1. The Fire -- I still have no phone service, and power has been spotty, but at least for now I have the internet and it is the only--however unpredictable--way I can stay in touch with people. We were pretty much caught in the middle of a wildfire that's been burning since Thursday.
On Saturday morning, my wife and daughter went to the beach. By the afternoon, I called them and my son and told them they'd better come home. The reason I called them is that in the middle of the afternoon, the sun from our backyard looked like this:
After I went to sleep that night, my son came and woke me up and said, "Dad, I think we need to leave."
Because this was in front of our house:
...and this was actually before things got too crazy, when you could still snap off a cellphone picture and not be a complete moron for snapping off a cellphone picture.
The bottom line is that with the help of friends who live about 10 miles away (thanks SO much Jeff and Tracy), we got out, one horse was rescued, and our dogs and one cat went with us.
When we left, we were all pretty certain the house was a goner. There are no houses behind us--only open forest land--and we have two large wooden decks which is kind of like stacking up cordwood next to your house.
Long story not-so-long: The house is okay. We all made it back (just now) except for our one rescued horse, which we have no way of tracking down because there are no phones up here and the police will not let anyone into our community, so if we leave, we'll be stranded again--and that hasn't been fun. For now, the family, dogs, cats, chickens, and one of our horses are all together.
2. Yesterday, Winger was listed in the Los Angeles Times Book Section for "Summer Books." I haven't taken a look at it yet, but here's a picture:
3: The Winger Contest: My last post described a contest involving photos of Winger from bookstores. Up for grabs is a signed copy of Winger and an actual rugby jersey. We received entries from all over the US--really, from Hawaii to Vermont, Minnesota, Washington, Oregon, New York, Georgia and dozens of other places, as well as Australia.
So congrats to the winner, David from Idaho who will be getting that book and one of these jerseys:
(Joey would have worn 10)
4. THE BET: As you may know, every year four authors get involved in a little event called The Bet, which involves choosing a horse (we don't really care if it's a decent horse) in the Kentucky Derby.
The four authors are myself, Catherine Ryan Hyde, Kimberly Pauley, and Brian Farrey. Of the four, the person with the fastest finisher gets to assign the next author a title, and that person has to write a story for the title.
Brian, exempt from writing, came in first of the four, and he assigned me the title Journey, Crimson, Nightmare, Name. I wrote the story. Be cautioned: It is weird and has adult content (NOT YA). It's a story without walls--kind of an EP in music lingo--with four short blasts at cruelty, loyalty, addiction, and sexual attraction.
I got to give Kimberly Pauley a title: The Druggist and the Apostrophe.
And Kimberly assigned Catherine Ryan Hyde a title: Even Pigeons Can Sing.
So you get three short stories for free.
And here they are:
Journey, Crimson, Nightmare, Name
The Druggist and the Apostrophe
Even Pigeons Can Sing
And that, I suppose, is a good week-and-a-half's worth of blog posts in one shot, while the power is still on and the internet is still connected.