Vamp Until Ready is on pre-sale NOW!

I can’t wait to get my hands on James Magruder’s forthcoming novel Vamp Until Ready.

Cover art for James Magruder's new novel Vamp Until Ready
Publishing in September, Vamp Until Ready is available for pre-order NOW from Rattling Good Yarns Press.

“A precise, affectionate collection of linked stories follows the lives of several “townies” in Ithaca, New York, from 1980 through 1992. It’s a tour de force performance, charming and unstrained…”

—Kirkus, starred review

I have admired James Magruder‘s enviable body of work for nearly 30 years now. He has had the career that I dreamed I might have, once upon a time. He is a masterful writer in many forms (stage plays and musicals, translations, novels, memoir, essays, and more), intellectual, multilingual, teacher and mentor, and proud gay man (with a handsome, intelligent, and charming husband, no less).

Since I moved back to Baltimore in the mid-00s, I’ve been privileged to get to know James personally and join his circle of friends. (We both have been a little surprised by how frequently our circles overlapped.) I’ve also had the chance to learn about his many other good qualities: he is warm, kind, and generous; he has a great sense of humor and a sharp wit; he is the consummate dinner party host and guest; and he can cook a mean pot roast.

“James Magruder’s warm-hearted, hair-raising, and hilarious new novel, Vamp Until Ready, is a cross between Winesburg, Ohio and a backstage musical—a panorama of small-town American life over a dozen years, but a dozen particular years during the era of Reagan-Bush, the global AIDS crisis, and Andrew Lloyd Webber. ” —John Weir, author of Your Nostalgia is Killing Me

But what I admire most about Jim is that he is an intrepid and deeply committed writer. In the relatively few years that we have been acquainted, he published his first novel (Sugarless), his second novel (Love Slaves of Helen Hadley Hall), and now his third novel (Vamp Until Ready) is forthcoming.

In his off hours(!) during the last decade or so, James has also published a series of stories in a fictionalized memoir (Let Me See It), which describes life events so much like my own that it gave me chills. Oh! And he also co-wrote the blank verse book for Head Over Heels, a Broadway musical based on a 16th century play and incorporating the song catalog of the 1980s girl-band, The Go-Gos. When he wasn’t busy picking up awards and nominations for his work, he also squeezed in some teaching at Swarthmore College.

A few days ago, I was delighted to learn that Rattling Good Yarns Press will publish Vamp Until Ready on September 28. Most importantly, it is available for pre-sale RIGHT NOW! Of course I placed my order immediately, as should you. I have no doubt that this new work will be as brilliant as the others. And goodness knows, in the face of COVID-19 and other world crises today, I could use a good laugh or two. I bet you could, too. Now we just have to place our orders and be patient until the book arrives. Vamp, vamp, vamp.


Let’s talk about Judith, Kathy, and the men who lost their heads

Judith Beheading Holofernes by Lucas Cranach the Elder, 1530
Lucas Cranach the Elder, 1530

Source: RANKED: 10 Paintings of Judith Beheading Holofernes | Current Affairs

A couple of weeks ago, I went to see the indomitable, unstoppable, incisive comedian Kathy Griffin perform her “Laugh Your Head Off World Tour” show at DAR Constitution Hall in Washington, DC. Boy, was she on point! Driven by the controversy spurred by a satirical photo in which she held up a mask resembling Donald Trump and dripping with ketchup to imitate blood, her show is taking the world by storm.

Kathy Griffin World Tour: Laugh Your Head Off
Kathy Griffin World Tour: Laugh Your Head Off

In fact, the show has been such a resounding success that the Palm Springs Comedy Festival has announced that Kathy Griffin will be named Comedian of the Year this coming November. Even the folks at conservative Breitbart News are excited!

This post about paintings of the biblical Judith beheading Holofernes from Current Affairs magazine brought Kathy Griffin to mind immediately. Like Griffin’s show, this kind of humor is the perfect mix of art, politics, and fun. Plus, the Current Affairs article gets bonus points for taking on religion, too. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

– Doug Rose

RANKED: 10 Paintings of Judith Beheading Holofernes | Current Affairs
Today in Current Affairs, we examine an urgent and timely topic: Judith’s beheading of Holofernes! This story comes to us from the Book of Judith, a biblical text about the attempted conquest of Israel by the Assyrians. Judith is a Jewish widow who ingratiates herself with the invading general Holofernes, waits for him to fall asleep, and then hacks his head off and takes it home with her (thus thwarting the entire invasion, because the Assyrians evidently had no …


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