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Hi again!  I have two bits of good news--

Novels: I have an agent in the U.K. now, who has sold two of my published mystery novels to a large print publisher (Seeds of Time and Death Kindly Stopped) and two to an e-publisher (Who was Sylvia? and His Horror the Mayor).

Blog: The columns I've written for the Friends of the Longmont Library monthly newsletter are online. Below is the link and a new sample snippet.

A Goofy Invention, Some Stupid Rules and a Popular Library Book

You remember Get Smart's joke gadget, the Cone of Silence? Have you heard of a real privacy invention called the Isolator Helmet, meant to give a writer peace and quiet for working? You can buy it on-line for about $35,000. An amusing essay in the August 20th Publishers Weekly sent me in search of information about Hugo Gernsback, inventor, writer, editor, publisher, and the fellow for whom the science fiction award Hugo is named. He founded the first science fiction magazine, Amazing Stories, in 1926, and was known for questionable business practices; his writers received extremely low fees and sometimes none at all. He owned 80 patented inventions at his death in 1967, including the aforementioned helmet. It resembles a diver's helmet, with a box at the mouth for smoking, and an oxygen tank which costs extra. Somehow those two features don't seem compatible.

Speaking of ridiculous. . . . Can you fathom why prisons in North Carolina won't allow inmates to read The American Heritage Dictionary or The Dog Encyclopedia? Book censorship is common in U.S. prisons, and the outlawed titles are sometimes hard to explain. The Authors Guild reports that Books Through Bars, an organization which provides books to prison inmates, had trouble in 2017 with the New York State Department of Corrections denying delivery of books. Since the same policy barred care packages from loved ones, much public outrage led to Governor Andrew Cuomo rescinding the ruling. In Texas, 10,000 titles banned from prisons include a collection of Dave Barry's humor, and the pop-up version of A Charlie Brown Christmas.