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Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Turkey Day

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, animals both domesticated and wild, while you're all getting fat and happy off your turkey feasts this Thanksgiving just remember: sometimes they come back!

Image courtesy of Kidchuckle.com

Later Fiends,

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Kris Kuksi's Beast Anthology

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, animals both domesticated and wild, today I saw a dead turkey on the side of the road. I think it was a suicide.

Kris Kuksi's sculptures are like arriving upon an alien world, traveling through the various atmospheric layers, discovering unique and amazing caverns and oceans, some new and unusual forms.

And you can visit these worlds too. Kuksi will be exhibiting from November 21 to December 19 at the Joshua Liner Gallery in NYC.

Later Fiends,

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Publishing Extravaganza

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, animals both domesticated and wild, grip your ankles and say your prayers 'cause the shows about to get started. Prepared to be mystified and delighted by this publishing extravaganza.

Based on the PW article called What Do Teens Want?, it seems an overwhelming majority of teen readers want books that don't suck. Wonder who they had to pay for that insider knowledge?


I spoke briefly the other day about Stephen King's new book Under the Dome, and I wanted to mention something interesting that literary agent Michael Stearns of Upstart Crow Literary Agency found--or rather something he didn't find--in the book.


Cormac McCarthy gives a rare interview to the Wall Street Journal to discuss his novel The Road. Here's a snippet I personally enjoyed:

WSJ: How does that ticking clock affect your work? Does it make you want to write more shorter pieces, or to cap things with a large, all-encompassing work?

CM: I'm not interested in writing short stories. Anything that doesn't take years of your life and drive you to suicide hardly seems worth doing.


The first 171 pages of Robert McCammon's Mister Slaugher are available on the Subterranean Press site. What are you still doing here? Get over there and start reading.

Later Fiends,

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Under the Leviathan's Malice

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, animals both domesticated and wild, the holidays are fast approaching--I know this because the news has started carrying stories about the evil atheists and tyrannical Jews trying to eradicate all things Christmas with whip-cracking laws that further separate church and state--so bring on the cheer!

I just got my copy of Stephen King's Under the Dome. It's been 30+ years in the making, and the early reviews have been positive. At 1088 pages, the book is a monster, a poster child for why people should purchase e-readers, and I'm sure there are plenty of people barking about how many trees sacrificed themselves for King's drivel. All that aside, I love long, sprawling novels, and King's long, sprawling novels are some of his very best. They're perfect fireside books on those cold winter nights.

Before I begin Dome, I have a couple of other books I want sink my eyeballs into first:

Malice by Chris Wooding and Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld. These were Halloween gifts-- yes, in my house we exchange books on Halloween--I haven't gotten around to reading yet.

Which reminds me ... if you want to find out what I'm reading, or some of the stuff I have read, you can check out my virtual library on Goodreads.com. I'll add the link to the sidebar so it's always available.

Later Fiends,

Friday, November 13, 2009

Sunsets & Urinals

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, animals both domesticated and wild, welcome to the Fabulous World of Robert Gray. Okay, so it's not that fabulous ... and it's really not a world, just a bunch of ones and zeroes on a hard drive, probably stored in some horribly poor village in India, but welcome anyway.

Last week I got the chance to visit Pismo Beach in the great state of California. I'm an east coaster, so the trip, which included three layovers, felt more like a pilgrimage than modern travel, but I made it there and back in one piece and got to read a few good books along the way. While the trip was for work, and I didn't get out much, I did manage to sneak off to the beach for a little while to watch one of the most beautiful sunsets.

But even better than the sunset, I got to use one of the coolest urinals ever, which is located at the Madonna Inn.

Later Fiends,

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Latest Projects

I finished the first draft of my second novel, a middle grade story about a family of monsters stuck in the suburbs. You can see the original post here if wish: New Middle Grade Fiction Story. I actually finished the draft in a little over a month. It's the fastest I ever wrote a first draft. The story came almost entirely to me, which is a very rare thing indeed. Usually I'm brooding for days over particular scenes, but I managed to somehow stay ahead of my muse. I still have to tease out some of the meanings and thematic issues that started to form towards the end of the story, but I'll work on all that in the second draft, which for me is almost an entire rewrite.

While I'm letting that story simmer, I started my third novel. This one, I can already tell, is not going to be so easy. I'm about ten thousand words deep and I still have no clear direction, though some of the characters have started to flesh themselves out. Right now I'm just letting them drive; I'm just tagging along. I'll see if the characters take me somewhere interesting. If not, I'll have them drop me off at the next rest stop.

Later Fiends,

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Happy Veterans Day

Happy Veterans Day!

To everyone who supports the American soldiers, Harley-Davidson is doing a pretty cool promotion this Veterans Day. You can send a personalized postcard to the troops at Harley-Davidson Military Appreciation. If you served, you can also enter to win your favorite Harley delivered by Marisa Miller (pictured above) and a trip for 4 to Las Vegas to see UFC 108.

Later Fiends,

Monday, November 2, 2009

A Nook, a Kindle and a Tablet Walk into a Bar ...

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, animals both domesticated and wild, pokol; vurderlak; eyalik.

Image courtesy of wired.com

Some interesting debates over e-books since the news broke of Barnes & Noble's new nook e-reader. I think the pros and cons between the Kindle and nook have been exhausted, so I'll try to avoid who has the bigger--um--set of features. My take is quite simple: demand for e-readers will taper off if they continue to use proprietary formats.

Here's how I see the e-reader market as it stands between the two current top-tier devices, Amazon's Kindle and B&N's nook. Amazon has positioned their device for people more inclined to want technology over longevity by using a proprietary format, no problem for magazine or newspaper subscribers, but horrible for avid book readers that might actually use a good chunk of memory to house their libraries--the same avid readers that Barnes & Nobles is hoping to snag with the nook, which uses open standards (Epub, pdf, eReader) and offers a cute little lending option that allows nook users to share books with other nook users for 14 days.

Enter Apple. They're just sitting in the background and sharpening their talons. It's rumored that Apple doesn't want to participate in the e-book world, obviously because they are above all that nonsense, but for the helluvit, let's just assume Apple is lying; let us assume they plan to make a go at the e-book market once they introduce their tablet early next year. Who would be their target readers? Answer: Tech-savvy casual readers, who want eye-popping color for magazine subscriptions and newspapers. Compare that to the current 16-shades-of-gray E Ink technology in the Kindle and we're talking the difference between black & white television and Blu-ray. In this sense B&N will be free to nab up hardcore readers that are looking for a device to a) offset limited shelf space b) reduce the number of books carried while traveling c) are technical savvy people who are also avid readers.

Some of you may be reading this and saying, I own a Kindle and I read a lot, so you're a dumb ass. I am a dumb ass, but that's besides the point. I'm not saying the Kindle is not used by avid readers, I'm saying that Amazon has done a poor job of positioning the device for avid readers. You have a company promoting a device that can store thousands of books ... but only if you purchase every single one of those books from them.

So is the nook the Kindle killer? Nope. But if Amazon isn't careful, they're gonna pit themselves up against Apple, and that, I fear, would be a slaughter.

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