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Friday
May022014

A big THANK YOU to BookCon

There's been quite a viral uproar about BookCon. What's is BookCon? It's the big, grand, open-to-the-public day of Book Expo America, which is the largest book event in the country. And what did BookCon organizers do? Well, they created a line-up of literary luminaries consisting of 29 white people and a cat. (I'm not making this up).

So, naturally, everyone but Donald Sterling is quite upset.

(Heck, James Patterson is on a panel talking about children's books that he didn't even write. That's like the white CEO of P.F. Chang's being invited to compete on Iron Chef, but, hey, that's just piling on at this point).

But, in a weird way, I think we owe the folks at BookCon a big THANK YOU for pointing out that we are not in any way living in a post-racial world. And for giving the other 50% of Americans a rallying cry.

And if they ever want to include an Asian American author who wrote a book which spent two years on the NYT bestseller list, I might happen to know one.

***UPDATE 5/3/14***

BookCon has added Rachel Renee Russell--an African American author. At first they said she could be a moderator, but after realizing she'd sold more books than two of their panelists they agreed to let her actively participate. Kudos to Renee for her persistence (and insistence) and shame on BookCon for their tokenism. 

Monday
Apr282014

There's no crying in baseball, just the occasional begging...

For funds and donations. In this case it's for girls' high school softball.

My daughter, Rissa, is on the first softball team ever at Great Falls Central, which is awesome, though it's challenging because they don't have existing gear and equipment. So they're doing the normal school fundraiser things like going door-to-door selling stuff and drumming up sponsors (I'm one of them) and they're also trying their hands at a kickstarter-like social media route--which I'm trying to give a lil' boost.

So, with that in mind I'm giving away personalized books. Here's the deal:

Donate $15 - Get a personalized paperback of Songs of Willow Frost.
Donate $25 - Get Willow and Hotel, both personalized.
Donate $50 - Get both hardbacks, personalized.


It's 100% tax deductible, filled with karma, and I'll cover the shipping. If you donate, just put a mailing address in the message screen and voila!

And in case you're wondering, Karissa's the one in the middle. Pink shorts. Big smile!

Saturday
Apr262014

That awkward moment when your dog becomes more famous than you

Random House produced a lovely walking-tour video of all the locations featured in Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet and after five years on YouTube it's up to 28,000+ views. Not bad.

But then about a week ago I strapped a GoPro camera onto my dog, Dexter, and posted the results, and a week later he's tipping the viral scales at 39,374 views! And when I found my inbox on YouTube (yes, there's actually an inbox tucked away and very hard to find), there were "URGENT TIME-SENSITIVE" emails from producers with Good Morning America and ABC Evening News with Diane Sawyer.

Sad sidebar moment: When producers for ABC's Diane Sawyer are calling about a video of my dog you know the 24-hour news cycle has watered down the meaning of "news."

We even did a quick interview with the NY Daily News.

The next thing I knew, viral media companies were calling to sign my dog--basically a licensing agreement allowing them to pitch the video to other media outlets in the hopes of going "super viral." Who knew this strange world existed? Not I. But...Dexter did sign with Jukin Media. And I've updated my YouTube page to an actual channel.

So for all of the views, Dexter says, "thank you". He also says, "woof."

Thursday
Apr242014

A hard day's World Book Night

Selfie time with Maria Semple and readers! Photo by Justus.We came. We saw. We pimped free books like it was nobody's business. Here are a few highlights of World Book Night:

A lovely kick-off event at Elliott Bay Books with Maria Semple (who is hilarious, spontaneous, and my new personal hero). Most memorable was Maria's tale of a Buddhist monk telling her that writers don't need to trouble themselves with the normal disciplines of Buddhism because writers are creators and therefore bodhisattvas and have karmic "GET OUT OF JAIL FREE" cards. Sign me up.

This photo on Instagram says it all.Signing books. And more books. Especially books at The Wing Luke Museum which now has enough signed books to build an ark. If you need a signed book (or are expecting high water) this is the place to go.

Giving books away at the actual Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet otherwise known as the Panama Hotel. Truth be told, I stayed at the Alexis where I immediately ran into Jan Johnson the owner of the Panama who jokingly dubbed me a "traitor" for not staying at her place. What can I say? I have a deep abiding weakness for 24-hour room service.

Then it was off to Lummi Island (pronounced Gummy, like the bears), where I read the first chapter of my currently untitled Book #3.

I always take my first chapter out for a test drive and this was the first time. My wife hasn't even read it. Must have been that ol' World Book Night magic in the air.

But the best part was hearing from all the book giver volunteers out there. THANK YOU. There's a special place for you in Heaven. I'm pretty sure it's a kick-ass library.