Roundup: Ouija Boards, Haggis, Books

I find the weird links, so you don’t have to.

First up:

Three American friends hospitalised after becoming ‘possessed’ following Ouija board game in Mexican village

My mom would never let us kids play with a ouija board, and now I know why.

Alexandra Huerta, 22, was playing the game with her brother Sergio, 23, and 18-year-old cousin Fernando Cuevas at a house in the village of San Juan Tlacotenco in south-west Mexico. But minutes into it, she apparently started ‘growling’ and thrashing around in a ‘trance-like’ state.

Meanwhile, Sergio and Fernando also reportedly started showing signs of ‘possession’, including feelings of blindness, deafness and hallucinations.

Paramedics “restrained Alexandra to prevent her from hurting herself, before treating the three with painkillers, anti-stress medication and eye drops, which seemingly worked.”

Good to know that the next time I and my friends get demon-possessed, eye drops will save us. So if you see somebody chasing me down the street with an eye dropper, relax.

Next, we go to Scotland:

Car-sized haggis smashes World Record

A haggis weighing over a tonne has stormed into the Guinness Book of World Records.

Is this thing sentient? Did it kick down the door and deliver a list of its demands?

The monster dish, which came in at 1.01 tonne (2,227lbs), was unveiled at Scotland’s Royal Highland Show in Edinburgh.

Be on the lookout, people.

And finally, if you want to know which books have been keeping me up at night, head over to Writers Read.

I’m also reading Eric Schlosser’s Command and Control: Nuclear Weapons, the Damascus Accident, and the Illusion of Safety. It’s a history of America’s nuclear weapons program, and it’s riveting.

More at the link.

The Gardiner Library Big Book Giveaway

Phantom_InstinctThis week — Thursday June 26th — my new stand alone thriller Phantom Instinct goes on sale in the USA and Canada. It’s my twelfth novel. To celebrate publishing an even dozen books, I’m joining with Penguin to give away my entire library.

You heard me. I’m holding a contest. The winner will receive a copy of every one of my novels.

All of them. From China Lake to Phantom Instinct.

Shadow Ransom River Nightmare Thief US TLL_US TMC_US_pb dirty-_secrets_us kill_chain crosscut jp_us mission_us chinalakeus

To enter, leave a comment on this post. Answer this question:

Where will you be reading Phantom Instinct this summer?

The giveaway is open to residents of the USA and Canada. The winner will receive a Penguin USA edition of each of my novels.

As always with contests I run on this blog, my choice of the giveaway winner will be megalomaniacal, capricious, and final.

Last chance to enter: Friday June 27th, 11:59 EDT.

Good luck!

UPDATE, JUNE 28TH: The giveaway is now closed. I will announce the winner Monday morning, June 30th. Thanks to everybody who entered.

One woman, seventeen British accents

For Americans who think they know what a British accent sounds like: Siobhan Thompson brings you 17 of them, via a quick tour of the British Isles.

At The Big Thrill, I’m talking about how editors help writers

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Over at The Big Thrill, the magazine of the International Thriller Writers, I’m taking part in this week’s Thriller Roundtable. The topic: How Has an Editor’s Advice Helped with Your Story?

Here’s a bit of what I have to say:

What I’ve learned after working with editors on twelve novels:

Good editors have a 30,000 foot view of a manuscript. They see the forest AND the trees. They take a thorough look at plot and character. They see ways to hone the story, and to bring out elements that are swamped or underdeveloped in my first draft.

Drop on by to read more of what I, Ridley Pearson, Kate White, Tim Waggoner, and other authors have to say. Join the conversation over there if you’d like.

O Magazine puts Phantom Instinct on its summer reading list

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Well, this has made my day. Okay, my month. O Magazine — as in Oprah — has named the summer’s “most compulsively readable thrillers.” My upcoming novel Phantom Instinct is on the list, along with books by Karin Slaughter, Jeff Abbott, Alafair Burke, and Stephen King.

I’m going to react with my usual dignity, by which I mean I’m going to yell and run around like a dork. But before I get out the door and start spinning in circles, let me remind you that this blog is called Lying for a Living, and that the novel is published June 26th. You can pre-order it right now, from:

Book People / Barnes & Noble / Indiebound / Powell’s / Amazon / Apple iBooks

Censoring high school kids’ reading doesn’t promote respect for authority

This post should come with a huge duh.

Florida School Cancels Reading Program Over Cory Doctorow Book.

“The principal of a Pensacola, FL-based high school has cancelled its One School/One Book summer reading program citing concerns that the approved reading assignment promoted hacker culture.

“Students were going to read Cory Doctorow’s bestselling YA novel Little Brother, but the school pulled the book after receiving complaints from parents. Doctorow blogged about the issue on BoingBoing:

In an email conversation with Ms Griffith, the principal cited reviews that emphasized the book’s positive view of questioning authority, lauding “hacker culture”, and discussing sex and sexuality in passing. He mentioned that a parent had complained about profanity (there’s no profanity in the book, though there’s a reference to a swear word). In short, he made it clear that the book was being challenged because of its politics and its content.”

Doctorow and his publisher Tor Books are now donating 200 copies of Little Brother directly to the students.

I guess I need to say it, because the high school seems to have missed this point: An ideal way to undermine respect for authority is to try to prevent kids from reading books that encourage them to think for themselves.

Think about it: the school canceled its entire summer reading program rather than let its students open the cover of this book.

Give me an I. Give me an R. Give me an O. N. Y.

(The Husband comments: Bet they didn’t cancel cheerleading camp or football practice.)

Cory Doctorow’s video message above, to the kids at the high school, is thoughtful and worth watching.

Picture me in a Lamborghini, midair

People always ask writers: Where do you get your ideas? I promise you one thing: I try not to get my ideas from action movie cliches. But if I did… this is how the story would turn out.

Yesterday I linked to a weird news tidbit out of New York City:

From that article:

CBS News reports that a Diablo was found “on fire and unoccupied” on the Jersey side of the bridge, near one of the westbound toll plazas. The police are now searching for the driver, because someone who can’t be bothered with trying to rescue a $200,000 Italian sports car from total destruction is clearly up to no good.

Of course they were. A thriller writer could not think otherwise, which is why I tweeted the story. In response, fellow twitterer (and friend of this blog) ChaosNexus got into the spirit of the story. Things developed from there.

Perfect. Imagine me sailing through the air in a flawless swan dive. In slow motion. For the full effect, picture all that with “O Fortuna” from Carmina Burana playing: