This time, I wasn't surprised by an unexpected advance copy of the book. Rather, I'd ordered some copies to have them here for a launch party I'm hosting. So when the box showed up, with the side labeled in large letters "RANKING THE VICE PRESIDENTS", I pretty much knew what was going to be inside. Nevertheless, I'm very excited to announce the arrival of my newest book (official -publication date is still August 16th)!
Why, you may ask, have I not gotten any work done today? Let me tell you: it was the final negotiations, following by the signing, of contracts for TWO new books, to be companion volumes to my Presidential Book of Lists. I'd written them as one, but the publisher thinks they'll go better as two separate books, so, one focusing on the Vice Presidents and one focusing on the First Ladies, both of which are expected in about a year from Skyhorse Publishing's Carrel Books imprint. Why yes, this is a good day!
The Centre for Quantum Technologies is once again running their Quantum Shorts fiction contest, and once again, I've entered. The big prizes are judged, but the also have a popular vote award (people's choice). One of the important points of the contest is that all submitted stories are available on the web site, so if you'd like to take a look at my entry ("Through a Wormhole, Softly", it's available here. And if you think it's worthy of your vote, I'd very much appreciate it.
I'm expanding my guest editorial from the April issue of Analog. It's called "Yay! The Future... Oh, Damn." and talks about science fiction's predictive powers, both the successes and the failures. I'm looking for specific examples, both positive and negative. For instance, in Tom Clancy's Debt of Honor (1994), a 747 is purposely crashed into the Capitol as a weapon. On the other hand, in Back to the Future II (1989), Marty travels to the future, to 2015, when flying cars are common and Jaws 19 is in the movie theatres. Do you have any favorite predictions that have, or haven't, come true?
I've mentioned in the past my view that books are becoming souvenirs; tangible take-aways from performances, as flashlights were when my parents took me to the circus as a child. Now here's an article about the writing itself being the performance: Here's The $7 Custom Poem I Just Bought In The Subway From A Poet Who Makes $700 A Week by Libby Kane in Business Insider.
For the current work in progress, I'm currently reading "Harry S. Truman" by Margaret Truman, which is filled with the stuff I need to bring the character of Harry to life: "Dad felt this, even though all his advisors disagreed," or "Dad always said this, except in public," or "Dad was worried about this, but he didn't say anything until Mom left the room because he didn't want to worry her." Just what I need. So, does anyone have any suggestions for similar books about Herbert Hoover or Dwight Eisenhower? Thanks,
While looking for that reference about the writer who wore a suit to work every day (turns out it was John Cheever), I stumbled across this interview with Susan Cheever, which I present as encouragement for the writers out there.
Something strange is happening in the universe. Just check out the cover for the April issue of Analog (see this post). Gasp.
Running Gray Rabbit Publications/Fantastic Books, I've been talking about the future of the book as somewhat akin to the circus flashlights I remember from when I was a kid: a physical memento the audience can take away after a performance. Of course, for that to be the case, there has to be an enthralling performance. And when that take-away memento is a book, the performer is going to be an author. This article caught my attention because of the title, and while the content is in a slightly different vein, I still want to recommend it to all my authors.
One of the things I find myself repeating in my editorial letters to writers is repeated use of several crutch words. This is a pointer to another article saying the same thing, perhaps in different words. Maybe this will get through: http://www.mediabistro.com/galleycat/psa-dont-overuse-the-word-suddenly-in-your-writing_b76084