Saturday, February 21, 2009

Happy Birthday Bryan Lee O'Malley!

Send dude your well-wishes here.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Costumed Heroes Can't Help But Look Silly

Or: An Out of Context Excerpt from The Amazing Remarkable Monsieur Leotard by Eddie Campbell & Dan Best

To read Joe McCulloch's stunning review of this book, click here.
To view Bookslut's video interview with Campbell, click here.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Inkwell Interjects

I know I just criticized the Christians yesterday, but this little bit of b.s. was just too insane to pass up. Self-publishing magnets, Xlibris, recently put out a press release listing 5 Tips for Successfully Publishing a Christian Book. The tips range from the ultra-obvious to the Jesus-Christ-why-am-I-even-reading-this?! ridiculous. In lieu of posting a Book News full of layoffs and bankruptcy notices, I decided to reprint it below, adding my own antagonistic interjections where applicable.

Successfully Publishing a Christian Book

Christian books are written for a specific purpose, for a specific audience. Knowing how to go about it will ensure your success in publishing a book on Christianity.

Writing a book that caters to a particular audience – like the Christian community – is a direction taken by a writer to ascertain that they have applied not just a holistic approach towards successful distribution but also targeting it to the right market. The best part about writing a Christian book is getting them published and seeing it make a difference in readers’ lives. The following guidelines will help you along the way when writing your Christian book.

First, try to conceptualize the kind of book you are writing. Penning a Christian book does not mean you can just babble off religion like it is daily fodder for the rumor mill. Christianity basically means living a life based on the teachings of Jesus Christ and holding true to the Christian faith. If you are to write a book with these essential elements, then you are already headed in the right path. Your book will be as lively as it is entertaining; inspiring as it is educating.

Inkwell interjects: In other words, if you're going to write a quote/unquote "Christian book," make sure it's about either Christ or Christianity. Thanks for the clarification, Xlibris!

Second, your interaction with the Christian community adds to the foundation of your Christian values. Living the Christian lifestyle will always give you credibility as an author of a book on Christianity. However, communicating with a community of fellow believers will provide you with more knowledge and information on the Christian life that will be valuable for your written work. The truths that you glean from others will strengthen your book’s trustworthiness. Anecdotes will also give your book a personal touch as do quotes from real people.

Inkwell interjects: My, these motherf**kers are wordy. Perhaps it's because they charge by the page for their publishing services and are trying to set an expensive precedent for their potential customers? Anyway, here's the CliffsNotes version: 'Practice what you preach' was good enough for the original Christ, but for his biographers, that's simply not going to cut it. To steal a page from the Jews (Hey, they stole Jesus!), better you should schmooze.

Third, pray. Ask for guidance, focus and inspiration. If you are writing a book on divine matters, then you are going to need divine inspiration. Once you receive direction and guidance for your book, you can then begin your outline.

Inkwell interjects: Pray for 'divine inspiration'? Priceless! Oh, and your editor's gonna love this, too. As your completed manuscript will be, in effect, The Word of God, they won't have to fix a thing. (And if they try? You know they're doing the Devil's work.)

Fourth, be resourceful. Do not just rely on the Internet to help you with your content. Books about Christianity from published authors also are good content aids. Organize your materials and set a writing schedule. Add flavor by placing in your own experience with Jesus Christ – nothing beats personal encounters with the Lord in conveying your message to your audience. A detailed but not too lengthy testimonial will help you connect with your readers more.

Inkwell interjects: Yes, simply copying information from other sources may not be enough when writing your own book. You may have to resort to -- gasp! -- using your own ideas and experiences. (Of course, this would seem to contradict the 'waiting for divine inspiration' mentioned in tip 3, but whatever...)

Fifth, find a publisher. Once your manuscript is all set, search for a publisher and comply with their submission guidelines. Make sure they have services that will help you target your book to the right audience.

With these guidelines, you are well on the way to a becoming a successful author of a Christian book.

Inkwell interjects: Wait, what? "Find a publisher"? Isn't that supposed to be a pretty tough thing to do? I mean, why would they be on a self-publishing website if finding a publisher seemed in any way possible?

(Prays, waits, prays again.)

Ohhh. I get it, Xlibris. You're just testing their faith.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

30 Second Book Review:
The Pirate's Daughter
by Margaret Cezair-Thompson

Cezair-Thompson’s novel conjures the glitter of Hollywood and the rich history of Jamaica through the bittersweet coming of age of teenager Ida Joseph, and the legacy she leaves for her daughter, May. It is set on Jamaica where the “roguish” Errol Flynn maintained a home during the 1940’s. With Flynn’s arrival came the lure of Hollywood and its temptations for the young women of Jamaica. The Pirate’s Daughter is a romantic pageturner, and the author, who was born in Jamaica, effortlessly captures the essence of the island throughout this engaging novel.
Reviewed by Charlotte

Book News, In Brief

In the past few years, the only artist putting out more posthumous product than Tupac is Tolkien. Via the AP: An early, long-unpublished work by J.R.R. Tolkien is coming out. The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrun, a thorough reworking in verse of old Norse epics that predates...The Lord of the Rings trilogy, will be published in May by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

Perhaps the worst promotional gimmick ever, via The LA Times: To celebrate the 30th anniversary of the New International Version of the Bible, the publishing house Zondervan is inviting people across the country to copy a verse in their own hand. Still, if any of y'all are planning to participate, I'd suggest checking out Cracked Magazine's list of The 9 Most Badass Bible Verses first. 2 Kings 2:23-24 is nuts!

Semi-related: A group of Minnesota monks spent 10 years and $5.5 million to create a seven-volume, hand-lettered, 'illuminated' Bible. And you thought your donations were going to molested choirboys and 'church renovations.' Via The Baltimore Sun: At a time when books can be written and distributed to millions by high-speed computer, there is no earthly reason why anyone would need to spend $5.5 million to create an illuminated manuscript of the Catholic Bible, featuring calligraphy applied by hand on calfskin parchment and other bookmaking methods dating back to the Middle Ages. And yet, that may be exactly why such a project was launched in 2000 by monks from St. John's Abbey and University in Collegeville, Minn. They're not doing it because they have to, but because they want to, for the glory of God and the enrichment of those who view the work.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The Strangest Watchmen Merchandising You're Going to See (today)

Secure your jaw, then click here.

Just Breathe

Cash-strapped writers can breathe a little easier. The Guardian UK has the writer's guide to surviving the recession.

Cash-strapped readers can breathe a little easier, too. The Precocious Curmudgeon has tips for selling your manga on ebay.

Cash-strapped widows can breathe a whole helluva lot easier -- provided that their dearly departed were famous writers with unfinished manuscripts. Tessa Dick, the last wife of Philip K. Dick, spills the beans on 'reworking' and self-publishing The Owl in Daylight, the novel Dick was working on at the time of his death.

Stop the presses! This just in:
Cash-strapped Kennedeys can breathe infinitesimally easier (at least until their inevitable, untimely demise). JFK's missing library book has been found, and the late fees waived.

This Is Why He's Hot

Haruki Murakami on accepting the $10,000 Jerusalem Prize, Israel's highest literary honor for foreign writers: "When I was asked to accept this award I was warned from coming here because of the fighting in Gaza...I asked myself — is visiting Israel the proper thing to do? Will I be supporting one side. I gave is it some thought. And I decided to come. Like most novelists, I like to do exactly the opposite of what I'm told. Novelists can't trust anything they haven't seen with their own eyes or touched with heir own hands. So I chose to see. I chose to speak here rather than say nothing."
To read what Murakami chose to say, click here.

Related: Wendell Edwards' review of Murakami's Norwegian Wood.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Go, Look!

Fans of feminism, bondage, and the outsider art of Henry Darger will want to check out The Hooded Utilitarian's two-part piece on Wonder Woman creator, William Moulton. In it, blogger Noah Berlatsky playfully details the ways in which Moulton's 'particular fetishes and fantasies' have made the Wonder Woman character so troublesome for comics writers in the sixty-some-odd years since.
An excerpt:
Whereas Superman, Batman, Spider-man, etc., are to some extent just interchangeable adventure heroes, Wonder Woman stories were much more like something by Tom O’Finland or R. Crumb — that is, Moulton had an idiosyncratic vision based on his fairly explicit sexual kinks (basically strong woman, bondage, control, submission — that kind of thing). [...] Moulton made his stories about those fetishes and fantasies; that’s what he wanted to talk about, and in that context WW’s appearance (girly, uncovered), her tools (the magic lasso, the bracelets), and her contradictory image (powerful, but always being dominated), all make at least a kind of sense. His weird blend of feminism/misogyny (“I love strong women — tie them up so I may love them more!”) means you can’t get the feminism without the misogyny, but also means you can’t get the misogyny without the feminism.
Seriously, this is a wonderfully funny and informative piece. If you've never read any of Moulton's Wonder Woman stories, it will have you scouring ebay, looking for cheap, used comics. And for those of you already familiar with the mind of Moulton, it will offer added insight into the super-talented super-freak and his contradictory creation.
Click here for part one and part two.
Go, look!

Book News, In Brief

Happy birthday to you. Happy birthday to you. Happy 20th birthday dear fatwa against Salman Rushdie. Happy birthday to you!

It's happened to all of us: A favorite book is reissued...with a cringe-inducing movie still replacing the original cover art. The Australian commiserates.

Considering how the economy is doing these days, I don't know if this is a list to avoid, or a list to mimic: The Top 25 Books that Corporate America is Currently Reading.

China is in the midst of a literary renaissance, with hundreds of thousands of new novels and novelists popping up in the past few years. So what's fueling the book boom? The internet, of course. CNN reports: "In America, people have the American dream. In China, people have the online dream."

The release of an unauthorized biography about New York Yankee, Alex 'A-Rod' Rodriguez, has been bumped up a month in an effort to capitalize on recent revelations regarding the batter's bouts with steroids. Whether Hit and Run: The Many Lives of Alex Rodriguez will include the syringe-shaped bookmark I recommended to the publisher remains to be seen.