A heads-up for my German fans who’ve been emailing to ask if and when The Mirage would be available in translation: Deutscher Taschenbuch Verlag has officially set publication for March 2014. The novel will be available in both hardcover and ebook editions.
* The American ebook of The Mirage is still on sale for $1.99.
* Just finished watching season 2 of The Borgias. If you’re a Game of Thrones fan, this is like the non-fantasy version, with Charles VIII’s army replacing the ice zombies and Machiavelli’s The Prince serving as the tie-in book. Really well done.
* Last Saturday was the 2013 championships for the Rat City Rollergirls. Grave Danger beat the Sockit Wenches 202-167 in a close-fought bout. But the best moment of the evening came during the mid-bout break, when Method of Madness proposed to Jalapeño Business. Jalapeño said yes, and the crowd went wild. This tops the previous coolest thing to happen off-track this season, Nancy Pearl’s Feb. 9 halftime appearance where she did a live reading of Where the Wild Things Are. Mazel tov to the happy couple!
The regular derby season is over, but the post-season bouts start next month, with visiting Montreal and London teams going up against the Rat City all stars. Full schedule is here.
* Cat font!
They’re a rare golden variation of the Southern Hairy-Nosed Wombat, and yes, they’re real. (via @paleofuture)
Breaking radio silence for a quick heads-up: The Mirage ebook is on sale for $1.99 this month at Amazon (where it’s part of their “100 Kindle Books for $3.99 or less” promotion), the iTunes store, Barnes & Noble, and Kobo. (ETA: Google too, now.)
In other news:
* As you’ve probably guessed from the lack of recent posts, I’m hard at work on Lovecraft Country. Long way to go yet, but so far all is well.
* Lisa and I watched Lincoln the other night. Daniel Day-Lewis is phenomenal, and Sally Field is great too in the handful of scenes they gave her, but otherwise we were underwhelmed. Beyond the obvious criticism—this is a film about the end of slavery in which black people serve only as bit players—it felt like Spielberg was trying to have it both ways, portraying Lincoln as a flesh-and-blood politician, as willing to engage in corruption as any other, while still hanging to the notion of Lincoln as a sainted, larger-than-life figure who of course transcends the moral judgments that apply to lesser Republicans: “When Lincoln does it, it’s not a crime.”
* Django Unchained, on the other hand, was great. (Yes, Kerry Washington needed more to do.) And now I really want to see the remake of Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter starring Daniel Day-Lewis and written and directed by Quentin Tarantino. Though Tarantino’s version would probably be Frederick Douglass: Vampire Hunter. Which I’d also be up for.
* A cat, a shark suit, a Roomba, and a duck. The Internet just keeps getting better.
Since last summer I’ve been working on a new novel. I’ve finished about a quarter of the manuscript and have a rough outline of the rest, and last month I decided it was time to send it to my editor and see whether HarperCollins would commit to publishing it. The answer was a resounding yes, so now I know what I’m going to be doing for the next year and a half.
The novel is called Lovecraft Country. It’s a supernatural historical drama set in the 1950s. The protagonist is Atticus Turner, an African-American soldier just back from the Korean War. He comes home to Chicago and takes a job as a researcher for The Safe Negro Travel Guide, which lists and reviews hotels and restaurants that accept black customers. Atticus is also a pulp-fiction fan, and the novel describes how he and the members of his extended family get drawn into a series of real-life weird tales. These individual episodes fit into a larger arc story about a white-supremacist secret society that wants to use Atticus in its scheming.
My deadline for delivering the book is October of next year, which means it likely will be published in 2015 or early 2016. That sounds like a long time, but I think it’ll be worth the wait.
After the last printing of Fool on the Hill sold out, a series of technical problems—ball lightning, pandas, etc.—disrupted what is usually a seamless reorder process and led to the book being unavailable for the past several months. The kinks in the supply chain have finally been worked out, so the book is once again available online and from your local indie bookstore.
Also, if you haven’t seen it yet, last week The Economist blog posted a nice profile of me and my novels, here. Seer and protector of small children, c’est moi.
I’m home from my overnight visit to Portland. I had a small but enthusiastic group of fans at the Powell’s on Hawthorne event, and while I was there I scored a hardcover copy of Joe Coomer’s Kentucky Love. (If you’re not familiar with Coomer, a good novel to start with is Apologizing to Dogs, or, if you can find it, A Flatland Fable.)
I signed stock at Powell’s on Hawthorne and at the main Powell’s location downtown. The downtown store had a German-language hardcover of Bad Monkeys.
The one sad note of the trip came when I stopped in to sign copies of The Mirage at Murder by the Book, which hosted one of my events during my last visit to Portland. It turns out the store is closing in April after thirty years in business. I’ve only known them a short time but the staff are really nice folks, so I’m sorry to see them go.
The Powell’s appearance was my last scheduled paperback publication event. It’s time to get back to work on novel #6. More details about that shortly.
This Thursday night at 7:30 PM I’ll be reading and signing books at Powell’s Books on Hawthorne in Portland, Oregon.
* If you’re in the Queen Anne area, you should check out the new Queen Anne Book Company. They’ve got signed copies of my novels as well as signed books from all the other local authors who attended their grand opening weekend. They’ve also got the world’s sweetest bookstore dog, Tali.
* Signed copies of The Mirage trade paperback are also in stock at the University Book Store, the Elliott Bay Book Company, the Secret Garden Bookshop, and the Seattle Mystery Bookshop.
* Today’s New York Times has a piece on the difficulties of training cats to perform in live theater, but the best anecdote in the story involves a dog and some KFC: “Bill Berloni, an animal trainer who cast the dog Sandy in the current Broadway production of ‘Annie,’ remembers when a family in the front rows of ‘Legally Blonde: The Musical’ brought a bucket of chicken, and the Chihuahua he had cast abandoned its role to hover at the edge of the stage.”
Signs and wonders: A new independent bookstore on top of Queen Anne Hill. Doors open at 9 AM!
I’ll be hanging out at the store this afternoon between 4 PM and 6 PM. Lots of other local authors will be coming by over the weekend to help celebrate—the full list of confirmed visitors is posted here.
* I’ll be reading from The Mirage and signing books at Elliott Bay Book Company on Thursday, February 28, at 7 PM.
* I’ll be attending the grand opening of the Queen Anne Book Company on Friday, March 1, from 4 PM to 6 PM. Lots of other Seattle authors will be at the bookstore over the weekend; check the event page for exact times.
* Secret Garden Books in Ballard, the University Book Store at the U.W., and the Seattle Mystery Bookshop downtown all now have signed copies of The Mirage trade paperback.
The deadline to apply for a 2014 NEA Literature Fellowship is next Thursday, February 28. Fellowship applications must be filed electronically, which means if you wait till the last minute and the NEA’s computers happen to go down you’ll be out of luck. Procrastination is part of the artist’s job description but do yourself a favor and get it done this weekend. More details about the Fellowship here.
* I had a good reading last night at the University Book Store. If you missed it, you can catch me on February 28 at 7 PM at the Elliott Bay Book Company.
* The Queen Anne Book Company is celebrating its grand opening on the weekend of March 1-3. I plan to attend as part of their “cavalcade of local authors,” though I don’t know yet exactly when I’ll be there.
* I’ll also be doing a reading and signing in Portland, OR, at Powell’s Books on Hawthorne on March 7 at 7:30 PM.
* Via Gawker: Six minutes of cute animals. With bonus rain frog video.