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Stand and Be True
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It's been as it should be, more or less, these past days. I work in the day (the November issue of A Certain Magazine is done, with my picture and book cover on the Table of Contents page, a review of my collection by Jonathan Strahan inside (which I'll reprint here once the magazine comes out, with his kind already-given permission) and a brief write-up of the collection in the New & Notable column, which is a nice surprise). In the evening, we eat. Yesterday we made pasta, and had two kinds of bread, and oil and vinegar, and it was delicious. Later in the evening we walk, Heather and I, and talk about the stories in our lives. Still later we write. Heather has done two drafts of a new story that sounds lovely, that we've talked about a lot, and that I'm waiting to read until she has it in more-or-less the shape she wants it in. I've been working on the Frog novel, and it's flowing like water downhill, natural and easy. Then we read, or talk, or play video games together, or she takes a bath, or I lay on the couch with my eyes closed and stories running in my head, and we both feel like we've accomplished things, and enjoy the ease we take as the night closes down around us. The next day, we do it again, with minor variations; today a trip to Berkeley, dinner at a café, checking the PO Box, but the backbone is the same. A little time together, a little exercise, a decent meal, some writing. Coffee in the morning, wine at night. Kittens sprawled on the floor. All the good books we could ask for. A nip of fall in the air. These are all the things we need. Local fluctuations occasionally lead to distress, yes, but we have a foundation, a place to fall back to, and that's enough. I've often said all I ask of life is love and art, and I have both in quantity and quality.


I hear from my intrepid, two-fisted editor Sean that Publisher's Weekly is going to review Little Gods in a couple of weeks (the November 3 issue). My heart flutters. This is good news. Unless it's a uniformly bad review, but why think such things? I'll post it here as quickly as I can type it in, I promise. (For those who don't know: PW is the trade magazine for the publishing world. So this is sort of big, and can't hurt my chances of future writing success, unless it's a very bad review. I have no reason to expect a bad review, but lord, I do fret.)


I'm reading Wolves of the Calla, the fifth "Dark Tower" novel by Stephen King (well, the fifth in the main body of the series -- many of his recent books have orbited the series to a lesser or greater extent). I got the pretty Donald M. Grant trade hardcover edition, with nice pictures. I got it cheap, and a couple of weeks before the publication date, because there are occasional perks (perqs? Which one, Jed?) to this business I find myself in.

I'm a big fan of this series, and have been for years. Being back with these characters is like hanging out with great friends you haven't seen in a few years, and clicking with them instantly, as if you'd never spent any time apart. I'm almost sad to see the end of the series in sight -- by this time next year, more or less, I'll be done with the seventh book, and it'll be all over. I know the series doesn't appeal to everyone, but come on -- in this latest book alone we've got outlaws with wolf masks, mechanical heat-seeking flying balls with whirling blades, a seven-foot-tall robot named Andy, crazy people who eat frogs raw, and the gunslingers, ready to stand and be true. It warms my cockles and stirs the rest of my heart, I swear it does. This is my kind of fiction. Re-reading Sturgeon is being put on hold for the time it takes me to read this, probably three or four days (it's about 700 pages, and I've read 200 already tonight). I'll report back about it when I'm done. It's a nice change from Idlewild, which was as substantial as candy corn. This is a feast for the mind and imagination by comparison. For those who say Stephen King has declined in recent years -- sure, there was the unfortunate Gerald's Game, the uneven Dreamcatcher, the over-long The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon -- but, oh, he's in fine form (at least 200 pages in) in The Wolves of the Calla. (Not to mention Black House and From a Buick 8, which are as good as his best work.)


After some false starts with the printer, Flytrap is now being printed, and we should have copies in hand next week. Our beneficent benefactor Mike Jasper will have copies in hand even before we do (we're having a bunch shipped to him directly), so he can take them to World Fantasy. Those of you who've subscribed or ordered from us already will have your copies mailed about a day after we get them here at home. Same with our beloved contributors.

And, a reminder -- the reading period for Flytrap 2 ends a week from Friday. Send 'em if you got 'em. If you're waiting to hear from us, we'll try to catch up this weekend, barring the unforeseen.

That's all. I'm heading back to King country and his gunslinging ka-tet.

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