Sunday, April 29, 2012

Owen and Spot are Going to Paris!

Last winter I got an interesting email from an editor at a publisher in France. She expressed interest in the French translation rights to my most recent novel, Tahoe Hijack. I'd already had a British inquiry on Tahoe Hijack a month before that, but that publisher turned out to be one that didn't pay advances and promised only royalties. In this business, you can roughly measure the seriousness of a publisher by the advance. I declined the English invitation.
But this new inquiry from the Paris publisher sounded more legitimate. Unfortunately, I was slammed with exhibiting at festivals and such, and I didn't respond right away. Soon, I got another email from the publisher, this time from the owner. (It is a mid-sized publisher, which often means that your book will get more attention than in a big house.) So I wrote and put them in touch with my agent.
Two weeks later, my agent and the French publisher closed the deal, and the French version of Tahoe Hijack is due to be published in 2012. It will be called:
     I'm very excited. I don't speak any French beyond merci beaucoup, but holding a French Tahoe Hijack in my hands will be enough to motivate much learning!
     I'll let you know when the book is out. And I'll try to find out how American Francophiles can get a copy.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

A Sacred Place for Book Lovers

It's Sunday, and I'm at one of the sacred places for authors and readers: The L.A. Times Book Festival on the USC campus:
What a rush to be at the country's biggest book festival. In an age of video distractions, it is so gratifying to see that masses of people still worship books. (Although I realize that, increasingly, books are read on video screens, some as small as those on smart phones.)
I'm exhibiting my books alongside 600 other authors. The vibe at this event is that books are still considered high-value items, and reading them, high-value experiences.
For a lot of attendees, books are even cool.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

One Small Step into the Blog Fog

What's the best thing about this writing biz? There are several candidates, but one of the best is emails from readers.
Okay, having a commute from bedroom to coffee maker to desk is right up there. Not having a boss ranks pretty high, too. Also on the list is the kind of research that involves hiking, skiing, and barbecuing at the beach.
Of course, there is a flip side to this dreamy novel-writing stuff, and that is the pesky business of actually writing the novels. Not that I'm complaining. I'm just sayin'... There is some work involved.
But waking up to letters from readers telling me that they enjoyed one of my books is the greatest of joys. They also tell me to say hi to Spot. Sometimes they write to Spot. (And sometimes they tell me that my book has typos on page 87 and 231 and 319.)
Many readers have suggested that I write a regular newsletter or a blog.
Yikes. A scary thought for a techno-phobic-jus'-me-and-my-Underwood-alone-in-my-cabin kind of guy.

But I get the point. While I respond to all emails, a book once a year isn't much communication coming from me to you. So a blog or newsletter would be a logical way to fill in some gaps.
When it was first proposed, I decided to sleep on it. Novelists are not usually blazing fast think-on-our-feet kind of people. If we were, we'd do stand-up. Or sell cars. Being slow – I mean thoughtful! – is in some ways integral to the process of writing a novel. The absence of fast-twitch neurons goes well with a career that involves the production level of one item per year, albeit a complex item.
So, nine years after it was first suggested that I blog, I'm acting on the idea.
I guess this introduction qualifies as my first blog. Will it be my last? Please check back and see.
Thanks for your time and interest.

Your humble author,