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Saturday, September 29, 2012

TNBBC's take on KGB

Lori over at The Next Best Book Club has also blogged about our KGB gig -- the vids are the same but she has a few insights of her own, plus a photo or two. Drop on by and tell her hi!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

KGB footage found!

...Uh, that is, a video of me reading at KGB Lit Bar in New York on September 16, as taken by the supernaturally energetic Lori over at The Next Best Book Club. Not that other KGB, sorry.

Here's part 1. It looks dark and grainy because the place is just incredibly dimly lit and the wall are painted blood red besides. But you sort of get the idea maybe:

And here's part 2:

A reminder: I will be reading at the Strand Bookstore in Manhatten on Wednesday, October 17 with a bunch of other immensely talented people, 7:00-9:00pm. Will most more info about that soon.

Meanwhile, huge smooches out to Lori for taking the time and trouble to do all this -- not just setting up the event and filming it, but splicing and editing and posting and everything. You are, as I have said before, my #1 fan.

I am wearing a TNBBC Book Addict T-shirt. It rules. Buy one from Lori here.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Right now, at this very second, I am...

1. ...Sitting at a car dealer in's in Northampton, Mass.

2. Waiting for my car to be repaired.

3. Tasting the pizza I had for lunch.

4. Shivering to too much air conditioning.

5. Anticipating a hefty repair bill.

6. Listening to Nickelback.

DISCUSS: Which of these is the most tragic? Support you argument with concrete examples and logical conclusions.

Be sure to tune in tomorrow (or the next day, or the day after that) for another exciting episode of "A Writer's Life."

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Don't Open That Door! #13: She Demons (1958)

Somehow we've gotten to installment #13 of my weekly PopMatters column, Don't Open That Door!, and I for one have no intention of stopping--or even slowing down. This week I'm celebrating the creep-fest that is 1958's She Demons, a movie that manages to involve a deserted island, gross medical experiments, mysterious deaths, mad scientists, and of course, Nazis.

It's all quite twisted and far more entertaining than it has any right to be, in part because of the fine acting of cult favorite Irish McCalla. But don't take my word for it! Here's the first paragraph of my review:

"Washed up on a deserted island after a hurricane, bottle-blond Jerrie sulks about her spoiled wardrobe, even as the guys she’s with—alpha male Fred, wisecracking Sammy and somber ship’s captain Kris—try to make the best of things. This multiracial crew grows concerned when they pick up radio transmissions that indicate the Air Force uses the island for bombing practice, although frankly the idea of Jerrie getting blasted into her component atoms doesn’t seem like such a tragedy. More surprising is Kris’s discovery of footprints up the beach. Our very own little United Nations in the surf doesn’t quite know what to make of them, but Kris at least is ready to start beseeching the local deities for—we presume—assistance. The answering drums may be evidence of divine intervention, but we suspect not."

You can read the rest of the column here. Please Like it on Facebook, Tweet about it, etc. If I can convince the good folks in charge of PopMatters that I actually have some kind of readership, they will continue letting me play in their sandbox.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

My Big Braddah

When in New York last weekend, I stayed with my brother Stephen and his wife Gelah, and had the occasion of visiting their art studio, where Stephen has constructed a unique device:

I think he should patent this thing.

The upper, hanging frame serves to hold a horizontal piece of rubberized screening, which is I think dipped in pigment and then lowered via the pulley and pressed down onto paper (or plywood or foam-core board or something), making a variety of striking two-tone images:

The background is one color and the paint is another, so the variations are pretty much endless:


What I like about these things is that they suggest pictures without really being pictures. Stephen pointed out to me that the dot-picture image is the same technique as is used in newspaper photographs. So there's sort of a "What do you see?--I dunno, what do you see?" effect running through these, which I really like. I compared them to the marks on the shroud of Turin: you see pretty much whatever it is you're looking for. If you're not looking for anything in particular, then the randomness of the pattern can surprise you.

Go check out Stephen's web site (and Gelah's too) for more interesting images.

All these images are copyright 2012 by Stephen Maine.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

National Reading Group Month!

Woo-hoo! The Women's National Book Association has selected An Age of Madness to be one of their Great Group Reads selections for 2012. This is quite the honor, as only 20 books are chosen to be highlighted each year, so I'm grateful to the WNBA for their kind selection.

As part of this process, I will be doing a reading event at the Strand Bookstore in new York City on Octo 17 from 7-9pm, with a number of other authors. A little information can be found here, and more will be forthcoming as I get it.

I had a terrific time reading at KGB on Sunday night, and hope that maybe I can meet up with anyone who was unable to make it into town but who might be interested in hearing/meeting me. The event is free and the other authors will, I'm sure, make for a lively crew, so come on over...

Monday, September 17, 2012

A writer's life

So, Friday's even at Book Thug Nation was an unfortunate episode in the long-running serial known as A Guy Named Dave Writes Books and Then Tries to Sell Them. There's really not much to say except, oh well, sometimes you throw a party and no one shows up. We've all ben there, right? And some of us (ahem) have been there three or four times.

Happily, Saturday was a marked improvement, with me able to spend some time with my good buddy Julia, who I've known since 1980 (oy) but had fallen out of touch with for 20-odd years. We picked up right where we left off, and I was struck all over again at the unique kind of blessing that it is to have, and rediscover, old friends.

Sunday I wandered around Brooklyn and the east Village, bemoaned the reduced state of the formerly-great Kim's Video, and checked in with some old friends:

And then, Sunday night came the big event at KGB Lit Bar. I read along with Kathleen Alcott, and a number of people were in attendance, including my brother Stephen, my buddy Julia, my agent Scott, my publisher Kate, and of course Lori over at TNBBC.

An audience of roughly 30 people were packed into KGB's tiny and dimly-lit space, and I have to say, the audience was great. People laughed at the right moments and cringed at the right moments, and a number of people chatted with me afterward. All in all it was a great time, so a big thanks to Suzanne, the person in charge of the fiction series, and Lori, who worked so hard to set everything up.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Okay, so last night's event at Book Thug Nation was a bit of a fiasco...

... I will write all about it when I get back to Massachusetts next week.

Meanwhile, you can read Lori's take on it over here at The Next Best Book Blog. It was actually kind of funny, in a (somewhat absurd) way. And I feel sorry for poor Lori, who worked so hard to set this up and who I'm pretty sure feels worse about it than I do. (Full disclosure: it's not the first time I did an event and nobody showed...)

Meanwhile, tomorrow night's event at KGB Lit Bar promises to be splendid! Woo-hoo! See you there!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Still 3 days left to register for the Goodreads book giveaway...

...and yowza, 234 people have signed up so far.

Those are still okay odds, though -- my publisher is giving away three copies of An Age of Madness so the odds of winning one are still within reason; better than one in 80. So if you're interested in a free book (a real one! Made of paper! With pages and everythign!), just trundle on over to and sign up. Sunday might be your lucky day...

Monday, September 10, 2012

Interview with Kate Gale of Red Hen Press

Hey, why is Red Hen Press called red Hen Press? Now you can find out the answer to this and numerous other questions in this lively and entertaining interview with editor and publisher Kate Gale over at the Best American Poetry blog. Kate has much to say about Red Hen, its authors, contemporary poetry and the publishing scene in general. She also has a few nice things to say about (ahem) me and my new book. Thanks, Kate.

Please support Red Hen. They do good work.

And look, she has a snake around her neck. So there's that.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

I did NOT take these pictures...

...But I have been seeing the birds around my window. Uzee and I have set up a pair of bird feeders by our dining table and downstairs office, and after a slow start, they are doing a steady business these days. We've even seen a ruby-throated hummingbird flitting around the pace, possibly attracted by all the other activity, which makes us want to get a hummingbird feeder too.

It's been a while since we've had feeders by our house, and regular visitors. A lot of people around here do it; most of our neighbors have feeders or bird houses or both. It's a nice thing about this part of the country, and something I had been missing without even knowing it.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Attention teachers and professors...

If you're looking for a way to integrate a real actual living breathing (usually) writer into your classroom, look no further than Red Hen Press's Course Adoptions page. Briefly, RH will make desk copies available to you free of charge should you wish to use any of their books in class (such as, ahem, An Age of Madness), and will also work to get the author into the classroom as well, whether for a reading, a discussion, a Q&A session or something more, such as a workshop of student stories.

It's all pretty fun--I know because I did this sort of thing at The University of Cincinnati a couple of years ago. Feel free to contact either my publicist, Billy, at, or else write to me directly through this blog. I can't guarantee I'll be available for all dates and (especially) all locations, but you can be sure I'll do my best.

Friday, September 7, 2012

One week away!

Yo, today's Friday, which means I'm just one week away from my 2-hour (gulp) reading event at Book Thug Nation in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, NY. It all gets rolling at 7:00 and I hope to see you there. I'm expecting the evening to be pretty epic, as Lori from The Next Best Book Club (who is sponsoring the event) will be there, and we'll both talk a little, and I'll read for a while, and answer questions, and sign books, and sell books, and so forth. That will probably fill an hour or so. God knows what we'll do for the second hour. Finger painting probably. Juggling. Audience participation--maybe we'll set up an open mic or something. Cream-filled doughnut raffle.

I know you know all this, but -- two days later, on Sunday, I'll be reading at KGB Lit Bar with Kathleen Alcott, so if you can't make it to Brooklyn on Friday, maybe I'll see you in the Village on Sunday. I think this will be a slightly, ahem, fore professional affair, as I'll be reading with someone else, and we only have an hour between us, and so on...

Anyway, I may be heading back into NYC in October, though that isn't confirmed as yet. I would sure like to see you there, so... see you there.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Don't Open That Door! #11: The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms (1953)

The latest in my ongoing column over at PopMatters is focused on The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms, Ray Harryhausen's excellent 1953 dinosaur-on-the-loose flick that was inspired by the original King Kong, and in turn inspired a host of similar films, including Ishiro Hondo's Godzilla.

My article begins:

"Nuclear tests have sent the earth out of its orbit—no, wait, that’s a different movie. Nuclear tests have unleashed a swarm of giant killer ants—no, wait, sorry. Here it is: nuclear tests up in the Arctic have roused a dinosaur from its suspended animation (that’s “sleep” to you and me, kids) and sent it swimming and waddling down the Canadian coast in search of its old breeding grounds in America’s northeast. After its amorous advances toward a Canadian fishing vessel and a Maine lighthouse go unheeded, the scaly critter grows annoyed and sets about laying waste to everything in sight. Meanwhile, intrepid scientist Dr Tom Nesbitt, who first spotted the thing up at the North Pole, has identified the creature as a rhedosaur (from Latin saur = “lizard” and rhedo = “this audience will believe anything”). Dr. Nesbitt confers with elderly Dr. Elson—you can tell he’s a scientist by his pipe—who suspects that the rhedosaur might soon come ashore in search of a mate."

And so on. There's much more hilarity to be had, and I encourage you to read the whole column here. If you care to Like it on Facebook or Tweet about it and so forth, thot's all fantastic too.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Book giveaway over at

Red Hen Press is kindly offering three copies of An Age of Madness in a random drawing at -- all you have to do is have a Goodreads account (easy enough to set up if you haven't already) and then submit your name. You can find the details on this page here; so far, more than 80 people have signed up, which is pretty fun; thanks for the enthusiasm, folks! But with 3 copies being given away, you still have decent odds even if the numbers go much higher. So go ahead and give it a shot. It's free, so why not?

Saturday, September 1, 2012

An Age of Madness released today!

Yowza, that was quick -- but here it is September 1 already, and An Age of Madness is officially released today. It's available on Amazon and elsewhere, I am mightily grateful to nyone who chooses to pick up a copy and check it out.

A reminder: copies will be available for just $10 at both of my New York reading events (see below). Needless to say, I'll be happy to sign books there as well, or draw pictures, insert love notes, or whatever else you may desire to make the thing more eBay-worthy down the road...

For what it's worth, this book is my longest-running project ever; I started in 1998 or 99, and it has gone through more revisions and rewrites than I care to count. My first publisher, St Martin's, wasn't enamored of it (that was several rewrites ago) and for a while I despaired that this thing ould ever see the light of day. Happily, a couple of revisions later, Red Hen Press picked up the ball and ran with it. So many thanks to RHP, editor Kate Gale and all the rest of the crew who have made this experience so enjoyable.