Big Boys Reissue

There’s a great piece on the NPR website about a reissue of one of the Big Boys’ records (article + video interview with surviving founding members Tim Kerr and Chris Gates). From March. Which is when I meant to post something about. People often overlook the March-like quality of July.

I don’t know if there was anything on the radio. NPR does stand for National Public Radio, not website with video. But that’s okay. It’s not like I ever heard their music on the radio.

Available from Light in the Attic Records.

I’ve written about the Big Boys before. And maybe I will again.

Fanciful Flight

Some time ago (maybe April 2012, because that’s the date on the web page), Liz Hand posted a link to an article about a friend of hers at the Smithsonian who has made models based on pictures of fanciful flying machines.

Looking at the models gave me ideas…I wanted to try making some myself, and wanted to use them in fiction.  I filed the article away for the future. And have since used one of the aircraft and its artist in “Untitled Western Novella.” The story is set on the gulf coast of Texas in 1888. One of the artists profiled in the Smithsonian article, Charles Dellschau, was a German-born butcher who ended up in Houston, TX; he created his art-and-tales about flying machines around the time of my story.

I’ve modified his life to fit the story: his exploits were supposed to have occurred a number of years earlier than 1888.

Another Dellschau sighting occurred last week. My friend Doug Lain, he of the intriguing-sounding forthcoming novel Billy Moon, posted a link to an article on a neat blog called Messy Nessy Chic. There’s also a new book about him.

Monday Song Link

Here’s a great song by the Minutemen about being the Minutemen (and about life, art, writing, performing). It’s an acoustic version, so to get the full impact of Mike Watt’s bass you’ll have to buy the CD (or one of those downloadable digital formats). ”The typewriter’s on but my head is empty and to really find me I’ve got to look inside me.” is a situation I’m familiar with (metaphorically or course—I haven’t actually used a typewriter in a very very long time).

And here’s a site called Corndogs, with some Minutemen information, other videos, and concert downloads. Mike Watt’s website is linked on the right.

For An Insurance Agent

fancy_sports_carEvery few weeks, I’ve been getting a letter from a nice insurance agent extolling the benefits of his company’s product. He says: “The difference between auto insurers is often just a few dollars. However, the difference between the protection you get can be much bigger.” It’s very nice of him to let me know about such important issues. I wonder if many people get in touch with him after receiving his letters. Although I don’t need to change my insurance, I thought I would check in with him to see if perhaps he would like to buy some books. I sent him the following email, which I am also duplicating here.

Hi (Agent),

Thanks for the letters you’ve been sending me every month letting me know how important it is to save on my car insurance. At present, I’m happy enough with my provider but I will certainly let you know if that changes.

Meanwhile, I thought I’d let you know that I have several books available. I’m sure that you, like many other intelligent people, enjoy reading strange, thought-provoking fiction. Here are some links to places where you can purchase my books.

In Springdale Town. This was my first book. Unfortunately, it is out of print, but you can find used copies. For example, on ebay. Or, if you like modern ways to read, it’s available as an ebook. This is the publisher’s website, which has buying links to Amazon and other places.

Circus of the Grand Design. Technically still in print, but I haven’t seen a royalty from the publisher in many years, so you might want to look for a used copy someplace like half.com. Or ebook.

Psychological Methods To Sell Should Be Destroyed. Available from the publisher here.

The Painting and the City. Available from the publisher here in either slipcased edition or regular hardback. Or, you can get it as a downloadable audiobook from audible. Or even in French!

Best,
Robert

Cook Noir

I checked my friend Christopher Cook’s blog/website today and remembered that I had meant to post a link to it when he set it up. His novel, Robbers, came out from Carroll & Graf in 2000, and he re-issued it himself as an ebook, along with several other titles.

I met Christopher at a writer’s workshop in Tennessee in 1993, where we discovered that we were both living in Austin. We hung out some after we got back to town. The year after, he moved to France. Since then he’s lived in Mexico and now Prague. And I moved on to New York, Massachusetts, and Ohio. I haven’t seen him since he left Austin. One of these days, I’ll make it to Prague. It’s always nice to have friends in interesting places.

Robbers is a noir set in East Texas. In it, he did something unusual (spoiler!).  Halfway through, he killed off a very sympathetic character (which is all I can say here without spoiling it for you). The reader in me said No! How could you? The writer in me said, wow, that’s cool. I read this when it came out…an unthinkable twelve years ago…but much is still clear in my head, the grit, the well-drawn characters, the feel of the East Texas woods and the Gulf Coast.

Check out Christopher’s blog here, and buy some books.