stray thoughts

1.

A reviewer in a genre magazine called BLOODANGEL a “gripping debut”, referred to my “array of fascinating characters” and “intricate plot” that is “vaguely reminiscient of early Anne Rice” (I appreciate the reviewer’s use of the words ‘vaguely’ and ‘early’.) I was not expecting a magazine like this to review a book like mine — or like China Mieville’s LOOKING FOR JAKE or Douglas Clegg’s PRIEST OF BLOOD, both of which were reviewed in the same issue, which turns out to have a fantasy/science fiction section– so I was surprised.

2

Just came back from MARCH OF THE PENGUINS. Oh, the irony: I am the author of a novel that is not without gore and violence and, as my German editor put it, “cruel rituals”, and yet I’ve been putting off seeing this damn documentary because I can’t stand to see a little penguin freeze to death. But I got through the sad scenes and found myself thinking of a column I read recently — can’t remember if it was in a newspaper or on the Internet — by a writer who was berating his readers for berating him for not stopping to aid a dog who swam past his canoe as he navigated the very troubled post-Katrina waters of New Orleans. Finding and saving human survivors, he said snippily — or perhaps he wasn’t snippy at all, maybe that’s just the tone his voice took on in my imagination — was his priority; he had only so much time and so much space in his canoe. (And no, he added, he doesn’t know what became of the dog.) He was also concerned about diseases the animal might be carrying (although if a dog is friendly and trusting enough to clamber onboard with you, somehow I doubt he’s rabid enough to bite your throat out, and there are antibiotics for everything else…).

He makes valid points, I know. But I still would have rescued the animal — unless I was pressed for time in a “get to that house filled with dying children! now, dammit, now!” kind of way.

3

So happy to be heading into fall. I get impatient with summer, especially in Los Angeles, the heat and blinding scorching sunlight that bounces off buildings, sidewalks, cars. (Those big dark sunglasses we wear? Actually not a fashion accessory…or not just a fashion accessory). The seasons in southern California are not what you would call distinctly defined — except at night. The quality of light shifts a little, the days start to shorten, and even though the afternoons are still warm, the evenings, and the early mornings, start to change. I love those daily spells of mist and cold. I love the feeling of everything revving up again.

October brings not just the release of my book, but other books I’ve been anticipating: Cherie Priest’s FOUR AND TWENTY BLACKBIRDS and Douglas Clegg’s PRIEST OF BLOOD. “The horror genre is hot again — finally!” a novelist told me recently, and Priest and Clegg are two reasons why. Yay.

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