Brown River Queen cover art

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Markhat News!

And so a great hush fell over the land. Everywhere, creatures fell silent and still. Squirrels halted in mid-scamper. Wolves paused in their howling. Woodchucks stopped doing whatever it is that woodchucks do.

For there it was. The email that would determine the fate of the Markhat series, in the inbox that held the email that would determine the fate of the Markhat series (repetition emphasizes content).

The woodchucks grew restless, eager to resume their tireless efforts at establishing a stable fusion reaction (they're a lot smarter than they look, people). The wolves gave me the stink eye, fearful that Sarah Palin might be sighting in on them from a Stealth helicopter. The squirrels complained bitterly, because re-establishing a sustained scamper isn't nearly as easy as it looks.

So I opened the email, and . . .

. . . and . . .

BROWN RIVER QUEEN, the new Markhat novel, has been accepted!

Yes, that's right, the 7th Markhat title will be making its way to a bookstore near you soon.  This is another full-blown novel, not a novella or a collection of short stories. The old gang is back, with a new face or two as well.

At the moment, it looks like we're heading for a March 2013 release date. I will of course keep you posted here.

Thanks for all the support! Now let's all go hug an Ogre in celebration!

Belfast: Both Barrels

According to the latest news out of the sewage-encrusted wasteland that is Northern Ireland, the Belfast City Council put dog Lennox down after holding him hostage for two years of sham court hearings and clumsy lies.

Here's a quote from the official TheLennoxCampaign page --

Official Statement From Lennox's Family:

We would like to take this opportunity to thank you all again for your messages of support. We are sorry to say at the present time Belfast city council seem to be intent on killing our boy. Despite previous assurances otherwise, we have been denied the opportunity to say goodbye. We have also been told that we cannot collect his body and bring Len home. We have been informed however that we will receive "some" ashes in the mail.

Keep in mind that poor Lennox was a service dog to a special needs little girl. Keep in mind the Belfast City Council (spelled 'Baby-stomping Nazi bastards') dragged this whole wretched mess out for two years, while they kept Lennox in a despicable little wire cage surrounded by his own feces (and yes, there are photos).

In the end, the Belfast City Council wouldn't even let the Barnes family say goodbye. 

I suppose the Belfast City Council's offhand promise to mail 'some' of Lennox's ashes to his grieving family counts as rare fine charity in merry old Belfast. I imagine each member of the Belfast City Council (I want to make sure Google remembers what the Council is destined to be most famous for, thus the repetition of the words Belfast City Council) was teary-eyed and filled with pride when they magnanimously offered to mail the innocent dog's remains to the grieving little girl.

I suspect they'll send the envelope postage due.

Send it postage due, and then levy charges against the Barnes family for 'storing illegal dog-breed ashes' or something equally inane.  This is, after all, the Belfast City Council we're talking about. 

Because that's the kind of cruel, sadistic, unfeeling, vindictive, unreasoning, cold-hearted, psychopathic, puppy-murdering, bloodthirsty, evil-minded, rotten, despicable, worthless, cowardly, vicious execrable foul vile depraved repugnant malodorous inhumane barbarous stinking hateful reprobate maleficent bags of crap that make up the Belfast City Council.

I'm not even doing them justice in the paragraph above. They snatched some kid's dog after showing up at the wrong address, they decided Lennox was a pit bull when his Belfast-issued license and a DNA test clearly showed he was a perfectly legal 7 year old bulldog/lab mix, and then they kept the poor dog in a cage until they murdered him, two years later, with an offhand note saying 'Nope, no goodbyes, we'll mail you some ashes, are we good now?'

How do you even convey the depth of such blatantly cruel behavior?

I suspect that Lennox either died in his deplorable confinement or was put down months ago. I suspect the Belfast City Council was afraid to reveal this, after the media firestorm surrounding Lennox became apparent to even their dim, ratlike little minds.

Internationally-renowned dog trainer Victoria Stilwell recently traveled to Belfast with an offer to take Lennox away to the US at no expense whatsoever to the Belfast City Council.

The Belfast City Council refused to even speak with Victoria Stilwell. Consider that for a moment -- fat-headed career politicians refused to cavort in front of cameras. With a celebrity. Does anyone else find that strange?

I suspect they refused for two reasons -- first, not one of the Belfast City Council members is capable of completing a sentence without lapsing into a violent alcoholic rage. And second, because they knew Lennox was already gone. Lennox's ill-treatment was apparent in the few photographs leaked from his pathetic quarters. I believe Lennox died through abuse and/or neglect, and that's why the Belfast City Council refused to meet with Miss Stilwell or let the Barnes family say goodbye. 

They'd already killed the dog.

Which makes them liars as well as heartless villains.

It's too late to help Lennox. Unless the legacy of his horrific mistreatment at the hands of the Belfast City Council, the ignoramus judges, and the truly incompetent 'dog experts' that made up the whole wretched tale causes some change in the dark heart of Belfast, Lennox will have died (badly) for nothing.

So, by all means, put Belfast at the top of your holiday destination list! Belfast, famous for its exports of boils and goiters, where the authorities are so friendly they'll quite possibly mail you the remains of your pets a couple of years after they murder them. 

Belfast, city of delights, if by delights you mean bloodthirsty dog wardens and a City Council bent on casual slaughter of all dogs, whether they are a prohibited breed or not. 

Belfast, where pride trumps reason, where compassion is something that happens elsewhere, where they'll mail you the ashes of the one you loved.

Belfast City Council, you people are rotten to the core.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Dragons, Books, and Something New!

Life is change. Or change is life. Or is it time is money?  Stitches in time save goats?

I can never keep all that eldritch wisdom straight.

Regardless of my lackluster grasp of homilies, I'm going to do two new things in today's blog.

First, I'm going to talk about someone else's book for a change. Hey, stop all that clapping and cheering, I can hear you, you know.

Next, I'm going to introduce a segment I call 'Out on the Patio.' This will be an audio segment, recorded out on my patio, in which I blabber on about whatever inane subject strikes my fancy. There will be a link below.

Why am I doing this?

Mainly because I wanted to give you guys a change of pace. You come here week after week and read my rants and raves, and if I keep doing the same old same old I'll wind up boring you.  That's the main reason.

Also, I went to great lengths to purchase this nifty chrome-plated Blue Snowball professional microphone, and aside from a few ill-fated sessions of singing along with musical legend Billy Idol the Snowball hasn't gotten any use. My plan was to start a podcast. I still plan to do that, but I have to first get over this stage fright, and the 'Out on the Patio' segments seem like a good way to do this.

Finally, you'll all get the chance to marvel at my thick Mississippi accent. Mock away. But I'd really appreciate it if, when you're done laughing, you'd zap me an email and let me know how the sound quality was.  Too soft? Too loud? Muffled? Distorted? Made your dogs bark and your ears bleed?

Let me know!

First, let's talk about a book I just finished, Dragons of Wendal by Maria Schneider.

Before starting Maria's book, I plowed through several zombie novels and a couple of 'extreme' horror anthologies. To say I was aghast at the poor quality of these books would be a vast understatement. Formatting problems? All over the place. Grammar errors? Right, left, and rife. Bad storytelling? Oh yeah.

Dragons of Wendal was, if you'll forgive the analogy, a breath of fresh air. Spot-on perfect formatting. Impeccable grammar. Engaging characters, skillfully drawn, in a story that was by turns funny, frightening, and even (gasp) romantic.

Zoe, the heroine, is smart and plucky and accomplished. Her world is filled with magic and peril, but it is not just another Standard High Fantasy knock-off complete with red-faced blustery innkeeps and wise old whiskery mages. I loved Zoe's world. It lived and breathed, and visiting it was great fun.

I don't do spoilers, so I'd better shut up. Look, if you like my stuff, or Pratchett, or classic high fantasy with a modern twist, grab Dragons of Wendal. It's only $2.99 at Amazon for the Kindle; there's also a paperback version there for just a few bucks more.

And now for my audio debut!

Out on the Patio

You guys are my guinea pigs -- er, valued pre-release focus group. Let me know what you think by emailing me!

Thanks. And stay cool out there!