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.