Saturday, May 19, 2012

Lobo on a new job in No Going Back

“There’s nothing I enjoy more,” Lobo said, “than pretending to be dumb and slow.”

“You’ll have to do a lot of that,” I said, “because I’ll need to introduce you so she can ask for things when I’m out, but you can’t be too intelligent, or our rates won’t make sense.”

“This job keeps looking better and better.”
For context, of course, you need to read the book.

Friday, May 18, 2012

It went like this

I commented about how much I wanted to see the upcoming bad action flick, The Expendables 2.

Scott sent me this picture, which I showed to Kyle.

Kyle pointed me to this Saturday Night Live bit.

That's how it went.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

How you can help make No Going Back a success

Quite a few folks have emailed me or asked me in person the same question: what can I do to help make No Going Back a hit?  I'm frankly stunned and honored to even hear the question, and for a while I basically declined to answer it.  After more thought, though, I decided to let myself answer it as part of a weak moment of self-serving marketing. 

If you really want to help, there are three things you can do--for my novel or any other book you like.

Pre-order a copy.

Most hardbacks get about three weeks on bookstore shelves before the store ditches them.  During that time, your book has to make a good impression.  First-week sales are vital to that impression.  So, whether you're shopping online or at a Barnes & Noble or at your local independent bookseller, pre-ordering or buying in the first week is the best support you can give a book.

Spread the word. 

Hand-selling books is a time-honored practice that works.  If you buy and like the book, telling others and recommending they pick up a copy is an easy way to really help sales.

If your bookstore is out of stock on the book, ask them to order more.

A bookstore can't sell what it doesn't have in stock.  Yeah, that fact is obvious, but it's also something bookstores often don't worry about.  If a store gets in three copies of a book and sells them all, it's unlikely to order more unless customers request them.  That means that even if a book is delighting readers, its presence in stores is likely to be limited by how many copies the store's buyer originally purchased. 

That's it, really.  Those three things would greatly help No Going Back--or any other novel--to be a bigger success than it might otherwise be.

Thanks to those who asked, and my apologies to those who are appalled at my self-promotion.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Facebook still hates me--even as it takes me

In a post about a month and a half ago, I noted that Facebook would not let me have my real name unless I emailed its crack team a photocopy of a government-issued ID.  Finally, after much thought and with great reluctance, I did just that. The next day, they accepted me, and now I'm on Facebook with my correct name. 

Facebook, though, still hates me.  After I signed up, I uploaded a picture of myself (really just an author head shot), as one is supposed to do.  I then wanted to upload a cover for my page, as the new (Timeline) interface makes possible.  I couldn't find a way to do that.  I searched every option I could see.  I called knowledgable friends, who led me through all the paths they knew would work--and none did. 

In the end, the reason proved to be that I do not have the Timeline interface, and Facebook won't let me have it.  Even as Facebook is making everyone else convert to Timeline, it won't let me have the interface.

When Facebook finally solves this problem, presumably by forcing my account to move to Timeline, my page will look better, and I might even start using the damn thing.

In the meantime, if you want to watch my page in hopes of the cover appearing, friend me.  I'm not seeking out people right now, but I'm also generally saying yes to folks I know.

Perhaps one day Facebook will like me.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Seeing a legend perform

Itzhak Perlman is a legend, one of the very few classical musicians whom even those who do not follow classical music recognize.  I should know: I'm one of those people.  When we learned that Perlman was playing with the North Carolina Symphony in the local, lovely Meymandi Hall, we instantly bought the best tickets we could get.  Gina spotted the concert, and Scott was particularly excited, because he'd been a fan of Perlman's since he was a little boy.

I'm so very glad we went.

For the first forty-five minutes, the North Carolina Symphony played three very pretty pieces:  Berlioz's Roman Carnival Overture, Op. 9; Wagner's Prelude to Act I from Lohengrin; and Tchaikovsky's Capriccio Italien, Op. 45.  My ignorance of classical music is profound, so I knew none of these, but I enjoyed them all.

After the intermission, Perlman joined them, and the crowd went about as wild as a symphony audience in Raleigh is likely to get.  He made his way to his seat under his own power, using his crutches with slow, practiced moves that looked painful.  After he settled into his seat, they began a piece, Tchaikovsky's Violin Concerto in D Major, Op. 35, that I have since learned is an insanely difficult composition to play and one that was the subject of great controversy for quite some years after Tchaikovsky wrote it.

Perlman was magnificent.  Playing everything from broad strokes to single, dangerously high notes, he made every sound lovely.  As he played, his expressions changed often.  For some stretches, he was clearly lost in the music, his eyes closed and his face almost slack. At other times, he smiled almost maniacally, his intensity matching and reinforcing the music's. 

When the third movement ended, the audience rose and delivered a standing ovation that brought him back three times.  I lack the musical vocabulary to appreciate fully his performance, but I stood with them, because the power and the beauty of what I heard had touched me so very much.

I am very lucky to have had the chance to see and listen to this legend.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Want to hear live music at my house on June 6?

Yeah, you read that right:  we're hosting a small concert of sorts, a house show, on June 6.

It's a first for us, but it looks like it'll be fun.

The opening act is The Camaraderie, which is Ben and Sarah.  I am, of course, biased, but I can honestly say that they play good music that I thoroughly enjoy.  I'd enjoy their music even if I didn't know them. 

The main act is Levi Weaver, a Nashville singer/songwriter. I saw him once before and quite enjoyed his performance; you can read more about that show here.  After buying all his CDs and signing up for his mailing list, I learned that he was looking for a venue in Raleigh on June 6.  We offered to host him.

We all read all the time about the music industry going through drastic changes, about artists finding alternative ways to support themselves.  Well, now you can witness one of those options firsthand, have a great time listening to live music, and visit with the musicians (and me, if you'd like) afterward. 

We've set up a Facebook page where you can read more about it.  We're asking for a donation of "$10 or pay what you can." We'll be selling soft drinks and bottles of water for a buck a pop, with any profits going to the acts.

As if all of that wasn't enough to tempt you, after the show, at no charge we'll be providing dessert for all who are there.  We'll have homebaked goods and possibly even some local-made ice cream.

If you'd like to come, email, and tell us how many of you there will be.  We'll get back to you with the address. 

I hope we can fill the house, help Levi make a little money (as the donation should make clear, no one's getting rich from this), and all have a grand time.  I'm positive the last will happen; the first two are up to you.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

How perspectives change

Mother's Day was never a particularly big holiday at our house as I was growing up.  Once I left for college, it almost completely vanished from my life.  Later, most years I would remember to call Mom, and for a while I sent cards, but then I stopped doing that.  I rarely considered whether these omissions mattered to her, but when I did, I concluded that they must not have been important, or she would have said something.  Later still, when I finally did ask her, I learned that, of course, she would have liked at least a card and a phone call.  I never was good about the card, but I did start calling.

Today, of course, is the first Mother's Day I've experienced since Mom died, and I can't stop thinking about her.  I don't exactly regret my past failures to observe the holiday, though I certainly feel some guilt about all that I did not do for her.  What saddens me is that I will have no more opportunities to tell her Happy Mother's Day or even just that I love her.  This feeling will, I am sure, pass with time, but today it surrounds me, suffocates me, each breath a little harder for its presence. 

Mom did the best she could.  She raised strong children through rough times, and all three of us loved her and knew she loved us.  That may not sound like much, and I could certainly go on to detail at length all the many, many more things she accomplished, but those few are, in the end, about as much as any of us can ask as children or as parents. 

I would have called her today and rolled my eyes at her nattering, but I cannot.  Instead, I will send this last Mother's Day wish into the great electronic gestalt, and that will have to do.

Happy Mother's Day, Mom.  I love you.


Blog Archive