Brown River Queen cover art

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Gift Ideas for Writers

Is there a writer in your life, and are you struggling to come up with that perfect Christmas gift for him or her?

If the first part of the sentence above is true, my condolences, because I'm a writer and I know full well what a morose bunch of budding alcoholics we writers usually are.  I'm constantly staring off into space, oblivious to the world around me until the front bumper strikes something solid and the air bags deploy.

That can't be good company.  I know from experience that the Highway Patrol is seldom thrilled.

Every year, it's the same dilemma.  What to give for Christmas?  What will make your writer's eyes light up, or at least open halfway?

As usual, I'm here to help.  My list of suggestions follows, in order of descending utility.

1) BOOZE.  HOOCH. ROTGUT.  That's right, kids, the Demon Rum himself.  Why?  Simple.

A writer's job is to plumb the depths of the human condition, or at least convince a harried editor that he or she is plumbing said depths long enough for the ink to dry on a contract.  And the first thing you'll learn when you start taking a really close look at the much-vaunted human condition is that doing so induces a sudden, powerful urge to have a drink.  Or three.  Or maybe just leave the whole bottle and start running a tab, because right after the urge to drink comes the realization that it's going to be a long bad night.

2) A THESAURUS. Because nothing works better as a coaster for the drinks mentioned above than a really thick book.  I'd counsel against actually using a thesaurus for writing, because no one wants to read sentences in which characters advance, meander, promenade, traipse, or wend one's way across the room.

3) A CAT.  Hemingway had a cat, right?  He had a cat because aside from certain molds and rare fungi, a cat is probably the only creature on Earth which is more vain and self-centered than the average author.  While other more social creatures might feel neglected or ignored by an author, who is probably staring off into space or rummaging in the cabinets for more liquor, a cat is perfectly comfortable being ignored because it doesn't know anyone else is in the room anyway.  The cat's 'I don't care if you exist or not' attitude is perfectly suited to the author's mindset of 'What? Huh? Who?'

4) AN ELEGANT LEATHER-BOUND JOURNAL.  We all know that writers, and I mean serious professional writers with book contracts and everything, are always prepared to whip out a convincing character or a heart-wrenching plot at the drop of a dangling participle. So give your author the most expensive, ornate leather journal you can find, wait a year, drag it out from under the whiskey-stained thesaurus, and give it to the writer again.  They won't ever know, because each and every page will be as blank as it was the day you bought it.  Seriously, people.  I tried the whole notebook by the bed schtick for years, and I recorded exactly two notes in it, which read:

"Char. A sees the thing, intro. other scene w/char B, str. exc. Plot hole & 9 days."
"Why G. not cld/not E?"

Which explains why Hemingway's cat had six toes, for all I know.  But leatherbound notebooks make pretty good coasters too, and if the glasses sweat on them, you can tell people the stains are from a solo hike through Guatemala which you took to 'reconnect to my muse.'

I don't have a Number 5.  You should probably stop at Number 1, because gift-wrapping a cat is nearly impossible and writers can spot a gift wrapped thesaurus from across a crowded room anyway.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Monday, Monday

Well, it's been days since I've been insulted by an employee of Square Books.  I thought about wandering inside the store today, just to see if the smirking hipster clerks would gather behind the checkout counter before launching a barrage of heavy thesauri toward me.

But it was raining, and frankly the smell of that patchouli-scented body wash they favor can be a bit cloying in close quarters.  So I oped for walking indoors, instead.

Yes, I'm still steamed about that incident.  In retrospect, I think I should have raised my voice and made a scene.  At least I wouldn't still be stewing over a completely erroneous statement made by some empty-headed punk only minutes out of high school.

But enough about them.  I shall put aside my ire, yea, I shall bury it deep.  A plague of pimples upon them (hey, that part is working already).

The Broken Bell hits the shelves in just 22 days!  Markhat fans, if you haven't pre-ordered, you can do so from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or Samhain Publishing.  I really think you'll enjoy this new outing with Markhat and the crew from Rannit.  I'm still chuckling over one part in particular, and though I won't toss out spoilers concerning my own yet-to-be-released book, I will say that Mama Hog is in rare form this time around.

And please don't forget All the Paths of Shadow!  You can get this in glorious print, if you want, in addition to every e-book format imaginable.  Books make great Christmas presents, ya know -- so if there's a kid on your list, or an adult for that matter, consider a copy of All the Paths of Shadow.

Okay, time for me to get back to work.  And don't you have some shopping to do?  That's a subliminal hint, you know....