Jul - 28 - 2009
Today I discovered that my email program is trying to take over the world. Its first act of tyranny was to sentence incoming requests for bookmarks to the junk mail gulag. I was able to liberate only a precious few survivors. Who knows how many others have been silenced and lost?
I’m not sure how long this has been going on under my nose, so if you requested a bookmark and didn’t get it, I must humbly ask you to renew your request. The situation is now well in hand and I’m hopeful that disaster has been averted quickly and quietly enough that we can all simply forego the rioting in the streets, the burning of cars and effigies, and the senseless looting of downtown electronics stores.
Jul - 27 - 2009
The dreaded day job has kicked into high gear in the last couple of weeks and it isn’t going to slow down for at least another month. The upside of this is a paycheck. The downside is that I’m spending 10-12 hours a day, 6-7 days a week doing something other than writing and editing.
While I’ve managed to keep the updates on the website coming pretty regularly, I’m afraid website maintenance is starting to eat into editing time. That’s bad.
So for the next week or two, I need to focus more on the manuscript and less on daily site updates. I know, it makes me sad too. Back to business as usual once I’ve caught up on the editing.
Jul - 26 - 2009
This weekend a friend of mine moved into a new home and one of her housewarming gifts was an antique desk fitted with an expertly hidden compartment at the back of the bottom drawer (which she expertly found). The compartment, once opened by the pressing of a series of ingenious levers and buttons, contained a single letter dated January 10th, 1776.
Research and appraisal has revealed that the desk dates to mid-19th century Savannah, Georgia. Though this is nearly a hundred years beyond the prime of Fin Button’s documented career, the letter secreted away within the desk is undoubtedly of her authorship. Why it was kept at all, and kept so secretly, we may never know, but there are clues...Read the entire post
Jul - 23 - 2009
Now they’ve done it. The printshop has gone and printed an order of bookmarks without a single flaw. All the art is facing the correct direction, the text resolution is sharp and clear, and they smell like fresh, purply dittos. Okay, I made that last part up. But they do smell fancy and newish. I still have a few of the old “Collector’s Edition” ones if anyone missed their shot. My broker tells me their price on the open market is skyrocketing, so if anybody wants one just click over to the Free Bookmarks page and drop me your address.
The crisp new ones will be included in every order from the Rabbit Room Store. Go on a shopping spree and buy a CD, or a book, or some sheet music, or a Karmen-Ghia T-Shirt. Actually, it’s more like buying a really snazzy bookmark for $15 and getting a free CD, book, or T-Shirt with it. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is amazing.
Jul - 22 - 2009
While following a link from Nathan Bransford’s blog, I found this article from The Brooklyn Rail about the future of the printed word. It’s a fascinating reflection of what I talked about in yesterday’s post. The logical evolution of the publishing world is the emergence of small presses that serve niche markets with a trusted and high quality product. Here’s an excerpt:
“What must be a dramatic realization and spell the death of print for corporate publishers (and some in the media) is not that anyone can publish a book in this day and age, but that any unheeled upstart can publish a better-written, better-designed, and more worthwhile book better than Random House. They’re doing it all the time.
The corporate ideology has run its course in book publishing, which spells the death of print to many. But as evidenced by...Read the entire post
Jul - 21 - 2009
Coming to the decision to publish The Fiddler’s Gun independently wasn’t easy. When I began writing it I envisioned, like most authors, that one day it would be picked up by a traditional publishing house and find its way into Wal-Marts all over America. When it was written and rewritten enough times, the manuscript went out to the major houses and received a lot of good feedback (as well as some welcome constructive criticism) but in the changing climate of the publishing industry, the idea of becoming an independent publisher began to have a strong appeal to me.
The idea of working within a system that valued sales, marketing, and genre definition over quality became distasteful. Don’t mistake that to mean I’m averse to applying changes to my manuscript, I’m not. To the contrary, I’m anxious to change it, to make it better, more appealing. It’s the system that I dislike, a system that...Read the entire post
Jul - 20 - 2009
The Curator of Postal Antiquities at the Smithsonian Institute contacted me last Thursday with exciting news. He explained that while cataloging a large number of documents received from the estate of Charles Albemarle of Massachusetts he came upon a letter that he suspected would be of particular interest to me. The letter discovered is one sent from Wilberforce Albemarle, III to his mother in the winter of 1776 and in it the person of Fin Button is largely featured. The perspective offered by this letter (dated January 7th, 1776) is a fascinating window into the events of that winter aboard the Rattlesnake and I’m happy to present it on the Letters to Peter page for public examination.
Jul - 16 - 2009
It's poker night. It’s 9pm and several of my friends are upstairs having a great time. I imagine there’s at least one cigar being smoked, a few potent potables sitting around on coasters, and a good deal of laughter.
Meanwhile, I’m at the kitchen table with my laptop, it’s quiet, I’m alone, and I’m writing. There’s a big part of me that would much rather be upstairs. I’ve heard a lot of accusations in the last few months that I’m antisocial because I don’t go out to fellowship with the other guys very often and instead choose to spend those evening hours writing.
It’s not a matter of being antisocial, though. It’s a matter of self-discipline...Read the entire post
Jul - 15 - 2009
Editing is going well, but it doesn’t go as quickly as I’d like. I’m basically working two jobs, only one of which pays actual money. The other is writing. I’m generally able to get two or three hours of work done on weekdays which, for me, is just enough time to get my head in the right space before it’s time to head to bed. So anything at all that manages to get done during the week is a minor miracle.
On Saturday and Sunday I try to get in 6-8 hours each day and it’s the only span of free time I have that’s long enough to let me really sink down into what I’m doing and think of things in big picture terms. It’s the long days when the good stuff tends to come. It’s also the long days that make me wonder how much more I could accomplish if I could get rid of the need to make money at a real job. Any patrons out there looking for an artist? Let’s talk.
For those that wonder what the editing process is like, I thought I’d provide a glimpse of what’s keeping my nights and weekends busy.
Here’s a paragraph as it appeared in the manuscript when I submitted it to my editorRead the entire post
Jul - 12 - 2009
This past weekend I was rummaging through a used book store in Providence, Rhode Island and came across some great buys.
The first book that caught my eye was entitled Naval Knots and Them What Tied ‘Em. I’m always on the lookout for a good old fashioned knot book and saw right off that this was a keeper. It was written by Heathcliff G. Sanderson who most of you will recall was the Knottier-in-Chief of the Department of the Navy in the early 19th century and coined the famous phrase, “Knot without a fight!” during the War of 1812. Naturally, I snatched this little treasure up and added it to my library.
The second find of the day was...Read the entire post
Jul - 04 - 2009
Until last week, it hadn’t occurred to me that the Dead Letter Office in Washington, D.C. might hold some long lost correspondence concerning Fin Button. I’d passed it over in my research because the office wasn’t established until 1825, long after the golden age of Fin’s career, and the overwhelming bulk of letters that end up there are destroyed.
You can imagine my surprise then when I received a call from a rodentially-voiced clerk of the office who reported that in the process of searching for a hidden supply of doughnuts he chanced across a brittle and yellowed letter bearing the initials “FB”.
Though the clerk could not explain the existence of a letter in his file cabinet that predated the office by fifty years, he was kind enough to send it to me for further study. Upon my own inspection I was delighted to learn of its authenticity, yet somewhat saddened to know that its intended audience had never set eyes upon it.
The letter (dated Christmas Day, 1775) has been carefully transcribed and it is presented on the Letters to Peter page so that you may read that which Peter LaMee, regrettably, could not.
Jul - 01 - 2009
While I was on vacation, Kate (my editor) was hard at work. After just beginning to wrap my brain around the things I talked about in yesterday’s post, I came home from work today to find a whopper of an email waiting for me. She finished her edit!
I spent a few hours skimming through the newly edited manuscript and I like what I see. It’s marked up with scads of comments, corrections, and suggestions. I’m a happy man. I’m also a man with a lot of work in his future. I’ll spend the next couple of weeks...Read the entire post