Category Archives: Links

Thursday roundup: Audies winners, book perfume, world-wide-weirdness

As some of you suspected (I’m looking at you, Stacy), since The Nightmare Thief won an Audie Award I’ve been whooping and hollering and doing the Snoopy dance. I’ve also written 5,000 words and cleaned my office and have of course been keeping a watchful eye on what’s happening in the world. So here are some links:

First, the official list of the 2012 Audie winners and finalists. I’m honored that my book won out among such stellar company.

Second, a charming article from the New York Times about the atmosphere at the awards ceremony.

It was an audience that knew its art. When the presenter Lorelei King flawlessly, even musically, pronounced the name of the Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, someone gasped and then issued a reverent “Wow.”

Which particularly delights me, because Lorelei King narrated the British editions of China Lake and Mission Canyon for BBC Audio. She’s a champ.

Third, moving on to more esoteric book news: if your e-reader is making you nostalgic for the crisp scent of ink on paper, fret no more. There’s a new perfume that makes you smell like a freshly printed book.

The scent promises to “relax you, like when you read a book, to a level of meditation and concentration.” With packaging by Karl Lagerfield, “Paper Passion” can be yours for only $115.

And to answer your question: No, I won’t be buying it. When the magnitude 10 earthquake hits and I end up buried beneath the thousands of books that fill my house, I want the rescue dogs to dig me out. I don’t want them to sniff the debris and scamper on to the next pile of wreckage, tongues lolling, thinking, Nope, nothing in that last pile that didn’t smell like books. Nosiree.

Next, weird news:

Cheese rolling is back, and it’s going rogue: “Rogue cheese rolling race held in Gloucestershire.”

It’s been two years since the annual Gloucester cheese rolling competition was banned on health and safety grounds. But yesterday hundreds took to Cooper’s Hill, at Brockworth for a rogue event.

Hardcore thrillseekers staged their own unofficial event after the world-famous Cheese Rolling was officially cancelled in 2010.

Competitors took part in four races down the 1:2 gradient slope – three men’s races and a women’s – with the final men’s race held with a ”Jubilee cheese”.

Several hundred spectators watched as the athletes pursued the Double Gloucester cheese down 200 metres of slippery, wet grass, brambles and nettles.

They slipped, somersaulted and tumbled their way to the bottom of the hill in spectacular fashion and the first person to grab the cheese won.

“Come to the Dark Side. We have cheese.”

And what would a day be without the latest appearance of the King of Kings? Jesus found in Texas bathroom mold.

SPLENDORA, Texas, May 31 (UPI) — A Texas family says they are getting strength from an image of Jesus they found in the mold growing inside the shower of their home.

Chyanna Richards… said the appearance of Jesus’ image has meaning.

“Maybe it means something. Maybe look into yourself and see if you need to change something in your life,” she said.

Maybe. Maybe look at that moldy wall real hard and see if you need to change something.

And finally…

“‘Last Family On Earth’: Spike Reality Show Gives Bunker As Prize.”

NEW YORK — The Spike television network is airing a competition this fall to award a fortified bunker to a family that believes the end of the world is near.


The network said Tuesday that its six-episode series called “Last Family on Earth” will feature survivalists competing to show how tough and resourceful they are. The winner gets an underground bunker in an undisclosed location.

At last I have a chance to get that wilderness vacation home I’ve always dreamed of. Kids, get out the Apocalypse Kits, smear on some camouflage face paint, and pull on your ghillie suits. Let’s win ourselves a bunker.

Monday links: nuclear hijackers, swimming horses, crazy baby names…

… And more.

To start: the real-life House at Pooh Corner is for sale.

Christopher Robin Milne, the son of Winnie the Pooh creator A.A. Milne, grew up in this quaint brick manse in the English countryside…. Known as Cotchford Farm, and on the market for the first time in more than 40 years, the Grade II listed estate spans 9.5 acres of lawns, forest, and streams. The six-bedroom main house, the quintessential English country house if there ever was one, is listed for $3.22M.

But beware the pool — it’s where Brian Jones of the Rolling Stones met his doom.

Next, working with radioactive materials apparently isn’t enough of a rush for some people:

A man who operates reactors at a nuclear power plant was “thrill seeking” when he put on a mask and hijacked a woman’s car at gunpoint, DuPage County authorities said Friday.

Michael Buhrman, a senior reactor operator at Dresden Nuclear Power Plant in Morris, was charged with aggravated vehicular hijacking.

The loaded gun and Halloween mask, it seems, were just for style.

Third, Ron Gilbert sends news of what’s happening in our hometown, Santa Barbara: Arabian show horse rescued after swimming three miles into ocean.

This story is stuffed full of Southern California goodness. (1) The horse was on the beach for a photo shoot. (2) His name is Air of Temptation, but his nickname is William. (3) “His owner, Mindy Peters, a movie producer, told Huffington Post that he had never been swimming in his life.” (4) It happened at Loon Point.

Ron writes: “Better get Evan Delaney on the case!” Oh, Ron. Evan would consider this just another day at the beach in Santa Barbara.

And finally: 102 of the Most Unusual Baby Names of 2011. Trew, Moo, Evening? Tron? Gotti? What the hell is wrong with these parents?

Friday links: Twinkies, Taliban

Here are some news stories you might like to catch up on.

Taking one for the team: Man goes naked at Portland airport to protest TSA search.

I guess they couldn’t get Freddie Mercury: Olympics organizers ask Keith Moon to play closing ceremony.

Don’t be silly. Not even a nuclear bomb can destroy these things. “Strike threat at Hostess could kill off Twinkies.”

Personally, I think this guy was pretty enterprising.
Taliban commander turns himself in… for reward on the Wanted poster.

Today in food-related mayhem

Signs and wonders. Of what, you decide:

I want mine deep fried. With a side order of cardiac stents. Pizza Hut introduces new pizza: crust stuffed with hot dogs.

You’ll be shocked to learn that alcohol, not just gravy, was involved: Gravy-wrestling model hit in the face with monkey wrench after finding friend having sex on her sofa.

And finally: Jesus, the latest snack food craze. Jesus Christ appears on yet another potato chip. The finder “said the ripple-style Clancy’s brand chip purchased at an Aldi store is now safely stored in her china cabinet.” (Bonus: “On YouTube, you can find video documentation of Jesus Cheetos.”)

Personally, I’m waiting for Christ on a Junior Mint.

Monday links: writers’ bedrooms, lotto lightning

Start off your week with these distracting stories:

Literary Style: 15 Writers’ Bedrooms. And please, tell me what you make of Victor Hugo’s red room. Redroom, redrum… I’m not saying another word.

“Grab ’em by the throat and never let ’em go.” — Writing advice from the great Billy Wilder.

Here’s a game you all should relish: Real life people with Dickensian names. Powers Boothe, Rollie Fingers, Orville Redenbacher… who else can you come up with?

The odds don’t lie. God has a sense of humor. And the house always wins. Kansas man struck by lightning hours after buying lottery tickets.

And finally: When I grow up I want to be Johanna Quaas. 86-year-old gymnast dominates the floor.

Web site update is off and running

My web site has been updated and spiffed up. In addition to some new photos and a new look, it also now has information on my next novel, Ransom River. Take a look when you get a chance:

Where in the world am I?

Name the location. One of my novels is partially set here.

Eclipsed by clouds

Sadly, I missed seeing this morning’s partial solar eclipse because the sky was swaddled in clouds. That’s what I get for not living in Arizona. Wow, the sky is marginally darker than it usually is at this dreary time of year. Who knew?

It’s okay. The last time there was a total eclipse, we climbed out on the flat-topped roof of the garage with the kids and neighbors and all our lawn chairs and snacks and pinhole cameras and eye protection. It turned into a party, and with the dancing and the crazy headgear and the celestial spookiness, we knew it looked like a Druid ceremony gone wild. So when the milkman drove up, we thought he might call the cops on us. Or the men in white coats. That is, until he climbed out of the milk truck wearing a welder’s mask.

Never underestimate your friendly neighborhood eccentrics.

The boys have left the building

And it’s quiet. Vewwy, vewwy quiet. Right now in the house it’s just me, my novel-in-progress, the dog, the cat, and… surprise, surprise, unmatched gym socks, trailing down the hall from a boy’s bedroom in the direction of the washing machine.

I give myself 24 hours before I miss the guys. 48 before I go nuts from lack of banter, and start talking movies and politics with the pets.

But I’ll get a lot of work done. Or I will once I find the mates to all those socks.

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By the way

Someone who knows me far too well has written me up on Wikipedia.

“Breakthrough thinking from top twaddlists”

Financial Times columnist Lucy Kellaway has announced her Annual Management Twaddle Awards – booby prizes for the stupidest business practices of the year. Among her prizes is the Martin Lukes Creovation award (named after the protagonist of her hilarious satire on business life, Who Moved My Blackberry?), “for combining two good words to make one bad one.”

After much debate, bronze goes to IBM Global Services for coming up with the “flex-pon-sive company”. The silver award is won by the European Council for urging member states to adopt a “Flexicurity approach” to policy. But the gold award goes to Eversheds which is looking for trainee lawyers who are knowlivators (knowledgeable motivators), proactilopers (proactive developers) and five other clumping concepts that sound more like dinosaurs than legal eagles.

Proactilopers? The horror, the semantic horror. My only consolation for having this Frankenstein word now lodged in my head is that I can fantasize about a herd of saurian lawyers – tails whipping, ties flapping, tiny clawed arms flailing – howling as they pounce on the Eversheds HR manager who came up with the term, and rip him into confetti. He’s screaming. Ahh. That’s better.

Yet this linguistic atrocity doesn’t constitute the year’s ultimate horror. That honor goes to the BBC, which wins Kellaway’s top team-bonding award.

Its senior journalists and presenters were made to cuddle plastic baby dolls that screamed, and then walk barefoot through raspberry jelly and finally to wash the jam off each other’s feet.

I’d rather be eaten by proactilopers.