My comedic novel, The Loneliest Planet, offers an unflinching look at how men feel about sex, love, marriage, and massage parlors. The audience includes men seeking insight into their own psyches, women seeking insight into men, and anyone interested in gritty, bittersweet romantic comedy. It should appeal to readers of Jonathan Tropper, Joshua Ferris, and Sam Lipsyte.
The story follows the picaresque adventures of Randall Burns -- 48, chronically-single, and recently downsized out of a long-time job. Burns is not your typical ramblin' man. He hates public toilets, loud noises, weird smells, and people who sweat. Nevertheless, he’s tired of wasting his time pounding away on Match.com as if it were a game of Whac-A-Mole. Prodded by fears of dying alone and snarky emails from ex-girlfriend Ricki, Burns succumbs to the promises of a travel guidebook. He blows his severance on a trip around the world hoping to change his luck with love.
On the trip, Burns strikes out with women on three continents and suffers loneliness that would have broken Papillon. The only thing that keeps him from returning home is Ricki, who continues to email, declaring her certainty that he's having a rotten time and won’t last another week. She recounts his failures as a boyfriend, lover, and human being.
On the fourth continent, Burns accepts that he's going to die alone and the sooner, the better. He bungee-jumps, eats food from street carts, and visits a body spa named "The Curious Finger." He lets go of his germophobia and his quest for a woman, and begins to enjoy himself. Ricki emails again. She’s now on antidepressants and sorry for her past behavior. Is his luck with love about to change?
My fiction, humor, and erotica have appeared in The Drum, Black Heart Magazine, Calliope, and other publications. I have performed a one-man show based on The Loneliest Planetat theater festivals in the U.S., Canada, and Edinburgh, Scotland. In 2007, I took a trip around the world and learned to say in three languages: "Speak English?" "Got Pepto-Bismol?" and "Is this the evacuation helicopter?" Prior to that, I was executive editor at PCWorld.com and PC World magazine. The Loneliest Planet is 80,000 words and ready for review. I look forward to hearing from you soon.