Tuesday, January 29, 2013

I just received edit notes from Amy, my agent, and I am reminded of the summer I spent detasselling corn in Iowa. In college, I once had the unenviable job of detasselling corn. The tassel of the corn is that yellow plume sticking out of the top of the corn stalk, and for some reason that I cannot remember (either it offended the farmer or had something to do with cross-pollination) the tassels had to be pulled off the stalk. They used to hire college students (and maybe still do) to walk down the rows of corn and pop those tassels out. You didn't get paid unless you pulled something like 98 percent of all the tassels in your row. I thought this would a simple gig. I conscientiously plucked tassels for an entire hot, Iowa-summer day and then went home to have a beer and await my pay check. Instead I got a call to return and pluck more tassels out of a row of corn that I was certain would have no more tassels. Turns out, there were more tassels--tassels that I swear were not there the day before. I went down the row once again and pulled all the tassels. Confident that I had thoroughly detasselled every stalk, I went home; I waited, and again I got that dreaded call. There were more tassels in my row.

The edits for my manuscript THE LIFE WE BURY remind me of those tassels. Even though I had line edited that work to death, I received edits from my agent where she found errors that I swear weren't there before--missing quote marks, missing commas, and a few run-on sentences. Instead of depressing me (like the tassels did), this makes me happy. My agent has given my work the scrubbing it needed. I cannot tell you how impressed I am. Thanks Amy. Now back to work on those tassels...I mean edits.

Sunday, January 27, 2013


Hello, and welcome... 

I will be using this site to muse about my journey toward publication of my debut novel:


I spent a year writing it, and then jumped into the task of seeking agent representation. I am happy to announce that I have just signed a contract for agent  representation with Amy Cloughley at Kimberley Cameron and Associates Literary Agency. I am elated and am looking forward to working with Amy.

Below is a brief description of my novel, THE LIFE WE BURY. It is difficult to describe a ninety thousand word novel in two paragraphs, so I hope this gives you a taste of the novel and I hope you continue to follow my march toward publication.


a novel by Allen Eskens

What starts out as a college writing assignment leads to…

 “As I went limp, a wave of disgust flashed through my mind, disgust at my naiveté, disgust at not seeing the man’s tight grip on the neck of that whiskey bottle for what it was, disgust that my life would end quietly, unceremoniously, lying face down in frozen grass. I let this old man—this whiskey-soaked, child molester—beat me.”

Joe Talbert left his bi-polar mother and his autistic brother behind in order to run away to college. At school, he gets an assignment to write a story about a person who has lived a long life. Because he has no relative to fit the bill, he goes to a nursing home to find a subject to write about and meets Carl Iverson, a man dying of cancer who has been medically paroled from prison after spending thirty years locked up for a grisly murder. As Joe learns about Carl’s life, especially Carl’s valor as a soldier in Vietnam, Joe has difficulty reconciling the heroism of the soldier with the despicable acts of the convict.

Joe throws himself into unravelling the tapestry of a thirty-year-old murder, but is hamstrung in his efforts by having to deal with his dangerously dysfunctional mother and the guilt of abandoning his autistic brother.

...more to come.