Cover to Cover #258: Feedback and More

Flair Pens This is an all feedback and commentary show!

Michael, Summer, Brian and Michael chat about many things: the secrets behind saving your wrists during a high-traffic book signing: Flair Pens. Sharpies don't do the job, ball point pens drag, gel pens fade, metallic ink pens can flood, so what do you do? And why won't companies that produce writing utensils step up and sponsor writers and even books or book series?

Listener Feedback: Indiana Jim loves the way Mike's mind works; Trampas relates an anecdote on how a soldier drew inspiration from Dragonlance Chronicles and ended up saving lives in Afghanistan; Anna in WA commenting on postage rates increases and how it affects people who use media mail; author Pat Rothfuss is looking for us; Dave from UT adds comments on the potential overexposure and decline of the superhero genre.

Keep letting us know what books changed your life, what books are your A+ books, and what your personal essential books are!

The Library: New additions to the studio library this week are: Acacia by David Anthony Durham, Halo: Ghosts of Onyx audiobook by Eric Nylund, Magic Bites by Ilona Andrews, The Borderkind by Christopher Golden, The Last Colony by John Scalzi, The Devil You Know by Mike Carey.

Submitting Listener comments: If you have any suggestions or comments, please let us know!


  1. Just to clear up the Superman box office tallies and opening dates:

    Superman: $134,218,018 -- 12/15/1978
    Superman II: $108,185,706 -- 06/19/1981
    Superman III: $59,950,623 -- 06/17/1983
    Superman IV: $15,681,020 -- 07/24/1987
    Superman Returns: $200,081,192 -- 06/28/2006

    and just to be complete:

    Supergirl: $14,296,438 -- 11/21/1984

    Thank you, Box Office Mojo

  2. hey! fun show this got a great crew to play off in there.

    question for authorship-seeking: Can you guys talk about Conventions that are good for prospective writers to go to to get to know the industry and/or the different genre scenes?

    Another question I have is working with other people's settings and various freedoms/limitations you can do and what is the business side of working with companies that do fiction based off games(rpg or otherwise).


  3. My favorite convention is World Fantasy Con. It's not a media con like some of my other favorites, but is geared more towards writers and the business of fantasy writing. It's also where they award the World Fantasy awards.

    I try to go every year, and I have from 2003-2006. I am also planning to attend this year, in Saratoga Springs NY, but I really wish someone would tell me why they plan these things in cold weather territory in November.

    There are also the gatherings for the Hugo and Nebula Awards, which move around, so check your local listings for details. I also believe that the various genre writing clubs have local and national conventions -- Mystery Writers of America, Romance Writers of America are the bigger ones.

    Last March, there was ICE Escape, but as far as I know, they didn't hold that con this year. It was kinda small, but their pitch meetings board was completely full up. I also used to always check the conference listings at Shaw Guides,, but it's been years since I've gone through the listings there.

  4. Hey, I enjoy your podcast, but I must say that on the last two episodes you haven't made an attempt to be broadminded and fair with your audience regarding US politics. I've got an idea on how to balance things out. To make it up to all of your Republican listeners (like me), why don't you interview Orson Scott Card regarding his recent book "Empire," which was a really interesting commentary on the topic of extreme sides in politics.

  5. Alas, I don't think Tor ever sent us a copy of "Empire"... at least not that I can find that I put into The Library.

    And we have talked to OSC in previous episodes, Show #179 and an earlier show that hasn't yet been cleaned up and linked in yet.

    I also believe there was some discussion of OSC and "Empire" in With Class #22, and in With Class #20

  6. Postwatch or the ender's shadow series were much better commentary of politics...

    Empire seems very rush or constrained to be hokey, could be the ties to the video game company that contacted him to write the book based off the game(i dont know whether the pc game will also be called 'empire')

    OSC usually hits well out of the park, that was pretty disappointing.

  7. OSC always writes good commentary. However, I think Empire was much more a 20 minutes into the future kind of book--taking a current situation (which has recently been demonstrated on Cover to Cover) and following it to a possible conclusion in the near future. I don't think it is even all that far fetched when you take into account the total lack of respect that some people have for members of opposing political views.

    When some people make mass generalizations as to other people's intelligence and character just because they voted for someone hated by the other side--and this goes for both sides of the camp--people stop seeing their political opponents as real people with real concerns and real fears. As OSC says in his afterword in Empire, the extreme views are so far from each other and so unwilling to compromise that the moderate views even get villified.

  8. diane, if there was any presentation of left as positive at all in empire...i would agree, but the two most 'democratic party' characters are the quite literally 'cackling villian' rich liberal out of a talk show host's wet dream and the main character's wife who is only considered 'okay' by the rest of the book's heroes because she worked for a republican(like saying the statement 'i have a friend that is black').

    I know what it is to be treated with a lack of respect for my views...i have had two Bush's to treat me like that me that openly for the last 6/8 years. If off-handed comments on a internet show are so terrible, I would hate for you to have passed the post-2000 election as a person of opposite views...its just now that popular opinion is swaying that it seems to you personally that things have gotten 'worse' somehow.

  9. Since I'm voicemail-shy:

    On this show, Stackpole basically said that you shouldn't be planning ot break into publishing with Urban Fantasy because the market is getting too crowded. Question: I know a lot of people who write Urban Fantasy (unpublished). Should they stop because the market might close up soon? Where is the balance between writing what you love and writing what's sellable (both for new and established writers)?

  10. raul, I'm sorry that you feel put upon by the current administration. That's the nature of American politics--the side that loses (which is, incidentally, the minority at that given moment) always feels left out. The conservatives had 8 years of it under Clinton, so don't expect me to feel sorry for you. My issue here is not the comments--I don't really expect liberals to be complementary of conservatives--but the medium. If Stackpole wants to alienate potential readers, that's fine by me. But since Cover to Cover is not a "political" podcast, I just thought that they might want to be fair about the topic. If one view gets inadvertantly expressed, maybe they should allow the other view to get expressed as well, or at least apologize to the listeners who were tuning in for reasons other than listening to political rants. If I wanted political commentary, I would have subscribed to any number of available political podcasts.

    Incidentally, your commentary regarding Empire is not necessarily fair. There were "villian" conservatives in the book as well as liberals--and the biggest villian of all was of neither side. Card was presenting a moderate view--if somewhat slanted to the conservative side. Surely you can admit that there are enough flaming idiots in both parties to deserve such critique. What Stackpole's comments--as well as yours--fail to take into account is that there are also moderate positions to both sides and to generalize in such a way about either group is an exercise in demonstrated ignorance. If Cover to Cover seeks a liberal audience, then that's fine by me, I was just commenting from the assumption that they wished to reach a broader audience.

  11. diane; i dont think you understood my meaning(the two bush's-6/8 years). I live in Florida. So its been twice the family trouble, for my experience.
    And in any case; Clinton was really nothing hampering to conservatives after the 94 election sweeped in a heavy republican congress that spent over 200 million dollars investigating every sneeze out of the white house for the next six years and check nearly everything done. In comparison its been more like you living under the LBJ years(both in world events and political map here at home) in realistic affects if i were on the other side of the field.

    The best political outcome is this senario: Strong-willed and positive visionary president(party a), House under solid control of oppositional party(party b), nearly evenly divided senate favoring either party. The post industrial world is best served like that.

    Three quick jokes is not a political rant in any case. I think that word is just popular buzzword to say to discredit the particular action spoken about. Additionally neither mine, nor stackpole's, statements have assumed there are not moderate positions. But in generalized discussions; no one talks about the '0' point when discussing the points of '-1' and '+1', if thats understandable. All discusion of broad topics start at the furtherest points(unless noted) and reach more defined areas as the participants narrow the field themselves in course of discussion. To accuse someone of ignorance because of allowances to the course of pattern of speech is even more small-minded then that.

  12. oh, and the book's 'phantom' evil was still willing to let the conservative forces up-end and embarass the liberal ones(literally a cackling liberal villain) in defeat.
    So if the discussion is whether its a fair representation of points(like you want in the above statements), you have no point to criticize anyone's commentary here of any ideology ideology ..because surely then OSC should have had a review from other political sources before being allowed to print a 'moderate' view of political conflict in modern America which was not delivered. should be able to return my hardcover copy for a full refund, just as you are demanding redress here for supposed mistreatment.

    You cant have it both ways, Diane.

  13. raul, I have no desire to get in a political debate with you. That was by no means the purpose of my comments. You are welcome to your beliefs and your freedom to air them where ever and whenever you like, as well as your right to vote your conscience in constitutional elections. So are the hosts of Cover to Cover. If they want it to become a liberal podcast with a liberal audience, that's fine by me. I just thought that maybe that wasn't their intent, and I wanted to let them know that they did have a conservative audience, which they may not have realized.

    Incidentally, if you are so annoyed about being a liberal minority in Florida, have you considered a move? There are lots of places in the US that are predominantly liberal, even when conservatives are in the White House.

    Regarding OSC's book: I'm not sure I really understand your comments, but that may be just a matter of how differently we see things. I wasn't saying you weren't allowed your opinion of the book, I just noted that there were conservatives in the book that were in the wrong as well--such as the general who attempted to establish martial law. OSC is a moderate conservative, I never said he wasn't. Nor am I saying that people can't write and review books from a liberal perspective. If you didn't like the book, then that is your opinion, after all. If you were annoyed by my criticism of your critique, then I'm sorry. I just thought we were discussing differing perspectives on a good (in my opinion) book. It's as much my right to have my opinion of your critique of the book as it is your right to have your opinion of the book. Sorry for stepping on your toes.

    Oh, and by the way, I'm not "demanding redress for supposed mistreatment," I'm just airing a complaint and suggesting a compromise. I don't have to listen to their podcast, just like you don't have to buy and read OSC's books.

  14. Summer, Thanks for the link to the original OSC interview. I have only been listening to Cover to Cover this year and have not download all the back episodes, so I had missed seeing it. I listened to it right away and really enjoyed it. You folks keep up the good work!

  15. Roddy Reta says

    Again, these political debates change nobody's mind and consume valuable space. Stackpole's a smart guy, but if he wants to do a political show for democrats, then create a separate podcast for it.

  16. Trampas Whiteman says

    Yeah, gotta say that I'd rather not have politics on the show. You guys are entitled to your opinions, but I listen to escape the "real world." Otherwise, love the new vibe of the show.

  17. If the romance readers keep reading the Urban fantasy stuff, it might not go anywhere soon. Although even my sister, who is into that sort of romance thing says there is truckloads of it.