After putting the wraps on the cover for my 4th novel, Tune Up, last week, I kicked back to watch an international SuperSport race over the Internet, popcorn in hand. Much to my amazement, a strange red and white bike shot into the lead. Not the usual suspects from Japan: Honda, Yamaha, Kawasaki, Suzuki. This was a pointy nosed fire-breathing 675cc triple.
Who would make a bike with three cylinders?
MV Augusta, an Italian marque with a long racing heritage. I heard they had fallen on hard times. But it must have been just a rumor. Because—they won. By 0.001 seconds.
A single thousandth of a second.
A hundred times faster than the blink of an eye.
That’s motorcycle racing for you.
Congratulations to Roby Rolfo and Team Factory Vamag MV Augusta.
Yes. You too can put one in your garage for less than the price of a Prius.
Go Fast, Go Far,
P.S. Click the bike to check out this incredible machine.
Books require research. Some more, some less. But each one gets me out to new places, talking to new people, having new experiences (some good, some well…). Everything a writer experiences, or sees, or smells, or sometimes even just hears about second hand, can suddenly jump into a story and become a key component of a plot. So it was that I recently found myself at my local motorcycle shop.
The Triumph mark was popular in the 1960s for the light weight and power of their 650cc vertical twin. It was used in movies like the Great Escape with Steve McQueen and The Wild Ones with Marlon Brando, and ruled the café racer scene in London that emerged from the now famous Ace Café. The Triumph was far and away the most popular brand to be stripped and converted to cafe racer form by young English riders. So I went in search of Triumphs old and new because my next (fourth) book contains an element of motorcycle culture in addition to the vintage Moto Guzzi that Qigiq rode in Mash Up.
And look what I found.
In 2016 Triumph introduced an amazing new machine with classic looks. I only got to sit on it standing still in the parking lot, but it definitely has cafe racer good looks, from the dropped grips to the bar-end mirrors and seat cowling. At the same time it has modern components (love those gold Ohlins suspenders) and an all new 1200cc engine (way up from the 650cc of the 60s) that promises to be stellar. The bike suggested a number of ways it could appear in the book. But I’m thinking maybe I should get one and do a little riding before making a final decision.
You know, just for research.
The Eric Hoffer Book Award is given to books from small presses, including self-published offerings, to honor freethinking writers and independent books of exceptional merit. In 2009 the da Vinci Eye Award was added to single out books with superior cover artwork.
I’m thrilled that the cover of Mash Up (that integrates math, a violinist, leather pants, and a knife blade) has been selected as a Finalist for the 2016 da Vinci Eye Award. The complete list of this year’s finalists can be viewed here.
A box of Mash Up clues.
Qigiq, Kandy, Ansel and I are honored to be in such good company. We would like to take this opportunity to thank the Eric Hoffer Award team for their dedication to supporting independence in publishing, and for choosing Mash Up in 2016.
The fine folks over at Foreword Reviews have announced the finalists for the 18th annual INDIEFAB Book of the Year Awards. I’m thrilled to say that Missing Mona was chosen in the Mystery category.
These awards are assisted by panels of volunteers who will be working over the next three months to hone down the list to the big winners. I’d like to say thank you to Foreword for selecting Missing Mona, and another big thank you to all of the volunteers who spend hours reading hundreds of books to make these quality awards for self-publishers possible.
Winners will be announced in June, 2016 during the American Library Association Conference in Orlando. I wonder how Mona likes the beach?
P.S. Foreword Reviews is located in Traverse City, MI. Once, years ago, I sailed in a Hobie catamaran regatta there. Hundreds of multi-colored sails on a beautiful blue freshwater bay in good wind was a sight like none other.
If you happen to be in the Austin, TX area this weekend, please swing by the Skylark Lounge for the Austin Blues Society (austinbluessociety.org) International Blues Challange 2016 fundraiser on Sunday (starting at 3:00pm) for some great live blues and a chance to win a free copy of Missing Mona. Long Toe Fowler will be there in spirit to celebrate with you.