Wednesday, November 25, 2009

A little poetry

This is Sharon Olds, one of my favorite poets.

Hiking This Summer

On a hike, Evelyn smiles.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Creepy Cloud

Looks Photo shopped, but they say it's real. Newly named. Buckle your seatbelts. That rain cloud looks like it's going to get nasty.

And here's another Asperatus:

I've shut my mouth and I'm not going to say the obvious thing about Global Warming or Climate Change. But hey, look at that freaking cloud.

Another Star

Well, Booklist (which is published by the American Library Association) gave Silencer a wonderful review--with a star and everything. I'm thrilled.

When Hall’s hermit hero Thorn, the Key Largo beach bum who used to earn his meager living tying flies, inherited millions of dollars from a long-lost relative (Hell’s Bay, 2008), readers couldn’t help but wonder where the series could possibly go next. Thorn a multimillionaire, even one determined to use his money to preserve uncivilized Florida? Well, yes, we’re happy for him, but won’t he cease to be the quintessential off-the-grid loner living on the fringes of civilization? Hall answers that question in this superb thriller, which finds Thorn still on the outside, still inadvertently bringing disaster to those he loves. Nothing like money to make a mess out of life. It starts with what should have been a sweet deal. Thorn’s lover, Rusty Stabler, now also his business manager, has negotiated a three-cornered transaction with the state of Florida and ranching mogul Earl Hammond to save Hammond’s massive holdings in central Florida from developers. All seems to go awry, however, when Hammond is murdered and Thorn is kidnapped. With his hero out of the action for a chunk of the novel, Hall luxuriates in character development, creating rich, multidimensional portraits of the Hammond clan and of two wacko contract killers. But there’s still room in the story for Thorn to face down his demons, the mild-mannered hermit once again giving vent to his lizard brain and unleashing “a crazed surge that wasn’t hate or fear or rage but some poisonous cocktail of all three.” Can anyone match Hall’s ability to combine thoughtful, character-driven drama with blood-thumpingly in-the-moment existential thrills? No, no one can.
— Bill Ott

Stella, One of the Cavaliers

Here she is, Stella the magnificent, rolling in something odiferous in North Carolina. It's probably a slug, but it could be a dead earthworm, or perhaps a rotten egg. Normally I yell at her and make her stop, but this time I wanted to record the event. Ah, the smell of old fish in the morning.

And that lovely white noise in the background is our bold stream bubbling past.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Early Review

Okay, so here we go. The new book will be published two months from now (the 19th of January), and the early reviews start coming in right now. The Publisher's Weekly review came today and I was happy to see it was starred.

* Silencer James W. Hall. Minotaur, $24.99 (304p) ISBN 978-0-312-35959-1

Shamus-winner Hall's superlative 11th thriller to feature Thorn (after Hell's Bay) finds his iconoclastic Key Largo, Fla., PI with a newly acquired fortune. Thorn is excited when his girlfriend, Rusty Stabler, presents a deal to protect 300 square miles of Florida from development and also put Earl Hammond's Coquina Ranch game-hunting operation out of business. Then Hammond is shot to death, Thorn is kidnapped—but Hall is just getting warmed up. While Thorn tries to figure a way out of the literal hole he's in, Rusty and Thorn's longtime friend Sugarman try to track him. Warped contract killers Jonah and Moses Faust, who deal in serial killer memorabilia, and Hammond's very different sons, ex-football star Browning and Miami cop Frisco, play large roles. Hall steadily ratchets the suspense while seamlessly combining elements of Florida's natural history with elements of the state's early development and overdevelopment. (Jan.)

I should be blase about this stuff after getting reviews for twenty plus years. But I'm not. I was happy for this one, not because it sells books (because I'm not sure a starred review sells many), but because it's a nice validation of the work I did over the last year and a half. My editor and agent and publisher liked the book. My wife liked it (which is truly important), but it's always good to hear from a reviewer who is supposed to be somewhat objective.

So now I'm going to get back to work on the bestseller book revisions. They're almost done. It's a funnier book than I'd thought it would be when I started it a long while back. Sort of like my classes used to be, somewhat serious, but mostly not.

My wonderful web person is working on some updates on the site. If anyone has any suggestions, it would be interesting to hear.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Another Spiderman

Evin, a tenth grade teacher, sent me this wonderful video of him reciting my poem to his class. I think he does a bang up job.

Evin reminds me what a powerful impact teachers have on the world. When you see his energy and passion and the way he's getting his class to react to him, you can't help feeling inspired and hopeful. That there are folks like Evin out there doing such cool stuff with the next generation should thrill us all.