News of the Day (3rd Thursday of May 2013)

Self got another rejection, this from The Collagist.

Did she ever share with dear blog readers that Manila Noir got a REALLY good review from Publishers Weekly?  Yay!  Big, big shout-out to Jessica Hagedorn, for doing such a smart job with the anthology (and La Hagedorn has a new story in it, too)

She bought a greeting card (with dolphins on the front) to give to son on Saturday, after his graduation ceremony at Claremont.

In honor of the occasion, today self delivered The Ancient One to the pet hospital, where she will board for the weekend.  Self drove so slowly that at least two SUVs honked her.  But never mind!  The Ancient One has a tendency to car-sickness.  She kinda let her bladder go all over self’s jeans (the only pair of jeans self has left, because four were in the suitcase that got stolen in Venice) when self was carrying her down.  Despite smelling like pee, self made herself wander the San Carlos Farmers Market.  This you can do in America:  she’d never dare wander Bacolod smelling like pee, but here no one gives a hoot.  It’s so much less stressful.

Because self and The Man have junkers for cars, every time we go south, we must rent.  And this time, self decided to splurge a little, because she rented a Prius.  And Holy Cow!  She’s never driven a car that didn’t have an ignition.  Only a wee button to press.  Plus, there was so much unfamiliar electrical whirring going on, every time she did something (like switch from “Park” to “Reverse” mode) that self felt like she was operating from inside a battery.  It was so much fun renting this car, because self was in the wrong line.  She picked the shortest line, and only after she got to the front did she learn that she had been in the line reserved for “Executive Members of the Fastbreak Club,” whatever that means.  But never mind.  Rather than send her to the back of another line, the busy rep actually made the time to get self a nice car, and she even confided to self that she, too, had a birthday in July.  “Which makes you a Cancer,” self said.  “My husband’s an Aquarius.  They’re supposed to be very incompatible with Cancer.”  The sales rep said, “My husband’s a Pisces.  Is that compatible with Cancer?”  “Yes,” self asserted.  “Pisces and Cancer go together like white on rice.” (Lordy, just see how self rattles on!)

Anyhoo, The Man is very excited that we will be on Highway 5.  Because it passes Coalinga.  And in Coalinga there are humongous ranches, including Harris Ranch.  Which means steak restaurants.  And that’s all he’s been talking about for days.

Today, self was in the Chef Shop in San Carlos and she saw so many fancy kitchen implements.  Since son and his girlfriend are moving in together, self decided to give son a call and ask him if he already had a rice cooker.  He said he did.  So self was quite at a loss for what to get him.  She decided to control her impulse to shop, and walked out of the store with only a ceramic butter dish.  Pats on the back, self!

Stay tuned.

Books Mentioned in The New York Times Book Review, 30 September 2012

Isn’t it wonderful how self keeps finding NYTBR issues from last year?

Here’s one that isn’t too long ago:  it’s from September 2012.

In this issue, the “By the Book” interview is With Michael Chabon, who just happens to be reading Moonraker, by Ian Fleming (written 1955).  He also mentions Cloud Atlas, and Ben Marcus (author of The Flame Alphabet) and three of what he thinks are classics of “genre fiction”:  The Turn of the Screw, Heart of Darkness, and Blood Meridian.  Next on his reading list:  Beyond Black, by Hilary Mantel, and Diamonds are Forever.

There is a review of Love Bomb, a novel by Lisa Zeidner, that refers to a previous novel by Ayelet Waldman, Red Hook Road (which self will try and read).

Finally, there is a review by Christian Bauman (who served with the United States Army in Somalia and Haiti) of Fobbit, by David Abrams, a novel whose hero is assigned to a public affairs team in a “Forward Operating Base,” or FOB, in Iraq. (“Dead soldiers,” according to Abrams’ hero, “were now little more than objects to be loaded onto the back of C-130s somewhere and delivered like pizzas to the United States.”)


Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Latest Book Deals (Courtesy of PUBLISHERS LUNCH WEEKLY 20 March 2012)

Latest e-letter from Publishers Weekly has announcement of the following deals:

Fiction Debuts:

  • Rachel Urquhart’s The Visionist, the story of “a 15-year-old girl who sets fire to her family farm, killing her abusive father, and finds refuge —  as long as she can guard her dark secrets — in an 1840s Shaker settlement,” to Reagan Arthur Books, in a pre-empt, by Dorian Karchmar at William Morris Endeavor
  • Jillian Cantor’s Margot, “reimagining Anne Frank’s sister’s experience in post-war America as Anne’s growing status as a cultural icon dramatically upends Margot’s own new identity, love, and life,” to Riverhead by Jessica Regel at the Jean V. Naggar Literary Agency


  • A. J. Hartley’s Tears of the Jaguar, “bringing back protagonist Deborah Miller from The Mask of Atreus who has to connect four remarkable events or die trying:  the most famous witch trial in English history; the discovery of an underground Mayan tomb in the Mexican jungle; the disappearance of the original English crown jewels in 1649; and a string of murders perpetrated by an arms dealer in pursuit of a high tech weapon,” to Thomas Mercer for publication in Fall 2012

General/ Other

  • Roboticist and New York Times bestselling author Daniel H. Wilson and anthologist John Joseph Adams, eds.’s, Robot Uprisings, an anthology of stories, to Vintage, by Laurie Fox at Linda Chester Literary Agency and Joe Monti at Barry Goldblatt Literary

There were other deal announcements, such as the memoir by Amanda Knox’s former boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito, Presumed Guilty:  My Journey to Hell and Back with Amanda Knox, written with Andrew Gumbel, which describes Sollecito’s “first meeting with Amanda” and “his arrest, prison time, and subsequent release,” but the rain which fell all morning has finally ceased and self does not want to miss an opportunity to go moseying around Lacson Street.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers, stay tuned.

Latest Book Deals (Courtesy of PUBLISHERS LUNCH WEEKLY 28 February 2012)

Latest e-letter from Publishers Weekly has announcement of the following deals:

Fiction by First-Time Novelists:

  • Kim Church’s BYRD, about a woman who bears and surrenders a son, her only child, without telling his father, little imagining how the secret will shape their lives, to Dzanc Books, by Emma Patterson at the Wendy Weil Agency
  • Nicholas Mennuti’s debut EXILE, written with SAFE HOUSE screenwriter David Guggenheim (originally announced by publisher as Guggenheim’s book written with Mennuti), a fast-paced, Hitchcock-esque thriller about an American businessman living in exile in Cambodia who gets mistaken for a mysterious government operative, to Mulholland Books for publication in 2013

General/ Other

  • Pushcart nominee and MFA grad Lisa Lisa VanAuken’s WOOLGATHERERS OF TAPPAN SQUARE, which “brings together three estranged sisters in their mission to save their beloved yarn shop and also protect their rumored magical ability to weave the most ardent of wishes into the scarves, mittens and fibers of those most worthy, brimming with magic, legends, folklore, and knitting, a novel about second chances … ” to Ballantine Bantam Dell, in a two-book deal
  • Author of the CONFESSIONS OF MAX TIVOLI, Andrew Sean Greer’s MANY WORLDS, “in which a young woman living in 1985 receives electroconvulsive therapy for her depression and, as a result travels through time to parallel worlds where she is forced to confront the uncertainties of love and the unpredictable consequences of even the most carefully considered choices,” to Ecco for publication in 2013.

There were other deal announcements, such as National Review’s Deputy Managing Editor Kevin Williamson’s THE END OF POLITICS:  The Retreat of Government in Our iPhone World, “a look at how the hidden economics and secret politics of failed government are prohibiting innovation and market-based solutions to our most pressing national problems,” but, alas, it is time to clear the sink of the dinner dishes.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers, stay tuned.

Lists, Lists, and More Lists! just announced their list of “Best Books of 2011.”

Based on what criteria?  Self has no idea. Reader reviews?

What really intrigued her about the list is that the # 1 book is Chad Harbach’s The Art of Fielding, and there is a very long article about Chad in the Vanity Fair issue that has Angelina Jolie in extreme close-up on the cover.  Self hasn’t finished reading the article yet (as she said, it’s quite long), but she got to the part where the writer of the article and Chad had to support themselves with day jobs, and how it took them four years to come up with a manuscript, or something to that effect.

Anyhoo, here is the Amazon list “Best of 2011.” As usual self had to scroll down to find the name of the highest-ranked woman writer, and it is Laini Taylor, at # 6.  In addition, self ended up counting the number of women on the list:  out of a total of 20, there are five, which she considers rather lame.  The six women authors are:  Laini Taylor, Tea Obreht, Erin Morgenstern, Tina Fey, and Gabrielle Hamilton.  Self notes, too, that Walter Isaacson’s 600-page authorized biography of Steve Jobs, called simply Steve Jobs, is # 8 on this list.  Finally, she is so happy to see David McCullough’s presence on this list, for she’s read two previous books by him, and she thinks he is one of our finest historians.

BTW, BIG BIG shout-out to Zack Linmark, whose novel Leche made it to Publishers Weekly List of Best Fiction (for 2011), one of 18.  Go, Zack, go!

  1. The Art of Fielding, by Chad Harbach
  2. IQ84 by Haruki Murakami
  3. What It Is Like to Go to  War by Karl Marlantes
  4. The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides
  5. In the Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson
  6. Daughter of Smoke and Bone (love this title!) by Laini Taylor
  7. Before I Go to Sleep by SJ Watson
  8. Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson
  9. Lost in Shangri-la by Steve Zuckoff
  10. The Tiger’s Wife by Tea Obreht
  11. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
  12. Bossypants by Tina Fey
  13. Blood, Bones, and Butter by Gabrielle Hamilton
  14. We the Animals by Justin Torres
  15. Moonwalking with Einstein by Joshua Foer
  16. The Lover’s Dictionary by David Levithan
  17. The Greater Journey by David McCullough
  18. Lost Memory of Skin by Russell Banks
  19. Maphead by Ken Jennings
  20. The Sisters Brothers by Patrick De Witt

Some of these titles, like # 20, seem ungrammatical, but perhaps that’s deliberate.  Or perhaps Publishers Weekly, which put forth the announcement of the list, was in too much of a hurry to proofread — ?

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Latest Book Deals (Courtesy of PUBLISHERS LUNCH WEEKLY 1 Nov 2011)

Latest e-letter from Publishers Weekly has announcement of the following deals:


  • IMPAC Dublin Award Winner and Spanish bestselling author Javier Marias’ latest novel, The Infatuations, “a story about love and how it can justify almost anything:  noble and selfless actions as well as the worst outrages and the most despicable of acts,” to Sonny Mehta at Knopf, at auction
  • Charlie Lovett’s The First Folio, “the contemporary story of a young widower who becomes entangled in the fate of a rare manuscript dating from the time of Shakespeare that will change his life forever, to Viking, for publication in summer 2013
  • Cathy Marie Buchanan’s The Van Goethem Sisters, set in 19th-century Paris and based on historical events and characters, the story of teenage sisters whose father’s death sets one on a trajectory to the Paris Opera Ballet . . . and the other into the stage adaptation of Emile Zola’s novel L’Assommoir and into the arms of a dangerous young man,” to Riverhead

History/Politics/Current Affairs

  • Lindsey Hilsom’s Sandstorm: Libya in the Time of Revolution, “a chronicle of the Gaddafi endgame, a marriage of reportage and storytelling”, to Penguin Press in a pre-empt, for publication “in early 2012”

There were other deal announcements, such as Laura Snyder’s Eye of the Beholder:  Johannes Vermeer, Antoni van Leeuwenhoek and the Reinvention of Seeing, “an intertwined biography of the great scientist and artist of the 17th century, and the revolution in perception that their work brought about,” but, alas, the time has come to give the furiously panting Bella her dinner.

Stay tuned.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers, stay tuned.

Latest Book Deals (Courtesy of Publishers Lunch Weekly, 20 Sept 2011)

Latest e-letter from Publishers Weekly has announcement of the following deals:

Fiction by First-Time Novelists:

  • Marine Captain Phil Klay’s debut story collection, “focusing on the lives of the men and women serving in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, along with the families on the home front” to Andrea Walker, her first acquisition for Penguin Press, for publication in 2014
  • Susan Desrocher’s Bride of New France, “about the Fille du Rois, orphaned girls sent from Paris prisons and poorhouses in mid-1600s to marry French soldiers and populate the new colony,” to Norton for publication in 2013

Mystery/ Crime

  • Dennis Lehane’s September, “in which a cold case detective with a terminal diagnosis investigates a notorious Boston murder and becomes heroic through his final act, to be followed by an October and November trilogy,” to William Morrow for publication in Summer 2012.

General/ Other

  • Author of Layover and Director of the MFA Program in Creative Writing at Rutgers University Lisa Zeidner’s Love Bomb, “in which a lovelorn woman takes hostages at a suburban wedding where the motley crew of guests . . .  swaps darkly funny stories about courtship, marriage, stalkers and the travails of parenthood,” to Farrar, Straus

There were other deal announcements, such as Washington Post Book Editor Steven Livingston’s Little Demon in the City of Light, “about a sensational murder in Belle Epoque-era Paris by a publicity-hungry young woman and her con man partner,” but twilight is falling and the fabulous city awaits self’s further explorations.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers, stay tuned.

Latest Book Deals (Courtesy of PUBLISHERS LUNCH WEEKLY 4 July 2011)

Latest e-letter from Publishers Weekly has announcement of the following deals:

Fiction by First-Time Novelists:

  • Michael Boccacino’s Charlotte Markham and the House of Darkling, “a Victorian gothic tale pitched as The Turn of the Screw meets Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell meets Jane Eyre and the love child of Neil Gaiman and Tim Burton, in which a feisty young governess at a dilapidated manor falls in love with her widower employer and discovers a dark alternate world called The Ending, the place for things that cannot die, in which the deceased mother of the two boys under her care has been waiting to pick up where she left off in the ominous House of Darkling . . . ” to Harper Perennial, for publication in July 2012

General/ Other

  • Michael Kimball’s Big Ray, “the story of a son coming to terms with the sudden death of his obese father, told through 500 brief entries, moving back and forth between past and present, the father’s death and his life, between an abusive childhood and an adult understanding,” to Bloomsbury


  • South Carolina governor and tea party favorite Nikki Haley’s Can’t Is Not an Option, covering everything from growing up in rural south Carolina, doing bookkeeping and taxes for her parents in middle school —  an early experience of fighting government red tape . . . ” to Sentinel, for publication on January 3, 2012

There were other deal announcements, such as Gaby Rodriguez’s untitled memoir, “about her experience faking a pregnancy for 6 1/2 months as a high school senior to determine the stereotypes of unwed teen mothers, unveiling the results at a student assembly weeks before graduation,” sold to Simon and Schuster Children’s but, alas, the time has come for self to resume the book she is currently reading, Edith Wharton’s (relatively depressing and mirth-less) The House of Mirth (Sample passage, Everyman’s Library edition, p. 68:  “Expansive persons found him a little dry, and very young girls thought him sarcastic; but this air of friendly aloofness, as far removed as possible from any assertion of personal advantage, was the quality which piqued Lily’s interest.  Everything about him accorded with the fastidious element in her taste, even to the light irony with which he surveyed what seemed to her most sacred.”)

Stay tuned, dear blog readers, stay tuned.

Latest Book Deals (Courtesy of PUBLISHERS WEEKLY 9 May 2011)

Latest e-letter from Publishers Weekly has announcement of the following deals:

Sci-Fi/ Fantasy:

  • Leigh Evans’s Hedi’s Book of Rules,  “the first in a new series about a half-blooded Fae who must steal an amulet to rescue her last surviving family member, and soon finds herself on the run with the very werewolf who once betrayed her,” to St. Martin’s

General/ Other

  • NEA fiction fellow Ed Falco’s The Family Corleone, “an all-new prequel to The Godfather based on an unproduced screenplay by Mario Puzo set in 1933 in the depths of depression-era New York before the Corleones rise to power and telling the unknown history of how Vito Corleone fought to survive in the brutal criminal underworld,” to Grand Central for publication in June 2012

History/ Politics/ Current Affairs

  • Terrorism expert and CNN National Security Analyst Peter Bergen’s “account of the manhunt for Osama bin Laden, drawing on access to senior U.S. government and military officials as well as key political and intelligence figures in Pakistan and Afghanistan, covering the hunt for bin Laden over the past decade . . . ” to Crown


  • Chris Kyle’s American Sniper, a memoir of “the most successful, and deadly, sniper in American military history, former Navy SEAL chief Chris Kyle, who in Iraq recorded more sniper kills than any U.S. soldier ever before . . . ” to William Morrow

There were other deal announcements, such as Academy Award-winning actress Melissa Leo’s untitled memoir covering her “decades of working in television and film, her childhood, and her tumultuous relationship with John Heard,” but, alas, it is very very late at night in New York, and self has to go to bed to prepare for further adventures on the morrow.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers, stay tuned.

Latest Book Deals (Courtesy of PUBLISHERS LUNCH WEEKLY 2 May 2011)

Latest e-letter from Publishers Weekly has announcement of the following deals:

Fiction by First-Time Novelists:

  • Irish journalist Kathleen MacMahon’s This Is How It Ends, billed as “a transatlantic love story for our times,” to Grand Central in a two-book deal (Rights were also sold in Brazil, Germany, Spain, Holland, France, and Denmark)
  • Stephanie McAfee, whose self-published e-book became a New York Times bestseller, will make her fiction debut with Diary of a Mad Fat Girl, “which introduces the angry Ace Jones and an assortment of her small-town friends and enemies,” to NAL in a three-book deal

General/ Other

  • Christopher Wakling’s What I Did, “pitched as The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time meets The Slap, in which a six-year-old boy becomes the center of a social services maelstrom after he runs into the road, his father smacks him, and a passerby intervenes,” to William Morrow for publication in Summer 2012.


  • Actor Ryan O’Neal’s Past Imperfect, “a candid description of his and Farrah Fawcett’s roller coaster of love and loss, from their first meeting in 1979 until her death in June 2009,” to Crown Archetype for publication in Spring 2012

There were other deal announcements, such as UCSF pediatric endocrinologist Dr. Robert H. Lustig’s Fat Chance:  Gambling with Our Personal and Public Health, “showing how the changes in our food environment during the last few decades have disastrously affected human biochemistry to cause an epidemic of obesity,” but, alas, the time has come to give self’s furiously typing fingers a rest from the keyboard.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers, stay tuned.

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