J. Conrad Guest

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J. Conrad Guest

Goodreads Author

in The United States



Samuel R. Delany, Gene Wolfe, Thelonious Monk, Dave Brubeck

Member Since
November 2008


J. Conrad's first novel, January's Paradigm, was published in 1998. Current Entertainment Monthly in Ann Arbor, Michigan, wrote of January's Paradigm, "Readers will not be able to put it down." He has two other novels based on the Joe January character, One Hot January and January's Thaw.

Backstop: A Baseball Love Story In Nine Innings, was nominated a 2010 Michigan Notable Book, while the Lewis Department of Humanities at the Illinois Institute of Technology adopted it as required reading for their spring 2011 course, "Baseball: America’s Literary Pastime".

Apex Reviews hailed The Cobb Legacy, a murder mystery written around the shooting death of baseball legend Ty Cobb's father by his mother, as "... an eye-opening tale of drama, scandal,

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J. Conrad Guest I’ve had to deal with writer’s block once, during the writing of my second novel, One Hot January. It was shortly after my dad passed away, nearly a y…moreI’ve had to deal with writer’s block once, during the writing of my second novel, One Hot January. It was shortly after my dad passed away, nearly a year after I lost Mom. I struggled with a lot of aspects of my life, but never greater as with my creativity. One Hot January takes place in New York City circa 1947. I jumped at a chance to go to the Big Apple in an effort to reconnect with my protagonist, Joe January. I visited some of the same haunts described in my novel—McSorley’s, Zabar’s, and several other places now renamed or gone. It helped tremendously to walk the same streets he did. I finally caught up with him in Central Park. When I came home I wrote a piece of flash fiction about it (A Case of Writer’s Block), a character from a novel catching up with his creator. From that point on I caught fire.(less)
J. Conrad Guest I enjoy the creative process the most. Crafting stories about everyday people dealing with everyday issues—love, loss, regret, death—letting my charac…moreI enjoy the creative process the most. Crafting stories about everyday people dealing with everyday issues—love, loss, regret, death—letting my characters tell their stories, writing great dialogue or narrative; creating the perfect scene or sentence. I’ve found nothing that gives me greater pleasure. It took me nearly ten years to let go my fear of rejection. When I finally decided to simply enjoy the process, I became a writer. Perhaps not so surprisingly, publication soon followed.(less)
Average rating: 4.68 · 160 ratings · 39 reviews · 20 distinct works
The Cobb Legacy

4.78 avg rating — 73 ratings — published 2012 — 2 editions
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Backstop: A Baseball Love S...

4.50 avg rating — 26 ratings — published 2009 — 3 editions
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One Hot January

4.67 avg rating — 15 ratings — published 2010 — 4 editions
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500 Miles to Go

4.31 avg rating — 16 ratings — published 2014 — 3 editions
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January's Thaw

4.80 avg rating — 5 ratings — published 2012 — 2 editions
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January's Paradigm

4.67 avg rating — 3 ratings — published 2002 — 3 editions
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A Retrospect in Death

4.50 avg rating — 2 ratings — published 2013 — 3 editions
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The Girl Who Loved Cigars

it was amazing 5.00 avg rating — 1 rating
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A World Without Music

it was amazing 5.00 avg rating — 1 rating2 editions
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Chaotic Theory

really liked it 4.00 avg rating — 2 ratings — published 2010 — 2 editions
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More books by J. Conrad Guest…

A Life Unlived

A short excerpt from my new work in progress:

“It’s a hell of a thing, killin’ a man. You take away everything he’s got, and all he’s ever gonna have.” —Bill Munny, Unforgiven


“Even the smallest person can change the course of the future.”

—Galadriel, from the movie adaptation of Lord of the Rings

FLOATING, warm and safe and comforted by the rhythm of life, in a black hole of perpetual darknes Read more of this blog post »
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Published on January 15, 2017 16:51
January's Paradigm (Romance)
1 chapters   —   updated Jul 08, 2015 07:43AM
Description: Robert Porter is enjoying the fruits of success: a best-selling detective novel featuring a hard-nosed detective circa 1947 named Joe January, and a lucrative contract for the sequel. But his world comes crashing down around him when he witnesses his wife’s infidelity. As Porter sinks into a morass of grief over her abandonment, only one person can help him regain his self-esteem and dignity. One man alone can help Porter set things right ... and that person’s name is Joe January. But he doesn’t even exist... or does he?
Backstop: A Baseball Love Story in Nine Innings (Romance)
1 chapters   —   updated Jul 08, 2015 07:32AM
Description: Backstop plays the catcher’s position for any team in any city in America with a major league ball club. You cheer him when he delivers, and boo him when he doesn’t. Backstop’s story—told in his own words during the seventh game of the World Series in what could be his last game after fourteen years in the major leagues—chronicles his rookie season, takes the reader to Chicago where he finds romance, and reveals the heartbreak he endured in the aftermath of an adulterous affair. Cheer for Backstop both on and off the field as he plays the most important game of his career—haunted by the ghost of his father who passed away before Backstop achieved stardom—and fights to win back the heart of the woman he loves more than the game.
January's Thaw (Science Fiction & Fantasy)
1 chapters   —   updated Jul 08, 2015 06:17AM
Description: J. Conrad Guest gives us an unforgettable adventure seen through the cracked lens of our broken present and an all-too-possible, what-if past. Full of intrigue, romance and scathing social commentary, it is both an ambitious novel and an exciting, page-turning imaginative quest for that which is beautiful and true." —Rachael Perry, author of How to Fly
A World Without Music (Literature & Fiction)
1 chapters   —   updated Jul 08, 2015 06:13AM
Description: Can a Gulf War veteran suffering PTSD finally leave behind his past to find the music that will make his life worth living? Reagan returns from the first Gulf War haunted by horrific images of Tom Wallach, a dead marine he brought back from the desert. Seeking refuge from his nightmares and broken marriage in a jazz quartet in which he plays bass guitar, fifteen years elapse and he has a one-night fling with Rosary, a beautiful young woman he meets at one of his gigs. When his ex-wife comes back into his life, Rosary’s obsession turns into a fatal attraction. With help from Wallach’s ghost, the daughter Wallach never met, and a friend who is much more than he appears to be, Reagan discovers he must let go of his tortured past if he is to embrace the future.
A Retrospect in Death (Literature & Fiction)
1 chapters   —   updated Jul 08, 2015 06:08AM
Description: On the other side of the Great Divide, the narrator, who remains nameless throughout, encounters his higher self—the part of him that is immortal and is connected to the creator—and learns (much to his chagrin) that he must return to the lifecycle. But first he must be “debriefed” by his higher self, and so they set about discussing the man’s previous life—in reverse chronological order: knowing the end but retracing the journey, searching for the breadcrumbs left along the way. A Retrospect in Death is a story about discovery. You think you know yourself? Perhaps you only think you do. Do those closest to us know us better than we know ourselves; or do they, as we often insist, know jack? Consider that only in death can you really know, and understand, who and why you are—or were. And then ask yourself: At that point, is it too late? Does it even matter?
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Splendid Literarium by Aberjhani
“Naked flights of art unshackled and incandescent songs of poetry undiluted return to the soul what hate, ignorance, fear, and violence steal from the heart.”
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Greeting Flannery O'Connor at the Back Door of My Mind by Aberjhani
“With each passing day, I allowed myself to become a little more intoxicated by limitless possibilities which seemed sometimes to roll in with the fog, murmur suggestions that would have made me run yelling from them had I been anywhere [other than San Francisco], then leave me to cope with that special brand of terror bestowed by sweet and sour tastes of freedom.”
The Girl Who Loved Cigars by J. Conrad Guest

What if a person's life was cut all too short? What if that life was given an opportunity to view the choices they'd make had they been on earth for the long haul? What if they could view all the options considering those choices?

I was give" Read more of this review »
J. asked a question about The Girl Who Loved Cigars:
The Girl Who Loved Cigars by J. Conrad Guest
Some writers claim to cut their favorite line from their books. What's your favorite line in The Girl Who Loved Cigars, and why should I have cut it?
More of J.'s books…
“I used to think Romeo and Juliet was the greatest love story ever written. But now that I’m middle-aged, I know better. Oh, Romeo certainly thinks he loves his Juliet. Driven by hormones, he unquestionably lusts for her. But if he loves her, it’s a shallow love. You want proof?” Cagney didn’t wait for Dr. Victor to say yay or nay.

“Soon after meeting her for the first time, he realizes he forgot to ask her for her name. Can true love be founded upon such shallow acquaintance? I don’t think so. And at the end, when he thinks she’s dead, he finds no comfort in living out the remainder of his life within the paradigm of his love, at least keeping alive the memory of what they had briefly shared, even if it was no more than illusion, or more accurately, hormonal.

“Those of us watching events unfold from the darkness know she merely lies in slumber. But does he seek the reason for her life-like appearance? No. Instead he accuses Death of amorousness, convinced that the ‘lean abhorred monster’ endeavors to keep Juliet in her present state, her cheeks flushed, so that she might cater to his own dissolute desires. But does Romeo hold her in his arms one last time and feel the warmth of her blood still coursing through her veins? Does he pinch her to see if she might awaken? Hold a mirror to her nose to see if her breath fogs it? Once, twice, three times a ‘no.’”

Cagney sighed, listened to the leather creak as he shifted his weight in his chair.

“No,” he repeated. “His alleged love is so superficial and selfish that he seeks to escape the pain of loss by taking his own life. That’s not love, but obsessive infatuation. Had they wed—Juliet bearing many children, bonding, growing together, the masks of the star-struck teens they once were long ago cast away, basking in the comforting campfire of a love born of a lifetime together, not devoured by the raging forest fire of youth that consumes everything and leaves behind nothing—and she died of natural causes, would Romeo have been so moved to take his own life, or would he have grieved properly, for her loss and not just his own?”
J. Conrad Guest, The Cobb Legacy

“Love is not a forest fire that burns intensely,
hotly and out of control for a brief moment until,
its expendable fuel spent,
it sputters,
seeking in vain for something else to consume,
to sustain itself before, finally,
it dies:
cold, black ash the only evidence of its passing.

Love is, instead, a campfire:
it provides ample heat and comfort
to the twosome who sit before it,
and although its flames may at times wane,
a well-tended campfire’s embers can be nurtured and fanned
until the flames once again dance brightly and cheerfully,
providing comfort to the couple
who cherish the gentle warmth it ministers.”
J. Conrad Guest, January's Paradigm

“Is anyone born a futilitarian? Or does it simply grow on us, like a fungus that afflicts the toenail of the great toe on our right foot from wearing shoes too small, eventually spreading to the neighboring toes?”
J. Conrad Guest, A Retrospect in Death

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“Men have called me mad; but the question is not yet settled, whether madness is or is not the loftiest intelligence– whether much that is glorious– whether all that is profound– does not spring from disease of thought– from moods of mind exalted at the expense of the general intellect.”
Edgar Allan Poe, Complete Tales and Poems

“The remoteness of nature reveals the tragedy of man's isolation and his weakness in the face of vast, impersonal forces.”
John F. Lynen

“For all that has been said of the love that certain natures (on shore) have professed for it, for all the celebrations it has been the object of in prose and song, the sea has never been friendly to man. At most it has been the accomplice of human restlessness.”
Joseph Conrad

“It is a magic book. Words mean things. When you put them together they speak. Yes, sometimes they flatten out and nothing they say is real, and that is one kind of magic. But sometimes a vision will rip up from them and shriek and clank wings clear as the sweat smudge on the paper under your thumb. And that is another kind.”
Samuel R. Delany, Equinox

“But the point is, when the writer turns to address the reader, he or she must not only speak to me—naively dazzled and wholly enchanted by the complexities of the trickery, and thus all but incapable of any criticism, so that, indeed, he can claim, if he likes, priestly contact with the greater powers that, hurled at him by the muse, travel the parsecs from the Universe’s furthest shoals, cleaving stars on the way, to shatter the specific moment and sizzle his brains in their pan, rattle his teeth in their sockets, make his muscles howl against his bones, and to galvanize his pen so the ink bubbles and blisters on the nib (nor would I hear her claim to such as other than a metaphor for the most profound truths of skill, craft, or mathematical and historical conjuration)—but she or he must also speak to my student, for whom it was an okay story, with just so much description.”
Samuel R. Delany, Nova

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Comments (showing 1-7)    post a comment »
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Aberjhani I see you hit the ground running in 2014 with 500 Miles to Go. Greatly admire your literary productivity.

Thanks for taking the time to hang out for a minute or 2 at my Q&A Group. If I get any questions I can't answer I'm going to forward it to you :-)


Melanie Nowak Great to connect with you here - Thanks for the friendship! I hope you'll add my ALMOST HUMAN series to your "want to read" list - my venomous vampires love new blood ;-)

~ Melanie Nowak

message 5: by Bill

Bill Any golf nuts out there?...you might like to read The Feathery. If you hate golf it's still a good read...foreign intrigue, suspense, mystery and a little romance, both hetro & lesbian...all blended in with the game of golf. Take a look on Amazon.com.

Bill Flynn

Bradley I hope you are having a good day! =)


William J
Look forward to talking books
William Elliott Hazelgrove
Rocket Man by William Elliott Hazelgrove

Valerie Anne Faulkner Hi J.

First time on here...thanks for the note.
I need to get set up, and figure this out!
:) Valerie
I Must Be in Heaven, a promise kept by Valerie Anne Faulkner

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