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Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Red Hen Press has a page for An Age of Madness

And a mighty nice page it is too, featuring a slightly different cover layout from the final one (which has a rich maroony red at the bottom with white lettering, as opposed to a white panel with red lettering). Not to mention a hugely flattering picture of me, Dave Maine, for all to enjoy. Take a look by clicking here.

Many thanks to all the fine folks at Red Hen for doing such a nice job with all this. And we haven't even started the publicity tour yet! Which will, in all likelihood, take place in late summer/early fall, mainly along the west coast.

While you're at it, take a minute to poke around Red Hen's web site and check out the books. They publish a good deal of worthwhile and unorthodox stuff, including the poetry of Percival Everett (pictured below) whose excellent novel Erasure I reviewed here for

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

You may have noticed...

...the little counter to the upper right on this page (above the spinning globe thing that shows where visitors are looking in from, creepy I know but also fun). Below the flag thing (also fun but less creepy). I added the counter a couple years ago and had to estimate the number of visitors to the blog, but thanks to Blogger's new tracking stats I have a much more accurate picture of the actual number... and it turns out that more than 25,000 people have visited this blog since I started it in (I think) October 2007.

Holy cow.

That's more than 5,000 people per year, checking in to see what I'm doing, writing about, musing over etc. Now, in the grand scheme of things, 5,000 people per year isn't all that many. There are blogs and sites that get that many people in a day. But still, to me it's an awful lot. It makes me re-think the seriousness of this whole little enterprise, which for the past several years has been an on-again, off-again, when-I-get-around-to-it little venture.

I'll be honest: that probably won't change much. Between my books and my teaching and (especially) grading, my reviews for PopMatters and the various other tasks I busy myself with, there are just too many demands on my time to make this the thing I jump out of bed to start my day with. But--seriously!--I am going to commit myself to some sort of more regular schedule. Say, twice a week? Okay, maybe once. I figure it's the least I can do to say "thanks" to those 25,000 people who have stopped by over the years. (Okay, doubtless fewer than 25,000, as some are repeat visitors. But you know what I mean.)

Cheers, and thanks again, and have a great afternoon.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

A couple quick links, and a thank you

The thank you is for everyone who has stopped by the Amazon (or iTunes or B&N or wherever) page for Gamble of the Godless, and helped ut on its merry way up the rankings. Yesterday saw a jump of roughly 360,000 spots, so that was pretty nice. If we could raise it even higher that would be great!

For those of you who haven't yet drunk the Dave Maine epic fantasy Kool Aid, I hereby generously provide you with a couple links--first to the Gamble page on The Chronicles of Avin's web site, which contains numerous links to very smart people's very gushing reviews of the book. Secondly, to the page for the book, which has even more reviews, including one posted by Dan in Chicago, which might be my favorite:

"Apologies for the lazy review, but it's simple: it's by David Maine, so (a) it's like nothing else; and (b) it's really good."

I swear, I don't know Dan and I've never even been to Chicago! But now I might have to go, man... At this point, Gamble of the Godless has a cumulative rating of 4.27 out of 5 on Goodreads. That's pretty darn good, considering that David Mitchell's Cloud Atlas (i.e., probably the best book I've ever read) has a cumulative rating of 4.17. Draw your own conclusions, folks.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Gamble dropped to 99 cents!

Hey folks, swing over to Amazon’s Gamble of the Godless page right here to check out the newly-priced 99 cent eBook! I’ve lowered the price as I gear up to release Book 2 in the series, The Rime of the Remorseless, later this year (I’m aiming for May/June). I’m not sure how long I’ll keep the new price, so feel free to jump on it now…

In case you haven’t checked out my web site for The Chronicles of Avin, you can click here to see some extracts from some mighty nice reviews, with links to all of them, as well as the book’s page.

It’s Spring Break for me here in Honolulu, so I hope everyone is having a mellow but productive week…

Sunday, March 18, 2012

This guy likes me

...Or at least, he likes my books. Or at least, he seems to like the first three. Cool!

I don't know who this gentleman is, but he seems to be a pastor of some sort.  His name is David O. Taylor and in this clip, he is giving book and movie recommendations to people who, I believe, are pastors themselves. He reommends the movie Magnolia, and he also puts in a lengthy and very encouraging word for my first three books. Thanks, David--it's appreciated.

I like what he has to say about my stuff--it's all nice, why wouldn't I like it? He  seems like a good-natured guy who has the best interest of people at heart.

Big shout-out to my Goodreads buddy Brian, down there in Birmingham, AL, who tipped me off to this clip. Thanks Brian! 

I continue to be bemused and intrigued by the response of self-identified Christians to my novels. Many, like David and Brian, seem to have generally positive responses and see the books as opening up new ways of understanding or at least thinking about these old stories. But there are plenty of other people--just read my Amazon reviews--who seem to find me an offensive piece of offal for precisely the same reasons. I have no great insight to draw from this, other than, "People sure are funny, huh?"

Here's a link to the video, or you can watch the tiny version below:

Sunday, March 4, 2012

WInter is coming

File under Better Late Than Never:

Finally saw Game of Thrones on DVD. It rules.

That is all.

Charlotte or Emily? Jane or Catherine? Rochester or Heathcliff?

Later this month, the 21st film version of Jane Eyre will his theaters, and later in the year, yet another edition of Wuthering Heights—the 15th—will premiere. Apart from the fact that these are some pretty darn good stories, the twin releases give us the chance to argue, once again, over who was the better writer: Charlotte Bronte (Jane) or her younger sister Emily (Wuthering)? Which herione is more compelligng,  Jane’s Jane or Wuthering’s  Catherine? Who makes you all swoony, Jane’s upright (and uptight) Rochester or Catherine’s moody bad boy, Heathcliff?

Here’s how I see it. Jane Eyre is a much more conventional novel. Its structure is linear, its first-person narrator (Jane, of course) is unglamorous but quite engaging in her no-nonsense way. Rochester isn’t the most alluring of characters, but compared to the other men in the book, especially the duller-than-dirt St John and the various other horrors, he ain’t half bad. There are plenty of twists and surprises along the way, and a massively conventional ending: “Reader, I married him.” (Sorry if that’s a spoiler, but hey, the thing got published llike 170 years ago, so I don’t think I’m giving anything away.)

Wuthering Heights is a different critter altogether. It’s told through diaries and journals and reminiscences, with a structure that’s as cracked and, well, modern as anything we might expect to read in a contemporary book. The heroine, Catherine, is fairly shallow, but she feels things mightily. That’s about all I get from her, though: while Jane thinks a great deal, Catherine is a tempest of emotions. This makes her a great favorite among teenage girls, apparently. Not to be a typical guy or anything, but I never found her to make a tremendous amount of sense. Which I guess is sort of the point.

Finally there’s Rochester, the original bad boy and the object of Catherine’s passion. He is dull. Sorry! He is one-note. Sorry! He is a poseur. Sorry! You can probably tell, I don’t think much of him. This doesn’t make him a bad character; in fact, his resemblence to any number of people I’ve known in my lifetime suggests that he’s actually a rather remarkable character. But I don’t have much interest in spending time with him, or with anybody who thinks he’s the last word in manly appeal, as Catherine does.

So in the Charlotte vs. Emily sweepstakes, my vote comes down solidly on the side of Charlotte. Jane Eyre is the better book by a mile. I’ll probably go see both movies, and to some degree be happy with both and disappointed with both. But Jane Eyre, a book I first read in college in 1981, is a book I fully expect to read again in the future. Wuthering Heights? Not so much.