Friday, November 30, 2007

Can flying cars and robot maids be far behind?

Thanks to modern technology, our soldiers now won't have to exert themselves while smiting evildoers!

I have to say, I'm not sure how useful it is to have a machine assist you with weightlifting. But the whole punching-bad-guys and lifting-heavy-ammo-boxes stuff looks like it could come in handy during a war.

It's interesting. At some point--and this is a theme I touch on in "From the Depths"--it's going to be easier to improve the soldier than it is to improve the weaponry he or she carries. When that point arrives, I'm not sure we won't lose something big in the process. But on the other hand, by then we'll surely have toasters that do dishes.

Monday, November 26, 2007

We're No. 5! We're No. 5!

I know that all of you, dear readers, watched the epic game between the forces of all that is good and right (KU, freedom, the American Way) and those of evil (MU, cheap beer, kitten-stomping) on Saturday night. And yes, I know that you, like me, are disappointed at the outcome.

Kansas and Missouri players stare meaningfully into each others' eyes.

Having said that, it was a fun game to watch, and I'm man enough to say that MU has an extremely talented team and they played like it. My thoughts about the game may be found on such repositories of knowledge as

The good news is that my beloved Jayhawks still are ranked No. 5 in the BCS standings and will be playing in a post-New Year bowl, which is fantastic for the program.

And although the Chiefs are doing their best to make everyone forget how good they were three years ago, I had a great time watching them with Longtime Friend of the Blog Adam.

Now, I have a solid month without any college football in which to concentrate on writing. Except now there's basketball on....

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Lies, damn lies, and reviews

Where would art be without criticism? Smoking a cigarette in a Manhattan coffee shop and complaining about being poor and misunderstood, that's where.

It's part of the creative process. Working in a vacuum gets you nowhere (except the aforementioned Manhattan coffee shop, which overcharges for muffins anyway). Feedback--friendly or not--makes you a better artist.

That includes writing.

So far, I've seen three reviews of "From the Depths," --in Booklist, Library Journal and Publishers Weekly--and they all had positive things to say. Of course, they all have negative things to say, too. That's what these two cliches were invented for:

-What doesn't kill you makes you stronger.
-There's no such thing as bad publicity.

So, as a not-dead and publicized author, my advice to you is to do the rational thing and go buy the book, if you haven't already, to gauge how accurate the reviews were. And send them nasty letters if you'd like to register a complaint.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

A touch of class for a submarine full of dead people

Friday's reading at Lincoln Square little-bit-of-everything boutique Scents and Sensibility went swimmingly. There weren't even too many complaints that Dr. Myers had a Johnny Cash-esque speaking voice. But hey, you give people enough wine and they'll applaud if you read the back of a cereal box.

Here are a couple of photos from the event, taken by Owner of the Boutique Julie:

Tastefully decorated book lovers browse the tastefully decorated store.

That's right, I'm sitting behind a fence.

Thanks to everyone who came by! Next stop: The Book Cellar, Dec. 19. Be there to pick up the bestest Christmas present ever!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Dear Mayor Daley: Thanks for the fireworks

Yeah, that's right--not only did the KU football team celebrate the release of "From the Depths" with a victory over Oklahoma State, but Hizzoner (The Second) made sure there were some festive explosions down near the museum campus... in other words, in perfect view of Lake Point Tower.

The release party on Saturday was a lot of fun, full of good cheer and good books and good friends and good wine. Technically, the good friends were full of the good wine, not the party. But you know what I mean.

Here are some destined-for-the-cover-of-People shots from various Friends (and Relatives) of the Blog:

Well-behaved attendees, less than 15 bottles of wine in and before the first television was defenestrated.

James, Former College Roommate of the Blog. What you can't see is that I'm stomping on his foot as hard as I can.

I rest my signing hand as several friends try to explain to me why "have a great summer" doesn't make sense on the title page of a novel.

Kristen, Cousin of the Blog, makes sure I know how her name is spelled.

People dressed more stylishly than I was also had a great time.

Thanks so much to everyone who helped make this such a fun and wonderful night. And stay tuned for information about coming events featuring "From the Depths," and possibly its author.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Maybe if I say it quietly, the Jinx Gods won't hear

I'm hesitant to even post this.

KU football is kicking a remarkable amount of butt this year. I doubt they even have TIME to take names. Undefeated. No. 2 in the country in scoring. No. 7 in defense.

Todd Reesing, the team's quarterback, is breaking records like every night was Disco Demolition Night.

The multitalented Reesing uses his healing powers on a Colorado defender.

They beat OSU last night (to help me celebrate the release of my book) and are now 10-0, which hasn't happened since TWO centuries ago. It's exciting and, frankly, a little disconcerting for Kansas fans. This is unexplored territory, and we're wandering around without a compass. Fortunately KU's head coach, Mark Mangino, seems to know the way. Even if that way seems accompanied by a few too many onion ring baskets.

Mangino: Football IQ equal to scale readout.

Friend and fellow bloggist Erin Thompson has celebrated this historic event in traditional fashion. That's right: a celebrity look-alike comparison of the players. Check it out here... and go, Jayhawks!

Thursday, November 8, 2007

There's no accounting for creativity

Actually, wait, yes there is. If you're a professional writer, you account for creativity with a paycheck.

Which is why the Writers Guild strike makes perfect sense. The ideas at the root of everything Hollywood creates spring (sometimes fully formed, like Athena, and other times half-baked, like a box of cheap brownie mix) from the minds of writers. And the writers would like to be compensated for that--can't say that I blame them.

Here's the crux of the issue, though. New technology has given way to new media on which their work (shows, movies, etc.) are presented. It's clear what direction we're headed; the Internet is, I'm told, the future. Yet the studios don't want to give writers a piece of the action in media such as the Internet. Huh. That sure seems to be setting the writers up for some unpleasant accounting--there's that word again!--down the road.

The writers of "The Office" put it thusly:

Anyway, I stand by my enormously creative brethren and hope that they get what they're asking for. If not, be prepared to watch a lot of crappy reality TV and funny movies that, as my friend Clark puts it, are "the other kind of funny."

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

How to become famous without really trying. Or becoming famous.

“From the Depths” is on the street—well, hopefully, on the bookshelf—and you’re probably asking yourself how you can get your hands on a copy. Well, the obvious answer is to check, or pretty much any bookstore of good repute.

The less obvious, but more fun answer is to visit the many book-related events planned around Chicago and beyond. The bonus there is that you can meet the author and have him write something witty in your copy of the book. (suggestions for witty inscriptions welcome)

Here’s a quick rundown of what’s on the docket so far:

-Nov. 10: Book release party! Wine! Cheese! Enthusiastic punctuation!

-Nov. 16: Book reading and signing at Scents and Sensibility, 4654 N. Rockwell St. 6-8 p.m. More wine!

-Late November (maybe): Assorted book-signing action in the greater Kansas City area. Yes, wine.

-Dec. 19: Book reading and signing at the Book Cellar, 4736 N. Lincoln Ave. Time to be determined. IT’S A WINE SHOP.

And, as we say in journalism, “more stuff to come.” Actually, I’m pretty sure everyone says that. At some point.

Hope to see you and your hard-to-spell name soon!