Nearly Published ....

I just returned from a wonderful week in Key West, where I spent no small amount of time giving "Caretakers" a final read-through.

The verdict ... I like it! It's more of a mystery than my first novel. The writing is better. It's very Adirondack-y. I love the story and characters and pacing.

I made sure to take time to smell the tropical drinks, while looking as Hemingway-esque as I can manage (which is important when you're a writer in Key West).  The Hogsbreath Saloon is one of my favorite places to be when in KW.

We also like going to the Fort Zachary Taylor State Park, where we spent some time in a hammock, between trees, or walking on the beach, or visiting the fort, every day while down at the lower edge of the USA.


Deb Kreider, a friend of ours, recently helped one of her dogs have a litter of puppies, and one of them is named Tyler (presumably ... perhaps presumptuously ... named after Tyler Cunningham, the protagonist in my books). We're looking forward to meeting him, and his littermates on New Year's Day for some puppy-kisses and gentle gnawing.

The book is essentially ready, we're just waiting for our brilliant copy-editor to finish her final reading of the proof copy, and then we'll render it in both print and Kindle versions for your reading pleasure.


Thanks for all of your support and interest in the year since "Here Be Monsters" and my other books were published; I hope that you enjoy "Caretakers" when it comes out (and leave a review to that effect once you've finished it.



Cold, Quiet

Dark slunk into the woods,
but morning took a while to find us ... the dogs and me.

We walk back into the trees,
looking and listening and sniffing at the cold.

The snow creaks and squeaks beneath my boots,
the dogs make almost no sound (except in talking to each other, and to me) as they dash back and forth in front of me,
each eager to find 'it' first (whatever it is).

Our breaths puff outwards like cartoon thought-bubbles,
none of us apparently thinking much ....

Down and into the forest, where the frozen sphagnum and tamaracks tell stories about a summertime swamp.

We pick our way,
over and around and through branches that grab at us and shower us with powdery snow.

Puck and Miles tighten their orbits around me as we get further from the house, and home, and warm.

A shivery wind brings with it a whiff of musk, and they growl and quiver.

Black dots of deer poop (some still warmly steaming) litter the white ground like ellipses ...
suggesting more.

Having reached a thickening of windfalls and young trees and the thinning of the wild path we followed, our group turns around by tacit agreement.

Puck holds up a frozen paw, Miles pretends to hear something back by the house, I wonder idly if the boy will wake and worry at the silent and empty house (whether or not he finds my note).

The unspoken truth among us three is the quiet, cold, blue morning, and the frosted trees and noisy snow, is alien ...
or we are.

We're creatures of light and warmth and coffee and couches,
softened by summer, dulled by the green times.

Winter is the sharpening season,
the hard cold will peel and scrape and rub away the soft moss that's grown up on us three.

But for now, for this morning,
we're ready to curl up, warm up, and forget the death that winter threatens.


Thoughts About A Meeting With my Copy Editor To Talk About "Caretakers"

I'm meeting my copy editor this weekend to discuss "Caretakers", the next Tyler Cunningham novel.

It represents another in a long line of opportunities to "let go" of my latest creation, in anticipation of the big one ... publication (which I hope will happen before January first).

Writing is, for me, not just about stringing together ideas to tell a story (although it is that as well) ... it's an exploration of the nooks and crannies of my brain, resulting in a sharing of pieces of my self with the world (or as much of the world as can be convinced by me or Amazon to read them).

The sharing part is, in some ways, harder for me than the writing. I both love and hate all of my stories ... am at once proud and ashamed of the things that they say about me, my space/place in the world, and the way that my mind functions.

Sharing "Here Be Monsters" with my wife Gail (always my first beta reader) was terrifying and empowering. Writing the book scared me, and forced me to put my money where my dreams were ... taking the risk of sharing the first draft with someone outside of my skull exposed me to criticism and ridicule, and the risk that it was no good.

In the end, it was freeing. I found that I was able to dissociate myself from the mistakes and missteps in the words and characters and story, and work with her to prune and reshape and polish the story into a finished product that I'm proud of, even accepting the bumps in the road that come with a first novel.

The same was true with "Mickey Slips" and "Bound for Home". I enjoyed taking the rough work through the stages of renovation and revision to a pair of novellas that I enjoy reading, and think they said what I wanted them to say.

I feel that "Caretakers" is a more mature work, and I've been trying to insure that it is a more polished product when it hits the shelves (on Amazon, local bookstores, and kindles) sometime at the end of this month.

I don't know what Randy will have to say about the novel when I see her on Saturday, but I'm excited to get to work, polishing my newest creation in the hopes that it will be the best thing that I've written yet.