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Notes from the Dead Center of Dead Week

(Dead Week is, of course, this strange in-between time, after Xmas and before New Year’s, when the world seems to hold its breath; not much business gets done, and there’s a sense — for me at least — of waiting for real life to begin again. Which is odd, since I’m going to work and writing in my offtime and generally going about my business… but still, there’s a feeling that the world is between breaths.)

A few notes, in no particular order:

  • One of my novels got on a Year’s Best list, but it was written under an undisclosed pseudonym, so I can’t brag. (Well, except insofar as I’m doing so here.)

  • Bioshock 2 is fun. I keep thinking I should be thinking, “This is too much like the first game, not different enough, not enough innovation,” but I don’t really think that; it’s got all the stuff I liked from the first game, plus spear guns and drills that freeze people.

  • Happy birthday to D, my loyal friend and confidante. We’re the same age again, numerically speaking. It was fun being older than you for 17 days, though, and I hope you benefited as always from my wisdom while I was your elder.

  • I was recently commissioned to write another (pseudonymous) book, which is requiring me to do some research, including books I am unwilling/ashamed to be seen reading in public. (Given that I’ve been known to read non-fiction about decomposition, arguably obscene graphic novels, and erotica anthologies in public, that’s surprising — but there it is.) Writing the book should be fun, though, and with luck, the money will arrive in time for me to give pretty much all of it to the government in April, the cruelest month. I’ll reveal the truth about these secret books in my memoirs, which will be locked in a vault until 100 years after my death, then published in time to become a big Christmas bestseller — or so I assume. It worked for Sam Clemens.

  • The Nex is nearing the end of its run. Only one week left to go. I’ll miss checking in with Miranda every week. She’s one of my favorite characters — and The Nex is the only first-person novel I’ve ever written, because I was so enamored of her voice. (It’s also my least successful novel. Perhaps there’s a lesson there. The next few book won’t be first-person, anyway. That’s not the right voice for any of them.)

  • Next few books? Well, the aforementioned commissioned work, due in April, which will be published late next year, I think, not that you’ll hear about it from me. That Wizards of the Coast book — I’m waiting to find out if the editor wants changes or not. Perhaps I’ll be able to reveal its title soon. Possibly another work-for-hire book under my own name; it depends on whether the editor likes the outline I did. And Briarpatch, my contemporary fantasy coming next summer/fall from Chizine Publications. I’d like to write another Marla serial — something called Home Again or Home Free or Murder Island maybe — and also have plans for a standalone fantasy called Heirs of Grace. It’s good to have plans.

  • Making epub files is fun. Making epub files from novels is dead easy too. It’s just heaps of text, and well suited to the limitations of most e-readers. Making epub files of A Certain Magazine is rather more challenging, as there are a lot of images and weirdly-formatted bits and bobbles… but it’s still fun, if also exhausting. We’ll be offering digital subscriptions starting next month.

  • My kid is cute. My wife and I got him to recite — by giving him a phrase at a time to repeat — the To Be or Not to Be speech; “The Red Wheelbarrow”; “Do Not Go Gentle Into that Good Night”; “Fire and Ice”; bits of “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock”; and “Did Jesus Have a Baby Sister.” After each recitation we would clap, and he would say, “Thank you, thank you,” very modestly.

  • Confronted with a refrigerator of leftover turkey and potatoes and stuffing on Monday night, I chose instead to make huevos rancheros, because there’s only so much traditional holiday carbs a man can ingest. Even a man such as myself.

There. You have now rifled through the contents of my very mind. I hope you found it delicious and filling.

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