Brown River Queen cover art

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Summer Fun, With Corpses!

I'm not a big fan of public swimming pools.  Oh, I can swim, but the thought of immersing myself in the same fluid that extends to the nether regions of the crowd that regularly graces the pages of People of Walmart has no appeal to me.

Do I not like people?

I like most of them just fine, as long as they A) keep their distance or B) live in other states.  Preferably B.  

But I've digressed.  Swimming pools, as I said, are not for me.  I can say much the same about the outdoors in general, these days.  I find that my preferred environment is cooled to 72 degrees, dimly lit, and features menus and wait staff.  I mean, why bother evolving into a sentient creature in a technological civilization if you don't spend every waking moment getting as far away from that hunting and gathering nonsense as is possible?

Now, I'm sure my primitive forbears had to spend a lot of time mucking about in various dirty, dangerous bodies of water.  And I'm also sure they hated it, right up until the time the crocodiles ate them or the deadly snakes bit them.  So I feel I owe it to them to keep myself well-fed, comfortable, and well away from bodies of water, including swimming pools.

Face it, pools are bacterial resort areas.  People bring in babies.  People bring in themselves.  Have you looked at people lately? Gross. Unless there's enough chlorine in the water to bleach my swim trunks a sudden stark white, forget it.

But pools can harbor worse things that the contents of a baby diaper.  Case in point -- this public pool in Boston held a dead human body for at least two full days.

That's right.  A woman drowned in the pool, and despite the presence of lifeguards and numerous other swimmers her bloating corpse just floated there for forty-eight gruesome, awful hours.

It's not that no one noticed.  At least one kid made a report to the laughably termed 'lifeguards,' who ignored both the report and the green limp woman floating face down in the deep end since yesterday.

I have to wonder -- just what constitutes an emergency in that particular pool?

Drowning obviously isn't it.  Dead bodies clouding up the water with the by-products of decay?  Nah, no biggie.

Splashing, though -- I bet splashing gets you a whistle, and two splashing incidents rates a ban.

The story gets even funnier, aside of course from the 'corpse' part.  The pool was visited by inspectors once during the dead woman's marathon motionless float.  

The inspectors did note a 'cloudiness' in the water.  But, since they apparently never made it past the Scotland Yard entrance exams, no one connected the cloudiness with the gas-filled cadaver making slow turns in the corner.

So yeah.  Let's all rush to the nearest public pool and exchange body fluids with strangers.  It's what summer is all about!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

News, Ooze, and, um, Stews?

First of all, a few news items!

The new Markhat novel, THE BROKEN BELL, will be out on December 27 of this year.  I believe I predicted a September release date earlier, but take the September-December discrepancy as just another example of my stunted precognitive psychic abilities.  December 27 is the official word from the publisher. September was just me mumbling after consuming a jarful of cloudy Old Overcoat.

ALL THE PATHS OF SHADOW, my non-Markhat fantasy novel, is still due out in September.  I'll post further details as they become available.

I have two big writing projects lined up for the rest of the year.  In no particular order, they are BROWN RIVER QUEEN and ALL THE TURNS OF LIGHT.  BROWN RIVER QUEEN is a new Markhat novel, and ALL THE TURNS OF LIGHT is the sequel to ALL THE PATHS OF SHADOW.

I'll probably start BROWN RIVER QUEEN, work until the halfway point, and then pick up TURNS OF LIGHT before switching back when it's halfway done.  My thinking is that the midway swap will give me a break from both books without wasting any writing time, and while that idea looks good on paper I'll abandon it if steam starts coming out of my ears when I try it.

Markhat's world and the world of PATHS OF SHADOW/TURNS OF LIGHT are two very different places.  If you've read any Markhat, you know Rannit is a gritty, unforgiving, rough-and-tumble town where the unwary and the unwise are unlikely to last the night.  My other world is a gentler, kinder place, although it has a few dark alleys all its own.  

I'm curious how Markhat fans are going to react to the SHADOW books, and vice versa.  To be quite honest, I once considered releasing PATHS OF SHADOW under a pen name.  Not because it isn't good -- it is -- but because it's not the kind of setting or story people usually associate with my name.  PATHS OF SHADOW is a YA (young adult) book, which means you won't find Trolls smearing vampires all over the walls, or characters wisecracking while juggling recently severed heads.

Which isn't to say there's not drama or peril.  there is, but it's a different flavor.

But you can judge for yourself, in September.

BROWN RIVER QUEEN is set on a riverboat.  Yes, Markhat takes to the sea, or more precisely the sluggish Brown River, aboard a lavish gambling boat.  I'm throwing a little New Orleans seasoning into this one, and a dash of Mark Twain.  It's going to be huge fun -- wait for the scene in which Mama Hog plays a crooked game of roulette.

That's my world right now.  I spared you the awful details of being sick for two weeks and my mechanical ordeals involved in repairing the lawn mower and the chainsaw.  I still have a massive tangle of fallen trees in the backyard to deal with.  Saturday I managed to get the chainsaw running, and I worked manfully for maybe half an hour before a coughing fit sent me scurrying back into the shade.  I'll try again this Saturday, since I'm feeling much stronger now -- might even manage an hour of tree-clearing before I swoon from fatigue.

I will close with the obligatory link to a random book of mine.  Here it is, in Kindle format...others are available...