Friday, April 22, 2011

The Shadow Warriors Now Available on Amazon Germany

The best news yesterday.  The Shadow Warriors, set in Germany, is now available on the Amazon Kindle in Germany.  See link to the right of this post.  I am nearly beside myself, because logic would dictate that a book set in Germany (Goettingen) should be available there.  And a book set at a university might tempt university students and faculty who read English. 

Other good news this week:  The literary journal Kansas City Lights is publishing  memoir piece about my grandmother.  My grandma was proudly from Kansas.  So is my heroine, Emma.  She always stops to notice flowers and gardens.  

Sometimes the stars do seem aligned.  The lilac has flower buds.  Last year, not one, and the year before only one.  This year, it looks loaded.  A pair of cardinals in the yard, and the cute little swamp (?) sparrow has a mate.  Ducks in the slough.  My cup runneth over.  Spring in New England.  Glorious.  The cats sleep upstairs in the sunlight streaming through the bedroom window.   They sniff spring at the open window.

Now I'm thinking of putting my Ruegen book onto the Kindle, too.  Set mostly on the island of Ruegen in the Baltic in midsummer,  with different characters, and also a computer crime novel (loosely), the story  hasn't found a home in the U.S.  By now it is an historical novel of technology.  Remember CD-ROMS?  That generation.  Before skysat phones. Before lots of technology.  

Here's a scrap of a Shadow Warrior's scene from a somewhat drunken university party on the occasion of Verna's graduation.

Raucous-voiced onlookers toasted Verena as she frugged wildly next to a man with bleached blond parted-in-the-middle-hair and a dark, bored face. Earlier, they had swept across the floor in an inhibition-shedding Lambada. Interesting that Verena celebrated her intellectual achievement with such a blow out. Vivacious and happy, she looked good tonight, with clear skin and legs slimmed by dark stockings. 

Every novel has a crazy party, some skinny dipping and a little weed.  Popular culture reigns.  
Street Sceme in Göttingen in the Weenderstrasse, the Fussgängerzone

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Cafe Amalfi

Cafe Amalfi

The original "Cafe Amalfi" was around the corner from Symphony Hall in Boston and served uninteresting food, if I may damn with faint praise.  I did like the name.  I set several scenes in Goettingen at the above cafe.  The scene below is the last time Emma the narrator sees Lumomir Titov, "Luby," the Bulgarian spy and Hacker who has bedeviled her throughout the book, mocking her as "Mrs. Robinson," a reference from the movie The Graduate.  The name "Luby" came from a very nice man at my old tennis club in suburban Chicago, nothing like the real character.  A writer  is a shameless thief and books are all the better for it.  When Luby mentions the Berlin film festival, I had recently been there and he is mouthing my impressions, to a degree, but of course from a East Bloc country's point of view.   Here is the scene.   

The tranquil garden, with orange nasturtiums cascading along the fence, and subdued classical music soothing the diners, emphasized the unreality of this encounter. Later the memory of this lunch would be like a fantasy that rose genie-like out of my wineglass.
            Balakov, sitting as impenetrable and in-your-face as the Wall dividing Germany, continued to talk. "When I first traveled to the West, my earliest business took me to Berlin. February. So cold and dismal, and yet, I wondered if I had arrived in a time machine. Everyone, men and women walked about wrapped in leather or fur. What a wonderful Stone Age tribe! So elegant, so brisk. I was eager and raw then, an underdog hungering for the opulent capitalist bone, so meaty and full of fat. There would, I hoped, be no more gristle to chew.
            "The film festival occupied every theater. I joined the audience, and gazed at the images on the screens until late into the night. In a cafe on the Kurfürstendamm, I ate a bowl of strawberries from California, large red berries with tasteless white centers, completely void of the essence of strawberry. Consider. The illusion of strawberries in winter. A miracle to a man used to cabbage, carrots and potatoes!"            
            "Why are you telling me this?" I asked.
            He didn't answer.
            The waiter cleared the table, and looked mournful when he noticed my barely picked at plate. I ordered a double espresso.
            Balakov lifted his glass again, and with a faint smile said, "And here's to you, Mrs. Robinson..."
            He cut off my protest. "I will always think of you as Mrs. Robinson."
            "That night at the disco…” I began.
            "With your young friends. You danced with that cyber-punk from the Institute. Your little group was very drunk. I envied your camaraderie, your carelessness. The young man was quite enchanted, and I thought, what a dangerous woman, my Mrs. Robinson." 
            Balakov slid two twenty mark notes under the olive oil cruet and stood up.
            "Auf Wiedersehen, Emma Lee Davis-Robinson. Give Mr. Weber my regards. Do not ignore my counsel. Good fortune is a variable, not a constant."
            "I don't understand,” I said, almost pleading.
            His bitter smile conveyed nothing. Later I tried to think if heeding his or Marlies' warning would have changed the progression of events. Nothing would have changed. The clocks ticked on. The daemons waited. Momentum and inertia are forces with their own immutability.
            I never saw Georgi Balakov again.