NEVER SAY NEVER: The last time I heard from the Carl Burns series, it said
something about needing a little break. I thought maybe it would go to a
movie, maybe have a meal and a nice restaurant. The first clue I had that
something was wrong was when I received the bill from the Amelia Earhart
Cruise Line for a trip to Pago Pago. After that, nothing. I figured that I'd
never see the series again. Imagine my surprise when I answered the doorbell
one afternoon and there stood the series, holding a Fed Ex package and
grinning like a madman through its bushy beard. I was already married to a
couple of other series (Sally Good, Dan Rhodes) by that time, but the little
rascal was just so appealing that I couldn't turn him away. As it happened
the Fed Ex package contained the manuscript of the latest book in the
series, Dead Soldiers. It will be published by Five Star in June (ISBN:
159414186X), and the series and I are hoping it will sell a million copies.
If it doesn't, the series has said it's going away again and has already
made reservations with the Judge Crater Travel Agency. So do your part to
keep it home.
AS FOR TRUMAN SMITH, well, that series is still missing. I'm hoping it will
turn up one of these days, but there aren't any indications that it will.
Nevertheless, I'm not giving up. If the Carl Burns series can return, there's always hope.
BUT BACK TO THE OTHERS: The Sally Good series is rocking right along. I
turned in the manuscript for the latest book, A Bond with Death, last fall,
and yesterday I got a call from Ruth Cavin, my legendary editor at St.
Martin's, to let me know that the manuscript had been edited and copy-edited
and that it would be landing on my doorstep any day now. I'll make the
necessary changes and return it, which means that it will probably be
hitting the stores this fall. I'll keep you posted.
"BUT WHAT'S IT ABOUT?" you ask. Well, it's about a college that's trying to
pass a bond issue in a hostile, no-new-taxes environment. It's about murder.
And it's about witches. That's right, witches. Lola the cat is back, too.
"SO WHAT ABOUT SHERIFF RHODES?" you ask. He seems to be doing just fine. I'm
working on the next book, but it doesn't have a title yet. I'm thinking of
something like A Mamoth Murder, but that's certainly not definite. And that's all I have to say about that at the moment.
WHAT ELSE IS GOING ON IN ALVIN?
Surely you jest. Nothing else is going on in Alvin, unless, of course, you
count the scintillating appearances by the singing group known as The
Fabulous G-Strings. (For a photo of the group, go to my website, and click
on G-Strings.) We've done a number of "gigs," as we professional musicians
call them, though as far as I can tell, we haven't actually improved any.
And the picture is somewhat misleading, as another woman has joined the
group. We have a firm rule about new members. The rule is this: We'll take
anybody who wants to join. Being able to sing or play an instrument is not a
requirement, which is a good thing, because if we had any such requirements,
there would be only one member of the group. And it wouldn't be me. So far
our gigs have been strictly local, but we're ready to go national Real Soon
Now. We're just waiting for what Kermit the Frog, in the fabulous The Muppet
Movie called "The Rich and Famous Contract." We've all agreed to sign it as
soon as it arrives. Which we're sure will be any day now, unless the
prospective employer happens to hear us "sing" and "play," in which case it
may take a little longer. A millennium or two, perhaps. However, while we
may not be any good, we do have a good time, and that's all that really
TRAVELING? Judy and I are planning to go to Williamsburg, VA, in May. We've
never traveled in the part of the country, and we're looking forward to it.
Some friends of ours have a time-share there, and we'll be spending a week
After that we'll be heading to Austin in August for the annual ArmadilloCon,
a regional SF convention whose program chair has been kind enough to invite
me as a guest. Should be fun, and I'm looking forward to it. I'm not one of
the main guests, of course. That's for the Big Names, like Charlaine Harris.
It's always a pleasure to be at a convention with Charlaine.
And we've made our reservations for the Toronto Bouchercon. We had a great
time in Toronto the last time there was a Bouchercon there, and we're
looking forward to going back. Of course it won't be Las Vegas, but then
what is? One of my favorite things about the Vegas B'con was that "energy
charge" they added to my hotel bill. I confess that I was a little hacked by
that at first, but then when I went out at night and saw The Strip's energy
conservation measures, I was thrilled to know I'd played a part, no matter
how small, in helping pay for the display. I paid up gladly.
Finally, at the end of December, we're boarding the Big Silver Bird and
taking off for Peru and Machu Picchu. I've always wanted to see that city in
the clouds, so I figure I might as well go while I can. We'll be having our
New Year's Eve party either in Machu Picchu or very nearby. I'm hoping I can
adjust to the altitude without too much trouble, as Alvin is right at sea
level if not below it, and Cuzco and Machu Picchu are considerably higher.
Miles higher. There is, of course, always the possibility that we'll chicken
out and stay at home. After all, we can still get our deposit back. But
right now it looks as if we'll be going. I'll take pictures for the webpage.
If we do go, we'll be taking the "sissy route," going to Agua Calientes on
the train. My brother is leaving for Peru in only a couple of weeks, and he'
s going the "adventure route," climbing up and down the mountains while
carrying a tent, water, and food on his back. I'm sure he'll have better
stories to tell when he gets back than I will.
THAT'S ABOUT IT for this time. Once again let me tell you how much I
appreciate your support. I need all the help I can get. Judy thanks you, the
cats thank you, and I thank you.