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Sunday, February 24, 2013

AWP update

Actually, I still don't have a lot of details about my appearance at AWP this year, but here's what I do know:

1. I will be appearing on Saturday, March 9, from 12:30 - 1:30pm.

2.  Red Hen Press will have a table/booth at the bookfair, and they'll be selling my book An Age of Madness, and I'll be available to sign copies, offer relationship advice, etc.

That's pretty much all I know. Here's a link to a bewildering overload of information.

I believe that my involvement is with the Bookfair, not the conference itself, which is full of people talking about books rather than people who actually write them. (Snarky, I know. But I've got my reasons.) There will be writers too I believe, giving talks and so forth but that's not me. I'm just there to sell & sign.

The Hynes Convention Center in Boston seems like a fairly huge place -- near the Prudential Center and the Sheraton, if that helps -- so... plan on getting there early to find parking, etc. (I'm certainly going to.)
Despite all the mayhem, this does seem like an interesting event, especially the Bookfair side of thigs, where you can meet some interesting authors and publishers and, maybe, pick up some good books. I plan on doing some browsing before and after my hour in the limelight.  Hope to see you there!

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Review for Thinner Than Skin is pretty much incomprehensible, but nice anyway

For those of you interested in puzzles, check out this review from SHE magazine for Uzma's new book, Thinner Than Skin, which appears on the blog of someone named Afrah Jamal, who apparently wrote it for the magazine. It's generally, um, enthusiastic, I think, but not always entirely clear. For example, we are told (in boldface no less), that  "There are the inevitable political undertones to the saga tinted with unnecessary explicit annotations and where its brazen denouements darken the reflections, the spirited portrayals alter these ordinary dimensions." I have no fucking clue what this means.

The general tone of positivity is apparent through the use of various adjectives used to describe the book and the writing -- things like "brilliant," "luminous" and "beautiful" are nice to see, and always much appreciated when reading reviews. But these cheerful positives tend to get drowned in statements like "the US based protagonist is on hand to document the macabre moments and raw emotions with a forensic interest leading readers deep inside the enigmatic heart of the vale."

Compounding the confusion is the author's deep and abiding love of bodface and italics, which are frequently used to convey, I guess, either profundity or enthusiasm. But, y'know, it all just ends up being kind of distracting to the eyeballs and confusing to the brain, especially as extended quotes from the book are presented in italics as well.

Nonetheless: it's a positive review, and therefore much appreciated. So who's complaining? Certainly not me.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

A special Valentine's edition of Don't Open That Door!

This week's edition of Don't Open That Door! features 1959's opus The Alligator People, starring  abunch of people you never heard of, along with Lon Chaney Jr (The Wolf Man) and a passel of oversized cold-blooded lizards. No one will ever confuse it with Citizen Kane, but it's entertaining nonetheless.

My review begins:

"Something goes terribly wrong for new bride Joyce when, soon after her marriage, her pilot husband Paul skips out on her. Pursuing her wayward spouse with all the tenacity of a famished pit bull, Joyce eventually winds up in the little town of Bayou Landing, Louisiana (main industries: rain, mud and loco locals). But when she knocks on the door of the house that she believes her runaway hubby calls home, she is coldly rebuffed by the ice-queenly matron of the house, one Mrs. “Frigidaires R Us” Hawthorne. At the end of her tether—and with no way out of Bayou Landing till the next day’s train—Joyce begs for a night’s shelter, which she duly gets, although Mrs Hawthorne demands, with typical Dixie hospitality: “Don’t leave the room!” Gosh, that sounds like there’s nothing to worry about."

There is more hilarity in the movie, and in the review too, if I may say so myself. ("Moral of the story: A background check is always a good idea, no matter how much you love the guy.") Plus there are a few stills and a couple clips, so swing on by and take a look, and Like it on Facebook or Tweet about it so that the groundswell of enthusiasm continues to grow...

NEXT WEEK: The Day the Earth Stood Still. (The 1951 original edition!)

Monday, February 11, 2013

This ain't Hawaii anymore, part 2: February edition

So, we got some snow.

Quite a bit of it actually: I rolled out of bed on Saturday morning and looked out the window to see this:

That's our neighbor's dog (Conan or Hercules or some such appropriate name) trotting down the newly-shoveled walk of their house. Conan/Hercules/Troy/whatever is a sizeable dog, so we're looking at two and a half or maybe three feet here. "Gosh," I said to myself, or words to that effect.

Then I went outside.

It's actually quite cool looking, is the thing. Snow always is, as long as you don't have to shovel it. Alas, I did need to. Perhaps you have noticed the car-shaped mound underneath all that snow? Ah yes. That used to be a Honda.

Uzee's car was equally blanketed.

It ended up turning into a sort of bonding experience for the neighborhood. I'm sure we were not alone in this. If there's one thing that brings people together, it's backbreaking physical labor.

I started shoveling a quarter to twelve, took a break a 1:15, went out again at 2:00 and was done by 3:30. That's my exercise quote till about, oh, mid-June I should think. But I'm not complaining! (No, really I'm not.) Things could have been much worse for us. We didn't lose power, for one thing, and neither I nor Uzee needed to go to work, ie drive, while all that stormage was going on.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

I will be at AWP 2013

Hi folks, for those of you interested and in the area, I will be appearing at the 2013 AWP conference in Boston on Saturday, March 9. Here's a link to the event. I think my involvement is with the Bookfair part of the conference, but I'm not entirely sure. Stay tuned.

I don't know much about AWP, except that it stands for Association of Writing Programs or something similar. It's sort of a meeting place for people interested in, or involved with, academic writing programs, both creative writing and other kinds.

So it's kind of ironic that I'm involved, as my academic career is well and truly dead. But there you go.

My publisher, Red Hen Press, has a table in the hall, as I gather many publishers do, especially independents and small presses. I've been asked to sign copies of An Age of Madness on Saturday, March 9 from 12:30pm to 1:3pm, and I will happily do so. There will also be about two zillion other publishers and writers milling about, so it should be a terrific opportunity to meet some people and discover some great books.

I realize this post is a little thin on details... but then, so am I. I will post more when the time draws closer and I have a better sense of what's going. See you in Boston.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Goodreads reviews

I'm pretty thrilled about, which is a terrific web site dedicated to avid readers and their books recommendations, groups, chat boards and so forth. Tastes vary widely, obviously, and its worst it can act as an echo chamber for stuff like Fifty Shades of Gray, but at tis best it's a place where interested readers can congregate and swap reviews and recommendations. You can find a lot of good books by browsing over there for a few minutes/hours/days. I know I have...

Anyway, some reviews are starting to trickle in for An Age of Madness, now that the book has been out for a few months, and I'm happy to report that many of them are very sweet. So click on the link and take a look at what people are saying. It's gratifying when just regular readers respond to something, as opposed to professional critics or book reviewers (hey, not knocking them either--I am one, after all) who sometimes sound as if they're just reaching for something to say in order to meet a word count. (Not that I ever do that, of course.)

Not sure which I like more, the woman who says "I don't understand why David Maine is not on everyone's best seller list," or the guy who asks, after reading An Age of Madness, "Hope you are okay?" I don't know either of these people, by the way, or anyone who wrote any of thgese reviews apart from my pal Lori over at The Next Best Book Club. (Hey, Lori! I'm wearing your TNBBC T-shirt today!)

These reviews mean a lot, of course, both to me and more importantly to other readers. So if you've read the book, feel free to post something there, and/or on Amazon. It doesn't have to be long--a couple sentences is great. And think about doing it not just for me, but for any book you've read and enjoyed lately. These are trying times for writers, financially, and any little bit of enthusiasm you can generated will be much appreciated...