Some Things of Interest: 100th Post Edition

I’m reading a young adult novelFair Coin by E.C. Myers, after reading a review on that calling it “Pure, Awesome, Crack.” There’s enough in the review that I don’t need to get to touch on the book itself other than to recommend it (disclosure: my wife works for Pyr, the publisher). It’s not the first young adult novel I’ve read since reaching established adult status. The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman and any number of Harry Potter books come to mind.

If you decide to do it, to finally write the Great American Novel that is so evidently within you, expect a five thousand dollar advance followed by a royalty check every now and then if you manage to sell five to ten thousand copies. Most don’t earn out, meaning they never earn enough money to cover the advance, much less to pay the author anything above. But you do it for the art, man.

If you want to write a young adult novel, expect a twenty thousand dollar advance followed by royalty checks if you earn out. Most don’t, but you’re still fifteen grand ahead of the adult novelist. This is a relatively new development. Adults are joining the already large young adult audience and sales are fantastic. Why?

I speculate that it has something to do with plot. There is a lot less man vs. himself navel gazing and a lot more man vs. man and man vs. nature hitting and scheming. I suspect  that the same thing drives the sales of genre fiction, be it mystery, romance, science fiction, or fantasy. People like stories. Main stream modern literature, and I say this having not read much of it lately so feel free to disagree, has left plot behind. I see a lot of fictionalized memoirs, coming of age retrospectives meant to be read from an adult perspective, and family snapshots. Dog books too. I can’t figure out why, but there seem to be a lot of dog books. This came out a lot more grumpy old man-ish that I expected. I don’t care. Get out of my yard.

I’m not much for cocktails, preferring instead to have whisky or whiskey with ice when hard liquor is appropriate, smug in the knowledge that we are past the need to mask the flavor of prohibition-era rotgut. Sometimes I make exceptions. A friend maintains a changing list of around fifteen original cocktails at her bar and is constantly experimenting. Note the “Tequila Mockingbird.” She macerates the strawberries in tequila, adds pepper infused honey syrup, and a splash of Cava. It’s like she took a whole summer of relaxing in the backyard and crammed it into a rocks glass. The “Walker Percy” is pretty fabulous as well. It should be noted that she makes her own infusions, syrups, and lemon-, grapefruit-, and other cellos. If you are in the Birmingham area, it’s a must try. If I possessed one whit of bravery, I would have written “maintains a fluid list” rather than “maintains a changing list.” Oh well.

It’s always been annoying, but the royal “we” from waiters is in the process of escaping its pet peeve bonds and soaring into outrage territory. “Are we enjoying everything?” “Are we ready to order?” The royal “we” belongs in satirical blogging and castles. Maybe on the battlefield, if you have a lead from the front kind of king. But that’s it.

Don’t be so smug, vegans. There are those willing to go farther than you. At least there used to be... As long as we are talking about literature: Ripped from the pages of Catch 22... This is just cool and I don’t care if it is accurate or not. Neither should you.

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3 Responses to Some Things of Interest: 100th Post Edition

  1. I really love the overall grumpy old man tone of this 100th post. Actually, I just love this 100th post, especially as it will occupy my free Monday with link-clicking. A pleasure and education, as always!

    Here’s to the next 100 (Laphroaig, although that’s only because I’m out of Baileys 😦 ).

  2. Ben says:

    Your Baileys to Laphroaig progression scares me. Next would be turpentine?
    Side note: I’m reading a mystery where really gruesome murders take place under the built over streets of Edinburgh. Your town is spooky.

  3. Being Scottish, paint stripper will do, but I do like the Irish cream. Less a progression, more a “what alcohol is left in the house?” kind of thing. Still, the peaty tones do well for memories of home.

    Is this a Rebus book or something more historical? Edinburgh certainly has a spooky undercurrent. You can’t brick up plague victims, alive, and escape it.

    I visited a commercial studio place, here in Rotterdam, last week. It’s one of the oldest properties left after the second world war and was occupied by German troops. When they surrendered, a gun fight ensued and the German soldiers were overcome. There were still bullet holes in the walls. That place had a very strange atmosphere, even before they revealed the history. Places draped in historic blood are always spooky.

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