Sunday, December 18, 2011

A Meeting of the Men!

From the beginning, the experience of having Here Comes Your Man published in Turkey has remained stubbornly abstract for me. Since I've never been to Turkey or met any of the other people involved, my whole journey has comprised a collection of e-mail messages and an artist's rendering of the book cover.

BUT...that all changed this week when I received a package from Istanbul. Beneath its brown paper, which bore the tatters of its 5,000 mile journey to Auburndale, were six gorgeous copies of Senin Erkeğin Benim, one of whom you can see above, getting to know his American cousin. (And for those of you who recognize the swanky photo shoot location: Why yes, we did get new placemats! Aren't they lovely?)

I just can't express how pleased I am with the way Senin Erkeğin Benim came out, and how grateful I am to my new friends at Arunas, who did such a wonderful job with the book. I've been carrying a copy around with me ever since they arrived, convinced that if I stare at its pages hard enough, that I'll eventually begin to understand Turkish.

Until that happens, I guess I'll just focus on the few words that I do recognize. As it turns out, Ding Dongs, Double-Stufs, and Froot Loops are the same in every language.

Friday, October 21, 2011

I'm Your Man!

Okay, are you ready for this?

No, probably not, but it’s coming anyway...

It’s the Turkish edition of Here Comes Your Man...available in November from Arunas Yayıncılık in Istanbul!

As it turns out, the phrase "Here Comes Your Man" doesn’t make much sense in Turkish, so the publisher has aptly retitled the book Senin Erkeğin Benim or "I’m Your Man." If you’re familiar with the Leonard Cohen song of the same name, I think you’ll agree that it describes our hero Garrett pretty well.

It feels a little strange to have my book translated into a language that I myself can't read, but I’m excited about it nevertheless. I'm so excited, in fact, that I’m thinking of hiring someone to translate the Turkish edition back into English, just so I can see what it’s all about. (Based on the cover, it seems like it might be 25-30% sexier in Turkish, no? I’ll let you know!)

And for any of you who are still convinced that I’m making all of this up, you can now view my book's official listing on the publisher’s website. Believe me now?!?!

I’d like to send warm thank-yous across the Atlantic to Gökhan Fırat, Sevgi Çevik, Alevcan Kol and everyone else at Arunas who worked to make this a reality. As a teenager, I dreamt of writing something that would be read in other parts of the world, but I never really expected it to happen. (And now if I can just convince Sting to hire me as his sax player, maybe my teenage self will finally stop sulking!)

Friday, August 12, 2011

I Stand Autocorrwcted (or, Bye Bye Blackberry!)

I do a lot of writing on my phone, so when I finally traded my gusty old Vlackberry foe an iPhone earlier this year, I was worded about how the loss of the phasic keyboard might affect my productivity. A friend put my mind a ease by explaining that, yes, you'll prbababy male more mistakes typing on a touchscreen phone, but the key is to just keep moving and Lerner the iPhone's autocorrect system clean up the mess behind you.

And giddamnjt, he was right—it's amazing how well it works! For example, in tha last sentence, I originally typed "amazng," but autocorrect jumped in and fixed it for me. And then—this is my favorite part—when I backspaced toward the corrected word, the system politely offered my orioknal spelling back to me as if to say, "Oh I'm sorry, would you prefer to look like an idiot? Please, be my guest..."

(Note: In my head, autocorrect speaks in the voice of Academy Award winning actress Emma Thompson. The voices in your head may vary.)

Of course there are times when autocorrext can Ben too aggressive, like someone trying to foodie your sentences but always guessing wrong. This came up recently when my wife and I visited a tapas restaurant and I tried to use my phone to make analyst of the dishes we were ordering. The names were in Spanish, but autocorrect fixed that for us, magically transforming our "Queso de Cabra Montanes" into "Wheel de Caber Monotones." (Alas, monotones were out of season so we had the Armadillos de Pollo instead.)

Most of thr time autocorrect works flawlessly though—so well in fact that i'm becming a sloppier and more imparient typist. Ive gotten so reliant on autocorrext's omniscience that I find myself becoming enraged when it fails to recognize some glob of gibberish I've typed. What?!?! You seriously cant see that "fefiningely" is supposed to be definitely!?!? Are you ducking stipple? Give me a rickety break!

But all in all, I've been delights with my switch to the iPhone. Sure, I might inadvertently ask a friend if they're "untreated" when I mean "interested," or tell them that "I undress" when I mean to say that "I understand," but thabksukky, I havent done both in thr same message yet. And even if I lose a few extra minutes at the supermarket hunting for "Chicano" yogurt instead of "Chobani," I still come out way ahead when you add up all of the frixkignn hours I wasted with my old Blackberry unsuccessfully trying to visit websites or use Facebook or listen to music or rake a decent photograph or, say, accidentally driving to New Jersey.

And really, who needs to write when I can play Angry Nirds whenever I want?

sent from my iPhone

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Arriving Soon: Your Man in Istanbul!

(original photo by dmboyer)

When I got the first e-mail from Istanbul, I assumed it was a mistake.

Call it a case of self-publisher's self-doubt, but I had trouble wrapping my brain around the idea that, after seventeen years of rejection in my own country, an editor on the other side of the world wanted to translate my novel into Turkish.  

He probably meant to e-mail some other author, I thought.

So I reread the e-mail another 15-20 times.
It's probably just a hoax, I told myself. Maybe all of those Nigerian princes have started masquerading as Turkish publishers?

So I checked the publisher's website.
Wow...that's a really convincing website for a hoax. Beautiful, even. Of course I don't understand any of the Turkish, but...

So I checked with my friend Steven Savile, a British author who lives in Sweden. Steve has been published all over the world, and I figured this would give him a laugh.
His verdict: Looks genuine to me, mate. (Unrelated confession: I love it when Steve calls me "mate.")

And I think that's when it finally started to sink in:  
Holy crap. They really want to publish my book in Turkey.

That was three months ago, and while I still haven't been able to rule out the possibility that I'm actually in a coma having an incredibly long and intricate dream, I'm just gonna go with it.

So here it is:
I'm excited to announce that Arunas Publishing in Istanbul will release a Turkish edition of Here Comes Your Man this November!


Several people have already asked if I'll be embarking on a Turkish book tour, and I think the answer to that question really depends on whether any of this is actually happening in the first place. I promise you this much though: if this is all just a crazy coma-dream, then I’ll definitely be touring Turkey this fall, accompanied by Oprah, Lady Gaga, and Lord Voldemort. Oh, and I'll be naked too. (So let's all keep our fingers crossed for that possibility, shall we?)

So anyway...what does this mean for you, my English-speaking blog visitors? The way I see it, you've got two choices:
  1. Take a leave of absence from work and/or your family and enter a full-time language immersion program so you can read the Turkish translation of Here Comes Your Man when it lands this fall.
  2. Buy a copy of the English e-book of Here Comes Your Man for 99 cents today.
It's totally up to you—I will support you 100%, whichever path you choose. But on the off-chance that you opt for #2, I've prepared a handy collection of buying links below.

For a limited time, you can download the original, untranslated, English e-book of Here Comes Your Man to your Kindle, Nook, iPad, iPhone, Blackberry, or Android device for just 99 cents! (Or something similarly affordable in your local currency!)

Amazon US - $0.99Apple US - $0.99
Amazon UK - £0.99Apple UK - £0.99
Amazon DE - EUR 0,99Apple CA - $0.99 US - $0.99

Definitely let me know if you end up learning Turkish though—we'd love to have you on the book tour. Voldemort claims to speak the language, but for some reason I just don't trust that dude.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

A Few Things Google Thinks I Want To Know About Lady Gaga*

*None of these were exactly what I was searching for, but now I can't stop thinking about the last one.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Magnetic Resonance Imaginings

I recently spent some time in close proximity to an MRI machine, and despite my hopes that a freak electromagnic mishap might transform me into a some kind of superhero—MRI Guy? Refrigerator Magnet Man?—I seem to have emerged from the encounter as the same old Derek Gentry that I’ve always been.

However...the experience did prompt me to contemplate the super-abilities that I would enjoy possessing if my life were more like a comic book. And so, in no particular order, I would gladly accept any/all of the following:

Cookie Monster's Bottomless Belly
The ability to eat as much dessert as I want without ever feeling sick or increasing my cholesterol score. (And yes, I do realize that Cookie Monster just makes a big mess without actually ingesting anything, but that's his problem, not mine.)

Julia Child's Time-Lapse Oven Magic
The power to imagine any kind of food and then open the nearest oven to discover a fresh serving of said deliciousness that someone else had conveniently "prepared earlier." (This would pair nicely with the Cookie Monster ability above.)

Bob Vila Reclino-vation
The ability to gut-renovate a house in 16 tidy episodes, all without separating my backside from the couch.

Doggie Doodar
The ability to locate and dispose of piles of dog-doo in the dark without having to step in them first (which is my current technique).

The ability to look at something written in any language and just, like, understand it. (I recognize that this is really just a skill that one could acquire through years of study, but please keep in mind: I'm lazy and impatient.)

The ability to look at Twitter and and just, like, understand it.

Tofu No-Fu
The power to resist ordering tofu dishes in restaurants where they obviously have no idea how to prepare tofu, probably because the cook is such a devoted carnivore that he/she believes that it's actually impossible to make tofu taste good in the first place.

Neil Finn's Voice
The ability to sing along with Crowded House's "Don't Dream It's Over" without my voice cracking and warbling like twelve-year-old. (Honestly, if forced to choose just one super-power from this whole list, I'd pick this one. Sad but true.)

Suitcase ESP
When packing for a trip, the ability to foresee exactly what I will and will not need so I can stop hauling around those shorts that it will never be warm enough to wear, or the jeans it will be way too hot for.

Traffic Clairavoidance
I'd love to know intuitively how to avoid all traffic, but failing that, I would settle for knowing exactly what caused the traffic I'm already stuck in and the name and e-mail address of the person(s) to blame.

1990 Mind
The ability to achieve pre-Internet levels of focus and concentration. (And let's face it—this is the most far-fetched item on my list.)

What about you? What super-abilities would you design for yourself?

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

America runs (into traffic) on Dunkin.

Things which I have personally observed to induce temporary psychosis and/or a flagrant disregard for traffic laws in 41.6% of Massachusetts residents:
  • yard sales
  • Dunkin Donuts locations
Symptoms include: uncontrollable vehicular swerving, braking, and U-turning. May cause pedestrians to dash willy-nilly across busy, multi-lane roadways.

NOTE: Preliminary research indicates that Starbucks locations exert entirely different behavioral effects on their devotees, compelling them to purchase books and music collections that help simulate the experience of being at Starbucks when they are (tragically) forced to be elsewhere.

FURTHER NOTE: The "yard sale effect" appears to increase exponentially with the number of families participating and the volume of broken, worthless crap they have to sell. In case of emergency, please refer to this handy color-coded scale:

single-family yard salechaos
two-family yard salebedlam
three-family yard salepandemonium
multi-family yard sale in a Dunkin Donuts parking lot*anarchy & mass hysteria

*Theoretical scenario only; never tested outside a laboratory environment. (Thank God.)