Humbuggery and a New Issue (Almost)
Or more precisely all the time-sucking, soul-numbing crap we have to plow through to get to them. I actually love Christmas: the get togethers, the parties, the gifts (both giving and receiving), the food, the drink, the sheer pageantry of it, the music (well, most of it) and the good cheer and hopes for peace that at least some of us actively wish for. I even end up getting a lift from the Charlie Brown special and I will cop to getting slightly weepy every time Frosty melts.
But some of the trappings of what Christmas has become are pure evil: the insane and obsessive pressure to get everyone together, the short tempers, the misguided obsession with getting the right gifts, the shrill and ever-increasing commercialism and our own contribution to it, the coldbloodedness of the greedmongers of corporate America who hold people's jobs over their heads at this time of year in the name of fiscal responsibility and year-end reviews, the divisive and hate-filled bullshit war on Christmas O'Riley's always on about that seems to exist mostly in his own head -- and that of his equally hypocritical followers.
(About O'Riley: He should go back to hitting on his co-workers or popponh pills with Limbaugh or whatever it is he does, and stop lecturing us on morality. I work in retail part-time, and nobody has ever -- EVER -- been offended by me saying Merry Christmas. Or Happy Holidays, for that matter. If Jesus were around, the last thing he'd be doing is using the celebration of his birth to further divide this already fragmented and polarized nation. A "Merry Christmas" or "Happy Holidays" should be taken in the spirit it was given, and not taken as some sort of cultural assault.)
Truth is, though, despite the above rant, I still love Christmas, and I had a great Christmas, and I hope you had one too. Mrs. Detective and I were fortunate enough to have good health and good times with family. My big regret this year, as far as crime fiction goes, is the fact that with all the holiday hoopla, the web site's next issue has been delayed. Most of it's up now, but there are still a few odds and sods to go which I hope to be posting in the next few days.
Right now, the new cover's up, and most of the new stories. Already, I think that, possibly, this is the best and strongest bunch of stories we've ever done. Major kudos to Gerald for that.
We've also got excerpts from two new releases for you to sample. Michael Siverling's THE SORCEROR'S CIRCLE is a good old-fashioned P.I. romp with a few decidedly modern touches, a little bit Rex Stout and a little bit rock'n'roll. And Fred Zackel's COCAINE AND BLUE EYES is simply a classic; a stone-cold slice of seventies private eye fiction that has been criminally out of print for far too long. A tip of the fedora for the boys at Point Blank for bringing this baby in from the cold.
The year-end Thrillies are also up, and the results should be start to be posted in the next few days. As always this is really just a quickie opinion poll on the best and worst of P.I. fiction over the last year, but it's always fun. The wide variety of suggestions we receive from our readers are always intriguing and enlightening. So vote early and vote often.
The annual Holiday Gift Guide, alas, will be late again, but hey, the site is free.
New Year's resolutions?
Well, most of January will be spent woodshedding, trying to finally get my novel done. Once that's done, I'll be back to my little short stories (this year I'm actually going to sell some... I SWEAR!) and worrying about the site. Your responses to my calls for help were inspiring -- now I just have to do is sort them out and figure how we can collaborate without us all stomping on each other's toes. If you volunteered, you WILL be hearing from me.
Oh, and I hope to blog a little more often.
Um, that's it. Hope you're having a swell holiday, and I wish you all a Happy New Year.
And please, please take that in the spirit it was intended.