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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.