Having grown up in the West, mainly Texas and Colorado, there were a lot of culture shocks moving to RI. Highways, smaller and riddled with potholes. Homes, overpriced with no central A/C. But cultural differences aren't always negative. In the West, when you're looking to go out for dinner or drinks, the majority of choices are chain restaurants. Here you find the exact opposite.
There's an abundance of local coffee shops and independently owned restaurants. Whether I need a distraction or inspiration, here are a few places I frequent around Providence. Since I used to work at Starbucks, occasionally I'll visit my friends over at the Wayland Square store. But New Harvest Coffee Roasters in the Hope Artiste Village is a nice alternative to the mainstream.
When I'm looking for a drink of another kind, I head to my number one stop, The Ivy Tavern. Local Hope Street vibe with a nice selection. And if I'm not drinking a Bucket Brewery Porter, I'll grab a Laphroaig on the rocks. I tend to cook a good amount at home, but when the mood strikes me, I head out to Ran Zan for sushi or The Grange for atmosphere and a unique menu.
After moving here from the West, I was dead set on becoming an actor. Then, out of that complete failure, I discovered I really preferred writing. There's a creativity there that you will never be able to fully capture on screen or stage. Even with the unbelievable computer graphics available now, it's just not the same. The fact is when you write a book and give it to the world, you're opening up endless possibilities for your story. Each person who cracks the binding will imagine it slightly different. And that's something very special.
Even though I have written dozens of screenplays, this is my first self-published book. “Grayfellow: Icarus Burning” is a science fiction/noir detective story set in a world where humans evolved with wings. It focuses on the murder of a high ranking executive at a large corporation and a main character who is obsessively chasing his own demons.
This, in particular, was a great exercise in world building, something I had not delved into before. Originally sparked as an idea in 2001, after finishing Children of Dune, the characters and story have grown a lot in the better part of a decade. Always on the back burner but never forgotten, this has been a project that I have always enjoyed thinking about.
Self-publishing allows you a lot of opportunities and freedoms as a creator. You can basically do whatever you want. But it also means you have to do whatever you want done. And so begins my grassroots campaign through Rhode Island’s heritage of independent book shops and retailers. Hoofing around the marketing material. The casual and not-so-casual conversation starters about Grayfellow. It’s a long process, but it’s a great process. So keep an eye out.
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Photo Credits: New Harvest photo by Ashley Farney; Grange photo courtesy of the PattyJDotCom Instagram; all other photos provided by Colin Carlton