Saturday, October 9, 2010


About the time the Earth cooled, there was a writer named Judith Krantz, who introduced a kind of book that came to be known as "shop-and-fool around".  Actually, we weren't nearly so delicate as to say "fool around," but I'm going to here, to preserve decorum online.  Those books were a lot of fun, guilty pleasures for those who are prone to literary guilt (I personally am not). But you know what isn't fun? S&F for kids. Gossip Girl kind of books, books in which kids have no parents, drink and freak around at will, and wear clothes they buy for the cost of cars in Krantz's time. To be honest, it's not the drinking and sex that bothers me  so much--I've been known to pen the odd spot of gritty realism myself--it's the relentless materialism. And the unconscionable parenting. Who lets their kid loose with a credit Barney's credit card and why?

This is not the only literary convention that makes my eyes glaze over, or my teeth clench in irritation. Here are my top five, in no particular order:


2. THE 'SURPRISE!-I'M-DEAD' ENDING. I guess you could call it the ghost narrator. Listen, if you're dead, how can you be telling this story? Even Archy the cockroach had to bang his head on one key at a time to get the job done, so how does a sad mess of ectoplasm do it?  It's plain disconcerting, and as much of a cheat as a deus ex machina. In fact, I guess it kind of is one.

3. THE SCIENCE FICTION GAY YARN. In this one, everybody's gay--the hero's clients, brother, sister, uncle,  friends, even the homeless person he helps, as well as the victims of any murders (though not necessarily the villain), and half the cops. In real life, gays and lesbians comprise  about 10 per cent of the population and though like tends to seek out like, I'm talking about books that go way beyond that--in fact that postulate a world in which straight people are the ten per centers. Kind of fun, I guess, if you're a fan of gay lit for itself, but if you read it for literary merit, ultimately dishonest. I guess I should I should mention I'm not homophobic, or how would I know this? You have to read gay lit to know what's in it. I'd rather read Sandra Scopettone or Greg Herren (neither of whom is guilty) than most writers. I just like my science fiction so labelled.

4. SERIAL KILLER BOOKS IN WHICH WE KNOW WHAT THE UNSUB IS THINKING.  I don't care! In fact, I already know. I've been reading serial killer books all my life, and ground on this was broken early in my reading career. There's no new ground to break. These guys are all the same--evil, bad, crazy, nuts, insane, and much, much worse--insanely boring.

5. THE ALTERNATE UNIVERSE THAT ISN'T. We're living exactly as we actually do, Except  For One Thing, the Thing that's the premise of the exercise.  I don't mean magic, we all know magic is real, I certainly don't mean vampires, they're thick as mosquitoes in my neighborhood.  I mean any preposterous thing that really could happen in a few years if things continue to go wrong, but  hasn't yet. So here we are in 2010 with, say, a king instead of a president, an evil but genial ruler who orders dissidents murdered by day and by night guest stars on Jimmy Fallon. Or maybe  live snuff shows have replaced baseball as the new national pastime. (The ultimate reality show, get it?) Not just clones being raised as organ donors, I'm down with that sort of thing--Something That Changes Everything. And why? For the convenience of an author who played a game of "what if" and lost. Listen, guys, show a little ambition--go out there and....you know...at least change the date or something.

Monday, October 4, 2010


It's been almost ten  months to the day since a friend and I said to each other,"Let's become digital publishers,"  and today we published our first book. Who knew how hard it would be just to get a website up? It's been a long and fascinating road, but www.booksbnimble.com --now its name can be told!-- today exists in cyberspace. Go there now. Buy a book.

You can actually do that. Not only that, the most amazing thing to me is that that book didn't exist in saleable form six hours ago. What we did was, we finally hooked up the store to the website (or to be perfectly honest, e. did--matter of fact, she built the whole thing with her bare hands) and then we (okay, e.) formatted it as a pdf, and we put it on our virtual shelves and we bought a copy with our little plastic card. I don't think I've been this excited since I the first time  I held a book I'd written myself in my hands.

This was just an experiment, of course, to see how things were going to work. In a few days, we're going to have much fancier formats for that book--Marika Christian's PHONE KITTEN, by the way, a hilarious and delightful comic mystery--and in no time at all, we're enhancing it with the world's cutest video (really!). But you can still buy it, read it now, and get the video-enhanced version (or if you prefer, a link to the video) by going to our store, clicking on "contact us", and asking for a free update when they're available. (Actually, you can't do that quite yet. Maybe tomorrow--we need to hook up the e-mail first.) But you CAN buy the book. I would like to emphasize that. booksBnimble exists and has a book for sale.

If you want to write us to tell us what we're doing wrong (or better yet, to congratulate us), maybe do it on our FaceBook page--we have one!-- or here, since we don't yet have working email.

Meanwhile, buy PHONE KITTEN! You'll love it.