Brown River Queen cover art

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Terrible Tuesday Horoscopes

Several of you emailed to let me know I've missed months of Terrible Tuesday horoscopes.  You're right, I did miss posting them -- but only because the stars themselves forbade it.  Something about Jupiter being in a snit because Mars spent the night at the House of Leo and later tried to claim he couldn't call because there wasn't any cell service out past the asteroid belt.  Suffice it to say that many celestial panties were in cosmic bunches, okay?

But fear not, truth seekers, because I'm back on schedule this week!  So look below and learn your fate...

ARIES (March 21-April 20)
Try to look on the bright side -- your demise next Tuesday will help others take those 'Maximum Occupancy' signs in elevators a lot more seriously.

TAURUS (April 21 - May 20)
Neither the police nor the zookeepers will ever learn exactly how the gorillas armed themselves with baseball bats or managed to hide quietly in your closet.

GEMINI (May 21 - June 20)
There's no use trying to outrun your fate, especially when your fate is hopped up on meth and driving a flaming gasoline truck.  

CANCER (June 21 - July 22)
The stars aren't sure why that enraged buffalo singled you out, either. 

LEO (July 23 - August 22)
Event after the events of next Thursday, the odds of anyone being besides you actually being struck by satellite debris during a gas leak explosion in a fireworks factory remain microscopically small.

VIRGO (August 23 - September 23)
Well, honestly, who knew Jason Voorhees was both real and hiding in your back seat with a machete? 

LIBRA (September 24 - October 23)
If it's any consolation, the flamethrower manufacturer is going to feel just terrible about your headline-grabbing misadventure next Monday.

SCORPIO (October 24 - November 21)
See, what happens Friday at the shark exhibit is why you should never tempt a grumpy Fate by asking the (usually) rhetorical question 'At least it can't get any worse, right?' 

SAGITTARIUS (November 22 - December 21)
Even if your attacker is just a crazy guy in a Yeti suit, the homicide detectives will all agree those fake claws left quite a convincing mess behind.

CAPRICORN (December 22 - January 19)
Yes, fake novelty grenades do look just like the real thing. And no, the novelty company's lawyers aren't going to be very sympathetic at all.

AQUARIUS (January 20 - February 19)
Cheer up! Accusations of serial necrophilia aside, not many people can say they've lasted as the top headline on all three major media outlets for three consecutive days. 

PISCES (February 20 - March 20)
Well, you'll give it a valiant try, but face it -- hanging onto the wing at that altitude just isn't physically possible.

Monday, February 6, 2012

And the Winner is....

 Two weeks ago, I stunned the world of the easily stunned by announcing a bold new contest here on the blog, by which one lucky reader would win a custom-made wand right out of my book All the Paths of Shadow.

Here's the wand, in case you were stranded on a tropical island sans your smartphone when I started the giveaway:

The press went wild. Vast tracts of the internet lit up suddenly with frantic traffic, only to quickly go dark under the unbearable load of emails, posts, and tweets by my threes of loyal fans.  Economies were threatened. Global trade ground nearly to a halt. Sales of wand-dusting supplies and display cases suitable for the presentation of wands surged, if by surged one means increased by an amount so small you'd need a battery of electron microscopes and a talented psychic medium to just to see a hint of it.

Entries poured in.  My ISP even called me, although honestly that wasn't my ISP and was a wrong number anyway.

Fig. 1. Fans Restless As Evening Progresses

Late last night, surrounded by unruly mobs and, oddly enough, the entire cast of One Tree Hill, I printed each name on a precisely-cut rectangle of watermarked 80% cotton paper.  When the last of the innumerable names was lovingly transcribed (an event which miraculously coincided with the depletion of the local beer supply), the names were added to a hand-crafted Fair Trade approved 100% reclaimed upcycled locally-grown vintage folk art container (sometimes referred to as an 'old coffee can' by less sophisticated persons) and shaken vigorously by blindfolded members of the Academy of Film Sciences.

Fig. 2. Close Friends and Special Fans Gather.

The container was then sealed in the presence of my legal counsel (i.e., my dog Thor) before being whisked to the official drawing ceremony, which was moved at the last moment to the work-table downstairs due to legal counsel's unfortunate ingestion of leftover baked beans an hour earlier.  Once the air was cleared, with assistance from a fan, five lit candles, and liberal dispensing of Febreeze Garden Sensations, I took center stage and prepared the audience for the event.

Fig. 2 part B. That's me with the halo. Do I rock a robe or what?

Of course, there were preliminaries to conduct.  The London Philharmonic Orchestra was on hand, to debut composer John Williams' new symphony 'Frank's Wand Giveaway, and I Get Paid in Advance, Right?' in honor of the event. Madonna, after her warm-up act at the Super Bowl, then performed as the Blue Angels roared by overhead and a massive fireworks display lit up the entire Gulf of Mexico.

Fig. 3. Opening Ceremony Fireworks light up the entire Solar System.

Finally, in the wee hours, the time to select the winner of the First Annual Wand Giveaway approached.  After dismissing the members of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, who served as honor guard for the collected names during the festivities, I allowed my co-hosts Morgan Freeman and a hastily reincarnated Marilyn Monroe to open the lid.

Fig. 4. The Winner is Selected as Mankind looks on.

A hush fell over the crowd. Even the churning of the mighty aircraft carrier USS Enterprise's nuclear turbines fell silent, as I reached inside, and slowly if not majestically selected a random slip of paper and held it up in the heart of a dozen blazing spotlights.

Confetti flew. Flashbulbs popped by the million. The moment had arrived.

As an estimated thirteen billion people held their collective breath, I unfolded the paper, and, in a reverent whisper, I read the name.

Fig. 5. Yeah, so this one doesn't really fit. You try to find this many public domain images and see how you do.

But if you missed all that, and shame on you, I'm going to repeat it here...

Maria S., you have won!

Yes, Maria S., you are the winner, which you already know because I emailed you.  But act surprised anyway when CNN, CBS, NBC, ABC, and all the other reporters show up your door.  I'd really appreciate it if you could fake a faint, because that go probably go viral and frankly I could use the sales (hello, that's a hint, people, what do I have to do? Click here or I may start crying.).

I'd like to stop and extend a serious and heartfelt thank you to all the people who entered.  Because that lets me know that A) someone out there actually reads these demented rants of mine, and B) See A.  so thanks, folks!  I'll be running another contest soon, so I wish you guys all the best next time.

Maria, your wand is on its way, or will be tomorrow.  I hope you enjoy it, and remember, if anyone in your vicinity should spontaneously grow gills or find that their hair is slowly turning into straw, I'm sure there's a logical explanation that doesn't involve any legal or financial liability on my part.

I'd ask my legal counsel for details, but someone fed him chili, and he'll be the center of his own green-tinted Forbidden Zone until sometime tomorrow...