What book are you reading right now?


Armada left open the possibility of a sequel, so maybe when Ernest gets done with the Ready Player One sequel, he can start on that.

Just minutes ago, I finished One Last Adirondack Summer by Heidi Sprouse. It’s about two friends that met when they were about eight, always spending their summers together, and always being there for each other, no matter what. They are so close that they become blood brothers and a part of each other’s families. On many occasions, John’s family helps Tommy more than his own family does.

When John gets a call from Tommy with four simple words in it, John drops everything to go see his friend. At the hospital, Tommy makes his request: get him out so they can spend one last summer together.

The book’s pretty emotional and filled with flashbacks of the memories the two friends have made over the years. There’s times I’ll get a little choked up when I’m reading something that most people would think is nothing. This story makes me feel that it’s okay to do that and it’s definitely not nothing.

I recommend that after you finish the story, read the afterword, then go back to the first couple of pages of the book, and check the back cover again. You’ll figure it out.

I was able to meet Heidi Sprouse last year. It was just random chance that I found out about it. I had something else planned that didn’t work out, so I searched for other places to go to where I was at and the bookstore in town had an author’s event for her latest book, which I think was the one just after OLAS. I got to talk with her a little bit and see all the friends and family that had come to meet her.

She’s a very fast writer, with about a dozen books published since 2014 through Salt Run Publishing. She’s got a mix of genres, with romances, historical fiction and suspense thrillers so far. I picked up her “Lost in the Adirondacks Series” at the same time as this book and got signed copies on all four.


On the soon-to-be reading list, The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl: 2 Fuzzy, 2 Furious. Just released. There’s an inteview with the authors on the marvel website that ends with this question:

Marvel .com: Finally, would you say the fact that Hydra uses Comic Sans for party flyers is a dead giveaway of their evilness?

Shannon Hale: It’s a good point. Hydra is good [at] a lot of things, but graphic design is not one of them.

Dean Hale: We just googled “evil fonts” and chose the first one that wasn’t legit demon script. Or not OBVIOUSLY demon script, anyway.

I forgot to mention that the Twitter account featured at the front of every USG comic is a valid account: https://twitter.com/unbeatablesg


George R.R. Martin just announced that The Winds of Winter won’t come out until 2019 at the earliest because he decided to write Fire & Blood first to provide more backstory and history for the series. To be released November 20, 2018.


I don’t care how it began. I want to know how it ends.


Well, this is going to be a first. An unabridged audiobook read by the author where wording was changed and whole new sections were added. I only discovered this when I noticed that one of the tracks seemed to have a chapter title that wasn’t in the book and then heard completely new material being spoken.

Usually, it’s the other way around where you get a shorter story if you get the abridged version. I wonder how many more of the audiobooks are like this, where the published novel is an abridged version of the audiobook. It’s going to make it a bear to figure out what changed and I don’t really want to buy Dragon Naturally Speaking to get a transcription of it.


What is the book?


It’s “A Christmas Blizzard” by Garrison Keillor, which is not related to his Lake Wobegon stories. I was just skimming through the first CD, trying to figure out where the chapters started since he didn’t preface them with “Chapter one” and then the chapter title like he did with “Pontoon” from LW. When I pulled out the book, I saw that he had inserted a new chapter before chapter 3, and then I started noticing wording changes in what he was saying for chapter 1, 2 and 4 (three in the book). That’s as far as I got. I will have to read and listen to this later.

Here’s the description from the back cover of the book:

Snow is falling all across Minnesota as Mr. and Mrs. James Sparrow awaken in their modest Minneapolis apartment. She adores Christmas; he loathes it. Even nauseated, suffering from a stomach bug, she years to see The Nutcracker and A Christmas Carol while he years only to fly to Hawaii and escape the joyless joy, the relentless marketing, and that dreadful pa-rum-pum-pum-pum song on the radio. An urgent phone call from his cousin sends James flying off to his hometown of Looseleaf, North Dakota, into a heavy blizzard. As he hunkers down in an ice house to weather the storm, stranded among his loony relatives, his is visited by a parade of figures who deliver him an epiphany worthy of the season, just in time to receive Mrs. Sparrow’s wonderful Christmas gift.

From the back cover of the CD slipcase:

Snow is falling all across the Midwest as James and Joyce Sparrow awaken in the 55th-floor ten-room apartment overlooking Chicago—he, dreading Christmas, and she, adoring it but down sick with stomach flue. He dreams of spending it at their vacation home in Kuhikuhikapapa’u’maumau, Hawaii. But a phone call from his hometown of Looseleaf, North Dakota, sends him flying into the teeth of a major blizzard to see dying Uncle Earl. And there in Looseleaf, home of the Lucifers, he’s confronted by old, dark memories in every corner. Stranded by the storm, he lives in a fishing shack on the ice of Lake Winnesissebigosh where he meets a wolf, the Big-Hair Lady, and a Chinese wise man from the Inner Sunset, each attempting to teach him the great mystery of life. And there, in the middle of the night, taking a sauna with cousin Liz, he conquers fear just in time to receive Mrs. Sparrow’s wonderful Christmas gift.

So there’s another thing I didn’t notice. Where the Sparrows live is different in the novel than it is in the CD. Minneapolis vs. Chicago.

Wait a second here. The publisher’s page for the audio book says it’s Sparrow’s aunt that’s ailing. What is going on with this story? The book I’ve got is the 2011 reprint. It was originally published sometime in 2009 and the audiobook came out in November 2009. Was the novel re-written when it was reprinted in 2011? Or did Garrison really write two different versions of the story at the same time or back to back? Publishers will usually note somewhere on the front or back cover that it’s a “revised and expanded” version or whatever.


Finally decided to delve into Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson. I’m only a few chapters in, but it’s really interesting so far.


It’s an interesting read, and provides a good insight into what drove Jobs.

It also shows he was a complete, total asshole at times.


Much of the time. I like Apple, but totally feel that working with Steve Jobs sounds like a nightmare.


I’m reading Demiurge by Michael Shea, which is a more modern (80s) take on Lovecraftian fiction. Mostly set in a very ‘dirty’ San Francisco and similar.


Yeah, that’s the feeling I’m getting.


Yup. Great marketer, terrible employer (Jobs, that is).


So here’s a first:

Someone who is a professionally-published author liked another author’s book and wrote a fan fiction short story about one of the characters and put it online, then the second author liked it so much that he declared it canon and included it in one of the reprints of his book.

The story is “Lacero” by Andy Weir, who wrote The Martian. You can read it here for free. It’s about how Nolan Sorrento got hired at IOI.

Good luck finding it in the printed book. Subterranean Press did a limited edition of Ready Player One in 2006 and it sells for around $400.00.


Thanks! I’ll have to read that today at “work”.


Two more variations in Garrison Keillor’s books:

  • “Homegrown Democrat: A Few Plain Thoughts from the Heart of America” did change to a revised and updated version in 2006, but that’s identified on the cover.
  • The edition of “We Are Still Married: Stories & Letters” published by Penguin Books has six additional stories and drops one from the edition published the year before by Viking Press. I found that out when I decided to buy a paperback version and checked the chapter list against the hardcover from Viking.

Looks like I might be putting together a buyer’s guide for Garrison’s books. They’re turning out to be like how movies are released on home video. “The Blu-ray version at Target has A, B and C. The Ultra 4K version at Walmart has A, C, D and E. FYE’s Special Edition of the DVD has A, B, E and F.”


I had this issue recently for Hellboy comics. I’ve got the ‘main sequence’ down to a few essentials with only a couple re-buys (on sale for digital copies) but next sale need to hope there’s omnibuses for the BPRD side of the story. Also, contrary to previous belief, many thought to be dead are not. Yay, comics.


A year ago, I posted a message that Peter S. Beagle, author of The Last Unicorn, had filed a law suit against his former agent for $52 million in damages, etc. Since then, there were two updates:

  1. The agent, Connor Cochran, filed a counter-suit against Beagle pretty quickly. It was dismissed with prejudice on November 7, 2017, so no further could be filed. There’s further details on the Fans Against Fraud website.
  2. Cochran filed for bankruptcy on January 4, 2018, the day before the trial was to begin, but apparently it wasn’t a “real” bankruptcy because he says he put all of his income into his companies.

From there, the bankruptcy judge granted an omnibus motion for “relief of automatic stay” to Peter, which means Peter is a step closer to getting his rights back.

The bankruptcy court sent him to Chapter 7 liquidation in May instead of the Chapter 11 restructuring attempt he wanted. The website I linked to also includes details about a group of investors that are also owed money and points out that the common tale in all of his dealings is he says “it’s way more complicated than anyone knows” and then blames others when he doesn’t deliver on what’s promised.

The Conlan Press website shut down in June 2018, so anyone that ordered/pre-ordered items from them going as far back as 2005 (and had been waiting for them for years) will likely never get them. Part of what was supposed to be available was an updated version of The Last Unicorn with a new chapter and some artwork. The chapter was finished by Peter but the sketch by Connor never arrived, so the book was never completed. One of the people that ordered it was going to give it as a gift to his wife, but she died from cancer last year. The buyer wrote, “Connor Cochran not only cheated me of my money but he stole that unique gift and that moment in time that’s never coming back. Connor Cochran has stole[n] from me something that cannot ever be repaid.”

As of last month, Cochran is Pro se (self represented) for law suits and bankruptcy proceedings. Has been dropped by a total of five lawyers since 2015. This link shows that there are no details about the Avicenna company’s expenditures to Peter, other than Peter got 10% instead of what should have been 50/50 between Cochran and Peter.

There is a lot more on the Fans Against Fraud website, but the last point I’ll make is amongst the claims Cochran made is during the time he supposedly had no income, he was bragging about investors wanting to be part of a Last Unicorn musical and a live-action remake.


The Outsider by Stephen King… Only about 100 pages into it but man! Hooked.


After watching the Maze Runner trilogy, I decided to brave the books, and it was good reading too.

Ookson did not like the parts in the movies where the Cranks started to get really active (but he’ll sit through How to train your Dragon). Think both kids will enjoy reading the Maze Runner trilogy (and there’s also a prequel ‘the Kill Order’ which I’m starting now.)