Apr
21

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Private Eye

victory's knifeHere at Jones central things have been on the quiet side lately, which is nice. I’m working away on the revision of the second novel of my new series, although revision is a stretch for some portions when a lot of the middle is going to be drafted from scratch.

When not drafting, or still hacking away at the honey-do list, I’ve been reading a lot more, and returned to some of the noir volumes on my shelf. I just polished off Fredric Brown’s The Fabulous Clipjoint and ended up wishing I’d read it a lot sooner, and have been slowly working my way through some great stories in The Mammoth Book of Private Eye Stories, which I’m told by those in the know is a landmark collection. Certainly I’ve enjoyed everything in it, and a lot of it I’ve loved. Finding a lot of new (to me) writers in it I mean to explore.

I’ve also been reading my old friend Joe McCullough’s collection of swashbuckling fantasy fiction, Victory’s Knife,  in preparation for writing a proper review. I hope to have something up about that in a few weeks, and Chris Hocking and I are talking about reviving our Hardboiled Monday series. I want to at least talk about the aforementioned anthology and Wade Miller and some other hardboiled detective writers who need more love.

But for now I need to get back to writing.

Apr
18

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Nostalgia

trek continues crewI don’t know how it is for people growing up today, but as a child of the ’70s I ended up growing up with the ’60s all around me. Sure, there were ’70s TV shows, but there were an awful lot of ’60s reruns on the television, and the music from the ’60s was still in the air. When I think of my childhood I remember the jangly guitar of the mid ’60s rather than the disco of the ’70s, and I remember the thrill of watching original Star Trek.

It should come as no surprise then that I’m excited when the lovingly crafted Star Trek Continues releases a new episode (one of a final few, alas). You can find it here.

And I was just as thrilled to discover that one of my favorite modern song writers — someone well acquainted with jangly guitar power-pop (Adam Schlesinger of Fountains of Wayne) — oversaw production on a new Monkees album. I couldn’t believe how well Micky Dolenz’ voice has aged. Released last year, I only learned about it yesterday morning. Here’s a track.

This was almost like discovering these things I love again for the first time, and both brought a smile to my face.

Apr
14

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Resolution

mound builders 2A few weeks ago I sat down and resolved to examine my life a little. This may sound a bit grimmer than I’ve been feeling, but here it is: I’ve realized that my life is almost certainly more than halfway over. It’s time to prioritize a bit. What do I wish to do with what I have left, assuming I have an ordinary healthy span and don’t lose my mind?

Putting aside the obvious goals of always striving to be a better father, husband, and human being, I looked at the way I spend my time and tried to come up with some ways to get to the things I like or have wished to do and haven’t found time for.  Read More

Apr
12

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Dedication

gate in the seaRemember how my new book, Through the Gates in the Sea is now available? Well, inside is the saddest dedication I’ve had yet to write: “To the memory of Kris Ghosh, M.D. (1969-2015), father, chef, surgeon, traveler, and brother in all but blood.”

Wish I could have dedicated it to him while he was still with us. Still can’t believe he’s gone.

I haven’t yet had the heart to delete his contact info. I suppose some part of me still expects to receive a phone call from him, greeting me in his terrible fake Liverpool accent…

Kris Dedication

Apr
10

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Kickstarting

in search of hannibalTalk about first world problems! There are so many cool Kickstarters running right now that I can’t afford them all!

Longtime site visitors might remember that Hannibal of Carthage was one of my heroes growing up, right up there with Captain Kirk and the Enterprise crew in importance to my moral development. Well, I’ve just stumbled upon a Kickstarter that’s a graphic novel about Hannibal’s life, complete with a cool t-shirt and some other goodies that can be ordered. The Kickstarter’s actually over, but you can still join in here. Judging by the amount of money raised, I’m not the only one who grew up with Hannibal as a hero. Wish I’d known some of those other folks when I was a kid…

Speaking of my favorite Carthaginian, the acclaimed board game Hannibal: Rome Vs. Carthage is getting re-released via Kickstarter in just nine days, and it comes with an additional game starring Hamilcar, Hannibal’s father, who led Carthaginian forces through the First Punic War. I’ve been hearing about how glorious this game is for years and I’m more than a little interested in seeing how it will play. Read More

Writing

August Update and New Review

Thursday, August 2, 2012

I was delighted to stumble across a glowing new review of The Desert of Souls earlier this week. You can find it here, over on a great looking…

Pies and Plans and an Update

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

I finished reviewing galleys for the second Dabir and Asim book yesterday, The Bones of the Old Ones, drove them over to the post office, and sent them…

Galleys, then ARCs, then… the Book!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

My galleys arrived the other day. Those are the printed copies of pages as they will look (as far as spacing and fonts) once they’re actually bound into…

Writing Tips from Doctor McCoy

Monday, July 16, 2012

At Black Gate Monday I’m going  live with a long post about how writers sabotage themselves, and I thought of a corollary that I’ve been thinking of as…

An Arabian Memoir

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

When I get asked about good resources and research materials on the ancient Middle-East, one book I always suggest is the memoirs of Usamah Ibn-Munqidh, a warrior from…