Guest contributor: Jim Lang

The Emotional Trajectory of Publishing a Nonfiction Book

categories: Cocktail Hour


lang1. Hey, I wonder what that’s all about. How come I’ve never heard of this?

2. This seems more interesting than it first appears. More people should know about this.


4. I will go ahead and accept your publication offer, but you should count yourself lucky that you are getting this book so cheaply. I’ll remember this when I’m famous.

5. All right, let’s settle in and nail this thing.

6. Humming along so far; at this rate I’ll come in ahead of deadline.

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Goodbye, Joe

categories: Cocktail Hour / Jukebox



Joe Cocker is one of those artists that surprise you when you stop to look: thirty albums over forty years, many of them live. The last one to make a big impression on me was Organic, which came out in 1996, possibly the last new LP I ever bought.  It has “You Are So Beautiful to Me” on it, and Van Morrison’s “Into the Mystic,” among many others, a guy who made hits out of covers repeatedly by revealing the soul beneath the most familiar of lyrics, that hoarse, tuneful tenor, the struttingly spastic performances, the consummate weird.  He just got better as he got older, and maintained a big career dotted with comebacks, something heartbreaking about the guy, but maybe only from the outside.  He died of cancer, age seventy, married to the same woman 27 years, big sense of humor, something dark there, too…  Continue reading →

Lundgren’s Book Lounge: “The Story I Want to Tell,” by The Telling Room

categories: Cocktail Hour / Reading Under the Influence

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Telling room storiesShortly after moving to Portland over a decade ago in an attempt to escape the maw of the Big City that was alternately invigorating and trying to devour me, a friend introduced me to Susan Conley. At the time Susan, along with fellow writers Sara Corbett and Mike Paterniti, was in the early stages of creating a non-profit to support student writers in the Portland immigrant community and beyond, with an eye towards publication as a way to raise the stakes for the writers and the collective consciousness of their readers. Having worked extensively with student-generated publications in the NYC public school system, I was aware of both the potential and the limitations of such initiatives… it seems that many readers and critics find the work of student-writers to be endearing and empowering and yet not worthy of consideration as ‘serious’ literature.

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Guest contributor: Bill and Dave

We Celebrate our 1000th Post!

categories: Cocktail Hour



Hard to believe but Bill and Dave turn 1000 today. 1000 posts. For many years now we have carried on the tradition of blogging started by our great-grandfathers, Ebenezer Roorbach and Ernst Gessner the eighth.  May we live to see 10,000! Continue reading →

Guest contributor: Debora Black

Table for Two: An Interview with Debut Author Annie Weatherwax

categories: Cocktail Hour / Table For Two: Interviews



Annie Weatherwax

Annie Weatherwax

Debora: Annie, if we were really here at Bistro C.V. here in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, where I live, you would be able to see how edgy this place is. It’s a good pairing for your new novel! Let’s go sit at the bar. My friend is bartending this evening. She knows all about the wines—which are fabulous here. And we’ll have the opportunity to sample a nice variety, since I want to find out everything about you and your book. But first, Annie, welcome to Bill and Dave’s Cocktail Hour, cheers and congratulations on All We Had.

Annie: I’m thrilled to be here. Thank you for inviting me and I can’t wait to try a little wine! Continue reading →

Bad Advice Wednesday: Just Write (2)

categories: Cocktail Hour


Blinders are not all bad.

Blinders are not all bad.

Why did I call my graduate class this coming spring “Just Write”? Well, “Just Write, Baby” seemed potentially sexist. And “Just Fucking Write” (which was my first choice) kind of crude. But the point, and I bet you get the point already, is to, yes, write.


I’m currently at work on what I hope is my tenth published book. I have easily that number of unpublished books. In some ways I’ve learned a lot and tend to think in big narrative, shaping material somewhat naturally (if you can call something earned over three decades “natural”) but in at least one very real way things are no different than when I was working on the three unpublished novels of my twenties. What remains the same is the fact that books don’t come into being through theory, through brainstorming, through gentle musing. Yes, all those things help and are necessary but the moment when something goes from a whimsical nothing into the beginning of a book is exactly the moment you start writing it. Not jotting ideas about it. Not considering point-of-view. Not wondering if a book about an amputee from Seattle who works with baboons will sell. And not writing another outline dear god.


Writing, daily effortful writing toward the goal of making a book, is quite different from any of those things. It requires pushing ahead and, if you keep pushing ahead on a daily basis, gaining the known scientific benefit of pushing: momentum. And then, if you are lucky, the Continue reading →

Drawing Kate

categories: Cocktail Hour


Friend of Bill and Dave’s Kate Miles is still roaring around on her supertour (I think). But when she dropped by Wilmington she asked, no pleaded, that I draw her a cartoon head in Bill and Dave’s fashion. Be careful what you plead for, Kate. Just found these, scribbled during your talk here at UNCW….



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