Brown River Queen cover art

Friday, March 4, 2011

Signed and Away

Just signed the contract for The Bonnie Bell! 

Which makes the sale officially official.  Stamped and sealed, even.  I'd have sealed the envelope with a big red glob of hot wax, but things are done electronically these days and it's impossible to scrape all the wax off the monitor.

So that makes six entries in the Markhat series, with another already in progress.  I'm happy about that.  Happy and a little frightened, because we all know what happens to most series after a few books.

Seriously.  Take Laurell K. Hamilton's Anita Blake books, for instance.  The first three were great.  But something happened after that, and I've not been able to follow the later books.  I'm not knocking Ms Hamilton; but for me, the series evolved into something I don't care for.

It doesn't happen with every series, of course.  Rex Stout managed seventy-odd Nero Wolfe books without a single fatal mis-step.  Jim Butcher's wizard-for-hire tales are bumping along as good as ever.  Kim Harrison and her Hollows books haven't jumped the shark.

Still, I worry.  But until I start getting rejections instead of contracts, I'll just stay the course and trust that Markhat and the gang know what they're doing.

Too, I have another project in the works.  A secret project, one that has absolutely nothing to do with finders or haunts or Trolls.  I think people will be surprised -- nay, amazed.

But that's a story for another time.  Right now I need to finish proofing the print galleys for The Banshee's Walk.  That involves reading the whole thing yet again, character by character and word by word, looking for any remaining hidden typos or sneaky format errors.

I live a life of glamor and excitement, I do!  Look -- is that a dangling participle, on which light yonder breaks?

Thursday, March 3, 2011

The Lazy Man's Lament

The flu is gone.  It's time to get back to work.

I only wish my brain worked that way.  You see, being sick completely wrecked my self-imposed work regimen.  I didn't write; I couldn't.

What I could do is lie there and watch junk TV while all those fissures in my brain smoothed themselves out.  I had a solid week of nothing but the worst of the worst -- COPS.  Las Vegas Jailhouse.  Operation Repo.  Even, heaven help me, World's Dumbest.

And I loved it.  I loved every glorious empty moment of it.  I didn't have to create, or critique, or even consider.  All I had to do was watch.  Slime mold should learn to me as passive as I.  I was flatlined.  Coroners gathered at my door.  Undertakers made measurements.  Crows stood on one foot, ready to snatch up a tender eyeball at an instant's notice.

That is my natural state.  Mouth slightly open.  TV flashing.  Eyes blank and staring.  Nominal heartbeat and respiration, just enough to keep the TV remote in play.

Top of the food chain, Ma!

But now that my traitor body has fought off the invaders, I can no longer claim fever and fatigue keep me from the keyboard.  So here I am, fingers poised, ready to create Deathless Prose and Salable Manuscript.

I get as far as 'The' before some little voice whispers 'Hey, isn't 30 Rock on about now?'

It's a long slog back to productivity.

But here goes...

Sunday, February 27, 2011

How Not to Survive the Flu

If you've been wondering where I've been, well, that shaking, coughing mound of what appears to be dirty laundry, over in the corner, covered under used tissues and empty bottles of Vicks NyQuil?

That's me.

I'd back up a bit if I were you.  That's better.

What felt like the onset of a mild cold last Monday evening was bone-aching, muscle-spasming flu by Tuesday morning.  I haven't been really sick in quite a while, but I'm making up for lost time.

I don't know what strain of flu this is, or what 4-letter acronym it goes by.  I'd suggest PAIN or HURT.  It starts with a few innocent seeming sneezes and then your brains are leaking out your nose and that cracking sound you hear when you cough is your sternum finally cracking.

Then it gets really bad.

The doctor put me on Tamiflu, which certainly put the flu in a bad mood.  My own efforts to self-medicate have been less than successful, possibly because in my delirium I mixed up a book of old folk remedies with a Betty Crocker cookbook and wound up trying a lot of chicken-based casserole poultices.

Here are some other treatments to avoid, during the flu:

* The old adage 'drink plenty of liquids' doesn't extend to include grain alcohol or Febreeze.
* Chicken soup does give me energy, because if I see another cup of it I'm going to throw that crap outside.  And believe me just walking to the door right now takes quite a burst of energy.
* Get plenty of rest, they say.  Oh really.  Because I was thinking about going outside and chopping a couple cords of oak firewood, but if prevailing wisdom says I should lie here and shiver in a pool of my own sweat, well, okay, I'll do that then.
* Zinc is said to have therapeutic benefits during colds and flu.  You know, I could eat my entire set of zinc cookware right now, and I don't think it would do anything but dull my teeth.  Okay, I ate a ladle, just in case, and nothing happened.

I'd write more, but I have to go huddle in a corner and shake now.  Am I not supposed to be at the top of the food chain?  All this over a microscopic twist of proteins, a mere virus, a thing with fewer brains and less muscle than Charlie Sheen?

I'd shake my head in disbelief if that didn't require so much effort.

Send pudding and potable beverages.