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After an earthquake earlier this week, we’re also facing down a hurricane that is scheduled to hit NYC on Sunday.  Unlike the earthquake, we know it’s coming.  This has two aspects.

1.  it allows people (and the city) to prepare.

2.  it gives people time to say and do incredibly stupid things.

So far, the preparations seem to be going apace.  The city has A Plan, which includes evacuation plans for the low-lying areas that are likely to get badly hit, and making sure that hospitals and services for the elderly/infirm are ready for all possible contingencies.  I’m not always a fan of our mini-mayor* but so far he’s on top of things (as is, for once in his career, NJ’s governor Christie).  State of Emergency’s been declared for NY, NJ and CT, I believe, to allow for emergency responses/funds, and I know that the Coast Guard’s working their tails off this weekend.   Everyone is treating Irene with the respect due.  Not panic – there’s no reason for panic – but a cautious, careful respect.  And, as Bloomberg said in his press conference, hopefully the question that will be asked is ‘what were you doing on the day you DIDN’T have to evacuate?”

(For those of you who’ve never been here,  NYC is, for the most part, a series of islands along a curve in the Atlantic coastline.  Mostly flat islands, much of it barely above sea level. )

So, yeah.  Prep for the worst, hope for the best.  Irene looks bad (and they’re saying now she’ll intensify again before landfall in the Carolinas tomorrow) but we know how to deal with coastal storms, be they rain or snow.

Me?  I’m in a high-lying area (relatively speaking),  and our building is sturdy as hell (a friend who is a structural engineer has said “I’d hug your building if I could” it’s that well-built.)  But I’m being cautious, too.  I have my emergency kit (2 flashlights w/ fresh batteries, bottled water, dry soap, protein bars, etc) and my medical kit, and enough pre-cooked or non-perishable foods to last me several days if power goes out.  I even have a pot of coffee brewing to turn into iced coffee, so I don’t get a caffeine headache if power does go out.  Cat food and litter is laid in, and all the laundry’s been done.  Oh, and the booze is laid in too, yeah.

I’ve also charged everything that can be charged (iPod, laptop, phone, Nook),  printed out a copy of the WiP just in case, and piled up a mini TBR stack of books.  My plan for the weekend is to hunker down, stay indoors, and let Irene pass over me.

Most folk have similar plans.  Most, but not all.

Although I haven’t seen any of the notorious runs on TP and milk we tend to indulge in during blizzards** I’m hearing that some people are starting to panic over the fact that here may not be any mass transit on Sunday.  Yes, the city has plans to shut everything down, if need be.   When you’re looking at potential 70+ hour winds (not gusts: winds) then you don’t run trains that are only rated for 30pmh winds.  Where were you planning to go in the middle of a hurricane, anyway?

Apparently, some folk are planning rooftop hurricane parties.  I wish I were kidding. Y’know that scene in Independence Day, when all the New Age revelers stare in awe as the mothership comes down to their rooftop party and… eradicates them?  Yeah.  Like that.

I hope the Darwin Award people are taking notes.

The rest of you, if you’re in Irene’s path?  Stay dry and safe, and I’ll see ya on the other side….



*Bloomberg is, um, not a tall man.  Diane Saywer once referred to him as a “munchkin.”  Of course, he’s still 2″ taller than I am….

**when, to be fair, we can get snowed in for a day or two after the storm passes, and you will need TP after a while, especially of you have a household of kids!


I passed the 30,000 word mark on the current project (the mystery a.k.a. “G&T#1”)  The projected length for Draft 0 is about 70,000 words, which means I’m closing in on the halfway mark, on-schedule (the book is due in January).

The only catch?  No contract yet. No editor, either.

This doesn’t worry me, exactly.  We have an agreement with a major publisher, and I’ve been told that the contract is working its way (slowly) through the entrails of the legal department.  These things take time, especially in the summer when everyone (including author and agent) take vacation.  It will get here.

The no editor part is a bit trickier.  Y’see, I’ve been orphaned.  The acquiring editor – someone I’ve worked with before – has left the company (for another job that sounds fabulous).  I bear her no ill-will – how can I, when in my other life I did the same to my authors both at Berkley and at NAL/Roc?  That’s the sort of thing that happens.  But at the moment, I have no idea who will be working with me on this project.  Orphaned authors rarely have any say in who will be their new editor and – unlike the acquiring editor, who WANTED to work with you, the adopting editor is often assigned to projects based not on their enthusuasm, but their availability.  In most cases, the partnership – especially when starting on Book 1 – goes smoothly.  I see no reason not to trust this will be the same.

But still.  30,000+ words into the book, and despite the fact that it’s contracted-for, I feel as though I’m writing on-spec.  It’s… an odd feeling.  The usual sense of urgency I get when I’m on deadline is missing, the sense of a dialogue between myself, the story and my editor not possible, because 1/3 of the voices is yet unheard.

Part of me wants to put this manuscript aside, to go work on other projects that are whispering my name – there’s a book that’s due just after this one, with a contract and an editor already in-place.  There’s a project that has my heart, if not yet a publisher.  There’re short stories and novellas that lurk, just out of reach, taunting me.

But this is the book that is due first.  This is the one that’s on my plate – even if much of that plate is yet-invisible.  So that’s the one I’m writing.

[and it’s going well – every page teaches me something new about the characters, the mystery, and what the book wants to say, which is an excellent sign.]

I’m not sure what the lesson here is.  I’m not sure there is a lesson.  Sometimes, things just are.




Apparently, I had the wrong dates in my schedule.  I depart the city not a week from Friday, but THIS Friday.

I do not panic.  I have everything under control.


All I have to do is laundrypaybillswrite5kwordsarrangecatsittingdotheNYRSFreadingtonightedit3storiesdepositpaychecksmeetwithMadame
EditrixsendImportantEmailspackickupcardrivetoBoston…. by Friday noon.

Piece of cake.

Cake with moar coffee, pls.


On the plus side, the apartment is booked, the flights are booked, so Rome in December is a Go.  *does happy dance*  “Two Jews walk into the Vatican on Christmas Day…”



[anyone looking to burgle the place while I’m gone?  All you’ll get is two affection-hungry cats, a printer, and a cheap TV.  Sorry.]