Today is a "Bestseller" Day …

When Beauty from Afar first came out, I was afflicted with Amazon Sales Rank Syndrome, a phrase I apparently just coined because a Google search for it finds nothing, nada. ASRS sufferers have mood swings linked to the mysterious ups and downs of how their book is doing according to Amazon, as measured by Sales Rank. Hardly anyone, including people in the publishing industry, has a clue about how Amazon calculates Sales Rank.

This morning, Beauty from Afar was at about 16,000, high enough to make it the No. 1 book in the “Plastic Surgery” category at Amazon. Yippee, huh? BFA has been as high as about 900. It also, on occasion, plummets to 400,000 or so. Continue reading Today is a "Bestseller" Day …

Quoted on CNN.com | Surgery Overseas

CNN.com did a nice piece today on traveling outside the U.S. for cosmetic surgery; I knew it was coming because the writer, Neil Schlecht, interviewed me a couple of weeks ago. I’m quoted briefly in the story, as an expert, and my book gets mentioned.

Neil apologized a little for the brevity but we both know that’s the way things go, what with editing, rules about space and length, etc. Neil found someone going to South Africa for surgery (hence, “safari” in the headline) … which was interesting to me because most of the recent journalism about medical travel has been focused on the Far East and/or Central and South America. South Africa can also be a fine destination but it gets more attention as such in the U.K. than it does in the U.S.

Beauty from Afar” has been out for more than a year now, and it is nice that it still gets noticed and sells pretty well online. Maybe with other books out now on the subject of medical tourism, bricks-and-mortar stores will notice that there’s a growing body of literature and a lot of interest … and they’ll free up some precious shelfspace.

Continue reading Quoted on CNN.com | Surgery Overseas

On the Cover of the Daily Kos

(With apologies to Shel Silverstein and Dr. Hook and the Medicine Show, at the very least. I mean, I may have a lot of apologizing to do for this, but sometimes I just can’t help myself.)

(Meant to be sung and spoken to the tune of “Cover of the Rolling Stone”)

(And, for those who wouldn’t know, Daily Kos is a very popular political blog.)

On the Cover of the Daily Kos

(Spoken: Hey Markos! Hey SusanG! Tell ‘em who we are …

Well, we’re big blog writers, we’re the real outsiders
And we’re cool and hip and slick
We blog about Obama and we blog about Bush
Though we make just pennies a click.
We’re all kinds of nerds, all in love with our words
But the love that we crave the most
Is the love that’s inside me
When I get my diary
On the cover of the Daily Kos
Continue reading On the Cover of the Daily Kos

A. Cat on Christmas

A. Cat passed on a couple of years ago. He was big and white and unruly and benignly despotic. I generally avoid euphemisms such as “passed on,” but I do not have a better phrase for what happened with him; for he simply disappeared, to my consternation and sorrow. But I occasionally saw him thereafter. The first time, he was big as life — I was making coffee and he came trotting out of the bedroom and loped through my kitchenette toward the sliding glass doors that led to the deck, steps and Long Island Sound … and he vanished into the near-blinding morning sun. It was so real that I followed him and, once again, looked everywhere for a cat who was no longer there.

Since then, I have mostly caught him on the edge of my peripheral vision, every once in a while. And I have heard him. He was a bit of a muse and I think that he knew that, and he will forever have a voice and a place in my head, no matter what other characters, real or imagined, walk about in there.

He helped me loads with my first short magazine piece after I returned to writing for print in 2004, enough so that I gave him the byline, which was rather less than he deserved if you look at it rationally, from his point of view. As though yours or mine mattered …

Cats know a thing or two about magic, and A. Cat knew a thing or two more than most cats. There is no doubt in my mind but that he will find his way back into print. I have a folder with his name on it and a dozen pieces in it, ranging from snippets and one liners to completed essays to the first chapter of what could be a somewhat lengthy work of fantasy fiction, which I don’t really write except when A. Cat is too much with me.

Enough foreplay, he’d say. Get on with it. And so … regarding Christmas: Continue reading A. Cat on Christmas

But where’s Yukon Cornelius?

I was driving home on Florence Road in Northampton last night behind someone who suddenly swerved to the side ofBut where’s Yukon Cornelius? the road and stopped. As I slowly went by, I saw the “what-for.” Check out the “Bumble” snow sculpture by Dave Rothstein … at least that’s the credit in the Daily Hampshire Gazette today. But the Gazette is one of those papers that doesn’t put it all out there, online, so you can’t see the picture they took of the “Bumble” with Dave; you’ll have to settle for the one I took this afternoon. (Click on the little photo to make it big, you know you want to.)

If you aren’t getting the “Bumble” reference,you’ve been living under a rock during the holiday season for your whole life. Dave’s creation is the spitting image of the Abominable Snowman from the Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer TV special, which has been showing since 1964 and is the No. 3 answer on “Family Feud” to the question, “What do you associate with the Christmas season?” (Baby Jesus did not make the list, but that is a story for another time.)

Anyway, I think Dave should make a Yukon Cornelius and a Hermie the sorta gay elf dentist, too. But I’ll take what I’ve got. Thanks Dave, you’re a pal.