Posted by: Barbara

Jack - 07/08/99 03:50 PM

Jack Be Quick is now available -- in some places. Amazon and B&N both have it, but at least two mystery bookstores I know of are still waiting for their shipments.

Anyway, it's sort of out.
Posted by: Jon

Re: Jack - 07/09/99 10:03 AM

Does Amazon really have it? Even a new search (I already had it set aside in my cart for later) says that is it "backordered" and will take 3-5 weeks.
Posted by: Barbara

Re: Jack - 07/09/99 12:48 PM

Jon, I've already received the extra copies I ordered from Amazon. They just haven't updated their description yet.
Posted by: Jon

Re: Jack - 07/10/99 09:00 PM

I asked about it at local stores as I was doing a Saturday swatch of shopping through N Delaware and SE Pennsylvania (Media, Bryn Mawr): 2 Borders, 2 B&N, 2 good independent ones, and the mystery store. The latter doesn't get new hardbacks; the others were eventually able to locate the title but didn't have copies in.

So when I got home (just now), I ordered it from Amazon. I await it with pleasure.
Posted by: Jon

Re: Jack - 07/13/99 07:03 PM

Postscript to the above: Amazon emailed me this morning that the book has shipped. So it would seem that they're the likeliest source at present. I expect I'll see the book tomorrow or next day (one of their big shipping centers is right here down the street from my home).
Posted by: John

Re: Jack - 07/13/99 09:34 PM

Amazon also has indicated that my copy is on its way . . . but it will probably take a few extra days to make it to the sticks . . .

[This message has been edited by John (edited 07-13-99).]
Posted by: Barbara

Re: Jack - 07/13/99 10:44 PM

Ah, thank you both for ordering it. (Jon, I'm sorry you had to go to all that trouble.)

The book has an odd look to it -- well, you'll see.

[This message has been edited by Barbara (edited 07-13-99).]
Posted by: Jon

Re: Jack - 07/14/99 10:42 AM

Oh, it was no trouble. I was looking for other things in various stores on Saturday as well, and I never need my arm twisted to stop off at a bookstore. If I'd found it I'd have bought it -- to have it quickly, to support physical visible bookstores (especially the independent ones), and possibly to save a few bucks on the Amazon shipping (they're not offering a discount, and Delaware has no sales tax). But I was happy to do the Main Line tour in any case; it's a favorite Saturday excursion for me, especially topped over by a late lunch at Pizzeria Uno, as this was.
Posted by: Jon

Re: Jack - 07/14/99 12:57 PM

It arrived today as predicted. I just read the first story over lunch.

What's the "odd look" you referred to, Barbara? I don't see anything odd, except perhaps the "cover is the dust jacket" binding that I associate with school and library editions, and which I enjoy immensely out of nostalgic fondness.
Posted by: Barbara

Re: Jack - 07/14/99 02:39 PM

Yes, that's what I meant; how fortunate it has some nostalgia value.

The publisher (Five Star) is really a packager, without any physical facilities of its own. So they struck some sort of deal with Thorndike Press in Unity, ME, to edit and print books under the Five Star name; my editor for Jack Be Quick is on the Thorndike staff. What Thorndike usually publishes is large-print editions of previously published novels; they've done reprints of a few of mine. But all the large-print books I've seen have that same look -- no dust jacket, something like a library binding.

But the cover scanned into a .jpg file very nicely. I've got that cover up four places on the web.
Posted by: Kay

Re: Jack - 07/15/99 03:26 PM

Well, I am glad you guys got your books - especially since I am planning to read John's copy when he is through with it - but I just went to Amazon.com to look for something else and was told

"our Books, Music, Video, Toys, and Electronics stores are closed temporarily.
We expect to be back soon. If you would like to be notified when we reopen, please leave your e-mail address below and we will be happy to let you know. "

I'd say it is more than a temporary glitch if they post that elaborate a notice.

Anybody know what gives?
Posted by: Barbara

Re: Jack - 07/15/99 04:57 PM

Kay, they're back online now; I just checked.
Posted by: Jon

Re: Jack - 07/15/99 08:39 PM

>> I'd say it is more than a temporary glitch if they post that elaborate a notice.

Not necessarily. Any large site like that, that services a big customer base, must have a boilerplate message ready to post when they have to take the site down. And they would have to, from time to time, however briefly, to install any new element (graphic, link, procedure, whatever).

I've encountered periodic "unavailable" messages at most of the ordering sites I visit with any frequency.
Posted by: Kay

Re: Jack - 07/20/99 09:37 PM

Does Barnes & Noble have it online? According to the statement I got today, if you got to B&N through the Discover Card link, you get something like a 7%rebate.
Posted by: Rita

Re: Jack - 07/20/99 10:05 PM

Yes, B&N Online has it. I wish I'd known about that Discover Card discount.
Posted by: Kay

Re: Jack - 07/21/99 03:09 PM

The notice came in the bill I got yesterday.

Of course, I am also promoting Amazon, but only if you enter through the link at


My group gets a kickback if you do.
Posted by: Anonymous

Re: Jack - 07/23/99 11:34 AM

Two posts in one day. This will never do!
Just to say I got a free trip to London yesterday courtesy of the company and as usual, when the meeting was over I headed to Charing Cross Road where I found the following Barbara Paul books:
Jack Be Quick
King of Misrule (King Sauerkraut)
Pillars of Salt.
The last two being second hand copies. I am particularly looking forward to Pillars of Salt as I am a sucker for time travel stories.
Posted by: Barbara

Re: Jack - 07/24/99 09:47 AM

>>I am particularly looking forward to Pillars of Salt as I am a sucker for time travel stories.<<

You and me both, Sue. Hope you enjoy it.

I just came across a series of time travel novels, written by Joshua Dann. The one I read is called A Time for War and is set in London during World War II. Evidently each book goes to a different time period and then stays there until the story is complete -- in contrast to Pillars of Salt which hops around from era to era. (It was only my second book, and I was still trying to pack everything into the story I could think of.)

[This message has been edited by Barbara (edited 07-24-99).]
Posted by: Anonymous

Re: Jack - 07/26/99 12:39 PM

Barbara - How dare you write such compulsive stories. I never get any work done once I start one! I read 'Jack Be Quick' and started 'Pillars of Salt' over the weekend. My favourites in 'Jack' were 'Diogenes' and 'The Favour' but I did enjoy them all.
Re; 'Pillars of Salt', may I ask what your prejudices towards Science Fiction were and what the story was your son persuaded you to read?
Posted by: Barbara

Re: Jack - 07/26/99 10:37 PM

Heh. My prejudice against science fiction came from simple ignorance. All I knew of the field was based on those shlocky low-budget movies Hollywood ground out in the pre-2001: A Space Odyssey days. In bookstores I'd look at the lurid cover art on the SF novels and the trashy magazine covers and think, "Oh, puh-leeze." So I'd never actually read any of the stuff; although I should have known better, I was judging the book by its cover.

It was a collection of short stories by Robert Sheckley that my son handed me. A good choice; Sheckley's low-tech approach was just right for someone like me. Back before he lost his gifts, Sheckley was writing a wry, knowing sort of fiction -- and I just ate it up. I read everything of his I could get my hands on, and that eventually led me to other (and even better) writers. Once I realized what I'd been missing, I did a lot of catch-up reading -- and I mean a lot.

Never could stomach Heinlein, though.
Posted by: Anonymous

Re: Jack - 07/27/99 06:25 AM

Interesting. Heinlein was an early favourite and I still have all his books. It also led to my cementing my closest friendship ( after my husband that is). We met at work and seemed to get on well but when we discovered we both read Heinlein we were delighted because until then neither of us had come across anybody else who had heard of him. I also love Asimov's Robot stories and one or two short stories but apart from that I prefer his non fiction. It is no wonder he was regarded as such a good lecturer whilst at the University.
Posted by: Kay

Re: Jack - 07/27/99 09:31 PM

One of the first SciFi novels I ever read was Heinlein's "Universe" (I think it was called) about a space ship that had started out for Alpha Centauri, gone astray and been traveling around the galaxy for generations...so long that no one really remembered their true origins, and thought the ship was the total universe and God was the person who had launched it....until one of them encountered a mutant who lived in the outer part of the ship and had seen the stars....an altogether fascinating piece of work.

I can't say that I've liked everything I've read of his, though.
Posted by: Barbara

Re: Jack - 07/28/99 10:59 PM

Damon Knight has started a discussion on Genie about Farnham's Freehold with an eye to trying to determine exactly how autobiographical the book is. I didn't read it, but what's been posted so far is that both Farnham and Heinlein were authoritarian (some say facist); both were ex-navy; the story was set in Colorado and written while Heinlein was living there (Colorado Springs, in the book "Mountain Springs"); both considered women the lesser half of the human race; both built bomb shelters. Farnham gets the girl and is shown to deserve her, while the older woman and the younger man in the story end up not looking so good.

One big difference, though: Farnham had children but Heinlein didn't. That seems to be significant, as many of Farnham's strong opinions have to do with the best way to bring up children. (Heinlein's last books kept hammering at the point that nothing was more important than the family, so long as a dominant male was at its head.)
Posted by: Anonymous

Re: Jack - 08/23/99 09:45 AM

I just finished reading Jack Be Quick over the weekend. My favorites were "Scat", "Diogenes", "Stet", and of course "Portrait of the Artist as a Young Corpse", which I had read before. But I enjoyed them all. I'm also looking forward to making Sloshed Chicken sometime.
Posted by: Barbara

Re: Jack - 08/23/99 03:00 PM

Thanks, Vicki; that's nice to hear. "Stet" was a favorite? That surprises me, a little.

If you ever do try the Sloshed Chicken and use fresh rosemary, go easy on the rosemary; it's very strong and tends to overpower the chicken taste. But when you get the balance right...oh, is that yummy! (Dried rosemary has almost no taste, so don't bother with that.)
Posted by: Anonymous

Re: Jack - 08/23/99 07:22 PM

Before I do my travelogue bit (maybe tomorrow ... there was a lot of washing-up to do, as well as listening to Mahler's 3rd and the end of the Leeds/Liverpool game ...), I should say that Jack Be Quick was one of the books I took with me to read on my hols. I should also say that my copy was obtained through the good offices of Sue Tier - thanks a lot, Sue!

Well, I read through all the stories (in sequence) with great pleasure. Quite a mixed bag, but each very enjoyable in its own way. Thanks, Barbara.

On the whole, and especially not being a SF or True Crime person, I liked the lighter ones best - "Ho ho ho", "Portrait ..." and "Okay, Diogenes" - but that's me. Did I miss an explanation of the title of the latter?

As for Sloshed Chicken, I've got a bay tree in the garden, rosemary and sage bushes outside my front door and a pot of basil in the kitchen (no head buried under it, though), so all I need now is some chicken that tastes of something other than cardboard. Oh, and some beer.
Posted by: Anonymous

Re: Jack - 08/24/99 09:40 AM

Why did it surprise you that "Stet" was a favorite? Is it not a particular favorite of yours? I guess I liked the satire on mystery publishing, especially "hard-boiled" mysteries with a tough male private eye who's always getting beaten to a pulp. That's one type of mystery that I especially dislike.

I also loved the combination of mystery and science fiction in "Play Nice". Well, I really enjoyed all the stories. I do have a question about "French Asparagus", though, but I'm sure it would be a spoiler. What's the rule on spoilers here? Or should I just e-mail you?
Posted by: Jon

Re: Jack - 08/24/99 10:18 AM

Actually I have/had a quation about "French Asparagus" too, so I'd welcome a spoiler-labeled discussion here.

Either it's a simpler story line than the others in the book (which is fine if true; I certainly enjoyed reading it, but it ended without complications that I expected), or there are subtleties that I missed (quite possible, I fear).
Posted by: Barbara

Re: Jack - 08/26/99 03:26 PM

Again, my apologies for the slow response; reason posted elsewhere.

Vicki, about "Stet" -- I feel it's missing a couple of ingredients. There should have been an earlier "establishing" scene for the hardboiled writer, appearing before the one in which he accompanies the editor to the morgue. But I was under a length restriction for that story, and there simply wasn't room for such a scene. So instead I had to introduce him through the editor's thoughts as she was editing his manuscript. By the same token, the murder victim appears in the story only as a corpse. She should have had at least two appearances, however brief, before she was bumped off. I think the story would have been better if I could have made it a little longer.

Vicki and Jon, by all means go ahead and open a SPOILER topic for "French Asparagus" if you like -- but I feel I should warn you that that story is pretty much WYSIWYG. Same reason as above. "French Asparagus" was written for Murderous Intent, and the editor of that magazine won't print any story over 4000 words. For me, 4000 words is just a good introduction; I'm in awe of writers who can tell a good yarn in so limited a space. So it seemed to me I had a choice. I could make the story all plot with a number of complications, all acted out by stick figures. Or I could keep the plot as simple as I could manage, to allow for a little byplay among the characters. It's difficult to strike an exact balance between plot and characters even in an 8000-word story; it's much easier in novels. But I think I'm through with writing 4000-word stories.
Posted by: Jon

Re: Jack - 08/27/99 09:44 AM

I guess the WYSIWYG answers it for me. I was enjoying the situation and characters, waiting for the plot to get rolling... and what I'd regarded as a minor complication was cleared up and the story was over. So be it; a different kind of piece, that's all.

What's the significance of French asparagus, though? (I know, I'm relentless.)
Posted by: Anonymous

Re: Jack - 08/27/99 02:46 PM

Yes, that's what I was wondering, too, about the significance of French asparagus. I kept feeling like I was missing something.

About "Stet": you did a great job, in spite of the length restrictions!
Posted by: Anonymous

Re: Jack - 09/13/99 09:42 AM

Barbara, I just wanted to tell you that I tried Sloshed Chicken on Saturday. We made it with fresh rosemary and it was wonderful!