I found out from Lisa that Hubert Selby Jr. died in 2004. (His supposedly official website didn’t indicate this.) This means that I can tell everyone that the book I so soundly criticized in my last post, “Breaking all the Rules,” was Requiem for a Dream by Selby. I went to Amazon to look at his other famous book, Last Exit to Brooklyn and it’s written in the same style. I won’t be reading it. I’m still trying to get the taste of “Requiem” out of my mouth. *gag*
In publishing news, Bits of the Dead, a zombie anthology of mostly short short stories is out. I have not seen a copy or even the table of contents yet, but it’s listed on Barnes and Noble, as indicated, and also at Amazon. I have a story in it called “Once Upon a Time with the Dead,” a zombie western. I’ll give more information as I get it.
Finally, I was at CrazyCath’s Reflections today and her post really struck home with me. She posted about her blessings, an idea that she also found elsewhere on the web. But it struck me that I haven’t done enough of this, and I have been so blessed that I should take a moment to acknowledge those blessings.
First, let me say how thankful I am for my family, especially my wonderful mom, who is still kicking it at 91. Mom sacrificed so much for me, encouraged me to do the things that made me happy, and, primarily, just loved me. Also, thanks for Ray, who has made my mom happy and taken care of her for many years now, and for my brothers, Jimmy, Raymond, and Paul David, and their wives (Alice, Joyce, Rita) and all their many, many children. (I’d list you all but I don’t have time to write another huge novel right now.) My family, of course, includes my son Joshua, who is just a great kid (not a kid anymore at 21). Josh has made so many hard days worth living. And, of course, there is Lana, who I found late but who is just the perfect woman for me, even more than Rannon is for Ruenn. In memoriam, there is my sister, Dolores, who sure helped along my reading habit, and all her children. And Roger, who loved her for so many years. I used to be scared of Roger when I was a kid, but he had great books so I had to come around. Now I know he’s really a pussycat.
I’ve been blessed, too, with many friends, especially my colleagues at Xavier University, who helped teach me how to survive and who have supported me in my endeavors. And for my newer friends here in the blogosphere, who have given me such wonderful support over the last few years. I have to mention the great writing groups I’ve been part of. Thanks to all the members past and present who have read my junk and helped make it better, or who have just taught me things about writing. This includes, of course, Sphinx Ink, C. S. Harris and David Lanoue here in the blogosphere.
I’ve been blessed because, although I work hard at my job and sometimes complain about how much dedication it takes, I still love what I do and it has provided me with the money and the time (on occasion) to do other things I also love, like collect books, read, and write. And eat.
I’ve been lucky that I’ve been able to write and find publishers for most of what I’ve written. Sure, I wish I’d had some bigger publishers for some things, and made more money, but the true joy has been in writing them and in finding out that some folks like what I’ve written and even tell others about it. Along the way in the publishing world I’ve met so many great folks who have helped me out and given me breaks. There are far too many to mention them all, but thanks to you all. Special appreciation for folks like Michael Burgess, Charles Nuetzel, and J. Bruce Fuller, who’ve been involved in accepting/ publishing my books, and to Lana again for her tireless promotion of my work.
As I look out my window, good books by my side, cold Michelob and chicken wings in the refrigerator, Ozzy on the CD player, Lana hovering around the house looking all sessy, birds feeding in the yard, trees on three sides, knowing I’m still off work for a couple more weeks, I realize I’ve got it pretty damn good. I am blessed, and I appreciate it.