Here’s a newsletter that just went out to subscribers:

I apologize.

I’ve been starting most of my business and personal emails that way lately, and a fair share of my conversations, so why should this newsletter be any different? Like everything else lately, I’ve left this too long, and consequently have much to report. So let me Hop To It—

1. The first thing I ought to tell you is that I’m about to clear out of here for three weeks. On October 16, Lynne and I head to Japan, where after a few days of book promotion in Tokyo, we’ll join a small-group tour of rural Shikoku Island. Do I want to spoil its bucolic beauty with internet access? No way—so I won’t be taking a computer along. That means no email until our return the first week of November, and the most unsettling aspect is realizing how scary I find the prospect of being Out Of Touch. (And that, I submit, is reason enough to do it.)

Similarly, LB’s eBay Bookstore will be closed while we’re gone. We’ll be able to fill orders received through Friday, October 12 before we go, but after that date the store will be closed and the listings inaccessible until November 5. As we process orders within a day of receipt, you can order from us in November and be sure of delivery in time for the holidays.

2. It’s almost a year since I finished a fifth Keller novel, and Mulholland Books will finally bring out HIT ME in February. As some of you will recall, I issued a special Philatelic First Edition for Keller #4, Hit and Run, with a genuine USPS personalized postage stamp on the signed-and-numbered title page. It proved popular, and remains a prized item in the aftermarket.

We’re raising our game with HIT ME. Mulholland has authorized Otto Penzler’s Mysterious Bookshop to produce a very special First Philatelic Edition. It will be a true small-press book, printed on a finer grade of paper than the publisher’s trade edition, specially bound, and housed in a custom-fitted slipcase. Like its predecessor, it will be a limited printing, numbered and signed, and will bear a USPS stamp, affixed and canceled for the occasion, showing the book cover.

The price is $75 plus shipping.

But wait, there’s more!

In line with the longstanding philatelic tradition of commemorating an event with a souvenir sheet, we’ve prepared one to celebrate our special edition of Hit Me. Our sheet shows the jacket of the book, edged with mock perforations, along with six classic stamps referenced in the book, including rarities from German East Africa, Martinique, Allenstein, Obock, British East Africa, and a very special item we might call “the Poor Man’s Jenny.” Click here to see the sheet.

You can’t buy the souvenir sheet. It’s yours free of charge when you place your advance order for the $75 limited edition of Hit Me. The book itself will be the true first edition, shipping well in advance of February’s trade edition, and it’s our hope that you’ll have it by Christmas. But small press scheduling can be tricky, so we can’t guarantee the delivery time.

What we can and do guarantee, however, is that the souvenir sheet (signed, I might add, by the eminent author) will be on its way to you as soon as we receive and process your order.

And how do you order? Well, I’m afraid you’ll have to wait until I get back from Japan. As soon as I do, I’ll celebrate jet lag by getting out a newsletter and a blog post with everything you need to know. By then we’ll have the souvenir sheets in hand, and in no time at all you’ll have the sheet in your own hands, and it won’t be long before we’re able to send you the book.

3. Change of pace. Many of you have acquired The Night and the Music, my self-published collection of Matthew Scudder short stories, in either the eBook edition or the handsome trade paperback. Those of you who’d rather read it with your ears will soon have the opportunity, as I’ve just finished voicing the book for AudioGo’s unabridged edition. It’s been a while since I narrated one of my audiobooks, long enough for me to have forgotten what a grueling process it is. I found I still like the stories (and a good thing, as I’d hate the job of reading something I didn’t care for). And I was struck, too, by the way they hang together like an episodic novel. I guess y’all must like it, too, as the Amazon listing shows a rare unanimity of five-star reviews. I hope the audio version will find a similar reception when it hits the market sometime next year.

4. I know, I know. You want something to buy now, not next month or next year. Well, how about an eBook? With the various offerings from HarperCollins, along with Mulholland’s edition of A Drop of the Hard Stuff and Titan’s Getting Off, not to mention 40-plus backlist titles from Open Road and my own self-published books and stories, a Kindle search for my names brings up 188 listings, and you’ll find almost as many for Nook and Kobo and Apple and Sony Reader.

Most recently, and only available (at least for now) for Kindle, are the sex-fact books of John Warren Wells. Last I looked there were 16 of them offered for sale, expertly formatted by my friend Jaye Manus. I slapped generic covers on them at first, but I’ve improved the cover art on some, and will in time have decent covers for all of them. (Though, given the nature of the books, “decent” may not be the word I’m looking for here.)

JWW won’t be everybody’s cup of Earl Grey, but why not see for yourself? Tricks of the Trade was JWW’s bestseller, 3 Is Not a Crowd is a personal favorite, and Different Strokes is, well, sui generis.

What else can you buy? Well, you can sample Hit Me by downloading the opening episode, “Keller in Dallas.” It’s a mere $2.99 at Amazon, B&N, Kobo, Apple, or Sony, and you’ll find out how that Obock postage due issue found its way into Keller’s collection.

5. Back in the spring, when we were all of us younger, I got out the word that Liam Neeson was set to star as Matthew Scudder in A Walk Among the Tombstones. Screenwriter/director Scott Frank is in New York this week scouting locations, and they’re planning to begin filming in February. I don’t know how long it’ll be before you can catch it in a multiplex near you, but in the meantime you can always read the book

You know, I’m sure there’s more to tell you, but I can’t think what, and this report is too long already. Enjoy the autumn—or, if you’re in the Southern Hemisphere, welcome the spring! (And if you’re on the Equator, feel free to talk among yourselves.)