Howdy, friend! My name is Martin Lastrapes and I'm an author, publisher, and podcaster. Since you’re here, I’d like to get things started by shamelessly trying to impress you with a gratuitous list of my literary awards:
Winner (2018): Self-Publishing Review Book Award
Grand Prize (2018): New England Book Festival
Honorable Mention (2018): Readers' Favorite International Book Awards
Award-Winning Finalist (2017): National Indie Excellence Awards
Honorable Mention (2017): Foreword Indies Book Of The Year
Grand Prize Winner (2015): Southern California Book Festival
Award-Winning Finalist (2015): IndieFab Book Of The Year
Award-Winning Finalist (2015): USA Best Book Awards
Honorable Mention (2015): Halloween Book Festival
Grand Prize Winner (2012): Paris Book Festival
First Place Winner (2012): Hollywood Book Festival
Award-Winning Finalist (2012): New York Book Festival
Award-Winning Finalist (2012): San Francisco Book Festival
Hopefully you’re as impressed by that list as my mom is. If not, maybe you’ll be impressed by the number five—as in the number of books I’ve written and published. Did I mention I’m a publisher? Oh, right, I guess I did. Somewhere at the top of the page, just before I whipped out my long and girthy list of laurels. My veiny, throbbing shaft of uncut word meat.
Thus far in my career, I’ve written books about cannibals, vampires, and unicorn-killing super heroes. Can you believe I started that last sentence with “Thus”? Classy. But, that’s Martin, for you. He’s a classy bitch. And, yes, I did just drift into the third-person. I’m not afraid to mix points of view. How about second-person? Think I’m scared? Check this shit out…
You wonder, as you read the “About” page, where he’s going with this. You’re not feeling regret just yet, but hints of its foul stench are forming in the air. While you’d never say it out loud, for fear of giving this sardonically inappropriate “author” the satisfaction, you find yourself feeling intrigued, wanting to see where this strange trail of breadcrumbs leads you. Plus, you’re now wondering if he knows how to properly use “sardonically” in a sentence.
Back to first-person, just like that. Now, enjoy some semi-chronological biographical word stuff.
I grew up in the Inland Empire (specifically Rancho Cucamonga), but now I live in Las Vegas. The Inland Empire is an eclectic region of Southern California, widely known for crystal meth, cows, and Snoop Dogg (seriously, go google “Snoop Dogg Inland Empire”). It’s also the region that birthed the Hell’s Angels, housed the first McDonald’s restaurant, and provided the setting for Workaholics. As for Las Vegas…well, you know. It’s Vegas, baby! Resort hotels, terrible drivers, and more 24-hour Asian massage parlors than you can shake a happy ending at.
I spent the great majority of my childhood watching TV (mostly professional wrestling and network sitcoms) and reading comic books (with the exception of the novelization of the 1989 Batman movie). I wasn’t great in school, but not for lack of trying. Actually, that’s not true. I lacked a lot of trying. I just loved watching TV too much to do homework. Plus, I wanted to be Batman when I grew up. Like, for real. I actually thought it was a viable career option. Not even in a cute way, but in a totally earnest wanting-to-be-a-superhero-and-save-the-world way. I also wanted to be a professional wrestler, but then I stopped growing, so that was that.
I love the Academy Awards—like, obsessively. When I was 18, I became overwhelmed by a desire to win an Oscar, wear fancy clothes, and give a funny-yet-poignant speech in front of an audience of famous and beautiful people. I didn’t figure being an actor was in the cards, nor was being a director, and I had no idea what a producer did—but I knew how to spell pretty okay, so I figured screenwriting was my ticket to the Academy Awards. All I had to do was learn how to write screenplays (and, really, you can eliminate “screenplays” from that last bit and it would be absolutely spot on).
Fuck me, this “About” page is getting long. Do you still care? Did you ever? I dunno, I suppose one of you is still reading, so I’ll keep going. Never let it be said that Martin Lastrapes doesn’t give the people what they want. I mean, I probably don’t—but, never let it be said.
Long story short, I took a screenwriting class in community college, which led to a prose fiction class the following semester. I really enjoyed the prose fiction class and figured I should take some more of them for the purpose of informing my future screenwriting career, though, admittedly, I was intimidated by all the words involved (I mean, they want you to describe everything!). In the process of trying to learn the craft of prose fiction, I spent the next decade or so reading lots and lots of books, discovering my favorite authors, falling in love with their words, and, little by little, discovering my voice.
I continued going to college for what felt like forever (i.e., 1996 to 2006) and somewhere along the way I declared English as my major, because I figured it made sense. In the middle of my college career, I wrote my “first” novel (2005-ish, maybe?), but every single literary agent I sent it to said no. So, I tossed it aside and eventually started writing another book (2006-ish, probably?), which would become Inside the Outside (my official first book).
I finished college with a Bachelor’s degree in English/Creative Writing and a Master’s Degree in Composition, both from California State University, San Bernardino, then spent a decade as an English professor (mostly community college, with a little university thrown in for good measure). In between my time figuring out how to actually be an English professor, I finished writing Inside the Outside and began sending it out to literary agents. But, as it was with my unofficial “first” book, every single literary agent I sent it to said no.
But, unlike my “first” book, I didn’t want to toss Inside the Outside aside, because, in writing it, I felt like I’d maybe done something special. After some hemming and hawing, I decided to roll the dice and publish it myself. To my great surprise (and relief), readers loved it, reviewers said really flattering things about it, and the Paris Book Festival gave it it’s Grand Prize. Then I wrote four more books, moved to Las Vegas, and started a podcast (not in that order).
And that whole journey has led me to this very moment: sitting on my couch, laptop resting aptly upon my lap, and watching New Girl, while I write a wildly self-indulgent “About” page for my website.
There you have it, you’re all caught up. Huzzah! Now, go explore the rest of the site and see what other nonsense you can find.