Thursday, October 30, 2008

The paradigm is in full shift

On the heels of the Authors Guild v. Google case, in which all those books are going online, the Christian Science Monitor is becoming the first national newspaper to go online-only.

No real surprise that this is happening, but it seems like a bit of a watershed event nevertheless. While we can safely predict that newspapers will continue to keep moving in this direction, the equation is a bit different with books in terms of convenience, cost, shelf-life, and aesthetics. Which doesn't mean that books aren't heading in the same direction at a different rate.

Dunno what the future holds, but it certainly isn't the status quo...

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Authors Guild v. Google

I ran across a bit by James Gleick on about the Authors Guild v. Google case. The punchline is that Google gets to put a zillion books online, with copyright protections in place. I don't know enough about the subject to predict exactly how writers and readers will be affected, but it seems like a good thing: easier access to written content should be good for everyone. I think. I imagine that for writers, a lot depends on the implementation, and how reliably everyone who should get paid does get paid. Hard to see a down side for readers.

Daily Digression: The Critics

Reviewers are mostly kind to Nancy, so this might seem unnecessarily snarky, but I thought it was pretty good anyway. Mouse over the comic for a little bit more.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Daily Digression: Writing Lessons

Hanging around Nancy, I can't help but pick up some wisdom about writing from time to time. But I have other sources, such as this one. Mouse over the comic for a little bit more...

Friday, October 24, 2008

Heads-up III: Nancy in Bay Area

The third leg of Nancy's trip takes her to California, where she will be doing a couple of school visits before appearing at Clayton Books in Clayton, CA, on Tuesday, October 28. At 4 p.m. she'll be giving a talk, doing some reading, and holding a Q&A. For more information, call (925) 673-3325 or email Joel Harris at

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

I wonder if this ever works

Roger Sutton blogs about some unintended consequences of a Nebraska law, and in doing so lobbies for Nancy to tackle the subject. It does seem like something of a fit, but I doubt that she'll actually take him up on it. Of course, Nancy isn't the only one capable of writing scary books about parenthood. Alec Baldwin, I'm looking at you.

Heads-up II: Nancy in Seattle area on Sunday

After her D.C. visit on Saturday, Nancy will complete the rare double-Washington weekend. This Sunday, October 26 at 5:30, she will be delivering the Kim Lafferty Lecture at the Bellevue branch of the King County Public Library. Go here and scroll down for more info.

Lowdown update

I carried out an intel op last night under the pretext of a supply drop, and came away with solid evidence that the High-test Girls do, in fact, discuss writing -- I heard it with both ears. And I found a smoking laptop with what appeared to be fresh text on it, which would suggest to the credulous that they write, as well. Or at least Toni does.

It seems that the annual retreat fulfills its stated purpose, so keep an eye peeled at your local bookstore or library in the coming year or two...

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Heads-up I: Nancy keynoting at MAYALIG in D.C. area on Saturday

Nancy will be delivering the keynote address at the MAYALIG Conference being held at the Arlington Central Library in Arlington, VA this Saturday, October 25. The conference kicks off at 9 a.m. Check the website for registration info and other details.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

The lowdown on the High-test Girls

I had that dinner last night with the High-test Girls (as Nancy and her retreat pals are known). It was lots and lots of fun, and in addition to some leftover pasta, I came away with the following intelligence:

- I did not see any writing being done.

- I did not hear any writing being discussed.

- I found ample evidence of socializing.

So maybe I'm not in the inner sanctum yet. All I know for sure is that it's a great group of people. We'll have to wait for their next round of books to judge the rest.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Retreat! Retreat!

Several of Nancy's writer pals have begun to gather for a retreat that starts tomorrow.

It's something they've been doing for years, since the days when most of them were still cutting their teeth as writers. They pool their money and rent a place for a week, and have a fine time writing, socializing, writing, talking about writing, socializing, and writing some more. A ton of good fiction happens at these things.

Historically it's been in Maine at whatever bed & breakfast wouldn't kick them out for being too raucous, but this year they're mixing it up and holding it at an undisclosed location in a scenic part of Massachusetts. I actually get to join them for dinner one night (they disclosed to me) and catch a glimpse of the inner sanctum. Of course, my observation will affect the experiment, and I won't get a complete picture of what goes on, but it'll still be fun...

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Daily Digression: Yohannes Gebregeorgis

There is a story in the School Library Journal about Yohannes Gebregeorgis, the founder of Ethiopia Reads, which many of you will recognize as Jane Kurtz's not-for-profit organization that provides books for Ethiopian children.

Yohannes has been named as one of ten candidates for 2008 CNN Hero of the Year. If you like the work that Ethiopia Reads is doing, you can vote for Yohannes at the CNN Heroes site.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Guess she meant it!

A teenager reviewing Impossible on Amazon offered a rather sincere form of praise.

"The best book I've read for a long time" is the heading, and of course that's a pretty solid endorsement. But we already know that it's good, and I confess that I've gotten a bit spoiled by this sort of encomium for Nancy's stuff, and have even come to expect it.

Words are wonderful, but the real clincher was that the reviewer read Impossible back to back to back in one day! That's three times, for those of you scoring at home. That's praise.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Barnes & Noble endcap

I stopped into the local Barnes & Noble this morning, and there they were -- three copies of Impossible on an endcap. On the plus side, it's pretty cool that her books are so prominently displayed. On the downside, the endcap was entitled "Vampire Romance", which would fit Nancy's book nicely but for the small detail that there are no vampires in Impossible. Still, Nancy seems pleased, because above her books are perched those of Stephenie Meyer, which are apparently all the rage and sell like vampire romances. And maybe some Meyer readers will become Werlin readers, which the world needs more of.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Baby steps toward fame

A co-worker just pointed out to me that Nancy shows up on the Wikipedia page for Melrose, under "Notable residents", right there along with David Souter and Keith Tkachuk. (You're supposed to know at least one of those names, though the probability of knowing either is in inverse proportion to the probability of knowing the other.)

So it seems that she's gradually becoming better known in the world at large. The crush of the paparazzi has been manageable thus far, but you never know. Who do you see me as -- Todd Palin or Kevin Federline? (Sadly, I expect everyone to recognize both of those names.)

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Book fund for buying Double Helix

A high school biology teacher in North Carolina is trying to raise money to buy some books to liven up her biology class. She wants to get Nancy's Double Helix, Scott Westerfeld's PEEPS, and Eva by Peter Dickinson. Apparently she'll use fiction to create context for what her students are learning. It's an interesting idea, and is almost guaranteed to be more engaging than the soul-crushing recitation of factoids that I was fed in high school biology class.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Another nice review

Here's another nice review of Impossible from BookPage. Am I overdoing these? Am I going to stop? Don't hold your breath.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Daily Digression: No Books Banned Last Night...

...only tough questions.

The controversy about Sarah Palin's inquiries into book banning seems to have died down. Nothing was brought up about it last night, which wasn't surprising, but I still haven't seen or heard anything resembling a defense of her actions. Seems like a potential leader of the free world oughta be down with the First Amendment.

Of course, if she'd been asked to explain herself, she wouldn't have answered anyway, but "Can we get back to energy?" would have made for an awkward transition.

Thursday, October 2, 2008


Impossible has been named one of the top ten titles for romance fiction by Booklist, the trade mag of the American Library Association. (You can see the list, but you need to be a subscriber to get the details.)

Personally, I wouldn't have bothered with the other nine, good as they might be. But then I suppose people like to have something to do with the rest of their digits. There's a sociology poser: do non-shoe-wearing cultures in tropical lands like to have top twenty lists?

Wednesday, October 1, 2008


It seems that my fan base is clamoring for subscriptions. (I know, I know, it's long overdue -- cut the newbie some slack.)

Ever sensitive to the winds of public sentiment, I've added a couple of mechanisms for subscribing down there at the bottom of the right-hand column.


Impossible is crossing all sorts of genre boundaries. It's ostensibly YA, of course, and as previously noted, Borders is classifying it as Science Fiction/Fantasy/Horror. That's four genres right there.

We can easily call it Suspense, bringing us to five, and it's also absolutely, undeniably Romance. Nancy has an ad for it running on Smart Bitches, Trashy Books, and next month, one will run on Romancing the Blog.

I'm counting six distinct genres. ("Distinct" is a surprisingly ambiguous term.) Impossible does include a track & field scene, but I'm thinking that calling it Sports would be a bit of a stretch...