Friday, January 9, 2009

Relocating in 3 . . . 2 . . .

. . . and that's it for Literary Conceits at this web address! I've moved the blog over to homebase at, where it's better integrated with the rest of the content of my home page. (If you type in that address and get the old page, just give it a bit of time for everything to reset. it will work in a bit.)

If you're linking to this blog, please change your link address over to And I'm sorry for the inconvenience.

I'll leave this notice up for a while, before taking this particular site down entirely -- and don't worry, all blog entries and all your comments have been safely relocated to the other site.

Thanks to everyone for reading. More good stuff to come, I promise.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Thanks For The Kind Words....

During the final week of 2008, Friend o' the Blog and Feared Book Reviewer Josephine Damian spent several days over on her blog discussing what she considered the Best Books She Read During 2008. And what do you think was her pick for the best non-fiction book of the year?

Well, it was Gabriel Garcia Marquez's News of a Kidnapping. But to my delight -- and complete surprise -- Washington Irving: An American Original was a close second. Hey, runner up to a Nobel Prize winner? I'll take that any day, thanks.

And to Josie: a big mea culpa for not posting this earlier. I e-mailed her to thank her for the kind words, then didn't get back here to post it.

Thanks again, JD. I truly appreciate it.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Pardon the Mess....

Several readers have e-mailed me to point out that comments on the blog have recently been disabled, and are wondering what's up. Squashing debate? Getting spammed? Tired of the adoration?

Nope, none of the above. I'm in the process -- working with Me Bruddah the Webmaster -- of whisking this blog over to the Mother Ship at We're also working on cleaning up the main site to make it a little more spacious and easier on the eyes. So stay tuned, it won't take long.

In the meantime, if you wanna reach me, shoot me a line at brian (AT) brianjayjones (DOT) com.

A Moment of (Stunned) Silence at Arcade

Last night, I was alerted by Casey, my editor at Arcade, that Richard Seaver -- founder and president of Arcade Publishing -- passed away unexpectedly on January 5. He was 82.

The obituary from today's New York Times is here.

I never had the pleasure of meeting Richard personally, but I knew of his reputation and commitment to making Arcade a top-notch publisher that played with the big boys, despite its smaller size. Richard was highly-selective about the kinds of books Arcade published -- "elegant" was the one word my agent could come up with to describe their output -- and I'll be forever grateful to him for taking a chance on me and my first book.

Stephen Weissman -- whose book Chaplin: A Life was one of the last books Seaver edited -- calls Seaver "a great editor I was lucky to know." My own editor -- who has worked with Richard and his partner (and wife) Jeannette for years now -- was understandably emotional. "I can't believe he's really gone," she told me, "and that I'll never see him again, in his purple shirt and hand-painted necktie, or hear him crack his sometimes truly corny jokes. A light has gone out, and the world is poorer for having lost the brilliant Dick Seaver.

"In the meantime," she added, "we carry on in his memory."

A memorial service will be announced shortly, Meanwhile, his family has requested that, in lieu of flowers, a contribution may be made in his name to PEN American Center, 588 Broadway, Suite 303, New York, New York 10012.

As just one of countless members of the extended Arcade family, my thoughts and deepest sympathy go out to Richard's wife, Jeannette, and their family and friends.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Ringing In The New

Happy New Year! And it's good to be back after . . . yeeks, was it really nearly a week? Well, I missed you, at any rate.

Nothing terribly interesting to note or report at the moment, but here's what's on my mind:

. . . The ice storm that was threatening the DC region passed us by with a only drizzle of rain and a scrim of ice on the windshields this morning. This was much to my daughter's chagrin, who went to bed convinced she would awaken this morning to notices that school had been cancelled. And this is a kid who likes school. She just likes the idea of snow days even more.

. . . It's horribly annoying to watch newscasters cover the Very Important Story of Sasha and Malia Obama attending their first day of school . . . and then have those same newscasters moan and wail about the media coverage of what should be a private event. Mika Brzezinski on the increasingly loud Morning Joe practically dressed down their own MSNBC reporter for covering the story for their very own show. Here's some advice: then don't cover it. You don't get to have it both ways.

. . . Rock Band 2 for the XBox kicks serious ass. Madi, Barb and I set up our own virtual band (which I dubbed Blind Gravy, a decision I made by fiat, since no one was home at the time) and we spend a little bit of time each evening with Madi on guitar, Barb on drums, and me on bass, wailing away at Bon Jovi, Duran Duran, Jimmy Eat World, and Lit. Barb has perhaps the most exhausting role as the drummer, but just when we think she's wearing out -- and therefore ready to stop -- she suddenly brightens and says, "If we can get through a four-song set in Los Angeles, they'll give us an airplane!" And off we go again. I love my family.