The image above is of a mimosa tree bloom. We have a big mimosa tree in the backyard, and every summer those blooms call every hummingbird from a hundred miles around.
Watching dozens of hummingbirds dart and weave and twist and turn amid the branches of that mimosa tree makes standing out in the heat almost worthwhile. There must be ten thousand fat lush blooms on that tree, but all the hummingbirds do is fight over the same two dozen blooms.
There's probably a moral or some deep cosmic truth buried in that statement. Or maybe hummingbirds just like to fight. It's hot and frankly I don't care to ponder the matter further, but I thought a few of you might enjoy the picture. That subtle glow that seems to emanate from the bloom's heart?
That's either a glimpse of the very life-force that infuses all living things, or I took the photo with the F-stop set wrong. You decide.
I sent the edits for All the Paths of Shadow off last week, so I've spent this weekend working on a short story for a horror anthology coming out later this year.
Honestly, I was a little worried that I'm no longer able to even write short stories. As far as I can tell the last time I wrote an actual short was in 2004 or so, which in writer's years equals 2,752 fortnights, or 12,000 half-penny furlongs.
A long stretch, in other words.
But I'm happy to report that things are going quite well with the short piece, which is entitled The Knocking Man. I'm halfway done, the story is appropriately creepy and spooky without being overtly gory, and I think no one is going to expect the ending (though by this point the reader will think they've got it figured out, though they don't). So I'll get my first short piece in years out well before the deadline. Hopefully it'll be good enough to make it into the anthology.
And then it's back to the novels! Markhat and Darla are getting impatient. They heard something about a trip down the Brown River on a luxurious gambling boat and they're eager to get underway.