Get Zak to Sewanee & OC!

I have been accepted to the prestigious Sewanee Writers Conference, a two-week retreat and workshop in which I aim to work toward completion of my novel, Farewell Wayward Sister! Depart In Peace! I'll be working with esteemed authors such Tony Earley, Jill McCorkle, John Casey, Alice MCDermott, and networking with agents and editors.

But it's not cheap. The entire cost of tuition, room & board, and travel to southeast Tennessee is $2260.  And I don't even have a job yet (I'm looking—holler if you have a lead!)

On top of that, I'm planning a trip in June to Orange County, California to conduct research for the novel. Flights are about $500, to say nothing of additional travel expenses. I've already got meetings lined up with the editor of the OC Weekly and the county archivist, as well as members of the historical society.

My goal is to have a completed draft by the end of summer, and to have enough research completed that I can begin to revise from my home base in North Carolina this winter.

                (The famous outlaw cowboy Coyote Don)

Farewell, Wayward Sister! Depart in Peace! is a novel set in Orange County, California in late summer 1994. Kurt Cobain is dead. Ska is in. OJ is months away from acquittal and the county is months away from the largest municipal bankruptcy in history.

Marion R. Slye is a mentally ill homeless man in suburban Southern California who believes he’s a real cowboy. The one-time star of a TV Western, he’s spent the last twenty years behind bars for killing his girlfriend. Now free, he’s determined to find the man that he thinks framed him: Van Kleeven, his TV archnemesis. Unfortunately, there’s an actual serial killer at large in Orange County, who’s been targeting homeless people. Police are advising people to stay in shelters, but the cowboy refuses to be fenced in.

The cowboy finds a reluctant sidekick in sixteen-year-old Jeremy Lerner, an angry young man whose brother doesn’t speak, whose next-door neighbor is a rock goddess, whose mother is popping pills, and who will do anything he can to make her boyfriend—and the pain of his own father’s suicide—go away.
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Zak Nelson 
Raleigh, NC
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