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RAW: A Love Story

This was reported Publisher’s Marketplace a while back.  I’m putting the finishing touches on it this week.

MOIST, DELICIOUS, SALTY and BAKED author Mark Haskell Smith’s RAW, the fifth in the series, the tale of an unlikely triangle among a reality TV star of “Sex Crib” who has just published a huge best seller, his erstwhile ghostwriter and a volatile literary critic determined to discover what lies between the covers, causing all kinds of misunderstandings, mayhem, and murder to arise, resulting in an unlikely, and humorous, sexual odyssey, to Morgan Entrekin and Jamison Stoltz at Grove/Atlantic, by Mary Evans at Mary Evans (US).

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Dirty Laundry Lit

Check it out.   I’m doing a reading in a bar with a bunch of cool writers.

Here’s the link!

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Seattle HempFest

The first thing to happen when I entered the park was a young man in a tie dye T-shirt offered to sell me some LSD.   I took that to be a good omen.    The next thing I saw was a young woman with a handmade sign hanging around her neck that said “If you try to hug me, I will stab you.”

Which is kind of awesome.

It was 90 degrees, which might be typical for Los Angeles, but was abnormal for Seattle, but there was a cool breeze coming off Puget Sound.   Basically, it was beautiful.   I was, surrounded by tens of thousands of fans of the herb and sunshine and, apparently, tie dye, spreading out along the Seattle waterfront listening to questionable reggae and decent enough techno, cheering as activists made speeches, listening to people (like authors) talk on panels, and smoking a lot of weed.    The event is free and run by an all-volunteer army of really friendly people.   It is the largest festival of its kind, pulling in almost 250,000 people over the weekend.  So it was big, smoky, and fun.

My panel with Greg Pot, Inc Campbell and Matthew Gavin Pot Farm Frank – both great writers promoting really smart (and different) books – was interesting and entertaining and I’ve got to give special shout out to the kind folks who ran the University Bookstore Booth and sold our books!

Here’s a taste of HempFest.

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Life Elsewhere interview

I was interviewed recently by erudite and affable Norman B. for a Tampa, Florida public radio station.  We talked about dankness, authordom, and a rare and strange flashback to my life in a post-punk band.

 You can find the interview here.

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Life Imitates Art and gets Baked

Fans of my novel Baked will remember that “Elephant Crush” was the name of the potent cannabis strain that the protagonist took to the Cannabis Cup in Amsterdam.   In a weird  fiction meets reality kind of moment, Bay Area reporter and East Bay Express “Legalization Nation” columnist David Downs discovered a strain by the same name at the Waterfall Wellness medical marijuana dispensary in San Francisco.    Even stranger, it seems the underground botanist behind this actually tried to replicate the strain in the book and, even stranger still, succeeded!

I could not be more flattered and thrilled.    And I can’t wait to taste it!

Read David Downs’ original story here.

The LA Times Jacket Copy covered the story here.

 

 

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California Tour

 

I’ve been driving up the central coast of California enjoying the fog and fresh air and spreading the dankness wherever I go.    I visited an egg farm that had an egg vending machine,  I ate overpriced veggie burgers at numerous roadhouses along Highway 1, and I did a reading at Book Passage in the Ferry Building in San Francisco.

If you’re interested, you can find the signed copies of Heart of Dankness that I cleverly left along the way at Chaucer’s books in Santa Barbara, Bookshop Santa Cruz, the Capitola Book Cafe, and Book Passage.

In other news: I’ll be appearing at the Hemp Fest in Seattle – August 17-19 – in a panel with Greg “Pot, Inc.” Campbell and Matthew Gavin “Pot Farm” Frank.    We will discuss cannabizness, bookbizness, and writerbizness.

 

Santa Cruz fashion

 

Egg Vending Machine.
Santa Cruz Dahlias

 

 

Eggs
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Summer 2012

Peaches are in.   Apricots are almost gone.   Summer is flying by.   I’ve devoted that last few months to promoting HEART OF DANKNESS.   Which is sort of like dashing out on the freeway at night and waving a black T-shirt at passing big rigs in the hope that they’ll stop.   That’s a metaphor, of course, I’m not really risking my life; mostly I’m sitting with my laptop trying to think of pithy bon mots that I can load on Tumblr, Twitter, and Facebook.  This, according to the expert marketeers at Random House, is supposed to enhance my brand identity and entice readers to buy my books.   But that’s not all.   I played ping pong with Geoff Dyer.   I drank cocktails with my editor from Grove – he’s got me hooked on Aperol Spritzers – at a hipster lounge in Palm Springs.

Ping Pong tournament at the ACE Hotel in Palm Springs

And then this (as reported by Publisher’s Marketplace) happened:

MOIST, DELICIOUS, SALTY and BAKED author Mark Haskell Smith’s RAW, the fifth in the series, the tale of an unlikely triangle among a reality TV star of “Sex Crib” who has just published a huge best seller, his erstwhile ghostwriter and a volatile literary critic determined to discover what lies between the covers, causing all kinds of misunderstandings, mayhem, and murder to arise, resulting in an unlikely, and humorous, sexual odyssey, to Morgan Entrekin and Jamison Stoltz at Grove/Atlantic, by Mary Evans at Mary Evans (US).

Grove/Atlantic editor with cocktail. Palm Springs.

Raw is slated for a March 2014 release, which means that I’ll be slowing down on the social media and cranking up on the writing.  This makes me happy.

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April 20, 2012

Happy 420!   If you don’t know what that means, well, don’t worry about it.   Just know that it’s a big holiday for people who enjoy the cannabis plant and one of the few holidays that Hallmark hasn’t figured out a way to cash in on… yet.

The release of Heart of Dankness has kept me super busy.     I toured Canada where I was thrown into the debate over legalization.   That was intense and fun and I got to appear on TV for the first time in my life.   I even bought a sport coat and a purple tie with polka-dots for the occasion because that’s how I roll.    When I’m not at home in my sweatpants and Kill Kitty Kill T-shirt, I’m one sartorial motherfucker.

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Fall 2011

Fall 2011 Update

My maiden voyage into the world of truth-telling veracity-spewing non-fiction narrative reportage has a cover!   And a pub date.   You’ll find copies of this attractive little number in bookstores near you on April 3, 2012.   If you like my fiction, you’ll love my non-fiction.  How’s that for a slogan?

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Spring 2011

I’ve finally finished a draft of my non-fiction opus, Heart of Dankness: Underground Botanists, Outlaw Farmers and the Race for the Cannabis Cup. I don’t have a pub date on the book yet, but I’m guessing it’ll come out next spring from Broadway Books. I typically cut a lot of stuff out of a manuscript as I’m revising it, non-fiction is no different, but sometimes it’s scene that I really like. It’s painful, but it’s all about making the book better. Just to give you a taste of the new book, I thought I’d post one of my favorite sections that ended up on the cutting room floor.

I’ll set the scene: I was in the DNA Genetics office in Amsterdam, talking to Aaron of DNA about the basics of cannabis botany when…

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Harvest Special Update

I’ll be honest, it was ugly.  

I’m not talking about Prop. 19’s near miss in California, I’m talking about the fact that I was KO’d in the first round of the Literary Death Match in Austin.   Dropped to the mat like a sack of shit by a guy reading a heartwarming Christmas story.   I, because it was a Death Match and I take the challenge of a Death Match seriously, read the home-invasion-strap-on-reversal-of-fortune-scene from Baked.  That, apparently, was a mistake.  The local newspaper, the Austin American-Statesman covered the event and had this to say:  “Smith mistook shocking, violent and disgusting for funny in his reading.”

Which is ironic, because I mistake shocking, violent and disgusting for funny in my novels.
But I had a good time at the Texas Book Festival.  I saw my friends: authors David Liss, Billy Taylor and Elizabeth Crane.  I saw other pals too.   I ate fried okra, drank cold beer, and was content.   I like Austin.

Work on my non-fiction book continues.   I went up into the Sierras to watch the harvest come in.   I avoided poison oak.  I tried to learn how to trim, but like being an expert hair stylist, it was beyond my skill set.   I churned out buds that looked like squashed tater tots.   Thankfully, I’m one hell of a typist.

If you’re planning on being at the Cannabis Cup in Amsterdam November 21-25, look for me.  I’ll be there.

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August 2010

What can I tell you?

I’ve been busy.

I made it back from Amsterdam without any long term brain damage and then immediately bounced from Palm Springs to San Francisco to Toronto. Last week I found myself in the high Sierras, crawling on my hands and knees through dense forests of manzanita and poison oak to find the abandoned pot growing camp of a violent Michoacan drug cartel dug into the side of a rocky cliff.

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Happy New Year 2010

Happy New Year 2010

I’m excited about 2010. I like to say the words “twenty ten”, it rolls off the tongue in a way that “twenty nine” never did. I’m ready for the Year of the Tiger to start in February and I’m really excited that BAKED is coming out in August.

BAKED took me a long time to write, there were lots of stops and starts, false leads, blind alleys, mistakes and fuckups, but ultimately I think the book turned out pretty good. I hope you like it.

I was in Amsterdam in November for the 22nd Annual Cannabis Cup and was blown away by what a beautiful city it is. The Cup was totally groovy and highly informative and I’ve written about the experience for the Los Angeles Times.

After Amsterdam I took a roadtrip across the great American Southwest with my trusty research assistant. We drove through Arizona and New Mexico only to get

poleaxed by a freak ice storm that stranded us for a few days in what must be the most Jesus-happy city in the world, Abilene Texas. Eventually we made it to Austin in time for New Year’s Eve.

But all that is so 2009. 2010 is the here, the now, what’s hip and happening. I’m making my resolutions, setting my goals and making plans. I don’t think I’m done with Amsterdam and the Cannabis business. There’s just something about Underground botanists and outlaw farmers that I like. Perhaps it’s that connection to the earth and sun – the land – that’s calling me. It won’t be a novel, I think someone needs to tell the real story about these people, but don’t worry, I’ve got more fiction in the works. That’s what I do.

I want to recommend some books coming out in 2010. Tony Dushane’s I WAS A TEENAGE JESUS JERK. I blurbed it and said: “Darkly funny and authentically kinky, Tony DuShane’s first novel is a surprisingly sweet coming-of-age story told through the eyes of a horny, Jehovah-battered, Watchtower-wielding door-to-door proselytizer. I may never answer my doorbell again.”

And Paul Tremblay’s NO SLEEP TILL WONDERLAND which I blurbed thusly: “Paul Tremblay somehow manages to channel Franz Kafka, write like Raymond Chandler, and whip up a completely original, utterly whack-a-doodle reinvention of the detective novel. This book rocks.”

Also Gar Anthony Haywood’s CEMETARY ROAD, which Publishers Weekly gave a starred review and wrote: “Reverberations from a crime committed in their youth follow three grown men with the tenacity and inevitability of Greek tragedy in Haywood’s beautifully crafted novel of unintended consequences…

That should keep you busy until August.