Sunday, December 16, 2007

December Internet Review of Books is out!

Yesterday the Internet Review of Books published its third issue! This is a monthly collaborative effort among Carter Jefferson, Ruth Douillette, Gary Presley, Jane Elioseff, and me. It's a lot of work and a lot of satisfaction. My main responsibility is maintaining the website, but I also write monthly reviews.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Cuando los Puercos Vuelen

Our friends Jim and Robie sent along this photo from Mazatlán, Mexico today, and I promised Jim I'd steal it. This is an out-of-business restaurant named Cuando los Puercos Vuelen, or When Pigs Fly. On the left is a detail of the li'l porker.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Old novel, new book?

Old mill, Lowell, MassachusettsIn the last year, I haven't written as consistently as in the past, partly because I've been busy marketing When Pigs Fly. I have begun a couple of new novels in a comic vein, though neither is far along. Probably, it'll be necessary to set one aside and push on with the other. It's a certainty that neither could be ready for publication in 2008, not at my writing pace.

This morning, my wife was telling some friends about my prize in El Paso for Little Mountain, and she suggested I self-publish the novel. I'd had an agent for it back in the '90s, and it made all the usual publishing rounds without success. One small publisher expressed great enthusiasm to the point of calling me several times and doing a free copyedit in anticipation of publishing it, but then he went out of business. Since then, the darned thing had been sitting on my hard drive for so long, it was going to start collecting mold.

So this poses an interesting question. whether to publish and market a northeast-based ethnic mystery that is so different from When Pigs Fly, which is pure comedy and largely southwest-based. I've decided that life is to short to waste circulating my novels to agents and traditional publishers anymore, spending months or even years searching for the approval of strangers. Screw that, to coin a phrase. Barring unforeseen circumstances, any future novels of mine will be either self-published or unpublished.

Dancer, Cambodian New YearA plus to publishing Little Mountain in 2008 is that it would give me the time to finish a new project and publish in 2009, thus giving me a record of publishing almost annually.

Folks who have read my comic novel speak well of it. They laughed with me, but will the same readers be willing to read a serious mystery about a Cambodian homicide detective in Lowell, Massachusetts? Or am I going to have to look for a different set of readers?

The photo shows a Cambodian dancer in Lowell, Massachusetts, circa 1981.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

A writing award

Don't you just hate it when you don't blog for six weeks, and no one notices? Lately I've been deeply involved in The Internet Review of Books, but lots of my energy, what energy there is, spins out in a dozen directions.

Today I won an award at the El Paso Writer's League, second prize for book-length fiction. I'd submitted a portion of my unpublished ethnic mystery, Little Mountain, which is set primarily in the Cambodian community of Lowell, Massachusetts.

Here are some mountains with a dusting of snow in southern New Mexico:

Organ Mountains, outside Las Cruces, New Mexico