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Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas music I can get behind

A tip of the hat to my brother Stephen for alerting me to this great parody of Black Sabbath's "Iron Man," entitled "I Am Santa Claus." Maybe it's just me, but man, Christmas music this year has felt more intrusive than ever. Here's an antidote. Oh an by the way, the guy just nails Ozzy's voice.

Merry Christmas, everybody.

Friday, December 16, 2011


Best Present for Dreamy Teenage Girls Who Are Senitive About Being Animal Lovers: The Preservationist is a geeky animal lovers’ family saga masquerading as a cool end-of-the-world apocalypse story. What's not to like? Also there’s a tough chick in it. Maybe more than one. Available on Kindle too, if you like that.

Best Choice for the Closet Naturalist of Any Age: The Geometry of God by the lovely and talented Uzma Aslam Khan tells the tale of a fossil-discovering young girl in Pakistan, her argumentative grandfather, and the forces trying their best to disrupt them. Available on Kindle too. Mehwish rules.

Best Present for Horny Adolescent Males Who Hate to Read: The Book of Samson contains many scenes of violence as well as the actual line: “Then I went in her.” Actually it contains this line several times over. Nuff said. If it's running low on Amazon, you can get it here.

Best Choice for Bewildered Parents Wondering How the Heck Things Ever Got to This Point: Fallen lets you know that, hey, families have been just a little bit warped pretty much from Day One. Special cameo from God lends weightiness, plus maybe fatalism. Did I mention Kindle? And hey, if Amazon is still sold out, you can get it at Barnes & Noble.

Best Choice for the Aficianado of Tragic Love: Trespassing by the lovely and talented Uzma Aslam Khan contains all manner of love stories, licit and otherwise, requited and otherwise, tragic and otherwise. Ideal huddling-under-the-comforter material for those chilly winter afternoons. Now on Kindle--as of like, today. Cool!

Best Present for Teenage Girls, or Boys, or Anybody Really, Who Is Unafraid to Loudly Proclaim Their Love for Animals, Talking or Otherwise: The Gamble of the Godlessis rife, positively rife I tell you, with talking animals, one-armed sorcerers, drug-addicted felines, warriors with dark secrets and so forth. Groundbreaking? Hmm—no. Buckets of fun? Oh yes. Available as a Kindle-style eBook only. A great e-stocking stuffer for 2.99.

Best “WTF” Present for Your Weird Uncle or Possibly Cousin: Monster, 1959. Because really, “WTF?” is the only natural response to this book.

My high-tech life, for better or worse

Okay, I did it. I caved. My old cell phone died after 3 years so I needed a new one so I went and… bought a smart phone. How smart? Smarter than I am, that’s for sure.

It’s a Blackberry, of all things. (Now I feel like a lawyer.) It’s sleek and stylish and satisfyingly heavy, and now I can do things like check my email compulsively (oh great) and, I suppose, download apps and so forth, if I ever learn how to do that, which I don’t think I will, because you know, life is too short to spend staring at a tiny little screen.

But I must confess: I love it. It’s heavy and solid in my hand and mighty pretty. So there you go… I've resisted this whole tech thing as much as I can—I mean, I have a computer, but I don’t fetishize it—but now the game’s up. I’ve caved. I changed the wallpaper on my phone last night so now it’s even cooler. Pretty soon I'll personalize my ringtone. Then... Game over.


The other thing I got myself for Christmas, which I’m not even a little ashamed of, is the Rolls-Royce of mp3 players, the uber-iPod, the Cowan J3, 32 gigs, etc. It’s great. I’ll be able to store all the CDs I listen to for PopMatters without having to, like, delete stuff every time I want to add stuff. The sound is terrific and the covers look mighty pretty, and it’s got this whole touchscreen thing so you can just scroll through the album covers and pick which one you want to hear by tapping it. NO READING REQUIRED. A moderately intelligent bunny rabbit could use this thing. Have I mentioned that I love it? I actually look forward to loading the dishwasher and brushing my teeth every night, because that’s when I get to listen to it. That’s how much I love it. Should I be worried? Short answer: yes.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Makes me nostalgic...

Imanaren are a Moroccan Berber band from the southern part of the country. Their debut album is available on Amazon as a download for less than 6 bucks. it's worth it, too, as they really nail the trance-out vibe and roll with it... Lots of oud, percussion and unison vocals. Sweet.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Mamihlapinatapei, anyone?

Here's a terrific article over at about relationship words that don't translate easily into English. What a blast. The Yagan word Mamihlapinatapei, for example, means: "The wordless yet meaningful look shared by two people who desire to initiate something, but are both reluctant to start."

Awesome. I'm going to have to start using this word in everyday conversation. (Well... maybe every other day.) The article lists 9 more, plus a few observations about close-but-not-quite equivalents in English. It's a good time, take a look at it here.

Monday, October 17, 2011

The Avin Project goes live!

I've been working with a team of educational consultants to make The Gamble of the Godless available for English teachers and homeschoolers free of charge (as a pdf); the team has put together a slew of curriculum materials, all of which have been vetted and okayed by me, and all of which address Common Core State Standards for English. This is a tremendously exciting project for me, and if it flies, it will give me a chance to interact face-to-face with high school kids all across the country as they work on various projects inspired by the book. So I'm really looking forward to seeing what happens.

Take a look at the pitch here, on the Chronicles of Avin web site. You can even watch a video of me being slightly less than eloquent about the whole thing (sorry, I'm a little camera shy.) And if you're an English teacher (or homeschool parent), give me a shout via the attached application form.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Two more bloggers get behind Gamble

Ahoy, it was a busy weekend out there in book-blogger land, with both The Canary Review and Cheryl's Book Nook coming out swinging in favor of everybody's favorite unorthodox epic fantasy novel.

The Canary Review was slightly more gushing, remarking that "the author world-builds like a fiend" and characterizing the book as "a stellar example of an indie publication," which is awfully nice. The reviewer goes on to urge readers to "Explore the book and the world of animals/ See if you make it back alive" which is pretty snazzy IMHO.

Cheryls Book Nook is a briefer review that admits that the reviewer wasn't crazy about the story at first, but it got better to the point that "You will love it. Dave Maine has a winner in this tale and hopefully the beginning of many more." So that's pretty gushing too--thanks folks.

I urge you to take a stroll to either or both of these blogs and say howdy. It means a lot to these folks, who read and review out of nothing more than the love of a good story, and who'd be happy to have a comment or two.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Another Gamble review

The cool-headed and sensible Trace over at Croft Fantasy Book Reviews has decided she too is a fan of The Gamble of the Godless, citing its "good strong characters" and declaring that she was "fascinted by the various animal communities." There's a bit more, so feel free to go over and take a gander.

BTW, the Croft web site is an interesting place, filled as it is with reviews of fantasy and dark fantasy books, not to mention a wide variety of odds and ends (Season Two trailers for The Walking Dead, anybody?). So feel free to leave a comment, as I'm sure your interest is much appreciated...

And hey! We won't tell her she got the name of the book wrong, okay?

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

My new, new favorite band

Okay you know the drill by now: These guys ROCK.

Wooden Shjips (yeah, I don't understand either) playing  "Home." Check out the tricky Neil Young "Hey Mey My My" riff at the very beginning, before it deconstructs into 5:45 of droney, fuzzed out goodness...

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Dumb video. Amazing song.

Remember hard rock? Ahh, those were the days. Here's a terrific song by a band called The Nevers, whose album Saint Bernadette was released recently and which I'll be reviewing on PopMatters. The video is dumber than a stick, so I recommend closing your eyes and enjoying the blissful rocking-out experience. It's almost like 1978 again...

Monday, August 29, 2011

South Dakota's own Chris Johnson has added his voice to the chorus of bloggers saying that The Gamble of the Godless is a mighty fine piece o' work. After characterizing the book as "unique" on a number of different levels, Chris goes on to say that "You will laugh, cry, feel pain, laugh a bit more, and feel frustrated with [the characters]." I'm thinking that the feeling pain and frustration part is actually a good thing--an indication that the reader is so involved with the story and characters that s/he feels emotionally committed to the happy and awful things that befall them. Feel free to let me know if I've gotten that wrong, Chris.

He goes on to describe the book as "an emotional roller coaster, just like a good fantasy novel should be," and "a fantastic book." So there you go; that's pretty unequivocal, I think.

Not quite as unequivocal as his Goodreads review, in which he compares reading Gamble to reading Tolkein, but you know, I'll take it.

The whole review can be read here.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Thanks for the Blog Tour memories...

So, today marks the final day of my eight-day blog tour, which kicked off Sunday on The Next Best Book Blog, then zipped across a half dozen blogs before winding up at TNBBB before finishing up here. I'm thoroughly humbled and gratified at the very kind response that bloggers have been giving The Gamble of the Godless--both those bloggers affiliated with the tour, and others, who have taken it upon themselves to read the book and then talk it up. Not only have the bloggers affiliated with the tour been kind and generous with their time, but other have as well. A complete listing of reviews, interviews and guest-blog posts can be found just bt scrolling down the page a bit.

The good news is that the fun's not over yet. Even as we speak, another blogger has posted a five-star review on his blog--I'll post the link in a day or two. And the Goodreads Goodreads page for Gamble continues to see positive reviews added almost daily. Even if you're not a member of really, you should be--you can check out what people are saying by clicking here.

Once again, a hearty thanks to all the bloggers involved in the David Maine Blog Tour, 2011 edition. It's my hope that we can do it all again, bigger and better than ever, in the pring/summer of 2012, when Book II of The Chronicles of Avin comes out. Sound good to everybody?

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Dave Maine Blog Tour Winds Up at TNBBC blog...

...which is as it should be.

The ever-energetic Lori not only reviews Gamble in some depth, but offer capsule reviews on my first four books as well. Among many other kind things, Lori characterizes The Gamble of the Godless as "a fun read that you will find yourself easily slipping into." I certainly think that's true, and it's gratifying to hear the statement coming from someone as experienced and savvy as Lori.

So I invite you to stroll through the TNBBC garden for a while, sniffing the flowers as you go, and if you enjoy yourself,l let Lori know with a comment. The same goes for all the others bloggers who have participated in the past week, all of whom are listed in the entries below. The coming weeks will see even more reviews coming out, as I have sent the book off to numerous people since its release at the start of August, so stay tuned.

And needless to say, if you happen to read the book (and especially if you like it), don't be shy Feel free to post a review on Amazon, B&N, Goodreads, or your blog, or any combination thereof.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Look what I got in the mail!

Check out the excellent T-shirt by The Mast, a Brooklyn-based duo that I've been championing for a few weeks over here. My review of the album, Wild Poppies, ran on PopMatters, and the band kindly responded by sending me a just-about-perfect-for-Dave T-shirt. Thanks, guys!

Here's video of them, in case you're late to the party:

The train kept a-rollin'...

...with this interview with Rena Rossner over at her blog, My Baby Loves a Bunch of Authors. (I think we've found our proze winner in the Best Blog Name category).

Rena asks me a bunch of good questions about, among other things, the music I play while writing, and how the fantasy stuff relates to the non-fantasy stuff, and also, like, drug-addicted cheetahs. (Which is something I get asked about a lot these days.) So take a look at the interview and, as ever, leave a comment if you like what you see.

Tomorrow, it's back to Lori's Next Best Book Blog and then this party wraps up on Sunday with, I guess, a word or two from me. Thanks to all of you who've been along for the duration, your interest is much appreciated...

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Book Sexy Reviews goes ga-ga over Godless

Okay, early response to The Gamble of the Godless has been gratifying--but the kind folks over at the Book Sexy Review blog has just set a new standard in gushing positivity. Big thanks to the folks over there for taking the time to read it with such passion and enthusiasm.

A couple of choice excerpts:

"David Maine has created a wonderful cast of characters and a elaborately detailed world – one of the most engaging I’ve experienced... I found myself glued to the page. I read this book, cover to cover, in two 3-hour sittings. If Book 2 were available, I’d have downloaded it immediately and kept on reading."

That's some mighty kind reviewing right there. So please, if you have even a whisper of interest in what Book Sexy might have found so engaging in the book, please jog on over and have a look. And consider leaving a comment for the reviewer. It will be much appreciated.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Bibliophiliac falls for Fallen

...Sorry, bad pun. Couldn't resist.

But hey! It's not all about The Gamble of the Godless these days. The ever-lively bibliophiliac blog is running an in-depth (and quite glowing) review of my 2005 novel Fallen, which I much appreciate and heartily recommend to anyone and everyone. Among other things, the review states that "David Maine is one of the most original writers I have ever encountered." Aw, shucks.

The same site promises to post a review of Gamble down the road, so that's a twofer I'll take any day. Meanwhile, I encourage one and all to trundle on over to the Fallen review and take a look, say howdy, leave a comment and generally make your presence known.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Guest post at Steve Himmer's blog

Take a gander at Steve Himmer's always-lively blog for a guest post I wrote in response to the question of why I jumped genres, from literary fiction to fantasy. Steve has a multifaceted blogging style and it's worth taking a few minutes to snoop around his site.

As always, if you like what you see, let Steve know in a comment. It means a lot to the people who have taken time to post stuff.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

My guest post on The Next Best Book Blog

Today I have a guest post over at The Next Best Book Blog, which is undoubtedly the most enthusiastic webspace in existence when it comes to my books. Moderator Lori is a dynamo of energy and passion, not just for my books but for books in general--she's the kind of reader that I wish there were a lot more of. But since she's unique, I urge you to trundle on over there, check out her blog in general and my post in particular (if you're interested) and leave a comment telling her she's doing a fantastic job. I'm sure she already knows it, but hey, it never hurts to hear it one more time.

And while you'rea at it, you can even pick up a T-shirt or coffee mug. How cool is that?

Saturday, August 20, 2011

New Interview up on Mandy the Bookworm Blog

The always-lively Mandy the Bookworm blog has a new interview with me posted today, in which I rattle on about writing The Gamble of the Godless, along with thoughts on pets, inspirations, switching from literary fiction to fantasy, and a bunch more. Take a look if you just can't get enough of me through ordinary channels...

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Virtual Book Tour Kicks Off on Sunday

This Sunday (Aug 21) marks the start of a week-long whirlwind of events called The Gamble of the Godless/David Maine Blog Tour. It kicks off with the excellent Next Best Book Club blog and then swirls through another half-dozen blogs in the ensuing six days before wrapping up on TNBBC on the 28th. I'll be posting updates and links as they appear, but take a moment to take a gander at the schedule put together by Lori over at TNBBC, which is here.

As you can see, there is a fair amount of stuff going on, so please, support these dedicated bloggers with a look-in. If you're inclined to leave a comment, they'll appreciate it that much more.

Cheers, and enjoy the festivities!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

New review at Indie Book Blogger

The always-lively Indie Book Blogger site, which ran an interview with me a few days ago, is now running a 4.5-star review of The Gamble of the Godless, which it describes as "a lot of fun." Take a look at it here, if you're so inclined.

An extract: "I had a lot of fun reading this book with it's unique rules for interaction between the races. The cultural differences are much more pronounced than is normally found in fantasy novels which led to some interesting difficulties for the group as they traveled through the various regions."

There's more, so take a look. And it means a lot to these independent bloggers if you leave a comment and tell 'em you like what they've done, so think about doing that. And thanks, Indie Book Blog!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Guest blog entry at Best O' Books

Take a gander at The Best O' Books review blog to hear some of my thoughts on the transition from traditionally published author to indie author (not that the two are mutually exclusive). Best O' Books usually focuses on mysteries and thrillers, but Rae, who runs it, was kind enough to give me a forum to air some thoughts. You can find me here at thebestobooks. If you're so inclined, feel free to add a comment or otherwise let Rae know that she's doing a fine job.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Great interview at Indie Book Blogger

The excellent Indie Book Blog site is running a mighty fine interview with me these days, so go check it out and maybe leave a comment to tell the fellow what a terrific job he's doing. The site plans to run a review of The Gamble of the Godless sometime next week, so that's nice too.

Here's a link to the

Thursday, August 4, 2011

It's here!

The Gamble of the Godless is now available at Follow this link to check out info, reviews, download sample chapters or just buy the whole darn thing:

To reiterate: this is an epic fantasy, and it rules.

Want more? Here's the description that I wrote for Amazon:

"Avin del Bors has a problem. His brother Drew has run off to fight in a war against the wolves, even though the wolves weren’t responsible for the vicious attack against the humans on the Free Plains. Avin’s companions—the warrior Ax, one-armed sorcerer Jocen, plucky owl Ulkia, drug-addled cheetah Summon the Wind and raccoon stand-up comic Onesso—all have their own reasons for accompanying him through the animal territories across the Bladebone Mountains. Their travels will take them from the highly regimented wolf cities, to the richesse and luxury of the Equine Commonwealth, all the way to the vertiginous tunnels of the serpents’ underground Net and across the waters of the Autonomous Dolphin Collective—to whatever unknown awaits them.

"What neither Avin nor his companions yet understand is that the real force behind the Free Plains attack is neither canine nor feline, nor yet crocodile, insect, raptor, bear or shark. Far to the east, in the scorched wasteland known as The Barrens, lives the ragged clan that calls itself The Godless. There, Avin will confront his brother, his companions and himself, and discover two truths: one that changes everything he understands about himself, and another that threatens the balance of the entire world."

Sounds pretty dire, no? Well, things are tough out there.

Want to check out my Chronicles of Avin web site? Sure you do! After all, The Gamble of the Godless is merely the first in an ongoing series called The Chronicles of Avin. So, you know, there's plenty to find out about, and there's no better place to start than here:

So cheerio, and happy reading. I hope you enjoy the book!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Web site up and running!

Bookmark it, kids!

The web site is up for The Gamble of the Godless and all its attendant sequels and spinoffs: mosey on over to to catch all the latest developments with the book, plus a preview of Book II and a few hints about other projects in the works. Once the book goes up for sale online, there will be links to vendors as well as reviews and guest-blog posts written by myself.

Meanwhile, the final corrections have been turned in for updating, which means that the book should go to the distributor early next week (fingers crossed), which means thw whole shebang should be available online late next week (fingers doubly crossed in a somewhat painful double-jointed fashion which nonetheless we hope denotes success).

Let the world domination begin. (That line will make more sense once you've read the book.)

Thursday, July 21, 2011

I'm reading the eBook as you read this...


Just got the e-file of the eBook and I'm going through it now, word by word, punctuation mark by punctuation mark. I'm proud to say that 83 pages in, I have discovered exactly 7 errors, one of which was an omitted period, one of which was an extra period, two of which were omitted quotation marks, etc. So the proofreading I did in a blur last month seems to have gone pretty well, at least through the first four chapters.

However--there is an odd quirk to the e-file conversion that left out the space break between words whenever a single word was italicized. So instead of someone saying "I never did that!" you have, "I neverdid that!" or whatever. It's odd, and it doesn't happen every time I use italics, just enough times to be noticeable and annoying. So I'll have to fix those moments too.

I hope to be done on Monday and the e-file will be corrected soon thereafter. And then hey, kids, I'm done. With luck it'll be up on Amazon et al in a week. Fingers crossed...

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Here it is!

New cover for the forthcoming eBook, in its final form:

I am very happy.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

It's the Final Countdo-o-own!

Remember this horrible song by unspeakably lame cheeseball hair-metal band Europe, back in the '80s?

I'm no fan of the band, but the chorus has been going through my head incessantly these past few days. (If you want to spare yourself the agony, just skip to 1:56 in the vid.) On Friday I got the revamped and (hopefully) almost-finalized cover for The Gamble of the Godless, and boy it looks killer. I don't want to unveil it till it's good and ready, but with luck that won't be more than a day or two. Then what happens is:

- The manuscript gets converted into an eBook file (3 days more or less)

- I look over the thing one more time and, I hope, find no errors (the weekend)

- It goes to Amazon, Barnes&Noble and The Apple Store, among other places (early next week).

- After that it's up to the vendors how fast it goes on sale. I guess Amazon gets it out there in 24 hours, but other places take longer. Why am I not surprised?

So--woo-hoo!--it's actually possible that this thing might be out in the world in the next 7 to 10 days. At which point I will fall down on the ground, gasping for breath. Just pray that I don't find a bunch of mistakes in the e-file that need to be corrected, because that will add time.

Around that time I'll be sending out some printed paper copies to a handful of bloggers who might find it in themselves to say nice things--fingers crossed--and thus start the tidal wave of excitement that we're all hoping for. (And guys? Hang onto those hard copies. They might be worth a lot on eBay someday.)

And then?

The excellent web site will go online at just about the same time. At first the site will be pretty bare bones, but as reviews start to trickle in, there should be a bit more meat growing on its frame. There's also some talk of doing videos. Yes, viral videos. Stay tuned.

I also have a Chronicles of Avin page on Facebook which is so bare bones, it makes the web site look like sensory overload. Eventually I plan to get that up and running too, with Facebook pages for some of the characters in the book. That'll be a riot. Or a complete dud. You decide.

All together now: It's the final countdo-o-own!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Taking a break from all the cover brouhaha...

Hey, happy Fourth of July weekend! I'm tired of hashing out the particulars of my forthcoming eBook cover--nothing definitive yet, stay tuned--and I just really fel like spacing out and listening to some heavy washes of stoner rock. So for your enjoyment: Naam.

You can find these guys on Amazon if you like the song. The record is pretty consistent, and less limited/more varied than a lot of stuff out there. Worth a listen IMO.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Cover image coming soon

Yeah look I know I should be all cool and detached and everything but the hell with that, the cover of The Gamble of the Godless is starting to come together and it's a scorcher. It's not finalized yet and probably won't be for another day or two, but trust me it rawks.

I don't mean to be a tease and I'll get an image up as soon as I possibly can. Just had to blurt something out about how fantastic this thing is looking. Cheers.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Take the Poll!

Hey kids, immediately to the right of this entry is a special Dave Maine Blog Poll which I invite you to participate in. It's a little hard to read--sorry about that--but it asks: "How much would you be willing to pay for an eBook by an author you've never read?" The answers are 99 cents, 1.99, 2.99, 5.99, 9.99 and "I wouldn't buy it."

I know it's impossible to answer this definitively because it will depend on the book itself and so forth, but I'm looking for a general consensus. I'm curious about this because eBook pricing is still wildly variable; my St Martin's eBooks (The Pres, Fallen and Monster 1959) are 9.99, which is cheaper than their bound versions, but many eBook exclusives sell for a lot less than that.

Here's an interesting article on the vagaries of this issue at the moment, focusing on B&N's pricing of a book series:

How this will all play out, nobody knows. But I'm curious about people's gut reactions, so even if you don't read eBooks, pretend that you might, and take the poll! Thanks.

Monday, June 20, 2011

eBook or Not eBook?

Interesting discussion going on over at the SF & Fantasy Novelists web site (an interesting site in general BTW) about whether and how eBooks will harm the publishing industry and reading habits in general--or salvage them. Worth a look if you're interested:

This is something that's been on my mind, needless to say, as my own eBook creeps toward its birth. (And I got some news regarding that today... It's happening! Slowly, yes, but it's happening.)

So I finally got in touch with cover design people this evening and started that conversation, which makes it feel somewhat more likely that this project will in fact get off the ground one day. Hooray!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Act fast! Free book!

While waiting for The Gamble of the Godless to appear, why not download a free eBook fantasy novel by Evelyn Zant? It's called Shadowing: A Henchman's Tale and I just read chapter one, which has me hooked.

Evelyn is selling her novel through Smashwords (great site) but is giving it away for free this week. Unfortunately, today is (ahem) Friday, so you have only another day or two to grab it. Go for it--you get a great book for free that you can read on your computer or Kindle, plus you support independent publishing and a fun author. What's not to like? If you don't care for the book, just hit delete. If you do like it, please consider writing a positive review on Amazon, Goodreads or your blog.

The promotional code to enter to get it for free is: AU93B .

If you've never used Smashwords, you'll have to sign up (takes about 30 seconds). Then you "buy" the book, enter the promo code and choose your format (PDF, Kindle, Word, etc). It downloads in about 15 seconds and BAM! You've got your weekend's entertainment. And i
n case you're wondering: no, I don't know Evelyn, never met her, just stumbled across this on Goodreads and thought it was worthwhile. So, no hidden agendas. Just hop on over to Smashwords and have fun.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

More great stuff from The Mast

Here's a trailer for their debut album, Wild Poppies, out on Tuesday (June 21). The Mast are a Brooklyn-based duo featuring Haale on vocals/guitar and Matt Kilmer on percussion. They manage to be ethereal and rocking at the same time.

Here's their web site where you can download a free song:

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Gearing up

So, obviously The Gamble of the Godless is not going to be seeing the electronic light of day in mid-June because, ahem, that's what today is. But fear not, I do have a tentative release schedule, which looks something like: end June/beginning July. This should give us time to get a cover done, along with an ISBN number and all that. So hoorah. It will become available at Amazon first, probably, as they're the quickest at this sort of thing, with B&N and the Apple following relatively soon.

IF YOU ARE A BOOK BLOGGER and are interested in writing a review, let me know, because it seems likely that there will be a number of hard-copy Advance Reading Copies of this eBook (?) printed up. Just drop me a line at and I'll write you back for your mailing address. When I get the copies I'll send one to you. I only ask that you make a good-faith effort to review the thing, as the supply will be quite limited. I understand that I can't require you to write a positive review. Too bad!

I wish I had a cover image to show you but alas I don't. I have been noodling around on my computer, putting various ideas together based on public domain images and some photos of my own, but I don't think these are quite ready for prime time.

In the meantime, I'm enjoying the suddenly-hot summer, and I hope you're doing the same.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

The Republik Music Festival, Honolulu, HI

There's not much better than seeing Steel Pulse playing outdoors in Hawaii. Big crowd, good-natured, not much pushing and shoving, and great tunes. The video below was not taken by me, or anyone else at the show--it's a couple years old--but it gets the idea across. The band played this song, and the singer is wired and the band is tight. Time to dance.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Spotted at Honolulu Zoo, June 9, 2011

Fennec fox by the name of "Puka," or possibly "Pooka." Pronounced POOH-kuh. About the size of a rabbit.

Sweetest. Pooch. Ever.

I never wrote these!

But I wish I had!

The first appears to be a French sci-fi novel from the 1970s entitled "Galactic Guerillas," which is totally a book I could get behind. I want a copy, pretty much NOW. let me know if you've got one kicking around in the basement... n'est-ce pas?

Thanks to my Goodreads page for tipping me off about it (and for giving me credit for writing it, which I didn't, as I was about 13 years old at the time... but hey, I'll take the credit for it.)

POSTSCRIPT: While looking for cover images of Guerillero Galactique, what should I come across but a 1982 book by the same author called Invasion Cosmique. Gosh, I wish I spoke French better so I could understand what this title meant...

Monday, June 6, 2011

No Sleep Till (or even in) Brooklyn!

Ladies and gentlemen, for your consideration I present to The Mast, a guitars 'n' drums duo featuring lovely vocals and slamming percussion. The record is out on June 21, and this is representative of the duo's sound. Enjoy.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Maine = Vacationland

As promised, here are a few shots from our recent meandering in the Pacific northwest, starting with a view of the Cascade Mountains (I think) from the 500-foot-tall observation deck of the Space Needle. Yes, we went there, although it took a couple of tries, and yes, I even bought a T-shirt. But it's a really cool T-shirt.

We then headed south to portland, stopping along the way in Tacoma, WA to see the totally cool Museum of Glass and the Dale Chihuly-decorated Bridge of Glass:

And finally, in Portland we enjoyed the roses where we could find them, and also the wonky local design sense, like the storefront of our favorite restaurant. (Southpark Seafood--well worth a visit if you ever get the chance...)

Yes, I have sold my soul to the Devil of short attention spans.

That's right: I am now on Twitter.

in a blatant attempt to market myself, I have joined this thing that I don't really understand. But that's okay, as long as you understand it. So, go ahead and join me, or friend me, or follow me, or whatever it is you do to me on Twitter, and I promise to try and come up with clever things to say about myself several times per day. Oy.

And don't forget about, where you can become my pal and receive timely updates about upcoming books and so forth. I actually prefer Goodreads to these other things like Facebook and Twitter. It's possible that I have said this before, however.

Back from vacation

So, Seattle was fun, but Portland OR is pretty much the city I would create if I had my way. Coffee shops, breweries, CD shops, a beautiful river, lots of greenery and (ahem) rain--okay, maybe a little more rain than my design might call for--and of course Powell's City of Books, where I got lost for about an hour, collected a stack of stuff I wanted to get, then got overwhelmed before returning the books one by one to the shelves and leaving with nothing. It was great! No, really, it was.

Also great was seeing Uzee's cousins and aunt for several days. They drove down from Vancouver (the one in Canada) and we all hung out and acted really serious most of the time. No, we didn't do that last bit. But we did hang out.

Uzee and I caught a couple of concerts: Iron and Wine and The Decemberists, who were playing an outdoor concert in scenic but frigid Bend, OR. They were good--too much new stuff, what can you do--but the revelation of the evening were opening act Rodrigo y Gabriela. Here's a video, but they're even more electrfying live. And I'll find some pictures from the trip. Stay tuned.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Revisions completed, manuscript turned in... it's off for some R & R in Seattle, WA and Portland, OR. These are two places I've never been, but look forward to exploring.

I'll be back in early June and will be strategizing with my World Domination Team about how best to proceed with the eBook (see below if you haven't been around here much lately). I'm hugely stoked. If you'd like to keep up with quick-moving developments, please contact me either through Facebook or (a great site) and we'll become pals. I don't say no to anybody!

A reminder: as of right now, launch date fot The Gamble of the Godless looks to be early-to-mid June. That roaring sound you're hearing? Ahh, that's the buzz, the buzz...

Also: if you know people who are fantasy/sci-fi readers who are looking for something fresh to devour this summer... send 'em over to me on FB or GR, and I'll happily become pals with them too.

Cheers! I'm off to the Space Needle and the Experience Museum. Wish me luck.

Monday, May 2, 2011

No Kindle? NO PROBLEM.

As mentioned in my last post, my forthcoming epic fantasy novel The Gamble of the Godless is coming out this May/June as an eBook exclusive, available at places like Amazon and B& and the Apple store. Now, I don't have an e-reader--a Kindle or anything like it--and it occurred to me to wonder whether I'd even be able to read my own eBook. Turns out that's not a problem.

All these readers have free programs that can be downloaded and put onto your desktop or laptop. It takes about three minutes and bingo, instant Kindle.

Here's what you do:

Decide whether you want Kindle from Amazon, Nook from B&N, or whatever. you can go to and search for "eBooks on PC" or something similar and you'll get a slew of options. Probably the easiest thing is just to go to Amazon, B&N or Apple.

Download the program and install it. This took me about two minutes and is about as tough as downloading a song.

Once you have the program, you'll need to register it with whomever you're going to be getting downloads from (in my case, Amazon). That's another 20 seconds, provided you already have an account. if you don't, it will take a minute or two.

So after that, you can download stuff, including the free sample chapters from just about every book online (including a three of mine, and Uzee's latest).

Here's a screenshot of what you get when you install the program and click it open. You get a couple free books when you install the program, and I've added a few samples.

Click on the book you want and you'll get something like this:

This is the beginning of Fallen. You can modify the font size and brightness, and after a few seconds the bars across top and bottom go away, so it starts looking like a book:But if you want, you can modfy the words per line, so it stretches across your screen in something like magazine format (and I've dimmed the brightness a little too):
Anyway, if you've been curious about eBooking it but haven't wanted to splurge on $100 plus, this might be an easy stopgap. Plus, it'll allow me to read The Gamble of the Godless...

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Hey, be my pal on Facebook and keep up with fast-breaking developments...

Greetings Earthlings, there are some fairly exciting developments happening round this ways these days... including the upcoming publication of my fifth "serious" novel, An Age of Madness, sometime in 2012 (details forthcoming). In addition to that, however, is the imminent release of a eBook exclusive version of my epic fantasy novel, The Gamble of the Godless. This is a mighty tome I wrote back in 1995-96, then revised, then follwed up with a couple other sequels (making a trilogy) which actually landed me my first literary agent, a fellow in Chicago named Michael Steinberg.

Alas, Michael was unable to place the books, and we subsequently parted ways. But when The Preservationist was released in 2004, I dusted off the fantasy trilogy and found it pretty good. My current agent, Scott, loved it also, and has been trying to place it ever since. Which brings us to...

The E-BOOK EXCLUSIVE release, which is tentatively planned for sometime in late May. Yep, that's about a month from now (things happen fast in the e-world). There are still some bumps to iron out, and we need someone to paint a, like, cover, so it may get pushed back till midsummer. But stay tuned! This is a wildly exciting development for me, and it might even be a harbinger of change in the publishing paradigm in general, so let's see what happens.

The Gamble of the Godless will be available for download on,, and elsewhere (like the Apple store). You'll need some kind of e-player to read it, obviously, but I understand that there are also programs that allow you to read these things on an ordinary computer or laptop as well. If the sales are decent, we'll release the two sequels as well, and if they're really decent, we might even end up with a traditional publisher making a bid... we'll have to see what happens.

Anyway, to keep up with developments, which are happening quickly, I urge you to friend me on Facebook, as I suspect I'll be updating that page often as news comes in. I'll still post updates here too, of course (including the cover image once I get it), but I suspect FB will be more immediate.!/profile.php?id=100001054731276

I guess I should go proofread this thing now, hey?

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

More Sahara Desert "blues"

This stuff just keeps coming... and it's amazing.

Bombino is new to me, but he rocks, and you can sign up for a free download of this song on his page at Bandcamp. You can listen to the rest of the album, too, including some bonus live tracks. Here's the link to his album:

And here's the video (don't worry, the talking stops after 20 seconds or so).

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Ahh, the good old days... when writers wrote.

Here's an interesting article by Anjum Hasan written for Tehelka, an Indian magazine, in which she ponders the (relatively) recent development of authors as public figures. Specifically, she refers to the expectation that writers will make themselves available to read their work aloud--performing it, essentially. It seems many readers love this kind of thing, as it allows them to... I'm not sure what. Interact with the writer in a way that just reading the book doesn't allow? Maybe. Some writers like it too, I guess. Good for them! Others, ahem, see it as a chore. I've been told I read well (shucks), but put me firmly in the "I'd really rather just have you read the book" camp.

But too bad! Public performance is, for all intents and purposes, part of the job description these days. And here I thought writers just sat around and wrote books all day? Silly me.

To quote from the article:

"I’m not against readings — there is often no better reality check than standing before a roomful of people and trying to draw them in. And if they do listen (they don’t always, despite appearances), then the ensuing adrenaline rush is surely one of the rare highs of a writer’s life. What worries me is the assumption that writing is easily translatable into public utterance, that one writes precisely in order to go out there and give one’s spiel, that one ought to at all times be ready to reinforce, explain, paraphrase, annotate, justify, or ( just by being in the public gaze) remind the world of what one has said in print. [Emphasis mine.] Judging from the requests that pour into my inbox to address students, launch books and publishing houses, be in public conversation with other writers, conduct workshops, judge competitions, be interviewed, and, of course, read from and talk about my own work, the writer today is public property. Of course, we behave like public property. We announce our publications on our blogs, dissect our work in interviews, smile for the cameras, tweet about… well… everything, travel for launches and book signings. I don’t know of many writers who shun this kind of publicity out of shyness or on principle. I’ve heard of reclusive writers but I personally only know one. So where does that leave us? In danger of imagining writerly existence as a wholly public enterprise when most of us should, in fact, stay silent."

There's more, and it's interesting, so take a look if you're so inclined:

Meanwhile, rumor has it that I have a new book coming out sometime next year, and when it does, will I be doing readings? Of course I will. And counting myself lucky, to boot. We can dream about the good old days, I guess, but they seem to be well and truly passed...

Sunday, April 17, 2011

The Warlocks: Hurricane Heart Attack

A little tax weekend tune for you, to shake the IRS blues away. This is from a few years ago, great song. Added bonus: the singer looks like Snape from the Harry Potter movies. Extra added bonus: the most indulgent rock luxury ever conceived--two drummers!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Look, it's the history of science fiction!

Courtesy of a clever artist named Ward Shelley, here's an easy-to-absorb (sort of) pictorial representation of the literature of the fantastic, from prehistoric/preliterate days right up the present second: Okay it's kinda hard to see here. Go here for a much better view: From there you can click on various tabs to enlarge...

Monday, April 11, 2011

Well, they're 2/3 right.

I will be the Distinguished Visiting Writer at the University if Hawai'i at Manoa for the fall semester of 2011. Emphasis, please, on the "Distinguished." I'll be teaching a couple of workshop classes and generally making myself noticed, for better or for worse. If you're in the area, feel free to drop by my office (presuming, of course, that I get an office; not really sure how this works) and say howdy. Now if you'll excuse me, my Distinguished Self needs to go do things like read about red wines and, I don't know, change the oil on the Rolls-Royce, or something...

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Wonky maps, part 1.

So our pals over a have started some new potentially fun thing called Cartographic Curioities, which basically amounts to "cool maps." here's one for ya... A mao of the USA in which each state is renamed in honor of the country to which it most closely matches its GDP. A fun idea, and one with a more serious point to make, in terms of the relative disparity betwee, say, Texas (which = Canada) and, ahem, Hawaii (which = Nigeria). And isn't it great how Minnesota = Norway? Something poetic going on there. For a fuller explanation of the map, plus some reasons why a quick glance is in fact somewhat misleading, go to:

If this recurring feature is as cool as I think it could be, I may be pointing out some fun maps from time to time (hence the "part 1" in the heading above).

In other news: I did my taxes today, oy.

In yet other news, Uzee and I are quickly solidifying plans for a trip to Seattle and Portland (OR) this May/June. Rumor has it that we'll be taking in The Decemberists (Hoo-rah!) and Iron and Wine (Yip-pee!) while we're out there. Details forthcoming.

Also, my new book, An Age of Madness--details should soon be forthcoming about that too (fingers crossed, happy thoughts, etc).

Friday, April 8, 2011

Heeeeere's Johnny!

Well, sad to say, my not-ready-for-prime-time, three-and-a-half-minute vid of Johnny Winter shredding "Good Morning Little School Girl" is not uploading. Don't know why not, but whatever. The sound is so-so anyway, and the picture's worse, so you're not really missing anything too massive. (The picture gets a bit less shaky after 45 seconds or so, and then all goes well till about 3:30, at which point I was instructed forcefully to turn the camera off. Sadly, you can't really hear the woman bellowing in my ear, although she sure seemed loud at the time...) But anyway, in the spirit of inclusiveness, here's a YouTube video I dug up of considerably better quality, as Johnny plays on Swedish TV in 1987. Extra fun: the guitar he's playing in this clip is the same one he played last night at Hawaiian Brian's--or if not exactly the same, then very similar. Insider tip: If you're not familiar with JW, run don't walk and find a copy of his take on Jimi's "Red House." Or you could just pick up any of his roughly eight thousand records and feel pretty happy...

Johnny Winter TEARS IT UP in Honolulu

I'll be posting a shaky, homemade video soon... as much as I got, before I was told to put away the camera (!). Last night, Texas guitar legend Johnny Winter showed us what we all already knew: that he can still shred with the best, even sitting down the whole time. Not many concerts come to Hawaii, but this one was pretty fun. Rock on, Johnny.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Pakistan's cricket team has a lot to be proud of

Okay, so they didn't win the World Cup, and in fact flamed out in the semi-final against India... but they put up a good fight and got further than anyone expected going in. nice job, guys, and best of luck in 2015.

And by the way, I want the shirt!

Friday, February 25, 2011

The Jolly Boys!

Mento masters from Jamaica... They're my new sort-of heroes.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Pay attention to Red Hen Press!

Located in sunny Pasadena, California, Red Hen Press is a small publishing company that prints a lot of interesting fiction and poetry. Here's their web site:

And one of their better-known books:

And a Publishers Weekly article about their poetry publishing:

So check 'em out. There's a reason I'm talking about Red Hen Press. Sure, they're an interesting looking independent publisher... but there are other reasons, too.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Recent reviews at

Hey kids, I've been busy lately scrawling book & record reviews at It's a great site, and here are some of my thoughts over the past few weeks, starting with some bare-bones rock & roll...

For those of you who prefer your musical a trifle more placid, these Benedictine nuns might suit your tastes better:

Here's some highbrow lit that I quite liked:

An unlikely combination of Kore (African harp) and cello that works really well:

Eye candy for six-string freaks:

Low-fi alterna-rock from small town Washington state:

And finally, appealing to the lowest common denominator in all of us:

Monday, January 17, 2011

Oh, this sounds like a good idea.

This just posted on Yahoo News:

"TOKYO (AFP) – Japanese researchers will launch a project this year to resurrect the long-extinct mammoth by using cloning technology to bring the ancient pachyderm back to life in around five years' time. The researchers will try to revive the species by obtaining tissue this summer from the carcass of a mammoth preserved in a Russian research laboratory, the Yomiuri Shimbun reported.

"Preparations to realise this goal have been made," Akira Iritani, leader of the team and a professor emeritus of Kyoto University, told the mass-circulation daily.

Under the plan, the nuclei of mammoth cells will be inserted into an elephant's egg cell from which the nuclei have been removed, to create an embryo containing mammoth genes, the report said. The embryo will then be inserted into an elephant's uterus in the hope that the animal will eventually give birth to a baby mammoth.
The elephant is the closest modern relative of the mammoth, a huge woolly mammal believed to have died out with the last Ice Age. Some mammoth remains still retain usable tissue samples, making it possible to recover cells for cloning, unlike dinosaurs, which disappeared around 65 million years ago and whose remains exist only as fossils

Researchers hope to achieve their aim within five to six years, the Yomiuri said.

The team, which has invited a Russian mammoth researcher and two US elephant experts to join the project, has established a technique to extract DNA from frozen cells, previously an obstacle to cloning attempts because of the damage cells sustained in the freezing process. Another Japanese researcher, Teruhiko Wakayama of the Riken Centre for Developmental Biology, succeeded in 2008 in cloning a mouse from the cells of another that had been kept in temperatures similar to frozen ground for 16 years.

The scientists extracted a cell nucleus from an organ of a dead mouse and planted it into the egg of another mouse which was alive, leading to the birth of the cloned mouse. Based on Wakayama's techniques, Iritani's team devised a method to extract the nuclei of mammoth eggs without damaging them.

But a successful cloning will also pose challenges for the team, Iritani warned. "If a cloned embryo can be created, we need to discuss, before transplanting it into the womb, how to breed (the mammoth) and whether to display it to the public," Iritani said. "After the mammoth is born, we will examine its ecology and genes to study why the species became extinct and other factors."

More than 80 percent of all mammoth finds have been dug up in the permafrost of the vast Sakha Republic in eastern Siberia. Exactly why a majority of the huge creatures that once strode in large herds across Eurasia and North America died out towards the end of the last Ice Age has generated fiery debate. Some experts hold that mammoths were hunted to extinction by the species that was to become the planet's dominant predator -- humans. Others argue that climate change was more to blame, leaving a species adapted for frozen climes ill-equipped to cope with a warming world."

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Just when things were going so well...

So the hated New York Jets beat the beloved New England Patriots today in Foxborough. Sadness all around. After overachieving to go 14-2 in the regular season, the Pats stumbled when it really counted. Sigh. This is bothering more than it should, really.

However, credit to the New York Post for their brilliant pre-game parody. It just about makes the loss palatable. Almost.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Maybe things would be better if we were all just Scottish.

Something weird has happened to heavy metal lately. Weird, but fun.

Exhibit A: Van Canto. A capella metal group from I think Germany. Five singers and a drummer. No guitars. What? You heard right. Total metal annihilation. Love the guy who does the guitar "solo."

Exhibit B: Grave Digger, from Scotland. Ach ye bonny lassie! You got bagpipes in me metal!... No wait, you got metal inna me bagpipes. Mmm... tasty.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Shootings in Tucson, shootings in Nebraska. And more to come, I'm sure.

I'm not sure what's happening to this country... but it sure ain't pretty.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Please don't change anything I write after I die.

So they're taking the word "nigger" out of Huck Finn, or at least one particular edition of it. The novel uses the word 219 times, mainly as part of Nigger Jim's name, and it's being replaced with "slave". This is stupid for a variety of reasons, not least of which is that fact that Jim is not a slave.

Obviously it's an ugly word with a vicious history, but cutting it out of one of the landmark anti-racism books in US history seems pretty fahking stupid. It seems to me that only by acknowledging our own wretched history as a nation can we begin to make stumbling progress past it.

The claim is that this is being done so young readers are not exposed to the word. My thought is that this book was not written for young readers, and maybe it isn't the book that should be changed, but the seventh-grade lesson plans that are trying to incorporate it.

I wonder if Flannery O'Connor's short story "The Artificial Nigger" will be next.

A lively debate on the issue, with a few dissenting voices but mainly criticism of the move, can be found here:

I wonder what you all think...

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Tehelka features new fiction from Uzee, 12 others

Tehelka, one of India's more cutting-edge publications, has launched 2011 with a special "noir fiction" issue featuring stories from a baker's dozen of the subcontinent's finest, including the lovely and talented Uzma Aslam Khan. The homepage for the issue is here:

and the link to Uzee's story is here:

For those of you in India, the magazine is available in hard-copy format. The rest of us, alas, will have to rely on the goodwill of the internet.

Illustration for Tehelka by SHILO SHIV SULEMAN