Dropping this here in case you want some big dancy music — and some quiet stuff, too (“I go home and lock the doors, and I hear the sirens . . . I’m in love with the ice-blue, gray skies of England. And I’ll admit all I want to do, is get drunk and silent”) and what’s spending about 50% of the time on all the virtual turntables around here:
From an ad on this video (17-year-old Biggie Smalls freestyling) linked from here (17-year-old LL Cool J plays a Maine gymnasium in 1985: rap! beatbox! sing! snap! ping! pow!) both from Kottke, via Eileen Gunn:
Been meaning to post something in response to this guest post by Rachel Manja Brown and Sherwood Smith at Rose Fox’s Publishers Weekly Genreville blog “Say Yes to Gay YA.” To get to the essence of it: yes, we are open to all kinds of books with all kinds of characters.
To answer a few follow on questions:
- Yes, we are open to submissions from anyone. (Hence we are always behind on reading, sorry.)
- No, we don’t take electronic submissions—with only Kelly and I reading if we took electronic submissions all we would do is read, we wouldn’t ever have time for anything else.
- Yes, I and/or Kelly read everything that comes in.
- Yes, we publish first time authors, old hands, well known and unknowns. We love books, we love the books we publish. If we love your book, we’ll publish it. We are constrained by time and budget to 10-12 books per year. (Buy our books and help us publish more!)
- Yes, we pay advances. The highest we’ve paid is in the low five figures, so, no, you are not going to get a huge offer from us.
- Yes, we pay industry standard royalties (although our ebook royalty is twice industry standard: 50% of net receipts).
- Yes, our books are for sale everywhere through the good people at our distributor, Consortium.
- Yes, all our books are available in print and ebook editions: although no doubt soon we will start adding some ebook only titles.
But all that is by the by: mostly I just wanted to make it very open and obvious that we are open to submissions from everyone.
Posted this morning after watching this video (link from Metafilter):
We recently watched the last episode of the British TV series Downtown Abbey which was a hit earlier this year. It was a fun soap, but the last episode was such a big soft pudding that my strong recc. (for those with the stomach to watch Edwardian-era upper class goings-on) drops to: Meh, maybe, but go walk the dog instead of watching the last episode. Blech. Wikipedia says there’s another season being made. Wonder if it too will be full of people holding themselves stiffly away from one another, doing the right thing, and jolly well getting what they deserved. Especially as this season ended with the Great War being declared. Hmm.
On the other end of the spectrum I was searching on YouTube for sign language videos (I am learning a tiny bit of sign language, but sooo slowly!) and found this Pearl Jam concert video of “Given to Fly” filmed in St. Louis in 2000, where, apparently to Eddie Vedder’s surprise, there was a sign language interpreter signing the songs. I am a casual fan of theirs (never seen them live) and can’t really say if this is a good rendition of the song (musically or ASL-ly) but every time I watch it I’m moved to tears. Silly me. Even Vedder’s silly dancing with her at the end isn’t enough to break it. Whoever set that up, I love the idea. Anyone who ever wants to sign any reading or panel of ours: you’re on. Video pasted in below.
You can hear Karen herself here: Jonathan Strahan and Gary K. Wolfe have a nice thing going with their weekly podcast. A couple of weeks ago they talked with Karen Lord and even though Skype dropped the call a few times it was still lovely to hear them talking about Redemption in Indigo and much more.
Go bid on a Small Beer Sixpack at Con or Bust! (Also included: an LCRW subscription, any other non-SBP books we find around the office.) If you bid more than $200 we’ll swap out the local brew sixpack holder for a lovely, handmade, wooden Small Beer Press beer holder which you can proudly tote your beer (or other beverage of choice) around in for years to come.
Who? What? “Con or Bust helps people of color attend WisCon and other SFF conventions that are committed to increasing racial diversity and understanding in science fiction and fantasy fandom and the field generally.”
What’s this Sixpack? Listeners to “Forum with Michael Krasny” on KQED in San Francisco can hear more about it tomorrow (Wednesday) morning at approximately 10:52 because they have some Sixpacks to give out to supporters. San Francisco: get your radio and your books on!
Also, later in spring, WPR in Minnesota will have some, too.
Meanwhile, I just made a pot of Fahari Ya Kenya tea—it’s lovely stuff: a real rocket to the moon. Half the time (actually: more than half) I end up making bog standard tea using Irish or British teabags so it was nice to make a real pot. The tea was brought from Kenya by a local writer, David Rowinski (who will have a story in an upcoming issue of LCRW), who picked it up while visiting his wife, singer Sali Oyugi. He also brought some books and we’ve been listening to one of his wife’s previous CDs, “The Return: Journey to the Source.” This song isn’t on the CD but here’s one of her’s on the mighty Tube:
Tom Canty made a quiet, almost spooky trailer for M. Rickert’s new collection, Holiday. Which, you know: want! Interesting to see some of the behind the scenes work on the cover. Looks like a great book for . . . the holidays!
There’s a great article in the El Paso Times on the good Byrds of El Paso, Cincos Puntos who:
“. . . fell in love with the wide-open spaces, the barren desert landscape, living at the base of a mountain, living five minutes from another country, living in a neighborhood with a little bit of everyone, where everyone belongs,” Susie Byrd said. “They fell in love with the confusion of the border, a place American but not quite, a place Mexican but not quite.
Claudia Gonson (of the Magnetic Fields) writes about her reading life on the New York Review blog—they have a good post on a new book about yon lovely design mannie (and his most excellent wife, Frances), Charles Rennie Mackintosh by James Macauley. Ha, added it to my wishlist. Which is more a piece of external memory than anything else. For some odd reason I’m happier adding books there than as To-Read on Goodreads.
From The Atlantic: The 12 Timeless Rules for Making a Good Publication.
Over in the UK Alasdair Gray‘s star is really shining. There are exhibits, new books, new projects, he has a ton of stuff going on. Pity he doesn’t like air travel or we could get him over here. Here’s a short vid about a fabulous looking exhibition in Edinburgh. I wish I could see it (not likely!) but at least there’s this. It is amazing to see the size and detail in some of those prints:
Hopeful, but keeping expectations low:
And a short tab closer:
- The Spec Lit Foundation Older Writers Grant ($750) is open to applications until the end of the month. Apply here.
- Reading Local Portland has an interview with our favorite furniture mover, Ben Parzybok—and, bonus, Laura Moulton.
- Reading has been somewhat scattershot between Steampunk stories (latest in is from Ysabeau Wilce, yay!) and the old submission pile but Suzy McKee Charnas’s “Lowland Sea” is a fantastic start to Ellen Datlow’s new The Best Horror of the Year, Volume 2.
- Also very much enjoying Mark Rich’s collection, Edge of Our Lives, which you can get direct from the publish RedJack Books.
- 3% announced the winners of their Best Translated Book Awards:
—Elena Fanailova for The Russian Version, translated from the Russian by Genya Turovskaya and Stephanie Sandler and published by Ugly Duckling Presse.
—Gail Hareven for The Confessions of Noa Weber, translated from the Hebrew by Dalya Bilu and published by Melville House Press.
- Our local copy shop (and LCRW maker) Paradise Copies in Northampton, MA, have a groovy new site.
- Fred Pohl keeps a fascinating blog and the other day he posted about a couple of books, The Ground Truth by John Farmer and Zeitoun by Dave Eggers.
- And Alan DeNiro, whose blog is sometimes abstruse but is on the must-read list, writes on the continuing tension between the book as a social object versus the book as a thing produced by one person alone.
- The one and only Libba Bray and Tiger Beat at Books of Wonder:
This is fascinating. Part of me wants to try it myself, part of me thinks it would be embarrassing. I think it might make a great panel/event at Wiscon or something, but, again with the possibly embarrassing:
Don’t know who sent me here but it’s great (although so tempting to slow down!):
Neko dresses up for Dave TV:
before, as they say, they disappear:
and so we are working like mad mad mad on our April book. Which is, I have to say, a bit of a stunner in a couple of ways: that we managed to acquire the title and of course the book itself.
My parents and my own reading tastes only match up sometimes—it would be fun to try and quantify how much/little but I’m not sure that I’ll be able to get them onto LibraryThing or Goodreads. Back when I was in high school my mother suggested I try Alasdair Gray’s Lanark. Sadly for me I put it aside (with other recommendations, woe is me) for years. After all, if my mother liked it surely it wouldn’t be a brain-mangling metafiction set in a world I sort of knew (Scotland) and its mirror underside? It wouldn’t be a modern classic that had been anticipated by those in the know for 20-30 years? Urgh. Should have read it.
A few years later in uni when I got around to it I went straight to the university library and read through what I could find in quick order: I think 1982, Janine, Something Leather, and a fabulous collection, Unlikely Stories, Mostly. Later on I was able to catch up on most of what I’d missed and tended to try and read his books when they came out, including Poor Things, A History Maker, another great collection, Ten Tales Tall & True, and a doorstopper, The Book of Prefaces.
In 2003 when The Ends of Our Tethers came out, Canongate UK was in the midst of rearranging its US set up. I queried on US rights but they eventually decided to distribute their own titles here so there was no Gray title on our 2003 or 4 list. Dum de dum. A few years pass. [Insert montage of Small Beer titles, LCRW covers, chocolate bar wrappers, convention badges, tear-stained spreadsheets, etc.]
Then in 2007 Bloomsbury published Old Men In Love: John Tunnock’s Posthumous Papers. My copy was given to me by Kelly—signed by the man himself, amazing—and the copy I’ve been working from, so it may not be quite as pristine as it once was (cough, chocolate stains, cough).
I contacted Gray’s agent in November 2007 and in August 2008, on a trip to Scotland, Kelly and I visited Gray in his beautiful, art-stuffed flat in Glasgow. Things went well and contracts were generated and signed. Yay! Small Beer Press would publish the US edition of Old Men in Love. Inconceivable! Yet, apparently coming more true every day.
After the contracts we were soon in discussions with his agents about how we would put the book out. If you’ve ever seen one of Gray’s books—which he designs and illustrates—you’ll understand why this wasn’t a simple thing. We’ll put a section up on here and Scribd to show it off, it’s a strong style that works really well on the printed page. But oh the files, oi! Also, the UK paperback was being worked on so we would have corrections to include for our edition (not that many, really, but fascinating to see—we have them as scans of handwritten pages) although we could not use the UK paperback files as they are black ink and ours will be printed in blue and black. There was also one small section that Bloomsbury’s lawyers had decided might be actionable so Gray had taken it out but marked where it went with asterisks. On doing a little research it seemed prudent to follow Bloomsbury’s example (they have more lawyers, I suspect, than us) so we will have to leave it that way in our edition, oh well. (British politics in the 1970s was ugly, no surprise.) For the curious, the author reports that his Bulgarian publisher is putting out a translation that will include this part of the original text.
There won’t be an ebook of Old Men in Love, or at least not yet. Gray is taking a cautious approach to the format but we’re still talking with him as we think that DRM-free PDFs would work for this book (whereas html-based formats won’t) as they would hold his design and give something of the feel of the paper book.
Gray did some hilarious things in Old Men In Love: John Tunnock’s Posthumous Papers including adding his own piece of criticism at the end of the book (and another as a letter within) taking apart the construction of the novel and criticizing it as a fix-up of his own plays and some other work from the 1970s. As with his earlier novel Poor Things, there is a preface (maybe to be included in future editions of The Book of Prefaces?) by another writer, Lady Sara Sim-Jaeger, a distant cousin of the eponymous John Tunnock who, on receiving Tunnock’s diary and papers after his death commissions Gray to make something of them. The resulting novel brings together Tunnock’s diary from 2001-2007 (there’s a smidgeon of politics in there) and his memoir of being brought up by his two maiden aunts in Glasgow. Tunnock, a retired school teacher, is working on a book titled Who Paid for All This? which goes through various forms until eventually Tunnock decides it is to be made up of three strands: Periclean Athens, Medician Florence, and 19th century Bath, England.
All of these stories come together in Gray’s final edition into a sometimes hilarious, sometimes dark novel that will be beautifully printed in blue and black ink as the author intended it. What fun it all is! At the moment early copies have wung (surely the past tense of to wing isn’t winged?) their way to the trade reviewers and a few others: for everyone else, check it out in April. There’s nothing quite like it (not true, see Gray’s other novels!) and as ever we can’t wait to see what people think of it.
so on. Wait: aren’t all stories made up? No! Because, wait for it, some of them are True. Riiiight, on with the show.
We added a short intro video (see below) to the Writer’s Daily Planner since it is so late to hits stores — managed to post it on Facebook and IndieBound, not sure if it will end up on Powell’s. Used the Flip camera, then upped the sound. Need a better mic!
And: we’ve added discounts! (Not sure if we will get organized enough to do a sale before the year ends. Hmm.)
And: Greer gets some fan art.
Nice review of Hound @ Fictionophile: “If bibliophilia is an illness, then Henry Sullivan is terminal!”
Ed Park pulls a thread and finds a story in American Fantastic Tales.
And, you know, other stuff.
Many ‘ands make light work?
Go read Going Bovine. But first, watch this (old but excellent short):
Brian at BSC review hit the nail on the head in a review of Vincent McCaffrey’s Hound. The titular bookhound, Henry Sullivan, is a man alone has immersed in the world of books—a world the author is worried might be passing away (or at least in a state of rapid decline)—and Hound explores one reaction to the possibility of that passing. Perhaps the novel should have been subtitled “an investigation into the possible death of the book as a physical object,” but it doesn’t roll off the tongue.
If you missed Vince’s conversation-starting posts at Powell’s (get your cup of tea and biscuits/cookies ready) you can read them here. Here’s a reaction to the reading/panel on the future of the book at Mysterious Bookshop. I think Vince knows that the paper book won’t completely disappear but he is right to wonder and to agitate and to keep the conversation going on what the future will look like and who will make it.
And, yes, you can buy Hound as an ebook. Vincent might be worried about the death of the paper book, but we’re quite aware there is a growing percentage of readers who like to read our books on other substrates.
Or, of course, just start reading Hound.
The Times just did a piece on the history of Bookcourt in Brooklyn, a great place where we had Carol Emshwiller and others read, including a slideshow of the family’s apartments above the bookshop — not enough books! But then, they have a store full of them.
One of our long-time volunteers, Sara Majka, recently read there on at the launch party for the latest issue of A Public Space and you can see her, Samantha Hunt, and editor Brigid Hughes in this taping of the evening:
From The Regulator, another great bookshop in North Carolina: