Always Something There To Remind Me

Monday morning.

I didn’t get as much done as I wanted to this weekend–do I ever?–and now it’s Monday morning. Ah, well, ’tis life, isn’t it? We have friends coming in this week–we’re having brunch Saturday at Commander’s–and I’m not sure what other opportunities we’ll have to see them this week.

I did manage to finish reading Donna Andrews’ latest, Gone Gull, over the course of the weekend, which was fun.

gone gull

“Wow, you could kill someone with that thing! Doesn’t that worry you?”

I counted to ten before looking up from the anvil, where I’d been about to start hammering on an iron rod. I’d only finished heating the iron to the perfect temperature for shaping it. If I was working in my own barn, I’d have ignored Victor Winter’s remarks.

But I wasn’t in my own barn. I was at the Biscuit Mountain Craft Center being paid–quite handsomely–to teach Blacksmithing 101. And however annoying I found Victor, he was a student. If ignored, he’d start muttering again about complaining to management. I didn’t want him doing that. Management was my grandmother Cordelia, owner of the center, and I didn’t think she needed the aggravation today.

So when I’d reached ten I put my hammer down, set the rod safely on the anvil, and pushed up my safety goggles. Then I smiled, and did what I could to turn his question into a teaching moment.

“Yes, Victor,” I began. “You could kill someone with this metal rod–even if it wasn’t heated to its present temperature of approximately a thousand degrees Fahrenheit.”

I love the Meg Langslow series, and eagerly await each new volume (there’s another one coming out in October, The Finch That Stole Christmas, huzzah! The Christmas ones–there are two already–are amongst my favorites).  Meg is, as you can guess from the above opening, a highly skilled and trained blacksmith; if I had any complaint to make about the series, it’s that Meg’s blacksmithing has taken a backseat to all of the many other things she somehow manages to do. This book is also not set in the small college town of Caerphilly, Virginia (I pronounce it carefully, because it makes me laugh), but rather in the Blue Ridge mountains, where Meg’s long lost grandmother (introduced in The Good, the Bad, and the Emus, another favorite) lives. (Although I do miss Caerphilly, but I am hopeful the October release will be set there.) Meg has an enormous family, a wry sense of humor, and is uber-organized, which is why she also ends up running so many, many things–almost all of which result in someone being murdered and Meg having to use her highly honed organization and deduction skills to catch a killer.

The premise of every  cozy series, of course, is that the main character manages to catch the killer before the police do; this is a very difficult thing to pull off, and Andrews does it every single time. The books are witty, and clever, and I don’t think I’ve ever even tried to figure out who the killer is, or solve the crime (which is something I tend to do whenever I read a crime novel) because I am enjoying the ride so much.

Gone Gull is a fine addition to a series that I hope Andrews never grows tired of writing, because I’ll keep buying and reading as long as she does.

Stand Back

I have to work today, so am spending this morning catching up on chores around the house. After I get off work, we are heading up to Baton Rouge for tonight’s LSU game, which I am quite naturally excited about. It’s also my first time taking the new car to an LSU game in Baton Rouge! Woo-hoo!


I also started reading Donna Andrews’ latest, Gone Gull, last night, and am enjoying it pretty thoroughly already. I’ve already laughed out loud a couple of times in the first few chapters, an excellent sign, and am looking forward to reading more of it. Since I am working today and going to the game tonight, I have to do other errands–get groceries, etc–tomorrow, but I am also hoping to be able to carve out some time tomorrow to do some writing/inputting edits. I am so far behind on the inputting of the edits–it’s such a tedious process–but maybe if I just devote myself to it tomorrow, I can power through it, and then spend next weekend making the necessary tweaks the manuscript needs to have made before I start querying agents.

Ah, the joyous sting of rejection to come. Woo-hoo. But I’m much better about that sort of thing now than I used to be. Now, as long as the rejection is handled professionally, I no longer mind. And by professionally, I mean that you are notified. There’s nothing more infuriating than writing something for a market–say, an anthology–and finding out you didn’t get into the anthology when the book is released. This has happened to me more than once, and I am really tired of it. I am also really tired of the people involved turning around and saying oh, I just don’t time to contact everyone. Um, it’s part of the fucking job. I notified every single person who submitted a story to Blood on the Bayou–in fact, for every anthology I’ve ever been involved with–to let them know I wasn’t able to use their story, and to encourage them to submit it elsewhere.

There’s no fucking excuse, otherwise.

Agents who say on their website that ‘if you don’t hear from us in two months’ or some other time period? That’s different, because they are letting you know right up front they will only contact you if interested, and are giving you a timeline. Personally, I still think you should thank someone for submitting, but I’m also old school, and maybe agencies nowadays simply don’t have the staff or the time to do that anymore. I’m not an agent, have never been one, and have never worked for an agency, so I give them the benefit of the doubt.

And on that note, tis back to the spice mines.

Here’s a Saturday hunk for you, actor Caspar Van Dien.


Beat It

Throwback Thursday!

Exhausted this morning after a lengthy day yesterday of office testing and then bar testing last night. I slept really well; my back is still a bit sore as are my hips; I may have to preemptively cancel Wacky Russian this week because I don’t think it’s wise to push my muscles when they are still recovering from whatever it was I did to them in the first place. I only managed to get started on another short story yesterday, “The Brady Kid,” and maybe got about eight hundred words of it done; I was too sore and too tired to do anything else. I hate losing work days like that, but at least this morning I don’t have to be into the office until later, and I feel rested and not quite as sore this morning. SO maybe, just maybe, I’ll get to be productive.

A boy can dream, right?

It’s raining right now; a thunderstorm rolled in sometime around five this morning. Thunder woke me into a half-awake state, and I was able to fall back asleep for a few more hours–another sign I was really tired and in need, desperately, of rest. I am awake now, on my first cup of coffee, and could easily slip back beneath the covers and return to sleep; it is truly amazing to me how crucial sleep–something I never really even paid much attention to when I was younger–has become to me as I’ve gotten older.

I’m hoping that I’ll be able to finish The Gods of Gotham by the end of the week. I haven’t decided on my next book–Blame by Jeff Abbott, or something by Eric Ambler (whom I’ve never read), or the new Donna Andrews, Gone Gull, are the most likely picks; I’ve also got an advance copy of Laura Lippman’s Sunburn; so many choices! My TBR pile is a veritable smorgasbord of good reading options.

And on that note, it’s back to the spice mines with me.

Today’s Throwback Thursday hunk, male supermodel of the 90s Marcus Schenkenberg: