The above illustration, "Blowing Bubbles," has been adapted for use here by generous permission from the artist, Cyril Rolando.

July 19, 2010

Bits and bobs, Joes and Daves

Today's post brought the new double issue of Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, which I'm loving. Not only is there a new story from award-winning and favorite author Dave Zeltserman -- Archie's Been Framed, about Julius Katz and his inimitable pal, Archie -- but the Blog Bytes column, written by Bill Crider, gives props to Joe Barone's Blog. Kudos, Joe and Dave! I hope this issue garners many new fans for both of you. BTW, I recently read Dave's story, King, over at Beat to a Pulp. Dark and creepy and fans of Stephen King should love it.

As some of you may be aware, I had a mini-vacation recently, my first no-family-included time away from home in a long, long time. Suffice it to say, I had a grand time, taking in a production of Harvey at the Shaw Festival in Niagara-on-the-Lake and a fabulous, must-see, never-to-be-forgotten production of Jersey Boys in Toronto. (Yeah, and I was never even a fan of The Four Seasons.) My mind never drifts far from crime fiction though, and the young man who played Frankie Valli, one Jeff Madden, has my vote for any possible film version of Erle Stanley Gardner's Donald Lam character. Toss in Kathy Bates to play Lam's partner in detection, Bertha Cool, and would somebody please start writing the screenplay right now?

Now it's time for confession. About three weeks ago, I did something I had sworn I would not do. I bought an e-reader. No, not a Kindle, don't even think about it. My reason for this not-lightly-taken purchase was not to be able to carry around 1000 books whenever I go someplace. It wasn't because ebooks are cheaper than hardbacks either. And it wasn't because I wanted one more frickin' digital gadget that has to be charged, God knows. I bought it because of all the short stories online that I want to read, plus the stories I need to edit for Needle. I hate reading on the PC, chained to this desk and chair, going blind from backlighting. I like to read in an easy chair or in bed, so I bought this e-reader with a view toward dumping all the online stories I want to read into pdf files, then reading them on the gadget. The reader is working fairly well for that purpose. I'm getting through the stories faster now, and it's some better than being chained to the PC. But it's not perfect.

In the back of my mind was this idea that I might/probably would become one of those digital zealots who fall in love with the gadget and end up spending beaucoup bucks on ebooks. Hasn't happened. The makers gift you with a few free ebooks to hook the reader into buying more, but the fact is, this gadget still does not replicate my experience of reading a book closely enough for me to fall in love with it. I downloaded a free book from Gutenberg Project, Wilkie Collins' The Moonstone, because I have to read it for next month's book club and I can't seem to find the paperback I know I bought. I started reading this ebook but I'm finding it difficult to slide into 19th century England using a 21st century tool. But, hey, for the pdf files it works -- okay. Making notes and proofing is not so easy as using hard copy, but in the long run the gadget will be cheaper than using paper and ink, and easier on my eyes and back than sitting in front of the PC for hours. I have found myself using the e-reader and wishing I had the book. I have yet to be reading a book and wish I was using the e-reader. So I'm very happy to put down the device at any time and reach for a book. After three weeks of using this thing, I also believe my book purchasing habits aren't likely to change. I may find myself purchasing more e-material that isn't readily available in hardcopy as some authors foray into self-publishing, and that's good. That means my reading scope gets wider. But I still want books whenever possible. BTW, I took the e-reader on my mini-vacation, used it just for Sudoku and the pdf files, and came home with ten new books. Not ebooks. Books. 

I have been boasting elsewhere on the web and I see no reason not to do so here as well: Last week I sold my first story  -- well, not my first story. I have made my first sale, let us say, of a story to Encounters Magazine, published by Black Matrix Publishing, out of Oregon. The story is called Oblivion and it's a 5000-word horror tale that has its roots in what happened to a high-school classmate of mine, a great guy and my best beta reader, while he was on his way to the annual motorcycle rally at Sturgis, South Dakota, several years ago. I'm not sure of the publication date, but when I know, everyone will know.

What, you thought you'd get away without me making you look at vacation pix? Not a chance!


  1. CONGRATS, Naomi! Bravo on the sale!

  2. Yes, congrats on the sale!

    And glad to hear Archie is back in EQMM. A fave character of mine as you know.

  3. This was informative as we are considering buying a Kindle right now. And congrats on the sale! Terrific!

  4. Thank you all. I am still floored by the thought of it.

    David, I love the new Archie tale. The little guy is so devious -- he started dating!