Saturday, June 9, 2007

Hustle and Green Snake

A couple of DVD recommendations for you:

First, a British TV show, Hustle. A long-con team of grifters are our stars, and they generally win, so the premise alone may offend some. They are also, as you'd expect, prettier, smarter, nicer, better dressed, and generally spiffier than most real criminals. The plots are fun, though not particularly innovative. Despite all that, I greatly enjoy the execution, from the odd moments in which actors step out of time to the performances of all the key stars.

Second, and with reservations, the Tsui Hark film, Green Snake, which we watched tonight at our frequent Chinese & Chinese gatherings. I'm sure if I spoke Chinese and was properly versed in this film genre I would be touched by the romantic and moral story. Instead, I found the visuals great fun and both the plot and the subtitles at times so funny that I kept watching.

Don't ask me for your money back, though, if you hate 'em both.

Friday, June 8, 2007

Quail Ridge comes through

Waiting for me in this morning's email was a thread about doing a signing of One Jump Ahead at Quail Ridge Books and Music. QRB is indeed going to stock the book and also host a signing. During the day, we worked out the details by phone: I'll be at the store at 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, July 26. The reason for waiting so long is to give the good folks there a chance to promote the event.

I'm quite happy that QRB came through; thanks to all who helped make this happen.

If you're in Raleigh that day and want to chat, please come to the signing--and buy a copy of my novel, if you haven't picked one up already. I want bookstores to make lots of money on my books.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Bookstore joy and sadness

Yesterday (Tuesday) was, as Tuesdays generally are, new book day at the major chains. I'd heard that Barnes & Noble would be putting One Jump Ahead on the New Ficition table, but the information was backchannel, so I wasn't counting on it. As you can see in the photo, it was indeed on that table, front and center. Allyn took this photo for me, so I haven't actually seen the display myself, but I hope to do so tomorrow. Just the image made me unreasonably happy for a few nanoseconds, before the crush of work rolled back over my psyche.

Alas, my bookstore news was not to be all good. My assistant, Bonnie, had been checking the local stores for the book as part of preliminary efforts at setting up signings. Two of my favorite local bookstores, places I've supported for a very long time, Quail Ridge Books & Music in Raleigh and The Regulator Bookshop in Durham, told her they did not plan to carry the book. That saddened me, particularly because I've done group signings at Quail Ridge before and even spoke briefly at BEA with one of their buyers. We'll try to persuade them to stock my book, but whether they do or not, I have to recommend them both to anyone in this area; they are simply great stores.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Rough day

First days back after trips are always rough at work, but today turned bad in other ways.

Rana took our cat, Lyra, to the vet today for an expensive test to check out a potential heart problem. Lyra proved to have a hypertrophic heart and related problems, which means we'll have to put her on a beta blocker and baby aspirin for the rest of her life. With those pills, she should live a normal lifespan.

At about the same time, Jennie learned that her cat, Maggie, had a bum leg. The injury turned out to be a shattered portion of her kneecap, which will require surgery tomorrow.

Then the worst of the bad news hit: on the way home from the vet, Rana was in an automobile accident. A car ran a red light in front of her, and despite her best efforts to avoid the car, she hit it. She was not at fault, and she was not hurt badly, but she was bruised and shaken seriously, and our van is a mess and left on a tow truck. She's going to the doctor tomorrow to make sure she is okay, but we think she'll be fine.

What a day.


I'm back, and I'm digging out. I had a very productive plane ride and am well into the next chapter of Slanted Jack.

I was going to sign off and cite fatigue as the reason for the short post, but something's bugging me: why can't people learn to walk on the right? In airports, convention centers, malls, and other public places, some people walk on the right, some on the left, and the result is chaos. We drive on the right, so walk on the right.

Listen up, people! Spread the word!

Sunday, June 3, 2007

The award for the worst luggage handling service

goes to Orlando International Airport and American Airlines.

Today balanced Friday's great travel experience.

I left my laptop's power cord in NY, so I'm about out of power. I hate being stupid.

I arrived in Orlando early but then waited 56 minutes for my bag, at which point the great voice in the airport ceiling announced that they could not open the airplane's cargo door and so our bags were delayed.

That's a new one, at least to me.

My bag finally showed up 25 minutes later, after they made us walk to the other end of the concourse in a change of baggage claim carousels for no apparent reason.

My hotel room is lovely, but it's also an almost two-block walk--no exaggeration--from the hotel lobby.

At least I finished my Slanted Jack work on the plane.

I heart travel.


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