Since I couldn't go to ComicCon dressed as, say, Penny Priddy from Buckaroo Banzai -- stupid kids, stupid work, stupid dogs and cats become catatonic if I leave the house -- I have to comfort myself with web trailers.
So, it’s been a while. Let me begin by saying February sucks.It’s chilly, but not in a good, crisp wintery sort of way and there’s a letdown from all the foofaraw of Christmas and New Year’s. It’s the month of the year when you’re at a midway point between the solstice and the coming of spring, a long exhalation before any of us can breathe again.For me, it seems like Douglas Adam’s Long, Dark Teatime of the Soul.
And so, of course, everyone got sick. First it was food poisoning, which morphed into a weeks-long carnival of gastroenteritis that no one escaped. In our debilitated condition, we all fell prey to a nasty upper respiratory bug.There was not a day in that six-week period where someone wasn’t vomiting or hacking or curled up in agony.Despite all this, people still had to go to work and school and scouts and drama practice and choir and soccer. It’s truly a wonder we’re not all dead.Added to that, I’ve had a computer virus that has blocked me from posting for several weeks. I stubbornly decided to cure it myself, which – considering my negative technological polarity – has been somewhat, ah, difficult. I believe it’s fixed.
So my train of thought was derailed for a while, and it’s taken half of March and most of April to get it running back down the track. Not that all that time was wasted. After a small promotion in February and a big promotion in April, I’ve finally hit the Amazon bestseller lists. It was at #98, but I was briefly number one in several mystery and suspense subcategories. The ensuing sales meant that I’ve actually started to sporadically earn more from the books than from my day job. The fact that (between free promos and paid sales) there are now 20,000+ people reading my work, and more every day,is both exhilarating and terrifying.
And so now it’s time to put the house in order. I’ve gone to part-time work (mostly for established clients and as favors to friends) and I’ve told the other people who live in the house to shut up and make their own damned macaroni.I’ve heard from fans asking when the next Maddie book is coming out – which caused Susan and I to come to the revelation that Curtain Call, which was supposed to be the next Maddie book and was partially written and plotted, was boring and we didn’t care for it. Luckily, we already have the next six Maddie books semi-plotted, so the demise of Curtain Call means the ascendance of Scene Stealer, which we hope to have finished before the end of the year.My first short story collection, Dead Girls and Other Stories, will be out shortly. (I’m still poking one of the stories to make sure it’s truly dead and formatting the manuscript). Then the next two novels, which are each meant to anchor a series, are in some stage of serious work.Dead of Winter, which is 2/3 of the way finished, has been tied up and shoved into a closet until further notice.
So for those of you keeping score at home, you can currently buy Darker By Degree, Director’s Cut, and Running Red. During the next eight months, expect the release ofA Willingness of Witches, Lost Things, Scene Stealer, Dead Girls and Other Stories, and possibly another short story collection by Christmas.
Oh, and I have to get back to blogging, both here and the other place. So, expect things to return to normal – or at least as normal as they ever were. Which probably wasn’t very.
First of all, yay! I hate midseason breaks, and I’m glad that’s over with. SPOILERS for “Nebraska” episode follow, for those who have not watched it yet.
I hope Lori is dead in that ditch. Because a) Lori is an idiot. And b) Lori is an idiot. And c) Lori is, in addition to being an idiot, whiny. I’m telling you, whiny is not going far in a zombie apocalypse. First she tells Rick not to go looking for the closest thing they have to an actual doctor. At least a doctor is useful, unlike Lori. Then she goes whining to Daryl about how he’s being selfish by not doing her idiotic bidding, after he just about killed himself trying to find Sophia, and after she sent poor Glenn off with her super-secret shopping list. Self-aware much, Lori? Then she takes off without telling anyone, absconding with one of the vehicles that was in better shape, and tries to read a map by HOLDING IT IN FRONT OF HER FACE WHILE DRIVING. This somewhat impaired her ability to see the ZOMBIE XING sign on her way to Karmasgoingtokickyourassville. How about this? How about we exchange Lori for introducing the entire rest of the cast from Prison Break? That would be awesome.
I heart Daryl. He’s at least off making new arrows (especially given how stupid Andrea had him wasting arrows willy-nilly earlier because she’s a passive/aggressive nutcase). He cracked me up with his “Listen here, Olive Oyl…” which might have been the second best line of the show.
Kid #1 suggesta “Otis Used To Play The Guitar” as an awesome band name.
Liked how the bar is right next to an honest-to-god horse and buggy shop. Stop in for a sasparilly and some rock candy with the kids! Have your picture taken with an old-timey prospector zombie!
I can finally look at Andrew Lincoln and not hear him speaking with a British accent. (Unlike most Americans, I first watched him on three series of the BBC show Afterlife.)
Love how Dale drove Shane absolutely crazy by not saying a single word. I just hope when Shane finally proves to everyone what a cowardly insane douchebag he is in some overly dramatic way, he manages only to take out Andrea and Lori and not anyone who’s actually tolerable.
I cannot believe that no one turned to Shane after the Zombie Barn Massacre and uttered the words “Happy now?” Because I so would have. And then I would have done a Snoopy dance.
While Rick and Herschel’s endless philosophizing was getting on my last nerve, the story arc in the bar from when Michael Raymond-James and Fat Tony walked into until the inevitable dénouement was atiny little masterpiece. For the first time, I believed Rick was a cop. It was amazing to watch the way he and Raymond-James size each other up. And anybody with an ounce of ability to read a scene could see the exact moment when Rick decided who wasn’t walking out of there. Then it was just a matter of picking the moment. One of the best scenes of the season.
Bonus thought from Talking Dead – Dave Navarro is about as bright as Lori. He not only managed to totally misread every single character, but when asked about his thoughts on Dale said, “Oh, wait, is he the guy with the RV?” Yeah, right, Navarro, you’re on top of things. And you’re a huge fan, even though you can’t bother to learn the character names. Too busy sanding your amazingly smooth face or braiding up the side of your leather pants?
I am still counting down until the moment when Shane/Lori/Andrea are eaten by zombies. Or killed by their own stupidity. The two are not mutually exclusive. Die, Shane/Lori/Andrea, Die!
Lost Things is going swimmingly - should be through Chapter 4 today. As promised, here's the blurb. Then you can click the link and read Chapter One.
It started with an unexpected phone call and three words: “I need you.” Now, after 18 years of self-exile, Claire Brandt is back in the dark heart of New Orleans, looking for an old friend who suddenly can’t be found. But that doesn’t stop Claire. She’s a finder of lost things, from misplaced childhood memorabilia to stolen paintings to lost people.
But someone else doesn’t want Elodie Marchand found, and after a vicious attack, a trail of clues leads Claire deep into a gothic cityscape where a beautiful actress disappeared nearly two decades ago, where a trail of mutilated bodies led to a dead end, where a political scandal drove powerful men to suicide.
Claire is about to discover that New Orleans is a place where the past is very much alive, and where nothing stays lost forever.
I’ll say it again. I watch too many TV shows. I was showing my TV show database to my daughter, with its precise, up-to-date information and nifty color-coding, and she remarked, “You need help. Really. You can never again claim you don’t have enough time in the day.” Ah, the young, so judgmental. You see, I watch 52 TV programs. In my defense, they’re not all on at one time, what with the advent of year-round cable programming that’s turned the TV landscape into a never-ending sushi conveyer belt. And I have a DVR, so I can schedule my addiction.
But you know what? I work all the time. Whether it’s writing or editing or reading or keeping a household running for 5 other people who sometimes seem to have the average psychological age of your typical 6-year-old (and only one of them is actually a 6-year-old). I can barely read for pleasure anymore: I’m too busy picking things apart and editing them in my head. Just the other day I was reading some short stories by an author I’ve always enjoyed and I finally threw it down in frustration. (Fucking commas, how do they work?) Whoever edited him should be beaten with a blunt object and forced to copy several style books in longhand on an endless, hellish blackboard like something out of an old Far Side cartoon.
So I need an escape valve and mine happens to come with a remote control. Now I’ll grant you, not everything I watch is high art. Some of it is definitely the equivalent of comfort food or a nice cup of tea. But I’ll never understand the people who are so proud to say, “I don’t even own a TV!” Really, that’s just as bad as saying: “I never even open a book!” or “I’d never be caught dead in an art museum!” Because it is art. Some of it terrible art, but some of it quite brilliant. And life without art, people, is a sad, sad thing.
With the end of the year just passed, talk around my dinner table turned to “best of” conversations: what movies or books or TV shows or what-have-you we thought were particularly memorable last year. And that got me to looking at my little obsessive database and dissecting it out: what was I still watching and why?
First of all, there’s hardly any reality shows. (Only The Amazing Race and Face Off) Secondly, there’s few 30 –minute sitcoms, only 8 in total. Meaning the rest are drama or spec fic or the dreaded and ill-defined hour-long “dramedy.”
Several things I had high hopes for ending up being duds, at least for me, particularly Terra Nova and Grimm. Neither kept my interest past three episodes and fell off the grid. My favorite show, Terriers, was cancelled after its inaugural season. Some things are past their sell-by date, but I still continue to watch: Bones, Glee, BurnNotice. They’re tired, but just entertaining enough that I don’t hate them. Yet. And in my defense yet again, seven shows are new and yet to debut (including the much-anticipated Alcatraz), so they may be still be clunkers that are immediately forgotten.
A pleasant surprise, I found two shows that I had neglected to watch that turned out to be absolute gems, and luckily could quickly catch up on the missed seasons: Justified and Sons of Anarchy. And then there are the guilty pleasures, shows that really aren’t that spectacular but that I find entertaining nevertheless. (Hello, American Horror Story, with your myriad ginormous and insanely maddening plot holes, deus ex machinas, and unlikeable main characters who I’m now glad are dead, dead, dead.)
So, excising the comfort food and the guilty pleasures and the watching-from-a-sense-of-past-loyalty, here are the 10 best shows of last year, chosen by my subjective criteria, in my perceived order of quality, and excluding any shows I don’t get because I’m too cheap for premium channels. (I figure that’s enough qualifiers.)
1.Justified – FX Network, Third Season debuts January 17
2.Luther – BBC America, Third Season TBA
3.Doctor Who – BBC America, 11th Doctor Returns TBA
4.Being Human – BBC America, Fourth Season TBA
5.The Hour – BBC America, Second Season TBA
6.Suits – USA Network, Second Season This Summer
7.Sons of Anarchy – FX Network, Fifth Season This Fall
8.Suburgatory – ABC, Currently Airing First Season
9.The Walking Dead – AMC, Second Season Continues February 12
10.The New Girl – FOX, Currently Airing First Season
You mileage may vary, but these are consistently brilliantly written and acted, the production values are high, and they’re all immensely enjoyable. (Although one final caveat re: The Walking Dead: Lori and Shane and Andrea cannot be eaten by zombies quickly enough. Or maybe not-dream Merle can come back and dispatch them all. With a machete. Or a tank. Or a Gatling gun. Or any combination thereof. Oh, and more Daryl, please.)
I'm a writer. Things that make me happy: hockey, zombie movies, good books, ginger beer, my DVR.
Things that make me unhappy: bad writing, a lack of intellectual curiosity.
Favorite Authors: Ray Bradbury, Shirley Jackson, James Lee Burke, Carol O'Connell, Edward Gorey.