Thursday, November 02, 2006

Thursday roundup

Let us see if we can provide a number of links and pieces of information without getting distracted into long discussions.

Jason Sandford is trying to trace a lost poem.

Bearparade has published The Living and the Dead by Noah Cicero, whose last book, Burning Babies, was reviewed here about a year ago.

The Looking Glass Wars, a story about Alyss of Wonderland, is now out in the US and being heavily pushed by Penguin, who have given it its own fancy web site.

Nicholas Clee, former editor of the UK Bookseller, and Hot Type columnist in the Times, has started a blog about cooking.

Tonto Press is inviting submissions for a new short-story anthology.

Danielle Steel says that she's doing 'more commercial things now', including offering a new perfume called Danielle. (Link from Publishers Lunch.)

There's a new imprint called Quiver, which offers books for for couples wanting to take their sex lives to the next level.

The new BBC TV series Robin Hood is turning out to be a disappointment, I fear, but if you're up for a Robin Hood novel then Andrew Fish has a brand-new one for you: Erasmus Hobart and the Golden Arrow.

Econometric forecasting can help you to calculate the publication date of your as-yet-unagented novel.

Screenwriting guru Robert McKee is going to be in London again: 10-12 November; after Tel Aviv and before Toronto.

Don Swaim has lots and lots of audio interviews with writers; but you need Real Player, a program which in the past attracted a great deal of criticism. (Link from Fancyclown, who has just moved from his old place on Blogspot, which, he says, no one ever looked at.)

Should you have an MFA degree -- you lucky thing, you -- there's a conference for you, this very weekend, in New York City.

Should you be short of stuff to read, the Top Author Blogs site has a list of blogs by people who write.

Speaking of author blogs, David Salvage is a highbrow novelist and also a psychiatrist, and he has a blog too.

Merisi has views (and pictures from Vienna) on the question of writers in coffee shops; and she points out that, in a New York Times article (you have to register), the Starbucks chain says that it might get into the business of publishing new authors.

Insofar as there is any serious money in publishing, it's made out of textbooks and other boring bits; and the Sunday Times describes just how valuable such publishing companies can be.

Sacha Baron Cohen has written a book about Kazakhstan, but American publishers are terrified of its rude pictures. (Link from

Abebooks has news of a haunted bookshop. Ooer missus.

'Banned in Boston' used to be a great line for selling a book, and now it's Banned by Borders. Aury Wallington is a former Sex and the City writer, and her novel Pop is frowned on in some quarters, because, for a Young Adult book, it's a bit too, um -- aw gee this is so embarrassing -- explicit. OK? There, I said it. Lots of blogger comment, e.g. on Bookslut and Galleycat.

One way to write a poem painlessly is to do a search on Allmusic, as Martin Rundkvist did, and claim the result as your own.

Ian Brotherhood's hard-edged debut novel, Bulletproof Suzy, was inspired by a piece of Glasgow graffiti. A launch party takes place on Friday 27 October 2006 at 6 p.m. at Waterstones (formerly Ottakars), Buchanan Galleries, Buchanan Street, Glasgow. Firearms must be left at the door.

Robin Tamblyn was mis-named here as Russ Tamblyn a while back (must be a name from my distant past), but he's the author of King of Hollywood, a 'darkly comic tale of a gay Hollywood player's rise - and fall - from grace.'

Monsignor Quixote is a newish blog, described as 'A blog of UK literary news, aimed at film & television producers and journalists. Round up of relevant news from publishing industry and exclusives from UK publishers, agents and authors.' Definitely one to keep an eye on if you are aiming at the UK market.

Publishers Lunch reports that world rights to Teri Woods's originally self-published (1999) True to the Game, plus two sequels and two stand-alone street novels, have been sold to Karen Thomas at Warner, in a major deal, by Marc Gerald at The Agency Group. Decoded: 'major deal' means a sum in excess of $500,000.

Andrew O'Hara, of the Jimston Journal, points out that Flickr, a site for photographers, enables the use of a variety of Creative Commons licences.

You may be surprised to know that some people will pay $8,000 for a Stephen King book.

Ellen Simonetti is a former airline flight attendant, and she has just self-published Diary of a Dysfunctional Flight Attendant: The Queen of Sky Blog, and it looks like a lot of fun. It's fiction, by the way. Go to her blog for details. And don't miss the 'inappropriate' pictures that got her fired. And you can even listen to the phone call of her supervisor firing her. Now that, you have to admit, is pretty damn cool. I think this lady could go places.

Last: A commenter on yesterday's post refers us to a Washington Post review of UK journalist Eve Pollard's new novel, Jack's Widow. This review nicely illustrates the fact that not every reviewer is familiar with the conventions of the alternative-history genre. Furthermore, when such a novel features a character whom the reviewer revered in real life, he can get quite sniffy. Eve Pollard, I suspect, is tough enough to survive. In fact, I think Patrick Anderson had better avoid the combination of dark alley + Big Evie.


Andrew O'Hara said...

One has to appreciate our Dysfunctional Flight Attendant for bringing us the lighter side of getting fired. Times do change--'twas not that long ago that we'd all be mailing the photos back and forth and copying audio tapes. Now we get to lust and listen in near-live time.

kitty said...

I got as far as the mention of the Tonto Press request for short stories. And then I read this:
"there is no reading or entry fee, however we are asking all submitting writers to pre-order a copy of the finished anthology. This will be shipped to you as soon as it becomes available."


Queen of Sky said...

Thanks for the plug, GOB!

Dobby said...

Just a small warning here - the Tonto link is for a paid compo. It says it doesn't charge for entries, but you have to pre-order the anthology WHEN you enter.

It's only 9.99, but you know, enough people enter and that's a tidy sum someone is making for publishing someone elses work!

Dobby said...

ooops - just read Kitty's comments. Sorry for the duplication.

Iain said...

I don't want to get too hung up on Eve Pollard's bizarre Jack's Widow, her fictionalised rehash of Jackie Kennedy's life post-JFK, but it bothers me, and I'm not prepared to let it go quite yet.

Let me begin by admitting that I don't have a copy, and I know it's wrong to dismiss any book as worthless when you haven't even read it. So what I have to say has nothing to do with the book's literary merits or demerits.

But assuming that the Washington Post review isn't hopelessly inaccurate as to fact, then I think this is a very nasty piece of work indeed.

Alternative history (the what-if branch of historical fiction) is deplored on principle only by the most pedantic of pedants. But when it's alternative personal history about someone recently deceased, many of whose relations are still alive, it's a different matter.

I don't know if we've had a what-if novel about Princess Diana, but if not, you can put money on it that we're going to get one. And probably more than one.

Don't get me wrong. I'm a libertarian in most matters, and I wouldn't go so far as to ban such 'books'. But they take shameless (and shameful) advantage of the fact that you can't libel the dead.

Most of us have grown weary of superstar hype, and even, by extension, of the superstars so hyped. And Jackie Kennedy was one of the first superstars of the modern age.

But even the rich and famous -- and you didn't get much richer or more famous than Jackie Kennedy -- are human beings. They deserve better than this, even when they're dead.

JodyTresidder said...

You're not alone - your linked Wapo review of Pollard's book continues to niggle at me too - despite always having a sneaking admiration for the formidable Pollard, and no very strong positive feelings about Jackie. (I even felt the reviewer's glutinous admiration for Jackie almost spoiled his thesis).

Scurrilously fictionalised gossip - with a hint of porn - about a recently deceased celebrity probably looked as though it had marketing possibilities.

But Pollard's novel seems to lack even a stab at internal plausibility - which ruins all the fun of bad taste.

I think your "a very nasty piece of work indeed" covers it perfectly.

Fancyclown said...

Thanks for the mention, tips hat.