1. Jack Chick died today. If you don’t know who he is, you probably didn’t play Dungeons & Dragons back in the ‘80s. Chick was a fundamentalist Christian comic artist who wrote tracks presented in comic book form. These railed about the terrible things bringing American civilization directly into the ARMS of LUCIFER HIMSELF, like Masons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, sports, role-playing games, music, bare navels, evolution, peach pits, homosexuality, Halloween, girls wearing pants, critical thinking, and wearing sandals without socks, to name a few. They were, and are, terrible, bigoted, narrow-minded, and thoroughly, deeply hilarious. They never fail to make me laugh every time I see one. So in his way, he brought a lot of joy to my world. I think if Jack Chick was right about his beliefs, he’d probably be in Hell right now, but if my worldview is correct, his consciousness is no more and he is as one with the Universe now as he was before he was born. I think that’s a nice thought. It’s certainly more than he would have ever wished for me.
This is the short story I wrote for my wife for Valentine’s Day. As I’ve said previously, it’s the first story I wrote after 4 years or so, and it was the first thing I needed to write in a very long time. She inspires me every day, and I wanted to share with her a little glimpse of how she is in my imagination. This is a small part of her, and since people asked to see it and she said it was okay, I’m sharing it here.
Also, the drawing is a sketch I made of Spaniel Day Lewis for the Valentine’s Day before this one, and since he also graces this story, I thought I’d share it, too. I’d illustrate the whole thing if I could, but I sadly lack that talent.
Once there was a girl who lived in a house that was down a hill and up a hill away from the woods. The girl loved the woods very much, and was often found there, exploring the hidden places and listening to the music of the trees. She was very bright and imaginative and kind and clever, and a million other wonderful things besides, but most of all she was brave. She felt no fear under the boughs and amidst the brush, even when the shadows lengthened, because she loved the forest near her home. There were always adventures to be had there, and she would run or skip or stalk or sit quietly, however the mood struck her, as a branch became a wizard’s staff or a wind-borne blossom sprouted fairy wings or all the birds gathered to sing her a lullaby.
Writing a book is a labor, sometimes of love, other times of persistence, occasionally of obligation, rarely (one hopes) out of sheer sadism or masochism, depending on who exactly the writer wishes to punish. Regardless of motivation, it is work. And like most jobs, time off can be a necessity during the whole process. Sometimes it’s a holiday, and in some cases in can be an entire leave of absence for months or years until the desire to resume overcomes the reluctance to dive back into the thing that made you walk away altogether.
And sometimes, you just need to tell the book to shove it.
I love fantasy stories. I had to make a choice early in my life as to whether I’d be a sci-fi buff or a fantasy geek, and Conan the Barbarian beat Star Wars for the primacy of my heart (sorry, Christian). I do love sci-fi as well, but I think most people lean a bit one way or the other, and I for one lean towards the Ian McKellan in a wizard hat versus the Patrick Stewart in a onesie. My own writing has generally geared towards fantasy (the other times it’s horror, or a mashup like Troius – one day I’ll do this post about horror writers), so I decided I would list my favorite fantasy authors of all time, those folks who have been influential and aspirational to me not only as a writer but as a human being.
It’s a win-win, right? You do the writing, I copy and paste it, slap my name on the cover, and pay you in those most priceless of gifts, an Acknowledgement and a death in print! (It’s priceless, you see, because I will not be paying you in actual money in any way, therefore having no price for me whatsoever.) I mean, who could pass up a deal like that? You won’t find a better one – well, at least maybe a more honest one – in town!
OK, so now this is where I explain that I haven’t gone completely off the deep end, thereby invalidating the prize for everyone who had April 17th 2013 in the pool for Yep, Alan’s Finally Snapped and Needs a Burly Escort to the Rubber Room.
Kendall Grey knows how to do shit right. She’s organized, has a plan, executes it, all while maintaining her sarcasm-slinging attitude and foul-mouthed proclivities. In comparison to her, I am a slacking lazy bum who can barely raise the energy to write a blog post.
Of course, I’m a slacker compared to Spicolli, so that’s not the highest of praise, either.
Anyway, Kendall’s new cover art for the third and final book in her Just Breathe urban fantasy trilogy is being revealed today. Because I adore her muchly, I want to share it with you, my loyal readers – by that I mean my wife and the same Peruvian farmer who keeps asking “¿Cuál es la mejor pala?” – and pimp out a pretty killer damn cover.