I don’t even have pictures

I’m sorry, guys, I’m exhausted.  I don’t even have pictures of the signings, because they’re on Dan’s phone.

Though P. Wendell attended, and I finally got to throw fish at a bunch of you IN PERSON. (YAY, go me.)

Just tired.  Sorry.  I’ve been sitting here trying to figure out what to put on the blog, and I haven’t managed it.  So this is what you get:

It was fun. There were a bunch of you there, but more at Colorado Springs.  We signed a ton of books. There was Wendell and Moose and Squirrel and David sang (very well) and Larry talked and (particularly last night) I blathered.  Greebo came up (as a topic. I did not bring him up. I could see Havey loving it, but not Greebo. He’s an introvert.)

I’ll post pictures when Dan gets home from work.

Right now I’m going to shower and write.

Oh, this is what I’m working on right now (for those who say this on Facebook Diner:yes, his last name changed, because I just wasn’t relating to him.  Which is a weird reason to change a character’s name, but it’s part of how I work. Took me forever to get Kyrie’s name right, for ex, and couldn’t write her till it was.  Seamus McDonald would do fine for a short story, but not for a novel.) :


Deep Pink

Sarah A. Hoyt


Many people have told me to go to hell. Happens to all PIs I guess. And being a PI named Seamus – Seamus Magis, at your service — it was inevitable.

But I never thought I’d have to go. Certainly not in pursuit of a case.

How it started was like this: My friend Rod Rando is the manager for a lot of metal bands. Well known properties, like Goat Eternity and Bestial Cadaver and Edge of Skulls.

He’d done great out of it. Like, he’d married a bunch of models, one after the other, and his alimony bills were epic, but with all that he still had his offices in the penthouse of this steel and glass high rise downtown, a place so clean you could lick the floor and probably emerge in better health and so classy that if you put Marx inside it, he’d have melted to a little puddle of goo on the floor.

Honest, I felt out of place just going in, in my jeans and T-shirt.

Oh, sure, Rando also wore jeans and t-shirts, but his were DESIGNER, carefully torn and scuffed. I mean, someone had made six figures just figuring out where to rip that denim, or where to put the stain on his shirt so it looked like someone had stepped on it.

He’d called me in because starting about two years ago he’d noticed some of his bands, the ones who had been the most serious about their satanic symbols and altars and rituals and what not… changing style.

Look, it wasn’t so much that they changed, though sure, that would be bad enough. When you’re administering a multi-million dollar talent, you get a little scared by change. Who knows if the fans will like it?

And this change was really weird.  Suddenly these supposedly dark, satanic artists were wearing all pink, their music sounded disturbingly like K-Pop, and instead of the horns, they made heart signs with their hands. And one of them, the Filthy Blood Whores had changed their name to Pink Fluffy Kittens and wore pink cat ear headbands.

Their fans had no idea what to make of it, but my friend did. “Someone is giving them drugs,” he said.  “And it must be some good shit, because it’s spreading from band to band.”

“I mean, when Satan’s Handmaidens sang Pretty Pink Bubbles at their concert, the fans stormed the stage in fury and put them in the hospital. It’s that bad. And yet it keeps spreading. Even though the new style bands are tanking, others keep changing to imitate them. And then they also don’t sell for shit. I can’t afford this.”

He raked his hand backward across his unkempt, thinning but long hair. It was like the less hair he had on top, the more he let it grow, till now the stringy ends brushed the middle of his back.

“Leb, I need help.”

Sigh.  Okay, okay. So my name is Seamus Lebanon Magis.  Are you happy? Stop laughing. I was named after my mom. I should just be grateful they hadn’t given me her full name: Cedar of Lebanon Magis.  Rod is one of the few people who even knows my full name, and… other things, so of course I said, “I’ll help if I can. I just don’t see what I can do.”

“It has to be drugs.”

“You mean they weren’t on drugs before?” I asked. If I sounded skeptical, it was because I’d heard some of their acts.

“Oh, hell no. I don’t mean that. I mean, actually mostly they prefer alcohol, but sometimes, you know, some uppers, some downers, some ayahuasca… Thing is, I get those drugs and pass them to the guys, to make sure they’re clean. I monitor the alcohol they get, too. I make sure it’s nothing that will fry their brains.”

“I didn’t just hear that.”

“Whatever. You can’t let your bread and butter go to seed. But this shit… whatever it is… This is some crazy shit. I mean, hell, I didn’t even know Choke Slave could sing falsetto.” He dropped onto his custom made ergonomic chair and put his feet on his blue glass desk big enough and probably sturdy enough to park a mac truck on. “I want you to find the people responsible and stop this shit.”

That was obviously my cue.

Which is how I found myself in the apartment of on Albert Schneider, Aka Thrall of Darkness, Aka Pink Plush Sorbet on a hungover Saturday morning.

Okay, so, just so you get the problem, his apartment looked like a Disney princess had exploded all over it. Nah, make that a set of Disney princesses. There had to be a lot of them for all that pink, glitter, frills and lace to have gone everywhere.  Like, there was glitter on the ceiling.

And then there were stuffed animals. Kittens and puppies, mostly, with big, round glass eyes.

In a corner, a figure of Hello Kitty had pink scented candles lit in front of it. If it weren’t for the sheer oddity, I’d think it was an altar.

Albert was on the wrong side of thirty, and I’d bet if he hadn’t dyed his hair flat black, he’d have been mostly white haired.  He was long haired, long bearded, with braided beard, and incongruous fake glittery-pink eyelashes.  He wore a sort of pink jumpsuit thing, with a silver glitter belt. For some reason it just made his mean, hard eyes look harder and meaner.  He glared at me. “What the hell do you mean am I gay?”

I looked around the apartment.

He made a suggestion that would require my breaking my spine, or possibly bilocating.

“Fuck man,” He added. “I’m just what I’ve always been. A servant of the dark.”

“The dark …. pink?” I asked.

He shook his head. The glare was hard enough to cut but there was something else behind it, something stark and cold.  Fear? “New management, man. New management.”

“What do you mean new management?  Rando has said–”

He looked at me as though I were too stupid to live.  “Not Rando. Rando is… nobody in this.  Oh, sure,” he waved it all away.  “He’s an okay agent, okay?  But this is The Management,” he said. “Down below.”

From somewhere – I’ll swear – came the sound of tut-tut uttered in a girlish voice, and Schneider shook and went pale.  “I’ve already said too much, man. The new management is ruthless. They ain’t got no sense of humor. None whatsoever.”

I was about to tell him devils never had any humor, when it occurred to me this grown man wearing bright pink, and lighting candles to Hello Kitty was dead serious.  He really thought that something or someone would punish him for talking out of turn.  Which means he really had thought he was serving Satan or something.  “Are you for real?” I asked. “Do you mean to tell me that Sat—”

“Peggy,” he said. Fear flared behind his eyes like neon. “Just call him Peggy.”

His voice had a note of hysteria. I couldn’t get him to make any more sense and was starting to incline to the “weird drug hypothesis.”

But the next morning Albert Schneider, Aka Thrall of Darkness, Aka Pink Plush Sorbet was found in his apartment with his throat cut and something carved on his forehead that looked suspiciously like cat ears.


150 thoughts on “I don’t even have pictures

  1. Oh. So that’s how the signing went.

    Rest – as you know, if you haven’t got your health …

  2. Lebanon as the middle name of a tough male Private Detective?

    Definitely black-mail material there! 😈

      1. Well, with his mother’s name being “Cedars of Lebanon”, I suspect she was a hippy. 😀

      1. Thank God that my parents chose Stephen as my middle name. 😀

        Oh, when Dad told his boss-at-the-time the name of his new-born son, the boss said that he’d call me “Stephen” as he disliked “religious names”. 😆

        1. WAHHHAAHAHAHAHAH sorry, Stephen not being a “religious” name is very funny. Although one has to admit that the juxtaposition of Paul (AKA Saul) and Stephen is itself a bit odd.. .

          1. “Stephen isn’t a religious name” was told as a Family Joke for years. 😉

        2. MY boss at the time if my younger son’s birth merely demanded to know how I had spelled his name. Because “it had better be spelled the right way”. From his reaction, I gathered that “Sean” was the correct spelling.

      1. Goody! Me want! I looooove Urban Fantasy that doesn’t take itself too goddamned seriously. Something like BETTER MOUSETRAP.

        Don’t get me wrong; I read the Anita Blake books from volume one, and I’m still willing to wade through pages and pages of Dark Romance Porn to keep up with the characters. But my favorite passage from the entire series (so far) is (let’s see If I can get this right…), “I spent the next twenty minutes trying to reassure a crying werewolf that I wasn’t going to kill her. My life was getting MUCH too weird.”

        1. I think the vampire bodyguard wearing a t-shirt saying “I’ll be right behind you (using you as a meatshield)” was a fun paragraph…

      2. I’m in the line, too.

        But PLEASE remember to include the warning about food and drink (the one about NOT consuming while reading). I tend to be forgetful in my eagerness to open a new book.

        Got me on the fourth paragraph this time! (Fortunately in the cold drink part of my day, and I do have another pair of shorts to wear while the other pair dries out from the ice water wash.)

          1. Like, he’d married a bunch of models, one after the other, and his alimony bills were epic, but with all that he still had his offices in the penthouse of this steel and glass high rise downtown, a place so clean you could lick the floor and probably emerge in better health and so classy that if you put Marx inside it, he’d have melted to a little puddle of goo on the floor.

            Hmm. Re-reading that, without the fluid distraction this time, I think this qualifies the protagonist as one of Raymond Chandler’s characters (see the quote that Passive Guy put up a couple days back).

    1. Me, too. Curse you, Sarah! I’m way behind on work already, and you keep giving me additional reasons to slack off.

            1. I was once in line at a store, behind a nice little old lady. when she was done with her purchaces and it was my turn I announced in a load tone of voice “I WON THE LOTTERY”.
              Her head whipped around and she stared at me. I looked in the eye, held up 4 fingers and said “four dollars”
              The look she gave me. (true story)

  3. I got a fish thrown at me!
    Thanks for coming to the Springs, Sarah.
    (Oh, and the story is hilarious so far.)

      1. Sorry. I was a little flustered.
        And maneuvering the wife’s wheelchair past the table was troublesome.

  4. You are a sick and twisted woman.
    I’ve always liked that about you.
    It would seem that your extended illness has allowed the spirits of Rex Stout and Raymond Chandler to whisper sweet nothings into your brain.
    Let’s see, if you finish the final draft by the end of August Baen will probably release it by no later than early April next year.
    Oh wait, we aren’t doing that any more are we.
    So the e-book should be up on Amazon right around Labor Day.

    1. You are a sick and twisted [individual].
      I’ve always liked that about you.

      I can say that about all my best friends. 🙂

      1. One of the few things that bothered me about Fandom (when I was involved, which was a while back) was the artificial line people imagined between ‘Fen’ and ‘Mundanes’.

        The artificiality of it was driven home to me at a Balticon. Because the Con was too big for one Hotel, it spilled over into two more, and one of them was hosting a Convention of professional bowlers.

        By midnight, the two groups were so mixed, you had to ask ‘is this a Con party or a Bowler’s Party’.

        Another year Darkover was breaking up as the National management cadre for the National Guard was coming in. Their reaction to all the Fen in cloaks and swords? “Damn, we should have come three days early. This looks like fun.”

        Oh, there are people who have do passions, or whose passions are mostly tiresome (*cough* Antifa *cough*), but most so-called ‘mundanes’ act like Fen about SOMETHING. And are pretty goddamned interesting when you get them started.

        I fear that the ‘we are different’ inherent in the Fen/Mundane divide is part of what seduced a portion of Fandom into the SJW position of ‘we are better’.

        Which they undermine every time they open their yaps.

        1. Dragoncon 2000: Annual meeting, Eastern Command, Salvation Army. In the Hyatt.

          I’ll admit they were a little perturbed at the GWAR band booth…..

    2. I should have it done this week, send to betas. Then on to finish Alien curse. Hopefully this one out in August. AC out by mid September. And then we FIDO.

        1. Says send to betas. Seems like there are Beta fish as Preliminary readers. One wonders do the Betas get their proof copies on waterproof paper and mark them up with grease pencils? Or do they get eArc copie on IPC8 certified Kindles? And of course carp are really awful as a test market as their tastes are so odd…

  5. Dis gunna be gud! It also gives a whole new perspective on the Hello Kitty rifles. 🙂

    Waiting with bated breath.

      1. Ah yes, I remember the song very well …

        Hello, Cthulu, my old friend
        I’ve come to conjure you again
        Because a vision softly creeping
        Left its seeds while I was sleeping
        And the vision that was planted in my brain
        Still remains
        Within the sound of screaming

        In restless dreams I walked alone
        Narrow streets of cobblestone
        ‘Neath the halo of a streetlamp
        I turned my collar to the cold and damp
        When my eyes were stabbed by the flash of a neon light
        That split the night
        And touched the sound of screaming

  6. Could not make it. 😦
    Bought the hardcover today.
    If only I had hours of airport and screaming metal sky-tube time in my near future…

  7. And this change was really weird. Suddenly these supposedly dark, satanic artists were wearing all pink, their music sounded disturbingly like K-Pop, and instead of the horns, they made heart signs with their hands. And one of them, the Filthy Blood Whores had changed their name to Pink Fluffy Kittens and wore pink cat ear headbands.

    <.<;;; Was this because I posted that video that Jaenelle likes so much here? Though they didn't have kittens.

    1. I think I recall seeing this before, and my vague-impression-o-meter (patent pending) indicates that this was when your youngest was at least a lot younger.

        1. Someone following my posting over that period might be totally unsurprised that I would make that mistake.

        1. There was a snippet a few weeks ago in AtH. I think it ended at the start of the interview with Pink Plush Sorbet.

  8. To: Most Mischievous Mistress of Mayhem (IntSecRef decode: Sarah Hoyt)
    From: Evil League of Evil Faceless Minion #6969 (IntSecRef decode: Da… wait, how is this guy even ON our servers? Didn’t IT take care of this? Do we HAVE an IT department? Never mind. David Langley. His name is David Langley and he lives in Idaho)

    Re: Subornation

    I have completed preparations to infiltrate this year’s Annual Conclave of Liberalism (classic form: WorldCon).

    Materiel transport has undergone a revision, with all supplies now accompanying personnel in carry-on luggage. This new standard is applied due to…uh, no reason, really. Just, you know…’cause.

    Be advised, I have failed to promulgate seditious ideas for this gathering. After the organizers last year publicly apologized for a mis-pronoun incident, I honestly couldn’t think of any way to make these people seem more ridiculous.

    I briefly considered bringing random re-election materials from the current US Presidential campaign, but a quick review of European speech laws show that this might be actionable under some sort of hate-crime legislation.

    I will, however, be investigating support/investment opportunities for the ELE (Ref: Guinness/Jameson [Ref: No, maybe YOU have a problem]). Onward and upward to success.

    Finally, I will note this is the last conclave I will be able to infiltrate. Stupidity induced eye, ear and nose bleeds have begun to take a toll. Should the conclave (WorldCon) be scheduled for Las Vegas, I will of course, take one more for the team.

    As always, your most humble and obedient servent,
    Faceless Minion #6969

  9. Clearly, the author is using the kitty-fication of heavy metal bands as a metaphor for the genderfluid, post-colonialist, post-modern, post-capitalist, post-hegemonic paradigm shift of the intersectional matrix of the historiographical, er, something or other . . . sorry, what am I commenting on again?

      1. Publication is publication, amirite. Obviously, number of publications and impact metrics are the be all and end all of learning to read and write and cipher.

        No one would ever turn down an easy publication, or pick a lower impact venue, simply because its audience are exactly the people who would be interesting to speak with.

        The racist misogyny of electric signals in octopus brains raised on catfish raised on glyphosate grown corn products versus catfish raised on non glyphosate corn products is totally going to make my career. Then, in forty years, I’ll be able to publish the paper on bovine growth hormone injected turtle brains in Nature, and I’ll get the Nobel prize in Queer Studies.

      1. See, it crossed my mind that you were, after two decades of raising boys, absolutely craving pink girly stuff (despite not going for it when it was your turn, as I understand you to have indicated). Kinda like my cousin down the road who only had the one boy, no girls and joked that if she had an urge for girly stuff she’d go to my sister’s, since she lived close by and had girls. [As oppose to, say, Spinelli joining the Ashleys that one time on “Recess.”]

    1. I know it’s the 50th anniversary of Woodstock and all, but really don’t need to double check the bit on (not) taking the brown acid.

      [Especially if it’s not lysergic, but fuming nitric…]

      1. Old rhyme

        Little Johnnie was a chemist
        but little Johnnie is no more,
        For what he thought was H20
        was H2S04…

        and yes I know that’s sulfuric, not nitric acid , but
        HNO3 doesn’t rhyme…

      2. Orvan, speaking of fuming nitric acid, have you read “Ignition!” by John D. Clark about rocket fuel chemistry in the early and middle 20th century?

        1. I remembered just enough chemistry to cringe in all the right places, just before the “Unfortunately, Fred had not fled fast enough when…” sorts of things started happening.

    1. You’re supposed to already KNOW that…is possible and at least a 50% chance of occurence. Anchovies and sardines are, however, weapons of mass smellishment. Do NOT anger the Evil Space Princess.

  10. Wish I could have been at the signings, but I’m way out of the neighborhood. That might not stop me next time
    But I’ve done the better thing, bought and read the book. Larry made a great choice to write in Susan’s voice. Or did he have another reason for farming it out? Either way, good job!

  11. Today with the help of two teenagers I turned 3/4 of the library into a setting for an all day gaming con. I’m exhausted. Tomorrow, starting at 7:30am (for me) I and a merry band of teens will put on a con.

    We’re channelling the spirit of Andy Rooney and Judy Garland here.

    You have all my sympathy Mrs. Hoyt. Up to your eyeballs in tired and nothing for it but to go like gangbusters for the near future. And my respect. God speed.

      1. Yes, legendary CBS broadcaster, who said, among other things:

        “The average dog is a nicer person than the average person.”

        “People will generally accept facts as truth only if the facts agree with what they already believe.”

        “If you don’t enjoy getting up and working and finishing your work and sitting down to a meal with family or friends, then the chances are you’re not going to be happy. If someone bases his happiness or unhappiness on major events like a great new job, huge amounts of money, a flawlessly happy marriage or a trip to Paris, that person isn’t going to be happy much of the time. If, on the other hand, happiness depends on a good breakfast, flowers in the yard, a drink or a nap, then we are more likely to live with quite a bit of happiness.”

        “Guns do not make you a killer. I think killing makes you a killer. You can kill someone with a baseball bat or a car, but no one is trying to ban you from driving to the ball game.”

        “Men wake up aroused in the morning. We can’t help it. We just wake up and we want you. And the women are thinking, “How can he want me the way I look in the morning?” It’s because we can’t see you. We have no blood anywhere near our optic nerve.”

  12. Will buy. Not only an amusing concept in a neat style, but… this line:

    “…so classy that if you put Marx inside it, he’d have melted to a little puddle of goo…”

  13. The hypothesis that the Clinton organization has people murdered has not been dis-proven.

    Epstein’s dead.

  14. Just curious: did he commit suicide by shooting himself in the back 37 times, pausing only once to reload?

    1. Hanging.

      Previously, a fellow prisoner had intervened to save his life in the previous apparent attempt.

      Epstein had been housed on his own, away from other prisoners, and was not under suicide watch when he allegedly caused his own death.

      1. “Nothing to see here, move along.”

        Even the lowliest Podunk jail has procedures for handling prisoners on suicide watch. And one as high-profile as Epstein, the budget could have stretched to having a corrections officer watch him 24/7.

        1. That’s crazy talk.

          You aren’t crazy, not like that BobtheRegisterredFool, are you?

      1. At the least, it sounds like the least competent people in the entire federal penal system were on duty. At the very least…

        1. Well, he was *off* suicide watch (so not the least competent people, presumably), cause I guess they figured he had settled down, can’t keep it up forever, but I know zilch about the internal layout of that facility—doors, cameras.

          Unanswered questions is all I got.

          1. From what I saw (grain of salt advised), he was taken off suicide watch Thursday. From what I’m seeing, there aren’t that many people comfortable with “suicide”.

            1. On the bright side, it doesn’t have to be Hillary or Bill behind it.

              We have general evidence of sketchiness from feds, and Epstein could’ve possibly been in a position to incriminate feds. The apparent crooked feds have not shown overwhelming evidence of competence in their other alleged wrongdoings, so if it was murder it might have been incompetently done.

              1. Well … how likely is it anything changed between then and last night?

                “Thousands of documents unsealed Friday in connection with a defamation case against the perv’s alleged recruiter revealed dozens of high-profile names that a self-identified victim, Virginia Giuffre, said she was forced to perform sex acts with, from former Maine Sen. George Mitchell and ex-New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, money manager Glenn Dubin and MIT professor Marvin Minksy.

                “Giuffre has previously claimed that she had sex with Prince Andrew and noted attorney Alan Dershowitz.

                “Minsky’s widow, Gloria Rudisch, denied to The Post that he had sex with Giuffre or any of the other girls at Epstein’s residences.

                “She said that she and Minsky visited Epstein’s residences in New York and Palm Beach ‘three or four times at the most’ and that they always went as a couple.

                “‘We were always together,’ she said. ‘We didn’t stay at his house or anything.’

                “Rudisch said that there young girls at Epstein’s residences, but that ‘none of them seemed very young.’

                “‘I’m a pediatrician, I think I would have noticed,’ Rudisch said.

                “Of Epstein, she said nothing about him struck her as suspicious and that he seemed like ‘just a rich guy interested in science.'”
                Jeffrey Epstein’s alleged ‘sex slave’ reveals the men she claims she was forced to sleep with

                1. More fuel fpr the conspiracy lamps:

                  There’s no way that man could have killed himself. I’ve done too much time in those units. It’s an impossibility.

                  Between the floor and the ceiling is like eight or nine feet. There’s no way for you to connect to anything.

                  You have sheets, but they’re paper level, not strong enough. He was 200 pounds — it would never happen. …

              2. Judging by the unsealing of the court proceedings, there are a lot of people who would not shed a tear at Epstein’s demise, particularly if they figured his testimony was all he had on them. We’ll leave the likelihood of such narrowly bounded evidence open to speculation.

                OTOH, I gather that there’s nobody with any standing to object to a *full* search of his properties for evidence.

                Some folks have noted that an obvious “suicide” might serve to keep other witnesses quiet. Heinlein’s modification to Hanlon’s razor: “don’t rule out malice”.

                1. It is perfectly sane to be skeptical of “received Reality” when the purveyors of such claim such nonsense as “truth over fact.” Yeah, I’m not exactly a native to this Reality thing, but still.

                  1. It’s quite interesting to see the NYT trying to debunk the “conspiracy theories” around Epstein and such, after they spent over 3 years on “Trump is a Russian agent!!!eleventy11!!”, not to mention “White Hispanic” George Zimmerman. Hell, even CNN says Epstein’s “suicide” is sketchy.

                    For your amusement:

                2. Very well. Sanity test time.

                  Posner is…

                  …the lead suspect in the Epstein death.
                  …a respected xenobiochemist.
                  …a moron.
                  …made of asbestos thimbles.
                  …of the alien species Gleempok.
                  …mooish, even if he doesn’t look mooish.

      2. I’m simply wondering whether he’s left an envelope with a key to a safety deposit box labeled “To be opened in event of my death.”

        Maybe they need to get Geraldo on that?

        1. Depends. Is Geraldo in Epstein’s little black book? Lots of interesting names are showing up.

          1. Searchable flight logs:

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