I especially wanted to post now, before Monday, June 15, because of the very first entry that follows:
- Author Catherynne M. Valente is in a bit of a financial difficulty. As a way of earning some income, she has decided to write a much-requested novel, and post chapters online every Monday beginning June 15. Ms. Valente writes on her blog: "Over the course of the Palimpsest [Bantam Books, 2009] tour, people asked me one thing more than anything else. What about The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland? Is it a real book? Will you write it? And I said no. It's impossible, a YA book that is a book-within-a-book in a deeply non-YA novel. I even said no to a very sweet six-year-old.... [But] Starting Monday, I will start posting chapters of a full-length novel version of The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making. I will be writing it in real time, posting every Monday. It will be free to read -- but please know that the sheer calories to make my brain create it require funding, and I would very much appreciate your support. Pay whatever you like for it, whatever you think it's worth. It's kind of like an old-fashioned rent party.... This is a book about a little girl named September who gets herself a ticket to Fairyland on the back of The Green Wind and a somewhat cranky Leopard. There she discovers the realm of the capricious Marquess and the dangers of the Perverse and Perilous Sea. It is going to be something else. And yes, you can read it to your kids."
Ms. Valente is also the author of the two-volume The Orphan's Tales series (In the Night Garden and In the Cities of Coin and Spice), which as a whole or in part won the 2006 James Tiptree Jr. Award and the 2008 Mythopoeic Award, and was a finalist for the 2007 World Fantasy Award.
- "In the parodic future dystopia of Andrew Fox's The Good Humor Man [Tachyon Publications] (whose influences include classics like Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451 and a lot of mid-20th-century popular culture/kitsch), there's a major government clampdown on all fattening foods, which naturally generates both a thriving black market and a force like sanctioned vigilantes dedicated to stamping out such villainy. First-person narrator Dr. Louis Schmalzberg, a former liposuctionist and founder of this movement, ironically dubbed Good Humor Men, has begun to lose his faith in their brutal raids on ordinary citizens who just happen to have a sweet tooth. He also feels some nostalgia for the lost days of Fat America: jumbo cars, supersized meals, McMansions, singers like Fats Waller, Fats Domino and, toward the end of his career, Fat Elvis....Going beyond the wonderfully irreverent parodic horror of his 'Fat White Vampire' books into new realms of farce and social satire, Fox also tackles the SF thriller mode with panache. Can Elvis's belly fat save the world? Read it and see!" – Faren Miller, Locus magazine, June 2009.
- "Everything You Need to Know About Self-Publishing" by the Writer's Digest staff. This information changes constantly, but as of May 1, 2009, this is what WD had to say about the subject matter. The 8 topics include: The Truth About Self-Publishing; The Reality of Self-Publishing: An Agent's Perspective; What Can Your Publisher Do for You?; Book Publishing Stats (2009); An Insider's Look at Self-Publishing; How to Create a Cover Package; 2009 Directory of Self-Publishing Companies; and Future Self-Publishing Models.
- Dave Eggers, the McSweeney's magnate, gave a speech at the Authors Guild in Manhattan where he offered an email address where folks could contact him if they were ever losing faith, despairing, that print media was dying. John Lingan, of SpliceToday.com, contacted Eggers at that email addy and received a form letter in which Eggers stated: "As long as newspapers offer less each day -- less news, less great writing, less graphic innovation, fewer photos -- then they're giving readers few reasons to pay for the paper itself." However, Lingan, in his article entitled "Dave Eggers and The Myth of Print's Importance," argues that "Dave Eggers, insofar as can be gleaned from this email, has his head up his ass with regards to the decline of print media." Lingan concludes his piece with: "Let the medium die; it's the writing that matters."
- Here's a lovely and wonderful tribute to the oddball characters who frequent bookstores: "An Example Remembered" by Brad Craft: "It is not the delusional or the frighteningly unhappy I am thinking of just here, rather it is the gentler folk for whom the bookstore is a quiet refuge."
And while I'm at it, I'd like to recommend a story by Jeff VanderMeer entitled "Greensleeves," though it is about the oddball characters who frequent a library, rather than a bookstore. "Greensleeves" was included in Jeff's collection Secret Life (Golden Gryphon Press, 2004); the story was originally published in Pulphouse: A Fiction Magazine, August 1992. Since it's an older story, possibly if readers bug Jeff enough, he'll post the story electronically.