That Arrogant Bastard Is In Our House Again

(Okay, so the cats didn’t care about any of this…)

Actually, it’s not Arrogant Bastard, but it’s free samples from the same Stone Brewing Company that we know and love. Next week Ann and I will gather a series of recent books, open the beer, and sip from both books and beer to determine what books go best with their thirteenth anniversary ale and their stout, for a post on Amazon. Sometimes this is a terrible job.

Oh how the anticipation rose after we realized the box was not full of more books…

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Incoming: Stories Exterior and Interior

(Why do I have these? A–I’m a Halo addict, B–I have been hired by the competition to help create something called “Palo”, C–a legacy player who has grown bored with the game and loves my work is paying me to write Halo fan fic that involves Ambergris, or D–I might be writing a story for an antho.)

It’s time again for an incoming books post, but I thought I’d switch it up this time and add some idea of what’s going on outside the house, too, not just what’s coming into it…

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Landscape, Texture, and Detail: Elinor-Klapp Phipps Park

(The road running along the edge of Elinor-Klapp Phipps Park outside of Tallahassee, Florida; this is a long post, so get the heck out while you still can.)


Sounds: Cicada firesong, reaving stacatto through the trees, the pinhole chatter of a transmission none of us can understand; recursive bobwhite harmlessly piercing; distant intelligent yarple-yap of coyote (maybe fox?); whirring kung-fu of a dozen different species of grasshopper; nervous rustle of spastic squirrels; hard fall of nuts falling from trees; cheeky call of various woodpeckers; soft crack of tree bark sundered a dozen times in rustle-bushes; sharp smack of rain drops against oak leaves, against sedgeweed and blackberry bushes; cheery peeping bark of tree frogs as soon as the rain hits.

Smells: Something dead, definitely, that’s still turning and wanting to be alive; loamy thick dead wood; stench of heat expelled from the throat; fresh-quick scent of rain coming on quickly, overtaking the heat; sour of unripe fruit; stale must of Spanish moss.

Textures: Bark, pebbles, grasses, leaves, dirt, mud, empty turtle eggshell, fungi, tufts of fur…

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Mr. R in Amsterdam, Creating the Cult of the Third Eyebrow

Grandson, Mr. R, seems to be punking it up in Amsterdam. He’s already got that jaded look about the eyes, like he’s seen it all, and found it wanting. This kid is going to break some hearts. He’s already been kissing women’s knees in public parks. Cute now. Not cute if it continues into his teens. LOL.

Someday, I’m going to find a way to use this photo as the cover of a book. Maybe I’ll write The Further Ironical Adventures of Mr. R, Abroad.

The Third Bear Ez Truly Dangerous

(See it better-bigger by clickin’ here.)

Jacob McMurray has come up with an awesome cover for my short story collection, out from Tachyon in 2010. Back cover text is placeholder, of course. I’m currently selecting the contents, with a due date of turning the manuscript in July 1st.


It made its home in the deep forest near the village of Grommin, and all anyone ever saw of it, before the end, would be hard eyes and the dark barrel of its muzzle. The smell of piss and blood and shit and bubbles of saliva and half-eaten food. The villagers called it the Third Bear because they had killed two bears already that year. But, near the end, no one really thought of it as a bear, even though the name had stuck, changed by repetition and fear and slurring through blood-filled mouths to Theeber. Sometimes it even sounded like “seether” or “seabird.”

Aw, Look: Some Baby Finches in Their Nest…

Underland sent me a few copies of the uncorrected proofs sent to potential blurbers. Darn purty, although I’m running out of worms to feed them. Advance reading copies for reviewers should go to the printer shortly, too.

Hey–no, Jango, no, get out of that nest of Finches!

Must Be That Time of Year Again…

Hot, muggy, and no matter where you park around our house, this happens. If we lived in Nawlins and it was Mardi Gras time, I might get away with driving around like that. As it is, the local bagel place employees looked askance at the vehicle. Like somehow it meant I was living in it.

Some more random photos for your Saturday, while I work away on BookFinch and Finchlife stuff.

Oh–and the “endurance book tour” behind Booklife and Finch, for November-December, will be fleshed out by the end of the month. If you’re affiliated with a university, a writers workshop, or a bookstore that might be interested, or you’re aware of possible venues, drop me a line at vanderworld at I’m starting in Seattle, driving down the West Coast, then heading inland through Arizona, coming up through Colorado toward the Great Lakes area and then through the Northeast and down the East Coast.

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Book Excerpts and Expectations: Carlos Ruiz Zafon, Ray Banks, Brandon Sanderson, and More

(Jackson the Clown Cat guards the Zafon advance reader copy with a kind of lazy incompetence.)

So much for work. I did twelve hours yesterday, and I’m learning that in this new paradigm where my brain blows circuits a little more easily I should’ve realized it would be ridiculous to do anything like that today.

Instead, how about a variation on a books received post? Only this time I’ll post a paragraph-long excerpt picked randomly from each book, which I’ve selected to represent the variety of the ridiculous number of books received this week. If you want to play the guessing game, you should be able to try to match the excerpt to the book before you see the cover as you scroll down. I can’t vouch for the excerpts below being PG-13 or lower since I’m doing this completely at random–except that if I happen on a page of pure dialog I’ll pick another page that has more description, and use X and Y for character names if it might give away the answer.

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Interesting or Crap? (and: Yer Questions Taken Now)

So, a few people asked me what was up with the hat, and where the heck the photo was taken. Ann took it in St. Augustine, and it’s made from some poor dead animal. This shop was full of somewhat interesting stuff. For your Friday bemusement, some of the shiny below the cut.

Also, I’m working here just about all day with constant rain and Black Motor Cycle Club’s Howl playing in the background. You gots a question for me, the hat, or Evil Monkey, lay it on me. I need the breaks. And if you’ve got no questions, just look at the purty pictures.

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Books Acquired on Vacation Jaunt: Perec, Arreola, Nabokov, Hipflask, and More

(“Wait. Whut? That ain’t a book!” No, it’s not. And that’s not dust on the mantel, either. So, is it a gun? A music box? A perpetual motion machine? Check out the whole photo gallery to figure it out–just another impulse buy between book purchases this past weekend.)

I’m resigned to a ridiculous fact: despite the insane number of books that enter our house every single day for review or blurbage or whatever, additional book buying will always occur. In part, it’s because I need to create a bulwark of books I want to read as a defense against the tidal wave of books I have to read (without knowing if I’ll actually like them). This is no complaint against receiving books for review–I’ll always delight in them. But I’ll also always delight in the hunt for obscure titles and old favorites. This past weekend, we picked up some things at Chamblin Bookmine and Wolf’s Head Books (both stories documented in recent posts)…

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