Blood Money is All Grown Up

Well, it’s finished. Done. Complete. My manuscript, my darling favorite story ever, has passed muster with my editor and has been sent to my publisher. It’s out of my hands and soon to be in the hands of paying customers everywhere.

I feel proud. And happy. And unabashedly excited for people to read it. Blood Money has had a long road, but I’ll always remember it as one of my favorite pieces.

Why? Because the characters are special to me. The story was such a surprise to me. It was the book that taught me how to craft a novel, and even though it’s changed quite a bit since I wrote the first draft two years ago, I’ll always recognize where it came from in what it is now.

You’d think that I’d want to take a break from writing for awhile. I mean, I’ve been feverishly editing and revising this book for four months, to say nothing of the extensive editing and re-writes I did for the two years prior to now.

And yet, I’m not craving a break. What I’m craving is another first draft. Whereas I’m thrilled that Lily is my last baby and have no desire to keep having children so I’ll always have babies to hold, I have a deep desire to create a new book. I want that challenge again. I want to meet new characters, and watch them get into trouble, and stay up all night wondering how they’ll get out of it.

I haven’t completed a manuscript since April 2011 (yes, I keep track of that sort of thing) and I’m ready. I have an idea that’s so excellent it woke me up a few months ago, and I want to turn that idea into a book.

My very first manuscript ever (Blood Money) is all grown up and going to the publisher, so now I need a new book to bring into the world and then polish and then revise and then re-write and then maybe, just maybe, release into the wild.

It’s also possible that I need therapy to figure out why my books are like children.

My New Book Cover is Here!

I have been trying to share my new book cover for hours now, and every time I get going on this post my kids need something. The thing is, though, this book cover is really cool and needs must be shared, so unless one of the kids catches on fire in the next few minutes or so, I will finish this post, dang it!

I posted the book cover on my Facebook author page. You can check it out there even if you’re not a fan of my books on Facebook, but if you feel like “Liking” me while you’re there, that’s cool too.

Please head over and tell me what you think. Personally? I love it. It’s just so legitimate looking, all mysterious and sinister and OFFICIAL.

Man, being an author is so freaking cool sometimes.

Ron Swanson For President

I was raised by two parents who both firmly believed it was rude to talk about politics. My mother believed (ans still does) that what we hear from politicians is predominantly lies, and my father believed the discussion of politics just led to strife, which he avoided at all costs whenever possible.

It’s not surprising, then, that I have a wide mistrust of politicians in general. As far as I can see, politics turns people into fractious, contentious enemies who are more concerned with being right than in doing what’s right.

What I’m confused about, however, is why anyone would vote for either of the two candidates who are running on the Democrat or Republican ticket. They lie, obfuscate, and manipulate, and as far as I can tell from the debates they have no concrete solutions for the mess America is in.

What I would like to hear is: “America has a deficit of X, I am going to decrease spending by Y in order to pay off this deficit in Z years.”

What I do hear is: “We have a deficit of X, because it’s Y’s fault, I’m going to cut taxes for Z, and I’m going to increase funding for Q, and I’m going to pay for V for everyone, and please don’t think about the fact that none of this makes sense because I don’t want you to realize there’s no way to pay for all this while cutting taxes.”

But that’s the problem: We aren’t paying attention. Everyone has their own pet projects that they want to make sure receive plenty of government funding, so no one wants the government to make any cuts in funding. But no one wants to pay more taxes, because we’re already taxed to death anyway. But we have a HUGE deficit and can’t possibly keep spending like we are, because our currency is already imperiled and in danger of collapse.

So there you are. You have two politicians telling people what they want to hear (I’ll pay for YOUR special cause!) and no one’s wondering how any of it is possible.

If America were a friend of mine, in terrific debt with a spendy lifestyle, I would tell my friend to cut any non-essential spending and live sparsely and pay off that debt as aggressively as possible. A debt-free, stable existence is infinitely preferable to a non-sustainable habit of spending more than you make.

I suppose what I’m essentially saying is: Ron Swanson for President. That guy’s got it all figured out.

Perception Makeover

Things have been crazy-bananas busy for Wes and I lately, so we decided earlier this week that it was high time we scheduled a date and got the heck outta Dodge for some much-needed relaxation and reconnecting. We lined up childcare, picked a restaurant, and then waited.

We were scheduled to leave the house at 6:30, so at 6 I sat Aidan down for some dinner. He kept telling me he wasn’t hungry, and a few minutes later I found out why: He was sick. In fact, he was sick all over his dinner plate.

Wes and I looked at each other and sighed. He called our babysitter and canceled, I hoisted the very sad toddler upstairs for a quick bath.

It’s worth noting here that I was in full hair and makeup. It took me an hour to do my hair and makeup, all so I could clean vomit off the floor. Yay me!

An hour later, both kids were in bed and Wes and I were sitting down with some pizza. Even though I kind of wanted to cry (I kept looking at the clock thinking, “We could be eating appetizers from Wild Ginger right now!”), the pizza was tasty and it was pretty nice to just sit there on the couch together eating dinner in peace.

It reminded me of how Wes and I used to sit on the couch and eat dinner together every night for four years before Aidan was born. At the time, it didn’t seem like much of an indulgence.

Now, though, it’s a pretty cool treat. I am endlessly amused by how parenthood continues to re-shape my perceptions and assumptions. It’ll be pretty cool to see how many things I’ll look back on fondly that, at the time, I barely spared a second thought for.

And My New New Book Title Is…

The manuscript formerly known as Enemy Accountant is now known as… Blood Money.

As I’m sure you’re tired of hearing, Blood Money is due to be published in February of next year. I don’t have cover art yet, but rest assured that as soon as I do I’ll share it everywhere. I’ll also be posting the first chapter on my author website soon, so keep an eye out for that.

In the meantime, here’s a brief teaser about what the book’s about:

Blood Money tells the story of Azzam al Abdullah, an Iraqi-born accountant living and working in London for Sun Corp, a corporation serving as a front for global Islamic extremist terrorism. When his employer finds out Azzam’s been informing on him to the CIA, a woman from Azzam’s past is put in danger. Azzam has to choose: Save her life or take Sun Corp down for good.

I can’t, can’t, can’t wait to share this book with all of you. It’s my favorite thing I’ve ever written!