Friday, October 25, 2013

A post about McGilloway, McMaster, and me

I have nothing to say today, so I'm going to write a newspaper column. You know the kind I mean: the ones the columnist calls "Not that it really matters but..." or "Sudden thoughts and second thoughts," unless he abandons all pretense and simply reproduces great chunks of previous columns. Here's my version of what I'd do if I were a columnist rather than merely what a reporter of pedestrian literary talent once termed "editorial support":

1) The first three words of Brian McGilloway's The Nameless Dead, available in paperback from the folks at Pan (the entire novel, not just the first three words), are a pretty damn good first three words that would make a fine title: "The cadaver dog ... " That makes me want to keep reading.

2) As a follow-up to Thomas E. Ricks' The Generals, I'm reading H.R. McMaster's Dereliction of Duty: Johnson, McNamara, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the Lies That Led to Vietnam. McMaster, a career military man and a scholar, shows a nice reporter's eye for detail in this vignette of the rivalry between Maxwell Taylor, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the Air Force chief of staff, Gen. Curtis LeMay, in 1963:
"LeMay’s bushy eyebrows, sagging jowls, and jutting jaw advertised an irascible personality. Aware of Taylor’s aversion to tobacco smoke, he hung his ever-present long dark cigar out of the left side of his mouth and intentionally puffed the thick smoke in Taylor’s direction."
3) Dana King has posted the second in his series of Bouchercon interviews, this one with me in my capacity as a moderator of panels. I've been moderating for five years now, and Dana's questions gave me the chance to think about interesting aspects of this most enjoyable pastime. I am especially pleased at his declaration that I am "among the Bouchercon moderators whose panels are worth attending even if you don’t think you have an interest in the topic." That's the highest compliment a moderator can receive. Thanks!

Dana's interview with those superb panel organizers Judy Bobalik and Jon Jordan appeared last week, and further interviews with authors, organizers, and readers, all talking about what goes into a successful crime-fiction convention, will appear weekly through December.

© Peter Rozovsky 2013

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Blogger Dana King said...

Thank you, Peter, and thanks for participating. These interviews have been fun and enlightening for me, and I hope for anyone else who reads them them.

October 25, 2013  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

I always write to my panelists after the convention to find out what they thought, what we could have done better, and so on. One panelist, who I think has also moderated panels, offered the humorous observation that he always wants more time when he's on stage, less when he's off.

I'd say that points up the necessity of being brief, entertaining, and to the point.

One panelist this year read a short excerpt from each author's book as part of her author introductions. That sounds like a fine idea, except that it meant that she'd probably eaten up seven to ten minutes before any of the panelists got to talk. If any of the excerpts were necessary, I'd have incorporated them into questions.

October 25, 2013  
Blogger Kelly Robinson said...

For someone with nothing to say, you sure managed some nifty stuff--much better than the columnists you mention.

October 25, 2013  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Aw, shucks, Kelly. Thanks, but we copy editors are just editorial support.

October 25, 2013  

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