Sunday, August 19, 2007

change is ok i guess

I changed the Ghost Medicine website again.

It's probably driving people crazy but I don't like seeing things stay the same for too long. Because nothing ever stays the same, really, we just think it does while we concurrently decay.

My editor, Liz, is coming back to work this week. Yay! I have been going crazy (as evidenced by certain recent rantings) wanting to get back to work.

I walked out to my car the other day and there was a woman in black leaning up against it with her arms folded.

Sometimes, you know, you can just get a certain body language vibe when someone is pissed off at you. Call me Kreskin, but I could see she was pissed about something.

"You think you're pretty funny, don't you?"

Okay. Two things here: First, how can anyone really answer that question? Second, she has this accented and gravelly voice and sounds (I'd imagine) something like Eva Braun after chain-smoking a carton of Luckys. So... yeah... I was kind of scared.

I just shrugged my shoulders.

"You think you can get away with making fun of Ben Affleck?"

Seriously. I could not freekin believe it.

(to be continued)

Thursday, August 16, 2007

smith never knits

Maybe it's just the jet lag.

I don't know.

But this is one of those bummer days when I just feel like giving up.

If your friends ever tell you that you should write a book, you should stab them in the eyes with carrots.

I knew a lady once who sat down while she was knitting and both her knitting needles went up her nostrils and stabbed her in the brain. You may laugh... you may say I'm full of crap, but that's an absolutely true story. She ultimately died from lung cancer because she smoked so much.

You shouldn't smoke.

You shouldn't knit, either.

But I like Cuban cigars.

I don't even know if it's legal, but I brought three boxes of them back home from my overseas travels this summer. I haven't opened them yet, though.

I went through a lot of foreign airports coming back to the US this summer, too. Some of them are pretty lame.

I think their security people knit.

I take all the pictures on my blog and my website. I guess taking pictures is like knitting, but you can't stab yourself in the brain when you sit down on your couch to smoke. The guy in the picture here is a gargoyle on a church. He barfs out water when it rains. He doesn't have arms, so he is obviously neither a knitter nor smoker.

This is one of those days.

I think I'll have a cigar and a glass of whiskey.

(smith never knits)

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

our dinner with kel

We went to dinner with Kelly the night before leaving for London and I didn’t post this until today (from London):

First off, I’d like to begin with the disclaimer that I do not watch much television, very few movies, and never read pop culture periodicals.

I probably wouldn’t even recognize Lindsay Lohan if she ran over me with her Mercedes.

But that’s just me.

So… we went out to dinner with Kelly tonight. It was so great to see her again.

We went to some little trendy Italian place on the West Side where the waiters were all Hispanic, but barked out orders in Italian.

When we get there, the place is entirely deserted. The hostess asks me if we have reservations. I laugh and say, “Apparently it looks like we need them.”

She laughs and goes to talk to the maitre d’, a man who moved over to the foyer with amazing agility considering the telephone-pole sized stick he had up his ass.

And he looks at me seriously and says, “I can let you have a table, but we will be very busy soon so you can only have it for a little while.”

Look, I’m thinking: 1) I am a writer who is going out to dinner with his wife and another accomplished author 2) I am wearing black, which is, like, the official national color of Brentwood, and 3) This guy has a freekin stick up his ass. The place is deserted. It’s not going to fill up in an hour, Chef Boy-Ar-Dee.

And I have a motto that has served me well over the course of my life. It goes like this: That’s what you get for trusting me.

So we sit down. And I was fully intending to have an unhurried dinner, even to the point where we dismissed our waiter to study the menu over a few glasses of wine, and all the while Armani-suit-telephone-pole-boy kept glaring at me (well there was no one else there to glare at) like he was expecting me to say, "You mean to tell me you DON'T have chili cheese fries in this freekin dump?"

But I don’t want to have my kneecaps busted by a baseball bat just hours before getting on our plane, so I have another glass of wine and order our appetizers.

Then, a couple walks in toting a highchair-sized toddler, and I’m thinking, “Oh, this place is really jumping now.”

And, by the way, the guy-half of the couple is wearing a white tee shirt and a backwards black yo-homey-g-dawg baseball cap. He looks like someone I’d hire to re-do the tiles in my freekin bathroom. And… he was wearing a white tee shirt in a province where not wearing black is like quoting Michael Moore at a Republican fundraiser.

And I swear all through dinner he kept looking at my wife’s boobs, too.

So we have our dinner. Then dessert. Just us and the tile-setter’s family. Right next to us.

The maitre d’ fumed, circles of sweat appearing in his armpits.

And when I put my credit card down on the tabletop, the maitre d’ swooped down on it like a school of plastic-eating piranhas.

And we left. The place was empty again.

Then my wife says, “That was Ben Affleck next to us.”

Tile guy. Homey G. Ben Affleck.

Go figure.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

meeting kel

I got my laptop packed and am ready to head to the airport for our trip to Canada and the UK. Hope to make at least one post from London.

Today I am going to LA to meet one of my best lifelong friends, Kelly, who is also an author. She's down in LA researching her next book and we haven't seen each other for years (although we've managed to stay in touch).

My kids and I absolutely love Kelly's books. You can check them out on her website at

Kelly and I have known each other since high school, when we both worked for our school paper and both aspired to one day grow up. And be writers. I guess we made it (the writers part, at least). And we terrorized the teachers at our school, too. Well... at least I did. Kelly's always been so dang nice.

Kelly also works with the amazing author Chris Crutcher, which must be ultra-cool.

Anyway, about this whole "Kelly being nicer than me" thing... She really helped me out SOOOOO much when I was in the process of seeking representation for my first novel. I can't believe how stupid I would have been if it hadn't been for Kelly saving my butt and telling me I was being stupid. So I ended up getting signed by an agent that I had designated my top choice (Laura Rennert of Andrea Brown Literary Agency... if you look them up, you'll see how many big deals she makes!), mostly because Kelly helped me take all the stupid and rambling stuff out of my query letter.

And, believe me, my first attempt at writing a query letter was stupid and rambling.

Now that I have an agent and a publishing contract and a great editor, I guess I don't have to worry as much about the perfect query letter as I do about my tendency to be stupid and rambling. But Kelly will keep me in line on that, I guess.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

moving this way

Note: I've decided to move my blog from my website ( over to here. The old entries will still be on that site, though, at least for a while.

I am leaving the country tomorrow. Again.

And I'm trying to get things done. I am just about through with my edits for GHOST MEDICINE, which will come out next year. Then I have two completed and different versions of my second book, BIRD, which was also sold to my publisher. And, with the help of my incredible agent, Laura, I've been rewriting and polishing up a third novel which I hope to make available soon.

If all that weren't enough, I came home from my run in the hills yesterday morning and my death-machine black cat was in my back yard trying to kill a rattlesnake.

You know I'm no particular fan of cats, but I didn't want to have to tell my daughter that her kitty got killed by a rattlesnake. And the snake was working on doing exactly that, rattling and striking as the cat jumped and clawed.

Unlike dogs, cats do not run away when you yell things like, "Get out of here you stupid idiot!" So I tried to grab the cat's tail and give it a friendly (and lifesaving) fling. And the rattlesnake tried to bite me on the arm, missing by about an inch. So I backed off and convinced the cat to do the same by throwing a brick at her.

Eventually, I managed to kill the snake with the paddle from my kayak (the closest thing on hand).

I felt sorry for the snake, but I can't have those things running (or whatever they do) free in my yard.