Friday, November 30, 2007 

You Just Can't Beat The Classics

My daughter is learning to play the cello, which I'm sure will one day sound beautiful but for the moment sounds like a small animal having its internal organs gnawed out by beavers. We take her to lessons at a local music store, and when it's my turn to take her, I always channel my inner fifteen-year-old and head straight over to the rows of guitars. I'll throw on some headphones, crank up the distortion, and wail out a little "Ain't Talkin' 'Bout Love" or "Sweet Child O' Mine." (Anything with apostrophes.)

The other day, I was hanging there when six or seven little early-teen goofballs came in, half with dirt-lip moustaches because they weren't yet sure how to shave. They picked up the twelve-string guitars and immediately launched into "Over The Hills And Far Away"--the exact same song I play when I grab the twelve-string. The road goes ever on and on...and I can tell my kids that I was right, my music IS the best. Hell with Hannah Montana, it's all about the Zeppelin, baby.

Thursday, November 29, 2007 

The New Musical Obsession: Sonny Landreth

Music hits you in the strangest places. (Yes, sometimes even the groin.) Last night, I was walking into the den to shut off the TV for dinner when some music caught my eye (and ear). PBS--left on by my Dragon Tales-obsessed son--was playing the full concert of Eric Clapton's Crossroads Guitar Festival from this past summer, and some cat was completely tearing up the stage with a combination of amazing fretwork, slide, and melody--three things that almost never go together. I was freakin' mesmerized. After getting hollered at by the entire family to GET IN HERE, DINNER'S GETTING COLD, I did a little research on the web and found that the dude's name was Sonny Landreth, the tune was called "Uberesso," and hey presto, here it is:

Not bad, huh? Check out some of the other videos where he hangs with Clapton Himself. (Clapton's got a habit of coasting musically, but when a big-time player challenges him, he comes up huge.) Far as I can tell, Landreth's never released this particular song commercially, but he's got some other great material out there, which I immediately vacuumed off iTunes. And go check out, where he's got some free stuff for download. (It's in the "Lagniappe" section.)

Great music. Oh, and yes, I'm well aware of the fact that I'm trolling PBS for music means I'm old and in the way. Tough.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007 

Incursion #1: The Commentary Track

Incursion #1’s been out for almost a week now, so you should all have your copy. So now it’s time for the first of what will, hopefully, be many DVD-style commentaries on my comics. I’ll do up one of these for each issue, giving you a little insight into the creative process behind the books. And away we go…

Incursion’s my first hired-gun book, the first one where I didn’t come up with the idea and push it through to completion. Which was, to be honest, very nice. Work-for-hire’s got its critics and its drawbacks, but it also means somebody else is playing production traffic cop…and signing checks. I got hooked up with Incursion thanks to Sean O’Reilly, top dog at Arcana Studio (which published my 2006 miniseries Sundown: Arizona) and newly-hired VP at Platinum. Sean called me this past summer—like any struggling young writer, I think I was actually on the golf course when he called—and offered me the gig. Obviously, being a struggling young writer, I accepted on the spot.

Platinum had some detailed notes for the four-issue series that they wanted me to work off of, but they—led by editor supreme Dave Collins—were more than happy to let me wander a bit from the prescribed path. The book was created by Platinum head honcho Scott Mitchell Rosenberg, and its original title was “Twilight War Book One: Incursion,” which ought to give you some clues as to where this whole affair is going. Anyway, let’s begin.

This opening page, with the young Ray wandering out on a tree branch, was inspired by an incident involving my little brother. He climbed a tree and fell out—there was nobody there to catch him, unfortunately, and he landed on the chain-link fence that separated our house from our neighbors. He was fine, but to this day nobody can remember which side of the fence he landed on.

The construction of the opening page—which is something I added in to the original plot—is an outgrowth of my MFA grad school learning. Establish a theme, always a theme. The title of this issue, which wasn’t included in the credits, is “Balance.”

Next, we’re in Afghanistan. The Packers reference is because the Packers happened to be on in a preseason game when I was writing the script. There is no real-world analogue to the girlfriend story, which is a shame.

Back at Edwards Air Force Base, I tried to channel Warren Ellis with my explanation of how the XCE works.

“The Billies” is my own creation for Afghan rebels, an oblique reference to “The Skinnies”—the term for the Mogadishu rebels that brought down American planes in Black Hawk Down. Hopefully I didn’t accidentally back into some racist term.

My artist, Axel Medellin, did a good job with the badass pictures, huh? Check that one on the bottom of page 6.

Page 8—That’s the old English-major theology influence coming out there with the story of the monk and the knight. I was surprised at how well it ended up fitting into the overall theme of the story, but sometimes you get lucky that way.

Ray’s hint on page 10 of not sharing everything with his own men…you don’t think that’s going to backfire on him, do you? Not at all…

The scene on page 12 where the billies show up in ever greater numbers is a direct reference—I mentioned it in the script—to that scene in Return of the King where you see some orcs popping out of the ruins of that old city waiting for the charge of the heroes from Minas Tirith, and every time they cut back to the orcs, there are more and more and more of them, and you can’t imagine how there could be any more, and then there ARE, and then you think, oh boy—our heroes are screwed…

Page 15—Wait a minute! How the hell did Kyle’s dog tags end up in California? All will be revealed…

Page 18—My grandfather used to have those clicking-ball office toys…that is, until I slung them so hard that they all knotted up. This is my little way of saying sorry.

Page 19—Whoops. Reid just did the same thing I did to those little swingin’ balls.

Page 20—Whoa! Visual symbolism there in panel 1! That broken cross can't possibly represent anything bad coming down the pike, can it?

Page 21—My favorite demon in this whole thing is the big furnace-throated bad guy there in the top right. If I write another Twilight series, I'm making that guy a key player. Second place is the dude in the center with the sword; he’s either wearing two eyepatches or some sunglasses. Either way, he’s a badass.

Page 22—Zombies. Everybody loves zombies. How can you not?

And then we’re done. Oh, wait, the ads. First off—Kade. Hmm. Interesting character, that Kade. And later on, Scott calls my work “nothing short of brilliant”—thanks, man! And I can’t recall the last time I was called “up and coming,” but hey, that’s cool too.

Here endeth the commentary for the first issue. No. 2’s scheduled to drop—man, that’s an unfortunate sentence construction—sometime in mid-December. Order now!

Monday, November 26, 2007 

The Endorsement: The Dark & Stormy

So how was your Thanksgiving? Good? Turkey, family, shopping, blah blah? Great. I spent a significant portion of mine in a pleasant buzz thanks to my personal drink of choice, the Dark and Stormy. (Screw the mojito--that's so 2006.) It's Gosling's dark Bermuda rum combined with ginger beer, and if you're lucky, you can pick both up in a handy all-in-one case at your local hooch shop. I got addicted to the things back in the summer of '06, when I accompanied the wife to her business junket to Bermuda. While she attended training classes and such, I drank more Dark & Stormys than water. It was a good trip.

So, yeah...that's what I did over break, and as you can tell from the in-depth content of this post, I'm not yet hitting on all literary cylinders. Anyway, go get yourself a Dark & Stormy yourself. It's a little chunk of Bermuda right there in your glass.

I'll take my endorsement fee now, Goslings.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007 

Sebastian Bach Deserves A Nobel For Figuring Out How To Get Axl Rose Off His Ass

Sebastian Bach's gotta be full on in careful-what-you-wish-for mode. The former Skid Row lead singer just released his first solo album in seven years, Angel Down. And while it's pretty solid post-hair-band metal--melodic with thick bass and doubletracked guitars--all the talk about the album centers on the reclusive yeller who shows up for three tracks, fella who used to go by the name Bill Bailey.

Longtime readers of the site know that Axl's one of my--well, "heroes" ain't the right word, more "fascinations." So, yeah, when I read that Axl was going to be performing on Bach's album, I was there before you could say ooooooooaaaaaaaAAAAAA (cough, cough) OOOOOOOWWWwwwuuughh. (Transcription of 2000s-era Axl trying to nail that opening scream on "Welcome to the Jungle.") Axl duets on three songs--an utterly perfunctory cover of Aerosmith's "Back in the Saddle," a paint-by-numbers Whiskey-A-Go-Go tune called "Love Is A Bitchslap," and "Stuck Inside," a juggernaut that's by far the best of the bunch. Of course, I bought 'em all. The rest of the album is like visiting your old school after years away; it's instantly familiar, completely comfortable, and will annoy the hell out of anybody who didn't live through that past with you.

One of the ironies of this album is that when Skid Row put out its monster "Slave To The Grind" CD back in the summer of 1991, all anyone could talk about was how it was a perfect holdover for the then-delayed "Use Your Illusion." Now, Bach's solo CD is a bit of an appetizer for "Chinese Democracy." Of course, Illusion was delayed by only a couple months; Democracy's going on thirteen years delay. And yes, whenever it does come out, I'll be right there at the front of the line, oxygen line and all.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007 

Getcha Free Taste Of Incursion Here

Another quick post because as the holiday nears, I'm swamped with oh-my-God-where-is-my-article-you-lazy-ass-writer emails. But Incursion #1 is out tomorrow, and I'll be heading over to Great Escape Comics to pick up my copy, along with the Dark Tower hardcover and the second Hawaiian Dick trade. If I had in-laws coming in town, I'd have plenty to read in the crawlspace while I hid out from them.

Meantime, why don't you head over to Platinum's Drunk Duck mini-site and read the first few pages of Incursion? I'll be doing a DVD-style commentary in the next few days.

Monday, November 19, 2007 

"Mister Moore, will you sign my DVD of Watchmen Babies?"


Non-geek translation: Alan Moore, who wrote some of the best comics, like, ever--Watchmen, V for Vendetta, League of Extraordinary Gentlemen--guested on the Simpsons last night as himself. And Moore has a long history of loathing how badly his characters get raped once they make the jump from comics to other media. Hence, "Watchmen Babies in V for Vacation!" Hence, geek-out funny.

Friday, November 16, 2007 

Screw That Lightsaber Crap, Luke Should've Just Busted Vader In The Grill

A little Star Wars silliness to kick off the weekend...

Have a good one, all!

Thursday, November 15, 2007 

Incursion #1 Out Next Week. World WILL Take Notice.

Incursion #1 hits this Wednesday from Platinum. Go get it. Then write me by clicking here and telling me what you think. Anybody that writes gets a copy of the script to issue #1.

Incursion's gonna be the finest book published this year. Don't believe me? Believe this press release, bitches:


Incursion #1 Out Later This Month

LOS ANGELES, Calif., November 09, 2007 – This November, Platinum Studios Comics ( and Jay Busbee capture the gritty essence of sci-fi horror with the release of Incursion. Axel Medellin Machain, a two-time Top 50 Comic Book Challenge ( contestant, joins the Incursion creative team on pencils and inks.

The story opens deep in the battlefields of Afghanistan and culminates in a war-torn dimension known as Twilight. The four-issue series combines thrilling action with rugged humor as our heroes fight to save the souls of humanity. “Our main characters, Sgt. Ray Montgomery and Dr. Rebecca Drake, are under constant pressure to make incredibly difficult decisions,” says scripter Jay Busbee. “It’s been exciting to chart their path from disgrace to redemption as they traverse a warzone not of this world.”

“As the Editor-in-Chief of Arcana Comics and now VP of Publishing and Animation at Platinum Studios, I’ve read many comics in my career,” adds Sean O’Reilly. “I am blown away by the visually stunning artwork in Incursion. With covers by Tone Rodriguez (Radioactive Man), Nei Ruffino (Return to Wonderland) on colors, and Axel Medellin Machain on pencils and inks, this team creates a distinctive visual style that will command the reader’s attention.”

Incursion Issue #1 with cover by Tone Rodriguez will be available in comic stores and on late November.

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About Platinum Studios

Platinum Studios, an entertainment company that controls an independent library of comic book characters from all over the world, which it adapts, produces and licenses for all forms of media, including print, film, online, mobile / wireless, gaming, and merchandising. Platinum Studios’ library contains more than 3,800 characters, spanning a full range of genres and styles, and also includes properties such as, the industry’s preeminent Web comics community. Working with leading companies in the entertainment and new media sectors, Platinum is a recognized leader in the creation of new content across all media platforms.

Platinum Studios - Comics Fueling Media EVERYWHERE!

Platinum Studios Safe Harbor Statement

Matters discussed in this press release contain forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. When used in this press release, the words "anticipate," "believe," "estimate," "may," "intend," "expect" and similar expressions identify such forward-looking statements. Actual results, performance or achievements could differ materially from those contemplated, expressed or implied by the forward-looking statements contained herein.. These forward-looking statements are based largely on the expectations of Platinum Studios and are subject to a number of risks and uncertainties. These include, but are not limited to, risks and uncertainties associated with: the impact of economic, competitive and other factors affecting Platinum Studios and its operations, markets, product, and distributor performance, the impact on the national and local economies resulting from terrorist actions, and U.S. actions subsequently; and other factors detailed in reports filed by Platinum Studios.

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Wednesday, November 14, 2007 

The Evil Atari-Chuck E. Cheese Connection

Terrifying fact of the week, brought to my attention recently by my pal Jordi of The
Serious Tip
: the guy who invented the joy that is the Atari 2600 also
created the godless hell that is Chuck E. Cheese
, apparently to indoctrinate
the young'uns into loving video games. (Apparently, back in the olden days,
people were actually concerned that kids wouldn't take to video games like rats to

Anyway, in honor of this little factoid, here's an Atari quiz for y'all to
jones on:

Tuesday, November 13, 2007 

Some Treasures To Excavate On iTunes

So here are a couple things you ought to seek out on iTunes, 'cause they're, you know, good:

-First, check out the Camp Jam All-Stars' "Money In A Card (This Christmas Day)." Camp Jam's a rock-and-roll fantasy camp run by a couple friends of mine, including Jeff Carlisi, the former guitarist for .38 Special. One day I'll tell the story of how he taught me how to play "Hold On Loosely," which, for an '80s kid, was nirvana itself. (The state of being; the group was still several years off.) Anyway, this song is by a bunch of kids from the camp, and it's well worth your 99 cents.

-And speaking of 1980s salvation--the gods of my high school music, Led Zeppelin, have finally reached iTunes. I've got all these albums, some in--no joke--LP, cassette, CD and MP3 versions, but you know what? I'll probably buying "Mothership" anyway for the car. You should get "Over The Hills and Far Away," "Immigrant Song," and "Fool In The Rain" right now.

-Finally, iTunes is deep into audiobooks at this point. If you happen to spend a whole lot of time in traffic--I don't, ha ha ha--pick yourself up a few of these. And start with Brad Meltzer, a great writer of thrillers and comic books, and a hell of a nice guy besides. (His readings are not to be missed.) All his books are on sale, and for a little while, you can get The Millionaires for free. Free! Get it! Now!

Monday, November 12, 2007 

Norman Mailer, R.I.P.

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usNorman Mailer died Saturday. Not an entirely unexpected occurrence; the guy was 84 years old. But a tragic one nonetheless. Mailer was a singular American writer--as he himself would be the first to tell you--heir to the writer-as-tough-guy tradition of Hemingway. He penned some of the finest works of the twentieth century, including the apotheoses of both the war novel (The Naked and the Dead) and creative nonfiction (The Executioner's Song). He jammed himself right into the middle of most American conflicts of the mid-twentieth century, everything from Vietnam to the Rumble in the Jungle. And like Hunter S. Thompson, he always reminded you that he was right there during it all, shaping it in some way himself.

It seems Mailer could never be what people wanted him to be; he'd wriggle out of expectations and frustrate the hell out of those who supported him. He was both Voice of a Generation and shrill curmudgeon, relentless Author With Big Ideas and pretentious self-promoter. But here's the important thing about Mailer--he tried. He shot for immortality, and if he perhaps reckoned his genius a little too pervasive, well, so what? Better that than the mewling, whining neuroticism that consumed American fiction in his wake--if I ever met Raymond Carver, I'd've kicked his minimalist ass for the damage he did to literary fiction--and better to dream big than to continue staring at your own little world, day after day,
year after year. Mailer gets these kinds of snide swipes from pissant little writers who hide their terror at confronting big questions behind dismissive irony; check out this obituary for evidence. Tom Junod's profile of Mailer from earlier this year wondered about this phenomenon, too, and Junod delivered a fine verdict on Mailer, even if most current writers won't.

Just a few weeks ago, in New York, Mailer put forth the basics of his own bizarre theology and notion of the afterlife. I don't quite get it--it seems kind of jury-rigged together--but hey, it's Mailer, which means it's worth at least considering. This week, I'll dig back into The Naked and the Dead and mine The Spooky Art, his book on writing, for a few more insights. And then I'll raise a glass to the man. Probably won't be stabbing my wife like he did to one of his, though. That would be a bit much.

Thursday, November 08, 2007 

Flickadaweek: Flags of Our Fathers

Stephen Spielberg's got himself a mini-World War II franchise going, what with Saving Private Ryan, Band of Brothers, and now ("now" being a relative term) Flags of Our Fathers, the Clint Eastwood flick Spielberg exec-produced. All of these works have some themes in common--the nobility of the soldier, the equivocation of the higher-ups, the skeevy weaselishness (is that a word?) of the rear-echelon chickenhawks at home. They're also all filled with brutal battle scenes--no "Sarge, tell my girl I love her!" as a soldier gently closes his eyes here.

Flags focuses on the way imagery can be manipulated in wartime to produce the desired bloodlust in the American public. (Man, I'm having a hard time seeing how this could possibly be relevant today.) In this case, the image is the famous flag-raising on Mount Suribachi atop the tiny Pacific island of Iwo Jima. Interesting thing is, that photo was staged--the actual flag-raising was done long before. And several of the participants in the "real" flag-raising died in insurgent attacks before the photo-op one occurred.

The movie jumps back and forth between the battle for the island and the battle for public perception. The military wants the flag-raisers stumping for war bonds, and the soldiers themselves feel a range of emotions from survivor's guilt to glory-hounding. In the end, however, the movie strives to answer the question of Why...Why would these men--boys, really--sacrifice themselves for a chunk of land thousands of miles from home? It's a question that never would have occurred to pre-Vietnam filmmakers, but it's a question every war movie simply must ask now.

Eastwood told the other side of this story in Letters from Iwo Jima, which I'll watch soon and offer up for analysis here. Till then, go check out Flags of Our Fathers...and try not to sit on a couch and eat chips and salsa while you do so, or you're gonna feel seriously guilty. Trust me.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007 

Gather Round, Kids. Got Some Wisdom For Ye.

Hey, wanna learn something about writing? No? Then beat it, punk, there's educatin' goin' on here. This is the text of an interview that my pal Eric Angevine (visit his site) did with me. Eric wrote the whole thing into a fine article, but I, uh, kind of lost it. Sorry. Anyway, here's the raw feed. Enjoy.

What’s the most powerful attribute a writer can develop - style? a thick skin? Sheer, plodding, bloody-minded persistence?

Good question. All three are important, as is a good sense of what makes for a good story, and also what Hemingway called the “bullshit detector”—the ability to know when what you’re writing just sucks, and needs to be put out of its misery. However, of all those, I think persistence is the most important. A writer can get by without a whole lot of style, can get by being overly sensitive—but no writer gets very far without persistence. Even the crappiest Harlequin romance or by-the-numbers spy novel was created by somebody pecking away hour after hour, day after day.

You started out at William & Mary. Did any of your experiences there contribute to your ability or desire to write?

Absolutely. Main thing was writing for the newspaper. I was the sports editor there, and had the freedom to write pretty much whatever I wanted. It was a weekly paper, and I wrote a weekly game-picking column which, now that I think back on it, was really the Cro-Magnon version of what I’m writing these days on Right Down Peachtree—sports knowledge shot through with pop culture references and rampant smartassery. And this was eighteen years ago. Too bad there wasn’t an Internet back then, huh?

You also went to grad school (Memphis?). Do you feel today like that experience honed your skill set?

Yes, and in some unexpected ways. Grad school for writing can have a pretty rigid code of behavior—back when I was there, third-generation Raymond Carveresque nihilistic minimalism was all the rage, and the writing style (fictionally speaking) that I specialize in—black comedy, in the style of Carl Hiaasen—was looked down upon. I spent a lot of time—and wrote a really bad novel—in an attempt to create what I, at the time, thought was “serious” literature. It took me awhile to recognize that just because my talents didn’t run in certain literary directions didn’t mean my stories weren’t worth writing. So, from that side of things, I learned to follow my own voice, even if everybody else wanted me to speak a different language. (Hey, metaphor!)

But that paints grad school in a far too negative light. More than finding my own voice, I got exposed to a full range of others. I dug deep into every kind of literature I could get my hands on, and I got taught its nuances by experts in the field. You might not think that Virgil or Shakespeare or Gabriel Garcia Marquez would have much to do with sportswriting, but it’s all writing, it’s all creation. It’s all using language to craft something out of nothing. It may be an epic tale of love and loss, it may be ten goofball sentences on what Michael Vick and Van Halen have in common. But if there’s truth behind the effort, if there’s style behind the execution, they’ll both pay off. And that’s the kind of insight and instruction that I couldn’t have gotten on my own.

Was your first published piece about sports, or something else?

Technically, my first published piece was in the Atlanta Journal when I was in third grade, but that was part of a school project. (I analyzed school lunches. Deathless prose, it was.)

I think my first published piece outside of school writing (I was on the high school paper) was for a weekly neighborhood paper—one of those kinds that specializes in high school sports scores, garden club meetings, and overheated reports of City Council town halls. I did do sports for them, mainly because the sports editor there was an extremely cool guy and gave me my first lessons in dealing with coaches and players. (Lesson No. 1: They need you as much as you need them. Remember that, even if they don’t. It’s a lesson that’s served me well when dealing with pro athletes.) But I started out writing about high school football and basketball, swimming, track, whatever.

From there, though, I spent an awful lot of time in the “Living” and “News” section of the paper. I spent about six or seven years writing book and music reviews, doing investigative pieces, doing long-form creative nonfiction, stuff like that. Sports always seemed to draw me back, though, and even now it’s the part of my career that’s consistently breaking big.

Good God, this sounds egotistical. I swear I’m not this much of an insufferable bastard in real life.

How much of your daily routine is devoted to contacting editors and pitching stories?

Not nearly enough. I’m fortunate in that I’m at a point in my career where editors come to me with assignments, or I have standing assignments (columns) at multiple locations. And just keeping up with those can be daunting and time-consuming enough that I don’t pitch as much as I should. You’re supposed to spend up to 20 percent of your time pitching for new assignments; I’d say I probably do, at best, half that. God bless the Internet, though; it’s a lot easier dropping an email than the old-style way of mailing a query letter with a SASE (self-addressed stamped envelope) and waiting three, four weeks for a reply…or none.

How much of your daily routine is devoted to interviewing subjects? actually writing?

Depends on the article for interviewing. For a 1,000-word article with three interview subjects, you’re looking at probably 30 minutes for each interview, 30 minutes of prep time, an hour to 90 minutes per interview of transcription and editing, and another 2-3 hours of compiling the whole mess into a readable article. I probably work about 50-55 hours a week and spend about 35 of that actually involved in physical writing tasks (which includes editing, interviewing, rewriting). The rest is pitching or planning. Oh, and scanning the Internet. That counts as work, right?

I have a list of “dream publications” that I would like to see my byline in. Who’s still on your list? Do you feel like those remaining names are attainable?

Hell yeah, I have a list. Rolling Stone is at the top of it. Sports Illustrated. The New York Times. The print versions of ESPN and Esquire (I’ve made it into the .com versions). And yes, I think it’s possible to get in. It’s a matter of combining good timing, good luck, a good pitch, and a good pipeline to the right editor.

I’m having a hard time envisioning the process of writing a graphic novel. Since most of your deathless prose is turned into visual art and word bubbles, how much background and development do you have to write in order to keep the overall story real & coherent?

Depends on the artist and what I’m trying to get across. “Hero punches villain in the face” is pretty straightforward. But if I’m trying to get across a mood, if I have visual symbols that are necessary to the story, I’ll write a paragraph of prose for each panel in a comic page. All of that doesn’t have to be cute and literary; it’s the equivalent of stage directions in a play. The artist is the only one reading that, but he’s in many ways the most important audience of all, because he’s the one who’s got to communicate my vision to the masses.

Comics/graphic novel writing requires a lot more precision than anything else I’ve ever written—you’ve got to compile your story into 22 pages, 4 to 6 panels per page—there’s not a whole lot of room to get flowery in your dialogue.

How did it feel to score the winning touchdown? (sorry, started feeling like a sideline reporter there).

Well, you know, I first have to thank my Lord Jesus Christ. And I wouldna gotten nowhere without my teammates. These guys have the heart of champions, you know, and when everyone was doubting us, we wasn’t doubting ourselves. We took what they gave us, we gave 110 percent, we played ‘em one game at a time, we…you look so cute. I wanna kiss yew.

You are currently writing a book, with a second on the way. Is there much tweaking of the idea during the proposal process, or did your concept come through fairly well unscathed?

I got incredibly lucky—the book I’m writing on the Georgia Bulldogs was suggested to me by my agent. He was having lunch with an editor who noted that SEC books always sell, but there hadn’t been a good Georgia one in awhile. So I got to thinking, and boom, the idea sort of blew out of my head full-grown.

My agent—who friggin’ rules—knew that the editor wanted the book. So he packaged it as a two-book deal—you want the Georgia book, you take another one by my boy. So I sold the entire Braves book on the basis of a single paragraph in an email.

The proposal itself, for both books, hasn’t changed significantly, no, so I was fortunate in that regard. But it did require a lot of prep work before I was ready to show anybody.

Have you always been good at meeting deadlines, or did you have to develop some new skills?

Decent, yeah, not great. I’m always looking for new ways to streamline what I do. And I’m having to resist the many temptations that are out there—the Internet, the TiVo, the Playstation, the whole bit. My major problem is one of overcommitment—taking on too many projects without finishing off the ones I’ve already committed to.

Interviewee’s choice - Your chance to wax poetic about how your family has inspired/enabled you, and stuff.

Hmmm…how about “Why does someone so devilishly handsome chain himself behind a computer in solitude?” No? So we’ll go with the family one. I was lucky enough to grow up in a very stable two-parent family in suburbia—lucky from a “good psychological foundation” perspective, but bad in the sense that I didn’t get that dark, brooding sense of imminent doom that torments and haunts most artists. However, I came from a large family, meaning that I had to be quick, loud, focused , and funny in order to get heard…all elements that have served me well even today.

Now, I’m lucky enough to be married to an insanely talented and driven wife who’s a partner in a law firm. She’s also an ex-UVa English major, so she knows enough to be able to tell me when my writing is just garbage. She’s completely supportive of my work, and there’s no way I could get as far as I have without her. And she doesn’t even know I’m writing this…but she probably should. It’d get me out of trouble once.

My kids love checking out my writing, but they’re spoiled little punks. I shamelessly abused my press pass to get them down close to the field before a Braves game and got Jeff Francoeur to come over and say hello and sign their stuff. Now, they’re pissed that I can’t get John Smoltz to come to their birthday parties.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007 

Who Did What To The Who Now?

Ever watched little kids on a playground? (If you're a single guy without kids, it's probably best not to answer that.) Anyway, if you've ever seen those little spinning merry-go-round things, where the big kids push the rails and the little kids hang on in the middle? And there's always one fat, dumpy kid who's trying and trying to jump on the merry-go-round, but always gets thrown off to the side? Well, friends, that fat kid is While the cool kids, like Right Down Peachtree, get the primo spots on the playground and steal everybody's desserts, poor little goes neglected for weeks at a time. What can I say?

Well, I can say that with a bunch of non-sportswriting stuff on the horizon, it's time to get this site back up and running. I've just turned in the final script for the Incursion miniseries, a four-issue comic whose first issue is scheduled to hit two weeks from tomorrow. And I've got a few other comics projects in development and, potentially, back from the dead. Plus, there's some unfinished business on this site--those 23 Shows You Need To Be Watching, for instance--and I've got some good ideas for new posts, too, like where I actually go in and fill in some cultural gaps in my life (really listening to Dylan's Highway 61 Revisited, for instance).

So, yeah--plans are for more to happen here on this side of the fence. And if not, well--blame the cool kids.

And no, there is absolutely no connection between that photo and this post. It's my first LOLCats, and I'm proud of it, so there you go.


Jay Busbee runs Yahoo! Sports' NASCAR Blog From The Marbles, Atlanta Magazine's Atlanta sports blog Right Down Peachtree, and the Southern sports/humor blog Sports Gone South. He also writes for damn near anybody who'll throw him a buck and a byline, and he's at work on the books The Quiet Dynasty: The History Of The Atlanta Braves' Championship Run (2009, Sports Publishing LLC) and God Is A Bulldog: Georgia, Florida, And The Greatest Play In College Football History (2010, Sports Publishing LLC). Click below for more info on his novels, articles, and comics.
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