Writer’s Burden Crushes Chair

Desk chair collapseMy daily companion for many years collapsed yesterday under the weight of writing three books: HOTEL CONSTELLATION: Notes from America’s Secret War in Laos; The Mark of the Spider; and most recently, Beware the Spider.

That’s right. My desk chair died.

I was not injured, but the sound of the left arm giving way under the strain of tens of thousands of typed words startled me from my day dreams. I mean, it interrupted my plotting of a new story for readers.

Fortunately, one of the office supply stores is having a sale on chairs (ending tomorrow), and I got a new one for less than what the old one cost.

You served me well, chair. RIP.

 

Spiders in Literature before ‘Beware the Spider’

Spiders have a long history of appearances in literature, and my new Black Orchid Chronicle, Beware the Spider will just add to it.

Beware the SpiderB

In Beware the Spider, nature photographer Sebastian Arnett becomes the target of ruthless Chinese crime lords who want to use his power to kill without touching. When they kidnap the woman he loves, the battle is to the death.

 

And Empaya Iba, the spider demon who cursed Sebastian and gave him his lethal powers, faces threats from mysterious flying spirits.

Sebastian must save the demon he loathes to keep the power of the curse to save his lover.

As for those other spiders:

  • Yes, there is Spider-Man, although it’s a man, not a spider. And how fearsome can someone be with the nickname, Spidey?
  • Then there’s the Itsy Bitsy Spider and the water spout. Although at my kindergarten, we called it the Teensy-Weensy Spider.
  • The most-loved spider has to be Charlotte in E.B. White’s Charlotte’s Web. Who can forget the farewell message she wove in her web?
  • J.R.R. Tolkien features Shelob in The Two Towers:

.  .  . she served none but herself, drinking the blood of Elves and Men, bloated and grown fat with endless brooding on her feasts, weaving webs of shadow; for all living things were her food, and her vomit darkness

  • Then there’s Aragog of J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.
  • Neil Gaiman wrote of The Anansi Boys, sons of the West African spider god, that I just couldn’t get through but which my son swears by.
  • No less than Walt Whitman wrote a two-stanza poem entitled “A Noiseless Patient Spider.”
  • In Greek mythology, Arachne  was turned into a spider after losing a weaving content to the goddess Athena. And we got our name for the spider family, arachnid.

A tip of the hand and hearty Thank You to thepurplebroom blog and its post “Spiders in Literature, Mythology and Witchcraft” for reminding me of Shelob and Aragog.

For those who can’t get enough of spiders, I recommend this bibliography, which includes Emily Dickenson’s spider-related poems, and this Wikipedia list of fictional arthropods, which contains many spider references.

And finally, if you’d like to see some spiders looking back at you, I refer you to Jimmy Kong’s Flickr blog. (Spoiler alert, not for people with arachnophobia.)

Beware the Spider will be available June 3.

Ending in a Caboose: Beware the Spider

Railroads stopped using cabooses back in the early 1980s when they developed new, less costly ways to monitor a train from engine to end.

I’ve long thought I’d like to buy an old caboose, refurbish it and use it as my writing “room,” so to speak.

Only two things prevent me:

  1. Money. I expect it would cost about $50,000.
  2. My wife. She doesn’t care how much it costs; I’m not putting a caboose in the back yard. Side yard. Front yard. Back 40. Nowhere. No, it’s not happening.

Since I can’t have a caboose in real life, I’ve put one in my latest Black Orchid Chronicle, Beware the Spider.

I won’t spoil the story, but here’s a line from the book:

 The brownish-orange Southern Pacific caboose carried its cupola toward the rear of the car.

Caboose SP 26 C-30-3

Source: Gene Deimling, Gene’s P48 Blog

As you can see from the floor plan below, there’s plenty of room (in this era of tiny houses) for four or more persons.

A slightly refurbished car would look like this on the inside. Notice the slightly rounded ceiling.

See, there’s a big table to put my laptop and pictures of the wife and kids. Wouldn’t it be cool to have that as a writing studio, someplace to have your writer friends over to critique work and talk about the state of publishing today?

Apparently not, according to a voice calling from the other room.

‘Nuff said. If you want to fantasize about a caboose, pick up Beware the Spider and enjoy the adventure.

Available from all major book-selling platforms on June 3 in both digital and print editions.

Get Beware the Spider and ride the adventure.