Brown River Queen cover art

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Get Yours At Off Square Books

And now for a bit of shameless self-promotion!  My latest print book, THE MARKHAT FILES, has hit the shelves at Off Square Books in Oxford.  Here's a pick of the cover -- oh, and note that 2 copies of my other printed Markhat novel, HOLD THE DARK, are right beside it:

The Markhat Files
So, if you live in or near Oxford and you've been waiting for the book to hit the stands, they've hit! And remember, for each copy of THE MARKHAT FILES sold, an angel gets a puppy.  Or maybe it's a kitten.  Either way it's cute and fluffy and its got big trusting eyes and you feel a sudden irresistible compulsion to buy this book right now yes right now go go go...

So hit up Off Square Books and make a huge scene when you buy the book.  Really.  Run up to the shelf, grab the book with both hands, then scream "I have been looking for this book for ages AAAAAAAAGH here it is AAAAAGH MY LIFE IS COMPLETE!" before throwing wads of cash at the confused clerk and then charging out into traffic on the Square.  

Let's make this an event.

So, to recap -- THE MARKHAT FILES, Off Square Books, 662-236-2828, open 9:00 AM till 7:00 PM Monday through Thursday, 9:00 AM till 8:00 PM on Fridays and Saturdays, noon till five on Sundays, give me a call and I'll drive you myself if you'll buy a few books!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Snowmen in the Mist

If you live pretty much anywhere in the United States, here's your weather forecast, in a single image:

Sorry about that.  Those of you who have already endured seventeen feet of snow this winter are probably ready for a bit of sun -- but that isn't likely to emerge for some time now.

Here in Mississippi, all we're getting are winds and heavy rains, both howling down from a lead-grey sky.  I got a faceful of cold rain a while ago, driven by a gleeful gust that I suppose had been dying to slap someone since leaving Alberta.  I took the assault personally, and had words with the atmosphere. 

In non-weather news, I have decided to update my ancient version of Word at home before I'm too deep into the new novel.  Yes, I know, word is a product of Microsoft&Evil, Inc., but it's also the industry standard and unless one wants to pay for a WordPerfect to Word conversion and then re-write the whole thing because the conversion is flaky at best, one will use Word from the start and like it.

I want Word 2010.  Word 2007 is slightly cheaper, but not much, and I'll probably spring for the extra twenty bucks or so and get the latest and greatest.  I've looked at some of the new features in Word 2010, and it seems the biggest changes have been to add shadows and reflections to the various fonts.

Really.  Shadows and reflections.  Just what a weary-eyed editor wants to see -- squiggly Olde English characters, in light yellow, casting delicate shadows at their feet and dim reflections in the background.  Either one alone assures a quick sale.  Make a note of that, all you up and coming young writers...heh heh heh.

What I really get, though, is compatibility with everyone else.  My version is so old I have to use an actual pencil.  When I click HELP, a little old man eventually wanders up to the house and says "Eh?"  When I decide to save a file, I have to have a wax cylinder ready.

You get the picture.

I'm still working on the opening to Brown River Queen.  I'm taking it slow, having fun with it, letting the rest of the book plot itself out in my subconscious while I fiddle with the first paragraph.  You hear that, subconscious?  I want this thing plotted, paced, supplied with relevant subplots, and moving along a graceful story arc by the end of next week, or it's another marathon of old 'Love Boat' episodes for you, pal.

Oh, and if Microsoft is reading this, and I must assume that they are stroking a fat white cat and plotting world domination while reading this, you could generate some much-needed good karma by sending me a free copy of Word 2010 (the 64-bit edition, please).  

Monday, January 31, 2011

Chasing Chandler

"It was about eleven o'clock in the morning, mid October, with the sun not shining and a look of hard wet rain in the clearness of the foothills. I was wearing my powder-blue suit, with dark blue shirt, tie and display handkerchief, black brogues, black wool socks with dark blue clocks on them. I was neat, clean, shaved, and sober, and I didn't care who knew it. I was everything the well-dressed private detective ought to be. I was calling on four million dollars."

Raymond Chandler, THE BIG SLEEP

Now that, gentle readers, is how you start a novel.

Anyone who reads that opening knows they're in for a ride.  I've read and re-read that opening passage a thousand times -- ten thousand times -- just trying to pick apart every last nuance of it.

Darn right I'll steal, but only from the best.

Every time I start a new book, I try my best to start it with an opening as powerful as Chandler's above.  I do this for two reasons -- one, because it hooks the reader and draws them in, as surely as flies to trout.  And two, because no editor alive could resist the siren song of Chandler's prose, and verily, this author needs a new pair of metaphorical shoes.

So now that I'm starting a new book, I've got another shot at matching Chandler's famous opening.

There's a lot of drudgery, tedium, and just plain hard work involved in writing.

But this is one of those moments that is pure magic.

Once upon a time...

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Spooky Moon

A picture is said to be worth a thousand words.  I doubt this, since the only words that apply to many pictures are "Is that your thumb?" and "How long has your camera been broken?"

With that in mind, here is a picture.  I call it Spooky Moon, because A) it looked spooky when I took it, and B) it's the Moon.

Fig. 5a, re: the Moon

That's precisely the kind of Moon I always picture when I'm writing.  So, if you're reading something of mine and the Moon is mentioned, think big and ominous and, in the spirit of accuracy, also grainy and overexposed.

I do love a big fat harvest Moon, served up with a bit of chill in the air.  

But wait, you may ask.  With so much going on in the world, why are you posting old pics of dubious quality and ignoring the historic events unfolding in Egypt, for instance, and elsewhere?

You'd be right to ask that.  After all, my old blog was nearly all political.  

But this time around, the sad truth is that I just don't give a wet hang.  I'm not mad anymore.  I'm not appalled, or shocked, or outraged, or even mildly discombobulated.

I just don't care. 

So if Charles Manson is installed as Speaker of the House, or if a bag of Cheetos winds up on the UN Security Council, fine.  You won't hear me grousing about it.  Raise taxes to pay for public displays of ornamental taxidermy.  Establish a government commission to regulate gerunds.  Make it illegal to demonstrate left-handedness on a Tuesday.


I've decided to defend myself with stout walls of military-grade apathy.  I shall erect a fortress of impenetrable uncarium.  My lack of concern to matters domestic and foreign will be not only visible from space, but also a navigation hazard due to its blazing, continuous intensity.

So, no more Dick Cheney jokes.  No more mixed references to American foreign policy and massive head injury.  Nevermore shall I cast scorn, corn, or Bjorn toward Washington or those that dwell within.

With that, I bid you all goodnight.  I hope a spooky Moon smiles down upon you.