Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Dinosaurs! Web Comics!

Having a minor crisis involving rush book orders this week, so I bring you THIS:

Ain't love grand?

My dear neighbor Casey, who recently survived the nearly lethal explosion of his appendix, apparently received one too many "Get Well" dinosaurs during his hospital stay. He just gave me this one, and we couldn't resist taking this picture IMMEDIATELY.

For more dinosaur-related fun, please see the following web comics (okay, only the first two contain dinosaurs, but you should be reading all of them. For serious.):
Axe Cop: Hands down the most hilarious and brilliant thing I've seen so far this year. Written by a five year old, illustrated by a 29 year old. How could it go wrong? Simple: IT CAN'T.
Dinosaur Comics: The classic staple.
Girls With Slingshots: The one, the only, the sexiest. The epic, often unemployed adventures of Jamie, Hazel, McPedro and Co.
Johnny Wander: If you've ever known what it is to live with three men and love them to absolute pieces (or if you just want to read a really cute, really funny web comic), then you'll love this one.
Garfield Minus Garfield: If you haven't heard of this, then you're welcome.

Over and out, folks. Enjoy!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Oh. My. Goodness. Gracious.

Hello, friends. I'm sitting in the cavernous MacBook playground of Online Coffee, and I'm a raging mess. Sweating, hands shaking, limbs floating, ready to hurl my cookies. Too much coffee? Pig flu? Toxic Shock Syndrome?


Vessel just got its first honest-to-god review from a reader who doesn't know me from Eve. A young lady. On GoodReads. And she LOVED it. 

"...I woke up this morning and found I was still thinking about it."
 "...happy there will be more, but sad I'll have to wait so long..."
"...I absolutely enjoyed every minute of it."

Right? I'm now going to take a break from my self-assured Tomcat approach here just to say: YAY! Confetti and party hats for everyone! This is what it's all about. This is better than a bookstore order. This is better than the very best salted caramel cupcake in the world. This is better than riding a white stallion bareback through the ocean surf with Cillian Murphy (did you hear that Cillian!? To hell with you!).

I'll get some 'meh' reviews. I'll get some sharp criticism, sure. But man, this feels so good. Vessel served its purpose! It entertained! It thrilled! My characters charmed! They made someone smile! Twelve years--half of my life--this is what I've been crossing my fingers for. And poof! Fulfillment. I now know that this is possible. I now know that the past two-and-a-half years were worth it, and that the next four books are worth it. This reader thinks so anyway--and she's the one I'm writing for. Victory!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Good thoughts, and an occupational haiku.

It's truly down to the wire now. I am counting down the days until 100 copies of Vessel make it into my apartment. How many days? Roughly 20. But euphoria precedes the shipment in so many ways. It's snowing. I am where I want to be, doing what I want to do, and what I'm doing is actually working . . . and there's nothing in the world like that feeling. There is enormous momentum behind me, in the form of hard work, in the form of passion, but mostly in the form of your enthusiasm, my friends. I almost can't believe it. So no cheek this evening, I'm sorry. I'm just quietly contemplating the good things, before I upload those files in the morning and spend the rest of the week pacing like a new father in the lobby. I'm thinking about Chapter 1 of Book II. I'm thinking about tattoos. Chocolate cake. A second glance and a touch on the arm, perfect timing (and god, what a winning smile). GoodReads, excited comments by strangers, a small but unexplained spike in Amazon sales. Have I mentioned that it's snowing? I'm thinking. I'm thinking of good things. And they are not hard to find.

Also (before I lose you forever in the ocean of wiggling pink puppies that is my life), I bring you . . .


Vacuum! Terror strikes!
Why then, gray cat, do you hide
Where the dust collects?

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

It's still Tuesday here, dammit.

True to my word, I will be posting every Tuesday in 2011. And on Tuesdays like today, when I am caught totally unprepared, I'll do what I'm about to do, and post a book review. Or re-post from another blog if I find anything interesting/amusing/helpful. But generally, I'll be more awesome than that. Now, onto my review of . . . 

Ladies and Gentlemen, the Bible by Jonathan Goldstein

first heard about this book on NPR, when Goldstein himself did a reading of the first chapter. His deadpan delivery compelled me to hunt down the book, and to my initial delight, his voice replaced the default voice in my head as I happily read. (Warning: this can be trying after awhile, which is probably why Wire Tap is only an hour long). 

I enjoyed this little gem as much as I expected to. It's a short collection of select Bible stories, concisely re-written to read kind of like episodes of I Love Lucy, with common next-door-neighbor traits being woven into the personalities of Biblical figures. Brilliant. Take Jacob's night-long wrestling match with an angel, for instance. Seriously? How ridiculous is that? Guy's trying to get some sleep in the desert, and a divine being blasts out of nowhere and starts totally pwning him. What had to be going through that poor guy's head? According to Goldstein, this: "'What kind of person punches an angel in the face? . . . This is the stupidest thing I've ever done in my life,' but then he was right back to inverted face-locking, camel-clutching, and mandible-clawing".

And the Angel of God commanded Jacob: "Stop hitting thyself, stop hitting thyself."
The Adam and Eve chapter was pitch-perfect and every bit as hilarious as I remembered from the radio reading. I especially enjoyed the portrayal of Noah as a kind of cranky Wonder Years Dad type, struggling to "keep it old-school", and Eve as a frustrated female trapped with . . . well, the only man on earth, who happens to be a total slob.

My only complaint is the David chapter, in which Goldstein's treatment of the human condition angle just falls flat. The author deals with pathos just as well as humor, and mostly it hits home. Jacob's believable discomfort with his mother's overt favoritism, and most memorably, Jonah's comparison of himself to a horse so unworthy of attention that no one even bothers to slaughter it. But I have no idea where Goldstein's going with this David stuff. The chapter, which paints David as a comedy-obsessed man who just can't pull off being funny, are cringe-worthy. We all know someone that tragically, chronically un-funny, and it hurts to read on and on about them when we'd rather be tee-heeing at circumcision jokes. Amiright?

Also: There's this out of nowhere post-modern ramble in which David fantasizes about Bathsheba's pinky toe . . . what the hell? Having spent many a youthful Sunday in the House of God, I had to struggle to recall the passage about King David (the creeper!) getting all excited from afar while watching the trimming of Bathsheba's toenails. So I get the angle the author's trying to spin here (how our potent human desire can lead to very strange yet meaningful dreams), but the whole thing flounders a bit.

In summation: I cannot help but think that a previous knowledge of both the Bible and Goldstein is tainting this review toward the positive, but I recommend it. Those reading LAGTB without the pleasure of having listened to Goldstein's Wire Tap on air may lose out, but give it a try. Jonah or the Garden of Eden story alone are well worth it. AMEN!
     --  --  --  --  --
And there you have it. The first post, and the first review, of 2011. 

Also, the first (and hopefully only?) survey of 2011! If you haven't already, tell me about your last book purchase, in 12 quick clicks! http://www.zoomerang.com/Survey/WEB22BPDNJM8RK If you don't, an angel will shoot down from the sky and pile-drive you through the floor, newb.