Thursday, March 27, 2008

Not a Political Post...

Because I do't do that sort of thing. What I do, sometimes, is ask questions. So here is one that's been on my mind since the troop surge controversy of last year: Can the war in Iraq be won? I mean, I know we could nuke the country and declare victory, but what I want to know is whether the troop surge was carried out with some clear, defined goal in mind. For example, in order to say we're in a recession, you need to have X number of quarters with some terrible statistic (I'm thinking it's a low GDP or something). Is there a similar definition for victory in Iraq? X number of months below a certain level of violence, for instance.

I ask because I really don't know. Not very political most days, but this stuff is all over the news. The troop surge was working, and I thought that was supposed to be a good thing, but I just heard that al-Sadr is breaking a cease-fire and all hell is breaking loose and maybe there'll be daily bombings and rocket attacks, etc.

Now I thought the phrase "the troop surge is working" meant that even though all the bad guys were doing their worst, casualties were down. I realize now, however, that the bad guys had taken a break. They called timeout. Given this circumstance, it appears to me that had there been no troop surge, there still would have been less violence. After all, the bad guys were all on a coffee break.

But then, since I am not a student of politics, it is quite possible that I'm misreading things.

Monday, March 10, 2008

The Books of Denver - LCC 08

Got back from Denver this morning - it's taken me this long to recuperate from the midnight flight home. Of course I bought books. Of course, some will be given away here - I certainly don't have space for all of them. But before getting to the books, let me gripe.

The conference was fine - a lot of smart people shining brightly - The machine gun exhibit was awesome especially for the reaction of the crowd - with almost every panel, people drift out of the room at the end sith others going up to the front to speak with the panelists. Not this time. The speaker invited everyone to come up and handle the guns and boy 0 boy did they. That was almost funny. Truly funny were the questions about how to buy guns illegally - you know, just research.

Anyway, here's the gripe: the book room seemed a bit dull. Maybe I'm alone in thinking that, but there was one major store and two smaller vendors and unless I'm wide of the mark, that was it. Disappointing for me, but maybe no one else.

Anyway, I picked up Pushing Up Daisies from friend Rosemary Harris and Isabella Moon from friend Laura Benedict and Paying the Piper from friend Simon Wood - who is also hilarious when you get him going. And Empty Ever After from friend Reed Farrel Coleman. I just started reading Reed's book, and I have to say, it is astonishing, not a word I toss around. I'mnot even into the story yet, but the grace of prose is arresting. Somebody should look into giving this man an award, seriously. I have to think that when Bleak House picked him up, they did a very smart thing.

There's a bookstore on Broadway in Denver named Farenheit - it's going out of business and their prices were pretty good before they slashed them in half. Anyway, I bought sixteen books there including three by Howard Browne and Malice Aforethought by Francis Iles. I think this one is supposed to be a classic. In any event, now I can send Graham Powell a book I owe him :-).

Thursday, March 06, 2008

What I'm writing...

I'm currently 17k into a new novel. It is a bit of a thriller, but it also more of a serial killer type book mixed in with a Jason Starr-ish* "Poor Bastard stuck in a maze of blades" type thing. I figure it will run to about 90k though I'm not sure what happens for the next 50k or so. Some killing, I supoose. It's going good, and there are some laughs. It is set in New York City and in early 2008.

Basically, there is a woman who kills people - not everyone she meets. That would be overkill (heh), but more than one. She has a very good motive, however, and it doesn't have to do with the run of the mill "My father burned me with cigarettes" motive**. Anyway, if I ever get to sell another novel, you might get a chance to read it.

I'm also trying to scan one of my earlier novels because it will be coming out as book five in the PPR series next year, but I don't have an electronic file of it. Slow going, feeding the paper copy in one sheet at a time. Ah well. That'll teach me to fall behind in the times gadget-wise. It's the first book I ever wrote and I rank it as the best of the PPR novels though not as good as The Concrete Maze...which is still available at bookstores and online...

* Used by permission
** Not to make light of that phenomenom in real life, only as an overusd motive in serial killer novels.