Red over Red

Red over Red

Sunday, December 12, 2010

New Book Blues

I was listening to A Prairie Home Companion tonight. They had former poet laureate Billy Collins on. He was talking about his forthcoming new book. He quoted a writer friend of his who said, "Having a book forthcoming is the calm before the calm."

Hearing that I nearly busted a gut laughing, not good when you happen to be driving on a country road in the dark and pouring rain. But I thought it was a hoot, and very insightful. I suppose you have to be a writer or married to a writer (my wife laughed hard too) to truly appreciate it. There is such a sense of anticipation as the publication date nears. You haunt the bookstores waiting for the volume's first appearance (the books that they anticipate will be best sellers often have what they call a "one day laydown," meaning the books all arrive at stores on the same day. Guys like me have to wait for them to trickle in), then brace yourself for the flood of positive reviews, interviews, author tour. And then...not so much.

That's not to say the phone never rings, the good e-mails don't come, the speaking invitations don't arrive. But unless you are David McCullough-esque in your stature, there is not so much fuss made about your new book as you think is quite right.

But we can change all that. Next March 1, be on the look out for this book:

And check out my web site, for upcoming author appearences.


  1. So, it looks like you will be visiting Ft. Ticonderoga twice in September. That gives us plenty of time to plan your inaugural kayak paddle with the Malden Yacht Club. You wouldn't want to deprive them of a chance to kayak with a REAL writer, would you, Jim? Don't worry; we haven't lost any of our guest paddlers ... yet.

  2. My father was a prolific writer of history for 40 years and whenever a new book came out we all got a copy and were both proud and anticlimactic at the same time.It was always a sort of hurry up and wait. The one thing he always regretted was that he never kayaked with us. Jim, don't go through life with the same nagging writers regret. Who knows, maybe it will an inspiration for a new book.

  3. All right, all right...

    I've done a lot of canoeing, but I have to say I have never put my size XXXL rear end into a kayak. Still, you guys might persuade me yet.

    Isn't the water of Lake Champlain pretty damn cold in September? Not that there would be any chance of my going in the water, right?

  4. "Isn't the water of Lake Champlain pretty damn cold in September?" This question coming from a resident of Maine !?! I thought that Maine held the patent for cold water, and all the other states merely attempt cheap copies of your state's liquid frigidity. So, I guess that the answer to your question is, No, the water isn't cold (at least not by Maine's standards).

    Actually, the nature of Lake Champlain has an interesting effect on its water temperatures. Several years ago, we paddled in the deeper waters off Willsboro Point during Memorial Day Weekend, and the water temperature was in the forties; during the same weekend, it was in the sixties in the shallow waters by Ft. Ticonderoga. I guess that if you're willing to paddle with us, we should probably let you choose which part of the lake, as well as the watering hole to visit immediately thereafter. As for getting wet, well ...