Twenty-one Truths About Love!

Best cardboard box of the year showed up at my doorstep yesterday.

Copies of my next novel, “Twenty-one Truths About Love,” have arrived. This is my fifth novel and my sixth book, and honestly, it was just as exciting as opening the box and seeing my first.

There will always be a part of me that still lives in a time when publishing even a single book seemed like an impossibility.

Despite my good fortune, I’ll also always be that frightened boy in high school, desperately wishing that someone would talk to him about the possibility of college. I’ll always be that homeless young man, trying to find ways to eat while awaiting trial for a crime he didn’t commit. I'll forever be that McDonald’s manager, wondering if managing restaurants and flipping burgers was the best I’d ever do.

A part of me will always be that 12 year-old boy, writing political cartoons on Easter Sunday in his grandparents’ living room, hoping an aunt or uncle might notice. I’ll always be that 19 year-old kid, kicked out of his childhood home, struggling to make ends meet, writing columns on early, localized versions of the Internet, hoping to get someone - anyone - to read what I wrote. And part of me will always be sitting at my desk in my classroom on a Friday afternoon twelve years ago when my agent called, telling me that Doubleday had made an offer on my first book.

The journey was long and hard, and I’m happy that it’s something I won’t ever forget. Those small parts of the past - still alive and well inside - make the opening of a cardboard box containing my sixth book a moment just as exciting as the day ten years ago when I opened that first box and saw my name on the cover of a book for the first time.

Another review of Twenty-one Truths About Love

Another early review of Twenty-one Truths About Love from another important outlet - Booklist.


Dicks manages to create tension, pathos, humor, and some searing melodrama in a novel written entirely in lists. Daniel Mayrock, soon to be a father, quits a dull teaching position to open his own bookstore. Following the advice of his therapist, he starts making lists, and list-making becomes a compulsion as he submits all aspects of his life to enumeration. He ranks his employees, analyzes his interactions with others, and documents his many foibles and phobias.

Through lists, Dan’s rich, sympathetic voice shines, and as he organizes his opinions about music, his love of his wife, and his many vices and neuroses, he is funny and insightful. Like Benjamin Kunkel’s Indecision (2005) and Joshua Ferris’s To Rise Again at a Decent Hour (2014), this tale explores the struggles of a man attempting to navigate contemporary adulthood and his fear that he is unable to function like everyone around him. Often moving, sometimes shocking, always entertaining, this superbly crafted work emphasizes the incalculable variety of the novel form.

— Alexander Moran

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Book love

A couple bits of book love that have me feeling great this week:

One of the first reviews of my upcoming novel, Twenty-one Truths About Love, has arrived via Kirkus Reviews, an important book review magazine, and happily, it’s a good one!

Dan Mayrock is in a bind: He has not yet told his wife, Jill, that his business is failing and they are almost out of money. He's kept this secret for 13 months now. A former teacher who left his job to open a bookshop, Dan struggles daily with not only the slings and arrows of economic instability, but also the existential questions of what it means to be a man in the 21st century. What if he can't provide for his family? How can he measure up to Peter, Jill's deceased first husband? Is robbery a viable, not to mention moral, supplementary career path?

Meanwhile, Dan's father, who left home when Dan was only 9 years old, is trying to reconcile. Too angry to even open his father's letters, Dan turns to Bill, a 72-year-old widower he met while scouting a bingo hall for theft potential. A Vietnam veteran who lost his wife to a carjacking and his son to cancer, Bill may be the friend Dan needs.

Told entirely through the series of lists comprising Dan's journal, Dicks' latest novel sketches surprisingly complex characters. Much like the famous six-word story often erroneously ascribed to Hemingway ("For sale: baby shoes, never worn"), these lists—and the silences they outline—conjure a tense world in which, no matter how hard Dan tries to gain control of his finances, his life, or his emotions, he continually gets stuck in simply recording the absurdities of life and making futile plans to become a hero to Jill. As the days pass, Dan's lists reflect his increasing desperation, ratcheting up the tension until life throws a potentially devastating curveball at him that pushes him to reassess everything he had thought to be true.

A clever, genre-bending portrait of a man under pressure.


Then there’s this:

A staircase that features a features favorite books. Clever!

The reader sent it to me specifically because of the third step, which features the UK edition of Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend.

When I published my first novel a decade ago, I had no idea how kind, thoughtful, and generous readers could be. Such a beautiful surprise.


Ten years of publishing... TODAY!

I am celebrating my tenth anniversary in publishing today!

On July 14, 2009, I published my first novel, Something Missing, with Broadway Books, a division of Doubleday, thus making a seemingly impossible dream come true. I can still remember walking into the now-defunct Borders Books and seeing my book on the shelf for the first time.

This was followed in 2010 with the publishing of my second novel, Unexpectedly, Milo, also with Doubleday.

In 2013, I switched to St. Martin’s Press, a division of Macmillan, and published Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend, my most successful book so far. In 2016, I published The Perfect Comeback of Caroline Jacobs, also with St. Martin’s Press, and in November of this year, I’ll publish my fifth novel, Twenty-one Truths About Love.

Sometime in 2020, my sixth novel The Other Mother, will publish here in the United States. It’s already been published abroad.

I also published Storyworthy: Engage, Teach, Persuade, and Change Your Life Through the Power of Storytelling in 2018 with New World Library.

Six books in ten years. It’s been an amazing decade.

in addition to publishing in the United States, my books have also been published in more than 25 countries overseas, and three of my four novels are currently optioned for film.

I’ve also become the humor columnist for Seasons magazine and an advice columnist for Slate magazine. I’ve published pieces regularly in Parents magazine

The Connecticut Society of Professional Journalists has awarded me first prize in the opinion/humor writing category in 2015, 2016, 2017, and 2019. Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend was the 2014 Dolly Gray Award winner and was a finalist for the 2017 Nutmeg Award in Connecticut.

I say all this because despite a decade of consistent work in the publishing world, here’s the crazy thing:

I still don’t feel like a real author. I still feel like at any moment, I will be discovered for the fraud that I surely am and be unceremoniously kicked out of the literary world.

Isn’t that crazy?

I’ve often wonder when the day will come when I will feel like an honest-to-goodness writer and rid myself of this persistent imposter syndrome.

Then again, maybe imposter syndrome isn’t such a bad thing. It keeps me on the knife’s edge, working like hell to stay relevant, valuable, and in the game.

Still, it would be nice to answer the question, “What do you do for a living?” by saying “Teacher, writer, and storyteller” and not feel like the writer part of that answer isn’t real.

Either way, it’s been ten years today. A decade that I never would have dreamed possible and still seems kind of impossible when I reflect back upon it.

And would’ve been impossible if not for the support of friends, family, editors, publicists, booksellers, Elysha, and my agent and friend, Taryn Fagerness.

Hopefully I’ll be writing a similar post in another ten years, and perhaps by then, I’ll be feeling like the honest-to-goodness author I’ve always wanted to be.

Book launch: What are your ideas?

I’m reaching out today, readers, listeners, and friends, because I have always believed that the wisdom of the crowd is better than the wisdom of the one, and also because when I’ve asked for help in the past, you have been amazing.

When I wrote about my desire to find the title of the first library book I ever borrowed, one reader found that title based upon my vague description and another actually sent me the book. It’s sitting on my shelf today.

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When I wrote about Mrs. Carroll, the kindergarten teacher who taught me to tie my shoes and was the first person to teach me about the value of grit and determination, one of my readers put me in touch with Mrs. Carroll, who was in her 90’s at the time, allowing me to thank her for all that she had done for me.

When I wrote about the Blackstone Valley snipers - two men who terrorized the parts of Massachusetts and Rhode Island where I grew up by firing rifles into windows at night and requiring the National Guard to patrol the streets - the girlfriend of one of these men (who was about to be paroled) reached out to castigate me for calling her boyfriend a monster.

That last one was not exactly helpful, but it certainly was interesting.

But time and time again, I have put out requests on my blog and social media, and time and time again, folks like you have stepped up with answers and assistance.

So I bring a new problem to you today in hopes that you might offer some creative ideas and assistance of any kind.

On October 15, my next novel, Twenty-one Truths About Love, publishes. It’s a unique book in that it’s written entirely in lists. List after list after list that tell the story of an obsessive list maker and his desperate need to save his marriage from financial ruin.

My publisher will be marketing the book, of course, but unfortunately, authors must do a great deal in order to market and sell books these days, so I’m in the process of putting together my own plan for publicity. This will include a launch party, a festival tour, a tour of regional bookstores, a podcast series that will teach listeners about the birth of a book, and much more.

I also plan to leverage the unique list format to run several contests in which readers will be asked to submit their own lists based upon some of the titles of lists that actually appear in the book. I’m also hoping to get some attention from the media in this regard.

I also plan on appearing on as many podcasts as possible. I was interviewed on more than two dozen podcasts for the launch of Storyworthy, and it helped tremendously. I hope to do the same this time.

Now I turn to you. Two requests:

  1. What ideas do you have for marketing and selling this book? Any and all ideas are welcomed. Don’t be afraid that your idea might sound crazy or obvious or impossible. I want to hear it all. What ideas do you have for getting this book into the zeitgeist?

  2. Do you know anyone who might be able to help? Do you listen to a podcast where I might fit well, and and if so, can you reach out to that host and recommend me? Do you have contacts in the media who might want to interview me? Do you know an author who might be willing to offer an endorsement? Do you belong to the Obsessive List Maker Club of America? If there really is only six degrees of separation between any two people in the world, then one of you should be best friends with Terry Gross, Marc Maron, Oprah Winfrey, Peter Sagal, or Stephen King. If you could get them to read and love the book, that would be great.

Also, if you haven’t preordered the book yet, that would be great, too. Really, really great. You can preorder at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, IndieBound, or your local bookseller.

I look forward to all of your ideas, thoughts, connections, and hair-brained schemes. You can tell me all about them in the comments on this post, via social media, or email them to me at

Thanks so much.

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Change of plan

Remember the cover of my new book that most of you liked so much?

It’s been changed.

Twenty-one Truths About Love was received exceptionally well during the sales conference except for one thing:

The sales and marketing folks didn’t love the cover.

And honestly, I didn’t love it initially either. I was eventually convinced that the cover was well designed and would effectively garner the attention of readers, but that cover is a thing of the past, and we have a new cover that I love.

I really, really love.

I hope you do, too. You can preorder the book (which would help me immensely) here.

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The Other Mother: Another cover reveal!

Just last week, I revealed the cover to my next novel, Twenty-one Truths About Love, which publishes in October.


But that wasn’t entirely correct.

My actual next novel is titled The Other Mother, and it will publish in the UK and Australia in June of this year and will publish in the United States sometime in 2020.

In truth, I wrote The Other Mother first, and it was supposed to be my next book published in the United States, too, but then my new editor had the chance to read the first half of Twenty-one Truths About Love, and she and my publisher decided to reverse the order of publication, forcing me to finish Twenty-one Truths About Love early.

If you noticed that I was a little harried last year, now you know why.

But I was thrilled. They were so excited about the book and its potential that they wanted it on store shelves as soon as possible.

So today I’m revealing the cover of The Other Mother, which will grace the UK and Australian editions of the novel. When it finally lands in the United States late next year, the cover will almost assuredly be different.

The name, for example, will definitely be different. My pen name in the UK is Matthew Green after it was determined that my actual last name might offend British sensibilities.

Green is Elysha’s maiden name.

But I like this cover a a lot. I hope you do, too, particularly if you’re living in the UK or Australia.

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Twenty-one Truths About Love: Cover reveal!

It’s here!

Not the actual book, which publishes in October, but the cover of my next novel, Twenty-one Truths About Love. This is the first in many baby steps to be taken before the book can finally land on store shelves.

What do you think?


The book is a bit unusual. Unconventional, you might say.

It’s a novel written entirely in lists:

From the beloved author of Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend comes a wonderful new novel about a struggling man, written entirely in lists.

1. Daniel Mayrock loves his wife Jill…more than anything. 
2. Dan quit his job and opened a bookshop.
3. Jill is ready to have a baby. 
4. Dan is scared; the bookshop isn’t doing well. Financial crisis is imminent. 
5. Dan hasn’t told Jill about their financial trouble. He’s ashamed. 
6. Then Jill gets pregnant.

This heartfelt story is about the lengths one man will go to and the risks he will take to save his family. But Dan doesn’t just want to save his failing bookstore and his family’s finances―he wants to become someone.

1. Dan wants to do something special. 
2. He’s a man who is tired of feeling ordinary. 
3. He’s sick of feeling like a failure. 
4. Of living in the shadow of his wife’s deceased first husband.

Dan is also an obsessive list maker, and his story unfolds entirely in his lists, which are brimming with Dan’s hilarious sense of humor, unique world-view, and deeply personal thoughts. When read in full, his lists paint a picture of a man struggling to be a man, a man who has reached a point where he’s willing to anything for the love (and soon-to-be new love) of his life.

In preparation for publication, we’re going to have some contests in which you can contribute to readers’ versions or create your own versions of some of the lists in the book, including the eponymous one.

And if you’re so inclined, preordering the book is ENORMOUSLY helpful to authors. Not only does it increase the book’s chances of landing on bestselling lists, but preorders will increase the initial print run of a book, guaranteeing more copies on bookstore shelves.

You can preorder at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, IndieBound, or best of all, at your local bookstore.