Thursday, April 19, 2012

Levon Helm

Sorry to see that Levon Helm has passed. In a world with a better perspective, he'd have a more prominent obituary than Dick Clark.  Newspapers always worry about how to play obits.  How do you gauge someone's worth after he or she has died?  I was working for the newspaper in Richmond when Jerry Garcia and Mickey Mantle died within (my memory) a week.  I think we played the Mick a little higher, but what a quandary: Many of the Grateful Dead fans probably didn't know who the hell Mantle was, and a whole slew of Yankees fans probably thought Garcia was the guy who founded Ben and Jerry's!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Sleep when I'm dead

One of the more interesting things about being a novelist--or at least doing it the way I do it--is that you are sometimes juggling three books at once.
 Right now, for example, I am getting closer to the pub date for Oregon Hill, which means I just received the bound galleys, which go out to pre-publication reviewers and others. I check those for the kind of glitches that can happen even after reading it five or six times already. (Once, an entire chapter was missing from the bound galleys.  Somebody neglected to click and drag that chapter, I guess.) I'm also lining up readings/signings for August and September.
At the same time, I'm coming closer to the end of the first draft of the sequel to Oregon Hill.  I hope to finish it this summer, after which my wife and most trusted editor, Karen, will read it. Then, I'll act on (most of) her suggestions and polish it.
And, if things are flowing well, by the time I'm through doing all it the readings and signings for Oregon Hill, I will have sent the next manuscript to a publisher.
And it will be time to start assembling the pieces for the one after that, which I'm already thinking about.
At the same time, I'm working on a couple of short stories for two collections.
I do this between about 6:45 and 8:30 most mornings (have to stop then and get ready for work), with occasional longer stretches on weekends.
I'll sleep when I'm dead.