Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Operation Warrior Library gives thanks to these wonderful people...

These audio books, and books, are ready to go to our troops recovering in Germany, and in the field in Afghanistan, as well as their wives and families here at home. They'll begin their journey on Saturday. But it never would have happened had not these wonderful people stepped up to donate. Here's wishing them all, and you, and America's troops, a Happy Thanksgiving!

  • Patton Oswalt
  • Julia Sweeney
  • Alice Sebold
  • Tess Gerritsen
  • Meg Gardiner
  • Vince Flynn
  • Glenn David Gold
  • George Mastras
  • Jon Guenther
  • James Landis
  • M. Glenn Taylor
  • Guy Fieri
  • Mark Stevens
  • Karin Slaughter
  • Eddie Stack
  • Kim Barnes
  • Alfred Martino for books by Jim Wheeler, Donna Hanover, David Kushner
  • Marysue Rucci and Simon & Schuster for books by Dan Brown, Carrie Fisher, Stephen King, Steve Martin, Ted Kennedy, Chelsea Handler, Jeffrey Deaver (also thanks to Jennifer Smith and Sophie Epstein at S&S!)
  • Sheial Emerson at Recorded Books for audio books by John Ferling, Margaret Macmillan, Jane Smiley, Ian McEwan, Hunter S. Thompson, Ivan Doig, Lee & Bob Woodruff, James Frey, Jeff Lindsay, Cormac McCarthy, Edward Lengel, Stephen Mitchell, Mark Helprin,
    Doug Fine, Philip Roth, Charles Baxter, Chuck Palahniuk, Andrew Meier, Kris Radish.
  • Brilliance Audio for books by Suzanne Brockman, Stephan White, Daniel Siwa, Jayne Anne Krentz.
  • Jofie Ferrari-Adler at Grove/Atlantic for books by Bill Heavy, Bob Drury and Tom Clavin, Ed Macy, P.J. O'Rourke, Sam Sheridan, Arkady Babchenko.
  • And last but not least, Colonel George Reynolds and his wife, Kate, Major Robert Davis, our good friend Yvette Manessis Corporon.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Guy Fieri gives Operation Warrior Library a shout-out (and DVDs!) on Veteran's Day!

Our great friend Yvette at EXTRA told DINERS, DRIVE-INS AND DIVES host Guy Fieri about Operation Warrior Library. Not only is he sending us copies of his latest DVD to send to the troops, but he recorded a great message for them, as well.

You can support OWL contributors like Guy by purchasing copies of their books, CDs and DVDs in the OWL Store.

Thanks, Guy!

And thanks, Yvette!

Monday, November 2, 2009

My MediaBistro BlogTalk Radio interview about Operation Warrior Library

This morning I spent some time being interviewed by Jason Boog of Galleycat and Matt Van Hoven of AgencySpy about Operation Warrior Library.

You can catch the Galleycat post here.

You can catch the AgencySpy post here.

You can actually listen to the interview here.

As a reminder to everyone who wants to help but may not have books or audiobooks to donate - you can support the authors who are donating their books to us by buying copies of their books in the OWL STORE. You'll find all their books there. Proceeds from these sales also help us continue to deliver great books to our troops.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Introducing Operation Warrior Library author, Jon Guenther's new novel

Jon Guenther's been a supporter of OWL almost since it began. As a veteran himself, he knows how far a good book can go in helping a soldier pass some time. Now, as we're trying to come up with audiobooks for wounded soldiers in Germany, Jon has stepped up again to offer us some audio productions of his Mack Bolan and Stony Man series. These pulp adventures are going to be just what the doctor ordered and we can't wait to deliver them.

Jon has a new novel out, SOUL RUNNER, and it sounds like a great thriller:

The year is 1988. As a former Hasidic Jew raised in the Bronx, Dr. Bram Aronsfeld is no stranger to trouble.

Now the secret organization known as ARK is sending him into Communist-controlled Romania to rescue the beautiful Ileana Tarus, a Christian Gypsy woman who possesses information vital to ARK's intelligence operations. Spearheading the subjugation of her people is the evil Drago Profis, a despot backed by the current regime.

When Bram realizes it's not just Ileana but her whole village that need rescuing, the two will embark on a perilous adventure from which only their foolhardy courage and Almighty God can save them all!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

How a horseman and uShip helped us deliver 500 books to the Troops

Meet Dave Rice. He's the one on the left. Why the introduction?

Well, thanks to a bunch of generous authors (see the previous post) Operation Warrior Library suddenly had another 500 books to deliver to troops in Afghanistan. Now, the first part of that journey begins when with us delivering the books from OWL central in New Jersey to Major Davis at Fort McPherson outside of Atlanta. Not an easy trip for us to make.

That's where my favorite company, uShip, comes in. They connect people with things that need hauling with truckers looking to haul. They can hanlde full loads, or in our case, partial loads. Now, what makes this company truly cool, is that they have a charity option. When you click that, wonderful people offer to haul for next to nothing. Dave turned out to be the right guy in the right place at the right time - which turned out to be a parking lot outside of Cherry Hill, NJ.

And Dave brought company. He helps deliver rescued horses from lives of abuse. The horse he was delivering had been sold by a woman as a yearling and she came across him on the Internets and rescued him. So Dave was bringing the horse home. While we transferred the boxes to the horse trailer, a retired mounted police officer joined us to chat horses. He keeps a picture of his horse in his wallet right next to photos of his family. It was obvious that the "horse smell," as he put it, made him very, very happy.

You can find out a bit more about Dave at his website. His daughter has also been involved with turning one of their rescued horses into a dressage horse in a film called, Dartagnan is the Champion.

So, Dave got the books delivered. I was just informed yesterday that the books are heading to the 278th Heavy Brigade Combat Team (HBCT) of the TN Army National Guard. And new books for the next shipment are already coming. Which means that if Dave is in the area, I hope to get to have him help out again. If not, I'll be posting again on uShip, and looking forward to meeting another very cool American.

Friday, September 11, 2009

DISPATCH :: New books for Operation Warrior Library

We're putting together a new shipment of several hundred books. I'll be thanking each author in separate posts to come, but I wanted to get their names out there now while I read their books.

You can find these books, and support these authors, in the Operation Warrior Library Store.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

DISPATCH :: Operation Warrior Library thanks Lily Burana

Lily Burana attracted a lot of attention earlier this year with the release of her memoir, I LOVE A MAN IN UNIFORM. Which is cool because she's cool. And it's not just because she's a (not a spoiler alert) former stripper-turned-writer.

It's because she's a good writer. Her new memoir is a funny and honest look at marriage.

She's also cool because she donated four boxes of her book to Operation Warrior Library. Because of the nature of her subject matter, we decided to disperse these a little differently this time. Half of the books went to Afghanistan. The other half has been turned over to the Family Readiness Groups (really the wives groups) to distribute to their members.

You can support Lily by purchasing her book. Remember, any purchase you make in the Operation Warrior Library store goes to helping us continue to deliver great books to our troops.

Thanks, Lily!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Want to see the new paperback cover?

Thought so.

Here it is. The paperback of JACK LONDON IN PARADISE drops on October 20, 2009.

Just in time for some early holiday shopping.

Of course, purists may still want the original hardcover.

Spread the word.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

DISPATCH :: LITERARY THREADS, or why Nathaniel and Wesley look so good.

This is a post that's been a long time coming and it has to begin with a public apology to two wonderful ladies, Sherri and Amanda. Together they are partners in Literary Threads, a designer T-shirt company specializing in, you guessed it, book themes. My family and I met them in Jacksonville at the Book Festival and they were so friendly and their shirts were very cool. That's a combination of their mother's good genes and shirts from Literary Threads.

So why the apology?

Because we met Sherri and Amanda all the way back in March. Here it is the end of July and I'm just getting around to publicly thanking them. They make great shirts for kids, adults, and everyone in between. Trust me, I've seen a lot of book-themed clothes in my travels. These are the best.

Visit them on the web at You can even find them on Facebook by searching for, you guessed it, Literary Threads. In case you were thinking of getting the book lover in your life a kindle, get them one of these instead.

Friday, July 17, 2009

DISPATCH :: Operation Warrior Library thanks Chris Ryan

There's a great passage in Neal Stephenson's SNOW CRASH where the protagonist realizes that even if he spends the next ten years living in a Shaolin Temple in China training to kill every single day that he will never be the bad-ass that another character naturally is.

You will never be the bad-ass that Chris Ryan is. The man is an SAS Gulf War Veteran who had to escape on foot through Iraq into Syria after a mission got hit hard by Murphy's Law. After telling that story in THE ONE THAT GOT AWAY: MY SAS MISSION BEHIND ENEMY LINES, Chris turned to fiction. And if you have any problems with that, take it up with Chris.

ULTIMATE WEAPON is a big hit in England and deserves to be here as well. Taking place during the current Iraq war, the book is terrifically entertaining as well as pertinent.

Thanks to Chris, we've been able to ship four boxes of ULTIMATE WEAPON to troops serving in Afghanistan. You can support Chris by picking up a copy of his book. Remember, any purchases made in the OWL STORE go to continuing to help us deliver great books to our troops.

DISPATCH :: Operation Warrior Library thanks Valerie Malmont

Hey, wait a minute, you might be saying to yourself. Is that some kind of strange coincidence? I know. I know. You can't make this stuff up:

It's really eerie how both my mom and I used the word DEATH in the titles of our first books.

Didn't know moms was a writer? Well, now you do. That's right. While the paper that would eventually become my first print run was still a tree swaying gracefully in some peaceful, undisturbed Canadian forest, my mother was busy creating the very popular Tori Miracle series of cozy mysteries. The character of the region of Pennsylvania that she and my dad found in the 70's reminded her of the English countryside she adored in Agatha Christie 's work. You can find her whole series in the OWL STORE but you should start with DEATH PAYS THE ROSE RENT.

Thanks Mom, for the books for the troops. Remember, the proceeds from any purchase you make on the site goes to helping us continue to send great books to our troops.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

DISPATCH :: Operation Warrior Library salutes Jon Guenther

Jon Guenther's a really great guy who introduced himself to me soon after I published THE CHINATOWN DEATH CLOUD PERIL. He's been writing the continuing adventures of Don Pendleton's THE EXECUTIONER series - one of the last real pulp lines out there.

As a former soldier, Jon was only too happy to be able to donate some copies of HOSTILE ODDS and HARD PASSAGE. I can't imagine that these are going to be anything less than hugely popular with our troops in Afghanistan.

You can support Jon for making his donation by buying a copy of his book. Remember, any purchase you make in the Operation Warrior Library Store goes to helping us continue to deliver great books to our troops.

Thanks Jon!

DISPATCH :: Operation Warrior Library salutes Tiffany Baker

The worst cliche in blogging is the writer who has to start their latest post with an apology for not writing in such a long time. It's about as lazy as a journalist starting a comeback story by pointing out how wrong Fitzgerald was when he wrote that there are no second acts in American lives. And that's the grown-up equivalent of a school-kid starting out a report with a definition from a dictionary.

But I have been awfully busy. You can check all my twitter updates, if you don't believe me. Those thing don't just write themselves.

(BTW: )

So since the next shipment of books for troops in Afghanistan are already starting to pile up in the garage, I thought I'd quickly round out the people from the last shipment that I haven't posted about yet.

First up, THE LITTLE GIANT OF ABERDEEN COUNTY by Tiffany Baker. I've been looking forward to reading this since I first heard about it earlier this year. I'm in the middle of reading it now and it really is wonderful. Check it out.

Thanks to Tiffany, her book is now being read by troops overseas. You can support Tiffany by buying her book. Remember, the proceeds from any book you purchase in the OWL store goes to keeping the books going.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Who knew Michael Jackson was a Jack London fan

Though probably not in the most positive way.

TMZ is reporting that poor MJ used to use the name Jack London as an alias to buy drugs.

I wonder why he chose that name?

Monday, June 15, 2009

DISPATCH :: Operation Warrior Library salutes Glen David Gold

Eight years.

That's how long it took Mr. Gold to create SUNNYSIDE, the follow up to CARTER BEATS THE DEVIL which is still a must-read.

It was worth the wait. Taking place as America enters WWI and takes center stage upon the world, the book is a wondrous mix of larger-than-life characters, romance, war, dreams and the things that frustrate them. It's always a stunning tribute to the creative process. Glen takes us inside the mind of Charlie Chaplin at work - giving us a glimpse into genius.

It's an amazing book full of humor and sorrow and life. Glen's on tour right now, so catch him if you can. He writes like Fred Astaire dances - he makes it look effortless, graceful, and fun.

Hope we don't have to wait another 8 years.

Thanks to Glen, we have four boxes of books shipping to troops in Afghanistan. You can support Glen by buying copies of SUNNYSIDE. Remember, any purchase you make in the OWL Store also helps us cover the costs of Operation Warrior Library.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

DISPATCH :: The Vacation Read: Ricky Gervais, Matthew Robinson, Glen David Gold and Paul Malmont

Drew McWeeny over at motion-captured asked some of the people he knows to help cover his blog while he's on vacation. He asked us all the question, what's your favorite summer movie.

Somehow my answer ended up in the same post with Ricky Gervais. Sorry, Mr. Gervais.

Read on.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

DISPATCH :: Operation Warrior Library salutes Charles Bock

Every once in awhile you read a book that just crawls into your DNA where it will stay for the rest of your life. So it was with BEAUTIFUL CHILDREN by Charles Bock. I hesitated reading it at first because its topic involves a child that goes missing, and as a parent, I already have that fear deeply ingrained in me and didn't know if I wanted to actually, y'know, face the fear writ on the page. But, in the hands of someone as skillfully righteous as Bock, the disappearance becomes something far more than a plot device, but the opportunity for an artist to explore and describe aworld in which we are living, but most of us are not, hopefully, living in.

It's been reviewed extensively and most of the reviews are right in that this is a major book by a major new artist. Bock has written a book that examines just how easily America can break a fragile soul. His journalistic skill is as enviable as his audacious technique - he can pull a narrative apart and put it together again in amazing ways. Not that I feel that I have to always draw things back to Jack London, but in THE PEOPLE OF THE ABYSS, London disappeared into the London underworld of 1902 and came out with a book full of the outrage at the way a society systematically destroys the spirit of an underclass. BEAUTIFUL CHILDREN is a fitting literary successor over a hundred years later. It's obvious Charles has spent much time out amidst the people he's writing about. Get this book. It will stay with you.

Thanks to Charles, we have delivered a box of signed copies of BEAUTIFUL CHILDREN to troops in Afghanistan. You can support Charles by buying his book. Remember, any purchase you make in the OWL store goes to helping us get more great books to our troops.

DISPATCH :: Operation Warrior Library salutes Lewis Robinson

I'm not the biggest fan of using the shorthand technique to describe a book, or movie, or anything else, for that matter. But I'm going to do in this case, for Lewis Robinson's great book, WATER DOGS and I mean it in the best possible way. This book reminded me of SNOW FALLING ON CEDARS and THE SECRET HISTORY. There, I said it. Robinson delves deeply into the rich lives of characters snowbound in their isolated Maine landscape as they struggle to come to terms with a defining event.

Quiet, expertly told, and wonderful. I highly recommend it.

Thanks to Lewis, we have delivered copies of his book to troops in Afghanistan. You can support Lewis by purchasing his book. Remember, any proceeds from books purchased in the OWL shop go directly to sending even more great books to our troops.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009


I'm turning this post over to my wife, Audrey...

Author Meg Gardiner is incredibly prolific: she churns out top-drawer thrillers in two series at a fast clip, she really takes care of her fans with frequent signings and conventions, and she writes a witty and aspiring-writer-helpful blog ( And she’s taken care of the troops just as well: she sent us a box filled with a huge selection of her paperbacks and then was kind enough to mention OWL in her blog this week. Further highlighting my own crappy work ethic. Meg Gardiner knows how to keep a person up reading through the night. And the night she kept me up was over a month ago. So apologies to Ms. Gardiner.

I selected THE DIRTY SECRETS CLUB out of her box of goodies; this is from her Jo Beckett series, and I need to check out her Evan Delaney series next. Jo is a “deadshrinker.” A nice change of pace from the morgue and scalpels, Jo dissects the psyches and lives of victims to help the police catch killers. Stephen King is absolutely right – he calls her “the next suspense superstar.” Her prose is modern and absolutely jangles with energy. I felt like I was in Jo’s head, the words and action tumble out in nearly stream-of-consciousness style. And the action never stops.

Jo is tough yet still vulnerable, and as she solves the mystery of why seemingly unconnected people are committing suicide in spectacular and public ways, we also slowly learn about her broken past. The satellite of characters around her aren’t just cutouts to hold together a clever plot, each feels real and we are given insight into their side of the story. And the surprise twist of the ending is very believable in our political times, where we are faced with lack of ethics and lack of regard for consequences every day lately. Meg Gardiner is fairly new on the scene here in the U.S, but she has been a bestseller in Britain for a while. Which allows readers here the great pleasure of plowing through one of her series in a single swoop. Enjoy!

Thanks to Meg we were able to send her books to troops in Afghanistan. You can support Meg by buying her books. Remember, any purchase you make in the OWL store goes directly to covering costs.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

DISPATCH :: Operation Warrior Library DELIVERS!

Lots of excitement here today as the mission has been accomplished. Thanks to some wonderful people, yesterday we were able to deliver around 700 books to 1 of the 48th Brigade's Infantry Battalions leaving for Afghanistan next week! The Battalion getting the books is the 2nd Battalion, 121st Infantry - commonly called 2nd Foot because of its descent from the 2nd battalion of Infantry raised in the pre-Revolutionary Colony of Georgia.

Here's how it went down.. The first step was to collect a bunch of books from great authors and here are the people who answered the call:

Jon Fasman * Tess Gerritsen * Meg Gardiner * Jason Pinter * Charles Bock * Daniyal Mueenuddin * Trish Ryan * George Mastras * Bob Drury and Tom Clavin * Lewis Robinson * Tiffany Baker * Jon Guenther * Robert Buettner * Angie Fox * Chris Ryan * Lily Burana

And here is how their contributions stacked up in my garage after we affixed a sticker. To give you an idea of scale - my son, Wesley, who is standing in front of them in his picture is 5' tall! Well, not really, but it's still an impressive stack of books.

So now we've got what's known in the military as a logistical supply chain problem: How do I get these books from our "headquarters" in NJ to Fort McPherson in Georgia. In the past we've paid to ship a few boxes at a time from our own pockets but this, this was much too expensive for us. It's a good kind of problem to have. While the army looked into ways to deliver, we did too.

What we came up with was UShip - my new favorite company. These guys let you post your shipment and then truckers can bid on it. Many times trucks have extra room, or are returning from a delivery empty, and it's always good to have a fare. Fortunately for us (and something I didn't know about until I was filling out their simple forms) they have a charity option. This lets drivers know that they might consider bidding less than the usually would. I posted on a Tuesday night. Within a day I had several offers to do it for almost next to nothing. But on Friday, I heard from Jacqueline Wilts, who was in my part of the world and heading south. Jacqueline could be at "headquarters" in a few hours and would deliver the books for nothing. Zero. Zip.

A few hours later, as good as her word, the truck rumbled up and out popped Ms. Wilts and her daughter Emmy who was spending spring break on the road with Mom. Here they are with my wife, Audrey...

...and a few of their other traveling companions.

Off to work we went...

...and, soon enough, the books were ready to go.

Yesterday, Jacqueline delivered the books into the care of Major Robert Davis who has been helping us distribute the books on his end. He tells me that the books that aren't going out next week with 2nd Foot will be distributed amongst the rest of the 48th Brigade. Several cases of Lily Burana's book, I LOVE A MAN IN UNIFORM, will be delivered to Family Readiness Groups (really the wives groups) to distribute to their members as Lily had hoped they would.

Each book has a sticker on it with our logo. The stickers also invite the troops to join the authors and discuss the books with them in a special forum which we've just kicked off.

Here's what you can do to help. Obviously the books the authors have donated are books they can't sell. You can buy their books, support them, as they support the troops. You can find all the OWL authors in our OWL Store. Any proceeds from any sales there go directly to helping us send more books. Also, consider UShip the next time you buy a jukebox from ebay.

Sometime very soon I'll be able to post photos from Major Davis of the troops receiving the books. Stay tuned. And if you're an author and want to kick in contact us as warriorlibrary [at] gmail [dot] com.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

DISPATCH :: Operation Warrior Library salutes Robert Buettner

One summer when I was 13 or 14, my best friend's neighbors asked us to organize their books for them. So Chad and I climbed the stairs into a dark, stiflingly hot, attic and I discovered my first lost world. You see, Chad's neighbors were huge science fiction fans and their attic was filled with thousands of paperback novels that they would just finish and toss up the stairs. We were free to take any that looked interesting to us as long as we boxed up all the rest - to make room for more, I guess. To this day I can still smell the scent of dry paperbacks and sweet, aged, attic wood. For a week we straightened up and I came out of that attic with supermarket bags (paper, not plastic) filled with books which we plowed through. I kept going on those bags all summer, even after Chad had lost interest. I read so many titles and stories that they're just jumbled up in my head now - images without author or title. Someday I might start a feature called "What was that book?" and see if some of you can define my query.

Of course, some of the best ones are never forgotten. I read the late Philip Jose Farmer's entire RIVERWORLD series (and I owe an in memorium tribute to this writer who passed away last month). That was also the period in which I discovered Robert Heinlein - the best writer of the golden age of sci fi. One of the things that separated Heinlein from all the other writers of his era was his ability to inject genuine emotion into the characters he wrote about. Sure he was writing about rocket jocks but these were men who were not destined to be heroes just because they happened to be the protagonist of a story. They were filled with fear and desire and courage - they doubted their decisions, their convictions, and they suffered for their choices. Heinlein provided the essential ingredient necessary to elevate a whole genre. Another great twist Heinlein was fond of was telling a story not from the usual hero's point of view. Instead of a space captain's story - Heinlein would tell the story of an ordinary soldier, or a teenager, or any other person who might be unremarkable under any other circumstances but the one they find themselves in. Like Juan Rico in STARSHIP TROOPERS (the book, not the movie). Obviously, I'm a fan of Heinlein. I've written about him twice: first in THE CHINATOWN DEATH CLOUD PERIL, and now in THE ASTOUNDING, THE AMAZING, AND THE UNKNOWN.

Robert Buettner has to be a fan of Heinlein, as well as a student and, perhaps, heir apparent. His novel, ORPHANAGE, tells a similar tale of a potentially wasted youth who joins the army, survives his own weaknesses to make it through basic training, puts his trust in the mission and system around him, and rises to greatness through the events surrounding an alien attack on earth. One of the astonishing things about his book is the verisimilitude of the military sequences. From the fears and pains that plague a new recruit, through the military tactics and chain of command a troop faces on the battlefield, it reads incredibly real. Like Heinlein who was a Naval officer, Buettner has had real (and interesting) experiences with the military (seriously! Check out his site for the details.) That realism, combined with humor, flair, and a sense of awe make the ORPHANAGE series one you should check out.

Thanks to Robert, we have a donated box of ORPHANAGE being delivered to troops heading to Afghanistan. There will be a major announcement about that soon! In the meantime, you can support Robert for his donation by picking up one or more (c'mon people, it's a series!) of his books. Remember, the proceeds from any book you purchase in the OWL Store goes to support Operation Warrior Library.

Thanks, Robert!

Monday, March 23, 2009

DISPATCH :: Operation Warrior Library salutes Bob Drury and Tom Clavin

So it was a little chilly yesterday in New Jersey and I was outside doing a little yard work and I scraped my knuckles. You know how that can sting a little bit more when it's cold out. I was bitching to myself about it when I flashed upon the book I had just finished reading, THE LAST STAND OF FOX COMPANY, and I instantly felt like the world's biggest wuss.

Here's the deal - it's 1950 in Korea and a group of about 250 marines are ordered to hold a godforsaken hill against tens of thousands of Communist Chinese soldiers surging down to join the conflict. Over seven days and nights in weather that reached 3o-degree below freezing these brave soldiers did just that. It's one of the most incredible war stories I've ever heard of. It reminds you just how incredible our troops can be when the circumstances require it. Do yourself a favor and read it now.

Thanks to Bob and Tom we will be shipping a box of their book to troops in Afghanistan. Please support them by picking up a copy. Remember, the proceeds from any book purchased in the OWL store goes to cover our costs.

Thanks Bob and Tom. And Fox Company.

DISPATCH :: Operation Warrior Library salutes George Mastras

One of the questions I get asked about having written about Jack London is whether or not anyone today has the balls to set off after adventure and then write about it honestly the way he did.

Let me introduce you to George Mastras and his unbelievable novel, FIDALI'S WAY. George was a lawyer who left it all behind to answer the call of the wild and go exploring. He's no armchair adventurer - his wanderings took him to some of the world's most notorious danger zones in Pakistan and India. He's turned his adventures into a remarkable novel of a young American who gets himself into trouble of the worst kind. The cruelty and horrors he experiences is only offset by the kindness and hope of the people he encounters.

What makes it so worthy of Jack London is just how honest and unsparing it is. He combines a reporter's eye with an artist's heart. If you want a glimpse into the world America has stumbled into then look no further.

Thanks to George we are able to ship a case of his book to troops in Afghanistan. Please support George by checking out his book. Remember, if you buy a book in the OWL store the proceeds go to help cover our costs.

Thanks George.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

DISPATCH :: Jacksonville's Big Read, THE CALL OF THE WILD, and me.

The Big Read is a national program created by the NEA intended to inspire and motivate communities to read. Library systems pick a book from a number of classic titles and then offer events and programs in support of the book.

Last week I had the honor to deliver the opening address for the Jacksonville Library's Big Read events. They've built a fantastic library down there and after the Much Ado About Books Festival they kept me around to talk to local families about THE CALL OF THE WILD. For what it's worth, I decided to post my speech:

I’d like to thank the Jacksonville Public Library for having me down here where it’s warm instead of freezing in New Jersey. Thanks to Keith McLaughlin and everyone here at this fantastic library.

My mother and grandmother were both children’s librarians so I grew up in libraries – I can’t tell you what an important part libraries have played in my life.

Libraries were also incredibly important to young Jack London. He was born into a life of grinding poverty. If you think you’re poor today, compared to Jack, you’re not. There was no social net to protect him at all. Wits and will was how people got along. A free library was a gift to a young man with a thirst for knowledge. It’s where he educated himself. And if it hadn’t been for a librarian who took an interest in him and pointed him in the right direction each time he needed it, who knows where he might have ended up. That’s what a great librarian truly does – helps guide a questing mind.

I’d like to welcome all of you to the Kick-off event for this year’s JaxRead program. This is part of a nationwide program called the Big Read, supported by the National Endowment for the Arts. Its mission is simple, to inspire people across the country to pick up a good book. I am the author of a new novel called Jack London in Paradise. I can’t think of a better good book to pick up than the book JaxRead has selected and that I’m here to talk about tonight, Jack London’s Call of the Wild.

It’s hard to believe that this amazing book is over a hundred years old. It was published in 1903 but you could be led to think that it was just written last week. That’s one of the reasons that The Call of the Wild is such an important book – it is what they call a timeless tale. Jack was twenty-six years old when he wrote it. It was his second novel in what would become an amazing string of fifty books over the next fourteen years with over twenty of them novels. The Call of the Wild is not a very long book but it took Jack London a long time to write it. He hadn’t seen his friends in a long time while he was working on it. When he finished it he brought all his friends to his home and read the whole thing to them. All of them knew by the next morning that it was a masterpiece.

The Call of the Wild is an adventure story. It’s an adventure story about a dog. A dog named Buck. Nowadays we’re used to realistic stories where animals are the heroes: classics like The Yearling, Misty of Chincoteague, The Black Stallion, Black Beauty, even Bambi. If you haven’t read those books, you ought to. But remember, when Jack wrote The Call of the Wild no one had ever down it before. It was crazy. And an incredible leap of imagination. And it was a huge bestseller.

Although The Call of the Wild is a book about a dog, it’s not really a children’s book. It’s an
adventure story and it’s violent and sometimes very scary. After all it’s called The Call of the Wild, not The Call of the Backyard. London writes about the dog’s feelings, he doesn’t try to make Buck think like you or me. Buck the dog is stolen from his happy home and taken to the frozen land of Alaska during a period known as the Gold Rush, when people from all over went there to try and discover their fortunes. It was a very difficult environment to survive in. People, and dogs, were sometimes mean and life is not always fair. Bad people don’t always get punished and good people sometimes get hurt. Buck doesn’t even know he’s on an adventure, he’s just trying to survive in his new life. Buck not only conquers the weather, the harshness of the men, the other dogs and the wolves he comes into contact with, he thrives. What makes the story so great is that Buck sees the worst and best in people along the way until he finds his own place to be happy.

Why is The Call of the Wild still being read a hundred years after it was written? After all, there are no wizards, nor vampires, nor ‘droids in this book. And yet a lot of people like this library, and the NEA and me, think you should take a look at this book. Don’t you hate having to read a book that everyone says is important? Well, I’m here to tell you that, yes, this book is important, but it’s also an exciting story that will blow your mind, as my young son would say. The Call of the Wild is really about answering the call to go on an adventure. Jack London, the writer, heard this call and went on an incredible adventure to the Gold Rush when he was only twenty-one. Now to some of you, twenty-one might seem like an incredibly old age, but I’m here to tell you that when Jack did this, he was a young man

He traveled by boat, by foot, and by dog-sled, over mountains, rivers, and frozen tundra and he was hoping to find a gold mine. What he found instead was gold of a different sort. Remarkable stories like “To Build a Fire”, “An Odyssey of the North,” and White Fang came out of his time in the Yukon.

Jack London reminds us even today that sometimes we all have to look for adventures in our lives. We should all answer the call of the wild, every now and then. Jack took many adventures in his life. He sailed the ocean, traveled the country, explored the world. He lived a life that wasn’t safe in an age when you couldn’t use your cell-phone to call for help. He discovered the great freedom and beauty to be found when in exploring the wilderness and that you can
discover wonderful things about yourself as well.

Now I’m not suggesting that everyone here rush out in search of adventure. Remember, adventure found Buck. And adventure will find you some day. Meanwhile, books can be much safer. And not every adventure will lead you into the wild. Reading a book like The Call of the Wild or My Side of the Mountain, The Island of the Blue Dolphins or Hoot can help you appreciate nature and the environment even if you’re just taking a walk in the park. You may not be able to explore the Yukon anytime soon to search for fortune and glory, but the whole idea of adventure in our age may have changed. But the wild hasn’t. Now when we answer the Call of the Wild it is to help preserve those wild places, be it the Alaskan Wildlife Refuge, or here, closer to your home, the Everglades, for future generations.

Because a hundred years from now people will still be reading The Call of the Wild and we want to make sure that a hundred years from now there are still some wild places where that call can be heard and answered by someone who needs a little adventure in their lives.

Thank you.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Operation Warrior Library thanks Jason Pinter

Jason Pinter has done us a real solid by sending a box chock full of his books featuring his hero reporter Henry Parker. The series includes THE MARK, THE STOLEN, and THE GUILTY. I started off with THE MARK (which was a good choice as it turns out to be the first in the series!) and I couldn't have picked a better book to take with me on my trip to the Much Ado About Books Festival in Jacksonville last week.

Ever since I read THE STAND in junior high I realized that if one was going to live in New York as I intended to, then one needed an escape plan from the city. Whether it was to escape the ravages of an apocalyptic plague or the (inevitable) zombie wars it was good to know more than one way to get out. My emergency escape plan included making my way to one of the city's marinas and slipping away on a boat.

Jason Pinter has given the New York escape plan some thought to and come up with as good a reason as the zombie wars to want to get out and that's if the whole city thinks you're a cop-killer, a vengeful detective is searching for you, oh, and so is a psychotic mob hitman with vendetta issues. Your face is splattered across all the local newspapers including the one you write for - you've got no friends, nowhere to turn, and time is running out. How do you get out of town? Jason's figured it out.

Can't wait to see how he follows it up.

You can support Jason by picking up his books. Remember, any purchase you make in the OWL store goes to helping us send these books on to troops in Afghanistan.

Thanks, Jason.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

DISPATCH :: Operation Warrior Library thanks Tess Gerritsen

Since we've received close to 500 books from nearly two dozen authors, I need a little help reading and posting all these books in a timely manner. So, guest reading and blogging today about Tess Gerritsen is my lovely wife. Take it away, Audrey!

I had given up on forensic procedural thrillers. Sure, I loved Scarpetta and Brennan. For a while I couldn’t get enough. But then I OD’d on a gazillion CSI episodes – like millions of other viewers, I could BE a forensic investigator myself by now. I was many bodies past the saturation level.* But here it is, well past midnight and my bedtime. Turns out there was a really sick serial killer story I hadn’t heard before. And now my bedside light is gonna stay on all night.

Ms. Gerritsen was kind enough to donate a big box of her books to Operation Warrior Library. The titles tantalized me, I’m sure I had that look in my eye that I sometimes see in Paul’s (he’s a former smoker and can occasionally be enticed for a few puffs by my mother, of all people). But it was the back cover copy of Body Double that sealed the deal. A pathologist finds her doppelganger on her own dissecting table? Got me.

And there went the next 4 or so hours.

I don’t want to risk spoiling the mystery with too many details. But this plot is sure to resonate with – and freak out – women my age,** particularly those who are pregnant or who struggled with infertility or have adopted. Yeah, it’s effing twisted. But even better than the creepy buried-alive scenes and icky intricate details of crushed skulls are the characters – Dr. Maura Isles and Detective Jane Rizzoli are fully realized and interesting beyond their careers. No placeholder people for medical techniques and police jargon here. And while Rizzoli might be a little obsessed with her weight, it’s only because she’s pregnant, not because her entire characterization is supposed to be summed up in her never being happy with her outfit because she thinks she looks fat. Cool women you’d want to know, except that would mean you’d have a dead husband and were prime suspect or something.

As the cover for the paperback tells you, Tess Gerritsen is a bestselling author and doesn’t really need me promoting her. But if, like me, thought you had read it all in this genre, YOU ARE MISSING OUT. We’ve made it really easy to order books from OWL authors, just click here. Proceeds help pay for shipping costs on new book donations.

* Full disclosure: I do actually watch Bones, but because of my Buffy allegiance only originally. Best partner chemistry since Dave and Maddie on Moonlighting, I swear, so now I’m hooked.

** Argh. Now I have to admit I’m turning 40 in a few months.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

DISPATCH :: Much Ado About Books Festival

On Friday and Saturday I'll be part of the program at the Jacksonville Much Ado About Books Festival in Florida. Come for the panels, then stay for the Gala.

Then next, Wednesday, I'll be speaking about Jack London's THE CALL OF THE WILD at the launch of the Jacksonville Library's JaxReads program. They promise snow-making machines, panning for gold and rock climbing. It's going to be a blast!

See you there.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

DISPATCH :: Operation Warrior Library author Lawrence Goldstone♦

While I was writing yesterday's post introducing the new group of OWL authors, I somehow missed adding Lawrence Goldstone's name and contribution. Which is an absolute shame because I just finished his book, THE ANATOMY OF DECEPTION, last night and I'm so pleased to be able to tell you about it and thrilled that this great book will be heading to Afghanistan shortly.

Lawrence cleverly crafts a suspense story involving some of the real life doctors who created modern medicine as we know it. As you know I'm a sucker for mixing reality and fiction. Lawrence does a first-rate job here and I would have run to Wikipedia more often if I hadn't been so eager to turn the page and see what happened next. Among the great details in this book is a sub-plot showing the twisted relationship between heroin and aspirin. They're more darkly intertwined than I ever imagined. Wild stuff.

I actually saw a man on a train reading this book this week, so jump on the train yourself before the train leaves the station.

Lawrence is also one of those rare writers who is able to seamlessly move between fiction and non-fiction. The other book he has contributed to our cause is THE ACTIVIST: JOHN MARSHALL, MARBURY V. MADISON AND THE MYTH OF JUDICIAL REVIEW. I haven't read this one yet but it sounds like a fascinating glimpse at one of those lynch-pin moments in American history when everything changes. Here's a brief description:

The story of the landmark case that put the “Supreme” in Supreme Court.

Among the many momentous decisions rendered by the Supreme Court, none has had a greater impact than that passed down in 1803 by Chief Justice John Marshall in the case of Marbury v. Madison. While the ruling itself was innocuous—denying the plea of a minor functionary named William Marbury on constitutionally technical grounds—its implications were enormous. For Marshall had, in essence, claimed for the Supreme Court the right to determine what the Constitution and our laws under it really mean, known formally as the principle of “judicial review.” Yet, as Lawrence Goldstone shows in his compelling narrative, that right is nowhere expressed in the Constitution and was not even considered by the Framers or the Founding Fathers, who would never have granted such power in a checks-and-balances system to unelected officials serving for life.

I'm betting it's every bit as exciting as his novel.

Remember, you can support Lawrence Goldstone by purchasing his books and messaging him directly in the new OWL Forum. Any purchase you make in the OWL Shop goes to supporting our continuing efforts to connect great books and authors with our troops.

Thanks Lawrence (and sorry about leaving you off the list!)!


Friday, February 20, 2009

DISPATCH :: Operation Warrior Library author Jon Fasman

THE UNPOSSESSED CITY is Jon Fasman's second book and his second contribution to OWL. His first book was the remarkably entertaining and intelligent THE GEOGRAPHER'S LIBRARY which I hope by now you've read since I told you about it awhile ago.

His new book is no less smart and fun and it takes place in a fairly unique world, the demimonde of post-Soviet post-boom Russia. Jon knows the culture of Moscow inside and out and the book is nearly physically cold with Russian verisimilitude. Our ex-pat hero has run-ins with spies and terrorists and criminals which contribute as much to spot-on local color as they do to a great story.

Do yourself a favor and pick up Jon's books and support him for supporting OWL. Remember, proceeds from any book purchased in the OWL Shop go to furthering our mission of delivering great books to our troops.

Thanks Jon!

Operation Warrior Library: Meet the Second Round of Authors!

Since the call went out in early January for more books for our troops we've collected several hundred books! This is just awesome! Most of these books came to us directly from the authors and a lot of them took the time to sign them for our soldiers as well.

The stickers you see on the covers feature the new OWL logo and invite the soldiers to meet the authors in our new OWL forum to discuss the books. We're hopeful that this will be a much-used feature.

It looks like these books are going to wind up in the hands of a National Guard unit heading to Afghanistan in the next few weeks. I'll update when I have more news.

I'll blog about each of these books as I read them but for now here's a list of these wonderful authors. You can support them by buying their books. Proceeds from the purchase of these books in the OWL Store will go to furthering this operation.

Thanks to:
Jon Fasman
Tess Gerritsen
Meg Gardiner
Jason Pinter
Charles Bock
Daniyal Mueenuddin
Trish Ryan
George Mastras
Bob Drury and Tom Clavin
Lewis Robinson
Tiffany Baker
Jon Guenther
Robert Buettner
Angie Fox

Friday, February 13, 2009

DISPATCH :: Pulp lives!

At least according to MediaBistro's with Ron Fortier. Why does this matter to me? Well, you obviously haven't read THE CHINATOWN DEATH CLOUD PERIL. And this bodes well for its sequel...

DISPATCH :: Operation Warrior Library in action

This past weekend was spent going through all the boxes of books that authors have sent us to pass on to troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. You can see some of the photos of my boys,
Wesley and Nathaniel, helping us put Operation Warrior Library stickers on the books on my Flickr feed.

And here are a couple of the cutest ones.

Lots more about OWL soon.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

DISPATCH :: Download my short film.

I posted late last week the trailer for my ten-year old two-reeler, THE KING OF THE MAGICIANS. Well, it turns out that some of you actually want to see it. So here's how. Click on the link below and follow it to a site where you can download it.

Feel free to let me know what you think.


Friday, February 6, 2009

DISPATCH :: "The King of the Magicians"

10 years ago this week some friends and I shot a 20-minute film that I wrote and directed. It was called "The King of the Magicians." We took it on the festival circuit and had a lot of fun with it. Creatively, it was when I finally found my voice. I thought I'd post it today as a reminder to me how quickly time passes and to share something cool that you wouldn't otherwise get to see.


Tuesday, February 3, 2009

DISPATCH :: Scenes from a book tour

My San Francisco guide, Amy Wilson, made a video about my visit. She actually managed to pull something cool together - even though I'm in it. So - enjoy.

Monday, February 2, 2009

DISPATCH :: 25 things about me.

There's a meme spreading on Facebook in which you list 25 random things about yourself and share it with 25 friends. At first I resisted but then I submitted. Since not all of you are on Facebook (or if you are you haven't friended me yet) I thought I'd share.

1. “Stairway to Heaven” was the song that was on the radio I was listening to when they broke in to announce that John Lennon had been killed. As if I needed another reason to hate that song.
2. I lived in Taiwan for 5 years and I can still count to ten in Chinese.
3. I am prepared to defend and protect my family during the impending zombie wars.
4. Being a dad is more fun that I ever imagined.
5. I don’t believe in God but I have an on-going conversation with my guardian angel and my guardian devil.
6. I wish I lived a little closer to my brother and sister. Or rather, I wished they lived a little closer to me.
7. Both my father and grandfather fought in WW2.
8. I used to have a wealth of useless information. Now I’m a novelist.
9. I would have liked to have seen the Beatles reunite one last time for some pop culture closer.
10. My wife makes me laugh a lot.
11. I owe everything to my friends.
12. I got my first tattoo the way you’re supposed to. At Mardi Gras. In New Orleans.
13. I want to be a Disney Imagineer.
14. I used to want to host SNL. Now I just hope I get the chance to see it live once.
15. I’m in the “Bubble Boy” episode of SEINFELD. I’m driving Jerry’s car. I’m also riding in the fire engine at the end of the episode.
16. Movies I will always sit down and watch whenever and wherever I come across them are THE EIGER SANCTION, THE ROAD WARRIOR, MUSIC & LYRICS, THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE UGLY and FAST TIMES AT RIDGEMONT HIGH.
17. The arcade game I was, and still am, best at was, and is, TRON.
18. I think Stanley Kubrick made some stinkers.
19. I would have liked to have seen David Lean’s NOSTROMO and Sergio Leone’s STALINGRAD.
20. I still wish on the first star I see at night and pick up heads-up pennies for luck.
21. I’ve met Buzz Aldrin, Rosa Parks, Cesar Chavez and Milton Berle. I tied Henny Youngman’s shoes once because he couldn’t do it himself. I think.
22. Though I lived in Taiwan and Pennsylvania farm country I had to come to New York to learn Kung Fu and horseback riding. Though I’m not good at either.
23. I like Jack Daniels neat with a Diet Coke back.
24. I like Big Audio Dynamite more than The Clash.
25. I’m just getting’ warmed up.

Friday, January 23, 2009


Yep! An all-caps dispatch. JACK LONDON IN PARADISE just entered the bestseller list today on the SF Chronicle.

#10 and (hopefully) rising!

See for yourself!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

DISPATCH :: New blog alert!

If you like movies, and if you like behind the scenes stories about how those movies get made, then you should right away click on over to my friend Sam's brand new blog.


Don't click just yet. Here's the deal. Sam's literally one of the hardest working men in show business. He's a location manager and came up the only way possible to get that job and that's the hard way. He's put in more time on the streets of New York than most cops so his blog isn't just about his great work on movies you know (and some you don't but should) but it's also about a love affair he's had with the city going on 20 years now. Incidentally the first time I met Sam was on the Bill Murray movie QUICK CHANGE. I needed a light for a cigarette and I asked him if he had a match. He quickly snapped, "yeah, your face and my ass!" but he lit the smoke. Ah, memories of friendship.

So, what are you waiting for. Click now. Better yet, subscribe. You don't want to miss a tale.

Monday, January 12, 2009

DISPATCH :: Radio interview

Today is Monday, January 12, 2009. At 12:30 EST I will be appearing on KVON with Jeff Schectman. Listen live at

Friday, January 9, 2009

DISPATCH :: OWL in the news... Twice.

We had two very nice write-ups about Operation Warrior Library today. The first was in MediaBistro...

"Ten authors from around the country have joined Operation Warrior Library, sharing their books with military personnel overseas." Read the full article...

Then MomLogic chimed in. I'm thrilled about this one because it acknowledges my wife's efforts in keeping this moving forward as well...

"Audrey Malmont had her first child in 2001. Back then, the young mother had no way of knowing that she had also given birth to a chain of events that would help military families at home and overseas." Read the full article...

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

DISPATCH :: Today is the day!

"Los Angeles was freezing but Hobart Bosworth was drenched in his own sweat."

I wrote that first line to JACK LONDON IN PARADISE nearly three years ago. I'm happy to say that it's still there on page one of my freshly printed book - in bookstores everywhere from Simon & Schuster. They say the second book is the hardest one you'll ever write. Whoever "they" are, they're right. Years of thinking about it, tons of research, the sacrifice of family time, days staring at the computer - it's all worth it in the end.

Now it begins a new life, no longer my book, but yours. I hope you enjoy it. It will live on its own without me.

And yet...

Like a parent I still feel the need to rise to its defense when the occasion calls for it. So, with some diminished respect for the aptly named Mr. Meaney, I have to point out that there are no Ford autos on Willoughby Street, nor Ziegfeld starlets in front of the Bijou. He's nitpicking, but so am I. I took the time and trouble to get the details straight. So should he. Ah well, glad he liked the sex scenes, though. Thanks for weirdly oversharing.

So - go see for yourself. JACK LONDON IN PARADISE is out.


Monday, January 5, 2009

DISPATCH :: Introducing our new logo!

Operation Warrior Library is an effort on the part of authors to deliver great books to our troops overseas. I post about it quite often - every time an author delivers books for me to send along to Col. George Reynolds. I'm pleased today to unveil our new logo, created by renowned artist Andrew Clark. And, yes, the "renowned" part is probably going to embarrass him. But he's renowned as far as I'm concerned.