Phoenix Noir and the Gathering Storm
I slept in late today. Yes! After the recent orgy of public speaking, I felt really tired, not so much in my body but in my mind. To do the Urreashow, I think you have to pump oxygen into the reactor and reach some level on incandescence. It's hard to explain. But I have this need to reach the farthest seats in the house. Is this ego, or is it the old missionary zeal? Maybe I think I'm Bruce Springsteen or something. I feel awful if I see someone bored or distracted. But all that contact tends to pull a bit of the pep out of the core.

We are hunkering down for the first snow of the year. Oh nooooo! If it comes, it will be the earliest measurable snow recorded in Chicagoland. Can you believe that? Snow, along with sub-freezing temps. So much for our Fall plants we bought!

I got an award from the Secretary of State here in Illinois. A few of us were singled out--Latino authors. I am grateful to be honored, and a bit rueful--I had to fly out of town on the day of the ceremony so I didn't even get to go to it. I don't know if we got plaques, or certificates, or just brunch.

I am working semi-hard on the sequel to Hummingbird's Daughter. Those who follow on Twitter have gotten some running commentary on the process. It's so easy to pop 140 characters onto the cell phone! I think it's good.

I wanted, though, to tell you about the new PHOENIX NOIR. It's in the noir series that Akashic Books has been releasing to such acclaim for the last couple of years. This one has heroes in it--Lee Child! Don Winslow! And good buds, too, like David Corbett. When I was invited, I had to try. So I wrote a nasty story called "Amapola." It's an antidote to those who make fun of me for writing "fell-good new age" stuff like Hummingbird.

You know: sex, dope, rock and roll, high school and mudering narcotraficantes. What's not to love?

The book hits the stands soon--and I hope you'll get it. Publisher's Weekly just reviewed it, and they gave the book a star. That's special. I am insanely proud that they singled out my story as a high point. I always felt too obtuse to write a good mystery, and that's a good thing or all I'd be doing would be detective books about hard-boiled border sleuths. Hey...wait a minute....

Corbett and I have just finished a new story for LONE STAR NOIR, the next in the series.

Finally, my big ol' El Paso story runs in the November Playboy. I hope you like it. Don't look at the pictures.

Baby, it's cold outside--

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