Monday, October 10, 2005

Fall Preview

The leaves are clogging my gutters, it's raining more often, and I'm colder at night. It must be Fall.

As always in this irregular blog, I have to backtrack. Let us cast our memories to late August. I flew to Milwaukee to visit old pal Beth Fedyn for a few days before driving down to Chicago with her for Bouchercon, The World Mystery Convention. The visit was generally pleasant, marred only by one of her dogs trying to rend my flesh whenever my back was turned. I solved that by not turning my back, but I could have done without the cur altogether.
When I wasn't being a chew toy for Cujo I had a nice time seeing the local sights, breaking my diet shamelessly, and invading used book stores. I loaded up on old western paperbacks that I would mail home later.

Then it was on to Chicago and B'con. I must admit I loved the city, at least the area where the convention was held, at The Sheraton Hotel near Lake Michigan. The con was a lot of fun, too. I saw old friends, made a couple of new ones, and reacquainted myself with the tasty libation known as the whiskey sour. Not that I've become a sot, but I'm not above having a cocktail or two if I go out to dinner. I'm lucky in that drinking heavily has never appealed to me.
Among the fun things I did at the con was have a look at the Navy Pier complex, take an evening excursion on a sightseeing boat along the waterfront, visit a park whose name I can never remember (the one with the chrome bean and the spitting woman), hike around the streets with various friends, touch a piece of the Alamo imbedded in the Dearborn Building, watch Bill Crider win the Don Sandstrom Memorial Award for Lifetime Achievement as a mystery fan, take in the view from the 80th floor of the Aon Building, eat a decent banquet meal at the same building, see Beth Fedyn get her B'con Fan Guest of Honor Award at the banquet, buying more books than I should, and meeting Polly the P.I and Elizabeth Becka.

Then it was back to Wisconsin to relax for a couple of days before flying home. My return flight was supposed to be Milwaukee to Minneapolis to Bosie to Sea-Tac, but bad weather in Minneapolis grounded our connecting flight. We were rerouted to Denver and thence to Sea-Tac, saving us an extra takeoff and landing. We also got in ahead of schedule. However, my luggage never got transferred so I had to go home without it. The good news is that it was delievered to my door the next morning, saving me from having to schlepp it around. It would be another week before the two boxes of books I mailed from Oconomowoc appeared, but by then I was caught up with deadlines for Dapa-Em, Slan-Apa, and OWLHOOT. I didn't have time to even open the boxes until another week had passed, and have since read only one of the books I picked up on the road.
That book is HEARTSTONE, by D.C. Brod, and I enjoyed it a lot. It's a modern fantasy/quest story with underpinnings of the Arthurian legend. If you've read Debbie's Quint McCauley books you know she's a good writer, but these are very different and show a completely different side of her talent. I also had an old western I read at work during slack time and finished it. Otherwise, my reading for September has been nil.

In a couple of weeks my Stephanie turns 16. I can't believe it. I remember the minute she was born as clearly as though it happened yesterday.
My other girl, Kristine, is going to try out for the school play this week. They're doing The Matchmaker, by Thornton Wilder. Kristine will be 15 in December. When I think of what a useless do-nothing I was at those ages I cringe. I really am impressed by the ambition and courage of both these kids. They sure didn't inherit that from me.

Do you remember the scene in THE GOOD EARTH when the couple with the new baby go a temple to thank the gods for their child? They keep the kid under wraps and protest that it's a sickly, ugly child and will be of no use to their family farm. They do this, we are told, lest the gods covet the child (who was in fact quite healthy and attractive) and take it from them. I know how they feel. I just had a bit of good news that I fear trumpeting lest the gods snatch it from my grasp.
But I'll risk it. Five Star has agreed to buy my novel LOVE, DEATH, AND THE TOYMAN. Imagine that. Me, a novelist. I've written articles for professional publication before, and tons of fannish works, but this would be the first time I'll have a novel published. Honestly, it doesn't seem real. It's like the head cheerleader is lusting after me--I know there's a second shoe waiting to drop. But, unless it does, I'm going to ride out this high for a while.


Bill said...

Congratulations, Cap'n! And can we assume you're working on the sequel?

Cap'n Bob Napier said...

The sequel is already completed in first draft stage. Let's hope they want that one, too.

Andy J said...

Publishing being the constipated business that it is, I'm sure we'll have to wait at least a fortnight or two until your epic enters the world. If you've mentioned it before I've missed it. What's it about and how about a little background on its creation?

Cap'n Bob Napier said...

Well, Andy, I sat down in front of a computer and started with chapter one and started telling a story. Not to be glib, but that's about it. There's a story behind what made me want to do this particular story, but from this distance it all seems a bit silly now. I can tell you it was originally a private eye book, but at the time no one wanted a male p.i., so I changed the hero into a former journalist who is a dealer in baby boomer collectibe toys.