Letter From Home

A quick update on a couple of things:

* Big Weed, the marijuana book I ghosted, landed two sweet reviews this week, one from Publishers Weekly, the other from Kirkus. The PW review is a starred review, which is quite nice. The author is happy, so are the publishers. The book is out in April.

* I'm driving home Friday to interview mystery writer Jamie Mason this Friday at our local bookstore, Malaprop's, for the launch of Mason’s second book, Monday’s Lie. I liked her first book, Three Graves Full, but Monday’s Lie is something special. The main character was raised by a mom who was a covert ops asset, and who taught her a variety of cool skills. Years later, Mom’s long gone, and our protag must call upon those skills to confront something terrible that’s cropped up in her life. Mason has a beautiful way with the language. A true stylist. If you’re in town, I hope you’ll come check out our “In Conversation With.”

* I just put up a new website. I hope you’ll stop by to look it over, and more importantly, shoot me a note if you spot any embarrassing bugs. From now on, my blog posts will originate at the new site, and be pushed out to Tumblr and Twitter. If you’re already following me on Tumblr, there’s no need to migrate over. The pushes are nearly instantaneous.

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Thanks for the kind response to my last post. Yes, our family is still hunkered down in Denise’s mom’s condo, acting as her daily caregivers. I don’t think this little apartment was made for five adults and a dog, but we’re determined to wait out this disease to its inevitable, sad conclusion. We are grateful for the friends who’ve stopped by to cheer us (and mom) up. We’ve left up the Christmas tree, thinking it makes nice touch to see those lights from time to time. But since the the holiday season is long gone, it’s a little hard to use that annual break as an excuse for procrastinating on our work. So we’ve staked out the corners of the condo that feel quiet enough to work, and started plugging away again. The nearby university has a great library; we escaped there for a few hours this week and it was awesome. Hope to go again if we can manage it.

As this horror progresses, I’ve been reminded of one of the doctors I once profiled. His story is told in the The Scientist and the Sociopath, but you can read it free here. The doc became closer with his mom following the death of his father and other family members, all in a single year, when he was a child. I was touched that the doc trusted me enough to report how he felt back then:

The mother did not know, and the boy did not tell her, that at night in his bed he bargained with God. He had attended five funerals in little more than a year, and they had terrified him. Over the graves of his loved ones he learned the words of the Lord’s Prayer for the first time. At night, he prayed: Please, God, don’t let my mom die. Please don’t take her from me.

His prayers were answered. She lived long and prospered. When she died four years ago at the age of sixty-nine, she was a wealthy woman. When she took sick with lung cancer, he gave her the greatest gift he could. He shut down his practice and cared for her 24/7 for the last seven months of her life. “It was the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done,” he says.