Thursday, March 28, 2013

The Love Song of Jonny Valentine: I double-dare you to read this book and not think of Justin Bieber

Remember that stupid game in middle school when one of the older, snarkier kids defied you to go back home that day and not think of monkeys?

Naturally enough, you went home, and you couldn't get those monkeys out of your head for the whole day. You went to sleep dreaming of those monkeys.  It was like Jedi Mind Tricks for 12 year olds.

The middle-school don't-think-of-monkeys trick came to mind when I was reading the beautifully written, funny and highly entertaining new book, The Love Song of Jonny Valentine by Teddy Wayne. Wayne, with mischief on his mind, even uses a quote attributed to Justin Bieber at the very beginning of the book. This book is remarkable because it reads as a satire but it also comes across as a convincing insider look at the celebrity culture that it (gently and not so gently) sends up. Anyhow, this book was a very welcome distraction during an arduous week. I believe that all three of my readers would enjoy this very much but I could be wrong. One thing that keeps popping up in my head: if they ever made a movie out of this book, would there be any chance that Jonny Valentine would be played by .... Don't think of monkeys!

Forgot to mention that Teddy Wayne shot an intentionally cheesy and nerdy promo video for the book featuring Teddy Wayne bobbleheads and a once-in-a-lifetime T-shirt offer.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Catamaran Literary Reader makes waves (with new podcast link)

Here is the latest news story about our mighty magazine. I'm happy to say that a  third one is already in the works (we had our editor's meeting out here just the other day, and it looks like we'll have great visuals and stories for the next one, too. Little by little, I'm getting my own contribution together. Looks like I'll interview one of my  favorite nonfiction authors but it's not official so I'll keep mum for now. Let's just say he's written a staggering number of books and I'm attempting (early in the mornings, and late in the evenings) to read 'em all. I will admit to feeling intimidated as I look at the leaning pile of fat, thoroughly researched and beautifully illustrated books on my night stand ... By the way, if you happen to be in town on April 4th, the magazine is holding a reading at Bookshop Santa Cruz, featuring a few contributors. Oh, and one more thing: on the Catamaran website, you will find a brand-new and slightly different edit of my TC Boyle podcast interview, which uses his story "The Extinction Tales" as a jumping off point to explore his engagement with the natural world. The image and link to the podcast can be found about halfway down the page, which also includes detailed info about the first issue.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Things you should NEVER do in the backcountry

The season for recreation is almost upon us so it's time for me to republish this very important, comprehensive list of backcountry don'ts. 

You will find my list, in its entirety, right here.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Thanks to everyone who traveled far and wide for our rager of a birthday party here in Santa Cruz

It was a wild time.

People slid on slides.

They screamed.

They yelled.

They climbed a tree and swung on swings. They threw tantrums. They laughed. They drank from sippy cups.

I am proud to say that the cake I thought would be terrible turned out to be pretty good. In fact, the kids chomped it down in about two minutes. Not kidding.  By the time I was able to reach in there and grab a piece for myself, nothing remained but a shriveled, dried-out, semi-frosted, charred elbow of crust.

I ate it anyhow.

Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Stop by and say hello to Catamaran Literary Reader at AWP in Boston

Catamaran Literary Reader is out in force at this year's AWP conference in Boston. The conference starts today, so make sure to stop by and say hello to editor in chief Catherine Segurson and managing editor (and highly talented fiction author) Elizabeth McKenzie.

As you can see, there is a very impressive line-up of speakers this year at the conference. I will always have a place in my heart for AWP because I went to the one in New York some years back and had a very good time, in spite of the fact that we were supposed to have handed out advanced review copies of The Cactus Eaters and, in true classic Cactus Eaters/Murphy's Law fashion, the printer broke down, so I ended up handing out -- and signing -- dozens of little postcards with my picture on it and a photo of the ARC. Anyhow, I won't actually be there for this one -- I will be throwing the ultimate birthday party out here in Santa Cruz, baking the chocolate sheet cake myself, and trying to figure out the kind of party favors that a pre-school demographic might enjoy  -- but I hope you stop by and talk to the Catamaran contingent out in Boston. They should be out there right about now ...

And I almost forgot to thank you for the large and enthusiastic crowd we had for our second Catamaran release party -- and thank you for your kind response to my presentation. When I step up to a live microphone, I am never sure how it is going to go so thank you for your encouragement.