Archive for December, 2008

Welcome guest blogger, Dan Krotz

December 15, 2008

There has been much discussion among writers recently about the fact some independent bookstores in Colorado charge from two to four hundred dollars for book signings.  Well, I’ve never run into a bookstore in Arkansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, Kansas, or Texas that does. So, y’all come here to sign.  Here’s one superior independent bookstore that’s a joy to work with whether you are a reader or a writer:

Read the latest newsletter from Dan Krotz, from Sow’s Ear Antiques and Books in Berryville, Arkansas in the next post:

December 15, 2008

The Ubiquitous Pig

The Newsletter of Books at Sow’s Ear

December 13, 2008

On Deafness: Part II

By Dan Krotz

I am almost entirely deaf. I read lips well, and most folks don’t know that my ears work as flaps but are otherwise pretty useless. I can hear some types of music, but can’t hear what’s happening on most television programs. I don’t mind very much. I’ve heard just about everything already and I don’t think I’ll miss hearing it the second or third time around.

I was discouraged to hear (ha ha) that Rush Limbaugh is nearly deaf. I don’t care that he is deaf, but I do worry that people will think that all deaf people are loudmouths and know-it-alls. I admit to being something of a know-it-all, but I keep it to myself unless someone tricks me into a conversation about bailouts or transubstantiation; then I can be a loudmouth too. Rest assured that, excluding Rush and myself, most deaf people are charming, polite, and civic-minded folk.

Why I am deaf is a complicated matter of heredity, forty years of rock and roll and E. Power Biggs, and the departure of tiny little hairs that are supposed to cover my cochlea, which is basically a bone inside my head. My cochlea, in a nutshell, (that is NOT a pun) is bald.

There isn’t anything I can do about it. My type of hearing loss can’t be improved with the purchase of a hearing aid or surgery. Even if it could be improved through those means I doubt that I would pony-up for the chosen solution. When I look at myself I do so with the realization that I am fully depreciated and that much further investment will not be recouped.

That may be sad news to the dentists, physicians, audiologists, and optometrists who depend on our ambition to live forever for their livelihoods, but if I took all my ailments in hand I would become The $6,000,000 Man in very short order. I can’t convince myself that I’m worth that much.

I used to be able to stand on one leg and hop into my socks. Now, I have to sit down on a bench to put them on, otherwise I’ll tip over like a Saturday night drunk. On the whole, I miss hopping into my socks more than I miss hearing. I know that is a self-centered view: my deafness is inconvenient to lots of people while no one except me misses my ability to sock hop.

One form of inconvenience is the intense stare that deaf lip readers focus on speakers, particularly if what the speaker has to say is interesting or important. It can be intimidating to people to be stared at, and it is often difficult for them to distinguish intensity from hostility. On the other hand, if a lip reader casts a friendly, sort of boozy nod in your direction, then you know that chowder is coming out of your mouth. In either case, beware the active “Listener.”

The poet-painter David Jones (1895-1974) became very deaf in later life. His loss of hearing coincided with the Catholic Church’s adoption of the vernacular mass, a change that he deeply resented. ‘They’ve buggered up the Mass,” he exclaimed, in a letter to his friend Graham Greene. “I can’t hear what they’re up to—and I don’t want to!”

Jones’ dissent was partially a defense of orthodoxy, but it also expressed how dependent hard of hearing people become on cues, and on traditional forms of operation and manner. He knew to respond “Et cum spiritu tuo” when “Dominus Vobiscum” was cued up by the officiating priest, but he literally and figuratively couldn’t hear “The Lord be with you” in the vernacular mass. He felt left out and it made him really mad. His anger shows up in his later poems and paintings.

The point being, of course, that change is difficult and even more difficult for the deaf and hard of hearing. That’s probably why I like familiar songs and familiar people and object to adding anything new to my repertory of allotted days. Like David Jones, and most other old guys, I like to hear what I like to hear. Even when I can’t.

Please visit The Ubiquitous Pig at

Now is the time to Visit an Independent Bookstore!

Daniel Krotz
202 Public Square
Berryville Arkansas 72616


December 3, 2008

We can talk more about woman authors later, but not today.

What do the following mystery authors have in common?

Marian Allen, Janice Alonso, Allan Ansorge, Gayle Bartos-Pool, Tony Burton, Austin Camacho, S. M. Harding, Peg Herring, Gary R. Hoffman, M. E. Kemp, Terrie F. Moran, Radine Trees Nehring, Helen Schwartz.

I hope you know, because that means you are already familiar with DYING IN A WINTER WONDERLAND, the Wolfmont Press anthology of short stories featuring both a  mystery and a winter holiday.  The book, recently published by Wolfmont Press  (, is quite an unusual entry in the bookselling world.  Why?  Because authors and publisher know up front that they will make no (I mean 00000) money from the book.  Where does the money go?  To the Marine Corps Reserve’s Toys for Tots Foundation.  It buys toys for children in a holiday season when, especially this year, too many are homeless and without hope of a visit from Santa.

Not only are stories and publishing expertise donated, all the authors and the publisher have been spending personal time and money on book promotion, gathering fabulous reviews, doing high-profile signings, and earning media coverage.  I have been to Kansas City to help I Love A Mystery bookstore open its Toys for Tots campaign (November 15) and had the joy of speaking in front of a welcoming and friendly group of people who heard me talk and then participated by buying copies of the anthology.

I have stood with a Marine in dress blues selling 35-40 books in a Barnes & Noble.  I have visited independent bookstores in small Arkansas towns where selling eight books in one afternoon is a record.  I have even presented the book to friends and acquaintances, one-on-one, and have seldom been turned down.

I wish I’d kept count of books sold.  (I’ve given away several, too.)  But I guess an exact count doesn’t matter.   I just know that the good feeling we all get from doing this does matter, HUGELY.