Thursday, August 29, 2013

How Would You Like Your Book?

Printed? Autographed? E-book? Kindle book? Audiobook? All formats? Some combo?

I  recently cranked away about the fact that, for now, Stephen King's Joyland is only available in a noirish paperback edition. And I didn't want to wait for no paperback.  Not when I wanted to read it right then at 11 PM.  I wanted a good story, not a single paragraph from the author explaining some notalgic artistic concept.

So I was quite pleased to get an announcement from my friend Heather Ordover, host of the Craftlit podcast, that her Young Adult novel, Grounded: The Seven (Book 1), will be available however you want it: print, signed or unsigned, e-book, Kindle book, or a combo. An audiobook is in the works. 

That's what I like: a choice. And a simple way to order.

The book will be released in the first week of October. If you need it at 11 PM tonight, no dice. But she is taking pre-orders.

Since I am someone who loved the medieval teenage assassin nuns, I know I will enjoy Heather's tale about a teenaged girl with supernatural abilities who gets sent to psychic boot camp run by her aunt.  If this isn't your idea of fun, you should buy it as a gift, or spread the word, or like it on Facebook.  Someone you know might really enjoy seeing the information, and you'll be supporting independent publishing in general and my pal Heather in particular.

Just for the record, I have not been given a free copy of this book. I ordered mine, both signed and Kindled. 

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Spies, Lies, & Cries

Mea Culpa

Trouserville's Department of Corrections, Amplifications, and Moderately Sincere Apologies would like to issue follow-ups to some previous posts.

1.  Spies (Happy To Be American) 

Well, I was so pleased to see that the secret court issued a now sort of public wrist-slap to the secret spies of NSA. Guess the judges weren't too impressed with the defense.  "Yes, indeed, we did indulge in a little bit of domestic overspying, but golly gee willikers, Mr. Judge, it was technical difficulties and we fixed them and plus we set up a compliance department and we now have 300 people making sure we don't over sneak." 

I think I'd feel more secure if they could bring back the spies of yesteryear! 

Not very secret spies Boris and Natasha
Mad Magazine's Spy vs. Spy

2.  Lies (Go DIrectly to Jail)

We don't need no stinkin' fact checkers; Trouserville's family and friends keep this blog on the straight and narrow.

I passed on what I thought was reliable dope from the Wall Street Journal regarding New Improved Monopoly Empire Now Without Go To Jail Cards.  Turns out it was just plain dopey unverified dope. I did drill down to the Hasbro website, but I missed the public outcry and the subsequent revelation that all is well:  you can still go to jail.  My sister informed me of this because she is a professional who pays attention to details, not a lazy oldster who only skims the silly news, and not even every day. You can read her accurate reporting in the Monopoly Empire post on her blog, Pink Slip.

3.  Cries (Compare and Despair No More)

I have been hewing to my resolve to compare and despair no more on the fitness front.  But that resolve was sorely tried by an article about James Kales, at age 98 a Senior Olympics medalist.  Here's the trying part:  although he did some field and track sports in his youth, he didn't take up tennis until he was 85,  and at the same time took up serious dancing. These activities (tennis six days a week, dancing three to five nights a week), plus a little bowling and sensible eating allowed him to bring home two gold, three silver, and one bronze medal in decathlon activities like shot put, discus, javelin. 

Sigh! I'm more than three decades younger and the only shot put I can handle is the shot I put in the gin & tonic.  Discus? Does flinging an old CD down as a coaster under the gin & tonic count?

Of course, this article appeared in the Wall Street Journal, so take it for what it is worth. And just to avoid any future corrections Mr. Kales, much to his annoyance, did not actually win a medal in discus.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Book Me No Book

Stevie! Stevie! Stevie!  Yah makin' me crazee!  I wanna read yah book.  Fuh real. Only I don't, um, wanna book-book.  I wanna stuff it on my Kindle. Only, ya know, the papah-back won't fit in the USB port.

Dear Mr. King,

I don't consider myself a complete fangirl.  I haven't named my dog, Cujo. I don't have a tattoo of Christine the demonic car across my shoulders. And while I have a niece named Caroline, she never  has and never will be called Carrie.  At least by me.

I have not read even a tenth of the 112 books you have published, but I admire your story-telling abilities and writerly discipline. The Shining, without a doubt, is the scariest late-night reading ever. Red-rum. Red-rum. Maximum creep factor. (The movie version just made me laugh out loud, but I'm not sure how much you had to do with that.) You also get personal cred for being a Red Sox fan and for your charitable endeavors. 

So, Stephen,  what's up with the latest book?

Looking for a little light reading for a late-summer evening, I hopped onto Amazon to purchase one of your most recent books, Joyland. Well, knock me over with a card catalogue; it's not available as an e-book. Huh-whuh?

I know you have your reasons.  They are right there in the book description:

"I love crime, I love mysteries, and I love ghosts. That combo made Hard Case Crime the perfect venue for this book, which is one of my favorites. I also loved the paperbacks I grew up with as a kid, and for that reason, we’re going to hold off on e-publishing this one for the time being. Joyland will be coming out in paperback, and folks who want to read it will have to buy the actual book." – Stephen King

Well, okay, there is a kind of a logic to that, and I get the noirish aesthetic angle. I loved paperbacks, too.  But right now I just don't want to buy an actual book.

Here's the deal:  I'm old. Nostalgia ain't what it used to be. I don't want to go piling up stuff that my relicts will have to deal with. I like books that are invisible until I plunk the magic twanger and they magically appear, glowing in the dark.

Another thing is that it is summer.  The height of the tourist season here on lovely old Cape Cod. The nearest bookstore is miles and miles away, and, like I said, I'm old. I don't want to spend a half-hour trying to turn out onto or in from our lovely old Route 6. Talk about a clogged artery.  Nor do I want to spend over an hour making the ten-mile trip back from a possible fruitless outing to the nearest metropolis.

Yes, I could order it from Amazon.  I don't worry about the carbon footprint thing. The UPS truck is coming into this neck of the woods anyway. I order little things all the time in the summer--plastic storage containers, a watering can, a crochet hook--because I don't want to drive to a store which will be filled with tourists, one of whom has probably grabbed the last C2032 battery right from under my watery eyes. Or to a store that has the goods, but not in a version I can live with. I mean, really, do I look like the kind of gal who want to be using a baby-pink watering can? If this is the last watering can I ever buy, I want to like the color. 

But I just don't want to order something I don't want. Not even if you want me to. I'd like to have my own choice of reading experience. 

Maybe I will get to read the book someday. Maybe somebody I know will buy it and pass it on. Maybe I will trip across a copy later on this year. But for now, I'm afraid it's NO SALE.

Sincerely yours,

Kathleen "The Codger" Rogers

Tuesday, August 6, 2013



Scientists have managed to grow enough stem cell beef to make a couple of patties--to the tune of over $300,000--so I guess it won't be anytime soon that engineered burgers will be on the fast food menus of the world. I wouldn't read this report  on an empty stomach, or a full one, either.  Burgers with a "yellowish tinge" even though they've been tinted with beet juice? No, thanks. 

Of course, these were scientists in the UK, and it probably seemed like a good idea after all that Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy going around a few years back.

Makes me happy that I am old enough to have eaten any number of juicy, thick, medium-rare burgers (accompanied by fries cooked in beef fat) without one iota of guilt and old enough that I won't be force-fed lab meat at the Sundowners' Club.

I don't know why this mystery meat seems more disgusting than any other edible.  If you've ever worked in a restaurant, studied a nutrition label on a salty snack, or read any of the scary bestsellers about the food chain, you know what I mean. Want to supersize that pink slime?

However, the test tube beef is getting a bit too sci-fi even for me.  I'm old and my head is filled up with all kinds of cultural rubbish, so all I can think of is a bloodied and battered Charlton Heston searching the back alleys of The Future (New York in 2022 which looks a lot like Kabul 2012) to find the secret* of the "tasteless, odorless crud" that passes for food:  Soylent Green.

*Spoiler alert:  it begins with the letter "P" and rhymes with "Creeple."

Monday, August 5, 2013

Chain Gang Geezers

Inspired by some scintillating local news, I'm publishing some more crime of my tips for seniors to follow up on a previous post:  Chain Gang Grannies.

While the carnival of the Whitey Bulger trial continues down at the Federal Courthouse, it's the sideshow that is the more exciting at the moment with the revelation that "Stippo" Rakes did not commit suicide because he was despondent over being deprived of a chance to carry out his bucket list goal of testifying against the Whitester.  He did not commit suicide at all but was alledgedly given a cyanide iced coffee by his old buddy-boy and dead-beat debtor, William Camuti.

Camuti, aged 69, seems to have dropped some enormous electronic bread crumbs as to his doings, which led to his arrest.

Herewith, some additional tips for felonious fogeys.

1. Remember that the Internet may be invisible but it is eternal. 

Okay, Gramps, you went down to adult ed where some whippersnapper taught you how to find out useful stuff on the internet. Guess you bunked class the day they covered that pesky history trail that keeps a record of sites you surfed.  No wonder you're shocked that some other whippersnapper will then be able to find out that in between trolling for "adult entertainment" and checking up on the Red Sox you were Googling cyanide poisoning for fun and profit. 

2. Trust people if you must, but under no circumstances trust your devices.

Forget NSA, your GPS knows where you've been.

All those handy little electronic slaves who keep you on track, tell you when to take your Metamucil, and remind you to buy a birthday card for your bookie? The ones who talk to you, whistle at you, and answer your every question? They are little blabbermouths, without conscience and without fear, and they will rat you out much faster than a crooked cop or a jilted dame.

3.  Know your beverages.

Here's one thing Camuti got right: chain restaurant iced coffee is so vile that it makes a practical delivery system for  poison. 

Rich, bold flavor, indeed.