Rudolph

Publishing

The intertubes are sluggish these past few days, and I can’t determine if it’s due to all the chatter in regards to events happening around the world or an early demonstration of the lack of net neutrality with my ISP. Lots of spinning wheels of various colors and patterns. Opportunities, I suppose, to get out of the chair once in a while. I bought a Fitbit the other day, and have been both intrigued and horrified by what this tiny little device is telling me about my daily activity (or lack thereof).

Rudolph! went to the printer on Friday. What should have been a simple project consumed most of June and July, and I’ve spent so many hours staring at in during the last two months that I’m blind to whether it is any good anymore. I guess we’ll find out in a few months. It’s been a long time coming, in many ways, and if the last year has provided me with anything, it’s been this opportunity to finally get Rudolph! out in front of the world. Over the next week or so, I need to figure out what to do with posters Dylan Todd did.

Oh, I haven’t shared those here yet, have I? Silly me. Here’s a couple.

donner_web

blitzen_web

rudolph_web

And there’s a few hours of updating websites to be done. That’s what happens when more content comes down the pipe. You need to keep making sure word gets out.

Listening to Gus Gus’s Mexico, Bonobo’s Ten Tigers, and Wolves in the Throne Room’s Celestite these days. Saw Guardians of the Galaxy and enjoyed it quite a bit, but it never wasn’t a comic book movie, which kept it from really elevating itself out of its origins. That’s not a bad thing, mind you, but it’s one of the things that the Iron Man films have done well, in my mind. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I’ll queue up for endless GotG sequels, but it would be nice if the antagonist was actually something more than a cardboard villain.

Lazy Sunday wool gathering

What's Been Going On?

It’s a lazy Sunday morning. I should be doing all manner of things (including the never-ending effort to make my lawn not be That Lawn in the neighborhood, which I’ve been doing a bad job at for several years now, so why change, right?). The plan is to go see Snowpiercer tonight, and I’ve managed to completely avoid the trailer and nearly any imagery from the film, which means I’ll be nearly blank slate when it fills the screen. I’m kind of excited about that. Too often trailers show some image that my brain stores, and then when I’m watching the film, my brain figures out where that image goes and a small part of the film is spoiled.

While sorting through my somewhat moribund social media presence the other day, I stumbled upon Klout, which I knew about but had managed to ignore. This time, I shrugged and signed up, though I’m barely more influential than anyone on the street. Maybe it’ll nudge me enough to keep up with making myself visible. It’s one thing to write books; it’s another thing to tell others that you have written. The latter is part of the new paradigm, so I might as well suck it up and figure it out. There is so much wild gnashing of teeth and tearing of hair on the internet, though, that I have little enthusiasm for adding to it. Perhaps, then, there will be talk of kittens and mittens instead.

Or there will be talk of Boris, maybe. There’s a new record out. It doesn’t open with as stunning a song as “Riot Sugar,” and so I’m on the fence about it. I’m not really sure why, other than, you know, “Riot Sugar.”

And the lawn has not mown itself.

Distracted by Warren Ellis’s morning.computer post regarding Blue Ants and Blue Rose Cases, and was reminded that the full Twin Peaks set comes out at the end of this month. It’s been awhile since I sat down and watched the whole thing.

It’s been awhile since I sat down and watched much of anything. The entrepreneur lifestyle, after all.

Closing in on the end of Rudolph edits. Thinking about QUEEN and EVERGREEN. Also thinking about something else called ZERO.

Listening to Tricky’s “Parenthesis”. False Idols is a delightful return of the back alley noir downtempo sound. Also listening to Chris Randall’s new record, floats on air. Delightful Sonorian Chill.

The Dazzling Life of a Publisher

Publishing

I’m sitting in a hotel room tonight, working on vetting a recent scan of a Jack Cady novel with a plastic bottle of Captain Morgan Spiced Rum and really awful cable television for company this evening. This is the gritty in the trenches life of an independent publisher. Terribly glamorous, I know. But sometimes you have to get out and visit your distributor and talk with the sales team. Visit a bookstore or two. See how other places shelve their books. And do some talking about books.

It’s a hard life.

At least I got some time at Aquarius Records. It would have been more satisfying if I hadn’t misplaced my carefully prepared shopping list this morning. But I did all right, regardless. One of the more interesting things I found today was a label called Khrysanthoney, which purports to be “black-pop,” as in black metal shoegazer pop. See? You didn’t even know you were missing it from your life until now.

I also found a used copy of Thomas Pynchon’s The Bleeding Edge at Shakespeare and Co. in Berkeley. The nice gentleman working there was surprised that a) they had a copy, and b) Pynchon was still alive. “They’re teaching a class now,” he said. “They usually only do that when the author is dead.”

For the record, the delightful people at PGW were very kind and supportive, and listened attentively when I ran through the whole Resurrection House spiel again. And then they gave me some preliminary numbers for orders for the fall season, which were in keeping with what I was expecting to hear. After that, they gave me marching orders: Blurbs to find. Galleys to make. Marketing to do.

Back to work.

(Why couldn’t HBO be re-running the first few episodes of True Detective on the few nights that I have access to HBO?)

Post Funk

Ruminations

I spent the last two days in a bit of a funk, brought about by that irksome between project doldrums, a tweaked neck, and a bit of the summer malaise. I attempted to flush it from my system by getting out of the house and spending time with some of my delightful friends, which also resulted in an opportunity to visit Paper Hammer up in Seattle. The storefront of the Might Tieton artistic community, Paper Hammer is chock-full of letterpress goodness. I went looking for ideas that could be used for the print edition of The Potemkin Mosaic and came away with thoughts of accordion books and message bottles.

Otherwise, I’ve spent a few days noodling on the opening of HERE BE MONSTERS. I suspect that’ll go out in a few days and we’ll see what Mr. Agent Man can do with it. I still need to do some more marketing for Queen of Faith, as well as some outreach for Earth Thirst.

I’m spending a lot of time thinking about presentation and new projects and big ideas. But it’s a lot of thinking yet.

Reading: Rob Ziegler’s Seed.
Watching: Justified – Season Four.
Listening: David SylvianGone to Earth [disc 2]; Scylla Unreleased Demos*.

*Wikipedia claims these are a “poor quality bootleg,” but it’s basically Curve as an overdriven garage band playing IN YOUR GARAGE, which is still better than 90% of the crap out there.

Two Podcasts

Author Stuff

It seems like my respite from the word mines was illusory at best, and I should vanish again, but–fighting and clawing against such subterranean banishment–I do have a few items to note before I go.

Writers Cast Podcast. David Wilk and I chatted a few weeks ago about the state of publishing. We touch on The Mongoliad, of course, and I soapbox a bit about the changes I see coming in the publishing industry. Given Amazon’s announcement about 47North earlier this week, you can better understand some of my longer pauses in the podcast. Oh, I wanted to share, but just had no idea when the news would drop.

The second podcast is going to released tomorrow on Bitten By Books. Use this RSVP link if you’d like to be entered in the contest. There will be some quasi-live Q & A stuff going on as well. The podcast was recorded a few months ago by Sandra Wickham over a few Manhattans. It went longer than either of us expected, and if I remember correctly, she let me natter quite a bit about some of the underlying mythology of the Codex of Souls books. Stop by on Friday, download the podcast, and let’s keep some energy alive on these books.

I went into the city last night and caught Boris last night. They stuck to Attention Please and Heavy Rocks (2011) for the most part, including a deliriously noisy 15-minute version of “Missing Pieces” and an awesome opener of “Riot Sugar.” The doorman at Moe’s was using a stamp with the word “JOY” in large block caps, and I’m in no rush to wash that ink off today.

Recent Records

Music

Boris – Heavy Rocks & Attention Please

Heavy Rocks is more the prototypical Boris sound, and “Riot Sugar” should give you metal-stylee whiplash. Whether you want it or not.

Attention Please is surprising, in that it is Boris going all trip-hop on us. With some fabulous results. They have a bandcamp page where you can hear and purchase the records.

UlverWar of the Roses

The exciting thing about a new Ulver record is that I have no idea what it is going to sound like, but I know that it will be interesting. While I don’t mind a certain amount of consistency in my creative consumption, I do like being challenged and I do like it when an artist tries something new. Ulver has been steering away from their black metal roots for some time, and War of the Roses is a continuation of the sonic style of Shadows of the Sun, though with more spoken word ambience. A LOT more. Other than the fifteen minute “Stone Angels,” which goes on for about ten minutes too long in my estimation, it’s a record that is going to unpack nicely over time.

FredrickFlora

A surprising little gem that rotating through quite a lot recently. Swedish dream-pop with a bit of Cocteau Twins, some delicate percussion, creepy but not stabby synths, and lots of airy ambience.

Kate BushDirector’s Cut

A decade after The Sensual World and The Red Shoes, Kate returns to both of these earlier records and redoes the vocals, drum tracks, and does other fiddling with some of the songs. The result is a record that sounds, well, more Kate. Director’s Cut goes a long way to reminding me why I fell in love with her work in the first place.