On Brian Williams and Contributing to the Delinquency of a TBR Pile

No, those two things aren’t related. :-). If you’re here to read my take on Brian Williams, scroll on down to the photo of Hurricane Katrina. I have a bit of book stuff first.

First, I’ll contribute to the TBR Catastrophe by sharing some news you might or might not know about some of my favorite authors (and a big THANKS to Roger for telling me about some of it).

We all know that PIRATE’S ALLEY is coming out in a couple of months, right? Well, where have you been?

Here are some other of my favorite authors who are doing stuff:

JIM BUTCHER’s latest Dresden novel, SKIN GAME, came out last May (yep, still on the TBR, which is shameful as this is my No. 1 favorite series); to my knowledge there isn’t another Dresden book on the horizon yet but one can hope. In the meantime, he is starting a new series, The Cinder Spires, with a September 29 release called THE AERONAUT’S WINDLASS. And yep, it is what it seems. Butcher’s taking a dive into steampunk! The Goodreads description calls it “League of Ordinary Gentlemen meets Sherlock meets Hornblower.” There might be talking cats.

With Rachel Morgan having bid her final farewell (nope, haven’t gotten that one read, either), Kim Harrison’s new Peri Reed Chronicles will kick off with the Sept. 1 release of THE DRAFTER, described as “The Bourne Identity meets Minority Report” and “a sexy new suspense trilogy featuring a brilliant special task agent set in a futuristic Detroit.”

And if any of you are like me and miss the good old days when there were only six or seven real members of the Black Dagger Brotherhood, JR Ward announced on her blog yesterday that while BDB will continue, she will be starting a new series in the same world, built around the original brothers and how they are running the BDB training center. “In the process of the new recruits falling in love and getting into a sh*t ton of trouble, THE ORIGINAL BROTHERS could be shown with their shellans, their Brothers, their people in the mansion, in a more prominent way than I’m able to do in the BDB books,” she wrote. So the first of the Black Dagger Legacy series, BLOOD KISS, will come out in December. In the meantime, THE SHADOWS, the new BDB novel, will be released March 31.

Haven’t heard any release date for a new Mercy Thompson novel from Patricia Briggs (yet another series in which I’m woefully behind), but DEAD HEAT, the fourth Alpha & Omega book, will be out in a couple of weeks, on March 3.

What are some of the favorite upcoming releases you’re looking forward to?

Finally, do you guys know about the Book Outlet? It used to be called Book Closeout Outlet. Anyway, I thought I’d mention that all of my Sentinels books are on there at extremely cheap prices. I don’t get any royalties for books sold this way, or credit for sales, or anything like that. It’s simply that the publisher printed more books than they were able to sell, because as much as I love my series, a lot of people have never even heard of it. I don’t know how to fix that, as much as I wish I could.

Anyway, I go over there every once in a while and peruse their Scratch & Dent section and just picked up Jim Butcher and a Kim Harrison hardcover editions I was missing in my collection. The Butcher has a one-inch cut in the edge of the dust jacket and the Harrison is pristine. So if you’re missing series books, it’s always a fun site to explore.

Hurricane Katrina - 2005

Okay, I said I was going to talk about the Brian Williams situation, so here it is. I’m so very, very sad about the whole thing. Brian Williams is my generation’s Walter Cronkite. If I hear conflicting news reports about anything, I wait for “NBC Nightly News” and take their report as gospel. I doubt that will change.

For any New Orleanian who went through Hurricane Katrina, Brian Williams is a hero. Period. I believe this.

He stayed in the Superdome with the poor and the disenfranchised and the stranded when all the shit went down and other reporters were hanging out in the French Quarter bars. He stayed in New Orleans, up to his knees in floodwater, while armed looters rushed in the streets behind him and the other news crews had moved to drier ground. He kept an NBC News presence in New Orleans for months and months and months after Katrina, when we were struggling to make it and we felt forgotten and abandoned by everyone else in the country. He met criticism for that ongoing coverage with a stern reminder to his viewers that an important American city had almost been destroyed and it was their responsibility to follow the struggle as we tried to rebuild our lives. He didn’t want to let Americans forget.

So, yeah, I adore Brian Williams. He was a lifeline during the longest two months of my life, when I was stranded away from home, not knowing if my home had even survived or when I’d be able to get back into the city to find out.

Yeah, okay, he exaggerated his own importance in some stories. He embellished. It wasn’t a smart thing to do for someone in his position. But let’s not turn it into a witch hunt.

One of the things he’s being questioned on now is his claim that he saw a body float past his French Quarter hotel during the Katrina aftermath. The French Quarter didn’t flood, true, but my question is, what hotel was he staying in? Because people who aren’t from New Orleans often consider the big hotels on Canal Street (the Sheraton, the Marriott, etc.) to be part of the Quarter. And Canal Street DID flood. So maybe he did see it. Maybe he saw it somewhere else and embellished it for drama. Doesn’t change the fact that there were dead bodies floating down streets; I saw the photos. People I know who were trapped in the city saw it firsthand.

The question becomes, I think, whether or not we can forgive and move past errors in judgment on the part of a person we have long respected. I say yes, because ten years ago, he was my lifeline and that’s the way I roll. We all screw up; sometimes, those screwups are very public and embarrassing. We survive and, if we are lucky, we are forgiven.

I know others will disagree with me, but I hope to again see Brian Williams reporting the news with the same grace and intelligence and dignity that has marked the bulk of his career.

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About Suzanne Johnson

Author of urban fantasy, paranormal romance, and suspense. As Suzanne Johnson, she is the author of the Sentinels of New Orleans urban fantasy series (Royal Street; River Road: Elysian Fields, Pirate's Alley, Belle Chasse, Frenchmen Street (March 2018). Writing as Susannah Sandlin, she is the author of the Penton Legacy series (Redemption; Absolution; Omega; Storm Force; Allegiance; ILLUMINATION); The Collectors series (Lovely, Dark, and Deep; Deadly, Calm, and Cold); and the Wilds of the Bayou series (Wild Man's Curse; Black Diamond).

11 thoughts on “On Brian Williams and Contributing to the Delinquency of a TBR Pile

  1. I think I embellish my stories of the past ever time I tell one. Not my High School years, they were not great. My US Navy years, every time I tell one of those stories they get better, and I believe them, they get better and better in my head. Brian will be back, I’m sure we will enjoy him again. Vicki Pettersson will also have a new book in July, a Psychological Thriller, “Swerve”.

  2. I think it’s one thing to embellish a story if you’re telling it to friends and another if you’re supposed to be reporting the news. I don’t see them being able to bring Brian Williams back on the news because I don’t think he’ll be able to regain his credability.

    • I think you have a good point, Sandy. I honestly don’t know that NBC will be able to restore him to his former position. I do think his body of work should be respected as a whole, however, and I hope he’s able to continue his career in some fashion. Given the lies and disassembling we hear from politicians every day, I find it hard to get too outraged over whether he was on a helicopter that got hit or on the helicopter behind the one that got hit. Jeez, I sound so jaded–LOL.

  3. In addition to Jim Butcher, Kim Harrison, and J.R. Ward some favorite upcoming releases I am looking forward to are Dragonbane (Dark Hunter series) by Sherrilyn Kenyon, The Immortal Who Loved Me (Argeneau series) by Lynsay Sands, and Dark Ghost (Carpathian series) by Christine Feehan. Of course Pirate’s Alley is at the top of my list!

  4. I agree. He did a great deal of good and who among us has not embellished at one time or another. Memory is fallible and can lead one astray despite the best of intentions. That is the main reason “eye witness” accounts re not highly regarded by law enforcement.
    Knew most of what you had posted otherwise and have my next Sentinel on order!

  5. My TBR list includes every book you listed plus upcoming books by Sherrilyn Kenyon and Christine Feehan who writes 4 different series.

  6. My TBR list includes every book you listed plus upcoming books by Sherrilyn Kenyon and Christine Feehan who writes 4 different series, Nalini Singh’s Shards of Hope and Archangel Enigma. Just started reading Obsession in Death by J.D. Robb which is another all time favorite series.

  7. Patricia Briggs just recently announced that the next Mercy Thompson book, Fire Touched, will be out in March next year. I can’t wait until the next Dresden Files book gets a release date, although I am looking forward to his new series.

  8. I agree- his integrity to weighs the embellishment. Who’s never embellished, fudged a detail, or told their own fish story? There’s more for me to like about BW that I can forgive.