keeping an eye on the abyss
so you don't have to


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a novel by Troy Ford

Jimmy Traywick—pretty, barfly, talented painter—loses his job, his apartment, his boyfriend, and his gallery in a single disastrous month. As he leaves San Francisco to start over in a Bay Area backwater, a charismatic stranger well-connected in the New York art world appears to rescue his painting ambitions. Meanwhile, disappointed by boozy hookups, he muses over throupling up with a Daddy/boy couple, or a safe romance with a sweet but ambiguous coworker.

Jimmy’s new patron soon delivers bleak feedback from an NYC art dealer: his style is too unsophisticated. Determined to salvage the opportunity, he enlists his lovers as models in a bid to make his work fresh and relevant.

Even as secrets unravel and his relationships spin out of control, Jimmy's new painting series secures his participation in a group show. But just when love, success and sobriety are finally within reach, past mistakes engulf him in a twisted intersection of hopelessness, rage, and greed.

A "gritty and exciting story" with "sharp [-] terrific [-] delicious" characterisation, told in a "laconic voice that perfectly matches the mileu."

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Letters to Humanity
Serial autoFICTION by Troy Ford

A series of letters to person/s your narrator has known (or has a few words for, anyway) living and/or dead, as much as 40 years in the past, and as recently as last week.

For publication weekly, starting Fall 2022, venue TBD.

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bits & nonsense* <º)))))><{}><(((((º>


FLASH Fiction by Troy Ford

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DEATH in Palma de Mallorca

autoFICTION by Troy Ford

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In Focus

This moment* is a chapter, not your whole book

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FLASH Fiction by Troy Ford

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I don't call myself a mystic (but I totally am*)

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The Time Files*

DO NOT FEED the cat in the turban

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Hanging with G*O*D

Please turn off your phones

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AFTER YEARS STRUGGLING to write in the FANTASY genre, TROY FORD realized all the drama, strangeness, MAGIC, and elemental forces you could possibly want already happen every morning from the moment we open our eyes, and subsequently switched to LGBTQ+ LITERARY FICTION.

TROY FORD’S CHARACTERS are KNOCKED DOWN and DRAGGED OUT just trying to have a NICE DAY and mind their own damn business, and while no amount of money, prestige or glamour can insulate them from the horrors and humiliations of LIFE, they always land with their BOOTS on.

TROY FORD categorically DENIES that he prefers the company of almost any common DANDELION over most people for fear of offending.
TROY FORD is not exactly an INTROVERT, but if he were, he would be in a near perpetual state of EXASPERATION in this JINGLE JANGLE world.

TROY FORD has been a bagger, a babysitter, a gardener, a burger flipper, a fry guy, a shopkeeper, a concessionaire, a greenskeeper, a hashslinger, a caterer, a bookseller, a librarian, a stock broker, an interior designer, and most recently, an émigré, houseHUSBAND, & dog DADDY.

Here are some other keywords and tags you might see POP up from time to time:

boarding school UC BERKELEY rhetoric QUEER pink sheep
SAN FRANCISCO oakland SPAIN sitges
SOBER meditation




I got serious about reading at about the age of 9, when one summer vacation I decided to read every book in the library, in order (an early clue that something was a bit off with me.) I got about half way through the first shelf, and was hooked.

Young reader favorites: The Wonderful Flight to the Mushroom Planet by Eleanor Cameron, The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin, The Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E. L. Konigsburg, The Egypt Game by Zilpha Keatley Snyder (including improvised costuming,) Call It Courage by Armstrong Sperry, the Encyclopedia Brown series by Donald J. Sobol, the Great Brain series by John Dennis Fitzgerald, The Great Gilly Hopkins by Katherine Paterson. (I was beside myself that Gilly Hopkins was named after GALADRIEL, but that's another story.)

Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls was also very influential on my young sensibilities, though if we're being honest, it was probably because it was read TO ME by my sixth grade teacher, Mr. S, a tall drink of water and my first big crush.

However. It was Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh which became the model for my writing aspirations (an obvious progression for a young reading enthusiast) down to the notebook and the spying - in my case, from behind bushes and up in a castor bean tree in my friend John's yard down the street, making observations and taking notes about unsuspecting passersby.  One of my great regrets is that I don't still have those early notebooks, though I did begin keeping a journal in high school, and have kept one faithfully ever since.

I chose a pen name for my first creative writing class in fifth grade: Xavier Gadfry. (Another clue.)


A limerick based on the The Mad Scientists' Club.

"The Monster of Strawberry Lake"

The monster of Strawberry Lake
Looks very much like a drake.
He eats people whole,
But first cooks them in coal;
That's only because he can't bake.


I don't have an agent yet. I am actively querying my first novel WATRSPOUT. Wish me luck!


I had severe writer's block for nearly 33 years as a result of a traumatically humiliating high school creative writing course run by an alcoholic husband/wife team of frustrated writers, and a complex of various mental/emotional issues I have come to regard as a scintillating soup of neurodivergence.


I can't imagine a more difficult, challenging, or interesting vocation than creating a story, a narrative world, out of literally no tangible thing, just a thought, an idea.

Yes, people do this in science and all sorts of fields, but rarely does the rank and file, the average person, have the opportunity to enact this great generative process, this creation. It is a process of discovery like few others, especially in these latter days when the world has been so well explored, and space yet remains something of a fantasy we still have relatively limited opportunities to investigate. Art, writing, is still a frontier we may never exhaust, and it is readily available to anyone, anywhere, with little to no equipment or capital required.

The results are so ineffable, so difficult to measure (book sales aside,) so subjective, and the formulas so inadequate to describe the road ahead - you can spend a lifetime learning and innovating this unique combination of syntax, emotion, subject, thought, and imagination, and unlike the laws of nature or mathematics, the rules can change and morph before your eyes, tried and true formulas crumble to dust in your hands, and you are challenged to reinvent the most basic processes you thought you had mastered. It's endlessly fascinating.


"Every first draft is perfect because all the first draft has to do is exist."
- Jane Smiley, author of A Thousand Acres

My best advice to an aspiring author is to buy, borrow or steal every book of writing advice you can get your hands on and read them over and over. Every single one* is going to have some little idea, piece of advice, trick, or way of framing the process that will help you get better.

And the only other thing every writer or author I've ever heard of has said:

Just keep going! Failure only happens when you give up.

*Except for The Art of Fiction by John Gardner (it's terrible.)


Lord of the Rings J.R.R. Tolkien - Little, Big John Crowley - The Wind in the Willows Kenneth Grahame - Brave New World Aldous Huxley - 1984 George Orwell - The Handmaid's Tale Margaret Atwood - To Kill a Mockingbird Harper Lee - The God of Ecstasy Arthur Evans - The Ladies Doris Grumbach - Less Andrew Sean Greer - The House of Life Mario Praz - Green Thoughts Eleanor Perényi - Death in Venice Thomas Mann

Virginia Woolf
John Fante
Roberto Bolaño
Roald Dahl
Edward Gorey

(Yes, I do have rather antique taste in books.)

LET's CHAT! <º)))))><{}><(((((º>


"Und wenn du lange in einen Abgrund blickst, blickt der Abgrund auch in dich hinein."

"And when you look long into the abyss, the abyss also looks into you."

- Friedrich Nietzsche