Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Alex Bledsoe Interview

Title: Blood Groove
Author: Alex Bledsoe
Illustrator: N/A
Pages: 304
Genre: Fiction
Dewey Decimal: F Ble
ISBN: 978-0765321961
Cost: $24.95

I had the opportunity to ask author Alex Bledsoe a few questions about his life, his craft, and sex with vampires. Alex's debut novel, The Sword-Edged Blonde, was met with much acclaim when it arrived in 2007. He crossed genre boundaries by mixing a fantasy world dwelling sword swinger with a detective trying to solve a mystery. His next novel, Blood Groove, is due out next month and crosses the 1970s with vampires. Sounds scarier than snakes on a plane!

Do you visit your local library? If so, how often and what section do you enjoy most?

I hit the library at least once a week. Because I have kids we're fond of the children's area, and I've been reading simplified versions of classics like "Twenty-Thousand Leagues Under the Sea" and "Oliver Twist" to my oldest. I also spend a lot of time in whatever section applies to my current writing. For instance, I'm researching home decor in the Seventies at the moment as I work on the sequel to "Blood Groove." I also take full advantage of interlibrary loan services, pulling in obscure titles from all over. I've never brought them a request they couldn't fill.

How does being a parent impact your daily writing? Do you have a schedule you stick to?

If I didn't stick to a schedule, I'd never get anything done! My oldest son is in preschool, so I write whenever his brother, the baby, naps. It's much harder than it was before they came along, because 5-7 a.m. used to be my prime work time; now I'm up changing diapers and making breakfasts. But like anything, you adapt to meet the change. It forces me to work more intensely than in the past, so I get the most use from my time. But that's not a bad thing.

Do you have any opinions on e-books in today's publishing market and tough economy? Do you think printed books will be replaced by e-books or will printed books just become a thing for collectors?

All media is becoming electronic, so it seems inevitable. Personally I don't enjoy reading fiction from a screen, but then, I haven't grown up with it. How it will ultimately affect content is also hard to say, although if it follows the trend in music, it will create homogenity [sp] rather than diversity, which I consider a negative thing.

Tell us a true story that's so funny we'll shoot soda out our nose.

In college, I was discussing the concept of retinal scans with a fraternity brother. I explained how they could be used for identification purposes, and my friend adamant that it could never happen. I insisted it could, because no two are alike, just like fingerprints. His reaction was way out of proportion; again he insisted it would never work, and that I was an idiot for suggesting it. I pointed out that it was already a part of popular culture, and that Captain Kirk got one in "Wrath of Khan." At that point he realized that he had misheard me: instead of "retinal scan," he thought I said "rectal scan."

You appear to be a fan of classic cinema. Do you have a favorite actor or film? Is there any actor or film that has influenced your writing?

I most admire the films of Howard Hawks. In fact, I hope ultimately to emulate him: jumping genres like crazy but still possessing a clear, original style. My three favorite films (in constantly rotating order) are Hawks' "Red River," Romero's original "Dawn of the Dead" and Branagh's "Henry V." And I'm a huge fan of independent films from the Sixties and Seventies, because to make an indie film back then took *real* desire. The equipment was hard to come by, the distribution was tough, and you had to really want to do it. "Indie" now means navel-gazing and slacker ennui; it used to mean "Gone in Sixty Seconds" and "A Woman Under the Influence."

Your first novel is set in the fantasy genre while your next novel is clearly about vampires. Was there a reason for the jump between subject matter?

I love vampires, and wanted to write something that spoke to the things I loved about them. As you can imagine, "Blood Groove" is a little different from the current gooey-yummy romantic vampires. The power in the vampire archetype isn't really reflected in "Twilight" or "Buffy," despite their popularity, and I wanted to get back to that primal, Old World dread they inspire. It hinges on the idea that American vampires, bereft of the centuries of folklore found in Europe, learn about their vampire nature from movies and TV. That means they get a lot of things wrong, which is revealed when an Old World Dracula-style vampire arises in their midst.

If a "normal" human has sex with a vampire, is that considered necrophilia? Or do the undead not count as being dead?

Hm. I don't think it counts as necrophilia as long as both partners are capable of movement. But I'm not a lawyer.

You can follow Alex on his website, blog, Myspace, and Twitter.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Combat and Survival - Volume 13

Title: Combat and Survival (Volume 13)
Author: H. S. Stuttman, Inc. Publishers
Illustrator: N/A
Pages: 60
Genre: Non-Fiction
Dewey Decimal: 355.5 Com
ISBN: 0-87475-560-3
Cost: $0

Tunnel warfare has always fascinated me. Even though I'm mildly claustrophobic (it's not the small space, it's the lack of air to breath), I've wanted to be a "tunnel rat" since playing with my G.I. Joes as a kid. Then we have one of the great ambush and alarm tools, the claymore. And we finish with one of the greatest assault rifles in movie history, the Steyr AUG (well, it was the best until the P90 came along at least).

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Weekend News

Lynn Johnston (of For Better of For Worse fame) and Beth Cruikshank have a new book coming out. The children's book is called Farley Follows His Nose and is due out in May.

I've long been a hater of the self-checkout line at stores since I first saw one at the local Home Depot. But a self-checkout at the library? That I might be able to get behind. I just want my books and I want to leave. No need for cash to exchange hands, no credit cards, no need to weigh the product before I place it in the bag. Just scan my library card, scan the book, and leave.

Karen Miller points us to another blog for a cover art poll. Quite interesting to see the results.

S. M. Stirling will have a new short story, "Ancient Ways," published in an anthology called Warriors. Editor George R. R. Martin expands on his blog-that's-not-a-blog. (via Grasping for the Wind)

Garfield Minus Garfield has a great librarian joke.

The state of Michigan has released their list of notable books. Included in the list are The Expeditions: A Novel by Karl Iagnemma and Knucklehead: Tall Tales & Mostly True Stories of Growing Up Scieszka by Jon Scieszka. Iagnemma's debut book sounds interesting to me from a historical point of view as my ancestors came through Detroit in the 1870s, just thirty years after the story's setting. And if you have kids or want to feel like a kid again yourself, reading anything by Scieszka will be worth your time and money.

For months now, libraries have been in a panic over how to handle the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act that went active in February. Some libraries ignored it. Some pulled books from their shelves. But I think most just stood around and scratched their collective heads. Simply put, part of the Act tries to protect children form dangerous levels of lead. Which means books printed before the mid-1980s could be at risk of going against the law. Gah. You can read more at Publishers Weekly. But be warned. There's no law against lawmakers making laws that make you want to bang your head against a wall.

The Mormon church (that's short for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints) is about ready to move into their new library in Salt Lake City. The library is due to open in June. While visiting the church's site, I discovered a decent collection of church writings available for free and in various digital formats (such as PDF, audio, and handheld devices). Unfortunately, the Book of Mormon itself is not available in PDF.

And speaking of e-books, publisher Rittenhouse has an awesome name for their digital library, the R2 Digital Library. Must have a Star Wars fan on staff. And the University of Pennsylvania is working with Kirtas Technologies to scan books, but only if there's an order for it.

And breaking news from Taylor Anderson, his Destroyermen Series will be continued! Great news for a new author and great news for readers of the alternative-history genre.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon (review)

Title: Outlander
Author: Diana Gabaldon
Illustrator: N/A
Pages: 627
Genre: Fiction
Dewey Decimal: F Gab
ISBN: 0-385-30230-4
Cost: $0

This was a thick book but a good story. There were parts where I was pulled out of the story by circumstances I felt unbelievable, yet oddly enough, none of those surrounded the traveling through time.

The story is about a married woman in the mid-1940s who served as a nurse for the English military. Her husband served in the war and they're now enjoying a post-war life together. After a very slow start to the story, we finally see the young woman shoved back in time to the mid 1700s. Smack in the middle of the Scottish fighting the English. The young lady is then thrust in the middle as an unwilling pawn (later she's more willing to pick a side).

While she's from the future, there's little mention made of it. Spots here and there, but it becomes more of a mirage in the story. You think you see it until you look then it's gone. And that's because this story is really a romance. The romance of the young lady, the husband she left behind (or ahead in the future if you like) and the two main male characters in the story.

The two men are mortal enemies. One English and one Scottish. And in some sort of bizarre love triangle, they love each other. Sort of. You'll have to read it to understand what I'm talking about.

Anyway, if you're looking for romance, this is it. Sex o'plenty to be read. If you're looking for time-travel and science fiction, check out something else.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

E-book Updates

Author Karen Miller reports that her Stargate novels are now appearing in Kindle format on Amazon.

Fictionwise (recently purchased by Barnes & Noble) creators Scott and Stephen Pendergrast discuss many things; such as the e-book market, how they started their company, and where the future lies for digital publishing. Fictionwise has also released a free Blackberry eReader application, making several thousand e-books available on your phone.

Last week several disability groups rallied against Amazon's removal of the text-to-speech feature in the Kindle 2, and the debate rages on with GalleyCat readers. Personally, I've had about enough of the argument. I can understand where both groups are coming from, but until I have a Kindle, I don't think I'll care overly much.

The University of Michigan sees the writing on the LCD and will be releasing their monographs in a digital format. Even other colleges and universities, such as Duke, are getting in on the digital wagon. Has nobody ever wondered how long University of Phoenix has been offering online courses? Anyone ever thought to follow their model? (via GalleyCat)

Harper Collins is also working on a more digital presentation as they push their catalog to a digital format. Anybody remember the old Google Catalogs before they pulled the plug on it? Maybe we should go back to that. (via Publisher's Weekly)

Yen posted some thoughts on e-books, e-readers, and everything in between that got me to thinking, is now really the time to buy an e-reader? Would it not be better to wait to see who becomes king? Maybe by then the DRM issues will be worked out too.

Free e-stories, this time from Baen. They've had an impressive collection for awhile now, but it keeps growing (this addition includes some S. M. Stirling work as well). (via Grasping for the Wind)

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Royal Assassin by Robin Hobb (review) Part 2

Title: Royal Assassin
Author: Robin Hobb
Illustrator: N/A
Pages: 675
Genre: Fiction
Dewey Decimal: F Hob
ISBN: 0-553-57341-1
Cost: $0

So I recently posted a review of Robin Hobb's Royal Assassin. It was a bit short. And as a friend and fellow blogger/reviewer told me, that might not be the best thing to do. And since this person has been a well of information and help in the past, I felt a little like my own kids would if I had caught them at something they shouldn't be doing. In my case, I was writing crap. And I got caught. Like any kid, I have reasons but they just don't measure up to doing the right thing, so I won't bore you with them. I've spent my 32 minutes in time-out and I'll try to do better.

Part of my issue with this series is with the author. I had seen and heard the Robin Hobb name for years, even back when I was working in the book store, I knew it was a popular enough name to stay on the shelves. After I began to branch out from the cookie-cutter fantasy I was reading, I gave Hobb a try. And that's when I learned my expectations had been much higher after coming off of works from Abercrombie and Rothfuss. So my hopes were dashed a bit by reading something that just wasn't quite up there high enough for me.

The next part of my issue was, well, the whole book. No, not really the whole book, but there were enough parts in there that I didn't like, they ended up stomping all over the parts I did like. Fitz could have been one of those cookie cutter reluctant hero, but his character never seemed to progress there. He grew taller and stronger, but his mind, his internal voice, still seemed to be that of a child.

Then we have the wolf. What a great chance to expand on Fitz and bring the wolf in as a main character. But no. Yet the Princes and Queen in Waiting were good enough as they were. You felt for them, loved them, hated them, wanted to help (or kill) them. The Fool is awesome. But then he leaves. And Chade? Awesome. But not enough is revealed about him to keep you thinking about him.

I guess what it boils down to is the exciting parts were just skimmed over. Like the white ship. The Fool. The wolf. And the drool parts were dwelled upon. Like the garden on the roof. Or the Skilling here and there and everywhere. And bringing him back from the dead?

So, for me, the book (and series) doesn't work for me. I know many other readers like books by Robin Hobb and that's fine with me. Some people hated Name of the Wind. Some people loved it. We'll call it even. But what saddens me most (aside from my shamefully short review from before) is that I had such high hopes of "discovering" a new author to read. She has written so many books, the covers look great, and a lot of people enjoy them.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Royal Assassin by Robin Hobb (review)

3/25/2009 - UPDATE: I've posted a longer review here.

Title: Royal Assassin
Author: Robin Hobb
Illustrator: N/A
Pages: 675
Genre: Fiction
Dewey Decimal: F Hob
ISBN: 0-553-57341-1
Cost: $0

I've been trying to think of a positive and polite way to review this book. After nearly two weeks, I've finally decided that a simple and short review is best.

I did not like this book.*

There you have it. The shortest review I hope to ever write here. I will not be reading this series anymore and it will likely be a very long time before I pick up another book by this author.

*This review has the exact number of words as the About the Author page at the end of the book. Fitting I think.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Combat and Survival - Volume 12

Title: Combat and Survival (Volume 12)
Author: H. S. Stuttman, Inc. Publishers
Illustrator: N/A
Pages: 59
Genre: Non-Fiction
Dewey Decimal: 355.5 Com
ISBN: 0-87475-560-3
Cost: $0

While some of the jungle battlefield tactics look eerily similar to scenes in LOST, I somehow doubt that was the intent. The physical fitness section goes into cooling down and stretching before the wonderful section on Heckler & Koch assault rifles. The survival section goes on to describe some nasty critters (small, large, scaly, spiny, and so on). There's also a great photo of an herbal compress, something I've always wondered about.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Weekend News

It's like a soap opera. Publishers sue Anderson. Anderson sues publishers. Will the cage match be on Pay-Per View?

I've been a fan of Jack DuBrul since 2000 or so. And since then I've seen his work decline in quality when he partners with Clive Cussler. I've sure all the Cussler fans out there would like me to meet Juan Cabrillo (not to be confused with the real Juan Cabrillo) in a dark alley because of that statement, but it looks like Cussler is the one with troubles of his own. Maybe he could pay with a leg?

The Books-A-Million CEO has stepped down. Total bummer.

Author Jim C. Hines gives some great insight into what is included in an authors contract.

Author Chris Dolley offers his book Resonance for free. And author Paul Jessup gives us a list of free e-books he enjoys (and links to them).

Could Google and Sony's partnership become the Kindle Killer? I doubt it. But it is possible with Google. Sony's become a bit of a sleeper with their e-book reader. Google always makes a splash. Combine them together and you get? Some minor waves? We'll see.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Reading Update and Upcoming Reading

Since I haven't done much of a reading update in awhile, I figured it was time. So here's where I stand so far with what's on my nightstand.

The Bible - 1 Kings 16
Survive! by Les Stroud - page 114
A Midwife's Tale by Laurel Thatcher Ulrich - page 109
A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin - page 13
Never Have Your Dog Stuffed by Alan Alda - page 45

Seeing as I just finished Outlander, I've started reading GRRM's A Game of Thrones as requested. I also picked up Alda's book at the library since they didn't have much else that looked interesting.

After that, it will depend on how I feel. I have a galley of a popular 2007/2008 debut coming, but there are still so many books that need my love. It's like being a monkey stranded on an island with a million banana trees. I have no idea where to start.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

A book's Blue Book value

Rob laments about a book and wonders where to stop reading. It's a hard decision to make and I've seen (and discussed) this with other reviewers before. Me personally, I prefer to use the 10% Rule. Simply put, I'll read the first 10% of the book and if it is still entertaining, I'll continue to read it.

I just tend to ignore my own rule though. I'll read, to the end, nearly every book I pick up. There are a few exceptions, but I do like to finish what I start. It's like sex. The first 10% is foreplay and I certainly don't want to stop there. I need to finish to see how it turns out. It may be horrid, but it may be the best ever. Besides, I don't want to get Blue Book, right?

Yes, I realized I just compared reading to sex. I was speaking metaphorically, not literally. And no, my jokes usually aren't funny, so if you didn't laugh, you were probably in the majority.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

E-Book Roundup and POLL

Author Chris Howard offers two of his books for free. First is his Young Adult novel, Nanowhere. Second is also a novel, Seaborn.

Will a digital library ever happen? Who's to say. Google has been working on it for years as have the folks at Project Gutenberg. I think the biggest hurdle will be copyright protection, something authors take seriously.

While GalleyCat talks around some interesting topics, most interesting to me is the argument for (and against) encrypted PDFs. I've used NetGalley in the past and plan on using them again. For me, their biggest area for improvement is the selection. While mostly spiritual books, I'd love to get more fantasy and sci-fi on there. On the flip side, reading a galley in front of the computer is a bit hard when you really want to read it in bed (hot laptops + hairy chest = burnt hair). Which brings us to a Kindle-like device that is easily portable and (presumably) less hot. But they won't work with encrypted PDFs. Maybe a nondisclosure agreement would help? Even a EULA (End User License Agreement) could benefit publishers looking to protect the author's work while trying to market the author's work. They don't need to be mutually exclusive.

The discussion moved on later in the week with some super-duper promising news from NetGalley. Read carefully there folks, because it says that NetGalley is aiming to have a new Kindle compatible PDFs by the end of April. Sweet! Now I just need a Kindle. Anyone want to help out with funding?

Is it a #digiarc, an e-ARC, or an e-galley? You decide by voting in the poll to the right.

(for some reason the poll doesn't show for me, so if you can vote there, great, if not, vote in the comments)

Monday, March 16, 2009

Combat and Survival - Volume 11

Title: Combat and Survival (Volume 11)
Author: H. S. Stuttman, Inc. Publishers
Illustrator: N/A
Pages: 59
Genre: Non-Fiction
Dewey Decimal: 355.5 Com
ISBN: 0-87475-560-3
Cost: $0

More combat tactics, including digging trenches and minefields, are covered. The physical fitness portion starts to focus on running and training. And of course there are more reviews of firearms and armored transports. In the survival section you get to learn how to set field snares and skin what you catch.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Short Break

Library Dad will be taking a very short break from posting and will return in force on Monday. Why the delay in returning? Well, I need to refill my sails so to speak. I have several posts pending but have had a hard time getting them out the door by my self-imposed deadline. Which is why this week has been a bit light in reading.

So, until Monday, enjoy your weekend.

Newsie News News

E-Book News

F&W Media (no idea what the "F" and "W" stand for) has released a few non-fiction titles for free. The three titles cover writing, genealogy, and woodworking.

Image from The Wall Street Journal

It's no surprise that the sales of e-books are going up. In thinking of the future, Barnes & Noble buys e-book publisher Fictionwise for $15.7 million. Yes, it may still be a crack-pot prediction, but based on more sour news from Borders, I think B&N will consider buying them out.

It looks like Library Journal has coined a new term; ebrary. And I hate it. HATE it. Meanwhile, there are all sorts of apps for your iPhone. The biggest hit lately has been the Kindle/e-book reader. Now publishers are looking to get their own footprint in the iPhone app market. But I do like their idea for Read-an-e-book Week. Click here for a ton of freebies.

Paul S. Kemp's Twilight Falling is available for free from Wizards of the Coast (click here for the PDF download).

Publisher TOR is offering Charles de Lint's Spiritwalk for free.

Other News

Over at Madness Abides, Dennis has written a wonderful review of S. M. Stirling's Dies the Fire.

While not related to books or libraries, I had to share this one. But why keep driving when the dust storm "looks like a little Ayers Rock?"

Oh. And I didn't make it to the first round of call backs on The Great Norway Adventure. Bummer.

Some interesting tidbits in this article. Most notable for me are that the Miss Spider line was exclusive to Target, Scholastic is marketing a tween/teen version of America's Next Top Model, and Barnes & Noble appears a few times for marketing some new lines.

This criminal should have used his library card to research lock picking instead of using the card as a lock pick.

The 1980s will rule again. How do I know? Because Publishers Weekly told me so.

Cheeni Rao discusses the fine line between fiction and memoir. An interesting topic with interesting implications. Is it a memoir? Or is it fiction? Who can truly define what really happened when I was a kid? Does my dad remember when I was paralyzed and laying on the couch? Does my uncle?

Borders is looking great with the purchase of Fictionwise while Books-A-Million is dogging the heels of Barnes & Noble.

Is "fantasy meets literacy" a new trend? We've seen zombies in Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. We've seen vampires in War & Peace. And now we have Charlie Brown staring in Sin City.

Reader's Digest gets out of the library industry? I hope this doesn't mean I have to fight for my humor in uniform.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Am I a sexist reader?

This thought started as I finished a book I had labored to make it through. A book that was good enough for me to finish but bad enough to not want to continue the series. Bad enough to not even want to mention the title and write a review.* As I finished this sour novel, I realized that March is Women's History Month.

So, I had to stop myself and seriously wonder, am I a sexist reader? Do I only enjoy male authors? My hypothesis is yes, I prefer male authors. Let's see if the data proves that.

My 2008 Reading Log says:

Total novels read = 48 (plus 3 that were unfinished)
Total novels by male authors = 34 (plus 2 that were unfinished)
Total novels by female authors = 14 (plus 1 that was unfinished)

Average male author net worth = 71% (without the 2 unread books)
Average female author net worth = 67% (without the 2 unread books)

Some other interesting tidbits. Even if I remove the four Harry Potter books, the female author net worth drops only 1%. But if I drop the four S. M. Stirling books, I drop 4% on the male author net worth. And if I remove the non-fantasy books, the range widens a bit to 75% for male authors and 64% for female authors.

Where does this leave me? I'm not sure. Based on my gut reaction, I have very few female authors I enjoy. J. K. Rowling. Karen Traviss. Karen Miller. But that's about it. I enjoy others, sure, but just not as much. But when it comes to male authors, I can rattle off several names that I enjoy. S. M. Stirling. Patrick Rothfuss. Anton Strout. Jim C. Hines. Joe Abercrombie. And I could list even more if I wanted to.

But based on my numbers just from last year, there isn't much of a difference between male and female authors. I guess in the end, my hypothesis doesn't prove itself. I'm not a sexist reader. I do balance my reading, to some degree, between male and female authors. I think my hypothesis was flawed in fact, by my recent sour reading.

What are your thoughts? Are you a sexist reader? Do you prefer male or female authors?

* I'm still considering the review. I just haven't decided yet.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Combat and Survival - Volume 10

Title: Combat and Survival (Volume 10)
Author: H. S. Stuttman, Inc. Publishers
Illustrator: N/A
Pages: 55
Genre: Non-Fiction
Dewey Decimal: 355.5 Com
ISBN: 0-87475-560-3
Cost: $0

We now move into killing tanks and physical fitness. How to ambush and disable a tank while on foot as well as how to train so you can run away when they shoot at you. There's also some information on operating in cold weather. Personally, I'd rather get coached by Les Stroud, but maybe there's more helpful info in the next volume.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Can a writer be unemployed?

So I saw a blurb that said artists (including writers) are becoming just as unemployed as the rest of the "normal" population. And this started me to think, can a writer really be unemployed?

I know those writers out there struggling to get published and to sell their works would say "yes, we can be unemployed." I'm sure there are even publishers writers out there that would agree. But follow me for a second as I argue this out.

As I've heard several writers say before, you can't stop writing. Meaning, as a writer, writing becomes an obsession of sorts, placed ahead of eating and comfort but only slightly behind breathing. So, if a writer writes all the time, are they unemployed? Aren't they still, technically, working? Granted, they may not sell everything they write, but they are still producing something.

Therefore, since they are working, could they collect unemployment? Let's say Stephen King suddenly can't sell any of his latest stories. He'd still write, but could he collect an unemployment check?

Since I'm not a writer, I don't have much of a view from that side of the fence. However, I think artists should get some sort of unemployment. From a tax perspective, you'd be running something from a Schedule C up to a 1065 or so with your artist business. But with no income and a small or negative AGI (Adjusted Gross Income), I'd think you'd qualify for unemployment, food stamps, etc. I don't think they have a line on the form that says "Starving artists stop here. You don't qualify."

Friday, March 6, 2009

Death Match Results

The Epic Fantasy Death Match poll results have come in and the winner is....

A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin.

The next poll will be here in April!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

The weekly news report

The Fiscal Year 2010 Federal budget is available online. You can download the entire thing here in PDF.

Patrick Rothfuss provides his own lamentation (not to be confused with Ken Scholes’s Lamentation) over the release dates issue of his second novel, The Wise Man’s Fear. Personally, I think we're all at the mercy of good authors. But that's a good thing, right? We enjoy their work, so why can't we wait a few more days, weeks, or months? You're world won't end.

Sarah Micklem's sequel to her debut (Firethorn) is due in July of 2009. Wildfire should be priced in the $25 range.

An interesting list of King Arthur and Camelot books.

Alan Sklar, audio book reader, gives a nice interview.

I hate bugs but loved grilled steak. This would have me screaming like a little girl.

The name is familiar, but the topic is creepy. Could this be the New Weird meets Horror?

Could Asian YA (Young Adult) and Children’s books be the next market to get into? Might want to re-write your characters now future writers.

I’ve long been a fan of the shirtless Kvothe cover to The Name of the Wind by Pat Rothfuss. The last photo in this post made me think of that “other” over of the face in the ivy.

I have mixed feelings about Clive Cussler and Jack DuBrul's latest team effort, Corsair. It's due out in the next week or so, but I'm still convinced Cussler is dragging DuBrul's talent down the toilet.

Want free books? Me too. But I'm too far away and I'm sure they're gone by now.

Scribd has been making waves recently. Is it worth it? Any users care to comment?

And finally, Library Dad gets 15 seconds of fame on The Old Bat's Belfry blog.

Most interesting to me though is how to take Tia's advice on getting/keeping blog readers and applying it to Library Dad.

And big news for me, S. M. Stirling has a sample chapter up for his latest work, A Taint in the Blood. It sounds like an Urban Fantasy style novel and the first reading made it sound interesting, but certainly nothing like the Nantucket books (or Emberverse or Change or whatever you want to call it). He's also had sample chapters of the next Nantucket book, The Sword of the Lady, available for some time.

Anderson News is facing down bankruptcy and four major publishers.

Library News

The national library in Scotland was hit by flooding from some sprinklers. The damage sounded minor, but it's not the first time it happened. Me think the plumber needs to check out a book from the DIY section.

And here’s some antique (or vintage if you prefer) library porn from 1910. A reading room in the New York Public Library before it opened.

The age-old debate on censorship in the library is making rounds again. Should patrons of age or under age be allowed to check out material with sexual content? Maybe the parents should monitor their kids first.

If my library had a Wii (and I didn't), I'd certainly think about going more often.

You mean people still have VCR's?

Borders News

Yep. Borders closed a store in Chicago. No big deal, but it may be a sign of the times. And my former employer, Books-A-Million? BAMM! They're cooking!

E-Book News

Galley Cat reports that some comic book publishers are fearing the e-book format as it may “kill” the industry. Unlikely in my mind. After all, we already know e-books give an uptick to print sales. After all, did the 45 or CD kill the music industry? Did the VHS or DVD kill the movie industry? Jenna Kay Francis talks e-books and says essentially the same thing.

Galley Cat is also reporting that Google has reached a settlement to pay authors for the books they scanned. But I can’t figure out how the authors get $45 million of the final $125 million settlement. Can someone explain that math to me?

Sean Williams and his publisher Pyr are giving away a free copy of The Crooked Letter (in PDF).

And Daniel G. Keohane and his publisher Dragon Moon Press are giving away a free copy of Solomon's Grave (in PDF).

Suvudu has also issued some free books here.

E-book pricing has been raging through the web recently in several discussions. Should publishers charge less for e-books? I think so. I think they can easily publish a book at a greatly reduced price if they use the electronic format. And while they may be able to increase their profit margin some, I think the retail price should still be lower than the cover price of a regular print book. Which brings about another aspect of the pricing debate. What if the reader set the price? But could this turn into a Google Bomb phenomenon? Could you be e-book bombed? A bunch of people get together and say your book is worth one penny?

Amazon's Kindle 2 has a new feature that reads books to you. And it caused another firestorm of conversation in the industry as it infringed on the rights of authors. Well, Amazon changed their policy. What's interesting is of all the articles and comments against this feature, this is the only article I can find to the contrary. And it raises a valid question. What are the visually impaired to do? And leave it to Jim C. Hines to bring in a level head to the discussion.

The world's oldest profession meets the publishing industry's newest technology. That's right, prostitutes and e-books.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

The Slab City Library

Slab City is located in the desert of south-eastern California. Originating as a military installation it is now the home to permanent and transient RVers (they're also known as slabbers, snow birds, and vagabonds). While the location and amenities are sparse, there's a certain aura or air to the place that breeds friendship and camaraderie. And the proof is in the library.

The library was started by Peggy Sadlik and it works on the honor system. If you take a book, you leave a book. No money or membership needed. I first learned about the library through a couple that travels the country in their RV (also known as campers, mobile homes, or motor homes).

Peggy died several years ago, but her legacy lives on in the library and the spirit of the campground. Here are a few links to some photos and more info on Slab City and the Lizard Tree Library.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

A Book to Look For

Title: Carolina Clay
Author: Leonard Todd
Illustrator: N/A
Genre: Non-Fiction
Cost: $0

In the latest issue of Garden and Guns, there was an interesting article about a potter in the early to mid 1800s that wrote poems and religious text on the bottom of his pots. But he was a slave. And that's the twist that makes this story sound interesting. A slave rarely learned to read or write. And I would think it was rare at the time that a slave could make pottery.

And here we have one that did both. Todd's story sounds very exciting, but I'm not sure I'll be able to find room for it on my reading list. But for those of you that do have room, I'd recommend it based solely on it's subject matter.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Combat and Survival - Volume 9

Title: Combat and Survival (Volume 9)
Author: H. S. Stuttman, Inc. Publishers
Illustrator: N/A
Pages: 60
Genre: Non-Fiction
Dewey Decimal: 355.5 Com
ISBN: 0-87475-560-3
Cost: $0

This moves us into night fighting and one lesson I still remember to this day. The figure eight. When you are out at night, the edges of your vision tend to see better than what's directly in front of you. So if you look at something and have your eyes trace a figure eight, you're more likely to get a clearer picture of what you want to see. Which brings us to a common theme in this series, blurring or blocking out a person's face to keep their identity secret. And I'm sure that black bar over your eyes makes it even harder to see at night.