Archive for the ‘News’ Category

At last, finally, the world knows my pain.

February 22, 2008

Please read this. Send sympathy cards directly to me, Mark D’Anna.

Apostrophes in names stir lot o’ trouble

For all you Haruki Murakami-philes out there

January 8, 2008

It’s always fun when news of a new Murakami book surfaces. An English translation of his latest is apparently due out July 29, 2008 from Knopf (so says, anyway).


It is a collection of non-fiction essays on running, of all things. Apparently when he’s not busy being so damned good as to make the rest of us want to quit writing, Murakami is an avid runner. The new book is called What I Talk About When I Talk About Running (love the Ray Carver nod!) and it is translated by old Murakami stand-by, Philip Gabriel, who also translated Kafka on the Shore and Sputnik Sweetheart. I confess to not having read any of Murakami’s previous non-fiction before, but I’m always excited when he gives us something new. 2008 is off to a good start, methinks.

Vote for The Grandmaster – Best Horror Novel of the Year

January 8, 2008

Peter Balaskas’ mind-warpingly wonderful novella, The Grandmaster, has been nominated for an award, and it’s time to vote! Forget about the New Hampshire primaries, THIS is the race we need to be concerned with. If you’ve read the book, you know it’s good. If you haven’t read it, trust me, it’s good.

To vote, simple CLICK HERE.

Good luck, Peter!

Highlights and Lowlights of 2007 – A Recap

January 4, 2008

In the interest of keeping my New Year’s Resolution to get my money’s worth out of this free blog, I’ve decided to post some of my personal and professional highlights (and a few lowlights) from 2007.

Big Brown Bag: Stories – The Release
Without a doubt, the professional highlight of the year for me came in November when my first book, Big Brown Bag, was published by Ex Machina Press. Since then I’ve received wonderful feedback on the book from a number of people, and we got a great review from

And we got a nice surprise when, just a few weeks later, Big Brown Bag was selected from a crowded field of books to earn Honorable Mention Honors (I guess that’s a little redundant) at the 2007 DIY Book Festival in Los Angeles.

If you haven’t yet picked up your copy, you can get it at Amazon,, and a number of indie bookshops around L.A.

Ex Machina Press – The Awards Keep on Coming
2007 saw Silent Voices, the flagship publication by Ex Machina Press, and a journal of which I am proud to say I am a co-founder and editor, was hit with enough awards and honors to make the good people at the Paris Review turn green with envy. Well, maybe not green with envy, but they definitely would congratulate us, and probably even buy us a Coke. Here we go:

Winner – Best Anthology (Silent Voices: Volume III) – 2007 DIY Book Festival
Winner – Best Anthology (Silent Voices: Volume III) – 2007 London Book Festival
Honorable Mention – Anthologies (Silent Voices: Volume III) – 2007 New York Book Festival

And, if all that wasn’t enough, Ex Machina Press won Publisher of the Year at the 2007 DIY Book Festival.

Not too Shabby. Congratulations to Ex Machina Press!

Best Reading of 2007
I figure, why not share the wealth. These are my favorite books from 2007, in no particular order. I should note that this list is not exclusive to books that were released in 2007, because my literary diet consists of only about 25% new releases. Heck, one of these books is 142 years old. That’s pretty old. These are just the handful of books I read in ‘07 and happened to really love, or at least really really like.

Our Mutual Friend by Charles Dickens
The Braindead Megaphone by George Saunders
The Interloper by Antoine Wilson
Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami
No Country for Old Men by Cormac McCarthy
The Raw Shark Texts by Steven Hall
Remainder by Tom McCarthy
Man without a Country by Kurt Vonnegut

Check them out, and report back to me.

Best Cinematic Viewing of 2007 (AKA, Best Movies)
Everyone else gets to have a Top Ten Movies of the Year list, so why can’t I? Well, because, I only have a Top Five Movies of the Year List. Maybe next year I’ll shoot for ten.

1. There Will Be Blood
2. Once
3. The Lookout
4. No Country For Old Men
5. Into the Wild

That’s it. Discuss amongst yourselves.

Biggest Cinematic Disappointment of 2007
I will preface this by saying that this award is not for the worst movie of 2007, but rather the movie I had the highest hopes for, which were then very quickly and effectively torn to shreds, kicked into the dirt and stepped on. And the winner is….


I kept telling myself, don’t get your hopes up, it’s Michael Bay, it’s Michael Bay. But I couldn’t help it. I got my hopes up. I got excited. I paid actual money. I know this film earned approximately $18 billion worldwide. I know everyone loved it. I know it had giant killer robots. So how could it have let me down so considerably? Well, there was a jive-talking, break dancing Transformer, for starters. Then there was this classic example of witty, biting dialogue:

Transformer #1: It’s just you and me, Prime.
Transformer #2: Wrong, it’s just me.

Shortly after this scene my brain broke, and leaked out of my nose, so I don’t remember anything else. More than meets the eye, indeed.

144 minutes of this, under the direction of Michael Bay. I rest my case.

Here’s to 2008

Peter Balaskas — The Interviews

August 30, 2007

The force behind Ex Machina Press (Publishers of my upcoming book), Peter Balaskas, has been interviewed! Click Here to read all about his new book, The Grandmaster, which was just published by Bards and Sages.