book signing, there will be entertainment by the Fit Fiddlers and Blaizo the Magnificent. You won’t regret checking it out!

Regret, incidentally, is one of the recurrent themes of my novel. It aims to leave your spirit as empty as the Bacardi bottles littering my bedroom floor. I wrote the book longhand, sitting directly under the leak in my ceiling. I mortgaged my house so I could pay to have people sucker-punch me at irregular intervals as I worked.

I literally poured my pain into this novel, using my blood as ink; I don’t remember much after the first dozen chapters. I’m told one of my sucker-punchers drove me to the hospital for a transfusion and thank goodness he did, because I really needed the blood for my makeshift liver transplant. By that time, I couldn’t afford traditional healthcare and had to get the transplant done by a naturopath at the Seaview Plaza strip mall. She gave me a legume-based vegan alternative to a liver because it was the ecologically responsible choice. Throbbing, unrelenting agony is one of the side-effects, but the “doctor” forgot to mention that.

You know what I forgot to mention? That there’ll be free appetizers at the Barnes & Noble Book Jamboree! I’m not making any promises about the menu, but I heard a rumor about ham roll-ups and cheesecake bites. There will be face-painting, too, so bring the whole family!