Listen to Pilot Light

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Las Cruces Booksigning

Yesterday, Jim Beckett and I drove to COAS Books in Las Cruces, NM for a book signing. The focus was on THE INVENTION OF CLAY MCKENZIE, but we had copies of UNDER LOW SKIES and Jim's two science fiction short stories as well (MURPHY'S LOSS and Proton: Heroine of Chem). We had a nice time, sold a few books, and Mike Beckett (no relation to Jim) who owns the store took a few copies to have on hand (in case you missed the signing but don't want to miss the book). It always feels good to be in a bookstore (among old friends, as it were).

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Kudos for Clay McKenzie

We recently got a review for THE INVENTION OF CLAY MCKENZIE that I want to share. Glenda Bixler at GABixler Reviews really "got the book" as we say. It is always exciting to get such a positive and thorough review from people who love books.

Here is a brief teaser from the review(it's a long one!)

This is both a fun and uniquely different romp into book publishing. An ambitious individual who can look at an issue and figure out how to get things done is A future entrepreneur if...  But when it turns into one scam after another... For the reader, we sit back and laugh because of the "dumb" people who were involved. Well, no, not dumb--rather, the "trusting" people who get involved and don't immediately realize that if something does not sound right, there is, indeed, probably something that is not right. There's not too much mystery involved for readers; it's more an adventure watching to see how far this will go!

The key issue are the characters. The author, reclusive, remains true to himself. Stephanie is the main character and before long, you will be wanting to help her, maybe even slap her into recognition! Still, even if nobody slapped her, it is a wonderful and fitting ending that totally satisfies, even if it certainly is a surprising one! A totally enjoyable tale in the ever-changing world of today's publishing! Check it out!

Naturally I hope you will read the entire review and it will encourage you to buy a copy and read it if you haven't yet. It is available in both ebook and print formats. It is available everywhere, but here are some links to make life easier.

Barnes & Noble

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Standing up for literature

Back sometime around the time of Charlemagne, I remember reading a bio of Hemingway and being struck by the idea that he wrote standing up. That, I thought, was about the dumbest thing a person could do. After all, being comfortable let the mind flow around in all that creative space.

Somewhere along the line, that idea went out along with the one that smoking a pipe and wearing jackets with leather elbow patches improved my writing. Not that I snub anything that would improve my writing, but I had come to realize that looking like I thought a writer should look didn't really help me get better prose on paper.

I came, somehow (I really don't recall) to embrace the idea of writing standing up, at least part of the time. In Cambodia, Dagny made me a standing desk and a local carpenter made a stool exactly to my dimensions. (I do wish I could have brought that stool back -- I modeled it after one I saw in a bar in Koh Kong). So my writing station looked like this.

The motorcyle didn't improve my writing either, but this was Cambodia, and the office was in what had been a bar (and a church and a brothel) before we rented it.

This set up worked pretty well, although standing on concrete limited my stints at the computer. And yes, the little notebook was all I had for quite some time. Worked okay, but slow.

Then, coming back to the US, I knew I wanted something different. Dagny and I both spent a lot of time looking at office designs that were aesthetically pleasing and ergonomic (and finding out what that meant to various folks). We found lots of high-tech solutions like the one below but that seemed too expensive and overkill. I am not that high tech anymore.

Then we found a nice solution. And it looks like this.
It's an adjustable stand up desk (Focal Upright Furniture) and works better than the one in Cambodia. This is just a recent incarnation of the setup and I am getting used it, but I think it is working great. The light (optional) is fantastic. Good friend and coauthor, Jim Beckett, loaned me a monitor and printer and keyboard so that my laptop thinks its a tower. Life is good.

And there go my excuses for not writing.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Traveling and writing

Travel and writing seem to go hand in hand for me. Maybe that is simply because I seem to travel all the time and write all time and so they are a forced fit and I could just as well say that traveling and breathing go hand in hand. True, but a rather useless connection to make.

But I don't think so. I get inspired by travel. We just drove a few hundred miles along the Old West Highway in Arizona, turning up to Pumpkin Junction and down to Scottsdale and then back. There is a lot of beautiful country along that route and it ranges from desert to mountainous. We've made the trip quite a few times and I can't help but imagine crossing the country I am seeing in a Conestoga wagon or on horse. I shudder when I see how far away the next bit of green is or the arroyos that need crossing. It's the kind of thing I want to have in mind if I ever write a Western, or even a story about someone crossing beautiful but rather inhospitable terrain.

None of that has much to do with the current works in progress, but that's okay. I took photos and my memories are synched to the sights and sounds and smells (the dog coaches me on the last two). It is all good stuff to store away.