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A little while ago, I mentioned that Thomas & Mercer and Brilliance Audio bought the rights to several of my books. That contract included new books as well as some of my backlist. Well, next month, T&M/Brilliance will be releasing six of my past titles: ACCIDENTS WAITING TO HAPPEN, PAYING THE PIPER, WE ALL FALL DOWN, TERMINATED, ASKING FOR TROUBLE and DRAGGED INTO DARKNESS. All six books have been revised and updated. In the case of DRAGGED INTO DARKNESS, it’s been out of print since 2004, so it’ll be good to see that book back in the flesh. All these titles will be available in print, audio and digital. If you’re want a taster of what to expect, here’s the final cover layout for these titles.….. ….. …..
Yes, I’m talking to you. Your personal cleanliness and freshness is appalling. Isn’t it time you washed your hair, brushed your teeth, used some deodorant and did something about those stinky feet? Now, I’m not being harsh. I’m just being educational. I think it’s my duty to tell you that basically, you reek!This is the message most TV ads send about you. Not only that, you’re fat and ugly. You all need to eat better and see a surgeon. And don’t go thinking this applies just to the ladies. You chaps aren’t any different. You’re just as smelly and not only that, you’re going grey and bald to boot and if you don’t do something pronto, no one will ever want you.It’s amazing how many advertisements go out of their way to tell you what a disgusting person you are and that if you don’t do something about it, life as you know it will be over. For fifteen minutes an hour, you’re bombarded with images telling you that you aren’t such a great person and your kids and spouse will hate you for it, unless you buy this product or service. It’s nice to think that your disgusting afflictions can be so easily remedied.This form of advertising isn’t unique to the US. The United Kingdom isn’t any different. It might explain why Britain uses more soap per capita than any other nation in Europe. But that might have a lot to do with the French once describing Britain as “the dirty man of Europe.” Maybe we just misunderstood. 🙂It would be interesting to conduct a global study to determine the numbers of people with low self-image from country to country. Would there be more neurotics in countries where there is more negative advertising?It makes me wonder. . .if the TV networks were to run fewer adverts that attacked society, would the need for drugs like anxiety medication Paxil diminish? Is there a big conspiracy between advertisers, personal cleanliness products and the drug companies to make you all think you’re smelly so you’ll lather up and pop pills by the bucket load to compensate? Makes you think, doesn’t it?Now, I’m not saying you should let yourself go. We don’t need the stench causing the hole in the ozone layer to get any bigger or create any more dead zones in the oceans. I’m just saying that like everything in life, moderation is fine. You don’t need an entire closet to put all your personal grooming products in–a nice wall cabinet will do. Anything more is just overkill.So if you come across a less than fragrant person in your travels, don’t say, “Soap it up there, stinky.” Say instead, “You smell, but that’s okay. You’re still a wonderful person.”
I suppose every country has a food associated with it that defines its national identity. For the English, it’s fish & chips. For the Canadians, it’s bacon. But surprisingly, for the Americans, it’s not what you would think. No one may be willing to admit it, but it’s cheese. I don’t know if it’s a self-conscious selection or not, but Americans have an obsession with this dairy product. As a foreigner in the US, it really sticks out. It’s as though cheese has some mystical power. It’s touted everywhere. Food manufacturers boast the amount, the types and the number of cheeses they use. Papa Murphy’s (obviously started by an Irish-Italian) claim that they put at least a pound of cheese on their pizzas. Taco Bell’s new Quesadilla has three kinds of cheese and nothing else. Kraft claims that cheese is spelled K-R-A-F-T. Phonetically, I’m still struggling with that one, but I take their point. Essentially, cheese is the dairy gold that we all must have.
What burger joint doesn’t ask, “Do you want cheese with that?” The waiters at my favorite Italian restaurant are disappointed that I continually reject their advances to scatter a little Parmesano on my salad, my pasta and my tiramisu.
Before you think I’m crazy, my suspicions were confirmed when a study last year said Americans eat too much cheese and consumption is at dangerous levels. I’m not sure how they know this. I have visions of some machine somewhere with the needle quivering in the RED LEICESTER danger zone. Either way, Americans eat 30lbs of cheese for every man, woman and child. That’s 450 Millions Tons a year!!
Cheese certainly seems to be a deal clincher here. I’m looking to buy a new car in the next year and knowing how strapped the car industry is, I wouldn’t be surprised if cheese doesn’t make an appearance. “What do I have to do to put you in this car today? How about under-sealing and 5lbs of Monterey Jack…?”
But I have yet to be swayed and I remain strong under the immense pressure I’m placed under.
I wonder if there is a darker reason for cheese to be touted so hard. Does cheese have similar properties to Solent Green and am I the only one to realize this?
So, for me, the next time you’re asked, “Do you want cheese with that?” Say, “No.” You might start to see the truth behind the power of cheese.
I’m terrible coming up with the names for the supporting cast in my books, so I tend to use the names of friends and family. For the current book I’m working on, a couple of friends asked if I could incorporate the names of loved ones who’d recently passed away as supporting characters, which I’ve done.
Now, I’m thinking it might be nice if I expanded this tribute. So if you’ve lost a loved one or a close friend and you’d like to have their name featured in my next book, please leave their name and who they were to you in the comment box or email their name to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I can’t promise I’ll use every name, but I’ll do my best.
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There’s a lot of gloom and doom floating around these days when it comes to the future of the printed word. People are reading less and less. Publishers are consolidating both in numbers and in authors. Technology is changing the way books are made and the way they are read. Everything is going digital. The internet has created a mentality of it has to be free or I’m not paying for it. The rise of YouTube means the world is preoccupied with people’s homemade entertainment. The book is a dinosaur. The future is a meteorite that will make the novelist extinct. While all this has more than a little merit for it to be worrying, I don’t really care. Now, I’m not being obtuse and breaking out the fiddle while the flames are licking around Rome. No, I don’t really care, because I can’t do a damn thing about it. These things are beyond my control. I can’t halt the march of technology, despite what my pen pal Teddy Kaczynski says. I can dictate how publishers choose to run their businesses as much as I can control the tides—did that once, got my feet wet. I can’t dictate what the public does with its disposable income (but they will when I’ve perfected my mind control antenna, then we’ll see who’s the king of all media). I can kvetch all I want, but it’s not going to change anything, so what’s the point of worrying? All I can do is hope things don’t change so significantly that I find myself marginalized, then abandoned. If the book (in all its connotations) is to change, then I will change with it. The book is a medium. It’s packaging. Storytelling is what counts. Storytelling can’t change. It’s a constant—like dishonest politicians. It’s always been there and it’s always going to be there. So what if all books go to audio? Who cares if in a hundred years the book is a pill you swallow and as it dissolves into the bloodstream, the story is carried to the brain where it is experienced as a memory? At the end of the day, a storyteller is needed—and that’s where I come in.And that’s where I take hope. Stories need storytellers. The way stories are told may change but not the need for a story to be told. Movies and television are stories projected on a screen and told with images. Plays are stories acted out by people. These formats arose through technology. The book itself is an advancement of oral traditions. Despite these formats and advances, the story still remains.It doesn’t matter what happens in the future, but every movie, TV show, video game, magazine, podcast, audio book and cigarette packet warning requires a writer—and that’s where I come in. Those who need me know where to find me…
I’ve known Joe Konrath a long time and he asked me to guest blog for him about my writing career and the challenges it’s presented over the years.
I’m the guest blogger over at the Bibrary Bookslut. I talk about about my brush with Santeria.
Bibrary Bookslut: GUEST POST: Simon Wood (author of The Scrubs & Roa…: “Please give a warm welcome to Simon Wood, who has stopped by today to talk about his novel Road Rash , and to tease his other new release, …”
Unfortunately, I’ve busted myself up in a biking accident. The worst injury is that I’ve broken my arm at the elbow. I’m going to do my best to limit the impacts to the blog.