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Don't Bother Looking for a Common Theme in Any of This

First of all, that book that just appeared in the list of books, Catch My Breath, coming out in September, is not being written by me. I assume it's by a different Paul Briggs and there was some sort of confusion in getting it into the Goodreads system. (I'm also not the Australian boxer Paul "The Hurricane" Briggs, more's the pity.) I had a couple of moments of serendipity while reading Argentum by Debbie Manber Kupfer. Early on in the book, there was a reference to the traditional Passover song “Had Gadya” and various elements in the song such as the goat and cat. Not being Jewish, I never would have known about this song if I hadn’t been reading Unsong. Later, there was a reference to the old PG Tips tea advertisements featuring chimpanzees, which I (not being British) only know about from an episode of “The Hard Sell,” Matthew Harris’s wry commentary on advertising. This is one of the few times in my life that my bizarre and eclectic tastes have actually come in handy. (Incidentally, the third book in Kupfer’s series is coming out in March. I recommend you start with Book 1.) I haven't been posting much, because I’m not doing much lately besides writing. I’m making some progress on Altered Seasons, although I’m still behind where I meant to be. My new goal is to have Year Four finished by the end of January, along with the first ten chapters of Locksmith’s War. That second book is turning out to be slower going than I thought, partly because I’ve had to rearrange some stuff and partly because Chapter 7 is deep, deep dark. We’re talking “Detention with Dolores,” Bolvangar, Tartarus dark. The kind where it stops being fun, where it makes you uncomfortable to write, where you keep thinking “what the hell did this character ever do to me?” Writers like to joke about all the horrible things we put our poor heroes through, but when you’re bringing a strong and likable character close to the breaking point with psychological torture, it isn’t funny. On a happier note, The Dead Skunk (what the hell was I thinking when I picked that title?) has been nominated for a Turtledove award. I also have a new computer, which has Apple Pages on it instead of Word. I wouldn’t say Pages is a better program than Word, but I’m cautiously optimistic that I’ll be able to do everything I need to do. (And for the things I really do need Word for — proofreading and such — my old computer still functions well enough.) Here are some more books to check out while waiting for me to finish something. All the While (I mentioned this one before) Dark Fire Dark Humanity (coming out tomorrow) The Other Inheritance (This one has a new cover, which looks so good I'm including it below.)

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