Interview with Charles Harvey

Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I think growing up in the south is a huge influence for me. Houston may be metropolitan in some ways, but it's not that far from Louisiana or Mississippi. So it's definitely the south in my opinion. I think southerners have a lot of stories to tell. Black and white southerners have their stories about race and about people in general. My Mother and Grandmother had lots of stories to tell about Mississippi where they grew up.
Houston being metropolitan also had a very predominant inner city especially in the 60's and 70's. Carl Hampton was a Black Panther party leader killed in Houston. That energy framed my teen writing in those days when I wrote poetry. I think I was trying to write about the conditions of "my people."
When did you first start writing?
I first started writing in seventh grade. I wrote a poem about the moon landing. Being an only child forced me to have an active imagination. My mother and I made up stories about people in our neighborhood. We even gave them names such as "Hot Shot" "Dipsy Doo" "Drunko" "Muleface" "Dotted Cap" The names reflected something about their personality, "Drunko" or an article of clothing they wore all the time, "Dotted Cap." Sometimes we drew crude cartoons. They were crude because neither of us could draw a straight line.
When I was in 12th grade I wrote a little skit for an English assignment. The teacher fell in love with it. She thought I had some kind of talent.
I did well in my English and literature classes in college, but really didn't know much about how to "become" a writer. So I studied business. My goal then was to earn a lot of money, retire early, and become a writer. While in college, I didn't write a thing except term papers for class. Too much outside work keeps one from being a writer. That's why many of us hate having to have a day job.
After I finished college I found a job working three days a week as a Computer Operator. I enjoyed having the days off. I realized I was kind of bored. So I thought about going back to school for some classes. I thought about taking some classes in computer programming to increase my knowledge in that area. However at the same time I wanted to write. I had a novel in me. But I had no idea about the mechanics of writing. I read a lot. But I wasn't sure about the mechanics of things quotation marks and some other things. So I had a choice: Take some course in COBOL programming or take this Creative writing course. There was a scheduling conflict, so I had to choose one or the other. I chose the creative writing course.
The teacher Rosellen Brown fell in love with my work and was very encouraging. The course and being around a creative environment released a well of creativity in me from the mid to late 80's. I wrote poems at the drop of a hat. Penned several plays that actually got produced: "The Lifeline" and "The Ladies and the Iron Ball"
I also won a very important prize which I will talk about later.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
The motivation is the need to speed things up. I don't have years to spend waiting for an agent and a publisher. Although I do think they're still important in the business. I think some books need them. One also hopes the financial rewards will be good. Some writers have made out well.
I kind of like the business side. I had always wanted to be an entrepreneur. Being an Indie author kind of lets me wear two hats.
But the drawback is that it seems that only certain genres have any success. Also retailers seem to change the rules right in the middle of the game without warning. I don't know of any other business where this is allowed. An indie author can be coasting along with hundreds of sales a month then suddenly drop down to a few dozen or less. Now that part of the business is shameful and that's a matter that ought to be looked into very carefully.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
I like Smashwords because it seems very democratic with what it allows to be published. It also pushes out to a large distribution channel. The Style Guide that Mark Coker published has been very helpful to me to keep my books looking decent on many eReaders. They also have some good tools that benefit many authors. Their site allows you to be very efficient. You can download your original word doc straight from the site, make changes, call it a new name and re-upload it. You can use social media from the site to help spread the word about your book.
Becoming an indie author was supposed to level the playing field. It might have for a moment. However the large retailers have changed things and it seems to me for some odd reason, they are doing everything to drive indie authors under a rock. I know there have been many abuses of review buying and swapping. But I think the medicine they have applied to remedy this has been too harsh.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
I like to tell my stories the way I want to tell them. Writing is kind of cathartic. Many times a piece of writing starts with a voice in my head or an image. I like to write what I'd like to read. I like a book with great sentences. I like symbolism and metaphor. I do like some genres, but I'm not interested in a formula.
I think life is full of irony. I don't believe in happy endings for the sake of happy endings. Good fiction should mirror life. Sometimes the good guy loses. Although his good deed may live on long afterward. To me that's the truth of life. I may not win over many readers with all of my stories and books. I know fiction is about "lying." But I don't care for the kind of lies in many fantasy stories that seem to be popular on the market right now. Magic spells and chanting seem odd in adult books.
So in a nutshell Smashwords allows you to be you.
Who are your favorite authors?
I started out reading anything I could when I was a kid. There were few books in our house. I liked Agatha Christie and Sherlock Holmes when I could get them.
I think my favorite authors today are E Annie Proulx and Toni Morrison. I love their descriptions. I love how they pull one into the world of their characters. I guess characters a lot more than plot shape my writing.
My all time favorite book has been Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole. It's one of the few books I can pick up and just read passages any time. Ignatius and the whole cast are just nuts. The story of the book getting published after the writer's suicide is an interesting one.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
Writing. Although I do a lot in bed.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I wish I could say reading. But normally on the internet playing games. I do read though but not like I should. Plus being an indie writer means tackling things like covers and websites. I've done my own. Some I like and some need help. I'm getting a little better I think. I read a lot of writing news. But I'm not sure how important all of that is unless I start publishing other people's work. Following trends and a lot of news is kind of meaningless because the rules change so fast. I mean some news is important. But a lot of folk are just guessing what's going to happen next. Your time is better spent writing. When you are ready to publish catch up on all of that news. And do not follow any source more than two years old. It's already pretty much outdated.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
I like Bookbub. I get their emails. They have the kinds of books I'd like to read. Sometimes I run across something on twitter or in a forum. I still love physical books. I like owning and holding a book in my hands. Has anyone worked out a way for us to pass our favorite books and music on to the next generation if they're all digital? How is a Mother suppose to pass on her favorite cookbook to her Daughter on a digital device? You know today's current technology is going to be obsolete in 10 years. Then what?
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
It was something I wrote in my creative writing class about a king and his knights or something. I will have to look for it.
But if you think of poems as stories in verse, I wrote my first poems in Middle school. The first one that generated any interest was about the first moon landing. Yeah that long ago.
I don't recommend people throw away early efforts. Keep all of your work. As most of us grow as writers, you might see something that you can repair and salvage. Sure it will make you groan and maybe hang your head, but it's your work. Love it.
What is your writing process?
It used to be everything had to be written in longhand in a notebook then typed into the computer. That process worked until the digital age demanded faster. NANOWRIMO (National Novel Writers Month) held in November got me out of that habit. I still like to print something out and read it away from the computer. At some point I like to do a read through without a pen in my hand. Just read and make mental notes on what to fix later or make a quick jot in the margin. But to get a book done quicker, you have to do more on screen stuff.
That's also the beauty of NANOWRIMO. It's a great way to blow a novel out of your system. One is forced to write X number off words a day to make it to that magical 50,000 words at then end of November. Are you producing a novel ready to be published? Probably not. I view it as a long outline ready to be fleshed out and shaped. Unless you're a genius, it'd be crazy to try and self publish anything right out of NANO.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
The first thing I ever read that had an impact I can remember is Giovanni's Room by James Baldwin. I loved that book. How do I know a book has made and impact on me? I want to write the screenplay for the movie. That's really what a novel is--a screenplay with a lot more words. Although please don't use stage directions in your novels. If you say, Sue turned to the right and walked out the door, I'll probably not want to read much more.
How do you approach cover design?
The worse it myself. But I'm getting away from that. Yes it's an added expense. I always select my own images from a source like Shutterstock. But I fall short in the font and text department. So it's nice to have a professional cover on your book pages on Smashwords, your blog, or Amazon.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
I'll just list them. One I've talked about.

Confederacy of Dunces by Toole
Postcards by E. Annie Proulx
The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston
Hogg by Samuel Delaney

Hogg is a peculiar book and awful book in a lot of ways. I don't recommend it to the Church Mothers crowd.
What do you read for pleasure?
All of my reading is pleasure.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
iPad Mini. I can have all of my book apps in one place.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
I'm still working on that. I don't think ads work. Most how-to books won't work for you. The author is telling you what worked in their genre. I don't know why someone formerly with a big publishing house hasn't written a how-to book. If so, I haven't seen it. Maybe someone will say here is one right here knucklehead.
I'm hoping a good book is enough. That may be a poor marketing strategy idea. I don't know. However I preview a lot of books. And I think what a shame for authors to spend hundreds of dollars and countless hours hawking books that aren't ready for primetime. So the thing is to make sure your book is the best it can be. I'm going to take my own advice. In the old days pre 2011 a book had a better chance to be discovered. I'm not sure if that's the case today. I've been baffled as to why some things took off and some didn't. Make sure the reader feels like they're getting a good value for the buck. Is the customer going to spend $2.99 for a short story or 99 cents for a novel that's had good reviews?
Describe your desk
Messy. That's why I write in bed or out on the patio--to get away from the clutter.
Published 2014-04-13.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

3AM - Poems and Stories From the Other Mind
Series: Poetry. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 18,060. Language: English. Published: April 3, 2018 by Wes Writers & Publishers. Categories: Fiction » Poetry » Gay & lesbian, Fiction » Poetry » American poetry
Some readers find comfort in reading poetry like one feels at ease with a cat on the lap. But some poems rocket you out of your comfort zone. They have the audacity to get in your face and shake your rump up. Robert Frost said, "Poetry is when an emotion has found its thought and the thought has found words." However, I believe words should also be the founders of thoughts.
Into The Water, A Short Story
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 10,920. Language: English. Published: February 1, 2018 by Wes Writers & Publishers. Categories: Fiction » Literature » Literary, Fiction » African American fiction » General
In this fictionalized account, Money Mississippi, notorious for the brutal murder of Emmett Till has had a one hundred and eighty-degree turn from its old ways. A mile from the infamous Bryant’s Grocery and Meat Market sits a big shiny blue Walmart along an avenue populated with fast food restaurants and a Starbucks.
Catnip Gray Cat Detective: The Tabitha Davenport Affair
Series: Books in Print. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 18,040. Language: English. Published: June 13, 2016 by Wes Writers & Publishers. Categories: Fiction » Humor & comedy, Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Crime thriller
Catnip Gray is no ordinary house cat. At first glance, you might be fooled. He sleeps late, stays up all night tomcatting, eats birds, and seems to care less about his human’s shenanigans. However unlike most cats, Catnip has a taste for Slim-Fast and runs a detective agency. He also has a soft spot for beautiful female cats in distress.
Four Crazy Short Stories
Series: Short Stories · Books in Print · Literary. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 17,150. Language: English. Published: June 4, 2016 by Wes Writers & Publishers. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Short stories, Fiction » Humor & comedy » Satire
Who is out of control, the crazy government or the citizens telling their tales of woe? Absurdity versus reality—is there a difference? These four widely read stories will have you scratching your head and wondering what the author might have been smoking. But don’t worry it’s all in his head and it’s all a matter of time before you hear the news and go, “Hey wait a minute, I read that somewhere.”
The Driving Lesson
Series: Butterfly Killer, Book 1 · Short Stories · Literary. Price: Free! Words: 3,890. Language: English. Published: July 1, 2015 by Wes Writers & Publishers. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Crime thriller, Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Action & suspense
(3.00 from 1 review)
Elliot Cross is the Butterfly Killer. He targets anyone with dreams and aspirations. In this short story we see his cunning ways. He stops at nothing to gain his victims confidence. If you have a dream, he's ready to make sure you don't live to achieve it.
Maura and Her Two Husbands
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 78,590. Language: English. Published: November 1, 2014 by Wes Writers & Publishers. Categories: Fiction » African American fiction » General, Fiction » Erotica » Contemporary
The Literary meets the Erotic Maura and Sidney are a young career couple going through the motions of being in love. As they climb the corporate ladder, their marriage is comfortable, but lacks excitement, until the day Maura comes home early and catches Sidney having sex with another man. Maura's reaction will surprise you when her emotions pull her into a very unusual arrangement.
Roommates and Collected Stories
Series: Gay and Lesbian · Books in Print · Roommates. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 57,360. Language: English. Published: June 22, 2014 by Wes Writers & Publishers. Categories: Fiction » Erotica » Gay Erotica, Fiction » Gay & lesbian fiction » General
Life is no fun without spice and humor and a little bit of naughtiness. And if your roommate makes you wear a pig’s mask while having sex in front of thousands on a gay video chat line, so what? Maybe. This book of stories takes you on a ride—from the college dorm to the streets of New Orleans. Who says guys can’t get it on at the Doctor’s office or even a hospital morgue?
Boy For Hire
Series: Gay and Lesbian · Books in Print. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 66,860. Language: English. Published: October 1, 2014 by Wes Writers & Publishers. Categories: Fiction » Gay & lesbian fiction » General, Fiction » Erotica » Gay Erotica
Antoine Rucker is a young twenty-something up and coming Black IT Executive for a major insurance company in Downtown Atlanta, Georgia. On weekend nights, he's a street hustler turning tricks near the infamous Bulldogs Bar. Will Antoine's nightlife catch up with him? Will he overcome the demons that drive him?
How I Got Over
Series: African American · Poetry · Romance. Price: Free! Words: 2,790. Language: English. Published: May 3, 2014 by Wes Writers & Publishers. Categories: Fiction » Poetry » Contemporary Poetry, Fiction » Poetry » Themes & motifs
The poems "How I Got Over" and "Unfucked" tell the story of the angst of love. There are no chocolates, roses, or cupids in these "love stories." These poems tell the bitter truth about love. Romance is for dreamers. In these poems, the candy has turned bitter and the roses have dried up.
No Satisfaction
Series: Poetry · Gay and Lesbian. Price: Free! Words: 2,620. Language: English. Published: May 3, 2014 by Wes Writers & Publishers. Categories: Fiction » Poetry » Gay & lesbian, Fiction » Poetry » Contemporary Poetry
Edgar, an aging transvestite can't find any satisfaction. A poem that explores the dichotomy of possessiveness, love, and hate that afflicts and confounds all humankind. A deep poem that requires much of the reader to sift between the lines. The gay anthem, We Are Here has been included to give a true meaning to all that is gay and proud.
When Dogs Bark 2
Series: Gay and Lesbian · Poetry · Books in Print · When Dogs Bark, Book 2. Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 30,640. Language: English. Published: April 30, 2014 by Wes Writers & Publishers. Categories: Fiction » Poetry » Contemporary Poetry, Fiction » Poetry » Gay & lesbian
From the scalding hot story The 520i to the ubiquitous When Dogs Bark and its award winning Cheeseburger (PEN/Southwest Discovery Prize 1987) this book will keep you turning the pages. When Dogs Bark 2 is an exciting reprint of WHEN DOGS BARK by Charles W. Harvey in ebook and soft cover formats. The new When Dogs Bark 2 has new stories and new poetry to make you go "hmm."
Punk'd Out on Da Downlow
Series: African American. Price: Free! Words: 5,220. Language: English. Published: April 8, 2014 by Wes Writers & Publishers. Categories: Fiction » African American fiction » Urban life, Fiction » Erotica » Menage/Multiple Partners
Buck Wile's cousin takes him to a gay bar for the first time. A little drink and and a little smoke puts Buck in a mellow mood. He meets Jake. A ride on the motorcycle and more herb breaks down all of Buck's inhibitions. All is going good until Jake's "girl" steps in the picture. She's not the lady Buck thought she was. A couple of gunshots and he's roaring out butt naked on the ol' Kawasaki.
Butt Naked in Da City
Series: African American · Romance · Erotic Romance. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 25,920. Language: American English. Published: March 7, 2014 by Wes Writers & Publishers. Categories: Fiction » Erotica » Couples Erotica, Fiction » African American fiction » Urban life
Why am I always running down the street butt a$$ naked? Biatches, hoes, studs, and niggas can muck up my day. All I want to do is make love like I was born and gifted to do.
Urban Tales
Price: Free! Words: 21,880. Language: English. Published: November 27, 2013 by Wes Writers & Publishers. Categories: Fiction » African American fiction » Urban life, Fiction » African American fiction » General
Urban Tales is about us, at least some of us. They are about us being funny and about us loving, lusting, and sexing. Only us could have "Dozens" players in our Christmas story. Only us know how to tip over on the down-low. These stories are streetwise, but yet will make you think and won't shortchange you.
Minister Q
Series: African American. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 8,110. Language: English. Published: October 25, 2013 by Wes Writers & Publishers. Categories: Fiction » African American fiction » Romance, Fiction » Romance » Contemporary
A tale of lust, bitterness, and betrayal. Sister Gloria, a young black woman, is a new member of Mosque Number Eight. She secretly lusts after the young fiery, Minister Q. He pays her scant attention, focusing his energy on his vitriolic sermons of black pride. Will she brood in silence or make her desires known? Available as this Short Single or as part of the collections Odd Voices
Odd Voices In Love
Series: African American · Romance · Books in Print · Short Stories. Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 46,330. Language: English. Published: August 10, 2013 by Wes Writers & Publishers. Categories: Fiction » Anthologies » Short stories - single author, Fiction » African American fiction » General
Odd Voices in Love is a collection of stories about love from award winning author, Charles W. Harvey. These "love" stories are not your usual romantic fare. There’s no savior on a white horse coming to rescue any damsel. There's not a lot of swooning or romantic walks along the beach.
The Power Plant
Series: Gay and Lesbian · Short Stories. Price: Free! Words: 6,220. Language: English. Published: July 27, 2013 by Wes Writers & Publishers. Categories: Fiction » Gay & lesbian fiction » Gay, Fiction » Gay & lesbian fiction » General
A young man’s coming of age story. Innocent and sweet with menacing undertones. In the Power Plant our protagonist works in his University’s boiler and chiller facility typing reports and running errands. He’s nineteen and trying to deal with his attraction to men while feeling he should be in love with women. Available as this Short Single or as part of the collection Odd Voices in Love
Roommates and Nosy Sister Clarabell
Series: Roommates · Roommates. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 24,870. Language: English. Published: July 22, 2013 by Wes Writers & Publishers. Categories: Fiction » Gay & lesbian fiction » Gay, Fiction » Erotica » Gay Erotica
The Roommates are back again. Now they are joined by their nosy neighbor Sister Clarabell Hocklight, who spends a lot of time eavesdropping through the wall that separates their apartment. She gets an earful of their lustful shenanigans through her jelly-glass pressed firmly to her ear and the wall. The only thing better than her jelly-glass is being a fly on the wall.
Promise - Short Stories From Promise Goodday
Series: African American · Short Stories · Literary. Price: Free! Words: 7,830. Language: English. Published: November 5, 2012 by Wes Writers & Publishers. Categories: Fiction » Literature » Literary, Fiction » African American fiction » General
Promise - Short Stories from Promise Goodday These scorching short stories are taken from the novel Promise Goodday. Pete the serial rapist/killer meets his fate in an abandoned amusement park in the The story "End of the Line." In "Goose Steps" you meet Promise, sassy yet innocent and unaware of the fate about to befall her. It all converges later in the searing heartbreaking novel.
Christmas in Linken Park Chicago
Series: African American. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 11,170. Language: English. Published: October 29, 2012 by Wes Writers & Publishers. Categories: Fiction » Holiday » Christmas, Fiction » African American fiction » General
(3.00 from 2 reviews)
(Formerly Christmas in The Bottoms) A very soulful and satirical version of the classic: "A Christmas Carol." Narrated by a pair of jive talking "Dozens" Players named Madd and Dog2020 aka Maddog2020. It's a bit of fantasy, macabre, and morality tale. Our Scrooge is the miser Ebenezer Jenkins who owns Glad Wrappings Funeral Home and BBQ joint. You don't want to know what's cooking in his pits.
Series: Roommates · Gay and Lesbian · Roommates. Price: Free! Words: 3,240. Language: English. Published: August 12, 2012 by Wes Writers & Publishers. Categories: Fiction » Gay & lesbian fiction » Gay, Fiction » Erotica » Gay Erotica
Omar and Rock Hardwood share an apartment in Atlanta, the Black Gay capitol. Omar is the goody two-shoes young college student and a member of "Rebirth" Baptist Church headed by Pastor Daddy Longlegs. Rock Hardwood is his stripper roomie. Despite being so-called opposites, the young men seem to always wind up in some very erotic hijinks in their tiny apartment.
The Last Supper
Series: Poetry · Gay and Lesbian. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 5,660. Language: English. Published: July 18, 2012 by Wes Writers & Publishers. Categories: Fiction » Poetry » Contemporary Poetry, Fiction » Poetry » Gay & lesbian
Poetry from the award winning Poet and fiction Writer Charles W. Harvey. These are not religious poems nor Bible verses. These poems hit you right between the eyes. They are right in your face and offer no sugar coating or apologies. Don't be fooled by the title.
Black Queen
Series: Gay and Lesbian. Price: Free! Words: 5,920. Language: American English. Published: March 21, 2012 by Wes Writers & Publishers. Categories: Fiction » Gay & lesbian fiction » Gay, Fiction » Erotica » Gay Erotica
Is the party over at thirty-nine? Cleon doesn’t think so. He’s about to turn forty and still wants to hold onto his youthful days. So he brings himself to buy a new computer and goes on a quest to find the love that has eluded him. He’s eager to try out a new dating app. Will he find love or disappointment?
Series: Poetry · Books in Print. Price: Free! Words: 4,170. Language: English. Published: March 2, 2012 by Wes Writers & Publishers. Categories: Fiction » Poetry » American poetry
A short collection of poems from Charles W Harvey. This collection captures the spirit of the 1960's and takes us through the 1990's. They are terse, funny, and bluesy. But most important the voice is real.
Bark Too
Series: Poetry · Gay and Lesbian · Books in Print · When Dogs Bark, Book 3. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 11,180. Language: English. Published: February 29, 2012 by Wes Writers & Publishers. Categories: Fiction » Poetry » Gay & lesbian
A collection of poetry by award winning author Charles W Harvey. Reissued from the popular When Dogs Bark. These poems tell the unvarnished truth. They are not about daffodils or a walk in the park. They speak of the grittiness of love and touch the underbelly. A few might have you rushing to the refrigerator for your favorite cucumber.
When Dogs Bark The Short Story
Series: Gay and Lesbian · Short Stories · When Dogs Bark, Book 1. Price: Free! Words: 6,150. Language: English. Published: February 13, 2012 by Wes Writers & Publishers. Categories: Fiction » Gay & lesbian fiction » Gay
When Dogs Bark, The Short Story made its debut in 1995 in Story Magazine. Soulfires published it in 1996, the same year it appeared in the iconic and awe-inspiring anthology SHADE. When a man is troubled, he growls, whimpers, or barks his a$$ off.
Betty's House
Series: African American · Romance. Price: Free! Words: 6,150. Language: English. Published: October 15, 2011 by Wes Writers & Publishers. Categories: Fiction » African American fiction » Urban life
Betty is a take-charge woman with a weakness for men down in their luck. Her men soon prove themselves to be unfaithful and suffer Betty's wrath. Her latest nameless lover is no different. Betty and her whip send him on his merry way. Available as this Short Single or as part of the collections Odd Voices and Urban Tales.
The Blue Train To Heaven
Series: Short Stories · Literary. Price: Free! Words: 5,040. Language: English. Published: October 9, 2011 by Wes Writers & Publishers. Categories: Fiction » Literature » Literary, Fiction » Fantasy » Contemporary
This short story by Harvey captures the enigmatic relationship of two brothers from Ghana. Listen in as Elijah tells his story to a Reporter who has come for a story on an elaborate burial coffin. Humor, irony, and bitterness all intermingled in this short piece. The people of Ghana are known for their elaborate coffins. Check it out on Google as you read The Blue Train to Heaven. Bonus Story
Red Underwear
Price: Free! Words: 7,160. Language: English. Published: September 4, 2011 by Wes Writers & Publishers. Categories: Fiction » Romance » Short stories
Red Underwear is the story of a single man's quest for love before the age of cell phones and the internet. Henry a lonely writer has just won a writing prize. He decides to place a personal ad in the local paper to find a woman to help him celebrate his good fortune. Ruth calls Henry after finding his ad when she cleaned out her cat's litter box. Henry gets a lot more than he bargained for