Brown River Queen cover art

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Fruitcake Pants

Happy or Otherwise Pleasant Generic Greeting Here

I don't engage in holiday posts, because by now you've read a bazillion of them and you'd probably rather have an entire fruitcake shoved down the front of your pants than endure even one more heartfelt paean to the Year That Was.

Fruitcake Pants, available in S, M, and Without Raisins.
Or maybe that's just me. What I could really use right now is a way to get fruitcake out of my zipper, but that's another story.

So I won't bore you with a list of Ten Homemade Narcotics I'll Be Giving Up in 2014 or Things About 2013 That Made It the Bestest Year EVAH, With Illustrations of Kittens Throughout.

So no lists. I'll say this much, and no more. 2013 was good year for me, in terms of writing, books sales, and awards. The Broken Bell won a Darrell Award (Best Novel). Saving the Sammi won the Best Short Story Darrell Award for 2013. Sales of All the Paths of Shadow inexplicably shot from the mid-hundred-thousands to the hundreds in terms of Amazon rankings, after an astonishing 500 sales in a 4 hour period in the wee hours of a single night. I still don't have an explanation for that. A new Markhat book, Brown River Queen, was released in March.

I also had a screenplay turned into an actual honest-to-Gosh movie, with actors and special effects and a craft table and everything. You can watch The Embalming for free, if you haven't seen it already. It's short and a lot of fun.

But the best of 2013 is yet to come. The Five Faces, a new Markhat novel, was written in 2013 and will hit the stands in June of this year. I think you'll like it; it's the best of the series yet.

I haven't forgotten Meralda and Mug. Their new book, All the Turns of Light, is in the works. It should be finished before The Five Faces sees its June release.

All that sounds like bragging, and for that I apologize. I'm talking to myself here, and my point is this -- I had a good 2013 not because of luck or talent or even that awkward business at midnight at the crossroads. No, I had a good 2013 because I finally learned to put my butt in the chair and work. Whether I feel like it or not, whether I want to or not, whether the Muse is whispering in my ear or not.

I've done a lot less self-promotion on the Interwebs. I've paid almost no attention to my Amazon rankings. I've spent precisely zero time agonizing over poor reviews.

So that's my big lesson learned from 2013. Work more. Output matters. All other concerns are trivial by comparison.

The other lesson involves not putting battery booster cables to my tongue, but that's not germane to the writing process anyway.

Pictures of Dogs And Bigfoots

Now that you've endured exactly the sort of bloviated lecture I promised you'd not be subjected to, here is my dog Lou Ann enjoying a chilly dip in an icy pond yesterday afternoon.

Lou loves water, and can't resist diving in regardless of the temperature. I would have joined her, but I left my tiny red Speedos back at base camp.

Here is a shot of Lou emerging and shaking herself dry. I've been trying to get a shot of a dog shaking off water for years, and this is the first time I've even gotten close to nailing it.

Yeah, the sky really was that blue. The next shot is of the water, and those trees are all reflections. That's artsy, is what that is.

Finally, yet another in my acclaimed series, Pond Scum Afternoon. If the sun is low enough, I guess the rays are refracted off the mixture of ice and scum, producing both a rainbow effect of colors and probably a spate of UFO sightings in the next county.

Since I promised a Bigfoot update, here it is. No further strange calls, nothing on the trail cam except squirrels, deer, a coyote, and some peeping eyes which could be anything from Mothman to Heraldo Rivera.

Live on the Internet Radio

On Monday evening, January 27th, at 8:00 PM CST, I'll be joining the crew of Expedition Unknown as their guest on their weekly net radio show, Expedition Unknown. This hour-long audio show will be a lot of fun; the crew of Expedition Unknown has a wealth of ghost stories and paranormal investigation experience, while I have a poor command of English and a kazoo. Go to and then click on the RADIO button, and you can listen to the show live as we talk. There's also a chat room, and signup is free, so you can join in the fun online. 

I met Tanya, Stephen, and Andy at MidSouthCon last year. I was immediately impressed with their balance of skepticism and open-mindedness -- these guys aren't wild-eyed True Believers who see spooks behind every shrub. They're careful, professional, and thorough. 

They've also got a YouTube channel which contains some amazing EVP evidence. Grab your headphones and check it out here.  

Speaking of all things unusual and possibly laden with gore and mystery, Dr. Clifton Meador was Steve Bradshaw's December 28th guest on The Steve Bradshaw Show. Dr. Meador is the author of Fascinomas, a book chock full of things and situations that have absolutely no business existing. Fascinating stuff for anyone with a taste for the inexplicable. 

To listen, click on The Steve Bradshaw Show and then find the play button next to the interview link (the 12/28 one). 

The End

The wind is howling. The temperature is dropping. The sky is color of old lead. If there's a sun up there behind the dreary clouds, it's minding its own business.

Perfect writing weather. See you guys next week! Take care, and treat time travelers with extra consideration, because they know things and might drop hints. 

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