Monthly Archives: March 2010

Pacific Northwest Reader is in the pipeline

Pacific Northwest Reader

Over at ut omnia bene, the delightful and talented Gigi Little is posting a few run-up items about a collection that’s due out in mid-April:  The Pacific Northwest Reader.  Her first post is up here, profiling David K. Wheeler’s contribution, “Washington ID.”

Gigi’s generously doing a whole run of these posts to help promote the collection, which will be available only from indie booksellers (no B&N, no Amazon.com).  Proceeds go to the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression.

And hey, look at that, I have a piece in there…

More storks!

Perelandra cover

Good Show, Sir thoughtfully collects truly horrendous fantasy & science fiction book covers, like this one.  I am speechless.

DIY book tour

Over at Glimmer Train, Alison Amend (a friend and former classmate of mine) provides a genuinely helpful and good-humored guide to planning your book tour on a shoestring.

Is it just me or have there been a few of these reality checks lately?  I’ve seen a few that mostly seem like cautionary tales for anyone who thinks there’ll ever be any money or pleasure in the writing game. It’s sobering to remember that all the blood, sweat, and tears that go into writing your novel will probably land you…a spot on an acquaintance’s couch in Cedar Rapids.

Out of sheer self-defense, I do my best to forget this information, at least while I’m trying to write.

Love the covers (and more): Tomer Hanuka

My lovely wife just pointed out to me the work of Tomer Hanuka, who designs comic books, book jackets, posters, and other delicious works.  Hanuka is, in my lovely wife’s words, “wildly talented.”  No kidding.  I mean, look.

Tomer Hanuka

I don’t know the client for this image, and I don’t want to grab more because it’s not exactly cool to reproduce an artist’s willy-nilly all over the Internet, I’m thinking.  But you can see several book covers and related images here:  for Zeitoun, for The Gigolo Murder, “Old Moab,” a short story by Ron Carlson, and Appointment in Samarra, by John O’Hara.  (I love that last one to pieces.)

Hanuka has an incredible range and a style that’s a little bit Aubrey Beardsley, a little bit Paul Duffield, a little bit all his own genius.  What would I give for this guy to design a book jacket for me someday?  Well, I have a cat who’s not currently paying rent.  What’s the market value of a non-rent-paying cat these days?

PS:  You can read “The Dirties,” a free online comic by Hanuka, here.

The endless bounty of the world.

Via Google Books (and the University of Oregon e-Asia project, incidentally):  MacDonald of Oregon.

Ranald MacDonald was Metis, and the first person to teach English in Japan, back when Japan was still strictly isolationist (read: killing foreigners who set foot on shore.)

MacDonald signed onto a whaling ship, got himself put out in a lifeboat and pretended to be shipwrecked, was captured by the Ainu, and finally found a gig teaching English to fourteen samurai (who already spoke Dutch.)

Ranald MacDonald of Oregon

He eventually returned to the USA and died in poverty.  His last words (reported) were:  “Sayonara, my dear, sayonara…”

Read to Rebuild

Read to Rebuild, the Haiti benefit we threw last night, raised over a thousand bucks for relief efforts in Haiti.  And I can’t think of a better way to raise it.  The readers were amazing, the music was excellent, the wine and beer and coffee and food were stellar.

Tom Spanbauer dedicated a copy of The Man Who Fell in Love With the Moon to me and my lovely wife, from the friend who gave it to us, via him.  (So complex!  So accommodating!)  Ariel Gore made me tear up.  Ben Parzybok explored Couch on a Kindle.  Nobody got into a fistfight about being asked to take off their shoes at the door.

If you couldn’t make it and you still want to donate, you can throw a few bucks into the pot here.

Curiosity: Chladni plates

Just came across Meara O’Reilly, who makes instruments and plays them.  One of them is based on Chladni plates, except instead of a violin bow she uses her own voice to make the patterns form.

In her words:

Chladni patterns were discovered by Robert Hook and Ernst Chladni in the 18th and 19th centuries. They found that when they bowed a piece of glass covered in flour, (using an ordinary violin bow), the powder arranged itself in resonant patterns according to places of stillness and vibration. Today, Chladni plates are often electronically driven by tone generators and used in scientific demonstrations, but with carefully sung notes (and a transducer driving the plate), I’m able to explore the same resonances. I’m currently writing songs based on sequences of patterns.

File with “theramin” under “things that make me happy.”