White Skies at Night

It's full of stars...
Snows is akin to a teacher's pay raise, here in Mississippi, in that snows are few, far between, and tend to leave much to be desired in terms of actual measure. But when we left the Malco Theater late Friday night after seeing a block of films at the Oxford Film Festival, the sky was full of the stuff. The above is a photo I took, because yes, to Mississippi natives taking a picture of snow is deemed not only reasonable but mandatory.

The ground got a light covering too. I am pleased to report that the town didn't shut down, mainly because it happened at night and it would take a full-scale invasion by a foreign superpower to impede the Oxford Square bar traffic on a weekend. No, we Oxonians soldiered on, with nary a panicked run to the grocery store for milk and eggs. Although I suppose drink orders for White Russians may have seen a sudden uptick.

Markhat News

That's the new cover. Yeah, I know I did a reveal for it last weekend, but I like it, so here it is again.

I am pleased to report that the latest round of edits for the book above is complete. This round is known as the FLE, or First Line Edit. In this round, a sharp-eyed editor who has thus far not been involved in the back-and-forth edits between myself and the wise and all-seeing Editrix H reads the edited manuscript, looking for issues we may have missed. 

First Line Editors are chosen for their supernatural ability to spot continuity errors which may be separated by hundreds of pages, or even by books in a series. For instance, in the Markhat series, the phrase 'Angels and Devils' is a mild curse, usually spoken in anger or disgust. 

But did we use 'Angels and Devils' in Book 2, or did we drop the capitalization on Devils and use 'Angels and devils?'

The FLE knows, or knows to raise the question. That slipped right past me (the answer, by the way, is 'Angels and Devils.')

The good news is that the June publication date is firm now. The bulk (if not all) of the editing is done, the cover is set, and the book is ready to be converted into the various formats and distributed to booksellers around the world. Samhain handles all that. I just sit back and...I mean, I start immediately to work on the next book.

The Darker Carnival 

I am pleased to announce that the new Markhat adventure, The Darker Carnival, is done. First draft, that is. I'm pleased with it. So pleased that I've sent the book to my fearless beta reader for a round of first impressions.

Since you're a reader of my blog, I'll reveal a few things about the new book to you. As the title indicates, this entry is set in a carnival. 

What kind of carnival, you ask?

Well, on the surface, Markhat describes it thusly:

"Oh, it's wholesome, harmless diversion," I said. "A place where simple pleasures can be safely pursued by apple-cheeked children and their plain, homespun parents. Why, I wouldn't be surprised to learn the midway is manned by cherubs."

But of course that's Markhat being sarcastic, and while there might be winged things hiding along the midway of Dark's Diverse Delights they certainly aren't cherubs.

I really enjoyed writing The Darker Carnival. I will let it slip that this book brings major changes to the series, for all the characters, and while nothing will ever be quite the same again I hope the experience for you, the reader, will be improved.

But we'll have to wait and see. As usual, there's no guarantee The Darker Carnival will be picked up. Of course, if enough readers (wink wink) buy Markhat books, or drop the publisher quick little notes telling them how much you enjoy the series, that would certainly improve the odds.

Meralda and Mug news

Now that the The Five Faces is nearly ready for release and The Darker Carnival is a finished first draft, I'm turning my sights back to the sequel to All the Paths of Shadow

I have nearly fifteen thousand words of the new Mug and Meralda book down. It will be called All the Turns of Light, and I hope to have the first draft done before The Five Faces hits the stands in June. 

Phantoms or Foolery?

The Cecil Hotel in Los Angeles has a long history of macabre goings-on. It's linked to the Black Dahlia murder and just last year a missing tourist was found drowned in one of its rooftop water tanks. 

So if you took a shower or had a nice cool glass of refreshing water at the Cecil Hotel around that time, um, yeah. I wouldn't want to talk about it either.

On the plus side, it's slightly cheaper than the Bates Motel, and the snacks in the vending machines are usually fresh, or at least fresher than the corpses filling the water tanks. You can also probably drag a suspiciously lumpy roll of stained carpet out of the place without raising any eyebrows. That's just a tip from me to you.

A new photo has surfaced which shows what some call a ghostly image outside a fourth story window of the Cecil. Click below to read the story for yourself.

I'm going to call this one a reflection phenomena, because it looks to me as if the photo was taken from inside a vehicle, and the 'ghost' is nothing more than a reflection of something on the dashboard. But that's just a guess.

Time for me to get back to work! Take care, all, and if you own a hotel please check your rooftop water tanks for corpses every now and then.

Still here? Quick, go read this!

Middle Earth as Seen From Space