Tuesday, July 22, 2014

AFTER THE BALL...

Huge and grateful thanks to the wonderful folks at Bookshop Santa Cruz for hosting my reading/signing for Alias Hook last week. It was a blast!

For starters: look at this cool chalkboard sign they posted out front, in the corner between the Chocolate cafe and the front door to BSC. "Santa Cruz's own"—I'm so touched!

Next: scroll down to take a look at some of the fine folk who showed up for this event. That would be YOU, the reading public! Hearty thanks to everyone who came down to cheer me on. Your presence was most appreciated!

Now that I've come back down to terra firma, it's time for practical matters. If you missed the signing, but your interest in Alias Hook has been piqued by the various ramblings and mutterings in this blog, I have glad tidings.

My Blog Tour continues all over the Internets, and there's still time to enter one of several giveaways for a *FREE* copy of the book (in hardcover, yet)!

Visit one (or all) of these sites and try your luck:

Reading Frenzy Giveaway closes July 25.

Cheryl's Book Nook Closes July 27.

A Bookish Affair Closes July 28.

Cocktails and Books Closes July 29.

Let Them Read Books  Closes July 30.

Thanks to these and all of the intrepid book bloggers out there who are helping to spread the word about Alias Hook. Writing a book is a solitary pursuit, but it takes a village to get it into the hands of readers!

Saturday, July 12, 2014

LAUNCHED!

The local media blitz for Alias Hook continues!

Even though my book was officially unleashed last Tuesday, the festivities keep on coming.

My interview with Santa Cruz entertainment guru Wallace Baine appeared in The Guide section of the Sentinel on Thursday. (With photos by the great Shmuel Thaler, yet!)

And imagine my delight to see artwork from my little book on The Guide's cover.

This week, I'll take to the airwaves to chat with two of my favorite radio hosts. Tuesday night, July 15, 7 pm, it will be my very great pleasure to be a guest on Bruce Bratton's Universal Grapevine program on KZSC.

The next day, at 8:30 in the morning, I'll be on the air again with the ebullient and charming Rosemary Chalmers on her morning show at KSCO.

Later that same day—actually, the evening of Wednesday, July 16, at 7:30 pm—I'll be reading a couple of (brief) passages from Alias Hook,  attempting to make up plausible answers to your questions, and signing copies of the book at Bookshop Santa Cruz.

(Btw, I went downtown to Bookshop last Tuesday, my publication day, to see if my book was actually on the shelves yet. Was absolutely gobsmacked to find this giant display right by the front door! Of course, I'm such a nerd, I had to capture the moment. For an author, there is nothing like seeing your books in situ, out in the world!)

So if you're out in the world Wednesday night, please do come by the Bookshop and say 'hello.' If you can't make it to the BSC event you can still reserve a signed copy via their website.

And that's just about all I can do to help launch Alias Hook on its way. The rest of Captain James Hook's voyage of conquest is up to him!

Friday, July 11, 2014

TASTY FREEZE

Flawed, but fun 'Snowpiercer' is a hip summer cooler

How's this for an allegory for the human condition? In the post-apocalyptic future, the surviving members of humanity are trapped together in a giant, high-speed train endlessly circling the globe on the ultimate fast-track to nowhere.

That's the story in Snowpiercer, the first English-language film from Korean cult filmmaker Bong Joon-ho, a brooding cautionary tale of social dynamics and environmental suicide dressed in the trappings of a bloody, brawling action thriller.

It's a rather despairing look at the species, and the plot is not exactly airtight, but the director's energy and humor, and some entertaining performances make it worth the ride.

The film is adapted from a three-volume French graphic novel, Le Transperceneige. Set in the aftermath of global environmental collapse, the comic is the perfect, vehicle for filmmaker Bong, who tried to warn us about the catastrophic effects of climate change in his delicious eco-monster movie mash-up The Host.
 
He gets to explore the consequences of our negligence in Snowpiercer, which begins when a botched attempt to halt global warming launches a new ice age and freezes the planet.

All of Earth is reduced to frozen white waste, except for a cross section of people who have boarded a ginormous train driven by a perpetual motion engine on a track that circumvents the entire globe, one revolution per year. The plot itself revolves around a group of rebels led by Chris Evans and Jamie Bell, stuck in steerage in the "Tail" of the train, battling their way forward to the "Head" in search of justice.

Along the way, they release drug-addled engineer Nam (Kang-ho Song, star of The Host) from his cryogenic sleep. Nam is valuable to the rebels because he knows every inch of the train, and Song is invaluable to the film for his hipster sarcasm. (Read more)

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

HAPPY BOOK DAY!

Unleash the books!

Happy Publication Day to Alias Hook! Today, my little book officially releases in its multiple US editions—hardcover, ebook, Kindle, and audiobook. Sniff, I'm so proud…

Big thanks to the wonderful folks at Thomas Dunne Books who have hoped me get this puppy out into the world. Without them, I wouldn't have had a clue what to do.

But look at me now—I'm on a Blog Tour!

Don't worry; I don't expect you to read every guest post and/or interview I've done for these sites. There will NOT be a quiz!  But if you're looking for something new to read, I encourage you to check out some of these book blog/review sites.

Most of them update every couple of days, and the range of interests is wide!

Happy reading to all!


July 1: Icey Books - review

July 1: Sara's Organized Chaos - review

July 3: Passages To the Past – review, excerpt, giveaway

July 5: Harlequin Junkie – excerpt, interview, giveaway

July 7: Upcoming4.me – review, giveaway, original essay, republishing ‘The Story Behind ALIAS HOOK’

July 8: USA Today’s Happy Ever After – round-up of Fairy Tales Revisited

July 8: The Lit Bitch – excerpt, giveaway, review

July 8: A Bookish Affair – review

July 9: Booksie's Blog - review

July 9: No More Grumpy Bookseller– excerpt, giveaway
There'll be bubbles involved later today...

July 9: The Window Seat on a Rainy Day -review

July 10: No More Grumpy Bookseller– review

July 11: Dear Author -review

July 11: Reading Frenzy – interview, giveaway

July 14: She Reads– Picture This – guest post

July 14: Gone Pecan – excerpt, giveaway, review

July 14: Oh Magic Hour - review, interview, giveaway

July 15: A Bookish Affair – interview, giveaway

July 15: Books-n-Kisses— interview, review

July 16: Literary, etc. – excerpt, interview, giveaway

July 17: Let Them Read Books – excerpt, giveaway

July 18: Let Them Read Books – review

July 19: Cheryl's Book Nook – review, excerpt, interview, giveaway

July 21: Mary Gramlich– review, excerpt, interview, giveaway

July 22: Cocktails and Books– review, interview, giveaway

July 23: My Friends are Fiction – review, interview, giveaway

July 24: Reading the End – review, giveaway

July 28: Reading the Past – interview

July 29: Dark Faerie Tales – review, giveaway

Monday, July 7, 2014

APPROACHING LIFT-OFF

It's only a few scant hours before the US edition of Alias Hook officially launches!

My author's copies of the hardcover arrived today, and what a vision they are, sigh! It never gets old, opening up a box like this. Talk about Christmas in July!

Meanwhile, now playing on the Amazon page for Alias Hook is an excerpt from the Audible audiobook—which also releases tomorrow—expertly read by Ralph Lister!

Click on the "Listen" doohickey and prepare to be transported to the Neverland.

A 25-stop Blog Tour is also getting underway as we speak, wherein generous book blog proprietors allow me to flail away in guest posts or answer interview questions, all from the privacy of my own keyboard. Okay, I already do all of that here, but the cool thing is, many of these blogs are hosting giveaways of my book—as in free!

Like Amy Phillips Bruno at her excellent book blog, Passages to the Past. Her Alias Hook giveaway is open until July 13, so check it out!

Okay, all together now: 3...2..1...

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

AUDIBLE ART

There I was, cruising around on the Internets today, when I stumbled upon this lovely thing.

It's the new cover art for the upcoming audiobook of Alias Hook, and  I think it's pretty cool!

This image has it all—mermaid, fairy, flying boy, pirate ship, and a tropical island. And just a hint of a mysterious female presence—so mysterious, you might have to look twice to see her.

(Not to mention how perfectly color-coded it is to this blog! How did they know?)

The audiobook is releasing on the same day as the US edition, July 8. It will be read by Ralph Lister and it's available for pre-order as we speak as an Audible Audio Edition from Amazon.

Or you can pre-order it from Blackstone Audiobooks.

Sadly, there are no sample audio snippets available, at least, not yet. Guess we'll have to wait until next week!

Friday, June 27, 2014

BLOGS R US

Good Grief, I seem to be all over the blogosphere this week, ranting on about villains, villainy, fairy tales, and Alias Hook.

The Hugo Award-winning sci-fi blogsite, SF Signal, invited me to weigh in on its "Mind Meld" feature of the week. And forget about redemption; this time the topic is Villains We Love to Hate!

A selection of genre authors contribute their ideas on Worst. Villain(s). Ever. Me, I tried to steer clear of the heavy hitters—your Voldemort, your Sauron.

Because in books, as is so often the case in real life, the worst, most egregious villainy is often perpetrated not by the designated evildoers, but by more or less ordinary folks behaving very badly. That's the kind of life-sized villainy that gets me steamed.

Then, just another click away—look, Ma, I'm on Huff Post! Here's a piece I wrote on the fashion for rewriting fairy tales, listing some of my favorites in the genre.

Why do these ancient tales (in which I also include mythology, folklore, even Shakespeare) endure? Because each new generation of bards and storytellers reinvents those tales to keep them vital and current. Times change. Tastes change. One woman's Beast is another woman's Prince.

In this piece, I salute some writers who have dared to retell an old tale from the villain's side of the story. Like Tad Williams' Caliban's Hour. In one fleet, revisionist tale, Williams creates one of the most soulful of modern Beast-heroes!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

REDEEMABLE VILLAINS

It's my very great pleasure today to have a guest post up on the excellent speculative fiction blog, Layers of Thought.

My topic is "Top 5 (Redeemable) Villains." Since I've already revealed my soft spot for Captain Hook, I was asked to come up with some other designated villains from fantasy fiction, characters who I think may have gotten a raw deal. Characters who might deserve a chance to tell their side of the story!

Case in point: Circe. Okay, she turned Odysseus' men into pigs. But remember, they were a shipload of strange men of unknown provenance invading her island. And it's not like she killed or enslaved them; they were free to roam around her island in peace, enjoying the fruits of the land.

All they had to give up was the man-like shape that made them war-like. (Get rid of those pesky opposable thumbs, and no more weapons can be grasped!) Besides, she only turned them into swine after they spent a night of gluttony feasting at her table.

Click here to read the rest of the story. Then let me know what villains you would like to see redeemed!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

STOKED!

Hey kids, check it out!

It's a real book!

My first copy of the US edition of Alias Hook arrived yesterday (in hardcover, yet), and, seriously,  could a person get any more stoked?

This is only the second time I've ever had a book published in hardcover. And the first one just wasn't the same, since it was only published in German, and I couldn't read it.

But I can read this one. And let me tell you, seeing my words in print—well, it's just indescribable. (Obviously, or else I'd be doing a better job of it!)

And right now, for a limited time only, you have a chance to read Alias Hook too—for free! From now through July 4, there are 10 copies up for grabs via a giveaway on Goodreads. Nothing to buy, no hoops to jump through, just follow this link, sign up and try your luck.

Meanwhile, I'll be reading from Alias Hook, signing books, and generally flailing about at Bookshop Santa Cruz on Wednesday, July 16, 7:30 pm.

I would love to see you there!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

LOST and FOUND

Family and history collide in intimate, yet powerful 'Ida'


Who says size matters? At a mere 80 minutes, the Polish film Ida is a small miracle of economic storytelling, emotional complexity and astonishing scope. Co-written and directed by Pawel Pawlikowski, it is both an intimate, mostly two-character drama, and an unsparing and unsentimentalized look back on two tumultuous decades of Polish history as told over the course of a few days in the life of a young woman.

It's everything we want a film to be—focused, beautifully composed, surprising, and powerful.

Shot in expressive black-and-white by cinematographers Ryszard Lenczewski and Lukasz Zal, the film begins within the fortress-like walls of a rural convent. It's about 1962, and Anna (lovely and luminous Agata Trzebuchowska), an 18-year-old novice, is an orphan raised in the convent. She has never known anything else than the orderly routines and obedience of convent life; meals are taken in silence, discipline is strict, and the young novices regularly prostrate themselves on the stone floor of the chapel before their wooden Christ.

Anna is about to take her vows. But before she can, the Mother Superior tells her she must visit her only remaining relative, an aunt she never knew she had who lives in the city.

Aunt Wanda (a superb Agata Kulesza) is a tough, chain-smoking, hard-drinking, middle-aged court judge who sleeps with random men and has little interest in bonding with her niece. But she shows Anna an old photograph of her mother (Wanda's sister), tells the girl that her birth name was Ida—and drops the bombshell that their family was Jewish.

Their family history proves to be a harrowing tale, dating back to the Nazi invasion of Poland, and continuing into the severity of the Communist era. But director Pawlikowski reveals it only in small, potent bits, as the two women set off on an impromptu odyssey, first to the farmhouse where Anna's family once lived, and then on a quest to find her parents' unmarked grave.

Along the way, their fragile alliance is shattered and reformed, painful secrets are told, and a subtle portrait emerges of the troubled legacy left to a younger generation born out of chaos. (Read more)
Every beautifully composed frame film tells its own story.