Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Remember the weird kid with the greasy hair and the odd smell you went to school with? Goats Eat Cans by Steven Novak VBT Pit Stop April 12

Click on the image to visit the Meet & Greet with Steve Novak on VBT Cafe Blog.

Born in Chicago Illinois, Steven Novak has spent the whole of his life creating. After attending The Columbus College of Art and Design for four years he moved to California where he married his wife. The pair have been together for nearly a decade. He likes pizza. He’s sort of a nerd. He has terrible luck and worse personal hygiene. He also hates having to write bios about himself. He thinks bios are stupid. His work can be found online at

Join Steven and I as we chat about his new release Goats Eat Cans Volume 1 and why he loves to write. (Warning: Be sure to go to the bathroom before reading further. We are are not responsible for accidents while laughing!)

Louise: Steven, welcome to my blog! I’m so excited you could join me for a chat. When did you first decide to submit your work to be published? Tell us what or who encouraged you to take this big step.

Steven: I’ve been submitting stuff for years. I think I sent my first queries out when I was still in college and I had no idea what I was doing. I just put some packets together, found some addresses, and mailed stuff off. The very first thing I tried to sell was a picture book I’d written and illustrated about a kid that builds a rocket and sails it to Mars where he meets a bunch of aliens and goes swimming.

It wasn’t exactly “high art,” but I thought it was cute.

Everyone hated it, of course. And rightfully so.

Louise: Please tell us a little about your new release without giving too much of a spoiler away.

Steven: The book is called Goats Eat Cans Volume 1 and essentially it’s a collection of short, occasionally funny, occasionally gross, occasionally funny-gross stories about some of the more terrible moments in my life. There’s a little of everything in there. There’s a chapter about the time I nearly lost my virginity and ended up with three hundred stitches in my head instead. There’s another about the day I actually lost my virginity, and it involves no stitches whatsoever. There’s an incredibly detailed retelling of my vasectomy, and a story about when I got married, and one about my failed experience with traditional publishing, and, of course, there’s another about the time a burst polyp caused me to lose so much blood from my anus that I passed out at the hospital and woke up in a pool of my own blood and feces.

That’s a particularly fascinating chapter.

Louise: Do you plan all your characters out before you start a story or do they develop as you write?

Steven: When it came to Goats Eat Cans none of that was necessary as it’s actual stuff that actually happened to actual people. Last year I polished off series of young adult fantasy/adventure novels called Forts, though. There was very little pre-planning involved with that.

I’m a terrible pre-planner.

I’m far too lazy.

Louise: How much research do you do for your books? Have you found any cool tidbits in your research?

Steven: None - because of the whole lazy thing.

No research was necessary with Goats – unless you count digging through my memories as “research.” I’m guessing that you don’t, though.

Louise: What is your writing process? Do you outline, write by the seat of your pants (Pantser) or a combination of both?

Steven: When I write fiction I never outline. I’ve been asked this question before and I usually tell people that I avoid outlining because “if it’s not good enough for me to remember, it probably wasn’t good enough to write.”

That’s a complete lie, of course.

Once again, it comes down to laziness.

Laziness is the foundation on which my life is built. It’s my motto. It’s my creed. It’s the scarlet letter I’ve chosen to wear, and damn it, I’m wearing it with pride!

Louise: Do you write full time? What did you do before you became a writer or still do?

Steven: No. I actually pay my bills and purchase the food to stuff my rapidly aging face and ever-expanding belly as a graphic designer and illustrator. I’ve done a lot of direct market educational stuff when it comes to illustration, plus a few books here and there. As a graphic designer I do a lot of web based work, occasionally I’ve dabbled in product design, and I’ve recently started putting together covers for independently published authors. That’s been a lot of fun.

In fact, if you’re an author looking for a quality cover, drop me an email. My rates are solid, my turnaround is quick and my demeanor is professional. I also wash my undercarriage daily, so I smell fantastic.

Louise: Do you have a ritual when it comes to writing? Example….get coffee, blanket, paper, pen, laptop and a comfy place.

Steven: Usually I start by taking off my shirt. Then I unbutton my pants and slide them over my hips. Lastly, I pull off my socks one by one, before dropping my britches and letting everything hang loose.

Writing in the nude is a very freeing thing.

Oh, I forgot to mention that I lather myself in healthy sheen of margarine, climb into the oven and roast my pasty skin to a golden brown at 450 degrees for 30 minutes.

Dress me up with a sprig of basil, a side of creamy mashed potatoes, and I make for a hell of a family meal.

The leftovers are even better.

Louise: Being nude all day is very freeing! When all the kids are grown and gone; try it! LOL
Describe a typical writing day for you.

Steven: I don’t know. I’m one of those people who can’t really write unless I’m “feeling it.” Writers block has my number and because of that I’ll go months without typing a word. It took me a year to write the first Forts book.

Louise: Please give us a sneak peek at your future books. What’s on the horizon?

Steven: This year is actually going to be pretty busy and if you’re a fan of Goats Eat Cans Volume 1 you’re an awfully lucky chap. Volume 2 is going to be released in July and I’m looking at getting Volume 3 out by November/December. Sometime in the next few months I have a picture book hitting the stores through Featherweight Press that I did the illustrations for, and in early 2013 I’ll be releasing another humor novel titled, Fictional Jerks.

Then I’m going to jump off a bridge.

There might be obituary.

Keep your eyes open for that.

Louise: What is your favorite genre to read and who is your favorite author?

Steven: Honestly, I don’t read that much anymore. I haven’t read a single book this year and there’s not really anything I’m itching to pick up. I just don’t have the time. Between writing in my nude, cooking in the oven, and the various things I have to do in order to keep food in my belly, my spare time is limited.

When I was a kid I loved Ray Bradbury’s stuff.  On a purely nostalgic level he’s pretty high on my list of favorite authors. I also grew up on comic books. I could probably name a hundred comic book writers that I love.

Louise: Is there anything else you would like to tell the readers we have not touched on?

Steven: I considered making a really inappropriate joke here and ultimately decided against it – which is uncommon for me.

Maybe I’m growing up?

Maybe I’ve transformed into an adult?

Maybe my wife can finally take me to social gatherings and not be worried that I’m going to embarrass her horribly?


Here’s why:

Is there anything else you would like to tell the readers we have not touched on?

Steven: My genitals.

Louise: Wait *mouth hangs open, shuts* LMAO TMI there Steven! Where can the readers learn more about you and find your books on the web?

Steven: The hub for all things me related is

Everything Goats Eat Cans can be found at

I’m also on twitter @stvfoolery and you can find me making a jerk of myself on Facebook on a fairly regular basis as well.

If you’ve got a few extra pennies in your pocket and you’re looking for a couple laughs at a cheap price the Kindle version of Goats Eat Cans Volume 1 is currently available for a measly $1.99

That’s a heck of a deal. 

GENRE: Humor

Remember the weird kid with the greasy hair and the odd smell you went to school with? You know, the one who never talked to anyone? That creepy little jerk who sat alone at lunch? The oddball who never took a shower in gym class? The one you imagined might one day go on a shooting spree?

Believe it or not, that kid grew up.

He grew up, he got married, he never shot a single person, he wrote a book, and he even started taking showers after his workouts – most of the time.

Goats Eat Cans is his story.

Follow along as Steven Novak recounts the sometimes hilarious, sometimes hilariously painful, and sometimes painfully hilarious moments that have made his life so wonderfully frustrating. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, and you might even vomit. No matter what, you won't be able to stop reading.

Goats Eat Cans features 55 stories, 55 illustrations, 99 luftballons and enough nonsense to keep you chuckling and giggling for days on end – or hours – or at the very least a few minutes.

I have a mortal enemy. His name is Jabar.
Jabar is a cat.
Is that lame—to have a cat as a mortal enemy? Maybe it is, maybe it isn’t. If I were you though, I wouldn’t rush to judgment. You don't know this cat. This cat is evil. He's cunning, he's focused and nasty and vile and just plain mean.
He’s smart too.
He’s real smart.
He’s so smart he’ll write your midterm, and he’ll get a better grade than you ever would have.
He's my Lex Luthor.
Of course, if he's Lex Luthor, that would make me Superman, and I can’t be Superman. I hate that goody two-shoes jerk. Plus, I look terrible in red speedos.
Okay, this cat is my Joker. Which makes me Batman.
Yeah, I can deal with being Batman. Not the corny seventies Batman, but cool, pissed-off Frank-Miller-Dark-Knight-Returns Batman. I’ll be the Batman who chews steel, spits iron, and calls Robin a fruitcake.
That Batman’s awesome.
You see, not long after purchasing and moving into our first home, the wife and I had a cat door installed in the door leading into our garage. We then had another installed in the side door leading from the garage to the back yard. This was so our two cats could come and go as they pleased. It was simple. It was cheap, and at the time, it seemed to make perfect sense.
The thing we never counted on was that, while the doors gave our cats the ability to get out, they also presented other cats in the neighborhood with a way to get in.
It really should have been obvious from the start, but it wasn’t.
Okay, so maybe I'm not exactly Batman.
I mean, besides being a hell of a hand-to-hand fighter, a billionaire playboy, and a heck of a detective, Batman was also a scientist. A scientist would have figured out the intricacies of the cat door situation long before installation began.
I first spotted him on a Tuesday morning. I was late to work. I hustled down the stairs and into the kitchen where I planned to snag my keys and head for the door.
He was right there, waiting for me.
There was a very fat cat with a big black spot over his right eye sitting on my kitchen counter. The chubby, eye-patched little bastard was squatting on my tiled countertops without a care in the world—like he owned the place.
Our eyes met and I swear to you, I saw him grin.
Before I could react, he leapt from the counter, shot through the cat door leading into the garage, zoomed through the one leading into the yard, and was gone.
Not only was he smart, he was fast—especially for a dude carrying a couple extra pounds.
Lets jump ahead to Wednesday night. I was awoken by the sound of two cats fighting downstairs. I figured it's just our two cats—because they’re jerks and they fight all the time—so I tried to go back to sleep. Plus, I was in the middle of  a fairly fantastic dream involving me, the Enterprise, and an invading horde of hypersexual Orion slave girls.
The fighting didn’t stop.
It wouldn’t stop, and it sounded a heck of a lot more vicious than usual.
I dragged myself from bed, wobbled downstairs half-awake, and clicked on the lights. It was Jabar. He was in my house, and he was beating the snot out of my cats. The black-eyed devil spotted me and escaped in a blink.
The next night, the exact same thing happened.
The night after that, he did it again.
He was toying with me.
The wife and I decided to temporarily close up the cat doors and bring a litter box into the equation. After a few weeks, we tried the cat doors again.
The very next night, Jabar was back.
Damn it!
I’d had enough. If Jabar’s intention was to start something, he should considered it started. It was on! I was done fooling around. I was done playing the straight man, and I was through playing nice. No more games. No more second chances. No more lollygagging, no more pigeonholing, and no more lollypigeons!
If he wanted some of me, he was going to get some of me. He was going to get all of me he could handle, and them some!
I coiled my hands into fists and slammed my knuckles together. I lifted my head to the stars and proclaimed to the heavens above, "Bring it on, bitch!”
The wife heard me from the other room. "Bring what on? Who are you talking to?"
" one."
It was a Monday night—around 11 p.m. I was in the garage, and I was standing to the side of the door leading into the backyard. My eyes were trained on the flapping plastic covering the cat door just below my knees. Hoisted above my head was a brick.
My plan was simple: Cat comes into garage. Cat gets smashed.
Almost elegant in its simplicity, no?
Sort of like a Peanuts comic strip—with bricks and squashed cats.
"Steven, are you in he—" The wife stepped into the garage and immediately spotted me with a brick over my head, a wild expression on my face, and sweat pouring from my brow.
She stared at me for a moment, an indescribable look of confusion on her face. "Steven, what are you doing?"
Her eyes moved from me, to my smashing brick, and back to me. She wasn’t buying my nothing excuse. "No, seriously, what are you doing?"
"I'm going to crush Jabar with this brick."
"Who's Jabar?"
The cat that keeps coming in here at night."
"How do you know his name is Jabar?"
"I heard the little girls across the street calling him that when they were playing with him in their yard."
Her expression changed. Suddenly, she was looking at me like I’d just taken a dump on the floor—like I dropped my pants and started humping the punch bowl at her company Christmas party.
"So, wait. You're going to stand here in the garage all night so you can smash the cat of the little girls across the street with a brick when he tries to come in our house?"
When she said it aloud like that, I have to admit, it sounded just a little idiotic.
So what?
I couldn’t let that deter me. The plan was the plan, and the plan was set in motion. There was no coming back and no backing down. I had no intention of allowing her to steal my need for vengeance! Under no circumstances whatsoever was I going to let her ruin my cat-smashing mojo. Not today! Not ever again!
"Yep. That's exactly what I'm going to do."
"No, you're not."
"I'm not?"
"No, you're not."
"But I want to."
"You're not smashing that cat."
"Put the brick down and come upstairs."
You've won this round Jabar.


  1. Hi Mary, thanks for stopping by!
    Steven, I loved your answers. I already mentioned I choked on my tea a few times while reading! LOL Thanks for visiting with me.

  2. Thanks for hosting! The whole tour has been a blast and I'm appreciative of everyone who has been willing to put up with my many, many poop jokes. ;)