Good news, everybody: RED, WHITE, AND BLOOD is a finalist in the 2013 Audies for Suspense and Thrillers, which recognize “distinction in audiobook and spoken word entertainment.” As much as I’d like to take credit, it’s all due to Bronson Pinchot, who once again did a brilliant job bringing my scary thoughts to life. (Bronson previously won Audible.com’s “Narrator of the Year” in 2010, in part for his work on the first Nathaniel Cade book, BLOOD OATH. He’s also just an incredibly nice guy.)
The awards will be MC’ed this year by Daniel Handler, author of the Lemony Snicket books, on May 30 in New York.
I’ve been asked by quite a few people when the next book in the Nathaniel Cade series will be done. Until now, I’ve mumbled some vague replies about a top-secret project, which probably made them think I was doing nothing but snacking on Cheetos and watching movies on Netflix.
Now the news is out: before I move on to Cade Book Four, I’m writing a book called BIMINI, about the Fountain of Youth. Here’s the announcement, which went out on Publishers Marketplace last week:
Christopher Farnsworth’s BIMINI, an action-packed thriller updating the legend of the fountain of youth and the conspiracy led by people whose vitality depends on it, to Rachel Kahan at William Morrow, in a pre-empt, by Alexandra Machinist at Janklow & Nesbit. (NA) Film rights to Tom Jacobson and Monnie Wills.
The book is inspired by an original idea from movie producers (and all-around good guys) Tom Jacobson and Monnie Wills. I’m having a lot of fun with it right now, and I think anyone who likes Cade is going to have a great time reading this, too. Once again, this is all due to my brilliant agent, Alexandra Machinist.
And that’s about all I can say before mumbling some vague stuff about how this is still top secret for now.
As for Cade, I am going to get back to him — he won’t let me rest until I do — by the end of the year. I’ll have more news on Book Four once it’s finished.
Anyway. Thanks to all of you who keep asking about Cade, and for all the kind words about the books.
A couple of years ago my mom found a box with all my elementary school papers. In addition to some embarrassing pictures — I rocked a bowl cut for far longer than the style would allow — I came across one of those questionnaires that teachers have their kids fill out when it’s Friday and the clock is counting down toward the weekend. It asked about my parents, my pets, and my brother. And then there was the one question that still stands out to me today:
“What do you think you want to be when you grow up?”
My reply, in shaky block letters: “A writer like Stan Lee.”
I was six or seven when I wrote that. I barely knew what a writer did, but I knew that Stan Lee got to make up stories about Spider-Man and the Fantastic Four and a bunch of other super-heroes. That sounded pretty good to me.
When I was 39, my first novel was (finally) published and I was invited to speak on a panel at Comic-Con. That would have been a dream come true by itself. But as I was checking into the hotel, I realized I was standing in line right in front of Stan the Man himself.
I told him something he’d probably heard a lot before: “I became a writer because of you.”
He gave me the famous smile, shook my hand, and then that voice that I’d heard narrating Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends said, “Bless your heart. Thank you.”
Today he’s ninety years old and still Smilin’ Stan. You could do a lot worse for role models.
Thank you, Stan. Happy Birthday.
Jean and I saw Skyfall on Friday night, and it was amazing. Beautifully shot, brilliantly acted, filled with lovely touches of nostalgia for the former Bond films but clearly written as a naturalistic answer to those movies. It immediately became my favorite of the series.
But something happened this same weekend after I saw it. Like any geek worth his comic book collection, I usually have a moment where I indulge in the wish-fulfillment inherent in the James Bond franchise: when I imagine myself as the sleek, well-tailored killing machine hopping the globe in pursuit of international madmen of villainy and the sultry, magnificent women all around them. (Even John F. Kennedy wasn’t immune to the lure; the Bond books were his favorite reading in the White House, and were reportedly on his nightstand during the Cuban Missile Crisis.)
Only this time, it didn’t happen. Instead, I found myself holding my youngest daughter after her morning nap. She was in the middle of a cold, and her voice and breathing were thick with snot, and she was warm and still drowsy in my arms.
She used my forearm as a shelf for her head. She said, “Tired,” and “Good nap” and then “Cuddle.” She stayed there, totally relaxed and trusting, for five minutes without moving.
I was smiling so hard I felt tears come to my eyes. At that moment, I realized, I wouldn’t trade places with James Bond for anything. Not for anything in the world.
This is it. Election Day. One of my favorite secular holidays. I believe everyone should get the day off, and the bars should serve free drinks and ice cream after the polls close. Even my daughters seem excited: our youngest was up at 3:00 AM and our four-year-old cheerfully informed me she hopes Mitt Romney wins because “he wore a red-and-purple tie, and those are my favorite colors.”
I covered a few elections when I was a reporter and I still get infected by the excitement. For all my talk about being sick of the campaigning, there’s really nothing like the kind of charge you can get on Election Day. Sports fans, I know you think you’ve got the lock on intensity when it comes to game day, but trust me. Watch a bunch of former debate geeks, policy wonks, and political junkies waiting for the returns; it’s like a pack of werewolves taking over the local Holiday Inn. By the time the bartender finally escapes, there are claw marks in the drywall and someone’s eaten the carpet.
No matter who wins, I enjoy this part, with everybody equal parts exhausted and exhilarated and anxious. By tomorrow morning, you’re going to hear wails of despair and rage. There might be recounts, lawsuits, and the inevitable disappointment when the story doesn’t end cleanly and crisply, with a winner over here and a loser over there.
But right now, everyone is filled with a kind of savage joy, waiting for the moment when we all get to find out what happens. For all the misinformation, hype, spin, partisan hackery and outright lying, I’m always glad to see this day come. For a few hours, at least, millions of people all give a collective damn about what happens to our country and our future. As flawed and imperfect as the process is, it reflects our own flaws and imperfections, and our hopes to make something better on the next go-round.
If that’s not worth free beer and ice cream, then I don’t know what qualifies.