Jump in the pool, swim to the rock and dare the little whipper snapper to follow. Works every time.
It’s a triple treat this month—three reissues! Even better, I’m on sale, dirt cheap. The You I Never Knew and Passing Through Paradise are near and dear to my heart because they’re my first full-length books with a contemporary setting, and they rocketed my writing off into new directions. The original publisher, Warner Books, has changed hands. Now held by a French company, Hachette, the imprint is called Grand Central Publishing or GCP. What’s remained steady is the readership. My agent calls these “iconic” books, meaning they define a certain type of story with broad appeal. Boy, I hope so. The books are back in stores at a special price—$4.99. And in Target, they’ll be just $3.99 the week July 14. At Sam’s Club, they’ll be part of a 3-for $10 promo. Grand Central Publishing has a fun new web site—check it out here. There’s a bio and a couple of articles here.
[Thanks to the ultra-clever Celeste Faurie of Writerspace for the peeling cover art.]
…and messing around with the mobile phone camera. Jay took this while boating yesterday. It’s titled “The Popeye-Looking Thing”:
I impulse-bought a printer today. Yeah, a great pair of Rainbow flipflops would have been more fun, but this was a good decision. We went to the shop to buy golf tees and wound up with a calla lily, an ice chest, luggage tags…and an all-in-one printer/scanner/copier/fax. It was sitting at the end of a close-out aisle and was priced so low it would have been silly to pass it up. Besides the price ($70), it had the magic words on the box: “WiFi.”
I am all about WiFi these days. There is even an international symbol for WiFi, have you noticed? And a WiFi printer? You mean I can be writing my NINC column on the patio and printing out the draft without being anywhere near the printer? Yeah, baby!
Even better–the installation went without a hitch. Since I live in terror of having to crawl under my desk and mess with my router and other scary stuff, this is a big deal for me. I want everything to install in 90 seconds, and for it all to work.
So this is old news to a lot of you, but I bet there are plenty more who haven’t taken the plunge. C’mon in!
Spotted next to a building site, being cleared for yet more projects:
It’s unbelievably beautiful here. I’m kinda with the spray-painters. According to George Carlin, the biggest advantage to living on the waterfront is that you only have a**holes on three sides of you instead of four. Here’s what I consider the biggest advantage:
[Kirkus Reviews Copyright (c) VNU Business Media, Inc.]
When this Satan-lover fantasy appeared under a different title, in Winsor’s The Lovers collection (1952), Kirkus called it “inadequate and indecorous.” A second reading 30 years later hardly improves the picture. Jacintha, justin Hades as a permanent resident, is a beautiful Victorian lady whose husband shot and killed her for adultery. She gapes at her first view of Satan–who manifests himself in a loin cloth (“overpowering and gorgeous”), whisks her off on his black stallion, and delivers her to a huge hotel, crowded with people dressed to the nines. Jacintha is assigned Room 69000, a nicely furnished affair where she’ll soon be meeting the lovely, exquisite Cherry–who turns out to be her own mother, killed by her husband for her adultery! But, after a joyous reunion and casual Hell-chat (“”It’s the moments that drag””), Cherry warns Jacintha about Him: “”Don’t be misled by his good looks. . . . He’s not the Devil for nothing, you know.”” And Jacintha will know, when Satan changes gears in mid-friendship to “”exultant lust.”” The coupling, accompanied by external thunder and lightning, is a wow (though those expecting tip-top erotic detail about the Ultimate Hump may be disappointed). But mum Cherry, similarly besotted and jealous, tries to pop Jacintha off a cliff! So it’s ugly for a while–till the women realize they’re being used. . . and plot counter-measures to keep their love intact; finally, in fact, the Big S. disappears (at least temporarily) as the two women vow to comfort one another through eternity. An unnecessary exhumation: nutty, intermittently entertaining (often unintentionally so), and drenched in Women-as-Victims-of-Lust poppy fumes.
The highlight of Book Expo is, of course, the Advance Reading Copies–ARCs. These are review copies of upcoming books and I tried not to be greedy, but here are a few finds:
Favorite concept book: Pat the Husband patterned after the children’s classic “Pat the Bunny”
Most hotly anticipated new book: Love Matters by Delilah, a syndicated radio host. I knew I was goig to like Delilah. Like most other parents on the planet, I used to have to force myself to stay awake while waiting for my teenaged daughter to get home from her weekend outtings. In order to keep the imagination from going overboard, I used to listen to Delilah’s soothing voice and music choices on the radio. She was my Friday and Saturday night comfort fix. And now she has a book. I’m thinking it’s a lot higher on my list than the Miley Cyrus book.
Most massive hit du jour: Twenty Wishes by Debbie Macomber. I remember reading in Publishers Weekly, years ago, that LaVyrle Spencer’s print runs in hardcover were in the 400,000 range, which is massive. Very few writers get to that point. According to a more recent PW, Debbie has reached that pinnacle. Incredible achievement, well deserved, by the one of the nicest and hardest-working writers I know.
Hottest middle-grade children’s book at the show: Fortune’s Magic Farm by Suzanne Selfors.
Hottest debut novel: Oxygen by Carol Cassella.
Anti-climactic “reveal”: the cover art for the next Stephenie Meyer book. It’s a chessboard, very handsome but not as much of a showstopper as the first three, IMO.
Cutest cover: Dewey, the Small-Town Library Cat. WARNING: It’s a pet memoir, okay? And everybody knows pet memoirs all end the same. So get out the duct tape and seal the last couple of chapters shut. Unless you like that sort of thing. Unless you like hitting yourself in the head with a hammer.
Best Lemony Snicket knock-off: Pseudonymous Bosch. A knock-off doesn’t necessarily have to be bad, and in this case it’s irresistibly good! In fact, I liked this even better than the Lemony Snicket series.
Most forbidding-looking cover: Testimony Anita Shreve. A real hot-button storyline, too. I’m a sucker for boarding-school books. No idea why, but I am.
I have a chute signing with ARCs of my September book, with my perfectly-dressed-in-polka-dots editor. She gets to hear 40-umpteen people say, “Oooh, my mother loves your books!” Big crowds for Ridley Pearson & Dave Barry, Lois Lowry, Sherman Alexie…
New Rule: Do not wear your adorable pink Gabriella Rocha heels on the mirror-slick convention hallway floors. (AKA the “what were they thinking?” floor surface) Nuff said.
Huge lines in the booths for Michael Connelly, who patiently signs at Hachette for a long time. Barbara Walters looks exactly like she looks on TV although she is tiny. TINY. Her line was probably the longest I saw.
Brooke Shields is so beautiful I doubt she’s human. Kirk Cameron (what show was he on?) has a book–a Christian memoir, I think.
I find Anne Rice in the Knopf booth so I can give her and her sister Karen a Just Breathe ARC. The book is dedicated to Anne’s other sister Alice Borchardt, who was in my first critique group. She was my mentor and friend for twenty-five years. She passed away in November and Just Breathe is dedicated to her. Anne looks lovely and it’s a short, emotional conversation.