by Janice Gable Bashman on March 25, 2014

Guest Blogger: Eric Van Lustbader

I wrote THE NINJA in 1980 and it became an immediate worldwide sensation, ultimately spending twenty-four weeks on the NEW YORK TIMES bestseller list. The book was picked up by 20th Century Fox to be made into a film. Five more novels featuring the protagonist, Nicholas Linnear, followed.  But then something odd happened. Japan, which had been so much in the news during those years that elements of the federal government approached me to write what amounted to a propaganda novel about the dangers of the Japanese, fell into a three decade economic slump.  And on the film front, though mine was never made – for a variety of reasons – many very poor ninja films came and went, cheapening the genre.

Everyone’s attention turned to the Middle East and then China and now Russia.  Japan became a backwater.  If there’s anything that thrillers thrive on it’s current events.  My interests, like others, turned to the frightening new jihadist elements facing the world.  Still, since I went live on Twitter and Facebook, I have been constantly inundated with fans asking two things: 1. When would the Nick books be available in e-book format? and 2. When was I going to writer another Nick novel? Clearly, he’s been missed by an entire generation of readers for whom he has been a unique and iconic hero.

It took me some time to get the rights back to the first three Nick books, and also to my first fantasy series, The Sunset Warrior.  It took another two years for my agent to vet all the e-book publishers for just the right situation. THE NINJA and Nicholas Linnear have always been very close to my heart, and I didn’t want to make a mistake heading into the brave new world of e-books.  Finally, we found what we were looking for in Open Road, a company led by seasoned veterans who loved books and their authors, and young people who know the Internet and social media inside and out.

The result is that the first three Nicholas Linnear novels, THE NINJA, THE MIKO, WHITE NINJA will be available as e-books for the first time on March 25 through Open Road, along with the first three novels in the seminal Sunset Warrior Cycle.  A funny thing happened on the way to this publication.  I became so excited by the plans Open Road was making and the idea of Nicholas Linnear being introduced to a whole new generation of readers that I decided to complete his resurrection. For the past few weeks I’ve been working on a short story – the first new Nick adventure in over thirty years. And, lo and behold, I discovered that I missed him as much as my legions of readers all around the world did.  So I am thrilled to tell you that “The Death and Life of Nicholas Linnear” will be out exclusively in e-book form sometime in the next few months.

After a long time in hibernation it feels so good to dust Nick off, shake him up, and place him in contemporary settings.  And the fact that he’s half-British, half-, well, we never did find out Cheong’s origin, so Nick could be half Chinese, Malay, who knows? – makes this particular resurrection easier than I had imagined.  Now it will be up to you, dear readers, to decide if I write more Nick stories, or possibly a new novel. Please let me know in your Comments below what you think and how you see the new Nick stories evolving.

Eric Van Lustbader is the author of many New York Times bestselling thrillers, including FIRST DAUGHTER, LAST SNOW and BLOOD TRUST. Lustbader was chosen by Robert Ludlum’s estate to continue the Jason Bourne series, and his Bourne novels include THE BOURNE LEGACY and THE BOURNE BETRAYAL. He and his wife live in New York City and on the South Fork of Long Island.



Creativity Conflicted

by Janice Gable Bashman on March 12, 2014

Guest Blogger: Rita Ashley

Copy of rita blows nyThere is an unrestful silence now. The reception for my exhibit of my first art photos was yesterday; a day for meeting fellow artists and many visitors to the obscure gallery in Ashland, OR. The unrest? My reaction to much praise, no purchase.

It seems, for me, the whole process of creativity is complicated not with the vain notion of recognition, but with the practical notion of sales. A very wise artist reminded me, yesterday, that while she really loves my work, she could not live with it every day. I was startled by her reality, but realize, she is spot on. Sometimes, what I create is genuinely remarkable, but for that very reason, not commercial. I am not soothed by comments like, “It takes a special buyer.”

So when I return to my life of photo outings and the solitary job of photo processing, I am uninspired. To focus on that which might sell inhibits the very creative impulse that forces me to pick up the camera. Other artists tell me to stop focusing on selling and just create. I am not of that ilk. I need to feel my work will be viewed, enjoyed, shared; purchased. But I cannot become a hack, a hypocrite. I am ambivalent.

Today, much later, my creative blood quickened when the sun cast a perfect rainbow on the carpet as light seethed through the glass prism on the sill. I reached for my camera and lost myself in seeing the unusual and magical in that special, evanescent dance of light and color. I lost all notion of sales or commercial. I just wanted to capture what I saw, knowing it is different from what other’s might see and capture. And for now, that is more than enough.

Here’s a glimpse into how the ordinary becomes unique in my world:

janice2 (2)

From this paperweight                      Came this image                Then this abstract

Rita Ashley is a high tech veteran who recently emerged as an artist and writer. Her father gave her a camera when she was ten and she has never been without one since. Not content to do what others have done, she is constantly experimenting with new forms of photographic expression. She currently has two gallery exhibits and has won awards for images that portray the details she sees in ordinary objects. When people say, “I never saw that,” she is pleased. Ms. Ashley’s literary efforts include work on a fictionalized account of her Grandfather’s travails as an Eastern European immigrant to the United States beginning in 1912 and revisions of her business books, “Job Search Debugged,” and “Networking Debugged.” When she is not focused on photography or writing, Ms. Ashley coaches executives to solve problems, build leadership skills and conduct an effective job search.


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