Thursday, September 24, 2009

The Governments Not So Secret Nazi Base

I don't know a lot about architecture, but don't they usually have some sort of model that would let the builder know that perhaps the design isn't a good idea? The building below is an actual government building in San Diego.

It does not seem like the best welcoming mat to Jewish tourist flying into the city.

Monday, September 21, 2009

The Dan Brown Interview

In honor of Dan Brown's newest book being released, read the strangest Dan Brown interview you'll ever read here.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Two November Reads of Interest

There are not a lot of books coming out, which sound even remotely interesting to me, but I did find two November reads that might be worth a look.

The first is yet another reminder to writers to burn their work if they don't really want it released after they die.

"The Original of Laura" by Vladimir Nabokov
When Vladimir Nabokov died in 1977, he left instructions for his heirs to burn the 138 handwritten index cards that made up the rough draft of his final and unfinished novel, The Original of Laura. But Nabokov’s wife, Vera, could not bear to destroy her husband’s last work, and when she died, the fate of the manuscript fell to her son. Dmitri Nabokov, now seventy-five—the Russian novelist’s only surviving heir, and translator of many of his books—has wrestled for three decades with the decision of whether to honor his father’s wish or preserve for posterity the last piece of writing of one of the greatest writers of the twentieth century. His decision finally to allow publication of the fragmented narrative—dark yet playful, preoccupied with mortality—affords us one last experience of Nabokov’s magnificent creativity, the quintessence of his unparalleled body of work.

The second book, despite seeming to steal the premise of the Simpsons movie, looks like a fun page-turner:

"Under the Dome" by Stephen King
On an entirely normal, beautiful fall day in Chester's Mill, Maine, the town is inexplicably and suddenly sealed off from the rest of the world by an invisible force field. Planes crash into it and fall from the sky in flaming wreckage, a gardener's hand is severed as "the dome" comes down on it, people running errands in the neighboring town are divided from their families, and cars explode on impact. No one can fathom what this barrier is, where it came from, and when -- or if -- it will go away.

Dale Barbara, Iraq vet and now a short-order cook, finds himself teamed with a few intrepid citizens -- town newspaper owner Julia Shumway, a physician's assistant at the hospital, a select-woman, and three brave kids. Against them stands Big Jim Rennie, a politician who will stop at nothing -- even murder -- to hold the reins of power, and his son, who is keeping a horrible secret in a dark pantry. But their main adversary is the Dome itself. Because time isn't just short. It's running out.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Bored Librarians @ Work

Friday, September 11, 2009

Librarins: I Need Your Blurbs for My New Book!

If you missed my Twitter post, I need blurbs from librarians (especially teen ones) for my newest book, which I will be trying to sell shortly. If you'd like to help, please email me a quick note (my email is, and I'll send you out the first three chapters.

It's a YA book geared towards teenage boys, and blurbs from you will help put a nice touch on the proposal that will be sent out to editors/publishers at the end of the month.

Thanks to those who can help...I look forward to your emails!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

The First Cyber Death

Ten some odd years ago, while studying writing as an undergraduate, I wrote a 40,000 word story about a man who wanted to be the first person to kill himself on the Internet.

It's been through a lot of revision over the years, but nothing major for quite sometime. At one point I tried to publish it, but it was rejected for being too ambitious, too weird, too shocking, too experimental...the list goes on and on.

Perhaps it was too shocking to ever see the light of day, but the beauty of Kindle is you can be your own publisher. I put the text online here (you can read the entire synopsis there too) for $1.00 if you want to read it and have either a Kindle or iPhone.

Those who don't have a Kindle can also order a physical copy by clicking on the PayPal link below (it's only $10.00); Amazon has a incredibly cheap vanity press (you pay to print a proof copy, which is about 10 bucks) called CreateSpace that makes it easy to publish works that might now be published elsewhere.

The book is a bit dated with it's pop culture references (keep in mind it was written ten years ago), but I still think the idea is pretty fresh...if nothing else, I guarantee it will be one of the weirdest things you have ever read.

If you want to have the book for free, then buy $20 bucks of stuff from my wife's Esty store, and I'll have it send it to you for free! Just make sure you let one of us know via email that you want a copy, and we'll send it out!

Say what you want about eBooks, but one of the nice things I see about them is they are helping bring about the return of the short novel; if you think selling a 100,000 word novel is hard, try selling a 40,000. On Kindle, however, anything goes--a scenario that's both good and bad, but one that can ultimately work in the authors favor.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

The Next Victim of Kindle’s Big Brother

I’ve spent the summer finishing up a YA book that my agent will, with any luck, be able to sell after I finish up the third and final draft. I’m sure I’ll have more to say about it later, but for the sake of taking a break from the wonderful world of revision, I thought I’d take the time to write a blog about something very curious that I’ve seen happening in the Kindle store.

By now everyone is probably familiar with the big Kindle hiccup that happened at the start of the summer with George Orwell’s 1984. It wasn’t all that odd since the book was still in copyright. In the past couple weeks, Amazon started doing something that is a bit odd: pulling public domain books from the self.

Public domain books by Mark Twain, Willa Cather, Jack London, Aldous Huxley, and literally hundreds of other popular public domain books mysteriously vanished at the end of August.

Yesterday, Amazon announced that it will begin removing all duplicate Public Domain titles, which at least solves the question of the disappearing eBooks.

People who have Kindles are probably aware that publishers by the thousands have uploaded works that are in public domain and sold them for profit. Most of these titles are likely just books that people took off Project Gutenberg and reformatted for Kindle.

They claim the reason for the new policy is to make things less confusing for the consumer because there are too many copies of one work by different publishers. I don’t think it’s confusing at all, which is why I think there’s something else behind it.

My guess is there’s going to be some bigger announcement by Amazon regarding public domain by the end of the year. Which begs the question: what happens if I want to re-download a book that was removed because of this new policy? And further isn't this make a little bit too much of a monopoly for the company? Publishers big and small have successfully republished public domain works with new covers and different authors providing introductions for the past hundred years. A larger percentage of the publishing industry is made up of this kind of practice. For Amazon to say that they will only let one publisher sell something like Huck Finn seems a little odd, and frankly illegal to me.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Disney's Electric Parade

Growing up in Anaheim means Disneyland was always my backyard. Forever embedded in my head is the annoying Main Street Electrical Parade theme song. When they finally took it away, I was happy that at last I would never have to hear that song again. But it's back (it's been back actually)--at the California Adventure to be more exact.

The other night, Diana and I saw the parade at the new location; it's the same annoying music, but it's hard not to enjoy the spectacle of lights. If you're bored this holiday, watch it and relive the magic for yourself.