Signed Copies of THE PERFECT PLACE TO DIE

I’m off to another library meeting today and tomorrow, but I wanted to pop in quickly before I leave to let people know that if they’d like to have a signed copy of THE PERFECT PLACE TO DIE, I’ve arranged with my local bookstore (Devaney, Doak & Garrett) to let people order one from them and ask for a signed copy. If you’d like it addressed to someone, or to have me write a message in it as well, you can let them know that when you order it. They’ll then let me know they need my John Hancock, and I’ll head over on a lunch break to sign the book. They’ll then ship it out to you (or of course you can just pick it up at the store, if you’re local.)

You can order it at this link.

I realize this information comes a bit late for many of you, and rest assured I’m happy to sign copies when I’m out and about across the country, but I wanted the procrastinators out there to know about the option. Supporting local bookstores is really the best way to go. They have a tailored collection just for your area, the money you give them stays in your area, and that helps a community be stronger. I won’t hold it against you for buying at Walmart or Amazon (as I said yesterday: buy it where you like to buy books), but I did want to put in a special plug for those local bookstores out there.

Let me know if you have any questions!

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Like what you’ve read? Please consider supporting me on Patreon. Thanks to all my Patrons who support me! It only takes a minute or two, and then it’s automatic from there on out. I’ve posted the entirety of my book ICHABOD in installments, and I’m now putting up chapters from PAWN OF THE DEAD, another of my unreleased books. Where else are you going to get the undead and muppets all in the same YA package? Check it out.

If you’d rather not sign up for Patreon, you can also support the site by clicking this PERFECT PLACE TO DIE Amazon link. It will take you to Amazon, where you can buy my books or anything else. During that visit, a portion of your purchase will go to me. It won’t cost you anything extra.

Movie Review Roundup: Tag, Mississippi Burning, Brubaker, Changeling, No Sudden Move

I just got back from Utah last night, and you know what that means: lots of time sitting on a plane or a bus with nothing much to do other than watch movies. (Well, technically I suppose I could write, but my headspace is nowhere near capable of writing when I’m flying.) I watched five movies in total, and I’m here to tell you all about them. (More or less.)

First up, we have Tag, a movie loosely based on a real-life game of tag that went on for years and years, as the group of friends grew up and got jobs and just kept playing. It starred Jeremy Renner, Ed Helms, and Jon Hamm, and it was diverting but ultimately nothing more than a bit of fluff. Fine for distracting a librarian as he trekked across the country, but not much more than that. It felt like it was trying really hard to be raunchier than it needed to be. I think there could have been something really fun there if they had leaned into being more of a family movie than an adult comedy. Instead, they threw in lots of drug references and language. 5/10.

From there, I decided to try something a little more weighty. I’d heard good things about Mississippi Burning, and I was in no way disappointed. The film (from 1988) loosely depicts the true story of three missing civil rights workers in Mississippi in 1964. Willem Dafoe and Gene Hackman play FBI agents assigned to investigate the case, which quickly uncovers deep-seated racism in the town. The director (Alan Parker) uses the movies as a vehicle to explore that tension. I found it compelling. It won the Oscar for Best Cinematography, and it was nominated for six others, including Picture, Director, Lead Actor, and Supporting Actress. 9.5/10, though be aware that there are some very disturbing depictions of racial violence. (I was also discouraged to see how much of the language and ideologies expressed in the movie back in 1988 are still thriving 33 years later.)

Next up was Robert Redford in Brubaker. The 1980 movie is again based loosely on history, this time the career of Tom Murton, who unveiled a huge prison scandal in Arkansas in 1967. Redford plays the part of the new prison warden (based on Murton), who comes find out what’s wrong with the prison and try his best to fix it. The actual depictions of prison life were vivid, but I felt like the movie was quite heavy-handed in its Message. Characters seem to be either Good or Evil, and that fell flat for me. That said, it was still a solid movie in most other respects. 7/10

On the way home, I started with Clint Eastwood’s Changeling, because apparently after Tag, all I wanted to do was watch historical movies. This one stars Angelina Jolie as a mother whose son goes missing in Los Angeles in 1926. After weeks of searching, the police find him, but when they present him back to Jolie, she immediately sees he’s not her son. Unwilling to admit their error, the police insist she’s mistaken. It’s the sort of thing you’d think has to be made up, and it only gets away with it because we know it isn’t. I very much enjoyed it. 8/10

And finally, I watched Steven Soderbergh’s new No Sudden Move, starring Benicio Del Toro and Don Cheadle. This one follows the tangled mess that’s left over when an underworld robbery goes south. The movie was definitely twisty turny, actually to the point that it felt too convoluted. In an ideal world, reveals in films like this feel obvious in hindsight, but there were several steps where I was just confused by a twist, not enlightened. (Also, it has Brendan Fraser in a supporting role. It felt like forever since I’d seen him in a movie. He put on a ton of weight, whether for the part or not, I don’t know.) I thought I’d finally watched a non-historical movie, only to discover at the end of the film that actually this one had some roots in real world events as well. Go figure. 7/10

And that’s that! Movies: the one thing that get me through airplane travel.

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Like what you’ve read? Please consider supporting me on Patreon. Thanks to all my Patrons who support me! It only takes a minute or two, and then it’s automatic from there on out. I’ve posted the entirety of my book ICHABOD in installments, and I’m now putting up chapters from PAWN OF THE DEAD, another of my unreleased books. Where else are you going to get the undead and muppets all in the same YA package? Check it out.

If you’d rather not sign up for Patreon, you can also support the site by clicking this PERFECT PLACE TO DIE Amazon link. It will take you to Amazon, where you can buy my books or anything else. During that visit, a portion of your purchase will go to me. It won’t cost you anything extra.

How to Support an Author

Folks, The Perfect Place to Die comes out TOMORROW. I am, needless to say, very excited. AndI keep having people ask me what’s the best way for them to support me. (Thanks, all!) I appreciate the question and the sentiment, though of course I also tell them to just go and buy the book (or borrow it from your library!). But beyond that, there are a few items I could highlight.

First and foremost, the best way to support an author you like (or a book you like) is to tell other people about it. Not in an annoying way, where you go around telling everyone they need to buy the book to the point that all your friends begin to avoid you. Rather, share a link to it on social media. Write a review of the book on your Facebook wall, or on your blog, or over at Amazon or Goodreads. Once you’ve written those reviews, share them online. One person buying the book is great, but for a book to really have legs, the word has to get out there about it. Reviews and word of mouth really make a difference.

As far as where to buy the book goes: it doesn’t make that much of a difference to an author. We get the same cut, no matter where you get it. I personally would recommend buying it from your local independent bookstore, simply because by supporting those stores, you support a wider variety of places to buy books. More places to buy books = more books being sold. But really, you don’t have to do anything special to support an author in terms of where you buy. (Though if you are going to buy on Amazon, if you buy at this link, then I get a cut of that sale above and beyond my royalties, because Amazon.)

One thing to note: it DOES matter when you buy the book. Books are often judged by how well they do in their first week. The more people who buy it then, the better for the book. So if you’ve already decided you want to buy the book, then buy it right away, rather than procrastinating. 🙂

With all of that out of the way, I’m really looking forward to you all having the chance to read the book this week. I hope you enjoy it. It’s been a long time in development, and I’m proud of how it turned out. Thanks for reading!

Adventures at Flagstaff

Sorry for the lack of posts for the past few days. I’m entering a busy stretch here. I’m off to Utah tomorrow, and then I’m heading to Machias a week from today, and I was up at Flagstaff Lake camping for the past three days. So the good news is that this hasn’t been a stressful busy stretch, but it’s going to busy nonetheless. (And seriously: I am so out of practice flying. The anxiety I get around it seems to have gone up a few notches over COVID.)

But camping was lovely. Flagstaff Lake is about an hour north of where I live. It’s famous for having been a site of controversy back in the 40s or 50s. There was a town by a much smaller lake at the time, and the government decided they needed to dam the lake for reasons that aren’t quite clear to me. When they dammed the lake, it submerged the town completely, so some of the time you’re boating around, you can actually see asphalt roads beneath you, as well as (potentially) buildings. That’s kind of creepy to me, and I’m sure I could have made it into a wicked scary ghost story one night, but I held myself back.

Creepy drowned city aside, the place is absolutely lovely. We saw bald eagles and loons and tons of frogs (which made Daniela very happy). We went fishing (caught yellow perch, but that was it) and canoed all over the lake, going swimming and just generally having a blast. The weather was about as ideal as you can get (unless you prefer really hot weather for swimming). Mid 70s and breezy during the day, 50s at night. It was mostly clear, though we did have a bit of intermittent very light drizzle. It cleared out enough at night for some star gazing, and that’s always fun as well.

I loved the fact that our site felt very remote, even though it was easy to get to: just a half mile canoe paddle. The site itself was huge. We had five tents scattered around the area, and it could have held many more if it needed to. Just one picnic table though. There were some boats out on the water passing by now and then, but other than that (and a random guy who walked through our site once to go swimming with his dog), the place felt empty.

Camping is definitely something I don’t do a lot, and in some ways I came back home well-rested, and in other ways I’m just plain exhausted. I know when I got back yesterday afternoon, I didn’t want to do anything other than lie there like a slug. Every time I closed my eyes, it felt like I was back on a canoe. But on the other hand, it was so different from everything else I do that it felt like I could approach what was waiting for me from a better position.

The kids all had a great time, and I’m chalking the trip up as a big success.

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Like what you’ve read? Please consider supporting me on Patreon. Thanks to all my Patrons who support me! It only takes a minute or two, and then it’s automatic from there on out. I’ve posted the entirety of my book ICHABOD in installments, and I’m now putting up chapters from PAWN OF THE DEAD, another of my unreleased books. Where else are you going to get the undead and muppets all in the same YA package? Check it out.

If you’d rather not sign up for Patreon, you can also support the site by clicking the MEMORY THIEF Amazon link on the right of the page. That will take you to Amazon, where you can buy my books or anything else. During that visit, a portion of your purchase will go to me. It won’t cost you anything extra.

Olympics: COVID Style

I’m a self-confessed Olympics junkie. Whenever they’re on, I just can’t resist watching them. It doesn’t really matter which sport, and while I generally cheer for the USA, I also root for Germany and Slovakia, and I’m a sucker for any come-from-behind, underdog story. So you would think I’m really looking forward to tonight, when the opening ceremonies kick everything off. (Well, technically it’s already happened, but I generally go for watching the evening highlights. Why? Because I’ve watched the live feeds before, and while NBC’s coverage frustrates me from time to time (since it ignores some sports and usually focuses just on the American angle), they do a very good job of giving context to the sports. Without context, they aren’t nearly as impactful.)

But instead of being 100% hyped, I’m . . . unsure how I feel. On the one hand, Olympics! Yay! But on the other hand, this is going to be an Olympics with very few spectators, held in a country where 83% of the people said they didn’t want them to take place. And that was back in May! It feels in many ways to me like the rest of the world is just sort of forcing the Olympics down Japan’s throat. The country’s at the start of a third wave of COVID, and there have already been multiple reports of athletes coming down with the disease.

I look at rates around the world still, and right now things look like anything other than “COVID is over.” I know people don’t want to go back to masks and social distancing, and I also realize that many people in America are convinced the vaccine is part of some government ploy, but what in the world are we going to do? In the US, my best guess is “nothing.” People will refuse to go back to masks and quarantine. People will refuse to get vaccines. Unvaccinated people will begin to be hospitalized in droves and then die, and then maybe that might convince the unvaccinated that they really maybe better change their mind.

Or maybe that scenario will be totally wrong, and I’m worrying over nothing. For the moment, I’m vaccinated and almost all the people I know are, so I feel somewhat at ease, even if I’m still worried this all results in vaccine-resistant strain of the virus. (Wouldn’t that be fun?)

But I digress.

How can the Olympics do anything but hurt Japan? They get almost none of the tourism dollars. None of the spectator dollars. They’re forced to do something they don’t want to do, and they’re going to lose around $20 billion for that privilege.

So where does that put me? Probably watching to see how they go, but also hoping that things don’t get too bad? I’m going to watch them, because if everyone boycotts watching them, what does that do? It makes what Japan is going through even more terrible. To have them do it all anyway, and then have it all be for nothing? That sounds horrid. But I’m really hoping NBC or the IOC or someone is doing things to help the country out, because this feels very wrong to me, no matter how excited I may want to be to watch some good sports drama.

What do you think?

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Like what you’ve read? Please consider supporting me on Patreon. Thanks to all my Patrons who support me! It only takes a minute or two, and then it’s automatic from there on out. I’ve posted the entirety of my book ICHABOD in installments, and I’m now putting up chapters from PAWN OF THE DEAD, another of my unreleased books. Where else are you going to get the undead and muppets all in the same YA package? Check it out.

If you’d rather not sign up for Patreon, you can also support the site by clicking the MEMORY THIEF Amazon link on the right of the page. That will take you to Amazon, where you can buy my books or anything else. During that visit, a portion of your purchase will go to me. It won’t cost you anything extra.

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