Sale on Sail!

by wjw on May 24, 2015

to_glory_ariseMy first published novel, To Glory Arise, originally titled The Privateer when it was first released, will be on sale for the next week for a mere $0.99.  It’s available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Google Play, Smashwords iBooks, and (for those of you on the Indian subcontinent) Flipkart.

The book is jolly good fun, though it has to be admitted that I’ve become a better writer since.




by wjw on May 19, 2015

So I have an ebook promotion coming up, and I’ve been uploading new versions of some of my ebooks to the various sites.  The new versions have clickable links, which means that if you like the book, you can immediately click on another book by me and and download it.

(And that is certainly an advantage etexts have over traditional books, for sure.)

Anyway, I’ve had no problem uploading up the revised files, except on Kobo.  Because Kobo refused a couple of the uploads, telling me “We can’t upload your book,” without saying why.  Which is no damn help at all.

After wasting an hour or so trying brute-force tactics mixed with fiddling with the files to try to guess what was objectionable, I realized that I probably wasn’t the first person to have this problem, and I decided to use magic and invoked Google.  Which gave me the solution.

Now Kobo sells ebooks exclusively in epub format, a format used by all ebook providers but Amazon, which employs mobi.  Kobo wouldn’t accept my epub files for reasons best known to itself, but it will also translate to epub from files in other formats.

Ah.  You see where there is going, yes?

So I used Calibre to translate my epub file to mobi, which is Amazon’s format, and then I uploaded the mobi file to Kobo, which doesn’t sell mobi files.  But Kobo converted my mobi file back to epub, which it then allowed me to place on sale.

Because artificial intelligence, right?  Right?

I feel a little less threatened by the Singularity now.



Texas Joik

by wjw on May 18, 2015

When you’re joiking, you’re joiking alone.  But not in this case.

Joiking is normally an a cappella art form, but here Wimme brings a rhythm track with him, for a song as big as all Texas.

I’m not sure where the picture comes from.  It’s not the album cover, anyway.

But what I’d like to know is, why isn’t this the state song of Texas already?

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by wjw on May 15, 2015


“I just love singing my blues.”

He lived 89 years, and he toured constantly till just a few months ago, and he could make a guitar weep.  I saw him a number of times, and he was never less than a standout, even when he was opening for someone else.

Sirius Radio’s blues channel is playing B.B. 24 hours, and I’ve been listening all day, but it has to be admitted the thrill is gone.



The Broken Road

by wjw on May 14, 2015

The+Broken+RoadI’ve just finished The Broken Road, the long-delayed third volume of Patrick Leigh Fermor’s memoir of the walk across Europe that the 18-year-0ld Fermor took in 1933, just after Hitler took power in Germany.

I have mentioned the earlier volumes, A Time of Gifts and Between the Woods and the Water elsewhere, and added a little appreciation of my own on hearing of Fermor’s death, at the age of 96.

Though the books are a window into the personality of the bumptious young protagonist (as remembered by his mature, writerly self), and a fascinating description of a Europe that no longer exists, perhaps they are best appreciated as an exercise in pure literary style.  The writing is so luxuriant and rich that maybe it’s best taken in small doses.  Reading straight through would be like living for a month on a diet of raspberry Bavarian creme.

Fermor worked on the third volume for something like 35 years, and never completed it.  The manuscript was edited after his death into its present form, and it’s still incomplete.  When Fermor set off, in 1933, he was walking to Constantinople (the name he preferred to Istanbul), and while Fermor arrived, his manuscript does not— it leaves him walking down the Black Sea coast of Bulgaria, still forever on his journey.  The editors then added extracts from his journal of a subsequent visit to the monasteries of Mt. Athos, in Greece— young Paddy’s journal is less highly wrought than the mature Fermor, but still worth reading.

The first two volumes featured young Paddy off on a journey, but Volume III finds him dawdling in Bulgaria and Romania.  He’s in interesting company, and he always makes interesting observations, but there’s no sense that he or his narrative is actually going anywhere.

Still, it’s a lively world that he inhabits, and he’s always interested in the odd ethnic or linguistic group, and their histories.  In his chapters on Bulgaria he discourses on Pomaks, Kutzovlachs, Arumans, Kizilbashi, Ladino-speaking Sephardim, Uniats, Paulicians, Bogomils, and Vlachs, as well as less exotic Greeks, Gypsies, and Turks.  And these are as nothing compared to the subculture of Russian castrato taxi drivers he finds in Bucharest.

Fermor kept journals throughout his trip— and judging by the extracts on Mt. Athos, they were extremely detailed— and most of these were left behind in Moldova when Fermor marched off to World War II (where, naturally, he became a celebrated partisan fighter and decorated hero).  But the journal on Bulgaria and Romania actually turned up, and maybe it inhibited him to some degree, reality proving a check on his unfettered literary imagination.

So I found The Broken Road a bit of a disappointment, but only in the sense that a 9.6 Olympic performance is disappointing in comparison to a 9.9.  The third volume of the trilogy may be a bit of a letdown, but it’s still head and shoulders above anything else.



May 12, 2015

I’m variously occupied at present, what with one thing and many other things, so I thought I’d give you a pretty picture to look at.

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Days and Days

May 10, 2015

It’s Mother’s Day here in the States, so I thought I’d post a photo of my mom, on the right, enjoying a typical evening with her pal Sylvia Aakre. It occurs to me that my idea of a fun time just might be hereditary. Mom met Sylvia at university, where they were both studying to […]

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Superhero O.D.

May 8, 2015

I saw Age of Ultron, and I’ve reached Episode Seven of Daredevil, and so I’m pretty well experiencing a superhero O.D.  right now.  What I’ve learned from both is a lesson in the limitations of the superhero genre, even if you gussie it up with A-list actors and a $250-million budget. I’m enjoying Daredevil, and Charlie Cox’s take on […]

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May 6, 2015

My longtime friend Nadine Panache is a badass baker.  For my birthday one year she created a cake of a sculpted Dracula lying in his sculpted coffin.  (I was born around Halloween)  For another friend, born on the anniversary of the Titanic sinking, she built a sinking Titanic going down by the bows, with little […]

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Princess Whatzername

May 4, 2015

So the entire world, apparently, is holding its breath waiting for the Windsors to make up their minds about what to call the latest Blessed Event.  Public opinion seems to be holding out for “Victoria,” which is certainly keeping it in the family. But I think the Windsors should go a little more 21st Century […]

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