Der Altes Broosenbläg
June 26, 2009: Hey, I was at Book Expo America in New York City last, um, earlier this month. Or this Web site was, anyway. There it is, blown up on the wall there on the left, apparently as an example of What To Do when it comes to using the Authors Guild's Web tools. (I should also add here that Sitebuilder works a lot better than it used to.) Thanks, AG!
Also I was at the authors fair at the El Segundo public library in, um, also earlier this month. It's a very nice library with very nice people in a very nice town. They seem to have been good enough to buy copies of books by the authors who showed up.
I passed the time while I was waiting for the event to begin by sitting on a shady park bench, drinking a latte and reading Patricia Cornwell's take on who Jack the Ripper was. Dappled sunshine, light airs from the sea, and sordid murder—what could be better?
April 25, 2009: The Astrodene forum offers up a nice assortment of reviews of books set during the Age of Sail. They speak well of No Quarter and The War of Knives, which naturally is pleasant for me, but you're not here to read about that. You're here to find out what's worth reading in the genre, right? Right! All rightie then. There's a huge number of capsule reviews that give a synopsis, at least, of obscure titles as well as more familiar ones, and the full reviews are thoughtful and thorough. The only problem is that my need-to-read list gets longer every time I drop by for a visit.
April 22, 2009: "The World Digital Library (WDL) makes available on the Internet, free of charge and in multilingual format, significant primary materials from countries and cultures around the world."
I had a link to a swell French map of an attack on Grenada in colonial days, but it seems to have broken.
April 3, 2009: I like that little visitor location map down there at the bottom of the left-hand column on the home page. It gets reset periodically, which means I no longer have to wonder who the single visitor was from the middle of Saudi Arabia.
Check that—I will always wonder who it was. An American serviceman? The imam of that girl I used to know who has taken the veil? Whoever you were, mystery guest, I will miss you *sneef*
Meanwhile I'm glad to see I've gotten a few more hits from Oceania, always nice, along with Ireland again, which is double-plus good on my mother's side. The ones I'm most proud of this time around: Midway Island, the Canary Islands, and Alice Springs, Australia.
Sept. 25, 2008: Age of Sail fan Rick Spilman, whom I met summer before last at the Historical Novel Society con in Albany, New York, has put up a new blog devoted to the genre at Old Salt Blog. What a pleasant fellow he is, not least because he was both kind enough to post the Publishers Weekly review about Peter Wicked, but was also thoughtful enough to mention it to me. Rick totally rocks!
If you're in Santa Barbara this Saturday for the book festival, come on by the downtown library and give me a hoo-roar. Don't be shy, now.
Sept. 9, 2008: Hey, Peter Wicked is finally here, and boy does it look good. Seriously, it does! It's got ships, it's got maps—hey, I'd buy it myself.
In a show of solidarity with myself, I'll be making a rare public appearance at the Santa Barbara Book and Author Festival on Saturday, Sept. 27. Featured authors include James Ellroy and Evan Handler, the bald-headed dude from TV's Californication. He also played Larry in the ABC movie about the Three Stooges awhile back. That's . . . well, that's odd is what is.
Speaking of odd, I've been told (second hand) that I'm too "flighty" to write historical novels. I'm not sure what flighty means in this case, except perhaps "has a different political outlook than I do," though what that has to do with anything, I have no clue. Which, of course, wouldn't be the first time.
I've also been told (in the nicest way possible) that my novels don't make very good textbooks. Which could be because they're novels, not textbooks. But we knew this, yes?
June 5, 2008: I was just reading about how some folks in Massachusetts lost their lighthouse and had no idea where they'd put it. Turns out it's been in California all this time, still keeping ships off the rocks at Point Montara. That's just north of Half Moon Bay, where I'd like to live someday.
I appeared on a panel at Central Library in downtown L.A. last week as part of Library Journal's Day of Dialog event, which coincided with opening day at BookExpo America down the street at Staples Center. About 200 librarians were in attendance. Which was nice, as it's pretty hard to find smarter and pleasanter people than a herd of librarians.
The panel was about the resurgence of the historical novel, which was news to me and pretty much everyone else on the panel, but we ran with it.
Also on the panel, and no doubt the main draw, was Lisa See, whose Peony in Love came preprinted with "New York Times Best Seller!" on the cover. Or words to that effect, anyway.
Also there was Michelle Moran, whose Nefertiti series is doing well. All power to her, as she's charming, funny, lovely, and way smarterer than me.
May 7, 2008: I'd be more diligent about keeping this blog if it weren't so clumsy to use. Helloooo, Authors Guild!
OK, deep breath. Ah, that's better.
Anyway, here's a nice review of The War of Knives in the Journal for Adolescent and Adult Literacy. Also a friendly interview in the same place. (Scroll down a bit to "Interview with Broos Campbell.") Both pieces are by James Blasingame, who not only is a nice guy but obviously superintelligent for liking my books.
Feb. 13, 2008: It were a nautical sort of day around here. Walter the French Guy was kind enough to bring me a model of the Cutty Sark. It doesn't bear much of a resemblance beyond having a wooden hull and three masts, but it looks good on top of the partition between my cell and the hallway. Everyone who walks by looks up and says, "A ship." I never realized they were so observant, frankly. But they're so nice I feel guilty for harboring such thoughts.
Also I came across an online copy of Nimrod of the Sea; or, the American Whaleman by William M. Davis and published by Harper and Brothers in 1874. In the grand 19th-century tradition, Davis goes way back to the days of King Alfred to get a running start on his story. I've only glanced through it, but it has some pretty exciting (and funny) accounts of what it was like to go after a pissed-off whale with a rowboat and an iron spear.
My admittedly limited understanding of copyright law tells me that the engraving that appears above this entry is in the public domain, as its author would have to be about 150 years old to still claim the rights to it.
Dec. 12, 2007: I had to get dressed up (see above) for the company luncheon at the fancy-shmancy country club like we do every year. The bosses are Jewish, but they're good sports about the Christmas thing and always throw us a little party, with a good lunch and free hooch.
I got dressed before I remembered that it was the day of the party. I threw my back out awhile back and I be dog if I was going to go through taking my shoes off and putting them back on again just for the sake of a pair of slacks. So I wore pink and yellow Bermuda shorts with my coat and tie, and I looked pretty good. I know I did because everyone at the office commented on how I looked: "Wow! You look . . . nice."
Joke was on me, though. The party isn't till next week. Har har har!
Nov. 28, 2007: Annnnnd, I've moved yet again! To a small seaside community that I love! Only I can't actually live there during the week, because I have to be near my job in the city. I mean, I could commute for three hours a day, but no. Friday evenings and Monday mornings are plenty.
I try to remember that Daniel Boone was away from his wife for months at a time during hunting season. One time he was gone so long that when he got back he discovered that his brother had married his "widow" and had a kid by her. I think I can handle a few weekdays.
But them kids better look like me, dad gummit.
Oct. 15, 2007: Here we go again. I've moved once more, both to another city and back to my old blog at Blogger.
There's a feed to my author's page on Amazon as well, but I can never find the blame thing. So how can anyone else? This is a great mystery to me, but I think it has something to do with buying one of my books.
Would I subscribe to the Broosenblog? Probably not. But I wouldn't follow me around, neither, and that doesn't stop some people. You know who you are.
Aug. 11, 2007. Luke Y. Thompson, movie critic, actor, director, and tippler around town, mass-mailed everybody in his address book asking for plugs—he's on the cover of this week's OCWeekly—and I thought, "Well, when's the last time he gave me a plug?" April 4, 2006, that's when. And then I thought, "Well, when's the last time I gave him a plug?" Never, that's when. So here it is today. The drawing looks just like him.
Sept. 19, 2007: Good lord, choke—it's been a month since I've been on here. I've turned in the latest draft of Peter Wicked, I've moved yet again, and mostly I'm just a lazy son of a sea biscuit.
Christopher Wofford at McBooks asked me a few questions regarding the new biopic about Toussaint, starring Don Cheadle and Jonathan Rhys Meyers. I don't know much about it, but the crew is shaping up well. Danny Glover is slated to direct, and Angela Bassett, Mos Def, and Chiwetel Ejiofor are aboard. The Internet Movie Database still lists it as in preproduction, though, so who knows if it's actually getting made.
June 28, 2007: Madison Smartt Bell, who knows pretty much everything there is to know about the Haitian Revolution, read The War of Knives and likes it—not least because it was the working title for his Master of the Crossroads. He even wrote a nice blurb, which naturally I've posted in various places around this site.
June 18, 2007: The Historical Novel Society's second North American conference in Albany was a hoot. I met my pen pal Lisa Jensen and swapped a copy of The War of Knives for a copy of her debut, The Witch from the Sea. I also met this scurvy dog.
I also-also met Douglas Jacobson, a super-nice guy. His debut, Night of Flames, about a Polish cavalry officer and his wife during World War II, is due for release in October. He gave me an ARC of it, which I hope to get to soon.
I tried to get autographed copies of C. C. Humphreys's Jack Absolute series, but it was sold out, probably because he kept whipping out the phrase "throbbing blue-veiner" at every opportunity.
Bernard Cornwell gave the keynote speech after dinner on Friday. His talk was way too short, which all in all is probably a good thing.
Diana Gabaldon entertained the troops on Saturday night. Her talk was too short as well. At least now I understand why women are attracted to men in kilts.
June 2007: I’ll be moderating the new author’s panel at the Historical Novel Society’s North American conference in Albany, New York, June 8-10, 2007.
April 2007: George Jepson at Quarterdeck interviews me in the April issue. Quarterdeck is a free newsletter of interest to fans of fiction set during the age of sail.
March 2007: The U.S. hardcover edition of The War of Knives begins shipping. The trade paperback edition of No Quarter is released at the same time.