On Friday afternoon, I received Patricia Kennealy Morrison's latest novel, Ungrateful Dead: Murder at the Fillmore. It's been nine years sincepkmorrison's last book, and the first in her new Rock & Roll Murders series. The new novel is also self-published through Lulu.com under Patricia's Lizard Queen Press label.|
I am going to admit that although I have greatly admired PKM's writing ever since my co-worker & friend Dennis introduced me to her science fantasy series back in 1994, I was at first a bit apprehensive. I don't think I'm alone among Mrs. Morrison's fans in having hoped (or even prayed) for a new book of the Keltiad, an ambitious project which at last count was to contain nineteen books (eight of which had been published by 1998... Patricia has said that The Beltane Queen is forthcoming, but has the next two Rock & Roll Murders books on the schedule for 2008).
Patricia's hard-core fans are fans of science fantasy, which she has the ability to write like no other. Would her murder mystery sell? The reason I was a little jaded has to do with an experience from last year. My wife had suggested a title for another murder mystery that was a collaboration between a very popular author and her daughter. The title was excellent, fit the book very well, it was used & my wife was acknowledged in the book. Of course I read this other book, and was a bit disappointed. (The book sold very well, by the way -- I believe it was on the bestseller list during the Christmas season. However, it didn't appear to me that it was written for an adult reading level.) Would I be disappointed in PKM's book as well?
Beyond that, there was another issue I worried about. The pricing for Lulu.com books that can be sold through its distributor channels (i.e. you can find it through Amazon.com or Barnes & Nobles, and bookstores can order them) ends up being a lot higher than I thought it would be. There was never any question that I would buy the new book -- that was a given. What I was worried about is whether the book could find a market. I fully supported PKM's venture into self-publishing, and I wanted to see it succeed (partially for selfish reasons -- I have enjoyed every PKM book to date [I have not yet read Strange Days, but I acquired a copy recently] & I want her to write more -- and partially to stick it to the traditional publishing houses who seem interested only in celebrity tell-all books).
In any case, as I mentioned at the top of this entry, the book arrived today. And I am now officially thrilled! All my apprehension is gone. I'll talk about the presentation first. I've never ordered a book through Lulu.com, and I imagine most readers haven't either. The cover looks great. The book is very high quality, much nicer than a typical paperback. Inside, the pages are neat, the paper is excellent (no pulp here!) & the typeface is very readable. Perhaps most readers would take all this for granted. Beyond the paper & binding done by Lulu.com, the rest of the work normally done by a publishing house is in the hands of the author. I know Mrs. Morrison would never release a book with typography problems, but I'll bet that a lot of Lulu.com books aren't close to this perfect or clean. (There are technical requirements that are not difficult to meet -- if you are technical. If you're writing your book in Microsoft Word [and I wouldn't], you could very easily run into issues. Beyond that, every author has to inspect a review copy to make sure they're satisfied with the hard copy.)
Looking at strictly the quality / price issue: Treat your purchase as if you are buying a hardcover. Patricia was absolutely right to release the book as a $22.95 softcover -- the price is actually quite reasonable for the finished product. A hardcover from Lulu.com with ISBN & distribution would have cost over $40, and that would have resulted in lower sales. You do have the option of getting the book in electronic format for only $6.25. (I've read plenty of lot of books on my PDA -- mostly classics from Project Gutenberg. Try it -- it's not anywhere near as bad as reading on a computer screen & it's more convenient in many ways than reading a printed book. If you read a lot of books this way, you might want to consider a Sony Reader that uses "electronic paper".) However, the printed version is well worth the cover price, in my opinion.
Since my wife & I are hosting a party at our new home this Sunday, I've only had a chance to read two chapters of the new book (53 pages out of 364) so far. I think I can comment just a little, though. Everyone who's familiar with PKM's work has probably fallen in love with her writing style. This book is no exception. Once again, I should have expected this, because Patricia would never put anything out that wasn't up to her standards. After a few pages, the book just grabs you & your imagination. I haven't even gotten to the exciting part yet, and I'm definitely enjoying reading this book. I don't know why I was skeptical... except that I was not skeptical of PKM. It's not unusual for me to be skeptical of, or second-guess, myself though. I thought I was perhaps being too enthusiastic about this new book simply because it was from one of my favorite authors.
Some of you probably can't understand my skepticism (especially if you know PKM), so perhaps I should explain a little more. I was actually thinking like a publicist, since I've been trying to arrange for a book signing and have been already talked with the author about planning such an event. Word-of-mouth & publicity are going to be so important for the success of this book -- again, things you can take for granted when you have the backing of a big publishing house. Selling a book through Lulu.com is like selling your house without a realtor -- except that you might be able to manage when you only have to sell one house. I've been talking with PKM about setting up a book signing. My first choice was to hold the signing in a bookstore that does a lot of signings -- I know the owner because his store is where my wife proposed the title for that other murder mystery. We were just at that store the other day, for the signing of an autobiographical work by... Slash (formerly with Guns n' Roses, currently with Velvet Revolver). The line stretched around the block a couple of hours before the signing even started. (I'd say it would be nice to have that kind of crowd for PKM, but the truth is it wouldn't be nice. With that many people, there's no time to do a reading, talk with the fans, or personalize the autograph. For the record, Slash was very nice & we did speak with him for about thirty seconds.) It appears that the particular store in question is pretty booked for the fall, although the owner said he'd look into my author recommendations (Patricia, as well as two political authors I'm friendly with) & determine if he could book them in the future. A second option would be to rent an alternative venue (I have one that I regularly book for $40 and that will seat 90-100) and hold a signing there. Since we're already in a non-traditional area (self-publishing), that might make sense. My political activities over the past few years have given me experience in promoting these types of events, and it would not be difficult to get 50-100 people to show up (and perhaps more if we can alert enough PKM fans in the NY Metro area). The only real issue is determining how many books we need & who is responsible for paying the up-front costs for the stock. I estimate the minimum investment in books at $700. I suppose people could order the books online and bring them to the signing, but it'd probably still make sense to have at least one case of books (anyone who buys at the signing could save on shipping).
There are plenty of other ways to promote this book, and sometimes it's fascinating when I realize how much I've learned completely outside of what I do for a living. We could plan things like a "virtual book tour" using podcasts. I could arrange for reviews in college newspapers (again, perhaps times with the book tour). Perhaps I should have gone into a different line of work. My talents are hardly being used by the IT industry.
Hopefully, there are more PKM fans who'd like to help arrange the book tour & publicity (although I could certainly arrange one appearance -- including all the aspects you'd normally expect -- without help & with a minimal budget if necessary). The road Patricia is going down with this new book is not an easy one, but it's going to succeed & probably turn the publishing industry on its head.
I'm sorry to say that I'm breaking character for this post. I haven't had much time for this journal (as if it wasn't obvious). The main reason I even logged on was to be able to post something to the journal of one of my favorite authors of all-time, Patricia Keneally-Morrison, who's just sent off her latest book to Lulu.com (guess I got all excited, although it's not ready for order yet).|
Here's what I would have posted if I'd been smart enough to friend her earlier:
Can't wait to purchase & read the new book. I am so happy for you. Met you in NYC ten years ago during the promotion of Blackmantle. I've been telling people about Lulu ever since I first read about it on your journal.Not a big deal. Anyway, we'll see what happens. I'm sure my friend/co-worker Dennis will be excited about the new book as well, as he's the one who introduced me to the Keltiad many years ago.
Best wishes & let me know if you'd like to do a reading/signing at my favorite bookstore in Ridgewood, NJ (not too far from NYC). I may be able to help.
The following letter was delivered to our P.O. Box. (Apparently some people still use the United States Postal Service, despite the fact that it is a huge government bureaucracy. People, keep in mind that all our mail from the USPS is quarantined and irradiated due to the large amounts of anthrax in our mail. If you'd like a timely response, please use the comment section on this site, or use a reliable carrier like FedEx. We don't irradiate our FedEx mail.)|
Dear Rush,Rush Responds:
Where have you been? You used to write every day. Lately it's down to once-a-week or less.
We need you man. Our party is hurtin'.
- Jim H.
You're right, I have not been posting as much as I used to. There's lots of work to be done to ensure a Republican victory this November (on the off chance that the Democratic party grows a spine). Writing this column is just one of the things I do to pitch in.
The truth is, I have been spending a lot of time assisting the campaign of my local congressman & hero Scott Garrett (R-NJ5). A lot of people don't know this, but Scott faces a fierce primary challenge from Republican Michael Cino, who claims that Garrett is not conservative enough. At first, we were stunned by this attack, as Scott has done everything possible to ensure that there's no room on the Right for another candidate to squeeze in. The latest news is that another Republican is considering challenging Garrett on the left.
Beyond the primary, there are the usual Demorat suspects who are vying to take on our esteemed congressman. I'm providing links to their websites for reference. Remember NOT to give any of these candidates money while visiting their sites, because they are in the party that would have surrendered to Saddam Hussein (had he asked us to surrender) and they are linked to all those crazy Democratic grassroots groups (which you should also not give money to).
"Hopelessly liberal" enemies of Congressman Garrett & the state:
You can see that we have our work cut out for us this year, which is why the Garrett campaign has begun sending out mailers paid for by the taxpayer (completely legal), as he does every election year. This year's mailings invite residents of New Jersey's Fifth District to attend meetings on important subjects like paying for college, something that is difficult to do during the current recession (which was caused by our last Democratic president, who left office 5 years ago). Scott will talk about how important a college education at an accredited Christian university is once a student has completed their usual K-12 home-schooling.
- Paul Aronsohn - currently seen as the frontrunner
- Camille Abate - another frontrunner
- Zach Sheinberg - definitely not a frontrunner because his website isn't even up yet (as of this writing). C'mon, Zach. Only 76 days left until the primary.
So, Jim H. and my other committed readers, I hope you understand why I can't afford to post every day. Right now, what you see is the work of just one man, producing the rich content on this site whenever he can. Perhaps you could recommend an intern?
When I was little, my mother told me never to take three left turns in a row. So once, on my way home from a party, I did.
At first, the political ideas on the right seemed completely insane, but I forced myself to study them. I was so scared, I didn't know if would ever be able to contribute to charity again. But what I saw that day changed me... I saw Conservatism. The next day I had my first headache.
11:15 am... Restate my assumptions:
- The Free Market is the cornerstone of Capitalism.
- Everything naturally works better if left to Free Market forces.
- The Free Market rewards hard work, and punishes those who do not work hard.
Therefore, in a Free Market society, it must be true that all poor people are lazy. But we have not proven the converse: that all lazy people are poor. To what can we attribute George W. Bush's wealth? (Oh... Here comes another headache!)
12:50 pm... Press [RETURN].
Current Music: Soundtrack - Pi: Faith In Chaos (1998)
Poor Howard Dean (waaah!). Just like Rodney King, he gets no respect. (Some of you will try to correct me on this. Believe me, Rodney Dangerfield got the respect he deserved. Rodney King got his ass beaten.)|
Sunday's Washington Post has an article that describes a rift between some Deanocratic Party leaders and DNC Chairman Howard Dean. Here's a quote:
Democratic congressional leaders are particularly worried because the Republican National Committee holds a huge financial advantage over the DNC.
This is an interesting statement, considering that Dean has raised more money than any previous DNC chair in an off-year -- $51 million in 2005.
So, what are the Deanocrats upset about? (I am not making this up, the Democratic Party changed its name to the "Deanocratic Party" in 2005. Check on Google if you don't believe me.) My guess is that, like the Republicans, the Deanocrats have finally realized that not all money is created equal. The money Howard Dean raises is largely from individual donors, and has lots of strings attached. Some of those donors are lawyers, some are teachers, some are union members, and some are minorities. They all have their own special interests. As Governor Jesse Ventura once observed, it's better to answer to a few rich contributors than tons of people who contributed $100 each.
Compare this to the nice, clean money of corporate America. There is only one condition on corporate contributions: Let the free market rule. And when you need help as an elected official, your corporate sponsors are generally willing to draft legislation, freeing up your schedule for more important matters.
The only person that doesn't seem to get this is Howard Dean, a man I actually supported in my detached-from-reality years. But Dean doesn't get a lot of things. Americans don't want politicians who make mistakes in their speeches -- they want someone who is flawless, like George W. Bush. They don't want someone who screams at a rally where everyone else is screaming -- they want someone who pauses and looks thoughtful while waiting for the applause to die down. America doesn't need someone who is going to criticize the huge corporations that have made these United States so great -- they need someone who says to business leaders "Ask not what you can do for your country."
If Howard Dean wants to lead his party, he needs to stop targeting red states and start thinking about why Americans don't trust the Deans: their refusal to support the President. It's happened so many times: the Iraq war, domestic wiretapping, Medicare & Social Security reform. These are programs Americans feel comfortable with, yet it seems like there's only one Deanocrat willing to cross the aisle on all these issues. And that's the only thing that can save the Deanocratic party from obscurity: Joe Lieberman for chairman of the DNC.
|» A better class of people|
Important news item today from the New York Daily News. Let's see if you can grasp its significance:|
The Dubai firm that won Bush administration backing to run six US ports has at least two ties to the White House. One is Treasury Secretary John Snow, whose agency heads the federal panel that signed off on the $6.8 billion sale of an English company to government-owned Dubai Ports World, the other connection is David Sanborn, who runs DP World's European and Latin American operations and was tapped by Bush last month to head the US Maritime Administration.
That's right, it's just another example of how Bush has improved the class of people working for the government. Who else could get world-famous saxophonist David Sanborn to run MARAD?
(You'll recall that, a couple of weeks ago, I broke the story that Ferris Bueller was working for FEMA.)
It's true what I've been saying all along about the Bush administration. They really are better people.
Usually when I write a story like the one I am about to, the biased liberal media accuses me of trying to distract people from "the problems of the Bush administration". But let's face it -- things couldn't be going better for Bush & Co. For example:|
Plus, Presidents' Day is always a slow news day. So, under these conditions, what else can I do but talk about the attractive women who are so important to the patriotic conservative media movement?
Last week, I stopped by my local deli and was thrilled to see FOX News goddess Laurie Dhue on the cover of the free weekly Steppin Out magazine. Naturally, I took an entire stack of the magazines so I could review them & pass them out to friends.
The interview focuses mainly on Ms. Dhue's concentration on hard news for the FOX News Channel, rather than entertainment fluff. "When it comes right down to it, I'm a hard news girl," says Dhue. It's true that Chaunce Hayden (the publisher, editor, interviewer, and perhaps only staff member of Steppin' Out) refers to Dhue's "Angelina Jolie-like lips", but Dhue refutes the stereotype:
I've had so many people come up to me and say, "All the women on FOX are so good looking!" And I always say, "Is that a problem?" I mean, it shouldn't be a problem. You might as well hire someone that's good looking and smart.
That's a lesson the liberal media (CNN, etc.) has not learned yet.
Speaking of attractive conservative women in the media, our good friend Ann Coulter is under attack again, this time for possibly voting in the wrong place. I don't suppose liberals see the hypocrisy in criticizing Coulter, but complaining that the seniors in Florida who vote in the wrong district should have their votes counted anyway. (I'll post information on how you can give to the Ann Coulter legal defense fund when it's available. Until then, you can help by purchasing the Ann Coulter talking doll.)
|» Liberal conspiracy theories, part 2|
I've received a number of complaints about my last column on Dick Cheney's hunting accident. People have been saying that my liberal conspiracy theory was far-fetched. And that my timeline for proving the theory was entirely implausible.
Yesterday, the conspiracy theory was completely invalidated when Harry Whittington went home after thanking Vice President Cheney for shooting him.
Of course the conspiracy theory was impossible from the very beginning. That was the point. So you think liberals don't live in a fantasy land where they are willing to accept any conspiracy theory that implicates our awesome government? Allow me to prove you wrong.
Way back in the old days when I was a liberal (until December, 2005), I'd subscribed to a number of liberal mailing lists, liberal discussion groups, and other things with the word "liberal" in them. (No wonder it took me so long to see the light -- I was constantly under a barrage of liberal propaganda.) Bush-bashing and "Big Brother" conspiracy theories were the norm. Being a patriot and loving your country was discouraged.
But don't take my word for it. Here is a typical example of a letter, from a typical liberal, on a typical discussion group called "Impeach Bush NJ", on the subject of Iraq:
To all those who want to stop and prevent wars,
This is an appeal to you. It seems pretty clear that nothing this corrupt, incompetent administration does or wants to do is going to create peace. The world seems to be getting closer and closer to something like another world war.
I'm writing to tell you that there is something going on around the world that will create peace and is something that you can do to help make it happen before this war gets any bigger.
If you do a search on the internet for "yogic flying," you'll see photos of people levitating. All faculty and most students at the Maharishi University of Management (www.mum.edu) do this together twice a day in domes built explicity for them to do it together.
It's been known for some time that mankind is using only 5 or 10% of his mental potential. This is the cause of Man's inability to live in peace and the solution, which is proven, is to get enough people to begin developing their human potential. The way this is done is through the Transcendental Meditation and TM-Sidhi techniques. The sidhi techniques are very powerful programs that result in those practicing them in groups levitating and creating an influence of orderliness that radiates throughout the consciousness of the population that the group is the square root of 1% of the population they are in. The number needed to create an influence powerful to radiate around the world is 8,000. We are building 3,000 Peace Palaces around the world for them to do their program in. Some of them are already up.
At the moment of levitation, the brain wave coherence within and between the hemispheres is maximum. At this time, they are in contact with a universal field of consciousness that everyone is linked to. When they create that coherence, it radiates throughout that field of consciousness, improving the quality of consciousness of non-meditators.
Please check it out.
Everyone who finds that the above message resonates with them, raise your hands. OK, the group with your hands raised -- you are called "liberals". The rest of you are rational human beings -- and you might want to consider joining the fight to abolish Presidential term limits.
It's not that I consider liberals with their insane theories dangerous. But if their viewpoints are allowed to be taken seriously, the world's reserves of tin foil will soon be depleted.
|» Reader Mail: The Buck Shot's Here|
As the New York Times said yesterday, there's no end to questions in Dick Cheney's hunting accident.|
Here's some mail I've gotten regarding the incident:
Guns don't kill people. Dick Cheney kills people.
I suppose you think it's funny that a man is in the hospital, N.R. Obviously, our Vice President meant to shoot a poor defenseless animal, not a person.
At least Cheney shot a lawyer & not a doctor. -JS (No address given.)
More insensitive jokes from liberals. My serious answer is that there are a lot of good lawyers out there - I am friends with some of them, and apparently so was Dick Cheney. They don't appreciate the lawyer jokes (which are meant only for lawyers who sue innocent corporations), and neither do I. Our prayers are with the lawyer, Mr. Whittington, & his family -- and no prayers for you, you sick, demented bastard.
Why did the White House hide this incident for well over a day? If a lawyer had shot Dick Cheney instead of the other way around, wouldn't he be in jail right now?
Ah, finally. The lefty conspiracy nuts come out of the woodwork. OK, I have a few conspiracy theories for you. Why don't you chase these for a while. Let me know how they turn out.
Leftist conspiracy theory #1:
The news is being leaked slowly, for good reason. Monday, it was Dick Cheney shot a man, but he was recovering very well. Then on Tuesday, the claim was made that he suffered a setback - more specifically a heart attack. Notice from the original article:
Calls to Mr. Whittington's room were routed to the hospital's marketing department, which said it was taking messages for him, but he did not return a call.
The reason the calls were not returned? Obviously, Dick Cheney killed the man on Saturday. He did so because, for a brief moment, he thought the lawyer was a threat to national security. (At the time, Whittington was having a cellphone conversation with his best friend from high school, Al K. Duh. Dick Cheney asked Whittington who was on the phone, and then got angry because it's impolite to use a cellphone during hunting season. So he shot him.) Look over the next few days for the condition of the wounded man to improve slightly, and then mysteriously take a much worse turn resulting in his death. An autopsy will find that he had slightly more decomposition than would have been expected, as well as freezer burn. As Vice President, Dick Cheney clearly believes he is above the law -- he can kill a man & nobody is willing to bring him down to the station house for questioning. He must be stopped, and the only way to stop him is by mass mailing all your liberal friends with this conspiracy theory.
Leftist conspiracy theory #2:
If conspiracy theory #1 hasn't convinced you that Dick Cheney has a quick temper, then I don't know what will. How about this story, which goes way back to Pretzelgate. (Remember when our great leader nearly choked to death on a pretzel?) It turns out this was a big White House conspiracy as well. Apparently George W. Bush & Dick Cheney were discussing the reponse to 9/11 in January 2002. An argument ensued: Dick Cheney wanted to invade Iraq and George W. Bush didn't see any connection between Iraq and September 11th. Cheney had to remind Bush that he's just a figure-head, so he socked him in the face. The blow knocked Bush to the ground, face-first.
Now, being the President, you don't get the luxury of staying out of the public view for very long. Karl Rove was the first to come up with a plan: invent a story so outrageous that nobody could possibly question it. Hence the pretzel story. It was a story that was sure to inspire all sorts of jokes on late night talk shows, but at least nobody would have a clue that someone beat up the President. After all, if he's really the President, shouldn't the Secret Service be protecting him from these sorts of things?
The funny thing about this story is that it's inspired scores of liberals to waste their time & money sending bags of pretzels to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Which, I am told by a source close to the White House, are the President's favorite snack food.
I've received many, many more letters about this topic, but that's all the mail I have time for this week. Thanks for reading.
|» Brown Asserts He Did A Heckuva Job|
Once again, the minority party (the Democrats, in case you forgot they're still around) is continuing to make a big deal out of a nothing story. Here it is in their own newspaper, the New York Times: Brown Asserts He Alerted White House Quickly on Katrina.|
I don't know why the Democrats are celebrating. This is very bad news for them, not a White House scandal. Let me explain why.
First of all, it vindicates President Bush's statement, "Heckuva job, Brownie."
Second, if Michael Brown really did report the flooding right away, why didn't the Democratic governor of Louisiana and mayor of New Orleans do something about it? Am I missing something here? When did it all of a sudden become the federal government's responsibility to manage emergencies?
There's a lot of hoopla about the chain of command, but that is just a smokescreen. Everyone in FEMA, including Mr. Brown, had a copy of the organizational chart. It's not difficult to figure out who to call on the phone tree when water floods an entire city or when you need someone to reserve a table at a local restaurant.
The biggest story here, and I'm not sure why the Dems are not pouncing on this one, is contained in the following paragraph:
"There was a prevailing attitude from Mr. Brown that he did not want anyone from Department of Homeland Security to interfere with his operations," said Matthew Broderick, who ran the department's operation coordination center during the hurricane. Mr. Broderick said that on that Monday, when Katrina hit Louisiana, there was a steady stream of conflicting reports and that FEMA had said as late as Monday night that there had been no breach of the levees.
Did you miss it? After all the whining by liberals about patronage appointments, not one of them noticed the fact that Ferris Bueller was coordinating Homeland Security's response to the hurricane. My source deep within the DHS tells me that the morning after the levees were breached, Broderick's father actually called to say that his son was sick & wouldn't be coming in to work that day. Now that's a scandal!