I’m relaxing in the office this afternoon, having just offered up a pint at the local blood drive. Mrs. M is doing some shopping, and both of us are starting to think about the approach of the new school year.
But we’re not quite there yet. So…
First off, a few words about the disaster in my adopted home state of Kentucky. Although Mrs. M’s people are from Eastern Kentucky, they were north of the devastated areas. Thankfully, none of them were terribly affected, although a large piece of siding blew off a building and landed on a car belonging to one of my in-laws, doing some cosmetic damage (to the car, not the in-law.)
All the same, Mrs. M has been especially torn by the flooding. She grew up in the region, and knows more than her share about how hard life can be there, and how hard it is for people who had almost nothing to start with, and who now must rebuild from a new zero. Even worse are the stories of a family’s entire generation being wiped out, pulled away by the floodwaters.
But of course, there are also those who would help. If you are among them, the state relief fund accepts tax-deductible donations here. Thanks for helping if you can, whether with funds, goods, or prayers.
In much better news, I was able to get registered and make my travel arrangements for this year’s Bouchercon. I’ll be staying at the secondary hotel, a short limp from the main one. I’ll be arriving on Wednesday evening and returning Sunday morning, and as usual, I plan to offer my daily reports. This will be my first one of these events since the COVID era began; I had to provide proof of vaccination (double boosted, thanks), and apparently masks may be in order as well. I’m okay with that — I’m a guest, after all — but it’s interesting to be reminded of the geographical and cultural differences around the disease.
This won’t be a worry for NoirCon, which is happening virtually this year after a multi-year hiatus, driven by the loss of co-founder Deen Kogan and that pandemic I mentioned a moment ago. I’m not entirely sure how they’re handling the program, but I can tell you that my new short story “Brothers” will be part of it, and I plan to be one of the numerous floating heads in attendance. Such a deal! Even so, I’m looking forward to getting back there in person — the 2016 edition was a great and educational time, and the last three letters of NoirCon may as well be short for Conviviality.
In any case, whether it’s in person in Minneapolis, or out there in Cyberia, I’d love to see you. Feel free to say hi!
And of course, in other writing-related matters, I’d like to remind you that Death of a Bad Neighbour: Revenge Is Criminal (containing my story “One of Us Is Dying”) is currently available for purchase, and that Black Is the Night: Stories Inspired by Cornell Woolrich (with my story “The Jacket”) is available for advance orders. Meanwhile, I hope to have more information coming your way in the near future about Mr. B’s new antho, Playing Games (where you’ll find my story “Lightning Round.”) As always, I appreciate your interest and encouragement in this work that I do.
A while back, I mentioned that in the course of organizing the house, Mrs. M had unearthed various sheepskins awarded to the Spawn, herself, and Your Genial Host. Conspicuous by its absence, however, was my Ph.D., and subsequent searching proved fruitless. However, after a minor expenditure, the nice folks at Ball State hooked me up with a duplicate, and it arrived today. Meanwhile, the Spawn’s MLIS diploma arrived from Terpville this week as well, so now Mrs. M is out pricing and gathering frames. The next step will involve finding places to hang the things that don’t suggest Ozymandian self-regard. Still, I have to admit that it does look nice, given that I last saw its twin nearly 20 years ago.
Our musical closer today comes from a band that has kept the torch burning for 60s-style rock for decades. The Fleshtones (from NYC) have been doing their thing since 1976(!), and remain as danceable and fun as ever. This track struck me as an evergreen, from early in the band’s run. I don’t know if it’s the harmonica or the claves that make me dig it so much, but both are cool. From 1981, this is “The World Has Changed.”
See you soon!